I need to find my old statistics textbook

No, seriously.  Something about probabilities has always turned me on.  And as much as I don’t generally seem like a risk taker, the occasional calculated one is always a thrill.  This is why I drive too fast, play poker, eat raw cookie dough and enjoy my steaks medium-rare.

Anyways, why is this a topic for today?  Well, the book club at work seems like it’s going to have me rereading Normal Accidents by Charles Perrow, which is a great book that talks about the “social” side of risk, and why we illogically perceive things like flying as being more risky than driving.  Also, the Bad Astronomy blog turned me to this great cover article in Time magazine (it covers much of the same ground as Normal Accidents, but without the great anecdotes). 

Also, can you imagine how much fun it would be to drive down this road? (more pics here and here, thanks to Roadguy)

Three Quick Things

  1. NaBloWriMo appears to have been a collosal failure.  I blame my friend Amber how has given up on her NaNoWriMo at 30,000 words.
  2. I love having friends who are nerds (conclusion – turn your damn lights off)
  3. You’ll hear more of this from me at a later time, but for now, just imagine a couple dozen lovingly hand crafted cookies delivered to your door/cube just in time for [insert winter holiday of choice here].  Imagine also, that the proceeds from said cookies will go towards breast cancer research.  You got that?  Fully imaginified?  Then click here.

Black Friday

I probably won’t be participating this year. Yes, it’s prudent to try to find deals (and there are some good deals), but there isn’t much that’s hedonistic about waking up at stupid o’clock on a day off to stand in line so that I can fight my way through hordes of consumption crazy soccer moms and teenaged idiots.

If you’re wanting to check out what’s available, bfads.net has a pretty comprehensive list of the deals that will be offered by the various stores.  One trick that you might want to try is going to buy something tonight, and then going into the store on Friday morning and force them to price match the item or let you return it — I’ve never attempted this myself, and I’m pretty sure that most stores will have policies in place to prevent that now, but if you’re do try, let me know how it turns out.

A Cautionary Tale

One of the knitting bloggers that I started reading when I got back into knitting again last year was Crazy Aunt Purl.  I can’t remember how I found her site, I think I might have seen a link somewhere and fell in love with the title, but I’m glad I did.  She doesn’t actually talk about knitting very often, but she is a very good writer and her posts are always either hilariously funny, or touchingly sweet, and often both.

She’s getting a mention this morning because yesterday would have been my 4th anniversary with Doucheboi, so I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how I ended up in that mess of a relationship, and how I let it go on for so long.  She must have been reading my mind or something because she chose yesterday to talk about how she ended up with her version of Doucheboi.  The main theme of her story is the same as mine – she found some one who was “good enough”, who seemed to care about her and make her feel special, he wasn’t everything that she wanted (nor was she everything to him), but he was there, and known, and comfortable, and so she settled.  Just like I did.

I’m an engineer.  I’m no good with emotions, and I’m terrible with words.  I’ve learned a lot over the past 4 years about what love doesn’t feel like and that compromising my desires for the sake of what’s available and easy and safe feeling isn’t worth it. I guess what I (and CAP) am trying to say is: take risks – it’s ok to get hurt, just because you don’t know what you want doesn’t mean you need to be stuck with what you know you don’t want, and never, ever, ever, settle – you deserve better.

 

How to see movies for free

Yesterday, I went to go see Tenacious D in The Pick of Destiny. I probably won’t be doing a review, since it wouldn’t be particularly insightful as I’m not a huge Tenacious D fan — i don’t dislike them, but I don’t listen to them either, but I will say that I rather enjoyed it, and if you are a fan of dirty humour (I’m talking cock pushups here), then you’ll probably like it too.

What’s interesting about the fact that I saw the movie yesterday is that it doesn’t come out in theaters until November 22nd. No, I didn’t get a special pass because I am a super famous blogger on the interwebs (47 page views this month!!!) — I got my pass through blood, sweat, tears, and driving around in Uptown on my lunch break.  You see, Citypages often teams up with radio stations, local businesses and movie studios to support free screenings of movies.  It’s like a win-win-win-win scenario: Citypages wins by driving reader awareness (youv’e got to pick up a copy of the paper, or check out their website to find the promotions), radio stations win because they can give away free passes in contests and such, local businesses win, because you have to drive there to pick up the pass (and please people, when you go somewhere to grab a pass – buy something too – otherwise it’s just rude), and we win because hey – free movies.

Some things to keep in mind:

  1. Passes (especially to popular movies) go quickly. The new promotions come out with the new issue of Citypages on Wednesday, always call the business in question to make sure they still have passes before you waste your time driving all the way there.
  2. They give out more passes than the theaters have capacity for. Get to the theater at least 30 minutes before the movie starts to make sure you get a seat.
  3. Since these are advanced screenings, there tends to be more security than usual to make sure you aren’t brining in a camera or a video phone.  The security staff isn’t the most competent ever (I snuck in a camera AND a cell phone even though I was bag checked and wanded last night), but if you don’t want to risk the hassle, leave your video capable equipment in the car (or just hide it under a couple magazines in your purse) 
  4. The businesses that give out the passes usually don’t want to give out more than one pass per customer.  Each pass is good for two people, but if you have a bunch of friends who are going to want to go, at least half of them need to obtain passes — this makes for some really fun lunch hour roadtrips.
  5. They don’t have movie screenings every week (this week is a good example though there is one for Deja Vu this week), but you should still aways check – because you might find something else fun to do on that page.

So now, as long as you are willing to: sacrifice your lunch hour every Wednesday to drive around, get to the theater early, deal with stepped up security and packed houses, and accept a limited selection, you’ll never have to pay to see a movie in the theater again!

p.s. Yes, I know, I am doing terribly at the posting every day thing.  I’ll manage to get in 30 posts by the end of the month, but I don’t want to double up with cheesy one sentence deals.

A silly idea…

You know those Spam recipes that always show up above your Spam folder in Gmail?

 spam.jpg

What if someone decided to make one of these every day and reported their disgusting exploits on a blog?

Don’t worry, I’m not considering it – but if you decide to and end up making lots of money from your book deal, you’d best be hooking me up.

Words to describe this Saturday:

Hectic, Random, Silly, and maybe even just a tad…hedonistic.

If I wanted to cheat on my new 30 posts in 30 days goal, Friday and Saturday’s agendas could easily be spread over 6 different entries, but instead of spamming everybody’s RSS readers I’ll keep it to just one. Saturday’s fun really started on Friday with a very percussive evening at First Avenue’s Main Room. Mu Daiko (A local taiko drumming group) started out the evening, followed by Butacada Do Notre, and finally Savage Aural Hotbed – they’re like a locally grown Blue Man Group – sans the gimmicks and the big stadium shows. I hadn’t realized until I did some research Friday that they’ve been playing together since the eigthies, and it shows in the way they work together on stage and they way their sound is so much more than men hitting on objects with sticks.

Saturday morning was brunch at Hell’s Kitchen – a great little brunch joint in Downtown Minneapolis. It was my second time there and the food was as good as I remembered (the breakfast stir-fry was a tad bland, but the caramel roll and bison sausage more than made up for it). As much as the food (and the prices) are great there, the fact that the place is so popular that we had to way 30 minutes even though we had a reservation, and walk-ins were waiting 1.5-2 hours, gets in the way of me recommending it for a casual brunch spot. Brunch at Hell’s Kitchen needs to be planned – and as we all know, the best brunches rarely are.

After brunch, The Unnamed Jetta and I hightailed it to Oakdale to pick up A. who acted as my fearless sidekick for the rest of the day’s adventures. First stop: Surly Brewing. Surly’s a relatively new microbrewery in town, and their Furious IPA was unique enough to catch my attention amongst the multitude of draughts at the Muddy Pig. They are small shop, 3 employees and a bunch of volunteers from what I could discern, and right now their 4 brews are available primarily in keg form. However, luckily for us, they’ve recently set up a canning line and cans of Furious and Bender are available at finer liquor stores around town. Also, they’ve recently started to sell “growlers” – refillable 64oz bottles (the first growler filling was the impetus for the Saturday’s big event). The place was packed, and I was really impressed to see how many people were out supporting a local business just getting on it’s feet. This meant unfortunately that the line to actually purchase growlers was a little long for my liking, so I think I’ll be stopping back next Saturday to pick up my own 4 pints of Bender goodness.

Next stop: The Twin Cities’ Chocolate Extravaganza. Besides an unintentionally funny demonstration from a highly adorable cook (I <3 food geeks) from the Canyon Grill, I was frankly underwhelmed. Yes, there was lots of chocolate to taste, and yes, much of it was really good, but unlike the Taste of Chocolate in Bloomington a couple years back, every sample was followed by a sales pitch. I did get a couple good leads for some candy making classes which is something I’ve been meaning to look into and will probably be posting about more soon, so it wasn’t a total loss, but it’s definitely not something that I’ll be shelling out $12 to attend in the future.

After spending a good chunk of the afternoon eating chocolate, obviously it was time for dinner. The Highland Grill in St. Paul (across the street from TeaSource, my favorite tea shop in the cities) did the duty. This was one of those sorts of places where I wanted to try everything on the menu, but unfortunately I had to pick just one thing. With the help of A. and our friendly waitress, I went for the Moroccan Lamb Stew and was not disappointed in the least.

The climax of the day however occurred at (The Legendary) Roy Wilkins Auditorium, where I witnessed my first ever roller derby bout, which will certainly not be my last. Though the matchup wasn’t particularly competitive (MN led Ohio something like 55 to 7 after the first period) it was still amazing to watch, and once the crowd got going the energy in the auditorium was infectious. The high point of the experience was probably watching 2/3rds of the attendees simulatenously do the chicken dance during the break between the 2nd and 3rd periods – there’s something about watching punks with pink hair and ripped fishnets polkaing (is that a word) with 6 year olds and grandfathers that reminds me of why I sometimes love humanity. My desire to someday be a Minnesota Roller Girl has been even further peaked, but in the meantime I’m looking forward to broomball season starting so that I can kick a little ass of my own.

After dropping A. off, I considered topping off the evening at one of the various social events that was occurring, but I wisely decided that the day had already been stuffed chock full of awesome, and anything else would have been fairly anticlimatic (not to mention the fact that I was dead tired), so I went decided to call it an early night.

Oops.

Well, so much for posting every day :( I blame Mr. Hendricks, plumbing issues, and distracting roommates, in that order. 

I’ll try to throw in a couple extra posts this weekend to make up for it and I’m going to modify the goal for the month (think of it like agile software development) to 30 posts in 30 days.

ttyl. 

 

On panty removers

I once dated a man who firmly believed that gin was a panty remover. He also had a strange obsession with bow-ties and the movie (not the book) Catch-22. He did have his good points (he was the man who introduced me to the wonders of Luksusowa Vodka and blue Kool-Aid after all) but he never got to test the gin effect on me, because previously gin and I had parted ways and even my old friend Tom Collins couldn’t get us back together.

After a few particularily drunken weekends in undergrad (what exactly is it that causes engineering students to work so hard to kill the brain cells that we need so badly?), I was through with the whole gin crowd. Tanq was a skank, Beefeater turned my stomach, and Bombay Sapphire was the Mata-Hari of the bunch, with her tantalizingly beautiful body masking the pure liquid evil contained within. I just couldn’t drink the stuff – it was too harsh, and that junipery taste would always take me right back to the morning when I learned how much it sucked to write a calculus midterm with a hangover.

It’s too bad for Barry that he never thought to acquaint me with my new best friend, Mr. Hendrick’s. He’s from Scotland, and a tad eccentric (I’m told he contains cucumbers), he also believes in the fine art of romance (every woman appreciates rose petals every now and then). He is a little pricey (but I’m a sucker for good breeding), and he’s hands down the best gin that I’ve ever tasted. He might just help to make amends between my self and Tommy, maybe even that jackass Tonic too. He may even be able to teach me that a gin martini isn’t just a cruel method of olive torture.

As for his purported “powers”, Mr. H. and I haven’t really gotten to know each other that well yet (I never depants on the first shot – what kind of girl do you think I am?), but I think it’s definetely safe to say that the two of us will be seeing a lot more of each other in the near future…

Borat

I really wish that I had heard a lot more about this movie, or much, much less. As it was, I spent almost the entire time trying to decipher which scenes were staged, and which involved Sacha Baron Cohen pulling a fast one on people – and then which people were in on it and which weren’t. It was really rather infuriating, because the movie was expertly done, and really quite hilarious, but I just couldn’t get into it because I was second guessing it the whole time.

My recommendation? See it.  It’s funny and painful and brilliant and makes you a little sad for the state of American society.  See it before too much of the funny gets spoiled for you (people will try to explain scenes to you, and will fail to convey the humour, and it will end up being less funny when you do finally see it because the shock value is gone).

I also saw a trailer for The Fountain, which is a movie that I am so unbelievably stoked for.  If you haven’t seen Pi or Requiem for a Dream yet, you really need to.  Darren Aronofsky is a visual genius, and this movie might just even have a happy ending (though probably not).