So I set out to do the things I normally do, but without the guilt and phantom squeaks from the inline skates I've neglected all summer. Coffee. Google+ playground time.
I work for about two hours on an improbable short story that blends science fiction with the oaky undertones of a pretty memorable one-hit wonder from the 1990s. I guess the sentence that really stands out is probably: "What do you expect from a used vagina we stole from a church rummage sale?"
Barnes & Noble to consult my Amazon Wish List versus the store's shelves. It's been a big week filled with adds to the list, which is where I keep track of books I hear about and want to at least hold in my hot hand. (I probably haven't said "What should I read next?" in about 3 years, FYI).
I flip through a stack and make piles of "Too delicious to re-shelve" and "I'd read this, but my pile is becoming obnoxious and who do I think I am?" and "Meh."
One of the "Too Delicious ..." pile is "Malcolm X," an autobiography with help from Alex Haley. Chuck just picked up a copy the public library and when I gave it the once-over -- well, first a page fell out -- but I also decided I WANT TO READ IT, TOO! AT THE SAME TIME! FAMILY BOOK CLUB!
When I told him I planned to read it, he was enthusiastic. It might have been a ruse. We've done this once before, The Great "Anna Karenina" Debacle of 2009. That time I ended up zipping way ahead and then dropped statements like "Dude. You are closing in on about 100 pages of straight up snooze-dom."
Then I finished it, reviewed it, and to this day he has no idea that Dear Troubled Anna belly flops into an on-coming train. But he can give you the lay of Levin's land.
I make a rule for myself: I will only read as far as Chuck and never further.
I go to Bixby's Bagels to eat an Egg-spressive, an Everything Bagel filled with a disk of Microwavable Egg and Cheddar Cheese. Finish it, read the Introduction to "Malcolm X," get Chuck's text that he is awake.
"I got 'Malcolm X,'" I tell him.
"Uh, oh," he says.
[Insert conversation about The Great 'Anna Karenina' Debacle of 2009.]
[Insert my solemn vow to not read further than him.]
[Agree on the terms.]
We slip into winter-wear and head to Bayfront Festival Park, where Cloud Cult is playing as part of an all-day festival. Blah, blah, favorite band ever, blah blah blah.
The park is set up in a way that the stage is like a giant window-less window overlooking Lake Superior. Considering the vista and the band, this should be the best show I've ever seen but it just kind of lacked that thing that reaches down your throat and wrings the liquid from your organs. The World's Biggest Cloud Cult Fan was there, head banging to stuff that is more Kumbaya than, I don't know, "Enter Sandman." There was also a lot of very sensual make outs in the audience that made me think someone had laced the Hula Hoops with Ecstasy.
For some reason when Craig Minowa says:
"The wind up here feels like the breath from a million ghosts" it doesn't sound hokey at all. If anyone else tried it, I'd think they were working up some material for Open Mic Night.
There were some great moments, though. The area in front of the stage was filled with bubbles for awhile.
"Where are those coming from?" I asked Chuck.
"Some hippies butthole," he said.
Toward the end of the show, a barefoot guy with dreadlocks slo-motion danced passed us singing along to "Travel Safety" and we both busted a gut.
And then I had a facial seizure and tear-letting during "Love You All." Pretty standard. It's never not happened.
We ditched out on the main act in favor of Sushi at Hanabi. Wasabi Shumai, a White Tiger Roll and the North Shore Roll.
One table away, four young dudes were learning about Japanese Cuisine from a super savvy friend who not only explained Wasabi, but also gave them a decent speech about Edamame, which they ordered as an appetizer, that included a shout out to Tempeh.
When their meals came, each dude shared a piece or two of sushi with everyone else at the table. This was a complicated choreography of chopsticks and arms and fish and soy sauce.
"Is this green stuff wasabi?" one of the guys asked.
"Yes," answered their leader.
One of the guys must have been 21. He started passing around his Saki, which he and his neighbor downed like Jag Bombs.
Chuck went to work and I quickly cashed the first four chapters of "Malcolm X" and I'm probably going to turn green and split my jean shorts waiting for Chuck to bust through another chunk.
And, in one of today's highlights, Brother Pista posted this photo of my Dad, my niece MEL and my mom tubing in Park Rapids. There are no words.