Monday, April 4, 2016

It was a warm March. Really warm. Low 70s. Sunny and breezy. Just beautiful. All day. For weeks. To Bloomington and back. The VW hummed. It loved those trips. Bloomington was its surrogate garage. All midwestern adventures were locus here. On that beautiful Monday, I dropped a letter in the mailbox on Carson Street. Immediately, I knew it was a bad idea. But it couldn't be taken back.

Thursday, the snow and cold and ugly came. The weather turned with the reading of the letter some 600 miles away. The cold stayed. We tromped to Michael's while the wind pushed us back. Gray snowflakes whipped around, but we found comfort in fifty cent slices and less-than-two-dollar Yuengling. April ground down, ground away. Another miserable Pirates' season was about to begin, punctuated by out of place red jerseys that no one remembers. I remember Jason Bay. He was the hope. The great Pirate Messiah. And then he wasn't. He had that great year in Boston. Did we get anything for him?

The ten dollar radio from Rite Aid crackled out game after game. Lanny's voice was a great comfort despite the outcomes. There was that job down Beck's Run Road. I couldn't tell you the town or much about it now except that it had a lot of no coat on the corners. Three rolls, I think. Dad came and helped one day. We found newspapers there from the '60 World Series. I wonder where those went.

The days, like winter, never seemed to end. I escaped to the highway over and over and over again. Settle in, friend. It'll be okay after awhile. These things take time.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

norman + lorraine take a holiday at the beach

images from 22 June 2009.
styling: melissachoi.
photos: davidschrott.
the entire series here (follow norman+lorraine link):

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Beautiful Highway (Thank You Dwight D. Eisenhower)

Your color is black and gold (with white trim); the perfect colour combination as anyone with any sort of intelligence knows. Most lust after women in short skirts, I desire your satin asphalt and smooth curves taken at seventy-five miles per hour.

They say that smell is the sense most tied to memory, but two nights ago those twelve ounces of Wawa coffee (coupled with free literature in the restroom) with hazelnut creamer put these thoughts back to I-70 West (circa 2006). Substitute the Zero for a Six and those fifteen miles at midnight aren't so bad. In fact, they move rather fast and soon another Six is added to the sentence.

Columbus (not Ohio). Almost home.

It's been five seasons since a pass through the 614 has been made. Damn, it's got a pretty skyline, especially in the rearview at the golden hour. Jason Lytle would be proud. He's making music again, you know, but without the Grandaddy moniker.

He was the soundtrack of October Oh-Five as the Volkswagen and I glided across the red Kansas flat-hills; this time at one hundred plus, though it only felt like fifty-five. They say the fines aren't as bad out there. We weren't worried because points don't carry over to Pennsylvania.

You know, there's a Manhattan out here too?

You don't say?

Friday, August 15, 2008

From a Hotel Room in Springfield, VA

Pittsburgh. Washington D.C. Richmond.

Pgh. DC. RVA.

The Interstates with odd numbers go North-South. The Interstates with even numbers go East-West.

279, 79, 70, 70/76, 70, 270, 495, 95.

327 cigarettes for the year, none on this trip, none in a long time.

On the third trip to Bloomington (East) we left early. It was the Friday after the breakup, the first Friday of that September, it was cold out, American Idiot thumped thru the speakers and the sun was yet to rise. It snuck up sometime before Exit 31 on I-70 West where we got off and found a Sheetz. The sweatpants were blue and the hoodie was Ferret. A pack of Camel Silvers, Please.

This is so disgusting. I know. Why do we do it? I don't know. Me either.

Near 312, on College Ave, at the corner of 15th there's a place called Big Red. The brews are from all over. How about Red Stripe? Sounds good. How many can we put down before the game? Who cares; Let's go.

It's 5am on Saturday morning, the 10th. Up already? Yeah, if we leave now, we can make it to Sarah's game in Pittsburgh.

There's the sun, slow down a bit, I'm gonna pop outta the sunroof and take a shot of it. Look at it, it's a pink disc, just floating... Crap, there's a cop; We were flying.... We'll never make it to Pittsburgh on time now.

Salinger kept us company on the final leg as we wound thru the soon-to-be-orange-yellow-and-red-tipped mountains of Western Pennsylvania. It was hot but as the Pink Disc continued it's west-ward nose-dive the temperature fell with it and the heater was on before dark.

Tim called. Call him back; you should go over to his house to-night....

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Iowa 08 (The Long Road Home {Minonk, IL and Dunkin' Donuts})

Every town should have a Dunkin' Donuts (Pittsburgh closed their downtown location and Richmond doesn't even have one -- WHAT?!). If you don't have the luxury of a Prince Street Cafe (and there is only one), Dunkin' Donuts (hereafter DD), is your next best option (sorry Southern friends, Krispy Kreme doesn't quite cut it and is one K short of offensive).

From Bloomington-Normal (once you've gathered your morning coffee) the Veterans Parkway, I-55 South and, I-39 North take you to Minonk, home of the Patriot Diner and all-things small-town-middle-America. Jeri-Lynn keeps the history books (at least in her own mind) and Mr. Jacick keeps you company. One is amenable to being photographed and the other, not-so-much.

The Land of Lincoln is an interesting (poor word choice) place and even two days from May, sleet and snow might fall. The old men grow restless as premium-planting season is seemingly passed by a second year in a row. No one will be taking 66-west though; this is not the dust bowl, it is quite the opposite: precipitation prevails.

The Regulars sit around the Round-Table in the Patriot and Russ prepares meals in mere minutes, keeping his customers happy (all but Jerri-Lynn, of course) and in-and-out in under thirty. There's a new place opening down the street and Russ is a little more than peeved; "It won't last a week", he says. No one really knows quite yet, let's hope for his sake he's right.

The sun is out and up and down again, bringing more sleet, rain and snow which finally give way to cottony-blue clouds and whipping winds along the now sun-splashed plains of central-Illinois. The green is out and as we all know, green is the colour of life, and no matter what these blustery late-April temperatures tell us, spring is here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Iowa 08 (Day 5 {The Mother Road})

McLean. Atlanta. Lawndale. Lincoln.

These are the dots that are connected by the line that is Route 66; just south of Bloomington-Normal, home of State Farm Insurance, and a Dunkin Donuts, complete with a man named Gene, right around the corner.
In Thirty-Eight, it was the very first completely-paved US Highway while it stretched (and still does) from Chicago to Los Angeles. To-day, it is overcast, mostly barren and still paved, but replaced by the Eisenhower Interstate System of '56 which I-55 bears witness to as it runs parallel to much of the Mother Road through Central-Illinois.

Bloomington-Normal is a funny place, there is so much history here (and nearby) but much of it is by-passed for manufactured strip after strip of stores and identical house after identical house, plopped right down in the heart of the Illinois farm-country; a city raised out of nothing. There is no surrounding body of water that would facilitate life in days gone by, yet the need to settle here was clearly of utmost importance.

"Subdue the Earth", God said. Even the American Midwest and a town called Perfect Normal.

Hope is a beautiful thing. So beautiful that just a few chapters of it read out loud can bring (mostly) grown men to tears. On that day, when all is made new, when we really do finally get that everything was made for our losing, and for no reason other than that, on that day there will be the justice that we all scream at different volumes for, on that day, on that very day the sharp focus that is reality will veil Itself no more. It is on that day that we bank.

Literally and figuratively. Let us smile in that.

Coffee Count: Week: 112 + To-day (40) = 152oz.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Iowa 08 (Days 3 + 4 {Tom Raper, I miss you}).

There's something bizarrely therapeutic about waking up on spring and summer mornings in a big city - that blue morning light pouring itself all over the cool concrete masses is a wonder to wake up to. Waking up in Pittsburgh and Philadelphia is a distinctly different experience than waking up Richmond; size matters.

A major critique of Richmond (thus far) is the lack of quality coffeeshops and diners. Captain Buzzy's pours the best cup in the River City but anything else is a distant second, and all over the city, coffeeshop atmosphere is severely lacking. On the corner of Buena Vista and Jacksonia, in the beautiful War Streets (on Pittsburgh's North Side) sits Beleza. Most of my free time in Pittsburgh is spent there - pouring over photographs or the deep nuances of Christian doctrine. The coffee has slowly grown on me and ever since Wednesday, October Tenth of last year, I cannot help but buy one of the stunning cinnamon rolls for a scant two dollars; it's pastry perfection.

The Pittsburgh Pirates have not won more than 79 games since the 1992 season and we (foolishly) thought that perhaps this was the year that they'd arise victorious in just 82 of the 162 total contests, but, even though the season is young, this trend does not appear to be in any danger and soon the Pittsburgh base-ball club will have set a record for seasonal futility (16 losing seasons and counting). Instead of handing over hard-earned currency to see the beloved Buccos finally win for the first time in a week, we opted to stay in, eat vegetarian and sip some of the best Pennsylvania micro-brew. A better decision could not have been made.

There is Bloomington (east) and Bloomington-Normal. One lies at the heart of Hoosier-land and the other just south of Chicago-land. The latter lies 546.8 miles from Pittsburgh and despite stops in Farmer City to re-photograph old landmarks of past trips through the land of the Illini, one can reach the first home of Photography Legend Ralph Meatyard at an average speed of sixty-two-point-five miles-per-hour.

That's 7.50pm central time.