Shaking Rock Park

September 2020

This 27-ton boulder was once able to move if someone pressed it, but it no longer shakes. There’s a trail through the park and what appears to be an active bouldering group, but I think you mostly go to see these granite outcroppings.

Japanese Maple Colorfest

Gibbs Garden is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Jessica and I first visited back in February to see millions of daffodils glowing in the sun. We revisited this past Saturday to see thousands of Japanese Maple trees, hundreds of varieties, at peak fall color change. It was a magical sight to see. I took too many phone photos as usual, but each leaf was so special! This was my happiest day in a long time.

5 Star Films Watched in 2020, Part 3


Possessor (2020): Totally worth a trip to the Starlight Drive-In (my first new movie in 7 months!). A slow, psychedelic body swap movie, punctuated with bursts of violence. There are some grisly and nightmarish scenes- I gasped out loud twice! It’s impossible to watch Possessor without picking out Brandon Cronenberg’s influences (his dad among them) but there’s nothing wrong with that- dude has excellent taste.

First Cow (2019) I did not think I would get teary-eyed watching a cow get milked, but I totally did. This film creates a really soft mood with unrushed pacing and lush wilderness set in the 1820s PNW. The friendship between the two main characters is so gentle and selfless. And, of course, the cow is a lovely star. I definitely recommend having some delicious biscuits to eat while watching.

One Sings, the Other Doesn’t (1977): My first Agnès Varda film! I’m very picky about musicals but this one is a winner. Sweet, sincere and visually wonderful. The story follows two friends through the years of the Women’s Movement in 1970s France. My heart is always happy to see close friends, access to abortion, feminism, and 70s styling. Maybe I do like street theater, I dunno!

Son of the White Mare (1981): Three superhuman brothers enter the underworld to rescue three princesses from three dragons… and things keep happening in threes. I am not familiar with the poem/Hungarian folklore that inspired this, but it is the most beautiful animated movie I have ever seen. The vivid psychedelic colors and symmetries made my eyeballs light up- especially in those insane battle sequences! I was disappointed by the weak women characters but I guess that’s to be expected in 1980s fantasy.

We Summon the Darkness (2019): I went in knowing nothing, underestimated it, and was totally sucked in! Is it a classic? Maybe not, but I really enjoyed watching. I hope more horror movies come out with women characters like this. Squad goals! (Just kidding!)

I’m Thinking of Ending Things (2020): I actually hated this movie for being long, pretentious, and hopeless; but it is very good. The vulnerability of thoughts/illness/age/time are presented in a surreal stream-of-conscious Kaufman way that effectively upset me. He really makes voice-over work too which I think is rare. The cast is perfect, especially Toni Collette who deserves an Oscar by now. Any dinner scene she’s at is immediately elevated!

Death Wish V: The Face of Death (1994): At this point Paul Kersey is a seasoned vigilante and he’s having a blast killing people and delivering one-liners. I watched that Freddy the Flake soccer ball scene a dozen times! I can’t believe Bronson was 70 when he starred in this. I wish he coulda made five more Death Wishes.

10 to Midnight (1983): Like the Death Wish movies, this has a brand of above-the-law, Dirty Harry machoism I usually find repulsive, but EAT IT UP when it’s coming from Charles Bronson. This movie is sleazy and un-PC. The killer is butt naked and loosely based on Richard Speck. Bronson shames the killer for having a sex toy and is too manly to eat quiche!

The Mechanic (1972): Woah! I was shocked to see Bronson playing a killer-for-hire instead of an antihero. He plans his next hit in a swank pad while drinking fine wine, listening to classical music, and staring at an original Bosch painting. His kills are elaborate- he’d rather plant an exploding book than shoot someone directly. It broke my heart to see Bronson playing such a lonely character- this guy pays for a prostitute to act like a clingy girlfriend and takes OBVIOUSLY UNTRUSTWORTHY Jan-Michael Vincent as his partner.

Friday the 13th

I finally drove out to Hard Labor Creek State Park to see one of the filming locations in Friday the 13th Part VI: Jason Lives! OMG, it was awesome!!! Jason Lives is one of my favorites in the franchise, starts off like a classic monster movie, has lots of goofy kills, and the showdown on the lake is epic! I drove around for a bit before asking park staff if they could point me in the right direction and I’m glad I asked because they pointed me to Camp Daniel Morgan and gave me access to look around. It was so cool to check out the cabins and dock by myself. Also, it’s a very beautiful park besides. I definitely want to go back before December, but if not, maybe I can rent a cabin in the summer- when the next Friday the 13th is in August! Perfect for swimming in Crystal Lake.

I didn’t have time to stop in Madison at the cemetery where Jason is resurrected (next time!) but I did kinda laugh when I saw this one on the way

Aaand ending the night in the best way: jammies, takeout, tiny beers, and Jason X (the nitrogen face smash is the best kill imo)

Yonah Mountain

I have always wanted to climb Yonah, but after Blood Mountain, I was like, ‘Woof. Maybe I’m not ready for challenging hikes.’ Then election day came and Jen and I decided to drive up there. I would NOT have enjoyed taking this shit on solo! It is a very steep, boulder-filled forest trail, lots of great views on the way but lots of sharp dropoffs as you get closer to the top. When we finally reached the summit, I immediately sat down, let out a sigh of relief and snacked hard while looking out at some awesome panoramas. Phone photos cannot do this justice- the rocks are huge and the views are incredible.

Sourwood Trail

This week was TENSE. I’m relieved Trump was not re-elected but with some personal stuff going on, I found myself more confused and restless than usual. It’s a pandemic mood, but I really had to get the hell out of my house and peep some fall leaves. I’m glad I finally checked out the Sourwood Trail at Lake Russell. It’s right in the foothills of the mountains… but because it isn’t a mountain, I’d never prioritized it. I went by myself, there wasn’t another soul in sight. 3 easy-but-not-too-easy miles, the trees were poppin, and there are pretty views of Nancytown Creek and Falls throughout. I wish fall lasted as long as summer does here.

Cruise Down Spooky Street

I am so glad to live in a town that loves Halloween as much as I do! Of course, this was a quiet, pandemic Halloween but I love how many houses/yard decorated for the holiday, encouraged by Flagpole’s decorated yard contest. These were my favorites on Boo-levard

James n Jen posing in front of Alicia and Matt’s Eyeball Mansion

Melinda and Ken are the reigning queen and king of Halloween- every year, their yard is on another level! Every time I went by, I noticed something new- that baby doll with the beard!

RIP Go Bar. Loving tribute by Jess- Ghost Bar

Jess also made this incredible spider house. Fall in Athens is crawling with joro spiders

Maybe my favorite house this Halloween! I wish I were friends with the couple living there- they decorate for every holiday. I can’t wait to see the inflatable turkey for Thanksgiving!

IMO this tree is better than the Tree That Owns Itself

I always love Eli Saragoussi’s stuff

I don’t know the humans but I loved meeting this dog, Goose! Hahaaa, can’t stop laughing at this photo. He looks so cute and guilty.

RIP to our UFO cats again! Was fun while they lasted.

“I Remember Halloween”

My favorite month of the year has passed but I will be holding onto to spooky season for as long as possible. I was so psyched to be a part of Flicker’s Halloween art show alongside so many cool local artists. Flicker is my favorite bar in town. I’ve popped in but I miss hanging out there so much.

LOL, I can’t stop overworking this thing.

James! I’m so glad to have befriended him this year- his detail is off the chain.

Klon!

Jeremy!

Abby!

Joe D.!

Jay!

I actually do not know Marisa but I love her devil butterfly so much!