A Watch On Our Shadows

This week's theme at PhotoFriday is "In Shadows." I took this earlier this week from the viewing deck of the Sunsphere in Knoxville, Tennessee. Twenty-seven years ago my family headed down for the World's Fair. I don't remember being able to go up to the top of the Sunsphere at the time due to long lines, but I am guessing it would have been shorter than took twenty-seven years.

As I looked down over Knoxville, I thought it might have been that trip almost three decades ago that started my crazy wandering around the globe. There on the streets of Knoxville, a young and impressionable boy was bumping shoulders with people from all over the world. I was witness to many countries showing off their best and brightest. I think those experiences might be some of the catalyst that prompted me to wander to over thirty-five countries to see first hand what each country has to offer. And for this, I am thankful.


I Can Be Your Hero

On my long drive home, I decided to take a break in Metropolis, Illinois. Metropolis bills itself as the hometown of Superman, and have built a giant statue of him in the town square. At two hundred feet tall, it actually is an impressive piece of Americana. I spent a little time taking photos of the statue, and some of the other Superman related items in the area, before heading back out to the highway. Before I got there, I was sidelined by a historical marker pointing towards Fort Massac State Park. Not too excited about the next five hours of driving, I decided to do some wandering around.

As I entered the fort, I encountered four youth throwing rocks at the wall of the fort. I advised them that they might not want to be doing that, which they told me they were trying to knock a wasp nest down. Because of that information, I stressed even more the importance of not throwing rocks in that area. I then continued on wandering around the park and taking photos.

Upon walking back through the fort, my spidey-senses were set off. I noticed several of the glass windows had been shattered. I then recalled that one of the kids appeared to be using his shirt to carry a bunch of rocks. They were in one of the rooms of the fort and didn't hear me, as I passed by. I quickly looked in a couple of the other rooms, and noticed that there was glass on the floor near the broken windows, showing that they had been recently shattered.

Not having my phone, I approached a few adults in the area. I informed them that there might be some youth up to no good in the fort. I explained what I saw, and suggested that they might want to contact the local authorities. Before I could finish explaining, one of the adults got up and headed over to take care of business. I was informed that he was part of the local authorities, and would be able to handle it.

As I headed back to my car, I laughed a little, as I knew that I had helped stop some vandalism in Metropolis. Sure, Superman could have done it, but he was too busy posing for photos downtown. I guess some heroes wear their underwear under their pants. I drove off into the sunset feeling a bit like Reno Raines. Who knows where me and my crime fighting ways will end up next?


Almost Heaven

I love the open road. Heck, I guess I enjoy just about any form of travel to be honest, but today the open road is what I'm loving. A couple days ago, I hopped in my 1989 Toyota Camry wagon and headed south. My destination was Winston-Salem, North Carolina, where two of my friends will be wed later today. So this gave me a excuse to load up the iPod, toss a bag of sunflower seeds in the seat next to me, and head out.

When I travel alone, I control the speed, where and when I stop for food, and most importantly the tunes. For the most part I keep the iPod on shuffle, and just skip the songs I don't feel like. Plus an episode of Car Talk is usually required for the longer trips. Occasionally, as song or artist is required for certain spots on the road. Yesterday, for example, as I entered West Virginia, I felt it was necessary to play John Denver's Take Me Home, Country Roads. As I had been behind the wheel for six hours, I thought it would also be a good idea to put the three versions of the song I had on a loop. For over thirty miles, it was a Country Road Sing-a-long in my car. When I hit the Hurricane, I decided it was time for a change. On a side note, who names a town Hurricane, especially when it is near enough for one to be of threat? It isn't like there is Tornado, Illinois, Wild Fire, Washington, or Epicenter, California.

As I had a specific destination and time of arrival, I didn't get to wander too far off the road too much. I did see Larry Bird's Bust in French Lick, Indiana. I was hoping to see the grave of Chang and Eng Bunker, but completely missed the exit. But I am hoping to do some wandering on the way back. Because a really good road trip, like life, is not about the destination, but the journey.


Will Things Ever Be The Same Again?

Tonight I was wandering around Toys R Us. Before you alert the local authorities, I was there with my nephew, who is almost a year. But as I was saying, I was wandering up and down the aisles checking out all the cool toys. I think it has been at least ten years since I last was in a Toys R Us, so some things have changed for sure. As I wandered past the toy pianos something caught my eye. There it was, the Little Tikes PopTunes Melody Beads Piano. Forget the toy pianos that play annoying kid's songs all the time. This my friends, is targeted towards people my age who have reproduced or obtained a child from someone who has. This piano plays three pop songs over and over. And when I say pop songs, I mean Wide Open Spaces by the Dixie Chicks, Message In A Bottle by the Police, and my favorite, The Final Countdown by Europe.

Sure these songs might get just as annoying to parents, but this is a step in a new direction. And I am not sure a song about a girl needing to go off on her own, a song about loneliness, and a song inspired by space travel might not be the best songs for a child's first songs. At least it is not another toy cranking out the Farmer and the Dell. Heck, if there were more toys like this, I might consider getting a kid of my own so I can play with these toys. Until that happens, I will just have to keep hanging out with my nephew.


She's Got Bette Davis Eyes

The theme of PhotoFriday is Eyes this week. This tarsier was located in Bohol, Philippines. I took this shot a few years back while there helping with Habitat For Humanity. There is also a video of the little creature eating over on my YouTube pages.