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Draplin Design Co., North America
May 23, 2003
Gets Me Every Damn Time
Posted at 03:57 PM

Last night I got home from the grind and plopped my ass down on the big leather couch. Rough day in the trenches and a motherclicker like myself needs to recooperate. Melissa was on the web and said, “Aaron, turn to channel 53…trust me.” Usually, her recommendations end up in quarrels…but this time, I took a chance.

Grumpy Old Men. Oh yeah.

Totally made my night. The hokey humor, sure, a laugh here and there…but, that Minnesota winter backdrop…man, that always does it for me.

Mark my words: I will make it back there.

I will spend my winter ice fishing. I will wear a giant coat, all the time…with a giant hat. I will own an old truck. I’ll have cold ones with Ryno, PJ and Kurt down the street at the local shithole tavern. Ryno and I will suck down ‘witches tit cold’ Grainbelts while PJ and Kurt will suck down rice milks or something. We’ll be lucky enough to have honest women allowing us to take port at their sides. My parents will be down the street, in a small cozy house. Good times will be had by all.

Or, maybe I’ll get into loggin’ and make a living deep in the Oregon woods. Maybe I’ll head back north to Alaska to take a brakeman position on the Alaskan Railroad. Maybe I’ll take root in Nashville, designin’ honktonk posters. Hmmm.

Movies like “A Simple Plan”, “The Straight Story”, “Fargo”, “Beautiful Girls” and any of the “Grumpy Old Men” series always get me. Midwestern Gothic, or something.

I grew up in small town, and upon leaving found myself caught up in the neo-hillbilly wave that was overtaking the community.

I love my Portland home, damn straight. I just itch for a Midwest fall/winter combo. Miss it bad.

There Are 13 Comments

Beautiful post Boss. I’m feeling you here. I’m excited to announce an impromptu weekend trip to Minneapolis myself tomorrow AM (hitchin’ a ride with a co-worker). I’ll try to “drag” Ryno and Kurt to some godforsaken dive bar or tittie club for a few Grain Belts or whatever. In your honor. Missing you and lovin’ this good stretch o’ road.

Beloit, home of the porn. Black River Falls, home of the orange moose. The giant pink elephant. The Edgerton Oasis restaurant with its gun-themed interior and parking lot “Chapel” in a trailer. The Dells. Circus World Robots and shit. Enormous truckstop at Mauston. House on the Rock. (notice all this shit is in WI…not much of interest in IL or the little stretch of I-94 into Mpls). I proudly stake claim on this territory. Why can’t there be another Wisconsin instead of Indiana? I’d be drivin’ home every goddamn weekend.

Posted by: "612" Chmiel on 05/23/03 at 4:34 PM

I am proud to be a warrior for God’s Country. I’ll take on the whole fuck’n west coast with my bare hands/bear hands. I swing a hammer for a living. Popeye fore-arms to come.

Portland is great. Ore-gun is fantastically swell. I very much dug it. But home base is where you drop your slacks and sit around in your boxers on humid summer days and wiggle your nose to keep it from freezing shut in February.

Home is going to see Mike Watt tear up the Turf Club for six bucks and free parking on Wednesday night and suck down two or seven Grain Belts, and then go see the Ashtray Hearts serenade the stuffed cougar at Lee’s Liquor Lounge the next Friday.

Keep represent’n the roots.
Mid-Western. By the Grace of God-dammit!

Posted by: Ryno on 05/23/03 at 5:41 PM

Posted by: Kurt "Premium" Halsey on 05/24/03 at 4:41 PM

I think the romantic mythology you’ve constructed around Minneapolis, its blue-collar simulacrum, and its idealized but stereotyped behaivors is not only inaccurate, its problematic. This fantasy assists in keeping you from enjoying where you are at or forming a constructive plan to deal with whatever it is you feel is lacking in your life. Your fantasy also neglects to consider the crappy and extreme weather, the problems inherent in any community that would produce the Mall of America, the dramatic and continous collapse of the local art/design economy, the accension of conservative-libertarian politics and their domination of the state government (they will destroy everything in sight), the obnoxious and all-consuming obsession with local sports, the massive sprawl, the ugly skyline, the terrible neo-deco architecture being built everywhere, the new gun laws (thanks Pawlenty!) that allow any adult to carry a gun just about anywhere they want including public university campuses, the fact that just about every band bypasses the Mpls when they pass through Chicago (though you can still pay $30 to see Wilco at the Walker) and that the local music scene is dominated by crappy city-raised faux-folk instramentalists trying to be the next Ryan Adams or Elliott Smith (or worse yet, Mason Jennings). Stay in Portland, Aaron, buy a house, enjoy yourself. Those romanticized images of Mpls are going to cause you to blow up your life only to move back here and find out it does not and can not live up to your expectations. As far as family goes, a plane ride from Oregon to Michigan isn’t much longer than Minnapolis to Michigan.

Also, not only do you not even like beer (making your fascination with the blue-collar-guy-knocking-back-a-cold-one iconography even more unrelated to an actual pursuit of happiness), but when Grain Belt was being sold and re-sold over the last couple years, its formula was changed. It tastes like Miller Lite now.

Besides, if we’re going to live together for a fourth time, its going to be in Portland with you playing Yamada Slum Lord, because I am NOT moving back here once I leave.

Posted by: matthew "armchair psychologist" cooley on 05/25/03 at 5:21 PM


Grain Belt has changed hands exactly once in the last year. The formula is unchanged. It tastes exactly the same.

You’re just salty because all you have to cheer for is Rasheed Wallace. That must suck.

Posted by: Ryno on 05/25/03 at 5:55 PM

Matthew…spoken from the heart, thanks.

You gotta be careful with the high horse you are on. When you fall off, it’s a long way down for a little, albeit hard, cosmopolitan, weathered, proud guy like yerself.

This one is simple:
1. It’s what you make of it.
2. Depends on how you look at things.

I’ve made this place into something amazing. And that will grow. Same thing goes for my next stop.

But, 2500 miles away from home is a whole different world than 300 or even 500 miles.

The “romantic mythologizing” you’ve brought it upon yerself to pinpoint, is basically bad poetry, or a bad short story. Hot air. That’s all.

What you’ll learn, once you learn how to pay a bill, is that the real world doesn’t allow for lots of plane rides “home” and so on. That has been hard for me. Sucked real bad in California, sucks a little bit less up here. Good jobs, traditionally, keep you locked down and you have to make decisions based on vacation days and work cycles. (Thank whoever that I’m blessed to be in that position…) It ain’t easy to get home from out here.

But you wouldn’t know that. You’ve been in a bubble since I met ya. That bubble will burst, and when you start making big decisions too, and we’ll see how easy it is for you to “sum it all up” then. College is almost done, stinky. Ha!

“Blue collar?” Shit. If you can’t see the hypocrisy in my everyday situation, that big head of yers thinks too hard. Tell you what, I’ll stick to being inspired by simple things and places, and you can pursue alternate routes. Good luck.

Gimme a call and I’ll set you straight.

Posted by: Draplin on 05/25/03 at 7:49 PM

Here’s my two cents: move back to MN, then you and the pirate painting asshole can be bitter together.

Posted by: Melissa on 05/25/03 at 10:54 PM

I haven’t painted any pirates in quite some time. Thanks for the reminder, I’ll get right to it.

Posted by: Ryno on 05/25/03 at 11:30 PM

Thanks Matt Cooley; I think your posting was very informative and enjoyably detailed. All the different good and bad aspects of MPLS have been Aaron’s point of view at one time or another. When it was the hottest in the summer, he bought an air conditioner; when it was the coldest and he didn’t subscribe to that “plug-in” for the car’s battery, oh well…..next year!!

Each and every city you live and work in will have the best and the worst of conditions. It’s what you make of it…..and I hope and believe Aaron is making a good life in Portland, whether it be 2 years or 4 years or 14 years……whatever!

All of you guys are so articulate in your own ways, whether it is a crassness point of view or an elaborate descriptive anaysis of what you think of Aaron’s perspective on life. I love reading them and only regret that myself and his dear old dad would or could stand in the way of his career or his life….

I agree with so much of your posting, yet I agree with Aaron when he says your perspective will change once you are out in this great big world. You’ll never know what lies ahead, just try to enjoy it!!

momma d.

Posted by: momma d. on 05/26/03 at 5:28 PM

Ryan, the big rumor is KG is going to be traded this summer to Portland for Wallace, Bonzi Wells, and Zach Randolph, so all those pot heads are going to be Minnesota’s problem next year. Maybe they can all get weeded with Randy Moss and run over some traffic cops.

And no need to get hostile, Aaron. I’m just doing my part to keep you in Portland where you belong. I would like to reiterate that Minneapolis is a nice place to spend a couple years, but there are too many things that beat you down, primarily the weather, sprawl and the horrible transportation conditions. And how long is Ryan going to stay here? Ryan, aren’t you going to grad school soon? Everyone else is gone. The graphic design companies here are collapsing left and right. Sorry if I irked you, but I don’t think Minneapolis is the city you remember, and I would like it if you still lived in Portland when I move back.

Posted by: matthew on 05/27/03 at 1:40 PM

I liked this post Aaron.

Very well written on how you feel about the midwest. I still think “Beautiful Girls” is a depressing movie based on the characters and not a particularly well written script, but oh well. Funny, I had HBO playing a few weeks ago, and a movie started while I was on line. “Joe Somebody”- a lame comedy with Tim Allen and I only watched it because it was MPLS/St. Paul. Got a bit nostalgic myself.

I never got people who complained the crap out of a place they lived and still lived there, Matthew. It’s not like moving is so difficult. There was stuff I liked and didn’t like about the Twin Cities and I agree with Aaron- it’s all how you look at it.

Also…economy comes and goes. It’s not like the Twin Cities has turned completely ghetto. The design companies will be back up again. Look at the crappy 70s economy and all the compnaies and work produced in the 80s and 90s. Designers I knew who lost jobs a few years ago did get new ones again.

So…I’m wondering Aaron…why not move back sooner than later? I wish I found or knew exactly the place I felt was going to be home and where I fit perfectly. You obviosuly have that in Minneapolis.

Peace and Harmony,

Posted by: Maniotes on 05/28/03 at 12:06 AM

Sittin’ here chewin’ the fat with Patrick Miller our part -part time intern and runway model for CL wearables and he says,” check out DDC’s website”. So I did, and now I’m touching myself, slowly…rhythmically… I’m feeling moist.

miss you guys.


Posted by: charlie ross on 05/28/03 at 1:58 PM


Dude…I was just explaning to someone the other day what an “MCAD Sunrise” was.

Peace and Harmony,

Posted by: Rap Master Maniotes on 06/03/03 at 6:12 PM