Abandoned JoyLand

Angie Brown


I’m fascinated with abandoned amusement parks left to ruin. The second project for my illustration class was to show time, location, and/or motion, and this was one of my concepts. My instructor didn’t comment on this one, which is a shame, because it was my favorite. I’m guessing he didn’t care for it because it doesn’t really tell a story; it’s just there as something nice to look at. I spent most of last night adding color to it but it’s not finished. I’ll come back to it someday– I have to leave it alone now and work on the one he chose as the strongest.

It’s about cats, so I’m okay with that.


2013 goals and aspirations

1. Build illustration portfolio and body of work. Freelance.

2. Finish at least half the spreads in the children’s book with Melissa.

3. Submit Paperdoll Revolution to the City Gallery.

4. Pay off all credit card debt, and save more money for a future move/career transition.

5. Get healthier.


roadtrip, part #1

I used to be the queen of road trips- I’d jaunt out at a moment’s notice, grabbing my tent, sleeping bag and my trusty road atlas, boldly charging into parts unknown. It’s been a while since I did that, having discovered air travel & therefore Europe sometime around 2005, and satiating my wanderlust in great big expensive leaps instead of little economical hops.

But now, with Europe impossibly far away for my bank account, I find myself wishing I still had my tent and sleeping bag. Especially after our experience with the hotel in Winston-Salem, NC…

For my latest birthday, I went to the nearest wine country to tour a couple of vineyards and check out other points of interest in and around Winston-Salem, NC. Our first stop was SECCA, the SouthEastern Center for Contemporary Art, featuring an exhibit by Oscar Munoz, a highly conceptual artist who deals with the transience of life and the imminence of death, and how identity is impermanent. His work was thoughtful and thought-provoking, and engendered a quiet sense of carpe diem tempered with futility.


Creepy leaf people, aaaaugh! The window shopping continued into Winston-Salem proper, where we wandered around until nightfall, trying to figure out why it’s called “the City of the Arts”.


she didn’t know either.


What we found instead was an industrial wasteland left ravaged by JR Reynolds Co., the tobacco magnate, and a lot of closed mills.



But even industrial wastelands have their charms and unique flavor of beauty… we discovered more of that the following day. Our biggest find of Friday was on the “Avenue of the Arts”, the 4 block strip of cutesy shops, galleries, bars and restaurants that serves as the cultural center of W-S.

We had dinner at a little place called 6th and Vine where the food was beautiful and delicious. I drank a cab called “Irony” in honor of my entire experience that day.


Coming up next: roadtrip, part duex! wherein I tour 2 wineries vastly different in nature & explore the ruins of the tobacco empire…

top 10 wines under $15

And now–as promised last week, a fluffy little post about my favorite recently discovered & inexpensive wines. If you’ve had any of these wines, especially the ones that I lack sufficient descriptions for, please comment. And if you’ve had any you’d like to recommend, do that as well, please & thank you.

In order of their discovery:

D’autrefois Pinot Noir & Malbec
The pinot has been a trusted go-to wine since I  discovered it last summer with my good buddy Joel. It’s a light, peppery cherry and well-balanced. While waxing particularly poetic one evening, I wrote that it tasted like “a little boat made of bark and leaves floating down a dappled woodland stream.” yah, it’s all that.  The Malbec is new on the shelves, and is equally thrilling. Total Wine carries both- $9.99.

Finca Flichman Malbec – 3 months oaked
Paul will go on & on about his Finca Flichman, though his pronunciation of “Flichman” varies by day. I do know that finca means “ranch”– & that counts for something. Extremely rich/bold- a singular chord of intense flavor. This vineyard also produces Misterio, another Malbec oak-aged 4 months- but Paul insists that the 3 months is better. Total Wine $7.99– but they don’t always have it.

Fat Bastard
I’ve never met a Fat Bastard that I didn’t like. We’ve had the 2008 Merlot, the 2007 Cab, the 2009 Shiraz. I believe it’s the cab that we like the most- it’s hard to tell from my copious notes there. Easy to find- usually under $10. And that hippo is just so darn cute…

Contempo — 2005 Cab, 2007 Merlot
November of 2010, Paul wrote “this is my idea of a great wine” of the 2005 cab. Also written is that it “attacks softly, then explodes with flavor & finishes sweet.” We had an argument over who to attribute that quote to, but I’m pretty sure it was me because I’m the poetic one. Long berry finish, smooth tannins. We trusted Contempo & bought it whenever we were at Harris Teeter- & then the unthinkable happened- Contempo let us down. We bought a bottle of cab with no vintage marked on the bottle- and it  tasted like fishy cork. We haven’t gotten any Contempo since then, our hearts were broken. Moral of the story: If you buy it- check the back label & make sure there’s a year marked. If there isn’t, then the wine is from multiple harvests spanning two or more years. Shy away from that– the risk is just too great.

Robert Mondavi Private Collection Cab 2009
Easy to find, carried by almost any supermarket. Even the Food Lion has it. The label doesn’t come off very easily though…

Graffigna Malbec 2007
The Malbec from Argentina has flavors of Blackberry, currant, tobacco, oak & spice. 2007 Cab also delicious. Publix carries it, $11

Colores del Sol Malbec 2009
Another fine Malbec carried by Publix $12. I’ve slacked off on my flavor notes by this point in my journal… But it was definitely worth buying again. And the label is pretty.

Edgewood Estates 2007
A blend of cab, petit bordeaux and malbec. We splurged on this one- $15– it was Valentine’s Day, & I served butternut squash, black beans (soaked overnight & simmered with jalapenos), spinach salad, and toasted seeduction buns from Whole Foods bakery. It was divine.

Jip Jip Rocks Shiraz Cab 2009
Ordinarily we’d shy away from anything named “Jip Jip Rocks”, but a trusted Total Wine associate by the name of Tiger pointed us to this Australian blend. In Tiger’s honor, Paul & I have declared that this wine is grrrrrrrreat! $15.

Releaf 2009 blend
This organic wine is Fran’s Pick at Total Wine, & we like Fran. Fran has a good taste in wine & a simpatico palate. It’s a cab/merlot/shiraz blend from South Africa- fruit forward, mellow tannins, smooth & silky, peppery & well-balanced. Served with sweet potato, quinoa with steamed sweet peas & sweet peppers, spinach salad with herbs, avocado & pickled banana peppers. $9.99 AND IT’S ORGANIC, Y’ALL.