Saturday, February 27, 2010

I see Daylight

So I had a pretty sweet lunch break last Wednesday. I finally made it to the new Steamboat Sandwiches on Market Square. I had been to the one on Central a few times so already knew I was going to like the food. It was strange to be in Steamboat without having that divey, hole-in-the-wall kind of feel that it used to have. The space in Market Square is squeaky clean compared to their former location, which I feel can only be a step up for a restaurant.

Yay, Steamboat!

After lunch, I had the pleasure of going on a tour of the currently-being-restored Daylight Building, located on Union in between Walnut and Locust, where David Dewhirst showed us all the ins-and-outs of the space. The site was bustling with workers who plan on completion in August of this year. Rent for apartments will range from $595 to about $1300. There are several different floor plans for each space. The basement level, or what David called "The Garden Level" will have "shotgun" apartments, the main level will be commercial space out front and residential in back, and the second floor will all be residential.

Above: They are working to restore the stain glass that delicately hangs from the awning out front.

Above: A view from inside, looking out of what will be a future retail space.

The above and below photo are of the same apartment. This space is located on the back of the main street level. Below show the framework of where a bedroom, bathroom, and loft space will be.

Below: In true Dewhirst fashion, he will keep and create unique architectural elements in each space. This archway will be cleaned up a little more, but will retain the same feel as it does currently.

Below: If I were richer, this is the apartment I would want. A two bedroom apartment looking out over Walnut and Union, with windows as far as the eye can see. The crem de la crem. Two apartments have already been leased and this is one of them.

Above: David explains how they will sound proof the walls and keep some of the wooden rafters exposed.

Below: One of the ginormous doors on the Garden Level. They will refurbish these doors and reuse them. Go historic preservation!

And Below: At the top of the stairs on the Second floor, a precious view of our Headquarters. "Hey peeping Sunsphere!"

And for those wanting to know more about Urban Outfitters; We asked David and his answer was basically it's too soon to tell. That's what I thought.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

more sweet pups urgently need our help

We've been running across sweet dogs in need of our help left and right lately. Unfortunately, it is down to the wire for these Beagles. I think they need willing fosters or adopters by tomorrow morning or they will be put to sleep. Since time is short, I am copying the email I received from a friend. If you are interested, willing, able, heartbroken, etc, etc. please contact Michael at ASAP. The good news is that quite a few of them are accounted for, so I think there are just 3 more that need saving.

Fosters or permanent homes needed for these sweet Beagles!!

We have eight Beagles who are socialized, very loving and sweet. They have been extremely well cared for they have just never been outside of a lab environment. They have never been used for any kind of experimentation beyond routine blood work. In other words, these are going to be some very sweet, appreciative dogs!! We're about two people away from making sure that none of them are put to sleep.

They will be available through the Lab and All Breed Rescue Network. If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact me. Time is CRITICAL as we have to tell them how many we can take by Friday morning.

Again, contact Michael if you can help or need more info. Apparently these are just the sweetest guys on earth.

wigshop love and save the pups. xoxo Em

Monday, February 22, 2010

Schoolhouse gardens rock

Community gardens (and personal gardens for that matter) are a good thing. They encourage a community to come together to create a beautiful space that everyone can enjoy. The ones that include edible items? Well that's just a big fat bonus.

I was thrilled to hear that Amber Houser, a science teacher at Fulton High School in North Knoxville, and some of her fellow teachers and students are working on creating a schoolyard community garden with the idea of possibly providing some fresh food for use at the Fulton cafeteria and maybe even hosting a farmer's market if their garden yields enough.

And in true community garden fashion, Amber is inviting the community to be a part of the process. The teachers and students would love to have some help from those who know about gardening especially in the planning stages -- how to create the garden, what to plant, how to raise money to cover the costs, etc. etc.

So if you're interested in helping out, there will be an informational meeting with Amber and some of the student leaders at 4:15 p.m. in room 403 at Fulton (Woodland at Broadway). Some of the discussion topics will include organizing some neighborhood workdays, funding, composting and timeline for planting.

What a great way to introduce community gardening to high school students. I can't be there Thursday, but I want to encourage everyone who's interested to attend. I'll try to keep you informed on the progress of the garden.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Rumor, Inuendo, and Hope

Many of you have seen this.

Could a store like Urban Outfitters be coming to our scruffy little city? Are we hip enough, or rather are they hip enough for us?

Besides a grocery store, what stores would be a good fit for downtown Knoxville?

Any thoughts?



Flory just put this up. Looks like this thing could really happen. What a fantastic retail anchor to draw in more people to downtown.

Later I will ask myself why I got myself into this, until then...

The day after the Pol wrote about the puppy Forrest who needed a home, my life took a coincidental turn. On my way to work the next morning, my eyes met those of a small black puppy. I rolled down my window to ask her what she was doing. I could see she was shivering.

At that point, I was already invested. I went to the other side of the fence where she was and walked up to her. She backed away and got really low as I approached. I knelt down and put my hand out to her. Immediately her tail was wagging. In moments, she was jumping up and down, wagging her tail. I could see blood on her coat and near her ears. She was so happy to be found.

The long story short is that after advice from several people, I took her to Young Williams Animal Shelter. There I was presented with a paper to sign that basically said I gave up all rights to this dog and understood that in three days, if no owners came, she could be put to sleep. So for an hour and a half with pen in one hand and dog leash in the other, I paced from the lobby to outside, tears streaming down my face wondering what to do. (I have no shame. I am a lover of animals)

My issue was that I could not take this dog home if it was sick and I couldn't take it to the vet if it needed expensive care. After calling a few people, the best option was to sign the paper so the dog would at least have a warm place to stay with food and minimal veterinary care.

Needless to say, I was a wreck the rest of the day and so I called everyone I knew that could help. I learned a lot in a couple of hours, and some of that information is in the two posts below this. I hope you will read them to learn what I learned.

The day after I dropped off the puppy, I went back to Young Williams, signed adoption papers, at least to know that if the owners don't come claim her, and if she is not considered adoptable (the odds are against her), she will not be put to sleep.

The following two posts are informational, but this one is a request that if you know of any way to help or know anyone who wants to give a sweet puppy a home, please let me know. On Sunday I find out if she is adoptable. If I adopt her, she will be available around Tuesday to take home. I have already committed to take her to the vet then to see what care she needs. I want to give her health. Is there anyone that can give her a home?

You can contact me at

A little help from friends

After I found the above puppy, one of the first things I did was contact Tinah Utsman via Facebook. I knew she had a "dog network" group on Facebook that helps people and lost pets reunite and helps stray pets find homes. I have to be honest and say I wasn't thrilled at first to receive weekly messages about cute little pets that need homes (it kills me), but the above experience has made me suck it up and hopefully I can be a part of this great network that Tinah has created because of her passion for the well-being of animals. Already from the post I put up about the puppy I found, several people have been messaging me, asking how they can help.

Under the group's profile picture of Tinah and her dog Louise it reads, "I rescued Louise, then she turned around and rescued me...this dog changed my life. tru."

To join this group, go to T & Louise's Dog Network

What to do when you find a stray animal or lost pet

After I contacted Tinah, she sent me this information on what to do when you find a stray or lost pet. It is really helpful. I have just copied and pasted below. I hope you'll at least skim through:


IMMEDIATELY, Take animal to vet or local shelter to be scanned for a chip, in knoxville you may take it to Young Williams off of Sutherland, scan animal (if animal is microchipped shelter will put you in contact with company to reunite animal with owner--best case scenario--PLEASE MICROCHIP YOUR ANIMALS, CAN BE DONE FOR $20 AT YW OR THEIR CHIP WEEKEND PROGRAMS) and place contact info in the found dog book. Also check the lost dog book while there. Once listed, if you have the ability to hold animal, you can take the animal back home with you to foster during the legal found notification period of 10 ays. IF you cannot commit to some or all of this minimum period then leave animal at the shelter and hope owner finds it or it makes it to the adoption floor. FYI, less than 10 percent of animals turned in to shelter as stray are reunited with their owners. Shelters are only required to hold stray animals for 3 days and depending on animal or space, at that point either goes to adoption floor or is euthanized.

MUST DO: List animal as found in several area locations whether or not you keep animal to foster OR leave at shelter. Many people don't think to look at the shelter so by doing this you are either fulfilling the legal obligation to hold animal for owner or advertising animal was found and where these people need to look, who to contact or alerting them to go to shelter. If not in knoxville area, follow these steps in your area/shelter/paper.
a. list in book at shelter (Young Williams is the local Knoxville city shelter and is located off of Sutherland Ave, about 2 blocks east of Concord intersection on the north side of street) and online at
b. place ad on craigslist (leave out one pertinent piece for identification to make sure true owners contact you)

c. place ad in local paper--free for 3 days in Knoxville News Sentinel. Call classifieds by 11 am and you can generally get it in next day.

d. put up posters in local grocery store, on telephone poles in main streets/intersections/area where found, put up flyer in the local pet store.

e. If animal is in good condition, not chipped, possibly owned, you might even contact vets in your area to see if it matches up any of their clients.

f. get the word out, facebook, emails, etc.....

ONLY AFTER THIS 10 day notification time has been completed and you have tried everything to reunite animal with owner, can you LEGALLY KEEP or advertise animal to place. A good general listing of rescues by breed can be found at East Tennessee Border Collie Website or you can google search the breed and Knoxville TN. Most rescues desperately need fosters, so be proactive. Contact friends, co-workers, facebook friends, family, neighbors and see if anyone can help you keep this dog safe until an adoptive family or rescue can get it to safety. It is a committment but well worth the investment. I CANNOT STRESS THIS ENOUGH, SHELTERS AND RESCUES URGENTLY NEEDS FOSTERS TO HELP. Fostering is rewarding and easy. Just takes time and patience.

This info is geared towards dogs but works for all found animals. If you find an animal and consider it your responsibility to help this animal, then minimum steps are needed to make this happen. Rescues or the shelter will do their best to work with you but you will be a vital piece in this puzzle, you have taken the first step, it is up to you to help follow through.

***If crates or such are needed good places to look are garage sales, ask your local shelter/friends/neighbors for a loaner, goodwill, craigslist and newspaper classifieds. You can get them pretty cheap, most break down for storage and you never know when you might need one.

Thursday, February 18, 2010


I saw this circle-o-bricks while hiking at Ijams on Valentine's Day with my sweetheart and my dog. I have been to Meads Quarry at Ijams several times but have never noticed these bricks. I wonder what they are / why are they there? You can see them on the quarry loop trail near the owl themed water tower. And if you haven't been hiking on a brisk winter day, I strongly suggest it. Downed leaves and crisp winter air provide some nice clear views this time of year.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Bzzzz...spelling bee for grownups

When I was in 8th grade, I won my school's spelling bee. I had been trying to lose on purpose so I would not have to advance to the regional event, but I miscalculated the remaining turns and ended up winning nonetheless. So I found myself with a lot of unwanted studying to do. After all, I was supposed represent Saint Pat's School with pride and charisma and spelling, and I did not want to do it.

I did not study. I was about to be in deep trouble. To use a middle school spelling word, it was a predicament. Then, like a magic gift, the week before Regionals I had an emergency appendectomy and was in the hospital for a week, hence rendering me unable to attend Regionals. My classmate, runner-up William, had to go in my place. But he was always the true bellwhether, and he ended up going to Yale. So he probably belonged at that Bee anyway.

(As a strange aside, that was also the week that we all had to build catapults for science class, and my partner Jenny came to the hospital so we could test the catapult in the hallways. I think the nurses had fun with that. Physics.)

Anyway, moral of the story is that I hate to participate in Spelling Bees. Too much work, too much anxiety. But I have always enjoyed watching them. I adore the Scripps spelling bee and look forward to watching it on ESPN every year. I'm also a huge fan of the documentary Spellbound. Those kids, for the most part, have such poise; and I just don't know how they do it. I am a bundle of anxiety the whole time I watch them. Even when watching the same documentary I've already seen.

If you are like me, then perhaps you will want to get yourself to the Pilot Light tonight at 8pm. They're hosting their inaugural ADULT SPELLING BEE (!!!!!). How cool is that? I think it promises to be a very scintillating, if not slightly weird, event. Note that some words will be of a mature nature. So if you're a prude, this event might not be for you.

It's free to watch and 5 bucks to enter, but you get one free PBR with entry. And we all know how to spell PBR.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Call to Arms... (for loving)

Some of you may remember a few months ago the wigshop made a difference, we helped rescue a loveable little creature named Lulu, who now resides with a certain blogger named Lo...

And today we have another opportunity, we need your help. Please pass this post around, retweet it etc and help us find a home from this little guy. He needs some loving and I'm sure our readers can help, he even wrote a letter (seriously, I did not create this part this is straight from the horses mouth... per se.)


Hello Knoxville! My name is Forrest and I'm an adorable beagle puppy who was hit by a car last week. I came out of the accident with a fractured pelvis, but not to worry, my veterinarian says that with enough time I will be healed and as good as new. Unfortunately, my previous owner did not have the time to dedicate to my healing, so he brought me in to be euthanized shortly after the incident. I was less than an hour away from meeting my maker when I decided to turn on the charm and convince the nice people at the vet clinic that I was worth saving. It worked! Now I am looking for a new family who has the time and commitment to help me grow big and strong. I will never be the fastest dog on the block, and might end up with a little arthritis when I get old, but I promise that with the right family I will grow to be the sweetest dog in east Tennessee.

Woof woof,

Now that you are well manipulated emotionally either get this dog as a late valentines day present for yourself or a loved one or help us find someone who will help him.

You can email the wigshop if you want to know more, but please hurry he only has a stay for 24 more hours... not really but hurry. Here is another picture just in case you weren't already a pile a mush.

************* ************ *************** ************ ***********


Thank your all for your responses and support for this little guy. We have passed along any emails we received to the vet who is current caring for Forrest and she will be coordinating meet and greets shortly. Please feel free to continue to contact if you're still interested, we'll let you know when he's officially been adopted!



The vet caring for Forrest is appreciative for all of the responses and will be in touch soon, please be patient as Forrest is slowly healing.


Marathon Time!

My favorite time of year is nearly upon us! We're just a little over a month away from the Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon, Half-Marathon, Relay & 5k! The races take place on Sunday, March 28, with the Health and Fitness expo the day before, Saturday, March 27.

Just wanted to give you a heads up that tomorrow is the last day to register at regular price. After tomorrow, the price jumps 10-bucks per event. So commit early to the race and register now at the Marathon's website!

I'll be running the half again this year. It's a beautiful, challenging course. So is the full marathon. Lots to see and do throughout the weekend!

I should convince my fellow Wigshoppers to make a relay team - it's only between 5 and 7 miles per race leg!

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Something new in the Old City

It's a special day today here at We have, not one, but two special guests to show and tell you about a new enterprise in the Old City. I haven't been yet, but after reading Will Farley's review below, I'm going to have to make it a priority. All photos are by the illustrious Katherine Campbell. I know, I know! So much Hotness today, I can barely handle it.

Without further ado...

In the fall I was asked by a friend, “If you could open a business in the Old City what would it be?” My reply was that, being an audiophile, I would open a vinyl record shop. Then I talked to Jason Boardman (owner of the Pilot Light/manager at McKay/Knoxville musical hero) and he told me that he had just bought the space that the short-lived Woodward Books had occupied to open a record store.

The name that he chose to call his store was Hot Horse. Initially it was going to be full of used vinyl and some music equipment so if a band playing at the Pilot Light had any instrument problems they could just go next door and get parts to fix it. Then Jason approached Janice of Legacy Vintage and it became a whole different beast. Now it is a self described “experiment in collaborative retail.” The stores that are represented in Hot Horse are the Pilot Light, Raven Records, Lost & Found Records, Legacy Vintage, and Music Room Guitars.

The store that has resulted is a wonderful place to pick up obscure vinyl or some musical instruments. The staff is very friendly and willing to help the customer find anything you might need. I have been in there a few times now since they opened and have found it to be a great place to pick up my musical needs. They have a lot of interesting old vintage items in the back, and they sell cigarettes. It is worth going down there and checking it out, especially if you love records.

Hot Horse
108 E Jackson Ave, next to the Pilot Light
open noon to 10pm daily

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

A long love letter, in some fashion, to one of my favorite places in Knoxville

I used to work at the Panera in Bearden. There, I climbed the corporate ladder from washing dishes to (wo)manning the cash register. To most, this kind of promotion would seem desirable. For me, it was an adjustment, as I am slightly uneasy around people I don't know well.

It's sad, but my biggest source of social anxiety while working there came from seeing the same people over and over again, what you would call regulars. I'm bad with small talk, therefore when given two minutes to speak to someone on a regular basis that I don't know at all, well, let's just say it's not my cup of tea.

When I'd ask any one of them, "What side item would you like?" I was really thinking, "Why are you here all of the time? What goes on with you when you leave this place?" (and, "I hope you know how foolish I feel in this flare-encrusted Panera hat.")

I have a sister who worked at Starbucks for a while. She used to talk about how Starbucks aspires to be people's "third place," their first being home and their second being work. The "third place" functions to take one away from the stresses of the first and second place.

This idea has always intrigued me, being a regular or making some random place your home away from home. I was never able to imagine having a place like that, or even more so, needing a place like that.


Last Saturday, early in the evening, I was bored staying inside due to the slush on the ground, so I went down to Old City Java. I expected the place to be fairly empty, but when I walked in, the line almost reached the front door and patrons filled the seats. I decided to walk into the second room to find a seat while the line died down.

I saw a friend who pulled out his earphones and invited me to sit with him. We talked for a while, one of those unexpected conversations that flows smoothly and provides unforeseen encouragement.

I took in my surroundings as we talked: a boy with a guitar on the couch behind me, playing softly for a few minutes, across from our table, a smartly dressed couple sitting with a girl whose religious affiliation requires her to wear a head covering, a couple of cool looking dudes in the window playing backgammon, and on the other side of us, five or six attractive Spanish speaking students, having a discussion that, to me, sounded pretty intelligent.

I finally went back to the counter to find the guy working delicately make a leaf out of latte foam. I ordered a cafe au lait and he went on about what that meant and names of other drinks that are in different languages. I was happy for him to enthusiastically carry the conversation, as I nodded up and down in return.

I went back to my table where my friend had his earphones back in, reading his book. I pulled out my sketchbooks and accomplished more in 30 minutes than I could in a few days at home.

I finished my coffee with milk and gathered up my things. On my way out the door, another Java employee who was not currently working called me by name and wished me a good night.

As I walked to my car while evening set in, it dawned on me. It was the fourth time I had been to Java that week.

I may not be as regular as a regular, but I think I found my third place.

photo from Java's Facebook page

Old City Java
109 S. Central Ave.
Knoxville, TN, 37902

Monday, February 01, 2010

Rock For Haiti Aid

Most of you don't know this, but as well as being a renowned blogger, I am involved with a lot of work in Haiti. I just got back from working in Haiti a month ago, right before the earthquake hit. I've worked down there for a long time, and I can tell you they need all the help they can get. So I wanted to pass this along- Sapphire is hosting Rock for Haiti Aid to raise aid for earthquake relief. You can find more info here.

The low down:

Thursday, February 4th

three bands-

The Fine Line 8 - 9
Vera Noreva 9 - 10:30
Joe Dunn of Adoration 11 - 12

NO cover- 1% of bar sales go to relief efforts through the Red Cross.

I know 1% doesn't sound like much, but if you've ever bought a cocktail at Sapphire you know that those proceeds will pile up quick. If you're going out to drink or see live music anyways, why not do it for a good cause?

[edit: 10% of bar sales will be donated. even better!]