Tuesday, February 28

Breakfast Served Anytime.

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Wisconsin is for lovers. Lovers of cheese, scotch and fireworks mainly, but lovers of all kinds are welcome. Your money spends the same regardless, and our taxes are quite reasonable.

THURSDAY.

On Thursday morning, me and the Missus packed our bags and traveled 50 miles west of the Twin Cities to Annandale, Minnesota. The five hour drive is a wonderful trip through the scenic and lush countryside of western and northwestern Wisconsin. If you've never had the opportunity to do so, I suggest you devote a weekend to it sometime before you die. Unless, of course, you plan on dying soon. Then, you may want to consider spending your final precious hours in other ways. I recommend bowling or having your pet spayed.

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(The 356 mile killing spree has begun.)

If you remember from back in the day, me and the Missus got married at the very same Bed & Breakfast we were headed back to. It was the first time since the wedding that we got to spend some time there, and it was really quite overdue. We had reservations for Thursday and Friday nights, along with a 1-hour psychic reading on Thursday evening. Not to mention, this all came with the promise of some of the best food I have ever eaten. The woman who runs the place is a gourmet chef (along with being a psychic, seamstress, ghost hunter and caretaker), and she has yet to make something for me that wasn't amazing. I always forget to take pictures of my food, as I'm usually too busy sneaking large handfuls of it into the Missus' purse.

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("Room 201: Where the magic happens.")

We showed up and unloaded in 'The Renaissance Room,' which according to the summary on the page, contains:

A queen-sized bed, electric fireplace, an old-fashioned claw-footed soaking tub with shower and a pull-chain commode. This room can be busy with ghostly activity, however, if you choose not to have visitors, tell them and they respect that.

Done.

Our psychic reading wasn't until 8pm, so we headed out into downtown Annandale for some dinner. We found a nice place on the river that made a mean Alfredo and a strong daiquiri, so we were pretty much set for the night. We got back to the B&B just in time to watch American Idol, and eventually settled down for our reading.

This was the second time we got a reading here (the first was a year before we were married), and this one was decidedly more positive. This makes sense, because around the time of the first reading, we were in a rather negative place. Weather or not psychics exist or are the real deal doesn't mean that much to me, because this person in particular is incredibly logical and intuitive, and you'd probably learn something about yourself no matter what. For example, turns out I like socks a whole lot. Who knew?

Consider the following, however.

Me and the Missus have been talking almost every day about buying a house. Essentially, we've been going on about the logistics, finances and reality of owning a home by this summer. This has been the main topic of conversation between the two of us as of late, although we made no mention of it in the B&B. Our desire to move out of our apartment grows more urgent with every sleepless night spent listening to the neighbors canoodling like junkyard rabbits.

Before the reading, Sharon (the reader) will ask you to write down three questions each that you would like answered at some point during the reading. Me and the Missus wrote these questions down during dinner on the lake, stuck them in our pockets and didn't even mention them to each other beforehand. My number one question was if she could foresee us moving in the near future.

So, fast-forward to the reading. Me and the Missus gather into her office, and before we even sat down, she looked at me and said, "Thinking about buying a house, aren't you?"

Instead of instantly walking out like I wanted to, I slowly nodded and became damp in the pant area.

"It's coming up real quick for you, probably this summer."

Now, speaking logically and skeptically, it would make sense for her to think that we were looking to buy a home, considering that we have been married for almost two years and whatnot. However, it's still quite the impressive feat. Take from that what you will. As I said, the readings went quite well. What did we talk about? Not telling. Afterwards, we played a game of Scrabble (I owned the Missus) and went to bed.

A quick word on ghosts. This place is haunted. Really, truly haunted. The B&B has been featured in many books and TV shows concerning haunted places, which is why we found out about it in the first place. Most of the guests of our wedding claimed that one thing or another had happened to them during their stay. Some of these things I experienced firsthand, otherwise I wouldn't have believed them at all. The B&B is a renovated railway motel, and it's simply crawling with energy and overwhelming creepiness. Just off of the tracks, the trains blare through the town about every hour throughout the night, springing you out of bed and casting shadows across the walls. That all being said, it's pretty much the neatest place I could recommend to you, and the beds are nice and comfortable to stay up all night in, scared to death of closing your eyes for fear of being eaten.

The trick with the ghosts is that you have to invite them into your room if you want havoc to ensue. If you prefer not to poop the bed, it's best to let them know that you want them to stay out. Even though I'm a skeptic until I'm proven otherwise, I made it a point to properly exorcise my room before going to sleep. Neither of us experienced anything odd during this most recent stay, which was great, but kind of a bummer at the same time. Nonetheless, I brought a few spare pairs of pants and boxers just to stay on the safe side.

FRIDAY.

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(Sadie was the resident cat, and for $25, she'd spoon with you for the night.)

This is Sadie, one of the two cats that live at the B&B. You'll notice that she's on our bed, where she stayed for the duration of our stay. She rules like that. She's also a good 25 pounds.

At 9am sharp, we were showered and sharply-dressed, because you do not want to miss breakfast here. As we happened to be the only ones in the building on Friday morning, we had the entire dining area to ourselves for the most important meal of the day. On the menu was French toast with assorted fruits, lemon muffins and hand-dipped chocolate strawberries. It completely and totally kicked my ass. It's one of those meals where you almost don't want to eat anything for fear of messing up the expertly-designed creation. Then, once you start eating, you cannot stop until everything has been digested. It's a love/hate relationship; much like the one I have with Ryan Seacrest.

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("Wha-WHAT!? No guns! What kind of Orwellian dictatorship is this!")

With our stomachs bursting with food and drink, we headed east to the Mall of America in Bloomington. We had money to spend and an entire day to spend it. I also had my Mom's Express charge card burning a hole in my pocket. She gave it to me as a small gift for the vacation, and I honestly felt like a dirty trust fund baby charging things to it, but she rules for letting me do so. Besides, I bought some sexy clothes, so everyone wins. Thanks.

Here then, is the day in pictures. I appear in most of them, and for that, I apologize.

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(Here we see the CDP re-evaluating his hipster status.)

The Apple Store didn't have anything I could bring myself to buy; even a holder for my Shuffle was $35. It did, however, rekindle my interest in purchasing a laptop for writing on the fly. Maybe I'll get one for Christmas. Hell, if they would have sold laptops at Express, I could have just charged it to my Mom.

At Macy's, I found a wool Calvin Klein sweater marked down from $80 to $30. I couldn't afford not to buy it! As a side note, they don't have sales tax on clothing, so $30 means $30, and that's good news. I'd gladly pay sales tax in their state, though, if it meant that the endless construction would end. Wisconsin taxes are through the damn roof, but at least our roads are nice. The next time you get stuck in a traffic jam in Wisconsin, let me know and I'll send you a CDP t-shirt and a billion dollars, cuz' it ain't happening.

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("6 Jerks and a Jerk," a conceptual piece by: the CDP.)

Why are all the mannequins at stores headless nowadays? Is this how the retailers see consumers now? Nameless, faceless torsos? Beats me, but I bought one of everything.

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(How many times can I take this type of photo before it's not funny? Answer: Unlimited.)

Honestly now, what does this even represent? A stock boy not doing his job, that's what. In truth, I bought nothing at the Gap, because their pants suck and they never have anything nice in a small but t-shirts that I already own. They need an original idea, or at least do better at the one they've been milking all this time. I can't believe how gay I sound right now.

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(The women who work here smell like a sexy chemical explosion, and also look the part.)

The Missus disappeared in Sephora for a while, dragging her forearm across the shelves and catching everything that fell into her shopping bag. While she was satisfying her cosmetic needs, I was filling up on truffles at the Lindt store and trying not to look suspicious.

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(So many bunnies on the table. So many bunnies.)

40 truffles for $10? Are you kidding me? I'll take the entire south wall, and giftwrap it, please.

A Truffe store to me is much like what a porn store is to most other men. I walk around, looking shady and amazed at the new products and arrivals. "Wow, they've got them in Peanut Butter now? Can they do that?"

Not finished with my Japanese candy fix just yet, I had to stop at Suncoast to grab some Pocky for the road.

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(Proud sponsor of Fighting Seizure Robots!)

When you're eating the best candy in Japan, you're eating the best candy in the world. Pick up some Pocky today. I was not paid to say that, but it would have been a lot cooler if I was. I ate a box of them just writing this last paragraph.

As if I wasn't splurging enough today, I decided to do something very kind for myself and pick up a new watch. The one I've been wearing for the past year and a half has treated me well, but my left wrist was in the mood for a change in style. Besides, I bought my right wrist a DVD player for Christmas, and I didn't want them thinking I played favorites. The Fossil store had just what I wanted. Check it 'oot:

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("Women come from blockz-n-blockz, just to get a taste of my left wrist rocks.")

Diamonds and steel, baby. It's as close to being a pimp as I can get without the Missus making fun of me. I quietly put the giant belt buckle, 'crunk ice tray' and 'Thug Life' medallion back on the shelf, and stopped pressing my luck.

Finally, I reached Express and put the charge card to good use, picking out a nice outfit for those special occasions with my Mistress that the Missus doesn't know about, but eventually will run into at a socially crippling time, like a funeral or hospital visit.

Such a funny sentence.

I got a new pair of 'producer pants,' a new tie, belt and dress shirt. What do you think?

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(Daddy's home from the salt mines, and he wants a little sugar.)

That's right, you just became slightly more sexually attracted to me than you were when you saw me in the Gap store photo. I dig it, and I won't hold it against you in the future. Also, it may not show up well on the photo, but what I'm wearing isn't just all black and monochrome. You'd have to ask the Missus for material and design details, but she assures me that it looks good, so into the bag it went.

The total for the outfit? $220. Thanks, Mom. I won't even bother coming home for Christmas.

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(Tucci Benucch is Italian for "Curly Fries.")

Before we left the mall, we stopped at Tucci Benucch for the finest Italian cuisine you could get within 15 feet of Camp Snoopy. It was quite good, but I was actually still stuffed from breakfast, so most of my Spinach-Garlic Gnocchi ended up in the trash. Not cool, but still very tasty and memorable. Where else can you get a complimentary appetizer from the chef while watching someone cut up the Dance Dance Revolution machine?

We got back to the B&B, and I instantly called my Mom to apologize before she checked her statement online. We then played another game of Scrabble (the Missus destroyed me) and went to bed. It's amazing how good you can sleep when there aren't neighbors invading your every waking second. I was already thinking about how much I didn't want to go back home to them.

SATURDAY.

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("Hey, I'm Gabe. Did you miss me? I puked on the carpet again.")

Once again, we were awake and ready to go by 9am, as breakfast wouldn't wait for mere mortals like us. On the menu today was a quiche with assorted fruits in a yogurt sauce, complete with cajun spices and hand-dipped chocolate strawberries. Darn, that's all?

Shortly after breakfast, we loaded up the car, thanked Sharon profusely and headed back home to Wisconsin. We wanted to get back home before night, so we would have time to put everything away and clean the house up in preparation of a Sunday spent doing nothing.

Was that a run-on? I never know.

The five hour drive back home was peaceful and quiet. We chatted about the good time we had, listened to a few albums and made a point to stop in every backwoods rest stop on the Interstate for some reason. I set the cruise at 80, and we were home in record time.

It's good to be back. What did you do while I was away? Sound off in the comments section.

Comments:
I'm glad you both had a good time. The picture of sadie is beautiful and your new outfit it very nice. You have a great mom!
 
Forgot to say, the 6 jerks and a jerk was a very cool idea.
 
The Jerk photo was the Missus' idea. She can't get enough of me posing comically amongst headless mannequins. I think the original one (the infamous "Headless Bathing Suit Model" photo) was her idea, too.
 
By the way, deal or no deal?
 
I hope your title is a reference to the movie Swingers.

Hang on, Voltaire.

It's crazy, mannequins are less creepy when they're headless, so... catch 22.

The only thing I remember really liking in the Mall of America is the Vans store. But even the excitement of that had worn off because by the time I got there, you could get Vans shoes at places besides BMX/skate shops. On my last pair I did the custom color thing on the website on some old skool lowtops, pretty snazzy kicks.
 
I'm the guy behind the guy behind the guy.

When I titled this post, I wasn't trying to reference anything in particular, just the mindset of all-night Diners and interstate roadsigns, you know, travel stuff. Swingers is a darn good movie, though.

It should be mentioned that the best music for somber trips through countrysides and greasy spoon diners is The Weakerthans, every time, all the time. The next time you need to drive a long distance, listen to a Weakerthans album, and thank me later.

I didn't even go into the Vans store this time around, mainly because I've never worn Vans. I was an Airwalk kid, myself. Not to say there's anything wrong with Vans; they make a beautiful shoe, and I enjoyed their Warped Tour from 1998 to 2000.

That reminds me, I need some new shoes. Some Gunmetal Chucks would look good with my new outfit.

Deal Or No Deal is on again tonight, along with American Idol and a new Supernatural. DOND is NOT rigged (Mom), but the contastants sure are coached in how to act and react to things. I thought it was cool that the SWAT team guy won 300+ grand last night, but the appearance of Donald Trump made me vomit with rage.
 
"Vomit with rage"

Now that's a funny thing to picture.

Good to hear that you guys had fun. I might have some huge news in the near future, but I can't really discuss it online yet.
 
I saw you eluding to that on your page. My guess is that you're moving somewhere, came into a huge amount of cash or are getting married. Either way, don't tell me if I'm right. I want to be surprised. I like surprises that aren't detrimental to my well-being.

Either way, here's hoping it's good news for you.
 
I can't really say anything about it yet because certain people could come across it online and be upset with me. I'd rather keep it under the radar until it's a sure thing.
 
Sounds exciting; like a matter of National Security or something.

I hate the President.
 
It was so nice to see Walter Payton again.
 
Okay, then.
 
Walker told me Walter Payton has AIDS.
 
!!!


Aaron, that comment is probably why they gave you a t-shirt. Brilliant.
 
It's kinda freaky how similar we look. In fact, I believe I just bought that same shirt from Express. Thankfully it was on sale for $30, so I didn't have to take out a second mortgage on my house to shop there.

I highly recommend a laptop. I don't know how I lived without my Powerbook, although mine was a tax write-off for my job. Especially since now there's wireless vitually everywhere, from airports to letseatpaste's house. But only if you know his nonsensical 19-digit password. And how to make eyes at him the proper way.
 
Todd, I explained your choices very clearly... You could either have the ultra-soft expensive toilet paper, or the encryption key for wireless access in my house. But you can't have both.
 
I realized that I'm too much man for the ultra-soft. It couldn't...um..."stand up" to me. I was happy with my encryption choice070707070707070707070707070707070.

/this conversation just took an odd left turn...
 
Jokes on you, Aaron. Walter Payton's dead. Chuck Norris, however, lives (and kills) on.

Yeah Todd, me and you have certain similar facial features, and the black glasses aren't helping the matter. I designed a "Create your own" boxer for Fight Night: Round Two for Gamecube that looks exactly like me. That means he also looks like you.

His nickname is "The Dancing Kid," and he hails from Montreal. I got knocked out in one punch last night, and was forced to retire.

I'm totally gettin' a laptop. I was thinking of starting a PayPal account here, and have people donate, and then I'd do something special for their donation, like write them a haiku or draw them a cartoon. 700 haikus to my Mom later, and the laptop would be mine.

When Paste and Todd get together, I imagine the two of you speaking only in witty punchlines. It must be like a round-the-clock Abbott and Costello routine, minus the massive collection of pornography.

I'm just sayin'.
 
Yeah... I created a South Park character of myself that I assume looks just like you, minus the bad-ass facial scar that I have.

(see it here: http://toddwerkhoven.blogspot.com/2005/04/apropos-of-nothing-here-is-what-id.html)

And I'm still meaning to write a new blog about my trip to the south to see Paste and others. I took phone pictures and everything, but haven't yet gotten around to it. Admittedly, Paste was my wife's friend first, and I'm totally jealous I didn't meet him and "7" myself in college. This trip, we didn't get into "Who's on First" or anything, but there was some pretty witty banter, mostly in the "Seriously...you don't have padded toilet paper anymore?" realm of conversation.
 
There was some pretty witty banter going on, especially at lunch at Fatiga's (the best sandwich shop in Northwest Arkansas). I was pleased because it gave me a chance to show my new woman the depth and range of my comedy skillz, and that crew never fails to amplify the funny. I don't remember exactly how it went, but I remember at one point proclaiming that I had a Wafflehouse scented candle. Then I declared it the most whimsical jig of the season.
 
You both need to post more. Unless it takes away from the amount of comments you make here, than forget it. Our work here is far too important to be sidetracked.

Wafflehouse scented candle...man, if the ladies don't laugh at that, then they just ain't worth it.

It's always nice to hang out with a new acquaintance in front of people that make you funnier for some reason. Great strategy.

So...why did you change toilet paper brands? Something must have happened, and frankly, I don't know if I'm ready to hear the whole story.
 
My mom is a coupon-clipping, bargain-hunting, price-matching queen. So she's always ready to hand out some household supplies for which she had worked out some incredible deal. So she gave me some toilet paper, that she probably ended up getting paid by the store to take by the time the coupons were all counted out. So while I normally buy a 24-pack of whatever 220-grit rolls are cheapest on the aisle at Walmart, there was a brief moment in time where a visitor to my home could pamper their crack with deluxe cotton-soft triple-quilted goodness soft enough for a teddy bear to fall asleep on. Todd and his wife visited during that rare window of opportunity, and ever since then, they assume I live like some sort of king.
 
Wow, you should have kept a few rolls around specifically for when guests showed up. Very la-tee-dah.

The CDP doesn't practice brand loyalty to toilet paper, but the Missus refuses to buy certain brands based on their advertising alone. For example, the Charmin bears. That campaign just lost them a sale!

I also don't like those Northern "Quilters." Frankly, I don't like toilet paper ads in general. When I go to the store, I pick the brand that does the least amount of talkin'.
 
Quiet confidence, that's what I look for in toilet paper, and so many other things.
 
Quiet confidence, and a logan that resembles unparalleled softness.

Like a newborn kitten or alpaca.
 
Okay-

Totally off the subject, but I had to post this. I just got a grip of photos for a ad we are creating for Ethan Allen and I SWEAR the CDP is in these ads. I don't really have a blog... but check out my "nada" link. I posted one of the pictures there. It sort of looks like you... or at least from the pictures I've seen on this site. I thought it was pretty funny. =)

So...ah... you modeling or what?
 
Ryan loves pears, too, it's uncanny.
 
Wow, that's really funny. Thanks for going through all that trouble to bring the photo into the Blogosphere.

One one note, the guy dresses exactly like me, and the glasses are identical. I get that "dreamy-eyed thinker" look every time I come within 18 feet of a pear, so again, it's spot on. My hair used to be black, and you can see that in a lot of the older CDP pics. (Is his hair black? I can't tell.)

It should be noted, however, that upon blowing up the photo, I actually look a lot better than this guy. His ears stick out a lot further, and his jawline's goofy.

Todd might have to sound off on this as well, because it probably looks like him, too.

That all being said, he looks more like me than just about anything I've seen online. However, because I DO look better than this guy, I suggest you find a way to get me a sweet modeling gig, like my sister. I could casually relax in front of a pear basket until the cows came home, if the price was right.

Thanks again, that rocks pretty hard.
 
I'm glad this comment showed up when it did. I think we went as far as we could with the toilet paper conversation before we started to alienate people and get uncomfortable.

I'm sticking with my alpaca comment, though.
 
Yeah, we were on a roll with that toilet paper thing. Heyo!
 
You're right, perhaps we should plunge into it again.

(rimshot)
 
If you don't blow up the picture, it does look just like you.
 
Yup, it really does. Besides, I should only be viewed from far away distances anyways.

I'd make a CDP logo out of it, but I'm sure there are some Ethan Allen copyright issues that are waiting to haul me off to prison.
 
Hmm...I don't think the pear guy looks like me, except for the black, spikey hair and glasses. I mean, I don't even wear a watch for goodness sake!

Actually, I think his head shape is wrong for the both of us, CDP, but I could see how people would think there is a resemblance.

And I didn't know we had other advertising people in here. I thought I was the only one in that shameful, shameful profession :)
 
I attract advertisers, yet my page has no current sponsors. Sounds like a paradox to me.

I watched that episode of the Simpsons last night where Krusty takes on an edgy, new Carlin-esque act, only to sell out for a Canyonero. He says,

"I learned something about myself today. It's not comedy that's in my blood, it's selling out."
 
The most rewarding part of my job is when I get to add zazz to something. It makes my career seem perfectly cromulant.
 
Zazz? hahahahaha! Does that mean your Zazzy? Zazz-o-rama? hehehe..

I never tell people I'm in Advertising... I tell them I'm a porn star.

Not!!!!

well... I have turned everyone in my department on to your site.. they just don't write.

Bastards...
 
The CDP has something of a cult following among advertisers. Who could've predicted that one? Other than Chuck Norris, I mean.
 
man, just the thought of all those people staring at your demographic. (shiver)
Kind of creepy.
 
Oh, give us advertising dudes some credit. We don't see them as "people," we see them as mindless spend-bots. After all, if you don't stop by today, we can't save you any money.
 
Hey, I'm trying to break through the clutter myself.
 
It all goes back to the headless mannequins, when you really think about it.

Jessica, thanks for turning your office onto the CDP. For once, I would like to be the topic of water cooler conversation, without it being about my constant string of arrests.

"Hey, did you watch Leno last night? (sip)"

"Hey, did you watch Lost last night? (sip)"

"Hey, did you see the CDP today? (long sip)"

It gives me the chills just thinking about it.
 
"Hey, did you watch Leno last night?"

"Yeah! It was hilarious!"

*knee to the groin*
 
Updating my bookmarks... see you're still here. Looks different than I remembered. I've updated my stuff too - gas fireplace
 

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