Trombone and Kegger Party on our Deck!!

This weekend we'll be hanging with my family in Wisco.

I'm amped to tell my dad about all the projects we've rokked this spring.

He visited for a week back in December and showed much love to our house.

During that week Gerg and my dad took time off from their daily routines and worked on projects pertaining to our house (in addition to acting like goofballs).

When I was a youngin, my dad imparted great gypsy-style wisdom. For instance, life's recipe should consist of 1 part acting goofy and 1 part getting shit done. It should also contain coffee, jumping out at people from around corners, oatmeal, dark chocolate, dancing, old fashioneds, and trombones.

Taking this recipe to heart, during the winter of 2006-07, gerg and I had daydreams of cookouts on a deck with keggers, trombones, and dance parties, so we decided to rokk it.

First step, patio door installation.
Second step, deck installation.
Third step, kegger trombone party.

First, there was a window, and this window was used for pretty much nothing except window-type stuff.

"Hmmmm...I wonder if this button will teletransport me to Town Talk??"

Say hello to a gigantic hole in our wall. This gigantic hole made a mess in the kitchen. I bitched at the hole. The hole did nothing.

T.Rex never had it so good!

Patio door installed!!! One step closer to kegs and trombones! (check out the sweet shot of gerg's crucial mitre saw!)

Stay tuned for hot deck installation photos.

We'll invite my dad to the deck, kegger, trombone dance party FO SHO. He'll lead the bunny hop parade, as usual.

Big, Red, Juicy Ones!

This story starts out boring. I planted 3 tomato plants this year...all heirloom, all organic. Nothing new for me...I've been doing this for years.

One plant has produced NOTHING.
One plant had produced 2 tomatoes.
One plant has produced many cherry tomatoes.

Notice I used "had" regarding the second plant?? Right. There were two lovely, green tomatoes that had been anticipating making their way into a juicy caprese salad in my robot kitchen. I was just waiting for them to ripen.

But a squirrel took one bite from each of the tomatoes and left the shitty, green remains there for us in the garden. Color me pissed.

After the first tomato was attacked, I remained hopeful for the second. And then the remains of the second one were lying on a piece of flagstone, all corpse-like. gerg pointed it out. I just left it there to rot because I felt super shitty and pissed off about it.

And I know it's no big, f-ing deal, and that I can buy dozens at the market, but I've been working on this new veggie patch for a couple of months now, and I've grown attached to it.

We've got plenty of these sungold cherry tomatoes, and they are wikked tasty, but they're not big, red, and juicy....

I Just Wanna Talk Shit.

I checked out the Macy's shoe sale this weekend. It turned out to be a decision of HUGE savings.

When I saw these pink beauties, I fell faster than kids diving for candy at a parade.

And these were marked down 70%! I heart cloggy platform pumps. Not particularly elegant, but for some reason, I like them.

After having scored such an amazing deal, I decided to rokk the pink beauties at the attitude city yacht party on Saturday night. I got some mad props from some folks about them, which made me smile, especially from Ellen and Tyler: "You win for the best shoes of the night." I think I squealed and hugged them because I was so excited about my new shoes. IDIOT!

I'm SO not a professional; I should've acted sweet and modest, and returned the compliment, but I think I started blabbing about vintage purses or something. Anyway, that was wikked sweet of you, Tyler and Ellen. Thanks so much. Next time I'll be more polite, and I'll tell you that I loved the color combo of Tyler's jacket, and the cut of Ellen's empire waist sundress.

I don't know how it could have been a more lovely night for circling Lake Minnetonka while blasting disco music and bustin a move on a lightup dance floor to DVS1 and Attitude City with gerg and Liz, among others.

I saw pirates making out, many captain caps, plenty of sailor-inspired/yachting apparel, some freaks racing all over the boat dressed all in black, and a few houses I'd like to somehow storm and capture.

This chic and I were gabbing about some bitch who was flirting with her man. She wasn't worried or anything, just annoyed.

Me: "Are you gonna go SAY something to her? Or dump something on her head?
She: "No. I don't wanna START shit...I just wanna TALK shit."
Me: "I'm going to make a tshirt for you with that quote."
Some party pics.

More Flavorful and Less Chewy

photo by sfunk

My brother, Mark, had a couple of paper routes when we were kids. He got paid very little to lugs bags of papers around the neighborhood. What a racket.

Mainly, he, a bunch of his posse, and I would take turns delivering the papers while we practiced swear words and looked at Garbage Pail Kid cards (peep the link to find your card). They never made a card for me, but it's cool.

As we grew older, I didn't join him as much because I played Barbies or roller skated with my best friend, Jenny, instead...which was fine with him, I'm sure, since we were reaching adolesence by that point.

On Saturdays, he'd take his paper route money down to the Candyman store, right next to the movie theatre, pictured above.

There, he would usually buy Now and Laters and Fairy Food (the chocolate coated hard stuff that melted in your mouth). Since I was his little sister, and sometimes helped him with his paper route, he'd buy me something when I tagged along to the Candyman.

Mambas were usually my first choice.

So gerg and I rented a movie not too long ago, and I picked out Mambas for some movie candy, remembering how much I loved them as a kid.

The sad news is: Mambas are not as tasty as I remembered. I remember them being more flavorful and less chewy.

Then I thought to myself that if what I really want is more flavor and less chew, I should just drink whiskey.

Anywho, it reminded me of how my brother and I used to kick it when we were kids, and that was worth WAY MORE than the $.85 gerg spent.

Even though he stopped buying me candy, Mark eventually introduced me to gerg, and I think they're both pretty happy about that.

Lucky Bitches

We're SO nice, until you piss us off.

Gerg and I were riding the Nighthawk back from Pizza Nea the other night after a sweet jazz and pizza date.

Gerg is a wikked attentive driver, thankfully. We were both pretty shocked when some bitch came plowing directly towards us in her Nissan driving on the wrong side of the street.

We were driving through an intersection where the cross traffic had to stop, but our lane wasn't required to stop. Gerg had to stop suddenly in the middle of the intersection and the bitch driving towards us in our lane finally slammed on her brakes, stopping about 4 feet in front of us. She came "this close" to a head-on collision with us. We both slid forward suddenly on the bike, but neither of us fell down, or anything.

There's another car at a stop sign at the intersection, and I hear the girl in that car who witnessed the shit yell, "Jesus Christ!!" through her open window. I seconded that in my head. I think I was too shocked say anything at first.

The bitch who almost hit us had stopped in the middle of the lane on the wrong side of the road, probably confused about why she was driving on the wrong f-ing side of the street.

Gerg yells "Get off the road!!" at the the bitch as we drive around the car to continue on our way. And here's the part that really pisses me off....the dude in the passenger seat was smiling - maybe even laughing as we drove around them. I understand that accidents happen, but laughing in the face of the people you almost ran over is rude. I totally flipped them off.

As we drove away, I daydreamed about jumping off the bike right there, ripping him out of the car through the passenger window and sinking my heel into his eyesocket, screaming, "WHO'S LAUGHING NOW, mother-f-er?!?!" Instead, I rubbed gerg's shoulders and commended him on his deft motorcycle driving skilz.

Bitches are SO lucky. And fortunately, I didn't scuff my new peeptoe pumps from Ireland during the incident. Lucky. Bitches.

Local Foods for Thoughts

Not too long ago, I read that olive oil was available for sale at the Mill City Market. What up wit dat??

So I went to the market to check out the olive oil sitch this weekend, and sure enough - Valli Dell'etna Olio di Oliva representatives were there slinging 4 varities of olive oil. Very tasty olive oil, I might add. You might remember Valli Dell’Etna from the strib's The Taste 50 this past May.

Not to jump to conclusions, I asked sales rep Josephine Mangano a few questions. The lowdown: Valli Dell'etna Olio di Oliva is, in fact, produced in Sicily by her family. It is then shipped to Minneapolis and distributed and marketed locally by Josephine. That's when I slammed on the brakes.

Perplexed was I because my understanding was that the Mill City Market was distinguishing itself through its mission for local foods: "Our mission is to promote local, sustainable and organic agriculture, increasing economic opportunities for farmers, urban youth, small businesses and food artisans. To offer experiential learning about and access to healthy local foods, and build a vibrant gathering place for Minneapolis residents and visitors." It's a neat little market right next to the Guthrie.

There was no question, for me, about the quality of the Valli Dell'etna olive oil. I just couldn't understand why it was being sold at a "local foods" market. "Perhaps I missed the boat entirely on this one," I thought to myself, "maybe Valli Dell'etna falls under the 'small business/food artisan' aspect of the Mill City Market mission." But I couldn't shake the feeling that Valli Dell'etna somehow didn't fit in with the rest of the local farmers and producers at the market.

I decided to see if Mill City Market had any info on their web site about their definition of local foods, but couldn't find much. I couldn't find Mill City Market's guidelines for farmers and producers on their web site either. "Perhaps the fact that the product is being distributed locally by the same family that produces it in Silicy makes Valli Dell'etna a local, small business," I speculated.

So I took some time to think about the general definition of local foods. My understanding of local foods is the standard: "foods that are produced locally." But what about a small, family operation like Valli Dell'etna? I know it's a small artisan operation, but should it be considered "local" in the scheme of things?

Sure, it can be called organic, and even sustainably produced. But local?

SO...this is where I'm at now: Overall, does Valli Dell'etna's presence at the market broaden or compromise the "local foods" message of the Mill City Market?

This dialog I had (with myself and gerg) reminded me of Pollan's piece about "local" foods, "No Bar Code". He encountered an organic producer who wouldn't ship him a broiler chicken because "shipping meat all around the country" wasn't sustainable. Says Pollan, "By definition, local is a hard thing to sell in a global marketplace. Local food, as opposed to organic, implies a new economy as well as a new agriculture—new social and economic relationships as well as new ecological ones. It’s a lot more complicated."


07/23/07 UPDATE (in a message from Sandra): "I got the skinny from Marjorie who runs the Mill City Farmer's market: all of the meat and produce is guaranteed to be local but they are making exception on some specialty items, such as the olive oil. No worries on the meat/produce front though."

No Tortellini for Town Talkers

On Tuesday night, gerg took me to Town Talk for a celebratory dinner. We scored the sweet spots at the bar, close to the kitchen, and we feasted. (Thanks for the dinner and the roses gerg. You are ACES in the boyfriend department!!)

gerg had the grilled new york strip. He ate every bite of the potato salad and the chimichuri sauce served with the steak.

I had the fantastic halibut special and a 40 of Schlitz Malt Liquor.

Then we devoured a pile of berries tossed with black pepper and topped with whipped cream.

We had the opportunity to chat up cocktail guru Aaron Johnson while we were at the bar. Tim Niver popped over to shakes hands and say hello - always such a gentleman. We talked with Aaron about some of the local producers he's been working with...specifically his brandy wine tomato supplier. And so I thought the time had come to finally ask him about the pasta joint.

Here's a relatively weak, but factual, synopsis of that part of the conversation:
Me: "So, there's been some talk around town....Can I ask you what's going on with the pasta joint?"
He: "Sure."
Me: "What's going on with the pasta joint?"
He (summary): It's not happening. We're gonna skip it.
Me: "NOOOOOO! I was SO excited about having some good pasta around here. All we've got is Al Vento over here."
He: "Yeah, Jonathon does a nice job there."
Me:"And Broders, but that's not really over here."
He walks away to fill some water glasses and returns to fill my glass from the now half full 40.

Me: "Well, so NOW what?"
He (summary): You haven't seen the last of our search for other opportunities. And something new will be happening in the Carne Asada building, but it's not our gig, so it's not my information to share on the record. (editor's note: I respect that about Aaron)
Me: "So are you gonna offer more pasta dishes here since you're not opening the new place?"
He: (nodding head) "Yeah, maybe some fall/winter dishes..."
Me: "Cool. Can I put that info on my blog...about how you're not opening the pasta joint?"
He: "Yes"...and he tops off my glass from the almost empty 40 of Schlitz.
Me to gerg: "I think I'm getting tipsy."

Aaron shared more information, off the record, but I can assure you we left feeling comforted about the pasta loss, and looking forward to what's coming around the bend for the Town Talk trio, even if it isn't gonna happen in our neighborhood. And as gerg escorted me out of the diner, both Nick and Aaron offered "congratulations!" about my promotion - total sweethearts!

Could I be the Happiest Girl in the Twin Cities Today?

I know blogs are all about bitching and ranting about various miseries and/or other curiosities, but today I am ecstatic.

I've been promoted to the jobby-job I've wanted for years! YAY!! Senior Editor!

All the schooling, all the "putting in my dues," all the self doubt, anxiety and poverty finally paid off.

I don't really say prayers or offer sacrifices or anything, but I'm offering up my thanks to any beings or spirits or robots who helped me along the way.

Raise a glass with me!

Are the Eyes the Gate to the Emoticon's Soul???

Here's something that I prolly shouldn't reveal about myself; emoticons amuse me.

Today, if you AIMed me, you'd get monkey emoticons...yesterday, skullz. I'm not saying they're cool. I'm saying, I DIG EM!! I want to be careful about saying that because that doesn't mean I want sheets of emoticon stickers or emoticon t-shirts or any of that crap. I only like them in cyberform.

Earlier I read this about Asian emoticons, and it blew my mind:

"Users from East Asia popularized a style of emoticons that can be understood without turning one's head to the left.

These emoticons are usually found in a format similar to (*_*), where the asterisks indicate the eyes, the central character, usually an underscore, the mouth, and the parentheses, the outline of the face. A large number of different characters can be used to replace the eyes, which usually is where the emoticon derives its emotive aspect (contrasting the Western emoticons' emoting through the mouth). The emphasis on the eyes is reflected in the common usage of emoticons that use only the eyes, e.g. ^^. Characters like hyphens or periods can replace the underscore; the period is often used for a smaller, "cuter" mouth or to represent a nose, e.g. (^.^). Alternatively, the mouth/nose can be left out entirely, e.g. (^^). The parentheses also can often be replaced with braces, e.g. {^_^}. Many times, the parentheses are left out completely, e.g. ^^ or o_O or <.<;; A quotation mark ", apostrophe ', or semicolon ; can be added to the emoticon to imply apprehension or embarrassment, in the same way as the anime sweat drop. Many other characters can be appended to also indicate arms or hands, e.g. <(^_^)> or ⊂( ゚ ヮ゚)⊃ or <(--<)" from wikipedia

(click on the image for a better view)

( '_' ) Whoa. That totally just freaked my establishment.

I Was Somewhat in the Dark About Chipotle

Of COURSE I've eaten food purchased at Chipotle.

Of COURSE I've enjoyed said food and appreciated their committment to fresh, natural ingredients, and I've read this on their menu: "Our naturally raised meats are free of antibiotics and added growth hormones, fed a vegetarian diet and humanely raised." I don't eat "meats," but I appreciate the effort. I've also heard IIII rave about Chipotle more than once. So bascially, Chipotle has a favorable reputation with me.

Thing is, I live near about 250 mexican-style restaurants in South Minneapolis, and usually opt for El Norteno if I want a burrito, or I head to some hole in the wall I've never tried. Cuz that's how I roll.

That said, I have enjoyed the vegetarian fajita burrito at Chipotle. FO SHO.

Until this week, I wasn't aware of Chipotle's FOOD WITH INTEGRITY committment, which makes me give Chipotle the ol' doubletake cuz sustainable agriculture activism gets my butter churning.

Naturally raised pork, chicken, and beef are part of their mission to provide natural foods. The hard part is finding enough of it to go 100%, so says Mike Fuller, a marketing consultant with Chipotle: “'We’re really proud to offer naturally raised meats but we can’t get enough of it,'” said Mike Fuller, a marketing consultant with Chipotle. “'We’ve proven there is a demand for this kind of food and funding these research initiatives would make it possible for us to get more of these products locally.'” (quote lifted from the Land Stewardship Project Newsletter)

Fuller testified before the Senate High Ed Finance Committee on the need for more sustainable livestock research at the U of M, along with others, including livestock farmer Paul Sobocinski and Kathy Sheran.

So no, I'm not going to give up the unknown whatnots of the local fair in my neck of the non-woods, despite my uncertantites, but I will give Chipotle a high five and exclaim, "that red chili tomatillo is pretty f-ing good! I'm coming back for more!"

Celebrating Independence and Interdependence

First we celebrated independence by going to a lake in Wisconsin. We stayed at a cottage owned by gerg's relatives, Ken and Bev. However, "cottage" is deceptive as this place is pretty big, IMO. I would call it a "lakehouse". We did all sorts of lake activities including swimming, building bon fires, drinking from plastic cups, grilling meats, playing card games with 12 people, playing golf, and getting sunburned. Second, we celebrated interdependence by attending a wedding.

We celebrated my independence from being a human by attaching Dara's wakeboard to my head because I'm a boathead!! It's kind of like I'm a transformer, which is A-OK with me cuz Optimus Prime and I would be down, FOR REAL. I spent about 20 minutes trying to come up with a good Transformer name.

Lakota celebrated his independence from a fenced-in backyard in the city by jumping into the lake repeatedly, retrieving a water-logged 2x4.

gerg celebrated his independence by freeing his moon from his swimtrunks while he was wakeboarding past his parents as they sat on the pier.

After a bunch of margaritas, I took photos of the bonfire.

Eventually, we left the lake, cuz Goldie and Popsicle got married on 07-07-07. We threw candy at them. It got in their eyes.

During the ceremony, an accoustic band played "I was Made for Loving You" by Kiss. The melody was played on accordian.

No drinks cuz we had a 3-hour drive back to the cottage, and I needed to help gerg watch out for DEER.

We did, however, eat cake.

Missed Michael Pollan? Here's the Audio

According to Zimmern many, like me, missed out on Michael Pollan's "Where does your food come from?" speech at the Landscape Arboretum this spring.

The audio of the event is available online here.


We'll be Held up by The Police

So normally, gerg and I would be heading to his uncle's cottage on Tuesday night for Independence Day (er, week).

Basically his whole fam-damily gets together for a week at the cottage to celebrate their independence from Great Britain. To do this, they sip old fashioneds, play with boats and other water-related toys, play ping pong, and visit other folks who live on the lake. Oh beautiful for spacious skies, and people who live on lakes!

However, this year, we're heading to the cottage a lil' later because we're hitting The Police show on Tuesday night at the Excel Center! HELL YES. My country tis of thee, sweet land of raggae and punk influenced rokk music, of thee I sing!

The Police Reunion Tour started in May in Vancouver. We saw them rokk on the Grammy Awards last year and decided then that we wanted to see the live show. There were no signs of Sting's strange jazz crap in the reunion show (not that I don't like jazz, cuz believe me, I do, but Sting's new-agey wierdness was GROSS).

The Reunion Tour looks to be da BOMB (photo swiped from wikipedia).

Set list:

* Message in a Bottle
* Synchronicity II
* Spirits in the Material World (not played in Phoenix, Dallas or Houston)
* Voices Inside My Head/When The World Is Running Down
* Don't Stand So Close to Me
* Driven To Tears
* Walking on the Moon (moved earlier and replaced "Spirits" in Dallas & Houston)
* Truth Hits Everybody
* Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic
* Wrapped Around Your Finger
* The Bed's Too Big Without You (moved earlier and played before "Truth" in Houston)
* Murder By Numbers (not played in Oakland, Denver, Phoenix, Dallas or Houston)
* De Do Do Do, De Da Da Da
* Invisible Sun
* Walking In Your Footsteps
* Can't Stand Losing You/Reggatta De Blanc
* Roxanne

Encore I:

* King of Pain
* So Lonely
* Every Breath You Take

Encore II:

* Next To You

I have a hard time choosing a favorite Police song. I Can't Stand Losing is crucial, but I also dig Don't Stand So Close to Me, and Every Breath you Take . Oh say, does that Sting-spangled ROKK show yet ROKK o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

btw - I *heart* patriotic jams, as I was raised by members of a marching band who loved John Phillips Sousa more than beer.