August 2007

I discovered Fountains of Wayne when I was a freshman in high school. I loved their first, self-titled album with a fervent passion intensified by the fact that they felt like a secret club only me and my best friend, Mary, belonged to. No one had heard of Fountains of Wayne. And that had never happened to me before — I had always felt behind the curve, music-wise. I listened to the old rock music my parents liked.

But there was nothing about the band that was inaccessible — the songs on that album are guitar-heavy, middle-period-Beatles-esque pop with insanely catchy hooks and lyrics that tell small stories about weirdos (or beg a beautiful woman to leave her biker boyfriend). It seemed incredible to me that everyone in the world wasn’t humming these songs. What more could you want? How could you not listen to these funny, smart, hummable songs over and over? (more…)


When I told people from home that I was going to Alaska to join the commercial fishing industry, they invariably made some excited comment involving The Most Dangerous Catch. The television gods have apparently replaced getting a summer job in the canneries with something a little more scintillating as the standard preconception. People now think of crabbers, trawlers, or purse seiners; the kind of serious fishing boats that spend weeks at a time in the rough, frigid waters of the Bearing Sea and have a tendency to go missing when the big storms hit.
I’m sitting in a 1966 Airstream Land Yacht, throwing distance from the beach on the eastern side of Cook Inlet. It’s the middle of the fishing season, and I haven’t seen a film crew or a snow squall yet. Clearly, this is a different type of fishing. (more…)

Last night I went to see my relatives on the Jersey Shore. My cousins live in Spring Lake, which my parents claim is nicknamed the Irish Riviera. Sometimes I think my parents create these whimsical tidbits for my amusement, but the town lives up to the name. My dad and his siblings used to live down at the Shore during the summers when they were growing up. Naturally, when they all came of age, they hit the bar scene.  Supposedly they were kicked out on more than one occasion. When my cousins and I heard this, we decided the next generation of Bonners had to live up to our name and take on Belmar. (more…)

It’s a quarter to one, morning time, and the sky is a sickly shade of yellow. I’m back in the city. One more time around, grab that handle and give it a spin. See how long I can hold on before internal forces overcome external sociology and I am once again thrown out to the wilds. Somehow I keep dragging myself back into these hives of human ingenuity and waste, looking for the golden key that will let me into the healthy, balanced lifestyle everyone told me to expect when I was Accomplishing Something in school. Hey, teach, I ain’t found it yet.

Having already gone bowling with friends and surfed porn on “borrowed” wi-fi, I’m left to wonder what more the city has to offer. I don’t mean that in a satisfied way.  I mean Why do people come to cities in the first place? Jobs and social interaction. If you are the type that would rather avoid both, what then? Can the coffee shops and museums compensate for the sweltering press of a hundred thousand egos, appetites, dreams, and petty misgivings that bears down on you every minute of the day? People in the country drink to beat boredom and depression. People in the city drink to beat stress and depression. It’s a good thing we’ve got this system of living figured out so well, or the future of our society might really look bleak. And thank God we’ve got ANWAR to fall back if things ever get really rough. Once we’ve got that tapped, it’ll pull us through any hard times. 

Last night, I went out to Brasa, which replaced Betty’s Bikes and Buns at the corner of Central and Hennepin.

It’s clearly supposed to be an upscale sort of place, as upscale as rotisserie chicken and paper cups can get. They make a point of telling you that the meat is local and organic. The bar inside, where they have a wine and beer selection, is shiny metal against a faintly southwest decor. When I say ‘faintly’ it means I really couldn’t tell. I got the impression that was what they were going for. To be honest, there is a certain ‘corn chips and sour cream’ kind of color that makes me think ‘bad attempt at southwest decor.’ (more…)

Newark, New Jersey faced a tragedy this past week when four of its college-bound or college enrolled young adults were shot at in a neighborhood park.  Three died, and one is recovering in the hospital. The police have apprehended three of the individuals responsible for the crime.  Detectives are tracking down two more suspects.  The crime was not only a tragedy for the families, community and government, but also a significant blow to the young mayor, Cory Booker.  (more…)

One of my new favorite activities since graduating from college is cooking. I’ve been helping my mom cook dinner since high school, but I never really paid attention to what I was doing. I’d stir while she chopped, and we’d gossip about the latest drama in my world. Thus, my stirring skills are top notch, while my chopping skills are practically non-existent. So, in order to survive on my own cooking (basically a necessity if you want to be able to save any money in grad school), I started watching the Food Network to learn. Seriously. (more…)