Monday, December 29, 2008

So you've moved to Minnesota. Well...

how IS it out there?

That's what people ask me. People from back in Seattle, anyway. It's odd, I still think of this blog as being read by Seattleites and I'm sure that's still the majority of the readership. But it stands to reason that there must be some Twin Cities folks reading it as well. The idea in my mind of a mostly Seattle audience kind of reveals that I still feel like I'm a visitor here. Perhaps it's an extended visit, like college or something, but it does not yet feel permanent.

Anyway, it's been nearly 10 months now. Here's how it is out here:

1. Weather is a huge topic of conversation.
2. People will talk about the weather wherever you go. Especially about extreme cold. The novelty has not worn off for them even if they're 90 and have never left Minnesota. Weather = fascinating!
3. The fact that people constantly talk about the weather means they constantly talk. It's a social place.
4. I think that's because it's based on farming and settlers. These people had to be social in order to NOT DIE. And it stuck.
5. I slipped into being a Vikings fan quite easily. This is probably because they are good and the Seahawks are not. The shallowness of my football fandom is now clear.
6. Still a Mariners fan. No wavering at all.
7. Trying to become a Timberwolves fan but the suckiness of their play and their dopey name makes that difficult.
8. I still can't get past the idea of Minnesota being funny, somehow. Like the entire state seems inherently whimsical, somehow. It's just a funny state. That perception on my part has made it harder to feel like this is home. I still feel like I'm living in a skit.
9. The accents. My god, the accents.
10. Humans are adaptable, it turns out. We had a few days there of minus 11 degrees or worse. We went out in it anyway, kids went to school, life continued. Then it heated up to 4 degrees and I couldn't believe how warm it was. Humans are adaptable.
11. There's this band out here called Cloud Cult. They're from Minneapolis. People talk about them constantly.
12. But they don't talk about Prince as much as you would think.
13. Great coffee was easy to find. So was great beer. Good Thai food took a while but was found eventually. Great pizza? The search continues.
14. Did that #8 thing make me sound like I didn't like it here? Sorry. No, I like it here. I like it a lot. It feels like a home. But I think it still feels like I'm looking into someone else's home. Will it be more like MY home, maybe after a year or two? Yeah probably.
15. I must admit, though, that the cancellation of Weekend America was a bummer. Did you hear about that? Our last show is 1/31/09. Crappy economy, big expensive show, you do the math.
16. I'm staying with the company, though. Future projects to be announced in due time.
17. I have developed a snow shoveling technique that works for me.
18. I have bought sidewalk salt.
19. I used to go entire winters without wearing a hat or gloves. Now, I have many pairs of gloves and many hats. I have a hat that makes me look like a ninja.
20. Minnesota, and especially St. Paul, feels like a place that is uniquely my own. I grew up in the suburbs of Seattle, went off to various places for short term things, but then returned to the city where I lived for years. We stay in our hometowns by default, it's what we know. St. Paul is not what I know, which makes it all feel very fresh and exciting. It's my Midwest crisis, as my sister said.
21. Everyone in Seattle was from somewhere else.
22. Everyone here is from here.
23. People here don't consider themselves from here if they're from a suburb. "So did you grow up in St Paul?" "Oh geez no, I grew up way out in Mendota Heights!" Mendota Heights is on the other side of the bridge.
24. I thought I would miss the trees and the mountains but I don't. Not at all. Not even a little.
25. I miss my friends, though.
26. And I really, REEEEEEALLY, miss being in a rock band, especially the world's most important rock band. Tentative reunion concert in the works for next summer.


Merry Christmas. And close the hatch.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'm not much of an Onion linker

but this made me laugh for a long time:

Typo In Proposition 8 Defines Marriage As Between 'One Man And One Wolfman'

SACRAMENTO, CA—Activists on both sides of the gay marriage debate were shocked this November, when a typographical error in California's Proposition 8 changed the state constitution to restrict marriage to a union between "one man and one wolfman," instantly nullifying every marriage except those comprised of an adult male and his lycanthrope partner. "The people of California made their voices heard today, and reaffirmed our age-old belief that the only union sanctioned in God's eyes is the union between a man and another man possessed by an ungodly lupine curse," state Sen. Tim McClintock said at a hastily organized rally celebrating passage of the new law. But opponents, including Bakersfield resident Patricia Millard—who is now legally banned from marrying her boyfriend, a human, non-wolfman male—claim it infringes on their civil liberties. "I love James just as much as a wolfman loves his husband," Millard said. "We deserve the same rights as any horrifying mythical abomination." On the heels of the historic typo, voters in Utah passed a similar referendum a week later, defining marriage as between one man and 23 wolfmen.


Monday, December 15, 2008


1. I keep meaning to write long meaningful posts but have no time. Many kids. One a baby. Busy job. God trying to ice murder me (negative seven this morning, wind chill today of 35 below). So: items.

2. The baby loves cheese. Like a whole lot. Is this a result of us moving to the uppwe midwest or did she uterusly guide us here?

3. The baby can be calmed by music, including, curiously enough, The Hold Steady and The Pernice Brothers. When I play Neil Young songs, she gets all intrigued and concerned looking. So she's healthy.

4. Man, I try to make one off the cuff remark on the air and up show the grammarian lunatics:

5. I stopped twittering a while ago on account of I was going crazy. I still twitter at but I pretend I'm a radio show when I do that.

6. I've heard hardly any traffic reports since arriving in Minnesota. But weather? Almost constant updates. Los Angeles updates traffic AND air quality. I think cities issue the most updates on whatever part of that city will likely kill you fastest.

7. kaygottagobye.


Monday, December 08, 2008

A Conversation with Kate (age 6)

We're sitting around the dinner table.

CHARLIE: Does Obama have to have people come and move his stuff to the White House?
ME: Yeah. But I think he's keeping the house in Chicago.
KATE: Who lives in the White House now?
JILL: President Bush, until January, then Barack Obama moves in.
KATE: Is the oldest president buried here?
ME: Where?
KATE: Here! (pointing to dining room table)
ME: The table?
KATE: Yeah!
JILL: You're asking if the oldest president of the United States is buried inside our dining room table?
KATE: Yeah! Is he?
JILL: No. No, there is no president or anyone buried in our dining room table.
KATE: Where is he?
JILL: Probably buried in the ground.
KATE: Oh! Like my hamster!
ME: You're hamster isn't dead, Kate.


Monday, December 01, 2008

Smart People: Get On This

So the kitchen sink gets all floody and starts to flow into the dishwasher and there's water everywhere and ick.

After my own feeble "let's check the trap" plan yields nothing, we call the plumber. Because that's what you do, right? Of course it is.

So the guy shows up, says he'll fix it for x amount of money but also says we have another leaky hose that indicates a larger replacement being necessary for y amount more of money. And x+y = huge pile of money.

We do what you might do: tell the guy to do the x fix and not the y fix. It's a ton of money and also it just feels like he's piling things on (he also tried to sell us $65 worth of organic solvent stuff, no sale) the way you would expect a plumber to do.

And I'm thinking, what do honest plumbers do when a customer really needs something extra done but that customer is so conditioned to plumbers being dishonest that the customer refuses to believe it? It's not like you can say, "No really, you have to listen to me, I'm honest." We saw how well that worked when Nixon said he wasn't a crook.

Instead, customers like me with no real knowledge of plumbing are in a position to judge the veracity and merit of what a professional plumber is telling me. I still think he was piling on (there may be a wee tiny leak but not y dollars' worth) but I only think that because I'm me, with my checkbook, with my no idea about plumbing, and I'm in charge.

There must be a better way of doing business than this. A way of repairing the plumbing image, of educating homeowners, of having an independent third party who would not profit from repairs acting as arbiter in the situation. It's like car buying, it's just all broken. We can put a man on the moon. Although we haven't done so in some time and, if we are to believe terrible OJ Simpson movies from long ago, never even did that in the first place.

UPDATE: Hmm. So after agreeing to clean out the drain for x dollars, dude struggles for a while and then announces he can't do it. He thinks it's because he didn't bring the right tool. And then-- THEN-- he wants to get paid. And Jill is like, well, huh?, No! She calls the plumbing company, dude leaves, and they dispatch a new guy. New guy shows up, does the drain clearing for 60% of the first guy's price and also makes the leak go away with a little tightening here and there.

Now it gets weird. The new guy, the awesome guy, was not an employee of the original plumbing company, just another plumber they called out in a pinch. This conversation then occurred (paraphrased):

JILL: So what company do you work for?
GUY: I can't tell you that?
JILL: Wha-- why not?
GUY: I just can't.
JILL: Are you not supposed to tell me? Are you under orders from the plumbing company I called?
GUY: I ca--
JILL: How about this: can I follow you out to your truck and right down the name that it says on the side of your truck?
GUY: Well I can't stop you.

So that's our new plumber.