Thursday, December 20, 2007

Cumberland Caverns

Two weekends ago Paul, Jennifer, Steve and Angela and I met Dave (and a couple hundred of other cavers including Avis and Gerald, Ron and Cathy, Tim and Berta and Bill and Miriam) for the Cumberland Caverns Christmas party in TN.

We'd signed up for the Monument Pillar wild cave trip at noon on Saturday. The trip was an easy two hour jaunt into Cumberland's 30 or so miles of cave, and our fearless guide apparently hadn't been there in 20 some odd years - so there was a bit of poking around a bit in breakdown before we found the correct route.

Fearless leader (far left) and some of the crew taking a pit stop somewhere along the route to M.P.

Jennifer took this great picture of Paul and I when we stopped for a snack in the Waterfall Room (it was more like a trickle what with the lack of rain) Thanks Jennifer!

Monument Pillar did not disappoint. Paul remarked that it was one of the prettiest formations he'd ever seen. I'll have to admit it was quite stunning. For me its now ranked third on the all-time WOW factor. (right after G.P. in R.F. and A.S.) Mark J. and his gal had some great headlamps (The lights they had were fantastic - brightest I've ever seen - and home made - some sort of high intensity bulb that puts out white light like an LED - but is not an LED. Only drawback I saw was the massive battery packs they had to tote around.) But thanks to them I was able to take a few really nice shots of Monument Pillar. Thanks guys!

At the bottom of the pillar is a fantastic crystal lined pool of water (very similar to what's in the Crystal room in Sauta) about 7 feet in diameter. The pillar itself was upwards of 15 feet tall and about 6 feet in diameter. The whole thing was sparkles all around.

The group poked around a bit more and then headed on out. We got cleaned up and took the 4pm commercial tour - which provided me with my first glimpse of the dining room with its crystal chandelier that originally came from some posh New York hotel. Wild.

Then it was on past some equipment used for salt petre production - like this 86 Gallon behemoth from Columbus Iron Works used to boil down salt petre leachings after it was processed through the vats.

And on past some nice deep pools like this one

There's tons of historic grafitti throughout Cumberland Caverns. Some smoked in the walls and ceilings, some carved, some written. I really liked this rock with the the summer school class of 1903.

There are some really grand formations on the commercial tour - well worth seeing if you're in the area.

After the tour it was on to turkey dinner with peach cobbler.

As we were waiting in the line for dinner I noticed what was featured on the snack bar and got down-right hysterical. Dry Socks anyone? Only $1.50!

A final shot of the chandelier overhead.
Wishing you and yours a very cool caver Yule to all!

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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

I'm It

So I got tagged by my bestest roomie, Laura. She's hitting me up for 7 weird/strange items about myself.

The rules of the game:
*Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog.
*Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself on your blog, we all want to know them.
*Tag 7 random people at the end of your post and include links to their blogs.
*Let each person know that they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

So I guess things like "I have an 1800lb. letterpress named Preston in my garage" and "I like to go in deep dark holes in the and swing from ropes in pits hundreds of feet off the ground on the weekends" would kind of be a bit blazié since if you read my blog regularly you already know that about me.

Gee Laura, only 7? Seems a bit scant don't you think?

1. I don't like chocolate. There are some exceptions to this (oreos & tootsie rolls) mainly because they don't taste like chocolate. So I don't care for candy bars, chocolate cake, icing or fudge. I do like white chocolate - but there's no cocao in it. When I tell people I don't like chocolate I always get really strange looks and actual exclaimations like; "Are you sure you're female?!" and "What are you a communist?!" Yes I am a female and no last time I checked I wasn't a communist - I just don't like chocolate.
2. I still haven't decided what I want to do "when I grow up." Hopefully I never will. There are just way too many options.
3. I am the very last person to carry my family surname. Meaning - my dad is the only son of an only son and I'm an only child. So the family name will die with me. Pretty depressing really.
4. If I don't go caving two weekends in a row I start really missing it. Almost like withdrawal - the earthy smell - the climate - the sport - the challenge of it. And I have a pair of googly-eyes glued to the back of my caving helmet - so yes I do have "eyes in the back of my head" - at least while I cave anyway. OK so that was two for the price of one.

totally stolen from - Taneushka

5. If I see something that can be recycled in the trash at work I will pull it out and toss it in the recycle bin. And then I go scrub my hands really really well. There's no excuse in not recycling, especially when the recycle bit is about 4 feet away from the trash bin.
6. Like Laura - I talk in my sleep too. And sometimes I sit up and point and do other things. (Which makes me wonder if we had conversations in our sleep while we were roommates at Flagler? Maybe I'd catch the imaginary purple spiders she was diving under the covers to hide from. ) Until this past Saturday night I don't think I'd ever done any sleep walking. But according to Paul I got up and started petting the dog... in my sleep. I totally don't remember any of it. Um yeah - totally freaky!! I'm hoping I don't make a habit of it.

7. I have every single movie ticket stub from every movie that I've ever seen in the movie theatre since about 1989, in order from oldest to latest, with who I went to go see the movie with written on the back all in a small wooden cigar box. I have no idea why I started keeping track of all of them like this. They used to be just piled in the box, but several years back I organized them by date. It was kind of fun to look at how many movies I've seen and with whom. Now when I go to see a new movie I just put it on the top of the neat rubber-banded stack.

Now - who to TAG? I think I'll have to tag Christin, (because she's cool like that), Anne (because she needs a new post on her blog), Joy (same reason), Unclaimed Mysteries, Bo (just because he's cool), Jen and Chuck (because it'd be fun), Arvid and Lotta (in English please) and then Karisse (because I want to know some happy/quirky things about her)


Friday, December 14, 2007

Elf Yourself

Within the past two days I've gotten three hysterical Elf Yourself links. I've yet to try it out myself, but I know its only a matter of time.... If anyone decides to Elf themselves please please please leave your link in the comments section so everyone can have a few more laughs! For now, enjoy these:

Allen's Huntsville Grotto Elves

Derek's Elves (check out the "I am not amused" look on Derek's face!!)

Jamie and Jamey Elf


Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Random Acts of Art


Then Paul held it up and both of us went "What the...?!"
He'd created a random work of art with his straw wrapper.

Accidental art is pretty darn cool. And I thought it was cool enough to keep, so it now resides on the second to last page of my little Moleskine journal and here, however briefly, in the digital realm of 1s and 0s.

So lets test that right-hand side of those brain folks - what do you think it looks like?

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Thursday, December 06, 2007

Be amazed.

I don't like watching the news on TV. It always leaves me feeling empty, pissed-off and disgusted at humanity in general. I don't have any favorite shows that I have to watch anymore. I'll admit I used to - but now I'm on a TV hunger strike of sorts. For the past couple years an hour of TV every 2 months feels like too much. The TV rarely gets turned on by me, unless there's a Netflix envelope in my hand. And I really don't feel ill-informed because of it. Stupid people will continue to do stupid things even if I don't watch them doing it on prime-time. And good people will still do good things that aren't sensational enough to be "news-worthy." I catch the news on the radio at work or in the car about 85% of the time. I figure if I can use the time I'd spend watching the stupid people do the stupid things, to somehow improve or create something better in this the world - perhaps it will begin to even out the scales. I'm sure if something really important struck that I really needed to know - oh like Armageddon - a really well informed person who watches the news would be kind enough to let me know about it.

That being said there are a number of blogs I visit every day. I have friends that I've known for years whom I delight in seeing a small fraction of their lives. (Happy birthday Bryce!) Its no replacement for giving them a good hug and hearing their voices in person, but at least I feel like I'm keeping up with them. (Check out the "My friends On-line" section of links in the sidebar). And then there are strangers who's lives are so captivating I am in awe every time I'm privy to a new post. All of them - friend and stranger alike - remind me my little bubble of the world here is minuscule. It captivates my attention. Normal people are ploughing on through insurmountable hardships and doing amazing things every single day. That IS my daily news program.

Jennifer P. sent me a new favorite two days ago The Daily Coyote. So now I play with Charlie in Wyoming. Through that blog I found the author/photographer's other blog Vespa Vagabond so now I'm puttering across the US on a vespa. I've seen war though soldier's eyes in links off of Black Five. I go to Africa everyday with Lucky Beans and I travel 3191 miles every morning between Stephanie and Mav's houses and then buzz over to the west coast with Shim and Sons in the afternoon.

Make your own news today instead of just watching it. Be amazed at where it takes you.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

100% Lead

Triple S Letterpress was up and in full swing on Saturday and Sunday; Preston got a good work out. Between my Printer's Devil (Paul) and I we worked 32 hours.

Saturday we managed my mom and dad's Christmas cards, and ours too. Paul pulled and hand set all of our type while I did the make-ready and printing.

Neenah Columns cover weight stock - silver ink - my dad's linoleum block cut.

My parent's card turned out really well. The silver ink looks fantastic on the red columns stock.

Wouldn't you know it that the very first year that I'm able to actually print my very own Christmas card that I would have a complete mental block on what to draw!? So I worked up a little poem with Paul's help. We set it in Piranesi, and picked out a cool holly border for the front, and then I mixed a nice metallic green for the ink color.

The interior we set in Piranesi Italic with a couple of star dingbats. I feel like I need to work on next year's artwork now - so I can send off for a magnesium plate and have it in time to print.

Sunday I turned out bags for Jen's Redstreake Gallery, Paul sorted type and we started a cool layout for my Dad's business card (don't say anything to him - its a surprise for Christmas!) that I'll print in the next couple weeks.

Paul sorting type.

Jen's fantastic linoleum cut all inked and ready.

The finished Redstreake bags.

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