Archive for the ·

day trip

· Category...

Warm Springs

Comments Off on Warm Springs

Saturday, March 9 – I awoke relatively early, around 7:45, then laid in bed and read for a bit to gather up my strength for what would be our most notable Adventure Day until our trip to Europe and subsequent house purchase. After getting up and getting dressed, Becky and I brought Giles up to the Park Pet Retreat, and dropped him off to stay there for the day, so we could enjoy our day out without having to worry about leaving him at home. We returned to gather up some drinks and snacks in the car, then we hit the road at around 9:30 AM.

We took the Perimeter South down to I-85 South, hooking off onto GA-100 S toward Greenville before hitting Alabama. From there we followed US-27 S to arrive at our destination:


To Warm Springs, GA
Distance: 91 miles

We pulled into Warm Springs, a podunk town in western central Georgia with a population of barely 500 and a tiny town center to match it. While a small tourist trap (which, of course, we would visit much of) had been built around a relatively friendly biker bar, the town is best known as the home of the Little White House, FDR’s retreat before and during his presidency, and the place where he died in 1945.

We weren’t entirely sure where it would be best to park, but as it seemed like almost all of the town could be seen on foot, we eventually elected to pull into a lot adjacent to the biker restaurant, then we slapped on a bit of sunblock and headed out to see what we could, starting at around 11:30. We would return to explore the biker village, but first we had to get a picture of Becky with their giant, camouflaged rabbit:


Biker Village Rabbit

I mean, if you can see him in that picture. He’s kind of hard to make out, what on account of the camouflage and all.

Our first destination for the day was slightly outside the biker village, in an old converted house off of what amounted to the main drag in Warm Springs: the Follow the Leaders Wax Museum. You know how much of suckers we are for wax museums, and at $7 apiece this one was worth a shot. When we arrived we walked through the front door to see a 60-ish man speaking with an older, bearded gentleman in overalls who looked very much like, depending on the season, he split his time as either a Civil War re-enactor or a Santa Claus. As the other fellow left (we’d later figure out that he was Preston, the man who had built up most of the non-FDR-related attractions in Warm Springs) our personal tour with the bearded overall gentleman began.

And man could he talk. He could tell us the entire history of not only the historical persons captured in wax, but also the figures themselves. Preston, it seems, was a “waste not want not” sort of fellow, who’d cleverly re-purpose just about anything he came across, including this old store mannequin into an old-timey aviatrix:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

From there he took us around a corner to the left, where George Washington Carver was standing, offering us peanuts, of course:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Across the way from him we could see Daniel Boone gathering wood:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

…possibly so he can make a lovely, rustic desk for Henry Clay:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Up around the corner from them, Rudolph Valentino stood at the head of the stairs:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Jackie Kennedy Onassis seemed to like what she saw:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

…but Teddy Roosevelt and Will Rogers remained unimpressed:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

It’s hard to say whether they would have gotten along had they been contemporaries (they nearly were, but Rogers’ fame came mostly in TR’s twilight years or after his death). Probably not, though, since TR and Mark Twain apparently hated one another. I suppose men of big personalities just needed space from one another back then. Good thing their figures don’t seem to mind.

The same can be said, of course, for this bunch, too:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Considering that the museum had an economy of space, the proprietors had to make do with stuffing as many post-WWII Presidents in the same Oval Office as possible. Fortunately, Kennedy didn’t seem to mind:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Carter seemed somewhat amused at the notion:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Though LBJ just sort of stood off to one side, brooding:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Finally, despite actually being seated at the desk, Nixon was, predictably, a big grump about having to share the stage:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Next we took a trip back in time to the American Revolution:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

…at the crucial moment when Thomas Jefferson invented the flux capacitor:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Truly he was a god among men.

Unfortunately his time travel couldn’t save Douglas MacArthur’s wrists:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

As we continued along, we next hit a section of Civil Rights leaders, featuring Martin Luther King:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

I should point out here that you might think that since we were in rural Georgia and being given a tour by an older gentleman that we’d get some sideways guff about “them nee-groes” or something to that regard. And you couldn’t be more wrong. Our tour guide seemed genuinely proud of the accomplishments of the Civil Rights leaders and their supporters, including Eleanor Roosevelt:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Poor Eleanor. She looks like her model was cast in a microexpression seated at a baseball game in the exact moment in which she’s trying to determine if a pop foul ball is headed right toward her:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

After a jaunt into a back room featuring numerous movie posters from the 30s through 80s that Preston hadn’t quite figured out what to do with yet, we returned to the museum to see their prize possession:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Yes, Albert Einstein in prison. I know it seems weird, but, as our tour guide explained, the figure was actually quite old and, behind his right ear there was a faint scrawling where the unsteady, elderly hand of one Albert Einstein Himself autographed the piece. It is, not surprisingly, the only wax figure actually autographed by Einstein known to exist and is, as such, quite valuable. Our guide suggested how much it may be worth – $1 million – but I suspect that was an inflated figure. Certainly, though, it was still worth a whole lot of money. And, as such, is behind bars. Poor Dr. Einstein.

Our guide tarried a bit as he described the next figure, Dolly Parton:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

He described her as a truly brave and strong woman, making it on her own in a man’s world of music entertainment. He, uh, really liked Dolly Parton, we gathered:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Maybe he was just intimidated by her nails, though:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

As we wound out the museum, we came upon the iconic scene of Lincoln’s assassination:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Our guide told the story of how they weren’t even supposed to get Lincoln’s head, but they did by mistake, and the seller refused to take it back. So, lacking a John Wilkes Booth, they cobbled together one using a different head and a spare set of hands. You might not be able to make it out, there, but their Booth appears to be shooting Lincoln with a revolver. Whoops. Mary Todd was not amused:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Booth wasn’t alone in having hand issues, though. Poor Neil Armstrong got Space Hands:


Neil Armstrong's hands got warped on the moon

But, at least Billy Graham was fully in-tact, preserved in his own capsule for eternity:


Follow the Leaders Wax Museum

Our guide continued to chat with us as we headed out, and I took the opportunity to ask about an old gas pump they had at the door so I could snap a photo of him:


03/09/13

The whole tour wound up taking much longer than we’d anticipated, but I’d say it was worth it if only to hear him talk for a solid hour and a half.

We bade farewell to our kind host, then we headed on back to the biker village – “Little Sturgis” as Preston has dubbed it – to continue our Warm Springs experience. It’s a friendly kind of place, I hear:


Biker Village

Certainly these dancing concessions seemed happy to see us:


Biker Village

…though this happy potato chip clown looks like he’d seen better days:


Biker Village

No matter where we looked, though, we couldn’t quite seem to get away from Betty Boop:


Biker Village

We’d see more of her later, but we had to move on, as all that standing around gawking was starting to wear on FDR’s nerves:


Biker Village

I couldn’t help but admire this fellow, though, who, despite having only a hatchet, was still offering tickets to the gun show:


Biker Village

Not content that flexing was manly enough, my Injun friend there went on to out-drag a paleface in a bike race:


Biker Village

Of course, he seemed to have special motivation for getting to the finish line first:


Biker Village

Behind the comely squaw there you could see Preston’s Art in Motion Museum, dedicated to all thinks related to motorcycles and whatever-the-heck else he managed to collect that caught his fancy. It was around there somewhere but we couldn’t seem to find its entrance among the jumble of buildings. Predictably, this panda was no help:


Biker Village

We finally managed to come upon the entrance along another road, tucked behind a cluttered ad hoc gift shop. A young lady was there to take our entrance fee, which was good, as it seemed that she was running all of the several of Preston’s museum buildings alone at that particular moment. She asked us if we wanted to see all of them or just that particular collection. As neither of us are really that into vintage motorcycles, we just paid to see what we came for, his collection of Americana:


Art in Motion Museum

Becky immediately gravitated to the YouTubeaphone, there, which operated by cranking an oversized flip-book of photos:


Art in Motion Museum

I preferred this beauty, though:


Art in Motion Museum

Heh heh. “Reginaphone.”

Some of the Americana collection looked like stuff you might find in a vintage toy shop:


Art in Motion Museum

While other things had a bit more, well, “local flavor,” let’s say:


Art in Motion Museum

They had a rather impressive collection of vintage buttons off to one side:


Art in Motion Museum

Some of which, if original, were quite old and quite valuable, I’d guess:


Art in Motion Museum

If TR wasn’t your thing and you wanted a more Populist candidate, they had William Jennings Bryan, too:


Art in Motion Museum

As we wandered around the corner, I saw what I was hoping to find when we visited Plains; a still-full six pack of Billy Beer:


Art in Motion Museum

Homer Simpson would be proud. Plus, it was necessary to wash away the memories of Creepy Squatting Smoking Michelin Man:


Art in Motion Museum

…and this horror, straight out of a Nine Inch Nails video:


Art in Motion Museum

Hey pig. Yeah, you.

As we turned the corner toward the back we came upon a velocipede, necessary part of any Americana museum:


Art in Motion Museum

And… what’s that? Is that a straaaaight jacket?


Art in Motion Museum

Mr. Peanut told us he’d had enough of that joke and he wished I’d just play it cool:


Art in Motion Museum

As we hit the back of the museum, the whole place started to fall apart into an array of whatever couldn’t fit elsewhere. Like some drill bits next to some old comics:


Art in Motion Museum

…or some mannequin legs next to a picture of John Wayne:


Art in Motion Museum

There was one thing back there that made it all worth it, though:


Art in Motion Museum

That’s right, hipsters, we found the original Big Game Hunter! Complete with pistol grip!


Art in Motion Museum

Sadly, it didn’t seem to be functional anymore. And so that concluded our trip to the museum. Or, so we thought, for on the way out:


Art in Motion Museum

Aaah! A 50s Dalek! “EXTERMINATE. EXTERMINATE CO-ED DANCES! EXTERMINATE KNEE-LENGTH SKIRTS!”

As we rounded the corner out of the museum we saw more Betty Boop:


Biker Village

Apparently there was a tiny Betty Boop-themed gift shop there:


Biker Village

The woman who was running the museum had walked out with us, and so we asked her if she could open it up so we could look around. We thought that would be a simple matter, but it turned out she didn’t have a key to it. So we sheepishly waited around as she tracked down Preston for a key. As we killed time, Becky saw how she measured up against Pretty Peach:


Biker Village

Unfortunately, after all that effort to find the key, the inside of the locked door was less of a gift shop and more of a storage area for whatever Preston hadn’t put on sale yet. Oh, and the door frame was rather low:


Biker Village

Stupid Betty Boop wooing us in with her siren charm and gigantic head.

We spent a few moments after that wandering around the biker village to see if there was anything else interesting before we departed:


Biker Village

All around were various things Preston had found and placed there. Lions:


Biker Village

…horses:


Biker Village

…young ladies with old timey cameras and trophies:


Biker Village

…and, of course, Fonzie burning his bike:


Biker Village

I, uh, don’t remember that episode.

The call of the open road made Becky want to take a trip herself:


Biker Village

…and so she decided to stand next to some bikes to see how she looked:


Biker Village

I assured her she looked ready to ride, as I stood safely far away and used the zoom:


Biker Village

It was a bit of a letdown after that to load up into our Prius, but we’d seen all we could in Little Sturgis and it was time to move along. It was a short drive from there to our next destination, the proper highlight of the trip: the Roosevelt Little White House and Museum.

The whole place was actually quite built up. Not terribly surprising, I guess, since it was the beloved home and death-place of one of our greatest Presidents. We first entered it into a museum, detailing FDR’s life:


Little White House

Roosevelt started going to Warm Springs after he was stricken with polio as a means of rehabilitation. He was going there well before he ran for President, though, and so they had plenty of time to collect memorabilia, such as this custom-made swimsuit:


Little White House

…and a portion of his rather enormous stamp collection:


Little White House

They also had one of his custom-designed cars there, complete with vanity plate:


Little White House

A separate display showed how the pedals were rigged with hand-controls so he could drive it without the use of his legs:


Little White House

I’ll note that even then it had to be an automatic transmission, as I doubt he could have operated the clutch with his hands while still driving. Not that he did any serious racing.

By far the most impressive part of the museum – to me, at least – was the vast array of hand-made memorabilia honoring FDR that he had received in his lifetime:


Little White House

There was that clock showing him as the “captain” driving the United States through rough waters, and there was this prayer made just for him:


Little White House

The majority of it, though, in American folk art tradition, was woodworking:


Little White House

His face on a log, there. His name in a chain link, here:


Little White House

And, notably, an impressive collection of hand-carved walking sticks:


Little White House

…some of which were quite elaborately ornamented:


Little White House

As we continued we saw a display of one of his trademark cloaks:


Little White House

…along side a couple of gifts from his wife’s uncle, that other Roosevelt fellow:


Little White House

Near that there was this book:


Little White House

FDR’s mother was quite a character, and lived with him in the White House for a time until her death just four years prior to his own. She seemed to have an opinion on everything (the Roosevelts were nothing if not good at producing strong-willed women) and so it’s only natural she wrote a book about him.

Near there I found this rather odd-looking quilt:


Little White House

Though it’s significantly less odd if you’ll recall that “NRA” in this context means National Recovery Administration, FDR’s primary outlet for the New Deal between 1933 and 1935:


Little White House

It was still rather odd for me to see NRA cross-stitching:


Little White House

…and an NRA latch-hook rug:


Little White House

I suppose words change over time, though.

The heart of the entire collection inside that portion of the museum was right here:


Little White House

A set of the braces FDR used to walk for public appearances. It’s somewhat remarkable to me that these still exist and were not destroyed upon his death to preserve his legacy. I’m glad they’re still around, as they really help bring to life a historical figure who died before my father was even born.

We headed outside from there to the park grounds:


Little White House

The map had a reminder in the lower-left corner to please not smoke:


Little White House

This was perfectly, artistically complimented by a troll-faced FDR with a cigarette in his mouth in the opposite corner:


Little White House

Seriously, someone had fun with that.

As we walked up to the Little White House proper, we meandered along a path that, to our joy, featured representative stones for each state mineral from all 50 states:


Little White House

Many, like Georgia’s, were carved into the shape of the state itself:


Little White House

This was less-impressive in the case of Wyoming:


Little White House

Meanwhile, Missouri went for more of an abstract look with… a triangle?


Little White House

Sure, why not.

Becky was happy to greet good ol’ Massachusetts:


Little White House

Though poor Colorado felt as if it was somewhat lacking compared to Rhode Island:


Little White House

Or maybe that’s a slam on Rhode Island? Because it’s pretty much true.

In terms of my favorite, though, I’d have to go with either Montana:


Little White House

…or Nevada:


Little White House

Texas had a pretty one, too:


Little White House

…especially as compared to New York’s:


Little White House

New York you did not even try.

We’d reached the end of the path, and successfully made our way to the Little White House:


Little White House

As the name suggests, the house wasn’t very big, but it did provide enough space for FDR’s desk:


Little White House

…his toaster:


Little White House

…and where he kept ice water for Secret Service agents, suspiciously directly below the insecticide:


Little White House

There was actually more to the place than that. He had his own, private bedroom:


Little White House

…though Eleanor’s room had two beds in it:


Little White House

He also had his bathroom, complete with Plexiglas-encased toilet paper:


Little White House

In addition to collecting stamps, FDR apparently also enjoyed collecting naval memorabilia and model ships, on display in his dining room:


Little White House

On one side of that there was a closet with a straw-boater hat and a chain that he’d use to take Fala for a wal… erm, to take Fala out:


Little White House

There was a lovely deck out back, but it led to a rather precipitous drop off the side of a hill:


Little White House

I imagine he didn’t get out back there very often.

After a stop to peak in his servants’ quarters, we headed on back to the museum, where one of his final portraits was waiting for us, still unfinished due to his untimely death:


Little White House

We wandered into the gift shop to buy some snacks as Eleanor’s caricature smiled at us:


Little White House

Man, she just couldn’t win at looking good that day, could she?

By that point it was 3:45 and we were getting about ready to head home. We drove through the Roosevelt Warm Springs Center for Rehabilitation to look for their “Polio Hall of Fame,” but the entire place was the size of a college campus and the hall of fame wasn’t listed on the map we found, so we quickly gave up and hit the road back home instead. It was a lovely day in Warm Springs.

Making our way back to I-85 North and then up to Atlanta from there wasn’t too bad, but then I made a critical error. I should have stayed on I-85 all the way to North Druid Hills Road, but I figured the Connector would be a parking lot and so I opted for the Perimeter instead. Which was dumb. Because the Perimeter was a bigger parking lot. And it didn’t lead as directly to home. We watched as prime time to go eat dinner passed by as we sat helplessly in traffic. We had big plans to go to Raging Burrito before picking up Giles, but by the time we got home it was so late that we were lucky to have gotten Giles before the Park Pet Retreat closed for the night at 7. Bah.

After getting our happy and smelly dog back home safely, I ordered us some Mint2 Thai for dinner. We ate while watching some of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs on TV, followed by a pair of Stuff You Should Know TV show episodes off of the DVR. We were getting pretty tired at that point, and so we just put on a show called Deadliest Animals of India (pro tip: don’t live in rural India), then we retired to bed for the night.

Whew! What a busy adventure day! It was a great time, and we were glad to have gotten it in to have a bit of fun before getting bogged down with looking for a new house.

Comments Off on Warm Springs

Pasaquan Art and Post-Halloween Party

Comments Off on Pasaquan Art and Post-Halloween Party

Saturday, November 3 – I slowly got up and going at about 8:45 as Becky walked Giles in the morning. We told him to be a Good Dog while we were gone, then we headed out for the day nice and early, making a stop off to pick up some Dunkie’s for breakfast before hitting I-85 South. We were on a return trip to Pasaquan, that homestead of the eccentric St. EOM that we’d first visited back in May 2011. This time we were headed for their annual art festival held in early November after the south Georgia heat had died down some.

Or at least, that was the idea. It was a particularly warm and sunny day, and so by the time we stepped out of the car in Buena Vista at around 1:30, the sun was already beating down on us and it was about 80 degrees out. Man, 80-degree weather in November is something New England just never does. It was startling how much of a difference in temperature there was just between Atlanta nestled up in the Piedmont and down there in the flood plain, too.

As we’d already paid our entrance fee at the gate before parking we were free to walk the grounds to take in both St. EOM’s artwork and that of the other folks there. First things first, we took this shot in front of the sunburst:


Pasaquan Weekend

…as an updated version of this one from our first visit:


Jon the Sun God

This time, Becky got to be a Sun God, too:


Pasaquan Weekend

…though she was more fond of posing with this fellow:


11/03/12

He seems rather surprised to have genitals.

We wandered on back outside into the mid-day sun to inspect the festival in progress. I’m not gonna lie, folks, there were tons of hippies all over the dang place:


Pasaquan Weekend

As you can see, some were selling items that were – let’s say – “stylistically inspired” by Howard Finster. There was also the obligatory drum circle:


Pasaquan Weekend

…though they must have been taking a break as the terrible, terrible folk music was being played from the shaded stage there.

Finally, there was this guy:


Pasaquan Weekend

He, uh, he had other paintings, too. I’ll bet you can guess what they were about. I’ll give you a hint: woodland animals and naked chicks. That’s what they were about. We gave his table a wide berth.

So right away it was clear to us that we were wise to have checked this place out before putting some of Becky’s paintings up for sale there. This just wasn’t a good fit for her works. And it was full of hippies. Did I mention that already? Because it was. At least they had these guys, though:


Pasaquan Weekend

So, uh, there’s that.

We’d gotten a good lay of the land in terms of the art for sale pretty quickly, and so we decided to spend the rest of the time there re-visiting St. EOM’s property, now that everyone else there was focused on the festival:


Pasaquan Weekend

It’s a shame that they had claimed a stake on the sand garden, as that was where we’d found a lizard our previous visit. Now it was just full of people lounging and reading:


Pasaquan Weekend

We headed on down beneath the tiny tin-sided temple to see if we could get out of the sun for a bit:


Pasaquan Weekend

Becky noticed that the giant St. EOM head beside her was guarding the musicians’ gear:


Pasaquan Weekend

While there we also caught sight of this guy:


Pasaquan Weekend

We had to do a triple-take because he looked so much like our idiot hippie man-child upstairs neighbor from back in Somerville, except wearing a muumuu. Which, in hindsight, would not have been beyond said idiot hippie man-child upstairs neighbor. Now let us never speak of that again.

Eventually some folks moved off of the steps for a bit and so we walked on up to the tin-sided temple:


Pasaquan Weekend

There wasn’t anything special happening there but it did give us a good lay of the land:


Pasaquan Weekend

There was so much art happening! Can’t you feel it?

From there we headed inside the house to see what was going on in there:


Pasaquan Weekend

I had a lovely chat with this fellow:


Pasaquan Weekend

He didn’t have much to say, though. So, we headed back outside to the far side of the house, where we came upon what was by far the best thing there, this set of upright marimbas:


Pasaquan Weekend

We tried to play a soothing song from the Islands, but I guess the Artistic Mother Earth Spirit just wasn’t with us that day, no matter how hard Becky and I tried to fit in:


Pasaquan Weekend

Becky’s attempt to be the chest didn’t improve our Art Spirits, maybe I could be a face?


Pasaquan Weekend

Nope, that didn’t help. Maybe if Becky were a whole statue?


Pasaquan Weekend

Nuthin’. Oh well. We wound our way back around the far side of the complex:


Pasaquan Weekend

…and to this tiny shack to one side:


Pasaquan Weekend

It was closed off the first time we visited. This time Becky was able to sneak her way in and find a new friend, Mr. Pole:


Pasaquan Weekend

Mr. Pole told her that we can’t find our Art Souls anywhere on the outside, because the spirit of St. EOM was within all of us. Sure enough, when we returned inside, there he was:


St EOM

Truly a miracle of the Power of Art. We shall always cherish our time with you, Pasaquan:


Pasaquan Weekend

With that we headed on out. I had gone to the trouble earlier to carefully select a restaurant that looked good for us in Columbus, after the near-disaster we had just picking a place at random on our first drive-through when we’d first been to Pasaquan. I found one that looked like a winner. Unfortunately, Columbus wasn’t having any of our good cheer this time, either:


No cows today

I love how they have a sign that says “NOW OPEN”… and then they’re closed. Thanks, Columbus!

We wound up finding a Sonic Burger up the road a bit, which is never that difficult a task in that part of the country. Having gotten some decent food in us, at least, we hit I-185 North and continued on to I-85 back on to Atlanta, getting us home right around 6 o’clock. We relaxed for a bit and gave Giles some attention, then watched some one of another terrible animal family movie that aired on the Spanish channel. I know it seems silly, but putting on Perro de Otro Mundo or whatever helps Becky learn because everything’s so damned simple and obvious. I can’t imagine watching it in English, though.

By the time 7:45 rolled around we grabbed some drinks out of the fridge, then headed on out to the West Side for Sam and Lisa’s Halloween party:


Hutcheson House of Horrors

The spread of food was incredible, as usual. Sam was skulking about somewhere out of the eye of my camera, but here’s Lisa, poised in the foreground in front of our Pig-Head:


Hutcheson House of Horrors

Cathy was dressed as the Fairy Godmother, also a character she plays in one of her Sketchworks bits:


Hutcheson House of Horrors

As you can see, Paul was dressed as Paul. But there were more guys out on the deck who also seemed to not prefer to dress up:


Hutcheson House of Horrors

Silly Boys. Dressing up is most of the fun. Just ask Becky:


Hutcheson House of Horrors

Though unquestionably my favorite shot from the night is this one of Squid:


Hutcheson House of Horrors

I just love it because it looks like he’s telling the Best Story Ever. Which he probably is.

We had a very lovely time, and at some point we both managed to meet their new-ish dog, cordoned off upstairs with their cats. We got home at around 12:15, then relaxed a bit more with Giles before putting on some Adventure Time and going to bed. Whew, what a busy day!

Sunday, November 4 – for reasons that remain unknown to me to this day, I awoke at about 7:15 feeling pretty great. Maybe celebrating Halloween for the third time in the course of a week perked me up? Who knows. I used my unforeseen energy to go to the gym while Becky slept in some and walked Giles. After I got cleaned up we went out to get groceries, then I made myself some lunch, called my parents, and got going on my laundry. After playing some Bubble Bobble with Becky and reading for a while my early spurt of energy waned enough that I had to lie down to take a nap. When I awoke my laundry had finish and so I folded it, then I say down to watch a show called How to Kill a Human that we’d recorded on the DVR. It was about various methods of administering the death penalty, as well as attitudes about it, to a lesser degree. It was rather alarming how: 1) we don’t use the most humane method of capital punishment; and 2) we’re aware of that but don’t care. The whole idea is that a society should be held to a higher moral standard than any single person and I think we fail in that regard. Something to think about, at least.

Whew, that got kind of heavy, didn’t it? Here, have a the Lizard on a pumpkin:


Lizard with Pumpkins

The Lizard is the best because she can be moved into any position for a pose and she’ll just hold it:


11/04/12

We put on three consecutive episodes of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia after that. The second season – now with Danny DeVito – was much better than the first one with just the “gang,” but it was still slow to grow on us. We were giving it a good shot, though.

I picked us up some Little Caesar’s for dinner, then we watched a show off Netflix instant called Killer Couponers about those coupon people. It was pretty awful, so we instead put on Indie Game, also available streaming. It was interesting enough that we watched the first half of it, but since neither of us are big into video gaming it couldn’t hold our interests for too long. If you are a gamer you should totally watch it, though, because it is well-done. Just not our thing.

Know what is our thing, though? Making leftover candy pie:


Leftover Candy Pie

That’s right: it was the first weekend in November and that meant time to take what remained from Halloween and make leftover candy pie, the greatest invention of all-time. That was the before, up there, and here’s what came out after 40 minutes of low heat:


Leftover Candy Pie

Hooray America!

We put on a new show for us next, also from Netflix instant: the 1990 Greek Legends spin-off of Jim Henson’s The Storyteller. I can vaguely remember it from when I was young, but I’m glad we re-discovered it as it was quite well-done. We watched the episode on Daedalus and Icarus, then we retired to bed for the night.

Overall quite a good weekend, I’d say. With Halloween well and out of the day we next had the election looming just 2 days away. Trepidation!

Comments Off on Pasaquan Art and Post-Halloween Party

Rock City Gardens

Comments Off on Rock City Gardens

Saturday, September 22 – we awoke around 8:45 to watch some Plaza Sésamo while having some cereal for breakfast. Giles was still looking pretty stable and so I put the dog-hammock (or as I like to call it, the dogmock) in the back-end of the car to contain him as Becky gave him a walk. At about 10:30 we headed on out swinging down I-85 South to I-75 North – just as we’d done a week earlier – except this time we continued on all the way to Tennessee and to I-24. From there we drove west for just a little bit until we cleared Chattanooga and got to Raccoon Mountain, our first quick stop:


Stop 1 - Raccoon Mountain Caverns
Distance so far: 130 miles

We arrived at around 12:20, and while we wouldn’t be going into the caverns just then, Becky wanted to stop off to pick up some minerals from their shop that she’d eyed when we were last there in late Spring of 2011. Plus, since our main destination for the day was technically in Georgia (it’s just barely across the border), I had to let Giles out of the car for a quick walk around so he’d officially be in what we presume is the first new state for him:


Rock City

He was a bit worried about what all was going on, but eventually his curiosity overtook him as we walked down toward the camp grounds:


Rock City

When Becky returned from the shop, though, he was very happy to see Mom again:


Rock City

“IM IN ANOTHER STATE ITS FUN I THINK AS LONG AS MOM AND DAD ARE HERE”

With that quick stop satisfying the conditions to get Giles into his first new state, we swung on down some side-streets to cross the border and to get us to Rock City Gardens, our main event:


Stop 2 - Rock City Gardens
Total distance so far: 139 miles

The last time we tried to go there we got rained out. But this time we arrived on a beautiful late-September afternoon at around 1 o’clock and everything was just great. Sure enough, Rock City welcomes dogs, and Giles was by far not the only one there, though he was one of the largest dogs there. He was remarkably well-behaved the entire time, too. After a quick stop through the gift shop to pick up our respective mothers some SEE ROCK CITY birdhouses, we got our picture taken with Giles at the entrance, then we headed on into the gardens:


Rock City

We were immediately greeted by a chipmunk with overstuffed jowls:


Rock City

Amazingly, Giles didn’t attempt to run off and chase him. Perhaps the whole experience was so foreign to him that he was too focused on smelling everything and sticking close to Mom and Dad:


Rock City

As you’ll see, we took turns as we walked along, with one of us taking Giles and the other taking the camera. It actually worked out really well. There were plenty of people there, yes, but it wasn’t overly crowded (it’s probably much busier over the summer, but by then the heat had broken just enough that it was comfortable outside, so I say we won on both counts) and so we were able to get plenty of shots of Giles being regal:


Rock City

…or of him being an exploratory dog sneaking through the cracks:


Rock City

That was one of two “tight squeeze” portions of the trail. Now, I’m a big guy, but not big in the same sense that ‘Muricans are big, and this is northern Georgia we’re talking about, here, within spitting distance of Tennessee and Alabama. I have to imagine there are a number of guests who earnestly struggle to fit through them. Then again, maybe there’s some self-selection going on where folks that rotund wouldn’t spend an afternoon out in nature, anyway.

For his part, Giles with his offensively athletic physique was more than happy to hop on every rock he encountered:


Rock City

As we wound around the first bend I handed him back off to Becky:


Rock City

As I took over camera duties, I decided to take some shots of the scenery:


Rock City

Wait… what are those down there?


Rock City

Yes, Rock City Gardens appears to be populated by industrious little gnomes. They had clearly claimed their stake:


Rock City

Some were erecting birdhouses:


Rock City

…while others took the lotion from the basket or they got the hose again:


Rock City

As we went along, Becky found a little stainless steel chapel, apparently erected if you have a sudden desire to marry a robot:


Rock City

As the trail rolled along we went over tiny bridges:


Rock City

…and under tiny bridges:


Rock City

We went over some bigger bridges:


Rock City

…and through mysterious tunnels:


Rock City

At one point we wound back around to atop where we’d squeezed through rocks, enabling us to look at other garden tourists doing the same from on high:


Rock City

Finally, we crossed a rickety suspension bridge as we approached the mountain face. Giles decided it was very much Not Fun:


Rock City

Most dogs are afraid of heights, what with never climbing into trees and such. He managed well enough, though, and didn’t resort to collapsing in a heap. When we crossed it we got a lovely view of the lower Appalachians:


Rock City

…and of other people enjoying the view:


Rock City

We found a spot where, allegedly, on a clear day one can see 7 states:


Rock City

I kind of call shenanigans on seeing Kentucky or Virginia. Tennessee and Alabama, of course, and I’ll buy North Carolina. South Carolina maybe on a clear day if the line-of-sight is good, though that does involve gazing clear across Georgia. Giles was also curious about it and he wanted to inspect the view himself:


Rock City

Believe it or not he did that completely of his own volition. I’m glad I was holding him tight, as he might have tried to go over the ledge out of curiosity. Dogs don’t have a good sense of height.

After a bit many of the folks on the adjacent platform cleared off and so I quickly brought Giles over to allow Becky to get a shot of us from the Eagle’s Nest:


Rock City

Becky wanted to pop into the visitor’s center to the right of the ledge, there, and so I took Giles to sit down and relax for a bit:


Rock City

Why did Becky want to go in there? Why, because they had an Art-O-Mat:


Rock City

Shortly after we moved to Atlanta we had a bit of mis-adventure looking for an Art-O-Mat. It involved finally reaching an artist collective in a nasty part of town and using a machine that barely even worked to get a lousy scenery painted on a wood block. This time Becky had much better luck:


Rock City

Sure enough, there was an insect inside:


Rock City

Rock City was our friend for life after that. It had awesome presents for us.

From there I took over handling Giles again and we continued on through the back stretch of the gardens:


Rock City

That involved going through what turned out to be an even tighter squeeze than the one on the way out:


Rock City

As I moved my 215-pound mass through their, a gnome silently judged me:


Rock City

We were rewarded for making it through, though, with an overhead view of a majestic albino deer:


Rock City

…though her mate also seemed to silently judge us for disturbing their peace:


Rock City

The path split at that point and it was clear that we wouldn’t be able to double-back through both segments, so we elected to go through another spooky tunnel:


Rock City

That spat us back out onto the rock face, a couple of stories below where we were standing earlier:


Rock City

From there we could see what looked to be a big giant birdhouse down below. Like, a birdhouse for horses, or something:


Rock City

I’m dumb.

I waited for Becky to run and take a couple of those shots beside a 1,000-ton balanced rock:


Rock City

As I walked beyond that, though, I saw something glow with an eerie light:


Rock City

It turns out it was just a bunch of gnomes getting hammered, though. No big deal:


Rock City

Silly gnomes.

We switched back at that point and Becky handled Giles once more:


Rock City

As we exited those small caverns she caught glimpse of something:


Rock City

It turns out it was the Stone Witch, a mysterious rock formation said to have been discovered by Indians. Or… something:


Rock City

Nobody knows how the Stone Witch got her pipe:


Rock City

I’m still dumb.

As we reached the end segment of the gardens we hit one of the main attractions, the Fairyland Caverns:


Rock City

The entrance was guarded by sponge-hoarding gnomes:


Rock City

They said we were allowed to pass, and so we descended into the cavern’s damn recesses:


Rock City

When we got there we saw little phosphorescent gnomes hard at work in Santa’s Workshop:


Rock City

…busy making toys for all the glowing little Victorian children of the world:


Rock City

As the children slept the dreamed of fairies:


Rock City

…and of ill-advised ventures into gingerbread houses:


Rock City

As we continued we hit upon some more fairytale scenes that seemed to favor the animals involved. In “Little Red Riding Hood” the wolf is just sort of hanging out and chillin’:


Rock City

…and in “Goldilocks” the Three Bears chase the moochin’ title character off:


Rock City

“…and don’t come back!” The end!

We hit the end of the caverns in a large vestibule housing Steampunk Mother Goose’s Village:


Rock City

I could tell you about what was in there, but it was all kind of a blur:


Rock City

Okay, that’s the last dumb joke. For now.

That was it! Giles had successfully made it through Rock City Gardens, and had manage to be a Good Dog the entire time:


Rock City

Before we exited the gardens Becky stopped at a leather-maker’s shop at the end to pick out Giles a handsome hand-stamped collar that I’ll show you later. After she got it I inspected the photo that was taken at the outset, and wound up purchasing it. I know those sets are a rip-off as they’re way overpriced (and not to mention incredibly wasteful for those that never get purchased), but I just had to get this one:


Rock City

Do you know when we’ll ever get another picture of us with Giles where Giles is happily mugging for the camera and sitting still like that? Never, that’s when. That made it well worth the $20 I paid for the set of magnets and photos.

We headed out from the park at around 2:30 via local roads down Lookout Mountain in an attempt to find a fossil site that Becky had found on the Internet. The directions were sketchy at best, though, and it seemed to lead us far astray from where it logically should have been. Predictably, by the time we got there a half-hour later, nothing looked right and so we just continued on, picking our way back to I-75.

As we drove on home down the highway Giles was well and thoroughly exhausted from the day’s events:


Rock City

I can’t tell you how happy I am with how everything worked out, though, especially in light of his G.I. issues that, unfortunately, would crop up again in the coming weeks. For right then, though, everything was right in the Dog World.

We got back home at about 5:30, completing a lovely Adventure Day:


Return to Decatur via GA
Total distance: 285 miles

When we got back I got us some Lucky China for dinner, and we ate while watching most of a documentary about Ben Franklin off of the DVR, followed by the rest of that one about FDR that we’d been picking through from Netflix streaming. We followed that with an hour-long show about the Monkees called, strangely enough, Making the Monkees. A lot of it was new information to me, but Becky knew almost all of their history already. When it ended we went to bed for the night. Two adventure Saturdays in a row is rare for us, but I’d have to work the following weekend, so I’m very glad we did this when we did.

Comments Off on Rock City Gardens

Finster’s Paradise Gardens

Comments Off on Finster’s Paradise Gardens

Saturday, September 15 – we got up at about 8:15 for our first adventure day since Dragon*Con. After reading in bed for a while I got started on setting up WordPress for Becky’s personal blog, then we had some cereal for breakfast while watching some Plaza Sésamo off of the DVR. At about 10:30 we hit the road, first hooking down I-85 South to I-75 North so as to avoid the Perimeter (in light of the epic failure that we met with a week earlier there), then continuing up on US-27 until we hit Summerville, Georgia. As we drove along we listened to a Stuff You Should Know podcast about the future of humanity that, truthfully, was pretty bleak. Fortunately, we were headed up to a certified Happy Place as we pulled in outside of Finster’s Paradise Gardens, 98 miles from home:


Finster's Paradise

Howard Finster is probably the most famous of Georgia’s outsider artists. He turned his property in the sleepy northern town of Summerville into a rambling explosion of folk art throughout his life. He gained some publicity for it starting in the 70s, though you’re probably familiar with his work on album covers for R.E.M., or, later, the Talking Heads. He created a rather prodigious amount of artwork all centered about religious or spiritual themes in his life, and after his death in 2001 his friends and family as well as members of the community in Chattooga County (which, with a population of only 26,000, doesn’t exactly have a lot of other noteworthy things to it), have maintained the property and have invited visitors in without any up-front admission.

As we approached a couple of locals working in a shed across the way welcomed us to walk on over to the house. Outside there were a number of things that may or may not be related to Finster, including this very unlucky sculpture that Becky stood beneath:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…and a cement collage of various bits and pieces:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…with a snake draped across it:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Because, y’know, art.

A kind elderly woman welcomed us at the entrance and talked to us for a few moments before encouraging us to walk around. She also gave us some bug spray, which turned out to be a bit of a godsend, as the property had some standing water on it and there were most definitely mosquitoes about. After that she took our picture along the side of the house:


09/15/12

I’m glad we have that shot, but Becky got another one of me at a better angle to blend in with the crowd:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

The woman gave us a free map of the property that I believe I kept somewhere but truthfully, trying to make sense of the geography was almost an act of futility while we were there, so keep in mind that, as I go through the numerous pictures we took there, that if it seems rather nonsensical, then that’s just about right. Everywhere we looked was another photo opportunity, but each photo opportunity didn’t exactly make much sense in context of what we’d just seen. That’s sort of how outsider art works, I guess.

A good place to start would be with this, I suppose:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Much of the works that are in better shape were done by Michael Finster, Howard’s son, who was able to continue with Howard’s vision with his own touches, like smiling clouds:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…though not all the clouds seemed so happy to be next to Folk Art Jesus:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

The Paradise Gardens were first opened up to visitors in 1976, shortly after Finster started gaining recognition for his work:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Though much of what remains 36 years later is his, there’s definitely a hodgepodge of artwork around the property in differing styles:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Some of the older, more worn bits reminded me some of the Beer Can House in Houston:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…while others seemed to bring about the hypergraphia that seems to be endemic to outsider art:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

As we worked our way behind the house, we hit upon the centerpiece of the property, the chapel:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Though the inside of it was closed due to much-needed renovations, there was plenty to see along the outside:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

I couldn’t quite manage to be as tall as this fellow:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…if only I had some sort of cosmic donkey to ride:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Much of the outside of the chapel was lined with broken mirrors, covered in paint that has long since worn off:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Along one side I stopped to admire an old gumball machine:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

In doing so, this little fellow caught my eye:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

A tiny green snake! A real life version of the one out front!


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

He was patient with us enough to let us pose him on the machines:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…though he seemed happy when we finally let him go:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

“sssnaaake! leave me alone!”

Along the back side of the chapel we came upon one of Howard’s workshops:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…complete with mostly-drained things in jars:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

And… uh… this:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

A desire to collect dolls and other things with faces seems to be another hallmark of outsider artists.

Finster was staunchly opposed to use of drugs and alcohol:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Though he loved him some Coca-Cola:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Along side this rare secular piece lauding Georgia’s most famous beverage was a couple of self-portraits:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…and, of course, a Jesus:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

The writing wasn’t just on the paintings. It was absolutely eveywhere, including on the ground:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…and on the side of an old, rusted-out car:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

The writing on the car included some helpful hints on one side:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

I managed to reach my arm in to get a shot of the decaying inside. Not very artistic, but I do like how it looks:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

That car sat astride a small garage on the side of the chapel, where one of Howard’s nicer cars was permanently parked:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

This one was adorned with more pictures than words:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…including a somewhat non-sequitur Delta aircraft:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

So at least Finster supported all manner of businesses based out of Georgia.

Though that car wasn’t coated in warnings about the perils of unsafe driving, the shed in which it was parked had a helpful sign as a reminder:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Along the side of the shed there were more happy clouds:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Some were particularly happy:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

From there we walked toward the back, dodging the muddy little stream running down the middle of the overgrown yard:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Becky stopped to admire some old metal racks:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

I believe they were used to hold lunch trays at a cafeteria. Or… something:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

While she did that I enjoyed a Keith Haring original that had, much like Keith Haring, clearly seen better days:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

I guess it was a present years back to Finster’s Paradise Gardens? At any rate, it was situated among some concrete containing sad unicorns:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…and, uh, dead blue jays:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

I’m not sure that’s part of the art.

We walked behind the chapel along the immense covered wheelchair ramp:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

It contained little segments of glass windows along the bottom:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…as well as more art celebrating the wonders of Coke:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

We navigated the streams to get to the garden area behind the chapel:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

There was an immense wrought-iron statue covered in hubcaps back there:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…on which I am not peeing, despite what it looks like. There were also some other various things:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

It appeared to just be a bunch of ceramics and glass in fencing:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…not exactly sure why, but why not:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Next to that there was – what at first glance – looked like a pile of concrete:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…but was actually a tangle of happy snakes:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

As we walked along we found a picturesque rusted sewing machine covered in weeds:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…next to a helpful reminder tiled into the ground:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Heading around the corner of the property we hit another one of Finster’s sheds filled with various rusted items:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Next to that there was a little tin-sided one that was surprisingly clutter-free:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…along with a convenient giant shoe to rest upon:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

What’s that, though? Special delivery! Train!


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Beyond that toward the way back there were more faces encased in concrete like that one episode of Doctor Who:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…complete with more poor little horsies:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…and a concrete duckie on a pole:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Because art.

At that point the ground became quite marshy. Fortunately, Finster had thought ahead and put his tiny mirror-house up on stilts:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Of course, the tiny bottle-house was along the ground:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…along with the tiny chapel:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Becky took a glance to see what was inside the chapel:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Apparently, whoever that guy is, he really liked vodka:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

As we wound around back toward the front we found another column of things stuck into concrete:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…as well as a slightly-worn friendly reminder:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

We found another alcove crammed with old, rusted things:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…including an old, rusty George Washington:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Outside I made friends with a deer:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…and we admired some rusty farm equipment:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Note the knot of barbed wire in the background. Just in case you didn’t get tetanus just from looking at that.

Getting toward the end, I found another self-portrait:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…and Becky admired a bottle tree:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

They seem to be a thing in the South, as that was not the only one we’ve ever seen. It was located next to the Coca-Cola chapel:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

The life-sized Coke bottle was adorned with Finster’s homespun pro-Coca-Cola propaganda:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…though the truly odd thing was the casket in the place of an altar:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

…presumably, to memorialize Finster in his passing:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

We wound around the back-side of the chapel, adorned with dinosaurs and… Indian women? Sure, why not:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

We made our way back to the front of the Paradise Garden:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

Becky found what looked like a recently-painted sign sitting out against a fence:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

As we turned around from there, guess who we found?


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

It’s ol’ Howard himself, with Bible and banjo on his lap, and storm gutters for legs:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

He told Becky he was happy we came. That was nice of him.

We headed back inside, where he also appeared in slightly creepier, papier-mache form:


Howard Finster's Paradise Garden

We chatted a bit with the elderly woman whom we’d met at the outset and we purchased a t-shirt from her left over from their annual festival to give to Becky’s brother for Christmas. And with that we decided to hit the road and head on back home. It was a lovely time, and man, was that a lot of pictures.

We headed straight toward Decatur and to Raging Burrito to get some late lunch/early dinner. We noticed that The Square Pub down the row was having a pepper roast, and on our way out we went to inspect it. We’re glad we did, as they had a mariachi band!


Pirate/Mariachi Fest

And, uh… pirates?


Pirate/Mariachi Fest

The pirates, as it turned out, were unrelated and were on a pub crawl in the area. But hey, lucky us! Howard Finster and Mariachi Pirates in one day!


Pirate/Mariachi Fest

At one point the pirates got the awesome idea of having the mariachi band play for them as they did a pirate dance. The band had a gig to play for the Square Pub, but they tentatively agreed. And it would have been awesome, had the pirates managed to get their shit together. Instead, they spent more than 15 minutes just futzing around, trying to line up and form some sort of pattern as the band waited, obviously trying to hide their impatience:


Pirate/Mariachi Fest

Eventually the mariachi band quietly went back to their post at the Square Pub and started playing again, I grabbed us some popsicles from King of Pops and we settled in to listen for a bit before heading home, making it back to the house at 5:15.

I finished setting up the WordPress build for Becky’s blog, then we put on a show called The Secret Life of Chaos. I would love to talk about it – or other stuff we had – but it turns out the DVR screwed up the recording, along with a ton of other stuff from over one or two days. Fortunately it hasn’t happened again since it really sucked. For lack of anything else we ended up having to watch a Spanish version of a terrible made-for-TV movie Becky had recorded to help with her learning. I forget what the Englsh version is called, but it was about a chimp who played hockey and in Spanish it was called El Primate Mas Valiente. And now let us never speak of it again. We watched some Adventure Time after that to cleanse the palette, then we headed on to bed for the night. A good day out in Georgia, I’d say.

Comments Off on Finster’s Paradise Gardens

Fouriversary

Comments Off on Fouriversary

Thursday, August 16 – our fourth wedding anniversary! We celebrated by taking the day off. We slept in until 7:30 (well, it’s late for a weekday), then, after reading some in bed, we went out and went to the gym!


A merry time at the gym

With that out of the way we went home and got cleaned up. I read some more, then made myself an early lunch at around 11 o’clock. After eating while watching the new Futurama from the previous night on the DVR, we headed on up the Perimeter north to I-75 to I-575 and to Woodstock, Georgia. What the heck were we doing up in north Georgia exurban Hell on such a nice day, you ask? Why, going to Mysteria Antiques and Oddities, a store that’s Atlanta’s answer to Obscura in New York. I’m not a huge fan of Atlanta miming things in NY or LA instead of making its own name, but since Atlanta has a bit of an antique “scene” already, I let this one slide.

The place was a bit hard to find as it was in a nondescript warehouse off of the side of the road, but once we got there we more or less had the place to ourselves:


08/16/12

There were some unusual items there, but mostly it was the standard fare selected by pickers looking for stuff with good collector value:


Bozo Grand Prize Game

Which is not to say it wasn’t fun, though:


Free Twinkies!

Most of the stuff there was what I’d describe as being a high-quality yard sale, then. We didn’t find anything particularly fantastic, but there was a lot that was familiar to us:


Alphie

I forget whether I had one of those, my sister did, or a friend did. But I definitely remember him being part of my very young life. I can’t say the same about this, though:


Rub n' Play transfer set

Michael Jackson Rub-n-Play set. The jokes just… I don’t even need to say anything, do I?

Becky noticed that a lot of the taxidermy seemed familiar to her:


Pat's Heads

She asked the proprietor and, sure enough, they came from Pat, the guy in Duluth from whom she got our deer mount Cornelius Snarlington. So no sense in buying taxidermy from Mysteria if we know who the go-to guy for it in the Atlanta metro area is.

Becky bought a few trinkets as a gesture of good will for the manager being so indulgent of us running around taking pictures. It wasn’t enough to prevent her from being thrown into Hamburger Jail on the way out, though:


Devoured by Mayor McCheese

I was developing a bit of a headache as we headed out so we stopped before getting back to the highway so I could pick up a refreshment:


Extreme Jon

Diet Mountain Dew! In a can! A big can that looks like beer! What could possibly go wrong with that?

We made it back home at around 2:30 and Becky played some Nintendo while I laid down and took a nap, then read for a while more. We gave Giles some outside time by playing with him in the back yard, then we watched some Amazing Stories off of Netflix streaming. By that point we were getting hungry and so we went down to Decatur to get some early dinner at Noodle in Decatur. While there we noticed that the Decatur Diner next door was not only closed, but now had its patio all torn up:


Ruins of Decatur Diner

Poor Decatur Diner. It was a run-of-the-mill, Greek-owned, greasy-spoon diner, the sort of which there are 700 of in New Jersey. And there it would have flourished. But in Decatur no one knew how to handle greased skillet food that wasn’t organic-farm-to-table and no kid’s menu for little Brydyn and Crayzyn and so it failed. Sigh. Dammit, white people.

Anyway, dinner was still quite good and we headed home with enough time to watch the previous night’s Daily Show before we bounced on up to the megaplex off I-85 in Chamblee. Why were we going there when the still-ghetto-but-much-cheaper North DeKalb Mall Cinema was so much closer? Why, to see a special live broadcast of Rifftrax doing Manos: Hands of Fate! We’d never been to see any Rifftrax events before, but, c’mon, Manos. We had to go. If there was one MST3k movie that needed re-visiting it’s Manos. And it was fantastic. I didn’t dress up for it like a couple of folks did but I did wear my vintage-1996 MST3k t-shirt. And it was lots of fun. We’d be back in a couple of months for the infamous Birdemic. More on that later.

We got home around 10 o’clock, played with Giles some, then we watched a spot of Adventure Time before going to bed. A lovely anniversary day. And you know, now that I think about it, that’s really it, isn’t it? It’s why after seven years of being together I still love Becky so very much, because when I want to go out to see a stupid movie get made fun of, she says “great!” and when she wants to drive up to north Georgia to look for weird junk, I say, “sounds like fun!” I can’t imagine being with anyone who’d have it any other way. I really can’t.

Comments Off on Fouriversary

Fried Green Cryptids

Comments Off on Fried Green Cryptids

Saturday, May 12 – I got myself up and showered at about 7:30 and made myself a nice English muffin for breakfast. Why would I do such a thing? Well, much like when Becky’s mom had visited 52 weeks before, we’d be headed that morning to the scene of Fried Green Tomatoes, Juliette, Georgia. The – as I’ve termed it before – sort of theme park for menopausal women. But maybe I’ll refrain from being more of a hater.

At any rate, Becky’s mom had raved about her first visit and so Jenn wanted to go, too, when she came down this time, so off we would go. First, though, we tried out something new by dropping off Giles at the free-range dog daycare facility just up the road from us in Tucker to see how it went. If he liked it there we’d bring him during weekend excursions for us to keep him from staying at home and moping around/destroying things. He seemed more than happy to be there when we dropped him off, so off we went to pick up Jenn and Becky’s mom from the Days Inn downtown. We arrived around 9:30, met them out front, then headed on down to Juliette.

The drive was perfectly pleasant as I made a fortuitous wrong turn that, while it didn’t add more than 10 minutes to our trip, did provide some nice small-town antique-shop scenery for us. When we arrived in town in Juliette I was not as starving as I was the last time, but since there were a lot of cars parked there already (though no bus full of blue-hairs, like last time), we wasted no time in getting a table for an early lunch at the Whistle Stop Cafe:


05/12/12

It wasn’t as busy inside as we’d anticipated (though it would get so by the time we finished, as a truck-load of teens coming from a junior rodeo tournament arrived), so we got the table right in front of the movie prop window this time:


Juliette, GA

The food was excellent as usual, and, just like last time, we wandered about the tiny town through the little shops. We didn’t take as many photos this time since we covered it so well last time, and, trust me, not all that much had changed. Well, one shop had changed. There was this:


Juliette, GA

And, slightly more inexplicably, this:


Juliette, GA

Maybe bin Laden and the BDSM gnome story lines were cut out of the director’s cut? At any rate, aside from that one… interesting… shop, much of the rest remained the same as it was a year earlier. Tiny shops selling various trinkets, honey (of which I bought some), and frog jam:


Juliette, GA

Oh, and mild chow chow of course:


Juliette, GA

Really, I find that chow dogs are best prepared with more spice, in the authentic tradition, but you know old people with their sensitive digestion.

We stopped by the town’s tiny stage so that Becky could pose for this shot:


Juliette, GA

…as a complement to this one from a year earlier:


Hee-Haw theatre

We’re smart!

Though the cicadas weren’t out this time and the glorious sun was replaced by a nagging overcast sky, there was a rather ominous tree full of several hundred pounds worth of turkey vulture for us to enjoy:


Juliette, GA

So that was something. We drove up to visit the church cemetery again after finishing with the town, then we headed over to the waterfall. Though we didn’t catch any locals trying to cross the falls this time, we did spy a couple of picturesque burros:


Juliette, GA

“SOY BURRO. NO ESTA BUENO.”

We stopped for gas and snacks at the grungy gas station right outside of Juliette, then headed on to I-75 North to get back to Atlanta. We hit some nasty traffic just outside the Perimeter that wound up forcing me to take an ad hoc re-route back into town, but eventually we made it back to the hotel, whereupon we dropped off our guests before heading on home. We made it back at about 4 PM, giving us just enough time to read and relax some and to watch Giles play on the day care center’s webcam. He seemed to be having tons of fun. When we picked him up he seemed exhausted and in ecstasy. He played. There were dogs. It was fun. He smelled like pee. It was fun.

We brought him back home, got him cleaned up, and then we headed on back out at quarter of 6. His energy was spent and he slept like a rock while we were gone. So that was definitely a success.

We picked up Jenn and Becky’s mom and then brought them on down to Manuel’s Tavern for some good, simple dinner and to enjoy the talk that evening put on by the Atlanta Skeptics about cryptids. The guy who did it was quite good and engaging as he did it in podcast form, going on about various cryptids in the news, the latest bigfoot sightings, that sort of thing. It was lots of fun to listen to and Becky and I chatted with him a bit before leaving. We think Becky’s mom and Jenn had a not-altogether-horrible time there, too, so I’m glad we went. We really do need to get out to the Science Tavern and Skeptics in the Pub events more often, but unfortunately our schedules just don’t seem to permit it.

We dropped off Becky’s mom and sister at their hotel again for the evening, then we headed on home to collapse on the couch with Giles at around 9:30. We wound down the evening by watching the most recent Daily Show and Colbert episodes followed by some Adventure Time, then we retired for the evening. A busy day to keep our guests entertained, but a good one, I think.

Sunday, May 13 – I was awoken at around 6:30 by the jolting sound of silence as the window A/C unit in our bedroom suddenly stopped functioning. I snoozed on and off for another hour before getting up to investigate what had happened: the power was out in our room… the house… the entire neighborhood. I walked Giles a bit in the humidity-saturated morning air to discover that a passing squall had knocked a tree onto a power line on Atterberry Place near Delcourt, fracturing a pole in half and dragging it into the road. Cool to look at, for sure, but not a good sign in regard to our power getting restored in a timely manner. As we left to meet Becky’s mom and sister for breakfast we hoped that their flight would get off on time, as we certainly didn’t have much in the way of entertaining them with no power at home.

Breakfast at the hotel was about as good as any hotel breakfast ever is, and when we finished up we got them on down and out to the airport by about 10:15. A bit on the early side, true, but if they were to encounter travel issues – which, fortunately, they did not – they’d need to be there early to make alternative arrangements. We said goodbye to them and bid them safe travels, then we drove on out to pick up our groceries for the week. When we got home the power was still out, and so I had to make like a fridge-ninja when putting the temperature sensitive items away. To add a little insurance Becky threw some ice packs we had in the freezer on in the fridge, too.

The rest of the morning and early afternoon was predictably lazy as I read some on the couch, then took a nap, then called my parents. In the mean time, Giles worked at disfiguring his wrestler toy:


05/13/12

…and sitting on Becky:


05/14/12

“I’M LOVING MOM NOW”

By 3 in the afternoon we were starting to get bored and sticky from the humidity and so we walked out to see what the heck was going on with the power. They looked to be finishing up and, sure enough, the lights (and, more importantly, air conditioning) came back on shortly after we returned home. I made myself a light snack and we celebrated our return to the first world by watching Fast, Cheap and Out of Control, which had arrived in the mail from Netflix. We followed that with the last bit of a show about life in 10,000 BC on the TV (too bad we didn’t have, you know, power to record it). I downloaded some Geek a Week podcasts for us to listen to on our road trip that would kick off just five days from then, then we watched some of that Curiosity show featuring a fictional, 1,000-year-old Adam Savage; my favorite one of the lot. I picked us up some Fellini’s for dinner and we settled in to watch a rather-engaging show called Extreme Civil War Re-Enactors about guys who do everything in Civil War re-enactments with period equipment, not just walking around in uniforms. Method-acting taken to its logical conclusion, I guess you’d call it. We followed it with another show we’d recorded, about attempts to isolate Abraham Lincoln’s DNA from pieces of cloth supposedly containing his blood (spoiler alert: they didn’t do it). When that ended we put on a new-ish David Attenborough show about birds of paradise, then we read for a bit and headed on to bed for the evening.

We had four work days to get through before our big Southwest Road Trip. It couldn’t come quickly enough.

Comments Off on Fried Green Cryptids