In Michigan again. This time, as C says, there wasn't enough build up. Not enough daydreaming and wanderlusting and romanticising for the midwest. Instead my arrival was met with the midwest mediocrity that on a cheery day I would describe as modesty. Christmas was full of treats made from hersheys kisses, gifts from outlet malls, and general middle-of-the-road cheer.

Although they were at the top of my list, I didn't get any books so I had to grab something from my old stack of 'to-read classics' and the only one I had left to read is Miller's Tropic of Cancer. The bustle in the kitchen from my mom making another dream dinner and my dad and sister chatting about renting a movie is just such a great soundtrack to the read.

Change my ticket or finish the novel?


Through the doorway

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

This is the light coming through my 'front door' peephole. Lately I have been sitting on the floor propped up against the door just watching the little rainbow light circle - just waiting for it to go dark so I will know there is a visitor.

I don't really do that but I can tell you that today I went out to eat instead of cooking again. I went to a subway sandwich shop and I heard the guy in front of me ask if there was a tax difference if he dined in or took his food to go. I also heard a lady order an oatmeal raisin cookie and demand that the sandwich artist pick the one that had the least raisins. The woman worked for LDWP and was wearing shorts and one of those giant leg braces. I didn't lose my appetite though.


Too much to do. But I don't want to forget to write about this.


A droll and sagacious rundown of GRE words

I have forgotten how to live without chicanery. I’ve been in LA too long. I blame it on the coterie of contumacious lassies I have been running with. It doesn’t help that this sinecure of mine was once only a diurnal operation and has now turned into an onerous night menace.


No Laundrymat for Young Women.

Yesterday I went to the early evening show of "No Country For Old Men." I sat next to a few other solo theater goers. After it was over one of em, a chick that chewed her popcron with relative refinement, leans over and says "sheeewee - I'm going to have trouble sleeping tonight."

"Oh, I was prepared," I say. "I read the book." What the sam hell that means I don't know but thank goodness that most of what I say to strangers and store help never gets recorded unless I use it as an anecdote.

I spent the rest of the night running errands in a dreamy terrified state. The guy at Trader Joe's asked me how I was doing and I was like "what do you need to know that for?" and no I don't want any change. I would not recommend doing laundry in a public place after seeing that movie either unless you don't use quarters. Every time I put a new one in the dryer I kept thinking, "this coin got here the same way I did..." It's just stupid. This light grip on reality that I have.

Anyway. I Love Super Beautiful meets tonight. We'll see what kind of crap we can come up with using a book on story structure and four bottles of pumpkin ale.

Does anyone else have cold ankles?


It's around twenty degrees outside. My bones are soaked, chilled, and rattling and worse -my only internet hook-up is this blackberry. This demonic device that reminds me of the job waiting for me when I get back to LA. But i just want to forget that.

It's easy to forget what a house full of siblings sounds like. Or what a town in the thick of deer season looks like. Or what sleet turning to snow feels like. Or what free food from parents fridge tastes like. But it's all coming back to me.

The mechanics in town that gave my sister an oil change and free tire rotation wore carharts and seemed kind of preoccupied. My dad has thrown some safetyblaze orange accessories into his daily running outfit. Don't want em to mistake ya for a buck.

Last night Em and Tdog and I were in royal oak and ran across a half chopped deer hanging by its hind quarters. I got a couple shots of it before one of the hunters came out and asked if we wanted to take pictures of the carcass. Well when you put it that way - who can resist? The dude told us that this was his last deer because he was getting old and it just wasn't the same. I'm not the same guy I was. You change, you get older. He told us while he waived his filet knife around.

I'm just glad mama doesn't have to kill a turkey for tomorrow. We already picked up the pre-plucked bird at Sav-on foods tonight.there has been enough violence around here. Mostly emotional voilence for me though, i can't handle the bittersweet visits with my old pals and old stomping grounds. But like the weather, i really need to dry up.


This is my taxi driver leaning over and whispering who knows what to a hardworking woman who was just trying to check his tire pressure.

I would like to be a mexican cab driver and make my own lanes and drive in a spirited manner. I won't be able to for another week or so though because my hand is injured. I cut it on an unknown object hiding in the back seat crevices. That's what I get for trying to find a seat belt. I hadn't even been looking for the thing for thirty seconds when the cab, a well broken in midsized station wagon, got pulled over by the cops.

My driver chuckled. Chuckled and then grabbed a wad of pesos from his shirt pocket and walked behind the car. I had no idea what the f was so funny since all I could think about was me, my problems, my unattended luggage, and my plane boarding. He spoke with the cop for all of twenty seconds and came back before I found the seatbelt but right after I cut my hand.

"A hundred pesos," he tells me, "ticket is about sixty dollars." I was getting used to this pesos/dollars interchangeability so I understood what he was saying - he paid the cop ten bucks to get out of paying sixty - I just didn't want him to tack it onto my bill - I wanted to be consulted for all bribery pay outs.

I probably would have been consulted if my spanish wasn't so bad. The driver was kind enough to hold a conversation with me made entirely up of names of cities and tourist attractions. What else do you really need to talk about anyway when the road is before you always?


E forgot her luggage in the hotel lobby. What a goofball. This place has turned into a madhouse because there is some kind of triathlon going on right across the street so the roads, which are normally wacked anyway, are now backed up for miles. So I had to roll out her luggage to a certain meeting point so she could avoid any more unnecessary returnos.

I will get to the good stuff of my trip later when I get home and can supplement with photos but for now I just want to express my disappointment that I couldn't post to my Tumblr blog from my cell phone. Apparently the customer service at Verizon is full of bald faced liars that actively ruin the lives of other people.



Activities for K's send-off continue. Coffee with a late dinner is dangerous. It's nothing like the typical coked out Mondays of most Los Angeles residents but it's enough to keep a convo going for a coupla hours past the valets shift.

The night ended with a cup of coffee that went cold. The food at the Dresden Room tastes like you'd think. The place smells like the inside of a wig and looks like the fanciest food joint ever presented in a Bogart flick. The waiter advised K against pork chops because the guy who usually cooks a good chop wasn't working tonight. The other guy was on. "What else should we have?" "What's good?" we asked. He tells us, "Everything else is good." Imagine a chef whose only failure is the pork chop and you can imagine the Dresden.

All this coffee and wind and earthquakin has syncopated my circadian rhythm. I think I have been suffering from an elevated perceived predation risk for sometime. Staying up late waiting for earthquakes and text messages has caused me to adopt the same sleeping schedule I had in 1996. Syncopated, for those of you that don't know, is stress on a normally unstressed beat. Dig that. And dig this.

Other things I have been digging are this, this, and this.


My favorite old fashioned cooking ingredient is gelatin. Second to that would be dried fruits. I never appreciated my mother putting rasins in everything and now, well I still think it's gross but I get it.

We spent the evening at the local sports bar in the same spot we have secured for the past three games. I like it there even though everyone was a boston fan - but who isn't? Ever since that Jimmy Fallon movie...


I had big plans to stay up until after the earthquake tonight. I just can't handle being awoken -awoke -wakened - by a rumbling bed and bookcase and it happened again last night.

I was so pleased that I can get the USGS quake update live map on my blackberry because me internet has really been shit lately. It's running at dial-up speeds. I was on hold with Time Warner for 30 minutes before a young man with a mouth full of shredded wheat tried to help me. I was cranky and kept barking at him 'I can't even understand what you are saying?! Peanut butter mouthroof!'

Tomorrow is garbage day, the only day worse than street cleaning day for finding parking.


dodger's girls
Originally uploaded by kaky pants.

I stole some pics from K's flickr account. I have buckets from our visit to the stadium but I am saving them for when I have a chance to give a travel slideshow presentation at The Traveler Bookstore in WeHo. It is no accident that it rained the night before we went. It only rains on special occasions here. Last time it rained I got a new car.

This weekend so far has been tiring and invigorating. I have been working on several projects. Writing, photographing, helping (via mental projection) the Dodgers plan for their 50th anniversary here in the wild west, and recovering from the unidentifiable pain caused by my phantom breakup with my ambivalent lover. Hectic.

Fall is the time of year when all the easties around here pine away for the homeland. I priced out how much it would cost to immediately move my belongings back to Michigan in time to take the Detroit River fall color tour with my grandmother. A couple grand seems like a value. But there is no price I would pay to abandon my weather project. Talk about real value. Instead, I am off to find a cider mill. I heard there are some in the midst of all these palm trees around here.

she wouldn't shut up about baseball!

she wouldn't shut up about baseball!
Originally uploaded by kaky pants.


I wish I would have known this information was at my fingertips all season:



Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

Jamie's stove has an electric problem and if you touch it you will get a terrible shock. She was so tired from a long day of work that she put her six-pack of beer on top of the range and had to use Bethany's boots as a grounding mechanism to transfer the beer to a safe cold place. She is brave. It all worked out in the end and we spent the evening doing productive things like Exquisite Corpse Poetry.

I am terribly sick with a monstrous headcold and yesterday my laptop crashed. I dug up an old Dell Inspiron to do my writin' on. It weighs probably fifteen pounds and can only connect to the internet via a handcrank and RCA cable.

I'm supposed to be working on a locally based newsy travel article but I can't think of any other news than I am sick. Los Angeles makes people terribly selfish. Wait, there I have it - my article. That's not really news though.


The Albuquerque airport has an excellent skylounge. You don't need to be part of the Admirals Club or anything like that to get in. I'm sitting on an adobe inspired chair looking at an American Airlines jet to the sounds of a little mophead carpet monster screaming about what gate they are leaving from. The kid is stoked beyond repair about getting on a plane. I share his enthusiasm but I don't have the energy to express it.

Operation puppy delivery went without so much as a bump. The fluffball did do a bit of whining during take off but it was mostly offset by screaming children. Children and airports are a combination much like baking soda and vinegar. Very cool for things like enthusiasm and science experiements and very bad for others like peace and quiet and douches. And that is the wisdom I will depart in this sweet missive. Looking forward to getting back to LA.



Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

As you can see, the results of my testing clearly show I am highly allergic to dogs.


Cultural sounds abound. I am in the Glendale library trying to type to the mellow sounds of a whispering female Armenian accent. Sounds like a girly choo-choo train recording slowed to 13rpms. I stopped in the bathroom on the way in and a middle school age Asian girl in a navy short skirt private school uniform was practicing singing “I get weak” by SWV. That is Sisters With Voices for those of you that weren’t at the Arts, Beats, and Eats in Pontiac, 1992. And now that I have my headphones plugged in, Vivaldi’s four seasons is on the classical radio station and it’s still spring even though it’s fall.
If you can, drop your pants and go see "The Assassination of Jesse James by soandso..." It's worth full price admission to the Arclight. I like westerns that take place in the cold west, like "McCabe and Mrs. Miller." This one is more sparse. I especially enjoyed the use of white space, eye color, and diagetic sound.

I went to a birthday party last night at The Griffin or Griffith. It's new and it's in Atwater Village. I am astounded every time I go out on that side of AV, which is less than three quarters of a mile from my side on Glendale Blvd, how many rockabilly people are out and about. Where do you all live? I don't see you at Von's. The birthday party was extra special because it was a milestone birthday - the big three OH. Parting gifts were framed photos of the birthday boy in other milestone moments. The one I got was of him recycling.

I can't stop my visual media fest today long enough to write about much else. I have to catch part of the new Ken Burns deal. I am susceptible to hypnosis by slow pans of black and white photographs so it wouldn't be a wild deal if I ended up giving 14 hours this week to see the whole thing.


I'm writing this from the Ritz in Marina Del Ray. It's so nice to be on the west side watching 'Ratatoui'and drinking some Pino. The pino is in honor of the dear departed B who left LA a few weeks ago for the east side. I don't know how people can leave this place after getting a taste of paradise but she insists that not having to drive everywhere is a luxury. Sounds like just another line we say out loud to ourselves to convince ourselves of things that deep down we feel need convincing.

I think public transpo is a big robbery haven. A claustrophobic tube where you just sit waiting to get picked off by the crazed armed unlawful citizens of the world. I believe we should all be transported by hayrides. A sensible low-emissions tractor pulling a wooden trailer full of hay and people. It's out in the open, natural, and fresh. Isn't that what we really want?


My mini bottle of lotion exploded on the plane. That is my punishment for not declaring it as a liquid at airport security.

I went to Wisconsin looking for love and I found all these mushrooms. They remind me of the kind of polyester stuff I used to freak to find at thrift stores. Coffee and flour canisters, macrame wall hangings, and crusty half used hippy candles.


Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

It has been a short while since I last updated what I was hoping would be a great travel and adventure blog. Although my summer has been magnificent, my documentation has been far from great. Many things can distract a writer. Many good things as well as boring things. Forget those things. Let's concentrate on the most recent adventures.

In reverse and jumbled order, today, I spent the day in Colton for work. I am sealing deals all over the place. It is very exciting to know that you are on the precipice of being a millionaire. I also realized that I have a very serious affection for the Inland Empire. I mean when is the last time you have seen Riverside? Adventure number two in reverse order: stayed in Riverside at the Mission Inn. The place looks like someone transported a block of Italy and slapped it in the middle of the desert. The lobby has a presidential lounge that has quite literally large paintings of our beloved presidents on the walls. The spookiest thing is that George Bush looks exactly like George W Bush. Teddy R and Ronald Regan look the best in paintings.

But really, the Inland Empire. The desert. Something about residential communities in the dusty desert. It isn't of these times. And the giant palm trees, the kind out near the salton sea that look like the dog from sesame street was impaled on them. These are the kinds of things that just flip mid-westerners out. And as I am approaching my three-year LA-Anniversary I can testify that none of the wonder or glory of SoCal has worn off. It has refocused to places like the IE, Central Coast, and interstate 395 but it is still there.

Adventure number three was smack dab in the middle of Echo Park where the great ball crew witnessed a 14 inning game against the dumb Colorado Rockies. Longest game in my personal sportsfan history.

And my last adventure to report was a jaunt back up to The Giant Forest and Kings Canyon. This area is not a place to be underestimated. GIANT Forest, KINGS Canyon. Medieval nature. Prehistoric nature. Believe that people. There are many things to write about for example, driving out to Mineral King area to camp was worth it because nobody was there. But the real highlights are when you are around other National Park People. Especially the concerned self-righteous hippies that make it their business to report human interactions with wildlife. We saw one couple dressed in baggy purple t-shirts carrying nalgene bottles, tell a ranger that a family was agitating a bear cub. Good thing they knew better. The ranger, who must hear this crap all the time said, "yeah.. I dunno... people are stupid."

Ah. I love those NP Rangers.


I woke up thinking that there was an intruder in my room. That someone was hanging from my shitty old ceiling fan waiting for me to almost fall asleep and then at the right time he jumped down knocking off all the books on my nightstand and rolled around on my bed. I thought he came from the ceiling fan because it was moving around like a dead animal was offbalancing the motor. Awful noise I tell you.

But there was no one there. I grabbed my baseball bat and waited for the poltergeist to reappear. I came to my senses knowing that one doesn't wake up completely insane, that it is a slower process involving no-pants in public and shit-smearing on walls, I realized that shimmy-shake was an earthquake. I called K to confirm and she said she had already got several messages from her concerned friends (I am sure mine didn't come through because of the fault quake-ridden network) and that it was indeed an earthquake.

Not a good time for a quake. I need to get beauty rest for a special visitor coming in tomorrow. I started to watch the first part of "Field of Dreams" before bed and knowing that I could possibly fall into a crack in the earth at anytime makes me want to stay up and finish watching it. So I can finally understand some of the Saturday Night Live sketches of the 90s. Oh anyway, so much to do before we all fall into the big crack.


What does it mean to have a recurring dream? That your brain is out of ideas or that you have a serious neurosis?

Bergman and Antonioni died this week. Too bad, I bet Bergman would have liked to hear about my recurring dream. It's also too bad that I can't come up with anything intelligent to say about them. I loved "Blow-up" and watched it 60thousands times in undergrad and I was always creeped out and confused by "Persona" - two great works. Rent them tonight.

Anyway, we went to the Dodgers again last night and thanks to the easy-to-update jumbotron we learned that Barry Bonds went ahead and did the damn thing in San Diego. That's totally fine because we have enough excitement in Los Angeles.

I have so much stuff (photos and brochures/artifacts) to shift through from my recent travels I don't know if I can get it all done and still sleep until noon on the weekends. For example the photo above shows a small child humping some textile art in Washington DC. That's practically a 3000 word article right there. I need to stop traveling and having good times at losing Dodgers games so I can just get settled and TCB.


On Tuesday I bit my lip eating a hot dog in the all you can eat section of Dodgers Stadium. There was no reason to be eating like a middle child but there was a sense of urgency and competition, you had to be there. Maybe I was just jetlagged and my mouth was still on eastern time. All that I know for sure is that life has been really hard since then because my lip still hurts and because a lot of stressful events have conspired in the past couple days. Like for example I had to get back to work at my day job. And I had to compose a firm yet tactful letter to Delta Airlines Corporate Customer Care that dug up very painful emotions. And no one has shown up at my house to do my laundry. And my precious myspace account for the office sign project was compromised and now I can't reach the people, my fans. Even worse they may think I am giving out Macy's gift cards or promoting an Argentinian Record Label. Oh and I got another street cleaning ticket. I also happen to think I found proof that my right eyeball is falling out.

I hope that the weekend brings excitement of the happier variety.


Stuck in Baltimore for one more day. I wouldn't mind a bit if this day hadn't included getting up at 4:30am - wait- not only getting up at 4:30am but, rallying up a non-morning person friend at 4:30am as well (Thereby using a valuable favor) to take me to the airport only to find that my flight is delayed and I have to wait in line for a boarding pass because the self-check kiosk is blitzed out from storms and delays and whatevers. While waiting three hours in line I miss a flight and my other flight gets delayed to kingdom come. Meanwhile truly angry passengers that actually have someplace to go unlike the rest of us taking a vacation in the Delta Airlines Check-in line are cutting in front. And the two people at the counter couldn't give a crap. It was pandemonium. It still is. I'm nervous to go back. I have a reissued ticket for a United flight that connects in Chicago but I don't believe it.

Baltimore will be a fine place to set up my new homestead anyway.It's just that I have an awesome ticket to the Dodgers game tomorrowm

Yesterday we went to DC. It was an incredible day and a true test of travelogy toughness. We walked six thousand miles in pouring down rain dressed in plastic smithsonian ponchos and saw every war memorial known to man. We saw the Ford Theater where Lincoln was shot.It is a national historical site so there were a couple NPS rangers there. One gave a talk on stage in the theater that was so moving, so impassioned, I was brought to tears. I was also very inspired to visit the house right across the street where Lincoln died. It was a crowded exhibit and they were only letting a few people in at a time and this meat head raddad in front of us was taking forever to read this sign that said 'Lincoln Died In This Room' and he was completely ignoring his fat litterbuggin' child and it was really pissing Nat off so she eventually shoved him out the door of the very place when Lincoln took his last breath. She actually pushed a grown man and hit him with the door. She said Lincoln would not only understand but would be proud.

Maybe, maybe he would.


I'm waiting for the rest of my writing group posse to show up. Here's another lesson for you: Don't put your apples in the freezer. Not even for fifteen minutes to make them cold and crisp. They won't be crisp. They will actually get a bit shrively. Just yuck.

I kind of take back my tirade from yesterday I smoothed everything out with my most earnest girl voice on the phone today. Looks like we'll be able to get a tour and an interview after all. I don't retract my advice to never ask for permission. That's a bunch of negatives but I think it works. It's negative Wednesday, like Backwards Friday!

I'm outta here again tomorrow. I need some guest writers that live in LA to email me weather descriptions for 80 and Sunny. Let me know if you are up to the task.


B Bonds is on base. What an awful state of anticipation, he's been walked like a hundred times tonight. I am sure none of these pitchers wanna be the guy that had a perfectly fine career until Barry Bonds hit his record smashing home run off one of their pitches.

I write tonight to teach everyone a lesson I have learned time and time again but I often forget to take heed. I would put the lesson in a fable but I can't come up with two animals other than a horses ass and a donkey's ass and that's just not reader friendly.

So the lesson is - in today's suspicious times, do not try to plan ahead for any sort of radical media project. Do not try to ask ahead of time if its ok to stop by or shoot here or there or to talk to so and so or look at this or that. I got an email today canceling my interview with some of the Harper's Ferry National Park people. They said they needed more time and the director wanted to be involved with the interview and maybe some of the drafts and what are my credentials?

I sent the poor secretary/go-betweener a lengthy email that started off with my credentials as a baddass and ended up in a thinly veiled battle cry for the first amendment. I said something like if your director wants to look at a draft he can hire me otherwise, I will continue to follow the tradition of all radical media artists and writers throughout history and just write free! Create free! What a dumbass. Why did I press send? I should have spent the night going through my draft box to finally send out those tearfully composed emails to ex-boyfriends. That would have been better.

I might be on some federal list now. I hope they don't take away my national park passport book. The big thing that irks me is that I could have just walked up in the joint and casually talked to some workers. Instead I have been working with this lady on the phone for a while and now she's had enough time to freak out and hide behind some unspoken September 11th statute. All anyone has to say is, well we need more information because, you know, security issues with the government.

But seriously, we have reached an era when you can't even check out federal printing facilities just because you said you were going to write something. It's not like they are printing hundred dollar bills or shiny pennies or copies of the patriot act.

Ehnrenreich doesn't fucking tell Merry Maids shes infiltrating. She just takes a job there and scrubs some floors and makes friends with sad women and then writes the facts later.

God!! Lesson learned.

Game is over. No homers. Nothing for the grand roundtripper tonight. Seems the pen has been mightier than the bat, for once, sniff..sniff.

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

Lor and I went to Catalina this week. It's a 70 minute boat ride and I wanted to throw up about ten minutes in. I've never been sea sick before but I never took a go-fast boat across the Pacific so I guess there's a new experience in every day.

L is a great travel companion because she likes the same dorky business that I do. We went on a bus tour narrated by a cranky old resident. She didn't give us a lick of historical information about the island other than that the Cubs used to spring train there. Then we got on a special tourist boat that has seats set in about six feet under water with individual bench seats and windows so you can see the fish swimming by. The tour guides toss disgusting slimy suction-cupped squid limbs into the water so the fish will snack out near the windows. It's really great actually. It is like scuba diving without any effort and you don't have to touch slimy kelp. This boat made L want to throw up.

The best thing for motion sickness is Heineken beer. So we got some of that and then walked around the beach area to the place they call the "Casino" which isn't actually a gambling facility but an old fashioned name for a social gathering place. Kind of like a 'salon'. It's a gorgeous art deco building, at least that's what I gathered from the outside because it was locked up. They show movies there on the weekend evenings. They also have boat tours in the evening that take you up close with flying fish and I mean wouldn't you rather see flying fish. You can catch a movie on the mainland any time.

I tried to outsmart the seasickness for the ride back so I downed some dramamine right before I got on the boat. I made sure to tell the teen working at the soda stand near the dock that I never get seasick so this is all very new to me. I am sure that she was so totally interested. I don't know why we have these conversations with retail people. I remember working retail and so many people just dishing out TMI all over the place.

I felt sick the whole boat ride back but my pain was instantly erased when we got to San Pedro near the Vincent Thomas Bridge. I flipping love the robot machinery on those docks. I really think I should apply for a job operating a crane. I wonder if I could listen to books on tape and take pinhole camera photos.



Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

On our way to the beach in Palos Verdes Am and I discovered the Wayfarers Chapel. Well, it might have already been discovered because it had a visitors center. It is a holy place built with wood, glass, and local rocks with genuine sea animal fossils. When you are inside you feel like you are outside (except there are pews) because the walls are lined with plants and the walls and ceiling are all glass with wood frames. The building was designed by Lloyd Wright, son of you know who. It is divine.
We drove around for a good while because Am neglected to tell me that she didn’t actually know where a good beach was and that the last time she was in the area she was on a private beach. It seems silly but I have often been driving right next to the ol’ pond we call the Pacific and not been able to just get there. To just 'get in the water' is not as easy as it seems. Thank the gods of Wayfarer that there is federal land otherwise all the hedge fund a-holes would make the whole west coast a private beach.

The drive did give me some insight to Palos Verdes though. It seems that The Wayfarers Chapel is only one of a number of places of worship. With rocky cliffs and trees as varied as the selection at TJ Maxx, what else can you do with such a coast line but build places of worship? There were more churches than condos. I’m not even exaggerating.

Whenever I am at the beach I sit and think the exact same thing I have always thought since I was just a little gal, “I could stay here forever and I just might.” But I always leave.



Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

Last night we went to the Hammer for the Zineland exhibit. We got our picture taken reading the constitution. I think it was because B’s orange fingernail polish and Am’s hat were precise visual representations of the first amendment.

Four people were on stage for the zine discussion panel. All of them were in their mid-thirties so they have been around since before the world wide web. Much of their discussion centered around the end of zines. Independent publications have been around since stone carving so it was slightly annoying to see indie rockers presenting themselves as historical determinants of alternative publications. Their experience was changing so it must be the end. I think the people sitting at the tables with their handmade booklets and poetry scrolls would disagree that the end of zines is upon us. I saw a ton of good stuff, most of which was Xeroxed on newsprint, and I felt some pressure to buy – that’s what happens when the author is watching you look over their stuff. Good sales technique.

We had a deadline to get back to Echo Park before the fireworks started at the Lotus Festival. Traveling cross-town in LA is a true crapshoot but the 10 was clear and we were able to watch the fireworks on the walk from our parking spot (possible the last one on the entire east side) to Echo Park Lake. We stood by the lake for exactly one minute and three seconds of the grand finale so technically we made it back in time.

Besides the two kind of people in this world that believe that there is or isn’t two kinds of people, there are a second two kinds of people; those that love the Lotus Festival and those that avoid it. The way N talked about it I thought it would be a giant clusterf@*k.
But minus the immediate post-fireworks foot traffic, it was pleasant. The festival is set up all around the lake and the water has a calming effect. During the day there are swans in that lake. I doubt they stuck around for the fireworks though. I ran around with Am who was on a hunt for an old lady making papaya salad for a bit before we settled at Masa to eat meatloaf.


Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

B told me that I have hidden guy parts because I like cars, fireworks, and baseball. Totally inaccurate. I am a patriot and you don't have to be a dude to be a patriot any more. This isn't the first gulf war ya know? Times have changed. You just have to love federal land, civic duties, and your right to explosive as well as contemplative pastimes.

Celebrate Good Times

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.


What is going on at The Encounter?

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

I got back to LA yesterday. I was greeted by the blistering (ooh - that’s good, I will use that for 80 and Sunny) sun and a nice early evening traffic jam. There is nothing like sitting in traffic a few miles from home when you have been traveling for days. That is why I love living in Los Angeles and not in Mid-Michigan where you drive your car from point A to point B without any kind of build-up or appreciation for your destination.

I also love The Encounter restaurant and noticed from my view coming out of the Northwest Terminal that it is under some kind of construction. I can't help but wonder if anyone else noticed or if this is another alien mandated construction project. The scaffolding tells me this may be the case.


Dino Bones

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

A few days ago we visited the Museum of Natural History in Ann Arbor. I had an intense urge to look at dino bones. You don't get to see real dino bones tho, just casts of dino bones. The museum smelled like your average older library and bone casting material. It was very cozy. After we toured the four floors we went and had some deep dish pizza served by a real U of M student.

I'm supposed to be packing to get back to LA. My timing is good since the heat wave is headed straight for Mich. It's going to be almost a hundred here tomorrow and combined with Great Lakes humidity that will feel like one hundred million degrees.

I'm going to miss talking about the weather. It's the midwesterner's favorite topic of conversation. People out west rarely talk about it. There isn't much to say. Well, until now. This trip has inspired me to start a separate blog, called 80andsunny. This blog will document the weather in Los Angeles everyday for a full year. It will be a true writing challenge since the weather is the same everyday. How many ways can someone describe a sunny day? Just you wait.


Sleeping Bear, Restless Tourist

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

It's just splendid to be back around the Great Lakes even if everything, everywhere is damp. My forearms are sticking to the table I'm writing on as a matter of fact.

P and I took an official Great Lakes Circle Tour around Lake Michigan (with a detour up to Pictured Rocks - deets later). There seemed to be some confusion when I would talk to other people about this because they would ask, "What parts did you see?" and "Did you go on the Wisconsin side?"

I would have to explain that a driving circle tour follows the same principals of geometric circumference. Meaning, "all the way around." Much like geometry's precious circle, the driving tour circles, encases, completes, meets back up, covers the complete surrounding area... You get the idea.

So we saw all of that damn great lake, starting in Chicago and driving up through Wisconsin and around to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (which still has a strong back country militia secede-y air about it) and down through the Mackinaw Bridge and into the lower part of Michigan and then back into a traffic jam 10 miles outside of Chicago.

Lake Michigan is the pretty boy of the five lakes. It is the perfect color of blue for the stripes in fudge shop awnings. It has occasional non-threatening whip-cream-peak waves and gentle winds that encourage recreational sailing without disrupting hair-dos or sailor fashion. The westward wind builds up impressive dunes and makes the Michigan side more romantic and expensive. It is a good lake to start with if you have a lifelong goal of driving all around the great lakes. If you started with Erie or Huron you might get the idea that this is still an industrial world or that Canada is friendly.

I could go on about the fantastic five but I have to leave to attend a (damp and most likely buggy) BBQ so until I can get back to business I leave you with a list.

A few things about the Great Lakes states; pop, fatties, Vernors, pasties, yooper pride, bugs, broad-leaf forests, birch, thistle, dunes, stay-in-the-car-oil-changes in Michigan, liquor-at-gas-stations Wisconsin, and traffic-in-your-A Illinois.

National Park Graffiti

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.


Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

I'm already out of town again. I didn't even get a chance to capture the giantness of The Giant Forest in a proper travel essay. I will finish that on the train to Chicago today. Here is a preview: Big Trees, Big Fun.

In the meany - check out Beth's innovative smores technique. We were stuck on a one lane mountain highway with twenty minutes to spare. At 7,500 feet above sea level and a chipper 89 degree sun smiling down on us, we figured it would take seven minutes to bring the smore to proper melty point. Beth was willing to sacrifice the burnt mallow taste and bit into hers as soon as the chocolate beaded up with sunsweat. We should have used the engine block.


Am and I went to see a special screening of "Brand Upon the Brain" complete with orchestra and narration by a beautiful and famous Italian horror film actress, Barbara Steele.

I had a bonnie time but I might have missed some of the actual film because I was so distracted by the three foley artists in the corner. They were dressed in lab coats and had scads of fascinating props like a tub of water and a giant wind tumbler. My favorite was when they tore a fresh celery stalk to make the sounds of bones crushing.

After the show everyone was standing around discussing how they just love foley. I am not a seasoned foley conversationalist so I just kept saying that I loved when they bit the celery.


Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

I left another pillow at another motel. Some time ago I got the bright idea to take my own pillow with me on road trips. Since then I have left three pillows at various motorlodges across western America. Now, make that a total of four and recognize this as a public declaration of abandoning that travel tactic. The only people that it is making 'more comfortable' are the lucky motel owners that find my awesome polyester pillows covered in super cute pillowcases.

Miss N and I took a jaunt up the 395 this weekend. I found a NPS brochure for Manzanar when I was in New Mexico and was enticed by the indomitable cover photo. I also hadn’t added a stamp to my National Parks Passport in a good while so I figured it was high time to get exploring eastern Cali.

We packed and planned for camping but when we saw the precious motels and storefronts in Lone Pine we knew we had to stay in town.

Lone Pine is known for being a kind of base camp for Mt. Whitney, the highest point in the United States, and for being a popular filming location for westerns, Ridley Scott films, and truck commercials.

They have a new Film History Museum. The museum plays films that were shot in Lone Pine every Thursday and Saturday. N and I got to see Cary Grant in “Gunga Din” with a crowd full of people that probably caught it when it was originally released in ’39.

That’s just the thing about Lone Pine. The multifarious populous is what makes Lone Pine an exceptional place to visit. Besides the cowboy or ATV/four-wheeling locals, you have sport tourists there for fishing and climbing, retirees on their way up to Kings canyon in their RV’s, and film buffs and production people. There just happened to be a massive Corvette caravan bin town when we were there. N noted that most Corvette drivers are tall skinny white guys with receding hairlines. I only observed the group for one evening, but other than a man with a British accent and a full head of hair, she was right.

After the movie we went to the Double L bar and played a game of shuffleboard. Sierra Nevada on tap costs $3.50 and comes in a chilly mug. The shuffleboard is free and so is the competitive advice coming from the locals at the bar. It was a Saturday night and the place had plenty of room to chillax. All in all, it was a fortunate break from Los Angeles.


Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

At the Pet Cemetery in Manzanar

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.


Just another reason to hang around me.

I have many many skills, ‘knacks’ for stuff. It seems like the circumstances of each week highlight a special attribute of mine.

This week is really turning out to be something special for stubbing my big toe and general flip-flop accidents.
Not only that, but I have been able to get in line at the store, several times already, by people that apparently just came up from their nuclear bomb shelters. These poor people are completely unfamiliar with the ATM and credit card and oftentimes, even cash, payment system. It is so fortunate that someone like me is behind them in line.


Hands On

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

Would you believe me if I told you that the Autry lets you dress up like an old fashioned cowboy? And you even get to whip a realistic photo of a horse? Well it's not true. But there are a lot of hands-on activities for kids and parents. Like you can pretend you a eating in a fifties kitchen. Or you can put on cowboy boots.

The museum itself is far more impressive than I anticipated. I expected big things because I love the wild west so much. They are having a pistol exhibit right now and there is a whole wing dedicated to hand card Colt hand guns. Its something to see. I can't imagine people (soldiers, police officers, militia, gangstas) using guns that are covered in intricate hand carvings. These babys were covered with flowers and feathers. I wonder which point they decided to scrap that.

The best parts of the museum are the life size buffalo and the various giant maps. It gives you a sense of territory and prospecting.

The gift shop is solid. The only down side was that out of all of the western music, there wasn't a CD that had "Sounds of the Ranch". In a lot of the museum rooms they would have random ranch sounds playing and they should offer that on a CD so visitors can keep pretending for days, even years after they go home.

I bought a dream catcher.

The Autry Museum

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.


Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

I discovered The Black Hole in a Frommer's guide from the mid-nineties. I had a hard time finding references to The Black Hole online but I knew it was a place I needed to see. It's a surplus store with every kind of everything imaginable for the aspiring nuclear scientist and/or weapons engineer. Its a tourist attraction for a special kind of tourist.

A violent thunderstorm rolled in seconds after I arrived. So I hung out in my parked car for a few minutes before deciding that it was worth the risk of getting soaked and struck by lightning. The downside was that much of the machinery in the outdoor lot was covered by tarps. I didn't feel like hanging out in the rain too much anyway.

The inside of the store did not disappoint. I have never seen so many different incarnations of the periodic table. The inside is stacked and piled and crammed with all kinds of electrical gear. It's organized by categories like "wires" and "theoretical design." The gentleman that work there are first and foremost, inventors, they have interesting stories about playing soccer with the Oppenheimer kids and working at "The Lab." It appears to be the kind of place where you just show up and start inventing stuff and the owner lets you handle a couple cash transactions. Before you know it, you've been working at The Black Hole for twelve years.

I'll have more pics and info on The Biggest Butte come launch day.


Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

The Omega Peace Institute is located right next door to The Black Hole. As you can see, they have an excellent broken bomb sculpture. It is a symbol of unbomb worship. I was there on a Friday so I missed the critical mass. I'd go back.

Bridge View Near LA Lab

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

I had to go through security near the national laboratory just to walk over a bridge nearby. It was worth it - look at this New Mexican view. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the famous "Prom" tagger had been there before me.

National Lab

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.


Its a Rental

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

The rental car place at Sunport Airport in Albuquerque is a real low-key grab it yourself kind of place. I got in late and was glad when the chap at the counter told me to go out to the back lot and pick whichever car I wanted in spaces 91-113. My reservation was for a compact (not economy, those are just uncivilized) but like always they didn’t have anything left but midsize.

The average public may not know this but PT Cruisers are considered midsize. I thought they were in a class all their own, albeit the babyboomerbarfclass but nonetheless a class of their own. Spaces 91-113 had only five white PT Cruisers, the only car on the lot that I would refuse to drive. I was peeping out a Dodge Caravan in space 126 when I saw my last option in space 111: The Chevy HHR. Color: ORANGE. An orange hearse. Perfect.

The vehicle got more attention than anything I have ever driven. I didn’t think it was for any other reason than its shaped like a futuristic speakeasy shuttle and painted bright orange. I was a little wrong. Apparently the word is out that these babys get decent gas mileage and if there is anything some New Mexican old dudes like rapping about, its gas mileage. I love talking to strangers about sports and gas mileage. Gas mileage especially because the older guys really seem to take pleasure in knowing that I am bopping around the country getting nearly thirty-three miles per gallon. It is satisfying to know that someone is driving around a deal.


Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

I took the Turquoise Trail (Route 14) from Albuquerque to Santa Fe. It added on an additional 3-4 hours to what would have been an hour and a half drive up to Los Alamos but it was worth it.

New Mexico is essentially what you wish Arizona was and maybe would be without all the barfamansions. New Mexico means: Adobe shacks, dream catchers, insane yet fast-moving weather patterns, rivers, and lush desolation. They call it the Land Of Enchantment. What other state has a spooky slogan like that? Nebraska? Living the Good Life? Michigan? Good Times, Great Lakes. Well sure, Michigan's slogan is genius but doesn't dip into otherworld realms like New Mexico's.

I'll be posting some more photos and enchanting tales throughout the day. Stand by.

Oh and I did a quick search after going on my state slogan tangent and I found this site that has license plate slogans. It is very interesting to a great patriot like myself. I especially like Alaska's North to the Future. Dang thats good.

Lil Adobes

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.

New Mexico Fence

Originally uploaded by kayekilla.