Halloween in Athens

aka “Halloween Highlights with Wu” aka “Too Many Phone Photos!”

Halloween is my favorite holiday and, luckily, it’s Athens’ favorite holiday too. I only stayed in three days the entire month of October and still missed about a half dozen movie screenings, the costumed dog parade, and who-knows-what-else. Here are a few of the highlights: Mrs. and Mrs. Face: Erin and I have different faces, figures and personalities– but people mix us up all the time or ask if we’re related. NOPE, but that older white-person confusion inspired our costumes this year so here we are as each other! …Or are we ourselves, pretending to be dressed up as each other?!

Jason almost died but still managed to meet me ‘n’ Erin for Horror Movie Pictionary. I thought it was kinda sweet that he was shy about Pictionary drawing when he’s not shy about drawing dicks all the time. Also sweet: how Erin couldn’t care less about horror movies but she always comes with me cuz she’s ride-or-die. I laugh-cried at Anna’s incredible Phantasm drawing (phantom + orgasm). We didn’t get it and either did her team but it’s genius. I think I did two (?) horror-ish trivias and learned I like King Kong wine and can’t identify chainsaw noises.

Andy and Kelly came over to carve jack-o-lanterns. Cat-o-lanterns for me ‘n’ Kelly. We cat ladies.

Between Flicker’s 31 Days of Darkness, Cine’s Schlocktoberfest, and my own ill-spent time, I watched and re-watched a lot of horror movies. Seeing these on the big screen was so fun: Frankenhooker, Phantom of the Paradise, Hausu. I somehow watched Ginger Snaps twice by happy accident! I attended my first (but not last) Gonzoriffic with Ethan and Rebecca and became obsessed with “Bad Girl Dracula.” Carey and I got to introduce a screening of Slumber Party Massacre, complete with pizza and sleeping bags. I also saw It, Mother!, and Happy Death Day. (This isn’t the most flattering photo but I’m posting it anyway cuz I don’t have another one with Kris and Dean. They’re wonderful. Re-Animator double date!)

Boulevard looks like a movie location for trick-or-treaters (and def a million kids know it!). We like to stop by my boss’s beautiful historic home then stop by The Ghosties show. Naoko as Gogo Yubari in Refused Are Fucking Undead (stolen from her IG cuz she was soooo good!), Kelly as a pinata cuz I didn’t get photos of the bands but check out her sick DIY skillz.

On Friday the 13th, Erin and I got $20 tattoos together! This is my third tiny tattoo and my first in a little over a decade. I love it! Lemme tell you who didn’t love it though: Friday the 13th superfans. I posted it on Twitter, carefully avoiding any hashtag, and ended up with 70+ replies, retweets, and private messages. I love most of those movies too and get that this isn’t Manfredini-approved but get off my dick, dudes!

Evan and Neil hosted their second Dark Pandemonium Carnival Soiree. Can you believe Evan made his Donnie Darko costume?! I love catching up with him and my former co-workers at the ‘berry. Wish I’d gotten a photo of Eddie as Wino Santa, watching the Addams Family on mute with me. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stay long because I had to get up and run a half marathon the next morning!

On “fake” Halloween, we dressed up as GLOW wrestlers. It was fun but I was really uncomfortable wearing so little and my discomfort was compounded by some icy rain. I learned the true meaning of freezing my ass off that night and am now typing this with a gross cold! Honestly, my biggest regret is not drinking MORE and hiding my weakness behind my own Iron Curtain of boozy warmth.

The day after the Wild Rumpus/Dancin, we went to Eric’s Surprise Birthday Brunch. Kate and Eric are such a warm-hearted pair. I’m lucky to know them.

Ooof. I gotta run out the door soon to see Thor. Here’s a lazy/jumbled gallery of awesome!

I love Halloween and I love Athens! Byeee!

Back to Nashville

Yep! I’d just seen Nashville for the first time with my in-laws last spring, then I went back for a weekend trip in the fall with my library ladies, Lane and Erin. I say “Library Ladies” since the three of us used to work at the Athens public library. Good times!
(Man, I miss my long hair…)

Pinewood Social, a bright stylish brunch place AND bowling alley! I thought the can art was pretty cool. Not pictured: five waiters with the same hair-do, longer and flipped on top, short on the sides. Lane’s friend Kyshona met us early for breakfast and a walk around a park. Like Lane, she’s a talented singer.

Third Man Records. That animatronic monkey band! Also, Erin and I cut our own record in the Voice-o-Graph that is mostly us laugh-singing “Ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-ba-basketball.” Hahaaa!

Margaritas and burritos with Rae and her husband Travis at Rosepepper Cantina. I’d been reading Rae’s blog for a couple years so it was fun to meet her in real life! She and Travis are fellow animal lovers with great taste in movies and roadside attractions. PS: They recently became cool parents.

Barista Parlor with Callie! I love meeting weird, unique ladies.

And of course, we library ladies had to pay a visit to Nashville’s library. I’d checked it out with Dean but it was cool to spend more time there. The whole children’s section is super fun. There’s a Wayne White/student collab sculpture where you can crank around the eyeballs.

More of Lane’s fun, talented pals. She’s got a lot of ’em.

Last view: the jade art deco men’s room at the Hermitage Hotel. A feast for the eyes if ever there was one. Until next time, Nashville!

Rockabilly Road Trip: Leftovers

Bits and bobs. Phew, that was a long, packed trip!
Touring the Carter house in Franklin, home of 1,000 Civil War bullets.

Earth mounds at the Kennesaw battlefield. “Wow, Steph. I didn’t know you were a Civil War buff!” The thing is, I’m not exactly. HOWEVER, like football, I grew up around a lot of enthusiasts–my uncle and cousin were Gettysburg reenactors. So before this trip I read Battle Cry for Freedom and we stopped at two battle sites.

Haunted hearse and chicken in Alabama.

Elvis’s birth home in Tupelo.

LOL, this hotel pool/DIY garden. Love it!

Rockabilly Road Trip: Birmingham

I love Alabama and can’t wait to visit again but I’ve gotta confess: Dean, Mum and Cliff did not care for ANY of it. Haha! I don’t know what other people look for when they visit a new place but I’m looking for rainbows, Satan and metal; all of which can be found in Beautiful Birmingham!
rainbow tunnelWhy every underpass in the world isn’t a cosmic LED rainbow is beyond me. Spectacular and lovely.rainbow tunnel
rainbow tunnel

storyteller fountainPeople like to correct you that this is the “Storyteller” Fountain, NOT the “Satanic” Fountain. But why can’t it be both?satanic fountain

slossThe Sloss Furnaces produced iron for almost 90 years and now it’s this fantastic museum you can explore. If we lived here, I’d totally sign up for blacksmithing class.

Rockabilly Road Trip: Oxford

Alternate title: I fucking love William Faulkner!

Growing up, I read very few books that weren’t horror, comics, or E.M. Forster (can’t explain how Forster snuck in…). Then in college, I got The Sound and the Fury as a required text and became instantly obsessed with William Faulkner. It was the most challenging novel I’d finished at the time and I can still remember feeling like I’d gained a brand new way of looking at literature/the world. Since then, other modernists have left me cold but my reading tastes have branched out considerably. Faulkner was kind of my gateway drug!

Anyway, as soon as I realized this road trip went near Oxford Mississippi, I made the executive decision to stop there. With only half a day, we dropped my in-laws off at a record shop and headed straight to Rowan Oak, Faulkner’s home. I can’t recommend a tour of the house and grounds highly enough– it’s the ultimate literary destination. Paintings, plaster cracks, a portable typewriter– all carefully preserved. Even Dean thought it was cool to see an outline of A Fable that Faulkner wrote directly on the walls of his study. I love imagining him drinking his cheap bourbon and scaring his daughter with ghost stories here. We’re also glad his wife had AC put in, supposedly the day after he died. Hahaa!
Here I am being a total ham and posing with my copy of Absalom! Absalom! which I re-read during the trip. The grounds at Rowan Oak are beautiful and serene.

Afterwards, we headed to Oxford Square which is lovely and kind of reminds me of an extra-southern Athens. Square Books has to be one of the best, most charming book stores in the country! I’m really sorry we didn’t have more time here. There are a few places we didn’t get to that we’ll have to see next time. :)
We didn’t have any whiskey or fine French wine bottles to leave so we tossed a couple pennies and hit the road again for Alabama. So long, Yoknapatawpha County!

Rockabilly Road Trip: Memphis Part II GRACELAND

Graceland, as it was last decorated by Elvis, is the mansion/compound of my dreams! The four of us had the pleasure of seeing it with a John Stamos narrated iPad tour. AMAZING. I loved every minute we were there. Man, how great would it be to play pool in that elaborately upholstered billiard room or get drunk at that clown figurine cocktail bar?! I’m glad we sprung for the platinum tour to see the King’s planes, complete with gold-plated seat belts. The whole property stands in sharp contrast to today’s expensive, boring minimalism. What a joy to see a maximalist home, full of color and cool shit!

Rockabilly Road Trip: Memphis Part I

Like Nashville, we had no idea what to expect in Memphis but we ended up loving it! You’d think I’d hate the crowds, litter and spilled booze permeating Beale Street but even that was fun: we drank beer on a patio with actual goats and window-shopped for fancy toilet seats painted with rock-and-roll scenes. I took so many photos, I haveta break this up into two posts. First chunk of pictures:arcadeBreakfast at The Arcade Restaurant. “Memphis Oldest Cafe, Since 1919,” or as Dean and I know it, the diner in Mystery Train. arcade

crystal shrine grottoThe Crystal Shrine Grotto. I cannot recommend Memphis’ Memorial Park Cemetery highly enough. The grotto is a rainbow quartz cave of wonder! The outside has fake trees and a dreamy, dyed pool. Bonus: Isaac Hayes’ grave is close by.

bealeBlues records sidewalk, awesome.

lorraine motelThe iconic Lorraine Motel, commemorating Martin Luther King Jr. as the Civil Rights Museum. Right in front is a woman camped out in protest of the museum.

sun studioMum & Dean napped at the AirBNB while Cliff and I went on a tour of Sun Studio. It was as charming as it was informative and, not gonna lie, the studio did feel a bit magical.

billy bass adoption centerOk, this is a chain but it is still delightful. So many Billy Bass!

staxThe Stax Museum!staxAll the memorabilia was cool but nothing was cooler than Isaac Hayes’ custom, gold-trimmed Cadillac, spinning in a frankly glorious display. stax


jerry's sno conesThese were the greatest sno cones of my life and I swear they possess restorative properties! They sure hit the spot on this particularly muggy afternoon. jerry's sno cones

Rockabilly Road Trip: Billy Tripp’s Mindfield

An hour or so outside of Memphis, we stopped in Brownsville to see the Mindfield. Photos can’t quite capture the scope of this thing– it’s a giant, fantastic bricolage of metal. The highest points are over 100 feet tall and there are hundreds of details nestled into every possible nook. Billy Tripp started working on it in 1989 and apparently plans to continue until his death when it will become his grave. Places like this give me life!

Rockabilly Road Trip: Jackson

We raced outta Nashville toward Jackson Tennessee to get to the Rockabilly Hall of Fame an hour before it closed. Rockabilly may not be my thing but meeting Henry Harrison was one of the trip highlights. What a charmer! He grew up in Johnny Cash’s neighborhood in Arkansas then Elvis Presley’s neighborhood in Memphis. The stories and his continued fandom made me really happy.

We all loved Rusty’s TV & Movie Car Museum. I am clearly about to pee my pants here cuz I’m so psyched to see Brian’s Eclipse. Someone gimme a Corona!
Mum & Cliff walked right up and knocked on the door of Carl Perkins former house. No answer but I guess they’ve got a guitar-shaped pool? We stopped by the graves so they could pay respects before hitting the road again.

Oh! No photos but this is also the town with Casey Jones Village where we played the worst round of mini golf. Haha. The course was roughed up and filled with debris but I laugh-cried when Cliff stepped in some muck and said, “I’ve just got a wonky footfull!” Haha, wonky footfull!