Friday, March 31, 2006

Payphone Woes

Can you remember the last time you made a call from a payphone? I can. It was in Junior High after a basketball game and I needed my mom to come pick me up. I'm pretty sure that I was wearing my favorite outfit which involved a flannel vest, courdory shorts, navy tights, and hiking boots.

I took this photo on my way to work this morning and started chatting with my husband about the disappearance of the payphones. I and decided to do a little online research to look into the payphone and I've put together a list so that you can determine your role in the great payphone debate!
-For the world traveler: At Payphones of the World you can see a photo album of different phones all around the world.
-For the ludite (who happens to have internet access?): You can locate your nearest payphone using the Payphone Directory.
-For the anarchist: In The Anarachist's Cookbook you can learn how to steal money out of payphones.
-For the academic: You can read Wikipedia's Article on payphones as well as the online History of the Payphone.
-For the advocat: If you're looking for a cause to support, why not the payphone? You can join the Payphone Project. They are apparently the source for all things payphone on the web.
For the entrepeneur: Find out all the answers about starting your own payphone business using this FAQ.
For the socially concious: Check out the American Public Communications Council's arguments for the benefits of the payphone.

Posted by mea at 8:36 AM 9 Observations

Thursday, March 30, 2006


Today's photo comes with an interesting history (that and I think Lichtenstein is one of the most fun words to say). I've probably eaten at this café two dozen times, and never noticed their front stoop until this last weekend. This is the entrance to Café Gutenberg, a café and book lounge near the 17th Street Market.

My curiousity was getting the best of me, so I emailed the café, and this is what I found out. According to Steve Graca, the proprietor of Café Gutenberg, the building was originally a peanut roastery opening in about 1913. These tiles were placed circa 1940 when new owners, the Lichtensteins, opened a pharmacy that remained in business for about 20 more years. The Main Street Grill came next and remained for 30 years (to which he added that he plans an equally long stint to his café).

I also discovered that they don't have any plans to change the tiles, which is a great plan in my opinion! Here in Richmond, there is hidden history all around. It turns out you just have to ask.

Posted by mea at 9:38 AM 9 Observations

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

1 North Belmont

In order to build excitement about the VCU French Film Festival this weekend in Richmond, I thought I'd bring you a picture of the best French restaurant in Richmond. One North Belmont (on the corner of Ellwood and, well, N. Belmont) opened last year and is run by Chef-Proprietor Frits Huntjens.

The food is absolutely fabulous (if you go on a weekday, you may be treated to a special hors d'oeuvre by the chef) and since I'm not a food critic, I'll let our local newspaper tell you about the fare. I've eaten there on two occasions: once for my anniversary and once as a special event for The Richmond French Meetup Group and it was worth every penny. Frits is very friendly and welcoming, making sure to greet each table, and he was so accommodating for my French Meetup Group that he created a special appetizer and wine menu and he even gave us a gift certificate to raffle off.

I suppose it must suffice to say "Bon Appétit!"

Posted by mea at 8:46 AM 3 Observations

Tuesday, March 28, 2006


Virginia Commonwealth University is a huge force in Richmond and one of the nation's top art schools. But living in a city with that many aspiring artists means that you never know what you'll see around the next corner! Take, for example, these paintings that I noticed yesterday in an apartment window on Belvidere Street--I'm sure they were just looking for a little free gallery space, but I certainly thought that these guys were disturbing!

Sorry about the missing post in the middle of the day today--blogger troubles.

Posted by mea at 8:19 PM 6 Observations

Monday, March 27, 2006

Monday, Monday

Monday, Monday
Can't trust that day.
Monday, Monday
Sometimes it just turns out that way.
Every other day
Every other day
Every other day
Of the week is fine, yeah.
But whenever Monday comes
But whenever Monday comes
You can find me crying
All of the time.

You can click to see the large size version of this poor driver's plight, and you can also view the uncropped version.

Posted by mea at 8:42 AM 5 Observations

Sunday, March 26, 2006

The Sidewalk Cafe

Just looking at this mural makes my mouth water. This is another Ed Trask mural, painted on the side of The Sidewalk Cafe. Oddly enough, there is no outdoor seating; does anyone know that story?

Regardless, the Sidewalk serves a great brunch (mmm...and mimosas) on the weekends and a great beer on the weekdays. If you go, I highly suggest the quesadillas-but you'd better be hungry!

Posted by mea at 11:21 AM 9 Observations

Saturday, March 25, 2006

The American Way

A few week's back, Eric posted a fabulous picture of an empty chair. Today, I'm posting the American version.

Now, yes, of course there are beautiful restaurants and even cafes in Richmond and across the United States. But what is more quintessintially American than appropriating something from another culture, reducing it to it's base ingredients, and then mass marketing it now that it bears no resemblance to it's origins?

Did you catch it? I've just done it with this post! For us, it's all about the spin you put on things...

Posted by mea at 8:33 AM 5 Observations

Friday, March 24, 2006

17th Street Market

This is the 17th Street Farmer's Market located right next to the Main Street Train Station and during the spring/summer/fall weekends, it's usually bustling with activity.

Unfortunately, during the winter, especially on weekdays, this area of town is a bit deserted and a less pretty side of Richmond shows. In Richmond, we have more than 1200 homeless adults, 49% of whom graduated from high school and 38% of whom are employed. If you're interested in more statistics on the homeless in Richmond, you should read Marc Leslie's work: Statistics on the Population of Persons Who are Homeless in Greater Richmond, VA, which was just updated last year.

Posted by mea at 8:58 AM 1 Observations

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Pretty in Pink

My neighbor's cat decided to pose for a photo and I was more than happy to oblige. That and I thought it was a nice day for a little pink tinge.

Posted by mea at 8:18 AM 8 Observations

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

In Like a Lion

Out like a lamb. Or so the old saying goes.

Between snow and spring buds, Richmond's weather doesn't know what it wants to do!

Posted by mea at 7:07 AM 6 Observations

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

In a Van, Down By, The River

This van was a new addittion to the grocery store that I religiously visit on Sundays (does that mean when I die that I will be surrounded by fields of fresh produce and a smashing bakery?). You really should click on the image to see this guy in all of his green-hazed glory.

Is this someone famous that I should know? Because I've pretty much decided that he looks like the male version of Miss Cleo.

Posted by mea at 7:09 AM 7 Observations

Monday, March 20, 2006


Part of being the typical American homeowner means the obligatory Sunday spent at Lowe's or Home Depot (or both). My husband and I are always working on our 1928 townhouse and yesterday we did a bit of gardening. Always armed with my camera, I thought you'd like the artistic arrangement of this rather mundane building material.

Posted by mea at 7:02 AM 10 Observations

Sunday, March 19, 2006

A. P. Hill

General Ambrose Powell (A.P.) Hill stands at the very busy intersection of Hermitage Road and Laburnum Avenue on the North side of Richmond and was part of Lewis Ginter's development of the the Ginter Park neighborhood. He fought under both Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee in the Civil War and is buried under this monument.

This is the only monument to the General, even though he was neither born here, nor considered Richmond his home, although there is Fort A.P. Hill Army Base about an hour north. It just goes again to show you how Richmond will love anything from the Civil War (well, any Southern thing).

Posted by mea at 10:32 AM 2 Observations

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Landmark Theatre

Sorry, for the late post today folks. St. Patrick's Day required a little bit a recovery time for me.

This is a photo of Richmond's Landmark Theatre, formerly known as "The Mosque." It was originally constructed by the Shriners in 1928 and has been owned by the city since 1940. It hosts a huge variety of programs from school proms and music competitions to Chippendale dancers to the Virginia Opera and Ballet.

My favorite part of the theatre is that it is entirely mosaic inside and as one might guess from the minarets atop the roof, is decorated entirely in Saracenic murals and patterns. It also has a ballroom, a pipe organ, and a swimming pool!

Posted by mea at 5:41 PM 7 Observations

Friday, March 17, 2006

Vintage Vehicles

I was told by my husband that I had to post this picture. According to him, it's a Volkswagon Kharmen Ghia (thanks to Bob, I now know that is is not a "Carmengia" like I originally thought). I picked it because I liked the colors and the Carytown setting and being as I know almost nothing about cars (except that I like mine to run), I'm imploring t you, my readers tell me more. Is this a nice car? Is this a car you would want? Is a car like this worth anything? Help me impress my husband!

Posted by mea at 8:45 AM 13 Observations

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Running Errands

Last weekend we had such beautiful weather. It was go outside and grill and work in your yard kind of weather. But this week's weather? What a terrible disappointment after that taste of Spring! So, it looks like we'll all be celebrating St. Patrick's day in our green sweaters and sock instead of shorts and t-shirts. But, at least the cool weather gave me this photo! This is one of the downtown bank buildings and I just loved the color of this man's sweater.

Posted by mea at 8:21 AM 0 Observations

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

"Luxury" Apartments

Richmond is very big into renovating its historic buildings into homes, trendy lofts, and cute businesses, but I've been looking at this sign for at least two years now! You can correct me if I'm wrong, but it appears to be Spring 2006 and I'm not sure that I'd consider these the lap of luxury quite yet. I wonder what the hold-up is because this is a great downtown location and renovated I'm sure it would bring in a small fortune.

Posted by mea at 12:03 PM 6 Observations

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

The Virginia War Memorial

A bit of a somber photo for you today. This is a photo of the Richmond skyline taken through the glass windows at the Virginia War Memorial. The glass walls feature the names of 11,631 Virginians who died in World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Persian Gulf. I'll be returning soon at night, because the soaring white statue, "Memory" is amazing when lit from below.

When my brother and I visited, we spoke to a man who had fought in WWII and he had me thinking, that as the WWII veterans become fewer and fewer, what about the future veterans of our current conflict in Iraq? We all have respect for WWII veterans, but look what happened to our men who served in Vietnam? It's very frightening to me to compare the war in Iraq to the Vietnam War. Did you realize there are approximately 93,000 homeless Vietnam veterans today (approx. 2.4 million were stationed in Vietnam during the war), many with undiagnosed mental illness? We've already sent more than one million soliders to Iraq. How many will return? And having seen the fate of Vietnam veterans, how can we make it okay for them to return?

Posted by mea at 9:51 AM 2 Observations

Monday, March 13, 2006

Bicycling 2006

What do you call two elephants on a bicycle?

Optimistic. (go ahead and taunt, it's a bad joke)

But, when I saw this bike this weekend I was truly baffled. We have a lot of bikes here in Richmond, but they usually fall into two categories: Racing/touring bikes with their riders decked out in spandex, and Old school Schwinn's with their riders decked out in band t-shirts.

Anyone ever seen one of these before?

Posted by mea at 6:57 AM 8 Observations

Sunday, March 12, 2006

Here's looking at you, kid

The (now defunct) Mega-Movies mural is one of Richmond's many great pieces of wall art. Located in Shockoe Bottom, it was painted by rogue artist Ed Trask in 1995. I had never seen it before the other weekend, but I'm in love with it. I love old movies; one of my favorites is Breakfast at Tiffany's. What about you?

Trivia Time:
I'll give points today if you can tell me
  • A: What movie today's title is from (no Googling, that's cheating!)
  • B: What movie this painting emulates (bonus points if you can link us to a picture!)

Posted by mea at 10:14 AM 6 Observations

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Joyeux Anniversaire Paris Daily Photo!

This is a great big blogiversary thank you to Eric for starting Paris Daily Photo, exactly a year ago today! J'espère que tu aimes les gateaux, Eric et c'est parfait parce qu'ils viennent de notre petite boulangerie française!

This is the window of Jean Jacques Bakery here in Richmond, run by a friendly French ex-pat named Clement. Bonus points if you can identify the purpose of the boxes in the back corner of the window display!

Posted by mea at 12:00 AM 5 Observations

Friday, March 10, 2006

Doughnut Delirium

Have you ever had a fresh Krispy Kreme doughnut picked right off the belt? The smell is absolutely intoxicating. You walk in the building and all you can focus on is the stream of doughnuts chugging by. It's like everything else just fades away and the doughnuts call out "Me! Me! Pick me! I'm perfect and round and hot and light and sweet. Doughnuts don't weigh very much, we couldn't be that bad for you!"

My husband refers to this as the doughnut army... Although, I'm not sure if the doughnut soldiers are going out to put smiles on our faces, or if their mission is to ensure American obesity?

What's your weakness?

Posted by mea at 8:21 AM 6 Observations

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Going to the Chapel...

Good friends of mine just got engaged so I thought I'd dedicate today's post to Lindsay and Shawn!

I have fond memories of working in the bridal industry (oh wait, that was Saturday) and I think it would be most appropriate if these ladies were positioned a little more like this...or maybe even this...

Regarless, this is a shot of the window of Bygones, a very cool antique clothing store in Carytown. The perfect place to find a bowler hat, kid gloves, stockings with seams running up the back, and all sort of other interesting things.

Posted by mea at 8:38 AM 2 Observations

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Cosmetic Cocktails

This is a shot of the "Cosbar" in Soak! a bath boutique in Carytown. Apparently, they blend fragrances and cosmetics to your specifics. I thought the rows and rows of bottles were mesmerizing, how would you ever choose? And do you go in and order like at a bar? "Yeah, I'll have a shot of Vanilla Bean and Teatree on the rocks with splash of Lavendar Water. Shaken, not stirred."

In the bottom right there's a reflection from the bar across the street. Isn't it appropriate?

Posted by mea at 12:01 AM 3 Observations

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Do Not Disturb

The shop that saved Carytown and heralded the Fan's renaissance, The Compleat Gourmet, is home to a few furry friends. As Gatsby and I were walking down the street last night, he made sure to disturb this one!

Posted by mea at 7:26 AM 10 Observations

Monday, March 06, 2006

Up in Smoke

Ahh, smokers, welcome to Virginia. The Phillip Morris plant stands like a beacon welcoming people on 95N to our fair city. And thanks to our good friends-smoking's cheap. You can still find packs at 2 for $5 on occasion.
And for those of you who are asking yourself is this really what's best for us, apparently our government thinks it's okay. They still refuse to ratify the International Tobacco Treaty (one that Philip Morris actually supports). You can hear more about it on NPR.

Posted by mea at 8:55 AM 5 Observations

Sunday, March 05, 2006

I am Iron Man

Well there are things people should know about Richmond and the Civil War.

1. Richmond was the capital of the Confederacy.
2. A large part of Richmond burned in 1865 before its evacuation and subsequent Yankee capture--we blame the Yankees.
3. We actually did it ourselves.
4. Today, 141 years later--It isn't over.

So, what does this have to do with my picture? Well, there are very few buildings in Richmond that pre-date 1865. After the war, just as Scarlett O'Hare declared "I'll never go hungry again," Richmond declared they'd never burn again. That's why almost every building is brick. If it's not brick? It's stone. We even decided that our porches shouldn't burn and an iron work renaissance took off. Turns out we're second only to New Orleans!

Posted by mea at 8:26 AM 4 Observations

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Breakfast in Richmond

I found this painting on the alley side of a local tattoo parlor. Does anyone else get the feeling that the artist was hungry?

Posted by mea at 9:50 AM 3 Observations

Friday, March 03, 2006

You Should've Gone Before We Left the House!

Hopefully none of you need to use the facilities, as now I'll be charging a $5 cover. I figure that if local bars can do it, why can't I? I am a little curious how they'd ring it up, maybe as an "Inconvenience Charge"? Or maybe they'd come up with a vaguely alcoholic shooter name-any suggestions?

Today, look carefully, you might catch a glimpse of your favorite Richmond blogger (or can I be a blogette?) Posted by Picasa

Posted by mea at 12:38 PM 16 Observations

Thursday, March 02, 2006

In God, Barber on Duty

I took a second day away from work to continue "recovering" from LASIK and so my brother and I went downtown to take a few photos and grab some lunch. We just happened to catch this guy preparing for his day, setting up for another round of "holy haircuts".

Posted by mea at 7:50 AM 4 Observations

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Rabbit, Rabbit

As it is the first of the month, I thought I'd make all of you little present. If you click on today's picture it comes up in 800x600, perfect for your desktop background. If you'd like the bigger 1024x768 size, click here, and here is the French version.

Posted by mea at 8:34 AM 3 Observations