Thursday, August 17, 2006

final on the road for Minnesota trip

Excuse me if I bust out my last observations all together.

The return to the twin cities, from the great northern wilderness, was fairly uneventful...but being back in civilization after so much peace was weird. Personally, I found myself disturbed by how disturbed I was...being a city boy myself.

Friday night was The Drams. For those of you not familiar, when my favorite band of all time, Slobberbone, broke up, one member became a Florida high school teacher...the rest of the band formed The Drams. It's a little less jagged, a bit more melodic, and still very good.

They played the 400 Bar in Minneapolis, and I took my ex-roomie. A good show, by any standards. They started out with a Band cover, played most of the album, threw in one token Slobberbone song. Met with singer Brent Best afterwards, and he's as nice of a guy as ever....we talked about Wapakoneta.

I met some Twin Cities members of the Postcard from Hell contingent (including Lauren, with her "Ryan Adams is no Brent Best" t-shirt), but only at the end of the night...and despite making plans to meet some of them the next night, were never able to hook up again.

Went to the Mall of America, hoping to at least get some good photos. For those of you unfamiliar, the Mall of America is this gargantuan four story shopping mall built on the site of the old Metropolital Stadium, where the Vikings used to play (outdoors, in Minnesota winters, no less). It's so big, it holds its own amusement park (complete with two roller coasters), aquarium, and museum (currently NASCAR).

You think that with a mall that has 4.2 million square feet of space and over 520 stores, there would be something notable and weird to see. Wrong. Instead of having interesting, unique shops, it has five Starbucks, three Gaps, ten pretzel stands, four Carribou Coffees...and a whole bunch more generic crap. The only really photo-worthy element was the very cool Lego store, which currently has a dinosaur garden...and they're all made out of legos, as is the Boba Fett. Oh well.

After eating meals around the state of Minnesota, I have discovered that putting lettuce, tomato, and mayo on a hamburger makes it a California burger...never heard of that one before.

While driving somewhere, we passed a homeless guy begging in front of a "Condos for sale" sign.

We were, for some reason, inside a Target store. The cashier told me that my Hawaiian shirt reminded her of the first time she ever went scuba diving.

We spent one day walking around downtown. I got a photo of the Mary Tyler Moore statue for my strangely obsessed wife, then we headed down to this downtown British pub which had an authentic bowling green on its roof. I drank cider, my ex-roomie had a Bass, and we ate the appetizer platter. About the Scotch egg, my ex-roomie said "I don't think I've ever eaten anything that tastes as fried." We then saw the architecturally beautiful new library building and took some photos of the Grainbelt Bottle Cap sign.

We ended up my visit with a voyage to Porky's, this fifties-esque drive-in in St. Paul. Marvelous shakes, onion rings, home-made fries, and a divine pork tenderloin sandwich. Their sign is very cool, and I was really hoping they'd have some t-shirts with their logo.

Compared to the flight out, the flight back home was very dull. I did find out that the airlines now even charge for their meager packets of trail mix...I still remember flying and getting my choice of breakfasts. The Detroit airport was dull. There was little conversation in the bar, and the only guy who sat near me had a Hooters t-shirt, a copy of FHM, and a NASCAR hat...not someone with whom I was dying to converse. The only thing interesting he did was convince the bartender to give him a to-go cup for his beer.

It was a long (3 1/2 hour) layover, and to amuse myself, I walked the lengths of every concourse. The plane was further delayed becuase, 15 minutes before scheduled takeoff, they decided that the plane was too hot and they needed to run the AC for a while.

And of course, I arrived in Toledo and got to see my beautiful wife. I was away for over ten days, and the longer we were seperated, the more melancholy I got...I don't think I could've survived much more time apart.

Coming soon, the photo-essay!

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