MTV's 'Room Raiders'

It has been interesting to see some of the episodes of "Room Raiders" on MTV that were taped in Athens, although the show is nutty and I don't find the premise interesting since the concept is basically aimed at teenagers. I first saw the episode in which Robin from "Real World San Diego" raided rooms, and it was really neat to get a peek inside the crazy-colored houses in Mandyville where the guys live. I also saw the episode of the uber-Christian dawg raiding the rooms of those girls that lived in different places. He was so insane that I had laugh at the humility that the girls must have felt for being on the show -- especially when he stripped naked and played that girl's guitar. I quickly figured that instead of one winner there would be two -- the loser would be the girl he picked for a date, and it ended up being the girl that models and seems to have nothing in common with him.

Of course I realize that MTV shows are heavily edited to present what the director wants to show, and there has been a lot of talk about how fake "Room Raiders" is, so I won't presume that the participants' personalities were realistically portrayed whenever I might see these fellow UGA students around town. Bunny McIntosh wrote about her experience and how they put words in her mouth, and Lizzy Vincent submitted this comment to Athens World:

I too was on Mtv Room Raiders. The experience over all was quite fun, but needless to say, there were many scenarios that were not true. I was told 'what to wear' for my bio (I was told to button up a shirt all the way & it looks so tacky), I was told to include in 'my hobbies' that I enjoy playing violin (which I have not played since 4th grade). Everyone was really nice, but the bad part of our taping was that is was like 80 something degrees outside and in the van covered with soundproof material due to the airplanes overhead, the van was like 90 something. With all of the people in the vn, the air was hot and humid. All three of us girls were drenched in our own sweat! We kept having to say 'please cut' so we could turn around an wipe ourselves fown with paper towels! I have naturally thick, semi-curly hair which I straighten flat with a Helen of Troy Gold series hair iron. The humidity was making my hair pouf up and get wavy. Giselle, one of the girls in the van, had the same situation, but her hair was getting worse than mine, and her face was glowing from the sweat. Stephanie (the thrid girl) was not as phased as we were.

Our Raider, Brandon, was dressed up as a 1st class hillbilly -- fake bubba teeth, fake acne, fake nosehair, fake farmer tan lines, greasy hair, a nasty white cut off shirt, 80's jeans, and loafers or slippers. He spoke in a fake redneck accent for effect. At the end, he made an 'unexpected ugly duckling to swan transformation.' We had to act like we had NO CLUE what was really going on. Hmm.

I hope you had fun on the set; we had an interesting experience. :) Take care, and I'll look out for your episode. Check for mine. The 'Hotlanta' episodes started Monday the 10th. New episodes air every day at 4:30. You will recognize my episode -- I am the long haired blonde sitting between two petitie short haired brunettes. I am wearing a light pink California t-shirt and jeans.


So it might be nice to see the participants in an authentic setting, but it still looks like it must have been fun and crazy.


Prophet Charles

He said his name was "Charles, Prophet Charles." He lives in a tent and ministers full-time, though he is infinitely better groomed than your average tent dweller. He said he was going downtown to spread the Word. He explained that he gets money by simply finding it on the sidewalk downtown -- presumably dropped by drunk people -- and sometimes it's huge wads of cash. God tells him where to walk to find it. I've certainly never found anything more than a dime downtown, so who am I to doubt his divine influence.


Map room

My grandfather Richard Merchant visited Athens today. I learned that for two years in the 1940s he worked for the Sanborn Map Company in New York. Just this week Tim, who has been reading this blog and will hopefully soon write here, wrote to me about the Sanborn fire insurance map collection at UGA. I called Tim to ask where we might find them, and he told me to go to the Map Room at the Science Library.

In the Map Room we met Tom Hardaway, and we told him about our interest in the Sanborn maps. We figured it might be nice to find a map from approximately the time Richard worked for the company. Tom found a map of Dalton, Georgia, from 1941, and he offered to give us a special viewing of the original color map, explaining that he normally directs patrons to the black-and-white microfilm copies. (After all, Richard was the assistant foreman in the coloring department, so he could appreciate the full color version better.) Tom was kind enough to engage Richard in telling a bit about his life story and found other maps that interested him. Richard talked about his mapmaking experience with Sanborn and the Air Force, and Tom told us that fire insurance maps are not even printed on paper anymore in the computer age. Another staff member, John, joined us for a while, and he gave my grandfather a copy of a "Soldier's Map of Atlanta" from the 1940s.

Map Room at Science Library Map Room at the University of Georgia