Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Testic Lit, copied!

Esquire has released it's 75 Books Every Man Should Read.

Only one direct match to Testic Lit (Saunders' Civilwarland in Bad Decline, which was submitted to me by a female friend), but many authors crossed over including Vonnegut, McCullough, and Kerouac.

PS They totally copied me. The criteria was, "...unranked, incomplete, utterly biased list of the greatest works of literature ever published." Sounds a lot like what I was asking for...

Monday, September 15, 2008

In a flurry of unpreparedness...

...I boarded a plane to Nebraska last Thursday for a weekend visit. Trips to my homeland are few and far between, so I beg family members to cram the entire weekend with as many celebratory gatherings as possible. I returned home late last night reeking of airport plush and heavy muscles from all the lugging.

Friday, it all began with a family day-cation to Yankton, SD. This border town boasts a large dam, the resulting Lewis and Clark Lake, and per capita the largest number of pickups and boats that take glee in blocking traffic. Though I spent most of my childhood summers here, driving over the dam never fails to scare the living heck out of me. (When playing at the beaches, I often had day-mares that I would fall asleep on a water noodle and wake up finding myself being sucked down to the turbine vents. Worst. Possible. Death. Imaginable. Ensues. And surprised fishermen watch as a shredded noodle pops out on the other side.)

The highlight of the trip though, was spending time with the newest addition to our family: Lola, my fresh-faced and surprisingly smiley-happy niece. She’s my new fave. And of course, I’m hers.

We finished the day defining the word gluttony at Jo-Dean’s, “a South Dakota tradition” famous for OD’ing on (most certainly NOT safe-caught) seafood. For $20, you can belly up to a buffet of shark, eel, frog legs, and other aquatic fare. It’s utterly weird to witness but tastes great when washed down with a Bud Light.

Saturday found my father and I doing our best to make sure my mom’s 50th surprise birthday party stayed a surprise. It did, she was thrilled, and we saw many old friends and extended family.

Sunday was Lola’s baptism. I made friends with a Catholic deacon who couldn’t stop hugging me, became a godparent for the first time, and swore -- in front of a statue of Jesus, no less -- that I’d lead her to a fulfilling life of servitude to the church. Afterwards, we celebrated Lola’s escape from Limbo by dining at Valentino’s – a favorite childhood restaurant of mine only because their spaghetti sauces contain so much sugar that you need an insulin chaser.

Then comes the return flight to Chicago. I would never classify myself as a sentimental person – conversations regarding weddings, funerals, etc. make me so uncomfortable I tend to eject a Hallmark-template response and walk away from the situation as fast as socially acceptable. I also RAN at my first opportunity to move away after high school.

It must be a sign of aging, then, that for the first time I felt nostalgic about leaving the people and place that represented my upbringing. Even more odd was that I was more at home in the airplane 25,000 feet above both the place I used to call home and the city I do now. I fittingly happened across an article about Restless Life Syndrome which described a person who needed to rewrite their life every 6-12 months. I’m not sure that at age 27 I can identify with the solution they propose, but I can certainly relate to the idea that after leaving a bit of myself in so many places, I feel a bit disconnected from the person I’ve actually become.

Thankfully, I don’t have much time to dwell on it. If you need me, I’ll be at the gym for the rest of the month.

View from breakfast at Mahoney Park.

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Spirit Issue

What do you believe in?

I believe in Friends. They are the best.

Also, I believe in Mangoes. They taste good with pretty much anything.

As well as Telling Stories, Love after love, and Curiosity.

Now you...