The Travel Hovel

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Oegyein

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I wonder if I can feed this video into an AI art generator and have it spit out a Homestuck animation in the same style I mean, thanks for sharing your greatest fears with us!
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Oegyein

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I wonder if I can feed this video into an AI art generator and have it spit out a Homestuck animation in the same style I mean, thanks for sharing your greatest fears with us!
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Oegyein

Wanted alien fugitive
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Oegyein

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Well I'll tell you where the other strange-upside-down-lander is right now


... Alabama.

Because the legal age to rent a car is 19.

And I've been driving.

On the right side of the road.

It's amazing.


Alabama has some amazing country roads, second only to what I've seen in Texas (In y honest professional opinion), lined with what I assume are cedar trees. I wish I could show y'all photos, but I can't take any... cuz I'm driving... And I'm responsible... I think.

But I WILL show photos of where I've visited! (And unlike Tee, I will go into deep, agonizing depth.)

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Here I am in Vulcan Park, in front of a statue of the Roman god Vulcan, signifying the strong industrial growth from Birmingham's booming iron industry in it's earlier days. Fun fact, a lot of the US's military equipment during World war II was built with iron from Birmingham mines, which helped pull the city out of the great depression.

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This is a bar and grill in Birmingham called Jim'n'Nicks, which had the best cheese biscuits I've had to date. Waiter was incredibly polite and offered amazing service. Gave him a $5 tip.

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Here I am in American Village, Montevallo. It's sorta like a museum campus themed around colonial America which, to my Americanophile self, was like going to Disneyland on another planet and being given a million dollars. Saw a live performance of Martha Washington's reaction to her husband being elected commander in chief of the Continental Army in 1775, and her daughter in law explaining the time period's clothing, which was far more interesting than I expected it to be.
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And here I am in Washington DC in the Oval Office after being elected president (just kidding, American Village also had a 1:1 recreation). I wash shocked to learn that portraits of Hamilton and Jefferson weren't added until the Trump administration. I figured they'd have been included way before the 1900s.

I could go on forever about American Village, but I'll sum it up before I do. They had a lovely veterans memorial, and an amazing chapel, both very reverent and respectful to their subjects of focus, and adorned with many paintings of revolutionary war figures. There was this museum with little dioramas of relative events, from as early as America's discovery to as recent as the moon landing. It included 32 of the presidents and first ladies in one final diorama (yes, I counted.)

And finally there was a cast iron replica of the liberty bell in Philadelphia

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It stood before a brick tile floor in the appearance of the union jack, surrounded by the bill of rights, dissected by article and evenly spaced around the edges.

Above all else, my favorite part was how into the whole experience the staff were. No one seemed bored or sick of rehearsing the same lines to visitors and school children, they seemed to have a genuine passion for American history.

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I then headed south for Montgomery and got distracted by a different attraction: the confederate memorial park. The main building is a museum devoted to injured and martyred southern soldiers, and once served as a home for injured soldiers and their families or widows.

I loathe that I never got a photo of the outside of the building, but it was a beautiful house.


I'm still here for a couple of days, but I'll be checking out Georgia and Mississippi soon!
 

Zules

maybe Exvulnerum wasn't a mistake
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@Oegyein Really cool! Thanks for sharing! That Oval Office picture is a winner, haha.

Driving through Alabama is some of the prettiest scenery I've ever experienced.
 

Oegyein

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Heading back to Texas tomorrow because I miss Esther but also because that's when my flight is booked for, so here's a summary of my little sojourn to the deep south.

Day one I spent in Birmingham, and enjoyed driving in America by myself for the first time. Took me a while getting used to everything, but some practice in Texas prior (plus a 6+ hour learners course) helped some.

I checked out Vulcan Park which is awesome and I recommend checking out if you happen to be in B-Ham, but also checked out Linn park, which sucked because: a) it was a meh experience, but b) because it COULD'VE been a good experience. There were some water features that were drained that day, plus there were a ton of those e-scooters and bikes left everywhere.

There also seemed to be a permanent homeless encampment in an otherwise nice looking gazebo. That said, the courthouse it was attached to had some really nice sakura trees adorning the sides.

Had dinner at a restaurant called Jim'n'Nicks and, if you take nothing else from my tales of Day 1 in Alabama understand this, I HIGHLY recommend this place. Barbecue was gorgeous, succulent, and flavorful. Staff was polite, friendly, and probably not as flavorful. The shining star of the night, however, was the cheesy corn muffins. They were moist like cake, and tasted like angels descended from heaven decided to start a corn farm in Kansas, ground the corn themselves with a heavenly corn mill, mixed it with buttermilk from a cow that had starred in a John Wayne film, then baked upon fires lit by one of Clint Eastwood's cigars, using an old chuck wagon as tinder and wood.

I gave a $5 tip to an otherwise $15 dollar meal.



Day 2 is perhaps my favorite day. I had plans to head down to Montgomery and check out some old historical confederate sites (I'm a big civil war nerd ever since I watched The Outlaw Josey Wales, good movie, I recommend giving it a watch). Instead, I got distracted by something along the way. "American Village". It was a park designed to look like an old Colonial civilization, featuring replicas of historical buildings, such as George Washington's house, the Oval Office, the meeting room of the founding fathers, and a ton more. Basically anything that didn't have a sign saying otherwise was open the public, and would have been super immersive had I not shown up dressed like vaquero. What was supposed to be an hour long visit wound up being almost all day. Ended up at a nearby civil war museum which included models and cross sections of Union and Confederate artillery.

Dinner that night was at SAW's Soul Food. Again, another recommendation. Barbecue and everything was great, but what made it amazing was that it was lovingly placed upon a pillow of cheese grits and collard greens. Lady at the register seemed to think I had been there before. Funnily enough, a number of business seemed to think I was a local, not by virtue of how I talked or acted, but apparently they recognized me. Maybe I have an Alabamian doppelganger. Someone help me track him down so I can steal his credit card information and identity.

After a day like Day 2, it can only go downhill from there... mostly. Day 3 I was possessed to travel all the way to Georgia, for two reasons. Reason one is simple: "I'm a traveller, I want to travel. I want to see as many US states as I can before I'm banished back to Australialand".

Reason two is... as follows:
I have a coworker. I don't know how and I don't know why, but one day I got "The devil went down to Georgia" stuck in his head. Ever since then, it's become a running inside joke one of us (pretty much me) reminds the other of the song via singing a line or two or three or the whole thing and getting it stuck in their head for the rest of the day, sorta like making someone lose "The Game" (I'm sorry). So reason two was entirely to call him from Georgia, knowing he'd be on break at work, and getting him via actually going down to Georgia. I could only have done this better had I brought my violin with me, but extra checked baggage is 65 bucks a pop.

I drive as far as La Grange when I decide to turn around, and this is where I messed up.

I pull into a dairy queen to use the bathroom, knowing it'd be about a 2 hour trip back. As I leave, I forget where in the world I am and try to leave the parking lot on the left side. As I remember I'm in Freedomland, I sorta frazzled myself something awful when I try to reverse and back out the other way. La Grange DQ is tiny, and it's carpark is even smaller. Suddenly other cars try to enter the Carpark because they're greedy little goblins wanting their milkshakes and I feel pressured to speed things up so as to not inconvenience anyone more than I already am. My focus shifting from the oncoming milkshake addicts, my trying to redshift to American roads, and figuring out where I need to move my car, I bump into the car behind me.

I freak out, try to find somewhere to park out of the way so I can get out and assess the damage I caused, and it looks like I'm trying to pull a hit and run.

The dude I bumped into was a HUGE 6 ft dude with his daughter who was probably just trying to treat his kid somewhere nice. Thankfully the damage was all paint, but I freaked out about how much worse it could have been. I'm glad I took out insurance before I rented the car, even though I was convinced I didn't need it.

I'm unable to do much but drive, heading back to Birmingham. I can barely think or talk to myself, I entirely distract myself with the road. I can't even rage at the cars which, aside from that afternoon, I did a lot of. I pretty much skip dinner that night and satiate myself with thoughts of what a terrible person I am.

Aight, dark thoughts aside, people here suck at driving. I'm not sure how far this phenomenon spreads, but from Birmingham to Georgia, every single person I met on the road seems to have no idea how speed limits work. Mississippi (and a good chunk of far west Alabama) were actually pretty good, but I assume it's because I took country backroads most of the time. Esther assures me people in Texas are like that too, but I'm allowing my yellow-rose-of-texas tinted glasses prevent me from noticing it until I live there permanently.

Day 4 I pretty much knew I overstayed my welcome. The driving situation kinda tired me out, having to unsuccessfully ignore LITERAL TRUCKS TAILGATING ME BECAUSE I WONT GO 20 OVER THE LIMIT IN THE SLOW LANE. DUDE, JUST GO AROUND. THERE ARE FOUR LANES, AND THIS IS THE ONE FOR PEOPLE GOING UNDER THE LIMIT, AND YOUVE ALREADY GOT ME GOING THE FULL 70 MILES. WHAT DO YOU WANT FROM ME!?!?!

I stopped at a Cracker Barrel in Tuscaloosa for lunch, when I was stopped by an older gentleman speaking a language gifted to him by the purple dragon he seemed to be chasing. Esther gave me a piece of advice before I left: don't talk to strangers. So what did I do?

... I spoke to this stranger.

I understood nothing he was saying, and it only occurred to me a few sentences into his nonsense spiel that he was under the influence of heavy substances and asking me for money. I had no cash on me, so I apologized and he dropped whatever story he was telling me and went on to do the same to the next customer.

I drove all the way to Mississippi. Columbus, specifically. Once I got well away from Birmingham, it was great. Beautiful even. I sang songs with the Heavenly Choir in God's Court. I seem to find a pattern that, the further away I am from big cities, the happier I tend to be. Heck, even people on the road seemed nicer out there.

Went through a few towns, I thought Reform looked really nice, and the open roads were great. Amazingly there was green grass and golden strands of what looked like wheat, disrupted every now and then by pine trees. A few times I passed logging trucks and just rolled down the window to get a whiff of pine. On the rare occasion I'd get stuck in front of an insatiable speed demon who, rather go the speed (or, heaven, slow down and enjoy the natural beauty of this marvelous land), but there was ample opportunity for them to pass. I realize now I've become a jaded and ornery driver. Huh.

Columbus itself was actually I really nice town. Buildings were pleasing to look at and the people seemed incredibly nice, though I did little more than stop at a gas station before heading back.

This time, I took a longer road. Off the interstate and more into the country, and I'm so glad I did. I've seen sights that will stick with me for my entire life.

Words cannot express the pure adoration I have for God's creation upon experiencing the country side as I did, so I shall instead express it in abstract sounds.

AUUUuUGHHHHoooooHAAAAAAAAMAAAMAAMAAGGAAAAAJAGABADABABABA. NAMANAMNAAAAAAAAUUUUUHAAAHAHAUGH. OOOOOGGHHHHUUUGHHHHHHHH. OOOOOOOHHHHIIIIAAAAAAAAYAYAAYAAAYAMAMAMAMANALAMAKALA.

Did that come across? No? Just take my word for it then.

... also take a some picture.

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Any who, back in Birmingham, I realize I'm hungry. I hunt down a place that looks nice and head out for dinner. What I didn't realize is that I accidentally stumbled upon Uptown Birmingham. A quick Google search confirmed that the prices of my desired restaurant were indeed reflective of Uptown, so I put away my poor-college-student wallet and started wondering if one of the neighboring restaurants may be cheaper.

By this point, another gentleman like the one from Tuscaloosa knocked on my window and started asking if I remembered him. Knowing full well this wasn't the same man from Tuscaloosa, I indulged him to see what he wanted. He spoke pretty clearly up until the last few syllables of his sentence, which made me realize this man was both high as a kite and looking for money and was pretending to be old friends with me to see if maybe my memory was bad enough to lend an old pal $200 for totally-not-drugs. I am now wondering if my superpower is attracting junkies.

With one potential dinner location off of the table where I keep my options, I gave up on local and decided to find a chickfila, knowing they were my tried and trusted go to when in unfamiliar lands. I hunted down the nearest on on my map and made a beeline for it, only to wind up at some strange tower. Perhaps a mall? Perhaps a business? Either way it was not a fast food restaurant specializing in moist breaded chicken, and it certainly had no clear way of entering, so I changed course for the next chickfila.

... this one was in a university. I couldn't even find it, I just got lost in the campus' parking garage because for a location that pretends to be full of academics no one seems to know how to optimize a parking garage. This is what happens when everyone wants to do liberal arts degrees: No one can get to chickfila and everyone starves because what else are you gonna eat? Burger King? Don't make me laugh.

I head towards the last and final chickfila I can be bothered to find. I double triple quadruple check the location is accessible, that it's open, that it's dine in and drive through. I go all the way there to find...

There is a HUGE line of cars. And they're not there for Chickfila it seems, they're lining up to go through some gazebo to get checked by some dude in a high vis vest. I don't know if this is some kinda police checkpoint obscurely placed in a chickfila parking lot, or of these people are being checked that they are good Christian diners before being allowed in The Lord's fast food restaurant, but I'm hungry and tired and frustrated with the local drivers and don't have the patience to sit in a 30 car line up. I pull into the McDonalds two blocks down and just sorta sit into the parking lot waiting to calm down before I interact with people and accidentally ruin their day. I sit, I calm down, I call Esther, and leave the car to find the front door is shut (even though it's between dine in hours).

I pull into the drive through instead and sit in front of the speaker for a good while realizing that it's been longer than the usual amount of time it takes for a cashier to answer the drive through call. The lady behind me starts calling out to me, telling me to move forward so she can order, while I start calling back that there's no one in the booth.

Eventually a voice comes through, and I order a spicy chicken sandwich... for her to tell me they don't have any. So I order a big Mac with a shake... for them to tell me they have no shakes. Or root beer. Or anything I want, including bottled water. I order a sweet tea instead, and ask for an apple pie... for them to tell me they have no Apple pie. I l e ave it at that and go to the payment window to see some woman, not in a car, just standing in front of the window, harassing the workers, something about not getting her food (which at this point I'm willing to believe), but I'm in a car and she isn't, and I'm hungry and frustrated, and sick of nothing working out for dinner, and not in the mood to deal with whatever this is. I honk, I rev my engine, and try to coerce her out of the drive through because the silly lady forgot that of someone gets in the way of a car they aren't going to loony tunes flatten and then moments later reinflate. Thankfully she moves, only to do the same at the order window. There's cussing between her and the workers, but I sorta shoo her off again. The workers are thankful, and I get my food, and that's the end of that. I get back to my room and start writing this post. Honestly, can't wait to get back to Texas.
Drove around, beautiful roads, I enjoyed Mississippi. Kept getting catfished by chickfila, wound up at McDonald's, and I'm tired.

So this week has certainly been an experience. Here's what I've learnt:

The people in Alabama are really nice, especially the people working, but the minute they get into cars they're my worst nightmare.

Food here is amazing, though it helps to have a plan where to eat. Dont be afraid to travel a little further for somewhere, it's better to have a set plan for dinner than to chase down a chickfila.

I love country driving. My new favorite hobby is getting as far away from the city as possible and driving down hallways of pine and cedar.

THERE IS A LITERAL AMERICAN TOWN DISNEY LAND THING AND I LOVE IT. THE STAFF ARE IN COSTUME, EVERYONE THERE IS SO PASSIONATE ABOUT AMERICAN HISTORY. I LOVE IT SO MUCH.

It's midnight, and I have to get up earlyish tomorrow to drop off the car, but I can't sleep because the... "nice gentlemen" in the room across from me are blasting the worst rap music I've ever heard. I uh... I think I'm done with Birmingham for a long while.
 

BleepBloopBeep

Captain, Professor Maybe? Into Doctor
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If you enjoy American Civil war content may I recommend this series of videos by Atun-shei films:

He does quite a lot of good stuff on his channel some civil war content more just general American history, that series in particular is designed to challenge misconceptions spread post civil war such as the 'lost cause' myth. He's also reviewed at least a couple civil war films (Gettysburg, and Gods and Generals, IIRC). (I recommend this in particular after reading up on the author of the book that the film you made reference to being a former KKK member going so far as to form a paramilitary group originally called 'Original Ku Klux Klan of the Confederacy')

Edit: After rewatching this recently there are cameos of other characters this guy plays in other videos, so if the witchfinder general or a German called Klaus turns up they are part of the extended universe. I still highly recommend giving it a listen.
 
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Val

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Cosmos
Last weekend, I was in Milan, Italy for a convention called Eponafest. I went there with my 2 best friends and had a blast.
Now I'm still tired, suffering from post-con depression, and partial loss of hearing in my left ear.
But it was awesome!
 

Rateus

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Last weekend, I was in Milan, Italy for a convention called Eponafest. I went there with my 2 best friends and had a blast.
Now I'm still tired, suffering from post-con depression, and partial loss of hearing in my left ear.
But it was awesome!
Glad you had fun :)
 

Val

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So, last summer, due to a job transfer, I moved from the boring north of France to the sunny south of France. Which means I now live just 1 hour away from the Pyrénées, the mountain range which serve as the border between France and Spain.
So today I took my motorcycle and went for a ride on the twisty mountain roads.

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All in all, I spent 5 hours on the road, 300 km, and a full tank of gas.
 
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EstherTb

Queen of Hiatuses
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Sitting in the airport waiting for me flight at 640
 

Val

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Fly safe!
 

Oegyein

Wanted alien fugitive
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At the airport now!!!

Expecting Esther anytime between now and in half an hour!
 
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