Monday, September 18, 2017

Poms Don't Tub

Cab service improved in Minneapolis in the 1990's. Cabs started to be well-maintained, drivers were clean and respectful, Minnesota Public Radio, rather than loud rock, was playing quietly. The driver may have worked as a physician or a teacher or an engineer in Somalia, but now he was working his way back up.

In the past year I've spent many days pacing the corridors of Methodist Hospital in a Minneapolis suburb. As with any well-run medical facility, surfaces were being cleaned non-stop. I was cheerfully acknowledged by housekeeping staff from far-away places like Somalia, Myanmar, Tibet, and the former Soviet Union.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Minneapolis Bronze Statues

Yesterday, I went cycling with my friend, Dave, as we do every week in the warmer months. Sometimes we cycle a loop, sometimes we pick a theme, sometimes we meander. On Dave's suggestion we went in search of Minneapolis bronze statues.

We met next to the baseball park at Target Field light rail station. Dave loves baseball, so our first task was to search among the statues surrounding the stadium for local hero, Harmon Killebrew. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

The Consequences of Being Too Paperless

A few years ago we decided we would eliminate as much paper as possible.

Eliminating paper has been a satisfying but imperfect journey.

Our records are available to us when we travel, we no longer have a filing cabinet. 100% of our tax records, including receipts, are electronic and meet Internal Revenue Service standards.

However, along the way, we inadvertently tossed out the titles to our cars. We have scans, but a scan is not sufficient to complete a transfer of ownership.

In 2003 we purchased a BMW 3 Series car. It's the most (so-called) "refined" car we've ever owned, but ownership has been absurdly expensive.

Now, the engine won't turn over: it's time to donate it to Newgate School, a nonprofit that trains auto mechanics. If our experience is typical, the trainees, will make a good living repairing BMW cars.

Monday, August 28, 2017

Looking Forward to Winter

It's State Fair time in Minnesota, which means winter is just around the corner.

Winters in Minnesota can be lovely, with blue skies and bright sun reflecting off fresh snow. But there's so much winter: it appears in November, and lingers through April. Some days can be brutally cold.

It's time to nail down winter travel plans. I've planned three international trips lasting a total of 3 months: southern Japan, New Zealand, and (mainly) southern Europe.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Letting Go of the Big Stuff

We're not getting any younger. It's time to move from our home of 25 years to a condo where stairs are optional, and maintenance is someone else's responsibility.

Initially, we are leasing a place with less than half the floor area of our house while our condo is being built. We've been getting rid of much of our "big stuff."

Friday, August 11, 2017

Defending Seoul

Seoul, South Korea, April 17, 2017. I knew I was in trouble.

The silence was broken by a whirring sound close behind me. A military security camera was locking onto me. I quickly put my camera away, but it was too late: an armed soldier was walking down an embankment towards me.

Friday, August 4, 2017

9 Things I did around San Diego

USS Midway.
I'm just back from a few days in San Diego. My partner was attending a conference, so I took advantage of a Delta Airlines two-for-one coupon, and a "free" hotel room.

I explored parts of San Diego, and also went down the coast to the Mexican border and up the coast towards Los Angeles as far as San Clemente.

I like to wander freely, enjoying the journey, but here's eleven specific things I enjoyed.

Monday, July 24, 2017

Scenes from a Bridge

I love this bridge.

Built for rail in 1883, Stone Arch Bridge crosses the Mississippi then curves through the Mill District into downtown Minneapolis. When I traverse it on bike or foot, I think of immigrants arriving from the East being welcomed by this scene before starting a new life in Minneapolis or points beyond.

Saturday, July 15, 2017

Journey to the House of Balls

White paint traced the black lines of the graffiti letters on the concrete of a freeway overpass spanning the Cedar Lake Trail: a failed cover-up. I imagined a subversive city worker performing the cleanup: "F*** you Mitch McConnell" was still visible, white on gray.

"Images hiding in plain sight" was my theme for the day. I was on my way to three places I had often passed, but never noticed.