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A Smith of Nes

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Saturday, November 2 – we awoke at about 8 in the morning, then laid in bed while watching some old Singled Out off YouTube. Man, Chris Hardwick’s 90s hair was terrible.

I got up to shower, start my laundry, then get some coffee to have while we watched a nature show about polar bears. We followed that with a Breaking Magic, then the newest China, IL, both off the DVR. I made myself some leftover chicken and pineapple fried rice for lunch, to eat while watching an Orangutan Diaries (if I recall, that was the last one we’d recorded, but it didn’t really have much of a definite end, so I can’t remember exactly). I folded my laundry after that, then we put on the original Mad Max, from Netflix. It’s one of those movies I figured we needed to see to understand the numerous cultural references from it.

Turns out, though, it’s one of those rare movies where the sequel is the one everyone fondly remembers (or sequels, in this case). The original, aside from featuring a distressingly young Mel Gibson, is more or less just a slightly-more-bleak-than-average view of Australia in the late-70s. All of the post-apocalyptic goodness comes later on. And, really, I can’t stress this enough, but for being a famous action movie, it sure was awfully boring most of the time. Eh, at least we can say we’ve seen it, now.

I put some clean sheets on the bed as Becky watched some of Disney’s Hunchback of Notre Dame off Netflix Instant, complete with a rather astoundingly-good Spanish audio track. We turned it off, though, to go out to the gym for a good, solid 54-minute workout. With that under our belts, we returned home to get cleaned up, then we headed back out at quarter of six to hit up Tijuana Garage for dinner. It was still just barely warm enough out to sit on the patio while we ate:



…and that is not a real frog in their fountain pond. Though they do have real koi in there.

We walked around L5 for a bit after finishing our meal, then we made our way to the Variety Playhouse, to line up outside at around 10 past 7. The musician we were seeing that night, you see, was the sort who attracted an older, not-quite-so-hip audience, many of whom were perfectly content to line up well in advance of doors. So, we did just the same.

We made our way inside about a half-hour later, and got some decent seats over to the left side. Everything seemed pretty good, right up until the folks behind us decided to wait until the very moment the house lights went down to play a football clip on their phone at a stupidly loud volume. It was so incredibly rude that both Becky and I – keeping in mind that, as much as we grumble from time to time, we both normally avoid conflict – spoke sharply at them to put it the fuck away. They didn’t react to us, but they did end up leaving early, before the set finished. Given how relatively expensive the tickets were, we’re both gobsmacked that they spent the money on going to the show in the first place, if they were just going to watch football instead, then leave. This is why humanity can’t have nice things.

Fortunately, after that, our experience was perfectly lovely. It was, you see, an evening with Michael Nesmith:



Mike Nesmith being, of course, the tall, aloof member of the Monkees, the same one who generally has always put the kaibash on a four-member band reunion (though, with Davey Jones’ passing, that’s no longer an option). You might recall how we once saw his bizarre music video “movie,” Elephant Parts. Turns out he’s done a lot since then. This particular tour was called “movies of the mind,” in which he’d descriptively paint the picture of a highly particular scene for us, then play one or several of his songs that fit that description. He did play several songs from Elephant Parts, though only one Monkees song, saving “Listen to the Band” for the very end. And that was a good place to end it. We weren’t, either of us, big enough fans of his solo work to go out and buy anything, but it was still a lovely evening.

We returned home at about 11 in the evening, then played with Giles some before retiring to bed. It’s not often we go see septuagenarian musicians, but with the Monkees running only at 75% capacity these days, we figured passing up this chance would be ill-advised. I’m glad we went.

Sunday, November 3 – the first day of Daylight Savings Time. This meant that we were up and at them shortly after 7 AM, though we’d be subsequently tired out early, as well. Still, a nice, early morning! We started it off by bringing Giles to the woods behind the middle school, from which he proceeded to promptly run off and had a Dog Adventure. When we finally found him, about 10 long minutes later, we told him he was a Terrible Dog and that we’d need to get him a new Terrible Dog Collar to teach him the virtues of not running away.

Before any of that, we went out to get groceries, then I swept up and read some as Becky made our dinners for the coming week. I had a nice, long conversation with my parents over the phone as she continued cooking by making up some Leftover Candy Pudding:



The finished product didn’t look all that impressive, but trust me when I say it was all manner of delicious.

I made myself some lunch, then we ate whole watching a Breaking Magic, followed by a Smithsonian Channel special called The Incredible Bionic Man, about attempts to make a fully-functional automaton replacement of a human being, using present-day cutting-edge technology. It was quite interesting, if only for how upset the bionic man’s model was when he saw the final product, after having been so supportive of the project up to that point. Still, we’ve got a long way to go before Replicants are a thing.

I read for a while more as Becky went out shopping. When she returned, she showed me the electronic training collar she’d picked up for Giles. After we went to the gym, then returned home to get cleaned up, we got the collar set up and gave it a trial run. Now, I know the crunchier of folks out there are appalled by the notion of electronic collars, but trust me when I say that the shock is so low that he couldn’t even feel it, except on the highest setting. The idea of the collar isn’t, as you might think, to shock him every time he does something bad, either, merely to put it on when he goes out to trouble spots (like the middle school woods), then give him an immediate correction with it when he starts to misbehave. After only several uses, it would be enough to merely have it on to improve his behavior; the shock itself was no longer needed. The only other two options we had were a) never let him off-leash, which means he wouldn’t get enough exercise, or b) just hope he won’t get hit by a car. This was the best way.

I picked us up some Little Caesar’s for dinner, then we settled in to watch part 2 of How to Build a Planet, featuring a roller derby squad in Texas telling Richard Hammond he needs to wear a helmet or else he’d get a head injury. Ah heh. When that ended, we put on Happy People: a Year in the Taiga off Netflix Instant. It’s a Werner Herzog movie about traditional fur trappers in Siberia, and that’s pretty much all you need to know about it. We told Giles that he was lucky to have been born a Georgia Dumbhound and not a Siberian Husky like the dogs carrying the sleds in the movie.

We finished off the night with an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, then we went to bed early, thanks to the whole “falling back” an hour thing. I had three more regular work days, then I’d be off to the West Coast on my own.

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Of Princesses and Fire

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Saturday, October 26 – I managed to sleep in until 8:45, which wasn’t really all that much sleeping in, considering that I didn’t get to bed until nearly 2 the previous night. Still, better than the usual awakening at 8 o’clock sharp. I went out to get Becky and I some much-needed bagels from Einstein’s for breakfast, then we headed back out to run some errands in Toco Hills: first to the Kroger for some party snacks, then to the nursery next door for pumpkins, then, finally, to Toco Giant for party booze. I took a much-needed shower after that, then I set about doing some chores to prep for the party: I vacuumed Giles’ couch in the front room, I threw the blankets we use to cover the couches into the wash, I vacuumed our main couch (that sucker was by far the most expensive piece of furniture I’ve ever purchased, but 9 months on, I still love it), I swept up some, I helped Becky to move our big, Oriental rug so it wasn’t off at an angle like it had drifted to over the past couple of months, and then I finished the vacuuming and sweeping. Whew! But good news! After catching my breath for a bit, I did more chores: I threw my clothes into the laundry, I swept up the back deck, I set up the deck chairs, folding table, and the cooler, and, finally, I set up our Tiki torches in the back, including the nice centerpiece one that Paul and Meera had gotten us for our housewarming party a few months earlier.

While I was working on setting up out back, Becky was decking the halls with fake cobwebs:



Spoooky! She also got Cornelius dressed up for the occasion:



With all that done, Becky laid down and took a nap as I watched some Futurama on TV, then did the dishes. I replaced the cushions on Giles’ couch after that, as they were finished from having gone through the laundry. Don’t worry: Giles would make them filthy again in no time. For then, though, Becky and I went out to get a late lunch/early dinner at Taco Mac in Decatur. Or, we would have, were it not too busy, despite a relative dearth of Sportsball on right then. We opted for Big Tex instead, and that worked out just fine.

When we returned home, I started us a fire in the fireplace, then we put on some of Starbuck, a Quebecois movie about a middle-aged guy who can’t seem to get his life on track, but suddenly finds out that he has hundreds of illegitimate children, thanks to a clerical error at a sperm bank he periodically donated to in his youth to get money. Then hilarity ensues, in mangled French. Actually, it was pretty good. Good enough that they decided to make a near-scene-for-scene remake starring Vince Vaughn a few months ago. Which is why Hollywood cannot have nice things.

I set up – but did not light – our fire pit out back, then I got dressed at around quarter after six. Minus the head, of course. Becky and I continued watching Starbuck as we waited for our guests. Before any arrived, though, we took some shots in front of Becky’s big mural. Though she didn’t manage to get everyone throughout the night (I know we missed Deb’s rather hilarious Minion Dave from Despicable Me due to her arriving later on after taking non-blurry photos became a difficult task, and, of course, some folks couldn’t be bothered to put on a costume despite my numerous threats against doing so), it provided a great ersatz photo booth for our guests:



Becky was the prettiest Flame Princess. As you can see, she got actual flames this time! Well, sparklers. Still, they wouldn’t allow those in the Shelter the previous night, so that was a plus for her.

As for me, being slightly weary from the night out at the Shelter on Friday only added to my costume, in terms of my body posture:



Of course, anyone not wearing a costume would be deemed to be:



UNACCEPTABLLLLLE!

Should my food be spiced or if I was told that I really smell like dog buns, then:



ONE MMMMILLION YEAAAARS DUNGEON!

Fortunately, our first guests did no such thing. Sam and Lisa started it off, arriving at 7 o’clock. Lisa was Princess Witch:



…and Sam was Princess Brony:



We got things going from there. They arrived with Cicy, who made sure Giles was a pretty princess, too, in his dog-shirt:



The rest of our guests started arriving after that. There was Hair Metal Rocker Tim:



…or maybe he was dressed in Dutch high fashion, circa 2005. Not quite sure which.

I think one of our favorite outside-the-box costumes was Heather’s:



Just scrubs? Nope, we recognized her as being Piper Chapman from Orange is the New Black. Becky liked it enough that she took another picture in profile for her mug shot:



They also brought a friend of theirs, whose name I forget/lost when my phone died in January. She was Princess Nurse:



Another honorable mention should go to Lynn and Ted:



We didn’t really know Lynn and Ted; they’re friends of Sam’s and Lisa’s whom we had yet to meet. But – unlike literally everyone else who fits that category – they decided that it didn’t matter that Sam’s and Lisa’s Halloween party was being held at the house of some folks they’d not met before, and came anyway. We really appreciated that, and so they get gold stars.

Chuck, meanwhile, also rode his bike in, but he seemed to be hiding his face from us:



When we got a look at poor Jim, we figured out why:



The GADOT helmet really completes the ensemble.

I think one of our favorites, overall, was Elizabeth’s 70s Housewife, if only because she sold it so well, bringing her own “VALIUM” and Scotch tumbler:



Though, after Cicy put her crown on him, the ever-surly Princess Paul was a real cutie, too:



Pictures in which Paul is smiling: somewhat more rare/less verifiable than pictures of the Loch Ness Monster.

The evening went by quickly and smoothly. Jim had brought Maddy along, so Giles had someone to dog-play with, too:



After it had gotten going, I made a nice fire out in our pit. To date, it’s the only real use we’ve gotten out of it, but it was still worthwhile:



Though, really, it was more suited for Becky than for me:



Ah, there we go.

Before long, I realized it was past 11 o’clock, and that most of the party was still outside, and, furthermore, loud, so I wrangled folks back inside. This pleased Giles, as he loves nothing more than getting under foot:



I wonder what he’s looking at?



Ah, Sam being Sam. Of course.

And really, that’s as good a place as any on which to wrap it up. As things wound down, I put on several episodes of Adventure Time for Elizabeth and Lisa. The last of our guests departed at about 12:30, then we cleaned up as best we could, before hitting the sack at around 1. A very good time, I’d say. Not a super-high turnout, but we’re still glad that everyone who made it came. And I, especially, was very glad to just be able to get some sleep.

Sunday, October 27 – okay, you guys, I know this is going to come as a huge shock, but, after staying up partying until 2 AM on Friday and then 1 AM on Saturday, I woke up feeling pretty darned ill. I know, right? I got myself up very slowly, but couldn’t manage to go get groceries with Becky. As she went on her own, I instead cleaned off the porch and put away the Tiki torches. So at least I wasn’t completely worthless. I laid down for a bit after that, then I did the dishes, then made myself an early lunch to try to put something on my stomach. I ate as we watched some of a show called Orangutan Diaries, about the same facility in Orangutan Island, but filmed by a British crew, a year earlier. It was decent enough, and so we decided to record some more of it, since there appeared to only be a few episodes of it.

We followed that with a Breaking Magic (the one with actual reveals of magic tricks), then we put on a Rick Steves’ Europe about the countryside of the Czech Republic. Good, since we missed that. I got up to call my mom and check up on her after that, then we watched another Breaking Magic, followed by some of Going Medieval, a British-produced History Channel show about, well, Medieval times. It was kind of silly, though, and so we turned it off in favor of Chris Hardwick’s standup special off the DVR. It was funny, but we’d heard about half of the jokes in it from when he’d come to Atlanta on tour in 2012. Still, it gave us something to watch as we finally carved our pumpkins:



Fun fact: carving letters is WAY more time consuming than I thought it would be. But, there you go, completing my costume, if a bit late for the party.

When we finished with that, I drove out to get us some Pizza Hut for dinner. It was still grungy on the inside, it was still a shit show of inefficiency and behind the counter, and it still took forever to get the food I’d ordered. So, I decided that would be the last meal we got from there in some time. We eventually tried it again not long ago, but, while it was cleaned up some, it was still a disaster in terms of no one having a clue how to make the food in a less-than-obscene amount of time. So, screw that noise, I think.

On this particular evening, we ate while watching the new special, How to Build a Planet, hosted by Richard Hammond, famous for hosting Top Gear and/or nearly killing himself in a horrific car accident. How that qualifies him for astronomy facts is beyond me, but it was entertaining enough. Since Hammond sort of reminds me of a shorter, less-dreamy David Tennant, we put on a Doctor Who after that. Well, I guess I may like David Tennant, but Giles wasn’t as impressed:



“DOG WANTS YOU TO GO TO BED.”

We wound down the evening with the new China, IL, then we retired to bed for the night, nice and early, so as to try to catch up on sleep. Despite all indications, Halloween was still actually a few days away. We’d have one last event before then, too.

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Pies and Plays

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Saturday, October 19 – we awoke at about quarter of 9, then I got up to shower, make some coffee, and do the dishes as Becky gave Giles his morning time in the park. I took down my shower liner and threw it in the laundry after that (worth noting as it needs washing again as of writing this), then I ran a backup on Becky’s computer as I swept up and vacuumed. I continued my furor of chores after that by bleaching and scrubbing the bathroom, then I got my now-cleaned shower liner hung back up to complete the nice, sparking bathroom. There: chores done. I read some after that until the backup on Becky’s computer was finished running, then I ate my leftover sandwich from the previous day for lunch.

I watched the Mythbusters zombie special, then folded my laundry, before going to work on my sound sword for my Halloween costume. It was coming out fairly well after I cut off the top with a Dremel, so as to model it after Lemongrab’s.

I took a rest and read some in bed after that, then I went out to the gym with Becky for a 38-minute workout. After returning home to get cleaned up, we went out for dinner at the Thinking Man Tavern (a good choice we don’t get to often enough), then we went down to Kirkwood for Piefest, Kurt’s annual celebration of all things pie:



The pies were out front, actually, on his porch flanked by some lovely plants with huge leaves, but that Esso sign was so awesome that we just had to get a picture of it. Well, two pictures:



We had a lovely, pie-filled time. Most of the pies were sweet, but some were savory. We don’t get to hang out with Kurt enough, but Tracy was also there, so we didn’t feel like we were imposing. We had some drinks and some pie, then retreated to the fire pit out back, where we were regaled with stories from some of Kurt’s friends, including some middle-aged gay men from Louisiana. One, in particular, had the absolute best stories of just about everything (as you might imagine), on top of a voice we could have listened to read the phone book. We felt rather mundane by comparison, but it was nice to meet new people, something we don’t do often enough these days, thanks to being lucky enough to have friends here that make it easy to feel comfortable. Still, we need to branch out some, and we were really glad we went out to Kurt’s place that night. Plus, we took some pie home with us. Ain’t nothin’ wrong with that.

We got back home at about 10:30, then put on a United States of Tara to wind down the evening. When that finished, we went to bed for the night.

Sunday, October 20 – I awoke at around 8 in the morning, then made myself some coffee so as to perk up before Becky and I went out to get groceries. I went to Home Depot when we returned, whereupon I bought six packages of firewood. It looked like it was going to be a cold winter (spoiler alert: it was!) and so I would eventually need to purchase wood by the cord, but that trunk-load would do for the mid-autumn, at least.

We went to the gym for a brief workout after that, then I had some of the savory pie we’d taken home from Kurt’s for my lunch. We watched a Nature about rescuing otters off the Pacific coast as we ate (otters are only made more cute by putting bandages on them), then I got up to call my parents to check in. After I talked with my dad for a while, I watched Rick Steves’ Northern Ireland with Becky off of the DVR. Belfast looks like a very interesting place, another in the “cities that were totally unsafe for American tourists when I was a child but are generally okay now.” I love places like that because they make me feel like humanity isn’t fucking up as badly as I often suspect we are.

By the time that concluded, it was 1:25, and so we drove up Clairmont to Oglethorpe and to the Georgia Shakespeare for a matinee show. Thanks to heavier-than-anticipated traffic on a Sunday afternoon, we wound up just barely making it in time: I had to drop Becky off to get tickets as I parked, then I sprinted the hundred yards from the parking spot down to the theater. Still, we made it, if only just:



We were there to see their production of Hamlet. There was a good deal of symbolism employed by the movement of the two full-length mirrors to the rear of the stage, there, but the exact nature of it escapes me, what with my lack of expertise in theatre and all. It seemed like a fairly good production, and I at least enjoyed the interpretation of Polonius as a self-righteous windbag full of meaningless platitudes (full of sound and fury, signifying nothing?). I know it’s not the most popular interpretation of the character, but I do enjoy how it would mean that in having Polonius point a self-assured finger in the air as he quips, “to thine own self be true,” he’s making fun of those who find deep meaning in blithering platitudes like “to thine own self be true.” It’s as if Shakespeare knew Pinterest was going to happen!

We enjoyed the performance very much, and we were glad we’d gotten a chance to see it, even if we had to do so on a Sunday matinee show. When we departed, we headed straight from there to the thrift store, where I was able to get some clothing to go with my Halloween costume (Becky had made the head and I had the sword, but I still needed an outfit). That done, we popped in at the Corner Pub in East Decatur for some dinner (the place is hit-or-miss in terms of the crowd there, but I think we’re figuring out that it’s best to sit close to the bar if one doesn’t want to get dragooned into babysitting the toddlers seated at nearby tables), then we picked up some Blizzards from Dairy Queen on the way home. Not a bad Sunday afternoon and evening, I’d say.

We put on some of a show about the Running of the Bulls in Spain (we didn’t record it, so we just caught the latter part of it on TV, but that was enough), then we powered through the final two episodes of the United States of Tara from Netflix. With that series under our belt, we put on a show I’d recorded on the DVR called Breaking Magic. It actually featured reveals of how magic tricks are done, which made it better than the previous ostensible-magic-reveal show we’d recorded. So well done there. When we’d finished an episode of that, we watched the new China, IL from the previous Sunday, then we retired to bed for the night.

Not a high-key weekend, but still a good one, overall. Don’t worry: with Halloween fast approaching, there would be plenty of crazy fun times coming up.

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Unknown Mortal Dorkestra

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Saturday, October 5 – for some reason, I was struggling to sleep in, and couldn’t get back to sleep after waking up at around 6:30. I finally gave up and got up to take Giles to the middle school woods with Becky. We went out to the gym for a 54-minute workout after that, then I got cleaned up at home, started my laundry, swept up the floors, and mopped the kitchen using the Swiffer mop we’d picked up at the grocery store the previous weekend. I threw a load of sheets and towels into the wash after that, then made myself some leftover Chinese for lunch to eat as we watched some of Back to the Future 2 on TV. We followed that with a show about Komodo dragons that I’d recorded on the DVR, then we continued watching B2tF2 as I folded my laundry, followed by some of Back to the Future 3, because it was on and it’s one of those movies that it’s difficult to not watch once you’ve gotten going.

I took a much-needed long nap in the mid-afternoon, then read for a while as Becky took a nap on the couch. I made myself a snack and read for a bit more, then we went out to get dinner at Los Bravos off of DeKalb Industrial and North Decatur. We saw this along the way:



Stay Puft is watching you. Waiting.

After getting some food, we returned home to watch a Bit of Fry and Laurie, followed by a United States of Tara, both from Netflix Instant. We put on some of the world-famous old Mike Rowe QVC clips from the early-90s off YouTube after that, then we got ready to head out for the night. We departed at around 9:10 to make our way out to the west side and to Terminal West at King Plow, in a renovated factory and forge just across the tracks from the Goat Farm. That said, whereas the Goat Farm was still full of lovely urban decay, this place had thoroughly been turned into what insipid people refer to as a “hot night spot.” Or something:



The inside of Terminal West is a lovely space, though, and I’ll give it that. The beer was too expensive when we went that time, but they’ve seemed to realize since then that you can’t attract young, hipster-type folks and also charge $4.50 for a non-tallboy can of PBR. So that’s improved. I will also say that it was nice to be able to see Unknown Mortal Orchestra without being half-asleep due to them going on past midnight, like they did at 529 the last time we saw them. I believe they went on around 10:30 or 10:45 at Terminal West, which is a vast improvement in our books:



They played a good set, but the audience definitely left something to be desired. Many seemed like overgrown 30-something frat-boys on dates trying to convince whoever they found on Match.com that they’re totally cool and know all the new, hip spots in the city even though they live in Woodstock. I remain unconvinced that more than 50% of the audience actually came to see the band. The rest seemed to, inexplicably, pay $18 a head to wander in, order over-priced drinks, and talk loudly during the set. I would have a somewhat better experience at Terminal West later on, but the place has still yet to win me over completely.

One thing I will say that I liked about it, though, was the whole layout of the King Plow Arts Center, which we were able to wander through after departing the show. Late as it was, it was quite peaceful, as we walked through little gardens dotting open-air atriums that separated hallways:



It’s like a Secret Garden! Becky even found a swingset that she could have all to herself:



We made our way back to the car after that, then headed on home. I don’t know, Terminal West: you can cater to Cobb County yuppies out for a night on the town or urban Atlantans going to a rock show, but not both at the same time. Make up your dang mind.

As for us, we returned home at about 12:30, then quickly hit the sack for the night. Not a bad night out at a new-to-us venue.

Sunday, October 6 – I managed to successfully sleep in until quarter of 9, then I roused myself up to get some coffee before heading out to the grocery store with Becky. When we got home, I mowed the front lawn as she made our dinners for the week, then I drove back out to Publix to pick up some jelly for my lunch sandwiches. I got some ice cream while there because I deserved ice cream, dammit.

As I did that, Becky gave The Lizard a bath:



The Lizard is only capable of feeling hunger and disdain, but she has those two feelings down really well.

I made myself some frozen pizza for lunch, then ate as we watched some of David Attenborough’s Life of Birds, simply because one can never have too much Attenborough. We tried to go out to the annual Greek Festival after that (one of our Trivia Night friends had given us free passes), but the parking was so outrageous that it was clear we wouldn’t have a good time after struggling to find some place to put the car. Maybe we’ll try to go earlier in the day next year. Oh well.

After returning home briefly to re-calibrate our plans for the day, we went out to the gym for 46 minutes (during which time I finished reading the excellent Unnatural Selection), then we returned home to get cleaned up and to put on an episode of United States of Tara. I made up our trip planner for Day 0 of our New England trip, then I worked up some tentative plans for the rest of it, so I’d have an idea of what to plan for, when. I called my parents after that, then I went out to get us some Little Caesar’s for dinner.

We ate while watching a Smithsonian Channel show about samurai. It was fairly interesting, or at least the part about forging decapitated heads was fun to watch. When it finished, we put on a DS9 from Netflix, then an It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia streaming. We wound down the evening with some Adventure Time, then we retired to bed for the night. We had only 3 regular work days in the week ahead, then we’d be back on the road, this time up to New England.

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Georgia Rocks

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Saturday, September 28 – I awoke to get up slowly at about 8:30, then started my laundry as I made myself some coffee. I did some chores afrer that: I swept the floors and vacuumed, washed the blankets on the couch, then vacuumed off the couch as well. After taking a break to watch an episode of United States of Tara, Becky and I brought the dog crate back down to the basement (we’d decided that we would not be getting another foster dog until 2014, at least), then I read some more, and watched another episode of United States of Tara as I had my uneaten sandwich from the previous day for lunch. All of that is terribly boring, I know, so here’s a lovely picture Becky took the previous day in Lullwater:



It’s most beautiful when it’s free of Canada geese and also undergraduates.

We watched a Mythbusters from the DVR, then I took a nap and read for a while in bed, in an attempt to perk up before the evening. We watched some of Smothered: The Censorship Struggles of the Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour after that. I’d recorded it on a whim, since neither Becky nor I am old enough to remember the show, but it proved interesting enough that we decided to watch a good portion of it. We had to turn it off eventually, though, so we’d have time to go out to the gym for a good 46-minute workout.

When we got home, we had a light snack as we watched some Adventure Time, then we headed back out at around 6 PM for Manuel’s Tavern. We met up with Jim there to attend the Science Taven event:



It was on the roadside geology of Georgia. We used to be more into that up in New England, but getting into collecting rocks down here has been more difficult for us. Still, it was a good talk, and we learned some interesting stuff, and got some ideas for where we might be able to go to find unique rocks:



We parted ways with Jim after the event ended, then drove back home, stopping off at CVS along the way for some snacks. We got back at around quarter of 10, then settled in to watch some Breaking Bad before retiring to bed with some Futurama as we went to sleep.

Sunday, September 29 – I got up at about 8:30, grabbed some coffee, then went out to get groceries with Becky. I read some and called my parents as she made our dinners for the week, then I made myself some lunch to have as we watched the rest of the documentary about censorship and the Smothers Brothers. I laid down in bed and read some after that, then watched a bunch of YouTube videos as Becky worked on part of my Halloween costume:



Oh man, it was going to be awesome.

Feeling a bit better after having taken a rest, I got back up to watch some United States of Tara with Becky, followed by an episode of A Bit of Fry and Laurie off Netflix instant. I went out and got us some Lucky China for dinner, then we ate while watching a program called The Secret Life of Evolution, about the studies of Alfred Russel Wallace as he independently came up with the theory of evolution aside from Charles Darwin. I’m rather embarrassed to say that I can’t remember all that much about the program, but I do recall it being good enough that we watched all of it.

When that concluded, we put on a Breaking Bad, then another United States of Tara. After that, we went on to bed, so I could rest up some and shake off whatever mild illness or lethargy had struck me.

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Return from Asheville

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Sunday, September 22 – we slept well, awaking naturally at around 7 in the morning. We put on the TV for a bit, but there was nothing even remotely worth watching on, and so we got up to get dressed, packed up, and checked out of the hotel. As we left the room, we noticed that it had rained again overnight:



At least the sun was out by then.

After checking out, we gassed up the car, then hit the road down I-40 headed east. Our lone remaining tour stop for the day was south of downtown Asheville:



Distance so far: 7.4 miles

Visiting Asheville without seeing the Biltmore Estate is sort of like visiting Memphis without seeing Graceland. Or so we thought. We changed our minds when we parked at the visitor’s center and saw the ticket prices:



Are you serious? 60 dollars. To see a big house. A big house that – compared to other big houses in Europe – isn’t even all that old. Sixty dollars. Per person. Yeah, no:



Come to think of it, when we were in Memphis, we didn’t see Graceland, either, for the same reason. So I guess we didn’t do either. While I imagine there’s a lot of Elvis memorabilia to be seen at Graceland, it seems like the steep entry fee here was simply to keep out the hoi polloi. And so keep out we did. We returned to the parking lot to commune with the wild turkeys:



Oh, turkeys. You won’t judge us for not being wealthy and bored enough to see a really big house, will you? Thanks, turkeys, you’re the best.

We hit the road back down toward Atlanta then, at around quarter of 9. Still early, of course, but it’d give us time to do chores and relax some when we returned home. We merged onto I-26 East (actually headed south, for the most part), then followed that to US-25 South. That took us into South Carolina again, at about 9:20. We continued on it down into Greenville, where, after a brief swing on I-185, we picked back up with good ol’ I-85 South. We made a brief pit stop at a rest area around mile marker 24, then we pressed on, crossing Lake Hartwell into Georgia at 10:35.

At that point we had a decision to make: if we pressed on to home we’d arrive in good time, but we’d be starving. If we stopped, we’d be a bit later to get home, but we’d have already eaten. We opted for the latter, and put in for a stop for lunch at a Cracker Barrel in Commerce, Georgia:



Total distance so far: 146 miles

We got there several minutes after 11, successfully narrowly beating the church rush. Consequently, it didn’t take long for us to get our food, and we were back on the road in due course. The remainder of the trip back to Atlanta passed without incident, getting us back home at quarter of 1 in the afternoon:



Total distance: 207 miles

Overall, and excellent trip, I’d say.

After unloading the car, I started a load of laundry, then we went out to get groceries. We picked up Giles in Stone Mountain after that (he told us that he was The Dog and that there were dogs there), then I mowed the front lawn as Becky made up our dinners for the coming week. I folded my laundry after that, did the dishes, read for a bit, then folded a load of towels as we put on an episode of United States of Tara from Netflix instant. We watched the rest of that Lost Magic Decoded show we’d been picking away at on the DVR after that, during which time we each made ourselves some light dinner from whatever we could scare up in the fridge. We put on a show about dinosaur feathers after that (pretty interesting, though it was from 2005 or so, and so possibly out-of-date), then the pilot episode of Dirk Gently, recorded on the DVR from BBC America.

I never read the book, but I did really enjoy the Hitch-Hiker’s Guide anthology and consider myself a bit of a Douglas Adams fan, so we gave it a go. It was okay, as far as British sitcoms go, but I can definitely see why they only produced four episodes of it and then moved on; it just wasn’t that good. Such is life, I suppose.

We followed that with a Gravity (the short-lived TV series) off Netflix streaming. Again, not bad, just not something you say, “wow, it’s a real injustice that they didn’t make more of this.” I don’t know if we tried any more episodes of it or gave up on it after that, but, either way, that did it for the evening for us, and we went on to bed. A very nice weekend, and a good way to hold us over after Dragon*Con and before our trip up to New England in October.

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