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31 Days of Louisville Love: Louisville Public Media

I grew up on public media. The only TV watching my parents easily approved of was PBS (Sesame Street, Mr. Rogers, Shining Time Station). We listened to classical music and NPR on the 20-30 minute ride to school. I remember Car Talk and Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me on Saturday morning rides to the library and Prairie Home Companion on any Saturday nights spent at home. 

Gabe joined WFPL and Louisville Public Media in 2008, which is why I moved to Louisville (thanks, LPM!). Since then, my appreciation for public radio, and particularly Louisville's public radio, has grown, maybe a bit excessively.

If you have the reindeer, you get the next pledge drive call. This used to be a penguin, but the penguin disappeared.

If you have the reindeer, you get the next pledge drive call. This used to be a penguin, but the penguin disappeared.

I can tell time by WFPL programs. Is that the BBC promo? I'm about to be late to work. Only the first hour of Diane Rehm? This day is dragging, it's not even eleven yet.  And when pledge drive rolls around, I just listen to the people who I know as they ask for support. I try to volunteer at least once during the drive. If that's something you're interested in, I recommend the last shift of the week. That's when all the procrastinators call, and it's exciting to be at the station when the goal is reached. 

Louisville public radio kicks ass, and we are lucky to have not only one, but three stations. I get most of my news from WFPL (and random Twitter links), where they keep expanding the news team. When I need a break from all the information, there's WFPK for sing-a-longs. And when I need to focus at work, WUOL gives me classical (also very good for preventing road rage). Plus, all three stations host great community events like the Moth and Waterfront Wednesday. 

Beyond the programming and events, I love the LPM people. They were the first people I met in Louisville, during that brief Peace Corps vacation. I was convinced we were all going to be best friends. That didn't exactly happen, but many of them have become part of our Louisville family, attending our parties, inviting me to theirs, helping me find not one, but two jobs.  

Thanks to the internet, I could stream any of the three stations while we're in Boston. I think it's better to acquaint myself with a new Morning Edition host, but I may tune in to WFPL if I get homesick. But there's no way to stream all of LPM, and I will miss you. 

31 Days of Louisville Love: Let Them Tweet Cake

"A meet-up for for women interested in the web, cloud computing, mobile devices and apps & social media in Louisville."

Based on that summary from the Let Them Tweet Cake site, I didn't necessarily think this was a meet-up for me. I like the Internet. I think I know what cloud computing is. And I like mobile devices, apps, and Twitter. Still, I was nervous the first time I went to Sweet Surrender for Tweet Cake. Now it's one of the things I will miss most about Louisville. 

If you've never been to Let Them Tweet Cake and you use the Internet at all, I would encourage you to check it out (unless you hate using the Internet). Michelle Jones steers the conversation to topics that engage everyone. You get to hear about guest's new favorite apps, devices, and websites, and, at the end of the night, personal projects. If you're new in town (and better at introducing yourself to strangers than I am), you might make some new friends or find a volunteer opportunity or new job. 

Because of Let Them Tweet Cake, I have Newsblur post-Google Reader's demise. I've passed the French part of DuoLingo. I recently bought a shredder recommended by The Wirecutter, because someone mentioned it many a Tweet Cake ago (and I am really looking forward to shredding four years of paper). Some Cake Tweeters have a Minty Boost from a field trip to LVL1 in 2011. 


And then there's cake! Going to Sweet Surrender is like going to Comfy Cow -- I have to take in all the different cakes, stare at them, and then assure myself that I can try the runner-up to that night's choice next time. The tiramisu trifle, the mocha concord... I want to go now. 

There will be cake and tons of smart conversation in Cambridge. But I will miss Let Them Tweet Cake and the friends I have made there. 

31 Days of Louisville Love: Louisville International Airport (SDF!)

Flying in and out of Louisville is expensive, unless you’re going to Chicago, St. Louis, Atlanta, or Baltimore ($57.50 one-way!). It’s also inconvenient. If you’re going anywhere but those places or New York or Detroit, you’ll probably have a layover somewhere. The food options are limited. I’ve learned to live with this, because getting to the airport and through security is really easy. For that, I love our little airport. 

A few years ago, I started timing how quickly I could get from my front door to my gate. The record so far has been 35 minutes. Traffic is usually non-existent, especially if we avoid highways. The security line is also fast, if there’s a line at all. There are only two terminals (do they even count as terminals?). Even though my gate is always the last one in terminal A, it’s a short walk. If I got a ride on one of those electric carts, I might get my trip time down to 25 or 30 minutes. There’s nothing wrong with my legs, though, so I’ll walk. 

Despite the fast security lines, I still give myself way more time than necessary. The one time I took  the door-to-gate trip for granted, the line at security was so long I almost missed my flight. Now I leave so I arrive at least an hour and a half before my flight departure and usually spend an hour at the gate.

Picking up passengers is also easy. At some airports, the airport traffic guards force you to move through the line and circle the airport until your party arrives (I'm looking at you, IAH). In Louisville, you can just park in front of the "No Parking" signs in Arrivals and check Twitter. No one bothers you. 

I will miss the Louisville airport. I’ve never lived in a city where the trip to the airport is so short. But I look forward to discovering the restaurants Logan has to offer. I hope there's more than a Chili's Too.

31 Days of Louisville Love: Local Barbecue

We have already established that, despite being vegetarian for seven years, I really like meat. There are many places in Louisville that serve tasty slow-cooked meat, but I will miss these three most (I don’t frequent each of them to merit their own blog post): 

-Hammerheads - beer and meat in a basement. What I love here are the beef brisket or pulled pork sandwiches, the ribs, and if I’m feeling really indulgent, the mac and cheese balls. They also have TVP tacos, so I could eat here before I went completely carnivore. 

-Smoketown, U.S.A - I’ve only eaten at the actual restaurant once, but we’ve ordered Smoketown to go a few times. Most recently, Gabe brought home their ribs, which came with two sides and  perfect cornbread muffins. Take-out means you miss a chance to shop — everything in the restaurant’s dining room is for sale.

-Feast BBQ - Feast is across the river in New Albany, but it counts as the Louisville Metro area. I like the silver trays, and I like that part of their menu is president-themed. Best of all, they have bourbon slushies. 

I see Boston has some barbecue places. They even have a BBQ food truck. We will probably have to take a break from eating lobster rolls and clam chowder to check out some of these places. I hope they have mac and cheese balls.  

31 Days of Louisville Love: Cherokee Triangle Art Fair (Brunch?)

This Louisville Love is kind of a cheat. The Cherokee Triangle Art Fair falls under my 16th Louisville Love, Derby Season. Even though it’s right at my doorstep, I barely spend any time at the actual fair. But even though we grumble about parking, I love that for a weekend, a festival comes to my neighborhood. 

No pets and no parking on our street

No pets and no parking on our street

Every year, the Squallis Puppeteers open the art fair by marching down Cherokee Road, with drums, horns, and maybe a xylophone. I like to take a break from running around, preparing for our art fair brunch to watch the mini-parade. For three of the four years we’ve lived in this apartment, we’ve hosted a brunch during the art fair. The first year, only two people came, and the spread was small. The spread and attendance have grown each year. 

People-watching on the balcony

People-watching on the balcony

There's that goat! No pets allowed, so he has to stay on my "lawn"

There's that goat! No pets allowed, so he has to stay on my "lawn"

Maybe I’m actually confusing missing the art fair with missing art fair brunch, but the two go together for me. I always enjoy brunch, but people-watching from the balcony while drinking a Bloody Mary is even better. I would never have known that someone in Louisville owns a goat named William had he not been on our corner during the art fair. And once everyone is full of waffles and mimosas, they can wander through the fair and buy brooms and letter openers (the only items I’ve ever bought at the fair besides food). 

Though I may not buy art (or even look at much of the art), I really do like the art fair weekend. I’m always a little sad Sunday evening, listening to the poles clanging as volunteers break down the booths. Cherokee Triangle Art Fair, I will miss you. 

31 Days of Louisville Love: Comfy Cow

Before we got a Comfy Cow at Eastern and Bardstown, I had visited them two times, once at their Westport location and once at their Frankfort store. With the new location, I have close to tripled my visits in the last few months. 

I have a terrible sweet tooth, and it has its own soft spot for ice cream (and flan and creme brulée). Every walk past that intersection is a temptation now. Before Comfy Cow’s arrival, we stopped occasionally for frozen yogurt, but even with Lula’s endless topping options, for me, it doesn’t compare to an ice cream cone.

I love going into Comfy Cow, reading through all the flavors, trying a few, and making a mental note of what I’ll get next time. I love walking by and reading that month’s flavors on their chalk board. It took me most of June to finally get in and try the Hazelnut Crunch OMG (I think the OMG was part of that flavor’s name?), but the wait was worth it. It may have even made it better. This month, I’ve got to get in to try the Peachy Keen. 

I know there are delicious ice cream parlors all over, and I try to visit as many as possible. I’m excited to find one in Cambridge. I’ll miss Comfy Cow, but honestly, not having ice cream on my walk home may be a good thing.  

31 Days of Louisville Love: Jerky Man

You know what else is great about yesterday’s Louisville Love? It’s pretty much guaranteed that today’s love, the Jerky Man, will show up there. 

The Jerky Man is a middle-aged, hat-wearing, white-bearded guy who goes up and down Bardstown Road (and sometimes around Germantown) selling beef jerky out of a basket. I think he also wears overalls. I believe it’s $2.75 a baggie. He has regular jerky and spicy jerky and if there are other flavors, I don’t know, because we always get the spicy jerky. 

You know what I never crave when I’m at a bar? Jerky. You know what I buy every time the Jerky Man shows up because suddenly I NEED that snack? Did you guess jerky? You’re right! 

Where’s the most random place you’ve seen the Jerky Man? I really thought Bardstown Road was his domain, but I’ve seen him at Nach Bar. I bet he doesn’t venture out as far as Cambridge, though. 

I’ll miss you, Jerky Man. If someone sends me some jerky next year, that would be a really nice surprise.  

31 Day of Louisville Love: The Back Door

The Back Door is a windowless dive bar in a strip mall. I love it.

It’s a strange place and a required stop for our out-of-town visitors (well, not my parents). It’s open until 4 a.m., though I’ve only made it to 3:30. They have strong, cheap drinks — there’s always a $2.75 special — and good food. My go-to is the quesadilla, though I’ve had a tasty lentil soup, and I hear good things about the tuna steak. Their wings aided my fall from vegetarianism. But if you leave your id at home, no wings or $2.75 drinks for you.  I’ve never seen anyone get past the doorman without their ID. 

If you go to the Back Door enough, you may never leave. The faces of the most regular regulars have been painted on the walls and smile down on you as you drink your Old Forrester or sprite-and-tequila margarita. Sometimes you can spot someone from the wall in the crowd. Should looking for wall people amongst the real people not be enough entertainment for you, there’s also a little Back Door lending library, a shelf of books by the entrance. Or, try your hand at some Skeeball. Or pool, darts, or video game golf. 

While I’ve certainly made the Back Door my first and sometimes only stop in a night, it’s really a place you go at the end of the night, after the last place closes. It was the second stop on that bridal/bachelorette party, on birthday parties, barbecues, and on regular Saturday nights. You think you’re about to go home, but then… "Back Door?"

One of my favorite Back Door experiences happened on a Derby night. We were there with a friend, and it was packed. I ordered an Amaretto sour, and when the bartender brought it to me, I said, “That’s so pretty, if it had a beach umbrella, it would really be a party.” She held up a finger, stepped away, and when she came back, put a drink umbrella in my cocktail. On Derby night, while it’s crazy, she went and got my drink a silly decoration. I’m still touched. 

Happily, one of the people I most associate with the Back Door has already tipped me off to his favorite Boston bar. I’m sure it will be good, but I bet it doesn’t have paintings of its regulars on the wall. 

Back Door, I will miss you.