Monday, March 3, 2008

I did not see a single goddamn TV

There’s nothing quite like drawing out your birthday for a month and a half, and that’s exactly what we did this weekend past. You may recall that Courtney took me to Asheville about a month ago, a trip that ended a little prematurely with me hurling in a toilet once owned by Ms. Andie MacDowell’s grandmother. Well, part of the deal was (and I had a card in my lady’s handwriting to prove it) a day at the Biltmore Estate, a balance which I collected yesterday.

We took advantage of the beautiful spring-like weather by taking the scenic route following the French Broad River through Hot Springs, NC on the way there, the sun roof open all the way. Another lunch in downtown Asheville at the Bier Garden and some quality time admiring the flow of hippies and yuppies outside Malaprop’s bookstore across the street. Em would be pleased to know that Courtney enjoyed a lovely brew from the folks at Bell’s while I had a Magic Hat #9 (it was on special, which I assume means they were trying to drain the keg.)

The rest of the afternoon was spent admiring the ridiculous opulence of America’s largest home, and I do mean ridiculous. The place is a freakin’ castle, yo. The ceiling in the Banquet Room is seventy feet high. There are two Renoir paintings in the house, and they only rate enough to hang in one of the guest bedrooms. The highlights of the self-guided tour, which took about two hours just to wander through part of the house, came back-to-back on the lowest level. The indoor pool (drained) was cool in itself, but makes my highlights because somebody right behind us dropped their digital camera from the platform above it about 30 feet to the tiled bottom. It was awesome if only to see the look of confusion on their face as they tried to figure out what to do about it. I can only guess that is why they put wrist leashes on cameras, and maybe also part of the reason Biltmore doesn’t allow photographs indoors. The second highlight was the bowling alley. It totally made me want a milkshake (somebody please get this joke.)

We also remembered to take a camera this time (two, actually), so enjoy the following boring-shit-and-all photo essay, a rarity at the Waitress.

My lady friend quite likes the sweet potato fries. She takes them with ketchup, though. Strange.

Shooting while driving, an experts-only move.

That's her from behind. There's a joke here somewhere, I'm sure of it.

Who's down for some architectural detail? I am, at least.

Handsome devil on the pack porch. Couldn't they have at least put this shack someplace with a decent view? Poor people piss me off sometimes. (image courtesy of lady friend)

Some dumb orchid in the Conservatory.

A hotshot young photog points and shoots. (image courtesy of lady friend)


Aaron said...

Ah, I thought "milkshake" before I even got to the word. I've been trying to explain the allure of "I drink your milkshake!" to Mara for weeks. I think she just needs to break down and see the damn movie.

Stupid orchids.

Allie said...

Sounds like a damn good day.

I put ketchup on sweet potato fries too. It's good.

Great pictures!

em said...


I used to work in Hot Springs, and that drive was always heaven to me. I love the French Broad.

Also, I have never been to the Biltmore, so I enjoyed the pics.

When I was a bartender in Ann Arbor, we had a crazy regular named Reverend Ron. He was not a reverend. But he was from Asheville. When he found out I was moving South, he would say to me at least twice a day, "Do you know why they call it the Biltmore?! Because they BUILT MORE!!!" Every day.

Dianne said...

Ah the Biltmore Estate! I haven't been in years, in fact I lived in Knoxville too the last time I went and I left there in 1997. Most likely it was in 1994 or 1995. Great pictures!

nancypearlwannabe said...

Yeah, I kept thinking, "I DRINK YOUR MILKSHAKE" the whole post. It was kind of distracting, in an awesome way.

Courtney said...

Does that house make my ass look big?

Meaghan said...

Glad you finally got to go! That house definitely seems excessive, but eh, nice to see. I really like the last photo!

Stefanie said...

Sweet potato fries are tasty enough that I can't imagine ketchup would ruin them.

Also, I'm too distracted by the "beautiful spring-like weather" part to comment on much else. It's three degrees here today. Winter? We are done with you. Move along.

Noelle said...

I kind of got the milkshake thing in the way that I read a lot of blogs, but haven't yet seen the movie.

I have to chime in here that I also put ketchup on sweet potato fries, unless I get them at the diner near me where they are served with a topping that is 1/2 mayo and 1/2 mustard. I had that twice last month, and I'm starting to see why I gained weight.

For the record, I'm always down with architectural detail.

Mickey said...

aaron- I knew someone would get it, and certainly you.

allie- It was a great day. And sweet potato fries are going to be the new chicken fingers or chipotle: everyone will have them.

em- I was wondering where you got your affinity for Hot Springs. I wish people called me Reverend. That would just be cool.

dianne- Thank you! And a former Knoxvillian, too!

npw- Well, shoot. I didn't even write that line.

courtney- So close! I think what you meant was "does my ass make that house look big?" Funnier, right?

meaghan- Thank you for complimenting somebody else's photo.

stefanie- But I bet MN will be beautiful in another 2 or 3 months. Hang in there! Or go play pond hockey!

Mickey said...

noelle- I just take them straight-up. Your mayo and mustard combo sounds like it would work, though. And thank you for being down.

The Modern Gal said...

"She takes them with ketchup, though. Strange."

As evidenced by some of the previous comments, I'd say not so strange. (I love them with ketchup)

Mickey said...

modern gal- So everyone but me eats them with ketchup! Great! (sorry to single you out; it's a critical mass thing)

It's funny how there's always one thing in a post, usually something unintended, that garners the most discussion. And I actually deleted the first picture once before deciding to add it back on.

Anonymous said...

i agree, flowers are dumb.

Chris said...

I'm with you Mickey. No ketchup on sweet potato fries. They just needed to be salted while still hot and slightly greasy (so it sticks).

Aaron said...

I need to jump back in here and say not only do sweet potato fries not need condiments where this blogger is concerned, I just finished eating some. Yum.

Mickey said...

survivingmyself- Have a heart, man.

chris- That sounds about right.

aaron- My thoughts exactly. And next time, bring enough for the rest of the class, please.

J-Money said...

When I saw that movie, all I could think about was the damn Biltmore Estate.

Thank you for making me feel better about it.

Jacob said...

Dig the sweet potato fries, but I don't really need the ketchup. It's not a revolting practice, just seems unneeded to me. French fries=bland sans ketchup. Sweet Potato fries are perfectly tasty on their own.

My dad puts ketchup on steak. Even good steak, so Courtney little side dish quirk is nothing, really.

I love Asheville in general. I think I could live there or in the nearby hills easily, but I think it's too touristy for cheap land and home prices. Some good local breweries, though. Biltmore was cool. I'd love to have a bowling alley in my basement. I'd settle for just room and money for a full-size pool table and air hockey table.

sid said...

that orchid is frigging amazing. i'm stealing it.

Julie said...

I hope you think I shunned your blog for a couple weeks based on the fact that you associate with people who put ketchup on their sweet potato fries. I like ketchup a lot but even I don't do that.

Otherwise, congratulations on remembering a camera and using it. I find that mine's so small I don't always remember I have it. Totally a bummer considering how much I enjoy photos.