31 December 2008

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year!

It was a great holiday season! Wifey and I were able to spend a lot of quality time together and were able to visit each side of the family for Christmas. There was a lot of snow! Then it rained a lot and froze, leaving a big ice rink in our main driveway - but that made it more fun to back out and swing our car around like in the movies. ;)

Tonight we'll be spending time with friends while ringing in the New Year. Let's hear it for 2009! =)

20 December 2008

Swarm of Meat

Earlier this month my wife and I celebrated our third anniversary. We decided to go out for dinner at someplace new for a change (usually that's reserved for Valentine's Day) and ended up going to Fogo de Chao. It's a Brazilian steakhouse and is the place to go if you're a carnivore.

We had reservations for 6pm on a weeknight and the restaurant wasn't busy at all. This usually would be a good thing, but when there are a dozen or so anxious servers it's a little overwhelming. If you're not familiar with this restaurant, upon your signal they bring meat to your table - a pretty neat concept. However, we were literally swarmed with meat within a 2-minute time span. Yikes!!! Once more people arrived a little later, things got a lot more manageable and we would have one person stop by every so often.

It was a great experience overall with superb customer service. I'd recommend it to anyone that likes a variety of meats - there are 15 of them, after all - and they have a great salad bar as well. You won't leave hungry!

05 December 2008


I paid only $1.54/gallon for gas last week. Unbelievable, considering that earlier this year I unloaded my Jeep Liberty in favor of a Jetta 2.0T just before fuel spiked up to $4+. Who would have thought that this was possible? Too bad it's not something to really celebrate considering the global economy and all. I checked GasBuddy and it ranges from $1.58 to $1.64 today in my neighborhood.

Back in August 2005 when I bought the Jeep it was at around $1.82 (we had months worth of constant reminders as a gas station in Brooklyn Park had closed with that amount still on the sign). Two weeks afterward, it leaped to $2.39. When I was a teen I could fill up my 20 gallon tank for less than $16 (when it was $.84/gal). Will we see that again? Who knows...but I doubt it. Of course, I never expected to see these kind of prices again either!

30 November 2008

Necessary Farts

Last night we got together with a few friends for dinner and a play. Yes, a play! Due to a lot of spawning, our friends haven't been getting out as much as they'd like to - so they got a sitter (aka Grandma) and set up an outing. We went to Maynard's in Excelsior - a first for us. They had really good food and even passed the French Onion soup test! Afterward, we caught a play at the Old Log Theater called "An Unnecessary Farce." It was an okay show, but it's title caused a bit of confusion among the group - it became a running joke the entire evening. =)

Turkey Trot

Every Thanksgiving, Elizabeth's family has a 'running' tradition of participating in the Turkey Trot. It's a nice little 5K that takes place in the streets of Eau Claire, WI. The proceeds benefit the local food shelf. It's always a fun run! This is my second year of participating though I've attended twice before that.

Afterward, we spent Thanksgiving Day with family and friends - the first holiday at her parents' new house. My folks weren't able to come up this year but I was able to talk to Mom for awhile on the phone. I had to work on Friday, but was able to break away for a late lunch with Elizabeth, her parents and the Larson clan. Allie and Will are so cute sometimes!

20 November 2008

Viva La Vida

Elizabeth and I went to see Coldplay in concert on Friday night. We ended up with terrific seats on the main floor and it was a really great performance. Here's a pic of their final set, taken with my iPhone. If only it had a zoom! ;)

Coldplay was originally scheduled to play here in July. Chris Martin was really nice about it and apologized profusely, but promised that it was worth the wait - and that they sound a lot better now than they did back then. I'd have to agree. Everything was quite showy, from the funky globes to the laser lightshow to the millions of nylon butterflies covering the crowd. It was very cool to witness it all!

05 November 2008

It's Over! Well, Almost...

This is probably my favorite time of any election year. No signs in every yard and on every corner. No dorky looking person waving as people honk. No smear campaigns or negative ads on television.


Except that Coleman and Franken are still tied in a dead heat and we now have to hear about the recount for what could possibly be several weeks?!?! Yikes...glad I'm not them!

By the way, if you didn't vote yesterday you have no right to complain about anything that happens during the next term of the candidate who won each ballot. You do, however, have the right to wear this t-shirt. :)

01 November 2008

Nice Day For A Ride

Today started out a bit chilly, but by afternoon of was nice enough to take Porter out for a couple of hours. I drove through a few local dealerships just to see what was there (something I do frequently) and I got a compliment from one of the salespeople who loved the scooter.

It's nice to hear good things while joyriding! :)

30 October 2008

New Door!

How exciting is my life that I'm proclaiming my new storm door, huh? But it is quite a nice piece of adornment on the front of our town house. My friend Keith and I put in in late Saturday afternoon with little problems. However, the vinyl retainers that lock the glass in place didn't quite want to go in - so that waited until Sunday afternoon (when it was a lot colder).

I'll add a picture to this post when I decide to take one - which will probably be this weekend. I still need to caulk around the edges where the door meets the house.

18 October 2008

No Update Needed

That's the truth, really - there really isn't all that much going on lately. I'm not complaining about that either. It's kind of nice to not have a lot of things happening. After all, the holidays are just around the corner and I need to build up my sanity storage banks. ;)

12 October 2008

It's Hot?!?!

I love the fall season with leaves turning various shades, cooler evenings and wonderful smells of a decaying summer. Today, however, is a little too warm for October - as it's 80 degrees F in my house (warmer upstairs) with all windows open. I know that I shouldn't complain, as temps will likely be below zero in a few months (maybe days), but this is ridiculous!

The only good thing about today's unseasonal warmth is that I was able to take the scooter out for about 5 hours worth of joy riding. It was great to see all the colors!

05 October 2008

26.2 - complete!

Well, the rain came back - with a vengeance! Shortly before Elizabeth got to Lake Calhoun, the clouds opened up and dumped sheets upon sheets of rain with a cold wind of 25-30 mph off the lake. It wasn't pleasant for me standing behind a tree and holding an umbrella. The Robbinsdale City Band packed it up and left. The runners got s-o-a-k-e-d! I asked the wife if getting rained on is better than running in 85-degree humid weather and she said NO!

Elizabeth did finish the marathon though, running mostly by herself and with an injured foot to boot! I'm proud of her accomplishments and was glad I was able to cheer her on. I even managed to get a couple of good pictures (taken later at 10m and 23-24m when it wasn't raining). But she's supposedly doing her own blog post, so you'll have to go see it there. =)

Rain^2 Go Away!

Today's the day of the Twin Cities Marathon -- and it's raining! The forecast says that it'll rain throughout the majority of the race. I was going to take Porter as a "seeitoldyouso" to the various points of the course and cheer on my wife who's running again this year (with an injury even!). I didn't care if I was out & about and it started to rain - but I don't much care for having it rain the entire time! Aside from the annoyance factor, it's just not very safe - and being cold and wet isn't that enjoyable.

28 September 2008

117 mpg!

On Saturday I decided to find out how long it would take me to get from home to Lake Calhoun, using only back streets since I was riding Porter (the scooter). It took about 54 minutes to get to the Caribou on Excelsior - not bad, as I had given myself an hour to get there. On the way back, Porter started to sputter and lose speed...time to switch over to the Reserve tank and find the nearest gas station!

After filling up with 3/4 gallon of premium petrol (a whopping $2.76) I calculated the gas mileage - and was quite pleased at the 117.33 mpg I received! That definitely makes the scooter a fun weekend hobby. =)

20 September 2008

Almost Packed

The wife and I are leaving town for a few days. She has a business-related trip that lands her about an hour away from my parents' farm. So, I decided to go with to keep her company on the five-hour drive - and then I'll hang out with the cows for a few days. =)

Zoot Scootin' Riot

I took my Motorcycle Permit exam yesterday morning before work, passing with flying colors. So of course, today I had to get out on the streets with Porter (the name of our '81 Honda Passport) and scoot around town...and then a few other towns as well! =)

Some things that I've forgotten since my youthful days of motorcycling:
- Bugs hurt! (even at 30 mph)
- You seem to notice the smell of car exhaust more.
- A 70cc engine does not like to get you up hills quickly.
- Your butt starts to hurt after a couple hours of riding!

All that aside, it was a lot of fun tooling around town this morning. Porter got a great break-in and filling up is very nice on the wallet, with a whopping $2.76 for .73 gallons! =)

17 September 2008

Summer in September

The weather has been absolutely terrific this week! Temperatures in the upper 70's to low 80's, warm sunny days, cool breezy nights - simply wonderful. I went for a walk after work this evening and even with shorts on it was pretty warm. Tomorrow I shall go for a ride on my scooter! *sweeet*

11 September 2008

Pendulum - "Other Side"

When we were in Italy last year with Adam & Heather, we caught some music videos on Italy's national MTV-alike called AllMusic. Every once in awhile I visit their stream on the web and see things I normally wouldn't have in my own bubble.

Check these Aussie guys out - they're pretty cool:

Hey Mom, Look!

I stumbled upon this site yesterday and thought I should share:

Passive-Aggressive (and just plain Aggressive) Notes

This kind of stuff makes me chuckle. If you go back far enough you'll find some pretty strange stuff in the land of written communication! =)

09 September 2008

Go Pack Go!

The 2008 NFL season kicked off this past weekend and I'm pleased to announce that the Green Bay Packers won their first game against the Minnesota Vikings. Yay!!! I'm really proud of my fellow fans who were at the game last night at Lambeau Field - some of them had signs that supported Aaron Rodgers (our new QB) and others that said they still love Favre. All of them, however, were cheering on the Packers the entire game. Even though I was still deathly ill, I cheered along with them - with a really hoarse voice and coughing a few times afterward.

06 September 2008

Week In Review

It has been a while since my last post, but things have been a little busy so you know how it works - yes, the blog gets pushed to the back of the pile. Anyway, Labor Day weekend was excellent! It started off with the wife and I's usual Friday night trivia outing at Majors. I met my friend Miranda for coffee the next morning for our weekly hangout at Caribou Coffee. I was going to get my Motorcycle permit but everything was closed due to the holiday weekend.

Wifey and I then headed "up north" to her sister's cabin for the weekend, both to see the cabin for the first time and to spend time with family as we celebrate her sister's birthday. We had a great time! On Sunday we went to a winery in McGregor, MN - a town that I had been to a long long time ago. It was weird seeing it again as an adult! I wanted to drive by my uncle's cabin at a nearby lake but we didn't have time and I didn't know exactly where it was. We later spent the evening at our brother-in-law's parents lake house and had a splendid dinner and great conversation.

This week, Elizabeth's Dad stayed with us for a couple of nights. He offered to make us dinner and we gladly accepted. It was nice to have him stay with us.

I'm starting to come down with a cold. Hopefully it won't get too annoying with it's scratchy throat and stuffy nose. I'm not a big fan of being sick. = P

27 August 2008

Deep Fried Spam Curds

Yesterday, my friend Heather and I went to the MN State Fair. Wifey was sleeping off an injured foot and Adam was out of town. It was a great evening, with really nice weather and decent crowds. We ate our 'fair' share of food and even went on the big yellow slide. All in all, we had a fun time at the fair!

Every year I try to get something new. This year, it was two things - a Salted Nut Roll (not from Pearson's) and Deep Fried Spam Curds! Now, that was a real treat...Spam, Cheese, Crispy Batter, with BBQ and Ranch sauce for dipping. Yum!

Heather and I finished up the evening by sampling some of the Minnesota wines. I can't remember what it was called, but it tasted good - and the musicians were covering Journey. :)

24 August 2008

WinXP SP3 - Cumulative? Not!

Yesterday I was greeting by my trusty little yellow shield next to my clock. Upon examining the details, it said that SP3 was available and wrapped all of the updates into one neat & tidy package. So I installed it...and today, the yellow shield returned with another update.

I know Microsoft lies, but c'mon - one freakin' day? Not a chance in hell I'll buy Vista...

23 August 2008

Vroom Vroom!

My scooter is once again running! Quite well, in fact. All of that rust from the tank really did a number on performance. Some of the particles were so small and looked like really fine dust - that made its way through the filter screen on the carb and settled in various collection points. After trying to acid rinse the tank myself at the recommendation of a local cycle shop, I then took it to Tank Renu - a little outfit in Shakopee. They media blasted the tank and baked on a liner. Good as (or maybe even better than) new! And for $35 it was well worth it.

I also bought new fuel lines as the old ones were getting pretty dried out and I didn't want any cracks or leaks. Instead of going with original lines, I opted for standard hose from a local auto parts store. Another $4 investment well spent.

After putting everything together, I rode around the neighborhood adjusting and tweaking until it purrs like I remember from way back in 1982 (the first time I rode it at my grandparents' house).

The license plates are in the mail, so I'll be hitting the streets very soon!

22 August 2008

A Penny Sold is A Hundred Pennies Earned

My boss took my co-worker RaeAnn and I out for lunch today to celebrate RaeAnn's birthday. On the way there, we saw this guy and his really clever business model. I wonder how he's doing...

In case you can't see the writing, it says "LUCKY PENNY - $1$"

I didn't stop to ask him about the details, but I just might do that if he's still hanging around after happy hour. =)

11 August 2008

Door County

Like I said, I didn't want to worry about blogging while in scenic Door County. It was one of the most relaxing vacation spots I've been to - and the funny thing is that both Elizabeth and I are from Wisconsin and neither of us had been there before.

We got arrived at Sister Bay around 8pm on Thursday, checked into the resort and decided to pick up food and bring it back to our condo. This was a wise move as the Mexican restaurant was packed with a long wait...not something good for two toddlers. The food was excellent!

On Friday, we started off slow and went to breakfast at the infamous Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant and Butik. The servers were dressed up in Scandinavian traditional attire and the food was splendid - well worth the 1.5 hour wait. For the afternoon, we explored the 'thumb' of Wisconsin and went all the way to the tip...just to say we were there. ;) That evening, we went further south to Egg Harbor and ate at Shipwrecked, another fine establishment. Georgia, Brian, Elizabeth and I then played mini-golf at Pirate's Cove. I got a hole-in-one!!! =)

Saturday started off with my wife's marathon training, a 14-mile run around rural Door County starting shortly after 6am. I was the clock/water stop guy with the van. I have to hand it to my wife, she's got a lot of desire to be able to run like she does! I found a cool little series on YouTube that kept me occupied. Later on Saturday, we did toured a few wineries and found some great deals on some really good wine. We also stopped by a state park to hang out at the beach, which was a lot of fun for our niece & nephew - and the rest of us who got to watch as they got extremely wet and covered in sand. Unfortunately, Elizabeth started coming down with a nasty cold - but the rest of us went to Fish Creek for a 'fish boil' - my very first. The food was once again excellent.

Elizabeth and I decided that we'll definitely go back to Door County again. We had a great time and would have loved to spend more time exploring the little towns and finding more great experiences.

10 August 2008

Chicago Trip: Day 4

Okay, so this is a wee bit delayed - but I just didn't feel like going on the Internet all that much from our resort in Door County.

On the last day of our trip to Chicago, we ate breakfast at the Hilton on Michigan Avenue. It was a really good spread of different breakfast buffet items and was quite delicious. Afterward, we went into a few shops to see some of the local touristy fare.

We then walked back to our hotel (one last time) and packed up. On the way out of town, we stopped by the American Girl Doll store at the request of the ladies - my 3-year-old niece was more interested in riding the escalator. ;) Us guys just drove around soaking in the town one more time before heading up north.

06 August 2008

Chicago Trip: Day 3

Today we started out slow as we were still recovering from yesterday. The wife and I slept in while her parents and sister went running out to Navy Pier and back. We then ate breakfast on Route 66 at Lou Mitchell's - which was a little cash-only diner not far from our hotel.

Afterward we walked over to the Sears Tower and went all the way up to the Skydeck to see what we could see - and we could see just about everything! It was a great view.

Next up was the Museum of Science and Industry, which I thought would be a lot more historical but ended up being very family & kid-friendly. I wasn't disappointed, though. We still had a great time. Especially because we took the bus there & back, with only limited walking necessary.

Tomorrow we leave this windy city of Chicago, but I look forward to our next visit - whenever that might be.

Chicago Invasion: Day 2

Today I realized that I never updated my blog with yesterday's madness, so here's the quick & dirty version. We started off the day at the Chicago Institute of Art, which had some really cool exhibits and well-known pieces like 'that one in Ferris Bueller's Day Off' and 'that one with the farmer & his wife." *grin* I know their real names and artists, but it's a lot more fun to say it in the format of Friends episodes! =)

After that, we had lunch and walked through Millennium Park - and then down to the Adler Planetarium along Lake Michigan's shoreline. Did you happen to notice that the weather was damned hot on Tuesday? It was in Chicago as well - and we pretty much withered away once all moisture evaporated from our bodies.

It was kind of late for dinner, so we tried to get in at a local pizza place - but didn't want to wait an additional 50 minutes for a table. Us guys stayed in the bar waiting for take-out while the gals & kiddies went back to the hotel. We ate (not as much as we ordered) and went straight to bed...we were completely exhausted!

04 August 2008

Invasion of Chicago

After a fun-filled day at the farm, we trekked south of the Wisconsin border into Illinois and arrived at our hotel in Chicago at around 7:30pm. It must have been a while since my last visit, as the tolls were exorbenant compared to the $.40 I remember...$1.60 for the first one and then another $.80 for the next two into town! Once at the hotel, we had dinner at the in-house pizzeria - the food was phenomenal! The service, however, was probably the worst ever...it took us 45 minutes to get our check. Another couple waited 30 minutes at their table only to find out from the staff that the place was closed - and they couldn't order. Wow!

Today we went to the Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. Both I had been to before, but it had been awhile so it was nice to revisit them. For dinner, we went to a really cool Irish Pub called Poag Mahone's that was really good. Their Monday night special was their signature 9oz burger for $2.50! Then the tornado sirens sounded and it poured cats & dogs (they evacuated Wrigley Field - poor Cubs fans!) so we hung out for awhile - and I bought a shot of Red Breast Irish Whiskey for Brian & I. Good stuff!

03 August 2008

Vacation Begins!

We began our vacation officially yesterday, packing up our things and loading the car with various items that we'll use (or might use) on our trip.

First, we traveled to my parents farm - which is always a scenic and relaxing time. We arrived just in time to go to Monroe for dinner. We ate at a little Chinese restaurant called Chopsticks *grin* and it was pretty good overall.

I spent the morning washing my classic '72 Charger and then Dad helped so I would help him with his '55 Ford pickup. After getting all the dust off, we of course had to take them for a drive around the countryside.

Today my extended family (aka "The Outlaws") will also come to the farm. My niece and nephew haven't been on a real farm yet, so it should be a good time for all. Then we'll leave for the other extreme - the Windy City of Chicago.

30 July 2008

B-Day: The Day After

Yesterday was my wife's 32nd birthday. Here's what we did to celebrate:
- Last week: Suprised her with an iPhone.
- Saturday: Went out to dinner at Melting Pot.
- Sunday: Mini b-day party at her parents, with homemade Raspberry pie. *yum*
- Sunday Night: I got her car washed.
- Tuesday: She got a gift card to Anthropologie (her favorite store).
- Tuesday Night: Went to Sonic.

Her dad says that I spoil her, which is true - but she did have a great birthday so it was worth it! =)

29 July 2008

Key Failure

So, I brought in the helmet lock of my Passport to the shop on Saturday that supposedly has the original key from a previous repair. The guy working had no idea what I was talking about, so I explained to him what was told by his manager previously. I had to leave it there until Monday so they could try to match it up - no big deal, as the tank isn't ready to be put back in yet.

I called them yesterday, and they can't find a key (my key) anywhere. So now, they will be taking my helmet lock to a locksmith to have another key made that will fit it.

The saga continues...

27 July 2008

Mahna Mahna

Sometimes I get bored and go to YouTube just to see what's there. I'm not sure exactly how I came across this, but it's one of my favorite Muppet songs of all time. This one is from The Muppet Show - enjoy!

24 July 2008

The New LokiPhone!

My wife had mentioned at one point that she was tired of her cell phone and wanted an iPhone, but they were too expensive at the time - and a good friend told us to wait until the 3G version came out.

So we did! And it looked even more enticing...so I went over to MOA after work to see if they had run out yet (third trip so far). They were out of the black 16GB version, but had several 8GB in stock - so since I figured I wouldn't get the chance beforehand, I bought one for her birthday present!

My original Razr V3 was dying a slow & painful death, so I bought one for myself too. It's a great little gadget! I'm still getting used to the new-fangled way of doing things, though.

On another unrelated topic, this is post #200 on my blog! Who would've thunk it...

20 July 2008

Stoopit Cycle Shops

I was saving this for its own post. A lot of people don't know the history of my bringing the Passport back to life. It started last summer, when my dad took it to a local shop to clean it up and get it running. It took them three months. They found mice, messed around with the carb a little (including breaking the float)...and then hooked it up to a 12-volt battery (it's a 6-volt bike) and fried just about everything in it. I then fetched it and brought it closer to home to a supposedly reputable establishment here in the cities.

I'm not sure which shop hooked the gas tank up backwards, running the Main line into the Reserve input on the fuel valve. That takes real talent - as an "O" and and "R" look about as much alike as Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum! *argh*

It took "shop #2" two months and half the bikes value in labor costs to get it running again. Which, I didn't complain about at first. It ran, after all - at least for awhile...and it's an old bike, so it was going to take some work. However, they replaced my ignition and kept my key - which also was used for the helmet lock and fork lock. Now I have to go back again so they can sort through their 25 keys until they find mine. Lame. They were also supposed to fix all the wiring damage from the mice and clean out the rust from the gas tank, which either didn't happen or they just overlooked a LOT of it. Also, a rubber gasket for the carb was broke by the shop and they fixed it with some silicone sealant. Sorry, but if I'm paying you $70/hour in labor you'd better be using original parts and fixing what you break for free!

My rant is done now. If I end up taking the bike to a shop again, it'll go somewhere else. I only took it in because I didn't want to spend the time on it. I really enjoyed getting my hands dirty this weekend and had a great time - even though I'm really sore today from contorting myself for six hours. ;)

Apart Again

Today I was planning on taking apart the Passport to find out why the thing wouldn't run. After sleeping in until 9am, then putzing for an hour, I finally got around to it. First task was cleaning out the gas lines and installing an in-line fuel filter. Easy!

That done, I started the daunting task of taking out the gas tank (it's under the seat) and figuring out how to "derustify" it. After sitting for 25 years, the 1/2 tank of gasoline rusted the inside of the gas tank - leaving tiny pieces of rust floating in the fuel. I had previously consulted a local Honda dealer, and they said to use this 2-step solution to remove the rust chemically. The tank is currently soaking overnight - hopefully it'll work as intended, because it's about $150 to take it someplace and blast the inside of the tank out.

Then I took off the carburetor and cleaned out all the rust deposits. Did I mention it's really handy to have an air compressor? It is! I then taped up some exposed wiring (thanks to little mice who made this bike their home over the years) and put everything back together, minus the tank.

11 July 2008

It's Official!

After dropping the wife off at work this morning, I went to the DMV to get a title and license for my 1981 Honda Passport. I spent quite a bit of time going through all the necessary paperwork with the clerk but it paid off. It's now officially registered in the state of MN!

I went "all out" by choosing personalized classic motorcycle plates and putting it in the collector class as well. By the time I'm done restoring it, I'll probably have invested the same amount as what it's worth...but hopefully less. ;)

Now all I have to do is take my motorcyle drivers permit exam and I can drive it - once I get it running again, anyway.

10 July 2008

Extended Weekend

Work wasn't as bad as I thought it would be after a Holiday weekend, but that could be because I have another extended weekend starting tomorrow! The wife and I are meeting our family way up on the North Shore of Lake Superior. We'll be staying at the Naniboujou Lodge, plus taking in some scenery along the Gunflint Trail. I'm looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend.

06 July 2008

27 Years & Still The Same

Partially just to say that "I had four posts in one day!" for the nay-sayers, but more just to rant - I found this ad on the Internet while looking for something else one day and never got around to posting about it. Please note the EPA City/Hwy gas mileage rating in the lower-left corner, which reads 22/29.

That was bragging rights way back in 1981. However, this is for the AMC Eagle SX/4 - the sporty model that had an AWD setup and a four cylinder engine. It has no ABS, no ESP, no airbags even. But it still got decent gas mileage when the average price was $1.38/gallon.

So what, tell me, has the auto industry been doing for 27 years? Sure - we have safer and more reliable transportation than we did back in '81. We also have a LOT more power under the hood. However, my latest car (2008 Jetta Wolfsburg 2.0T) gets the same gas mileage as a 1981 AMC Eagle that supposedly drove in the 4th Dimension (as the ad states). The majority of I4 and V6 cars on the road today do as well.

You would think that Legislation and the auto industry could have spent just as much time & effort on fuel efficiency as they did on safety measures and horsepower. I'll get off my soapbox now...

Taste of Minnesota... *yuk*

On the way back from the cottage we stopped in at the Taste Of Minnesota - the local Twin Cities 4th of July celebration. We didn't like it - as usual. Not sure why we did it, not sure what we were thinking! I did want to catch the fireworks, but we didn't do that either. Large groups of drunk people can be annoying when you're sober! Maybe I'm getting old, or maybe it's just that my preferences have changed to something a little less chaotic.

Not to mention that I'm still peeved of the event's name - I'm not sure how they can pass it off, actually. Taste of MN? Not hardly...more like a taste of the MN State Fair but way more expensive.

Independence Weekend

For the 4th of July Weekend, the wife and I headed up to her family's cottage on the lake. This has been a family tradition for several years now and it's always a fun time. Her parents invite friends from their hometown of Eau Claire plus the usual family suspects. Good wine, great food and fun games for all - including Bingo! (with prizes, too!)

Going Commercial

Every once in awhile I attend the weekly "Guys Night" get-together with Adam & Friends. We have a geeky ol' time, playing video games old and new, watching a movie or just getting some good food & drink. Last week it was at Adams, and they had a collection of video game commercials playing from the 70's/80's. Hilarious! I remembered a lot of them, but what was even more interesting was some of the music they played in the background - very New Wave, very Rock-n-Roll, or just bleeps and blips. Some of the actors were famous later in life, too.

27 June 2008

Back to the 50's

This past weekend my parents came up for a visit. I made it worth their while by scheduling it for the Back to the 50's weekend, as my dad has always been a car nut and mom has taken an interest as well. We spent the majority of the day on Saturday looking at old classics, hot rods and custom kit-cars. There was also an auction so we could see what our favorites were going for. We had a great time!

18 June 2008

The Brick Testament

Every once in awhile someone really cool throws something my way. This time the Moose Call Queen of M'waukee tells me of The Brick Testament - where someone with a LOT of time on their hands illustrates sections of the Bible with LEGO people. The wife told me that they're not really the most common stories either, which makes it even more interesting. Thanks, Karen! =)

17 June 2008

Summer: Free Time Not Included

Isn't summer supposed to be when you relax, have fun and spend a lot of time doing whatever you want? Instead it seems that everything gets jam-packed into whatever free time you have left. How I miss my childhood days when there wasn't any agenda...between work and the majority of our weekends being filled, I'm almost wishing it was winter again!

11 June 2008

LEGO Indiana Jones

Last week I picked up a new video game. I am not, by any means, an avid gamer - however, I do like wasting time with interesting distractions from time to time. When the LEGO Star Wars (and LSWII) came out, they were interesting enough to spend hours at a time in front of the LCD screen so I figured this would be as well. It was! I already finished the first episode in just a few days of playing, though I do need to go back and do it all over again with various characters in Free Play.

08 June 2008

Magical Layout

I have nothing exciting to say, so I'll just not that for some reason my blog title "magically" started being listed twice. Look to the left - see? If it's not duplicated, it means I fixed it already.

27 May 2008

Last Week In Review

Last week was really really busy! Elizabeth and I helped her parents move (thanks to Keith for letting us borrow the pickup), we had our annual Lawn Bowling fundraiser at work, the American Idol finale took place (way to go, DC!), my best friend from college came into town, and then he and I left for Memorial Weekend to go fishing (2nd year of not catching any) north of the Twin Cities with friends. *whew*

I'm glad that I can now relax a little - except the wife told me that we have something going on almost every weekend in June & July. Yikes!

17 May 2008

Random Entry

I just stubbed my toe on the computer desk. Ouch!

13 May 2008

Three Remain...For Now!

So tonight was the competition of the "big three" in American Idol. Here's my unbiased opinion:
- Archuleta: First song (Billy Joel) was great, songs 2 & 3 were crap.
- Syesha: Alicia Keys song was okay but the other two? Oh my...get that suitcase.
- Cook: Great job on Roberta Flack, ehhh with Switchfoot, awesome on Aerosmith!

Now, before anyone throws a fit - I never liked the Switchfoot song "Dare You To Move" anyway, and it wasn't the best song to squeeze into 90 seconds. Archuleta's version of "And So It Goes" (picked by Paula?!) wasn't OMG but he did a great job with it. The producers chose "I Don't Want to Miss a Thing" for Cook and the songwriter (Diane Warren) was in the audience, loving what she was hearing. From tonight's performances, I'm guessing it will come to "The Battle of the Two Davids" ...and may the best Cook win?!?!

11 May 2008

Passport Agony

As some of you may know I acquired my grandfather's 1981 Honda Passport last fall. It's not an SUV, but a 70cc motorcycle (think scooter engine in a bigger frame - a Vespa on steroids) - anyway, it cost me an arm and a leg to get the dang thing running after 25 years of sitting in g-pa's damp garage.

I put it away last fall the day it dropped below freezing. The turn signals didn't work either, but I didn't care - I'd worry about it when it was warm enough to ride it. So when I fired it up this spring it made it all the way to the corner and died...and wouldn't run for longer than 5 seconds. I walked it back to the garage as Wifey passed me in her car. I was PISSED! I even thought about selling it or putting it back in the damp garage - even called about buying a different one from some guy on Craigslist.

Yesterday, I decided to figure out what was wrong with it - so I started it up and it ran fine. I drove it around the neighborhood, shut it off, started it again and it never died on me. I went to visit our friends down the street, parked it in their driveway and came back out - it started right up.

I think it got scared... ;)

03 May 2008

May Day ^2

So, today is May Day - but it sure doesn't feel like it! It was chilly and windy when I went out to meet my friend for coffee this morning. Back at home, I'm on the 2nd floor where I'm usually warm if not too warm...and I've been chilly the entire time.

It's MAY people...even in Minnesota it's supposed to be warm. What the...?!?!

21 April 2008


This is just plain weird. Cool, but weird...

16 April 2008

Refreshed & Relaxed

The wife and I made it back late last night from our vacation in Mexico. We had a great time relaxing by the pool, splashing in the ocean, soaking up some rays (too many for me) and going on a tour of Chichen Itza. The resort we stayed at on the Mayan Riviera was Barcelo, in which we stayed at the newest addition called Maya Palace. They had great amenities and really good food and drinks. The service was good, but mixed depending on where you went. Nothing terrible, though - as we're pretty laid back. All in all it was a good five days of much needed lounging. Now it's time to get back to reality!

08 April 2008

Wifey Rocks!

In case you haven't heard, my wife has been offered a job with a publishing company in downtown Minneapolis! Way to go, sweetie! =) She's really excited and is happy to be moving on from her life (literally) at the YMCA. And since we'll be working similar hours, Elizabeth can start hanging out with us cool kids on the LRT! The occasional lunch and happy hour will also be much easier for us to accomplish with only three blocks between us. =)

Congratulations, Wifey! Your family and friends are proud of you!

06 April 2008

Heartfelt Passion or Lollipop?

My friend Miranda and I met for coffee on Saturday and got into the topic of automotive logos. She said that she really liked her Mazda logo on her CX-7, but that her husband's car was an older Mazda with a logo that looked really strange. The logo is shown on the right. It's a 2nd-generation logo that shows a flame inside of a sun, representing heartfelt passion. Miranda thought it looked more like a lollipop. Since the car was pretty beat up, we thought it would be better to call it a sucker. =)

27 March 2008

Farewell to Jeeves

Well, I've decided to retire from Camp Jeep and go with something that gets more than 16mpg around town. Wifey and I will pick up our brand-spanking-new 2008 Jetta Wolfsburg 2.0T this Saturday. Yes, that makes us a 2-Jetta family...but that's okay. The two are similar in name only. This car literally rockets down the road, so I can't wait to have something sporty and fun to drive again. Now to find that winding country road...

Since it was Elizabeth's turn to get a new car next she'll decide whether she wants to give up her 2003 Jetta (aka "Red") or take the new one. We also have to figure out our new car's name. I have a few suggestions, but Wifey said we have to wait until we experience the car a little more first.

16 March 2008

What I Saw

On our way home from the Outlaws in Brooklyn Park, I spotted a silver minivan. With a Def Leppard sticker on the tailgate. And no, this was not some beat-up clunker used by teenagers...this was a real minivan with a real family inside! It was kinda freaky...

14 March 2008

The Bicyclists

Today after work I went out to Happy Hour with my friends Jason and Anneka plus a few of their friends (Jason, Justin, and Bjorn). I refer to them as The Bicyclists. They're as geeky and techie (if not more) about self-propelled two-wheelers as some tekkies are about computers. I also brought Drew, a friend & co-worker with me to witness the phenomenon and he definitely agrees. Aside from the bike stuff, they're a pretty funny group of individuals. I always enjoy an evening with them!

08 March 2008

Proposition 3-17: Sign The Petition!

I'm not Irish, but I am Norwegian...and my ancestors could have been Vikings and helped create the Irish heritage. But anyway, I really like the St. Patrick's Day holiday (and I love Guinness) - why not make it official?

Sign the petition to make it an official holiday. Just do it, already...stop arguing!

Spring Is In The Air?!?!

Don't get me wrong - I love living in the upper Midwest where we actually get all four seasons. I'm a big fan of huge amounts of snow, downhill skiing, making snowmen and forts in the yard (yes, even as an adult). However, this winter we've had more than our fair share of frigid cold snaps - I think we're up to 6 of them. Usually we have 1 or 2, and although it's unpleasant it usually doesn't bother me.

I'm now fed up with this cold weather. No, I'm not talking about 20-30 degrees -- I'm referring to the -2 reading on the Jeep after pulling out of the garage yesterday to go to work. It's -2 again right now, and I shouldn't be saying this in March...these are January terms.

01 March 2008

Back to Normal

I think I finally kicked the bug out of my system this week. However, my lungs are still gurgly and it makes for some interesting noises. Wifey says that I sound like Darth Vader. I don't think so, because his mechanical lung didn't have a bunch of goo lodged in it. Sounds completely different. =)

24 February 2008

Sick of it already

I've been sick since Thursday. I hate being sick. I'm tired of being tired. Aside from the miraculous Friday spent sleeping, I haven't been able to sleep during the day at all - not a wink. This doesn't bother me if I'm well, because I don't nap...but I'm not well...so dammit, let me sleep more! *argh* I'll stop whining now...

22 February 2008

Boring Week

It's that time of the year where nothing really exciting happens. Holidays are over, my birthday has passed, now it's time to just hang out and wait for spring to arrive. I caught some kind of cold/flu bug and took the day off work. Good thing, too, since I spent the majority of it sleeping. I can't remember the last time I slept that much - I'm a wreck! ;)

17 February 2008

Birthday Weekend

Well, today's my birthday - and we celebrated this weekend with an array of going out, shopping and whatnot. On Saturday, we went to Dave & Buster's - which is a restaurant/arcade very similar to GameWorks. The food was pretty good, but the arcade was just ehhh - plus the games were in competition with the music, and then the hostess had to mic over everything. Just plain loud (and no, it's not because I'm too old).

Today, I was one step ahead of my parents by waking up before they called. After wifey woke up, we went to Original Pancake House for some breakfast. Then it was off to look at new cell phones, as the battery in mine is starting to lose it's ability to retain power. No such luck, however - none of the phones really screamed "buy me now" except the iPhone...or too expensive. We then went to Best Buy, where I bought my first video game in two years. *heh* After some debating, we ended up spending the evening watching Ocean's Thirteen, eating bacon cheeseburger pizza and finishing off with cake baked lovingly by Elizabeth.

All in all, it was a good birthday. I think I should have taken tomorrow off from work - but maybe I'll do that next year. =)

It's Meez!

Meez 3D avatar avatars games
This avatar creation site is pretty cool and allows you to keep multiple 'versions' of yourself in an album (think different locations, wardrobe, etc.), plus a closet to save your favorite items. Not too shabby!

14 February 2008

La Belle Vie

To celebrate Valentine's Day, Elizabeth and I always try to go someplace new that neither of us had been to previously. Our first one was Luci Ancora, then 128 Cafe, followed by Forepaugh's and this year we gave La Belle Vie a go. The restaurant was originally in Stillwater but moved in at the 510 Building in Minneapolis, conveniently placed across from the Walker Art Center. We had an eight-course menu, some of which were delicious and some were a little too French for our palette. But that's okay, we had a great time nonetheless. The deserts were to. die. for. It was a good pick on wifey's behalf! =)

11 February 2008

I'm Certifiable!

Today, I learned that I passed my ITIL Foundations v3 Exam and am therefore officially ITIL Certified. Way cool!

10 February 2008

Ski Trip

Last Thursday, my friends, their kids and I trekked up to Biwabik for our annual ski trip. We were supposed to be in the villa that my friends stayed at 2 years ago, but we got put into a lesser model. That was kind of a bummer, but we made due with the different layout.

I caught a cold on Tuesday, so I was a little out of it and only hit the slopes on Friday. I would have skied Saturday, too, but after two nights of being up until midnight and getting woke up at 5am by screaming toddlers I was too tired to move much. Plus, I was a little sore from taking a digger after my left ski caught an edge...I have scrapes, scratches and bruises to prove I was there!

The weather on Saturday turned bitter cold, so it was a good thing I didn't go out. It was cold enough going to put gas in the Jeep, but nice to get out and do something anyway. It also helped with starting it up this morning (2 of 5 didn't without assistance). I didn't realize how cold it was until I saw it read -24 degrees on the thermometer...yikes!

Overall, it was a good weekend - but next year I think I'll stay somewhere separate from the little tikes. Too much noise, drama, and distraction.

03 February 2008

Super Bowl Giants

Good job, NYG ...good job! The Giants really deserved their win over the Patriots. They played their heart out and got things done. Sorry Tom Brady, maybe next year your team will make it far enough to play for another ring against the PACKERS! =)

Early Birthday Present

My wife is way-cool and gave me an early birthday present! She bought tickets to the Matchbox Twenty / Alanis Morrissette concert on Monday night. I've always wanted to see Matchbox Twenty, so this is a pleasant surprise for my birthday!

02 February 2008

The Sample Room

Last weekend, Wifey and I decided to try someplace new for a night out. We ended up deciding on The Sample Room. It's a nice little neighborhood establishment in NE Minneapolis that features flights of wine and tiny little portions of freshly-made delicacies. Think tapas, only less of a Spanish fare. You get to choose a cheese, meat, seafood and vegetable plate from about 3-4 varieties each. It was really really good, and is on our 'go there again' list.

31 January 2008

CD's Untimely Demise

Apparently the compact disc (CD) has been pronounced dead. It was only 25 years old! I'm not sure what that means for those who, like myself, have several hundred of them displayed prominently in our homes. Should we have a visitation (my media is not Catholic) so loved ones can get one last glimpse? What about a burial? Funeral Pyre?

Why wasn't this covered on the news earlier?
How come we're only finding out about it now?!?!

Rest In Peace, beloved shiny object of musical glory.
Compact Disc (1982-2007)

29 January 2008

I survived!

Last week, I had the "opportunity" to attend an after-work training class for ITIL Foundations certification. The class started at 16:30 and lasted 4-5 hours each weeknight. This was on top of an already packed 40+ hour work week.

So that's why there have been no witty posts lately. My brain went dead, but I somehow came out of it alive...and in 4-6 weeks I'll have the results on whether or not it was worth my time. *heh*

20 January 2008

Better Luck Next Year

Well, the Packers made a great attempt but didn't quite make it. The NY Giants won by a field goal in OT, so hopefully Eli can get his ring after all. However, part of me would like to see the Patriots have an undefeated season. Two weeks will tell.

19 January 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

Upon arriving at Caribou Coffee this morning, I checked the on-board thermometer in Jeeves (my Jeep Liberty). This is what it said:

...I almost didn't want to get out! =)

13 January 2008

Bring On The Giants!

It started out pretty darn awful, but turned into one of the best games ever for our favorite NFL team. An extra bonus of a gorgeous snowstorm made things even that much better...

Not only did the beloved Green Bay Packers win against Seattle, but the New York Giants played a great game and beat the Dallas Cowboys! That means that the NFC Championship Game will be held at good ol' Lambeau Field...and Elizabeth and I are really ecstatic! *wooHOO* Go Pack Go! =)

08 January 2008

Ever wonder...

...what would happen if you were to Google a simple word (like 'huh') and click the "I'm feeling lucky" button? Something really hilarious, that's what!


(check out their technology affiliate, too!)

04 January 2008

New & Improved!

It's the new year! A chance to start over, to forget one's past mistakes, to give the bum on the corner a quarter, to turn over a new snowball, etc. etc. etc...


It's really not that different, to be honest. I just notice it more because I often forget to add +1 to the last digit of the date field when signing, typing, whatever. =)