Creative Control

Miscellaneous Mental Musings of an Emerging Artist

The Center of All Cheesy Goodness.

So I’m traveling through Wisconsin in a beat-up car with no air-conditioning, doing Mad-Libs and answering “Mindtrap” cards to keep ourselves entertained, and stopping for refreshment perhaps a bit too often along the way, but what the hell, we’re on vacation! The trip takes a good six hours, and by the time we arrive at the Wild Wolf River, it’s dark and spooky, in that Lynchian “Twin Peaks” way, down to the small town with the dangling traffic lights. We pass by an Indian casino with a neon sign that effectively imitates high beams, but by this time my eyes are used to it because everybody has their high beams on. The last thirty miles of road are on a winding forest highway, on which, I’m convinced, we actually went in circles for a half-hour. (When I check a map, later, I notice that the cartographer was either delusional or pranky, as the road appears as a nearly straight line on paper. Very funny, buster.)

The motel is alternately comfortable and seedy; while our rafting party makes up three rooms of playful post-collegiate card players and twilight conversationalists, I do not find it difficult for room four to be housing a gruff, unshaven survivalist named Jeremiah, who is cleaning his gun, sharpening his Bowie knife, and occasionally grunting at the back of the naked woman who he met at the local bar, the one currently sleeping off the soreness of his ravagement. It’s that kind of motel. The river moves swiftly and silently outside, the moon shines through the patio door. The TV is on a large metal arm, inches below the ceiling. On the second day, one of my companions turns on a rerun of “Walker, Texas Ranger,” and I amuse myself by proclaiming, at random moments, ‘Uh-oh, you shouldn’t be fucking with Walker, Texas Ranger!” or “This looks like a job for Walker, Texas Ranger!”

We raft in blue rubber vessels that are heavy and unwieldy, two to a raft due to the Couples Factor, with the exception of the Bachelor Boat, consisting of the three guys who are stag on this trip. My girlfriend and I do our damnedest to keep conflict away, but we have logistical issues with our rafting techniques, mainly that I’m steering, but I have the unfortunate tendency to overpower her rowing, which makes us frustrated, especially as the shallowness of the river keeps leaving us stranded on rocks. One of our companions is hit in the mouth with a paddle. On two separate occasions, I and another friend of mine are tossed out of our rafts to experience a brief moment of overstated panic, and sometime in the middle of the journey I realize that I’d only brought one pair of shoes, which are now soaking wet.

But all in all, the trip was nice. I do wish that the water had been deeper.

Later that evening, we have dinner at a restaurant underneath a bar and discuss the music being pumped through the ceiling. I impress a friend with my correct identification of a Jody Watley single. I do not further add the extra information I have, that Jody Watley’s sister is an adult film star.

The Wild Wolf Inn has a raccoon feeder outside the windows that they leave well-lit so that yokels like myself can watch them come out of the woods, climb the platform, and dine on scraps of hamburger buns. At one point, the feeding becomes like a cuddly bloodsport, with five raccoons all vying for a piece of the feast, including a cowardly fellow that we nickname “Uncle Ted,” although I don’t exactly know why.

When we leave on Sunday, we’re exhausted beyond belief. However, we still have to make a stop off at the Mars Cheese Castle outside Milwaukee1, which is apparently the largest cheese shop of its kind in Wisconsin (that is, if Wisconsin is the cheese capital of North America, the inner sanctum of the capital is the Mars Cheese Castle.) I buy smoked string cheese, my traveling companions buy honey sticks (like Pixy Stix, only good for you), cheese curds, and ostrich jerky.

Before we arrived at the Cheese Castle, another friend of mine mooned us on the road. I realize that, although I lived with him for three years, I’d never seen his ass and had in fact never really wanted to. I imagine that the driver and owner of the vehicle was less than thrilled to have the pressed hams on her passenger side window.

And that was the weekend. (Finally.) This week was also slightly busy; I finally saw “Moulin Rouge,” and enjoyed it immensely–my opinion remains that I’ll forgive you anything if I can tell that you’re doing it passionately. Baz Luhrmann has only made three films, but I can tell he didn’t just make them, he made love to them as he made them. On an additional note, I am haunted by the first image of Jim Broadbent as Harold Zidler, approaching the screen with a wave of desire and cosmetics behind him, rapping away and sneering like some kind of Mephistophelian ringmaster. A truly enduring visual, and one that would be an image of nightmare if it weren’t appearing only in my distracted daydreams.

Yesterday I decided, once and for all, that I want to be a drama professor. But I want to be a drama professor who knows more than book learning, I want to have the interdisciplinary experience to aid my teaching. I want to be able to approach theatrical analysis from the perspectives of not only the academic, but of the artisan, of an actor and writer.

I must buy a book on the GRE, and soon.

Really won’t have too much time to journal for awhile, I’ve got a bit of a crunch situation at work involving many, many Jumble puzzles.

1 Point of note–when traveling on 90/94 through Milwaukee, with no traffic to speak of, the time it takes to get through the city and out the other side is the exact same amount of time it takes to sing the theme song to “Laverne and Shirley.” Schlemiel. Sclimazel. Unintelligible Incorporated!

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This entry was posted on July 6, 2001 by in Travel.
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