Archive for November, 2008

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.

Hey idiots, don’t drive on half-frozen lakes

Flickr cc via laneg

We’re nearing the twice a year phenomenon of Minnesotans who aren’t smart enough not to realize ice on lakes isn’t strong enough to walk or drive on, do so and then fall in and sometimes drown and/or lose their cars to the icy waters.

I looked up my post from last year on the subject, and figure it just about sums up what I wanted to post today:

Now that we’ve had some consistent cold, I hereby declare an official countdown until the first clueless Minnesotan yokel drives his SUV/truck onto a half frozen ice lake only to have it fall in.

That will kick off the local media frenzy about waiting until ice is XX” thick before you drive a vehicle out. They will interview local officials who give their recommendations and then interview the clueless guy whose car is now at the bottom of the lake with the fishes.

Then we’ll have approx 2.5 months of quiet before the ice thaws enough for someone to again park their car on thin ice, have it fall in and kick off the Spring-parking-on-ice local media stories. And the countdown has begun…go!

Mumbai Metroblog covers terrorist attacks

Our MB peers over at the Mumbai Metroblog are covering the terror attacks.

Their citizen journalism efforts were even mentioned in yesterday’s CNN story, “Tweeting the terror: How social media reacted to Mumbai

The minute news broke of the terrorist attacks on Mumbai, India, social media sites like Twitter were inundated with a huge volume of messages…

With more than 6 million members worldwide, an estimated 80 messages, or “tweets,” were being sent to via SMS every five seconds, providing eyewitness accounts and updates.

Many Twitter users also sent pleas for blood donors to make their way to specific hospitals in Mumbai where doctors were faced with low stocks and rising casualties.

Others sent information about helplines and contact numbers for those who had friends and relatives caught up in the attacks. Tweeters were also mobilized to help with transcribing a list of the dead and injured from hospitals, which were quickly posted online.

As Twitter user “naomieve” wrote: “Mumbai is not a city under attack as much as it is a social media experiment in action.”

Neha Viswanathan, a former regional editor for Southeast Asia and a volunteer at Global Voices, told CNN, “Even before I actually heard of it on the news I saw stuff about this on Twitter.

“People were sending in messages about what they were hearing. There were at least five or six blogs from people who were trapped, or who were very close to what happened.”

One tweet from “Dupree” appeared to be coming from inside one of the hotels: “Mumbai terrorists are asking hotel reception for rooms of American citizens and holding them hostage on one floor.”

A group of Mumbai-based bloggers turned their Metroblog into a news wire service, while the blog MumbaiHelp offered to help users get through to their family and friends in the city, or to get information about them, and has had a number of successes.

Flickr also proved a useful source of haunting images chronicling the aftermath of the attacks. Journalist Vinukumar Ranganathan’s stream of photos were published by CNN and other major broadcasters. A Google Map showing the key locations and buildings with links to news stories and eyewitness accounts, and CNN’s iReporters flooded the site with their videos and images of the terror attacks.

The Mumbain Metrobloggers have 6 new posts up already today. Read the Mumbai Metroblog here.

Mommy Minnesota on GPS

WCCO has a story about how MN has outlawed mounting a GPS device on your windshield — even though it comes with suction cups just for the windshield and 49 other states allow it.

“We don’t want to have an obstructed view. Now in Minnesota, many times, our windows are frosted over and it’s difficult to see out of them, said Reinhardt.

His advice on how to safely mount your GPS: “If you have a spot that’s available that you can Velcro or attach it to your dash, that’s what I would do.”

I agree that mounting anything on your window in your line of vision is poor personal judgment, but what about suction-cup mounted cell phone holders, compasses or notepads? We better make laws for that too, Mommy Minnesota. (ps – there’s that slippery slope again).

Then it gets worse:

Reinhardt admits he has never ticketed a driver for breaking the GPS law…But his biggest concern isn’t that drivers can’t see out. It’s what thieves see when they look in.

“Once or twice a day I get a report that somebody broke into a car and the first thing they took was a GPS unit,” said Reinhardt. “With a GPS mounted on your windshield, it’s almost like throwing a $50 or $100 bill up on your dash.”

So the state is passing nanny state legislation to keep us from having expensive toys in the window that may entice a criminal to steal them?

Our politicians and police force must think Minnesotans lack any and all personal responsibility. Give me a break.

Everything is Closed Today

Happy Thanksgiving, (nearly) everything is closed today:

POST OFFICES: Closed, except for the 24-hour office at the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. Express Mail will be delivered in the metro area.

BANKS: In-store and traditional branches of Bremer, TCF, Wells Fargo and U.S. Bank are closed.

GROCERIES: Major supermarkets are closed.

MALLS: Major malls are closed. At the Mall of America, stores are closed but the theater is open. Nickelodeon Universe is open 10:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Underwater Adventure is open; call for hours.

MASS TRANSIT: Metro Transit buses and trains will follow Sunday/holiday schedules. For route information, call 612-373-3333 or go to Minnesota Valley Transit Authority, Maple Grove Transit, Plymouth Metrolink, SouthWest Metro Transit will have no service. Metro Mobility will follow reduced service.

PARKING METERS: Not enforced in Minneapolis, St. Paul and the University of Minnesota. Minneapolis parks will enforce meters unless noted on the meter.

SCHOOLS: Public schools and the University of Minnesota are closed.

PUBLIC AGENCIES: Local, state and federal offices are closed.


RECREATION CENTERS: Most are closed. Edina-Edinborough Park is open; call for hours.

Something To Be Thankful For: Less Cancer

It’s not often lately that we see good news in the headlines, so this story on the cover of the Pioneer Press caught my eye. Bottom line: for the first time, the rate of new cancer cases in the United States is declining.  I have seen several close family members die of cancer, so this hit close to home for me.

MSP Sk8trs Still Suck


NIN Photoblog – Mystery Picture

NIN plays tonight at the Target Center and on their photoblog, Trent Reznor posted this photo.  Click here for the link, but can anyone tell me where this was taken?  This looks so familiar (like the artwork at Zelo?), but I can’t place it.

The Blue Zones

Twin Cities native and author (among other trades) Dan Buettner will be on Oprah today with Dr. Oz discussing the 9 secrets of the world’s longest-lived people/cultures.  These people reside in these “blue zones,” or certain locations around the globe where the residents outlive other populations by years.  He’ll discuss small things people can do in their everyday lives to add years to it (things like eating nuts, getting plenty of sunshine/vitamin D, high-antioxidant wines, etc.). The account of his expeditions which led to these findings can be found in the book, The Blue Zone: Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, by National Geographic Books.

I’m at work during Oprah,but KS95 this morning told me that it’d be on at 4PM on Channel 4 (WCCO).

*Some information here is courtesy of Wikipedia.

Mangled Mail

Mangled mail!

Mangled mail!

What the hell happened here? Ripped in half TWICE, chunks missing, missing the right perforated edge and the top/bottom corners… into a total of four pieces, not including the missing parts.

Let’s take it out of the plastic enclosure and look at the back of it.

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