Archive for October, 2008

Megabus comes to Minneapolis!

I don’t think I’m overstating the situation when I say that this is going to change all of our lives for the better for the rest of eternity, unless you’re one of those dirty, sniveling Socialists. Huh? Is that what you are? A Socialist? You make me sick. Now get out of my face and go enjoy your universal free healthcare. However, those of you in the banking industry are obviously welcome to hang around, drive our banks into ruin and wait for your bailout and reward – but everyone else has to go back to Canada where you belong.

Actually, this really is huge news for the car-free lifestyle people – or those that would rather eat raw bird ca-ca rather than drive long distance through Wisconsin.

Meagabus, which has been a growing ground transport option in the northeast US since 2006, has finally started service to Minneapolis. So far, they only go direct from Minneapolis to Chicago, Madison and Milwaukee, but if you’ve got the ass-fortitude, there’s connections onward to Detroit, Indianapolis, Cleveland, Cincinnati, Memphis, St Louis and more.

I’m finding tickets from Minneapolis to Chicago for as little as $10. No taxes, but there’s a whopping $0.50 reservation fee, so that’s one less pack of gum out of your trip budget.

Now why on earth would you choose to take a bus like a hobo or a Norwegian backpacker rather than a car, train or plane? Well, flying is obviously far more expensive, punishing to the environment and increasingly demoralizing – and that’s assuming your flight leaves on time and they manage to deliver your luggage to your actual destination.

Admittedly the train would be a more comfortable ride, but even that’s going to cost anywhere from two to five times as much as Megabus and the travel time is virtually the same (about 7 and 1/2 hours from Minneapolis to Chicago, which I find rather weird (shouldn’t the train blow past a bus, what with all the stop lights and traffic jams and getting stuck behind people in Wisconsin that drive their cars like they drive their combines?).

Apart from the drastically reduced price, here’s the true deal-maker for me: wi-fi. That’s right haters, Megabus has free wi-fi on all its buses and the new fleet of double-decker buses will also have power points, so you can spend the entire ride working, playing poker, and watching all those YouPorn videos you’ve been putting off.

I have yet to actually ride on a Megabus, but it looks as if I’ll be heading back to St Louis next month, so I’ll duly post a review when that happens. Including the two hour layover in Chicago, it’s almost a 16-hour trip, one way. Not an easy day, certainly. However, let’s look at driving to St Louis in a private car: takes about nine hours (10 hours if you get jacked-up lost outside St Louis like I did), the gas bill for a one-way run is about $75 (whereas roundtrip on Megabus starts at about $43), you arrive brain-dead from constantly scanning the horizon for the fuzz, your ass hurts just about the same and you didn’t get to watch Hulu videos and flirt with Norwegian backpackers the entire time.

Megabus stops both at Parking Ramp C in downtown Minneapolis on 3rd Street and 3rd Ave North (which is totally accessible from my building through the Skyway – no big deal, I’m just saying how rad that’ll be in the winter) and on University Avenue, across from Williams Arena by the U of M. Get there early to get the coveted second-level front seat, so you can enjoy panoramic views of the Wisconsin countryside (or sit about three rows back, if you actually want to see your laptop screen).

Megabus

Car-free lifestyle | 20.10.2008 11:11 | 16 Comments

Minnesota Rollergirls season starts Saturday

There are few things in life that never get old: Strongbow in 17 ounce cans, Tina Fey doing Sarah Palin and watching women in roller skates and fishnet stockings beating the living hell out of each other.

I have very fond memories of my first (and only) Rollergirls bout last March, so I’m genuinely starting to lose my shit in anticipation of the Minnesota Rollergirls return to Roy Wilkins Auditorium this Saturday (October 18th), when the All-Stars take on the Northwest Arkansas Rollergirls. There’ll also be a Pirates versus Zombies themed bout which will feature this year’s badass rookies, several of whom were profiled in last week’s City Pages.

I’ll be there, sitting on rink-side cement, as a personal guest of rookie and City Pages covergirl Skullateral Damage. While keeping one hand over my totally uninsured gonads in case of spectator-cushioned wipeouts, I’ll keep the other poised and ready to take digital video of what I hope will be a statement-making, bench-clearing brawl in the first five minutes that’ll put the fear of God into those heathen Northwest Arkansas Rollergirls.

I’ve also appointed myself to Hooligan Patrol. Since parts of my previous Rollergirl experience were sullied by two members of the Misogynistic, Beer Stank, Little Dick Society of White Bear Lake, I’ve armed myself with an official Minnesota Rollergirl 14″ rubber dildo (available in the gift shop for $17.99), with which I fully intend to menace spectators that get out of hand. Admittedly, a dildo-packing travel writer won’t exactly strike fear into the hearts of many, so in extreme cases I’ll have a flare gun that, when fired, will halt the match and bring every skater in the house over for little amateur chiropractor work using nothing but roller skates and a folding chair.

Now, I’m not a religious man, but…

Dear Buddha,

Please let there be a bench-clearing brawl, please let there be a bench-clearing brawl, please let there be a bench-clearing brawl.

Your humble, usually pacifist minion,

Leif

Minnesota Rollergirls events schedule

Sports | 15.10.2008 16:06 | 2 Comments

This is why I love Wilde Roast Café

I know, I know! Where the hell have I been? Bad local interest blogger! Bad!! Someone should spank me with a cricket bat. Seriously.

In short, I’ve been a little distracted lately, freaking out while finishing old business, freaking out while starting new business, eating my body weight in frozen pizza, getting almost no exercise, gaining five pounds and, not surprisingly, suffering from nasty insomnia.  Oh and by the way, I have no confirmed paying work anywhere in my immediate future. No biggie. I can always go back to DJing Monday to Thursday at the Skyway Lounge.

Seeing as how the country is about to collapse five different ways and we’ll be reduced to mob rule and a barter system where soy beans and cute travel writers are the main currency, I’ve been spending what little there is of my savings by eating out a lot this past week, including a second, long-overdue trip to Wilde Roast Café.

Last time I was at this place, I predicted painful, gut-wrenching bouts of indecision at future visits, what with Brasa being only steps away and both places serving up sammiches that I’d knock down a wall of puppies to get at. But that internal struggle was moot at 10 o’clock this morning, because only Wilde Roast serves breakfast and anyway I’m not sure I could choke down a plate of beef at that hour no matter how long it was marinated in cognac and Italian dressing.

I was in the mood for something sweet and the Crème Brûlée French Toast took that craving and head-butted it right into whimpering submission. It was almost too pretty to eat actually: a golden brown, doughy slice of bread the size and shape of a cobblestone, with peach slices, whipped cream, toasted pecans and maple syrup.  My companion got the equally gorgeous and savory looking Breakfast Burro, a colorful herb tortilla wrapped around scrambled eggs and cheese with salsa, sour cream and a choice of adding ham, sausage, bacon, black beans, fresh tomato or avocado.

The menu at this coffee shop-cum-café is surprisingly long and glorious. The Trinity College Tuna Melt that I greedily consumed the last time I was here was even prettier than my French Toast and it did intriguing things to the purple part of my tongue. The fireplace, cozy furniture and free wi-fi routinely lure people here for informal meetings or simply to spread out and establish a makeshift workspace, with frequent breaks for drinks and snacks. I’m so gonna write my memoirs here.

“We were somewhere around Albert Lea, nearing the Iowa border, when the Mountain Dew and six bean burritos began to take hold. I remember saying something like ‘I think I’m going to do the double eject, if you catch my drift.’ My mom said ‘Shut your pie hole or you’re sleeping in the car again!'”

All we need now is a light rail line from my building directly into southeast Minneapolis. Or maybe I could get Master Blaster to give me a ride in his Super-Charged Death Tractor. I’d man the machine gun turret, obviously.

Wilde Roast Café
518 Hennepin Ave. E
Minneapolis
Tel: 612.331.4544

Eating | 6.10.2008 23:45 | 4 Comments