Friday, May 30, 2008

shoes ...

after yesterday's disappointing shoe-shopping denial, i decided to hit the mall with a vengence today. i like to think i'm a shoey [ie foodie with shoes] but really i'm a person who finds one super cool pair and then abuses them when she isn't going sockless in a pair of converse low tops.

"aren't those heels uncomfortable?" someone will ask when i'm wearing a pair.
"no. i can sprint in them. wanna see?" and i take off down the sidewalk like i'm being clocked in the shuttle run in the presidential fitness test.

one of my favorite girlie shoes is scuffed. another pair is missing the heel. i still wear them, unable to give up the ghost of what they were. usually i pair the fancies with a hoodie and white tank top bought in bulk from the men's department at target. whatever. i like to dress as a person in three parts. my torso doesn't have to respond to what my feet are doing. and neither have to correspond to my head.

so today i found these. cute. my size. 18 dollars. sold. thanks dsw. this place is singlehandedly responsible for me learning math: unlisted on sale. on sale for 29ish dollars with 40 percent extra off. i'm doing this math in my head and realizing that i can't afford not to buy them.

but i really want a pair of red heels for summer and i've found what i like at dsw, but not in my size, but in a brand they carry at younkers. back to the scene of the crime we go.

unfortunately, i find two pairs of red shoes i like:

on the left is another pair of unlisted shoes. very comfy. cute heels, but also casual. like me. on the right is a pair of bandolinos unlike anything i've ever seen.

i like the casualness of the unlisted. i like the bizarre heel and ankle strap of the bandolino. chuck can't decide which pair he'd rather see laying in a pile in the hallway, either.

so i got both.

three pairs of shoes later, we went home. i went for a run. chuck made tenderloin on the grill. we prepared to go out. i put on the red unlisteds for a night at burrito union and looked like a total sailor:

so i wore old new shoes and we walked to starfire lounge. good times.

this is where i remembered i like snoop.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

little horsey ...

things i learned today:

1. clothes hung on a clothesline dry remarkably fast on a warm sunny day. for some reason i feel skeezy hanging chuck's unders out there, but had no problem letting my bras dangle like mini, ineffective wind socks.

2. burt's bees makes shampoo and conditioner that makes my head and the entire apartment smell like someone went gallagher on a honey comb in the kitchen. and it is easier to weed whack seven months of shin hair in the bathtub than shower, but washing my face in this situation feels like i'm drowing in the holiday inn's hot tub.

3. apparently i wear a size 7 3/4 shoe, which means i had to move away slowly from a pair of really cute and really girlie kicks i found on sale at younkers. also i'd like to own some summer dresses, but suspect i'll look about as feminine in one as seabiscuit.

4. most of the things that we forget to clean out of the refrigerator in a timely manner include chickpeas. first chickpeas harden, then they grow fur. hardly disgusting at all, actually. in other news, there is an apple rotting in the front seat of my car that smells amazing. orchardy and fall-like. i give it three days until this is no longer true. and then two weeks later, when i take it out of my car, i bet it will not only reak, but also be the consistancy of toothpaste.

5. it's easier for me to not despise toonses after i've done something terrible to him, like accidentally lock him in the hallway for an hour of peaceful movie viewing.

"where's toonses?" chuck asked.
"hmmm ... i don't know. probably in his favorite chair."

45 minutes later we heard his aggressive mews coming from the back stairs. ooops.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

my music depends on circumstance ...

there is no legitimate reason for me to know every word of "love song" by sara bareilles. but here i am, not riding my bike, and delilah is playing this song and i am singing along like the driver's seat is an elementary school stage and i'm wearing a pair of loud red jams and mirrored sunglasses and i've whipped up a special dance routine to the song "wake me up before you go-go."

when i realize i'm singing along and haven't missed a beat, key change, a single emotional nuance, i start to feel extraordinary. like i have this bizarre talent, the anticipation of lyric before its verbal release. it's simply not possible that i actually know this song.

in the fall, starbucks was giving out a free song from itunes with a purchase -- and as a indiscriminate liker of things free, i collected them all. this was one of them. something about the song must have interested me -- the way the song "no one's going to love you" by band of horses did. in a 'i like this song, but i doubt i'll ever listen to it on purpose and i'm very sure i won't buy the cd in its entirity' so i started making myself a mix called "building a mix."

for whatever reason, this song became my "cool-down-from-a-run" song. it's upbeat and almost fast. perfect for walking, drinking water, ruing my achilles tendons and patting myself on the back for a job slowly done.

so that is this song's job: to coax me through 4 minutes, 20 seconds of walking, of filling my water bottle and of sanitizing the treadie of my disgusting germs.

and now, accidentally, i can croon it like a little lark without even knowing it was seeping into my brain. i should start listening to songs in spanish or about math or changing my own oil.

i'm realizing that the music i like relies on circumstance. i have about 10 things i listen to regularly in a normal, focused setting, including: bon iver, ida, cat power, the national, radiohead, colin meloy [does morrissey], feist, rilo kiley ... i learned the hard way that for some reason that "the trapeze swinger" by iron and wine make me weepy. no idea why.

and there is little on my running mix that i would listen to under normal circumstances: janet jackson's "nasty boys" and "control"; britney spears' "toxic" and "i'm a slave 4 u"; new order's "true faith" and "bizarre love triangle"; "run" by gnarls barkley.

while i love camera obscura and ben kweller, i only want to hear them on long car rides. and the dresden dolls' take on caberet punk when its winter or raining.

lately i've been craving phil collins. i don't know what circumstances, aside from driving alone in my car at midnight, would call for me to play "against all odds" and so i've not downloaded it. i typically don't like to delve into the 80s unless i have an audience and a microphone and i've done my hair and -- let's face it -- it's madonna or denise williams or stevie nicks. lionel ritchie is fantastic makeout music. the fleetwood collection and supertramp, simon and garfunkle -- great for epic cleaning.

"tears for fears'" album "songs from the big chair" was perfect for grilling at 2 a.m. the other night. but only the album. and only when grilling.

Monday, May 26, 2008

hikings, restaurants and insomnia ...

i took this on my first night of cat-induced insomnia. i'm sure there will be more like it.

ma and pa pista came to town for an impromptu weekend in the north. this meant a lot of hiking and restauranting since i don't golf and they don't binge drink or stay up past 10 p.m. ma pista was on her best behavior: she didn't subtly tell me i'm unkempt and in fact accused me of wearing tinted contacts [wrong in a good way].

here are the pista parents at hell's kitchen. let's keep their internet appearance a secret just in case this is something they are opposed to. i personally think they look really cute, so i couldn't keep the photo trapped in my camera.

blogger on blogger: the nyt's style section has an essay by a woman who met a guy who had a blog, then began reading the blog of another woman he was dating. i love reading about bloggers.

emily gould story: well damn if the whole internet didn't have an opinion on this new york times magazine story about a blogger/former gawker writer. i could only read two pages of snarky comments before i decided the internet is filled with evil anonymous asses with opinions on everything: from the validity of a cover story on a blogger -- especially in a time of war -- to her choice of tattoos.

everyone needs to take a step back and picture the world wide web as a mall. you won't see me setting foot in jc penny's, so there is no reason for me to stand inside their juniors department screaming about how i hate arizona jeans when i can walk 400 meters and phyically lick a pair of jeans i do like at abercrombie. and if someone sneaks a pair of arizona jeans into abercrombie's sale pile ... well, i can sneer and push them aside. no need to sit on the caps lock and make exclamation point art.

and if i am going to waste an afternoon in penny's screaming about how much i hate the store, i would hope that i at least have something smart to say instead of just screaming to scream.

northern waters smokehaus, egg salad: in a shop filled with fantastic sandwiches, this is just an egg salad sandwich. i was excited about the addition of capers, but the biggest caper was: how come i can't taste the capers?

brewhouse, wild rice burger and fries: big love, per usual. the brewhouse's fries prove that all things should be fried with beer. no exceptions.

pizza luce, pizza athena: spinach, tomato, feta cheese, calamata olives, artichoke hearts, onions, oregano and toasted garlic with mozzarella on bianca sauce. sweet slimey artichokes, this is good.

brownie sundae: between three eaters, this ice cream, brownie, cherry and whip cream mix lasted about 10.4 seconds.

lemon ricotta hotcakes from hell's kitchen.

hell's kitchen, lemon ricotta hotcakes: breakfast dessert served by a character from a harry potter movie. i don't know which character because i'm an adult and haven't read any harry potter. this filled me up for 12 hours and was awesome and lemony and great.

"i don't see why they have to call it hell's kitchen," ma pista frowned.

lake avenue cafe, falafel platter: a repeat here, again. quickly becoming one of my favorite things to eat on the planet.

chester creek cafe, mary anne's egg thing: basically an egg mcmuffin with all the bad stuff involved in the "mc" removed.

"this place reminds me of panera," ma pista said. i put a reusable grocery bag over her head and shuffled her toward the door.

"i'm not there" 2007: cate blanchett is amazing; i miss heath ledger; i obviously do not know enough about bob dylan to follow this movie effectively. there is something about a whale, and he and the beetles fall out of the sky. the former is confusing, the later is hilarious.

"the dark half" 1993: in a world saturated with stephen king books turned into movies, this is by far the hokiest one i've seen. a writer's evil alter ego comes to life, kills a bunch of people, pulls out his own tooth. meanwhile, sparrows flock and attack. i almost liked this movie because it was so terrible.

"bitter is the new black" by jen lancaster: i got sucked into a lancaster purchase because suddenly 90 percent of the bloggers i read are reading her books. i'm formulating some important thoughts on when bloggers put their words in book form. i'm also formulating some important thoughts about how sometimes a coney dog is just a coney dog. but this is when i'm not busy thinking about the connection between the early 2000s onslaught of chick lit and how it has affected writers.

lest it sounds like i didn't like this book, that's not true. i had some pretty serious and genuine belly laughs while reading this. my favorite part involves her wedding in vegas, which was held at the same hotel as a porn convention.

"the paper": best. episode. ever. amanda gets asked to homecoming by the king of the latin club. he texts her a night in advance to say he's grounded and unable to go to the dance. tell me: what exactly did this kid do to get grounded? did he conjegate in the wrong tense?

"gossip girl": all i saw was blake lively's hair. forgive me. i'm a 32 year old woman with a thin, chin-length reverse bob and not a single pair of knee-high boots. i even get distracted by shampoo commercials. i'm told the episode was fantastic, though, and that this dan character is a real winner.

"one tree hill:" please tell me that they aren't fixing to get lucas and brooke together.

"grey's anatomy": i can't believe i used to care if meredith grey and mcdreamy got together. now i only care about whether they can get the teenager out of the cement block he sat in.

i know we're only 2 hours into deanna's search, but i think they did a pretty bad job of finding someone for her to date. my first impression rose would have gone to graham, but later when she had one-on-one time with him, he seemed really false. i kind of like the science teacher and of course think the snowboarder is interesting and think the chef pulled a good attention-getting stunt in making her a mini meal. but man. weak herd.

the neighbors moved out, leaving a wealth of empty beer bottles. seeing this, i now understand more clearly why they spend most nights kicking each other's asses in the street.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

this is why i have a hard time liking you ...

toonses spent two days under the couch, occasionally pulling himself out by his elbows, his belly dragging along the floor. with a barbed wire and crooked helmet, it would have looked like "saving private ryan."

thursday night he was wandering around meowing and it sounded like he was saying uh-oh. he tried sitting on my polar fleece. he moved to a sweatshirt. he settled onto a cardboard box. uh-oh. uh-oh. i thought: someone has to tinkle. i scooped him up, set him next to his litter box and he made both one and twos and i thanked him for his attention to detail. well, he got a little sprinkle on the box, but that was okay. he knows where to go now, and when he didn't know where to go, he went on something i could immediatly ditch into a recycling bin.

life was good. i caught chuck rubbing toonses belly, the two cozy on the couch and thought: aw. this is nice.

friday night we went to bed. i closed the door, lodged it shut with a 15 pound free weight. about 20 minutes later, toonses came knocking. ramming his head into the door and meowing. ramming some more. meowing some more. i felt like i was in a horror movie. finally toonses flung his entire body at the door and it slipped open. then he gave a a puny: meow as his little rat face poked its way into the room.

friggin' cujo.

i threw him back into the hall, added about 15 pounds of pennies as additional blockage and went back to sleep without interuption.

last night, toonses was back to his original, fully annoying form: growling in the hallway, then beating down the door. i tried to ignore him, but this cat is stubborn. he once meowed for three and a half consecutive hours and he was just getting started. he used to do this a lot, which is why i started sleeping a mile away from his little whiney, headbutting, self.

i looked at chuck. "what do i do now?" i asked. he did that voodoo with my landlord's dog. he and toonses did have that moment on the couch. not to mention chuck recently put an entire grill together. i thought for sure he would have an answer. he shrugged.

i was, what i like to call, painfully tired. and toonses was making me painfully frustrated.

he had food.
fresh litter.
the rest of the apartment open to his browsing whims.

finally i got out of bed and spent 45 minutes taunting him with a plastic lei with one hand, while googling for answers with the other:

"cat won't stop meowing won't let me sleep."

cat bulletin boards and forums are a lot like windows vista bulletin boards and forums.

1. ask question.
2. someone responds "hmm ... i don't know."
3. four people say "oh! i have the same problem!" and give their own anecdotal evidence of problem.
4. another person says "wow. that is a problem."
5. some jackhole provides an answer, which is less of an answer and more of just a sort of tourettes outburst suggesting that the problem with your cat [or windows vista] can be fixed sexually.

toonses still seemed pretty active, so i brushed him for the first hour of grey's anatomy, and then tried to settle him down during the second hour.

finally at 6 a.m. i went to sleep and he left me alone.

i'm going to set him free in the back yard if he doesn't watch it.

Friday, May 23, 2008

explosive ...

chuck to clerk at the ghetto spur: do you sell propane?
clerk: heh. that would be a very bad idea.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

look what i dragged in ...

today was national "reintegrate toonses into conventional society" day. i had tried kind of passive aggressively to find a new home for him, but surprisingly a lot of people don't want an 11 year old cat who acts like a drunk 19 year old girl wearing four inch wedge heels.

last week i set a date: on wednesday i would reintegrate toonses into conventional society. i bought him a cute little travel tent, which seemed more mobile than the schnauzer carrying case i've used six other times to move him to a new home. [one time i put him on my lap for the two mile drive and we weren't yet in reverse when he made two shits on my jeans.] the tent holds a cat up to 25 pounds -- i added 'give or take' in my head -- and will really come in handy if the three of us go camping this summer in the wisconsin dells.

this "reintegration" date had me a bit mental and unable to sleep on tuesday. i ADD'd all over the apartment and had you cranked open the roof of my brain you would have seen a lot of flourecent colors spinning and ideas being shot into the air like paint balls until i finally resigned to drugging myself comatose -- where i stayed until 4 p.m. truthfully, i'm feeling guilty that i am apparently a package deal because of a silly whim when i was 22. and the only thing that makes me feel better is that my silly whim isn't an 11 year old child fresh from a juvenile detention facility or a tattoo the size of a gravy boat on the small of my back.

i also feel guilty for not being a cat person, but i'll save that for my feelings journal.

unlike most 11 year olds, toonses did not want to get into the tent. he told me this by squealing and extending his toenails ferociously. i called my landlord, who loves manhandling toonses, and it was still tricky and resembled wrestlemania III but it worked. landlord carried the growling package to the car and cooed through the vynal window for the mile drive. we brought him inside the house, and he skulked along the baseboards, dusting hard to reach places.

i showed toonses where he would be eating and crapping and i just hope he doesn't get these places confused. then i brushed him for about 45 minutes, long enough to harvest another whole cat, and he laid on my bladder while we watched a movie. he seems to like it here. he had the same wide-eyed wonder i had the first time i visited this apartment ... and, well, every day since.

and with that, i'm a cat blogger.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

standoff ...

this self-ordained "person who rides her bike everywhere" is having trouble riding her bike anywhere. i've developed a very complicated list of personal rationalizations for leaving it parked in the hallway:

1. everyday when i wake up it has either rained, is raining, or looks like it might rain if not today, tomorrow. or maybe the wind force surpasses my guesstimated leg force and that which my windbreaker will actually break.

2. facebook's new IM feature sometimes finds me chatting away chunks of an afternoon with fannie. then, if i have to go anywhere, i'm all OMG, BRB, TTYL! because now i'm going to be late for an eye exam, haircut, whatever even if i drive.

3. sometimes, oftentimes, i like to wear shoes that are impractical for biking. i could put them in my backpack and change, but when i'm wearing impractical biking shoes, i like how they make me sound like a realitor as i scamper across the sidewalk and into the mall. this loses it's effect if i'm sitting on the curb, stuffing recycleable shoes into my bag and buckling up my costume.

i should probably change my identity from "person who rides her bike everywhere" to "person who drops cash on whims, and then a little more on the matching helmet."


today, while cozied into the stall of a public restroom, another patron entered and popped a squat. i thought to myself: "dammit. now i have to pretend to wash my hands." then i realized that i think that everytime i'm in a public bathroom and someone else enters.

did you know it takes approximately the same amount of time to pretend to wash your hands as it does to wash your hands? stupid.


my ipod and flip video camera are in a standoff with my stupid 400 dollar craptop. my ipod won't sync and my computer won't even make eye contact with the flip video camera. tonight i realized i haven't listened to anything new in approximately 4 months and i've never used my flip camera.

it's not worth downloading anything, which is killing me because i just realized a few days ago that i'm a huge phil collins fan. not to mention my future as a documentary maker is on hold.

whatever. i'm getting my period around noon tomorrow.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

the 'get him system': how to get the boy you want and keep him ...

this seemed like a scam. the poorly designed black and white ad in the back of teen magazine was for a product called the 'get him system.' subtitled: how to get the boy you want and keep him. for $15, plus shipping and handling, the 'get him system' would unlock the secrets to snagging a boyfriend within eight days -- money back guarantee. act now and receive a free copy of 'the secrets of kissing.'

the makers of the 'get him system' promised discretion. after its first reference in the ad, they simply began refering to it as 'the GH system.' your purchase would be sent in a plain, unmarked manila envelope. no fear of knowing winks from the mailman, a sibling dangling your treasure over a gaping toilet bowl, or a lonely neighbor girl recognizing the package, swiping it, and making your 15-dollars-plus-shipping-and-handling moves her own. a few days later she's got a crinkly new perm, buffed white keds and a boyfriend who is ridiculously easy on the eyes. she leans into the drivers' seat of his yellow hotrod and gives him a dramatic kiss heavy on mmmmsss and stevie wonder head tilts. her boyfriend squeals away, she pulls her mirrored sunglasses down her nose -- she knew you were watching -- and says: "fyi, pista. it only took me six days. later!" and skips into the house because, like, her phone is ringing.

the 'get him system.' what if it wasn't a scam? what if there truly was some secret to getting the boy you want and keeping him? something like: before you meet up with your crush, try putting three dabs of bacon grease behind each ear. as he approaches, begin humming "enter sandman" in a way that is barely audible, yet still pleasing. if he asks you what you did that day, say that you went bra shopping with the hottest girl in school.

so we, two boy-starved eighth grade girls, ordered it. princess linda and i pooled our money and sent a check off to some company somewhere and then began the agonizing process of waiting 4-6 weeks for delivery. then we waited 4-6 weeks more.

it was impossible to not talk about the 'get him system' every day that we waited. but because we were sometimes surrounded by other boyfriendless girls, we made a code word for the package: scrunchy headbands.

"did we get the scrunchy headbands yet?"
"i wonder when we'll get the scrunchy headbands."
"maybe our scrunchie headbands are lost in the mail."
"once rob gets a load of my scrunchie headbands, he's going to be madly in love with me."

i must have pictured a factory receiving an onslot of mail from pimply teenagers all over the world. chaos and buzzers and steam everywhere. women in hair nets and rubber gloves, sorting and scanning and packing and fat men in a tight suit vests, chuckling into cigars, counting in fifteen dollar increments. our order must have gotten lost in the shuffle.

we sent them a letter.

a few weeks later, the plain unmarked manila envelope arrived. inside was a thin chapbook, that even at 13 years old i recognized as cheap and unprofessional. each page of the book had tips:

be yourself!
look in his eyes!
laugh at his jokes!
touch his arm!

as well as personal testimonials, i believe. on the facing page would be a photo of a quote-unquote hot guy: tight jeans and leaned against a car; bare chested, wearing sunglasses, holding a volleyball; feathered hair, collar turned up, fingers hitched in his belt loops. like someone had stolen the photo archives from kasson, minnesota's 1983 yearbook.

as for the secrets of kissing? i remember little more than the suggestion: tilt your head to the side.

a few weeks later we received another copy of the same book. and a few weeks after that, we got another. for awhile it seemed like we had hit the 'get him system' jackpot, and that this literature would continue to come for the rest of our lives.

we both kept a copy. mine went under my mattress. we gave the third copy to our friend hinz that spring when she graduated from high school.

i now believe that we sent a check to some 32 year old man who lived in his parent's basement. he would get hopped up on peach schnapps and tangerine diet rite, print out these instruction manuals, tear off the perforated edge of the paper, staple it together and stuff it into an unmarked manila envelope and maybe mail it. maybe not. maybe mail it three times.

i'm not sure if we thought it was funny, or if we thought it would work. i don't really remember who i was trying to get it to work on, either. i know that i never ended up dating the pinnicle of boy perfection: todd, the tom cruise lookalike who played goalie on the hockey team. as for princess linda, "[crush no. 1] still liked heather, and it turns out [dong] was gay."

but ever since i learned to tilt my head to the side, i've been a pretty decent kisser.

Monday, May 19, 2008

superlative abuse ...

last week i rediscovered a love of corn nuts and probably should have been in some knife fights. i learned how to read a bus schedule and decided i no longer care if meredith grey and mcdreamy ever get back together.

northern waters smokehaus: i like sandwiches. if you want, i can list right here the five best sandwiches within a short drive of this couch, but i'd rather list ten and by then it would just get boring.

on friday, my friend blitz told me about a flavor explosion from northern waters called the sitka sushi, and i set a date with this sandwich immediately. saturday, the first pang of hunger, and i had my own.

this thing is awesome. ginger. slivers of vegetable shaved to a sort of cole slaw consistancy. wasabi mayo and hot sauce. smoked salmon. it tastes like sushi on bread, a description that doesn't do it justice.

spicy three pepper hummus: this is excellent. i slathered it thick on a pita with cucs and tomatoes, black olives and feta cheese. best meal ever. and definitely spicy. i deviated from this recipe by using a food processor and only letting it sit for six hours, rather than 24.

"i'm on fire" cover by bat for lashes: here is a sign that i'm a springsteen liker, but not a huge springsteen fan ... i like it better when other people do his songs. i do not like that bat for lashes changed "hey little girl is your daddy home" to "hey little boy is your momma home." this is stupid and annoying and homophobic and almost breaks the song. but the weird tinny instrument and her slowdown almost make up for the lyric change.

"gossip girl": the story behind serena's "i killed someone" has the impact of when someone says "i'm too nice and i work too hard."

"the bachelor: engagement episode": i mistakeningly read a spoiler before watching the show where someone wrote: OMG, he picked the stripper. i thought that meant he picked chelsea. i guess one girl's stripper is another girl's first choice for matt the bachelor -- shayne. there wasn't a dry eye on the couch. don't get me wrong, i don't think they actually like each other. cute, nonetheless.

although, during the appearance on ellen, i had a hard time believing they were really 'in love' and that matt the bachelor hadn't spent the past three months putting away a suitcase of old milwaukee per day before "the price is right."

"battlestar galactica": for three seasons, adama has always done the opposite of what saul tigh has suggested. now, suddenly, cyclops tells adama to hold his fire on the cylon ship and adama listens.

in the absolute worst plotline in the history of television, galen has his leg amputated, which releases his inner peewit. laura roslind should smother him with a pillow.

"before the devil knows you're dead" 2007: this movie was directed by sidney lumet, who was married to gloria vanderbilt, to which i say: "i bet he got in her jeans." i wonder if that is actually funny?

the best thing to note about this movie is the director is in his 80s, and i imagine him sitting in a chair, a little google eyed, trying to find reasons for marisa tomei to take off her shirt.

"but we're supposed to be at a funeral ..." she objects.
"well just show some cleav then, you prude," he croaks.

decent movie: what happens when ethan hawk and philip seymour hoffman are brothers who plan to make a quick dime robbing their parent's jewelry store to get some quick and much needed cash and their mom ends up dead? lots of stuff.

"gone baby gone" 2007: i prefer ben the director to ben the actor and casey the affleck to ben the affleck. this movie was pretty great.

"the position" by meg wolitzer: this book had me giddy in the first chapter, when the four children of sex-book authors discover their parent's famous book "pleasuring: one couple's journey to fufillment." while their parents are out, they examine the book, which includes an artists depiction of their parents in the various positions featured in the book.

awkward and very funny.

the story jumps ahead 30 years. the couple is now divorced and remarried and the children are grown. roz mellow wants her exhusband to agree to a reissue of the book. as soon as the story segues, i was immediately disappointed by what had become of the children: michael, the oldest boy, a hard working professional dating a young actress, popping anti depressants and combating his own sexual failure; holly, the oldest, has settled down after some drug-adled years; claudia is lonely and working on a documentary; dashell is a gay republican with cancer.

from there, the book becomes just average, highly forgettable, sometimes sweet. i think i read wolitzer's book "the wife" and liked it, but i don't remember it at all and i see a same fate for this book. unfortunate, because the first 22 pages are fantastic.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

meat party ...

last night we were invited to eat some grilled grass-fed beef chuck's fannie's girlfriend, geogrl, had scored on the internet. this made my entire week. for as much as i like laying around on the couch honing our secret handshake, there has been a decisive lack of "couple friends" in this relationship.

the time we went to dinner with s'fire and icknay at guadalajara, i was psychotic in my efforts to keep them seated across from us in the booth forever. more talking! more margaritas! more beans! all of my friends that are coupled are either coupled with

a) a man who lives in minneapolis, or
b) a scrawny catastrophe of a woman with an obscenely large collection of dorky scarf-headbands and an obscenely larger collection of low-rent dudes with whom she is "just friends."

aside from that, "okay, we'll meet up with you at midnight" isn't really a selling sentence for civilized human beings.

but the stars aligned on thursday, and so we got to go to a meat party.


we ate cheeseburgers, a salad with huge chunks of feta cheese, and geogrl's sweet potato french fries on their deck, wandered inside for the main event: the chinchilla cheech's dust bath. [next time there will be video of this.]


when we realized the vfw was closed, we went to the north pole -- which is perhaps the preeminant west duluth bar. located on a corner of raleigh street, this brightly lit bar features a well-tended juke box, possibly the best, most fun-encouraging bartender in the state, and a special patio with a wood burning stove. if you, perchance, set your beer on the deck's railing, you are inviting a neighborhood cat to splash his paw in your drink as though his little furry hand is a pita chip; the beer an avacado dip.

aside: i hate other people's cats. to me, touching one is as invasive as if a stranger had casually stripped out of their underthings and draped them over your body.

on this night, i found a young man face down on the picnic table bemoaning his most recent piece of pizza.

"is it his birthday?" i asked his two friends.
"yes," the designated driver responded.
"twenty-one?" i guessed.

here, drunkie used his remaining will to hold up two fingers. a weak peace sign.
"twenty-two?" i asked.
he banged his head against the table in a sort of feeble nod-like gesture.
"well, birthday boy," i said. "your zipper is down."
he groaned.
that's when i noticed that i had a full view of his blue stripped boxer shorts.
"actually," i said, "you're hardly wearing pants at all."

this photo was approved of by drunkie.


we were joined later by hotrod, who celebrated his opposite of a promotion by driving straight to duluth from the twin cities. his sister; his sister's boyfriend. hotrod, who was last seen wearing women's jeans and strutting across the stage at the orpheum during homegrown, is, um ... pretty hard to explain. suffice to say he made this photo happen and is passionate about horse racing. frankly, i'm surprised today that none of us are swiss cheesed with stab wounds:

hmmm ... slim jim.

hosts of the meat party.


the hosts of the meat party walked home; we shared a cab east with hotrod, his sister and his sister's boyfriend.

"you ever get it on with a chick in here?" hotrod asked the cab driver. "you ever give girls free rides home ...?"

and with that our cab driver took off at about 70 miles per hour during the dark neighborhood streets of west duluth. hotrod's sister was screaming, "PUT ON YOUR SEATBELTS!" her hair catching flames from cigarette embers.

"is it okay if we pay you with garbage pail kids?" hotrod asked the cab driver.

halfway into the trip we learned that our cabdriver was infamous. in the early 90s, he sullied a national holiday by saying something racist while while the event was being filmed by a local tv station.

this was arguably the worst cab ride home ever. we should've probably should have walked the 15 miles.


we ate pizza and corn nuts, watched "serial mom," and went to bed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

view master ...

i built my day around three events: 1) the bachelor and shayne on ellen; 2) making three pepper hummus; 3. an air show over lake superior.

what you can expect to see here:

1) 45 seconds of me dinging around with cuts and fades;
2) a minute and a half of your favorite kenny loggins song;
3) my assessment of what has taken place;
4) the finale.

what you won't see here:
1. swearing;
2. nudity;
3. steady camera work;
4. a clear plot.

unfortunately, my shooting and editing have not caught up to the scenes i see in my head. when they do, oh when they do ...

danger zone from christa pista on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

hopped up on kava ...

over the weekend, my friend the punk rock girl went amway on me about kava tea -- made from a legal medicinal herb that will numb your crazies one sasparilla-flavored sip at a time.

"it's supposed to be like taking a valium," she said.

up until that point i was interested in it. but i'm not really one of those people squirreling away leftover codiene from when i had my wisdom teeth removed. that percocet for your chronic back pain that you have hidden behind the tums in your medicine cabinent? i won't be lifting it when i sneak off to the bathroom to dump a napkin of mushrooms down the toilet during your dinner party. i will throw back a shot of nyquil, or pop a soy sleep II very rarely if i am still awake when the "today show" starts. but the great benedryl overdose of 2007 kind of put the kabosh on even that. i prefer to alter my moods with beer, or on special occasions, tequila.

so valium wasn't really a selling point. the selling point came 15 minutes later when i saw the look of pure sunbathed relaxation cross her face. it was like morrissey himself had taken his index finger and pushed her bangs aside, cooing "there, there, punk rock girl."

i jumped in my car and raced to whole foods.

a few months ago we were watching the travel channel and it featured these men doing a variation of bungee jumping involving a platform, rope made from tree limbs, a strategically placed tube sock and absolutely no bungee effect. they would jump and then sort of hit the dirt and bounce -- making sure their head hits the ground first. then they jump up, cheer, climb higher. [video of these men here].

"they were drinking kava," chuck reminded me when i told him about the tea.

chuck tried it first. his voice sounded like it was wrapped in a designer robe and plush slippers. i expected him to be ordering an ascot from some web site dedicated to gentlemen of leisure. "walden" laying open on his chest. then i tried it. the first sip, very subtly and not uncomfortably, numbs your tongue, then throat. within about six minutes i was squashed lower into the couch, lulled, pleasant and agreeable. i wasn't sure if i had just unwound or if it really affected me until i realized we had been talking about cavemen for about a half hour.

good stuff.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

everything i can tell you about my junior prom date ...

i met my junior prom date in first grade, but i don't recall any interactions with him until sixth grade. colleen, who would fail to popularize wearing shaker sweaters backward, and i sat in front of him in history class. in a moment of pure comedic inspiration, colleen and i both wiped a slime trail of snot onto a piece of wide ruled notebook paper and passed it back to him. like it was just a common note. he opened it. saw the boogers. and immediately walked it up to mr. h's desk and handed it to our teacher while pointing back at us. we were crippled with laughter.

surely mr. h would find this crude gesture funny. gum chewers in his class were forced to stick the wad of hubba bubba to the blackboard. if you passed gas in his classroom, like my junior homecoming date, mr. h made you wear a diaper for the rest of the period.

mr. h called colleen and me to his desk, pointed at the matching snot arts and said: this is disgusting. no. really. this is seriously gross and weird and i think you both need psychological help.

in junior high we called colleen "pig in a pink mini skirt" behind her back. she introduced me to aretha franklin. and told me she had a huge crush on this super hot guy. this singer named "tracy chapman." eventually colleen moved to colorado springs.


in eighth grade i broke up my 10-month relationship with the skateboarder, but only when i knew that my junior prom date was going to ask me out. my junior prom date and i both were on the lourdes' cross country team. early into our eight-day courtship, we were running 800 meter intervals at twinkie field: 100 meters out and a dogleg to the right into some trees not visible to coach g, who was holding a stopwatch at the finish line.

a few laps into the workout, some of us lazily followed the lead of some upperclassmen, and stopped running all the way to the end. we ran until coach g couldn't see us. waited an appropriate amount of time. turned around and jogged back.

my junior prom date told on us. from then on, we called him "the narc."


in my head, our breakup was borne of my junior prom date's fear of kissing me: i was a worldly 13 year old boasting a 10-month resume of dexterous tongue kissing with the skateboarder. he had gone out with two or three people max for about 15 minute increments.

my friends and i were gathered in dong's basement playing a game we invented, called "ripfest."

boys versus girls, shouting out such scathing character jabs as "oh yeah?! well, your perm makes your head look like a stalk of broccoli!" or "oh yeah? well you're flatter than a four year old boy!" which eventually led to "oh yeah? well the only reason you broke up with me is because you are afraid to kiss a girl!" i accused my junior prom date.

that unleashed a frenzy. ripfest was in full force. no zit, no bad hair day, no fashion faux pas, no pit stain, no dyslexia went unmentioned. we were a squaking frenzy of coke-drinking, cheeto-eating teen on teen hate crimes.

fannie and i slugged back to her house, defeated by ripfest. i picked up a red folder with the words "never tear us apart" written on the cover. it was my novel about my relationship with the skateboarder, the title homage to "our" inxs song. i stared dumbly at the ground and eventually tipped over, weeping into fannie's bedspread. i'd broken up with the skateboarder for this? a prudish narc who didn't like snot jokes? this novel was going to be so good ...

fannie's mom knocked on the door, and came into the room.
"you okay?" she asked us.
we nodded.
"we're just talkng about my novel," i said, showing the folder to mrs. fannster.


sophomore year, my junior prom date came over to my house. while he was genuinely a nice kid, self-depreciating and cute in his lanky awkwardness, i believe his intentions were naughty. we were leaned against the fireplace hearth, eating stale popcorn and watching a movie and barely talking when i noticed he had made a horrifying wardrobe adjustment.

i sent him home. but since he'd driven all the way across town, i conceded to kissing him. later, telling the story to my friends, it was so surreal i couldn't even believe that this was an actual scene out of my actual life.


it was understood i'd not be going to my junior prom with the train, my on-again-off-again boyfriend. he was going with the holder of a division I basketball scholarship, wrapped in obnoxious blonde waif: his other girlfriend. the one whose friends were dating his friends and so was more convenient and socially acceptible and didn't have a curfew.

i spent a lot of time that winter wondering why my enemy, the woman i hated most in the world, was also the loudest person in the hallways, commons, parking lot. even the ponytail she wore on top of her head was irritating, mocking me with its stupid bounce.

i don't remember my junior prom date asking me to go with him. i do remember that it was a relief to have a date who was easy on the eyes, one of my good friends, and who i could -- in a pinch -- consider romantically.

i found an embarrassingly floofy purple dress and i got my hair done by a woman who thought i said "elizabethian, please." fannie's hair looked better: a take on a 1980s housewife, as seen in the st. pius church directory. my junior prom date got to my house before i'd slipped into my formal wear.

i spent the night sending longing looks at the train. my dress slipped down around my waist while dancing, giving one math teacher, a grateful dead fan, and my date a poor excuse for a peep show. for whatever reason, this did not embarrass me at all.

"it just looked like any other boy's chest," my junior prom date shrugged.


lourdes fielded a decent boys basketball team in the 1993-94 season, my senior year. a pack of mid-sized, above average athletes: overachievers who spent summers and weekends shooting freethrows and playing pickup games in the gym. in those days it was safe to entrust the keys to the school to a dopey 6'4 post player stuffed into the drivers' seat of a festiva.

the first round of the Section 1A playoffs pitted the eagles against pine island -- a far inferior team. our boys got off to a slow start, were down at the half, and seemed en rout to a loss.

my junior prom date was the sixth man. the first one off the bench. not a star, but tall. for the entire second half, everytime he touched the ball, it went in the hoop. he could shoot from half court. he stole the ball, then raced in alone for a layup. he made free throws when he was fouled. he was en fuego. the game of his life. i can picture him bounding down the court with a huge smile, knobby knees and fist pumping, flailing a bit and unsteady.

our boys lost, but man, my junior prom date had a heck of a game.


we all went off to college. and then we all graduated and moved back home to rochester for lack of more creative options. fannie and i picked up my junior prom date for a night in altura, minnesota. he came bounding out of his parents house, hawaiian shirt and jabby elbows. he took an awkward and angular leap over his parents shrubs -- like a deer competing in the steeple chase -- and jumped into the car breathless. i'm not sure what it will take to erase that memory from my brain.

my junior prom date had met a girl that none of us liked, for all the reasons you don't like your guy friend$'s silly attempts at finding girlfriends. it could be anything from her name, which sounded like the name of a cartoon animal, to her tongue ring -- which we were too vanilla and judgey to see as anything other than the decorative decisions of a low rent stripper. she also wore a lot of blue eyeshadow. my junior prom date had a poster-size photo of this woman dressed as a rabid cavewoman. that loin cloth she was wearing didn't help our opinion.

they would date. they would break up. they would date some more. during one break, my junior prom date seemed interested in fannie.

"go for it," i hissed to her. "take one for the team."
this became my mantra everytime she expressed doubts in actually becoming romantic with my junior prom date. "you get in there and take one for the team!"

my junior prom date and fannie dated for about the length of a work week. not consecutive, mind you, but a work week none the less. in fact, we refer to that time period as "the work week."

my junior prom date bought a six thousand dollar engagement ring, proposed to the ol' cartoon animal cave woman and i fell down the steps at their wedding. three months later and one curious hacking into her email account and they were divorced.


the last time i saw my junior prom date was on new year's eve -- sometime between 1999 and 2004 -- i honestly cannot remember. we were gathered for a party at the elks lodge or vfw in hopkins. fannie and my junior prom date fell into a liplock at midnight. then he got distracted by a cute blonde he vaguely remembered from college.

he got her phone number, but told us he didn't get her phone number. then he told us he got her phone number, but said he wasn't going to call her. then he got remarried to her.

then he fell off the planet. or at least my radar.

Monday, May 12, 2008

'let's go get sushi' decoded ...

this past week i decided that i like tyra banks, veggie chips, and "this american life," the tv version.

"the hills" :

* for lo, "let's go get sushi" is code for "i hate" a) local music; b) audrina; c) sharing lauren's air space. she pulled the same code phrase back on laguna beach when she got stuck at that hippie benefit concert. personally, i use the phrase "i should have worn my other shoes."
* heidi seems to be experiencing something akin to personal growth. possible that the reward for extricating oneself from the toxic hills living arrangement, is a promotion and the thinly veiled sexual advances of an ogre looking boss?

"the bachelor, london calling:" i loathe these catty castoff episodes where they bill it using the word "dish." next week, on the bachelor, the women dish on matt. i forced myself to watch it anyway, and am more confused than ever that he did not pick amanda.

in case you're wondering, i CANNOT WAIT for the bachelorette season, starring deanna.

"gossip girl"
* i need to stop reading spoilers before i watch episodes so that when serena says "i killed someone" i don't laugh.

"the paper": the first issues has issues. adam throws the temper tantrum of a thousand mariah careys, then ditches out jazz-handing all over "high school musical" on ice; alex takes over, and leaves amanda standing her rapid blinking saying volumes; alex's facebook page reveals to amanda that he is "in a relationship." amanda multitasks: yoga, reprimanding her dog and talking on the phone simultaneously.

"the real world, hollywood": joey tells his roommates to cut him off after one beer, and reminds them that he is an alcoholic. but after one beer and some cartoonish muscle-flexing, he's ready for more! more! more! he drinks every liquid in the house, including an entire bottle of white zin -- cackling and referring to himself as a wino -- and seemingly at least a six-pack of something else. by 9 a.m. he is channeling the apex of "the shining," threatening to move out, packing his bags, pounding on doors. meanwhile, in PA, the stripper has learned that hootchie shorts are not proper attire for court.

"battlestar galactica": just when the show had taken a boring downward spiral, and i'd conceded that i have no business watching the sci-fi network anyway, starbuck manually removes a bullet from a crew members shin, her finger mining the wound for schrapnel while he screams. mutiny, we hardly knew ye. she takes a handful of cylons -- some known, some not -- to meet with the "good cylon" faction. the seven makes out with herself; one of the boomers dies. the president -- bald -- is one crinkly forehead from turning this show into star trek. she is slowly finding the cylon god.

valentini's: we started with suppli di rosi, rosotto balls filled with moz and prusciutto and served with sauce. tasted like it came from one of those booths at the county fair that serve their foods with cloth napkins. and i mean that in a really good way. i had penne ala vodka, which was described as having a creamy red sauce.

aside: when i worked at an italian restaurant, a few of us modified two different pastas -- the four cheese pasta and the chicken and sausage pasta -- to create a creamy pink sauce one penne with a whole mess of sausage. this is what i was hoping to get. instead, i just got large chunks of tomatoes. good, but not what i was envisioning. it made a terrific leftover. chuck had carbonara ala valentini which was very rich and very good and means that, hands down, prusciutto is my new favorite food.


"king of kong: a fistful of quarters" 2007: holy geeky goodness. billy mitchell, the reigning donkey kong champion of the world could only be a better foil with a camero and a 17 year old girlfriend who works at the dairy queen. this documentary about the quest to claim ownership of the donkey kong title made me a little weepy: the bad guy, cheesey tie, amply mulleted mitchell verses the all-american science teacher, musician, dad who plays donkey kong in the garage. it is awesome.

"a history of violence" 2005: i like david cronenberg because he makes throbbing bullet wounds, isn't shy about brain debris stuck to a t'shirt, and turned jeffrey goldblum into a very realistic looking fly. he seems to have no boundaries for gapes and oozes. in this movie, a small cafe's owner kills would-be robbers and the following publicity tips off the mafia to a made-man-gone AWOL. starts strong and creepy, but quickly turns hokey.

"eXistanZ" 1999: real versus reality in the world series of love. what happens when gamers become involved in a game that makes it difficult to tell what is real and what is not. this involves an orifice-like port that is pierced into the small of one's back and is attached to a fetus-looking blob with an intestiney cord.

been there done that, well not all of that -- yet this still made my stomach wretch. kudos -- i don't have that response often. very graphic description of one woman's medical emergency -- and by medical emergency, consider this a warning.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

hey internet!

look who i met!

"i almost didn't recognize her because she wasn't dressed like a mime," chuck said.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

and bam! i'm an eagle scout ...

chuck pointed at a super high rock and said "do you want to go up there?" and i thought he was kidding. that rock looked like it would require a carabiner, if not at least seven other things from one of those stores with the word "adventure" in the title.

but here we were at 123rd avenue west, and what else were we going to do? chuck was wearing a pair of chuck taylors, notorious for their lack of spikey soles. i'd left my water bottle in the car. our plan to cover 39 miles of the superior hiking trail was derailed last year -- like a lot of good ideas that are hatched at 3 a.m. on chuck's couch. anyway, we found a path and elevated to here -- something called ely's peak:

stay tuned for my photo show entitled: blurry bar shots and pictures of chuck taking pictures of stuff.

there were dozens of turkey buzzards, who seemed to be performing a danceline routine to technotronic's "pump up the jam."

we wandered further along, probably three miles or so, and then had to make a decision:

* do we turn back?
* come out on the other end of this path at skyline. spare ourselves the boredom of backtracking past the same old bear paw prints and the dozens of alien messages in the form of cairns? i mean i'd already used what i learned yesterday from the bristol stool chart to determine these here woods are filled with constipated animals.
* or do we freakin' bushwhack through this mess -- do exactly what you aren't supposed to do and jump path and head straight downward where hopefully we'll hit the munger trail or at least get close enough to it that i can carry chuck if he twists his ankle?

we went with the third option. chuck scoped it out in front of me, disappearing into twigs and trees and grass. finally i decided to follow him, but he was already out of sight. everytime i heard a crackle, i looked for a flash of black t'shirt, and it was usually just a bird. i yelled for him: nada.

i spent about 7 minutes imagining night fall, gnawing off my own thumb then staying hydrated by drinking leaffulls of my own saliva. then i wonder what if chuck fell off of something and how will they get the helicopters in here? not to mention the sociopaths and train robbers hiding in the hills.

"you've been watching too many tori spelling movies," chuck tells me when i find him four seconds later.

we continued our very unpractical drop and by the time we get to the bottom i was being given an auditition as the host body for a young tick. hello, summer!

then we ended up in this cavey tunnel thing that was super cool and dark and exactly where the satanists would spend their time painting anarchy signs on the rocks and pounding sugar free red bull -- if this tunnel was in rochester.

if chuck ever comes out with a poetry chapbook, i hope he uses this shot for the cover.

in the air ... from christa pista on Vimeo.

here is 19 seconds of us on ely's peak.

holding steady at level four ...

me and jcrew on night seven of homegrown. see that smile? that is the smile of a woman who will wake refreshed and happy and not at all hung over.

i barely dared to hint at my good fortune last week. once when i almost kind of casually gave it a nod of acknowledgement, i did so while knocking on -- well, plastic -- covering my own ears and trilling "lalalalala."

only sunday, once homegrown was over, did i finally spit out the truth: i wasn't hung over once. not at all. nuh uh. i woke easily each day, fleet of foot, and aside from a clutch of nerves that maybe this would be the last day of eluding a demon hangover, by the time i went out again each night i felt fine cracking into another silo.

the standard beer can as a conduit of evil? maybe i've been too harsh.

escaping a hangover takes a certain amount of luck. it also require a combination of factors -- a scientific mix of elements that i've been spent the past three weeks weighing. unfortunately, my week involved mixing my control subjects, so i will never be able to determine the specific force behind my good health.

* perhaps pbr is my power beer. the one that mingles perfectly with my body chemistry and actually repairs my sacrificial organs.
* maybe 14 hours of sleep per night is enough to mend anything.
* possible that my pre-drink meals -- gouda mac, french fries, a chicken gyro and the like -- were unpenetrateable by mere alcohol.
* the harnessing of momentum and adrenaline. maybe my body knew on experimental tuesday that i still had to trudge along through acoustic wednesday toward saturday's 2 a.m. crew jones set.
* there is a chance i didn't drink as much as i thought during homegrown. by the time things ramped up during the weekend, scavenging an actual beer from an actual beer vendor took quick thinking, sharp elbows, ability to navigate crowds, a bladder of stone and a well-maintained buzz.

regardless, this boost of fortune remains a mystery. as much of a mystery as why today -- after a modest birthday celebration on tuesday night -- i feel like complete ass. i mean, i was only out for an hour and twenty minutes last night. much of that time was spent in transit: from mr. d's, to the rustic, closing the night at the gopher. and okay, there was a nightcap, a can and a half of swill while i proved via guitar hero that leaving my car at mr. d's was an outstanding idea.

i obviously didn't prepare and follow the tenets established during homegrown. for instance, i ate a tuna fish sandwich, a tomato and yogurt for dinner. there's no grease in that. and i was chugging honey weiss rather than my power beer. as for adrenaline? adrenaline be damned. i firmly intended to not drink at all, until i got to mr. d's, saw the look on jcrew's sober face, and realized i didn't want to look like that.

* i had a weird dream about a toilet bowl. then, as soon as the sun hit the tin foil, i was wide awake. i crawled to the refrigerator for the last medicinal 32 ounces of gatorade. gone.
* then i barfed three weak little pansy pukes of what i'm assuming was stomach lining and saliva.
* turns out that dream about the toilet bowl was prophetic: despite how felt, i was registering a four which means i'm healthy and normal. it also means i have a new socially unacceptible hobby.

one sleeve of crackers, an episode of "one tree hill," a gatorade and "gossip girl," six glasses of water, "the real world," pizza, "the paper," a coke and "grey's anatomy" later and i'm feeling fine.

but not like i felt during homegrown, man.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

why i am not at an afterbar ...

tonight is my friend bubbles' birthday party. we celebrated in west duluth and for much of the night thought we would end up on chuck's dad's couch -- too drunk to drive home. his dad two blocks away.

"i don't want him to shoot us when we walk in," i said, thinking of that rude 2 a.m. wake up.
"he won't shoot us," chuck assured.
"i don't want him to throw tomatillos at us," i adjusted. chuck's dad is the original hipster: bikes, hoodies, laid back, prolific gardener who grows salsa ingregdients ... "and we can sleep together ... he has extra bedrooms!" chuck added. two extra beds.

eventually seadawg drove us home. we received some hard pressure from horno to go to an afterbar at the greeter's house. i was nonresponsive and here is why:

when you are single, or hate your boyfriend, or your boyfriend lives far away, you don't want nights to end. you want tequila shots and a snake named gus wrapped around your neck. you want to see who you might hook up with or at least have a story of chaos. but me? we'd already decided to compete at guitar hero -- the song 'when you were young' -- when we got hom.

so if i'm picking an afterbar with 8 people sitting around on a couch ... perhaps a snake ... maybe a totinos pizza and some gin ... or us. home alone. no walking in the rain when we're wasteder than now ... chuck inventing a new pasta recipe based on ingredients in the fridge -- like yogurt, chickpeas and soy butter -- i'd rather have that.

chuck understood it already, but i explained it further when i got home: say you're in high school and there are two afterbars going on. one with everyone. one with the person you have a crush on. which one do you go to?

easy peasy. chuck just beat me at guitar hero, told me i'm going to fall in love with this pasta he invented, and this is easily the best afterbar ever.

that doesn't mean i may not post my "bubbles birthday" documentary later, though. the night was and still is fun.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

early onset internet ...

my mom had two full walls of chalkboards in her third-floor classroom, and bookcases teeming with titles like: "tales of the fourth-grade nothing," "nothing's fair in fifth grade," "bridge to terabithia," and "superfudge." but the greatest perk of having my mom be an elementary school teacher was that every summer she got to take home one of the macintoshes from the school's computer lab.

she would set up this clunky box of technology in our den with some rules about making sure to always turn off the monitor and to ground myself before touching anything so that i didn't static school's property into a sizzling mess. i'd spend the summer saddling my friends with dysentery and syphilis and fjording shit. i opened a simulated lemonade-selling business where i negotiated pricing according to weather conditions and the cost of supplies. i formatted floppy discs, then coded them with passwords to keep anyone from finding the equivilent of cave-drawing: flashing boxes and robotic stick figures.

the computers evolved, eventually we had a color screen. then came the internet. we were subscribers to a service called "prodigy" which divvied out complicated screen names like, username: wxzzy061. i'm not sure that anyone ever explained to me what this internet was, or its place in this world. i just knew that it was the preferred haven of 47 year old perverts going by the name "betsi" who would try to extract your home address so they could -- at their leisure -- hide in your closet, drug your chocolate milk, throw you into the back of a nondescript van and whisk you away to cleveland.

to me, the internet was a place to meet likeminded fans of the song "OPP," and "humpty dance." it was a spot where i could defend the acting skills of the woman who plays crickett on "the young and the restless" [i was labeled a troll on this bulletin board.] and on the internet, i could browse forums about "depeche mode," missives by people with names like "bondage angel." [mine was lil' girl ... a name i was proud of and that totally revealed me as a true fan. i spent many hours declaring my loyalty to black celebration, music for the masses and violator.]

of my friends, just princess linda also had "the internet" and together we used it to get around my 10 p.m. phone curfew and midnight car curfew. we would stay up late sending messages back and forth:

"and so then alex goes ... and i was like ..."
"but do you think he like-likes her or just likes her?"

once we went to AOL i found lots of those creepy men to IM with at 3 a.m. it was all very innocent, and only once did i drive to a truck stop in the middle of the night to meet some guy with a 1970s hot rod who had billed himself as much taller. i let him watch me eat an omelette, and then went back to rochester.

it's probably not surprising that i met my boyfriend on myspace. ... i mean at subway.

sometimes i wonder what it would have been like to always have access to the entire world. what if i'd had a blog when i was a teenager, chronicalling unrequited love and the haunting sounds of the song "little 15." how my favorite food is the maid-rite and how i hate playing the saxophone.

i know one thing: there would be archives filled with poetry. oh yes. there would be poetry.

Monday, May 5, 2008

grounded ...

this past week was a complete mess of restaurant food, live music, aimless flinging of $20 bills, and long walks home at 2 a.m. i am grounding myself from fun until further notice.

pizza luce's gouda mac: my favorite kind of cheese served at liquid temperatures, huge chunks of tomatoes, and reimagined bacon that probably doesn't come from a pig at all. excellent. chuck had a philly cheese steak with cheez whiz -- my favorite kind of cheese from something akin to an aqua net bottle.

fitger's brewhouse tuna steak sandwich: sandwich needed some zip. but oh the fries. best in the world.

india palace, matar paneer and garlic naan: whatever. so i always eat the same thing here ...
perkins, eggs benedict, breakfast fries and jcrew's pancakes: this little greasy montage got me over the final homegrown hump and made it possible for me to still be able to face sunlight on sunday. thank you, grease trap.

va bene, spinach salad with prescutto wrapped moz: a handful of spinach with vinegarette and topped with bacon wrapped cheese. would it kill you to throw in a tomato and four onions, i am paying for this meal, not just grazing on the front lawn. chuck compared his pasta to something a college student would make himself.

on the plus side, save for a badly placed beam you have the best view in town and that woman on the first date a table away provided better entertainment than a thousand strolling violinists. i felt great satisfaction in predicting her response to her date's question: "so, you're a foodie. do you watch 'top chef?'" with: "oh, i don't watch tv." that was like dessert.

pizza luce's veggie nuggets and tuna caliente: why? because this is what i eat on sundays.

niko's chicken gyros with cheese sticks: a fine substitute for an gyro gyro.

"silent hill," 2006: oh holy plotless wonder. it took me 45 minutes to realize i was watching a video game. worst movie ever. seriously. on a positive note, we are almost done with this here movie project.

"scary movie II" : tori has high praise for her own performance in her autobiography. she mistakes the sexual advances of a ghost for true love and goes a bit loco. unfortunately, i watched this on TBS so i could see she was saying very naughty things, but the lack of actual words made it sound like my hearing aid was on the fritz. this is a very silly movie. some might say stupid. some might say stupid, say, during every commercial break. luckily i like fart jokes, so stupid was fine with me.

"the bachelor: the intercourse episode":

* today's bachelor buzzword is 'vulnerable.' if i took a tug off a bottle of tequila everytime i heard the word 'vulnerable' tonight, i'd be typing this in spanish.
* probably among the worst responses to 'i love you' is 'oh shayne, you never cease to amaze me.'
* i can never decide if it is good to be the first date on the sleepover date or the last date on the sleepover date ... but being the middle date on the sleepover date means the bachelor doesn't like you.
* amanda's overuse of the word 'like' is beginning to make me really uncomfortable.
* i think chelsea is a smoker. that is the only explanation for her weird distant jittery behavior. but it doesn't explain why she went cross-eyed loco during dinner.
* chelsea's rhinestone underwear was ... classy? especially when she ditched it before showing matt the bachelor her 'romantic side.' [romantic? so that's what the kids are calling it these days.]
* dude. the bachelor sent meeps home? i'm glad she said something bleep-worthy. what the what? he must think subscribe to the theory that america is a whitesnake video. i'm stunned.
* go shayne?

"the hills" :

* so audrina gets the guest house, which is like saying: here. you're still pretty enough to hang out with us, but we don't want to look at your little bohemian stoner friends.
* i like to think this 'guest house' is a sort of 'concubine hut' for when lauren and lo inevitably disagree on something and lo gets sentenced to relationship vacation. then audrina can move in, and lo can move to the concubine hut.
* when lc says she never stopped liking stephen, does that mean she liked him when she was moving into a beach house with ole rehab and while stephen was dating the regenerater from heroes?
* stephen coletti is like 'dude. now i'm on one tree hill ... heard of it?'
* stephanie pratt doesn't know who stephen coletti is? she didn't watch laguna beach?! she doesn't watch 'one tree hill'? who is this pop culture flunkie!? and how does she expect to run with this crowd? someone better introduce her to brody jenner before she makes an ass of herself.
* wait? is stephen coletti gay?

"one tree hill": three episodes ago brooke decided she wanted to adopt a baby. one episode ago, she got one in the mail. this past episode she complained about upkeep on that rascally dependant. brooke should have gotten a tattoo. tattoos don't cry.

and that thing with the clown was a clever deviation from hollywood's standard take on the floppy footed balloonists.

"battlestar galactica": aside from mutiny scene, this show has had two pretty boring episodes in a row.

"real world: hollywood": is it just me, or is mtv angling for its first on-screen suicide?

"the wire" season four: this is the greatest show of all time. when bubs didn't die i knew the writers at least had a semblence of soul. i will be wishing away my summer waiting for season five to come out on dvd.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

homegrown day seven: the stage is surrounded by a rind of drunk ...

lookee loo. my funshackle totally faded to white over the course of the week. like a mood ring or some other who-do voodoo.

8:30 p.m. -- jcrew, the rockstar and i dine at india palace. my goal is to either coat my stomach with matar paneer: something that i assume will soak up one dollar water glasses filled with coors, or at least look interesting at 3 a.m. when i pollack it all over the curb outside of pizza luce.

9:15 p.m. -- i'm seriously cramming forkloads of peas and cheese into my body like some sort of animal with a second stomach. the one i have has grown freakishly distended. next to me, jcrew is moaning through her similar mission.

10 p.m. -- we get to quinlan's, where i have a pavlovian desire to not enter, still a bit skittish from the way the place was raining breath and body odor during cars & trucks' show the previous night. when a droplet fell from a vent onto the rockstar on friday night, she convinced me that it was raining sweat and called the place a rainforest.

i quickly drink a beer with the intent of catching up to chuck, who has about a six-hour head-start on me having attended a house party in the afternoon where it was non unusual to find a homegrown hero mixing A1 steak sauce with his vodka, mayonaise and coke. god. homegrown is disgusting.

10:45 p.m. -- our trolley driver must have taken drivers' ed with the teenaged minivan driver who spirited us home on tuesday night. i'm sliding all over the wooden bench. the driver announces that it is okay to swear on the trolley, unlike on the DTA. we exit; amble up the hill.

photo by chuck.

11 p.m. -- jamie ness is playing a southern rock cover. his brother, the mayor, struts in and receives handshakes and pats on the back. this would make a fantastic lifetime original movie: [in a deep movie trailer voice] one brother is in a rock n roll band; the other is the gatekeeper to the city's rental ordinances. brother two tries to skirt into brother one's show unnoticed, but he's the mayor and people want to touch him. brother one gets louder. rocks harder. the skuttle around brother two reaches a fever pitch. brother one throw's his guitar down on the stage and screams: "i'm the rocker! this is my show! you have your show on cable access! just let me rock for my fans!"

unfortunately, this did not happen. [and i seem to have taken a lot of pleasure out of writing ness family fan fiction, which is ... weird?]

after shooting photos of jamie ness, chuck meanders back and says: um. i just sat on the floor of the kozy bar.
11:15 p.m. -- we parade southwest, back toward luce. jcrew limping along in a pair of impractical 3-inch heels; chuck photographing a woman in a knit cap who will, in return, belch in my ear as she skips past.

as we near the bar, the sweet sounds of 1991 is thicker than the smell of pizza dough.

mighty shock tower is revisiting REM's greatest hits, while their parents beam from the sidelines, clapping awkwardly and surprisingly unfettered by the liberal use of the "f" word being spit into the microphone.

i suggested to a former acquaintance that olive garden was his favorite restaurant and watched his pupils burn with hell-fire. i had to promptly extricate myself from this dangerous situation.

midnight -- it was during father hennepin's show that i noticed that duluth began to unfurl. it wasn't just the rain of granny panties parachuting onto the stage, it was a sort of drunken rind of fans that became deeper and deeper as the set went on. first it was just the photographer who eluded security, weaving his way across the stage, sticking his camera two inches from his subjects' faces. then i noticed the whole front row had turned pbr into a living, breathing thing. i turned around and saw a wall of sobriety become increasingly less so, like a drunken shadow force touching 20 people at a time until the duluth entity was officially schnockered.

12:30 a.m. -- i take a breather at a corner table. make friends. drink things. babble on and on until my own voice has taken on the piercing static of the most offensive alarm clock.

2 a.m. -- we stumble back into the main room for week's finale, crew jones, which even jcrew can get behind. it's sweaty. it's loud. it's animated. it is, per usual, pretty amazing.

3 a.m. -- jcrew says that since she has been to new york twice and has seen every episode of sex and the city at least once, she will hail us a cab. she stands in the street, arm in the air like the smartest kid in a third-grade math class. and sure enough, she snags one very efficiently. we go to perkins.

4 a.m. -- we cram our bodies with breakfast food and offend -- or perhaps educate? -- anyone withing a three-table radius. jcrew has left the contents of her meal in the toilet and splattered on her fancy red coat before she has even paid for it. me? when my meal bungees, i just reswallow it. this time when the cab arrives, we are uncertain if it is our's or another group's. the cab driver doesn't seem to care either way, and so we take it and are whisked away, back to our normal lives: meals made in kitchens out of ingredients found in nature; liquid in the form of water; conversations i remember. weeeee! oh normal life. i've missed you so.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

homegrown day six: where i wake up and think 'is this over yet?' ...

* at fitgers we run into the woman i suggested was having hot flashes all over her cello.
* i dig my fingernails into chuck's arm and giggle like someone pooted in church.
* thankfully, it seems she hasn't read my tiny little blip of a blog.

* the college boys sitting across from us on the bus keep talking about "an adventure" and "we should do this more often." they ditch into fonduluth cascino, sprinting like its disneyworld.
* our bus drops us at the orpheum nightclub before things have started.
* the members of bone appetite are having a having preshow drinks. offstage they look like friendly men who could fix your cell phone plan or hook you up with a roth ira.
* a man jumps off his bar stool and tells us that he is going to go try to wake up fred tyson, the first performer.
* upstairs, in the strip club, it sounds like a woman auction. a bingo-caller is reeling off the dimensions and resume highlights of a stripper who saw 1/4 a ball of black yarn and thought it would make a stunning evening dress.
* apparently professional celebrity strippers have been brought in for the night. "i'm already bored," one band guy says pushing past us. meawhile, the topless professional celebrity stripper on stage is skipping from dull-eyed male to dull-eyed male, selling motorboats for a buck a piece.

* the orpheum is filling with an unlikely crowd of people, stuffing into booths and reorganizing chair configurations. i'm not sure if we should tell them this ain't the olive garden now, or if we should let fred tyson's shiny boxer shorts, satin half-shirt and boxing gloves key them into the fact that there will be no bread sticks and salad refills.
* i'm in the lobby buying my 85th pbr of the week when chuck comes in the lobby to tell me the show has started. that fred tyson was helped onstage and someone is holding him in front of the microphone.
* this little man with a big presense shuffles around in a pair of tube socks, and white tennies that make his feet look like he's having perma puberty. he's chanting his personal catch phrase: freddy gonna do what he wanna do, fuck you.
* i realize that this is the unofficial kickoff to homegrown. anything i've seen before, anything i'll see later, is just strofoam packing peanuts wrapped around this act.
* when the show is over, freddy continues to greet fans holding the dead, unplugged microphone under his chin.

freddy gonna do what he wanna do ... from christa pista on Vimeo.

* we board the free trolley and head to rt quinlan's for cars & trucks.
* the trolley is great fun, with people chanting the obvious: trol-ley, trol-ley. and singing various bus-themed songs. it kinda feels like that moment senior year where the social infrastructure has been sanded down and everyone just likes each other and thinks everyone is wicked hilarious.

* quinlan's is packed. i tuck myself in by the popcorn machine instead of pushing to the front row. i already know i like cars & trucks, so i don't need to be in the front row. i can see tony bennett's hair from here.
* back on the trolley, destination luce for greg cougar conley's show. this is good stuff, but we have to get back to the orpheum to see bone appetite.

* our plan is to then return to luce for giljunko. but i'm slowly realizing that this band is going to suck the life out of me. that guy who was going to upgrade my cell phone package? he's changed into a pair of women's jeans and drawn on a mustache with a sharpie. roth ira is wearing a sweatband.
* fans are screaming along to "drive away." chuck's face is registering pure glee. if he could glow, he would.
* some kid is crowd surfing and dives from the stage.
* this makes me envious of all the bone appetite shows i didn't see, and the people who did.
* most homegrown acts last a half hour, forty five minutes. when bone appetite segues into a cover of "california dreamin'" i turn to chuck quizzically.
* "oh," he says. "they won't leave the stage until they're forced off."
* meanwhile, i have two bladderfuls, but i don't want to miss a thing.
* "they'll still be playing when you get back," he says.

sharpie mustaches ... from christa pista on Vimeo.

* i'm not a skittish bathroom person. my favorite bathrooms in the world are the one-stall wonders tucked into gas stations between here and rochester. the bathroom at the orpheum makes my uvula shiver with pre-barf anticipation. i'm wading through six inches of water, where most of the toilet paper in this room has landed. none of the stalls lock. i have no where to hang my coat. this is the most rudifying thing i've ever seen. maybe its the pbr, maybe its the rock and roll. i decide to become a bathroom rights activist and immediately begin searching for management.
* instead i find chuck, who nods compassionately, but senses i've lost my mind. "you missed paul lundgren singing with the band," he says.
* the show is over.

* we head back to luce to see trampled by turtles.
* there is a line outside of luce, filled with a pack of 21-year-olds whose enthusiasm for this week cannot match mine or chuck's. we take their drunkenness as an excuse to cut in front of them. they don't seem to notice.
* still, there is a bouncer to get past. he's eking people in one at a time as other's leave.
* "look," i tell him. "we're wearing wrist bands. we were already here tonight."
* shrug.
* "honestly! just a few hours ago we were booing greg cougar conley!" i add.
* he chuckles and lets us in.
* we beeline for the pizza-by-the-slice and leave after coating our throats in a bacon-chicken slice.

* we begin to walk home in the cold rain.
* we ask bone appetite for a ride, but they've crammed about seven people into a matchbox car. they seem open to it.
* we continue east by foot.
* for the second consecutive night, we try to watch the movie "trading places." "i think this is how we should end every night of homegrown," chuck says. eddie murphy. dan ackroid.
* i wake up sore. i think from the venue hopping and singalongs.