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Adventures in Mass Transit

Last week when I returned to Seattle I still had my ORCA card in my wallet. And I planned to use it. But wound up renting a sweet Toyota Yaris instead. Reliable cars really are the most convenient thing. Now home my bad car karma continues. Tuesday my mechanic fixed my car and I drove it away without incident. Yesterday I worked from home but ran an errand in the afternoon. On the way back my car flipped out. Flashing check engine light, bad smell of unburned gasoline, stalling. Thankfully I hadn’t gone too far. It was all side streets. And my boyfriend was able to have AAA tow it back to my mechanic. This morning I took the city bus to work. It was a straight shot on one bus, with no transfers. But the entire journey took a full hour. And along the way I saw some strange things. Like a city employee downtown trying to sweep an injured bat off of the sidewalk on Hennepin. Hmm.

Five items of note:

So my automobile is failing. But I’m also experiencing some parenting fails. Next month my son goes on another, shorter trip to Seattle with family. Not only will he be missing the Internet Cat Video Festival, which is tragic enough, his flight gets in just hours after the open house/orientation at his new high school. Smooth move, mom. And this was after I paid money to reschedule his original flight that was due to bring him home the day *after* school starts. Because Minneapolis schools start before Labor Day, not after.

my brooding teen

Harnessing the Flow of the Universe

Several times I’ve experienced car problems immediately after a trip and/or shooting a wedding. This time it was both. My son and I returned from Seattle on Friday and Saturday I shot a lovely wedding downtown Minneapolis. On the way home my car’s engine light came on. The beast is with my mechanic now. I guess it’s better to have car problems after being paid to shoot a wedding than after spending money on travel. But since I’ve just done both this means things are sort of evening themselves out. Thanks universe! At least being car-less has ensured I’ve been home more, editing photos. I finished this recent batch of trip pix then finally got through the ones from our previous trip to Seattle and Portland, over Spring Break. On that trip we attended the Emerald City Comic Con. Maybe one day we’ll attend San Diego’s Comic Con, which just ended. But it’s gotten too large and would likely be overwhelming. I’ve been distracted enough just by the news coming out of the con this year. Some of the top tidbits:

While in Seattle we got to visit the fabulous Fantagraphics, where I picked up the Henry and Glenn Forever trade paperback, and a few other books. And we played lots of pinball and ate excellent meals and lounged. I’m working on another post to sharynshoots.com, outlining our best trip stops so that I remember where to go next time. When we got back to town I took my son to our new co-op, Lakewinds. They’d had their grand opening after he left for his month long adventure. He seemed suitably impressed. Not only is it the closest we’ve ever lived to a co-op, they stock all of his favorite vegan items. Which has been great for the short term, until he leaves for one more trip this summer. This time just for two weeks. And then bam, school starts. If only I could convince him to shave his wispy mustache before then.

parker-tree

The Wall of Forever

Just as I’m about to embark on yet another trip utilizing AirBnB they’ve freaking overhauled their branding and their new logo is…icky. As Gizmodo puts it: The New Airbnb Logo Is a Sexual Rorschach Test For Our Time. So many tech nerds are taking pot shots at it today. Like “New Airbnb Logo Wants You To Draw It Like One Of Your French Logos” and the sight gags in this one: AirBnB Reveals Its New Logo Mockups. Why’d they have to go and mess with a perfectly ok thing? Speaking of parodies, Weird Al Yankovic is firing on all of his funny cylinders. I am particularly enjoying his take on Royals called FOIL.

Five good things for mid-week:

Less than a week until I see my son again. Last time we were in Seattle we made due with public transportation but it wasn’t always convenient or happy-making. A couple of times we broke down and made use of Uber cars. So I had kinda sorta resigned myself to renting a car but today I learned about a major highway closure while we’re there which makes that option less appealing. Can’t win. But I will be able to drive us to the LASER DOME. And that’s pretty cool.

This Bud's for you!

As Mellow As Moonlight

What a wonderful weekend. Friday night we had dinner at Northbound Smokehouse Brewpub before leaving the car there. It was a quick walk from the restaurant to the light rail where we zipped downtown for the Made Here launch in The Parklot. Then we took the light rail back, grabbed the car and saw our friends’ band, Rabbit Holes, play at The Hex. Saturday was lazy. We kinda-sorta got a few things done around the house and enjoyed take out from Hot Indian Foods for dinner. Then it was off to a backyard hangout under the supermoon with friends (including a favorite friend who just signed a lease and is returning to Minneapolis after five years working in the South). Sunday we biked from our place to the Kingfield Farmer’s Market, which was lovely. But holy wow am I out of shape! I was already sore by Sunday evening when we went to a fantastic wedding party at the beach.

Five good or interesting things for this Tuesday:

  • Yesterday I didn’t leave the house. I remained in pajamas all day, working from home, bundled up in layers with slippers on. It was actually kind of nice. I’d prefer record breaking cold in the summer vs. record breaking heat: “128 year record cold Monday?”
  • And in our Russian sister city of Novosibirsk, Swimsuits for snow boots: Freak summer snow & hail hit Siberia, Urals
  • And another report from that neighborhood, The North Pole Could Soon Drift Over to Siberia: Earth’s magnetic field seems to be weakening and potentially migrating
  • Our household is 100% full of Scott Pilgrim fans. Which is why I pre-ordered author Bryan O’Malley’s new book, Seconds. And was pleasantly surprised when it showed up today. Yay me! Except now I want to go straight home to read it instead of stopping by the Y for a work out, like I should.
  • With my son traveling with his grandparents I haven’t been needing to get groceries nearly as often. But I’ve added a few items to the list after reading th eFood-Mood Connection: How You Eat Can Amp Up Or Tamp Down Stress. Some are already staples in our household but I don’t know that I’ve combined them. Yesterday I made scrambled eggs with kale and pumpkin seeds. I’d probably feel less anxious if I would cut out that second cup of coffee…

My son has spent much of the past few weeks in the wilderness, with unreliable cell phone service. He has been posting some updates to Facebook, thankfully. But yesterday I received my first text from him in well over a week and I BURST INTO TEARS. Sad mama. His text was just letting me know his phone was working and he was asking how our cats are doing. I think the cats are fine but I’m kind of a wreck. Looking forward to seeing him in Seattle next week, for sure.

Zena & Grace

We Are Made of Star Stuff

Yesterday there was a bit of excitement at an area zoo when three gorillas took a brief jaunt through unsecured door. Naturally someone set up a ComoZooGorilla twitter account with the best tweet being: “Who’s down for a midnight screening of ‘Dawn of the Planet of the Apes?’ I should be able to get out of here by 10:30 tonight.”

Five good things for Friday:

  • This weekend the silent classic Nosferatu is being shown at The Trylon, with live music by Fate’s Palette. Buy tickets here.
  • For his 158th birthday, Nikola Tesla got a day named in his honor and a new science museum with $1 million in funding from billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk.
  • There’s a trailer now for the new Terry Gilliam movie, The Zero Theorem, featuring many of my favorite actors. Like Christoph Waltz, Tilda Swinton, David Thewlis.
  • I adore Rejected Princesses: “A series of illustrations of women whose stories wouldn’t make the cut for animated movies, illustrated in a contemporary animation style.” An interview with the man behind the project here.
  • Oh tumblr. There when you need it (but often when you don’t want it too). Fox News started it with the single lady voters / Getting to Know the ‘Beyoncé Voter’. And this was one brilliant response.

The weather has been all over the place today - downpours and sunny skies in equal measure - but I’m hoping things will clear up for the weekend. We already deeply appreciate grilled pineapple but I’ll have to give grilling other fruits a shot too.

Drew, lighting up with a sparkler

Adult Mediocrity and Fatuousness

We had a decent 4th of July holiday weekend, though I’ve been having a hard time feeling terribly patriotic. The headlines hurt. Supreme Court Broadens Hobby Lobby Ruling to All Forms of Birth Control. Grrrr. So much for Justice Alito’s “narrow” opinion. One of my all time favorite people, George Takei, blasted the High Court’s ruling and called for a boycott of Hobby Lobby. Hell yeah. And Democrats are trying to fast-track a bill to override the Hobby Lobby decision but I don’t know how far that will actually go. There’s at least one rich white American guy who gets it: The Pitchforks Are Coming… For Us Plutocrats. And Nick Hanauer wrote that before the unfortunate SCOTUS rulings. I like this guy.

Middle-out economics rejects the old misconception that an economy is a perfectly efficient, mechanistic system and embraces the much more accurate idea of an economy as a complex ecosystem made up of real people who are dependent on one another.

The income gap is widening at an alarming pace. And this reality is being reflected in our dystopian, end-of-the-world fiction. Books and films and tv series. In the last week I’ve seen Snowpiercer (TILDA SWINTON!) and the first few episodes of Dominion (Anthony Stewart Head!) and have read plenty of books like The Last Policeman series and The Maze Runner.

Sometimes I leave too many danged tabs open. But then I find five or more good things:

Another busy weekend ahead. Seeing the Budos Band tonight. My old friend Joan Vorderbruggen is coordinating Hennepin Theatre Trust’s new art-in-storefronts project, MADE HERE, launching tomorrow. A beach wedding party. Dengue Fever (the band) at The Cedar. And it’s now less than two weeks until I see my son again. A little over the halfway mark. Man, this is excruciating.

Zena, with mini bottles in her bra

There She Goes, My Beautiful World

Hello emotions! What a whirlwind. So it’s finally sweet sweet summer. And it’s far too easy to let things slide after such a brutal winter. Now that it’s lush and green and warm I am even more easily distracted. By going for walks or sitting outside on patios. We’re lucky our new place is on higher ground but just last night we had dinner on Sandcastle’s new terrace on Lake Nokomis, and got another look at how flooded the paths are around the shoreline. Last week President Obama was in town for two days, to meet with a working mother, and he gave one talk near the swollen Minnehaha Falls and another along Lake Harriet. This was just days after my amazing boss had been in D.C., serving on the panel of the first White House Working Families Summit. All the best things were said and great sentiments expressed and I was actually feeling hopeful for a minute. And then. Today’s Supreme Court Ruling. My spirits are sinking fast. I’ve tried to explain to my male partner just how disheartening and discouraging it is to systematically be shown/told that one’s gender, which makes up 50% of the world’s population, is somehow inferior. That women’s agency and autonomy aren’t important after all (never mind, oh, SCIENCE). I’d already been feeling that sting. Lately I’ve been taking a good hard look at the fiction I consume. Particularly in film. How many movies even pass the Bechdel Test? Such a low bar and yet Hollywood has trouble clearing it, time and time again. But back to today’s news. We must find a way to ensure widespread access to effective contraceptives. Health care should not be tied to employment. White male right wingers in this country think that corporations are people, and fetuses are people, but women? Meh. Like another woman noted on twitter, it feels like we’re living in a Margaret Atwood novel.

In other personal news, one week ago today my son left with his grandparents. RVing from Minnesota to the Pacific Northwest - for A MONTH. He’s been texting and updating his Facebook wall sporadically so I generally know what he’s up to. But wow. A month apart. The longest yet. I might be a bit of a wreck by the end of this. While he’s away Minnesota needs to dry out. Last week a mudslide shut down part of West River Parkway. A couple of weeks ago we drove out to my boyfriend’s family farm and saw so many sad flooded fields. A state of emergency was declared in 35 counties. And the parks and playgrounds in downtown St. Paul, near our old house, were completely submerged as the Mississippi crested. The seventh highest crest in 100 years. Gulp. On a related note, “the 2014 Minnesota Biennial reinstates the Minnesota Museum of American Art’s long tradition of surveying contemporary artistic practice through an open call process.” The final cut is being exhibited now, in downtown St. Paul near all the flooding. And it includes:

a piece that uses craft but also an element of audience participation is an installation by Sarita Zaleha. A comment on global warming, the piece includes a blanket equipped with sensors that turn on heat when you move the blanket to get inside. The installation also includes needlepoint works that spell out the names of hurricanes, commenting on the effects global warming has had on society.

Struggling to find five good things for this Monday. Maybe five interesting things?

I’m a long-time atheist but recently I had the closest thing possible to a religious experience. Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds returned to the State Theatre and were even more amazing than last time (in 2002). After that I saw two of my favorite local bands - comprised of my friends - in a sweaty basement on a Friday night and that was somehow even more life affirming. Oh yeah, and my Dad turned 70 last week on our shared birthday. I was able to go out to lunch with him and his wife, which was lovely. And to get out to Pizza Farm with fantastic friends the night before. I really have been slacking with the updates here. Oops.

Pizza Kitten!

Mist and Vapor

Minnesota is underwater world this week. We live just blocks from the Minnehaha Creek now, which is currently flooding nearby neighborhoods. Thankfully our new place is on higher ground but others are not so lucky. Years ago I lived behind The Wedge Co-op. When I was about eight months pregnant (with my almost 15 year old) I bought a house. One night I packed up my car with precious irreplaceable items like photo albums, and went to bed. I’d planned to drive over to my new house the next day to unload. Mother Nature had other plans. I walked outside in the morning to find the neighborhood had flooded and my car was full of water up to the dashboard, damaging all of the belongings within. That’s what you get when you live on low land that was once Lake Blaisdell. Which I wasn’t aware of at the time. And now other folks are experiencing similar head/heart aches.

Five important but not-so-fun items of note:

Another busy weekend ahead. The kiddo’s grandparents roll into town in their RV before long. And the Extreme Noise Records 20th anniversary celebrations continue. And I’m taking my boyfriend to see Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds (his first time, only my 2nd in that configuration). And I’d like to squeeze some wedding photo editing time in, along with more unpacking. Perhaps I’ll stop sleeping altogether.

Father's Day 2014

The Strange Situation Procedure

Last week there was one absolutely gorgeous summer day. Blue skies with puffy white clouds, hot but with low humidity. And on that day I was able to take my son to the beach, and to Sandcastle for afternoon snacks. Saturday the weather wasn’t so lovely. It was all rain and scary skies with wall clouds but that didn’t stop the magic. I had the honor of photographing the wedding of two absolutely lovely friends. I did, however, skip the rain-filled Northern Spark Festival afterward. First time I’ve missed it! Sad trombone. Sunday was Father’s Day/our annual shared birthday celebration. He will be 70 next week, on our shared birthday, when I turn a different and not terribly significant age. This week we’ve got lots of prep to do before my son begins summering with his other grandparents. We’re going to be apart an entire month! The longest ever. But I will be flying to Seattle at the end of it to meet him and hang out for a few days before flying us home. That will be fun.

Five good things for this Monday:

The fine folks at Thrillist have rounded up every single outdoor movie in the Twin Cities (122!) and created this 2014 outdoor movie master calendar, organized by date. Unfortunately it’s raining again now and likely to be raining for the rest of the week. I was hoping to get to at least one of these with my son before he leaves town. But since we moved into our new place/school ended he rarely wants to leave at all. Teenagers.

HIJACK dancers

The Modern Servants of Fate

School’s out! For summer. And forever. Well, only in that my son won’t be returning to the St. Paul school district. I received a nice message from his case manager yesterday, about how much he had enjoyed my son’s enthusiasm and wit over the past school year. That was nice. But my son and I did not enjoy the ridiculously early start time, the 10:15am lunch or the distance from our previous home. Now we live about a mile from the high school he’ll be attending (HIGH?! school). And they have a much later start with reasonable lunch times. But. Here’s the thing I did not know. School now starts in Minneapolis well before Labor Day. I wish I’d realized sooner. This wound up being a $252 mistake when I had to call to change my son’s flight home from a trip with his grandparents. His original flight had him coming home two days after the first day of school. Oops.

Five items of note for this fine Tuesday:

This coming weekend I have my first wedding shoot of the year. On the same day as a million and one other things. Like the opening of the Green Line light rail from St. Paul to Minneapolis. And the Stone Arch Bridge Festival. And the Northern Spark overnight art fest. But I will focus on the wedding and if I happen to have any energy left over afterward, so be it. Weddings can be stressful, even if it’s the most amazingly laid back couple ever. There are so many other factors that come into play. Like acts of nature. This is blowing my mind: “An Oregon Couple Rushed Through Their Wedding Because Of A Wildfire And The Photos Are Breathtaking” While the end results are amazing I really hope we don’t have anything like that to contend with on Saturday.

OAKS