Posts Tagged ‘Karl Noyes’

Shaking Hands with the Killer

Tuesday, May 17th, 2011
Me and the Killer

Me and the Killer

I don’t normally comment on the events that pass through the news. I’ve learned from making my mistakes at the Minnesota Daily that it’s almost always a bad idea, a trap to suck your mind down and waste time.

But with the passing today of Harmon Killebrew, a hero here in Minnesota, the root of Roosterhouse country, I did want to say something. It extends back to my teenagerhood, when I was still figuring out things. (Note the mongrelesque picture above).

I shook Killebrew’s hand back then and along with a lot of other people had my picture taken with him. Killebrew’s handshake was the strongest I’ve ever encountered being only comparable to my grandfather’s. My grandfather worked his whole life on the farm, something Killebrew was liable to do in the offseason.

My grandfather is in his 80s an it’s funny how something like the handshake will persist into old age. That strength and being once found isn’t lost. I don’t know. In the digital world (nowland), that appreciation of the physicality of the generations previous is understated and underappreciated. What I learned back then was to have a strong firm handshake. When I shook Killebrew’s hand, I knew “Yeah this guy hits 400-foot home runs AND he’s a good guy. ”

It does amaze me how much of one’s being is transmuted down through the shoulder to the arms, to the wrist to the meeting hands. That disappearing art of touch, the close encounter, on-the-spot confrontation. It’s easy to tell a liar through the handshake. Easier yet to tell someone comfortable in their own skin.

Bill J. Chadwell’s Only Adventure

Saturday, June 12th, 2010



Bill J. Chadwell existed for the duration of a survey conducted by a government official on a porch of residence. He stood in the doorway leaning out to answer questions and leaning back in towards the house to think of answers. If Bill J. Chadwell was 29 years old and born four days in August after the anniversarial date of THEM dropping death on a mostly civilian city in Japan, what year did he have to be born? 1979? 1980? He picked one and later math proved it to be wrong, but the premise was wrong anyhow, because Bill J. Chadwell from birth to death could not have been more than 3 or 4 minutes old.

Bill took other things into consideration. He hoped the nice lady was not reprimanded for Bill’s apparent youth and inability to figure numbers. He also hoped that somehow, Bill J. Chadwell would firmly exist in THEM’s mind/matterwork. That a manhunt would be conducted, that an extraordinary amount of energy was expelled in efforts to prove whether or not Bill J. Chadwell existed. Hell, Bill was halfway to trying to figure that out himself before the screen door closed and the lady with a pen and paper descended the three steps up to the porch.

Roosterhouse Roadtrip : Journal Entry 7

Friday, October 2nd, 2009

Boxher Rebellion

Boxher Rebellion


New Players:
Abdul and Ramone
Construction Paper Hallucinations

Destination: Minneapolis

We stayed with Sarah in her Western Case Reserve University dorm setup after attending the Heartless Bastards show in Oberlin. Sarah was handing out boxes of colored condoms and that was how we came to meet her. She is a transplant from St. Louis studying international relations on her way to becoming an advocate for rape victims.

We stayed up until 4 am exchanging stories, discussion following the line of couchsurfing, roadtrips, the DIY house scenes in Madison, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Duluth and complaints about the assholery of the band Highlife. There is a nourishing positivity about Sarah and we can only hope she stops by Minnesota on one of her travels.

After hanging out with Sarah, we explored some of the thrift and antique stores in Cleveland finding a few rolls of undeveloped film and some eeky backalley beer toughs selling stained glass ripped out of churches.

The Detroit leg of the trip was cancelled which meant a 15 hour zip to Minneapolis on Interstate 90/94. I drove, consuming a cold can of Red Bull every three hours. Emily drinking what amounted to a jetpack cannister of lollipop flavored fizz which seemed to keep one awake by keeping them on the edge of nausea. Joe passed in and out of consciousness in the backseat.

We picked up hitchhikers Abdul and Ramone in the early a.m.’s because they had been pulled over by traffic patrol and forced to abandon their vehicle. We brought them back finding that they roamed the same neighborhoods in Minneapolis that we did. We wished them luck on their drive to Chicago.

The energy drinks make for chatterbox conversation. Why did we do the work we do? Chuck Close. The fascination with lines and image and context gradually swaying over to our own lives and the stories in the roots, in the veins: why our parents are the way they are. Money and breaks. And finally to love, what was it, what defined it, what made it feel so important and how something could feel so defined and undefined at the same time. To be at a loss for one’s self. The duality, the reality that everything is both alive and dead, fast and slow, real and unreal, human and inhuman and that the passions that govern all of us are within and without us, in our control and without it. Finally, “I don’t know.”

And somehow behind all of this some element of elegant guidance, like the tilt-a-whirl at the amusement parks round and round out of control but it sure was fun. And the roadtrip was certainly an element in it, a drive for something older, film, people, real people who shook your hand and listened and got drunk with you and pointed out constellations they thought were there.

And after four or five hours of conversation like this of things only understood in the shadows and the strange alignment that shadows allow, passengers curl up in their blankets sleeping on their hands. The driver is left to explore the wordless bands of am radio. These tunings sounding like wounded robot birds droning up and around what one imagines Venus to sound like in its canyons.

After fifteen hours of driving the only boundaries one has is the speed of the vehicle and the chattering white lines. Between the lines there is a dull sense of comfort, outside the lines small pangs of anxiety. Eventually the distance ahead tears into scraps of construction paper, light fuzzed edges, layered on each other in hues of black and blue-black. This until the realization that this wasn’t Tomah or some other fill station town but Minneapolis itself, in words, some part of home.

Roosterhouse Roadtrip : Journal Entry 4

Sunday, September 27th, 2009



New Players:

Location: Monongahela National Forest, West Virginia

The police pulled us over in Petersburg, West Virginia clocking a 27 mph in a 25 mph zone. We left with warnings and directions to the Big Bend Campground in the Monongahela National Forest.

It had taken us about an hour to drive the winding roads to the campgrounds. At a faster pace the photo processor and printer bouncing in the trailer would have made mediocre firewood. At the entrance to the grounds, Ginnie a wiry woman, bobbed hair, studded ears, and cigarettes waved us down. She seemed to emerge from a space of conversation reserved for partners that have long been together, a comfort closely paralelling and perhaps aligning with and being happiness. Physically the space was a fire, a golfcart, a camper, tents and Glen.

The campground was deserted except for one other campgroup and the caretakers Glen and Ginnie. Emily, Joe and I spent the night of the 22nd pitching the tent and passing a bottle of wine and smoking around the fire. Topics of conversation: the trip, direction of Roosterhouse, the stars in the bowl above us, the loonlike calls of the West Virginian screech owl.

On the 23rd, from her golfcart Ginnie pointed out a peak above us on the skyline. The sundried beige point jutted out from fall turning trees and seemed to overlook the entirety of the park. She gave us directions, we repeated them and she parroted and again we parroted her.

“We’re tent campers” Ginnie had told us, meaning they lived in the park year round emerging for supplies and breakfasts at Mallow’s and Traditions 15 miles away.

Glen is a largish man with a white fur chest on tanned skin and like Ginnie in his 60s. Glen’s hands are soft and he wears glasses to read the minimalist rules of the park to us. Their kids visit them in the park and had been practically raised there, pulling fish out of the rivers and blowing sycamore leaves off of the paths.

Emily, Joe and I set out for the peak an hour before sunset on the 23rd walking along the South Branch Potomac River and then past a 19th century picket fence gravesite. From there we went straight up the mountain having to rest four or five times on shale outcroppings. The angle of the mountain steep enough to cause every stone dislodged by our steps to roll down towards the gravesite.

The mountains in West Virginia are not the mountains of Colorado but rather really steep hills that typically block out a third of the sky. They are covered with trees: oaks, sycamores, pines, and at their base junctures tiny streams carry leaves away. The topography of West Virginia makes driving an entertainment, a back and forth, speed up and slow down pace with plenty of blind curves and unmarked pavement. Other than the mountains the scenery consisted of black cattle and dilapidated trailer homes. Locals have a tendency to stare and hold conversations by their trucks at the end of their driveways. The people have a character that is much their own.

At the top of mountain we found a farmstead that without truck paths and mowed yard would have appeared completely deserted. We turned back and spent some time climbing trees and admiring the vista. The day was already a light grey darkness and we abandoned plans of finding the peak along the ridgeline. This was the top of this particular mountain and we left satisfied at that.

From there it was straight down the mountain knowing that the river was below. We spent the next few hours clinging to trees or falling to them until it was obvious that the best way to climb down a mountain was to not climb. This meant sitting in a rowing position. According to preference you tucked one leg under you or not and you slid. Slid down around trees, over stones, slid on dry layers of leaves down, bumping down and landing on soft beds of leaves three or four feet thick.

We slid in the darkness only using the flashlight to inspect the occasional ridge that dropped twenty or thirty feet. A fall off one of these meant being impaled on dead branches and a stoning even Jesus would not have approved of. Nothing compares to mountain sliding. You dug your heals in plowing paths before you, filling your bags with leaves, collecting scratches and bruises along the way. You had some control braking with branches and you had just enough sight to discern trees from space.

We found the river and soaked ourselves in it and crossed it. We then tramped across paths and over fallen wood trespassing and untrespassing. No moonlight guided us. We considered sleeping in the woods until morning. We backtracked and recircled. We were lost. We followed the river and then Emily spotted a sign across the river but was forced to retreat by a large mouldy brown eel. But she had to cross anwyay and did so skittering across it like a water spider.

From there it was camp and then fire, counting bruises and roasting marshmallows.

Roosterhouse Roadtrip: Journal Entry 1

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Useless Record : More Dirty Dancing (Girl Quantified)

Useless Record : More Dirty Dancing (Girl Quantified)

09.20.09 – 09.21.09

Departure: 9, 10, or 11 pm from Hard Times Cafe, Minneapolis, MN


Destination: Mineral Wells, West Virginia.
Objective: Retrieve Thermaphot Photographic Print Machine and Ilford Cibachrome Film Processor

Somewhere along Highway ET in Wisconsin it became apparent we were on the road on some bastard of a time trip. Picking up photographic equipment whose heyday coincided with the early years of the Clinton administration. This was old stuff, chemicals. Use might require a breathing mask. At least ventilation.

Vehicle: Black Toyota 279,000 miles on its heart
Music: Black Angels, Black Joe Louis and the Honey Bears, Furious Five
And… some righteous obliteration of pop music, music shredded and the jagged scraps soldered together recalling some vague memory of a dream’s dream.

And those late hours on treadmill highways headed east. The reason for it all was put into a neat two line dialogue. “Is that digital?” some patron of the arts would ask. “No, it’s real,” the photographer would reply.
Digital vs. film, that argument, one already dead by the numbers. What’s real these days? Film, that kook of a material, certainly could be real but bring it to the pharmacy and some where along the line the reality is lost in the translation. At least according to Holly, the photo specialist at the local grocery. She gave us a tour of the photo lab, developed film and made pictures before our eyes, and the non-magic behind the curtain turned out to be some nimrod computer pecking away at bits. The crucial point lay in that the negatives are optically scanned (turned into digital images) and then printed onto paper. No contact paper. No magic of chemistry and the interaction of light. Just a copymachine interpreter with higher end rouges.

Minneapolis, Madison, Chicago, Indianapolis, Louisville lay behind us. Another tool to be acquired for Roosterhouse, another attempt at preserving an aesthetic, a process of color that shouldn’t be as Holly claimed it was to be “relegated to third world countries.”