Archive for the ‘Grab bag’ Category

Weekend Events

May 2, 2011

So, this was a heck of  a weekend.

Saturday marked the end of my 30DaysofBiking, so no more posts about bike rides to the grocery store or McFlurry runs. I know…you’re crazy disappointed. It was a good experience, especially because I was pushed to ride in weather that I normally would have avoided.  Now I may be less likely to skip traveling by bike in the face of inclement weather; riding in rain wasn’t really that big of a deal. I’m still probably not going to be a winter rider, though.

On Sunday we braved the cold to see the Heart of the Beast Theater’s (HOBT) May Day Parade on Bloomington Avenue in Minneapolis. We arrived early – 11:45am (we rode our bikes even though it May 1st and I was like 30daysofbiking is totally over and I don’t have to ride if I don’t want to but parking is going to suck so let’s bike) – to stake out a spot and watch the crowd arrive. There’s always great people-watching at the May Day Parade. I think I viewed most of the parade through the lens of my camera since this is the first time I’ve gone with the fancy DSLR. Of course that means I came home with about 500 photos, which may take a day or two to filter through. 

And then there was the twitter explosion at about 9:20pm last night. I’ve learned about huge breaking news on twitter more times than I can count now. The most recent instances that burn in my memory are the riots in Egypt, the attempted assasination of Gabrielle Giffords, the earthquake in Japan, and now the death of Osama bin Laden.  Last night someone tweeted a message to this effect: “Daddy, where were you when you found out about OBL?” “On the couch in my underwear with some cheetos and my iPhone, honey.” Oy, so true.

I’m not really processing the whole “hey, that terrorist leader who we’ve spent almost 10 years tracking is finally dead” thing that everyone is going on about today. My first reaction last night was shock, then joy that we had finally achieved our goal, then a sharing of elation, good cheer and snark on twitter (Trump wanting to see the death certificate, the undermining of the royal honeymoon, how President Obama must have been giggling at the Correspondent’s dinner, etc.), and a fleeting feeling of vindication for the victims of 9/11, the service members who have died or been injured in the search for bin Laden, the civilians in the Middle East who have died as a result of the last 10 years of conflict. Then I felt grief for all of the loss of life, the waste that has happened, and will probably continue to happen. I followed that up with a solid five minutes of overanalyzing all of my reactions of the past hour.

It’s good that we’ve officially closed this chapter, and now I’m waiting to see what the fallout is going to be. It IS a huge effing deal, and I want to see how this new information going to affect our men and women serving in the Middle East, how it’s going to affect our nation’s budget and priorities, the upcoming elections in 2012, and people’s perception of terrorism, security, the United States, Islam, President Obama, the military, the Middle East. Osama bin Laden has been a huge part of our lives…what’s going to happen now? Sorry, no words of wisdom or deep insights. Just questions today.

Odd Signs and Adverts

April 8, 2011

I find that I’ve been collecting interesting signs and advertisements on my phone camera. I thought I’d share them.

We’re Not Racist.

Taken 4/8/11 – Uptown Movie Theater in Minneapolis, MN

If you buy her expensive stuff, she won’t sleep around.

Magazine advertisement seen in a resort in Cozumel,Mexico

Add 1c of sugar and 3 tsps of calories.

Other sodas had ingredients like carbonated water, phosphoric acid, potassium benzoate, citric acid. This one seemed a little…vague. Seen in the Roseville, MN Noodles & Co.

Snippets and Sunday Pride

July 1, 2010

Snippet #1: I took this picture of some awesome mailbox “street art” in Uptown at Girard and 31st:

Snippet #2: I needed a bigger flower pot to contain my monster cherry tomato tree.  My friend, Courtney, thought that she had one that would work, so she came over with a replacement.  When she got to my apartment complex, she got out of the car, pulled out her cell phone and announced to me, my caretaker and a couple of neighbors, “Hey, I’m outside and I have your pot.”  Greeeeat.  Thanks, Court.  I made a big show of displaying the brown flower pot – “Wow, this is a great pot!  Thanks!” – to the neighborhood as we got it out of her trunk.

Snippet #3: WordPress lets me know what phrases people are using when they stumble across my blog via google.  Yesterday I had an above-average weird Google Search Term hit: “genital anatomy dog”  WTF, google.com?

Snippet #4: Today is the start of CONvergence!!!  I’m using the CONvergence Scheduler, which is pretty sweet – especially for an event of this size, with 10+ panels, activities, events and parties happening every hour.  There was a write-up about CONvergence in 365 Things to Do – Twin Cities, and an even better photo of some con attendees in the article!

Sunday Minneapolis Pride Report

Sunday was very, very different from Saturday.  For one thing, I went to the Pride festivities with the Hubby instead of a 13 year-old and a six year-old.  Sooooo different.  I don’t think I really experienced the Pride events on Saturday because of my preoccupation with keeping everybody smiley and safe.  On Sunday I was with the man I love and I was relatively carefree.  The parade was awesome, as always!  I didn’t manage to get any photos of the parade, but I did manage to scrounge up some decent video of this year’s parade.

The first one is interesting because he’s sped up the film.  This first video is different from the second (below) because he has a lot of zoomed-in images, so you don’t get a feel for how large and crowded the parade is:

I like this second one BUT I would recommend skipping the beginning and watching only between 0:54-5:51.  Outside of this window is just film of the videographer and her friend chatting and being silly.  But the meat of the video (again – 0:54-5:51!) is fun because she mixes still shots and video, and she’s filming from the street without zoom so you feel more like a spectator watching this video than you do with the first video.

And more of my own pictures in the park, this time on Sunday with me and the Hubby:

Time is way too one-directional.

June 30, 2010

This was my To Do List last night.

Make dinner.

I made this – Fancy Hot Dog Stroganoff from simplyrecipes.com.  I substituted quinoa for the egg noodles and added spinach.  This picture is from that site – My dinner was so yummy that it was all gone before I remembered that I wanted to snap a photo.

Change the litter box.

Blech.

Research wireless routers and make a decision on which one to purchase.

Ah, technology.  How I take you for granted until you break.

Transplant my tomato plant, and also the parsley and chives.   Plant new lettuce and spinach seeds to replace the ones that drowned in last week’s summer deluge.

Done!  I can’t believe how much the tomato plant exploded!  This is my tomato plant on April 17th:

Practice my Italian.

Aprenda a hablar italiano.  Verb book, flashcards, iPod Italian language apps, Easy Italian workbook.  Crappy, blurry photo.

Update the biodork blog with Sunday’s Pride Parade post.

See this big empty rectangle?  That’s my Pride Parade post – no Pride pictures for you!   You get this post with me whining about how busy I was last night instead.  But I’ll have Pride pics on Thursday.

Start rereading Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic and be done in time for CONvergence on Thursday.  Come up with some costume-ish thing for Saturday night at CON.

240 pages – no problem!

Plan rail transport from Rome to Perugia for 7/19, book my scuba dive in Sorrento, go to the bank and let them know that I’m going to be using my credit card overseas so they don’t shut down my account while I’m in Italy, figure out where/when to exchange USD for Euros, figure out how to pack enough clothing for two weeks (allowing for trips to la lavanderia) in my tiny little backpack, and…and…

Okay, that last one was really all about making the list, rather than accomplishing everything on the list.

Phew!

More randomness.

June 15, 2010

I had a lovely dinner with friends last night – London Broil, Yukon Potatoes and Tossed Salad with Bleu Cheese dressing – yummy!  Good food, good company. 

~~~~~

Is your Droid sucking all of your battery up in mere hours?  No!  Bad Droid! 

I installed the Advanced Task Killer for Android on my HTC Incredible.  It’s supposed to save my battery life by closing Apps that aren’t in use.  I’m game.  Currently I have been getting about 5 hours of battery life on my phone (sob!), and the charging cord – for car, computer and wall charging have been constant companions.  Hopefully this will elongate my time between charges.

~~~~~

I signed up for my PADI Open Water Dive!  I’ll be taking my final classes at Golden Acres near Stillwater, MN in early July.  Hopefully the weather and the water will have warmed up a bit by then…grumble, grumble.  After the dives at Golden Acres I’ll be a PADI-certified Open  Water Diver, and just in time for Sorrento and the Amalfi Coast! 

We’re getting super excited for our trip – The Hubby and I spent a couple of hours last Saturday flipping through guide books at Barnes & Noble.  We leave for Italy on 7/18/10.  We’ll fly from Minneapolis to Rome (through Detroit – ah well).  When we arrive in Rome we’ll jump right on a train to Perugia, Umbria, Italy where we’ll meet up with Mom.  We’ll spend 7/19-7/28 romping around Italy.  We’ll spend the last three days of July in Rome.  On the way home we have a “forced” overnight layover in…Amsterdam!  We’ll get into Amsterdam at ~5:30pm and leave for Minneapolis at 2:30pm the next day.  Love it!  I’m excited about taking original photos for this blog, and about being able to write up some of our adventures here.  For now, take a gander at these shots from travelers who have gone before me:

 

Amalfi Coast – photo source

Sorrento Diving – photo source

Perugia, Umbria – photo source

Roman Forum, Rome – photo source

Amsterdam Downtown, aerial view – photo source

Doesn’t it look like FUN!?

Where’s the Sun?

June 14, 2010

Happy Grab Bag Random Lazy No Prepared Post Monday!

photo source

1)Is it June?  I could have sworn it was June already.  That means it’s the summer time and I want sunshine!  The average June temperature in Minneapolis ranges from about 63-83°C in June and 2010 seems to be on the lower end of that scale, but can I at least have some sunshine?  Brrrr….I wore a coat yesterday!  In June!

Whatevs.

2)  Happy Flag Day!

Wikipedia sez:

In the United States, Flag Day is celebrated on June 14. It commemorates the adoption of the flag of the United States, which happened that day by resolution of the Second Continental Congress in 1777.

Cool poster from June 14th, 1917:

3)  On last week’s Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe I heard about the unfortunate side-effect of a brand of mumbo-jumbo being exacerbated by the South Africa World Cup in the story “Vulture Threatened by Pseudoscience”.

Apparently there is a type of South African traditional medicine called muti which relies on natural products from trees and other vegetation.  Some South African cultures integrate other natural products into their treatments, namely, body parts.  The body parts may come from animal or even human sources.

In the case of this story, the body part in question is the brain of South African vultures, an animal that is already in danger of extinction (7 of 9 South African vulture species are classified as endangered).  Gamblers are smoking the dried vulture brain in hopes of foreseeing the winner of the World Cup.  From Scientific American:

In addition to dreams of winning lotto numbers or sports teams, practitioners say the practice can give users an edge on taking tests or help their business attract more clients.

Photo Source

Don’t eat me, I’m a pretty African White-backed Vulture that eats icky dead things so you don’t have to deal with them!

Good Monday, um Tuesday.

June 1, 2010

Let’s start this short week off easy with a few grab bag pieces.

~~~~~

Storefront in a Box

I was alerted to an exciting series of events that is happening this summer in my South Minneapolis neighborhood.  In her Stribe article, A new store every week,  Kara McGuire describes Arise! Bookstore’s entrepreneurial efforts to keep their small store occupied in a move they’re calling “Storefront in a Box”.  This summer they’re renting out their store week by week to various artists and small business owners for approximately $200 a pop. 

The summer rental schedule can be found at the Storefront in a Box website.  So far the renters include Boneshaker Books, an Art Gallery and Gift Shop, Nerd Party, Bicycle Film Festival Presents, Pop Punk Emporium, Paper Darts Magazine Gallery, Internet Variety Store, Theateropolis, Courtney McClean & The Dirty Curls’ Weeklong Naughtybilly Hoedown, and Art Swap in a Box.  Phew!  There’s literally something new every week!

From McGuire’s article: 

There will be the Pop Punk Emporium, with a pop punk cover band, free punk haircuts and a museum with audio guide. There’s an art swap — for people to bring art and take art — and a bicycle film festival. There’s even a “Weeklong Naughtybilly Hoedown” filled with bad cowboy movies and jam sessions.

The Paper Darts literary journal will sell the summer issue as well as host readings, and the recently closed Play by Play Theatre bookstore of St. Paul will have some books for sale and host Theateropolis — a week of theater-themed classes and events.

 This is what I love about living in a big(ish) city – there’s always something to do!

~~~~~

For my favorite mad engineer, Senja.

Source: Cowbirds In Love   Click on the link for greater resolution.

~~~~~

And two stories via Pharyngula – One sobering, and one fun:

Sobering: There are over 4,000 oil rigs operating in the Gulf of Mexico.

oilrigs.jpeg

Everyone is fixated on that one burning mess in the Gulf, which is probably exactly what the oil companies want — they are probably sweating pungent carcinogenic petrochemicals at the thought that someone might look around and notice all of those other rigs, which almost certainly have a paper trail of shortcuts and risks and shoddy management.

Scary.  Insert *shudder* here.

And now some FUN from Pharyngula:

Snazzy T-Shirts from HideYourArms.com:

Clever:

iWant:

Hello, Weekend!

May 7, 2010

There’s nothing like a nice relaxing Friday evening with my friend the Internet.  I can catch up on some of my favorite blogs and websites, follow links deeper and deeper into the rabbit hole that is Wikipedia, make new YouTube favorites (thanks to Cafe Witteveen for bringing this one to my attention):

And rediscover old ones:

Happy Weekend, Everyone!

Odds and Ends

April 28, 2010

Things that make me sad:

Oil slicks in the Gulf of Mexico and the Great Barrier Reef.  I’m just getting my SCUBA certification this spring – quite screwing up the pretty diving areas!

The Party of Hell No! – Republicans who like to look tough when they’re grilling Goldman Sachs executives, but who vote no to discussing Wall Street Reform.

The new Papers Please law.  Thank you, Arizona, for your cultural sensitivity and legal logic.  From Jon Stewart: “”It’s not unprecedented, having to carry around your papers. It’s the same thing free black people had to do in 1863!”

Oklahoma’s new limiting-your-choice abortion laws.

Things that make me happy:

Pay It Forward Day (here’s the facebook group).  As Anne Frank wrote: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.

Zooey Deschenel’s She and Him.

My favorite books.  Not too long ago I had to submit a Top 10 list to the bookstore for a “Our Employees Suggest” display.  This was the original list – before I had to chop it down – who only gets to pick TEN favoriate books?

Stranger in a Strange Land

Robert A. Heinlein
I Never Promised You a Rose Garden Joanne Greenberg
Tales of a Female Nomad Rita Golden Gelman
Flowers For Algernon Daniel Keyes
Good Omens Neil Gaiman
Neverwhere Neil Gaiman
Lamb Christopher Moore
The Shack William Paul Young
Voyage of the Dawn Treader CS Lewis
The Cat Who Went to Heaven Elizabeth Coatsworth
Ecoptopia Ernest Callenbach
Brave New World Aldous Huxley
Fahrenheit 451 Ray Bradbury
Beggars in Spain Nancy Kress
Darkfever Karen Marie Moning
Vertical Run Joseph Garber
Replay Ken Grimwood
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Douglas Adams
Toxin Robin Cook
And Eternity Piers Anthony

This picture that Liz from the bookstore drew during break, and then gave to me!  It’s a book superhero robert:

Things that make me giggle:

A church sign seen in Hutchinson, MN:  Be a fisher of men – You catch ’em, He’ll clean ’em.  Aieee!  I don’t want to be filleted!

This Family Guy video: 

 

Saturday Snippits

April 17, 2010

You know you might read too much I Can Haz Cheezburger when it creeps into your work life.  I left this note for a coworker a few days ago to let her know that I was using some of her lab equipment.  I didn’t realize how dorky it was until she came up to me wondering what was up with the note:

Here’s an close-up:

~~~~~~~~~~~~

The Minneapolis Farmer’s Market opened today!  I wanted to get there early to beat the crowds and get my pick of the new produce, meats, crafts, etc.  I groggily  got up out of bed at 6:30am this morning and ambled downtown, and after all that effort…well, it’s too bad that I missed the part about the Market opening at 9am.  This is what I saw when I arrived at 7:30 in the morning:

Doh! …At least I beat the crowds.

I did have fun watching the vendors set up.  Here’s a picture of an early flower vendor rolling his cart up to the seller’s area, with the Minneapolis skyline in the background (perspective is from the Northwest).

This early in the season, there’s not much in the way of fresh produce.  Any produce that is available is most likely ordered from larger distributers and repackaged – see the bulk onion bags in the back of dude’s truck? But there are local meat and dairy farmers selling meats, cheeses, and eggs, and today there were a couple of people selling seedlings and local artisans selling soap and pottery.

Another thing that was interesting about the early open was the prices of everything were higher than in the summer – less competition.  There was only one person selling flowers when I arrived, and they were going for $8-$20.  In the summer, you have 5-10 flower sellers per aisle, and almost nothing is over $5/bunch.

In the summer, the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market *explodes* – every vendor spot is taken, vendors peddle ready-to-eat treats, street musicians have their instrument cases open and ready to catch your spare change, and customers swarm over every spare inch of asphalt.  I’ll have to check it out again next week…although maybe I’ll sleep in a little longer this time.

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Garden 2010 – Photo Update:

Last Week:  4/10/10

Today: 4/17/10

Verdict: Not dead yet.