Saturday, August 22, 2009

Pictures with Large Things Part 1

Last week I visited the lovely, animal-themed state of Minnesota. My good friend Michelle's very generous father flew me to their family cabin in Deerwood for 5 days of canoeing, sitting around, and various Paul Bunyan activities. It was a good time.

The highlight of the week of course was a trip to the wonderful Paul Bunyanland. With only a $13.95 admission price, what fantastic enchantments were in store! As I walked through those glorious gates, there was Paul himself to greet me! He asked how the weather was in Albany and I enthusiastically replied. What a nice guy. Funny-looking dog, though.

There was the famous Ghost Mine Shaft, a pitch black wooden shack that actually stays still but so dubiously fools the rider into thinking they are moving far down, down into the pits of mine hell (A roll of paper painted to look like stone moves against the fake window to create this deception. Brilliant.) The doors open to reveal two grinning, chilling pink glow-in-the-dark skeletons who have met their doom. For every 4 rides there was one attendant, but that was just fine. I enjoyed pressing the blaring buzzer and waiting in beautiful sun for a high school student to come and flip the ride switch.

Next stop was the very disorienting, magnetically affected mine shack (yes, another one!) I struggled to keep my balance and my watch synchronized as I wondered through to the end, finally escaping through the quite tidy outhouse. Phew! What a close one!

Caught frolicking with Babe (as seen above), Paul put me in Bunyanland jail. After a brief emotional breakdown, I think I adapted quite well. Michelle ended up in the cell next to me for a few as yet undisclosed alleged crimes (the court cases of which are still pending).

Here are some more miscellaneous highlights of this magical, extraordinary place hidden way back in a lush Minnesota field:

I want to meet the mailperson whose job it is to climb that ladder everyday... I bet that throughout the history of that box, at least three have fallen in.

Coming with other large mythic animals and an awesome playground complete with vikings and pirates!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

My cousin used to look like Aladdin. Now he looks like Fat Aladdin.

Last week I screened the new never-to-be-released-in-theaters Zach Galifianakis movie, "Visioneers." What was supposed to be a fun little get-together turned into an intimate viewing with just me and two other friends present. Everyone else was "busy." But it is no matter. We had a good time anyway. I did not reschedule the event because I needed time to gather photos for the "AMERICAN TUNT" contest. The makers of "Visioneers" let the fans send away for screening kits before the DVD was commercially released, hoping that this way they could generate buzz about the movie for free. I was more than happy to oblige them and send away for mine. If you sent away for a kit, you had the opportunity to enter the "AMERICAN TUNT CONTEST," which I promptly put myself into. Because I knew that I would never win the category for most attendees, I decided to go for Most Beardly Event. So, I donned my beard t-shirt and made Visioneers-themed cookies, which I thought came out pretty adorable, if only for the fact that they had a certain person's likeness on a couple of them. (You can tell the ones that were my first attempts at bearded faces, they're the scary Ahab-like blackbeards with piercing eyes and no noses). I'd like to share with you some pictures:

I could only send them one picture for the category, but here are the rest of them...

I will let you all know if anything comes of the contest. But I'm not holding my breath. Some group of hipsters from Williamsbeard will probably win.

As for the movie "Visioneers" itself, it was great. A very smart change of pace that showcases Galifianakis' goofy and intense presence as well as his superb acting skills. And I'm not just saying that because I have dug the man since the 7th grade - he was my equivalent of other girls' crushes on the Backstreet Boys and the like. As Jonatham Lethem says (more or less) in his essay, One or Two Things I Dunno About Cassavettes, the movie was "all about my life and everything I feel." And everything I believe. I don't want to give away the plot but let's just say that when the time comes, you'll find me in Undeveloped Area 37 working at a coffee shop. I just hope that when the Jeffers Corporation comes and puts that thing on my neck, there's some wonderful, full facial-haired man ready to do the deed if he deems it necessary.*

P.S. The joke from above is mine, not Galifianakis's. I was very excited when I accidentally wrote it during a recent conversation with a friend.

* By "do the deed" I do not mean what you think I mean. Far from it. Watch the movie.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Phase 1: Fizzical Phitness

I've been going to the gym since January-ish, and I have seen SOME results, but not that much. I think my body has gotten used the the usual elliptical, stairmaster, bike, occasional weight-lifting routine. Or it could be the fact that my average baked good consumption per week is well over the recommended per month. Regardless, I have decided to shock the hell out of my body. Not in the Death Row way, but in the holistic healing way.

Today was my first day of Bikram Yoga. I walked in as The Decemberists' "The Mariner's Revenge Song" played faintly at the front desk and I knew I was in my kind of place. For those of you who don't know (and up until last week I was one of you), Bikram Yoga is a set of 26 postures, each repeated twice, over a 90 minute class period. You start off with standing postures, then you work your way to the ground. All of the postures are in order the way that some guy named Bikram decided was best. You with me? So, you're in a room for 90 minutes doing stretches and holding poses such as "The Eagle" and "The Full Locust." Sounds pretty normal.

Except the fact that the room temperature is purposely set to a minimum of 105 degrees. There's the rub. Literally. Everyone drips with sweat, so embarassment and self-consciousness goes out the window - which I like. At times, when the instructor (a really nice young woman probably just a little older than myself), went around the room and gave people pointers and compliments, I felt like I was in elementary school. If I felt I was doing a pose particularly well I would push myself as hard as possible and glance at the teacher, hoping she noticed. I got a "Beautiful, Andrea!" and felt pretty fulfilled. It reminded me of when I would shush the kids at my "table" in 4th grade, folding my hands on my desk so tensely that I probably looked constipated, wishing so hard for the teacher to let us line up in our loafers first.

I went to the studio at 6:45 in the morning and thought I would be the only average person in a room full of champs. To my happy surprise, I was wrong. Someone else almost fainted and I didn't! I know this is a terrible outlook, but it's the simple things that make me rejoice. Not to say I wasn't dizzy a few times, or that I didn't almost collapse face down into my sweaty towels during the "Standing Bow" and "Toe Stand" poses.

...Okay, fine, so I fell once. But at least I didn't fart. That would have been unfortunate because I was next to a shaggy Robert Downey, Jr. lookalike.

Monday, August 3, 2009

New Title, New Outlook, New Perspective... I hope.

Hello, my friends, hello
Just writing to let you know
I think about posting every night
And I know it's late
But I couldn't wait

Better late than never. Just thought I'd introduce my new revamped blog perspective with a little Neil. Who could resist?

Yes yes, I have changed "Leave Your Keys in the Bowl" to the Jay-Z inspired "Sorry I'm a Champion." It's about time I changed some things around here. "LYKITB" is so 70's. And, for me personally, it's so two years ago. Time to stop living in the past. Pretty soon I'll be all growds up and in my own apartment somewhere near my nieces for a year or so to save money until embarking on some new adventure. Will I teach English to the brats in Germany? Will I jump aboard the Sea Shepherd? Will I give historical tours at some random old place? Will I be a famous comedian? Will I write for a television sohw? Will I work for a music festival? Will I have both of my legs? Well, Dude, we just don't know.

My blog is a reflection of myself. "Sorry I'm a Champion" can be interpreted in two ways. Some days I do feel like a champion, just getting through daily life, working two jobs in New York City makes you feel like one. After all, I'm graduating early (yikes!) and pretty self-sufficient minus that one or two calls a year to my parents where I drop hints for them to send me money to buy underwear and cold cuts. Other days, my awkward, dejected days, things happen where I don't feel like such a champion or I make a fool out of myself. (Example: While riding the escalator up to the platform after getting off the train in Albany, I looked through the glass and waved at a figure who I thought was my sister and darted in that direction towards her as soon as I reached the top. Much to my embarassment I had waved to her reflection and heard her laughing from the other side of the hallway, there where she was actually present.) On those days, "Sorry I'm a Champion" can be read as a more tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic, almost sheepish self-mockery.

I have been compiling notes and thoughts for a couple weeks now and I hope you enjoy my newly titled random writings.