Archive for the 'Neighborhood' Category


Posted by Nate in Homeowners, Neighborhood.
Tuesday, August 28th, 2007 at 9:37 pm

So…  yeah.  Lots of wedding stuff happening, most good, and some downers – like me finding tonight that one of the beers I was planning to serve is infected and tastes gross.  Damn.  It was one of the organic ones, too, but I think my accelerated schedule made me get a little sloppy with sanitation?  Not sure.  The good news:  the remaining 5 taste amazing!  (Or they will, once the last one finishes fermenting…)

pict0001a.JPGLast week we were part of a pilot program in our neighborhood – murals!  They’re planning to do 8, I think, on some pretty visible surfaces that often get tagged with graffiti.  Murals have proved an effective deterrent for gang graffiti in the past, and I have high hopes for this project.  Our garage was the first one they did – we’re not too highly visible, but I think this was seen as a warmup for the project, so just as well.

pict0003a.JPGAnd it’s awesome!  Designed mostly by the kids in the picture, it incorporated a few sunflowers – ours are in bloom now – a dog, a unicycle (Justin!), and several squirrels.  Fun!  We now have the coolest garage on the block – if only someone would fix our rotting and falling trim…

pict0026.JPGBonus:  Bachelorette party boozin’.

Minneapolis Observer

Posted by Nate in Neighborhood, Politics.
Thursday, April 6th, 2006 at 10:42 pm

The Twin Cities are blessed with several above-average news outlets, among whose number I am not going to count either the Pioneer Press or the Star Tribune. While they serve their purpose on some levels, they are utterly unattractive to me as news sources simply because they’re trying too hard to get readers. They, like almost all newspapers in recent years, are scrambling to adapt to the huge changes brought on by the web, and just Don’t. Get. It. It’s a desperate race for the last paying subscriber, and they’re all betting he only likes sensational non-news. (and a ton of ads)

So where’s a discriminating news junkie to turn? The internets, obviously. More specifically, the Minneapolis Observer. They’d been on my radar for a while, but lately have just been astounding in their coverage of local politics, theatre, issues, everything. I would say they’re "scooping" the big boys, but as I said above, the big boys aren’t even trying. So check out their about us page, start reading their stories, and if you like what you see – send them some love.

In our own local news, we just got 2" of rain dumped on us in just a few hours! Karen’s been talking about setting up a rain garden – watching the water pool in our lawn from roof runoff made me think maybe we should… If we can just make it doggie-proof.

Making Potato Chip History

Posted by Karen in Day to Day, Friends, Neighborhood.
Friday, March 3rd, 2006 at 3:39 pm

Nate and I recently invited our friends Peter and Madeline to become part of potato chip history with us. Last summer when we were at the Uptown Art Fair we visited the Kettle Chips booth, where we were given a free bag of chips and got to vote on what we think their new "happy hour" inspired chip flavor should be. If you are not familiar with Kettle Chips, you should be. They are an awesome company that converts 100% of the waste vegetable oil from their production into biodiesel, they have an enormous rooftop solar energy array, restored wetlands around their facility, and oh, did I mention that they have Cheddar Beer flavored chips? And Spicy Thai? Roasted Red Pepper with Goat Cheese?!? YUMMM!!

Anyway, at the art fair, I of course submitted a suggestion for a bloody mary-inspired chip flavor, of course. The good people at Kettle Chips either took the five most popular suggestions or the five they liked the best (not sure) and made a limited amount of each. They then assembled 500 People’s Choice Happy Hour Party Packs, containing one 5-oz bag of each flavor, a tasting guide and ballots. Needless to say, I simply had to have one. And so approximately two weeks later Nate and I journeyed to Peter and Madeline’s house in negative 20 something temperatures with our box o’ chip fun. On the agenda for the evening? Watching Winter Olympics (did you SEE snowboard cross?!? So. cool.), experiencing the glory and wonder that is the boardgame the Settlers of Catan, and being part of potato chip history. Worthy of risking frostbite and car engine failure? We obviously think so. 

Some of us (Madeline) followed directions better than others (Peter), but in the end, we each judged the following very exciting flavors:

  • Spicy Mary
  • Dirty Martini
  • Tuscan Three Cheese
  • Creamy Caesar
  • Buffalo Bleu Cheese

We each filled out a ballot and submitted our votes online. Here are the current stats:
Total voters: 4089
Buffalo Bleu Cheese: 3.37
Dirty Martini: 2.61
Tuscan Three Cheese: 3.78
Spicy Mary: 3.28
Creamy Caesar: 3.62

Unfortunately, it’s not looking good for my top choice, Dirty Martini. Buffalo Bleu was a close second for me though, and it still has a chance. I think Nate chose Tuscan Three Cheese. I can’t remember how Peter and Madeline voted, so they will just have to comment to let us know.

And by the way, voting goes through the end of March, so you too can still get in on the history-making.

On the homefront

Posted by Nate in Homeowners, Neighborhood.
Thursday, February 9th, 2006 at 9:36 pm

Shortly after moving to the Duoteam HQ, I signed up for emails of crime stats for the neighborhood and various police alerts as they were issued. Minneapolis has what seems to be a good system, where each precinct is divided into sectors, and each sector has a (civilian) Crime Prevention Specialist paired with a (cop) lieutenant. This CPS sends out the monthly stats, and in my initial signup email I asked what else I might look into in the neighborhood. Apart from having a very active neighborhood organization to check into, she recommended that I look at starting a block club.

I attended a block leader training at the end of January, and it was pretty informative. If nothing else, it drove home the point that we really need to meet more than just our immediate neighbors. I think an organized block, even if they meet just twice a year, is a much friendlier place to live. As a renter until recently, it never really occurred to me to make the effort to meet neighbors when it always felt like a non-permanent home — now that I’m able to look ahead several years in the same place, it matters. I think it will get easier in the Spring and Summer, in fact I’m counting on it: I hope to do more research, maybe knock on a few doors to gauge interest, and then come April or so try to start up a block club. Informal, low key, but something.

So tonight Karen and I attended a community meeting on the (gang) graffiti epidemic sweeping the precinct. Not a super productive meeting – I don’t feel like some of the police representatives were the best communicators, and some of the residents (one vocal guy) were hostile towards what they perceive as inaction. But it raised some good points, and gave me some stuff to think about. When our garage got hit, I did a bunch of research and was close to starting to build something (nerd!) based on this idea: a transportable or fixed unit that can listen for the unique ultrasonic sound signature of a spray can and automatically call the cops. How smart is that, really. So. Smart. The lady in charge of building cases against graffiti suspects was all about this camera rig, but said she was open to suggestions. She’ll be getting a call from this homeowner, tell you what. There’s only so far that painting over it will get you, eventually you’ve got start catching the dudes in the act.

So, that’s the word on the homefront. I feel pretty safe in our neighborhood still, I’ve installed a bunch more motion-detecting lights, and we keep all our doors locked. Bruno’s been getting some test runs out of his kennel alone, and he’s made it 4 hours or so without incident. Hopefully soon he can be free in the house all day and that’s just one more deterrent… Big dogs are nice like that. :)