Saturday, October 31, 2009

Gummi Krunchy Bears (An Update With a Better Picture)

Whenever I go on a road trip which causes me to stop at a gas station, I always stop by the candy aisle. Not because I crave the familiar high-fructose corn syrup goodness of Skittles or Starbursts; it's because I have a sick need to find the weirdest candy I can and try it.

Today, on a trip up to Duluth with Christie, I found these gems at a Marathon station. Gummi bears adorned with crunchy colored beads. This is almost as epic as the day I discovered candy sugar cigarettes. 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Avoiding the Box, Kicking and Screaming

I have a new obsession.  Usually my obsessions are okay, but this one scares me (and my parents) a little bit.

Christie talked me into taking a 3-D art class at school with her this semester. (You can all blame her.)  Having to fulfill the requirement, I took the class and now have fallen hopelessly in love with sculpting, building, nailing, gluing, sawing, plastering, and creating things.  In love enough that I’ll be talking to my advisor tomorrow about the possibility adding art to my study program. 

Which will add another element to my major that, on paper, will make me about zero dollars as a grown-up.

My Major Program:

  • Reconciliation Studies:
    • A semi-academic area of study which focuses on fixing all the broken relationships in society. We look at ways to eliminate racism, sexism, homophobia, ageism, economic disparity, and all the other problems in our world.  Pretty lofty, huh?
  • Spanish
    • Still undeclared, but I am receiving a Spanish-major-like education.
  • Art
    • Are you kidding me?

Why couldn’t I have just stuck with Biblical and Theological Studies like I was so committed to as a freshman? At least I would have been able to get a low-paying, un-luxurious, but at least stable job when I left college. But darn me and my freaking mind and damn passion to avoid staying in the lines at all costs.

Hey, at least I’m paying loads and loads of money to learn things that excite me instead of paying loads and loads of money to be stuffed inside a box and rolled down a banal track until I’m old enough to retire, right?

I sure do hope so.

Wish me luck. 

(P.S.: This is totally and example of a Thing That Holds Things that I don't like.)

Friday, October 23, 2009

Death to the Whippy Dip

I underwent a major change today, sort of on a whim.  I’ve done it before, yet I seem to forget the emptiness I feel right after it happens. There’s just something missing. I’ll get over it soon, I’m sure.  I think.  I hope.

Anyway, here’s the change:  I no longer have what has been called The Jimmy Neutron...

The Astro Boy...

The Johnny Bravo...

The Kenickie...

...or as I so lovingly call it, The Whippy Dip.

Buzzed it right off.

My head is freezing.  This may constitute the purchase of a swanky new hat to keep my noggin from straight up snapping off like a frozen carrot.

A friend already asked me how my chemo’s going.

It’s much easier to draw myself with the Whippy Dip, so you’re just going to have to imagine that my hair is slowly growing back into all it’s Johnny Bravo glory. 

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Groovin' Vatican Style

The other night I dreamed I was showing the Pope (yes, The Pope) around La Crosse. How someone as non-Catholic in his beliefs as myself ever received the honor of linking arms and trudging around the Coulee Region with the Holy See, I have no idea. He seemed quite lovely, though.  Not as save-the-world, kick-butt awesome as John Paul II of course, but still cool. Even though I’m pretty sure we couldn’t do much talking, given that he speaks German.

[I’ve always imagined the Pope wearing cool zebra kicks.]

Halfway through our tour, the Pope fell down, dead.

Oh crap.

Luckily the Pope’s posse was surrounding us, so no one could frame me for killing Pope Benedict XVI.  Can you imagine?

Anyway. The Pope died, and I was given the privilege of carrying the casket with the Pope in it to the Holy Vatican Helicopter (or the HVH…it’s not a real thing. My roommate recommended Popacopter, and I think Helipopeter is pretty good too). I remember thinking it was quite small.  “Gosh, we sure had a short Pope.  A Shpope, if you will,” I couldn’t help but say.

The HVH took off and I was left thinking, Wow. I just witnessed the death of the Pope and carried his casket.  

Fast-forward to the next day.

I received an important phone call telling me that, since I had been with the Pope in his final hours, I was invited to carry his casket in his actual funeral at the Vatican. 

How COOL!!  

Don’t take that as disrespectful, now. I really didn’t know the guy or have any sort of connection to him whatsoever. What I was excited about was being part of history and going to go see the Vatican.  I was pumped.

The person on the telephone told me that I had to drive to the Diocese of La Crosse and wait for the plane to come get me.  And I knew they wouldn’t be sending a regular old American Airlines plane to pick me up. This was going to be like 1st Class. Vatican Class. Probably a high-speed jet, like in Angels & Demons. Awesome. 

I drove down Sand Lake Road, heading towards the Diocese, and hundreds of Amish people ran down their driveways to wave to me as I left.  (I’m pretty sure there aren’t any Amish people living in La Crosse, by the way. And who knew they were such big Pope fans?)

Then a tractor with a gigantic trailer pulled in front of me. In the trailer were about forty Amish men, standing and unbuckled. They are going to have one hell of a time on the highway.

I tapped my hands on the wheel, excitedly.  “I’m not really dreaming right now, am I? I mean, I have my phone with the call on it from the Vatican right here, I’m touching the steering wheel…This is really happening!” 

(It wasn’t.)

Arriving finally at the Diocese, noticed that I was late for the procession of priests and bishops in honor of the Pope. I jumped in sneakily—me in my shorts and Chacos, and the priests in their official garb—and tried to pretend like I was chanting the same Latin as they were. One of the priests I actually knew turned to me and said, “Wow, Brian! You’re finally picking up Latin?” I looked at him and said, quite seriously, “I have no idea what I’m doing right now.”

I was escorted to the Vatican High-Speed Angels & Demons Jet Waiting Room to find that three of my friends, a priest, a nun, and the choir director from the Catholic church I attended as a youngin’ were there. We exchanged hugs, all feeling overwhelmed at the fact that we were going to be in Italy in a few hours, and I realized I forgot my cell phone charger and my camera.  The two most important things I could possibly bring with me. I wanted to go back, but my friends held me back, reassuring me that they brought theirs.

Thank God.

I was so excited I had to pee, so I went to the Diocese bathroom, and when I flushed the toilet, I accidentally turned on the shower, which happened to be right on top of the toilet. 

Now I’m going to be all wet at the Vatican.

I dried off as much as I could, and stepped out to go see my friends.  I could smell Italy just around the corner and I was so darn excited and honored and freaked out and pumped and—

—and then I woke up, disappointed beyond belief that the dream wasn’t real.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Oh My Goodness...

I love (and I mean love) autumn. 
That's all. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Cowboy to the Rescue (A Nod to Blog Action Day)

While I was sleeping the other night, I was just getting done with some late-night shopping in my mind. Taking my bags to the car, I noticed that the car I had parked next to had a couple with some car problems.

“Car trouble?” I asked, all studly-like.

I forgot to mention they were wearing a tuxedo and a wedding dress.

They said, “Yes! Our car won’t start. Can you help us out?”

“Where yuh headin’?”  (This time I was like a cowboy, apparently.)

“Bethel University.”

“Well, I’ll be! I’m draggin’ my donkey down thur m’self. I could bring yuh along.”

“Oh, that would be fabulous, Cowboy Man, thanks!”

“Only one problem though. Ma van’s full. The only space I have for yuh is way in the back. And yull hafta squish. You two getting’ married?”

“No, we already are. We’re just wearing these for a night class presentation.”

“Very nice. I reckon you two’ll git a good grade.”

“Thank you, Hoss.”

“Hop on in.” 

And I drove the couple to Bethel in my van.

Car pooling is a good way to reduce the amount of exhaust that goes into the air we breathe. The more we carpool, the closer we will get to being the clean Earth we strive to be.

It’s Blog Action Day, and over 4,000 blogs are teaming up around Bloggsville to write about a global cause in order to spread awareness about it. This year’s topic is climate change.

I carpooled in this dream, rode my bike to prom in another. In Just a Flying Frog in Paris, I dreamed about the future of our earth if things keep going the way they’re going. One lesson here is that my dreams are greener than yours, but another lesson is that we should all take time today to think about the ways in which we can help the environment and make climate change history.  What do you say? Let’s make our lives greener.

I still can’t believe that I dreamed about shoving people in the back of my van.  I don’t know who I dream this garbage.

Speaking of garbage: decrease your waste by buying reusable bags and recycle properly.


Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All better, thank you.

Yeah, I’m done being sick. My fever’s gone (and, just between you and me, it was probably gone yesterday too but I didn’t use or read my dinosaur of a mercury thermometer correctly, so who really knows). But, just to be safe, my nursing-major friend told me I should still stay home today just in case I’m still contagious.

That means homework. And lots of it. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

For those not in the know...

Okay, this may just be for Christie. But for those of your who have already seen this wonderful song from The Music Man which I mentioned in the "Yeah, We Got Trouble," post, let me tell you: it will most likely make you smile.

Unless you hate good things.

I love good things, so this made me smile.

To oink or not to oink.

Okay, so maybe I do, maybe I don’t have the Swine Flu.

I feel better today. But I still have a high temperature. I’m snorting less. (I make all these pig comments to annoy my roommate, a pig farmer who hates that people think that Swine Flu really has anything to do with pigs anymore. He also doesn’t read my blog, so I don’t know why I still make these comments here.)

I couldn’t run a 5k right now or anything, but I could definitely go out and dance in yesterday’s snow. (Oh wait, that’s all melted.) So I guess I’m just left inside, probably doing homework, and questioning the possibility of whether I really have the Swine Flu or not. 

[This is me questioning the possibility of whether I really have the Swine Flu or not. See? I'm holding the pig's nose I was wearing in the last post? It's very metaphorical.]

Monday, October 12, 2009

Yeah, we got trouble. Right here in River City...

With a capital T that rhymes with P that stands for H1N1.

I think I have the Swine Flu. I received a flu shot about a week ago, and yesterday I got the flu.

Flu shoot me in the face.

Complying with Bethel’s H1N1 rules, I am “self-isolating,” which means I’m staying in my room, having my meals brought to me, skipping all my classes, and wearing a mask every time I have to go outside. Yuck.

What makes things worse is that it’s snowing today. In October. The trees haven’t even lost their leaves yet and it’s snowing. This is the kind of thing I would run out and dance in if I were healthy enough to stand for more than two minutes. All I can do is stare and yearn out my window.

So Shreds (that’s my nickname) will be living in a bubble until 24 hours after his fever goes away. Not too happy.

Oink oink. 

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


I am about to tell you about a dream I had that I, in a sleepy haze, texted Christie about and fell back asleep and forgot it.  This is a dramatization of what I expect would have happened in my unconscious noggin, because all I have to remember it by is a drowsy, single-sentence text, which I will share at the end of this post. So here it is.

Dusk! An owl begins his nightly chirping atop a tall white pine in Bethel's very own white pine forest, hoping nervously that his call will be the only one he hears tonight. “I can’t currently think of anything to be afraid of up here in this tree,” says the owl, “but one can never be so sure when Dusk! is yelled at the beginning of a paragraph.”

Freshmen lay their little sweet heads down on the brand-new pillows Mommy got for them and cozy up underneath their fancy duvets. Nothing can hurt them tonight, right?


“Too tee too tee too,” hums the owl, to himself, “Too tee too tee tooo—WHOA!” Underneath him, an ominous black shape creeps along the floor of Bethel’s very own white pine forest. The owl’s breath catches in the back of his throat as the figure looks up at him with glowing green eyes. “I’m a puma,” it says, “Watch your back.”

The image of a popped corn kernel flashes in the sky.  This is a job for…


I jumped on to my bike and carefully rode (I learned my lesson from Over the Handlebars) to the main campus of Bethel, and see the threatening puma. Crouched behind a bush, ready to kill anyone, is the Grand-Cul Félin (that’s French for Big-Ass Cat).  Feeling mighty proud, I reached in—here kitty kitty—only to be met with ferocious claws and a roar so dinosaur-like I feared someone had extracted the DNA from a prehistoric mosquito who was eternally trapped in a drop of tree sap.

I hope some of you understood that reference.

Hmm. I thought. I can’t just lure this puma out of the bushes with some Fancy Feast and ribbon. I need something more.


I got it!

Jumping on my bike again, I pedaled out of campus, down Snelling Avenue, and over to the Target Superstore. Barging through the automatic doors, taking a quick stop at the Dollar Spot, I passed aisle after aisle, looking for the purrrr-fect  (sorry about that) tool. I needed to think quickly; that puma could strike out at any time.

At this point, I was running through the store. There was no time to lose. Luckily, I soon found exactly what I needed: a few Ethernet cords and some pizza joint refrigerator magnets.

I pedaled back to Bethel, pushed my way through the crowd of people like a Ethernet cord-wielding Moses, and said, “Don’t worry, folks. I’ll get this kitty out of here.”

The U.S. government currently is not allowing me to tell my bloggies how I used some Ethernet cords and pizza magnets to bring a giant cat into submission and take it from the campus, but I will tell you this: that night, I became the MacGyver of cats. Feline-ver. MacGycat. No.


That’s what most likely happened in the dream I can’t remember. Here’s what I had to work with…

“I dreamed there was a big, evil puma outside of Bethel and I went to target to buy some Ethernet cords and pizza store magnets to kill it.”

Monday, October 5, 2009

Mr. Wingsy

I’ve been waiting and waiting and waiting (and waiting) for the right time to tell you about my brand-new kite, but the weather has been so bad and the wind has been so low lately that I couldn’t take any worthwhile pictures.

Until now.

Last weekend Christie and I took a five-hour trip with my aunt from Minneapolis to Milwaukee to visit my other aunt. We spent two days walking around Cedarburg doing Emerson Merrick-y things, like peruse antique stores and getting our grub on in little crêpe cafes. A little gimmicky, but big fun.

On Sunday we had a few unscheduled hours, so Christie and I took advantage of the winds off Lake Michigan to break out Mr. Wingsy. 

(That’s my kite’s name.)

Isn’t he great? He looks like a pro and flies like your favorite single-lined childhood dream of a kite. I had gotten rather lonely after I retired my other kite, named M’Kite McAwesomePoppins, who I took with me to Europe this summer. Read my old blog to find out why I can’t ever fly him again.

Anyway. Mr. Wingsy is a dream. I love him in all his RipStop nylon perfectness.