Thursday, October 31, 2013

Halloween 2013

We love to carve the intricate pumpkins for Halloween, especially someone who died in the past year.

This year we have
 Margaret Thatcher

 and Lou Reed, both by master carver DancinTurtle.


 and Iron Man by Troz

Jack Skellington by Lori

 I did the minion 

 and the skull popping out of a Jack O'Lantern (design by DancinTurtle)

And Spock got to be a hotdog for about 30 seconds....none of the other would do it :)

We had our usual ~300 trick or treaters, but the kids who didn't actually have a costume and couldn't even come up with a good line got plastic spiders.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

House on the Rock, Part III

House on the Rock, Part III

Worlds Largest Carousel

The Bathrooms
Even the bathrooms have themes, so don't be shocked when folks poke their head in to look.
The women's room has the kimono collection

and the men's has some taxidermy.

And the novelty phone themed bathrooms....Alf!

The Carousel is one of the main reasons folks come to the House on the Rock.  It is an important place in Neil Gaiman's American Gods and you can usually pick out the people who are here because they read about it (including us).

And when all those lights are in motion....

 Here are some of the horses that don't fit on the carousel

And these are some of the angels that watch over the carousel.

There are a couple rooms filled with doll houses.  Not super interesting to me, but this one had a nice set of bunnies.  I'm not even going to show you the collection of circus stuff-too many creepy clowns!

And in the final building is where they keep the whiskey barrel/moonshine bottle/beer stein collection.  

And the organ pipe collection

 Even better when they are together with trees

My favorite set of pipes were the extra large, rectangular, wooden ones.

Set of extra large wrenches

Circuit boards from the 90s!

Alex Jordan wanted this room to represent the circles of hell, and the walkways are fun curvy paths.  But it doesn't really seem hell-ish until just on your way out you get the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse.

After all that you are grateful to walk through the very tasteful gardens to the gift shop.  We were so tired out from being in awe and yet I would do it again because this is really someplace to see.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

House on the Rock, Part II

House on the Rock, August 2013

Heritage of the Sea room

Another famous area is The Heritage of the Sea rooms.  

All nautical collections are on the walkways surrounding a FANTASTIC squid vs blue whale battle.  There is no good way to photograph the whole room (I didn't have my new android phone with 360 photos-drat!).  But here you can see the scope, that is me, pointing to the whale!

And the whale from a few more angles

I do wish they would have told us a little about how they made these!

Squid eye!

And then you need some actual whale stuff in your ocean collection...

Scrimshaws-everything carved onto whale bone or teeth.

Shell art makes me think of the SpongeBob SquarePants movie :(  

There were about 30 model ship displays, but I liked the exhibit about the Queen Mary, since I had just visited her!

And then perhaps because there was no where else to put them, this is where they put the collection of 'vases of female busts with holes in the head'.  So that is a thing you can collect.
Is she supposed to be a green alien?  This is one of the few pieces I would have in my home.

And the Virgin Mary statues clearly fit in best with this collection.

 If my head had not been so full, I would have spent more time looking at the masks and puppets.   I wish there were more info about these.  Were they originals?  Where did they come from?

And just before the snack shop, is the Burma shave collection-awesome!

Monday, October 14, 2013

House on the Rock, Part I

If you have never been to the House on the Rock, but want to go, skip these post!  It is better to see it with fresh eyes.

House on the Rock, August 2013
The House, Infinity Room, Automated music

So we took an afternoon to visit House on the Rock while visiting the midwest.  I had seen it once back in the late 80s and didn't remember much.  But in the meantime we have both read  American Gods by Neil Gaiman so we really wanted to visit.  Wow.  Holy cow.  Glad I went back.  If I start to feel bad about keeping too much stuff, I will just remember these 4 hours and Alex Jordan, the builder and creator.  For each photo of one item, just keep in mind there are probably 20 or 100 or 200 of each in the collection.

The first things you see are about 20 of these decorative planters are in the parking lot.  Take a close look so you don't miss the dragons. Designed by Alex Jordan as many things in the collection are.

 Alex was fascinated with Japanese gardens.  Here are some of the grounds and gardens,  


 But items that don't fit the theme are welcome as well.

 A wide variety of plants are grown in the conservatory.

 As you go inside the actual house you meet more dragons

 carved boats

 And whatever this is!

 It is reminiscent of Frank Lloyd Wright's style, though it is 30 years after Falling Water.  Talesin is just 5 miles down the road....

AT THoTR there is a greater mix of styles, Tiffany lamp, African sculpture, Asian iron working and bringing nature inside.  All within 5 square feet.  Oh, plus the red carpet ceiling.

 This is the famous infinity room.  It is a relatively short hallway, made to look like it goes to infinity.

 I am out at the actual end.  We were lucky to visit on a slow day and got the room to ourselves for 5 minutes.

 It is a cantilever and all that room hangs out over space.  And Jordan wan't an engineer, he gave his workers instructions every morning because the plans were in his head.  If it didn't work out, he ripped it out and rebuilt.  So you definitely feel safe out in the infinity the wasp nests outside the window....

 Part of the gun collection which seemed to be full of any type of unusual gun.

All sorts of automation was interesting to Jordan.  
 Here is curiosity from the bank collection-dropping in a coin sets it in motion.  
This of course is the dying drunkard.  Which was maybe  meant to send a moral message to railroad passengers?  THoTR was purposefully designed for entertainment, not like a museum-there are almost no information signs on any of the exhibits.

We played as many of the automated music machines as we could.
The colossal gigantic calliope is the size of a steam engine-those statues are life size-and the whole thing has three levels of instruments.

 My favorite are the jugs which have little ribbons at the mouths so you can see when the air is blowing across them.  

 This is the Blue Danube room.  I am not sure that all of the music comes from the actual instruments, but even I could hear that the piano needs to be tuned, so at least some of it real?

 The violin set-up is intricate to say the least.

 There were so many music rooms that they all started to look alike.

But they clearly try to make each distinctive.  This one had multiple saints up in the ceiling and  red velvet covering the walls.