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Writer's Block: B.Y.O.B. Holidays

If you could solve one problem in the world, what would it be? One random answer will win a $50 Amazon gift card. [Details here]

There are so many problems to tackle. I think it's possible to end both hunger and poverty within our lifetime if everyone decided to just go ahead and do it. There is enough wealth in the world that if we spread it around a bit more, those two huge problems could just go away. But if I had a magic wand, I think I'd use it to solve the global energy problem. We may have already passed Peak Oil. They're talking about a plan to strip-mine adjacent to Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah. I think Energy is going to be the tougher nut to crack than most of the others that we face, and solving it will also contribute to the end of hunger, global warming, and my own personal poverty. (For that matter, winning that gift card would be a great way to reduce my level of poverty. Yaay, Giftmas Shopping!)

Look at what your Empire is doing!

You know, if Princess Leia had access to WikiLeaks, Alderaan never would have been destroyed.

Dinner Tonight: Car-B-Que!

We went and had dinner with my in-laws tonight at Obento Ya. We had tempura, miso soup, a couple of Sapporos, and I ordered the Sushi Bowl, which is just like a sushi platter, but all mixed in a bowl. I had just put in my order for Chocolate Banana Crepes with chocolate ice cream when my brother-in-law Rob said, "Hey, that Blazer is on fire."

And sure enough, I looked out the window over my right shoulder, and there was a white Chevy Blazer with flames licking the roof. A cry went up to call 911 and get away from the windows, and get back to the rear patio area. I stood up and went to the back to find a fire extinguisher. I found one in the back hallway near the kitchen, and ran out to the front of the restaurant. Thick, acrid smoke billowed up as I emptied the extinguisher on to the front of the vehicle. There was no one inside, but the radio was still on and blaring Mexican Polka music. The owners were in the little bodega across the street, no doubt calling 911. Just as the fire extinguisher sprayed the last of it's foam, a Minneapolis Fire truck rounded the corner. So I chucked the empty canister and ran through the smoke back into the restaurant and let the professionals take over.

Once the fire was out and the restaurant settled down a bit, I had my Chocloate Banana Crepe with chocolate ice cream, and I finished my Sapporo. We all reflected on the irony of the Chevy Blazer situation. I'm glad that it wasn't a Nova.

This is now the third or fourth time I've been battled a fire during dinner. Yes, I've lost count. But this was the largest and most dangerous event I've encountered. The smoke was just toxic. I don't know if that smell will come out of my nice green dress shirt. I hope they had Comprehensive coverage on their truck. I think that's the end of their SUV.


Skip the Feathers...

Slate asks, "Do you have any better ideas for stopping the oil spill?"

My idea for stopping the oil spill is, let's round up everyone at the oil companies who thought it was better for their bottom line to skip out on the $500k Blowout Preventer Valve, and who didn't change the batteries in their other fail-safe device, and stuff them into the leaky pipe until it stops. Then, let's nationalize the oil companies. Coal, too, while we're at it. If we're going to have government pay for the cleanup, then government should run the companies and take the profits, too. And if we're going to keep drilling in the future (as I expect we will), then let's have a plan in place for mandatory fail-safe devices and rapid-response cleanup crews. This can never be allowed to happen again.


Seems like I'm surrounded by pregnant people and fresh new babies. My co-worker's wife is two days past due, and there's a lot of Baby Rabies going around. So I think it's time for a poll. Sorry if this triggers issues for anybody, I'm not trying to bring you down. Tell me to fuck off in the comments if you'd like. For the rest of you, please tell us about...

Poll #1515158 Baby Rabies!

Do you now, or have you ever had, Baby Rabies?

OMG! I've got it bad! I need to get [myself/my partner] pregnant and have a kid NOW
I'm immune to Baby Rabies. I've had my shots, and won't breed.
I get minor cases of Baby Rabies from time to time, and might breed, but not now.
I've had it, and I'm over it. No kids for me, thanks.
I've had it, and I'm done having kid(s).
Oh yeah. It's really bad. But I can't/won't reproduce.
[I/we] [am/are] pregnant right now!
We have a fresh baby in the house already.
This poll is giving me baby rabies
This poll is curing my baby rabies.

If you're not breeding, what's stopping you?

Lack of willing partner
Lack of money (babies are expensive critters!)
Lack of space for a baby
Fertility issues
Lack of other support
I'd rather buy a secluded cabin in the woods
Poor timing
Other (explain in comments)

Pregnant women are...

OMG you're a perv!
...going to descend on this poll like cake and rip you a new one in the comments

Getting pregnant is...

A lot of work
a lifelong dream
a nightmare and a disaster
the reason why I don't give one-night stands my real name or phone number


Snakes on a Plane

"Last week, I approved a mission over New York. I take responsibility for that decision," said Louis Caldera, director of the White House Military Office. "While federal authorities took the proper steps to notify state and local authorities in New York and New Jersey, it's clear that the mission created confusion and disruption. But just wait until you guys see what comes out of the darkroom! It was SO AWESOME. They got, like, this amazing shot of the Statue of Liberty off the port wing of Air Force One. We're gonna inlay some soaring eagles with Photoshop, and send it to Kim Jong Il along with a shot of Barack and Bo, and put it in this year's Christmas cards. USA! USA! USA!"

Interesting choice. Propaganda photo op on the same day when it's been proposed that the Government should take a controlling interest in General Motors, in effect nationalizing what once was the largest company in the world. Critics will call it socialism.

Beep beep! Beep beep! YEAH!

It's -10C in the garage right now. So this seems like a good place to start my wintertime car projects, and sort out what I need to do.

beeeeep! BEEEEEEEEP!Collapse )

I should take a photo of where the horns will actually mount, which is on the other side of the engine compartment. Before I continue, I need to find some electrical wire. I may have the right stuff in one of my toolboxes. And it is likely that this is as far as the project will progress tonight.

GM is from Mars, Saturn is from Tennessee

GM may sell Saturn as part of their restructuring. Fools! Saturn could be a viable company in its own right. I wonder if they still have that factory in Tennessee? Or if GM closed that already when they tried to restructure? If I had several billion dollars to loseinvest, there's a good opportunity there for someone to buy Saturn, tweak the lineup a bit, and start selling hybrid Saturn Ions. They already have a plug-in electric Vue that GM keeps delaying, but it's basically ready to build. I believe I've posted here in the past about how I would run Saturn, and how GM keeps screwing up the brand. The main thing that could kill you here, as an investor, is the massive wide-spread credit crunch. If you can find a way to keep lending money to people, and thus ride this storm out, you could be in a brilliant position two or three years from now, with a secure niche in the market.

Election Night @ the 508

Just a reminder -

I know you'll remember to vote, but did you also remember that we're all meeting up downtown tonight at The 508 Bar to watch the election returns?

Who: The local LJ community
What: Election Night Party
When: Tuesday, November 4th, starts at 7pm, ends at 270 electoral votes.
Where: the 508 Bar, 508 1st Ave N, downtown Minneapolis (across from the Warehouse District light rail station), down in the basement bar.
Why: It's Election Night!

I'm going to be out in Stillwater with grenacia and perruche_verte today. We're going to try to unseat Michelle Bachmann. We're not canvassing; we're just going to follow her around and whenever she tries to sit down, one of us will yank the chair out from behind her. But right now, we're going to stop at the bakery for coffee and donuts, and have breakfast while we wait in line to vote. :D

Election Night @ the 508

We're eight days out from the Presidential Election, as some of you might be aware. You may have heard something about that, I don't know.

In honor of this most auspicious occasion, we're having one more party to wrap up the Political Party season. If you've been coming to the Debate Night get-togethers, you know the drill:

Who: The local LJ community
What: Election Night Party
When: Tuesday, November 4th, starts at 7pm, ends at 270 electoral votes.
Where: the 508 Bar, 508 1st Ave N, downtown Minneapolis (across from the Warehouse District light rail station)
Why: It's Election Night!

After having spent the last couple of Presidential election nights at home, alone, I've decided that ENOUGH is ENOUGH. If we're going to have schannanigans again this year like in 2000 and 2004, I'd better not be by myself. You shouldn't be alone, either. And this year looks really promising, too, for a Change. So get out there and vote. Get all of your family and friends to the polls. Knock on some of your neighbor's doors. Then come on down to the 508, have a beer and some of those delicious garlic french fries, and let's watch the election returns come in! We'll be there until they call the last disputed swing state, or last call, whichever comes first. (We won't be setting up cots down there if Florida is a mess again.)


I just won at the Octopus Art Scavenger Hunt in Minneapolis Public Parks!

Thirty Five brightly colored and hand drawn miniature Octopus (pictured on website) artworks will be hidden in the public parks of Minneapolis, Minnesota. Local artist William Hessian is creating the art and then hiding the art in hidden locations in Minneapolis parks. William has spent his summer creating art hunts all across America (learn more). The hunt is open to the public and everyone is invited to get to your local parks and search for these tiny treasures. Each artwork is 2 inch by 2 inches square (extremely small). The first of the daily (several clues per day)visual photo clues will be posted here starting October 17th, 2pm.

I found #79:


Of course, I couldn't have done it without Bean and grenacia. :)

Want to go out hunting for more? I think I know where there are some more. I think we know where to find #73, #86 and Sharla knows #88. So let's go Octupus Hunting!! :D

#73 is in the playground right by i12bmore's house. Check it out, dude, and go claim your prize!
Our very last installment of Debates and Drunkeness Downtown is all set for next Wednesday, 10/15 at The 508 bar, 508 1st Ave N., downtown Minneapolis. We'll be back in the basement starting at 7PM, same as D&Ds 1 and 3.

Also, someone left their fingerless knitted gloves in the booth last time. They look home-made. I'll bring them to the fourth (and final!) event on Wednesday, or let me know if you need them back before then.

As usual, please email me or comment here if you are planning to attend. That's not mandatory, but it is helpful. Thanks to everyone for making these events a huge success! :D

(x-posed to twin_cities

Debates & Drunkeness Downtown III Update

The event is ON for tomorrow night's Presidential Debate. There's a change of venue, so please make note.

Where: The 508 Bar, 508 1st Ave (right by the Warehouse District Light Rail station)
When: Tuesday 10/7, doors at 7, debate at 8PM

Please RSVP and let me know if you're coming, and how many will be joining you. This helps to ensure that we have enough tables setup and stuff. I hope you can make it. :)

(x-posted to twin_cities.)

Debates & Drunkeness Downtown, Part III

I would like to thank everyone who showed up at The Local last Thursday for the Vice Presidential debate. We had over 40 people there, and it was awesome! A bit crowded, perhaps, but awesome.

I'm trying to get a larger room for the debates tomorrow (Tuesday 10/7) and for next Wednesday, 10/15, for the last two debates between Obama & McCain. If you're interested in attending either or both of those events, please let me know. As of 9:30 on Monday morning, I don't have confirmation that we actually have a space for these events, but I should know soon. Mark your calendar anyhow, though, and stay tuned, because I'll get SOMETHING worked out by the end of the day. :)

(x-posted to twin_cities)

Edit: The Local isn't available. This last minute stuff is frustrating, especially since I had tried setting this up last week. Tuesday may fail if I don't find an alternate venue. The manager will be in at the 508 @ 11AM. I'll try that in a bit.

Hi [Phoenix],

Thanks for your message. The Hollow is available for Wednesday, October 15th – however you might find that not everyone has a good view of the TV. The Hollow is a long, narrow room with bench seating on either side of the room, and although there is sound that can be exclusive to The Hollow from the TV in that space, it’s likely that there would be many guests who did not have a good view of the TV…

Also, there is a room rental for The Hollow, which on a Wednesday is $250. There’s also a food & beverage minimum for The Hollow that’s $2,000.

I’m not sure how many people you’re expecting for the next few debate gatherings you have coming up.

Let me know what your thoughts are, and hopefully we’ll be able to work something out.

Thanks Don!
Talk to you soon,

Whitney Gale
Special Events Coordinator
The Local & Kieran's Irish Pub
Direct: 612.252.1609

Umm... Let me think about that.


They didn't charge us a room rental for The Sanctuary, and only had a group minimum of $500, which was scary enough. I'll try the 508, but I fear that this might fall apart for tomorrow night. And that might be OK. I'd love to find someplace a little more ideal. Maybe I should just call the whole thing off for this week, and take The Sanctuary @ The Local for next Wednesday, assuming I can get the same arrangement we had last week with no rental fee and the $500 minimum, and we'll pack 200 people in there again.

Some day, I'm going to buy up that little bar across the street from our house, and renovate it into a space that people actually want to be in. We'll serve coffee, espresso, beer and wine. And we'll clean the place top to bottom, put in a couple of windows and a nice patio area, and watch political events on big LCD TVs, but no sports. We'll be the anti-sports bar.

Ok, enough of that fantasy. I need to close-caption a duck hunt. In four words, it's "Quack Quack! [Bang! Bang!]" but there's much more than four words to it.



Ok, here's the deal: The Local was booked, so we're back at The 508 in the basement! Show up as early as 7, debate starts at 8. We'll be downstairs, behind the DJ booth, just like we were for the first Presidential debate a couple of weeks ago.

A Pitbull Can't Read

Couric: And when it comes to establishing your worldview, I was curious, what newspapers and magazines did you regularly read before you were tapped for this to stay informed and to understand the world?

Palin: I've read most of them, again with a great appreciation for the press, for the media.

Couric: What, specifically?

Palin: Um, all of them, any of them that have been in front of me all these years.

Couric: Can you name a few?

Palin: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news, too. Alaska isn't a foreign country, where it's kind of suggested, "Wow, how could you keep in touch with what the rest of Washington, D.C., may be thinking when you live up there in Alaska?" Believe me, Alaska is like a microcosm of America.

Maybe that's her problem. All her life, people have been feeding her Creationist and Right-Wing propaganda. So I have a suggestion: Let's send her some media. Does a gift subscription to Utne Reader count as a tax-deductible campaign contribution? What publication would you like to put in front of Sarah Palin? She's spending a lot of time on the road these days. I'm sure she'd appreciate reading something other than Danielle Steele novels and Faux News talking points.

Debates, Despotism, Dystopia, Drunkeness!

Based on the colossal success of last week's "Debates & Drunkeness" at the 508, and our sister group's gathering at The Independent, we're doing it again this Thursday at The Local, We'll be back in "The Sanctuary" (see Section Six on the Pub Layout page) starting at about 7:30. The debate starts at 8:00. Come early, stay as late as you'd like. Please let me know if you'll be attending, and if you're bringing friends. We have space for about 25 people, and they're more than happy to accomdate us if we overflow. I'd like to get at least 20 people to show up, since there is a group minimum. So come for the debate, stay for the LOLz!

What: Vice Presidential Debate Party
Where: The Local Pub, 931 Nicollet Mall (corner of 10th and Nicollet)
When: Thursday, October 2nd 7:00 to ??? (debates start at 8pm)

Don't stay home, drinking and throwing things at your own televison!* Come out and drink with us instead! Yell at the TV! Make moose jokes! Start your own meta-debate with friends! Order another round! We'll all have a great time until the Republicans steal another election. :)

* Please don't throw things at The Local's TVs either. I had to sign a waiver.

Debates & Drunkeness Downtown!

Ok, quick! Who can recommend a good bar downtown Minneapolis for watching the debate?

I want to be able to:

1) Bring some friends
2) Drink at a real, (not 3/2) bar
3) Watch and HEAR the debates.
4) Possibly heckle.
5) I live near the Light Rail line, so it should be close enough to the train that we can stagger to it like the drunken louts that we are.

Debates and Drunkeness Downtown!

Ok, I found a spot, if anyone else is interested. Please join us.

The 508 Bar

I called them, and they'd be happy to set us up with drinks and debates in the basement. Come and join us if you'd like. It's at 508 N 1st Ave, and the debates start at 8PM.

Oh, and if someone actually has a valid Yahoo account, please notify this person about the event. Thanks.

I really think alcohol is a good idea in this case, since somehow McCain has already won the debate. You know, the debate that starts in about three hours from now.

So nice of our Media Overlords to call the event before it happens.

I Can Has Public Service Announcment

Attention, Denizens of the Internet:

It has come to my attention that people are no longer using Lolspeak in an ironic manner. If you are attempting sincere communication, you are hereby advised to suspend the use of phrases such as "I can has" and other lolcatisms. There have been far too many posts around here lately that begin with "I can has", and it is rapidly losing teh funny. Be careful to use it when it's funny, and not as a crutch in your Internet writings.

Thank you.

LJ Counter-Protest

So this week is the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War, and the best thing that people can think of to protest is the fact that LJ made a purely business decision to eliminate "Free" accounts with no ads? Am I the only one around here who thinks that there are a lot of drama llamas around here who don't have their priorities in order? If you already have a free account, it's not going to go away. Servers don't pay for their own upkeep, nor do free users generate revenue. If anything, LJ is losing money on freeloaders. I don't blame them for eliminating the "free" tier to new users. As the site grows and grows, it surely becomes untenable to offer millions of free accounts. If you don't like ads, pay for the service. The annual subscription is actually quite reasonable - it costs less than one tank of gas per year! I paid it for several years, and saw a lot of value in doing so. When they offered permanent accounts last year, I ponied up the $150. It's worth it to me. I've been on LJ since 2002, and I'm not going anywhere. Where else are you going to get lifetime webhosting for $150? It's crazy NOT to buy in at that price.

I've met a lot of wonderful people through this service, including my wife. I think it's fair to say that LJ has impacted my life for the better. It has provided me with support when I couldn't find it anywhere else, news and information faster than any other source, therapy when I needed therapy, entertainment - I can't even imagine my life right now without it. Where would I be? I'd be a friendless, depressive wreck; a mere shell of a man. But I'm not. I'm happy, well-adjusted, financially solvent, and secure, and I have LJ to thank for a lot of that. I'm much better off than I was when I joined.

As LJ has allowed me to grow and thrive, so must we allow LJ to grow and thrive. If you truly love and value this service, don't join the protest blackout tomorrow. Instead, blog about how LJ has transformed your life. Write about the friends you've made, the advice you've received, the feedback you've given. And if you haven't become a paid member, or if you need to renew, this is a good time to do it. It's true that LiveJournal isn't perfect. Who is? But LJ is also a company that is in business to make money. And it needs to make money in order to provide us with the service that we love. If that means that new users must endure targeted ads as they would on any other site, so be it. Once they discover the wonderful things about LJ that we already know, perhaps they'll login to the secure server and become paid users, too.


LJ: Now with 30% More Nipples!!

  • The Washer & Dryer were delivered yesterday! So exciting! Now if only I can manage to hook up the gas dryer without blowing up the house. I am a bit nervous about that. I'll be careful, but it still makes me nervous. I put all the gas line parts together last night, but I still need a nipple. I wonder if plumbers make endless nipple jokes? I would. I need a nipple that changes 3/8" up to 1/2". Then I can put it all together and see if anything leaks. We might be up and running tonight. Or we might be in a hotel while the Minneapolis Fire Department extinguishes the embers of my failure. Whatever.

  • I'm sick of people complaing about the people complaining about the weather. It's cold. We know you know that we know it's cold. We're going to keep telling you anyway, in case you've forgotten. It's cold enough that:

  1. If you pee outside, it'll freeze before it hits the ground. You can make your very own urine-stalagmite! (Or is that a stalagtite? I always mix them up.) Note: Beware of shrinkage!

  2. If you toss a pot of boiling hot water into the air, it will turn to snow. Belinda Jensen even demonstrated it during the 10 o'clock news on KARE last night, but I don't think it's up on their site.

  3. If you lick a flagpole, you're an idiot. (Do you know where that thing has been?)

  4. Remember, if you order a pizza this time of year because it's too cold to pick it up yourself: tip the delivery person. They're not out there because they like the weather. You should always tip, anyway, (I'm talking to you, Mr. Pink!) but especially when there's a 200 degree difference between the pizza in the box and the temperature outside your front door. Give 'em a little extra.

    Now, I must work.

PSA Wars

Blatently reposted from jwz

It's a response to the video embedded here - Another fine example of our tax dollars at work. Thanks, BushCo.

And in case you were wondering, here's how you put a condom on with your teeth.

Even better than Dolley Madison...

So it seems that a very important political debate is raging in certain circles on teh Infoblogs, and I'm curious about your opinion on the matter.

Who's hotter?

Jeri Kehn Thompson

Elizabeth "I have a tongue ring and won't remove it if my husband is elected" Kuscinich

Poll #1101754 Important Political Poll

Who's hotter?

Mrs. Fred "Law & Order" Thompson
Mrs. Dennis "Rhymes with Spinich" Kusinich
Bill Clinton

I am...

a Republican
a Democrat
a Whig
an Independent
not willing to disclose my political affiliation

For the record, here's a picture of Dolley Madison:



Open Letter #880

Dear Caribou Coffee;

Thanks so much for making such a delicious coffee concoction as the Turtle Mocha Latte. I wouldn't have made it through the afternoon at work without your chemical contribution. I don't know where American workplace productivity would be without caffeine, but I suspect we'd be ranked down near Malawi in terms of overall GDP. The only thing hotter than your coffee is your clientelle.


It is ON!

Poll #1067586 Fight!!

Who would win?

Darth Vader

Please tell me why in comments.

Buster's on 28th

My cell phone really likes the new bar that opened in my neighborhood last Tuesday. It stayed there after we left on Friday. It sat at the bar all of Saturday, and I had to drive it home on Sunday morning. I should check it for new phone numbers - there was also a really cute pink Motorolla Razor sitting there, too.

I can't blame it for wanting to stay. Buster's on 28th features Delerium Tremens - "The Best Beer in the World" (and I can't disagree). We had Juicy Lucys with Marzcapone and Blue Cheese. Unlike most Jucys, the cheese doesn't stay inside the patty. Rather, as it cooks, the cheese seeps through the beef, and infuses the meat with cheesy goodness. Purists may argue that this sort of cheese infusion is not in keeping with the presentation of a "traditional" Jucy Lucy, in the common manner of Matt's Bar or the 5-8 Club. However, I suspect that purists will be unable to make the arguement successfully while their mouth is full of this delicious, wonderful burger. It has a rich, wonderfully earthy flavor and comes standard with lettuce, tomato and onion. We ordered grilled onions, carmalized with perfection such as I've rarely seen. It's served on a fresh bun from The Baker's Wife - the bakery next door. The bakery deserves its own review, for it is also full of yummyness. The French Fries were well-done and crispy, obviously cut from real potatoes, and they did not seem as though they'd ever seen the inside of a freezer. These were happy, free-range potatoes.

Honestly, I barely glanced at the rest of the menu. I mean, who cares? They've got Jucy Lucys! So I should investigate that. I'm sure it's on the webpage. But the deserts caught my eye: Carmel Pecan Pie a la Mode, $6. I'm inspired to go back and try it some night. The burger was quite filling.

Busters on 28th was, until recently, the "Lakeside Lounge." I'd never been inside that incarnation of the pub, but it struck me as though it was a smokey, dank neighborhood watering hole - even after the smoking ban. The new bar is clean and fresh, but they've retained the classic elements of the neighborhood bar. I imagine that the staff must have done a considerable amount of scrubbing during the period where the bar was closed. They also added a new outdoor seating area on the sidewalk in front with an array of colorful beer-logo umbrellas. (I love the pink elephants of the Delirium Tremens umbrella!)

Dinner for two, including beer and tip, came to about $35. It also greatly exceeded my expectations. I did not expect to find a gourmet restaurant in place of a dark old bar. I was so pleasantly surprised, I forgot about my phone as we wandered off down the street to look at a house we might like to buy. The house features a commanding view of Lake Hiawatha, and dangerous proximity to my new favorite bar. Oh, I will be back. You should check it out, too.