Archive for the ‘Recreation’ Category


Dude, you know it and I know it, you were robbed. Despite my rather French sounding last name I say screw those French and their latent Armstrong vengeance complex.

It’s good to hear you’re back. It’s better to hear you’re in Mn.

From the Pioneerpress:

After pedaling a bicycle up the Pyrenees Mountains and ascending to the top of the international cycling world, Floyd Landis is starting over.

His return to bike racing represents a major climb for Landis, who has traded in cycling’s biggest platform for a little five-day stage race next week in Minnesota.

‘I’m happy to be racing again; that’s the main thing,’ he said.

‘I never set out to be famous,’ he said the other day, adding later that he just wants one thing: ‘I’d prefer to be able to just race my bicycle.’


Ride on brother: Nature Valley Grand Prix

Who’s in?

DM me on the Twitter machine.


Totally Doin’ It with Art and Emily: U Otter Stop Inn

U Otter Stop Inn is a bar in Northeaast Minneapolis, at 617 Central Ave NE. Every night of the week they feature karaoke from 9pm until close.

Art’s Part

As a beer drinker and a karaoke aficionado, what I am about to say does not come hastily, nor on a whim: U Otter Stop Inn is, point for point, my favorite bar in Minneapolis.

Sure, there are bars with better beer prices (like the VFW in Uptown) and there are bars with more extensive (which is not to say better*) karaoke song selections (I’m looking at you, 1029), but numbers are notorious liars. What makes the Otter great are its intangible assets.

First, there’s Kat. Kat is your lovely karaoke hostess who can belt out a tune herself and always keeps the singers in order. Kat is an hilarious conversationalist who can keep everyone in check. A whole bar of drunkards demanding to know why they aren’t next, when are the going to sing, they need to leave soon so can the sing next, COME ON I WANT TO SING. Kat is always happy, knowing she is mocking them to their face and they have no idea. She’s brilliant.

Then, there’s the clientele. A friend of mine and I, after frequenting the Otter for some time, decided we would start taking notes on the percentage of groups of people who came into the bar when we were there (some weeknights, some weekends). We split the crowd into four groups: Hipsters, Douchebags, Old People, and Other. Once we had enough data we were going to analyze it and determine exactly what kind of bar the Otter was. We returned multiple evenings, taking rough percentages on the same napkin. Each time the numbers varied wildly, and after six or seven recordings, we gave up. There is no pattern. I can only assume it is because this bar sits within a supernatural nexus within Minneapolis, much like the Bermuda Triangle: it is in Northeast Minneapolis, but sits between 6th and 7th Streets Southeast.

Also, the puns. U Otter Stop Inn has no fewer than three puns. U is a pun meaning both University and second person singular pronoun. Otter, in this context, is a pun for “ought to” (which is totally true. You ought to stop in.) And Inn, another word for tavern, is a pun for the preposition “in,” thus completing the three-deep superpun. Plus, on The MySpace dot com, Kat’s profile name is Kat E. Clyscmic.**


Finally, there’s the bar itself. I’ve been to many bars, some of which have karaoke. Some of these bars even call themselves karaoke bars (I’m looking at you, Nye’s). However, no bar as small enough or set up as well to put the focus on the karaoke as the Otter. Every other bar in Minneapolis is a bar that has karaoke (which patrons seem to take as something to talk over/ignore until it is their turn), whereas the Otter is a karaoke bar, where the fine art of karaoke is practiced for an attentive, appreciative audience.

So, dear reader, I say, U indeed Otter Stop Inn.

*Sure, the 1029 has access to probably thousands of songs to download in addition to the ones in their karaoke books, but in that vast internet library they can’t find room for Punk Rock Girl by the Dead Milkmen? For shame, 1029. You’re lucky you have Another Postcard.**NOTE: I write the all-pun blog I love puns.

Emily’s Part

At the risk of having to change the name of this column to “Totally Being a Drunken Embarrassment with Art and Emily,” I agreed to write about the Otter this week. Because, much like last week’s Rock for Pussy debacle, I have made some bad decisions at this establishment.

It all started when I moved to Minnesota in the summer of 2007 and hadn’t quite learned the ropes of Minnesota drinking. For example, the first weekend I lived here I tried to buy beer. On a Sunday. In a gas station. It didn’t work out.

Another place where I went wrong, alcohol-wise, was expecting that shots (I was fresh out of college and still felt like doing shots on a regular basis was a good idea) would be about an ounce or so, not, like in some Minnesota bars, the size of a cocktail. Except all booze.

So anyway, I went to the Otter, agreed to take multiple shots with a friend of a friend, did a rowdy rendition of “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips (while vigorously pumping my fist in the air) and then spent much of the next day on my bathroom floor.

And I swore to never return. Because obviously it was the bar’s fault, not mine.

So fast forward a few years to when I meet Art, who is a lover of all things karaoke, and he suggested that we return. I was hesitant because of my past experiences, but it turns out that if you don’t drink your 21-year-old self into oblivion, it’s actually a great place.

They’ve got a mildly crotchety bartender who seems to keep track of the tabs by memory and feels perfectly comfortable telling me that my hair doesn’t look very good in my driver’s license photo (and then showing it to someone else, who for some reason had a plate of cookies, to confirm) and an emcee who, if you write mean things about her on Craigslist, will refute your claims and post embarrassing pictures of you proving her point. Because she doesn’t put up with that crap.

Oh, and you also get to see Art dance like this (thanks to Meg Canada for the photo):


Turkeys Take Minneapolis


Wild turkeys start getting cocky around this time of year. Here’s some in a random Minneapolis neighborhood.

Only 8 months until Thanksgiving!

Happy Hockey Day!

Just a friendly reminder it’s Hockey Day in Mn.

Hockey Wilderness has the schedule.

Who loves hockey?


Who loves hockey?


I have some video and pics coming up.

Holiday Lights in the Park

How was your Thanksgiving?

I took last Wednesday off and spent the day with my family. After proclaiming the day Epic Wednesday “the last shopping day before Thanksgiving” we set out on our adventures.

 Scheduled for the evening was a trip to see the holiday lights in Phalen Park. It’s a drive along Lake Phalen that’s decorated by lights,joy,cheer, and corporate sponsorship.

From the Eastside Review,

For 37 nights starting Nov. 25, families will be able to drive a half-mile course within Phalen Park and view 43 different displays illuminated by LED lights, such as ice castles with snowdrift peaks, soldiers with horns, Santa Claus in a North Pole truck, and a tunnel of lights.

Sightseers will pay a vehicle entrance fee of $8 Sunday through Thursday and $10 on Friday and Saturday or holidays.

What: Holiday Lights in the Park
Where: 1615 Phalen Drive East
When: Daily holiday tours are from 5:30-10 p.m. from Nov. 25-Dec. 31.

The profits go to to Second Harvest Heartland, Union Gospel Mission, the St. Paul Parks Conservancy Fund and UnderConstruction.  

The lights were pretty cool, but sadly my child node cried the entire ride. None the less, I only have two laments.

 1) It would have been nicer with snow. 2) We should have stopped at the cookie and hot cocoa stand near the entrance. I misheard directions. Live and learn. Or dare I say, that’s how the cookie crumbles?

So if you like holidays,charities, and festive lighting you should check it out.

More info:
Lights in the Park
For the brave, some video I shot and barely produced.

GLBT science fiction convention coming to Twin Cities

The 20th anniversary of Gaylaxicon just happened this past weekend in the Washington DC area, so it’s only a year until the convention comes to the Twin Cities for the first time. I’ve never been to one, but some friends of mine go every year, and for the TC event, they’ve talked me into helping out with it. We’re getting authors Margaret Weis, Andy Mangels and Lawrence Schimel in, as well as local out gay wrestler and Scooby-Doo comics writer, Terrance “The Spider-Baby” Griep as the guests of honor, as well as many local writers and artists. It’s going to be at the Saint Louis Park Doubletree on October 9th through 11th, 2009.

Today is the last day for early registration, so if you register for the convention today, you can save a few bucks. With which you can buy more beer. Doesn’t that sound like a great idea?

Around Lake Calhoun on a Sunday afternoon

Who knows how many nice days we have left this year, so my friends and I took advantage of the wonderfully warm weather, and walked around Lake Calhoun. The wind on the north side of the lake was taken advantage of by windsurfers when we started around; I counted 10 surfriders out on the water, just booking across. The leaves were amazing. Who says you have to drive out of the city to look at the leaves? We have our own arboreal firework display right here in Uptown. Get out there and look while you can, the Winter Carnival will be here before you know it.

Grace’s Race

I’ve contemplated running a marathon numerous times. I run. I used to run more. I’ve run the TC10 twice and I’ve run a couple of (rather difficult) half marathons. While the accomplishment of those longer races should spur me on to even longer ones, it usually has the opposite effect. So perhaps what I’m lacking is the proper motivation. Or, rather, the proper perspective.

Grace Ngunu is running the Twin Cities Marathon this year. It’s her first marathon.

Imagine having to walk over 1/2 mile each way to get clean water… My name is Grace Ngunu and this year, I will be running my first marathon! The Twin Cities Marathon will be held on October 5, 2008. I am passionate about both running and helping others in need and I am excited about combining these two passions. Kiandutu is a slum in Kenya, East Africa that is in desperate need of clear running water.

The name Kiandutu literally means, “a place with jiggers” and the living conditions of this town reflects that difficult environment. It’s considered to be the second largest slum in Kenya and is occupied by 50,000 people. A majority of these residents have no near-by access to clean running water. Several times a day, Kiandutu residents have to walk a little over 1 kilometer to fetch water in non-sterile containers at the cost of two shillings per container. The water in the closest river many kilometers away, is severely contaminated with both humans and animal waste; and is therefore unfit for consumption. The short video below gives you a snapshot of life in Kiandutu.

I will be running the Twin Cities Marathon to raise money that will be used to pump water into a section of this slum. The water supply (tap) will be strategically located and will service 2000 people.

This will be a great relief to the many families who now send their young children to fetch water over ½ mile away several times a day in the evenings after school. This will also be a tremendous help to all the parents who also have been making the same trip to fetch water all their lives.

I urge you to join me in making a difference to these families in desperate need of clean water. It costs about $600 to generate one water source (tap). Please make a tax deductible donation of any amount-100% of your donation will go directly toward making this clean water source a reality. I believe that together we can build several water sources in Kiandutu.

Fund management will be coordinated through my local church, the Faith Christian Center in MN. You can donate through Pay-Pal here or send checks to the address below:

Faith Christian Center
7917 Sunkist Blvd
Brooklyn Park, MN 55444

Please contact me via EMAIL if you have any questions or need additional information.
Thank you for joining me in this effort to provide clean water and to provide a huge positive impact to the lives of others!

Now that’s a good reason to run a marathon. More information on Grace’s Race for running water for a slum in Africa can be found at

(via MinneAfrica)



The Minnesota Secretary of State’s website has complete results from yesterday’s primary. Warning: data porn. I thanked my polling place volunteers. Did you? Mary Lahammer on the primary’s biggest winners and losers.

If you follow the Minnesota Historical Society on Twitter, you will receive a “this day in Minnesota history” tweet and alerts about other MHS events.

While Northeast Beat the Website has been assimilated by the TC Daily Planet, Northeast Beat lives on in a Ning group! (FYI, Ning is a service providing DYI social networks.) It has 138 members at the moment.

Tom Elko at MnIndy: “McCain connected 35W bridge collapse to Palin’s pork.” Money quote from McCain: “‘Maybe if we had done it right, maybe some of that money would have gone to inspect those bridges and other bridges around the country,’ McCain said at a campaign stop in Ankeny, Iowa on Aug. 4, 2007. ‘Maybe the 200,000 people who cross that bridge every day would have been safer than spending $233 million of your tax dollars on a bridge in Alaska to an island with 50 people on it.'” Zing!

If you enjoy playing the hockey, check out You can find games and sign up yourself/your friends/a team to play. Ice hockey (indoor), pond hockey, roller hockey, adult, youth, etc.

Opposite of hockey: Are you a surfer? Or at least interested in protecting our beaches and lakefront? Graeme Thickins is helping startup the Minnesota chapter of the Surfrider Foundation.

Webdigs is yet another local real estate brokerage. They’re pimping their use of technology/teh internets and some sort of rebate program. It’s pretty to look at. I haven’t done enough house shopping to know how their user interface compares. Also, having not done much by way of homebuying I appreciate their “How Buying Works” and “How Selling Works” info. And they have a pretty good blog going (which I’m not just saying because they linked us once).

I’m completely RNCed out, but the fallout continues. Y’all know where to go (The Uptake and MnIndy). If you need some handholding, Thinkery’s early-September archive has some most excellent aggregation of independent and MSM coverage. (Yeah, I’m rounding up a roundup. Meta!)

People fret about gas prices, wish they could get away with driving less, but not everyone is hearty, hale, and brave enough to bike. So naturally scooters are the next best thing. We are totally planning on buying a scooter next summer.

Did you know there’s a Holy Land Exhibit in Stevens Square? And that it’s 50 years old? Me neither. It’s not affiliated with the restaurant/deli/imported grocery biz.

Rhubarbarism describes for you the archetypes of Twin Cities cyclists. (Yeah, this one is ancient in internet years, but it’s still funny.)

“The unassuming gazillionaire”: The Strib’s Patent Pending blog talks to Saint Paul native Jawed Karim (PayPal and YouTube co-founder) about his latest project, Youniversity Ventures, which helps fund internet software startups founded by college students.

“If I had 4 days in St Paul…” Where Jen would eat, drink, and shop.

I’m not familiar with Big Quarters, but I want one of their “From the Home of Brown Babies and White Mothers” t-shirts (even though my dad’s the white one). Lake City Browns! w00t! Here, watch one of their music videos. (via MPLSSTPL)

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