Saturday, May 30, 2009

On Being Sleepy


I've entered automatica land, where every sound around me is a metronome willing me to sleep. The flesh under my eyes has stiffened into a crusty pink meringue mass, and as I was walking back into the office I think I forgot for a moment I was walking.

I went on my lunch break to find a Johnny Cash CD and failed. There is a little device in my chest which monitors my intake of heartbreak, and when it reaches a certain level it send a signal to Network TV to show Walk The Line. Swear. It happened last night, just like it happened last Spring, only a week and a year apart. Not having a computer at home to upload photos or make CDs or look forward to writing drunken rants while singing Folsom Prison about three keys too high, it's hard. It's very very frustrating. But not as frustrating as finding six Kenny Chesney CDs to one Willie Nelson. I wonder if I could define that as an exact proportion.

What Would M. Ward Do? WWMWD? Will be my new bracelet to wear on my fat little baby wrist.

I tried to sugar myself up (because solid food seems like something I don't remember eating, this is how your body tricks you into dying when you are this tired) with a twisted pisted coffee toffee arsenic laced Frosty Wosty, but the sun was cruel and melted it before I returned to the air conditioning. Now my hands are sticky like a baby's (a poor baby) and I dripped some down my cleavage which I tried to discreetly wipe up and failed miserably.

Cleavage. More trouble than its worth. It's a dirty disgusting crumb/sweat/pollen trap.

My only life goal at this point is to find some damn Cash to listen to, to paint a watercolor of a giant robot guarding the Great Lakes, and also to watch a Russian film. Preferably Nightwatch. I will most likely end up crying intermittently into a 7.99 bottle of Shiraz while watching whatever 1965 Sean Connery film TCM shows tonight, and looking balefully at the phone everytime I go to the bathroom. Because the phone will be on the charger by the bathroom door, which is where I leave it when I don't want to hear it while I'm upstairs, but where I can easily obsessively check to see who's called.

No one will call. And don't read this thinking you should. I like to see who's called, but I don't like to answer the phone. Probably there will be calls and I won't answer them. If you text me tonight, I will hold it against you for a very long time. Texts and me, we're quits.

If I was a smart clean responsible girl, I would do my dishes. But god do I want to go to sleep. In a hotel room in Arizona. If you are my new best friend, take me there now, please. A clean, somewhat musty from cigarettes, freezing cold hotel room with thin generic blankets, a glass of ice water in a plastic cup, and a vaccuum of furnace blasting cancer melting heat when I open the window. A sick room.

On Being Defeated

Most of the time, we are able to keep things under control. We are aware of the boundaries of our relationships, we know our friends, we know our work schedule and how much we can spend in a given month. We know what things make us happy; what shows, movies, books, music, activities. We struggle with trying to be "really" happy, but even in our times of crisis, the fight is well outlined. We may not want to do what we have to, but we are aware of the rules and consequences.

In this way, we are very much like gerbils. We have our toilet paper rolls to chew on.

Then unexpectedly something happens we cannot control, cannot see the structure of, and are not capable of planning action for. I am in one of those moments. They blindside you. The horrible things and the minor uncomfortable things, you can't tell which one is going to be the one that breaks you. I can deal with death, but cannot deal with insult. I am okay with loads of debt but not with bugs in my apartment or a scar on my chin. The dishes in my sink are capable of launching me into a catatonic state given the right circumstances. Sometimes it's worse, and more valid. It's less about the actual action, and more about the mindset of your moment when it happens.

In my case, it's a moment caused by a specific thing, sure. But once you're thrust into a chaotic moment like that, the spiderweb crack spreads. I wander around my house, unable to concentrate on watching tv, or reading. I cannot force myself to sleep. As I start to drift off, my brain twitches uncontrollably and I start off on another chain of nightmarish dissociative thoughts. Strange fantasies, creepy cravings, and random unholy images. Last night, as with many other nights and many other people, I finally got myself focused on revenge. Which, while not healthy, is at least a coherent thought.

Oh don't worry. My imaginary revenges may be swift and clever (and very vicious, I am a wicked woman), but I don't think I've ever executed an actual one. This may mean I'm a pushover. More likely it means that somewhere past my reptilian brain, I understand that this too shall pass.

I'm not a control freak, by any stretch of imagination. But being pushed into the riptide of nonsense, the ever flowing current of crap that floats around our world, it destroys me briefly. It takes a great deal of effort to pull myself to the shore and emerge, gooey and mucky and poisoned. Pulling yourself out may sound like it's a victory, but it isn't. It's a straight up defeat. The small compensation of surviving does not make up for the long term effects on brain and liver and vagina. This is my definition of being defeated - being forced through the meat grinder against my will. All things in my universe should be in unison with my will. Times like this only serve to remind me of my lack of control, of my true position which is nothing more than flotsam in the jetsam. A speck of plastic in a landfill - mostly laying still, but powerless against the bulldozers. The Universe can defeat me anytime it wants. It can kill me. It can hurt me. It can destroy my body and leave my mind. It can do exactly the opposite. It can force me into whatever playdoh shape it wants, or it can leave me alone, and it's all completely random. Worse, it's impersonal. The forces of nature and time have nothing against me, but also nothing for me. I am defeated by complete lack of impact and consequence.

And don't give me some spiritual crap about happiness being obtained by accepting and embracing your defeat against life. Struggle is the only thing that builds thought, and thoughts are happiness.

When the Consequential Event involves a person, or persons, this outcome is even worse. Because, when faced with the uncaring Reality and the only Certainty is that of being buffeted like a turd in a toilet for the rest of your life while you desperately cling to any and all things beautiful you see (the pattern of muck lining the pipes, the waves of the tank, the forward motion promising unknown things around the corner, and the eventual river, lake, drainpipe), well, it's a little hard to care about the individual situation anymore. And people require you care about their pain and their perspective in order to resolve anything or get anything from them. You can't shut down, you're not allowed. There's this wonderful relaxing coma state out there where you don't care about anything, and you just ride this whole life thing out. But I couldn't check out forever, and then there would be all these regrets to deal with. I don't want people to think I don't care. So I'm doubly defeated there. Defeated in my aspirations of love and loyalty, but also defeated in my reliance on them.

In a conversation recently my friend told me that girls don't have regrets, and that it was strange of me to have them. What a weird thing to say.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Invading the Wasteland: The Hugo Boss building

This is what I've been affectionately calling the Read More building. When I was a little girl, this used to be the Hugo Boss factory. We would drive past on the way home from church or school, and I wanted to live there. That is until anything resembling industry fled the Near West Side for Brookpark. Afterwards, some development company was trying to make condos out of it, and you can see how that turned out by the state of their torn apart by jackals sign. For years now it's been sitting empty, windows cracked out and graffiti growing faster than mold. This is where those people you see begging for change on the 41st/44th St exits probably live. I am a little jealous. No, I know, it's sad. But still, maybe just a little....

So J and I took a trip. I've tried to provide a taste of our experience here. Just go roll around in the dirt and get drunk on mojitos beforehand, for the full experience. And later, bite yourself in several small spots, to simulate the invisible insect bites you will not remember getting later.

Below is the first spot I wanted to try breaking in. Thank god J. promptly wisely patiently nixed that idea, because even if we hadn't disturbed some poor drunken psychotic, we would have entered in the basement. You'll see why that would have been a immensely horrible idea later.

So we walked around the sunny, very non-threatening outside until we found a nice hole in the wall that someone had very thoughtfully punched through. Which made it technically not breaking and entering, just entering.

At first, we were in a staircase, and every doorway was sunny and well decorated. Well decorated in lot of things designed to make us scared. Fuck that shit. I can draw on walls too, and also? I can spell.

Where we entered was actually the 2nd floor, which was nice sunny warehouse. See people used to have jobs here. Jobs that involved strange suspicious wires hanging from the ceiling. Ostensibly for garment bags maybe? Maybe. It's strange to think this building has only been abandoned for what? 20 years?

3rd floor: slightly darker, but still open. This would be the drug use with friends/raping dates room. This is where Jenny McKinney cut her boyfriend's older brother when he tried to take off her shirt, even though he'd already paid for it.

Then the 4th floor, which I dubbed the happy plant growing, gang initiating, campfires, slightly soggy floor room. I like the blue. It makes it seem like there should be community center dance-offs here. Only they would fall through the floor.

Finally the roof. Obviously the site of a violent standoff between the forces of good and evil.

I'm not sure if the skull means evil won or lost.

J. suggested we go down the staircase on the other side of the building. The one covered with ivy. Which meant it was much darker. Definitely the ambush staircase.

Which took us down to the actual first floor. The Abestos Floor. Where people go to hide.

And...the basement.
This is one area J had to take me by the hand and lead me in like a fucking mute sacrifice. The floor was pitted with canals, and pipes and large completely brilliantly black alleyways between gigantic machinery. I'm not sure if flashlights would have made this more or less scary. But it was mechanical monster cool. Maybe the dye works? Probably just the furnace.

That may or may not be a dead dog in the corner, or a plastic bag. It was hard to tell since all this light was coming from the camera flash. I don't know, sort of looks like some species of giant black beetle, doesn't it?

Here is J giving himself tetanus by climbing a rusty ladder to the rusty trap door that was filled with flesh eating spiders or murderous mutant rats, or treasure. I could not get a clear shot because I could hear the zombie dogs coming. I am not sure if he is giving himself a victory shout or maybe trying to shake a spider off his sleeve before it implants eggs in his forearm.

And thankfully gratefully, a little regretfully we made it back out to the now very welcoming, sunny, beautiful, childlike stairway. Even the PBR cans took on a new shade of innocence. The shotgun shell J picked up to give me as a souvenir seemed like a lucky penny, or at least a powerful potential totem object/cat toy/ evidence.

Lots more harrowing tales can be found here. Or just more pictures of things that may or may not be dead. That is a metaphor.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

All Hail These Young Gods

The whole weekend was a bit of a wicked blur to me. Saturday night was Marty and Rebecca's house, where Marty cooked us Brontosaurus Burgers. Later, after being beaten into a food coma, I watched some UFC at the neighbors and then this horribly horrible S. Darko movie. Sunday I read. All day. And drank. It was pretty awesome. On Monday, S. took me to the new Star Trek movie which was not horrible horrible, and later I went breaking and entering with J. More on that later, once the pictographs upload.

I know, it's a lot. Where did I possibly store all the energy to do all this crazy active stuff? The driving and the eating and the driving and the more eating, it can all wear you down pretty quick. Well, I went the cheap way, and got sugar high.

I was unaware of the existence of Ambrosia (or 5 Cup Salad) until I worked at my present job. Northern girls don't eat this shit. Then the old ladies would bring it in for potlucks and I became addicted... in a slutty evil way. I hated myself for liking it, because it was SO sweet. But it was like ice cream! Only it didn't melt when sitting on a cubicle desk all day! The perfect food. Which I find myself saying about a lot of Southern foods that have no business being anywhere near an artery.

Well, I like this version a lot better. It's still very sweet, but not AS sweet. It really tastes like a fruit salad. I recommend adding a lot more stuff than Alton does. Like, the whole jar of cherries. Also grapes. And more nuts. It's still very much dessert. But at least you won't feel like you consumed a whole container of cool whip.

Alton's Ambrosia Salad

4 oz sour cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 tbsp sugar
1 cup grated coconut
1 cup maraschino cherries
1 cup pineapple chunks
1 cup clementine segments (I used canned mandarin oranges)
6 oz mini marshmallows
1 cup crushed pecans
(I added 1/2 cup seedless red grapes)

Using a mixer, combine the sour cream and heavy cream and sugar. Whip until it starts to form peaks. Then combine all the rest of the stuff and mix. Refrigerate for two hours before eating. Set aside at least one bowl to eat tomorrow morning when you regret inviting all those people over before. Hide it in the back of the fridge.

Because, you know, it's a recession, Rebecca and I were very prudent, and used every part of the salad by making ourselves drinks.

Split the pineapple juice in the can between two glass.
Do the same with the mandarin orange juice syrup, and the cherry juice.
Take pictures because it's pretty.

Then add liberal amounts of rum, ice, and some sparking strawberry white tea.
Be VERY VERY proud of yourself for how fucking good your drink is.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day: For Remembering Things, I Think

Things to Remember on Monday:

1. On May 30th, 1968 (which is maybe the original day, but not the official day) a group of freed slaves dug up a mass grave of Union soldiers in Charleston, reburied them in individual graves, and decorated the new Union Graveyard with flowers. This was the first Decoration Day, which eventually became Memorial Day, but not to some Southern States who refused to celebrate Memorial Day cause they hated the Union. So they still celebrate Decoration Day the Sunday before, which is really like a Day of the Dead thing. The point is that digging up hundreds of dead decomposing bodies, (on a hot day... at the end of May... in the South... which has got to include mosquitos and horseflies), in order to honor them is more patriotic than anything you will ever imagine doing. Except for that James Bond fantasy you have involving a Shetland pony and 2 tons of c4. Also, I suspect that maybe the freed slaves were not doing this out of the goodness of their hearts.

2. In 1977, on Memorial Day, Star Wars opened. The politics of sex was altered irrevocably.

3. On May 25th, 1979, American Airlines Flight 191 took off from O'Hare airport. About half a mile from the take-off point, the airplane pitched into the ground, killing all 271 people aboard, and two others living in a trailer nearby. It was the worst domestic airplane crash in history.

4. On May 25th, 1975, the grizzle bear was declared a "threatened species." I think I like grizzle bear more than grizzly.

5. 5/25/15, all Armenians living in Eastern Anatolia are deported by Turkish Ottoman decree. This came the day after the Russians issued a memo claiming the Turks had massacred the population of 100 Armenian villages, for being pro-Russian.

6. On May 25th, 1861, Lincoln suspended the writ of Habeas Corpus in the interest of national security. Douchebag.

7. Hanover, Germany hosts the International Fireworks Competition every year. My neighbor however is not German. This is not related to Memorial Day, but I have thought about this at least once a day for the past week. Mostly because of the need to constantly repeat to him "no, you cannot set those off before July 4th." Also, he set them up specifically for a photo op.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Faymore Castle

One of the nice things about Jeremiah is that he oozes books. Within the first ten minutes of picking him up for our adventure, he had put a new book in my hands*. And I had another one before I left him. It's a super power.

Which is why it was entirely appropriate to take him with me when I went to find the Faymore Castle. I found this place while browsing through Illicit Ohio. I had to do a bit of googling to get some idea of where in North Ridgeville it was, and then had to rely on the satellite views to find it. Turns out the directions are incredibly easy, but you'll have to buy me drinks for them.

We didn't know the easy way at first, so I treated J to a 3 hour tour of western Ohio, which included a bar in LaGrange, a lot of google failure, and an upcoming Jars of Clay concert advertised on the side of a barn.

Once we found the right road though, it was SO simple. I'm not telling you the road. Promise me your first born. Bring me the golden feather. Guess.

So this place was built in the 70s by some corrupt doctor who drew out the plans himself, then got arrested before the building was finished. And no one has touched it since. Except whoever really loves Stacey, and some local Crips. What?

We found the murder hole, and a lot of rusty building materials that J liked a lot. I guess the whole building is much more interesting architecturally than my untrained eye can tell. Supposedly the Doctor drew his plans out on a roll of paper towels?

There's also supposed to be a treasure hidden within the walls, so there's lots of punched out places. But I suspect if he had that much money? His wife would have torn the place down trying to find it. Or not tried to sell the place for 300,000.

Taking pictures of places like this, it impresses me how easily the rocks already seem part of the landscape. I think maybe 30 years is my perfect abandon point, before things become unrecognizable, but as they become organically inclined. Maybe I'll only search out things exactly as old as me.

More pictures can be found here.

*also Mordicai gave him the book to give to me, about dogs and humans. Which was very nice but also kind of cruel because I want a dog so badly. Maybe by the time I've finished reading it, I will be scared of their feral intelligence and be cured. Anyway, due credit should be given for thoughtful thoughtfulness.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

How many people will get to this entry by googling cancer, and then be mad at me?

There's been lots of things going on recently, but mostly they're things I'm thinking about to myself, so not like anything real. I've been vaguely following politics and you know, have quick vague anger about. I think my body is just resting up from the struggle of the last decade. It's like recovering from cancer. After chemo, your body needs to refuel and get its strength back before it can muster up a second attack. See, in this scenario your body is trying to kill itself rather than involve itself deeply in the mire of ridiculousness and hopelessness that is politics.

It's been beautiful outside, so I guess that's good. For a few days everything was swollen and really really green, which kind of reminded me of Akira in slow motion, or really more like if there were tiny sentient jelly drop aliens growing like fish spawn inside all the plants. Then there was the news story about the oldest gas blob we've ever seen, and stories about seeing back in time to the universe's creation always freak me the fuck out.

There was an interview on NPR yesterday. Terri was talking to this mega-neuroscientist who wrote a book about when she had a stroke, and she called it "My Stroke of Insight" which I thought was an incredibly well thought out title. I think I look at neuro-scientists like rockstars, it's a total turn on. And I think of rockstars as assholes, which is not. Even Weezer. So she's talking about how when she had her stroke, she was incredibly aware of everything that was happening to her brain, because that's what she does for a living after all. She said it was like feeling the left hemisphere of your brain detaching, and your brain fighting to keep it. But every time she stopped fighting, she would drift into this state of pure disassociative euphoria, where she was completely in the present moment and could draw nothing from past experience or form any words. And she would bounce back and forth between this extremely painful clarity as her brain tried to survive, and this enormously beautiful nothingness/everythingness.

I think that really sounds like a description of Nirvana, escaping the cycle of suffering and being one with the universe. Having no emotions or desire. Deathlessness. So what if Buddhism as a religion, which is as different from the other major religions as Russian is from the Romantics, what if it started because Siddartha suffered from a stroke? Or multiple strokes? I know, I would have thought seizures first too. But the experience she describes, which is basically a near death experience, is very different. When she first started talking, I almost turned the channel cause she had one of those East Coast accents that drive me batshit. But as she started getting into the recalling of the stroke, this new tone of reverence entered her voice, and she became almost hushed and awed. With a very professional overtone.

I love when really really smart articulate people are amazed by something and tell you about it. There's almost nothing better.

Now yes, I could explore this idea of religion founded on strokes further. I could devote hours to it. I could thoroughly research it and learn new things about neurology and brain mapping and mythology. What a time sink. How do people ever figure out which one idea is important enough to them to invest everything in it?

I guess, if I wanted, I could probably commit to unicorns.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

America's Next Top Model Cycle 12 Recap: So Long and Thanks for All the Fish

The last couple weeks of this show, I have felt chained to my tv, and not in that good riveting sort of way. I kept telling myself I could stop anytime I wanted to, but the one night I missed it? I couldn't stop thinking about it the whole next week. I felt like I had a visible scar on my leg from those chains*, and I was ashamed to be in public.

Alright, not really. But this show did turn into a major drag. I wish I could say it was all worth it. Perhaps it was, if only to learn the hard lesson that ANTM is fucking fixed. It's true I wanted Allison to win all along, because I like robots a lot and I like them even more when they integrate themselves successfully in society, like Rihanna. But I never ever expected Allison to make it through the CG commercial, and why would anyone ever put her on a runway? Really. So I went into last night with the expectation that it would absolutely be Aminat vs. The Borg Queen. Or as Buddy corrected me, the charred remnants of the Borg Queen. Is that mean?

Last night, Aminat and Allison kicked Teyonna's ass. Aminat obviously did the best of the CoverGirl commercial. She knew her lines, she was personable, she was pretty. I have been against Aminat from the start. I think she's been ignorant, skanky, and I really think she might have lead poisoning. However yes, she should have won. And Allison, thought not as good, at least didn't break down crying and morph into a hysterical 12 yr old girl.

Tyra was determined to get her pet into the top two though. So she inexplicably sent home the obvious winner of the challenge, strategizing that Teyonna would have to win against Allison on the runway. Aminat was cheated.

A minor miracle occurred on the runway, Allison was good! She was, in fact, better than Teyonna. She showed personality, her walk was decent, and she looked better. Teyonna looked like a terrified stick bug. But yet again, even though the judges' critiques favored Allison, Tyra chose her favorite. And it was over and done with.

Why exactly did Tyra have such a hard on for Teyonna? Let's wildly speculate:

1. Teyonna is Tyra's love child.

2. Teyonna is the love child of Tyra's current boyfriend - wait, does Tyra have boyfriends?

3. Tyra is a lesbian, and really wants Teyonna cause she has a thing for weird freaky heads and doesn't like to have anyone in bed prettier than her.

4. Tyra just in general doesn't like girls prettier than her.

5. Tyra is biding her time until she is able to lure Teyonna into her domicile and eat her and suck on her bones, and then mount her Alien Queen forehead on the wall as a trophy.

6. This show sucks.

Whatever the reason, it's over now. Teyonna can look forward to a life of doing strange Top Model in Action commercials with a disenchanted, drugged up McKee. Allison will, I think, have no problem finding rich sci-fi geeks to fall in love with her. And Aminat should probably stay in Brazil and find plenty of work and eventually grow up into a cultured beautiful person...or a cokehead.

A list of all the bad recaps I have written for this season - all very good reasons for me to cancel my cable and never get sucked into something like this again. Oh, the memories...

Ep. 10. Beware of the Bird : Tyra wishes she had the soul of an artist, and the talons of a condor.

Ep. 9. Redonkalous : new favorite word.

Ep. 8. The Earth Day Episode : The ladies brazenly attack Brazil and WIN. Not really.

Ep. 7. The Taxman Only Knocks Once : I miss teabaggers already.

Ep. 6. Some Weird Russian Crap also known as the infamous "Is London pregnant?" recap, which has ironically produced the most hits to this page since I posted a pic of The Host.

Ep. 5. S-T-U-P-I-D Face Aminat shows off her first grade spelling skills.

Ep. 4. Seriously, Did the Producers Tell Her to Do That? Celia. What the hell?

Ep. 3. The Pink Limo of Doom takes the Girls to the Bus of Ill Repute Pink plaid. The man who painted this limo just shot himself in the head.

Ep. 2. The Changelings Emerge from the Laboratory Makeover. Yay.

Ep. 1. The Cycle Starts : My enslavement to this preferred Wedns night pasttime of almost yuppie girls in their late 20's begins.

*don't even talk to me about chains. LOST.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

, originally uploaded by sharpshinyclaws.

This is not me. However, this is me. Right now.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Chicago Tour of Dinosaurs

As one starts the shopping experience at the mouth of the river, one cannot help but be impressed with the sheer selection of dinosaurs available. No where else in the Midwest can you see such a variety, from the creaky old timers to the fast, sleek, and shiny.

A popular feature looked for in dinosaurs today is an ability to mimic their environment. Gone are the days when owners wanted a monster. The Puteulanus Unda Diligo seen above blends into the water and sky, and is particularly good at catching it's own prey, making upkeep that much easier. Also, it fits easily into corners.

Speculum Liberi are quite a common site in larger metropolises, but are not as hassle free as their big brothers. They have a tendency to be egotistical and territorial, and they are not good with small children. If you are going to keep several of them, be sure there is only one male in the herd.

I tend to be old fashioned in my taste, which is why I love these Chalybs Flumen Os. They may not do much during the day, but watch them carefully towards dusk.

Chalybs Compages of Fatum, another nocturnal river frequenter, is a joy to watch, if you have the patience. Here, in a rare daytime sighting, we can see the mother on the look out for predators, while her child plays in the water. Chalybs of all sorts are very maternal.

The grand Mellis certamen of parcus Moestitia mate for life.

A group of quadratus Northmanni feed in the sunlight.

The Ebullio gum Monasteriense is certainly large and imposing, but dinosaurs this old tend to be a little crabby and not very social. They are ideal for the elderly owner, who desires companionship without the hyperness of youth.

A particularly dangerous species, the Stipes Muneris Periculosus will chew on anything it comes across. It lies in wait like a rock, letting the victims climb over it's seemingly uniform facade, until the moment is right. Then a large gaping mouth sucks the food in like a vacuum tube. We were lucky to be able to get so close without startling it.

Finally, my favorite was the Lux lucis quod Viaticus dinosaur. Look at the beauty and grace! And a healthy one like this can live for centuries, making them an excellent investment.

Of course, it's important when keeping beautiful creatures like this in captivity to try and recreate their natural environments as much as possible. The keepers of the Chicago sanctuary make sure to keep the river shores stocked with small snacks and treats, in order to stimulate the minds of their charges and give them some exercise. If you are thinking of setting up your own display, talk to your local commissioner, who will be able to tell you the freshest suppliers.

Other dinosaur pics (otherwise known as the Chicago Architectural Boat Tour, if you want to be a killjoy) can be found here.

Gary Indiana, Gary Indiana, Gary Indiana

I apologize for not touching this blog all week, except to feed you some sentimental trip about ANTM. I've had the flu, and I've been in hiding, since everyone in public areas looks at me like I'm Patient Zero. Also, last weekend was very....tumultuous. I've just been hanging out in normalcy for a minute. Oh, but I took some great pictures.

It is the highlight of every trip to Chicago for me when the Megabus goes through Gary, IN. It is NOT the highlight of every trip when the inevitable drunk halfwit starts singing the Music Man. Let me enjoy my industrial destruction in peace please. I particularly like the landscape at night, when all the steel mills are lit up like a human baby battery farm.

Sadly, I've been told I'm not allowed to go into Gary at night without body armor and a gun. However, my sister and I are certainly not going to be told we can't wander Gary by ourselves in the daylight. Cause we're not ridiculous. So last Sunday we took a 3 hour cruise through the Little Town that Couldn't.

By lucky coincidence, the episode of Life After People I saw a few days before the trip featured Gary! As an example of what a city would look like 30 years after everyone disappeared. Wah wah. But it gave me some great landmarks to look for. Quite frankly, I don't know why everyone is so scared of Gary. It looks pretty much like some of the worser parts of Cleveland's East Side, apocalyptic sure, but not Mad Maxian. And we didn't see even one roving dog gang. Which quite frankly was disappointing.

First stop was Union Station, the old Gary train station. It's nestled in between City Hall and the Steel Mill. The train runs right beside it, which is awesome until you remember the roof is falling down.

Next we found the Palace Theater. This one was unfortunately pretty well sealed, and while I'm sure we could have broken in somehow, I don't relish going into large squatter friendly buildings that have no windows without a flashlight.

I'm convinced someone planted those letters on the Marquee for a photo op. Or someone has since glued them into place.

My favorite too scary for words building was the old Methodist church. It had a fence around it, which had been completely torn down by the entrance. And sure it was right next to the police station, but that doesn't seem to have stopped anyone. If I had been in there with a group of people, I could have stayed forever. It was beautiful. But also the whole place was cellars and dark corners and tiny unseen rooms, which was actually terrifying. Plus there was there was this scary scene from The Warriors:

We looked for the Frank Lloyd Wright house that was discovered here in 1995...but all we found was a missing address.

And finally, we found the Gary Aquatorium in Marquette Park. This whole park was beautiful, sand dunes and art deco on the lake. You could really see what Gary used to be when you stood there. And off in the distance you could see the blue shadows of the steel mills and Chicago, in another world completely. Gary reminded me of the Deep South, in the winter. Isolated, empty, preserved.

As we drove out of the park though, we passed the new renovated Bathing House in which someone was having a wedding. Seeing the Sunday hats and shiny cars was a shock, reminding us that normal people actually lived here. In those fairly nice houses all around the park. Because Gary is not actually dead, it's just rotten at its downtown core.

The rest of my Gary pictures can be found here.