it20040428 - Wednesday
94 degrees in Minneapolis today. I'm sure everyone else loves this.
Me, I need a car with an air conditioner.
94 degrees in Minneapolis today. I'm sure everyone else loves this.
Me, I need a car with an air conditioner.
Radio K's traffic report started in an unexpected fashion this morning: "In his continuing quest to find weapons of mass destruction, President Bush comes to Minneapolis today. Actually, he's mainly coming to Edina. Edina? I would've guessed Eden Prairie. Anyway, that means they're going to be closing roads, although we don't know which ones yet. Probably 62, maybe Hiawatha, maybe 35W, maybe Nicollet."
The answer, as it turned out, was 62 and 35W. I never thought they'd actually shut down one of the busiest freeways in Minnesota, even for the president. (If I had, I probably would've taken Hiawatha instead.) Still, I have to admit there was something spectacular about the empty northbound lanes on 35W. No traffic at 3:00 a.m. on a weekend is one thing. No traffic at 9:00 a.m. on a weekday is quite another.
I tried taking some photos through my moonroof as the president's motorcade passed, but the best I was able to get was one of the numerous white vans traveling in the convoy.
Talked to Robin for a couple of hours this evening. In exchange for some half-assed digital camera advice, I got some good leads on new music, as well as a moderately stern warning not to buy another Saab.
2:09 a.m. I'm giving myself 20 minutes.
Ben and Lisa's housewarming was fun. They probably had 40 people rotate through their house over the course of the evening, and there were many interesting (and mostly liberal) conversations to take part in. The jam session in the basement was pretty cool, too, although I now understand why Ben is planning on building a sound enclosure down there.
The photo above is a bit misleading as it was taken after the crowd started to clear out. About an hour before, even attempting to enter the living room would've been an exercise in futility. As it happened, overflow crowds stuck to the kitchen or the guinea pig room. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
For what it's worth, karaoke and Kentucky Fried Movie did not make an appearance.
In other news, Ben and Lisa's house is kind of fascinating. A modest prefab built shortly after the war, it's a model of efficient construction taken to the extreme. (Or, at least, it was.) Most of the building was originally put together off-site, and the house makes no reservations about displaying its neatly tucked seams and connections. Still, it manages to be very comfortable and, well, homey. (Homey in a good way, not the buck-toothed central-North-Dakota way.) While some would probably find such obvious construction methods a bit alienating, in this case they seemed to lend an extra level of character to the house. Overall, quite spiffy.
I could go off on a tangent about the unusual construction of the floor beams, but that would probably bore everyone to death.
"So what did you go to the U of M for?"
"Really. I wanted to do that, but I was really bad at math."
"The last math course I took was in high school."
A new one for the quote book, from Lisa around 1:00 in the morning: "Nobody ate my Blow-Pops." Nor the Tootsie Rolls, but that's a different entry.
A busy work week ends, a busy weekend begins.
That's not a bad thing, of course. Tomorrow I head to Madison for Ben and Lisa's housewarming party. It'll be good to see them, although I find myself wishing I had my new camera for the trip: Any party containing a home tour, a drum set, Kentucky Fried Movie, karaoke and a number of guinea pigs holds the potential for a lot of interesting photo opportunities.
Ah well. 'Tis not to be.
On a slightly related note, I spent a lot of time over the past few days making a mix CD for Ben, something I've owed him since he sent me a similar CD early last year. This turned out to be rather difficult for a couple of reasons: One, Ben is very particular about music, so it was quite a challenge to find artists he may like. Two, my CD burner apparently hates me. Over the course of two nights, it took me seven hours, four programs and 12 CDs to get one good copy. (Eventual success was achieved with Winamp 5 running at 1x speed. The burn lasted 45 minutes.) I love Ben like a brother, but considering the amount of time this project took, I kind of wish the CD was intended for some hot, single neighbor girl.
Maybe kind of nerdy. With glasses.
Did I mention it feels like Spring in Minneapolis? It does. But you probably knew that already.
When I headed out for my evening walk last night I didn't expect to end up getting a straight-on beaver flash in a Perkins north of St. Paul, but, you know, sometimes that's just how things work out.
These are words the probably don't go together all that often, but yesterday brought a fun evening in Maplewood. Rich was doing a show at the Minnesota Comedy Club, so Jason, Heather, Heather's parents and I all joined up to see him perform. The show itself was kind of brutal—the crowd was small and there was a group in front that didn't understand that it wasn't supposed to be interactive—but it was still good to see everyone. As usual, Rich's set was pretty good, although the majority of his jokes seemed to fly over the heads of most in the crowd.
After the show I took the opportunity to frame Jason and Heather between bottles of Grain Belt:
Before heading to Maplewood to see Rich perform, I met Jason for dinner at the Chipotle in Woodbury. It was 6:30 on a Friday evening.
"There's a line," I said.
"You want to go somewhere else?"
"No, this is fine. I'm just surprised there's a line."
"This happens a lot."
"Wow. You know what this says to me? Woodbury is owed some more dining experiences."
"You should see it at lunch time. There can be 75 people in line."
"Wow. Hey, you know who owns Chipotle?"
"Oh, now why did you have to tell me that? I like Chipotle."
"So, you have any vacations planned?"
"Nothing specific. I'd like to get out to San Diego to visit my brother sometime."
"Have you been there before?"
"Nope. Largest city in the U.S. I haven't been to."
"You know, you're the only person I know who'd have an answer like that."
Tonight is the night I traditionally head down to the post office to photograph the hordes of procrastinators rushing to drop off their taxes. However, as my camera is permanently stuck on a setting suited best for extremely bright sunlight, I decided not to bother.
No progress on the delivery of the D70. I'd been hoping to have it for Rich's show at the Minnesota Comedy Club tomorrow night, but it looks like that isn't going to happen.
She started laughing the moment she saw me.
"You got a haircut."
"I'm ignoring you now."
"Oh, I'm just teasing you. It's not that bad."
"I don't have any hair left on the side of my head."
"Really, you look okay with short hair. No one's mentioned it?"
"I've gotten compliments."
"See, there you go."
"All from guys."
"Oh. Get a real stylist, Mark."
For the first time in weeks there have been positive developments in the Metro Transit strike. A tentative agreement reached this morning could have the buses up and running by the weekend. While that's great news, a couple of sentences in a StarTribune article just beg for clarification:
The strike has nonetheless had some unintended positive affects: The lack of buses on Nicollet Mall probably will prompt city officials to press for a permanent bus ban on the mall.
Uh, what? That makes absolutely no sense. One of the main reasons Nicollet Mall is such a great urban space—arguably the best public space in downtown Minneapolis—is because of the pedestrian traffic brought there by mass transit. I mean, they already got rid of the bicyclists. Remove the buses and they might as well rename it Nicollet Taxiway.
I love this city. I hate this city. Repeat.
An exchange between Al Franken and Jon Stewart on The O'Franken Factor pretty much summed up my concerns about our current president.
Stewart: "It's not ignorance, it's if you already know the answer, why ask a question. He's sure. He has certitude. He has what faith gives you, that other people who don't have faith can't understand."
Franken: "But that isn't mutually exclusive. You can be ignorant and be sure of your answer, and that is the most dangerous.... He is the most..."
Stewart: "Do you remember 'The Perfect Storm', the movie The Perfect Storm? He is a great leader in the way George Clooney is a great leader. Basically, he looked at the data and went 'Oh my God, this is the Storm of the century.' 'Gee, Cap, maybe we should turn back?' 'No, we will stay the course.' He is a wonderful leader who doesn't let facts or changing situations adapt his point of view.'"
I'd probably be much more receptive to religious holidays if the grocery stores didn't close for them.
Any day that starts with a power outage and a dead alarm clock is doomed to be a bad one.
"Mark, what the hell?"
"You're drinking Diet Coke."
"Yup. With Lime."
"I thought you didn't like diet pop."
"I don't, but this is pretty good."
"It's not like Diet Coke with Lemon. That crap tastes like Pledge."
"Not that I know what Pledge tastes like. I figure if I replace half of my daily soda intake with a diet soda I can cut three to four hundred calories a day right there."
"Eh, not really my thing. Besides, the good stuff is too expensive."
"You know, that crap you're drinking has Nutrasweet in it."
"Yeah, so? I'm already half blind anyway."
"Your body converts it formaldehyde."
"Dammit, I'm trying to eat here."
Somewhere between Minneapolis and a factory in Thailand there's a new Nikon D70 with my name on it. I find myself borderline giddy with anticipation.
That said, I just spent enough money to cover about 20 percent of a certified Saturn L200, but I'm going to try to ignore that for the time being. Besides, the new camera will be a better mental investment than a new car could ever be.
Speaking of cars, the friend who took the '91 Saab off my hands hasn't managed to get the stupid thing running yet. I'll post more updates on this as the situation warrants it.
Sorry about the week of radio silence. The past few days have been exceedingly hectic. A lot has been going on, but not much I can talk about.
Talked to (Madison) Ben for a good two hours yesterday. Despite not liking the Twin Cities all that much when he lived here, he still seemed downright surprised when I talked to him about how bad things are getting. I eventually started complaining about public transportation, of course, especially on how the current administration seems intent on prolonging the dreadful bus strike we're suffering through.
And then there's the Taxpayers League of Minnesota. This is a group of right-wing wackos—do not mistake them for Republicans—who's response to the bus strike was to suggest getting rid of mass transit and subsidizing car-ownership. No, I'm not making that up. Their reason for thinking mass transit isn't necessary? David Strom, president of the League, was on MPR a few days ago, and his main argument was that "transit doesn't reduce congestion."
Wow. It's hard to imagine how arrogant someone has to be to think the only purpose of public transportation is to make their drive down the freeway easier. Yo, fuckwits: It's not about congestion. It never was, and your efforts to frame it that way don't make it so. It's about providing multiple ways for people to get to work, to go to school, to get the groceries. But, then again, it's not like we should expect much from the Taxpayers League. After all, this is a group that put up billboards decrying light rail as "social engineering", and then, without a hint of irony, issued press releases telling people the one and only method of transportation they should be using: Cars, preferably on wide slabs of concrete that destroy the formerly-livable communities they cut through.
I love Minneapolis, I really do, but sometimes I think this entire area is screwed.
Of September 11th's dead, as many as one in six of those from the North Tower of the World Trade Center may have died from jumping.
in transit—a lame attempt at a homepage since 1996—is a service of Mark Danielson and nonlocality.com.
© 1996-2005 by Mark Danielson. All rights reserved unless specifically noted.