Friday, December 14, 2007

Yep, I am that stupid

A couple weeks ago (the day of the first big snow storm actually), I was hanging out with Eben, Kevin, Mike and Kirk after our run, just sipping on some hot chocolate at a local coffee shop. Kirk started talking about getting new eyeglasses, and I started raving about my Nike Flexon glasses, which are really awesome for running. They flex, don't slip, they're the best glasses I've ever had. In fact, when I bought them, the person at the eyewear shop showed me multiple times how they could bend and flex. I thought that was pretty cool, but I was wary to bend and flex them as much as they did at the store. I was fine with the minor flexing that occurred during my long runs.

Well, I guess I was pretty jazzed and trying to sell Kirk on these things, because the next thing I know I'm showing him just how much they bend! Well, you can imagine what happened next. And if you can't, look at the photo below:

Now I'm wearing an old pair waiting for a replacement set. And I'm back to glasses that suck for running!

Also, notice in the photo the beard I'm working on. I should have some sweet photos for a future blog on my facial hair adventures. I can't wait for the moustache party next weekend! (and neither can Ashley, because after that I have to shave).

(And thank you to Tim for the photo!)

Sunday, December 2, 2007


So I'm watching football tonight and all of a sudden I hear a familiar tune. "Come On" by Guster was playing on the TV! Guster has been my favorite band since 1998, and I like that song quite a bit. I look up to see what interesting product Guster is shilling for, and it's a freaking big pharma ad. It's an ad for Cypher, which is a medical stent. It has something to do with clogged arteries, which is ironic because at this moment I am eating peanut butter straight out of the jar.

From a quick Google search, it appears that Cypher is a drug-coated stent made by Johnson & Johnson. Apparently this stent's safety has been called into question, although the FDA now has determined that it is indeed safe.

The fact Guster is doing this ad bothers me a little. With all their greenie tendencies (they even won an MTVU award for their efforts), I'd hope they would lend their music to more progressive ventures than a stent made by one of the biggest pharmaceuitcals in the world. Oh well, I still love their music, appreciate their commitment to ending global warming through the group they started (Reverb), and I suppose I can close my eyes during this commercial and just enjoy the song. But big pharma, are you kidding me? Come on guys, what about doing a spot for wind energy... Or better yet, give your song to an ad that encourages exercise and eating healthy, which is a MUCH better way at managing clogging arteries.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Hot or Not - D-town style

So y'all remember that Hot or Not website? You'd spend hours looking through photos judging total strangers on their looks. Well, here's your chance to do it again, 1999-style.

My friend Tim's brother, a resident of the Detroit area, is in a contest to see who is the hottest guy in Detroit. I know what you're thinking, that's like being the cool kid in engineering school (or so I've been told), but hey, he'll win a trip to Mexico if he is chosen to be the hottest.

So go to this website (both of you), and vote for SHAWN GREENLEAf!! Thanks

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Cable-Stay This!

OK, those of you who know me well, and especially those who know me from back in the day, as it were, or rather, my college days, know that I LOVE BRIDGES!! They are my favorite part of the built environment. I love how simple and functional bridges are, yet how unique each one can be. My favorite bridges are (in no particular order, and only ones I've been to):

and now there's a new entry to this list....

The Midtown Greenway Bike Bridge in Minneapolis!

This bridge opened within the last few weeks connecting the Greenway segments on either side of Hiawatha Avenue so that bikers/pedestrians do not have to wait at the 4 minute (literally) stop light. It's a sweeping bridge that actually adds about a quarter mile or more to a bike ride due to the site constraints of existing buildings and the light rail. One has to ride to the north 2 blocks, cross the bridge, and then travel south 2 blocks to return to the Greenway. On the west side of the bridge, one has to cross a somewhat busy 4 lane road (28th Street) with no signal. It's a slightly dicey crossing. And the bridge cost $5 million. So $5 million to create a crossing that is a longer distance and adds an uncontrolled intersection... Interesting.

I have been using the bridge for a few weeks (mostly on my early morning trips to Uptown to have breakfast with Team Whitney). So I know you're all dying to know my opinion on the bridge and whether or not it was worth the $5 million. Well, there has been a lot of chatter and blogging about this bridge for a year or more on just those issues I mentioned above. A lot of the blogging has been at the Strib's Roadguy blog. Here's his most recent post here.

While watching the building of this bridge, I was very excited. I love cable-stayed bridges for their elegance, and I was happy to have one being built right on one of my usual bike routes! So I definitely was more optimistic than most on how useful it would be. But that also means my expectations were high and frankly, this bridge does not live up to my expectations. To be honest, the extra distance IS annoying, and if I were walking, I would probably just cross at the light on Hiawatha and skip the bridge altogether. With biking, it's about the same amount of time.

And the 28th St crossing? It is VERY dangerous. It seems more dangerous than the Hiawatha crossing because there is no control. Traffic moves very quickly here and is looking AHEAD towards the light at Hiawatha, and is not paying attention to the bikers/peds in the crosswalk.

Here's what works: This bridge is gorgeous. It gives great views of downtown, and great views of the neighborhood. There was a recent Strib editorial that said the bridge was good IN SPITE of the views of the industrial area around the bridge. I think those views ENHANCE the bridge. We're talking about Midtown, you've got to love it for what it is. The view of the old water tower and Midtown Commons in the background make this trip worth it.

Case in point, this morning as I was biking to breakfast, the wind was howling and gusting to 25 mph out of the NW. So what do I do? I bike up the ramp to the bridge directly into the wind instead of the easier crossing at Hiawatha. What? Because I love the views, I love the beauty of this bridge (especially before sunrise). But maybe I bike over it because we paid $5 million for that bridge and darn it, I'm going to get my money's worth. Ever buy a bagel or a donut and it's a little dry, not very tasty. Do you throw it away? NO! You eat it because you paid for it! So I'll be biking on my new favorite South Minneapolis bridge, on good days and bad, and I'll enjoy, whether I want to or not!

Thoughts on the new bridge? Anyone else have a favorite bridge they'd like to share? A few photos of some of my favorites below (photos that I happen to have on my computer right now):

Duluth Lift Bridge...

Rail Bridge in Minneapolis

Big Sur!!!

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Trials Tragedy

Most of you have probably heard about the tragedy at the US Men's Olympic Marathon Trials yesterday. Ryan Shay, a highly competitive marathoner, and considered a dark horse in the trials, collapsed at mile 5.5 and died. Most of the runners, including his good friend and eventual winner, Ryan Hall, had no idea of Shay's death until almost 2 hours later. This is a sad day for the running community, but especially for Shay's family, friends, and his recent bride, Alicia. We should keep them in our prayers, and since the competitive running community is so close, there's a chance that someone reading this knows someone personally touched by his death. Shay's friends and family will need all the support they can get.

I was watching the Trials yesterday, while here on the East Coast visiting friends. I took the early Chinatown from DC to NYC in time for the start. Due to the nature of the race course, I was able to see the start at Rock Center, and get up to Central Park and see the marathoners 8 more times as I ran around the course. After the start, I hurried up to mile 6. The packs were still pretty tight then, and I watched all the racers pass before moving up the parkway to get about a half mile or up the course (I was trying to get to 79th St or so.) I saw one of the marathoners pass me walking (Abdi I think), and I thought, that's weird, I guess it just wasn't his day. Next thing I saw, there was a runner laying on the ground with about 5 or 6 people over him giving him CPR. All of us who were walking had to walk around him due to the lack of sidewalks, so we walked within feet of him. I looked over as I stepped past, and I felt sick. I could tell that their CPR wasn't working, but I said a prayer for him and hurried away so that the ambulance (which still wasn't there yet) could get by without spectator interference. The rest of the race I had no idea what had happened to this runner, and it was obvious the finishers didn't know either since at the finish, the look of joy on Ryan Hall's face was incredible. It wasn't until I saw the news ticker in Times Square that I learned of Shay's fate.

There are some good postings and links to stories about Shay's life on

Aside from that tragedy, it was a really good race. It was great to be able to cheer for so many great runners with Minnesota connections. The highlight really was tracking Jason Lehmkuhle's performance throughout the race, and being able to watch the runners pass so many times. It was like watching a cross country race for over 2 hours. I really hope that this sort of event happens more often than every four years, and that the course is tailored to spectators like this one was. It made it much more of a sporting event. Usually a marathon is much easier to watch on TV, this one was better in person.

I could write more about this race and how well Ryan Hall ran. Perhaps later I'll post some photos, but sadly the story here is about Ryan Shay. Hall, Ritz, and Sells have a lot to run for and to inspire them in Beijing.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You Mean I Get PAID to do this???

So yesterday I spent the entire day wandering around Washington County doing inspections for a watershed district. While I spent a fair amount of the day crawling around storm sewer manholes getting dirty, most of the time I was walking through fields and parks. We always schedule these inspections for this time of year so that the flow is lower, but that usually means it's cold too. Not yesterday! 65 and sunny! And I got PAID!! I love my job!

But that's not really blog worthy. THIS is. I saw a couple things that I thought were just hilarious. First, this is a sign on a frontage road along I-94. Take a look at the detail on the brim of that farmer's hat. Pretty impressive I'd say.

Then there was this car at an Arby's in Woodbury. Come on, I know you like their coffee, but TWO bumper stickers? I hope Caribou is paying your gas or at least giving you a free latte. This brings up the larger question of shilling with bumper stickers. A lot of people have their favorite radio station's, band's or team's bumper sticker prominently displayed (I have a Twins sticker on my car, and YES, my car is TWINS TERRITORY). But there seems to be something different about putting a sticker from a big company like Caribou or Cub Foods on the back of the car. If it was a bumper sticker promoting the Seward Coop or Betsey's Back Porch, I wouldn't have a problem with it, yet with these big corporations, it just seems silly. You can see billboards for Caribou and Cub on the highway, do we need to see them on the car in front of us as well? You may "Love Your Cub", but does Cub really care?

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Stop reading this and GET OUTSIDE!!

You may have noticed my blogging has been a little weak lately. It's not that I don't have anything fun to blog about, in fact I have a couple hundred photos sitting 0n my camera at this moment from the past few weeks. It's just that it's the best time of year, FALL! Yesterday I was all of a sudden overwhelmed with how amazing it is outside and how lucky I am to be able to enjoy autumn. Here's a list of all the things I love about the fall that come to mind right now:

  • Honeycrisp apples. Best apples on earth, and you can only get them right now.
  • Any other Minnesota apple (fireside, haralson...) See above
  • Cool, crisp weather
  • Frost on the grass in the mornings, warm afternoons
  • Cloudless days
  • Red sumac
  • Yellow sugar maple leaves
  • Running in state/local parks. Lake Elmo Park, Hyland Hills are AMAZING RIGHT NOW! Leave the computer and go to one of those parks at this moment! I've spent the past two days at those parks.
  • The Mississippi River Gorge. Walk/run/bike the river roads. Stand on a bridge and look up and down the gorge. Go down to Pike Island. I start to forget I'm in a city. The yellows are just phenomenal right now, especially on the river road by St. Thomas.
  • Harvest moon. Bright nights. Low humidity means you can see the finer details of the moon. Stare at it. For a while. The moon is waning right now, so enjoy it tonight!
  • The promise of winter, the memories of summer.
  • Halloween and Thanksgiving, 2 holidays that are all about food and fun!
So get outside! There's no rain and virtually no clouds forecast all week. Take a half-day from work, or a whole day, go enjoy the last bits of fall. Then let me know where your favorite spots are!

And in other news, congrats to Ed on a great Marine Corps Marathon today! I'll be in DC in a few days. I wish I had time for a Shenandoah trip. This would be the PERFECT weekend to go...

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Welcome Friend!

OK, I FINALLY added Beth to my blog friends list (look to the right). I highly recommend her blog for 3 reasons:

1) Beth is awesome!
2) She's the biggest Twins fan I know
3) She takes great photos and updates her blog often! The only person I know who is as diligent as Beth is Ed (aka The Deets).

Welcome friend, it's about time I add you to favorites list!

See you at Storyhill tomorrow night Beth???

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Climate Mash

This video is creative, hilarious, and SCARY! Check it out:

Climate Mash

In other climate news, it seems our warm October is coming to an end. I froze my fingers off on my ride to work. But for anyone who doubts climate change, I don't have to do more than point to the Twin Cities Marathon where the last SIX marathons have had above-"average" temperatures. I think the average is being redefined. But props to those hot, sweaty and delirious runners who braved the heat. I wussed out and ran the 5K and 10-miler. I PR'ed in the 5K (17:49) and had a blast running the 10-miler with Ashley. I've never been so glad to NOT run a marathon. Perhaps photos to come... perhaps not.

Enjoy fall now that it's arrived!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Signs I'm an Old Man

I don't believe that your age defines you, or really says that much about you at all. I know plenty of 40-year-olds who are in better shape than most guys in their 20s. I know guys in their 50s who party harder now than I ever have.

And then there's me. I'm 28, and I'm done. Old, over the hill, finished. College is still fresh enough in my mind that I consider myself a younger person. I'm not married, no kids (or pets) so I'm certainly free to do whatever I want whenever I want. And I do just that. But what I want these days is more likely to go to bed by 10pm. Sure, I may stay up until midnight every now and then, but considering the latest I've been up in months was when I worked until 1am the other day, I can say with certainty that I'm an old man.

Case in point, last night. I have the opportunity to go to a fun concert with friends at 9pm (until 10 or 11pm). So going out until 11pm on a Thursday? Sounds pretty reasonable. I'm totally in and planning on going, until I realize I missed my ride. At this point (9pm), I can still bike home and go out for a while, but nope, I decide that it's too late to go out and off to bed for me!

Next sign, this morning. I'm driving to work this morning at about 6am. I see a group of about 5 high-school-aged kids walking up the alleys in my neighborhood. Due to the recent graffiti and thefts in the alleys of my neighborhood, I decide the prudent thing to do is call the police and have them make sure all is kosher. Calling the cops on kids? Who am I, my dad????

And let's not even talk about weekends. I used to use my early morning running on weekends as the reason/excuse why I didn't like to stay out past 11pm on a Fri/Sat night. I'll admit right here right now, that really, I just like going to bed then.

But here's the thing. Anyone who knows me knows that I'm probably the most over-scheduled, busiest person they know. I am ALWAYS up for anything and love going out. But I'd rather hit the town at 8pm so I can be home by the time most are just going out. And my preferred hangout time? Breakfast. So next time you want to hang out with me, schedule a breakfast at French Meadow Bakery or Victor's 1959 Cafe. You may go to the Uptown Diner at 3 am after bar close, but I'll be there at 6am on a full night's sleep!

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Buster's on 28th Review

After reading about a new restaurant in my neighborhood on the Deets' Blog, I had to check it out. Well, a short 2 months after I read his review, I finally got my ass over to Buster's on 28th.

Well, the Deets was all fired up about the lame Juicy Lucy, but I noticed very quickly that it was absent from the menu, probably a good thing since they never got it right, and there are plenty of other great places to score a delicious Lucy.

I'll do the food review first. The menu is pretty much elevated bar food, decent, but not outstanding. They had a buffalo burger that 3 of the 4 of us tried. We all agreed that the burger itself was delicious. Here's my problem with it. It is a huge burger smothered in BOTH mayo and a sour cream-based chipotle sauce. Why the need for both? Seems excessive. I asked for mine SIN mayo. The burger (cooking options: medium, medium-rare, charred, whatever... were not offered) showed up and there was about half an inch thick of the chipotle sauce which the waitress INSISTED made the burger. NO WAY! It was delicious, but the sauce was so spicy that it completely masked the flavor of the burger. I scraped off the sauce and discovered that the burger itself was pretty darn tasty too. I would highly recommend this burger with no or just a light amount of the sauce. Other than that, fries were good, onion rings were good.

They did have a difficult time finding BBQ sauce for my fries and malt vinegar was not an option. If they want to be a little better than bar food, those options should be available.

On to the beer. This is their specialty. Busters is owned by the same folks who brought us the Happy Gnome, and they bring their love of good beer. I must say I was exceedingly impressed with the beer list, especially with what was on tap. The gluten-free beer option was a nice touch since I was there with my old roommate Molly who cannot have gluten. I had a Hennepin Ale from NYC that I had had only once before in Brooklyn. I would HIGHLY recommend that. I also tried a MN beer, Flat Earth Element 115. Really interesting taste, but perhaps too many competing flavors. This unique beer is worth a try though. One complaint with their drink menu is that their draft root beer is Frost Top. That sh@t is nasty. Get some good ol' 1919 root beer from New Ulm! But I'm not there for the root beer so I don't really care.

Last comment, on the decor. Hopefully they spruce this up. I like the mirror at the back so even the last table (which we were) can see the whole restaurant. But if you're a place specializing in beers, show that! There's pretty much nothing on the walls, no flare. Of course we know from Office Space that too much flare is a bad thing, but no flare = no personality.

All in all, I'd recommend this place if you live in the neighborhood, but not as a destination, unless something off of their drink menu compels you.

Friday, September 28, 2007

This is why you should be glad I bike to work

So most of you have probably seen this since it's linked to MSN's homepage, and probably will be for the next 8 weeks the way MSN does their linking. In fact, if you miss it, there's a good chance they'll link to it again in a year and act like it's a brand-new story. Anyway, I digress... So this caught my eye: Crash your car? Blame the stars. The premise is that people with certain astrological signs are more prone to auto accidents than other signs. Apparently this is a stronger indicator of auto accidents than age or zip code. Maybe the insurance industry will pick this up. If so, I'm in trouble. Aries didn't fare so well. I love this quote from the article: "Aries, on the other hand, 'have a "me first" childlike nature that drives Aries into trouble.' ... 'I would think twice before getting into a car with an Aries.' "

So watch out! And be glad I biked to work today so I can't give any of you a ride, and I can't cause significant damage to your SUV even if I do crash into you.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Welcome to the Neighborhood!

So my 'hood has a new addition that is perfect for me! A Grand Old Creamery just opened at Cedar and Minnehaha Parkway, where an old Dairy Queen used to be. Considering that there's still a DQ close by at the Falls, I can say that I love the change and the new option for ice cream delights!

I am a big fan of the GOC in St. Paul, so I was excited to try this one, especially since they are giving out coupons in my mail (finally, something to look FORWARD to when I get the mail..."where's my next GOC coupon???)

While GOC is no Sebastian Joe's or Izzy's, it is quality ice cream, and local. I must have looked hungry when Ash and I stopped by the other day on our rollerblading adventure, because the kids at the shop gave me a mountain of ice cream. I asked for a SINGLE SCOOP, half peanut butter chunk and half pistacio. Well, you be the judge as to whether that qualifies as a "single scoop." Needless to say, I was a happy camper and will be a loyal customer for years to come! (side note: Ashley had the sherbert and can attest to its deliciousness). Thumbs up all around on this one! Welcome to Nokomis!

Favorite ice cream shops?

Friday, September 14, 2007

Bike Safety

I know this post is a bit belated considering that the cyclist by Calhoun was killed last week (story here), but I've been thinking and reading about this quite a bit. I've been biking to work much more often this year, usually 3 to 4 times per week. The benefits are great, mostly in the decreased frustration with traffic. This week I've had to drive to work more, and with all the construction, a normal rush hour commute for me is 30-35 minutes, EXACTLY what my biking commuting time is.

I always ride safely, but I still worry about motorists who don't see me or who have an axe to grind with bikers. Way too often I get passed by someone who "buzzes" me, with only inches to spare. There is certainly a lot of animosity out there against bikers by motorists. I can understand their frustration with bikers who break the law, they frustrate me too. But the anger out there towards bikers is just so venomous. Bike commuting is a legitimate form of transportation, and small infrastructure expenditures in that regard are certainly justified. The MN taxpayers subsidize your SUV by building you bigger and more highways, why not toss us bike commuters a bone and give us a bike path or lane here and there? But I digress...

I noticed an interesting item on Road Guy this morning, and wanted to share it with you. It's a website about defensive biking, and for the regular bike commuter, it's a must-read.
In other news, my roommate is moving out to live with her boyfriend, and while I'm happy for them, I'm looking for a roommate! Here's the craigslist ad.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Ghost Riding the Whip!

I've been hearing a lot lately about this new craze, "Ghost Riding the Whip" where you find a stretch of road, put the car in drive and while it's cruising along slowly, everyone gets out stands on the car and dances! It's all over You-Tube, you can find great videos all over the place on there. Here's a great one! Check out this blog on the craze and listen to the music!

While I have yet to kick it on the Subaru, while I was on my bike trip with the kids from my church a couple weeks ago, we did a stationary ghost ride on the car of one of the other leaders. I captured the moment on video. Watch it below, it's hilarious! My favorite part is that the leader (a different Nate) is jammin' on his own car, but by the end is freaking out and telling the kids to get off the car. Be careful what you unleash in teenagers.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Minnesota Wines are Delicious...really??

OK, this isn't one of those, "Minnesota is better" posts. Sure, we have the best park system in the nation (IMHO), and it's hard to beat our summers (except when we're getting 8+ inches of cold rain in August). But Minnesota just can't compare to California or even Virginia when it comes to wines. Heck, I'd say even the ridiculously fruity Door County, WI wines are better than Minnesota wines on average.

But I have found an exception. If you haven't had a chance to check out their wine, the Cannon River Winery in Cannon Falls, MN is exceptional. The winery is located in downtown Cannon Falls, conveniently enough right at the trailhead for the awesome 20-mile Cannon Valley Bike Trail that goes from Cannon Falls to Red Wing along the scenic Cannon River. Twice now I have biked Cannon Falls to Red Wing and back and stopped at the winery POST-RIDE. Many of their wines are delicious, but most use exclusively or near-exclusively California-grown grapes. In my mind, that's cheating. If I want a great CA wine, I'll buy one from CA, not one where the grapes are shipped to MN. It defeats the whole reason for buying local in reducing transportation costs and cutting CO2 emissions.

My favorite wine from this winery is the Minnesota Meritage. It sells for about 16 bucks at the winery, and apparently is sold at several local liquor stores, although I have yet to see it one yet. If you find it, I would suggest trying it. Of course the best place to get it is in Cannon Falls itself at the beautiful winery. So next time you're driving to Rochester (the Rock as Strats calls it), pull over for a refreshing pit stop. Better yet, do the bike trip, have lunch in Red Wing, and bike back to Cannon Falls for a glass of red. It's better than Gatorade!

Anyone had any other good MINNESOTAN wines?? Wines that are primarily Californian grapes like what Carlod Creek does don't count. I've heard Morgan Creek in New Ulm is good, but I haven't tried it yet.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pablo is Gay, I Have Brown Hair

Ok, this is definitely going to be a random stream of consciousness-style blog. Those who know me (and I suppose that's both of you who are reading this) know that I can be really random, but I think this will take the cake. I came up with this blog while I was biking home last night from work.

So, I have basically 3 methods I use to get to and from the office. It's about a 10 mile jaunt, and if I disregard the 6 weeks my hand was broken, I have commuted by non-motorized means the majority of the time. My 3 preferred commuting options are: 1) Biking, 2) Running and 3) Driving. I have also used public transit and carpooled, but only very rarely. I prefer biking when possible to the other options because it's pretty quick (35-40 minutes), allows me to do other errands, and helps me reduce my carbon footprint. Running is slower and more inconvenient to coordinate getting food/clothes to the office, but when I'm busy and still need to get my runs in, it's a good alternative. Obviously driving is my least-preferred option.

The one thing I dislike about biking is that I don't get a chance to listen to MPR. When I'm driving I do, and when I run for commuting purposes, I listen to MPR since the route is so boring. But when I'm on the bike it's just me and my thoughts. Which is actually really relaxing and a wonderful benefit to the biking, but sometimes my mind wanders...

So last night I'm biking home and crossing 35W on the 73rd Street pedestrian bridge in Richfield, something I've done hundreds of times. There's a lot of graffiti on the bridge, and one prominent piece says, "Pablo is Gay". This is my resulting internal monologue:

Me #1: "Pablo is Gay, that sucks for him."
Me #2: "Why does that suck for him, are you homophobic Nathan?"
Me #1: "No, it's just that through this piece of graffiti Pablo's entire identity has been reduced to this one fact about him. Perhaps he is a great musician or has interesting opinions on politics. All of that is lost to the world. We only know about Pablo's sexual orientation."
Me #2: "I'd never thought of it that way, interesting point Nathan. It'd be as if someone said, 'Nathan has brown hair.' While that is true, it says very little about the entire person you are. You are always saying you don't want to be just called a runner because that doesn't define who you are."
Me #1: "Exactly."

At this point I decided I was crazy and started wondering whether I had a couple personalities. Then I realized I had at least 3. The first Nathan who noticed that Pablo is Gay. The second Nathan who accused the first of being homophobic, and the third Nathan who critiqued the whole crazy conversation. And perhaps a 4th who then thought this would be a great thing to blog about.

And now you all have way too much insight into the inner workings of my head.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Time Magazine Shady Dealings

This isn't really a scam, but it's damn close. I have been receiving Time magazine for a couple years now, and I've enjoyed it. But when my subscription expired in the spring, I decided not to re-up because they were charging about double what I had originally paid. My magazines stopped arriving as expected, but the renewal notices did not. Eventually last week I received a letter from Time saying in big letters, "IMPORTANT COLLECTION NOTIFICATION. Dear Mr. Campeau, YOU'VE LEFT US NO OTHER OPTION. To avoid further collection efforts, you must respond WITHOUT FURTHER DELAY."

So I'm freaked out that my credit rating is going to be affected over some stupid magazine that I didn't renew, so I almost sent in the money, but I decided to call Time first. They informed me that they had sent me 6 extra issues and had automatically put me in the auto-renewal program. I have never encountered this with a magazine before, and I thought it was pretty shady. Apparently a lot of other people do too because as soon as I called the nice Time phone rep immediately offered to take the charge off and stop collection procedures. And she apologized profusely for the tone of the letter. So if Time realizes that what they are doing is shady and harassment, why do they keep doing it? Obviously they're banking on people succumbing to the pressure and taking the path of least resistance and forking over another 45 bucks. I actually like Time and may re-up someday...maybe. I'll probably switch to the Economist, more news.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Me and mine are Safe

I still can't process what happened. I've been gone this past week helping lead a high school bike trip with my church. We biked around the southern portion of the state and we were in Faribault at the time of the tragedy. I feel very detached from what happened and I'm now just able to see images and learn the full extent of what happened. It's hard to wrap my mind around. I am just so thankful that the loss of life was so minimal with how bad it could have been. My heart grieves for those who died and their families. I still feel very emotional about it. I just watched some online coverage of the collapse and honestly, I started crying, 3 days after it happened.

My reaction to this reminds me of two different events in my life. The first is obviously 9-11, when I learned of the Pentagon attack by looking out of my apartment at the Pentagon in flames. Yet in many ways, my reaction is more similar to how I felt when my Grandpa Meisner died when I was on a boat in Australia. His funeral happened by the time I even got word he had died. It took me months to fully process that because I feel like I had missed out on part of the grieving process. And with this 35W tragedy, I feel like being out of town, away from TV and media, I missed out on that initial grieving process. It's an odd feeling, and feels rather selfish, but it is what it is.

My prayers go out to all who have been affected (and for that matter will be for years to come).

Friday, July 27, 2007

Fun Photo!

File this under, "I'm SOOO sure this has never been done before!"

As cheesy and cliched as that is, I LOVE our city's monument. And I love it when friends visit and give me an excuse to be a tour guide! Thanks for coming ladies!

Hope you enjoyed your visit and enjoyed all the greasy fair food! Come back soon for another Jucy Lucy from Matt's! I know y'all don't have those out east.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Be a Friend of the Mississippi!

OK, so most readers of this (both of you) enjoy the Mississippi River. You run along it, stroll along it, take scenic drives along it, some of you even paddle in it! Well in a few weeks I too shall be paddling it, as part of the Mississippi River Challenge. This event is to benefit Friends of the Mississippi. This group works to clean the river and educate others on what they can do to keep it clean.

The event is a fun (still room left, so please join if you're interested) journey down the Mississippi from Coon Rapids (my old stomping grounds) Grey Cloud which is somewhere downstream of St. Paul, with an overnight at Ft. Snelling (my current stomping grounds).

I'm doing the paddle with my roommate Molly and we're raising money for this through this website: If you'd like to donate, please do so! Thanks for your support!

Here are some photos from a trip down the Mississippi Gorge that Tim and I did last year. It is such a different experience than running along the river. Being down in the gorge makes you forget you're in the city. Other than the bridge crossings, you feel like you could be miles from civilization.

Paddling the Gorge

Old Meeker Dam

In the Ford Dam Lock

Pike Island Bridge

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Pacific Coast Part I

This will have to be a multi-part post because we saw just too much to put into one post!

I'm still in LA (100+ today in the valley, can't wait to get back to Minny).


My aunt Barbie and cousin Jeff drove Joe and I up to San Francisco. Long trip, those two are troopers for driving there and back in the same day! We got to Fisherman's Wharf and spent some time tooling around, had some ice cream at Ghiradelli's (see photo below).

Our rule was ice cream EVERYDAY of the trip. We never failed to achieve that goal!

Then Joe and I started getting our bikes ready to make the ride from San Fran north to the campground in Marin Headlands. But before we even got going, Joe and I each had a flat tire!! Luckily, those were 2 of the 3 flats we had the entire trip (and the other was a really slow leak). Mechanically speaking, the trip was incredibly smooth.

After that ominous beginning, we started north to cross the Golden Gate Bridge to get to our campsite at Marin Headlands. The weather was clear and gorgeous (not typical San Fran weather), so we took our time, taking tons of photos.

Look at that skyline... and those legs!

Alcatraz... and a purse-snatcher????

That night we got to the campsite sort of late, and since no one was there to check us in, we set our tent up in the wrong spot and had to move it at about 10pm when the park ranger came around! And since by then the marine layer had settled in and it was in the 50s, it was not the best start to our trip! Luckily, the rest of the trip was really smooth!


We woke up and biked BACK across the Golden Gate Bridge and began making our way south along the coast, first through San Francisco, and then the suburbs to the south.

Mark Twain once said, the coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Fran

About halfway through our trip for the day we came upon a stretch called the Devil's Slide, which is part of Highway 1 that is very steep, has no shoulder, is VERY busy with semis, and prone to landslides. It was definitely the most nerve-wracking part of the trip as we were slowly climbing this long pass with semis screaming by at times inches from us. But we passed through the fire and eventually made it to the other side, where the beautiful Half Moon Bay State Beach was waiting for us. Had some great pizza and ice cream and watched a beautiful sunset.


We woke up that next morning to COLD again. But the marine layer soon lifted and pleasantly never returned! For the rest of the trip we had perfect weather, never too hot or cold, and always sunny. We found out later that the rest of inland California was suffering through a major heat wave due to the nice weather we had along the coast. Worked out well for us!

That day we had a longer ride (60+ miles) to New Brighton Beach south of Santa Cruz. There were some hills and a lot of beautiful coastal scenery that day, and the wind picked up and blew us up over some pretty major hills and made for a nice day of riding. Once we got to Santa Cruz, however, the directions got murky and we lost our way a couple of times, so we were a little cranky by the time we reached camp. But we were rewarded with a beautiful sunset and some Sierra Nevada beer!

Day 4

This day we road south through the strawberry and avocado fields along the coast and into Monterey. The first part of the trip was gorgeous through rolling fields and interesting watching migrant workers do the tough but obviously communal work of picking our nation's fruit and vegetables. Very fascinating and eye-opening. The last part of the trip was kind of boring along highways but we were treated to a night at a motel (as opposed to campground. read: SHOWER!!!!)

Along the way we picked some illicit strawberries, delicious!!!

Me riding through strawberry fields south of Santa Cruz

That afternoon, since it was a shorter ride, I decided to take an extra ride around Monterey and see the sights while Joe rested at the motel. I toured through Cannery Row, and then onto the 17-mile road that goes by Pebble Beach and along the coast. I was following the directions in the book, but I read them wrong and my leisurely 19 mile planned route turned into a grueling 30 mile death march (Joe's phrase) through some major hills around Pebble Beach. It was gorgeous and quite worth it, just more than I had bargained for! In total, 72 miles on the day, by far the most I had ever ridden in one day!

Cannery Row, not quite as Steinbeck would remember it

That night we went down to Fisherman's Wharf and had the most overpriced and disgusting seafood I've ever had. It's a tourist trap, avoid it all costs! Well, take a photo of it and then move on. But that night we celebrated our ride with a bottle of Fat Tire (which should be sold in Minneapolis by the time I get home!!)

The harbor in Monterey at sunset

That's all for now, Days 5, 6 and 7 to follow!

Monday, July 2, 2007

Almost done!

Sorry for the lack of posts and photos, internet service has been non-existant, and NOT a priority. Most nights eating and sleeping is all I think about! The ride has been great so far! 300+ miles in, one long day of riding left. Big Sur was absolutely incredible. Photos and stories to follow!

Happy 4th Everyone!

Monday, June 25, 2007

California Dreamin'

Am I completely nuts?? Who decides that for their longest vacation in over 2 years they're going to fly to California and spend the whole time on a bike? I'm sure there are quite a few others like that out there, but they're crazy. I must be too.

I'm leaving on Tuesday for the great state of California to bike the coast with my uncle Joe. Joe's a great guy, pastor at a church in Valencia, CA. We're starting just north of the Golden Gate Bridge and biking to just north of Santa Barbara. We're biking 6 days in total, and camping 5 nights. We're living it up in Monterey, however, we're staying in luxurious 2-star accommodations!

Side note, typing "accommodations" with 2 pairs of repeating letters reminded me of Cartalk's weekly puzzler. Which word has 3 pairs of consecutive letters that are all in a row. For example, 2 pairs of repeated consecutive letters would be "commiTTEE". If not for the "i" then it would be 3 pairs in a row. There is one word that I know of, and I remember reading about that riddle in an Encyclopedia Brown book back in the day. Remember those books? I was totally into them, heck, I wanted to BE Encyclopedia Brown. And Alex P Keaton. And Frank Hardy (not Joe Hardy however) Man was I dork. In any case, if you know that word, email Cartalk, or better yet, post it on my comments. If no one gets it I'll post the answer in a couple days.

I was the coolest kid in elementary school.

Back to the biking trip. So I'm riding my newish bike, a Surly Crosscheck. It's a locally made bike that is perfect for commuting and touring. My friend Tom and I put it together (really, he did all the work, but I supplied the Surly beer - while both companies are local, they are not related that I know of. Surly bikes is in the south metro, Surly beer is in the north). Here are some photos from the bike building experience. I don't have a finished photo, but I'll have some photos of it from California I'm sure.

Me with the pieces in Tom's basement

It's starting to look like a bike! Thanks Tom!

Hopefully I will be uploading photos and blogging about my trip occasionally from Cali. Big Sur here I come!!

This will be me in a couple days!!!!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Getting Nostalgic About the Cast

I'm losing a new friend tomorrow. This friend has been with me every moment (in some form) for nearly 6 weeks. But it has come time for us to part ways. :( At 11am tomorrow, I get my cast (the 6th and final one) removed, and my last pin taken out. I've been really looking forward to this. Other than obviously making typing very difficult, I've had to adjust much of my life in unexpected ways. Little things, like being unable to put my running watch on have made running freer from the constraints of time. On the minus side, opening beer bottles is tough, but once it's open, my free 3 fingers are perfectly positioned to hold that beer!

Here's a photo of my new soon to be old friend. While I'll miss its steady presence, I will not miss explaining what happened to roughly 50 new people each day.

So my life has adjusted, but hasn't changed too much, other than being unable to run in the heat. As Mike noted, I've been biking one-handed quite a bit. And why have I been biking so much? Because in 1 week I'm biking down the coast of California!

I'll be riding my new Surly Crosscheck that Tom built for me (I tried to help!) I'm riding with my uncle Joe who lives in LA. I'll have to post photos after the trip.

In other news, the past month since I've blogged has been rather eventful. The weather turned nice and reminded me why I love it here so much. I've been enjoying all the festivals (Grand Old Day, Edina Art Fair and Stone Arch Festival), the trails, and any other excuse to be outside.

My friend and former roommate Joel visited me from NYC. Try and try as I did, I couldn't convince him to move here, but he did love it here and his only negative comment was that we have too much greenspace in the urban core! I'll take it. We also went to my high school reunion, I'll let you guess which year reunion that is.

The Chris Taylor cabin weekend o' running was also last month (day after my surgery actually). 8 smelly guys running 15 miles a day in northern WI and drinking way too much each night. Great times had by all!!! Can't wait to get back up there. Thanks Chris!

And yesterday was Grandma's Marathon. I didn't run, but Eben and I were out cheering the half and full marathon finishers for about 6 hours! It was a blazing hot and humid day (we taught Hang a new word, "sultry"), so most people's times weren't what they are capable of, but I'm really excited for everyone who ran and you all should be proud of your accomplishments. Major props to Anne for her major PR in the half, and to Mike, Steve, Tyler and Jennie who made running in this heat look easy with PRs as well. Great job!! I had such a blast cheering all of you on, more cowbell anyone? :)

OK, I'm tired of typing, so I'll just post some photos here from the past month:

The Chris Taylor running crew

Who's going to win, Mama Bear or Steve-O?

There's that stupid cast again (#5). On a boat ride near St. Paul

Joel surveys the Mpls skyline. What does the urban planner think?

Lynch vs. Johnson. The real race. Who needs Grandma's? (or Professor??)

Duluth from above (thanks Jeremy for showing us this place!)

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Blogging with one hand

So my posts have been sporadic lately, and now they'll be more infrequent and very short. I broke my hand playing Barr softball last week (I was safe!) and now typing is quite difficult, but mostly annoying. We won the game, so it was all worth it.

In other news, I had my best half marathon ever this morning! Perfect race day conditions, and the broken hand didn't slow me down at all. I ran 1:22:41 at New Prague, a lovely country town.

Other than that, just hanging out, going to too many Twins games and trying to figure out a way to bike with one hand!

I'm out for now until typing is easier. May be a couple weeks. Enjoy the spring weather!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Running with Armadillos

I am blogging you all (sorry, y'all) from the great state of Tejas! I'm back in San Angelo for work, more wind turbines!

West Texas really is gorgeous. Especially this time of year with all the wild flowers blooming and valleys a luscious green. Red clay valleys and beautiful blue skies! I love it here! Plus, toss in a high of 80 degrees and it's downright agreeable here.

Here's a shot from one of our proposed wind turbines:

After my work out on the mesa was done, I decided to go for a run in the only local state park, San Angelo State Park. I found out about it by looking at the website of the local running club, the Road Lizards. They look like a fun group, hopefully on my next visit I can meet up with them for a run! Anyways, the park was great, lots of running trails, however, a little light on the signage, so I felt pretty lost, and with rattlers out there, I was a bit nervous. The highlight was definitely seeing a couple of armadillos just hanging out. Those are some pretty awesome creatures! I've definitely never seen those in the wild before. All in all, a great run, and a great time in Texas! However, I'll be very glad to get back to Minny. I've been traveling too much lately.
Best souvenir: a pretty sweet bumper sticker I think you'll agree!

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Divas of the Ballet

So, perhaps you all (and by you all I mean the 3 of you reading this) are expecting a Boston Marathon recap... Well, that will wait until I have some more photos to share.
My trip to Boston/NYC was great, punctuated of course by an unforgetable experience in the Boston Marathon. But beyond that, the trip was about seeing old friends and getting back to the East Coast. I had a great time with Al and her family. We saw some of the downtown sights in Boston and went to their Science Museum. It's a lot like the St. Paul Science Museum in that it's definitely directed at kids, but of course that made it all the more fun!

Then I went to New York for a couple days to visit Joel and Mary. I did some of my usual NYC activities: see Central Park, and, well, EAT a TON! I had deep-fried pizza, gelato, hot dogs, lots of bagels and my favorite NYC delicacy, NUTS-4-NUTS.

If you've never experienced NUTS-4-NUTS, you are missing out. It's the tastiest treat I can possibly imagine. I prefer the roasted peanuts, but the cashews are delicious as well.

We all went to a Yankees game too, the highlight being finding free parking in front of Yankees Stadium! Unfortunately the Yankees won, but it's an historic stadium that won't be around much longer, so it was great to see it and cross the House that Ruth Built off my list.

The New York highlight, however, was going to see Grandivas, a gay ballet with men in drag. The dancers are amazing, all professional ballet dancers. I've never seen so many men on point at one time before! I've only been to a couple ballets before, but this was definitely the best ballet (and the funniest) I've ever seen. If any of you are in NYC while this ballet is playing, I cannot recommend it highly enough!

Monday, April 16, 2007

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Classic Nor'easter. Mariners, get off the water!

"Worst conditions in the history of the Boston Marathon."(Boston Globe article from this morning)

Boston Marathon Website (you can follow along with me on Monday!)

In other news, it's a gorgeous sunny day in Beantown right now! Time to go enjoy the sites! (and some tasty pasta on the North End.)

Oh, and my previous time goal at Boston...I hereby revise my goal to SURVIVING the race. If I do that, I will consider it a success!

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Easter/Birthday Recap

What? Blogs 2 days in a row? That's almost worth checking every day!

So Birthday recap... Well, I had one. Now I'm old(er). One of the kids at tutoring last night guessed that I was 29. That hurt. It shouldn't really hurt much since I'm 28, but apparently I'm at the age now where I do NOT want to be mistaken for someone older. So please feel free to call me immature. I'll take it as a compliment.

Birthday was fun. I had a wonderful birthday breakfast at Anodyne with my friend Erin, and my coworkers (Tim, etc.) took me out for a delicious dinner at Al Vento! I love that place, definitely my favorite restaurant in MN. If you've never been, you have to go and try the 3 seafood antipasti. Just trust me, it's the most delicious thing you'll ever eat. And it's the best Italian food this side of Anna Maria's.

On Saturday my running club came over post-run for birthday cake, bagels and Peace Coffee (so delicious, that might just turn me into a coffee drinker!) Janelle and I share a birthday (week) so we celebrated together. Deb brought this awesome cake!

Here's a close-up on the cake (look who's winning)!

Good times all around, and I love having people over at my house. Which is good since the very next day for Easter I had 28 Meisners at my house for Easter! The Meisners are a great family. We love to spend time with each other, really, we do! We have big family get togethers all the time, next one is in May. Strange, we all get along! And the family keeps growing too, and that's a lot of fun. Meisners come early, stay late. So my house was inundated with family for about 8 hours on Sunday, but it was just a ton of fun. Then I led a group of 15 or so on our now traditional post-dinner family walk (recent tradition, I've started this since I moved back, inspired by the Weans' post-Thanksgiving walks that I used to do back out East). We went over to the Falls (imagine that!) which were beautiful. I got this great picture of my little cousin Zach playing by the falls (note Sea Salt in the background).

Then we returned home and ate ourselves sick with desserts. If there's anything the Meisners do better than anyone else, it's desserts. I'm still feeling ill!

Don't those look delicious??? I had 2 of each.... I love family dinners, is there a better excuse for gluttony than celebrating that Christ is risen?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Have I mentioned this yet?

I'm getting really excited for the Boston Marathon! It is 6 days away. If you want to follow me online (start time is 10am Eastern, 9am Central on Monday April 16), you can go to the website and use my bib # 2398.

I'm putting down my goal here right now, although I know that's a dangerous thing to do! My running has felt great the past 6 months, and I've had a couple races that gave me real confidence, especially my 1:24 in less than ideal conditions at the Frozen Half Marathon. My PR is a 2:58, so I'd like to beat that, but really, my goal is sub 2:55 (NYC qualifying time). That's 6:40 per mile. Is that possible? Check online or come back to this blog in a week to find out!

Kirk sent me this elevation profile in hopes of scaring the crap out of me. He succeeded. This is scary.

I've also been checking the weather out there. I promised myself I wouldn't look at the forecast until Thursday, but I cheated and looked on Sunday. Not too bad, high of about 50. The possible showers concern me, but not much I can do about those.

However, beyond running the marathon, I'm looking forward to seeing Boston, NYC and hanging out with Alison, Joel and Mary. It's been a while since I've seen any of them, and seeing them is a guaranteed good time!

Ok, I just read this post, and it is definitely the lamest one I've yet written. I'm hereby re-enacting my self-imposed ban on blogging about running. It bores even me.

Next post will hopefully be an Easter recap. 28 people in my little house! Photos to come...

Thursday, April 5, 2007

What's the Matter With Texas?

Or was it Kansas...?

This post is a big shout-out to Mike I'm An Iraqi. May it never be said I only speak ill of Tejas.

The past year or so I've been traveling a lot to West Texas for work, wind turbine-related projects. Basically I help design the site layout, and these are some big sites too, oftentimes 100 square miles or so. The first couple trips are fun, and seeing the mesas of the caprock of West Texas is interesting, but after a while, it's a little boring.

I've mostly been going to the Amarillo area, but this past week I went to Sterling City, which is about halfway from Abilene to San Angelo, or about 5 hours west of Dallas. This trip came at a really busy time for me, so I wasn't really looking forward to it, but I had some interesting experiences that more than made it worthwhile.

Texas is an interesting place. I think Texas can be boiled down to, "Bigger is Better." Everything is Texas is HUGE! The highways are big, the overpasses are enormous. Even all the highways have frontage roads that are basically highways running on either side of their highways. And the people are bigger, much bigger. I thought Minnesota was the land of giants, but nope, it's Texas. It seems everyone is 6-6 and could play linebacker. I'm not suggesting Texans are fat (5 of the fattest 14 cities), because they don't seem fatter, just BIGGER in every dimension.

But I stumbled on new proof that TEXAS is bigger. At the DQ for lunch one day I ordered a Blizzard and a medium diet coke. This is what they consider a medium drink.

What the...??? Are you kidding me, a MEDIUM???? You should have seen the jumbo sized cups they had. Wow! (note the TX logo on the DQ cup, quality!!)

On a side DQ issue, I love the fact I work less than a mile from DQ HQ. Knowing DQ is from here makes going to DQ on the road feel a little like home, even if the cup has the state of Texas on it.

The other thing about Texas, is that while I have heard that Texas is a great place to go biking out in the country (and the road biking looks phenomenal there, other than the wind), the running sucks. Really sucks. Monday night in San Angelo I wanted to run an hour and get a feel for the town, so I decide to go running. The front desk directs me to these roads that are for "running". Well, running along side roads that are all 50 mph speed limits, no sidewalks, and little lighting is not my idea of a safe run. After 20 minutes of dodging traffic and potholes, I saw a VERY friendly cop who directed me to the ONE residential road that wasn't basically a highway. I did one-mile repeats on that and was happy. That's the other thing about Texas. EVERYONE is friendly. I LOVE TEXANS (well, not those who claim to be from Crawford, but that's another post). From my first trip to College Station in college to now, I have found virtually every Texan to be friendly and overly helpful. We may claim Minnesota Nice, but Texans don't need a slogan, they're just naturally good-natured.

The last fun thing from my trip was the work itself. It was BEAUTIFUL up there on the mesa being 600 feet above the land below. The cacti were blooming, everything looked green, the playas had water in them. It's a great time of year to be in West Texas. Every direction I looked I saw beautiful and inspiring views. It's nice because the wind turbines haven't been built yet, it's all just open land now, nothing obstructing the views. However, I'm not the only one who enjoys West Texas this time of year. So do the rattlesnakes! The drillers killed a big one the first day we were on site. And this is what we saw on Tuesday right after we got into our truck after inspecting a potential wind turbine location:

And right after that, we hiked about 2 hours through the most remote portion of the site. From that time on, I stopped appreciating the views off the mesa and started staring at the ground before I took every step!

So to recap...
Texas sucks because:
  • Running (in cities) is messed up
  • Things are too big
  • They're all Republicans (one quick story, for the hotel's continental breakfast, I was the only one there and so I changed the news to CNN. The hotel worker changed it to FOX and said that they're only allowed to show FOX NEWS. Ridiculous.)
But really, Texas rocks because:
  • It's freaking beautiful in a desolate sort of way
  • The people are fantastic
Overall, I'd put Texas at #2 on my places I love to visit but would never live, right behind NYC.