Monthly Archives: February 2014

Dream List

2014 looks like its going to be shot down the tubes. I’m not getting much of a raise and my annual bonus was eaten by my tax bill. I thought that I wouldn’t worry about money this year, but it turns out that I’m wrong.


To quell my anxiety, because I feel depressed today, and despite it being 15 below outside, I’ve decided I’m going to take a flight of fancy. I’m going to build a list of things I wanted to do in chronological/tangible order


– Get a dog (German Shepherd mix)

– Replace the windows in my house

– Buy a new phone.

– Buy a queen-sized bed

– Build a firepit in my backyard

– Buy microphones and recording equipment to record music

– Buy furniture for my bedroom

– Throw away the broken dishwasher (one of my roommates reminded me of its existence today)

– Convert the dishwasher space to cabinet space and tear out the cabinets over the refrigerator

– Buy a bigger refrigerator

– Cut down the dead branches on my tree and away from my power lines

– Buy a heater for the garage

– Replace the hot water heater

– Replace the bathtub

– Buy a newer car

– Replace my wardrobe

– Start going out/dating again

– Refresh my circle of friends

– Get married

– Learn to hang glide

– Take up archery

– Learn to cross-country ski

– Try a biathalon on a buddy’s farm

– Perform a decathlon

– Breakdance in my basement

– Build a curling team

– Build a tree house in my front yard

– Build a woodshop in my garage and turn in to Norm from New Yankee Workshop.

– Travel to Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales

– Travel to India

– Travel to New Zealand

– Travel to Madagascar

– Go to Hawaii

– Go to Maine and Nova Scotia

– Celebrate Carnival in Rio de Janero, Trinidad, and New Orleans

– Ride horseback through Patagonia

– Climb the mountains of Chile

– Go to South Africa

– Travel to Cuba and Iran

– Go to Hong Kong

– Tour the world’s second largest island: Papua New Guinea

– Go to Antarctica (Why? Isn’t Minnesota enough?)

– Visit Iceland with my friend Charlie

– Enter myself, Lucas and Andrew in the World Series of Poker Main Event and see who goes furthest


I feel better now.

I had no idea I had so many dreams and aspirations until I wrote them all down!


Alas, time to return to my Minnesota winter, my desk and my work.


Traffic Accident

I got into a car accident this morning. I was going south on Portland at 25 mph at 7:20 this morning. Two blocks ahead, I see a taxi van signal a left-hand turn on the 494 bridge. I apply the brakes a block and a half away, but my car isn’t stopping. There is a car in my blindside and oncoming traffic on my left. I slam on the brakes just as I’m getting on the bridge and my car slides uncontrollably forward. I scream, “STOP!!” and press hard on the horn. My car’s horn is unresponsive. The entire accident is unfolding in the slowest possible motion. I think that I’m going to stop, but I don’t and I bump the back bumper of the taxi van.


He makes his left and I follow him. We pull off the road to exchange insurance and inspect. There is no damage.


 “I can’t believe the ice on that bridge,” I say.

He starts picking at the bumper, “I think there’s a scratch. Do you have insurance?”

“I do. I suppose I should get yours too.”

“Do we need to get the police involved?”

“I don’t see any damage.”

“Its no problem man.”

“I agree,” I say in relief. We go our separate ways undamaged.


Morals of the story: 1) Always drive below the speed limit, 2) Treat icy bridges with extra respect. If you do this, you’ll avoid damage in your next traffic accident.

My First Chick-Fil-A

Six months ago, a Chick-Fil-A first appeared in my part of town. I can’t recall there ever being one in the Twin Cities area before. What I did recall was some media rumor about the upper management of Chick-Fil-A all being against interracial marriage or gay marriage or something that someone was committed to boycotting over. Also, what kind of name is Chick-Fil-A? Are they trying to promote illiteracy? I always call them “Chick-A-Fil” to promote the confusion. The brand was tarnished in my eyes, so I avoided them.


 But my boycotts mean little, since I never really spend money. My consumer spending is all dedicated to paying my mortgage, my utility bills, food and liquor. Even though I supported the Nike boycotts of the 1990s (I still haven’t purchased a Nike product), I know that a dollar never spent remains a dollar never spent and that me boycotting something makes people nod their heads and yawn.


 For the past six months, I have observed the lines at Chick-Fil-A. They are always busy. Finally, I decided that today was the day to see what all the fuss is about. I decided to walk there over my lunch period.


Regardless of whatever politics of management, I have to confess I am impressed with the business operation. The quality of the sandwich is fantastic, but there isn’t much variety beyond fried chicken. I tried several of the house sauces and concluded that the Polynesian and house sauce are delicious. A unique feature of the experience is the people who walk around inside the store and bring you mints, clear your tables and give you refills. You almost feel like you need to tip (I suppose everyone else does, but I’m a scrooge). I believe I received a terrific value at $8.25.


The quality was so high that, if I ran the store, I would charge $10 for the basic sandwich and I would place the starting pay of the waitstaff at $13 an hour. I feel like this fast food joint represents a good hybrid between fast food and restaurant, on the order of a Noodles and Company. Panera and Chipotle are just fancy fast food. To break through to the other side, you need to send people into the dining area to chat with customers and cater to them. That’s how you can charge the beaucoup bucks.