Monday, August 31, 2009

It's a Kind of Magic


Magnet # 24:  Downtown Birmingham Photo

Material:  Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell

Purchased By:  Me

So Birmingham is called the Magic City?  I never knew that.  Considering how many times I've visited it over the years, I'm a little surprised.  Apparently, it's due to the ridiculously fast growth of the city back in the mid-twentieth century.  Back then, it was primarily a steel and iron manufacturing city, which earned it another nickname:  "Pittsburgh of the South."  Nowadays, it's been cleaned up and has taken on other industries such as banking, medicine, and insurance.  It's also the largest city in Alabama.

I spent my birthday up in Birmingham this month.  It was a nice day - shopping was done, magnets were purchased, including this one.  And terrific sushi was eaten.  I eat sushi about once a week, and one of the best places I've found is actually a Thai restaurant called the Thai Emerald.  This is one place in Birmingham that may very well be magic.  It's owned by a Montgomery restaurateur named Lek.  He also owns two Thai restaurants in Montgomery with equally great menus and sushi.  As nice as they are, this place really is the crown jewel of his establishments.  There's so many beautiful Asian statues and reliefs, it's almost overwhelming.  The focal point is located on one wall.  There's a narrow pool filled with Koi and in one part, a statue of mermaid accompanied by a dolphin.  The wall was supposed to be a waterfall, but it's never seemed to work out - oh well.  It's still very impressive.  And we noticed a new structure - a bar covered by a bamboo roof.  Apparently, it's going to be a noodle bar - yum!  Interested? They have a website - http://www.thaiemeraldlek.com/.  If you get a chance to go and Lek's there, tell him I said hey.  And have a Super Crunch Roll for me.

Well, I've come to the end of my first month posting my magnets.  It's been fun.  I've managed to just skip seven days.  From the beginning, I said I was not aiming for a post every single day.  I salute those who can do that much work, but also realize I am not among them.  Aiming for over twenty a month sounds like a reasonable goal - maybe less in February.  Anyway, see ya next month - same place!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Sign of the Times



Magnet # 23:  Signature of the Sultan

Material:  Stained Glass

Purchased by:  Dad

It's a rare magnet that has me questioning whether or not I posted it with the correct side up, but this one makes me wonder.  If somebody out there knows it's wrong, please clue me in.

My Dad picked this up during a day long layover in Turkey this year.  He said it's the signature of the Turkish Sultan.  He's just not sure which Sultan's signature this is.  I love that it's been printed on such colorful stained glass instead of a more ordinary background, like paper.  I can't help but think of this as a piece of Islamic art.

I knew very little about Islamic art before I studied it as part of my art history curriculum in college.  What I found out was pretty interesting.  Because they were forbidden by their religion from depicting humans and animals in their work, Muslim artists took their work in a direction completely different from that of traditional Western art.  They created intricate, often interwoven line work and shapes based upon floral images, geometric shapes, and their own alphabet.  While calligraphy was also portrayed in the West, it was often simply used to accompany and explain other, more important images.   Arabic art made text the focal point.  Beautiful pieces of art might simply consist of a multitude of letters forming one complex shape.  Entire surfaces might be covered by these designs.  What's depicted on this magnet is really just a taste of how developed Arabic art can get.

One good example of their art that is well-known to Westerners is Persian rugs.  Most people are familiar with the intricacy of the designs on these furnishings and many will pay a good amount of money to obtain one for their homes.  Islamic mosques are also adorned with very intricate accents that are characteristic of the style.  Think of the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul - it's filled with fantastic examples of Islamic art.

If you're curious to find out more about this wonderful art form, you can start with a Web image search, then perhaps check out what books your library or Amazon have on the subject.  Still craving more?  Maybe try a trip to an Islamic country like Turkey to see these works in person is in order.  Just be sure to pick up a souvenir!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Back to School Blues


Magnet # 22:  Adams Chapel School, Old Alabama Town Photo

Material:  Paper, Acrylic Cover

Purchased By:  Me

Kids here in Savannah had better enjoy this weekend.  It may be the last homework-free one they have for awhile.  Chatham County Public Schools start back on Tuesday, September 1.  I imagine quite a few kids are bummed about it.  Trust me, some adults are too.  I sure have enjoyed the break from school zones and bus stops during my daily commute.

So this magnet comes from Old Alabama Town, a carefully preserved and maintained six blocks of 19th and 20th century structures in Downtown Montgomery.  I remember visiting it when I was growing up.  It's a real slice-of-life experience.  There are homes ranging from expensive, stylish town homes to rustic, rural homes.  And it's not all residential buildings.  This school is there, and there's also a tavern, a church, a doctor's office, and a drugstore.  There are over 50 buildings in all, well-stocked with furnishings and trimmings from the period.  The Landmarks Foundation of Montgomery has certainly done a terrific job creating this historically accurate site.  Want to check them out?  Visit their website at http://www.oldalabamatown.com/.

I'm not sure if it was here, but I do recall touring some old school house as a child.  There, my Dad pointed out the ink wells and told me about how some rotten boys used to dip girl's long hair - particularly braids - into them, resulting in quite a mess for the poor victim.  Considering I had waist length hair at the time, I was awfully relieved ink wells were relics of the past.

Occasionally, since starting this page, I have felt like I'm back in school, writing papers.  That's not necessarily bad.  I sure preferred papers to tests and some projects.  When I'm doing a lot of research for some of these entries, I can't help but experience a sense of nostalgia over all of the hard work I used to put into term papers and whatnot.  At least I don't have to drag home lots of research books and cite references here.  And there's no grading system on Blogspot, thank goodness!  At least, I don't think there is...

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Collectors and the Junk They Love


Magnet # 21: Moroccan Shoe

Material:  Clay

Purchased By:  Mom & Dad

Couldn't decide which view best represented this one my folks picked up on their Moroccan vacation back in 2005, so I decided to go with both.  Of course, the seams from where I glued it back together are a bit more visible in the side view.  Oh well.  These are my magnets and I'm proud of them.  I present them Photoshop-free, cracks and all!

As I've mentioned, I watch the Travel Channel quite a bit.  One of their series, Extreme, has recently aired a new episode:  Extreme Collections.

Wow - my little collection and I have nothing on the folks on this show.  Unfortunately, Louise Greenfarb, the world record holder for most magnets, is not amongst them.  However there is a lady who collects shoes and has all sorts of shoe magnets on her fridge.  Wonder if she has this one?

The collections on this show are incredible!  There's a man who has built a house to hold his collection of over 75,000 beer bottles that is larger than his own home.  The aforementioned shoe collector has amassed over 11,000 in only 9 years.  A teenager has almost 200 vacuum cleaners that he uses around 7 times a day.  A woman in Germany has over 6,000 Barbie dolls and has begun a career restoring other collector's dolls to support her hobby. Cornell University has 70 human brains (eww!) that are over 100 years old.  One man has over 10,000 hot sauce bottles - so many that he's opened a mega store called Pepper's to house some and sell others.  There's another man with about 120 classic cars that has built a 1960s style town in a warehouse to store them.  And, finally, a woman in Scotland has over 6,500 piercings all over her body.  Her face looks almost like a mask.

It's interesting to get a feel for what makes these folks tick.  Some have had a lifelong obsession with these items.  Others just started when they saw someone with a similar collection and were inspired.  And some want to make the Guinness Book of World Records.  Most of them have.  Some will fly around the world - occasionally at a moment's notice - to add to their collections.  And with some, these are not their only collection.  It makes me consider my own motivation for collecting magnets.

Magnets make a great gift for travelers to keep or pass onto others.  They're inexpensive, easy to find, and easy to carry back.  I mean, I really couldn't ask someone to bring me back an antique vacuum cleaner from Hawaii, could I?  And for quite some time, pretty much all of my travel magnets came from my parents.  I wasn't traveling that much.  But I did want to fill up my fridge.  And they enjoy bringing me back souvenirs.  So it worked out great for both of us.  Of the items I collect, magnets are the only ones of which I haven't purchased the majority.  And that makes them special.

One uniting thread between all of us collectors?  Somewhere out there, there's someone who firmly believes that the items we treasure so much are just junk!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Drifting Away With the Princesses


Magnet # 20:  Disney Princesses Snow White, Cinderella, and Sleeping Beauty

Material:  Rubber

Purchased by:  Mom & Dad

Got this one in my stocking last year.  I adore the Disney Princesses, even though most people would probably think I'm a little old for them.  But my folks know what I like.  As I mentioned, my birthday was earlier this month (I listed myself as a Leo - Leo ends Aug 22 - I'm okay with visitors knowing that much about me).  So what was one of my surprises?  A huge Disney Princess balloon that plays a pre-recorded "Happy Birthday" when you tap it in the right place.  I love it!

Mom was already in the process of ordering another balloon for my birthday when she saw the Princess one.  So she had to start completely over with the (hopefully) patient sales associate to order that one.  I'm glad she did.  I wish I had left the kitchen that morning when Dad brought the balloon in, as Mom had tried to get me to.  But it really was a surprise.

I even managed to get it back to Savannah.  I thought it popped it my trunk at one point (it was only the cooler falling over).  It's now on display in all its girly glory.  And what will I do when all the air leaks out and it falls?  That's no problem - I can just take it back to Party City and get it refilled for free.  Hmm - maybe I should tell them it's for my five-year old...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

An Idea Whose Time Had Come


Magnet # 19:  Yellowstone Moose Close-Up

Material:  Metal

Purchased by:  Mom & Dad

Back in 1916, on this very day, the National Park Service was founded, when president Woodrow Wilson signed the bill creating this organization.  However, Yellowstone wasn't officially made the first National Park until over half a year later. 

The wheels had been in motion for quite some time to create a federal agency to oversee the nation's parks.  As early as 1832, an artist named George Caitlin first proposed the idea.  Over time, more proponents arose, arguing the need for such an agency.  President Theodore Roosevelt was among them.

Part of the reason why the Service was so difficult to establish was that in flew in the face of a long-standing federal policy to have as few federal lands as possible.  The Feds wanted to only deal with Washington D.C. and a few military bases.  In their opinion, the states were more than welcome to all of the frustration and organization that accompanied land ownership.

But Yellowstone proved to be the catalyst that forced this organization into being.  First of all, it was not simply located in one state.  The majority was in Wyoming, but it did extend into Montana and Idaho.  And the states - which were just territories until 1889 and 1890 - were either incapable of managing the area or butting heads over just how to do so.  Then there were the visitors.  Tourists caused forest fires through their carelessness, hunted the wildlife, and removed natural parts of the land to take as souvenirs.  A few were even kidnapped by the Nez Perces as they evaded capture in 1877.  Clearly, something had to been done.  And with the creation of the National Park Service in 1916, it was.

Nowadays, the National Park System consists of almost 400 natural, cultural and recreational parks that span the country.  It's hard to imagine what would have happened without them.  Would areas like Yellowstone have been stripped of all natural resources for the profit of a few individuals?  Would certain species have gone extinct without these environs protecting them?  Would strip malls, factories, and urban blight occupy these areas now?  Thanks to the National Park System, we'll never know.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Millions of Peaches


Magnet # 18:  Georgia Peach

Material:  Clay

Purchased by:  Me

Peaches for me.  Millions of peaches - peaches for free.

Whenever I see this one, it's hard not to think of the lines from that Presidents of the United States Of America (the band) song.  And, as today is National Peach Pie Day and August is National Peach Month , I thought this Clay Critters gem would be appropriate.  After all, Georgia is the Peach State, a fact to which I can attest.  Driving back home on Highway 96, I pass by quite a few peach farms.  Usually, the trees are bare or sporting peach blossoms.  I've never actually seen peaches hanging from those trees.  Maybe I'm driving by at the wrong time of the year - or maybe the farmers just get them down as fast as possible so folks won't get "peaches for free."

They needn't worry with me.  My contact with peaches is pretty much limited to peach tea and canned peaches.  I like the flavor, but not the fruit itself.  Is that sacrilege in Georgia?  I think it's the fuzz.  I can't even count how many plums I've had this summer and they have no fuzz.  It just irritates me and makes my face itchy. 

To make matters worse, I'm not really a pie person, either.  It's a fact that makes the holidays tough.  Okay, maybe I like a few of the cream pie varieties.  But I will take cake over pie any day.  I am a cake person - it's all about the icing.  They make peach cake, right?  

Well, don't let my issues get to you.  If you're so inclined, grab a piece of peach pie, top with vanilla ice cream and celebrate this day as it was intended!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Bear With It




Magnet # 17:  Happy Canadian Polar Bear

Material:  Rubber

Purchased By:  Tammy

This one is just too adorable!  One of my Dad's colleagues found out about my collection and sent me six Canadian magnets, including this cutie.  And I never thanked her properly.  So, Tammy, thank you so much for the wonderful magnets - you have no idea how happy, or surprised, I was with them.  They all hold special places on my fridge.  And you rock!

Well, I decided to use this one today because yesterday was a little bit of a letdown.  And I had to grin and bear.  My friend and I had been talking about a day trip down to St. Augustine for awhile.  And when I got to her house at seven a.m. on the weekend (I cannot tell you the last time I left my home on the weekend before I leave for work), she told me there was an 80% chance of rain down there today.  And there was rain all along the I-95 corridor down there.  Considering St. Augustine is mainly outside, we would have been drenched all day.  And then driven home in the rain.  So we bailed.  I was bummed.  Heck, I was planning on posting a shiny new St. Augustine magnet today!

But we decided to have fun, anyway.  We went to a terrific breakfast place that's packed on the weekend and were some of the only customers there because it was so early.  And the breakfast was delicious - I had cherry crapes.  Then we headed out to Tybee Island and did some shopping.  I got a couple of magnets.  She got a couple of reversible skirts.  And we managed to get home around noon, plenty of time before the rain started between four and five.  

All in all, a good day was had.  And we rescheduled St. Augustine.  So I may have a shot at that shiny new magnet after all - if the weather decides to cooperate...

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Sailing the Savannah Seas


Magnet # 16:  Steamship Savannah Passing Riverstreet

Material:  Metal

Purchased by:  Me

Today is a big day in Savannah, nautically speaking.  Back in 1818, the Steamship Savannah was launched on this day.  And later, in 1962, the Nuclear Ship Savannah arrived in the city on August 22, completing its maiden voyage from New York.  Both were pretty special - the SS Savannah was the first steamship to make it across the Atlantic.  And the NS Savannah was the first nuclear-powered cargo passenger ship ever.

How cool is this magnet!  It's the SS Savannah, so it's perfect for this post.  But, best of all, it has a track that the little ship can move back and forth on - it's interactive!  I know this is the only moving magnet in my collection.  And I don't think I've seen any others like it on the web.

I got it here in Savannah, at the Ships of the Sea Museum.  It's a neat little collection located in the historic Scarbrough House.  And whose home was it, originally?  William Scarbrough, shipping merchant, President of the Savannah Steamship Company, and, most importantly, one of the principal owners of the SS Savannah.  Unfortunately, the SS Savannah turned out to be a financial disaster and Scarbrough later lost everything, including his home.  It passed through many a hand, eventually falling into ruin.  Thank goodness the Ships of the Maritime Museum finally acquired it in 1995, restoring and reopening it in 1997.  This home is gorgeous!  It's a Greek Revival home, so there are columns everywhere.  And there are also beautiful, tiled floors.  It's worth seeing this Museum just for the building alone.

But then there's the collection.  Ships of the Sea is filled with items focusing on the Atlantic shipping era of the 17th and 18th centuries.  There are paintings and antiques of all kinds - equipment, ships in bottles, ship wheels - even figureheads.  And let's not forget the models.  They have over twenty amazingly intricate model ships.  I cannot imagine how much time was spent assembling them.  Some of them are large enough to fill a room.  The Titanic is among them.  And, of course, the SS Savannah is as well.  If you're curious, give their site a visit at http://shipsofthesea.org/.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hau'oli la hanau to You


Magnet # 15:  Hawaiian Plumeria

Material:  Resin

Purchased by:  Mom & Dad

Hau'oli la hanau, Hawaii!  It's your birthday!

Yep, back in 1959, on this very day, Hawaii became the USA's 50th, and currently, final state.  Which makes it the 50th state and this its 50th anniversary.  I'll bet there's some serious celebration going on down there today.

The bloom featured here is a plumeria, which although it is quite attractive and abundant in Hawaii, is not the state flower.  It must have been tough picking between all the beautiful flowers they have growing there.  Not that I have seen them myself - I've never been to Hawaii.  And I only have myself to blame.  My folks offered to take me along with them many years ago, but I opted to go visit my family in Texas instead.  Did I make the right decision?  To this day, I still don't know what I'd do if I had to choose again.  I mean, Hawaii is a gorgeous place.  But I do love to see all of my family in Texas.

Well, at least I have plenty of Hawaiian magnets.  My Dad goes there every year or so for work.  He's been there so often that on his recent trips I haven't asked him to buy any new magnets for me.  Of course, that may change on the next visit.  After all, I now need a steady supply of  magnets to keep this blog going (heh, heh - my master plan is revealed!).

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

It's the New "Heart of Dixie"


Magnet # 14: Sweet Home Alabama

Material:  Rubber

Purchased by:  Me

Before I moved to Savannah, I lived in Alabama.  Moved there when I was five and left after I finished college.  My folks still live there.  Which pretty much makes it home to me.  Don't believe what you've heard - it's not such a bad place.  I almost never see a truck in somebody's front lawn.  They even passed a law against it!

It's kind of funny - this whole "Sweet Home Alabama" phenom is relatively recent.  I just don't remember hearing it or seeing much of it for most of my childhood.  "Heart of Dixie" was our state slogan back then.  And considering Lynyrd Skynyrd released it in 1974, it had plenty of time to make its way into the culture of the state before I ever moved there.  I can remember hearing more of it in the late 1990s and by 2002, when the Reese Witherspoon Sweet Home Alabama film hit theaters, the song's popularity in the state was pretty much undeniable.  Nowadays, it's part of the state's cultural identity.  Just this year, it replaced another, older song, "Stars Fell on Alabama" on Alabama's license plates.

The most ironic fact about "Sweet Home Alabama?"  The song was recorded in Georgia.  And the movie was almost totally filmed there, too.  Only the part with the pet cemetery was shot in Alabama.  Considering Tim Burton managed to film all of Big Fish on location in Alabama just a couple of years later (except the parts set in Paris, France) there's really no excuse.  But, as they do give the state its props, I guess we can look beyond that.


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cardinal Virtues


Magnet # 13:  Ohio Cardinal

Material:  Rubber

Purchased by:  Dad

Just what is it about the cardinal, anyway?  I mean, I know it's a pretty bird.  It certainly pops out at you if it's in your backyard and you happen to be looking through the window.  But it's far and away the most popular state bird.  Seven states, including Ohio, have named it their state bird.  Sometimes it feels like it's tough not to find a magnet with a cardinal on it.  Okay- that might be an exaggeration.

So I decided to take to the web in an attempt to understand just what makes these birds so popular.  And here's my results:
 
First, they are just so attractive.  Male cardinals, like the one depicted here, never molt so they are always bright and pretty.  Even female cardinals have a bit of red in their mostly brown feathers.  Also, cardinals don't migrate.  And while they're pretty in summer, when it's snowy, they just leap out at a viewer thanks to their white background.  Next, they tend to favor low lying areas such as bushes and shrubs so they're closer to where people can admire them, not tucked away high in the forest.  Even if they're not where you can easily see them, their calls can help you find them.  Finally, these birds are everywhere!  Okay, they're in more than half of the continental US.  They live in the Northeastern states, the Southern states, and part of the Mid-West.  They're even found as far down as Central America.  And people tend to pick the birds they see the most.  
 
Okay, question answered.  There really are quite a few reasons why the cardinal is so prevalent as a state bird.  And it's not as if states get together and debate which bird to use.  They just pick 'em - so what if they overlap!  Still, given the amount of times you see the cardinal, the mockingbird, and the western meadowlark as state birds, it's kinda cool to come across a truly unique bird like Minnesota's Loon or Hawaii's Nene Goose.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Purple Perfection



Magnet # 12:  Purple Crayola Crayon

Material:  Plastic

Purchased by:  Me

I bought this one eight years ago, this month.  And how do I know this?  Well, it was a birthday gift.  Kinda.  One of my co-workers at the office I was working for at the time got sweetly overzealous and made me a special birthday name tag and attached a dollar to it, hoping others would do the same.  And at the end of the day I had... one dollar.

Wanting to immortalize her kindness, I stopped by Books-A-Million one the way home to pick up this magnet, on which I'd had my eye.  Not only was it purple, my absolute most fave color, but it was only one dollar.  And considering my discount card cancelled out the sales tax, her dollar was exchanged exactly for this magnet - nice!

Yes, my birthday is this month.  I was planning on posting this blog on my exact date-of-birth, but then I realized it might not just be harmless magnet collectors and friends reading what I post here.  And it's better to err on the side of caution in these posts.  So, HB to me - sometime!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rain, Rain Go Away



Magnet # 11:  Sites of Seattle

Material:  Resin

Purchased by:  Chris

Did ya hear?  Seattle, Wa has been magically transported to Savannah, Ga.  Well, maybe not.  But the rain we've been having this summer is making me wonder if we aren't giving the Emerald City a run for its money, precipitation wise.

Yes, I know some areas of the country are experiencing a drought.  Trust me, we'd be happy to share.  I think we've had rain more days this summer than not.  And this is not a pleasant sprinkle or gentle drizzle.  These storms are causing floods, downed trees, and automobile accidents on a daily basis.  Heck, it's started pouring as I've written this post.  I'm just glad I'm not behind the wheel.  Driving in this has been a challenge. 

Of course, it's been interesting to see the results of these downpours when it's not raining.  The marshes here are so green, you'd think somebody dyed them with the St. Patty's Day Ink they use in the fountains.  I didn't even know marshes could be green!  Plus, nobody's bothering to water their lawns.  I guess there can be upsides.

As far as this magnet goes, it's a pretty good smorgasbord of all things Seattle.  There's a ferry in front, the Space Needle behind it, along with the buildings of downtown Seattle, and Mt. Rainier is in the background.  A former co-worker from Seattle bought it for me after I told him about my collection.  I swear I was not soliciting a magnet.  Back then, my collection just consisted of what my folks and I and a few friends and family members had gotten.  Of course, after this, the floodgates opened.  Now, whenever I hear somebody is going somewhere from which I don't have a magnet, I become a shameless beggar.  As long as it works, I'm okay with that.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Taste of India





Magnet # 10:  Famous Places of India

Material: Resin

Purchased by: The Spinks Family

So today, back in 1947, India gained its independence from British rule, realizing the work of Mahatma Ghandi and his followers.  My parents visited the country earlier this year, but had to cut their trip short.  I'm so lucky their traveling companions were able to get a couple of magnets on my behalf, including this one.  What a beauty!

On the back row, from left to right, are the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur, the Taj Mahal in Agra, and the Golden Temple in Amritsar.  A statue of Vishnu and Lakshmi, the Red Fort in Delhi, and a few statues of Hindu deities I wasn't able to find are on the front (if you know who they are, please pass it along!).  This magnet truly is a sample of some of the greatest monuments and works of art India has to offer.

India is a country I'd like to visit someday.  I just love their clothes and aesthetics.  I also enjoy their food (Tandoori anything rocks).

Friday, August 14, 2009

Feats of Clay


Magnet # 9:  Swirled Dolphin & Calf, Hawaii

Material:  Clay

Purchased by:  Dad

So why, exactly, is West Lafayette, Indiana on the list of places to visit before I die?  Because it's the home of Clay Critters!

Clay Critters is the best magnet brand I know of.  And yes, they're responsible for this adorable magnet.  They used a swirling technique on it that is all their own.  Unfortunately, many magnet brands don't bother to label their goods, create a website for businesses and collectors alike, or offer tours of their factories.  Clay Critters provides all of that.  Plus, they produce some of the nicest magnets around.  Check out http://claycritters.com/ if you're interested.  You can view their entire catalog, have a look at their blog, and find out more about the company.  They were begun back in 1978 when founder Rebecca Bollinger began making each little critter by hand.  Nowadays, the company has 18 employees who continue to make all of their products by hand.  They're proud of their creations and equally proud that the majority of their vendors are Mom and Pop stores.

Who knows, maybe you've got a few of their magnets on your fridge and you never even knew it.  If you're as interested in them as I, contact them for a tour at their aforementioned Indiana factory.  Not only can you see how they make all of their magnets, they even let you buy them after the tour!  Wonder if they'll engrave them too...

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

They're Full of Surprises



Magnet # 8: I Love Connecticut

Material:  Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell

Purchased by:  Catherine

Well, I'm pretty sure today is my friend Catherine's b-day  (if not, it's pretty close to).  Yep, she bought me this magnet.  And she's from Connecticut.  She loved Savannah and lived here for awhile until health issues forced her to move back home.  I sure miss her.

And if it's Catherine's birthday, it's also her twin Jennifer's birthday.  Jen introduced Catherine to Savannah and to me.  It was so much fun hanging out with the two of them!  Of course, then Jen graduated, moved to Miami, and got married.  Then Catherine moved back.  Then she moved away again (really, you had to be there).

"We're Full of Surprises" was Connecticut's old slogan, which was abandoned after people kept substituting another word at the end.  I have passed through Connecticut on the way up to Maine back in the late 90's.  I didn't get to spend much time there, though.  So I'm hoping someday I'll get a chance to visit Catherine there, and maybe see some of the neighboring states.  Who knows, perhaps Jen might even be able to make it up.  'Til then, I'll have to settle for chatting on the phone every once in awhile and wishing them a Happy Birthday - squared - on the web.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Here Comes the Spider-Man



Magnet # 7: Spider-Man Hologram

Material: Plastic

Purchased by: N/A - given to me, free

So just what is the average life-span of an arachnid? Because this one's lasted a pretty long time! Spidey debuted this month, back in 1962 (no specific date). His first appearance was in the final issue of Amazing Fantasy, # 15. He marked a major shift in the depiction of comic heroes. Until then, heroes like Superman, Batman, and Captain America were pretty much idealized, adult human beings and their major problems consisted of duking it out with supervillans. Sure, Batman had suffered the tragic loss of his parents and Superman as Clark Kent was ignored by Lois Lane, but writers didn't dwell on those issues.

Enter Stan Lee. With Steve Ditko at his side, he created a skinny teenager superhero with problems readers themselves faced. He was alienated by his peers. He was constantly broke. His love life was either nonexistant or a total joke. And, thanks to the Spider-Man movie, practically everyone knows how he was partially responsible for the death of his beloved Uncle Ben. That's some serious angst! And that was something readers latched onto and demanded to see more of. Spider-Man returned to the newsstands in March of 1963 with his own comic book and has gone on to become Marvel Comic's flagship character. This spider sure seems to have a lot of life left in him.

So, yeah, I like comics. And Spidey is a favorite of mine. I read far less comics than I have in the past, but I always like to know what's going on with him. As for this magnet, it used to be a sticker until I put a magnet on the back. I'm pretty sure it was a freebie I received in a bag of goodies given to me at the end of a tour of Marvel Studios back in 2000.

Yes, I have toured Marvel Headquarters in New York City. It was extremely memorable, considering they had all kinds of Marvel paraphenalia and Spidey himself was the tour guide. I first found out this was possible in an issue of Wizard, the comic-focused magazine. They warned the wait list for a tour could be years long, but I mentioned the tour to a professor at my college who was organizing a trip to the city, and he was awesome and contacted them to set up the tour on my behalf. Maybe that's why we were able to bypass the wait list? Only about six of us went, but I think we all had a pretty great time. If you're interested, contact them about a tour. Even if you have to wait, it's well worth it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

On Top of the World



Magnet # 6: King Kong Climbing Empire State Building, New York

Material: Rubber

Purchased by: Dad

Another advantage to all of these wonderful magnet blogs out there? Shopping!

Ever since going online and looking at all the magnets available throughout the world, I have come to the realization that rubber magnets like this one are my faves. They're so colorful! And they're fun! Plus, big bonus - they never break. I love the pretty, sculpted resin ones, but if they fall off the fridge, you're looking at a certain degree of damage.  So when I saw this one on http://magneticmira.blogspot.com/, I experienced some pretty serious magnet envy. Luckily, my Dad was going to New York on business not long after, so I pulled the pic, circled this magnet and another one, and shot them over to him. I was hoping he could find something like either one of them. Well, he found this exact one and one pretty close to the other (better in some ways).

So if you see a magnet you like on the web, save it. You never know, passing it along to the right person at the right time might work.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

My Own Teeny Santorini


Magnet # 5:  Santorini Map

Material:  Resin

Purchased by:  Mom & Dad

The majority of my magnet collection comes from my folks.  They do a fair amount of traveling, both for business and pleasure.  This was bought during their Greek vacation in 2007 (I think).

I admit, I didn't know much about the Island of Santorini until it was time to type this up.  Thanks to Wikipedia, I now know that the shape of the island - depicted on this magnet - was formed by an insanely powerful volcanic eruption thousands of years ago.  What was once a single landmass is now split apart in this formation.  It's a caldera, or a circular mass produced by a volcanic eruption.  So all of Santorini is surrounding a dormant volcano.  That's a little unnerving.

What struck me as most interesting about modern Santorini is that they don't have any reliable sources of water.  Almost hard to believe, looking at this magnet.  But they have no rivers and few springs.  They had to rely on rainwater and imports from the Greek mainland.  Apparently, they have now created a desalination plant to make use of ocean water and provide themselves with more water, albeit non-potable.

It's fun using magnets to learn about other cultures.  Doing so makes them even more enjoyable to own.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Man V. Longhorn

Magnet # 4:  Longhorn in San Antonio, Texas

Material:  Rubber

Purchased By:  Mom & Dad


It wasn't my intention to put two Texas magnets in a row, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to. The season premiere of Man V. Food airs on Travel Channel tonight and it's set in, you guessed it, San Antonio.

I adore Travel Channel!  Their shows are enlightening, entertaining, and at times disturbingly fascinating.  There are so many places I'm dying to visit because of this channel!  I admit, I'm still warming to Man V. Food and its host, Adam Richman.  He's a nice guy, but he's not as cool as Anthony Bourdain, as lovable as Andrew Zimmern, or even as bubbly as Samantha Brown.  But I do like him more than other Travel Channel hosts.  I won't mention their names.

The concept for this show was an idea whose time had come.  The Travel Channel kept airing all of these shows about pigout restaurants, some of which had challenges.  And they'd show people trying the challenges, but it was never the same person.  I kept watching and thinking it would be nice to have one person try all of these challenges.  Apparently, I wasn't the only one thinking so.  Along came Man V. Food.  Adam visits one city or region each week.  Usually he'll try two or three local restaurants that serve lots of food - often junk food.  I don't think I've ever seen him eat a salad.  Anyway, the last restaurant he visits always has a challenge he must take on.  It's pretty much either eating tons of food or eating insanely hot food.  And he's impressive to watch at these challenges - Adam wins more than he loses.  It's fun, but I don't really learn as much from this show as I do from other Travel Channel shows.  If you're curious to find out more, visit http://www.travelchannel.com/TV_Shows/Man_v_Food.

As far as this magnet goes, I like it.  Nice art, and I enjoy how the horns extend beyond the diamond outine - good design overall.  According to a tiny marking, it's produced by the Classic Company.  I have a few of their magnets and sometimes I'll stumble across more on the web.  But it would be really nice if they had their own site.  I'd love to know more about them.  So if anyone with any power at Classic ever happens to read this, take note:  people (i.e. me) demand a website devoted to you and your magnets.  Hop to!

Doubt it'll ever work.  But it's worth a try.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Deep in My Heart


Magnet # 3:  I Heart Texas

Material:  Metal, Paper, Mylar Shell

Purchased by:  Mom & Dad

Well, I do.  

Growing up, Texas was always the place I went to for the Summer and at Christmas.  It's where all of my extended family lives, so I have a deep rooted love for all things Texas - and plenty of Texas magnets!

While my family is mostly in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, I've been to most of the major cities in Texas:  Austin, Houston, San Antonio, Waco, Wichita Falls, and so on.  One summer, my folks and I spent a few days traveling across the state to West Texas and I got a pretty good feeling for how massive the state really is.  Of course, the trip only deepened the love I feel for this incredible state.  And that grows stronger with the visits I make every year or so.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Nutty as a Squirrel


Magnet #2:  Squirrel on Charlotte Fence

Material:  Wood, Laminated Paper

Purchased By:  Me

How cute is this little guy!  I bought this one a couple weeks of ago at the Charlotte Airport while running from one gate to another.  I have traveled in North Carolina, but I'm not sure if I have been to Charlotte, so I was happy to have a chance to get a couple of Charlotte magnets.

One benefit I've found to collecting magnets is that, while other travelers are often upset by layovers and the lack of direct flights, it is a great shopping opportunity for a magnet junkie like myself.  It's like a bonus spot (or spots) between Point A and Point B.  Of course, there are exceptions.  Just the other day, I was getting my oil changed when I overheard another customer lamenting about how he had recently been held over two days in the Miami Airport for what would have been a 5 1/2 hour drive to Jacksonville.  Ugh!  That's waaay more time than I would ever need to buy magnets.

In this case, I had about 30 minutes to buy North Carolina magnets both ways switching planes on a round trip to Kentucky.  So I ended up getting nutty as a squirrel, so to speak, and kinda just grabbing magnets.  When I got home, I realized I had gotten a couple more than I really needed.  Better erring on the side of more magnets?  Right?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Welcome and First Post

Magnet # 1:  Elizabeth, Savannah, Georgia

Material:  Rubber

Purchased by:  Me

Hello and welcome to my first entry!  I'm a magnet collector who's been following other magnet blogs for awhile and I wanted to give it a try.  I know very little about Blogspot, so this may take me a little while to master.  Why Blogspot?  Well, all the other cool magnet bloggers seem to be here (http://www.joymagnetism.com/, http://magneticmira.blogspot.com/,       http://agalleryformemomagnetica.blogspot.com/) so they've got to know something, right?  Anyway, by doing this I'm hoping to connect with other magnet lovers, encourage them to put their magnets on the web, either here or on photo only sites like Flicker, and acknowledge the people who have contributed to my collection.

So this magnet is pretty self-explanatory.  My name is Elizabeth and I live in Savannah, Georgia.  I moved here in the early 2000s to attend school.  Doing so was the catalyst for my collection.  After all, now that I was on my own and had a fridge, it needed magnets, right? 300 or so later, the fridge is full and I'm adding magnet boards to my kitchen.  And I'm crazier about my magnets than ever!  And yes, they're kitchy and a little silly.  But they're also lots of fun.  Everyone needs a hobby, right?

As far as this blog goes, I've decided to do a magnet a day - or so.  I can take off a day - or more, if necessary - but I'm just going to do one entry, one magnet per day.  No more.  Plus, I'll share whatever story is attached to the magnet, if any.  My magnets pretty much fall into two categories:  places and pop culture.  So check 'em out if you've a fellow magnet junkie - I've sure had fun checking out other folk's collections.  And feel free to post or drop me a note with comments, responses, and/or advice.  I'm sure I can use it.