Monday, December 29, 2008


Have you seen these inbred rolling pigeons? It makes me sad. And yet, it makes me laugh. Hard.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Let the right one in.

Michael Scott: A woman shouldn't have to be hit by a car to learn that she has rabies.

There was a bat in our house, which Jake caught with a blanket and released outside, breaking all the rules printed on the neon orange flyer given to me by a nurse from the Department of Health and Human Services. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention you're supposed to wear thick rubber gloves and capture the bat in a plastic tub of some sort, since their teeth can pierce through cloth. Then you're supposed to bring the bat in and have it tested for rabies. Oops. Who has the control to think logically when there is a bat in the house?

Recently I listened to an episode of This American Life, the Halloween program in fact, where Ira Glass takes a moment to make a public service announcement about how imperceptible bat bites are, how you can actually sleep through them. This got me (and some concerned friends) in a bit of a panic, but after doing a little more reading I realized this warning was mostly for sound-sleeping young children. I like to think that if a bat bit my face, which was my only exposed skin, that I would feel it. And so that's what I'm going with. No rabies shots for me. The animal control guy (who happened to be at the house replacing squirrel traps) agreed, as did a nurse and my mom. Good enough for me. I'll report back if I feel any numbness, tingling or strange afflictions to sunlight, cats and garlic.

And while I'm on vampires, check out this trailer for an amazing Swedish film, Let the Right One In. A love story with vampires = winning combo.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

My top 10 albums of 2008

10. Fleet Foxes - Self titled

9. Okkervil River - The Stand-Ins

8. Conor Oberst - Self titled

7. Girl Talk - Feed the Animals

6. Bon Iver - For Emma, Forever Ago

5. The Black Keys - Attack & Release

4. DeVotchka - A Mad & Faithful Telling

3. Noah & the Whale - Peaceful, the World Lays Me Down

2. The Raconteurs - Consolers of the Lonely

1. Mates of State - Re-arrange Us

This is based mostly on my itunes playcount. Honorable mentions go to Ryan Adams & The Cardinals, Dr. Dog, Black Kids and Vampire Weekend.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

stuff catz like

So maybe you heard me mention this other blog I was starting, I'm finally putting up the link; I wanted to wait until I had a couple entries. If you don't like cats and painfully obvious "it's funny because it's true" humor, then maybe you don't want to check it out. And thanks to Jake for getting me set up.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Some Rad Vids

Maria Bamford's version of Old McDonald


Mario Kart Love Song

Chickens Break up a rabbit fight

Sunday, December 7, 2008

This hat is awesome.

I have to figure out to make these. Apparently you have to jump through hoops to order them, and at $135 each it definitely qualifies as a worthwhile "I could make that" project. Plus I could alter the pattern and color- Sam Elliot, Charlie Chaplin, French guy, scarves, neck warmers etc. I foresee a mustached winter ahead.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Christmas Wishlist

Hirst's Skull - A diamond encrusted human skull valued around 100 million dollars, making it the most expensive piece of contemporary art to date.

Roxie and the Hooligans - The tale of a brave young girl facing a gang of hooligans. I would like it better if Roxie was a hooligan, though I do like it as a potential band name.

Slave Monkey - Monkeys trained to do simple tasks for the physically impaired. Laziness counts as a disability, right?

And A Bottle of Rum - A slightly more accurate Drunk History in book form. History and booze just go together so well.

Tetris Magnets- Or pretty much anything from this site.

Pirate Toast Stamper
- Life isn't complete without one.

Exploding Dog "I Hate Technology" laptop skin. Because when your computer crashes or you download a virus you can be reminded of how you really feel about technology as you slam the lid shut.

A Giant Pen

"Mixed Up" Clock - The numbers are rearranged and I find this far more amusing than it actually is.

Melodica - Awesome instrument on which I would assuredly play that Michael Jackson Free Willy song.

Home Laser Tag set - Think of the possibilities.

Rock Band 2 - Along with the game system since I am still rocking the N64.

Tandem Bike
- Oh the places we would go.

The Clapper - As seen on TV.

This adorable little French Girl- Maybe I could just borrow her?

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


Two Thanksgivings. Two Turkeys. No family. I love my family, but I have to admit spending this past holiday with friends was a fine time. I indulged in being carefree and acting like a kid, something I can't do when I'm visiting home. Rollerskating. Ouija. Airplanes and card tricks. We even set up a video camera in a "confessional" room à la MTV's Real World. It makes me want to pack up a carload of my friends and bring them to Iowa this Christmas, though I'm not sure how the Grandmas would cope with DVD Power Hour and the "Guess which state I'm thinking of" game.

I've been on a nostalgic activities kick lately, and I'm not sure exactly what that means. Laser tag was every bit as fun last week as it was 10 years ago, although admittedly I don't think I got winded after playing two games as a teenager. And rollerskating brought back fond memories of awkward middle school dates and my dad chaperoning a van-full of my friends. I've always acted like a kid and figure I always will, and it makes me happy that I'm surrounded by people who feel the same.

Some people are thankful for their families, some for their toy soldiers and grass; I'm thankful for those things as well as lobster-shaped Jell-o, grandma chairs and Friendsgivings

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Ovaltina My Goat* I Have an Addiction

It could be worse. I could be like Ed Norton's character in Rounders, or Fight Club, for that matter. Or I could be that addict who steals their mom's television for drug money only to have their arm infected and amputated. So all things considered, it's not so bad.

T-shirts. Ahhh I love them. So soft. So colorful. I think I've already mentioned the Stuff White People Like article about t-shirts, which pretty much sums up my love for them. Between Woot and Threadless I'm covered... and then some. But seriously, $5 sales or $10 American Apparel tees with no shipping, you can't beat that. And later on maybe I'll turn them into a quilt. So, not only do I have an addiction, I'm also trying to justify it. Great.

*On Woot forums they fill in overused phrases like "OMG" with funny substitutions, Ovaltina My Goat being one. It made me laugh for a long time once I figured out what the hell was happening.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

On Air

Live streaming videos of anything and everything can be found on the interweb, puppies doing puppy things to name one. Jake in all his glory to name another (I'll let him post the website at his discretion). Don't we have better things to do beside watch puppies licking each others' nether regions or witnessing Jake's first attempt to make oatmeal cookies? No, no we don't.

To be fair, most of us are capable of multitasking; I was continually flipping between Jake's cooking show and updating my etsy store. But there is something magical about seeing things on the internet that I just can't explain. When Cole and Cecilia made an appearance it was honestly like watching a tv show with guests. And the best part was that after the cookies were done I was able to drive over and test them out. Quite delicious, if you were wondering.

So now I'm thinking of things in terms of how entertaining they would be via streaming video. For instance, I presently have a squirrel trapped in a cage on my window ledge and two cats eagerly watching its every move. And the day before the same squirrel was inside my wall, scratching and thumping around to the point where I honestly thought it might come bursting into my living room. Would these make good videos? Probably not. While intense situations, (for me anyway), it's just not the same as being able to tell Jake to take his shirt off and have him giggle in response.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Free Puppies For Everyone!

I'm a little sad Tina Fey won't be making an appearance on SNL every week as Sarah Palin, but mostly I'm happy. Very happy.

Even my dad voted for Obama. My dad! This is a guy that watches Bill O'Riley religiously and whose beliefs aren't exactly progressive. Whatever his reasons, (I'm pretty sure he is now expecting free health care,) it's still a big step for my dad. Huge. Like when my brother and I showed him how to email. I guess everyone can change; yes, they can.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Barack the Vote.

It will be interesting to see the numbers for voting turnout; I honestly can't believe there are people out there who don't vote. Man.

I have seen some pretty funny public service announcements encouraging people to vote, and I particularly like this one, where Colin Meloy (The Decemberists) borrows an audience member's camera during a show.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween.

Here's my Trogdor jack-o-lanter; check out its majesty and consummate Vs. Burninating all the people and the pumpkin paaaaaaatches!

Some of the other pumpkins we carved; I think they turned out pretty well. Stay positive. Drink Summit. Too bad squirrels ate them...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


Oct. 23-28, Houston, TX. International Quilt Market, followed by the International Quilt Festival, is annually the largest convention center event in Houston, with over 53,000 quilters in attendance. I arrived for the business part of it, to debut Amazing Nickel Quilts.

The book was well received; when informed that a new Nickel Quilt book was av
ailable, reactions ranged from squeals of delight, declarations of "God bless" and "About time," to spontaneous hugs. Literally, hugs were given because my mom had written another book.

To catch the attention of store owners as they zipped up and down the aisle we asked if they were familiar with the Nickel Quilts books. The majority said yes, but some new store owners understandably didn't know about the books. After one such quilter admitted her lack of Nickel Quilt knowledge, a woman in our booth actually scolded her and I was afraid a brawl might break out. I could just imagine the carnage of broken hips and loose dentures. Luckily, it didn't come to that; Momma Speth was happy to educate everyone about Nickel Quilts with an ingenious marketing ploy of giving out free copies of the book to store owners. Hopefully everyone will fall in love with the book, I mean, how could they not?

Nickel Quilts booth- Pat Speth center, quilting buddy June on left and me.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Almost Famous

On Friday morning I used the delay on my coffee maker for the first time, set at the completely ridiculous brew-time of 4:15am. The pitch-black drive on an empty interstate and overwhelming feeling of excitement and nervousness added to the surrealness of the experience; it felt more like I was headed to the airport, about to depart on a month-long European adventure, than what I was really doing, driving to St. Olaf to be an extra in A Serious Man.

At the exit for Northfield there was a bizarre mimicking of the scene in Field of Dreams, with a line of hundreds of cars all driving toward the same place, headlights cutting through the dark in perfect unison. Once parked in a far-away lot, all the extras were shuttled to the abandoned science building where the day's scene was to be shot. We were ushered into a large lecture hall, "Extras Holding" posted above the entrance. After being divvied into groups we were sent to get our wardrobes, change, and come back for hair and make-up. This took approximately three hours.

There were roughly 120 "physics students" lounging about the lecture hall, all with extremely high-waisted pants and skirts. Lots of plaid and yellow ochre. Nerds galore. Big hair caused the place to reek of hairspray. I snuck out of "holding" as much as possible to snoop around, checking out the adjacent lecture hall where we would actually be shooting the scene. The Coen brothers were wandering around as well; I went in the breakfast buffet line behind Joel.

The actual shooting finally began around noon. We lined up and were assigned seats as we came down the center staircase in a smaller classroom. I was put in the third row, maybe four seats from the center, a good location. In the front of the classroom a chalkboard spanned from floor to ceiling, every inch covered in equations and theories. The scene is this: the main character, a college professor, is having a dream about teaching a large lecture and amongst the students is his nemesis. As he finishes giving the lecture the students leave and the seated man stays behind; they have a conversation and ultimately the main character gets his head smashed into the chalkboard. Unfortunately the head-smashing took place after we, the students, left, so we didn't get to see any action shots.

I was amazed at how much went into one scene. Fourteen hours, and they weren't even done shooting the parts that didn't need extras when we were cut. They shot the scene about a dozen times from the back and again from the front. I won't get to be in the shot from the front, they did a narrower view and I wasn't so lucky to be seated in the front row. Too bad, since I'm sure I wouldn't have to have been told by Ethan Coen twice to avoid looking at the camera like some other kid.

It was great fun though; a once-in-a-life-time experience, trite but true. And I know the scene won't get cut because it has the line, "I'm a serious man."

I wasn't supposed to take pictures, but luckily I'm sly.

Lecture Hall filled with extras, lined up the aisles to get their hair and makeup retouched.

Uber nerdy outfit. They added the horn-rimmed glasses last-minute.

I could have stolen Joel Coen's jacket!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

My New Toy

I recently bought a DSLR, a Canon Rebel XSi, and finally took it out for a shoot around town. I had the same manual camera model and thought most of the features would translate, which of course they don't. But I am happy with the camera so far, and definitely need to spend some quality time with the user manual. Anyway it's good to feel motivated to take pictures again; somehow my old digital which requires me to manually pry open the shutter before using it (and getting fingerprint smudges on the lens) didn't provide a great deal of inspiration.

More "artsy" photos to follow, but here are some standard pics of Minneapolis landmarks.

Friday, October 10, 2008

When Shipping Embryos

I was on the FedEx website, looking up rates to send a small package to Mexico. To make sure no restrictions apply you are required to select what type of item you are sending. Scrolling down to find "electronics" I noticed one had the option of selecting "embryos." Unfortunately it states, "Embryos: FedEx prohibits the international shipment of human or animal embryos."

This begs the question though, what is their policy on the domestic shipment of embryos?

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Slapping Infants

I was out drinking the other night when one of my friends noticed an origami fortune teller wedged behind the drink specials. This immediately cheered me up, bringing back memories of junior high, at least until the fortune I picked predicted that I would commit suicide. Needless to say I gave it another go, this time the paper seer suggesting I ought to find some infants to slap. Much better.

I like this idea though, of planting fortune tellers. They are hilariously entertaining, and how often can you tell a stranger
that they should commit suicide, never wear that hideous top, or reconsider their mustache without facing negative repercussions? It could be a public service, like those guys that traveled across America fixing typos, we could start a movement leaving advice-filled fortune tellers wherever we go. Now all I've got to do is think of a catchy acronym. That and avoid defacing national monuments.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mates of State T-T-Tonight!

Mates of State is playing tonight at the Fine Line, touring for their most recent album, Re-arrange Us, probably my favorite record this year. Come wearing a mildly creepy animal costume and be ready to sing and dance your heart out. Doors at 7:00.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Thinking of You.

My mom forwarded me an email with the photo below, saying it made her think of me. Sweet, right? Surely the picture would be one of me when I was a toddler, making a ridiculous mess with paints or a chocolate cake, or something along those lines. Nope.

Behold: people drinking from gynormous cups.

Thanks, Mom.

And you better believe I googled "giant plastic cups" only to discover they are hard to find and uber expensive. Bummer. Imagine the flippy cup possibilities.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Everyone is Becoming Actors

We Became Actors played a last-minute show this weekend at the Nomad, finding a drummer in a matter of days. It was fun to finally see the guys play; after a few months with no shows I was beginning to wonder if all of this "We're in a band" business was just a ruse to attract the ladies. But turns out they are a real, performing band, even one that brings in more than half the crowd. Nicely done, gents.

But enough about them, on to other big news... I'm going to be in a movie!!! The next Coen brothers' film, A Serious Man, is being shot presently in a Minneapolis suburb. Auditions for extras were about a month ago, and after not hearing back from them I assumed I didn't make the cut. But last Friday I got a call informing me that I was picked to be in a classroom scene that shoots on October 20th. And in a few weeks I'll go in for hair and costume consultation; since it's set in the 1960s everyone gets a custom-made outfit, bullet-bra included.

Now I'm not expecting much, especially after watching the BBC show Extras, I'll be lucky to have my arm in a shot for a couple seconds. Mostly I'm excited to see the behind-the-scenes action. At the audition we were given guidlines telling us we couldn't bother other cast or crew members, but I can't help hoping that one of the Coens will spot me doing something ridiculous and develop an immediate fondness for me, like Kramer and his Woody Allen movie: These pretzels are making me thirsty.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Best of Craigslist

Wow. Christian just rocked my world by introducing me to the Best of Craigslist. Enjoy.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Oh Craigslist, you've done it again.

A month or two ago one of my friends came across a Craigslist post offering a single Chumbawamba CD, and several of us emailed the poster, feigning interest in the album. Maybe this was cruel, but surely the woman had to have a sense of humor about it? After all, she took the effort to post a CD that peaked over 10 years ago and that you can find at most Goodwills for 75cents.

Well ladies and gents, Craigslist has delivered again. Kate found this post and thoughtfully informed me, maybe hoping I could round up a bunch of sarcastic jerks to torment this poster. And clearly, they deserve it. $20 for a chip?? The thing doesn't even have Florida.

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's Done! It's Done! (Amazing Nickel Quilts).

Nine months in the making, the third installment of Nickel Quilts is complete. Introducing: Amazing Nickel Quilts.

Am I a quilter? No. But I stare at little quilt blocks on my computer all day and design page layout and other miscellaneous graphics. So, search your mind for any quilters in your family that might be interested in an (Amazing Nickel) quilt book and send them to The official release date is going to be October 23rd at the International Quilt Market in Houston, TX, but will be available a few weeks earlier through the website.

The idea is to make an alphabet of books, "A" is for "Amazing, "B" is going to be "Borders" etc. So... one down, twenty five to go. Wowza.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The thing about renting.

The thing about renting is that you have no say in the matter. Any matter. When creepy painter guys start putting up ladders to redo your window frames at 9:00am you can't tell them to go away, that you want to shower without having someone on the other side of the not-blurred-enough glass. Or when you complain about the low water pressure, that when any other faucet is turned on in the house while you are all sudsed-up in the shower that the water turns off indefinitely, and all you get for an explanation is, "That's old houses for you."

Old house or no, if you were living here, Mister Landlord, you wouldn't tolerate these things. Oh, none of your cupboards shut? You have unfinished, sharp-edged countertops too? Most of your doors don't stay properly shut (which allows one's cats to become quite the escape artists)? Whatever. But you'll shovel and mow the lawn? No? What the hell kind of operation is this? What's that? No, I'm not yelling. Please, please don't kick me out. You what? Found some pipes that were about to explode and they're being redone and my shower will now actually operate like a normal shower? Alright, I'll put up with all that other shit, I guess.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Highbrow vs. Nerdy

I came across this image while shopping for t-shirts online. It's entitled "Who vs. Whom" and appears in the "Highbrow" section of One Horse Shy. Now I find the fact that they have highbrow and lowbrow categories for t-shirts quite amusing, but I don't think any actual highbrow individuals would be caught dead in this t-shirt. Me? I want it as a tattoo. Or I suppose a tote bag might suffice. So I'm thinking they need to change their "Highbrow" classification to "Nerds Would Love These."

And seriously, dibs on this merch.

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Not the Christian Bale variety; the WCCO Channel 4 kind. Jess is quite the celebrity, interviewed last Thursday whilst waiting in line to see The Daily Show. Sadly her standby status failed to get her into the show, but got her on the news instead. I can't figure out how to embed this video, so if you want to watch you'll have to follow this link. Make sure to take notice of Jake in the background, casually ignoring the camera. I might need to get some autographs.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Lawn Games Galore

The jokes just write themselves. A game named Cornhole? What were people thinking? Most of the time I simply call it "bags," but admittedly "cornhole" is funnier. I suppose some of the bags are filled with corn, and the board has a hole in it, but still. Then again, I would hate to miss out on questions like, "If I get it in the cornhole am I fucked?" (Jake).

Since making a set of cornhole boards this year and keeping them in my trunk, the amount of lawn game playage is at an all time high. I scoff at other people's boards- they are too bouncy or slick, clearly not regulation. There is plenty of room for rivalry and shit talking in this game. And dirty, dirty jokes.

Recently I was also introduced to a Swedish lawn game called
Kubb, where you throw sticks at blocks, trying to knock them over. Not as easy as it sounds. Add silly rules that have you bending over, tossing a stick between your legs, along with Socialist ideals that give the losing team an advantage at the end, and you have a hell of a game. And if a player is wearing a dress (Jess), Kubb also lends itself to bawdy hilarity.

Setting up Kubb.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Some things are just more fun in a dress.

Kickball Prom = best idea ever. We had quite a few gawkers as we took the field dressed in our fancy garb. I wore a bridesmaid dress, others donned outfits from high school dances, thrift stores or the depths of their closests. The look was completed with cleats, tennis shoes, sports bras and spandex. Maybe kickball should always be played like this.

It got me thinking about other activities that could be spiced up with ironic formal attire. They need to be minimally physical, fairly public and work well with groups. Grocery shopping. Bowling. BBQing. Bookclub Prom? Maybe in the spring.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Midday Shoppers

Yesterday I was grocery shopping midday, a luxury of working whatever schedule I choose, but somehow I'm not sure that beating after work errand runners is any more desirable than facing leisurely afternoon shoppers. The average age in any given grocery store at 11:00 am is approximately 65. The aisles are congested with stalled carts and motorized wheelchairs. No one is in a hurry except you.

The checkout lines are deceptively short, so I continually make the fatal error of passing up the self-check stations. At least ten minutes is tacked onto each customer as they organize their stack of coupons. I can't remember the last time I used a coupon. Even the items with "Save $1 Instantly!" coupons stuck to the front seem to slip my mind until I'm home unpacking them. Finally, after all discounts are accounted for, the elderly customer in front of me will make some bizarre request like putting $81.05 on her card and pay the remaining $0.90 in cash.

At this point in the transaction I'm desperately looking around for other open registers, but now I'm sandwiched in line. Just when I'm near making an attempt to scale the rack of tabloids, ready to face the sensitive self-check machines (no, I did not remove an item from the bagging area!), it's finally my turn. The cashier has straw hair, dyed black with gray roots grown in a full inch. She squints at me through over-sized spectacles and asks if I've heard anything about the Sasquatch discovery. A man an aisle over butts in, ranting about how the ordeal makes "us" look bad; now people will be skeptical at the true discovery of Sasquatch. I was instantly grateful I held out for this bit of human contact.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

MN Fair (On a Stick)

For the first time I experienced the spectacle that is the Minnesota State Fair. I am now thoroughly educated in fried food on a stick, which stand offers the tastiest corndogs, and where to get the best cheese curds and malts. Though I avoided the spinning, rickety rides, I was quite amused by the 95-years-and-running Ye Old Time Mill, a dark boat ride featuring glimpses at nonsensical scenes like snowmen frolicking with the three little pigs.

At the international bizarre I bought a Nightmare Before Christmas-esque key chain that I plan on using as a tree ornament, and as I was making my purchase a fellow shopper wondered aloud why anyone would want something so creepy.

I resisted temptation to play games at the Mighty Midway, aside from one round of skee ball, despite my competitive streak. The carnies were fairly tame, though I did overhear one telling another that he could "tickle [his] Elmo."

Throw in a free Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings concert and that is what I call one hell of a day. Next year I might be a little braver and try chocolate covered bacon or the spaghetti dinner on a stick. Maybe.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stuff White People Like Me Like

Every mid-to-upper-middle class, city-dwelling, liberal white person's favorite blog is now a book, available at your favorite local independent bookstore.

Though some of the magic has worn from Stuff White People Like, the "Oooh I like that! It's hilarious and ironic!" realization after reading every entry, I still marvel how spot-on many of the articles are. I remember reading the blog one day and at that precise moment being guilty of no less than seven depicted stereotypes, right down to the Threadless t-shirt (#84) and organic fair-trade coffee (#1 & #6). The listings are so exact that I find myself questioning the items I don't know. The Wire? Well I haven't seen that, better put it on my online movie rental queue (#85 and #39, respectively).

I don't own the book yet, I tell myself that I can just read the blog, but it is a pretty blue and would fit in so nicely with my color-coordinated bookshelf...

Monday, August 18, 2008

On Olympics

Watching Michael Phelps win eight gold medals, setting world records on nearly all his events, I'm left thinking about how vastly different individuals' senses of accomplishment can be. Me? I am happy with myself when I make a particularly delicious batch of cookies, each time I finish a book, or when I remember to send out birthday cards. Even finishing daily tasks, chores and errands is a feat in itself. Done with laundry, that's my gold medal equivalent. Today I'm returning movies and an empty keg; Michael Phelps take that!

Another thought came up amongst my friends while watching the 100 meter sprint: include average people in the Olympics as a humorous comparison. Eight Olympic contenders and one lucky audience participant. Seat number G18 Section 112- here's your chance to run with the best! I think we're on to something here.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Flashing Red

I am very angry with Dell. Whew. Had to get that off my chest. When I bought my laptop a year and a half ago I expected some sort of disaster to strike- a bike crash where I use my computer to cushion the fall, my cat knocking over a mug of coffee onto the keyboard etc.- which is precisely why I bought the most extensive, expensive warranty offered. Four years of Complete Care. Spilled coffee and bike crashes alike, I was safe.

Amazingly enough I have found a loop hole in this "complete care" business: batteries.

Batteries have their own special warranty which lasts one year. OK fine, I get it- Dell doesn't want people calling and demanding a new battery because the one in their four-year-old computer doesn't work as well as it used to. But surely my superior warranty would cover the sudden and complete failure of my battery, with its signal light flashing an angry red and orange pattern at me. Nope. Not a chance. After several painful conversations with employees that were assuredly not named "Tim" and "Stacy" I was told my only option was to fork over a couple hundred bucks for a new one. Grrrr. And to add to the excitement, the expected delivery date is an unbelievable five to nine weeks. I can't even fathom a scenario in which it might take five to nine weeks to deliver a battery, unless maybe it will arrive via a directionally challenged messenger pigeon? Maybe I should keep a window screen open, just in case.

Friday, August 8, 2008


Eight is my favorite number, so if I were a gambling gal, today would be my day. Clearly if I played craps or roulette I would win based on my life devotion to putting the number 8 on my sports jerseys. But since casinos depress me more than entice me, I'll probably watch the highlights of the Olympic opening ceremonies instead. Or more accurately, go have a beer and talk about how flippy cup should be an Olympic event.

I am a little sad that I didn't plan a special event for today to pay tribute to the number 8, although it couldn't have topped the 6.6.06 Satan party my friend Katie hosted two years ago. We could talk about how much we love octagons and octopi, but it just wouldn't have the same impact as a creepy guy with black eyeliner and a mesh shirt hovering around, thinking the rest of us were actual fellow satanists.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Merry Meter Men

On the “Things I Hate” scale I tend to rank meter maids right up there with wet socks and drinking OJ right after brushing my teeth. But in the last year not once, but twice (twice!) a meter maid (or meter man, rather) has done something to momentarily change my opinion of the loathsome profession.

The first occurrence was actually due to a bit of lucky timing, as I happened to be walking to my car at the precise time I was being written up for having expired tags. I plead that in Iowa we get a month, not a measly fifteen days. And it works. He actually shreds the ticket, which I thought was a stunt strictly for movies. My meter man hero saves me $90 and tells me to go straight to the DMV, which I do. But before I glorify his act of kindness too much, I should point out he was driving around neighborhood streets looking for expired tags on the day of expiration.

The second unexpected gesture happened just the other day as I was walking a block or so from my car to Fedex, wrangling two heavy boxes that were tall enough that I had to lean around them to see. Most passer-byers looked at me amusingly, as if they were reminded of the fat mouse Gus Gus carrying his leaning tower of corn kernels. But just as disaster was about to strike- me precariously balancing the boxes on one propped up knee as I tried to pull open the heavy double doors- a meter man comes jogging up to help me. I was glad of his assistance, and he even insisted on opening the second set of doors. But then things got a little awkward as he unintentionally followed me into the store and soon realized he was out of his natural element, no expired meters in sight. He nervously backed out through both sets of doors and disappeared around the corner, off to ruin the days of countless citizens.

And here's a clip from Cindrillion. Mice + French Singing = Adorable.

Monday, July 28, 2008


Well I've created an etsy site as you can see by the link on the right. Who knows if anyone well ever come across it among the other hundreds of thousands of artist's pages, but at least I'm trying? The only negative effect this site might have is now my friends will know that their wedding/birthday/holiday presents are items that haven't been selling on etsy.

Right now I've only got ceramics posted but hope to i
nclude some paintings and photos as well. So check it out, I might even cut you a deal. And hey, if you're in Minneapolis you won't have to pay for shipping.....

Friday, July 25, 2008


I realize this isn't the best photo, but I was in danger of getting hit by cars and missing my bus. On my quest to find a not-sold-out show of The Dark Knight I came across this theater and liked that the marquee man was enthusiastic. Which, by the way, I didn't know was "knight" with a 'k' until the day I saw it. And it should be mentioned that just before showtime a man clearly out of his element in the packed theater stopped Jess, and pointing to his ticket stub asked if PG-13 was his seat number. Precious.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Skinny Black Jeans and Stampedes

I finally bought a pair of skinny black jeans. I’ve been holding out, perhaps because it’s the ultimate hipster classifier. If anyone called me a hipster I could say, “No, no- have you seen my jeans??” But now I can only throw out defensive statements like, “But I shop at the Gap!” and “I still like Death Cab!”

I found the trendy jeans during a day of shopping in Vancouver, just after half-way trying on a pair of maternity pants. I had them pulled up to my knees before I realized the meaning behind the faux fly and extra-wide elastic waist band. Oops. As a self-esteem booster I was prepared to hand them back to the fitting room attendant with an apologetic shrug that said, “These funky pants were waaaay too big,” but alas, the post was unmanned.

Later, in a small vintage boutique in Chinatown I had another shopping mix up. I was looking through the Western/cowboy shirt selection and the cashier perked up. “You’re looking for Western shirts?” she asked, “Because the stampede here is over.” I assumed by “stampede” she meant craze or trend, so I assured her I was from the Midwest and the stampede was in full-swing. A look of bewilderment came over her and she replied, “No. We had a real stampede. Last week. That’s what we do here when hockey is off-season.” Now I can only guess what one does at a real stampede. Maybe it’s Canadian lingo for a rodeo, or maybe hundreds of Vancouverites don cowboy shirts and stampede through town, but whatever it was I missed it by a week.

Other Vancouver notes:

While on the subject of attire I’d like to mention how enjoyable I found the Vancouver’s Bard on the Beach performance of The Twelfth Night. Set in the 1920’s, the actors wore Chuck Taylors and pin-striped suits instead of tights and poofy pantaloons.

They have a library that resembles the Colosseum.

In Canada they have exciting potato chip flavors like ketchup and roasted chicken.

People are not nearly afraid enough of raccoons and rabies.

The best way to see an orca whale might be at Sea World. But to see a baby beluga all you need to do is go to the aquarium, though willfully knowing you will likely not be able to stop humming that annoying Raffi song.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Seattle's Best

Aside from the dandruff ridden a-hole that I was sitting next to on the flight out, things have been running rather smoothly. The man seriously didn’t understand the concept of personal space, and several times I had to feign interest in something under my seat so I could whack his drifting head with my elbow to get him out of my space bubble. And on top of all this, he threw a fit when his laptop couldn't get wireless. True story. Needless to say, I called window seat on the return flight.

Once in Seattle we spent most of the time aimlessly walking around, which quickly made me realize that a) Seattle is not known for its hills and it should be b) things on the edge of the map can be several miles away, and c) I need to do some stair steppers. We stayed close to Pike’s Place Market, famous for being home to the original Starbucks and its local fruit and seafood vendors. Employees at a prime location booth will happily toss around fish, lobsters and giant crabs as if they were manning a Tom Cruise Cocktail bar if only someone in the crowd were actually there to buy a fish. There are also delicious Russian pastries in Pike’s Place along with a “Cat Whisperer” who disappointingly was asking for money without translating fortunes given by cats. I would have paid for a cat fortune.

After a stroll through the Fremont Flea Market I am officially ready to start attending some city council meetings to try to get something like this going in Minneapolis. Antiques, vintage ware, arts n’ crafts, food. And it happens every week! I would even be satisfied if such an event were only held monthly. Among random treasures I was able to find a giant (5 inch) safety pin to replace a friend’s who had one stolen and also had an enjoyable time sifting through a massive pile of name tags pulled from mechanic’s uniforms. Mostly the patches were for Roys and Steves, but I was able to find a “Rock,” which was close enough to my name that I felt obligated to buy it for a dollar.

I was also excited to get both Jess and Ray into a kayak, and though it was more of a lily-pad terrain than whitewater, I am a little amazed that everyone remained virtually dry. We even had such great form that other tourists were taking pictures of us, so look for Jess and I in an upcoming travel brochure. And I highly recommend the kayak rental place, Agua Verde, which also doubles as a delicious Mexican restaurant.

Other things I learned:

The flowers surrounding Mt. Rainier are in bloom, which is picturesque but will cause allergy suffers like myself to become sleepless in Seattle, without the Tom Hanks romance and comedy.

The Experiencing Music Project museum is interesting, but not nearly as fun as Rock Band.

Body paint can effectively imitate spandex on nude cyclists.

Giving homeless people your left-over Chinese food can be a somewhat terrifying experience.

Family photo by a waterfall on Mt. Rainier.

Seattle Library

Thursday, July 10, 2008

On A Blender

I was preparing to make a smoothie (or maybe daiquiris, funny I can't remember) when I discovered a key element was missing: the blender. There are only so many places a blender can wander off to, and after checking the usual spots to no avail I became a little annoyed. Did somebody steal my blender? After a moment of contemplating whether or not a hand-held mixer would do the trick I suddenly remembered where I had seen the object in question.

That's right ladies and gentlemen, it was being used as a doorstop.

And on that note, here's a fun "Will It Blend?" video.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Random Thoughts

Congrats to the Goplins for a new addition to their family. I don’t actually know the birthing mom, does that make this creepy? But why salute the person who carried the baby for nine months and delivered it when I can congratulate her siblings who did nothing?

And while I’m throwing around praise, I’d like to give a big, “Proud of you” to my good friend Rafael Nadal. Though Federer may have cooler fans (Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale) Raf is cuter and has a more pronounced accent, so it’s only fair that he win Wimbledon.

And lastly, never ever spill grease that has been sitting around for weeks in 85 degree heat. If you were contemplating it, I urge you to stop. The horror of an odor that does its best to combine the scent of a decaying body and cat urine will soak into your pores and leave you wishing you would’ve just eaten that ground turkey grease-intact.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Somewhere in the Middle of America

My college roommate Margee (pronounced with a hard ‘G’) hails from Griswold, Iowa, population of roughly 1,000. Actually, that’s not quite right. Her family doesn’t live in town, but a few miles outside of it in a beautiful farmhouse, set among acres of corn and a matrix of gravel roads. This is where I spent my Fourth of July. As I sat on their deck drinking a delicious cocktail of gin and freshly picked-and-smashed cherries, I couldn’t really imagine a more fitting setting to honor America’s grandeur.

After just a few hours of this peaceful, slower-than-city pace, Jess and I were contemplating if we could ever live in a rural environment. I was thrilled to ride in the back of a pickup, to be constantly surrounded by kittens and to be as loud as we wanted without worrying about fun-hating neighbors. And to be able to grow your own food? How marvelous! But these thoughts went as fast as they came. Twice during my short stay someone had to drive 20 miles each way to a mid-size town for various errands. I never even make it to St. Paul. And what would I do if I ran out of ice cream in the middle of the night? Or what if I had the desire to have a pizza delivered and someone dressed as a superhero driving a three-wheeled moped to deliver it?! Nope, I’d never make it. Despite the theme of “Green Acres” running through my head every five minutes, farm livin’ is not the life for me; I’ll stick to visits.

On Saturday we ventured into Omaha to celebrate Margee and Katie’s (another college friend) birthdays. There are people that love birthdays, and then there are people that love birthdays enough that they start planning the event 364 days in advance. Luckily they keep the requirements simple enough: matching outfits and lots of booze. Though there tends to be a trend in their outfit choice (heavy on neon pink), this year they decided to don shiny black wigs of the Pulp Fiction bob variety. As we walked through the Old Market area downtown people didn’t even attempt to hide their open-mouth stares. Even the equestrian cops showed a great deal of interest, perhaps wondering if the birthday girls were in fact working girls. There was maybe less dancing than Margee and Katie had hoped for, but maybe the setting off fireworks inside a bar and having “Happy Birthday” sung to them (or their false names, anyway) by an Irish band was enough to make up for it. I’m not sure how they’re going to top those wigs next year, but I’m looking forward to finding out.

Margee, drinking wine on her deck with the sunset behind her.

Delicious Fourth of July feast including chicken kebabs, crab cakes, pesto pasta salad, ham and cheese torte, and Three Buck Chuck.

Group shot in Omaha featuring birthday girls in matching wigs.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

An Introduction

So I'm starting a blog. Obviously. Great, you're thinking, all the world needs is another uber sarcastic single-gal-in-the-city blog. In attempt to remove those eyeballs from the back of your head in hopes that you'll keep reading, let me explain that I'm doing this strictly as a form of motivation for me to do some writing. Every time I try to start a journal I feel like I'm in seventh grade again and need to gush about my crush or a backstabbing friend, and after three entries or so I fail miserably. So here's hoping that my readers will be enough to keep me going. All three of you. And that might be a gross over-exaggeration. Oh, and I promised to blame Kate, because after reading her superb blog it made me want to start my own.

Perhaps the title needs some explanation? For those of you who haven't seen the '90's baseball classic, The Sandlot, I urge you to queue it up immediately. And if you're not fortunate enough to have an online movie rental service, try the library. Let me set up the scene for you from which I took the line of dialog that serves as my motto:

In a clubhouse a baseball team of 12 yr old boys are making s'mores. Smalls, the main character, is a bit of a square and has never had a s'more.
Teammate: Hey Smalls, you want a s'more?
Smalls: A s'more? How can I have s'more (pronounced "some more") if I haven't had any?
Teammate: (Flabbergasted) You're killing me, Smalls.

Life is full of these "you've got to be kidding me" moments. I try to find humor in these situations and will try to share them with you. And to start things off, I'm attaching a photo from my street corner stop sign. Writing things on stop signs is nothing new, but it's always refreshing to see something cleverer than "Stop War." My personal favorite is, "Stop. Hammertime." but I've yet to obtain a picture. It's also good to know that the taggers in my neighborhood are PC. And thanks to Jake for actually noticing the stop sign- I apparently breeze through it without looking.