So I’m on vacation this week, up in Minnesota for my brother’s wedding this weekend. It’s nice to be on vacation, though I do feel out of touch with the office. For example, my boss resigned yesterday. That’ll be interesting when I get back next week.

The notes so far from this trip:

  • Mama’s Pizza in Saint Paul is my continuing benchmark for thin crust pizza. Damn, that’s tasty. If you go I recommend a large “Special Deluxe” pizza. The beer selection is not great so have a Coke then head over to the Muddy Pig in Saint Paul. Decent selection of microbrews, especially local stuff like Summit and Surly.
  • Phil’s Tara Hideaway in Stillwater doesn’t look like much from the outside but it has great food. I had dinner here about 10 years ago, and I ordered something that wasn’t available. In a sort of apology they asked if they could make me something special. Um, yes? I basically ended up eating what the chef enjoyed making for himself, and it was great. This time I was there for lunch with my friend Tim, and it continues to be tasty, with interesting Mediterranean dishes among the American food. Definitely a neat find at the end of the Highway 36 frontage road.
  • Phone support for Qwest DSL is hit & miss. Basically I was trying to fix the fact that my mother’s DSL modem would intermittently flip out after transmitting or receiving about 10 MB of data. I talked to three people: one useless time-waster, who could have spared me 15 minutes by just tellng me politely to call back when the problem was occurring, one knowledgeable fellow who figured out I knew what I was talking about and actually worked on the problem with me, and finally one lady who pulled the trigger and sent a technician with a new modem out to end this saga. It wasn’t the modem, either — it was a bad port on a crappy DSLAM. The tech was the nicest tech I’ve ever interacted with (from a monopolistic corporation, at least). Once he got back from switching us to a working port he helped my mother carry in groceries while we were waiting to see if the problem recurred.
  • Drivers in the Twin Cities fall into two categories: asshole or moron. Unfortunately, with the moron quotient it becomes impossible to not be an asshole if you want to do things like drive the speed limit. Also, any precipitation, real or imagined (wind and darkness count, too) seem to cause everybody to drive at least 10 MPH slower than the speed limit. It’s funny that in a place with zero usable mass transit options for the eleven county metro area the residents aren’t better drivers. At least in Madison I can blame it on the folks that ride their bicycles 9 months a year. Advice to MN drivers: if you don’t like the assholes that drive the speed limit plus five (as a valley girl would say, “Oh-My-God!”) then stay out of the left lane, letting them pass in peace while you putter along mindlessly. Idiots. Oh, and while I’m at it, at the end of an entrance ramp I’d like to be going more than 30 MPH. GOSH.
  • Last, the political campaigns here are so incredibly negative. The candidates are all so similar (all amorphous blobs of political chameleon) that all they can do is attack the incumbent with crap about how they aren’t saving the children. One ad announces that the incumbent didn’t vote to approve a law that would stop meth labs from being near schools. Um, that’s the dumbest law I’ve heard of lately, since meth labs ARE ALREADY ILLEGAL. Exactly why do we need a law making them more illegal? This is the same mentality that got us zero-tolerance policies in schools, so kids can’t make a mistake anymore without becoming a felon. Hell, when I was in school we all had pocket knives. As tools, not weapons.

*sigh* Oh well, hopefully it’ll stop raining today. 🙂

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