111: meet me at the fair

When last I wrote to y’all, I was still in Minnesota at the State Fair. I *promise* I will wrap everything up, as well as update you all on the past week, in this edition of the flip front.

No, really. I will. Too bad I didn’t bother checking this for grammar and spelling.

The State Fair was everything I thought it would be. It was hot, crowded, salty and sweet. Andrew, Kevin, and I immediately headed for the Pronto Pup stand. Pronto Pups are like corn dogs, but they’re coated in a wheat batter. They were delicious, and were followed by a bag of freshly made cinnamon Tom Thumb doughnuts. Kettle corn. Fresh lemonade while we watched some country musicians.

Having finished the first few courses of the day, we made a beeline for the livestock competitions. Goats, who were very meek and let me pet them. Poultry — the chickens were boring, the geese were loud, and the ducks were fabulous (as always). Across the road, the dairy barn and several hundred head of cattle. The cows seemed bored, and I would be too if all I did was sit in a barn while people petted and fed me non-stop. Hmm. Doesn’t seem all that bad . . . Andrew and I stopped to pet a one month old calf, which was just like a puppy except that he wiggled less. Before leaving the barn, we each scored cow trading cards. Each featured a cartoon cow on one side and a list of products that can be made with cows on the other. Mine listed different cosmetics.

Kevin was itching to see the pigs, so we spent a good while looking at the market hogs compete. I was horrified to see people walking around the pens eating and drinking their hearts out. You know how you can’t eat in the bathroom? That’s how I felt. The hogs were great — really lively (some of them downright violent) and big. The 4-H kids used big plastic boards to separate the hogs who fought, biting and scratching each other. It was just as exciting as watching schoolyard fights when I was little and we first moved to New York.

After watching the cows get milked, we made our way to the grain hall and I took pictures of some amazing seed art. You really can’t say you’ve seen everything until you’ve seen a portrait of Jackie Bouvie Kennedy Onassis smoking, part of a series entitled “Vices of the First Ladies”. Totally brilliant. There was, of course, the obligatory seed portrait of Prince.

Munching on radishes, we talked to a farmer about the 4-H seed contest winners, looked at gardening supplies, and saw how honey is harvested. Afterwards I was completely overcome with hunger (again), feeling like Winnie the Pooh after a particularly trying day and searching for a little smackerel of something sweet. There was no buckwheat honey, so I consoled myself with walleye on a stick.

Oh. My. God. Why didn’t anyone tell me that walleye, when buttered and fried on a skewer, was the greatest snack ever? How was this kept from me for so long? I was in such a daze that I didn’t even buy fried cheese curds. We stopped by the MPR (Minnesota Public Radio, of course) — no Garrison Keillor but a lovely book called “Eating Across America” which I promptly put on my wish list. And then the dairy maids.

So the Midwest Dairy Association has Princess Kay of the Milky Way to act as the official goodwill ambassador for Minnesota’s dairy industry. There are twelve county princesses, one of whom is chosen to act as Princess Kay for a year. After getting their likenesses rendered in cold butter, they do the standard meet-and-greet at the fair. This year’s Princess Kay was wearing a really ugly floral dress when we saw her. The chocolate malt I had immediately after meeting her did indeed console me in my fashion disappointment.

After that the day is a big blur. We saw breakdancers, ate more corn dogs and fresh baked cookies and drank all the milk you can drink for 50 cents. Andrew and I slid down a big slide, then we all visited the Miracle of Life birthing barn to coo over a 2-hour old calf, pick up piglets, and pet baby goats. Then we went home.

We took things easy on Monday, eating at an old railroad car diner in St. Paul and checking out the Summit Avenue neighborhood. Unfortunately, the Basilica of St. Mary was closed for the holiday. Disappointed though I was, I took great delight in taking a picture of Andrew seeking sanctuary at the doors. Bwa ha ha ha!

Andrew took us to the U of M campus, where we scoffed at the architecture and the pretty undergraduated playing ultimate frisbee. An auditorium had banners flying above its entrance, the “Culture” banner decorated with a geisha. Naturally, Kevin and I took the opportunity to do our Margaret Cho-inspired geigha impressions, whirling about and sing-songing “ping pong ping pong pong” while Andrew laughed. At least, I think he did. Or maybe he was in too much shock to be embarassed. Anyway, the day ended

with ice cream, and that was truly lovely.

I got to have one final lunch with Andrew on Tuesday before going home. I think now that I should have had the walleye potstickers at the Modern Cafe, so Andrew, if you could send some down by overnight mail, I would be so grateful.

In the week since I’ve been back, we’ve been getting all these new customers at work and it’s been a trying time. I’ve been too busy to catch up on my long-term projects, answering the phone and stressing out over my non-fruitful apartment search. I saw a truly miserable place on Thursday night. It smelled of cheap chili and makeup. Fortunately, Felix and Theresa were home that evening so I marched down to their apartment for Dr. Pepper and cable television. Truly satisfying, indeed.

I’m feeling much better now. Kathy and I had orientation at CAN TV this weekend, after a satisfying breakfast at Wishbone. Not only was the bacon perfect, but the bartender was cute and Kathy had me peeing my pants, I was laughing so hard. We and the other supafriends are trying to get a show going on public access, so orientation was the next step. We’ve yet to develop a solid plan for the show, but I’m so excited at the possibility that the supafriends phenomenon could go city-wide that I’m about to bust.

Announcement: Jacinda and I are looking for apartments together. We were both having shitty luck finding 1-bedrooms by ourselves, and three bedroom apartments for the two of us plus the dog have been ridiculously easy to find. We have appointments all this week. I feel strangely good about this — living with Jacinda (who I love), having a dog (even if she is neurotic, I adore Isabella the wonder dog), changing scenery. We’ve been looking in Logan Square and Andersenville, and other points North and West. Wish us luck, knock on wood, and I’ll talk to you in a few days.



PS: Attended a very entertaining talent show Sunday night. A large rubber Al Gore mask was used quite frequently. I found it very charming.





The Lynda Barry Experience


~ by Jasmine on September 11, 2001.

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