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.

Hot Chocolate 5K [urldisplaymode=none;gpxspeedchart=show;gpxheartratechart=show]

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!

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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Hot, Hotter, Hottest

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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%.

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.

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%.

Christmas Photos

Some photographs from Christmas lights and events around Georgia.

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.