Someone once said on a blog to not apologize for not blogging and just fucking blog. But I do feel I owe you readers an apology for being delinquent. I was out of town for a full week, which was really fun but exhausting, and now my froat hurts where my nostrils connect to my mouth cavity.
So. I was in Madison Sunday through Tuesday and then Minneapolis Tuesday through Sunday (palindrome?) – a conference extravaganza!
But, you guys! I has something important to report! Trees located in states outside of California seem to be infected by some horrible tree disease. They all have the same symptoms: (a) discoloration [I saw yellows, browns, and even reds]; and (b) leaf loss – they were in various stages of it but they were very much all losing their foliage and making a mess on the ground. I saw children being terribly insensitive to this devastating epidemic and making mounds of the infected leaves and jumping in the piles. Assholes.
Anyway, here are some notable things I did in Madison:
(1) Drank beer and ate popcorn at Memorial Union Terrace on the campus of U Wisconsin, overlooking the lovely Lake Mendota. With the unseasonably balmy weather and unreasonably salty popcorn, this was pretty much my idea of heaven. But then I was startled out of my reverie by a terrifying siren/alarm that blared across the campus and lake. Since I’m Japanese, it is in my DNA to expect a Fat Man or Little Boy to detonate after such a siren. When I looked around to see if anyone else was as frightened as I was, however, I spotted no other Japanese person, and in fact, no other Asian person even, so I had to suffer my fear alone. It turned out to just be the daily notice at dusk for the boats to come back in off the lake.
(2) Drank beer out of a boot at the Essen Haus. It was a giant glass boot filled with two liters of beer. I believe it is tradition to drink Spaten Lager, so we did. The main rule was that the second-to-last person to drink had to buy the next boot. Another rule was that you couldn’t put the boot down. Anyone who did had to put $1 toward the next boot. The brainpower of seven Ph.D.s put together realized that neither of these rules had much bite during the last round, when there was no fiscal consequence of being the penultimate drinker. So we altered the rules to state that the second-to-last person to drink on the last round had to buy the first round when tab-settling time came. Brilliant.
Another thing to watch out for, besides not leaving enough beer for the person to your left to finish off, was the big air bubble. A third rule was that you had to drink it toe facing up, which at a certain critical amount of beer would result in air rushing into the toe, creating a huge POP and foam and beer in one’s face. It sounds sexy but it’s not. Super fun, though, and I’m happy to report that yours truly paid nary a cent on the final bill. Do you has a proud?
Here are some things I did in Minneapolis:
(1) Ate at Taste of Thailand, pictured top. I ordered green curry, which is not on the menu but available. What I liked: the Thai eggplants, which were golf-ball sized and reminiscent of okra, and the peas. What I didn’t like: the curry was super sugary. I guess if you have to cater to midwestern gaijin sensibilities, that’s what you end up with, but you could have put the liquid on pancakes and it wouldn’t have seemed out of place.
(2) Gaped at the zombies for the annual Zombie Pub Crawl. Tagline: It just won’t die. We were warned at the conference that we should expect zombies to be milling about town “being weird.” lol. I learned that “Zombie Bride” is a totally played-out costume. The best one I saw was Zombie Ronald McDonald. No Grimace, though.
(3) Had a hotel room party in our suite. Liz was on the conference committee, which netted us the awesome suite with windows comprising two of four walls AND fifteen bottles of wine. We (OK, just me) thought it would be awesometastic to fill the bath tub with ice to chill the Pinot Grigio and Prosecco. Liz humored me and helped me go to the ice machine and back. After three or four million trips, I finally conceded “That’ll do pig” and snapped a picture of it with my new Droid R2-D2 phone!
(3) Ate at 112 Eatery where Liz had the foresight to book rezzies a month in advance. It’s been deemed the best restaurant in Minneapolis several times over. I couldn’t convince anyone to order sweetbreads, but otherwise I was blissfully happy with a number of standouts, in particular the tagliatelle with fuckin foie gras meatballs, and Nancy Silverton’s Butterscotch Budino.
(4) Went to Gay 90′s. I ordered two drinks – one for me and one for my partner in crime, Kurt. The bartender plopped them on the counter and said, “Two dollars.” Me: “Two dollars?!” Bartender, in a duh voice: “Yeah, it’s Thirsty Thursday. There’s a drag show too.”
!!!!!!!! Danger zone. I knew it but utterly failed to self-regulate. The two of us ended up buying and smoking an ENTIRE pack of cigarettes, sneaking into the back room [you have to go through the men's room] to gape at the gay porn beamed onto the wall, poking a drag queen’s sweaty boobies because we thought they were so beautiful onstage, and realized that was the wrong drag queen and stalked the one with the actual beautiful boobies and poked those too. Soft.