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Wednesday, Sept. 01, 2004 | link
There's a chain of fast food restaurants out here called "Taco Johns," and I just saw one of their commercials (it's midnight and I'm watching television in my very own room -- Jill and I are partying separately because they were fresh out of two-person rooms here at the Sac City Motel in Sac City, Iowa), and it turns out they DON'T serve tacos to you while you sit on a toilet as Jill and I thought, rather an organ-grinder monkey rides out on a dog, wearing a sombrero, and hands you burritos.
Today we did some badlands hiking (hot, searing, and so white my pupils shrank like little wool sweaters in the dryer), peed it up at the free and air-conditioned Corn Palace in Mitchell, SD, and ate a canned pizza at The Depot (a retired railway sation), made by the cutest elderly gentleman in overalls, while a permed ogre growled indeciferables and cleaned tables at our backs.
Badlands from above.
The angry, angry Badlands cactus, grr, grrr.
The puzzling Corn Palace. (Just a convention center, no corn for eating at all?)
Self portait at pizza station (that is me, kissing my beer).
First, my talk as of late of feeling lucky, lucky to be disposed to travel, lucky to have seen a black bear, lucky to have arrived in the Badlands just in time for a perfect sunset, etc., started me thinking -- and this is really getting into Hallmark, polyanna territory -- maybe there are great things almost everywhere we go, but we just have to be in a frame of mind open to the possibility of good luck to be able to recognize them, i.e., you have to feel lucky before you can get lucky. Or maybe there's no such thing as luck, only a belief that it's out there, and that's enough to magnetize or dig up or just to notice the luck. Of course this morning I realized I was unlucky enough to have left my hiking shoes behind in Yellowstone. But maybe Jill and I would have died of rattlesnake bites and dehydration if we had taken the longer hike this morning, which got ixnayed because of my lack-of-sturdy-shoe situation. Probably!
Also, I've been trying to work out the formula for the optimal dating-to-talking ratio. (Note, this is an abstract musing, not the product of any current action in my life and bed.) Like maybe for every week you date someone, you only get one minute of talking about the dating, and you don't get to even begin to use the acrued minutes for at least three months. The theory being that you need to lay a foundation of regular, un-discussed coupling before you start commenting on it, otherwise you run the risk of the talking becoming the relationship, "Oh, it's lots of fun, we jet ski, we make our own hummus, we talk about our relationship." Eventually you're talking about the talking, and then talking about the talking about the talking, and so on, cannibal-style, until finally there's no time or energy left for the hummus and the jet-skiing. Of course that's just one tragectory of romantic failure. I think people who never talk about the feelings are on an whole other track to doom. Just a theory!
Other notes from the road:
Al's Oasis in Oacoma along the 90: only if to you "oasis" means dorm food at rip off prices surrounded by off-smelling moose heads.
There is an RV in this world called "The Intruder" and at least two people have purchased one.
They're not Lazy Susans, they're Black-eyed Susans.
Also apparently in Iowa an Australian cowboy has his own television show upon which he whips horses with a paper feed sack while a soundtrack of Men at Work's "Down Under" plays.
And a sampling of road ignorances:
How old was kurt cobain when he died? (Roadtrip USA says 28, but I always thought it was 27, the "dead rockstar age," like Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and ... Janis Joplin? Mama Cass? Wait.)?
How does lightning happen? Is it like, clouds rubbing together and causing huge static cling? I used to know this.
Which cat was the cat who said "ack"? Also, wasn't there a cat named "Heathcliff," or am I ...? [Note: Steve and Mike and Karen all chimed in almost simultaneously to report that the ack cat was from Bloom County and Heathcliff was from a whole other cartoon strip. People are smart, better than the interweb!]
Iowa big kiss to the lord for letting me see such a pretty Sunset.