Archive for August, 2008

Raleigh native Kris Hixson was recently banned from selling this t-shirt design by his home city for its apparently offensive design,

raleigh t-shirt photo

Convention center officials rejected his application to sell the
merchandise at the center’s Raleigh World Wide Expo, an exhibit to be
held inside the $221 million building as the celebration goes on
outside. Out of applications from 250 vendors, Hixson’s was the only
one that was refused — out of fear that powerful Queen City types
might get offended, he says.

“I hated to, but he needs to
understand it’s in poor taste,” said Michelle Boyette, the convention
center’s special events sales manager. She said center officials want
only positive messages at the opening celebration.

might think Raleigh is greater than Charlotte, but that’s not cool,”
she said, adding that Mecklenburg County officials have been invited to
the expo.

Additionally, Mr. Hixson was quoted in the article as saying,

“If you’re from Raleigh and move to Charlotte, something is wrong with you,” he said. “Stay in Raleigh. Don’t sell out.”

Which is funny because I thought the shirt originally meant that everyone from Raleigh wanted to move to Charlotte… that it was an arrow instead of a “greater-than” symbol.

I say let the man sell his t-shirts. It’s classless homerism but It’s stuff like this that is the only reason people “love” Raleigh so much. Ah, Raleigh. Home of suburban big box stores, countless clueless college kids. All subsidized by NC taxpayers money. The most overrated place in NC and maybe even the whole southeast.

For example, Raleigh recently had an exhibit showcasing the works of revolutionary French impressionist artist Claude Monet which drew 250,000+ people to the local event. An oft cited example for those that think Raleigh has more “soul” than the “yuppie city of Charlotte”. Yet on the recent Charlotte Talks episode previewing some of the CLT 2008-2009 cultural scene scene, host Mike Collins asked why CLT didn’t get the exhibit. Guest Perry Tannenbaum, editor of Charlotte’s Creative Loafing, said that Charlotte would get those events but that the limiting factor was money. Raleigh had used NC taxpayer money to bring the exhibit to the city! Outrageous!

The only reason Raleigh has anything is because of inappropriately allocated taxes! I’ll let some of the comments from the Observer article illustrate my point… and just throw down on Raleigh in general,

posted by jmb at 3:05pm: This t-shirt is just getting out in the open what NC politicians have
been voting for for years. When there are tax $ available for roads
etc., which cities get them? Not Charlotte!

posted by HowardBeale at 11:03am: If you don’t think that Raleigh is greater, take your car and drive around. They have the roads of a “world class city”.

posted by Charlottecollector at 3:20pm: Yeah, “Raleigh Durham, Chapel Hill”…it takes three of them to even come close to one of us.

posted by x2c4me at 2:05pm: Re tard > Kris Hixson

posted by JamesQC at 12:26pm: Albany > NYC

Its kinda like somebody implying that although
obviously thats much larger scale. Raleigh natives think as residents
of the capital city of North Carolina, their city should automatically
be the greatest. But as luck would have it, Charlotte became the
booming city of the state (of the Carolinas actually). It really eats
them up.

posted by pintobeans at 12:24pm: I bet those shirts are made in Indonesia by laid off Pillowtex workers.

posted by kapzx at 12:09:31pm: Laughable. In addition, Concord > Durham.

postedby bbfmom2 at 11:53am: What a jerk. North Carolina would benefit from teamwork rather than
one-upsmanship between the two cities. Raleigh would do well to
remember that in the new world economy, Charlotte financially carries
the state.

He sounds like a spoiled, bratty teenager.

posted by bikerchick at 11:46am: Raleigh should be greater than Charlotte. The sucking sound you hear is
Charlotte’s tax dollars going to the liberal goofballs working for
government and education in the Triangle.

posted by cltnative at 11:20am: People who are from places other than Raleigh ususally call it
“Raleigh/Durham”. You know, after the airport. This would be like
talking about Charlotte and accidentally calling it

That’s about all you need to know about Raleigh’s stature in the world.

Hixson truly wants to stir up a debate though, on his youtube channel he posts this call for videos to fan the flames,

Honestly I don’t care if Raleigh is greater than Charlotte. It would be like comparing Atlanta to Macon. Austin to Lubbock. DC to Roanoke. Maybe Hixson will catch on and take it in a Raleigh v Wilmington direction.

Charlotteans must feeling the heat. The musicians are so much better at lyricism over there,

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During the first week of August I finally had a week off so I visited Lake Santeetlah near Robbinsville, NC with Jane and her family! Here are some of my favorite pictures from the vacation.

The Moon over Lake Santeetlah by you.

Moon setting over the lake

View from Santeetlah by you.

The view during the morning

Garic on the Board by you.

Garic tears up the water

Needing a Tow by you.

Jane rolled the jetski and broke it… so when Rick took it out to test it we had to tow him

Garic and Me on the Tube by you.

Me on the tube

Thumbs Up From Jane by you.

Jane says two thumbs up!
Sunset over the Lake by you.

Sunset over the lake
Jumping from the Rock by you.

Diving from the rock!

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After surfing failblog.org far too much, I couldn’t help but notice a local fail in front of the UNC Charlotte entrance. A limo hummer was trying to turn on Suther Rd. and was far too large to make the turn. It took the guy about 4 minutes to make the turn and we all had to back up to let him get through. It was hilarious!

A Limo Hummer Too Big to Turn by you.

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After a trip back to my house in Charlotte to move all my stuff out of my summer residence at PARI, I headed to Kernersville to hitch a ride with Jane’s family out to Lake Santeetlah where I would spend the next week. Jane was still obligated to be at her summer camp (where she was a cook) for 3 more days so I set off on one of the most scenic and strenuous portions of the Appalachian Trail with Rick (Jane’s Dad) and uncle Rich.

We started at Wayah Bald and met some outstanding old WW2 veterans before we set off on the trail at a rate of about 3 miles per hour. We slowed down a little as we went but maintained a quick pace even as we climbed 1000 ft in a little over a mile.

Overlooking the Mountain Range by you.

At the top of the Wayah Bald tower before we set off

The Backpacking Team by you.
Setting off on the Appalachian Trail
Pee in the Woods by you.
Be sure to pee in the woods to help keep the toilets along the way clean!
A View of the Mountains by you.
The view from one of the overlooks
After passing Burningtown Gap and other landmarks on the trail map, we stopped at Cold Creek shelter where we waited for a while and contemplated our campsite for the evening. After hiking another mile or two (and Rick getting a nap in) we found a campsite at Rocky Bald… which was one of the best campsites I’ve ever seen. With amazing views at over 5000 ft, we could see the entire valley while also sleeping amongst a beautiful grove of trees.

Butterflies on Bee Balm by you.

Butterflies on the Bee Balm at the Cold Creek Shelter

What Would We Do Withour Ice for Our Bourbon? by you.

When the bourbon was brought out we said, “if only we had ice…” and the Rick said, “I brought ice!”

Racoon Proof Gear by you.

We protected our gear from raccoons by hanging it in the trees

Rick's Tent by you.

We slept in hammocks and tents (I slept in a hammock)

Sunrise at Rocky Bald by you.

The sunrise from our campsite

Smoky Mountain Sunrise by you.

Just before the sunrise at our campsite

Hanging Moss in NC? by you.

I didn’t think there was hanging moss in NC, but apparently it exists at high elevations

Plants Growing out of the Rocks by you.

These cool looking plants grew on the rocks

Pumping that Clean Water by you.

Rich filtering water for us to drink

Rick's Pack Blessed by the Gods by you.

Rick’s pack was blessed by the gods… thats how we knew we’d survive

On our second day of the journey, we descended 1000 ft… climbed 1000 ft and then took a break for lunch on the top of Wesser Bald, a huge tower with a gorgeous 360 view above the treeline.

Rich on Wesser Bald by you.

Rich on the top of Wesser Bald Tower

Stopping at our final opportunity for water before we reached our destination 6 miles away, we pushed through the terrain. Finally after reaching the peak of the trail at Jumpup Point. We descended 3000 ft over the next 4 miles!

Along the way we met a guy that had zero equipment, claimed to be blind while also spotting a vulture circling over us, and camped in the middle of the trail. He said the vulture was coming to get his cousin as he stroked a feather on his staff. As we walked down the trail a ways further, we found a decapitated woodpecker with the exact same feathers strewn about the path! This guy had eaten a woodpecker!!!!

We saw few others during the hike as we reached our destination at the Nantahala Outoors Center and emerged back into civilization triumphant! A total of 17.8 miles and a fun time had by all.

Dead Woodpecker by you.

The remains of the crazy man’s dinner

Lizard Log by you.

This rock looks exactly like a lizard

Emergining Into Civilization by you.

We emerged into civilization

After the Hike by you.

After the hike…

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Now that my summers at PARI are over, it helps to look back at all the fun times I’ve had there. Living in complete and total isolation was fun for a while, but now I’m ready to be less than 40 minutes from a grocery store that takes a debit card. What were my top five moments at PARI? Here we go,

1. Running my car into a concrete wall

Who wants to run their car into a wall? While it might seem like an undesirable event it definitely beat the alternative. As I parked on the top of a mountain and ascended some steps to the top of a structure for my evening sunset watch, I started to hear a crackling sound… almost like tires that were moving. Immediately I sprang into action as I realized that I had left my handbrake off… on the top of a mountain. The only outcome my mind could visualize as I ran toward my vehicle was that of a 800+ft drop as I stared in horror at my former means of transportation. Fortunately, my tires were turned as I parked so as the car rolled it turned and ran into a concrete wall at about 10mph. Breaking the rear lights and bumper a little… nothing some duct tape couldn’t fix. Whew… that was a close one.

Alas, you almost died that day

2. UFO Sighting

On my birthday this year, Jane came over for a visit and as we stepped outside my building, there was a yellow light that hovered above the clouds. It clearly wasn’t the moon because we could see the moon on the other side of the sky and it was far to large. It looked as if this light was right above the clouds. I rushed to get my camera but realized I’d left it in the other building with my laundry. I hopped in my car to go get my camera and the yellow light moved to follow me. I grabbed my camera and drove back to Jane and the yellow light moved back. I ran inside to throw all my stuff on the bed and got my camera out of its bag and brought it outside to take photos but in regular crazy person story fashion… the craft was gone.

3. Fish Fry at PARI

On Derrod’s (A fellow PARI Intern) last day at PARI we fried up the over 100 mountain trout that we had caught and filleted for the PARI staff. One of my favorite things about PARI was meeting all the people, the staff and the other interns! We had a great time!

nature 123 by you.

Just some of the fish we caught one day at Wolf Creek

4. Duke TIP 2008

I truly enjoyed participating in the summer programs at PARI but most specifically the Duke TIP Program in Astronomy and Astrophysics hosted at PARI. As I taught a few course sections on Astrophysics and Cosmology I had a lot of fun, but my connection to the kids came through living with them as their TA. I remember one night we bucked the rules and looked out at the mountain skies. They all said it was the most amazing moment they had ever experienced.

The Milky Way by you.

This is what the sky looked like! It was unbelievable!
5. Planning for Waterfalls!
In the heart of Transylvania County’s home of 200+ waterfalls, planning for waterfalls was one of the greatest moments of my time at PARI. Kevin Adams book, “Waterfalls of North Carolina” helped out a lot as I found some amazing off the trail waterfalls. Jane loved to visit the waterfalls that looked untouched by people, and we found plenty of those. My photography skills were heavily refined by the many shooting opportunities provided!

Courthouse Falls by you.

Courthouse Falls was just a few minutes away from PARI

Runners-up for Best Moments

Job, Robbie, Mandeep and Libby visit for 4th of July

Potato Cannon action with Wes, Ale and Josh and Jane, especially when Jane hit the building full of children sleeping with a potato

Disposing of Fish parts with Mike and Derrod

Sunrise/Sunset at PARI

Final Salute by you.
Goodbye PARI! I’ll hope to visit soon!

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This summer marked the triumphant return of the Williams family and me to FloydFest. After randomly seeing a poster on a shop store window in Asheville, NC which advertised “The Cat Empire” as one of the headliners of the music festival, we thought, “Let’s check it out.”

As it turned out, the FloydFest is only about 30 minutes away from Jane’s cabin in Kibler Valley, VA! It was then a shoe-in for us to visit. We bought our tickets and visited on Saturday (Day 3 of the festival). We had a great time and bought our tickets ASAP for the next year.

This time, Jane’s brother had an RV that we borrowed so we could camp out near the site and we planned for 3 days, Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Here is our story in photos… we are definately going back next year!

Dinosaur Lady by you.

This alien headed lady hands bells to children while chained to a t-rex gondola

Woodsong Instruments by you.

He made some amazing handcrafted wood instruments!

David Grisman by you.

David Grisman and his Quintet performed some amazing mandolin music

Crazy Face Pottery in HDR by you.

One of the local Floyd, VA artists made pottery with unique faces

Rick and the Man by you.

Jane’s dad had a great time with this guy. As Jane’s mom was playing a special piece of pottery with her hands, a “singing bowl” the man said, “If you do it right, you feel it all through your chakras”

Amos Lee by you.

Jane loved Amos Lee, even though she said it seemed a little girly with all the adolecent girls screaming around us and acting giddy

Rusted Root by you.

Rusted Root blew the lid off the festival, probably 10k plus present for this show

Jane Goes Global by you.

Jane goes global

Indigenous Gourd Orchestra by you.

Richmond, VA’s Indigenous Gourd Orchestra grew all their own instruments, costumes and sung all their songs about gourds… they had a great message, “Don’t be part of a consumer culture! Create something!”
Two Dryads and a Pair of Onlookers by you.

These performers were looked on with suprise by the crowd

Talking to the Performers by you.

Talking to the performers

Rev. Peyton's Big Damn Band by you.

Revered Peyton and his “Big Damn Band” put on one of the most highly energized shows I’ve ever seen… working the crowd into a frenzy!

Chasing Bubbles by you.

The fans at the concerts jumped for bubbles!

Everything Floydfest is About by you.

Floydfest summarized in one image

The Avett Brothers by you.

The Avett Brothers closed out our musical adventure for the weekend. I don’t like this picture because the sunlight was horrible… but then again, I was really far away from them and point/shoot cameras have horrible zoom functionality

You can see all these pictures and more at my Flickr photoset for Floydfest 7

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As I finished out my 2 summer term at PARI, I had to test the HDR techniques I had refined during my time there. Here are the results,

Radio Telescope from the Side by you.

The Smiley radio telescope from the side

PARI's Tunnel by you.

The 1000 Ft. Tunnel

Clouds at Sunrise by you.

Clouds at Sunrise

Mountains in the Morning by you.

Mountains in the Morning

Sunrise over PARI by you.


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