Monday, February 28, 2011

Flash Flooding at First Creek

I just went out and took some photos of flooded First Creek in Old North Knoxville after work. I didn't see any flooded houses or cars, but the water is rising as the creek swells, which means there will be flooded homes soon. As you look at these photos, take note that the creek is usually no more than 10 feet across (that's my estimation, at least), and in most of these photos, there isn't supposed to be a creek.

These people can't move their car because it doesn't work. Their basement (to the left and out of sight) is flooded.

This is where the Greenway makes a bizarre loop near Fourth and Grainger. There shouldn't be any water in this photo.

This path usually leads to a foot bridge at Luttrell and Grainger

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Spring Planting Party this Saturday

If the Wigshop were to be a sorority (one can only dream!), I'd like for us to have two philanthropies: CAC Beardsley Farm and Food in the Fort. We've made friends in both organizations and we really like what they do for our community.

My friend Jess Wilkins has recently been crowned the "Food in the Fort Gardens and Lunch Coordinator" which means she is the liaison between the two groups. She would be the one to come to our chapter meetings and tell us how to be involved.

Let's pretend now we're all dressed in white sitting on the floor of a room in Panhallenic (does that place still exist?). I introduce to you, Jess, Food in the Fort Gardens and Lunch Coordinator.

You may remember reading about CAC Beardsley Community Farm in a posting last October when B wrote about her visit. Well, this time the good people at the farm have teamed up with local nonprofit Food in the Fort, a part of Redeeming Hope Ministries, to bring fresh, locally grown, and sustainably farmed fruits and veggies to the homeless and underprivileged of Knoxville.

This Saturday their inaugural Spring Planting Party is taking place to kick off the 2011 growing season. It is an opportunity for people to come out to CAC Beardsley Community Farm, take a tour of the farm, learn Gardening 101, and enjoy some coffee and pastries. We will also be planting tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, and broccoli that will benefit Food in the Fort. If you have no idea about gardening, come and learn. If you have every idea about gardening and want to put your skills to good use, come and show off. If you have nothing to do this Saturday morning come and enjoy what should be lovely weather and an even lovelier cause.

Here is what you need to know:

Saturday, February 19, 2011
9-12 (Rain or Shine) at
CAC Beardsley Community Farm,
(1719 Reynolds Street, Knoxville, TN 37921)

Contact for more information or questions:


A courtesy RSVP is warmly encouraged and recommended, but not required. We hope to see you there!

Thanks, Jess. Meeting adjourned.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Megabus travels: A review in story form

Before this past weekend, I had never been to Washington, DC. I've wanted to go so badly, especially since a good friend of mine now lives there, but I kept putting off buying a plane ticket.

Then last fall I read that Megabus was coming to Knoxville and would provide low-price commutes to DC. It seemed too good to be true. Even if it was cheap, it had to be super sketchy, right?

Over time, however, I did hear good things about it, and even saw a friend's photos on Facebook of a trip they took from NYC to DC on the Megabus. One of their statuses read: Megabus, I think I love you, but I want to know for sure.

That was it. I had to know for sure, too.

On January 31, I reserved two tickets on for a trip to DC from February 12 to the 14th. Each reservation cost $16.25, round trip.

This price floored me, but even more uncanny is the fact that if I had booked it sooner in advance, I may have only paid $1 for each reservation.

As my trip neared, I was feeling a little nervous. It calmed me to know that everyone has to book their tickets in advance online, which weeds out the Greyhound types who can walk up to a bus and pay on the spot. (Nothing against the Greyhound types, but you know what I mean.)

So my friend Micah dropped Liz and me off on Church in front of the swanky Transit Center. We had to be there at 10:30pm for our 10:45pm departure, only carrying one bag under 50 lbs. and a small carry on. We got there right at 10:30 and were the last people to board. The bus was already half full, and to my delight, there were lots of college-aged kids, parental types, and the only child was at least ten.

photo by Liz Totten

I pulled out my laptop. The Wi-Fi worked, so I sent my farewell to Robert, who, leading up to our trip, kept telling us a story about someone getting decapitated on a bus and no one noticing. Thanks again for that, Robert.

As you can probably tell, we made it through the night. No one ever tried to decapitate us. We each had two seats and, after watching August Rush that came on the little TV's, we slept in the fetal position. We made a stop for an hour around 1am (why an hour, I'm not sure) and then at the bus stop in Christianburg, VA where we dropped off some people and picked up more. I still had my two seats though.

Our only complaint on the way there was that it was freezing. We put on every item of clothing that we had. Someone on the bus said they were going to ask the driver to turn on the heat, but I never felt any. And in the fetal position on my two seats, part of my body was against the wall of the bus, which was like ice. I did manage to sleep from about 3am to 7am.

At 7am, I woke up to the sun rising past the Washington Monument as we drove over the Potomac River, a scene I won't forget for as long as I live. It was a surreal experience as we drove into the grand, clean, and quiet city that Saturday morning.

Our bus stopped at 10th and H, a block from the China Town Metro Station. Most everyone from the bus bee-lined into the Starbucks that sat directly in front of our parked bus.

So we made it, and we felt good, despite freezing our asses off all night. Liz, in her unceasing optimism, said, "Think of how many calories we burned shivering all night!" That's a good way to look at it, I guess.

So DC was pretty OK. Just kidding. Let's just say, my heart is still there... That doesn't sound overly melodramatic, does it?

But this post isn't about DC.

On Monday it was time to board the bus again. We were a little early this time, but our bus was late, only by about 15 minutes. We did witness a lady who arrived at the departure time (not 15 minutes early) to get on the Megabus to NYC. The bus left her, even though it hadn't pulled away yet. So let her tardiness be a lesson to you. Be there 15 minutes early!

The bus ride back was pretty uneventful. It was during the day, so the need to sleep wasn't necessary. We talked with the man in front of us who works at ORNL who was in DC visiting his son who brews beer. He gave us peanuts.

Our stop on the way home was only 30 minutes, but enough time to eat. The bus was only about 1/4 of the way full this time. I could never get the Wi-Fi to work, which honestly didn't bother me because I get motion sickness easily. Our bus arrived about an hour ahead of schedule, safe and sound. This is typical for most trips. They make good time.

So in conclusion, I highly recommend using the Megabus, unless you are really high maintenance. I'm thinking the more people who use it, the more it will expand. I would love to see it go to Memphis with a stop in Nashville, or to Atlanta. Oh man! The possibilities are endless! And you can be sure if that happens, I will feel comfortable traveling alone.

Megabus, I do love you. I know for sure.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Marble City Update

So some of you may have read a little tweet that leaked out a few weeks ago hinting that something was awry at Marble City. That blogger has since been fired and his family exiled to Siberia.

I had a chance to revisit our friends with the dream of delivering more delicious libations for our city not long after that snafu and let me just say that things are humming. I'm not a beer expert, manufacturing that is, so I had some fairly unrealistic expectations about when they would be ready to put out a product. Apparently the first keg takes something close to 18 months to produce, the second about 18 seconds.

The biggest hang up has been the permits, which just recently got in order.

Please see the story here.

I did have some of "their product" though. I put that in quotes because it is all small batch and not produced on site just yet. Let me just say that they will have a wonderful product to offer if the preview holds true.

The closer everything gets to opening the more details I'll have, but be prepared to see Marble City beer very soon, and get excited.

Monday, February 14, 2011

with love, from us

Are you loving this weather? It is a special Valentine's Day treat arranged just for YOU from all of US at the wigshop. There's something just so yummy about the combination of sunshine and wind. I can't get over it.

If you're like me, which to say you are making yourself sick from eating too many candy sweethearts at your desk, then it's time to give yourself the gift of love and get on outside. (Tangent: did you know that they now make a candy heart that says "tweet me"? What a sad, strange thing).

Need some inspiration? Here are a few fun things you could be doing on this lovely, sunny, windy Valentine's Day:

1. Take your sweetie on a walk around some unexplored territory over at Ijams in South Knoxville.

2. Meet up with some friends (I love friends!) for happy hour and snacks. How about the outdoor patio at Calhoun's on the Tennessee River? I love a windy day on the water.

3. Grab a Frisbee or a football and play a quick game out at World's Fair Park. Then see number 2, and do that.

4. Jog a lap around Lakeshore and time yourself to see how long it takes you to run up that monster hill. You know the one I'm talking about. Then see number 2, replace Calhoun's with Casa Don Gallo, and proceed from there.

5. Check out this reading by Kevin Wilson at UT at the Writers in the Library Series. It's at 7, so first you can stroll around campus and remember the good old days (or, if you're a current student, ponder the good now days).

Enjoy your sunny, windy, love day. We sure do love you.

Friday, February 04, 2011

New Royal Bangs

Local band and all around great dudes The Royal Bangs have been working on a new album titled "Flux Outside" and have a new track that will not be on the album, but is still available for your consumption. I can't wait to hear the full album, they worked on it with Scott Minor, of Sparklehorse, in the fall. The record releases on March 29th. Hopefully they will have a release party again. The last show was one of my favorites ever. We love r' bangs.

Grass Helmet by Glassnotemusic

Thursday, February 03, 2011

What the crap is this!?

Has anyone seen the crazy graffiti on the fireproof storage building in the Old City? I saw it evolve into its current state a few months back and every time I look at it I honestly get a little creeped out.

I mean... kudos to the artist because there is a lot of detail in there and I'm sure it took a long time. This is definitely one of the most elaborate graffiti pieces that I've seen in town.

Anyone care to take ownership?

For some reason the centerpiece kind of (emphasis on KIND OF!) reminded me of this childhood favorite from Zelda: Link's Awakening on GameBoy... Don't ask why.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Ross Marble Natural Area at Ijams

A few years back, I hung out with a pretty adventurous circle of friends. They'd always take groups of people on fun little excursions, some of which made me nervous, but that, in the end, were beneficial to my well-being. One thing we used to do was build bonfires late at night in the far reaches of Ijams Nature Center. We'd walk along train tracks, split off onto an obscure trail, walk through a tunnel made out of large, cut boulders, and set up in the bottom of a quarry. Campfire, music, beer. It was illegal, and it was magic.

I had heard a few months ago that Ijams (click here for directions) officially made our old stomping grounds public, so I finally made a trip out there to see it last weekend.

The area has a name, Ross Marble Natural Area, and the tunnel made from rock has been deemed "The Keyhole." Instead of walking along the cumbersome train tracks, they have cut a trail right to the spot, where one can find all sorts of signage and maps to guide you where you'd like to explore. The once treacherous trail to the Keyhole and the quarry is now adorned with hiker-friendly hand rails.

It was good to see the place again, and now that I'm old*, it's pretty nice to get around the area easily and with a clear conscience. It also looks a little cleaner down there, less trash, which is great, but I thought it interesting that there are obvious remnants of a recently made campfire. Although I'm sure it's a little trickier to get away with nowadays, it's good to know there might still be people enjoying the spot at nighttime.

*I'm exaggerating, just in case you were wondering.