Money Well Spent

I've spent money on many questionable things in my little life; A book on angel guides, Greyhound Bus tickets, chemo, cheeseburgers, pale nail polish, cheap tires, movie tickets to "W." and countless dresses that "remind me of flappers." 

But I found that putting up the paper for an exhibitors booth at the Detroit Kennel Club Show (this weekend! come visit! Booth 9!) made me feel weirder than all of the above. 

I'm rolling the dice on dog bones.  I need Claritin.

Cobo Hall Before:




Stay tuned for the after.


A Fave Postcard From Trip Back To Mich 08


Bought at Jesses James Museum in Stanton, MO. My sister and I got there a fully full two and a half hours before closing time but the four hundred pound store clerk and tour guide refused to let us in the Wax Museum part because she was closing up early to see the new episode of Big Brother.

The Best One Out Of My 90s Collection


Postcard from 1997 CC (that's cross-country) Trip with Kris-O. We took her Jetta on the Salt Flats during the day, in the summer, under the sun, unsupervised, unregistered, and unclocked.  And well, we got lost because mirages are real, very real. There was water up ahead at every turn.  Only flat white land to tell us where we'd been and where to go. Speed - the only way out. A fast gamble in a whatever direction, our fifth attempt worked. Mirages are real, speed is real, salt is flat, life is a pink postcard with cars. 


My Fella & Kelly's Grandma, Special People

I got an old fashioned box of chocolates for Valentine's Day. When I told E this she said, "well I hope the chocolates aren't old!"

Nope, just old fashioned meaning handmade chocolates in a heart-shaped red-foil box:

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Kelly told me that her grandmother got a box of chocolates from her grandfather and she saved the box FOREVER and kept the little paper cups in place inside the heart box and stored her earrings in them.  I don't have pierced ears anymore but I love that idea.

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Candy boxes forevs.


Wine of Infidels

There is this precious publication you can pick up at restaurants around Dearborn, its called Coffee News and their logo is "Free Smiles Every Week." It's so likeable - the design is reminiscent of the zine age - just a folded 17X11 sheet printed on both sides.

It has seven categories: Everybody's Talking, Quotable Quotes, What's Happening, Trivia, Weekly Word Search, Did You Know, and On The Lighter Side.

You'd think Everybody's Talking would steal the show but let me share with you this, Did You Know:

In 1592, Pope Clement VIII declared coffee to be a Christian drink and he officially recognized it as such in an edict. Until then, the drink had been considered by many Catholics to be the "wine of infidels."


Mercury Retrograde. Cannot Communicate.

I miss my spin class instructor, Connie from Glendale, California. Every class she'd come in late and say, "What a crazy day? Is Mercury in retrograde?" and I would shout from my fake bike, "I think it is, I really do." Never mind the facts. Feel the burn.

Yesterday I got a letter from the Michigan Department of Corrections that my perp (incident New Years Day, Detroit, 2002) has been transferred to a minimum security facility. He's due for parole in 2013. I wonder if he has made friends or found god. I wonder about other stuff too. Muskegon.


Thank you Jen Granholm. Please release all the nonviolent drug offenders first. Some people should be in jail. I like how you can look these guys up online. OTIS.

And then I get an all-business voice mail from someone to some officer - wasn't meant for me one bit: 

Officer Anderson

And then in my email I get a Gchat voicemail from the mysterious Nirmal Binny. Sounds like she didn't even know it was on and it is not that interesting but her name is:

Nirmal Binny Says

My lines of communication: Minimum security. Maximum confusion.


And now I am off to visit a little baby.

I got up early this morning. Something inside of my head said, “get up girl! You have to email Malcolm Gladwell!” I spent fifteen minutes thinking about my Fall Drive Project video that I HAVE To finish by mail cut off time tomorrow. Thinking about video naturally led me to thinking about my Dogumentary work and how much there is to do before the Detroit Dog Show next weekend. Then I thought about the m*th*r fuc**in students that were talking in class last night when I was trying to lecture.

Then I wrote a short email to Malcolm Gladwell about his book – Outliers which is quite interesting and confirms all kinds of things like yeah, Bill Gates is a genius but it kind of helped that his parents were well-to-do, concerned parents that bought his school a computer in 1968 when most college professors didn’t have access to computers. It confirms stuff like "you have to practice if you want to be great at something" which is as inspiring to hear as "you have to eat less if you want to be thin." I like paraphrasing things like that because I get 50% of it wrong. But I was compelled to write him because in the audio book version - I listened to the audio version on the way to and from Chicago (tells you what a zippy drive Fowlerville to Chicago is) – he gives an interview on the last track and the line of questioning leads to his Canadian citizenship which leads to him talking about why Canadians make great comedians. His theory is that most successful comics are minorities (black or jewish) -- from “the outside” – so it is safe for them to make fun of the dominant culture. I think this is an interesting theory but I wonder – why about female comedians? They are a minority and people hate on them for being, or trying to be as the haters say, funny. Deep thoughts. Dear Mr. Gladwell, How are you? I am fine. My boyfriend thinks you look funny.

I then spent five minutes adding on a Gmail feature that lets people know where I’m sending email from. Then I thought about the implications of that for ten minutes and then I remembered I am not working for corporate USA anymore and nobody is watching me (that hasn’t already been watching – Hello KGB!). And now I am off to visit a little baby.


Second Floor

Confused in a Chicago parking garage, we pushed all the buttons on the elevator and found an empty shop on L2 just waiting for us to stock the shelves with colored pencils and gilded frames and gummi bears and autographed Grishams or whatever.

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Valentines, Ideas, & Cheeseburgers

I'm off to Chicago to visit my main squeeze.  I leave you with some photos from Miller's Bar in Dearborn. Ryan and I met to eat some cheeseburgers and talk about big ideas. The place was decked out VDay ExtremeO. We ordered our burgers "medium" but they came to us "Valentine Style" - very very medium rare. We ate them anyway.

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Happy Friday the 13th and Happy Valentines Day friends and everyone.


Inspiration From Armpit Thermometers

I've been extremely busy the past couple days - I know - who isn't? But, I am talking about blog-neglect-busy. I'm gearing up to set sail to Chicago after class tomorrow and sail I will judging from the blasting wind haunting my country windows... I need a windsock for my car.

The main update of the day is I had a chance to visit my BF and her new babe, Max, who is three months old as of yesterday. I couldn't help but notice that his cute level was sky high this morning. I was compelled to mention it to my friend, "he looks extra Xtra cute today."

"Oh, he's really rosy because he has a fever."

And that afternoon, instead of making it to the oil change place on time, I purchased some creme bush. It's called Hint of Rose but I call it Fever Face. Which is what I will have if I am stranded with a dirty oil engine on the side of the road in Gary, Indiana, wind whipping my scandinavianirish cheeks to a rare pulp, attracting tweaked out truckers and adventure-seeking businessmen. I now call the blush, Roadside Flare Up.

PS My cheek heritage changes in the summer.


Questions You Can Ask

I have a few (grown adult) friends that are in constant contact with their PARENTS. They call them on the phone every hour and have conversations like "What did you eat for lunch? I am going to take a bath. I'm not wearing socks." Things like that.

These are grody time fillers. Banal statements to prove our existence to each other.

I don't want to talk to my parents or be reminded that I exist in this boring world of lunch menus and home to work route discussions. I want to be asked things like "Do you think I should take my company down with insider information or snipers?" "Do you want to come with me on a Scandinavian cruise?" "What do you think about the show 24?" "Would you rather be eaten by a whale, shark, or a school of piranhas?" "Can I tell you a deep dark terrible secret that will change our lives forever?" or simply, "Will you hold this?"


In the Valley of the Shadow of...

Further celebration of the new Flickr Photo Group for real cultural tourists.  Framing the Marvelous Museum Model.

From my spring '08 travel archives, I bring you pictures from a little place near Death Valley called Shoshone. The Shoshone Museum is a lil place chock full of taxidermy desert animals and a special exhibit and an opportunity to buy self-published stories about the outlaw women of Death Valley.


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Join the Flickr group now and check out my Death Valley video for extra fun.


More Museum

A few days ago I wrote about my love for the retro diorama in the Hoover Dam Old Exhibit Building in honor of the launch of my Flickr Photo Group (plug). I promised to all of you dear readers that I would not stop there. I dedicate this week to museum raves. This evening I share with you my favorite animated animal in a museum experience:

Old Billy the Fire Horse at The Fire Museum of Memphis.  The real life/horse size animatronical introduction to the history of the Fire Horse goes on for about five minutes and has video accompaniment.


Winter Villa

It's cold here, snowing that kind of dusty styrofoam-floam snow that just blows around hunting for things to dust with freeze like my car door locks and my ears.

This is what The Donut Villa looks like tonight:



To Diorama For.

In honor of my new and soon to be popular Flickr group "Framing the Marvelous Museum Model", I am going to recall some of my favorite museum/tourist attraction set-ups on here over the next couple of days.

I have been racking my brain for examples of people doing metadocu projects on museum models, like taking pictures of animals in natural history museums, or gangsters in the Autry Museum, or spunky fifties waitresses from Route 66 museums, but I can't recall if I have heard of such work. I am sure there is something if only because I know I am hard at work documenting all of the historical fake wax people and animals and city and geographical models I can find. Documenting the display; a travelogists work is never done. Next up: the Cereal Box or Beer Display photo collection group. 

The greatest diorama/museum set up in all of my travels has to be at the "Old Exhibit Building" at The Hoover Dam.  It's the building near the 'angels':


The Hoover Dam itself is probably one of the most patriotic tourist attractions you can visit. It is even more American than Mount Rushmore because those carved faces aren't really doing a whole lot, other than reminding us that chicks can't be prez, and Teddy R's 'stach will always be in style. The Hoover D is one of the greatest engineering feats in the world, 660 feet of concrete at it's base, it supplies power to three states, and it might have been the only huge gov'ment construction contract to be built ahead of schedule.  (At the expense of a few lives, but I said it was American, didn't I?)

When you visit the Hoover Dam in the summer like I did, you can't believe than anyone could work in the kind of heat dealt out by the Nevada sun, let alone deal with heavy material like concrete and steel in such a death oven. It's the kind of hot that makes you nauseous and forget you have a stomach. Like the sun rays have wrapped a hankie of chloroform around your face and are kidnapping you into a heatStrokeComa. That is what happened to my sister on our way back to the parking lot after 'the tour", she was about to get pulled into the sunstroke abyss, nearly fainting and ralphing from the 110 degree heat, when we found refuge in a strange little building behind the Art Deco Angels.

We opened the door and found a nowhere age looking woman in a short blond cut holding up a guestbook. "Can we sit in your air conditioning for a minute?" "Of course, drinking fountain is right there. Would you mind signing our guest book?" We found out she was born and raised in Boulder City and that it was a downright big town in its own right, now, positively booming actually because not everyone could afford to live in Las Vegas and even if you could afford it who wants to live with the heathens and the rif-raff. and after the bypass gets built the traffic will be better... "You girls should stay for the show" "What kind of show?" "A show, well, a presentation about the Coloradao River Basin." If my sister had been fully recovered I'm sure we would have left because  presentation sounds dryer than the desert air, but we thought waiting for the show would buy us some more AC time...

"You can go in now"

We should have known by the light wood doors and the tan speckle floors and the green wall accents and the metal clock and the WPA letters and the silvery drinking fountain, that this would be a presentation that we would want to see.  Why didn't she just say DIORAMA?

When the doors opened to reveal the sweet Colorado River Basin diorama, it was like a little child angel had blown a cool kiss from Santa's workshop in the North over our heat woes. How precious it looked. A real live diorama with folding wood theater seats for undistracted viewing!

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The presentation begins when the lights go off and a familiar deep voice explains all the towns and functions and statistics of the Colorado River Basin. "The Colorado River and its tributaries drain over such and such gallons of such and such..." As he says each name "Salton City" "Lake Mead" "Glen Canyon" the sections of the diorama light up and you think about how the river and the west and how you lived in Los Angeles and how lovely it all is and how lovely this presentation would be if you were back in old recreational desert holiday time in a shirtdress and pill box hat and had taken the side trip from the Sands with your rat packer wanna-be newlywed husband. DIORAMA power forever!


American PassThyme

Darlings. I'm back in the land of lost sun. And. I have Road Head. And as I just told Miss Amy C, Road Head is not something you give but something you get after a long road trip. The condition worsens if you have to steel your focus on the highway in front of you for hundreds of miles in nervous anticipation of a black ice sighting.

I couldn't remember if I heard the Weather Channel reporter correctly or not this morning. The in-room coffee maker and housekeeping door knocks were so loud -- all I heard was black ice and I-65. Of course, I-65 runs from Mobile, Alabama to Gary, IN, and I was situated right smack dollop in the middle, so the ice could have been anywhere within a eight hundred and eighty mile radius. Very tough on the eyes - especially after dark.

Any hotel, no matter how many of those CB2 vases and throw pillows were included in the redesign, will lose it's travel luster when it becomes a shelter for the displaced. You should have seen the Free Hot Breakfast nook at the Hampton Inn this morning. The ice storm had put people out for several days so there had been plenty of time for a social structure to emerge well before I got there to collect my mini yoplait. Check out the single moms wearing PTA meeting clothes and orange lipstick hoping to run into a potential daddy for one of their little kids who are busy licking hotel chair legs and smashing bananas with a fork into the personal waffle maker. These kids! Climbing all over the lobby sofas, crusting them up with their cereal crud, salvia, and scabs. And oh! The pajamas they put the rugmonsters in, they look like way too much like flimsy floral-patterned long johns. What happened to underoos? At least we tried to look like super heros in my day.

But I was being cross because I slept in and lost some museum time and knew that it was going to take extra long to drive home while avoiding black ice.

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I was outside of The Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory taking even more photos of all the ice (to later annoy friends and family and bog down my flickr account) when I stumbled across a soft grey-haired lady snapping pics of the very same tree. She was tickled pink that I was out taking pictures of the ice because she was doing the same thing and her husband was at a school board meeting conference and the other wives all said it was too cold to go out to the the museums and the ImaX so here she is alone. But she didn't care, wives of school board members be damned, her name is Violet, she put her 2005 AA battery loaded Canon in my hand and walked under the giant bat, turned and smiled and I snapped. Your turn she said.


We live bout three hours southeast of here. Are you traveling alone? Yes. Oh my. I like to see everything I can. Me too. What do your parents think? They are very used to it. Do you travel after dark? Not much any more. I can go anywhere as long as it's before dark. My new creed.


We took the museum and factory tour together, sat next to each other during the short film narrated by James Earl Jones, even turned to each other in amazement when JEJ told us "the pitch last less than one third of a second..." I learned about her daughter and her daughters daughters and the wedding and the trips to Alaska - and I told her about the ice and the Hampton Inn and Memphis - all this as we passed A-Rod's bat back and forth. An excellent forty minute friendship, I do say by the end of the whole thing I was disappointed she just left, saying, it was nice to meet you Sara (albeit in that radical south south KanTucky accent). But I wanted to get our names engraved on a black bat: Violet and Sara, Never After Dark.