Monday, July 26, 2010

Road Trip

On Saturday morning with all appropriate fanfare I put Main Lady's Toyota under me, loaded Main Lady, Excellent Rachmaninoff and Main Lady's mother, The Centenarian, into the car and headed East. We stopped along the way to drop off Excellent Rachmaninoff at the Karnik Pet Lodge where he enjoys doggie day care. The staff at Karnik Pet Lodge think Excellent Rachmaninoff is a great dog and could not imagine anyone ever having a problem with him. Karnik turns all dogs of a similar size out together for supervised dog play, and although they've never said so, I think they occasionally release a small child for the dogs to run down and savage. I'm told this helps reinforce the pack mentality and makes the dogs more well-behaved at home.

Our destination was Akron, Ohio where we were planning to attend the Akron Storytelling Festival. The drive was out was uneventful, with light traffic and fair weather, but the trip back we were forced to endure both rain and road idiots. Of the two, the idiots were worse. My eternal question is: If they want to commit suicide, why not choose a less complex method? Or something that involves less drama and injury to others?

We arrived in Akron and settled in. The two featured speakers were Donald Davis and Carmen Agra Deedy. Of the two, I enjoyed Donald Davis the best. In his workshop Don talked about how we remember things and how to trigger memories. He also pointed out that from the time we learn to read we are taught to concentrate on the plot. In grade school, children read a story and are asked to summarize it. None of the grade school teachers will ask what the tree looked like after it was struck by lighting or what the house looked like after the fire. It's always about summary. Don pointed out that a fellow named Hillegass started a very successful business when he noticed this trend - his first name was Cliff. Don also pointed out that for people to appreciate a story, they must first understand what the normal setting looks like and what the expected events of the day are. If the story concerns third generation alcoholics, the audience must first understand this before they are told about uncle George trying to get sober.

Donald Davis and Carmen Deedy spent about an hour each on stage Saturday night telling stories. The PA system was predictably poor and the A/C wasn't working, which turned the auditorium into a sweat lodge. The room was well lit and the acoustics were excellent, which made the problems with the PA system so much more frustrating. Don Davis told several stories about his teen age years. It seems he had a chemistry set and a relative who was a chemist and who was willing to supplement his equipment and stores with commercial grade quantities of chemicals and equipment. Don extracted hydrogen which he used as both fuel and explosive in home made hot air balloons. He also made black powder (sulfur, charcoal, and potassium nitrate) and used it as a propellant for impromptu model rocketry. I gather the neighbor's house beared the brunt of damage caused by these experiments.

We stayed at the Akron City Centre Hotel which turned out to be the best move of the entire trip. The public library was one block away and the hotel turned out to be clean and quiet. My mattress was originally some kind of shape memory device that was now permanently holding the shape of an anvil in the center of the bed. Otherwise, it wasn't bad. There isn't much actually going on at the hotel. The bar was largely uninhabited by 10:00 PM unless you count staff that are waiting to clock out or the parents of a family of five that are trying to savor a few moments of tranquility before they return to the self imposed hell of five in a single room and family style restaurants.

We could have eaten dinner at the hotel, but instead we decided to go out. The AAA Guide Book listed Bialy's At The Lake as having casual dining and an excellent view of the lake. The book lied. No one can see the lake from inside the restaurant and there is no out door patio. The decor featured such objet d'art as would trouble a recovering alcoholic with severe delirium tremens. A few examples follow.

Suit of Armor circa 1972

Ohio State Fans

The Fish

If you don't care about the decor or the lack of a view, then I wouldn't hesitate to recommend the place. The food is good and the service is much better than average. Speaking of better than average, here's the view from our hotel window.


I didn't read the sign on top of the building until well after I took the photo. Otherwise, I'd have been tempted to walk over and ask exactly when we could expect our electricity rates to return to a reasonable level. This is just one of the reasons that utility rates in Ohio are so high.

I saw this rig on the way home and managed to get a shot of it. I haven't seen one of these in years, although at one time they were not uncommon. This is likely where I'll end up living if I don't find a job soon.

Travel Trailer

Still, there are worse ways to live. I could park the trailer in most side yards and annoy the neighbors. Alternately I could park it on the street and pretend not to be home when the local constabulary comes to call. They won't mind. Right B&R?


Beat And Release said...

You are correct, sir :) " answer. Oh well."

I thoroughly enjoyed this post. Woke the wife up with my laughter.

Stephanie Lorée said...

Wish I would have known about this event so I could have attended.

As for drivers, I've always believed that a human sized brain is incapable of properly operating the extra large body that is the automobile. We need to concentrate extra hard to do so. Adding more human pea-brains inside the tin can exacerbates the issue.

Mad Jack said...

From Mesmerix: We need to concentrate extra hard to do so.

Some of us are concentrating extra hard. Maybe not on the road, but concentrating none the less.

The organizer told us that attendance was twice that of last year, and would likely continue to increase judging from this year's comments. Next year I'll post the event information well in advance, as I think many people would enjoy this event.