Wednesday, January 30, 2008
Monday, January 28, 2008
We also hit up the Hollywood Movieland Wax Museum. Most of the exhibits were terrible... but the Freddy Kreuger circa Wes Craven's New Nightmare (note the hand claws rather than the glove... a dead giveaway to movie geeks like us!) was pretty cool and this picture turned out well so why not show it off...
...Marlon Brando, on the other hand, didn't fare so well. And what's with his Dollar Store stuffed cat? That's the dumb icing on the dumb cake!
Powerless to resist Frankenstein's charms, we had lunch at Burger King. The rad thing about both Burger King and McDonald's in Canada is that you can get poutine with your burgers instead of regular, boring American French Fries. Everything goes better with cheese and gravy!
All in all, it was a short but sweet visit and it's always a pleasure to see everyone. Age somehow seems to make one appreciate family more and more - either that or we've all just collectively gotten nicer and more fun to hang out with over the years. I think we'll make the drive again in 8-10 weeks.
Sunday, January 20, 2008
The hot dogs here are seriously really really really good. The hobos who hang out by the front door and ask for change... not so much.
This was my favorite part of the boardwalk. SHOOT THE FREAK! LIVE HUMAN TARGET! For only a few dollars you too can shoot some poor S.O.B. with a paintball gun apparantly. I wonder who came up with the business plan for this one and how they sold it to the bank?
'Yeah, I need a loan so I can rent a back alley on Coney Island. I'm gonna have a buddy run around and hide behind garbage cans and let tourists shoot at him'
The shrimp on the right hand side of teh sign is wearing a fake moustache and a hat. For some reason this appeals to me.
We started to lose the light not too shortly after we got there so I didn't get to take as many shots as I wanted nor did I get too fancy, just did the whole point and shoot thing and didn't even bother to use the tripod or change lenses. We're definitely going to have to go back once it opens up though, I'd love to see it all lit up before it gets torn down and bulldozed. They're building condos there later this year supposedly and only leaving the ferris wheel and the roller coaster.
Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Aside from that, life is good. Applied for a job yesterday, Alison has an interview for a new position tomorrow and we've got a fridge full of food and plenty of stuff to keep us busy over the next few days.
Sunday Eddie and I went to this quirky little bar in The Village called Otto's Shrunken Head which was a way cool but not way over priced little Tiki Bar. Reminded me quite a bit of The Alibi in PDX but not nearly as big and sans the karaoke. Why did we go? Richard Lloyd and Billy Ficca from the band Television were playing a free show to promote the release of Richard's new project, Richard Lloyd and the Sufi Monkey Trio. All in all, it sounds very little like the old Television material, more straight ahead rock and roll, which was just fine with me. We got to meet the infamous (and rather inhebriated) Mr. Lloyd after the show, he was quite friendly and appreciative of everyone who showed up at the performance and he really did play amazingly well.
Just as interesting as the show was the crowd. It was full of the stereotypical NYC art punk crowd types, the kind you see in documentaries about Blondie and the Talking Heads. Dudes with fedoras and striped shirts and scarves were in full effect and there was a definite sense of artsy snobbery in effect. That said, everyone was pretty friendly. I talked cameras with some guy named Dan who had driven in from NJ for the show. There was a strange older couple in attendence who felt it was their right to sit in the middle of the room on chairs and ask anyone who had the nerve to stand in front of them to move. I guess they figured standing at a rock show was passe or something. Most of us just ignored them, though at one point I thought Eddie was going to clock them or at the very least call them something nasty. It would have been funny if he had, but also pretty disrespectful to the band considering that the venue was about the size of my current living room.
After the show we walked up St. Marks to 'Around The Clock' which is a 24 hour bistro that makes a seriously mean hamburger. We ate and talked about a couple of projects we're going to work on and just generally got caught up. It was a really fun night until we had to wait an hour for the subway. Adding insult to injury the train I was on just stopped in between stations for almost an hour, meaning by the time I got home it was almost 3am. The good news is I didn't get lost and never once lost my sense of direction, which I found quite surprising.
The same band is playing another free show at the same bar this coming Sunday and one of the other bands features Steve Conte who stood in for the late Johnny Thunders on last years New York Dolls reunion tour. If I go, I'll bring my camera. I would have last week but wasn't sure if it was permitted at the venue or not. Now that I know it is, I'll bring it along. The people in attendence was almost as interesting as the band.
Saturday, January 12, 2008
I should have known better but it seemed like a good idea at the time and besides, it was in Long Island. Alison's mom was heading out that way to visit a friend, I could be a nice guy and give her a lift and see part of the state that I'd never seen before. Seemed like a fine way to kill a Sat. afternoon.
Well, we found the place just fine and did some pre-Ikea shopping (I got NHL 2007 for the xBox... yay me!) and I got to have sushi for lunch. We hit Target and Alison bought pants. Got to talk to my grandmother who called while we were shopping. All of these are good things. Then we entered IKEA. Granted, I'd been to a few before. In Seattle, Portland, Toronto and Hamilton. Alison had never been and was confused when she noticed a furniture store also sold meatballs. And rightl so.
Anyway, long story short it was packed and not packed with the polite, kind customers you don't mind shopping in close quarters with. It was packed with people who didn't want to move and who seemed to take great pleasure in standing in my way when all I wanted to do was buy a friggin' shelf. I'd blame this on the sheer volume of people who live in the NYC area if I hadn't experienced similar behaviour in pretty much every other IKEA I'd ever been to.
What is it about IKEA that turns people into cretins? I was nice. I was polite. So was Alison. Why was everyone else acting like I'd just kicked their dog in the groin?
All I wanted was CD storage. I got it. And it's nice. I like it. It's all assembled and it does the job. Didn't set me back too much and it matches the rest of the furniture in the apartment.
But I don't ever want to have to go back there. I think I had more fun at the DMV.
Monday, January 7, 2008
The Willie Museum is also home to a freakishly impressive collection of Willie themed and inspired 'fan art.' Some of these are fancy wood carvings, others are paintings. My personal favorite is this water color which depicts Willie in his natural state - cloud spirit train gaurdian.
On the way out of the museum you can purchase all manner of smoking paraphanalia (for tobacco use only!) as well as Willie's own special brand of BBQ sauce or his collection of homemade jams and jellies as seen in this fancy display.
The Willie Nelson And Friends Museum was, hands down, the strangest part of the trip. I took a bunch of pictures of the weirdness that lay within, and will possibly some day treat you all to more (I've even got a close up of Willie's own personal robotic chess machine and a few nice shots of various Willie Nelson clay busts).
Nashville is also home to the Country Music Hall of Fame. Don't look for any Jerry Read in here or you'll be as disappointed as Alison was. Sadly, the museum isn't as big or intense as you'd think and it's a little expensive (though the cafe inside is surprisingly good). That said, there are some one of a kind artifacts in here, such as....
Hank Williams' unusually long and skinny suit accompanied by his guitar (very little tribute is paid to Hank Sr. beyond this display piece which is, if you ask me, a load of crap).
....a pair of Buck Owens' trademark red, white and blue guitars placed next to one of the fanciest suits Merle Haggard has probably ever worn in his life.
As it is with Hank Sr., so it is with Johnny Cash. One of his suits is on display as is this guitar, the very one he used to use on his TV show in the 70s. Aside from that, however, there isn't much Johnny stuff to see (though his Hall of Fame plate is interesting in that it makes him look like his face is melting!).
George Jones and Ian agree - the Country Music Hall of Fame is simply 'okay' when it should be amazing.
Sunday, January 6, 2008
Thursday, January 3, 2008
Alison peeks at one of the hundreds of gold and platinum certified albums on display in one of the rooms outside the mansion. There's an insanely impressive collection at the museum and it really drives home just how many records Elvis sold and continues to sell long after his death.
Elvis was a man of many suits. Many strange, wonderfully garish suits. Many of which are really amazingly ornate once you get a chance to see them up close.
Visiting the gravesite where Elvis lies buried with his mother, father, brother and grandmother, is a pretty sombre experience. Fans from all over the world visit the site and leave mementos and even hand written notes expressing their appreciation for Elvis and his music. It might sound corny, and in a way it probably is, but it's really hard not to get a little choked up.
From Graceland we went down to Beale Street and then to Union Street where we took a tour of Sun Studios. It was pretty amazing to stand where people like Elvis, Johnny Cash, Roy Orbison, Carl Perkins and Jerry Lee Lewis recorded their first albums and basically made music history. The studio is small and simple but you can feel a neat vibe when you go into the room.
Another shot that turned out to my liking. This is 'the mic.' You can see it in all sorts of photographs taken in the studio during its boom days and it is the very microphone that Elvis, Johnny and the rest recorded their vocals with. Amazingly enough, the tour guides will let you tinker around with it. None of the studio, save for the control room, is off limits. You can touch the guitars, amps, mics and what not and tinker around with them. You can even rent the studio and all the gear inside for $85 an hour and cut your own record if you want.
So yeah, Memphis was neat. We got kinda lost at one point and ended up on a scary side of town but we made it back alive and got some ribs and some beers so all is well that ends well. We hit the Goner Records store (got a Thor album and the Smokey and the Bandit soundtrack LP!) and toured around a little.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Not much happened today. We drove through OK to get here, and it's, well, dull. Not much to see but trees and tourist traps along the highway. It was an easy drive, just not as exciting as what had come before it. Regardless, I'm late with a few pictures. Going back to the weekend....
Coming across the Hoover Dam into Arizona...
This is the current sign for some tourist trap trading post thing we stopped at!
We stopped here for lunch just before crossing into Texas. Notice that the 'Taco Kid' on the front of the building is smoking! Don't smoke, kids. It's bad for you. Tacos, on the other hand, are good.
We drove briefly on Route 66. Kicks were everywhere. You couldn't get away from them.
A weird bombed out church and surrounding community on I-40 East. Not sure if this was in Texas or AZ. I think it was AZ.
The Big Texan! Home of the free 72oz steak!
Everything is bigger in Texas, including rocking chairs!
After we left Texas we drove into OK and saw this rad little place....
...where inside you could try on cowboy hats and buy belts made out of dead rattle snakes.
That's all for now. We'll be having lunch around Graceland tomorrow and we couldn't be happier. Getting out of Arkansas won't be such a bad thing either....