Monday, September 15, 2008

ACFW Advance Scout Week 4: The Minnesota Suvival Guide

And so here we are. In a week's time, the ACFW Conference will be over. We'll all be home. The Genesis contest winners will be celebrating. Some will be frantically getting proposals ready for agents and editors. I suspect that more than a few of us will simply go catatonic, overwhelmed from the excitement. I know I'll be incommunicado for a day or two.

That being said, first we have to make it through the Conference. Soon you will all be descending upon Minnesota, my beloved home state, which is quickly approaching California for the number of former entertainers who have entered politics. But I digress.

Let's talk about the weather. In my original scouting report, I said that temperatures would probably be around 70. I based this on the average for this time of year. But then, about a week or so ago, the mercury dipped. Not horribly, but enough to put a little bit of a chill in the air. On top of that, it's been raining on and off. I worried that I may have given out some bad information. My reputation as an advance scout would be in tatters!

But I've been keeping an anxious eye on the forecast and as of now, it appears we'll have great weather throughout the conference. Highs in the mid 70s. Partially cloudy skies. Should be pretty good.

So let's move on. I thought I'd clue all of you into some general information about Minnesota.

Let's begin with nomenclature. Minneapolis and St. Paul form what we Minnesotans call the Twin Cities. I guess they're fraternal twins. We Minnesotans tend to shorten that, though, and we'll often refer to them as "the Cities." That's not arrogance on our parts; we know there are other cities out there, many of them bigger than Minneapolis and St. Paul combined. My personal theory is we call them that because they're really the only true cities in Minnesota (no offense to St. Cloud or Duluth).

A while ago, someone either on the Loop or the forums asked if Minnesotans said "Eh?" I hate to be the bearer of bad news. That's Canada, not Minnesota. But we Minnesotans do have our own way of speaking. But if you're expecting to hear thick accents like in the movie "Fargo," you'll be disappointed. I've lived in Minnesota for most of my life and I've heard someone talk like that only once.

But most Minnesotans do have a little bit of an accent. We're infamous for elongating our "Os." As a matter of fact, that might be why children in Minnesota play "Duck, duck, gray duck." If they tried to play "duck, duck, goose," pronouncing "goooooooose" would take too long and the game would be over.

Minnesotans, by and large, are a friendly and helpful bunch. We refer to that as "Minnesota Nice." But that does have a downside, and that's the use of the phrase, "That's different."

See, Minnesotans don't like offending people. To spare people's feelings, we'll often use "different" as a dodge. Someone will ask our opinion on something. We won't like whatever it is but won't want to hurt the asker's feelings. So we'll tell them, "That's different." So while you're here, if you're telling a Minnesotan about your book and they say, "Well, that's different," they're not commenting on the uniqueness of your story.

The population of Minnesota is mostly made up of the descendants of Norweigian, Swedish, and German immigrants. Because of this, we tend to tell Norweigian jokes. If someone starts telling you a story about two guys named "Ole and Sven" or a husband and wife named "Ole and Lena," you can pretty much guarantee that it's going to end with a punchline.

I could keep going, but I don't want this post to drag out for too much longer. I could discuss how casseroles are known as "hotdishes" here (and are a staple of most church dinners). I could make more jokes about Minnesota politics. But instead, I'll leave you with this:

Only one of these is referred to as a Coke in Minnesota. And all three are called "pop," not "soda." Oh, and for our friends from Wisconsin, drinking fountains are called just that, not "bubblers."

Anyway, it's been fun being your advance scout! See you all in three days!


Tiff (Amber Miller) Stockton said...

Ack! Another "Pop"-per. Oh no! What *ever* am I gonna do for a full 6 days up there, suffering while enduring the word "pop" and slandering my precious cokes? :)

I suppose I can survive. I'll just ask for a Coke and want Coca-cola. At least that'll be safe.

Krista Phillips said...

Sorry. I'm another Pop-er too.

What are you complaining aboot, ah?


Minnesotans DO say eh (or ah), but maybe a little more up North than Minneapolis.

And you aboot everything. *grin*

Ok, gotta say you kinda depressed me with the whole "in a week this will all be over..."

I'm not into looking that far into the future. That means I'd have to think about going back to work, which isn't an option today!!

Catherine West said...

Well, we will feel right at home then. My hubby is Canadian and it's always pop in our house! ALthough I grew up saying soda! HMM. I think I will bring a jacket. I'll probably feel cold. So, we're staying on after the conference. What do you recommend we do as tourists??? After I've recovered from the conference that is. I'd appreciate some suggestions since you live there! Thanks!