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Thus far, it's been a mild autumn, or so I'm told. By Californian standards, we here in Minnesota seem to be right on schedule. It's often either cold enough to make me want to put on a winter coat or warm enough to walk around in t-shirt and jeans. The odd thing is that it keeps changing between the two every few days. However, the colors - wow, the colors. The trees surrounding my apartment complex have been changing, and the entire city is awash in yellows, golds, oranges, and vibrant reds. When my wife and I went out to get our couch, we ended up driving through a heavily wooded area on the outskirts of town, and it was beautiful - golden wreaths and boughs in the trees, and a carpet of golden leaves covering the dark earth... There's nothing like this in California. Back home, everything turns bright green for two, maybe three months in the spring (if that long), and then it all turns brown again. In autumn, the brown leaves fall off the trees. That's it. Here, there seem to be actual seasons.

Nonetheless, I heard a scanning machine beep at work and the sound reminded me of the call of one of the birds native to my home mountains in California. Unexpectedly, I got really nostalgic and homesick for about ten minutes. There's a different kind of beauty to the sparse green conifers of the mountains out there, and knowing that they're essentially standing kindling waiting for some fool arsonist to spark (which they invariably do; arson is a year-round recreation in San Bernardino County) after dry weather and bark beetle infestations have ravaged them makes me sad and wistful.

Coming to Minneapolis has a small measure of significance to me. As a geek, I know Minneapolis and the Twin Cities area as the home of "Mystery Science Theater 3000," and one of the things I've wanted to do while I was here was to find the old Best Brains building and make a little pilgrimage there; snap off a picture or two of myself in front of it to prove to my friends that I was actually there. I don't think Best Brains even exists as a company any longer; the last thing I heard about the MST3K people doing was TimmyBigHands.com, and that folded while I was still living and working in Los Angeles about two years ago. Still, there's a picture of the building in The MST3K Amazing Colossal Episode Guide , and I'm trying to track down the address. It's a little project for me, a pathetically geeky sightseeing tour, but hey, why not? Darn it, I liked them folks. They's funny. They make me laff.

Additionally, my wife has been reading Kevin Murphy (who played Tom Servo)'s book A Year at the Movies , which I Highly Recommend. Reading his book had a pretty strong effect on how I think about the experience of going to the theater, and has raised my expectations - that is, made me think, "Hey, yeah! I hate that, too! Why do they keep doing that? Well, nuts to them!" every time I have to pay to sit through another television commercial shown on the big screen or some preview for Hollywood's latest overblown gun-fetish bloodfest with the audacity to pretend to the veneer of a morality tale or lowest-common-denominator bodily-functions-and-nekkid-ladies-aplenty excuse for comedy when I go to see something entirely unrelated to those bankrupt genres.

Ahem.

Since Kevin lived in the Minneapolis area when he started the book (I don't know if he's here still, but I'll let you know if I run into him, okay?), he mentions a number of theaters in the region that we'd probably like to check out, based on his reviews of them.

One of the things he mentioned was the phenomenon of the "cinema grill." I actually found one by accident tonight near where I work in Bloomington. This particular one was in a strip mall and didn't necessarily look that great, but I'll see if he says anything about it... Anyway, apparently what happens is that you go in to see a movie, and they serve you food, like a restaurant. But you're presumably in a movie theater. Interesting. After years of smuggling food into theaters, I'd like to try this.

Hey, well whaddya know? While looking up the link to Kevin's book, I happened to find that fellow Best Brainer Mike Nelson has two additional books out that I wasn't aware of, Mike Nelson's Mind over Matters and Mike Nelson's Death Rat! : A Novel. Hmm. I could have the whole Mike Nelson's series. Neat.

It's kind of nice - reading Kevin's book again now that we're here is something like having a concierge to the city. A really funny concierge who I never see and would probably brush me off if I met him because he's off doing something important and funny and erudite and I'm yet another faceless Joe Geek who would probably have a Kurt Vonnegut moment* if I ever actually got the opportunity to talk to him or any of the other Best Brains folk. My commendation for Bruce Campbell's stance on celebrity notwithstanding.

Fortunately, the city's super-nice, so that's kind of a perk, too. In the words of the Sixpence None The Richer song that won't get out of my head, "I'm starting to like this town."

*Read The MST3K Amazing Colossal Episode Guide for this tale of celebrity and woe.

This entry was posted on Thursday, October 16, 2003 at Thursday, October 16, 2003 . You can follow any responses to this entry through the comments feed .

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