Wednesday, September 30, 2015

White, Nerdy, Smoky, and Fancy...

Since I fancy myself a comedy writer (your mileage may vary), I figure my first actual adventure blog post should be about one of my personal heroes: "Weird" Al Yankovic.
Seriously, who doesn't love Weird Al?

He's a national treasure. He made it cool to be awkward and nerdy. Also, genius. Dare to be Stupid is one of the greatest songs in the history of the world, and I firmly believe that one day, through some strange incident involving a broken umbrella and three thumbtacks, it will save the universe.

"But this is an adventure blog" you say. "Where is the adventure? Did you go tractor surfing in the Himalayas with Weird Al?" Because that totally sounds like something he'd do, right?

The answer is no. No, I didn't do that.

But I did go on a road trip to Nashville in costume to see him in concert and stayed at a former railroad station hotel that's rumored to be haunted. That's something right? I mean, yeah, that's not incredibly wild, but what do you expect for the first blog?! If I set the bar that high, I'll have nowhere to go but up and by year end I'll have to ride a shark on the moon with the ghost of Andy Warhol.

Artist's Rendering
Don't let these adorable faces fool you.  They are hell hounds.
For background info, I'm based in Huntsville, Alabama. It's a town about 2 hours south of Nashville, and full of rockets and NASA and spacey stuff. Since we haven't had any concerts around here since the golden days of hair metal, most concerts involve a road trip to nearby Nashville, Birmingham, or Atlanta. Since the show was on a Saturday, we decided to make a fun weekend of it. We booked the most expensive hotel I could find, boarded the hooligan schnauzers, and headed on the road to Nashville. It was kind of like Road to Morocco, but with less Dorothy Lamour. Just two stupid people doing stupid things and calling it comedy (which is probably why I'm such a fan of those Road pictures).
View of the hotel at night

 As soon as we reached Nashville, we checked into the fancy hotel. Union Station Hotel is the fanciest of fancy, monocle not included. It used to be a train station, so it overlooks the train yard. The front desk has a big chart on the wall with train departure times and stuff.
A scolding from my Traveling Companion followed soon after.

As soon as we checked into the room, we ran into a problem. Me and the Traveling Companion were given one double bed. I have no intentions of spending $300 a night to sleep in a child sized bed with someone who is built like Thor. I may be a small framed woman, but I'm not Thumbelina. I talked to the girl at the front desk who was awesome and in no way responsible for the room fiasco, who gave me the only other room available: The-Room-That-No-One-Wants. It was big and roomy and had a king bed and extra large bathroom, but it was in the basement and next to a loud a/c. At least we got a discount on the room.
The hotel is beautiful. It overlooks the train tracks and has that grand look that only old hotels have. But we didn't have time to look around. We had a concert to go to. "Weird" Al awaited!

Fortunately, Union Station was walking distance from The Ryman, so it was time to take Petula Clark's advice and go DOWNTOWN!

Downtown Nashville is always buzzing, no 
matter what time of day, time of year, or cycle of the moon. It's always buzzing with tourists (they're the ones in cowboy hats and cowboy boots), musicians trying to get their big break, and lots and lots of tourist traps. But we found an oasis, an escape, in the form of a cigar bar. The Wheel Cigar Bar is on Broadway, upstairs. They have local, craft beers and even local cigars. Our plan was to go there to kill time before the show, but we were (as usual) running late and only had time to eat some dinner, and since cigars and beer (for most people) are not meals, we decided on pizza at Luigi's instead. We did manage to hit it afterward though.
This is the only picture my Traveling Companion would approve.

Have I mentioned the costume part?  I put together an outfit similar to Kristen Schaal's in the "Tacky" video.  Then I took a picture of myself in the hotel elevator.  Note to self:  keep arms DOWN in a mirrored elevator.  

Here is the video for reference:

The show was great. "Weird" Al had a different costume for every song. And he started the show by singing his way into the Ryman ("Tacky"). He even jumped into a few tourist photos for fun. More importantly, they played "Dare to be Stupid."  And an unplugged version of "Eat It."
Shameless selfie before the show
Encore of "The Saga Begins" and "Yoda" complete with Yoda chant
We concluded the evening by dropping by The Wheel Cigar Bar (local cigars and local beer FTW!), followed by drinks at the hotel lounge.  Four words:  chips and blue cheese.  I may have also ordered a girl drink.  I'm not proud of it, but at some point I became a girl drink drunk.  I blame the Kids in the Hall for glamorizing it.

The next morning we ate breakfast at Prime 108 (in the hotel).  I never knew PB&J French toast existed!  It was full of sweetness and diabeetus.  So yummy.  

And that's the end of the adventure.  Hope you enjoyed it.  If not, feel free to lie in the comments.  I'd also love to hear suggestions of future adventures, the quirkier the better.  

Last Stop on the Internet Train...

If you're here, it's because you've been through the entire internet and finally landed here.  Either that or I sent you 50 links and you finally gave me a pity look.  Either way, welcome!  This is my adventure blog.  Why an adventure blog you ask?  (Pretend you asked.) It was sort of a natural progression.  Let's start at the beginning:

[insert wavy lines to indicate a flashback sequence]

It was 2007.  Gwen Stefani released The Sweet Escape, and Justin Timberlake announced that he was bringing Sexy Back.  I'm sure other, more important things happened, but if you remember them I don't need to recap the year for you.  So there.

2007 was also important personally.  I'd recently met an adventurer, who I married a few years later.  We spent most of our spare time running all over the Tennessee Valley area (we're based in Huntsville, Alabama), and then went further and further out.  So I started writing my own column in the Valley Planet called Adventures in the Tennessee Valley (and a little beyond).  When I wanted to expand into non-adventure related stories, I started a second column called Gal About Town.

At some point, I realized two things:
1. I wanted to write more than 750 words
2. I wanted to add more pictures

Also, I just wanted my own blog and this is all I know.  So basically, hello.  Read about my adventures, see my pictures, and hopefully laugh at my jokes.  This is just the intro post.  Don't judge the blog based on this entry.  Seriously, it'll get better.  And funnier.  And more informative.

Also, if anyone has lots of money, consider throwing it my way.  We are totally willing to go on adventures and vacations for you.  Name the place, pay the tab, and I'll write all about it in the most informative and entertaining way possible.  And also let you know if it's worth your time.  You're busy, Rich Person.  Let me pre-vacation for you!  (I realize that this is not likely to happen, but it can't hurt to try).