A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: MiriG

Mini Epic Update

Epic is epic. Update over. Kidding.

semi-overcast 75 °F

Holy cow and sweet, sweet nerdery. Sander and I get to Epic around 7:30. The campus is surrounded by farmland, and there is even an Epic Farm, which is some combination of buildings that resemble a traditional farm but are offices and buildings that are actually a functional farm. I saw a herd of cows on the farm portion of campus. As general theme, space, particularly interstellar/galaxy type space presides. Each building is themed differently and rather punny-ly. There's a Wild West Building, and Dungeons and Dragons building, and lots of really excellent art that evidently the Epic workers get to select from the annual art fair (That was yesterday, that Shari and I missed.) So there was art being unpacked in one of the hallways.

Reading with the Cat in the Hat

Reading with the Cat in the Hat

I had to keep myself from describing things as epic as we walked through the buildings and tunnels, because that is what they want. They want you to make a painful amount of puns. and I'm not sorry for a single one. The Epic meeting room, Deep Space, seats the entire company, nearly 8,000 people. Deep Space's top level is Sky and then descends five levels until we get to Magma, where the floor is magma. (Not really. I mean, I wasn't burnt to a crisp and am still alive to write this. I am not a robot.) The conference room/amphitheater is huge, and the tops sections are divided by dragon and the bottom sections are divided by members of the Fellowship of the Ring. The various classrooms are themed by pairs. For instance, the Star Wars classrooms are Jedi and Droids. Room 2007 is the James Bond '007 rooms. There was a Camelot room. There are suits of armor and statues of pterodactyls.

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So, basically, if you're nerdy, any type of nerdy, working for Epic is a pretty sweet gig. Or visiting Epic is a pretty cool thing to do, too. Evidently they give guided tours, but we're too cool for that. (That is a lie. I'm not too cool for anything.)

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Posted by MiriG 08:51 Tagged friends wisconsin epic mirig pcsd post_college_stress_disorder Comments (0)

When in Wisconsin

Go to House on the Rock

overcast 83 °F

We're on the road again after a short stay by Shari's family, who very graciously opened up their home in Postville, Ia, to us this past shabbat. Many meals were eaten, in the proper order, according to tradition. In an interesting twist, Postville has a sizable Jewish community thanks to the kosher slaughter house there. So most conversations were in Hebrew or Yiddish. Everyone, whether Jewish or not, was very nice. People waved and called out greetings as we walked down the street Saturday afternoon. We also walked through the town cemetery, where there are graves dating back to the 1850's, and memorials for men who died in the civil war.

On our way to Postville, we took a scenic Amish detour. The road we drove down was meant for horse drawn buggies, not compact cars, and seemed to lead into greenness until we reached a twist that revealed a farm house, barn, and small shop. Chickens fed in the yard, and a dog bounded from the house to shop. The shop was full of hand made baskets and oven mits and aprons. We bought a few baskets and hit the road.

Heading out of Postville was similar to heading into Postville: Lots of corn and soy fields covering rolling green hills, fading to blue with distance. Our destination for the day is House on the Rock, a crazy feat of architecture and the human tendency to build collections of random things. Thanks to Neil Gaiman and American Gods for the introduction. First off, there are two tour options: the 2 plus hour tour, or the 3 plus hour tour. We opt for the 2 hour tour, because we have friend to see in Madison, and 2 hours is still a hell of a ton of time to see literal tons of stuff. The actual house is built on top of a rock spire, 75 feet above the ground. The house is full of narrow stairs, books, Tiffany style glass lamps, fire places, stained glass, and Asian sculptures. It is cozy and bizarre and the view from the roof is amazing.

The second building of the House on the Rock in and old mill near the bottom of the bluff. The mill is filled with collections of music boxes and automatons the play songs and enact scenes at the drop of a token. There are firearms and dolls and blown glass. I feel overwhelmed from the myriad of sights and sounds flashing and chiming and whistling. And there is so much more. There's the Street of Yesterday and the Origins of the Sea. The whole place is a bizarre amalgam of museum/ meticulously kept hoard.

The final part of our tour is the Carousel. One the largest in the world it host 269 creatures, but not a single horse. it is beautiful and gaudy and breathtaking. The accompanying music plays from a giant mechanized orchestra as the Carousel goes 'round and 'round.

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After the House on the Rock we head to Madison and meet up with our friend, Sander, who recently moved to Madison. We reminisce and wander around the quite downtown,, trying to get a good view of the lake

Tomorrow, we hope to check out Epic, where Sander Works.

Posted by MiriG 21:55 Tagged lakes road_trip driving friends family iowa madison wisconsin wi lower_48 mirig 48 post_college_stress_disorder neil_gaiman house_on_the_rock Comments (0)

Today's Entry is Corny

So Much Corn Sioux-t got rejected.

semi-overcast 74 °F

Not much happened to today. Usually, there's an interesting detour, or something odd that comes up. Today, the detour involved getting off the highway for a bit, driving up through green fields on a country road, and arriving at a casino, where we promptly turned around and found our way back to the highway. We drive past corn fields, and bean fields, field fields. We drive past a sign for Laura Ingalls Wilder's home in De Smet, South Dakota. There's a lot of history, and a lot of hills. Transitioning between Nebraska to Iowa to South Dakota to North Dakota and then Minnesota is seem-less. The signs are small and blend in with the green highway signs.

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We drove through the town we're staying in in under ten minutes. A railroad runs through the city of Wahpeton, parallel to the Main St. There's something small about the town, but not sad. Wahpeton feels proud of its quiet Midwesterness. But it's an indistinct place. We barely notice when we cross over a small river into Minnesota. We turn around and head back west after a series of silver silos that smell like Parmesan cheese.

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From our hotel window, you can see the trains running past. I got up to watch the first few, but they're loud and feel a bit like a minor earthquake. For the evening, we are lazy, aside from the train watching shenanigans. I listen to a lecture by Neil Gaiman and Shari goes outside to enjoy the pleasant weather.

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Posted by MiriG 20:24 Tagged road_trip nature driving usa road trip iowa south_dakota minnesota nebraska north_dakota cross_country lower_48 mirig 48 pcsd post_college_stress_disorder Comments (0)

I Have a Feeling We're Not in Kansas Anymore

Oklamhoma is OK, Or Missouri Loves Company

semi-overcast 82 °F

The Plains States are rather plain, a monotony of gently rolling hills and fields. They are still beautiful, but not stunning the way everything is on the other side of the Continental Divide. There are a few gems tucked away in these emerald hills.
Thanks to one of my friends in Denver, and the signs that begin at the border between Colorado and Kansas, we find the Oz Museum, (and the Oz Winery, and the Style of Ahhhz! Salon). The moment we walk in, we know we are going to spend a lot of money here. The museum tour begins and ends in Auntie Em's Gift Shop, a pleasant little shop with all things Oz, from shot glasses to door mats. I bought a door mat. The museum has over 2,000 artifacts from the inception of Oz to modern adaptations. L. Frank Baum's first books, ruby slippers, props from Wicked; they're all there and wonderful. In a small theater at the back of the museum, the 1939 classic film plays on a loop. The exhibits are well maintained and contain all sorts of interesting tidbits and trivia. The museum is fairly small, but we spent nearly two hours there.

Shoes!

Shoes!

After the museum, we drove into a storm to check out the Beecher Bible and Rifle Church, because what is a bible and rifle church? We still don't know. The church was built in 1832, is about all we know.

This is Bible and Rifle Church, but why is it a Bible and Rifle Church?

This is Bible and Rifle Church, but why is it a Bible and Rifle Church?

We head south and then west and then east and then south again towards Oklahoma. We stop and take dorky pictures with the sign, because we are dorks. We quickly pass through a bit of Missouri, and then we're in Arkansas, where we are spending the night. Important question: Ar-can-saw or Ar-Kansas?

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Posted by MiriG 20:25 Archived in USA Tagged road_trip driving lower road trip oz oklahoma arkansas missouri kansas lower_48 mirig 48 pcsd post_college_stress_disorder oz_museum Comments (0)

Take Me To Church

Mom, stop worrying. I didn't convert.

sunny 100 °F

Salt Lake City. Where life is elevated. Where the temperature is elevated, too. It's nearly 100 degrees by 10 am. Shari and I go for coffee at a place called Chapel Cafe on Chapel street. We joke, wondering if there's a Chapel on Chapel street. Turns out, there is. The cafe is attached to a church. And also has a book store full of religious texts. I feel vaguely uncomfortable with so many posters, t-shirts, and mugs assuring me that Jesus loves me. They have tiny IDF teffillin (phylacteries), megillas, ancient mosaics and oil pots, a tarnished chanukia, many old bibles, and a tiny model of the Temple with tiny, shiny models of all the implements that would have been used in the Temple. Like, I'm not sure why there is a museum of Judaica in the front lobby of this chapel, but there is.

After coffee at the Cavalry Chapel, we head into Salt Like City proper. By proper, I mean Temple Square. There are Mormons from all over the world, denoted by their badges. They dress very neatly, and the downtown area is so clean. It differs vastly in this regard from just about every other major city that I've been to. And by just about every, I really just mean every. The Temple is huge, white granite. There are several weddings going on. A nice woman, Vicki, talks to us about the history of the Mormon Church and the building of the Temple.

The Tabernacle is directly across from the Temple, a large building, domed like a silver service platter at a fancy hotel. (Is that sacrilege?) This is where the Mormon Tabernacle Choir preforms. I get major Cards Against Humanity points for this. A woman gives a recital on the ginormous pipe organ. To be honest, it kind of looks like an instrument of torture. In reality, it's just an instrument. She also changes the colored lights which illuminate the wall behind the organ, adding a strange ambiance to the inside of the dinner platter.

After we leave Salt lake City, we begin our journey to Grand Junction, Colorado. The Rockies are amazing. The road winds through valleys and canyons, and feels more like a roller coaster. The Colorado Welcome sign informs us that Colorado is a colorful state, and the land delivers. Greens, pinks, reds, oranges, and yellows display themselves on the hills, in sedimentary layers. We're staying in a little motel, right by the regional airport, and have the most amazing view of the mesas.

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Good night!

Posted by MiriG 20:35 Archived in USA Tagged colorado utah mormon salt_lake_city grand_junction hozier church_of_latter_day_saints take_me_to_church Comments (1)

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