Monday, June 30, 2008

"Get your patchouli stink outta my garage."

Me: (rummaging around a garage sale on Duluth’s east side)

Pompous aging hipster with ponytail who shall hereinafter be referred to as Ian: You should withdraw those keyboards from the sale and sell them on Ebay instead.

Me: (thumbing through a pile of fabric, not aware that he’s talking to me because, uh, it’s not my house)

Ian: (repeating himself with increased smugness) You should sell those keyboards on Ebay instead. They could easily fetch a $100 asking price from electronic music aficionados.

Me: Oh. (turning to make my purse and armful of purchases more visible so he figures out I don't live here)

Ian: They're very popular on Ebay.

Me: That's nice. (starting to sidestep out of the garage)

Ian: (highfalutin as all get-out) I'm something of an authority on them.

Me: Good for you. (almost out of the garage)

Ian: So, are you going to sell them on Ebay per my recommendation?

Me: No, because this isn't my house.

Shannon: (under her breath) Dude, why don't you just buy them and sell them on Ebay?

Ian: (already off to find his next victim amongst the tables of rummage)

For all I know, he's still standing there outside the house, telling everyone who passes by about the electronic music aficionados and the Interwebs and explaining how he thinks Ebay works whether they wanna hear it or not.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Top 10 things I miss about Helena today.

10. The Mount Helena Music Festival (which is this weekend, incidentally). More specifically, "The Spinner" (a woman dressed like a hippier Stevie Nicks who would, well, spin, for hours on end), and that one little kid that looked like a mini-me version of my friend Josh who would run around making the "ROCK!" sign and wagging his tongue like Gene Simmons at everybody.

Oh, and Nalgene bottles full of spiked orange juice.
Helena Music Fest '03.
Helena Music Fest '03.

9. "Beavis & Butthead Car Wash."
Beavis & Butthead car wash.

And while we're at it, this billboard.
If you beat him, he'll give you $50.
I wonder if anyone's taken him up on the beating offer yet.

8. The incredibly lame (yet blue-ribbon-award-winning!) 4-H entries at the county fair.
Oh, the county fairs in Helena were fantastic.

7. Canyon Ferry Lake.
At Canyon Ferry, July '03.

Georgia of liberty.

6. The gargoyles on top of the Atlas Building downtown.
Gargoyles on top of the Atlas Building.

5. Completely random & unexpected cattle drives down major highways.

4. The Vigilante Day Parade, which, I'm pretty sure, is the single greatest parade in America.
Vigilante Day Parade.

The time-honored tradition of...line dancing.
Historical, uh...line dancing!

Taking down the Unabomber.
Tackling the Unabomber!

And, of course--ninjas and pirates!
Ninjas vs. pirates.
Pirates vs. ninjas.
Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade's got nothing on this.

3. The Sleeping Giant.

2. My dinky little apartment.
My old kitchen.
Living room.
Moving day.

1. My posse.
Emily & Aine.
Bonnand's birthday, 2002.
Kevin, Owen & Aine.
Helena VISTA posse & associates, July 2002.
Summer city band, 2003.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

No, I did NOT have a Paula Poundstone phase.

The necktie was just a one-time thing, I swear...
Yes, I'm wearing a necktie.
(AHS graduation ceremony aftermath, 1994. By the way, that's Cousin Andy in the cap & gown, not to be confused with Brother Dewey, who graduated in the same ceremony.)

...and yet, despite the necktie, I still manage to come in 2nd in the "Goofiest-Looking Person in the Photo" contest. Sorry, Cousin Beth--my outfit may have been bad, but at least I took it off at the end of the day. No such luck with your Salt N' Pepa hair, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Alas, poor Hardee's.

Alas, poor Hardee's.
Progress marches on.

NYC Pt. 3: "Bridge Before Beers."

My Sunday in NYC was a day of perpetual motion, and perpetual heat. All told, by the end of the day, we'd walked and/or stood in lines for roughly eleven hours. Inevitably, this also led to some perpetual blisters...but it was worth it to cram so much in.

We went to the Lower East Side Tenement Museum (sorry, no pictures allowed, but there's some good ones in this Flickr pool) and crowded in hot, tight quarters learning about how immigrants used to crowd in hot, tight quarters. Fascinating place, although I left thinking about how relatively good a lot of those people had it compared to, say, some of my not-too-distant ancestors living out on the farm in Moquah. I guess each place had its advantages and disadvantages--the country folk had more room to move about and be self-sufficient with hunting & farming, while the city folks had far less space to spread out but more opportunities for employment & advancement. I think the mark of a good museum is one that leaves you with some questions answered, and some fresh ones to ponder on your own.

I also had my first trip to a dim sum restaurant...which, due to my aching feet and general heat-and-crowd-weariness, was like, totally overwhelming for me. Bear in mind I come from a town that until very recently had only one Chinese restaurant, a Chinese restaurant that's about as Americanized as they come--so the whole concept of flagging down waitstaff with carts full of food I can't readily identify or pronounce in a frantic room packed to the eaves with those far more familiar with the process than I am was a little bewildering. But it was highly delicious. Next time, I'll do better.

We didn't have any luck stowing away on a boat to Liberty Island this time around (the company that used to run the boats got ousted not too long ago), but we did find another free mode of transport--the Staten Island Ferry (some of which were built where my Aunt Betsy works at Manitowoc Marine Group in Marinette, Wisconsin). Most notable part of the trip: watching a really drunk Marine try to hold himself together long enough to go puke in a trash can instead of over the railing.
Staten Island Ferry.
Staten Island Ferry.
Staten Island Ferry.
Statue of Liberty, with Coast Guard boat.

After that, we hightailed it to a bar and got some food & brews. We went to this same place last time I was in town--I love the butcher-block paper on the tables. And the crayons.
An homage to the World's Largest Badger.

An homage to a fancypants with his Chablis and his olives.

There was only one problem: beer makes you forget that you are hot and blistery and that your feet hurt. And so when one of you says, "Hey, let's walk back to Brooklyn across the Brooklyn Bridge," you all respond, "Suuuure! Why not!" And sure, it's beautiful and the bridge is all lit up all special for the 125th anniversary of its opening, but then you get about halfway across and all you can think is OH MY GOD MY FEET ARE GOING TO FALL OFF.
Brooklyn Bridge.
Jamie and Regina on the Brooklyn Bridge.
And that's when you remember the rule: "Bridge before beers."

Welcome to Brooklyn.

Monday, June 23, 2008

It took me (almost) seven years... realize that I can adjust the height of my seat belt in my car.

Seven years of stranglings:


Alleviated by one second of button-pressing.

It took me almost seven years...
Neckcutter no more.

Talk about delayed gratification.

Friday, June 20, 2008

When the baking bug ATTACKS!

(And when, in an equally rare development, you have the house to yourself for the weekend.)
Making cookies.
The secret love. Or, coconut.

Batter ball.
Ed Grimley.
This reminds me of something.

Great success!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

An AmeriCorps tidbit in the news...

AmeriCorps Unit Helps River Town Take a Stand

"CLARKSVILLE, Mo. — The next time you feel like kvetching about how the federal government wastes your tax dollars, think about Kyle Henning and Katie Rooney. For health insurance, a few hundred bucks a month, a small educational grant and all the ready-to-eat meals they can stomach, they just might save your town..."

If you want to help out with the flood relief, please consider making a donation to the American Red Cross, which is in desperate need of disaster relief funds at this time.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

What did you learn today?

Mary, I need you to look up something on The Interwebs for me tonight.

Sure, what?

The world's oldest dairy cow used to live south of Ashland.


And I told my boss at work tonight, and she said I was making it up. And I wasn't.

...So you want me to look up the world's oldest cow?

The world's oldest dairy cow.

Me: Are there different categories?

Mom: I suppose there are.*

How old was it?

I dunno--fifty? A hundred? Something like that.

That's a pretty big window.

Just find something I can print out and show my boss. I'll paint her wagon.

--twenty minutes later--

Well, I'll be danged.**

* The world's oldest cow was Big Bertha. The oldest known living cow is apparently 27 and lives in Tennessee. And this is kind of adorable.

**See Page 3. Right above the one about how "Fisher-Place Mandingo" was "the first bull to produce one million units of semen."

Monday, June 16, 2008

NYC Pt. 2 : Panorama-Ding-Dong 2: Electric Boogaloo.

I've been here before, so let's skip the history lesson and cut to the chase: I love Flushing Meadows Park. I love the Panorama of the City of New York, I *heart* the Queens Museum of Art, and I wish I could build a reproduction of the Unisphere in my backyard so I could enjoy it on a daily basis. (Just imagine the flowerbeds my mom could plant around the base of one of those!)

Fortunately, Regina and Jamie are indulgent types, as long as there are carousels and/or hot dogs involved.
Hot dog.
Carousel in Corona Park.
Hot dogs: a cornerstone of our vacationing diet.

The Queens Museum of Art currently has an exhibit about the wide assortment of religious/spiritual influences in Queens that incorporates a couple of neat interactive components. In the snack bar, for instance, there's a wall of discarded cans, bags and boxes covered in red stickers that visitors can write prayers on & stick to their trash.

Some are more serious than others.
"I pray to lose my virginity."
Good stuff. (Although dang, looks like we just missed this one, which I would've loved to see!)

The Panorama-Ding-Dong: still awesome. Even more awesome? Having a camera with a better zoom on it than last time I was there.
Balcony around the edge of the Panorama.
Empire State Building.
Central Park.
Regina and Jamie.

Last, but most certainly not least, we headed over to the Unisphere.

Inadvertently looking like I'm trying to "raise the roof."
This is what happens when you have poor art direction--instead of looking like you're valiantly lifting the ginormous steel sphere, you look like you're standing around an empty water fountain, "raising the roof."