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FIVE THINGS I LOVE ABOUT MINNEAPOLIS

1. community.
minneapolis isn't the largest of the large cities, but it's still on the large city list. and yet, we don't have burroughs, we don't have districts, we don't have zip code wars. we have neighborhoods. stevens. uptown. wittier. loring. and we take as much pride in our neighborhood as a member of a house of hogwarts. two strangers meeting for the first time will bond over the likeness: "hey! i live in minnehaha too!" or "i used to live in northeast!" we take part in activities in our neighborhood, and glory in the uniqueness of what others have to offer. each has it's own feel, it's own aesthetic, it's own energy. and yet, each is very minneapolian.

2. grassroots values.
again, going with that little-big city feel. minneapolis is often tops in education, literacy, arts, green living, alternative lifestyles, public transport and bike-friendliness, multi-culti mingling, indie business and organizations, and community support. if you can dream it, you can do it here...as long as your attitude is one of community. if you want to make it rich and climb the ladder by walking your stiletto heels up the spines of those around you, head for the coasts. we measure success on a whole different level than you.

3. nature.
we have change of seasons here. autumn is lovely. winter is hard, but living in a city means roads will get plowed, buses will transport you, and someone just walking by will help you push your car out of that snowbank. the lakes are lovely and relaxing in the summer, and in the spring, thunderstorms rock our world. the grass and trees in many neighborhoods becomes a violent green, and people plant gardens like crazy. since tornadoes start on the ground, we very rarely see them in the city where it's too cluttered for them to get hold. the parks are teeming with fat, happy squirrels (many of which are half-tame), muskrats, and ducks--heck, one mallard and his mate march regularly between the nicollet greenway to the westminster church downtown! and can we drink the tap water and roll our car windows down? absolutely.

4. theatre.
we are the home of the largest, non-juried fringe festival every year. we have something like 75 main theater companies that regularly produce exciting work and provide opportunities to thousands of talented artists. artists here support each other, collaborate freely, and have the freedom to produce independent and new work. minneapolis artists are also more focused on the process than their own glory; you're much more likely to hear "i want to work with this person or that company," than "this may lead to more commercial work or a small role with the director who can make me bigger" (blarf). there is never a dark night in minneapolis--someone is always performing. and it is work of such varied interests and disciplines, that you're almost always engaged or surprised by your choice of entertainment that night.

5. everything that makes it one-of-a-kind.
the skyline. the walker. the original hell's kitchen and electric fetus. first ave. CTC. holy land. lake calhoun. the greenway. the lake harriet elf. twin town guitars. leaning tower of pizza. the spoon and cherry (yes, i hate it, but it's OURS). the jucy lucy. patina. the may day parade. the basillica block party. proximity to the mall of america, minnesota zoo, valley fair, ikea, and the best ren fest in the nation. target. the hennepin avenue bridge. nye's polinaise. the damn holidazzle parade. and our dear and darling sister, the fresh and sparkling balance to our grittier nature, saint paul. and the two cities sit in the epicenter of a mostly rural state, with lakes, rivers, state parks, reserves, and farmland as our playground. and yet, even in the city, you can still see the stars at night.

although, ten miles out of it, you can see the band of the milky way.


FIVE THINGS I HATE ABOUT MINNEAPOLIS

1. traffic.
unfortunately, being the center of everything, we have to host everything too. commuters are the most of it. but then we have to host crap like the afore-mentioned holidazzle parade, or a sports game or a republican convention...it seems like all the things i hate tend to bring traffic problems here.

2. construction.
really, any time i have to spend time in my car is not my favorite thing. and this might seem to go along with the traffic issue, but it's a whole separate problem. if there's not snow on the ground, they're tearing it up. and they do so sloppily. rerouting traffic haphazardly, repainting temporary lanes while the old ones still show through so you can't tell what lane you're in, having to swerve for knocked-over reflective barrels, construction trucks pulling out in front of you on the highway and spraying you with silt and grit.... and it's CONSTANT. they always want to make our highways better, but we never get to drive on them because they're always updating them or the ones connected to them. they block off random streets in the one-way neighborhoods, so you have to back and forth it a million times just to go a couple of blocks. and then there's the roads (like broadway in NE) that BADLY need repair that get completely ignored. it's baffling.

3. humidity.
ugh.

4. mosquitoes.
the state bird. (i'm very allergic to the bites. and i have a taste that the fkers LOVE. they swarm to me.)

5. people think that chicago's close enough.
i'm talking about bands here. the ones that plan a "U.S. tour" that includes new york, chicago, dallas, and L.A. lame.



COMPARISONS

to rochester:
rochester wishes it could be a suburb of minneapolis. as it is, it's a suburb to nothing. it has no life, no creativity, and no soul. i don't go there much.

to duluth:
a lot of the same, as far as the things i like. only, there's a lot more to do here, the things i like are of more variety and better quality. we're only a couple of hours south, but it makes the winters SO much more manageable. we lack the natural beauty of duluth though. that shoreline is half of everything positive about this state.

to seoul:
i am not even going to try to compare cities halfway across the world from each other. everything is different. everything and nothing.

to los angeles:
i think you know my thoughts on this. basically everything i've listed up yonder is everything los angeles is not. except the traffic. they have that too. the one thing i will say about los angeles is that the food can not be beat. sure, you can find really outstanding food here, but you have to sift for it. it seems that everything there was amazing, from the michelin-rated restaurants to the coast-familiar fast food, from the family-run, hole-in-the-wall korean joints to the greasy taco trucks. here? not so much. most of the "amazing" stuff is okay, with exceptions of genuine genius. they also have great museums and that beautiful, sparkling ocean. but fires, earthquakes, and a city choked with bastards pretty much cancels those out. here, even the business districts are green. there? rusty bars on broken windows and pull-down shutter doors. sad.

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January 2015

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