Sunday, December 31, 2006

Post 100!

Happy New Year. Before I begin my NYE count down I wanted to throw a few pictures on McBlog. Probably not the best use of the one hundreth post, but the clock is ticking.

The rain finally switched to snow in the afternoon today. Christina and I took this little snapshot on our way back from the grocery store.

Yes I announced the completion of the closet, but here is what the linen closet looks like on the hallway side.

Making potato latkes for Hanukkah two weeks ago.

Christina made a cupcake manger scene for an Xmas party 3 weeks ago. Nobody ate baby Jesus.

Friday, December 22, 2006

It's Winter Solstice! The Sun heads for a new beginning from today. So gear up for the shortest day that's big on fun.

A girl at work sends a message like this each day from her day calendar. Usually pretty funny. My shortest day began with a freezing cold shower. Sorry no pictures. It seems the gas company forgot to turn my water heater back on when they replaced my gas meter earlier this week. I called when I got to work. Not to complain (because it's not like I can switch to a different gas utility), more to make sure they knew it was bogus. Well, the whole company except emergency assistance is off today. Happy Holidays from Centerpoint Energy!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

I know that no one cares what I had for lunch...

But, I had some of Chef Boyardee's famous beefaroni and a chocolate snack pack. Why am I mentioning this? Well, except for the fact I didn't bring it to work in a thermos I think it's exactly my standard lunch from 6th grade. What could be sadder? I have now watched all of season one and I'm seven episodes into season two of Grey's Anatomy at work on a portable DVD player I stole from Tina to use at work. What can I say, I'm hooked.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The not so sweet aroma of natural gas

I decided to put a new furnace filter in when I got home from my silent, somewhat chilly ride home from work. For the last week or so right before my heat comes on I can hear a squeak noise. Something like "squuuuueeeeeaaaaikk." For the most part I was usually in my bedroom right above the gas meter. Since I was in the basement this time I decided to investigate. A lot of sniffing and looking around. All of a sudden, "squuuuueeeeeaaaaikk" and I could briefly smell a little natural gas. I called CenterPoint Energy just to be safe. What are the chances I'd call 911 and hit option #1 (If you smell gas or have a gas leak) with the gas company in the same day? I told the girl that I doubt this is an emergency but I hear a sound something like "squuuuueeeeeaaaaikk" and I thought I could smell a bit of gas around my gas meter in my basement. She apologized for interrupting and informed my to distinguish any open flames, not turn anything electric on or off, and leave my house right away! She kind of scared me.

In about a half hour (time I used to talk on my cell and vacuum glass pieces out of my jeep) Mike the emergency gas guy showed up with a giger counter for natural gas. In short, no leaks were detected, but I made sure he stayed until we both heard "squuuuueeeeeaaaaikk." He said it's still possible a little gas is getting out (nothing harmful for now) and a service order should be opened to quiet or possibly replace my gas meter.

Things I learned:
  • If you tell the gas company you smell gas they don't mess around.
  • A gas meter has little pumps that regulate the pressure.
  • Your furnace and water heater can both be the source of carbon monoxide (Mike checked everything out).
  • If the gas company has to come for a gas leak and can't gain entry they can legally get a locksmith or force entry.
  • This day blows!
Broken glass everywhere...

I came out to my car parked in front of Christina's apartment early today and found glass all over. Some punk broke the passenger door window and ripped out my CD deck. This is the first time I forgot to take my security face off the deck. Amazing. I called the cops right away, then realized they called and left me a message at 1:58 AM. Per the message they drove bye on patrol and saw the glass and that the stereo was stolen. Although I approeciate the "heads up" voicemail the fuzz took too long to show up so I made a report via the Minneapolis 311 non-emergency number. Glass work is free with my insurance and its getting completed at my place of work tomorrow. In addition to my stereo, the criminals made off with the new Beck album that was in it (which blows so whatever) and my gloves, but they left my WILCO albums, the furnace filters I bought last night, and a spoon on the floor of the passenger side. The spoon was bent as if it would fit over your knuckles. Weird.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Cecils!

I had heard a few people metion the great corned beef and Jewish delicatessens at Cecils in St. Paul but didn't realize a) it was in the Highland Park neighborhood, maybe 10 minutes from my house and b) the food was super delicious. Oh, and the bakery makes hamantaschen.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Whiteboard music

This is just a wonderful video. Although I wish it was set to a Radiohead song. The site glumbert.com is the December LINK OF THE MONTH (warning: some of the videos on the site may not be safe for work, etc based on the titles themselves).

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Wii have a problem...

I just want to try some of the new Nintendo Wii games. Like bowling and tennis, heck fishing sounds fun as well. The controllers that get you "physically" involved seem real cool. This website has a different opinion. Check out the video of the bowler on the bottom of the main page. I've been known to loft a ball before, but this is ridiculous.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

To brine or not to brine?

I'm making the turkey for Thanksgiving at Christina's dad's house this year. I've made turkey a couple of times. My intent is to stuff it with White Castle burger stuffing like the last time I made one. It's really good and a nice conversation piece during the feast. Besides possibly getting an organic bird I might mix things up and brine. Has anyone done this? To brine or not to brine??

UPDATE: I didn't brine.


Friday, November 17, 2006

Photo Friday returns!

Reuters has a great collection of photos called The State of the World. The digital photos of the year are pretty amazing as well. Check out 2006 and 2005.

> Last Photo Friday!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

All in a days work (after months and months)

With the help of Jim the handyman, I finally hung the crown molding in the dining and living rooms. A few walls made it hard to have perfect corners, but a little puttie and mineral spirits should fix that. The last phase is complete. It's a bit sad in May I thought the end of this was near.

The closet project is nearing completion. Jim and I put the trim around to match my bedroom door. I need to stain the wood and paint over some plaster fixes around the closet. I have doors to put together and hang. Also the duct work still needs to be moved a foot to the right. Meanwhile, as you can see on the left side of the combined picture, the linen closet has a back wall and framing. All I need is a few shelves cut. Pretty amazing this was just a narrow closet accessible only from the hall originally.

Monday, November 06, 2006

SUSHI

The November LINK OF THE MONTH is Sushiday. This website has all you need to know to enjoy and even make sushi.
Fox affiliate

Living in Minnesota as a Packer fan can be tough. I come to work Friday and everyone has purple on (man am I glad the Bucks got rid of that color). If the Pack plays at the same time as the Vik-queens I need to go to a bar that carries the game on satellite. In the past this wasn't all that bad. My friends and I would wake up early and get to Gabe's By The Park before the doors opened at 10 AM so we could reserve the best table in the place. For 5 hours we'd eat cheese curds and discuss football and life. When the Packers play at a different time however I get to lie on my couch like most fans and watch my favorite team. So was the case yesterday. Or so I thought; 12:01 on FOX, what's playing? The One. WTF! The Viks didn't play until after 3, what was going on? The local FOX affiliate here only had a customer service inquiry form, so I sent them one sentence about the programming for the day.

Topic: Programming
Comments: You're playing The One vs the Packer/Bills game? Why??????????

I actually got a reply just now.

The network NFL agreements prevent both FOX and CBS from airing doubleheaders on the same day. The agreements split the weeks of who has a doubleheader and who gets a single game. Unfortunately, this is a week where FOX only has the rights to air a single game.

Normally there would be a doubleheader on the local CBS station today, but NFL rules prevent any game from airing against a home team game.

We would love to air the Packers game as they are a very important team to us and we always air Packers games when we are allowed. Our program director has spoken to the NFL about these types of problems, but the NFL is not willing to change their rules.

We are very sorry for the viewing inconvenience.


I guess I should be mad at the NFL, and not FOX.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

CONGRATS!

Christina finished the New York City Marathon today. Amazing accomplishment. Running 26.2 miles seems super human to me (I get a bit tired biking 10). I ran a 13+ minute mile in 7th grade and Tina just ran over 26 of them in a bit under ten and a half minutes on average. I stayed home*, but Kristen went with and ran as well.

Here are the official results from the ING NYC Marathon website:

Place: 22523
Gender Place: 5569
Age Place: 1425
Runner No.: F8456
First Name: Christina
Last Name: Miller
Age: 27F
State/Country: MN/USA
Official Time: 4:33:24
5K Time: 0:30:52
10K Time:
1:01:07
15K Time: 1:31:16
20K Time: 2:03:23
1/2 Marathon Time: 2:12:59
25K Time: 2:39:03
30K Time: 3:12:05
35K Time: 3:45:46
40K Time: 4:19:51
Pace/Mile: 10:26

* The weather was very pleasant this weekend in Mpls. I took advantage of the time to take care of the leaf raking, cleaning the gutters, cleaning the garage, storing the bball hoop and water barrel for the winter, and I even framed up the linens closet shelving and relocated an outlet (finally nearing the end of the closet project, whew!).

Friday, November 03, 2006

Rapping paper

My Hanuka gifts to people just got some street cred with this wrapping paper.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Little House crew

I'm not a huge fan of Halloween anymore. When I was kid; yeah, loved it. CANDY, yay! But now? It just isn't as much fun to dress up like a fool (or a slut). But I digress. For the last few years our group of friends pick a theme to dress up as. Last year we sang for Africa as the We Are the World Allstars. This year Christina was adamant we each pick a character from Little House on the Prairie. The books, TV series, and movie completely skipped me somehow through the years. Luckily, my friends were experts. For those of you that don't know LHOTP is a heartwarming saga of a frontier family's struggles and triumphs on a farm near Walnut Grove, Minn., in the 1870s. Based on the books of Laura Ingalls Wilder (whose character doubles as narrator). I'm the guy on the top in the middle. Psyche!

Actually here we are at the WCCO party we attended. I mention the TV station only because it's pretty funny to see people (even minor celebrities) like news anchors at regular folk events. Funny thing was most of the WCCO people didn't have costumes. Wouldn't you want to hide your face a bit? Anyway, from left to right; Zim is Almonzo, Erin is Laura, Anton is (doing Michael Landon proud) as Pa, Christina is Caroline, Kristen is Nellie Oleson, I'm the rough neighbor with a heart of gold Mr. Edwards (with his adopted orangutan), and Kelsey is the blind Ingalls child Mary.

Happy Halloween!

*I didn't get even one trick or treater last year (the 1st in my house). I'm really hoping to set a record with 1+ this year.

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Order from this menu


Last weekend Christina and I took a little jaunt down to Red Wing, MN for the day, then Pepin, WI for dinner. After our 2+ hour wait to be seated we had a delicious meal at the Harbor View Cafe. It was funny that in a town of less than 900 people this place had a line out the door even after dark. The photo above was taken from our table (maybe 12 feet from the menu). It was the only place the choices of the evening were listed. Very natural, fresh ingredients. Good soup, good lamb, good walleye, good dessert.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Thursday, October 12, 2006

A New NBA Season

Lebron couldn't stop the Heat last season. Let's hope the East isn't as tough as I think it will. I got to see the Bucks first preseason game against the Twolves at the Target Center last night. The regular season doesn't start for the Bucks until November 1st at Detroit, however it's fun to start speculating how good the teams will fair now. The game was super borrrrrrrring. Sloppy play and the fact Bogut and Bobby Simmons are hurt made it a bit of a yawn. Even with my glasses on I couldn't tell any difference with the new ball in the NBA.

I did notice some of the new rules in play. Particularly, refs not letting players argue calls. Twolves center Mark Blount's night ended in the third quarter when he got two technical fouls after he challenged the referees over two separate plays. Who gets kicked out of a preseason game? Anyway, I thought this NBA blog was pretty funny. Bogut was sad that Croc hunter died. Speaking of basketball blogs; take a look at Mavrick's owner Mark Cuban's blog. Half the time he isn't even talking hoops.


Talking basketball; I thought this was pretty impressive and original. A girl dressed in black acts as a friends shadow while playing basketball. I still cant figure out how she got the shadow of the ball to land underneath the actual ball.


UPDATE: Those who can't view it in safari or ubuntu distros here's the download link .The file is in wmv format..

Hey, does anyone want to come to Minneapolis for the Bucks vs Twolves on 12/22? Let me know.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Seals for everyone!

I've looked for a seal before, but this will have to do for now. You can make your own seal here. It was either a thimbs up or Zod on my seal. I went with Zod mostly because of this website. Look in the archives for Zod on Halloween, St. Pat's Day, and even a Non lullaby. Good stuff.

Monday, October 09, 2006

lol

I just wanted to apologize to any of you that may have gotten an email from me when I've used the IM phrase "lol." I always thought it meant "lots of luck." Today I found out it means "laughing out loud."

lol
-stephen

P.S. I'm obsessed with hating the online ad that offers to lower your mortgage payments and features a couple silhouetted by a full moon as a backdrop. They dance in animation back and forth across the roof of a house. It's on hotmail, my fantasy football site, cnn, everywhere. I hate it soooooooooooooooooo much! This blog is keeping tabs.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Halloween Attire

Check out DUMBRELLA. Click on any of the shirts and it takes to another site that has even more. It's the LINK OF THE MONTH for October.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Наконец-то, кому-то удалось женские мысли представить в простой и понятной схеме?

Can anyone translate this website and let me know what this is?

Tuesday, September 26, 2006



PIZZA!

Homemade, fresh basil and tomatoes from my garden, yum.

Monday, September 18, 2006

New Who

The Who have a new album coming out next month. The album cover looks like it's from the '80s but it's new. Here are a few early tunes. And if you have Sirius Satellite Radio you can listen the new Who station.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Before & After

Christina and I dug up all the peonies on the left and moved them to my backyard. After we got rid of the grass, roots, and roofing nails we worked a ton of manure, peat moss, compost, and top soil into the ground; then planted 3 new spirea bushes, transplanted the endless summer hydrangea from the right side, and put down some mulch and a landscaping divider to match the right. We eventually planted a hydrangea tardiva bush on the right as well. It grows up to 10' so it will even out the window on the other side. The BEFORE photo is from before we landscaped the right side, before the original chimney fell off, before I trimmed the trees on the side of the house, after I took down the crappy storm door, but before I put up the new one. You can also tell my neighbor knocked down his shed and had a 2 car garage built and had his elm trimmed alot.

Oh, we also replaced the old house numbers with new die-cut ones that have solar panels on the top and light up at night.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Defeat of Jesse James Days

Took a trip south to Northfield, MN to visit with Christina's grandma and aunt. After we ate lunch at St. Olaf's cafeteria we went downtown for the Defeat of Jesse James Days. I heard a local tout it as the third biggest free outdoor festival in Minnesota (behind the Minneapolis Aquitennial and St. Paul Winter Carnival). Impressed yet? Basically they close off the main block downtown and re-enact the last bank robbery the Jesse James gang undertook (above). It didn't go so well for his gang I guess, and the locals are pretty proud. I took a few more photos.

Local police had a segway.
Mullet perm in the crowd (this photo may be the only reason I put this post together).

Thursday, September 07, 2006

My new calling...pickles?

Yep, that's right pickles. I've always liked them. Particularly big kosher dills. After a few years of saying I wanted to make some, I finally made my own pickles (F.Y.I. it's true despite not liking them, Christina was a wonderful and lovely pickling assistant). Here's how.

I hit the downtown Minneapolis farmer's market and bought a bunch of fresh dill and cucumbers. They were all about 3-4", newly picked, firm, and with lots of bumps like the recipes I consulted said I should. I also picked up some eggplant, Vietnamese eggplant (the small white and green veggies above) for a little stir fry, a few ears of sweet corn, and some zucchini for chocolate chip zucchini bread. In the future I hope I can just grow my own cucumbers.

I also purchased 5% cider vinegar, mustard seeds, and pickling spices.

Step 1: Prep

1a. Sterilize jars: You can run everything through a dishwasher or boil the jars for 10 minutes and soak the lids in soapy water.

1b. Clean/Soak pickles: Soak pickles in ice water for at least 2 hours. This will help to keep the pickles crisp.

Step 2: Pack jars


I used quart jars (a bit bigger then they probably needed to be) and packed them with 1-3 sprigs dill, some mustard seeds, and as many pickles that fit vertically, leaving 1/4 inch free from top.
Step 3: Make brine

Boil 1 gallon distilled water, 1 gallon vinegar, and 1 cup pickling spice.

Step 4: Pour brine over packed veggies - fill to 1/4 - 1/8 of top of jar

Step 5: Screw on lids, not too tight

Step 6: Put jars in boiling water. Once water has reached a boil again (will take a minute since you've just added non-boiling jars to the water), set a timer for 10 minutes > less for crispier pickles.
When timer goes off, remove pickles from water bath, allow to cool overnight.

Before storing in the fridge, make sure all jars are sealed by pressing on the top of the lid, it should be vacuum sealed (not 'pop').

Allow pickles to stay in the refrigerator at least 24 hours, then enjoy! Properly sealed pickles should last a year or more. I tried a few already; good, but I can do much better.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Photos from the great Minnesota get together

The photo above is from my stint as a carny when I moved to Minneapolis in the summer of '02. I finally returned; here are some pictures Christina and I took during our visit to the Minnesota State Fair.

Cluck, cluck.

Art made from beans and seeds. Favre is in pretty good company.

Dozens, maybe hundreds of butterfly chrysalises in a window at Butterfly World. You can pay to walk around and have butterflies sit on your head. Pass.

My roommate Dave loves the outdoors.

Don't leave the fair without throwing some trash (or a stick left over from whatever food you bought on a stick) into a clown mouth.