Thursday, July 31, 2008

local going apeshit ...


i woke at 1 p.m. to find chuck sitting on the deck reading, and groaned. the only thing worse than waking up is waking up to sunlight. i stevie wonder'd myself to the chaise. chuck placed sunglasses on my face and fed me blueberries and coaxed me toward acceptance that yes, that is natural light and yes the heat is oppressive, but this is how people live in the summer.




we learned via twitter that the "tall ships" had arrived. the "tall ships" is the dumbest name for these huge, old-school, multisailed boats. it would be like changing my name to "red-haired girl sunburns easily." regardless, we wandered down to canal park, joining 50,000 tall ship fans from white bear lake who all looked a little bit like elderly twice-removed relatives you see at a family reunion.


"we are the only people here older than 12 and younger than 60," chuck observed.


the line at crabby bill's, creators of the best horseradish to ever singe a tongue, was thick with tourists craving walleye fingers. crabby bill's understood the limitations of its customers.


my jumbo dog made for a perfect horseradish vessel.


we crossed to the other side of the lift bridge to watch the tall ships come in. stuck in a mess of strollers, wheelchairs and general gape-mouthed gawkers, chuck said: "i'm going to get a t'shirt that says 'local going apeshit.' a woman pushing a stroller turned around to glare at him, and in the process accidentally rammed her kid into the guard rail. we snickered.


the old lady standing next to me kept calling the boats "pirate ships." "pirate ships," she'd say, puckering her cracked red-painted lips. these "pirate ships" wowed the crowd by firing off canon-less canons. i found this to be an unnecessary use of noise.


soon, everyone in the world with a floatation device collapsed onto the lake.


our next stop was a parade in west duluth. we got there just in time to see a bunch of floats celebrating jesus and politicians. i dove for a handful of tootsie rolls and sweet tarts that had been tossed into the crowd and almost took out a little girl's tooth.

"CANDY!" she screamed in my ear.
i handed her the piece that i had won, fair and square. what a baby.

then came the fire trucks and their fire truck noises. i developed a bad case of sensory overload and almost collapsed into the fetal position on the curb.


cheese curds made it all better.


i almost stole a cute little dog that i was going to rename jake. he was wearing a blue collar and was asleep in a wagon with his little dog brothers.


then we played with purple.


we ended up at the fair in proctor. chuck saved a runaway baby llama by jamming it back into its little pen.


meanwhile, these frisky little beasts were going crazy.




for five dollars, i spent five minutes doing back flips while strapped into this harness. i was trying pretty hard for the double back, but couldn't get it. nor could i achieve the front flip. this made me dizzy and frustrated. i may have to return.

the night ended playing hacky sack with a baggie bulging with salt packets found in a dumpster behind quinlan's.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

the honor system ...


for the past three days, my favorite parking ramp has been operating under the honor system. a laminated sign covering the ticket dispenser explained that it was out of order and they were waiting on a new part that probably wouldn't arrive until after wednesday. it asked parkers to note what time they had entered the ramp, so they could tell the attendant at the exit and pay accordingly.

i love the honor system. it is an opportunity for me to show -- in this case the holiday inn parking ramp attendant -- that i can be trusted to do the right thing without a dot matrix time stamp as evidence. i can really shine under an honor system. and as long as we're here: i never cheat at pool either.

unfortunately, i was going to the ymca, which validates parking. and honor system or no honor system, i had no intention of paying for my 1 hour, 45 minutes in the ramp. but no ticket meant no muddy y-shaped validation stamp.

as the sort of person who can really get behind the honor system, i knew 'i was just at the y' would sound like the lie of an honor system abuser. especially since i would probably be lighting a cigarette as i explained that i had just worked out. short of mimicking the noodle test and flinging my wet sports bra at the window of the booth to see if it stuck, i would appear to be ruining the honor system for everyone.

sure enough, when i left i got the hassle.
'i was at the y?' i asked.
'did you read the sign?' wilford brimley accused.
'yes ?' i said. 'the honor system.'
'the part about the y?' he challenged.
'i must have missed that part,' i said. sighed. 'whatever. fine. i got here at 3 p.m.'
'make sure you follow directions tomorrow,' he said, lifted the arm, and pardoned me.

i ended up back in the ramp later that night. on my way in, i noted that in a corner of the sign someone had lightly scribbled in pencil: git [sic] this form [sic] y.

on my way out of the ramp today, wilford was working again.
'i was here overnight,' i said, digging in my purse for the $6.50 maximum charge. a small price to pay, considering 2 a.m. found me hugging a frozen digornio's pizza to my chest and accusing the gas station clerk of stealing my debit card. definitely not the model of drivemanship.

'you going home?' wilford asked.
'yes ...?'
'well i hope you enjoyed your stay!' he said cheerfully, nudging up the arm to let me out.
'no. i mean, i left my car here last night because i went out drinking,' i explained.
'oh!' he said. 'you're a good girl! six-fifty! you're lucky you were at a bar. someone got killed outside of my house last night.'

i paid him and left. i wanted to say: see? you can trust me! i didn't lie about going to the y yesterday!

i rule at the honor system.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

skinning myself ...

today i come to you with second-degree chafing on my inner thighs. twin patches that resemble chin acne. it feels a little like a braille message reading: buy thighmaster.

this is what i get for running in what was designed, marketed and sold as a pair of little boy-style swim suit bottoms. and for having thighs like a retired male soccer player, heavy emphasis on retired. and for every piece of skin on my body being its own sweat sponge. and for the invention of friction. and not carrying vaseline in my sports bra.

i didn't even notice that i was skinning myself until i was far away from home. eventually i stopped running and hobbled back bowlegged and 3 pounds lighter for the exfoliating.

i reminded myself of a woman who was on the track team with in college. a solid hulk of bulging decathlete. she could run any distance, throw javelins and triple jump like a fiend. but she walked like her bowels had given out when she landed. her thighs were like buoys gift-wrapped in skin. i expected them to turn green when she got mad. her knees pointed out from the burden of lugging them from victory to victory.

i wonder if her thighs are sagging chafe makers now, too.

i like to think that for a good stretch of london road, i was shooting off flames. tiny sparklers spitting from my thighs. my own personal fourth of july parade. nothing tricks people into thinking 'wow, she's fast' like fire.

i also learned that nothing goes worse with a pair of jeans, than second-degree chafing on your inner thighs.

Monday, July 28, 2008

kill it! ...

this past week i didn't even touch my car until friday. also, today i was riding my bike up a small hill and there was a man on at bench at the top, his bike resting on a kickstand.

"kill it!" he yelled to me, right when i got to the meat of the hill. "that's what i did!"

[then, obviously, he found the closest horizontal perch to squat on.] regardless, this helped a lot. it makes me want to carry a little man around who yells "kill it!" right when i need it.


this week i bought neutrogena deep clean facial cleanser. it came with a free pair of ear buds. why did it come with a free pair of ear buds? good question.



this is what toonses doesn't look like when we are trying to sleep or watch a movie.


MOVIE PROJECT

the theater was packed and we ended up sitting in the second row on the far right of the screen. this gave me a good kind of nausea whenever batman was sitting on the ledge of a tall building or swooping around. unfortunately, the kids sitting behind us were literally eating a buffet of tuna fish sandwiches. i took this photo during one of the many action movie trailers before the show, then i put my camera away so we didn't get bounced.

"the dark knight," 2008: so this movie is ... long? it should have ended at the 1:48 mark, but instead things continued to combust for another 40 minutes. it has been said that this movie can stand alone, but i really wanted the kind of character-development that, i'm told, is in "batman begins." i love christian bale and his plastic face and his bruce wayne moments were charming and made me crave "american psycho" but his batman only kicked a modicrum of ass because i had a hard time following what he was doing to who. obviously heath ledger's joker was amazing, right down to the misshapen, dirty fingernails, yellow teeth and chlorine-green split ends. but a long movie -- especially one that seemingly ends, then segues into another minimovie -- always turns me off.

however, this means chuck and i have seen a 2008 movie together, thus concluding our movie project in which we watched a movie a year spanning chuck's lifetime because he's older than me. part of me wants to list everything we saw. part of me wants to forget we saw "logan's run" and "arthur."

MEALS TAKEN IN PUBLIC
fitgers brewhouse: every week i talk about the trifecta of deliciousness that is a wild rice burger, a wild fire beer and brewhouse beer battered french fries. consider me doing that here again.

burrito union: about once a week i get a strong craving for the union nachos, a simple mix of black beans, cheese, onions ... pretty standard mini meals of oozy goozy messy good, add a pitcher of chester creek ale.

TV MARATHONS
"mad men," season one: this show broke my 4-episodes-until-i'm-addicted mold. the AMC series about the new york advertising scene stars a dark, secretive, hard-to-read, hunky protagonist and its portrayal of the high-heeled, lipsticked, fantastically bosomed women in the secretary pool is dated hilarity. someday i'll write an essay on how the women from "sex and the city" are not all that different from the women on this show.

BEEN READING
"veronica" by mary gaitskill: this is where i started reading this book differently:

"Most of them weren't beautiful girls, but they had a special luster, like something you could barely see shining at the bottom of a deep well."

pretty soon i was dog-earring obsessively, marking great lines on every page. and then the paperback started to look like my failed origami project. but oh, the words.


LISTENING TO

"feed the animals" girl talk: every week, our friend orion encourages us to listen to something. this week we got this surprising and inexplicable mix. i don't know how to describe it without making it sound like i'm wearing a pant-suit and a perm, as it feels too cool for me to even try to digest.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

we're watching you, and making up stories ...

i could easily supplant drinking forever in favor of sober midnight walks on superior street.

* a wedding dance spilled from graysolon plaza, ushers loading gifts from a stolen grocery shopping cart into the back of an SUV. the guests last standing look very edward hopper: a pregnant woman, three men in tuxedos, a drank girl holding onto her older date's neck like he's a floatation device. the respectible couple yawning. that guy who looks like a twinkie with a belt cinched too tightly, shiney shirt tucked severely. he wants to party.

* smoke from marlboro menthols, three-dollar meatball baguettes and jean nate whoosh from the open door of the casino. a loud woman in a louder shirt is talking about hotels.

"hookers," chuck says.

* a man and a woman have parked their motorcycles at an angle. when she takes off her helmet, she's wearing perfect lipstick.

* a man resting, face on the sidewalk, in a the entry alcove of a business near pizza luce. he seems to wake up as we near him. stands up, dusts off his pants, keeps walking.

* the door opens, dubh linn's burps out a six people who look exactly alike. across the street, a man has his arm around two women, while his friend is half a block in front of him and another woman is struggling to keep up.

* at the transit center, a young man in ripped jeans is screaming into his cell phone: "YOU TELL HER TO GET OUT HERE RIGHT NOW OR I'M GOING TO GO IN THERE AND CHOKE HIM!" he works himself frothy, eventually propels himself across the street, then stands like an undercover cop just outside the door. she's obviously called his bluff. "I'M GOING TO KILL BOTH OF THEM! I DON'T CARE!" he screams. [at this we double around to the bar's michigan street entrance to see if we can find the other half of this conversation.

we miss them. the objects of his seizure are stumbling out the back door. the bouncer tells us they have just been bounced. we race to the end of the block to see what happens when this duo meets the choker.

a lot of yelling, that's all.


* back at dubh linn's, a young drinker slaps hands with another guy and says: "i heard hi-fives are back in!" off to the side, a man laments: "i spent four bucks on that rose."

* a woman in a dress leans against a building, away from the rest of the party. "oh my gosh," she says. "i totally want to go. i love reggae."

* a dude in athletic sandals clomps past and asks us how to get to the reef. then he tells us he lost all of of his money. then he starts running. he sounds like a horse-drawn carriage.

* we trail an obvious one-nighter six blocks back to the apartment. after they ditch off and settle in on the male party's deck, we spend the last five blocks writing fan fiction.

"i was wearing my new jeans, you know those ones?" she'll chomp at her cell phone, while shopping for nail polish at target tomorrow afternoon. "and a white tank top. i was looking sooooo good."

"he had a photo of his mom on his nightstand, isn't that sweet?" chuck contributed.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

11 twitter updates i'd have composed between 1990-1994 if only the technology existed ...

* sitting on a stool in the bathroom, staring at my reflection and listening to "nothing compares 2 u" on my ghetto blaster. be out in 4 hrs.

* the fact that he owns a jeep makes it okay that he is at least a C-cup and plays trombone. maybe he'll drive me home! in the jeep!

* tied for last place in today's cross country meet. again. probably will next week, too.

* she actually made me pay for for my maid rite and mr. misty freeze. i'm so done hanging out at the dairy queen.

* spent 17 minutes making out on the high jump pits behind the bleachers. the skin on my cheek is, like, webbed. next up: pottery class.

* uh oh. you-know-who is wasted, wearing two different boat shoes, and knocking on my bedroom window. i'm going to take his keys and tell my dad.

* i can't picture a time in my life that i won't want to wear ankle boots, slouchy socks, flowered leggings and an oversized flannel.

* maybe if i listen to the song "wild horses" by U2 enough times i'll get over this breakup faster.

* oh my gosh he totally looked at me when he was waiting to get checked back into the basketball game. he secretly likes me.

* this prom dress is fantastic. no one else will be wearing purple, and what could possibly go wrong with strapless?

* just split a can of beer with six friends and threw the empty into the garbage can at mcdonalds. we are all so wasted.

Friday, July 25, 2008

beached ...

today we went couch shopping.
all we needed was a trip to tgi friday's and to pay an electricity bill and we'd hit the trifecta of pedestrianism.

chuck asked me what i like in a couch.
i thought: "red?"
but said: "comfortable."

we are the consumate leisure couple. we like to spoon and watch movies. lay around. drink coffee. read internets. maybe get sofa marks on our cheeks from napping on the couch. plus, we like to imagine a world where we have friends stop by for drinks, a movie, some pizza. but not actually do it, because we both kind of hate people.

chuck has waaaaay better taste than me. he's got an artist's eye. i have the eye of ... a woman playing seven minutes in heaven in your parent's closet. that he even wants my opinion is him showering me with love.

i have a hard time giving my opinion when i'm not paying for it.
well, that's a lie. i can opine all over your face. so i layed out, a lady of leisure, all over hom furniture's wares and scheiderman's. leather, suade ... i kicked it. i examined fabric and color.

here is what i want:

super compfy.
red.
big pillows.
a weird kickout feature where your legs can be extended.
cat with back claws proof.

what i don't need:

recliner status.
something that recognizes brett favre's place in this world.
white.
zebra print.

tonight i saw something called a "hot chili sofa." red, leather, too bad it felt like i was sitting on my algebra II book.

i went couch shopping with the photographer. we found something green. woodsy pillows. then for years after we broke up, everyone i met had that couch. well, at least everyone from india.

know who has a good couch? fannie. it is awesome. she's even better than chuck with design.

my first couch was a futon set. it came with a chair, a foot stool, a coffee table and a lamp .. all for $300. i left the footstool and chair on the deck during my first move. i broke the coffee table on my first date with chuck. glass, drunk, happy ... a bad mix. meanwhile, all sorts of rods broke on the futon. my roommate was a fatass.

lil latrell gave me her couch when she moved. an arm was wrapped in twine. my mom offered me her couch: floral and smelled like band aids. i declined.

so we're getting a couch i'm not paying for. i'm gonna watch "the hills" all over that sucker.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

um ...

it's friday somewhere?



tonite when i walked into quinlan's, everyone was talking about what it is like whey they donate plasma.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

an almost-scary day ...

when i'm alone in the apartment and i hear a strange noise, i have to assume it was either me, toonses, or a strangler hiding in the closet.

yesterday, freshly showered and getting dressed, i heard the hearty sound of a man breaking wind. i stopped. looked around. wondered if that noise had somehow been me. wondered if, after we went to bed, toonses had cracked a six-pack of pbr then -- like i've taught him -- dabbed himself dry with a value meal from taco john's and was now a 30 pound trumpetting tabby.

i tested the floor boards for a farty loose board, all the while knowing that someone was probably hiding in the closet.

the best thing to do, when someone is hiding in the closet, is to pretend you don't know he is there. mutter something to yourself aloud, like ...

"lo-de lo-de lo ... hmmm ... maybe i'll just leave the bedroom and have an egg bagal. ... yes. an egg bagal."

casually leave the room, casually grab your cell phone, if possible, whistle cheerfully. preferably something recognizable, but not popular. like "happy birthday." then sprint out the apartment, with 9 and 1 already dialed in and your finger poised to retap the final 1.

i continued casually dressing and pffffftttt -- again with the flatulence. then i realized that this was the sound of my wet arm flab knocking against my highly flammable bra. the one, seemingly, made out of the same material as a wet suit.

ho-ho-ho, i chuckled. i guess for 45 dollars, this bra should do more than just sit there on my chest bored.

maybe that already had me on edge, but i spent the rest of the day freaked out. after midnight, i decided to test a new bike route home and cruised onto the lakewalk. the second i ditched superior street, i knew this was a terrible idea. if i were a murderer, this is exactly where i would hang out, away from traffic with just a single-bulbed light every 20 or so yards. it would be a scenic place to wrap a bike chain around some dumb-ass girl's neck, mortally challenging her chug-a-chug home.

i spit myself off the path near pickwick and rolled past the brewhouse where a dozen young drinkers were microbrewed, blurry and unleashed. staggering and chuckling like they had just stumbled from the tilt-o-whirl. two girls on longboards were skating in the middle of the street. i biked through a pot-flavored pocket of air.

these are the people the police would have interviewed later, when they found my lifeless body on the rocks. my teeth wrapped around the back tire.

"i didn't hear anything," they would say.
"there were a lot of people out and about and i didn't notice any stranglers," they would say.

eventually it would turn into a story about how they were 50 feet away when some girl was murdered on the lakewalk and how they could have died, too.

Monday, July 21, 2008

more for less ...

this past week i did less, but had more opinions.

MEALS TAKEN IN PUBLIC

lemon wolf cafe in beaver bay, minn., scallops, wild rice linguine: i think the photo says it all. meaty-fist sized, butter-oozing fresh scallops with a layer of parmesean cheese. this was so, so, so, so good. it was a little hard to eat, as i prefer my noodles in the forkable shape of velveeta shells and cheese. but when i did manage to make it to my face with a load, i liked the addition of slivers of wild rice clinging to the linguine. c

i mentioned earlier that a woman at the gas station used the word "divine" to describe the lemon wolf cafe's salads, and i am not sure she was far off -- although i hate saying words that require me to wear a corset. i had a lemon wolf blue cheese dressing that was div---. we also split a piece of lemon pie that was so tangy, my tongue still curls like i'm saying a spanish R just thinking about it.

INTERNETTING
"dr. horrible's singalong blog": i can't remember how many days this is available for free viewing and i'm too lazy to investigate, but this is a pretty fantastic way to spend 43 minutes of your life. neal patrick harris stars as a flawed villain looking for acceptance with the other villains, all while getting googly over the activist girl from the laundrymat.

much of it is in song. the only way i like to watch a musical is when joss whedon is the maestro. and like "once more with feeling" from season six of buffy, this one is pretty clever.

i like to think that if camp whedon ever got into a brawl with camp apatow, i'd totally be on team whedon, but i'd squirrel away "freaks and geeks" in my pillow case and it would be my little secret.

SITTING AROUND WATCHING MOVIES
"videodrome" 1983: typically, an abdomen gash that plays video cassettes, acts as a meat grinder, and can go couch-cushion-meets-coin on a handgun -- and later fuse said handgun with the gash owner's hand, forming something that looks like a rice krispie treat weapon is enough for me. slap a cronenberg credit and viola, new fave. this time my tiny, little brain just could not keep up and when james woods exploded into the creepy campfire chant: death to videodrome, long live the new flesh! i decided i already liked this movie once, when it was called eXistenZ, and i didn't have room to like it again. videodrome is my least-favorite cronenberg, of the seven i've seen.

"teen wolf" 1985: michael j. fox stars as a mediocre basketball player who gets pubertied into a werewolf. this makes him wildly popular among his sexier classmates. along for the ride is his friend styles, a man who wore ironic t's before they were ironic, and dared to "surf" on the roof of teen wolf's dad's hardware store van.

* just 8 years later, in the football movie "the program", a scene where the players layed down on the centerline of a road was removed from the film. now movies are curiously void of bad ideas from bad asses.

"the ninth gate" 1999:
this is the most fun movie i've seen in weeks. johnny depp as a rare book dealer slash book detective bitch. this movie is as straight and serious as it is silly and geeky funny with an underlying sci-fi, demon element.

LISTENING TO
madonna "hard candy" 2008: i've tried running to this three times and i am completely defeated.

here is a sentence the sixth-grade girl in flourecent pink socks never thought she would admit: i don't really like this cd. when the 50-year-old, yoga toned mother of how many sings a song about her lover finding someone just like her, but who isn't her and doesn't have her name, it becomes physically impossible for me to roll my eyes hard enough.

I should have seen the sign when you weren't here
Under a different light it's oh so clear
She was stealing stealing stealing
and now your feeling feeling feeling
She started dying her hair and wearing the same perfume as me
She's started reading my books and stealing my looks and lingerie

I just wanna be there when you discover
You wake up in the morning next to your new lover
She might make you breakfast
And love you in the shower
The feelings're momentary
Cause she don't have what's ours

She's Not Me
She doesn't have my name
She'll never have what I have
It wont be the same (it wont be the same)

i understand it's hard to write lyrics that rhyme with "... then i started writing children's books ..." and that no one would probably dance, or run, to it if she did. but words about junior high romances smack of a grown woman talking babytalk to an audience of stuffed animals.

i like madonna. i think she's a genius. i like her hair and i think she set the rules for branding oneself. and rebranding. and scrapping it all and throwing it into a different package and selling it again for more money. i like how she affected the lives of every girl who saw her bumping around a white room, dressed in black things that came tumbling from her slippery shoulders.

but "hard candy" reminds me of that first tape, her self-titled "madonna." a woman with her hair swept and gelled into what wind would look like if it wore aqua net, heavy head propped on a lacy glove. not the songs like "lucky star" or "borderline" but like the song "holiday" or "physical attraction" or "burning up" if those songs got all spazzed out on red bull and then stuck a fork in a light socket to meet today's recommended allowance of techno.

i liked her first tape when i was 8ish. a lot of times an artist will change so much from release to new release that you wonder how they got there. with madonna, it's like: why did you go back? and what are you doing, holding that chainsaw against that keytar?
admittedly, the song "four minutes" kind of rules.

TOENAIL WATCH
week four is called "the fig newton phase" -- coined by chuck -- because it looks like the innards of that particular cookie is growing between my skin and the nail. according to the salesman at austin jarrow who sold me my new running shoes, this black toenail thing possibly identifies me as a vain woman who is unable to admit her true shoe size.

he gave me that diagnosis for free. i think he's wrong, because i don't think that sounds like me. but i can't be completely sure, as my size 8.5 running shoes are quite pleasant.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

my life as a country song ...

went drink'n down at oly's
at a table with a first street view
ditched my car in a ramp, scotted two miles home
in three-inch heel'd-not-my-drinkin' shoes.

austin city limits featurin' MMJ and deathcab,
chuck had wisely tivo'd.
rode the 'net, eat some 'za,
then off to bed i go'd.

both my eyes and the sky are cloudy,
stood waiting for a late bus in the rain.
almost asked the pizza hut guy,
for a ride in his pizza train.

listening to the new aimee mann
keeping a bus o'zombies at bay,
staring out the window, tapping my foot,
now aimee mann reminds me of the DTA.

Friday, July 18, 2008

silent all these years ...

today, frustrated with the rain, we raced it northward, to towns spilling with depression glass candy dishes and snow babbies. we landed in beaver bay, and it's cake eating cousin, east beaver bay. chuck mocked its would-be radio station:

"from beaver bay to grand marias, it's todd!"
to which i reminded listeners: "tonight's the volleyball game! beaver bay versus east beaver bay!"

i had scallops for breakfast, and chuck massacred turkey and lapped at its gravy at the lemon wolf cafe [full review pending ...]

the bathroom charmed the heck out of me. i've never hated a room that i loved so much. part bed and breakfast, part just plain ole gaudy pisser ...

a bear fed me scraps of toilet paper. [i totally took this photo with my pants down. after all, the kitchy sign behind me said "bear bottoms welcome." ]




then i took a photo of myself, because it looked like my face encompased an entire log cabin's wall. or, more likely, a log christmas store's wall.


when we couldn't find the lemon wolf cafe, before we ate there, a woman told us to drive down the road, past the holiday station.

"it's on the right," she said. "by the beavers."
"oh! you're going to the lemon wolf cafe," a woman who doubled back for snicker said. "even their salad is DIVINE."

i wonder exactly how happy a salad would have to make me before i referred to it as "divine," as i'm sure i've never said the word, nor written it, in a hundred years of hyperbole.

we found it. in front were two wood carved beaversish beings holding flags.
i don't know what animal the chainsaw was making with this thing.



we traveled five miles toward canada, to this breakwater. i wanted to walk out on these rocks and then climb onto the island. as i didn't have my carabeener, chuck thought i was kidding. apparently it is a breakwater, and an island. entirely separate, and requiring of different hiking tools.

these rocks were filled with mosquitos.

'THERE ARE L ITERALLY A THOUSAND MOSQUITOS!' a tourist screamed.

then chuck told me about a story on the discovery channel where actual cats were living between the rocks. know what's worse than A THOUSAND MOSQUITOS? a thousand unspayed, undeclawed cats.

take that, tour man.




i don't know if we've met. if not, i'm christa. i'm about 5'6, i get really excited about things for about a week, then drop them, reality tv is my marrow. oh, and i always, always, take photos of my boyfriend chuck taking photos of something else. why? because i don't like taking photos of scenary, but feel like i should. so i take photos of him doing it. and, he's the cutest.



i like that coat, and the amout of scruff he's wearing. i totally made out with him on a rock. so?



but i took scenery shots anyway. i am not sure where these are from. north of duluth and south of canada.



with this one, i was actually trying to convey how the lake looks like the sky. i wanted them to be indistinguishable. impossible. but look at that expanse. perfect.






for some reason, today, i looked like tori amos. i think it was the rain and because i have my period.





but then i went back to normal.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

super surfin' jubilee ...



... after i encountered three sheepish teenaged boys in a nook behind the ghetto spur, trying to find adults to buy them lotto tickets

... and after we passed a college student chopping 2-by-4s on his porch to toss into the mini webber kettle bonfire he was hosting.

"everyday something happens," he said. "some shit happens everyday. i cry every single day."

"i cry every day, too," the girl said. "but i'm a girl."

... but before we heard the crunch of coppertone's mini van on the receiving end of an unwanted bad touch from a whiskey wagon that squealed off into the night.

another summer in the hillside.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

the good deal ...

as i crammed my final load into the dumpster at my old aparment, i thought i saw elbow-shaped pasta squiggling around in the lid. it was like a prankster had splattered a brain in there.

i sprinted to my car dry-heaving and never went back.

my landlord called me last night, still grimey from a science experiment. he told me that he had switched garbage companies about a month ago, to a shop out of floodwood that "made him an offer he couldn't refuse." they had delivered a shiny new dumpster, with that fresh-from-the-factory smell of tupperware. they collected the garbage twice, then -- after he paid them a hundred or so dollars -- they stopped coming at all.

for at least two weeks, garbage had been piling in the ally. this included everything i'd ditched when i moved -- including an entire refrigerator filled with year-old leftovers, congealed salad dressings, pruney fruits and thawed salmon. eventually biggie, the downstairs neighbor, complained to my landlord about the smell.

my landlord called the company repeatedly, and no one answered.
finally he went to the duplex, forced to sort through the debris himself.

"christa, there were literally thousands of maggots in that garbage can," he said. "thousands."

he loaded the mess into his old pickup, and dumped it at the downstairs neighbor's business. he tossed everything, including the garbage can and the maggotty ecosystem that had exploded.

"the smell," he moaned.

later he googled the company, and found that it shared a name with the garbage company on "the sopranos."

"why did you switch companies in the first place?" i asked him.
"it was a good deal," he said.

Monday, July 14, 2008

sufferin' succ-oh whatever ...

so this past week i heard a terrible story about maggots and my old apartment. but i don't live there anymore.

onward:


dirty.

FOODS I MAKE
fresh rhubarb pie: another week, another batch o'hubarb. i had an unfortunate moment involving baking and tin-foiling the crust, when i realized all of the tinfoil was splayed across the bedroom window so that we can sleep peacefully everyday until after 1 p.m. if we choose.

a) is it sanitary to use tinfoil that has been a sunblock for the past month, to keep the crust from burning?
b) and even if it is, is nonburnt crust more important than a dark bedroom?

no. so i invented a new kind of crust that doesn't have edges.

edamame succotash: not so much "making" as chopping and stirring. but this mix of corn, red bell pepper, edamame, garlic, onion, parsley, basil, oil, white wine and salt and pepper is easy, colorful and yum. i made a trough of it.


look! it's like a bowl of skittles.

MEALS TAKEN IN PUBLIC



midi, pecan crusted salmon w/ asapargus and mashed potatoes: not only is this my favorite thing to eat at midi, it's the only thing i've ever tried. three times. in fact, if you say 'midi' to me, i'll think of this salmon dish. what's weird is that i don't even like pecans. hmm.


meanwhile, chuck got a seafood pasta: penne noodles still oozing with the sea. "ew," he said when it was set in front of him. "this smells fishy." he regretted most bites of his meal, which means that for once i won the food ordering competition!

we were seated next to a gaping picture window with a view of the lake, every blue hair who halfassedly tossed a bean bag without removing the purse from her shoulder, and every fitgers employee with a taste for the nicotene. all this with a frank sinatra soundtrack. two tables away, a man read his newspaper, while a woman read her book.

chuck said: the music, combined with the big window to stare out of made me feel like i was eating in a nursing home.

READING
"into the forest" by jean heglund: if i had read this book when i was 14, i would now be one of those people who could discern which berries in the woods are poisonous and i'd probably know how to sew. it's a story of sisters -- one a ballerina, the other an encyclopedia reader -- who try to stay alive in their country home after the world has run out of electricity and gas and the guy who owns sam's club sits in his dark, ransacked store with a rifle. first they make do with things in the house, then they learn to stay alive from resources in the forest.

very realistic and a real thinker.

TV WARTCHING
"the bachelorette": i no longer consider this show humane. and even worse, thanks to deanna's pick, i now owe jcrew a margarita. DEANNA PAPPAS YOU OWE ME AT LEAST $4!

SILVER SCREENING
"hard candy" 2004: ellen page of juno [literally, she's the same droll smart ass] fame stars, wearing the exact hair and face as i had in fourth grade, in a public service announcement to pedophiles about the dangers of this particular proclivity. this movie has a lot, a lot of talking. and i couldn't even watch one of the more significant parts of the storyline because it made me wan and uncomfortable.

"ghostbusters," 1984: i'd never seen this movie before, as i was not allowed to watch it when it came out and then just never doubled back.

for those keeping track at home:
THINGS I WAS NOT ALLOWED TO DO WHEN I WAS GROWING UP:
1. watch mtv
2. eat sugar cereals
3. watch dukes of hazzard
4. see ghostbusters
5. own "like a virgin" or "purple rain"
6. hang out behind the jiffy mart.

AND GRATUITOUS EXTRAS:

my second trip in eight years to the portland malt shoppe: this is a strawberry cheesecaked double scoop that chuck is afraid to hold for fear of damage.


Saturday, July 12, 2008

not yo cheese ...



i began thinking about cheese curds wednesday afternoon. i have unconditional love for cheese curds.

on wednesday, the streets of duluth exploded with food vendors. there were gyros! hotdogs! pizza! kabobs! brats! cheese cakes on a stick! and cheese curds. sweet, i thought, just in time for my premenstral food-fest. the week where i deny myself nothing. the week where a craving isn't a craving, it is an item on a multi-point to-do list that i takeru kobayashi my way through. delayed gratification is not my strong suit, but i decided to wait until thursday to indulge. i'd revisit the vendors with chuck.

i prefer to induce acne in front of an audience.

***

thursday i starved myself all day so i would have enough room in my stomach to play gastrointestinal tetris with gyros and hot dogs and cheese curds and mini donuts. we went downtown around 7 p.m., and hit superior street just as they slammed shut the window on a trailer filled with my deep fried dreams.

i resigned myself to eating matar paneer, dish from india palace that includes small squares of cheese. not deep fried, but cheese nonetheless. every table was filled.

the brewhouse was our next choice. i could sublimate with beer battered french fries. but the wait was a half hour and we were starved, so we went downstairs to midi.

thursday night i learned that pecan crusted salmon is the exact opposite of cheese curds.

***

friday found me staring glumly at chuck's big toe and wondering how it would taste with with some breading and nacho cheese.

this time we got downtown at 5 p.m. -- an hour traditionally known as "dinner time." most of the trailers had packed up by then, business slowed by the day's high of 32 degrees.

we walked four blocks and found just mini donuts, chocolate covered cheese cake on a stick, and, oddly enough, a few cages filled with cats abandoned in the middle of the blocked-off street.

i got a couple of slices of not-cheese curds from luce.

***

the only way left to trick myself was potato oles and nacho cheese from taco john's. i don't want to be premature, but so far i think it took.

Friday, July 11, 2008

my sole belongs to duluth ...



i'd like to personally thank the city of duluth for being the sort of place where i not only can wear these shoes, but i would be a fool not to. here in duluth it is even socially acceptible to wear them with a skirt.

these shoes say: watch out, world! i just might wade in that creek when i'm done rock climbing. just let me get my confounded kayak off the back of my bike so i can journal about this moment before our adventure begins. now where's that damn dog?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

mortality on wheels ...

up until today, the most action my inline skates had seen this summer was the half hour or so that toonses mistook the laces for old country buffet. then i rolled them into the closet.

in the weeks preceding the half-marathon, i couldn't even think about my k2s. i felt like if i was going to shuffle along pavement, i should at least do it in my stinky old asics. introduce my legs to the process of running instead of push-push-gliding. i get that inline skating is a good form of cross training. i also get that everytime i strap myself to wheels, i am signing a consent form that says: i, christa, hereby understand that i may spend the rest of the summer in a body cast. that's no way to run your first half-maraton.

years ago my friend oregon told me this joke:

"what's the worst thing about rollerblading?"
[pause]
"telling your parents you're gay."


i never really understood that until today, scooting along the munger trail listening to the australian electropop band cut copy, i felt like i was one tight-fitting superman t'shirt from a cameo on "queer as folk."

i always forget that my first inline skate of the summer is a little rough. not so much oksana baiul. no, i look like someone who has accidentally found herself on the edge of a cliff. and when i started clocking my mile splits, i realized that a high school cross country team could easily take me in a race. i maintained that i was skating at least fast enough to keep the ticks off my body.

on the way back, a woman booked past me on the left. for awhile i tried to keep up. then i just tried to keep her in sight. then i hoped she was gone by the time i hit the parking lot so i didn't have to explain what took so long. today, for the first time in nearly 20 years of inline skating, i was mortality on wheels. i'm going to buy knee pads and wrist guards.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

mal de ojo ...


i spent a good chunk of this afternoon scavenging my left eyeball for a wayward contact lense. i got a little too close to my frontal lobe for my comfort.

i am horseshit at inserting contacts. i blame it on having almond-shaped eyes that are quite deep in the center, and quickly veer to mere paper cuts on the edges. i also blame it on having never been shown how to do it correctly, much like applying makeup, and so i blame my mom for not giving me a near-sighted older sister. then i think of all those super responsible sixth graders i went to slumber parties with in 1987 and their little puffy paisley granny bags filled with solution, lense cases and spare glasses and wonder how they turned into such savants.

this time, the lense drifted the second it left my middle finger. so i flipped up my lid, pressing my eyelashes into my forehead and then rolling my eyes in circles. i got a little dizzy and felt like a collectible doll from the "gone with the wind" series. occasionally i'd get bored of my failed harvest, wander away from the project with the problem eye squinched shut, and put on a pair of socks or change my shirt or check my email or drink some coffee. meanwhile, muck was dripping from my ducts and red vessels were turning my sclera into a road map.

still, i could not make contact with the contact.

OPTIONS I CONSIDERED BRIEFLY, DRY HEAVED, THEN ABANDONED
1. using a tweezers to dig around beneath my lid;
2. watching a few key scenes from "beaches," and hopefully flooding out the debris;
3. going to the ER for an eye wash;
4. adding another contact to the mix and waiting for nature to reject the lense.

eventually i got about knuckle deep in my own eye socket and found the contact, shriveled like a melted candy wrapper. i pried it loose and realized it was only half of it. i found a new mirror with a brighter light and dug into my face again. about 45 minutes later i found the other half.

the replacement lense went in quickly and correctly.

tomorrow i plan to do it all again.

Monday, July 7, 2008

clever sever ...

this past week i learned that if you tell the good people of the internet you need book cases, they will magically appear on the doorstep [thanks, e&t!] and completely reconfigure your entire fiction section. i also learned that, for the self proclaimed queen of the neighborhood watch team, i can't tell the difference between gun shots and firecrackers very well.

also. i wondered if anyone in the world has ever tried using proactiv, and if it worked. because i found myself staring at a proactiv vending machine at the mall and saying aloud: "well, it worked for jessica simpson. and you know, i think i trust her."

onward:

MEALS TAKEN IN PUBLC

hacienda del sol, huevos rancheros: silly me, i didn't realize this was a soup. my entire lap became saturated in gooey tomato innards, yoke and um, runny beans? while it tasted like regular,
solid huevos rancheros, it looked like someone microwaved the contents of my stomach after a night of binge drinking. i was envious of chuck's chorizo burrito, mostly because he wasn't getting chunks of refried bean wedged in his margarita straw.




however, this remains the best non-lake view deck in the entire city. and, like every time i'm there, i wish i was having at least two more margaritas, although a tastier version, and four more friends joining me.

chester creek cafe, falafel sandwich: i was moved to tears by the description of one of the pasta dishes, made with homemade moz, including pancetta and some other things -- i think i saw the word "lemon."

and when the table next to us got it, i was thoroughly sold. but the kitchen ran out exactly one table before i could order it. meanwhile, to my left, the old man was passing his pasta dish around the table ... his friends nodding and biting and talking about how GREAT it was. he looked pretty proud. like the pancetta was actually slivers of meat from his own hind end.

i went with the falafel sandwich, instead.

then two tables away, the entire group received their pasta entree. those were the buggers who made them run out. more nodding and cooing. a few overheard: best meal evers.

the old man passed his plate around for one more lap. he was so giving! why not pass it up here, too, mister! no dice.

the falafel was fine. probably even good even.

LISTENING TO:
the watson twins' cover of the cure's "just like heaven" and a lot of my morning jackets' new cd "evil urges."

MOVIES
"riding the bullet" 2004: the year is indicernable, but seems to be in an era where the beatles are alive and functioning -- although not together. our hero -- ripe from a suicide contemplation turned accidentally wrist slashing -- has tickets to see john lennon perform, but finds out his mother recently had a stroke. instead he must hitchhike 150 miles to see her.

along the way, he sees dead people and hides from the reaper. this movie was a laughably horrible take on a stephen king short story. it screamed 1990-something from its faux ethan hawke star to its cuts from real to surreal and its vapid woe is me flannel shirt introspection. this is truthfully the worst movie i've ever seen.

"the hitcher" 2007: i like when my stars of teen soap operas hit the big screen. sophia bush, of one tree hill, stars as a short skirt, long boot-wearing girlfriend who is taking her boyfriend home to meet her friends. they offer a ride to a creepy killer who seems intent on leaving a trail of massacre in their wake. meanwhile, sophia bush climbs, hides, and shrieks and must have, at some point, wished she was wearing something from the adidas collection. in its most compelling scene, our hero kicks open the door of a burning truck and emerges all tank toppy and rambo from the back in a very segourney weaver in aliens scene that must make some sort of frat-boy "best of" list. her boyfriend's death scene is a clever severing that is as disgusting as it is creative.

READING STUFF
"my horizontal life" by chelsea handler: while i usually think i'm current on current events, i must still have some sort of vaccuum because i'd never heard of chelsea handler i heard her name twice in one day. this usually means the universe wants me to investigate.

it. is. hilarious.

next up for reading: post apocolyptic young adult fiction. weeee!

DOESN'T ANYONE ELSE WATCH THE BACHELORETTE?
"the bachelorette:"

* if jeremy's parents hadn't died, he'd officially be more boring than church.
* jason, much like shayne lamos from last season of the bachelor, has defied all of my expectations and is now my favorite. i used to think he was a weinie, and i still do, but i now am in favor of weinies. he makes me weepie.

[side note: just caught a glimpse of chris harrison's handwriting on jason's sweet seduction recipe card and it is quite girlie.]

* i'm done with jesse. he's great, but he's going to rebound from this like a skateboarder's teeth off the steps of city hall when she picks jason in the final.

deanna had some rough moments early on, but this girl is a smarty party. she saw a raging psychopath lingering beneath jeremy's surface. when he asked the limo to stop, i thought he was going to fake barf in the bushes, or run back to the party. instead he just made rabid screeching about how this is just like when his fake mom and fake dad died.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

austin city limits ...


me, martin zellar, one of my college roommates [st. thomas, may 1998]

austin, minnesota, in the late 1980s to mid 1990s, had to be -- to me -- the most romantic place on earth. anyone who has ever seen the movie "all the right moves" knows that there is nothing sexier than a blue-collar town, and no place in the world lived up to that expectation better than austin, 45 minutes from rochester, home of spam and the infamous hormel strike of 1985.

austin pacelli's varsity basketball team was comprised of actual men with muscles and athletic grunts, as opposed to the lourdes eagles -- a collection of gangly elbows and oversized ears. it was like a holiday when the shamrocks were the visiting team, parading into the school like letter jacket models. sometimes we sat with the opposing fans on the other side of the gym. our school spirit easily broken by their green and white short-shorts. steve rogne, marty woleski and rob garry didn't necessarily instigate puberty, but they certainly coaxed it along. [editor's note: yes, i remember their names. no, i did not know them. apparently in high school i was creepier than i previously suspected.]

but bigger than austin pacelli's boys basketball team, if possible, were the gear daddies. one of the original bands to be described as having that "college sound." they seemed accessible: like on the right night, maybe they would set up shop in your garage and play your graduation party. maybe a cop would show up wielding a billy club, say something like "okay, boys. pipe down."

bassist nick ciola would charm them into one last song, promising "then we'll wrap it up." the gear daddies would get a mischevious glimmer, crank up an extended version of "boys will be boys," and half the puritanical neighbors would charge the stage, while the other half shielded the youngens ears. martin zellar would fling the final lyrics from the window of a metallic blue muscle car, and they would skirt along back roads out of town leaving legions of boys emasculated and the girls practicing cursive "zellar"s after their first name.

i know this is is how it would happen because there is a moment on the cd "can't have nothin' nice" during the song "the color of her eyes" that zellar forgets the lyrics and says "shit."

the gear daddies broke up in 1992, promising one final show in their hometown of austin. my friend hinz, then going into her junior year of college, invited princess linda and me to go to the show. princess linda got the okay. i wasn't even allowed to watch mtv, so i didn't even bother asking to go. i pictured the austin pacelli basketball team in street clothes at the concert, solid, basketball-palming hands dwarfing cans of old milwaukee. maybe tossing a football and busting out a few lyrics to "drank so much (just feel stupid)."

at some point it had rained and the photo that ran in the rochester post bulletin the next day featured muddy music fans, who had turned the venue into a slip n slide. whipped handfuls of mud at each other. danced wildly in the guise of anonymous bog monsters. sent the gear daddies out right.

i knew i'd regret missing that show for the rest of my life. and frankly -- so far that has proven true.

now broken up, i showered all of my gear daddies loyalty on martin zellar, who was performing solo gigs -- sometimes doing exclusively neil diamond covers, sometimes revisiting the gear daddies, but usually mixing the two.

random fact: for my entire 19th year, the song "bored and 19" was my anthem.

as long as he was playing within an 80 mile radius and i had seven dollars for a cover charge, i was at every show: aquarius club, o'gara's, rookies ... he played at st. thomas for our senior sendoff. my bib overalls were almost as doused in beer as my liver when i climbed on stage with him and posed for a photo.

i got a little snotty about my zellarness. i was in the front row at a small show, dancing with a stranger, when a man behind us started screaming for zellar to play zamboni.

my dance partner and i turned around, stunned. damn-near tackled him.

"he HATES that song!" i said.
"how can you not know that?!" the other dancer asked.
"he's sick of playing it!" i admonished him.
the guy quietly slinked away.
the show continued.

out of college, this fanaticism continued. by then i was greeting him after each show.

me: martin, will you play my wedding dance someday?
martin: by the time you get married, i probably will be playing wedding dances.

this routine never grew old for me. i'd coo, and journal about it when i got home. i can imagine he cringed when he saw me coming. in his head i'd turned into the neighbor who says everyday: "cold enough for ya?"

the last time i saw martin zellar play was the weekend of my 30th birthday. he and the gear daddies did a reunion show at the minnesota state fair. the first two-thirds of the show was boring. suddenly, six beers later, it started to rock hard enough that my then-roommate had to pull over in moose lake, minn., on the way home so i could barf.

the point is, martin zellar played bayfront park last night. it was a free show. i had a previous commitment i didn't try to hard to get out of. but at one point i broke away from the group and went outside and heard most of "zamboni" and feverishly regretted not being at the show.

i hate missing the good stuff.

Friday, July 4, 2008

sensory. overload. ...

now that a year has past, i can look back at july 4, 2007, as the closest i've come to slipping into a pair of androgynous pajamas and signing myself into a sanatorium.

we were drinking home made mojitos on the deck, chuck, my visiting friend pucci and me. maybe it was the 84 dollar bar tab from luce the previous night, maybe it was the handful of gourmet olive's i'd squirreled into my chipmunk cheeks -- but i certainly wasn't feeling the mojito. i'd gotten drunker than this off the smell vanilla extract. my newly single friend seadawg showed up wearing one of those shell necklaces worn by men half his age, with twice his surfing ability. he sat quietly in a lawn chair, pulling bottles from a six pack of summit.

pucci and chuck were watching the show:

it was like the streets had been paved with flame-filled bubble wrap and we were in the midst of a stilleto marathon. the neighbor to the left, an elderly pyromaniac, lined up firecrackers along his bottom porch step. light, shuffle backward, ka-pow! grunt approval, light another. it was like he was toeing the line between unimpeded vision and a charred eyeball. i kept expecting his arm to cartwheel through the air. intermittenly, a ball of flame would appear on the right. in front of me, an entire alley was exploding. through it all, constant sizzling like it was raining saliva on a bulk supply of pop rocks. in the distance, duluth's sanctioned show went ignored.

i was crowded in between pucci and chuck. who's bodies still seemed to understand its role: import mojito, export fun! they spontaneously burst into "proud to be an american," and punctuated their patriotism with hearty sways.

two words: sensory. overload.

finally, FINALLY, they ran out of lyrics. we walked to burrito union, and i sent pucci in with my order. i leaned against the building and watched 14 year old boys chugging past with litres of sunkist spiked with whiskey. i took about 40 deep breaths and prayed a stray mortar wouldn't accidentally spider into the gas tank of my civic and that we wouldn't come home to the smell of the old man next door's burning hair.

eventually i didn't feel like swabbing my brain with a dull stir stick anymore.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

a single instance of OCD in a life of disarray ...

the brunt of my personal effects: books. rubbermaid after rubbermaid of books. a read, unread, soiled, stained, dog eared, highlighted, forgotten, remembered, furniture propping, broken binding'ed collection.

i tossed the mess willy-nilly onto the shelves, like i was bailing water from a boat. quickly, so the apartment looked less like carlson's bookstore, and more like a place where you wouldn't necessarily need a sherpa to scale the joyce carol oates collection en route to the bathroom. then i wrote on a summer to-do list: organize books.

i take my book set-up pretty seriously. while i have no problem filing away a recipe for matar paneer in the same space as my 2002 taxes or storing my fingernail clipper in a wicker basket filled with inkless pens, the books have to be in order.

in my old apartment, it started with nonfiction -- alphabetical by author, unless it's the unauthorized biography of madonna or zelda fitzgerald or edna st. vincent millay, then it goes under subject. then the fiction, alphabetical by author and within author by title. [i've considered chronologically within author, but since that idea failed to spin so erratically as to force recreational nyquil use, i'm going to forget it for now.] then came poetry and plays.

i had, in my spare room, a bookcase filled with unread or unfinished books.

there really is no reason to have my books in this kind of order. it has only come in handy, like, once during a party when i said as pretentiously as you can while wearing a shiraz mustache: that reminds me of a scene from maggie cassidy ... let me see ... and immediately snagged the book from the shelf and opened to the appropriate dog-earred page.

i was cruising tivo yesterday, when i noticed out of the corner of my eye that margaret atwood's fiction was touching susan orleans's nonfiction. i had to be somewhere in like 15 minutes, and so i did what all anal retentive peopple who aren't anal retentive about anything else do ... i started organizing.

i got the first shelf done: nonfiction, butted by early-alphabet fiction.

later, i explained the set-up to chuck, in gross [as in disgusting] detail, concluding with a new feature i'm very excited about: the of-interest shelf.

this shelf contains new books, recently purchased books, books that chuck has told me about and wants me to read or vice versa, things spotted amid the current shelves that spark an interest, whatever. it's like a shelf of to-read items. it is my single, greatest invention.

today i told chuck i wanted to go buy new running shoes, come home and alphabetize. and so that is what i did. filling the non fiction, finding more, pillaging shelves and reworking it. it looked like the book mobile had crashed through the front window.

"see, what i'd really like to do is go through the fiction and make alphabetical piles according to the author's last name," i told chuck. "why don't you play some music?"

he played an emmylou harris record.
"what if we went totally analog," he said. "books and records."

then things got silly.

"hmm ...." i said. " 'the handmaid's tale' ... fiction or non?"
"fiction," chuck responded with an accent. "slowly moving toward non."

and we laughed. oh how we laughed.

eventually chuck went to the basement to introduce more of his own collection. he heaved boxes onto the floor in front of me and i went through them like the shipping and receiving agent at your local barnes and noble.

"what?" i said. "sorry, i'm shelving ... um. jewish history."

the integration of our books has called for new shelving genres. we got a little whacked out considering if the complete works of shakespeare counts as poetry or drama ... we went with drama.

"um, we need a mythology section," chuck said.


we also added reference, as i think it is gouche to shelve "how to write" books in plain view. but even within reference, there needs some sort of separation that i can't yet consider. cook books, wine reference, how tos ...

we ran out of shelves before the s authors, which probably means we're going to need at least one more six-foot bookcase. it's becoming obvious that we should sell the tv and stop washing our socks. we have work to do, here. we have books.

"ah, yes. we have that book. it's in the lesbian farming section," chuck joked.

we actually have that section.

"but what about this collection of woody allen's comedic stories and plays?" chuck asked, holding his book.

this whole thing has me a bit stumped.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

rust buckettier ...



my [soon to be former] landlord is a wheelin' dealin' machine who is always buying a 400 dollar car, wrapping duct tape around something, turning around and selling it for six hundred dollars. the old bulldog likes to make a dime, then take that dime and dump it at a casino.

"since i was playing blackjack, the waitress gave me a free bud light," he said today of his recent trip to vegas. "so what did i do? i just kept refilling the bottle with natural light."

he's got a tin can wired to his insurance agent's office, where he communicates his ever-changing insurance needs. going out of town with the boat? he'll park the convertible with the meteorite-sized hole in the soft top in his garage and put insurance on his new 1979 boat-totin' pickup.

he had a cell phone long before you did, but he dropped it in the toilet and now he's waiting for the fad to pass. for now he'll just borrow your's, and spend his first 10 minutes grabbing at it with a meaty paw, trying desperately to yank a fictitious antenna out of it. he'll swear and mutter "stupid cell phones."

the day he got his new old truck, he told me he was stopping by then parked it on the busy road. i immediately picked it out of the lineup: the one with a confederate flag bumper sticker, a rusted out bed, and the back end bungy roped in place. honestly, it's probably better than his longest-living vehicle -- a blazer that chugged well-past 270,000 miles. i drove it to minneapolis for my 30th birthday party and was less surprised the steering wheel didn't fall off when i cranked through the white castle drive thru in hickley than i was by the flat tire i got later, while parked in front of fannie's house.

anyway, the new rig came just in time to help me move things that i can't further than a mile on my back. it was confusing for him:

landlord: "okay, we'll get the bookcases and the desk ... then what about that dresser?"
me: "i'm hoping [girl moving in] will want it."
landlord: "i'm sure she will, i'm sure she will. so, should we get the dresser in the truck?"
me: "i'm leaving the dresser."
landlord: "oh right right, that's right. i meant the desk. so should we grab the dresser?"

anyway, so he got to carry a bunch of heavy stuff while i piddled behind holding things like pillows or blankets or the door. all the while writing himself toward a new nickname. "former landlord" is so clunky. i'm thinking either frodo or bulldog.