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Good Reads
Bitter Pill

march 2006


January 29, 2007 6:09 PM

I've posted an updated album of the cube that we've spent the last few weeks "decorating." I hope y'all appreciate the details, such as the door of his cube locker, the phone cord, and even the keyboard which I will also tell you still works. Every single key.

Well folks, enjoy:


Someone Great

January 28, 2007 11:34 PM

Last weekend, during my brush with pneumonia (Did I tell y'all about that?) I was stuck inside for 5 days with nothing but my thoughts to keep me company. Ever since, all the Nina related nightmares have returned and I haven't been sleeping again.

My spirits were bouyed on Wednesday when I had dinner with two really great people. There's a group in this world that makes me feel instantly better about the entire situation just by seeing them, so I treasure it when I do.

I've been riding that high through the weekend, but intentionally taking it easy today has allowed my brain to start running again, which isn't good. I can already feel that it's going to be a really long night, and I'm not looking forward to it. I just want the pain to go away, but it haunts me like a ghost. It's a phantom of the past, a past I wish that I could rewind. I have every opportunity to be incredibly happy with a lot of my old friends, and a few new ones I've met in the last few months. Everybody has been supportive and very understanding. The new people I've met, the places I've been, and the things I've done border slightly on legendary.

Still, it's not the same.

I did happen to get a yet-to-be-released song stuck in my head from Sirius Satellite Radio though.

LCD Sound System - Someone Great

I wish that we could talk about it,
But there, that's the problem.
With someone new I could have started,
Too late, for beginnings.
The little things that made me harassed,
Are gone, in a moment.
I miss the way we used to argue,
Locked, in your basement.

I wake up and the phone is ringing,
Surprised, as it's early.
And that should be the perfect warning,
That something's, a problem.
To tell the truth I saw it coming,
The way, you were breathing.
But nothing can prepare you for it,
The voice, on the other, end.

The worst is all the lovely weather,
I'm sad, it's not raining.
The coffee isn't even bitter,
Because, what's the difference?
There's all the work that needs to be done,
It's late, for revision.
There's all the time and all the planning,
And songs, to be finished.

And it keeps coming,
And it keeps coming,
And it keeps coming,
Till the day it stops
(Repeat x3)
And it keeps coming,
(Repeat x7)
Till the day it stops.

I wish that we could talk about it,
But there, that's the problem.
With someone new I could have started,
Too late, for beginnings.
You're smaller than my wife imagined,
Surprised, you were human.
There shouldn't be this ring of silence,
But what, are the options?

When someone great is gone.
(Repeat x8)

We're safe, for the moment.
For the moment.

I'm off to the gym to go destroy myself. Maybe that will help. I have nobody to take care of but myself these days.


January 28, 2007 11:00 PM

As I left to go out with a bunch of friends last night, I thought it might be a good idea to go prepared. I knew that I would be drinking A LOT, so I threw a couple of Sierra Mist Free sodas in my car. My logic worked like this: If I crashed at my buddy's house rather than drive home half in the bag, that morning I was going to need some hydration.

The evening went as planned. About eight or nine of us ended up at a bar near his house. Somehow, about 10-11 pitchers of beer and a round of shots only managed to cost us $76.00. I have no idea how that's even possible, but hey, good times I guess.

So the next morning I woke up on his couch, while another friend was passed out on the other couch, and another was crashed on the floor. As I got up, I made it a point to rub in the fact that I had cool, delicious refreshment for the car ride home that morning.

About 15 minutes later, we all made our way out at the same time. I took the Sierra Mist can out of my car, and made it a point to say "Shhh...Listen to the sound of pure refreshment..." Then I cracked open the can that had been sitting in -5 degree temps all night.

It exploded. Everywhere.

Every ounce of liquid in that can shot out at mach 36. I'm just glad I shut the door of my car before opening it. Regardless, it must have been the funniest thing these two had seen in a long time. One of them almost fell over in the snow laughing so hard.

So that's my story. I thought I was being smart, and carbonated water under pressure managed to bitch-slap me. Hell, even I thought it was pretty damn funny.

OK, that's about it. I had a really fun weekend and decided to take it easy around the house today. Friday I ended up out for happy hour, managed great seats to the Wild game, then bar hopped the rest of the night. Yesterday was lunch downtown, then the afformentioned drinking/exploding can incident. Next weekend is already packed with fun, including a Superbowl party. The weekend after that will see parties Thursday through Sunday, double-booked on Saturday. Man, I'm gonna fall apart.

Culinary Delights

January 21, 2007 10:29 PM

I decided to put a list together of some of the best restaurants I've been to. I've tried to stay relatively diverse in terms of geographic location, just in case you all get a wild hair to do some traveling you'll have some interesting places to find some great food. I've tried to keep away from chains (although two of them are) and be diverse in cost as well. For example, the stop in Salt Lake City can't cost you more than six bucks out the door, while Montreal will cost you an arm and a leg. (Of course that's Canadian, which translates to a finger and a toe in U.S. dollars.) They may not have the absolute best food in their respective cities, but in my opinion, they are the best at what they try to be.

I'd be curious to hear of anybody else's food finds. Reply by clicking "Add Comments" at the bottom of the post.

Europea - Montreal, Quebec, Canada
After checking in to the hotel I stayed in, I got a recommendation from one of the front desk employees about this place. It is located right in downtown Montreal, just off Rue Ste-Catherine, one of the main drags in Montreal. It's a very small, laid back but upscale restaurant with modern decor and friendly staff. All the staff spoke English, which I learned later in my trip not to take for granted. I ordered an appetizer and an entree (and a bottle of wine) and ended up having a seven course feast. It was flat out amazing and the food was very well prepared. The dessert tray (I didn't order dessert, it just showed up) contained some of the most delicate little treats and cookies you could possibly imagine. Europea is definitely one of the best restaurants I've ever been to.

Texas De Brazil - Orlando, Florida
While the food is good, it's the experience here that is the most fun. Servers walk around with giant skewers of meat. If the little disk at your place setting is green side up, you're getting meat. Red side up, they'll give you a break. The only problem with this restaurant is that what you start with completely upstages the actual meat. The salad bar at this place has the most amazing things on it. The vegetables, cheeses, and other assortments are flat out amazing. If you go, listen to your server's advice: Pace yourself. One other tip - If you are staying on a disney property, it will take a rental car, or approximately a $20 cab ride from Downtown Disney to get you there. Getting away from all the kids is worth whatever the cab costs.

Crown Burger - Salt Lake City, Utah
If you want to know what a heart attack tastes like, go to Crown Burger. I can barely begin to describe the crown burger. It's like a pastrami sandwich injected into a hamburger. Eating it is definitely a challenge, as the bun becomes nothing more than a carrier for all the grease in this massive burger. Despite it's artery clogging potential, the burger itself is just short of devine. The ingredients are fresh and the meat is soooo good. If you decide to splurge one day and treat yourself to one, you definitely won't be disappointed. Trust me!

Razmataz - Rodney Bay, St. Lucia, Eastern Caribbean
I think I've learned that if you want really good Indian food, find out where the Europeans go for it. While I doubt any of you would hop a minimum of three flights just for some tikka masala, it is to die for. They also have what has to be the best na'an bread there is. I've eaten there twice, and both times the dishes I had were very good. Outside of amazing food, it's also one of the only places in St. Lucia I remember seeing a TV in the bar. Sure enough, they had a soccer game on one TV, and a rugby game on the other. Definitely a brit's paradise.

North By Northwest - Austin, Texas
The minute you hit Austin, chances are the locals will recommend you make a looooong drive out to this amazingly strange place called the Salt Lick for BBQ. Save your time and effort and stick to town as there's plenty of good things to be had. NXNW (as they abbreviate) was right across the street from the hotel I stayed in while I was down there. Nothing was better than just heading over and grabbing a great meal with some really good beer too. The food is really good without being pretencious and the staff was friendly and quick. Another restaurant called the Iron Cactus is right next door to NXNW and offers equally good food. However, it comes across as a see-and-be-seen restaurant and lacks the laid back, relaxing feel of NXNW.

Moose's - San Francisco, California
While I was looking forward to what Napa Valley had to offer for food, the one I thought was the best was actually smack in the middle of San Francisco. Impeccable food combined with some live music and a great wine selection made this a really good stop. The cuisine was varied, ranging from local seafood to steaks and lamb. It was a slightly upscale restaurant and the assistant manager/sommelier stopped by a few times to chat and was very friendly. While you're there, walk two blocks down the street and catch Beach Blanket Babylon, a hilarious skit play that's been running for years and is constantly updated with modern pop-culture references.

Cosmos - Minneapolis, Minnesota
Ultra sleek and sexy, this is one of my favorite restaurants in town. Every time I've been there, the food and service have been spectacular. The last time I was there was "Thanksgiving Dinner" for myself and a friend who both spent Turkey Day by ourselves. We split a bottle of wine and enjoyed salads, entrees, and desserts. (She ordered dessert, I finished it.) Cosmos is one of the restaurants that's been bringing the level of dining in the Twin Cities up a notch. As far as hotel restaurants go, (It's in the Graves 601 in Block E downtown) it has to be one of the best. I'm definitely looking forward to going back soon. I'd also like to give La Belle Vie an honorable mention for Minneapolis dining, and I would have listed it above Cosmos if it wasn't for the sticker shock you get there.

Brook's Steakhouse - Denver, Colorado
If you want to know what a steakhouse should be like, visit Brook's. Tucked close to Denver Technology Center (DTC), you'll sit in deep leather booths or chairs in a slightly dimmed restaurant. Instead of bringing out a basket of bread for you to munch on, they bring an enourmous bowl of jumbo shrimp cocktail. The prime rib was about the best prime I've ever had. While I don't eat much red meat any more, you can bet if I'm ever back in Denver, I'll be chowing down there.

Roy's Poipu Bar & Grill - Poipu Beach, Kauai, Hawaii
The single best food I've ever had in my life was an appetizer at Roy's. The Roy's located in Kauai disguises itself in a small open-air shopping area near Poipu Beach. Looking at it from the outside, you'd never know how good this place is. The appetizer I had was these amazing baby back ribs, with a unique sauce on them that was finger licking good. The entree I had was also very good. If you find yourself in Kauai, get away from the hotel restaurants and head to Roy's. It's definitely worth it.

Icon Bar & Bistro - Atlanta, Georgia
When planning to go out, have you ever had an idea of the kind of dining experience you wanted to have, and gotten exactly what you were looking for? The only free night on a work trip took four of us to Icon Bar & Bistro. We asked the concierge at our hotel for a place that was off the beaten path where we could avoid the rest of our coworkers and have a calm relaxing meal in a small place with good character and great food. Icon was her recommendation. It sits off a small street a few blocks from Centennial Olympic Park in downtown Atlanta. More so then the food, it was the company that made me remember this place. One of our group toasted our dinner "To Friends" which meant a lot to me given we were all there to work. The food was very good, and the bartender was making some very good cocktails. We were one of only two or three tables in the place and received excellent service. Apparently at night they have live jazz music as well. We must have just missed it when we left, but it was mid-week. Since most of downtown Atlanta involves Hard Rock and Hooters type restaurants, do yourself a favor and give Icon a try.

Casa de Reyes - San Diego, California
If you're in San Diego, there's only one part of town to head for authentic Mexican cuisine: Old Town. After being stuck inside all day, asking a cabbie to take us to the best Mexican place in Old Town brought us here. In addition to having great food, Casa de Reyes also has a large, beautiful patio area for outdoor dining. It was a big morale booster to be able to sit outside and watch the sunset with good friends and great food. Be warned though. What you think is the large margarita is in fact the medium margarita. One in my dining party found that out the hard way. They also have a large selection of tequilas (if you haven't learned The Tequila Rule yet) as well as several Mexican beers. Remember, Tecate is the best beer in all of Mexico! (Only a few of you should find that joke really funny, but none of you should be dumb enough to believe that.) Take the cab ride to Old Town and make sure you get a table on the patio. It's worth it.

The Human Heart Is Our New Capitol

January 18, 2007 12:37 AM

It's tough for me to have people understand my viewpoint on war and military service. As much as the military would have been a quick ticket to me flying, I had the privilege of growing up with a father who saw the worst war could offer from the cockpit of an aircraft.

There's a picture in one of our family photo albums of Sho, an exchange student from Japan that we hosted when my brother and I were young and my sister was spending a year in France. Sho, looking for a Halloween costume, put on my Dad's flight gear from serving as a naval aviator in the Vietnam War. My mom (I assume) took the picture of Sho in the flight gear, but in the corner you see my Dad carving a pumpkin with a face white as a ghost, not even able to look at an asian man in Vietnam flight gear.

I bet it took a solid 15 years for me to understand that image. The scars of war run deeper than any wound can ever appear. Everyone who serves in the military in a time of war comes home wounded, irrelevant of whether or not it requires bandages.

Regardless of your political viewpoint, somewhere across the world there are soldiers being shot at. As rough as life has been these last few months for me, the sun in my world will rise tomorrow. Unfortunately, for some of this country's bravest, the sun will go down in their world forever.

Just remember, while all who come home are wounded, some won't come home at all.

Everybody go download and listen to the song below right now. (It's a free and legal MP3 download.) It's a politically charged song about the Bush administration, but it's the subcurrent that's important. It's the lesson that my Dad tought my brother and I at a young age subconsciously: War, in all its forms, is an atrocity.

Think about those abroad, and if this doesn't make you pause and take stock for a minute, find somebody who has served through the worst nature of mankind. Whether you know it or not, they need our "band-aids", because all of them carry wounds.

Then tomorrow, Be thankful.

Enjoy the sunrise.

Dry Drunk Emperor

More information (including the lyrics) is available below. Be sure to read the box in the lower-right labeled "Band Member Info" for the goods:

TV on the Radio

As I know it was a JFK quote that drew my Dad to serve, I figured another one was appropriate today:

    "The world is very different now. For man holds in his mortal hands the power to abolish all forms of human poverty, and all forms of human life." - John F. Kennedy

The Current As a Reflection Of Twin Cities Culture

January 15, 2007 6:06 PM

When I came in to work this morning, I discovered that I had left Winamp on all weekend. It had been streaming The Current from Minnesota Public Radio for something like 72 hours straight. Heh, I wonder how long before the network admins show up at my desk asking some questions.

If you haven't taken a listen, you should. They play a lot of alternative and indie rock, but mix it up quite a bit. Their morning show (which I can't stand for some reason) is mostly smoother stuff with a lot of Jazz. Later at night they even spin some techno and throw some hip-hop in throughout the day. They have a playlist of something like 150,000 songs, when most radio stations manage a few hundred at best.

I think one thing The Current manages to do is show that Minneapolis is a really cultured town. Most don't know that outside of New York, we have one of the largest theater districts in the U.S., you can go see a live music show any night of the week, and our restaurants just keep getting better and better. Ask Geri if you don't believe me. The residents of Minneapolis have surprisingly sofisticated tastes, and we're lucky to have a city that can accomodate them. Everything from opera, acclaimed wine lists, and 11-course tasting menus to juicy lucy burgers, beer, and a rock show. Austin, Texas may be considered the live music capital of the U.S., but having been there I'll take Minneapolis (even with the 6 inches of snow I had to deal with this morning) any day. We've rounded it all out.

So, give it a listen. Click the link below, then look for the "Listen" link on the page. Either that, or tune in to 89.3 on your radio in the Twin Cities metro area.

Listen to The Current

Meanwhile, I have the option to have a glass of Cabernet pressed from 80 year old vines for happy hour with some macadamia crusted brie, or meet up with some friends across town for buffalo wings and beer.

Maybe I don't feel so sophisticated tonight. Wings and beer it is.

An Entertaining Wednesday Evening

January 11, 2007 7:17 PM

Last night after work I went straight to downtown Minneapolis to get my hair cut. I was going out later that night and Dre, the guy who cuts my hair was throwing out some recommendations in the 394/Highway 100 area, as that is where my dining companion lives. Dre recommended heading over to a greek restaurant called Santorini. Why?

Because they have Wednesday night karoake.

Dinner was very good. We split a lamb gyro appetizer and I had the lamb souvlaki for an entree, which was very well prepared. She had a shrimp pasta, which I didn't bother trying because, well honestly, I didn't really feel like dying last night. Anyhoo, all that went down very well with a bottle of Australian Shiraz, which was priced very reasonably for being purchased in a restaurant.

After dinner, we decided to grab a night cap in the bar. To our surprise it was packed, and it's a decent sized bar to begin with. The audience was there to see any who were willing butcher song after song in repeated karoake embarassment. The second person on stage was a 300-350 pound man, almost completely bald, with a beard down to the middle of his chest. What song does a man of this stature sing?

Prince - Kiss

"You don't have to be beautiful, to turn me on" is how the song opens up. I honestly think somebody should have sung it to him instead! As he made his way through the song (which he did very admirably) he got to the pause before the word "kiss" and even made the little kisses face that Julia Roberts did in Pretty Woman.

Much more entertainment than I was expecting on a Wednesday.

The recruitment process for future Wednesday nightcaps at Santorini has already begun...


January 10, 2007 1:19 PM

So I caught some hell from various folks whining about how they had to "register" to leave comments or post anything else in comments/forums I just set up. Well, the squeaky wheel gets the oil I guess...

I've enabled anonymous comments, which will stay enabled until y'all abuse it.

So, click "Add Comments" below any post, and go nuts.

The Man of Metropolis

January 8, 2007 3:50 AM

The sight as you drive into Duluth, Minnesota (especially at night) is breathtaking. As you crest over the hills that surround the city, the view that unfolds before you is the entire city sparkling against the waters of Lake Superior. The only thing that I can compare it to is approaching Salt Lake City at night from the East, coming down Parley's Canyon. The lights of Salt Lake open up before you, pinched against the black starkness of the Great Salt Lake and the Bonneville Salt Flats to the West, and the ruggedness of the Wasatch Mountains to the North, South, and East.

As I drove out of Duluth late one evening a few weeks ago, I took the last exit atop the hills and parked on a small side road and just took in the view for a couple of minutes. As I put Gravedigger into park, the glory of Sirius Satellite Radio started playing a song that will now forever etch that beautiful sight into my head anytime I hear it.

The combination of the song, the amazing view, and the end of one of the most heart-filling and meaningful things I have ever done, I broke down. It was a strange kind of bittersweetness that engulfed me. It wasn't sorrow, but it wasn't joy.

It was like an emotional flashbang. A flashbang is a device law enforcement and the military use to stun people. An extremely bright flash combined with a very loud sound overwhelms the senses and literally paralyzes people momentarily. The entire day caught up with me in a scene that somebody would write for the end of a movie. Alone, I sat atop the hills of Duluth watching the city twinkle its way into the night with a strange yet somehow powerful song playing on the radio.

It was like a tsunami of emotion. I couldn't see it coming, and in a flash the wave of emotion it carried rolled right over me. It was just too much. Mind, body, and soul combusted and it's a moment I will never forget.

The song is called "The Man of Metropolis Steals Our Hearts" by Sufjan Stevens. Give the sample a listen from Amazon.

Below are the lyrics. At first glance, it's a song about the Man of Steel - Superman. For me, and maybe those familiar with the rollercoaster of my life for the last few months (click the December_2006 link and scroll down folks) the song takes on a very different meaning.

What do you all think this song is about? (You can tell me now. Notice the "Add Comments" link at the bottom of each post!) I think it's a much more personal interpretation of what the "Man of Steel" is. Read the lyrics, tell me what you think. A real man at the beginning becomes a steel man at the end. Maybe the real man is Superman...

Trouble falls in my home
Troubled man, troubled stone
Turn a mountain of lies
Turn a card for my life
Man of Steel, Man of Heart
Tame our ways, if we start
To devise something more
Something halfways

Only a steel man came to recover
If he had run from gold, carry over
We celebrate our sense of each other
We have a lot to give one another

I took a bus to the lake
Saw the monument face
Yellow tides, golden eyes
Red and white, red and wise
Raise the flag, summer home
Parted hair, part unknown
If I knew what I read
I'll send it half ways

Only a real man can be a lover
If he had hands to lend us all over
We celebrate our sense of each other
We have a lot to give one another

Took my bags, Illinois
Dreamt the lake took my boy
Man of Steel, Man of Heart
Turn your ear to my part
There are things you have said
Raise the boat, and raise the dead
If you take us away
Still can we say:

Only a steel man can be a lover
If he had hands to tremble all over
We celebrate our sense of each other
We have a lot to give one another

Random Thoughts To Open 2007

January 5, 2007 7:31 PM

1) Foiled

First off, a coworker of ours has been on a dream vacation to New Zealand, Australia, and Hawaii for the last six weeks. He doesn't return for another three weeks. So we've been covering everything in his cube in aluminium foil. Everything. Papers? Check. Stapler? Check. Keyboard (keys individually)? Check. Garbage Can? Check. I did not plan nor did I acquire the foil to do this task, yet everybody is already pointing the finger at me. See what kind of reputation serving a keg of non-alcoholic beer at a party, pallette wrapping everything in your boss's office, and filling 200 dixie cups full of water and stapling them together across a co-worker's desk on three consecutive April Fool's Day gets you?

Edit: A coworker just saw my post and asked that I change the previous picture of Reynold's Wrap Heavy Duty Aluminium Foil to a picture of what we actually used...Cheapo Walgreen's Foil. We're too economical (read: cheap) to use the good stuff.

2) New Years Eve

New Years Eve was excellent! I ended up out with my profound friend Schmitz, his wife Sara, and several others. With mere seconds to spare until the clock struck midnight, I managed to get a bottle of the bubbly from the bartender and have the last glass of our group poured with two seconds left. Perfect timing! My headache the next day wasn't much fun, but I slept it off OK. How was New Years for all of you?

3) The Sauce

Not the booze, but the caffeine. I have again given it up. I've gone since the New Year without a drop. It's been much easier this time than the last time. No headaches or shakes so far, so I think I might be in the clear.

And no, I will not be giving up the other sauce.

4) Comments System

I've installed a neato little forum software that I'm going to try to get enabled sometime this weekend. It's a separate system than what runs this site, but it's really easy to set up and run so I think it will work out quite nicely.

5) A Note From Mom

Today my mom IM'ed me at 2:45 pm. Take interest in the sudden change in direction of her dialog after I told her what I did...It's funny. The dialog below is as follows:

Mom: Are you about ready to call it a day and head out of the office?

Bob: It's not even 3. Why?

Mom: It's Friday.

Bob: I went and told my boss I had a note from my mom that I could leave early.

Mom: No you didn't!

Bob: Well, you said it's Friday.

Mom: I was hall montor ... just checking to see why you weren't on task and chatting with your mother instead.

6) That's It

That's about all I've got. Happy Hour at Sakura is offering us $2.50 beers, and $2.00(!!!!!) appetizers, which does include some sushi. Being on first name basis with the owner Miyoko and having our own table sure doesn't hurt either.

Have a good weekend everybody!


This is the word barf of a guy named Bob (Ethics major turned Software Engineer) who lives in Minneapolis.

Email me. Buy some photo gallery prints. Do whatever.

Looking for foil pictures? They are here.

Unfoiled, The Movie

Why [IT] Matters
My Life Applied to Corporate America

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