OF COURSE YOU DO
PROBABLY BECAUSE YOU'RE READING IT ON THAT DAY AND NOT ON THIS ONE
YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENS, RIGHT?
THAT'S RIGHT, KIDS
SAY IT WITH ME
IT'S SUMIKI'S BIRTHDAY
(what, did you think I was going to talk about some movie or something? pfffffffft)
Also, I must apologize for inactivity over the past few weeks. I've been pretty busy, but it's going to culminate in a concert wherein I play the piano portion of a Nocturne that I wrote for flute, cello, and piano. I put a whole lot of arpeggios in it so it's pretty finger-breaking but it sounds quite nice.
After this madness is over I'll definitely resume more normal BZP activities.
Oh and then BrickFair.
I DON'T EVEN KNOW WHAT THIS ENTRY WAS SUPPOSED TO BE ABOUT AND I'M TO THE POINT WHERE I'M NOT EVEN GOING TO BOTHER WITH CORRECTING TYPOS IF I MAKE THEM
ALL PICTURES HAVE BACKGROUND INFORMATION. HOVER OVER PICTURES TO READ.
We got an early start and headed out of Alabama, soon making it to the Georgia state line and the Eastern time zone. From there we headed up to Atlanta, where I learned that tales of the city's traffic had not been exaggerated. We took the beltway around the city instead of going through it directly. I cannot imagine what kind of mayhem we'd have run into if we'd gone right through, as the drivers on the beltway were crazy enough. (I learned why signals are so rarely used: as soon as you turn one on, some bozo cuts you off.)
Eventually we meandered around Atlanta and arrived in the suburb of Lawrenceville, home of the triple-A Gwinnett Braves, where we located the stadium and collected our pennant as well as pictures of their nearly-new stadium. Soon we were back on Interstate 85, bound for our penultimate stop of the day: Greenville, South Carolina for a pennant from the Greenville Drive, the single-A affiliate of the Red Sox. Our arrival there was greeted with the similar brand of eerie wariness that we'd received elsewhere on our deep-south pennant chases, but we got a pennant and headed for the North Carolina border.
Outside of Greenville we stopped at a Chick-Fil-A to eat. We used up nearly the last of our cash getting chicken strips and a sandwich - the only bill left was, quite strangely, a 100-dollar bill. With this as our only cash, my dad's after-snack peach milkshake was bought using it, which prompted nearly the entire restaurant staff to check and double-check the bill for accuracy. The comical nature of the counterfeit concern was apparent from my perch at a booth across the building. (The bill, of course, checked out.) My mom proved our trustworthiness to the cashier by returning a phone left in a nearby booth by the store manager - and while I cannot be entirely sure, I think they may have been using the opportunity to test us.
We'd gotten no more than a few miles over the NC border before, in the span of about five second, it went from 90 degrees and ominous to a 60 degree downpour where we could barely see a foot in front of the car. We exited near Bessemer City and wound our way westward out of the storm. Using dad's dog-like navigational skills, mom's GPS and iPad maps, and my studious analysis of a road atlas as old as I am, we navigated north and east on secondary roads and followed the storm the rest of the way home. Our route took us on NC-150 through the Lake Norman area, where we saw - amongst other stupidities - folks water-skiing while lightning struck and thunder rolled. I understand the reports of Lake Norman deaths now.
Before we knew it, we were home and unloading our things into the house. I'm glad we sprayed for bugs before we left, as a number of them are curled up. We've gotten rid of the ones along the main walkways in the house, but we didn't get them all and as such will need to vacuum them up tomorrow.
On this trip, we covered more states and provinces than we did last year (26 to 25) in more days (30 to 28). We traversed the continent in a manner that would nearly encircle last year's route, but we somehow ended up with less milage (8252.2 to 8355.4). Total mileage for both trips combined comes out as 16,607.6. The number of car fixes increased (3 to 1) and we ended up with more pennants as well (17 to 15, though we got four free ones in Vancouver).
Tomorrow: we sleep in. Our trip has come to its conclusion earlier than we had planned, but I would prefer it this way, as the similar scenery of our southern excursion increased our anxiousness to get back home.
We wanted to leave our hotel room as soon as possible, so we ended up getting on the road out of Louisiana at around 9:20. Our first stop of the day was Vicksburg, Mississippi, which we arrived at around 11:00. We entered the visitor center and watched a short movie detailing the events of the Vicksburg campaign before going on the auto tour around the battlefield.
Vicksburg was a stronghold along the Mississippi River and widely considered the key to holding the river by both Confederate and Union forces. The Confederates stationed at Vicksburg were led by General John Pemberton, who was one of the more incompetent generals of the war. Ulysses S. Grant, along with other Union generals, had tried various times to get to Vicksburg with no success, but Pemberton left Vicksburg eastbound and engaged Grant's forces. Grant routed Pemberton's forces until Pemberton - for some unknown reason - thought it was a good idea to retreat the entire way back to Vicksburg, which was built up with fortifications.
When Grant arrived, he was anxious enough to get the campaign over with and secure the Mississippi for the Union to order frontal assaults on the nearly impregnable fortress that Vicksburg had become, but these were unsuccessful. Eventually, having more supplies than the Confederates, he outlasted them in trenches until the southern forces could no longer bear the hunger and disease through the ranks. The surrender of Vicksburg occurred almost exactly the same time as Gettysburg.
The auto tour took us along various sights along Union lines and trenches. While veritable forests have grown up almost everywhere on the battlefield now, the hills are clearly unnatural and are the remnants of the Confederate stronghold. We worked our way past large stone and marble monuments set up by states to commemorate where their infantry units were located along the battlefield, and in that regard it's very similar to Gettysburg. The open spaces there were made it easy to see the eerie hilliness of the terrain, with the lines clearly distinguishable by the naked eye even today.
(As far as monuments go, Illinois had the best one: a massive domed structure with the names of every known Illinois native present at the battle. They were organized by unit and within unit they were alphabetized, making it easy to spot various set of brothers who had signed up at the same time. The floor had a mosaic design depicting Illinois' seal, and at the very top of the dome was a hole the same size as the seal on the floor. I'm sure there was more symbolism in the structure there than I noticed.)
The heat was ridiculously oppressive, as the dry heat we'd accustomed ourselves to in the southwest had morphed into mugginess so thick I'd venture to call it a warm airborne slush. Opportunities to walk around outside were already severely limited due to the fact that they don't want people climbing all over the battlefield and that there are no less than three species of poisonous snake in the region, so we didn't miss anything.
(Not only did the siege of Vicksburg result in one of the first uses of trench warfare in history, but also featured a crater blown into Confederate lines - both tactics used at Petersburg later on in the war.)
Before the road looped back around to go back along the Confederate lines, there was the USS Cairo on display as well as a small museum dedicated to it. The Cairo was one of seven steamboat warships that made up the Union's small inland navy, and was sunk by the first usage of electric torpedoes (or what we'd call "mines") as it rolled along at its max speed of a whopping nine MPH along the Yazoo River. All of the hands safely got off the ship, but the Cairo sank to the bottom of the river and was covered by silt. The ship was lost and nearly forgotten until the 1950s, when scientists ascertained its position underneath the silt on the bottom of the river. In the mid-60s, a crane - itself, ironically, known as the Cairo - helped to lift the ship out of the water. After accidentally cutting the ship in two, it was towed away for restoration which continued into the early 80s. It was then transported to Vicksburg for display under a gigantic white tent.
How good a shape the ship is in cannot be overstated. While load-bearing beams that had rotted were replaced during its restoration, almost everything on the ship was still original, including the boiler area and gigantic pistons that drove the water wheel. (The ship ran on a ton of coal an hour when running at top speed.) The explosion that led to its sinking is still visible near the front of the ship, and the coolest thing about the experience is that they built a trail through the ship so you can actually look at what the sailors did while on it. The museum next to it showcases the preserved artifacts found on the ship, such as vases that look as good as new and smooth-looking, nearly unworn leather shoes. The brass firing mechanisms used on the cannons were in astounding condition and bottles of ammonia were not only still intact, but also half-full. The bell recovered from the ship had actually trapped 1863 air and, when it was recovered, burped it back out.
After exploring the Cairo, we'd had enough of the mugginess and got back to the car to get around what remained of the battlefield, which mainly consisted of more monuments for Union and Confederate units alike.
We left the park around 1:30 and headed on I-20 to Jackson, which is not only Mississippi's capital city but the home of the Mississippi Braves, the Atlanta Braves' double-A affiliate. Their stadium was nice and we purchased two pennants (one for the minor and major league teams alike) from a very dull lady who barely talked and reacted blankly to the things we said. We thanked her anyway and were back on the road within short order. In about an hour's time we arrived in Meridian, the last town of any repute before the Alabama border. We got gas there, and - quite hungry by this point - we went into town in a futile attempt at getting something to eat. We got a sense of the Meridian downtown in as far as we wanted to get, but we left hungry.
We continued along the highway as magnolias began in the median and along the sides of the roads. The magnolias got bigger as we approached the Alabama border, which we did a little after 4:00. We stopped at a badly laid-out welcome center and learned that the double-A Birmingham Barons were not playing today, but were yesterday and would be tomorrow. This threw another wrench in the debate between stopping in Birmingham and just sucking it up to get to Atlanta, which continued in the car in various forms as I drove us into Birmingham, where we finally found a parking space at a hotel and went in to inquire about getting an Internet signal for the iPad map software and possibly a room for the night.
The hotel was full, despite their severe lack of parking due to repaving of half their lot, but the stop was not a waste as we met and talked with their assistant general manager, who is originally from Wilkesboro, North Carolina. He knew a lot about the evolution of Charlotte as well as the Kannapolis/Concord area due to the fact that he'd worked in Concord hotels, and is neither a fan of racing nor the rampant Dale Earnhardt worship present in that region of the state. Hungry but fearful of eating too much, we split a club sandwich and hit the road again to a hotel an hour away, which we'd booked in Oxford on advice from the Wilkesboro fellow, who spoke highly of the hotel quality in the area.
The sun began to set as we worked our way through the surprisingly upscale Birmingham. We avoided a lethal time-killing combination of road construction, backups through multiple stoplights, and a crash ripe for rubbernecking by getting on the Interstate and heading on out to Oxford. We made good time as we worked our way through more NC-like terrain at the southern end of the Appalachian chain where the mountains are no different than large hills. Despite an utterly black road that no one could possibly see - dark to the point that I was convinced it sucked light in and ate it like a ravenous wolf on steroids - and small, highly faded stop signs away from the road to the point that only I saw them - and out of the corner of my eye at that - we made it safe and sound to the hotel at 8:30, where we ordered a proper dinner of three hamburgers. While not great they were certainly serviceable enough, and we wolfed them down along with many glasses of lemonade. (We didn't go the pitcher route this time, though I think we easily could have finished one off.)
Tomorrow: we return home after a month on the road. Today marks the day we go beyond the 28 of last year, but, ironically, we may just end up with fewer miles even though we could nearly encircle last year's route with this year's route. I suppose we've cut down on the meandering this time.
He's the lord of all strangeness. - Ignika: Nerd of Life
How awesome is Sumiki on a scale of 1 to 10? - Waffles
42. - Black Six
[He's] the king of wierd, the prince of practicality, the duke of durr! - Daiker
Sumiki is magic. - Cholie
Sumiki says, "Do I creeeeeeep you out?" Yes, he does. - Waffles
Sumiki is a nub. He's cool, but he's still a nub. - Ran Yakumo
"What is a Sumiki?" You may ask. But the answer to that is still unknown, even to the Sumiki itself. - Daiker
Ah, Sumiki. - Electric Turahk
LISTEN TO SUMIKI - Cholie
Sumiki is best snickerdoodle. - Takuma Nuva
BZPower = Sumiki + McSmeag + B6. And Hahli Husky. - Vorex
What's a Sumi? Does it taste good? - Janus
I would have thought Sumiki wanted to reincarnate as a farm animal. - Kraggh
EAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAGH - Kakaru
Sumiki: the horse_ebooks of bzp - VampireBohrok
Everything relates to Sumiki. No really, everything. - Daiker
He's in worse mental condition than I thought. - Obsessionist
I'm just wondering why I'm looking at some cat dancing ... I suppose the answer would simply be "Sumiki." - Brickeens
I was like a beast, screaming through the mind of Sumiki at the speed of sound. I.. I wasn't strong enough to stop myself. What I saw was the end of infinity, through which one can see the beginning of time, and I will never be the same. - Portalfig
I imagine the 13th Doctor will be rather like Sumiki, at the rate we're going. - rahkshi guurahk
I was quite sure Sumiki had another set of arms stashed somewhere. - Bfahome
Savage Inferno Awakened
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Every week, I post a new "Tuesday Tablescrap", a small MOC not worthy of a topic, but something to post and inspire me to build more.
10/25/11 - Duplo Flower
11/1/11 - Slender Man and Masky
11/8/11 - Bizarre Black Spaceship
11/15/11 - 2001 Monolith
11/22/11 - My Little Slizer 50
11/29/11 - Punching Bag
12/6/11 - Thunder and Escorts
12/13/11 - Three Concepts
12/20/11 - Kaxium Alternate
12/27/11 - None (Christmas Break)
1/10/12 - None
1/17/12 - Volant
1/24/12 - Nidman's Chute Shoop Shop
1/31/12 - None (Brickshelf down)
2/7/12 - None
2/14/12 - Atomic Lime
2/21/12 - Spearhead
2/28/12 - Glatorian Kahi
3/6/12 - Seeker
3/13/12 - Skyscraper
3/20/12 - Microphone
3/27/12 - Toa Vultraz
4/3/12 - Flammenwerferjüngeres
4/10/12 - Umbrella
4/17/12 - Lime Beetle
4/24/12 - Special - Flame Sculpture
5/1/12 - None (BZPower down)
5/8/12 - Purple Ninja
5/15/12 - The Original Sumiki
5/22/12 - 7/24/12 - None
7/31/12 - Tahu
8/7/12 - None (BrickFair)
8/14/12 - Special - Chess Set
8/21/12 - Heavily Armored Wasp
8/28/12 - Spaceship Drill
9/4/12 - Scuba Vehicle
9/11/12 - Orange Guy
9/18/12 - Strange Flying Thing
9/25/12 - Goblet
10/2/12 - None
10/9/12 - Aim .............................. Down
10/16/12 - Gold Bot
10/23/12 - Teal Mech
10/30/12 - Special - Teal Mech (#2)
11/6/12 - Bits and Pieces
11/13/12 - Two Spaceships
11/20/12 - TARDIS Interior
11/27/12 - Christmas Creep
12/4/12 - Toaraga
12/11/12 - Fireplace
12/18/12 - Abstract Duckling
12/25/12 - None (Christmas)
1/1/13 - Black Bot
1/8/13 - 1/22/13 - None
1/29/13 - Handheld Rhotuka Launcher
2/5/13 - 8/6/13 - None
8/13/13 - The Hinklebot
8/20/12 - Special - Post-Apocalyptic Piyufi
Formerly known as the Bring Back Teal Club, the Unused Colors Society is a club that serves to promote colors that are little-used or discontinued, such as teal, old purple, or metallic blue.
Akuna Toa of Sonics
Popup2: The Camel
~System Of A Down~
Thunder on the Mountain
Toa of Vahi
WORT WORT WORT
Toa Kuhrii Avohkii
Toa Neya 2011 Edition
~prisma son of dawn~
.: WoLVeRINe :.
The Great Forgetter
Thomas the Tank Engine
Oh my miru
Element lord Of Milk.
Lexuk Toa Of Insanity
Michael J. Caboose
Lord Kaitan de Storms
Toa of Dancing
The Oncoming Storm
Toa of Pumpkin
Toa Zehvor Blackout
Lord of Ice
Zarayna: The Quiet Light
Vorex: Keeper of Time
Toa of Smooth Jazz
Click to join!
WAT THE CEEHahli Husky - Dec 03 2013 08:42 PM
WAT THE CEEEvil Overlord Sukapon - Dec 02 2013 12:57 PM
WAT THE CEEArc - Dec 02 2013 10:19 AM
Music Favorites VIII - Camille Saint-SaŽns' Danse MacabreReznas - Dec 02 2013 09:40 AM
WAT THE CEEBrickeens - Dec 02 2013 07:30 AM
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If you learn one thing in life, learn this:
You should never, ever question why demons would possess a soda.
just a heads up - Cthulhu would probably eradicate mankind before bringing back Bionicle
so yeah, all I'm saying is, please think twice about this okay
nothing gets democracy flowing like erratic capitalizatION
[the NSA] couldn't say no when I offered them an ostrich farm in exchange