A Random Love Note to Fog

One day in 2013, when I was still living in Tennessee, I drove up to Clingman’s Dome. I don’t recall what the weather was like in town that day, but the mountaintop was socked in with fog. When I got to the observation deck it was surrounded by a solid wall of gray, only broken up by the pine trees within 50 yards or so of the tower. It was amazing. It was so beautiful up there, nothing to look at but those few layers of trees, no sound but a few birds calling, not a soul in the world knew where I was at that moment. I had nowhere to be and nothing to do. It was an incredibly meditative experience.

I absolutely love fog.  It simplifies and softens a bright, loud, overwhelming world, makes everything into calm shades of gray.  Not everyone gets that.  So many people don’t know what to do with themselves in the dim and quiet realm of fog.  While I was up there at Clingman’s Dome other people kept coming up, just one family at a time, when one left another would arrive.  And they kept complaining about there being nothing to see.  I maintain that they just didn’t know how to look.

Prints of these three photos as well as others of fog can now be purchased here.

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This Week in Awkwardness

I started using Google image search to find my stock photos all over the internet, which turned out to be REALLY FUN.  I’m selling everything from snazzy bottled water to real estate, and my images are included in goofy quizzes, horror stories, and travel articles.

I also posted a term paper I wrote for school as a 3-part article on the 1692 earthquake that destroyed Port Royal, Jamaica.  The interesting thing about it is that there are so many first-hand accounts of buildings collapsing and people being sucked right down into the sand.  Two thirds of the town just slid into the sea and was covered over by silt, creating one of the best 17th-century colonial sites anywhere in the world.

Lowry Park Zoo has evening hours around major holidays so I was able to be there when the giant fruit bats were getting dinner and watched them crawl around which was both creepy and awesome.  They also gave presents to the orangutans (one little girl thought the male was Chewbacca) which was pretty fun to watch.  The Christmas lights were pretty of course but being a retail worker I CAN’T WAIT until the Christmas music stops.  I always feel bad for the kid in “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus.”  I mean, from his perspective, he thinks his mom is cheating on his dad.  Should he tell him?  If he doesn’t, then he’s keeping a big secret from his dad, but if he does, they might break up and it would be his fault.  Poor kid.  Also, whoever wrote the Chipmunk Song, I’d like to give you a high five.  With my fist.  On your face.

Also, this 360° video of the Lascaux Cave replica in France:


Added to the Travel Map:

Reykjanes Geopark, Reykjanes Peninsula, Iceland – spot where the Mid-Atlantic Ridge lies above sea level. Has a footbridge between North America & Europe.

Great Falls Park, Virginia, USA – waterfalls.

Bois Blanc, Amherstberg, Ontario, Canada – abandoned amusement park – TECHNICALLY, anyone who steps foot on it is trespassing, but….

Burgruine Gösting, Graz, Austria – castle ruins.

Nuclear Shelter 10-Z, Brno, Czech Republic – hotel in a bunker!

Fort des Dunes, Leffrinckoucke, France – abandoned fort, important in WWII.

Aran Islands, Ireland – lots of ruins.

Alaska SeaLife Center, Seward, Alaska – Alaska-specific aquarium & wildlife rescue.

Gallery: Where I Find Myself All Over the Internet

I’ve been selling on stock websites for about three years now and doing reasonably well with it, but I’d never seen where any of my work ended up.  I’ve heard of people fining their photos on billboards, I’m not one of them.  A couple of weeks ago I learned how to do an image-based Google search, so last night I started searching for my most popular photos.  This is some of what I found.

Recently in Awkwardness

This semester I’m taking Forensic Anthropology, which has been pretty dull so far since it’s been all law & stuff, but now we’re past that and it’s starting to pick up. It is definitely not true that dead men tell no tales. Bones tell SO MUCH about how a person lived. Not just age & that sort of thing, but what they did for a living, how strong they were, what kind of diseases or nutritional problems they had. I’ve heard archaeologists talk about figuring out that someone was a pipe-smoker because of wear marks in their teeth.  Illnesses like syphilis & tuberculosis leave all kinds of deformities on skulls and vertebrae, and if you want to be scared into taking a trip to the dentist have a look at historic mandibles that have big holes in them from tooth infections that have eaten away the bone.

I discovered that Southern India is home to a crazy whip sword that looks like the stuff of nightmares, as if regular swords weren’t dangerous enough.

Hurricane Matthew is blowing things around in the Caribbean right now, it probably won’t hit Tampa but I’m watching it.

I got my first check ever from Shutterstock!  They have a $500 threshold for paper checks, so THAT was a good day.  Took me almost exactly three years.

If you’re like me & completely obsessed with Stranger Things but have no outlet for it, FoundFlix on Youtube has a playlist of videos detailing his theories of the show, which are pretty interesting.  I built a Pinterest board of ST fan art, which is numerous and amazing for a show that’s only been around for a couple of months.  I’ve seen most of it three times over now, but I seriously wish I could go back & watch it blind again, it’s that amazing.

Gallery: Hearst Castle

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I visited the Hearst Castle in the summer of 2006.  Right on the coast of San Simeon, California, it’s a spectacular building built by newspaper tycoon William Randolph Hearst.  Finished in 1947, the house became a hangout spot for some of the biggest celebrities of the day.  As ever, I was fascinated by the architectural details.  Having been built at a time when one could order antiquities out of catalogs, the gardens are filled with genuine ancient Egyptian statuary and other relics.  The zoo that once graced the grounds is mostly gone, but there’s still a handful of animals roaming the property, if you’re lucky you might see a small zebra herd wandering around loose.  Most tours are $25 and last about an hour, although there are some different options on the website.  If you’re not sure, visit the free museum down the hill and decide then if you want to take the bus up to the house itself.

This Month in Awkwardness

I’ve always wanted a fisheye lens, but I could never justify spending hundreds of dollars on something so specialized.  I finally acquired a converter that takes my 22mm lens down to 4.4mm and it’s incredibly fun, even if it’s not especially high quality.


Crossed Off the Travel Map:

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Drummond Island
Round Island Lighthouse
Round Island Lighthouse

Added to the Travel Map:

Bakken, Klampenborg, Denmark – the world’s oldest amusement park.

Old Sheldon Church Ruins, Yemassee, South Carolina – burned down in the Civil War.

Old Charleston City Jail, Charleston, South Carolina.

Château de Salses, Salses-le-Château, France – 16th-century fortress.

Grjótagjá, Iceland – an underground hot spring.