Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Flood

Picture of Paducah's floodwall with gates installed taken about about 10:00 a.m. this morning. I believe that gate is approx at the foot of Jefferson St. downtown.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Installing the Floodgates. Paducah, KY

Gate at the foot of Broadway. Once installation starts, it's a 24-hr/day activity until they are finished. This marks the first time all gates have been installed since 1950. The last time any gates were put in place was in 1997.

Long view: Gate between Broadway & Jefferson

Gate going in between Broadway and Jefferson, downtown Paducah, Kentucky.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Good-bye Cabana

This was formerly a semi-permanent structure, a 10x10 deck cabana, that stood on my back deck for three years. It survived the ice storm of '09, even. It did not survive today's 86 mph winds. I found it on the roof. The photo is blurry because there are raindrops on the lens of my iPhone. I was at Walgreen's (my favorite store) at the time of the incident.

Not to be outdone, I have purchased a new cabana. Because the weather will not beat me. Nor will anything else, thankyouverymuch. I do plan to wait until the weather is less Biblical to install it, however. I'm not THAT crazy.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

When Accessorizing Gives Way to...Well, Sasquatch Hunting

Well, here it is--as threatened--camping eve. As I reported earlier, though I myself am technically (to put it mildly) not a "camping" kind of person (unless said camping involves a large, luxurious climate controlled motor home), when the majority of a person's homies get up a camping trip and your options are: 1) Go camping or; 2) Stay home alone and watch DVR-ed episodes of "Say Yes to the Dress" snuggled up with a sack of caramel Cadbury Eggs and your cuddly spoiled lap dog, if you are ME you really, really kinda want to go Option #2.

But, of course, you can't. Because...PEER PRESSURE. It still burns like a bitch. Even when you're a 37-year-old.

With the question of whether I'm going settled (embarrassingly quickly, I might add), I turned my attention to focusing on the "positives" of camping. Outside. In a tent. In the dark. And, luckily, the positives of camping are pretty much the same as the positives of any life event: it's all about the accessories. And the food. Long-time readers know of my obsession with my hiking boots (they are, in fact, my FAVORITE footwear of all time), and so being already properly shod, I've since been able to spend many happy hours perusing the camping/outdoor aisles of a number of fine local establishments for other supplies. And, can I just say? The mystifying array of camping accessories available even in this backwater town is completely and utterly overwhelming, even for a veteran accessory shopper like myself.

The mind boggles. Truly.

For instance:

I ask you, what camper doesn't need THAT? An honest-to-God AUTHENTIC kerosene lantern-- and a bargain at a mere $5? I was all set to toss that baby in the cart and go all Laura Ingalls Wilder with myself around the campsite--but, ah, no. Alas! VETOED. Turns out? Kerosene is "messy". And perhaps not the best idea for campers likely to be--how to say--"less than sober".

My half-pint of disappointment was quickly forgotten, however, when I ran across this little number at Tar-ghay:

That's right, folks, a TINY [nine-cup] CAMP PERCOLATOR! How cute is that? Is that not what Jeremiah Johnson drinks coffee out of?? For real!

More importantly, do I drink coffee? Of course not. But that's really not the point, now is it? Yep, this little guy is now happily tucked into the chuck box. And, while we're on the subject...the chuck box. Or I should say, THE CHUCK BOX. For (the two of you) those of you not in the camping know, a quick Googling of "camping supplies" quickly leads even the dimmest, most inexperienced camping bulbs straight to...THE CHUCK BOX , which is, at its most simply defined, essentially, is your outdoor kitchen supplies. Now, technically, your chuck box could consist of a cast iron skillet, a Swiss army knife, a tin cup, and a can of baked beans, right? But, seriously? Do I look like Fess Parker? (Okay, don't answer that...)

Of course (surprise!), our chuck box is one that is, decidedly, not what you'd call "primitive". Because, fortunately or unfortunately, I've had upwards of two weeks to stock my chuck and, well, I've sort of stocked and re-stocked and maybe over-stocked my chuck a tiny little bit. Let's just say I've kinda been banned from accessing the chuck box right at this particular moment. And that happened right after we had to get...Chuck Box Junior, original Chuck Box's happy smaller sidekick that holds all those important overflow items that can no longer fit in bulging original Chuck. Take, for instance, my tiny, portable spice rack:

You gotta have spices, right? What, a person's gonna brave the Wilderness without a decent Jamaican Jerk rub on hand for God's sake? I think not.

I'm not gonna lie, by this time, in case you haven't guessed, I was actually enjoying, if not camping, then camp accessorizing. Folks, I even bought myself a sleeping bag...a purple sleeping bag (and matching bubble wand).

I mean, it was on. SO on. And then...THEN!

Well, then there was Sasquatch. Yes, you read that right: Sasquatch, Bigfoot, know, big, hairy, elusive and, above all, stinky. Around here, he's known as The Beast of Land Between the Lakes and--DOUBTER--he has his own Facebook page.

Here's what happened:

Someone I know very well knows someone else very well who actually, just last Saturday at dusk (and I'm so not kidding here), saw Sasquatch at the aforementioned Land Between the Lakes (otherwise known as "LBL") resort area. And LBL, it just so happens, is where my very campsite is located. And of all the 170,000 acres (and all the gin joints) of vast wilderness preserve that is LBL, it just so happens that Sasquatch was spotted not three miles from the spot at which I'll soon be lounging about choking down authentic percolator camp coffee and and grilling high-dollar Whole Foods steaks.

That's right people, we are in possession of the very GPS coordinates of the exact spot where, less than a week ago, Bigfoot actually stood.

Put THAT on your camping fork and roast it.

Now, before you ask me just exactly where this spot is located, let me just say I can't (or don't feel like I should) tell you. I will say that, like most LBL sightings, this one took place toward the north entrance a few miles from a campground on one of the trails. As I said before, it happened at dusk, and the sighter in question (a camper) was alone when it happened, having decided to get in a quick bike ride before dark. He pedaled out on a trail and had decided it was time to turn back. He parked his bike for a moment and was just taking in the scenery and watching night begin to fall when he heard something big...very big moving through the woods. The noise was so loud and so obviously something unnaturally huge that he experienced the noise quite a few beats before he saw anything. He had time to think...It has to be a bear because that's the only thing big enough to make that much commotion, right?; however, he was also aware that there had never been any bears to his knowledge at LBL. And it was then that it, or part of "it" emerged from the brush and stopped short. From his vantage point, he could only see it from what he estimated must have been its waist down as the top half was obscured by brush. There was perhaps sixty feet of distance between him and what looked to be a very hairy set of legs that had to belong to something by his reckoning somewhere in the neighborhood of 9 feet tall and standing upright. It seemed to him as though the thing had spotted him at about the same time it had become visible and he had the distinct impression that it was aware of and startled by his presence. In the split second that he and the beast became aware of the sight of each other, he took in the size, and hairy legs of the bottom half of the creature and realized he could make out distinct looking, albeit extra large, somewhat ape like knees and thighs despite the hairiness factor. But these were very VERY quick observations as his main, overriding reaction and gut instinct was to get the hell out of there. And this he did, quickly covering the distance to his bike, and riding as quickly as possible back to the campground. He had no camera or cell phone and, as he would later tell, would have been shaking far too badly to operate either well enough to get any kind of picture and, anyway, would not have taken the time to delay his hasty retreat a single second to do so.

While I've pulled your leg a few times in this here blog, I swear on the life of my sweet, spoiled (but nevertheless prized) little Westie bitch that the preceding account is the truth. And that the sighter in question is a grown man in a respectable profession that, to say the least, is not not given to the excitable. He is not speaking to the press about this, although as recently as 2007, the Paducah Sun ran a story ("Is Bigfoot in LBL?") on Bigfoot researchers who collected a plaster cast of a very large Sasquatch-esque footprint at LBL as well as spent a few days scouting the place for other evidence having heard enough accounts from that neck of the woods to warrant the trip. But, again, keep in mind, 170,000 largely uninhabited acres is a hell alot of ground to cover and would offer thousands of vast and varied remote options for a Sasquatch lair(s).

So, there you have it. I leave you now so that I may go forth and, like it or not, partake of the joys (?) of tent camping, the bounty of the chuck box, and the wonder of nature. And if you think me and my three com padres are gonna come this close to a bonafide Bigfoot sighting spot without hiking on over and and planting our silly tootsies on actual hallowed Sasquatch ground, you'd be sadly mistaken. Because, yes, oh HELL FREAKING YES we are nothing if not most definitely, positively, abso-freakin'-lutely crazy just like that. (And if you think the fact that this whole damn premise sounds just exactly like the opening 15 minutes of a horror movie plot has escaped me, think again.)

See you on the other side...

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

iList Link Love

Mary Thorsby, you look maaaahhhhvelous! Have I mentioned?

I am thrilled to see my recent blog resurrection did not go unnoticed by my favorite Paducah events resource and Bizzyville BF, iList Paducah and, more specifically, the blog of Mary Thorsby. The cyber-affair between our sites has been previously well-documented and ongoing for years (almost since the beginning; I'd link if I wasn't lazy) as has my affection for the amazing (and award winning) partners behind the party: Mary Thorsby and Nikki May . These girls are forces of nature both together and individually. And if you know them in real life, you know I'm soooooo not kidding about that.

LauraK & friends

In addition, I too endorse Mary Thorsby's other two Paducah blog reads:

LauraK's new abbreviated Tumblr site featuring her quick-takes on style, photography, the moment, and what's up; again, long-time readers will recognize Laura as an early Bizzyville friend and supporter. (And person who is very TALL. As compared to some other people who are NOT TALL.)

And then there's DJ/Musician/Bloody Mary Enthusiast Tony Foo Yong's (Please don't say, "Tony Foo YOUNG", people, it's "YONG". Thanks.) blog: three chord monty.

Ah, Paducah. All we care about is LOVE! (And I'm semi not kidding about that.)

[All photographs by local photog Brad Rankin. Whose often edgy, editorial style I totally endorse and recommend and enjoy perusing. That's Brad between LauraK and Kenn Gray, 2nd photo. He is a chameleon, I tell you.]

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

How Do Ya Like It?

Unfortunately, I keep catching TLC's commercial for their new series "Extreme Couponing", a show (inexplicably) featuring a bunch of sweaty unemployed people using coupons to stockpile a bunch of crap they don't need. Give me crazy hoarder any day over that schlock is all I can say about that. My point is, the commercial's hook isn't the subject matter of the show, but rather the catchy tune that plays in the background. Those of us "of a certain age" will recall "More More More" as one of those disco tunes that was kind of pervasively everywhere back in 1976-77(ish).

When you think about it, the song has all the required elements of a great disco tune: a driving beat, smooth brass accents, and a rockin' (piano driven even) bridge. While I would have thought the groovy vocals might have been supplied by someone more well known, it turns out the voice belongs to someone named, "Andrea True Connection". I know--no bells for me either.

I'm in the habit of queueing up songs that are stuck in my head on my iPhone while I shower and make up in the morning. Sometimes I have to play them, like, 600 times before I can get them out of my system (Yah, time for Wapner). I was in for a big surprise, however, when I searched out the "More More More" video on YouTube. Because, friends, "Andrea True Connection" is not your average disco queen. Because Andrea, unbeknownst to myself at the time, took it to a whole 'nother level. I'm talking yellow, fringed granny-panty jumpsuit, some ultra-supportive Leggs hosiery, and what look to be actual cowboy boots. Seriously, it's such a conflagration of fashion WTF's that I had to watch the thing through a full two times to even get my mind around it.

And then, of course, I couldn't get here fast enough to share it with my closest blog buddies.

Trust me when I say, you won't regret this click.

(The hair? The "dance" moves?)

Monday, April 04, 2011

Camp of the Woods

The threat of camping continues to hover like a dirigible of doom on the horizon of my not-too-distant future. The digital display on my mental airship is partial to scrolling out stuff like TICKS!...RAIN!...SNAKES! along with the ridiculous number of HORROR MOVIES! with a camping theme: Friday the 13, Sleepaway Camp, and Camp Slaughter to name a few. Of course, there's a part of me perverse enough to kind of want to embrace the fear factor and incorporate the whole "camp terror" element into the experience by eating 'smores and Jiffy Pop and queueing up one of these gems on the laptop at midnight at the campsite:

Of course, I have to say I find the amount of actual fabric trapped in that guy's clenched ass crack as disturbing as any anything else in that trailer.

But that's just me.

Regardless, I know at least one camper who will be along that is adverse to scary movies under the best of circumstances, much less huddled around a camp fire in the deep, dark woods. I'm guessing the whole idea will be vetoed. My point is this: it's kind of a life philosophy of mine that I not participate in activities that would very obviously and seamlessly fit into a "City Confidential" voice over read by Paul Winfield. And camping (like as in "in a tent") is definitely one of those things.

Not that anybody cares.

Despite my misgivings, we took advantage of the ridiculously beautiful weather Sunday to take a drive to the lakes and scout out the perfect spot. And a funny thing happened as I tromped through campgrounds with the wind in my hair and the sun on my face: I started to get sort of jazzed about that whole idea. I mean, sure we could all be murdered in our sleeping bags or, worse, I could find a tick affixed to my body somewhere but, still, damn, y'all, LBL is really, really beautiful. And I love...TREES! And also, the absolute necessity of wearing hiking boots for days at a time doesn't exactly turn me off, you know? In addition, honestly, how much fun is it going to be to pack a chuck box? It was decided that the optimal camp spot would be on or near the water and, while we didn't get our first choice, the second choice was available: While you can't tell from the picture, in addition to all the trees and the view of the water, I was charmed by the multi-level nature of the site. There's room for parking vehicles on the lowest level, up a few steps is the eating/fire pit area (the area I was sitting in while taking a photo) and then,up a few more steps is the tent area. I mean, really, we'll be going "upstairs to bed" at our camp site. Is it just me or is that strangely appealing?

Remind me of all this optimism when I find myself drenched in unexpected freezing rain in the middle of the night in the deep, dark woods clutching a flashlight with dead batteries in one hand and my lifeless, unresponsive cell phone in the other, will you?