Thursday, December 9, 2010
Up North, the blog, was started as an outlet to document two weeks assisting my friend in her sculptural endeavors in Franconia Township, Minnesota in April 2009. Since then I have lived in Kansas City, Missouri - under a questionable quality of life - finally getting out in September 2010 to travel and camp in Nebraska, South Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Pennsylvania.
Right now I live at home in Eastern Kanzas (an archaic spelling from old maps, btw), and work in a large sporting goods store, saving money for the next time I destroy my domestic rut in order to actually experience something that really feels like "living."
It's the Holiday Season, the perfect time to (be able to) work 40 hours a week in a large sporting goods store. In the time returning from Up North after my last uprooting and actually securing a job - and before the days got too chilly - I was riding Blue Christmas (my 1970s Fuji 10 speed) about 80 miles a week on long pleasure rides and totally negating any of the beneficial aspects of cycling with bad dietary and other consumption choices.
Things are different working again. I'm drinking a lot less, my diet is a bit healthier and I've started using a stationary bike to keep my legs in the stress I feel they deserve (ha!). I need to quit killing myself with cigarettes. Up North may very well become a venting ground during nic fits in the near future, but for now I am hoping it can cure another nagging need.
Work 9 hours at the store, come home, 30 to 40 minutes on the bike with a techno soundtrack, shower and something to eat and I'm BORED. Aside from the week I was able to escape to the outdoors for an overnight trip, I have had this awful hunger that I have been unable to satisfy. Drink a beer, eat a snack, smoke a cig, and I'm still left with a void unfilled.
More than one person has suggested a blog, not as a prescription to fill said void, but just a general suggestion, as a compliment to my Voice and Perspective, for those who read blogs. I suppose it's appropriate enough, I know I have left many people in the dark about what's been going on in my life and when asked in casual conversation, it's hard to sum up 9 months of stuff in a quick couple of sentences while waiting in line for a drink.
In June I moved out of my apartment in KC's Northeast Neighborhood. In August I quit my job at the bowling alley. Both of those places were contributing to that aforementioned questionable quality of life, feeding a pattern of anti social behavior. I suppose now that no, not everything is fixed, but oh well, nothing's perfect.
In September, Dad and I tooled around Wisconsin for the better part of a week where fall was in full swing, leaves the color of fire and a cold rain following us everywhere we went. We stopped by Franconia to see how Alisa's piece had held up over a two summers and a winter.
Overall, it was in decent shape, sitting in the graveyard, it's chains padlocked to the gearing to keep it from driving away. Apparently Alisa hadn't even been back yet. I was glad to get some pics and to see it in one piece.
Did some good camping / hiking with Dad over the next few days and ended up in Milwaukee, where dad flew home and I headed to Riverwest to see Alisa in her (former) studio and see her new work, skillets in the shapes of the Northern Midwest states.
I got to revisit and take a crappy picture of a painting I did about 9 years ago which Alisa claims has been in her work space(s) ever since I gave it to her, which is pretty cool.
The next week was spent in the UP, in Saint Ignace, Michigan building trail for the North Country Trail Association. The North Country Trail is a National Scenic trail, meant mostly for hiking (though limited segments do allow horses, ORV / ATVs, mountain bikes) that runs from central North Dakota, through Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and terminates at the New York / Vermont border.
I also visited my grandmother in Detroit, visited friends in State College, Pennsylvania and Chicago. A second leg took me Nebraska and South Dakota, where in the town of Brookings I had the most ridiculous of good times with Nate, Sarah, Lindsey, Michelle, Mario, Bender and Gretta the dog on Halloween.
Well, apparently it's also difficult to sum up several months in a blog post too... I'm not bored, but I'm tired of writing all this out. It's really not all that exciting.
It's back to the sporting goods store tomorrow. I'm feeling good about the return of the blog. Perhaps next time I'll have more photos, but if you're my FB friend, you've probably seen them all already and if you're looking at my blog there's a good chance you were invited here via FB. Good night.
Friday, April 24, 2009
Thursday, April 23, 2009
Monday, April 20, 2009
Picking up from somewheres...
Saturday, April 18, 2009
WOW. So yeah, this thing is way out of date. I can hardly believe it's now Sunday and I haven't been able to update this thing in half a week. It's really incredible. The days are so short it seems. The schedule out here is wearing me down. Manual labor in the morning coupled with 8-12 hours of arting is busier than I have been in a long while.
I never thought of blogging being such a time consuming pain in the ass, but here I am, waving that flag ( Oh by the way, blogger or blogspot or whatever website this is, it's a total pain in the ass and I suggest starting a blog somewheres else if you're looking to start a blog. Perhaps it's not so time consuming on other sites. I've reached the point in my life where I have been using computers longer than I have not. It shouldn't be so difficult to put a blog together... maybe I am doing something wrong).
It seems like a month's worth of work has happened in the last three or four days. An animal of routine now, the details are blurring together. What day we did what seems completely irrelevant, but I will try none the less to piece it together.
THURS: In the morning Alisa dug holes for soon to be transplanted saplings and I painted a floor in an old workshop that will soon be a new gift shop / info building for the park. Painting a concrete floor with rollers and long extension handles was a nice change of pace from the previous days' earth moving.
Right before lunch I took off on a really nice bike ride to the county seat, Center City, some 8 miles away and back. It was a pretty chill ride, just a straight shot on a county road with a really wide and clean shoulder. Some gentle hills and just enough wind to make the ride there strenuous and the ride back that high gear pedaling party that makes bike riding really fun.
I got more sunburn that day too. I spent the afternoon wearing long sleeves and my duck huntin' hat with the earflaps down. Alisa's brother, Daniel, came in that afternoon as I was putting away my bike. He and Alisa had worked out a bit of a barter. Daniel came to help out for a day or two and in return Alisa was to do some welding and re-attach a broken back rack on his 1973 110cc Honda ATV.
I had never met Daniel before, though 8 years ago I slept in his childhood bedroom in Green Bay. I remember it vividly. It was the single most Wisconsin experience in my life. I slept in red and black flannel sheets in a room with wood paneling surrounded by ice skates and hockey trophies.
There's something special about getting to see someone interact with a sibling for the first time. You can tell they have a really great relationship. It was only a matter of moments until I picked up on the pet name he calls her, which is "eige." I wouldn't know how to spell it. It sort of sounds like "tease." At dinner we all made them explain this nick name. Alisa ignored our requests, but Daniel launched into this song that didn't make a bit of sense. The song did contain the phonetic "eige," but I really have no idea how it related to Alisa or anything else what so ever.
It was some Wisconsin thing that no matter how many nights I may sleep surrounded by hockey trophies, I will never understand. He was fun to have around and admittedly a relief. Most of the time Daniel was around I was without anything to be working on so I had time to take care of some important little stuff like changing a bulb in our work lights, tidying up of materials and tools, and aimlessly drinking beer.
Actually, Daniel's presence sort of gave me a much needed break, which was really nice. That bike ride to Center City wore me out by the time I had digested dinner and I just sort of milled around the work area drinking beer and giving an extra hand where it was needed and took pictures and spent some time designing some brackets that Alisa needs to fabricate. I don't think she liked my design, but it doesn't even matter because I got to sit down for a whole hour or so. It was kind of amazing.
FRI: Alisa and I were filling holes with dirt by 9:30 in the morning. It was an absolutely beautiful morning. We had some really great discussions while filling those holes with dirt. One shovel at a time we really got to update each other on our respective last 7 years of existence. If we were both telling the truth, I think a lot more of her than I did and a lot less of my self. It has really got me wondering what the hell I've been doing for the last 7 years or so....
Started thinking about a series of drawings I was working on my last week in Milwaukee, seven years ago. Right before I left I bought some conte crayons to expound on my ideas. They've been in a box for seven years. I know exactly where they are. Maybe I should start drawing again(?). Alisa seems to think so. She remembered the series of drawings I was working on. She's probably the only one that saw them. That she remembered really sort validated their existence. It was as if I couldn't remember if they really existed or were just some dream I had so long ago.
Something about shoveling that makes me introspective. We actually shared a lot with each other, one shovel at a time. It was a really nice time, having spent a week together and getting into the deep stuff. Relationships, professional aspirations (as in Alisa has professional aspirations and I... well I don't want to peg myself into a hole here, so I'll leave it at that....)
All the time we were shoveling and sharing, Daniel was dutifully carving out part of our front wheel assembly. It was cool to do the park work and know that the art part was still happening. He did a real nice job.
After lunch and (I another nice bike ride) Alisa and Daniel set to fixing the Honda. It was an ordeal. It was supposed to be two simple spot welds, but it took 4 hours and a trip to Tractor Supply. I don't really remember what I did in this time. I WAS doing something this time around, not just aimlessly drinking beer. I think I was doing what Alisa has started calling "The C-Word," as in Countersinking. I'm getting good at a drill press, let me tell ya...
Alisa and I, both utterly exhausted quit work after dinner. I really wanted to play guitar a little and unwind from a week of hard and long work. She did laundry and I agreed to wait to get the last of it out of the dryer when it came to that. She crashed and I sat with Patrick and we sat at the "bar" and joked about how it felt potentially more fun if we sat mimicking a real bar. He was quick to point out how there were no women around and that killed that magic, but we drank a lot anyways, just because we could. Instinctually, Patrick and I are both people that love to unwind our days drinking beer on a porch and we all know it's more fun with company... in that respect we make a great team.
SAT: So hung over in the morning. Patrick was in sort of fragile shape too. I didn't say much of anything to him or Alisa or anyone. Just dragged. Made toast or maybe I didn't. Must have eaten something, right? Surely I did. Alisa and I have been living on all sorts of left overs, or just making a giant patch of split peas or something that we eat all day. Oh yeah, the fucking split peas. I've never been so gassy.
Anyways, Alisa and I's morning duties involved watering recently transplanted saplings. We'd just set the hose on at the base of the tree and then lay in the sun for 10 minutes and then move the hose and repeat for 4 hours. It was actually alright. It was an easy morning, and I really needed it. Alisa mentioned a bike ride and I couldn't commit to it. I wanted to sit and play guitar. I was burning out, in all respects. I kept trying to talk Alisa into taking the day off work and of course she talked me out of it.
It being the end of the week, the food stash was minimal at the house. We made a trip to the store to get something to eat that wasn't rice. Alisa made a keen observation about my being very tuned into comforts. Walking into the grocery store I bee lined for two things I desperately wanted, 1) cheap chewy chocolate chip granola bars and 2) a generic premade sub sandwich.
We also had to go to Menards for another drill bit, or some part that we were missing. I couldn't leave the car. I had to sit and inhale this sandwich. It was a pretty shitty sandwich and it was all I could have wanted at that moment.
to be continued....
all work and no play make jack a dull boy
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
He asks me if he can get me anything and I desperately need a cup of coffee. He says sure, he'll be right back and I am waiting for ever on him when Alisa arrives. She's of course well prepared to inform the young on the necessities of starting their own business and how to survive and strive in our wacky economy.
This is wednesday now. This morning was more shoveling, wheelbarrows and rakes. I had to go to Walmart to replace our boom box that died the other night. We only lasted a few hours with only the radio and completely warbly played out cassette copy of REM's "Out of Time." I was afraid I was going to be arrested. I had Alisa's credit card at Walmart and I signed her name and the clerk at wally world insisted on checking the signature. Luckily I had studied her signature and I'd say I did a damn good job at replicating it.