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).