August 2005 Archives

home

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We are home. The drive back was uneventful and fast. Georg is unpacking the car, because I drove. (Also because he's a swell guy.) I'm chilling at the computer, petting the dogs, and enjoying a few moments of quiet.

Also checking out my package from BPAL! It probably arrived the day we left. Which bummed me out to no end at the time, but the trip was so hot and sweaty that no perfume I tried lasted more than an hour or two. So it doesn't really matter than I didn't have the new scents until now. I tried on Buck Moon right away, and I love it. I lurrrve it. I was worried that it would be too strong & animalistic, but it isn't at all. It's a light musk, very subtle, perfect for this weather. Mmm.

So we drove out to Tybee Island this morning. We had wanted to tour the lighthouse, but when we got there we discovered that it's closed on Tuesdays. And according to a local we talked to in the parking lot, the only things to do in Tybee are climb the lighthouse and go to the beach. So we walked over to the beach, in the heat and glaring sun, at which point we remembered that we don't really like the beach. Especially not in hot weather. On the way back to the car, a grasshopper flew up my dress. Which pretty much sealed my opinion of the whole beach thing.

At least we had a nice lunch at The Breakfast Club on Tybee Island. The name didn't seem to have anything to do with the movie. In fact the restaurant looked like it had been there since decades before the movie came out. I had a spectacular hamburger. I think it was so good because they aren't required by law to overcook their burgers like NC restaurants are. Also the menu says they use fresh ground beef, instead of frozen preformed patties. Georg declared it "almost as good" as the burger at the Shake Shack. All I can say is, if that's true then I'm dying to get back to NY and try a Shake Shack burger.

Even though the sightseeing on Tybee was a bust, the drive out and back was lovely. And I had the wonderful experience of, just as we realized we had missed a turn and were lost, seeing a road whose name I recognized from the map we had left at the hotel, and remembering that the road would get us back to our hotel. Which it did, in no time flat. I have such an abysmal sense of direction that this is a highly unusual experience for me. It felt great.

After lunch we walked around downtown Savannah some more. This time we walked around the Victorian district, down to that big park. I took a bunch of photos, but don't have the energy to go through them tonight. The afternoon's excitement was provided by seeing blue-black clouds closing in, realizing that we were about to get caught in a monster storm, and hurrying in the other direction, not running but close, making it to a cool little cafe just minutes before the sky opened up. Whew, what good timing! The cafe had an excellent selection of iced teas, and I drank iced ginger lemongrass green tea while we waited for the storm to pass. That was much better than huddling under a tree in a cemetary getting wet, which is what we did yesterday. Today's storm was much worse, too, so we would have been really miserable if we hadn't found shelter.

For dinner we went to the Toucan Cafe on the south side of town. I read a review which described it as a favorite place for locals to take out of town guests. I wish I knew a Savannah resident whom I could visit, so they would take me there! I had a chilled avocado-cucumber soup that was so good I'm going to try and recreate it at home. Then for the main course, macadamia crusted tuna with mashed sweet potatoes, pineapple salsa, roasted vegetables and jalapeno buerre blanc. Do I need to say that it was outstanding? Our meals were plenty filling so we didn't have dessert.

Now we're relaxing and trying not to think about our vacation ending tomorrow. We watched an episode of Nova about the events that inspired The Great Escape. They were there with a group of archeologists who located and excavated Dick, the tunnel which the Germans had never found. And then they brought three survivors, now elderly, to the excavation site. There were some goofy reenactments but at least they didn't use clips from the movie. The one surprise to me was that they never mentioned Roger Bushell, the leader of the escape attempt. It's my impression that it wouldn't have happened at all without him. Near the end they showed the memorial the survivors had built for the murdered escapees, and when the camera passed over the names you could see Bushell's name on the list. But that was the only time his name came up at all. We missed the first part of the show, so maybe they talked about him earlier.

geek day

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According to my friend Patricia, today is National Geek Day. Whee! If I were home I'd do something uber-geeky to celebrate. Well, I guess posting to my blog while on vacation is fairly geeky. But it's not anything out of the ordinary for me, so it doesn't feel like a fitting tribute to Geek Day. Maybe I'll order a bottle of Geek from BPAL. I've been debating it for weeks. It sounds iffy on whether I would like it, but come on, it's called Geek.

vacation from our vacation

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The stay in Savannah is turning out to be a much-needed vacation from our vacation. We have no itinerary except to relax and enjoy ourselves.

The hotel, the Marshall House, is gorgeous. The room looks not at all like a hotel room, but like a bedroom in an old Southern estate. Bead board in the bathroom, crown molding and a fireplace (non-functional by the look of it, but still), a pretty wardrobe instead of a closet, and a big frame bed.

They serve wine and cheese in the lobby every evening, and when we checked in yesterday there was a group of British people hanging out there who totally dug the car. One of the women literally screamed with delight when she saw it! One of the men came over to ask us why we did it, and said that we were "incredibly brave" to drive a car like that. (That's me, bravely gluing crap to my car! Not just crap, Fishies of Courage!) Coincidentally, Dave Major (Aerocar) had just been telling us that decorated cars are illegal in Europe, so most Europeans have never seen one. I asked this fellow about that. He said that he didn't know if it was illegal, but he had certainly never seen anything like it before.

Today we didn't "do" anything, just walked around the area near our hotel. Which includes River Street, lots of beautiful old houses, and that cemetary Shayne mentioned. We got drenched by a sudden rainstorm while we were in the cemetary, but luckily the storm didn't last long. We had lunch at a really nice little cafe across the street from the hotel, and dinner at the Pirates' House. Which has the reputation of being a tourist trap, but we had to check it out for the historical value. It was originally an inn that opened for business in the mid 1700s, and was mentioned several times in Treasure Island.

The food was very good, although Georg didn't much enjoy his dessert. But other than that, everything was good. My only criticism was of the rude hostess. She seated us at a tiny table in the middle of the dining room, right next to the only other occupied table in the room. (I should mention that the Pirates' House comprises 15 small dining rooms.) I asked if we could sit by a window instead, and she curtly refused, saying they couldn't seat two people at a table for four. Well, I understand that a thriving tourist restaurant has to conserve seats, but for criminy's sake, it's Monday night and they clearly were not going to fill up. They have fifteen half-empty rooms and they have to seat us at a cramped little table next to a bunch of noisy people?

When the waitress came, I asked her again if we could move. I think I was polite about it, although her eyes kind of bugged out when I asked, which makes me fear that I might have been more curt than I intended. I told her that I wasn't familiar with all their rooms, but I wanted to sit someplace out of the way, in a corner maybe. She conferred with a different hostess and they moved us to a nice corner table in the Captain's Room. Which is one of the historical rooms (the original front entrance is there) so that was nice.

The funny thing is, right before we left an older couple were seated near us. The same hostess seated them right next to us, and when they asked to sit by a window instead, she refused just as rudely! At least she's consistent.

Lest I give a bad impression, I must say that only that one hostess was rude. Otherwise the service was very good.

On the way out we saw the coolest thing: a guided tour in a hearse! They had cut the top off the hearse and covered it with an awning, so that a bunch of people (8 I think) could sit inside and see out. We're going to check on the hearse tours and maybe do one tomorrow night. Once upon a time I had grand fantasies of using a hearse for my next art car. But that was in the days when gas could be gotten for less than a dollar a gallon.

savannah

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The art car event is over. The traffic on I-95 was horrible. Our hotel in Savannah is wonderful. I am very tired.

More tomorrow.

sunday morning

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Georg and I talked it over and it looks like we're going to leave after the rally today. That would have us missing three hours of display time downtown, and the awards ceremony and photo session from 3 to 4.

As I said yesterday, I feel no small obligation to be here when they want us to be here. And I don't feel great about skipping out early. But, the arguments in favor of leaving early are pretty strong.

First, it seems like the important events are done. The display time today is just all the cars together in a parking lot, not spread out around the town like we were yesterday. And the fundraising "people's choice" vote is over. I'm not that into award ceremonies and UMJ isn't going to win anything anyway. (I always skip the awards ceremony in Houston too.) It will be a bummer to miss the photo session, but you know, I'll have other opportunities to take photos of the car.

The main thing is that it's the end of the art car weekend, we're both tired, and we don't want to wait until 4 pm to start a 5-6 hour drive. Also I'd be very happy to avoid 4 more hours of standing in the Florida sun on my already burned face and throat.

My only reservation is that Mt Dora has done so much to bring us here. I really don't want them to feel like we didn't fulfill our obligations. I'm going to track down a driver who's been here before and knows the organizers, like Carolyn or Dave, and find out what they think. If it sounds like the organizers would be really upset with our leaving early, then we'll maybe reconsider.

It's weird because all the other out-of-town drivers have the opposite problem from us: they all have to go west, so it would be better for them to stay here longer in order to miss the hurricane. They're supposed to be driving through Louisiana on I-10 just when Katrina will be passing through. Yikes. It makes my concerns about driving late and sunburn seem pretty trivial.

saturday night

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Today was exhausting but fun. The parking arrangements were different from what I'm used to. The purpose of the event was to bring more foot traffic to the local businesses, so they had us spread out all over the downtown area. Also they asked us to stay with our cars so we could talk with spectators. Which was nice, I had some great conversations. But I also missed sitting and talking with the other drivers, which is what happens when we're all parked together.

They had little tip jars next to each car, with a sign asking spectators to "vote" for their favorite car by putting a dollar in the jar. All the donations will be given to the local hospice, and the car that raises the most money wins the "people's choice" award and a cash prize.

Unfortunately the donations depended a lot on where your car was parked. I'm not saying that I would have won in a different location; there were some amazing cars at this event. I think the prize will go to the Aerocar, Fat Rat or Hamburger Harley, and all of them deserve it. But still, my street got about half the foot traffic of the main street, and I think that did make a difference. On the other hand, some of the cars were on remote streets that hardly got any traffic at all! At least I got to meet some folks and raised a little money for the hospice.

I think I mentioned already that they gave us vouchers for dinner. We checked out the menus of a couple of places, and ended up eating at a seafood restaurant called Pisces Rising. It was insanely noisy, not the environment I would choose for a nice dinner out. And the waiter was kind of an overly friendly surfer dude. But the food was fantastic. We started with these wonderful little spicy crab cakes. Then I had grouper in almondine sauce, and Georg had whole snapper. He said it was well worth the bones, and I'm inclined to agree after trying a bite. We splurged and got dessert: key lime pie for me, and orange cake for him. Both fantastic. The best part of a very good meal, I think.

After dinner was Hamburger Harry's 50th birthday party, at a local bar. We were both pretty tired (me more than Georg I think) so we left after an hour, at about 10:30. I'm not sorry we went, but I would have been if we had stayed any longer. It was fun though. Carolyn (Stink Bug) brought sparklers, glow stick necklaces, and a cake shaped like a hamburger. Besides Carolyn, Bonnie (Women Who Rock)and Robert (Fat Rat) were there, also Becky (Wheels of Imagination), Felicia (Catgoyle Cavy) and her boyfriend and friend, Susie and her husband, and of course Hamburger Harry and his son Karl.

Now we're watching Iron Chef while I process photos. Tomorrow is going to be a long day. We have to check out of the hotel room before the day's events get started. Which means we won't have a way to shower and change before driving to Savannah, which we probably won't get to until around 9 pm. At least the art car events should be easier tomorrow.

owie

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Did you know that the sun is brighter in Florida? Or maybe more direct, or anyway something that causes skin to burn faster. At one time I think I knew that, but unfortunately the thought was not in my head this morning. I was careful to cover my tattoo with sunscreen, but I didn't even think about other exposed skin. Consequently I have quite a burn on my face and throat and collarbones.

I was in the shade most of the day, but I guess not enough. It's been a long time since I've been really sunburned, but I do remembered that the worst part is dehydration. I'm drinking a lot of water and slathering my skin. Susie (the parade organizer) kindly gave me some free samples of after sun skin care lotion from her shop. It's called Anthony Logistics, it's a product line for men, but it smells nice and it's very soothing.

I should start processing photos but all I want to do right now is relax, read my book and keep slathering.

blessed quiet

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Georg kindly agreed to sit by the car so I could sneak away for a half hour nap. But instead, I'm just sitting in the hotel room enjoying the quiet. Not to mention the air conditioning.

The heat is brutal out there. I had been checking weather.com, and thinking that it would only be a little bit hotter than in NC. Well, I was wrong. When they say "it's not the heat, it's the humidity" they aren't kidding. All we're doing is sitting by the car talking to people, but in this heat it takes a lot out of you.

OK, it's about time for me to head back out and give Georg a break. We have to stay with our cars to talk with spectators. Normally I wouldn't feel obligated, but the town of Mt. Dora is generously compensating us to be here, so I really ought to be out there pressing the flesh when they want us to be there. We're off duty at 5. We'll have dinner in town (they gave us two $25 vouchers! on top of the stipend and the hotel room! that's what I mean about generous) and then later tonight the art car people are throwing a birthday party for Hamburger Harry. I tried to find a photo online of his Hamburger Harley, but all I found were photos of a Harley rally in Hamburg. So y'all will have to wait until I get my photos posted. I promise it will be worth the wait. The Hamburger Harley is amazing.

friday night

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The party was great fun. It was by the pool, pleasant and breezy once the sun started to go down. There was tons of hors-d'oeuvres type food, as predicted plenty for dinner. We sat and talked with Dave and Irene Major (Aerocar), and Bonnie and Robert Blue (Women Who Rock and Fat Rat). Mostly we talked about art car events around the country. We also chatted some with Carolyn (Stink Bug) and Becky (Wheels of Imagination). Dave and Irene have been to tons of events and have great stories to tell. They made me wish so much that I could take the whole summer off and just do art car events!

We got our packet with the parade route and instructions on where to park tomorrow. They have us kind of spread out around the town. I think because the point is to bring foot traffic to the local businesses, so they want the cars parked in front of as many stores as possible. There are more cars here than I had expected: over 20! I thought there would be only half that.

Georg and I had intended to stroll around Mount Dora this evening, but the town seemed to be pretty much closed up. So we're chilling in the hotel room. The local PBS station is showing some old Frank Sinatra special from 1973. Right now Sinatra and Gene Kelly are singing a duet and doing a little dancing. I have to say, even in 1973 those two guys still had it.

Tomorrow morning we have to be at the children's home by 9:30. It looks pretty close to the hotel, so I think we can safely leave at 9:15. Tomorrow is a long day, so I may not post photos until Sunday. We'll see how it goes.

mount dora, fl

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We're in Mount Dora. Again today was an easy drive, with only a little craziness at the end when the directions failed us. But we found the hotel anyway.

It's a nice place, very charming. The hotel includes several buildings and ours was built in the 1930s. You can kind of tell by looking at the bathroom. It has that classy 30's tile. Our room does not, alas, have a view of the lake. But it does have net access! For $10 a day, which would be pissing me off enormously if the room weren't free.

We saw a couple of other art car drivers as we checked in: Women Who Rock and the Rat Man. Also known as Bonnie and Robert. I didn't realize before that they're a couple. And we also saw the driver of this car, whose name I unfortunately don't know. She's really cool though. She let me use her cold cream to wash my face in Louisville, on Friday night after we had been out in the heat all day. Because of that I went and bought a pack of Ponds "disposable facial cleansing cloths" for this trip. They're basically Handi-wipes with a gentler cleanser on them. They're really wonderful to have in your bag after a long grubby day.

I guess we'll meet everyone else at 6 tonight, when they're having some kind of party for the art car people. Until then we're free. Right now we're just hanging out in the room and relaxing. I should be out working on decoration repair on my car, but it's pretty hot so I may not get to it until later. (I hear it's a fabulous cool day in Durham, and I'm so bummed that we're missing it!) Rumor has it the party will provide enough "heavy appetizers" to make a light dinner, which might turn out to be enough for us since we had a big lunch at Steak n Shake. Neither of us had ever been there before, and I have to say it was good but a heck of a lot of food. Also the waitress was very accommodating of my lengthy dithering over the menu.

hardeeville, south carolina

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The first day of our vacation was easy and uneventful. We finished packing in the morning, and Georg showed Rob the garden while I cleaned the car. I even had time to do a little work!

Then we had brunch with Rob at Foster's before heading out. While we were there I saw my favorite customer from my days back at Ninth St Bakery. I'm amazed that he still remembered my name after all these years. (I still remembered his name too.)

We left at noon and made it to our first stop, Hardeeville SC, before 6. Hardeeville is a small town near the Georgia border. I don't know anything about it except there doesn't appear to be a Hardee's. Our hotel is a bit downmarket, but it has free wireless! Yay! I almost didn't even turn the computer on, because the list of amenities didn't mention net access. But Georg persuaded me that it was worth it to check, and he was right!

For dinner we picked a restaurant nearly at random from the phone book: Pepper's Porch in nearby Bluffton. (Which turns out to be a quaint tourist town right near Hilton Head, but we didn't know that until we got there.) It was about a half hour drive on gorgeous scenic low country roads. Lots of twisty live oaks covered with Spanish moss. The restaurant turned out to be excellent too. A bit noisy, but the food more than made up for it. I had shrimp and grits, and Georg had grouper stuffed with shrimp and crab. Both dishes were wonderful, and they also had possibly the best collards I've ever had. It was an auspicious start to our vacation.

All the way down we kept passing convoys of utility trucks going south. I guess they're heading to Florida in anticipation of the hurricane. It's heartening to know that there are teams ready to go when a hurricane happens. I just hope it doesn't happen anywhere near Mt. Dora! Actually I'm not worried about it. Mt. Dora is north of Orlando, and the landfall was much further south. Our art car event may get rained on, but nothing worse than that.

art car time

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Yes, it's art car time again! Tomorrow morning we leave for an art car weekend in Mount Dora, Florida. I have to admit I was hesitant about going to Florida in late August, but I heard so many good things about this event from other drivers that I couldn't pass it up. There are some fun events, like a stop at a school for underprivileged children. And the event organizers are treating us very well, including a generous stipend and two free nights in a historic hotel.

Unfortunately one big part of our trip fell through: we were going to spend a few days with some friends of ours who have a house about an hour from Mt. Dora. But at the last minute, they got a big contract which will keep them here in Durham for the next few weeks. What a shame! I was so looking forward to seeing their new house. Still, I'm happy they have the work, especially since it's a client they've been trying to land for years.

Since we can't hang out with our friends in FL, we decided to spend a few days in Savannah having a mini-vacation after the car show. I'm really looking forward to it. I've always wanted to see Savannah. And this will sort of make up for the vacation we mostly didn't have last June, when family crises cut short our stay in New York.

This is going to be a much more low-tech art car event than Louisville was. It's a small show, only about a dozen cars, so I'm not going to fool around with webcasting. And it looks like the hotel doesn't have net access, so I may not even be able to post my photos during the event. I'm taking my cell phone data cable, but the data connection sucks (not to put too fine a point on it) and I'm not optimistic about being able to post photos that way. At least our hotel in Savannah does have net access so I'll be able to post then.

Rob is here to pet sit for us. I feel so much more comfortable knowing that the dogs get to stay home and have someone they know take care of them. Well, someone Thirteen knows. Jane still isn't too sure about Rob. She seems to be getting past the "running out of the room wheneve Rob enters" phase. I think once he's fed her a couple of meals, she'll warm right up to him. As long as he doesn't make any sudden movements or loud noises. Did I ever post the hilarious thing our scaredy-Jane did a few days ago? She accidently stepped on a piece of bubble wrap that had fallen off my desk. Poor thing literally jumped in the air and ran out of the room. I know I shouldn't laugh. I'm sure it was frightening for her. But come on, it was funny.

In other dog news, Thirteen continues to respond well to acupuncture. They let us cut back to every ten days instead of once a week. Which is a relief to my schedule (and my wallet). And she also continues to lose weight. She's down almost 2.5 pounds! That's like me losing 6 pounds. Which would be no mean feat in 7 weeks. I still feel guilty about making her lose weight. But it seems pretty clear that if she were smaller it would help her arthritis. Thirteen doesn't look any smaller, still round and squidgy, but when I scratch her back I can feel her hip bones more than before.

this man is mine

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August 18 movie: This Man Is Mine. A very silly movie about Irene Dunne trying to prevent her husband (Ralph Bellamy) from running off with another woman. I really hate it when movies depict a love triangle where the point of the triangle is a totally passive object. Bellamy seems incapable of choosing for himself. And worse yet, none of the women in the picture -- his wife, his would-be mistress, or the wife's busybody best friend -- expect him to. No one holds him responsible for his actions. He's like Bugs Bunny following a robot girl bunny.

36 hours

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August 17 movie: 36 Hours. This one I did write up before. Last time the thing that bothered me most was the basic premise, that a man who knew all the details of the Normandy invasion would be put in a position where he might be captured by the Germans. This time I saw the first few minutes, and I'm disappointed to say that the setup was even more lame than I had imagined.

The British tell Garner everything about the impending invasion, then tell him that he has to go to Lisbon as usual for his weekly meeting with his contact. When Garner suggests that he shouldn't leave Britain with this knowledge in his head, they shrug and say that the Nazis have never violated the neutrality of Lisbon before, why would they start now? And besides, it would look suspicious if he didn't go. I really wished Garner would have said "Did it occur to you idiots not to tell me about the invasion then?" Honestly, if the British high command had truly acted so stupidly, we'd probably all be speaking German now.

That said, I still enjoyed the movie. It has well-paced tension, a good psychological thriller, & also explores the divided loyalties of Rod Taylor, both a patriot and a scientist. Plus there are small parts for John Banner (Sergeant Schultz) and Alan Napier (Alfred on Batman).

Hey, I just looked this movie up on IMDB and saw that the screenplay was written by Roald Dahl! I thought he only wrote children's stories.

boys night out

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August 17 movie: Boys Night Out. I thought for sure I had written this one up before, but I can't find it in the archive. Oh well. It's an incredibly sleazy 60s sex comedy in which four men (James Garner, Tony Randall and two other guys) rent a swinging bachelor pad where they put up a kept woman (Kim Novak) for a little fun on the side. Unbeknownst to them, she's actually a grad student writing a dissertation on the adolescent sexuality of the suburban male. Wacky hijinks ensue!

The funny thing about the movie is Novak actually learns nothing about their sexuality. The men take turns with her, and she tricks each one into feeling satisfied without ever getting any sex, by giving him what he really wants: lavish meals for the man whose wife has him on a strict diet, attentive listening for the boring accountant (Randall), the opportunity to repair things around the apartment for another guy. None of them even seems to notice that he isn't getting laid. But they all still think of her as the lowest form of trash. This movie reflects some really screwed up attitudes. (Not to mention, what university would approve "research" like this?)

swing time

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August 16 movie: Swing Time. Another strong contender for Astaire and Rogers' best. The supporting cast isn't quite as strong -- Edward Everett Horton is missing, as is Eric Rhodes, and Eric Blore is only in the first few minutes -- but the singing and dancing are wonderful. This one includes the wonderful song "The Way You Look Tonight" and great dance numbers including "Never Gonna Dance" and "Bojangles of Harlem." In the latter of which Astaire is unfortunately in blackface, but it features three shadows of Astaire which eventually begin dancing independant of the Astaire on stage. A really clever effect.

top hat

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August 15 movie: Top Hat. Fred Astaire day on TCM is a good day indeed. Besides Top Hat I also watched Swing Time and parts of Flying Down to Rio, Carefree and The Story of Vernon and Irene Castle. But I only got to watch the first two all the way through, so those are the only two that go on the movie list. (At least I got to see "The Carioca," perhaps my all time favorite song in an Astaire Rogers film.)

What is there to say about Top Hat? It's one of Astaire and Rogers' best, if not their very best. The movie includes all the regular stable of costars: Edward Everett Horton, Eric Blore, Helen Broderick, and Eric Rhodes. I think my favorite dance number in this one is "Isn't It a Lovely Day to Get Caught in the Rain." Great dancing, great singing, and great comedy, including a hilarious ongoing war between gentleman Horton and his valet Blore. "On my eye means on my eye!"

one year later

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It's been a year since the landscapers came and cleared out the front yard. I'm pleased to report that the yard looks no worse than it did when they finished, and maybe even a little better. I'm really proud of all the work we've done over the past year. It would have been so easy to just keep ignoring the yard and let it get all overgrown again.

This fall we're going to build a raised bed inside the fence for the vegetable garden, and plant perennials all along the driveway where the vegetables are now. Also finish digging up the clay by the side of the house, and fill that bed with good soil. The plan is to put a cutting garden in there of mostly annuals. And I want to plant daylilies along the front of the fence, down by the road. Also dig up the butterfly garden & put all those plants along the driveway. Because the butterflies don't seem to find them where they are. Then we'll turn the butterfly garden into a bird garden, because the bird feeders are right there. And we need to mulch more heavily around the blueberries so they don't get overrun again.

And that's just the front yard! Whew! I can't wait for it to cool down so I can get back to work.

turn around, stick it out

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Nike likes big butts and it cannot lie.

Salon.com did a story today about this ad campaign but I had already seen it in this month's Glamour (to which my sister gave me a subscription, and I have to say it's the coolest women's magazine I've read). In terms of body acceptance, Nike's new campaign is sort of better and sort of worse than Dove's "Real Women."

On the one hand, you don't have to hate yourself to buy athletic clothes. But Dove's "Real Women" campaign is selling cellulite cream. A negative, body-shame based product if ever there was one, which to me totally undercuts the message of the ad.

On the other hand, Dove's "Real Women" do look like real women with natural breasts, soft arms and even the occasional belly. Nike's "big butt," "thunder thighs" etc show a different but equally difficult beauty ideal: extremely muscular rather than extremely thin.

But still I can't complain about the Nike campaign. Because damn, that's a nice ass.

[ETA: The ads on the nikewomen.com site show fairly normal looking women, but the print ads are all fitness models. I wonder if the web ads are also on tv? If so then this is the best beauty campaign ever.]

i should complain more often

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This morning I write a whiny post about the weather, and today we have the first cool day in months. Guess I should bitch and moan more often!

So Georg and I have cooked dinner every night this week, which has felt really nice. And no zucchini! (Okay, I admit it. I'm getting tired of zucchini.)

On Monday I tried to recreate the dish I had at Provence on Georg's birthday. Mine didn't turn out nearly as well, but I guess that's because I'm not a chef at a fancy French restaurant. My veloute tasted nice but seemed kind of gummy and floury. (Actually, Georg said it wasn't. But I'm not sure if I'm just not used to flour-based sauces anymore, or if he was just trying to make me feel better.) We sauteed the fish in a generous helping of butter, and then heated the veloute in the leftover butter to loosen it up a bit and pick up the pan drippings. And with the roasted garlic, it turned out pretty well if I do say so.

Yesterday Georg made pork chops with a pecan crust and peaches on top. Yum! Then tonight we celebrated the cool weather with Lisa's amazing spinach casserole. I am so desperate for fall.

looking forward

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The weather has been getting me down lately. This late in the summer I start to feel a sense of futility, like it's never going to be cool again. So today I read through my web journal from September 2004 to see if I mentioned the weather at all.

According to me, September 19 was the first day last year that felt like fall: cool, sunny and crisp. That's just a month away. I can take this for another month.

Besides, I wrote about gardening all month, so it had to be cooler than it is now. Because I sure as hell wasn't doing all that yardwork in weather like this. Maybe it was cooler because of all those hurricanes that kept just missing us.

save me some onion rings

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I'm super thrilled that the Starlite Drive-in will finally reopen in a couple of weeks. It's too bad that we'll be out of town and miss the grand opening on August 27, but then again I bet it will be crowded that weekend, plus I'm not really that interested in The Dukes of Hazzard.

I like their new website too, except for where they mistakenly credit me for the saveourstarlite.org site, when actually that was someone else's work. I don't know how that happened but I wrote to them and asked them to correct the error.

So anyway, I predict many fall evenings spent in lawn chairs watching movies at the Starlite. According to the faq, we can even bring our dogs!

all that heaven will allow

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August 14 movie: All That Heaven Will Allow. I confess, I didn't pay that close attention to this movie because I was going through my tax receipts while it was on. Why, you ask, was I doing my taxes now, in the middle of August? Well I'll tell you, it's because I filed for an extension back in April, and just remembered this afternoon that the extended deadline is tomorrow. And the post office isn't open late like it is on April 15. Eek!

My taxes are pretty complicated, what with salary income, self-employment income, royalty income, and "cost of goods sold" inventory to keep track of. Each of which requires a different schedule. But it could be worse, I don't have any dividends to report. And it all turned out fine, I didn't owe anything and I didn't even claim all the deductions I could have.

But anyway, the movie. This was another Douglas Sirk melodrama starring Jane Wyman as a widow who falls in love with younger man Rock Hudson. Sounds a lot like Magnificent Obsession, doesn't it? Unfortunately I think it seems a bit that this movie was put together to cash in on the success of the previous one. The plot isn't as baroque, and the characters aren't as complex. Sirk is best when he's wallowing in shades of grey, with people doing the right thing for the wrong reason, the wrong thing for the right reason, and all possible variations. All That Heaven Will Allow was just too straightforward. They fall in love, the narrow-minded town disapproves, they separate but eventually reunite and tell the neighbors to get stuffed. End of story.

It was all worth it though, for the final scene. I hate to give away final moments like this, but Wyman goes to visit injured Hudson and tell him she still loves him, and there's this humongous deer standing right outside the window staring at them the whole time. And they just ignore it! It's hilarious. If it were me, I'd be all, "Oh honey I love you t-- What the hell is up with that deer? Shoo! Stop staring at us!"

oh brother, where art thou

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August 13 movie: Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. I thought this was going to be based on Sullivan's Travels, because of course that's about a Hollywood director who wants to make a movie called Oh Brother, Where Art Thou. But actually it was based on The Odyssey. Which I haven't read, so I guess a lot of this must have been lost on me, but I still enjoyed it a great deal.

There are a few elements in common with Sullivan's Travels: it takes place in the rural South during the depression, and there's a chain gang. But actually it reminded Georg and I both of Raising Arizona. There's the presence of Holly Hunter of course (and I must say, she is developing the sad, pinched look of someone who is suffering way too much to stay way too thin), but also there's something in Clooney's line delivery that reminded us of Nicolas Cage in the earlier movie. And both movies straddle the line between "laughing with" and "laughing at" in a similar way. In a little DVD extra one of the Coen brothers called Oh Brother a "hayseed movie." I guess they must have also seen Raising Arizona as a "hayseed movie" which is why they had a similar approach. And may also be why the people I've met from Arizona all hated Raising Arizona. I wonder how people from Mississippi feel about Oh Brother, Where Art Thou?

wise girl

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This weekend I did a little bit of yardwork, some paying work, did my taxes, reread the first half of The Book of the Long Sun and even had time to watch a few movies. What a luxury!

August 13 movie: Wise Girl. Rich socialite Miriam Hopkins's sister and brother-in-law died and left their two children to the husband's brother, starving artist Ray Milland. Hopkins poses as a bohemian to get the dirt on Milland so she and her father can win custody of the children. It's a fairly conventional romantic comedy, but worthwhile for the heavily romanticized depiction of Greenwich Village in 1937. Milland lives in an apartment complex full of artists, writers and actors, who pay no rent to the kindly antique dealer who owns the building. Somehow snooty socialite Hopkins manages to fit right in. And does she follow through with her plan, or fall for Milland and learn the value of his free-wheeling lifestyle? If you have to ask, you haven't seen many romantic comedies.

At some point I realized that I had already seen this, but I kept watching because I only vaguely remembered it. There are a few great scenes, notably when Hopkins, Milland and Guinn "Big Boy" Williams (playing a great character: a boxer/sculptor/dressmaker and one of the most together people in the artist community) dress up in silly bohemian clothes and earn $3 each, plus dinner, to sit in an Italian restaurant all night to "add atmosphere." Also another scene where Hopkins gets a job as a living model in a department store window, which turns into a brawl.

alfie

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August 12 movie: Alfie. This was not at all what I expected. I heard it was Michael Caine as a "charming cad," and I thought it would be like The Italian Job with more romance. But apparently "cad" means "dickhead." I never realized that before. Most of the movie is a series of sad women debasing themselves to Alfie while he uses them for sex and then discards them. He's so cruel, even while he's with them, that it's hard to understand why they keep falling for him. He doesn't even use human pronouns to refer to women; they're all "it" to him.

The last third of the movie is even darker, but at least it's intentionally so. Shelley Winters has a nice part as an older, sexually confident woman who turns the tables on Alfie, and there's a heartwrenching scene involving an illegal abortion (but not Shelley Winters).

I wish I could say I enjoyed this, but I really didn't. I'm not surprised the Jude Law remake did so poorly. Even if they changed the particulars, the mentality behind this movie doesn't play well in today's world.

charlie and the chocolate factory

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August 11 movie: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. There's a reason this is my 160th movie this year, but only the 3rd seen in a theater. The reason is, of course, the audience. What a bunch of louts! I don't know which was worse, the kids yelling, or their parents yelling back at them in an utterly futile attempt to shut them up. I wanted to tell them all to shut up, but it was (sort of) a kids movie so I kept quiet.

That said, I greatly enjoyed the movie. I only barely remembered the book and the Gene Wilder movie, and deliberatly did not refresh my memory because I wanted to see this one without preconceptions. All I remembered was the extreme poverty of the Bucket family, and two of the childrens' demises -- the gluttonous boy going up the chocolate pipe, and the gum chewing girl turning into a blueberry. The rest of it was all basically new to me.

It was certainly nasty enough to be Roald Dahl, which I appreciated. Thogh I cannot fathom why people said Johnny Depp's performance was like Michael Jackson. I don't get that at all. They're both weird, and both live in vast houses, but that's about it.

damn, that was fun

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The radio show was great. It really made me miss being on the air regularly. There was only one disappointment: I really wanted to play something by Peace Orchestra, but the CD was missing. Grrr! Still, I think I was doing pretty good to only have one thing go missing. I got lots of calls too. Well, mostly this one guy who kept calling, but still there were a couple from other people.

I've got to get back on the schedule in the fall. I don't care how busy I am.

strangers may kiss

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August 11 movie: Strangers May Kiss. This was another one of those Norma Shearer pre-code movies. Shearer falls in love with a modern man who's married to someone else, convinces her to shack up with him in Mexico, then ditches her for a a job. Now that she's a fallen woman she runs off to Europe and lives it up. The guy reappears, newly divorced, and wants her back. Then he gets to Paris and hears the gossip that she had (gasp) sex, with not just one but lots of men. He says some really ugly things to her, she says some ugly things back, they break up.

Eventually she admits that she was wrong and she should have waited chastely forever, even though he gave her no reason to believe he'd ever be back. So he magnanimously forgives her and they reunite. It sounds kind of appalling, but if this movie had been made twenty years later she probably would have died of a wasting illness after being disowned by her family and stoned by angry villagers or something. At least in 1931 her only punishment for enjoying sex is to be called nasty names by some uptight guy. Robert Montgomery is also in it, as Shearer's remarkably nonjudgmental friend. Come to think of it, wasn't Robert Montgomery the friend Shearer had an affair with in The Divorcee? I'll have to look that up.

disco funk dance party

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In a fit of missing the radio, I volunteered to do the Disco Funk Dance Party tonight from 6 to 8 pm. Get down with your bad self at 88.7 fm, or online at wxdu.org. Live playlist will be here. The webcam may be offline so that I can do the funky chicken free from prying eyes.

get out your 3d glasses

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I totally forgot about this until someone posted it to the artcarz mailing list:

I'm in 3D! How cool is that?

This guy came by with a dual camera, took my 3d photo, and showed me his portfolio. The photos were amazing. The ones he showed me were mainly horses and they really seemed to leap off the page. He gave me 3d glasses to view them, and let me keep the glasses too.

these three

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August 8 movie: These Three. This, the first movie adaptation of the play The Children's Hour, starred Merle Oberon, Miriam Hopkins and Joel McCrea. The basic plot is the same: two young women run a school for girls and one of the students tells a vicious lie with just the tiniest kernel of truth, which ruins the teachers' lives. But in this version they removed all references to lesbianism (duh, the movie was made in the 30s) and gave it a somewhat happy ending.

The 60s version of this story starred Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn, and I've heard it's more true to the play. I've kind of been putting off watching it because it sounds too tragic. I've seen a clip where the teacher confesses her lesbian desires by shrieking about how "dirty" she feels and I don't know if I could handle a whole movie like that.

I've heard that although everyone talks about Bette Davis' rivalry with Joan Crawford, it was Miriam Hopkins who Davis saw more as a professional rival. Which I never understood until seeing this movie. Hopkins' part would have been perfect for Davis. Which is not to say Hopkins wasn't good; she was. Just that I can imagine Davis thinking that part should have been hers. It's not that easy to find Miriam Hopkins movies on TCM. I wonder if they're going to do a day for her this month? I'm going to check their online schedule and find out.

the palm beach story

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August 3 movie: The Palm Beach Story. I watched this while I was getting ready for the trip. Luckily I know the movie inside and out, so I could watch while I was packing and not really miss anything.

The very ending of this movie is always a little unsatisfying to me. Screwball comedies always wrap up a little too neatly, but it's kind of creepy for Colbert's sister and McCrea's brother to be treated as stand-ins without identities of their own. I guess it's one of those things that you just can't think about much.

a fish called wanda

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August 1 movie: A Fish Called Wanda. When this came out, I didn't understand why everyone thought it was so funny. This is my second viewing and I still don't understand. I found this movie completely wretched, ugly, meanspirited and most of all, not funny.

It's not just squeamishness on my part. I can appreciate black humor; for instance Kind Hearts and Coronets is about a man murdering his entire extended family, and is hilarious. What irritates me is when a movie thinks that pure nastiness is enough. It isn't black humor if it isn't funny!

driving shoes

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Every time I get home from an art car event, I notice this weird soreness in my legs. The tops of my feet and the lower part of my shins is always really sore, every time. This morning I asked my friend Jason P. about it, he's into fitness so I thought he might have some insight. He pointed out that you work those muscles when you curl your toes.

Which makes perfect sense: art car events always involve, not just lots of driving, but lots of driving slowly & using lots of clutch. 90 minutes of riding the clutch wouldn't be unusual as we caravan to the staging ground and then go through the actual parade. And since art car events are always in the summer, I'm always wearing sandals. So I spent the whole parade gripping the sandals with my toes so I can drive. No wonder my shins get sore.

Jason suggested that I get a pair of driving shoes, keep them in the car, and just slip them on whenever I have to drive. I bet that would help a lot. So does anyone have driving shoes or know what I should look for? What makes a good pair of driving shoes?

home again

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The drive from Louisville back to Durham was a breezy nine hours. Much easier than on the way up. Guess I could have had breakfast at Lynn's Paradise Cafe after all! But at the time I thought I wasn't going to get home until after dark and I didn't want to delay myself any longer. Oh well, next time for sure!

I noticed on this trip how much gas prices can vary from state to state. In West Virginia I paid the highest price I've ever seen for gas: $2.499 a gallon. I bought exactly two gallons, which was just enough to get me safely across the state line to Virginia. Where I filled the tank for $2.119. I wonder if WV has an unusually high gas tax or something?

Jane Lane and Thirteen were out in the yard when I got home. They were both so excited. Jane jumped up and down and danced around. Thirteen was more sedate, but no less happy. It was nice to get such a warm welcome.

Georg kindly did some laundry for me this evening so I'll have clean clothes tomorrow. I can't believe I have to work tomorrow! Ugh! I feel surprisingly good considering the pace of the past four days. The only ill effects so far were a mild headache when I got home, and that was probably just from being on the road for nine hours. I'm going to turn in early tonight so I'll be fresh tomorrow. A BPAL package arrived while I was gone with two more Somnium blends: Nanshe and Temple of Dreams. I think I'll try Nanshe tonight.

the best part

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I forgot the best part of the weekend: they had the spectators vote on their favorite cars and I won third place! I've never won anything at an art car show before. I've never even thought about winning, because the cars at these shows are always so amazing and I wouldn't even try to compete.

As a prize they gave me a nice, roomy leather duffel bag. It kind of smells like real leather but there's not a "genuine leather" tag on it so I'm not sure. Lisa suggested I could use it for an equipment bag. It's so big that I could put all my cables and peripherals in there, and still have room for my computer bag too.

Thanks, Kentucky Art Car Weekend!

epilogue

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The Kentucky Art Car Weekend is all over. Tiredness was catching up with me today, and I didn't talk to as many people or take as many photos as on previous days. But I still had great fun. Steph and Stephanie drove in from Indianapolis, and it was delightful meeting them both. They were great to have along, able to handle themselves and keep up at a rather chaotic event without ever contributing to the stress level. I wish I'd had enough energy to hang out with them after everything was over, but I was so exhausted that they headed out pretty quickly. Lisa went with them to continue her vacation, so I'm on my own tonight.

The schedule at these art car events is typically grueling, and I get through them through "sheer force of will" as Lisa put it. I just kind of mentally prepare myself for three days of constant activity, little sleep, and total lack of control over my environment, with the rare hour of downtime taken up by blog posting and photo processing. During an event I just stay in a mindset of "got to keep moving, got to keep going until after the parade." Luckily most events culminate with the parade, so I can safely crash as soon as it's over.

Webcasting always adds to the stress level -- even if it works perfectly, it's one more thing to deal with. Having Lisa here made everything so much easier and less stressful. She did everything for the cams. All the server side stuff, all the equipment, the connectivity, moving the cams around, everything. It was amazing.

The parade itself was great fun, although the illuminated cruise last night actually more spectators because we drove right past some kind of gallery crawl event. The funniest part was when we pulled into the destination and everyone started getting out of their cars, and suddenly Chris (Heaven & Hell Car) came running down the line telling us all to get back in. Turns out whoever was in the lead had accidently skipped part of the route, including the part where we were supposed to drive past the sponsor! So we headed back out and finished the parade. It was hilarious.

I only had one complaint about the parade. Someone a few cars ahead of us kept throwing colored smoke bombs out of their car. The smoke took several minutes to dissipate, had an acrid smell, and made it kind of hard to breathe if you got caught in a cloud of the stuff. I'm honestly stunned that someone in one of our parades would do that to the rest of us. We're driving around in crazy heat, without a/c because we have to leave the windows open to wave at people. Thank you for forcing us all to breathe that noxious smoke! How clever you are! How daring and transgressive! Do you also ring doorbells and run away?

It wasn't just us: the smoke bombs were thrown at spectators, and worst of all, they threw one right in front of a church where a bunch of people were gathered for a wedding. Thank goodness the bride wasn't standing there, the smoke smell might have gotten into her gown. An event like this depends on the goodwill of the community. Why the hell would someone -- one of us -- try to ruin not just our parade, but a stranger's wedding?

I'm going to write to the parade organizer thanking her for doing such a great job (which she did; Lisa and I were both impressed by how well she kept things moving along) and also mention the smoke bombs. I guess the person who did it thought they were being cool, but that was so not cool. It was the anti-cool.

Now I'm chilling in my monstrous huge hotel room, watching a marathon of America's Next Top Model. (thank you VH1!) I may not even leave the room again until check out time tomorrow. I ate a little bit after the parade, and I have veggies and nice dip here, maybe enough that I won't need to go out and get dinner. I was thinking about going back to Lynn's Paradise Cafe for breakfast in the morning, but that was when I thought the drive would take about nine hours. Now that I know it's closer to 12, I'll probably get on the road as early as possible.

A few tips I learned on this trip, so I won't forget for next time:

  • Using a cooler full of ice as a mini-fridge to store snacks works great, but only if you remember to refill the ice every day.
  • Bring hair conditioner. This bubble updo uses so much product, it's really hard on my hair.
  • Bring a shower cap. If I can prevent my hair from getting wet, the hairstyle lasts for two days.
  • Keep a travel sized container of facial cleanser in my bag. At dinner last night, I saw one of the other drivers in the ladies room and she let me use her cold cream to wash my face. The rest of me was still sweaty and gross, but with a clean face I felt a thousand times better.
  • Bring cotton socks and my "farmer's friend hand salve." It was so refreshing to slather up my feet, put on the socks and let it sink in overnight.
  • Make another outfit that matches the car. And make it a little longer than usual, so I can climb in and out of the car without flashing the world.
  • Fix that short foot on the good tripod that Kevin gave me. My other tripod which I've been using doesn't have a detachable pan-tilt head, but Kevin's does, which would make things a lot easier. Also get a tiny level and attach it to the tripod.
  • Get a hand cart that's nice enough to bring into a hotel, but sturdy enough to handle my equipment. Dragging my ass down the entire length of a parking garage while carrying a camera bag, computer bag, battery charger and 50 ft extension cord is not an experience I want to repeat.
  • Get a short heavy duty extension cord, 8 foot or so.
  • Keep hand sanitizer in the car.

bubble-ator

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This evening was amazing. Amazing. I'll try to write more later, but for now I'm pretty tired so I think posting today's photos will take all the mental energy I've got. My one comment: The "hot brown" at Lynn's Paradise Cafe. It's basically a turkey and bacon sandwich with cheese sauce instead of bread, heated under a broiler. Oh man! Outstanding.

Also, today's slide show archive is well worth watching, especially the end when we were on the illuminated cruise. Lisa cracked out the iSight camera, which has autofocus, and spent the trip aiming it by hand and capturing incredible images.

cam archive

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camfile232.jpgThere's a cool slide show of yesterday's web cam action online. Unfortunately I got fewer shots than Lisa did, so mine run out a lot faster. But still, it's neat to see a sped-up version of the trip like that. Oh look, there's when we stopped at Wal-mart to get camp chairs! There's when we were in the mountains! There's when we got stuck in traffic and that motorcycle got between our cars!

galt house, all is forgiven

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The new room is amazing. It's as big as my whole house! Okay, not really, but it feels like it. It's got a sitting room about as big as the entire room we had before, with a big couch, desk, round table and 4 chairs, TV inside a cabinet, and a wet bar with fridge. Then there's a hallway with a vanity, and the bathroom (huge, natch). No hairdryer at the vanity, but my hairdryer is in my car so that's no biggie.

Past the hallway is the bedroom. Again, almost as big as the entire room we had before. No chairs, just two beds and another TV cabinet. Also there's two closets, one in the sitting room and one in the bedroom. The internet connection is out in the sitting room. It's ethernet, they provided a cable. I'm plugged in and we did computer-to-computer wireless.

Okay, so this room was totally worth $20 more a night. I was thinking that we ought to come up with another problem in this room and try to get upgraded again. It has been pretty cool to see both the old decor and the new. Lisa dubbed them the tacky tower and the swanky tower. One of the art car drivers knows someone who works here and he gave us the scoop. Apparently the Galt House was built in the 70s by a private owner who never redecorated it. Eventually he either retired or died, and the new company is in the process of renovating. But it's an expensive job so they haven't gotten to the west tower yet.

Now we're chilling and enjoying the net access and the incredibly spacious room. We have several hours off, then I have to go back to my car and turn the bubble machine on. The cars are on display about four blocks from here so it's an easy walk. Then tonight we have an illuminated cruise at 8:30, and then dinner at the famed Lynn's Paradise Cafe which I'm really looking forward to.

louisville

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OK, quick update. The trip took a lot longer than expected, but we made it without any major incidents. We got in to Louisville around 8:30 and headed straight to the drive in, no time to check in at the hotel. The drive in was a lot of fun. We chatted with Greg Phelps (That Car), Tim McNally (Plaidmobile), Conrad Bladey (Handy Car) and several people who I don't think have art cars. Because we hadn't gone to the hotel we brought both Undersea Mah Jongg and Spacepod. People really grooved on Spacepod being biodeisel & Lisa had a lot of conversations with people about that. Unfortunately I wasn't as good at conversation as I might have been, because I was so fried from the trip and from not having eaten dinner yet. I'm afraid I left all the conversation duty to Lisa.

Also, I meant to take lots of photos of the cars, but I was so fried that I only got a couple of random shots. What I really wanted was a photo of a row of artcars illuminated by the light from the movie screen. But the lot wasn't set up like that at all. The screen wasn't that bright and most of the art cars were on the street. So that idea didn't pan out.

The drive-in was at the Cinderblock Art Gallery. A bunch of cars parked in the lot and they screened the movies on the wall of the gallery. First they showed Wild Wheels. I hadn't seen the movie since meeting the Button King so that was really cool. The movie included the coffin that he had on display in Charlotte.

After Wild Wheels they showed a series of classic VW car ads. That was really fun. Then a short thing about the custom cars designed for the tv shows Batman, the Green Hornet and the Munsters. I'm not that into classic cars, or those shows, so that was less fun. Last they showed Repo Man. Which I love, but by that time Lisa and I were both so exhausted that we bailed. It's too bad, I would have loved to see that movie again. But there was just no way.

OK, so the hotel. It's called the Galt House. It's a swanky place but they put us in the decidedly unswanky west tower. I have a suspicion that the west tower was once the original hotel, because it seriously looks like they haven't redecorated in about thirty years. Everything is clean and well-maintained, but trapped in an early 70s time warp. I'm talking dark wood paneling, weird retro chairs and a stucco ceiling in the room. We have to take some photos of this room before we move.

Which we are doing because the one thing the room does not have is net access. Their website says that all guest rooms have free internet access, but apparently in the west tower that means dialup. That is bullshit. I've never before been in a hotel that promised free net access and provided a phone line. Right now I'm writing from "the conservatory," a very nice glassed-in area where they have a wifi hotspot. That's fine for now, but I have so much net-related stuff to do on this trip, I can't camp out here all weekend.

Add to that a few minor annoyances (like the water glass Lisa picked up having a big crack in it, and the alarm clock in the room going off at 6 am and being next to impossible to disable) and our enthusiasm for the west tower has seriously waned. This morning we went down to the front desk and arranged to be moved into the east tower. The room will be bigger and therefore a bit more expensive, but it's totally worth it to me.

Okay, so enough complaining about the hotel. Today UMJ has to be parked on Main Street all day. In fact I need to get back to the room and get dressed (I'm still in my pajamas, fortunately they look enough like regular pants that I don't think anyone has noticed) and get my car over there. I'm not sure how much we're going to webcast today. We need to conserve battery power for the illuminated cruise tonight. We'll probably take another look at the schedule and decide.

kentucky art car weekend

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I'm all packed, the iPod is loaded up, got my list for tomorrow morning, even had time to paint my toes. Nothing left to do tonight but try to sleep. Tomorrow morning bright and early we head for Louisville! We'll be webcasting the whole way there, though we expect downtime due to inevitable technical difficulties. We'll also be webcasting at various points on Friday and Saturday but we haven't decided yet exactly when. There's a lot going on -- besides the parade on Saturday afternoon there's a drive-in movie, a street fair, and a night-time illuminated cruise -- so I'm sure we'll find something interesting to point the cams at. I'll post here the time as soon as we figure it out. And as always, I shall do my best to post photos and updates each night.

I wish Georg could come too but it's going to be fun to have a cool chick art car event. Besides Lisa and me, Steph and Stephanie will join us on parade day. I'm really looking forward to meeting them. And I'm relieved that they have parade experience from VW events (and cam experience from VW events with Lisa), so they know what to expect.

I probably won't have time to post in the morning. When next I write, we'll be in Louisville!

my luck holds

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So I may (or may not) have mentioned that Lisa and I are going to the Kentucky Art Car weekend. We're leaving tomorrow, and my work schedule among other factors has made it hard to get to my normal trip preparations.

In particular decoration repair. The decorations get a little ragged from all the weather and highway driving, so before every trip I give the car a once-over and do whatever repairs are needed.

I like to do this about a week before the trip, but for the past week my car's been in the shop most of the time. (Getting the catalytic converter, flex line and clutch replaced.) The days it wasn't at the shop, it was raining. I don't have a garage and I can't work on the decorations when the car is wet.

I got the car back yesterday, and the weather was fine, but last night was Georg's birthday so I was kind of busy. Today, finally, was time to work on the car. I arranged to go to Stoneline in the morning so I'd be free all afternoon. Ran a few errands, the bank, groceries, etc., got home about 3:15.

Two blocks from my house, a torrential downpour started. ARGH! Fifteen minutes later it was over and the sun was shining, but my car is soaked. It takes hours for that carpet to dry, and I can't do any gluing while it's wet.

But you know what? I'm not going to get upset about it. Call it an experiment in stress reduction. Self, repeat after me: It. Doesn't. Matter. If the sun stays out, the car may be dry enough to work on it tonight. And if not, so what? I always carry my art car supplies in my trunk. I can do the repair work at the Thursday night event.

Otherwise my day is going fine. I'm done with work, I'm partway packed already, I have all the supplies for our picnic dinner, I don't even have to think about the major headache (the cams) because Lisa is handling the whole thing, and I got a hefty and totally unexpected bonus from Stoneline this morning. Life is good. Wet, but good.

provence

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We had a fabulous dinner to celebrate Georg's birthday at Provence in Carrboro. Everything was fantastic and somehow I managed to eat a lot, but not quite too much. I had red snapper with garlic confit and lemon veloute. "Garlic confit" apparently means "garlic roasted so long and slow it looks like big raisins, and tastes like heaven." "Lemon veloute" apparently means "buttery clear sauce with a dash of lemon juice." Put them together and add snapper, and it was amazing. It was served with some very nice vegetables, notably yellow squash sauteed in thyme. Also fennel bulb and a little bit of broccoli rabe.

For dessert I had a caramel apple tart. It was really good, though not at all what I was expecting. I was thinking patisserie, you know, sliver-thin slices of apple on a delicate pastry crust. Actually it was very rustic. Big meaty chunks of apple on a crumbly, pressed crust. Still, an excellent dessert.

The only blot on the evening were the staggeringly rude people who came in just as we were getting our check. They sat at the table right behind us with their toddler (I'd guess less than 3 years old), who promptly began wailing and banging silverware on the table. The parents made a few half-hearted attempts to shush the kid, but they didn't seem to think it was much of a problem.

I don't blame the child -- still waiting for dinner at 8:30 pm, of course it was cranky -- I blame the parents. What the hell were those people thinking? They could afford a restaurant like that but they couldn't afford a sitter? It didn't occur to them that they might want to avoid ruining everyone else's meal?

I have to say, if we hadn't been about to leave when they came in, I would have been livid. I wish a restaurant like that would have a policy against children, or young children at least. I have no problem with older kids who've learned how to behave themselves, but a child that young has no business being in a fine restaurant. There was another dining room that didn't appear to be open tonight & if the family with the kid had come in earlier, I would have insisted the waitress move us (or them) into that extra room. If I wanted to sit next to a shrieking brat I would have taken Georg to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday.

Maybe I'm venting a bit too much spleen, considering that we only had to listen to the kid for about five minutes. Other than that it was a lovely meal and I would definitely go back again. In fact Georg and I talked about going back in fall so we could try some of the heartier dishes.

another thin man

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July 31 movie: Another Thin Man. They showed a bunch of Thin Man movies (in reverse chronological order, for some weird reason) but I only watched the second and third. (I watched them in normal chonological order.) This one was darker than the first two -- the movie kicks off with a dog getting its throat cut -- but the mystery follows the same basic structure as every Thin Man movie I've seen: Lots of people get killed. The police run around like chickens with their heads cut off. Eventually William Powell gathers everyone in a room together and comes up with some bizarre speculation which "proves" that the most unlikely person did it. Which person immediately confesses all and is led away by the police.

Nick and Nora have a baby in this one: little Nicky Charles. Which I could have lived without -- especially Nick calling Nora "Mommy" -- but I guess it would have been odd for them not to have kids eventually. As always, much hay is made out of Nora's highbrow vs. Nick's lowbrow backgrounds. My favorite scene is when Nick's shady friends decide to throw a birthday party for the baby. Each crook, lug and jamoke has to bring a baby; those who don't have babies rent them for the afternoon.

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