Monday, June 30, 2008

man in a mummu ...


hey everyone! it's me! christa! here with another highly skimmable weakly review, written for the self-indulgent purpose of being able to accurately write a "best of 2008" post sometime in late december.

tonight, like so many summer nights, included a moment when i walked out on the deck, saw a haze covering the hillside, spun back into the apartment and said to chuck: we have to go. there's a fire.

within a minute we following the smell up east 10th street, where dozens of other gawkers came to scope the scene. including a woman on a cell phone, standing a few feet away and describing the scene to her friend in an animated, albeit apathetic, tone until the apparent owners of the burning garage started screaming at her. then she moved a few feet away and continued her conversation.

chuck took some good photos, and included some thoughts on the great debate between assfaced gawker and civilized recorder of events. interestingly enough, last summer we attended a garage fire four houses down from this one.

anyway ... as for the rest of last week:


FOODS I MAKE
rhubarb crisp: i like to find new ways to use the same ingredients to make and remake rhubarb crisp. this is this week's version, which didn't suck at all.

please feel free to leave large amounts of rhubarb in my path, as i've not yet exhausted the rhubarb files.

LISTENING TO
uh huh her: i'm loving this silly electropoppy band starring leisha hailey, who plays "alice," one of my favorite characters from "the l word." every once in awhile i get a strong vibe of heather nova, hero of a few of the dawson's creek soundtracks. this is my favorite -- common reaction -- from their upcoming cd.

MEALS TAKEN IN PUBLIC

lakeview coffee emporium, ham and egg biscuit: i could eat this every day, and sought to prove it last week by eating one on consecutive days. chuck had to tackle me to keep me from running mouth-first into this coffee shop on the third day. but they were on sale all last week!

the difference between this and the egg sandwiches i make at home is that they are cute little hardboiled circles, made by one of the stars of "and on the seventh day, god rocked."



fitgers brewhouse, maple salad: this is less like a salad and more like a cafeteria tray covered in salad, with piles of food in different sections: craisins, apples, chicken, feta cheese, walnuts ... pita and a side of maple vinegarette. so fun to eat, like using a carnival claw to dig for a prize. i leaned heavily on the feta, but everytime i came up with a craisin i got pretty excited.

i had to add a side order of french fries and the wildfire beer because it seems criminal to eat at the brewhouse without adding both. thus marking the first time since the late 90s that i've had a beer while the sun was still up.

sidenote: all of the waitresses are the brewhouse are pregnant. seriously. it's surreal. i like to think that they had their holiday party five months ago and things got a little crazy. so if you're looking to work there in about three months ...




READING
"when you are engulfed in flames" by david sedaris: maybe it's because i've seen sedaris live and in his little elfin-voiced concert twice, or maybe it's just because i read "naked" on the right day, but i think i will probably always really like his stuff regardless of if he has mined the sedaris family funny field dry or quit all of his writerly vices.

i think sedaris does come across as tamer in his newest collection, but not so tame as to get into a pissy fight and pissier grudge fest with the elderly woman next door. the end features a lengthier essay about quitting smoking, which is priceless in its stereotypes about who smokes what brand and is exactly what i like to see in a sedaris essay.

as long as he is able to grow unsightly boils in hard-to-reach locations, i'll always buy his books. in hardcover. the day they come out. [granted, i did that with the tori spelling memoir, too.]

WATCHING LOCAL PRODUCED MOVIES

"and on the seventh day god rocked ..." a local film company made this mockumentary about a christian rock battle of the bands starring people i know in places i know.

funny and really well done, a little long, but not long enough when my friend the rockstar is on screen. i realized midway through that i was crying out of my right eye, partly because it was so funny and partly because i was so surprised and charmed by the local talent. the guy who makes my egg and ham biscuit at lakeview coffee emporium, for instance.

STUPID TV
"the bachelorette: the send that dirtbag home episode"

* oh sweet, sweet jesse. you couldn't be cuter.

* i can't believe that jeremy is still working this "dead parents" facade. i also can't believe he rented that apartment with a view, and pasted fake law school study guides [these old things? i just haven't had a chance to take them down] to the wall to trick deanna into thinking he lived there and is a lawyer.

but mostly i can't believe a fake journal from the four days he spent at his "mom's" side as she was "dying." he clearly considered the details, but remains the kind of humorless prick who tries to run your bike off the shoulder of the road.

* the look of pure, unadultured glee on jason's face when he sees deanna ... priceless. geeky, but priceless. he doesn't stand a chance. wait. holy crap. i'm crying?! introducing his son was pure genius. only a heartless asshole could break up with jason's son.

* graham went to my high school, i swear. then, after high school, our graham's checks still had his jersey number on them. he signed them: "blah blahnum, #blah." many years after high school, he kissed me in an elevator at a christmas party, i beared the revulsion if only because the 16 year old i was needed to have that happen.

oh graham is drunk. the fact that deanna continues to like him shows she is not ready for anything real.

* oh deanna. thank you for sending graham home. i was going to hate reading about your breakup, and how now he is dating jessica simpson or something, on gawker.

TOENAIL DEATH WATCH
this hit its purplish apex about midweek, but continues to feel brittle. i now suspect that a newer, shinier toenail will sprout beneath it and begin pushing this bad apple off my person.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

how to not move ...

i, the grand master procrastinator, have found a lot of things to do that do not involve carrying rubber maid's filled with addiction memoirs or jimmying a giant brass mirror into my trunk.



THINGS I'VE BEEN DOING INSTEAD OF MOVING MY STUFF
* consuming egg, cheese and ham biscuits from lakeview coffee emporium [x2].
* mile-long hikes to various parking ramps to retrieve my car after nights of unmoderation [x2].
* girlie coffee parties that fall just shy of hair-braiding and tampon brand comparisons with my friend purple.
* bellying up to the bar at rt quinlan's, times two.
* bellying up to the window table at carmody.
* bellying up to the bar at burrito union for a ginger margarita.
* bellying up to a booth at pizza luce.



* requesting the largest crunch cone in DQ's history, then systematically cramming into my gaping face hole.
* using mental telepathy on chuck's sister so that she will offer me rhubarb from chuck's dad's yard -- and succeeding!
* making rhubarb crisp at 2 a.m.
* meat shopping, meat grilling, meat eating.
* watching chuck get shorn.
* being whisked home by cab [x3 ... but once was because of rain].
* considering the keanu reeves catalogue of movies.

* beginning a walk to the grocery store for eggs, getting sidetracked by ski hut and w-trek and ending up stranded at the brewhouse during a storm. getting home and realizing we still didn't have eggs, but chuck did have a new head light.
* humoring chuck as he darts around the apartment wearing a bike helmet with a head light strapped to the front and a blinking red light in the back.
* watching "on the seventh day, god rocked" at teatro zuccone.
* running into ms. whiskey marie for the second time and suspecting she might just live here in duluth.



* consuming digiornos pizzas [x2] in their entirety.
* wondering whether chelsea handler's book is true-true, david sedaris-true, or james frey-true.
* opening my throat and applying gatorade.
* ignoring a tourettes patient who couldn't stop saying variations of the word "whore." ie: two-bit whore, whore house and just good old fashioned whore.
* taking photos of my friend qt's tattoo.

* feasting on a speedie weenie at the rhubarb festival.
* making new enemies, hiding from old enemies.
* spending money. lots and lots of money.

Friday, June 27, 2008

oh, the people you'll meet ...

this girl is trouble. 110 pounds of uh-oh snaked into a 65 pound person's clothing. her face is heavily made up, seemingly the unsteady work of an anime fan. we see her negotiating with one of those lazy 20-something boys who would rather have a fish land in his boat, then bother baiting a hook. luckily, it's his day.

"how old do you think i am?" she says, a slurred tease as we walk past.
"um ..." he says.
just when i get the feeling we are catching the first winks in a lolita crime, she announces: "i'm 33 ...," and collapses with laughter.

we walk into quinlan's as he assures her she doesn't look nearly that old.

***

chuck grabs two beers, and i immediately head for the back door. it looks like i'm going to have to make another tedious seven-minute friendship with a stranger, i notice the grey and wiry beard o'chaos of a friendly acquaintance. i shuffle toward him.

we're talking about the half-marathon when a man stumbles toward us. his focus is bouncing like lotto balls.

"i can git as much coke as i want whenever i WANT!" he announces.
i ignore him, until he spits in my direction.
"you think something's funny? you embarrassed to be seen talking to someone with a crater face?" he accuses me.
"uh uh, um," i stammer.
"you gonna sit there and make fun of me now?" he challenges.
"i'm. uh. not making fun of you?" i say weakly.
i talk a step toward my bearded friend. i'm seriously scared.

***

back inside, the 33-year-old lolita has gathered three men at her table. they don't seem to know each other, but they have something in common: none who has the patience to pretend he is not very obviously watching her bend over. she also has a friend, whose dress is more like a shirt, and has the pretty-but-doomed look of jennifer connolly at the end of "requiem for a dream."

lolita is on the receiving end of some heavy whispering from one of the men, but every five minutes or so sidles over to an older man and crawls into his lap. he buys her a drink. she wanders off again.

***

during a lull in the music, mr. all-the-coke-i-want-whenever-i-want announces: we should go rob a bank or put some caps in someone's ass!

***

back outside again, and there are two men standing over a woman, who is plopped on the sidewalk. one man is talking about his new boat. at the end of his story, the woman begins talking, but i can't hear her.

the first guy busts in again and says: "i could totally scale this wall if i wanted to."

when i look at him, he's already got his leg three feet off the ground and he's testing the structure for something to hold onto.

***

hard-luck jennifer connolly has introduced herself to most of the men at most of the tables. lolita tells her it's time to go home. the older man escorts them to his car.

outside, jennifer connolly screams: YOU THINK YOU'RE BETTER THAN ME!"

***

the girl who had been sitting on the sidewalk points to me from across the bar. "hey," she slurs. "i LIKE you!"

she invites us to an afterbar.
we tell her we have to get home and let the dog out.
this is, obviously, a lie.

***

today, we are in an elevator headed to the fourth level of the parking ramp and it lurches. uff, we both say. the woman to our left laughs and nods.

"it's a little rough," she says.

as we walk toward the car, i notice that the person who parked windshield to windshield with me actually is abutting my front fender.

"seriously!" i say. "they're touching my fender! why?!"
the woman from the elevator gets into the car in question.
i make my best chagrin face.
"who got here first?" she asks.
"i parked here last night," i say.
"hmm ... i guess i got here first, then," she says, gets into her car, and drives away.
liar. i'm sorry we shared that moment in the elevator with you.

***

i'm eating a large cone and we're walking around the denfeld neighborhood when a 12 year old boy calls to me.

"excuse me, ma'am?" he says. "did you get that cone at dairy queen?"
"yes," i say. it was the biggest crunch cone in the building.
"how much did it cost?" he asks politely.
"i don't know," i say. "we got two things for like four dollars."
he looks at his friend and says "yesssss!"

***

chuck's getting his haircut and i'm reading about ashley simpson in people magazine. the song "proud mary" is playing on the lite radio station.
"you ever see miss congeniality II?" a nonworking employee asks me.
"no," i say.
"because there is the funniest scene in that movie, and this song is playing, and if you ever see that movie you'll never hear this song without thinking about that part of the movie," she says.
i nod.
i think she's thinking of "sister act II."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

stupid stuff i own, part one ...

so, visiting my old apartment is a lot like walking into a time capsule. literally. the first last time i used the toilet at that address was march, 2007. the next time, like two weeks ago, all the water had disintegrated. bone dry. lapped up by science.

i almost wish a helicopter would fall on the place. obviously, if i've not needed anything from that apartment for a yearish, i'm probably not ever going to need it. then, in the midst of the cleaning, throwing, piling, packing process i'll come across something like a cd with just the song "camel toe" on it, giggle, and put it in my "keep" pile. not to mention chuck has everything we need and in a better version. his stuff says: i'm an adult. my stuff says: YOU HAVE A FREE COUCH? FOR ME? AND IT'S HELD TOGETHER BY YELLOW TWINE? HOW CHARMING!

i can only hang out there for two hours before my pace slows and i find myself sitting in a storage closet wearing a shapeless dress i bought from the gap in 1998 and flipping through poloroids of baby toonses. or stuffing a mix tape into my tape player and wondering about the thought process that went into a mix containing the backstreet boys, mariah carey and then seguing into the foo fighters. i believe it was a schizophrenic running mix.

so i bring you part one of "things i've found in my apartment":

1. this lamp from pier one represents a short-lived princess phase that included pink curtains made from the same material as sexy sleepware, and some comparison shopping for one of those sheer mosquito nets to encase my pretty, sleeping, pea head. i imagined waking up, yawning, and emerging from my sleep chamber.



2. in early march, 2007, duluth had the kind of wicked snowstorm that can singlehandedly raise your car insurance rate. chuck left work early and skidded and 180'ed his way to an approximation of my apartment, ditched his car and showed up on my steps frazzled -- all wet pants and frozen faced. knowing he was going to need "something to take the edge off", i jumped in my car and raced to the liquor store, straddling snow drifts.

i bought this, which he savored over the course of the night. later we ran around outside and jumped off the railing into huge snow piles. but we never touched this wicked juice ever again. well, maybe we had a little here and there. 1/3 of it remained in my refrigerator.



3. i've moved many, many times in the past 10 years, and every move has resulted in removing the entirity of my magnetic poetry kit from the refrigerator. i believe it is almost unheard of to be an english major who graduated in the 1990s, and not have one of these poetry kits. i am a cliche ... further evidenced by:



4. my van gogh print. this is the quintessential piece for college graduates. it is the single woman's answer to a glowing bud light sign. it says: i want you to think that i like art and use big words. i think i'm going to leave this in my apartment, as i believe it is covering a hole in the plaster.



5. a few years ago, my friend lil latrell and i went to a timberwolves game at the target center. we bought jersies: her's was latrell sprewell, mine was wally szerbiak. we sprayed our hair green and everything, then parked it in the second to last row, where no one could hear us yawning. i'm not really into basketball, but i got a pair of green converse lowtops out of the deal.




6. i found this lock, and like magic, the number 11-17-35 came into my head. i tried the combination three times and it didn't work. then i remembered: oh yeah. that's my high school gym locker combination.

so i guess i remember that, in case i become lourdes' premiere long and triple jumper in the year 1994 ever again.



7. for many years, i thought the world was just blurry. finally i realized i needed glasses. then, taking a cue from pa pista, i bought prescription sunglasses. although, mine were tinted sir elton john pink.



8. i used to play kickball on some sunday mornings at grant elementary. usually i was a pretty hungover outfielder with a cigarette in one hand and a bottle of powerade in the other. fellow ballers daisy and baby blue and i decided one day that we really needed skateboards. the three of us went to play it again sports after a game and bought matching 40 dollar boards. i believe baby blue decorated his with a sassy sticker.

we spent one afternoon doing clumsy circles in a cul de sac, and never group skated again. two apartments ago, i would skate from my living room, through my dining room and into the kitchen and perfected some sort of kick turns. i never learned to do an ollie, despite a lot of online research.



9. now this just makes me sad. i hate terrible gifts. the more enthusiastic the gift-giver, the more embarrassing it is for the receiver. ma pista bought this for me, and a matching one for her self. a gaudy shoe-shaped cell phone holder. this is exactly the sort of thing i hate: space-taking knick knacks that make moves more difficult. stuff.

i almost cried as i threw it away.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

my love is like a ...

tonight chuck gave me a single red rose.*



[*that he received from a hooker at curly's who had gotten a bundle of roses and passed them out willy nilly to the patrons. i wonder what this means in the context of our relationship? and, yes, i did consider where it came from before taking the photo. sometimes we suffer for our art.]

Monday, June 23, 2008

beware of the giardia ...



well, last week was a bit of insanity. thankfully now that the half-marathon is over i can start inline skating again without feeling like i'm sucking up valuable running time. right now we are on toenail watch. how long til this sucker pops off?

onward:

BAR VISITING
oly's: the bar-formerly-known-as-the-pio debuted last weekend, so i stopped in to test their product. unlike when it was the pio, i didn't feel like i needed a bleach bath after i used the bathroom, nor did i have to burn my hoodie when i got home. it's oddly the same, but different. like when the tomboy in the movie yanks her hair out of a ponytail, slips into a pair of heels and does a few revlon laps around her kisser. my favorite feature: a sign that said "free wifi for weirdos." i can't wait to perch in the front window and blog about the first street freak show.

FOODS I MAKE
mango wrapped banana, via vegetarian times: this recipe suggest wrapping a hunk of banana with a strip of mango, stuffing crushed raspberries inside the tube and covering with a yogurt-orange juice-honey mixture. as i am lazy and a lousy good aestheticist, i simply chopped the mango, added bananas and raspberries and drizzled the sauce over the top. same taste, less maintainance. wee! it was pretty good.

THINGS WATCHED FEATURING TORI SPELLING
"how to lose your lover:" 2004 tori plays a lesser role in this lifetime love channel movie about a fellow who is struggling to find a good woman. he decides to cast off any semblence of good behavior and immediately exposes his flaws to the girl from kissing jessica stein, thinking that maybe he can finally get it right by doing everything wrong. tori plays a lesbian who is sort of dating the guy's roommate, with whom the guy has super-secret feelings for. this movie was so stupid that it took me four tries to finish it.


TV WATCHIN'
"the bachelorette: this is getting easy to predict episode": oh mulletface, it is not a selling point that you live a block from your parents and that you did it on purpose. you just ripped the rose right out of your own clammy grasp.

this is obviously going to come down to graham and jeremy, and i think they are both suckholes.

MEALS TAKEN IN AND/OR OUT OF PUBLIC
chester creek cafe: i was not very hungry post-race, having stirred my innards for the past 13.1 miles. i went with granola, yogurt and strawberries. it was yummo.

a and dubs: on the other hand, a few hours after the race i wanted to stick my tongue out and roll my body in bacon grease. the parents pista and i went to this drive up restaurant. i got a bacon cheeseburger, a strawberry malt and we all shared onion rings. ma pista cooed about the wonders of having a tray hanging from the window and wondered why the waitress wasn't wearing roller skates. pa pista squirted ketchup in the shape of a gunshot wound all over his white golf shirt. ma pista applied a stain eraser with one hand, while eating her burger with the other. she's a dexterous old coot. she seemed to struggle with the idea that i don't frequent this joint.

"hmm ... is the pizzaburger any good?" she asked.
"i've never had it," i said.
"what's a charburger?" she asked.
"i have no idea," i responded. "like i said a few dozen times, i've only been here once and that was with you in 2004."
"hmm," she said. "do you like the california burger?"

pizza luce, gouda mac: on sunday i needed something drenched in cheese and this fit the bill. unfortunately, something was off with one of my favorite foods. maybe my tongue is broken, but i just could not enjoy this. not to mention that afterward i thought i'd contracted giardia.


THIS WEEK'S FAVORITE
watching "journeyman" on a laptop in bed.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

the waking is the hardest part ...



in the days leading up to the half-marathon, i began thinking of it as a parade. that helped a little. so did considering the time element: the equivilent of giving the songs "true faith" and "bizarre love triangle" by new order 13 consecutive listens, which is easy peasy and probably how i spent a few weekends in 1994.

i was honestly a little nervous.
"nervous?" ma pista said. "you don't get nervous."
true. but i don't usually wake up at 4 a.m. for a parade, either.

typically, 4 a.m. finds me peeing, brushing my teeth and barricading the bedroom door to keep out the 30 pound, rat-faced, 12 mile and hour headbutting feline -- not encasing my bosom in a sports bra and cramming a banana in my face. i got a smart email from an athlete in colorado who certainly recognized my plight and offered great wisdom:

I recommend at least one drink Friday night so you can get to sleep before midnight and aren't even more cranky at 5:30am on Saturday when you're waiting to ride a school bus filled with guys in short-shorts slathered in Vaseline.

Also, that ticket you get at the end of the race is good for either a cup of Arco coffee, a Coke or a Miller Lite. That's a pretty easy choice.

Finally, you can probably trade your t-shirt and cheesy-ass finisher's medal with an agreeable bartender for a pitcher of beer or two. Successful at both Quinlan's and at the Red Lion.


***

i wouldn't say i trained, so much as i ran sometimes. deep in the winter, i'd been running about five days a week. and when the start-training date approached, i melded two different workout guides into one and followed it pretty well for about three weeks.

then i got bored.
then homegrown week happened.
and pretty soon i spent more time feeling guilty about not running than actually running. it was like prepping for the ACT and my senior project in college all over again. i have my own mausoleum for the big ideas that have gone pastey, coughed weakly, then quietly expired.

my friend blitz was training. real training, not just rearranging the songs on his running mix and then yawning and reading gawker. i ran into him two weeks ago and he was limping. so was i.

"i did my long run today," he said. "11 miles."
"me too," i said. "five."

my landlord called me pathetic and said i should write my own "how not to prepare for a half-marathon" guide.

***

let's just say that picking up my race packet was a lesson in humility. i felt like shrek stomping around during miss minnesota's swim suit competition.

***

i put myself to bed at midnight. i'd opted to not follow the beer advice, since i've never had just one beer in my life. chuck, who also struggles with being awake before 10 a.m., went to bed, too. we layed there watching journeyman on his laptop, me with my eyes closed. i was hoping for something like a nap.

that never happened.

i got out of bed at 3:45 a.m., showered, drank coffee, changed my shirt three times and had some deep thoughts about shorts with built-in underware.

i met up with blitz and jcat and we got on a bus bound for the deep woods.



***

first gross runner's thing i did? the bus had a bathroom, and i knew trying to go to the bathroom at the starting line would be like trying to touch donnie wahlberg's frayed denium during a show in the mid-80s. so i crammed myself in the tiny pee closet and noticed there was no toilet paper, no kleenix, no paper towels. i had a vision of myself walking out of the bathroom with a single trickle of urine snaking down my leg and shuddered. so i just used my pants and stuffed them in my plastic bag.

a few people caught on to the buses bathroom. one girl went in and came out immediately. "there's no toilet paper," she said.

i felt exposed as disgusting. did she notice i went in wearing pants and came out in shorts?

***

i spent a lot of time at the starting line looking for people i thought i could beat. there was a suspicious lack of amputees.

***

my friend blitz is about 8 feet tall, and six of those feet are legs. he was planning a pace that was a big faster than i thought i could handle -- having absolutely NO idea what to expect. so i piddled alongside him for the majority of the race, taking four mini peon steps to his one gigantic stride.

the first six miles were crazy. at each mile point i did a crude cavewoman version of math and was surprised at our splits. they weren't fast, but they were faster than the chug-chugging i'd planned for.

***

the route from almost two harbors to duluth is a gradual, and sometimes not-so gradual, incline. at mile 11 the distance from my foot to the ground was hardly perceptible.

***

some asshole was holding a sign that said: run faster!
you run faster, bitchface.

***

my meager fan base -- chuck and the parents pista -- missed me. i was too fast for them. they saw the greysolon bingo team trudge past and imagined me guiding them like a baton twirler.

***

instead of a runner's high, i got runner's crabby. the finish line was chaos and i was trapped inside a plastic fence. retreiving my potty-stained pants seemed too taxing. i wandered around a bit, exhausted, and finally planted myself on a sidewalk and willed my meager fan base to somehow stumble over my body. finally i used my last ounce of strength to gather my belongings and find chuck. then i borrowed some of today's strength to find parents pista.

***

today my male soccer player thighs are raw from repeated contact. a toenail on my left foot is about to jump ship. i can walk, but it would take time-lapse photography to notice.

i have slept something like 14 hours. this was totally fun and i will do it again.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

pork chops and applesauce ...

our plans to read in leif erikkson park were thwarted by a visions of the vista fleet chugging along at a nice clip and the promise of a hot dog vendor anchored in canal park.

canal park was like a nike commercial where everyone is running and the world's collective BMI is gatorading itself toward extinction. we were having a pleasant conversation when chuck stopped mid-sentence to damn-near shout:

"HEY-LOOK! A-CARNIVAL!"

it just flew out. like he had spontaneously birthed an 11-year-old boy from his mouth. actually, it was infamous beer tent. a post-marathon church for thousands upon thousands of sturdy thigh muscled boogie wonderland fans wearing "finisher" t'shirts, scorched skin, and a medal. stand in line for a porta potty at 10 p.m. and you will overhear more about splits, paces and chafed bloody nipples than if you subscribed to runner's world on tape.

i'm just guessing. i've never been to the beer tent. i stood on the fringe one night and realized that the only way it is possible to charge a cover charge and $5 or more for a bottle of bud light is to invite a bunch of people from minneapolis to duluth, break down their spirit by sending them on a 26.2 mile run, then stick them in a yellow tent in canal park.

it is the exact opposite of a carnival. no tilt-a-whirls, but some young runner from white bear lake is bound to get the spins.

***

more than a year ago, chuck and i were both hangover hungry on a sunday and decided to test out hell's kitchen. we did laps around the block, trying to find a place to cram a car. hungry was morphing to sick and sick was a gateway drug to testy. the mere sight of an egg mcmuffin on a park bench would have sent me cartwheeling through traffic just to lick that sweet, plastic cheese from the wrapper. i glanced to my right at a stop sign where a man was posing for a photo by a fountain. he was turned slightly and had his hands positioned in a way to make it look like -- in the photo -- he was emitting the stream.

any thoughts of hunger were replaced by the idea of his wife showing those photos -- an "our trip to duluth" slideshow to their adult children and wee grandchildren.

we failed to recreate that image today. [they've since added a railing, that makes getting into the exact position a challenge for anyone under 6-foot-8.]




we couldn't get it to look like i was spitting, either. doh.

***

i love hot dog vendors, and the five foot radius of county fair air they emit. how hours later you will think: hmm ... what smells like cheese curds? and then realize it's your face. crabby bill's version is like a beached tugboat and has everything from hotdogs to fish wrapped in lefsa.

we each got a dog slathered in pure, undiluted, milky white horseradish.
"this is powerful stuff," mrs. crabby bill warned us.
i went about four spoonfuls deep.
"careful, it's potent," she said, then directed us to a nearby picnic table.
i spooned another dollop just to freak her out.
"if i see things blowing up green, i'll know it was you two," she said.

people with sensitive tongues are so cute. this hot dog was awesome.



***

we came home and grilled meat -- which is what we do now instead of going to restaurants: boneless pork chops marinated in southwest sauce and then a skewer filled with great veggies. a mango-banana-raspberry mix for dessert.




it has been said that the grilling spatula looks like something out of "friday the 13th."


and i ate an orange in a way i hadn't eaten an orange since i last played organized soccer ... um, 1988ish?

on the avenue ...

i was passing a small group of people today in a crosswalk, and i heard the wild-eyed one who looked like charles manson say to the disinterested woman: i was put on this earth to spread love.

i was so glad i didn't get roped into that conversation. and if i'd had to guess, i would have used the word "rabies" instead of "love."

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

hypothetically ...


... if you were running a half-marathon on saturday, the last possible moment you could possibly go out on the town and have a few drinks would be tuesday night.

that gives you a wednesday to roll around on the couch, ordering things slathered in pepperoni, onions and garlic from papa john's via the internet, without communicating with a human being, all while watching movies about women who make ill-advised relationship choices and pretending you don't have an apartment filled with goodwill fare waiting to be excavated before you can feel sound in telling the people at the new yorker's subscription department that you have a new address.

thursday to sleep well and have great, healthy dreams starring unicorns and your second grade teacher oddly wearing a cape.

friday to get self-righteous about people who consume booze -- the nerve! -- perhaps even your BOYFRIEND! [all while picking up your race packet, eating clif bar samples and wondering about the genetics of toned arms.]

p.s. thank you for the coupon to a podiatrist. i will use your advertising magnet to stabalize the pictures from the phone book that i color.

and then saturday to run.

so. i did the right thing.

Monday, June 16, 2008

in search of a good place to hide a sandwich ...

every time i rode shotgun with my mom, even before she had cranked up the screaming yodel of rush limbaugh, she would back out of the driveway, squint upward toward the garage door opener and say: "chrissy, could you dig and my purse and grab my sunglasses."

it's not like she was asking me to artificially inseminate a cow. the purse was long dead and tanned before i reached inside. but something about this tick, this consistant request, always made me seethe. past the altoids, the clinique blush, and a left at the checkbook and my blood would be knocking against my temple.

why not just grab the sunglasses before squirreling the purse down at my feet? as a teen, i'd have preferred she risk our lives. wait until we were playing chicken with a semi shipping libby's corn down the two-lane highway 52 to take her eyes off the road for a split six seconds of plundering her own damn purse her own damn self.

at some point i made a concious decision to never be a purse owner. pockets bulging with chapstick, tampons, debit cards and quarters wouldn't be a terrible fate. i stood behind this lifestyle commitment well into my 20s.

then i realized a purse is a good nest for an emergency sandwich, and so i made some concessions.

my first shot at a purse was gunny sack style and color with a draw-string top that could hang like a canteen or a backpack.

"will you hand me my bag?" i asked fannie one time.
"my baaaaag, wank wank ..." princess linda mocked, going minnesota shallow on the "a." "it's not even a purse."

this sort of fashion assassination [ass-fashion-assnation?] was out of character for princess linda -- and really something i'd have more expected from fannie -- so i attributed it to the residual effects of an all girls posh private catholic college nestled deep in something called "collegeville."

a steady stream of similar-styled bags and backpacks followed, never more than one at a time, and never something adorable.

i cannot be a person who owns a something-hundred dollar purse. i do not not treat my things nicely. consider that jcrew, a far more responsible person than me, accidentally used one of her kate spade bags for a diet coke-filled flask. now multiply that, taking into consideration where my clumsiness and sloth fall on the richter scale. two days, max, and the bottom of my kate spade would be a gooey layer of red machine naked juice saturated orbitz raspberry bubblemint gum, dyed orange from runaway urinary tract pain pills.

also consider that a kate spade bag would clash with my bulk supply of hanes tank tops and grey hoodies.

i've had my most recent bag for upward of two years. technically it is a children's backpack, purchased during a back-to-school sale at american eagle. it has my one major requirement: a long strap that i can wear horizontally across my chest.







this look, chuck klosterman would say, makes me appear to be a radiohead fan. i will neither refute nor confirm this.

i would also like my bag to be large enough to hold a book and a magazine, an ipod, a camera and cell phone, kiss my face mint-flavored chapstick, 3 dollars worth of pennies and a sandwich wrapped in a napkin.

so i've needed a new bag for awhile. piping is coming loose. the lining is yellowed. an individually wrapped slice of velveeta worked its way to the bottom, came unwrapped and makes the insides look like i cremated a box of goldfish crackers.

lately i've been thinking about what my appearance -- particularly my clothes -- says about me:

arrested development?
overslept?
likes mustard?
must have gaping hole in bottom lip?
on the lam from shampoo?

i'd like to hone my look a bit. think more seriously about what i buy instead of picking up a tightly packed pillow of men's tank tops in bulk and chucking them into my cart. shrugging, and adding another pack in a different color. i've been scouring magazines to find out what i should be wearing, and how i can modify it to make it stain-guarded and as close to pajama pants as possible.

since i've started this deep introspection, i've seen one woman on tv encapsulate what i'd like my look to be, and she was wearing a low-slung purse with a horizontal strap across her chest. she was also playing a high school student.

i touched a purse at younkers today. it was green and shiny and shaped like a weiner dog. but it was made of silk or fur or something that i would love to press my oily cheek against and coo. it was 80 dollars and didn't have a harness. i also found something rain-proof and hot pink for 40 dollars.

i found exactly what i was looking for at american eagle. horizontal strap, check. 11 dollars, sandwich not included.

later i ran into jcrew.
"did you get a new purse?" she asked.
"yes! isn't it cute?"
no response. snot. at least my bag isn't leaking a trail of aspartame.
"oh, i noticed that," the norwegian wonder commented.

sometimes i think my friends think my signature statements are ugly, for example the omnipresent winter beanie. they just don't tell me until i upgrade my signature statement to a newer version of the same thing. and then they still don't like it.

oh well. anyway. i've decided to master a look called boho-american eagle-adult-in-heels. ape it if you will.

edict ...


a new edict: henceforth all photos of me will feature a bike helmet, in addition to all photos of chuck being of chuck taking a photo of something else. anyway, this photo, as well as the helmet statement, are by jcrew.


i spent all day saturday with gunk dripping out of my left eyeball, where i seemingly origami'd my contact before gluing it to my face. it was disgusting and seemed the sort of disease that would infect a neglected cow. when i finally had the opportunity to remove my contact, it continued to ooze.

i woke early in the morning and my eye was gunked shut. i didn't bother trying to open it, i just used my right eye to acknowledge i was awake, and then fell into a sort of semi-sleep where i dreamed i was going to have to apply lotion to my eyelashes to pry them apart. this happened about six times before i finally woke for good. i rubbed at my eye and it was like digging a moat around a sand castle and my eye cavity chaffed but finally i got my eye open.

i'm pretty sure i lost 1/3 of the eyelashes on my lower lid. i guess they must be the weak ones. i look like i have eyelid-concentrated alopecia. now no one will ever ask me to prom!

also this past week i cleaned out my car, filling two and a half garbage bags. my favorite find was the bag of carrots i brought to rochester for christmas. i was going to use them to make a festive pumpkin soup. six months later? highly drinkable, if not for that smell.

as for the rest of the week:
BEEN READING
"snuff" chuck palahniuk, 2008: now chuck palahniuk is just messing with everyone. this novel is about a porn star's attempt to break the world record in seriel porn starring and told from the POV of three men who are waiting for their shot at history and spans one afternoon of waiting and a woman charged with wrangling the men into order.

it's practically a palahniuk caricature: obscure 'facts' about various movie stars' deaths; neurosis; repetition. it took about twelve pages before i realized he was using this novel as an excuse to come up with silly porn titles and porn star names.

this sort of thing happened in 'diary', but happened better. now its a little exhausting. the voices of the main characters weren't different enough, and i had a hard time remembering who was talking. the plot doesn't live up to the initial premise. and while short, lasts a bit too long. the end feels like a punchline.

and i consider myself a fan. i was prepared to love it when i saw how hard it got panned in the NYT's book review. but she was right.

MOVIES WARTCHIN'
"firestarter" 1984: drew barrymore as a pint-sized take on the incredible hulk, who makes fire instead of green tan lines. my favorite part: "want me to stand behind you. i've got a deer rifle." [not necessarily verbatim, from the young barrymore's future adopted father.] i'm thinking of making this my personal catchphrase.

"children of the corn" 1984: if i ever write a horror movie [whatever. i might.] it will star a conscienceless tot. it never fails to terrify.


THINGS WATCHED FEATURING TORI SPELLING
"mind over murder" 2006: i'm seeing some consistancies in the tori spelling ouevre: she always, always plays a runner -- i'm assuming to explain her weight without introducing a previous rib removal surgery to the plotline -- but she cannot act running. she's a real flailer, that tori. she does, however, play a mean victim. less so in this movie, where young tori gets into a car accident and is suddenly blessed with psychic abilities. this comes in handy as she helps investigate a college student's murder and when a doctor gets hot-and-bothered during her checkup. and there is romance.

REALITY TV JONES
"the bachelorette: the everyone's going home episode": deanna shows she means business when she sends pouty chef robert and super-cute chicago accented shortman fred home from the two-on-one date. [i think she learned this move from brad the bachelor]. kudos, deanna.

single dad busts out his cuddle face, when teary deanna returns home heartbroken over the heartbreaking. i'm with fannie, who says: if he doesn't win, he gets to be the next bachelor. god bless the single dad. he's kind of a weenie, but in a good way.

jesse really stole the show for me. if deanna is looking for a lifelong love, the snowboarder is her guy: cute, genuine, sweet ... maybe not her type, but i used to think my "type" was a guy who could drive a stick shift and looked good in a baseball cap.

graham pulls boyfrien-at-a-bar shit before he's even earned a rose, telling her he won't kiss her because she's been hanging out with other dudes. i get the appeal. graham is a good looking guy. BUT GRAHAM IS GOING TO DUMP HER AFTER SIX MONTHS! if he wins. he gets snakier each episode.

time to send home:
twilly.
mulletface.
graham.

and really, i loathe jeremy. he seems like the kind of person who would whip his tennis racket at yappy dogs.

NONREALITY TV MARATHONING
"eureka: season one": we are about midway through this sci-fi network series about a former government marshal who becomes the sheriff of a quirky unceasingly science-fair town filled with geniuses. it is very charming and seemingly the hybrid of things like "northern exposure"; "x-files"; "twin peaks"; and sometimes silly like "buffy" when buffy banter really got into its groove.

how come i've never heard of this show? do people watch it, and why wouldn't they tell me about it? and why is it suddenly seeming like i could easily survive with just ABC, MTV and the sci/fi network?

Friday, June 13, 2008

ever-loving hippie mind ...

when i saw an empty styrofoam restaurant take-out container sitting on a pile of clean dishes, i thought chuck had lost his ever-loving hippie mind.

when we met, he was man-sandal wearing and organic deoderant buying. then came the reusable grocery bags, the herb garden in the pantry, the breakfast conversations that began with: "well, when we own chickens ..."

i've, of course, glommed on like a tiny, unshowered grasshopper who no longer buys bottled water and is making a slow transition to bike-rider.

this styrofoam thing was definitely upping the ante. i was sure he had washed the container and was saving it to transport a yet-to-be-determined lunch to work. i saw the styrofoam aging, cracking, the cover ripping off ... until one day, 20 years from now, i have to pry it from his wicked free range, grass-fed, vice grip so i can take it to the historical society and explain this unnatural contianer to visiting third-graders as they gawk at the 'who broke the earth' display.

"what are you saving this for?" he finally asked me yesterday, the styrofoam flapping open.

"me? i thought you were saving it," i said. "i thought you had lost your ever-loving hipping mind."
"huh," he said. "i thought you had lost YOUR ever-loving hippie mind."

turns out neither of us had lost our ever-loving hippie mind, but neither of us would be surprised if the other did.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

friends with potential ...

in the latter half of college, fannie met the quintessential 'college boyfriend': by definition, this is someone who is better looking than anyone from your hometown and who's oversized sweatshirts look good on you.

toad had been one of those pimply teens who immediately morphed into greatness the second his high school hit his rear view mirror. suddenly he figured out how to manage his thick, naturally wavy hair. maybe he lost weight. his skin cleared up. his sentence as the bottom-feeder on the social spectrum had given him ample time to develop a personality and genuine taste.

if i were the sort of jackhole who liked to pillage fannie's relationship compost heap [oh, wait], toad would be definitely worth the dirty fingernails.

toad broke up with fannie via email, which was pretty innovative for the latter part of the last century. he was returning from a summer in europe and his no-more than five sentence email served to tell her she need not pick him up from the airport, as planned.

i don't remember fannie freaking out too much. not even when toad's mom emailed her condolences and suggested a self-help book by christian evangelist dr. james dobson to help her get through this trying time. i'm sure fannie was angry and hurt and sad. most of these emotions would pop like a geiser months, a year, later, when the sioux falls, s.d., police department put toad in charge of us after fannie almost ran a red light after smelling a beer, but her immediate action was to begin a flirtation with a smarmy politico sort from her college. a guy toad hated. a guy toad always suspected was trying to snake his way toward fannie's heart.

smarmy schmoozed a pretty serious woo-fest on poor, broken fannie. he called. he visited. he called and visited some more. understanding the delicate nature of emotions, fannie kept things on the chaste "friends with potential" level.

then he invited her to cancun. his treat.

"you can't go to cancun for free as friends," hank told her.
"no way," big e said.
"it'll take one sunset for you to make out with him," i predicted.

she shook her head, deflecting our critique. no. she was going to cancun. for free. and the only thing to kiss her skin would be the sun. fannie. she's a stubborn one. and if she had even considered holding hands with him before she talked to us, he'd be lucky if she sat by him on the plane after our goading.

in the weeks leading up to the trip, this is all we talked about. hank would circle tables of strangers at the smiling moose and present the hypothetical to them, pointing at fannie and gesturing. keeping a tally in his notebook:

free trip to cancun. as friends. is it possible?

no way, the men said. well, maybe, the women said. absolutely! fannie insisted.

fannie packed her bags: summer skirts, tank tops, dresses, flip flops. and on the day of the trip, i stopped by her apartment to say goodbye just as she was uncorking a bottle of wine to celebrate her free, no strings attached vacation. old smarmy would be picking her up in an hour.

the first message from her was charming: he's late. i'm on my second glass of wine.
the next was a bit more slurred: i still haven't heard from him. i'm on my second bottle of wine. finally she got through to me directly, her teeth clicking against the phone as she mumbled something about the trip being off.

smarm-face had met someone else, and had given her fannie's free ticket. i'm assuming he gave it to a woman who's "with potential" was more emphatic than the "friends" part of the equation.

i drove to fannie's apartment, poured her into my car, and took her to mcmurphy's. i medicinally administered toxic levels of beer and tequila. we rehashed the circumstances to anyone in a five-table radius. by the time hank, big e and riggo arrived, fannie had turned into her own personal cirque du soleil. if smarmy had darkened the door of this bar, rochester itself would have converged on his throat.

"my god, she's smoking," hank said of fannie, approaching our table.

by the end of the night, it had been decided that she and i would go on a trip. it wouldn't be cancun, but it would require air travel and luggage.

i was still wearing a sharpie tattoo [a star with the word 'sheriff' scribbled inside] when she called me the next day to say we were going to boston. i updated our friends.

"i can not get this friggin' fish tattoo off my arm," hank said. "although biggie has no idea where the barbed wire on his arm came from."

***

fannie's dad -- easily the tallest feminist in the world -- drove us to the airport early the next morning, all the while congratulating us on seeking out adventure and being spontaneous. fannie's dad used to scare the crap out of me when he was our youth soccer coach. now i understand that he is a gentle giant, with a great chuckle, an enviable collection of used books, who makes the best popcorn in the world. i don't know how he does it. but he does something different.

when the plane landed, we both giggled nervously. no reservations, no plans, a vague idea of how to find a hostel. knowing me, i probably had 20 bucks to last the weekend. meanwhile, fannie's luggage was filled with beachware.

***

we claimed one of three sets of bunk beds, layed out our rented sheets, locked up fannie's flipflops and swim suits and began to investigate our surroundings.

boston1

the day eventually led us to a midafternoon drink at a pub, where we bellied up to the bar next to a firey looking irishman who was scribbling away in a notebook.

"dear john," fannie mocked his journaling, beginning a friendship that would span the rest of the day.

joe lived in an RV that he parked wherever he felt like living that day. parking tickets were cheaper than rent, he rationalized. he biked from the RV to work. he taught us about public transportation. he introduced us to his friend jesse. they took us to a place called the cosmic cafe for dinner.

"we'll take care of the tip," jesse said, then disappeared for awhile. something illegal had transpired, definitely. we had some drinks at a bar near harvard. we were 22-year-old rochesterites, living large.

we wound up at a graffiti-covered club i-have-no-idea where, but definitely cooler than anyplace i'd been before. we were going to a see a band. early in the show, i looked over at fannie, she was bobbing her head along with the music, two glow sticks short of full-fledged hippie dom.

boston2

the air was filled with the smell of burning rope. most of it seemed to steaming like a teapot out of the pores of our new friends. without saying goodbye, we pushed our way out of the club, sprinting along the charles river, and back to our 12 dollar beds.

our roommates were asleep when we returned. and someone had borrowed fannie's sheets.

boston3

***

the next day we walked the freedom trail, did paul revere things, and went to cheers, just like two good little tourists. then we ate lobster.

boston4

you can see from these photos that i was dressing like the secretary of the indigo girl's fan club, but not living the part.

unwilling to spend another 12 dollars to stay at the hostel a second night, we camped out at the airport for our early-morning flight back to rochester.

boston5

***

i'd been back in my apartment for three seconds when my phone rang. my dad was looking for me. in fact, he was looking for me in the parking lot of my building. seems a few days outside of the zipcode had turned my dad into a stalker.

"where have you been?" he asked.
"um. boston?"
"austin?" he said, referening the home of spam, 45 minutes from rochester.
"no. boston," i said.

***

this was one of those trips where we didn't really learn anything. but we didn't learn it in boston.

fannie never talked to smarmy again [although he has been spotted on facebook], and only today did it occur to me that hey, smarmy probably knew at least a week ahead of time that he wasn't taking her to cancun.

while we were surveying the etiquette of her free trip, he was finding someone who already knew what was expected of a travel companion.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

three times a toy poodle ...

in perhaps my saddest display of laziness to date, i considered riding my bike back up the hill. weighed in the temperature [chilly enough to refrigerate beef]. and then looked for an excuse to not ride my bike.

"meet at quinlan's?" i texted chuck.
"i knew you were going to want to go out," he wrote back.

which is funny, because i don't think he even knew i had been out biking.

***

at quinlan's, i spend 10 minutes listening to a man's strategy for his upcoming duel. he has, apparently, accepted a challenge, but only under his terms.

"this guy is like 206 pounds," he explains. "i'm 145 on a good day."
"i'm 145 on a bad day," i tell him.
he continues: "so he wants a boxing ring, but i need more open space. i need an incline with trees. i'm faster than him. i'm like a racehorse."
he shows me one thin, ink stained wrist.
" ... and my arm doesn't get any bigger further up," he says.

there are more details, more fancy footwork and martial arts expertise. but i'm sworn to secrecy. but if you're looking for a good time on june 22 ...

***

we called for a ride home and ended up with:


my favorite cab accessory, teddy bear the toy poodle we once invited to an afterbar.


i feel that i have another photo that looks exactly like this.


and this one.



the cab driver put my bike in the trunk, so i never did have to ride up the hill. crisis averted. plus i got to take a page from jcrew's afterbar fashion forwardness.

***

we came home. played guitar hero and chased toonses around, tormenting the tormentor. he hates when we have fun.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

fun pops ...



i love when someone leaves behind a grocery list in the shopping cart.
this is a pretty quality haul this tot conjured:

chef boy
fun pops
bbites

and my favorite:

kittie foodies

i'm going to start planting my own:

sudafed, draino, tin foil, bic lighters

Monday, June 9, 2008

phantom ticks ...


week three with toonses has been better. now he knows when he is being a little shit and at least acts scared when he gets caught. chuck took this photo of him being cute for the second time. the first time was when i was going out and turned back to look at him on the top of the stairs and he cocked his little head. i thought it was actually going to spin. but it just stayed tilted.

this past week i realized that, having already deticked myself twice, i spend about 60 percent of my day with phantom skin crawls, which i'm sure will turn into phantom lyme disease by the end of summer and end around the time i start getting phantom frost bite. in other news, i only called 911 once when i heard a girl being -- what i thought to be -- brutally murdered. i've also instigated "project 'to do list.'" this is where i make a point to do things like shower everyday and make sure we can't smell the litter box. oh, cruel adulthood.

MAKING DELICIOUS FOOD STUFFS
roasted bananas with jamaican allspice: soak bananas in butter and thinks like allspice. roast. spread mix on ice cream. yuuuuummmm. mushy bananas are great! i'll never jar that weird fake molar loose at this rate.

i planned to make this, then clare changed her facebook status to say it was good, so i made it faster!

strawberry rhubarb crisp: i made this simple, chop-heavy recipe for a mike modano birthday potluck on saturday and it smelled so good that chuck and i sampled the first row before i presented it to the intimate gathering of friends. is that gouche? probably not among this very forgiving group. i was one of the last people to scroll through the buffet line and when i got to my dessert i noticed that no one had taken a piece.

hmmm ... the ultimate failure. i wondered if these people had seen chuck whapping me in the head with rhubarb on our way out of the grocery store. ... i mean, i washed it after that.

a half hour later, i refilled on hot dogs and hippie cheetos and there was like one piece left. phew. this means i'll probably be invited back again next year.

LISTENING TO
"mates of state: rearrange us" silly mates of state. i keep forgetting you aren't the new pornographers! good thing i like the new pornographers.


MOVIES
"the green mile" 1999: i had never seen this movie because i assumed it was about war. a double crime because it stars a UTI. i think it is so strange that stephen king has written a book that translates into this amazing movie, but he's also written the book that inspired "the dead zone" and "pet semetary." also, i'm starting to wonder if john irving and stephen king spent a drunken, coke adled, summer together:

"okay, irving ... i'll put a character wearing a bear suit in 'the shining," king says. "and a character with a urinary tract infection in 'the green mile.' you win, you silly cribbage whiz."

"sex and the city: the movie" 2008: huh. i liked it. i get its failings. i accept them. i was a snotty, weepy, giggling mess of bipolar. i doubt i'll ever watch it again, though.

"american gangster" 2007: this was a lot like a very special episode of "the wire." in a good way.

"10 mph" 2004: the premise of this documentary is sound: two guys quit their jobs and ride a segway from seattle to boston. then the sucking starts:

a) neither seems to have a personality. in fact, here i sit an hour and a half later and i can't remember their names and if i could, i wouldn't know which name belonged to which mayor of dullsville. one brings his twin sister along and her off-camera voice spontaneously shredded four back-issues of the new yorker that were laying on chuck's coffee table;

b) lots of close ups of cows, learning how to rope, a trailer accident involving a winnebago, harley riders and funny-looking country folk. each person they met would make a more interesting documentary than the one they were making, which was essentially a slide show of the 100ish days they spent riding a segway cross country;

c) overuse of the phrase "corporate america" -- which, as chuck pointed out, is exactly who they are seeking sponsorship from for this half-assed expedition;

d) conflict ensues: they're out of money! one of the nameless hacks has a kidney stone! they have to travel so far in so many hours or they won't get to boston on time! by the next shot, these hiccups are solved without explanation.

e) any sort of trite 'lesson learned' could have been more easily learned with a little tequila and a journal.

f) unfortunately, i didn't see anyone consume as much as a single beer. i bet there aren't even laws about drunken segway riding, either.

READING
"i love you beth cooper" larry doyle: so cute. so exhausting. thin on plot -- watch denis cooverman elude beth cooper's boyfriend, a trained killer. after the first go-round, i said "please let this not be what this entire book is about." it is. it's a bit reminiscent of "liscense to drive," perhaps corey haim's finest moment in film. on the other hand, beth cooper is funny. oh so funny. a little snarky in a good way.

STUPID TV ADDICTION
"the bachelorette" survival of the fittest episode: is it just me, or do each of these men seem exactly like someone else you know or have met in both good and bad ways? its getting creepy.

* the science teacher in sunglasses surpasses the science teacher not in sunglasses. he was seriously giving her some melty eyes and she looked so uncomfortable.

* i hate ron. he reminds me of someone you meet in a bar who is super flirty, then he turns into a raging psychopath about 14 seconds after you give him your phone number. then you have to change your phone number -- if not your name and zip code.

* oh sweet single dad, i'm sorry that you are going to eventually go the way of the science teacher because i think you're super nice.

* i love ellen.

* so did mullet-face cut his mullet?

* oh graham. if only you had a personality, and that personality was a fraction of your face.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

no tan lines ...

i was trying to figure out how to hang button-up shirts on the clothes line today when i heard the neighbor's hammock creaking, a noise i've come to associate with the neighbor doing a rotisserie in order to bronze a different portion of his middle aged flesh. flesh that already resembles something you'd buy for $5.50 at the state fair, on a stick. a meal you chase by running pepto bismol through a beer bong.

i like to think he has a personal turkey thermometer wedged in his gut that pops when he needs to flip. i think he coats his hammock in a fog of pam.

sure enough, when i glanced down, he had moved to the grass. spread out a blanket and face planted in his backyard. he tugged at the back of his swim suit trunks to reveal ass cleavage, and tucked the bottoms into the waistband. it is a sort of makeshift animal print speedo.

he loves to tan. he loves to be as close to naked as possible. i think for the sake of convenience, this neighbor will henceforth be referred to as "ole coppertone." i encounter him almost every day in some capacity. even if its just listening to him whistle for his wife, or smelling the side of beef he's grilling. one night when it was blizzardy, chuck saw him pillaging the wood from his woodpile. coppertone was wearing just a pair of boxer shorts.

"whoa! i'm crazzzzzy!" coppertone said. "but check out my tan!"

today chuck came out on the deck and nodded silently at ole no-tank-lines and made a face like he had accidentally cleaned the toilet with his tongue. i nodded dramatically, mouthing "I KNOW!"

i think you're going to be hearing a lot about ole coppertone this summer.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

myspace or your's? ...



two years ago today -- on the magically demonic 6-6-06 -- i threw a tender, drunken plea to a handsome, single, myspace stranger in my age demographic and within a 10 mile radius of my zip code: i want to meet you.

and, of course, eventually i did. at subway. the official "how we met" story which is far more charming than anything that happens on myspace.

eventually we realized that we had never even officially become friends on myspace. we took care of that awkwardness over the phone. the same day we broached the "in a relationship" status change, clicking at approximately the same time.

i used to click on his myspace a lot, just to see those words: in a relationship.

a lot has changed since then. now we only use facebook.

Friday, June 6, 2008

to the pineapple screen ...

here is a 2 minutes of my landlord attempting to break the pacman high score at twins bar on wednesday night. he started strong. he shed a layer. he began to sweat.


he's a bar athlete from christa pista on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

this is why we can't have nice things ...



my unemployed friend says this is his last visit to duluth. ever. he came to town for his son's high school graduation, and now he doesn't see a reason to come back. lake superior college doesn't seem to have a concert choir, so he won't be attending those. plus, he gave his son his car.

"you gave him your CAR?" i ask.
he nods.
"but, but ..." i stammer.
"i walk everywhere," he explains.
"you got a DUI, didn't you?" i ask.
"no!" he says. "i told you! i don't drive anywhere."
"i can't believe you're giving your son a car with whiskey plates," i say.
"you gave your son a car with whiskey plates?" jcrew asks.
"i didn't get a DUI!" he repeats.

when he says something about his carbon footprint, i snort.


jcrew: use this as your new facebook profile photo.
me: and change your 'status' to 'it's complicated.'
jcrew: it will up your resale value.



***

we meet up at the twins' bar. me, jcrew, unemployed friend and his parents -- a cute couple in their late 60s who agree with me when i say unemployed friend's son is not much of a kickball players.

"he's not much of an athlete," the kid's grandmother concedes. and this is how i know i love her.

chuck shows up. moccassins and dojo. babs. my landlord. seadawg. then bubbles.

we drink beers. my landlord tries to top the high score in ms. pacman and comes dangerously close to doing just that.

***

"chuck," jcrew says with the sweet lilt usually reserved for coaxing exboyfriends into buying her jewelry, "what would you think of hosting an afterbar?"

crap. i know there is a partial case of lukewarm pbr stashed at home. i'd already mentally called dibs on it. i was going to snuggle into the couch, shotgun about three of them using a vampire technique, and see what sort of nonsense i could throw up on the internet.

chuck seems open to the idea.

"i only have like 10 beers," he says.
my landlord's eyes bug cartoonishly out of his head, as they are wont to do when the word 'beer' is made plural in his presense.
i kick chuck.
"really, it's more like five," i say. "or three. and they're luke warm and all the alcohol has been siphoned out of them."

no one hears my drunken caterwalling. instead they are magically transported to the porch, smoking and swearing and spitting and burping and gossiping about hair while we buy mexican frozen pizzas and tiger woods' flavored gatorade. we climb up the street and see them convened. they look like peasants waiting for cheese rations, used socks and expired bread.

***

my unemployed friend flops on the couch. my landlord shows up with half a pack of hotdogs and a lunchbag filled with beer. jcrew chases toonses around the apartment like a scorned lover. seadawg is leering. chuck mans the record player:

tears for fears' songs from the big chair.
erasure's chains of love. [boo'd by guests]
the national's the boxer.

people who don't smoke are smoking. things that aren't bathrooms are becoming bathrooms. chuck throws six hot dogs on the grill. my landlord cradles toonses like he is breastfeeding him. jcrew finds my bike helmet and dances alone in the middle of the room. soon bubbles joins her -- without a helmet. my unemployed friend sways on the couch, singing along like a muppet. the hotdogs are done, and there is only one hot dog bun, so everyone wraps their meal in a piece of wheat bread, and douses it with ketchup. crime scene sandwiches.

fleetwood mac's rumors. twice.
eddie murphy's boogie in your butt. [suspiciously not boo'd]
katrina and the waves' walking on sunshine.

by now we're all dancing to "jump" by van halen. then "panama" and "you really got me." i've claimed the final beer, a bud lite my landlord ditched in the freezer, spilling frozen peas all over the kitchen floor in the process. chuck makes the pizzas, sets them on the table, and they immediately disappear. the sun is not just rising, it's risen. my unemployed friend trips over the coffee table, breaking half of it, spilling beer and pizza crumbs.

lionel richie: "stuck on you." "all night long."
men at work "down under."
inxs "what you need."
the cars "best friend's girl."
the who.
U2's joshua tree.









chuck sneaks off to bed. i find him and decide that is a great idea, this bed thing. everyone files out into the street. neighbors are getting ready for work. children are heading to the bus stop. these people are maniacs.

***

my head feels like it was left out on a picnic table during a fourth of july potluck. i'm tired but can't sleep. every two hours i go to the bathroom, take another aspirin, chase it with four chugs of tiger woods' gatorade. chuck groans next to me. when i look at him, he mistakenly thinks i am going to ask him to engage in a conversation. he groans again and simply says: no.

silly boy. my hair still hurts. it takes a level of ambition i can't muster to merely blink.

the living room looks like someone broke a pinata filled with empty beer cans and pizza crust. i pick up my green converse low top, which is dark with wet. i sniff it to make sure toonses didn't try to give me a subtle message about being chased around the apartment by a whack job wearing a helmet at 5 a.m. no. it has just been soaking up my unemployed friends' spilled beer.

there is a crushed beer can in the front yard.
the table is still broken.
someone soiled the toilet bowl, and we have our suspicions about who it was.

"i never said my unemployed friend is a civilized drunk," i say.
"it's kind of like having marmeduke over," chuck says.

***

jcrew sends me an email: that may have been THE afterbar. second only to the one at landlord's where we all got free salad rolls.

'tis true. that one was just a touch superior.