Time is way too one-directional.

This was my To Do List last night.

Make dinner.

I made this – Fancy Hot Dog Stroganoff from simplyrecipes.com.  I substituted quinoa for the egg noodles and added spinach.  This picture is from that site – My dinner was so yummy that it was all gone before I remembered that I wanted to snap a photo.

Change the litter box.

Blech.

Research wireless routers and make a decision on which one to purchase.

Ah, technology.  How I take you for granted until you break.

Transplant my tomato plant, and also the parsley and chives.   Plant new lettuce and spinach seeds to replace the ones that drowned in last week’s summer deluge.

Done!  I can’t believe how much the tomato plant exploded!  This is my tomato plant on April 17th:

Practice my Italian.

Aprenda a hablar italiano.  Verb book, flashcards, iPod Italian language apps, Easy Italian workbook.  Crappy, blurry photo.

Update the biodork blog with Sunday’s Pride Parade post.

See this big empty rectangle?  That’s my Pride Parade post – no Pride pictures for you!   You get this post with me whining about how busy I was last night instead.  But I’ll have Pride pics on Thursday.

Start rereading Terry Pratchett’s The Color of Magic and be done in time for CONvergence on Thursday.  Come up with some costume-ish thing for Saturday night at CON.

240 pages – no problem!

Plan rail transport from Rome to Perugia for 7/19, book my scuba dive in Sorrento, go to the bank and let them know that I’m going to be using my credit card overseas so they don’t shut down my account while I’m in Italy, figure out where/when to exchange USD for Euros, figure out how to pack enough clothing for two weeks (allowing for trips to la lavanderia) in my tiny little backpack, and…and…

Okay, that last one was really all about making the list, rather than accomplishing everything on the list.

Phew!

2010 Twin Cities Pride: Saturday

June 2010 marks the 38th Annual Pride festival.  The Twin Cities Pride Celebration is one of the largest free GLBTA pride events in the country!  Thank you, Twin Cities Pride for your free awesomeness!

So on Saturday I went to Pride In the Park, which is two days of nearly 400 hundred GLBT-friendly vendors, exhibits, food and concerts in Loring Park, a neighborhood of Minneapolis.  The vendors were selling homemade crafts, artworks, tools, home improvement packages, sex toys, clothing, jewelry, food and beverages, and much more.  Businesses were out pledging their support of diversity and GLBT rights for their employees.  Non-profit organizations were fundraising and plugging their missions.  There were advertisements for banks, churches, housing and neighborhood associations, restaurants, bars, social clubs of every stripe, a commitment ceremony tent, canoe rides and at least three concert stages.

Some things at Pride are a little racy – there are a couple of sex toy booths, and the Naked Minnesota guys in their barrels are awesome, but they really are naked under those barrels.  I’ve checked – in the interest of science, of course.  Accept nothing without verifiable evidence, right?  But for the most part, the park is very family-friendly.  I took Ashley to Pride in the Park last year, and aside from running across a drag king performing a very explicit dance to some very explicit pop song, everything was cool.  She had a blast picking up every sticker, temporary tattoo, lollipop, pen, bag, notepad, ruler, and other miscellaneous swag she could get her hands on.

This year Ashley and I went to Pride in the Park again, with one little difference: She asked if she could bring a friend along.  Like a sucka I said “Sure, why not?”  Well, it turns out her “friend” is Marjie (not her real name) the six year-old daughter of a family friend who her Mom is babysitting.  I should have said no when Ashley came out of the house holding Marjie’s hand, but

1) I hadn’t had any coffee yet, and didn’t fully comprehend the situation.
2) I was struck by the adorableness of Marjie, and was excited to take this cute little girl to the exciting party in the park with the balloons and the puppies and other stimuli.
3)  I had never experienced how quickly six year-olds can change their minds and their emotions back and forth and back again.
4) I didn’t know at the time that a six year-old has an attention span of about 10 minutes and one city block.
5) I have never witnessed the awesome fury of a six year-old who is ready to leave NOW.

So, not knowing any of these things, I got both kids in the car, and off we went! We arrived at the park at about early (~8:30am) so we could snag a parking spot, and then we walked down to Hell’s Kitchen, which was probably a good seven blocks each way.  Marjie was pretty good.  She walked the entire distance on her own feet, but she walked it slowly (geez, no stride to speak of on a 4ft tall kid – who designed these things?).

Cool alley in the Loring Park area that we went through on our way to breakfast, and two shots of the Hell’s Kitchen street sign

At the restaurant, Marjie wanted pancakes and then decided she doesn’t like pancakes, and she hated eggs, but according to Ashley she loves scrambled eggs, and she wanted potatoes, and was not happy when we got hash browns instead of “real” potatoes (your guess is as good as mine), but at least she liked the fruit garnish and her apple juice.  Ashley, for her part, ordered a $10 BLT and proceeded to eat the fries and took maybe two bites out of one half of the sandwich.  I hope the cooks got to eat the other half.

Back to the Park.

Along the way to the park we had to stop at Target so I could get more cash from the ATM, and there was a minor slushie incident, but moving right along…  On our walk I helped Marjie get over her fear of the sidewalk grates, and together we had fun hopping on all of the grates and manhole covers along Nicollet Avenue while “I’m 13 and way too cool for you bozos” walked ahead and pretended not to know us.  We took the Greenway path between the apartments that leads to Loring Park, and both kids had fun dipping their hands and feet in the fountains.

At the park we first walked  through the dog rescue/pet products section, and I nearly had a heart attack every time Marjie tried to hug a strange dog (No doggie faces near your face, Marjie!).  We walked quickly by the sex shop booths (Nope, not those pamphlets, honey!  No, we don’t need any penis-shaped candies.  Thank you though, you’re too fabulous!), and on through the child-tempting vendor’s guantlet.  We made it through that section without any casualties, but the girls had to stop and spin every contest wheel, and Ashley kept trying to sign up for mailing lists so she could get t-shirts, CDs, etc.  They collected stickers on their shirts from every political party and non-profit organization that was giving them away.  They managed to get temporary tattoos from Target, Cub and one university.  They collected reusable grocery bags, dry-erase boards, and a safer sex kit even made it into Marjie’s bag (whoops, Brianne will take that one, honey!).

The girls trying on sunglasses, posing in front of the exhibits, Ashley in the Pfund cutout.

At one point we stopped at a concert stage to watch the drag queens and kings from St. Cloud University.  Ashley was stoked because one of the kings was lip synching to Usher’s O.M.G, and that’s when Marjie freaked out.  She started crying and pulling away from the stage and she kept saying “I don’t want to dance” - she wasn’t acting scared or covering her ears from the volume, she was just seemed pissed and wanted to leave.  And this tantrum made Ashley mad (Y’all can do whatever you want, I’m staying here and watching the concert.)  I finally convinced Marjie to sit on my lap and watch the show, and when we finally got up to leave she started crying again because she didn’t want to leave.

D’oh!  Why you…!

The concert crowd and one of the St. Cloud University Drag Queens

After that we went to the food court and everyone was happy again.

We went to a few more booths and collected some more paraphernalia.  On the way through we were treated to this guy reading from his bible and imploring the audience to let him save them.   (Well girls, that man thinks that it’s bad if two men want to be boyfriends or two girls want to be girlfriends.  What?  Umm… because he just does, probably lots of reasons.  But don’t say anything mean when we go by – he has a right to be here and to express his ideas, even if we don’t agree with him.)

Inside-the-head voice sez “You jerk, try not to get beat up by some drunk gay person while you’re here, okay?”

Finally, it was time to go.  Everyone was exhausted, but relatively satisfied when I dropped the girls back home.  Here’s Marjie’s final good-bye: “Hey, I got gum on your seat.  Thanks.  Bye.”

Seriously, she was standing outside of the car and her butt was still connected to the back seat by a two-foot long strand of chewing gum.

All-in-all, it was a very unique Pride experience.

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Happy Pride!

Stop back tomorrow for more photos and stories from Sunday’s Parade and Festival.

This photo was taken at Toronto’s Pride Parade – isn’t it fun?

2010 Twin Cities Pride Intro

This past weekend was the Twin Cities GLBT Pride Festival.  I had a blast and wore myself out!  I hung out with friends at the 19 Bar in Minneapolis on Thursday night, and then at Rumours/Innuendo in St. Paul on Friday night (I love the name of this bar!). 

On Saturday morning I picked up Ashley (the 13 yo I mentor) and one of her friends and we went to Pride in the Park.  Yesterday I went to the Pride Parade and then spent more time at Pride in the Park with the Hubby.  And finally last night I joined my friend Courtney and her roommates at their place for Rocky Road sundaes and a British movie called The History Boys, which was reminiscent of The Dead Poet’s Society except with fabulously dry British humor.

I can’t wait to get home and process my pictures from the weekend!  I’ll post those tomorrow, but for now enjoy this collection of photos from last year’s Twin Cities Pride that was put together into a video by admanbobw and uploaded to youtube.

Local Books and Food

I don’t always read the Minneapolis Star Tribune’s Metro section because it has a tendency to be depressing.  It seems like a lot of the stories are about local people involved in drunk driving crashes, child abuse cases, murders, robberies, scandals,  etc.  Yeah – go neighbors!

However, yesterday’s Metro had two inspiring stories – one on the James J. Hill Library in St. Paul, and the other about EBT being used at the Midtown Farmer’s Market in Minneapolis.

In the James J. Hill Library story, author Jean Hopfensperger introduces us to the James J. Hill library.  For some of her readers I’m sure it was a re-introduction, but I had never heard of the JJH Library in St. Paul.  And I love libraries!  Especially old libraries with leather chairs and lots of wood and marble accents like JJH Library has.  Look at how gorgeous this library is (source):

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The library’s board of directors is renting out the space for conferences, music and art exhibits and weddings.  I found these pics in a google image search – gorgeous!


I can’t wait to get over to St. Paul and check this place out!

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The other article was by Gail Rosenblum and it was all about the Midtown Farmer’s Market, located by the intersection of Lake Street and Hiawatha in south Minneapolis, and “Market Bucks” available for users of EBT.  EBT is what they used to call “food stamps”.  The USDA defines EBT as “an electronic system that allows a recipient to authorize transfer of their government benefits from a Federal account to a retailer account to pay for products received.”

So low income families can go to Minneapolis Farmers’ Markets and use their EBT to buy groceries, just like they can at most retail grocers.  The Minneapolis and Northeast Farmers’ Markets also accept EBT, but Midtown is offering an additional benefit: For the first $5 spent in EBT, a user will be given $5 additional “Market Bucks” that they can use to purchase additional food!  The program isn’t funded by taxpayer money, but by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota.  From the article:

Blue Cross is funding the Market Bucks pilot, using proceeds from its 1998 Big Tobacco settlement. The effort is one of many created by Blue Cross (think “Do” campaign) to get all Minnesotans to eat better and fight rising obesity rates.

I think this is an excellent use of Big Tobacco money!

I mentor a teenager whose mother uses EBT.  One time several months ago I offered to take her to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market on Lyndale and she told me that she didn’t have the money to shop there.  I can’t wait to tell her – I hope it will give her an opportunity to enjoy the Market and have a unique shopping option.

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The vegetable photo above is not from the Midtown Market, but I thought it was a very pretty composition and it does resemble the open air atmosphere of Midtown.

HTML Humor

Countdown to Italy: 24 Days. 

In honor of Italy and geekdom, some geeky Italy humor:

Since I’ve started this blog I’ve learned the basics of tags and angle brackets.  I know almost nothing about HTML, but I get this joke  :)

Different, just like everyone else!

I never went through a punk or goth phase, but I have worn outfits that could be considered punk or goth “style”.   

Me in 2007 all dressed up for a night at an alt dance club. 

I like different styles and I wear what I want to wear.  Clothing is one of the areas in life where we really have a lot of control.  Even in places where clothing has been standardized (uniforms), people show their individuality by adding highlights – colorful socks, headbands, jewelry, shoes, etc.  

Clothing is such a superficial thing – it’s so easily changed!  But it can very much affect how people see us, how we see ourselves, and even how we act.  I’m fascinated that we can seem like different people when we change our clothes.  When I went out wearing my nose ring and this punk-ish hoodie, people definitely treated me differently than when I am in more “normal” (normal – WTF, mate?) clothing.

That’s no big discovery, though – we all know and have experienced that clothing makes the (wo)man.  But I was surprised when I discovered that I could actually regard and treat people differently depending on what I’m wearing.  When I’m being slobbish and lazy and I wear PJ bottoms and an old t-shirt to the grocery store, I tend to have less patience for people – I’m annoyed that they see me dressed like an idiot, and I’m annoyed that they’ve probably thinking that I’m an idiot for dressing like one.

How do you feel about your clothing and style?  Does it affect your attitude?

PS - Don’t I look badass in these photos?  You can’t see it here, but in the bottom photo my Shakespeare magnetic poetry kit is plastered all over the refrigerator to my left.  Verily, a nerd no matter what clothing I wear.

Well, today’s introspection is inspired by NCBI ROFL’s blog post Personalities of punks and perils of their pointy parkas.  I mentioned in an earlier post that NCBI ROFL takes serious studies and presents them humorous ways.  This post was about the uniqueness of punk juvies and non-punk juvies:

“The purpose of this study was to provide some understanding of punk rockers. Although they have received media attention in the depiction of their unusual hair and clothing styles, there is limited information about their personalities. In this study a delinquent group of punk rockers was compared with a delinquent group of nonpunk rockers on self-image, a personality factor related to teenagers’ mental health and adjustment. Each group consisted of 20 subjects, 15 males and 5 females, aged 14 to 17. Subjects were administered a Screening Questionnaire, the Offer Self-Image Questionnaire (OSIQ), and the California Psychological Inventory (CPI) while detained at a Southern California juvenile hall… No significant differences were found between the groups. The importance of these findings is that even though punk rockers may look and act unusual, they may actually be similar to other groups.”

What – you mean we’re all human beings with similar human emotions underneath all of that leather, the hair dye, the spikes and patches?  Ha!  I don’t believe it!  I’m surprised that punks and non-punks can still produce viable offspring!  *shaking head*  Wow.  I make fun, but the larger study is interesting and may help correction professionals have more positive interactions with the youth with whom they’re working.

Photo source

There is a second journal article associated with this NCBI ROFL blog post recounting the dangers of spiky punk jackets:

“Stab wounds to the thorax are seen in the emergency department (ED) and can be caused by a variety of mechanisms. This case highlights an unusual cause of injury: a leather jacket with spikes on the back of it. This type of jacket is often worn by “punks” as a fashion statement. We report that falling onto such a jacket may result in accidental thoracic injury leading to subcutaneous emphysema. A thorough clinical assessment is mandatory to exclude underlying lung injury or pneumothorax.”

Yeowch.

Stay away from this punk mouse.  He’ll pneumothorax your ass!  Well, your lung…you know what I mean.

Weekend Report

This weekend was pretty snazzy.

On Saturday I went on a motorcycle ride with a bunch of friends.  My friend Courtney rode on the back of my bike, and the group of us took a series of winding rural roads from St. Paul to Taylors Falls, MN.   It was cool and overcast the entire day, but all of the weather radar info (on the gazillion or so smartphones we had between us) said the chance of rain was minimal, so off we went!

We rode through some really beautiful areas, and after about an hour and a half of riding we stopped to eat lunch at Taylors Falls.  We ate at a drive-in hot dog/hamburger diner-slash-mini golf place that had horribly addicting fried green beans (thank goodness they had vegetables alongside all of the burger and fries options!) and really yummy, frosty root beer.

After lunch Courtney and I headed back toward Minneapolis, and along the way we stumbled across this incredible sculpture garden called Franconia Sculpture Park.  The place was gigantic - they had probably 30 installations spread over a large area of farmland, and we saw artists working on new pieces throughout the park.  Everything was connected by black pebble walkways and paths mowed through knee-high wild grass.  Some of the exhibits reminded me of the St. Louis City Museum – they were interactive and invited the public to touch, climb and play.

   

After we left Franconia, we stopped briefly in Stillwater to walk around downtown.  We sat down at one of the coffee shops and suddenly it hit us – were both exhausted from the ride.  Riding on a motorcycle can sometimes zap your energy – I think it’s a combination of having the sun shine directly on you and having to push against the wind for long periods of time.  Whatever it was, we were done, so we took the quick route back to Minneapolis and each ran home to take naps.  I usually hate naps – waste of time! – but mine felt really, really good on Saturday!

On Sunday I went rollerblading around Lake Calhoun and then came back home to have some breakfast and watch an episode of Battlestar Galactica.  In the afternoon I went into work at the bookstore for a couple of hours, which was great because I had stepped down from part-time to seasonal back in May, so I had a chance to catch up with a bunch of work buddies who I hadn’t seen for about a month.

When I left work it was sunny and in the mid-80s, so I decided to head back out to Lake Calhoun – this time with my fancy-schmancy scuba fins, mask and snorkel.  The sun had been shining on the lake all afternoon, so it was relatively warm.  Aside from the popular bandaid and hair tie specimens, there’s not much to see in Lake Calhoun from a snorkeling perspective, but it was neat to fin around and play for a while.

After I got out of the water I just sat on the sand and marveled at the lake – it really is very beautiful.  The blue water stretched out before me and there were several sailboats and windsurfers zipping across the water.  The shoreline around Lake Calhoun has never been sold privately, so all areas of the lakefront are open to the public.  There are bike and walking paths that encircle the lake and three beaches, one seafood restaurant at the north end of the lake, and a place to rent kayaks, canoes and paddleboats.  From the south end of the beach you can see the entire Minneapolis downtown skyline rising above the trees.

I hung out at the north-end beach area for about an hour and then came home to do some chores.  Well, that’s what I meant to do.  In reality I watched another episode of BSG, played on the internet for a bit and then went to bed.  The dishes and laundry can always wait :)

Link Happy

I keep track of the blogs and websites I follow by adding them to my blogroll. I have them split up into categories, and I noticed that I’ve been adding quite a few links in the past two weeks. So I thought today I would highlight some of my new happy places.

Blogs I Like
These are blogs that interest me and that have owners who update them on a regular basis, that is, on average once a day or more.  Some are personal blogs, others are more professional, and they deal with a wide range of topics.

Newest Additions:
L-I-V-E:  This is a personal blog by Jana.  She posts recipes, observations about life and the world around her.
NCBI ROFL: This blog presents the newest serious research in amusing and often hilarious ways.
Skepticblog: Group blog by a bunch of smartypants dealing with subject across the skeptical spectrum – paranormal, alternative medicine, legal and political woo, etc.

Blogs I’m Trying Out
These are either blogs that I like but that aren’t updated regularly, or they may be blogs that I think I like, but I want to watch them for a while before promoting them up to “Blogs I Like”.  Again, some are personal blogs, others are more professional, and they deal with a wide range of topics.

Newest Additions:
A Flash of Inspiration - Brand spanking new addition.  I found this blog through one of his comments on a wordpress Freshly Pressed article.  The artwork caught my eye first, and then the stories.
Here Be Dragons – A charming, quirky personal blog with one of my all-time favorite “About Me” sections.
Mostly Grocery – A unique blog about the daily challenges of a grocery clerk.
Prattlenog – An personal blog that deals with education, ponderings, musings and thoughts.
War for Science – A young Malaysian scientist, skeptic and atheist’s view of the world.

Entertaining and Fun
Nice Ride MN – This public transportation program just opened in the Twin Cities.  This is the bike rental’s official website.  Neat idea, I hope it’s here to stay!
thxthxthx – Cute and sweet.  It’s become as much a part of my daily online routine as lolcats and loldogs and failblog.org

Family and Friends
Leonine POV – My friend D’s personal blog – Lots of stuff about The Tudors TV show, Marilyn Monroe and pop culture.
Musings – My cousin C’s personal blog.  She just started it and she’s a super busy student, but I hope she sticks with it!
Temple of Conflict – My friend B’s personal blog.  Current affairs, gaming, and other stuff that’s on his mind.

GLBTA
Marry Me Minnesota – A legal campaign suing the state of MN for the right of three gay couples to marry.

Use Your Noggin
These are websites (not necessarily blogs, although some of the groups/sites do have associated blogs), of groups that I admire and from which I am excited to learn.  They may be science-focused, political, silly or intriguing for some of other reason.
TED Talks – Go watch ‘em.  All of them.  Geeky, fun, intellectual.