Wednesday, November 30, 2011


The good holiday is over. When I was little, all I wanted was presents. Now, all I want is good food. (Like stuffing. And cranberry sauce in the shape of a can, right?) Thus, Thanksgiving rocks. But these days all that's left is the concluding wintry month in which I receive metaphorical lumps of coal from Santa, because I'm a pretty selfish girl. Still.

This recent turkey-tofurky-smurfy-whateveryouwannacallit weekend, we travelled the 618 miles to Louisville, Kentucky, to meet up with some other displaced family members due to careers. But I only wanted to do this because these people make me happy and laugh. And I would get to bring Cary's brother home with me. And we could watch The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and Battlestar Galactica and start reading The Maze Runner series.

I also wanted to see Louisville. And another '-ville.' Nashville. Where we ate at the corner steak and spaghetti (weird combo to me but Cary doesn't see it) place Demo's and roamed the few short blocks that really are the strip. It was cold, but that didn't keep the doors shut; live music poured onto the sidewalk, and an open air concert with beer tastings was in the middle of it all. We visited a warm Ernest Tubb Record Shop to get Johnny Cash and Elvis compilation albums.

(Getting older isn't so bad for your taste buds...)

In Louisville, we swore we wouldn't even try to imitate the way natives say their town name. Turns out, we didn't ever need to, nor did we hear a soul say "Looavull" once. We hit Churchill Downs. We lost money. (I once again tried to regurgitate to Cary all I had learned from the Seabiscuit book and Secretariat movie.) We hit the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory. We got suckered into wanting tiny bats as well as posing in front of the giant one out front. We hit Muhammad Ali's museum. It was cool. But I secretly wished it were Katniss Everdeen's - since Jennifer Lawrence is from there supposedly. Even though this doesn't really make any sense). We ate Cuban. We begged for military discounts everywhere we went. We even got stuffing and jelly cranberry sauce.

The best were the Mammoth Caves. This cave, or series of caves, is the largest in the world if you can believe it. Believe it. This national park encompasses 390 miles of discovered cave. We visited both "ends" and saw Frozen Niagara (not as cool as it sounds) and took a couple mile tour into the main part (way cooler than it sounds). We descended into a gaping black hole the size of a big house that made me so curious about how the original explorers may have reacted to it. Shock? Greed? Not much at all?

Once in the main cavern - this time the size of a Hollywood mansion - Cary said it seemed like a place every Native American tribe leader would meet to make the big decisions.

Uh huh. Uh huh. I could totally see that.

But every time we had a good observation like this, it was dashed by the tour guides' wisdom.

It got short and narrow in one place, just enough to make your panic meter rise a notch. Hmm, perfect. The crickets were kinda like giant spiders. It felt cool and sometimes damp. You could hear water in places, or see it. There were deep crevices. There was a bathroom a mile in.

It felt warmer outside when we resurfaced after a lot of stairs. We walked gingerly across the soapy, spongy mat again to rid our shoes of certain things picked up. A fungus or something is killing the bats somewhere in the nation. (I listen well.) And it could wipe out the thumb size bats that apparently inhabit the cave but don't like to make an appearance for my blog. "Would you want to make your bedroom where people are turning on lights all the time and being noisy?" One of our tour guides kept asking us rhetorical questions like this.

But with the lights out, and the kids in the group as quiet as they could be (which is louder than at any other point on the journey), we got to experience cave darkness and wannabe silence. This was cool.

So... I went the whole day wearing my Mammoth Mountain sweatshirt without getting a single comment on it. What the frack?

Well, that brings me to (as hoped) the fact that I've spent the week breaking from work for mini Battlestar Galactica marathons. This might just be the best show ever. They say 'frack' instead of 'fuck.' Most everything square has the corners chopped off: dog tags, books, papers, computer screens, pictures. It was on the SyFy channel from 2004 to 2009, but it's now available on Netflix streaming, thank the gods (they use the plural).

I crack up, I tear up, I hold my breath. I learn how to say the eff word without really offending anyone and sounding like some kind of muppet. What else do you need?

*     *     *     *

The best of the road trip music in case you need to add a few songs to sugar and spice up your playlists:

WordGirl for Grown-ups

Editors usually get this right, but civilians rarely do.

Incorrect: I honed in on the cute girl.

Correct: I homed in on the cute girl.

Also correct: I honed my flirting skills.

Word of the day: Frack. Yep. Use it. Maybe it'll peak the interest of people who weren't (and still aren't) early sci-fi adopters and didn't do things like read Ender's Game and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy when they were 11. This is okay.

Tumblr Treat

chapter five: SF

dear self, leaving the down jacket in the car does not keep you warm.

yours (literally),


Anonymous said...

Rock on Mammoth Cave! I had a great trip exploring new passages....


thebluemuse said...

Sounds like a fun trip! I dated a guy from "Looavull" for five minutes my freshman year but he never made the town sound as fun as you do. Also, I fracking love the sadly-cancelled-too-soon Battlestar Galactica prequel Caprica. Did you see it?

Aly Lawson said...

Aw, thanks!

And agreed. I also have plans to watch the short-lived Caprica when I finally finish BG. =)