Tuesday, July 31, 2007


Stamey's for lunch, Short Sugar's for dinner.


Hours 48-49

Driving to conference site in clothes from Sunday.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Hours 39-46.

Still not there.

After the third canceled flight, I went to see if my bag had been routed to Greensboro. No, RDU. So I rented a car in Charlotte and attempted to drive the 88 miles to Greensboro. MAJOR DELAYS, said the signs. After 3 hours, I had gone 21 miles. So I cut off the dead interstate and tried to drive 118 miles of backroads to Raleigh to get my goddamn motherfucking luggage. After about an hour I started falling asleep repeatedly, so I went to what the gas station attendant called a "really nice hotel where you have to be from out of town" to stay: the Holiday Inn Express in Asheboro, NC. I got the executive suite for my story, both of which are larger than my apartment. Now I'm eating 2 sticks of gas station cheese for dinner. The colby jack is better than the cheddar.

In the morning I will just drive 30 miles to Greensboro and give my presentation in the t-shirt and swim shorts I will have been wearing for three days.

Downtown Asheboro mill at night
Still life of abandoned hotel with weeds and old cars in parking lot, somewhere.


The final straw.

This 3rd flight has now been canceled. US Airways has now failed on every level possible: maintenance, informing customers, baggage services, crewing, and more. And you can always count on their flight attendants to look at the ground and laugh uncontrollably when they don't have to work.

My bag and house keys could be anywhere. I will not go home until I find my bag. I am going to rent a car, and attempt to drive it to Greensboro and then I am going to drive it to my bag.

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Hour 33

As soon as the plane for the 20-minute flight to Greensboro let the gate, it broke down, circled around waiting for a gate for an hour, and is now back at the gate at 4:34. The fuel can't balance itself. Deplaning!

This started off as a "weather" delay, but now it's something impossibly worse.

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Hour 31 (of overall ordeal)

After 23 hours in Airport #3 (PHL), I am now at Airport #4 (CLT), about to leave for Airport #5 (GSO); however, the representatives here assure me that due to incompetence at #3, my bag was almost surely routed to #6 (RDU), from which I will be flying anyway to #7 (DCA) tomorrow en route to #2 (BOS). #1, FYI, was HYA.

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Hour 21*.

Now flying to Greensboro via Charlotte, but the first flight is already so delayed that I'll be missing my original connection. By original, I mean third attempt to get to where I'm going since 1pm yesterday. All my clothes, toiletries, keys are checked, and I don't think I'll ever see them again. So I truly have nowhere to go, except for the conference I'm going to, which is now half over.

*The amount of time I've been in PHL. The amount of time since I left my friends on Cape Cod to do this now stands at 25 hours. The amount of sleep I've had in the past 72 hours is eight hours. The amount of hours between now and the hour that I discover that my luggage is actually lost is at least six hours. The amount of work-work I'm getting done here is NIL. The number of days shorter my life will be because of this makes me sad.



The bulletproof Quality Inn was overbooked so I ended up at the EconoLodge. This is not classy.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

Waste of life.


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The misery has gotten unpredictably weird.

I've been stuck in the Philadelphia airport for over 6 hours--for the third time this year. I was on Cape Cod last night, and each time I went out on foot, people in cars threatened to murder me. In the second incident, a pickup truck driver who didn't see me in a crosswalk actually screeched to a halt in an intersection, got out of his truck, and threatened to kill me. This morning, at Logan, as I walked by the surprisingly packed Mass at Airport Chapel, the priest slammed the chapel door in my face as I looked inside.

Possible resolutions for these specific miseries:
*No more flying, ever
*No religion or religiosity
*Concealed firearm


Friday, July 27, 2007

Live Free or Die.


Shit I put on the curb in front of my old apartment that completely disappeared in less than 90 minutes:

  • Cordless phone with base and AC adaptor
  • PIT BULL jigsaw from Williamsburg trash art days*, taken by contractor in pickup
  • 15w guitar amp I started learning on 11 years ago, now with busted switch (possibly taken by oil deliveryman)
  • 2-shelf book case
  • shitty office chair
  • broken pair of binoculars
  • about a dozen books
  • nice, metal CD rack I should have kept

*Age of PANIC tv, the exploited teen dartboard that wasn't, even after I swore I would make it only if I found a dartboard in the trash and subsequently found one in the trash approximately 12 minutes later, and the computer age trash sculpture that still isn't.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Upcoming Travel

  • Sat Jul 28: Hyannis
  • Sun Jun 29: 3 flights and a rental car to a conference (YAY! WORK ON A SUNDAY IN JULY!)
  • Mon Jul 30: Greensboro, NC
  • Tues Jul 31: Greensboro, NC
  • Fri Aug 3-Tues Aug 7: NY

Hats off to the MBTA.

I've now been carless for over a year, and the improvements I've seen as a casual T rider continue to impress me. With many kinks gone, the automated fare collection system seems a success. The new New Flyer buses are a joy to ride. The T police have been making excellent use of the news media to deter "quality of ride" crimes like these. There are new, easy-to-read neighborhood and bus maps in every station I use. New ads in subway cars and buses explain how to take advantage of these improvements and others, like bike racks on many buses.

I know what you're thinking: wait 'til winter. Yes, we'll see if things are the same then. There are always challenges, and with the T's declining, obsolete, and sales tax-linked funding, it's hard to meet them. But I've been around Boston for 8 years now, and these improvements are the most drastic yet. The Grabauskas administration seems to be getting [some] things done.

I'm hoping that things can continue to improve and that the Patrick administration can succeed in linking the T's funding to the gasoline tax.

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Being Young is Easy (By Yourself)

I just had the greatest date, with myself. It involved about 14 miles of biking, the Edward Hopper exhibit at the MFA, the Ingrid Michaelson/Jenny Owen Youngs "anti-folk" double-bill at the Paradise Lounge, and a scallion pancake in Brookline.

First, I decided to finally see whether the Hopper hype was worth it. Left at 7:03 for the 8pm showing and made it there in only 30 minutes flat. Shame on the MFA for not having a single bike rack. World-class my ass.

I give you my notes from the exhibit, unaltered and uncensored:

"b. 1882
sold 1 painting 1st 41 yrs

[The Lonely House, '23]

illus/printmaker until '41


shards of past--surrounded by extremely rich-looking people--their offspring give them away

wall words continually use "vernacular" and "middleclass" interchangeably...could you do that once?

'John Sloan's lusty nudes were the working-class counterparts to Hopper's more withdrawn middle-class women'???

Screen in NY Movie="gray, not silver, gray," from something I wrote



I started thinking about grind and how Hopper ground and I wanted to write new grind. In the guestbook, at the end of the exhibit, I wrote:

[Name:] RB 7/25/7
[Comments:] GRIND.

They didn't have any little magnets of "Sun in an Empty Room," because it was a suicidal painting, so I didn't buy any magnets. I retrieved my bike from a parking meter post.

Close enough to the Paradise Lounge, I figured I would at least check out the show DB had let me know about: Jenny Own Youngs with Ingrid Michaelson opening. The girl:boy ratio was about 15:1, no joke, so I just hung out with a Maker's. Jenny was an excellent musician, but her performance seemed unfortunatley anticlimactic after the POP! of Ingrid Michaelson and Allie Moss. At the show neared its end, I left and got a scallion pancake across the street in Brookline, after reading a very decent Weekly Dig article on scallion pancakes between sets.

When I returned to the Boston side of Comm Ave, all was dead and the musicians were loading up their autos. I wanted to talk to Allie Moss but she was on her cellphone. She looked at me as I unlocked my bike and then I biked BU Bridge/Memorial Drive/Harvard Sq/Porter Sq/North Cambridge/Teele/home with no lights and didn't get killed and now I'm typing this shit because, as everyone says at work, "I feel compelled to."

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007

"Today, all day, you are here."

Elderly landlords are struggling to understand telecommuting. Frankly, so am I.

PC Hatred: Outlook Web Access

Since my Thinkpad is being replaced after less than 2 years in service, I have been using Outlook webmail for the last week. Until last night, anyway, when I was informed for the the first time that my mailbox was 65,000 kb over its size limit and blocked from sending email.

Now, there are no large files in my account. What's taking up all that space is 371 pages of Sent Mail. Each page contains 25 old messages.

The caveat is that there is no "select all" button in Outlook Web Access. So to clean out my account, I'll have to hook up my USB mouse, then individually click to select

371*25=9,275 messages
then click the delete button once per page=371 times

For a grand total of 9,646 mouse clicks.

Now I know how I'll be spending my beautiful summer morning indoors. They call this shit "productivity software?"

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Monday, July 23, 2007

To Yelp or not to Yelp?

Lots of intelligent people are doing it. But it reeks of the evils of "Web 2.0" (you provide the content, we make the money).


Wish List, 7.23.07

  • Lunch on Arthur Avenue.
  • An assistant.
  • A house in Austin
  • All my clothes to be magically unpacked.
  • Some way to be in Queens, New York Boston, and the Sun Belt at the same time.
  • Energy.


Sunday, July 22, 2007

Consume, Destroy

Another photo from the Harry Potter madness. This one got some good reactions on Flickr.

The call came in around 9:30.

It was Meade, telling me to get my ass to a bookstore for the Harry Potter consumerist madness. I finished my drink and walked five or six miles with the camera. Porter was pretty busy, but Harvard had three stores selling the book. The square was closed to traffic. It was madness. I used a milk crate I found to create a level surface on top of the square's domed bollards and started dehumanizing everyone with long exposures. Occasionally, tiny college students asked if they could pose for me. A bum demanded that I give him a dollar and then take his picture. I didn't. Then I went home.

I shot ArtBeat yesterday and may make it to East Boston for the last night of Italia Unita tonight...

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Friday, July 20, 2007

Dude, Sherwood Anderson.

I'm only a few sketches into Winesburg, Ohio, but damn. The trauma and fear that define each character resonate just as loudly today as they did when the cycle published. The most awakening fiction I've experienced in my lifetime has all come to me in the past year. Onward.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

The Siege Will Never End.

"Cowboy! Cowboy! Cowboy!" shouted a tiny Hispanic child walking down Highland with her mother as I loaded the last of my possessions into DB's car. I was wearing my free Royals hat.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Death, Life

Exactly a year ago, I came within inches of being beheaded in an auto rollover. Several people asked me if the experience inspired me to change aspects of my life. Whatever I learned, I have yet to act on it.

Monday, July 16, 2007


Begins now. I hope this works out.


Saturday, July 14, 2007


This post has now been edited twice for accuracy. Thank you for your patience as I work toward a Theory of Bourgeois Scum.

Bourgeois scum will convert you into labor, mumble passionately something about either a) their "art" or b) the New Yorker, claim that the working class and middle class are "becoming the same" (except for their the latter's unlimited privilege, education, and money/debt), then laugh at you when you are relevant.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Dog, Charlestown

I don't know what's with all the dead animals lately--it's just what I've been finding. I found this dog on the Charlestown boardwalk on an early morning bike ride last month. Squirrels had been peeling the skin off its legs and head. They ran when I approached, then waited for me to leave.

Oh, my god.

Look at the post below. What a dehumanized, tool-like state this reduces me to.


Thursday, July 12, 2007


Today it took exactly FORTY minutes to get my IBM T42 laptop up and running. From the start at 9:05, it was extrememly sluggish. I composed two brief emails by 9:28, when it automatically shut off. A Blue Screen of Death momentarily appeared. White text filled the screen, starting with "Windows has detected a problem with your computer..."

When the machine finished rebooting at 9:44, a popup icon appeared above the system tray. "Windows has finished installing an important update to protect your security. An automatic restart was required to complete this update."


But at least my security is protected by the Microsoft servers that run my personal computer. It's not like I have anything else to do today.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2007

I am really quite serious about wanting to learn pedal steel guitar.

And there's no better place to do so than Austin.


Tuesday, July 10, 2007



The Move

Monday, July 09, 2007

Cursing: The Next Awful

I claim that cursing (also known as "swearing" or "cussing" to people who grew up in educated families) will soon go mainstream, at least for a short while. The fuck ratio in the latest editions of the Weekly Dig make me fear that soon, everyone will be "dropping f-bombs" in order to fit in. Cursing may be the next form of conformist rebellion, and it costs less than commie caps or American Apparel porno wear.

Let's face it. You have to have been raised in a cursing household to curse properly. You can't choose to de-educate yourself after you graduate college and move into a loft by taking up "swearing." Folks like me, however, can choose to hang onto choice element(s) of our pasts. Whether it damns me in career, romance, or anything else, I wear effortless profanity like a tattered badge of experience.

I could elaborate, but I don't feel the need to. Don't cheapen me by using the word fuck three times in a 150-word CD review. Or at least practice using some non-f-words.

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Someone at CNN should be fired over this.

For several hours this morning, CNN.com's top story was headlined "Boeing unveils world's largest commercial jetliner." Since CNN posted this a full day after Boeing rolled out the 787, I thought that Boeing had gone and announced another new plane that could go head-to-head with the A380. I'm as excited as any plane nut about the 787, but this comparison from BBC News should set the record straight:

And, for the record, the Ukranian Antonov An-225 will remain the world's largest commercial jet, which it has been since 1988. Only one exists; a second was partially built in the late 80s but will be completed next year.

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Sun Belt.

I have this huge curiosity about the Sun Belt. A few weeks ago, my hotel USA Today reported that seven of our ten biggest U.S. cities were now within 500 miles of Mexico.

I've heard of skilled workers (like nurses and cops) heading out there to ply their trades under the sun. Hundreds of thousands of suburbanites from the north have moved their unsustainable standard of living south and southwest. But if good city planning hasn't followed all the northerners south--just think, there are over 4 million people in metropolitan Phoenix and not a single passenger train line--has "culture" itself?

Not gaudy ranches and golf courses, but a decent music scene? Not condos and expensive steakhouses, but cool taquerias dotting the landscape? Are these cities efficient, or do they require constant air conditioning? Didn't Henry Miller write about this shit 60 years ago? What has changed since to convince the masses to move?

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Sunday, July 08, 2007

Revere Beach, 2004

I can't believe this image is almost three years old. Today's Globe has a nice article on the ongoing reconstruction of Revere Beach. Unfortunately, the construction is continuing through the summer because the project bears all the hallmarks of the Massachusetts public works project:

*Management by underfunded, incompetent state agency (DCR)
*No budget secured until local senator became senate president. Revere mayor speaks of needing "friends in high places."
*Inflation of cost from $7m to $11m
*Completion date slipping an entire season, from late summer to spring 08.

Too bad for the local businesses. I wish I were eating Buffalo tenders at Santorini right now.

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Friday, July 06, 2007

Totally Dead Chickadee

Oral Roberts University, Tulsa, Okla.

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Wednesday, July 04, 2007

At the Bobby, Wash, D.C.

RFK Stadium, Wash., D.C. for Nationals vs Mets game, Independence Day 05. From the first DM-RB road trip, 2 years ago to the day.

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Until I can't see. If this concerns you, it's probably your fault.


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Tuesday, July 03, 2007

More Joplin, Mo.

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Meanwhile, Back in Queens.... (click image below)

Check out the overlaid notes (scroll over) and interesting comments my point&shoot aerial of this well-traveled intersection have drawn out of Flickrites.

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Monday, July 02, 2007

Joplin, Mo.

Part of what will be my Route 66 at Night set.

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Scum of the Earth

To give you an idea of what a time I've had so far looking for a new apartment...I'll just tell you what's happened so far:

1. Meet up with a nice teacher who is looking for a roommate and 2br. Discuss possibility of teaming up and getting a place if other things don't work out.
2. See tiny room in 2br that is too small and taken off the market next day (rented to friend).
3. Apply to tiny, expensive, and ancient studio in which I cannot turn 360° between stove and fridge, later reject offer
4. See awesome basement apt in 4br at the same time as 3 other people, one of whom appears to be a friend of the current roommates. Express interest. Roommates screen possible tenants for an additional week, then send cryptic bulk rejection.
5. Hear from Spanish teacher while in MO. Nothing has worked out for her, either, will I call when I get back? I send her an email to which she never responds. I call her when I get back, as she requested. No answer or callback, yet.
6. Start looking at insanely expensive, brokered 1BRs. Call a guy named Sal. Sal does classic bait/switch on phone, offering something that could be perfect, then sets up potential appt at 8. He says to call at 7:15 to confirm because he's "crazy busy." I wolf down dinner and call at 7:15. No answer, no callback.

Now I'm sitting in the dark in the apartment that I have to move out of in two weeks. Remember, I can't sign a normal 8/1 lease because a) landlord says everything must be gone by 7/31 and b) there is an unnecessary, occupational difficulty that cancels even the most desperate possibility of getting a U-Haul truck on the 31st and leaving my shit in it overnight.

How do my brother and I always find ourselves in these situations? Whenever we could use support, encouragement, or even good luck, it seems that most would prefer to kick us in the face.

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Econo Lodge Parking Lot, Tulsa, Okla.

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DRAFT of bulleted summary of KC SIEGE, unedited, unlinked, and awesome

wrote the entire flight back...


*Awaken 5am, cab to Logan
*Take several very good aerials on flight out, including two of Back Bay,
*Meet Dan in KCI about 15 minutes after his plane lands. Hop on waiting rental car bus, notice we are the only people cursing very loud in rental car port, acquire MAGNUM. Dan begins loop around city, southward toward Joplin
*Wacky religious sign causes us to do a u-turn detour of Rich Hill, MO, resulting in a multitude of AWESOME shots of a decaying prairie town
*Arrive in Joplin after seeing none of our favorite religious billboards of 2005 on I-44
*Greet Marley and Nate, head to Lumpy's BBQ, get tired asses kicked by gigantic Michelob Amberbocks
*Sleep 3-4 hours
*Return to Pizza by Stout, split Hawaiian pie with Dan
*Go nuts talking about M---W------ horror movie project, shooting ideas around with Dan and Nate. Plan to watch many horror movies. Remember what it is like to be in a room with like-minded friends discussing something of mutual interest.
*Pass out. Dan is attacked by cats and retreats to guest bedroom floor.

*Now on central time, awaken at about 7am. Exit onto porch, read several Carver stories, journal, swelter, discover that wifi is stealable in neighborhood, begin posting images of Rich Hill on Flickr, eat leftover pizza.
*Hit Target for required trip incidentals: water, Red Bull, trail mix, pop tarts, lemon cookies, deoderant, sneakers.
*Travel into nearby Webb City. See their friends playing outdoors at a church, stop to greet the locals.
*Nail rearwindow driveby shot of Webb City Wheelchair Mullet Man
*Journey into nearby Carthage for photos as well. Nail shot of caged trampoline girl.
*Purchase individual stashes of fireworks at Black Market Fireworks tent
*Consume lunch at the Undercliff bar (steak sandwich), under a cliff.
*Return to Joplin, begin drinking Kentucky bathtub gin and Steel Reserve HIGH GRAVITY ALE.
*Immediately become addicted to cigarettes
*Start trading Red Bulls for cloves, menthols, anything smokable
*Visit 12:51 Hookah Lounge. Two couples plus Dan plus me. No one will share with me, so I get my own Cherry Cola hookah.
*Overhear MethMidget describing recent methsperience while traipsing to the lavatory.
*Run with such excitement to tell story back to table that I overcompensate and knock over hookah.
*Crowd confirms MethMidgetMiniTale is worth embarassment of hookah spillage
*Return to M&N house
*Drink more
*Explode all fireworks in driveway, street, and nearby schoolyard
*Take walking piss and use Dan's tripod to do a lengthy exposure.
*Run away with tripod and explore nearby Route 66, photographing car lots, tattoo shop, roadside psychic parlor, etc etc. Sirens and dogs barking in background.
*Dan shows up. We return, pass out.

*Wake up late. Clean up. I do dishes.
*M&N warn us about some of the towns in southern Missouri, where all the kids have sex with each other and their animals because there's nothing to do
*Travel through Neosho, Anderson, Noel. Challenging terrain. I drive, Dan shoots. Some awesome road-under-cliff pictures should be on Dan's rolls.
*Every town is about 1/3 Mexican
*Skirt Bentonville, see outskirts of Wal-Mart wealth. We do not stop at the Wal-Mart visitor center.
*Enter Fayetteville, use AAA guidebook and maps to navigate to Madame Wu's high ranked suburban chinese restuarant on the northeastern outskirts of town. CROSE! CROSE! say the hostesses.
*We park downtown and see many live music venues.
*Consume Greek food
*Explore used bookstore. Many jackpots. Two Sinclair Lewis titles (MAIN STREET and IT CAN'T HAPPEN HERE), Conrad's THE SECRET AGENT, and some Western novel about frontier justice that Dan highly recommended
*Wander & shoot. Buy chai. Move car.
*Gas up, travel west
*Dan gets speeding ticket in West Siloam Springs, OK
*Shoot Glenda at Cherokee Turnpike toll plaza
*Drive toward Tulsa, following the power lines, which Dan likened to breadcrumbs
*Skirt the city, trying to decipher the repetitive, looping interstate geography
*Pass hotels to the south, highway patrol hiring billboards everywhere, refineries to the west, slums to the east.
*Stop in abandoned, autocentric downtown. Shoot new stadium rising as part as Tulsa's Plan 2025.
*Shoot abandoned CONEY ISLAND hotel
*Discover that there are dozens of CONEY ISLAND-themed hot dog joints all over Tulsa
*See a real live drive-in
*Spot Hank's hamburger stand from the highway; regretfully take no photos and consume no burgers.
*Spend half-hour getting checked into "hospitality district" EconoLodge by middle-aged new hire who mistakenly gives us keys to a broom closet. Navigate challening parking lot.
*Settle in late, order chinese food (one order orange beef, one order pepper steak, two root beers) from industrial chinese delivery service
*Small Mexican male delivers chinese food
*Consume all chinese food, pass out

*Sleep through breakfast
*Start day at Elmer's BBQ, home of the famous BADWICH ("It be bad"). Citysearch reviewer claims that in 17 years of patronage, he has never ordered anything else.
*Badwich consists of smoked bologna, brisket, and split hot link on bun with jalapenos and pickles, served with a rib on the side.
*Two badwiches ordered.
*BBQ, the Great Unifier, brings together businesswoman, home inspectors, cops, working class heroes, and cultural voyeurs, in Tulsa.
*Travel westward out of the city in search of a photovantage point from which to shoot refineries and steam/smog cover
*End up in large county park outside of Tulsa, explore, shoot
*Travel to OK jazz/blues hall of fame on OU campus in neighborhood once known as the Black Wall Street of Tulsa
*Dan takes long phone call from Liz
*I shoot at nearby rr crossing
*Travel to futuristic Oral Roberts U, photograph prayer hands
*Walk campus, witness screaming asian penitents at base of Prayer Tower
*Shoot chickadee smashed into grill of truck in parking lot
*Venture into large building believed to be an office tower with observation deck; discover it is a hospital.
*Realize there were no crosses at ORU
*Try to get tickets for show (311, unimportant) at Cain's Ballroom. Sold out.
*Venture out to Wilson's BBQ. Order brisket and bologna.
*Discover that bologna is not actually smoked here, just served warm.
*Eat fantastic, single serving buttermilk pie
*With Dan again at helm, venture out to Catoosa to attempt photography at the highly industrial inland Tulsa Port of Catoosa, constructed on the Verdigris River, above the head of navigation on the Arkansas River.
*Discover that one entrance to port is heavily guarded
*Join Rte 66 in next town and start hunt for famous Catoosa Whale.
*Find Catoosa whale in about 5 minutes.
*Meet Tyler and Sarah, heavy-swearing locals, who offer us beer and nightlife advice. In appreciation, I trade more Red Bull and immediately pound can of beer.
*Mass of new VW bug conventioneers descends upon the whale, on way to convention in Roswell, NM.
*Much photography at whale.
*Return to EconoLodge, post photos.
*Move into Brookside neighborhood (just above Elmer's), walk scene. Quiet but active on a Tuesday night. Dan takes many Lomo fisheye shots.
*Settle in for a beer at the Brookside
*Despite presence of hot, apparently single girls, we join table of dudes having a high school reunion. They are giving away cigarettes.
*Guy comments that he never takes the bus because he isn't poor. I tell him his attitude is emblematic of a third-rate city and needs rethinking.
*Discussion of downtown redevelopment ensues. NERDS!
*Dan and I leave, get chai at very cool coffee shop up the block.
*Exhausted. Sleep.

*FANTASTIC, requisite, high-value Waffle House breakfast.
*Shoot Tulsa Parks garbage truck in rain, confusing driver
*Shoot Camelot Parkside Hotel being fenced off prior to demolition
*Scrap plans to go to Philbrook art museum
*Travel north to Bartelsville. Entire town is owned by Phillips 66/ConocoPhillips. Many modern office towers contrast with the FLW-designed Price Tower. Shoot decay
*Buy new memory card at Wal-Mart. Dan shoots fatties. We depart.
*Rural Kansas cruise. Shoot roadkill store in Caney, cemetery in Niotaze, dead armadillo and cowboy mural shrine somewhere else.
*Have ears CHEWED OFF by friendly welcome staff on the Kansas Turnpike who notice our cameras
*On tip, stop at Hog Wild at entrance to Wichita for BBQ sandwich that wasn't very memorable. Counter girl says she hates bbq and would rather eat at taco bell.
*Father of family of 4 notice cameras, says, "if you guys are photo-graphers, you're missing a hell of a wreck over on Broadway. They got the bridge closed."
*Wolf down sandwiches, race to wreck. Road is closed. Weave through residential neighborhoods in suburban Haysville. Impossible to see wreck.
*Drive local streets across all of Wichita at dusk. See another real-life drive in.
*See taco bus, vehicular chase ensues, shoot taco bus at its place of rest
*Check into Holiday Inn Select using frequent traveler points, are given free beers. Weird to be back in a nice business hotel on vacation.
*Go dowtown to Elmer McFratBar's.
*Buy drinks at bar, sit down
*Waitress with star tattoo on belly comes by, says that if we need ANYTHING, just to get it from her. It's easier.
*She never comes back.
*Thirsty and hungry, we move to the next room, where a comically SMILING waitress brings us wings and beer, then ignores us for the rest of the night
*The wings happen to be the best I've had, which may not be saying much, because I don't usually eat wings
*I spill a glass of water.
*The check never comes, not even after we ask for it, so we leave a small amount of money on the table and return to the hotel.
*Exhaustion, sleep

*Forget to call mom on birthday, even after making note and being reminded of birthday by brother
*Awaken late
*Travel to Pig In Pig Out at its new location on the northeast side of town, adjacent to the buildings of the CARGILL VEGETABLE OILS REFINERY
*Eat the best chunks of brisket I've ever had in my life, perfectly, flavorfully smoked. Falls apart when touched with fork.
*Amid this competition, pork fails to make impression.
*Meet Transgender Bearded BBQ GImp, a short, man-sounding, husband-having, bearded, oily-haired creature in a purple t-shirt who quizzes us about our cameras and makes fun of Dan's long, wing-fueled stint in the bathroom
*Drive around refineries, take shots
*Heartbreakingly miss a shot of a stray dog lapping blue water from between two rails amidst a backdrop of gray skies and gray hopper cars containing some kind of mineral or cement.
*Skip town, hit turnpike, stop for DQ in Emporia.
*Cruise busted Emporia. It doesn't look like anything has gotten in since about 1975.
*Move on to Topeka, for drive by shooting of the disappointingly tiny Westboro Baptist Church (aka GOD HATES FAGS).
*Dan almost sideswipes fat girl with silent male thug passenger while pulling into traffic. Fat girl becomes hysterical, screaming, then blubbering, then sobbing about how the piece of shit she's driving is her first car in a year and it's all she cares about.
*I attempt to defuse situation, and almost succeed.
*Fat girl speeds off through solid red light
*Journey out to St. Mary's, Kansas, in search of two post-Catholic sects, one that rejects Vatican II and the one that rejects them.
*Find no sects, shoot several small towns.
*Journey to Lawrence, home of KU, whose 70,000 year-round residents supposedly keep the place swinging all year.
*Check into the Holiday Inn, which we soon discover is referred to as the HOLIDOME by all local residents
*Take Jayhawk taxi downtown
*Consume hella spicy thai beef, drink drink drink
*Drink at 8th St taproom
*Wander one square block for almost a half hour, before we discover the Granada, where DMX is playing, and a whole bunch of local music joints
*Pay $2 to enter the very hipster Replay Lounge for some sort of show. I think,: I hate hipster scum, but perhaps these people who have seemingly devoted their lives to taking advantage of both consumer and artistic cultural streams in order to enjoy themselves and the people around them are onto something. Indeed, this scene appears to beat downloading my email in an airport at 6pm while connecting to the flight home, then using the flight home to compose detailed responses to the emails received, then discovering upon synchronization at 11:31pm that others have already responded to the emails I just sent responses to, thereby negating many of the decisions I have already made in addition to nearly all of the typing and occasional wordsmithery.
*See wacky mix of acts, drink many $1PBR cans. See all types of gorgeous midwestern hipster girls, even one with a B-17 tattooed on her arm in b&w. Hard not to be impressed, hard not to imagine these people as the consumer products as which they have styled themselves.
*Dan fades early. We meet one dude, from Topeka, who is studying architecture and is very interested in talking about cities. We meet/talk to no girls.
*See cool post-rock act of teenage drummer and mid-30ish chubby Les Paul guy
*Back to Holidome, back to sleep.

*Sleep in, decide not to leave HOLIDOME. Reservation insanity ensues once again when the new girl doesn't undertand how to make new reservation.
*Eat best breakfast ever with hottest bus girl ever at place called milton's. Three meat scramble, blonde and pink hair, tobasco, orange juice, a four foot tall bombshell body, real butter instead of margarine, a smile to probably die for, even with her retainer in, beautiful hashbrowns. We stayed until they closed.
*Wandered in daze. Walked across the river, shot freight trains and abandoned grain elevator in gray mist.
*Bought hottest, awesomest, green western hipster scum shirt ever
*Found great T-Bone Walker 2-disc set and mint vinyl LP by Ernest Tubb's backing band (the Texas Troubadours) in some fucking record store
*Returned to hotel, traded in free drink coupon for scotch/soda
*Jayhawk taxi (same driver) to brewery place. Jack/Coke. Sesame marinated chicken with sunflower rice and "tasty miso/sherry reduction."
*Pay $2 cover to re-enter 8th st thing, Jack/Coke.
*2 more $ to enter SOUL/FUNK DANCE PARTY AT REPLAY. FIVE JIM BEAM/COKES. rock out, stare at people, don't talk to anyone. have a beer.
*call taxi lady again. takes 20 mins to show. when she arrives, 2 guys with english accents try to get into cab. i run them down, jumping over a 2' tall concrete planter to tell them to get out of our cab. nervous driver explains their error. they are reluctant to concede. one is belligerent. finally they share the cab with us. they've come from the midlands of england to dallas, then to memphis, then to kc, then to lawrence, and were off to san antonio. i told them to go to austin.
*can't sleep. blast huey lewis. blog angrily. very angry. realize i should not be in the position that i'm in and that after a year of working my ass off, i have no opportunity to enjoy anything.

*cancel lease via email at 4:32am EST
*check out
*get scone, scrawl in notebook
*Dan and I get heads buzzed
*Drive, finally, through driving rain, into KC
*agonizingly search for Rosedale BBQ, an unassuming, bank-like bulding across from a grain elevator and some sort of chemical distribution facility
*order two flying pigs: HUGE roasted chicken with three ribs, fries, beans, slaw. heart-stoppingly fucking awesome. neither of us can finish.
*move to quarterage hotel in westport. check in guy tells us that we're in for some wild times, and that we're staying on the best corner in the city
*decide that we WILL go to royals game, even in the rain. call cab.
*young cabbie from somalia tells us that westport "isn't a neighborhood anymore, it's a party place"
*$28 later, we're at the royals game. it's hat night! straw hats! everyone in the agonizingly slow-moving ticket line is raving about the hats. will they run out? there are boxes of hats on the other side of the turnstiles, but every few minutes, another empty box is cut up and thrown into a recylcing dumpster.
*we finally get cheap tickets and get hats.
*every concession stand sells a different type of beer in 16oz cups. we have one of each.
*we spend about 8 minutes in our seats. dan shoots an obese man shoveling goldfish crackers into his mouth. we leave our seats to wander.
*things stay quiet until we make it to the left outfield seats.
*first, i take a piss in one of the stadium's troughs. when i go to exit, the attendant who is mopping the concrete floor (it's raining) tells me: SIR, that's the ENTRANCE. i turn around. with exasperation, he huffs: i JUST mopped there!
*i send dan in with instructions to cause a repeat of the small scene, but the attendant only points out the exit to dan
*then, in the nearby stands, a beach ball appears. fans jump up to give it a whack. people and dan and i pay more attention to the ball than to the game, for the ball is more interesting and allows everyone a chance to particate.
-suddenly, a behemoth, bearded fatass in full KC regalia stands up holding the beachball, screams incomprehensible profanity, and stomps the ball, exploding it. he continues to stomp on the wreckage, amid hundreds upon hundreds of boos and asshole chants. he barks furiously at the crowd, which begins to bait him with cries of BEACH BALL HATER. i try to get closer to the action, and discover that the
section usher is a young girl of about 20, who is panicking, repeating "i have no help over here! i have no help over here!" miraculously, another inflated ball appears and begins to travel above the crowd. dozens and dozens of fingers and outstretched arms point to the beach ball hater, and the chant is renewed. the ball travels the entire section, almost falls fatally over the section's edge and into a grassy slope with a dodge pickup ad it in. the ball is saved, journeys into the heart of the crowd, and is finally volleyed straight into the head of the beach ball hater, who explodes with furor unmatched by anything that has happened on the field or will happen on the field. suddenly, two male ushers in green USHER shirts, and their supervisor, a white-haired, thick-armed 50something, with short-sleeve denim buttondown shirt and the thin white thread of an earpiece running from his right ear, descend into the fray. a screaming match ensues between the supervisor. the supervisor's eyes bulge from his head, and his mouth barks in convulsive, frighteningly precise vertical movements. his muscled arms flail threateningly at the head of the hater, who chooses to argue back. maybe the beach ball spilled his beer. no one cares but him. BEACH BALL HATER, chants the crowd, louder and louder. finally, the hater relents.
*the royals lose in 10 innings to the white sox. i spit in the famous kauffman stadium waterfalls in right field.
*$28 later, we make an ethiopian cabdriver friend who confirms that westport is insanity.
*westport is insanity. we enter kelly's, a famous institution/meat[head] market, and order two 44oz fat tires, which come in large paper cups. this sounds like a good idea, but it is not. dan pounds his beer, and i get halfway through mine.
*when we arrive, the C:P ratio is about 1:1.5. 22oz later, the ratio is more like 3:1. lecherous men of all shapes and sizes descend upon the flattered females. some look out of place and uncomfortable in a cute way. some put near-professional concentration into being in the room. a fat lady sells jello shots for cash, carrying a tray in one hand and a canister of whipped cream in the other.
*finally, we exit the melee. outside, the streets are barricaded with steel fences. KCMO cops and armed WESTPORT PUBLIC SAFETY guards are now IDing all who wish to enter this particular corner. a cadre of girls we eyed exits kelly's followed by three separate teams of men. a uniformed bridal party contemplates its next mood/move.
*we have surprisingly decent pizza in the back of kelly's. i add parmesan cheese, hot pepper, and a few dabs of honey to each slice.
*we return to our room sometime around 12. the insanity rages until 3. i wonder what future marriages could possibly result from this bullshit.
*i receive an email from landlord, notifying me that final rent payment is due and that all my shit must be out on or before 7/31.
*i blog angrily and go to sleep.
*dan has troubles.

*wake for awesome hot buffet breakfast at the quarterage
*cruise up to 39th/volker, photo, confrontation with shopkeep, buy more used shit we don't need.
*cruise plaza corporate retail neighborhood
*see/stalk jesus man
*return to silent westport, photo, coffee
*jesus man returns
*depart w/final huey playing, out to airport
*return car, pass through britbomber security checkpoint, check in, separate at gates, and...



Sunday, July 01, 2007


Dan just left to get on his plane. Mine leaves soon. I forgot to call the mother on her birthday, and every apartment situation I looked at has now fallen through. I estimate that I'll have about 400 work emails when I turn on my PC tomorrow morning. Trying to stay positive.


The return to single Rob is almost done! Buzzed head, much new music, the promise of and struggle for a new apartment, plans for a new band, blah blah blah.

I pause to lament the tales of past travels I promised to post here but didn't. I should fish these things out of my head and get them down before it's too late:
  • Chicago Weekend '04 feat. Crazy German Landlord and Flying Pig Pushmower Man
  • The College Point Class Conflict Pub Crawl 2006

I'll have a bunch of time in the straight-1960s style KC airport to get my notes down about the awesome SIEGE DM and I are just wrapping up. Stay tuned.

disaster upon disaster

It's 11:30 in Westwood, KC, and Dan is already asleep. Outside, it's as bad or worse as everywhere else in this country on Saturday night...actually, it's much worse. Streets are cordoned off. Cops and armed, hired thugs check IDs at entrances to the barricades. Sluts in push-up bras appear, ready for ogling. Meatheads in polo shirts line the walls, sidewalks, urinals, floors, cars, trees, fences, bars, tables, patios, toilets, benches, and streets, waiting for action to maybe happen. This environment is decidedly not fun, even if you're from New York. Things are best left to chance and sleep, certainly not to effort.

Meanwhile, I've officially terminated my lease. Landlord is kicking me out on or before 7/31, leaving me 30 days to find a new place and move into it. However, employer is requesting my presence at an event in a faraway state for the last few days of the month, horrifically complicating everything.

I really just want to be left alone.