28 March 2008

Georgia Trip: Days 1-3


My trip technically began Wednesday night when I tool the redeye to Toronto and met up with my mom for the flight to Atlanta. We didn’t do much during the day Thursday, I slept on the couch until it was time to go out for dinner. We went to trivia night at a Georgia Tech bar. Our team was consistently in fourth, until the last round when my cousin’s boyfriend threw the game and we ended up in last place. This was good strategy because last place gets a round of free shots.

Friday we left around 9 to begin the road trip to Savannah. There were a couple of false starts, including one embarrassing, confusion-ridden drive thru stop at the Krispy Kreme. We didn’t go into Savannah that night, instead heading straight to our rented condo on Tybee Island (about 30 minutes outside of Savannah). We drank a little wine, took a walk on the beach, and went to dinner at a horrible place called the crab shack. The main drawing point for the crab shack is its 38 live crocodiles. The food was bad and I wouldn’t recommend it to anyone.


Saturday morning began with breakfast at Clary’s Café is famous I think because it was in Midnight in the Garden of God and Evil. (The Garden of Good and Evil, by the way, is not an actual garden. It is, in fact, a metaphor). After a massive southern breakfast (including biscuits and grits) we drove in circles for awhile trying to find the information centre. Until this point we didn’t have any maps of Savannah and were just getting by on sheer luck. We found the info centre and booked ourselves on a trolley tour. The tour was over an hour long. I’ve forgotten much of what I learned. Let me think. I learned that rich people’s houses have entrances on the second floor, that iron was a sign of wealth, and that almost all of the original Squares still exist in Savannah. I can’t get over how beautiful Savannah is. The houses and buildings alone are just gorgeous, and if that were all there was, the city would still be pretty. But everything is framed with lush vegetation, giant gnarled oak tress dripping with Spanish moss, some kind of colourful flower in full bloom, and houses draped in wisteria. It’s marvelous.

We hopped off the tour at one point to wander around River St, which is all quaintly cobbled. We saw Factor’s Walk, which I couldn’t get over. There’s a steep drop off as you approach the river, and there’s some huge elevation difference between River St and the street next to it. The tall buildings on River St can be accessed in the back on the 3rd and 4th floors by suspended walkways. I just loved it. Every city should have a Factor’s Walk. The name has something to do with the cotton trade, but I forget what exactly.

One thing the tour guide on the trolley didn’t mention was that Savannah also has the childhood home of Flannery O’Connor. My cousin happened to see a plaque while on the trolley and we went back later for a tour of the house. Flannery is just an incredible writer who writes these very dark, southern stories. She also, I was surprised to find out, has my birthday. As far as house museums go, it was pretty good (I used to work in a house museum, so I consider myself somewhat of an expert on the topic). It was restored to the time when Flannery lived there (during the depression), and they had some of the original furniture and family items. It was a highlight of the day, because it was so unexpected. None of us knew that she had spent any time in Savannah, because she was born and died in Milledgeville, Ga.

We had dinner that night at a fancy ass restaurant overlooking the river. It had once housed Sherman’s men. It seems like every building in Savannah once housed Sherman’s men. The food was great; the waiter was probably the best waiter I’ve ever had. I know that’s a weird thing to say, but he was so charming and said all the right things. Like, when my aunt got over-excited and broke the stem on her wine glass, he was all courtesy, saying that he does that every day. We could have told him that we liked to eat humans and he would have smiled and said that from time to time, he too enjoys the other white meat. We tipped him a lot.

After dinner we went on a Haunted Pub Tour given by this guy in civil war period costume. In the south, when they talk about period wear, that period is almost always Civil War. Occasionally it’s antebellum, but that’s mostly for the plantation tours. In Savannah you can drink in public places as long as the liquor is in a plastic cup. So the tour goes from pub to pub, with scary stories and beer along the way. We didn’t see any ghosts, nor did we capture any ghostly-remnants on film - but not for lack of trying. Well, I might have gotten one orb, but I don't know if I'm a believer.
I'll post more later about our last day in Savannah (otherwise known as The Day of Tragedies) and my time in Atlanta.
All my Savannah pics can be seen here.

24 March 2008

19 March 2008

Back home

I was watching 22 Minutes last night, and I was really impressed by how funny it was. I think after Mercer left it went downhill for awhile. It was pretty kickass last night. Before I get on to more depressing things, you should check out the highlights from last night's show. I recommend The Four Celtic Sisters (live from the famed "U2 castle"). At the end, Majumder totally cracks.

On to more sad things, at the very end of the broadcast one guy (whose name I don't know) had a piece about Chris Garrett. I hadn't known that there was a battle going on to have him considered for a Cross of Valour. Apparently, this has been going on since November:

And I read that the requirements for consideration have recently been changed, and now the hurtle is to convince the Governor General that he deserves it.

I think he does. During the trial for the killer, it came out that he had a plan (literally written down on paper) to kill other people, and to make a final, bloody stand. It was chilling. The original Cobourg Daily Star articles are no longer available online, so this will have to do.

I remember when it happened. I was home from school, and it was my dad's 60th Birthday. I remember at the time there were a lot of wild rumours, about there being more than one person down, and missing bodies. People just don't get murdered in Cobourg. Especially not people who actually live in Grafton and work in Cobourg, as Garrett did. I was back in Halifax by the time the funeral happened, so I watched it on TV (it was broadcast nationally). And I followed the trial online.

Anyway, it's all very sad and probably not a good thing to bring up on a Wednesday when the weekend feels so far away. Sign the petition if you feel so inclined. Speaking as someone from the community, Chris Garrett really did save lives that night.

16 March 2008

choose your own geek

I missed Pi Day this year. I wonder if that means I'm less of a geek than I used to be? More than likely, it just means that I'm so wrapped up in my own thesis drama that I don't even know what day it is anymore.

On another nostalgia note, Deb directed me to this, and it blew me away. Wow, I loved those books. I had no idea there were so many water-oriented titles. I don't remember the stories very well, but the cover art is remarkably vivid in my memory. The most memorable, to me, would have to be House of Danger and The Horror of High Ridge. I think I died a lot in that danger house. Unless I cheated death by, you know, cheating and reading ahead. But everyone, did that, right?

05 March 2008

TV, I Love You; or, Have You Met the Smoggies?

Big shout-out to Kimm-my (soon to be nee) Johns for sending me a link to C.O.P.S. Which gave me this huge WOW moment and sent my mind back to High School and our not-to-be-forgotten TV List. Then when the C.O.P.S. clip ended and I saw a link to this:

I was sent back to elementary school and saturday mornings spent watching TV and fighting my brother over who got to sit on the heating vent (my house was always cold).

Then when that clip ended, and more came up, I felt this huge wave of nostalgia that made me yearn for those saturdays and and also - oddly- made me crave orange juice. Nostalgia is like a drug, people. It's dangerous.

So, as a service to my friends, I'm going to post a few great clips here (there are so many more on YouTube). Maybe this is the drug that will help us get over the election results (or whatever is happening in other places that we want reprieve from).

I could go on, but I probably shouldn't. If you really want to blow your mind, check out:

1. 30 Minutes of 80s Cartoon Openings (He-Man! She-Ra! Bravestar?! Transformers!)

2. 30 Minutes of 90s Cartoon Openings (Tiny Toons! And I don't know what else 'cause my computer crashed!)

04 March 2008

Due to lack of interest, Alberta has been cancelled

I’ve always liked elections. There’s something about them, the feeling of potential and hope they foster. I remember the first time I voted, I was still living in Ontario so I must have been 18 or 19, and I went to Canon Nind Hall in Grafton and I think I voted Liberal. I don’t think they won that riding, though. I also remember during the federal election in 2000, watching the results in my residence TV lounge and doing a “Liberal Majority” dance in the hallways.

Lately, however, elections have only served to disappoint. The last three elections I paid serious attention to only left me feeling depressed and less than optimistic about the future of humanity.

For those of you that don’t live in Alberta (or, live in Alberta and don’t care – there seem to be quite a few of you), the PC party had a massive, stomach-churning victory in yesterday’s provincial election. Not only are they still the majority, but they gained seats, making them more powerful than before. Both the Liberals and the NDP lost seats. The silver lining is that the somewhat extreme (read: bat-shit crazy) Wildrose Alliance Party lost their seat in the Legislature. This means that in the next election – per the editorial policies of most news outlets – they won’t be involved in the debates and won’t receive major coverage.

I don’t know how the Greens did relative to last time. I think of all the smaller, neglected parties (Alberta has nine (9!) parties, by the way), the Green is the only reasonable one. Far more reasonable than the Communists, Separatists, or any of the handful of the other, smaller conservative (I assume) parties.

What really bothers me about the election isn’t entirely just the outcome. Sure, I’m deeply disappointed in the majority that voted PC, and the thousands that voted for WAP as an alternative to PC. However, it’s their right to vote the way they want. What bothers me more is the 59% of Albertans that didn’t vote at all. I don’t know why people don’t vote. Do they truly not care? Do they think that it’s hopeless because PC will win no matter what? Do they support PC but figure it doesn’t need their vote? Did they not know it was Election Day? Are they all in comas? I hate to judge all of Alberta by the election results, but not voting seems to me to be a de facto vote for the incumbent party. Does it seem wrong to anyone else that 2/5 of the population determines the government for the entire province?

I need to stop writing. I’m just depressing myself.

01 March 2008


I was watching an interview with Prince Charles, post-Harry's return, and I swear he was wearing a green onion pinned to his lapel. Is that in support of the underfed troops? I really hope produce isn't the new rubber bracelet.

Okay. Way to Google, Ellie. So, apparently, I wasn't crazy but it's not some new fad. Phew! I really didn't want to wear apple slices in support of breast cancer research.