July 30, 2000

Advogato Entry 12

Hey, djcb, fix your last entry -- you're missing a double-quote mark..

Anyway..

Went to the Twin Cities ``Rockin' Ribfest'' today and got a half rack of Roscoe's ribs, some fresh lemonade, and a Dove bar. All for $20.. Eesh. Yet another one of those *fests that that requires you to buy using tickets rather than paying in cash. But it was good.

I rode my bike there and back. There's a fairly nice half gravel/half asphalt road going along a railroad right-of-way. The road basically goes under all of the traffic, which is a much more pleasant way of getting places, IMHO. However, the road is suffering from potholes and washboarding. My arms were getting thoroughly tenderized for a while.

It would be really nice if the University would put a real bike path down there and connect it to the new bike/pedestrian bridge they just installed. One of these days.

I haven't gotten around to working on my bus schedule thing much today, though maybe I'll do something after Futurama and The Simpsons. However, I was pleased that I actually got Evolution to compile and run. Now I've got to try my luck at Nautilus..

One of the things that I worry about with Advogato is that the diary area could be prone to DoS-ing of various kinds. Individuals could presumably plaster diary entries all over the place, or post pages and pages of junk at a time. I imagine there are some checks for this already, but there's almost always a way around it.

Oh, I have a few mail-related problems. One is that I just started using procmail to filter my mail. Locally, I run an IMAP server so it's easier to view mail with disparate clients. Also, I think my mail actually gets loaded faster, as Netscape is not the most efficient at reading/parsing mailbox files. Anyway, I still have to find a way to get procmail to notify the IMAP server that it just dumped mail into a certain folder. Then, the IMAP server must be able to notify my client that there is new mail. This isn't happening automagically, and I'm not sure how to get it to work correctly. I suppose I may have to start using a different IMAP server or something.

In other news, I need to find a good way to consolidate mail at my workplace. Well, my mail doesn't matter, since I'm an admin and can basically do anything I want. However, the head of my department basically wants all mail to go through Lotus Notes (Domino?). I believe it is my task to now find a good way to get Notes to interoperate with my system and the Linux/Unix desktops of others in the organization. I imagine that the server can just run POP or (preferably) IMAP through stunnel. Then, any decent client can read the mail. However, calendaring still remains a bit of an issue, though Lotus is (or at least was) a supporter of the iCalendar protocol, which Evolution is going to support. My only question is, does Lotus actually support iCalendar or not?

May 10, 2003

Beer Prayer

I'm not a beer drinker, but I have friends who are. They might enjoy this, which just popped up on IRC.

<RiasTroll> Our Lager,
<RiasTroll> which art in barrels,
<RiasTroll> hallowed by thy drink,
<RiasTroll> I will be drunk
<RiasTroll> at home as in the tavern.
<RiasTroll> Give us this day our foamy head,
<RiasTroll> and forgive us our spillages,
<RiasTroll> as we forgive those who spill upon us.
<RiasTroll> And lead us not into incarceration,
<RiasTroll> but deliver us from hangovers,
<RiasTroll> For thine is the beer, the bitter and the lager
<RiasTroll> forever and ever ...
Posted by mike at 08:52 PM Central | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 27, 2003

Stufft

Went to Cafe Latté with Dan, Kari, Spike, Sarah, and Josh. The last time Sarah had tried to bring us (well, the last time I'd been invited along, at least), we sort of got snowed out. The place ended up being closed that time, so we went to Ciatti's next door instead.

Anyway, finally got to eat at the intended target this time. I don't think any of us really knew how the system worked there, so we probably ended up buying more food than what we needed. I got a large salad, a sandwich, and a drink, which all added up to around $13—a bit much. I think the next time I go, I'll just get a small salad along with a drink (or water), and spend money on some of the nice desserts they have there.

We had some pretty good conversation, too. Somehow, Spike and Kari seem to induce topics related to Asian culture, which is cool but odd at the same time. As far as I understand, neither of them grew up learning much about Chinese and Korean culture, respectively. The American education system didn't help out much in this regard, since it's generally so Europe-centric.

Still, I made mention of the fact that Erik's now in China, so we have a guinea pig of sorts to test out our cultural theories ;-) I gave Sarah his e-mail address since she apparently didn't know it..

This might not have come up if it weren't for the fact that Sarah and I sat across the table from each other for once. I don't think that's happened for years.. She usually ends up in the corner or something because Josh's left-handedness causes conflicts.. I was again surprised at how easily we talk, given the chance. Usually, I worry that she doesn't like to talk to me, but times like that remind me that we're still friends.

Anyway, good friends, good food, and good entertainment afterwards when we all watched The Big Lebowski at JED's place. What more could you ask for on a holiday (well, other than a non-sick Erin—get better! ;-)

Posted by mike at 01:11 AM Central | Dan , Erik , Erin , Food , Josh , Kari , Sarah , Spike | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 01, 2003

Consume This!

Bah, looks like the kind of pizza I like to get has disappeared at Rainbow. I wonder if that has anything to do with the fact that a lot of Rainbow stores were closed down recently. I forget exactly what the problem was, but the parent company was having financial difficulties. Rainbow is now owned by some other company (from Wisconsin, IIRC).

I was semi-fortunate to have a bagger for once. Well, he helped the cute girl in line ahead of me, but then was reluctant to do my stuff. I suppose I shouldn't complain too much, as I'm fully capable of doing it myself. Still, it's always a pain to find bags with handles there.

I can usually do a much better job of bagging, though. This guy seemed to be stoned, and didn't even fill my bags halfway. By the time I'd paid, he'd sort of done two of these bags, leaving bread and some other light groceries on the belt. I got a bit pissed off at this, and practically ripped the stuff out from under his hands and topped off the bags myself.

And don't even get me started on parking lots.. Aagh!

Anyway, my mom's going to be stopping by on her way home from Fargo to have some supper. I'll need to clean up a bit.

I just hope people don't call me right when she gets here to say they're going out.. We'll see what happens.

Woo! Finding Nemo has a 99% fresh rating at Rotten Tomatoes.

Posted by mike at 02:56 PM Central | Family , Food , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 10, 2003

Revenge Against Overconfidence

Ugh. I did not sleep very well last night. Sleeping in 5-10 minute bursts is no fun. One of those mornings where you feel like you've woken up enough times for it to be 10:00 or 11:00, but it's still only 6 or so. Any of a number of things could be the source of that trouble..

Well, my Cat 6 cable experiment seems to have made things worse so far, though I haven't managed to swap the connecting cable yet. Yesterday, I'd picked up some DB9 connectors from Radio Shack, but I got male connectors instead of female ones. I guess I'll take another trip out today and get the right stuff. I should go buy some food too.

Oh, and I want to buy Radiohead, which is probably already sold out. Maybe I should go do that at Best Buy, so I can possibly pick up the third season of Deep Space Nine.

I've been reading more about network technologies and buses, learning little bits here and there. I guess InfiniBand isn't quite as fast as I thought, but it still sounds pretty cool. It's basically a cross between a computer bus and a network, so you can share your computer's bus with others. You could access the modem in another machine directly, for instance. This is most interesting for clustering applications..

HyperTransport is pretty wicked-fast, at least on the high end. In theory, I think it could do the same sort of things that InfiniBand does, but I think it's more being designed as an internal system bus rather than a combination internal/external one. At it's core, it uses serial links, though they can be ganged together to make faster connections.

Both the AMD Opteron and the IBM PowerPC 970 are designed to work with HyperTransport. I'm still not quite sure if Intel has some analog of it or not (probably, I just haven't figured out what it is yet).

I've written a few times about various types of Ethernet, but my memory isn't perfect, and some of the sources of information I have aren't complete. I think I may pick up the O'Reilly book Ethernet: The Difinitive Guide at some point.

One of the most interesting things I came across involves a merger of sorts between two long-standing rivals ATA (IDE) and SCSI. Serial ATA drives will be compatible with Serial Attached SCSI. You will be able to mix and match drives. Not exactly sure how you would tell the difference between them, though, or if it's even relevant.

One question I have is, will you be able to use Serial Attached SCSI drives in Serial ATA-based systems? Or does it just go the other way around? If things go both ways, I think the next few years will be an interesting exercise in marketing. How would the cost of one be justified against the other if they're compatible?

Posted by mike at 10:30 AM Central | Food , Hardware , Music , Self , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 18, 2003

Tock

My brother just left. He stayed over last night because he went to a Ham club meeting yesterday evening, and he's off at capoeira practice now.

He had tried to go to lunch with some Ham people earlier today, but apparently nobody showed up. We went to the MoA in the afternoon, and I was reminded how boring the place can be for guys. We left and then headed to Target, where I got one of those “atomic” watches I'd talked about previously.

Unfortunately, Casio doesn't seem to like incorporating countdown timers into their watches. I don't understand why.. I never use the chronometer function on my watches, but I set timers fairly regularly.

Oh well, maybe Timex will come out with a good self-setting watch. The last few watches of theirs I've owned have had fairly easy to use interfaces, while this watch I just got seems to operate in weird ways.. Maybe it's just the different brand styles...

Anyway, my brother and I got some Chinese food from the place at the tiny shopping center near my house. Well, it's not even a shopping center since most of the places are restaurants—which reminds me... There's a steak place there called “Best Steak House.” I'll have to drag some of my meat-eating friends over there someday to try it out and see if it's remotely worthy of the name.

Posted by mike at 07:08 PM Central | Family , Food , Hardware | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 21, 2003

Touring Machine

Well, I was originally going to rant about how web site designers think that making links pop up in new windows all of the time is the greatest thing since sliced bread. However, arguing about that would only serve to show that I have no life.

Instead, I decided to go out for a walk and then get a late lunch. I figured I'd wander toward downtown across the stone arch bridge and then swing back on the Hennepin Ave. bridge. However, I got sidetracked and wandered through the “Mill Ruins Park.” A really crummy name for a park, but not a bad idea. Actually, when I first saw the name, I thought it said “Mill Runs Park,” which makes a bit more sense to me.

The city is slowly reconstructing the water raceways that used to power some of the area grain mills. Part of the project is the mostly-collapsed building across the river. Apparently that is turning into a museum.

Anyway, I detoured through the area and ended up being spit out a bit east of downtown. So, I took the opportunity to wander past the West Bank campus and go to Noodles & Co. for my meal.

Unfortunately, the detour also made me come back in a different direction than I was expecting, so I didn't go by the grocery and Snyders to get stuff.. I guess I'll have to do that tomorrow.

Also, I may have to pick up an iron and an ironing board to make my clothes a little more presentable for my interview on Monday evening.

Posted by mike at 04:49 PM Central | Exercise , Food , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 22, 2003

ica rumba

After failing miserably to chat with Sarah online, and then succeeding somewhat in greeting the recently-returned Beth, I went out to get some lunch. I was stressing because I just didn't feel like going to any of the normal fast-food places out there, but I finally settled on the Taco Bell near The Quarry.

I was joyfully reminded that the place there is a combination Taco Bell and Pizza Hut. I think a Personal Pepperoni Pan Pizza was really what my stomach was craving. Mmmm...

Headed over to Target to get some and then headed over to Barnes & Noble at Har-Mar. Upon leaving Har-Mar, I randomly decided to head south on Snelling, and noticed that there were a lot of nice cars going by.

Yep, we missed yet another classic car show at the fairgrounds. One of these years...

Posted by mike at 03:19 PM Central | Food , Sarah | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 26, 2003

Welcome to Cloudville

Well, I guess I'm going to sign a lease that goes well into next year. One of the few things that annoys me about this place is the fact that leases can only terminate during 5 months of the year. Add to that a two month notice to leave, and it makes things a bit difficult..

Oh well, I can sublet the apartment if the need arises.

I've noticed in the past that I sleep much more soundly when I'm at home than when I'm in the Cities. I figured that street noise was the main problem, but I've still had problems recently when the windows were closed (since I had the A/C running).

I suspet the problem is caffeine—I've been drinking large quantities of Mountain Dew recently, mostly because I've been lacking other beverages. At home, there tends to be a slightly larger selection of drinks available, so my caffeine intake is much lower.

Well, I guess it's time to visit the grocery store anyway.

Posted by mike at 12:22 PM Central | Abode , Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 11, 2003

Not the Sharpest Cheese

Did I mention that I get free pop at work? I try to avoid drinking too much, just one or two cans a day. I do take the opportunity to avoid buying a drink with my lunch (just get a water instead), so I save a little bit when I go out to eat.. Of course, it'd be better if I made my own lunch and brought it in, but I've never liked cold lunches..

There is an amazing variety of stuff to eat in Hudson. Well, okay, the area I usually go is just packed with the big name chain restaurants. I feel bad eating fast food sometimes, but I generally actually need to eat fast...

Posted by mike at 09:31 PM Central | Food , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 14, 2003

My Name Is Mike...

'Cuz I lack decent cooking skills, I tried out a Tyson stir-fry meal-in-a-bag thing today. Seemed to come out alright, but the instructions said to have the veggies in the skillet for 6 minutes—blech. I don't like wimpy veggies..

Of course, I was a bit surprised when I got a whiff of the sauce as I was pouring it in. Definitely smelled alcohol. The culprit, as listed on the bag, was sake ;-)

So, you can tell people I've had sake now.

Sort of.

Posted by mike at 06:29 PM Central | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 20, 2003

Like Television

While I wait for my first paycheck to arrive (one of the really annoying parts of going through a contracting agency), I'm in the mood for low-cost entertainment. I watched a recording of the movie Fahrenheit 451 that my computer made, and I'm slowly attacking the Project Gutenberg text of Anna Karenina. I'm converting my copy to an HTML version as I go, so there is at least some point in finishing it (there are other HTML versions out there, but they don't really follow the formatting style I prefer)…

I suppose that, in theory, I'm not supposed to understand the book. There are themes that I just have not had the opportunity to experience in life yet. (And at this rate…) But maybe I have not properly interpreted what other people said about the book. It so far seems to just be about princes and princesses—kind of odd material for almost anyone living in 2003.

I haven't managed to read any (non-technical) books for a while, so hopefully it will be entertaining no matter what…

I was sitting out eating lunch at Chipotle thinking that the United States has an entertainment culture, but then I remembered that we also work more than most other cultures. The dichotomy of working too hard and playing too hard is the best definition of the culture of the USA I can come up with at the moment…

Posted by mike at 12:33 PM Central | Books , Food , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 02, 2003

John Doesn't Know We've Secretly Replaced His Operating System With Folgers Crystals

Time to go buy food. My fridge is damn near empty, so I'd better go get some stuff. Considering that the nearest grocery store is only about 3 blocks away, I sure don't get stuff very often. I should really get into the habit of going there every few days, but I'm still getting out of that once-every-two-months mode.

Had some food over at the bunker last night. Hmm. I don't like “the bunker” as a moniker, but I guess “the pit” has been done to death. Maybe I'll call the house “the yellow monster” ;-)

Anyway, had food there, met Elvis, etc. Then I checked out Sarah's new housing. Kind of a tall place for vertically-challenged people, but at least that gives room for the hot air to go in the warmer months.

The couch there has quite a stench and probably requires an IV drip of Febreze for the next month to be manageable, though maybe there are some cushion covers that could be washed…

At work, I'm actually researching things for a Linux project, though it's still 5e|<r1t. If anything ever actually comes of it, I'll be sure to talk about it with people endlessly.

Well, off to find supper.

Posted by mike at 06:14 PM Central | Erin , Food , Sarah , Software , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 10, 2003

'Cuz Stacy's Mom Has Got It Goin' On

Hey! I bought food today! I have stuff to eat! I even got some reasonable snackish stuff…

Anyway, the s00per s3kr1t project at work is progressing and taking up most of my time, but that will change over the next few days. They're still researching stuff in order to figure out what they're going to research. But, people are already saying “Wow,” which is good.

I'm hoping to get paid soon, but I'm debating whether or not to get going on my big PVR/TV project. Well, I'd mostly just like to get a new computer set up for TV recording, so my desktop's CPU doesn't get so pummeled all of the time.

Then again, it looks like my parents might start pushing for me to get a car (most likely used if anything has to happen in the near future).

Hmmph.

Posted by mike at 11:39 PM Central | Car , Food , Hardware , MythTV , TV , Work | Comments (188) | TrackBack (0)

September 11, 2003

I'll Have a Thick Face Burger with Cheese, Please

Scenario 1:

Insert driver
Observe crashed machine
Reboot and tweak driver
Observe white noise
Yay!

Scenario 2:

Observe pretty output
Update driver and reboot
Observe no output
Undo driver update and reboot
Observe no output
Uninstall driver and reboot
Reinstall driver and reboot
Observe no output
Boo!

I had to reimage that second box in order to get it working again. Something must have funked the registry. The first box, as you might imagine, was running Linux.

In other news, Hardee's has turned into The Church of Meat. Home of the 1/3 lb., 1/2 lb., and 2/3 lb. Thickburgers. And that's pretty much all that they sell for food.

Not quite sure what to make of that.

Posted by mike at 02:52 PM Central | Food , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

September 28, 2003

Beware of Cute Lesbians

Went down to Uptown again today, after seeing Lost in Translation yesterday. Finally replaced my missing Massive Attack CD—I think a high school friend had borrowed Protection years ago, but I guess he never gave it back. Then again, I never paid him the $20 I was supposed to for that broken portable CD player.

I got some other music too, and tried out the Chipotle in the neighborhood (they just keep pulling me back in). Amazingly enough, they actually have their own parking lot! Shock of shocks. It was also nifty to discover that it's right across the street from the Brave New Workshop. I might have to go see their current project, Total Recall 2: The Governator.

Hmm. Did anyone see the TV ad that had Jesse in it, making fun of the California stuff? I don't even remember what product it was marketing.

Another TV ad that sticks in my head is this recent Pier 1 ad with Kirstie Alley in it, wearing some clothes that look disturbingly like Scientology uniforms. I have no idea if that's intentional or what…

In other news, I need someone to drop me a LiveJournal code, so I can make an account to see people's protected entries. I still plan to use my own website for journaling, although Movable Type seems to be a bit slow now that I have several hundred entries…

Posted by mike at 03:07 PM Central | Brian D , Food , Internet , Movies , Music , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 05, 2003

The American Way

Ah, Laundry Day, how I hate you.

I stayed up late reading the Sarah Vowell book. Cripes, this woman is my hero. I wish I had the vocabulary, travel experience, and knowledge of German existentialist cinema that she has.

The creepiest thing I learned: April 19th is “Patriot's Day,” at least in some states. That's the day in 1775 when the first shots were fired in the lead up to the American Revolution. Over 200 years later, Timothy McVeigh put a truck bomb in front of a federal building in Oklahoma City (though Internet research also shows that the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas was torched on that day a few years earlier). The incongruity with that and the new September 11th “Patriot Day” is disorienting.

I think I may have to read the book again. It's something I'd like to absorb more thoroughly.

Yesterday, I finally went to see Once Upon a Time in Mexico with my brother. It's a decent action movie, though the blood and gore factor was a bit higher than I expected. However, I have little doubt that a shotgun discharged at point blank range toward someone's kneecaps would probably have a similar effect to what was shown in the movie.

The most entertaining moment for me had to be when the Johnny Depp character was at a bullfight, wearing khakis and a t-shirt saying “CIA: Central Intelligence Agency,” as he laid plans for overthrowing the government. And, does he say “Savvy?” in every movie he's in?

After the movie, we went to Burger King, where I re-discovered the silliness that goes on in the fast food industry. I ordered a sandwich, an apple pie, and a small drink. The last thing I see before the price pops up on the little screen pointed at me is “MED COKE.” Medium? I wanted a small.

“I'm sorry, sir, we only have medium, large, and extra large. You can see it's not on the menu.” I mutter something about this being a letter-writing offense, but pay up. Later, when my food is ready, I tell her to tell her manager that I'd like to see small beverages back on the menu. She looks at me like I'm from Jupiter.

Despite cases being laughed out of courtrooms recently, fast food joint are not doing a good job of convincing me that there isn't a conspiracy to make everyone in America fat.

Posted by mike at 02:07 PM Central | Books , Food , Movies , September 11th , War | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

October 10, 2003

Off the Router, Through the 'Net…

Yeesh. I wonder what percentage of my daily food intake originated from Sysco.

Posted by mike at 06:00 PM Central | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

October 17, 2003

You Cannot Corrupt Me!

I swapped video cards last night, putting my G400 in the new box I've been working with. The TV output seems to work great, although I have started to see an annoying “banding” effect indicating that the card was scaling video so the interlacing didn't line up properly. Ugh. But that seemed to only happen with some of the video I fed in, so hopefully there's just a bug with some particular display mode.

I should have done some stuff today—mostly looking for parts for my car—but it just didn't happen. I kept being drawn back to the computer to try slightly different things, and then about mid-afternoon my energy level dropped like a stone.

One of my “atomic” clocks has been off for two days straight in the morning. I know it had gotten reset at some point last night, so it managed to get corrupted information about the time two mornings in a row. Very strange. I hope it stops. I expect my clocks to be correct, dammit.

Well, I should go find some supper.

Posted by mike at 07:25 PM Central | Car , Food , Hardware , Software | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 24, 2003

Moon Unit

I sent a note to Drive 105 telling them that 105.7 seemed to have a poor left-right balance when compared to 105.1 and other stations in the Cities. Seems to be fixed now, though I have no idea if I caused them to check or what…

I didn't go to any movies this weekend. Dunno why I failed to do that, though it was probably the snow. I'm not sure if we even got 2 inches—I can see a few tips of the blades of grass in front of my building.

I got myself a George Foreman grill sometime last week. I can cook ground beef without setting off the smoke alarm! Yay! I've also cooked some No Name Steaks on it. They're tiny, but pretty good. I've tended to cook some onions or peppers at the same time, which usually turns out alright.

Hmm. My car has needed an oil change for about a month. Good thing I haven't been driving! Hah!

Oh boy. That's an Alf-worthy knee-slapper… Anyway, hopefully I'll do that tomorrow, probably along with some laundry.

Oh, before I forget—I just loved being awakened at 2:45 this morning because of the Suburban plowing the driveway across the street. My lonesome self seems to be getting more and more paranoid, 'cuz each time I wake up because of new late-night noises I keep thinking, “Aw crap, the world's coming to an end.”

Arr! I'll be a quarter century old this Saturday. Arr!

Posted by mike at 04:06 PM Central | Abode , Food , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 18, 2003

Hey Ya, Hey Ya

So, apparently there is such a thing as “booya.” I've got a feeling that that is not the right spelling, though. I randomly came across an article in the Pioneer Press talking about “booya kettles,” which apparently pose a big fire hazard. The article says that the kettles are used for preparing a “stew-like dish,” so maybe the word comes from “bouillabaisse.” Except, that seems to be a seafood dish…

Hell, I don't know. It just seemed odd to see the word used to describe something real rather than a nonsensical bellow from R. Lee Ermey.

Posted by mike at 11:27 AM Central | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 02, 2004

Epic Novel Daily

Well, shortly after I made yesterday's post, I got a call from my mom telling me that my step-grandfather in Fargo had died. My grandmother had married him about a dozen years ago. She had originally been widowed when my grandfather died about two years before I was born. She was alone in her house for a few years after my youngest uncle left. I knew this day was coming, since my step-grandfather had been sick from prostate cancer and treatments for it. The thing I feel worst about is the fact that my grandmother is alone again, though I suppose the shock has been somewhat lessened for her since he had been in a nursing home for a couple of years.

Anyway, funeral arrangements had not yet been made, but were potentially scheduled for Saturday, meaning that I would have been headed up to Fargo today to spend the night. Since Erik was only free on Thursday and Friday this week, I was encouraged to see if he was available. I went over to his place to hang out, but also intending to have us join up with Dan at some point.

I got there as Erik and his roommate were about a third of the way through The Adventures of Baron von Munchausen. A pretty wacky movie, but what do you expect from Terry Gilliam? Oh, and a young Uma Thurman. Mmm.

When that ended, we selected Finding Nemo for the second flick of the evening. That was a good pick, since Dan hadn't seen it yet. Of course, getting Dan over to Erik's place was a small task, since the address Erik lives at in St. Paul can also be found in Minneapolis. At any rate, he brought along Laura (who Erik hadn't met) and Russell (who Erik knew from Tai Chi).

We chatted a bit, and I learned of things like Sarah's string of Ford Foci. Also, I found out that we have to wait yet another month to get a court date, but that's okay since I will now be attending a funeral on the 7th.

After that, we headed over to Annie's Parlour to meet up with Sarah and Josh. The mystery staircase was discovered hiding in plain sight due to our placement in the “smoking” section. We also had to listen to the disgusting KFC urban legend moments before Sarah and I were served our chicken sandwiches. Other than that, we had a pretty good time. Dan even had a fit of spontanaeity by putting on Laura's coat and scarf. I figured he ended up looking like a very distinguished gay bohemian, but I didn't really vocalize on that.

After that, time was spent at Dan's place, mostly watching TV (Family Guy was a really good episode last night, then we saw Jack Black and Cristopher Walken on a repeat of Conan). We also watched the video of some freaky Japanese guy beating Super Mario Bros. 3 in less than 11 minutes. I can barely pass the first level in that game ;-)

Anyway, it turns out that Erik does some of his teaching at the school right across the street from my building, so we might start seeing him more often.

Posted by mike at 01:04 PM Central | Dan , Erik , Family , Food , Josh , Sarah , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 14, 2004

Yo Quiero

Ugh. I just got a spam through my ICQ client. Interesting technique: it was sent to me as an “Authorization Denied” message. So, if you want to cut down your debts drastically, legally, and quickly, give them a call at 281-587-6082.

I did a search on that number just for kicks and ended up with some web pages in the Netherlands. They were in Dutch, so I couldn't really understand them, but one seemed to be discussing a diploma from a university. Both of the numbers started with 1- or 001-, which would seem to indicate a North American number (since 1 is our international calling code). But heck, I dunno. The area code is supposedly Houston, Texas.

The experience of coming across a dutch page reminded me that there are a lot of languages I wish I knew. I sort of know Norwegian (heritage reasons) and German (the only other option in high school was Spanish, which I didn't think was important at the time—oops), but I don't know them very well anymore. I should really get some reference books on that. Beyond that, the old languages used in Britain and Ireland are intriguing. Celtic and Welsh are pretty wacky, not to mention old/middle English.

If I'd had my choice in high school, I probably would have either done Norwegian or Russian (I'm so jealous that Sarah did that in high school), but my experiences in college have gotten me interested in Japanese and Chinese. Today, I'd be pretty interested to learn Arabic, but I don't know if I could ever learn to read backwards… Heh, I even admire the reasons for making Esperanto, though it's messed up in a lot of ways. Latin always sounds so pompous whenever I hear someone speak it, so there are reasons it could be fun—too bad the complex conjugations and declensions would make my head explode.

But if I ever learn another language, it will be Spanish—for purely utilitarian reasons. Like, I don't know, could I get my cheeseburger today?

Posted by mike at 12:42 PM Central | Food , Internet , Sarah , School , Self | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 15, 2004

Floccinaucinihilipilification

I can't believe nobody posted a comment about my 1-976-HOT-NASA line in my previous entry. I mean, that's one of the funniest things to come out of my head in months. Well, I think so, anyway. Guess I'd never make it as a stand-up comic. (Like that's news…)

Hmm. I haven't thought about this for a while, since I haven't had the patience to sit through Inside the Actor's Studio recently, but I think that one of my “favorite words” would have to be “fudgesicle.” That would probably be my curse word. As for favorite word overall, I'm not so sure. There are a lot of weird words in English, and I keep finding more that sound a lot like pholaboly, philately, and phlebotomy. Craziness ;-)

I'm hungry.

Posted by mike at 03:23 PM Central | Food , Self , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 16, 2004

Around the World in Eighty Seconds

A triumvirate (a la Douglas Adams) of unusual news articles have piqued my interest today:

Bush Booed at Martin Luther King Gravesite via Yahoo! News:

“Bush go home” and “peace not war” the predominantly black crowd of protesters shouted from behind a barrier of buses…

Brain Sandwiches Still on Some Menus via Yahoo!:

“I think I'll have hardening of the arteries before I have mad cow disease,” said Cecelia Coan, 40, picking up a brain sandwich to go at the Hilltop Inn during her lunch hour. “This is better than snail, better than sushi, better than a lot of different delicacies.”

CBS Cries Foul on PETA, MoveOn Super Bowl Ads also via Yahoo!:

“We just want to be able to present our jiggly women,” said Lisa Lange, spokeswoman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, asking to join advertisers like beer brewers who has boosted sales with images of scantily-clad women.

Sci-Fi Scribes Like Mars Plan from Wired News:

“I'd been afraid that this would be some kind of one-off, Apollo-type stunt. But it's not that at all,” he said. “A long-term, large-scale, open-ended space project—it's like watching a science-fiction movie. It's like the sort of thing I'd always imagined.”

And, countering, Mars Mission a Trojan Horse? from Wired again:

[Space historian Howard] McCurdy noted that the current President Bush's father, George H.W. Bush, similarly proposed going to the moon and Mars in 1989. However, that plan fell apart when NASA came back with a jaw-dropping $400 billion price tag.

The current President Bush only signed on to a new moon-Mars plan after assurances from NASA Administrator Sean O'Keefe that the agency had returned to being the can-do outfit that sent men to the moon in the 1960s, McCurdy said.

Update: I don't know how many of my friends have been watching The Daily Show this week, but there was some weirdness with Presidential candidate Carol Moseley Braun. She went on the show Wednesday night (I don't know exactly when htey tape, but it's afternoon/evening, I'm sure), and did a pretty good job. Also that day, word leaked out that she was planning to drop out of the race. I haven't been able to figure out exactly when she officially quit, but it's really weird that she stayed to tape the show…

Posted by mike at 12:04 PM Central | Decision 2004 , Food , Politics , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 17, 2004

Just the Fax Ma'am

Today has been even more laid-back. I suppose this is just about as low as I want to go in the activity department. At about this point, I have a tendency to just get tired out by doing nothing for too long and begin a downward spiral. So, I've been reading Catch Me If You Can, the book upon which the movie is based, not the other way around. I started in on it the other day, reading in bursts of a chapter or two when I get a chance. Since my grandparents have lost a fair amount of mobility over the years, my bed area downstairs hasn't seen much foot traffic except for my dad going in and out of his room from time to time. I've mostly just been sitting in one of the easy chairs with my headphones
on as I listen to the radio or a CD and read the book.

I'm kind of surprised by the radio stations around here. There doesn't seem to be a huge number of country staitons around. I guess it seems to be about the same ratio as I find in Minnesota. Still, the air is choked with various rock variants. Some are more geared toward the top-40s end, though most try to be fairly heavy rock or are some variation on classic rock or oldies. I'm appreciating the fact that the playlists are different than those in the Cities. Not quite as much overplaying of John Mayer Jack Johnson (or is that John Jackson? Reminds me of a Futurama episode or two ;-) Anyway, I've just gotten extremely annoyed by the Minnesota stations over the past several months since they beat their overly-short playlists into the ground.

A better strategy than restricting the playlist to 50 songs is to expand it. A lot. I need variety, dammit! It might be good to have scheduled times where certain genres are emphasized, though I'd hate to see certain songs essentially banned from daylight hours or whatever. Still, most stations make massive train wrecks most of the time when transitioning between songs. If scheduling is only going to happen on computers, then it's best to describe the songs in some way to prevent the new song from totally messing up the flow. Some simple beat and note (frequency) matching would be helpful.

WLRS 105.1 (“The Walrus” :-p) is now playing a new song I just heard on that Danville station the other night. Maybe we were all just going through a periodic drought period for new music. I suppose the aural pushers might take a break around Christmas. It would be nice to have some more stuff show up now. Ah. Then the segue to an aincent Red Hot Chili Peppers tune… Bleh.

Anyway, I'd read Catch Me If You Can. I guess I was surprised by the libidinous root causes of that whole escapade. That seemed to get glossed over from what I remember of the movie, though maybe I just try to avoid thinking about things like that. Reading the book yesterday definitely influenced my dreams last night. My mind gave me images I haven't had in a long while. They involved a girl I knew back in High School, though one I generally hadn't thought of back then. Still, I don't think I'd take this as a sign…she attended seminary after graduating from Byron :-p

Still, the book definitely reminds me that I'm not taking the appropriate chances to enjoy my life properly these days. Of course, this is another thing that seems to run in the family. Out of my dad and his brothers, only my father ever married. Both of his brothers (one older and one younger) are long-time bachelors.

My grandmother can't stop commenting on how she never knew that the younger brother, Joe, could cook. He's done a good job of preparing meals for us—often including a token amount of bacon ;-) Green beans, baked sweet potatoes, fried potatoes with vegetables, roast beef, and so on. Of course, it's not all exactly from scratch, but he's done a lot.

I should probably go see if I can help out with any of the repair/upgrade projects that are going on in the house. Dad was still slowly proceeding with installing new phone/fax lines upstairs so my grandfather could move his office up there if he wanted. His office is currently downstairs, though his space down there is much bigger than the room that he might move into later.

Posted by mike at 06:49 PM Central | Books , Family , Food , Kentucky 2004 , Music , School | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Baptist Conventions

I should mention that my great aunt Nettie Lee visited today. She's 92 (or 93… hard to keep track of these things) and still drives everywhere. She seemed to be moving more slowly than the last time I saw her, but I think that must have been almost ten years ago now. She brought some chili that she'd made, as well as a Sara Lee pie she'd picked up somewhere.

My grandmother keeps getting visitors and phone calls, though I suppose they're mostly people from her church that are kind of fulfilling their duty to the congregation. They seem to enjoy visiting, though, and my grandmother definitely appreciates having different people come by to talk.

Posted by mike at 09:35 PM Central | Family , Food , Kentucky 2004 | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 07, 2004

Cinnatastic

Hmm. I ran out of chocolate before I could really experiment with it, but I plan to try adding cinnamon in the future when I make chocolate milk and hot chocolate. Wonder what else I should try…

Posted by mike at 03:34 PM Central | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 16, 2004

Eats Good!

Sweet! Good Eats Geek Code.

Ohmygodohmygodohmygod!

Heh.

Posted by mike at 06:02 PM Central | Food , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

April 09, 2004

That, and Another Piece of Coffee Cake, Should Do the Trick

Frontline had another good show, “Diet Wars”—the whole show will be available online on Saturday for anyone who's interested. Anyway, they just went through the basic stuff that any intelligent person who has read about diets should already know, but it's good to be reminded. I'm interested in heaing more about the theoretical Harvard diet. Wired magazine had a layout comparing the government's food pyramid to other diets out there a few issues back, but it doesn't appear to be on their website…

Anyway, the general conclusion was stuff that some people have known for quite a while—eat unsaturated fats rather than saturated ones, avoid refined carbohydrates in favor of less-refined ones. It's bouncing back from the Atkins craze in a way, dropping the saturated fats and bringing back certain types of carbs.

Oh, and another thing, it's often better to avoid things that say “Low Fat.” The Harvard talking head said that the pre-low fat salad dressings were better for you than the newer varieties. When foods went low-fat, much of the fat was replaced with starches and sugars, leaving the calorie count about the same, though potentially making you want to eat more often due to faster changes in blood glucose levels.

Okay, that's boring. We should exercise more, too… Yadda, yadda, yadda…

I got a call about an interview at MCAD that I'd inquired about a month ago… Sheesh. I'm still waiting to hear about stuff that happened last week, but something good had better turn up soon.

Hmm. Once I get off my butt and send back my broken hard drive, I think I'll set up my computer to record Best Week Ever on Fridays at 10 o'clock, since that's the one day of the work week that The Daily Show isn't on. The bits of Best Week Ever I've seen have been good, so I'll have to keep watching.

Posted by mike at 12:03 AM Central | Daily Show , Food , TV , Work | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 09, 2004

Branch Prediction

Well, I can't say that my car is the neatest thing since sliced bread, but at least I still barely break the $20 mark when filling up the tank. I guess if I was driving on fumes, it might hit $25, but I usually don't let it get that low. The tank is only 11 or 12 gallons, but it gets 30 mpg or so to compensate. Not bad for an '88. Of course, I pay for that in the fact that I can't pass worth shit, but hey ;-)

Anyway, I just found out today on Car Talk that GM's Chevy Silverado (aka GMC Sierra) hybrid gets really poor mileage, even considering the fact that its conventional counterpart doesn't do very well either. It only gets 16 mpg city/19 mpg highway in the 4WD version. That's pretty sad, only improving things by one or two miles per gallon. Even on a percentage basis, it's a poor improvement for a hybrid—you get a bigger difference in switching fuel or getting the 2WD version instead. I guess GM is too enamored with hydrogen power to play with hybrid technology very much. Oh well, I guess you can use the standard phrases: “It's better than nothing” and “They need to start somewhere.”

Ford's Escape hybrid has been on the drawing boards for a while, and it looks like that's going to be significantly better. The standard vehicle gets 20 mpg or so, and the hybrid versions will bring it up to 35 to 40 mpg. Definitely not bad, though Ford hasn't said what the cost is yet, I guess.

Today was Mother's Day, of course. I got Bowfinger for my mom, since she liked that movie (she's a fan of Steve Martin who hasn't given up on him yet, I guess ;-)

Anyway, we all went out to get a snack at Ben & Jerry's when my parents came up this afternoon. Took some time to find a parking spot, and we ended up just stopping in the Radisson ramp. My brother said that the Oak Street ramp was closed for construction—right on finals week, no less. Maybe he was misinformed, but I guess I shouldn't be surprised if the U decided that finals was the best time to start construction work.

My mom dragged us to Walter Library, where she'd heard that the ceiling was nice, and she figured it might provide good inspiration for quilts. In fact, I bet she's seen the ceiling before, back when I was touring campus and before the guts of the building got ripped out. Anyway, we got a few pictures of the ceiling. We'll see if anything comes of that.

We went out to Como Park, which was just about as busy as I expected it to be. It wasn't totally impossible to find a spot, but it was still pretty busy and took us several minutes. We saw the carousel, toured the conservatory, and then left before the weather started to roll in. The sirens were just starting to go off in Hennepin County as we got to my place, so we tried to check out what the weather people on TV were saying. It still seemed like a lot of chatter with little real useful information.

Anyway, we stayed at my place until the tornado warning expired. A little bit of stuff got blown around, plus a medium-sized chunk of tree across the street came down. We left to get over to Panera, and as we drove past the tree branches, my brother and I dragged them to the side of the road. We had some food, and then my parents headed out to drop my brother back at his dorm room.

So, a fairly typical family interaction. They had to deal with some moderately heavy weather as the went back home, but I guess it only delayed them a few minutes.

Posted by mike at 09:59 PM Central | Car , Family , Food , TV , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

May 31, 2004

Shut Up, Donkey!

Yay! I found SkyscraperPage.com again! I was confused and thought it was Skyscrapers.com. That really worried me because all of the cool pictures were gone.

I went to see Shrek 2, but I was kind of disappointed. It's a tired storyline.

Hmm. I wonder if I'll be able to eat anything interesting tomorrow, seeing as it's a holiday. Then again, I should probably stay in—spent too much money on the movie, popcorn, and pop.

Agh! Before I forget, I should mention that a lot of evergreen plants around here seem to be dying. That doesn't seem good. At least three trees just on the land of my apartment building. Maybe somebody used bad weed killer or something when treating the area. Makes me wonder what I've inhaled.

Posted by mike at 02:03 AM Central | Abode , Food , Internet , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

June 01, 2004

Bring Out Your Dead

The radar makes it look like the rain is going to come and go all day, though it looks like it won't rain too hard. There's a circling mass of stuff here. Maybe it'll go away later after the Sun has been heating the tops of the clouds for a while.

I have to help my brother move in today. We'll see how that goes.

I hung out with Adam, Matt, and everyone else who showed up until I left a little after 10:00. I guess it was good I left, since I had forgotten to fill out my rent check. I figured I'd just fill it out after the BBQ in the park, but we ended up going back to Matt's for the rest of the day.

Learned a tiny bit about how Matt's DJing setup works. I might like to try doing that sort of thing as a hobby, but I doubt I'd ever be good enough to get someone to pay me for it or anything.

Mostly, I think I discovered that my conversational skills are probably worse than usual these days. I need to talk to people more often. I should try going to a meetup or two, if I can find good topics.

Hmm. Also, “The Champagne of Beers” doesn't do anything for me. I will now join the legions of people who snicker at those who drink Miller High Life.

Posted by mike at 10:35 AM Central | Adam , Food , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 02, 2004

Zoom Zoom Zoom and a Boom Boom

Stupid bananas. They've gone all brown-spotty, but there's still some fairly visible green on them! Do I blame genetic engineering for this, or is it something that GM foods are supposed to fix? Bah.

Oo! Best Week Ever in about 15 minutes. Though I suppose it's a month-in-review one…

Posted by mike at 09:46 PM Central | Food , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 03, 2004

Watery Ways

Went to the Taste of Minnesota and to see the steamboats (er, (mostly) diesel-powered boats that sometimes have paddlewheels that might occasionally work) come into St. Paul. It took my brother and I quite a while to find any decent food there, which was really disappointing to me. Maybe I just wasn't willing to experiment, but the selection just seemed pretty sad to me. Way too many non-food-related things. It rained quite a bit, and we got soaked.

We took the bus there and back. The 3A worked fairly well, although the layover point was earlier than we'd expected. The route was being detoured during the Hmong sports festival, and our driver on the way back got confused. We ended up sitting at a corner for 10 minutes while he talked to the control room—apparently nobody there knew what was going on. Anyway, he eventually ended up making a U-turn (okay, actually a three-point turn).

Posted by mike at 11:33 PM Central | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

July 27, 2004

A Strap-On for Algernon

What's the “izzle” version of “pizza”? Pizzle?

Damn you, Snoop Dog, for creating a lossy algorithm!

Posted by mike at 07:24 PM Central | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

November 13, 2004

John Bigbooté

I got up early this morning because the landlord said he had to come into my apartment to fiddle with a valve for the heat. As far as I know, he didn't. I ended up leaving two hours after he was expected so that I could drop off my work equipment and keys at the office.

I got back home and decided to head out, hopefully to do some early Christmas shopping at the MoA, or maybe just get some ideas for something good but thrifty. Yeah, the Mall isn't the best place for that. Anyway, I'd also had the thought in my head to go find the Midtown Greenway. At first, I expected to just go on the train for a short hop down to Lake Street and get off to look for the trail, but all of the Gopher fans piled on and I didn't feel like pushing through everyone to get out.

I decided to just go down to Fort Snelling and do the Mall first. Unfortunately, the shuttle bus was majorly delayed, partly because of the stupid signal timing there and the pile of folks trying to get out of the park and ride lot. So, after 25 minutes or so, I just got back on the train and did the Greenway. I didn't really expect to go very far on it, but when I get going, I tend to walk a long way. I ended up going from the recently-completed east end all the way down past Hennepin Avenue near the western terminus.

I wandered into the Uptown Lund's and was wowed by their produce department, yet disturbed by the fishy smell coming from, well, fish. (Hey, if Alton Brown says fish isn't supposed to smell like that…) Anyway, I thought I'd just get a snack there, but I ended up doing the double-cheeseburger-and-two-apple-pie meal for $2.14. I missed a couple of the buses that could have taken me straight home and ended up on the 28 instead, which stops on the north end of downtown.

But hey, while I was wandering over to Nicollet Mall and pondering when a bus to get me across the river might come, I happened to look up and see a shooting star. That was pretty neat. It was a light as bright as the other airplanes flying around, so I thought it was a plane until it winked out of existence an instant later.

I ended up just walking home. Another good thing about not getting a direct bus was the fact that I remembered to go by the grocery store to get some food. Got some Marie Calender dinners since my mom has recomended them, and discovered that Rick's has started carrying Pagoda egg rolls.

Mmm. Pagoda.

Then I got home and discovered there wasn't anything on TV, so I watched Election. Reese Witherspoon is just so *perky* ;-)

Posted by mike at 09:03 PM Central | Food , Movies | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 11, 2004

Reputations in a Compromising Positions

Wow. I'm really disappointed by this Red Baron pizza I just ate. I don't buy that brand very often, usually because I perceive it as being too expensive. Of course, DiGiorno and friends have upped the ante on that one. Anyway, it just seemed really flavorless to me. Maybe they just have overly-powerful pepperonis or something, but the sauce didn't didn't seem to have much taste at all.

I'll have to try to remember to tune into Cosmic Slop on Radio K tomorrow. That series is wrapping up after ~12 years (they started back in the WMMR days before that micro-station merged into KUOM in 1993). They play the “forgotten pop of the '70s,” so it's any guess if I'd like it or not.

Posted by mike at 05:50 PM Central | Food , Music | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

December 21, 2004

Dude, Where's My Gwar?

Alton Brown is going to be at the Roseville Barnes & Noble (Har Mar Mall) on January 22nd, 2005 at 7 PM. There will be a talk and book signing.

Posted by mike at 11:43 PM Central | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

January 15, 2005

I Blame the Soup

I think Rick's Market may be getting sloppy. Several minor things seem to have cropped up lately—though it might just be that time of year or something. Then again, the place will get torn down at some point this year (Lunds bought the place and is plannng a low-rise development there). Of course, it's also more expensive than Rainbow (or Target), so I should probably start actually driving somewhere to get groceries.

The recent dip in temperatures came at the same time as an illness for me. It might be a coincidence, though I suspect the drop in humidity did it. I get a few sicknesses like this each year, usually one when the temperature first dips to around freezing, then another when it gets to around zero. I coughed/sneezed up phlegm in new and disgusting ways last night (fortunately it's not painful or anything, just gross).

I should have bought more orange juice.

Well, according to whatever source my computer is using for temperature, we got above freezing. Now KARE-11 can stop counting the hours since it went below zero. Sheesh.

I've been getting back into a semi-regular cycle of watching movies from Netflix. I watched The Cooler a few days ago and thought it was pretty good. A bunch of great actors in it, and I guess I've never seen Alec Baldwin in a role like that.

Today I watched Wild Things. At least it had a plot ;-) Yeah, I was hesitant to see it for a long time. I distinctly remember seeing the poster plastered next to the door in Territorial Hall when I was a freshman. It would be hard to find another image that screamed S-E-X so loudly. Given its non-existence in my life, I'm sure I consciously avoided looking at the poster pretty often. What was the thing that finally tipped the balance and caused me to see it?

Bill Murray.

Yeah, okay, rumors of make-out sessions between Neve Campbell and Denise Richards also had something to do with it, but I'm pretty sure that little tidbit had slipped my mind by the time it was added to my queue. I suppose it's weird for my priorities to be arranged this way, but I imagine it's an agitation-mitigation technique since things like that remind me of what I don't have. Then again, it's tough to feel too strongly when everyone is homicidal.

I finally caught the Battlestar Galactica miniseries on Tuesday and Wednesday, then watched the series begin on Friday. It turns out that the Brits have got a leg up on us Americans for once—the series started airing on Sky One last October. Should I just fire up BitTorrent? Perhaps if I start missing episodes—it's kind of nice to draw it out a bit (though it probably conflicts with when Monk is on).

Computer work seems so distant right now. Of course, everything is a little fuzzy at the moment because of my flu-ishness. Well, it's all a matter of my synapses being happy. Good new music and cute perfumed girls are the best antidotes for that. Since element B has been absent for a long time, this kind of explains why I've been so interested in the new radio station that I hope will finally be broadcasting soon. But, they probably won't be the station I want them to be. I'll just have to wait a bit longer.

Posted by mike at 10:36 PM Central | Food , Movies , Music , Self , TV , Weather | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 20, 2005

You're My Density

I wrote this fun article in Wikipedia, but I guess since someone had written another one earlier that had been voted for deletion, this one got toasted too. So, I'm saving yet another backup copy here (I consider this to be public domain text).

At a width of ten feet (3 m), Al's Breakfast is reportedly the smallest restaurant in the city of Minneapolis, Minnesota. A site with a colorful history, it is crammed into a former alleyway between two much larger buildings, it is located—appropriately—in the city's Dinkytown neighborhood near the University of Minnesota. The haunt's 14 stools have met the rear ends of generations of students, along with notable figures such as writer James Lileks, humorist Garrison Keillor, and former governor Wendell Anderson, all of whom consider the tiny diner to be a significant icon of the state. Anderson has been known to bring along out-of-town "big shots" when he visits, and has also maintained a $25 credit in case he is ever "down on [his] luck." Of course, they and countless others haven't braved claustrophobic conditions for nothing. Lileks's review? "Best breakfasts in the world. Ever. Period. End of story. No debate necessary: trust me."

The restaurant as it is today came into being in 1950 when Al Bergstrom parted ways with another neighborhood restauranteur. Bergstrom had gained experience at the griddle and in kitchen management in the 1940s while working for John L. "Jack" Robinson during summers at a popular Minnesota State Fair cafeteria. The Dinkytown building he purchased dates back to 1937 when a neighboring hardware store erected a shed in the alleyway to hold sheet metal and plumbing parts. This was eventually rented out and was a Hunky Dory hamburger stand by the time Bergstrom took it over. The new owner renamed the diner to Al's Café and first opened the doors on May 15. Initially, he produced three meals a day, seven days a week, but scaled back the operation to simply be a breakfast outlet after one year.

Customers who visit the tiny space experience something that is not duplicated anywhere else in Minneapolis. Guests must first stand in line along the building's back wall as they wait for others to finish their meals. Frequent customers can purchase "meal books" and pre-pay for their food. Hundreds of such books line the opposite wall, where two griddles are also situated. The stools and a linoleum countertop run down the middle of the building. The menu is considered to have a number of superb selections including buttermilk pancakes, waffles, hash browns, and eggs prepared in a number of different styles including omelettes. There are also some seasonal items.

Besides the food, another major draw is the atmosphere. People crammed into the tiny space can't help but get to know one another, and this has always been enhanced greatly by the attitude of the staff. Bergstrom was noted for his good humor—and always flirting with the ladies. He retired and passed the restaurant to his nephew Phil Bergstrom in 19731974. Doug Grina and Jim Brandes eventually took over around 1980, and have continued to operate the diner in the same way. The recipes and short-order cooking style that Al Bergstrom developed remain the same to this day.

A University of Minnesota music professor composed some special tunes in celebration of the restaurant's 50th anniversary in 2000. These were played in front of the building on May 15 by a local brass band. Al Bergstrom died in 2003 at the age of 97.

External links

References

I guess I actually have to go there now.

Posted by mike at 12:18 PM Central | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 21, 2005

A Nervous Tic Motion of the Head to the Left

I ran into Bob Woodard of KARE-11 at Rick's Market tonight. He was buying some sort of toiletry item—shaving foam or something. I also got food.

I'm not sure which of those two items is more significant. Probably the food, since I didn't really have anything left other than some cold cuts.

Posted by mike at 07:17 PM Central | Food , TV | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

February 23, 2005

Psychopharmacology

I may not order pizza ever again. One of the guys (at least) has started a weblog: The Streets of Pizza: True Tales of Deliverance.

Posted by mike at 01:30 PM Central | Food | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

March 29, 2005

It's Not Ed McMahon with a Check, But It's Close

Here ya go: Chipotle Nutrition Calculator. Well, probably not quite as bad as I expected, but still some pretty large numbers.

Posted by mike at 09:31 PM Central | Food | Comments (0)

April 29, 2005

Under the Spell

Heh. I was there, so I feel justified in copying the image from Alton Brown's website. His caption: "Rule 37: If you write cook books, don't read them at book signings."

sleeping crowd

Heh, of course it was a gag. That's why everyone is smiling ;-) It was taken on January 22, 2005 at the Barnes & Noble at Har Mar Mall in Roseville, MN. (I find it amusing that someone here got annoyed when I mentioned Har Mar Superstar—apparently someone he/she had never heard of...)

Posted by mike at 04:23 PM Central | Food | Comments (0)

April 30, 2005

May 12, 2005

Diesel Sweeties

LiveJournal's down and Wikipedia's up? That's unpossible.

Something else that's unpossible: my fortune cookies ever coming true. Latest example: "An old love will come back to you." I'd have to bend the rules of "love" anyway, and the big ones are spoken for. Reminds me of when I went to eat out with a bunch of people including Sarah. We had to go through "the talk" earlier that day or the day before, but it basically said that we'd get together in short order. Stupid fauxsian cuisine.

Posted by mike at 05:13 PM Central | Food , Internet , Sarah , Self | Comments (0)

July 16, 2005

It's not the Heat, It's the Humidity

Yeah, we Minnesotans are not so happy that we have to use up natural resources to keep cool, but not all of us have the luxury of leaving a note saying "Too hot, went to lake." Heck, we don't even like thinking about where our food comes from. Well, plenty of folks around here like to get food from co-ops, and like Garrison Keillor says in an opinion piece today:

I [buy from] my local co-op which is run by people who wear clothing made entirely from broccoli and I shop there because everything is organic, which is my version of kosher—it means that someone else has worked out the moral arithmetic so I don't have to worry about it.
Hmm. I should probably at least drop by a place or two in Nordeast once Rick's Market finally closes (unless they have some plans to magically stay in business during construction, which I doubt..). Then again, Rainbow is now right on my to and from work, so I'd just be going out of my way to pay more..

Posted by mike at 10:58 PM Central | Food , Weather | Comments (0)

July 18, 2005

Toast

Hey! For the first time in five/six years, I can go home for lunch! Well, not that it's really that close, but it's a last option..

Posted by mike at 12:23 PM Central | Food , Work | Comments (0)

April 26, 2006

Disraeli Gears

The inventor of the La La Palooza sundae died on Sunday. The La La Palooza is an eight-scoop job sold by Bridgeman's Ice Cream stores. Of course, few Bridgeman's stores operate under their own name anymore. Apparently a buyout went bad in the 1980s, and the chain's kind of been on life-support ever since. In recent years, they've been using licensing agreements with various restaurants and stores to sell their wares—um, er, foods... But, apparently they sold ice cream via drugstores back in the early days before setting up restaurants of their own, so it's kind of full circle..

I'd kind of hoped that the Lollapalooza music tour took its name from the giant sundae (which people used to get awarded a little sticker for finishing), but apparently Perry Farrell (not to be confused with Terry Farrell ;-) saw the phrase used in an old Three Stooges film. Then again, I wonder if he was having flashbacks to 1970s Saturday-morning cartoons. Apparently there was a show named Three Robonic Stooges on at about the same time as Archie's Bang-Shang Alapalooza.

Posted by mike at 08:47 AM Central | Food | Comments (0)

August 30, 2006

Dizzy

Apparently Bobby Flay of the Food Network was filming at Izzy's Ice Cream in St. Paul today.

[Edit 8:37 AM 8/32/2006: Here's a Pioneer Press blog entry about it. Apparently the hubbub was partly due to Izzy's officially starting up their new solar panels].

Posted by mike at 01:50 PM Central | Food , TV | Comments (0)

September 12, 2006

Number Five Is Alive!

I haven't seen video of it, but the transcript of Keith Olbermann's 9/11 rant is getting passed around by a lot of people.

Um. The weather was nice for a little while today. There were actual shadows while I was out to lunch. Too bad that the place I was walking to, Quizno's at University Village, has now closed. They always seemed busy enough to me, but I guess not. But then again, there's a new building going up across the street—maybe they got a better deal over there.

It was quite cool in the morning, though. I'm really glad that my car has an auxiliary heater—I can feel warm air within about 90 seconds, though my commute is still too short for the cabin to actually warm up. But hey, that's what the heated seats are for ;-)

Posted by mike at 04:05 PM Central | Car , Food , September 11th , TV , Weather | Comments (0)