Saturday, January 31, 2009

Downtown parking douchebaggery and other random thoughts

Most days I ride the bus to my job in downtown Minneapolis. On the rare occasion I do drive I usually park in a ramp about a block from my building that has a pretty good "early bird" rate. Over time that rate has fluctuated from $6 to $7 to $7.50 then back down to $6.99. Yesterday I was about to get on the bus when realized I had left my laptop at home. So I walked back to the house, grabbed the laptop and hopped in my car. As I pulled into the ramp I noticed the sign still said $6.99. When I pulled up to the paybooth, I handed the guy a twenty. He handed me back my change and I went to park. But then I realized he had given me $12.50 change. Something didn't make sense. It turns out the company that runs that ramp, and several others downtown, added a "+tax" to all their signs. So even though it said $6.99 it came to $7.50. This strikes me as technically legal, but realistically a slimy thing to do. I have NEVER seen parking ramps advertise their rates with a +tax caveat. If it is posted one buck for the first hour and you leave within an hour you pay one buck. So DAP, the company that runs these ramps, decided to raise their rates and were either to cheap to print new signs, or wanted to deceive customers by adding small print to something that has been up for months that you glance at as you are driving by. Lame.

Brewing Update
Last weekend the wife and I bottled the beer.

Ready to go (note the bottling tube attached to the spigot):

Pop in the carbonation tablets:

Bottle Away:

I ran into one dilemma after bottling-the instructions called for the bottles to be kept around 75 to 80 degrees for seven days. That is a hard thing to do in a Minnesota house in January. I ended up buying an electric blanket to put in the box with the bottles of beer. It did the trick perfectly. Today is the one week mark. Next we keep them at room temperature for another week, then I get to see what this concoction tastes like.

Good Food

The in-laws are visiting this weekend. Last night we all went out to dinner at Bali. It is the only true Indonesian restaurant in the Twin Cities. Really great food for pretty cheap, and the atmosphere is nice as well. Afterwords we walked two doors over to Salsa La Salsa to get some dessert.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


A while back I mentioned World War Z, the zombie apocalypse masterpiece by Max Brooks. The fine folks at io9 posted the above pic of some potential concept art for the movie by artist Daniel LuVisi.

Now I know Hollywood has an amazing track record of destroying good books, and it is arguable that there have been too many zombie movies already, but I have high hopes for this. The book rocks. I hope they don't blow it.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Heading back

Tuscany bound at the end of March!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


My lovely wife got me a beer brewing kit for Christmas. Since we both had Monday off we decided to start the process. The kit she got me is supposedly dummy proof-which means it was designed for the likes of me. It eliminates a lot of the steps of regular home brewing and makes it pretty simple. The steps are; sanitize everything, open the can of ingredients and dump it in the fermenter, add water, the bag of sugar they give you, and sprinkle the yeast on top. Then you screw on the lid and wait about a week. When it is done fermenting you bottle the beer. In each bottle you drop in a little tablet that provides the last bit of sugar for the yeast to create the carbonation, You then cap the bottles and wait two weeks or so. After that you have beer. I'll let you know how it turns out.

The kit:

The hopped malt concentrate:

Let the brewing begin!:

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

President Barack Obama

Time to get to work. The last guy trashed the place. I hope Bush doesn't get his deposit back.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Soooooooo Cold

-20F right now. I'll look at pictures like this and pretend it is warm.

Silver Sands Jamaica 2008

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Damn Dogs

Dog theme for today.

Our tenacious trouble making puppy decided he really liked the salad dressing the wife made. So much that he managed to dump it all over his head. Nothing like a mix of olive oil, citrus and maple syrup to create a healthy, luxurious coat.

Went and saw "Marley and Me" over the weekend. Not a great movie, but very effective at pushing your buttons-especially if you are a dog person.

Finished reading A Dog in a Hat by Joe Parkin. Parkin is a retired American bike racer that you have probably never heard of. He spent most of his career in Belgium. The book does a great job of showing the realities of professional cycling in Europe during the late eighties and early nineties. The drugs, the rivalries, the drugs, the toiling in obscurity and the drugs. Plus it has a forward by Bobke. If you are into cycling I would highly recommend this book.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Random Pic

Example of Art Deco at the Hoover Dam