rik-rat corn pile

Friday, August 31, 2012

1949 Jefferson Nickel.

I bought a bag of Gardettos from the vending machine at work today.  I was excited to find a 1949 nickel in my change.  I proudly showed off my old ass nickel to my coworkers. Those old biddies couldn't give two fucks about this nickel.  They told me it was worth 5 cents.  I told them to suck an egg and went online to find out how much the coin was worth.  To my surprise, this damn nickel is worth 2.8 dollars even when it's in an Über circulated state.  Wonders never cease.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Marigold seeds.

I've been collecting dried marigold blooms all summer long.  Something about this collection is very beautiful.  I can't stop looking at it. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fossils in Iowa: Mahaska County.

The dry weather has hindered my adventures.  It's a sad thing, really.  When rain water doesn't flow through creek beds weeds quickly take over the crevices.  Poor Jane is left standing in sad, weedy mud puddles wondering what happened to all of her wonderful fossils.  I'm a tough cookie, though.  When I decide I'm going to find something I'll do it and I managed to find a few fossils on the Des Moines River this Saturday.  There's a few shell fossils and a pretty nice chunk of coral (i can't take credit for finding that one, my partner in crime did).

It's always neat to find something that is millions of years old.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Artifacts, Iowa. Bird Point.

1.  KP, Mudd, and I went on an artifact hunt ton Saturday. Check out what Kyle found, a perfect birdpoint.    It was hidden in tall weeds and he still managed to sniff it out.

2.  My buddy and her family just got back from an amazing California themed vacation.  They brought me back these wonderful smashed pennies.  This is my first smashed penny that proudly features a bottle of booze!  I'm pretty excited about that.

3. Mudd got a bite of the garden carrots.  Look at that face...awwwwwww.

Friday, August 17, 2012


As if we need another reason to be scared of Spiders, right?  I shot this photo on the 95th floor of the John Hancock Building...apparently spiders are excellent at scaling tall buildings.  I'm sure there's a more logical reason this spider is so freakishly high.  Perhaps the sweetest moths and bugs are attracted to the lights on the tallest buildings.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

President Obama Speaks in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

It all started on Friday.  A little bird told me that President Obama was going to do a few Grassroots events around Iowa.  I needed more information about the rumors and hopped on ol' faithful (Google) to do some cyber sleuthing.  I didn't believe it at first, was President Obama really going to speak in Oskaloosa, Iowa?  It was indeed true.  I did more sleuthing to find out how I could attend the event.  That Saturday I waited for 2.5 hours in the hot, hot, Oskaloosa heat to get my ticket, it was the only way I could be guaranteed entrance.  While in line, I was interviewed by a local news program, I'm at the beginning and at the very end.  To view the interview click on this grey text and be dazzled.

Now here I sit, post speech giddiness is still thick on my breath.  Our president is an amazing orator and I'm proud that he came to this li'l town to talk to the people of Oskaloosa.  Not only did he crack a few jokes but he crammed a lot of important information in his 30 minutes speech.  He spoke of the struggling middle class, higher education, clean energy, taxes, the deficit, job creation, the American dream, family, and the importance of really understanding what each candidate stands for and how their agenda will affect each of us as individuals and as a whole.  I'm an Obama supporter and I feel like I saw something important. 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Peoria, Illinois. I love you.

We hung out with good friends till 2am at the Owl's Nest.

A trip to Peoria isn't complete until you consume a cone at Emo's.

The chandelier looks nice on a glittered ceiling.

Even though the silverware looked water stained our dinner at Sky Harbor was wonderful and brought back all sorts of Peoria memories. 

Our view.

Friday, August 10, 2012

On Nebraska....

Rachel and I woke up in Laramie, Wyoming with the intention of making it to Peoria, Illinois by 1am.  It was supposed to be an "easy" 14 hour drive but ubiquitous road construction made it impossible to move quickly.  Man, it's tough to drive through Nebraska.  It felt like we were stuck in an endless loop of boredom.  We knew that making it to Illinois by 1am wasn't going to happen and decided to stop in Omaha, Nebraska to get a hotel and some grub. 

However, we did see a few cool things on the drive.

1.  a pronghorn antelope.
2.  another pronghorn antelope
3.  two more pronghorn antelope.

I love pronghorn, they're a unique species.  Pronghorn have been clocked running 53 mph,  they're the second fasted land mammal in the world.  It's always a pleasure spotting them on roadsides.  Pronghorn have inspired me to make art and have showed up in many of my paintings and prints (like the woodcut featured above). 

It took awhile but we finally made it to Omaha and checked into a nice/cheap/clean hotel. Google told us that Goldbergs, Burgers, Beer, and Bloody Mary's was the place to be with their consistently good reviews. That place was DELICIOUS!  The Ruben was to die for, the burger was cooked medium rare and was juicy and delicious.  When we finished eating it was time for bed...tomorrow was going to be a big, beautiful day.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Little America, Wyoming.

Road trips take you to interesting places.  Rachel and I were feeling pretty shitty after a 10 hour drive and needed a break.  We happened upon an oasis called "Little America."  I don't know the details about Little America but there were three of them located throughout Wyoming and Nebraska.  My theory?  If you build it, they will come.  Seriously though, how could they not get business?  It was literally the only place that offered anything for 100 miles in either direction.  So, we went and got a decent cup of coffee and some decent hamburgers.  It exceeded my expectations by a full 20%.  There were other funny parts about Little America.  They boasted 50 cent ice cream cones, a little souvenir shop complete with rock kiosk, a hotel.  But my favorite part?  See the photo below
For some strange reason Little America prominently displayed a large, dead emperor penguin.  This stuck me as odd so I did a little investigation.  Turns out that the penguin was a gift to Little America.  A gift that was supposed to arrive to the tourist trap alive.  But the big guy didn't make it, he arrived dead and the tourist trap stuffed him and put him on display.  The locals call him "The Emperor."  The emperor creeped me out.

We really should have gotten a hotel at Little America because en route to Laramie, Wyoming...we ran out of gas right in front of a Sinclair Gas station in the middle of nowhere (run on sentence).  Lucky for us, someone else with AAA insurance did the exact same thing in the exact same spot (at 1am!) and there was a service man servicing them at the location.  Bob was his name, he warned me about gas station rattlesnakes and gave us two gallons of fuel.  Enough to get us to Laramie.  When we got a hotel I made this picture frame art and dedicated it to the patron Saint of Wyoming...our friend, Bob.  Thanks, Bob.  Without you I would have ended up dead on the side of the road in rural Wyoming.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Vacation: Boise.

After a horribly boring 6.5 hour layover in Denver, Colorado, I was finally on my connecting flight to Boise, Idaho where Rachel and I were to meet.  I read up on Boise before leaving Iowa and learned that the city is home to a large population of Basques (read up on the Basques of Boise here http://www.boisebasques.com/). (photo above is the Basque mural located next to the Bank of America)
Rachel and I drove to the hotel, unpacked a our luggage, ate some cookies, and were on our way to enjoying the cultural delights of Boise, Idaho.  We were drinking at a place called "Bar Gernika" when I noticed a spirited light saber war taking place outside.  A bunch of gangly college students were yucking it up in the middle of the road, smacking each other about the face and neck with a well lit party prop.  Soon there were many more gangly, drunk, college students running about.  "What's going on?"  I asked the bartender,

"Why, it's Basque fest! Haven't you heard the news?"

Apparently not.  Apparently not.  Rachel and I had stumbled upon a Basque street party.  Not too shabby.  We walked around the Basque block (featured in the photo above) and watched drunk Boise-ites jump up and down to the tune of an accordion.  It was pretty entertaining to say the least.  I was too tired and horrified to join the rowdy street fair so we walked around the town, took in the sights, and hit another bar.  Soon it was time for bed.
And what better way to nurse a sour beer stomach than with greasy breakfast food?  Thank goodness for Google or else how would I know where to go?  Ask a real person?  Doubt it.  Google told Rachel and I to go to Goldies, it's the place to be for breakfast in Boise.  The restaurant had a great ambiance and an upper and lower dining area.  We sat on the 2nd floor and looked down to see what the patrons were eating.  It looked red.  It appeared to be hash brownish in nature.  It was called "red flannel hash" (beets, potatoes, and bacon cooked like hash browns).  So I tried it, why not?  While enjoying our meal the waiter warned us about beets.  "One time my girlfriend went to the hospital because she forgot that she ate a plate of red flannel hash."  Decoded: Beets make you shit red so don't go to the hospital.  Ugh.  I kind of lost my appetite after that one.  I prefer my waiters to not talk about feces while I'm eating their signature dish but, whatever, the food was great.

Of course there were other wonderful things about Boise, like this sign for instance.  But I can't write about Boise all day or you, the reader, will lose interest.  So, I'll spare you the minute details.  I would recommend a visit to Boise to any Tom, Dick, or Harry.  Wait, wait!  One more place to visit if you go, visit the Record Exchange.  They have excellent tunes and the best espresso I've had in years.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Green River Fish Fossil. Knightia Eocaena

Entrance to the Rock Shop.  So Scary!

Beautiful stuff.
The fossil I purchased at the rock shop.
(Vacation was amazing.  Rachel and I had a wonderful adventure traveling across the United States.  The trip began in Boise, Idaho and ended in Davenport, Iowa at the worst hotel I've ever seen in my entire life.  So, yeah, a wonderful time was had by all and this week will be dedicated to vacation adventures.)

First adventure:  While trying to find a steak house in Evanston, Wyoming, Rachel and I came across a home with ceramic dinosaurs decorating their front lawn.  It was a rock shop called, Antares Fossils and Minerals (antaresfossils.com).  Of course we had to go in, I love me some rock shop.  While paroozing the various sections of the shop I came across this beauty from the Green River Fossil Biota.  The owner of the shop told us that he uncovered the fossil himself at his Green River quarry.  The owner and his crew uncover 30 (each) or more of these Fish fossils every weekend. The quarry is home to possibly the best fossil record of tertiary aquatic communities (of the Eocene, 55 million years ago!) in the world! 

Of course I had to buy one.