Our 2022 Road Trip #8: Stylin’ Syracuse Sustenance

Korean Breakfast Corn Dog!

These treats were billed as Korean Breakfast Corn Dogs — dipped in Cinnamon Toast Crunch pancake batter, drizzled with a hot honey ‘n’ sweet cream sauce,

Not all the food we had on this trip need to be raised on their own commemorative pedestals, but Syracuse, NY, earned bonus points for providing us with not one, but two of the best meals of the week. That’s worth a single-entry shout-out.

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Our 2022 Road Trip #1: The Accidental Convention

Schwarzenegger and Anne!

Dey are Arnie und Anne, und dey are going to pump [*CLAP*] you up!

Since 1999 Anne and I have taken one road trip each year to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. We grew up in families that couldn’t afford annual out-of-state vacations. We’re geeks more accustomed to vicarious life through the windows of pop culture than through in-person adventures. After years of contenting ourselves with everyday life in Indianapolis and any surrounding areas that also had comics and toy shops, we chucked some of our self-imposed limitations and resolved as a team to leave the comforts of home for annual chances to see creative, exciting, breathtaking, outlandish, and/or bewildering new sights in states beyond our own, from the horizons of nature to the limits of imagination, from history’s greatest hits to humanity’s deepest regrets and the sometimes quotidian, sometimes quirky stopovers in between.

We’re the Goldens. This is who we are and what we do.

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Indiana State Fair 2022 Photos, Part 1 of 6: Our Year in Food

pickle pizza and me!

Presenting the winner of this year’s Taste of the Fair competition. No, not me.

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 either nearly or formerly popular, and farm animals competing for cash prizes without their knowledge. 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. On Thursdays they have “$3 Thursday” specials, for which every food vendor joins in the sale with at least one item for that price, whether it’s a smaller portion of an existing item or a chintzy, non-special soft drink. Above and beyond that, each year a new lineup of “Taste of the Fair” offerings showcases new ideas from assorted stands in hopes of luring in foodies and/or impressing attendees who want to do more every year than simply eating the same corn dog again and again and again and again and again and again and again and again. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. The lineup is announced weeks in advance so everyone can plan their meals and experiments accordingly. Every year, some vendors are more ambitious than others — arguably even more so this year, mired as we are in the current inflationary era where gambling on new products can kill your bottom line if you’re not careful. But at least some tried.

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 7 of 8: The Atlanta Outtakes

Atlanta light pollution!

New adventures in Atlanta light pollution.

Last time in Atlanta we allowed a full-length vacation for the opportunity to explore its major institutions, roadside attractions, and grade-A restaurants. The encore presentation was scheduled on a much more compressed timeline for the sake of saving money and conserving our vacation days. That meant seeing less of the city outside our Dragon Con experience, but we caught new glimpses here and there.

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 6 of 8: A Taste of Tennessee

Goat burger!

A most righteous burger alongside a side dish that looks like a sandwich that got mugged and had its bread stolen. It tasted better than it looks.

Chapters 6 and 8 are short, easy ones to scroll through by design. This one’s meant to celebrate The Second-Best Meal We Had on This Trip. Longtime MCC readers who followed our last two Dragon Con trips — or, for that matter, anyone who’s been to D*C themselves — knows full well no one tops Aviva by Kameel. Anne suggests I should call this micro-mini-gallery The Best Meal We Had on This Trip at a Place We’d Never Been to Before, but that’s just too awkward, even by my standards.

My secondary objective was to highlight the nice place we found in Tennessee. Hence the title. However, I made the mistake of fact-checking a few minutes ago and discovered it’s part of a small chain, not the local independent stalwart we’d assumed it was. And the chain isn’t even based in Tennessee. Clearly this entry was never meant to be a winner, but I maintain it is meant at least to exist. On we go, then.

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The Road to Dragon Con 2021, Part 2 of 8: Sweets for Your Sweet

candy jars!

With apologies to our readers who can’t overdose on sugar.

Pretend we open here with an overture medley of “The Candy Man”, “I Want Candy”, “Pure Imagination”, “Sugar, Sugar”, “Pour Some Sugar on Me”, “Lollipop” by the Chordettes, “Good Ship Lollipop”, and the old Hershey’s Kisses bell-jingling rendition of “We Wish You a Merry Christmas”. Extra credit if you also remember that time Iggy Pop sang a duet called “Candy” with Kate Pierson from the B-52s. Extra demerits if you think it’s funny to say Candyman’s name three times. IT’S NOT FUNNY, YOU GUYS.

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Not Put Asunder, 18 Years and Counting

Thanos and Us!

Anne and me and an intergalactic madman makes three.

It’s that time again! Another year of shockingly blissful marriage to the amazing Anne, another anniversary dinner to celebrate, and another completely unrelated lead image.

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Happy Birthday, Captain Janeway: A Fantabulous 50s Coda

Anne and Captain Janeway!

Anne wasn’t born in May, but she gets to be the lead photo because she’s cuter.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In addition to our annual road trips, my wife Anne and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a short-term road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas we’ve never experienced before. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

I’ve just now lived to see 50, and after weeks of research and indecision, we planned an overnight journey to the next state over, to the capital city of Columbus, Ohio, which had cool stuff that this now-fiftysomething geek wanted to see. Columbus, then, would be the setting for our first outing together as quintagenarians…

…and then we returned home and all lived happily ever after. But the birthday celebration didn’t quite stop there as it should’ve. The following weekend, we took my mom down to southern Indiana to visit family, a semiannual jaunt for us because long drives are no longer her thing. Due to scheduling issues, Mom and I hadn’t made time to hang out for my birthday as we normally do. So we made that time — we did the visiting, we treated her to dinner, and we crossed a high-priority geek sightseeing item off our to-do list, which gave her a rare chance to tag along for one of these weird little jaunts she sees us posting about sometimes on Facebook.

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The Fantabulous 50s Weekend, Part 8: The Columbus Cuisine Collection

Paella Barcelona!

Paella Barcelona: a party for the palate containing chicken, shrimp, chorizo, calamari, clams, mussels, and more, more, more.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In addition to our annual road trips, my wife Anne and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a short-term road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas we’ve never experienced before. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

I’ve just now lived to see 50, and after weeks of research and indecision, we planned an overnight journey to the next state over, to the capital city of Columbus, Ohio, which had cool stuff that this now-fiftysomething geek wanted to see. Columbus, then, would be the setting for our first outing together as quintagenarians…

As with all our road trips, mention must inevitably be made of the culinary experiences. We don’t use the “foodie” label explicitly, whose baggage includes an implication of a lifestyle chic enough to afford and live on 21 fancy dishes a week. We tend to suppress our desires to try Something Different — fueled in part by our longtime Chopped viewership — until special occasions come up, such as this very two-day birthday outing. Columbus had no shortage of options waiting for us.

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The 2021 Birthday at Newfields, Part 2 of 2: Arts of a Whole

LOVE jazz hands!

The birthday gal and this writer in front of a replica of Robert Indiana’s iconic Love, which I’m pretty sure used to be on the art museum lawn.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

In addition to our annual road trips, my wife Anne and I have a twice-yearly tradition of spending our respective birthdays together traveling to some new place or attraction as a one-day road trip — partly as an excuse to spend time together on those most wondrous days, partly to explore areas we’ve never experienced before. Well, except last October when it was her turn, Anne wanted to keep her special outing simple — a single day spent together here in town. We managed to find some pretty things for the occasion at Newfields, the institution formerly known as the Indianapolis Museum of Art… Continue reading

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