Little Black Lies

Finished reading Sandra Block’s Little Black Lies. Published in 2015, the story is a slow psychological burner that kept my interest and rewarded me with a climatical twist I did not expect.

The Protagonist is a psychiatric resident at a hospital and is assigned a patient who killed her mother many years ago. Once she started to treat the new patient, she begins having nightmares about a house fire with killed her own mother.

From the cover of the book I expected a deep woods slasher/horror story where the girl on the cover lies and leads unsuspecting men into the woods to kill them. But, that was not the story.

I wish not to spoil the story for anyone who is looking for a great read. But, I believe the cover (at least on the copy I purchased) is misleading. Instead of placing the sinister girl in a forest, she should be placed in a mental ward of a hospital.

Here is Sandra Block’s web page for Little Black Lies. There are two other books in this series, The Girl Without a Name and The Secret Room.

Little Black Lies by Sandra Block
Little Black Lies by Sandra Block

I took an Intro to Psychology class in college. I took the class at Indiana Central College before it became the University of Indianapolis and before I enrolled at Ball State University. This was in 1982. After taking the class, I briefly considered a career in the psychological arts. Currently, I wish I would have pursued that career so I could explain to myself the mystery of the narcissism and arrogance of some people I know.

Lego People at the Broad Ripple Brew Fest

A few years ago, I scored tickets to the 2018 Broad Ripple Brew Fest. At that time I was a heavy craft beer consumer and a free trip to the trendy hamlet of Broad Ripple excited me. Broad Ripple being in Indianapolis. It was a sunny, pre Halloween, fall day.

The Fest was a collection of tents where local and regional Breweries could share their creations. Of course, I sample most every creation.

Since the Fest was staged close to Halloween, most of the attendees wore costumes of some sort. I dressed as a older middle aged central Indiana man. Even the breweries got in on the act.

Function Brewing, I thought, had the best costumes. They were dressed as Lego Men. I saw the connection that Legos are mostly a functional toy, square, bricks, all the pieces go together. Maybe the creators of Function Brewing have experience in Javascript functions? Function Brewing is located in Bloomington Indiana.

Lego People from Function Brewing at the Brood Ripple Brew Fest in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 12, 2018. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O.
Lego People from Function Brewing at the Brood Ripple Brew Fest in Indianapolis, Indiana on October 12, 2018. Nikon D600 photo taken by Dave O.

I haven’t been a heavy consumer of craft beers in the recent months. When I get back into the swing of drinking craft beers I should travel south to Bloomington, Indiana and sample more beer.

Sour Grapes

Maxwell L. Anderson, former CEO of the Indianapolis Museum of Art from 2006 to 2011 posted an op-ed on the ArtNews web site. Of course, he slams the recently ousted CEO Charles Venable saying :

“Every decision made by Charles Venable over the past decade seemed to be in service of remaking a museum founded in the 19th century into an income-generating attraction, when in fact it is a peer of other great Midwestern art museums that are open to the public for free and pursue an educational mission rather than masquerading as amusement parks.”

He also says :

By eliminating free general admission, instituting an $18 admissions charge, erecting costly barriers to keep the public from enjoying its expansive grounds without paying, and implementing extravagant ticketed “attractions,” the museum excluded its Black and lower-income neighbors and was left with a much smaller, whiter, and more privileged audience.

I walked through the galleries of Newfields (formerly known as the Indianapolis Museum of Art) when the admission was $0 and when the admission was $18. I would say that I saw the same number of black and lower income neighbors under both admission prices.

So, black people are unable to help themselves? Are they unable to buy their own admission ticket? Why do white people say these things?

Even when the Museum was free for everyone most people (black and lower income people included) in the community choose to do other things with their time instead of going to a “museum”, even paying their money to do those other things. Just because you can get through the door for free doesn’t mean everyone will walked through the door, and appreciate it.

Anderson also writes :

He convinced the board to follow him by misrepresenting the spending rate on my watch, selling them on a commercial model, and promising a painless transition from being a charitable organization to a destination favoring beer, golf, and twinkling lights over art.

The Beer Garden at Newfields is a cool thing. It’s placed in a literal garden. It offers local craft brews. Winterlights, the twinkling lights as Anderson calls it, is a popular walking attraction. The Indianapolis Zoo offers the same type of attraction (for an admission fee). The Indianapolis fair grounds hosts a drive through twinkling light show (for an admission fee). The miniature golf attraction was just as popular and showcased local artist works (free to play with admission).

It seems Anderson is sour over the success Venable brought to the Indianapolis Museum of Art (known currently as Newfields) in terms of offerings, exhibits and attractions. Under Anderson’s watch, the museum was ‘just’ a museum common to other dull, lifeless museums people hardly walked through. Under Venable, it was became a destination.

Anderson concludes his op-ed by saying :

Offering free general admission to the public and removing ill-conceived barriers needn’t sacrifice earned revenue. By staging compelling exhibitions and charging a fee to visit them, the Indianapolis Museum of Art can generate income, incentivize membership, attract sponsors and support—and welcome back a broad and diverse audience.

I don’t get this … you want to charge a fee to visit compelling exhibits to generate income? Won’t charging a fee to walk through staged and compelling exhibits exclude black and lower income neighbors? Invite them through the door with zero dollar admission yet demand payment to see a staged compelling exhibit? Isn’t that exclusionary?

Anderson is jumping on the band wagon of tramping Venable due to the W word in a employment ad. It’s a popular low class virtue signal.

Geez.

Five Brushstrokes by Roy Lichtenstein, at Newfields. Photo taken by Dave O on May 6, 2018.
Five Brushstrokes by Roy Lichtenstein, at Newfields. Photo taken by Dave O on May 6, 2018.

Not Getting It

I just don’t get it. Something is said, implied, implicated. When parroted back, you are accused of ‘putting words’ in the mouth of others, ‘spreading rumors’. It’s really fascinating to watch and hear how I’m told to choose from among several options presented to me yet the choice I make is wrong, stupid, inequitable, not fair. And I’m told so. Yet, I didn’t make these offers. I was instructed to make a choice. And I choose. Yet, my choice is wrong somehow. I choose again. Wrong choice. Eventually the right choice is the one option that was solely intended to be selected in the first place. So why offer options?

It was amusing when, somehow, I become the bad guy when I made a choice of the presented offers. When asked if I would offer the same option I choose to others, I said no. Because that option isn’t fair to anyone involved. It’s so obvious. I realize that. Yet, it is in the offer. I didn’t make this offer. Why am I the bad guy for choosing that option? Why am I the bad guy for stating the obvious. The obvious being it shouldn’t have been a written option in the first place.

He says the options are not binding but to start conversation. Ok. But why the anger when I make a choice? Certainly the anger originates because he wanted to control my choice yet give the impression that I made ‘my own’ choice. When I didn’t choice the way he secretly intended I choose, the anger explodes and I’m the bad guy.

Geez. Brothers.

Melting Frozen ice flow off the shed at the Cabin on Cordry Lake. iPhone photo taken by Dave O on February 20, 2021.
Melting Frozen ice flow off the shed at the Cabin on Cordry Lake. iPhone photo taken by Dave O on February 20, 2021.

My 2021 Indiana State Park Pass

I bought a 2021 Indiana State Park Pass. It cost $50. In my pedantic thinking, I will need to visit an Indiana state part at least 8 times in 2021 to recover the $50 cost. Assuming, of course, the average entrance fee is $7 for In-State Residents. Out of State people are given a $2 penalty.

An iPhone 7 photo of the 2021 Indiana Annual Entrance Permit. Photo taken by Dave O
An iPhone 7 photo of the 2021 Indiana Annual Entrance Permit. Photo taken by Dave O.

If I gather enough energy and motivation and exceed the required 8 visit quota, then the average cost of each visit declines. So, I am therefore motivated to exceed the required 8 visit quota.

At one time in my recent life, I vowed to hike every marked trail in every Indiana state park. I bought an Indiana State Park Pass at that time. In my excitement, I drove two hours south to Spring Mill State Park. Due to my perpetual out-of-shape condition I could not hike every marked trail in that park. I realized I would need to visit the same park several times to hike every trail. And, in my pedantic thinking, expenses, costs, time requirements increased exponentially and I gave up on that quest.

Maybe I will pick up that quest again. Maybe this time I will understand that fulfilling such an epic quest might not be achieved in a single year under the purchase of a single Indiana State Park pass.

If you are interested, this page lists all the entrance fees for Indiana Department of Natural Resources properties.

Stopping?

Oddly, this morning, I came across this photo. I took this photo with a Nikon W300 in August 2018 on I-70 west bound in central Illinois. I was on my way to Colorado. The message comes at amoment in my life when I need to make a major “life” decision. Maybe I should prepare to stop something that is going on in my world?

Photo of construction road sign on I-70 west bound in central Illinois.
Photo of construction road sign on I-70 west bound in central Illinois.

Camping Tent

I would like to go camping in 2021.

My last camping experience was a single night in 2018 at the South Shore campground in Trinidad State Park in Trinidad, Colorado.

If I go camping one or two nights in 2021, I believe I will be happy. I probably will camp at an Indiana State Park. That is, unless I gather up the courage venture out of state. I usually try to take a week’s vacation for a long drive somewhere out of state. However, I did not take a vacation in 2019 or 2020. Maybe I will in 2021. I had two vacations planned in 2020. However, Covid and unexpected surgeries took priority over vacationing that year.

I would camp in a tent. The same tent shown in the photo below. This tent is a backpacking tent I bought in the mid 1990’s when I was an active backpacker. I probably slept in this tent a dozen times (more or less) in the back country of Indiana in the twenty five years I’ve owned this tent.

Camping with Nikki.
Camping the Brown County KOA with Nikki. Photo taken in 2000 by Dave O with a Nikon N6006. Negative scanned by Kodak Photo CD technology at the time.

What Should I Read Next?

This Page lists 50 great classic novels under 200 pages. It’s a good source of potential Next Reads.

Of the 50 novels listed, I’ve only recognized a few. The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald is on the list and the only novel on this list that I’ve read, twice.

A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess is on the list. I haven’t read the book but I bought the movie on DVD to watch because I was in a Kubrick obsession at the time. I couldn’t finish watching the movie because it was too violent for my taste. Yet, I’m in a girl-is-raped-and-slashed horror film obsession at the moment.

Truman Capote‘s Breakfast at Tiffany’s is on the list. Although I haven’t read this novel, I did read his true crime thriller In Cold Blood. That ‘non fiction novel’ is about the 1959 Clutter Family Murders.

Willa Cather‘s O Pioneers! is on the list. I started to read this novel when I was in middle school (circa mid 1970s) but never finished it. That copy of her novel stayed with me through high school and collage and much of my adult life with my intent to read the novel all the way through. But, I never completed the read. I pawned it at Half Price Books for a few pennies. Years later, to redeem myself, I borrowed a copy of her Sapphire and the Slave Girl novel from the local library. I went the distance with that novel.

After reviewing the title on the list, I believe I will seek out a copy of The Invention of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares as my Next Read. It’s the shortest novel on the list! So, I bought a copy for $11.39 from thriftbooks.com. Not very thrifty.

One the the book shelves in the house. iPhone 7 photo taken by Dave O on February 20, 2021.

Geographical Center of the Contiguous United States

On June 20, 2015, I stood at the Geographical Center of the Contiguous United States.

This wiki page gives details about the geographical center of the United States (including Alaska and Hawaii), and it also includes details about the geographical center of the Contiguous United States (excluding Alaska and Hawaii).

On my drive home from a few days of vacation in mid central Colorado, I stopped at this location to muse about standing at the geographical center of the Contiguous United States. I snapped a few photos and signed the guest registry. There is a nice Chapel near the monument.

It’s not too far from US-36 in Lebanon Kansas and worth the stop over if you are in the area. When I stopped by, it was a gorgeous sunny and warm day, a perfect day to stand at the geographical center of the Contiguous United States.

Geographical Center of the Contiguous United States ... LAT. 39°50' LONG. −98°35' ... photo by Dave O on June 20, 2015.
Geographical Center of the Contiguous United States … LAT. 39°50′ LONG. −98°35′ … photo by Dave O on June 20, 2015.

If you are wondering, the geographical center of the United States is located near Belle Fourche, South Dakota. Hopefully, one day, I will stand there.

The Summit of Indiana

In my past life I craved the experience of standing at the summit of Mount Everest. As such, I read all that I could about trekking to the top of the world, what I would need to sacrifice to train my mind and body to achieve such a feat, the monetary price that I would need to pay. This was in the mid 1990’s. Even though I was in awful shape and knew that I would probably never ever make that kind of trip, the lure of the highest point on the planet still held its grip on my psyche.

But as with most of those kinds of intense passions, it faded over the years. Obligations of family and job took priority. Although I still have an interest in the lore of Mount Everest, my trekking is done from an arm chair in front of a large screen plasma television.

Maybe not as glorious of summiting Mount Everest, I have summited the top of Indiana. On July 4, 2019 I dragged my ass out of the arm chair, programmed the GPS and drove north of Richmond Indiana to find the Indiana High Point. Located off a rural back road, I parked in a gravel lot next to a corn field and walked the twenty feet into a wooded area and stood at the top of Indiana.

During my Everest mania I read Jon Krakauer’s “Into Thin Air”. In that book, he related that he stood at the top of the world for maybe ten minutes, maybe fifteen at the longest (if I remember correctly). In order words, he didn’t break out the grill and cook the brats while he was on top of the world. He didn’t buy a post card at the gift shop either. If fact, there was no register book he needed to sign to prove he was there. He simply climbed up, looked around, and walked back down.

My experience was similar while I stood at the top of Indiana. Although I did sign the register to prove I was there, essentially I walked to the submit, looked around, took a few photos, walked back to the car and drove away.

The Indiana high point is called ‘Hoosier Hill’ and commands its own wiki page for everyone’s informational enjoyment.

Hoosier Hill on July 4, 2019. At 1,257 feet above sea level, it is the highest point in Indiana. Awful photo by Dave O.

Since my dream of standing on Everest is probably never going to happed (unless I want to be the oldest twice divorced overweight high BMI high blood pressure high cholesterol father of four to not make it to the summit) I could make an effort to stand on top of all 50 high points in the United States. The Highpointers Club exists to encourage and help people like me to do just that.