My flickr pictures

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Snow Emergencies in Minnesota

If you live in Minneapolis, and have to park on the street, you're probably well aware of snow emergencies. However, you might not know which side of the street you can and can't park on. Good ol Minneapolis has finally thought up a solution, and gone straight to the source -- to Facebook and MySpace. Now my only question -- when do they roll out the iPhone app?

Friday, November 21, 2008

Google - What I like, What I don't (sort of)

I like:
  • Google Search for the iPhone. Tired of typing? Just say your search query, and it does the "typing" and the search for you. Brilliant.
I'm not sure if I like:
  • Google SearchWiki. I'm apparently one of the lucky "few" to have first dibs at trying it out. Essentially, you can edit the ranking of your search results, and Google will remember them for your next search. Additionally, you can add comments to your search results, or view comments from the entire web -- only problem is people are stupid, and already I'm seeing a lot of comments like "lol, this site is the best". My next question -- so what does this mean for sites that add new relevant content that a consumer may want to see that wasn't aware of before? Are they out of luck?

Thursday, November 06, 2008

I Want My MTV

I am super excited that MTV has finally taken a step in the right direction and put "Music" back into their acronym.

Watch all of your favorite videos from your favorite artists on their new site,, or watch them embedded in your favorite (albeit infrequently-updated) blog, I'm on the dot com.

Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five? Got it.
Digital Underground? You betcha.

Dire Straits - Money for Nothing? Bingo:

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


A picture of history

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

2 Degrees of Separation

My coworker forwarded me a link to his friend's site a week ago, and said: "let me know...if you have any ideas or builds, I think he’ll be launching in a few days."

Naturally, in my too-busy fashion, I never looked at it. Today, my coworker asked if I had checked it out, and mentioned it had incredibly received over 9,000 Diggs. Not only that, but today's VSL Web even highlighted

Talk about two degrees of separation...

(By the way, spend your time clicking around -- it's pretty good)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I'm on the dot com (no, really, I am)

I'm not going to quit my day job, but check out the talent:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Urban Assault & Dangerous Kittens

Team Dangerous Kittens (Kate and I), as well as Robbie & friends participated in the New Belgium Brewing Urban Assault Ride, or as they call it: Beer, Bikes, and Big Wheels.  It was the first time Minneapolis hosted the event, and I'm proud to say it was the largest showing yet for a new city.

The Urban Assault is essentially a bike race throughout the city (26 miles), with no boundaries and no roped-off predetermined course.  There were 5 Checkpoints, each with its own challenge, and 3 Mystery Checkpoints.

The primary checkpoints included some sort of mini competition or rediculous feat, including:
  • Bike limbo
  • Minibike riding
  • Hurling newspapers 50 feet to your partner while riding a beach cruiser
  • Navigating a track on a modified big wheel
  • Picking up crushed bottle caps with mittens while getting soaked with water
Before the race, we were given a riddle-like quiz to help place us in the starting blocks, as well as a crossword puzzle to complete which would give us a clue of where to find the first mystery checkpoint.  Once found (it was a dude dressed like an angel with an afro at Lake Harriett), we had to read a riddle taped to his chest that gave us clues to the next mystery checkpoint.

The finish line was even creative -- you had to park your bike, take off your shoes and helmet, and bound through an inflatible obstacle course before you could record your time.  The Chipotle burrito and Fat Tire beer at the end had never tasted so good.  Mmmm, mmmm.

I'm attaching a google map of the ride for reference....

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Photo Contest

Although I don't stand a chance, I decided to enter a photography contest put on by NWA. I figured what the heck, right? I've entered these two so far, simply because I think they're somewhat unique:

Disappearing Bean

Road Closed

Any suggestions of other favs from my Flickr site that you'd think would be semi-worthy?

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Hi, I'm from 1984

So I finally decided to join Twitter. Thought it would be an easy way to update my Facebook status & blog all in one simple 140-characters-or-less sentence.

I'm so cutting edge with technology it hurts.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Never Again

This past weekend my best high school guy friends and I headed up to Bjork's cabin for our semi-annual guys getaway trip. It was an awesome time full of food, beer, more food, lots of laughs, video games, and paintball. But the unexpected highlight from the weekend happened in a flash. We were out in the boat and I brought a tennis ball thinking we might play catch and dive off the boat or something. It was my turn to water ski and I jokingly told James that he should throw me the ball while I was skiing. After getting up and stabilized on the skis, James motioned to me with the ball. Figuring what the heck, I gave him a signal to throw it. And he did. And I reacted. And I made a shoestring catch, next to my left foot. I couldn't believe it. They couldn't believe it. It was amazing, and will never happen again.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Got Sisu?

I went up north this past weekend with Kate to run in the 26th annual Brimson Sisu run. This community race to help raise money for the local fire department was supposed to be a respectable 4.4 miles. The course changes each year, and therefore the mileage waivers slightly in order to include or exclude certain points of interest. Just my luck, this year's run netted out much closer to 5.5 miles. I managed, but have been paying the price the past couple of days with sore legs. Guess my goal of running a 10k this year just became that much more attainable.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Too much work = no posts

wow, I'm just getting progressively worse at posting, aren't I? I'm hoping my shiny new iPhone will remedy that... Yes, you guessed it. I finally took the plunge. Now all I need to do is setup a twitter feed and you'll have the pleasure of knowing my wherebouts and latest ramblings at any given moment. Speaking of, there is actually an iPhone app you can download that uploads your exact location to a website every 5 seconds. How creepy is that?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


This past Sunday, Kate and I checked out Red Bull's traveling art exhibit, Illume. According to Red Bull's website, Illume: the first-ever international photography competition that celebrates the world of action and adventure sports. The spirit, the grit, the edgy perfection - that's what we're here to honor. The top 50 finalists will get their work exhibited in bigger-than-life outdoor venues across the globe, providing the most dramatic compilation of action and adventure sports images ever assembled.

Installed on the Stone Arch Bridge, the giant back-lit cubes illuminated the photographs and the awe-inspired people walking around them. The bonus touch to the night was The Gotan Project playing in the background...all good stuff.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Toby from HR

One final highlight from my quick trip to NYC -- as we waited for a taxi this morning outside our hotel, I turned around and saw Toby (Paul Lieberstein) from NBC's The Office standing behind me, patiently waiting for a ride as well. I did a double/triple take, and I think he noticed -- he had a little smirk on his face when I turned to look at him for the 3rd time, and from reading 2 seconds of body language, I determined that he seemed like a nice, normal guy.

Running from the Ritz

The Ritz is awesome. I think I can easily say that my room had the most comfortable bed I've ever slept in (minus the surprisingly dream-like beds that rest above the Essen Haus in Madison, WI). Despite the luxury, I woke up early this morning to get outside for a run.

I started out across the street and ran through Battery Park, passing a line of tourists waiting to purchase their ferry tickets to visit the Statue of Liberty, then headed up along the well-manicured park that hugs the Hudson River. Surrounded by other morning runners, dog walkers, and Wall Street pit workers smoking their morning's final cigarettes, I couldn't help but feel the energy of the city and wondered what life would be like in Manhattan.

Back at the hotel, a "For our morning runners" sign rested on the entryway table and was stocked full of chilled Vitamin Water and towels. Small perk, but much appreciated and thoughtful. I guess it's that attention to detail that sets the Ritz apart from the competition.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

No Sleep Till....Brooklynnnnnnn!

Heading to NYC tomorrow for a quick business trip. Wish it were next to a free weekend so I could explore, as I don't make it out there nearly enough.

I don't know my neighborhoods too well, but I do know I'll have the pleasure of staying at The Ritz and spending my time in Chelsea Market. Hopefully I'll get out for some drinks at night and a run in the's supposed to be a hot one.

Sunday, July 13, 2008


As you may (or may not) have noticed, I've been slacking lately on the dot com.

I'm pretty sure I should blame it on summer -- spending time outdoors late into the night, road trips (Badlands and Black Hills!), gardening, summer get the idea.

So in the meantime, while I continue to slack, why don't you check out my friends' blogs listed to the right, or the newest blogs that I've been too lazy to add:

My friend Kris bought an AmTrak rail pass and took off for the summer.

My friend Katie found a nanny job in Turkey and is living the dream.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Don't Reduce. Refuse

I wrote a blog post about a year ago explaining how you could opt out of receiving pre-approved credit card offers in the mail. This very same topic came up the other day, and I realized for the first time that the opt-out worked beautifully. Not only does it keep junk out of my mailbox, but it reduces waste too.

Check it out.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

47th and Where?

I've lived in Minneapolis for over 3 years, and I realized today that I don't know this city at all. Kate was nice enough to give me a biking tour of south Minneapolis, and brought us to the little neighborhood pocket of 47th St and Chicago Ave for some amazing ice cream at Pumphouse Creamery.

If you haven't been, go. Now. It's that good. Now the only problem is figuring out which restaurant in that neighborhood to visit next: Cafe Levain? Pizza Biga? Ba Gu?

Tuesday, June 03, 2008


I saw Adele perform at the Theatre de la Jeune Lune (my new fav theatre in the minne) last night. For a 20 year old, her voice has amazing depth and personality. Think Amy Winehouse with neither the craziness nor drugs. It's the sort of voice that makes older men reminisce about their teenage years, and young girls giddy about the cute boy sitting next to them.

In other words, definitely check her out. (and don't forget to check out her MPR in-studio performance, which should be updated soon)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Yes, Another Quote

I apologize for my lack of posts lately. Perhaps I'll post more once I get an iPhone?

I liked this:
Advertising is a tax for having an unremarkable product

- Robert Stephens, Geek Squad

Monday, May 19, 2008

Far From Home Never Felt So Close

Unless you've been living under a rock (or perhaps an affluent suburb in the U.S. and don't pay attention to "news" outside of MTV), you've for sure heard of the earthquake that hit Chengdu, China recently.

This natural disaster struck just days after a cyclone ripped through Myanmar. The big difference between these two tragedies for me, as much as I hate to admit it, is the fact that I care a whole lot more about the tragedy affecting China.

It was eye opening to realize this -- and it was immediately apparent to me -- I care more simply because I have been to China and can easily find Chengdu on a map. We met people that were traveling there. And what's more, and please correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe my sister actually got routed through Chengdu on her way to Beijing.

I think realizing this is a good lesson for me (and for everyone in this world). It's good to travel. It's good to interact with other cultures. It's good to step outside your backyard and shake hands with someone that speaks a different language. It's not only fun, but it creates more empathy in this world, and I'm pretty sure that's one thing we don't have enough of.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


This is simply too fun

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Quote o' the Day

Cinco de Mayo? No, I don't like Italian.

Friday, May 02, 2008

Marketing where you least expect it. Genius.

I went to a Dunn Brothers coffee shop the other day to take a break and catch up on some email. When I pulled up my available wireless networks, I was greeted by a very effective use of free advertising.

I've got to give them credit. Not only was this mysterious "Asian Takeout" smart enough to realize that their neighbor (the coffee shop) would be full of laptop-carrying java junkies. But they had the forethought to 1) advertise in an extremely unconventional spot, and 2) have the goodwill to offer up free wifi as well. I don't know about you, but I've got the munchies.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Nothing Fake about Fakebook

This past Saturday night I volunteered for The Current's Fakebook series at The Fitzgerald, featuring Chuck D from Public Enemy, Slug from Atmosphere, and Brother Ali.

Brother Ali opened up the night with his energy-filled hit song Truth Is and got the crowd moving. After a few more songs, he walked off stage and was replaced by Mary Lucia and Chuck D. Mary interviewed Chuck D for about 45 minutes about music, politics, and just about anything. Brother Ali and Slug both performed a few more times, and then Mary wrapped up the session with both Chuck D and Slug together.

If you're not familiar with these guys, this probably doesn't mean much. But to see one of the most influential hip hop artists in history (Chuck D) with some of the area's best local music talent in an informal setting was awesome to say the least -- and the fact that MPR sponsors these events makes them that much cooler.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Monday, April 14, 2008

Northwest is Now Delta* ???

I had heard the rumblings about Northwest Airlines and Delata merging, but for some reason I didn't think it would go through. That is, until I received this email tonight:

As a valued Northwest Airlines customer and WorldPerks® member, I wanted you to be among the first to hear that we have announced a merger with Delta Air Lines. Subject to regulatory review, our two airlines are joining forces to create America’s premier global airline which, upon closing of the merger, will be called Delta Air Lines.

By combining Northwest and Delta, we are building a stronger, more resilient airline that will be a leader in providing customer service and value. Our combined airline will offer unprecedented access to the world, enabling you to fly to more destinations, have more flight choices and more ways than ever to earn and redeem your WorldPerks miles.

They forgot to add the most notable highlight of the merger to their list: more ways to screw Minnesotans over thanks to even less competition.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

China, Our Travels

Most Americans, myself included, are not up to par on Chinese geography. Heck, most Americans would fail a 50 state test. So that's why I've put together a Google Map (have I mentioned before how much I love Google?) of our trip, and highlighted the various modes of transportation in different colors.

And speaking of modes of transportation, they were as diverse as the scenery. We traveled by:

  • Airplane
  • Train
  • Bus
  • Mini bus
  • Subway
  • Taxi
  • Boat
  • Personal car (it was a new Fiat)
  • Bicycle
  • Pseudo bicycle rickshaw
  • Foot
  • Zipline
Our path of travel, as it may not be apparent on the map:

  • Flew into Beijing
  • Overnight train to Xi'an
  • Flight to Guilin
  • Boat to Yangshuo
  • Bus back to Guilin
  • Flight back to Beijing

View Larger Map

Thursday, April 03, 2008

China, The People

Mountains can be beautiful, lakes serene, and bustling cities energizing, but it seems time and time again that no matter where you travel, or what you encounter, it's the people that make the trip (and life) memorable.

So it shouldn't be surprising that the people we met throughout our trip fill a large portion of my memory. I'm going to continue with the list theme and bring you, in no particular order, the people that left the greatest mark:
  • My sis -- Not too many people can travel with a sibling for 2 weeks straight. I think it's pretty cool.
  • Xian, my sister's friend -- Xian was our official Chinese Lifestyle Consultant, Food Connoisseur, Tour Guide, and Translator. Our trip was a vacation when she was around. She walked, I followed. She ordered food, I ate. She hailed a cab, I got in. It was so easy and fun. Thanks sooo much Xian! (not that you'll see this, since China blocks Blogger, but maybe my sister can tell you about this post!)
  • Master Director Wei -- He ran the Yangshuo Culture House, taught Jen and I Chinese calligraphy, brush painting, and taichi. He personally met us in town and got us a driver to his house. He hooked us up with 2nd row tickets to the most popular show in town. His mom(?) cooked us the most amazing meals. He's making a difference for all the lucky travelers that knock on his door.
  • Chinese tourists -- What's with the peace sign anyway?
  • Chinese people that like to photograph white people -- Jen and I couldn't figure it out. Over and over again, people would come up and pose with us as their friend took a photo with their cameraphone. Or, they would try to be sneaky about it and snap our photo in a semi-covert fashion.
  • Chinese babies -- my friend Diana's said it before, and now I believe her. Chinese babies just might be the cutest babies out there. I'm guessing it's the adorable round faces and chubby cheeks. And speaking of chubby cheeks, all toddlers still undergoing potty training would wear these little pants with a crack down the backside, so their butts would be hanging out. It was so rediculously funny and cute -- definitely one of the highlights of our trip.
  • Trinket / Beverage Sellers -- You can't go to any tourist location in China without getting attacked by a gaggle of trinket and/or beverage sellers. Who knew I could get a beer on The Great Wall?
  • Old man with tangerines -- We were hiking past him and for no reason but his pure goodwill he shared his bag of fresh tangerines with us
  • Seven Stars Park Cave Guide -- Our tour guide was super nice, peppy, spoke English very well, and always made a point to make sure Jen and I saw and understood everything. Why can't all tour guides be this way?
  • Shady McShadester -- To the man that sold us Oreos but switched them out with bad imitation knock-offs: you suck.
  • Tibetan man on the bus -- He asked our friend Xian, "Are they 'Hello'?"
  • The Italian Couple -- If it wasn't for an Italian mother and son, Jen and I might still be stuck 20 miles outside Xi'an at the most overrated and random tourist trap on the map. We thought we'd see one more sight on the way to the Xi'an airport. Little did we know that once there, we were stuck. Can we get to the airport from here? No. Could they call a taxi for us? No. However, the local shop owner would drive us to the airport for very small fee of 100 rmb. That's not a lot of money ($14), but it was the principe -- he was ripping us off big time and he and everyone around us trying to "help" knew it. Enter the Italian mother and son duo on a personal guided tour through China. Not only were they going to the airport, but they were on our same flight. Could we offer them any money to pay for the ride? It was out of the question. Grazie mille.
  • Other world travelers -- whether it was the fun couple that joined us for taichi, or the couple from Alaska that shared a Yak cheese pizza with us, or the Australian couple that we ran into unexpectedly in two different cities, or the South African couple on The Great Wall tour that told me of their wonderous year-long around the world trip, traveling throws you into the midst of amazing, diverse, like-minded, interesting, fun, and nice people. It gives me hope.

Monday, March 31, 2008

China, The Food (Young Joe, Chow Fat)

I have to admit, I was a little nervous about what type of food I would find in China. How would I order? Do they eat dog, or is that just a stereotype? Would I be presented a plate full of squishy things with tentacles? Raw things? Pigeon? Donkey? Would I hang my head and succumb to Mickey D's? Could I last 2 weeks on Snickers and beer?

All my worry was for naught. The food was spectacular. I'm starting to realize there's a reason why people in different parts of the world eat different foods -- because they know something we don't, and that something tastes good.

A few highlights:
  • Hot Pot -- Think Chinese fondue, but with water instead of oil. Take loads of thinly sliced lamb, fresh greens, mushrooms, ginger, dough, potatoes, fish balls, noodles, and tofu and cook them together in a pot of simmering water in the middle of your table. Add beer, friends, and dipping sauces, and you're guaranteed a good meal.
  • Peking Duck -- We were honored to eat duck number 1,150,325,487, and we have the certificate to prove it. Since 1864, Quanjude has been serving its famous Peking (roast) duck. Order your duck, and they wheel out a silver cart and carve it for you on the spot. Duck breast, skin with fat, and head are all presented. Take a few sprigs of spring onion, dip the duck in a dark, thick, amazingly tasty sauce, and wrap it in a small rice-based tortilla. Mmm, mmm good. Bonus entertainment comes when they fill up your tea pot. Instead of a basic pour, it's more a perfectly arched jet of water.
  • Street Food -- From sweet sticky rice treats to skewered lamb kabobs rolled in cumin and rosemary, you could find just about everything from a street vendor.
  • Dumplings -- How can you go wrong? Mash up a bunch of pork, beef, tofu, shrimp, or your favorite choice of protein, add some vegetables, and wrap them in a bun and steam or pan fry to your liking. Yum.
  • Donkey Pancakes -- Braised donkey in a pita pocket. Who knew?
  • Red Bean This, Red Bean That -- I don't know if red beans are naturally sweet, or the Chinese just picked them to use in pastries and artificially sweeten them. But honestly, I don't really care. From red bean lattes to red bean scones, we were pleased.
  • Home Cooked Goodness -- We were fortunate enough to stay at the Culture House in Yangshuo, home of Master Director Wei. And let me tell you, he deserves every bit of the title "Master Director". At night we sat down at a large dining table with the 8 or so other travelers staying in the same house. An older woman (perhaps Wei's mother?) would bring out heaping dish after dish until the lazy susan in the middle of the table couldn't hold anymore. The food was by far the best we had the enitre trip. Since we were in the south, the ingredients were fresh. The sauces were perfect. Jen fell in love with the dumplings. I obsessed over the stuffed peppers and ginger pork. I would go back to China simply to learn the cook's secrets. You think I'm kidding.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

China, The Highlight Reel

Shortly after our trip started, Jen and I decided to keep a list of highlights and anti-highlights (memorable moments, but not in a good way).

A number of these probably won't make sense unless you've been to China or were on our trip, so feel free to ask if you'd like further explanation... (and many of these will link to photos once I have them uploaded, so you'll have to check back later)

  • Flight to China and getting bumped to business class for no apparent reason
  • Personal tour guide / lifestyle consultant / food orderer: Xian
  • Water show at Grand Goose Pagoda
  • Hot Pot
  • Pot Stickers
  • Grandma's cookies
  • Buying Chinese Rolex
  • Red Lantern Hostel
  • Seven Sages Hostel
  • Sweet Sticky Rice
  • Chinese babies' butts
  • Old man Mao outfits and glasses
  • Forbidden City
  • The Italian couple
  • Western breakfast
  • Western toilets
  • Eastern clean
  • Terracotta Warriors
  • "Are they 'Hello'?"
  • Megaphones
  • Guilin Seven Stars Park: tour guide, peacock photo, man with free tangerines, Bill Clinton podium, ink blown painting, golden rat, temple(s)
  • Guilin Backpackers Inn
  • Yangshuo
  • Biking in countryside outside of Yangshuo
  • Not getting followed up Half Moon trail by old ladies selling water and coke
  • Master Director Wei and his Culture House
  • Chinese Calligraphy, brush painting, and taichi lessons from Master Wei
  • Fresh banana and lemon yogurt smoothies
  • Home cooked Culture House food
  • Impressions Liu Sanjie light show, with door-to-door service and 2nd row seat while paying less than face value of ticket
  • Yak meat, Yak cheese pizza, Yak cafe
  • The Great Wall
  • Ziplining down from The Great Wall
  • Donkey Pancakes
  • Peking Duck
  • Jasmine tea
  • Full body and foot massage
  • The Summer Palace
  • Wu-Mart
  • Dried Fish
  • Red bean latte, scone, and pastries
  • Signs written with poor English grammar
  • Fake Oreo switcharoo
  • Deer Park
  • Last-minute flight booking
  • Counterfeit 100 yuan bill
  • Chinese Rolex breaking. Twice.
  • Pearl Market aggressiveness
  • Dried persimmons
  • Flight delay and cancellation
  • Mr. Bond coffee
  • The bus ride to The Great Wall
  • Flight back home in economy where nothing worked (no movie, no dimming of lights, lack of food selection)
  • Being hassled everywhere to buy cheap crap

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

China is Great, but Doesn't Like Blogger

I just returned from a two week trip through China. I had hoped to blog a little bit along the way, but remembered once I sat down at the computer that China blocks the major blog sites.

It's difficult to sum up a trip to a (new-to-me) foreign country that's not a part of the Western world. You'll have to bear with me as I collect my thoughts (and photos) into a hopefully coherent summary.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Ready, Let's Go!

Take a roller coaster and cross it with a pinball machine. Then bring the temperature down below zero. Throw in a bunch of snow and ice. Next, toss a handful of uber-excited, incredibly strong dogs that live for nothing in life but to pull (something, anything, and everything), and you have the perfect recipe for dog sledding.

I think my friend and coworker Heather summed up our dog sledding trip quite well with two very different statements:
  • "what the hell [have I gotten myself] into"
  • "I was amazed at how relaxed I was upon completion of the experience...we spent 4 full days not thinking about work, regular-life obligations or anything else. It was all about the experience and getting from point A to point B. Such a clear mind is so hard to come-by and it was weird to experience it so fully for such an extreme amount of time."

Outward Bound led our 4 day dog sledding expedition through the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. This was my second Outward Bound trip, and I can't speak highly enough about the organization and all of the instructors I've interacted with. They're incredibly knowledgeable, concerned about your safety and well being, and give their all to make sure you have an amazing experience. If you're ever considering an outdoor adventure, I highly recommend checking them out and the wide variety of trips they offer.

From sun-up to sun-down, we were active. Whether it was stomping through thigh-deep snow to find a good tree to saw down for firewood, or pushing and pulling with all our might to stop our sled from falling into a ravine, or chipping away at 24 inches of ice to get a water hole, we were working.

In the morning we boiled water, fed the dogs, took down camp, ate a little breakfast, and got the cross-country skiers off to break trail and set the pace for the day. The ones mushing were left to finish packing the sleds and harness the dogs.

The dogs were fantastic. Each had his or her own unique personality. Some were crazy, others shy. Some drank their soup as fast as their tongues could lap, while others didn't budge when you set a bowl in front of them. At night they would randomly start howling in unison, and then stop on a dime as if a conductor had flicked his wrist.

The one thing the dogs all had in common (for the most part) was their love for pulling. They would bark and whine if we stopped on the trail for more than 2 minutes. And getting them hitched in the morning was like trying to get a child to walk and not run on their first visit to Disneyland.

The Boundary Waters proved to be a perfect place for a dog sledding trip -- beautiful wide open lakes, tight portages for exciting ups, downs, and turns, and nobody for miles and miles. I'm happy to report that although we woke up to -10, we were never really cold. I did smash my pinky between the sled and a tree, but that was the worst of it for our group. Oh yes, and I (and the rest of my team) did hop in the frozen lake at the end our trip after getting in the sauna. There's nothing quite like it -- much like dog sledding -- and I encourage you to try both.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Into the Wild, well, sort of

So I'm heading out into the great white north tomorrow for my first-ever dog sledding trip. If I don't lose a finger or part of my nose I'll consider it a successful adventure.

Supposedly there's an opportunity to take a polar bear plunge of sorts at the end of the trip. I'm posting that now so you, my faithful readers, hold me to it and will rip on me in case I wimp out.

Hoping for some exciting pictures to follow. I'll see you in a few.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

St Vincent

Last night a few of us saw St Vincent both rock out and woo the audience at the Cedar Cultural Center. As St Vincent walked past us off the stage, my friend Jeff summed the evening up best: "she's adorable".

AND, she can play one mean guitar.

But don't take my word for it; see what my African sister across the pond listed as her top album of 2007.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

Anyone catch the lunar eclipse last night?

I didn't bring out my camera for the eclipse because the last time I tried to photograph the moon it was either too bright and washed-out or too dark without enough contrast.

However, I did learn recently that on average, the moon moves the size of its diameter about every two minutes. So keep that in mind next time you take a long exposure at night...

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Friday, February 15, 2008

The Current Saves the World

Call me crazy, but 89.3 The Current is one of the top 10 best things in Minnesota. Actually, if the voting were up to me, I'd put it into the top 5. Maybe even top 3.

It's a place where real people (not faceless DJs) play real music -- not just the over-produced Nickelback-wannabes that Clear Channel and MTV try to throw in your face. Tonight, on this lovely Valentine's Day, Mark Wheat has been serenading us devote listeners with the top love songs of all time. Come midnight, they will kick it Wedding Singer style and play the top break-up songs of all time.

Curious to see what made the list? Check out The Current's playlist.

Could you ask for anything more?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Happy Don't Get Tossed into the Doghouse Day!

Walking into Target tonight around 9:30, I stumbled across a group of men desperately searching for what surely must have been the most thoughtful and meaningful way to show their undying love for their significant others. It was a Hallmark dream come true.

I don't know about you, but nothing says "I love you" like buying a greeting card that someone else took the time, energy, and thought to create.

And that, my friends and random readers, is why Valentine's Day sucks.

Smart Car

Tonight I saw my first state-side Smart Car pulling onto Minnetonka Blvd in wonderful St Louis Park. I had heard they were coming to the U.S., but didn't realize how soon...I have to admit, it looked a little funny sitting next to an SUV at a stoplight, but I do like them. I can't fit into them, but I like 'em.

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Polling Place Photo Project

Thanks to my trusty VSL newsletter, I was informed about the NYT Polling Place Photo Project in time to play an active role in history. I had planned on attending the caucus tonight anyway, so it didn't take a whole lot of convincing to bring along my camera.

The idea behind the polling project is fairly simple:
The Polling Place Photo Project is a nationwide experiment in citizen journalism that encourages voters to capture, post and share photographs of this year’s primaries, caucuses and general election. By documenting local voting experiences, participants can contribute to an archive of photographs that captures the richness and complexity of voting in America.

This was my first caucus, and although I didn't stay till the end, I did linger long enough to soak up the energy in the room. There was definitely a buzz in the air, and you could get a genuine sense that this is what the U.S. is all about -- every age, race, and socioeconomic status coming together to make their voices heard. It's a brilliant idea.

I snapped a few photos for the project, but didn't want to be overly obtrusive since voting can be a very private experience for some people.

Two highlights from the night:
1. Seeing Al Franken
2. Overhearing a teenager whine, "Mommy, I want to go vote now."

Monday, February 04, 2008

It's Good to be a Guy

Had a guy's getaway this past weekend over in Hayward, WI. The highlight for me was playing hockey out on the freshly shoveled (thanks Achter) patch of frozen Sand Lake with two broomsticks, a squeegee, and a shovel. Halftime consisted of peanuts, beers, and a discussion on the finer points of playing hockey without knowing how to stop. Good times.

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Photo Tip of the Day

Aperture controls your flash, shutter speed controls ambient light.

And don't forget it.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

I Didn't Vote for Bush, so he Gave me a iPhone

As you've probably heard, Bush wants to give us money. Never mind that the average American's personal savings rate is negative AND it's the lowest it has been since the Great Depression -- Bush wants us to spend, not save. It's good for you. Come on, we're Americans. We love spending money.

If G Dubya's plan makes it through, I think for once I'll acquiesce. Instead of saving the money (as I think everyone should), I'm going to spend it as quickly as possible.

You'll find me buying an iPhone at the local uber-cool Apple store quicker that you can say "crackberry". That is unless, of course, Steve Jobs hasn't increased the iPhone's storage capacity by then. If that's the case, I'll probably just head over to Wal-Mart and buy as many trinkets as possible. I just can't get enough trinkets.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Mark Your Calendars!

January 31st is International Delete Your MySpace Account day.*

Be there, or be square.

*Brought to you by your friendly FaceBook team.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

2008: The Year of Adventure; Or: The Year I Blew All My Savings

I don't know what's gotten into me.

At the end of February I am going dog sledding for 4 days out in the Boundary Waters.

In March I'm going to China for 2 full weeks.

Cheers to a year full of adventure.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Werid, huh?

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

--I read something similar to the above years ago while waiting in line to partake in a taste-testing panel. I've always thought it was pretty interesting...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Give Me Multi-Touch

So I don't need the world's thinnest notebook, but I do like where Apple's going. I'm actually a tiny bit frustrated -- because now that I've seen the multi-touch trackpad, I want one on a MacBook Pro. Which now means I'm going to put off buying a laptop even longer. This may be a brutal cycle -- I'll be paralyzed by waiting for the next great feature that I'm convinced will be just around the corner.

Monday, January 14, 2008

I Told Myself So, But I'm Still Not Listening

A few years ago, right before Christmas, I told myself I should buy some Apple (APPL) stock, thinking that surely iPods will be a big holiday gift and their stock will rise at least a little bit. I wish I would have listened.

Tomorrow is the Macworld Expo, where many analysts and Mac-addicts are theorizing that Steve Jobs, in his signature black turtleneck, jeans, and white sneakers, will announce a flurry of enhancements to the Mac and MacBook, Apple TV, and various other products.

Personally, I've been waiting for tomorrow for some time. Not because I'm an Apple junkie (OK, so I might be slowly turning into one), but because I want to buy a MacBook and figured I might as well wait a couple months till they announce the latest upgrades.

Realizing that there may be thousands if not millions of other consumers thinking the same thing, one would expect their stock price to take another slight jump tomorrow. I'm telling myself again I should buy some APPL stock, and I still don't think I'm listening yet. It only fuels my fire to read this from

Over the past three years, shares of AAPL have seen consistent appreciation as a result of the Macworld event. On the day of the event, share price increases 2.8% on average; however, shares rise an average of 9.2% from the closing price the day before Macworld through the week after the event.

Maybe one of these days I'll finally listen to myself. Until then, I want my iPhone.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

It Sucks to Be Me

OK, that's a lie. I'm pretty happy being me. But I saw Avenue Q (think Sesame Street meets Dave Chappelle) last night and It Sucks to Be Me turned out to be my overall favorite song.

The show was funny, and I especially enjoyed the Gary Coleman references, but I don't think it passed the "mother-approved" Mom and Dad, I would pass on it -- and let the twenty-somethings sing along to Everyone's a Little Bit Racist.

Monday, January 07, 2008

Tip of the Week

For the guys:

We've all been're at a bar / club / wedding reception hanging out with the boys, enjoying a beer, and having a good laugh. A girl comes up and asks you to dance, and although it sounds fun, it just doesn't sound fun at that moment.

Here's what you do.

Pause for a moment. Take a drink. Smile, and then reply, "I am dancing."

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Happy 2008

Most people agree that New Year's Eve is over-hyped. Much like Hallmark lives for Valentine's Day, bars, clubs, hotels, and DJs around the world live for NYE. When else can you charge a $50 cover and justify it by handing out 3oz of free "champagne"?

Don't get me wrong though -- my last two NYE celebrations were a ton of fun. My friends and I elected to go the all-inclusive route and dropped the big bucks to eat, drink, dance, and be merry till the wee hours of the morning.

So this year, the combination of fighting a cold and having no plans pretty much suffocated any dreams for a repeat blowout NYE celebration. That is, until I got a hold of Guitar Hero II.

In a very modern-day-American fashion, I literally ROCKED in the new year to none other than Rage Against the Machine's Killing in the Name. Ahhh yeah.