Here's a great video I found via CNN. It's not an uplifting story of holiday spirit. Well unless you happen to be a dog. KSL.com
Here's a great video I found via CNN. It's not an uplifting story of holiday spirit. Well unless you happen to be a dog. KSL.com
First, Merry Christmas Eve everyone. Hope you are having a wonderful day, be safe if you are traveling.
Here is this today's photo. I'm out of town as of 5:00 this morning so no guarantees hints will be posted. I'll try and get a few up by Friday. I won't post the answer until 8 hours after the third hint is up. I hope this one is harder than last week, but I think it could be another easy one. The photo was taken somewhere within the Minneapolis/St. Paul 7 county area(PDF). No prizes will be offered, other than the pride of knowing your city better than you ever should. Enjoy.
Hint #1 First acquired in 1883 by the board of parks commissioners.
Hint #2 The 5th Fibinochi Number and the founder of the Union Fire Company
Hint #3 A cardinal direction and the side of a flowing body of water.
Update: I posted an updated list and created a page, please check out http://connermccall.com/mnreading/
I last posted my list of MN blogs in October, since then I've added quite a few. Here is the latest list. I also attached an OPML file for your convenience. Enjoy.
- A Nod to Nothing - Interesting and random.
- Aaron Landry - Company profiles, restaurant reviews, and other interesting things.
- Because Emily Says So - Emily generally makes me smile most days.
- Lazy Lighting - Keeping the South Metro informed. Bill should be on any Twin City residents reading list.
- Blogging at FL250 - A blog by a local pilot. Extremely interesting.
- dk-today.com - Another random yet interesting blog. I haven't been subscribed for long, but his North Minneapolis ATM Story earned him a reader.
- doniree.com - Food, Funny, Friendly. Doniree pretty much rocks.
- drewko.com - For the trip of life, Drew is moving to Minneapolis so this is a preemptive addition. Check out his site and wish him luck on his move.
- Easier Being Green - The title pretty much explains what the site is about. Another new addition so I don't have much insight.
- Empty Envelope - An interesting collection of stuff, check out her Etsy store to.
- erik.michael.photography - One of my good friends photo blog. He's currently on IR due to a dirt bike accident so it's not being updated much.
- Fresh.mn - Links and news from the Twin Cities.
- Ginger Sorvari - Another new addition, she works at Best Buy has interesting stories to tell.
- Girl Friday - Alexis is a must read for anyone wanting the latest on Twin City happenings.
- Just a Cool Cat - Music and Mayhem.
- Meg's Single Step - Meg loves technology and shoes, she also writes about knitting.
- Minneapolis Metblogs - Local content in easily digestible bits.
- Braublog - One of the few blogs I follow that doesn't have a full text feed. Worth clicking through for the news and commentary.
- Mmmmm, Dinner - Kassie writes about food, read her blog.
- MOA Blog- If you avoid the MOA like most of us this is a good way to pretend you pay attention to a place I like to call the 1st ring of Hell.
- News Cut - Bob Collins from MPR keeps you informed. If you aren't reading this already subscribe now.
- Overheard in Minneapolis - Read, Laugh
- Pharyngula - PZ Myers is a professor at the U of M, Morris. If biology interests you, check it out.
- Rachel's ThinkSpot - Another recent addition. Rachel has been entertaining so far.
- Random Stuff From Sheldon - The title pretty much sums it up.
- SugarFang.com - Another wonderful local blogger keeping you entertained.
- swirlspice - Erica is busy at fresh.mn and cinna.mn but she is worth reading.
- The Deets - Ed keeps you informed about toilet paper, phone books, and other things.
- the product -A Duluth based blog.
- The Waiting Line - Photos, Recipes, and links.
- Twin City Photos - Photos from around the Twin Cities
- Twin Cities Tour Guide -A wonderful blog for anyone visiting or living in the Twin Cities.
- twin cities sidewalks - Yes it's a blog about sidewalks. No it's not lame.
- Unjournalism - Not about MN but if you like reading about PR Mike is a great read.
- Uptown Mpls Blog - Photos of Uptown.
- We got served -Twin City eatery reviews.
- I'll Tell You What it Shwas - Suzie is a Timberwolves fan, she deserves you as a reader for her misery.
- Whiskeymarie - Another new addition that I haven't pinned down yet.
I stopped at a local filling station to fill up the car so I wouldn't have to worry about it when I get back from my Christmas break. Normally these stop are fairly uneventful. Today I wish it would have been more eventful.
I happened to go inside because I wanted to fill up my travel mug and grab a bag of baked Lays. As with most gas stations at noon they had one register open and it was kind of backed up. I was standing in line and the woman who was checking out was taking forever. She was acting as if she hadn't purchased anything at a store in 10 years. Unfortunately, I see this often so this wasn't shocking. After the transaction was complete the cashier says thank you and I thought everything was done. At this point I still hadn't seen what the lady was purchasing, but I heard her ask for a bag.
This is where the funny/irritating part occurred, I saw the cashiers expression of disbelief, she asked "You want a bag?" The woman reaffirmed her choice. At this point I thought the cashier was being a bit rude. Then I saw it, the woman had asked for a plastic bag for...wait for it....a gift card. At that point I wished the cashier would have hit her when she asked for the bag. I would have lied to keep the cashier out of trouble if she would have. I'm not the person who lectures my friends on environmentally conscious behavior, but I try to at least do some of my part. I try to avoid using bags unless I actually need them, I often ask the cashiers at Target to take the items out of the bag if they don't ask me whether I need one or not.
This lady took the time to request a bag for a gift card. I'm still kind of annoyed, and take this as a sign that Minnesota needs to institute a bag tax like the one proposed in New York City immediatly.
I just want to take this time to welcome any new visitors I have. This week has been a ton of fun, I got mentioned in Minnpost and got a link from Metblogs, Thank you all for stopping by my little corner of the Internet. Here are some links and a few thoughts from around the web.
- The Twin Cities Weird List - A great collection of posts from the Twin Cities Tour Guide. I found it interesting that the suspension bridge was build in 1990, it looks like it's at least 30 years old.
- XKCD's latest should be shared with high school students everywhere.
- The Deets has a story about loaning money through Kiva. Ed also answers some interesting questions.
- From a Big Victory comes a story of winter. Thankfully our Twin Cities residence don't quite enter this level of panic before every blizzard.
- News Cut asks whether Best Buy can survive. I think they will, they may need to change their strategy if people continue to change spending habits, but the company is well run.
- News Cut also brought to my attention the story of the first face transplant. Modern Medicine continues to be an area of astonishment.
- And here is a recipe for peppermint bark, I have nothing else to say about it.
- Unfortunately, I was to busy driving to Hugo on Monday to enjoy them, but Erica has collected a great collection of sun dog photos.
- Lockheed Martin takes us a step closer to Skynet.
- Another photo for your viewing pleasure. One of the reasons winter isn't as bad as it seems.
- An awful, yet funny video about Twitter.
- Bill Simmon's presents a NFL gift list with a twist.
- Finally, someone on MetaFilter wins an award for the most astonishing question I have ever seen. For the record my answer is a no, that's my quite time.
I'm going to stop there before someone gets hurt.
Posting is going to be light for the next few weeks. I'll get a Wednesday Where up but there may be a lack of hints as I will be visiting my parents in Montana. I do have a few things you can look forward to, first I'm going to post an updated list of Minnesota blogs. My reading list on Google Reader has really grown. Also I will be posting my great Minnesota To-Do list, thanks to all that have contributed so far. I already have 50 ideas, but I'm still looking for suggestions. Finally I'm going to publish my personal experiences to-do list, these aren't resolutions persay but things that I want to experience or accomplish by 2010. Hope you all have a great Christmas week.
- Acceleration - Usually leads to the creation of item I during the first snow storm. Formation is combated using item S.
- Brake Lights - These light the way down 35W during every snowstorm.
- Creep - What drivers experience when it's either snowing or has snowed.
- Death Grip - How a percentage of drivers hold the wheel, panicking at the first flake and don't top until the last ice melts off Lake Minnetonka.
- Early - As in leaving early today, a failed attempt by workers to beat the weather, foiled by every other worker attempting it at the same time.
- Fall - A 4-5 day period of gorgeous color and temperature that proceeds winter.
- Gas Mileage - Falls dramatically due to warming up your car and of course item C
- Happy Hour - Something you frequently miss due to item C.
- Ice - The savior of auto body shops.
- Jumper Cables - Magical items that can win new friends in the office parking lot.
- Keyboard - A useful item on your cell phone to keep insanity at bay during item C.
- Lights - Mythical objects on the front of your car that are meant to light the road, due to item S they become worthless after 5 minutes on the road.
- Matchbook Mark - The Nickname of the drivers who refuse to scrape their windshield and drive with a matchbook sized area to see through until their car defrosts itself.
- Negative - Used to describe temperatures
- Overcast - Contained in 99% of weather forecasts from October - March.
- Panic Braking - Slamming on your brakes as hard as possible on icy roads and pressing harder when your car fails to stop.
- Quadrupled - Describes how long your commute is when it snows the first five times.
- Rust - The creation of which is accelerated to Usain Bolt speed due to item S.
- Salt/Sand/Silt - A few of the key ingredients of the car destroying mixture created by MNDOT.
- Traction - Frequently taken for granted, many drivers seem shocked to lose it during the first blizzard.
- Useless - A term used to describe, brakes, wipers, windows, mirrors, and lights during an ice/snow storm
- Vacation - Something many Minnesota residence do in January, February, or March to stave off insanity.
- White - A color seen for 10-15 minutes after each snow storm which is then replaced by brown.
- X-rated - The inside of your car while experiencing item C.
- Yeti - What you may look like after spending 5 minutes brushing off your car during a blizzard.
- Zero - A magical temperature reached occasionally in February.
This winter hasn't been too bad, but this week nearly drove me over a cliff due to the traffic. Can we all agree to drive 10-15 mph slower and stop getting into accidents every three minutes?
I grew up in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere. It is one of those places that no matter how hard I try to explain it, no one ever really understands just how small and remote it was. To put it in perspective, you should know that the closest fast food place was a Dairy Queen 20 miles away. The closest McDonalds or Wal-Mart was 80 miles away, and the nearest mall was three hours away. If you needed something from a grocery store after 5pm, you were out of luck. It was a completely different world than most people grow up in. Was it terrible? Not at all, it gave me an appreciation for convenience, and taught me the value of maximizing trips and time. Unfortunately, one lesson I didn’t learn is the value of going out and experiencing the place you live.
In the 15 years that I lived in Westby, I barely experienced anything. Granted I was a dumb high school kid, but there was a museum in a town 20 miles away, which though small and not overly impressive, was something that I should have checked out. There was a site called Writing Rock, which was a rock with pre-Columbus drawings on it. I vaguely remember going to see when I was very young, but never visited when the memory would have stuck. Sitting Bull was captured somewhere near my hometown yet I never bothered to try to visit that site.
I left for college in Grand Forks in 2001 failing to take advantage of my environment. Once again, I failed to experience 90% of what the city had to offer. I never attended the catfish tournament. I didn’t go see some of the best high school hockey in the country, and I only went ice fishing once. Why? I couldn't tell you, but things are going to change.
This coming February I will have lived in the Minneapolis metro for 2 years. Yet I have hardly experienced anything that the cities have to offer. I've been to a Twins game and went to the Frozen Four. But haven't seen the Timberwolves, the Lynx, the Wild, or the Saints. Let alone experienced the ridiculous amount of culture that is available. This is something that I've decided I have to remedy. I will no longer spend my weekends wondering what I could be doing. I'm going to get out and experience the city I live in. Even heading into Minneapolis or St. Paul to try out a new restaurant would be an improvement.
To kick-start my initiative, I plan to post a list of 50+ things that I want to accomplish in 2009 on New Years Day. Along with my post of things I should experience, I’m declaring my New Years resolution to be “Experience my city”. It may not be about improving my health or another generic resolution, but I will not be bored in the city I live in.
I would love your input, what do you think I should try and experience in 2009?
Same as last week, the photo was taken somewhere within the Minneapolis/St. Paul 7 county area(PDF). You have until Friday to guess where it was taken. No prizes will be offered, other than the pride of knowing your city better than you ever should.
Hints will be added to the post this evening, Thursday morning and afternoon. The answer will be added after 5:00 on Friday. Click through to few additional sizes on Flickr. Post your answers in the comments, multiple guesses are permitted. I will not post the answer prior to 5:00 on Friday, even if someone guesses the correct answer.
600 First Avenue North
Minneapolis, Minnesota 55403
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am writing this letter to inform you that I am putting your team on probation. I considered resigning from your fan base, but I'm unwilling to take such a drastic step without giving you a chance to fix things. This probationary period will last for six months. At the end of that period, your progress will be reviewed and appropriate action taken.
I hope that by putting you on probation you will work to remedy this situation so I do not need to take further action. At the beginning of the season, I had hoped that this step would not be necessary. I fully support the Mayo for Love trade, and believe it was the right move. Getting rid of Marko Jaric and obtaining Mike Miller makes giving up a dynamic scorer like Mayo worth it, especially since Love appears to be a solid contributor. Unfortunately, that appears to be the only positive step taken during the off-season.
The following is a list of some of the grievances I have with your organization.
- Your continued employment of Kevin McHale. This is grievance number one and needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Since he has been GM of the Timberwolves, a comedy of errors as persisted that has led to very little success for the Wolves, and a championship for the Boston Celtics. Some of the errors include the secret deal with Joe Smith and trading Roy for Foye. I acknowledge your attempt to remedy this situation by moving McHale to head coach, but keeping him employed with the team any longer will be grounds for my possible resignation as a fan.
- Player motivation - This came to the forefront last night after the team lost to the Sacramento Kings on the day they fired their head coach. The Kings are not a good team, and after changing coaches, they should have been vulnerable. Instead, our team once again failed to play an entire game.
- Wasting Kevin Garnett's prime - Your failure to provide Kevin Garnett with what was needed to win over the course of his career in Minnesota is a breach of contract with all fans. Anyone who followed the team during Garnett's career could have told you he could not win a championship on his own. You needed to sign or draft someone who possessed a killer instinct that could score down the stretch. You nearly figured it out in 03-04 when you signed Sprewell and Cassell, but the team failed to capitalize. Though I had to support trading Garnett to the Celtics, the move was only necessary because you failed to provide Garnett with support. This move might have been avoided with a little foresight.
- Scouting Ineptitude - Over the course of your 20 seasons, this team has made bad personnel decisions after bad personnel decision. These decision include the following: Trading Ray Allen for Stephon Marbury, trading Brandon Roy for Randy Foye, trading Marbury for Terrell Brandon, losing five draft picks for Joe Smith, numerous draft busts recently headlined by Rashad McCants. I understand that you cannot be perfect when making deals and signing players, but in 20 seasons you need to get it right more than a handful of times.
- Player training - I know that the players are responsible for improving in the off season, but the team has a responsibility to provide them with support and direction. It is apparent to me that this is lacking. This year's example is Al Jefferson and his lack of improvement on defense. His defense last year was such a liability that at times I wished he would sit on the bench regardless of how great a scorer he is. We heard reports all summer that he would improve, but nothing on the court supports this. This is just one of many cases of the lack of development from Wolves players, and is something that must be addressed.
During this six-month period, I will continue to follow the team, but I will also be scouting other teams, looking for one that is more worthy of my support. I am hopeful that you will show signs of progress and allow me to continue my role with the team. I will be sending bi-monthly reports on your progress, and hope you considers my suggestions.
Thank you for taking the time to read this. If you have any questions or wish to contact me for any reason, please do so by email, at conner[AT]connermccall[DOT]com
With cold weather finally descending on Minneapolis, it's time for those of us lucky enough to live in the frozen tundra to come up with ways to stay warm. As I grew up in Montana and went to college in Grand Forks I have plenty of experience keeping warm. For those of you that are not ready for the cold, here are a few tips from someone crazy enough to live in the cold for 20+ years.
- If you are going to be outside for more than five minutes at a time, bundle up with wool socks and long underwear. These make a big difference.
- Of course you should always wear gloves, but for extra protection, buy some extra large mittens and put them on over your gloves. You will be amazed at how much longer your fingers can go without going numb.
- Avoiding the wind is critical. Today's temperature was below 0, but with windchill it felt like -30. The wind is the killer and should be avoided. If you can't park inside, try to park on the side of your building away from the wind. Anything you can do to avoid being buffeted by the gale force winds will help you stay warm for longer.
- Warm your car up. Though some say this is not necessary to do this for your car, it's critical for your own comfort. Let your car run for five minutes before you leave and you might get warmth out of your vents before you get to the office.
- Turn down your thermostat. This isn't going to keep you from freezing, but not only will it save you money, but it won't feel quite so cold outside. This is completely psychological but sometimes it's effective.
None of these are overly creative, but they do work. Post your own tips in the comments.