Archives: My Place or Yours

The Kinds of Maps You Won’t Find at the Gas Station

Photo Source: Juicy Squid

Photo Source: Juicy Squid

Oh, how I do love a little clever map play!  Earlier this year Juicy Squid published a Game of Thrones subway map that charts the journeys of the series’ main characters.  Genius!  My only concern is READ MORE

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Postcards from the South

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Photo Source: Elsurfista

Life below the Mason-Dixon Line is, well, hot. I am pretty sure I left a sweat mark in the shape of the Sweet Baby Jesus on my mom’s car seat today. I might try to sell it on eBay.

Anyway, it is Throwback Thursday, and I feel how this ice cream truck looks. A commentary on global warming by artist Orest Keywan, this melting ice cream truck took the $30,000 grand prize in the Australian Sculptures by the Sea exhibition in 2006. Mr. Softees everywhere shared a moment of silence for their fallen brother.

In other news from The South:

I had fried chicken for breakfast! Fruits and vegetables are for sissies.

Overheard at Wal-Mart today – a married couple having a legit fight over whether to buy Velveeta or Kraft Mac and Cheese. It got heated. Kraft won, but the husband’s sleeping on the couch tonight.

I saw a bookstore called “White Wing” which I thought was funny when I said it out loud to myself (assuming it was a play on “right wing”). But then I wondered if they didn’t mean it to be funny and felt bad for maybe being a cynical New Yorker.

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Road trip destinations off the beaten path

Photo Source: Life in Zion

Cadillac Ranch – Amarillo, TX
Photo Source: Life in Zion

It’s getting to be that time of year – ROAD TRIPPPPPPP!

In the spirit of that all-American tradition – people piling into cars with enough junk food to fuel a college fraternity – I bring to you the most essential of all road trip resources…a list of the greatest American roadside attractions!  These road trip destinations will give you several reasons to get out of the car, stretch your legs, take a break from your screaming children (or spouse) and simply wonder, “What on earth were they thinking when they built THAT.”

Did you know that there’s a house made of beer cans in Houston?  Or one made of paper in Massachusetts? Or that we’re a nation of giants – lifesize dinosaurs, a 97-foot statue of a mustachioed man, and the world’s largest baseball bat?  My personal favorites are the cadillac ranch in Texas and the London Bridge in Arizona (yes, really, THE London Bridge).

Even if you can’t get away this summer, never fear – this website will help you find off-the-wall fun in your own backyard.  Never again will you have to hear, “Are we there yet?” because in the land of the free, home of the brave, you’re always just a stone’s throw away from a giant bottle of ketchup.

To see more of our illustrious national heritage, check out “TIME’s” list of the Top 50 American roadside attractions  and TripAdvisor’s Top 10 wackiest American attractions (Texas, you win)! Plan to see a desert in Maine, an underground lake, a tree covered in shoes, and a place where gravity is upside down.

Wondering what to take with you?  Check out this GREAT list of road trip must-haves (you know you can’t go wrong with a list that includes air fresheners, indestructible maps, and This American Life).

Happy Trails!

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My Place or Yours: Bath Houses, Potholes, and Landfills, Oh My!

Photo Source: Un Jour Un Artiste

Photo Source: Un Jour Un Artiste

I love to see old and common things put to new uses.  It really became a hobby when I rented my first grown-up apartment and got to pick out my own furniture (I think I singlehandedly funded Etsy that year).  Except for my (broken, sunken-in-the-middle) Ikea couch, all of my furniture is antique or upcycled.  I’m writing this post right now from atop an old barn door desk with porch column legs.  (Can take the girl out of Wisconsin, but can’t take the farm out of the girl.)

It’s in that spirit, that I bring you a few of my favorite re-use projects:

  • As with the beginning of any good story, this one starts in a bath house in Paris called Les Bains.  After nearly 130 years (most recently as a popular night club), the building sits empty for the first time ever…empty and full of decay and debris. Though the owners plan to reopen the space in 2014, they wanted to do something to honor the bohemian history of the building before renovations begin.  The space, which played host to Warhol, Basquiat, Proust, and Prince was opened to 50 international street artists with permission to paint, build, and draw all over everything (I know some 3 year-olds who would dig that).  Sadly, the doors to this makeshift art gallery were never opened to the public, and as of today, May 1st, the work will be systematically dismantled to make way for contractors.  However, a few photographers were granted exclusive access to document the artists and their work – you can see a selection of their photos at This is Colossal, if you’re in a rush, or see all of the photos at Un Jour, Un Artiste – there’s some really mind-blowing stuff in there.
  • The Guerilla Gardener – Steve Wheen transforms potholes in East London into miniature gardens in this video, “Holes of Happiness.”  His goal, he says, is to create “unexpected moments.”  And apparently lots of people found this as charming as I did because an entire book of his little gardens was published last year.   He’s even gardened with Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall – after which he wrote, “Next time we go gardening together she promised to bring Charlie…”  I want to be British, so that I can say cute Britishy things about the royal family. I also want Steve to move here and garden my fire escape. I’m telling you – he could make a killing in NYC where the average backyard is the size of a pothole.   Wheen’s blog features updates on new mini-gardens as well as mini-garden submissions from all over the world.  It is literally impossible not to “awwww” when watching this video.  If you don’t, you are the Tin Man.
  • The Landfill Harmonic – is an ongoing music project in Cateura, Paraguay – a slum built on a landfill where most of the inhabitants make a living collecting and sorting nearly 1500 tons of refuse a day.  Members of the local community saw an opportunity to refashion some of the garbage into instruments for the neighborhood children and turned oil cans into cellos, scrap metal into violins, and piping into saxophones.  Check out this short video about the orchestra, and you will be amazed by how beautiful they sound.  As the orchestra director said, “The world sends us garbage.  We send back music.”

What are your favorite ways to reuse everyday materials and spaces?!

(My Place or Yours is a regular feature about places and spaces doing cool things.  Please submit your ideas to thewonderistblog@gmail.com!)

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