fred.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

it doesn't occur much, but as noobs enter my parent's house and exchange quizzical glances, we find that we have to explain our fredutian temple.

it was made by my uncle when he was in college.

it's traveled across country a couple of times, and it sits in my parent's living room. it's one of my favorite things.

it gets even more fun during the holidays. and tis the season!


fred.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

meet fred. he's not as heavy as he looks. . . he'd mostly chicken coop wire, paper mache, paint, sand. . . and love.


fred.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

enter, santa fred. all dolled up, complete with R2 minions.


fred.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

ahh, what a little lighting can do. ^_^

the initial idea i had was to have a flame like light at his feet, but i was uninspired to build anything. however, these poinsettia lights are doing a fairly good job.


only here

i had to send some very official documents a very long ways away this week. i drove about 45 minutes to the closest international shipment establishment. well, i did that after i went the the first place that i thought would work, turns out they no longer ship internationally- something about the economy going under and them closing down their stores or something.

i got on my phone and started making calls. when i located a place i asked for directions and was told that i would know i was in the right place when i saw the store for pool supplies. i figured the pool supplies store was close by and had a very eye catching sign.

no. . . not so much.

the international shipper was located in a store that was also a pool equipment supply store and . . . and you say? yes. . . AND. . . . a christian book store.

it took close to a half hour to get my package prepped. a half hour, two calls to the shipment headquarters. . . and one computer crash.

the gentleman that first helped me didn’t exactly insight confidence within me. i tried not to sneer at the rush limbaugh show playing in the background. he had to leave halfway through the process, i was ok with that. the woman that finished everything was very meticulous and seemed intent on making it all work.

time will tell i suppose.


just checking

i gave a cop my middle finger a couple of days ago. actually i gave him both.

in full disclosure, i gave him all of my digits. i had to get finger printed as part of a criminal background check. i had to wait a couple of hours because the finger printing area was in use for real bookings- so i got some errands done. once the finger printing area was available, everything was pretty easy. now i wait.

i don’t like waiting.



esplanade.JPG, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the morning ride through the esplanade. this is my view for most of it. pretty scenery. . . some runners, roller bladers, walkers, cyclists. . . and my brother. . . from behind.


memorial.JPG, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here's the second part of our morning ride. it's a familiar view though. dan in blue, leading the way through the memorial park drive i think?


flying.kite.JPG, originally uploaded by ekissam.

on the move from one place to another, dan and i stopped in the common and watched some kite flying. here is a father and daughter team. we saw the kite up in the air and it took us a bit to locate the handlers. actually we noticed the string stretching across a large part of the common at first. then we walked over, watched and listened to them for a while.

can you see the kite?

it's 23 feet tall.

still can't see it?


kite.jpg, originally uploaded by ekissam.

my camera was barely able to catch it. it's only a few pixels big. but you might be able to see something where i've pointed out.

the kite was about 2000 feet in the air when we walked by. the father had just attached another 2000 feet of string as we approached, and when we left he had it nearly 3000 feet out.

kind of amazing.


plans, shmans

the summer camp has ended and it was straight into helping to clear out my grandpa’s house. there was a family friend looking to rent it. dad and i had been working at it in bits and pieces for months. it was slow going with only two of us. . . but reinforcements were on the way. there were cousins headed to college and cousins moving into new apartments. . . in their wake aunts and uncles arrived in incredibly relieving shifts. suddenly truck loads were being moved hourly, as opposed to weekly and monthly. extra sets of kitchenware were sorted out for use. favorite furniture was claimed and distributed. it was rushed and dirty, but i got to spend a decent amount of time with some of my aunts and uncles.

i thought i had another week, i thought i’d get to see the cleaning through to the end, but i didn’t check the calendar closely.

the plan made earlier was to do this one ride with my brother. the museum of science along with communities within boston set up a scale model of the solar system. each planet was set in a different part of town. there was a plaque along with each planet where you could make a rubbing on a special ‘passport’ that you could turn in, once completed, to the museum of boston for some sort of discount. dan mapped a route, back and forth, that would be around 60 miles long. i planned to visit over labor day weekend.

surprise #1- labor day weekend was a week earlier than i thought. i figured i had another week to gear up for the ride, and another couple of days to relax after helping to clear out my grandpa’s house.

surprise #2- dan tried a bit of the ride out. . . and found that the solar system bit was no longer in existence. too bad. .. had it been up, the title of the blog would’ve been something like, ‘cycling the solar system’. . . catchy, eh?

that ride being scrapped, we planned to put together whatever came easily. my dad and uncle had the house work under control, and i made my way to boston. my brother and a few of my friends had some extra time off. . . loose plans to hang out. . . good thing it was all kind of loose- time did not play nicely.

dan and i spent the mornings on his favorite ride through the esplanade. a really pretty ride- and good for the metro-challenged rider (me). we tried to do extra laps to make up for the lost longer ride. we kept putting off longer rides in order to catch up with people, but nothing ever gelled too well. . . not for lack of trying. who knew there were going to be green line jamming sox games every day i was there? along with the sox games a couple other problems cropped up and we missed a chance to hang out with friends on saturday and sunday. we got some riding in, and caught tropic thunder and hung out with dan’s roommate and coworker. kinda fun. . . and tropic thunder was a RIOT! hey, why not try to plan another meeting on monday? well, monday we planned to meet up with our cousin to help her move in to her new apartment. yay. . . more moving.

the plan to help move was for 2pm. dan and i did a morning ride and missed the call that noon would actually be more helpful to our cousin. we left to catch her around 1, on our bikes. . . remember me?. . the metro-challenged rider? well, riding got us there faster than public transport. . . what with another sox game in play. plus, it turns out all the moving that was being done that weekend was helpful. it slowed down traffic a lot. it also created obstacles. . . big truck, ornery people, and furniture type obstacles. so i wasn’t swift or slick. . . but task accomplished. we got to my cousin’s just in time to have missed all the heavy moving. totally not planned! we stuck around to help her and her girlfriend put together a completely complicated desk- it had way too many parts. it did give us some time with them and our aunt, uncle, and her sister. again, another visiting window of about and hour or two. meanwhile another friend who wanted to see us was being held up in town by the sox game. after a bit we hopped on the bikes to catch up with him. . . for another hour long visit. we did decide that i should stay another day so we could actually get together properly.

that night was trivia. (made it just in time.) one of my favorite things about visiting with dan. dan, his roommate, and i didn’t end up doing well. . . but if anyone else could’ve seen the semi educated guesses that we nailed out of nowhere. . . and the number of times we came so close. . . well, it was an impressive game, even though our score sucked.

tuesday gave us a chance to meet up without all the obstacles. i went for a morning ride after dan went to work. i cleaned up and then felt how tired the whole weekend had left me. we had been on the go from early morning through late evening each day so far. all the short visiting windows and running around to get to them. it all hit me hard. so i napped before meeting up with our friends. we had a nice time at dinner. sadly the evening was cut just a little short as work pulled away one of our friends. however, it made it an early night to get in and play some wii rockband. because we had been so busy, dan and i hadn’t had a chance to set down and play. the game is pretty damn fantastic.

all and all a pretty great visit. . . though something of a whirlwind. i got to do all the things i hoped, the riding, the trivia, the visits, and the wii rockband. . . it just took a little longer and involved a bit more running around than i anticipated. oh well.


a sensory booster shot

“In an era of stress and anxiety, when the present seems unstable and the future unlikely, the natural response is to retreat and withdraw from reality, taking recourse either in fantasies of the future or in modified visions of a half-imagined past.” - Watchmen

there are a couple of ideas that have been scrambling around in my brain pan lately. i’ve had more free time this summer than in recent history, and have gotten to see a good number of movies. so many of them were comic book movies, or superhero type movies. . . at least more than i remember in an average summer. . . . but then again, i didn’t used to get out as often. i thought it a bit telling of our current state that our entertainment has become so saturated with hero fantasies. like we’re looking for saving or something? america: the well endowed damsel in distress.

for the most part, i’ve greatly enjoyed the movies. . .the comic book/ superhero ones: ironman- surprisingly FANTASTIC!, hulk- very strong, hellboy- enjoyable production eyecandy, dark knight- amazing, wanted- really good for what it is , hancock- actually didn’t see yet, . . . and then the super human ones- indiana jones- enjoyable, get smart- enjoyable, x-files- not nearly as bad as rottentomatoes made it out to be, mummy- probably won’t see. .. .

it was at one of the more recent movies that i caught the watchmen trailer. i came to comics late- and i wouldn’t say that i’m well versed or a huge fan, but i definitely like what i’ve read and want to read more. tank riot touched on the subject in a recent podcast. when asked what comic book they can’t wait to see come to the movies they said ‘watchmen’. . . so it was up on my radar, and i ordered it.

i just finished my second chuck palahniuk book in three months- (i’ve completely diverted from my reading list, but i’m a little hooked). i picked up a dusty jd salinger that had been sitting on a shelf since i was in highschool and started that, when again, i was diverted by the arrival of my copy of watchmen. i have a tendency to read too quickly. i really want to devour the story. . . and i quickly forget details. i will probably have to go back and reread the watchmen. it is so thick- both literally, which surprised me. . . and thick with a variety of reading levels. . . deconstruction, satire. . . . i’m not describing it well. it doesn’t read like a straight forward comic. there are book excerpts, news articles, and letters interjected throughout. the history and parallel world-like view is lush. . . and there’s a meta comic- adding even more allusion and metaphor. it’s an incredibly rich and detailed world. all the acclaim makes sense. i’ll have to do my part to become a watchmen pusher.

now i can’t wait to see what the movie does. hurry up march!

the salinger is good, but it’s like going off of caffeine compared to the watchmen. there’s a sensory withdrawal. . . .

i’ll have to supplement with more doses of the latest sigur ros album. :)


fuck the squeaky wheel

for those of you who may be offended by the use of the word ‘fuck’. you may want to stop here. in recent times i’ve been known to substitute an ‘effing’ or ‘frick’ and even a ‘frel’ (though not a ‘frack,’ still waiting to netflix those) for comedic effect, such will not be the case today.

i’m not fucking laughing. for those who don’t mind it, and are interested in the rant to follow: welcome. keep a tally if you wish, because i intend to fucking use the word as much as fucking possible. you see, i have few vices. i’m not a heavy drinker (barely a drinker at all), i don’t beat the proverbial ‘wife’ or ‘cat,’ nor do i usually feel the need to unleash my anger at complete strangers just because someone else has fucking disrupted my calm. so when i’ve been pushed to the fucking limit, i turn it inward, yeah, i sulk and become not so fucking cheery. . . perhaps play some NIN or linkin park really loudly in my car or headphones. . . but i’d rather upset the person who fucking upset me, than treat the next person like crap. they don’t deserve it, and frankly, neither the fuck did i. fucker.
(10 if you include the title)

perhaps this is my vice. i don’t intend to use real names, though i’m not sure why we should keep these fucking people anonymous. they are not innocent. they are a fucking scourge. yes, fucking yes, i understand that everyone has a fucking story. *eyes fucking rolling* there is always another side, so why should i stay quiet? i have a fucking story too. . . why is that not taking into fucking consideration? i’ve had too many other people’s fucking problems laid on me as of today. last week one of the program assistants noticed that i was being hassled by a third party and said (feeling sorry for me) that her mother, in these situations, always used to say, ‘one’s inability to organize does not constitute an emergency on my behalf.’ i wish i lived in that world.

i’m gonna keep going with this. . . since i feel my blood pressure falling and my shoulders relaxing. fucking finally.

in one sense i think it is so fucking sad the effect that this has on my memory. i’ve been working for this summer program. i have databased and tracked the names and information for all these candidates. 70 to 80% of all them were on time with their paperwork, they and their families were responsible and respectful. . . and i doubt if i can name one of them. i can, however, rattle off the fucking five top contenders for greatest fucking annoyances. most of the time it was not the camper’s fault, but their fucking parents’. though there were a few camper’s who seemed pretty fucking annoying, and i can remember their names too. i can remember the name of one fantabulous girl. actually, two. one girl took charge of all her own paperwork and i never talked to her parents. and a second girl was accepted very late (after some fucking kid dropped out) and she was able to get all the paperwork in at lightning speed. seeing two girls rocking it out makes me only wonder more why these other fuckers were incapable.

how fucking unfair is that? there are a couple hundred that did everything fine, but they will not stand out to me, because they didn’t squeak loudly enough. because they did everything right. it’s a fucking shame.

like most people, i’m rather patient and level headed. i can be very understanding of someone’s problems the first time around. but the 15th fucking time, or the 15th fucking person isn’t going to hear nearly as much compassion in my voice. ps, ‘15’ is a completely arbitrary number, i don’t know my exact limit. maybe because my limit is further out than others is why so many people think i’m so patient?

i am beginning to understand why creditors sound the way they do over the phone. they put up with nothing but sad stories and excuses all day. it’s all on the phone though. the don’t have some very annoyed and frustrated person standing in front of them, making fucking demands that cannot be met. yelling. . . . practically crying, fucking slamming walls?! really. . . is that how a grown up acts? oh wait. . . i guess so. it’s not like this is my first time on the fucking ferris wheel of emotionally fucked humans. and i’m not talking people who are locked up, medicated, and straight jacketed. i’m talking about people who act like fucking children when dealing with frustration and anger. they are allowed to walk around like everyone else.

fucking example #1
- a student designer at my undergrad. i was his scenic artist. we were doing some late night painting on his set together. he seemed mostly fine, kind of a dick. . . but no more than to be expected. he kept talking about this amazing blue paint he mixed earlier that day. it was this unbelievable color, there’s no way anyone could’ve come up with such a perfect blue. (in my head i’m thinking, it’s fucking BLUE. . . show it to me and i can mix it.) he was worried that someone had used it for a class project. he didn’t mark it. he left no note indicating that it was for a production and not to be used for a class. fucking idiot.

of course we got to the scene shop and the paint had been used. -it’s at times like these when i wish i had a video camera installed in my brain so i could run the playback for others who weren’t there. i’ve so often needed a witness.- anyway, a tantrum ensued. he threw paint cans and lids around the paint shop. he showed me the few tablespoons of his paint that was left over. i sat the bucket in front of me. while he fucking rampaged through all the class projects to eye who had used his color, i pulled out several cans of paint and set forth to remix the color. in ten minutes i had a perfect match. . . a full bucket. he had a red face and made a fucking huge mess of the paint shop which we had to pick up in order to work.

fucking example #2
-a mentor in grad school. to give a brief but definitive idea of my situation: there had always been two lighting grad students. after me, there continued to be two lighting grad students. for the three years i was there. . . i was one lighting grad student, doing all my normal work plus the work of the 2nd non existing grad student. there came a time when my fucking plate was simply too full. according to my schedule i was supposed to hold a lab session and keep five students busy hanging lights for a show. i was the master electrician, partial lighting designer, and lighting coordinator for a dance show. there were several lighting designers. some of them were fucking late with their choices and information. i didn’t have time to prepare my lab because of their lateness. instead of running a poorly organized lab that wouldn’t accomplish much beyond my own frustration and the frustration of my lab students. . . i let them have their two hours to themselves. i used the two hours to prep the late paperwork for the rest of the week. from that point on, the hang, focus, tech, and run of the show were all on time.

as i was using those two hours in the most efficient way i knew a few of my friends warned me that our teacher was on the warpath. she heard that i let my lab go for the day. in my own head i wonder if she had reflected on the fact that a student she fucking chose to add to the design process was now the one who had turned in her fucking paperwork late. . . and the responsibility to fix the problem fell on me. guess fucking not. when the teacher found me she was literally gnashing her teach, pulling at her frizzy hair, and spitting as she yelled at me. (another great brain cam moment.) she was so angry she could barely articulate. i remember the main idea- ‘what was i thinking? how could i let my class go? i’m so irresponsible.’ blah blah fucking blah.

was she interested in my method? fuck no. was she interested in knowing that because i had these two hours i wouldn’t have to shave it off my four hours of sleep time that night? fuck no. apparently she needed to show that my ability to prioritize pissed her off. . . and that she resembled fizzgig from the dark crystal when she throws a tantrum. (see link)


i’m feeling fucking better and better. . .

fucking example #3
-a staff person comes looking for her check. the checks come in the afternoon mail. she was promised by someone else that her check would be waiting for her. i am a temp with no control and little understanding of how things run. i comb through the desk. i look in the normal places. no check. i tell her it normally comes in the afternoon mail around 2pm. this isn’t fucking good enough. she was told differently. the person that told her is on vacation.

‘i need it.’ ‘what am i supposed to do for two hours?’ ‘i was told it would be here.’ all repetitively spouted at me. the frustration and anger building in her. and now she starts looking at me like i could bend over and fucking shit a check out for her, but am refusing. i make calls. the check was cut. it’s in the mail system. i tell her the mail comes around 11am and 2pm. . . . again, and again. she’s practically yelling at me now, for something i can’t fucking control. then she slams the wall with her hand. (dammit, where is that brain cam?!) she has to be somewhere, she needs that check before she leaves. . . . yeah, and i was supposed to be doing work. . . but now i’m here listening to you say this over and over again, and none of it is changing the outcome.

she reassures me that she isn’t yelling at me. she isn’t mad with me. does it matter? i’m making the phone calls, trying to remain kind to the payroll staff as i repeat questions. i have to deal with the human equivalent of the squeaky wheel directly. it doesn’t matter because she can’t actually take her fucking frustration out on the right person. . . therefore i get it.

she finally left. the people in the neighboring office return from lunch (oh right, i skipped lunch listening to this fucking mess) and i ask them about the morning mail. they explain there was a back up in mail services due to a power outage a day earlier.

she calls at 1pm. mail hasn’t arrived yet. again at 2:07. . . should be here soon. she decided to come back and wait for it.

oh goody.

the mail guy came by, no check. i explained the situation. calmly. (in my head i’m wondering if this woman carries a gun. could i duck quickly enough? she’d be frazzled. it would probably make her a bad shot. maybe i’d have time to duck and throw something damaging at her. throw her off her fucking game just long enough? ) the mail guy agreed that payroll is important and usually makes people smile. he delivered it yesterday and watched the vacationing person put it in a special spot. he pointed it out to me. there were the checks. i’m relieved. i thank the mail guy. my calm exterior didn’t faltered once. perhaps he even feels that he’s helped me. . . without me upsetting him first. i’m relieved and frustrated. someone could’ve told me (the only person in the office this week) where the checks would be hiding.

the staff member reappears. yet some other tragedy has occurred in the time it took her to drive back. what the fuck ever! take your fucking check and leave me in fucking peace!

i have no one take my fucking frustration out on. so i put it here.
good news: the inclination to writing ‘fuck’ is subsiding a little.

fucking conclusion
am i better than these people? yes. yes i am.

that just kinda feels good to say. yes i am better than these fucking squeaky wheels. fuck them. go choke on some oil!

ahhh. . . this is fucking zen!

truth? i have bad days. i complain about them. i lay my frustrations on others. . . though usually it’s a shared frustration. i don’t throw things, i don’t tug at my hair and grind my teeth, i don’t slam walls, i don’t yell. i do cry in bathroom stalls when no one knows. i do write about it and seethe on it for YEARS! i do hold grudges. for YEARS.

i feel better.

fucking addendum
in the face of all these fuckers, the more upset they got, the quieter and more stoic i got. is it possible that this is a catalyst for their overly dramatic ridiculous fucking behavior? is it possible that they feel better when they see someone else all worked up over their problem? and when faced with someone who remains resolved they spiral out of control?

if this is true. . . i’m really gonna need that brain cam installed STAT!

i’ve used an hour of my work time to write this. i will have to make up for it. maybe listen to some tool. . . post this to my blog. . . but i won’t give the check out guy at the grocery a hard time because i fell behind on my work. i’m gonna SUCK IT UP and finish my work. no biggie people.


aha!. . . it's not just me. . .i knew it!. . . dammit.

situation: an older sister is visiting her younger brother in boston. he currently lives there, but they both attended college there. she’s happy to be visiting her brother and hanging out in a place where she has fond memories. they are walking down the street on a bright afternoon, hoping to see friends and meet up for dinner.

after passing a few people on the sidewalk a bit of bothersome paranoia sets in on the older sister. she turns to her brother and asks,

“Do I have something in my teeth?” She gives an overly toothy grin.

“No,” he replies.

“Something on my face, in my hair. . . anything weird?”

Their pace slows a bit.

“No,” again he replies and blandly adds, “Why, because everyone we pass seems to be staring at you intensely?”

“Yeah, you see it too?” She’s relieved and exasperated.

“Yeah, I don’t get it.”

They both shrug a little, and move on.

- The problem with being paranoid, is when you’re right.



4th@boldt.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

while walking the grounds at boldt castle i found the pyro set up for the 4th's fireworks later that evening.


4th@boldt.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

yay fire power.


4th@boldt.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i was just here a few months ago, so while others were on the tour, i took advantage of having cell service and called my friend andria. we had fun catching up while i walked the grounds.


4th@boldt.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this girl totally has the right idea. going out in your feetie pj's is completely underrated.


4th@boldt.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

not a bad ride for the evening.


4th@boldt.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the castle and heart island nearing sunset.


4th@boldt.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the boats all lining up for the show.


4th@boldt.8, originally uploaded by ekissam.

haven't figured out how to take decent night shots. really wanted to get the castle silhouette. . . but ended up with blurry. . . but kinda pretty.


4th@boldt.9, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the show wasn't the best. . . but the location pretty much rocked.

fun with cycling, parts 1 through 6

part 1: do i really want a bike?

i looked online for used, and new. . . walked by the cheapies in walmart and thought, ‘how bad can they be?’ i discussed with my brother the styles and what to look for and debated why i shouldn’t get a ‘cheapie’ . . . i researched styles, weighed pros, cons, . . . .

finally i ended up in my local shop asking about a trek/ commuter/ touring/ comfort/ city bike with a number in my head. . . and they had one that fit my number. . . as well as me, (hey, i’m short, i need a short bike). as i debated if i really wanted it, being that i had a perfectly good hybrid sitting in a dark storage unit in southern california, the owner of the shop had me take it out for a spin. practically pushed me out the door with it in my hands.


smart guy

the slightly weird thing is that it’s red. i never intend to buy or own red bikes, but all of mine have been red. . . .(except for one maybe, my memory isn’t so good.) my first real bike was a red bmx bought at a garage sale. . . there might have been a 10 speed in my teenage years that was gray and pink, with the curly handlebars?. . . or maybe i just coveted it. . . . the hybrid i got in virginia (the one aforementioned as being held captive by my storage unit) is also red. i named it drusilla. . . i was watching ‘i, claudius’ at the time.

part 2: muscle memory

on my first spin i crested the hill at the top of my driveway and turned left. since i was a kid i always took a bit of the sidewalk on the left of the road until traffic cleared so i could move to the right of the road. i turned left and my first instinct was to stand on my pedals. i second guessed myself, why would i stand on my pedals? this bike is far more comfortable than the bmx i used to ride around on. standing on my pedals just made me feel cool, right. . .it’s how they did it on that movie, bmx bandits? i decided to sit. . . turns out my muscle memory was there for a reason. i always stood because the sidewalk is incredibly uneven. . . and hasn’t changed (unless it’s gotten worse) since i was young. it wouldn’t matter how comfortable your bike seat is. . . you don’t wanna ride over that. lesson learned.

part 3: take in the scenery and the wildlife

take them in, but don’t hit them. i nearly hit a deer. . . or, more likely, it nearly hit me. i ride a less travelled area through higley flow. there is quite a bit of wildlife. . . i just didn’t expect it to come charging out at me. guess i scared the deer enough to send it back to the woods. . . lucky me.

part 4: finding my limits

i used to ride my bike a lot as a kid and teenager. during the summer a friend of mine and i would push out early morning and head to south colton. our turning point was somewhere near sunday rock. . . and a local store. it was always chilly in the morning, so we’d wear leggings over our shorts on the way out. at the end of the first half we’d each get a ‘hot mama’ slim jim thingy and ditch the leggings then ride back to play basketball. it was nearly a 10 mile trip. . . and some of the hills are kinda killer, or at least they look that way now.

i’m doing 10 miles at a time through higley flow. the hills aren’t as difficult, but there are a couple of challenges. on the first ride through i kept visualizing my legs as pistons or as part of a train chug chugging along in order to keep pushing. i was happy to see how far i could push my leg muscles. . . it was my stomach that nearly gave out. i don’t remember if i had something that was spicy earlier that day or what, but making my way up a particularly steep but gracefully short hill i had hot bile make it’s way up my throat. i spent the rest of my ride belching it out. attractive, huh?

part 5: gotta love the small town bike shop

i stopped in a week after getting my bike to start adding to my accessories. first, the gloves. i bee-lined for them. . . the owner tallied the price, but left off the tax. i reminded him, but he just waived it off. i reassured him about how much i loved the bike and he smiled and said, ‘good, keep riding, and let that girl over there know how much you like it.’ there was a girl debating over a couple of bikes. it turned into a 20 minute chat as she told me what she was looking for, and how she planned to use the bike, etc. i gave her a quick rundown of the research i did, gave her some suggestions about what to look for, and finally left telling her that she should take one for a test drive.

i’m pretty cheap advertising.

part 6: on the move, sans music

when working out or going for a walk, i’m always accompanied by music. . . or a podcast, or some aural fixation.

i’m hesitant to do so while riding around traffic (that and i can hear if my gears are acting up, or if my brakes need adjusting). for the time being, it would seem that the sound of rushing wind is enough to satisfy. off that i found it so annoying when the wind would pick up on my walks and drown out my ipod. . . and it seems i can’t get enough of it riding. the wind acts as white noise. it only breaks when i turn my head. facing forward is like listening to a channel with nothing but snow, and turning my head is like hitting the mute button.

hey. . . make your own fun where you can.



errrrrr, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the red line would probably follow the blue line more if there were a congruent green line flowing into my pocket.



storm.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

we had a storm on tuesday. i was at work in potsdam and there was a lot of wind, rain, and lightning, but nothing that seemed over the top. it was my drive home that told a different story. the closer i got to colton the larger the debris. we only lost power till midnight that night. other people are still waiting. (oh, and what does one do in colton without power? well, dad and i skipped the survival stuff and drove into potsdam for dinner and then caught kung fu panda.) to the left of the fire house in this shot is the river, and another bent over power pole and wrecked tree.


storm.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here's the view from the corner of my grandpa's yard. his tree, the ugliest one on the block. . . was untouched.


storm.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.

these trees landed on and split the power lines, pulled some of the poles right down. the road was blocked off, but some of the neighbors came out with chain saws and freed up one lane.

storm.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

tree split in two. a neighboring town had a tree that landed on and split a house. the house across the street from this had a tree on it as well, though i think it faired better. hard to see much with all the leaves.


storm.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.

uprooted and pulled up the sidewalk too. this is my normal walking route. . . maybe i should find an alternative for a while.


storm.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

the graveyard was not spared.

storm.7, originally uploaded by ekissam.

a near miss. the whole tree is laid out in right along the front of the house. we're told that it wasn't a tornado, though we were in a tornado watch. some people saw the sky turn green, and dad said the wind and rain was so bad he couldn't see 20 feet in front of him let alone the sky. whatever it was, it seems to have left some tornado-like damage.


canadian.brass, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this is from a little while back. it was dad's birthday present. the canadian brass played at crane. this is close to the end of their entrance (which dad called- walking through the audience playing dixieland). too bad it's a little fuzzy. such a great concert! highly recommend if you get the chance.


whoo hoo

after i showed my brother the instructable i made about the baby mobile, he said i should submit it to MAKE, or CRAFT. sounded good, but i couldn’t figure out how, and i honestly didn’t look that long. . . low and behold, someone submitted it for me!

it’s on the front page of craftzine.com right now, but probably not for long. think it’s in their blog section or something. . .

my mobile in CRAFT

besides that, i also got my second place prize from Tank Riot. . . most of was dairy swag. . . but there were definitely a couple of treasures.



marrow.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.

here's something neat. i'm kind of excited to have done this. i don't remember if the offer still exists, but for the first 10,000 people who signed up online, the bone marrow registry had free registry.

this is the cheek cell kit i got before i sent it back.

i kinda doubt i'd be a match for anyone, but the possibility is cool.

not much. . .

dan was up last weekend, a quick visit, but fun.

we took a partial day trip down to the wild center in tupper lake. on a side note, my t-mobile phone works just fine 45 minutes from where i am. grrrrrr. the wild center is nice, really well set up. it was nice to visit but not the most engaging museum i’ve been to. i did grow up in the area and just watched the adirondack special on public tv, so perhaps i’ve been overdosed with info on the area lately.

towards the end of the day we prepared for a nostalgic trip to the outdoor movie theatre. they happened to be doing a double showing of indiana jones and the crystal skulls, and iron man- excellent line up. (the outdoor movie theatre and bowling were two of our hot spots in high school. nearly every other weekend included ordering a take out pizza, filling a cooler, and packing up sleeping bags, bug dope and a radio for an evening at the outdoor theatre. in high school the tickets were $5 for two movies, it’s now $7. we don’t stay in the car, we sit outside.) it all started well, we shared our radio with the family next to us that shared their citronella candles. not a bad trade off. as i waited for some fries and iron man started, some rain also started. dan had to throw all our provisions into the car quickly, and we watched iron man from inside the car. too bad. . . but not so terrible.

the not so fun part was waking up the next morning. since the movie starts late (at dusk) and they weren’t exactly short movies, we got home pretty late. this isn’t usually a problem on the weekend, but dan needed to get to montreal to meet his friend who’d be giving him a ride back to boston. we were supposed to meet for a late breakfast. . . in montreal. in other words, a three hour drive plus border patrol. i’m glad i wasn’t driving. i just needed to wake up for the border patrol. -another side note, the t-mobile phone also works just fine in montreal. errrrr.

we had a great breakfast in montreal and walked around a bit, but i wasn’t upset to head back home.

the summer program is still ramping up. it should be an interesting change of pace, but i’ve gotta start thinking about what happens next? right?

oh! on a completely other note. . . the project for a friend that i was excited about. . . has completely. it will be mailed tomorrow (no small feat.) i took some process shots and such and posted them on instructables.com (a new favorite way of losing hours of my life to the internet). within a few hours of posting i received a note saying that my instructable was being featured on the homepage. it won’t be there for much longer, but it’s spent over a day there! whoo hoo!



busy. busy. busy.

not all the greatest news, but i’m project oriented because of it. a gift for a friend in a hospital, cooking for a friend whose dad passed, and a special project in process. part one of two. . . will reveal when the time is right. no real spoilers, but it will light up!

Aziz! Light!


oh, and if you happen to listen to tank riot, episode 50, and hear them mention an ‘erika’. . . that’s me! whoo hoo!


heart.notes, originally uploaded by ekissam.

some nice for someone special, or not :)



snow & dante

snow & dante, originally uploaded by ekissam.

we got more snow before we left for washington. what you can't exactly see here is that the deck is a 4 to 6 inch step down as well. it's quite a bit of snow. . and dante thought it was rather interesting too.

kissam coffee

kissam coffee, originally uploaded by ekissam.

our first stop on our getaway. they found me on facebook, and i marked them as an interesting stop to make if i ever traveled through part of pennsylvania again. they had the crest hanging on the wall, and a copy of the family genealogy book on the shelf. can't say if the coffee was good, i don't drink coffee, but they had great tea, and great soup.


washington.6, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this is a good tactic i've learned from a couple of people. you can take a high res picture of something you need to remember, like a map or a calendar, and zoom in on it for information whenever you need. helped a lot this trip.


washington.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this was my mom's main stop, the new native american museum. it's a lovely new museum. really well set up. this is the domed ceiling.


washington.11, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i remember watching a news profile of this piece being commissioned by the national gallery of art in washington. i wasn't sure if it would still be here, but it seems like i got lucky on a number of things this trip. timing is everything.


washington.9, originally uploaded by ekissam.

dan, my brother, turned me onto andy goldsworthy. he had a great book of his work, then i watched 'rivers and tides', which is a really great documentary about his work. i'm fascinated with his shapes, materials, and how many of his works are based on time passing.


washington.10, originally uploaded by ekissam.

another view


washington.13, originally uploaded by ekissam.

in the same museum i searched for to find andy goldsworthy, i thought, this is the kind of place that would have dan flavin. i didn't plan on walking around or seeing too much more, but i decided to take a quick run through. . . and found dan flavin.


washington.14, originally uploaded by ekissam.

ok, before you judge. . . i've been to washington twice before, and did all the normal and slightly more indepth site seeing- as pertaining to all the government workings. (though i've forgotten a lot of it, and lost a lot of the pictures. . . and i could always spend some more time at the lincoln memorial. it's just really pretty.) so please don't think less of me that i raced through tons of artwork in order to get to the bathrooms of the second floor at the national portrait gallery in the presidents wing in order to see this, and then left once i got the picture.


washington.15, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i know, i know. i went to the spy museum and all i did was take a picture of the bathroom stall. but isn't the bathroom stall fricking cool?

we didn't get through the actual museum, not enough time. but we did take the spy museum operation challenge thing. very much like TOMB! in boston with a spy theme- oh, and ps. . . if i were a spy, you'd be in good hands. . . HA!

oh, and i had a bit of fun in the gift shop. for once, a 'buy our crap' place in which i actually wanted to buy their crap!

karl & hen

karl & hen, originally uploaded by ekissam.

a couple of days in long island visiting unkles karl and frank. here is karl with one of his 'ladies'. they lay pastel colored, delicious eggs. and i don't like eggs too much. . . but maybe it was how well karl cooked them.


frank, originally uploaded by ekissam.

frank very patiently waiting for us to pull ourselves away from googling project runway's chris march, long enough to make a dinner decision.

karl & me

karl & me, originally uploaded by ekissam.

karl is trying to explain the merits of the movie, 'legend' to me. i agree that i like it, but i like it for the crap that it is :)


whoo hoo

i have a big silly grin on my face. it’s not just that i’ve gotten out of the snow covered north country for a bit, and it’s not just that the head cold has cleared, including 98% of the lingering congestion and coughing. . . i got to see MacBeth tonight. -a grin-ectomy might be in order- otherwise people might think i’m stupid. (i’m so glad the word ‘grin-ectomy’ exists. . . thank you adam savage.)

this is the MacBeth that is playing at the Shakespeare Folger Library in DC, conceived in part by Teller. (now you know why i was so interested) if you have the means and the time. . . see it. granted, it’s all sold out, but there are standing only spots available. . . and there seems to be some obstructed view seats available if you call.

i got in with an obstructed view. . . and sure, the show would’ve been amazing from the front. . . but i got to see just about everything from my seat- including how some of the tricks happen. . . ;)

hmmm. i’ve seen MacBeth performed live about 4 times. some of them had incredible performances, some had incredible production qualities, some had a combo. each time i gleaned a little more from the text, each had it’s merits. . . however, i just reread my first paragraph and realized how incredibly weird and out of sorts it is to see that my current reaction to seeing yet another MacBeth performance is a massive grin.

wouldn’t you want to see that?! a MacBeth that makes you grin?!


punch and . . .


happy pi day!


anyone knit?

i used to crochet a bit. i would make silly colored floppy hats for my friends. . . it was fun, and it ate up my spare time. . . but truthfully, my technique was poor.

does anyone out there knit? wanna make me this? i think it’s super cute.

r2 beanie


sometimes a cigar is just a cigar

so i started walking while i was in florida. time to listen to part of an audio book, or some podcasts, or even just music. also trying to recover some strength i lost when i hurt my back last year.

i’m not much on soaking in sunlight, or being outdoors when it’s warm in general, so in florida i would get up early to walk, or go after dark. it was really pleasant. the neighborhood near my aunt’s is very well kept. i only needed to watch out for rogue lawn sprinklers that were better aimed at the road and sidewalk than the lawn.

so now i’m back in northern ny. i’m not so worried about being too warm while going for my walk. i worry about the opposite. i wear silk underwear under my clothes, an extra sweatshirt, scarf, mittens, hat. it’s possible that i resemble randy from ‘a christmas story’. . . i am wearing 4 layers on my chest to keep my core warm. and silly me, i bought new shoes for walking in florida. . . but they are no good here. maybe i should get boots, but i’ve never liked boots. i do have very warm socks, so i mostly need to keep out of frozen puddles.

i now wait for the sun to come up for my morning walk. the temperature has fluctuated from 40° F to just about 0° F. i’ve gone each morning but two since i’ve been back. it’s a small town and the snow plows are out often, but the sidewalks aren’t usually the first thing on the list of areas to clear. at times, when trying to stay out of the way of traffic, i’ve been thigh high in well packed snow. (and yes, i’m short, so thigh high for me might just settle on your shin so. . . bleh.)

it’s great when the small plows clear the sidewalks, but sometimes they do a really good job of slicing an inch above the cement leaving this really slick sheet of packed snow which make it treacherous in a different way. as it has gone so far, there’s usually been a decent meltdown with lots of puddles and small rivers and lakes to avoid. . . followed by a freeze, turning all those waterways into icy hellish walkways. . . then of course, a small snow that lightly covers the ice making for a false security of walking on snow that really turns out to be ice. which sends me right back to walking in the street, jumping into banks of snow when traffic appears. ha, not really, i don’t move for those buggers! let ‘em drive ten feet out of their way to avoid me. ok, unless they have ice too, then i’m getting out of the way.

sometimes i get a little psyched to see skidoo paths on my way, since that usually makes for better traction. sometimes the wind is steady. sometimes it’s steady and in my face both ways. that is just totally not fair. so as i’m on the first half with the wind in my face, i comfort myself by thinking that it will be at my back on my return, only to have the wind change, oh! and pick up snow to leave me in a partial white out with only a quarter mile left. i walked in looking like a short snow covered sasquatch.

i’ve run into a friend who mentioned a couple of paths in the woods, but, i am bootless and orangeless. (he’s the same guy that warned me to wear enough orange to alert the hunters.) so i’ll keep to roads for now. . . even though passers-by can watch me flail as my feet give out from under me on the ice, or wonder what i’m saying or who i’m talking so as i mouth along with lyrics. . . or laugh at a podcast. (i discovered a quick solution to this one, scarves can cover half your face, so now when someone says ‘hello’ i just seem completely rude because i can’t hear them and i don’t respond- and they can’t see the headphones buried under all the layers.)

i guess i could come up with some sort of metaphor to align the difficulties in the walk i take to the difficulties and aimlessness of my current life or something like that. but sometimes a walk is just a walk. . .


making maps

i’ve been playing with google maps. i’m trying to make one that tracks interesting places i’ve been. . . very much a work in progess, but here it is.

hmm. . . sort of a travel blog via map.

been there, done that



help.1, originally uploaded by ekissam.

this was an interesting day. i thank my friends who responded with texts that kept me in good spirits.


help.2, originally uploaded by ekissam.


help.3, originally uploaded by ekissam.


help.4, originally uploaded by ekissam.


help.5, originally uploaded by ekissam.


this is your brain

this is your brain, originally uploaded by ekissam.

i actually wish this book was longer. you should read it. . . who ever you are reading this blog. . . you should read this book. it's FANTASTIC. especially if you happen to love music. . . like me. :)


endor?, originally uploaded by ekissam.

got any suggestions for when you've gone for a walk in a park and suddenly look up to find yourself on endor?


degoba?, originally uploaded by ekissam.

or how about when your aunt's back yard turns into degobah?