Saturday, September 29, 2007

Corey Brewer and other news

I was at the downtown Target yesterday and who did I see shopping, but none other than Corey Brewer ( of the Timberwolves. Of course I had to introduce myself to him, shake his hand (he had a weak handshake), and wish him luck for the following season. Out of the famous athletes I have ever shook hands with Corey Brewer would probably rank somewhere in between Ben Roethlisberger and Mark Madsen.

My Dad's visit went very well. We went to the Fitzgerald Theater in St. Paul and saw a truly Minnesota production: Prairie Home Companion. For those of you who don't listen to public radio I would suggest you tune in to Prairie Home Companion. In the Twin Cities you can listen to it on 99.5 FM at 5pm central time on most Saturdays. Or you can download Prairie Home Companion as a podcast that is updated every Monday, which for anyone who has Itunes is pretty easy.

If you are looking for something other than fried walleye while in Minnesota, here are some of my quick picks based on my experiances in the Twin Cities:

Anyway, I am excited for the Ohio St-Minnesota game tonight. If you haven't seen this yet check out what will probably not be the opening scene of the 2007 Gopher Football Season Recap Video:

Friday, September 21, 2007

Dad's visit

As I write this my Dad is in Chicago about to board a plane to come to visit me in Minneapolis. We have a full schedule ahead, where I am going to try and show him the best of the Twin Cities. We are going to go see Prairie Home Companion ( tomorrow night in St. Paul. This is show that I grew up listening to with my Dad and it will be nice to see a live performance. More to come on the show later. Also, we are going to see a Twins game thanks to some pretty nice tickets that Honeywell gave to me.

Anyway, one thing that I think is enjoyable about growing up is the transition you make with your parents. Something changes around puberty when your parents become more adversaries than anything else. You have to act "cool" and during your teenage years your parents are definitely not cool. In your teenage pursuit of cool, you will lie, cheat, steal, or do whatever it takes. Your parents on the other hand want you to be more rational and make good choices. This conflicts with the concept of being cool and therefore it conflicts with you as a teenager. I definteily don't think I was that bad, but I did have my moments of rebellion that probably didn't make my parents too fond of me. Anyway, another change happens after you move on from that stage of life. It is a gradual process, but before you know it is fun to hang out with your parents again. I enjoy going on trips with my parents and I am looking forward to my Dad's visit. This transition back to having a good relationship with your parents is something that I have found to be a definite plus about growing up.

PS: Side note on the post of the top 5 meals of all time. I meant they were the top 5 meals that I have had when I went out. Of course nothing compares to my Mom's potato salad, deviled eggs and my Dad's steak.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

TV shows

Thanks to Netflix and some Dvds that I bought recently, I have had a chance to catch up on some TV shows that I have been meaning to see. Below is a grade of what I have seen so far.
  • The Wire: Season 1: B: I liked the show, but not nearly as much as my brother-in-law, my roommate, or the Sportsguy. I feel like I must have missed something, since I didn't think this was the greatest show ever. I am debating whether or not to try Season 2 or not.
  • Big Love: Season 1: B: On a suggestion from a random source (my sister) I decided to try this show out. The beginning of the season is really good, but the end of the season is a little disappointing. It is very interesting seeing a show that is based on the lives of a polygamous family. M liked the show a lot and is counting down till December 11th, when we can rent Season 2. Personally, I really like any scene with the main character Bill Henrickson or the rival Roman Grant. Roman (played by Harry Dean Stanton) is a character that I hope gets more attention in Season Two because he is both compelling and creepy.
  • 24 Season 2: A-: I touched on this on my previous post, but overall I felt this season was an A- compared to Season 1's A performance. I think that the season was better than most of what you can see on Tv and I kind of liked it more than Season 1 because it had less plot twists, but overall I felt that Season 1's plot fit better together than Season 2. Still, I am very excited for the possibility of Season 3 as I have it waiting in the on deck circle. My favorite random actor was Tobin Bell, who played Peter Kingsley in Season 24. Any fan of recent horror movies would recognize him as Jigsaw from the Saw movies. Season 2 of 24 also introduced one of the worst characters of all time: Alex Hewitt. Alex betrays his country, stabs the President's ex-wife, pulls a gun on Jack (not a good idea), and manages to kill himself because he was a clumsy idiot.
  • Undeclared The 1 and only Season: A: A trip down memory lane took me back to Porter Hall freshmen year at Miami University. This show was a comedy on the freshmen year and was created by the same guy (Judd Apatow) who did Freaks and Geeks, The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked up. This series has a decent amount of actors/actresses you would recognize like Seth Rogan as well as guest appearances by Adam Sandler, Will Ferrell, and Ben Stiller. Unfortunately this show was canceled after 15 episodes. Fox has made the habit of canceling shows like Family Guy (only brought back because it was a cartoon), Andy Richter Controls the Universe (really, really funny), Freaks and Geeks, and Undeclared before they had any chance of establishing themselves. If Nbc would have done the same thing then there would never have been 9 seasons of Seinfield.
  • Greek: B-: This show comes on Abc family right now and is surprisingly pretty funny. It is probably only funny to a certain age group that is between about to go to college and graduated college less than 5 years ago, but still I like the show. In plus it is funny to look at one of the main characters (Casey Cartwright played by Spencer Grammer) and know that she is the daughter of Kelsey Grammer.
  • Friday Night Lights: A: I am only 4 episodes into this one, but so far this is one of the best shows I have seen. I hope NBC doesn't pull a Fox and cancel this show. However, I am thinking that after by sticking it on Friday night (so that it competes with actual high school football) the show is only one step away from being canceled. I will never understand why I can watch Deal or No Deal almost every night of the week, but I can't see a decent show like Friday Night Lights.

That is it for today.

Follow-up: Check out the Sportsguy's colum on

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Mexico, Miami, and so much more

I just got back this week from my first business trip to Mexico. We went to visit two of our factories in Chihuahua and Juarez. The trip was very informative and something that I wish I would have/could have done during my career at Target. During the trip I had one of the greatest meals of all time, which made think of my top 5 meals of all time:
  1. Lobster in Maine: When Johnny and I went on our road trip after our freshmen year of college, we stopped in this unknown place in a random city in Maine. Johnny ordered some chicken dish, but being Maine I thought it was only appropriate to order lobster. Needless to say I wasn't disappointed as I had this baked lobster that came with copious amounts of butter. One of the rules of my life is that butter and bacon make everything better.
  2. Steak in Chihuahua: Over this past trip to Mexico we were taken by the factory leaders to El Quintal "Cortes al Carbon" to have the most amazing steak dinner of my life. The meal began with appetizers of ribs and empanadas. Then the meal progressed to the Ribeye Oscar, which was 400 grams or 14 ounces, which was accompanied by a twice baked potato. I have had many good steaks in my life, but this one was absolutely incredible and the Best Steak of My Life. After the BSTOML, the meal was topped off by a cheesecake as well after dinner drinks of tequila and Bailey's. I described myself to coworkers as being "fat and happy."
  3. 1st time I had a burger at Stamps: Now, Stamps in Jackson is called Cool Al's (there was a dispute between the father and son who owned both Stamps in Jackson, and the younger son had to change the name), but nothing about the place has changed. Check out the website and better yet check out the burger if you are ever in Jackson. These burgers have an amazing lemon seasoning over 11 and a half ounce of burger goodness. Too think that people waste there time with McDonald's burgers when there is an option like Cool Al's/Stamps right down the road is beside me.
  4. Lobster dinner on my 24th birthday: I know this is my 2nd lobster meal on the top 5, but this meal definitely was one of the best of my life. One of the better things is that M treated me to the meal because it was on my birthday. Anyway, I had never had a full lobster before, but Stella's offers a special on Sunday where you can get a full 1 and 1/4 lb Maine lobster for $19.95. Along with the lobster, I had garlic mashed potatoes, 3 glasses of wine, and this elaborate desert that consisted of cookie cake and ice cream. Check it out below:

  5. Nachos Al Carbon at Fiesta Charra in Oxford, OH. As a typical college student I didn't have much money to spend on elaborate meals. This happened to work out well because there weren't many elaborate restaurants in the small college town of Oxford. One of the nicer places (nice is very relative in this case) was a Mexican place called Fiesta Charra. There aren't any website to view, but if you are in southwest Ohio then go to High Street in Oxford and find Fiesta Charra. The Nachos Al Carbon are around $10 and come with nachos, chicken, steak, shrimp, and cheese over it all. As a college student there really wasn't a better meal.

Other random thoughts:

  • I can't believe Miami lost to the yellowish Gophers of Minnesota. Seriously, Miami's kicker had a chance to win in the 2nd overtime with a 33 yard field goal, but the kicker missed it. I even took a picture of the kicker before he missed because I was anticipating it to go in. I mean I guess I can understand how it is hard to do the one thing you are supposed to do when the ball is in the center of the a dome.
  • The Twins are finished...done. After last year I kind of just thought it was going to be a yearly thing where the Twins make the playoffs. Obviously I am disappointed on how the year turned out.
  • The Dolphins look like they will be trying to win the Brian Brohm lottery this year. I am hoping they turn to John Beck sooner rather than later.
  • Season 2 of 24 was good, but not as good as Season 1. The Kim Bauer storyline had no impact on the overall story and just made me frustrated whenever Kim did something stupid again.

I have to go get ready for the Dolphins/Cowboys game. Go Fins.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Cowboy Mouth/Miami updates

Before I post my Thunder Bay entry (I am halfway through) I wanted to provide a few quick updates:
  1. M and I went to a Miami reception yesterday to meet with the new President of Miami David Hodge and his wife Valerie. I was impressed with both the President and his wife and the reception made me A)Proud to be a Miami alum and B) excited for the Miami/Minnesota football game. M was a good sport about things since she went to Ohio St, but "supports" Miami.
  2. After the reception M and I went to see one of my favorite bands Cowboy Mouth ( play at place in downtown Minneapolis called the Fine Line. The band as always (I have seen them 5 times) were incredible. Also, the venue itself is a great place to see a live concert. The one thing that soured part of the evening were the amazing amount of "pushers" in the crowd. In fact here is a list in terms of the type of pushers we encountered.

5. Overweight, Sweaty Guy: Seen bumping into M and I as he has he arm around 3 older ladies. Also, seen bobing his head, while offering the 3 ladies he was with sips of his drink. During this process he was heard saying "I don't know what this drink is." This makes me concerned about why this guy didn't know what he was drinking and two why he was then offering it to other people.

4. Crazy old lady: Seen perfecting her orginal Woodstock moves as M and I duck from her boney elbows. I don't know why she still thought she was 20, but she reminded me of the Raven at 45 east at Miami.

3. Random too drunk lady: There were probably a lot of these, but this one lady in particular thought it was great to keep bumping into us and using her purse as some sort of bumper as she danced into others.

2. The Bulldozer. I am sure this guy was thinking: "I was up in the front of the show 45 minutes before it started, so once the show starts I am legally entitled to that spot regardless of what happens during that 45 minutes." Unfortunately for those of us in his way that meant he had to push us away to get to his destined spot. This guy was from Boston and a Patriots fan (boo) and actually got mad at M and I for simply asking "what are you doing?" as he tried to knock us to the side.

1. The drunk soriority girls from the class of 93: Yes, I get that you haven't been out much together. Yes, I get you "like to party." Yes, I get that you take more pictures than tourists. What I don't understand is why you think that just because you like to take pictures means you should move everyone away, so that you can do your sorority pose. (For those of you who have never been to a sorority event, watch next 5 or more girls pose for a picture.) These Class 0f 93 girls didn't annoy me as much since I had M to block them from pushing me away. However, when they wanted to get a picture they were all over M like white on rice. The funny thing about these pictures is that they all look the same and you could get the same effect from posing in a dark alley. Just cause you are having fun in a bar doesn't mean you should take pictures of that fun.

Anyway, I am meeting up with friends to go see the mighty Redhawks as they face the Yellowish Gophers of Minnesota. The Redhawks are 8.5 point underdogs, but of course I am predicting a victory. Go Redhawks.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Oh Canada

The delay is over as I finally got to the Thunder Bay post. I hope that I am able to keep up the posting since I have thoughts on my trip to Mexico for work, season 2 of 24, Friday Night Lights, and top 5 meals I have ever had. Anyway, on to the post of Thunder Bay.

M and I just got back from our trip to Thunder Bay, Canada and I can unequivocally say that the trip was better than Bemidji, Onamia or any other of my northern vacations. I will break it down day by day and try to offer suggestions for anyone else who wants to have a unique vacation they will remember.

Day 1: Saturday, Sept. 1st

M and I hit the the road short after my last blog post. Our objective was to get from Minneapolis to Thunder Bay by driving 35W north (not scenic, but fast) before hitting Highway 61 (otherwise known as the scenic North Shore). Highway 61 starts in Duluth, MN (home of Chris Hergott and the Aerial Lift Bridge and goes up to the eastern side of Minnesota by Lake Superior. I have and will continue to compare Highway 61 to Mississippi's Natchez Trace Highway 61's reputation as being the most scenic road in Minnesota seemed accurate from the driver's seat this past weekend.

Anyway, M and I ate at Grandma's in Duluth, which had above-average food, but unfortunately it was around 54 degrees in the actual restaurant. After that we went to Twin Harbors (B), Gooseberry Falls (A), and Split Rock Lighthouse (A-). All of those places are worth the time for various reasons. Twin Harbors has the Two Harbors Lighthouse that looks over a dramatic view of a shipping port. Gooseberry Falls is a place with many different water falls as well as 18 miles of hiking trails. Split Rock Lighthouse is one of the most photogenic sites in all of Minnesota.

Besides those three mini-adventures there were also plenty of food options on Highway 61. There was Betty Pies:, which unfortunately didn't live up to the hype. Maybe it was the selection of the pie, but the Chocolate-Banana Cream Pie was a solid C. Also, there was a small Mom and Pop store that served unbelievable chocolate.

With our bellies full it was on to Canada. The interrogation at the border was a lot less strenuous than my friend Johnny's experience at the border between Maine and Canada. There might have been 20 questions crossing this time, but that was definitely preferable over the 1 hour long delay in Maine while the car was being checked. With little inconvenience it was only a few more kilometers to Thunder Bay: Once in Thunder Bay, M and I had a nice dinner at Gargoyles in downtown Thunder Bay. The Garlic Sirloin and Jumbo Shrimp (which they had to substitute scallops and baby shrimp) was an especially good choice.

Day 2: Sunday Sept. 2

This day started with a meal at one of Thunder Bay's 15 Robin's Donuts. Just in case you were wondering Robin's Donuts is a privately owned, 100% Canadian corporation according to To own a franchise there you need $125K of "unencumbered" cash. I wonder if they would let an American open up a store because then it wouldn't be 100% Canadian.

After having some 100% Canadian donuts it was on to Eagle Canyon Creek. This was definitely one of the highlights of the trip: What was amazing about this was that the it is not a National Park, but something that some random father and son did with some random piece of land in Canada that no one wanted. The father bought the land and then with his son made the two suspension bridges over the canyon.

After that it was on to Ouimet Canyon: where legend has it the Sleeping Giant (Nanabijou) "split open the ground"after being upset at Omett, who accidentally killed Nanabijou's daugther Naiomi. Ouimet Canyon was cheap ($4), easy (a short 3o minute walk), and mildly interesting. It is worth your time if you go to Eagle Canyon, but definitely not worth much else. Right down the road from Ouimet Canyon and Eagle Canyon Creek was an amethyst mine that was interesting, but definitely not for everyone:

After the trip up north of Thunder Bay, M and I traveled back closer to the city. We went to one of 7 Wonders of Canada: the Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. This park was massive (not surprising based on the name) and something that you would need a lot of time to explore.

Back on the road it was off to pay our respects to Terry Fox by visiting the Terry Fox memorial. For those of you who don't know about Terry Fox, here are a few things about him:

  • Had his right leg amputated at the age of 18 because of cancer.
  • At the age of 21 he decided to run a marathon every single day across Canada to raise money for Cancer research.
  • He ended up running 3,339 miles (23.3 a day) before being forced to quit because of bone cancer in his lungs. He passed away a year after the run.
  • Voted #2 (ahead of Wayne Gretzky) as the Greatest Canadian on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. Voted #1 was Tommy Douglas, who is the father of Medicare.
  • Inducted into the Canadian Sports Hall of Fame
  • The Terry Fox Run is actually tomorrow: Sept. 16th.
After the busy day it was on to Prospector's Steakhouse (, which the website advertises as having "over 20 years" of history. Is that supposed to impress anyone? The reverse of what you would expect was true as the steak was disappointing and the seafood dish was really good.

Day 3: Monday Sept. 3rd

For this day we went to see Fort William: to see about the historic 1815 fur trade business. Little did we know that we would also see the not-so-historic Thunder Bay teenagers flirting with each other. M thoroughly enjoyed this trip back in time. After Fort William is was on to Kakabeka Falls: which had falls that were more impressive than any other falls that I have seen beside the Niagara Falls. The park itself however didn't offer much else beside the falls.

Finally it was back down highway 61 and back to the United States. The trip was great and the final cherry on top was the the Angry Trout Cafe ( in Grand Marais, MN. This was such an interesting place. You should definitely check out the website and if you are in Grand Marais then you would be a fool not to go to the restaurant.

Anyway, the trip itself was great and I am looking forward to going back to Thunder Bay, Ontario.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Labor Day in Thunder Bay

M and I are off on our trip to Thunder Bay, Canada. I am looking forward to the Niagara of the North, the longest suspension bridge in Canada, and the Sleeping Giant. Last year it was the wonders of Bemidji, MN and I am hoping for even more from Thunder Bay.

Random other updates:
  • Scott Baker came thisclose to pitching a perfect game against the Royals last night.
  • A few friends and I went to the Minnesota State Fair last night. I don't really understand the appeal of going to the fair. The people I went with said it was for the food and the people watching. However with the amount of money ($8 for the ticket, $15 for the parking, etc) you could get a much better meal than some $5 cheese curds. Maybe I am just upset that the hot dish on a stick wasn't nearly as good as last year? Also, the people watching isn't nearly as good as Ohio or Mississippi. Next year though I vowed I wasn't going to go the fair.
  • I bought a Wii yesterday. I think this is going to be my "congrats on getting a new job" present to myself.
  • I just got my 6 tickets to go see the might Redhawks of Miami University play the Golden Golphers of the University of Minnesota. I utilized for the first time and was very impressed. For $35 a ticket (commision and shipping accounted for $6 of the $35) I was able to get 5th row on the 20 yard line. The best I could do through the University of MN was to get upper deck for $30. I am excited to see the 1-0 Redhawks. Just in case you missed the classic in Muncie, Indiana Miami beat Ball St. 14-13 on a touchdown run by Brandon Murphy with 17 seconds left in the game:

Anyway, I have to get on the road to Thunder Bay.