My flickr pictures

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?