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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

MInnesota, Day Four: In Which I do not Want to be Eaten by a Catfish

The next morning I was a flesh case of jangling nerves. That sentence was horrible. Anyway, I was very nervous because I was going to meet some from friends that I had...never met before. Fifteen years ago, that sentence would not have made sense, but it's the future now, and beside flying cars and frequent space travel to our colonies on other planets, we also have Internet friendships. I met Jess and soon after, her husband, Neal, (really, are this many commas necessary?) through this very blog almost seven years ago. The fact that I now blog about meeting them in the flesh on this same blog means that the world will end: now...
Crap, that didn't work. I thought I could make a paradox, and I blew it. Nothing even exploded. LAME. Anyway, back to this post, I guess. Neal and Jess live in east-central Minnesota, and drove down to the Twin Cities to meet me. I had never even seen a picture of them, so I had to just assume and hope they were not Catfish. Catfish, if you haven't seen it, is a 2010 documentary about Nev Schulman, a man who believes he has been talking to the daughter of a Michigan painter and the rest of her family on the Internet. In a twist that can only happen in real life, Nev finds he has actually been talking to a monstrous, radioactively mutated Catfish, who in the film's shocking climax, uses its fin-stingers to completely incapacitate Nev before devouring him whole. While this is one of the most gruesome events ever caught on film, I highly recommend you show this movie to your children so that they will be aware of the dangers of the World Wide Web.
My brother had to return the Penske that morning, so my sister-in-law took me to the Edina Target to meet Jess and Neal. I got so nervous, I had to go into Target to pee, and despite the fact that I was wearing a T-Shirt and shorts, someone asked me if I worked there, and if so, could I help them. I guess the employee dress standards are more relaxed at the Edina Target than the ones in Baton Rouge or something.
I came back out to see a car parked next to my sister-law's vehicle. I couldn't look. Would the windows be down to allow the fins to stretch, or would they be up and hermetically sealed so that the car could be filled with water, thus allowing the Catfish to breathe? The doors opened, and I leapt backward in a defensive posture, immediately wishing I had an oar, or better yet, a harpoon gun.
Two completely normal-looking people, one male and tall, one female and not so tall, got out of the car. I sighed with relief. Neal and Jessica were not Siluriformes. They were real people with cool t-shirts.
The three of us got into the car and headed to the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. We have one every year in Baton Rouge, too, but I've never been. Neal and Jess, who had been to the one in Minnesota many times, thought it would be a fun thing to do, and they were right. Of couse, as usual, my main desire was to eat, and eat I did: I nabbed a turkey leg (You actually have to fight the turkey for it, and this can get quite brutal, just as it was in the Middle Ages, but I decieved my turkey into thinking I was just checking it for bug bites before delivering the fatal blow. What can I say, carnivory is a dangerous business), fried cheese curds (you actually have to fight the cheese for the curds, but the fight is really one-sided and delicious), a glass of mead (apparently, mead is honey wine...and it tastes like honey wine, so there you go), and I don't remember what else because I was eating.
Also, people made pretty things out of glass and stuff, but in a flashback to Germany, I couldn't afford any of it and got depressed and just used my meager (but appreciated) funds to purchase more food. The most entertaining performer at the Renaissance Festival was this bard dude that spoke in spoonerisms. He once re-told Romeo and Juliet as Jomeo and Ruliet, and the day we were there he did a version of Rapunzel, known as Parunzel. He also told this joke:
Did you hear what Brad Pitt and Anjolie Jolie named one of their 2,000 kids? Shiloh Pitt. Imagine if I told this joke in a spoonerism.
Awesome. I'll explain it to you later.
Also, I took a picture of myself with Neal and Jessica, but they are private people, so I blurred the picture out a little to keep them anonymous.
Actually, I don't know how to blur a picture out, or even use photoshop, so there you go. Around this point a hunger arose even Renaissance food could not satisfy. It was time to visit a place Neal highly recommended: Convention Grill. We sped out of the past, and into the glorious saturated fat of the future. Convention Grill is a bit like an old-fashioned diner, and more, um, conventional than The Nook, but no less delicious. I got a burger with Muenster, a Butterscotch Malt (YES! BUTTERSCOTCH! YES!), and in a tribute to The Rabbit, and not knowing when I would have the chance to return, a Hot Fudge Sundae. Yes, a malt and a hot fudge sundae at the same time. And there were no cow byproduct survivors.
Also, there were fries.
After the massacre, Neal and Jessica drove me around town...well Neal drove, it would have been awkward and kind of impressive if they had both driven at the same time. We saw some lakes, and either the downtown area or somewhere close to it, and there were people celebrating in the streets for some reason. We all got out of the car, and Neal and Jess, shown unblurred just this once, got a little out of hand, but there you go.
After that little adventure, it was time to get back to my brother's place because LSU was playing because LSU was playing because LSU was playing because LSU was playing.
I invited Neal and Jess in, and they got to see a grown man act like an insane grown man. Also, they had sensible conversation with my brother and sister-in-law. Goofus was there, and he growled a lot and acted like he wanted to bite everybody, but I'm sure that's just because he was having withdrawals from his drug addiction.


Jessica said...

Sorry about getting all out of hand like that. :( Ask some of the people I work with and am friends with outside work: sometimes Neal and I just tend to get all overwhelmed with love for one another that we just can't contain it. We have to hold hands or put an arm around each other. (They tell us we're still in the honeymoon phase, even after five-and-a-half years. They do not answer me when I ask when the honeymoon phase ends. They also do not answer when I ask why they always run away from me when I call their names.) It's really bad when we haven't seen each other for a few seconds.

Also, commas tend to be necessary when talking about me or Neal, because we both tend to be comma lovers, and we overuse them. Well, actually, Neal tends to overuse dashes to the point that I have forbade any dash use in his writing henceforth -- unless said dash is approved by me. I am stingy with my dashes.

Strangely, Edina is one of the "ritzy" neighborhoods of the Cities, or so I've been told quite a lot by people who come from there. They do have a fairly high median household income. Oh, and parts of Fargo were filmed there. (Don't mention Fargo to Neal. He's touchy about the accents, even though Fargo is in ND.) Anyway, I'm surprised that their Target employees don't dress in tuxedos from what I've heard about Edina. Maybe it was just over-hyped to me, though.

If you ask Neal, sometimes he says I'm driving while he's driving (I think he calls it "back-seat driving" or something like that, which really makes little since, as I am usually right beside him in the car -- unless long-legged people are riding with us). Does that mean we're impressive?

And finally, I met Neal online as well, as you probably remember. When I first went to meet him (just as friends, since we didn't start dating until we had known each other for over a year and had already met in person several times by that point), my good friend since 8th grade mentioned something about this news report she saw where a guy had killed people he met online and stuffed them in barrels in his basement. I'm not sure if this was part of the news story or if she embellished this part, but then she said I would end up pickled in barrels in Neal's basement (although he didn't really have a basement since he lived in an apartment, and I stayed in a hotel anyway). Thus, she started calling me "Pickles" for a while. Anyway, yeah, we're not mutant catfish. Sorry for the disappointment there.

(Also, sorry for blogging your comments here. I was so excited by how awesome we looked in that picture that I couldn't help myself. We're cooler than I realized!)

Nicholas said...

Haha, you guys never did actually get out of hand. I just knew as soon as I decided I was going to portray you guys in "alternative" ways, that that picture had to be used. I had a few famous ones in mind, but it basically came down to which one I thought I would look goofiest in the background. As far as PDA, y'all never bothered me. I think there should be three PDA rules:
1. No tongue-kissing in public.
2. No lingering butt grabs.
3. No excessive leg or back rubbing when said leg or back is covered in a loud material, particularly at the movies.
You guys never violated any of my unspoken, completely secret rules, so...actually I get a little creeped out when couples I'm around don't show any affection toward each other. It makes me nervous and uncomfortable. I had a blast with you guys...except for the time y'all totally made out in front of me during the V-Day Parade, but winning World War II did bring strong emotions to the forefront for all of us.
There is a movie I've never seen about two cowboys, where one of them says to the other, "I can't quit you." That is the way I feel about the comma.
"Edina" does have a fancy ring to it.
I usually tell Crystal she is side-seat driving, but I stole that line from the cinematic classic, Independence Day, when the estimable William Smith becomes irritable with the spaceship driving instructions of his companion, Jeffrey Goldblum.
Did this person call you "Pickles" on your old blog? I almost swear I can remember seeing someone call you that, and wondering why, and the reason is better than anything I could have imagined. That would make Neal "The Pickler!" He would be like a Batman villain!
I guess it's okay that y'all are real people and not Catfish.
Also, nonsense! I think the reason the three of us became such fast friends is our exuberant long-windedness! I love all the commenting! You guys are definitely cooler than most, and I hope to see y'all again sooner rather than later. And y'all have to take me to get a Pepper Cheeseburger.
Also, don't forget, you are always welcome in the swamp!

Neal said...

Catfish does not quite sound like my cup of tea... I think I prefer that other movie about Minnesota that features a much hunted catfish, Grumpy Old Men (or was that Grumpier Old Men? either is funny, though).

I quite approve of the Han Solo picture. Part of me always wanted to be him when I grew up, so it's great to finally see that happen... or something. I should totally use that as my avatar.

Glad you liked the Renaissance Festival and the Torysteller. I believe he is actually from Minnesota, but he performs a lot of places. He might even get to Louisiana, believe it or not. I randomly found out that he performs at a festival in Arizona, so it could happen.

As for you Jessica, you must ease your hatred of the dash. It is a good punctuation mark--a good one, I say! :p

Jessica said...

You're in luck! I do not believe I have tongue-kissed anyone in front of anyone else in my life. Who wants to see that? The only people who appreciate that are the people involved in said kissing. Also, glad to hear that LINGERING butt grabbing is not allowed, but fleeting butt grabbing is. Our general PDA issues are excessive hand-holding and hugs. Most people find the hugs amusing, mainly because it kind of looks like Neal is going to pick me up like a sack of potatoes due to the height difference.

Yes! Misty used to call me Pickles on the blog (and I think her link to me on her own now-defunct blog had me as "Pickles" as well. Actually, I just checked and it still does.) I forgot all about that!

Man, now I want to see Independence Day. I haven't seen it in a few years. Hmmmm...

I told Neal that the best part of meeting you was no awkward pauses. You also got to see me a bit tired and goofy at your brother's house, which doesn't happen all the time. Lucky you! ;) I swear, I do not usually notice clothing as much as I did that night. But seriously, the ducks had yellow feet! It was awesome!

Nicholas said...

Neal, my brother said he found the bar where some of Grumpy Old Men was filmed. We love those movies. I'm still sad they never got to go ahead with Grumpiest Old Men. The Catfish Hunter! Btw, I really, really want to go ice fishing. My brother and I are both pretty big fishermen (though he is a little more so). Also, I'm glad you liked the Han Solo edit. It happened so naturally, it must mean that you and Jessica's combined forces are truly that awesome. I am going to keep my ears open for the Torysteller to lisit Voulisiana--I hope he does :)
Jess, Yes! I knew I remembered the Pickles thing correctly. As long as you go into Independence Day remembering that is is Stupidly Awesome, and not just Awesome Awesome, it is Stupidly Awesome.

Nicholas said...

No, my link didn't work...hang on:

Nicholas said...

WAH...I give up.
Anyway, yes they did have yellow feet. Just like ducks. I wish the link would have worked because their wings are highly visible in the pics, too!

Jessica said...

Ducks with yellow feet and shiny wings! (I got the link to work by highlighting, copying, and pasting. :D