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

Fullfilling some Requests

I had a few requests for me to write some of the experiences I failed to write about. So here are some quick roundups.

Granite City Brunch

The buffet was great, as long as you realize going in that you're going to a buffet and your breakfast isn't going to be made to order. I was actually really impressed with the freshness of the food. They served a lot of fresh fruit and had some cheesy hash browns that were as close to perfect as you can get when you mass produce something. The Bloody Marys were okay, nothing to write home about. You get a caramel roll that was better than what you would get at a hotel breakfast, but nothing special. The highlight though was the eggs Benedict station. You just walk up to this station and they make you eggs Benedict fresh, right in front of you. Overall I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars. If you want to gorge yourself on breakfast food, stop by a Granite City on Sunday.

Baked Pretzels

I made these a little over a week ago, and they were pretty easy. The dough was simple, pretty much just yeast, flour, sugar, and water. You let the dough rise and then roll it out. I vaguely remember making pretzels when I was younger, and I must have retained some of that knowledge, because when I formed them, I figured it out right away. Once you have the pretzels in the appropriate shape, you boil them in a water and baking soda solution and then bake them for about 15 minutes. They didn't turn out that well since I didn't realize until Saturday that my oven was off by 50 degrees. I'll definitely make them again though, and this time I'll get them right.

Homemade Ravioli

First, I need to note that this is the second time I've made this. The last time was over a year ago though, so I wasn't exactly drawing on a ton of remembered experience. They turned out really well though. I used the pasta dough recipe from the cooking bible, the Joy Of Cooking, and rolled it through my pasta maker. It's a manual hand cranked one, but works really well. Basically you just roll out wide noodles, put a mound of toppings in the middle, and cover it with a second noodle. I used water to make the seal stick.

For a filling I used fresh mozzarella, grated Parmesan, cottage cheese, mushrooms, and Italian sausage. (btw: The Wedge has phenomenal Italian sausage) I binded it all together with an egg. After putting them together I cooked them in boiling water for about 7-8 minutes and served with some jarred pasta sauce I had picked up. The next time I make ravioli, I plan on making the noodles thinner, I used a three on my pasta maker and I think I should have went with a two.

Photo walk around The Lake of the Isles

Well this wasn't that exciting, and I didn't take that many photos, but I did get a photo of a muskrat and considering it was the first time I had a chance to snap any wildlife photos in months, it was a blast. Here are a few of the photos I took.

You can see larger version of these images on my Flickr Page.

Twitter Will be Ok (or everyone quit freaking out)

This week has seen Oprah join Twitter, CNN and Ashton Kutcher battle it out for 1,000,000 followers, and a bunch of other famous people jump into the world of twitter. I'm here to tell you that Twitter isn't ruined. Well for the most part at least. See you just need to look back at my Twitter rules post and think about it for a second to see it is true.

Just because the celebrities and their followers are suddenly on Twitter doesn't mean you have to notice them. Considering Twitter survived Oprah's first tweet with little to show for technical problems, I think we'll be okay. Unlike Facebook, your local watering hole, and other venues you might socialize, Twitter is in many ways immune to an influx of people you don't want to see and hear. Unlike Facebook, you don't need to follow someone just because they follow you. You can protect your tweets and block people and preserve your current Twitter experience.

One thing that has seen a dramatic change for the worse though has been Twitter search. Where I once could glance at trending topics and find out about things I actually cared about, I now look and it's been overrun with TV shows, celebrities, and things such as the sudden appearance of the name Joe as a trending topic earlier this week. The sudden decrease in the value of search.twitter is disheartening.

Still, even with the decrease in value of search, you still get the same Twitter experience regardless of how many new people join Twitter. You don't have to follow them, and even if they follow you, nothing has changed in your feed, only theirs.

P.S. Sorry about two Twitter posts in two days, but I just had to put this out there and couldn't fit it into 140 characters.

Search Terms

I always enjoy browing the search terms that people use to get to my site, sometimes I wonder how far they had to dig to get here. Here are a few funny samples I found this morning.

  • Even surrounded by quotes, I didn't know who this was: "jason lazarus "
  • Best compound word ever: chiliwithbacon
  • I'm uncertain as to what this was meant to find: conner back advices football
  • I love this description of virtualization, I'm using it from now on: divide servers into seperate servers
  • This had to be a disappointing result: proofread for the blog
  • I don't know quite what to say: skeleton of pocahontas, and the conners tweet
  • My favorite has to be this one. you can choose which specific emails you'd like to receive from by checking the boxes below to opt-out when you do not want to receive that type of email.

So what if I'm being lazy, it's Friday and I've posted every day this week. I hope you all have a great weekend and look forward to seeing you back next week.

My Rules for Twitter

If you happen to follow me on Twitter, you know that I"m an compulsive twitterer. When I go on a streak there is always the possibility that I'll single handily cause a fail whale appearance or a 4-5 minutes delay on tweet delivery. In fact, according to tweetstats I post around 20 updates a day. Of course, when you consider the fact that I signed up for twitter about 5 months before I actually started using it, you can probably put my tweets per day at round 30-40 when I'm actually on line most of the day.

Why am I writing this? Well yesterday I was on Twitter, discussing this and that, and saw a link from @intheloop to PC Magazine's 13 Twitter Dont's. I read through it, and immediately posted the fact that I generally break rules 3, 5, 7, and sometimes 8. So here's the deal, I've already posted my rules for getting me to stop following you, so here are my rules for Twitter.

  1. There are no rules

Sorry to dissapoint all of you, but that is it. Of course it's important to use common sense, you are leaving your public record out there. Still, if you want to tweet 3 or 300 times a week, never reply to anyone, only follow celebrerties or news orgs, or just tweet about going to the restroom, go for it. That's the beauty of Twitter, as long as you don't break the terms of service, you're in control. Of course you might not have any followers, but hey that's your choice, and of course everyone elses choice to. So go for it, if your not on Twitter, join, if you are on Twitter, don't read up on how to fit in, it's a community not high school, everyone has their place.

Customer Service Rules for Customers

Inspired by comments to my post on Customer Service Rules.

You walk into a retail store/restaurant/bar/grocery store, what do the sales people expect of you? Here are a few tips to get the best service when your out spending your hard earned money.

  • Remember the sales people are people - Just because they work in sales doesn't make them a lesser person. Treat them with respect, they want to help you, make it easy for them.
  • Educate yourself - Don't walk into Radio Shack looking for that thing that connects your DVD player to your TV. Sales people aren't mind readers, if you don't have at least a passing familiarity with what you want, expect them to sell you the wrong product.
  • Don't waste their time - If you're having a bad day and need to talk to someone, get a haircut or go to a bar. Don't walk into a store and spend 15 minutes talking to the sales person without intending on to buy anything.
  • No swearing, yelling, or name-calling - Even if you do these things regularly, if you can't shut it off in the presence of those you don't know, don't expect respect.
  • Get off your phone - If you are really that important, maybe you should pay more.
  • Listen - You expect the sales person to, so you should to. If they tell you they can't do it, don't have it, or it will be in next week, don't ask them if the item will be in tomorrow.
  • Stand aside - Especially if it's busy, if you want to look a product over and can see the salesperson has other customers waiting, tell them it's okay if they take care of the other customer.
  • Be clear - Sales people are generally good at deciphering things, but don't ask for the thingy from the doohickey, that's just incomprehensible.
  • Be appreciative - A simple thank you can make anyone's day.

Getting great service isn't always possible, sometimes no matter how forgiving you are your experience will be horrible. Still, it's a good idea to remember you are in a business transaction, if the opportunity cost to the sales person is too high because your a pain, they aren't going to give you their full attention.

Wednesday Where #18

I can't believe I've done 18 of these. Even more impressive is I've only skipped one week. Unfortunatly, I realized last week I'm just not up to posting hints and remembering to check back occasionally so I've decided I'm going to change the plan. Same rules for the photo, it's taken somewhere in the 7 county metro area. I'm no longer going to post hints, and will post the answer in the comments on the following Where?.

BTW last weeks photo was taken outside the armory on the U of M campus.

Here is this weeks photo.

This shouldn't be too tough if you keep your eyes open. Though I realized I had driven by it many times before I noticed it.

I'm a Blogging Failure

A list of things I've accomplished or done but failed to write about in the last few weeks

Some of these weren't exactly blog worthy, but I really need to get better at photographing and writing about things I do. Especially the cooking, I love reading what other people are making for dinner, and should really share my own adventures.

Minnesota Blogs I'm Reading 4/13/09 Update

Update: I've turned this post into a page http://connermccall.com/mnreading. I'll try and keep the page updated.

My reading list is always expanding, rarely shrinks, and causes me no end of worry whenever I see the unread count head over the 150 range. I know I could hide the unread counts in Google Reader and save myself the pain, but for some reason I'm resistant.

One thing that has been a constant in my reading list, is that Minnesota based blogs take up most of my time. Given 200 unread items, I usually have 150 unread items tagged Minnesota. Here my recent list of Minnesota blogs. There is no reason for the order, it's just how the came out of my reader

That's all I have for you today, of course there are many more Minnesota based blogs. One things I've discovered since I started trying to keep much of my internet browsing local, is Minnesota has many talented writers. If you want to add your blog to the list or link to your favorite Minnesota blog please do so in the comments.

Comments

If you're reading this, comments are enabled again. Thanks for your patience.

Dear Miller Lite

I'm sorry, no matter how many times you add hops, you just can't compete with locally brewed goodness.

I finally found this, and it was worth the stop in a Shakopee liquor store. It's Brau Bro's 2009 series, and it's wonderful, hoppy, yet with a clean finish. The perfect beer for the perfect spring evening.

If you don't know about Brau Brothers and your from Minnesota, you need to check them out. They are from Lucan, MN and know there beer. Check out their website, and follow them on Twitter.