Monument Valley

I’m headed out of town for nearly a week so I’m going to have to take this road reminiscing well, on the road. Since I am headed to the homeland (Michigan) maybe I can dig up some pictures of one of my old Escorts or maybe interview my parents to see if they ever knew that I would sneak out at night and even take one of the cars (plural because there were four driver-aged people in the house at the time) by holding in the clutch until it rolled out of the driveway and into the road where I would then start the car and blast away to meet my boyfriend, Joe Sixpack.

The above driving photo is from one of my favorite road trips: Monument Valley. 


Ride On Sweet Steeds of Glory

You can’t celebrate 20 Years of Driving without a look back at the machines that made it all happen.
My  Car History:
  • 1985 Ford EXP, White 
  • 1984 Ford Escort, Burgundy
  • 1990.5 Ford Escort Pony, White W/California
  • 1993 Dodge Shadow, White W/Orange Heartbeat
  • 1996 VW Golf, Champagne
  • 2004 Ford Escape, Silver (company car)
  • 2008 Jeep Liberty, Black (company car)
  • 1995 Mercedes C280, White

(it is written somewhere that owners of white cars are vain, and look I just wrote it here)

Other People’s Cars I Remember Most:

  • Tracey M’s Toasted Marshmallow Escort
  • Tracet’s H’s Red Dodge Daytona
  • Old boyfriend’s 68 Cutlass
  • Kristina J’s Party Wagon
  • Cari’s Blue Cavalier
  • Brandy C’s Parent’s Grand National
  • My older brother’s Nissan Truck
  • …and his 73 Cadillac – it had to have been a Fleetwood – it was so big it barely fit in my parent’s garage.
  • Sarah’s Blue Buick (aka: Bewy)
  • A small wood paneled ford escort wagon I had to share with my brother.

Funny how the cars everybody drives now just aren’t that memorable. I’m sure they are much safer. I think three of the four drivers listed above now drive Audi’s. I really really prefer older cars and I don’t even know what I would buy if I fell into a pile of money and that pile of money said “you can only spend me on a new car” maybe I would just buy a Hummer to teach that pile of money a lesson. And once that pile of money was taught a lesson I would paint my Hummer zebra stripe and start a Benihana and Rendezvous shuttle service and I would use the proceeds to buy THIS or one of THESE.

Ok. Enough. Those are the lists. Stay tuned for the stories.


Road Theme


The above map was made in late 2009 to show my estimate of all the places I have driven (excluding Mexico and France – those are separate maps). I’ve decided to forget celebrating my “36th birthday” (coming up real soon – I have an Amazon Wishlist) and instead celebrate 20 Years of Driving because it is my favorite thing about being alive anyway. So for starters I have updated the map:


…and I plan on recounting some road stories, road rules, and other road reminiscences right here in the coming weeks.


Out the Car Window


This PT Cruiser was COVERED in Skull Stickers from the roof to the boof. The dwarf guy from Lord of the Rings was driving.


The latest craze in child activism! It’s what the anti-immunization movement used to be. 

I bet skull guy doesn’t think that is funny.


Just another Friday afternoon in Tunica, Mississippi.  Trust me it was too hot to be pulled over and standing next to your car, let alone having some furry K-9 rubbing his business in your glovebox. Yaknowwhatimean?

Right after I saw this mess, I stopped at a gas station where I witnessed a guy purchase beer for some minors. Well maybe they weren’t minors. Maybe they were just some hardworking young folk that forgot their id’s at home. All five of them in a red Nissan, just wanting to pick up a few brewsers for their grandpappy and get home to the fam.

It looked like the buyer dude had a partner and they were running some kind of drive-through beer-assistance operation at the BP. How much money can you make doing that? I can’t remember how much we used to pay “Smiley” (the thirty-something-year-old town buyer, who drove a dark blue pick-up and was always around the cruising strip) but it couldn’t have been more than a few bucks. I would never trust a teenager to do anything responsible so my fee for buying alcohol for a minor would be so high they would be better off starting a proper drug habit. 

And that is my humblebrag about my high morals!!


Truths & Observations for Creative Success

Alt Publishing

If starting a hip women’s magazine, in order to be opposite of the usual Cosmo/Glamour style fluff, be sure to photograph, refer to, and interview the following five women as if they were the five elements that make up air:

  • Kim Gordon  (nitrogen)
  • Miranda July  (carbon)
  • Chloe Sevingy (argon)
  • Tina Fey (oxygen)
  • Zoe Deschanel (small traces of other stuff)

Don’t worry about finding other successful women, the pool is very small and some of the others are fat and unfashionable.


Assuming we can’t all make a superhero movie…

No matter what your story, it is best if you can use banjo music over any kind of slow motion. If you have to show something violent use some kind of female vocals/tribal moaning or chanting and of course, slow motion. 

Poor people are interesting. Poor people in the south are Oscar material.

Girls in underwear are sure box office draws. Unshapely girls in underwear are brave and artistic.


I’m no expert but it seems like there is one easy formula for success: Scrap original songwriting and just sing a Slayer song in a new folksy arrangement.


If you aren’t writing a sweeping historical novel you better hope you are working on something that includes a PowerPoint!


That’s all I have for now. Let me know how it goes.


Sights Captured While Driving Or Where Camera’s Were Not Welcome

I figure as long as I am not texting and driving it is totally cool swerve across lanes while photographing something interesting.

Tiny ponies in the back of a truck along a Louisiana Highway:


Trees in water along a Louisiana Highway:


The shop clerk may have objected to me taking a picture if I attempted to try this on. A mini-zookeeper outfit I almost bought for my nephew (what does that key unlock?):


I am even more reckless when it comes taking pictures while driving on the lonely boulevard that connects one beige building to another in the depressing industrial park where I give up many of my waking hours:

2011-06-14 10.29.07

It’s like I don’t care if I run into the WahteverTECH sign, I WILL capture a photo of that Arkansas plate that says PIGSOOE! Breaking my wrists on the steering wheel and getting out of the office for a couple days is a small price to pay.



Happy Father’s Day (from the Blog)

2011-06-13 21.11.26

I already posted this picture on my tumblr but I didn’t have a chance to really comment on this. Target (and god knows who else) has a full line of father’s day cards from the pets. Assuming these are for the use of grown people, I …well, I don’t know. Maybe I don’t have anything to add. I poop, you scoop.

My dad deserves more than a card but that is what I got him (of course he does have the special gift of knowing I am coming to visit soon). It is not easy to pick out a father’s day card because they ALL have a Grilling/Bar-B-Q or Farting or Remote Control or Beer theme. I don’t know about yours, but my dad is a complex man, I mean sure when I called him today he was about to go golfing (which, I suppose, would have qualified him for a decent 35% of the cards) but it’s all too reductive. But, he’s not my mom so he’d be a little confused by a homemade card and terrified by one of those sensitive feelings cards.  Not much to do put choose the most fitting Far Side card and move on.

Pajamagrams next year.

Happy Father’s Day to all!


I Picked the Wrong Tour Guide


This woman heckled our tour guide while she was waiting for her own tour group to show up.

I saw her later entertaining everyone from underneath a  giant groovy umbrella. 


Two Major Things and One Minor

ONE: Toilet Grabbers

Maybe I am the only person on earth who is repulsed and confused when I see barfing scenes on television and in movies. The actors are always (ALWAYS) holding the toilet seat and the sides of the toilet and resting their head near the toilet. I don’t do this when I am puking, do you? Do you really wrap your arms around the side of a toilet and rest your chin on the seat? Rub your cheeks all over the rim? 

Not only does it pull me out of the story (I’m thinking: That is obviously a prop toilet, Leonardo would never risk an ecoli infection…) it is just plain foul! I would rather watch a sixteen hour loop of all the nail clipper and cuticle mutilation scenes from Black Swan.

This would make for a great film studies analysis: The barfing scenes that take place after someone sees a dead body or has just killed a person – those characters never wait for a toilet, they just puke on the sidewalk or out the car window.

TWO: Sweepers

I’m not talking about sweepstakes addicts, I am fine with that, I support a variety of low-risk gambling activities. I am talking about when I’m eating at a dining establishment and the waitress or whoever stars vacuuming or sweeping the floor right next to me. Sometimes they even ask me to pick my feet up so they can get underneath my table. Tells you what kind of places I frequent, it’s not like they have Dyson’s or anything fancy like that. Nope, they have the same zipper-back dusty bag number my mom had in 1977.

I know there are duties to be done but I’d rather sit on top of a mound of fallen food than have someone run a vacuum cleaner near me. Why isn’t this a problem for anyone else? Waitstaff are required to wear suntan hosiery and discouraged from wearing nail polish but it is fine to create an in-house dust devil next to paying customers. Bogus.


Please retire the term: I just threw up in my mouth a little bit.


So Long

This might be longest stretch of time I've gone without a proper post. I have an excuse: HAIL. It is most common in warm weather thunderstorms and I’ve been caught in it twice down here in New Orleans in less than two days.  I’ve yet to inspect the company car for serious dents. My nerves however seem to be dented up a bit. I’m hoping the suffocating southern humidity will steam them out back to normal.

While I was dining at Joey K’s, I saw three young folks wearing badges on chains and carrying pistols in side holsters. I thought they were all on break from what must be the new 21 Jump Street set or something. Two guys, one tattooed all up and down his scrawny arms, and one chick, young and ambiguously ethnic. What else was I supposed to think?

So in additional to hail, guns are the travel theme this week. I stopped to see a pal on the way into the city. She stays in a lil Louisiana country town and when she found out I was going to be running around New Orleans by myself she let me know that any woman traveling alone is sure to be raped, robbed, and maimed. I told her where I was staying and she said “Yep, girl was raped and beaten right there. Saw it on the news.” Then she offered to loan me her pistol and said I could mail it back. She said that like there are pistol drop boxes throughout the swamplands that would make this both legal and convenient. I imagined big blue catfish shaped steel depositories with signs hand painted in red paint: Pistol Return.

Needless to say after our visit (aka:the unwelcome travel consultation) and the long drive and the hail storm, I was a little road weary, a little rattled, I was starting to believe my time was up and I was not long for this world. I’d had a nice life and a good lunch at Cracker Barrel, things that should be comforting, but they weren’t. I decided to have an anxiety attack in time to drive across a giant lake. I’d had to pull over three times due to torrential downpours but it was starting to get dark and I was either going to take the gun and sleep in my car next to an alligator-wrestling road side attraction or cross over the 25mile causeway across Lake Ponchatrain and pray that the deadly crosswinds and swarming black clouds would not release their fury on my teeeeny vehicle. And pray that I could get to my hotel in time before the murders and rapists came out (which everyone knows is approximately 25 minutes after sundown).

It is a good thing the causeway has its own radio station (AM 1700*) that I listened to THE WHOLE WAY ACROSS 25 MILES for no reason other than I thought they were going to break in with news about how I was going to die. ( *Remind me to write something sometime about the voices of attraction-specific AM weather and travel alerts.) The drive across was uneventful, except by the time I got to the other side I had the emergency vehicle information memorized: Pull over to one side and walk to the rear of your vehicle and flag oncoming traffic…"

I made it to my hotel and there were at least a half dozen robbers and rapists waiting for me. Some looked like happy retired couples walking to dinner in the Lower Garden District but I knew better. When I checked in I discovered that I had made a huge mistake and booked what might be considered a B&B. The woman told me to walk one block to the house and I had my choice of three rooms. The place was a huge white mansion that looked all spooky in the shadows of giant spanish-moss-covered-trees, and I guesstimated from the amount of lights and movement coming from the place, there might have been two dead people and sixteen vampires about ready to wake up for their nightly bloodletting.

I wouldn’t know – there was no lobby – just a long hallway with a bunch of old rugs. She had given me keys to rooms on each of the three floors and when I was checking out the rooms I didn’t see a soul. By the time I got to the third floor I was sure I was going to pass out from irrational fear. The room I remember was probably quite gorgeous by B&B standards but there was no way I was going to stay in a room with a vampire balcony if no one else was in the whole house, I had opted out of the loaner pistol so I was not equipped to stay in such a place. I went back to the lady at the front desk and said “You tricked me. That is a B&B!” and I nearly starting to cry because there is nothing more horrifying than knowing a stranger may talk to you at breakfast. She was nice enough and said, “I understand, you want to feel like you are a part of something.” I was like you know me.

And then I realized she was talking about a more populated regular hotel. She put me in a room near a bamboo courtyard that looks like a place I have dreamed about before. A smallish old room with lace curtains and a wardrobe, not a closet. An arm chair, a nice desk, and an alarm clock. Exactly the place, as I told my friend, I had always envisioned living out my later years while writing plays and long angry letters to old friend while smoking opium.  So, in fact, this trip did bring me to my end. I shall start to live as if I am 66 right now…. maybe I will have more time to post here or more time to mail a letter to you.

Oh..you know what I found out though? Here in New Orleans it is hot – real hot – but you can get an ice cream shake that has booze in it and then just walk around drinking it and make bad shopping decisions.