Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Textured Tuesday: Tan Days of Summer

These dried flowers give a general impression 
of what summer has been like for much of the country.
However, I was pleased to see the delicate
lines and shapes the dry weather has revealed
to my otherwise oblivious eye.
If sea urchins went to visit the Midwest,
this is what they'd look like.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Semi Interested

Thursday afternoon, the NASCAR haulers were parked along 
Main Street in Speedway, a display of polished chrome,
corporate graphics and pure power. They were so closely parked
that the reflection of one bounced off the flank of its partner,
creating unintended, shimmering images.

 Most people came to see the trucks that hauled their favorite driver's cars,
while children came to see all the big trucks, and some little big boys,
accompanied by their equally enthralled fathers sons, 
came to check out the engines that power these gorgeous beasts.

The Caterpillar engine belongs to a red semi tractor that served 
as the flag bearer for the parade. The lug nuts on its wheels
are matched by some of the same on the engine. Damn.
Work-a-day truck it is not, though it definitely earns its living as a
rolling corporate showpiece, as do all the others.

Most of the extra bits used to customize the vehicles 
I've seen sold in the larger truck stops and supply stores, making
the grids and lights available to any man with the interest
and money to outfit his rig in similar fashion. A lot of the
auxiliary lighting, hidden away in nooks and crannies of vents
and arrayed over the edges of the trailers, is to make the
vehicle more visible at night.

I'd say there's virtually no excuse for ever saying 
"I didn't see it coming," nor for not
hearing its horns.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Walk to the Track ... and Back

As you can see, I had a "post position" for this shot 
of the sports car race Friday afternoon. The fencing,
steel cable and poles are all there for safety concerns,
but after having spent 20 years at the track in spots
unimpeded by the poles, it's frustrating to not be able
to take nice action shots of the racing.

On the way, I passed campers in the Coke Field, inhabiting 
everything from tents, trailers, made-over buses
and RVs of various sizes. I figured the people who have
this RV were doing their part to help women who
might not have health insurance, avoid
the expense of routine health exams.
How very, er, thoughtful.

About 30 minutes after the start of the sports car race, 
a massive plume of black smoke arose behind
the grandstand outside Turn One. I went to the top
tier of seats to see what was going on and saw
a structure fully engulfed in flames. In addition to providing
facilities for RVs, the site is a trailer park 
where people have homes. I later found out
that the air conditioner on an older RV is believed
to have overheated, starting the fire. No one 
was inside the vehicle, probably at the track,
so no one was lost or injured.

After the storms broke up and moved out of the area, 
the sun returned, bringing its best friend, humidity.
School is out for the summer, leaving this vast expanse of
the parking lot at Speedway High School, to absorb
the heat and reflect the glare from the early evening sun.

As I got closer to home, I walked through the park
where I found the playground full of little kids,
swarming all over the slides, swings, and climbing wall.
One of the soccer fields was being used
for a game by boys and men, while the other
corner was the scene of a sandlot softball game,
with teams made up of young men and women
of varying ages - teens to twenties. I was invited to play,
but whatever athleticism I had has become 
a white turd, spent and annoying.

The odd thing, which I think is most telling about the
changes over the past several years, is that virtually everyone
I saw in this neighborhood park was Hispanic.
A few African American families were present, but 
only one or two Caucasian kids dotted the mix.
This was not an accurate representation
of the neighborhood's population, for sure,
but more a reflection of the economic resources
available to the people who live here.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Some Rain

I spent Friday afternoon at the Speedway watching
a new addition to the weekend's annual NASCAR events -
sports car racing on the track's road course.
After three months with virtually no rain, the afternoon
was interspersed by heavy showers.
Luckily, these cars will race in the rain and did so,
with a number of tire changes, alternating
between drys and wets.
The above picture was taken at the same creek bed
I showed a few days ago, only today it has water in it,
enough to reflect the trees from which the
brown leaves have already fallen.

All the Pretty Colors

People started to come early afternoon to settle in a shaded 
spot on Main Street to see the annual parade of
NASCAR haulers. Displays were set up to show various
organizations' offerings; there was a stage with a country band
as well as a company offering cremation services for pets.

And then one could hear the sirens as the police and fire department
 escorts led the contingent of 50-odd semis up Main Street where the trucks
parked two abreast and nose to tail so admirers of all shapes and ages
 could walk among them to visit and take pictures for their 
scrap books and their friends.

There were so many nice pictures to take and I probably missed 
two-thirds of them. I get so enthralled by the beautiful
graphics, bright colors and polished chrome, I forget other
things. A local car club brought their street rods, made up primarily
of late 1940's Fords, it seems, so I was reminded of a 50's
era used car lot. The Dallara factory has just opened
across the street, with an interactive display showing the 
construction processes of their racing cars, and another company
was offering rides around Speedway in either an 
Indy two-seater or NASCAR automobile. 
Of course, more pictures to come. 

Thursday, July 26, 2012


This picture was taken July 15, not even a month into summer. 
The leaves are already tired and falling from the trees
to the point that natural resources people are
concerned that some trees may die if they don't get rain soon.
The time on my monitor reads about twenty of nine
in the evening and the temperature is 100 degrees.

Here, a portion of the creek that runs south,
parallel to the track, is usually wet with 
sufficient water to support a few tiny fish and
a couple ducks with their broods of ducklings,
grazing along the banks, eating bugs and grass.
This year, as you can see, nothing.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Jasper Johns in Speedway

So far, I've been unable to find the Roman numerals 
I thought were so evocative of Jasper Johns' work. These numbers 
were spray painted onto a section of concrete traffic barrier placed
along Crawfordsville Road during construction work.
I'm certain they mean something to the workmen responsible
for grading, laying the foundation, and paving the road bed, but they
mean nothing to me, except as color and pattern in an odd place.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Textured Tuesday: Prepping the Wall

Since it has been so hot this season, I try to leave the house 
fairly early - generally around seven in the morning.
These guys beat me, though; they had started
their shift at 10 p.m. and were coming to the end of their
work day. Over the years, I've noticed a lot of highway crews
working through the night. 'Though still hot the temps
are tolerable, without the glare of the sun.

They had repaired holes in the stucco surface, puttied over gouges, 
and cleaned the surface. The men, for the most part, work in anonymity,
unaccustomed to nosy women asking about their work.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Sunset Light Lights

For a brief second, the area got a respite from the heat 
Thursday evening in the form of a couple days of clouds and showers.
Afterwards the sunset was reflected in beautiful colors off
the clouds. The rain, however, was soaked up so quickly by the
ground that almost no sign of it was to be found afterwards.

Northeast of Indy, a thunderstorm dropped water on earth 
so parched there was virtually no runoff into 
the White River to raise its water level.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

On an Island

Mercifully, the past few days gave us a break in the drought
the area has been enduring for the past two months - just a small break,
though, because the weather has been forecast to return to high 90's
to 100's temperatures next week. Damn.

In the meanwhile, I was scheduled to join the Indigenous Artist
for dinner at the IMA Indy Island. The price for admission
was to bring an entree, side dish, or dessert for dinner.
I interpreted that as "enough for yourself, the artist,
and the other two guests." I made up a recipe from a post
on Small Glass Planet and sliced up a few oranges and 
cucumbers for a salad of sorts - something cool 
and refreshing because of the heat.

The above picture of the artist I've come to think of as Didge, 
(AKA A. Bitterman) shows his typical posture whenever his picture is taken.
He does not speak, but has a system of signals one can use to
communicate with him. He's been on the Island and the museum
grounds all month, with his residency ending after this
coming week.

I was joined by two other women for a boat ride
to the Island with the Artist, where he underwent a magic
transformation, suddenly acquiring the ability to speak.
And speak quite well, too, on how most humans do not regard
themselves as a part of nature, seeing trees and animals as
something separate from our existences in our little
"civilized" world, not acknowledging our place in the
greater scheme of things.

For those people who view the artistic 
community as a bunch of artsy flakes, who do not 
recognize artists as involved and caring people, 
with well-considered opinions about affairs of the world,
I suggest you visit with A. Bitterman at Indy Island.
The exhibit he has installed on the grounds of IMA's
100-Acre Park is both funny and thought-provoking. 

The grounds of the Museum and the 100-Acre wood are dense 
with greenery and the shade takes many degrees off the
glare of the hot sun. Don't just visit, make a point of returning
to the place where we all belong.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

I'm Tahr'd

I didn't sleep at all well last night. 
Consequently, I am on my way to bed.
For nearly fifty days, this area has received
no rain. Last night, as I got off the bus,
I was greeted by a rain shower, a thunderstorm,
actually. The rain swam away from its mom
and ran to me for nurturing.
I now just want to go to bed. 

Friday, July 20, 2012


I could not resist these beautifully colored scribbles, describing 
the various utilities' paths along Lynhurst Drive. In a bit of time,
the crews digging and cutting through the sidewalks and
roadbed will know exactly where they can place the points of
their scoops and shovels -- or not.

For the past couple years, crews have been laying new sewage line 
throughout the Town of Speedway. These marks have, I understand, 
a universally understood code for the colors. 
Guess which one blue identifies?

Thursday, July 19, 2012


Where grocery carts go to die, a wiry pyre of
discarded baskets set in an oxidizing disarray. Their gray
enamel skins scratched and bodies distorted
 from daily battles with shoppers who left them 
to drift aimlessly across the parking lot, 
perhaps colliding with a Camry
or a an old pick-up truck.

Inside the store, in front of shoppers' eyes,
they'd previously been aligned in pornographic
daisy chains. Nested deeply inside each other, only to be
torn apart by rough human hands, they'd roll through the store
to be filled up with the meager menu of a retiree
on a fixed income; the corpulent excesses of white bread, 
potato chips, macaroni and cheese, Ding-Dongs;
or the makings of an alcoholic stupor.

Even here, one can find gawkers 
straggling about the edges of the death scene,
while back at the store, a lonely cart has
been tipped against the wall, knocked off his
wheels at the loss of so many of his friends,
discarded at the first appearance of a flattened 
wheel or wiggly caster. With a patch of rust along his flank, 
how long will it be before he's similarly "downsized" 
to the pyre of obsolescence?


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Morning Quiet

Early Tuesday morning, while waiting for the bus on a busy street,
I found two scenes of quiet and calm. As the traffic rumbled
towards downtown, one man found a bit of peace
rowing on the Central Canal, while another walked
towards town, bordered by a row of sunlit trees.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Textured Tuesday: Gutter Stripe

How does this happen?
There was the bare cement surface along 
the edge of the paved street. Then there was a stripe
of asphalt laid on top. How? Why?
It was surely coated with tar when it was laid
and, over the years has become worn.
revealing the white stones.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Time with Gran'pa

The sky was overcast this morning, which was a good thing, 
as I wanted to walk out early to avoid the heat of the day.
I started out at about 8, a bit later than I'd intended,
but as it was, it turned out to be just right.
If I'd left earlier I might have missed Jerry, deep in
conversation with his one-year-old grandson, Brady,
as they sat on the front porch of their home a
couple blocks from where I live.

I worked up the courage to ask permission
to take their picture, and Jerry was kind enough to agree.
It's easy to see the loving bond between the man,
the child and their dog, Buddy. 
I am pleased to have made their acquaintance. 

Sunday, July 15, 2012


These shots were taken on the same day, 
within a quarter mile of each other.

I don't know that Speedway was the birthplace of the 
"show us your titties" signs that show up each 
race season, in various modes and media, 
but the local vets decided to make the best of it.
All three are women, so they definitely
have senses of humor.

The Roller just seemed to appear from nowhere, 
complete with right-hand drive and uniformed chauffeur.
In a world of look-alike cars, I recognized it immediately
I spotted its approach on the main road.
Definitely out of place in this working class town,
was the driver on his way to a wedding? A vintage car
show? Before I could ask, he was gone.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Family Portrait

Thursday morning, during my bus ride to work, 
I met these two little girls with their mother, 
on their way to day care.

They were good little girls and it was clear 
their mama cared for and loved them.

Friday, July 13, 2012

I Wanna ... I Wanna ...

... I wanna car.
It's been a mantra for as long as I've been able to drive.
But why? With all of its associated expenses
I've never really had the money to support a car. 
Besides, all I really want it for is long trips, 
not the daily commute. These trips, though inconvenient and 
time-consumimg have actually been enriching,
allowing me to stay in contact with the world.
The bus was full of people going to work, 
coming from work, or going to classes.
Thursday morning, these two young women
were going over their homework assignments for
their nursing classes, while nearby a woman
with her two young children were on their
way to enroll in daycare. 

All of us, the driver and all of his passengers, are among the 99%,
trying to make our way through our day with honor, 
working to achieve dreams that just involve a roof over our heads
and food and clothes for the kids, and without whom the
other 1% could not survive.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

On a hot afternoon, this waitress chose the only quiet spot 
to smoke and check her text messages, in the alley
between the building and a delivery truck.
I think, if people could, they'd be lying under the trees
like dogs, on their sides trying to cool their bellies,
suit jackets and ties askew, attache' cases carelessly
flung down. Oh, yeah, that's what bars are for, where
the people lap up martinis and beer.

The temperatures have finally broken, and are down 
to a more "seasonal" 80 to 85 degrees,
rather than the previous 90 to 105 degrees.
However, we are still enduring drought conditions
with no relief soon. The grass is turned to
straw, the corn crops are endangered, which means there
is less food for cattle, as well as endangering
other food crops.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Putting on a Good Face

The older homes in Speedway have been undergoing 
a revival in recent years. When I moved here in the late
1970's, the town was nice, comfy and had good schools but
many of the houses looked dowdy in their faded, 
dull vinyl or aluminum siding and chipped paint. 
Slowly they began to change,as though 
someone discovered "good bones" beneath 
the ill-fitting wardrobes. The place has become 
brighter, and the houses are beginning to show bright
individuality, even with welcoming trees.