I drove to Asheville today. I didn’t have any real reason to do so, other than the fact that I needed a change of scenery and it needed to be something close but also something other than the Triangle or Charlotte. I also had a vague notion of perhaps meeting up with an old friend I hadn’t seen since about 1993, but that wasn’t to be.

Some part of me really wants to like Asheville, but another more powerful part of me never actually does. Mind you, it’s not that I dislike the place. The hippie granola factor is a little annoying, but there are enough beautiful and photogenic buildings there to make up for the fact that it feels way too much like Berkeley. Asheville has a downtown that reflects its relatively large population in the 1920s (as opposed to its relatively small population today) and a nice collection of neon motel signs. And there are mountains, too.

The problem, I think, is that there’s no specific and compelling destination there for me–no special restaurant or bookstore or junk shop or whatever–so I end up just sort of driving around town all day and not stopping much of anyplace. Which gets a little tiresome.

I did have marginally good thrift store luck today, at least:


Randomly Saturday


May I suggest (respectfully, of course) that if your mall‘s parking lot looks like this on the Friday after Thanksgiving, your mall is probably going to be showing up here very soon?

Speaking of malls, this article on one of Toronto’s first big ones in the Toronto area is really interesting and has many cool vintage photos and illustrations.

Baby, if we skip Christmas presents entirely, can we? Please?

I couldn’t care less about the beer, but wow. Who knew Donnie Iris was from Pittsburgh?

The Great Winter Road Trip of 2009-2010

I’m graduating in a few weeks. I’m working full-time but the university is closed the week between Christmas and New Year’s, and it’s a paid holiday (did I mention that I love my job?). I have Red Roof Inn free nights that are expiring soon. These three facts taken together suggest “winter road trip” to me. But I can’t quite decide where to go.

My inclination is almost always to head north, and the Philadelphia and DC areas are among the most enticing destinations right now. Anything much farther north (or more midwestern) brings a bit of a weather threat. In fact, even DC and Philly might pose threats, which is why I’ve also considered pointing the Buick southward. That would sort of limit me to some combination of Atlanta, Tampa, and maybe Jacksonville or Miami, since I’m not feeling New Orleans and since I’m only interested in urban destinations (which pretty much rules out the rest of the Southeast). Florida is tempting, since I haven’t spent any real time there in almost thirty years, and this is probably the only time of year I could even tolerate being there, weather-wise. It might be a nice change of pace; as I remember Florida’s biggest cities (Orlando doesn’t qualify under my definition of “urban”), they had a rather dense, mildly gritty urban feel that set them apart from the rest of the region–not like the Northeast, really, but more like California, without that unfinished, semi-rural quality so many Southeastern cities have.

That said, part of me still leans to northward because I want to use those freebies in the most expensive areas possible.

Yeah, I know. This is the kind of dilemma lots of people would love to be facing right now. And it’s not really causing me stress. I’m just sort of thinking  out loud rather than specifically soliciting suggestions. But if any of you feel strongly about anyplace (and have some specific reasons), I’ll listen.

Cafeteria Line of the Damned


Thanksgiving dinner at the K&W.

Thanksgiving has never been one of my family’s bigger traditions. When I was young, we usually spent it with assorted aunts and uncles, but we always left the big celebrating to Christmas. In recent years, my mom and dad have taken to having their turkey at the cafeteria (except for 2007, when the hubby and I had them over for a big feeding). The past two years, Mark has been on the west coast for the big day, so I’ve joined them (and hundreds of others) in this charming New South tradition of turkey, two vegetables, bread, dessert, and tea for $6.49.


It’s not such a big deal. Mark and I had our own spread last Sunday before he left, anyway. I’m glad I married a boy who not only cooks, but even makes his own pie crust (sans dodgy Japanese ingredients).


Now I get to spend the rest of the holiday weekend writing my last paper as a graduate student, as well as preparing for my final final.

Otherstream Mobile

If you’re reading this on your phone, you’re probably having a much easier time of it today. Assuming, that is, that you’re one of those two or three people who still bother at all.

I’m curious about whether most of the “regulars” keep up by RSS feed (using Google Reader, live bookmarks, or whatever) or by just dropping in from time to time. I can’t imagine doing it the old-fashioned way anymore, but I know some people still do. Anyone care to comment?