I've Been Watching Movies Too

I remember riding in the car with my brother. Or maybe he was riding with me; I forget. Either way, he asked me if he could light up one of his red Marlboros.

"Sure," I answered, "but just know that I am risking lung cancer to make you happy."

That was a few years ago, and is something that only I remember. I still risk lung cancer each time I see my brother but, today, I risk skin cancer.

I'm lounging, black bikini style, on the deck behind my boyfriend's house. I'm sweating, but the glistening drops of moisture bead and bleed with the sweet sunscreen with which I doused myself. Insects surround me, taste my ankles and elbows. The deathly white liquid attracts them, and I nearly refused to pack it into my suitcase. "Mom, I swear that this is the same sunscreen I brought with me to Australia six years ago."

I don't feel like a college graduate. I still feel like the same lazy undergrad I have been for the past four summers. Come August, I won't have school. I also won't have a job. I'll just be reading Newbery Honor Award books for the hell of it while Anthony Bourdain drolls on in the background. Neither truly distracts me from laziness.

Even if I were home, I would just be blogging about the mundane and inane, throwing together Harry Potter-themed posts and trying to think of a way to mention suntanning and reading and jet skiing in a light-hearted manner that trumps my unsuccessful job search.

I attempted to start
Eat, Pray, Love several minutes ago. Tried for several minutes before realizing that all I can think about is Meredith Publishing, the mural I may be painting, and the fact that my mother angrily asked me not to call her for awhile.

I have accomplished nothing except the beginnings of a suntan. Well, that's not entirely true. My shorthand list would include:

-- applying for 15 jobs (all but one have refused me thus far; I am practically counting on the one to disregard me as well)
-- finally purchasing my bridesmaid dress at a vintage clothing store in Indy
-- reading several books, including
Dracula and The 158-Pound Marriage
-- managing to make my boyfriend snidely comment on my "not having fun"

False. Gee, thanks for making life at your house more uncomfortable for me because of your untrue generalizations.

I am merely disappointed in myself because I feel as if I have not done anything of worth this summer. I have not applied for many jobs recently. I haven't been reading as much since I have been in Indiana. I rarely take photos anymore, and I have found myself subject to the "do you want any alcoh--here, drink/try/taste/have some of this kind of alcohol" routine. I accept, sometimes unwillingly. I take a sip of Samuel Adams and recoil. "That's disgusting," I say, chasing my lips with cherry-flavored ChapStick. "It tastes like moose piss."

I just need to do something out of the ordinary. See something. Read something. Make something. Do something besides admire Oreo artwork, sing "Farmer Tan," watch awful music videos from the '90s and inwardly lament about my mother not wanting to talk to me.

For the record, this is the awful music video.

Monday Scribbling--June 27

I can't go too long without sharing some form of male genitalia here, especially on Monday Scribbling. The first time I shared something so blatantly obvious was here, back in April. This photo was taken back in January, when a friend and I were leaving the office.

For the record, my lovely friend (whose daily fashion blog can be found here), did not draw this. She did, however, find it humorous, and thought it beneficial to, literally, point it out.

Location: West Lafayette, an alleyway between West Lutz Avenue and Sylvia Street

NES Love

Before I left to come back to Indiana, I stumbled across some of my brother's old NES games. They were exposed; I cried in disbelief. "DUuuuuuuuust!" I whined to my mother, who also happened to be in the basement. "I have to clean these. I'm too protective of games."

And too reminiscent. Duck Hunt, how I miss you. You gave my cousins and I reasons to fight over many a Thanksgiving gathering.

YEAH WRITE!_______________________Imgur

Patrick Dougherty

I first learned of Patrick Dougherty's work during my last semester at Purdue. During the month of April, he and a team of thirty Purdue students constructed a natural structure outside of PAO Hall. Titled "Sidewinder," the structure was inspired by Native American mounds and will naturally deteriorate over a period of two to three years.

has built more than 200 sculptures around the world since his very first sculpture, "Handmade House," was finished in 1977 in Chapel Hill, N.C. The base of each massive sculpture comprises tree saplings, which are later interwoven and braided with a variety of sticks. Each sculpture takes about three to four weeks to construct and, after each completed project, Dougherty asks his team to autograph a pair of work gloves.

After compiling a collage
of "magical" images last week, I remembered "Sidewinder" and thought to share Dougherty's work. I recently learned that I will be able to visit another one of his sculptures this summer, as "Story-Telling Hut" was constructed in 2009 in my very own Omaha.

All of the images below were taken from Dougherty's website

"Around the Corner"
New Harmony, Ind.
"Paradise Gate"
Northampton, Mass.

"Childhood Dreams"
Phoenix, Ariz.

"Easy Does It"
Hollywood, Fla.

"Close Ties"
Brahan Estate, Dingwall, Scottish Highlands

"Cell Division"
Savannah, Ga.

"Jug or Naught"
Grand Rapids, Mich.

"Call of the Wild"
Tacoma, Wash.

"Doin' the Locomotion"
Hamilton, N.J.

"Toad Hall"
Santa Barbara, Calif.

Raleigh, N.C.

I Call Two States Home

I've been absent from the blogging world for a few days. A week, actually. Soon after I posted a collage last Friday, my computer went haywire with viruses. The whir of the fan in my computer couldn't cool it; red alert messages popped up, warning me of potential hackers, functional losses and stolen information. Within 20 minutes, my trusted eight-year-old Compaq went from fully operational to decrepit-ly unusable. A system restore wasn't possible; essential files had been corrupted.

Fortunately, I have a Hans. A Hans who majored in Educational Technology and can pretty much mend any technological problem. (In the more than two years I have known him, the one thing he could not fix was a corrupted file on a flash drive. That night, I downed two consecutive Mountain Dews and wrote a ten-page final paper in four hours.)

My computer sat, untouched and dusty, for the last few days that I was in Iowa. Instead of editing photos and scheduling blog posts (which is what I had been doing when my computer first entered its coma), I sat on the floor, learning my back against my bed. My thumbs diligently tapped at my wireless Playstation 2 controller, directing Jak & Daxter through two complete adventures before I was forced to pack clothes, swimsuits, books, towels, toiletries and tennis shoes into a blue suitcase.

The birds were not even chirping when mom and I left for the airport. Morning breath didn't even have time to form in the one-and-a-half hours of sleep I managed the night before. Despite the hour, mom and I found the airport full of people escaping the city, leaving the flood. I was one among hundreds of tired-eyed people who donned sweatpants and flip flops. Mom and I stood together in the security checkpoint for as long as we could, joking about fanny packs. The line moved quickly, and we soon said goodbye; a tight hug, a kiss on the cheek, a promise to call when I reached Chicago.

The sun was just beginning to rise when the plane took off at 5:45, but more storm clouds were thundering into the area, plaguing the metro with threats of hail and endless rain. As the plane rumbled down the runway and elevated over the Missouri, gasps resonated throughout the cabin. We could see how terrible the flooding was; how farmland was destroyed, how homes were abandoned and underwater. The airport itself was threatened with rising water, and heads shook in disbelief. "Nothing like '93," they said. "It'll be worse."

It was quiet for the remainder of the flight; no one spoke. We were tired. Sleeping. Shaking from the turbulence that rattled our feet for nearly an hour. I wasn't in Chicago for very long; after the phone call home, a cinnamon roll, and a trip to the bathroom, I was boarding my second flight.

Less than an hour later, I glided over Butler, over Speedway. Get off plane. Check. Phone call. Restroom. Check. Check. Baggage Claim. Check. Hans.

There he was, hair longer than I remembered, beard trimmed. The shorts I bought him. The golden Purdue shirt he wore was the same one he handed to me last May, the day he left for India. I had taken the shirt home with me, slept in it until his smell had faded and the only aroma that echoed from it was my own Midnight Pomegranate.

"Hi Sweetie!" I said. A hug, a kiss. My fingers ran through his hair.

Hair that, just yesterday, was windblown and swirled. Hair that, just this morning, mimicked a rooster’s comb. Our amusement over the appearance of his hair is only a small portion of the laughs we have shared over the past few days. So far, we have spent the cold, damp days vacationing at the lake with his family. Despite the misty wind yesterday, we hopped aboard a jet ski and traversed across the lake; I clung to his life jacket, laughing into the wind as the breeze forcibly breathed into my own nostrils. We tickled each other on the emerald green couch, tossed ChapStick and water bottles at each other. We giggled, talked, reminisced and dreamed.

And it's only been four days.

Monday Scribbling--June 20

These scribblings brought a smile to my face when I saw them back in April. I wished that I could have joined in and done the same thing, but I was 1) without chalk, and 2) without the time to do it.

Curse you, Jane Austen screenplay, curse you.

Location: Purdue University, Hillenbrand Hall, outside southeast entrance

Take a Deep Breath

It's not always magic wands or princesses in voluminous, sparkly gowns. Not everyone has a fairy godmother; not everyone can render themselves invisible. Hogwarts is still fiction, no matter how intense our desires are to grip a shapely willow branch and transfigure ourselves into the unimaginable.

It doesn't keep us from dreaming.

A fuzzy, romantic haze doesn't coat everyday actions, nor does it make lustrous the trivial comings and goings of individuals. There are moments when smiles and impossibilities and happy endings are lost.

A fantasy--a magical world--is more than what can be imagined. A fantasy is also what is emoted. Whatever provokes the response--be it a laugh from a friend, the warmth of the sun, the color of the sky just after a storm, a light, a spark, a melody of tones and colors and warmth and ecstasy--there results romantic joy, magical elation.

It was hidden beneath or behind the twigs, branches, clouds and musty, overbearing atmosphere that you now find spellbinding. You want to go there, you want to be there. You want it to be real.

If only magic were more than an illusion.

Throw Your Hair in a Messy Pony, It's Summer

When I think of summer, I normally envision the vain and buoyant happenings that are included in Gossip Girl novels. Vacations on ritzy sandy beaches. Bikinis. Olive, tanned skin--tawny, they call it. Summer art festivals. Cocktails and walks and shopping and sunglasses. Toenails freshly clad with shades of magenta and "Are You Red-y?" Disposal flip-flops. Photographs that reflect sun drops and dew from the moist air.

Glitzy, glam, tan. Teenage girls are irriguous with summertime daydreams. They read these sexually-saturated, fashionably corrupted books and want hot and humid Manhattan nearby. They want Missoni tapestry-print bikinis. Sarongs. Mango-colored beach towels. They want a prince from the Upper East Side, a golden-haired god with sun-kissed hair.

Sorry to burst your bubbles, princesses, but that be fiction.

To employ a double negative, I can't say that I do not want the above list, either. However, it's quite illogical, given that Iowa is, first of all, landlocked. Our sand beaches are dark, littered with a few pieces of trash and found along the state's murky, cold lakes. Missoni bikinis are unheard of, as many of the individuals here would generally mispronounce the name. "Vursase?" they'll ask, instead of "Versace." Similarly, the short 'a' will resonate in "Dolsi & Guhbanna."

No, there will be no Missoni string bikinis here. Try Mossimo. Mossimo in varying shades of black, dark black and midnight black (all of which will be worn two sizes too small by the same slightly-overweight girls who read
Gossip Girl). You won’t find us perusing the racks of Bergdorf’s, but arguing over how expensive Target beach-wraps are. We’ll buy them anyway, strolling impatiently through the automatic doors and into the humid Iowa air. Heat reverberates off the paved parking lot, and the hum of traffic on nearby I-80 drowns out the white noise of the fountainous “landscape.”

Our Manhattan is Omaha, "Gateway to the West." "Home of the College World Series." Forbes' "Best Bang For Your Buck City." “Steak City.”

There is no blue water here, only the ruddy Missouri, which is currently far beyond its banks, destroying homes and towns. We swim with ducks and geese and crappies, drying out our skin in itchy lake water. There is no sunset on the blue horizon to distract us. We tan with our tops on, avoid sunscreen and invite skin cancer. The boys are bronzed, but not from traipsing across waves in the East Hamptons. Here, the boys work. Hammer and pound and farm. They mow. Build. Saw. Drive. My cousin repairs roofs shirtless. My uncle, who resembles a Native American by the end of August, does not. Our boys and men may have sun-kissed hair, but they also have farmer tans.

Furthermore, unlike the sexually-stimulated, hot-mess atmosphere portrayed in teen novels, our summer can, thus far, be described as a flooded mess. A flooded disaster. Cool temperatures. Clouds. Muddled and muggy.

It can only get better.

It will be warmer, soon. Iowa may not be as bustling as Manhattan, but it can be just as sultry. And though we don’t crash parties at tacky Hampton nightclubs, we do host bonfires with live music.

I’m not a Gossip Girl. I’m just the spokeswoman. And though I may not have a designer bikini, I’ll still don it when I absorb the Rochester sunshine in a week. I’ll have a brightly-colored towel, sure, but I won’t be wasting time thinking about my next Aveda facial when I read time thinking about what I’m reading, be it Pulitzers, non-fictional language studies or junk teen novels. And I’ll have a boy there, too. He won’t be wearing Billabong shorts or be sporting a surfboard, but he’ll still smile and swim and canoe and laugh and drag me into the lake.

A small lake dimpled with turtles and duckweed, dew drops and sun-kissed mist.

Monday Scribbling--June 13

Hopscotch = bored college kids armed with sidewalk chalk on a beautiful mid-April Day.

Location: Purdue University, Hillenbrand Hall, outside southeast entrance

Granada and Melbourne and LA

A few weeks ago, on Wordless Wednesday, I came across a collage of graffiti.

It was beautiful artwork, and I was curious to find a collection of graffiti art myself.


three above from Web Urbanist

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