Month: July 2011

4 Days at Dragon*Con, the Full Documentary

So during last year’s Dragon*Con Countdown I posted about a documentary called 4 Days at Dragon*Con. The documentary was filmed during Dragon*Con 2009 by some members of Atlanta’s PBS affiliate.  The special has aired on a few PBS affiliates around the country but it hadn’t aired here in Chapel Hill.  Luckily some kind soul posted it on the internet recently.  I spread the link via Facebook and then got on with my day, figuring I’d watch the documentary later that evening.

Then I get a message from Marc, one of my fellow Dragon*Coners.  Evidently Jon and I make an appearance in this Dragon*Con documentary.  At 36 minutes you can see our backs, bustling about in the Steampunk Dance Party.  But at 36 minutes, 10 seconds you get the money shot: a ridiculous series of rapidly edited shots of us dancing.  At this point I’ve probably watched it twenty times.  I have such geek pride.  I made it into the Dragon*Con documentary!

I distinctly remember the Steampunk Dance Party from 2009, by the way.  I remember seeing a camera on one side of the dance floor and thinking to myself, “BITCH, YOU BETTER WORK.”  I tore up that dance floor because I am a narcissist and I wanted to be on camera.  However, I thought it was a still camera (it was dark and I was a little drunk, what can I say) and I also figured it was just Dragon*Con staff documenting the convention for Dragon*Con’s website.  Oh how wrong I was–but how right of me to tear up the floor!  I’m a star y’all!

Here’s the link so you can watch the documentary: 4 Days at Dragon*ConYou should totally watch the whole thing, as it is only an hour, and a very entertaining hour at that.  However, if you just want to watch my moment of glory go ahead and fast-forward to about 36 minutes.  Then sit back and enjoy the victory.

Dragon*Con 2011, so soon y’all!

Bristol Caverns

After braving the Snake we headed straight for the Bristol Caverns.  We purchased two tickets into the caverns at a gift shop that probably hasn’t been renovated since the 1970s and soon were heading to the cave entrance.  We had a small group, just four people.  The group after ours had 20+ including some kids–we lucked out!

Our guide marched us along a short trail through the woods, pausing to show us a hole in the ground that had been used by Native Americans fleeing the white man back in the 1800s.   The Native Americans used to slip through the hole and into the caves, using vines to climb 180+ feet along slippery, wet walls to the cave floor below.  Terrifying!


Mountain City and the Snake

Friday morning we awoke refreshed and restored from the previous-day’s off-roading adventure.  A large and delicious breakfast cooked by Vikki (pictures here if you need your memory refreshed) fortified us for the day’s adventures.

We decided to drive to Bristol, on the border of Tennessee and Virginia, to visit the Bristol Caverns.  We headed there by way of Mountain City and decided to stop in the town for lunch.  Mountain City is one of those places that appears untouched by time and its center is a tiny Main Street where most of the stores only took cash.  One of the shopkeepers, whose antique store and real estate business occupied the same space, went on and on about how the town was stuck in the 1950s and how he loved it.  While the 1950s had plenty of charm, I’m sure, I’m very happy to be firmly planted in 2011. Credit card machines are good.  As is the internet.

The town was prepping for their annual Sunflower Festival, but we didn’t return to check it out.  Too many things to do!



One of the places Vikki, the innkeeper at the Iron Mountain Inn, recommended for us to eat was Monsoon, a Thai restaurant about ten minutes away from the Iron Mountain Inn on Highway 67.  Butler, Tennessee, might not seem like the optimal place to find authentic Thai food, but we were pleasantly surprised.  We had two great meals there and I am really pleased to be able to recommend the restaurant to you.

The restaurant is recognizable by its purple sign.  It used to have a much less flashy sign, but both it and the restaurant were damaged by the tornadoes that went through the area in April, and the owner took the opportunity to give herself a signage upgrade.

The place is quite literally a shack, but don’t let that scare you.  The inside is bare bones but homey and decorated with lots of photographs, trinkets, and paper lanterns. Out back is an herb garden where the owner grows thai basil, hot red peppers, and other ingredients for her dishes.


The Iron Mountain Inn

We were definitely relieved when we crossed into Butler, Tennessee and started along the rambling farmlands leading up to the Iron Mountain Inn.  We passed many farms and some gorgeous mountain vistas during this part of the drive.

Earlier this year LivingSocial posted a deal for two nights at the Iron Mountain Inn, with breakfast included both mornings and dinner included one night.  I’d been wanting to take a getaway weekend vacation for a bit and so I jumped on the deal.  I’m not sure Vikki, the innkeeper, was prepared for the onslaught of interest she received from LivingSocial!  It took me a bit to finally track someone down to make a reservation and in May I was told that the weekend in June I’d reserved had been double-booked.  Luckily it wasn’t a huge issue for us to change weekends, and Vikki was kind enough to throw in a free night for our troubles.  The inn had great reviews on TripAdvisor, so I was hoping that the reservation confusion would be the only inconvenience regarding our stay.

Luckily I was right and we had no other issues with the inn.  Vikki runs the whole operation by herself, so it is understandable that there’d be some issues with all the reservations.  If she does another LivingSocial deal in the future she should totally hire someone to help her out.  The Iron Mountain Inn itself, however, was gorgeous and relaxing!