The Last Stride

Noah Davis, writing for Grantland, on Landon Donovan’s final appearance as a player with the USMNT:

Donovan was not the star we wanted, but he was the star we deserved. He carried the game as far as he could. He was the best, most visible player the U.S. had, as the program moved from half-empty stadiums to soccer-specific venues, multimillion-dollar contracts for American stars, and a domestic league that averages higher attendance per game than the NBA and NHL. Donovan didn’t make that happen on his own, but his stardom helped facilitate it. A reluctant star can still be vital, as long as he keeps showing up.

I still can’t believe or fully understand why it ended the way it did, but I’m glad he got his final game. Such an incredible career.

Pearled Coffee

Though it sounds to me like something I would quite enjoy, bubble tea is the fad food item of the last few years that has yet to cross paths with me. Laziness is partially to blame – it hasn’t caught fire in my neck of the woods and I’m certainly not going to go out of my way to give it a try. Pearled coffee, however, is a completely different story:

Head of roastery (Howey) has a molecular biology background and last week he made this video showing the process of making something we like to call “Pearled Coffee”. It’s was an experiment that turned out to work _and_ taste great. Basically it is coffee pearls, made of 4 times concentrated filter coffee. As the pearls can be served with everything from milk to baileys to tequila we find the potential very interesting.

Very interesting indeed. I can’t imagine something like that will be cheap or easy to get, perhaps heartbreakingly so; thus making it this week’s Thing I Don’t Need to Know I Like.

(via Sprudge)

Wide Open Blue

For reasons that fate thus far has failed to provide adequate justification, prior obligations continue to keep me from fully experiencing Raleigh’s burgeoning Wide Open Bluegrass tradition. Last year was the first year I’d heard of such a thing and I promised myself I wouldn’t miss it “next year”, though I failed to set a reminder or mark a calendar to check-in on the planning for this year’s event. And, wouldn’t you know it, I didn’t block off my calendar and the wife and I had conflicting plans.

Fortunately, I was able to venture into the City of Oaks for some of Saturday’s Wide Open Bluegrass Street Festival and it did not disappoint. I didn’t have a ton of time but I was determined to snap a quick picture of the Sir Walter Raleigh Banjostand. I allowed myself a few moments at any of the music stages along the way and I, of course, stopped to check out as many sidewalk performances as I could.

I have this really strange history with bluegrass music, a history that actually mimics several other genres or artists that I just didn’t get right away. To put it mildly, I was absolutely appalled by even just the mere mention of the word “bluegrass” growing up. I’ve softened quite a bit to it since, now very appreciative of the specificity of its harmonies and distinctiveness of its sound. Bluegrass aficionados may scoff at the thought of this, but I honestly think the Avett Brothers were my gateway drug into bluegrass music.

I didn’t spend quite enough time wandering the street festival to offer anything insightful, critical, or sensible to any conversation about it. What I want to say, though, is that my brief time walking around was a lot of fun and incredibly refreshing. The weather was amazing, a significant contributor to the experience no doubt, but the music and the atmosphere spearheaded the fun. With so many music stages, smaller tents and even sidewalk performers, it was difficult to be out of earshot of a fiddle, a steel guitar, a banjo or elegant harmonies. I love that Raleigh has this event and I hope it keeps coming back for many years to come. Maybe one of these years I’ll really get to enjoy it.

Notable sounds I overheard while walking around: The Railsplitters, Gold Heart, and Mipso.


“I’m not looking to create a permanent brand. It’s a quality-of-life issue with me. Am I having fun? Am I surrounded by people I like? Are we proud of what we’re doing? Do we have anything to regret when we look in the mirror tomorrow? Those things are huge to me.”

One Hundred Years of Raleigh’s City Market

Over on Goodnight Raleigh:

One hundred years ago, on September 30, 1914, a familiar downtown landmark — Raleigh’s City Market — opened its doors to the public. Join us this week in celebrating the centenary of this historic and venerable market house.

I didn’t really discover City Market until I was in high school, but I was instantly mesmerized; such a unique place in the middle of a lot of normal.