A few weekends back, I finally got off my butt and went down to visit my friends Melissa & Daren at their house in St. Paul. We've been talking about doing that for, like, three or four years - I don't know what's come over me, but it seems like ever since I moved back here, going anywhere outside of a 60-mile radius of Ashland sounds incredibly exhausting. When I was in Montana, a three hour drive was nothing - heck, even a ten hour drive didn't seem all that daunting. What happened to me? Are my parents rubbing off on me or something?
Anyway - I've known Mel since we were in middle school, and Daren since our second year of college in Duluth, so we all go way back. They're two of the funniest people I know, and we share an appreciation for the finer things in life, like dumpster diving, secondhand shops, and really bad movies. We speak a common language of silliness.
It was graduation weekend for most of the colleges in the area...we didn't have any luck locating the dumpsters on some of the private colleges' campuses (fancypants!), but we scored some finds around the U of M. Unfortunately, in addition to it being moving-out weekend for the students, it was also moving-out week for the tentworms - they were all over campus, swarming over trees and sidewalks and at times, they seemed to be raining down from the sky itself. Also unfortunately, at least for a hobbit like me, was the U of M's decision to rent the tallest damn dumpsters I've ever encountered in all my years of collegiate dumpster diving. At least Mel & D stood a fighting chance of peeking over the tops to survey the treasures hidden inside. (To stretch the Lord of the Rings references further, if I'd be cast as a hobbit, they'd be cast as elves or those really lanky tree creatures.)
This is where Ikea futons go to die.
Also on our agenda: a trip to Ax-Man Surplus in St. Paul, which is pretty much one of my favorite places ever. The first time I went there was over a decade ago - I've wanted to go back ever since, but couldn't remember the name of the joint or how Daren got us there back-in-the-day. I don't even know how to begin to describe their stores - they're junk shops, I guess, but it's awesome junk. And the signs...their signs are legendary. I took 75 pictures in there, and trust me, that's only a drop in the bucket. I could spend days in there looking around. If you're ever in the area, go! (I've only been to their St. Paul branch, but the other three look like a lot of fun, too.)
I would be remiss if I didn't mention that we watched...The Room. (Despite Mel's repeated efforts to shield me from it. "Oh, god, are you going to make her watch the whole thing?") I was unfamiliar with The Room before Daren queued it up on his computer...life will never be the same. I've watched a lot of bad movies in my day, but this one takes the cake. It takes a whole bakery's worth of cakes. Many of my friends are familiar with the MST3K classic, Manos: Hands of Fate. Let me tell you, this movie is sub-Torgo material. A sample:
And last but not least, to cleanse the palate - Daren and Mel introduced me to Literal Music Videos on YouTube. These two are my favorites.