Tag Archives: atlanta

Hot Chocolate 5K

When chocolate’s on offer, of course, I’ll run. And that’s how I registered for the Hot Chocolate 5K.

On the morning of January 13, the “Hot” referred to the weather since it was 60F early in the morning.

It was slow going to get to the race area due to traffic. About 18,000 people were taking part and traffic was completely stopped for miles.

After the race, we got some chocolate fondue with a banana and other dips. It was yummy.

Here’s a map of the route, along with elevation and my heart rate and speed graphs.

Download

This was my first race with a timing snafu. Initially, the results online showed my chip time as 36 minutes. I knew that was definitely wrong. My Wahoo Fitness iPhone app had clocked me at 32:59 and I had started that before my corral even started running and had stopped it a little after crossing the finish line. So I sent them a correction request. My time has now been changed to 33:33, which is still about a minute too long. But I am going to let that stand.

Based on the new time of 33min 33sec, I was ranked 2169th/9083 overall, 756th/1732 among men, and 95th/269 among men aged 40-44. (Yes, men were only 19% of the 5K participants.)

Now, I am waiting for my first 10K!

Related Reading

Heart Rate Variability (HRV) Signal Analysis: Clinical Applications
Race, Reform, and Rebellion: The Second Reconstruction and Beyond in Black America, 1945-2006, Third Edition
Hot Chocolate
Running & Being: The Total Experience
R is for Running

MLK Historic Site

Recently, my daughter suggested we visit Martin Luther King Jr Historic Site. Here are a few pictures from our visit.

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Related Reading

The Civil Rights Movement: A Photographic History, 1954-68
The Assassinations: Probe Magazine on JFK, MLK, RFK and Malcolm X
Food Lovers' Guide to® Atlanta: The Best Restaurants, Markets & Local Culinary Offerings (Food Lovers' Series)
MLK, Jr Quotes: The Vision of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Insiders' Guide® to Atlanta, 9th (Insiders' Guide Series)

Hot, Hotter, Hottest

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Related Reading

Weather Words and What They Mean
Islamabad, Pakistan: Including its History, the Pakistan Museum of National History, the National Art Gallery Pakistan, the Faisal Mosque, and More
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Weather Whys: Facts, Myths, and Oddities
Islamabad: The Birth of a Capital

New Neighborhood, New Census

Eight years ago, I wrote about the census statistics for my neighborhood. In that time, I have moved around a bit, though I am back in metro Atlanta now. And there’s a new census out. So let’s look at the 2010 census data for my neighborhood/block.

  • Only 2.7% of housing units in my block are vacant. So I guess we are weathering the real estate downturn okay.
  • 78% of the people are non-Hispanic White.
  • 16% are Asian. Not sure how they are divided between East Asians and South Asians, but my guess is that a majority is South Asian.

At the city level, we finally get a breakdown of the Asian numbers. In our city of Milton with a population of 32,661, there are 3,399 Asians (10.4%), out of which 2,258 (6.9%) are Indians.

Of the 11,659 occupied housing units in Milton, GA, 73.9% are owner-occupied. Renters are not that common here. Also, the average household size for owners is 3.01 while for renters is 2.22.

In Fulton county, of 920,581 people, 5.6% are Asian and 2.4% are Indian. African Americans are 43.5%, non-Hispanic Whites 40.8% and Hispanics 7.9%.

In the whole of Atlanta metro area (population: 5,268,860), the housing vacancy rate is 10.5%. Non-Hispanic Whites are 50.7%, African Americans 31.9%, Hispanics 10.4% and Asians 4.8%.

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The Seven Riddles of Life: Answered by Fulton Sheen
Paradise Lost (Oxford World's Classics)
Streetwise Atlanta Map - Laminated City Center Street Map of Atlanta, Georgia
Treasure in Clay: The Autobiography of Fulton J. Sheen
Paradise Lost (Dover Thrift Editions)

Snowpocalypse

I have been neglecting the blog again.

On Sunday night and Monday, we got about 5 inches of snow here in Atlanta. That’s more than I have seen here in my 13 years.

Then the temperature stayed below freezing until today. So it turned to ice. The roads here have been treacherous all week and I have seen cars skidding and turning the wrong way on GA-400.

Also, school has been closed all week and it has been hard trying to keep the 1st grader occupied at home. She has been to school only 3 days out of 26. May be we could have gone to a month long vacation instead of a short one in New York.

Here’s how our backyard looks today.



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Snow (I Can Read It All By Myself)
Oh Say Can You Say What's the Weather Today?: All About Weather (Cat in the Hat's Learning Library)
Moon Atlanta (Moon Handbooks)

Election Day 2009

Election Day is Tuesday (I support Why Tuesday? in changing it to a weekend or a holiday), November 3. Since this is an off year, there aren’t any big contests.

Here in the city of Milton in North Fulton county, we have some city council elections.

The current mayor, Joe Lockwood, is running unopposed. So we are left with three city council members. Interestingly, the council members are elected at large, i.e. by all of Milton, with the condition being that the candidates must reside in the district which they want to represent. The at-large election means that voters like me have to think strategically about the balance of power in the city council rather than just the suitability of individual candidates.

Two good resources for the election are the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Voter Guide, which provides information about all of the Atlanta metro area, and the Access Milton blog for local Milton news.

The main issue for the city council election is development and growth. This area of Fulton county used to be very rural in the recent past and even now there are big farms in most of Milton. However, there has been some development too, especially in the Crabapple area and on Highway 9. Lots of people here want to keep the “rural character” and oppose extension of sewer and “high density” development. I put high density in quotes because around here 1 acre lots count as high density. We come from much higher density of course. We lived in the AtlantaPiscataway, NJ (density: 2,688.6/sq mi). Milton’s density is about 556/sq mi.

I don’t mind growth. In fact, I like growth. And I don’t like the idea of local governments limiting growth and encumbering the free market. Of course, growth can be dumb or smart. And mindless growth at the time of a real estate boom can leave lots of ghost neighborhoods. But that is something that can be managed such that the city grows naturally and in a smart and sustainable way. I should probably also mention that I live on a quarter acre lot which is tiny by Milton standards. I don’t know why the people who like free markets and dislike the government, like they do here in North Fulton, are so big on using the municipal government to stop the evil developers.

Let’s look at the individual races for the Milton City Council.

In District 1, where I live, the contest is between the incumbent Karen Thurman. According to her detractors, Thurman is in the pocket of developers. Wolff wants to keep the rural character of the city. I was leaning towards Thurman but what pushed me over to her was the discovery that Wolff was part of the dishonest Swift Boat Sailors & POWs for Truth campaign against John Kerry in 2004.

In District 3, incumbent Bill Lusk is the only one on the ballot but Al Trevillyan is running as a write-in candidate. Al’s basically the anti-sewer candidate. I am not entirely sure about this one, especially since I can’t find much information about Lusk’s position on the issues. But I am leaning towards voting for Lusk.

In District 5, incumbent Tina D’Aversa is running against Joe Longoria. D’Aversa is supporting the challenges to Lusk and Thurman, so she’s on the anti-development side, though Milton’s local politics has been very acrimonious and personal, so there might be more to it than a difference of opinion on the issues. I must say I have found reading D’Aversa’s website, press releases and campaign literature difficult because of over-the-top self-praise. Also, D’Aversa has an ethics complaint filed against her for trying to bribe her opponent to withdraw. I agree with Longoria that Milton’s top challenge is raising enough revenue to provide good services and infrastructure. Thus, I am supporting Longoria.

Going over the candidates’ biographies, it’s interesting that I am supporting a Georgia Tech graduate (I am one too) and two engineers (Software and Civil Engineering) while I am an Electrical Engineer.

UPDATE (Nov 3 11:57am): Just voted at my local precinct. There was almost nobody there.

UPDATE (Nov 4 8:09am): The candidates I endorsed for the city council, Thurman, Lusk and Longoria, won. The turnout was 19.4%.

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The Major Works (Oxford World's Classics)
Atlanta Then and Now (Compact) (Then & Now Thunder Bay)
1000 Yards - A John Milton Short Story
Mindfulness and Psychotherapy, Second Edition
Atlanta Walks: A Comprehensive Guide to Walking, Running, and Bicycling the Area's Scenic and Historic Locales

Christmas Photos

In keeping with the title of the blog, here are some photographs from last Christmas.

Let’s start with Atlanta: Midtown (Atlantic Station) and Buckhead (Pink Pig train at Lenox).

Atlantic Station train
Atlantic Station Christmas tree
Lenox Pink Pig ride
 

And some photos from the Lake Lanier Islands Magical Nights of Lights.

Nativity play
 

The day we went to Stone Mountain, the weather wasn’t very nice. Their laser light show could not be seen because of fog.

Stone Mountain 1
Stone Mountain 2
 

The Christmas lights at Callaway Gardens.

 

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MapEasy's Guidemap to Midtown Manhattan
Union Station in Washington, DC (Images of Rail)
Home Squadron: The U.S. Navy on the North Atlantic Station

Georgia Election Analysis III

I did some analysis of the Presidential election in the state of Georgia in two installments. Today I’ll look at Fulton county where I live as well as the specific precincts in Alpharetta, Milton and South Atlanta where our team worked as volunteers for the Obama campaign.

Year D R Turnout %Turnout
2000 57.53% 39.68% 264,276 65.06%
2004 59.35% 39.99% 330,791 74.15%
2008 67.07% 32.09% 405,531 73.11%

There was a 15.3% swing towards Obama in Fulton county compared to Kerry in 2004. The turnout, based on the number of registered voters, stayed constant from 2004 to 2008. However, if we use the voting age population estimates (VAP) for Fulton county, we get the following turnout rates:

Year Turnout based on VAP
2000 42.30%
2004 48.00%
2008 52.72%

This shows a bigger turnout in 2008. One reason for the discrepancy between the turnout in the first table and this one is that the Obama campaign focused a lot on voter registration this year and thus got more people registered.

Also, please note that the VAP turnout estimate is probably lower than the real turnout which should be calculated as a proportion of the voting eligible population.

Out of the 3,924,440 votes cast for President in Georgia this year, 2,084,179 (or 53.11%) were cast during advance/early voting or by absentee mail-in. In Fulton county, 184,240 votes (45.42%) were cast early, absentee or provisional out of a total of 405,628 votes cast. This is very unusual for Georgia and Fulton as can be seen in the table below for Fulton county. (This shows the numbers for the 2004 general election for President, the 2006 election for Governor, the 2008 Presidential Primary on Super Tuesday and the 2008 general Presidential election.)

Year Absentee/Early/Provisional votes
2004 Prez 12.68%
2006 Gov 11.76%
2008 Prez Primary 7.65%
2008 Prez 45.42%

In the 2008 general election, the Obama campaign tried to get everyone to vote early. The effect of this can be seen in the early voting numbers in Fulton county where Obama had a 49.5% lead in early voting compared to a 22.9% lead on polling day itself.

The large numbers of early voters have complicated my precinct level analysis. The precinct level data does not include early or absentee votes which are listed separately as one per county. Still let’s see what we can conclude for our precincts.

For the Get Out the Vote (GOTV) campaign in October and then the first four days of November, we were based in the South Atlanta precincts, 12E1, 12J and 12T, which are just north of Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson Airport. These precincts are heavily Democratic (more than 90%) but there are a lot of sporadic voters there. So the main task was to get the vote out.

Election 12E1 12J 12T
Voted %Turnout Voted %Turnout Voted %Turnout
2004 518 49.5% 1024 59.7% 566 62.3%
2006 224 22.1% 473 29.2% 581 35.8%
2008 Primary 280 27.5% 564 34.6% 609 39.1%
2008 747 55.1% 1,360 67.3% 1,232 68.0%

Thus, turnout as a percentage of registered voters increased from 57.4% to 64.3% while actual number of people who voted in these three precincts increased from 2,108 to 3,339, a 58% increase in the number of voters. Compare this 58% increase to a 22.6% increase over the whole of Fulton county and a 19.6% increase over all of Georgia. I am actually pleased at these numbers and I am sure all of our Obama team would be too.

Let’s now look at the precincts in Alpharetta and Milton where we made the most calls, starting in August, for identifying voters, persuading them and then getting them out to vote. The table below shows the Republican advantage over Democrats. For the 2008 Presidential Primary, I added the votes for all the Republican Presidential candidates together and did the same for the Democrats. Let’s take the example of ML01A in the 2008 general election, McCain got 73.5% and Obama got 25.3%, which means a Republican advantage of 73.5-25.3=48.2%.

Precinct 2006 2008 Primary 2008
AP07B +66.0% +33.2% +40.9%
ML01A +64.0% +34.4% +48.2%
ML02A +67.4% +40.8% +62.6%
ML02B +68.0% +45.2% +57.5%
ML03 +66.9% +45.7% +59.5%
ML04 +65.2% +38.5% +56.5%
ML05 +48.9% +14.9% +37.7%
ML06 +29.9% -11.4% +8.2%
ML07 +65.1% +41.8% +52.0%

I couldn’t find the data for the 2004 Presidential election for the Milton (MLxx) precincts but AP07B had a 42.9% Republican advantage in 2004.

Before I opine on those results, let’s look at the turnout (as a percentage of registered voters) in these precincts:

Precinct 2008 Turnout
AP07B 44.6%
ML01A 44.6%
ML02A 55.3%
ML02B 55.3%
ML03 52.5%
ML04 44.7%
ML05 44.2%
ML06 41.9%
ML07 54.2%

We already know that about half of Georgia and Fulton county voters voted early. The early voters are not listed in the last two tables for the Alpharetta/Milton precincts because they are not reported that way by Fulton county. Looking at the election day turnout for Milton, it seems that fewer than half of the voters voted early.

Because we only have the vote breakdown by party for those who voted in person at their polling location on November 4 and a significant number of voters had voted early in 2008, we cannot really say what the margin between McCain and Obama was in Alpharetta and Milton. There is no reason to believe that the early voters had the same partisan distribution as those on election day. In fact, there is reason to believe that the early voters were more likely to be Obama supporters. The Obama campaign had been working hard asking people to vote early. Also, in the whole of Fulton county, Obama had a 49.5% advantage in early voting compared to a 22.9% advantage on polling day. Thus, the very large Republican margin in the Milton precincts in 2008 is most likely not correct. I can say with certainty that McCain won all those precincts except ML06 but probably with a somewhat smaller margin. Even then, Republicans had a huge advantage here in North Fulton. Unfortunately, we don’t have any way of finding out whether our team was able to reduce that Republican advantage or not.

Next: A look at the Senate runoff between Jim Martin and Saxby Chambliss.

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Lake Lanier Islands Lights

Lake Lanier Islands Resort has magical night of lights after Thanksgiving through the end of the year. Here are some photographs from there in December 2007.

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We have been to the Georgia Aquarium quite a few times.

Gil
Jelly fish
 

Here are some from the Centennial Olympic Park.

Statue
Us in front of Christmas tree
View of downtown
View of downtown
View of downtown
At park
 

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A Lonely Dog on Christmas
The Light in the Ruins (Vintage Contemporaries)
Young Henry Ford: A Picture History of the First Forty Years (Great Lakes Books Series)

Atlanta Zoo

Some time ago, we went to Atlanta Zoo. Michelle was so excited to be there. She was running from one animal enclosure to the next, trying to see all the animals. It was a great trip. I myself spent a lot of time on the gorillas and took lots of photos.

Flamingos
Warthog
Elephant
Rhinoceros and Zebras
Zebra
Giraffe
Lion
Unknown
Unknown
Elephant
Gorilla
Gorilla
Gorilla
Gorilla
Gorilla
Orangutan
Snake
Gila Monster
Panda
 

I am hoping next time I’ll have the 70-300mm lens for closeups.

Related Reading

The Digital Photography Book: Part 1 (2nd Edition)
My Rhinoceros
Lions (African Animals)
Zebras! Learn About Zebras And Learn To Read - The Learning Club! (45+ Photos of Zebras)
Giraffes (African Animals)