Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Twins Win

Finally the Twins have a signature win of the 2009 season.   Last night the Twins beat the Orioles 7-6 on a a come from behind walk off win.   M joined me at the game and enjoyed every second of the 3.5 hour marathon of a game.  Her only complaint was that it didn't go deep into extra innings.  (This is when you need a sarcasm font by the way.)  Below are some pictures from the night:

6 rows up for $25/each is not a bad deal.  I love Tuesday night games at the Metrodome.  Below is a picture from our seats.

Michael Cuddyer hit a what seemed to be harmless 2 out single in the bottom of the 9th that turned out to be not so innocent after Kubel walked and Delmon Young hit a walk off single on a 3-2 count to give the Twins a 5 game winning streak.  (The picture below is of Cuddyer, but it isn't the hit I described above.)

Mauer didn't have a good game, but I thought I would include a picture just in case Bethany reads my blog.   

Justin Morneau should hopefully have some company as MVP winners after the guy above wins this year.

Celebrating the victory

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Marriage classes

Day one of marriage classes is over and I am feeling pretty good.   Why?   First it wasn't nearly as bad as I *thought it would be.    The 3 hours yesterday consisted of an introduction by our host for the weekend and then two speeches by a priest and a marriage counselor.   I especially liked the 72 year old marriage counselor who has been married 50 years and doing counseling for just as long.   He reminded me of Jerry Maguire's agent Dicky Fox in his manner of speech and unique catchy sayings.  

*Of course I might be thinking differently today since we only had 3 hours of it last night and right now we have a 10 hour marathon run in front of us.

Anyway, the priest and the marriage counselor (sounds like a beginning of a joke) talked about dealing with problems immediately and how small things can build up over time.   The approx. 50 Catholic couples in nodded their head in agreement with these sayings.   M and I were just relieved to know that 1) Both of the speakers were entertaining and 2) Nobody has tried to convert me.  

Besides what I wrote above I am happy because I can report that M has nothing to worry about in terms of the two of the three main reasons for disharmony of marriage in Minnesota.   The marriage counselor and the priest talked about how guys need to be respectful of their wives in in regards to hockey and hunting.   For example if your wife is giving birth to a child you can't insist on going on your deer hunting trip just because it is November.   Anyway, I reminded M that we are good on both of those two points since I could care less about hockey or hunting.

Anyway, I have to go get ready for the marathon today.   Hopefully things continue to go along smoothly.

Friday, August 21, 2009


I enjoy cooking. There is something to be said (or in this written) about making something for yourself. I get a certain pride in ownership when I take various ingredients and create something that will be consumed. Also, it is cheaper to cook then to go out to a restaurant. Now mind you I am not much of a cook and I don't really have an ambition to go down that path. I just finished Kitchen Confidential and I remember my time as a waiter at the Jackson Yacht Club vividly enough to know that a life in the kitchen is not something I want.

In fact I don't even know if what I do can sometimes be considered cooking. I think we can all agree it isn't cooking when you go to McDonald's and pick up an extra value meal. However, there might be a little bit of discussion on if taking out a Stouffer's Lasagna and putting it in the oven is cooking. Or what about buying a pre-marinated chicken breast at a grocery store and cooking that on the grill? Is that cooking? There are so many things that have been added to the kitchen to reduce time that it is hard to know when something is cooking or just preparing. How much hard work has to go into the final product for it to be consider cooking? Do you have to kill your own pig, grow your vegetables and milk your own cow?

My opinion (which isn't set in stone) and probably my generation's opion is that putting Stouffer's Lasagna is not cooking, but grilling a pre-marinated chicken breast would be cooking. The spices we have on the rack, the vegetables in the frozen bag and the milk we thankfully can buy at the store all are just things to help aide in the process of cooking.

All of this talk about cooking leads me to what M and I 's date last night. You see I have always wanted to cook scallops, but had never had the courage to actually try to cook the difficult mollusk. Yesterday I decide to remedy that situation and I went to the store and bought a pound of large sea scallops. I then looked up directions on cooking them and with the help of M we produced what I considered to be an A+ meal. Below is a picture of the end result:

After that we decided to go see Julie and Julia, which appropriately enough is about cooking and blogging. Both of us enjoyed the movie and would recommend it to anyone looking for a light movie (not to be confused with a romantic comedy) about cooking.

Not much else to report from land of 10,000 lakes. I am still waiting for the Twins win streak that has to be coming any day now.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The center of the US sports scene

This blog post is brought to you from the center of the sports universe in Minneapolis, MN.   Don't believe me that Minneapolis is the center of the sports universe in the United States.   Turn on espn.   Right now.  Don't wait.   Brett Favre (my neighbor) is on espn explaining why he is joining the Vikings.     This is unquestionably the biggest sports story today and it probably will be for quite some time thanks to the media's love affair of one of Mississippi finest football players.   

Other big sports stories coming from Minnesota:
  • This past weekend YE Yang upset Tiger Woods in the PGA championship in Chaska, MN.   I don't care about golf, but apparently that was a big story in the sports world. 
  • Joe Mauer is the best baseball player in the world.  If you don't believe check out who is leading the league in batting average...or if you prefer check out on on base percentage ...or slugging percentage.   Or you can check out some new stats like Runs created per 27 outs.    Or the fact that he does this all from the catcher position.    NOTE - The links I included was just for American League, so if you want I would listen to an argument for Albert Pujols.  Pujols has a higher OPS and has been putting up these incredible numbers for longer than Mauer, so maybe I should have wrote that Joe Mauer is the best baseball player in the American League and not the world.
  • Justin Morneau is also pretty good.  Both of those players are easily in the top 4 of any AL MVP discussion.
  • Adrian Peterson is the best running back in the league and might be the best player.  
Unfortunately there is nothing to add on the Twins as a team or much about the Twolves (Al Jefferson is the best low post scorer in the league?   Kevin Love is the best young offensive rebounder in the league?) but I think with Favre, Mauer, Peterson and Morneau there is more than enough star power in the Twin Cities to make a claim to the center of the sports scene. 

Monday, August 10, 2009

BBQ and an official blog announcement

I enjoy BBQ.   Something about slow cooked meat served with slices of bread and various potato dishes (mainly potato salad and fries) makes me act like Pavlov's dogs.   This enjoyment has led me to on a minor quest to find the best BBQ in the Twin Cities.   Thankfully I have someone else who shares my passion for the pig and is willing to barter beer for BBQ as we did this past Saturday when we added another place to our list.   This place was Pastor Hamilton's BBQ in St. Paul, MN and the ribs lived up to their hype.  If I was visiting the Twin Cities looking for BBQ this would be the order of placed I would go:
  1. Ted Cooks - Still the best in my opinion.  I love the ribs, the unique sauce and the pulled beef.   One note of caution is that if you have an aversion to spicy foods then don't get any other sauce besides the mild.   I made the mistake of getting medium for M and she barely could eat any of the ribs because of the spice.   Personally I think the spice makes the beer colder and better.
  2. Pastor Hamilton's - The ribs were literally fall off the bone good and while the sauce might not of been God's gift to BBQ it still was above-average.   Note that the pork is much better than the beef if you do go.
  3. C & G's Smoking BBQ - Of course a BBQ places opens up within 50 yards of my former place of residence the month after I move out.   I mean it probably is a good thing since I would probably lose a lot of money and gain a lot of weight, but still I wish I would have had that chance.   I have only been to this place twice and both times I was welcomed with surprisingly good BBQ.   If this were M's rankings in fact I am pretty sure she would put this as her #1 place.   The brisket and the rib tips were both solid and while they didn't inspire the same level of passion as Ted Cook's they were very tasty.   I would say that you could do a lot worse than C & G's when looking in the Twin Cities.  Based on the small sample size it is kind of like a Jeff Hornacek type player.
  4. Cap's Grille - I have only been once and honestly I don't really have much more of a desire to go back.   The food was fine, but why waste my time on this when I know there are other options better in the same area.   
  5. Famous Dave's - The local chain that is all over Minneapolis serves  your standard BBQ for the suburbanites.   It is an all ways it is nonthreatening, but what else would you expect from a publicly traded company.   The BBQ sauce tastes like the generic brand you buy in a store and the meat isn't much better.   Of course it isn't terrible and in terms of service it is definitely more clean and more standard.   Really, it is just not my type of place....but that doesn't mean it isn't yours.   
  6. Scott Ja Mama's - I loved the twice baked potatoes at this place.   In fact I wish I could get the twice baked potatoes at all the above mentioned places because it would go really well with good BBQ.   If you go please get the twice baked potato partly because that is the best thing about this small, hole in the wale BBQ shack with the friendly owner.   The meat itself is charred to the point where you just wish they would have given you more twice baked potatoes.   
And if this isn't enough BBQ reading I suggest your read the following manifesto of a place that I will be trying during my next trip to the 2nd city.    And of course this has me thinking about the dream purchase of a smoker, so that I can start my own operation.  

And now for the official blog announcement.   M and I will be getting married on June 5th, 2010.   The date has been set and the countdown has begun.   I am starting to rally the troops in terms of friends and the bridal party.   A website will be coming later, but all relevant information will probably be shared through this blog.  

Monday, August 3, 2009

The state of the Minnesota Timberwolves

For those of you not in Minnesota let me tell you a little bit about the professional sports calendar up here. During the summer it is Twins time as the state rests their hopes on their “little engine that could” team, while wishing that someday the Twins management would provide the fans with a complete team. The end of the Twins season coincides with the Vikings season, which then take center stage as everyone in the state tries to convince themselves that this will be the year. Of course also during this time is when the NHL starts their season and Minnesota fans go to the Excel Center to watch the Wild and represent the “State of Hockey.” In addition to the Vikings and the Wild there is also the Gophers football, hockey and basketball teams competing for MN sports fans attention. Hockey is able to keep most Minnesota sports fans attention through March and April and into the beginning of the Twins season as the calendar repeats itself.

Lost in all of this is the Minnesota Timberwolves. My favorite sport (basketball) is not loved up here and really has no place with everything else going on (for the market size of the Twin Cities) as described in the first paragraph. I personally love the Minnesota Timberwolves, but I am in the minority of folks up here. I don’t know why people don’t like them because the Twolves provide a tremendous value and give you the opportunity to see other players and teams at extremely discounted rates. You might not like the Twolves, but you should be thankful that you get to see stars like LeBron James for a fraction of the cost you would pay in another city. I have been able to get seats that in other sports would either be unavailable or go for 3 to 4 figures.

I have been to the suite for both of the companies I have worked for up here for multiple games, which doesn’t happen ever for the Vikings/Wild or often for the Twins. Also, I was able to get $750 face value courtside tickets for $55 through my current place of employment. This isn’t meant to brag, but rather to make a point on how available the tickets are for Timberwolves games.

Another point in the Timberwolves favor is that by going to the games or talking to the players you are appreciated in ways that Vikings fans will never know. I remember seeing a bunch of Timberwolves players at a restaurant downtown one Sunday afternoon during football/basketball season. I went up to them and congratulated them on the win the previous night against the Suns. They all made eye contact with me and thanked me in a way that at least made it seem genuine. I even got a few sentences with the star and my favorite player on the team Al Jefferson (from Mississippi) as I explained to him how I watched him play in the Coliseum when he was with Prentiss. He was very good natured and even gave me a fist pound at the end of the conversation.

The Timberwolves ticket office is even more appreciative of you if you buy tickets. They are always looking for clever ways of getting you to spend money on them. They offer the following deals:

  • You get 10 game ticket package for a discounted rate and if the Twolves win 5 out of the 10 games you go to then you get 5 free tickets next year.

  • If you lose your job you get a refund on any tickets you don’t use.

Also, they have a blueprint for success, which from the looks of it hasn't been updated since it includes points like the ones below:

Point 1
“We have assembled players with solid character, led by Randy Foye, Ryan Gomes, Al Jefferson, Mark Madsen and Mike Miller. All of these players are not only solid players on the court, but solid community-minded citizens off the court.” Commentary - I think that is great because it is funny the Twolves would include that in their blueprint when 3 out of the 5 players them mentioned are no longer with the team. One wonders if Foye and Miller were such solid, community-minded players then why did the Twolves trade them for a Spanish point guard who doesn’t even want to play here?

Point 2
“Our coaching staff brings more than 80 years of NBA experience to the bench, along with 35 years of player experience in the NBA.” Commentary - Does that include Kevin McHale? You know the guy that was just fired.

Point 3
“Last season, we re-signed several of our own free agents – Ryan Gomes, Craig Smith and Sebastian Telfair – who we believe are key to our young core.” Commentary - Really? If they are so key then why are both Craig Smith and Telfair with the Clippers.

This post was supposed to be a lead in to my rules of scalping, but instead I got a little carried away with the Timberwolves. I like to give my readers a little something to read on the team every once and awhile because they represent a lot of what I love (cheap tickets, friendly players and great value) and hate (losing, poor personal decisions, bad drafts) about sports. They are discredited, laughed at and worse off mostly ignored by peopled up here, but that only makes them try harder. I don't necessarily give them my approval (ex. Foye for Roy), but at least I give them my attention.

The rules of scalping to come later when I get some time and also maybe some wedding thoughts for some of the regulars.