Category Archives: Bethany

Personal Photo Project of the Week No. 27


This is a 6 (in reality a 7 part project but shhhh….. both of you that know the endgame) part project. In case you have forgotten:

Part 1

More pictures from The 2/6 Photo Session:

Part 3/6 is scheduled to be published on September 17.

I am headed to Minnesota tonight with Sara to eat at Gasthof Zur Gemutlickeit, see Troll 2, witness Flugtag and of course see The Swell Season in concert. I’m also hoping to catch up with some Minnesota friends (Jill, The Britsons, Matthew) and formally congratulate Bethany and John on their engagement.

I’m returning to the Cyclone State on Monday at a time yet to be determined. Since I don’t want anybody to lose a minute of time on next week’s RWPE I will reveal the Random Generator’s choice for next week’s theme now:


Personally I think this is the best of the 52 themes. I hope there are lots of submissions. I’m looking at you people that I have helped buy a camera in the past…

Memorial Day Weekend

I had a pretty awesome Memorial Day Weekend and saw all of the right people. Plus, my grill got quite the workout.

The weekend started with FNSC at my humble abode. The group core was there, plus Jesse and Dawn. Jesse, Willy and I hung by the fire pit until about 2 in the morning.

On Saturday morning I got up early to go to the bank with Mom and Teresa to sign some legal documents involving a safety deposit box.

After that exercise I hit up Salon 908 where I put up a new 20×30 picture in the salon to replace the one that had been sold. While you are waiting for a haircut at Salon 908 now you can stare admiringly at this picture:

I also got a sheering. Now I look borderline presentable. Even though I declined the eyebrow waxing that was offered.

I went home to clean up the kitchen best that I could. I had a Chef coming over to use it that afternoon and while I know that he looks down on my pathetic assortment of kitchen utensils, I wanted the area to be clean while he made magic.

After the kitchen cleaning, I went to Reiman’s Music to take pictures of a white piano for that week’s RWPE.

Next was a trip down to Beaverdale to pick up Sara. Although the Sara pickup also involved taking out her old air conditioner and putting a new air conditioner in her house. This ended up being a more painful process than I wanted it to be, but despite having to remove a nest from her window sill, the air condition finally found its home in her window.

Then was Todd and Peggy’s wedding. They got married on a golf course in Pleasant Hill. It was an impressive affair that included a free round of miniature golf, a photo booth and fireworks.

After the wedding Sara and I went to a bridge overlooking 235 so that I could work on a Personal Photo Project that will be published on July 9. It was from this experience I learned that another criteria that I should look for in photo assistants is the ability to turn a blind eye if I want to do something that is slightly illegal or dangerous. Sara doesn’t like it when she perceives me to be in “danger”. Of course, I already knew this from Personal Photo Project No. 16.

After dropping Sara back off in Beaverdale and doing some final tweaks on her air conditioner installation I voyaged back to Boone. A trip that takes quite a bit longer now that the Highway 17 bridge over the Des Moines River is closed until August.

I was hoping to make it back to Boone to hit the tail end of Nate’s birthday bash at The South Side, marking my triumphant return to the Boone Bar scene for the first time since 2008. However, I pulled back into Boone at roughly 1:40 and decided that it wasn’t worth it to go for 5 minutes. So instead I returned home to the Clockwork Couch and watched the tele.

Shortly after I got home Nate and Bethany returned home. They were both staying with me for the weekend and we talked briefly before they both crashed.

I got up early on Sunday morning and went to church. After church I grilled out with Nate after he returned from a poor round of golf with his friend Ryan. Earlier in the morning I had inadvertently interrupted Ryan’s vomiting efforts. It must have been quite the party that I missed.

Tim had bought a Nate a birthday cake with Nate’s 3rd or 4th grade picture on it. Most of Nate’s picture remained, except Nate’s face. Apparently Ryan had eaten Nate’s face the night before. After we were done grilling, I had some of Nate’s cake.

Later Nate proclaimed that the chicken wings he had made in my kitchen on the previous day were the best that he had ever made. This was a bold proclamation. Just ask Corey Faust if you doubt the veracity of that statement. Nate is going to make these legendary wings next time I go to Minnesota. Looks like I might have to cash in on that when I go see The Swell Season at the end of July!!

After resting from the grill, Jill came over and picked me up. We hit Jen and Derrick’s for a barbecue. Derrick grilled up bratwurst with pineapple in them. It was decided that these brats tasted slightly breakfasty. Even though Webster doesn’t consider breakfasty to be a word. They were still tasty. Plus any chance to eat burgers made with Derrick’s super secret burger recipe is always a great time.

I got to watch the Gorshe Baby Ultrasound for the third time. I still have no clue about the sex of Baby Gorshe, but I enjoy watching the video nonetheless.

After a lengthy discussion about the greatness of Daniel Tosh, we left while Derrick napped on the loveseat.

The next morning I slept in until 9:30. That is a late morning for me, except on the occasional work day. Nate, Bethany and I grilled out for lunch. By this time, my grill was definitely entering the danger area that cause the fire during the 2009 Road Trip Planning Barbecue, but it made it through another meal without incident.

After the meal Nate and Bethany packed up and I burned Bethany a copy of Strict Joy for their car trip home.

I then grabbed my camera and took a few pictures.

After taking pictures I went to the cemetery. At the cemetery I ran into Carla. We walked around the cemetery for about an hour. Then I went home and prepared the house for an impromptu family barbecue.

I didn’t clean the grill, but it did manage to make it through yet one more meal without erupting into flames. I should clean that at some point.

After the family went home I rested on the Clockwork Couch and watched Wooden Shoes. A movie made my a fellow computer miner by the name of Scotland Thompson. If you want a review of the movie, too bad, but I will loan my copy out.

I would like to report to interested parties that do not know yet…

Willy did finish his 100 Mile Race this past weekend.

Willy knocked out 100 miles in La Grange, Wisconsin as part of the weekend of Kettle 100 Endurance Runs.

He ran 100 miles in an official time of 28 hours 24 minutes 29 seconds.

I know, pretty insane!


I had Nate and Bethany staying with me this weekend. I let Nate choose my submission for RWPE and to be real honest, he actually picked my least favorite picture from the session.

Regardless, I thought I would share a few more pictures from last week’s RWPE featuring a white piano from Alexander’s Recording Kompany. Some of them feature the hands of Derrick.

This would be my favorite picture from this photo shoot.

I believe this to be Derrick’s favorite picture from the photo shoot.

I may have to visit this piano again in the future. Or I might have to visit some other pianos. I might also have to visit some other instruments in the future. Maybe I’ll start with my old trombone.

Vacation Day 5 – The Juicy Lucy

On Wednesday morning I woke up and most of my anger about the Fred Hoiberg hire had dissipated. I had come to accept the fact that while this was mostly a public relations move, there is a chance that it could work. I’m not saying that this is an uncontested breakaway slam dunk. This is more like a turnaround fadeaway with a 7 footer in your face from the baseline.

While it is scary that he will be learning on the job, there is a potential huge upside. He should be able to recruit and he should be able to evaluate talent. 95% of basketball games are won by the team with the more talented players.

I also assume that since Hoiberg has years of NBA experience he will be able to relate to the younger, more talented players and the great exodus of talent from Ames will finally come to an end. Any Biblical scholar can tell you that after the exodus ends it is only a matter of time before the years of wandering in the desert comes to an end.

Even though we will only return 5 scholarship players from last year, I still feel that we will have a better record next year. I’m not sure why I have this optimism, but I have come to peace with the Hoiberg hiring. On Wednesday morning I accepted that it might just work. After all, Hoiberg is a graduate of the nation’s premier land grant university. That fact alone qualifies him for about any job that I can name!

After coming to that conclusion, I got out of bed and took a shower. After Nate woke up we went to Puffy Cream for breakfast. It was excellent, again.

I wasn’t sure how long I was going to stick around, so I contacted Jill about getting supper. She wasn’t sure when she would get off work because her company was enforcing mandatory overtime, even though it wasn’t even Georgia-Texas week.

Eventually it worked out and we agreed to meet at The 5-8 Club at 6:30.

I don’t watch lots of television. I’m always leery of saying that because I don’t want to come off as one of those snobby people who don’t own a television and feel that this gives them a degree of superiority to other people. I can’t stand those people. I’m better than those people.

That being written, I really don’t watch much television. Of the shows that are currently being broadcast on network television, I’ve probably seen a single episode of maybe 10 shows. But on this day, I spent a good portion of the day sitting on the couch watching tv with Nate.

We watched two episodes of The West Wing. Then we watched the show Parenthood. Then we watched the movie Parenthood. Then at about 3 o’clock when Nate was leaving for work, Becca woke up and I watched television with her. We watched local news and she lectured me on why I should watch BBC news because it wasn’t “biased”. I thought this was funny because I once wrote a paper on media bias when I was in college.

At 6:30 I met Jill at The 5-8 Club in Minneapolis. When I was in Minnesota in February I ate at Matt’s Bar with Jim and Bethany. Matt’s Bar and The 5-8 Club both claim to have invented the Juicy Lucy. I was happy that I was going to be able to have both sandwiches so I could determine which one I consider to be the superior burger.

The 5-8 Club

The 5-8 Club was set up a little bit weird. It wasn’t a huge restaurant, but it was of a decent size, but the weird part about it was that you sat yourself. I don’t think that I’ve been in a restaurant this large where you sat yourself.

The place was packed, but there wasn’t a line and a couple of people left as we entered the building, so we were able to get a seat immediately.

I was pretty hungry since all I had eaten on the day was a couple of donuts and some leftover walleye from Houlihan’s. Well, I guess that wasn’t exactly true. Becca fed me some food that she had bought at Trader Joe’s. A place that Becca is very passionate about. Regardless, I was still hungry.

We ordered mushrooms for an appetizer and I’m not sure if this was a mistake or how they do things, but rather than ranch dressing it came with bleu cheese dressing. I’m not a fan of bleu cheese dressing and this has lead to many a discordant evening with me and Jesse at our favorite wings eating places across central Iowa. However, their bleu cheese dressing was fairly good. It didn’t make me instantly want to vomit like most bleu cheese dressing.

I orderd The Juicy Luicy:

By far our most popular menu item, the Juicy Lucy is a mouth-watering half pound burger stuffed with American cheese. The cheese is HOT – be careful and take your time. Bleu, pepper or Swiss cheese is also available. The wait’s a little bit longer; but we promise it’ll be worth it!

Jill ordered The Saucy Sally:

Lucy’s little sister. Born on May 8, 2005. She making her public debut! A half pound burger stuffed with our secret sauce, and topped with American cheese, shredded lettuce, raw onions, and a smear of Thousand Island Dressing. Make sure you have plenty of napkins.

While Jill was explaining to me her theory on why she is an evolved being, the people sitting in the booth next to ours stopped her. They apologized for eavesdropping on our conversation and then made commentary on why they agreed with Jill’s theory on highly evolved human being.


Have your own conversation people! I understand that we are probably more fascinating and interesting than you are and it must be hard not to eavesdrop on us, but at least try to have your own conversation.

After we had ate as much food as we could, we waited patiently for our bill. This was the type of joint where you pay the waitress, but our waitress had disappeared. In fact, I didn’t see any waitress. We probably waited for a good 20 minutes before the waitress showed up and said:

“You guys probably want to go home.”

Then a few minutes later she showed up with the bill.

I gave her my Bank of the Bear card. She took it and when she came back to give me the bill she handed me somebody else’s credit card. After hopefully getting the finances of the evening squared away I’m ready to make this proclamation:

Matt’s Bar serves the superior Ju(i)cy Lucy. The 5-8 Club wasn’t bad and I would certainly go back, but Matt’s is superior. At some point I might have to go back to try the Saucy Sally.

After the meal I bid Jill a fond adieu and hit the open road back to the Cyclone State. It was a pretty great 3 days in Minnesota.

Vacation Day 4 – Cotton Candy

I was set on going back to the Cyclone State on Tuesday night after visiting Faust on his day off, but Bethany and Becca requested that I stay one more night. I had no plans for Wednesday (Sara’s attempt to convince me to go to Iowa City failed since she couldn’t produce a single credible theory on why it would be fun for me to sit around while she put stitches in a pig’s foot), so I agreed to come back to Eagan after my visit to Mankato.

Nate, Becca and Bethany live a couple blocks from a donut store by the name of Puffy Cream Donuts. After I woke up and showered, I hit the open road to Mankato after picking up some cream filled goodness at Puffy Cream.

When I got to Mankato I stopped at Target so I could buy some extra clothes for the extra day in Minnesota.

I arrived at the Faust home and we discussed potential new coaches for the Cyclones.

My dream has always been that Iowa State rights the wrong it made several years ago and brings back Eustachy. I know this was a pipedream, but there are several great options out there. It was exciting to think about what guy Pollard would bring to Ames to return the Cyclones to glory.

We went to Mr. Goodcents for lunch. I hadn’t eaten at Mr. Goodcents since the one in Ames closed down while I was still in college. The sandwiches are no longer as epic in scope as they were all those years ago, but it was definitely still very tasty and I wasn’t disappointed. Not like how disappointed I am with the horrible joke that is masquerading as Panchero’s across the street from the Computer Mine.

At 2:30 we walked over to Jackson’s school to pick him up. I got to admire some of his artwork and look around his school.

As we returned to the Faust abode, I checked my email on my phone. I wasn’t expecting any messages of great consequence, I was just trying to hammer out lunch plans for Thursday with Shannon, but then I got an email message from The Swell Season updating their Summer tour schedule. They are coming to 1st Ave in July! Hallelujah!

After further discussion about who Iowa State could get as a coach, Nicole came and picked us up to get cotton candy!

The residence hall where she works was trying to get the students to leave their dorm rooms by serving cotton candy, popcorn and playing approved music. I don’t know how well it worked on the students, but it worked on Jackson, Faust and I.

On the way over to Minnesota State’s campus, Jackson flexed the golden pipes and wowed me by singing along word for word with the Justin Bieber CD playing on the stereo.

A portion of the day was following Jackson while he ran through the hallways of the dormitory.

Jackson has yet to develop his dad’s patented “Leaning Weiner” shot.

Now I’ve been able to school two generations of Fausts on the court. Plus Faust and I did relive some old Saturday Morning Basketball memories. Including how he felt that he owned The Salmon on the court. Hmmm… two friends that think they own The Salmon.

Jackson nailed somewhere between 3-5 shots depending on how he retells the story.

Faust manning the popcorn machine.

Jackson and his Mr. Freeze

Fronting for the Cyclones in Maverick Country

Faust Knocking Down Cotton Candy Goodness

Shortly after we got back to the Faust Estate my phone rang. It was Jesse.

“We just hired a new coach. Fred Hoiberg.”

I was instantly pissed. Are you kidding me? We just hired some guy because he is super popular with the fan base even though he has NO coaching experience on any level. Was this the cheapest publicity stunt ever?

Full disclosure: I’m not and never was a ravenous Fred Hoiberg fan. He was a solid player and a nice story. His teams were okay and they went to the tournament, but they were not my teams and I could not stand their style of play. They were soft. I was and always will be a Dedric Willoughby fan. He actually won a championship. I’m sure if Pollard would have announced that Willoughby was the new coach and he was filling out his staff with Jacy Holloway, Kenny Pratt and Shawn Bankhead I would have jumped for joy. Hoiberg doesn’t do it for me like he does it for the grand majority of Cyclone nation.

Jesse and I vented our anger. Then Faust and I vented our anger.

I sent text messages to Baier, Bill, Russell, Andree, Derrick and Schmidt.

Bill wrote back:

“Fred? As head coach?”


“Does he have any coaching experience?”

“None. Not at all.”

“Not good at all”

Andree wrote back:

“I guess he didn’t even entertain the idea of hiring Larry back. Well, here’s hoping Hoiberg’s NBA connections can help with recruiting. Was Pollard expecting another Paul Rhoads or something? He’ll be fired next year. This is a cheap move by hiring Ames favorite son to get fans off his back. Idiot!”

“It might be a popular move. I guess we can hope this works out.”

“Popular or not Hoiberg has some cache in Ames. Maybe he can sell to future recruits: “I got all the GMs phone numbers. If you got the chops, they’ll take my call.”

Then I got a call from Baier. We vented. Then I got a call from Russell. We vented.

Then I got a text from Schmidt.

“They are reporting The Mayor as our next coach.”

“I feel that we are worse off now than we were on Sunday with McDermott as our coach.”

“Typical Chris response that I expected!”

“Maybe he is a quick study.”

“We won’t know for three years. Its the Hall of Fame coaching staff!”

Then Derrick called. Of everybody I talked to he seemed the most optimistic that this might work. Although he had just got off the phone with Shawn and Shawn was extremely negative about this hire. But we didn’t get a full conversation because some customer came into the store and he had to “work”.

Faust and I discussed this move for quite a bit longer. Then I headed backup to Eagan.

Nate and I went to Houlihan’s for supper and then we came back to the house. I watched Weeds with Becca until about 2 in the morning and then I went to bed.

Much of my anger over the Hoiberg hiring had subsided and I was able to go to sleep rather quickly

Day 4 of vacation was still pretty great, despite the surprise Hoiberg hiring!

Vacation Day 3 – Guinea Pig Denial

I woke up early on Monday morning. I’m not sure if it was the excitement of the forthcoming trip or if the rumors of Greg McDermott’s departure were so exciting to me that I was like a little kid on Christmas anxiously awaiting the chance to rip the wrapping paper off of his new Omega Supreme!

As I prepared for the trip (as much as I always wish that I was a night before packer – I am definitely a 15 minutes before leaving packer) I listened to the local sports talking heads Deace and Miller discuss McDermott’s departure to Creighton. Only they weren’t using words like “potential” or “possible”.  They were talking about his departure as being a done deal.

I always liked McDermott.  I hoped that he was going to get it done. While almost all of my other Cyclone friends had left the McDermott sinking ship, I was certain that this past year was going to be his season. He had two future NBA players on his roster. A capable veteran point guard. A pair of sharpshooters. A serviceable center. A bench full of athletic underclassmen.

However, it all went downhill very fast. I remember the moment that I knew that McDermott wasn’t going to get it done. 

Jill and I had went over to Derrick and Jen’s to watch a movie.  Derrick had called me earlier in the day to make sure that we were a “unified front” on being able to watch the Cyclones demolish Northwestern before we watched a movie. Of course we were a unified front!

The only problem was that Iowa State didn’t demolish Northwestern.  In fact, they lost to a Northwestern team that was missing one of its best players.

This was a bad sign.

True many Floyd and Eustachy teams were terrible in the early part of the season, only to cohese and become a dominant force down the stretch.  After all, the Elite Eight team lost to a bad Drake team.

Only one of the warning signs that McDermott was in over his head at ISU was the disturbing fact that his teams did not become better as the season went along. In fact, they seemed to get worse.

Even though my head knew that this highly touted team was going nowhere fast, I think my heart forced my mouth to utter the phrase “wake-up call”.  Only this wasn’t a “wake-up call” for them. It was a wake-up call for me. 

The season went downhill fast. A loss at home to UNI. Barely beating Iowa’s intramural team. Barely beating Houston. Lucca leaving in the middle of the season. 4 conference wins.

Then moments after the season was over, Brackins goes pro. Buckley and Hamilton transfer. The NCAA punish Iowa State for being Iowa State and doesn’t grant Gilstrap another year of eligibility.

It seemed like there was blood in the water. The only question was how would Pollard come up with 2.5 million dollars to payoff McDermott?

Only instead of dropping the axe on McDermott like he did on Wayne Morgan (despite Wayne Morgan having 3 straight winning seasons) Pollard gave McDermott a vote of confidence.

Then a month went by and it got weird. Two assistant coaches left. Colvin left. Pollard sent out two enigmatic letters. One to a kid telling him that he understood his concerns about the direction of the ISU basketball team, but his records indicated that the kid didn’t donate money to the athletic department, so bugger off.  Then another letter where he blamed McDermott’s inability to keep players (including a finalist for Player of the Year honors that played for Syracuse this year – yeah that hurt to watch) not on McDermott, but on this generation of worthless kids. He started the letter by throwing Fennelly under the bus and ended it with some very fuzzy math.  He tried to make the argument that kids transferring is an epidemic, but if you actually do the math with the numbers he provides, the average Division 1 school lost .5 kids to transfer in the last two years. Iowa State has lost 6. Now 7 with the transfer of Boozer.

Then Christmas came. Oregon hired Dana Altman. Creighton wanted Greg McDermott to replace him!

Not only was Iowa State not going to continue its long descent into irrelevance, it wasn’t going to cost us 2.5 million to go in a new direction. In fact, Creighton is going to have to pay us $800,000 for the right to take our problem off of our hands.

The only problem was that I wasn’t going to be in the state to hear the news. I was going to be in Minnesota.

However, I’m a problem solver. After I gassed up the car and picked up some needed supplies for the trip (two bottles of water, a bag of beef jerky and two Whatchamacallits) I texted Baier, Jesse and Schmidt and asked them to let me know when it had become official that McDermott was heading to Nebraska! Then I hit the open road.

I arrived in Eagan at about 11:30. Nate was the only one home and awake.

I had assigned Nate the task of finding us interesting places to eat at during my two day stay in Minnesota.  He handed me a magazine with reviews of numerous Twin City restaurants. However, he noted that Bethany strongly favored eating at Chino Latino.

I found the review of Chino Latino. The review stated that Chino Latino served guinea pig!  I was in.

After deciding on the dining option for that evening we piled into the car and head to Five Guys for lunch.  We had a little bit of difficulty finding it, but when we did finally locate it, it was worth it.

Five Guys is a burger joint.  The menu is simple and the food is tasty. I will definitely be going back.

They serve fresh cut potato fries. They put them in a cup, but they also fill the bottom of your bag with more fries.

A “hot mess” but in a good way, not in the Edie Sedgwick way.

It is usually busy enough that they serve you free peanuts while you wait in line.

They also let you know where your potatoes came from.

Simple menu and you get to add whatever toppings that you want!

Bags of Potatoes

Even though we were stuffed, Nate suggested that we visit a White Castle. I’ve always heard that their food is nasty, but I’ve never eaten at a White Castle and I’ve always wanted to try it.

To give our stomach time to process the goodness of Five Guys we headed from Edina to Apple Valley so that Nate could pickup and deposit his paycheck.

Nate banks where Bethany works, so I got to speak with her briefly. When her co-worker wasn’t butting in to tell me about his brother-in-law that used to play football for Iowa State. Only he can’t remember his name, but he rushed for 438 yards in one game. Some people you just have to let speak.

Next stop White Castle!

White Castle

Our sojourn to White Castle wasn’t adventurous and nobody would make a movie about it. We each ordered two sliders.

The hype about White Castle was dead-on! The food is absolutely dreadful. I can’t believe this place stays in business.

We took the rest of the day to rest before Chino Latino.

Jesse called and gave me the fantastic news that it was official. Creighton had given our basketball program the gift of a fresh, new beginning!

Nate called Chino Latino and made a reservation, but found out the sad news that in order to get the guinea pig, Cuy, you had to order it 48 hours in advance.


Luckily Jill was sort of able to provide some recommendations to me. Sort of.

Later in the night Bethany came home and we went over to her significant other’s house to meet up before going to Uptown.

While we were waiting for some people to get ready, Bill called to ask if Creighton had really hired McDermott.


“Do they know that he had 4 straight losing seasons at Iowa State despite having the greatest homecourt advantage in the nation?”

“They don’t make them very smart in Nebraska.”

“True that.”

7 of us met up at Chino Latino. Beth, John, Becca, Nate, John’s friend Ben and Bethany’s co-worker “V”.

Chino Latino serves equatorial food. That means that the food comes from countries that are on the equator.

Nate really wants to order Fidel’s Capitalist Pig Roast at some point. Which is a teenage pig, if you are the type of person that needs labels.

The food was excellent. Once I saw the $45 price tag, I didn’t feel so bad about the guinea pig denial.

I rode back to Eagan with Becca so that I could see her new car and the cowboy joint where she currently works.

Near Chino Latino

Becca’s Favorite Store

This is kind of how it feels to be riding around with Becca.

Day 3 of vacation was an excellent day by almost all tangible measurement.

Amazing Weekend

Daily Reminder

Don’t forget to update your links, bookmarks and RSS Feeds to the new URL:

I did have a couple of late submissions for RWPE. Here are a couple of bonus FRAMING pictures.

Julie Johnson

Michael Vest

I had an amazing weekend. I would just like to share a few of the highlights. In no particular order, besides chronological:

  • I ate supper on Friday night at Jeff’s Pizza with Teresa and Jesse. I love their pepperoni rolls.
  • I got to watch Jesus Christ Superstar at Stephens with Mom, Jesse and Teresa. It was an awesome production, with the exception of the geriatric Ted Neeley, who has continued to suck it up into his 60s. I firmly believe that the only acceptable definition of Hell is “separation from God”. But if I were to believe in a personal punishment vision of Hell, it might be that I get up to what I think is Heaven because Jesus is there. But then he opens his mouth and sounds like Ted Neeley. I would have to pump my fist and scream, “You win this round vengeful God! You win this round!” Sorry Shannon, but that is the way it is.
  • I got to chauffeur Jim out of the Cyclone State for only the 2nd time since 1987. It was the first time he has left the state for an “extended” period of time since 1987 when he took Nate to see a St. Louis Cardinals game. I think he might have enjoyed it as he is considering leaving the state again this Summer to see the Twins play the Braves on June 12 & 13.
  • I got to see Bethany’s new house. It is pretty sweet. They have managed to put down a new wood floor, new tile in the kitchen and new carpet in the rest of the house. Her new fridge is the coolest fridge I’ve ever seen. They painted all the rooms and they got the paint for free because they bought it on Christmas Eve and the Sherwin Williams employee just gave it to them as a Christmas Present because they were the only customers he had that day.
  • I got to try my first (and won’t be the last) Jucy Lucy. Yes, there is no “i” in Jucy. There are two restaurants that lay claim to having invented the Twin City curiosity. We went to Matt’s Bar based on the recommendation of Becca’s boyfriend Gelli. He insisted that they have the superior Jucy Lucy. A Jucy Lucy is a cheeseburger that has the cheese inside the meat patty rather than on top. A piece of cheese is surrounded by raw meat and cooked until it melts. The end result is a hamburger with a molten core of cheese. The sandwich is both incredibly tasty and slightly dangerous. You have to be careful with the first bite because if you bite into it too aggressively you are rewarded with an explosion of boiling cheese. This cheese explosion is both tasty and painful. A rare combination. The two restaurants that claim to have invented the burger are only a few blocks apart. Matt’s Bar does not use the “i” in juicy. The 5-8 Club does use the “i”. They both have used this spelling in their marketing. Matt’s Bar boasts “if it’s spelled correctly, you’re at the wrong place.” The 5-8 club boasts “if it’s spelled right, it’s done right”. In a future trip to Minnesota, I will give the 5-8 Club a try. I might also venture into St. Paul to try the Cajun Lucy served at the Groveland Tap.
  • Stopped at a quaint little store called Tom’s Popcorn Shop. I picked up 4 types of popcorn. A chocolate popcorn that ended up being terrible. Jill compared it to Cocoa Puffs and that was a very accurate assessment. A double caramel and mixed nuts variety ended up being very tasty. A caramel and peanuts variety was tasty. The banana popcorn I am munching on right now isn’t too bad.
  • I got to see the bank where Bethany works and pick up two new pairs of shoes at a nearby Burlington Coat Factory. My injured foot is already starting to feel better since I switched shoes.
  • I made Sara’s dream come true by wandering around IKEA with Bethany and Jim. Okay, mostly with Bethany. I think Jim was ready to go 5 minutes after stepping in the door. I didn’t get to see all of IKEA, but I did get to see a group of girls acting out the scene from (500) Days of Summer (have I told you lately how much I love that movie!) that is set in IKEA. That warmed my heart a bit. I also fell in love with their collection of butcher block tables and I have decided to get rid of my kitchen table and replace it with a small butcher block table. To create both some space and so I have a food prep area if I ever decide to cook. Or the more likely scenario, for the next time somebody comes over and cooks for me.
  • I got to see Jill’s apartment. It was disgustingly clean. Meaning if I spent now until my birthday party cleaning my house it still wouldn’t be half as clean as Jill’s apartment. But it is a well-known fact that the Gorshes are cleaners. Anybody that ever worked a closing shift at the Boone outpost of the Evil Clown Empire with Derrick can tell you stories about the cleanliness of the grill area when he was done. They can also tell you other stories, but I’m concentrating on how much that guy liked to clean for now. I got to meet her cat. I don’t think it is a major surprise that her can’t didn’t like me, but the theory is that this was just laying the groundwork. The next time I visit, the cat will think I’m swell. It is similar to my theory that the next time Jupiter gets together with Jackson and Bailey they will get along swell because of the groundwork I did on Dog Playdate when I was borrowing Jupiter for Sara’s trip to Florida. I also got to ride in Indy for the first time since I got to drive her several months back. We ate at this sweet restaurant called Jade 88 Chinese Cuisine. We were the only people in the restaurant. Literally. My favorite aspects of this restaurant were that they called crab rangoons – cream cheese powder puffs, they had a chair sitting in the women’s bathroom stall (Jill reported this fact, I did not go into the women’s bathroom) and they had the largest collection of cleaning supplies I’ve ever seen sitting on top of the toilet in the men’s room. That isn’t to say the food wasn’t good, because it was great, but to know me is to know what type of weird things tickle my fancy. After the meal, Jill returned my copy of the 2 Disc Special Edition of A Clockwork Orange that she had borrowed a few weeks back. My Stanley Kubrick boxed set is complete once again! I was also able to loan her The Departed and give her the final piece of Halloween candy. A piece of candy that almost ended up in Willy’s stomach.
  • I had lunch with Jim, Becca and Nate at one of Becca’s favorite restaurants Quang. It is a Vietnamese restaurant that reminds me of one of Sara’s favorite restaurants, A Dong. (Yes, immature people, that is really the name of the restaurant. Stop giggling. I know who you are.) While we waited for a table, Becca and I checked out an Asian grocery store across the street. Now just going to a normal grocery store is kind of an adventure for me. (If you don’t believe me, ask Jay) But going to this grocery store was a special kind of adventure for me. I actually didn’t take my camera out of my backpack on the whole trip. Even though I thought about doing my FRAMING picture for RWPE up there, but in the end I admittedly just kind of phoned that project in. However, at the bottom of this list, you might just find a few low quality images I captured with my phone in this market. The food at Quang lived up to Becca’s hype. We had some kind of fried yam things called Banh Tom Chien. They called crab rangoons cream cheese wontons. Tasty, but not as cute as cream cheese powder puffs.
  • After Quang, I allowed Becca to drive my car (without a small amount of consternation on my part) to give us a tour of Uptown Minneapolis. I really liked Uptown. We got to drive by Gelli’s parents’ restaurant “It’s All Greek to Me…” (a place I will no doubt try in the future) and hear Becca’s sermonizing on how much she doesn’t like hipsters. Nate liked to point out that Becca is a borderline hipster, but she doesn’t see the similarities. Even though she does want to drive a Prius, she is not a hipster she insists. Mostly because she doesn’t ride a bike. But perhaps the most exciting part of the Uptown tour was driving by the Uptown Theater. Although I had missed it, they clearly proclaimed on their marquee that they had a midnight showing of A Clockwork Orange. Jill is going to look into this phenomenon and hopefully a midnight showing of A Clockwork Orange is in our future.
  • After the Uptown tour we stopped at a grocery store so Nate could buy the ingredients for gumbo. On the surface that doesn’t sound particularly exciting, but in fact it is like watching Van Gogh buy paintbrushes or Eric Clapton buy a guitar.
  • Becca made a Coastal Seafood Salad that included shrimp, squid and roughie. It was incredible. Nate made gumbo (no need to point out how phenomenal the gumbo was) and we settled down to watch the Super Bowl. I would have to say that my favorite Super Bowl commercial this year was the commercial with the beaver playing the violin. Like Jen, I’m partial to beavers. The team I was rooting for also won. That was a surprising bonus. Nate also tried to convince me that Metallica had redeemed themselves with their most recent album. I’ve never been much of a Metallica fan, but at some point I will be giving their new album a listen in order to make my own assessment.
  • I pulled into my driveway at 1:30 in the morning. It had been a successful weekend on many levels.

Here are a few low quality pictures from my phone:

Mmmm… Pork brains. But you can’t prepare that without edible beef blood!

Fresh clams!

Lobster. I wanted a picture of the crabs, but the water in their tank wasn’t clear enough to get a good picture.

Of course I also wanted to share today’s love letter from The Writer’s Almanac:

Franz Kafka wrote stories about human beings transformed into vermin; unsettling legal battles over unspecified crimes; and a father who sentences his son to death by drowning. Kafka is often thought of as neurotic, and rarely as romantic, but he wrote a great many love letters — many of the anguished, helpless variety — to a Berlin woman to whom he was engaged for five years. Their relationship was carried out almost entirely by letters.

In the autumn of 1912, he wrote to Felice Bauer about how much she had become inseparable from his composition process, and also how anticipation of her writing kept him awake at night. He wrote:

“Lately I have found to my amazement how intimately you have now become associated with my writing, although until recently I believe that the only time I did not think about you at all was while I was writing.

In one short paragraph I had written, there were, among others, the following references to you and your letters: someone was give a bar of chocolate. There was talk of small diversions someone had during working hours. Then there was a telephone call. And finally somebody urged someone to go to bed, and threatened to take him straight to his room if he did not obey, which was certainly prompted by the recollection of your mother’s annoyance when you stayed so late at the office. — Such passages are especially dear to me; in them I take hold of you, without your feeling it, and therefore without your having to resist.

… [It takes] every imaginable effort to get to sleep — i.e., to achieve the impossible, for one cannot sleep and at the same time be thinking about one’s work and trying to solve with certainty the one question that certainly is insoluble, namely, whether there will be a letter from you the next day, and at what time. The night consists of two parts: one wakeful, the other sleepless, and if I were to tell you about it at length and you were prepared to listen, I should never finish.

Eleven days later, Kafka wrote to her:
“Fraulein Felice!
I am now going to ask you a favour which sounds quite crazy, and which I should regard as such, were I the one to receive the letter. It is also the very greatest test that even the kindest person could be put to. Well this is it:
Write to me only once a week, so that your letter arrives on Sunday — for I cannot endure your daily letters, I am incapable of enduring them.
For instance, I answer one of your letters, then lie in bed in apparent calm, but my heart beats through my entire body and is conscious only of you.
I belong to you; there is really no other way of expressing it, and that is not strong enough. But for this very reason I don’t want to know what you are wearing; it confuses me so much that I cannot deal with life; and that’s why I don’t want to know that you are fond of me. If I did, how could I, fool that I am, go on sitting in my office, or here at home, instead of leaping onto a train with my eyes shut and opening them only when I am with you?”

And a week after that, he wrote to her:

“Dearest, what have I done that makes you torment me so? No letter again today, neither by the first mail nor the second. You do make me suffer! While one written word from you could make me happy! … If I am to go on living at all, I cannot go on vainly waiting for news of you, as I have done these last few interminable days …

I think the thing I’ve liked about these letters is their common theme of thinking constantly about the woman they love and how that gets in the way of their work.

Bad Photos

I got all of the old pictures off of my phone. There aren’t a terribly large amount of pictures on there because the old phone is about 4 years old and didn’t have much memory on it.

It turns out almost every picture on that phone ranges from bad to horrible. Although some are amusing.

One major plus of the new phone is the memory card. I can use pictures taken by a real camera for the Caller ID Photo. As you can tell by these images, that will make a big difference.

Minutia – Chapter 6: An Adequate Birthday

Chapter 6: An Adequate Birthday

I woke up on a Friday morning. It had been 32 years since I was born. If I know the story correctly, my parents had to leave the Hillbilly Auction for my birth. That sentence didn’t sound correct. Let me try again. If I know the tale, my Ma and Pa had to leave the Hillbilly Auction for my birthin’.

Perhaps it is tales like this that prompted my cousin Allan to once give my kin (sisters) the backhanded compliment that he was impressed with how well we turned out considering the White Trash we came from. I’ve always considered this to be a bold and clueless statement considering that we are related by blood. If I came from White Trash, he came from the same white trash bin. Believe me, I don’t want to compare sides of the family, but he comes from the side of my family that is considerably less sophisticated.

I had realized long ago that family is family and it doesn’t matter so much where you came from as where you are going. But where you came from always remains part of who you are. I embrace that fact.

Yet, where I was 32 years ago on this day mattered little for where I was going on this day. I got out of bed, showered, and went to work.

The drive for me to work is almost always the same. On this day though I was going to add the complication of trying to change my voice mail message. This really goes against my core belief that people shouldn’t talk on the cell phone while they are driving, but I really didn’t want to be bothered with a ton of phone calls wishing me a happy birthday. It was my birthday, but I didn’t want that to control my entire day. I was going to change my voicemail to say something to the effect that I “wasn’t taking calls on this day, but if you leave a message I’ll return your call tomorrow.”

It turned out that I pushed a wrong button along the way and changed my message to that message that just tells people what number they have just dialed. Then the battery on my phone died. I considered this to be good enough.

Work was more or less uneventful. More than half of our employees were in Seattle for the big convention. To placate (the people who care that they weren’t in Seattle, which doesn’t include me) the people left behind, the Company grilled out. This meant some kind of pork. It was tasty and prevented me from having to leave to find food.

The only other eventful thing to happen during the workday was a call from Jesse. Apparently he wasn’t to be denied. He actually called my work phone. This is a good thing, because if you take out him calling my work phone, it has rang on only a handful of other occasions. If it wasn’t for Jesse, my phone could break and I would never know it.

When he called I was not at my desk. I was talking to a co-worker about 70s science fiction movies. The Shipping Manager approached me and said, “I have Jesse parked in 4.”

“I don’t know what to do about that.”

She explained what to do and I was successful. I had Jesse on the line.

“You not answering your phone?” It was both an accusation and a question at the same time.

“The battery is dead.” It didn’t dawn on me that he was talking about my work phone because nobody ever calls it.

“I mean your work phone.”

“It hasn’t rang all day.”

“I just called you.”

“I didn’t hear it ring, but I was over talking to Co-Worker X about ‘Zardoz’.”

“Well, I just wanted to talk to you on your birthday.”


“You got anything big planned?”

“Just going over to Colleen’s for supper.” I had enough of this birthday talk. I changed the subject. “How is Seattle?”

“It is awesome. It is the greatest and cleanest big city ever.”

“Are you going to do anything cool?” This was a legitimate question. I’m always disappointed when I here stories about people that travel to exotic and interesting locales and all they can tell me when they got back was how drunk they got. I’ve never been much of a drinker, which people tell me clouds my judgment on such issues, but I’ve never been to Seattle or Hawaii or Los Angeles. I wouldn’t want to go some place that has so much to offer and only come back with a basket full of “I got so wasted” memories. I can make those memories in Boone for a quarter of the price.

The other side of this question was because I worry about Jesse. Our big convention is just like every other convention. It involves lots of drinking. Jesse is not supposed to mix alcohol with his medication. This is exacerbated by his well documented lightweight status. It only takes a few drinks to get him going, but there are theories that it isn’t possible for human to get drunk on as little alcohol as it takes to get him loopy.

A friend of ours by the name of Corey is a leader in the field of alcohol research. He is a man that is so passionate about the field that he has even suffered broken bones in the pursuit of new knowledge. He has purported the theory that none of us have ever actually seen Jesse drunk. We have only seen him pretend to be drunk.

That might be the case, but I do know that despite his doctors warning and being surrounded by alleged friends at the convention in Las Vegas last year, he had too much to drink. As I have stated, due to his medication, too much to drink is anything to drink.

I say this because while a few of them were walking down a Las Vegas sidewalk, Jesse decided to drop trou and have a whiz. This actually is not a completely rare sight. It is not uncommon for a group of men out and about to stop short and take care of business out in public. Men don’t even have to be drunk to engage in such an activity.

You don’t have to be drunk to take a leak facing a building. You have to be drunk to do it facing the street. I was hoping not to hear a repeat of the Las Vegas story come back from Seattle.

“We are going on an underground city tour and we are going to a Mariners game.”

I was jealous of these two activities. The Mariners were playing the Padres on this evening. The Padres have been my favorite team for over twenty years now. I have never seen them play. In fact I have never seen a real baseball game. I have been to the Metrodome and to Kauffman Stadium on numerous occasions, but that doesn’t count as real baseball. They use the Designated Hitter. Then I reminded myself that an interleague game at an American League stadium did not qualify as real baseball either. They would be using the great abomination as well. Still, I would like to see the Padres play some time, even if it is under such conditions.

The underground tour would be fascinating as well. If I ever do make it to Seattle, it is the one thing I would have to do. Seattle has a fascinating history in this respect. I’m a sucker for almost all kinds of history.

“Chris Young is pitching tonight. You’ll have to watch his control early in the game. If he throws strikes early in the game he will dominate. If he his is going deep in the count in the early innings, he will have a short night. There is no middle ground for him. He either has control or he doesn’t.”

“I’ll have to watch for that.”

“The underground tour, that would be the number one thing that I would want to see if I went to Seattle.”

“Why is that?”

“Seattle has a unique history and their underground is unlike any other in the world. Their city started to sink, so they just changed what was considered ground level and what was ground level is still there, but now it is underground.”

“That does sound pretty cool.”

“It sounds fascinating. You’ll have to let me know how it was.”

“I’ll let you get back to work.”


I left work at about 6 pm. I was supposed to be at Colleen’s for supper around 7 pm. We were having a giant birthday supper for all of the May birthdays. Rebecca, Nate, Colleen, and I all had the great pleasure of being born in May. Nate and Bethany were coming back from Minnesota for Rebecca’s graduation and this was really the only time that we would all be available to sup together.

It was my birthday, but it was really just like any other day. There were times in the past when I would take my birthday off and do whatever I wanted. I would make my birthday my own 24 hours of hedonism. I would only do the things that I enjoyed. I would even have grand birthday bashes where I would send out birthday invitations that glorified me. Those days were behind me now. I was perfectly content to let my birthday pass by just like it was any other day on the calendar. I didn’t want or need birthday presents. Today was an adequate birthday. It was a day like any other. That was all I wanted.

(Secretly though I did covet a couple of birthday presents and I have gotten one of those presents and I have an IOU for the other.) I have found though that whether or not you want presents or not, people some times insist on giving them to you. Which is alright, I guess.

I arrived at Colleen’s at about 7:15. She greeted me at the door. Rebecca and Kirk were there, but Bethany and Nate were not there. For the tenth straight time that I have been to Colleen’s, Kirk was watching some form of auto racing. It seemed like a waste of such a nice television.

“Where are Nate and Bethany?” I asked. It had been a while since I had seen either of them. I don’t think I had seen Bethany since we went to the Sculpture Garden and I don’t think I had seen Nate since the Jordis Unga concert.

“They are still on the road.” Colleen answered. “Apparently they had to stop somewhere because Bethany wanted to buy a camera.”

I took a seat and waited. I looked at the television. There were trucks driving around in a circle. I don’t know much about racing, but I hope this wasn’t the big race of the week for truck racers. There must have been maybe 100-200 people in the stands. I did not make any comments deriding auto racing though. I have quietly come to accept the fact that auto racing has invaded all of my families on some levels. Although I have accepted the fact with a defeated dignity, I figured that I would take a few jabs at the “sport” when Nate was present. He had the ability to do it in a good natured way where feelings were only bruised and not injured. If I started in with Rebecca as my backup, things might get personal.

So I turned to Rebecca. “Are your hands clean?”


“I got that book that is going into Kelly’s Salon, if you would like to check it out.”


I handed the box in the book with it over to her.

“Good news,” I said, “Your picture came yesterday, so I just need to get it matted and then it will be ready for Sunday. Are you going to be around tomorrow?”

“I will be in the morning. I’m going to a Slaughterhouse 6 show at Vaudeville Mews tomorrow night and I have some graduation parties to go to.”

“What time are you getting up in the morning?”

“Pretty early. Probably about 9.”

I knew that meant 11.

“Did you like that Van Gogh book that I got you?”

“Yeah. It is pretty neat. I think it will come in real useful when I go to college.”

“I hope it does.”

It was then that the door opened and Nate walked in with Bethany. Nate looked at the television and saw that racing was on the television. Nate had been admiring the television for quite some time. He held his tongue, but the look on his face clearly indicated that he thought that this was a waste of a perfectly good television.

Bethany looked at me and said, “Hey Chris!”

Whenever Bethany is going to ask me for a favor or for my help she always starts the request with these two words and an identical inflection. This is the type of inflection that makes the two word “hey” and “Chris” a question more than a declarative statement.

I already knew that a request was about to be made and I already knew that the request was going to be granted. What I didn’t know was what the request was going to be.

“Yes Bethany.”

“What are you doing tomorrow?”

“I don’t have anything scheduled per se.” I still didn’t have much information. “Except that I’m going to be delivering Rebecca’s picture signature board thing.”

“Can you help me buy a camera?”

Wow! This was something I was actually, sort of qualified to do. In fact, people had sought my advice about buying a camera quite frequently lately. Only every single time I had given my advice and backed it up with reasons, the advisees had bought something completely different.

“Yeah, I can do that. I’m actually pretty excited about it. Perhaps you might listen to my advice.” I said and thought “rather than completely wasting my time”. Why don’t people listen to me? They come to me for a reason, but then they just wander off into the wilderness. Fools and knaves! All of them!

I stroked my goatee knowingly and then I asked, “What time were you thinking?”

Bethany sat there for a second.

Nate chimed in, “Why don’t you ask her what time she is going to get up.” Brothers are always there to help.

I acted on Nate’s advice, “What time are you going to get up?”

“I can get up and be ready by noon.”

“Then we’ll go at noon.”

Racing trucks roared in the background.

Moments later we were sitting around the kitchen table eating supper. Colleen had fixed a wondrous spread. It included turkey, mashed potatoes and gravy, and asparagus. There were also various salads but I’m not going to try to describe them. I’m sure they were varying forms of pasta salad, but that is all I can say about them for sure, besides that they were delicious. This is a gap in my schooling that I have looked to close in recent weeks. I have yet to be successful.

After dinner I sat down in the chair where I couldn’t get a clear look at the screen. Trucks were still driving around in a circle. It boggles my mind that at this point they had been doing this for over 2 hours.

Nate, Bethany, and Rebecca all sat down around the television. We were all miserable from eating too much food. It was a good kind of miserable though.

In the kitchen Colleen and Kirk did the dishes and cut up the birthday cake. Even though it seemed that I couldn’t eat any more food, I managed to eat a piece of cake. It was a good cake, but it wasn’t the caliber of cake made by Nate. I think I would have added a third thing to my secret birthday list, but in retrospect what Nate did give me was almost as good as a Nate cake. Besides, he certainly didn’t have the time to make a cake while he was down this weekend. Nate makes such good cakes. Perhaps if he asks me for a birthday list next year, I’ll just point to my belly and tell him to make if full and happy. Happy with cake.

Even though I did not desire anything, I was given a couple of birthday presents afterwards. It not being just my birthday, I was not the only one. Rebecca had brought bag purses for Bethany and Colleen from the Senior Trip to New York City. One was a “Prada” and the other was a “Coach”. I received a pretty sweet stocking cap that says New York City on it. It makes me look even tougher than I normally do. When I wear it I will no doubt scare small children.

From Colleen and Kirk I got a copy of the first season of “The Office”. Always an excellent choice.

Shortly after the cake had been eaten, Sara H. showed. Sara had just graduated from college. She told me how she was going to work for Habitat for Humanity for a year in North Carolina to be near her boyfriend who goes to Davidson.

The thought crossed my mind about her working on a construction crew. It might be possible that her mastery over profanity could be taken to the next level. Habitat might be a non-profit organization, but I refuse to believe that anybody can frame a house and put up dry wall with out the occasional f bomb flying out of their mouth. Well, perhaps the Amish.

She ruined this dream. She is going to be doing office work. How boring.

After a few more minutes of polite conversation, Bethany and Sara H. left for a bar in the west end of town.

A little after they left, Colleen and Kirk left for the bar. That left the television remote unguarded and up for grabs. Rebecca and Nate both made a move for the remote, but Rebecca is younger and was quicker.

She turned the television to TBS and just like that truck racing was replaced by “Sex and the City”. Nate grumbled at this development.

“This is only marginally better than watching auto racing.” Nate declared.

I moved to the couch so that I could actually see the television screen. Nate grumbled some more. Then he watched in silence for about five minutes.

“Well, I’ve seen all of this I can take.” Then Nate got up off the couch and left to go to the bar.

This left just me and Rebecca. Watching “Sex and the City” reruns on a Friday night.

“Do you hate ‘Sex and the City’?” Rebecca asked.

“I’ve been more or less conditioned to watch this show.”

Then we more or less sat in silence watching the remainder of the episode where one character hooked up with the guy from “Office Space”, one character decided that she really did love her baby’s father, one character realized her relationship could only go so far because her boyfriend was Jewish, and I can’t remember the problems of the fourth character. The show ended and we watched another episode. Same problems.

“Sex and the City” was followed by an episode of “Scrubs”. About half way through this show I got up and said, “Well, I better call it a night. I have to get up early tomorrow to do some matting.”

Rebecca wished me a good night. As I walked down the stairs, through the door, and out to my car I had one thought cross my mind:

“This was a perfectly adequate birthday and there was nothing wrong with that.”

Bennett's Run
Former Birthday Party Invitation – Parody of “Logan’s Run”

Present from Rebecca – Photo by Corey Schmidt

One of my “secret birthday wishes” – Stained Glass Made by Jen