Sunday, August 31, 2008

toxic soup ...

this past week i mentally prepared for my birthday party and made toxic soup.


chocolate mint water, recommended to me by the punk rock girl -- who always recommends great things. minty. chocolatey. not gross at all. in fact, quite refreshing.

"black bean and chipotle soup": i wanted to make a black bean soup and it was raining and i found this recipe in my moosewood restaurant cookbook. holy sweet gentle jesus. henceforth, this soup -- which is actually more of a chili -- shall be referred to as fire soup. even i -- oh she of the dead tongue -- was a mess of snot and tears as i ate it. chuck literally jumped up and down and ran in circles over it. this recipe makes a lot a lot a lot of soup. and honestly, the parts i actually tasted were good. but i am afraid to eat the leftovers. my throat is seriously burning just thinking about it.

i can't figure out how it got so hot or why the recipe doesn't come with a giant poison logo plastered over it. i understand that -- in theory -- the word chipotle hints at a degree of difficulty. but wowsa.

i dare someone to make this.

"the lost weekend" 1945: fresh from rehab, our hero raids the sugar bowl for booze money and ends up on a weekend-long bender where he drinks rye by the gallons and stumbles around trying to hock his typewriter while his girlfriend, a classic enabler, chases him around. fantastic.

"disturbia" 2007: a terrifying text-messaging, itunes jiggering take on "rear window" starring a teenaged boy under house arrest who totally blows past borderline creepy in his neighborhood surveillence. hugely predictable [seriously? the new hottie next door neighborhood girl with the bedroom facing his doesn't have a pool in her backyard? who writes this crap? ... oh. wait. there she goes. half a lap, then lays out in the sun. of course].

scary: when kale admits to ashley that he's been watching her, describes in intimate detail what she reads and how she looks at herself in the mirror, she gets oozy goozy and instead of considering a restraining order, rewards him with a lap dance.

scarier: i don't see a single credit indicating that MTV had a hand in the production. what gives?

i can't lie. it was terrif.

"v" [the original miniseries] 1983: i as in about first grade when this show aired, and it immediately became part of our playground repretoire. along with a tag-like game called "robots and fairies" and the a-team, we played v.

more than 25 years later, i remembered just the basic facts:
1) rodent-eating lizzards dressed in human skin;
2) the dashing hero, played by marc singer;
3) my friend sparkles got to play diana in church-parking lot performances.
4) that marc singer was a pretty dreamy hero who's magazine appearances i monitored for many years after the entire v phenomenon.

things i didn't realize about v because i was, like, 7:
1) oh! this is about the holocaust;
2) marc singer is possibly the worst actor on this planet, or the visitors' planet.

"the hills": instead of actually doing her hair, lo wears a cinnabon on her head; for those wondering why lo doesn't like audrina, it's obviously because audrina hangs out with goth girls and everyone knows that lo hates goth girls. and hippies. and poor people. when spencer and heidi show up at spencer's sister's birthday party, brody says what i should have said to the tivomote: "this is too much drama. i just wanted to have fun."

question: why haven't they explained how doug knows brody and frankie?

required reading from gawker. i literally choked when i read about spencer.

words of wisdom ...

with just one hour and 11 minutes until i'm scheduled to go on stage in superior wisconsin, i am still feeling the ills of last night's preparty.

chuck: you're just going to have to start again.
me: [wince]
chuck: we'll get some pizza into you, then you can start up again and you'll feel fine.
me: [groan]
chuck: ... granted, you're going to feel like double crap tomorrow ...

four minutes later:

chuck: i'm a little concerned. i'm ordering "the works." do we trust them to not put mushrooms on it?
me: yes. and if they put mushrooms on it, i'll just send it back.
chuck: then they'll spit in it.
me: i'd rather have their spit than mushrooms.

i'm taking attendance ...

i have a tendency to preparty.
it harkens back to when i lived with fannie.
but ... i get excited about turning 33!
33 is a nice number. and every number since i've hit 30 has been fan-friggin-tastic.


1. chuck got us an old school wii controller and super mario brothers
2. a new bar opened in our neighborhood with a great view of the lake. i was litarally inside for 14 seconds. the rest of the time, i spent shouting to people who were not on this fantastic deck overlooking the lake and wandering on the lakewalk. kudos, rex. [rex is the name of the new tap room. kate b., totally thinking of you the whoooole time.]

1. may be a little hung over for the birthday singalone ... but will survive.

OH by the way:

if you are reading this, you are invited to builder's saloon tonight at 9 p.m. for my birthday party slash amy abts' birthday party. she's on antibiotics so she can't drink, but if you want to give her a gift, i've heard she likes camel lites. and cat accessories. and guitars. and ROCKING!

1. an ice cream cake. god bless america, there is no better food. i prefer an ice cream cake to everything you can conjure. even dorito flavored jalopino poppers.
2. A GROWLER OF WILDFIRE BEEEEEER!! yes. drinking it right now.
3. missoni perfume. I SMELL SO DAMN GOOD! i keep making chuck smell me. i smell like fresh air and a party. thank you jesus. thank you chuck.
4. an ID case from urban outfitters. "for your id" chuck keep saying. but it looks like a cigarette case to me. he must not have gotten the memo about me quitting when i turn 33. oh well. hate to waste this pretty, pretty thing.

if you are reading this, i expect to see you sunday night. i don't care if you live in poughkeepsie; or where valley fair lives ... you get here. you put on a happy face. you sing a tom petty song. i'm taking attendance.

Friday, August 29, 2008

here comes the regular ...

in the days leading up to my birthday, i like to play a lot of 20 present questions. [there is no sense in pulling old school encyclopista brown since there is literally a cardboard box in our entryway that has been sitting there for at least a week and that i know is for me. it hasn't barked yet, so i know it isn't jake, it isn't leaking brains, so i know it's not a severed head. it may be a betty crocker easy bake oven or a six-pack of tube socks.]

"what did you get me?" i'll ask chuck, trying to catch him off guard. hoping he'll accidentally spill.
shrug. but details will come out: it's not just one thing. but just one is coming in the mail, so i should probably stop chasing down the UPS truck.
"how did you know what to get me?" i asked today, hoping for a clue in his answer.
"um ... because i know what you like and i listen to you?" he said.

oh. snap.


i was milling around the deli at whole foods, trying to decide on dinner. i scanned the hot food [turkey meatballs, sweet potato french fries] and i considered the cold salads [fog city macaroni salad].

"did you want a southwest turkey sandwich on sourdough?" the woman working asked me.
this is what i always, always, always order. turkey, avacado, tomatoes and spinach.
"oh, um ... yes," i said.
"and i can't remember: potato chips or corn chips?" she asked.
i wanted to tell her that sometimes i do order a tempeh reuben. instead i said: "potato."

apparently she knows what i like and listens to me, too. i live in a nice world.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

what would jason bateman do ...

birthday week is in full throttle, and i'm having a hard time deciding what i want to do on my very special night.

the rock star amy abts and i were going to have the kind of conjoined birthday that requires surgery, a shared spleen and the learning channel to separate. but we've not been in communicado and i now suspect her birthday has passed without the sweet sweet taste of a ginger margarita.

i've always prefered a microphone to birthday cake and chuck just realized that he can sing "easy" by lionel ritchie. what better gift than the gift of karaoke? plus, as you know, i have the voice of an angel: in the key of stevie nicks.

hairball is playing at mr. d's and if i'm not planning on wearing leather pants, i'd like someone on a stage to be doing so. but there is a $7 cover, and i'm not convinced my friends think that me+hairball=$7.

there is always the old standby: pick a bar, tell your friends, receive them graciously and try not to barf on anyone's shoes. this can be hit or miss, though.

and, finally, my birthday week coincides with pride fest so there will be parades and boas and a drag show in superior. that means i can wear a dress and blush and maybe finish second place to a truck driver with smooth legs and high cheek bones.

last year i got lucky. it was the final night before the red lion closed and the black labels played. aside from a bad touch from what i'm assuming was a convict -- my bad, shouldn't have worn that skirt below the latitude of applebees -- highlights included a free jesus & mary chain t'shirt taken right off the manorexic skin of a local scenester and chuck ordering a 6-pack, case included, and carrying it around the bar passing out bottles like they were tootsie rolls. last year i had so much fun that i decided that every year a bar would close on my birthday, and i would be there to help them deplete the stock. actually i decided that every year i would go to the fun instead of hoping the fun came to me.

last night i had a dream that jason bateman and i were singing karaoke together. some sort of duet and we sounded out of our heads fantastic. my voice was strong and aretha-like. i think i cupped my right ear as we belted it out, probably something i learned from the "we are the world" video. "i can't wait to see this scene in the movie," i thought.

maybe jason bateman is tryng to tell me: karaoke!

anyway, i expect to see all of you there. wherever there is.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

what's funny to me at 7 a.m. when chuck has jury duty ...

chuck was sitting on the edge of the bed, getting ready to go to the courthouse when i woke briefly and said:

"what do you and my honda have in common? ... civic duty."

then i fell back asleep, but not before congratulating myself for being hilarious.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

things that would be on my back-to-school list ...

... if it was 1989 and i was going into eighth grade at st. pius x. [the fashion series]

1. lesportsac: these then-$7 pouches, the gaudier the design the better, were perfect for carrying contraband glitter pens, notes writen in multiple colors of ink and folded into mini footballs, a tin of carmex and one pink pouch-wrapped always maxipad. also good for whapping people in the keister while passing in the halls. street cred earned when the lining cracked and pealed like a parched old lady's lips and a pool of blue ink stained the bottom corner.

2. esleep pajamas: this stylish pj collection consisted of knee-length boxer style shorts and a button-up top cut like an old school jersey. [see above photo]. slumber parties looked like a scene from "a league of their own." i'm, obviously, geena davis. fannie, obviously, is from the unreleased footage of lionel ritchie. the very versitile shorts could also be worn over shiney blue leggings to basketball, track or volleyball practice.

3. bass boat shoes: the first day with a pair of new bass boat shoes was tricky because the stiff leather smelled like kippered beef jerkey and it was impossible to not lick one. impossible. best worn with slouchy red socks socks inner-tubing the ankle. wearer encouraged to not so much walk as shuffle along in these boat shoes. wearer also encouraged to not completely put one's foot into a pair. street cred comes from breaking down the heel and turning a pair of bass boat shoes into a pair of bass clogs.

4. wet 'n' wild makeup collection: the wet 'n' wild collection was most popular for its $1.99 price tag. popular items included a dry white glittery lipstick that was painful and sandpapery to apply, dark blue nail polish and mascara that came in a color called "totally teal." the hot pink hues were also popular, regardless of if your color analysis defined you as an autumn. i found a shade that perfectly matched the palm tree on my favorite half-shirt and went upstairs to say hello to one of my mom's visiting friends. as i walked back down the steps, i heard her say: "she's still experimenting with makeup."

5. swatch watch: colorful plastic band with a colorful face, and you were assured no one would have the same watch. although having a swatch was not quite enough. to complete the package, one needed two rubber band scratch guards, twisted together to cover the face of the watch. never to referred to as a "watch." no, it is a swatch. as in "oh, he was like totally checking out your swatch."

Monday, August 25, 2008

no-holds barred bellisio's experience ...

this past week i was en route to my haircut, parked my car, turned around and the entire lake was filled with sailboats. i love duluth minnesota. also, today kicks off birthday week. by this time sunday i will be 33 and probably face-full of a karaoke microphone if all goes according to plan.

in other weekly news:


blackberry cornbread tartlets with ricotta cheese: i found these berry nuggets of goodness in vegetarian times. simple. fun. tasty. healthy for a dessert. yumbo. RICOTTA! some kind blogger posted the recipe. make this.

mnspeak: the state's premier hate-commenters [and some smart people] descend on my story and try to discern the race of the person who robbed me.

favorite comments include:

rt quinlan's is an irish bar [only compared to dubh linn]
and it's in duluth! [yes]

i haven't had my writing dissected so thoroughly since fiction writing 101 workshops at st. thomas.

minnesotareads: jodi, who has personally turned the internet into a very fun playground, has added a big toy with a slide. this site contains book reviews, profiles and event listings for author readings. i plan to contribute as soon as i finish a whole book. until then, she posted a Q&A where i answer some very difficult booky questions. [had to email her to explain the one about fehrenheit 451, which i've read, but was still over my head.] FYI: i planned to link to this site before she posted my Q&A.

the wave: chuck, a local artist, was featured in this week's local entertainment guide. he gets more famous as we speak.

tinfoil viking science: steve, one of the more depraved bloggers to ever own a computer, writes fantastically disgusting things that are always, always, amazing and filled with puss and cockroaches. you don't know if it's true, but you suspect it is, and if it isn't, it's scarier. he makes internet appearances rarely, and it usually includes fire bombing my last six posts with comments. his latest piece does not disappoint.

"the hills": lc finds another dull pretty boy to blink rapidly about; audrina celebrates her birthday and lo proves time and time again that she was put on earth to make the wait staff at the country club cry into her lemon wedges and water. worst start to the season ever. i'm hoping i haven't outgrown this show.

"the wire" season five: i haven't experienced such a feeling of loss at finishing a series since i watched "six feet under" from start to finish. this has wedged its way into my top three, jostling for a spot with the aforementioned and buffy. so much random. so easy to relate to. and character who plays baltimore's mayor looks like our mayor.

thomas carcetti is strong on schools, and his race for governor.

this photo of don ness was taken without permission from here. but since the original photo was commissioned by and included chuck, i decided it was okay to use it.

bellisio's: all summer i have been clamoring for some al fresco dining at bellisio's and so that is exactly what we did to celebrate our second anniversary: a patio and the no-holds-barred bellisio's experience.

we started with a wine flight -- no. 13 to be exact -- two reislings and two gewurztraminers. then we got a bottle of riesling and a cheese tray that had a smooth buttery brie, something that tasted like a soft cheddar and a blue cheese that tasted like feet and basement "in a good way," we agreed. with grapes.

this led to another bottle of wine and entrees. i ordered lobster ravioli framed by grilled shrimp, per jcrew's recommendation. the creamy sauce is so loaded with flavor that i could only manage two bites before slumping in my chair stuffed, drunk and defeated.

chuck suffered a similar fate with his puttanesca. i only had a bite, but that bite was spicy and fantastic. chuck says it was "intense."

i tried to take a commemorative photo and could only create this:

then i said to our waiter: "how are you at calling cabs?"

this was among the greatest duluth nights of my life. i eventually slept 13 hours -- waking once at 6 a.m. to feed t-bag and think: hmm ... i can feel the wine slowly leaving my body. but by 1:30 p.m., i could have easily listened to someone hammering nails without wanting to strangle them with the loops on their carpenter pants.

awhile back chuck made a really great 48-minute mix for pure enjoyment. unbeknownst to him, it is better than any running mix i have ever made. he's a natural.

since i frequently run into the "whats on your running mix" queries to readers on various blogs, i'm including this 10-song wonder. i'd never heard the majority of the songs before they came to me in the form of a playlist:

"it's the love" by the breeders [probably the weakest song, actually. kind of annoying and whiney and something i'd never listen to outside of a treadmill. also, a natural earworm. but it works for running.]

"cheap and cheerful" by the kills

"our life is not a movie or maybe" by okkervil river [no song has ever made me feel more like i was in a john hughes movie. this is actually my new favorite song.]

"saturdays" by cut copy [i like to picture myself in rollerskating in blue spandex with a pink braided headband and permed blonde hair.]

"one pure thought" by hot chip

"can i get low" by junior senior vs lil' jon [i have a hard time not dancing to this.]

"couleurs" by m83 [this song sounds like something out of 'bill & ted's bogus journey'. completely instrumental and once again, i've choreographed some pretty kicky moves in my head that i'll never try to do for real.]

"olio" the rapture

"indie rokkers" by mgmt. [my favorite song of the summer]

"highly suspicious" my morning jacket [not necessarily my favorite mmj song, but is great on this mix.]


"all the sad literary men" by keith gessen: i feel no need to differentiate these the three main characters in this book, since Gessen didn’t. Sam, Mark and Keith’s stories are each a chapter long and almost every chapter left me wondering “wait, who the hell is this again?” All three men are the sort of somersaulting naval gazers in ratty cardigans that are so hot when you are 22 and boring and pretentious and humorless when you are 28. Their voices are the same and their problems are versions of each other’s. They are unable — maybe unwilling — to be satisfied.

I didn’t notice until too late that the Table of Contents lists the character charged with each chapter. I could have used that decoder ring.

There is one fantastic chapter about Sam, wait, yes, Sam, who is working as a temp and obsessed with the dwindling number of googles attached to his name. He literally calls google to see if this number can be fudged in anyway, and invents a scam for his friend in IT to make it happen. His friend doesn’t want to touch it, google being a powerful enemy and all. Then some stuff happens involving a sex columnist. This chapter alone was great.

my full review is here.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

hey! i can make girl friends! ...

i rarely meet people i immediately like. let alone immediately love. espcially when it comes to women. but we've known n-dawg for awhile, and i've met his wife once. tonight i went apeshit all over her. [they live two blocks from us! who better to be couple friends!]

she's hilarious! very dry sense of humor that is working overtime in a great way and cute as hell. she could kill you with her sarcasm, and i kind of hope she does. "i don't really like people," she confided. and that was the deal breaker. if this were our first date, i'd be humping her on michigan street.

she introduced me to her bff -- a feisty red head -- and we were all madly in love. turns out i can make girl friends. i was just waiting for the right ones to come along. she and christin [you don't exchange proper spelling at bars] are going to teach me how to knit socks for chuck even though it's hard ... weeeee! i love this photo montage:

i'm hoping this wasn't some drunken exchange and that we can all, later, girl out together. this was fantastic! chuck talked to n-dawg with an amused smile. i think he think he saw the sun explode.

girl friends! weeeeeee!

Friday, August 22, 2008

17 minutes of pleasure ...

today is the two-year anniversary of the day little awkward me met little awkward chuck accidentally while purchasing dinner at subway. i've told the story hundreds of times: since we'd connected on myspace and become email friends i looked for him everywhere i went. i assumed i'd meet him at pizza luce eventually. a dark night, the black eyed snakes playing ... but on august 21, 2006, i spotted him at a common franchise sandwich shop and he invited me to join him for 17 minutes of dining pleasure.

all i remembered after that was his laugh.
well, and the way he kept checking his phone to make sure he wasn't overshooting his lunch break.
and his shirt. for some reason i remember his shirt.
and my shirt, actually. i know exactly what i was wearing. it was, what i like to call, my hangover goucho pants, my hangover shoes, my hangover ponytail and my hangover tank top and hangover sweatshirt.
i only remember because he has since told me that he saw me walk in and thought 'that's a girl i'd like to meet.'

if you'd have walked up to our tiny two-top table that day and told me that i'd have the two best years of my life and be living with this person and celebrating an anniversary today, i'd not have been surprise. not at all.

neither would fannie, who i'd had lengthy discussions with about this chuck character i was emailing.

tonight we went out for the mosts dangerously gluttonous meal ever invented. wine, cheese, pasta, wine ... all on an outdoor patio at bellisio's. we landed at burrito union for starfire lounge. it was fantastic.

last year we celebrated our anniversary at that same subway. it was, again, awkward.
i'm going to reheat my lobster ravioli.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

wednesday's yays, nays and mehs ...

* while attempting to purchase some groceries, i realize i've left my debit card in the ATM machine after making a deposit: nay.

* luckily, i have enough cash to buy corn nibblets: yay!

* the teller at the michigan street satellite branch of wells fargo tells me no one has turned in my card, no one has used my card, and that likely the ATM hoovered the abandoned card and shredded it. she cancels it just in case and orders me a new one: meh.

* i have a voice mail message from wells fargo saying that a man returned my card to their main branch. he had accidentally taken 60 dollars out of my account. he gave that back, too: yay!

* naturally, i hold the tellers captive with -- obviously -- THE STORY ABOUT HOW LAST WEEK I WAS ROBBED AT GUNPOINT and that time the robber didn't get my debit card either and how haha obviously i'm the luckiest person to ever be willy nilly with a debit card: nay. i'm turning into the worst, most repetitive victim since nancy kerrigan. call me, today show.

* i have a voicemail message from my mom: nay. i'm the pitcher when it comes to communicating with the parents pista. something bad must have happened.

* ma pista just wants to know if i can sleep at night or have bought a guard bear: meh.

* then she repeats, for the second time, "well, hopefully you learned something from this." this sentence makes me want to instigate a hail of leeches over rochester. learned something? yes. i learned that sometimes random crimes happen to random people. "so you're just still driving around unaware not paying attention to if someone's following you?" she asks. "a few times i've driven around the block before parking," i tell her. "but i don't plan on doing that for the rest of my life. that's pretty unhealthy," i tell her. "NOW STOP ASKING ME IF I LEARNED A LESSON!": nay. i hate this conversation.

* i get a late hair appointment with david, a hair genius who would weep if he saw my hat collection and rubber band art: yay!

* he does something magical to my head and 2 hours, 15 minutes later i leave beaming like it's my first communion. "this is my favorite haircut yet," i tell him as he lets me out the service enterance: yay!

* but between errands, the y, the debit card debacle, my hair and some baking, i don't have time to adopt a child from ethiopia, or watch 'what i like about you' -- the most underrated sitcom tivo has ever introduced me to: nay.

* turns out toonses likes the smell of aveda products. apparently it reminds him of iams weight control flavor. reader, he grazed on me: nay.

you wanna be on top ...

whenever i have the dream that i'm spitting vomit-textured molars into my palms, i always understand that this is a dream and i am not losing my teeth and when i look in the mirror, they will be back.

but i just had a dream that i was on an upcoming cycle of 'america's next top model' and had no idea that what was being piped into my brain was not pure reality. i had some doubts about how long i would last on the show:

* were they considering me a plus-size model? my leg hair alone eliminates me from a negative pant size. factor in the thighs of a retired male soccer player and the word 'waif' only comes to mind after the obligatory: 'certainly not a.'

* did they know how old i am? modeling careers rarely take off 11 days before a girl's 33rd birthday. would it be possible to pull off 22?

in the dream, i was finishing a run on a treadmill and tyra banks approached me and eyed me skeptically. i was wearing just a sports bra and shorts.

"you're flat," she said slowly.
"i'm wearing a sports bra, tyra," i responded. "everyone's flat in a sports bra."
she smirked. i could tell she thought i was sassy.

i proceded to explain to her why i thought i would make a great next top model, albeit an unconventional one. i hoped i wasn't coming across like victoria, who was accused of being prickly in the most recent season. when tyra walked away, i knew she liked me.

another model approached me. it was a woman i'd gone to high school with and she had the same permed bob she wore in junior high.

"at first i thought you would be eliminated first," she told me. "but now i think you will make the top 11."

i woke up right after i was explaining to the other models how i thought i could win because i don't wear much makeup and this is just what i look like and what i look like is a good representation of exactly who i am.

ah, pure hubris.

how we apparently roll ...

1:35 p.m.
me: haha ... until i text you at 11 p.m. and say 'i could go out'
him: noooooo. we have 'the wire' and we're going out on thursday.
me: oh. right.

[uncomfortable silence. i know my body.]

11 p.m.
i was right. and here comes the text message.


"i could go out." i write.
"i'm at cub," he writes. he's at the grocery store.
i don't respond.
then he writes, 10 minutes later, "i could go out."
i wonder who veered into chuck's shopping path with a shopping cart filled with easy mac, twinkies and grape soda. sniffed his armpits and stared at a maxim magazine with his mouth ajar. this person just convinced chuck that beer is good. i should send this derelect a thank-you note.


and so we do. rt quinlan's is empty. the bartender laughs at my third beer request. a smirky something that says "really, christa? you think you need that?"

luckily he isn't judgey enough to censor me. he fills it. i tell him i'm splitting it with chuck. he calls us a cab.


outside, waiting for the cab, we discuss michael phelps' terrible dentistry with some regulars.


our cab driver is wasted. very obviously out of his head drunk. when a police car's lights go on behind us, our driver freaks out:

"they're after me," he's convinced.

skids to a left turn, the cop passes. if i were a cop, i'd probably not assume i should pull over a cab driver.

back home, the cab driver fumbles with chuck's change. almost gives him 60 dollars change for driving us home [five dollars].


back at home we eat artisan bread. chuck lays on the floor and listens to coast to coast. i can hear him laughing from outside. he looks uncomfortable.

one of you in the internet needs to make me some annie's macaroni and cheese.


freaking tuesday's. you look so much like a friday.

Monday, August 18, 2008

oh my burning okra ...

probably the worst idea i had this past week was to walk back to my car the afternoon following a night out at mr. d's in west duluth. i live in the east. i did some math and decided it was five miles. i walk to my car all the time [when i go to quinlan's ... less than two miles away.] why not?

the h's:
hot [90 degrees on one sign]
hungry [i'd last eaten around 3 a.m. -- a pantry roullette creation involving okra, kidney beans and curry on toast that was so delicious my mouth almost fainted. but looking at that clumpy mess in the light of day sent me reeling toward the bathroom]
hungover [thus, the car in west duluth]

it ended up being six miles and took an hour, 40 minutes. i'm not sure why it is that running six miles is easier than walking six miles. i do know that i was emitting kernals of sand from my body instead of sweat.

and other things from last week:

"coed call girl" 1996: tori stars as johanna, a humorless premed college student who has no time for fun, between her parttime job at a bakery, incessant studying, and flirtation with the longhair from seventh heaven. she is lured into the glamourous gowns, beach parties, dates with celebrated authors and 400 dollar paychecks of the escorting business. it deviates from sexy to sleezy quickly, and she tries to get out of the business. no dice, says her pimp. and it all ends in gun fire.


green gazpacho: obviously i'm on a gazpacho kick that rivals the rhubarb kick of earlier this summer. the problem with gazpacho: pureeing 20 dollars worth of veggies seems as wasteful as juicing 20 dollars worth of produce. chuck thinks i should just drink V8. this was good for about two bites, and then i got grossed out by the texture. then i dished it off on a robber.


fitgers brewhouse: the brewhouse's beau burger remains my one exception to the "i don't really get into barbeque" rule. this burger has cheddar cheese, handfuls of fresh onions and just a few brush strokes of tangy bbq. with beer battered fries and a root beer that was surprisingly not that hot.

Friday, August 15, 2008

how being robbed at gunpoint changes your life: day one ...

1. it is hard to sleep the night that you are robbed at gunpoint. after you bore yourself with flashbacks of the gun pointed at your head, deconstruct the scene and provide a written statement the local pd, consider the scenarios in which things could have ended differently [what if you'd slammed the car door shut and layed on the horn! what if he had shot you in the brain!] you will reluctantly take a sleeping pill and sit wide eyed on the couch devouring the refresh button on your google reader. email as many friends as possible, starting the message with ... so i got robbed at gunpoint tonight.

why no one updates blogs between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. remains a mystery.

2. the phone will ring at 10:30 a.m., which you can ignore. you don't know who's calling because when you were robbed at gunpoint, you accidentally squeezed your cell phone so hard that the screen is broken. now it looks like woozy psychodelic art from the side of a fish tour bus, and so you play russian roullette with answering and choose no. when they call back, you assume they are serious.

jcrew reads you a police report, which is pretty accurate save for one crucial fact -- when you were robbed at gunpoint, the robbers did not get your purse, they got your backpack and your lunch bag. it's as surprising to you as it probably was to them, as they rolled down the avenue finding a sweaty sports bra, running pants and socks, a newish pair of asics running shoes, a flat iron, a makeup bag, brush, empty shampoo bottle and conditioner, a padlock and probably $1.50 in change; leftover gazpacho and a water bottle.

there is no sleep after that. there are lots of emails, phone calls, texts, blog comments. you realize you know a lot of people who aren't assholes who would rob you at gunpoint, and you are grateful.

3. soon you segue to angry: why does someone think it is okay to hold a gun in your face and demand that you give him your leftover gazpacho and sarah jessica perfume and hanes white medium-sized tank top, soiled by a six-mile run? how does he rationalize that? if this had happened to him, what would he do? and how did he know you hadn't been robbed at gunpoint before, gone through therapy and karate and gotten a gun? as bad of a time as it is to be a noncriminal, it's a pretty bad time to be a criminal. you could have popped that mfckr's ass. did you? no. you're sane. you save money for my bulk supply of hanes tank tops instead of putting a gun in someone's face and demanding their gazpacho leftovers and burt's bees conditioner.

4. the replacement part is fun, admittedly: hello, target. you need everything. just for sport, you throw in running pants and a sports bra to replace the ones that were lost at gunpoint. you have more at home, but you want to immediately replace what you lost.

when it comes to the padlock, you inspect the options thinking 'just because i had this one doesn't mean i need the same one again.' so in this one rare instance, you deviate. but you opt for another edie bauer backpack in a different color. the same running shoes in lime green.

a book from barnes n noble to make this less of a business trip. you purchase "night of the gun" by david carr, ignoring the irony.

5. this is getting expensive. at first you relish the fact that you don't have to cancel your debit card and buy a new camera and ipod. but backpack, makeup -- but even foundation, mascara and lipstick can add up -- face lotion, running shoes, conditioner ... . something that was likely ditched on jefferson street -- means nothing to the person who put a gun in my face -- will cost hundreds of dollars to relace and give him zero dollars of satisfication -- unless he wears size 8 1/2 women's shoe and has a b cup.

6. you come home to find the local nbc affiliate is setting up to shoot live from your sidewalk in front of your house. you say: "what's going on?" to a woman with a plastic perfect arrangement of helmet hair and dark lipstick. "oh, someone got robbed here last night at gunpoint," she tells you. "that was me," you say. she says "really! wow!" you tell her if she has any questions, you'll be inside zipping and unzipping your new edie bauer backpack.

you watch her tell your story on tv. interview the neighbors. images of your house appear on tv. whenever she says "32 year old victim" it sounds like she is talking about someone else. and when they pan on your address, you question if that was necessary. when it's over, you walk outside and tell her: you know, he didn't get my purse. he got a bag of sweaty damp clothes and my leftover soup." she says "i wish i'd known that before i went on air." you think she is obviously lazy, since you basically layed on the sidewalk and begged her to ask you about it. you're no journalism major, but ... oh wait.

you are in the "can't tell the story enough" stage. the people at the running shoe store can attest to that. your loss, nbc affiliate.

7. you go for a long long run on a treadmill at the ymca, where no one can sneak up on your left size and put a gun in your face. you go six miles and suspect you could go six more easily.

8. you decide you deserve frozen pizza -- the good kind -- and organic potato chips. the line is at least 15 deep and your friend drock is in the no. 2 spot. you wave your pizza at him. you were robbed at gunpoint last night, tonight you will jump line. you give him money and tell him the story. by now it is starting to sound like a story about something you saw on the lifetime movie network. if this were an episode of "the facts of life," you and tootie would sign up for a self defense class after the commercial break.

9. you make sure that you get home when it is dark, but not too dark. you want to see that neighbors are awake, but you don't want to be the sort of person who is afraid of the dark. still, parking makes you a little skittish. and you're further from the house than you are comfortable with. you force yourself to walk at a leisurely pace to the front door. you're keyed up, but wish someone would at least applaud your performance of: woman behaving normally less than 24 hours after she had a gun pointed at her forehead.

10. when a lightbulb pops in the entryway, you jump, turn around and run up the steps. your boyfriend has to look downstairs and make sure no one has shot open the front door.

11. you decide to go out. rt quinlan's is teeming with people who look like the man who robbed you at gunpoint. you can't stop looking over your shoulder. you watch them when they are outside smoking on the screen display of the surveillance cameras behind the bar. eventually you loosen up. the beer helps. and by the time you get home, you can walk into the house with ease. you celebrate with wine. then you celebrate more with 13 solid hours of sleep.

chuck refers to this as "taking back the night."

12. day 2 begins with a headache and ends being locked up snug in your apartment with tv, toonses and a tori spelling movie. in between you gave yourself pep talks and mentally rehearsed the process of parking after dark. when you whine that you don't want to be a person who is afraid to be out at night, chuck reminds you that you don't have to go back to normal today. that you can take your time and maybe day two is just too soon.

here's hoping for day three.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

shaken ...

tonight a crime happened to me. please see for specifics. i'm quite shaken and stunned and pretty manic and every once in awhile i make a joke about it. but mostly i'm just sitting here, thinking it's surreal. the worst part is that i couldn't have done anything differently.

at some point i'll tell you all about it. and i'm sorry i'm being vague. my PSA is this: be aware of your surroundings at all times.

i hope this doesn't violate my dad's 'don't blog about it' request.

Monday, August 11, 2008

favorite words equal: swedish. pop. duo ...

did you know that chocolate soy milk has the same medicinal charge as a fudgey, chunky peanut butter something blizzard when you are staring down pms?

in other news ...

psychic stunts: swedish. pop. duo. my three favorite words when it comes to music. i can't remember how i found this band. reading blogs, following links, off-roading. but i lost the site that said those three magic words and couldn't remember what they were called ... what a mess. they had already made my ears tingle. anyway, more off-roading and i found them again and i am in sweet swedish pop duo heaven.

ep "101 pick up lines" is free for the internet taking. at take it! take it! the song that seems to have the most popularity potential is 'speaker's block' but i actually like all four pretty equally.

a great moments in lyric from 'last bottle lost battle': i'm the king, i'm the king of funny voices, i can immatate john mcenroe as some guy from mexico. it's a shame no one cares for funny voices anymore.

"death of a cheerleader" 1994: part of lifetime's fallen angel week, this dramatization of a true story stretches spelling's acting muscles as she takes on the role of a bitchy popular girl stacy lockwood who says things to the robert smith-like goth classmate like "hey monica? did you forget your broom? move along. we don't feed strays."

costars kellie martin [no relation to donna martin] as angela, a dorky yearbook staffer with a girl-crush on stacy lockwood.

a lesser lifetime movie network fan may be fooled into thinking that stacy lockwood will be stabbed -- no spoiler, this is the first scene -- by the misfit monica, who frequently tourrettes things like "i hate you stacy lockwood!" but i knew all along it was that creepy angela, who mused to her sister "have you ever just wanted to be someone else?" and not just because i had seen this movie 18 years ago. and not because angela's sister left a knife in the car. no, because in lifetime movies if you want to be someone else, you stab them.

"who's afraid of virginia woolf" 1966: elizabeth taylor stars as a busty ice-chewing cackler of a drunken husband abuser; richard burton as an unkempt underachieving history professor with a liberal burbon pour. their afterbar with the new young blond math professor and his "thin-hipped" wife rivals any afterbar we have ever hosted in just decibles alone.

i insta-liked it. and if i'm ever in a play, i want to play martha. for years, chuck has been telling me about the drinking game. i see now that this could result in death.


ravioli with sauteed zucchini: real simple's august issue features 20-minute healthy meals. i typically prefer making things that take three hours of multitasking, and two hours of salting the food with my tears, but most of these meager, underestimated minutes were chopping intensive -- one of my hobbies ... so i tested a few including this zucchini pasta that made about four meals worth of zucchini explosions in my mouth. good stuff. picture: F-minus.

pasta with peppers and mozzarella: i could not wait to chomp into the wads of mozzarella featured in this recipe. i cut my own instead of using bocconcini -- which i couldn't find -- and followed the instructions perfectly -- except that i used spinach instead of arugula, which i also couldn't find. instead of making a pretty and colorful pasta, i got a pretty and colorful pasta that looked like i had added a melted cool whip container to it. the taste was still good -- and actually the red peppers were more delicious than the mozzarella glueballs. i don't usually dis cheese. this is the first time.

golden gazpacho with feta: i went with a red version, due to the limitations of the produce department. there is something so satisfying about chucking chunks of tomato into a food processor, though.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

jay cooke and your goose ...

chuck made me go outside on thursday. i was reluctant: big plans involving my face pressed against the cold basement floor, far far away from light and noise.

he said picnic, park, books and i began plotting the invention of an adult-sized baby backpack that he could carry me around in. strangers could tug at my thighs and coo "now who's the big girl?" while i shyly hid my face in his neck.

oh summer. you are killing me with your outside and sunny.

we snagged a hodgepodge of yum at the co-op: naked juice, grapes, a mix from the deli, tea, cheese and crackers.

"did you feel uncomfortable in the co-op, being unshowered and wearing a bandana?" chuck joked after we saw upward of eight pastey stinkoids who looked exactly like me.

"no, but i was afraid i'd find you coaxing the wrong girl back to your car," i said.

chuck forgot his book, so he did a crossword puzzle instead. crossword and puzzle not pictured.

then he herded some geese. i used to rent paddle boats at this man-made artificially heated gooseshit hole called silver lake in rochester. [part of my duties included deflecting the advances of out-of-towners who thought this was a storefront for a prostitution ring. just like barnes & noble, apparently, where i was also offered grand sums of money to "do six."]

when chuck warned me about a mound of green squiggly excretment i almost stepped in, i snorted. dude, i spent two years flossing that gunk out from between my toes. in rochester there is a guy who makes art out of the stuff. [opinion of said art not available.]

look at em go!

then, spent, we layed on the picnic table. i was looking for gum. chuck was seeing who loved who enough to etch their initials into the wood in 1984.

you know, not everyone can roll their tongue like that. i also have a pretty cool trick involving a double-jointed elbow that will make you lose your lunch.

i did not lick the table. it just looks like that.

here is chuck's version of the photo.

this bridge also reminded me of rochester.

we went out to jay cooke state park to jump on the swinging bridge. we were in the neighborhood.

have i ever mentioned how much i hate taking photos of nature? i do it just because i feel like i should since it's pretty and i'm there. ideally, all of my photos would be of chuck taking photos of other things, funny signs and food.

my friend buddy was in town and i don't think i'd seen her since like 2003. here, in this photo by chuck, she is with her boyfriend, probably one of the funnier people i've met. he did a great monologue on walmart and another on speeding tickets.

we met up at oly's so she could see how the pioneer's bathroom had evolved into a safe and peep-free place. i told chuck i was going to practice moderation. he laughed. then i forgot my plan and things got a little wonky. buddy and her boyfriend and jcrew went home. i continued to not practice moderation at quinlan's.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

limbs ...

today i was skating on the munger trail. my first trip out with my new gps watch and my ipod: $380 worth of equipment on my left arm. my right arm? damn near free.

i like to do a 6 mile route out to this one bench, then i turn around and head 6 miles back. the last time i hit that bench an old man took my pause to mean i was in cardiac arrest. "want some water?" he asked from his stoop his wife watering the bushes with her potpouri urine. "just turning around," i said.

the first two miles of path suck, they are acne pavement that make my teeth vibrate morse code for: well, this cut copy song is lame and my ankles are starting to hurt. a couple of bridges, a road to cross. at mile four things start rocking and you know that if you aren't traveling at least 10 miles per hour, a scary person will catch you and no one will hear your screams when you are raped and mangled with a view of ely's peak and a wild grape tree.

the rest is smooth sailing.

if i run into anyone on the munger, i assume they are perverts mascarading as bikers. so, you're having a nice ride with your teenaged daughter? did you meet her on the internet? am i going to see your face on nightline? even the old couples biking: oh. so you've been married 60 years and you've never seen a sports bra?

whatever. i'm a narcessist.

the way back home was la-la blaher land. listening to shout out louds, enjoying the scenery. it was going to storm, and i was hoping to get back before the last two miles turned into a swampy playground. it's all downhill, pretty much, and i was cranking along until i saw in the very near distance:

a) two young boys walking
b) a giant branch covering the path. like an arm. it perfectly fit the space.

that branch was not there 40 minutes ago on my way out. i layed on my brake. in retrospect i could have jumped the branch. i crawled to the grass and wiped out. grass stain on my palms. i moved the branch off the path and realized: hey, those little fuckers PUT THIS BRANCH ON IN MY WAY!

they were watching me closely and laughed when i fell. i stood up. frowned at the stain. moved the branch. i got the feeling they had feng suied this bullshit. i skated. fast.

one of the boys, 50 yards ahead, took a sharp right into the woods. the other loped along on the path.

dumbass. if you think i can't catch your pre-algebra ass on wheels, you are obviously not making a case for 'no child left behind.'

nothing says guilt like a dead sprint. i screamed such old lady words of wisdom as: you little fuckers! and you think that's funny, you little shits?! i could have broken my $380 arm!

finally the idiot also ditched the path. i wasn't chasing him, per se. i hadn't, like sped up. and if i'd caught him, i would have probably snubbed him. but since he was running, i tried to make it interesting. i flailed my arms to suggest a level of speed i'd never hit.

eventually i got to my car. i took off my skates, drank water, started the car ... and i saw the little ass faces walking along the road. so i did what any creepy adult would do: i followed them. slowly. slower than i was skating, except now i was in my car. 30 solid feet of giving the boys the stinkeye. the idiot gave me a look like 'what?' i gave him a look like 'YOU ARE LUCKY I AM DEXTOROUS AND DIDN'T JUST DIE ON THAT BRANCH YOU PUT ON THE PATH!'

i wanted them to think i was going to follow them home and tell on them. although that probably would have ended with some woman telling me i was out of line and boys will be boys and a man storming off the porch with a rifle. but, anyone going faster would have crashed. slower, they couldn't have handled that branch either.

to my way of thinking these dicks were one adult's bad glare from throwing cement blocks off a bridge over the highway.

at least, that is how i'm justifying my behavior.

they ditched me in an alley and i turned my car around, hoping they hadn't gotten my liscense number.

by then it was pouring. i considered it good karma that i was dry and only mildly stained and knew that someday they would give each other herpes in prison.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

proof ...

that i am a lot the same today as i was 22 years ago:

my favorite hat in 1986 was a hot pink vinyl hat. i wore it everywhere, including deadwood [pictured] and to fourth-grade orientation. this style was wildly popular in the pista family, as you can see brother pista is wearing the tan version.

my favorite hat today.

not sure if brother pista is still rocking a version of what we called our "golf hats," [as opposed to our hockey hats] but i'd bet he is definitely still wearing those shorts.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

on nudity ...

coppertone added a huge umbrella to his sophisticated backyard tanning hamock setup, which blocks our view of his gizzard grilling antics. i'm not sure if it is because chuck put photos of his tiger-stripped speedo on the internet, or if he heard our downstairs neighbors choking on their cheerios in horror.

for inexplicable reasons, whenever i hear the bell-like ting of someone climbing into the hamock, i look out the window. pavlovian, i guess. or maybe my wretching is the closest thing to a situp that i want to muster.

lately coppertone has taken to not wearing trunks, and instead scrunching up the tiger stripped loin cloth and doing only the most basic cover up. today, more ballsy than ever, he went sans umbrella, sans pants. i looked too quickly and accidentally saw something out of a medical textbook. when will i learn to stop looking out the window?!

i am on my way to menards to buy an eyewash.

Monday, August 4, 2008

derailed ...

this is an outtake from a photo i used earlier this week.

i had a very strict week of productivity planned and it was all derailed by tall ships, cheese curds and hairball. i am once again grounded and not allowed to leave the table until i've finished my vegetables until further notice.

"the today show": this is the first time i've seen her interviewed with her straight-to-dvd husband, deano. he strikes me as falsely cheesy, with fantastic taste in eyeware.

big news: a second book and tori plans on joining the cast of 90210.

"the view": these are definitely tori's people. she does well on a couch with a bunch of clucking and shrieking crazies. these hard-hitters are asking her how she can trust her husband, considering they met when they were married to other people. yowch. considering that in the one episode of tori and dean that i've seen, tori almost beans him with an oxygen tank because she thinks he is carrying on with his scuba instructor, i'd say -- oh snap. between that and a story about her 17 month-old smelling new baby stella's feet, millions of women viewing at home spontaneously got their period.

"are you there vodka, it's me chelsea" by chelsea handler: fresh off a fantastic reading of "my horizontal life," i expected more of the same. instead it is a hastily scrawled stand-up routine that includes a love-letter to midgets. whereas "my horizontal life" was fresh and funny, this was exhausting with long-winded stories that go off-roading just for the sake of one joke. per usual, good oneliners.

"suicide blonde" by darcey steinke: packed with that 90s angsty my-parents-got-divorced feel, where people wander through grimey bars and dark alleys smoking cigarettes, drinking bourbon and excavating their pasts for someone to blame for how they feel and their inability to make genuine connections.

i like when the contents of the refrigerator are described and it ends with ... 'half a tomato that was losing muscle tone.' the dialogue is just left of hipster introspection. take "reality bites" wrap it in kurt cobain's flannel, fill it with heroin and add naked people. captures the period well.

"black books" season one: this is a british sitcom about the misanthropic, heavy drinking owner of an independent bookstore, a former accountant turned bookseller named manny and the owner of a neighboring knick knack shop named fran. it is as exhausting as all sitcoms, but also had the greatest lines i've ever heard on tv [not necessarily verbatim, but possibly]:

manny: should i wash my beard?
bernard: i think you should wash it, then shave it off, glue it to a frisbee and throw it over a rainbow.

"batman begins" : i wish "dark knight" would have had this kind of bruce wayne versus batman development. not just because christian bale's poreless cheeks look like a nice place to go sledding. but a little bit.

burrito union, chorizo con queso: i'd say that 75 percent of the time when we go out to dinner, the restaurant "just ran out" of whatever i want to order. most recently, i wanted my weekly dose of union nachos and to do a bit of writing at burrito union. they nacho cooker was fried, so i went with chorizo con queso ... a soupy dip not unlike something found in a glass jar next to the doritos at your local ghetto spur gas station. i'd actually asked for a visual the last time i was at BU because it sounded good, but it also sounded like a gunky mess of chunks. both proved to be true. it's good. it filled my cheese craving. but it was light on taste and hard to look at as i ate it. that said, i was also writing a post about chuck barfing at the street dance as i grazed, so this may have been operator error.

as long as we're talking about burrito union, i have a complaint: whenever i go in here alone to eat and write i am ignored. someone will usually smile at me. someone may wash the table next to mine. but it always takes at least 15 minutes for someone to decide to ask me if i want anything. "a menu?" i said. and the girl looked at me like i had asked for a tall frosty mug of axe body spray and if we could be friends on myspace.

"everything that i've eaten today came out of a trailer and the only thing that didn't came out of a boat." -- chuck, thursday.

gratuitous photo of an egg bagal

Saturday, August 2, 2008

never went to drivers ed ...

photo by chuck of purple and me. he got some awesome stuff. you can see more here.

the bus we are planning to ride to west duluth streaks past without pause. chuck takes off running like a starter pistol was involved. i lope behind him in shoes made to be worn with a swimsuit while acting like i'm on the second date with the hood of a car in a whitesnake video. perfect for doing my patented seizure dance to the coverband "hairball" at the street dance in spirit valley. the bus driver notices chuck's bruce jenner routine and waits for us.

i love riding the bus. it is a good way to keep up with who is waging a war against tourettes, and the latest trends in puss-spitting lesions. by the time we leave the transit center, we are at max capacity. between the chunky girl with blue hair who has gift-wrapped my nose in her armpit and the to-go container the guy with alopecia clearly dug out of hacienda del sol's garbage bin, i am beginning to rue the day i learned to smell. meanwhile, i'm having a hard time not popping those bumps on alopecia's forehead.

"just 38 blocks to go," chuck says cheerfully, then asks me if i'm packing tums.


hairball is an 80s-90s tribute band that incorporates elaborate costume changes, including axl rose's red headband, to prince's ruffled blouses, to a steve perry wig. there is smoke. there is a bottle of jag. there are leather pants and abs sharp enough to sever a groupie's tongue. it is exactly the kind of thing that is overwhelming up until the moment you crack your second $4 coor's light. by then you are deep in junior high mixer la-la land. visions of fannie screaming the words to "pour some sugar on me," her six inch bangs waving like a spider caught in a window sill.


the line for the porta potties is deeper than my bladder. we're going to be cutting this close. chuck ducks into one, i duck into another. it is stunningly disgusting. beer cans fill the urinal and it almost smells as bad as the bus.

i am not easily grossed out. i typically like public restrooms -- especially at gas stations -- and i have eaten a piece of gum that i dropped on the sidewalk. but this experience has me coating my entire body in a sticky layer of hand sanitizer. "uh oh," i think. "if i'm grossed out, this will probably send chuck reeling toward the nearest bleach bath."

chuck has finished before me and has his back to the porta potties. as i near him, his shoulder jolt and he pitches forward. coughing, spitting and barfing. not from the beer -- he is only about two deep. no, he's got a bad, bad case of the yuck.


hairball is playing quiet riot's "bang your head." by now i've loosened up to the point of old lady shuffling and singalongs.

"bang! your! head!" i sing, then trail off when i realize that the words i am singing around not the same as the words the band, nor any of the hundreds of fans, are singing.

for the past 28 years, i've thought the lyrics were:
bang your head. never went to drivers ed.

chuck had to repeat:
metal health'll drive you mad about four times before i could commit it to memory.