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Break on through to the other side

I had always heard that if I started digging straight down, I'd reach China. That idea failed the hemisphere sanity check. I finally juggled my latitude and longitude and realized how disappointed I would be if I started digging. At some point I would just reach the sea bed in the southern Indian Ocean southwest of Australia.


2009 Backyard Landscaping

Over the previous few years our backyard had fallen into a bit of disrepair. The ground had sunk unevenly, the back stairs were falling apart with the last step being a bit of a leap to the sunken ground below, and we had lost the war with Creeping Charlie. The backyard was never quite what it could have been - the old patio lay at a deep slant and was too small for a decent sized table. So, we finally had the back yard properly landscaped. There are still things to do this week - putting in the new stairs, cementing around some newly exposed foundation, maybe getting some patio furniture - but I'm so happy with the results so far! Too bad I won't have a lot of time to enjoy it before winter arrives.

CMLS Conference in Lake Tahoe

Usually when I travel for work I don't get to see a lot - just the airport, rental car, hotel, office and/or server room. My trip to Lake Tahoe for the CMLS Conference was exceptional. I spent some extra time and took a hike to Emerald Bay, Inspiration Point, and Sugar Pines. I went out on a dinner cruise and danced like mad to Jamm Sammich, a band with one of my clients (a tech guy named Brian) playing guitar. I'm a bit blown away - pictures follow...

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My brother Jonathan and his wife Beth are visiting. Their first night here we took it easy, focusing on nearby and easy pursuits. First we went out to The Red Stag (http://www.redstagsupperclub.com/) for dinner - highlights included a lovely pickled appetizer plate and some lovely fish and chips. For dessert we obtained various cupcakes from Cupcake (http://www.cup-cake.com/). After some conversation back in the living room, during which I shared Eddie Izzard's "Languages" segment (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1hJQsvoY6VU), we turned in.

The first full day of their visit we first went to the Mill City Farmer's Market (http://www.millcityfarmersmarket.org/) where we got some delicious omelets courtesy of Black Cat Natural Foods (http://www.blackcatnaturalfoods.com/) and browsed all the local foods and wares. Then we headed south, stopping at La Societe Du The for some teas for Beth, then down to Linden Hills where Beth and Michelle ogled various yarns and I picked up some extra snacks (roast turkey, pickled ramps) at Clancy's. From there we went back to Michelle's place on Nicollet Island, where we lounged in the backyard and snacked upon various cheeses, some black truffle terrine, the roast turkey, Provencal olives, and the ramps - along with accompanying beverages. Neighbors dropped by at various points, but by the mid-afternoon, the peace and quiet was broken as preparations were underway for the afternoon entertainment- Orpheus and Eurydice: A Picnic Operetta.

Directed by Scotty Reynolds, this production of the classic myth (in which Orpheus goes to the underworld to plead for his wife Eurydice) included well sung opera (ranging from Monteverdi and Offenbach) plus Motown and more modern influences. Various parts of the operetta were sung in French, Italian and English. The singers were accompanied by accordion, violin, and drum. Appropriate to the backyard garden and park setting, chef Nick Schneider provided a local-sourced menu throughout the production, starting with gazpacho served in a cucumber cup, a turnip dish I can't begin to describe, and some roasted zucchini.

Afterward, the patio-based festivities begun earlier that day continued, but with more neighbors and some of the performers dropping by.

Donny Dirks Zombie Den

On the site of Stand-Up Frank's, the owner of Psycho Suzi's has opened up Donny Dirks Zombie Den(http://www.donnydirks.com/) - swank zombie-oriented digs in a crapulant area of town. You can have the experience cheap ($3.75 for a big schooner of Hamms) or expensive ($9.75 for a schooner of Tripel Karmeliet) and everything between. Try the imaginatively infused liquors (vodka infused with cherry and tobacco?) or the well-made cocktails.

They don't make food there but you can order anything off the Psycho Suzi's menu (http://www.psychosuzis.com/menus.html) using the batphone, and they will deliver in the same, possibly less, time than it usually takes to get food at Psycho Suzi's.

When I was there yesterday the killer-bunny flick, "Night of the Lepos" was on the TV - Michelle, whose bunny Shamu is anything but a killer, was especially amused.

2pm-4am. Closed Mondays. $ - $ $ $

Belloc quote

I was at a party last weekend and friend Maryn trotted out a most excellent quote by Hilaire Belloc: “When I am dead, I hope it may be said: "His sins were scarlet, but his books were read.” Belloc's writing sometimes strays into bigotry and even fascism, but it's a great quote nonetheless.

Happy 4th of July

Another happy 4th of July spent on Nicollet Island with many friends ...

Nick, Liz, and Phil
Karen, Michelle, and [Karen's brother]
Nick, Liz, and Phil Karen, Michelle, and [Karen's brother]
Rocky, Ben and Peat
Erin and Loren
Rocky, Ben and Peat Erin and Loren
Maryn and SmartChicken

Maryn and SmartChicken

Chin Dian Cafe serving breakfast

The Chin Dian Cafe (15th Ave SE and Hennepin) is experimenting with breakfast, serving sweet and savory crepes. I tried one and it was pretty good. They tell me that they are taking feedback and making adjustments.

A partial picture of the breakfast menu follows: