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August 10, 2004

And now a word from El Jefe and my weekend in Minnesota

Ahem, I've known Jim for almost 5 years from when we worked together on the west coast. Jim kept the business profitable, while I did my best to stay outta the way. He's a great guy and a great friend. I was truly honoured when he and Fabulous Babe asked me to be Jack's godfather. My role in the Special Project will be ongoing, kinda like a consultant that never goes away.

[Great. Another consultant that never stops billing. Ed.]

I travel a lot, at least 2-3 trips a month and easily 500,000 miles in the last 10 years, touching in the range of 35 countries. I love travelling, whether business or pleasure, on planes, trains, or motorbike (even the odd camel). I'm excited by visiting different places and meeting new people. The smell of jet fuel is an aphrodisiac to me (what'd ya expect?I am a friend of Jim's after all). Suffice to say, I thought I'd been around. Well, nothing I've seen or done in the past years has come close to resembling the wonders of Minnesota.

Lost in Translation
Minnesota is an interesting place and being from Canada, strangely familiar in some ways, and eerily strange in others. It's little things:

Talking.--At first I wasn't sure what language it was, but it's English...people talk with lots of 'Os' and 'yeahs' and 'yabetchas'.

To a Fault--People are very very friendly, 'Minnesota Nice' I think is the term. I've never seen more polite people. Really.

Crockpots.-- ok I am single and maybe slightly sheltered, but was quickly made aware that Crockpots were a requirement in every MN home.

[Wisconsin too. Ed.]

Diversity.--This state is the home of Prince, Scotch tape, Wheaties, and Tonka Trucks. I felt right at home in places like Woodbury and St. Paul as people were so friendly when I walked by, they'd stop what they were doing and just look at me, made me feel special.-That's all I'll say about that.

[At dinner on Thursday night El Jefe realized his status as the only non-white person in the restaurant was responsible for the amount of attention he received. This soon caused him to exclaim "I win the prize!" Ed.]

Red Dragon.--Jim has a red Miata that the townspeople call the Red Dragon.

[I blame the movie "Old School". Ed.]

Dairy Queen.--Jim took us to the local DQ for a treat. I spent the next 6 next hours trying to recover from a peanut buster parfait induced sugar buzz...

The Family
I arrived at MSP for my long weekend and was greeted by Fabulous Babe and Jack. It was great to see Jack. I was whisked to the Casa de Project, a beautiful home with requisite MN accoutrements (home theatre, red sports car, great deck and backyard, 2 cats, but no Crockpot). Their place has a great running trail and I relaxed touring through the woods and seeing real live animals, even cows!

[City boy was also amazed by these things we call "birds" and "trees". Ed.]

Jim is a great Dad, he's going to be a greater Dad as Jack grows and learns about how cool, and smart, and caring his old man is. I can see they are 2 peas in a pod and I was in awe of Jim's showering of love and affection on Jack.

[That was a $50 well spent. Ed.]

Fabulous Babe is the Mom and a great Mom. She really has it together. She skillfully looked after the whole household, while chatting with Jack and comforting him, often exclaiming "oh look, he's smiling" or "how's my Baby Bunny". With Jim (and I) in the house she had added kid duty and was able to keep us fed and outta trouble.

Jack was the focus of our collective attention, and all I can say he's a star. A Gold star. I know babies, and Jack has something about him that screams star potential. During the few days that I visited I saw Jack grow right in front of me: His facial expressions were more controlled, his movements were more animated, and he was very alert. In addition to that, he makes his parents so happy. He makes them Really Happy. I am looking forward to being part of his growing up.

Beautiful Minnesota
Oh, I've been handed a question from our studio audience, let me read it "but Jefe, what did you do when you weren't hanging out at the Casa or going to the DQ with Jim?" Good question!

I spent Friday afternoon touring St. Paul and hung out on Grand Ave, sipped coffee and watched the fair people of the city promenade. There were a few interesting characters including the 'can I draw your portrait' man. He had a simple technique of accosting people and asking them if he could draw their portrait. People were very polite and declined him every time.

On Grand Ave I did my best version of Leno's Man on the Street routine quizzing college kids, retirees, and a tough looking cowpoke from N. Dakota on the better places to visit in the greater St. Paul/Minn area. Again, people were very polite, though I think I pressed my luck with the cowpoke when she started telling me about the local country bars.

Additionally, I was taken on whirlwind tours of Minn/St.Paul and the lake areas around the city. My beautiful, smart, witty tour guide (not Jim!) briefed me on the cultural nuances and dating habits of Minnesota and Wisconsinites.

[Remember I said he had a blind date a while back? Care to guess where she lives? *chuckle* Ed.]

We set a blistering pace (like it was a race or something) and hit the Uptown Art Fair, Minneapolis Sculpture Garden, Loring Park, and the Newsroom and Black Dog café³® We also went out to Taylor's Falls, Stillwater, and took a scenic drive around Lake Elmo. I was left speechless, my mind spinning, short of breath, with such beauty before me.

[Odds are that isn't the lake he's talking about. Ed.]

Monday Night
I'm now back home safe on the west coast. I can't wait to get back to see my 'family' in MN. It'll be soon, I hope!

Peace out. El Jefe

Posted by theotherjim at August 10, 2004 12:33 AM


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