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Friday, October 5, 2001

 
Puyallup, Bond, Chi
 


Dana lives with her husband and their son in Puyallup, Washington, which is about an hour outside of Seattle. It seems that for nearly a week I have had Feng Shui on my brain so nearly every conversation I have has a mention of the practice. Dana and joked about the Chain of Chi connected to the James Bond record that she bought and gave to her father. Bekah gave me the Record a few years ago, I sent it to Dana, she gave it to her father who intern gave it to Dana's sister. I'd be surprised if the record still played with all of that Chi on it.

Joking aside, we talked about two quilts that she received from her family when her son was born. One was made by a relative who is quite proper and conservative, the quilt is well constructed but kind of startchy and corse, the other was made by Dana's mother who says that she puts her love into every single stitch. Dana thinks that the "love" that her mom put into her son's favorite soft quilt is comparable to "Chi" and I whole heartledly agree

Thursday, October 4, 2001

 
Guest Checked
 


Jane tried to buy the book of guest checks that I sold at the end of my sale, she soon learned how cut-throat the Ebay world is. She was continually out bid on the $3 item and had contacted the guy who was bidding against her and told him to back off, b/c she was trying to get me to visit her in Seattle. Well he indeed backed off but at the last minute another bidder swooped up the item that Jane assumed she'd win. Well she learned a valuable Ebay lesson.. Always watch the end of your auctions.

I told her that she didn't need to buy something from me in order to invite me to visit. I'll visit anyone. She works at Helly Hansen, who was one of the sponsors of Kris's film "The Flying Circus" So when I came to visit her at work she scheduled an office premier of the film.. And even though all I do is the Graphic Design for Wind-Up Films I was there to answer questions about the project. It was cool to see a bunch of the folks at Helly Hansen wearing sweatshirts that I designed.


Wednesday, October 3, 2001
 
Tin from my dresser
 

Tonight I hung out with Jena and her friends. The small world vibe was in full effect, one of her friends was from Fayetteville, New York, just outside of my hometown, and the other attended the Writer's Workshop at the University of Iowa. So the conversation flowed from upstate NY, to the Foxhead bar in Iowa City, and it was a few minutes before I even had a chance to talk to Jena, who was the one who invited me to visit Seatle.

Jena was the high bidder on a tin from the top of my dresser. I'm wasn't even sure what was in the tin, but when we got back to here house she showed me where the tin was and we opened it up. There were assorted coins, some slides from the Carrie Mae Weems presentation that I made a year or so ago, and keys to my old apartment in Iowa City, a skeleton key to my folks camp in the 1000 islands and a valet key to my little white Honda now parked in front of Jena's house.

Sending someone a key to you car 2000 miles away from your house might seem harmless, unless you plan on visiting her in Seattle. Jena took the key out to my car, opened the locked door and started the little hoopty up. For the rest of my stay in Seatle I half expected to find my car missing with a note where it was that Jena took it for a spin.

No need to worry, Jena is a artist who works in a Seattle Gallery, her work was recently featured in an Art Forum article. (The big leagues)


Tuesday, October 2, 2001
 
Boise to Seattle
 

I woke up this morning at Cheryl's house and had a few cups of coffee before I got on the road. She comes from a family of Farmers in rural Idaho and sent me on my way with a variety of apples from Shurtleff Orchards. She also showed me a mail art project that she organized four of five years ago where she sent of vials to some famous and not so famous artist and asked them to fill the vial with something from their studio space. She received a hundred or so back from people and displayed them at part of an exhibition at Boise State. She gave me one to, but I haven't filled it yet.

I got on the road rather early and prepared myself for another 9 hour drive, I took I-84 which took me west towards Portland and then connected to I-82 north which meets up with I-90. I-90 runs all the way to Boston my last stop on the East Coast on September 11, 2001. I stopped in Oregon somewhere to get some gas and get my oil changed (9,000 miles on this trip thus far). The kind people at the Quick Lube place cleaned my windows and vacuumed my recently Feng Shui'd car. While I was waiting I received a call from my friend Noah who said that I could stay at his house in Seattle for as long as I liked.

When I got back on the road I notice that the Tibetan Coin that was in the three-legged toads mouth was missing, it must have been vacuumed up, What should I do? What does that do to my Chi? I almost turned around but then imagined trying to explain to the Quick Lube folks why I needed them to root through the muck filled vacuum canister. I imagined the puzzled looks when I told them about my three legged-toad and my Feng Shui and the coins effect on my Chi.

I arrived in Seattle by 4 pm and I cooked dinner for Noah and Shannon who were recently married. So recently in fact that I was the first unexpected out of town guest since their marriage, and Noah's invitation was "for as long as I liked". I wonder how many more open ended invitations he will be allowed to make?

At dinner I explained the harrowing experience of having my Chi all fucked up by the nice people at the Quick Lube. Shannon used to be a white water river guide in the upper plateau of Utah. She asked what the Tibetan coin looked like and told me a story about a similar coin that a friend of her gave her a few years ago. She kept it in the pocket of her river shorts and never took it out for years, even when she washed them. That coin had traveled every navigable inch of the rivers in Utah and had been washed in nearly every coin laundry in the eastern Utah plateau.

She went up stairs and returned with a pair of nylon shorts with Velcro pockets, opened the left rear flap and produced a smoothly polished shinny bronze Tibetan coin with a square hole in it. That coin now sits in the mouth of my three-legged toad which is now Velcro'ed to my dash board as to avoid any additional Quick Lube vacuum incidents.


Monday, October 1, 2001

Artist Talk Boise State
 


Cheryl Shurtleff contacted me at some point in my project and was trying to find out how she could purchase my "Yes" stamp from AMLFS. At that point Maya had already had the stamp for two months so there was no hope for Cheryl to get it, but she didn't mind and we continued to e-mail back a forth for a little while.

Cheryl teaches Drawing and Art History at Boise State University and when she saw that I was coming to Boise to visit theWhites, she invited me to do an informal artist talk for a "few of her students" Well this is second talk that I have given on this trip, but the last one was on September 11, so I hoped that this one would go a little better.

I spent the morning in the BSU student center and found an Ethernet port to plug into where I was finally able to post some of the video clips that I have been taking along the way. Cheryl and I had lunch and we walked over to meet with her students. May plan was to just go through the AMLFS web site and then talk a little about my current travelogue on Temporama.

We walked into a huge natural light painting studio and found about 60 students and faculty waiting for me to arrive.. What? No video projector? A few Students? Well next thing you know I've talked for nearly an hour, and ended up taking question for another 30 minutes. The talk ended with a live auction of the shirt off my back where the bids were a mish mash of money, and barter items, including family artwork, an artificial recitation mask, a six pack of Newcastle brown ale and a bar of soap. The final bid was a collective $21 which bought the shirt on the condition that Cheryl be required to wear the bright orange shirt for the following week (She has only worn black for the last 20 years or so)

She looks great in my Great Jones shirt. I was glad to let it go b/c I bought the shirt new at the Great Jones Caf in NYC when I was there. At the end of my AMLFS sale I made a commitment to buy only second hand clothes and within a month I had already started buying new stuff.. Well now Cheryl has it and I have bought nothing new yet.

Monday, October 1, 2001

 
Salt Lake City to Boise Idaho
 


So today was kind of busy day for sure. Last night I drove in from Salt Lake City, which I originally thought, was a five to six hour drive. Well even when things are supposed to take six hours, I've found that everything out west takes 9 hours to get too. At one point last night I reached into my camera bag to take a photograph and realized that when I repacked my car according to Feng Shui Principles I left my digital camera on the front porch of the house I was staying in.

Kris picked the camera up on his motorcycle and we raced towards each other on I-15 saving me an extra hour or so of backtrack driving. I arrived at Shawn and Wendy's place in the suburbs of Boise at round 10 O'clock. Moments after, a pepperoni pizza and a 2-liter bottle of Pepsi arrived and dinner was served.

I felt pretty bad about arriving so late but they were really understanding. Wendy bought a polyester shirt from me for her husband Shawn, who recently graduated from a pharmacy program and started working for a major supermarket in Boise. Although he hadn't really worn polyester since it went out of style in the late 70's, he looks pretty good in my shirt and says the when Wendy fixes the hole in the shoulder he will start wearing it around. Maybe under his required White Lab Coat that he wears to work every day.

I arrived too late to meet their son Josh who was already in bed when I arrived. There is always a strange moment in my visits where the people ask me where I am planning on staying tonight? "Well. I was going to stay in my tent out by the road or in your back yard if you don't mind?" I don't think Shawn knew that Wendy had invited me to visit until earlier that day so it there were a few moments of silence where I was trying to gauge where I should plan to sleep.

At one point in the conversation I decided that I would stay at a hotel for the night so that I could get some work done and that I didn't further impose myself on their family. But as soon as I said that I was leaving, Shawn said that they were planning on having me stay at their house that night. So it all worked out, and I have still not stayed in a hotel in on this entire two-month trip. (Except for the night in Omaha but that was staying at Sasha's Hotel)


Sunday, September 30, 2001
 
Feng Shiu
 


I have known Jen Mijangos for almost ten years. She has lived in Salt Lake City since we graduated from college together. She recently became a Feng Shui practitioner and when I had dinner with he on Thursday she offered to provide me with a Feng Shui consultation on my car.

Now I know little to nothing about Feng Shui but what I do know it that it is highly unusual to apply the practice to a Honda Civic. But in my specific case I guess it is applicable case I have no other possessions which to organize.

My basic understanding is that Feng Shui is rooted in Tibetan Buddhism and a study of our relationship with our surroundings. One of the first things that Jen tells her clients is that they have to spend some time evaluating their relationship to the objects around them. I guess I may have already done that with my online project Allmylifeforsale.

In preparation for the consultation I took everything that was in my car and placed it out onto the driveway. Then Jen and I talked about various things that I had in my possession and ways in which I could re-pack the car according to the principles of Feng Shui.

Jen told me that I should try to keep the center of the car as clutter free as possible. That is where I keep my road trip cooler that my cousin bought. She said that it was fine to keep the cooler there as long as I kept it as clutter free as possible. "No Trash in Cooler!" She went through the eight sections of the Pa Kua nine including the Center and talked about how each related to me and my health and wellbeing.

Then she helped me re-pack according to Feng Shui Principles, amazingly we put many of the things back into the place that I originally had them. Except for my 2 gallon water tank which was originally positioned in such a way that it would weaken the Metal section of the Pa Kua, so now it is off to the side of where it was.

And the end of the consultation Jen gave me a wooden sculpture of a three-legged toad, which she said, would act at a harbinger, she put a Tibetan coin in its mouth and set it to the Yang side for the remainder of my trip. When I get back home she told me that I should flip the coin to the Yin side to try and maintain the energy that I gathered during this adventure.

Here is a real audio recording of the consultation if you would like to listen in.

Click Here to listen

Saturday, September 29, 2001

 
In Search of the Spiral Jetty,
Near West Desert, Utah
 


When I told Krisi that I was going to meet Molly in Logan, Utah (1 1/2 Hour North of Salt Lake) she said that it was kind of near Robert Simthson's "Spiral Jetty" and that the water level is unusually low right now so there might be a chance of us actually seeing it.

So I called Molly, who bought my Better Homes and Gardens "Handyman" book and my cherished Patsy Cline record, and asked her if she wanted to go on a little adventure. She had never heard of "The Spiral Jetty" before but by the time that she returned my phone call she had detailed directions to the site and could list four or five other important land art pieces from the 70's. (a great example for the research potential of the internet, as opposed to spending your time reading some guys travelogue)

We met Molly at a Gas Station in Brigham City, Utah. The station was packed with cars and I walked around for about 10 minutes before I called her cell # to discover her parked directly in front of me. She had her dog Billy Pilgrim and a piece of paper with directions to the Spiral Jetty that were right down to the tenth of a mile.

If you have never heard of Simthson's "Spiral Jetty" it was a celebrated environment art piece that stretched out into the Great Salt Lake in the form of a giant spiral. It was built at the edge of the Lake in the middle of what's called the west desert. To get there you have to drive by this huge military contractor's city, that when I just looked on the map to name for you its not even listed.. There is a small town of buildings and hangers and apparently they make rocket technology but that's all I know.

The directions took us by the Golden Spike Memorial, where the intercontinental railroad finally met up. Each of the railroads were compensated by the federal government for the # of miles of track that each laid, and as a result both companies built 200 mile of parallel tracks 50 mile apart from each other, Ooops.. The directions took us on country maintained dirt roads and then read as follows;

"Continue 2.3 miles south-southwest to a combination fence, cattle guard #4, iron-pipe gate - and a sign declaring the property behind the fence to be that of the "Rafter S. Ranch". Here too, is a "No Trespassing" sign. If you choose to continue south for another 2.3 miles, and around the East Side of Rozel Point."

We choose to go further and even though the water level was supposed to be the lowest in years we could not find and sign of Simthson's Spiral Jetty. We kept thinking that we'd find it around the next corner to no avail. Molly's dog Billy Pilgrim was so excited to go swimming unitl he found out that this was the Great Salt Lake and the water that he was sipping was so thick in salt that he could nearly walk on it.

I explained to Molly that on my previous road trips Trey and I had made a point to swim in every significant body of water and she dared me to swim in the bright pink sour smelling soup that her dog just vomited from drinking out of. 30 second later we were both wading out into the salty sea which never seemed to get deeper than my knees.

Molly was the first to "dive in" which is kind of a joke b/c the water is so thick with salt that even in a foot and a half of water you float with out touching the bottom. It was one of the strangest feelings I have ever had. And it only gets better b/c when you get out of the water you start to feel the Salt crystallize on you body in a thick and creamy paste at first and then it starts to harden like crusty bread.

Guess what? When you "choose" to trespass on Rafter S. Ranch there isn't a little fresh water shower to clean the salt of with, no I got to drive back to Salt Lake (approx 2 hrs) with the feeling of pins and needles wherever my clothing pushed against the salt crystals..

 


Temporama