April 28, 2003

joy theme: stanza 2 (4-part strings)

That was one heck of a weekend.

On Friday night a pack of Woochers got together at Jon’s Secret Place, a beautiful rock ridge at the top of a cliff, overlooking Duluth, Superior and the Lake. We uprooted dead trees, started a bonfire and frolicked all night long while eating Spicy Hot Blues. Chris found the Coolest Climbing Tree Ever, which was a brittle birch that required one to perform a gravity-defying pendulum swing technique up to the first branch in order to climb it. I got to the very top branches and shook the tree and made monkey noises. As the sun fell and the stars rose, conversation around the fire drifted to such topics as graduation, dating and the new hit video game, Pornegon Trail. The goal of the game is to survive the Oregon Trail with as few living children as possible.

You have reached a river. What would you like to do?

A thief came in the night and stole 37 boxes of condoms.
You have TWO new STDs.

Saturday afternoon, five of us took to the Petersen Family Van and went to the circus. I wore a black leather jacket (a side-zip, even) that Brian was kind enough to give to me the previous night, and made threatening gestures at clowns. People told me I was a week early for the monster truck show. I told them to shut their filthy holes. Luckily the circus had a tightrope motorcycle act and two guys riding dirtbikes around inside an iron hamster ball.

There was a measly one person outside the DECC protesting the circus for animal rights, and she didn’t even have a puppet. Ryan claimed we payed the animal abuse surcharge, which guaranteed that the animals would get extra beatings just for us. The tigers got real cranky every time they were asked to jump through flaming hoops or something equally ludicrous. The elephants looked weepy and depressed, and had tired red eyes. When the kids got to ride them during setbreak they wore mattresses on their backs.

The bears were dressed up in wild west outfits, complete with spurs, chaps, hats and teen bear angst. When the kids got to have their pictures taken with the bear he sat upright in an easy chair in a mock living room setting. If the bear had had a bottle of Michelob he would have looked like a drunk uncle watching TV. The ringleader fed the bear Honeycomb, and the kids didn’t get any Honeycomb because a thick chunk of clear plastic separated their living room from the bear’s living room.

Saturday night was the bathrobe party at the Wooch! house, where we found a drawer full of balloons that were quickly put to indecent uses. Someone somewhere has pictures, I’m sure. The entire night, Sandy kept pretending she was Stewart from Mad TV and was disturbingly good at it… not surprising, as she had spent the bulk of her weekend watching some freshly downloaded Stewart episodes. Ryan called 1-800-ROMANCE but they refused to deliver at this time of night so he hung up. Ryan called Wal-Mart and they hung up on him. Sandy called Black Bear Casino and tried to gamble over the phone with her credit card. They hung up on her.

Sunday afternoon we plugged in a few Invader Zim episodes as I scrambled to finish this week’s humor article. At 3:00, right as Chris, Laura and I were getting ready to drive down to Minneapolis to see String Cheese Incident at the Orpheum Theatre, Mark (Mr. Silent C, himself!) called from Italy. Since we needed to get down to the Cities we spoke only briefly, but he called back after the Petersen Family Van hit the road. Call me primitive or easily amused or whatnot, but I think it’s damn cool when I can be driving southbound on I-35 from Duluth to Minneapolis, talking on the phone to a friend who is standing in the streets of Florence, Italy.

We found Downtown Minneapolis without incident, tossed the van in a parking garage and hit Hennepin Avenue. Laura found an excellent crack climb on one building that would have allowed us to scale all ten stories. Laura also saw two guys sniffing crack. We ate at TGI Friday’s and I ordered the chicken with confetti on it. Soon we filed into the Orpheum, where I ran into Nick from UWS and Charlie from Hopkins. Nick advised I check out String Cheese this summer when they play at Horning’s Hideout in Oregon. Charlie said he might end up in Oregon for a few brief months this summer. Slowly, ever so slowly, the tapestry is already weaving itself back together out on the west coast, and I haven’t even left yet.

String Cheese played an excellent show, as is only proper for the last show of their tour. We spent the entire concert dancing in the aisles where people kept crawling out of my back to go dance somewhere else. I’d be standing there, minding my own business and grooving away, and suddenly there would be a person moving behind me. It’s impossible that they would have been able to sneak up undetected like that, so the only logical conclusion is that they came out of my back. It was actually quite a disturbing experience.

We left the theatre and stopped to adjust our Chacos for the walk back to the Van, and a fellow asked us for change. We told him we were poor college students. He understood. As we walked away a short, bare-chested man in tight black leather pants and heels came walking by. I doubt even the beggar had the guts to ask him for change. We spent the rest of our energies freestyle walkin’, and Chris eventually perfected the fake grind. I attempted an inverted handplant on a granite bench and almost lost my arm. When we reached the garage we couldn’t figure out how to get back in, so we ran up the car ramp where it said DO NOT RUN UP THE CAR RAMP. We jumped in the Van, and after spending ten minutes trying to feed dollar bills into the Auto-Money-Grubber 2000 we were back on the streets, Caravan style.

We stopped at a gas station a ways out of the Cities and bought Red Bull and a few gallons of water. It was around midnight, but I decided not to get gas because I can’t stand to get gas when I still have half a tank left. Gimme the red, gimme the sliver, and I’ll roll it to the pump on fumes. A couple hundred miles later, when the Van really (I mean really) needed gas, we suddenly couldn’t find any stations that were operational.

With the Distance ‘Til Empty-O-Meter saying 14 miles until certain doom, and our tired little brains saying certain doom has been crossed long ago, we finally rolled into the Duluth station at Boundary Avenue. With a full belly the Van chugged down the hill into the thick of Duluth just after 2:30, and soon everyone was back at their respective places of slumber.