Thursday, November 29, 2007


Finally my cecum is done screeching great whelps of joy, or perhaps sorrow, upon refilling with unholy foodstuffs. It is curious to me how my gut can feel normal most of the time and then when I get these gross tests to see if anything is wrong with me, the prep for said tests makes me feel sicker than the actual sickness (which I may or may not have), would. I do indeed have a little cold but as soon as I ate I started feeling much much better. Of course, Jell-O doesn't really heal anything. The cold isn't gone but should be by the time I am drowning in a hospital gown again next week.

enterprising © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Today I am bundled ala Artic Explorer, with no less than three layers of clothing on most parts of my person. This last weekend gave us our first snowfall and today we are having something resembling a small snowstorm but it has petered out already. Before I had the chance to take out my new baby for a stroll in it. I dove headlong into purchasing another major bit of equipment in less than 6 months. 5D. Mine. Now.

It is larger than my face even without a battery grip. It will take some getting used to, though when I worked on Sarah Beaver's stylist portfolio this last summer and shot with one, it was deeeeeelightful. If nothing else, I feel like I have an enormous penis and will not be threatened by anyone's equipment. Less excuses on my part. And hopefully more work.

santa clara
santa clara © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

As much as I love winter, I have a deep-seated fear of giving bad gifts and the misery associated with the holiday at large. I can handle the family mingling and stuffings, the traffic, the congested stores, even the music.... but awkward company holiday parties boost the Dread Level up to near yearly review heights. This might be an inflammation of the hermit, especially since the one coworker I once had in earshot has moved to a desk where I can neither see nor hear him. So, like when I first started working here, I am once again basically alone in the attic, kept company only by the occasional ring of the phone.

underpinnings © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

To reduce the need to actually go to a store and shop with intention of making progress towards gifting I did ALL of my shopping online and in two days. And my gift for Mr. D, (which we will actually 'share'), actually has me kind of ....ok, practically beside myself. It will require a day trip and some finagling, which I think will come post-holidays. The combination of this and our pending New Yearsish road trip, which will take us across the Canadian border if there is no snow, or back down south, echoing last year, leaving the snow to pelt our backs. While we cannot avoid the second wave of Fattacks completely, we can buffer ourselves by tempering them with live-on-the-slim escapades. West Virginia.... maybe, Kentucky? And perhaps spend a touch more time in Delaware, which is not technically The South, just south in relation to where I stand. But full of truly bizarre things with no sales tax. I've witnessed the vast array of flea marketry via friend's photographic escapades, but can they match the magic of a place like Renninger's that has an auction where the bids go down and down to $0.50 before people will consider biting.... more of a garage sale with a fast-talking announcer? Expect a full report.

mothership © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Tomorrow, if the roads are no longer mirror-slick, I will be wrapping up my shooting for the recent editorial photo job.... taking me to the farthest polar ends of the Philly suburbs. Though it remains a little challenging, I am still really into the assignment. Tonight, I must rub the brain cells furiously together to think of interesting things to do in the dark with my tall dark stranger camera. I will try to avoid putting absurd objects, curtains etc, on my head. No promises.

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Monday, November 26, 2007

the quick and the fast.

In stark contrast to the normal holiday-time consumption, today is juice fast day, preparation for tomorrow's party in my pants. My boss chose today as the day to take the office to lunch to celebrate a coworker's birthday. I am mustering the juice to go and sit at a table of food I cannot eat. Or the juice to say I really don't want to go. Mostly the latter. I went to the local Crapme once when fasting and just about lost my mind, as every time I lost focus on why I was there, buying soap or somesuch, I would get lost in weird food fantasies about food I don't even like much. Oh lawdy, kaiser rolls, how golden your fluffy flavors must be! Please just come rest on my tongue for a minute, I promise to bite!

mediium © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Without going into detail, last week's foray into Central PA was dramatic to say the least. Everyone in the broad family circles managed to escape the grip of death, which considering the amount of ambulance rides and car failures, was no easy task. Likewise Mr. D and I managed to consume an absolute minimum of edible evil, though it required a late night trek on Thanksgiving night to a (cringe) 24-hour Walmart to procure fruits and things of a whole-grainy nature to fill massive dietary chasms left by pork fat, cheese, heavy cream and crisco.

I am distracted now by the stomach which has started making withered creaking noises. More juice! More writing!

respiro © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

To escape the hammer of fat from coming down squarely upon us, we spent as much time out of the house as possible. Which included frolicking in the crimson leaves in the yard and a visit to that favorite Poorest Town in Pennsylvania, Shamokin. The land of infinite bizarre architectural possibility. The yokels must have been caught up under the girth of Thanksgiving bellies, unable or willing to come out of their homes, because not one person harassed us for taking photos.

interpretive architecture
interpretive architecture © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Aside: After making some 15 phones calls, most of them today, to people who were fairly to completely useless, I have finally been able to determine that my medical referral for my insurance company is 'in the system' at the hospital it is supposed to be at. Every time I go to this hospital it seems five people must lose or ignore the referral prior to it actually getting put in the system. Thankfully I have only pulled part of my hair out in an inconspicuous place. Love my insurance. Carry on

Next to that aside:I just got word that I am being commissioned to build a wall for an editorial piece in a local magazine. I am squealing like a wee little girl.

underpinnings © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Next to the nearby aside's aside: I just got a call back from the doctor to say there will be no party in my pants until you are done with your cold, see you on December 14th. I think I may have to try writing this when there is a little smaller frenetic whirlwind going on around me. Commence eating! I will return to finish this thought with another entry soon!

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Saturday, November 17, 2007


Oh the vast secrets doctors keep. Those wiley, legalized villains. Just like auto mechanics. You bring this confusing broken machinery to them and they tell you they can fix it, but they don't always feel the need to really explain. Anything. Until after the fact. Or maybe ever.

seek © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

I'm on a streak it seems. I am completely incapable of asking the right questions so that I find out what I need to know. Every ball is then a curve ball. When the doc wound up to pitch this week, he starts off by telling me to take my business off, which would follow the reasoning from two weeks ago: infection is better, time to take action. Great! No. Infection is better. Yes! Put your clothes back on.

I like to keep the device in at least three months before 'taking any definitive action to heal this'. Uhm. What?



Curiously he had never mentioned this three month plan. Not in any of the five-ish times I have seen him, before, during, or after insertion of said device.

mostly © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

So apparently I've discovered what the norm is to be for at least the next two months. Then, when we get to that vague point, we'll decide what the best plan of action is. Which may not be Tightening at all.

On the way to the hospital I managed to get some shots of buildings in West Philly for the constructs. But the morning was so shrouded in fog I put off my Valley Forge hike until my next day off.

The much anticipated Friday Off began in comically messy fashion. The variety I wish I could blame on the cat, involving excesses of water, potting soil and kitty litter... and lots of scrubbing. Spotting a hint of sunlight in the moody sky, I decided to explore Valley Forge.

deadwind © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

The light on the drive there was phenomenal. Silver blue and spotlight intense on full autumnal foliage. Which immediately dissipated as I got out of the car. And reappeared when I got back in. And appeared in this way for the next two hours. I put on my Mother Nature frock and got in touch with decaying leaf matter and bare branches.


Until I got called into work. And suddenly I was plugged back into my electric body for the rest of the day. Back together again.

Having started this period of 'doing nothing', I will be continually looking for ways to alternately do something. Dodging raindrops has been it lately. Two weeks until my colonoscopy which I am apparently well enough to bear so perhaps we can rule out Crohns, IBS or whatever it is Ass Doc decides to pull out of his own backside.

winds change
winds change © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Despite the mental and physical squirming, I am more than ready to give Thanks I haven't completely lost my voice, even if it isn't quite what it once was.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Because I thrive on the sheer joy of spying on sitemeter's search term returns for ridiculous things, I went to a topless go-go bar last week. And to a craft fair where the code of dress was early nineties high school art teacher paired with witch's hats. I'm not making it up. Why you ask? Because once I took enough pills and tired of watching three tv channels in quick turns for days on end, I noticed I wasn't in any pain to speak of for once and there were claw marks on the door where I had been absentmindedly scratching away.

It was time.

The first leg of the jaunt took me to Warrington, home to a spanky new strip mall disguised as a downtown main street. Had I known, I might have stepped in to bear witness, but I didn't: I had one building in my sites. The topless go-go bar/hotel/restaurant on Easton Road with the most spectacularly gaudy exterior. Spotted in July, I vowed to return and I finally made good. Its stucco splendor painted in multicolored reds, yellows, pinks, oranges and blues, mingled with no-nonsense signs stating NO THRU TRAFFIC, BAR ENTRANCE ID REQUIRED, FOOD, HOTEL, TOPLESS GO-GO, TO GO, and a huge silhouetted mermaid hovering over cartoon waves.

shackles © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

What I did not know when I first saw it was how perfect it would be to work into one of my constructs. Since all of its windows were covered, I considered doing a sneaky shoot from nearby property, figuring no one would bother me anyway... I mean who would want to admit to being at a topless bar at noon on a Thursday. I decided to go inside just I could claim I had done so, truthfully. Unable to see due to the stark contrast of blinding sun on super-saturated walls walking into complete, dubious darkness, I stumbled down the stairs, making out a few sullen figures at the bar and a golden throne on a stage. I flagged down the bartender who told me the owner wasn't in but if I wanted to take photos of the outside to go wild. And so I did.

turnover © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

At some point I had this vision of Jenkintown as a place I should visit and shoot in. I'm not sure where this idea came from and now, from experience, I realize that it was based in my cockeyed imaginings if anything. The only factual thing I could tell you about the town was the existence of a Trader Joe's. Now I can tell you that there are several stores and businesses that are housed in completely inappropriate-looking buildings. Such as a corporate office that looks like it is in a marginally fancy hotel from the 70s and an Acme that looks like it is in a conference center. Also it is quite hilly and left me winded since I am currently flabulous, this was not making my exploration any easier.

offset © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Aside from a couple of vacant storefronts for wall-building, I came away empty-handed and stripped of my normal ability to make boring things slightly magical. So I went home and made one of my colorful fabrications to lift the spirits. FILE magazine, where I have been a contributor for two years now, has informed me they will be showing my walls as a featured project. Soon! I wanted to announce it when it was live but.... now I'm fully ahead of myself.

Edit: Only ahead of myself by a few hours, The construct FILE project went live this morning. Hooahh!

I was tempted to hold out writing an entry until after I went to the doctor's tomorrow, whereupon I start The Tightenings. I think. Eek. But thought better of it, realizing I might not want to sit at a computer thereafter. Infection seems to have subsided. I do not miss that evil moose Flagyl who made every meal bubble with unruly possibilities. Even though tomorrow will undoubtedly be very painful, I feel a lot calmer than I have in ages. After all these steps that were purportedly moving me forward, leaving me at a standstill, I'm kind of relieved. I'd rather be in pain if it means moving me closer to a favorable end, rather than is pain because of my doctor's carelessness. Any day.

In efforts to be sociable and to get out shooting, I went to the Philadelphia Convention Center this weekend for the annual craft festival and a post-show romp in Chinatown with Shanners and her man, Shua. There were a few completely outrageously priced gems at the show, such as the beaded babydoll caterpillar creature and a giant ceramic hand necklace that appealed to my touched sensibilities.... but were entirely beyond my means.

stems © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

Camerashake and winter dismals butted heads early on in the afternoon while we wove in and out of Chinatown's stranger shops, discussing possible uses for 'white dried fungs" and wondering about the large gray phalluses in the plastic bulk bins. Again I managed to walk away with a minimum of photographic evidence that I escaped the apartmentalized bounds but I felt a lot richer at the core. We returned to their abode to catch our breath, critique the work of some questionable photo editors, watch a dog show and Slither. Hearing the words "She is such a fine bitch to look at" coming, without a hint of irony, off the lips of a fantastically gay dog handler while he massages his dog's bum made my week. And thank god my husband and all the neighbors he has infected with his feral slug minions aren't all out to get me. Phew.

advent © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

To blunt the edges of the day tomorrow I am going to go take a hike in a local park I have yet to explore, having caught wind of some appealing abandonments. Then I will do some drive-by shooting on my way to the hospital with mom at the wheel, going through West Philly. This is me wielding my photographic shoehorn, trying to wedge worth into the time I can cobble together while functional. Next week Mr. D and I will be returning to that land of visual riches where we first ran wild together, for Turkey Time. Coal Country, hold me in your long gray arms.

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Thursday, November 01, 2007


Much ado about something else entirely. After working myself into a grand frothy lather over going to the doctor, holding my breath imagining the horror of The Tightening... vibrating with anxiety because the pain was already intolerable, it turns out he couldn't really do anything at all because I have an infection. Which, had he given me antibiotics, like he said he would do after the procedure, we might have avoided. My mom came up unexpectedly to cart me to the hospital. On her birthday yet. She pursed her lips at me as I sat on hard chairs in weird contortions in the Ass Doctor's waiting hallway. Scolded me for not bringing my new pillow to sit on. I fell asleep hung over the arm of a chair, elbows propped on a table, waiting for the nurse to call me. Reeling on percocets and a crummy night's sleep, I babbled to the resident who looked like he was in high school. Bright red, weeping, sitting crookedly, hyperventilating... I really put my best foot forward. I did manage to get out that I hated percocets, and among other things they make me very emotional and itchy.

bow and arrow
bow and arrow © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

After I was done making a scene at the doctor's office, more out of frustration than physical pain, we went to collect my new prescriptions and somehow I persuaded my mother to go out for Korean. The same mother who finds black pepper overstimulating. I over-indulged in my favorite things which I hadn't had in a very long time. Haemool Pajeon and Dolsot Bibim Bap. My stomach sang... its last song for days. When we returned to my apartment, my mother's hand was brutally attacked by a purple celluloid sponge. It drug her around the entire apartment and had its way with her and everything in its path. Even the toilet and the two window air conditioners. I tried to pry it off her but before I could, it nearly finished her off.

My mother is a firm believer in the notion that when everything else sucks, at least your house can be clean. And when you are in too much pain to do it yourself, she will. Because dirt is her mortal enemy. Which, this time, was fortunate for me.

gravity © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

When I returned to work the next day, I realized that, though it is supposed to make me 'better', Flagyl is no one's friend. That bitch owes me breakfast and a good half hour of paid time. I am resigning to saltines, toast, milk, yogurt and brown rice to help mend relations. Two of my coworkers also told me I look like shit which improved my spirits exponentially. I am realizing that Vicodin doesn't do much for me except make me feel a little floaty... it certainly doesn't help the freakish stabactular spasms I get because my innards are staging a coup for leaving a foreign body somewhere it should not be. At night I dream about the pain over and over and I startle awake and realize that I didn't dream it at all.

My Mother, LPN, talks to her coworkers about my condition, which is both revolting, embarrassing and fascinating. This vile thing happening IN MY BODY is like water cooler talk. Gah! While I can't talk about it at all in non-vague terms, mom dishes it in the breakroom. But the funny thing is a surprising number of people have owned up to having the same condition in past... and they are passing on some of their wisdoms. Nothing that is helping me sleep through the night yet.

recursive © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

In two more weeks I go back with the hope that the infection will be contained and we can start The Tightening. Now there is something to look forward to! Ass Doctor also said that until my pain is contained we aren't going to do a colonoscopy. But we'll talk about that next time. He sure does know how to keep the ladies coming back for more. I've been instructed by mother to keep a sort of Ass Log, to keep track of what works, what hurts and how my drugs mess me up and put me back together. Don't count on me posting that here, though its tempting. My pill and potion arsenal is huge. I'm still more impressed with the effects of things I thought of using more than anything he has recommended me.

fell © Laura Kicey. All Rights Reserved.

I took a walk around town today to see if my legs still work. It wasn't terribly comfortable but I made it back whole. I still don't know what a normal day is like. I still don't know when the end is. I have a very short leash... but also a stunning array of foam rubber things to sit on. That must count for something.

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