Dre\’s Ramblings

Start heading over there
January 2, 2008, 11:26 am
Filed under: Birmingham, AL, Blogging, Where to find Dre | Tags: , , , ,

By over there I mean http://dresramblings.com. It’s still not where I want it; it’s actually far from where I want it to be. But I want to start doing the daily personal blog thing again and having a self-hosted site seems to be the best way to do so. This site will be up for a while longer, until I’ve finally made all of the necessary changes to the self-hosted links.

Here’s a parting shot from 2007 – I’ll start doing a catch-up series tomorrow. But first:

PhotoMatt at BlogWorld

More about it over there tomorrow (though there will be a post or two up today also).



So, how do you celebrate two years of blogging?

I’m not quite sure where the time’s gone. I really didn’t even realize it until I started making the first major changes to the site in months. Somewhere between beginning to transfer posts from this account to a self-installed version of the site, I was immediately reminded that Saturday was two years since I first decided to join the blogosphere. As always, here’s the obligatory link to the first post.

This year has been a crazy one for me, with the death of my grandmother and the decision to go off on my own and launch a website. Both have definitely affected how I view the world and have made me appreciate those that can continuously burn a candle at both ends. In many respects, I guess I’ve accomplished the intent of the 101 in 1001 list (already moved to the new site), to get out of the comfort zone and push the limits. I just hope I’m not pushing too hard.

Realizing that it’s been two years also made me realize that it’s been a long time since I’ve posted regularly. Though I will probably never post at that insane level that I did last summer on this blog, I do intend a slow but steady return to doing this more personal site. Plus, I’ve gotten a lot of grief about not putting up a picture in the about us section. We’re in the process of moving to a new site, so I’ll save you from that (not really). Here’s a shot that Bob Farley took for use in an upcoming online magazine article about The Terminal.

Andre on the roof

Speaking of the hub, this link will take you to a submission form that allows you to submit questions for the 2007 mayoral candidates here in Birmingham. It’s my intention (with my now growing staff) to ask the candidates these questions soon and share them with you. Some will be asked to all of them while others will be asked to specific ones. You get to decide who as well. I’m determined to make this more about using the medium as a tool to inform even if it’s become one that leans towards making sure that one’s opinion will reign down on you and you must agree. I’ll keep you posted.

I’ll also take a moment to thank those of you who’ve still stopped by the check on the site and those that are supporting The Terminal. It’s definitely been an interesting journey so far and I’m looking forward to more adventures in the coming year.


Thursday Three? OK, I’ll bite
October 12, 2006, 9:03 am
Filed under: Birmingham Alabama, Birmingham, AL, Blogging, The Rambles, Where to find Dre

I am a regular reader of the Axis of Weevil Thursday Three over on Possumblog, though I never try to answer the questions. That said, this week’s potpourri of questions led me to what to participate in the fun, so here I go…

1)      I’m not sure I have one. There are some things that would normally be things, but I really can’t think of anything. Maybe it’s my Frank the Frosty Beverage Man Bobblehead doll, or my replica of a turn of the 19th century map of Savannah.

2)      It depends. The recent medical stuff had be clocking out for the first time close to 9:30 or 10 p.m. with a repeat performance sometime around 1:30 a.m. when I realize that I haven’t left the sofa yet.

3)      1995

If any of you feel like answering the questions as well, here they are.

Enjoy the day.


The Ramble: Two years after moving here, what’s on Dre’s mind?

Today marks two years since I officially became a full time resident of the City of Birmingham as I still operated on eastern time and almost tried to show up for work an hour early (granted my first thing was a 7:30 a.m. Design Review Committee meeting).

In two years I’ve gotten a little slower, a little wider, hopefully a little wiser and more seasoned. There are three strands of gray hair that have decided to camp out on the right side of my face, reminding me that the best is yet to come. I’ve seen progress, steps taken forward and backwards, friends come and go, reality set in and dreams both die and rise from the ashes to take flight over the city, pulling our heartstrings with them. The words that bloggers write provide a window into the author’s soul, though I’m not quite sure what these words mean to those that read them.

I’m now volunteering for the event that made it very difficult to move into the loft, adding to a legacy I left behind in Savannah of not quite knowing how to say the word “no.” I don’t because I want to do it all. I want to do whatever is necessary for this city to achieve its hopes and dreams and for me and Bets to achieve ours.

I watch work out the window every morning on buildings and dreams. I watch as class and race still permeates everything that we do, whether we like it or not. I see people walk into my office sill hopeful in the American Dream coming true for them, whether because of or in spite of what I do. For every person I see with bars on their doors, I see others that remind me that I can just call up a few people and have them over for drinks on a whim. I wonder exactly what does it mean when you still get up in the morning and love what you do, even though you wonder if there is another challenge out there that may finally get the engine going faster and work you more than you’ve ever been worked before.

I have an orange ragdoll tabby that has enjoyed what I promised him when I took him in years ago; the chance to enjoy views from a loft during the day and to be comfortable. He could have run away a few times but I think he’s happy he’s hung around. I have a girlfriend who has sacrificed her career so I could start mine, despite requests from me not to do so for my sake. I’m glad to have her in Birmingham.

I have neighborhoods of opportunity, villages as someone once called them, in and out of the city that scream for the stars on the state license plate to fall on them and lift them up into the national spotlight.

I know people that love to dream as much as I do and who do all they can to make them come true. It lets me know that hope is still eternal and useful.

And there are people that read the words that appear in this corner of the blogosphere whenever I post them, some who comment and continue to push to see what else they can learn, others sitting quietly by with their thoughts, hopes and criticisms in their hearts.

These words that bloggers write provide a window into the author’s soul, though I’m not quite sure what these words mean to those that read them. Nor do I know what magic the central city of the state holds for me next. I sometimes wonder if the beach and impromptu cookouts would be better.

I guess we’ll see.

Enjoy the weekend.


One year later: Just Cruising Along…

Cruising to Rickwood

Today’s picture has no immediate relevance to today’s post, at least not at first glance. Curtis remembered enough about the ride to suggest that I use the picture. I’m driving Curtis’ car back from the 2005 Rickwood Classic. The short version of this story is that there were several things that I wanted to say I’d accomplished before I turned 30. One of those things was to be able to say I’d driven a convertible. The opportunity presented itself to do it, so I did. (I also chose this image on purpose since the other image had me looking very nervous about driving the car).

The same thing happened with this blog. I wanted to get back into writing, but didn’t really have an outlet. Conversations with a few people, most notably the one with Curtis in the M3C the Wednesday before I posted to this one year ago, led to the Ramblings’ start on Blogger. One year, a change to WordPress, three themes and 184 posts later, it’s still a lot of fun. That’s the important part of it all, just having fun. The sharing of an opinion or a thought and seeing what people will say in response is exciting; it allows for some real conversation to start about things going on around here in the Magic City and out there outside of Jones Valley.

So, one year later I’m still singing in the rain. I’m still enjoying the challenges of getting reacquainted with big city living. And I’m happy that I’m still doing what I’m doing. When I first got here, I attended the big unveiling of the City Center Master Plan at the Alabama Theatre. While sitting there listening to plans for the future development of downtown, I spoke with one of the citizen’s who voiced concern about the focus on downtown when neighborhoods were being neglected. I naively introduced myself and explained my position with MSB to her. We ended the conversation with her saying that she was happy that I was in Birmingham, but that I would be like all of the other ones who had come before me; I’d stay for no more than a couple of years and then I’d leave of frustration like all of the others. Those words have stuck with me for nearly two years now. I will not lie and say that I have not been tempted to pack it up and move somewhere else. I’ve reminded myself in the last year that I’m not the lone ranger and that it does take time. My actual job is to remind others of those facts as well. I’ve realized that this blog has become an extension of reminding me that it is a long process but that it will happen. I also am always reminded that if I leave without a really good reason that I’ve let that negative “we can’t do it” attitude prevail. I didn’t move here for that. Besides, I’m looking forward to walking up to the citizen, who happens to be a state representative, and telling her that I’m still here and that it will probably be a while before I leave town.

Due to some of the recent conversation on other blogs around town, I’ve also realized just how many people have been reading this. Thanks. I hope that you’ll continue to comment and read this stuff for a while. I didn’t plan on it going in this direction or seeing it become this well supported. I truly appreciate it.

So don’t forget to check out yesterday’s post since I put it up so late in the day. And check out these posts (1, 2, 3, 4, & 5) for a taste of the Ramblings over the past year.

Thanks again.

Enjoy the weekend.


N.B. I have still not made all of the changes that I wanted to, but I’ve added a couple of things. No, you are not imagining things; there is a link to an online store near the end of the sidebar. Nothing too fancy, I just figured some of you may be interested one day in admitting that you actually read this thing J I just wanted to see how it went. I don’t plan on changing the header or format ever again unless I’m forced to. The location links for the Neon series will be activated within the next seven days (I’ve just been slammed at work and bring a lot of it home with me nowadays).

Dre’s 101 in 1001: Taking the train (a lost art)
June 3, 2006, 9:57 am
Filed under: Amtrak, Dre's 101 in 1001, New Orleans, Uncategorized, Where to find Dre

I went online first thing this morning and surfed over to the Amtrak website. I’ve become quite dependent on the internet to check on travel plans when they don’t involve driving my car to get there. Today will be my first journey on a passenger train, subway rides notwithstanding. The Crescent takes me down to New Orleans in time for an early dinner. Or so I thought. It appears that I’ll be starting the trip a little later than I thought. The train is currently scheduled to arrive approximately one hour later than originally planned. While live blogging is not possible (at least not for me, as I can’t justify the monthly cost to have that service available) I do plan on placing images from today’s trip on the Smugmug site late this evening, after I find somewhere to eat for dinner.

It’s interesting that I’m hopping on the train for my trip today. Bets and I just got back form the farmer’s market, where I spent a great deal of time drooling over vintage cars. We do have a love affair with the automobile and the independence that it provides us in this country. Checking some other things this morning online I came across this opinion piece published in the Seattle Times, written by Alfred Runte. (Forget gas, we need a plan to keep passenger trains running, Seattle Times, 5.30.2006)

It’s an interesting piece, one that should make us think about whether our yearning for independence is making us quite dependent instead (for all of the wrong reasons). Take a look at the piece. Then come back tomorrow morning and see how I fared on the train.