Book Tour
Video Clips
  Week Ten
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  Week Eight
  Week Seven
  Week Six
  Week Five
  Week Four
  Week Three
  Week Two
  Week One


Monday September 24, 2001
Strategic Air Command

I woke up early and headed west making one short stop at the Strategic Air Command museum just outside of Omaha. The SAC museum is crazy.. The Strategic Air Command is the division of the airforce that is responsible for the county's nuclear arsenal. The SAC museum celebrates that history with cheerful items like three Inter Continental Ballistic Missiles mounted on the front lawn, examples of nearly every nuclear bomber ever , B-36, B-52É..,a disarmed nuclear bomb and even a old command and control console with two of the infamous "Red Phones"

Then gift shop was noticeably void of anything related to the nuclear arsenal, rather they seemed to celebrate the feats of aviation and even space travel. They sold model airplanes of nearly every plane on display. I asked if they had any scale models of the nuclear missile on the lawn but apparently toy manufacturers hadn't really thoughts that ICBM kits would be good sellers. I bought a B-52 cookie cutter. Imagine Christmas cookies made in the shape of a long range nuclear bomber.. Merry Christmas StevieÉ I spent about an hour there and got on the road. Nebraska is a very long state.

Sunday, September 23, 2000
Henry Doorly Zoo, Omaha

When was the last time you went to a zoo? The Omaha Zoo is pretty amazing actually. There is an indoor rainforest, which feathers hundreds of plants and animals in what seems to be a pretty good habitat. Each Species seems to have a lot of room to wander and coexist with other species.

Sasha brought her new video camera and spent more time taping the people visiting the zoo than the animals. The zoo was packed especially the indoor sections. Zoos are such a weird concept. Let go around the world capture hundreds of species of animals and put them on display in Omaha.

What was crazy is I didn't really find the zoo troubling when I walking through the indoor rain forest or the aquarium. But when we walked into the "Cat Complex" and looked at 25 tigers, lions, and cheetah's all in 25 x 35 ft concrete boxes I stated to wonder why we feel the need to have zoos.

The Orangutan House was the final straw. Back at the indoor rainforest the smaller monkeys seemed really happy swinging from tree to tree and grooming each other. The orangutans did not seem so happy, in fact they seemed to be very aware of where they were, In the gorilla house there was a large crack in the glass where one of the captives rammed themselves in to the glass in a desperate attempt to escape.

Meanwhile the Orangutan display was the most popular the visitors were yelling at them trying to get their attention for their photographs and this one guy started to throw peanut butter cups across the barrier while the crowd laughed and cheer "He Likes It". Its bad enough to have them locked up in Omaha but then to have a fat Midwestern entertain himself by feeding them junkfood. Don't they realize that these primates are just one or two chromosomes away from being us?

The aquarium was the saving grace for our visit to the zoo. I somehow don't feel so bad for the sponges, jellyfish, sharks, and flounder in the giant tanks in the aquarium. Maybe a little bad for the penguins but even there it snows from the ceiling every day or two and they all seem pretty happy hanging out on the rocks. The most amazing part of the zoo and the aquarium was the shark tank. There is a 50' long 10' high glass tunnel through the enormous tank so the sharks are swimming overhead while you look around. Sasha continued to video tape the visitors more than the animals.. I wonder what her footage looks like?

Grande Olde Players Theater

Chris acts in community theatre in Omaha. Sasha and I got lost on the way to the theater b/c it we were looking all over for a theatre shaped building, and the Grande Olde Players are in a makeshift space in an abandoned strip mall. Actually it wasn't makeshift at all the theater was really nice inside and there seemed to be seating for over 100. Sasha thinks that every strip mall should be required to turn over one of its retail spaces to community theater groups.

Chris bought a stack of comic books from me. They were the ones that Bekah and Doug sent me when the cleaned out excess crap from their house. They knew that I would be able to do something with them. I held on to them for more than a year before they were tagged at my inventory party.

Chris and I have a similar hope for the potential of objects. We feel like everything has the potential to be used for something and has inherent value. Chris is not unlike a number of people that I have visited thus far. The Comics that he bid on have been added to his piles of stuff that line his floors and walls, not unlike the vision of clutter that I provided in the QTVR of my house on AMLFS.

Chris's wife and family are sympathetic with Chris's need to collect and save things. Although he did get a thorough razing from them while he looked around trying to find the stack of comic books that he bought. Eventually we settled on photographing him with another stack of comics that had one or two of the issues that I sent him in it.

They took Sasha and I out for a snack before I had to get on the bus back to Iowa. We stopped at a local burger place called Don and Millie's whose specialty is a quintessentially midwestern innovation called the Cheese Frenchie. Which is a batter dipped and Fried grilled cheese sandwich minus the grill. I was too afraid to have one but now I wish I did.

Operation Infinite Mooch
After I dropped Sasha off at "The Pooch" station (greyhound) I started driving out to the western edge of town to the home of Ben and Cindy. Sasha and I had such a great time with them last night that I just wanted to hang out a little longer before I left from Denver. Ben told me to look for a blue truck in his driveway, which I did and couldn't help notice the giant sign that he attached to the Truck announcing "operation infinite mooch". Which was the name that he came up with last night at dinner to describe the travel part of my project.

When I arrived I noticed that their oldest daughter had my belt on, and that the book that I recently sent them was on the kitchen table, and later I noticed that my Oklahoma Tractor Puller's shirt was on top of the laundry pile. That shirt was always a top of the pile shirt when I owned it. It was always the first to be worn after doing laundry and sometime I would do a light load of laundry just to have it wearable again. The same is true in Omaha.

Ben and Cindy are nuts and bolts kind of people, well actually they are. They run a company called Fasteners Inc, and sell highly specialize fastening systems (nut and bolts) to rail-car and tractor trailer manufacturers. Now when I'm on the highway I'm looking for the steel door Great Dane trailers that use Ben and Cindy's fasteners.. I almost has an accident while trying to figure out which bolts were theirs.

Ben used to edit home video footage and we sat around that night and watched about an hour or so of everything from the high school drama club to the music video that he made for the U2 concert in Ames Iowa, which they played on the giant jumbotron during the show. They were really great I especially liked his skit where he gets into character and looks for "Potential Art" which is why he must have been sympathetic to my project.

We all stayed up pretty late for a Sunday and traded a few CD's back and forth. I think that I will have to make a compilation CD of all of the different music that I have been given along the way.

Saturday, September 22, 2000
Winterset, Iowa

Early on in the AMLFS project I listed a bunch of intangible items like a drink with my friend Shari, an opportunity to be me at my own birthday, and even a road trip with me. See I was driving back to see my family for Christmas and thought that I could drive someone back east with me (and they could help pay for gas).

Again this was early on in the project so the bidding on the road trip was mostly between my friends. I told them that I would pick them up where ever they were and take them anywhere they wanted to go. Sasha was the high bidder at $11 USD. She already had a flight back to NY so she planned to use the trip at a latter date.

Knowing that she always wanted to visit the Omaha Zoo, this morning I offered to take her with me to Omaha. We called Greyhound, which I now refer to as "The Pooch" b/c thatÕs what Melissa in Philly calls it, and got her a ticket back to Iowa City.

We tried to stop for lunch at the Thai Cafˇ in Des Moines, but luck would have it are only open til 2 for lunch and then re-open at 5 for dinner. I had never stopped in Des Moines on any of my previous road trips. It was Sunday at 2:30 and the city was a ghost town. Not a car on the street or a person walkingÉ I was trying to find a news station on the radio just incase there was a reason that the city was deserted is was 9-22 after all.

We ended up eating at the North-side Cafˇ in Winterset, Iowa. Winterset is the county seat of Madison County. The cafˇ walls were filled with the pictures on the staff and Oprah who's book of the month club turned the Bridges of Madison County in to a huge seller.

I ordered the chicken fried steak dinner with buttered corn, mashed potatoes and white sausage gravy and Sasha ordered the Cheese Soup.. Well, I'm sure to have an early age heart attack now. The cheese soup was melted Velveeta and canned potato, but the Steak and gravy was as good as I've ever had.

Omaha, Nebraska

When we arrived in Omaha, I called Ben, one of three high bidders in Omaha. He and his wife invited us to stay and their house, and when I mentioned it to Sasha, I could see that there was no way that she would stay at a strangers house. Me? Well I've already stayed with a number of people on this trip.. But this was Sasha's roadtrip to the Omaha Zoo so I let her pick a hotel for us to spend the night.

Sasha has always been a little skeptical about my plan to visit my stuff. One of the reasons is she kind of wondered what type of person would invite a total stranger from Ebay to their house, even if that stranger was me. She is also a little bit leery of the internet in general, she doesn't believer that true and frank dialogue can take place unless you are sitting across from someone, eye to eye.

Well tonight she told me that she loved my project, and that her perception of the project and the participants had totally changes. Tonight Sasha and I had diner with Ben and his wife Cindy. Ben must have bought 25 things from me throughout the project and would be the first to place bids on much of what I listed. He never paid very much for anything but once or twice he had to exceed his spending cap. We had dinner at a Mexican restaurant and then walked around the Old Market area.

We had a drink in the hotel lounge and I nearly died when we looked up at the TV to see Tony Danza and the contestants from the Miss America pageant. Miss Massachusetts nearly one the tiara. I couldn't believe it. Melissa and I handicapped miss Mass dead last from our observations at the Philly Museum of art. Ben and Cindy invited me to stay at their house tomorrow, which I think I will do.

Friday, September 21, 2001

Iowa City , Iowa

I have a lot of stuff to post in the coming days. I still have visits from NYC that I haven't told you about, I still haven't told you about my visit to Skowhegan Maine, my trip to the New York Post head offices, lunch in Brooklyn, the folks I met at the Brooklyn Museum of Art..

What the hell have I been doing? Well visiting family is not exactly the most productive place in the world and walking into the Art School here didn't help me find any time to work.

Omaha tomorrow.. Take a look at my new Itinerary

Thursday, September 20, 2001
Iowa City , Iowa

I've been in Iowa for the last few days. Its funny b/c I never really considered visiting the high bidders in Iowa City. Even though at the beginning of my project almost everything that sold went to someone I knew here. I guess its because I live here and what's the fun in seeing a place that I already know.

I am beginning to realize that I am not alone on this adventure. That over the last few months a community has formed around this project and as I travel I am sharing my experiences with that community. So even though I'm familiar with Iowa City you may not be. So while I am here I have decided to visit some of the items from my sale.

As you may know my Itinerary has changed significantly this week. I was supposed to be heading south to DC and Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida. But the events of last week caused me to visit all of my family in upstate New York and then high tail it back to Iowa to see Sasha and the rest of my "family" here.

Sasha bought so much crap from me its not even funny. The first thing that she bought was the purple belt that Heather Hibbard gave me. She continues to hold onto the belt and may plan to return it to me someday. It's kind of crazy how much stuff I am starting to accumulate. Just one small thing per visit, but soon my car will be filled with little such things. I think it might be best for me to avoid visiting folks who bought big things as not to have to take them back.

Sasha bought my kitchen table from me, the one that I found on the street and clean up a little bit. Our friends couldn't believe (still can't) that I made her pay me the $75.00 bid in full. What was I to do? There were lots of people who wanted that table so I couldn't let her out bid them an not pay. Ebay'ers would not be happy with that. Besides I even made my family pay me in full for their Christmas Gifts that I listed on Ebay.

The table sits in her new little house in Iowa City. It doesn't quite fit in with the 100-year-old kitchen cabinets but she seems to like it well enough. I wonder what would have happened if someone else got the table. The shipping alone would have made my curbside find cost prohibitive. ItÕs a nice table don't you think?

Wednesday, September 19, 2001
University of Iowa, Iowa City


Last year I worked at the University of Iowa as a Research Assistant for Ebon Fisher. He ran the digital art program here, which he called Digital Worlds. He left for a position at Hunter College in NY and due to budget cuts, they decided not to fill his vacant position. The digital lab that I maintained for him has remained closed since the day he left. 12 work station, with audio, video, and imaging software sitting inaccessible to students.

Today they hired me to get the lab open. So I called the old staff, ask them how many hours they'd be willing to work and scheduled a meeting with them for this afternoon. We decided to rename the lab in an effort to take it over as a student accessible lab. Too often in academic settings different departments fight over space and resources and the technology filled Digital Worlds lab was in the middle of such a turf war.

My student staff wants to make sure that the lab remains open and accessible to all students regardless of discipline. The new lab is called the "Deklab" in homage to the seed brand Dekalb, and the logo for the lab is jacked from the now Monsanto subsidiary. I wonder if they will send the students a cease and desist letter?

Well the lab will open tomorrow and will be completely student run. Hopefully nothing too crazy will happen while I am on the road.