Activities start at 5pm next to the park’s Trading Post in the campground area. A professional trainer will be on hand to give advice and answer questions about canine behavior. A veterinarian will also be there to discuss common health issues, including dietary and fitness strategies for pups carrying a few extra pounds. Don’t forget to pack some creative doggie duds for the event, and have your four-legged kid practice his or her signature stunts. The Dog Summer Costume Parade and Best Trick Contest take place at 6:30pm. Nice prizes are up for grabs and the entry fee is only two bucks. At 7pm, everyone hits the trail for a one-mile guided “forest romp” through the park’s scenic surroundings.
For those new to the area, F.D.R. State Park is just off US Highway 27 North on GA Highway 190 East in Pine Mountain, Georgia, around 30-45 minutes from Columbus. You can call the park office at 706-663-4858 for more information or visit www.georgiastateparks.org. There is a $5 park pass fee for each vehicle. Remember to pack those doggie road trip essentials like water, refuse bags, leashes, tags and the like. “Bark in the Park” is sponsored by Valley Veterinary Associates, Big Bear Canine Activity Center and PetSmart of Columbus.]]>
Winter is coming: and with it brings two new gaming consoles from media giants Sony (PS4) and Microsoft (Xbox One). The decision of which to buy will be tough for many consumers this year, but let me make a case for why I think the Xbox One would be a better buy – it is the next logical evolution of gaming.
Each gaming generation has brought something new to the table. The last generation brought about the rise of immersive online game play and motion based controls. I believe Xbox One will revolutionize gaming by condensing the entire “living room experience” into one device using the Kinect.
After the E3 gaming event, I wrote a series of articles comparing the Xbox One and PS4. A lot has changed since then. Microsoft listened to user feedback and decided to change many of their announced polices. The Xbox One is no longer required to be connected to the internet or to the actual Kinect itself. Gamers can buy used games and share them with their friends. These were a few polices that gamers felt strongly about and Microsoft listened.
The Xbox One is now on par with its competition in both hardware and its gaming policies. What sets Xbox one apart is that it was designed to be much more than just a gaming device.
Through Xbox One, users will be able to play games, watch TV, Skype, stream Netflix and control a number of media devices in their home. What makes this revolutionary is that these features can be performed simultaneously and switched almost instantly.
Want to play a game and video chat with your friend at the same time? Great, Xbox One will allow you to “snap” the two features together at the same time by splitting your screen in two.
Want to watch TV while you wait for your next online match to start? Just tell your Xbox to switch to your favorite cable channel – most likely ESPN for me – and receive a message when your game is ready.
Each Xbox One will also include a Kinect – a device to help manage these features with voice and motion control. Each Kinect will feature a 1080p Camera for video chatting and to clearly sense the user’s actions.
For example, Kinect can detect which person in the room is using the Xbox One controller. If that person hands the controller to his friend, the Kinect will assign the person a unique profile and know instantly when the controller is switched again.
The potential for this technology is limitless and makes the Xbox One much more compelling than a simple gaming box.
That’s the sound you’ll hear in family households throughout the region as parents tally those expenses for another school year. The list of needs never seems to be short, and prices are higher for almost everything these days. But here’s a bit of good news: Georgia and Alabama are both holding tax-free weekends to help take the edge off some of those school-related purchases.
Columbus and Fort Benning shoppers can get an early start with a short drive to Phenix City or Auburn/Opelika. Alabama’s sales tax holiday starts at 12:01am on Friday, August 2 and continues through Sunday, August 4. Tax exempt items include clothing items priced at $100 or less, school and art supplies $50 or less, and computers, software and school computer supplies as a single purchase up to $750. Additional details are available on the Alabama Department of Revenue website.
The following weekend (August 8-9), Georgia holds its holiday. Shoppers save tax money on clothing items not exceeding $100, school supplies $20 and under, along with computers and accessories up to $1,000. The Georgia Department of Revenue provides more information on their website. The annual tax holiday was introduced over a decade ago but discontinued from 2009-2011 due to tight state budgets. With over one million kids expected to start school across Georgia, estimates indicate that families will save around $10 million during the two-day respite.
Buying without sales taxes is helpful, and savvy shopping can make good deals even better. Check those newspaper inserts and TV ads for sales and promotions. Look for unadvertised specials inside the stores. If you have a coupon stash, do a quick review for clothes and other school goods. Looking for popular items? Other folks are too, so start early if there’s something special on your list.
School expenses can take a bite out of the family budget, so any kind of a break is welcome news. Thanks to sales tax holidays in Georgia and Alabama, parents can get a little more bang for their back-to-school bucks.]]>
Admission to Robin Lake Beach is free after 4pm, making it a getaway that goes easy on your fun money. Those extra bucks may come in handy as you peruse the goodies available for purchase at the Callaway Gardens Farmers Market. Local and regional vendors will be offering fresh fruits and veggies, including produce from Mr. Cason’s Vegetable Garden. You’ll also find meat and dairy products, baked goods, sauces, soaps, flowers and plants. All Farmers Market products are produced within a 150-mile radius of Pine Mountain, part of Callaway Gardens’ commitment to support small agricultural businesses in the region.
A Friday evening on Robin Lake Beach wouldn’t be complete without some live music. Bands and performers take the stage at 7pm (be sure to bring blankets or lawn chairs). Stick around until 8pm and you can catch a performance by the Florida State University Flying High Circus. A Callaway Gardens tradition since 1961, the circus features trapeze acts, juggling, high wire walks and other activities performed by FSU students.
There’s no reason to wait for the next Federal holiday to roll around when a Friday evening of fun is only a short drive away. You might even decide to make a full weekend of it. If that’s the case, you’ll find nice places to stay both within and adjacent to the Gardens. Think of it as a break before the back-to-school rush or a head-clearing respite from the rigors of your job. Here’s another idea–don’t worry about justifying an impromptu getaway: just…get…away. Why settle for a nice Friday when there’s a fantastic one waiting right up the road?]]>
The July 24 Braves/Mets matchup was looking good for the local favorites. Tim Hudson was working seven innings and change with a four-hit shutout cushioned by a 6-0 lead. Left fielder Eric Young, Jr. landed a weak hit. Freddie Freeman moved for the ball, Hudson covered first base and Young tried a full-force run to beat the out. What came next was a worst-case scenario in real time.
Young stepped on Hudson’s ankle. Hudson went down…and stayed there. The Citi Field crowd went into group shock. Young was mortified, even tearful. Fans watching Fox Sportsouth (this writer included) had a long-distance moment of disbelief, followed by the reality of Hudson leaving the field on a cart and those impossible-to-watch replays. The news kept coming: none of it was good. Tim Hudson, the Braves’ ace starter, out for the season with a broken ankle. At age 38 and in the final year of his contract, there’s the sad but real possibility that the game against the Mets might be his last as a Brave.
Losing a 200-game winner and seasoned vet with postseason play under his belt leaves a gaping void for a young pitching crew, there’s no getting around it. How much of an impact will it make in the big picture? Too soon to tell. Brandon Beachy, Paul Maholm, Kris Medlin, Mike Minor and Julio Teheran are all solid starters: Medlin is the only one with playoff experience (last year’s one game “playoff” against St. Louis). This could be a factor if the Braves stay on top of the NL East or, at the least, make the wild card cut. That said, the team is both resilient and determined. Write them off at your own peril.
Ballplayers get hurt. It comes with the turf. But local fans can’t help but take what happened to Hudson a little more personally than most. Many remember his years at Glenwood, CVCC and Auburn. As an Oakland Athletic, he gave us a good (and rare) reason to root for a Left Coast team. We were elated when the Braves acquired him in 2005 because our local hero was, well, local again. Known as one of baseball’s genuine good guys, Hudson has no shortage of fans, but none like the ones here. We knew him first. He’s one of our own.
As baseball rolls toward October, there are plenty of games left to play. And, yes, it’s going to be strange not seeing Number 15 on the mound for Atlanta, but we’ll adapt. We always do. In the meantime, here’s to a complete recovery for Tim Hudson and continued success for the rest of his team. After all, this is baseball. Down doesn’t always mean out. And even when you’re out, things are never really final]]>
This next “Vulgar” music event will be held this Saturday, July 27, at the Foxhole Bar in downtown Columbus, Ga.
“Vulgar” features local and national Dubstep DJ’s in town to feature their latest songs. For those who aren’t familiar with the genre, Wikipedia defines Dubstep as a “form of electronic music generally features syncopated drum and percussion patterns with bass lines that contain prominent sub bass frequencies.”
Dubstep has gained popularity throughout the past few years and is now regarded as one of the most popular forms of electronic music. Popular DJ’s include artists such as Skrillex and Bassnectar.
One reason Dubstep has gained popularity is due to the fun crowds that come to the shows. Shows like “Vulgar” often include a lot of dancing and crowd participation. The music is very bass heavy which gives every song high and low BPM (beats per minute) and allows the DJ’s to be conductors for the crowd – slowing down and speeding up songs as necessary to give the audience the best experience possible.
A smaller town like Columbus is lucky to have events like “Vulgar,” as most fans would have to travel to larger cities such as Atlanta to find this music scene.
This “Vulgar” will feature some of the best up and coming DJ’s in the area. Local DJ Drizno is returning to this month’s event to “perform a filthy set of live synths, samplers, turntables and guitar baddassery with plenty of surprises.” His set will also feature local guitarist Chris Steele to add another layer to his music.
Popular Columbus DJ Crude Carter, also known as Max Moskol, will also perform at the event. Carter is famous for injecting other genres into his music such as: metal, hardcore, rap and more. Carter is also one of the most accomplished programmers and SEO experts in the area.
Other DJs featured at “Vulgar” include: Esko, Shaddex and P!ko. The event starts at 10 pm EST and cover will only cost $5 if you come before 12 am.
For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/403132483131048/]]>
Starring: Luke Wilson, Owen Wilson
Directed by: Wes Anderson
Wes Anderson’s debut feature “Bottle Rocket” is now available on Blu-ray and is chock full of extras that the original DVD lacked.
The new features include deleted scenes, a “making of” documentary and commentaries from the director, as well as the movie’s stars, Owen Wilson and Luke Wilson. The film is also the first for the brothers.
The quirky director’s movies are known for their dry sense of humor, misfit characters and extreme level of detail, and “Bottle Rocket” is no different.
The story begins with Dignan (Owen) trying to help his friend Anthony (Luke) “escape” from a voluntary mental hospital. Dignan wants to pursue a life of crime while Anthony seems to be stuck in a deep depression and is looking for something to do.
They soon recruit another friend Bob (Robert Musgrave) to be the getaway driver for their first big heist: robbing the local bookstore for a few hundred dollars.
After the cumbersome heist, the naïve Dignan decides the three “need to go on the lam” and hideout for a while. They aimlessly drive until they find a small town motel and settle down.
This is where the movie finally begins to find its place. The story is no longer about crime, but about 20-somethings lost in life. The three seem to be looking for a purpose, or maybe just an excuse to hang out for a little while and escape reality.
But the charade soon ends. Bob decides to leave after his brother gets caught by the police with the marijuana plants Bob has been growing in the family backyard, and Anthony has fallen in love with a Spanish-speaking motel maid. The world Dignan tried to create and control comes crashing down. The rest of the movie deals with the characters’ falling out with each other and their individual redemptions.
The story is one of Anderson’s best and most touching. The movie only suffers inthe beginning when the dialogue, at times, becomes too “Tarantinoesque.” When the characters stop talking over each other, the movie takes a similar tone to the rest of the director’s catalog. His movies are known for all taking place in the same fictional “world.”
Anderson fans and casual movie lovers alike should give this movie a chance, or at least see what its “cult status” following is all about. Many will be pleased they watched this touching comedy.]]>
Starring: James McAvoy, Rosario Dawson
Directed by: Danny Boyle
8.5 out of 10
“Trance” is a movie I happened to see on a whim with some friends back when the movie was shown at Columbus’ “Dollar Theater” or the Peachtree 8. I walked into the movie blind to the plot or genre of the movie – the film’s title led me to guess the movie would somehow relate to trance music. I came out of the theater blown away realizing I had just seen the best mind-bending thriller since “Inception.”
I can’t say too much about the plot without giving anything away so I will describe the basic premise of the movie. The main character Simon, played by McAvoy from “X-men: First Class”, works at an art auction and is good at his job. The beginning of the movie is fantastic and could be a short film itself. Simon narrates to the audience the steps he must take during an art robbery; all the while he is attempting to hide away a $17 Million painting in a bag from thieves during the middle of an auction.
So far this sounds like a normal art-heist thriller. The bad guys intercept Simon before he can properly hide the painting away in a safe, take his bag and hit him over the head after he attempts to taser one of the thieves. However, the painting is no longer in the bag and Simon now has amnesia from the head blow. Interrogation is of no use, so the thieves hire a hypnotist to unlock the secrets deep within his mind.
The basic premise of the movie is pretty complicated and the plot takes many twists and turns, asking its viewers to pay close attention to every detail. The rewarding climax and resolution of “Trance” are truly mind-blowing and will leave you thinking for days.
The three leads of the movie give excellent performances and Danny Boyle’s slick direction makes the movie tense and enthralling. The score of the movie also helps to raise the tension.
Beware, this movie does show full frontal female nudity, so this is not a movie parents should watch with their children.
“Trance” can be found at your local redbox movie rental station or retail outlet.]]>
It only takes a couple steps inside Burt’s Butcher Shoppe and Eatery to know you found the real deal. Before seating yourself in the dining area, you’ll pass by the counter where locals have ordered fresh cuts of meat for years. And once you’ve chosen a booth or table, get ready for one of the best off-the-grid dining experiences in the city.
Okay, a little clarification here. If “dining experience” paints pictures of themed decor, uber-perky servers and cocktails with funny names, you’ll find what you’re looking for just down the road. There’s nothing fancy about Burt’s, but you’ll be too busy enjoying the food to really notice. Dinner meals include your choice of side orders and plentiful portions of fresh steaks, chops, schnitzel, ham or chicken. Salads are basic lettuce-and-tomato fare, but they arrive at your table crisp and fresh. Whether you order them as a side or an appetizer, do yourself a favor and don’t leave Burt’s without putting away a few fried green tomatoes. Beverages include soft drinks, tea, lemonade and coffee.
You’ll find a wide range of sandwiches and “mini-dinners” on Burt’s lunch menu. Servings are still generous, with prices that rival those of the franchise burger joints. Just remember to show up early: the place can get jam-packed around noon. Service is attentive and courteous. The staff refills empty glasses and looks after diners without that obtrusive “server smother.” They’ll even bring a styrofoam tray for those leftovers, a good thing since you won’t want to leave anything behind. The eatery is open from 11am-7:30pm Tuesdays through Saturdays: the butcher shop opens at 9am and closes at 7pm those same days. The address is 2932 Warm Springs Road and you can call 706-653-0677 to place orders or check on daily specials.
There’s no shortage of good places to eat in Columbus, it all depends on the food and mood you have in mind. If you’re willing to trade fancy trappings for a delicious full-on meal at a price that’s better than reasonable, you can’t beat Burt’s.]]>
“Warhol in Southern Collections” (through October 14)–It’s impossible to think of the art world in the 1960s–or, for that matter, the decade itself–without Andy Warhol coming to mind. His iconic pop culture images of Campbell’s Soup cans and Marilyn Monroe still reverberate today. Rolling Stones fans remember him for the album cover of “Sticky Fingers.” But Warhol was no one-note wonder. His work and influence impacted numerous art forms, including film, drawing, printmaking and music (Warhol was a founder of the pioneering pre-punk band, The Velvet Underground). Known for his eccentric personality and celebrity status among the New York City avant-garde, Warhol maintained his artistic edge well beyond the decade that defined him.
Over 100 works from museums and private collections throughout the South are on display as part of “Warhol in Southern Collection.” Life-size resin and acrylic sculptures of Warhol welcome visitors to the exhibition, the work of contemporary artist Jack Dowd.
“Optimists and Activists: The American Scene” (through September15)–There’s irony in the fact that hard times and challenging events often produce great art. Such was the case from the 1930s to the years after World War II, an artistic period often called the “American Scene.” The “Optimists and Activists” exhibition features prints from the museum’s collection that represent diverse impressions of life during the Great Depression and Second World War. Some artists were subsidized through the Works Progress Administration, part of Franklin Roosevelt’s New Deal stimulus strategy: others took a more self-supporting stance. The works on display represent some of the period’s premier talents and range in tone from inspiration and beauty to pointed social commentary.
There isn’t a better spot in the city to absorb art, history and stay comfy-cool at the same time. Admission is always free, although donations are accepted. To find out more, visit the Columbus Museum website or call 706-748-2562.]]>