THURSDAY: After doing a load of laundry very early in the morning – a course of action I highly recommend, as it is the time when the laundromat is freest of drunks, abusive parents and people trying to sell you used socks – I headed north to St. Cloud, MN, to attend the wedding of my girlfriend’s sister. The trip up was lovely and generally uneventful in the renovated ChickWagon, which, equipped with a shiny new engine, now purrs like a kitten with a severe and debilitating respiratory condition.
One fun moment from the trip: at a rest stop near Portage, WI, I spotted a whole ton of soldiers in full camo gear – not in itself an unusual circumstance, as there’s often military convoys on the 94 when I hit the north. The fun came when, at the opposite side of the rest stop, a van pulled in and from it disembarked about a dozen Buddhist monks: full-on Shaolin motherfuckers, rockin’ the saffron robes, the shaved heads, the meditation beads, and in at least one case, the painted head. As usual, I didn’t have my camera handy, but more than the amazing visual juxtaposition, I think, it was the philosophical ramifications that made the whole thing so amazing. Because here, after all, was the conflict of the modern age writ small: the military vs. the pacific, the west vs. the east, the aggressive vs. the contemplative, the technological vs. the spiritual, the interventionist vs. the isolationist. Unfortunately, as is always the case, the ones of the side of the angels were both outnumbered and outgunned. I left before the whole thing had a chance to break out into a bad kung fu movie.
I got the directions to St. Cloud from the internet, having inexplicably forgotten that the internet is stupid. The directions placed me a good 60 miles of boring state road away from the wedding rehearsal, so I just met my girl at her sister’s apartment. We put Li’l’ Duce to bed, and then thought about watching DVDs only to discover that her sister doesn’t have a DVD player in her bedroom. What is this, the 12th century or something? Anyway, we somehow managed to survive until…
FRIDAY: Wedding day, crazy stress day, Leonard is given the task of wrangling toddlers for several hours day. We met ninafarina’s parents and other sister at their hotel (a gargantuan Holiday Inn grotesquerie with indoor volleyball courts right outside your room and six hundred thousand swimming pools), and I pulled the job of keeping Li’l’ Duce entertained while the womenfolk visited the salon. ninafarina (who, as I may have mentioned every time I post, is awesome and brilliant and the best girlfriend in the world) came back sporting this snazzy ‘do of Carolingian provenance – she described it to her hairdresser as ‘medieval’, but unfortunately, this was not taken in the complimentary spirit in which it was offered. I meant to get a few pictures of the coif, but by night’s end, she just got sick of it and dismantled it (an hour-long procedure) – not surprising, given that it containing a total of sixty-five (!) bobby pins, enough to armor-plate several humvees in Iraq. (I will spare my girl too much public embarrassment here, but allow me to say that she looked very very hot in her bridesmaid get-up.)
The wedding itself, well, I didn’t see too much of it because I was busy trying to keep a two-year-old from singing the theme from “Elmo’s World” at the top of her lungs during a prayer. But I’m assuming it was lovely and it seemed to go off with a minimum of hitches, like say Li’l’ Duce deciding to pull her shoes off seconds before doing her flower-girl duties. The reception involved me being in a room full of people I don’t know, and you know what that means: yes! I drank ten Tanquerays on the rocks. At the very least, I did get to dance a couple of dances with my awesome girlfriend (who, man, you get a few drinks in her and stick her on the dance floor, that’s some honey-baked ham right there). I was, fortunately, able to avoid the Chicken Dance by virtue of the fact that I am a professional music writer and if I were to be seen doing the Chicken Dance it would result in disbarment, censure and loss of livelihood. If I ever get married, never_fear, the gig is yours, because I know you’ll do right by me.
Congratulations to Laura and Chris, like they’ll ever see this.
SATURDAY: After a highly amusing early-morning visit from Laura’s cokehead neighbor, who came into the apartment and babbled for five minutes before realizing we weren’t Laura and Chris (and then babbled for 10-15 minutes more), we headed back to the Twin Cities for a family get-together at Shauna’s parents’ house. Li’l’ Duce rode in a canoe for the first time, which she enjoyed, but not as much as she enjoyed pouring water from their planter fountain down her pants. I played croquet, and given my rate of success, the time would have been better spent pouring water down the front of my pants. Famous Dave’s barbecue was eaten, and is actually pretty damn good given that it is barbecue made in Minnesota by a guy named Famous Dave, rather than my preferred type (made in North Carolina made by a guy named Rufus or Fat Jocephus or Ex-Con Billy).
SUNDAY: ninafarina, Li’l’ Duce and I visited the newly renovated Walker Arts Center, where we saw many things: a dude shortchanging the waitress in the café; a bunch of art I’ve seen before at the MCA; some cute-creepy Japanese sculpture that freaked out my girlfriend; a bunch of films by Chantal Akerman, which were of surprising interest to Li’l’ Duce, thus bolstering my theory that she would really like a DVD of Dog Star Man for her birthday; and a really good piece by an Ethiopian-born American artist that I really liked. It was a large, somewhat abstract blueprint-style technical drawing of an unidentified, semi-non-Euclidean building, over which was superimposed a really well-done, evocative pencil drawing of a wild natural landscape done in the style of those monochromatic Japanese landscapes from the 16th century. Naturally, I have forgotten the name of the artist, as I always do when I really want to remember something.
Then home to write this entry, which I have been doing for the last 13 hours. A swell weekend with swell weather and a swell gal to enjoy it with: my mailbox got spammed with 2400 e-mails while I was gone, but you don't see me not smilin'.