I’m stoked about…

All this stuff is happening before this year wraps.

Concerts: MadonnaKraftwerk, Joe JacksonSqueezeSuzanne  Vega & Duncan Sheik

Vacations: Wisconsin, Nebraska, and South Dakota. It’ll be my first return to the Badlands since 2003.

I’m not stoked about: Paying for all this stuff. Oy. But memories are priceless. That said, I’ve put a freeze on buying anymore concert tix or coloring books.

 

#YesAllWomen

The other day I was at Target and noticed a guy acting strangely. He was in the women’s socks area half heartedly trying to look as though he was perusing the wares but clearly wasn’t. I noticed him as I was headed in that direction. As I walked by, he had given up all pretense and was just flat out gawking. My eyes followed the direction he was looking and I saw a woman whose dress was pulled up in back, bunched up under her purse strap. The top hems of her thigh high stockings were showing. He had been following her. CREEPER. I turned and gave him a look that sent him scurrying in the other direction. I caught up with her and let her know her dress was pulled up and she smoothed it out. I considered letting her know about the guy but he was nowhere to be seen and I didn’t want to freak her out.

The incident reminded me of Josh Gad’s character in the movie Thanks for Sharing. His character is so over the top; you want to believe people like that don’t exist in real life. While I know there’s plenty of men objectifying women from afar and from behind lcd screens, there’s something particularly disturbing when it’s so blatant. It was more than a passing thought of appreciation for an attractive person – I think both men and women experience that during the course of any given day. Anyway, skeevy.

Another weekend wrap

It was a weekend of Midwest heat and humidity. Saturday I went to the NaUntitledtional Park Service’s Second Saturday event at Coldwater Spring. It was all about bees, bugs, and butterflies. I caught a couple which were observed then released and got some pics. In retrospect I wish I would have put my macro lens on my camera instead of the 300mm but then I wouldn’t have been able to get this tawny emperor butterfly.

The rest of Saturday was spent holed up indoors avoiding summer until I realized I needed about 30 more Munzee points to get my team to the next level. I capped those in Richfield and returned home.

Sunday, Eric and I saw the new Minions movie in 3D. It was just ok. It had funny moments but not as amusing as the Despicable Me flicks. The remainder of the day was spent napping and streaming shows. We watched all eps of The Spoils of Babylon which was ridiculous and reminded me of Amazon Women on the Moon in the best way.

There was a storm Sunday night which didn’t affect my neighborhood much. Just a lightning and some rain. Here’s a short video clip which Flickr isn’t providing html code for embedding. It kept me awake and chatting with folks on social media which was highly entertaining but I’m sure feeling it today.

On Sunday, also watched The Village which Eric hadn’t seen before. It had been so long since I’d seen it (at the theatre in 04) that I forgot parts of it although I recalled plot twist. A lot of food for thought re-watching it – like cogitating on the issues that motivated them. If you’ve never seen it, it’s streaming on Netflix.

The latest news

Where I’ve been:

Last Friday we went to MOA for a combo Munzee/Eventzee scavenger hunt event. I rarely go to Mall of America – or any mall for that matter. Total visits since I moved here likely number in single digits. Walking around there on a Friday night, it could have been any mall in any suburb. Being over 40, we were invisible. That’s kinda nice. We used the opportunity to grab some crepes at Magic Pan Crepe Stand. I had a strawberry and Nutella crepe. (Why yes, I do need to return to sugar free living.)

Serious smoggy haze over Mpls due to Canadian wildfiresSaturday we made a plan in the morning to go see St Paul’s fireworks at the new CHS Field in Lowertown. Saturday afternoon we went out for a drive to cap some Munzees in St Paul and nixed going to fireworks that night due to the hazy smog. There was absolutely no breeze and an air quality warning had been issued by afternoon. Due to Canadian wildfires, a haze has taken over Minnesota skies. I hear it goes quite far south. We may go see the Aquatennial fireworks in a few weeks.

Sunday we went to Ft Snelling State Park. We walked back a ways on a trail I hadn’t been on before. It was lined with many, many wildflowUntitleders. Dragonflies were abundant as well as some bees, butterflies, and other insects. We saw a yellow warbler, a heron,some raptors, and some other birds to be identified. This time of year, luck with birds is hit and miss. All the leaves have filled on trees in so while you can hear many, seeing is another story.

What I’m watching:

In between those things we binge watched Scandal on Netflix and I did some coloring. It’s been my relaxation hobby in recent years and apparently gaining ground amongst other adults. When we were at the mall on Friday, I saw a prominent coloring book display which included several I have.

What I’m listening to:

In Gabriel’s Garden – Wynton Marsalis. I love Baroque music. Renaissance and baroque are hands down my favorite types of classical music. I’m not a fan of modern classical with a handful of exceptions.

I also purchased a handful of different R&B songs that the tv show Scandal used in various eps… Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, Dazz Band, and The Isley Brothers to name a few. I also bought “Into the Blue Again” by The Album Leaf (no really, that’s the name of the band) which is downtempo instrumental. The song “The Light” has been used in several episodes.

Crumple

I had a minor accident last month. I pulled out of a parking space and a guy backed into my driver side door. After much frustration in getting – or rather not getting – insurance info from him, my insurance company ran the plate and the policy was lapsed. Surprise, surprise.

crunch, crumple
On the bright side, I have insurance, I’m employed, and I have credit to cover the deductible. I’m very fortunate. Eric is taking me to pick up my car today.

I’ve been commuting via bus this week and I think I’ll try to continue doing that at least part of the time.

Love is all around

You're gonna make it after all

I’m gonna make it after alllll

My dear friend Syd from Nebraska came up to Mpls for the weekend. I took him to brunch at Hell’s Kitchen on Saturday morning. Afterward, he was keen to go see the Mary Tyler Moore statue on Nicollet Mall. Then I showed him around my neighborhood and we walked to Loring Park for TCPride.

At Hell’s Kitchen we took the opportunity to try out their Mimosa Bar. The Bloody Mary Bar had far more options but those things are too hot for me.  Either option is rather spendy. Is it worth it? I wouldn’t get the Mimosa bar again but you could probably snag enough finger food on the Bloody Mary side to make it worth it.

My first Pride here was in 2008. Eric had told me about it but I could fathom it was as big as it is. Omaha’s Pride was a fairly small affair though it has steadily grown over the years. Here, it has corporate sponsors, the city lights up the bridges like rainbows and puts rainbow banners along Hennepin Ave which is the parade route.

Like me, Syd was taken aback by the size of the Pride festivities here and quite pleased with all the male eye candy. LOL Here he is with his 60s era Polaroid, using the timer after taking a pic of Mary Tyler Moore statue.
My friend Syd & his beautiful 1960s era Polaroid.
I’m glad we went early before it got crowded. He returned later and met up with other friends. He thoroughly enjoyed his visit and plans to return.

Later on Saturday, I went to a bon voyage party in Stevens Square for friends moving to CA. Then I went to St Paul for a babysitting gig. Sunday was a sleep in day I was quite grateful for.

Touristy

My folks visited from Nebraska. Since they stayed somewhere besides my apt, we managed not to get on each other’s nerves too much. Funny because it’s true. LOL

This is a list of places we visited in no particular order:

Lord Fletcher’s – Fathers Day brunch next to Lake Minnetonka

Lady of the Lake – Lake Minnetonka boat cruise

Licks Unlimited – ice cream shop in Excelsior. Mom liked it better than Sebastian Joe’s. I wouldn’t go that far.

Guthrie Theater – We saw The Music Man

Mill City Farmers Market – Picked up some chocolate, bread, and sampled Surly beers

Eloise Butler Wildflower Garden & Bird Sanctuary – Showy ladyslippers were blooming

Caffrey’s – sandwiches

Lake Calhoun – to see Minne the Lake Creature

Boca Chica – Mexican food in St Paul

Harriet Island Regional Park – post dinner river meandering in St Paul

Crowds

Summer is here and events aplenty. I had invites last Saturday to 1 housewarming, 1 moving away party, plus a south Mpls bbq fest and Northern Spark. I also had a migraine, a rainy morning, and door damage from a guy backing into my car. Yay, weekend?

Some plans were canceled, some rescheduled, and ultimately, we did end up going to Northern Spark for a little bit. We first walked over to the convention center at about 9:30pm where Cloud Cult was playing in the park across the street. It was recorded for a future ep of Lowertown Line on TPT.

End of the Cloud Cult show. #nspk

After that we went inside the convention center to see what was going on in there. We had some food, some caffeine, then walked over to Peavy Plaza. It was packed and we didn’t venture down the stairs into the melee. After that we hopped a bus down to Washington then walked over to the Mill City Museum. Again, packed. We pushed our way through and back outside.

We sat on the steps looking out at the Stone Arch Bridge which also was packed. I had serious crowd fatigue. It was around midnight, there was no way to get close to the activities because of volume of people, and I was just sapped of energy. We looked at the bus routes and would still end up doing a fair amount of walking if we took one part way home. We walked to the street and hailed a taxi. Worth every penny.

The high point of the night was probably when I screamed on the bus after looking down and noticing a caterpillar crawling on my hoodie. I screamed because I was startled. Just wasn’t expecting it. I freaked out my fellow passengers. LOL. I got it to crawl on my hand and released it when we got off the bus.

I love the events Mpls puts on but I’m beginning to realize I prefer the idea of some to the actual events. I’m an ambivert and my threshold for crowds is decreasing with age. Just a taste is enough. Anyway, I’ll recover in time for next week’s big fest right in my hood – Pride.

TL;DR: Awards aren’t everything

And I don’t want to give you the wrong impression. I don’t want you to think that I’m not honored by this, because I’m, I feel very, very honored, and it’s – but it’s just that awards are stupid. Every real estate office has some framed, five-diamond president’s award thing by the desk, every hotel check-in has some gold circle service thing; every car salesman is a platinum jubilee winner. It’s all a big jerk off. It is, the hotel sucks, the real estate person is stupid, and the only thing the car salesman is good at is ripping you off. – Jerry Seinfeld

leg lamp 02 - A Christmas Story House - 2014-11-28 by Tim Evanson

It’s a major award! (Leg Lamp by Tim Evanson)

Sure, he’s joking but what makes jokes funny is the kernel of truth therein.

Many years ago I worked with a woman who absolutely did not want to be in the limelight. She was a very hard worker, a workaholic, truth be told. She was nominated for and won a company award. She was mortified. She was annoyed. She didn’t see what the big deal was as she was “just doing her job” in her words. I think she got a paid day off (that I doubt she ever took) and a plaque. She would have preferred being in her cube working than losing 20 minutes of productivity for the public presentation.

At the other end of the spectrum was another man I worked with at a different company. Our employer sent several award winners on a big resort vacation once a year (until the tech bubble burst and the stock price dropped). A woman on our team was one of the winners. The next day, this man had a balloon bouquet which appeared to be from his wife. I asked if it was his anniversary. He said, through almost gritted teeth, “No, my wife just wanted me to know even though I didn’t win yesterday that I’m still number 1 in HER book.” Wow. Public recognition was very important to him.

This week I saw rumblings around social media because ESPN is giving Caitlyn Jenner an award. People are angry that others are not getting the award.  It’s a courage award. It’s true; there are PLENTY of athletes and former athletes deserving of such an award.

Therein lies the rub: a single award, many candidates. It doesn’t matter if it’s a fast food employee of the month or an Oscar, there will be few winners and far more never recognized. If you look to awards for validation of yourself or your idols, invariably you’ll be disappointed. 

Existential musings on blogging

I logged in and got all excited to see a comment was awaiting review. It was spam for handbags. LOL

It’s been nearly 2 months since my last post here and I think I’ve stopped wrestling with the pile of unwritten posts in my head. Social media changed things. It’s the evolution of blogs. Microblogging reaches farther and faster. Those platforms have become our social squares. Almost 10 years ago when photography became my refuge, that became my primary mode of communicating my life via Flickr.

I plan to keep my domains for the time being because I think someday I’ll do something more with them. Or maybe I’ll let them go someday. I have never regretting ditching my first blog. There’s scraps of it archived in the way back machine. Not long after I dropped it a strange spammer took over the blogger domain it was under. They’d post nothing but clips of what appeared to be encyclopedia entries with no cohesive, unifying topic.

Before I dropped my original blog I’d actually removed all the posts. I did some sleuthing of my referrer stats logs and discovered my birth father was lurking and reading my blog. Back then there was a lot of interaction on blogs, plenty of commenting and dialog took place. Since he was a disruptive, abusive, troublemaking man I felt he had zero right to even a glimpse into my life through reading those posts and comments. I can still remember the process of selecting and deleting all 800 some odd posts, two and a half years’ worth. Soon thereafter, big changes happened in my life; that blog would have been abandoned anyway. These were the first steps of learning the value of impermanence.