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Journal for 27 November 2006: Thanksgiving Wrap-Up


Well, other than a ridiculous episode involving Lisa’s car getting towed for a hit-and-run neither she nor her car was involved in, it was a pretty good holiday weekend. Important matters forced us to delay Thanksgiving with my folks, so we went and celebrated the holiday at Lisa’s grandma’s in Wausau instead. With a few days to burn after that, we decided to head down to Madison, where activities ranged from moviegoing to strolling along a relatively-vacant State Street to dealing with a West Highland Terrier with diarrhea. I got to see Robin and Andy on Saturday–Lisa regrettably was feeling a bit under the weather that evening–and found, to no great deal of surprise, that Andy had put up the most precisely-placed Christmas lights in their neighborhood.

Beyond that, not much else to report. I guess I’m writing again.


Useless trivia for the holiday:

  • Number of cops seen between Hudson and Wausau: 0.
  • Number of dead deer encountered along the same stretch: 11.
Posted in Journal,Travelog at 11:42 pm

Journal for 21 November 2006


As of today, I’m a 31-year-old man with braces.  I’ll have metal in my teeth for at least 20 months, and if today was any indication, they’re going to be long ones.  To start, my first attempt at eating this afternoon turned out to be somewhat ill-advised:  I went into the cafeteria looking for something non-crunchy, and settled on spaghetti.  By the time I was done I had enough food stuck in my teeth to feed a small African country.  I’ll have to work on my eating technique, I guess.

I wish I could say this morning’s trip to the orthodontist was uneventful, but it wasn’t.  There was some problem with the cement used to glue the braces to my teeth, and the brackets on the upper row kept popping off.  Eventually they gave up, took off the entire top row and started over.  “Just think of this as a preview of what we’ll be doing two years from now!”  Ha.  “Doctor, do we charge extra for this service?”  Ha ha.  Funny.  Seriously, what makes people think they should be comedians when their only audience is stuck partially-inverted on a chair with his or her mouth clamped open?

The orthodontist himself did all the work the second time around, leading to jokes throughout the office that it was good for him to get some practice and stay fresh.  In all, my appointment went well over an hour longer than expected, leading to a number of fire drills back at the office.

Who knows.  Maybe I shouldn’t have gone to work at all.  Having removed the food for Gambia by simply rinsing after lunch, I headed off to brush my teeth and instead of removing more food took out a couple brackets.  And so it was back to the orthodontist, leaving the day pretty much wasted.

I had oatmeal for dinner, and I suppose it’ll take me a few more weeks to learn how to eat with these things.  It’s spectacular timing, really, considering Thanksgiving is Thursday.  It’ll be interesting to see how that goes.

Posted in Journal at 11:13 pm

The Flames of Democracy Shall Burn All Sinners


The Good

The Bad

The Ugly

Posted in Journal at 11:08 pm

FoodLog: Breakfast at Hell’s Kitchen


Sunday brought the opportunity to try out the highly-regarded Hell’s Kitchen in downtown Minneapolis. Robin, Andy, Michelle and Dwight met us down there, and after about 45 minutes of waiting we were able to get a table. Regrettably, long lines aren’t necessarily a sign of high quality in the Cities, and the visit to Hell’s kitchen seemed to support that. Granted, my food wasn’t bad, per se, but it wasn’t the mean breakfast I’d been hoping for. The best I could say about it right now is it’s kind of like the Uptown or Sunnyside minus the grease, and with clean floors. Now, that’s definitely better than the standard around here, but I’m not sure it’s worth a $95 bill for six people, an amount that could’ve brought a damn good breakfast at the French Meadow.

I’m not saying we won’t try Hell’s Kitchen again, either–I’m sure we will, and I’ll try to get around the menu somewhat. (I had the Hell’s Breakfast Stir-Fry, Lisa the homemade yogurt. I tried both and neither were that great.) But, for now, it doesn’t seem to be anything special.

Posted in FoodLog at 11:45 pm

Journal for 6 November 2006: Turkey and the New Guthrie


Well, it was a pretty busy weekend. Saturday brought the seventh edition of our annual Turkey Party. Despite a number of people having to pull out at the last moment, we had a pretty good crowd show up, enough that there wasn’t enough turkey to go around. (Robin and Andy and Michelle and Dwight trekked up from Madison, which was really cool.) There was a lot of alcohol consumed, but somehow we still had a net gain in bottles of wine by the time the party was over. We also found a bagged 40 of malt liquor behind the couch, which I suppose helps illustrate the group that helped close the night out.

Anyway, to paraphrase the free bi-weekly newspaper I used to work for, a good time was had by all. Or, at least, that’s what everyone told me.


Sunday night brought Lisa and my first visit to the Guthrie. She was able to snag a couple of tickets to Lost in Younkers through her job; we ended up in the very back row of the balcony, but, hey, free tickets are free tickets. I’d never seen Lost in Younkers before, and I really enjoyed it. The acting was strong throughout, and the set design was pretty clever. (I could complain about a clap-happy audience that felt the need to applaud every time the lights started to dim, but that wasn’t the show’s fault.) The show is going for only one more week, but if you’re up for seeing a play at the new Guthrie, I’d highly recommend it.

Speaking of the theatre itself, the new Guthrie is great. (I’m sure I’ll write about it over on LSTC in the near future.) While the building can be a bit clumsy in places on the outside, inside it is modern, sleek and sexy. The Wurtele Thrust Stage seems exceedingly similar to the old Guthrie stage over on Vineland, and that can only be a good thing. I have to say, though, the new theatre doesn’t seem quite as intimate as the old one. I’m not sure why that is.

As good as the play the building happened to be, our evening was marred a service train wreck at the Guthrie’s new restaurant, Cue, where we met a couple of friends for light drinks and snacks before the show. The restaurant is as gorgeous as anything else in the building, and our initial service was quick and courteous. We only had an hour before we had to take our seats, and the server gave us recommendations as to what we could have and still get out with a comfortable padding of time. We ordered drinks and the cheese platter, which then arrived promptly (along with a complimentary salmon appetizer) in a flurry of eight different servers. The cheese tray was very good, and we enjoyed a half hour of friendly conversation.

And then things… Changed. There must have been a handoff between servers somewhere, and the new one didn’t know that we were trying to make a show. It took us a while to get our bill, long enough that others had started to get nervous, and I, almost always the first to come unhinged, was basically flipping out. When our bill did come, it was only for the cheese tray, not the drinks. In good-Minnesotan fashion, we pointed this out, and hence were penalized with another delay that took us up to five minutes before showtime. We made the show–barely–but I’m pissed we had to go through contortions to do it.

But, as I said, the play was very good, and that’s what really mattered. We may try Cue again, just sometime we have a couple of hours to burn.

Posted in FoodLog,Journal at 11:19 pm

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