My flickr pictures
gomattolson...

Monday, December 31, 2007

'Tis the Season to Buy Loads of (Cheap) Crap

Attention Shoppers:

If you don't already own enough stuff, and if you didn't receive more stuff for Christmas, now is the time to stock up on even more stuff. Simply stop by your local Target (or dare I say Wal-Mart), find your way to the very back corner where the remaining battered fake Christmas trees are still standing and go crazy.

Icicle lights, ornaments, wreaths, garland, and your favorite fiber optic snowmen are all on sale for 75% off! What's that? You already have so much stuff that the neighbors refer to your family as "The Griswolds"? Who cares?! It's 75% off!!! Get out there and buy more cheap crap!

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Thing About Shaving Your Head Is...

...it's cold. People living in Minnesota in December should not shave their heads. But that's what I did yesterday. Why do you ask? There are a few reasons, but one in particular: curiosity.

I've been trimming my beard for the past 3 years, and whenever I do, I always wonder what I'd look like if I just kept on trimming all the hair on my head to the same length.

I have a solid 2 weeks off of work and no big plans, so I thought I'd give it a whirl in hoping that if it looked absolutely horrible, those 2 weeks of hair growth would make it look only semi-horrible.

There are a few things that I've realized from this....

1) You have an idea in your head of what you look like. When you step in front of a mirror and you look nothing like that, you are incredibly shocked (And I still am. I don't know when this feeling will stop).

2) If I stare at myself long enough in the mirror, I start to think it's not so bad after all. It makes me wonder if we all have some sub-conscience self-respect process running in the background that kicks in every now and then as a survival tool to tell you that you're good enough, smart enough, and doggone it, people like you.

3) This haircut is only shocking to the people that know me, and nobody else.

4) Shaving your head is a great way to save money. If people get used to it, this could be my new summer 'do.

5) Shaving my head is the most exciting that has happened to me recently. How sad.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Glow-in-the-dark Cat Saves World



OK, so these kitties haven't solved global warming (yet), but they freaking GLOW IN THE DARK.

Can you believe it? Why hasn't this been headline news? What would bring more warmth into this cold, dark world than a cuddly little cat that literally glows with love? This is better than world peace, because it is world peace...that GLOWS!

Monday, December 17, 2007

They're Back


Dust off the spandex and stock up on your VHS tapes, because American Gladiators is back. Yes, you read that correctly. The Assault, Gauntlet, Joust, and your other favorite events are back and better than ever.

A friend of mine had the genius idea of starting a contest amongst us guys to see who could guess the names of the new Gladiators.

This of course sparked a flurry of emails, as all other issues, whether work, personal, or political in nature, paled in comparison.

A sample of what we've come up with...
Onyx, Bruiser, Shiloh, Falconer, SlamDance, Hail, Brick, Hurricane, Tsunami, Lynx, Steroid, Human Growth Hormone, Fireball, Canon, Dynamo, Comet, Axe, Vegas, Retro, Crash, Slam, Flame, Zeus, Volcano, Lars, and Tito.

What names would you pick?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Traveler IQ

Think you know your world geography?

Check out Traveler IQ.

My score: 175,781
Final Level: 6
Traveler IQ: 92

I got a little nervous and clicked poorly a few times, I think I could do better...

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Look Ma, I'm #7

So I'm not #1, but I'm ok with that.

Who knew taking a picture of an Ikea lamp would put me at #7 on Flickr Explore?

And while you're looking, that one guy's "happy SINKO DE MAYO" is pure genius.

My Onion Article

Chili tastes even better with bacon. More on page 4C.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Post Secret

Have a secret? Want the world to know?

Then write it on a postcard and send it to Frank Warren. Who?...And why?...Do you ask?

Check out his blog Post Script. And then go buy his book. I did.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Snow!

I can't believe it's finally snowing!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles (and Light Rail and Bus)!

This past weekend Anders and I traveled to Chicago for a mutual friend's wedding. In honor of our Swansea days, we decided to switch it up and go old school.

What's old school do you ask? Traveling without an iPod??

No, my friend, we went by rail. I loved the days when I criss-crossed Europe by train, and I figured it was about time I did so state-side.

I'm happy to report the ride on Amtrak was smooth, comfortable, relaxing, and showed me a beautiful part of the Midwest that I had never seen before. In other words, it was everything an airplane can never be.

The wedding was great, dancing with the old Wales crew was incredibly fun, and reminiscing with everyone was both happy and sad. We flew back home, and to keep our public-transportation kick going, caught the light rail and a bus back to the Amtrak station where we had parked just a few days prior.

Has anyone else out there traveled by Amtrak? What's up with Americans being so against trains and public transportation in general?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Gunga Galunga

A little cheesy, yes, but good stuff...


Instruction for Life by the Dali Lama:

  1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
  2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
  3. Follow the three R’s:Respect for self, Respect for others, and Responsibility for all your actions.
  4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
  5. Don't let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  6. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  7. Spend some time alone every day.
  8. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
  9. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  10. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
  12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
  13. In disagreements with loved ones deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
  14. Share your knowledge. It's a way to achieve immortality.
  15. Be gentle with the earth.
  16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
  17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

1987 Never Felt so Cool

I don't know much about 1987.

I was more concerned about making the perfect fort and finding Chewbaca's missing arm than the terrible fashion trends plaguing our nation. Music was a mystery to me, minus my beloved Duran Duran tape (I rule!).

Now when I think of 80's music, the first thoughts to cross my mind are synthesizers, tight pants, and more cowbell.

So, as you can imagine, I was shocked when I recently realized that 1987 put out one of the greatest albums of all time -- U2's The Joshua Tree. What's that you say? But it's still relevant today? I know -- that what makes it so amazing. Not only does it rock your face off (Bullet the Blue Sky), but it also makes you think (I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For).

To commemorate this monumental album (AND to make more money for their new skyscraper), U2 just released a special 2 CD + 1 DVD "Limited Edition Super Deluxe" version of The Joshua Tree.

Bono for President.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Turn on the Magic of Colored Light

Do you know what rocks? Lite Brite. So what would any techno-nerd with a penchant for this wonderful toy do? Make a digital version, naturally. If it's good in real life, it must be better on the dot com, right?

Apparently, my sensitive green side came out when I created this. I'll have to work on a more appropriate manly scene...

Sunday, November 04, 2007

1-800-GOOG-411

Ever wonder when IKEA closes? Ever land at the airport and really wish you had Thanh Do's number so you could place a take-out order on your way home? Or perhaps you've just finished canoeing down the Mississippi River and get the craving for Jerabek's New Bohemian Coffeehouse and Bakery but don't know how to find it?

If you answered yes to any of the above, then 1-800-GOOG-411 is for you...(if you answered yes to all three of the above, then we need to talk, because we have a lot in common).

Here's how it works:

You dial.
You say your city and state.
You say the business you are interested in.
They connect you free-of-charge. (and/or text you information including phone #, address, and link to a Google Map.)

So what are you waiting for?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Stingy Jack


My friend threw his 4th annual Jack-o-Lanternpalooza today. As I was taking the shot above (mine is the Pac Man) Anders and I were talking about how in the world the tradition of carving pumpkins would have ever gotten started.

So if you've ever wondered too, then read on:

History of the Jack-o-Lantern

People have been making jack-o-lanterns at Halloween for centuries. The practice originated from an Irish myth about a man nicknamed "Stingy Jack." According to the story, Stingy Jack invited the Devil to have a drink with him. True to his name, Stingy Jack didn't want to pay for his drink, so he convinced the Devil to turn himself into a coin that Jack could use to buy their drinks. Once the Devil did so, Jack decided to keep the money and put it into his pocket next to a silver cross, which prevented the Devil from changing back into his original form. Jack eventually freed the Devil, under the condition that he would not bother Jack for one year and that, should Jack die, he would not claim his soul. The next year, Jack again tricked the Devil into climbing into a tree to pick a piece of fruit. While he was up in the tree, Jack carved a sign of the cross into the tree's bark so that the Devil could not come down until the Devil promised Jack not to bother him for ten more years.

Soon after, Jack died. As the legend goes, God would not allow such an unsavory figure into heaven. The Devil, upset by the trick Jack had played on him and keeping his word not to claim his soul, would not allow Jack into hell. He sent Jack off into the dark night with only a burning coal to light his way. Jack put the coal into a carved out turnip and has been roaming the Earth with it ever since. The Irish began to refer to this ghostly figure as "Jack of the Lantern," and then, simply "Jack O'Lantern."

In Ireland and Scotland, people began to make their own versions of Jack’s lanterns by carving scary faces into turnips or potatoes and placing them into windows or near doors to frighten away Stingy Jack and other wandering evil spirits. In England, large beets are used. Immigrants from these countries brought the jack o’lantern tradition with them when they came to the United States. They soon found that pumpkins, a fruit native to America, make perfect jack o’lanterns.

Source: The History Channel
http://www.historychannel.com/exhibits/halloween/pumpkin.html

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Customer Service Winner of the Day

I seriously found this online today while looking for (embarrassingly enough) magazine holders...


You may request a certain color in the comment section of the order form, however we cannot guarantee that we have it, or that you will receive the color you request.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

She Loves Me, She Retails Me Not

Ever shop online and upon checking out see an option to enter a coupon or promotion code? Ever wonder who are the lucky souls that are so fortunate to claim free shipping or receive free lip gloss with orders over $9.99?!

Then make sure to visit RetailMeNot.com before your next online purchase. The site is an open forum where users post coupon/promotional codes for hundreds of online merchants. Run a search for your site, find the code that works best for you, and give it a shot -- you've got nothing to lose. I've used it a few times now and it's beautiful.

It even saved me 10% off my next Amtrak trip!...and I'm not joking. Come November, I'm heading to Chi-city in style. No, really. Yes, Amtrak.

Conet Project Track

Brad pointed out from my previous post that the Conet Project samples didn't play.

So here's a sample à la Last.fm (make sure to listen for at least a minute and a half):

The Conet Project – The Swedish Rhapsody [G2A]

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Get Your Creep On

Looking for some scary "music" for Halloween, yet don't want your average screams, creaks, and howls?

Then check out the Conet Project. I heard about it a few years ago while listening to NPR. The short version of the story is just as eerie as the audio tracks: some guy discovered number stations being broadcast over short wave radio. These number stations typically broadcast some sort of simple lullaby or popular old tune followed by an array of numbers being read by (typically) a female voice. They are believed to have originated in the cold war, and are coded messages that are transmitting some sort of instructions. Think "the cow crows at midnight", or "the red boot shines when lit"...total nonsense to us, but it means something to someone (i.e. shoot that one dude).

If that's not creepy enough, then imagine finding these short wave signals being broadcast years later, without any sort of explainable source. The founder of the Conet Project has looked, and has had no luck. Some theorize that abandoned computers are sending them out. Others suggest there's some random guy holed up in an underground cave, still believing a nuclear winter is about to hit at any moment and doing his best to keep his spies informed. Whatever the case, these signals are not traceable...nobody knows where they're coming from.

They're broadcast in all sorts of styles and languages. Make sure to listen to a few samples online. And then get ready to really creep out the neighborhood kids...and yourself.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Way Albuquerque Are

Albuquerque is:
  • Dry
  • Rocky
  • Adobe
  • Carne Adovada
  • Green and Red Chiles
  • Obsessed with Balloon Fiesta

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Run Forrest, Run

The Twin Cities Marathon took place today amongst unusual heat and humidity for this time of the year. I ran in the 5k yesterday, and let me tell you, that is still the right distance for me -- it's long enough to feel like you did something, yet short enough that your knees don't feel like they're going to explode.

I love how marathons bring out the best in everyone. If you're a runner, you're pushing your physical limits. If you're a bystander, you're cheering on complete strangers out of pure goodwill and camaraderie

I'm thinking a 10k is next on my list...any recommendations out there?

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

That Blackberry is so last year

I had the pleasure of attending MIMA 2007 today in downtown Minneapolis.

It was a great introduction into the world of Interactive Marketing, and I came home energized about all of the exciting opportunities present in the field.

Favorite session: Advergaming: Architecting F-U-N Online, presented by Bret Hummel of Ham in the Fridge.

Favorite speaker: Jason Fried, founder of 37signals. He shared his mantra of Unconventional Collaboration, the subject of his book Getting Real (available to read online for free!). He made some very good and refreshing points that I'd like to summarize in a future blog post, such as: meetings are generally a waste of time, and don't use words like "need" and "easy".

All good stuff. Now if I can only stay focused enough to apply it...

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Not a Total Waste of Time...

If you've been reading my ramblings for some time, you may recall this post from last December, where I described how I fixed the rear window of my VW and documented the process on Flickr.

I described the photo set as a "self-paced auto-mechanic class in high school that you never took but wished you had". To my surprise and elation (I helped someone!), it turns out that someone did take my class, and recently left me this comment:

This is precisely what I intend to do to my door today. The window's been held up by tape for long enough. Someone tried to cut the tape and get in. I'm just going to prop the thing up and remove the tape.

This photostream is exactly what I needed to make sure it could be done. Thank you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Other Favorite Salad

I recently co-discovered a deliciously easy salad.

Cubed fresh tomatoes
+ Cubed cucumber
+ Fresh basil, torn
+ Olive oil
+ (toss together)
-----------------------
= Quick and tasty

The basil brings the whole salad together with a wonderful nearly-sweet taste. But the hidden key to the recipe is the word "fresh" in front of tomatoes.

I feel sorry for people that have never had a fresh tomato, for they are missing so much. I have a feeling someone in the world is saying the same thing in regards to bananas and mangoes as I type...

Monday, September 24, 2007

American Hog

Proud to be an American? Yeah, sure I am. I love what this country stands for. (I don't necessarily love everything we do, but overall I think we generally have good intentions)

Proud to be one of the most wasteful consumers in the world? Not so much.

I just played the latest gaming sensation, Consumer Consequences. OK, so maybe it's not the latest craze, but stepping through the various avenues of wastefulness was an interesting lesson and reality check, regardless of how accurate it was. Apparently if everyone in the world lived like me, there would need to be 5.9 times the world resources. Yay for me.

Next time I go play soccer or ultimate, I promise I'll ride my bike....that is, if I'm not late...or if I'm not too lazy to pump up my tires...or it's not too cold...or too hot...

Sunday, September 23, 2007

I'm Kind of a Big Deal

Like Will Ferrell? Want to be in a movie? Believe in donating to good causes? Have > $30,000 lying around that you don't know what to do with?

Then you've got to act fast!

Will Ferrell is auctioning off a cameo role in his upcoming movie, Step Brother. The highest bidder will win the chance to meet Will Ferrell and "star" next to him in at least one scene in the movie. 100% of the auction price will go to the Cancer for College fund, which gives scholarships to current and former cancer patients.

What are you waiting for? Time is running out!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Golf, Ultimate, and Soccer [oh my]

Why is it that any time I have a list of three things I feel compelled to add an "oh my" to the end? It's not very original, but I just can't help myself. Anyway, I digress...

Ever feel like you're growing up too fast? I think the remedy is to simply play a game. I feel like that's all I've been doing recently, and its refreshingly wonderful.

This past weekend I played 51 holes of golf, Tuesday night I played soccer in the pouring rain (I heart wool and synthetics), and last night I played pick-up ultimate frisbee with a random group of people.

The common thread? Playing. Try it. It's great.

Monday, September 17, 2007

All 5Ks Should be this Way

A beautiful fall day
+ Skiers
+ Dogs
+ Gorilla on rollerblades
+ Lumberjacks
+ Runners
+ Beer
-------------------------
= The James Page Blubber Run


This was the first 5k I've run where I passed the 3 mile mark and thought to myself, "No way, already? I want to keep going."

Kill the Gun

Friday, September 14, 2007

Quote of the Day

I AM going to the ISU v. Iowa [football game] tomorrow. Iowa is favored by 17.5 but they’ll have a hell of a time getting that half point.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Thought of the Day

If I ever own my own company, I'm going to do away with the boring HR term Sick Leave. I think I'll use Illin'.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Music Madness


What's stranger than the name Electric Fetus? How about seeing Talib Kweli perform a free full-set show at the 'Fetus. I thought for sure the show would be out in the parking lot. So I was a little surprised to find out upon arrival that people were simply packing themselves in between the racks and racks of CDs.

I also recently went to the Alarmists show at Mill City Live. The Alarmists rock, and are now competing with Mason Jennings and Stuart Davis for my favorite local band. Definitely check them out.

And last but not least, this past Friday I went to my favorite venue in Minneapolis, The Varsity, to see Vicious Vicious rock out to a crowd excited for their CD release show.

September looks like another busy music month. Gotta love that Minneapolis Music Scene.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

I'll Take a Bowl of Split Plea Soup

Just had to make a last-minute plea on behalf of my friend to ask you to send an email off to SNL to request tickets for the upcoming season. Emails need to be sent by end-of-day August 31st. If you don't know what I'm talking about, please read this.

And if you know where the title of this post comes from without having to Google it, kudos to you.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

I'm a Nobody

I volunteered at the Minnesota State Fair today for MPR's The Current. I thought it would be a great people watching opportunity, and not to mention a free ticket into the fair. Part of my job was to go up and greet anyone that approached the booth, talk to them about the fair (eat anything on a stick?), MPR, and hand out various freebies (buttons, magnets, etc).

One family briefly stopped in front of the booth and I knelt down to ask the little girl if she'd like a button. The mom started to walk away, pulling the girl behind her. The little girl looked up at her mom and asked, "Who was that?" Without looking back, the mom flatly said, "That's nobody, honey."

Sweet.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Cinque Terre


My 3rd painting, of Vernazza in the Cinque Terre -- top 2 favorite places in the world. This one took me wayyy too long. It could still use a little more work, but overall I'm pretty happy.

My next painting goal is to simply put more paint on the canvas and worry less about lines and shapes.

5 Minutes of Your Time

My friend needs your help -- he's been dreaming of seeing SNL in person for as long as he could stay up past 10:30pm. Every year he sends out this email to all of his friends, asking for their help in requesting tickets to the show. The email needs to be sent before the end of August -- just 10 days from now. Please take the 5 minutes to do so, and if you are so lucky, it would seriously make his year:


Aloha!

Hi, it's that time of year again when I have momentary hopes of finally seeing sketch comedy performed in Studio 8H of 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York. I'd like to see a taping of Saturday Night Live and I would love 1 minute of your time to assist me. The tricky part is that tickets are distributed for the whole season by a lottery system and ticket requests are accepted ONLY in the month of August for the coming season.

What I ask of you is to copy and paste the brief message at the bottom and email it to:

snltickets {at} nbcuni.com
(I removed the @ sign in hopes of deterring spam-bots)

Please remember to add YOUR NAME at the end of the message, send in the request only once, and don't send this email as a forward to the NBC address.

If your name is drawn for two tickets, you'll get an email in September or October informing you. Then, you'd let me know and you will receive a very big thank you for your help and a New York souvenir of your choice. Thanks for your assistance!

Hello-

Please enter me in the 2007-2008 Saturday Night Live ticket lottery.

Thanks,

YOUR NAME HERE

Monday, August 20, 2007

Brains of Steel

Want a rockin' noggin? Go for a run.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Beef, It's What's for Dinner

When you think of beef, do you think of grilling out hamburgers on a hot summer day? Perhaps a thick juicy steak at your favorite restaurant? Me? I think of Japanese baseball.

Ok, so maybe I don't, but the US Meat Export Federation does. That's why they sent Nolan Ryan over to Japan last month to "win back the hearts and stomachs of the Japanese".

I know the Japanese enjoy baseball, but I thought that was just really weird. That is, until I stumbled across Nolan Ryan's Guaranteed Tender website.

Who knew?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Picnik Lives Up To Its Name

Take lots of photographs? Wish you had an easy way to remove aunt Mildred's red-eyes? How about crop out your unkempt laundry hamper? Or perhaps make your pasty-Norwegian-white skin not so transparent looking?

Look no further than Picnik. It's free (for the time being). It's super easy to use. It offers the features that 90% of consumers need. It can integrate seamlessly with Flickr and Facebook. It's online. You don't have to download a thing.

And possibly most impressive of all -- once your photo is loaded, editing with Picnik is done super-fast in real-time. No waiting for the page to reload. No annoying banner ads (for the time being).

I wanted to give it a whirl, and edited this photo. I uploaded it straight to Picnik, made a few incredibly painless tweaks, and chose to post the new and improved photo straight to Flickr. By doing so, I also chose to link my Picnik account to Flickr. I heart collaboration and APIs.

You know I couldn't resist...Picnik is a picnic.*





*Although Picnik is a great photo editing tool, the name is not. I forgot if it was picnic.com, piknik.com, picknik.com, etc. It took me 10 minutes to find the thing.

Friday, August 10, 2007

iBird and the Bee


I think Apple should have a theme song. And I think they should go with the Bird and the Bee's catchy tune, Again & Again.

In case you haven't heard, Apple just released a new version of its increasingly-popular iMac. And like all things Apple, its thinner and sleeker than its previous siblings.

I'm a fan of the famous ipod mug-me-white color that has graced so many of Apple's products, but I'm excited to see this beauty in person. Do it again Apple.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

FlickrWalk in Nordeast


This past weekend I attended my first Flickr meet-up photowalk. We met at the ever-cool looking and sounding Pierre Bottineau Library up in nordeast Minneapolis, and as you might have guessed, simply walked around and took photos.

It was a great experience, and I will definitely do it again. It is helpful to look at everyone else's photographs and see what subjects they photographed, what perspectives they used, how they composed their pictures, and (hopefully) learn a few things along the way. Not to mention meet some cool people that share a similar hobby (oddly enough, in a city of >4 million, I ran into one of the members the following day. Not odd, however, is the fact that she was taking pictures).

Sunday, August 05, 2007

You mean...it's free?

This past Saturday I sat outside of the SLP Byerly's, volunteering for my very first 89.3 The Current event with Mary Lucia and another MPR staff member. We were spreading the word about this Tuesday being National Night Out day, and handed out free cases of water, free flowers, and a random helping of The Current "swag" -- apparently the hip term for free little merchandise handouts like stickers, buttons, and magnets.

The day presented us with a gloomy drizzle, but it didn't matter. We (or at least I) had a lot of fun joking with each other and interacting with the day's grocery shoppers.

It was so interesting to see how people were very skeptical of the word"free". Surely there must be a catch. What did they have to sign up for? What survey did they have to take? What type of donation were we looking for? What do you mean it's completely free? Oh, and by the way, could you help me carry it?

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Unbelievable


Completely shocking. The I-35W bridge that crossed the Mississippi River near downtown Minneapolis collapsed tonight at 6:05pm.
I don't even know what to say.

(more pictures from the Star Tribune)

KG is Kuh Gone

Do you think you would feel like any less of a man/basketball player if you were one of the five players (plus two first round draft picks) traded for just one tall dude?



Sunday, July 29, 2007

756 Could Cost You

Steroids aside, it would be pretty exciting to catch Barry Bonds' 756th home run. Almost like winning the lottery, right?...Perhaps even more than you think.

Many people have placed the estimated value of home run ball #756 at a cool $500,000. What does that mean for that lucky fan that will spill his beer and dive across three people in order to make the catch of his life?

The IRS hasn't decided yet either. Would he instantly be taxed, as if winning the lottery? Or taxed only when the ball is sold? Whatever may happen, it will surely be one of the most-talked about and lucrative catches in history. Until someone catches 757.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Just Dial 255


Went to the Walker Art Center today for a guided tour of its permanent collection. It was great getting a tour of modern art that otherwise would leave me utterly confused.


If you live in Minneapolis you should try to make it to The Walker on a Thursday night before September 9th: there is a great Picasso exhibit going on, and Thursdays are free.

Find yourself at the gallery (or sitting at home on your couch) wanting to know more about Picasso's The Studio? The Walker has employed a slick idea considering that nearly everyone has a cell phone now. Dial their Audio Guide number -- 612.374.8200 -- and punch in code 255. Voila.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Summer Goodness

Honey Mint Basil Sun Tea
Summer to my family means fresh vegetables. Corn on the cob. More raspberries than you can dream. And last but not least, sun tea.



So I followed in my mother's footsteps and brewed me up a carafe.

What you need
:
1 Carafe
Filtered Water
Honey
Mint
Basil (ask Addie, it's legit)
Black Tea
Green Mint Tea
Sun
A lazy afternoon

Talk about refreshing.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Songbird = Sweetness

Get Songbird Have you heard about Songbird yet? Think Firefox meets iTunes. It's your one-stop shop for everything multi-media. Open it up and play your iTunes library. Or browse to your favorite website, and Songbird will serve up in a sub-window any and all media found. Find a tune or a movie you like? Add it to your Songbird library and it's yours to queue whenever you wish. I'd try to sum up all what Songbird can do, but this video demonstration is about 1000 times easier to understand.

My vote for coolest app of 2007.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Bad News Bubble


This is what happens when you're a photoholic and music junky. Perhaps it is time to upgrade my 6 year old computer? Or maybe I just need to wipe away all those random pictures in triplicate that never make it up to Flickr...

Monday, July 16, 2007

DRM With Boundaries


I really dig the British electronica group Faithless. My brother's friend Joost introduced them to me. I still remember it like it was yesterday -- driving through the Netherlands in his Passat with its hip blue dials glowing from the dashboard while Sunday 8PM was grooving through the speakers. It was and still is one of my favorite memories from my European travels.

They are one of the few artists whose work I will purchase without giving any prior listen. So I was a little disappointed (yet excited at the same time) this weekend to discover that they came out with a new album this past year, only to be released in the UK.

I have since ordered it online, but it brought up some points that I found quite annoying:
  • As globalized as the world has become, why do record companies choose to release certain albums in only one section of the world? Who does that benefit?
  • I switched my iTunes settings to browse the UK's iTunes Store, only to be told upon attempted purchase that I was only allowed to buy from the US store. Thanks DRM.
  • Record companies have been complaining loudly about slumping record sales in regards to the digital revolution, yet here I am attempting to buy music digitally from them and they won't let me? Don't you want my money?

Sunday, July 08, 2007

7&7, 7&7, 7.7.07

Gallop
The 7th of July delivered lots of sevens...

Anders and I went to the horse track at Canterbury Park. I've never been to a horse track before and thought it would be fun for a change.

On the 7th race, horse #7 won. Of course.

We went to a rooftop party that night and drank 7&7's, as well as O7s.

Any seven coincidences happen to anyone else?

In My Mind I'm Gone to [Colorado]

Spent a portion of last week in Colorado with part of the fam. Every time I visit I ask myself why I haven't moved there yet. We got in some good hiking:
  • Gem Lake - Nice little hike. I've also done it at night with a full moon. Great night hike. I'd love to camp out at the little beach sometime (you can't camp there, so don't tell the rangers)
  • Chasm Lake -- At the base of Long's Peak. Great hike with wonderful vistas once you get above the tree line. Next time I'll get up at 3 or 4 so I can capture the lake at sunrise. Apparently it offers a superb golden reflection of Long's.
  • Deer Mountain -- Nice "little" mountain with good views. Go early to beat the crowds, as Jen and I had the summit all to ourselves for 45 minutes, but saw tons of people on their way up as we headed down.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Me, in 2D


What I'd look like in Springfield. Create yourself.

Sunday, July 01, 2007

Lost Without WiFi?

If you're ever in Estes Park, CO and you desperately need to hop on the dot com, look no further than the Notchtop Bakery & Cafe. Its doors may be locked, but not its wireless signal. Sitting outside a coffee shop in your car at night in the dark isn't shady, it's resourceful.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Sunday, June 24, 2007

To Clad or not to Clad?

I'm in the market for some new pots and pans, and am not sure what to do. My mom purchased her set of steel pots over 35 years ago, and she still uses them to this day. So I know quality counts, and I'm a believer in steel (vs. everything non-stick).

Any recommendations?

I enjoy cooking, but am a long way from gourmet. I'm considering buying a set of Calphalons. But then here is a set of Cuisinarts that have gotten rave reviews and are much cheaper. Would I notice any difference if I splurged for All-Clad? Would I be happier 35 years down the road? Will McDonalds and Starbucks merge and dominate all American cuisine and cooking will become a thing of the past, just like glass soda bottles and slip 'n slides?

What should I do? (Achter?)

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

You're Pre-Approved

If you're anything like me, your mailbox gets bombarded daily by pre-approved credit card offers.

And if you're still anything like me, you want this unnecessary waste of paper to stop. The good news is there is something you can do about it. Go to www.OptOutPrescreen.com or call 888-5-OPTOUT.

Filling out the online form stops them for 5 years. Printing out the form and sending it in stops them for life. This doesn't in any way stop you from getting approved for a future credit card, it just stops the proliferation of unsolicited junk mail.

The fine print at the end of the process states that this might not stop all offerings, and that it depends on each business. I'm crossing my fingers. If nothing else, there is always this.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

You Know You're a Bachelor When...

...you use your potato scrubber to clean your golf clubs. But you don't understand, these golf clubs feel like butta. And a little grass in the diet never hurt anybody, did it?

If I Were an Engineer...

...I would build dehumidifiers into basements, and use the collected water to:
  1. Fill up toilet tanks
  2. Water the lawn / garden

Thursday, June 14, 2007

The Circle

Enjoy art? Enjoy meeting new people? Enjoy cocktails? Enjoy meeting new people over free cocktails while looking at art? Then the Minneapolis Institute of Arts' The Circle is for you...and me.

This past Thursday The Circle met at a private collector's home on Lake Minnetonka, and it was the most impressive event I've attended yet. The house was gorgeous, and the amount of art throughout the house and gardens was astounding. Be sure to check out the Flickr photos. Apparently I like to talk with my hands.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Voxtrot

Went to see Voxtrot at the Triple Rock Social Club last night with a few members of the music club. Au Revoir Simone and Sound Team opened for them. Voxtrot (from Austin, TX) put on a solid show even though they're really young. I have a feeling they won't be playing in venues like the Triple Rock (a small bar) for long.

Oddly enough, the best part of the night was standing at the back of the bar and watching the members of Au Revoir Simone and Sound Team dance their brains out to Voxtrot -- it really added an extra element to the show.

The absolute highlight however came when a random guy in the crowd went over to the bassist from Sound Team and, without any warning or communication, picked him up and passed him to his friend, as if a passing a crying baby off to its mother. Talk about extreme confusion. One minute the bassist was dancing some sort of indie-music inspired jig, the next he was being passed around as if he were a rag doll.

I guess you had to be there...typing it out doesn't capture the pure randomness and hilarity of the event. I literally could not stop laughing.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Minnesota Majestic

I watched my friend Matt play in the Minnesota Majestic this weekend (never mind the outdated graphic, but notice the semblance to the Masters logo).

It wasn't his best tournament, but it was still enjoyable on my end. I'm a decent disc golfer, but watching pros makes me feel like fool. I'm pretty sure the top pros can throw nearly twice as far as I can.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Computer of Tomorrow, er, Today

In case you haven't heard...just today, Microsoft came out with Surface (check out the link for cool demos), a touch-screen computer that looks more like a modern coffee table than your typical box plugged full of wires.

Will it revolutionize computers as we know it? Change our lives for the better? If you ask me, it looks pretty promising, and I'm excited to see one in action. However, if Surface's user experience is anything like its marketing campaign, then it's just going to be one expensive foot rest.

Compared to Apple's iPhone, whose campaign had everybody talking and immediately plotting how to get out of their non-Cingular contract, Surface has stayed underneath the radar. In fact, I was shocked when I visited Microsoft's homepage. I thought for sure it would be some full-page flash advertisement for Surface. Instead, they had a pathetically small link 3/4ths of the way down the page (click the image below for a larger view):



6 years of secret development, and this is the big hurah? If I were Bill Gates, I'd get me a new marketing manager.

p.s. Bill, if you read this (as I'm sure you will), I'm willing to talk.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Living Art?

I'm not much of a gardener, but I feel that slowly changing. As of late, I've spent quite a bit of time buying and planting various flowers, vegetables, and herbs. I realized there is definitely an art to creating an attractive garden and landscape. In fact, it's much like painting -- picking out colors, planning the layout, going for big or little shapes -- but what's exciting about gardening is that your "painting" changes daily. And not only that, but it can reward you with tasty fresh food as a bonus.

My parents have been gardening for most of their lives and I wish I would have paid more attention growing up. Hopefully I'll develop that green-thumb gene after all.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Happy Syttende Mai



Happy Syttende Mai everyone. Go Norwegian Independence! Lefse and kringla for everybody!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

A Prairie Home Companion Weekend

My parents visited this past weekend for what turned out to be a very productive (notice the recent theme?), tasty, and fun weekend.

Productive: major yard work. It's never looked so good. I think my parents should open up a landscaping / garden consulting / sweet corn operation when they retire.

Tasty: good food. We ate at my favorite restaurant in the Cities, 128 Cafe. We also checked out Cafe Lurcat. Lurcat was just ok in my opinion. I got the feeling that they were trying too hard to be a high class establishment. And they seriously need to fix their acoustic issues. We weren't in the bar. And it's not a club -- it's a restaurant. Why am I shouting? You hear me Lurcat? No? That's right -- fix your acoustics. We finished the high-calorie weekend at Edina Creamery and Yum! (appropriately named if you ask me).

Fun: Everything was fun, but the topper was seeing Prairie Home Companion (click the link for audio clips and pictures from the show), with special guest Wilco. The show overall was great. Wilco was awesome.

For those of you unfamiliar with the show, about halfway through it Garrison will read off various "greetings". They range from "Happy 90th birthday Francis", to "Congratulations Franky on getting your drivers license. Don't crash my car." Upon entering the theater, they provide you with scrap paper and pencil, and you have a minute to come up with a sentence that will hopefully be creative enough or sentimental enough to reach Garrison's hands.

In my haste, I believe I wrote, "Hello to [my parents], who after 30 years of marriage still sleep next to each other." We rushed to our seats, and upon sitting down I had a sinking feeling in my stomach. I realized I had written down the wrong anniversary number. I considered running back downstairs to change it, but figured it would be nearly impossible to find my slip of paper amongst the hundreds of others. And besides, what are the chances that Garrison would read my note?

Funny how things work out.

About halfway through the greetings he read my message. My jaw dropped, and my parents looked at me in startled confusion, asking was that their name he just read over live radio to his millions of faithful listeners. Yep. Funny how things work out.

Mr. Productivity

Do you ever go through a period at work where you get absolutely nowhere? You might as well have been golfing, sleeping, knitting, or catching up on Lifehacker? And then all of a sudden you have what might possibly be the most productive day in history? That was my day today. I've been working on a project for a few weeks now without getting anywhere. As if a light bulb went off today, I switched gears and accomplished in 9 hours what I would have estimated to take two more weeks given my current pace. I love days like today. Anyone else ever experience this?

Monday, May 07, 2007

G&H Heating & Air Conditioning

In case you live in the Minneapolis area and are in need of any HVAC / electrical / plumbing work, I highly recommend G&H Heating & Air Conditioning. We replaced our air conditioning unit this past weekend by G&H and were very satisfied.

G&H's quote was very reasonable, and Michael, the owner, was incredibly friendly, straightforward, and knowledgeable. We'll definitely use him again for future fixes and upgrades, and if you're smart, you will too.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Butter. Pure Butter.

I've played with the same set of golf clubs for the past 14 years. They've treated me pretty well, but I've lost faith in them these past few years.

A coworker told me about 2nd Swing, a golf store that only sells used clubs, as the name implies. After demoing a few different models of Callaways and Nikes, I ended up bringing home a set of Callaway Big Bertha Fusions.

More than I wanted to spend? Yes. A nicer club than I deserve? Yes. But let me tell you, all questions and doubts floated away as I swung those irons.

If a golf club could feel like butter, then this is it. Pure butter.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Go Local

If you've been a faithful reader, then you may recall a post I made last August about Organic vs. Local. Anyway, I stumbled across a nifty website called localharvest.org. Type in your zip code and, according to the website, "find farmers' markets, family farms, and other sources of sustainably grown food in your area, where you can buy produce, grass-fed meats, and many other goodies."

Yaaaaaay produce!

Friday, April 27, 2007

I Heart SOX

There's nothing I'd rather do on a beautiful spring Friday afternoon than sit at my computer and trudge through fileshares, SAP Transports, and countless emails all in the name of Sarbanes-Oxley. Oh Sarbanes-Oxley, how I love thee.

If I ever make it to Congress, I'm going to change the acronym to SUX.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Minnesota = Golf

I played golf tonight with fellow blogger Bradley. About halfway through the round I came to the realization that the game of golf is a lot like Minnesota, particularly Minnesota's weather.

Golf can be a very frustrating sport. You can play for 4 hours straight and hit 4 hours worth of bad shots. But then you have that one shot that just simply feels right. I mean, it was perfect. All of a sudden you forget about your prior frustrations. You think to yourself that maybe golf isn't so bad. Not only do you enjoy it, but you feel like you're pretty good at it too. You can see yourself playing golf for a very long time.

Minnesota can be a very frustrating state to live in. You can have 5 months worth of winter and be ready for spring 4.5 of those months. But then the ground thaws, the geese return, and the weather is just simply perfect. Suddenly, you find yourself loving Minnesota. Why wouldn't anyone want to live here? The winter wasn't so bad after all, was it? You can see yourself living here for a very long time.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

cheddarvision.tv

Have too much time on your hands? Looking for a new hobby? Wish you could experience Britain? Then join the nearly one million viewers of cheddarvision.tv. Yes, cheddarvision. Yes, it is just a webcam showing a block of cheese aging. Yes, people do in fact spend time watching it. Why, I do not know.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

What Happened to all the Weddings?

For a period in my life it seemed every summer weekend was filled with wedding activity. Here a friend, there a friend, everywhere a friend of a friend was getting married. It was like going to dozens of mini reunions. Everyone was happy and all had a bright and promising future.

I don't know what's happened since then, but that pace has dropped dramatically. Perhaps I'm getting older. Perhaps the early bloomers in my group have all said their vows. But lately my reunions have come from less fortunate circumstances.

One of my good friend's mother passed away this past week. Today was the funeral. It was a sad occasion, yet good to see my lifelong friends. It still amazes me to this day that I could go a year without speaking with one of them and pick up as if we had a beer together the day before. My friend's mom suffered from Alzheimer's disease, just as her mother did.

I'm not really a poetry person, but I was moved by the poem included in the funeral bulletin today, and wanted to share...

Heart Memories
by Louise M Eder

I remember you with my heart
My mind won't say your name
I can't recall where I knew you
Who you were
Or who I was.

Maybe I grew up with you
Or maybe we worked together
Or did we bowl together yesterday?
There's something wrong with my memory
But I do know you
I know I knew you
And I do love you
I know how you make me feel
I remember the feelings we had together.
My heart remembers
It cries out in loneliness for you
For the feelings you give me now.

Today I'm happy that you have come.
When you leave
My mind will not remember that you were here
But my heart remembers
The feeling of friendship
And love returned.
Remembers
That I am less lonely
And happier today
Because of the feeling
Because you have come.

Please, please don't forget me
And please don't stay away
Because of the way my mind acts.
I can still feel you
I can remember with my heart
And a heart memory is maybe
The most important memory of all.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Mobile Clubbing

I just recently read about a mobile clubbing event at Victoria Train / Tube Station in London. The event was orchestrated through word of mouth and the web. The idea is pretty straightforward:
  1. Go to a specified location and bring a personal music device
  2. Don't do anything out of the ordinary, yet.
  3. At the specified time, cue up your music, get your groove on, dance as if you were at a club


Photo of the event snagged from Micheeky's Flickr photo set.

Awesome.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Blu Dot


A few weeks back Addie and I had the opportunity to visit Blu Dot's headquarters up in northeast Minneapolis. One of Addie's friends got a job there recently and invited us over for lunch and a tour of the facilities.

I first learned about Blu Dot when I stumbled across this shelving unit back in Decatur while I was shopping for furniture. Too bad it costs more than some small automobiles (i.e. Nowakowski's bug).

Office space, photography studio, warehouse, and prototyping workshop were all crammed into the same building. It was cool to see the space of such a small yet influential modern furniture company. Bummer that I didn't get to bring home any samples.

Easter Weekend = Lots of Fun

  • Friday night - Pieta Brown at The Cedar, followed by a stop into Palmers
  • Saturday morning - 5th bed delivery attempt. It was finally delivered correctly (almost)
  • Saturday day - worked outside in the cold, finished our backyard fence (almost)
  • Saturday night - Neko Case at First Avenue
  • Sunday morning - service at a Danish Lutheran Church over by Minnehaha Academy
  • Sunday noon - Easter lunch and egg decorating
  • Sunday afternoon - Sunny but chilly jog
  • Sunday night - "Heavy drinking" with Anders' family

Sunday, April 01, 2007

iTunes + Local Concert Listings = iConcertCal

I recently found out about iConcertCal, a super cool plug-in for iTunes. According to their website, "iConcertCal is a free iTunes plug-in that monitors your music library and generates a personalized calendar of upcoming concerts in your city."

I haven't installed it yet, but definitely plan to. I will try to remember to give a recap about how accurate/useful it is after a few weeks of use.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

I got 99 problems

The timing of this is definitely not ideal, but it's the funniest thing I've seen in a while and provided me a much needed laugh, and therefore wanted to share. For those of you that aren't familiar with Jay-Z (mom, dad, others), I apologize.

I found this when I stumbled across Au$10's blog (one of Decatur's finest CD salesmen and Paste contributor).

Monday, March 26, 2007

goconsolidation

I've come to the conclusion that I need to consolidate my web presence. Ol' Bradley has pointed out that having a unique name has proved helpful when searching for people that quote, reference, or use your work. Taken from Luther College's canoe derby about 6 years ago, I'm proposing to use "gomattolson".

Speak now or forever hold your peace...

Yours,
gomattolson

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Quick, Quick, Look Quick.

As you may know, not only does Wikipedia change often, but it changes fast. That's why you should check out the current Wikipedia entry on Minneapolis. An editor recently emailed me and mentioned that he would like to use a couple of my Flickr photos for the entry.

One is under the Geography section, and labeled Autumn, Lake of the Isles. The other is under the Sports section, labeled Twin Cities Marathon (a photo in which you can see Robbie's right arm trying to take a picture, and Amanda cheering on their friend Colbey.)

It's no gallery, but it's better than nothing, right?

Sunday, March 18, 2007

More March Madness

This weekend has brought another meaning to the phrase "march madness". Perhaps it is springtime just around the corner. Perhaps it is just when Nowakowski visits.

Last night we went out for St. Patty's day and found ourselves hitch-hiking across the Mississippi River at 2 in the morning.

The night before we watched tutu clad girls on rollerskates race around a track pushing, punching, and elbowing each other.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

March Madness

Here are my current standings of the three brackets I submitted to ESPN.com. All I can say is at least I'm not last:

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

On a Mission From God

I've witnessed quite a few baptisms throughout my many years of church going, but they've never had a direct impact on me. This past weekend changed that when my adorable little niece was baptized back in Ames. Not only that, but I am officially her godfather now (Kjersten, don't ever cross the family).

After she had been blessed and the pastor was drawing the sign of the cross on her forehead, Kjersten opened her eyes up wide and looked straight up at the ceiling -- now I'm not suggesting that any supernatural thing happened, but I did find it to be quite the coincidence. It made me smile nonetheless.

Pictures to arrive a la Flickr shortly...

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Fight the Power

I think Public Enemy has been right all along. We need to fight the power. Ironically, the power in this case is essentially the same group of people that made Public Enemy who they are -- the producers and record labels of the music industry.

Congress just released a mandate increasing the royalties that internet radio stations must pay to record companies. Not only are the new royalty levels retroactive for 2006, but they also are set to increase year after year.

Numerous companies, including wonderful Pandora, Real Networks, NPR, and others have already started to fight the power. Pandora's CEO says that they would instantly be out of business if such a royalty hike were imposed. NPR is planning to fight. Many others are too.

I think increasing royalties would be incredibly short-sighted. I discover a lot of new music through Pandora (which I blogged about ages ago) that otherwise I would never know about. And then something amazing happens. I actually go out and buy the CD of the artist (or pay to download via iTunes). If Pandora didn't exist, millions of people would not be introduced to thousands and thousands of artists and albums, and millions of dollars would fail to exchange hands. And I'm only mentioning one of many, many internet radio stations.

Personally, I think the entire music industry needs to rethink the way they do business. They need to embrace the internet, get rid of DRM, and come up with a new marketing plan that works in today's world of iPods, music-playing cell phones, and a generation that shares music one way or another -- legally or illegally.

Who's with me? I know Flava Flav is.

Monday, March 05, 2007

When Mimes Go Sledding

This past weekend was not only my wonderful parent's 35th wedding anniversary, but it was also the Subway Bed Race for Bridging event. The concept, although a little nuts, is very straightforward: Assemble a team of four, dress up in random costumes, hop on a mattress, and race down a snow-tubing hill.

Due to the last-minute assembly of our team, we only had a day to plan. Somehow, we decided to go as a team of mimes. We were welcomed throughout the night with numerous side comments such as "Nobody likes a mime", and "Mimes don't talk". It was great.

In our first heat, we smoked the competition. We easily beat the next bed by 30 yards. My face nearly fell off from the extremely cold combination of wind and snow blowing in my face the entire way down the hill, but I didn't care. We mimes were going to kick some butt.

Our second run was a complete 180. We got stuck in the slowest lane out there -- so slow in fact that we got stuck twice on the slope. Our bed racing dreams were over.

I wish I had taken more photos, so I'm hoping someone else in Flickrland was at the race (I did find a YouTube video, which is decent if you skip to about 2:30 in). The winning costume award went to a team of giant silverware. The topper was that one of their members was Asian, and he dressed up as chopsticks. Everybody loved it.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Snow Snow Snow

Minnesota is finally living up to its name. The snow just simply will not stop.

How much is it snowing do you ask? Enough that around 12:30 today we were notified over the PA system that we were allowed to leave work at 1:00 if desired. I couldn't believe it.

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Brought to you in HD

Interesting random "fact".

According to the Leichtman Research Group, about one-fourth of HDTV owners in America are unaware that they are NOT watching high definition programming. That is, they own an HDTV and think they are watching high definition TV shows, but in fact are not.

A typical example is the unaware consumer that buys an HDTV, brings it home, plugs it in, and just expects that everything will now be in high def. They see a little "broadcast in HD" symbol at the bottom of the screen while watching Monday Night football and are happy. Perhaps a little confused why the picture quality doesn't quite match what they saw at the store, but they are still happy.

So my advice to all you HDTV window-gazers out there: do your research. Will you need a set-top HD box? Upgrade your Direct TV to handle high def? Subscribe to digital cable? Will an antenna do? Will your Betamax player be compatible?

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

My Hero

A friend of a friend of mine was making 6 figures as an accountant. That was, until he quit his job and enrolled full-time in photography school. How awesome.

Rough Weekend

I can't wait for spring.

This weekend was rough. Lauren and I had plans to travel down to Ames to see Cirque du Soleil with my parents. That didn't happen thanks to the snow and ice storm that blanketed the midwest.

We decided to go to a movie, and my car started making an awful noise just a few blocks from the house. So we couldn't do that either.

We then tried to watch a movie at home, but 3/4ths of the way through the DVD skipped relentlessly, eventually forcing us to shut it off early.

We had to shovel snow. Twice. Sunday morning looked as if we hadn't touched a shovel Saturday night. I felt awful having Lauren help, but she was incredibly sweet and insisted. We should have made a snowman instead. I don't know what I was thinking.

I can't wait for spring.

Monday, February 26, 2007

El Bandito

Haven't posted for a while...

Apparently that's what happens when you try to cram work, studying for the GMAT, working out, and weekend trips into your schedule. I couldn't possibly imagine being a single mother that works, raises kids, and goes to school.

And speaking of school, did you know that an ever-growing amount of classes from some of our best schools are being offered completely free online?

Want to brush up on your Classical Physics? Need a refresher in The Old Testament? How about Producing Films for Social Change? Look no further than MIT, Tufts, Notre Dame, or naturally, iTunes.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Yeah, not quite

I heard this quote today at my weekly team meeting: "Software programming is a lot like surfing. No two waves are the same, and there are sharks out there that can get you."

Perhaps I'm missing something, but I haven't seen anything that remotely resembles beautiful sunny days, soft white sandy beaches, pina coladas, or (most definitely) girls in bikinis when it comes to computer programming.

Then again, ask me in 20 years if writing code is like surfing. Maybe by then I'll become equally delusional in order to stay sane.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Quote of the Day

Communism wasn't abolished. It's now just called 'mass media'

- Mohan Sawhney

Ecto Wha?


Whatever happened to Ecto Cooler? Was it not the best Hi-C flavor of all time? I think they should bring it back -- and apparently so do about a hundred others that have signed a petition saying so.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Genius, or Plain Nuts?


Has anyone out there read Lateral Thinking, Creativity Step by Step by Edward de Bono? I've just started it, and I'm trying to figure out if good ol' Edward is a genius, or just simply crazy. I'll expand more when I fully grasp the idea of lateral thinking.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Georgia, How I Miss Thee

A Georgia man "admitted that he put potentially life-threatening foreign substances into soup, which he fed to his two young children and then placed a call to Campbell Soup Co. falsely claiming that the soup had been contaminated".

Genius.

Georgia, you did it again.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Boo

What to see something scary?

Go to PublicRecordsNow.com and type in your name and birthdate. I understand that certain records are public domain, but do they need to open them up for the entire world to see with just a few clicks?

Wal-Mart is (and others are) Shady

I recently read an article in the Wall Street Journal that described how Wal-Mart Cuts Taxes by Paying Rent to Itself (I had to link to an anti-Wal-Mart site because the WSJ Online is subscription-only).

Granted, Wal-Mart isn't the only company using this tactic, but they're an easy target and that's why I'm assuming the WSJ published the article about them in particular. Regardless, I find it pathetic that businesses will knowingly partake in such shady undertakings.

Perhaps even shadier is Enrst & Young -- Wal-Mart's external auditor -- which originally proposed and sold the the strategy to Wal-Mart in the first place.

I could bore you with a few paragraphs summing up the strategy, but it's a lot easier and simpler sharing this graphic, taken from the WSJ:

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Super Bowl, Super Atheletes, Super Crazy

I went to the gym today and decided I should do a little cross training -- do a quick run and then bike for a while to (hopefully) better prepare myself for my spinning class on Tuesday.

My run was going pretty well, so I decided to go a bit further than I had originally planned. I walked off the treadmill after logging 2.5 miles, and headed up to the stationary bikes. And let me tell you -- it was rough getting on a bike after running.

I was pretty much instantly tired, and I couldn't help but think about all the athletes around the world that do Ironman triathlons. I can't imagine the amount of dedication, training, and commitment it must take to reach such an amazing endurance level. Or they're just simply crazy.

Speaking of triathletes, and in case you don't look at any of my linked blogs, I wanted to make sure you at least read this entry from my brother's good friend Joost. I can't even imagine.

Oh yeah, and congrats to the Colts. Although I was rooting for the Bears, I think the Colts definitely deserved the win.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Pink Wins!

I'm officially an uncle. My sister's an aunt. My brother's a dad. My mom's a grandma. My dad's a grandpa. Talk about strange. The newest member of the family, Kjersten, is an adorable little 8lb 6oz girl. I can't imagine what she's experiencing and thinking right now.

Congrats Big Daddy!

Friday, February 02, 2007

Digitize your Memories

Have a big box overflowing with photos, waiting for some magic elf to come along and sort through the mess and stuff them meaningfully into a photo album?

Wait no more. Check out ShoeboxReprints.com. For $49.95 they will scan in 1,000 photos and burn them onto a CD, at 300 pixels per inch -- not stellar quality, but good enough for the average point-and-shooter.

Sure, they don't (or can't) name them for you, nor will it create an instant easy-to-use photo album. But it's definitely a step in the right direction.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

I'm a Wuss

I went to my gym's spinning class tonight (read: riding a stationary bike while an instructor tells you to speed up, stand up, sit down, visualize hills, wind, etc.). There was a woman in there who was 31 weeks pregnant, and she was rockin' it. Talk about making me feel like a slacker.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Skiing and Sundance

Just got back from a week of skiing in Park City, Utah. So to my faithful blog readers, no, I'm not dead. I did, however, bang up my leg and even went as far as taking a picture of my battle wounds, but deleted it once I realized how unattractive a red, blue, and yellow leg can be. So don't worry, only fun/cool/scenic photos will be coming soon to Flickr.

We stayed and skied at The Canyons, and also skied Park City, Brighton, and Snowbird. Snowbird was a little rough, but the rest were excellent, with Brighton being my favorite. I already can't wait to go back.

For you film buffs out there, you may be aware that the Sundance Film Festival was also taking place out in Park City. We had the opportunity and pleasure to see Eagle vs. Shark -- a very Napoleon Dynamite-esque film that had you feeling sorry for and laughing at the main characters throughout the movie. I think it will hit the big screen. Remember you heard it here first.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Doe, a Deer

Just got back from cross country skiing at Theodore Worth Parkway with Robbie(bus). It was a perfect Minnesota day for winter sports -- cold, but sunny -- and it was a good first outing for the season.

At one point we stopped in front of a small bridge that crossed a stream and waited for a better skier to pass. The skier stopped as well, and at first we wondered why. Then a few seconds later about 10 deer slowly approached from the other side, looking at us with as much curiosity as we held for them.

After cautiously crossing the bridge they took off in the snow, performing the most elegant and beautiful bounding leaps I've ever seen, as if they were bouncing from cloud to cloud. Needless to say it was pretty cool*, and it made me feel like a clumsy idiot with two fiberglass sticks strapped to my feet.


*My 11th grade creative writing teacher would be appalled at such a terrible use of a non-vivid verb and adjective.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Multi Touch

So maybe the iPhone isn't as far ahead of the curve as I thought:

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Shortie McShort?

Quick Poll:

How many people out there think I should:
a) get a regular haircut
b) get a buzz cut
c) grow out my hair
d) shave my head

?

Monday, January 15, 2007

MPG

The other day I brought my 1997 VW Jetta into the shop to get fixed.

When I walked in the main door of the VW dealership I walked past a few new cars -- a Passat, a Rabbit, and a Jetta. It seemed like the average City MPG rating was around 20-22, and a Highway rating of around 28-32 MPG.

My 10 year old Jetta averages 28 MPG. Anyone else find it painful that in the past ten years automobile engines for the most part have not become any more fuel efficient? You can go buy a car that tells you where to turn, heats your butt, plays movies, and helps you parallel park...but you can't buy one that takes you 60 miles on a gallon of gas?

But now for the real question: Who's to blame? If we consumers didn't purchase these inefficient machines, would automobile companies continue to make them? I think not.