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October 2003

With a heavy hangover, I tried to snooze while SW drove us north, across the Georgia line into Tennessee and  Alabama and Tennessee and Alabama again.

Highway 72 or 24, I can't remember which, winds back and forth across two or three state lines several times before finally settling into Alabama.

We headed to Scottsboro, Alabama, where Unclaimed Baggage was having a big one-day sale on winter clothes. They buy up lost luggage from airlines and other misplaced cargo and sell it thrift store style. They’re better organized than most thrift stores, but you pay for it with higher prices, especially on any name brand clothing or other items. But if you just need some clothes for the office and are in the neighborhood it’s worth stopping by. It’s not worth the trip all the way from Atlanta.

On the Eastern side of the time zone, it gets dark - pitch dark - before 6 PM.

After a quick bite at a mediocre Mexican restaurant, we headed on to Huntsville, home to several old friends. Degenerate WW throws a heck of a Halloween party every year known as The Monstrosity. This year it was held in a huge warehouse/factory building, perfect for the event.

The lobby area got crowded with freaks, geeks, celebs, zombies, and the most popular costume, "North Alabama Redneck"  – something between upscale white trash and yuppie swine, slacker and wigger, i.e. people too lazy and/or uncreative to dress up – for a costume party.
What pussies.
A massive room sported a small light show and the booming racket that passes for dance music these days. A couple of guys had glowsticks on the end of ropes that they whirled about, rave style. It made for nifty trails even if you weren't on the right drugs.

 A small side room hosted several bands, all of whom seemed focused on the hardcore speed metal stuff – at least for the 8 seconds it took to chase me out of the room every time we wandered in.

 In the back was a movie room showing Cartoon Planet’s Adult Swim program and various gory flicks, as well as two different haunted house options.

We went through WW’s Monstrosity, featuring a meandering maze of black plastic walls in which countless people wandered, utterly lost. Fortunately, I was the designated driver for the evening and only ended up lost for 15 minutes or so before we stumbled back out, the same way we’d gone in.
If you could make it through, or took a shortcut, you got to a section featuring the bodies of the family who had been lost there for some time, as well as the demon who’d built the maze – or at least that’s how I interpreted it.
Loretta serenaded the demon and he let us pass.
The kicker was an old fashioned House of Mirrors style tunnel where the walls are spinning as you walk through, making Loretta so dizzy she could barely stand – fun stuff!

There was a second haunted house that featured live actors, but they only took in 5 people at a time and the wait, when we finally decided to check it out, was some 2 hours long so we gave up on that and ogled the costumed crowd instead.
Second in popularity, behind North Alabama Redneck, were pirates. We were taking bets as to who we’d see more of, the ever-popular devil, or the suddenly trendy pirate. It was tough to keep an accurate count in the cavernous space, but in the end I think there were around 20 pirates and 18 devils. Witches are another popular costume, only requiring a cheap hat from any corner drug store and black clothing. But as far as we could tell, there was only one Loretta Lynn and one Agent Sands.

A drag queen gave birth to a baby on the floor, complete with jello shooter afterbirth.
Stephen, his wife and soon to be child, old friends from Fantasm.
Monstrosity creator, Wes, and his lovely girlfriend, Steph.

For more chatter and a few photos from the event, check out
Eventually Loretta couldn’t stand any more – literally. There were no chairs to be found, save for those in the hardcore racket room, so we gave in and headed back to the hotel.

Sunday was yet another perfect day outside so we decided not to lurk around Huntsville waiting for other degenerates to rise from the dead.

Somewhere between Huntsville and Chattanooga is Big Daddy's Outdoors, where pig-like men grin while shooting each other with shotguns and bows. Fun!

We hit Chattanooga for a nice walkabout. Downtown Chattanooga has a Night of the Comet feel about it on a Sunday – utterly deserted. Not one shop or restaurant open. Only the small block of tourist attractions – the aquarium, Imax theater and such – shows any sign of life. Walk a block in any other direction and you’ll start wondering how long it’ll be before the zombies attack. Even our favorite Mexican restaurant on the outskirts of downtown as closed.

It was too nice out to sit in the Imax theater or even visit the aquarium, so we wandered around the deserted streets.

Eventually we ended up in a sculpture garden on a bluff overlooking the river.
Boats are a great way to escape zombies!
On one street there is this big bronze cube with a niche in each side housing classic-style sculptures.

Eventually we gave up on Chattanooga and headed south in search of food and stopped in Dalton, only to find similar conditions there. Only the chain stores surrounding the outlet mall next to the highway were open. We admitted defeat and stuffed down a couple plates of deep fried death at Cracker Barrel before heading on home.

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