Month: February 2008

We’ve got two new programming ideas we’re considering, and we need your help! Please let us know what you think. Ready?

1. The Wren’s Nest Construction Company

The Actual Wren's Nest: the Mailbox

Our successes with wren’s nests, both long ago and recently, may lead you to believe that we are experts at building birdhouses. You would be wrong–but we’re working on it.

Here’s our first programming idea, in list form:

  1. Kids come to the Wren’s Nest.
  2. We teach them how to build functioning birdhouses that look exactly like our mailbox, the original Wren’s Nest.
  3. We also teach them about the subtle architectural differences between the Wren’s Nest (Queen Anne Victorian home of Joel Chandler Harris) and their own wren’s nests (home of birds).
  4. They construct said birdhouses.
  5. We help them place it along the Beltline Arboretum, while discussing both the nesting habits of birds as well as the historic evolution of West End.
  6. They periodically check up on their nest, and the progress of the birds that have nested there with the help of, say, someone like the Atlanta Audubon Society.
  7. We call it something cute, like The Wren’s Nest Construction Company.

Fledgling, you say? Well that’s why we’re looking to you for suggestions!

Is this a good idea that promotes hands-on education of the Wren’s Nest through architecture, preservation, and Atlanta history? Or is it a bad idea?

2. Brown Middle School Educational Outreach

Brown Middle School

We’ve been given permission to start an after-school program at Brown Middle School, approximately three blocks from here. Here’s our idea, again in list form:

  1. Go to Brown Middle School.
  2. Have our storytellers teach a weekly class on storytelling to 6th graders.
  3. Have our staff teach a weekly class on newspaper publishing to 7th graders.
  4. Have our staff teach a weekly class on blogging to 8th graders.
  5. We call it something cute, unlike Brown Middle School Outreach.

All of these would be very hands on with the students, a la the Wren’s Nest Publishing Company.

Too ambitious, you say? What if we had a three year roll-out? So we’d start with storytelling in year one, then add newspaper in year two, and finally add blogging in year three.

We’re assuming that newspapers will still exist in two years. While that may not be a safe bet exactly, I’m willing to go out on a limb.

Now: if you’ve read this far, you probably thinking along these line: (1) these ideas are terrible; (2) these ideas are the best thing I’ve ever heard; (3) these ideas need some work, and here’s how.

Please, enlighten us, and don’t be afraid to hurt our feelings!

As Scotty pointed out in last post’s comments, we have added our logo to the window address bar and the window tab.

The Wren's Nest Favicon: It's a Wren on a Fountain Pen

I understand this is called a “favicon.”

Whatever it’s called, Eduardo suggested we do it.

Eduardo and our Best of Atlanta Sign

Then, after we added it so easily, Eduardo figured he’d email every website that he liked that was lacking a favicon.

Did it work? I don’t know, does Kenyon have a favicon now? It’s that easy to change the world, folks.

Other things Eduardo has done:

  1. Written this article (not sure why I was credited!)
  2. Populated our new database
  3. Modeled a t-shirt

In other news, we’ll be playing around with the blog today. So if things get hairy, stick with us, we’re working on it. “It” being “providing more links on the right side, and figuring out how to distinguish between different kinds of links.”

So far it’s harder than it sounds. Most of our links have disappeared!

The Beltline Begins!

Today Lain, visiting chum(p) Heather and I went to the West End Trail Groundbreaking. This is the very first (!) step towards the construction of the Beltline project, which will eventually be the greatest combination of rail, trails, and parks approximately ever in Atlanta.

Atlanta Beltline

Here’s Mayor Shirley Franklin giving the opening address, with Atlanta City Councilwoman Cleta Winslow to her right. And an important man wearing the t-shirt I also own to her left. Booyah!

Mayor Shirley Franklin at the Beltline Groundbreaking

There was a pretty good turnout, complete with camera crews, politicians, many of local folks, the man (Ryan Gravel) who came up with the idea for the Beltline as his thesis project (!), and an assortment of schlubs like ourselves. Plus one man confused about where to look.

Crowd at the West End Beltline Groundbreaking

For the real go-getters there were shovels to get in on the action. With a camera in one hand and a brownie bite in the other, I was not considered a go-getter, so much as a go-observer.

Beltline Groundbreaking Shovels

For people like ourselves who are Beltline supporters through and through, this was a pretty darn good way to start our day. Plus, did I mention there were brownie bites?

I’m sure you’ve often wondered (aloud, I hope) “How do Lain and Amelia write such inspiring, thoughtful blog posts day after day?” I’ve wondered that myself, truth be told.

Yet somehow, always, we have something to say! And today, the New York Times told me why.

Edith Wharton's Mansion

I would like to make an enlarged poster of this lovely piece about the unique inspiration derived from visiting the homes of writers, and point to it whenever anyone asks why we preserve the house of a dead guy.

And even if we didn’t make this (high-rolling) list, we do have a pretty spectacular connection to one of the houses mentioned in the article. So awesome, in fact, I will tell you about it now.

Mark Twain's House in Hartford, CT

Lain and I took a trip to see good-friend-of-Joel-Chandler-Harris Mark Twain’s house about a year ago. After being shown where JCH slept when he visited, Lain and I took the general tour. And what did we see in the room of Clemens’ daughters?

Nights with Uncle Remus!

The author of the article notes the inspiration he feels from seeing the homes where his literary idols drew inspiration themselves. Using that logic, Mark Twain was inspired by Joel Chandler Harris! JCH made Mark Twain!

Where are our royalties?!

For Serious.

Sometimes weird things happen at the Wren’s Nest. When they do, we glibly say things like, “Only at the Wren’s Nest!” and admiringly pat each other on the back.

Strawberry toilet paper.  Yep, that's what I said.  At the Wren's Nest.

But then other days you go to the bathroom and find the top of a strawberry in the toilet paper roll and think “Seriously. What is going on here.”

Today is one of those days.

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