Archive for March, 2006

Those damn babies

Posted by Nate in Politics.
Thursday, March 30th, 2006 at 3:40 pm

I was going to write a post about how Alex Eaton has a huge crush on me – seriously, for a while he was calling me almost every night – but I have since come across something on his website that makes me reconsider his bid for state senate:

I don’t see any of the other candidates working to protect us from the scourge of demonic babies…

Story of the Week

Posted by Karen in Day to Day.
Thursday, March 30th, 2006 at 1:03 pm

The other day I decided that working in my office hasn’t been going well, so I should give an alternate environment a shot. And so I ended up at Cupcake, a local coffee shop/cafe/bakery that specializes in gourmet cupcakes. I actually started to get the first productive work done that has happened in weeks, so I stuck around.

Round about lunch time, I went to order one of my favorite things in the world, their Moroccan Carrot sandwich. This creation entails grated carrots in some kind of awesome red marinade, green olive tapenade, and a delicious white sauce of some sort. It sounds gross to a lot of people, but to me it is one of the most wonderful things ever to grace this girl’s palate. Every once in awhile I get an overwhelming urge for one, the kind that simply must be satisfied. And since I have never tasted anything else like it, Cupcake is the only place to find satisfaction. To my horror, when I tried to order it on this occasion, I was told that it has been discontinued! What?! How can this be? What in the world am I going to do from now on when I get that overpowering, must be satisfied craving?

So as I sat there eating my second choice sandwich, this green apple, brie, cranberry mayo thing (which actually was very exciting, but no Moroccan Carrot), I thought that maybe I should ask for the recipe. But being slightly socially-phobic as I’ve been lately, I thought that I’d much rather email them and ask for it. I took advantage of their wireless internet (I love you cybercafes) and did a quick search for "Cupcake Minneapolis". It seems that they don’t have a website, but some sites with reviews and other info about them came up. I clicked on one, and a local girl’s blog with the following post responding to someone asking for advice appeared:

Dear Girl Friday,
I’m at a loss: my girlfriend is a holiday / special occasion fanatic, and I’ve been having a hard time matching her enthusiasm for certain days of the year. Next up is Valentine’s Day, which I’ll admit I totally dropped the ball on last year. I have issues already because I feel like it’s such a manufactured holiday, but this year I need to come through — I’m not talking gifts or candy, I’m trying to come up with something fun we can go out and do. Maybe a nice meal, a fun show, or…? What’s the hot (non-contrived) tip for a young couple who both work way too much and probably need some one-on-on time out on the town?

At this point, I was thinking "Ha ha, that sounds like Nate". And then I read the last sentence:

Help me, Girl Friday. You’re my only hope.

And then I thought, "Ohmygod! Description of us + Star Wars reference = Nate. That IS Nate!!" So I emailed him with a link and a "Dude, did you write this?". At this point, the juice ran out of my laptop, so I went home. About an hour passed before I fired it up and logged in to my email again, during which time, Nate panicked.

The first email in which he admitted it was him and wondered how in the hell I found it was pretty normal. But the second one got a little wiggy.

Um, FYI, I don’t have a problem that you love special occasions so much, I think it’s really cute, and I’m honestly trying to make them more fun for both of us. I hope you didn’t take that email wrong, because that and her answer makes it sound like I have huge issues – which I don’t. Just little ones, but trust me, you’re worth it. Ok? Why you no write back?

Tooooooo cute. You can actually visualize the sweat breaking out on his brow. Aww. Though the temptation was there to string him along for a little bit and make him think I was all offended, I just couldn’t do it, and wrote back telling him I thought it was hilarious. After all, not only did he receive a gold star in Karen’s Book of Holiday Achievements for this year’s Valentine’s Day efforts, but he led me to the discovery of my new favorite blog. A girl obsessed with cupcakes who writes about food and drink in the Twin Cities? How is it possible that we are not already best friends? And it is freakin adorable that he was stressed to the point of seeking advice from strangers about what to do. Might have been a little weird and possibly disappointing if the favorite breakfast / powdered sugar heart thing had been her idea, but lucky for me it was all him.

My conclusion from all of this is that sometimes the worldwide web is a very small world.

Museums and Stuff

Posted by Nate in Travel, Work.
Wednesday, March 29th, 2006 at 1:11 pm

Hey, kids! Guess who finally found 5 minutes to write an update? Not much time here, so strap in – this is gonna be a fast one:

Last week I attended the 2006 Museums and the Web conference in Abq, NM, where my New Media colleagues and I led a workshop called Blogs and Blogging for Museums – it was well-attended and a great success, if I do say so myself. Our presentation notes are available online if you’re into that sort of thing.

We also attended many awesome sessions at the conference (Eric and I at left) and met a ton of interesting and smart people doing some incredible things at their institutions. Eric was on fire the whole conference, liveblogging sessions and ideas on the New Media Blog. Somehow I’m still surviving without a laptop – I brought a loaner with a crappy battery – but the conference was a real eye-opener for me in how valuable they can be in a lecture setting: as the speaker would present, everyone who wanted to was in a "back-channel" chat room, asking questions in realtime, giving feedback, etc. Really really cool, it was the ultimate ADD experience, but also really enhanced some of the sessions.

Finally on Saturday I attended a small SFMOMA-sponsored "think tank" session for art museum web folks – easily the best 3.5 hours of the week. Everyone came to the table with such a rich background of experience and ideas and thoughts on successes and failures and the future… I came out of it really inspired and glad to be in the position I’ve fallen into at the Walker.

The biggest theme I took away from the conference was the idea of community – that web visitors are no longer searching simply for content, but a way to connect. Content still matters, obviously, but it’s not the final answer any more… So what does that mean? Stay tuned.

So I’m back and catching up. I have a ton of ideas for the Walker now, from the obvious – fix the shop site! – to the less obvious – shouldn’t we have a Spanish blog??… Exciting times. Now who’s going to invent me that time machine so I have enough hours to do all this work??

Baby O

Posted by Karen in Friends.
Tuesday, March 28th, 2006 at 11:57 am

I really needed a new post so that I don’t keep opening to that last one. Nate hasn’t had time yet to post about his recent adventures, so I decided to put something cheery on here. I could use a little cheer, who couldn’t? And what is cheerier than babies? Well… puppies are a close tie in my book, but we’ll go with babies. I give you – Baby O.

Aunty Baby

Posted by Karen in Family.
Saturday, March 18th, 2006 at 7:58 pm

I watched someone I love die today.

Her name was Barbara but I called her Aunty Baby and she called me Karen Person. She could be difficult, she could be quirky, but she was also the most selfless, giving person I have ever known in all of my life. You never had to ask her for anything, she offered. Some of her quirks could be pretty fun too. I brought her a stuffed loon that made a loon call when you squeezed it. I knew that she had been making all of her nurses squeeze it whenever they came into her room, but one of them told me today that she had also insisted on taking it with on her daily walk down the hall so that she could squeeze it and cheer everybody up.

I didn’t have many relatives growing up, and of the few I had she was the only one I had frequent contact with. In fact, she has always been a big part of my life. This is pretty much the first time I have lost someone I was so close to, and I’m having a hard time understanding so much about it. Not just that she’s gone, but everything about cancer and how horribly unfair, cruel, and wrong it is. I’m so glad I was able to be with her in her last moments, and yet there are some parts that I’m afraid are going to haunt me.

There are always going to be things you wish you had said or done. I wish it hadn’t taken me so long to wake up and start really getting to know her. I wish I knew more about her life, especially all of her amazing travels and adventures when she was younger. But more than anything right now, I just feel blessed to have had her in my life, to have built a stronger relationship with her in the last few years in spite of or maybe because of all that she was going through, and to have been given a couple more good days with her before she passed. I will miss my Aunty Baby.

Makes. Me. Crazy.

Posted by Nate in Uncategorized.
Friday, March 17th, 2006 at 12:06 pm

This is a "forward slash", or just a "slash": /
This is a "backslash": \

Every time someone tells me to go to "www dot example dot com backslash something", a little piece of me dies.

Snow days!

Posted by Nate in Bruno, Day to Day.
Thursday, March 16th, 2006 at 10:21 pm

So Monday morning we woke up to find that – for once this year – the weather service got it right: we were in the middle of a true winter storm, and it was dumping massive amount of snow on us.

Left is what it looked like when Karen took Bruno for his morning walk – that dog is so lucky, he has no idea… He absolutely loves the snow, he’ll spend forever eating it, licking it, snuffling, digging, and generally running around like a crazy animal. Good times. The rest of our backyard looked like this:

Naturally we stayed home – my work closed for the day, and Karen emailed her professor to stay. It ended up being a super productive day for me, free of all the usual distractions I run into at work… Hmm. Probably a lesson in there somewhere…

The day was made infinitely better by our awesome snowblower-wielding neighbor Don – we seriously need to find a way to pay him back. Beers? A pie? Have him over for dinner? Ideas?

For Bruno’s evening walk we decided to go to a nearby park for some snowshoeing – we had about a foot of snow, and it was great for tromping around in. At left is an action shot – he just finished a thorough investigation of some snow, and then took off like a shot towards Karen.

The crazy part of the story is that the city was just finishing digging out – the streets were plowed and things were fine – and then last night it happpened again. Almost the exact same storm, only slightly less – the airport only recorded 8.6" of snow overnight. Bruno and I went snowshoeing again today, and the poor little monkey had to actually work a bit to get through the deeper snow! Awww… (by "poor little monkey" I mean big dog who loved every minute of it) He does pretty well – his feet are kind of webbed, which helps, and he’s got extra fur between his toes like a lynx , so he almost has built-in showshoes…

Speaking of "like a lynx"…

All grown up

Posted by Karen in Home Improvements.
Monday, March 13th, 2006 at 8:18 am

There have been requests to see our recent furniture upgrades. Yes, it’s true, we have real, not-bought-at-a-thrift-store-or-yard-sale furniture! I think we are finally officially becoming adults. (gasp!) But don’t worry, I have no plans to get rid of my pound puppy, and Nate still has his tauntaun. And actually, half of it was either free or bought second hand. But what we bought cost more than $20! And – it matches. Whoa. So I wish we had taken before and after pictures, but we didn’t, so I’ll just have to describe. Picture this: a full-sized box spring that we couldn’t fit through the door to get it upstairs with it’s mattress, so we just made it the base layer, the foundation if you will, for our bed. On top of the full box spring we put a queen box spring. On top of that we put a queen mattress. It sucked. Every night I rolled into the middle, every morning I complained. So we deemed it necessary to upgrade. And here it is, in all of its grown-up glory: Please note the matching bedside tables. Very exciting. That same week, Caveman Cody moved to Denver. Great opportunity for him, sad times for us. But as luck would have it, some furniture he was trying to get rid of happened to be the same style as what we had just bought! So we gladly took that off his hands, and ended up with I guess what you would call a bedroom set. Weird. Here it is:

Moving on to the next room, Nate and I had bought a dining room table and chairs from an old co-worker a few years ago. At the time, we couldn’t believe our luck, but I didn’t get along with it from the get-go. It was super wobbly, the veneer was ugly and starting to bubble, and it was an oval, which as it turns out is near impossible to find a tablecloth for. During one conversation I said that someday I wanted to get a big, beefy, solid wood rectangular table. And then lo and behold, I got an email from someone at the U who had taken a job out east and was trying to sell a bunch of his furniture, and one piece just happened to be a big, beefy, solid wood rectangular table! I had been thinking more like in a couple of years or so, but what are you gonna do when it just presents itself like that? So now we have this sweet table:

And so ends the tour of our new furniture. Who knows, maybe we’ll eventually even replace the pea green vinyl armchair with the packing tape holding its insides in that’s currently in our living room. But we don’t want to get too crazy.

Blatant Political Advertisement

Posted by Karen in Politics.
Friday, March 10th, 2006 at 12:33 pm

Ok, I don’t normally do this kind of thing, but it has been brought to my attention that people are finding our blog by searching for Becky Lourey. I’m normally not one to talk a lot of politics, but given my recently raised level of political involvement, and the fact that I can only recall getting even moderately excited about a political candidate once in my entire life before this, I feel compelled to say a little something about my girl Becky. Mind you, I’m not just moderately excited about this candidate. From what I’ve learned so far, I 100% love her. I want her to be president. I want her to be supreme ruler of the world! And here’s why:

  • She is committed to universal health care, and wait – hold up, she actually has a plan!
  • She prioritizes renewable energy, something that seems to me to be a no-brainer and yet somehow isn’t to most candidates, and isn’t even a blip on the radar to our current leaders.
  • She’s all about environmental protection in other ways too, from pollution reduction to support of natural spaces for recreation.
  • She was a farmer and went through the same struggles as other family farms in the 70’s and 80’s, having to sell land, animals, and equipment to pay debts, so she recognizes the need to support family farms and sustainable agriculture.
  • She has raised 12 adoptive and biological children, several with disabilities – 12! If you would like a glimpse into both the happiness and the heartbreak that has been their lives, read this. I can’t help but think that more mega-moms in politics can only be a good thing.
  • She was a leading opponent in MN of the war in Iraq, yet supported her son and his decision to return to Iraq for a second tour in the Army – meaning she recognizes that you can support our troops without supporting the war. Her son was killed in combat in Iraq in May 2005.
  • She has legislative experience (served several terms in the House and state Senate) and has a list of impressive accomplishments to show for it.
  • She’s pro-choice.
  • We agree that the same-sex marriage amendment is ludicrous and an interference into people’s human and civil rights. Considering the state of marriage in this country, people should put more energy into helping marriages survive rather than trying to prevent them.
  • I’m itching for more women political leaders. Plain and simple.
  • That website of hers is so damn organized! Ohhh, the outline, the bullets, the ease of navigability, the answers to all of my questions only a mouseclick away – you have got to love that!
  • And finally, she’s a bad-ass: "Her marksmanship with a rifle earned her an award from Field & Stream magazine in 1960 when she took down a buck in Montana, shooting 650 yards from one mountain ridge to the next."

So now that I have taken what is for me a giant step, endorsing a candidate and caring enough to actually say so, maybe I won’t break into cold sweats, start stuttering uncontrollably, and draw a massive mind-blank if someone tries to actually talk to me about it. Maybe.

Politics and religion

Posted by Nate in Politics.
Thursday, March 9th, 2006 at 10:14 am

Karen and I attended our first ever precinct caucus on Tuesday night. It was informative but confusing, fun but boring, and left me both excited and nervous. Basically – as I understand it – the Minnesota DFL has local precinct caucuses and then several endorsement conventions before the primary election. Non-endorsed party candidates may continue to participate in the primary election, but it seems the endorsement is a big enough deal it’s very hard to win without it.

We’re both delegates for Senate District 62, so we’ll be attending that convention on April 1st and helping decide who gets endorsed. We opted not to be delegates for the county convention, so I think that keeps us out of the later state convention as well – which I think means we don’t get to help endorse a candidate for governor. Too bad, because I want to vote for Becky Lourey… But in lieu of that fun we get to sort through six(!!) candidates for State Senate in our district. Whoa.

So yeah, good times. I think a lot of precincts (ours did) passed resolutions to get Instant Runoff Voting into city elections – but by "passed" I mean passed on to the city convention where they’ll be voted on for inclusion into the DFL platform. Big fan of IRV, and maybe if people can start to see it work at the city level they’ll be more willing to get it statewide and then nationally.

Finally, some depressing numbers. I would hope that even without a scientist for a dad I’d be able to look at the evidence and the unwavering support from the scientific community and realize that hey, turned out the earth wasn’t flat, the universe wasn’t geocentric, maybe time to update the old creation myth too? Makes. Me. Crazy.