innocent_man: (labrodors)

I am recently returned from GenCon Indy, so again, I pop my memory card into the computer, upload some photos, and share my experiences to all and sundry! Read more... )

innocent_man: (Default)


So! When last we left our...us...we'd lost our damn AC. Again. We dropped it off at the Firestone in Lawton, OK and piled into Michelle's parents' pickup truck to go home (tight fit, but her mom let me drive because she's an angel). 

Firestone got working on it the next day (it would later turn out that the first fix involved a faulty part, and the compressor exploded again. The mechanic was very excited, he said they'd never seen anything like it before. Yaaaay. At least it was under warranty so it didn't cost me more). Meantime, we did Oklahoma things.

We saw The Amazing Spider-Man, which I really enjoyed. But no pictures of that. We went back to the house in Temple, OK (which is small and empty and OH GOD GET ME OUT), which was being swarmed by crickets. Like, really, you'd go outside and there was a blanket of them. Frogs loved it, though.

Next day (which I guess would have been...um...Monday? I'm totally lost) I mentioned I wanted to cook. We were going to go to Michelle's brother's house so the kiddos could swim, but they also have this awesome kitchen that they seldom use. Michelle's mom was kind of flabberghasted that I a) could cook b) wanted to cook and c) would cook in someone else's house, but see, I center myself by cooking, and I was pretty off-center.

So we went by Wal-Mart (ugh, if I never set foot in another Wal-Mart it'll be too soon, but there apparently aren't grocery stores in Oklahoma) and got stuff to make chicken Parmesan, which is simple and easy to make, but also not strange (Oklahoma is the land of starch and red meat and that's it) for the diners. So the kids jumped in the pool: 

 

Will and Al, pooling.

 

Will and his superhero cousin, Libby.

 

...I made dinner. It was well-received, and April (who's...geez, my sister-in-law, I guess. Wow, I just realized that! Neat!) asked for the recipe. So that was gratifying. :)

Home, sleep, uneventful day, crickets, and then next day, voop! Off we go! We got the CR-V first, of course, and then headed to Oklahoma City and Half-Price Books, where we sold off enough books and records and whatnot from Michelle's parents' house to finance most of our trip home (so that was nice). 

We drove to Springfield, MO, stopped for barbecue for dinner, and then I realized there was no way I was driving another 180 miles to Fenton (which is where our hotel was) without coffee. So we drove down "C-Street" in Springfield, which was a cool little area, and found some photo-worthy stuff:

A rose in the street.

 

A creature made of metal.

 

We also found a coffee shop called Big Momma's, which is exactly my kind of place:

They really like hedgehogs.

 

I totally agree.

 

We got coffee and dessert, and then back on the road! We found some radio broadcasts of The Shadow to listen to, and that got us to Fenton. 

Next day (Thursday), we set off toward home. We had breakfast at this awesome little restaurant called Maggie's Lunch Box (if you're in Fenton, I highly recommend it - I had a beef and ale sandwich that was amazing). Behold! 

 

Soooo maannnnyyy....

 

...lunchboooxxesss...

And then we found ourselves in Illinois, and near Greenup. We'd been here before, at a winery that we really enjoyed, so we stopped by again (amidst whiny protests from Will) to buy more wine. We also found a cool covered bridge nearby:

 

Ooh, covered bridges.

 

Lyons!

 

And from there, the long slog home. Stopped by Indianapolis and had dinner at an awesome little Chinese place with John Kennedy. And then home! 

And then home. Our next trip, I think, is GenCon.

innocent_man: (abyssal)

Woof. Eventful trip. Finally started to get good for a while there, and then the second car-splosion. Let me back up. So, when we last left our protagonists (that'd be Michelle and me), we were in Davenport, IA, getting my car fixed. That took all day, but it did get done ("Air compressor exploded. Needs new coolant fan. Dinglehoppers need re-bloofered."). Fortunately there was a mall nearby, where Michelle and I spent much of Friday.

 

That's a tattoo parlor on the left and a Build-a-Bear on the right. Odd mall.

    

 

 

 

 

But eventually we got the car done, and drove to Des Moines. Now, the whole point of taking this route to Oklahoma (going through Indiana, Illinois and Iowa rather than down through Missouri) was going to Zombie Burger.

 

Zombie Burger is, as you may have guessed, a zombie-themed burger joint. Their food is really awesome, and all their burgers are named after various zombie things (the one I ordered was called "They're Coming to Get You Barbara", and the bun was two grilled-cheese sandwiches because FUCK MY ARTERIES ANYWAY). Some pictures from the place:

Shamble to the restroom.

 

Wait times for tables can be murder.

 

Yes, you can order a Bloody Brain.

 

Michelle, about to be eaten by a wall.

The initial plan was to go to Kansas City and crash with Michelle's aunt, but it was late before we got to Des Moines so we just got a hotel. Next morning, then, we got up and started heading to Kansas City so we could at least have lunch with her.

En route, we stopped at another winery. This one (Two Saints) had a number of really lovely wines. And was very pretty. Check it.

 

Vineyards.

 

A moment later, the plant ate her.

 So we tasted some wines, and bought a bunch, and then back on the road! We made to Kansas City, and had a lovely lunch with Michelle's aunt Ann, and then got back on the road. Ann mentioned that there was a winery nearby that had, at one point, been a sanitarium or something like that. Odd Fellows? Hell yeah, gotta see that.

 

 

 

 

We bought some more wine, and on we went! We drove through Kansas, and OMG, Kansas is like Iowa except somehow more boring. We did find this kind of cool fence thing, though:

 

Not pictured: Michelle.

 

So we finally made it to Oklahoma City, got the boys (after some fuckery from United Airlines), checked into the hotel, and went the hell to bed.

 

Next day (Sunday) we all got up and had breakfast in the hotel, then had lunch at Dave & Buster's (the food was surprisingly good), and then went to the Oklahoma Science Museum. Oh, yeah, we got pictures.

 

Lyons.

 

The skeletal dinosaur surveying his domain.

 

I AM THE PILOT.

 

Yoshimi, they don't believe me.

 

Michelle and also boxes.

 

A little miniature village.

 

CSI Pompeii?

 

"Snakes for hair, you say?"

 

I have no idea why she took the picture while I was yawning.

 

Al is really tall.

 

Will is training to be a mall cop.

 

The boys as astronauts. We're not sure why the robot needs a helmet.

 

And then off to Ted's Escondido Cafe for dinner, then back to Temple in a complete uneventful evening...OH SHIT CARSPLOSION.

Yeah, the A/C is out. AGAIN. The good news is that we left it at Firestone (because they "fixed" it the first time, it's under warranty) and went back to Temple (aka, "nowhere") for the night.

Further adventures today.

innocent_man: (Default)
(I actually posted this over on my blog a couple of days ago, because DW was being stupid and wasn't letting me post. But I've fixed some typos and added a funnier title, so you can read it here, you lucky so-n-so.)

So, it was a sound enough plan. We (Michelle and I) leave on Thursday, hit Davenport, IA the first night, drive to Des Moines Friday (today), get lunch at Zombie Burger, head to Kansas City, crash with her aunt, drive to Oklahoma City on Friday, get her kiddos at the airport, stay with her folks a couple of days in Middle-of-Fucking-Nowhere, OK, drive to St. Louis, stay in a hotel, drive home. Whole thing takes a week. Lots of driving, but no real killer days of driving, and plenty of time for wineries and strange and beautiful things.

And then fuckery happened.

Let me back up. (Only a few photos this time, sorry.)

We left yesterday, stopping first at Heather's house to visit my kiddos (they just got back from their own trip):


Cale using a freeze ray on me.




Teagan being adorable.



 We drove forever, and we found a winery in Indiana that, apart from having two godawful red wines (smelled like tomato sauce, tasted like soy sauce) also had a Traminette and a blueberry wine that were just lovely. Other low point of the detour - the signs are for shit. We wound overshooting it, heading too far north, and we wound up in...Michigan?



Nice bench, innit?



So we bought some wine, and kept heading west. We initially thought about stopping through Chicago and hitting the Shedd Aquarium, but it's only open until 6 and we didn't figure we'd have time. Above all, we joked, we want avoid Gary. There are vampires there.

But somewhere in Indiana, our A/C quit. Now, you gotta know, it's a billion fucking degrees out. Staying in the car is fatal. We kept going, got as far as Gary (fuck) and stopped at a Jiffy Lube to get the A/C recharged. Hell, my car has a quarter-million miles on it. That'll need to happen, right?

Well, Jiffy Lube said, "nope, totally not a recharge issue. A leak in the line." OK, then. We drove down the road to a repair place, and the dude said, "Yep, can totally do that. Tomorrow."

Michelle and I talked it over, and figured fuck it, we'll get to Davenport tonight (we weren't too far away) and get the car repaired in the morning. We arrived in Davenport smelling like GenCon, but this morning I got up at crack o'clock and took the car to Firestone. And the very nice, tall man at Firestone said...

...my compressor exploded (note to those who, like me, don't speak car - the word "exploded" shares a prefix with "expensive," and that's not a coincidence, baby). Yes, they can fix it. No, it's not cheap, but I sure as balls don't want to drive to Oklahoma and back to Cleveland with no A/C. There's not enough deodorant in the world.

So I am now at the Starbucks in the Barnes & Noble in the mall in Davenport in the log in the hole at the bottom of the sea, waiting on the car to be fixed.


My car, in surgery.



The rest of the plan continues as scripted. I am getting a Zombie Burger today.

Further details and photos as we go on.
innocent_man: (snorkel)
Photos, we got photos.

So, this was just an overnight trip. We stayed at Castaway Bay, which has a nifty indoor water park. On the way there, we found this awesome Mexican restaurant in a castle. No, really:




After lunch in el castillo, we headed on to the resort. I wandered around a bit and took some photos.



Giant pirate ship in the lobby.


The water park.


Teagan, being eaten by a shark.


So we donned our swimsuits and hung out in the water park for a while. They have a wave pool, which is fun, and a slide with an inner tube that Teagan fell in love with. Also a cool arcade (though not in the water park) where you can earn tickets to trade for useless junk. So, y'know, vacation.

Odd bit: The cartoon tie-in for Castaway Bay, and in fact Cedar Point, is Peanuts. While I'm glad it's not Spongebob Squarepants or something, really, Peanuts? My daughter has no idea who she's hugging here:



Linux? Lunacy? Lucifer?


Cael, however, knows a security blanket when he sees one.


So we had breakfast there, which despite being expensive was good. Cael went straight for the Lucky Charms:



Look carefully and you can see green marshmallow on his nose.


Before we left for Cedar Point, we went back to the arcade to use our tickets. The kids all got fake vampire teeth through Sarah's beneficence.



Rawr!


And then on to Cedar Point! I didn't take a lot of pictures there, but a few I did get:



Sarah, having just gotten her hand henna'd.


Cael on the Frog Bounce. I'm sure he'll be the one who'll want to do all the supercoasters when he gets bigger.


The kids eating ice cream. Cael chose Superman.


And the Hallo-weekends car, which I photographed on the way out.


So there ya go! Heather, Aaron, Michelle and her boys were there, too, but just didn't make it into pictures this time. But Teagan rode some of the bigger coasters - the Mean Streak, the Gemini and the Disaster Transport - and liked them, though she felt the Disaster Transport was spooky (much of it is in the dark). We'll have to go back more often, particularly once the boys get out here.
innocent_man: (checkmate)
Last day of pictures. I know, I'm sad, too.

So, last you heard it was Thursday evening. After I made that last post, we went to dinner at a place called the Black Swan:



Mila Kunis wasn't there. Trust me, I looked.


The food was really amazing. Black Swan Fries, which are just french fries, but they tossed them in truffle oil and parmesan. Wow. Yum. And other such food-porn, which I won't relate here because I have other things to do. But suffice to say I'm going back there next year.

Michelle and I also found another winery:



Got some more wine, then went back to the hotel, played games with the boys (including Geeks: The Convention, which I'd forgotten how much I liked) and then, the next day, GenCon.

GenCon! )

Altair giving Deadpool a gentle smooch.




And really, isn't that what GenCon is all about?
innocent_man: (abyssal)
Could have uploaded and posted yesterday. Couldn't be arsed. Here's a million pictures for ya.

Tuesday we left Plano...or rather, we stopped for lunch in Plano at this place:



Love and War in Texas.


Tuesday. )

And then we found this wax museum. Note, below, the "table of contents" for this place. Note especially "World of Religion." Now remember: Arkansas. Got it? OK, let's move on.



The Wax Museum. )And then back to the hotel, and to bed.

And then up! And on to another day of driving and tom-foolery! Michelle started with some hula-hooping.



Wednesday. )

And eventually we got out of Mississippi, back into Tennessee, out again, back into Arkansas (briefly), out again, into Illinois, passed by Cairo which is dead, and into Mt. Vernon, where we found a hotel and went to sleep.

And then in the morning, on the road again!



Thursday. )

Anyway, we got coffee, we got the boys, we got into Indy, we got a hotel, and we are now going to go to dinner. Tomorrow: A day of GenCon, and then home! (Expect pictures.)
innocent_man: (mentak)
Sunday (yesterday) we went to the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge. I took lots of photos. Check it on out.




Sunday. )

Whew! And then we went home, watched Black Rain (review coming next post!) and went to bed.

This morning, then, we woke up and started to pack up. Michelle's mother went to fetch her father, and got into a car wreck (they're fine, don't sweat, though their car is not), which delayed things. But we did eventually get on the road, and stopped in Muenster, Texas, for lunch.






Yummy weiner schnitzel and sausage, followed by yummy pastry from this bakery:




And then on! On, through Texas, until we reached the home of our hosts, who graciously let me us their Internet and drink their coffee! Yay!

More photos to come, tomorrow, when I see more interesting things to photograph.
innocent_man: (rocksfall)
Texas, at least, has Internet. Here, have some more damn pictures.


Madness sets in.


Saturday. )

Quick, how do you tell that Halliburton owns a state? Like this!


innocent_man: (mouseketeer)
I had planned on blogging this day by day, but since the Internet is hard to find, you get a post with a billionty freaking pictures instead. Lick it up, baby.

We left Ohio in good weather, but that was as far as our luck held:




Wednesday. )

Thursday morning, we decided we'd go to the Gateway Arch before heading out to Oklahoma. The Arch is too big to fit into a picture, though I did take some. Anyway, Thursday looked like this:



Picturesque, no?


Thursday. )

OK, popping out from behind the cut to say that when you go up into the Arch, you go into these little space-capsule things:



The "4" there is a door.


See!?


And then you ride allllll the way up to the observation deck. Whereupon I took a bunch of photos of the St. Louis downtown area, and people on the ground using my zoom, which are behind the cut. I just wanted you to see how small that freaking capsule is, if you're the sort that doesn't look at my photos behind the cut. Moving on. )

So then Friday morning, we got up, had breakfast, and Michelle and I foolishly decided to go to the zoo. Why foolish? Because it's routinely getting over 100 degrees out here. Seriously, this heat is fucking insane. But we went, early in the day that it didn't suck overmuch, and I took some pictures of animals and so on.




Friday. )



There's a chicken coming out of this wall. Your argument is invalid.
innocent_man: (squirrel)
We were out in the garden weeding this morning, and I heard squeaking. And saw Leo with something in his mouth. Oy.

Fortunately, no bunnies were harmed (Leo is a gentle giant, and he just wanted to play). Found a nest of baby bunny-hoppers. Behold!




So, I moved them back into their nest, kept the dogs away, and took precautions:





In unrelated news, I'm leaving tomorrow for a car trip. So the rest of this post will be dedicated to the shit I've gotta do to get ready and some itinerary, if you're interested. Read more... )
innocent_man: (lsd)
I was at Bonnaroo this weekend. If you don't know, it's a music festival that hosts about 80,000 people. Music acts this year included Eminem, Old Crow Medicine Show, Mumford and Sons, Black Keys and some "jam bands," which I'm led to understand are bands that get high and play music that occasionally synchs up (I'm not a fan). My impressions of the fest:

OMG HOT. Tennessee in June isn't fun. Mercury easily hit 100 every day, there's very little shade and no natural water. Tennessee is, apparently, a blasted wasteland of scrub and weeds and dust. One person died of heat stroke, another of unknown causes (and I wouldn't be surprised to learn that the heat was responsible). I think part of the issue is that not everyone is from a part of the country where it gets hot enough to kill you. I am familiar with such heat, however, so I drank lots of water and wet my bandana to stay cool. And it still sucked sometimes.

People are pretty. I spent the weekend looking at tattoos and tummies. Confession: I love girl tummies, and not flat ones, either. I mean, that's good, too, but mostly I like what my friend Laura used to call "marshmallow" tummies (she referred to hers), because they're soft and smooth and fun to kiss. And lots of women at the fest wore bikinis (see earlier note about heat).

Also, lots of tats. Some extensive, some minimalist, but a lot of really nice ones. I like scoping people's ink, because you can usually tell when something is meaningful and when it's not.

Music is nice. I'd never heard of this guy:



But I heard him play while I made an awesome drum for Cael (pictures forthcoming). I'd never heard of these folks:



And we saw them do a set, which was fun.

Saw these folks:



And these folks:



But the highlight for me, hands down, was:



Holy cow. I love OCMS anyway, and they did an amazing show (which that video doesn't do justice).

Smokers: I'm not around smokers much anymore, since Ohio got smart and told them to fuck off and die elsewhere (don't think was in the language of the "no smoking in public places" law, but hey). The music fest, though, has a different attitude, and lots of people were smoking cigarettes (lots of other people where smoking other substances, but see next entry).

Honestly, apart from the heat this was my biggest peeve of the weekend. I hate cigarette smoke. I hate copping a spot in one of the only shady areas for a mile and trying to eat and having some yo-yo light up a little white "ruin everything stick" right next to me. Bleah. Smoking is gross, and you become a better person if you stop doing it.

Druuuuuuugs. Lots of weed. Other stuff happening, too, though not as obviously. But I did see people wandering around with signs that openly asked for drugs. I'm not into it, but I will see that I did not see one fight or altercation the whole time. Which leads me to...

People are generally OK. Put 80,000 people together in blistering heat, make them stand in line, give them booze and what happens? Mostly, they just groove to music and have a good time. I didn't see any real anger or bad feelings, and I did get a whole bunch of hugs when I wore my FREE HUGS shirt. So that's nice.

All in all, it's a fun time. If I go back next year, there are some things we'll change in how we approach it, but I have to admit, I'm more keen on the idea of returning than I initially though I'd be.
innocent_man: (cookbook)
Last Friday:



Pork loin, aged cheddar, broccolini, farro, artichoke hearts.


What'd you do? Hell, what'd I do? )

And then, Monday:



Corn, manila clams, dragon fruit, bamboo shoots, chocolate-covered pretzel sticks.


Dragon fruit is weird. )
innocent_man: (abyssal)
Well, that's maybe a bit more melodramatic than I mean. I started feeling sick Friday night, and by Saturday I had a full-blown sore throat, congested, blarghity-blargh cold. Not as horrible as flying last April with a head cold nasty enough that I wanted to chew my own face off when the plane took off, but apparently I collapsed a couple of times Saturday night in getting ready for bed (I have only Sarah and Michelle's word on this, as I have no real memory of events after getting to the apartment).

But, despite feeling like toasted ass most of the time, I love Seattle. We're staying in an apartment in Capitol Hill, which is an awesome (if kind of expensive) neighborhood. It's about as much as we'd pay for a hotel room, but it's a freaking apartment, complete with a kitchen, meaning I can cook, which makes me happy (Chopped dinner post from tonight coming soon, in fact). There's a fish market near here called Seafood City wherein you choose your fish - which was swimming yesterday - and they clean it and slice it up for you. Awesome. I have red snapper in my freezer, which I shall cook Friday.

I have pictures, but they're on a crappy disposable camera until I get home, because I don't have a working camera, so fnah. We went to Pike Place Market today, and that's just a gigantic money-sink for me, lemmetellya. Also made Necessary Evil characters so that Michelle's older son (Al) can run a game for us, which was going to be tonight, but Sarah and I are both too wiped out (it's, like, 10:30 in my body's understanding of things) so that'll happen tomorrow during the day.

Other fun things are in the offing for the week. I do still need to do the game write-up from Friday night, and I have a couple of dinners to blog, but for now I shall sign off saying that I still really like this city, and I wish we could visit more often.

Oh, and we're going to get tattoos on Thursday. Pictures to follow, don't worry.
innocent_man: (goblin)
OK, so check it out. [livejournal.com profile] anaka submitted an abstract of her paper to the International Gothic Association for presentation at their conference in Heidelberg, Germany in August. It conflicts with GenCon, yeah, but her paper fits perfectly, and if she got accepted, she'd get published and get to present and it would awesome. She considered it an outside shot she'd get accepted.

Well, guess what! She did! We're going to Europe! The Europe!

So...what does this mean for you? It means that I'm not doing GenCon this year. Which kind of sucks, but y'know, this is a big deal. :)

It also means, though, that I'll be in Europe in July/August. If you're there ([livejournal.com profile] wyrm_chris, [livejournal.com profile] voice_of_i, [livejournal.com profile] wyrdness and anyone else I'm forgetting), it'd be really cool to hang out, game, whatever. (And let's be honest, crash space would be greatly appreciated because money is tight. Compensation is available in the forms of GMing, cooking, or laughing at the silly Americans.)

Right, so there's that. Now! Food!

I'm so behind on these.


Cauliflower, mustard cheese, pineapple, swordfish, polenta.


So? )



Ginger ale, chicken breast, Napa cabbage, barbecue sauce, mascarpone cheese.


What would you do? )

And finally, ingredients contributed by [livejournal.com profile] anaka, [livejournal.com profile] affectionsedge, [livejournal.com profile] lucki_dog/[livejournal.com profile] ladycoyote, [livejournal.com profile] raving_liberal and [livejournal.com profile] jonsan.


Whole freaking young chickens (with giblets!), grapefruit, Guinness, aged English cheddar, leeks.


Last one! )
innocent_man: (mine)
Told ya I'd get around to this sooner or later. Piccies! )
innocent_man: (coffee)
So, last week I went to Tus-Con, which is in Tuscon. It was a fun time, though the con itself was kinda meh. I mean, it was cool to see geeks wandering around, and I got to talk to some awesome people (having dinner with Jim and Shannon Butcher was especially nifty). Also present at the aforementioned dinner was [livejournal.com profile] jesshartley, but for some reason the picture I took of her didn't develop. Weird. Jess, are you a vampire?

But the con had no gaming, and while there were panels, nothing that I really was excited about. Dealer's room, sure...which they didn't publicize anywhere, to the point that some con-goers didn't know there was a dealer's room.

But the city itself was really cool. I forgot my sodding camera, so I had to buy a disposable, so please to enjoy these holiday snaps!

Here's Uncle Ted coming 'round the side of the house. ) ...

...I'll pop out of photo mode to talk about the hotel. Now, the beds were really nice. And we had a suite with a kitchen for $100 a night, which is pretty amazing. I posted already about the challenges of cooking in a kitchen where there are no kitchen utensils (I borrowed from a local friend). And that was kinda of typical.

You know the episode of Every Sitcom Ever where the characters have to, like, put on a show or run a hotel or perform surgery and they don't know whaaaaaat they're doing and they fuck everything up, but it all comes together in the end? Oh, the hilarity! Anyway, that's what this hotel was like. You got the feeling that the people who really ran the hotel had all jumped ship for Tijuana or something, and the folks filling in weren't quite sure how this "hotel" thing worked. Anyway, that gutted jacuzzi was a pretty good example - this hotel has potential, but it ain't there yet. Anyway, back to photos. )
innocent_man: (sun)
ARIZONA.

Michelle and I flew in last night for TusCon. Well, really the con proper doesn't start until today and we haven't registered yet, but whatever. We're on a trip!

We flew in last night. There were plane rides. They were long. We had a 30 seconds stopover in Houston. Like, literally, walked off the plane from Cleveland and right across the hall was the plane boarding to Tucson. Good thing our flight out of Cleveland wasn't later or anything.

Got in at something like 11 local time, which is sleepy-time for my body. The dork at the front desk didn't want to tell us they'd double booked, so he pretended there was a problem with the computer until his manager could come and look, and his manager didn't say anything anyway. We are now in the correct room, which is a two-room suit with a kitchen for a hundred bucks a night, which is more than reasonable.

We spent today wandering downtown Tuscon. OMG. This is a really cool city. Love the architecture and the little artsy district. We found a coffee shop that sold awesome gazpacho (the staff was wigged out that I ordered it, though, since it was chilly this morning - HA. I'm from Ohio. I know chilly. These people know chiles, though). We found the visitors bureau, a little farmer's market, and another coffee shop which recommend a restaurant called Poca Cosa.

Food was awesome. The waitress walked up with the menu (written on a chalkboard, because it changes during the day) and said that all the food was good, but we could get a chef's choice plate that had three selections each. I stopped her there and said, "Yes, do that."

The food was incredible. I had a chicken breast with a peanut-pistachio sauce, a white corn pie with poblano peppers (I love to figure out how to make it - it was fantastic) and some marinated steak. Michelle had a sweet corn tamale pie (sweetened with honey, I could taste it), pulled pork which was probably the best I've ever had, and chicken with a smokey red chile sauce. Holy cats. And lunch was about $30. Totally worth it. Hopefully we can get back there for dinner sometime.

Anyway, you'll get pictures, but not until after I get back because I forgot my goddamn camera so I'm making do with a little disposable jobbie.

Oh, and on the subject of food, turns out that one reason we might be getting fatter as a nation is that we're not making our own food enough. I know I've sure felt that my own food tastes better than it used to, now I've started doing more "from scratch."
innocent_man: (safe)
Heck yes, we do.

So, a few more pics from Asheville. Now, the last time I posted NC pictures, it was Friday morning and we were getting ready to leave. So this first batch of pictures is actually from last Friday (a week ago today). Got it? Good. Then we'll begin.

Teagan rode with my brother and his kiddos, so when Heather and I got there we just had Cael with us. We wandered the streets a bit and saw that Asheville takes domesticity very seriously.



Heather doing the ironing.


Also found a little stand that sold handmade sweaters and whatnot, and since Cael as one in a similar style that he just loves, we bought him a larger one for next fall/winter.



Cael models his new sweater (very briefly, as it was too sodding hot for that).

We had lunch at the Tupelo Honey Cafe again, and then I took Liam, Donovan and Teagan to see Despicable Me. The theater was just down the highway a ways, and I'm figuring, we go in, get popcorn, very normal, yeah?

Uh, no.



Whoa.


You can't see it in that picture, but there's a full bar to the right. I asked the girl at the counter if there were concessions, and get this, you order from your seat. Like, real food. Holy shit, where are the theaters like this in Ohio? (Answer: There aren't any.) Anyway, since we'd already eaten, we got milkshakes and watched the movie, which is very cute but ain't no Pixar film.

And then we left and headed back to Asheville. I found a little gaming store called Blitzkrieg, which sells mostly board and minis, with a little, neglected shelf of RPGs.



But a fun sign.


And then back to the cabin for photos in Independence Day garb.



Freedom of expression.


And then probably sleep. It's been a week.

Next day was "Holy shit, they're coming to clean at 10AM, so let's go already!" day. I did get one last snap of everyone having breakfast.




And then Heather and I got on the road with Cael (Teagan rode back with my mother to give her some company). Along the Pigeon River, in Tennessee (which wasn't far from where we honeymooned, actually), we found an awesome little cafe, with some interesting signs on the door, called The Bean Tree:



Yay! Not a chain!


Yeah, we get it. Food servers in the South are slow.


The food was really good, though, and wasn't really all that slow. The burger had stuff mixed into the patty. When I asked what, the waitress said, "Oh, whatever they got from the herb garden." I like that quite a lot.

I took a picture of Heather and Cael by the river, and noted a little henna tattoo studio staffed by pretty girls:



Cael is fussy in this picture, but I don't know if that's obvious.


Hair colors are different in the south.


And back on the road! We stopped at Chick-fil-a for dinner, and I only bring that up because it gives me a segue to this last photo:




By the way, they pumped god-awful Christian "rock" music into that kids room. Are they trying to push kids to violence? Blargh. But really, we chose that place because a) I like their smammiches, b) it had a playground and c) we were in near-highway suburbia, not the kind of place you find a nice little locally-owned joint.

But then we drove the rest of the way home, and then we got here, and then week went by, and then I came upstairs to write this, and then I don't know what happens.
innocent_man: (abyssal)
Haven't posted pictures the last couple of days because...well, because Tuesday we didn't really leave the cabin, and Wednesday I just couldn't be arsed. So I shall update you on Wednesday and yesterday, before we zip off to Asheville. I'm taking three kids to see Despicable Me today. If you don't hear from me again, I tell you now that it was nice knowing you.

Especially you. Aww, yeah.

Anyway. Wednesday we went to Asheville. We went first to the Tupelo Honey Cafe. Bit of a wait to get in, but based on the food, well worth it. OMG. (We're actually going there for brunch today.)


The family, outside the cafe.


The cafe, above the family.


Food was really awesome. Fried green tomatoes, goat cheese grits (lots of goat cheese on this menu, in fact), and I had poached eggs and crab cakes. Yum. I'm really glad we're going back, because that menu was pretty much "throw a dart and get something awesome."

So then we wandered around Asheville for a while. Interesting things:



A sculpture.


Children petting a (very patient) dog in a yarn store.


An admonition to steal from Wal-Mart in a little hippie store.


Teagan eating a cherry in a store called Chocolate Fetish.


Did you hear me? CHOCOLATE. FETISH.


So then we drove a little ways to find this little toy store called Once Upon a Time. Now, I'm not saying this store is haunted or anything, but look at the street name:



See? Not haunted!


The store itself was pretty cool, except that it's on a second floor with no handicapped access, so my mother couldn't walk up to it. The kids all picked out there prezzies (except Cael, who was dead to the world in the car, which was a good thing - seriously, the poor kiddo's nap schedule is all whack-a-ding-hoy), and we headed out.

On the way out, I spotted another funny street name. Now, I'm not saying the building on the corner was a brothel, but...




Anyway, we got back to the cabin and turned down the heat in the hot tub (or "hot pool" as the kiddos call it), and let the kids get in. I mentioned making child soup, and Cael latched onto that, saying "Make soup! Make soup!" as he splashed about. He also kept losing his footing and slipping under, so he didn't stay in long. But here's a picture of the soup:



Child soup!


And then there was bed.

Thursday, we pretty much lounged around the cabin again. The kiddos hid from the heat under the table:




And much merriment was had. But really, what's emblematic of summer to me is faces smushed with s'mores:








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January 2013

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