This site functions as an archive of Conner's Blog, which was a blog from 2006-2014 located at Images and links are likely to be broken.

Yeah, About Writing

For some reason I've been unable to get up the urge to write for the last week or so. I've been busy, cooking a few things, played with Google Wave, and a few things. But instead of trying to write, I'll present you with a few photos of what I've done.

Apple Pie Pizza

Mushroom, Garlic, and Rosemary

Mill City Farmers Market and a visit to Chef Shack 1

Cranberry Apple Gallete

Sadly I accidentally deleted the RAW images from my memory card without copying them to my computer so the image quality isn't great. Still, lovely times all around.

On Defining Myself

My friend Doniree wrote a post about the Cocktail Question a few weeks ago. I loved this post and it's one I think everyone should read. The premise of her post really hit home with me this weekend. I went to Unsummit and while meeting a bunch of great people, as expected, the Cocktail question kept coming up. For those that don't know me, I'm an insurance adjuster by day. But this doesn't define me at all. It's what I do for a living, I work hard while I'm at work and enjoy my job, but once I walk out those office doors, or the clock reads 4:30, I'm done.

The problem I have is defining what I do. I'm obviously a blogger, a social media nut, a photographer, and an overall web nut. I'm also occasionally a web programmer and designer, a sports fan, and a beer geek. I'm a pretty decent cook and a budding baker.

So I can tell you what I love, and what I do for a living, but when asked the question, what do you do I'm honestly not sure how to answer. I hate saying I work for an insurance company. I'm not ashamed of my job, I love that it gives me the opportunities it does, but among peers who I want to connect with it doesn't say what I want it to say. My passions pull me in many directions, one day I'm working on building a Wordpress powered site, the next I'm tinkering with some other tool. I'm a web host for myself, the family help desk, the office computer guy, and a passable Linux admin. I have 500+ followers on Twitter for reasons that continue to elude me, a blog that gets less than around 2k page views a month, and a strong opinion that social media is something you can't do wrong unless you are a local news organization that has no idea what they are doing.

The best answer I've come up with for who I am is that I'm just a geek. I'm someone who knows how to get the most out of whatever tool you put in front of me. I pursue new experiences and new hobbies constantly, I get the basics down and then move on to the next experience. I love to communicate with people whatever their background. But really I'm just a geek, a guy who can have a conversation about almost anything, who loves being challenged, and tends to get animated and overly excited when talking about something I'm passionate about. (This is so bad I no longer let myself engage with passenger when I'm driving, and absolutely refuse to talk on the phone for more than a minute)

Somehow though, I think telling people I'm just a geek isn't going to get me very far. It's a bit broad and unfortunately carries a somewhat negative connotation in some circles. So I'm working on defining myself. I'm not sure how I'll do this, but for now I just stick with I'm Conner McCall and keep my answer to the Cocktail question an ever changing one.

Leek and Mushroom Pizza

Yesterday a the Mill City Farmers Market I was given a couple leeks to take home. I didn't really know what I was going to do with them, but I had someone suggest a pizza. Well I had leftover crust to use so i threw this together tonight.

I didn't do a great job showing the topping, but it was tasty. Could have used more leeks but as always, cooking is a learning experience.

I should also mention that I had a beet and green tomato salad at the Market that was pretty good. The tomatos were the best part, the beets a little odd, and the greens just kind of fell apart.

Still, I do enjoy the Chef Shack.

Sunday 10/11/09

I try to keep this blog updated regularly, but it seems like I fall behind more frequently then I keep up any more. Still I'm happy to report that other than a small spat of writer's block on Friday, I actually have just been too busy to write.

Friday, I went costume shopping, then had a couple drinks at the Independent, watched the Twins break my heart at Sauce and then was home fairly early, though not totally sober.

Saturday, I went to Mill City Market where I stole the mayorship from Kate. With only one week to go, hopefully I can retain it next weekend and hold onto it until spring. I picked up a few apples, some cranberries, and some garlic. Nicky and her mother gave me a few leeks as well. Looking forward to doing a some cooking next week.

After the market I hit up Unsummit and had a great time. Met a few people who I hadn't met in real life before and definitely learned quite a bit. I'm really looking forward to the next one. Hopefully I'll be a little better prepared and will get a bit more out of it. I also will have business cards by that time. You have to enjoy events where you get to network with great people and listen to people smarter than you throw ideas around a room.

After leaving Unsummit, me and Art got together and put the finishing touches on our zombie costumes and we headed downtown to the zombie pub crawl. I had a great time but they needed 30 more bars or so to participate. It was wall to wall zombies at every bar. On the plus side, wall to wall zombies is a lot of fun if you don't actually want to purchase a drink. We ended the night by rolling over to Northeast and doing a little karaoke at the Otter. Overall a successful zombie pub crawl debut.

Today, I have to go retrieve my car, do a bit of laundry, then it's off to Stillwater to listen to Beethoven while following the Twins game via whatever source I can find. Then we have another stop in the Reuben tour. Tomorrow, I have nothing scheduled. Hopefully I can lay low and recover a bit, and maybe finish and launch a couple new sites I have rattling around on the server.

Happy Sunday readers.

Duluth and the Woods

My trip to Duluth was intended to be a photo journey. I ended up spending the day in a bar thinking there was nothing worth photographing. Finally, after being told I had to go take photos of the waves I ended up doing just that. I had an incredible time. It was probably the most challenging photography experience I've had. The winds were gusting at over 40 mph and the rain was coming at you vertically. I had an umbrella and a jacket to protect my gear, but it was almost impossible to keep the lens dry. Happily, I managed to get a few shots I'm happy with and the experience only added fuel to my passion for photography.

Here are a few of the shots I took. As usual, the rest can be found on Flickr.

The last time I was in Duluth I was there for a job interview and didn't have much time to enjoy myself. I loved seeing the ships on the lake. It stills amazes me just how big Superior is.

The waves were incredible, I talked to a few locals while walking along the shore and they all said they don't usually see waves this large this early in the season.

One of the residents of Duluth directed me to this beach where people were surfing. I'd heard this was possible but had never seen it until I took these photos.

Unfortunately, the rain and clouds didn't lead to many great fall color shots. On the plus side I did get to hang out with Piper again. She is getting big but she is still dang cute.

Twins Stories from a Duluth Bar

This past weekend was what me friend's and I call cabin weekend. We generally get together the beginning of October and catch up, have a few drinks, and cause a ruckus at a friend's cabin. This year was no exception and we had a blast even though it rained the majority of the time.

I took the day off on Friday and went to Duluth. I had planned on this a few weeks ago, hoping that I could get some photos of fall leaves and the lake. Instead it was rainy with 40+ mph gusts. At first I was disappointed, but it didn't take long after hitting up Fitgers before I had struck up a few conversations with other bar goers. During one conversation a couple who was also on vacation told me three fun Twins related stories.

This couple was from Woodbury and had lived in the Twin Cities for most of their lives. The husband, said that back in '91 his friends went to Vegas and asked if he wanted to place any bets. He asked his friend to bet on the Twins to win the ALCS, but apparently this wasn't possible so his friend placed the bet on the Twins winning the World Series. The story gets even better, because not only did the Twins win the World Series that season, but he managed to get tickets to see the 7th game of that series and sat in center field.

The wife told me a story about the time when she was very young and her and her family went to the game at the Metropolitan stadium. She somehow got separated from her family and some strangers took her to a local hotel and dropped her off with the management. Apparently this was the hotel that the Twins players stayed at and she ended up hanging out in a room with the team. Her parents managed to find her but she said she wasn't really that excited to leave with all the attention they team was giving her.

Finally the husband told me about attending a game at the '65 World Series. His father's friend had an auto parts store who got a bunch of tickets to one of the games. He took the bus to the stadium and when he arrived he discovered he had left his ticket in a book at his school. Instead of turning around and heading back, and missing a good chunk of the game, he went to the gate and somehow was let in because he knew the name of the auto parts store that had purchased the tickets. Somehow I don't think this would be possible in today's world.

Of course I didn't do any of these stories justice, but they are still fun.

A Taste of my Monday

Friday Five 10/2/09 Edition

I'm leaving town in just a few hours. Me and a bunch of my college friends are going to a cabin up north. It's apparently going to be cold and possibly rainy which isn't great, but we will make the most of it. I'll be disconnected once I arrive, minus a few potential phone calls to fellow travelers. I'm looking forward to a few days away.

Today's five is a list of things you should do in the upcoming week. I'm hoping to get to most of them but it's hard to say. Especially Thursday since it includes two events.

  • Zombie Pub Crawl - Saturday - Dress like a zombie and drink beer with fellow zombies. If this isn't your idea of fun I don't want to know what is.
  • Kick off concert for the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra - Sunday - It's in Stillwater but should be excellent and worth the drive. Did I mention it was free, and if you ask nicely I can drive if you are willing to show up early.
  • Loney Dear at the 7th Street Entry - Friday - It's the Entry so it's reasonable priced and it should be a great show.
  • Target Free Thursday at the Walker - Thursday - A interesting looking new exhibit opened last week and this my first chance to see it.
  • Brave New Workshop - Thusday, Friday, or Saturday - If you haven't seen their latest show it only runs until the end of the month, don't miss it.

Enjoy your weekend and stay warm, fall is here whether we like it or not.

Happy October

Is it really October? I've reviewed all the calendars I can find and they all state that September was 30 days long. I'm pretty sure they made a mistake and it was only 15 days. It's the only explanation for how fast that month went by.

I'm leaving town tomorrow morning and heading up north to a friend's cabin. It's an annual gathering of my college friends and it's always a blast. Cards, games, drinking, bad jokes, fires, and walks in the woods will all be taking place. I will barely be recovered on Sunday when Art, Andrew, Gabe, and I head to the Bulldog Uptown to start the first leg of our Twin Cities Reuben Tour.

Did I mention my October is crazy. Next weekend we have the Zombie Pub Crawl, something that I meant to attend last year but managed to miss. I have been invited to two birthday parties, one of which is a two part caper. We kick of a new season of the Metropolitan Symphony Orchestra next Sunday in Stillwater. Halloween is sure to include some sort of revelry, and I still need to go apple picking, make some pumpkin pie, take fall photos, bike, eat more squash, learn how to make new soups, and cross a few more items off my Minnesota Todo list. Did I mention there are at least a few shows I want to go see as well? Yep, this is going to be fun.

It's funny, last year at this time I would be looking around for things to do, failing, and then sitting at home wondering how you find things to do in this city. It was ten months ago that I really started using Twitter and it has has a dramatic impact on me. It brought me back into the Internet community and helped get my blog rolling along. Most importantly, I've met a lot of great new people in the real world as well. I'm never looking for things to do, instead I'm usually trying to decide what I'm going to have to miss.


Sorry for the completely disjointed and random post. I'm in a really weird mood today for some reason and my thought processes are completely out of whack. If I wasn't at work I think I'd be sitting at a bar with my laptop, writing and striking up conversations with anyone who was foolish enough to sit next to me.

Wednesday Where? #29

I haven't quite got into the routine of posting these weekly again. Hopefully I can get one up next week.

This one should be easy, and I apologize for the awful exposure. No idea what happened but it wasn't good.

Stay warm everyone.