Friday, August 31, 2007

cheese curdled ...


on my 18th birthday, my friends picked me up before schooland took me to cooke park. we at donuts and they attached balloons to my appendages. here i am wearing my birthday suit: what i refered to as "the perfect rugby," a pleated knit skirt and a pair of red converse high tops. i believe, to the left, is my dear friend mary jo mccoy's ponytail.

one of the worst things you can send shooting backward out of your esophogus is cheese. i'm assuming this is true of all cheeses, but i'm speaking specifically about a st. andre brie and a gouda from cloquet. the result is a can filled with expensive cheese curds dumbed down to something common you can find in the refrigerator case at most wisconsin super america's. but, that i'm barfing cheese and the busch lighty fluid remains of last night's birthday eve $5 beer night at the pio is fitting:

a year ago today, at my 31st birthday party, i'd had dinner at bellisio's with jcrew. we had split the cheese tray. later, ceecee bought me a shot of poisonous vodka that bungied on impact with my stomach, dragging chunks of blue cheese with it. everyone sitting at the table saw the projectile coming. everyone scattered. well, everyone but chuck.

we'd met just once before he came to my party. he was so new to my scene that when i saw him walk in, i had to remind myself: ah. yes. chuckers mcchuckerstein. i ignored everyone else for the night and concentrated on just him. and when i threw up, inches from his foot, he didn't flinch. perhaps his senses were dulled. perhaps he'd seen a lot of vomiting in his day. i grabbed a spray bottle to clean the mess just inches from his shoes.

later, when i slurred that i wanted to make out with him, he declined. it took until the next day to realize that while he was fine with watching me puke, he probably didn't want to taste it. and, as you know, eventually we got to make out anyway. a lot. without a palate marinated in chunky blue cheese residue.

so here i am today, 32 years old and still throwing up cheese. but this time i'm doing it into his toilet while he is asleep in the next room. and a year later, i have a tooth brush here that i can use to remedy the problem. my life has come full circle. this is fine. being 31 was the greatest year to ever happen to me [although, to be fair, my 20s are merely a haze of natty light, hamburger helper and the distinct smell of superior, wisconsin]. i can only assume that 32 will be even better.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

take one free ...



i saw this sitting on a sidewalk in the hillside.

if i could have one free inconsequential wish that had nothing to do with me, it would be this: please let this sign have been stolen from a bar. please let it not have been purchased at a store that caters to men who put posters on their ceiling and subscribe to maxim.

please let the thieves have unplugged the fixture, climbed a wobbly bar stool and physically removed it from the wall. please don't let them have bothered to distract the bartender and/or bouncer as they lugged it out the door. in fact, i hope they waved and that the cord was dragging behind them. in fact, if there is indeed a wish fairy, these clever pranksters even yelled "this will look great in our kitchen! see you thursday!" strapped the sucker to the roof of their car and honked as they drove away.

if i had to pick, i'd hope this sign is stolen from, in no particular order:

1. the tap room
2. the reef
3. the copasetic lounge
4. aces on first

because that just makes it funnier.

i used to steal things from bars: table tents, 32 ounce mugs, ketchup. once, a keg-sized cigarette butt holder that fannie and i jammed into the back of dong's car -- a silver faux hot rod named "totally '80s." it tipped over, spilling ashes in his back seat. like his grandma's urn had exploded while pulling out of the parking lot of the crematorium.

i never stole wet and wild lipstick from target. that would be wrong. but for some reason, keeping a plate from mr. pizza or a popcorn basket from mcmurphy's seemed okay. instead of a "must have valid id" sign i was seeing "take one free!" when i walked in the door.

once in college a bunch of guys from the rugby team came into the on-campus grill at high noon and walked out with a table. they drilled a hole in the middle to fit their keg tap.

i hope the circumstances involving this foster's sign in the middle of the sidewalk are equal to that.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

mama, that lady is wearin' short shorts ...





see, now, this is what happens when i discover mtv.com has full episodes of "real world: sydney" and season three of "the hills" online. this is what my sunday looked like. stay tuned for a very special youtube.com, featuring me hopped up on summit pale ale and chuck lancing my laptop with a stove-sterilized butter knife. i hear "video killed the radio star" playing in the background ... the slow-mo surgery scenes will absolutely kill you.



i've started running again. not the kind of run-running that gets people places quickly and negates the fact that i used about six pieces of pizza tonight as a way to administer jimmie john's garlic-flavored butter directly into my gaping face hole.

["i'm going to buy a gallon of this stuff and keep it at my house," my landlord said.
"really? because i'm going to fill my bathtub with it, put on a pair of goggles and submerge myself. with a straw," i said.
he just stared at me dumbly. you can't beat clogging your pores from the inside and out at the same time.]

i've been doing the kind of running that is actually mostly walking, but called running because running is sexy and walking is the reason your mom owns a pair of pristine white reebox and gets to the miller hill mall by 7 a.m. every monday, wednesday and friday.

i run a block. i walk a block. i run a block. i walk a block. i dream of some day running two consecutive blocks and then i dream of someday being the fastest limper in the 66-and-up age bracket. like, maybe next summer.

so far this hasn't been too taxing. i can still walk afterward and my ass doesn't feel like i left it laying in the front yard during a hail storm. it is probably a little too easy, but right now i'm just trying to build a habit that doesn't come in wide, filterless or menthol flavored. and a hobby that doesn't start with the letter www.

today i set my personal world record, completing my customized loop in 46 minutes. this is an eight minute personal world record. i recorded this in a special little workout journal, complete with the words "WORLD RECORD!"

people will tell you that the best part of competing in a race is the sideline encouragement. the strangers cheering for you and the rock bands playing katrina and the waves cover songs in front of perkins. the dixie cups of beer. the peppermint candies and the friend you made because she is slow, too.

i'm here to tell you that running in central hillside has all of this, even just on a tuesday afternoon. high fives, cheering, pace setters.

ENCOURAGEMENT I'VE RECEIVED WHILE RUNNING THE STREETS OF CENTRAL HILLSIDE
1. two men and two women. one woman gave me a once-over, then without moving her lips said to the man she was with: keep your eyes to the front.
2. a little girl, about six, looked at me, looked at her mom and said: "mama, that lady is wearin' some short shorts." then she chased me down the street on her two wheeled scooter.
3. a woman outside of the twins bar, who looked like maybe she needed an extra leg to balance. "that's right, girl," she said to me. "i'd be wearing the same thing! whoooo whoooo!" [this ended in a high five]
4. two woman were walking toward me and i looked to be on the receiving end of yet another high five. "you go girl," she hollared. we smacked hands and i kept going.

[this certainly beats last summer, which will forever be known as the summer i saw a lot of sexually deviant behavior while working out in central hillside. the kind of things that i assumed required a bowl of cheetos, some angst over a prom-related incident 20 years ago and the neon glow of a laptop in your elderly mother's basement. but who am i to judge what people do in public? i walk slash run, heavy on the walk.]

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

past and presents ...


when i woke up today, i looked like one of charlie's angels.
i assure you, this was an accident. but a happy accident.
i like this look. thanks, farrah!


as i've tried to remind you frequently, and unapologetically, friday is my 32nd birthday. and if i am to believe the dull hurried clomp of steel toed work shoes and the recognizable hiss of a brown UPS truck from three weeks ago, hidden somewhere on this block there is a present. and it is for me.

i like this.

i assure you that i am not some sort of present monger. a sort of drooling, googly-eyed toddler with chocolate cupcake frosting embedded in my fingernails, all coked up on pony rides and balloon animals yelling gimmee gimmee gimmee. i just more like the idea that there is a surprise. a surprise is like a mystery. mysteries are meant to be solved. what i'm really trying to say is: i like trying to figure out what i'm getting as much as -- if not more than -- actually receiving a gift.

closets were big in my family. my parents had a walk-in closet. if there weren't presents hidden in there, there were at least a half of box of girl scout cookies squirreled away on my dad's side. the double-door closet in our den had a little waist-high ledge that could hold holiday loot. there was a closet beneath the steps ... but hiding anything in there smacked of amateurism.

i conducted all sorts of wild present hunts through high school. the loft in the garage. the trunk of my parent's car and my dad's unmarked squad car. hell, i even looked under my own bed. once i surveyed a box in my mom's nightstand. it was one of those Y necklaces that were all the rage in the fashion senseless 90s. i'd asked for a Y necklace, but i didn't like the one i was getting. i considered returning it without telling her, then opening the one i'd selected on my birthday.

whatever. i didn't do it. i'm not that big of an asshole.
but i am a big enough asshole that as i held each pre-evaluated gift, i'd say things like:
"this must be my clock radio!"
or
"i bet this is a frog wind chime!"
then act surprised when i was right.

at first i liked imagining that chuck had gotten me a key-tar and that we could start a little band. he could sing "hit me baby one more time" in a gravelly punk rock voice and i'd stand behind plunking the keys and adding the essential oooohhhhhs.

then one day at target i saw the game wii boogie. i decided that this was what he probably got me. i don't necessarily understand exactly what the game is, but i believe it requires a microphone and may incorporate dancing.

"did you get me wii boogie?" i finally broke down and asked him.
"i thought about it," he confessed. "but i decided that would be like buying your kid a drum set."

touche, chuckers.

now i like thinking that it is a black puppy named jake that he has been hiding in his trunk for three weeks. packed snuggly into a cardboard box (with holes poked into the box, you PETA freaks! no one here is cruel!) that we'll be riding along, jake will bark, chuck will growl "quiet, jake."

"quiet, jake?" i'll say coyly.
"whatever. i said 'breaks'," he'll respond tersely.
busted.

twice in the past two weeks i've held chuck's car keys in my hot little hand and known that if i wanted to, i'd have ample opportunity to crack this surprise, solve this mystery, prematurely find my birthday present. but then i'd have nothing to think about for the next 3 days, 8 hours, 23 minutes and 49 seconds.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

the fruits of your loom ...



it all started with an apple tree, one paraplegic squirrel, a boyfriend with a fantastic wingspan, and a dream. i considered the possibility for about four minutes, then spent two more minutes congratulating myself on this sort of eagle scoutish thinking. the whole making due with my resources aspect of it.

THE PROCESS
step one: attach bucket to the end of a broom.
step two: grab a mop and tall boyfriend.
step three: stand together on deck. boyfriend whaps at apple tree, while i hold bucket under targeted apple.
step four: bake something apple flavored.

while fun, it didn't take long to figure out that instead of a cute story of swatting apples out of an apple tree -- and the mop 'n glow aftertaste -- this was going to turn into the story about the time i broke my neck showing off while channeling "on the banks of plum creek." and then, when i eventually moved to ground level and tried to estimate where the falling fruit would land, well ... let's just say i've always been better at different kinds of sports.

the fruits of my labor: meager.



anyway, there is a paraplegic squirrel living in the back yard who has found a way to shimmy to the roof without the use of his back legs. i think he needs these apples more than i do.

i decided to make apple crisp, but with, instead, apples from an apple store. i stood in the produce department holding the devil disguised as a small container of premade apple crisp, strategically placed by the granny smith's i was fingering. i carefully put it back on the shelf and backed away slowly from the cliff notes version of what i wanted to make.

whatever. so i spent the night chopping and peeling and and mixing and ended up with this:



then chuck said, using grand gestures to emphasize his point: maybe we should let it sit so it thickens.



so we watched the shining and waited.
then i very purposely made an "i'm concentrating and cutting" face.



it turned out really good.
i totally think i'm going to have more.



blah-blah-bonus footage:


this is where i forgot to not put my cigarette in front of the camera when i took the photo.


instant replay of the cutting process.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

drinking little sleazers so you don't have to ...


" ... actually, you could probably stand to wash your hair."
lakeview coffee emporium, 4 p.m.

little caesars pizza was the tastetrack to every slumber party molly koshatka ever hosted. i surveyed six pies splayed across the kitchen table and thought the koshatka's must be very wealthy to be able to feed a half-dozen pre-pubescent squealing partiers hopped up on orange crush. rich, at least, in pizza.

we'd pig out until our second-grade tummies were bloated, then do what all second-graders do:

put on football helmets, get on our knees and play a game called "retarded basketball" flinging things into a 3-foot-high nurf hoop in her playroom. her name was always "jimmy"; i was "corky bobber." the term "politically correct" had not yet infiltrated rochester, minnesota.

***

one of the first opinions i ever developed was this: i do not like little caesar's pizza. it was the closest thing to drinking pizza that i could imagine, this soupy mess of ingredients. in those days there was a small little caesar's sattelite at barclay square, next door to the movie theater. first, when i realized that i could afford to buy three pizzas for five dollars with my $2/every two weeks allowance, it occured to me that i was practically an adult. later i realized that "cheap" and "in bulk" does not always mean "good" and in fact probably means the opposite.

were we sitting in a bar right now, i'd tell you what i really think little caesar's crust tastes like. but for the sake of maintaining a relatively pristine web site, i'll modify it to this [which is close enough]: little caesar's crust tastes like what i imagine it would taste like to jam your tongue into a stranger's swampy belly button.

***

a bunch of little caesar's branches just popped up in duluth.

***

the other day chuck and i met for dinner at subway. he walked into the shop and said: i just passed three teenagers sitting on a curb eating little caesar's pizza. i recoiled in horror. they're feeding seagulls, too. my stomach lurched.

***

when it comes to pizza, i like something heavy on cheese, light on sauce, with a crust that doesn't taste like human flesh. when in rochester, i would opt for something from mr. pizza or billotti's; here in duluth my first choice is pizza man [if only for the cheese bread] or bulldog pizza. i like pizza luce for when i'm in the mood to eat something similar to pizza [ie round, and cut into triangles] but slathered in something like garlic mashed potatos and bacon bits. i will eat VIP and not complain. and at the risk of negating my bid for duluth homecoming queen, i'll admit this: i do not like sammy's pizza.

i'm also opposed to dominos and pizza hut.

***

yesterday i overheard my landlord celebrating the new little caesar's. for him "cheap" and "in bulk" are a rally cry. the time he bought 300 dollars worth of mountain dew, filling the bed of his brother's pickup with green cases and later turning the loot into a makeshift coffee table. most recently he brushed me off with a hurried "i have to go buy some lawnmowers."

some lawnmowers? i don't know why i was surprised.

he had a cheese pizza spread across his table.

"[scrubs] bought it," he said, referring to his girlfriend. "it's cheese, but it's decent."

here he held up a coupon sheet and pointed to a photo of a 16-inch pizza. "i mean, look at THAT!" he said. "it's like five bucks!"

he offered me a piece. and truthfully, i was starved. i'd only eaten an egg sandwich from lakeview coffee emporium six hours earlier. still ... how hungry do you have to be to lick a stranger's swampy belly button?

Friday, August 24, 2007

i'm your second hand news ...




today was national "pistina buys a laptop day." through some sort of strange circumstances i came into some money. it came in the mail, unsolicited, unexpected and as completely unrelated to my birthday as it was completely related to my inability to work a basic calculator.

you were right, jesus. math will some day come in handy! especially on national pistina buys a new laptop day when you tell me that if i never learn math, i'll be greatly rewarded in late august, just when my heart was wishing for a new laptop and you send me a magic check! i appreciate the way you celebrate my bad behavior!

so i woke up early! [read: 11:30 a.m.] because it was a holiday and when chuck woke up i attacked him with verbal exclamation points until he finally pushed me aside and reminded me that it was still too early [noon] for complete sentences. ordinarily i'd agree. but this time i just made us some coffee and was only dampered briefly by the fact that i'd have to wear pants to best buy to use my ill-gained monies to purchase the reason for the season.

laptop purchasing was ridiculously inconvenient and way harder than i thought. i'd anticipated extra fees. what i hadn't expected was this. [here i defer to chuck's post, mostly because i could hear the words "chad" was saying, but i couldn't believe this was the truth. so i spent much of the time mouth agape, giving chuck looks that screamed: did chad just break national pistina buys a laptop day? while chuck took on the incredulous chortle of a serial best buy employee heckler].

***

we ate a quick lunch at bixbie's bagals.

***

at the mall, chuck surveyed the food court and said:
"i've never seen so many pregnant teenagers."

***

we landed at the electric fetus in the used records area. chuck's new project involves backtracking to the vynal he should have purchased 20 years or so ago. like most of his projects, this project is too fun to just witness.

we left with -- between us: [and i'll definitely shuffle these so you don't know who got what and make some sort of judgement on who has a better taste in 99 cent records]:

u2: joshua tree
david bowie: young americans
xtc: mummer
inxs: listen like thieves
fleetwood mac: rumours
men at work: business as usual
erasure: chains of love
katrina and the waves: walking on sunshine
siouxsie and the banshees: tinderbox
echo and the bunnymen: heaven up here
tears for fears: songs from the big chair

i also won't tell you which one of us eyed: wham! make it big, but left it at the store. i will say she wept a little.

***

we came back, listened to records. dinged around with laptop.
chuck made chicken curry that was so frigging fantastic that my nose ran. i thought i was joking when i said i was going to lick the pan, but, when he wasn't looking ...

***

went to fitgers for beer, music, interneting.
went to carmody for beer, music interneting.

a table away, two men were slipping bras -- large bras -- over the top of their shirts.

"those are big bras," i mused to chuck.
i mean, what comes after E in the victoria secret's alphabet, anyway?
i looked at their table.
two braless G-cups were chillin'.
one flashed us.
one said " ... and so my doctor said to apply antibacterial ointment three times a day, so i guess i'll do that."

***

we stopped at walgreen's on the way home.
easy mac for chuck.
vitamin water and gatorade.

we passed a house party that had been busted. nine under age drinkers, cooing anxiously into cell phones.

we came back to chuck's and listened to fleetwood mac.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

her name was lola ...

i do not like my next door neighbors, as i've said before. it's not just the meth-mouth, or the way the ringleader of the house's little cult sometimes gets hopped up and mows the whole block -- including a grass path from my door to his for the mailman. it's more like the way they are always just sitting around on the roof, seemingly waiting to heckle me as i walk to my car. it probably has more to do with their credo involving firecrackers and other illegal displays of mobile fire: everyday is chinese new year.

beer cans, pit bulls, lawn chairs and one underage girlfriend who mocks me, from the roof.
i will not feel self conscious when i'm mocked by a pregnant 17 year old in a trailblazers' jersey. at least i'll try not to.

last night i was in my living room and i heard a sound like water running. this is a sound that i, either rightfully or wrongfully, have come to associate with them staining my roof with their misdirected, toxified urine. there is not a bathroom on their makeshift roof porch. they drink a lot of busch lite. i just assume.

but then i heard sirens stopping on my street.
and when i stepped out onto the porch, a house on my street was in flames. a few doors down and i had front-row seats.
it was over by the time i started taking photos.

a police officer asked me if i had a lawn chair. i thought of meth-mouth's roof, the whole ghetto-cabana. her name was lola ...

i said no. but told her i'd find something for the old woman, whose house was recently in flames. [she wanted to have a seat] i came back with a rod iron chair from my kitchen table setup: a patio bistro table and chairs.

i left before the fire trucks.
there didn't seem to be much damage and i didn't see any ambulances.
i wonder what happened to my chair.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

in the summer of 1996 ...

summer 96 skinny armsthings started to get pretty fun when i was 20. i had recently stopped acting like a co-captain of the lourdes high school track team, and more like what i imagined the person on my fake ID was like: monica mueller. 28-years-old, straight and tame brown hair, brown eyes. a little taller than me and indiscernibly heavier.

truthfully, i rarely used my fake ID. partly because, at age 20 i looked more like a 15 year old and less like a woman negotiating with 30. and partly because i feared i'd run into monica mueller at mcmurphy's some night. i'd have to convince her that i was her, obviously, and that she was someone else altogether and that she had better figure it out before i called the cops.

but i liked the idea of having the ID, and the way the man at the liquor store on lake street in minneapolis stopped asking to see it after i eventually became recognizable as monica mueller, friday night case of icehouse afficianado.

i came home from college in the summer of 1996 a bit wilder than i'd been in the previous 19 summers. i still had a curfew. 2 a.m. and this was as strictly enforced as when my curfew was midnight. it involved not being a milisecond late. waking my parents for a brief and nonintrusive sobriety test. turning off the outside lights.

luckily, my parents were gone a lot that summer.

on the weekends, my friend chris had huge parties at his mom's house on the banks of the zumbro [scumbro] river in oronocco, minn. we drank red dog. i never gave anyone a dollar, i just helped myself to the cooler. boys streaked. we sat on the docked pontoon, hoping deep conversations would turn to deep kissing. we were catty about girls we didn't know. we listened to a lot of van morrison. we ate a lot of doritos.

summer 96 on the zumbro

i woke one sunday, splayed across my bed like a crucifixion scene. my brother needed to borrow my car. i told him the keys were in the pocket of the jeans on the floor. he dug in and pulled out a night's worth of bottle caps and counted them in his palm.

"seven, eight ... holy crap, christa," he said. "nine beers! no wonder you're hung over."

here i pictured the bottle caps i'd drunkenly flung into the scumbro and thought: you don't know the half of it, bud.

"you better not let dad catch you drinking," he warned me. "he'll kill you."
i believed him. later he told me that my car smelled like farts and yo burgers. this i also believed. i was working that summer at a golf course restaurant thats signature draw was the yo burger.

***

after i wore out my welcome on the scumbro -- i was drinking a lot of the boys' beer, but not really contributing anything monetarily or physically to pay my way -- a small group of us took to camping at state parks within a 6 hour radius of rochester. our first stop was rice lake camp ground.

here we had a bit of drama that encounters any small gender-mixed group of 20 year olds who are camping at state parks with vodka hidden in their trunks.

i was in love with db.
db was in love with princess linda.
princess linda liked db, but she also liked dong and couldn't decide between them.
dong told us he liked princess linda, but eventually he would instead date people named things like "mike" or "henry".
back at college, db and i had taken to sloppy drunken make outs.
but for the summer, i knew that i was not his first choice.
fanny had a boyfriend back in south dakota.
we set polish's watch ahead two hours so he would go to bed early and stop making us listen to alan jackson.
first we made him take our photo.
i took to db's fraternal twin brother ab.
ab didn't necessarily like me. but he thought i was okay for the summer.


summer 96 rice lake

***

we also went to lac que parle. same group, with the addition of fanny's boyfriend. [years later i'd be plenty bummed when he ended their three-year relationship via email while he was in amsterdam].

we picked up the boys in fanny's dad's van. the mystery machine. the three of us in back, the boys in the front. before we'd left the city limits, fanny, princess linda and i were schnockered from the vodka we'd dumped into the lemonade container, then transfered to arizona ice tea bottles.

halfway to lac que parle, we stopped to pee.
in the gas station's bathroom, we wrapped our arms in toilet paper and pretended we were burn victims.
even then, in the back of the van giggling, the boys did not know that we were drunk.

summer 96 burn victims

we swam in a lake. we floated on inflatable sea horses. when ab came up out of the water, his goatee was green with goose shit. later we would learn that this lake is the goose shit capital of america. every goose's favorite porta potty.

summer 96 mystery machine

summer 96 lac que parle

the mystery machine got a flat tire.
we broke the frying pan we used for a jack.
with nothing to use to cook the eggs, we played baseball with the eggs and broken frying pan.
we drove home on the spare at about 45 miles per hour. i got mustard on fanny's favorite bib overalls.

summer 96 lac que parle

***

my parents were home more often now on the weekends. but instead of returning to my intial fear of these keepers, i choose to push the boundaries of my curfew. i'd tiptoe in at 4 a.m. and i'd get caught because this happened to be the exact moment my dad was getting a glass of water.

i was warned once.
i was warned twice.

one night i ended up at ab's house. his family was out of town and we were watching a movie and making out on his couch. around 4 a.m. he told me that college was starting soon and he didn't want this relationship to continue. he'd been at st. john's, i'd be at st. thomas. our schools, afterall, were rivals.

annoyed, i went home. my parents were sitting on the steps of our split level home. mom in a pink robe. dad pissed.

i'd had a few drinks and when they asked me why i was late i said:
"i lost ka-track of time."
"you what?" my dad said.
"i lost ka-track of time," i slurred.
"you lost ka-track of time?" he repeated?
i nodded and walked down the steps.

i was halfway down when my mom screeched: "OH CHRISTA! HAVE SOME PRIDE!"
i rolled my eyes and went into the bathroom. i wondered what she meant by that. i looked in the mirror:

my shirt was on wrong side out.

Monday, August 20, 2007

thumb, a tack ...

in the wee hours of thursday morning, i finally let chuck perform surgery on my burn blister. but only because i thought it would make a great video. it's safe for viewing at work, if your place of employment celebrates the eff word [which i mention twice].

chuck did most of the taping and all of the uploading and editing and slow-motioning and song adding. all i did is provide a freakish body part.



*and a special thanks to jack of jack's mexican style pizza fame.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

10 reasons i'll not be returning to aces ...

recently chuck and i went to blackwoods against our will, where a tall summit cost some unreasonable, mathematically retarded amount, like $6.48. as we were walking out of the bar, the song "blowing in the wind" was playing.



chuck chuckled.
"i wonder what a 22 year old bob dylan would think of this place," he wondered.
and we laughed. oh how we laughed.

last night, as we left aces on first, i had a similar question: "i wonder what brett hull would think of this place?" because this bar used to be a small shrine to this town's favorite hockey hero. now it's just filled with a bunch of dumbpucks.


"if this place exploded behind us as we walked out, i wouldn't even turn around," chuck said.
"even if you'd left your jacket?" i asked.
"that would be worth the price of 10 jackets," he said.

me? i'd rather have it swallowed by first street, ala poltregeist, and replaced with -- i don't know -- a dress barn?


before we left, we took a very serious blood oath to not return to this bar ever again. we even clinked glasses. i plan to stick to this, regardless of the fantastic things that appletini does to my soul.


the top 10 reasons why aces on first is a suckhole:


10. WHAT WORKS IN WILD THINGS ... : lil latrell, who was visiting from kansas city this week, called me from in front of the bar and was slightly terrified to enter. she presented a litany of unappealing aspects about this bar -- some which can be chalked up to being 5-feet tall, 78 pounds, and fond of pleasant things -- then paused and said: hmm ... now two girls are making out in front of me.

i liked the movie wild things as much as you did, but until neve campbell appears on first street -- or someone who is genuinely a lesbian, and not just playing one on a friday night -- i think we should all keep our pink little flirtini tongues in our little flirtini mouths. why give the boys a show for free, ladies? make them buy your video just like everyone else.

9. CRISCO, ANYONE? i had to slather my body in animal fat to propel myself from the doorway to a table.

8. THE HYDRATING PROCESS. you can either climb over the mosh pit in front of the bar, or go to your table and wait for your waitress to come to you. i choose table service, because i like to consider my legs purely decorative and not to be wasted on "waiting for a drink" and recreational "standing in line."

unfortunately, our glasses were empty more often than filled. which begs the observation: if you are a waitress and have a table of adult people who are building a tab, and another table of 21-year-old boys pulling wads of $1 from their grass stained tube socks to pay for corona, it is a bad move -- financially -- to favor the latter table. unless you consider sleazy gropes with dirty fingernails a form of currency.

7. ALOUD. i like loud music. heck, you should hear my speakers vibrate when the right ben kweller song is playing. but there is a difference between loud and LOUD! and last nite was LOUD! my own cranky thoughts were cancelled out by the killers.

to get back at the world, today i cranked lynn rosetto casper's splendid table when i drove near the colleges on my way to get a bagal. it was a really good part about ways to jazz up plain-old tuna fish. TAKE THAT, ACES!

6. MAGIC MOMENTS. in my life, i've gone on a few bad dates and one or two not-so-bad, not-quite dates. whenever i am at aces, i run into someone i'd be fine not seeing again for whatever horrific reason. last night it was the super trooper. nice guy. but i don't usually nap in a stranger's guest room while he stains his new house.

5. THE YUCK. i was accidentally privy to a pretty explicit conversation involving words from a medical dictionary. worse yet, it came from people at my own table. i think they were inspired by this weird fratty environ. this made me want to dive over the mahogney high-top and cover latrell's ears and stick my shoe in the mouth of the conversationalists.

"you know how when you leave quinlan's you smell like smoke?" chuck said. "when you leave aces you smell like ruffies."

4. ATTACK OF THE THREES. i was walking with lil latrell to her car and some boys behind us said something to us, which we ignored. then one added: whatever. they weren't that cute anyway.

i turned around, and we were being trailed by a three-pack of threes. not just not-cute. but below average. what is it about aces that three threes think we aren't that cute? i, for one, am plenty okay with my special level of cute. as i'm sure latrell is pleasantly pleased with her own level of cute.

"you'd be lucky," my appletini said.
"shyeah, whatever," one of them responded.
"i notice you're going home alone," my other appletini said.
"nuh uh! actually i'm not!" one responded.
then it was me -- not even my appletini -- who finally just turned around and said:
"FATASS."
then i felt better.

3. FAN-TABULAR. it was an expensive hour, which made me grateful that the waitress rarely responding to the dull thud of my lime rind hitting the bottom of my empty martini glass.

2. I THINK I WORE THE WRONG SHOES. i walked more than a mile to chuck's in shoes that aren't typically part of the "athletic-ware" ilk. technically this is my own fault. i choose to blame you, ace face.

1. CRABASS. aces made me compose words that point to me getting old. being intolerant of fun and frivolity. perhaps even a bit of a prude. and a cheap bastard. you made me crave the pioneer, and the last time i was there, i was attacked by fruit flies in stall one of the women's bathroom.

aces, you sucked my fun.

Friday, August 17, 2007

mis directed texts ...

i have, in the past 21-or-so hours, received two text messages. neither seems to have been intended for me. the first came at midnight last nite:

ur the bee's knees.

a) i don't know anyone who talks like that because none of my friends are blue hairs.
b) i don't know anyone from westchester county, which is where the text message originated.

the second sounds more like a message i'd receive, but i did not recognize the phone number:

proctor exit holiday, taking a dump.

unfortunate that that one did not reach its intended recipient, but the intended hilarity was appreciated by this stranger.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

don't tell me i'm going to have to start wearing pants, roofer ...

for 8-12 hours a day, i do not wear pants. this is not some sort of sexy statement. this is a just a fact: i like to live, sans pants, if you want to get fancy about it. recently chuck told me, in a very quaint way, how he had rediscovered barefoot. "i like not wearing shoes," he said.

well, chuck, imagine that. times six gazillion. with a slight breeze. that is life without pants.

i've been like this through most of my adulthood. to the point where we walked into my apartment after one of our first not-quite-a-date dates. at my house under the guise of watching "fight club" and eating brie and grapes. i walked in my front door, unzipped, tugged, and just before my pants reached my ankles i realized i was sending a strange message. he probably thought i was easy. in reality, i was just home. and home means no pants. not to mention, i just knew that i would have to pee at some point. and peeing is always easier when you don't have to worry about pants mucking up the intricate process.

so i wear pants as little as possible. and my morning ritual involves waking around 11:48 a.m. and sneaking out on chuck's deck for a cigarette. when i come inside, i typically give him a weather report: totally a pantless day [if i was comfortable] or you should probably wear pants [if i had chilly buns.]

chuck thinks his deck is about 25 feet in the air. me, i say 45 feet in the air. you can see the lake and you can see mars and sometimes i feel closer to mars. the only people who could possible see my swimsuit parts are his neighbors to the east, a geriatric couple who buy illegal fireworks and plot trips to the olive garden well before dinner time. they have a window that clearly reveals chuck's basil and tomato plants and could possibly reveal my PG-ratedness. but i'm convinced they don't use this window. it seems to be a closet. and the same sweatshirt has been obscuring the view since the day i smoked my first cigarette, pantless, on chuck's deck.

recently, some roofers have been working on the house across the street. i've tried to ignore the annoyance of steely dan at 8 a.m., realizing that some people don't play wii golf until 4:30 a.m. and sometimes they want to play steeley dan on a sunday, even. loudly. today, leaning against the railing, catching some stray mid-afternoon rays on my crack, i realized we were at the same eye level. this guy was shimmying across the roof. dancing along the peaks. just shingling at a level slightly closer to mars.

"oh my god," i thought. "he can see my cooter."

Monday, August 13, 2007

wilco? more like WON'T-co ...

chicken pox. can you say "psychosomatic?" i won't believe it until i personally receive one dried, flakey piece of red pox via nels cline in my mailbox. and if he does have chicken pox, here's my nonmeducated opinion: lower your naked keister into a trough. marinate in an oatmeal bath, and throw back a few shots of calomine lotion and then grab your guitar because -- and you know i hate to dabble in hyperbole, but -- YOU JUST RUINED MY ENTIRE SUMMER!

i have been billing the wilco show at bayfront park the "premiere event of the summer." i rarely get excited for things that aren't my birthday or slathered in guacamole, and especially not a concert. concerts of the formal kind -- the ones not on a road blocked superior street or that begin before midnight, as i've said before -- typically involve me bobbing my knees and looking around and wondering why i'm not having more fun. but this! wilco. outside. the soles of my feet dirty from spinning circles in the pukey grass to "heavy metal drummer." $8 bayfront pale ale staining the front of my jeans. and people. oh the people. and a fun duluth summer night.

everyone i know was going to wilco, except one very special person.

"i hate wilco," jcrew said.
"no one hates wilco," i corrected her.
"yeah, well, i hate how everyone likes wilco," she said.

fannie was even going to come to town. it takes more than just me to lure my friend further north than roseville. it takes me and jeff tweedy. wilco, do you know that i haven't seen fannie since thanksgiving?

i like my gratification immediate. not on september 4th. "postponed" is just a synonym for "fun-sucked." now the show previously known as "the premiere event of the summer" is just "that thing that happened in the almost-fall." i mean, i'll still go to the next show. but i better see scarring on that guitar-player's cheek. i want evidence that he was at quaratined at home, in bed, watching the game-show network, clawing at his skin and ruing the kindergartner who breathed on him.

i'm not mad, wilco, i'm just disappointed.

what not to wear ...

hey everybody! look what chuck did to my web site! if i can drag myself away from the pretty new screen, i'm totally going to let him pop my second-degree burn blister!

Sunday, August 12, 2007

like a blister on my thumb ...



here is something that hurts: when you take a slightly burnt jack's mexican style pizza from the oven [at approximately 3:30 a.m., if you know what i mean] and a wad of congealed, 425 degree cheese-product wraps itself around your thumb.

you can try to swear it away, but all the eff words in the world won't dull the hurt.
you can run it under cold water, but that just lends credence to your failure as a pie chef.

the alopecia crust ruins one of the pieces. you eat it anyway, and try not to imagine that it tastes like your singed skin.

today it looks a little freakish:



* yes. that, in the background, is season one episode five of life goes on playing on my television set. the episode where becca thatcher falls in love with a keyboard player in maxie's brother's band. i put this show in my queue as part of a scientific study: can i become addicted to any tv show, if i carefully watch the first three episodes. answer: yes. at least once an episode, i manage to laugh at something really wholesome and cheesy: the thatcher's ended this episode with a FOOD FIGHT! or get weepy: corky invests in paige's new boyfriend's hula hoop business with money he was saving for a train set. oh, corky.

like a vietnam vet ...

today i had a phantom booger all day today.
i think it is because i have a tiny zit in the crease of the underlying area of my nostril. (right side)
so, on my way downtown i swiped at it. this interested the people in the car next to me.
as i walked into starbucks, i dug at it some more.
this interested the coffee drinkers. or rather, disgusted one in particular.
at some point in the day, fng stopped by and when he wiped his nose, i thought he was giving me a sign about something.
i think i went to the bathroom about 19 times to check for my phantom snot.
i swear i felt it. everytime i talked to anyone. booger. wiggling with each exhale, wiggling with each inhale. i still kinda feeling it.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

play the key-tar on the mtv ...

"last night i had a dream that one of nicole, from my two dad's, boyfriends was in --" i start.
"wait," chuck interupts. "cory or zach?"
"uh. i can't remember which is which," i continue. "anyway, so zach or cory is in a parking ramp and he kills a guy with a nail gun! and i see it. and he sees me see it. so he is chasing after ME with the nail gun!"
"that would make a really good movie," chuck says, then thinks. "you just had a lifetime original movie dream!"

***

i eat a cheese omelet, wheat toast and hashbrowns at the sunshine cafe.
"i don't think i can finish this," i tell chuck.
"don't be a hero," he agrees.

***

we go to the italian village for red sauce, spicy italian sausage, fresh parmeasan cheese. we're going to make some sort of pasta meal, inspired by a recent viewing of "goodfellas." except in goodfellas, they make the meal in prison and they slice the garlic with razor blades and they're in the mafia and we're just going to make it in chuck's kitchen with regular utensils and we're in ... da luthia.

***

i have reason to believe that chuck got me a key-tar for my birthday, and that he is hiding it in his trunk. at first i just thought it was a casio keyboard, but then he gave me some clues:

1. it can be bought on the internet and
2. it was heavier than he expected
3. it is not a casio keyboard, but it may be a key-tar

that sounds like a key-tar to me. the misunderstood lyrics " ... play the key-tar on the mtv" have been stuck in my head for the past 24 hours. the next 20 days can not go fast enough. helllloooo, 32!

***

cars and trucks are playing at rock the block. within one song, they are my new favorite duluth band. i hope they aren't flattered: i used to be a big fan of average sun. amy abts, of course, remains my favorite solo artist.

***

we decide to drink ourselves back to the pasta party. there is an art show at luce, which means they are paying people two free glasses of wine to look at art. i have a red. so does chuck. we look at the art -- there seems to be a gnome theme -- and wander into the bar, where we get the best seats in town.

about a half hour later, a man comes in, gets everyone's attention and says the art show winner is about to be announced. 75 percent of the people in the bar clear out, toward the restaurant staging area.

a woman pokes her head into my corner and says: "the suspense is killing me."

a few seconds later i'll overhear a man say:

"yeah, when i voted, i crossed out 'best' and wrote in 'least worst.'"

***

we stop at carmody and sit on a back couch facing a highway. when chuck goes to the bathroom, a woman approaches me and tries to save me from my lonliness. "come to the front of the bar!" she coaxes me.

"i'm waiting for my boyfriend. he's in the bathroom," i say.
it sounds like a lie.
i'm relieved when he returns and i can say to the girl "see?"

***

we stop at the brewhouse, but don't stay.

***

we stop at super one for garlic and pasta. standing in front of a magazine display, i have chuck guess which magazine i'd buy if i had to buy a magazine.

"women's health?" he guesses.
"i can't talk to you right now," i say, walking away.

***

back at chucks, he teaches me how to crush the garlic with the side of a knife and rip the skin away. i could do this all day. i'd like to be a professional garlic smasher, skin ripper. he puts the naked cloves in his garlic press. sausages are cooking, noodles are boiling, garlic is browning ... i'm fading.

i lay on the couch, suddenly exhausted.
i fall asleep and begin to have a dream that it is a sunday night. i'm in high school. my mom is cooking. murder she wrote is on in the background.

i wake when the meal is done. but i'm too tired to eat it.
chuck gives me a bite, and it wakes me right out of my coma. i dash into the kitchen and pour a bowl down my throat.

then i go to bed. and it's just midnight. this is the earliest i've gone to bed since i was seven. i sleep 12 hours, first waking at six a.m. and having a cigarette. in the neighborhood, i hear someone ignoring their alarm clock. this is reason enough to go back to bed until noon.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

crabass ...



in this life of leisure of mine, i sometimes lose track of the days on my personal lunar calender. i'm reminded while running up the steps. when it feels like i'm lugging around the cremains of my ancestors in a bra from victoria's secret that fit the previous day. then a twinge of annoyance at something petty: dr. phil's man camp or rachel ray's bangs or why my pants have to have a zipper or just the concept of the sun. i start picturing myself sliding face-first into the world's largest vat of super potato oles. trouble, i remind myself, is on its way.

"we're in the danger zone," i warned chuck a few days ago. he would figure it out soon enough, anyway. the danger zone is vicious. in rochester, my friend hank would interupt one of my tirades to say: "would you just bleed already?"

normally i am pretty even-keeled, if not downright cheery. a handful of days from my ortho-try 'cebos and i'm likely to un-even keel in one of two ways: i may weep with love because i've never tasted such a fantastic avacado. but i'm more inclined to go all english major on your ass: deconstructing every sentence that is said to me, cuing into word-choice, tone, expression and context. have an 80,000 dollar english major fit.

it would go like this:

chuck: good morning!
me: [snort] morning.
silence.
i roll over.
more silence.
chuck: are you mad?
me: yes.
chuck: why?
me: well, when you said "good morning" did you mean "good morning, i don't like you anymore? you have a huge zit and your face looks swollen and mangled?
chuck: nooooo ... i meant good morning.
me: THATS NOT HOW IT SOUNDED!

given fair warning [a strap slicing into my shoulder blades, desperate to keep the cremains in place] and i can nip it. tread lightly. speak slowly and think rationally before i go completely insane.

chuck helps. i'll even let him call me a crabass, whereas if anyone else did it i'd probably shove a pumpkin down their throat. he has been advised, much like a mogwai owner, to keep me away from alcohol during this particular week. i like to think that if i somehow found a way to wrap my lips around a bottle of shiraz, that he would physically put his man sandal on my forehead, then yank it from my monkey claw.

in the meantime, he speaks to me very carefully. simple one syllable non gender specific nouns and verbs void of connotation.

grueling, perhaps. but it is in both of our best interest.

this morning when we woke i was in a good mood. partly because he had been sleeping in a funny position and i couldn't wait to immitate it for him. he noticed the subtle change in demeanor and asked if we were out of the danger zone yet.

"what did he mean by THAT?" i wondered.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

i see you ...




yesterday i was on chuck's back deck and through the apple tree i saw a blur of white tank top and dark mesh shorts. a frizzy swath of brown hair and that lazy, clunky stroll of a man child half-wearing plastic adidas sandals, scuttling along late for work.

i'd know those tube socks anywhere. i didn't need to smell them. i didn't need to hear him peel out or the tone deaf singalong to rascal flatts through his truck window to know my former roommate was was in the alley behind chuck's garage.

from my perch, i was essentially in a tree house. completely hidden from former roommate's view. and for the third time in less than a week, i thought: "thank you sweet jesus for hiding me behind this apple tree."

my former roommate is dating the woman who lives across the alley. a woman i'm sure is quite sweet, if you can get past the way she bastardized beer pong at bacon fest in a completely unforgiveable way. i'm not sure how you play beer pong, but in my world when the keg cups are filled with beer and set up like bowling pins at the end of the table, you are not allowed to cover the target with your arms and distract your opponent with a sweaty cave of drunken cleavage. if the ping pong ball bounces, yes, you are allowed to swat it out of the way. but this layer of human flesh shield, these mounds of stretched ribbed white wife beater and that stern no-bullshit look is a stone cold fun-suck.

it is precisely this kind of "new rule" that ruins all games: like the whole "no hitting a runner in the head with the ball" that bastardized kickball.

["ever since she and i started dating, we changed the rules to beer pong a little," he downplayed after i'd already almost lost that night at bacon fest. "now, if you're a girl, you can deke like you're going to block the shot. you just can't obstruct the ball."] righto, man-child. what's next? a three-cup handicap for the ladies? your chivalry is stupid.

i don't really talk to my former roommate anymore. and maybe some people believe this is a weakness in my character. that i could live with someone for a year and a half, and then consider the whole moving out thing to be a metaphorical boil removal. not storing the good times in a jar of rubbing alcohol, rather lancing the fucker and forgetting it happened.

before he was my roommate, my former roommate lived downstairs from me in an efficiency apartment: two mattresses crammed into a single room and mountain dew bottles filled with muddy chew spit. we had a lot in common: he was a 21 year old boy and i thought i was a 21 year old boy.

i'm not trying to rewrite history. we had some good times: once we opened schultz's at 6 a.m., and i can only assume it was fun because the carbon copies in my check book indicated that we ordered pizza twice by the time i spilled my second beer and we were 86'd at mid-afternoon. and there were positives to having a roommate. one thing that comes to mind is sitting on the toilet and realizing too late that we were out of toilet paper. sending him scurrying to the fourth street market before i was forced to drip dry. plus, he was afraid of me. and for a long time, that was what i looked for in a 21-year-old friend.

roommate-hood, however, is supposed to be a money-saving manuever. half the rent. half the groceries. half the toothpaste. he managed to be driving my car the only time i've ever gotten a flat tire and the time it was t-boned by an insurance-less hussy at the ghetto spur. not to mention that he didn't buy groceries and he didn't buy toothpaste and when he didn't pay rent, my landlord hunted me down.

then there was the incident with his cousin and the stripper ... i'm not a judgemental sort, but there just wasn't enough bleach in the world to make my toilet seat feel less like an infectious disease.

i thought kicking him out would be awkward, but he rebounded quickly. set up a little home for himself in proctor with a few friends. he used to call occasionally and slur about how we were best friends and should hang out and get a beer and best friends and beer, ya know. and i'd nod and say sure and maybe sometime and uh huh.

so this is how it is, now. i can leisurely enjoy my final cigarette of the evening, or first of the day, and a quite night in the hillside is pierced by a car door slamming, and the man-child's voice:

"brando! grab the water!"

and i cower in the treehouse and thank jesus that he can't see me.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

a meme i don't hate ...

laurie tagged me for a "best of" meme in which the blogger is supposed to pull out 10 or fewer posts that represent your high points so far. i'm cheating a bit here and yanking from my much more colorful youth, as recorded on my old site. this meant starting a sort of new site ... but whatevs. i've got all the time in the world for online frivolity since online frivolity is my favorite hobby.

and then speaking of diapers
is the story of how my landlord and his halloween costume saved my life.

argentina makes the best snowboarders is the story of the time futbol broke his ulna, ruining a perfecting fun day of snowboarding

b is for victory is about one crazy wednesday night at the third rock and the lamplighter employee who helped me win 50 dollars.

have i ever mentioned that i once ran a marathon?

no more nanas is the story of the unlikely side effect of the flu

snot is inevitable in 31 1/2 years of winters, march 2, 2007, was by far my favorite snow day.

strangers with candy the pista family's assumption that i would someday be kidnapped, told from a bar stool at quinlan's on feb. 28, 2007.


rules:

1. try to limit your post to 10 items or less
2. tag 5
3. take your time. do some digging in the archives and find the perfect ones - it’s to your advantage more than anything else.
4. if possible, link to this post for meme info, and please link to the post that you were tagged in. Memes go on for quite a long time and when trying to follow one backwards to see some of the other posts, it gets quite difficult when only the blog URL is used.. Just a request.
5. the people you tag, please let them know by email, contact form or some other efficient method.

i'm giving optional tags some of the girl posse: incognito bandito because it would be fun to revisit your old old archives, feisty because i just started reading you relatively recently and it seems you've been doing this awhile, whisky marie because i think you're funny, and i wonder what YOU think is funny, and maurey and domdis because, like fmg, i've not read back super far in your archives. minneapolisophie, you, too.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

a whole lotta liking going on ...

my tragic flaw, it seems, is my capacity to like things. for instance, a few nights ago i liked an apricot beer from the brewhouse while i waited for chuck to finishing dj-ing. i liked my final swallow while liking the song "beth" by kiss. all this like sent me to the red star lounge, which i choose to like despite its recent foray into nonsmoking, which i don't necessarily like but opt to tolerate.

once at the red star, i liked a key lime martini enough to have two. this green pie-flavored drink is served with graham cracker crumbs around the rim. as you drink, the crumbs become soggy and begin to taste like pre-chewed cheerios served from the fist of a toddler. i don't not like that. and then, since i was at the red star, i liked sofia coppola's champange in a can. and when the bartender offered up a shot of chambord that turned my bubbly purple, heck. i liked that, too.

i really liked the madonna song the dj at redstar began playing.
i did not like it, however, when he seemed to resent my liking and ripped the record from the stereo and replaced it with something else. we left the red cave and went back to the bar area, where i liked the pillows and couches.

back at chuck's i liked his deck so much that i wanted to sleep on it, with my head rested on the metal threshhold. he assured me that this like was fleeting and in a few hours, i'd probably like my head on an actual pillow.

i did not get the chance to like our frozen pizza or an episode of arrested development.

the next day i liked chicken nuggets from the dollar menu at wendy's, and decided that these little honey mustard vessels are a cure-all. anything in my body that felt amiss -- from my head to my urinary tract -- was cured in 10 easy, pleasy bites.

i like that, too.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

a certain tendency to gawk (and other tidbitulars) ...


*photo stolen without chuck's permission, per usual

it took me about 10 minutes to realize that i'd been listening to the incessant whinny of sirens. life in the hillside ... this is the sound of my white noise. but once i noticed it, i sprung to action: sprinted out to chuck's deck to see where whatever was unfolding. there were plumes of smoke masking the view of the church up the hill. i grabbed a hoodie. camera phone. flip flops. i was still slinging my purse over my shoulder and coaxing chuckster to action. he was hemming which of his many recording devices to bring up the hill: a small camera? a large camera? a video camera ...

"lets go, lets go, lets go!" i said.

very few people came out for the garage fire. us. a woman in a robe. two young 20-somethings. ...

"where is everyone?" i asked chuck.
"well," he said. "it is 4:30 a.m."

i can't get enough of this stuff. i am officially a gawker. a rubber necker. an ambulance chaser and a smoke detector. i blame a youths-worth of encyclopedia brown saturation. and seasons 1-4 of murder she wrote.

MAPQUEST: ABOVE AND BEYOND
i accidentally arrived in cable, wis., just a half hour late yesterday. i'm not sure how i got there. mapquest gave me the right directions in the wrong order, but i forged on. my parent's were staying at a lodge, celebrating their 36th anniversary by shooting approximately 15-17 over-par, buying me chicken strips and comparing anemic complexions and our mutually weak versions of the crawl.

this is a city that has never seen a cell phone tower, and if it did it would probably hurl insults and tobacco at it. label it a tourist. i wasn't sure how i was going to find my family, considering i'd accidentally deleted my mom's garbled message that included the name of the resort. not that i could check my messages anyway. ...

i pulled into town, amazed that four county roads and a detour had actually brought me to this place. i was going all yoga with my cellular, trying to improve on zero bars, and walking toward the gas station -- where i was going to ask the attendant to direct me toward something tall and metal.

i noticed something out of the corner of my eye.
a woman standing in the middle of an intersection, arms flailing like a member of the 1969 rochester john marshall dance line.
it was my mom.

"god. mapquest is good," i thought.

SUPER SECRET CODES
we stood in the parking lot of the restaurant trying to get ahold of brother pista. the news about the bridge collapse had come via text message from chuck, during a very brief moment of 2007 technological glory. MPR filled in the details.

my mom's imagination ran wild with images. she struggled for reception. she struggled to get through minneapolis's overloaded phone lines. "he must have left us a message at home," she said, then struggled to understand the complicated process of retrieving messages from a landline's voicemail.

here i jumped in and volunteered to do the grunt work.
"what's your code?" i asked my dad, then the four digits suddenly unearthing themselves from some deep brainal archive. "oh!" i said and rattled off the numbers.

his eyes got wide.
"SHHHHH!" he said, as if i'd just slowly shouted his social security number into a crowd of identity theives.

ESSENTIAL. NONESSENTIAL.
we stayed up until six a.m. this morning. chuck had given me full access to pieces of his early music history: two boxes of cds. i sat in a chair, separating these disc into piles "essential" and "nonessential."

as the night when on and we consumed more drink, these piles became blurred. i blame the tequila on james taylor landing in essential. and i'm super sorry i put portishead in nonessential.

REVOLUTIONARY UPDATE
after reading chuck's post about appetite for destruction, i decided that this breakout cd for guns n roses should be added to the list of things everyone likes. and while we're at it, let's add tank tops to the list. i think these things go hand-in-hand.

inbox ...

dear chuck & christa:

sure, you feel like shit. but it was worth it. seriously. please understand.

love always,
your drunken selves.



and we were listening to this:

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

no shoes, no shirt, no dice ...

"gah!" i think. "isn't there a rule about this? no shoes, no shirt, no service?"
it is the hottest point of the day. about 16 people are crammed into super america. everytime the door opens, the customer looks at the line, does an elaborate eye roll and limps back toward the motor oil and $5 copies of "horse whisperer" on vhs.

not this half-naked guy, a chubby sort with various sags that bring to mind peach jello packed into sandwich bags. the man squeezes through the crowd undetected by gas station authority. me, i'm wondering how i'm going to let him past me without making contact with his sweaty skin. or a nipple.

just in time, the clerk says:

"hey, man. you have to wear a shirt in here."
"what?" naked guy says.
"a shirt. you need to have a shirt on!"

the half-naked man backs toward the door and throws a final plea to the clerk:

"but i was in here the other day, and i didn't have a shirt on!"
and the door closes behind him.

"maybe the guy working thought you were hot!" the backup clerk shouted, as the man left.

and all 16 of us hot, crabby, cramped customers burst out laughing. me and my bottled tap water in an aquafina bottle. the girl with a carton of milk. the pregnant woman who spontaneously added a cup of ice to her purchase. the man whose face looked remarkably like a "kids in the hall" cast stew. and his daughter. ...

clerk one: man. he just brought sexy back.
[everyone laughs again. even the thuggy kid who didn't seem to be waiting to buy anything. he's just leaning against a display with his arms crossed.]

"so tell me," the woman with the milk says to the clerk. "if that had been a woman, would you have made her put her shirt on?"

[honestly, the crowd can't get enough of this hilarity. its like the super america has a built in laugh track or a live studio audience]

"if she looked like THAT, he would," the pregnant ice chewer said.
"especially if her chest was that hairy," the other clerk said.