Archive for February, 2007

CompUSA closing all 4 Minnesota Locations

myphoto.jpegIn a store closing wave impacting over half of its stores, CompUSA is closing up shop in Minnesota. All four locations in Woodbury, Minnetonka, Bloomington and Roseville will close over the next month. The MN stores are no longer reflected on CompUSA’s website.

It has been years since I set foot in a CompUSA. I find myself buying most of my computer items over the internet. I did like that they had an inventory checker on their site, and almost made a few instant gratification purchases using that tool. But enough other retailers have that tool now that it’s not a big loss.

Submissions for MPR’s In the Loop

In the Loop asks, “Do you live to work or work to live?”

In the Loop is looking for short (two minutes or less) poems, plays, essays, songs, sound collages — anything that can be expressed on the radio — about your relationship with work. Bonus points if you create your submission at work and can prove it to us (a photo, a signed note from your boss).

While I’d say the ratio of bitter cube-dwellers to people that actually like their jobs is pretty high, I’m betting they got a lot more stuff from the latter group. And some real creativity from people who are clearly not busy during the day.

My level of creative expression maxes out with haiku.

when there’s more to do
more work gets done. right now there’s
not much going on.

i push a lot of
paper. the FDA is
a needy mofo.

a bigger cube is
the excitement of the year.
eight by eight, baby!

(as seen at LJ twin_cities and MNspeak)

The Dover Restaurant and Bar at the Doubletree Park Place
(click to embiggen)

The choir that I sing with has a smaller group that performs for various events, and Saturday night we had a performance at the Doubletree Park Place in St Louis Park, right there at I-394, just west of Hwy 100.

So we did our little thing and because my section is the party section and because we’re always pretty jazzed after we perform, we were looking to enjoy a cocktail before heading home. We had initially planned to go to elsewhere, but on account of all the snow we opted for the hotel bar.

Now, the Doubletree is a nice enough hotel, but I admit I was skeptical about the hotel bar. Turns out I really liked the Dover. It helped that it was pretty empty while we were there. We plopped down in those comfy pink chairs, pulled up a few more, ordered drinks, and proceeded to have a grand old time.

Our waitress was fantastically attentive and helpful. The Mudslide-tini was tasty. One of my friends is a Scotch drinker and she was very pleased. The appetizers were yummy. I thought everything was appropriately priced ($7.50 for my Mudslide-tini, $25 for three appetizers).

The decor is pretty snazzy, but relaxed and not pretentious. Since we were all dressed up for our gig, it felt just right. We entertained our fellow patrons with a few songs because we tend to break into song whenever we hang out. Not by their request and not quite up to normal performance standards, but hey. I’m sure they weren’t expecting lounge singers with their dinner. Bonus, right?

I’m still generally apprehensive about hotel bars, especially out in the ‘burbs, but I’m glad to know the Dover is a nice option to have in that general area. I certainly prefer it to TGIFriday’s.

Trivial Pursuits

Wendy wrote about the trivia marathon that took place at KVSC, St Cloud State’s radio station had a 50 hour trivia marathon a few weeks ago. I participated on the same team that Wendy did. It was a lot of fun. We were a remote team out of our friends house in Apple Valley, and because of the internet it seems there were many other remote teams. We had 10-12 people helping at its peak, with 4-6 of us around at any given time.

A lot of the questions were un-googleable. The question writers found questions that were simply not out there for a search engine to find. A lot of questions were also audio oriented, where all you need is a few people with solid music backgrounds. One of the more entertaining rounds was early in the morning on Sunday – name all the artists in a mash-up. Some had other artists not played that you had to use the internet to figure out who all of the artists were in the mash-up. A lot of the audio questions were obscure.

Boyd Huppert did a piece about it that aired on KARE-11 last week. The video is here. It does a pretty good job of describing the competition. It also made me realize that there’s a lot of teams who are way more hardcore than we can ever probably hope to be.

Our team finished 42nd out of 80 teams – a respectable finish for a team who had no solid “St Cloud” resources. The winning team, Pull Start Diesel even has their own website.

I’ll definitely be doing it again next year – it was that fun.

2007 Twins Ad Campaign

The Minnesota Twins, my favorite pastime not involving alcohol, have rolled out a couple of their new commercials for 2007, this time featuring even more of their players this year:

“Little Piranhas” features Nick Punto and Jason Bartlett, two of the “little piranhas” as nicknamed by White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen for their ferocious play. Look for Punto and Bartlett to appear in a most unusual spot in full uniform.

“Carpool” features Twins All-Star reliever Joe Nathan in the passenger seat and taking issue with Cy Young award winner Johan Santana’s driving style.

And of course the team’s commercials wouldn’t be complete without one called “Sideburns”, featuring Minnesota’s pretty boy, Joe Mauer. As usual, the commercials are overly nerdy, but, well, cute.

Where to catch a flick

Emily Condon has a good article in the most recent issue of about the best movie theaters in the TC. The cover is a bit misleading by saying that it’s “The Best & Worst Urban Movie Theaters”, but the actual article focuses more on the positive rather than the negative. In fact the most negative comment is about the outdoor box office for the new Rosedale theater, which which I concur. Anyone else have a best and worst they want to share?

I went up the the Rosedale Theater recently to see Dreamgirls, and, in the way of a mini-review of the new AMC theater, I wasn’t impressed. The outdoor box office is a dumb idea. The lobby is uninspired and almost clinical feeling. None of the employees seemed to be happy about working there (not that working at a theater is the best job, but it was Night of the Living Dead in there). The temperature in the theater was too warm and the seats are uncomfortable. The seat bottom is fixed, with the seat back able to move, but a little flex in the bottom would make it a lot better. And whatever the seats were upholstered with gripped on to my clothes, not allowing too much freedom of movement while I was sitting. It kept feeling like the seat was trying to depants me.

I want to go check out a few theaters on the far outskirts of town, like the new Cinemagic Metropolitan in St. Michael. I thought the name was a little ironic, considering how far out of town St. Michael is, but the Metropolitan name comes from a Parisian-inspired decor for the lobby. Think they serve absinthe at the concession stand? I’d also like to head up to Forest Lake to see the Lake 5, under new management (by a friend of mine, currently fulfilling his dream of owning a theater). Wednesdays, popcorn and soda is only a buck each!

Snow = tow reports that over 1200 cars were towed to the impound lot in Minneapolis alone in the last two days (via Roadguy). Looking at the numbers, they seem to be quite similar to the totals for a snow emergency declared last year. You have to wonder how many of those people didn’t even know they were going to get towed.

More snow on the way this week = more snow emergencies. And this one’s going to be in the middle of the week.

Link Roundup

Restaurant Week

If you’re not a foodie (and even if you are), this week is the week to visit all those fancy places around town without breaking your bank. For the fixed price of $30 for dinner (and/or in some places $10 or $15 for lunch), you can try out the best restaurants in Minneapolis and St Paul, and even a few out in the ‘burbs. Some restaurants are taking reservations online at OpenTable.

Participants are listed below. Further details at MSP Mag. (Warning: Heavy American Express pimpage.)

Your snow hype leader

In my post about the Snowpocalypse yesterday, I pointed out that Dan Barreiro had a beef with the local weather guys.

His latest salvo, fresh on his blog, takes Paul Douglas to task for the weather festivities of the weekend.

Over at ‘CCO, Derusha did a vid-blog on Friday with Douglas in which Paul explains his approach and how sometimes storms are not consistent across the metro and he has to report for a large viewing area. He also talks about how difficult it is to predict snowfall amounts because you are dealing with such a small amount of liquid extrapolated to snow.

Indeed, it does seem that snowfall totals varied quite a bit across the metro and even the viewing area of WCCO. I saw a lot of school closings and delays in outstate areas.

But the roads this morning – just fine for my commute. And probably for most of you, if I had to guess. It sounds like the biggest hassle for those of you in Minneapolis or St Paul was probably dealing with the snow emergencies and digging out your plowed-in cars.

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