Ben’s Diary: I Made A Huge Mess In The Kitchen But I Can’t Clean It Up

nopapertowels

Dear Diary,

I made a huge mess in the kitchen but I can’t clean it up.

But first, I’m sorry, Diary. I’ve neglected you. Again. Our relationship has stalled out these past few months, hasn’t it? But as you’ll see, it’s not you, it’s me. I know, I know, that’s the type of clichéd bullshit we whisper into the ears of tearful lovers, but Diary, you and I aren’t lovers. You’re a physical object. Well, an… electronic cloud? At the very least, you’re a webpage, which is not a thing you can love in the human relationship sense, but it is a thing you can love in the “hey, I love this thing” sense. So I love you, Diary, you great thing, you. And I’m back! To tell you about how the roommate and I keep forgetting to buy fucking paper towels.

We’re going on several MONTHS since a paper towel has stepped a quilted, papery foot in our house. Yes, months. Yes, that’s absurd. No, it’s not on purpose. No, it’s not an environmentalism thing. No, I’m not mad about. Yes, it has gotten gross. The kitchen that is. We’re in trouble. Like, real bio-hazard trouble. I think the EPA is about to send in their elite corps of Bio-Hazard Bros to sterilize the joint, wrapped in layer after layer of HAZMAT suit, armed to the teeth with Super Soakers filled with bleach and Lysol grenades. And honestly? I wouldn’t blame them. I’d blame Continue reading Ben’s Diary: I Made A Huge Mess In The Kitchen But I Can’t Clean It Up

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Traversing Small Town Iowa And The What Cheer Flea Market

What Cheer, Iowa is stuck in a constant population decline. In the late 1800s, What Cheer was a booming coal town with a population of over 3,200 people. By 2010, that number fell below 650. But three weekends a year, every year, that population turns back the clock, swelling back up toward its 19th century peak. Why? What Cheer’s Collectors’ Paradise Flea Market, one of the largest flea markets in the Midwest and a triannual celebration of used crap.

Now in its 39th year, What Cheer’s flea market is a sprawling web of second hand merchant shops packed into the local fairgrounds. The market truly is massive. Pop-up stands, tents, RVs, and tables encircle the ground’s dirt track, winding back through the middle of the field, spilling over into the half dozen or so show barns scattered across the grandstand area. At only $45 per dealer space, the market is an affordable place to set up shop, resulting in a juxtaposing mix of local amateurs and seasoned traveling professionals, hawking everything from furniture to action figures. Anything you can dream of you can find, in varying quality, for a negotiable price.

whatcheerfleamarket
The What Cheer fairgrounds.

The worst time to go, and the time I’ve gone most often, is the market in early August. At the summit of summer, the Midwestern heat sits on your neck like a despondent child, beating your back with fists caught in the throes of inexhaustible tantrum. The air is thick, palpable with humidity, deep breaths taken with caution less you might drown in nature’s invisible smog.

But it’s also the time that inspires a little Iowan magic, precipitating the allure of small town wanderlust. By August, the market is walled in by a fortress of towering corn, fields stretching out into infinite crop points on the horizon. With the corn high, the market feels sunken in, swallowed low like a hidden valley, an oasis of commerce tucked away in the hillsides of food fields. It’s tempting to allude to the Field of Dreams as the market is a thrift bazar on dirt paths, built and rebuilt every season specifically so they’ll come. They. The masses. The masses that shop. The masses willing to spend. The masses that built this rickety empire on the backs of fluttering George Washingtons and Abe Lincolns.

And yes, the comparison to Dysersville as corny as a lazy crop pun, but it’s also fair. There’s an enduring earnestness to small towns in Iowa, encapsulated bubbles with diluted flows of time, a specific nostalgia that runs through the blood. It’s that feeling tickling up at you when you’re surrounded by a sea of rustic and rusted farm equipment, encompassing everything from needle nose pliers to irreparably broken oil lanterns. It’s that feeling that sits heavier in the pit of your stomach once you see the towering stack of antiquated technology for sale, used Betamax players, VHS cassettes, and working 8-track tapes. It’s that feeling that bursts forth in an audible laugh when the women at the ticket counter shouts out in enthusiastic glee, “Post some photos of the market on our Facebook page!”

whatcheerscrap
A pile of rusted scrap at the What Cheer flea market.

If you go in with the wrong mentality, it’s all too easy to get washed into the tinted greys of depression lingering in the air. You’ll find yourself wandering aimlessly, overwhelmed, adrift in the dilapidated fairgrounds of second hand commerce. But if you attack the flea market with a sense of adventure, an opportunistic pride, you’ll find the experience redeeming and worth repeating. You’ll also find some really cool and weird shit!

Anyway, enough poetic waxing, here’s the awards for Best and the Worst in Show: Continue reading Traversing Small Town Iowa And The What Cheer Flea Market

Ben’s Diary: Siya Stole My Diary But I’m Not Going To Do Anything About It. Not Yet.

Dear Diary,

Siya stole my diary but I’m not going to do anything about it. Not yet.

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, Diary, but it’s been a while. Did you miss me? I missed you. Fist bump, bro. I’m sorry about how long it’s been. I couldn’t find you! I was looking all over for you in a frantic haze. I couldn’t fathom how I’d misplaced you. You’re an electronic entity after all, a page in cyberspace. My mind was apace with lighting strikes of horrid uncertainty. Did you set off on your own, sailing away into the electronic ocean, forging ahead to colonize new blogs? Did you stumble off in drunken defragmentation, bumbling into a digital brothel, catching a terminal virus? Or did you simply forget about me, my memory archived along with your location, hidden, set aside indefinitely? Continue reading Ben’s Diary: Siya Stole My Diary But I’m Not Going To Do Anything About It. Not Yet.

Ben’s Diary: Jaden Smith Is Off Twitter, And I’m Bugging The Fuck Out!

Dear Diary,

This is Siya. Ben was in a last minute rush to pack, and phone-in the rest of his crusty-ass potatoes of the day.  He left you in America, right next to this passport looking thing…Oh well, must not be important.

You know WTF IS important? JADEN SMITH WISDOM! YOU KNOW WTF happened to THAT? GONE!… ALL OF IT!… NO EXPLANATION, but a big blue twitter background with “Sorry that page doesn’t exist!” WHHHAT in the ACTUAL phuck is that about? 

“That’s why you screenshot things”

Really? I was just supposed to foresee the future and screenshot every damn thing Jaden Smith tweeted? Do you realize how stupid you sound? Jaden tweets are to be internalized, and used as mantras in deep meditation and self-reflection of all that is, was, and will be – not SCREENSHOTTED to live in some abyss of an ever phone-clogging camera roll next to your dick-pics!

“Maybe this is a test”

YO, I’m buggin! It’s like that Tony Robbins book you have and never read, you know? You just need to know its there to read 10 pages of it from time to time and pretend to be a new person for a bit.  But , its GONE NOW, MAN!

Don’t Question Jaden

Damn. This is truly a test. I don’t know of what! I don’t know why. I don’t know anything.

I’m alone now… until I find me. Maybe Jaden would want it this way.
#BringBackOurJaden

Ben’s Diary: I’m Going On Vacation And Leaving Siya In Charge Of Our Fledgling Blog But I’m Not Worried About It. I Think.

vacationdiary

Dear Diary,

I’m going on vacation this week, leaving our fledgling blog in Siya’s hands, but I’m not worried about it. I think.

Well my long overdue vacation that I definitely should have learned more German for finally starts tomorrow. Long overdue? Yeah. I mean… I work hard. Sometimes. Don’t look at me that way. You don’t know! Oh sure, I don’t ever type a single word for Morning Commutes, but that’s just me letting art speak for itself. Or whatever. [Insert other argument about my productivity here.] (Shit, I should have gone back and edited this. It looks pretty damn lazy when you leave liner notes in the middle of a paragraph.) Okay yeah, perhaps I’m resting on the laurels of a little more than 100 posts. BUT I STILL EARNED THIS, DAMNIT! I HAVE A JOB OUTSIDE OF BLOGGING WHERE I FART SOMETIMES. Are we done with the link dumping yet? Nope! Fuck, it’s exhausting to write like Siya. Continue reading Ben’s Diary: I’m Going On Vacation And Leaving Siya In Charge Of Our Fledgling Blog But I’m Not Worried About It. I Think.

Ben’s Diary: I Tried To Squeak Out A Fart At Work But It Was NOT Silent

workfart

Dear Diary,

I tried to squeak out a fart at work but it was NOT silent.

Okay little background here, Diary. My office recently relocated to a new building which meant we had to help move a bunch of office crap into our new space. Moving always BLOWS. There’s never a time when moving is fun. This past weekend I helped my dad finish moving out of our old house. I’ve moved around a lot in my life, living in twenty some houses, but this was the house I’d lived in the longest. It bounced back and forth in possession between my mom and my dad, but it was always in the family for the past 16 or so year. You’d think this would have been an emotional moment in my life, a heartfelt goodbye to childhood. No.  You’d think wrong. It was the absolute worst because MOVING ALWAYS BLOWS. Continue reading Ben’s Diary: I Tried To Squeak Out A Fart At Work But It Was NOT Silent

Ben’s Diary: I’m Not Sure If This Spam Email Is Supposed To Make Me Hungry Or Horny

spamemail
Dear Diary,

I’m not sure if this spam email is supposed to make me hungry or horny.

Confession: I’m a weirdo who likes to read everything that gets caught in my spam filter. It’s actually a lot of fun for me. It’s a great exercise in remembering that I’m a (relatively) sane, well-adjusted human being. Seriously, the shit that gets sent to me is downright baffling. I’m not talking about the normal smattering of spam, the dick growth pills, the warlord bank deposits, and the offers for computer colonic cleanses. I’m talking about the bat-shit crackpots that send me direct emails and rambling nonsense, their words staggering paragraphs of diarrhea seemingly without coherent or rational thought. Continue reading Ben’s Diary: I’m Not Sure If This Spam Email Is Supposed To Make Me Hungry Or Horny