Saturday, July 31, 2010

Not what they seem...

While I was waiting for the WALK sign at an intersection in downtown La Crosse yesterday, a cop car pulled up beside me. As usual, though I knew full well that he was simply parked at the stop light, my heart started beating and I began frantically checking myself and my surroundings to make sure I wasn’t doing anything wrong.  I’ve never gotten into any trouble with the law—save a few speeding tickets—and have no reason to worry, yet I have a great fear whenever a cop car shows up that I am, at that moment, standing in the wrong place at the wrong time, and I’ll get arrested or something.  Is that weird?  Probably.

Upon further inspection, I realized that it was not a cop car at all.  It was like a cop car: lights on top, safety grille in the front, a caged separator between the front and back seats…however, on the side of the car was written, in script, I might add...

Then it dawned on me. This guy is probably a stripper.

It all made sense. The man inside had a very tight uniform on and was very well tanned.

While I was waiting at the crosswalk, I saw a man with a fishing pole walking perpendicular to the stripper and I across the intersection. I watched as Coppy McStripperPants honked his horn to get the attention of the fishing pole man. They waved casually.

 [Which leads me to believe that Frank here isn't actually a fisherman. He's on his way  to work to go let out his line for some middle-aged bride-to-be who's into that kind of stuff.]

I then began to take second glances at everyone I walked past. How many more strippers are around me right now? It’s like they’re an invisible, secret society and only they know who they are. 

So if you’re walking in downtown La Crosse and you see two people wave, high-five, or wink at each other, they’re probably undercover strippers.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

That's the last time I put my heart in Julia Robert's hands.

One of my greatest fears, next to fish and underwater creatures (that includes seaweed, by the way) is “Being-forced-into-an-insane-asylum-when-you’re-not-insane-but-the-guards-think-everyone’s-insane-even-you-so-you’re-trapped-forever.” This is why movies like Changeling with Angelina Jolie and Shutter Island and Gothica and movies of that ilk (5 points!) stress me out so very much. It scares me.

[Isn't this how all those movies are?]

That being said, I think my brain is trying to figure out how to give me an unconscious panic attack. Or kill me. Or something evil like that.


I had a dream last night that I was an actor playing the role of a professor who worked at a university that was, for some reason, attached to an insane asylum. This was a difficult role for me, as this actor, because I had once been forced into an insane asylum but released later when I was found “non-insane.”  (This is, once again, my mind actually making up the background information necessary for the plot to move forward. So strange how that happens.) 

In the movie, I was pursuing my love interest, Julia Roberts (no joke, it was hard to keep my cool during the flirting scene). 

[We would have good-looking babies with really large mouths.]

But my plans to seduce her were somewhat thwarted (5 points!) when I realized that two of the patients at the asylum had escaped and were coming to get me. This was totes not what my character wanted, especially in this period of my romantic life.

The movie cameras followed me into my character’s apartment, where I walked around very carefully, turning on lights, trying to make sure that none of the escapees were waiting for me around the corner.

BUT THEY WERE!  There was a fight scene, but I ended up victorious (as scripted).  I had them by the scruffs of their necks as I walked them back down the stairs, occasionally banging them into the wall or something to remind them how tough I am, and brought them to the officers, who met me outside the building.

“Here they are,” I said proudly, but the officer put handcuffs on me. This was not scripted. He also administered a mugshot and measured my proportions.
“What’s going on?” I asked.

And then Julia walked in wearing a saffron-colored jacket. (There was some sort of symbolism there, but I can’t remember it now. Nevertheless, I said…) “You’re the woman in the saffron jacket?!” 


She smiled. She had set me up. Her flirting with me was just a ruse (5 points!) to get me to trust her.  The whole movie was a ploy to get me, myself, the actor, not the character,  back in the insane asylum!

I was so pissed.

So I was forced back into a windowless cell.

And then I woke up, realizing that it was an hour later than I had set my alarm (apparently the AM/PM distinction is important), and being anxious as all get-out. That’s the last time I eat sharp cheddar pretzels covered with melted cheese before I go to bed. I should have known; I should have known. 

Friday, July 23, 2010

Dream Bomb, or 50-Word Sagas, or It's my time to shine.

During my dream-sabbatical, I had a few tiny dreams that I didn't think were necessarily good enough to share on their own. But I felt a little guilty leaving them out, so I took a page from The London Journal's book and many other 50-word Blogs and wrote each dream out in 50 words, no more no less. Apparently 50-word stories are pretty popular, and a good writing exercise. Here are the dreams, told using exactly 50 words each. I think you'll find their pithiness (5 points!) charming. 

Dream #1: 
The Italian restaurant was charming. While watching someone struggle with the bathroom doors, Lord Voldemort appeared at our table. 
Didn’t Harry kill him already?
Apparently not.
It is my time to shine.
“That’s it, Voldemort, I’m sending for Dobby the House Elf.”
“NO! Not Dobby!” He shrieked and ran away.

Dream #2:
Tuxes donned, guests seated, flowers placed, music playing, and I’m thrilled for my wedding.
It’s my time to shine.
Outside the doors of the ceremony, I wait until they open to reveal…what? The wrong bride? Cheap decorations? Our wedding’s in a crappy civic center?  I’ve made a horrible mistake. Bollocks.

Dream #3:
We needed a quick getaway.  Why, I couldn’t remember, but was reminded quickly when I saw BAD GUYS chasing us. Broom closet, here I come.
It’s my time to shine.
After passing out the sweeping supplies, I gave quick lessons on flying these things.
Even I was a little rusty.

Dream #4:
EXPERIMENTAL FLYING MACHINES, the sign said above a curtained opening, TESTERS WANTED!
It’s my time to shine.
Stepping into the dark lab, I was given a wristband and a token, and handed something resembling a large plastic razor scooter.
It flew pretty well, but not perfectly. Still totally worth it.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

I have tasted freedom and it tastes like PUTT PUTT

The Day: yesterday.
The Place: Riverside Amusements.
The Weather: hotter than sh*t.

Christie and I took a Connor The Neighbor Boy to play minigolf and race GoCarts.

An oversized God Bless America t-shirt + different colored golf balls + SPEED

 = Awesome.

Despite the shadeless, breezeless concrete park that surrounded us, we had a lovely two hours. We kept hydrated by drinking water and stepping in the manmade streams to retrieve our golf balls (even when there were cups on the ends of sticks that we were supposed to use and signs saying “don’t go in the streams”…don’t tell mom).

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

A Workout for my Unconscious Mind

It’s been a month since my last blogworthy dream.  A month, people! Maybe I’ve been too stressed or maybe I’m sleeping too well, I dunno, but my dreams have either been really boring or nonexistent.

Yesterday I decided to do something about it. I remembered back to the days of Popcorn Day, when I was dreaming up dreams faster than I could blog about them. And I remember people asking me, “Jeez, Brian, what did you eat before you went to bed?”  My answer was always something strange, like for example, before Popcorn Day I had eaten “Chili Cheese Fritos on top of Spicy Cheetos.”  I kid you not.

Well, we no longer have anything resembling a Frito in this house, but I thought I’d eat something anyway to help to, you know, nudge my unconscious into party mode.  I reheated a little bit of my dinner (blackened tilapia with cucumber salsa) and ate it right before I went to bed.  And lo and behold: a dream. It wasn’t a bang-up, out of the park, dynamite, name-a-blog-after-it kind of dream (it seems as though my unconscious is a little out of shape), but it was, nonetheless, a dream.

It was Thanksgiving.  We had the whole famn damily over and we were playing games in the backyard, which was sunny and warm. (Fitting for November, right?) I then was struck with an urge to express myself artistically. I was so in love with this idea. So original! So inspiring! So challenging and meaningful! I ran back inside, took off my pants, and started hot-gluing unopened Pepsi cans to my boxers. I then walked outside and continued to play yard games.
Don’t ask me how my piece of art stayed on my body, but it did (probably because of the flawlessness of the design).   I got a few looks from my family members, but I just shook my head.  Brilliant artists are never appreciated in their own time.  
And then I woke up.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Fourth

Every year the beautiful and serene Riverside Park becomes trampled with trailers, portable stages, tents, tarps, food stands, bouncy castles, sticky cotton candy children, cigarettes, wagon pulls, and hundreds of people to commemorate the day the young, angsty, ragamuffin (5 points!) America signed a big piece of parchment that said “SCREW YOU, Great Britain! You’re not the boss of me!” and independence ensued.
(TJ = Thomas Jefferson. I think that’s what the other founding fathers probably called him.)

Now, 234 years later, we have Riverfest in La Crosse. Complete with patriotic garb that would make Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear actually explode.  My favorite was a man in a polyester button-down short-sleeved shirt with an American Flag background, and a flying bald eagle holding on to the handlebars of a motorcycle. It was too gruesome to take a picture of, but I went through the trouble of doing a Google search for "Harley," "Bald Eagle," and "American Flag" and made a collage that is frighteningly similar to the real thing, in case you needed a visual...
(American Flag + A simple motorcycle picture + a National Geographic picture of an eagle diving for a fish + a little layering = a level of kitsch one cannot experience without a gas mask.) 

I hit up The Fest (that’s what us regulars call it) rarely, and for the past couple years it’s been either beautiful or so freaking hot. This year, however, we had rain.  Not only did we have rain, but it was also sweltering. My protective NorthFace jacket was doing a bang-up job keeping the rain out, but the ideal of my personal dryness was just a ruse (5 points!), apparently, because despite the rain-resistance, I was sweating underneath like Mel Gibson at a Bar Mitzvah.  
(I’d like to apologize for that last joke. Not to Mel Gibson, but to Comedy herself. I was having trouble coming up with “Sweating Like A…” jokes, so I looked some up online. What is wrong with me?)

The patchwork of tarps placed hours before on the sublime grass of Riverside had puddles galore as far as the eye could see. Who knows if the owners would be able to enjoy their prime spots to view the fireworks later.
I had no plan to stay at the fireworks—nor The Fest, for that matter—for long.  Only one thing did I need. You say “Fest,” and the salivating starts for me. I cannot help but follow the intangible force that is the call of Tom Thumb Donuts.
(Mission accomplished.) 

Friday, July 2, 2010

Thanks, Claude

I spoke a bit awhile ago about some flower seeds that I sent home from Claude Monet's garden during my trip to Giverny, France last year. We planted them all, and we've had a lovely block of foliage in our garden for a few weeks now, but no flowers.  Finally, today I went out to go check (I've actually checked about three times a day for the last couple weeks) and I saw my very first bloom. I had to tell you all right away.
Isn't she lovely? I have no idea what kind of flower she is, but I sure do like her. I'll name her Claudette after the man who planted her great-great-great-great-great (about 50 seasons worth of great) grandparents years and years ago.

This week has been hard.  For reasons beyond my control, I lost my summer job. Even though I hated it and am glad to be moving on to pursue much more promising opportunities, it's been hard to shake the sadness and allow myself follow my summer rule of "do something blogworthy every day." Claudette couldn't have come at a better time.