Sunday, July 18, 2010

Facing The Wave

Macy and I went to ValleyFair, an amusement park in Minnesota with our friends Kris, Sunny and Bella this weekend, a trip we make every summer.  As usual, a good time was had by all.  This year the weather was especially hot, with temperatures that touched ninety and a lot of humidity.  Luckily, ValleyFair has a ride called the Wave, in which you ride a big boat down a steep hill into water.  Afterwards you walk across a footbridge that affords you the opportunity to soak any bits that might have been missed on the ride itself:

If you want to relive some of our past ValleyFair glory, you can get some firsthand experience here, here, and here, in videos I took on last year's trip.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Meat Orgy

Donna and I were in the Minneapolis area this weekend for Macy's last soccer tournament.  I am still working on the photos and videos from the games, so in the meantime I am going to talk about Fogo de Chao, the restaurant we visited with our friends and hosts Tim and Jenny.

It's a Brazilian place that takes South American cuisine and forces it to marry the idea of a buffet at the point of a shotgun and then jumps in to a three-way with the concept of dim sum, all for the price of a small condo in the south of France.

First, you go through a buffet line full of salads, breads and sundy other distractions like mushrooms and asparagus, caesar salad, cheeses, prosciutto and seventy-nine other things too meat-free to mention.  However, like the chips and salsa at a Mexican joint or the bread sticks at an Olive Garden, these things are meant to distract you from the meat.

Once you finish screwing around with the buffet, it's time for endless Parade of Meat.  Fogo de Chao features fifteen kinds of meat, each of which is brought to your table on skewers and offered as many times as you like by people who probably make six-figures as waitstaff.  You signal your interest in more meat by flipping over a little coaster from red to green.  Green signals your desire for more decadence while red means you need a minute to rest before partaking again.  Come to think of it, that is exactly how whorehouses work in Thailand.

There's sausages and filet mignon, two kinds of lamb, three kinds of chicken, several kinds of pork (including a parmesan-encrusted dish that was incredible) and many variations on good ole cow.  In the end we were impressed with everything; the food, the service, even the wine suggestion was right on the mark.  We shared a dessert that was simply sublime.  Which was good because I wasn't kidding about that French condo thing.

Here are some of the conversations we had (reconstructed from memory):
  • "I think Fogo de Chao is Portugese for 'meat orgy'.  That's what they speak in Brazil, right?  Portugese?"
  • "I want to go to the bathroom but my bladder is clogged with meat."
  • "I wonder if the servers are part of a pecking order defined by which meat they get to present.  Like, if you're carrying the sausage, does that mean you're the new guy?"
  • "I think I'm a vegan now."
  • Server: "Would you like some dessert?  We have a lovely 'chocolate meltdown' with seven kinds of chocolate."
    Me:  "Is there any meat in it?"
Good stuff, to be sure, but the kind of place you can only go to once a year or so.  I take it as a good sign that shoveling that much animal carcass into my gullet made me feel not-so-good for about sixteen hours or so.  I'm pretty sure that a few years ago I would have eaten twice as much and pissed off my digestive tract half as much.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pardon Me Madam, Your Beaver Is Showing

There's controversy a-brewin' over in Bemidji, Minnesota over some statues commissioned for the city's sculpture walk.  The statues are copies of a form that various artists then painted.  This year's theme apparently revolves around the noble beaver: builder of dams, synonym for lady parts.

One of the beaver statues appeared to some as a little too true to form.  Not in the sense that it looked like a beaver; we're talking about hippie artists here.  No, the thing doesn't look much like the wood-chompin' kind of beaver.  It kinda sorta looks like the other kind.  Judge for yourself (warning: if you are easily offended by artistic depictions of what may or may not be the miraculous apparatus through which woman are able to both pee and eject children, look away...   NOW!)

The artist swears on a stack of vaginas bibles that she had no intention of painting her beaver in such a way as to make it look like a beaver vagina.  The artistic spirit simply overcame her and this is where it led.  Let's be honest: there's no way in hades that the artist finished this piece and said, "well, I'm done, and this in no way resembles lady bits."  It's unfathomable that she showed this to her artist friends, maybe some family member and no one said, "hey, nice beaver, and when I say 'beaver' I mean 'vagina'!"

Which is not to say that I agree with those who argued for the statue's removal.  This isn't exactly hardcore porn.  If anything, the problem stems from the fact that this beaver's beaver is way out of proportion.  I don't know if this is a congenital birth defect (ed: nice pun!  me: heh, thanks) or the result of the first MTF transgender surgery performed on a beaver (the animal) gone horribly wrong.  If so, I would sue the Dr. Nick Riviera clone that screwed this up, but he's probably fled to Cameroon by now.

But if this sort of thing gets the residents of Bemidji up in arms, I would seriously reconsider next year's sculpture walk theme, which is rumored to be Woodcocks: Nature's Cutest Package.