Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Special Father-Son Moments In NoMi: Mixing "Anarchist Chocolate Milk" (Summer Visitation 2010)

Blog post and photo by John Hoff

Before I got a home in North MInneapolis, I had my stuff stashed in an old farmhouse in some tiny little town two hours from the Twin Cities, while actually "living" in an RV in a rough-but- rapidly-improving part of St. Paul. In winter, I would park the RV in some dude's yard, running an electric cord outside to a circulating oil heater to keep warm in the winter. (Well, I wouldn't run the heat while I was gone during the day at my various jobs, of course) I found that banking snow was helpful, too. Thank god for those couple years in Boy Scouts and knowledge acquired at "Winter Survival Camp."

The dude with the house had a bathroom I could use, so that was cool, and on visitation weekends and holidays I would pay a nominal sum for the use of a room to have my son over, though mostly we'd hang out at the University watching free movies and pigging out on Chinese food. The alternative to this lifestyle would have been, of course, just staying in Seattle, living a much more affluent life while building on my career out there, but hardly seeing my son except for stilted, awkward visits at Christmas. This was not acceptable to me.

Life in the 1979 Shasta RV (renovated by the previous owner after a "glue gun" caused a minor fire) was not the best situation, but getting a home in North Minneapolis (NoMi) changed all that in a big way. Now I can see my son in style, though often we'll end up being entertained in the homes of my friends in NoMi, as in the picture above. To all the divorced daddies out there plotting and planning a way to be near their children in or around the Twin Cities, but perhaps stuck in some other city or rural town, I say: The best move you can make is to "Get To NoMi."

Think about it. You're rough. You're tough. You've gotten used to living in difficult conditions since the missus got your house and kid(s). So what are you afraid of? This neighborhood is full of good people who could use a hard-but-decent man like you to take care of the shit that needs to get done, cracking down on lawless thuggery and so forth. So get aboard the NoMi bandwagon, man, and set up your grubstake. Buy in at $17,900 and sell when your house is worth $100,000, which it will be if you patrol your block, blog your considerable progress, and join the Public Safety Committee of your local neighborhood association.

What does that have to do with chocolate milk, you might ask? Glad you asked...

During a visit to the Hard Times Cafe, an anarchist co-op restaurant in the West Bank, my son wanted a chocolate milk, which is not on the menu. But the kindly anarchists threw some chocolate syrup in some milk. Sticking a spoon in the milk, they said, "You can stir it yourself, if you like."

Ah, yes, there's that DIY (Do It Yourself) anarchist philosophy. Who wants to rely on The Man and heartless, soulless, multi-national corporations for beverages or fuel or clothing or TOILET PAPER?! Better to make it yourself, grow it yourself, weave it yourself, STIR UP THAT CHOCOLATE MILK YOURSELF.

Bringing the milk to my son, I explained this was "anarchist chocolate milk."

"If you drink it," I explained. "You'll probably start to have feelings of resenting authority--especially your parents--and you may start to question why people need government at all, and why the government is PICKING on you because of, like, THOUGHT CRIME. You may start liking punk rock music."

Playing along, drinking the chocolate milk, my son did his best 13-year-old imitation of an alienated anti-authoritarian, mulling over the state of world affairs. I might have helped set the mood with a nice internet video about why the WTO is evil, who knows? (Click here, and watch at 51 seconds. I sincerely believe that crouched figure in the foreground is me, moments after being hit by a rubber bullet in the 1999 World Trade Organization protests)

Ever since we enjoyed "anarchist chocolate milk" at the Hard Times, my son uses this label to refer to homemade chocolate milk. It's like our little in-joke, and it extends to other stuff like pizza.

This is what my home in NoMi means to me: it is the place to kick back with my son, drink chocolate milk, and talk about...whatever. Whatever we need to talk about. It has been a long, long journey from Seattle to NoMi, but I'm here and I'm near my son...strirring things up, baby, stirring things up.


Anonymous said...

JNS - nice post. Anyone can be a father, but it takes a stand-up guy to be a dad.

Patrick said...

We need the government to keep the thugs down. There's no 311 in an anarchy.

Persephone said...

Man, this makes me want some chocolate milk.

veg*nation said...

what a nice post!

Anonymous said...

Since there's no like button, so I thought I'd just post a comment to say "Like!"

- M Clinton

Anonymous said...

MMMMmmmmm......Anarchy and Chocolate Milk! Life is goood!

Cpt Jack

Johnny Northside said...

One immature comment about chocolate milk rejected, but, yeah, hookers on Penn Ave. N. gotta go.

Patrick said...

Be careful JNS. Not all the hookers on Penn are what they appear. Some are MORE than meets the eye, if you know what I mean.


Anonymous said...

Yah that one is for sure 100% a man. I checked the adams apple at national night out, and yep for sure tranny pro. The skinny dark one with the same shoulder lenght straight black weave, with belly out all the time. But Patrick the troll new this already ,right Patrick. Makes me wonder. HMMMM.
Whats the connection? Patrick the NOMI tranny troller.

Cpt Jack ;\

Patrick said...


Can someone plead the 5th over the net?


I think if you look at my post history you'll know where I, er, stand.