This Week in Awkwardness

I survived my first named weather entity of this season, Tropical Storm Colin. Basically a two-day thunderstorm where I am, I didn’t even lose power, but I know some places closer to the water had problems.  I didn’t go to the beach for this one like I have in the past, which is unfortunate because there were some WILD pictures coming from the storm front.

I signed three different petitions to have Judge Aaron Persky removed from his post in light of the appalling sentence he handed down for convicted rapist Brock Turner.  I doubt they have any legal weight, not being officially run through Persky’s district, but I figure the pressure of thousands of voices will get someone to do something.  If you want to add your name, here are the links:

Official White House Petition

Chang.org

Ultraviolet

There’s also 4 petitions on MoveOn.org but most of them are from UltraViolet anyway so sign as you see fit.  Honestly, you could probably Google “Stanford Judge Petition” and come up with about 80 different things at this point.  He’s already got potential jurors refusing to serve under him so someone’s going to have to do something about him eventually.

I rode the bus all the way downtown to the River Arts District, which looked awesome but it was of course insanely hot so I didn’t get to wander much.  I love public transit.  It’s good for the environment, for not having to fight traffic, and for just getting to know a place.  I’ll ride random buses around random cities just because it’s such a great way to see an area without having to figure out where you are or where you’re going.

Speaking of traffic & transit, Florida decided that since traffic on I-275 & other highways through Tampa is so terrible, they’re going to forgo giving people any options besides driving and just add some toll lanes, wiping out all sorts of historic buildings & hurting neighborhoods all over the city.  The project will cost about $9,000,000,000 (seriously – I didn’t just add zeros until it looked good) and then only people with enough money to pay $2 or $3 per mile will actually get any sort of benefit from it.  But hey, why build a light rail system when you can just ruin a bunch of stuff to make life easier for rich people?  Basically it’s a godawful plan so I signed a couple petitions & sent a bunch of emails to various elected officials about that too.


 Crossed Off the Travel Map:

Tampa Museum of Art, Tampa. Florida


Added to the Travel Map:

Snowdonia National Park, Trawsfynydd, Wales – lakes, mountains, hiking – plus the name is kind of cool.

And some more ghost towns:

Cahawba, Alabama – the state’s first capital.

Glenrio Historic District, Texas/New Mexico.

Kennecott Mines National Historic Landmark, Alaska.

Swan Island, Richmond, Maine.

This Week in Awkwardness

I now have 80 boards on Pinterest, which is completely insane, especially for someone who didn’t get Pinterest at all a month ago.  But I have to have a separate board for each state right?  And a handful for other countries & continents.  Plus it all has to be cross-referenced by activity.  What my organizational skills lack in brevity they make up in depth….


Crossed Off the Travel Map:

Lettuce Lake Park, Tampa, Florida.

Trout Creek Park, Thontosassa, Florida.


Added to the Travel Map:

Chippewa Lake Park, Chippewa Lake, Ohio – abandoned amusement park.

Paronella Park, Mena Creek, Queensland, Australia – abandoned mansion.

Plitvička Jezera National Park, Croatia – beautiful waterfalls.

Goðafoss, Iceland – Waterfall of the Gods.

Mount Rainier National Park, Washington.

Tallulah Gorge State Park, Tallulah Falls, Georgia.

Nova Scotia, Canada.

Watkins Glen State Park, Watkins Glen, New York.

Falling Waters State Park, Chipley, Florida – 73 foot waterfall into a sinkhole.

Museums of St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg is one of a handful of pretty little cities out on the peninsula between Tampa Bay & the Gulf of Mexico.  With beautiful beaches & palm-lined streets it’s been a tourist destination since the beginning of tourism.

The Museum of History is on the approach to the St. Petersburg Pier, which juts out into Tampa Bay & is currently closed for construction.  It’s a small but interesting museum, $15 for adults, $12 for seniors, $9 for children, military, & students (this was the first place I got a discount with my student ID!).  Their permanent exhibits include an Egyptian mummy, general area history, aviation, a few signs about pirates, and for some reason two rooms filled with nothing but autographed baseballs.  When I went in April they had a shipwreck exhibit on that showed models & artifacts as well as the technology involved in finding the wrecks & retrieving small bits from them.

Just around the corner is the Museum of Fine Arts ($17/adults, $15/seniors/military, $10/children/students), which holds many works from some of history’s greatest artists in its permanent collection.  After viewing ancient pieces from all over the world, I found myself in the presence of three genuine Monets.  Unlike most art museums, they welcome photography in their permanent collections.

Event: Live Oak International

2016.02.28.P01

Every year in January horse drivers & jumpers come to Ocala from all over the world to compete at Live Oak Farms.  It’s become quite a festival, they have food trucks, vendors, even the Budweiser Clydesdale were there, all hooked up doing laps around the show ring.  It was a lot of fun except for the woman sitting next to me during the jumping saying “You can do it horsie! Oh that’s OK you’ll do better on the next one!”  It was the horse show equivalent of those people who talk to the characters during movies.

This Week in Awkwardness

I spent most of my time putting off studying for finals by reading job postings for archaeology technicians.  My two favorite websites are ShovelBums.org and ArchaeologicalFieldwork.com.  There are so many cool jobs out there!  I’ve even started compiling a list of companies to apply to once I graduate….in two years….

I’ve also started kicking around ideas about what I’m going to live in while I’m wandering around digging up old stuff, and discovered that homemade truck campers & trailers are actually a thing.  I’ve added a section over on Pinterest to stick random ideas about how to design something like that, because it sounds awesome.  People make so many great things.


Crossed Off the Travel Map:

Museum of History, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Museum of Fine Arts, St. Petersburg, Florida.

Henry B. Plant Museum, Tampa, Florida.


Added to the Travel Map:

Koreshan State Historic Site, Estero, Florida – an abandoned Utopian colony.

Ponce De Leon Inlet Lighthouse, Ponce Inlet, Florida – third tallest lighthouse in the country.

Cruger-dePeyster Sugar Mill Ruins, New Smyrna Beach, Florida – abandoned.

Manatee Viewing Center, Apollo Beach, Florida – manatees come here in the winter to hang out in the warm discharge water from Big Bend Power Station.

Discovery Island, Bay Lake, Florida – abandoned Disney theme park.

River Country, Lake Buena Vista, Florida – Disney’s first water park, now abandoned.

Amelia Island, Florida – Atlantic side.

Timucuan Ecological & Historic Preserve, Jacksonville, Florida – forts, beaches, wetlands, etc.

Canaveral National Seashore, Titusville, Florida – Atlantic coast.

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park, Key Biscayne, Florida.

Recently in Awkwardness

I’m just one class day & a couple of final exams from being done with my first semester at USF!  I found out this semester that what I really want to do is called historical archaeology.  Basically the archaeology of the last 500 years or so, from the Colonial Period/Age of Exploration forward (in North America at least).  I have very little interest in ancient stuff, I’m much more fascinated by forts, battlefields, shipwrecks, abandoned towns, and new discoveries made in places that are still occupied.

Also I’ve watched many episodes of Bones over the last few weeks.

I’ve been in one place too long, lately all I do is daydream about other places….


Added to the Travel Map:

Trim, Ireland – most standing Medieval buildings of any town in the country.

The Ocean – VIA Rail’s route between Montreal, Quebec & Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Honeymoon Island State Park, Dunedin, Florida.

Williamsburg, Virginia.

Tampa Bay History Center, Tampa, Florida.  They have an exhibit on right now about the archaeology of Fort Brooke.


Crossed Off the Travel Map:

Live Oak International, a prestigious horse show held annually in Ocala, Florida.

Anna Maria Island, Florida.  A beautiful but crowded barrier island south of Tampa.

A Love Letter to the Florida State Fair

wp-1455334918893.jpeg

I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned my absurd love of fairs.  Maybe it’s my Midwest upbringing, but I LOVE FAIRS.  All kinds: local, county, state, whatever.  I love everything about them.  I love baby animals and prize-winning chickens and little kids showing pygmy goats.  I love gussied-up llamas and livestock judges waxing poetic about cows and fancy horses with braided manes.  I love midways and overpriced rides and smells of awful fried food and obnoxious barkers trying to get people to play their ridiculous games.  I love expo halls full of craft booths and tables covered with handouts about bugs.  I love handmade quilts with ribbons pinned on them and dioramas with model trains running around the edge and forestry exhibitions of endangered animals.  I love ugly but lovable elementary-school art projects and musicians demonstrating mountain dulcimers.  I love samples of local honey and displays of exotic fish and barns full of rabbits.

I just really, really, really love fairs, and the Florida State Fair is one of the best I’ve been to.  I saw the Budweiser Clydesdales, fed a butterfly, and watched a woman weave cloth with a wooded loom.  I tasted ice cream some guy made as part of a demonstration to get people to buy some contraption or other.  I found out that Florida has a special kind of horse called a Cracker that does a funny little trot and saw a kid get hauled over to a hay bale by a goat he was trying to show.  I watched people feed carrot sticks to giraffes.  I spent seven hours looking at wooden clocks and bonsai trees and recycled yard art.  It was great.