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Indiana State Fair 2017 Photos #5: Last Call for Food, Non-Eating Division

Chinese Dragon!

I’m not sure this Chinese dragon is meant specifically to be Mushu from Disney’s Mulan, but we can pretend anyway.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians that other people love, and farm animals competing for cash prizes and herd bragging rights. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. Usually we’re all about the food.

…though not all the foods on hand were meant for immediate consumption. In particular, the Agriculture-Horticulture Building is one of the fairground’s premier showcases for produce competitions. Fruits, veggies, bee honey, and other locally grown fare face off for bragging rights of size, quality, and creativity. None of them is showier than the annual can sculpture contest, which we find ourselves photographing year-in-year-out and finding that while some shapes are readily apparent, some are harder to discern till we squash them down to screen size…like so.

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Indiana State Fair 2017 Photos #3: Breadbaskets Beyond Our Borders

Vertical Farming!

Hydroponics: the wave of the future! That’s what scientists have been trying to tell us since I was a kid, anyway. Are we finally getting on that yet?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians that other people love, and farm animals competing for cash prizes and herd bragging rights. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. Usually we’re all about the food.

…and, in a bit of a bold departure for our State Fair, this time it’s not all about Hoosier crops and recipes. In collaboration with Manhattan’s own American Museum of Natural History, this year our fair presents a special exhibit called “Our Global Kitchen: Food, Nature, Culture” — an in-depth look at how other countries and cultures, past and present, view and prepare ingredients and meals from farm to table and all the unique processes in between. Because this year at the fair, there’s more than corn in Indiana.

(Slight in-joke for the locals out there.)

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Indiana State Fair 2017 Photos #2: Our Year in Food

Deep Fried BBQ Bacon!

Deep Fried BBQ Bacon: because not all State Fair cuisine needs to be complex.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians that other people love, and farm animals competing for cash prizes and herd bragging rights. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. Usually we’re all about the food.

…and so we were, for as long as we had room to fit in more food. My biggest regret is that we aren’t athletic enough to have needed eight thousand calories a day and therefore couldn’t try all of this year’s new “Taste of the Fair” dishes offered by various vendors around the fairgrounds. Heck, we weren’t even done trying all of 2016’s new dishes.

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Diners, Drive-Bys & Droids: Our FandomFest 2017 Outtakes

Droid Heads!

At left: astromech droid guts. At right: droid head made from 3-D printer parts. Droid head tech has leapt forward parsecs since George Lucas’ day.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: last Saturday my wife Anne and I took a two-hour jaunt from Indianapolis to Louisville, KY, to check out FandomFest, the twelfth iteration to what some local fans consider the twelfth circle of Hell. I’d otherwise rather not rehash the prologue, Part One, or Part Two, so for anyone who didn’t read those entries or peruse the cosplay gallery, the TL;DR version is much of the weekend could’ve gone a lot better, but it wasn’t an irredeemable waste.

Not everything we encountered Saturday seemed to fit neatly into the MCC FandomFest Trilogy. Before we return to our regular scheduled programming — by which I mean our 2017 road trip series and three backlogged movie entries, among the occasional digressions of my wandering attention — here’s a look back at three mini-galleries that didn’t involve talented cosplayers or the skeletal remains of Macy’s, Inc.

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Our 2017 Road Trip #3: Mountain State Mealtime

Gouda Riddance!

Behold a burrito called Gouda Riddance — turkey, Gouda cheese, basil pesto, lettuce, and roma tomatoes. Not exactly Mexican fare…

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

One fun part of traveling with my wife is hunting for local restaurants that aren’t nationwide chains. We’re not five-star gourmands by any means, but if we step foot inside a Subway, I reserve the right to terminate the vacation and drive us directly home that instant. To their credit, West Virginia in general and Morgantown in particular offered a pair of smaller companies with few locations and big ideas on better, affordable cuisine.

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Not Put Asunder, 13 Years and Counting

Aquarium Us!

Ho ho ho, the flimsy Photoshop dolphins think it’s hilarious that we’re miming being trapped in a giant glass tank. THAT’S NOT MIME. WE ARE DROWNING. PLEASE SAVE US, YOU HEARTLESS FLOATING HOT DOGS WITH MUDFLAPS.

Above is a teaser image from our 2017 road trip, courtesy of the National Aquarium in Baltimore, where my lovely wife Anne and I had the pleasure of spending a few days and not getting murdered despite what you hear on TV.

We’ve known each other for nearly thirty years next month. We’ve been married for thirteen years as of this very Monday. Vacation photos and jazz hands are just two of the many cornerstones of our relationship — not the most important ones, mind you, and certainly not the hardest ones to achieve. But when your never-ending process of maintaining and streamlining the critical factors is kept on track, it frees up your mental space to indulge in the happier shared whims. If the process yields fun tangible souvenirs like this one, so much the better and the merrier.

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