Category Archives: Let’s Do This!

C’mon, have some adventures! Or just read about mine.

2012: All I’ve Ever Dreamed Of

Christmas Snowman Peeps welcome in 2012.

Some of you, especially if you are not a dictator, probably loved 2011. Others of you, like me, might be looking back at it and thinking, “Meh.”

Either way, it’s time to move on. In this spirit, I’ve compiled a list of everything I can dream of and hope for in 2012.

David Lee Roth sings while wearing 1980s-style body suit.1. That David Lee Roth will get the recognition, and feel the love, that has been eluding him for the past… well… um… 20 years. I’ve thought about starting a foundation (initially funded through Kickstarter) dedicated to honoring him, a man unafraid of fuzzy boots long before Uggs were ever invented. DLR is a showman and we should be glad every day that he came into our lives.

However, should the foundation not come to fruition because, say, it does not reach the $1.2 million mark on Kickstarter (this is the amount needed to not only pay my salary, as Executive Director, but those of my staff, provide us with lunch everyday and the plane tickets and accommodations we need around the world to do our DLR evangelizing), I vow to keep a bit of Diamond Dave glory going each month in 2012. Maybe you will even see evidence of it on this blog.

2. The Year of The Tiny Present. There should be more tiny presents in elaborate tiny packages presented to loved ones throughout the year. Tiny as in much, much smaller than a breadbox. Must fit into a shoe box but better if it fits into a box meant for Band-Aids. A tiny present is a wonder to behold and makes the receiver feel joyous. I will give some. Will you?

3. Awaken to the fact that fashion, like much of our lives, is invented. It’s all invented. Made up. Reading Vogue is really no different than reading a novel. This is not to say that one can’t enjoy Vogue but just to say that one could read Vogue, a book of short stories or a graphic novel, all to the somewhat same effect.

The PG Tips Tea monkey from jolly old England.4. Enjoy tea. Shove over, coffee drinkers. I’m tired of being a second-class citizen. Recently, I saw a British TV commercial for McDonald’s. Once I got over my sadness that there are McDonald’s in Britain and that British people go to them, I was overjoyed to see that the man in the commercial came in from the rain and was greeted by a McDonald’s counter worker handing him a hot cup of tea. “Tea?” the clerk said. And the man looked grateful as he accepted the hot cup. Yes, I thought. YES!!!

I also came across this quote from Christopher Hitchens (R.I.P. in the gloriousness of nothingness, by the way):

“Next time you are in a Starbucks or its equivalent and want some tea, don’t be afraid to decline that hasty cup of hot water with added bag. It’s not what you asked for. Insist on seeing the tea put in first, and on making sure that the water is boiling. If there are murmurs or sighs from behind you, take the opportunity to spread the word. And try it at home, with loose tea and a strainer if you have the patience. Don’t trouble to thank me. Happy New Year.”

Well, that quote came from the essay “How To Make A Decent Cup of Tea,” a January 2011 article on Slate, and it is well-worth a read.

5. Celebrate old people. I’m tired of all these hipsters. Bring on the oldsters. In 2012, I will pay attention to the awesome old in people, places, clothing and culture and celebrate it. Go to bed early. Get up early. Wear that dress from 1975. But please don’t drive like an asshole.

Portrait of Erma Bombeck, American humorist.6. My second action to accomplish point # 5 will be to read as many of  Erma Bombeck’s books as I can. I will begin with At Wit’s End, work my way through If Life Is A Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing In the Pits? and round the bend with When You Look Like Your Passport Photo, It’s Time To Go Home. Never heard of Erma? She was an American humorist who wrote 15 books. You can learn more by visiting the online museum dedicated to her. And 2012 just happens to be a year in which they are holding the Erma Bombeck Writing Competition, which I will enter. I can write funny about life’s trials and tribulations. How about you?

7. Go dancing. I have a husband who does not enjoy dancing at all. I am OK with this. But I still wanna go dancing and look like the white, not-so-young-ish-anymore woman that I am out on the dance floor. I will not wear any of the bodysuits I owned in college but please tell me where the best 1990s dance party can be found in the Twin Cities.

8. Practice The Gambler’s Guide To Life: Know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away and know when to run.  I’m working on all of this and it’s like learning to ride a bike for the first time. We could all, most of us, work on this. If you’re at your limit on something, fold instead of continuing to bet. Or run, depending on how bad it is. If you’ve got a good thing going, hold onto it. Why can’t we get this right more often?

9. Shout into the wind. Just about everything in my life in 2011 seemed to be either in flux, half-finished or in a state of disrepair, like a baby doll missing its limbs. Oh well. That’s life. Keep going. It’s fine!

No, really, it is.

So, yeah, I’ll be finishing my novel about a bus tour of Europe in 1981 and I’ll be finishing off another draft of my screenplay and I’ll somehow, someday get a job and then I’ll write a funny play about being unemployed. And I’ll keep blogging. And I’ll keep trying to be a runner. For no good reason other than, that’s life.

I hope you’ll join me.

Happy New Year. See you, Erma Bombeck book in hand, in 2012.


Long Night’s Journey Into More Night: Northern Spark

We toured the first annual Northern Spark Fest this weekend – an all-night art fest in Minneapolis and St. Paul. OK – we didn’t make it to St. Paul (we hardly ever make it to St. Paul) but we rode the free buses from stop to stop in the Minneapolis loop until 3:30 in the morning. Maybe we would have made it all night if it weren’t for the Walker and their Lullaby Experiment, but more on that later.

We started at Soo Vac’s 10th anniversary carnival, which was a hit because it incorporated games and art. We played Robot Skee Ball and our friend, Katie, tried her hand at donning a helmet with antlers and trying to lift a stuffed wiener dog up and place him in a giant stuffed bun. Also, props to artist Levi Murphy for his incredibly cool table tennis boxy thing.

Then we boarded a free bus to make our way across town to the Nomad Pub for ping pong and projected photos by Wing Young  Huie. Free buses were a really awesome idea. The only thing is you’re then on the circuit and have to sit for five minutes at each stop before moving on, which puts a damper on the party feeling.

Suggestion for next year: We need music on the buses. Karaoke. Acoustic music. It should feel more like you’re on a shuttle bus to your resort in Jamaica or Hawaii rather than a prison transport. OK, it wasn’t that bad. I am dramatic. Also, if there is any way to have a keg on the bus, that would be great.

All in all, we hit most of what there was to see in and around the Stone Arch Bridge: “MURMUR” by Deborah Miller (photos projected onto the Gold Medal Flour silos); “beneath a glowing ceiling of living light” by Diane Willow (this was a tented area that was completely dark inside and up above, suspended in nets, were creature-like blobs that glowed with bio-luminescent. They glowed more if you touched them but there was much debate inside the tent if people were supposed to touch them or not. Keith declared it a FAIL, much to the consternation of an old hippie lady who said, “Now, I’ve heard this is very cool so let’s just look at it and try to figure it out,” then she tried to reach up and touch the creatures and couldn’t reach them); “Domestic Storefront” by Leslie Kelman and Mark O’Brien, the egg that was part of Egg & Sperm Ride, “Classic of the Mountains and Seas” by Liu Xuguang (another projection – projections were HUGE at Northern Spark).

We also saw “Modern Monoliths migrating” by Barbara Claussen, which were red phone booths you could get inside to hear different sounds. The one we got into was like a torture chamber of buzzing. I think Keith summed it up well when he said it was a place you would put someone you didn’t like very much. We tried to see “Illuminated Stream” but couldn’t find it – if you can’t find a stream that’s supposed to be illuminated, well, that might also be a fail. Also, much to everyone’s despair, the galloping horse projection called “Nightmare” that was supposed to go up and down the river being pulled by a barge was not functioning properly.

Note: Northern Spark is enough fun that it really doesn’t matter if the art is a fail or not; it’s cool just to be out in the middle of the night with crowds of other people looking at something.

We went into downtown to the Foshay  Observation Deck at W Minneapolis for “Station Identification.” This was probably one of the best stops. Not only did we get to watch the end of the night’s debauchery at the W’s first floor bar (drunk women sure love to grind up against things – men, women, poles, the air) but we got to go up to the open “deck” and look out over the city. As we walked went around the deck (really kind of a hallway or, um, cell), there were  radios tuned to various stations so that one minute we were looking out and singing along to “All The Single Ladies” by Beyonce and the next we were looking down at cars while listening to “Low Rider” by Foghat.

Back on ground level, we walked through hordes of recently ejected party-goers (2 a.m. bar closing) and saw two guys having a fight over one of them being an unemployed loser who may or may not have lived with his mom. It wasn’t certain whether or not either accusation was true. Guy #1 said, “You’re a loser who doesn’t even have a job,” and Guy #2 said, “I don’t have a job?” as if it was not a black or white area but rather more gray. In my opinion, one is either employed or not employed. I, for example, am not employed. I do not, however, live with my mother. But we never did get to the bottom of the question of the job because they quickly moved on to “You want to see me go?” and  “You want to see how I go?” which is the male ritual engaged in before punching each other.

On our journey to the Walker, we got on unlucky bus #9, which had a flat tire that everyone, including the driver, was chose to ignore. As we chunked merrily along I thought it would have been a great art installation in and of itself. Maybe call it “Midwestern Reticence – Nothing Is Wrong Here.” By this point, everyone was a bit loopy anyway and it seemed like it was all in the game.

The Walker really brought it’s Weirdness A-Game to the festivities. This was undoubtedly the best people watching (my fave was the guy who looked like Mr. Kotter from Welcome Back, Kotter, complete with mustache, swimming trunks as shorts and a tight button-down shirt with a 70s pattern). Also, people were drunk and high. One woman came in “hot” on her bike and inexplicably crashed it. And I heard my favorite bit of overheard conversation: “I’d just take my dick out and start slapping stuff.”

But the best part of the Walker offerings was the “The Lullaby Experiment.” We wandered down a hallway and came upon a short line standing in front of a roped off area. Down the long hallway there were hooks hung with clothing and bags; there was a cubby that held shoes. A man in a bathrobe welcomed us to The Lullaby Experiment in hushed tones – about 35 people were upstairs sleeping in a room and having lullabies sung to them.


“Would you like to go up and observe?” he asked. The way he was softly speaking I thought the sleepers were somewhere right around the corner but it turned out they were five flights up.

“Well, OK…”

We were told to wait in line, only a few people could go up at once. Bathrobe man wandered away and a new robed woman took his place. At one point a very harried looking woman came up to her and said, ” I can’t go out that door?” gesturing to a front door far down the hallway.


The woman looked pissed but she accepted this and left.

When it was finally our turn to go up, we had to take off our shoes unless they were “very quiet” shoes. Flip flops were out of the question. “Would you mind placing your shoes in the cubby?” bathrobe man asked. We went up in the elevator and entered a lounge where two morose young women sat on couches and an anxiety-ridden man stood by a doorway. No one smiled. Next to the couches there was a set-up of tea and water for the sleepers. Another project volunteer came out and asked us to wait – there were too many observers in the space. But soon enough some observers emerged and he deemed it OK for us to enter the space.

We walked into a dark room, dotted with humped forms of sleeping humans. A woman circulated around the room singing a lullaby. We proceeded to some more couches to watch. There were two women observers who had fallen asleep. One of them, a rather large lady, was practically snoring from her place on a padded footstool. A couple who had come in to observe cuddled on one of the couches facing away from the sleepers. Apparently, they were just there for the ambiance and to enjoy the lullaby. We sat for about two minutes, got up and left.

There was something about “The Lullaby Experiment” that sucked the wind out of our sails. Maybe it was just time to go home or maybe we were depressed that “The Lullaby Experiment” got to masquerade as art but we got on the free bus one more time and headed back to where we started from. I was a little sad not to have experienced the 4 a.m. bonfire at Loring Park or the pancake breakfast at Intermedia Arts but there’s always next year.

Save The Date: Northern Spark will take place on June 9-10 in 2012.

Northern Spark Bingo!

Next year, Keith and I plan to make and publish Bingo cards for Northern Spark attendees. Groups can play along and see who can be the first to spot things like the following:

Scott Seekins (Keith won this one – he was at the Soo Vac Carnival)
A tall bike (Keith also saw this first)
A person who brought their dog to the art
A dog in a costume or wearing dog clothing
A white person with dreadlocks (aka a “wolf”)
Face tattoo
Face paint
Inappropriately dressed teen girl
Art you don’t understand
Art only you understand
Missing art – something that’s promised to be there and isn’t


My Birthday, 1863

My official birthday portrait with my lady friend Ellen. We’re for the Union, of course.

This was taken at Professor Bellows Old Time Photography at the Mall of America.  It was fairly quick – one downside is that they don’t really let you paw through all the costumes… you pick your era and they show you about 4 dress options. And you keep your pants on. Did you know that? The dresses tie up the back. I guess it’s good when you get to keep your pants on. Saves a lot of time.

If I ever have my vintage store, I might reserve a back room for portrait shenanigans, although I’d leave out of the usual Civil War/Old West/Ragtime/Flapper choices. Why not have a Mad Men-esque setting? Or 1950s sock hop? Or a 1969 Hell’s Angels rally? The possibilities are endless. I think there’s an untapped market here. The Civil War thing might be played out.

I don’t know that we ever grow out of our desire to dress up and be someone else for awhile. When I was little we had a lot of my mom’s and dad’s  old clothes to play with. There was my dad’s hats and uniforms from his time in the Army Reserves. Dresses my mom wore to dances. A velvet jacket. A leopard print beret. White gloves. We loved to dress up in them. I think dress-up clothes when you’re little can really spark imagination – you’re in the clothes, you’ve become the character. It’s different from dressing up a doll.

It opens you up to all sorts of possibilities. Enhances User Experience With Version 2.0

New Categories & Some Tiny Drawings Position The Blog As A Leader In A Global Pastime

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)—, the #1 rad blog where a hilarious woman meets her public, today announced the launch of its new look, a feature rich site – a.k.a. Version 2.0! As part of the re-launch, now incorporates a social integration feature and categories designed to enhance the reader’s experience while also creating  a fun, secure, and entertaining online blog-reading experience.

In a hundred dollar industry that triples with new blogs every hour, is set to become a blog people sometimes read due to its forward thinking, constant innovation, and because they have time to waste.

“I’m excited to offer my fans all of these great new features and categories on version 2.0 with absolutely no expectation that they pay for any content whatsoever,” said NotShallow CEO Rebecca Collins. “ is poised to become the gold standard in the niche-less blog industry.”

Re-designed and re-engineered to provide a more engaging environment, the new sets the tone for other blogs to follow by offering a social integration feature.

“You can totally read my Twitter feed,” Collins explained.

And, in alignment with her habit of sitting around trying to figure out what new stuff to put on the blog, has expanded its category offerings with its ‘99 Projects,’ ‘Look/See,’ ‘Simple Little Picture,’ and other totally radical ideas. Now there is something for 30% of readers.

“In a burgeoning industry, I’m casually considering revolutionizing the blog experience and sort of lead the way by example sometimes because I continually think of funny or interesting stuff to post,” said Collins. “It is my hope that sometimes readers will comment on my blog instead of just spammers in Russia trying to push expensive pens.”

Look for new categories and features to be revealed in the weeks to follow.

Minneapolis, MN-based is not the #1 blog on the Internet. Still, it’s a fun read and way to kill some time. has been built from the ground up to ensure that web users who stumble across it spent at least one minute experiencing a safe, risk-free, secure and ethical blog environment. You will see and read some funny shit.


Skijoring Loppet in Minneapolis

On Saturday, we headed out to Lake of the Isles in Mpls to see the skijoring loppet. I’ve never seen so many happy dog faces in one place. Freja was not competing but she was exhausted just from watching the dogs and hanging out in the crowd. Maybe next year we’ll be in the race – those skiis out in the garage should get some use.

Also caught some ice biking and lots of dogs leaping in the air (some of the leaping dog photos were blurry but I put them in here anyway because it’s cool to see dogs so happy they jump in the air)

Rock The Garden 2010: Rock Your Romper

OMG! We <3 The Walker!; photo by Daniel Corrigan
OMG! We <3 The Walker!; photo by Daniel Corrigan

The last time I attended Rock The Garden at the Walker Art Center Wilco was the headliner. We went with friends who had Walker connections and got to sit in the VIP section and I remember that Josh Hartnet put in an appearance. That’s mostly what I remember… oh, wait, someone brought their annoying child and she was busy being annoying the entire time.

So it was time to create some new R.T.G memories this year… I got very, very excited when it was announced that MGMT would be playing so I pressed Keith’s Walker membership into service (basically telling him he had to buy us tickets).

What I realized about R.T.G. is that you don’t have to like or even particularly care for the bands that play to have a great time. It’s worth going just to people watch on a sunny day. The crowd is laid back, everyone on their respective blankets, enjoying Walker-esque “festival food” like Barrio tacos, mock duck banh mi from Joe’s Garage (thumbs up!) and Summit beer.

Continue reading Rock The Garden 2010: Rock Your Romper