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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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Return to Paducah: Our Superman Celebration 2017 Coda

Welcome to the Atomic City!

One of 50+ murals painted along Paducah’s Ohio River flood wall. Anne took pictures of nearly all of them while the sunshine baked us in our skins and now we’re dead. The End.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: on June 9th and 10th my wife Anne and I attended the 39th annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL, a grand bash in honor of the Man of Steel in particular and all the super-heroes who owe their existence and livelihoods to him in general.

Across the Ohio River from Metropolis is the city of Paducah, Kentucky. We first explored their downtown on our first road trip to the area in 2001, but had found mostly empty storefronts, a few old antique shops, a couple of murals, a scary comic shop, and easy access to the Ohio River in case we wanted to take our chances on a dunking of questionable content. On our second through fifth trips to the area, we bypassed downtown and limited our Paducah exploration to our hotels and the restaurants closest to them.

On the occasion of our sixth visit, we dug more deeply into our online research, now that more resources are available to us today than we had in 2001. We learned of a few roadside attractions we missed the first time around and we found encouraging evidence that they’ve made some upgrades over the past sixteen years. Once we’d had our fill of super-hero glory, festival food, and sunburn, we decided to hop back across the Ohio and see how they’re doing.

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Our 2007 Road Trip, Part 1: When Dinosaurs Ruled the South

T-Rex Attack!

“CALM DOWN, KID! I JUST WANT TO TELL YOU HOW YOU CAN SAVE 15% ON YOUR CAR INSURANCE.”

Every year since 1999 Anne and I have taken a road trip to a different part of the United States and seen attractions, marvels, history, and institutions 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. Beginning with 2003’s excursion to Washington DC, we added my son to the roster and tried to accommodate his preferences and childhood accordingly. The next few vacations worked for all of us as a family to varying degrees, but for 2007 we changed up our strategy a bit and designed an itinerary for what would prove our most kid-friendly outing ever. Granted, he was now twelve years old and less kid-like than he used to be, but the idea was sound in principle.

Thus in this year of our Lord did we declare: the Goldens are going to Florida!

Today we kick off yet another special MCC miniseries representing the original travelogue from our 2007 drive from Indianapolis to Orlando, Florida. Some hindsight editing will be included along the way as part of the “special edition” processing. Enjoy!

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2015 Road Trip Photos #1: Close Up with Taylor the Swift

Mini-Zachary Taylor!

All the best road trips start with a stop. Sure, you could drive fourteen continuous hours from Indianapolis to New Orleans with pauses only for gas, food, bathrooms, and traffic jams. Or you could break up the monotony of hundreds of miles of forested interstate scenes with some creative opportunities for learning, thinking, or gawking. Some say the journey is better than the destination, but why settle for just one destination?

After an aggravating forty-minute delay due to hometown road construction that saw a three-lane interstate reduced to one backed-up single-file BMV standstill, we were all too relieved to escape town and head south toward open roads, sunny skies, fresh air, American freedom, and pure vacation joy.

Our first stop: a Presidential burial site. Say hi to mini-Zachary Taylor.

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2001 Road Trip Photos, Part 3 of 3: The Roads to Paducah

Paducah Mural!

This mural was one of several painted on the floodwalls that separated downtown Paducah from the banks of the Ohio River. It’s the only one I photographed and therefore the greatest of them all, probably.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Once upon a time in 2001, my best friend and I chose a summertime destination different from the conventions we’d attended the two previous years. At the southern tip of Illinois and across the Ohio River from Paducah, KY, the small town of Metropolis devotes the second weekend of every June to their world-famous Superman Celebration.

Yes, Metropolis was fun and the Celebration itself had its share of vivid personalities and eye-catching exhibitions, but far be it from us to drive three hundred miles, engage in a single activity, then do an about-face and retreat without surveying some of the nearby environs. Because road-trip science demanded further investigation.

Right this way for preserved bits and pieces of Paducah from fourteen years ago!

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