Wednesday, May 30, 2007

the meanest joke ...

when jcrew arrives i'm fresh from 30 solid minutes of staring at my bedroom ceiling, my nap plans interupted by toonsinator's big fat cat ass. he thinks my face is his flipping barca lounger. meanwhile, i think his ass is a good reason to invent kitty toilet paper.

jcrew has promised to take me out to dinner to thank me for six-some solid years of unconditional friendship. she clomps onto my floor and we begin the arduous process of determining where to celebrate. selecting a restaurant, for jcrew, is a mental triathlon. much like some people store pots and pans in the oven, jcrew's lobal real estate is filled with menus.

"lake avenue cafe?" i ask, despite a bad experience with chicken parmesan from the early 2000s. she makes a face.
"do you still want to go to new scenic?" she asks. i make a face. i've still not recovered from a fondue clog in my digestive system that happened in the late fall.
"nah," she agreed. "i don't even feel like just crossing the bridge to go to the boat house."
"can't we just lay here on the floor and order a pizza?" i ask.
she rolls her eyes.
"i'd say bennett's, but ..." she gives me a look. "i'm not sure you're dressed for it."

american eagle jeans rolled to my shins. brown tank top. hooded shirt from abercrombie. it's not like i have to wear my green converse low tops without socks. i can deviate. i can class this act up.

"perkins?" she asks.
"the embers in superior?" i suggest. "they serve alcohol."

other nos include: bellisio's, pizza luce, brewhouse, olive garden, sammy's pizza, pickwick, india palace ... eventually we're back to:

"screw it," she says. "we can go to bennett's."

i've never been. i'm anticipating a place where old money goes to compare cuff links and 22 year old wives and geriatric failings. a place that smells like scotch and mint-flavored tooth picks. a place where old women look down their noses at women in american eagle jeans and messy pony tails and literally utter the phrase "pooh pooh" disapprovingly.

"okay," i agree.

but first, jcrew has to negotiate a digestive situation of her own:
"i have to shiss," she says inventing a word to properly explain her ordeal.

"what if they gave me a sport coat to wear?" i say as we're led to the table. "or worse yet, what if they threw me in the coat room and made me take a shower?"

bennett's, i quickly realize, is a good place for a surreptitious romance with someone you are ashamed of. i see now why she has brought me here. we are led to a table by the window and it is painful for me to not say, within earshot of our waitress, "i'm glad you finally agreed to date me." then pull out a stopwatch and time the rumor as it makes a beeline for proctor.

when piano music wafts in from the next room, jcrew snorts.
"hee hee," she says. "there's piano music and you look like that."
"these people don't know me, maybe this is how i dress up," i suggest.
"yeah. dressed up for a bag lady," she says.

"i feel like being inappropriate," i tell jcrew.
"i have so many bullets," the man at the next table says.
i'm not sure what that means.

i order salmon roulade. jcrew orders a three-seafood meal. both are globs of goodness floating in a bowl of creamy gluttony. behind us is a couple that is clearly painting the town. the woman has squashed herself into formalware, the man trimmed his handlebar mustache. they bring in drinks and shrimp cocktail from the bar, and spare no expense in ordering lobster and more drinks.

"what's that bar called on london road?" the woman slurs. "we could go there. ... the rustic. no, no. the reef. we could go to the reef."
then later ...
"we could go to dee's. or the gopher. or dee's ... my gal friend works the pulltabs at the rustic ... no, no, the reef. that's right down on london road. we could go to the reef."
the man agrees. "it is a classier kind of place. but not tooo classy."

jcrew snorts. we begin referring to them as nouveau riche.

"it's not even the first day of the month," jcrew says.
i give her a look.
"i mean, its really cute how they've saved up to have a big night on the town," she says.
"no its not," i say.
she laughs.
"i like how i was trying to be nice," she says.
"transparent," i tell her. "friggin' siran wrap."

then our waitress asks us if we want separate checks. "yes," jcrew says. i experience heart failure. shit. i guess i can write a check ... "oh wait," she says. "no. just keep it together."

"phew," i say.
she snorts.
"wouldn't that be so funny if i did that to you?" she asks.
"that would be the meanest joke," i say.

no. 39 ...

a few nights ago, i pushed on the door to the ghetto spur and it wouldn't budge. i pushed again and added a grunt, but it stayed shut. one more for good measure, it wouldn't open.

they must be getting robbed, i assumed, then entered via the out door to the left. it yanked open easily. i looked back at the other door and noticed a sign bigger than my torso directly at eye level that said "please use other door."


the boys behind the counter were laughing.

"you're number 39," one told me.
the 39th person who did not see the humongoid sign on the door and spent five minutes headbutting the glass and swearing.

in the time it tooke me to grab a powerade and some string cheese i saw Nos. 40, 41, 42, 43 and 44. in fact, no one saw the sign and immediately went to the other door. it was a great science experiment. i could have watched all day.

i don't know what to say ...

... i just know i heard this song tonight on vintage v. mars and accidentally remembered every lyric. this goes out to you, fannie, and travis whitehead.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

this months otc review ...

all day i'd been sluggish, performing my life in some sort of slow-motion, finish line in a movie about an olympian, underwater barotone sort of way. curbs, cash registers, my purse looked like a good place to rest my 30 pound head.

but when bedtime came at the ripe hour of 4 a.m., i laid in bed unable to snag an elusive z. my brain spun with thoughts of war, famine, my checking account and a season two episode of veronica mars. my legs were squirrelly and i spun like a chicken on the rotisserie, from my back to my side to my stomach to my other side and back to my back.

clearly i was afflicted with PHI [post hangover insomnia], which strikes the night after a night that closes with me face-first in a mushy mound of gas station burrito, and a fierce grape powerade mustache.

since the incident that will henceforth be referred to as the benedryl overdose of 2007, i've steered clear of those adorable pink pills that instigated a two-day coma and an inability to operate a motor vehicle more sophisticated than a cheese grater.

so i popped a soysleep II*. A soysleep II. just one. i'll never take two of anything again, since the aforementioned benadryl overdose of 2007. within 20 minutes my legs felt heavy, like i was wearing a cumbersome and unnecessary extremity. the rotisserie had stopped with me on my back and unable to flail myself to my preferred stomach position. my brain was still wide awake, though, my eyes blinking and mind spinning. i felt like the headful, bodyless character in metallica's video for "one." and then, like magic, i was out.

when i woke, i felt like a giant clumsy tyranosaurus. thanks, soy sleep II.

* not its real name, i just like to add the word "soy" to certain meds: soybuprofin**, orth-soy-tryclene, soy-quil.
** i did not make up soybuprofin

Monday, May 28, 2007

up on the roof top, ho ho ho ...

noon: i'm not going out tonight. no way. nuh uh. i don't care who's birthday it is or who is going or where going goes. no. not going out.

7 p.m.: know what? i am going to go out. but i'm not going to drink. yeah. i used to do that. sometimes for months on end. go out. not drink. it can be fun. ish. funish.

mmm. i think i'll go out. and drink. but just a little.

12:35 a.m.: where the heck can i ditch my car overnight? i'm
gonna go out. and i'm going to go out and drink. weee!


we decide, on this night, to leave behind the airborne infectious spores of the pioneer for a place where its patrons' armpits have actually met foaming soap. dubh linn's irish pub is the place, and it is teeming with axe body spray's target market. and the women who love them. [aside: i'm not sure that this bar can technically be considered irish or a pub. i'll let it keep the dubh linn part, even though it seems the work of a knocked-up high school sophomore. i'm gonna name my baby dublin. but i'm gonna spell it different so it doesn't get confused with all the other dublins.] there is an irish flag on the wall. but the adjoining restaurant serves tex-mex. is that supposed to be cute?

my fun-o-meter is pushed to the hilt. it will take only the gentle nudge of sweet whisky breath to throw me into full frolic. our largish party is unable to score a table, let alone the shuffle board table, so we stand awkwardly near the door like the post-puberty, monotone speaking, nonbeer shotgunning, people who pay their own car insurance that we are.

"i wore a suck for a buck shirt one time," i tell chuck as a bachelorette party limps into the bar, glassy eyed and stringy haired and on the make. true story. birthday party. years ago. "i made three dollars."


fun happens around us. or maybe it is just loud happening around us. sometimes i get those two confused. it has become impossible to carry on a conversation with anyone without literally plugging your tongue into your audience's ear canal. and i don't trust my sign language alphabet well enough to know that i'm not telling someone to eat shit when i wave.

the rest of the group, in the meantime, has arranged an afterbar at the greeters. the longer we stand there with these people not talking to them, the more obvious it becomes that we are going to have to invite ourselves to this debacle. and so i invite us, and we are allowed to drink some of his gin.


the greeter has this fantastic apartment downtown. it has a view of duluth's most-frequently soiled street corner and roof access. there are all these nooks and crannies where a person could let her cat rot in peace and the smell wouldn't hit the living room for weeks.

he also has a snake living in a small aquarium. this, readers, scares the shit out of me.

i do not like the squiggly variety of animals, including, but not limited to: snakes of any denomination, worms, leaches. anything that slithers around on your body and can suck on its own tail or eat your blood or crawl into an oriface gives me the willies. much of this fear was born on a playground at st. piux x, the rest on lake vermillion with those barefoot, nature-flinging, lake water chugging smith boys.

the greeter yanks gus from the aquarium and chuck lets the corn snake twist into bangles on his wrist. the greeter lets gus sit on his face. bubbles lets the snake ooze across her shoulders and take refuge in her cleavage. this kind of cool, i cannot compete with. here is bubbles portraying every comic book fan's greatest fantasy, and here is me: cowering into the couch shaking. i keep my distance from anyone with a snake. if this were sixth grade, one of these assholes would whip that thing at me.

the highlight of the greeter's apartment is the roof access. the party moves outside and my friends scale a nine foot wall to get to the higher level. i stay on the main roof area, enjoying the way my spinal cord functions and not wanting to do anything to disrupt it.

we lay on fng's futon. we examine the ample closet space and strange configuration of his shower. we peer out windows and i mentally begin placing my furniture in this apartment and realize that even IKEA doesn't have enough wares to fill this space. i have apartment envy.

we decide to leave. our friends are still on the roof and we've seen all there is to see. "we can probably catch a cab at fon duluth," chuck suggests. ah. my boyfriend has the sense of a duluth sherpa, understanding the hows, whens and wheres and which bars and salt licks where the cabs congregate and mate.

sure enough, a yellow cab is waiting for us.

our cab driver caroms up the street and zips into an alley and my heart swells. here we are, a little drunk, and instead of zig-zagging the streets of duluth to bump up our fare, he's taking short cuts.

"i love you," i tell george. i think his name is george.

when 'don't stop believing' comes on the radio, i ask him to crank it. he does.

"i love you," i tell george. i'm pretty sure his name is george.

we ask him to stop at the ghetto spur. he does. and when we get back into the cab and 'brandy' is on the radio, he cranks it again. suddenly the word 'love' seems shallow and meaningless in light of my affections for this driver.


saturday night i pick chuck and chuck's fannie up from the bar. somewhere between the bong bridge and west duluth, chuck ends up taped to the front seat with the black tape used on hockey sticks. chuck's fannie is one of those unpredictible drinkers who burns things off the walls of bars, loads his pockets with suveniors and may tape your boyfriend to the front seat of the car.

right before chuck begins to choke on the strap around his neck, he giggles. i have to gnaw through the tape so his friend can get out of the back seat. when he's out, i wonder if he's stolen anything out of my back seat. then i decide it is okay if he did.

song i heard at cub foods yesterday ...

... that zapped me back to fifth grade.

"you got it all" my minnesota's own version of the jackson five, the jets.
time: mid 1980s.
love interest: adam.
key move: playing this song as i talk to him on the phone, but pretending that it is an accident that THE MOST ROMANTIC SONG I'VE EVER HEARD is playing in the background.

Friday, May 25, 2007

the unbearable drunkeness of being ...

5 p.m., duluth: a conversation between me, jcrew and my landlord

me: you should've stopped by the other night.
landlord: sheee. i didn't want to get a DUI.
me: oh. were you drunk?
landlord: i wasn't bad ... but .08? that's nothin'. heck, i'm .08 right now.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

old school styling ...

CARIBOU COFFEE, canal park -- last night was the kind of fun that -- nearly 24 hours after it began -- finds me freshly awake, rocking cheap plastic windpants and combating a deep loinal need for pizzaman pizza slathered in super potato oles.

wine night, i knew that if i turned you on your head and pounded on your rump i could squeeze out a few ketchupy globs of fun.

it's nearing the party time. i'm on the couch in a pair of sweaties and a t'shirt that is indecently tight among polite society. i'm cooing with fannie on the phone. she's all: then our house got egged by some thugs ...
i'm all: whoa ...

and i hear the whomp! whomp! of what i think is jcrew's escalade and the sweet sounds of the pixie running up the steps. cigarette in one hand, phone in the other, sprawled teenaged-girl-on-the-phone style across the least comfortable couch in the world. i yell: come in! expecting jcrew's screeching entry. the one where she plows into the apartment clomping across the plywood entry in a pair of expensive shoes she got for 60 percent off, seemingly mid-conversation, dropping "bitch this" and "bitch that" like an enraged socialite.

and it's f.scottie, that prompt little effer. i really should be wearing a bra.

f. scottie and i aren't really on the "you sit on my couch and play with my cat while i shower" sort of friend basis yet. but 10 minutes later we are.

we crack a red.

jcrew arrives with a goodie bag of cheeses: a small triangle of brie and a circle of honey chevre. i saw away at a bagette. i've contributed pancetta, which i assume you can eat like prescutto since the two meats were laying next to each other at cub foods, they are both italian and start with the letter 'p'. turns out you can eat it raw, if you want to die of trichinosis. i put it back in the fridge. we circle my small bistro table, snarfing. mouths foaming, ripping into the fare like rabid wolves who actually hunted and stalked this wily assortment of cheese.

jcrew and f. scottie find an elite kinship. they seem to be quoting the pages of vogue and making the sort of jokes found at a cocktail party teeming with smart, well dressed people. instead of a wine party in the hillside teeming with smart people and a host in a wife beater.

"toonses is retarded with lonliness," jcrew observes.
i begin writing down everything she says.
"i'm not mean to people's faces!" she says.
i scribble away in a notebook.
"his breath smells like mothballs," she deduces.
she is golden, that one.

bubbles arrives with two bottles of wine from france, and a bonus bottle that has been marinating in her fridge. with her is the greeter, who has a backpack filled with beer, trail mix, pretzels and granola bars. lest an avalanche hits the hillside and he needs to camp out in a bunker.

"you're like a swiss army knife," jcrew tells him as he pulls these items from his bag.

curly arrives.
f. scottie leaves.
chuck arrives just in time with a bottle of wine big enough ride around on, like it is some sort of vespa. we put it away easily.

curly leaves.
fng arrives.

i try to open a bottle of wine, and for the second time in three wine-openings, have pushed the cork into the bottle rather than tugging it out. my very sophisticated screwdriver is smarter than me. bubbles jimmies it with a knife, and the drinking continues. remember that time i woke up with an empty wine bottle on my coffee table next to a small hacksaw, a screwdriver and a rubber mallet? maybe i should stick to that technique.

jcrew leaves.
the greeter and fng leave.
the wine is gone. all that remains is a sliver of back up brie.

chuck, bubbles and i hobble to the ghetto spur.
i get cigarettes.
chuck buys me a powerade.
bubbles heads toward home. realizes she left her apartment keys at my apartment. cruises back to my place, then leaves again for the mile hike to her home.

much like the early days of our relationship, chuck and i blabber away on my couch until long after the sun has come up and construction on the hillside condos has begun and we are forced to sleep to the soothing sounds of jackhammers and saws and productivity.

waking, later, it will feel like they are building condos in my frontal lobe.

mid-afternoon, i receive the following missive from ms. crew:

I feel like crap. Please do not ask me to come out on a weeknight ever again. I can no longer deal with the morning hangover, the lack of sleep and the zero ambition ...

I like to stay at home on weeknights ... I possess an inability to leave when i should or to know when to cut myself off. i tell myself, self, i will only go out when there are things to celebrate or someone has a problem that only the pio can solve. but in our world, we celebrate everything! wine from france was a reason to celebrate!

i am a piece of crap today. P.O.C. So I am putting my foot down. if you have problems that require the pio, please seek advice from the troll. its your birthday? i'll send a card. i am celebrated out. 4 straight weeks of weekday drinking has killed me. i am no longer your weekday drinking buddy unless you're dying. even then, i may try to leave by midnight.


Wednesday, May 23, 2007

the reluctant partier ...

what i want to do: lay in my bed and read the new michael chabon book. maybe go for a run. page boredly through back issues of the new yorker. listen to a mix tape. shave my legs with a dull razor.

but it's wine night. bubbles brought two bottles back from francey pants. jcrew bought the cheese. f. scottie is penciled in to bring more wine. somehow, despite having the central hillsidiest of apartments, a shedding and needy cat, and a couch less comfortable than sexual innuendos when you're watching the lifetime movie network with your mom, i was invited to host.

i never used to even get invited to wine parties. back then it was rumored that i didn't like wine and i didn't especially like girls. now, not only am i invited, i get to scrub my toilet so jcrew's hair doesn't get dirty when she purges wine and cheese stew at 1 a.m.

i'm a little crabby right now, with no external reason. and i'm not especially in the mood to drink anything stiffer than vitamin water. lately i've come to enjoy falling into a coma of genuine sleep, rather than fitful catnap-pass-out fests interupted by gas station burritos and bathroom breaks and the feeling that -- inside my body -- my organs are waging a protest rally.

a few nights ago i woke around 5 a.m. and ran to the window and ripped open the curtain. the sky was peach and orange and bright yellow.

"what are you doing?" chuck asked.
"it's a crazy storm," i said.
it was raining super hard, like it maybe it would bounce when it hit the ground.
in the morning, i couldn't remember if it was real or if i had, again, sleep walked and just imagined a storm. chuck didn't remember rain. but he remembered me standing at the window talking about a "crazy storm."

the next night i had a dream that i was trying to decide between attending NYU or harvard for grad school. i was touring NYU.

"if i get in here, i'm going here," i told my mom.
she gave me a disappointed look.
"just wait to decide," she said.
"i don't want to go to harvard," i told her. and it sounded silly.

i love sleeps like that.

right now i'm hiding at the laundrymat. i used a personal triage system to whittle about eight loads of laundry down to two loads of laundry. back home i have to vaccuum. wash dishes. shower. take out the garbage. convince myself to be fun.

it's a wine night i don't want.
but it is a wine night that i probably need.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

financial whews ...

on thursday i realized i was 200 dollars wealthier than normal. i dared to consider math and came to a startling conclusion: i have finished paying off one of my student loans. the one that gauged me in the appendix bi-monthly. the one that made me rue that filthy den of brick-ladden snobbery and 5'2 boys in baseball caps that gave me a degree. the university that i have -- since the onset of my student loan repayment plan -- considered my grandest, most gluttonous -- operator error.

i now almost-completely own my diploma. i have one more student loan to go. a smaller monthly, low-low interest payment that feels more like a mosquito bite than getting jumped into the bloods.

i could weep.

i knew i was getting close in february. i'd plotted on scrap paper with a sharpie, using a crude english major version of financial awareness. i figured i would be done with that loan in november, right around the time i finished paying for my obnoxiously non-jeep wrangler honda civic.

on one hand, i hated to wish away the summer.
on the other hand, i began wishing away the summer.

then wambo bambo -- 200 extra dollars fell from the sky. and there is more where that came from.

i approached a woman who seems more keenly aware of my financial ruin and dared to ask her today if it was a mistake.

did i finish paying off my student loan? i asked her.
yes, she said.
WEEEEEEEEE!!!! i said.

[i'm totally going to spain].

and you may get a refund from them, if you paid too much in your final payment.
WEEEEEE!!! i said.

[i'm going to have a savings account!]

i stopped by another institution to check the status of my car loan. i stood at a table next to a tin of free mints, sucking on the candy and using the demon calculator.

eight more payments.

i'd failed in my february mathematics again. in a good way. i'll be done in mid-september, if not earlier. [i tend to estimate].

i'm getting a new laptop.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

degree of difficulty ...

"in the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt."
lynn rosetto casper, quoting margaret atwood today on 'the splendid table'

last sunday i took a hotel-room shower, taking the actual cleansing process about as seriously as the mini soap and mini shampoo and mini mouthwash. i did just a cursory scrub down to combat an external damage that snarfing an omelet and hashbrowns at mickey's diner was doing to my innards. i was hopeful that my skin would not begin bubbling and gurgling and rolling like the thin plastic casing on a waterbed.

on monday i did not shower.
on tuesday i meant to shower, but was running late and so went unkempt to my one scheduled event during my seven days of vacation. afterward, there didn't seem to be a reason to shower: it was raining.

wednesday. wednesday i showered. i remember this only because i stopped home to first and foremost feed my cat and decided, meh, what the hey, why not?

thursday i woke up smelling like rt quinlin's armpit and the anchor's dirty socks. i combatted this with two swipes of degree for men and a spritz of gap body spray. i did not shower, but i did play hoops on a hot west duluth playground and then hike a bit.

by friday i'd added the aroma of the pioneer's bellybutton to the bar-scent potpourri. again, it occured to me that some people actually enjoy a daily shower. but we were going to be tooling around gooseberry falls, anyway, so ...

i felt my failings briefly on friday night. a quick dinner at nokomis, which deserves better than the acid-washed mom jeans, running shoes and a long sleeved white t'shirt i'd worn all day. bramble still clinging to it from a showoffy somersault on the trail. i had to use the bathroom at nokomis. but felt that no one eating a 30 dollar meal needed to get caught in my cross wind. degree for men or no degree for men. i held it. and wished i'd brushed my hair.

by saturday morning, even my fingernails were dirty. not to mention jagged and broken from gripping a basketball for the first time in 15 years. crowned with crusty brown half moons. my hair so greasy that, that each strand separated and glistened. like i'd used my hair as a napkin after snarfing up french fry buffet.

i showered saturday afternoon and it was good. i stood in the stream, soaped up everything twice and vowed to do this more often. it's not like i've been busy. and its not like i'm afraid of water [shut it.] just for some reason, my leisure got in the way of something leisurely.

i can't stop being gross.

Friday, May 18, 2007

and the award goes to ...

two harbors, minn.

me: this city is menopause.
chuck: it's having a hot flash right now. it's the most menopausal city in the world.
me: hmm ... i didn't know menopause could ride a bike.
chuck: menopause on a bike.
me: menopause on wheels.
chuck: menopause on a stick.
me: menopause without a stick.
chuck: menopause on a cracker.
me: gross.

keeping your publics private ...

lately, chuck and i have been experimenting. with public transportation. neither of us like to drive if we've smelled alcohol in the past week. but leaving our cars in foreign neighborhoods seems like a recipe for a tire boot or a dismembered cd player or my 900 dollars in parking fines coming to some sort of fruition. so. last night it was the civic ditched at the radisson and went to quinlin's and at the end of the night took a cab from allied.

our driver was young. attractive. hairy.
he was in a huge hurry.
he drove on two wheels and was super thorough.
our ride was successful. we got to the east hillside without a lecture from MADD, but the fingernail scars in chuck's upper thigh ... well ... bacitracin.

he drove about 45 miles per hour down second. he wanted to hit two more fares from quinlin's -- at least. the lights are timed, and he had it down to a science. another fare called while en route. the eager beaver answered the call to the reef: "i'll reef it up."

we went home and watched "the virgin suicides" until we couldn't take WE's commercials for "wife, mom, bounty hunter" anymore.

so. tonight. we had plans to meet my unemployed friend at the bar formerly known as the pio. chuck's car was at my house and mine at his -- long story involving a game of H-O-R-S-E, another game of around the world, a painted turtle, thumb nail graffiti on a park bench and other west duluth dreams come true.

a cheeseburger pizza from shamrock. with pickles.


we took the bus to the bar. we negotiated our trip according to the DTA. 10:03 p.m. at east 12th street and we're on an empty bus with a guy who smells like lip balm, who is flipping through a copy of a weekly publication. he seems nice, but not someone i'd want to date.

the entire episode unfolds without incident. chuck tells me about a time a man dug a hard boiled egg out of a hockey bag and ate it on the bus, i begin thinking about his hardboiled breath. from our co-riders: more into text messaging, 12 packs of shasta and arm pitty.

"what's arm pitty?" chuck asks. as i write this.
"there was this guy. in front. talking really loudly. he was wearing a really loose wife beater. and ... i saw his nipple through his arm pitty shirt." i respond.

we go to the pio. five bucks, all you can drink busch light and my unemployed friend considering ways to massage jcrew's pancreas with his tongue. we all slowdance to tiny dancer. whatever. we're all friends. we call a cab.

"can you take us to the ghetto spur, on sixth street?" we ask our guy.
"yes," the cab driver says.
"we'll be quick. we're a finely oiled machine." i say.
"that reminds me of my girlfriend," hank williams responds.
"oh yeah?" chuck says.
"yeah. we go to the dollar store, and she comes out with four tubs of vasoline!" he mentions.
"vasoline?" chuck asks.
"yeah. she said 'its medicinal.' BUT FOUR TUBS!" hank says.

chuck, meanwhile, is horizontal with hilarity. me? i've just inhaled my own appendix.

we stop at the ghetto spur. i get a bean burrito and a green chili buritto for chuck. he gets two powerades. we are in and out in less than a minute. we're smooth like that. this is true. i get the food, chuck the drinks. we meet at the register.

"that was fast," hank says.
"finely oiled machine," i remind him.
"did i tell you about the four tubs of vasoline?" he asks.
"nooo?" chuck says.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

gouda? more like great-ah ...

sometimes when charles and i are seeped man sandals-deep some sort of true duluth experience -- hiking trails leagues beneath city street level in the central hillside, not wearing deoderant while we dine with a lake view, thinking about recycling while parkour-ing snowbanks between luce and quinlin's -- he will often stop and say: "some people come here for vacation and we get to live here."

yesterday it was raining. i drove to cloquet to teach my final memoir-writing class of the six-week period, then sat on my couch reading a cooking magazine. i went to the grocery store for ingredients and back to chuck's, where we invented a recipe for gouda mac and cheese that included squares of chopped tomato and leaves of cilantro. he stirred the sauce until his wrist and attention span broke, then i stirred the sauce until it began to look like something lap-up-able. we listened to radiohead's complete collection. his kitchen was 120 degrees fehrenheit and smelled like the potential for soft mounds of cheese-clogged pores.

it tasted pretty good.

other things i've done during this particular vacation have included: episodes of veronica mars, a viewing of the godfather, frozen pizza, reading.

things i'd like to do when it stops raining: lay in the grass with the new michael chabon book, play H-O-R-S-E against someone 6-feet tall with the daunting wing span, eat a corndog from a vendor.

some of you live here. this is where i go on vacation. if only there was a postcard.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

sweet, drums ...

at some point i just knew, bodily and instinctivly -- like a stomach grumbling, a seering headache, a urethra on the losing end of a blow torch -- that this night would require a certain level of spandex. my first vision is spandex and inline skates. no, spandex and roller skates. no, normal footware. a leotard and an off-the-shoulder sweatshirt and a sweatband cinched across my forehead.

"do you have a leotard," i ask jcrew on friday.
"a LEOTARD?!" she responds.
"yeah. a leotard," i ask. "preferably shiny sky blue."
"why would i have a LEOTARD?" she asks.
because of everyone i know, you are the only person i can think of who would not not have a leotard, i think.
"you took ballet," i remind her. lo, did she take ballet. its all i heard about when she was taking ballet and it took just a crosswind and the smell of bacardi to make her bust out a recital.
"but i didn't wear a LEOTARD!" she answers.
"oh," i respond.

"oh wait," she says, pure glee, eyes glowing, spittal forming in the corners of her mouth. that proctor thrill of pending mockery and the smell of vomit filled pom poms. "i have just the outfit for you."

as soon as she says the word "sequins" i'm sold.


in the latter part of the 1990s, jcrew's danceline was met with financial woes. all the moves, but not enough money for a truly salacious wardrobe to match the kicks, spins, gyrating, moral flexible behavior, pulls off a bottle of whisky hidden beneath a bed, and shimmies. not enough wherewithal to travel to scanlon and see what the pros were sporting this season. the group orders something functional: one piece, shiny, with an attached short figure skating skirt. think mary lou retton in drag showing horses at the county fair.

perfect for me to wear to geek prom. i buy keds and matching ankle socks and a swath of fake blonde hair that will, hopefully, turn my head into my little pony's ass.


pre-prom, chuck and i are getting into character in room 223 of the holiday inn rivercentre. he is wearing a powder blue sportcoat, a shirt that was skinned off the backside of a pretty, pretty pier one couch and electric blue sketchers. his hair is wet with a pubescent amount of gel. and his hair? his hair is amazing. and if he is attacked by a wildebeast outside the xcel center, a swift head nudge to the animal's midsection should spare us.

me? i pull the outfit from my duffle bag.

"HOLY SHIT! YOU'RE GOING TO WEAR THAT?" chuck asks. his voice sounds like the burlap blanket he plans to wrap around my thighs to prevent indecent exposure. but once i slip into the garment he realizes all the things that should be covered are. this is legal attire from a person who wasn't legal when she originally wore it.


geek prom is at the science museum. and at first blush, it is an uncomfortable collection of awkward combovers, zubaz and barrettes and headgear, one piece space suits. i go for a summit pale ale. chuck downs a mind meld -- a vodka based drink that, happily, matches his coat.

we watch a science experiment involving dry ice and a racquetball.
we watch a talent show that involves ani difranco-eque poetry, a recitation of the 50 states sung in alphabetical order, a milli vanilli impersonation, a double jointed leg and juggling.

i have another summit pale ale.


i have to time my bathroom break. let my bladder completely fill before i'll allow myself the discomfort of stripping down this layer of spandex. so when chuck has to go, we stand between the men's and women's room and he unzips me to a comfortable point and we part.

while in the bathroom i hear an uproar. like maybe someone is break dancing or doing something that involves an xbox or a macintosh. i zip quickly and when i come out i realize i've missed the event of the night: the geek streak. six exposed winkies, sprinting from the men's room, across the stage, out into the main area of the museum and back to the bathroom. not only that, but chuck's camera's battery has died, so he's missed the documentation.

the men are back in the bathroom. and so is the st. paul swat team. each time the door cracks, the room reveals serious faces of men who -- just two minutes ago -- were doing a live performance coinciding with the museum's human body display. they were, i guess, all maced into submission. because that is what you do to dangerously naked sprinters in st. paul.

when the men file out of the bathroom, hordes of geekily dressed people converge on them, chanting "free.the.geeks. free.the.geeks." cameras are flashing and people are hooting and the men are escorted to another room where they are issued tickets for indecent exposure. the only indecent thing about it, as far as i can tell, is that i missed it because i took that moment to pee.


the rest of the night unfolds to the sounds of an ELO cover band called ELNo. they bust out the song "just like heaven" -- which will henceforth be referred to as 3 minutes, 23 seconds of chuck dancing around with a funny look on his face.

i lose my fake hair while dancing to my favorite song. this affects me in a strange way and i spend the rest of the night scouring the floor for something that looks like a blonde rat. [later i find it resting on a table. dead.]


we drink at the hotel bar. we talk about gun control. some girls from chicago try to get fresh with my boyfriend. we get hungry.


after the bar closes, we walk to mickey's diner and settle into a booth still wearing our geekware.

"are you in the roller derby?" our waitress asks me.
"no," i tell her. "danceline."

in my head, i assume that she knows i'm in costume. that is, until after we pay and she says "do you have to dance again tonight?" and i realize she thinks i'm just another st. paul skank humping a pole in the basement of halftime rec.

to my right is a table of people dressed in scrubs. when two of the men go outside to participate in a common street brawl, i say to one of the women: "you guys are so grey's anatomy." "i wish," she snorts. "then at least i'd be having sex."

"i'm sure you'll have sex soon," i tell her. "you're not ugly."
here chuck whispers something to me and i'm forced to correct myself: "i'm sorry," i tell her. "i mean, you're very cute."

we leave with our intestines spilling bacon, hash browns, one chili omelet and one cheese omelet. in the morning, this combination will hurt more than any drinking expedition could hope to hurt.


i'm having contractions. one minute i'm watching "the break up" on hbo, the next minute my body has seized up and i'm sprinting to the bathroom. dear mickey's diner, you may be a minnesota institution, but you hurt me.


we have coffee at the cosmic cafe on snelling.
my next contraction happens with a copy of the onion in a bathroom located down the steps-that-smell-like-pee and around the corner.
we get bagals from cecil's deli on cleveland.
we go to apple valley to watch the parents pista and brother pistas load a trailer. we agree to the visit with strict guidelines that i do not want to be forced to carry or pack anything. for the most part, this is obliged.
we decide to do something we can't do in duluth. we're searching the strib for movies at the lagoon or uptown theater.

"sculture garden?" brother pista asks.
"how about a play?" ma pista asks.
"cabellas?" brother pista asks.
"menapause the musical?" chuck points to an add.
i nod toward ma pista:
"i think we're living it. now. if only she would sing ..."

most people pretend they don't hear me.

we go to the movie hot fuzz.
chuck has a rachel and i have a spicy chicken sandwich and we both get tator tots at the uptown.
we travel back to duluth.

thus concluding my first two first days of vacation.

profound ...

chuck: "hmm ... i can't decide which to buy first ..."

Friday, May 11, 2007

the eyes have it ...

1. shy. kung pao!
2. anti unsolicited advice
3. pro advice giving
4. ass-cne
5. product stealer

6. for as long as i can remember i've had a red thread-like gash in my left eyeball. [see photo]. my high school boyfriend semper fi referred to it as "the fish hook" and frequently mentioned it in romantic love letters from basic training. he even had a little hand gesture that coincided with this imperfection.

on day in health class my senior year, a horde of us were sitting around talking about the fish hook in my eyeball. "ask mr. z why you have that," my friends coaxed. when class began, i raised my hand and told mr. z about my eyeball and asked him what would cause such a blemish.

"well," he hemmed. "sometimes, at least in old people, blood vessels in the eye are popped if you push too hard when you're going to the bathroom."

my classmates gave me a look of blatant repulsion. i'm certain every single one of those little jerks pictured me on the toilet everytime they looked deep into my eyes. thankfully, it takes more than a guy in khaki shorts a polo shirt tube socks and a whistle around his neck to embarrass me.

the product placement ...

i've potentially had one of the greatest days of my life. but, to be honest, it was one of those days that would go forgotten if not for the Internet! i'm coming to you from chuck's couch. he is asleep. i'm watching grey's anatomy and drinking his beer and eating cheese out of his fridge and using his computer (a mac, nonetheless). the point of my post is going to be how much i love love looooove using other people's stuff -- fingerfuls of some bagged cheese concoction i found, swabbing my zits with his random potions, adapting to this new toothpaste that does not combat smokers' breath). i haven't slept in my own bed for years. my very comfortable bed is being homesteaded by a 30 pound tabby.

our cars were downtown. we'd cabbed home the previous night. but we'd both driven to the bar.

"so," chuck says. "a mile and a half to our cars. that should take us ...?"
"um. 28 minutes," i say. i walk at about a 4 mile per hour rate. i think, based on the ymca's treadies. but i'm not so hot at math.

we're trudging along fourth street. he's telling me a story. i'm distracted. a futon is laying in the middle of the road. it slipped from the back of a pickup. people are weaving around it. i interupt chuck to point. we watch as the drivers and a random put it back in the bed of the truck. one guy ditched his truck on 10th to help. it is like 85 degrees outside. i love this moment. these boys. this drama. this futon with cracked legs and these people swerving.

"what a great story," i say to chuck. then immitate the boys. "duuuuuude. then the futon totally fell out on fourth street."

he laughs. we cut down lake. we're at about lake and third when i look at him. sunglasses. dark t'shirt. jeans.sweaty forehead. i think: jesus. he is hot.

somewhere at lake avenue i become wicked hungry. like stomach eating itself hungry.

we turn right on first street and meander past coney island and chuck is like: "should we eat at coney island?" and my first inclination is "no." one time a friend found a fly in his hot dog. but hunger prevails. we at least browse. and as soon as i see a cheese hot dog on the menu, i'm salivating out of my toes.

"are you gonna eat?" i ask chuck.
"if you do," he does.
"i want the cheese coney," i say.
"two cheese coney's," he tells the teenager.
"i could totally go for a sprite," he tells me.
"i want a coke," i say.
"here or to go?' puberty asks.
"to go," we both say.

because we want to walk down first street drinking sodas out of wax based cups and fucking maul this meal. a bun with chili and cheese and onions and hot dog. we hardly have enough hands to negotiate this whole great moment. but eventually we settle things. later in the night, twice, chuck will say to me: "we were living in 1979. did they say 'totally in 1979?'" everything is more fun with him. we have the same vision: a hot dog is better with someone else walking down first street.

we still have like four blocks to go when chuck turns to me and says "this is fun."
sometimes i get caught up and forget. but he's right. this is fun. this is mundane living but this is fun, walking down fourth street and then first, eating a coney, continuing along. he's better at noticing.

we find our cars. stop by goodwill. chuck accuses me of being classist and i admit to the character flaw by telling him i was a child of privilege "16 YEARS OF CATHOLIC SCHOOLS!" we part ways until later.


jcrew and i are planning on eating at thai krathong. i have a wicked craving for drunken noodles. she's pliant when it comes to great food. we finally negotiate the situation to a compromise. jcrew comes over to watch grey's and eat thai.

we do not hang out as much as we used to. she no longer has the luxury of staying up late. i have a boyfriend (hot!) and she has a different boyfriend (almost as hot as chuck). our lives are different now that i cannot hear her every primal whim through my floorboards. but tonite we had this night where i thought "oh yeah! she's fucking hilario! good bless jcrew!" i loved every shared belch and scorned fart and we deconstructed the show like women who are far more boring than we actually are. i bled from my nose at my drunken noodles; she dared me to eat a mushroom from her soup. i love jcrew. what a fucking handful. she's worth it. and she has great hair. and, she finally admitted that she is partly the "samantha" friend, if we were to delve into sex and the city.

then chuck called and he and i went to fitgers. his friend wasd dj'ing. this was fun. just conversation. making fun of people. beer. matthew sweet. chuck wanted to go to red star, which was fine by me because even though i'd heard they'd gone smoke free, i suspected it was not yet official.

i drank sophia coppola's chamagne in a can.
chuck got a key lime martini.
i got a key lime martini and so did chuck.
we went to his house.

now chuck is asleep and, like i isaid, i'm watching grey's and drinking his beer. which brings us to products. i loooove using other people's products. when i stay at fannie's i love using her toothbrush, blowdryer and make up. one day i sat a jcrew's special space and used her hand sanitizer and lotion. chuck has nice lotion. a better apartment. and, aside from the toothpaste, better everything. i always enjoyed using my mom's makeup more thn my own.

this brings us to No. 6 or No. 7, whisky marie. I PREFER TO USE OTHER PEOPLE'S PRODUCTS TO MY OWN.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

this summer i'm going to be addicted to ...

the killers: "read my mind"

*this song makes me as happy as "just like heaven" by the cure. if it is administered at least twice daily, i'll be sickeningly chipper for the rest of my life.

*QUESTION: i'm in search of great songs for a summer mix. so far it must include a song by camera obscura, ben kweller and i'm from barcelona. what is on your windows down, sing along mix?

a luddite is born ...

i'm revealed as a luddite at cub foods, trying to negotiate with the automated check out system. chuck standing behind me, cringing at my pace. he is comparing my scanning, bagging rate to that of my favorite check out artist and i'm losing.

"this is supposed to be faster," he says. "i think like three people have already gone through."

i'm trying to find the picture of an avacado on the small screen. i'm being admonished by a robot for removing an item from the bagging area. i'm trying to figure out where to swipe my debit card. i'm a technological failure.

but this is how i prefer to travel. sure i love cindy -- the night clerk -- and her crazy swath of grey hair, big glasses, her eternal back pain and her thorough recall of my life:

"i never recognize you right away, christa," she says. "sometimes you wear glasses, sometimes you don't. sometimes you wear a hat, sometimes a pony tail and sometimes your hair is down."

and, circa last year, "you always are here with a different man." my landlord and his arm loads of buy-five-get-one-frees, my former roommate piggy backing my purchases, now chuck and my inability to put the convenient in convience.

then there is the confounded tivo remote, one of three on chuck's coffee table. the thing standing between me and an episode of grey's anatomy. some of the buttons even have pictures on them. i look at the tv. look at the remote. select a button and actually push the remote toward the tv as i push a button. my glasses forward on my nose. i know that i look exactly like my mother trying to use her cell phone. chewing her bottom lip and squinting.

today i tried to pay at the pump to avoid interaction with humans. the pump was curiously void of instructions. i swipe card. squint at the screen. push a button. squint. no i don't want a receipt, which is basically just a souvenir reminding me that i spent 32 dollars to fill the civic. squint. select unleaded. cock my head. shuffle my feet. put it in the gas tank. wait for something to happen. nothing happens. i'm getting antsy. nothing is happening. then it starts to work. finally.

can you imagine what would happen if i had an ipod? or a computer that i didn't have to crank to start?

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

may tag ...

DUNN BROS. PATIO, Minn. -- and so, in light of having relatively little to write about today, i'll continue with my 10-things list, where i try to tell you new things about me that i didn't already tell you.

[as an aside, a few nights ago i had a nightmare that whiskymarie posted a blog highlights list on her site including some of the favorite things she had recently read from other bloggers. she didn't put me on the list and i decided it was because i was bad at coming up with 10 things. yes. i dream about bloggers i've never met. i also dream that i am spitting chunks of my teeth into my open palms. the teeth are the consistancy of vomit. but that doesn't count on this list.]

1. [for review] sometimes i'm shy. but kung pao chicken from the lotus brings out my outer extrovert.

2. i hate unsolicited advice. and since i won't -- under normal circumstances -- solicit advice, this makes all advice unsolicited. i like to plot and map things out in my own mind and come to my own convaluted decision. this means that twice i've licked a metal pole in the winter and gotten my tongue stuck.

3. on the other hand, i love to give advice and when i give it, i expect people to follow it to the letter. sometimes i wish i had my own personal audience of 15-year-old girls that would be forced to do exactly what i tell them. and i would tell them this:

go to college somewhere big, public, cheap and far away from anything that resembles your current life. study abroad for at least a semester. live for at least two years of your life purposefully single and during that time take an occasional lover, but don't go all loco about anyone in particular. spend a lot of time alone figuring out your likes and dislikes, decide you are smart and pretty and interesting. then date someone who agrees with you. do not make a time table for what your life is supposed to be like careerwise or relationship wise or offspring wise.

4. i was a zitty teenager, but thankfully this did not interfere with my social life. my forehead was like a braille version of a mary higgins clark novel and my chain was the spanish translation, also in braille. my zits had zits. today i have a zit on my chin, one on the corner of my mouth, one between my eyes and one on my forehead. i can only hope that i am again going through puberty because it kicked ass the first time.

while this facial breakout is rare, it is more rare for me to not have a walnut sized zit hiding in the spot where my keister hangs over my leg and a few matching solar systems jackson pollack'd across my rump.

this is the only reason i wear pants in public.

Monday, May 7, 2007

OTR ...

i have a tendency to avoid my mail box in a very deliberate and juvenile way. if it wasn't ridiculous, i'd actually cover my eyes when i walk past or fake a conversation or laugh uproarishly and do other things that happen in a cafeteria when you are in seventh grade and want to blatantly show ambivilence toward something.

not even a weekly copy of the new yorker can coax me into that metal structure affixed to my house. overdrafts for my former roommate, credit card offers, coupons for hamburger helper ... all of the bills that are not a part of my intricate triage system are either a) taken directly from my account; b) payable online; c) garnished. the ones that come in the mail do not interest me. and although i recently received a christmas card from briguy, i don't usually get handwritten letters, boxes of oatmeal raisin cookies or special trinkets from so, aside from the new yorker, there is no reason to dig the key out of wherever the hell i lost it and take time to open my mailbox. at least not more than once a month.

i should note that i also accidentally subscribe to rolling stone. i'm not sure how it happened or who pays for it or how my address ended up on the label. but i get rolling stone, which i deem inferior to paste -- and its monthly 20-song cd sampler -- and so receiving rolling stone is actually a deterent against collecting my mail. it just disappoints me.

when i was first getting into, i checked it regularly. but then i lost three discs of season three of felicity somewhere in my car and so my queue lies neglected.

i was awake at an ungodly hour today and happened to run into my mail carrier as he was trying to stuff more mail into my abandoned box.

"is that mine?" i asked him.
he nodded.
"yikes," i said.
his arms were teeming with mail. pounds and pounds of paper.

i know that people judge you based on circumstances. but he came up with the most clever deduction today, based on my mailbox. he handed me the mound and asked:

"are you a truck driver?"

Sunday, May 6, 2007

you're not the mayor ...

i wake at 10 a.m. wearing two wrist bands: the flourecent orange one indicates that i was at homegrown on saturday night; the yellow one means i'm old enough to drink enough pabst blue ribbon to make me publicly affectionate with lamp posts. or maybe its the other way around. who knows.

chuck surveys me with one eye shut.
"are you still drunk?" he asks.
i test my extremities. the weight of my brain. the stability of the contents in my stomach. my bladder and mental agility.
"YEAH!" i hollar.
"you should probably just go back to sleep," he says.
"YEAH!" i'm a very agreeable cheerleader.

i wake again, three and a half hours later.

i simmer down for a second to consider the possibility:
11:30 p.m. i drank one whisky coke.
12:15 p.m. i drank a keg-glass of beer.
12:45 p.m. i had about four sips of another beer.
1:15 p.m. i had a can of pabst.
1:45 p.m. i had another.
3:45 a.m. i had a few sips of a bottle of beer.

no. it is impossible that i am still drunk. that isn't even enough liquor to juice up a sleepy tuesday night. it is likely i wasn't ever drunk. even last night. that i'd merely harnessed a level of festivity and then paired it with adrenaline.

"you're not drunk," chuck says. "i think you're just high on life."
it may be crazy enough to be true.


i started my homegrown finale at carmody with the state champs, who i love, and not just because a hundred years ago the lead singer and i used to hide in the fiction section of the rochester galaria's barnes & noble, stocking and gossiping about which:

1. of our coworkers was in a suicidal standoff with police
2. of our married coworkers is shamelessly leading on another virginish manager
3. which member of simon & garfunkle finds it acceptible to wear a bathrobe into the store and make three-foot stacks of books and refuses to throw away his coffee cups.
4. of our coworkers was negotiating the sly seduction of an 18-year-old who had recently graduated from a montana reform school. [duh. me.]

from there, i travel to luce, where ray the wolf is reading lyrics off the front of his t'shirt. crew jones begins playing around 2 a.m. i'm about two rows deep and developing the scary form of fandom that can only result in me asking this band to be friends on myspace. the lead singer has a gigantic presense. he's like a caricature of himself or something and everytime he gestures i expect his digits to be the size of a foam finger. people are going apeshit. in the front row, a woman is dancing and her boyfriend is trying to pull down her pants. he has successfully unbuttoned and unzipped her jeans and she is swatting at him.

all of this ends around 3 a.m.

today i face the rare occassion where i got excited for an event and it proved to be even more fun than i hoped. i friggin love homegrown.

Saturday, May 5, 2007

10 nothings ...

i have been tagged by wm to write 10 things about myself. in the past two and a half years, i've twice writen 100 things about myself with very little repeat between the two lists: the first, a raunchy collection of places i've pee'd and undergarments not worn, celebrities i abhor (hi art garfunkle! you ruined a sunday for me at barnes & noble!) and filthy contests i've won by degrading myself.

the second was a more pedestrian stroll through through my public radio-loving, crossword puzzle-doing, jeep-wanting, super potato ole-sucking, buffy the vampire slayer-quoting, pet peeveless psyche.

to put it mildly. i'm 10-things constipated. intestinal log jam. i've put myself through quizzes, introduced myself to strangers in my head; i can't shake much loose. but i'm going to step up to the proverbial can and see what comes out. i'll post in pieces as they come to me.

1. too shy shy hush hush eye to eye:
when i was wee, i was painfully shy. picture a domesticated puppy getting sidewalk burn on her ass as you try to coax her somewhere unfamiliar.

sitting outside of a birthday party in the backseat of my family car, i'd say "what if the party isn't really today? or what if i wasn't actually invited? what if this isn't molly's house?" if it was a slumber party, i'd call home around 10 p.m. and say i had a stomach ache and needed to leave.

i'm not sure when that changed, but it did in a big, fat obnoxious way. we're talking conga lines through bleachers and acting out the video for "like a virgin" outside of the locker rooms. i thought i'd licked the problem, but my mom would always say: "you're just overcompensating. you are still very, very shy."

maybe. maybe not. i do know that a few nights ago chuck and i went to the lotus for dinner. it was around 6 p.m. and the place was empty. our waitress brought us menus and asked us the standard fare of beverage queries and i was stricken a nodding, mute, big-eyed diner.

"i feel shy," i told chuck.
"i know," he said. "you're acting shy."

the feeling dulled when it was faced with spicy, spicy kung pao chicken. but it was there for a little bit.

Friday, May 4, 2007

a lotta stuff for five dollars ...

yesterday i ate so many pancakes that if you had tackled me in the parking lot of the DECC and pumped my right arm, maple syrup would have spurted out of my ears and something the consistancy of play-doh would have spewed from my mouth and you could have sold me for $19.99 at kbtoys.

god love pancake day.
god love winning a free ticket to a fundraiser. i ate safe in the knowledge that i was gorging without my money helping anyone anywhere with anything.

the place was packed with 10,000 of my favorite duluth strangers and about a handful of friends who literally mark this day on their social calender. this was my first time.

"i dare you to yell 'tony stewart sucks'" jcat said, surveying the hordes of people cramming flapjacks into their orifaces and mangling sausage links with their canines.

that seemed dangerous. so did getting seconds, which i did, then stood dumbfounded when they asked for a quarter per extra piece of meat. i'm a cheap bastard. the greeter ponied up and so my quest to not have any of my hard-earned money go to a good cause remained in good standing.

in other penny-pinching news:

jcrew called around 11:30 p.m. to check my status. justin timberlake was salivating in the background. she was at the pio, but it sounded suspiciously like the kind of place where you could earn a bachelor degree in pervo-tology.

a cop checked my id at the door.
this, despite the fact that the owner of chef yee's had vouched for me.
clearly he doesn't know that i spent years "darkening" his doorstep.

there was so much testosterone in that bar that i started to grow back hair.

on thursday night's at the bar-formerly-known-as-the-pio, you can buy a $5 keg glass and drink grain belt until you can go whitewater rafting on your own spleen. i did a version of math and deduced that if i had two glasses and did not tip the bartender, i'd make a profit on the venture.

i forked over the 5-spot i'd saved by helping myself to pancakes without personally contributing to the lions' club fundraiser.

smart move, i thought to myself.

i had four glasses.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

wherein i wake up and realize i've done something silly ...

somehow i managed to "score" and entry in grandma's half-marathon. it must have been one of my more comatose moments when i entered. waking up with better cheddar debris on the front of my wife beater. waking up looking for cheese balls in my kitchen. waking up with a handful of black olives and juice dripping down my chin.

driving my car and suddenly remembering i'm holding the wheel and i'm not merely a sightseeing passenger.

i spend a lot of time not really paying attention to what i'm doing and then thinking: hm. now i, a smoker who hasn't run in three weeks and only did once that week and had only run two weeks prior to that ... once ... am going to run 13ish miles in a few scant weeks. this sounds like fallen arches, wheezing, pulled butt muscles waiting to happen. but really, there are few things i won't do for a t'shirt.

i could have done the 5k, but the 5k is for weak willed, adventureless people lacking imagination and delusions of grandeur. i could have done the marathon, but how many times do i have to run 26.2 miles without training to prove to you people that my mind is far more advanced, sturdy, stubborn and competitive than my matter?

i've written extensively about running twin cities marathon. briefly: whim. no training. ran. ran ran ran. made friend with another limper. thoroughly dehydrated myself to the point where bathroom breaks provided merely a trickle of relief. amputees busted past me. began walking. senior citizens heckled me. began running. decided to finish, threw my sweatshirt and cell phone to ma and pa pista on the sidelines. somewhere on summit avenue i began weeping. six miles to go. paddy wagon hot on my heals. horror movie.

sixth to last place. only the XXL t'shirts remaining. no fruit.
cried at the base of the steps to my apartment.
couldn't walk for two days.
ate everything in my apartment that didn't have a heartbeat.
slept in xxl t'shirt.

today i'm playing memory lane with ...

dee lite: groove is in the heart

* at one point in my life, i could not compete in the long or triple jump without first listening to this song and jumping around the infield of a track and taking myself very, very seriously as an athlete. sometimes i whispered the word "olympics." now i can watch an entire season of a tv show in one sitting. olympics, indeed.

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

grinding against lake avenue windows and other frivolity ...

of course i hated duluth in 2002. i was living in a rectangular shaped hovel on east third street. two steps below camping. late at night, drinking a bottle of bud lite on my porch, through sheer curtains i watched a man pummel his girlfriend in the blue glow of late-nite tv. frequent police raids and shady business transactions.

my living room was small with shabby carpeting. toonser's litter box was a prominant fixture, as there was no out-of-the-way place to store it. the photographer took great interest in watching my cat crap. he'd stop what he was doing and snort. "look! look! he's going! he's so regular!" my bedroom was the size of a hallway. my bed jammed into a corner. you had to walk through my bedroom, climbing over the bed, to get to the bathroom. you had to stand on the toilet to shut the bathroom door. i shared a thin wall with my next-door neighbor, an older woman who was privy to my every thought -- not to mention any shifting in my bed and each helping of velveeta shells and cheese. when she sneezed, i caught a cold.

when i took out my garbage, i was subjected to the sexual bidding of my unemployed neighbors. they sat on the fire escape drinking beer and asking for fries with that shake. "i'm just recycling some stuff," i'd say. and they'd drool like rabid pit bulls.

there wasn't a tree for blocks.

my life was a strict diet of home, pioneer, barnes & noble. on my weekends, i ditched out for rochester, once making the trek in less than 3 hours.

occasionally i'd look at the largest freshwater urinal, surprised, like it had just cropped up that day. "ah, yes, the lake," i'd remember. an old boyfriend whose name i'd forgotten.

in may of 2002, i was lured from the pioneer to pizza luce with the promise of local music and a forray with some nongeriatric sorts. my friends left early, but i was enthralled with the bumping and crowd surfing and the women outside, grinding on the lake avenue windows. i stuck around, intent on having the kind of fun you can only have along and unencombered by catering to the whims of a group. i didn't necessarily participate in the scene. i stood on a back table watching and chatting with a stranger from my home town who knew my brother.

2 a.m. came and passed and they'd stopped serving beer at least an hour earlier, but the party went on.

"holy crap," i thought. "this town is fun!"

and so i continued to loathe duluth. bitch and bitch and bitch. the pioneer and my apartment and afterbars with natty light and hamburger helper. watching the sun come up and my cat crap in the center of my living room. but for one week out of the year, i came to love duluth. purposely driving down superior street to see crowds of people. people my age. not necessarily unattractive people my age having fun. homegrown became a destination on my calender. last year i actually stood in line to get into luce. there may have been a velvet rope. the bouncer talked about fire marshalls. i pretended i was a celebrity. it didn't work.

i no longer hate duluth. that went away last summer, jogging through chester bowl and realizing that above me, a semblence of civilization was happening. yet, here, on these paths, i could strip off my sports bra and soak it in the creek and put it back on without the threat of being arrested.

this makes this week even better. i'm not bringing any hate to the party. homegrown gets to be fun on top of what is already fun. i hit the tale end of the first night sunday night at pizza luce. i drank $2 cans of pabst and heard about four songs and woke with an appropriate hangover and thought: sweet. six more nights to go.

today i'm excited about ...

dandy warhols: we used to be friends

yay! veronica mars is back on tonight. she's so sassy. not to mention i've got it bad for the brooding and dreamy logan eckles.

the cat ate my blog post ...

i've latched myself like a bloodsucker onto chuck's excessive amount of vacation time. much drinking: wednesday night at twin's bar; thursday with my head under a pillow ruing sunlight like the rest of the starlets; friday night at carmody where nearly every customer had bent themselves somewhere south of fluent in basic english. while chuck slept, i stole into his living room with a wheel of brie and some episodes of grey's anatomy that i tricked him into tivo'ing by telling him the show was about a sassy girl detective from neptune, calif.

on saturday i rued my own spleen.

sunday night i kicked off my favorite duluth week at pizza luce to the tune of $2 cans of pabst and a pack of cigarettes. today i slept until my hair stopped hurting.

there have been other things: we've been al fresco three times -- twice in restaurants. saturday brunch of scrambled eggs and raspberry jam at chester creek cafe; sunday a pear, prescutto and goat cheese panini at va bene. coffee and the WWE on his deck.

we've walked through chester bowl and adjacent to the lake walk. one night i let him carry my grocery basket through cub foods and teach me about curry gravy. tonight involves a couch.

meanwhile, my bloggery has been neglected in favor of burritos from the crap factory, pizza and cheesebread from bulldog and avoidance of any instrument that displays central standard time.