Archive | nostalgia

Frontier Land and Ghost Town: I Miss You

It was warm and sunny so the kiddo and I took a road trip to Cherokee.

The once bustling stretch of land between Maggie Valley to Cherokee is not very lively.  When I was a kid, there was Frontier Land and Ghost Town to draw familes into the area, and once you were in the area, you were bound to eat, shop for souvenirs and so on, supporting many tourist-oriented businesses.  Frontier Land closed in the mid 1980s.  Ghost Town closed, reopened and closed again.  Restaurants have closed, gift shoppes have closed, go kart tracks and arcades have closed.  It’s sad.

I’ve fantasized many times about a lottery win so large that I could revitalize the area into a glorious, bustling family destination once more.  Yeah, I know the casino is now the big draw in that area, but that’s not for the whole family.  I’m talking about something for the whole family! Come back, Ghost Town and Frontier Land: we miss you.


holiday songs

When I was a wee lass, my maternal grandmother would sing Christmas songs pretty much all year ’round. This is also something that I do, even when it’s 80 degrees outside.

With Christmas songs, my grandmother would sing the line she knew, and then La La La the rest. So, “It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, la la la la laaaaaaaaaaaaaa.”

I’ve come to realize that I also know many random pieces of Christmas carols…and that I also joyously “La La La” or “Hmm Hmmm Hmmm” the parts I don’t know. So mine’s like “Good King Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephen, hmmm hmmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmm hmmm hmm hmm hmmm hmmmmmmmmmhmmmmm.”

I’m curious if the kiddo will adopt this festive holiday la la la-ing when she’s grownup? Anyway, here’s one for ya. Sing along if you know the words, or la la la if you don’t.


My Granddad

My grandfather is scheduled for two heart surgeries this week.  The risk is high, and there’s a high probability that he could pass away in surgery.  His heart is weak enough that he will die quickly without the surgery, so the procedure really is a roll of the dice.

Minime and I went to see him today.  I brought him Swiss Cake Rolls.  When I was little, I would raid his Little Debbie stash for Swiss Cake Rolls after school, so I figure I probably owe him a few hundred snack cakes.

He’s not my biological grandfather, but he never treated me any differently than any of the other grandkids (unlike his now deceased spouse who went out of her way when I was a kid to make me feel like shit).  He would bring me wallpaper sample books when they replaced them with new ones at the hardware store so I can enjoy crafty awesomeness.  He made me yummy homemade biscuits and gravy on Sunday mornings that were memorable enough that I named a cat “Biscuits N Gravy” when her fur reminded me of the colors of  childhood Sunday breakfast.  He encouraged me to read and he always had a stack of books he was working through by his bed.

I hope he pulls through these surgeries, but he does not seem afraid so I will not be afraid, either.  He has lived an exciting life, growing up in a house with no electricity or running water, making moonshine, racing cars, marrying, having kids, having grandkids, finding a second chance at love after his wife passed away and enjoying his great grandchildren.  He had his first heart attack when I was in high school and has proven quite the survivor.

Think good thoughts.


the final Bele Chere

So…final Bele Chere is coming up. Does anyone care? I don’t. Being an Asheville native, I remember when the festival was small and it had a very local feel to it. My youth orchestra group played on Church Street a couple summers in a row. My friends’ bands played on several stages. The crafters were from western NC. It was an intimate little summer celebration, a fun time to enjoy friends and food and music.
The festival grew over time into a giant beer swilling, funnel cake gorging behemoth as the years went by, attracting crowds of tourists from far away who wanted to party in Asheville. Local bands were replaced with big headliners. Local crafts were replaced with artisans from all over the place with high price tags. There was puke in the streets and people were pushing and shoving each other by 3 PM on the first day of the festival every year, drunk and overcrowded and angry. The festival grew into a sprawl that annoyed the local business owners who couldn’t function with the crowds and the shoplifters and the noise.
I don’t like it. I don’t go. I work downtown and make an effort to take the Friday that Bele Chere starts as a vacation day, and I stay away from downtown Asheville the whole weekend. I won’t regret missing out on the overpriced beer or the smell of urine in the summer heat.
Bye, Bele Chere. I remember when we could see the Urban Spelunkers or The Merle and walk around without worrying about getting mugged or trampled. That was long ago, but thanks for the memories.


i have no idea where this came from…

i was leaving work, yammering on ye olde cell phone, when this falco song jumped into my head.  i have no f-ing idea where this came from, it just popped up abruptly.  if i don’t post it here, it won’t leave my head.  i’m sorry if this causes you any pain.  (this song was also covered by brit band after the fire, but no, it was the falco version that came to me and just won’t go away)


of course, the natural course of events is to then think about Rock Me Amadeus.  And again, I have to post it here if I want it out of my head, and I really really really want it out of my head.  Thanks.




Takin’ it to the streets…and Keep on loving you

I’ve been fortunate enough to move into a new office at my job and that’s really cool.  It’s a bit echo-y in there since I opted to go without carpet (easier to breathe for this wheezy girl), so I’ve been turning a radio on in the morning just to provide a little background noise.  All I can pick up is 96.5 FM which is fine since it’s turned down fairly low; as long as it’s not country music, I can cope.

I’ve had two musical moments in the past week I had to share.

I was researching something, completely in the zone, when all of the sudden I found I was singing along to the chorus of Takin’ It to the Streets.  Damn those Doobie Brothers; that Michael McDonald vocal is infectious!  I didn’t even realize what was on the radio, but apparently your subconscious can’t have Takin’ It to the Streets playing anywhere nearby without forcing you to sing along.  Tried to get back to work, but no, I had to wait for the chorus so I could sing along…I ain’t blind and I don’t like what I think I see…Takin’ it to the streets.  Your assignment is to have someone play this song near you and I dare you, I double dog dare you, not to sing along with the chorus.  It’s IMPOSSIBLE!  Some sort of Doobie Brothers mind control.

And today it was all background noise, blah blah blah, and then I heard the opening notes of a song that suddenly took me back to somewhere in elementary school.  Maybe fourth grade or thereabouts, sitting on the bench waiting for my turn at bat at recess, having a lyrics battle with my on-again, off-again beau…we must’ve been off-again for this song to be relevant.  I remember throwing out at him  you should’ve seen by the look in my eyes, baby, there was something missin’… and he retorted with you should’ve known by the tone of my voice maybe, but you didn’t listen.  Yeah, we were battling with Reo Speedwagon’s Keep on Loving You.  Funny how you don’t think of something for years and years and a song can bring it back.  I remember “battling” with him another time using Berlin’s The Metro (you know Berlin, so horribly famous for that song Take My Breath Away that I dislike so much, but The Metro was terrific) I remember hating you for loving me…but I’d entirely forgotten these wicked lyrical exchanges until today.  Somewhere in high school, I remember him singing Naughty Girls Need Love Too, but that’s an entirely different conversation…


Street Fighting in Charlotte

So I met up with the Steinster in Charlotte yesterday. 

She said, “Why ya in my town, beeotch?”

I said, “Wahlberg.  Donnie Wahlberg.”

She said, “He’s a wuss.”

The Steinster  was frozen to the core by the icy stare I gave her as I said through clenched teeth, “You did not just disrespect a Wahlberg in front of me.”

And then it was on, street fighting right there on Trade Street.

I went all ninja on the Steinster for talking smack about my favorite New Kid.  I flew through the air sideways and kicked her in the head with both feet.  She recovered quickly and brought a roundhouse kick to my spleen.   I barfed my peanut M&Ms on her suede boots and hurled throwing stars at her in rapid-fire succession.  The Steinster was swift and cat-like, dodging the stars, catching the last one in her teeth and spitting it back at me…I ducked, rolled and kicked her feet out from under her just as the throwing star hit my Donnie Wahlberg in the rattail, killing him not quite instantly…he did have time to whisper to me as I cradled him in my arms right there in front of Baskin Robbins, “Kat, I’ll be lovin’ you forever, ’cause you got the right stuff, love the way you turn me on, cover girl” before he went to join the great boy band in the sky, disappearing into the ether in a cloud of bubble gum scented smoke, leaving behind only a black jelly bracelet on the sidewalk.

I slipped on the bracelet, then wiped a tear from my cheek.  I turned to the Steinster and said, “The world has lost a cultural icon and I have lost my reason to stay on the right side of the law.  I’ll be back for you when you least expect it.”

As I strode off into the sunset, I knew that Step By Step, I had to keep Hangin’ Tough.



(ok, so that’s not really what happened exactly and precisely.  no wahlbergs were harmed, thank goodness!  chiquita and i did see the steinster and her man friend in charlotte and we had some very very small food and it was fun!  i was there to see donnie wahlberg, that much was true, i came to see him shake his moneymaker and indeed he did, oh yes he did,  and all is right in the world.  but i could go ninja on you at any time, so keep your anti-wahlberg talk to yourselves, folks)


Hanging My Head Out the Car Window

Generally speaking, I can drink vast, huge, ridiculous amounts of alcohol without getting sick or hungover.  This is not bragging, it just is one of those things.  Consider what I drank for my birthday this year for example–wasn’t sick the next day, was up and at ’em quite bright and early in fact.  Was chatting with someone today and the subject of drinking copious amounts came up…and I said I seldom get sick or anything like that…but that reminded me of hanging my head out Chiquita’s car window!!!

Travel back in time with me to that fateful night!  You know what, Chiquita?  It’s been more than TEN years!  REALLY! Because I was getting my computer programming degree and Minime was just a speck, so like TEN WHOLE FREAKIN YEARS!  Anyhoooooooo, so Chiquita and I were out and about doing what we do with the Ninja and Some Guy, and someone decides (probably me, I have been known to be a total dumbass) that we should be drinking Everclear and Tang.  I believe the venue we were frequenting called that little number an OrangaTang. 

Tang is probably super if you’re in outer space.  I really don’t want to encourage anyone to mix their alcoholic drinks with it, even if they are orbiting our planet and are fresh out of sensible mixers.

Anyhoo, I drank this concoction in quantity quickly; my companions gave up on it (smart, smart people!).  And then, here’s the part that made the world go blurry, we decide to all start swapping drinks.  Drink, swap, drink, swap, the four of us sliding drinks around and around the table until they were all empty.  That was a very, very bad idea on top of the Tang and Everclear.

But I distinctly recall being absolutely 100% fine…until I stood up and really there was no solid floor under my feet, I was walking an imaginary tightrope, all wobbly and out of my mind.  Fast forward to the part where we need to leave because I’m convinced death is eminent.  My stomach was agitating like a Maytag, my head was swirling.

You ever felt so sick to your stomach, whether from drinking or stomach flu or whatever, that you find yourself praying you’ll throw up soon?  Because you know if you can get the evil out of your body, you will feel better.  I was in that zone.  I wanted the vile mix of I-don’t-even-know-what-everyone-else-was-drinking and Tang out of me and anywhere else.  I got hot, so freakin’ hot, and swimmy.  Chiquita was driving me home, and I was so hot I thought I was going to melt courtesy of the bubbling cauldron in my gut, so the only thing that made sense to do was hang my head out the car window most of the way home.  It made sense at the time.  I don’t think I barfed, but I remember that I wanted to very much, and the only thing holding me together was hanging my head out that car window like a dog…a drunk on Tang and who know’s what the hell else dog.

I’m older and wiser now, and I steer away from Tang at all costs these days.  Because I stay away from the Tang, I don’t have to stick my head out of a moving vehicle anymore.  So that’s the morale, maybe, I dunno: if you’re going to drink, don’t drink Tang unless you’re an astronaut.  Which I am not.  Amen.


song of the day

You wanted the best, you got the best, the hottest band in the world: KISS!!!!!!!! I Love It Loud, one of their best songs in my opinion, right up there with God of Thunder, Shout it Out Loud, Love Gun, Detroit Rock City.  When I was 5, I had a KISS poster over my bed when my peers were playing with Barbies.  Their concerts with the makeup and the blood and the pyrotechnics back when no one did that kind of thing set a high bar for what I would come to perceive as a good show later on in life—-I don’t want to see any bored frat boys in tshirts and baseball caps onstage noodling around for 18 minutes on the same song…I want intensity, sweat, leather, fire!!

Much as I love this band, when KISS removed their makeup in the 80s, yikes, I wanted them to put it back on quickly!  If you have some time to kill, head on out to YouTube and look for some 1980something KISS videos…I will say I know all the words to these songs and enjoy them in my car, but to watch the videos, ewwwwwwwwww, not so much.

Let’s Put the X in Sex: catch Paul Stanley making the most heinous porn face when he’s behind the chick, they show that a couple times in the video.  Dude, I don’t care if you are a rock star; if I looked over my shoulder and you were making that porn face, it’s over, done.  It makes me cringe!  And Paul Stanley reminds me a lot of Cher in the If I Could Turn Back Time video in this one.

Heaven’s On Fire: go see Gene Simmon’s hair.  He obviously shared the same hairstylist as the rockin’ ladies in Heart.

Lick It Up: the premise of this video is that in a post-apocalyptic world, only the members of Kiss and scantily clad big haired vixeny women will survive.  It’s sort of like Love is A Battlefield or something but instead of hookers, it’s a rock band, I dunno.  What the hell is that crotch string thing on Paul Stanley’s right thigh and errr crotch?  Why is he wearing a woman’s crop top and is it from Pat Benatar or one of her video hookers?

Tears Are Falling:  Paul Stanley’s stylist beat up Cyndi Lauper, stole her clothes and put them on Paul.


I forgot that song!

I like to listen to the music channels on Charter cable while I clean house.  This morning, I heard a song that I’d sort of forgotten, Epic by Faith No More…which is a really cool song!  But even better, it helped me remember Falling to Pieces also by Faith No More which I like even more than Epic and I’d forgotten all about.  Thanks to Napster for the instant gratification–both tunes are on my mp3 player now.

I love that, though, when you hear a song and you immediately remember every single word and it takes you back to some cool memories.  Epic takes me back to this assembly in high school in the auditorium.  I was a junior or a senior, and they’d brought in this band to play the cool songs of the moment while wearing the cool rock star attire of the moment, and between songs, they would tell us not to do drugs, commit suicide, get pregnant or drop out of high school.  I was still tripping from the night before and their anti-drug message made me laugh out loud just a little too much.  Maybe I was paranoid, but the mop-topped lead singer seemed to really focus in on me (why the hell were we in the front row of a student assembly? we were never in the front row for anything) so I rallied my freak troops to bang heads to Epic and make it look like we were just loving the hell out of that assembly.  It seems I even got an autographed photo of the motivational band for my efforts and enthusiastic (tripping my ass off) participation.  WTF?!  Anyway, that’s what Epic brought back for me…

Falling to Pieces reminds me of nearly wrecking my red Rabbit GTI (love quick little red cars, ya’ll) on a curvy country road near Tryon.  I must’ve been rocking out to that tune when I was driving waaaaay too fast (me, drive fast? crazy, I know) after taking my friend home late one night.  I remember the moon seemed so huge in the sky that night, the windows were down and the music was blasting.  Going over a bridge, my car hit loose gravel and spun completely around twice…I nearly pissed my pants, but whaddya know, I didn’t hit anything, and when the car stopped, I was on the right side of the road headed the right direction.  Thanks to my guardian angel for that, and I rocked my ass on home.