Archive for January, 2008

Raucous Caucus

John Edwards was just in St Paul (right before he dropped out). Barack Obama will be at the Target Center on Saturday. Tuesday, Feb 5, is Super Duper Tuesday and Minnesota is joining the party. Hence, everything you need to know about caucusing for…

Democrats!
Republicans!

See the Secretary of State’s Caucus Finder for all parties and the League of Women Voters site for lots of good info on voting in general.

Wild Hockey: Plenty of BULL

A 1,000-pound Brahma bull from the World’s Toughest Rodeo will greet Minnesota Wild fans tomorrow, Wednesday, Jan. 30, from 5-6 p.m. in the lobby of Xcel Energy Center prior to the match vs. Anaheim.

That’s all you need to know. Buy your tickets now.

The beast, known as T.C. (fitting), will be joined by World’s Toughest Cowboys Dusty Elkinton and Shane Proctor signing autographs to help promote the World’s Toughest Rodeo shows Friday-Saturday, Feb. 1-2 at the X.

Apparently T.C. helped open the Philly Stock Exchange last Friday, so he must be mild tempered enough to endure a few thousand rowdy hockey fans.

I’m sure there’s an Anaheim Duck joke here somewhere.

Link Dump

_____… it’s what’s for dinner. (an inaugural Metroblogging winter recipe challenge).

It’s that time of the year where our household is plagued by perhaps the worst of the seasonal doldrums… we like to call it, What’s For Dinner?

What’s For Dinner usually involves something cheap (Emergency Chicken Breasts, ground beef) and easy (we can cook it in less than 90 minutes), that isn’t exotic (because who can get rhubarb this time of year, unless you’ve frozen a batch from last spring?) and that my 4-year-old will feign interest in.

I’m guessing that since we all live here in this fine state, I’m not the only one who looks at the cupboards in January/February and thinks, I wonder what they are eating on the Baja peninsula right now?

So I propose a challenge, starting next week. We shall call it the Metroblogging Minneapolis What’s For Dinner Challenge.

Interested? Think you have a recipe that could shake the Tator Tot Hotdish blues? Read on.
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Ice Skating at Centennial Lakes

Centennial Lakes Ice Rink in Edina, MN
Photo courtesy of the City of Edina. (click to embiggen)

I haven’t been ice skating in about five or six years. The last time I did was at a community center in some small town in northern Lower Michigan and an eight-year-old girl knocked me over. So I was equal parts excited and apprehensive about going ice skating at such a… public place as Centennial Lakes.

It was totally fun.

In case you’ve never actually seen the pond there, it’s actually pretty big. It seemed pretty busy inside the “lodge” (where the rentals, concessions, and fireplace are), but there was plenty of wide open space to skate on so it wasn’t crowded outside at all. And no hulking teenagers who are clearly hockey players flying by people. Only middle school hockey players.

We had no problem grabbing a seat to change into our skates, leaving our boots under a bench, and finding them (still there!) when we were done.

Skate rental is $4. Sled rental is $6/hour. Hours:

4 to 9:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 9:30 p.m. Sundays and most school holidays. Please note that although concessions and rentals do not open until 4 p.m. on weekdays, the skating rink does open at noon to accommodate those with their own skates.

While the Depot downtown is fun for atmosphere and scenery, Centennial Lakes is a helluva lot cheaper and has easy parking. And after you’ve worked up an appetite, you hit the World’s Only Pneumatic Air Drive-Thru McDonald’s.

The rink is open mid-December-ish through mid-February-ish. With the exception of yesterday and today, it’s been plenty cold enough to keep the ice frozen, so I wonder if it’ll stay open a bit later this year.

St. Paul Winter Carnival 2008

wintercarnivalice08.JPG
This weekend marked the kickoff of the 122nd annual St. Paul Winter Carnival

According to Wikipedia, in 1885 a New York reporter wrote that Saint Paul was “another Siberia, unfit for human habitation” in winter. Offended by this attack on their Capital City, the Saint Paul Chamber of Commerce decided to not only prove that Saint Paul was habitable but that its citizens were very much alive during winter, the most dominant season. Thus was born the Saint Paul Winter Carnival.

Being a Twin Cities transplant and former downtown St. Paul resident, every year I feel compelled to bundle up and at least check out the parades and ice sculptures.

The photo above is “Pixie Hollow” by my friends Paul and Deneena Hughes. Here’s a KARE11 segment of them (and sculptor Rob Graham) talking about the challenge of staying up 60 hours to create these masterpieces only to have the weather crack a block.

This year’s Grande Day Parade was a balmy 24 degrees and filled with the same quirky traditions and parade standy-bys.

Can someone please explain what the heck these things are (and why?)

wintercarnivalparade08.JPG

If you missed the parade this Saturday, you can still catch the Torchlight Parade this coming Saturday, February 2nd at 6 p.m. (route pdf). And be sure to check out the Hot Dish Tent, including crowd favorite, Tater Tot Casserole.

The Skeptical Diner: Farewell

Dear readers,

Today marks… well, not quite a year, but something yearish about the amount of time I’ve been writing for Metroblogging.

This site has given me a chance to develop my writing, irritate readers, and wolf down a variety of delicious and not-so-delicious items in the interest of expanding the public’s dining knowledge.

But now, for better or worse, City Pages has decided to unleash me on their cheap eats beat and yet-to-be-launched dining blog. This promises to be an all-consuming thing, and I’m therefore — with a heavy heart — hanging up my Metroblogging lanyard.

First and foremost, thanks to Erica for recruiting me, and giving me this ongoing opportunity to post sometimes poorly conceived and rambling missives about food. It’s been a lot of fun working with you.

And to my readers, and the rest of Metroblogging team: Thanks a million. I’m looking forward to following the ongoing Metroblogging action as a spectator and wry-but-sympathetic sideline commentator.

Best Regards,

Jim

Best. Bag. Ever.

Yah, yah, yah. I’m the queen of hyperbole. Blah de blah.

But Adam Turman has a great step-by-step of how he put some of his goregous artwork on a messenger bag. It’s lovely – but combining poster artist + messenger bag + minneapolis artwork = a really happy me, anyway.

Twin Cities-related Oscar nods

codyoscar.JPGI’ll challenge Erica’s vow not to ever post about Diablo Cody and share today’s Academy Award news.

Juno” got Oscar nominations for Best Picture, as well as for original screenplay by Diablo Cody, best actress for Ellen Page and direction for Jason Reitman.

Wow. That’s a ton of back-slapping for the Minneapolis writer who wrote the screenplay while living here. Congrats Ms. Cody!

The UK’s The First Post has a great profile on Diablo today here.

In addition, home state favorites The Coen Brothers also have a lot to brag about today. “No Country for Old Men” is leading the Oscar nominations with eight nominations in a tie with “There Will Be Blood.”

Full list of nominees here.

UPDATE: Diablo on Letterman last night:
“I wrote this screenplay at a Starbucks inside a Target, which is like two layers of corporate filth…surrounded by surburban misery and thought, ‘I gotta get the hell outta here. I better finish this.”

Minnesota: where thrown water freezes before it lands

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