This weekend, Vivian and I took a road trip up to the Twin Cities to visit some of my good friends from Comic Genesis in St. Paul. Dan “Vorticus” Zastrow has been hosting Sketch Days in St. Paul for the last couple of years, and I’ve been meaning to drive up and join him one of these days.
On Saturday, we gathered at the house of Green Avenger artist Abby for an afternoon of drawing in sketchbooks, eating dark chocolate truffles, and discussing where to hide during a Zombie Apocalypse. Joining us were Dan’s lovely girlfriend Michelle Mayo, the amazing artist of Tales of the Traveling Gnome, as well as Lisa and Terry, the creators of Godseeker. We also met Jill (who has a new comic on Comic Genesis, but I didn’t get the name or URL). Later in the afternoon, Dusan “Legostar” Jeftinija and his fiancé Amanda joined us, and Vorticus bought us all sandwiches from Jimmy John’s.
Around nine o’clock, the swing dancers among us (Dusan and Amanda, Michelle and Dan, Vivian and me) drove down to the Tapestry in Minneapolis. We saw a couple familiar faces while we were there, many Minnesotans who had come down to join us at Cowtown and were quite surprised to see Vivian and me crashing their dance hall up North.
The place was jam-packed with swing dancers trying to do the Lindy Hop with space that seemed only made for Balboa. We managed well, considering the crowd. It was especially thrilling to see Vivian and Dusan dancing together. As many of you know, Dusan introduced me to swing dancing back in 2006, which is how Vivian and I first met, so being able to see the two of them doing the Lindy Hop somehow made this amazing circle complete.
The next day, Vivian and I had brunch at a lovely place called Buster’s before driving down to the Mall of America to spend the afternoon. The mall was about as large as you could imagine, and we enjoyed the carnival rides in the center of the giant complex more than any shopping we did. I hadn’t been on a roller coaster in ages, and it was great to enjoy the heart-stopping thrill of being crammed into a tiny seat and spun around wondering if the bearings in the machinery will hold out.
Of course, I also had to stop by the Apple Store and ask why on Apple messed around with iMovie interface to the point where I can barely use it. Vivian and I also had fun playing with an iMac’s built in camera, snapping pictures with Photo Booth and putting them online to make all of our friends back in Nebraska sick with our cuteness.
There were also plenty of toy stores to explore. The Lego store was probably the most impressive, with giant Lego sculptures of dinosaurs, Star Wars spaceships, and a life-size replica of Boba Fett. We dropped by the Disney store as well, where Vivian got to cuddle with some of the limited edition Valentine’s Day plushies.
Before we left the mall, we had to run up to the top floor to get some popcorn shrimp from the Bubba Gump shrimp restaurant. Neither Viv nor I knew this place existed, but they apparently have sixteen locations across the country. I love shrimp, and they had shrimp-kabobs, shrimp creole, shrimp gumbo, pineapple shrimp, lemon shrimp, coconut shrimp, pepper shrimp, shrimp soup, shrimp stew, shrimp salad, shrimp and potatoes, shrimp burger, shrimp sandwich, you get the picture.
It was an amazing weekend, and I’ll never forget how great it was to see these two worlds come together at last.