Archive for January, 2008

Live blogging – Escape from Minneapolis via Blackberry

8:00 – Wake up. Remember that I’m going to San Francisco today. Get happy.

8:07 – Learn that criminal weather misinformation spread by Paul Doulas is going to screw me yet again. Ungodly weather forecast for Wed has arrived a day early. Sub-zero wind chill and snow expected before 2:35 take-off

8:22 – Coffee (1st cup). Give up trying to find true weather outlook between conflicting forecasts all over the net. Realize that combo of weather and Northwest on-time departure record virtually guarantees flight delay.

8:32 – Sign up for NW flight status email alert for my flight.

9:00 – Start packing.

9:57 – Finish both packing and 2nd cup of coffee. Eat apple. Figure out I can blog from my *@?#ing awesome Blackberry. Resolve to liveblog Minneapolis exit.

9:58 – Consider that liveblogging departure with weather and NW reliability factored together all but guarantees flight delay/cancellation debacle. Decide to go forward anyway – for the fans.

11:20 – Eat pre-flight omelet (ham, onion, tomato, mushroom, cheese, extra spicy).

12:00 – Agonize over which jacket to wear. It’s zero here, 55 in SF. Decide to layer long shirt, fleece and light jacket. Only alternative is parka that looks ridiculous, evenin Mpls. Hood flaps so wide, strong gust gives me six inches of air.

12:15 – Leave. Walk four blocks to Government Center LRT station. Miss train by 30 seconds. Curse in four languages while waiting for next train.

12:23 – Get on train. See that EDGE service is dead. Can’t blog. T-Mobile coverage in downtown Mpls sucks so much ass. Curse more. Everyone but deaf old lady clears 10 foot circle around me.

12:50 – Arrive at airport. Having checked in online, step to auto baggage check desk. Wait one minute. Check bag in two minutes. Go to security.

12:53 – Step up to security line. No waiting. Stand in disbelief. Pinch self liberally. Am invited by guy behind me to move my ass. Get through security in under two minutes. Conclude that I haven’t gotten through U.S. security that fast since 1988.

1:04 – Arrive at gate. See that flight is delayed by 25 minutes. Listen to very familiar lie by NW agent that it’s Air Traffic Control’s (ATC) fault.

1:20 – Still using *@?#ing awesome Blackberry, confirm on two web sites that SFO is experiencing 15-25 minute delays. Blame gate agent anyway for form’s sake.

1:47 – NW announces that we are now delayed an hour. Still blaming ATC. Cue NW ass covering.

1:58 – Listen to loud business traveler call seven friends and associates to announce our late flight. Keeps telling people he’s in Detroit, not Mpls.

2:05 – Using laptop, try old WiFi hack to bypass stupid concourse pay net service and get free WiFi. Hack no longer works.

2:07 – Man with throat clearing tic and severe nasal congestion sits next to me. Begins bodily function cabaret.

2:15 – Try to find the motivation to work on high paying article. Fail. Continue online detective work using Blackberry to collect evidence that NW is lying to us. Start planning revolution.

2:34 – Write seven words for high paying article (893 words to go!). Reward self by switching to answering personal emails offline.

2:57 – Things are starting to happen that suggest that we might be getting on the plane soon. Too good to be true? Leaving one hour late on domestic flights these days is like leaving on time. Online evidence suggests that the NW agents are telling the truth about ground delays in SF. Start considering that multi-agency conspiracy may be in effect.

3:04 – Air marshal just escorted a shackled prisoner onto the plane. Yay? Now slow people are being invited to board. Usual hoard of idiots crowd the gate, impeding boarding.

3:10 – NW invites whole plane to board at once. Chaos ensues. I’m not moving from my chair. It’s 2 degrees on the jetway.

3:21 – In seat. Not convinced we’re actually leaving yet. Read in-flight mag. Note editor’s name for future email sleuthing and unsolicited pitching.

3:23 – Sitting next to Chinese mother/daughter team. No English. Both enthusiastically snapping gum. Why never a cute girl? Sat next to a cute girl once on a flight to Norway in 1990. Never since.

3:25 – We’re leaving! See you in a week suckers!

Postscript – Why am I such a dupe sometimes? Of course we didn’t leave. They rushed us onto the plane made us switch off all our blogging devices and then left us to marinate for another 30 minutes. I’m too trusting, when I’m not too bitter and jaded.

Uncategorizable | 29.01.2008 13:20 | 2 Comments

This is why I love Babani’s Kurdish Restaurant

Have you ever wondered why it is when you’re trying to settle on a restaurant and you ask yourself “what kind of food am I craving?”, you almost never say ‘Kurdish’? Well, as with everything else in the universe, I have some very passionate, thinly-researched theories on the subject.

The obscurity of this cuisine in North America aside, I’ve hypothesized that it has something to do with the term itself. Say it to yourself – Kurd. Kuuurrrd. Not a particularly attractive word to the anglicized ear. First of all, it sounds too much like ‘turd’. If you can overlook that unpleasantness, the word evokes images of unpalatable globules of bean products, fairytale mush (kurds and whey) and cholesterol-saturated, deep-fried balls (cheese curds) served at the State Fair, prepared by a teenagers making $3.50 an hour that only wash their hands once a day (if that).

In fairness, ‘French’ rhymes with ‘stench’ and ‘wench’ among other things that don’t exactly open the saliva ducts, and the word (at least for me) evokes images of hateful waiters, hilarious fashion trends and sidewalks strewn with dog shit. But for some reason there’s 127 French restaurants in the metro area. Goes to show you what endearing accents and lots of butter can do for your P.R.
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Eating | 28.01.2008 12:16 | 5 Comments

Video blogging debut

In case you were wondering if I’m really as cute as I claim to be, you can see for yourself on my other blog Killing Batteries, where I’ve just posted my first ever vblogging effort in the hopes of becoming a world famous travel TV show host (or Iron Chef judge).

Vblogging | 28.01.2008 12:06 | Comments Off on Video blogging debut

Dude, have you looked outside lately?

This is only breaking news for those of you just coming out of a coma (and if you’re one of those people, thanks for reading when you clearly have a lot on your plate), but I just wanted to state the obvious for historical record that it’s been cold as balls outside for the past few days.

Incidentally, why do people say “cold as balls”? That makes absolutely no sense. Have you people ever touched balls? Not cold, that’s for sure.

People seem to have two approaches for dealing with this kind of unholy cold: either stockpile supplies, barricade the doors, crank the heat and watch three consecutive seasons of ’24’ or stubbornly charge out into the freezing tundra like it’s not happening (defiantly wearing no hat for additional rebellion points) and go about business as usual. I fall into the former category.

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Uncategorizable | 20.01.2008 15:17 | 6 Comments

This is why I love Broders’ Pasta Bar

I hesitated to write this post only because about a squillion people have beaten me to lavishing praise on Broders’ Pasta Bar. And pretty much all of them had culinary critiquing and descriptive skills that surpass my best efforts (e.g. “some kind of fish” and “topped with green crap” and “The green crap was OK, but you know what really ruled? The red crap.”).

But I’ve been going to Broders’ for like 158 years now and there are so few restaurants in this day and age that can:

  • Maintain quality and reasonably affordable prices over a long period of time
  • Never fall out of style
  • Retain long term serving staff
  • Impress a guy that recently lived in Italy for eight months, eating pasta six days a week the whole time and therefore doesn’t usually get all that excited about pasta anymore
  • Stay open for 158 years

So taking all that into consideration (and wanting to write off the meals from a recent trip so as to stick it to the IRS yet again), I’ve decided that Broders’ could use one more bump of favorable blogging about their exquisitely prepared red crap.
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Eating | 12.01.2008 12:40 | 7 Comments

This is why I love Midtown Global Market

marketexterior.jpgPublic service dining hint for Midtown Global Market: Bring anywhere from one to 205 friends with you, buy a single serving at each food booth so everyone can get a taste then move on to the next booth until you get to sample every bloody thing in the joint. Do this until you’re all full. Then whip out your laptops and enjoy free WiFi to work/play poker/read my blogs until you’re hungry again. Repeat.

I sprinted through the cold yesterday to lunch in this fashion at Midtown Global Market (MGM) for the third time. Each time I do this, I find one or more awesome food item(s) that make me kind of wish that I didn’t live all the way downtown where my immediate vicinity, out-of-apartment lunch variety hedges solely on how creative I get at the Subway sandwich assembly line.

Meanwhile MGM is an “internationally themed public market with more than 50 independent locally-owned business”, including 12 food stalls slinging lunch and dinner and five places offering breakfast. It’s a work-at-homer’s dream, especially if your home is one of those condos upstairs in the Midtown Exchange, so you can get at all that food without ever having to take off your slippers.

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Eating | 4.01.2008 15:34 | 8 Comments