Sunday, March 30, 2008

Out like a lamb

So far it looks as though March will bid a fond farewell in rather kindly fashion, with temps in the 40s during the day, although the forecast keeps warning us of...snow. Weird. I hope it doesn't pan out, but if we do get another few inches, I suppose it will melt quickly and be good for the ground and lakes and whatnot, so that's good. But between the weather and the extra Disco Stu would say, "Aaayy!"

Friday night we spent time with our restaurant- and movie-going friends Jon and Sarah, this time visiting the delicious Key's Cafe near our house and then attending our last-ever movie at the Roseville 4.

She may not look like much, but she's got it where it counts. And the theatre owners had made a lot of special modifications, too:

The floors are a sight even Dave Barry would be proud of:

The movie in question was National Treasure: Book of Secrets, and while I was hoping for a little more grave-jumping action, it was a worthy follow-up to one of the more enjoyable adventure movies to come out in the last several years. I still wish Riley was played by Steve Zahn, though. Anyway, the cheapo movie house will close its doors forever in a matter of hours, so if you think of it, pour out a 40 of Pepsi, or a gallon tub of stale popcorn, for the fallen.

Last night my cousin and his wife came over and we spent the evening playing Guitar Hero 3 and (gasp!) Wii Play. I have always dismissed the latter as a terrible game, but I have to admit, for a bunch of casual gamers who just want to have a good time, it really was fun.

My wife and I are about to go on a walk--our first in many weeks--and while that may seem silly to blog about, if you lived up here and the weather was finally warm enough to do so, well, you would understand. :)

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Them All

Yesterday we took ourselves down a stroll through the National Mall. Here's a few snapshots with explanatory captions...

Just a picture of the Washington Monument, my favorite. It's like the king of monuments.

The Thomas Jefferson Monument (or Memorial? I forget). My wife's favorite. Inside is a gigantor statue of Mr. Jefferson himself.

This is for my dad and my brothers who are into this sort of thing: a shot of the DC Metro. It's entirely electric, and one can get from anywhere to anywhere for just a buck or two. We have used it every day. The train itself isn't all that interesting, so I did one of those sweet motion-trail shots on our little Canon SD-1000 using a one-second shutter speed.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Sorry about the Schnitzel

Well, the German restaurant, Cafe Mozart, was pretty awesome. To get there, we had to first walk through a German deli-type shop where they sold German meat German chocolate, German get the point. I purchased this German soda there too, and I'll put up a pic in a day or two. The menu was crazy German-a-riffic, and I ended up getting the Sausage Sampler plate with five different kinds of sausages, supplemented with cabbage and (what else?) sauerkraut. My wife had some Wienerschnitzel which was pretty awesome, and the whole time there was this German lady singing songs on an accordion nearby. At one point she came over and was like "Oh, you liken der singen, ya?"

Yesterday we went to Oral Arguments at the Supreme Court (it's like a regular Court, but with extra cheese on a kaiser roll) but first we had to wait in line for about three hours just to get in. Apparently those Orals are one hot DC ticket, I tell ya. The line was, if you can believe it, even more nerdy than some other lines I have been in, because everyone here was talking about legal briefs and graduate schools and objecting to this or that motion. A friendly bunch, to be sure, but good gravy. Watching Oral Arguments was pretty neat, partially because it was fun to observe first-hand the highest level of our nation's judicial process, but also because Clarence Thomas kept his chair super pimped back. I'm not kidding, he would lean so far back it was like he was watching the ceiling. Between him and Scalia, who was so short he barely peeked out over the bench, it was quite the entertaining hour. And yes, after that we totally had lunch at the Supreme Court Cafe in the lower level of the building.

Today was mostly spent at the Library of Congress gathering data, and we are going to this Italian place for dinner in a little while. So not as fun-filled as yesterday, but you know, it's good to scale back now and then.

Go East Young Man

(with apologies to Smitty)

So my wife and I got to Washington DC on Sunday evening with nary a hitch or trouble, and even our suitcases made the trip just fine. The cab driver from the airport to Dupont Circle (about 30 minutes) was super friendly, and the weather is much nicer than Minneapolis. Yesterday and today we spent a good chunk of the day at the Library of Congress, where we gathered research for her dissertation, which is the whole reason we're here in the first place. We did take time for some limited sightseeing, and made our way around the Capitol building (though the presence of dozens of armed guards all over the place was a bit of a shocker).

This morning we dropped by the Supreme Court to take a gander at a rather large crowd of demonstrators who were both in favor of, and not in favor of, an impending Supreme Court Ruling on second amendment rights. It was a very peaceful crowd all in all, especially given the subject matter for which they were demonstrating, but I suppose that says something about the American spirit of goodwill and democracy. Or maybe it was early and the were just tired. After that we went to gather more data at the LoC, had lunch at this place called Cosi (basically a SubWay with flat bread), and in a little while we're going to meet a few of my wife's friends for dinner.

All in all, DC is pretty cool. The Metro is awesome, and the Governmental-type sights to see are pretty neat too. It's like we're living out an episode of The West Wing, but with fewer Big Blocks of Cheese. Our hotel has free WiFi too, which is always a bonus.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

The days are just packed

Yesterday I received an amazing birthday gift from my wife and her parents:

It's The Complete Calvin and Hobbes: Every single Calvin and Hobbes comic ever printed. Over 1,500 pages of metaphysical humor involving a boy and his pet tiger covering the ten-year span of Bill Watterson's professional career as a cartoonist. I used to read these comics constantly when I was a kid, even though, as Watterson says of the Peanuts comics, "most of the strip's subtleties went right over my head." I read them now on my computer thanks to a nifty Dashboard widget that displays one each day, but to have all of them easily accessible and bookshelf-packaged like this...good gravy, it's one incredible gift. And yes, I realize that two of the books pictured above are upside-down...I was too lazy to re-take the photo after I already had it uploaded to my brother's server.

Today we leave for Washington DC, where we will spend a week looking through files at the Library of Congress for my wife's graduate school research, as well as going to some of the local haunts including the Air and Space museum, a tour of Congress, a visit to the Supreme Court Oral Arguments, as well as visits to many of the local restaurants.

Now it's off to update GameNerd and then head to church. Nick, if you're reading this, happy birthday, man. 10 years ago we were at The Warehouse where The Leftovers played an impromptu show for our birthdays, and if I was in Lincoln now I'd buy you a soda and we could shoot the breeze on the bridge over I-80.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Greatest Show in Roseville

Looks like the Star Tribune picked up a story that has been buzzing around our neighborhood for a while now. We're really going to miss the Roseville 4 theatre when if it closes, in spite of its broken seats, malfunctioning bathrooms, and generally low-quality atmostphere overall. It's what gives the place charm, man, and we have enjoyed many cheapo movies there in the past two years. But readers of this blog already know all this. So what's the bright side to the theatre's closing? Well, I'm still hoping something can be done to save it, and if not, maybe it will inspire one of the locals to start another one...?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Everybody to the limit

A few days ago I hit a major milestone in Wii Sports Bowling, or, rather, a major milestone in my player score that just happened to be on Wii Sports Bowling (and that, I might add, has nothing to do with my "Pro" status). Rather then pontificate further, I should probably just let the picture speak for itself:

George Lucas would be proud, no doubt about it.

As I have mentioned before, it might seem kind of silly to blog about the weather, but when you live in a state that has had over 20 days of sub-zero highs during the recent winter months...well, one can see how a warming trend might be newsworthy. This week the highs are all above 30, which seems practically tropical up here, and combined with the advent of Daylight Savings Time it might as well be summer already. When I first moved up here I didn't really understand why so many people had expensive summer toys like ATVs, Jet Skis, speedboats, and the like. It's because up here, you earn your summer months, man. So (as the thinking goes, anyway), you might as well enjoy it. In our case, though, it's nice just to know people who own the toys so we can use them but not have to, you know, pay for them. :)

Tomorrow we are going to see The Sound of Music at a community theatre near my work. It should be a good show, as they usually are at this place, and I think every date is sold out until the end of the production, so at least you know it's popular with the locals. Pre-show dinner will find me, my wife, and our friend Sarah at Davannis, which is always excellent.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Goodness only knows

A few weeks ago my wife, our friend Sarah, and I went to the local $2 second-run theatre where the two of them went to see Enchanted and I solo'd it to The Mist. I was expecting a moody ethereal mystery with a shocking "holy cow, I didn't see that coming!" ending in the vein of Shawshank Redemption, but was instead obliged to endure two of the stupidest hours of movie-watching I have ever taken part in. Please, for all of you seeking a good movie to watch, do not see The Mist. It's just dumb. And if you email me, I will happily tell you why, but this is supposed to be a positive blog, so here ends my commentary about it. Enchanted, as was reported by my wife and Sarah, was very good, and so last night when my cousin Beth came for a visit, the three of us went to see Enchanted together.

I must admit I was a bit hesitant, especially when I found out that there were song-and-dance numbers in the movie, but man, I am sure glad we went. Honestly, it was one of the most thoroughly enjoyable movies I have seen in a long time. A long time. It wasn't trying to be earth-shattering in its significance, or mind-changing in its, it was just a really fun fish-out-of-water tale with some great acting, top-notch GCI work, and, (dare I say it?) some really good musical bits too. I'm not kidding, I was laughing out loud dozens of times during the show, and enjoying virtually every minute of it.

And yes, I do own Predator, The Godfather 1 and 2, all four Alien movies, all three Lord of the Rings movies, and have most of Star Wars memorized. But seriously, go check out Enchanted. It's that good.

Three months ago it would be growing dark right about now, but here we are, nearly 4pm, and it's still a bright sunny (albeit a tad chilly) day. Thank the Lord for Daylight Savings Time. I would much rather exchange one 23-hour day for six months of extra light in the evening.

My wife and I leave for Washington DC in one week. I have never been there, and I'm pretty excited about seeing the Mall, the Library of Congress, and the Air and Space museum. I just hope our camera's memory card is up to the task...

Monday, March 03, 2008


The nice thing about Totinos Crisp Crust pizzas, besides the $1.29 price, is that you get not only a cutting board, but a dinner plate, for free.

That's deliciousness you can take to the bank, man.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Aim for the flat top

Looks like I made the front page of Digg. Again. Well, sort of. I have had a habit of wearing the "flat cap" for several years now, and even though I am often told it is simply an "old man hat," I figure it's as close as I'll ever be to having my own semblance of style, so why not.

I was recently challenged by my cousin Jessie to list some weird traits I happen to possess. So, in no particular order, may I present the following...

1. I like to stand on one leg, like a stork, when I'm not doing anything in particular. Say, If I'm doing the dishes or waiting for something to finish cooking, I'll take my right leg and lift it up so my foot rests on my left knee (would this be half-akimbo?). Don't know why, but it's what I do.

2. I make movie references constantly. I use phrases from any given Spielberg/Lucas movie all the time, and often throw in phrases from all sorts of other movies whenever I feel like it, often just to amuse myself during casual conversation.

3. I have no problem striking up conversations with strangers. It's kind of fun.

4. Almost every single weekday since last July I have started my day with a bowl of oatmeal, containing either (or both) raisins or one half of an apple, sliced into tiny bits.

5. I like to crack the joints in my neck.

6. When I moved into a house with some guy friends during my sophomore year of college, I found a picture frame with a metal chain on the back. I put the chain around my right wrist, for no particular reason. It has not been off since. Several years ago I bought a short length of chain at a hardware store and attached it to my left wrist, just to give the first chain some company.