Tennessee Aquarium: Part 3

December 7, 2009 Sea otters. Lloyd's favourite animal.

Wee, poisonous frogs:

A seriously old tortoise shell.

Younger tortoises. Indian Star Tortoises.

Catfish kiss.

Just a sight I liked on the way out:

-P

Tennessee Sealife: Part 2

December 7, 2009 This is a cuttlefish. I think he looks like a wee hippopatamus with no legs. Technically, they're mollusks, not fish. They can rapidly change colour to camouflage or communicate with other cuttlefish. Tell me that's not cute.

Seahorses are poor swimmers, but they are majestic creatures.

It does look like he's missing a little fish jockey...

Did you know it's the male seahorse that incubates the eggs in his pouch?

"The eggs then hatch in the pouch where the salinity of the water is regulated; this prepares the newborns for life in the sea. Throughout the male’s incubation, his mate visits him daily for 'morning greetings'. The female seahorse swims over for about 6 minutes of interaction reminiscent of courtship. They change color, wheel around sea grass fronds, and finally promenade, holding each other’s tails. :D Then, the female swims away until the next morning, and the male goes back to vacuuming up food through his snout." Wikipedia. But the smiley face is mine.

The yellow guy below is a seahorse, but what's more interesting are the gold and black fish to his left. They drift and swim vertical, in a pack--a strange sight.

Most seahorses can camouflage with colour, but some are built for pure deception like the one below that was difficult to discern in seaweed, and its green partner more so.

We saw seahorses of all colours and some as wee as a thumbnail and some a foot long. The seahorse exhibit was my favourite of them all.

-P

Tennessee Aquarium

There are more than just fish at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattahoochee, TN.

Our favorite was the Penguin exhibit. We were lucky to be there at feeding time.

This is a must see stop in your travels. There are actually two Aquariums. One is ocean and the other is for the Tennessee River. Both are worth a visit.

[caption id="attachment_3982" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Maybe we didn\'t really need Alabama and Mississippi..."][/caption]

The above map makes sense to me. Each state has an ocean and a river. Seems like good economics to me. Looks like property back home in Nova Scotia where every parcel included ocean front, garden site, and woodlot on the mountain. Progress sometimes seems to go backwards. -L

The Sealife of Tennessee

December 7, 2009 The Tennessee Aquarium is "the highes rated aquarium in the USA".

I took a lot of photos--all in wide angle, unfortunately, which means lower quality and poor memory (mine). I'd like to show you anyway. It might take a couple, three posts so here we go.

This is a freshwater stingray. I didn't know freshwater species existed. The one below has the company of several others including a bright orange and black ray and also fish that couldn't care less about them.

Can I get that for you?

Okay, not sealife, but cute, right?

That's a blue spotted ray below on the left in the tropical touch tank. All of their barbs are "removed". Wonder if that hurts...

I touched a ray. They feel like a warm, soggy mushroom. The fish on the right is a guitar fish.

We are especially adore penguins. They have such character. They waddle, socialize, dive and play. They're nonstop entertainment.

They're curious too. The little one below floated above and let me snap all the photos I wanted.

Shark alert!

PLEASE, please, please, Mother Nature, never let me see a shark this close in real life:

Ditto, but dazzling.

The aquarium has a large jellyfish exhibit lit by black light. "Jellyfish" is a misnomer; we should call them sea jellies or just jellies.

These are upsidedown jellies. Lazy jellies. They just stretch out and wait for food to come to them. Bet you know some creatures like that...

The jellies below just look confused. They bump and roll around.

An elegant species:

This one should appear here almost life size. It gives a little light show.

This is where I tell you that I have in fact eaten "jellyfish". I don't recommend it.

It was dinner with an important Asian client. He ordered. And, hey, I like to try new things...

Actually, I never wanted to try sea jellies.

They served it cold, in strips as long as shoelaces. What does it taste like? Well, first you have to chew it for days, well, for what seems like days because it has the consistency of jello left out in the sun to dehydrate for ... oh, say ... ten years! Anyway, you chew and chew and chew (and so on) and it never softens. In fact, it never tastes like anything after the jelly sauce dissolves, which you don't really taste because your mind overrides all tastebud abilities: I'm eating jellyfish! Gelatinous zooplankton!

Was it cooked or raw? I have no idea. So. You chew 'til the chunks can be safely swallowed without instigating a gag reflex and you gulp it down like you're famished. I'm convinced it can't really be digested anyway so why extend the epicurean anguish?

Yeah. Don't eat 'em if you can help it.

-P

The Sealife of Tennessee

December 7, 2009 The Tennessee Aquarium is "the highes rated aquarium in the USA".

I took a lot of photos--all in wide angle, unfortunately, which means lower quality and poor memory (mine). I'd like to show you anyway. It might take a couple, three posts so here we go.

This is a freshwater stingray. I didn't know freshwater species existed. The one below has the company of several others including a bright orange and black ray and also fish that couldn't care less about them.

Can I get that for you?

Okay, not sealife, but cute, right?

That's a blue spotted ray below on the left in the tropical touch tank. All of their barbs are "removed". Wonder if that hurts...

I touched a ray. They feel like a warm, soggy mushroom. The fish on the right is a guitar fish.

We are especially adore penguins. They have such character. They waddle, socialize, dive and play. They're nonstop entertainment.

They're curious too. The little one below floated above and let me snap all the photos I wanted.

Shark alert!

PLEASE, please, please, Mother Nature, never let me see a shark this close in real life:

Ditto, but dazzling.

The aquarium has a large jellyfish exhibit lit by black light. "Jellyfish" is a misnomer; we should call them sea jellies or just jellies.

These are upsidedown jellies. Lazy jellies. They just stretch out and wait for food to come to them. Bet you know some creatures like that...

The jellies below just look confused. They bump and roll around.

An elegant species:

This one should appear here almost life size. It gives a little light show.

This is where I tell you that I have in fact eaten "jellyfish". I don't recommend it.

It was dinner with an important Asian client. He ordered. And, hey, I like to try new things...

Actually, I never wanted to try sea jellies.

They served it cold, in strips as long as shoelaces. What does it taste like? Well, first you have to chew it for days, well, for what seems like days because it has the consistency of jello left out in the sun to dehydrate for ... oh, say ... ten years! Anyway, you chew and chew and chew (and so on) and it never softens. In fact, it never tastes like anything after the jelly sauce dissolves, which you don't really taste because your mind overrides all tastebud abilities: I'm eating jellyfish! Gelatinous zooplankton!

Was it cooked or raw? I have no idea. So. You chew 'til the chunks can be safely swallowed without instigating a gag reflex and you gulp it down like you're famished. I'm convinced it can't really be digested anyway so why extend the epicurean anguish?

Yeah. Don't eat 'em if you can help it.

-P

Lloyd in Lights & Kids with Cameras

November 30, 2009 Lloyd was famous for a day in Oneida, TN.

Debbie organized a photography presentation and workshop for the club's kids and also for adults. Lloyd put on a show for +/- 50 kids and adults. He presented a photographic tour of North America as we have seen it to date. The children sat still for an entire hour so you know they were engaged. Afterward, Lloyd hosted a workshop full of photography tips. Well done, Lloyd! :)

Debbie is a key piece of the Boys and Girls Club puzzle. She contributes a lot of hours and energy to keep many boys and girls happily active through club programs at this first-rate facility. Kudos, Debbie. They're lucky to have you!

Also, a special thank you to the fellow POG members who donated cameras to the club so the kids can learn more about photography and maybe even start a photography club of their own.

-P

Lloyd in Lights & Kids with Cameras

November 30, 2009 Lloyd was famous for a day in Oneida, TN.

Debbie organized a photography presentation and workshop for the club's kids and also for adults. Lloyd put on a show for +/- 50 kids and adults. He presented a photographic tour of North America as we have seen it to date. The children sat still for an entire hour so you know they were engaged. Afterward, Lloyd hosted a workshop full of photography tips. Well done, Lloyd! :)

Debbie is a key piece of the Boys and Girls Club puzzle. She contributes a lot of hours and energy to keep many boys and girls happily active through club programs at this first-rate facility. Kudos, Debbie. They're lucky to have you!

Also, a special thank you to the fellow POG members who donated cameras to the club so the kids can learn more about photography and maybe even start a photography club of their own.

-P

Bus Barn in Huntsville, TN

[caption id="attachment_3946" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Faires\' Bus Barn"][/caption] Eric, Debbie, and Jay Faires, fellow POG members, graciously gave us the use of their bus barn for some needed maintenance. This is not your normal bus barn this is the Biltmore of Bus Barns. Everything is overbuilt to remove the margin of error. It was such a pleasure to step into the pit and be able to see everything on the underside and work anywhere around the bus and have all the light needed because th of the dozens of lights mounted along the walls and ceiling to brighten the entire work area.

We arrived just before Thanksgiving and Debbie's parents invited us to join their family for the holiday. It was nice to finally relax after all the travel for repairs and traveling across Tennessee. At night Eric and Jay conducted impromptu concerts at the house. I joined in quietly on guitar in the background. Pamela would not play giving the excuse that here calluses were missing for lack of practice. Debbie's brother invited us to his after Thanksgiving party were he BBQed and had several kegs on tap inside and outside the house. We participated in Debbie's Pilates class, walked through the woods, 4-wheeled to the river, drove to the bridge, and had just a wonderful time with this extraordinary family in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Joe Cannarozzi flew in from Chicago to help us replace the front airbags and rear shocks. You may remember last year we stopped in Chicago at Joe house and did some earlier work on the bus. The punch list this year was much longer and Joe's

[caption id="attachment_3952" align="alignnone" width="334" caption="Old and New Air Bags"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_3953" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Eric, Joe, and Lloyd taking a break"][/caption]

Finally we are able to auto level the bus and we are leak free, meaning the bus stays level. [caption id="attachment_3954" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Joe looking for leaks"][/caption]

Thanks Joe again for a great working experience. We then pulled our bus out of the barn and and enjoyed a few more days with the Faires family and their friends. Don, Debbie's brother came over preformed a worldclass pyro display.

We look forward to seeing them again soon in Florida this winter. Thank you guys for everything, you are the hosts with the most. -L

Bus Barn in Huntsville, TN

Eric, Debbie, and Jay Faires, fellow POG members, graciously gave us the use of their bus barn for some needed maintenance. This is not your normal bus barn this is the Biltmore of Bus Barns. Everything is overbuilt to remove the margin of error. It was such a pleasure to step into the pit and be able to see everything on the underside and work anywhere around the bus and have all the light needed because th of the dozens of lights mounted along the walls and ceiling to brighten the entire work area.

We arrived just before Thanksgiving and Debbie's parents invited us to join their family for the holiday. It was nice to finally relax after all the travel for repairs and traveling across Tennessee. At night Eric and Jay conducted impromptu concerts at the house. I joined in quietly on guitar in the background. Pamela would not play giving the excuse that here calluses were missing for lack of practice. Debbie's brother invited us to his after Thanksgiving party were he BBQed and had several kegs on tap inside and outside the house. We participated in Debbie's Pilates class, walked through the woods, 4-wheeled to the river, drove to the bridge, and had just a wonderful time with this extraordinary family in the mountains of East Tennessee.

Joe Cannarozzi flew in from Chicago to help us replace the front airbags and rear shocks. You may remember last year we stopped in Chicago at Joe house and did some earlier work on the bus. The punch list this year was much longer and Joe's

Finally we are able to auto level the bus and we are leak free, meaning the bus stays level.

Thanks Joe again for a great working experience. We then pulled our bus out of the barn and and enjoyed a few more days with the Faires family and their friends. Don, Debbie's brother came over preformed a worldclass pyro display.

We look forward to seeing them again soon in Florida this winter. Thank you guys for everything, you are the hosts with the most. -L

Mending & Maintenance

November 25, 2009 I think we had the bus in the barn for all of a minute and a half when Eric scooted down the pit to position (Wehrenberg) stands.

Beyond gracious hosts! And one Joe Cannarozzi flown in from Chicago to supervise. ;) This would be too good to be true, if you didn't know Joe and the Faires family. They are that good, that generous, energetic, talented and kind.

Back to work, Joe!

Really, Joe, put yourself into it!

Since it is our bus, we (hardly me) worked on it a little too. ;) Here, Lloyd took out the old shocks.

Here, Joe looks for a leak in the auxillary air system. Here's the leak. Oh. Here's another leak ... and another ... and here's another ... and another. :/

One of the culprits:

On occasion, we brainstormed on the sidelines ...

... or we (meaning Jay) monkeyed around in the rafters ...

... or ... uh ... ?

In the evenings, we gathered in the Faires' sanctuary, a rustic house full of character, some history, warm woods, a wood-burning fireplace and plenty of musical instruments.

Eric and Jay, and sometimes Lloyd, filled this cozy space with wonderful music: rock-y, bluesy, folksy, all around awesome. Jay is a phenomenal talent at 13 years old. He's truly an inspiration. Not only did he entertain us almost nightly with his guitar mastery and sometimes smoky sometimes mellifluous voice, he also teaches guitar weekly at the local Boys and Girls Club. Plus, he gave me some primo advice and taught me how to use my iPhone. Thanks, Jay!

We thoroughly enjoyed the company, and a surprise wine from the Faires supply, after a productive day:

We also had a merry Thanksgiving and feast courtesy of Debbie's cordial parents, Pris and Don, and another Thanksgiving dinner at Debbie's brother's family the next day. We thoroughly enjoyed both gatherings and were more than happy to gather again for more conversation, culinary displays and entertainment throughout our twelve-day stay. Told you we were spoiled. :)

-P

Mending & Maintenance

November 25, 2009 I think we had the bus in the barn for all of a minute and a half when Eric scooted down the pit to position (Wehrenberg) stands.

Beyond gracious hosts! And one Joe Cannarozzi flown in from Chicago to supervise. ;) This would be too good to be true, if you didn't know Joe and the Faires family. They are that good, that generous, energetic, talented and kind.

Back to work, Joe!

Really, Joe, put yourself into it!

Since it is our bus, we (hardly me) worked on it a little too. ;) Here, Lloyd took out the old shocks.

Here, Joe looks for a leak in the auxillary air system. Here's the leak. Oh. Here's another leak ... and another ... and here's another ... and another. :/

One of the culprits:

On occasion, we brainstormed on the sidelines ...

... or we (meaning Jay) monkeyed around in the rafters ...

... or ... uh ... ?

In the evenings, we gathered in the Faires' sanctuary, a rustic house full of character, some history, warm woods, a wood-burning fireplace and plenty of musical instruments.

Eric and Jay, and sometimes Lloyd, filled this cozy space with wonderful music: rock-y, bluesy, folksy, all around awesome. Jay is a phenomenal talent at 13 years old. He's truly an inspiration. Not only did he entertain us almost nightly with his guitar mastery and sometimes smoky sometimes mellifluous voice, he also teaches guitar weekly at the local Boys and Girls Club. Plus, he gave me some primo advice and taught me how to use my iPhone. Thanks, Jay!

We thoroughly enjoyed the company, and a surprise wine from the Faires supply, after a productive day:

We also had a merry Thanksgiving and feast courtesy of Debbie's cordial parents, Pris and Don, and another Thanksgiving dinner at Debbie's brother's family the next day. We thoroughly enjoyed both gatherings and were more than happy to gather again for more conversation, culinary displays and entertainment throughout our twelve-day stay. Told you we were spoiled. :)

-P

Faires Friends

November 25 - December 6, 2009 Arriving at the Faires' is akin to a homecoming. Eric, Debbie and Jay welcomed us with open arms, a (grand!) bus barn, and an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner with the family, twice! Spoiled we were. And later: chats of the best kind, private concerts, custom tours, excellent eats, surprise wines, a special event featuring Lloyd, a moonbow and more. We have photos. You'll see.

Jon Wehrenberg joined us for a kickoff lunch at Tomato Head, an innovate eatery that specializes in pizza and creative dishes in Knoxville, TN:

-P

Faires Friends

November 25 - December 6, 2009 Arriving at the Faires' is akin to a homecoming. Eric, Debbie and Jay welcomed us with open arms, a (grand!) bus barn, and an invitation to Thanksgiving dinner with the family, twice! Spoiled we were. And later: chats of the best kind, private concerts, custom tours, excellent eats, surprise wines, a special event featuring Lloyd, a moonbow and more. We have photos. You'll see.

Jon Wehrenberg joined us for a kickoff lunch at Tomato Head, an innovate eatery that specializes in pizza and creative dishes in Knoxville, TN:

-P

Gibson (Not the Drink)

November 20, 2009 Nashville, Tennessee

I wandered through the Gibson Showcase three times. There's a whole Santa's workshop-like set up where you can watch (I'll call them) artisans build acoustic instruments.

A Gibson guitar is a beautiful thing and I think there is an art in building a Gibson and in making one sound like it should (meaning when someone who can play plays, meaning I'm not the one playing it).

The bodies below are not guitars. They might be Jam Master Series Standard F-style Mandolins.

Now I don't really know what to do with them, aside from a few chords, but I can still enjoy them. To me, this is as good and as satisfying as an art gallery:

This has nothing to do with Gibson, but it's not something you see every day in a mall, a diver scouring the gunk off coral with a little scrub brush as people mill by, oblivious and overloaded with shopping bags.

-P

Gibson (Not the Drink)

November 20, 2009 Nashville, Tennessee

I wandered through the Gibson Showcase three times. There's a whole Santa's workshop-like set up where you can watch (I'll call them) artisans build acoustic instruments.

A Gibson guitar is a beautiful thing and I think there is an art in building a Gibson and in making one sound like it should (meaning when someone who can play plays, meaning I'm not the one playing it).

The bodies below are not guitars. They might be Jam Master Series Standard F-style Mandolins.

Now I don't really know what to do with them, aside from a few chords, but I can still enjoy them. To me, this is as good and as satisfying as an art gallery:

This has nothing to do with Gibson, but it's not something you see every day in a mall, a diver scouring the gunk off coral with a little scrub brush as people mill by, oblivious and overloaded with shopping bags.

-P

The Almost King

November 19, 2009 Nashville, TN

This man boasts a good measure of the requisite flair for impersonating The King of Rock-n-Roll and an equal dose of charm. While not quite convincing in stature, John Beardsley rocks the house with a bold voice and even bolder moves, moves that earned Elvis the childish nickname of "Elvis the Pelvis".

Below: This is Lola, a white-haired septuagenarian vamp in a white sweatshirt, demanding yet another kiss from Elvis. FYI: that sweatshirt bears last year's photo of her cuddled up to that very impersonator. Not only does Lola sidle up to the stage and reach for his hand, she offers commentary throughout the performance, usually in the form of some romantic advance. She even challenges this Elvis's wife (the event organizer): "But you get him all the time." Hey, her affections won her a white scarf that he used to blot the sweat off his face...

-P

The Almost King

November 19, 2009 Nashville, TN

This man boasts a good measure of the requisite flair for impersonating The King of Rock-n-Roll and an equal dose of charm. While not quite convincing in stature, John Beardsley rocks the house with a bold voice and even bolder moves, moves that earned Elvis the childish nickname of "Elvis the Pelvis".

Below: This is Lola, a white-haired septuagenarian vamp in a white sweatshirt, demanding yet another kiss from Elvis. FYI: that sweatshirt bears last year's photo of her cuddled up to that very impersonator. Not only does Lola sidle up to the stage and reach for his hand, she offers commentary throughout the performance, usually in the form of some romantic advance. She even challenges this Elvis's wife (the event organizer): "But you get him all the time." Hey, her affections won her a white scarf that he used to blot the sweat off his face...

-P

The King's Rides

Elvis had a lot of toys. He had dune buggies, a go-cart, tractors, a pedal car, a skidoo converted to drive on grass, and some "normal" stuff too. Thirty-three of those toys are featured in the Car Museum.

The pink cadillac:

The car below is my favourite vehicle, which has everything to do with the colour, but my favourite feature of the car museum is the home movies, movies that Priscilla and Elvis's friends filmed. They show him at home. He liked to play.

And he had custom jets.

The Lisa Marie (No interior photos allowed. Elvis had all kinds of controls to play with in the cabin. Inside, the Lisa Marie is groovy, and brown.):

One day Elvis realized that his little daughter had never seen snow so he loaded up the family into the jet Lisa Marie and flew to Colorado. Little Lisa Marie played in the snow for a few minutes then everyone piled back into the plane and zipped home again.

Elvis's other jet is a Lockheed Jet Star and this is her cockpit (which looks like something I would see in a nightmare):

Here's her cabin:

Elvis hardly used the Jet Star. Why would he when the Lisa Marie had "a luxuriously appointed living room, conference room, sitting room, and private bedroom, as well as gold-plated seatbelts, suede chairs, leather covered tables, 24-karat gold-flecked sinks and more."? Instead, Colonel Parker, Elvis's manager, and staff shuttled in the Jet Star from city to city, wherever the concert tour took them.

-P

The King's Rides

Elvis had a lot of toys. He had dune buggies, a go-cart, tractors, a pedal car, a skidoo converted to drive on grass, and some "normal" stuff too. Thirty-three of those toys are featured in the Car Museum.

The pink cadillac:

The car below is my favourite vehicle, which has everything to do with the colour, but my favourite feature of the car museum is the home movies, movies that Priscilla and Elvis's friends filmed. They show him at home. He liked to play.

And he had custom jets.

The Lisa Marie (No interior photos allowed. Elvis had all kinds of controls to play with in the cabin. Inside, the Lisa Marie is groovy, and brown.):

One day Elvis realized that his little daughter had never seen snow so he loaded up the family into the jet Lisa Marie and flew to Colorado. Little Lisa Marie played in the snow for a few minutes then everyone piled back into the plane and zipped home again.

Elvis's other jet is a Lockheed Jet Star and this is her cockpit (which looks like something I would see in a nightmare):

Here's her cabin:

Elvis hardly used the Jet Star. Why would he when the Lisa Marie had "a luxuriously appointed living room, conference room, sitting room, and private bedroom, as well as gold-plated seatbelts, suede chairs, leather covered tables, 24-karat gold-flecked sinks and more."? Instead, Colonel Parker, Elvis's manager, and staff shuttled in the Jet Star from city to city, wherever the concert tour took them.

-P

Elvis Lives: The King and Pop Culture

The trophy building exhibits an enormous collection of gold records and awards. Every wall looked like this:

Or this:

A gorgeous Gibson guitar, just one of an extensive envy-inducing collection:

Jay Faires, how do you like that one?

Since we're film fanatics and since everything in this museum is a little ... before my time, I especially enjoyed the Elvis in Hollywood Exhibit and the old movie posters.

That one makes me giggle... :D

This one probably does nothing for you, but I felt a little flutter in my heart:

They're movie scripts. :)

Stay tuned. More to come.

-P