A sudden collision with a "canyon-sized crater" of a pothole inspired this now married couple to search for and create a set around potholes. Each scene, they say, is a source of humor and creativity, and that each shoot takes approximately 5 to 10 minutes to complete.

The artists, Claudia and Davide, each take turns behind the camera in the cities of L.A., New York, Montreal and Toronto. They stress improvisation, and avoid Photoshop. And, yes, POTHOLES is shot entirely during uninterrupted traffic.

Ride On, RAGBRAI-ers

I've been getting some activity on my other RAGBRAI post, so I thought that I would share some of the photos I took on Sunday. (I'll also add, here in parenthesis, have you, that Lance Armstrong also participated in RAGBRAI this year.)

I spent my day in Carson, Iowa, the halfway point of RAGBRAI's first day. Due to the high level of bicycle traffic on the road at the early hour of 7:00 in the morning, it took me nearly half an hour to drive the ten miles from my home to Carson, where I spent the day selling Mike's Hard Lemonade, Bloody Marys and Screwdrivers to riders from all locations: Nebraska, Iowa, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, Illinois, New Jersey, New York, Verdana, Australia...

I had serious cyclists come in and only inquire as to where the bathroom was located. I had serious drinkers who bought four rounds of screwdrivers, and were still drinking when I left the establishment at 4:30 that afternoon.

I enjoyed the day; not only was I able to make a few dollars (and a few tips), but I was also able to join in on many an interesting conversation. I talked about wine with locals, teaching in South Korea with a group from Illinois, humidity with a guy from Atlanta. One biker held a hand puppet, a demented clown that could have been a rejection from Mr. Roger's Neighborhood. The biker deliberately spoke in a high-pitched voice, instructed me about the origins of his hand puppet (a thrift store along the RAGBRAI route last year). He waved the puppet around, pretended to have it nurse from him.

I raised an eyebrow, gazed at the rest of his team, who sat around the table, awaiting my reaction. "I don't care how much liquor you've had, but you're puttin' that thing away." I looked over my glasses as the entire table laughed. "That's goin' down in the quote book!" one of yelled. "We're taking her with us," another chided, pointing at me. I shook my head, poured them another round of orange juice and vodka.

At the end of my day, 4:30, there were still riders in the bar. One had been there for six hours. It was just as hot and humid as it had been in the morning, and I admired each rider--drunk or not--for the stamina he or she had put his or her body through that day ... and Carson was only the halfway point. Teams, enthusiastic for air-conditioning and alcohol, commented on the D-SLR I had slung over my shoulder. "Take a picture of us!" they would shout, raising their glasses to me and passing me a dollar or two. "Find us on Facebook!"

Though I wish I could have spent more time outside (as compared to the back room in which I was cooped up), I was able to take a few pictures in the hot, bright, beating sunshine.

Once, I saw my cousin, who was riding for the day. He asked for ice cubes, already sunburned. At that point in time, I was busy, and I could only escape outside for two minutes at a time. When I was unable to leave the building, I photographed the water cooler. The tip jar. The beverages.

I shot pictures through the shaded window.

Two hours and nearly 50 Screwdrivers later, I was mooned through that window.

And that, my friends, is what RAGBRAI encompasses.

Talking in My Sleep: Cigarette Ashes and Snow Cones

There's a note in my phone that mentions the song "Closing Time." I assume I should be listening to it (hence the above song title). I'm playing it through my head, slowly, chord by chord. I'm also watching the cat, seven feet away, who awkwardly and accurately licks one of her back legs in the hallway.

I sigh. The cat glares at me, a disturber of the peace. "Finish your whiskey or beer," I say to her, "Because you're going on the porch soon. It's nigh-nigh time."

She licks her lips. Blinks. I stick my tongue out at her.
Why would I mention "Closing Time?" It makes me think of the nights I spent at the bars after work, the nights when--at 3:00--the methodical playing of said stereotypical song would begin. It makes me think of the '90s, and of my brother, a teenager in psychedelic dress shirts from the now-defunct Gadzooks. It makes me think of Wednesday nights at the bowling alley, when--at the end of every session--the song is blasted through the speakers. Gather up your jackets, move it to the exits, it instructs us. In other words, "Get your ass out of the bowling alley so the managers can make it home before Iowa Public Television stops its broadcasts."

"Closing Time" does not make me think about talking in my sleep but, alas, that is what the note in my phone proclaims. Therefore, I must mention it...

I talk in my sleep. Not a lot, admittedly, but it happens often. Usually, it happens in that state between sleep and awake, when I replay the day's events, but dreamily think of hard-boiled eggs or purple chickens or fireworks or dolphin-infested lakes. I'll softly moan, murmuring myself into a deeper breathing pattern. My body will twitch, my eyes flutter. I'll mutter and whine and ... start whisper-talking.

I do not hear myself.

I rely on the boyfriend's retelling, which usually occurs only a few minutes after said whisper-talking. I manage to wake myself up somehow; I'm confused, sleepy, giggly. He tells me what I was saying, while simultaneously fighting back laughter. "You told me you were in Mario World," he says, "because there were green pipes all around."

"That's nice, Sweetie," I'll say, trying to go back to sleep.

"You also said something about cigarette ashes and snow cones."

A laugh will sputter out of my lips. "What did I say?" I'll ask, struggling for full consciousness. We'll giggle for a few minutes, and he'll try to remember each sentence, each nonsensical thing I said. I'll write it down later, wait until morning to read my utterances. I'm Sleep Talkin' Chick.

The first "recorded" instance of my talking happened when I was about nine. I was up in the morning, as usual, getting ready for school. As I passed through the kitchen to get a drink, my mother asked me if I had had any strange dreams the night before. "Noooo," I said slowly, pouring myself a glass of lemonade.

"Okay, well, you were just talking in your sleep, then."

"Was I?" I was surprised. I couldn't remember any dreams that I had had.

"Yes you were. You were talking about a ham sandwich.
'No, sandwich, I don't want to eat you.'" She raised her voice to a scared whine. "'No. You can't make me eat you!'"

Needless to say, my dream about processed swine dually wrapped in Wonder Bread is still a family joke.

Unsurprisingly, I continue to say ridiculous things. I uttered several sentences while on vacation in Indiana, for example, the first of which Hans and I dub the "smashing bee incident." (Background information: womanly cramps were plaguing me even in slumber.)

Me: There are ... there are ... there are bees stinging my tummy.
Hans: (patiently) Those are cramps, Sweetheart. They're not bees.
Me: No, they're bees. Bees are stinging.

At this point, I place my hands--palms out--on his abdomen. I move my hands back and forth, pressing, slapping, kneading.

Hans: Sweetie, what are you doing?
Me: I'm smashing bees.

Another one of my recent favorites is also from Indiana, when he and I shunned ourselves to the three-car garage, where it was quiet and dark and mildewy. I had nestled under the sheets and blankets (which I routinely steal) and had begun whining almost immediately.

Me: (sounding desperate) They're ... they're out of squid ink!
Hans: ......... what Sweetie?
Me: They're out of squid ink and ... and they're surrounded in Dresden. They can't write letters without ink!
Hans: Here, Sweetie. I, I ... I brought more ink. Here's more squid ink!
--a few seconds pass by--
Me: (accusingly) You don't belong here.
Hans: Why not?
Me: Because you have a weird haircut.

I truthfully do not remember saying any of the above; I simply remember being told what I said. I find my mutterings quite entertaining, and, in the morning, I try to piece together what could possibly make me think of squid ink (remembering an Italian risotto that uses cuttlefish ink to blacken the rice), snow cones (a carnival-esque festival I attended), and Dresden (still wondering about that one).

The last time I spoke in my sleep was two weeks ago, when my friends from Indiana were visiting. We had been bowling that evening, though we did not stay long enough to hear "Closing Time." Ironically, however, Hans and I heard it on a radio station as we drove home from my friends' hotel.

The car rolled up and over the dark, Iowa hills, and we watched for deer. He sang, I mouthed the words. I know who I want to take me home. Hans looked over at me, winked. I smiled, but still breathed a sigh of melancholy; my friends would leave tomorrow, and I did not know when I would see them next. I missed them already, and I hadn't even said goodbye. Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end ... the guitar chords faded as we coasted into town, dead and dull from the heat.

An hour later, in the soft, silken sheets, I cuddled up next to Hans and sweetly drifted off to sleep.

It wasn't until the next morning when he told me that, in the dark, I had whispered into his neck --not nonsense--but a raw, vulnerable truth. How do you tell your friends you love them?

"You just do, Sweetie. You just tell them."

Pick Your Palette

My mom and I are debating on whether or not to paint my room. It has been a robin's egg blue for a few years now, and we are both ready for a change. (And, in case you're wondering, my mother doesn't spend that much time in my bedroom right now; she does want to use it as an additional room once I move out, however.) Thus the joint decision on a paint color--light gray.

some prints
__________________ fine little day


RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) is a non-competitive bicycle ride across Iowa that draws professionals, amateurs, teenagers, seniors and families from across the United States ... and even overseas.

The entire group of riders--which totals 10,000--rides from a city on the west side of Iowa to a community on the east side. Tradition dictates that riders dip their back tires in the Missouri River, and, once they reach it, their front tries in the Mississippi.

RAGBRAI's website states that, in 1973, a few friends got together for "a casual bike ride across Iowa." Thirty-eight years later, RAGBRAI is the longest, largest and oldest bicycle touring event in the world. More than 200 other bike rides in the United States were inspired by RAGBRAI's path, which changes each year.

This year, weekly riders will pedal 454 miles across the state, while daily riders will travel anywhere from 56 to 74 miles in one day. Since its inception, however, more than 275,650 people have pedaled 16,907 total miles. Since the 25th ride in 1997, RAGBRAI has passed through each of Iowa's 99 counties. Furthermore, the various paths have passed through 780 towns and, this year, the path visits a small town 10 miles east of my home.

At night, when the riders pitch their tents in their respective spots, the parties start. RAGBRAI teams have a well-earned reputation for hard partying and heavy drinking, though some are serious cyclists. Truthfully, I will be aiding them this year--from 8 a.m. on, I am scheduled to sell beer and hot dogs.

I've heard stories of the partying, of the food. Of the sleeping in the tents.

I have two friends who have completed the trail; one, sadly, fell ill. I admire his endurance--he didn't stop until he reached the Mississippi (and even if he didn't, I am going to pretend he did, because it's an admirable feat). There have been injuries over the years, and a few people have died, mostly because of accidents, heart attacks. I worry for the riders this year, as they will be battling a hot, eternal disaster. The sun glares upon their backs as they pedal up hills and past wind turbines. The hot, messy, bug-ridden, Midwesternly-windy Iowa countryside.

If anything should be called "epic," it should be RAGBRAI.

I look forward to seeing the riders on today, to serving them and inviting them to explore handicrafts inspired by their athletic vitality.

kikuhandmade______________ katedurkin

fashionably geek__________Ten Thousand Villages

craft stylish

To see read more about RAGBRAI and see some photos of my experience (working for the riders), go here.

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