I am back in Washington, DC to some unexpected cool weather. It was good being in Florida breathing in some freash air, visiting my family. I can't wait to start this next semester.
My mom likes to go to Perkins Restuarant to eat. In some way Perkins reminds me of a time before I can remember. They used to have a lot of them in Western Pennsylvania where my family is from. My mom says sometimes here boyfriend complains before they enter Perkins that it's "just a bunch of old people." She reminds him that they're the same age as the other patrons.
Today was my nieces first day of college. As she was getting ready to leave I said, "Good luck on your first day of college." "It's only for an hour," she said, reminding me she also had a job interview. But it's the first of many many hours I explained, and wished her good luck with the job interview too. "History in the making!" I yelled. She drove by putting on her sunglasses, trying to ignore me.
This is a Golden Silk or Banana Spider. It is a bad nemo, which not exactly the opposite of a bad omen. It just happens backwards. For instance, I had already suffered through a headache caused by a single Harvey Wall Banger when I saw this spider. "Ahhh, thanks for reminding me bad nemo." (Also, I just learned this morning from my good friend The History Channel that the number 666 in Revelations actually referred to letters of an ancient alphabet. Historians translated the number to the name Nemo Cesar, historic persecutor of the Christians.)
"Red toad at night, interesting sight. Red toad in the morning, you must have fallen asleep outside last night." I went out to a bar with my sister, her boyfriend, and my niece last night. It shares something in common with many bars across the country, its name -- County Line Bar. About half of the other county line bars I've been to, across several different states, are usually on County Line Road. I didn't expect the atmosphere of this bar to remind me of Appalachia, but it did. People from 18 to 80 shot pool, drank beer, watched drag racing on ESPN, and danced to the music of the band. A window into a culture that is concurrent throughout the rural communities of America.
I think I'm the only one who sees the resemblance between my mom and my great-niece Michelle. There are two generations separating them but I think they may look more alike than anyone else in our family. I rarely get a solid agreement on this. . . . Michelle even looks at me with a face of disappointment from time to time. I still get this look from my mom after I crack a joke or say something that she doesn't find the same amusement in.
This photo should clear up any misconceptions over what part of Florida I'm visiting. Behind those trucks (notice the cross on the grill) is one of the most heavenly places on earth, Sonny's B-B-Q Pit. My niece Carol and I ate there for lunch. She got ribs and I got the 3-Way Pork Combo -- ribs, pulled pork, sliced pork, Texas garlic toast, baked potato, and pork and beans. If America had taken to a Gainesville chain like this instead of McDonald's we might still be obese, but we would be eating a lot better.
I don't know if I've ever realized (until now) how fast the storms come and go here in Florida. Some describe their surreal movement as travelling like cars, because you can see the small showers come and go down the street. Whenever it starts raining everything heads for cover, including lizards.
My mom is taking cancer medicine called Sorafenib that is still under trial. Meaning, "CAUTION: NEW DRUG - LIMITED BY FEDERAL (OR UNITED STATES) LAW TO INVESTIGATIONAL USE." She had to stop taking it for a couple days because she started getting a rash on her face. I went to the oncologist with her and my sister to see what the problem was. The doctor said that patients who complained of rash usually have better overall effects from the drug. I hope that's true.
Today, in my first and only visit to the Gainesville, Fl. Veteran's Hospital I received the care I that I have been waiting three years (and many many visits) to receive at the Veteran's Hospital in Washington, DC. Gainesville's facility is much cleaner, although it's old it doesn't smell like death, like DC's. Not to say that people don't die there. While I was picking up my prescription an in patient who just received surgery said that the man he shared a room with for several days died just this morning. I think the deficiency has more to do with the clientele of the two facilities. In DC the vast majority of patients are African-American, down here at Gainesville they are an actual minority. I talked to another Marine vet who took the words out of my mouth when he described a VA Hospital he use to go to. "They're trying to kill you so they don't have to deal with you anymore."
If you're trying to get ahold of me, I'll be in Florida for the next two weeks. Not that this will stop me from answering my phone or emails. I'll just be standing by ready to take your calls. Hello? Anyone?
I went to the opening at Conner Gallery last Friday. As soon as I got up the steps I grabbed a beer and started talking to some friends, and there were a lot of them. So many, that there was no place to walk. I was sweating profusely; my only hope of relief was the beer in my hand. I actually started to cool down and see the art around me. That is until the bus driver of a gallery owner showed up. "Move back, move back," she herded us back into the rectangular room. She smashed us into the non-space until we were like sweaty Jell-O in a gallery mold. Eventually we grabbed the rest of the beer and drank it on the sidewalk out front. (However, the art in that oven was truly awesome.)
I met with some friends yesterday to discuss, among other things, a terrible rumor about the Photojournalism Program at the Corcoran College. The rumor is that Stephen Crowley, Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times photographer (the reason that many made the decision to enroll at the Corcoran) may be leaving before we get a chance to be his students. I and several other students questioned the Chair of Photography (and contributor to the NYT), Andy Grundberg, nearly a month ago. He has yet to get back to anyone. Just when I was starting to feel ripped off, l now feel hoodwinked and bamboozled. At least we can count on the consistency of the jumbo slice.