Archive for May, 2010

Talking Minnesotan – 5/21/10

1 of the 10,000 lakes
Image =”1 of the 10,000 lakes” Uploaded on May 18, 2010 by Venkat Raja

It’s been a fun week in Minnesota. People have been talking about the weather and that’s how Minnesotans know everything is right with the world. It just so happens that the weather this week was nice and sunny. Yup the talk was all nice, unless of course you happen to follow politics. Mn political conversations were … well… politics as usual. The Right hates the left and the left hates the Right and the newspaper commentors hate teachers and nurses hate hospital administration and hospital administration hates unions and the unions hate politicians and the politicians just keep smiling and talking about the wonderful progress they’ve made.

Mr.Veto likes to fill up prisons so he vetoed sensible bipartisan legislation that would change current laws to keep bongwater from being counted as drug weight. Citypages covers the story with Bong water bill dries up with Tim Pawlenty’s veto. You have to read the comments.

Pioneer press puts it all into perspective Time to face it, Minnesota: Tim Pawlenty is seeing someone else

He goes on long trips without explanation. He comes home and criticizes my appearance, even as he pays greater attention to his own image. Where there once was fondness and love, now all I get is, ‘Your taxes are too high! You’re spending too much! You have to cut back!’

As if the RNC convention wasn’t a big enough bust Minneapolis now wants to get itself a convention.
Bob Collins has a poll going and so far people seem to think it’s a good thing. Huh.

Speaking of Bob, he has this to say “I’m not sure what creeps me out more, that a 40 yr old was pretending to be a gay hockey teen. Or that ppl folo a blog by a gay hockey teen” about this story Minnesota gay teen hockey blogger outed as 40-year-old man.

I couldn’t agree more.

Did you see this? Last-minute lake rule looks fishy I almost gave the story it’s own post just to use a headline about “bait and switch”.

Anyway, what’s going on this weekend? Here is a nice music roundup. I’ll probably update the post with some happenings links as the day progresses, but for now I’m out of time. So let’s wrap it up with a little bit of Dessa. She released her new video today “Alibi”.
[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J2_aY9gYTF0[/youtube]

How Green Was My Garden: Gardening, Social Media & Bacon go to the Fair

Social Media Breakfast MSP 26 is being hosted at the Minnesota State Fair Progress Building on Friday May 21st from 8am to 10am discussing Urban/Organic/ Gardening & Farming.  Your venerable  blogger (yes me) will be trying not to embarass herself as the moderator of a very good panel of guests assembled to discuss how they use social media to promote their businesses, sell their products and connect with their communities.

Panelists include:

* Susan Berkson, Minneapolis Farmers Market (MPLS Farmers Market on Facebook)
* Debbie Morrison, Sapsucker Farms www.sapsuckerfarms.com
* Barbara Hegman, PlantJotter www.plantjotter.com
* Lee Zukor, Simple Good & Tasty www.simplegoodandtasty.com
* Kirsten Saylor, Gardening Matters www.gardeningmatters.org

Generous sponsors include Organic Valley and Mother Earth Gardens. At the event will be a mini-market with several vendors and organizations displaying their messages and wares. Please stop by for some bacon and lively discussion of how farmers, growers, advocates, markets and more are using social media in the vibrant world of sustainable growing.

Goldstar Ticket Give Away Winners and Photo Finals

The winners of the Goldstar contest’s laziest commenters are Randy and John Malone, whom are truly lazy commenters worthy of the the $25 gift certificate. Most creative comment goes to Amy Scarborough, maybe because I have a soft spot in my heart for needing to ditch a two year old and have a night out. Ya’ll email me your contact information.

As I threatened in my original post I’ve chosen 5 photos. Thanks to everyone that submitted, it was tough coming up with 5, but here they are in their graphic glory.

Now it’s up to you to decide the winner:
1) Dan Anderson submits the freaky “minneapolis sunset”

2) gamelaner submits the expressive “Cinco de Mayo Folk Dancers”

3) Amanda Hankerson submits the gothic and silly “Ilya in the Basilica of St Mary”

4) katbaro submits the whimsical “Sky Flyer”

5) Chuckumentary submits “Solid Gold by Candlelight”

VOTE!!!
[poll=25]

Boom! Goes the Neighborhood: Spring means unexplained explosions return to South Minneapolis

For at least four Spring/Summers a series of unexplained explosions have rocked the Longfellow/Seward neighborhoods of Minneapolis.  911 Operators have been inundated with phone calls from concerned residents whose homes are shaken from these loud earth-shaking sonic booms.

These explosion noises began four years ago during  very hot summer and I shrugged them off as transformer explosions as they seemed to correspond to power failures as well.  But they have continued every season since.  A discussion with the Minneapolis Police Department reveals that there has been an ongoing investigation into the source of the explosion noises and while they have been able to rule out certain causes such as a natural source (river/sewer, etc) they have been unable to find a reason, person, cause responsible for them.

The explosions got much more attention when St. Paul was host to the Republican National Convention with Homeland Security very much involved in the investigation, setting up nighttime surveillance by the river.  Obviously neither they, nor the Minneapolis Police Department are willing to divulge specific details regarding the ongoing investigation but the explosions continue so they have been unable to “solve” the case.

While this is disturbing for someone like me, who lives two blocks from the Mississippi River which is the location from which these explosions are originating, between Lake Street & Ford Bridges, I am reassured by who is working on the case. The attention the Bomb Squad and MPD Third Precinct investigators are giving to this matter is the best for which Minneapolis and St. Paul residents (they are just across the river after all) can hope.  They have been thorough and Inspector Lucy Gerold & Sergeant Wally Krueger have been extremely responsive to my inquiries, living in one of the neighborhoods most affected.

Frustrating investigators is that the explosions can only be heard and they have been unable to discover much evidence, which is why they have asked for cooperation from anyone who may be able to help. If you see anything suspicious by the West River or East River Parkways at night you are asked to call police and if you hear the explosions you are also asked to first check  if you can see anything (a light flash, smoke, etc) then call 911 to report from where you think the explosions originated. Pinpointing the location will help investigators and responders.

Saturday, May 15th, the response to the explosions (there were two, one at 10:15pm and another at 11:30) was swift and this time the State Patrol helicopter was sent to the riverfront to circle to determine whether they could see any activity or evidence.

As Twitter expands you will see greater buzz there in response to these noises.  If you search my historical stream (@quick13) you will see a history of how often they have occurred with tweets like “another explosion tonight” dating back over two years.  Last night someone even created a hashtag for them: #bignoisempls.

The explosions follow a pattern, usually beginning at a specific time, like 10pm and if there is a second one, following at a specific time after, like 11pm or midnight. If the first explosion is at midnight then the second explosion is at 1am or 2am. There is always a regular interval pattern, and there are almost always two or three explosions. One explosion is usually louder than the other.  Rarely there are three explosions in one evening.

There is concern there is something dastardly behind these explosions, but after four summers of enduring them, I am beginning to believe there is a more innocuous explanation.  But then again, in today’s world we have too many reasons for doubt, especially when it comes to things being blown up.  Whatever happens, after four years of having disturbed sleep makes me hope that the investigation can be resolved, if not for my own personal health, but that of the foundation of my home, and perhaps the foundation of the fine City of Minneapolis.

Bike To Work Week May 17 – 21

Did you know that this coming week May 17 – 21 is Bike to Work Week and May 21 is Bike to Work Day?

I had forgotten, but luckily Bicycling sent me a reminder email filled with some great resources.

Cyclists vs. Drivers – How to Share the Road Better
Bicycling’s 2010 List of Amercia’s “Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities”

·         To view our full rankings and see where your city placed, click here. (If interested, a full PDF of the article is also available)

  • Or, check out 8 ideas that cyclists can push for to make their city more bike-friendly here.
  • And, see which foreign cities are the most bike-friendly.
From the Editors – Facts and Tips on Bike Commuting
  • Bicycling editors are available to share tips and facts on bike commuting and bike trends. For example:
  • The average American drives 29 miles per day. If you substitute one day’s worth of driving with riding per week, in a year you’ll burn enough calories to lose 19 pounds. You’ll also reduce auto emissions by 1,248 pounds of CO2, and save more than $800 on gas and maintenance.

Additionally I had the opportunity to speak with Bicycling.com editor Christine Mattheis about various biking topics, including the Top 50 Bike-Friendly Cities which as you know Minneapolis ranked #1.

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Have you always been a biker? At what age did you begin?
I learned to bike when I was a kid, like most kids, but really got into it in college when I bought a road bike.

Are you still an avid biker?
Yeah, I bike commute year around. Probably not as much as I should. I try for three days a week.

I see you were involved with the “top 50 Bike Friendly Cities”? in which Minneapolis placed #1, What was were the main factors in ranking?
There were many studies we used in our research and we talked to leading bicycle advocates. I suggest you check out PeoplePoweredMovement.org and the book Bicycling and Walking in the U.S., 2010 Benchmarking Report is a great resource.

How many of the cities have you biked? Several including Minneapolis, between myself and the other editors that worked on the best biking feature we biked all of the 50 cities.

What is your favorite ride?
Currently I am riding my Specialized Ruby Expert most, but I also own an older Gary Fisher mountain bike and a Giant full suspension. I’m looking at buying a Orbea

Of the bikes you’ve tested in the last year what is been your favorite?

I really liked the Breezer. It’s a great commuter bike for a beginner and has everything someone needs to get started.

You may or may not be aware of this, but Minneapolis and Portland (top 50 #2) kind of have an ongoing competition about quality of life. What was the big separator that put Minneapolis as #1?

*laughs* I wasn’t aware of that… I must have missed something. One thing that really separated Minneapolis was it’s growth and it’s extensive network of trails. You can really get from one end of the city to the other without having to deal with much traffic. Also, Portland doesn’t really have the 4 months of extreme winter.

[In Your FACE Portland!]

Biking seems to be making a comeback, how do you see the future of biking unfolding over the next ten years?
I don’t think it’s a fad. It’s a growing trend. People are more concerned with health and when the price of gasoline spiked a few years ago it made a lot of people take notice. Also, city planners and politicians are taking note. It’s a chicken and egg thing, are they taking note because there are more bikers or are there more bikers because they are taking note and building more trails, either way, biking is definantly a growth market.

What is your take on women in biking?
It’s definantly a growing interest. Over the last 10 years women have been given more attention by the major bike manufacturers in everything from the bikes to the equipment. 10 years ago that just didn’t exist, also more women have been interested in triathalon which has exposed them to biking.

Did you hear about or participate in 30 days of biking?
I heard about it, but did not participate. I think it’s a great thing, anything that can get people on their bikes is a positive for their health and the environment.

If you could give any advice to a new biker what would it be?
Get a bike that fits your body, comfort is important and so is avoiding injury. You can go inexpensive as long as it fits you’ll enjoy riding it. Avoid the cheap used bikes as you’ll end up investing money in them on repairs or replacement and way. Go to your local bike shop and have them help.

—-

Thanks to Christine for the great conversation on biking a Bicycling.com for the reminder and resources. Remember people, get out there and bike!

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What will you show online?

There’s been a lot of talk lately about Facebook and it’s privacy settings (or lack of) and there’s been even more talk about people quitting the site en masse. Personally, I’m suprised whenever someone puts something online and expects it to remain private.

It seems that every year since the Internet has reached the masses people have dropped some inhibitions while others pick up some new ones. There was a time when you’d be called crazy for putting your picture online, or using an online dating service, or doing your banking online and yet all of these things have become the norm. What privacy barries are left to tear down?

How about the delicate topic of money? Would you put your finances online for the world to see? That’s exactly what Edina resident Stephanie Grant did and she’s not alone.

According to the NyTimes

Initially the idea of laying herself bare on a blog and on NetworthIQ caused a lot of anxiety. “You’re saying I have a secret and here it is for everyone to see,” she says. “But once it’s out there, and especially now that it’s not just a flat line saying ‘negative $23,000,’ and it is moving up a little bit, there’s a sense of pride and accomplishment that goes along with that. I know people are visiting, and it makes me want to pay something else off so I can post another entry that’s something good.” She’s currently putting a third of her monthly take-home pay from her job as a benefits analyst toward debt payments.

All of this has led to some odd reversals in her life. She looks forward to getting her bills in the mail, for instance, because it means it’s time to update her total debt. “Which might be a little bit sick,” she said. “But I know it’s lower than the last month. I know it for a fact.”

Grant often wonders about the people who are far ahead of her in the NetworthIQ standings. Did they get lucky? Are they lottery winners? Or did they get smart about money before she did? She tries not to beat herself up over it. “For people with the same income as me but higher net worth, it tells me that I can get there, too. It just takes discipline,” she says. “I know it has only been a couple of months now, but I kind of feel like I’ve made a life change.”

What do you think, Are you ready to put it all out there with networthiq?

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Minneapolis Metblogs Photo Contest and Goldstar Ticket Give Away

In anticipation of their Minneapolis launch the good folks at Goldstar are giving away four gift certificates. These gift certificates are available for any event from Goldstar’s many partners, it’s like a Choose Your Own Prize contest.

About Goldstar

Fun ideas.
Our site and emails are filled with fun things to do, and the experience is customized to you using sophisticated technology.
Half-price tickets.
We work with more than 4,000 venues and producers across the country, and offer the world’s largest selection of half price tickets.
Member reviews. We’re one of the world’s largest online sources of live entertainment user reviews. Everything else you need for a great night out.
Get everything from a venue map to tips on how to dress, where to eat and where to park.
How Do We Do That?Unlike so many ticket sellers online, we’re not brokers. We work directly with our 4,000 venue partners to connect them with our huge and growing Goldstar audience. Not every show sells out, so instead of letting seats go empty, venues list them with us to sell to our members.

Here’s a small list of partners

Northrop at the University of Minnesota
Minnesota Lynx (WNBA)
Children’s Theatre Company
Acme Comedy Company
The Schubert Club
Minnesota Orchestra
The Guthrie
Ordway
Theatre in the Round
Great American Gem Show & Sale
Guthrie
Ordway
Minnesota Opera (though season is dark at moment)
Minnesota Timberwolves
Cirque du Soleil
Hennepin Theatre Trust (Pantages, Orpheum and State Theatres)

Ready to win?

Here’s all you have to do.

1st Place Prize: Best Photo – Include a link to your photo(s) in the comment section and I’ll select the top five photos and put a poll on the site to allow readers to vote for the winner. (Mn images only. Extra point for images from an event in Mn.)
2nd Place Prize- Best comment – Tell me where you’d go and who you’d like to take, make some stuff up, be crazy. Enter multiple comments, top others or top yourself with silliness. I will pick the most creative comment.
3rd Place Prize – Laziest comment – All you have to do is say who you’d take with you. (first name is enough). I’ll randomly pick two of you slackers and give you each a gift certificate.

The prizes are as follows: 1st place, $100 gift certificate and your winning photo featured. 2nd place, $50 gift certificate and the new Gorillaz CD Plastic Beach. 3rd place 2 winners of $25 dollar gift certificates.

The beauty is that these gift certificates are good for tickets that are already marked down 50 percent which means more bang for the buck.

It’s easy. It’s fun. It’s free.

And you don’t even have to annoy your tweet stream with a bunch of RT’s.

Want to know more about Goldstar?
Check out their review on MPR’s State of the Arts or the FOX9 Buzz

Don’t forget to head over to Goldstar,check out their events, and sign up for half priced notifications.

May the best, most creative, and the laziest win. I’ll keep the contest open until next Monday.

1,2,3

GO!

N 1st Street

N 1st Street
Image Uploaded on May 3, 2010 by PhotoPatzer who says “These windows were just to good to pass up. I shot the crap out of this place!”

For some reason this image freaks me out, in a good way.

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Let’s judge a book by it’s cover.

You know the old saying “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover” words of wisdom that we’ve all ignored at one time or another. And not just with books, right? It’s a great metaphor and it often makes sense, yet I find myself making decisions on “the cover” of things from wine labels to situations.

It appears that Minnesota has found itself in a bit of a “judge a book by it’s cover” situation over a recent appearance by acclaimed author Neil Gaimon over an appearance in Stillwater for Money for Club Book which was paid for by Legacy funds.

Strib reports

Librarians defend use of Legacy funds to inaugurate Club Book series with bestseller Neil Gaiman. The metro-wide program was started to expose suburbia to authors of national acclaim… Fantasy and science fiction writer Neil Gaiman’s speaking fee of $45,000 for a recent four-hour appearance in the metrowide Club Book series has some tongues in the library community wagging in astonishment.

Let’s start with the Legacy Fund, it has been a classic case of judging a book by it’s cover since day 1. Everytime a news article comes up about the Legacy funding being used there is at least a minor kerfuffle. Public money is like that, even when we agree we want money spent we often disagree on how or when it should be spent.

When it comes to the Legacy Fund most of it’s supporters and many of it’s detractors had preconceptions on how the money should be spent.

Now with the Gaimon situation it seems the issue isn’t that money is being spent on a literature series, but rather the amount of money spent on one author with Gaimon’s appearance taking up nearly a third of the fund for the Money for Club Book series.

Personally I understand that some authors will cost more than others and they’ll also have a much bigger draw, but in this situation I have seen estimates of 500 people attending. At $45,000 for the event, that means the fund paid $90 a ticket for the pleasure of Mr.Gaimon’s lecture.

I was going to attend, but I had plans that day. Were you there? If so, what did you think? Either way, let’s judge a book by it’s cover.

I am leaning towards the side of “it’s no big deal”, kudos the the library system for bringing in Mr.Gaimon and kudos to Mr.Gaimon for getting a big pay day. It’s a tough literary world out there and big paydays are a rarity for authors.

Now I’ve read reople generally speak at 150 words per minute and there are 60 minutes in an hour which makes 9,000 words per hour or 36,000 words per the four hour commitment. That’s about 1.25 per word Mr.Gaimon was paid.
Does that mean if he spoke in all 50 cent words he would have been over payed by 75 cents a word?

Just kidding, Neil. Love ya’ man.

Readers decide.
[poll=24]

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Friends of the rich and infamous.

Have you ever left on vacation and had your friends watch your place? I typically do when we can’t take the pets. Now I don’t know about your friends, but when my friends watch the place they typically consume all the food and booze while making themselves at home. My wife and I encourage it.

I find out today it’s not that way in the lives of the rich and infamous. According to the Strib and court filings, when asked to watch the Hecker residence James Gustafson and his wife Jamie Miller left these items so they’d feel at home.

You really have to read the entire document on the Strib’s site, but here’s a sample:

clothing, lotion dispensers, a dog sweater, artificial plants, artwork, a DVD player, books, DVDs, a toolbox, a chainsaw, mink teddy bears, toilet paper, glassware and the contents of the refrigerators and freezers

I don’t know about you, but for some odd reason I want to party with these people.

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