September 24, 2001
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
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
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
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
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.
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
Saturday, September 22, 2000
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.
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.
September 21, 2001
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
Thursday, September 20, 2001
September 19, 2001
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
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.
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?
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
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