Saturday, April 25, 2015

Visiting Fort Pulaski

On the Atlantic coast just outside of Savannah you will find Fort Pulaski, once one of the strongest and most defensible military installations in the new United States.

When the Civil War began in 1860 there were only a few soldiers guarding the fort and it was easily seized by the State of Georgia. The Union took back the Fort in 1862 by using rifled cannons which allowed larger shells to be fired from a greater distance. The Union could plant their cannons on Tybee Island and fire on the fort without any danger of receiving fire back. The siege lasted 12 days and by the end it had made brick fortifications obsolete.

While we visited the fort the staff did a firing demonstrations of cannons that were rifled and not-rifled. You could tell by the sound just how much more powerful the rifled cannons were.

Here's the view of the Atlantic Ocean from the top of Fort Pulaski's ramparts. While we were there a huge tanker ship floated by from the Port of Savannah.

The fort of course is named after the Polish hero of the Revolutionary War, Casimir Pulaski, who was killed at the Battle of Savannah and I'll be sharing photos of the monument dedicated to him in Savannah in my next post.

Monday, April 20, 2015

The Pencil

My favorite building in downtown Atlanta is called the Pencil Building which is the nickname for the rather boringly named Bank of America Plaza.  It is the 10th tallest building in the United States, the tallest building in a state capital, and the tallest building that isn't standing in New York or Los Angeles. This is the view of The Pencil from the World of Coca-Cola museum.

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Visiting The Coral Castle In Homestead, FL

When Laura and I were talking about what to visit when we were down in South Florida she suggested we stop in Homestead, FL and visit the Coral Castle. My initial reaction was "visit the what now?"

At the time I should have known but this castle made of coral had a Latvian connection. It turns out the Coral Castle was built by one man, Edward Leedskalnin, over the course of two decades.

He fell in love in Latvia but was left at the altar. Edward left Latvia for America and worked in the lumber industry before eventually buying land in Florida in 1919. Over the next several years he began carving huge sections of coral that would slowly turn into a castle constructed in the honor of his lost Latvian love. 

Admission to the castle was a dime initially and today it's $15. 

If you dig deep enough under the soil in South Florida and you will find coral.. We were told during our tour that the area around Homestead has never been able to be used for farming because of the coral base of the land.

Here is the view from one side of the castle to the other. The middle is filled with many monuments and even some tables and thrones carved out of coral.

There are many astrological symbols as well.

A fountain with the Latvian auseklis symbol in the middle. I know Laura, being fluent in Latvian, wanted to take control of the tour anytime our guide would say something about Latvian culture and sometimes incorrectly.

One of the more interesting pieces was a sun dial. 

And here's a view from outside the Castle at the back wall. You'll notice there is a door in the middle of the wall and that vertical piece was listed as weighing nine tons. You might wonder how a single man could maneuver such large pieces of coral into place and I can't finish a post on the Coral Castle without noting some of the mystery surrounding it. It's said that as Leedskalnin built it he would do so late at night and people rarely saw pieces moved into place. Remember this was in the 1920's and 30's and so large moving equipment simply didn't exist yet and whenever he would be asked to show his construction methods he would decline and say that he knew the secrets of construction that the people who built the Pyramids knew. That along with his thoughts on magnetism create a scenario in which The Coral Castle has become a destination for fans of the creepy and mystical.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Someone At The 8th Air Force Museum Has A Sense Of Humor

As you would expect, situated all throughout the 8th Air Force Museum are  great propaganda posters from World War II that ask the viewer to possibly joining the armed forces, buy war bonds, or keep your lips zipped to stop the spread of classified information. You'll even find some in the restrooms and you've realize someone at the 8th Air Force Museum has a sense of humor as you read "let's be our own inspectors" standing in front of the urinal. 

Or when you turn around and are greeted with this poster. We've all asked ourselves this question leaving a bathroom stall haven't we?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Cranes of Savannah

When we lived in Seattle I was always amazed by the huge cranes that inhabit the city's port area just south of downtown. While we were visiting Savannah we took a brief drive over to South Carolina and on our drive back we noticed the gigantic cranes that serve the Savannah port. The port is north of the city and if you just visit Savannah's favorite tourist spots you would never even know that they are there unpacking the huge container ships that arrive.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Savage Pizza's Marvel Art

To the east of downtown Atlanta you can find a nice little neighborhood called Little Five Points that reminds me of the State Street area of Madison or the Uptown area of Minneapolis. Lots of little shops, a college town feel, and definitely some bearded hipsters hanging at coffee shops.

One restaurant in the neighborhood I've been interested to try was Savage Pizza since the first time we drove by and I noticed the Marvel Comics themed artwork on the outside. That's an X-Men Sentinel blasting some pepperoni out of its hands over the store's logo.

On the front window you can find Marvel's god-like characters The Celestials. In the Marvel Universe they had a hand in shaping and advancing mankind on Earth. No one has seen what the Celestials like under their armor.

Another mural on the front glass features The Mighty Thor battling his step-brother Loki.

 My overall favorite piece was this Doctor Strange painting inside the restaurant. Of all the upcoming Marvel movies I think I am most excited about Doctor Strange headed to a theater near you November 4th, 2016.

During my visit I had some garlic bread sticks and an Italian submarine sandwich. Both were excellent but I think I'll try some pizza the next time around. 

Another shop in the Little Five Points area is Videodrome which is video store that has somehow been able to survive in the digital age. If I lived closer to the store I am sure I would be a regular as I loved Scarecrow Video when we lived in Seattle.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

We Took A Ride Into The Danger Zone!

Somewhere along the southern edge of Georgia, Laura and I briefly slipped into The Danger Zone!

It's interesting to see how close you can get to The Danger Zone without actually ever being in the Danger Zone! 

And this post wouldn't be complete without Kenny Loggins' amazing video. 

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Marvel With A Mango: Matecumbe Mahi-Mahi

During our time in Florida we took one day and went all the way down to the tip of the state and visited Key Largo and the Florida Keys. We toyed with the idea of driving all the way down to Key West but we decided on saving that for another trip. While in Key Largo we wanted to try some fresh fish and we stopped at The Fish House Restaurant for lunch. The waiter recommended the mahi-mahi done in a style called matecumbe and I went with that. Mahi-mahi is a tropical fish that averages 15-30 pounds and in the matecumbe style it is cooked with tomatoes, shallots, capers, olive oil, and lemon juice.

It was a great dish and afterward we shared a piece of key lime pie that had been on our mind for a few days.

That's a fin you could expect to see off the coast of Florida.

Sunday, April 5, 2015

What It Was All About

Use My Camera was born when I moved with my wife to Ukraine and later Latvia for a year  to conduct research for her dissertation. We had a lot of adventures over that time that I've documented here but she really had to a lot of work while we were there. She interviewed many people in both countries and tried to meet as many elected officials as possible. She finished her dissertation in July 2014 and we recently received a hard bound copy of all her work! 

I'm so proud of her and all that she has accomplished! 

Saturday, April 4, 2015

Robert Is Here Fruit Stand

While driving to and from the Everglades we drove passed a bunch of parked cars at a stand that had a rather unique phrase printed on top of their building, Robert Is Here. It was odd in that there weren't too many people around as we were so close to the National Park but what we came to see was a fruit stand was very, very busy. On our way back out of the Everglades we had to stop and take a look for ourselves.

The stand had such amazing and gigantic fruit. Some which I'm not sure I've seen in person before.

Mangoes, mangoes, mangoes!

These are soursop/guanabana which has a white fruit inside the green skin and is said to taste like pineapple and banana continued.

The name "Robert Is Here" comes from the founder of the fruit stand who started selling fruit from his dad's farm on the same spot the shop is located today when he was six years old. Robert's father made a sign reading "Robert Is Here" that he could put out when he was there selling his fruit and he's been using the name ever since.

These are avocados believe it or not. 

I'm embarrassed to say I had no idea key lime pie was not made with regular limes but a separate fruit called.....the key lime.

And then there is the ugli fruit which is a hybrid of an orange, grapefruit, and a tangerine in a disturbing shell.

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Marvel With A Mango: Visiting Bagel With A Schmear In Boca Raton

Last week found us in Boca Raton, Florida for a few days and on the first day we were excited to find an Einstein Bagels shop on our first drive downtown. Einstein's is a favorite of Laura's and we haven't been able to find one since moving to Atlanta. The next morning I did a search for bagel shops around town and struck gold in Bagel Wit A Schmear...the name says it all.

It was love at first sight for Laura when she saw the sign behind the counter. The bagels were of course amazingly fresh.

The bagel sandwiches all had interesting names but my particular sandwich name escapes me. It was pastrami, fried egg, tomato, and cheese on an everything bagel. It was so delicious I've made it my blog's logo for the immediate future.

Bagel Wit A Schmear will definitely get a return visit next time we are in South Florida.