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FoodLog: Dinner at Duplex


As I mentioned last week, Lisa and I finally assembled the necessary infrastructure for us to begin going on dates again, and I wanted to briefly mention our dinner at Duplex, our second visit there in as many years. It could basically be summed up by four data points, three positive, one negative. The good:

  • Good food. While some dishes were better than others, with one exception Lisa and I didn’t have anything bad at Duplex. The squash soup I ordered was probably a bit better than the carrot ginger soup Lisa picked out, although both were enjoyable. (Lisa’s soup may have been just a bit too heavy on the ginger.) Our main courses were good as well, although in this case her potato gnocchi edged out the steak available for the evening, a rib eye served with French fries.  (Those fries were the low point of the evening.  They didn’t pair well with the steak, and by themselves were, well, gross.  I found myself yearning for the fries at the Town Talk.)
  • Nice atmosphere. Duplex manages to be romantic and unpretentious at the same time.  Basically, it’s Hennepin Avenue without the attitude problems.
  • Good service.  Prompt and friendly without hovering.  I know a lot of places that could learn from Duplex in this regard.

And, alas, the bad:

  •  Price.  Including my one solitary glass of wine, our dinner came in just over $80.  Off the top of my head, Ike’s, Giorgio’s, Figlio, and Masa are all places we could’ve had a better dinner for the same price or less.  (Despite the wildly divergent experiences we’ve had there, I’d have to throw in Town Talk as well.)  $80 is starting to scrape jP territory, too, and if you’re willing to spend the couple extra bucks for jP, well, it’s really no contest.

This kind of pains me, as for some odd reason I really want to like Duplex.  Because of the price, though, I can’t see us returning any time soon, but for those who haven’t tried the place out, I’d still have to give it a tentative recommendation.  Maybe you could see that something else in it that Lisa and I missed that would justify the cost.  If you do, let us know.

Posted in FoodLog at 10:22 pm

Sunday New York Times Statistics for 27 Apr 2008


Number of sections consumed: 3 (out of 9)

Hours spent: 3.5

NYT Magazine opened (Y/N): N

Articles worthy of passing along:

Posted in Journal at 10:56 am

Verizion – Sprint = $900


In theory, I finally have a working phone. My number is still being ported from Verizon, but in the next 24 hours I should finally be able to, you know, call people and stuff.

While we obviously haven’t had a chance to try out Sprint’s service yet, I’m kind of appalled by how much Lisa and I will be saving by making the switch. Despite increasing our overall minute, text and data allowances, we’ll be saving almost $900 a year because of the change. I’m kind of kicking myself for not doing this sooner.

~ ~ ~

In related news, we’re renting a garage. No more covering myself with grease trying to drag the bike up the stairs.

Posted in Journal at 12:39 pm

Phone: Still Broken


If I don’t have a working phone by the end of the week, I may go postal.

Posted in Journal at 10:09 pm

Journal for 21 Apr 2008


After such a long period not writing, I’m finding it difficult to get back into it again. That’s unfortunate, as there’s been a lot to write about. Mathias in particular has been going through a lot of changes as of late: He’s standing with assistance, is showing signs of (finally) getting ready to crawl, and has become quite proficient at feeding himself. His mom and I have gotten some (supposedly) expert feedback that we may be going too easy on him in trying to get him to sleep through the night, but we both run into philosophical issues in that area. After all, each of us gets up once or twice a night to get a drink of water or visit the bathroom… Is it unreasonable for our child to want to do the same?

Ah, the complicated trials of parenthood. If we spend all this time trying to figure out how to best handle his sleeping habits, I can’t wait to see what we do as we encounter other issues that are more complicated.

Beyond that, Lisa and I went on a date Saturday night. It was fun, if a bit expensive for our cash-constrained household. We didn’t do much: We started with a tasty but overpriced dinner at Duplex, following that with an hour or so wandering around Uptown and desert at Cafe Latte. None of those things would’ve been unusual 15 months ago, but now they’re rare moments to be enjoyed and savored.

~ ~ ~

No news on my grades yet. Then there’s that immunization hold on my account… Had I started school two years earlier, it wouldn’t be a problem, but because of some apparent discarding of records, I may have to get a whole mess of shots before I can take another class. It would’ve been nice if this became clear a bit earlier in the year so I could have more time to respond to it, but I guess that’s how the U runs things.

Posted in BabyLog,Education,Journal at 10:25 pm

Journal for 17 Apr 2008


Huh.  I have nothing to do for work tonight, and nothing to do for school, either.

Oh, there’s laundry to do.  Okay.

Posted in Journal at 6:21 pm

Greetings to Our New Aeroflot Overlords


I don’t really have time for this tonight, but I kind of have to rant.

While it wasn’t unexpected, I’m still kind of annoyed–well, ticked, really–about the Northwest/Delta merger, both for rational and irrational reasons. While the Atlanta and Detroit hubs are likely safe from any service cuts, there’s definitely a potential for service reductions at MSP. While it’s unlikely MSP will lose its hub status, a reduction in overall flights, especially direct flights, seems likely regardless of whatever PR is currently being spewed from either company. It wouldn’t be surprising for us to see a cut in international flights as well, with more emphasis being put in the Detroit and Atlanta hubs for those kinds of services.

The fact that we can fly direct pretty much anywhere in the United States is one of the great privileges of living in the Twin Cities, and without that we’re one step closer to being the proverbial cold Omaha. (Or St. Louis after the TWA/AA merger, for that matter.) And, really, if NWA has to merge with someone, couldn’t they go with an airline that at least knows a little about customer service? Continental, perhaps? Nooo, we have to get stuck with Detla.

I’m still a bit ticked about my last Delta experience, which included disabled airplanes, parts being flown to the Twin Cities from Atlanta, a late arrival for a connection in Cincinnati, zero help from staff in finding alternate flights, a connection from hell at Hartsfield and a skanky, stick-floored Delta-booked hotel room in Tennessee. Delta fucked over my trip in enough ways that I decided to take a ten-year break from them, about five of which are still remaining, but it looks like I may soon have no choice.

That said, I can’t by any means say that my history with Northwest has been pleasant. Decrepit planes, poor customer service, comparatively high prices… I don’t think I’ve had a single NWA trip in the past decade that didn’t have some element of stupidity attached to it. We all know Northwest is one disheveled mess of an airline, but you know what? It’s our mess of an airline, that weird, slightly psychotic member of our Minnesota family we still care about even though it hasn’t been nice to us in a long, long time. Northwest has been here since the 1920s, and now we’re faced with the prospect of our “hometown airline” being based in… Atlanta.

Since I seem to be in the “irrational reason” category now, so you know what else? Delta’s airplanes are ugly. UGLY. Seriously, NO WHITE AIRPLANES. Yes, NWA discarded one of aviation’s greatest logos with the newest design, but overall the look of their planes still kicks Delta’s Wonderbread ass.

So, in whole, less service, more transfers, and uglier airplanes. Lose, lose, lose.

Posted in Journal,News at 10:08 pm

Journal for 14 April 2008


I just did something over my lunch break that I haven’t done since the spring semester started: I read the newspaper.

Posted in Journal at 11:28 am

Journal for 13 April 2008: Trainwreck Retrospective


Had it dawned on me that taking two compressed courses at the same time would be the functional equivalent of taking three full-time courses for the months I’d be in school, I wouldn’t have been stupid enough to do it. But I did, and it was a mess.

It’s kind of difficult to describe how utterly exhausted I am, both mentally and physically. I knew two courses would be a lot of work, especially considering how busy the first few months of the year tend to be at my job, but I was still taken aback by what I got myself involved in. My accounting class in particular was extremely difficult for me, and many weeks I found myself putting in 25-30 hours a week in an effort to keep up. (My Operations class, which I generally found very interesting and happened to be very relevant to my job, definitely suffered as a result.) I tried to tough it out, though, figuring it was a learning experience, it would only be one semester, and I’d know better and stagger my classes in the future. It wasn’t until the last few weeks that it dawned on me that failure–and I mean “fail” quite literally here–was an actual possibility.

98% of my life over the past two months can be divided into one of three categories: Work, school, and, coming in at a distant third, sleep. I barely saw my son the past six weeks; if I was home while he was awake, I was probably studying, and as a result missed so, so much. I kind of feel like I abdicated my responsibilities as a parent, dumping way more than was fair on Lisa. My phone broke, and I basically had to ignore that as I didn’t have time to get it fixed. (It’s still broken.) My body is a case of deferred maintenance: Over the past two months I’ve canceled doctor and dentist appointments, and skipped an orthodontics adjustment and an eye exam, all in an effort to save an hour here or there. For all practical purpose, I haven’t exercised since early February.

And what did it get me? Practically nothing. Even if I do pass my Accounting course–and, again, that’s a very big “if”–I learned very little. My retention for these two courses has been remarkably small. Last semester, when I took only one course in an effort to ease my way back into academia, I had time between my courses and homework to actually think about what I was learning, and how I could apply it to my job, or what I could share with others. And you know what? That was great. I also had time to be with my family, spend the weekends with my wife and son, give appropriate attention to work, and, you know, relax now and then. Last semester, I was reading books that had nothing to do with my class or my job. On the weekends I’d spend my regular hours tearing through the New York Times, watching a movie with Lisa, or going with her and our son for a stroll around the mega mall. My class was adding to my life, not controlling it.

No such luck this semester. Again, I don’t know why I didn’t just drop a class. Maybe that would’ve seemed like giving up, or like failure, but in retrospect it would’ve been an incredibly reasonable thing to do.

Final exams were last week. I don’t feel particularly confident about my closing performance in either one of my classes, but there’s not really anything I can do about that now other than sit around and wait for my grades. Even if I do pass, I’ll likely be on academic probation. Academic probation! I feel like a bad joke.

~ ~ ~

Early March was when things really started to go off the rails. My yearly pilgrimage to SXSW played a part: The second accounting midterm (the class had two) was scheduled for the day I’d be returning from Austin. Knowing I’d be wiped out upon my return, I asked to reschedule my exam, and ended up taking it the morning I’d be heading for Austin, five days before everyone else in the class. Tactically that would’ve made sense if I had control over my work life and wasn’t sick, but I had neither. I’m not going to delve into details about my job, but I will say the first quarter of 2008 was uniquely demanding in ways I haven’t seen at my place of employment in many years. And worse, I was on the trailing edges of the flu that first ran through our household in mid-February. I bombed the exam, in the process making a good grade in the final absolutely critical.

I don’t think I made it. In preparation for the accounting final, I went so far as to take off a couple half days at work when, really, I had no time to be taking half-days. Worse, I got sick with whatever new crappy thing was floating around the office, and as such ended up taking a total of two exams when I would’ve been better off in bed.

I don’t know why I didn’t drop my courses while I still had the option to do so. What was I thinking?

~ ~ ~

I know I’m being extremely unfair to myself with this, but I just feel really dumb. I know a lot of people consider me a reasonably smart person, but I often don’t feel that way about myself–confidently, at least–and with this semester I kind of feel like I’ve finally unequivocally exposed myself for the fucking idiot that I am. Completely overboarding, I know–and, trust me, it’ll pass–but that’s how I feel right now.

I know how my brain works, so a bit of a prediction: If I fail accounting, I’ll take it as proof of my own stupidity. If I somehow manage to pass, I won’t give myself credit for it, and instead will chalk it up to luck.

Posted in Education,Journal at 10:46 pm

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