Waiting for the Other Shoe

Photo by Roman.

Come to think of it, “waiting for the other shoe” to drop might be an apt description of this past year of 2022. I don’t mean to be discouraging, but waiting for the other shoe might well be a summary for the entire decade of the 2020s: the next plague, the next big storm, the next economic tailspin, the next big / little / escalating war, the next lying politician, the next wave of refugees whether from abroad or from home…

Whatever. May you have a happy 2023 anyway and if it’s not all happy then have it as happy as you can.

My first reaction upon seeing this shoe was not so globally dim. Rather I wondered about the story of how this shoe came to dangle. As the shoe shows no sign of wear, I wondered if the parents could really afford to have their child lose the shoes or whether the shoe display was in some way aspirational, to be someone who can discard shoes without a twinge in the pocketbook. Or was it a case of school yard bullying? Or maybe a disappointed package thief?

I’ll never know and you’ll never know but you can tell my state of mind by what comes to it… The world is an inkblot.


It’s not exactly an imposter syndrome. Sometimes I create something that delights me then later I can’t help but wonder: How did I do that? Were those choices deliberate? What path did I negotiate for the words and such to tumble out as they did?

Ferocious was my cat Rainbow’s larger daughter. One of the kitten’s early bowel movements came as a surprise to Ferocious as she bumble stalked along a wall.

!” said Ferocious, looking wide-eyed above a small, neatly formed dry turd.

I try to keep Ferocious in mind.

It makes my pleasure more plausible.


mooning the bourgeoisie since 2017

Something there is about odometers that fascinates: look at that new number rolling into view. Well, for what ever it is worth, Yip Abides is 5 years old on October 31, 2022. For your humble blogmaster, this seems an utterly trivial observation yet it comes with an amazing weight of ephemera. It’s like discovering that big fluffy cloud above tilts the scale at thousands of tons. Who would imagine… and who has time for it all? And what I was thinking to begin a blog on Halloween?

Five years is not a bad run for a blog though it’s easy enough to find active blogs that are older. I think I can manage a few more years at least though I can’t anticipate how Yip Abides might change. Lately it’s been a photography blog, but really I’m no more of a photographer than I am a poet or storyteller or political commentator or podcaster. Since the blog doesn’t feed me, it could become just about anything.

Or nothing. But a heads up will be posted when it comes to that.

But thank you for your attention, however long or short. Our personal bandwidth is limited so every visit is a birthday for the blog.

In the meantime, feel free to use this occasion as a reason for some merry intoxication or some other gluttony (Halloween candy, perhaps?) as you prefer. You deserve it.

Photo by Roman.

As the Whirled Turns

I am posdef a cat that is in horror of its trip to the vet, in horror of the very prospect of the veterinary. Nonetheless, on Wednesday it was my turn to keep an appointment made some six months earlier. Odin’s day indeed… But I shoved myself, squalling, into the cat-carrier and went.

For once I was running on time rather than early. The office tries to keep the patient density to a minimum so I was promptly escorted to an examining room where a nurse of some sort began with the basics, including the seasonal, senior citizen sized flue shot. The doctor was running late that day, however, so as the nurse was leaving, she asked if I’d like a bottle of water.

No thank you, I replied. I’m a geezer, after all, and we’re as bad as dogs when it comes to watering trees. I’m fine.

In truth, there was nothing particularly gruesome about this visit. It was not so much an examination as a negotiation: What medications would I continue, resume or cease taking? What diagnostic screening tests would I schedule? The doctor and I do not exactly have a unity of purpose. He wants to cure whatever ails me and whatever might someday ail me and whatever might be ailing me without my knowing that it ails me while I would simply prefer not to ail. Interventions that would have seemed perfectly sensible just a few decades ago now seem like maybe an unnecessarily speculative use of time and comfort and … money. But we came to something of an agreement and, on my way out, please stop at the lab for The Drawing of the Blood.

The lab has its own small waiting room though I was the lone patient waiting patiently (how else?) but not long. The phlebotomist, unfortunately, was having an off day so it was a bruising experience. But I got through it and the lab got its blood. And I refrained from making stupid vampire jokes.

My next stop was the immediate care clinic. No, not about the phlebotomist but for my fourth covid vaccination, this one of the new bivalent variety. The generic health care professional administering the vaccine used my right shoulder as my left was already preoccupied by that extra-strength flue shot. The generic health care professional was a delightful nerd, however, and we got to talking about vaccine dosage volumes and such.

But all good things must pass, it seems, and so I headed on home where, despite a cheerful voice mail from the pharmacy about my prescriptions being ready to be picked up, I decided I’d rather have soup: cream of tomato with sautéed onions, maize corns, carrots and potato dumplings… Not all from scratch; I’m not that good a cook nor that industrious. But it turned out well and that was good.

It was not especially cold outside yet I was chilled. The apartment didn’t help matters as management had yet to fire up the furnace.

With the two vaccinations, I was in fact mildly ill for the next 30 hours or so, not so much sick as simply unwell or maybe under the weather or perhaps an aching malaise. It was a fine occasion for a long hot bath and a somewhat early to bed.

Despite that, I did pick up the prescriptions the next day. The one mile walk to the pharmacy was done in slo-mo, it seemed… and sad, sad Touhy Park where now the homeless gather in larger numbers each year it seems and now the Park District has closed its field house there.

It seems entirely plausible that I might join them on that lawn where old man Touhy once had his manor, if not sooner from a World War III catastrophe or a flood of storm refugees then later as the good doctor continues to cure whatever it is that ails me.

“Men in Blues”

The pacing may have been off a bit, but that comes with the territory when just about every alien in the Hollywood movie universe is (are?) after the Blues Brothers. Because I think it is important that we smile in the rising gloom, may I present to you another video mash-up by Fabrice Mathieu.

I remember Blues Brothers being filmed in Chicago. On one of the filming dates, I was on my bike to Chicago’s south side to get a haircut. It was the last haircut I ever got.

Ou La La!

Photo by Roman.

This is another panel from the 2022 Artists of the Wall. This one, I believe, was completed after the event as I do not at all remember seeing it when I took photos there a week after. There are usually a few panels that get completed in the weeks after, but then, befuddled by fumes of THC as I often am, how can I say for sure if this is one of them?

“Ou la la” could be an appropriate title. “La la,” I have read, is something one might say over spilt milk:

It is a dark and stormy night. The rain comes gushing down: A multitude of splats becomes a roar, the air a thousand concussions. A cold wind descends from heaven. Outside flickers with a sick florescent sky. Inside humidity makes the jar slick when returned to the fridge. It slips. It falls. It breaks in pieces: a half pound of coffee.

Oh! la la…

Thus back in the imaginary days of the Moulin Rouge, “ou la la” accompanied the choreographed display of chorus-girls’ underwear as an expression of mass mock dismay over a collective wardrobe malfunction.

Of course, that may all be so much horse feathers as “la la” is not exclusively dismay…

Bookmarks Found

Folks who do most of their reading from libraries and used book stores sometimes find bookmarks abandoned or at least forgotten: scraps of paper, business cards, letters, money (rare!) and really anything reasonably flat. It occurred to me that I have a modest collection of these around the apartment.

One is rather odd because I have no cultural referents with which to interpret it. The bookmark is just strange:


I’m pretty sure that’s mylar not gold leaf but it’s the thought that counts, right?

There’s another that implies a story:


This is an unused ticket to a championship boxing match in 2011, specifically between Manny Pacquiao and Shane Mosley, Pacquiao being the defending champion. Note the price of the ticket ($300) and the fact that it was unused. The back of the ticket has the usual terms and conditions including…

ticket back

… the warning that the ticket will not be refunded, replaced, or exchanged. Since this was found in a Chicago library book some years after Pacquiao successfully defended his title and the event was in Paradise, Nevada, this had to be a special occasion even if the ticket holder had been one of those folks who might blithely spend $300 on breakfast. (This I doubt. From what I remember of the book, I can imagine it as a book read for a school research project.)

Just imagine the drama when the ticket went missing. Or, more likely, the drama preceded the ticket’s use as a bookmark. There’s a story there, maybe a shaggy dog parable resembling a cross between J.D. Salinger and Garrison Keillor or maybe something dark. You’ll have to imagine (or write) that story yourself, dear reader.

(But Paradise, Nevada? Shouldn’t that be pairadice? …begging your pardon…)


Oh, that bottom item is a cute hologram of one cat grooming another but scanning it just leaves all the motion mushed together.

Santa on Vacation?

Photo by Roman

— Santa Claus!

The fat man whirled with a finger to his lips.

— Shush! If Mrs. Claus finds out I’m here, there’ll be hell to pay. She thinks I’m in contract negotiations with the Elves Union. Not another word, not to anyone, or you won’t even get coal in your Christmas sock. There’ll be coal ash under your tree and your home will be an EPA superfund site.

— Will there be a strike?

— Of course not! We settled-up in an afternoon. It was mostly a matter of the elves trying to figure out what the elves wanted; they’re never prepared.

— What did they get?

— Anything they wanted. They’re elves for Pete’s Sake! You don’t mess with them when they’re on a solidarity kick. And, anyway, it’s for Christmas; why would anyone deny them? Now if you’ll excuse me, we’ve got tickets to see Elvish Pressley and I gotta go.

— But what are–

Not a word! Remember!

— Yip

Back when I was some 40 pounds heavier, “Santa!” was a typical wise-guy cry, at least seasonally, though my impression is that it was as much the beard and the coat as it was the weight because during the warm months of the year “ZZ Top!” would take the lead.

But I have indeed threatened coal ash when fingered as Santa. “ZZ Top” usually just got a denying shake of the head with a smile but on one occasion, the bloke was serious. That was creepy.

Before the COVID, these encounters would happen several times each year, mostly in good humor though repetitious. Even so, children, be careful what you wish for when you wish to be a star.

Post Script: It hadn’t happened in a while, but this last Sunday I was fingered as Jerry Garcia. But wait, Garcia is gratefully dead. Do I look that bad?

Nap Time

Photo by Roman.

Look into my eyes… You are getting sleepy. Feel the weight of those weary eyelids. Those tired eyes feel so good enclosed in the warm, dark embrace. Time for a nap then? I have just the thing to rest upon: a plastic fake rag rug that today somewhat puts me into the time of kindergarten when I would have napped on something of cotton and thus more closely resembling a real rag rug.

It would have had my name upon it.

That rug was not particularly comfortable.

This rug serves as a bath mat.

The image is utterly mundane. It is the nostalgia that I present to you, not quite so vivid as an evocative scent, but here it is.