29 August 2009

I'll see your astronaut and raise you an Abe Lincoln

All anyone could talk about was the Fair this, the Fair that, I hit it with a wiffle ball bat. Last week I was lucky to experience, for my first time, the Illinois State Fair for free (thanks, Donnie!). I wanted nothing more than to lay eyes upon the butter cow. I don't know why, but the thought of looking at a lifesize cow sculpted out of butter seemed intriguing. I found out from KBO that Iowa's state fair not only had a butter cow (with its own facebook page), they had a butter astronaut, too.

We had a butter Abe Lincoln.

Actually, it was a whole scene carved out of butter. There were three butterflies, an odd leg on the milking stool, a mouse, The Liberty Bell, three wood splitting tools (wedge, mallet, axe), a kitten, a snake, a wooden milking bucket, a small pile of rocks and a large pile of rocks (and of course, this was all listed on a sign).

Poor Abe, from the looks of the butter sculpture, he had a weak chin. Maybe that's why he moonlighted as a giant axe murderer.

Axe Murderer Abe

I stared at this tall and skinny 30-foot anomaly, doing my best to examine it from many angles and all I could imagine was the sky growing dark and this booming voice, laughing maniacally BWAH-AH-AH-AH-AAHHH. And this creepy statue is right next to the welcome sign for the Senior Center. How welcoming.

I digress. Back to the butter sculpture.

What surprised me most is how anatomically correct this butter cow was. I really thought it was going to be smooth like a Barbie doll, but nope, it had a functioning butthole. Okay, I doubt it functioned, but check this out:

Surprise! It's a GIRL butter cow!


I spent at least ten minutes envisioning some artist wearing a maroon beret and white lab coat, laboring over this butter cow's nether regions, meticulously examinging photos of cow butts in a feverish effort to recreate its likeness almost too realistically.

Nobody warned me. After I explained my surprise to a Springfield local, he said: "Oooh, I forget that you aren't from here. Along with, 'Don't stare into the sun' and 'Don't spit into the wind,' remember 'Don't glance at the butter cow for more than a few seconds.'"

NOW you warn me.

Besides the two Abes and one butter butthole, what else did the fair have to offer?

Surprisingly, you could find out if you were going to get into heaven. That's right folks, it merely took a stop at the God Mobile and by answering two simple questions you will know if you've been a good little boy or girl and are getting in to heaven. This, of course, takes place after a visit to the neighboring stand for a corndog, hotdog or hamburger and a cold drink.

Are you going to heaven?

The Sky Lift offered great views. It was a little scary listening to the sounds of the cables creak and squeak while carrying each little seat through the air and bobbing up and down, swaying back and forth. It was hard not to notice that the fairgrounds were mostly empty, but I think that was because it was Republican Day (and it was a Thursday).

View from the Sky Ride

There was a nice variety of rides that all looked super sweet and of which I rode none.

Not the best photo, but those swings looked fuuuuunn

Besides the readily available corndogs, cotton candy, salt water taffy made before your very eyes, sno cones and the beloved lemon shake up, fried anything is available at the fair. Fried mushrooms. Fried cheese curds. Fried green tomatoes. Fried Oreos. Fried Twinkies. Fried Snickers. Fried Hot Fudge Sundae. Fried cheesecake. Fried Key Lime Pie. I heard all about fried Pepsi but I never came across the stand that sold it.

The fried cheese curds were freaking amazing


And damn, that fried cheesecake.

Fried cheesecake

With chocolate sauce drizzled over it.

Fried cheesecake with chocolate syrup


I had no idea fried cheesecake was so deee-lish.

As the woman handed it to me she exclaimed in her best carnivaly/step-right-up voice, "I cut your cheesecake in two, INstantly transforming it into a finger food!" Thanks, lady.

Now get me my stretchy pants.

Listening to: R. Kelly - Thoia Thoing

27 August 2009

I scream, you scream, we all scream... for pizza!

If you are ever curious about my ethnicity, it is half-genius, half-eeediot. I may have said that before, but I'll never know because I'm related to Forgetful Jones.

I mean, how difficult is it to cook a frozen pizza.

Step 1: Look on the package to see what temperate your pizza requires.

Step 2: Turn oven on and set it to the temperature you discovered during Step 1.

Step 3: (Optional and from what I can tell, this is unique to me) Bust that frozen pizza in half over the edge of your counter.

Step 4: Remove pizza from its packaging.

Step 5: Place the pizza directly on the oven rack or on some sort of pan, whatever.

Step 6: (Optional.) Set a timer so you don't burn your pizza. The recommended time will be on the packaging near where you found the temperature at which you need to cook the pizza.

Step 7: Somehow, without burning yourself, remove the pizza from the oven. (Virtually every time I remove anything from the oven, I burn myself just a little bit; therefore, I cannot offer any sort of advice on how to successfully fool around inside a hot oven without getting hurt. Advice wanted. And yes, I am aware of potholders.)

Step 8: Let it cool for a minute or two.

Step 9: Cut that bad boy.

The pizza is now ready to serve to your dinner guests.

Recently I screwed up somewhere around steps 4 and 5.

The proper way to cook a pizza

I removed the pizza from the oven, set it on the stove next to...

the crust.

That's right, I managed to cook the pizza sans crust.

Cheese and toppings only for this Top Chef.

Listening to: Jamie Foxx featuring Ludacris - Unpredictable

PS - if you're wondering why the crust is in two pieces, see Step 3.

17 August 2009

The lady upstairs

Many times I hear my upstairs neighbors. Someone is yelling, but I can't make out the words. Things are being slammed around. I hear heavy stomping. I hear someone yell and then leave, exit the building and slam the door, only to return and stomp upstairs and begin yelling again. This happens all the time, almost every day. But I never see these people.

Tonight, I was on my way out the door with Nico. A woman approached me from the laundry room and introduced herself. She said she's seen me around and that she wanted to meet my dog. She went on to say how good Nico is because she never hears a peep from her the entire day.

I asked which apartment she lived in and she simply pointed up.

Her eyes welled with tears as she began apologizing for all the noise coming from her apartment. She clutched her chest and muttered broken words, "My daughter. We fight."

I could see the anguish in her eyes, in her body language, in her everything. We stood in the stairwell - her apologizing to me, me assuring her there is no reason to apologize - and my heart was breaking for her. As she fought back tears I gave her my name and asked for hers. I finally said, "Jo Anne, if you ever need anything, ever, just to talk, just to step out for a moment, knock on my door." (As I said this, I was thinking, wow, that could help me into an awkward, uncomfortable or maybe even dangerous situation.)

Jo Anne went back and forth between wiping her eyes and clutching her chest. She slowly explained, "I'm sorry. It's just, just, so hard. And I don't know- I can't- I'm- it's a lot- It's so much to deal with-"

While I said, "it's okay, Joanne," in my heart I knew things weren't okay. I offered, again, for her to come by sometime to talk or just get out for a bit.

She slowly shook her head up and down and replied. "God bless you in Jesus Christ's name. ...you're one swingin' chic."

And then I walked out the door.

Listening to: Nil8 - Stone Thrower

06 August 2009

Two and Two-hundred

Today marks two years since I started blogging.

Also, this is post number two hundred.

And here's a photo of that mosaic project I've been working on. I've only completed phase one, as I need to grout the tiles and paint the wood. I have no idea what color I want to do either, so I think I'll start another tiling project and worry about grout and paint colors when I have a few projects at that stage.

Mosaic Serving Tray

Listening to: Mike Jones - Back Then

03 August 2009

Creativity on hiatus

I'm putting the self-portrait project on hiatus. I've been feeling less than creative for a while now. I seem to have a hard time coming up with anything more than a picture of my hands or feet, me driving, or me holding a handwritten sign. I think I officially stopped two or three days ago; I haven't even posted the last few weeks worth of photos, but I'll get to that soon.

I believe my creativity is drained between finishing my last class, trying to figure out a way to get the rest of my belongings to my apartment, coming up with something cool to do in my pottery class (not happening), and then my quest to acquire dishes to break and then turn into a mosaic. I literally have bought more than 90 plates at random thrift stores near me. In fact, on Saturday I was recognized in two different Salvation Army locations. One person called me an Artist, which I thought was kind of cool, although I don't think of myself as an Artist.

Okay, back to breaking dishes. I'm almost finished with this first tray I've been working on.

I have a lot more than this completed, I'm just too lazy tired to take a photo, put it on my computer, adjust the color or whatever, then upload it to my blog. I already have this one from a week or so ago.

Listening to: Modest Mouse - Dashboard


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