Posts tagged st. paul
Many and many a year ago a couple of outdoorsy guys named Lewis and Clark went from some place out east, west to Napa Valley and back looking for refined wines and tan babes. They had half of the dangers we have in the modern world, yet they lost half their party. Priscilla and I did almost the same thing last week and no one died. I can’t believe they got paid for that and we didn’t. Anyway, (que flash back music) it went a little something like this…
We wanted to go out to Denver to visit our good friend Steph. Since the government outright refused to commission us to do this, we decided to pay for it ourselves. After months of foreknowledge of the trip, we started planning on Tuesday night- the night we were leaving. We decided to drive to Sioux Falls, SD the first night. Our friend William Shatner helped us negotiate a deal on a room at the Sheraton last minute, which was nice of him. And now we just had to get there in one piece…
Looming over our heads was the bat-shit crazy prophecy of some lady Priscilla works with. She told her that she has a recurring dream where Priscilla and I die in a horrible car wreck and they also find that Priscilla is pregnant with our first child. She followed that zinger up with several other stories about how she’d dreamed things that had come true, concluding happily that she’s always right about these things… (I kind of feel like, if you don’t have anything nice to prophesy about, then don’t prophesy about anything at all.)
We arrived at the Sheriton at about 1am and we went to sleep. The morning had harsh news waiting for us. There was no continental breakfast. I know we only paid $50 for the room… but normally it was $129. I expect breakfast with anything I pay that much for. But, we didn’t throw in the towel- not on reaching Denver, and not on eating breakfast.
Before we continued on, we need to get a new camera, so we set out looking for a department store. The rural west is like some national park where endangered department stores like Pamida and Shopko hide from extinction. We came upon a Kmart in a desolate parking lot. We were able to get inside before it saw us and ran away. There amidst the Jacklyn Smith collection we found the stores remaining electronics and bought a camera. CNow wer were ready to face the long blah of South Dakota.
Here’s a red flag questions for states. Is everything valuable, desirable, or bearable significantly closer to an adjoining state than to the interior of the state itself? If so, it’s likely that state blows. Case in point: South Dakota. (For further examples please see Nebraska, Illinois, or Kansas. If you are unsure of where desirable parts of your state are, try googling your state. If you reside in North Dakota, then google the state you’re planning on living in when you move.)
To get to the ironically named “Bad” Lands and “Black” Hills of South Dakota you need to drive through several hundred miles of utter crap. Rolling fields of nothing. The only thing to do is just take the car to top speed and surf the Internet to stay awake while you drive. The best parts of the state lay on it’s meaty west side, close to the frightening Montana.
In the bad lands we took video on our cell phone of me running into a field of hundreds of prairie dogs trying to chase them, but all you can see is my blurry head moving back and forth with lots of ambient wind noise. I’m not going to include it. However, I feel it’s important to note that I did that.
After chasing prairie dogs, climbing out the clay edges of the hill things, and purchasing potato chips for an inebriated native who asked us for a ride to the next town, we’d seen every thing South Dakota had to offer. We were ready to get to Deadwood. Also Walldrug sucks- It just sucks.
We finally got to Deadwood and I won $100 from a dealer who was a jerk. Which was good because William Shatner was no help with the hotel rates in Deadwood. We payed $90 for a queen room. …this was the smallest hotel room I had ever seen; like someone crammed a queen bed into the bathroom. What’s worse? No continental breakfast. I was really starting to get irritated by that…
The next day we woke up and got ready to go to Bear Country USA! Bear Country is this zoo type place where all the animals roam free, and you drive through and look at them. They can walk up to the cars- I even heard that a few toddlers got killed there! We were pumped.
We exited Deadwood and were back on the open road. An hour later we saw a welcome to Wyoming sign. The realization that we’d made a huge mistake flooded over us the same way it floods over most people who find themselves reading that sign. In our case, the mistake was that we were trying to get over by Mount Rushmore, south east of Deadwood, and instead we went south west and ended up in another state. Fortunately, the road we accidentally took did happen to go to Denver, so we decided to keep going and leave Bear Country for another time.
Wyoming is big and it has hills. Hills kind of vary state to state. Minnesota has river bluffs, which are steep and cliff like. The black hills are pretty steep too, but they’re not following a river and there aren’t really cliffs. They are pretty much all pines too, where as Minnesota sports a greater variety of trees. Wyoming has these really slow slopping large hills with lots of scrub brush on them. I know this whole paragraph is really boring… this was the best I could come up with for the five hours I was in Wyoming.
Eventually we got to Colorado, and shortly after that we could see the Rocky Mountains. The looked just like the Coors can. Denver’s elevation is about a mile from sea level, so they call it the mile high city- not to be confused with the mile high club, which is something else. We found our friend Steph, and went out for fish tacos- the second time in a week. It made me nervous and awkward, but I did it.
The next day we set out on a mission to cross the continental divide and hike deep into the Rock Mountains. We drove for several ear popping hours west and up. One interesting thing we noticed is that all the trees were dead. Steph’s boyfriend Glen told us that some mutant beatle had been feeding on the trees, and due to global warming, it doesn’t get cold enough to kill them in the winter anymore. I suggested burning them out, but in retrospect I guess regrowing the whole forest after the fact should probably be a last resort. Anyway, I could the spirit of John Denver singing about planting trees all the way.
Steph and Glen like to go hiking, and they’ve both lived in Denver for years. So they took us to a mountain slope they knew and we stared up. I was pretty worried about cougar attacks because they are on the ‘remotely possible’ spectrum of things that could happen, and I’m on the ‘very much so’ spectrum of paranoid. It’s just like Kurt Cobain said, ‘Just because you’re paranoid don’t mean I’m not after you.’ …and in this case I think that applies to mountain lions.
I was watching my back pretty closely, and bravely refusing to let Priscilla carry up the rear. (Is that the correct phraseology for that? ’Carry up the rear?’) Cougars, as we all know, like to attack from behind and from above if possible. Naturally they also go straight for the jugular. If you see a cougar in the woods, the only reason you’re seeing it is because it’s stalking you. They’re a no nonsense killer. Not at all like the all too common brown bear, which is known to be pretty much a wuss.
As we hiked, something changed about my brain. I started to care less and less about the enormous killer feline that was probably right behind me. I started to feel a little woozy. My legs weren’t tired at all, but I was out of breath and my heart was beating a mile a minute. Priscilla must have been feeling the same way because she was complaining even more than usual. Steph and Glen seemed just fine. Then it struck me, we’d caught the Rocky Mountain High.
Aside from a pretty mediocre song, it’s also what happens to you when the elevation reduces the amount of oxygen in the air. Also known as ‘elevation sickness’ and ‘tennis elbow.’ Even though I diagnosed this, Steph and Glen kept right on moving at a normal pace up the mountain, presuming we were pansies. They’re like the creatures from Superman II who come to earth and find that they have super powers because of the yellow sun and their super dense bodies. …only it was like the reverse, and we went to their planet and could no longer use our laser eyesight. It totally sucked.
Eventually it started to get dark. We were at about 13,000 feet by then, only a few hundred from the summit. The trees were thinning and snow was on the ground in spots. We were on a clear mountain lake next to the ruins of a small encampment with log cabins that were probably a few hundred years old. The road to the summit started to switch back after that, so it would have taken too long to get up to the top and back down again before dark, so we decided to go home. And then, my phone rang.
Yes, at 13,000 feet, on the side of a mountain, my cell phone rang.
Phone: *ring ring*
Chris: “Dude, what’s up? We’re watching this video of this old show from high school for Todd’s band, and you were running sound. You totally suck at running sound…”
David: “I’m at 13,000 feet on the side of a mountain”
David: “On mountain, reception bad”
Chris: “You want to talk to Todd?”
David: “There are lions here.”
Todd: “What’s up man?”
David: “One ate my hand.”
David: “I’m on a mountain at 13,000 feet, I can’t talk”
Todd: “Yeah, we’re watching this video from high school”
David: “I can’t hear anything, I’m on a mountain.”
Todd: “So what are you guys doing?”
David: “I’m on a mountain, I can’t talk Todd”
Todd: “Ok, well I should probably let you go.”
Thanks Verizon, for letting me share that incoherent moment with someone 1000 miles east, and 12,000 feet down.
Anyway, we went back down, and no one was eaten. The rest of the trip I had a splitting headache, which I later learned was also part of the Rocky Mountain High. So, to combat feeling hung over, we went to a winery. I knew nothing about wines. I knew they were color coded, and that was it. The biggest surprise for me was that these little taste test things with wine and cheese and crackers are free. Free! Yeah, you go to the place that makes the wine, and they just give it to you. Then they serve you free snacks. I also learned I prefer Cabs to Shiraz and Merlot; and I prefer the cheese and crackers to wine.
After that we went to an art show, then to the obligatory performance. Jason wasn’t with us in town, but the good people of Denver still wanted a show. So Priscilla and I played a short acoustic set at The Hi Dive. When it was done, we promptly said our good buys to Denver and our friends, and hit the road. By the time we were edging dangerously close to Nebraska we decided to stop for the night. We went to this cheap joint that I’m positive several people were had been murdered in. And, wouldn’t you guess it, no free breakfast. I could have screamed. Instead I peed in the courner of the room.
We awoke with the heavy weight of the length of Nebraska in front of us. The first sign we see entering the freeway: DO NOT PICK UP HITCHHIKERS, FEDERAL PRISON NEARBY. Well. Ok then. We didn’t encounter any escapees that we know of, but we did encounter boredom. Can you imagine if you had to ride through that crap on a horse and it took you weeks? I’m sure that all the stories surrounding the loss of life on Lewis and Clarks trip were made up. They all killed themselves in the great plains. Again, I saved my sanity by surfing the net while I drove.
When all hope seemed lost, we reached Iowa. We took a wrong turn there and found a car turned into a spider. …yeah. We left pretty quickly. At 9pm central standard time we finally got home to St. Paul, MN. …and then had to go to work the next day. Puke. That’s about that. …also, no one really died on the Lewis and Clark expedition… one dude got sick and died, but sources say it was related to a methamphetamine addiction.
Oh, and when we got back we found a small pirate costume on our bed… We called Laurel who was appartment sitting for us, and she said she brought it over to try and put on our cat. …but it didn’t work out because Leeloo resisted. Well, Priscilla and I had a talk with Leeloo about how she treats guests…
Chicks… Priscilla was telling me she heard some radio DJ curmudgeon saying that Valentines Day is just a holiday made up so men would have to buy women crap to get laid; that it was legalized prostitution. To which I replied, ‘How is that different from the rest of the economy?’ …which I said as a joke. She thought it was funny, and she totally did me later that night. Anyway, I’m pretty into holidays in general, so I can get into the spirit of Valentines Day. The point isn’t that its contrived and that it puts all this insane pressure on you to perform wanton acts of romance and over spending- the point is that its a designated day for doing something special for that guy or girl who makes you so nervous when she looks at you ‘that way’ that you want to wet yourself and puke at the same time. I mean, I took St. Patrick’s Day off too. For everything a season; and this, my friends, is the season of love.
I took Friday off, because, Friday the 13th sounded like a good date for dental work and a hot date. I started going to this new dentist who’s great, and not at all sadistic like the others I’ve been going to. Very good experience, if in need of dental services, check them out here. So, after my face was all disabled and drooly, I went home to sleep it off and prepare for my night on the town with the Mrs.
Now, I’ll admit, I’ve been a bit lacks with the romantic adventures lately… as in the past few years… But, I’m starting to step things up a notch again. Hard work. The thing is, it’s not about prostitution as so many contemporary radio personalities have suggested; its about the effort. Its about what lengths you’ll personally go through to make someone else feel appreciated. Whether you’re dropping cash like you hope to live in a one bedroom apartment your whole life like me, or just taking the time and imagination to make things perfect without any budget to surpass at all.
Double Tree Hotel is famous for force feeding patrons baked goods, whether they want them or not as I found out. I, myself, like cookies, but when the front desk dude handed a lady with a stroller and both arms full of crap six cookies for her and her kids, it looked like bad timing. I had both hands free and waiting for cookies. Oatmeal Walnut Chocolate chip… mmmm. They are really good. This is why I picked this particular hotel in downtown Minneapolis for a romantic evening: cookies.
Once the parking was straightened out we scoped out the room. Pretty decent, had a little living room with a couch and a pantry/coffee area with some over priced wine you could use if you wanted. Kind of like the dollies in a uhaul. There was a whirlpool as requested. Later we tried it out… but I think the water was too hot, cause we sat there for a minute and then both felt sick and had to leave… And a bed and some tvs… pretty standard hotel stuff- except for the cookies. But before we could settle into doing married couple things, we needed to hit the town.
There are also sorts of restaurants downtown that I’ve never tried, we settled on McCormick and Schmitds… or something like that. Fish place. Following my romantic plan, rather than getting reservations, we just went out the day before Valentines, so that nothing would be filled up. So, we were able to get in.
I don’t think I really like lobster. I’ve had it at a few places where I’ve paid lots of money for it- so that should mean they’re making it right… and I don’t know… doesn’t do anything for me. I had a small steak too. That was good. The best thing? The clam chowder… plain old, five dollar a bowl, claim chowder… I should have just had a lot of that. Would have been much cheaper and better. But anyway, very romantic eating, we talked and ate fancy things. But, fancy things to eat alone, do not a fancy night make. We needed a party. But, not just any party would do, we needed a Weber party.
Scott Weber is a very interesting eccentric. He lives in one of the apartment complexes he owns, and he’s transformed half the building into this party palace with themed rooms and secret passage ways… it’s pretty nuts. Check the video. This is a bit old, so there’s a lot more stuff there now… Anyway, he was having a Valentines Day party, so we checked out of the real world and entered his for a while. Lots of folks were there. There was partying. Laurel Ogren showed up. Laurel is my favorite party favor other than myself. Scotty Herold was there to affirm it was the place to be. It was, in a word, magical. So, after a time, we made our exit and went back to the room to do the married couple things that you guys are far to young to hear about.
In the morning we went estate sale shopping after some more married couple things. We stopped at this little cafe where the food sucked and was over prices near w7th and grand… but they had the most hilarious tee shirts. “The Bible talks about St. Paul, but it never mentions Minneapolis.” Ha! I love it. I wanted one, but didn’t feel like wasting anymore money there. …but if someone else wants to get me one???
Anyway, so, then later we ended up our at Club Jager with some friends. …And I’ll list them. These were the friends we were out with- all of them. Adam “Mr Figs” Newton, Jedi knight and friend to Caption Solo. Brian Beck. He likes soccer. Pat “Secret Pirate Jerk” O’Brien (who’s name I misspelled two blogs ago… here’s my retraction…) and his lovely wife Jessica, same last name. We were all dancing and talking and partying like crazy, and then we were starting to get a little bored around 1am… so, I’m thinking to myself, ‘wonder if there’s something up at Weber’s again’ So I texted him…
ME:Weber, what’s up, party number two tonight?
ME: cool,who’s place?
WEBER: mine. come over.
So… this was kind of believable because I know he owns more than one place, but I was pretty sure he just lived in the one and rented all the others, but, because we’re all the adventurous sort, off we went. After I nearly killed everyone attempting to follow me the, we arrive at this quaint little home. There are all these little bags that say ‘happy Valentines Day’ with candles inside lining the walk up to the house. We knock on the door and some guy I’ve never seen before answers with this horrified ‘ohgodpleasenomoreguests’ look on his face. And then Weber comes matching up from behind. “There with me, come on in guys” We go inside and there’s this nice little party set up, but clearly everyone had already left.
Someone was packing up wine glasses and getting things in the trash. It was hilariously awkward. They graciously offered us everything they had, and we dove into the chocolate fondue like ravenous wolves descending upon a crippled moose. Weber, naturally, conversed with us normally as though we had all the time in the world. I can still see Pat standing in the middle of the kitchen. Just standing uncomfortably… I was laughing the whole time. Eventually we made our awkward goodbyes and hurried out, me with a small plate of food. The meatballs were great. Also, I double dipped in the fondue. Don’t tell.
And that was that. Our Valentines Day adventure.
The RNC. This happened a while ago… but it was… what’s the word they kept using? “historic!” That’s it!
Imagine, if you will, it is a time of political upheaval and unrest. The quaint Midwestern metropolis of St. Paul is suddenly overrun and occupied by idiots of all political standings. The time was late August, in the year of our Lord, Two Thousand and Eight. It was the eve of the Republican National Convention, and the drunken Irish town that could was in for a week of more frightful sights than a commercial for Valley Scare.
Our story begins on August 28th, it was a cool summer afternoon (I mean, probably, I don’t actually remember) when I left my stuffy desk job in search of noble charitable triumphs and creatures of the night. Rock the Cause was putting on a benefit to help children in communities in Africa devastated by the evil AIDs virus, and had asked us to come and help. The theme for the show was “ATTACK OF THE 50FT ROCKER IN 3D”
Maudlin arrived at the show in style in our gaudy, jewel-encrusted limo, ‘Samantha.’
Because it was a charity event, and we felt pity for the ‘little persons’, we commanded our driver, David (ironically, that’s my name too, but I can’t drive a limo legally…) to give rides to other people who didn’t have jewel-encrusted limos, so that they wouldn’t feel bad. We also commanded Pat O’Brian of howwastheshow.com to interview them, even though it would be far less newsworthy than the interview he did with us on the red carpet.
The red carpet itself was immaculate. It was sewn with the skins of baby seals, black rhinos, and democrats, and was graciously donated by the GOP for the event. We did many other fancy things on the red carpet, because we could.
Of course, after our glorious entrance, the masses demanded we perform. We explained that that’s why we were actually there in the first place, but they would not stop screaming for us to play until we took the stage with all the majesty befitting a band who used fancy cigarette filters. How did it go? Well, friends, we were amazing. Missed chords? Out of key vocals? …I don’t remember, probably not important. What was important was that we rock the place. Melted face parts were everywhere……………….
Then, in a historic moment, at the end of the show, as we violently flailed about, I ruthlessly smashed my bass as though it were a cheap used instrument I had bought from a pawn shop for $59.00 just for the purpose of smashing it. It was legendary. After us, some other bands that were ok played too. Some did before us as well.
Later on in the evening we went to the famed Weber Estate in Minneapolis, a place so insanely cool that my trying to exaggerate it here would probably hurt someone. But what I can tell you is that Priscilla and I both scored with aliens from the Twilight Zone. …and they have some freaky moves…
Of course, we’re workaholics (no punintended) so we also took an opportunity to snap a few promotional shots for one of Maudlin’s corporate sponsors, Sacre Bleu wine. Their wine is good, buy it. Eventually we went to sleep or something and it was all over…
…a few days later the Dreaded Republican National Convention (RNC) began. ”So What?” says you, “I once met a republican while walking alone in the woods. At first I was scared, but he seemed just as scared of me as I was of him.” Fair enough, but the Republicans did not come to St. Paul alone to hike in our scenic woodlands, they came with a bazillion armed guards, cameras, protesters, and likely many of the nobles of the thirteen bloodlines. There was probably a Reticulan or two as well.
So what did all this mean for Maudlin? Well, naturally when the most important delegates in the galaxy descend on a city for a convention, they will need entertainment. The City of Saint Paul foolishly asked a local college to find musicians and let them lose on the city. The school lazily passed the responsibly on to the student body because they clearly overestimate the education they provide. I was contacted by an informant within the school who suggested we play, so I reached out to the under qualified mass running the show and they leaped at the chance to have us. We were told we would be at an undisclosed location for security purposes, and that we would meet at the school where an orange wagon would take us to the area we would perform. We were also promised gyros.
……Upon arriving at the meeting point -an hour late, we were mortified to find out that the ‘wagon’ we were supposed to use to get to our performance area was a freaking radio flyer… A freaking radio flyer. The students were unaware that their conveyances were actually childrens’ toys.
Terrified of an impending riot that was predicted, they informed us that one of our sets had been cut and that we should rush to our spot and play for only a short time before running for our lives. They said that we could even take shelter in the school so that we wouldn’t die a horrible death at the hands of poop-flinging protesters. We, of course, informed them that we were Maudlin. No one was going to throw poop at us.
No one was going to throw poop at us. Then they informed us that we weren’t supposed to bring all the crap we brought, and that they had encouraged acoustic, unamplified performances. …We then informed them that we knew what they “recommended” but we weren’t a bunch of pussies. So like pirates, we captured several other radio flyers from lesser musicians who were sailing about the open seas of the RNC in order to carry all our stuff.
We got down to the area we were supposed to play, which was a block over from the Excel Center and adjacent to the Death Star. Naturally we plugged our crap and started blasting face parts all over and rolling around on the sidewalk. Of course the student weenies told us we were too loud, and that we should be more quit or we might disturb people. Priscilla got snippy with the lady and, I thought we were going to see blood, but then we just pretended to turn down like we always do in these situations.
Anyway, the crowd of people randomly walking by loved us. We had positive comments from both Republican’s and protestors. Emperor Palpatine gave us a nod when he was walking past, and Count Dracula actually asked for an autograph after the show. We were interviewed by MPR and a ton of people took pictures that I’ve never seen… I made lots of jokes about the Illuminati and Priscilla got nervous after we saw a delegate shapeshift and she told me to shut up. …I didn’t.
Anyway, we got done and had a good time, and then the nerdlingers of the college were whining about how we needed to leave, and if we stayed it would be at our own risk and the school would not be responsible for our broken bodies after the impending riots happened. I made sarcastic rude remarks under my breath about how I thought they were dumb and I didn’t like them because they were bossy and snotty. It was a stark contrast to the treatment we got at the 50ft rocker show.
Because we knew they were dumb, we stayed after the show for about five hours to prove we weren’t going to die or get hit by poop. We hung out with the SWAT team for a good long time. They were a hoot, and the once we were hanging out with were very much in support of peaceful protests. They were afraid of rumors that some protestors intended to throw HIV infected blood at them. I guess the poop and fermented pee they had been throwing could have been HIV infected too… but I didn’t mention that too them.
One of the hotcops there (yeah, there were even more than one… it was like afreakin robocop movie!) was totally crushing on me because of how rad I am. Priscilla didn’t really get any attention from anyone though, I think she got jealous of me and hotcop.
Anyway, then we went to hang out with the protestors too. We spent a longtime there, but all the pictures we took were on real film sitting right here on my desk… we’ll get it developed sometime… But, that was wildly interesting too. The Ron Paul delegates came out and were protesting with the crowds, demanding that the police let the protesters march downtown. The city was keeping them out of the downtown area because their permit for assembly had expired… I had thought the bill of rights was more or less a permit for assembly, but I guess there are some gray areas. Darth Vader came by and told one delegate, “I am altering the bill of rights, pray that I don’t alter it any further.” And after he had already arrested Han Solo, few argued. Eventually we left to go to the art store for screen printing supplies. The store closed at 8pm so we rushed over and made it just in time. Also at about 8pm police started tear gassing to break up the crowds.
Anyway, that’s about it… Comments? Questions?