Welcome Home Weather

When it rains here it is as if a gigantic shipwreck from yesteryear turned the Mississippi River over while unearthing itself, spilling water on buildings and land, turning the paved streets to rambling rivers in order to sail again if only to seek revenge.  Rivers of revenge!!  Windshield wipers of wrath!

It really rained here.

It rained birds in Kentucky:

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I lost an earring and a sweater on my trip, but I found a sock crumpled up in a boot  - as well as a box of old Japanese stationary (old as in 1990s – it wouldn’t qualify for A Collection A Day or anything). 

It all unevens out in the end, I suppose.


Road Block

I haven't been able to post from the road.  If you can read this. It is a miracle.

Employees must wash their hands with dishsoap.

S Kaye

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The Talon Times

Thanks to the time change, my drive to Arkansas in the evenings has changed considerably.

I am now headed due west right during the fall of the sun so I am essentially driving directly into a beam of shrill orange light. I am driving into a nuclear bug zapper for forty-five miles without rest. Straight into the center of a high-beam headlight, just face-first into a flame. Perfect for a sensitive migraineur like myself. And if you think sunglasses will help – well then send me some. I mean – you are wrong. Nothing helps because it is the sun and as we all agree - the sun is very bright. Perhaps it is the brightest object in this great sky we all share.

However, there is a sinister upside to the change in light and timing. Now that I arrive in the farmland right at sunset, it is feeding time in the fields. So I get to see at least ten times the hawks I usually do. (If you haven’t developed an appreciation for taloned animals I suggest you start with a horned owl or something before you move onto a hawk.) It is mass mouse murder for a good seven miles off the highway on my way to class so I am very relaxed by the time I have to lecture.

Not counting Thanksgiving week, I only have two more weeks left in this semester. It has not been easy teaching two classes while saving children during the day (day job). Last week I graded seventy-five essays and I don’t even believe in grades! Some students (the old fashioned and the obsessive compulsive) need grades so I can’t just walk in there and say “I don’t believe in grades, you will notice at the top of your paper is a swatch of color and a hand-written temperature, the color represents the general mood emitting from your work and the temperature is my actually body temperature while reading your essay.”

That wouldn’t work right now because, to be fair, I would have to calibrate the thermometer I use for “grading” at the very beginning of the semester. So I have to stick with regular grades through to the end. Things will be much different next semester I tell you! I will be arriving in the dark of the early winter night, the hawks will be sleeping, I will be using more classic essays for course material, and I will use my body temperature to determine grades. Like the light, we all change.

It’s not that I haven't been driving through Arkansas observing astounding sites and outrageous happenings. It's not that I haven't been working and dealing out justice and charity during the day. It's not that I haven't been watching Boardwalk Empire or planning road trips or having terrible headaches that I could write pages and pages about. It's not that I haven't started a new self-help program to wean myself off the television show Intervention (as I near step 8 I will have to apologize to my readers) - no, no I have been doing many things - I just haven't been able to write about them because I guess you can only keep your eyes open for so many hours a day.


Bloggers Block, Blockers Blog, Blargh

Shelby Farms Xmas Lights

This photo is from Shelby Park Farms. They were setting up the Christmas light extravaganza when we were there doing our Olympic Paddle Boat training last weekend.

Speaking of “we” - B asked me what on earth provoked my last post and I told him I had gone deep into my “Things People Say to Each Other and Things People Have Said To Me” archive and I found that one from my spring trip to Michigan. 

I keep all my notes in all different places – small notepads, large notepads, novelty notepads, envelopes, receipts, carved stones – whatever – sometimes I use a crappy notepad app on my phone. I miss my Blackberry – those are the best for typing/thumbing up some extensive notes.

The notes trapped in my phone rarely get revisited until I have a spare afternoon when I retype them all in a regular word doc and that is what I was doing on Thursday instead of grading papers. (I have not finished typing out the notes OR grading the humongo stack of essays still in front of me)

Here are a couple notes I made to myself over the past week and so*:

  • It is not the coolest idea to be sick when you get home from vacation, but I guess I am not here to be cool.
  • An older woman at a South Memphis thrift store stopped me in the overcoat aisle and asked my opinion on how a crappy tweed jacket fit. She told me that she had just lost seventy pounds and she heard Heidi Klum say it isn’t what you wear but how it fits. I don’t want to be looking like a fool, she said. She kept hunting me down to ask about the fit on some Kasper blazers. We were both in the check out line when she tried to buy me some green sandals and said they were the Caroline Herrera look. I declined and told her it was my pleasure to help. In the parking lot I saw her stop a roller-derby looking chick and her friend to take a cell-phone picture with her. She had a mini van and I wonder if that was the end of her shopping trip.
  • I have more cardigans now than at any other time I can remember. I am counting shrugs as well. I no longer own any bolero jackets. I am successful.
  • Fun food items: bundt cake and mini cheese in red wax.


  *replacing “or so” with “and so” because it is the new slang for almost a half.


The End of the Bar

The last time I was in a Meijer Thrifty Acres with my sister (the soldier) we were buying guacamole and beer and champagne and double stuffed Oreos for Easter. I recognized the woman ringing us up as the same woman you see chatting up whoever at the end of the neighborhood bar, the one that looks like she replaced beer and whiskey for daylight and meals long, long ago. That skinny eye-liner-ed biker woman with the clasp-lock cigarette holder and  million lines around her lips wearing levi’s and some kind of crystal somewhere – you know her. She’s friendly:

“How you guys doing?”

“We’re good. How about you?”

“Oh well ya know, I woke up this morning and no one was throwing dirt on me so I’m doing purty good.” She said it in a good natured, hey - shit-happens type of way, not the way your mother would say it. Then she continued to scan our stuff and said, “I’d rather go party with you guys….”

Let me tell you this - none of the horror stories of the supposed financial crisis hit me until I saw that this woman had to take a job at Meijer's. You can judge a society by how it cages its birds.

That is what I am thinking about right now. Yeah  sure,I woke up this morning and no one was throwing dirt on me (unless you count pledge week at WEVL) but I don’t like thinking about misplaced characters and empty barstools and someone timing our good lady’s smoke breaks. The unfairness of it all kills me. It is, as one would say, my dirt.


Night Wine

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Anyplace, Michigan


I found a Gocco print machine at Amvets (here in Memphis) and this was on one of the screens. Proving further that Michigan is everywhere and with everyone at all times.

Our hearts are the peninsulas and Michigan is the water, surrounding us with sand dunes of comfort and petoskey stones of security, forever.

Actually Michigan is Michigan but I can think of no greater metaphor for circumferential obsession than the Great Lakes.


You’ve Been Steampunked

I didn’t know it, but the insides of my computer have gone steampunk. The motherboard turned to a cheese grater and the processor morphed into one of those stretchy sticky-hand things you get out of those gumball/cheap toy machines.  It’s victorian-futuristic on the inside but looks just like a regular ol’ HP on the outside.

I figured it out when it took an hour to recognize my hard drive and four years to open up a RAW file. I just hope I can continue this important work under these intense limitations.

Here is a wall in San Luis Obispo that has been GumPunked:

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Imagine if this wall ran into this hair art found just down the street at the Mission SLO:

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Yes, people used to do decorative things with hair. Now we just steal it from hair brushes for DNA tests or take it from barber shop floors to sprinkle on bank vaults after a good robbery in order to destroy and confuse the evidence team. 

(I saw it in a movie, relax)

Cover your head and pray -- More from the mission:

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Focus on Frolicking

santamonicaLOVAHS paparazziskl

I’m back and still on PacTime. To fall asleep in time to get enough rest for my 12 hour day tomorrow I will have to hypnotize myself with the images of falling clouds over soft waters, palm trees in the wind, and brake lights.