Other Things

It’s been a bit of a busy (and crap) week here. But some fun things did happen last week!

New Glasses!
I got my new glasses. Fancy and Parisian (and Expensive)!

One of my Favorite Humans
I got to see Michelle again before she went back to China. I love this human! We ate too much food (green bean fries!) and drank too much beer at our favorite watering hole.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor at The Orange Peel 8/9/19
I saw Godspeed You! Black Emperor at The Orange Peel, The opening band really sucked but GY!BE was AMAZING.

Meanwhile …

Good Morning!
The sunrise was pretty nice this morning.

And, all that is left to say is … “C’MON, WEEKEND!!!”

Other Things

Trippin’

Hey yeah … I am alive. Just been super busy with work and two trips that I had to work extra to make happen.

JR and I went backpacking in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park over the last weekend of July.  We started out at Clingman’s Done and hiked to the end of the Road to Nowhere outside of Bryson City via Forney Creek on the following trails: Forney Ridge Trail, Forney Creek Trail, Whiteoak Branch Trail, and the Lakeshore Trail. We hiked three days and camped two nights (at #68B and #71). It’s been a while since I have been backpacking and I had to buy a bunch of new gear (backpack, tent, etc.). I also had forgotten how tiring it is evening though I day hike as much as I can. It can be a challenge carrying 30+ lbs. on your back. Day two of the trip we especially challenging at points because we did six non-bridged crossings of Forney Creek. We emerged on Sunday tired but happy for the experience.

Clingman's Dome
The starting point at Clingman’s Dome.

Forney Creek Trail Sign
The trailhead for the Forney Creek Trail is 1.1 miles from Clingman’s Dome. From here we hiked another 2.4 miles of rough, steep, rocky, wet, poison ivy covered trail to Campsite 68B.

Campsite 68B
Relaxing at Campsite 68B.

Sleeping Quarters
Our tent set-up for the first night. We kept the tents close together in case bears attacked in the middle of the night.

Into the Woods
Hiking down the trail on day two …

Forney Creek Water Crossing
This is one of the six Forney Creek crossings. They ranged from ankle deep to crotch deep. Ice cold water is always refreshing when it hits your balls.

Happy Hikers
All smiles despite the heavy packs and tough terrain.

Setup for Night Two at Campsite 71
Our setup for night two at Campsite 71.

Campsite Snake
We had some company in the campsite …. but thankfully it was not the venomous kind of company.

Campfire!
Here’s JR starting up the camp fire.

Light at the End of the Tunnel
Almost done! The trail ends on the other side of the tunnel at the end of the Road to Nowhere.

And, this past weekend, David and I went down to Florida to visit Dr. Phibes and Co. The dive down and back were not too much fun, but it’s always great to see such good friends. We walked on the beach at sunrise, went bowling, kicked around Centre Street, drank too much and (definitely) ate way too much. The Pimento Cheese at Gilbert’s Underground Kitchen is fucking amazing. Yum. One thing I realized after we got back is that I took practically no photos of the trip. Oh well …

Fernandina Beach
Sunrise-ish on Fernandina Beach …

Bowling!
And BOWLING SHOES … because bowling shoes are awesome.

Now, it’s back to a busy work week (blech!) as well as several social commitments and Godspeed You! Black Emperor at The Orange Peel on Friday night (yay!). Plus, my new glasses should arrive either today or tomorrow. I am looking forward to being able to see clearly again.

 

Trippin’

Weekly Update

Shew. July has just been too crazy. Too much work and not nearly enough fun!

Crawl 2019
But … there was some fun this past weekend! We got to go see Crawl and it was pretty much EVERYTHING I wanted in a killer alligator fright-fest.

Saturday, we went to …. Gatlinburg! Shocker. Needless to say, all four distilleries were visited. Where else can you have this much fun for $20 each?

Annie = Suglands Best!
We happened to get Annie again as our tasting host at Sugarlands. She is super fun.

Mysterious Mansion!
So, yeah. We did the usual rounds culminating in a super awesome trip through the Mysterious Mansion. By far the scariest walk-through we have done there. Kudos to the staff for that one!

And now the work week is underway … and what better way is there to start it than by breaking your glasses? Yay!
Busted!

Weekly Update

Tidbits

Yeah. I am alive … somewhat.

I have had a freelance induced stress headache since last night … but it appears that the most stressful of projects is finally out of my hair and at the printers.

Sometimes the stress outweighs the money. So, I am going to have to think long and hard about whether to put myself through this particular project next year.

This is funny and somewhat true …
Resignation

Meanwhile, here some other things that have happened.

Good Friends
I got take a night off and see Michelle while she was in town. It’s always awesome to see this truly special person.

Stranger Things 3
Binged Stranger Things 3. It was thrilling, funny, soul crushing, and oh-so 80’s. I loved it.

Hazelwood Farmacy
Went and had a burger and a milkshake at the Hazelwood Farmacy with A&A. Yeah. That burger is slathered in Pimento cheese. Yummy. And the mint chocolate chip shake was also tasty as fuck.

SPIDER-MAN: ™ FAR FROM HOME
And caught Spider-man: Far From Home. The movies itself is fun, fun, fun. It’s just too bad that Jake Gyllenhaal didn’t get an obligatory shirtless scene like Tom Holland did. Bummer.

AND! I am not sure how I missed hearing this Pet Shop Boys/Jean-Michel Jarre collaboration from three years ago. I guess that means I am not as good a PSB fan as I thought I was.

Tidbits

Outdoorsiness

Went out on Saturday with my friend Jack and we traversed the Appalachian Trail from Newfound Gap to Charlie’s Bunion and back. The weather was awesome and the views were super fine. It was quite warm and there were several shirtless guys out enjoying the trail as well. So … BONUS VIEWS! Ha, ha.

And … the late afternoon sun/clouds at Lake Junaluska put on quite a show yesterday.
Lake Junaluska Walk

Outdoorsiness

Low Country!

So … a much needed weekend in the Low Country of South Carolina has come and gone. Charleston really is an awesome town. History, fun, food, beaches, and lots of drinks!

Downtown Charleston
Here’s the view from Philadelphia Alley (aka Dueler’s Alley).

When downtown, you really need to stop into SNOB (Slightly North of Broad) on Bay Street for a Barn Raiser. It’s easily one of the best cocktails ever. It’s made from honey, house-made honey-infused bourbon, local spicy ginger ale, bitters, and an orange twist. Pure heaven! We’ve eaten here before and the food is on point too.
The Barn Raiser at SNOB

We also partook of Zombies at Cane Rhum Bar. It supposedly the strongest drink in Charleston. They will only sell you one and it comes to the table in a cool skull glass … and it’s flaming (though you can’t really see the flame in my photo).
Zombie Drinks at Cane Rhum Bar

A walk on the beach at Isle of Palms is always a must. Thankfully it wasn’t too windy or cold on Saturday. There were lots of people out enjoying the sun and surf.
Isle of Palms

And the best thing you can do late night on Friday or Saturday (10pm to 2 am) in Charleston is get a Chicken Biscuit at Callie’s Hot Little Biscuit on Upper King Street. Seriously! Go get one of these Chicken Biscuits when you are in Charleston. I love them so much went Friday AND Saturday. Yum!
Late Night at Callies Hot Little Biscuit

And, for no real reason, here’s some Red Roof Inn Plus realness.
Motel Selfie

What else happened?
– Uber rides in BMW’s and Audi’s. Swank.
– I didn’t buy any records at Monster Music. Willpower!
– Yummy brunches with David’s former cohorts.
– Drank too many Vodka Tonics at Dudley’s on Ann.

Speaking of Dudley’s on Ann. It’s apparently the non-gay gay bar. We went to the drag show on Friday night and the number of straight girls and bachelorettes was quite annoying. We ending up hanging out/chatting with one of the locals for most of the evening. We left the bar at the same time after the second drag show and parted ways on the street. I couldn’t decide if this guy was interested in something more or just being nice. Maybe he was waiting for one of us to make a move? I didn’t think he was putting out any signals … but then again, I was very drunk and (in general) am terrible at picking up on other people’s signals. It’s probably a sad commentary on gay culture that we can’t just meet a stranger in a bar and hang out without thinking there is some immediate desire on their part to hook up.

Now, it’s back to the drudgery of daily life. I mowed the yard yesterday and got some Game of Thrones Oreo’s in celebration of the Season 8 premiere.
Game of Thones Oreos!

Sadly, I have already reached my four cookie per day maximum … and it’s only 3:00 pm.  How will I ever make it through the evening?!

Low Country!

Ups and Downs

Things are rolling along. Got the ups and got the downs.

Saturday, JR and I got to trek through the woods on the Lakeshore Trail to Forney Creek in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was an absolutely spectacular day. Sunny and 70° temperatures. Maybe Spring really is almost here.

You start at the end of the Road to Nowhere and walk through an abandoned tunnel.
The Road to Nowhere

Past the tunnel, the pavement ends and you properly trek through the woods.
Lakeshore Trail

It’s three miles to where Forney Creek empties into Lake Fontana. They have the lake drawn down, so we were able to get out from under the treeline and enjoy the sun.
Forney Creek & Lake Fontana

A guy was on the other side of Forney Creek looking kind of lost. He forded the creek and it ended up being a guy we had passed earlier. He was out with five boys and they had taken a wrong turn and ended up on the far side of the creek from where they wanted to be. I tried my best to tell him to go back of the trail and get back on the official route.
Helping a Misdirected Hiker

He forded the creek again and he and the boys disappeared. They reappeared in about 15 minutes because some nice boaters decided to just shuttle them across to our side. I guess he decided not to backtrack (the smart thing to do) like I suggested.

After lunch, JR took a nap while I watched frogs jumping around in a marshy area caused by the drawdown of the lake. It really was an awesome day!

I took a selfie on the trail and suspect that I am too beardy. At the very least it needs shaping … and maybe some Just for Men. Damn, damn. I am getting grey.
Beardy

Sunday, I met up with Mary (who used to costume for the theater) and we had lunch and beer at Bearwaters. I hadn’t seen Mary in a long time and we spent four hours catching up. I need to be better about keeping up with people. It would have been nice if we could have sat outside at the brewery but a 70° Saturday gave way to a 45° Sunday. Grrrrrrr.

Then yesterday. My Dad’s dog, Mia, very unexpectedly had to be put down. I got asked to come up and bury her and it was a pretty traumatic experience … more traumatic than I though it would be. So, last night I was really down … thinking about poor Mia in the cold, dark ground. 11 years is too short a time for her to have been around. RIP, Mia.

RIP Mia
Mia and me back in 2010.

Now the work week is well underway and I am just struggling … just working and waiting for Friday afternoon to get here.

[There’s only one link because I am tried and lazy and too later getting this posted.]

Ups and Downs

Four Days of Randomness

Random Things that have happened since Friday …

Re-watched The Private Eyes. It’s totally silly but totally filmed at Biltmore.
The Private Eyes (1980)

Speaking of …. I went to Biltmore and took in the new Vanderbilt House Party exhibit. It was really cool and the flower arrangements throughout the house were spectacular.
Biltmore Flowers

Finally watched Overlord. It’s B-Movie goodness and I enjoyed it!
Overlord (2018)

Finally binged Bodyguard on Netflix and really dug it. The story didn’t go where I was expecting it to. Be sure to check it out.
Bodyguard on Netflix

And … Double Baconator Meal at Wendy’s!
Wendy's Excitement

Four Days of Randomness

Weekend Update [Moonshine Edition]

This past weekend we took our new friend, Colton, for some drunken fun in everyone’s favorite moonshine soaked town … Gatlinburg!

Ole Smoky Moonshine Distillery
Sugarlands
Doc Collier
Ole Smoky Whiskey Distillery

We made some new friends at the Ole Smoky Whiskey Distillery. They recognized us from around town earlier in the day. They spent 5+ hours getting to Gatlinburg. Thankfully, it only takes us 1-1/2 to get to the sweet, tasty moonshine town.
New Friends at Ole Smoky

And what trip to Gatlinburg is complete without a trip through the Mysterious Mansion?
Mysterious Mansion!

We also took in the view (and opportunity to sober up) on the Gatlinburg Sylift. It’s going to be much more fun this spring when they open the longest pedestrian suspension bridge in the states. I can’t wait to check it out!

Back at home, I have counted the moonshine we have on hand and it added up to 50 bottles. Something tells me we need to get drinking! Who wants to come over for a sampling?

Weekend Update [Moonshine Edition]

DRS [Dead Man’s Cell Phone Edition]

This past weekend, I finished up the first show I have done in two years. Dead Man’s Cell Phone (by Sarah Ruhl) went off pretty well and the cast had a lot of fun.

So, here another round of … Dressing Room Selfies! With only two men in the show that were on stage a different times, the dressing room was a pretty empty place. Apparently, the major takeaway from these is that I was either sleepy or cold on any given night. Enjoy!

And, whenever the photographer gets around to sharing the photos of the show, I will post those as well.

DRS [Dead Man’s Cell Phone Edition]

And … We Opened

Dead Man’s Cell Phone opened Friday night. We had great houses for the first weekend and have been held over for this coming weekend. I warned all my friends that the show was weird (because it is). Even though we got a lot of nice compliments, I don’t think anyone really liked the show because of said weirdness. Oh, well.

Dead Man's Cell Phone Cast
This is a fun group of people! I am also “all smiles” because I had just eaten a Pimento Cheese & Bacon Panini. Yum!

Some Other Random Happenings:
– Took Kat & Greg to Biltmore.
– Bought the Indie Exclusive Blue Vinyl of The Twilight Sad‘s new album.
– Took a nap.
– Finally watched (and napped through) Kong: Skull Island. Meh.
– Had a potato Soup and Cornbread lunch with Carrot Cake for dessert!
– Went to the dentist for a cleaning.

Such fun!

And … We Opened

Finally Acquired [Skinny Puppy Edition]

One of the things I was on the lookout in Toronto was original pressings of certain Skinny Puppy albums. The original Canadian pressings (the band is from Canada after all) of certain albums have cool designs or features not available on the pressing readily available in the States back in the 80’s. The original pressing of Mind: The Perpetual Intercourse has an insert with the track names (none were listed on the back) and a lock groove at the end of side two so that Burnt with Water plays on until you lift the needle. The original pressing of Cleanse Fold and Manipulate has really cool A & B Side labels on the vinyl. These pressings tend to be expensive to get here in the States and I was hoping to find them cheaper in their native country. I did not find these two …

Which brings me to VIVIsectVI, Skinny Puppy’s masterpiece. I LOVE this album and it has my favorite-est sleeve art ever. Plus, it’s the original pressing I have been wanting the most. I have been trying to find it for quite a few years but this particular pressing seems to be scarce and expensive to buy. Hell … any pressing of VIVIsectVI from 1988 is expensive. The original pressing of this album features a gatefold sleeve and the A & B Side labels have art that was used as the 12″ sleeve art for the first single. Steven R. Gilmore has been quoted as saying this his favorite of the sleeves he design for the band and that it was always intended to be a gatefold presentation. If the internet is to be believed, only 500-1,000 of these were made before they switched over to a single sleeve with the inner gatefold art being used to make the front/back of a printed inner sleeve for the record.

So, I was absolutely gobsmacked to have found a copy at Sonic Boom Records. And, it was reasonably priced too! Needless to say, I am pretty beside myself to finally own this. Now I just need to find those other two and my Skinny Puppy Vinyl Wishlist will be almost complete.

Skinny Puppy's VIVIsectVI
Skinny Puppy's VIVIsectVI
Skinny Puppy's VIVIsectVI Gatefold Sleeve
Skinny Puppy's VIVIsectVI Gatefold Sleeve
Skinny Puppy's VIVIsectVI Vinyl Label

Finally Acquired [Skinny Puppy Edition]