My flickr pictures

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Cotton Balls are Falling!

There was a lot of commotion at a window near my cube (yes, I love the fact that I'm surrounded by 3.5 neutral-colored temporary "walls"), and so I decided to get up and look for myself.

It literally looks like someone far up in the sky is shaking an enormous bag of cotton balls. I've never seen such big round flakes in all my life!

What Would You Do...

...if someone told you, "seeing you is like a raisin in my hot dog"?

Would you:

a) Smile and say "Thanks! I couldn't agree more!"
b) Cry
c) Become angry
d) Check the person into the looney bin because he/she's crazy.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Mr. Peepers

Remember this post from way back in October when Robbie, Amanda, and I took a trip to the local apple orchard? I dug into my archives and pulled out the "lost" video of Robbie giving me his best Mr. Peepers impersonation:

Monday, December 18, 2006

My Secret Artist Life

My second oil painting, based on a photo taken at Forsyth Park in Savannah, GA. It's no masterpiece, but I'm happy enough with the end result. I've decided I enjoy painting enough to keep it up. Now if I can only find the time.

Musical Weekend

Lots of music this past weekend.

  • Imogen Heap at First Avenue (Sweet!)
  • Robin and Linda Williams at Fitzgerald Theater (Where were you mom and dad?)
  • Received a book of "easy" piano songs (excellent Christmas present)
  • Poor Lauren's chorus of coughs, sneezes, hacks, and ahh-ahh-chews! (Dr. Seus would have been jealous)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


Like Brad, I saw Google's doodle for the day and loved it:

It also reminded me of my family's trip to Norway a couple years ago. My mom and brother were visiting the Munch museum in Oslo when they were approached by a local journalist and asked if they would mind being interviewed. Apparently the journalist was curious to find out why Americans were visiting Norway, and what they thought of the country.

A day (or two?) later my parents were at the airport to fly home. They walked by a stack of newspapers and were surprised to see a picture of my mother and brother on the front page, staring back at them. There was a quote in the story by my brother; when asked what he liked least about Norway, he responded, "The price of beer".

You know you're a guy when... consider wrapping a Christmast present with duct tape. It would match silver wrapping paper, right?

Fortunately, I found a few rolls of packing tape. I'm fairly confident my packages this year won't come undone by themselves.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Skype in the House

My sister lives in Norway. I don't. With Skype, we talk through the internet for free without lag and in crystal-clear voice quality. Skype is pretty well known, but thought I should share it in case someone out there wasn't aware, has a high-speed internet connection, and has a friend/loved one in a different country. Ch-check it out.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Fix Your VW

My 1997 Volkswagen Jetta's rear windows don't like to stay up. My left one fell down by itself 3 years ago when I first lived in Minneapolis. Although I didn't (and still don't) know a thing about cars, I was determined to fix this problem by myself. I had graduated from college and was finally self-sufficient. Shouldn't I therefore be able to fix a little problem like a broken automatic window?

I scoured the internet and found some hints of how to get started. Slowly but surely, I kept making progress, and finally figured out the problem. I called up the dealership, picked up a replacement part, and fixed the window. It was honestly one of my more rewarding experiences -- no one really thought I'd be able to fix it, including myself. I just figured it was worth a shot. Who knew? (Joost -- you would have been so proud!)

Recently, the same thing happened to my right rear window. This time, armed with my trusty camera, I documented the fix. You can view the set here. It's like a self-paced auto-mechanic class in high school that you never took but wished you had.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006


A successful story, marketers say, is one that speaks to a fundamental truth about the human condition. It's no longer enough for Sonny the bird to tell us that he's cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs; we need to understand the inner demons that drive the poor bird close to insanity.

William Weir
Edmonton Journal


Monday, December 04, 2006

Posture King

I flew down to Atlanta this past weekend to visit Lauren and go to her company's holiday party. She's not joking when she says they could film her workplace for NBC's The Office. I won't get into it -- it could be an entire blog in itself. (hint, hint)

Anyway, Lauren sent me a photo taken of us at the holiday dinner, and I couldn't help but notice my terrible posture. That motivated me to sit as upright as possible for the rest of the workday. I was going to make all the yogis out there proud.

I lasted 9 minutes, and then started to complain. It was pathetic. Can my back and ab muscles be that weak? I'm going to attempt to sit perfectly upright (without using the back rest) for the remainder of the week. I wonder if I can even make it one day. Any bets? Anyone willing to compete?

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Rebate This, Sucka

You may recall that I purchased a new phone recently. One of the main reasons I picked the w810i was because after rebates it was free.

I've seen some convoluted rebate schemes before, but Cingular/Sony Ericsson took things to a whole new level.

Rebate 1:
Clip this, fill out that, send it in. Not too bad. I can handle it.

Rebate 2:
Copy of this, a copy of that, and a copy of my 4th wireless bill. All of which can not be sent in earlier than 120 days from phone activation, but no later than 180 days.

Rebate 3:
Same as Rebate 2, but this one needs a wireless bill dated 150 days or more after activation, but no later than 210 days.

Are you kidding me? I need to go out and buy a calendar to figure out when to send in my rebates? Good thing I'm cheap, because you better believe I'm going to put some reminders on my work calendar. This sort of task would be perfect for a personal assistant/intern. Any takers?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Thanksgiving Tradition

Every year we eat at my Grandma's house for Thanksgiving. Every year there are leftovers. Every year the leftovers are brought home in Cool Whip containers. My grandma has a never-ending supply of empty Cool Whip containers. I have no idea where they come from. A 90yr old woman can not possibly eat this much Cool Whip.

We have empty Cool Whip containers that are completely faded due to multiple washings. When I left Georgia I was going to pack up an empty Cool Whip container. It had gone with me from Thor to Ames to Minneapolis to Atlanta.

I recently used a Cool Whip container to hold leftover homemade chili. It had a piece of masking tape on the lid that read "Chili '04". Apparently my mom had used the same container 2 years earlier for the same purpose.

I think Kraft should make a commercial about how Cool Whip brings families together. I think Cool Whip rocks.

Rappers are Role Models

Over Thanksgiving my nephew was asked me if I had an iPod, and then proceeded to ask if I happened to have any 50 Cent, Chris Brown, Chamillionaire, and others on it. I was shocked -- I consider myself fairly in-the-know when it comes to music, and I've hardly heard of Chamillionaire. How did an eight year old know about him then?

I guess it's the phenomenon known as the internet. Oh yeah, and MTV. It's too bad that MTV has become the Us Weekly of television. I still remember the first time I saw Thriller on MTV. Man, was I in awe (and a little scared too). Whatever happened to those days?

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

The Wish Tree Project

I feel like I'm fairly mature for my age, but around Christmas time I can't help but remember how extremely exciting this time of the year was for me when I was younger.

My workplace is a member of The Wish Tree Project -- a program that helps less-fortunate kids get Christmas presents -- and has already setup a few "wish" trees around the building. I'm not sure if I was supposed to, but I poked around one of the trees until I found a card for a boy that asked for something I would have enjoyed as a kid as well. Not only does it make the task of shopping much easier, but it's actually makes the whole process exciting.

The card I drew was for Devontae, and he would like some Transformers. I don't blame him -- I used to think Optimus Prime was such a cool dude. However, nothing was cooler than Blaster. My cousin had Blaster, and man was I jealous. Maybe one day I will be so lucky. But until then, I'll hopefully pass on some of that excitement to Devontae.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Can you say Product Placement?

NBC's The Office is my favorite show on TV. Tonight's episode was excellent, but it also contained possibly the most blatant product placement of all time.

One scene had Kevin Malone (played by Brian Baumgartner) shredding office documents with this shredder shown at the left. He talked about how great it was, and proceeded to shred papers, a CD, and one of his own credit cards.

Then they cut to a commercial. And surprise, surprise, it was a Staples commercial for the exact same shredder. Wow. Go marketing. What's even more, when I went to to get a picture of the shredder, I came upon this page titled "Staples MailMate shredder and The Office". I bet they sell a million of these.

I like music too, but not that much

Cities 97, a Minneapolis radio station, releases a Sampler CD each year of unique, typically acoustic sets from their in-house Studio C. I was introduced to Cities 97 and their sampler CDs from a friend years ago when I worked out in Estes Park, CO, and have been listening to them ever since.

The CDs come in limited supply, and are only sold at area Targets. This year marks the 18th Sampler, and with it, 18 years of increased insanity. One guy camped out in front of Target for two days in anticipation. It's November. It's Minnesota. It's a CD. You can copy them.

The CDs have also apparently turned into some sort of tradeable futures commodity. Last night, before the CDs were even released, people were selling them on eBay -- informing potential buyers not to worry, and guaranteeing that their "suppliers" would follow through.

I was planning on standing outside of my local Target around 7 this morning, but slept in too late. Now I'm counting on Robbie's attempted purchase. I'll even chip in 10 cents for the blank CD.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Happy Late Birthday to My Blog

I just realized that it has been over a year (and 187 posts later) since I started writing this blog. Wow, does time fly. If you've been with me the whole time, then you will remember my first post, in all of its glory.

A big thanks to all of my faithful readers and random visitors. I appreciate the comments. Perhaps now I should update the look and feel...any suggestions?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

I like orange, but not that much

I went to the gym tonight, and I saw a guy next to me that was fake-baked to the maximum. But not only was he fake-baked, he was orange.

To top it off, he was wearing a very bold orange shirt. So it got me thinking how orange his skin really was. You know how a color will look much paler when placed next to its bolder counterpart? And he was still orange. Carrot orange.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Fun Weekend

Addie's birthday and Lauren's visit made for a fun weekend. The highlight was seeing Hot Chip and Jamie Lidell at 1st Avenue. Personally, I thought Hot Chip stole the show. You can't go wrong with 5 keyboards/synthesizers and a lot of British energy.

But don't get me wrong, Jamie Lidell was fun too. He would beat-box, record it, loop it, and sing on top of it, all with a lot of soul. He has been described as, "a 21st century reincarnation of Little Richard".

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Love and Marriage

I just read an interesting article from The New York Times regarding the current state of marriage in America. It's worth a read, but if you can't spare the 5 minutes, here is a brief recap of quotes:

In the past 20 years, there has been "a marked decline in the number of people with whom they discussed meaningful matters. People reported fewer close relationships with co-workers, extended family members, neighbors, and friends."

"As Americans lose the wider face-to-face ties that build social trust, they become more dependent on romantic relationships for intimacy and deep communication, and more vulnerable to isolation if a relationship breaks down. In some cases we even cause the breakdown by loading the relationship with too many expectations."

"...we should raise our expectations for, and commitment to, other relationships...we can strengthen our marriages the most by not expecting them to be our sole refuge from the pressures of the modern work force."

From Hot to Cold

Last night I went for a run outside wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Tonight it is supposed to snow. That sucks.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Do you know what really grinds my gears?

...Stores that start playing Christmas music the day after Halloween. What ever happened to waiting till Thanksgiving?

What grinds your gears?

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Weisman and Walkman

Went to the Weisman with Brad and his friend and fellow blogger Laura to check out the Red Bull Art of the Can exhibit. There were Red Bull shoes, a tree, and a replica of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, amongst others. I also took my first picture with my new phone. I have to admit that I'm pleasantly surprised.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Monday, October 30, 2006

Is that a Monet?

That's probably what you're asking yourself as you stare in amazement at this priceless work of art. However, you couldn't be further from the truth. It is the first installment in many to come from the artistic hand of none other than moi (that's the artistic Frenchman coming out of me).

I'll start the bidding at $5,000.

You are what you eat...and listen to.

Call it embracing my heritage, fulfilling my destiny, or what you wish. I just purchased this album, and I like it. Yes, that's correct. The Whitest Boy Alive.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Another Word to the Wise

With the purchase of my new cell phone comes a new service contract with Cingular. I purchased it online, and selected the option to "port" over my existing number to my new carrier.

Great, right? Well, yes, minus this weekend and next few days while I wait for my phone to be delivered. I didn't realize they would port my number instantly. So that means when I tried to use my phone Friday night it told me I wasn't an authorized Sprint subscriber. And when people have tried to call me, they get a "voicemail not configured yet" message.

So my words of advice: if you're going to switch over cell phone carriers and keep your same number, buy your new phone from the store.

But perhaps what is more sad is how disconnected I feel. What if someone wanted to call me? What if someone wanted to play soccer? What if someone was throwing a party in my honor and I couldn't be reached to make it? I just know all of my fans out there are having a nervous breakdown because they can't reach me. Right? Anyone? Buehler?

Friday, October 27, 2006

$240 Worth of Puddin

I cook, and then I chill. Awwwwww, yeahhhhh.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

I'm on the Mobile Phone

Readers may be surprised to hear that I'm joining the 21st century. I just purchased this phone:

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

I Heart Firefox

Just downloaded Firefox 2.0.

Talk about a sweet web browser with awesome search capabilities baked right in. Want to search Flickr? IMDB? Wikipedia? GoodSearch? Oh yeah, or what's that one company?...Google? You can search all and even more from within your toolbar.

Afraid of mistyping when filling out a form, sending an email, or posting a comment on the greatest blog on this side of the dot-com? With Firefox 2.0 there is automatic spell checking. As I type this, it is politely underlining any misspelled words in red, suggesting I change them or add them to the dictionary. Brilliant. These people are brilliant.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Word to the Wise

You know when you check your bags at the airport, and they give you the little baggage claim sticker for a receipt?

My advice: check it for accuracy, always.

I just flew down to Atlanta this past weekend, and upon arriving I happened to glance at my claim tag. It was for Thomas Neafus, flying to South Bend, IN. Crap. I ended up wearing my same set of clothes for 3 days straight.

Sound familiar Diana?

Friday, October 20, 2006

Tip O' the Day

Ever have a window open on your computer that is somewhat off-screen, and you can't move it because your mouse can't reach the title bar? That happened to me today, and I found this tip to help out:
  1. Hold down Alt + Spacebar
  2. Press the M key
  3. Use the arrow keys to relocate the window (or move your mouse)
  4. Press the Enter key when you have the window in the desired location

Thursday, October 19, 2006

U2 and iPod, Sitting in a Tree

Today I present to you the ruminations from Tre J, a friend of mine:

Have I shared my Ipod/U2 conspiracy theory with you two? Remember the ads U2 did with Apple, and Bono gracing the screen of the new video Ipod, and the U2 Ipod?? I think U2 brokered some deal with Apple that Apple could use them for
marketing purposes if Apple would change it's shuffle algorithm to play U2 more. Three of the last six songs that have played on my Ipod (it's on shuffle now) have been U2 songs. I have maybe 100 U2 songs out of a total of over 15,000 songs. It's a conspiracy, I tell ya.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Why Am I Not Surprised?

After living in Atlanta and working in Covington, this news article holds a dear place in my heart. It really embodies my 2 years in the south, and brings back memories of similar events that continually left me in awe ($1,000,000 bill at Wal-Mart, the "Lost" children of Rockdale County, crazy man running over family in McDonalds parking lot, etc.). If only I would have started a scrapbook the day I arrived. I'm pretty sure it would have been a best-seller.

A woman and her two young children will get a special Christmas dinner at one of Atlanta’s most expensive restaurants this year — courtesy of a Rockdale County judge who imposed that sentence on a man charged with family violence on Christmas Day.

“Basically you were hung over and didn’t want to be involved in some activities your wife planned,” Chief Superior Court Judge Sidney Nation told Wendell Jerome Herman Rogers II. “You acted up and ruined Christmas, so this year you’re going to make it up to them.”

Sunday, October 15, 2006

The Best Bar in America

I didn't need Esquire to tell me that Nye's Polenaise is the best bar in America. The locals knew that long ago. If you read the article written up by Esquire, you'll hear mention of Fran, the "seventy-freaking-seven" year-old waitress. She served us Friday night, and was as sweet as a grandmother should be. She topped off my coffee every 5 minutes "to keep it warm", she informed.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Move Over Van Gogh

I survived my first oil painting class. There were about 10 people in class; some with experience, some without (yours truly being one of them). I was instructed to paint shapes, not things, and to seperate my scene into light and dark objects. I didn't finish my Welsh mountain scene, but I did walk away with my very own color wheel.

I will start the bidding at $500.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Austin Kayaks Rock

If you've been following any of my posts for the past month, then you would have read about my dear friend Katie's unfortunate accident.

I was just informed about Austin Kayaks, and the benefit auction they are running on Katie and John's behalf. It's definitely worth a read...and a bid.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Google Search Bar

Any fans of the Google Search Toolbar? I'm one of them. I like the new feature of Suggested Search, as well as the ability to see your search history. I'm assuming the Suggested Search works by compiling the most recent commonly used PG-related searches performed by the millions of people out there that use Google every day.

I was going to perform a search for "Why buy back stock", when I noticed what apparently is a widely searched-for topic that starts with the word "Why". I was so taken aback I had to capture the screen.

Are we (men) really that bad? And if so, are there that many women our there searching for a rational answer to such a problem? Are they hoping for an "Ohhhhhhh. I get it now. Oh Kenny, you're so silly! I forgive you!" moment?

The Bad Plus

Last night Brad and I saw The Bad Plus perform at Ted Mann Auditorium. It was a great show, thanks in part to the group being so "telepathically tight". Their drummer, David King, put on possibly the best drum performance I've ever seen live.

For me, the highlight of the night was when they rocked out to their own version of Tom Sawyer, by Rush. Certain people in the crowd were visibly over-excited once this happened. It's not too common to see fist pumps during a jazz performance, but I guess The Bad Plus is not your average jazz band. I have a feeling Big MO would have followed suit...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Studio C

Robbie won tickets to see the Barenaked Ladies play at Cities 97 Studio C (actually KCCO in downtown Minneapolis) today, and I was fortunate enough to tag along. It was a small acoustic set -- around 5 songs, but totally cool. I was happy when they played Brian Wilson, probably my favorite song of theirs.

More Fall Fun

In my previous post I forgot to mention more happenings from the weekend.

One was visiting the ever-splendid Deardorff Family Orchard, where Robbie, Amanda, and I picked apples, ate them till we puked, and then ate some more. OK, so we didn't puke, but Robbie did grace us with a Mr. Peepers interpretation, and I did get a slight stomach ache from eating too many apples.

Sunday was another action-packed day. After dropping Jen off at the airport, I headed over to Lake Calhoun to catch up with Robbie and Amanda again to watch their friend Colby run by in the Twin Cities Marathon.

If you've never seen a marathon or triathalon before I highly recommend you check it out. Find a group of people that are cheering non-stop, and you're guaranteed a good time. After a while you sort of feel like they are cheering for you. Besides, you deserve it. It's exhausting watching someone run 26 miles.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Fabulous Fall

This weekend was a perfect example of why I love fall. Absolutely beautiful weather, trees ablaze in red, orange, and yellow, crisp mornings, and cool evenings. I wish I could have this for months and months.

My sister was in town, and we got the chance to mill about the farmer's market, complete with coffee and raspberry scone in honor of dad. We then spent the warm afternoon strolling along Cedar Lake, laughing at old family stories and chatting about the future. I'm so happy and grateful to have such a wonderful family. It's something that is implied, but rarely communicated, as many things in this world. I love you guys! (Brothers don't shake hands...brothers got to hug!)

Thursday, September 28, 2006

To Be a Highschooler Again...

Last night I was shopping at one of my favorite grocery stores, Byerly's, when I saw a group of young guys fully decked out in lacrosse gear walk by my aisle. I mean full-on gear: pads, sticks, jerseys, helmets--the works. I stared open mouthed in confusion, and then a few seconds later a guy with a video camera followed. Ahhhh -- high schoolers.

The moment was a mix of two movie scenes for me: 1. the scene from Garden State, where Zach Braff's character wakes up on the couch after a night of partying to see a medieval knight walking around the kitchen; and 2. the scene from Strange Brew where the McKenzie brothers are walking around the brewery in futuristic-looking hockey uniforms.

I guess you just had to be there.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Krusher Kowalski

Stan "The Krusher" Kowalski spoke today at my company's United Way kick-off meeting. He's definitely not as nimble as he used to be, but he's still got a lot of life in him. He takes giving back to the community very seriously, and it showed during his passionate speech. So serious in fact, that he let us all know we were just one incident away from "getting up on the high bridge". He didn't explicitly say what would happen once we were up on that bridge, but he definitely hinted that it would involve jumping off, and resulting in a not-so-lively outcome.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Disc Golf, Heee-Heee

As I was leaving work tonight I was surprised to see young professionals in my company playing disc golf out on our campus lawn. Being a fan of the sport myself, I stepped outside to see what was going on. It turned out to be a Newcomer's Club sponsored event, complete with free discs stamped with a picture of the Doughboy from Gotta Go Gotta Throw.

I played a couple rounds, and was impressed by two things:
  1. the layout of the course. It was actually pretty good.
  2. the quality of the grass that blankets our campus. I'm talking top notch stuff. I think we should get into the sod business or something, because it was plush. I'm sure having a perfectly manicured green space adds shareholder value, right?

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Dumb and Dumber?

The weather in Minneapolis tonight was a chilly 58 degrees and raining. So what would a group of young, educated, and semi-intelligent men do? Play soccer. Yes--outside. Why? I don't know. But it was fun.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

I'll Take One of Each

A good question was recently posted in reference to the marriage and pistol license pictures uploaded to my Flickr account. What was I doing at the Dekalb County Courthouse do you ask? But more importantly, why was I looking for a marriage and/or pistol license?

My friend Tyler was getting married in Georgia, and went to the courthouse with his fiancee to get their marriage license. Reliving the trip, he commented, "I kept teasing Michelle that we should at least get a pistol license too, since we were already there. She was significantly less amused than I was."

After he moved on to Chicago, he asked me if I would do him a favor and take a picture of the signs, so they could be documented along with all of their other wedding memorabilia.

In his own words:
I just love the idea of walking up to the counter and stating, "Hi. We're lookin' to get hitched...and uh, do we got to get in a separate line for the pistol license or can we do that now too?"

God Bless the South.

Monday, September 18, 2006

If I Were an Engineer for Apple...

...I would design a wireless adapter for the iPod. Apple already has a product called the AirPort Express with AirTunes. It allows you to wirelessly transmit your iTunes music to any stereo --not only is it a great product, but it is perfect for DJing parties as well. The only problem is if your computer isn't centrally located, you will be constantly running back and forth managing your playlist (you may be asking yourself, why not just create a playlist and leave it? My answer to that is then you wouldn't be a very good DJ then, would you?).

So what if your iPod could wirelessly read your computer's music library? (for you techies out there, I was thinking you could just sync your library's XML file) You could zip through your entire iTunes library in the palm of your hand from any room, and cue up that perfect song with one quick thumb tap.

Outside grilling and want to put on some U2? Just pull out your iPod. At the dinner table and the music is just a hair too mellow? Sneak your iPod out of your pocket and cue up some Jack Johnson. Just chilling and want to listen to a jazz-trio cover of Iron Man? You know what to do...

Thursday, September 14, 2006

A Sign?

I just got back from Iowa a few minutes ago. I had gone down with some coworkers to present to ISU students what it is like working in IT for my company.

This morning I had a few minutes to spare, so I headed over to the Ames cemetery to see my friend Katie, and wish her a happy (belated -- she would have turned 27 yesterday) birthday. I smiled upon arrival when I saw a few Happy Birthday balloons flapping in the wind, anchored to some flowers and small gifts.

I stood there for a while, not really thinking about anything, but just staring down and enjoying in that moment (as much as I could) the beautiful sunny day. I was getting pretty sad, and decided to squat down close to the ground.

The wind this entire time was blowing away from me, toward the east. But the second I knelt down close to her grave, the wind changed direction and one of the Happy Birthday balloons smacked me right on the head. The next second, the wind changed back and was blowing east again. I started laughing out loud and a large smile crept across my face. I think it was Katie's way of saying "hi".

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Big Moo

I just finished reading The Big Moo, edited by Seth Godin. It consisted of 33 anecdotal stories on how to remarkabalize your organization. I don't know about you, but I couldn't find "remarkabalize" in the Oxford English Dictionary. It makes me think of all the crappy buzzwords (and mis-spoken buzzwords) out there that my friends and I like to poke fun "strategerize".

Yet amazingly enough, people eat this stuff up. According to The Big Moo's website, the book was a Wall Street Journal Top Ten Bestseller in its first week in print. All the proceeds from the book go to charity, so maybe that's why people are buying it. Either that, or Tony Robbins is promoting the book as part of his find-the-inner-winner seminars.

I wouldn't recommend the book, but I did like one chapter, titled "Where do Ideas Come From?" The basic idea was to get out of your comfort zone in order to discover new ideas. Love football? Take a dance class. Like steak? Try eating as a vegetarian for a week. Are you an environmentalist? Read Guns & Ammo. I think you get the point.

Now go out there and strategerize!

ATL, Georgia

I went down to Atlanta this past weekend to celebrate Lauren's upcoming birthday. It was a very welcome break from reality and recent events, as we had a great time hitting up our favorite haunts (Decatur CD, Bab's, Taqueria del Sol, etc.). I had a lot of time to think today, between taking MARTA (itSMARTA!), chilling at Java Monkey, and waiting at the airport.

I've realized that when I have time to think, I find myself with a lot to say. Or in this case, write. There is a ever-growing list of topics I'd like to blog about, but don't find the time to share. That may be surprising because I'm a fairly quiet guy. I'm guessing the creative/analytical/imaginative side of my brain shuts down when I open my mouth. Go figure.

Anyway, I think I'm going to start a routine "If I were a [blank], I would do [this]" posting to capture my random ideas. Think of them as sort of mad-scientist journal entries. That way when a similar idea is actually acted upon and is part of our society I'll look back and say my favorite phrase in the English language: "I shoulda". It will be very therapeutic I'm sure.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Life isn't Fair

I helped bury one of my best friends yesterday.

I know that's a shocking statement, but that's exactly the way I feel -- shocked. Katie was and will always be one of my favorite people on this earth. She had a smile that would light up a whole room, that cheerleader perkiness that you couldn't help but laugh at, and an amazingly bright and open mind.

I was honored to be one of her pallbearers. Emotionally, it was the most difficult thing I've ever done. I couldn't contain myself walking out of the church, hand on her casket. I simply broke down. Afterwards, I kept asking myself "Why?", and thought to myself that I didn't want to go through that again for a very, very long time.

I hope Katie was watching us gather in her honor. I think she would have been so happy seeing the turnout. I just wish I could have told her one more time how much respect I had for her, and how much I appreciated her and her friendship. I can't stress enough how great she was.

Katie and her husband, John Milleman, were on their way to Iowa to join their families in celebrating their 1-year anniversary. The car accident happened on September 2nd -- one day shy of their wedding date.

We all love you Katie.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Dentures, Part 3

I apologize for this long-overdue posting. I’m sure you’ve been waiting on the edge of our seat to see what would come of the Affordable Dentures saga. (If you have no idea what I’m talking about, then you may want to do your homework and read my previous posts).

It was my very last day of work in Covington, and I knew that it was now or never. Admittedly, I was nervous about the task at hand; but gosh darn it, I was going to follow through. The closest I had come to any physical interaction was the drive-by, and even then I was nervous. I kept thinking to myself, “What if they are on to me? What if they chase after me in their beat-up old trucks, weathered confederate flags flapping in the wind? What if they bite me with there brand new (yet affordable!) fake pearly whites?”

This was the risk I was willing to take – for you, for me, and for our freedom. I was going to solve the mystery of Affordable Dentures.

I drove down Interstate 20, camera, pen, notepad, and ball cap in the seat next to me. I was wearing shorts, a college-looking t-shirt, and flip flops. The customers waiting outside Affordable Dentures would never suspect that I wasn’t a Georgia State student, swinging by to write an article for my journalism class.

As I passed Conyers, I practiced my lines in my head. I didn’t want to show up and be a bumbling idiot. I tried to think up a fake name too. I’m pretty bad at fake names. I always seem to take a famous person’s first name, and a different star’s last name. So I end up with something like Tom Elway, or James Hefner. I’m not too creative in that department.

It was about 7:45am as I drove past Affordable Dentures on the interstate. I was happy to see a healthy line of people waiting outside. I took the next exit and pulled off into a gas station parking lot. I put on my hat and took out my camera to check its settings. If I ended up having only one opportunity for a close-up shot, I wanted it to be a good one.

At last, it was go time.

The only problem…there was nothing to go on. I pulled into the Affordable Dentures parking lot just in time to see the last person queuing outside walk in the door. They had just opened up for business, and I had just lost my line of interviewees.

But don’t fret. Although I didn’t unravel the mystery, nor take a Pulitzer Prize winning photograph, my father came to the rescue when he sent me this:

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Organic vs. Local

I was listening to NPR's Science Friday on the drive back to Ames last weekend, and heard a very good argument regarding organic vs. local food production and consumption.

It seems like the majority of people eat organic for 1 or 2 (or both) reasons:
1. It's healthier for me
2. It's better for the environment

Science Friday pointed out that if you buy organic tomatoes in winter time, chances are those tomatoes are coming from a looooong ways away. In other words:
1. They are being picked way before they are anywhere close to becoming ripe. How's that for full of nutrients?
2. They have to be shipped a great distance, which means more fuel being used, more carbon dioxide production, and more pollution.

The guests on the program challenged listeners to try to eat more local foods instead, which also means seasonal foods -- so no "fresh" strawberries in winter. They also talked about and encouraged Community Supported Agriculture -- a program where you buy a share in a local farm, and in return you get fresh seasonal vegetables delivered to your door. If you ask me, it sounds like a great idea. I may have to try it out next summer.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Schmap You, Schmap Me

Following along in Brad's footsteps, I've just been recently Schmapped. The friendly folks over at Schmap just released a St. Louis guide and they used this photo from my Flickr account.

In the words of Brad: "What's a Schmap? You basically install some free software, and then can download guides for 6 American and 7 European cities (more to come). It's all free, and could be a nice electronic alternative to buying or library-ing travel books."

They must be expanding quickly, because that quote was taken from Brad's post back in May, and now it looks like they have way more than 6 American cities -- so many in fact that they break the guides down by region for easier searching. I'll have to look through the Minneapolis guide to see what I've been missing out on.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Happy Little Trees

Hide your blank canvases and cover the walls, ceilings, floors, and anything else within a 50ft radius, because I will soon be wielding a stick with paint on it. That's right -- watch out Bob Ross -- because I just signed up for an oil painting class.

Now, I know what you're thinking: "Matt, since you've never painted before in your life, I'm confident that your early works of art will be masterpieces. How can I go about buying them off you? Will a small fortune suffice, or should I dip into the kid's college fund?"

My response to you is this: relax. After my name is known throughout the world, you will be able to find as many cheap knock-offs and replicas that you can dream of. And that, my friends, is the true beauty of the internet and the American dream. Cheap crap for everyone.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

I'm Hip, I'm Cool

I'm not much of a bragger or an in-your-face kind of guy. But remember this post from back in February? I was excited to share with everybody my discovery of Gnarls Barkley and some of his tracks, one being Crazy -- his hit that brought St. Elsewhere (released in late April) to #4 (the album has since slipped to #8) on Billboard's Top 200 -- yet no one commented at the time. Now don't get me wrong -- I'm not trying to say I have special powers like Nostradamus or Tom Cruise, but I just wanted to point out (perhaps opposed to popular belief) that at times, like Dr. Evil, even I'm hip, I'm cool. Tocka tocka tocka tocka.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Snakes on a Phone

When I first heard of the movie Snakes on a Plane, I thought it was the dumbest idea for a movie ever. Now, however, I have changed my mind. Someone in their marketing company is a genius. Everybody is talking about the movie, and thousands are blogging about it.

I (as well as a few of you out there) just recently experienced what I consider to be one of the best marketing ideas ever. You always hear that word of mouth is one of the best ways to spread a message, and Snakes on a Plane brought that method to a new level. I received a "personal" voicemail from Samuel L. Jackson, telling me to stop slacking off at my computer, stop smoking that wacky-tobaccy, stop growing out my shaggy beard, and go see Snakes on a Plane.

It will take a big nasty bite out of your butt.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Summer in the Cities

Lauren came to visit this past weekend and we had a great time. Activities ranged from going to see Talladega Nights, eating downtown on Nicollet Mall, kayaking in Uptown's Chain of Lakes, enjoying dessert with Robbie and Amanda at Zeno Wine Bar, having a drink in St. Paul with my favorite 3Mers, eating at 128 Cafe (my new favorite restaurant in the cities), picnicking, and listening to the lead singer of Dazy Head Mazy at Acoustic Sunrise at the Minneapolis Institute of Art. Good stuff.

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

I'm Not a Pro...

...But my cousin is.

We're all rootin' for you Ole!!

You know you're getting old when... and your "business partner" go out and purchase $1000 worth of trees. Shouldn't we be spending that kind of cash on something like a big screen tv?

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Fast Green Monkeys

A friend of mine walked past my cube yesterday around 4:15 and asked if I'd like to go to the Vikings / Raiders pre-season game that night. He's on some cabinet for the United Way, and happened to score 13 free tickets to last night's game. Who knew donating could be so much fun?

It had been a few years since I had last been in the Metrodome, and I had forgotten how loud it gets when you have tens of thousands of fans cheering in an enclosed space. The Vikings lost, but overall the game was fun. I thought there would be a lot more Randy Moss animosity, but the worst I saw was a fan wearing his old Vikings jersey and had taped over the number a big red circle with a line through it signaling "no". Big dis.

Anyway, one of our conversations during the game was how on TV do they "paint" onto the field the yellow first-down line? I've wondered this for years, yet never looked into it.

Curiosity finally got to me, so I googled it, and found the answer. But before you look for yourself, guess as to which one is right:

a) There are two trained monkeys (genetically modified to have green hair) -- one with a yellow paint can, one with green or white -- that run across the field and paint lines all day.
b) After years of drawing shapes on the TV screen, John Madden has perfected the technique so well that he can draw perfectly angular lines in one swoosh of his arm. He does this for every game on every network. This is why he is still allowed to commentate.
c) Chuck Norris glares down the field in a straight line and makes the grass "yella".
d) Some computer nerds with a bunch of cool technology figured it out.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Auf Wieder-Saints

My bro and his wife visited this weekend, and we headed to the Saints game on Friday for Auf Wieder-Saints (German Night). This was my second Saints game, and just as much fun as my first back in May. German Night was celebrated by a few people dressed up in lederhosen, a David Hasselhoff trivia game, a no-hands sauerkraut eating contest, and a Dieter look-a-like that read off happy birthdays to people in the crowd.

There is no better combination for a perfect Minnesota summer evening than baseball, bratwurst, and The Hoff:

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Rewind to NYC

For my own personal journaling, and to stop Lauren from bugging me, I'm going to rewind through history for a bit and act as if I just got back from New York City...

Thursday, July 13th, 2006
I flew to LaGuardia, and forgot my suit on the plane. After freaking out for 10 minutes and running around like a lunatic, I went to the lost luggage counter and found it waiting for me. I hopped on the Avis shuttle bus, and the stars were aligned just so because waiting for the bus at the next terminal was Lauren, her brother, and his girlfriend. We got hooked up with a Ford Escape. I was pleasantly surprised. Drove to Sea Cliff, Long Island to stay with Uncle Rob.

Friday, July 14th
Went to the rehearsal dinner and had some excellent Italian food. God bless those Italians.

Saturday, July 15th
It was an early wedding, starting at 11am. The reception commenced at 1pm at The Riverview in Oakdale, Long Island. Those New Yorkers know how to party. There was constant dancing the entire reception. Kudos to the great DJ.

Sunday, July 16th
Got the nickel tour of Sea Cliff. What a charming little town, situated right on Hempstead Harbor. We went down to the pier for a ride in Uncle Rob's new boat. It was great - hot air, blue sky, and blue water. I decided to strip down and dive in. From there Lauren and I headed into Manhattan, where we stayed in the Upper East Side. Met up with Sedgwick and his brother for dinner.

Monday, July 17th
Checked out Central Park. We rowed a boat around one of the lakes, rode the carousel, walked the park, and then had lunch at the boathouse restaurant. Next we headed to the Guggenheim and saw an exhibit by Zaha Hadid. Not our style, but still kind of cool. Had dinner at Sushi Yasuda (excellent) and dessert at Serendipity 3 (frozen hot chocolate).

Tuesday, July 18th
Got up early (but would turn out to not be early enough) in hopes of getting Conan O'Brien tickets. On the way to the line we saw Martha Stewart and Matt Lauer on the Today Show. Ended up we were #40 and 41 in line (Lauren happened to mention "I bet we're like 40th" during our wait). Went over to the Empire State Building and bought tickets that we would never end up using. Then swung by to check out the Flatiron Building. MOMA was closed so we went to St. Patrick's Cathedral, H&M, the NY Public Library, and Bryant Park. Yahoo! Sports was having some promo in the park, and saw Eli Manning and others. Got some rainbow-flavored Italian Ice. Went to Macy's and rode up and down all the wooden escalators. We met up with Lauren's cousin, brother, and his girlfriend for lunch at Cafe Duke in Times Square. Went to Trump Tower, Tiffany's, The Apple Store, and FAO Schwartz (we danced on the giant piano). Took a much needed nap. Went to Serafina for dinner, at which point a huge storm landed upon the city. We left the restaurant running from overhang to eave to overhang. A random New Yorker offered us his umbrella after asking if we were honest people.

Wednesday, July 19th
We went to The Metropolitan Museum of Art and had to rush through it. Would love to go back. Stopped by La Maison du Chocolat for some great chocolate truffles. We then headed down to Times Square and bought tickets from the TKTS booth for The Producers. Had some NY Pizza. Walked around and ran into the Naked Cowboy. Went to Chinatown and Little Italy. No Prado or Louie Vittan purses were purchased. We enjoyed The Producers (Springtime for Hitler was a classic) and ended back in Times square with all the other tourists to see it all lit up. We ended the night by taking a horse-drawn carriage ride through Central Park.

Thursday, July 20th
Got up and headed back to Chinatown to eat dim sum at The Oriental Grill. We had no idea what we were doing, ended up ordering (and when I say ordering, I mean pointing at) way more food than two people should consume in one sitting, and enjoyed every minute of it. We walked north through Soho and Greenwich Village. Went back to Central Park for a much-needed jumping photo, and then hailed a cab to the airport. Our cabbie had to transfer us to his brother's cab. We were on the highway when he slammed on the brakes and we got rear-ended. A little shocked and anxious, we climbed into another cab occupied by a guy from Hungary. His phone was dying and borrowed mine to call his friend. He spoke Hungarian. We finally made it to the airport where our cab driver tried to scam us out of more money than he deserved.

I heart NY.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


The Lollapalooza lineup we* saw. Favorites in orange:

Day 1
Panic! At the Disco

Ryan Adams
The Secret Machines
The Raconteurs
Violent Femmes
Death Cab for Cutie

Day 2
Built to Spill
Lyrics Born
Gnarls Barkley
The Smoking Popes
The Flaming Lips
Thievery Corporation

Manu Chao
Kanye West

*We as in me and Lauren. Includes acts we heard even for a brief moment. Others in our group also saw:
Lady Sovereign
The Go! Team
Coheed and Cambria

There was a semi-consensus amongst the group regarding the festival. Too many people and not enough real music fans made for a disappointing crowd. There seemed to be some less-than-stellar sound board operators as well. My favorite part (and perhaps for the rest of the group?) was simply getting back together with everyone and hanging out. Maybe I'm just getting too old for this music festival stuff...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Wednesday, August 02, 2006


What is your BrazilName?


Sunday, July 30, 2006


Just got back from Kee-Nee-Moo-Sha on Woman Lake in Minnesota. Kee-Nee-Moo-Sha is a perennial retreat for the Smallings. This year I was fortunate enough to join in the festivities for a few short days. I had a blast swimming, swinging, sliding, sleeping, kayaking, kicking, catching, tossing, throwing, hitting, heaving, hopping, dining, diving, flipping and flopping.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Strange Brew

"My brother's a genius, eh. He hooked up our stereo."

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Al Bundy

You know a good shoe salesman when...

...he tells you what pair of shoes you have from across the room the second you walk in the store.

I wanted to get new running shoes and therefore went to The Running Room in Uptown. I brought in my old pair of Asics to show what I am currently using. Before I even could speak, and from across the room, he told me the brand and model. I looked down at the show in disbelief and saw that he was absolutely right. Two minutes later I was trying on a new pair, and five after that I was checking out. And there you have the fastest shoe purchase known to man (ok, just me, but it was a really big deal considering how indecisive I am). Now to find a fun 5k...

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Blogger Backlog

So I've been backlogged on blogging (and flickrizing). I hope to change that soon. Still need to recap New York and our good ol' friend Affordable Dentures...

But in the meantime, which of the following does not belong?:
  1. Laser Tag
  2. Chocolate Fondue
  3. Work
  4. Bowling
  5. Hot Wheels
Hmmm, this is a difficult one you say? That's because it's a trick question. None belong together. However, that's exactly what my company provided for our IS new hires, interns, and social buddies tonight. I can't say that I ever expected to eat chocolate fondue at a bowling alley. I just wish someone would have covered their ball in liquid chocolate and thrown it down the lane. Now that would be cool.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

You Dim Sum, You Lose Some

Just got back from a fabulous week in New York (the city so nice they had to name it twice). Lauren and I didn't get to do everything we had hoped for, but it was an excellent trip overall. A recap will follow shortly...

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

How to Build a Cedar Fence

  1. Talk a lot about what you want the fence to look like
  2. Invite your parents to visit for a long weekend
  3. Go on vacation
  4. Your fence is now complete

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, Stuart Davis

Last week my friend Jason (or you can call him Steve or Jo Jo - whichever you prefer, he doesn't mind) and I went to the Varsity Theater in Dinkytown, Minneapolis to see a Stuart Davis show. It was his CD release party, so we knew a lot of new music would be mixed into the set.

It was a decent show but turned to great when, with four songs left to go, Stuart invited the crowd up on stage with him. He played his more up-beat songs and the crowd (especially those on the stage which he lovingly called the "Minneapolis Tabernacle Choir") went nuts. One of the randoms up on stage even grabbed a cowbell and started playing along. It was a perfect more cowbell moment.

I was happy to discover the Varsity Theater -- my new favorite venue in the cities, and I was happy that spleenboy from Flickr was there to take pictures of the show.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Red, White, and Blwuahhhhhh

July 4th is all about patriotism. And what could be more patriotic than buying a bunch of cheap crap made in some other country? So being the model Americans that we are, Lauren and I spent this past July 4th shopping at IKEA and the Mall of America. It almost brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

But our patriotic festivities didn’t stop there. That night we joined up with Robbie and Amanda and headed out to Maynard’s on Lake Minnetonka in hopes of getting a table outside along the wharf so we could dine and watch the fireworks.

It was fun watching fireworks shoot up over the lake – the reflection on the water was extra-cool. In fact, it was almost as much fun as staying up till 3 in the morning that night thanks to Maynard's giving Lauren (and me) food poisoning. I won’t go into any details, but I’ll just say that fireworks weren’t the only projectiles of the night.

And speaking of projectiles, if you haven't watched this Beer Cannon Montage posted on Brad's blog I suggest you do. It's sweet.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Lokale Schnittstelle

My new job is great, and has all sorts of perks, like looking for program documentation and finding this:

* Diese Funktion ist veraltet, und sollte durch
* F4IF_INT_TABLE_VALUE_REQUEST ersetzt werden.
* Eine Umstellung auf Uni-Code-Systeme ist nur möglich, wenn die
* übergebene FULL_TABLE vollständig Character-artig ist.

I don't know German, but I do know Sprockets!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Fake Funk Jump!

I just sent some of my jumping pictures to the FakeFunk Jump Project, after learning about it from cityflickr when she posted a comment on one of my pictures (I originally posted a comment to one her pictures, praising her jumping shots, and she reciprocated). I'm anxiously awaiting to see if they make the cut.

Which brings me to a semi-related question. Is there some sort of techno-verb out there for the act of making a contact/friend via the internet through comment postings? Anyone?

This Could Be Really Cool

If only they would include important airports like Minneapolis, Atlanta, and Des Moines...

Monday, June 26, 2006

Ode to Big Bro

I have to give a shout out to my big bro for two big news items:

1. He’s passing on that recessive pro-lutefisk gene that is found in so few Americans. That’s right folks. His wife is pregnant. (I find myself sharing with friends that “My brother is pregnant…well, he’s not, but his wife know what I mean”) Way to go bro!

2. He passed the PE exam. Now I know what you’re thinking – how difficult is it to do 40 sit-ups, 3 pull-ups, and run a mile without puking? But you’d be wrong – he didn’t pass that PE exam, although Ms. Goober did train him well. Instead, he can now proudly display his nerdiness because he is a genuine certified Professional Engineer. Way to go again! Pocket protectors for everybody!

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Quote of the Day

I felt this was a very fitting follow-up post to my previous one today. I was asking a coworker for some help regarding a program he created a few years ago.

The tail end of his response:
…but then again what do I know? I did a lot of drugs back in the 60s.


Look Who Made it into the Top 10

Ahhh yeah. ComputerWorld just released their "100 Best Places to Work in IT" list. And look who made it into the Top 10:

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Starbucks is for Sucks

1. You can’t get free wireless internet at Starbucks. Apparently their $5 coffees barely bring in enough profit for the company to survive. Or is it their $5 coffees barely allow their CEO to have a 24 carat gold crapper? I always confuse that statistic…

2. I have been to a Starbucks drive-thru in which they had taped a plastic tip cup to the outside brick wall. Apparently Starbucks doesn’t pay their employees well enough and therefore are driven to any means necessary to receive a tip. Pouring that hot cup of coffee is hard work after all.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Yummy in my Tummy

The other night Lauren and I went out to eat at Rathbun's in the Inman Park area of Atlanta. The most interesting and exciting part of the menu was a side item: Creamed Corn & Gouda Cheese. Yum. It shed a whole new light on the potential of corn.

Another plus about Rathbun's -- some of its recipes are even posted online. Talk about sharing the wealth...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Free Lunch to All

My friend Colin works close to where I am having my SAP training classes. There are probably around 200 people in various classes on my same floor, coming and going to lunch at various times. So who would notice one more unassuming person? That's what I thought, and that's why Colin joined me today amongst the other trainees for a free lunch. Sort of like Wedding Crashers without the excitement. I might have to start looking for training classes back in Minneapolis...

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

SAP Training

I'm in SAP training all week back (home?) in Atlanta. Wireless is good for posting to my blog, but sitting near the front of the class is bad.

Anyone hear the latest findings that drinking coffee may offset liver damage from drinking alcohol? Sounds like Brad can start getting loaded as much as he wants, considering all of his coffee drinking pictures...

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

True Dat

I liked this quote by Dale Carnegie (a personal friend of mine):
Many people think that if they were only in some other place, or had some other job, or were with different people, they would be happy. Experience shows this to often not be the case. So get as much happiness out of what you are doing and where you are. It is fine to look to the future and work toward positive endeavors but don’t put off being happy today.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Georgia On My Mind

The Georgia Department of Motor Vehicles sucks. Let me tell you why.

First off, registering my car in Georgia 2 years ago was painful to say the least. An emissions test, driver’s license, passport, current car title, and a utility bill with my address on it were apparently not enough for the elitist state known as “The Dirty South”.

They wanted proof that I left my previous state of residence. I couldn’t believe it.

I just registered my car in Minnesota yesterday. It took 5 minutes. The guy working the counter even filled out the form for me.

And now, I find out that I can’t just cancel my old Georgia auto insurance. I need to first cancel my Georgia registration; otherwise, I will get fined for having a registered vehicle with no insurance. I thought a phone call would do the trick. Maybe give them my social security number or something. How naive. They wanted me to fill out an affidavit, have it notarized, and then mail it to them. I wanted to punch someone. Guess I need to join an underground fight club or something.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Can You Spell P-R-I-M-E T-I-M-E?

Past and present English teachers, linguists, lexicologists, my mom, and Mrs. Campbell must all be excited, because ABC is airing the National Spelling Bee contest tonight in prime time (the first time in history believe it or not). If it is anything like Spellbound, it will be highly entertaining. You might even get to witness a singing robot.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Death by Sexy

Listening to Eagles of Death Metal while learning about SAP? Sure.

Tuesday, May 30, 2006

"Do you want a knuckle sandwich?"

I nearly forgot. The highlight of Memorial Day weekend was watching a 6 year-old take Robbie’s football and run away with it. Robbie stared in disbelief, turned to us, and said, “I’ve never had that happen to me before”.

Robbie “ran” after the kid, at which point the young boy dodged Robbie and ran to the edge of the grass, acting as if he scored a touchdown. The kid then came back towards Robbie and chucked the ball at him, hitting him squarely in the arm. We all burst out laughing.

Later that night the kid came back and held his fist up to Robbie’s face, asking him if he wanted a knuckle sandwich. A classic moment.


This Memorial Weekend, five of my high school friends of mine and I decided to honor our nations fallen troops by grilling out, going to a St. Paul Saints baseball game, playing soccer, and watching a double feature of X-Men 3 and MI: 3 at a drive-in theater.

The St. Paul Saints is Minnesota’s minor league team, and they are entertaining to say the least. Ok, so I guess you don’t really pay that much attention to the actual game, but that’s not the point. The point is that in between every inning, there is something going on, whether it is a pancake catching contest, a dizzy-wheelbarrow race between friends, or human bowling. And not only that, but you can get your haircut while watching the game, get a massage by a nun (I’m not making this up), or buy some good ol’ Midwestern fried cheese curds.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

I Heart belkin54g

Dear belkin54g,

I don't know where you are, how far your signal must travel, nor who purchased you, but I just wanted to say thanks for giving this tiny little section of my house free wireless internet. You've made this posting possible.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Next up, Reel to Reel

Being the new co-homeowner that I am, I needed to purchase a lawn mower. I like nature, dislike our dependency on gasoline, and am cheap. That is why I bought this puppy to mow my lawn.

I was thinking about tricking it out and putting spinners on the side. What do you think?

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

I've Got a Fever, and the Only Prescription is More Cowbell

I recently watched the SNL Tribute to Will Farrell DVD. Included was that wonderful "More cowbell" Blue Oyster Cult skit, as well as a portion of his audition with SNL (I really wonder if it was his actual audition?). Anyway, I think Will Farrell is a genius. I love it when he does something so absolutely ridiculous that the rest of the cast can't stop/hide their laughter, yet Will looks perfectly serious.

On a side note, I went to the DMV today to get a shiny new Minnesota driver's license. My favorite part was a sign on the wall that said something like, "In order to server you better, this DMV will not tolerate any profanity, swearing, or violence." I was really disappointed -- I remember the good ol' days when profanity and violence went hand-in-hand with drivers education. It's just not the same anymore.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

Dunn Bros + Free WiFi = Me

I don't have internet at home (yet), so I'm forced to actually get out of the house and "interact" with others in order to get on the dot com. I went to the Dunn Bros Coffee cafe down on Hennepin in Uptown. I recalled there was free wi-fi, and I was right.

I was a little apprehensive about not living in a downtown-ish area, but I think it will be ok. Uptown is just a few minutes away, and on a decent day like today I'm thinking I should dig down deep into my European roots and bike here and actually get some exercise.

My only other comment for the day is that I changed my Flickr presence. First of all I went pro -- which means no more uploading limits. I suppose it's not the end of the world to actually pay for something I really enjoy and use a lot. Furthermore, I followed Brad's lead once again and decided to setup a Creative Commons license on my Flickr photos. I think it is cool how a number of his pictures have been used -- one I believe was for a CD jacket. The only stipulation is that credit is given to the copyright holder. I figure I'm not making any money off of my picts anyhow, so I might as well share with the world, right? Perhaps this will be my first step towards a spread in National Geographic.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

I Heart Ted Drewes

Friday, May 12th:

No trip to St. Louis would be complete without 2 things:
  1. The Arch
  2. Ted Drewes

And in terms of pure enjoyment, Ted Drewes wins. Don't get my wrong, the Arch was cool. But the Arch doesn't melt in your mouth.

The best part about the Arch was outside looking at it (and jumping in front of it, naturally). Going up was a must, but it wasn't all that special. You have to ride up in a tiny claustrophobic capsule that feels more like an amusement park ride than an elevator. It was a little sketch to say the least.

At Ted Drewes I got a cardinal sundae (tart cherries with hot fudge over their vanilla custard) in a little plastic Cardinals baseball helmet. It was my favorite ice cream-ish experience of all time. Hands down. Now that's saying something.

Gateway to the West

Thursday, May 11th:

We made it to St. Louis. Thanks to Hotwire, we stayed at the amazing Hyatt Regency. The rooms themselves were bland, but the Grand Hall blew us away -- it was gorgeous.

Addie recommended a couple restaurants and we obeyed. One featured a jazz band followed up by belly dancing (unexpected, but fun). The other was the Chocolate Bar -- a tiny bar where you can indulge in just about any form of chocolate you wish. I went for banana and Nutella crepes. I wasn't disappointed.

On our way back to the hotel, we walked through the adjoining mall (it was closed, but you could enter with your hotel room key). One of the doors to the mall was propped open, which Lauren happened to point out as odd. The mall was deserted except for one kid that started to walk away very quickly once he saw us coming. I can't prove it, but I think he saw my bulging biceps reflecting in the nearby fountain. Anyway, upon reaching the store where he just left, one of the glass doors was freshly cracked and you could still hear the glass creaking. So we rushed up to the main desk and told the clerk what we saw. The next day the door was covered in cardboard.

So the foiled robbery wasn't anything exciting, but I'm still going to put it down on my resume.

Nash Vegas

Thursday, May 11th, noon:

During our almost-cross-country trip, Lauren and I swung by Nashville for some lunch. We stopped at Big River Brewing Company, across from the Hard Rock Cafe and down the street from The Coliseum where the Titans play. I ordered the beer sampler -- a must for any weary traveler.

From the short hour we were there, I'd say I liked Nashville and wouldn't mind returning for a weekend trip. Grand Ole Opry anyone?

The "Elbow of Death Metal"

Sunday, May 7th:

Considering it was my last weekend in Atlanta, Addie decided to visit one final time. Lauren and I had left my place earlier, so I gave Addie my keys. The plan was for everyone to meet up at Bab's for one last spectacular brunch. It was well past our original meeting time and Addie had still not shown up, nor would she answer her phone. We couldn't figure out what was going on, but we all decided there probably had to be some random explanation.

There was -- and it involved my balcony, a locked door, Addie, her head wrap, her elbow, and my bedroom window. I'll let you piece things together. It wasn't too funny then (ok, it actually sort of was), but it will be great fun this time next year. We love you Addie!

Tuesday, May 16, 2006


So a lot has happened since my last post. My bedroom window was broken. I co-purchased a new home. I took a 1200 mile roadtrip with Lauren that included Nashville microbrews, the St. Louis Arch, Ted Drewes, stopping a burglary, a (nearly) blown tire, the world's largest truck stop ("The Place for Chrome"), and naturally lots of pictures. And now here I am, starting a new job. I'll delve into the details when time allows. Same with the pix. It's hard not having internet access at home. What a cruel world we live in.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

It's the Final Countdown

The movers are coming today. I can't believe 2 years have gone by so fast. I'm not looking forward to seeing my condo completely bare. I have a lot of mixed emotions right now.

GottaWannaNeedaGettaHava Spellchecker

We went to Bojangles' for lunch the other day because Diana heard so much about it recently.

Bojangles' slogan is: "GottaWannaNeedaGettaHava". If you ask me, I think they GottaWannaNeedaGettaHava employee that can spell. I don't mean to sound harsh, but if biscuits are your specialty, you probably don't want to go advertise bisciuts.

My favorite part about Bojangles' was that instead of getting "sides", you order "fixins". I have to give them credit -- they really know their audience.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Drive for Show, Putt for Dough

I spent most of this past Wednesday "at work" out on Woodlake golf course. It was the first company-sponsored golf tournament of the season, and I got to play best ball with three other coworkers. We were having a good ol' time drinking Modello and playing fairly well for a group of people whose last year combined total rounds of golf was under a baker's dozen.

Woodlake is one of those newly planned community golf courses surrounded by large houses that go for less than $300k because you're out in the middle of nowhere. One of the cool features was that the carts were outfitted with GPS, so at any point in the course you knew exactly how far away you were from the pin.

The clubhouse was renting the latest and greatest drivers for $5 per 18 holes. Not having a driver in my bag, I figured what the heck and decided to give a Titleist 905R with a stiff shaft a try. And what a smart decision that was...

Hole 16 at Woodlake is a 315 yard slight downhill par 4. I pulled out the 905R and just cranked one down the fairway. My best shot all round. We drove down the fairway looking for my ball, and couldn't find it. Confused, we kept on going until we realized my ball was sitting to the left of the green on the fringe. We couldn't believe it. It was a 305 yard drive.

From where my ball lay, I had about a 12 foot putt with a slight uphill over the fringe. Nervous and excited, I stepped up and putted. My ball scooted up over the fringe, took a slight hop once it hit the green, and rolled right smack dab into the middle of the pin. My first eagle. I jumped for joy.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

It's Politiks to me

If you're a reader of my posts, you'd realize that I would sooner post about Politik (the Coldplay song), than I would about Politics.

I figure there are roughly a gazillion ways to find news out there, and you don't need to hear my interpretation -- I'll let you pick your own bias: Fox, CNN, Boortz -- oops, did I say "bias"? I meant "source".

If you go to the Daily News (LA's newspaper), the whole front page is about the major immigrant marches taking place across the country. If you go to the Chicago Tribune, their main headline is the same. Even Iowa's Des Moines Register highlights the protests. Now we come to Georgia's Atlanta Journal Constitution -- a sample of the headlines on the front page: "Keith Richards falls out of palm tree", "Stone Mountain amusement", "Poor Gasper the beluga whale", and "Grading the network anchors".

Apparently if Michael Vick wasn't there, then it's not news. I literally could not find one link on the front page of the AJC website that mentioned this monumental and major national event that affected the entire country. Thank you, Georgia. Can I get a Lil John Wwwwhhhhhhaaaatttt?

Monday, May 01, 2006

Niki in the Garden

About a year ago I became a member of the Atlanta Botanical Garden (Nowakowski and I opened up a family account together – I still get mail with both our names on it). Recently I received a members-only invite to come to the opening night of Niki in the Garden – the world’s largest exhibition of artist Niki de Saint Phalle’s outdoor sculptures.

Lauren and I thought it would be a fun date and decided to attend. The Botanical Garden is definitely one Atlanta landmark that I will truly miss, and this exhibit is a perfect example of why. They do a fantastic job of lighting the Garden at night, and you can tell they took lots of care in picking where to place each sculpture. I’ve personally never heard of Niki de Saint Phalle, but I loved her work.

Her sculptures are huge, and they are built tough and meant to be touched and played on, in, and around. They’re metal frames that are “brilliantly embellished with mirrors, glass, semi-precious stones, and ceramic mosaics”. If you eve get the chance to see her work, I’d highly recommend a visit.

Pictures will be Flickrized shortly.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

I don't know what I was thinking

So I make the biggest purchase of me life - a very important event - and I don't even take a single picture. I take pictures of signs posted in bathrooms, of chicken and waffles, of a random grown man in the park who wears tutus and twirls batons, yet I don't snap a quick pic of my future residence that I am very excited about and want to share with everybody? Go figure.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Nouvelle Maison

As you may or may not have noticed, I haven't posted for about a week. So you may be pondering if I have been traveling around the world conquering all of life's greatest quests? No, you weren't wondering? No, you didn't notice my absence?

I've been away from the great state of Georgia, spending the last 4 days in a gruelling hunt for a place to call home back in Minneapolis. And today was our day. A good friend of mine and I found a great home, offered, counter-offered, and finally settled. One less stress off my back...but a new stress of explaining our "partnership" added.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Going Polar

I don't know how we got on the topic, but Lauren and I were recently discussing how an object on the equator would weigh differently than if it resided on one of the earth's poles.

So my quiz for you:
If you were visiting Santa on the North Pole and weighed 200 lbs, what would you weigh on the equator?

Is it:
a. 195 lbs
b. 199 lbs
c. 201 lbs
d. 205 lbs

And the answer is (highlight this text and the space beyond to see): b. 199 lbs -- in other words, 0.5% less.

Did you guess correctly and win the showcase showdown?

Monday, April 17, 2006

Time to go pro?

I just uploaded some pix from our Savannah trip. I'm now also sitting at 97% full of my 20MB Flickr limit for the month. This is my first month of Flickr where I have met my free subscription quota. So do I go Pro? Or do I become more selective on what gets uploaded?

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

So Much to Say

I've been busy lately. Too busy to post. I think this is as much for me to help remember and record my life as it is to share my experiences.

April 5th - I got to see Death Cab for Cutie at The Tabernacle. I've been meaning to go to the Tabernacle for the longest time. It was a great show and a great venue. Thank you Lauren.

April 6th - An anniversary date to The Sun Dial on top of the Westin (the tallest hotel in the Western Hemisphere according to the website--could that possibly be true?) in downtown Atlanta for the Turner First Thursday Artwalk event. The Sun Dial is a revolving restaurant and bar that every first Thursday of the month is host to a free art exhibit. The best part? Free finger food. The downer? Looks like they cut out the free martinis -- Sunny, you left just in time...

April 8th-10th - Lauren and I drove down to Savannah for the weekend. I loved Savannah. It is such a charming town rich with history and filled with so many squares (read: parks) and great old homes. One of the highlights was seeing the park where Forrest Gump sat patiently waiting for a bus.

April 11th - Music trivia at Angel. We could have used you Addie, Sunny, and MDN.

April 12th - Dinner at Gladys Knight and Ron Winans Chicken and Waffles. I kid you not. We decided to visit this Atlanta treasure for dinner, and we were not disappointed. The fried chicken was succulent, the waffles were moist, the grits were gritty, and the peach cobbler was a nice finish. I really am going to miss the south.