Sunday, August 31, 2008

Welcome, Rich White Oligarchs

Well, the police state has officially descended on downtown St. Paul. I went for a walk today to check out the hubbub and they've got the mounted riot police parading about, fences erected all over downtown, choppers constantly circling, and Viet Nam looking river gunboats (sans obvious firepower) plying our lovely Ol' Man.

You've never seen so many blue blazers and khakis in St. Paul. It's like an Ordway crowd run amok. I did, however, spot George Snuffleupagus and I even think I spotted a black Republican, though that cannot be confirmed. There was a dude with a VOTE 4 JESUS sign, though.

But the highlight of the day was definitely hanging out on the beautifully revitalized Raspberry Island and seeing the waterfalls flowing at that new plaza along the river near the Science Museum. See pics below.

St. Paul cleans up pretty nice. Come check us out sometime.

Raspberry Island

St. Paul from Raspberry Island

Waterfalls on new plaza

Friday, August 29, 2008

Song of the Day by The Hold Steady

It's called "Slapped Actress" and is the last track on their new album. At first blush, the album does not stand up to the greatness of their last, but it certainly has 4 kickass songs, of which this is one. The rest of the record is just a little more dark and less sing-alongy, which isn't bad, but just isn't as fun to listen to as Boys and Girls in America. I'm sure it'll grow on me, though (except for maybe that harpsichord).

Here's "Slapped Actress"

Previously (and still) recommended songs:

Thursday, August 28, 2008

St. Paul: Where Minnesota Adventure Begins

"It has been said that once you spend a day in St. Paul, you'll want to spend a lifetime."

Welcome visitors! Enjoy this cheesy promo vid from a city stuck in the middle who knows it has to try extra hard to gain your favor, but just don't heed the gentleman's advice and "walk into one of our great neighborhoods like Frogtown."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

MST3K Lives!!

During the Olympics, some viewers in Helena, MT were stunned to see the ol' MST3K crew of Joel, Tom Servo & Crow T. Robot show up on their screen. This blog has a pretty good recap with some more links and comments. Anybody else miss the likes of "Mitchell" and "Alien from L.A." being sent up by local comedic genius?

Monday, August 25, 2008

Buckle Up, RNC Coming Soon

As a resident of downtown St. Paul I'm curiously looking forward to the traffic restrictions, protesters, Republican politicos, concerts, block parties, PR stunts by hardcore left wing political rockers, and 4am bar times.

The Harriet Island concert is what I'm looking forward to most. Performing will be Billy Bragg, Steve Earle, Lupe Fiasco, Tom Morello as Nightwatchman, Atmosphere, Mos Def and more. I expect to be there most of Labor Day.

And it looks like Denver is getting an early taste of the challenges of hosting a convention in the days of organization by internet where a FOX News team was roughed up a bit.

"Riot 4 Peace"? Seriously?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

It's About Freakin' Time

St. Paul finally steps up to the plate and offers a reasonable plan to allow bars to stay open until 4am for the RNC. Amazing how hard that was.

St. Paul bars can stay open til 4 a.m. ... for only $500

St. Paul Mayor Chris Coleman has reached a deal with the City Council to roll back the fee for bar owners to stay open until 4 a.m. during the Republican National Convention, his office says.

Under the plan, which is likely to be introduced at Wednesday's council meeting, bars that pay the $2,500 would be eligible for a $2,000 refund.

Several bar owners have complained about the fee, especially after Minneapolis rolled back its fee for private parties to $100. Public venues that plan to stay open during the convention, which runs from Sept. 1-4 at the Xcel Energy Center, are still being charged $2,500.

Other cities, including Eagan and Bloomington, are allowing bar owners to stay open until 4 a.m. without an extra fee.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

MADD: Debate is Bad

This was an interesting story yesterday. 100 college presidents suggested that, in light of the drinking culture in our society, we re-open the debate about the drinking age and consider the benefits and consequences of changing it.

College presidents live in a world with massive binge drinking amongst their students. Anbody who thinks this is the fault of college presidents is delusional. It is a mark of the state of our society.

But MADD sees debate as a bad thing, immediately bringing this suggestion down about 5 intellectual notches by replying that these presidents are completely reckless:
"It's very clear the 21-year-old drinking age will not be enforced at those campuses," said Laura Dean-Mooney, national president of MADD.
Huh? Are you serious? Sure, in the short-term more people drinking will probably lead to more drunk driving deaths. But that's an extremely simplified way to look at this problem. Why should drinking be legal at all, then? Think of the lives we could save by outlawing alcohol entirely! It sure worked back in the day.

C'mon, MADD. Why are you so afraid of open debate? Feel free to bring your statisticians and your sad stories of drunk driver induced deaths to the table. 100+ college presidents are willing to listen and discuss. Why aren't you?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Song of the Day by Byrne & Eno

Legendary musicians David Byrne (Talking Heads) and Brian Eno (everybody) have collaborated on a terrific new album that is only available for purchase online. Take a listen...

Previously (and still) recommended songs:

Sunday, August 10, 2008

At the Cabin

I drove up to the cabin Thursday evening and there's internet access up here now. I'm not really sure what I think about that, because here I sit on a glorious morning writing a blog entry instead of sitting down at the beach or something. But I guess it is pretty practical to have. It's nice to be able to check email and keep up on the news and not be completely disconnected.

And we did spend plenty of time outdoors the past couple days. Friday and Saturday each held a 35-mile bike ride, yesterday's split between Lake Itasca State Park and the Mi-Gi-Zi trail up at Cass Lake. There's a beautiful 15-mile one-way road loop at Itasca that is like a roller coaster and super fun to ride on. Mi-Gi-Zi was similarly enjoyable, winding and hilly and scenic.

It's NHRA drag racing weekend at BIR (Brainerd International Raceway) and you know what that means: great people watching! Yes, the rednecks are out in force and Mikko and I had quite a fun time at the bar last night. You've never seen so many sunglasses perched atop backwards baseball caps on goateed gentlemen indoors after dark.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Six Random Things

Spirophita tagged me to write 6 random things about myself. Thanks for the tag. Here goes...
  1. I'm a bar snob. Some people are super sensitive about how their hair looks or their car. Me, I'm super sensitive about the bar I'm drinking in. Atmosphere is extremely important and I can be a whiny bitch in a lame bar. My choices are generally (but not always, depending on my mood) outlined here.
  2. I didn't really drink until I turned 21 and was in Japan for a month for school. It would have been rude of me to turn down the sake from my host father. I've made up for it since then, though. But I was a good kid. Quiet. Smart. Had my 4 or 5 really good friends but wasn't very social beyond that. I think there was actually a time (probably 7th gradeish) where I wore different MN Gopher shirts to school 3 or 4 days each week. Ouch.
  3. I'd love to be an eco-architect, but am not sure if at this stage of my life I want to go to school for 3.5 years full time and then make half as much money as I'm making now for another 3 or 4. At any rate, I'd love to find me a career where I could make a comfortable living in a sustainable way.
  4. I have seen the Supersuckers play live rock shows in Mpls, Seattle, Boston and Austin, TX. However, I haven't seen them in a few years and probably never will again. They were fantastic in their day, though.
  5. I was mailed 2 recently published books, photo histories of Mpls and St. Paul, with the hope that I would favorably review them on this blog. I read through them both and they each had a few photos which made an impression on me, especially the ones along the river and Swede Hollow in the St. Paul book "Historic Photos of St. Paul". They might make a nice gift for someone of an older generation who could reminisce much more than I.
  6. My car has been broken into 6 times. Every stereo stolen was a very average stereo, but the bass guitar stolen was a hamburglar gem.
  • 1987 - Radio stolen from my Mom's Pontiac Safari station wagon when I had the family truckster at a Twins game (parked for free near the Cabooze)
  • 1991 - Radio almost stolen from my 1980 Ford Fairmont Futura when I was a senior at St. Olaf. The security guy scared off the thief while they were in my car. They ran and dropped the pull-out radio. Remember pull-out car radios?
  • 1995 - Stereo stolen from my 1995 Saturn when parked on Bryant Ave. while I was watching a movie at the Lagoon
  • 1996 - Stereo stolen from my 1995 Saturn when parked in the lot on Selby next to the Cathedral and across the street from an old apartment.
  • 2001 - Bass guitar stolen from trunk when parked in Mac-Groveland after that show at O'Gara's where I talked back to some annoying drunks in the crowd. Did they follow me?
  • 2006 - Stereo stolen from my 1995 Saturn when parked in my supposedly secure parking ramp in Lowertown.

No Pain, No Gain?

Ahh, the pain following the 100-minute run. It turns out Friday's run (eloquently described below) left me with one helluva pain in the leg. Tight hamstring. Sore left glute. Actually the whole left leg was tight and sore. Inflamed IT band? I don't really know what I did, but for the rest of the weekend it was extremely irritating and turned my nights into 45 minutes of tossing and turning, alternated with 30 minutes of sleeping (if ice was applied).

So I desperately called Theresa, my massage therapist friend this morning, hoping that she could help. I wasn't sure if I should try a doctor or a physical therapist or a massage therapist, but I figured she was a good place to start.

60 minutes of painful massaging later, I'm in pretty good shape. Not 100%, but hopeful to be able to sleep through the night.

Friday, August 1, 2008

100 Minute Run

Ahh, the beauty of a Friday off. I went for a run this morning and intended to do the ol' Warner Road to Indian Mounds Park loop (about 6 miles), but decided to turn off on a path that I always thought just went to a parking lot for this DNR equipment storage location. It turns out that path kinda followed the river down near Pig's Eye Lake to Battle Creek park.

It ended up being one of those great runs where you go exploring, maybe get a little bit lost, but feel good the whole way and end up staying out longer than planned.

Last summer I was first introduced to the wonders of Battle Creek park when I was training with the Finn Sisu x-c ski group. So I was excited this morning to stumble into it from the back door. Two weekends in a row now I've had fun connecting the dots between some St. Paul landmarks. And it's probably been a couple years since I've been out for an hour and 40 minutes.