MSc, USA: Grad Students Take America, Pt. IV

I swear I’m trying to wrap this thing up as quickly as I’d think I was prepping for sex or something. I feel like it’s time to get writing about current events in my lowly grad life instead of being on a six month lag reliving last summer. However, my thesis is pretty much on a six month lag, so I guess that works out. For this at least, it’s not working out for the thesis.

If I remember correctly in the last post we had just gone to bed…

… We woke up repeatedly with nightmares of horses. I’m assuming you caved and Googled that bedtime story I mentioned earlier. Shame on you. You’ll have to live with your decisions.

Sometime around nine we hit the road for Atlanta. For the record, the longer I wait when writing these posts the worse my memory gets, so bear with me if you’ve heard conflicting versions of these endeavours and I’ll send you a special note to say I’m sorry, which will likely be made of individual letters cut from different magazines..

When we got relatively close to Atlanta (likely within 300 miles) (of Mexico) we took out the clubs and hit the fairways. It was a decent day, but either they had just aerated the turf or they had a ridiculous midget gopher problem. We played a round of skins and lost almost every one to Snake, who by then had taken to calling himself Moil.

If you didn’t know, golf takes most of a business day, which must be why so many business men love it (if not for the cute beer cart girls and lack of physical exertion). So given my normal desire to eat every three hours, by the end I was famished. We checked online and found another hotspot from Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. (I can’t recall, is there an oxford comma in the show’s title, or did Guy Fieri eat it?)


I don’t know what this was called but it was a nice change from McDoubles, which we simply saved for dessert. For the record, all the good toppings are hiding under the fries, presenting a rather stupid challenge..the meal turned out to be nearly as sporty as the round of golf.

Eventually we made it to Snake’s brother’s house in ATL, performed the obligatory and awkward get-to-know-each-other-yawn-I’m-tired-long-day-on-the-road-yeah-us-too-guess-we’ll-hit-the-hay-yeah-we-were-thinking-the-same-thing chat (great guys though). Then Cobra and I retreated to the playroom to get some shut-eye (yeah that’s right). But first we made a sweet fort and yelled at the kids for being too loud at their invisible tea party. We secretly questioned whether invisible tea was the source of all girls’ cooties. Then quickly confirmed it with our boy smarts, which we reasoned are never wrong, because we’re boys. All that being awesome really wore us out so we fell asleep pretty early. Actually Cobra didn’t quite go to bed right away, he submitted his thesis first. I mean, you can’t properly focus on academics until you’ve had some stolen cootie tea, right? Priorities. That’s why we call him a Master of Science, and why his supervisor calls him a Piece of Shit. Unfortunately I have the same supervisor, so I’ve recently taken over his Shit-Piece duties. (Is that redundant?)

Morning came early and it felt like it was going to be a good day! Sorry for the confusion, I sometimes call myself Morning. According to the itinerary it was another hiking day so we got dressed and ate one of those breakfasts where you’re not quite comfortable as guests yet, so you make conversation based on what you talked about the night before, or the décor of whichever room you’re sitting in. Then you wipe the crumbs off your face after every bite and make sure nothing escapes from the direct line between your mouth and plate, and never ask for seconds but always say yes after the third insistence, then offer to do the dishes even though you clearly see a dishwasher and don’t even know which annoying variation of a sponge they use to clean anyway. Phew. We made it. Honestly why do I even travel?

Oh right! Because we get to see cool stuff. Like Racist Rock! Wait, no, Stone Mountain! Just outside of Atlanta and my comfort zone. It was so confederate I’m surprised there weren’t segregated routes. We brought along Snake’s cousin and her mom, just so the whites wouldn’t think we were a “buncha gaymin.”


The carving is actually about 17,000 sq.ft. So like I say when I send Snapchats, trust me it’s bigger in person.


Safety first. Always wax your legs before hiking. This further contributed to the gaymin accusations. I was actually just taping Cobra’s ankle which took an unfortunate turn during a previous hike. I knew my degree would pay off one day. (I said, as I was providing my services for free…)


 Resting on top of the mountain a.k.a. trying not to succumb to my fear of heights.

On the way down Cobra split off and ran ahead because Kid #1 wanted to go faster than us, but looking back at it, we’re convinced most people on the mountain thought he might be driving a windowless van.


The Cobra attacks.

When we got back down we dropped everyone off at the house and went to pick up Snake’s brother to grab dinner and catch a Braves’ game downtown. We found a place called the Vortex so we could try their Triple Bypass Burger, because everyone wants to fill their insides with grease before sitting idly for nine innings of “sport.”


Nothing too big, I’ll just have a couple patties, some bacon and eggs, and I guess put it between a few grilled cheese sandwiches while you’re at it. And maybe add a few tater tots that’ll look identical before and after.

The game itself was pretty good, I believe one of the teams won.


The highlight of the night was meeting a fellow canuck in the stands, or as he said it, a “canook.” My skepticism rose. But since he was already a few brews deep it was a pretty entertaining conversation. You wouldn’t believe the antics a high school gym teacher gets up to when he’s on vacation. What a lovely, detail-oriented man he was. Plus he sent me a beer after we relocated down to some lower seats, since, afterall, it was a “good canook brew.” He was right. But after all of his talk I was kind of disappointed he didn’t send me a lap dance. Selfish. Quite uncanook.

Just after it got dark all the players’ moms said “stop playing catch and do your homework!” so they dabbed a couple sweat droplets off with hundred dollar bills and left the field. We left too, but after that burger I think I was sweating a little more than they were worrying about my Albert Pujols getting a little Babe Ruthless.

In the morning we hit the road once again, in search of better hiking.

Did the boys finally discover what they had been searching for? Find out next time on Rather Normal Vacations Hyped Up For Print.