Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Welcome to Uptown.

Ah, city living with hipsters everywhere. Just kidding. I like the Uptown area. The lakes are beautiful and the old house watching is pretty neat (for a This Old House junkie at least). But recently violence has reared its ugly head. Not A The History of Violence, type of violence (which is a darn good movie), but I am looking behind myself more when I walk in the area. And I’ve been worrying about my girlfriend running around the lakes and walking to her car. On March 18 a guy was murdered in front of his mom. Take a look at the blog by Steve Marsh an associate editor for Mpls/St.Paul Magazine. For some reason I always figure I’ll stand up for myself if I get mugged. But who am I kidding, here take my wallet and my home depot gift cards; just don’t shoot me in the face.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Is this the typical gay bar experience?

My girlfriend's friend Cedric (AKA Cedrica) calls her and announces he's moving to San Diego with his boyfriend. This calls for a going away party. The location; Jet Set, a small bar (that happens to be a gay bar) 3 blocks from my old apartment in the Warehouse district of Minneapolis that I must have passed hundreds of times. Now I have no problem with gay bars, but I've never been to one. Until last night, that is. The bar's exterior is not what most gay bars I've gone by look like. It's unassuming. A mere glass front lower level of a converted old warehouse. * Side note: the warehouse has 2 upper levels that had its complete make-over documented on a TLC or HGTV remodel show I watched a few months back. They don't have any rainbows and it doesn't have any themes that might be obvious from the street (i.e. The Gay 90's or The Minneapolis Eagle).

The inside decor is minimalist. A huge coat rack at the entrance, exposed brick walls painted white, candles, pendant lights that look like balls hanging from the high ceilings, a DJ table, and one large bar on a side wall. And now things start getting a bit coo-koo. The picture above is the DJ. He walks through the crowd of well dressed mostly short men and some women and I immediately realize he doesn't match. Some people play duck duck, grey duck (I always played duck duck, goose), well this guy was a grey duck. Over 300lb, over 6', sweaty, what could only be described as a possible comic book or D&D fanatic starts playing electronica beats while bobbing his head. Uhm?

As if this wasn't enough. I met a gay rabbi from New Jersey, a gay food critic for the local newspaper that brought a cake to share with everyone, and of course Cedric's boyfriend who just had his last day as a local trainer (and his entire clientele seems to have come to wish him well in Cali).

Is this how all gay bars are? Anyone?

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Out of my league

Below is the original roster, in order of draft, for my last place (12 of 12) fantasy basketball team. My team has underachieved to say the least. Even my team name Terrance Jerod Sr. aka TJ Ford's father, TJ senior, was used to note a possible comeback for my poor '04-'05 team. I have 1 week to gain a half game and get to out of the cellar. Wish me luck!

1 (3rd overall) K. Bryant had 81 points!
2 S. Marbury; Starbury + Larry Brown = poop
3 V. Carter; good season and he really let the Bucks have it.
4 B. Gordon "It would not be entirely accurate to say that as Ben Gordon goes this season, so go the Bulls."
5 M. Camby; is he just frail?
6 A. Bogut; Stotts has made him an athletic role player.
7 D. Gadzuric; Stotts has downgraded him from an athletic role player to a highly paid bench rider.
8 A. Stoudemire was dropped from my team today after playing 0 games this season. "Stoudemire put his chances of playing this season at 50-50, but said he'd be willing to play at less than full strength if it meant helping the team without risking re-injury." So is he going to play?
9 K. Brown lost.
10 S. Livingston; here's the stat line that really matters> S. Cassell 64 G, 34.6 Min, 17.5 PPG, 6.4 Ast
11 E. Griffin; it's not looking good up here. Here's some garbage time for you Eddie.
12 N. Krstic: What's your favorite nickname? Mine has to be Nenad "The Serbian Sophomore"
13 J. Jackson; I have no idea why I drafted this guy.
Do it for charity.

Check out the Hurricane Poster Collection that was done to raise money for Katrina re-building. I know lots of college kids are skipping Florida for spring break and re-building homes, but this design sale seems to be one of the better charity ideas I've seen. Check out this exceprt from an article I read today. Yikes!

The post-Katrina charity boom is going bust
By Stephanie Strom The New York Times

Since Hurricane Katrina, the U.S. Internal Revenue Service has used a fast- track approval process to grant tax exemptions to almost 400 new charities that said they planned to assist the disaster's victims. But one that distributes leather jackets to address the special needs of sadomasochists? Another that hands out new underwear?
Critics were opposed to the expedited process before it began, warning that many of the upstart organizations would have short shelf lives, prove difficult to track and monitor, and suck money away from more experienced organizations offering support and services.
That is precisely what happened in many cases in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
A spot check of the new Hurricane Katrina charities shows that some have indeed disappeared, while others are struggling to help storm victims or to broaden their mission after an initial spurt of activity. Overall, about $3.6 billion has been pledged to Hurricane Katrina-related charities, with roughly 60 percent donated to the American Red Cross.
Drop Yer Drawers, a new charity in Pearland, Texas, received a tax exemption just days after it had filed an application to help collect and distribute underwear.
"It was painless," said Kay Barbour, who founded the charity with a friend, Robin Nichols. "Eight days is just unbelievable when you're dealing with the IRS."
But having distributed more than 20,000 bras, boxer shorts and other underwear to hurricane victims, Drop Yer Drawers is now pondering its future. Its aspirations are big - "We can be as big as the Salvation Army," Barbour said - but first it needs to find the money to rent a warehouse.
"Right now we've got bras in boxes, and they're stored in Robin's spare bedroom," Barbour said.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Let the countdown begin!

Shoveling snow in March

We may be gaining sun each day, but Minnesota can't avoid snow in March (especially around the NCAA tourney, right Teeners?). I woke up today and we had 10" + on the ground. Good thing I already had the day off work because the commute would have been nasty. This should all melt pretty fast. Still the city of Minneapolis has declared a snow emergency. And must perform snow and ice control on the following:
  • 1,040 miles of streets
  • 57 miles of parkways
  • 3,700 alleys (about 400 miles)
  • 100 dead end-streets and cul-de-sacs
  • 250 bridge sidewalks
  • 7 pedestrian bridges
Good luck Mr. Plow!
Gerry McNamara is that you?

Gerry McNamara was a big part of Syracuse's national championship as a freshman in 2003. Four years later, the guard was the runaway MVP in the Orange's surprising Big East tournament title run. Syracuse repeated as conference champions by beating No. 15 Pittsburgh 65-61 on Saturday night. It was the first time in the Orange's record four victories that they didn't need late-game heroics from McNamara. It was sophomore Josh Wright who clinched the title win, making four free throws in the final 17 seconds. But it was still McNamara's tournament. "Gerry had as good a four games here as anybody I've ever seen," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "He just wanted to win." Syracuse became the lowest-seeded team to win the Big East tournament -- the Orange came in at No. 9 -- and the third school to repeat, joining Georgetown in 1985 and Connecticut in 1999. The Orange (23-11) arrived in New York this week with their chances of claiming an at-large NCAA tournament berth as on the bubble as a team can get. They are leaving with an automatic bid and a folk hero.

No, no it's not. That's Winters (here's the real Gerry)! Dave Winters was a big part of a lot of pointless arguments and the producer of huge amounts of bull shit before he finally moved from Minneapolis (as I hear it he's back in Jersey?). All kidding aside, my hat's off to Winters; if for nothing more than looking like a guy who got his team an unlikely 5 seed in the NCAA tourney. With that said I can now begin to fill out my brackets. Anyone interested in a pool? The Agies and LSU are up next, good luck Gerry.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Should I move?

I just finished taking a questionnaire on find your spot.com. It tells me where I should live. Is it bad Minneapolis wasn't in the 28 cities picked? Should I move? Nah. But if I ever do it looks like I'm going to Chicago or back to Milwaukee (or gulp; Baltimore?).

#1 Chicago, Illinois The Windy City
This big city has more shopping center space per capita than any other American city…
Population: 2,869,000 Average Home Price: $237,000 Precipitation: 32" Snow: 40"

#2 Milwaukee, Wisconsin The Genuine American City
This Wisconsin "City of Festivals" celebrates its diverse ethnic heritage all year long, with over 20 major cultural festivals…
Population: 1,500,000 Average Home Price: $136,000 Precipitation: 31" Snow: 47"

#3 Baltimore, Maryland The Sparkling Harbor City
This Atlantic seaboard city is home to the National Aquarium…
Population: 651,000 Average Home Price: $310,000 Precipitation: 40" Snow: 18"

#4 Little Rock, Arkansas Where America Comes Together
All Maybelline products distributed in the U.S. are made in this fashion-conscious spot…
Population: 595,600 Average Home Price: $177,000 Precipitation: 48" Snow: 5"

#5 Portland, Oregon City of Roses
This Oregon city has the nation's largest forested municipal park, the aptly-named Forest Park…
Population: 2,000,000 Average Home Price: $259,000 Precipitation: 36" Snow: 5"

#6 Washington, District of Columbia The World's Greatest Capital
This most patriotic of American cities was laid out by a French architect…
Population: 572,000 Average Home Price: $572,000 Precipitation: 39" Snow: 16"

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Green leaves, spring signs?

It’s March 1st. This means 3 things: conference tournaments in college basketball start soon, followed by the NCAA tourney; St. Pat’s Day is coming up; and spring is almost upon us.

The groundhog predicted winter to stick around but you can’t argue with facts. We have more daylight. The sun rise is around 6:50 AM and we’re gaining 21 minutes of sun each week!

The sun’s angle is higher and officially spring should start March 20th. Throw in global warming and spring should start earlier next year.

A major thaw is possible over the next 2 weeks, and since we haven’t had much snow I can see myself doing some landscape work real soon.