Georgia on My Mind….

I have to give my mom credit for the title of this post. When I found out I was going to Atlanta, Georgia for the Teaching Professor Technology Conference, I invited her along with me. For the next couple of weeks her email titles were very similar to the one on this post.

First up though, I wanted to show you this:

Fit to Teach Stats

Pretty exciting! Not really sure what is going on here, I know it has something to do with Miss Evanoff’s post but a lot of the views and visitors are random today. This little notification reminded me of playing the Sims and something like this would pop up:

Sims

Unexpected but always delightful.

Anyway, any traffic is good traffic, so keep it coming! Now let’s talk about some Atlanta adventures! I’m not going to tell you from start to finish because:

…but I will tell you some highlights.

When we first arrived in Atlanta we headed on over the Georgia Aquarium, which was the largest aquarium in the world when it opened. I am a poisson lover, with my very own tank of beauties, so this was very exciting for me. We immediately started off with the Dolphin Tales Show which we were told was a ‘must see’ by the front desk. I was expecting a lot of dolphins doing flips and shit but it was mostly this:

The creature in the middle singing with his merry men at his side. The highlight is when he dances out and twirls around the stage in an LED cape. My mom and I were laughing so hard we were crying. My initial impression of the aquarium was that it was ridiculous. It totally redeemed itself though when we got down to business and found the actual sea creatures that I hold so dear. The picture-taking was impressive:

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They also had a gigantic aquarium with thousands of fish in it, including whale sharks, nurse sharks and the biggest sting rays I’ve ever seen. They built it over a tunnel so that you could go underneath and literally feel like you are swimming with the fishes. Luckily we were there during feeding time so we enjoyed the added bonus of scuba divers.

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With the Aquarium under our belt, we felt we had a good start on the ‘touristy’ aspects of Atlanta.

Another obvious highlight for me and the whole reason I was able to go to Atlanta, was my presentation at the Teaching Professor Technology Conference. On Friday night, I did a poster presentation on my look at using social media in the college and university classroom. While it may sound like an obvious idea to use Facebook or Twitter with students, I’m finding there are only certain subjects and even certain programs that really adapt well to the use of these tools in an educational manner. Being the tech wizard that I am, I set myself up in e-poster form and the finished product looked like this:

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Those handouts on the right hand side of the table were gone in less than half an hour, so needless to say, it was a busy night. I also have an affiliation with the Teaching Professor because I recently published in one of their online magazines. I feel like this is a great time for a shameless plug, so check out the article here: http://www.facultyfocus.com/articles/teaching-careers/advice-for-new-faculty-six-lessons-from-the-front-lines/

I made a lot of interesting contacts that night and absolutely loved talking to my fellow instructors in America about our Canadian education system because talking to Americans, about anything, is always a good time:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7ZE0TuKTpo4

I kid. No one at the conference thought we live in igloos.

On Saturday after the conference, we decided to do a little shopping. We also decided to take public transit. First step in the journey was this escalator:

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It was the longest and steepest escalator of my life. I hated it. I had to close my eyes and Brennie told me when we got to the bottom.

We then encountered the issue of buying a ‘Breeze pass’ to get on the subway. As I stood there trying to use my credit card, the machine rejected me multiple times. I became pretty frustrated and complained loudly for a couple of minutes to my mom until a heavy set lady beside me started mumbling to herself about ‘all my noise.’ She then progressed to half facing me and saying, ‘You’re making all dis noise and nuttin’ happenin. Nuttin’ happenin!’ It was perhaps my favourite line of the trip. I wonder how many times random strangers have wanted to tell me and my friends and family members off when we randomly wail about something not working correctly or make way more noise than is necessary when something ‘bad’ happens. Good for this lady for finally telling me to shut it.

My mom and I made our way down to the platform and spotted an empty space on a bench. However, part of the bench had a piece of half eaten cake on it in a plastic container. Immediately my mom and I saw the cake and said almost in unison, ‘Oh look, cake! I sure am hungry.’ Which prompted the questionably homeless man beside the cake to put his hand on the plastic container and ever so slowly slide the cake over beside him. We’re still not sure if it was his to begin with, but we saw him get off the subway several stops later cradling that cake like it was his newborn child:

Image Source: http://julie-and-michael.blogspot.ca/2010/03/icing-on-cake.html

Later that evening, we decided to continue on with our public transit party and take it all the way to Marietta, Georgia, as we were booked for a ghost tour. By taxi, Marietta is about 25 minutes away. By public transit it is one subway, two buses and a short taxi ride away and boy was it a good time! People really were quite friendly and helpful but at the same time, I did fear for my safety when I was told that they only way to get off of the subway during peak time was to, ‘duck my head and charge through the crowd like an Atlanta Falcon.’ Now six months ago, they would have had me at using my body as a weapon but nowadays, it really isn’t a viable option.

Marietta was darling and the tour was pretty good. It was a little over the top, as I highly doubt that every store and street corner in the town is truly haunted, but you never know. The creepiest part of the tour for me was definitely this guy:

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He was sitting in a window display in one of the hundred haunted stores in the town and I really just wasn’t liking his vibe. He had a couple of other buddies in the window that were not my cup of tea but he was the worst.

I also wanted to show a picture of their central park. The city does a scarecrow competition around this time of the year and places them throughout their town square. There were lots of amazing entries, but this one was my fave:

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Mainly because it reminded me of Mark dressed up like a lady:

Spitting image right?

Sunday was the last day and the conference ended at noon, so my mom and I headed out to another must see, the Ferndale Natural History Museum. I actually love museums, so when this was recommended multiple times, I was down. It was probably the most beautiful and pristine museum I have ever been in.

Ferndale Natural History Museum

It had a lot of dinosaurs (a particular childhood fave of mine):

T-Rex

And it also had one of these guys:

Giant Tree Sloth

….a giant tree sloth. Which unfortunately don’t exist anymore. If they did, I’m pretty sure the panda and baby polar bear would be SOL in regards to being the most sought after zoo animal.

After perusing the museum for a few hours, it was time to catch our flight home. So we sped off to the airport in a fast and furious fashion……only to have our flight delayed by 5 hours due to Tropical Storm Karen.

They closed the airport for 15 minutes because of torrential downpour and during that time our flight came in, circled and went all the way back to South Carolina, hence the rather large delay. On a happier note, my mom and I watched The Heat on the way back with Sandy Bullock and Melissa McCarthy. So hilarious. My mom was laughing the entire time and she has a LOUD, infectious laugh. I loved it. It really kept my spirits up but I’m not sure about the other people around us who were clearly trying to sleep. It was the perfect way to end an amazing trip.

I don’t think I would go back to Atlanta because there are so many other cities in America I would like to explore but I would definitely recommend it to anyone who is thinking of traveling to the Dirty South:

Dirty South

To end the post, a few other random goodies from the trip.

1) The view from our hotel room:

Westin Peachtree PlazaBy Day….

Westin Peachtree PlazaBy night….

Yes please! Our hotel was the Westin Peachtree Plaza, which is the tallest hotel in North America and they certainly make the most of their view.

2) The food!

Nachos

Everyone from Canada who heads down to the States is just amazed by the portion sizes down there. Case in point, my mom’s salad:

Taco Salad

It was bigger than her head. However, she dealt with it like a champ. I ordered nachos and the same thing. Needless to say, no dinner was needed that night for either of us.

3) My mom would be very disappointed in both me and this post if I did not mention that at one point on the trip we tried to get on a Japanese tour bus. I have a proud history of getting on tour buses from other countries that clearly are not my own. I will stand there looking around until someone realizes I don’t belong and kicks me off. They laugh at me like I am a silly white girl and send me on my way. I find this very amusing. It’s been a lonngggg time since I did this, so my mom decided she wanted to give it a try. We followed behind a group of Japanese tourists and were just about to step on their bus when one of the passengers looked at us and said, ‘Where you think you going?’ Busted. The bus driver told us we clearly did not know what we were doing, to which my mom slyly lifted her sunglasses and winked at him. Again, we were laughed at and sent on our way but the memory will live on for a while from that one.

Next week I will tell some tales from the Wild, Wild West. But for now, I have a stack of midterms calling my name…..

Have a wonderful week friends 🙂