All-Star Game 2014 Minneapolis Festivities

All-Star-GameMinneapolis has All-Star Game fever. Everywhere you look downtown, you will see some sort of baseball related adornment. It’s awesome. Yes, I’m not a fan of the traffic and crowds the festivities will create, but the energy is one of pure joy.

We went to the Futures Game and the Celebrity/Legends Softball game at Target Field on Sunday. It was so much fun. Baseball has such a rich history and there really is nothing like going to a big stadium filled with baseball fans. It’s so communal. You sit in your assigned seat, but you chat with some of the folks around you at some point. You all have something in common, baseball. Whether you are booing everything Yankee related or talking about who has stolen the most bases in a season, there’s something to talk about.

Even while walking to the stadium, you can sense the excitement and fun in the air. At the stadium, the energy gets stronger. There are press everywhere. There are people taking pictures of everything with big smiles on their faces.

The Futures Game is fun because these are guys who could be on the All-Star team in the future. Right now, they are relatively unknown and usually playing in the minors, but it’s still fun to see them hit a home run, or hit a foul ball into the windshield of a truck parked as a display at the field. Yep, that happened.

The Celebrity/Legends Softball game is fun mostly for the legends. It’s great to see guys who you can tell just love the sport of baseball and any excuse to get out on the field. They are having a ball, pun totally intended.

If the All-Star Game comes to your city or near your city, I highly recommend checking out one of the festivities. Sure, the All-Star Game itself is probably priced out for most of us minions, but there are other things to do and see that are exciting and fun and baseball related.

Car shopping and other nightmares

Minnesota, you are forcing my hand. What the heck is up with your roads?  I thought the roads in Sacramento were bad.  Uh, no. They are fancy and fine.

I’ve heard a saying that Midwesterners have…”There’s two seasons here. Winter and road construction.”

Really?  Have you seen your roads Minnesota? Holy crap.

Look at this road….LOOK AT IT!

StPaulMNPotholesI would say 85% of Saint Paul’s roads are similar to this one.  There is about a half mile of Snelling Avenue that isn’t too bad. Yes, you should gasp in horror. It’s awful.  Minneapolis isn’t that much better.

So, after the winter from hell we get potholes on parade.  My car really can’t take much more. The poor thing is 10 years old. It has 98,000 miles on it. It’s time to retire the old gal.

Now I am faced with what vehicle to purchase.  I’d much rather go to the dentist and the gynecologist on the same day.

After some research, it seems that all wheel drive would be best for shitty road conditions. Also known as ice and snow. Apparently, the sub-sub-sub zero temps are an anomaly, so I’m not going to take that factor into consideration when deciding on a vehicle.

Then there’s the whole financing research to fry my brain…oh and let’s not forget the fun negotiation that will inevitably happen. Good thing Paul & I watch lots of Pawn Stars to sharpen my haggling skills.

By the way, the first person who says something to me about cup holders and their importance to my car purchase decision, gets kicked in the groin area.

I’m more interested in shit that matters like reliability, gas mileage, and overall cost to own. Oh yeah and taking on potholes like a boss. I mean you see those photos. It’s not like you can dodge those suckers. It’s pretty much off road driving on a road.

What is going on at that German restaurant?

Yesterday, I saw this article on Gawker about a local German restaurant who hosted a holiday party for a WWII re-enactment group. Aside from the fact that I don’t understand why there are WWII re-enactment groups, this group decorated the restaurant with Nazi flags and was wearing SS uniforms.

Yes, I was appalled too. What I don’t understand is how could the restaurant owner think that kind of thing would be good for business? Apparently, it’s been going on at that restaurant for the past six years and it just came to light the other day when an anonymous tip was sent to City Pages and then Gawker picked it up.

Is this the first time they decorated the place with symbols of hate? Maybe in years past they didn’t have swastikas plastered all over the walls and themselves. How did they get into the restaurant wearing said uniforms? Likely, it was freezing ass cold and they had coats on to coverup what they were wearing underneath. This is Minnesota and last December was pretty cold & snowy.

Back to my first point about the WWII re-enactments…I had no idea such things exist. Does anyone else think these are a little odd? I know I’ve heard of Revolutionary and Civil War re-enactments. While I find the Civil War ones slightly odd (and somewhat off-putting if you REALLY want to be part of the South), I can see the historical/educational value of them. Plus NO ONE IS STILL ALIVE FROM THOSE TWO WARS!

Honestly, there are folks around who lived through that time of our history. I wonder what they think about such things?

And to compare even the Civil War re-enactments to a Star Trek convention is a poor comparison. Star Trek isn’t real. It’s fiction! No one has ancestors or family members who lived through a Klingon battle or faced down a Romulan war bird.

Minnesota has a very large German population.  My own family on my mom’s side used to live in Minnesota & Wisconsin back in the pioneer days and they were straight from Germany. Heck, they just found an alleged Nazi living in this state last year! Granted, he was Ukrainian, but still, my point is that there are still people alive who were involved in WWII.

Most people here celebrate their German heritage and it’s great. Oktoberfest is HUGE around here. The restaurant in question has a huge party. I’m all for celebrating one’s heritage. My own is quite varied, but I try not to do it in a way that might cause people to gasp in horror.

Then again, it might speak more to the people in said re-enactment group. Dressing up like a Nazi is only acceptable if you are in a play or a movie role. While I can see dressing up for a re-enactment that will teach people about the horrors the world went through in the 1940s as acceptable, I do not understand how you can rationalize dressing up in said outfit for a CHRISTMAS PARTY.

Minnesota: The land of never ending winter?

MinnesotaWinterHumorYesterday, I had a mental breakdown. The drive home was so frightening that the moment I saw Paul, I burst into tears.  I was so happy to be alive and needed to relieve the pent up stress from white knuckle driving through downtown Minneapolis.

Honestly, why do you people live here? Do you not know California exists? I kept thinking to myself, “Why am I putting myself through this? Why is anyone driving? This is so dangerous.”

My first winter driving in slick conditions and it’s one of the worst the locals can remember. Also, I just hate driving in general.  Icy roads exacerbate my fears. It’s not the roads that scare me; it’s other people.  People are stupid and they drive.

Did I mention a bus slid past my car? Yes. A. Bus. A few inches to the right and I might not be writing this blog post.

So, my Beetle has to navigate along icy streets while I pray idiots in vehicles of varying size don’t kill me.

You know how people drive when it’s sunny and warm?  They do that when it’s -1 and icy snow is compacted beneath their tires.

Do you see that top photo?  That’s what the streets looked like last Saturday.  They still look like that on Tuesday.

I’ve reached my breaking point with this weather.  I worked from home today because I just couldn’t bring myself to get into the car.  I could feel a panic attack welling up inside me as I laid in bed trying to will myself to get out of it.

This craptastic weather is supposed to last for another week or two. Can someone please help me maintain my sanity?  I’ve thought about seeing a therapist, but I have a feeling it would go much like Sheldon talking to Leonard trying to overcome his stage fright. I would not be impressed.

The one and only time I’ve ever gone to a therapist, I remember thinking, “So, I’m not screwed up. This lady is pretty much giving me the same advice I’ve heard from my parents and my friends. I’m done here.”

I think my problem really stems from an overload of stress.  This winter is HIGHLY stressful to everyone.  Add to that planning a wedding, which I’m excited about, but is a stressor nonetheless.

Tomorrow the forecast is supposed to be god-awful again and driving conditions around the Twin Cities are not going to be improving. Paul’s class was canceled tonight “due to the impending weather” as he put it.

So, will winter ever end or have we entered another ice age?

Be back soon: Gone winter crazy

My first winter in Minnesota and it’s awful. Honestly, do you people know California exists? I now understand why people thought I was nuts for moving here.  Love does make you do crazy things.

I mean what the hell, Minnesota? Getting to the grocery store is a freaking chore. I’m not used to having my movements so restricted. I used to be annoyed by the rain.  What a fool I was.

The thought of going out to dinner exhausts me. Do you know how much effort that will take?

I’m tired of having to wear 5 layers of clothing just to ensure one of my extremities doesn’t fall off while getting out of the car. I’m tired of worrying that the oil in my car might be too frozen for it to turn on after a day of work. I’m tired of seeing the Wind Chill Advisory and a temperature well below zero as the high…THE HIGH!

When I was getting ready to move out here, I was worried about road conditions. Someone made a flippant comment about it not being the 1800s and not driving a wagon.

Um, dude. You have NO idea.

Snow blowing across the road makes me cringe. Ice on the road is frightening. I know now just how stupid people are in their cars.

My poor car has taken one hell of a beating….Not from the snow, but from the horrible potholes riddled throughout the streets of Saint Paul and even Minneapolis.  Sorry, dude, but my Beetle won’t roll over the 4 inch pothole as quickly as your SUV. Deal with it or tell your council member to get off his/her ass and fix the roads.

Speaking of…there are roads that don’t get plowed. I’m dead serious. They are side streets and have a giant layer of snowy ice lining them. How the people who live on them deal with that crap is beyond me.  I’d be the crazy lady dragging a giant bag of salt up and down the road, cussing the government the whole time.

How many more days until spring?  I keep day dreaming about it and summer, which is a clear sign I’ve lost my mind because I usually hate summer. Now I understand why it’s so much better.  You don’t have to be holed up in your house shaking your fist at the weather person. You can actually leave whenever you want or need. Ahhhhhh, the freedom.

All venting aside, I wouldn’t leave this place without Paul. Being able to laugh with him, snuggle with him and generally enjoy life with him does make all this crap worth it.  Besides, it won’t be winter forever, right?

Hot damn, it’s cold again.

WintertimeSucksDon’t call it a polar vortex…or a comeback. It’s just the subzero temps have hit the midwest again. And I think the northeast is getting pounded by snow.  Have I mentioned that I’m sort of over the snow?

Don’t get me wrong. I like watching it fall, but driving in it is ridiculous.  I keep thinking, “You people know California exists, right? You don’t have to put up with this crap.”

I have to because Paul is starting his MBA courses at the University of Minnesota this week.  Luckily, it won’t be winter forever, but I will be in love with him forever.  Yes, you can barf now.

It’s better that I vent about this stupid cold than keep it in and go postal one day.  Plus, I feel better (or maybe a little scared) when I hear native Minnesotans complain that this cold is too cold.

Did I mention it was -16 this morning?  I won’t even bother with the windchill factor.

Please, just don’t let any more pipes in the apartment building burst. (Knocks on wood) We got out with minimal damage, but the hallway is still under construction, which is highly annoying.

I guess I should just let go.  I mean I can’t control the weather and if I could, I’d send some rain to California and wherever else it’s needed.

Driving Nice: That’s not a lane, Minnesota

Growing up, I heard my parents talk about how awful the drivers in New Jersey were. We lived there briefly when I was child, but it was long enough to put an indelible mark on my family’s collective psyche…and my accent sometimes.

Regardless, when we moved back to California, any time someone would drive poorly, they always made a Jersey Driver comment.

Minnesota, you are giving New Jersey a run for its money.

Minnesota Drivers

Seriously, do you see that above photo?  It’s on 7th Street in Minneapolis.  Those cars on the far left in the second photo are NOT IN A LANE! That’s where cars park. Do you see the parking meter? There’s a big red arrow pointing at it. That means that’s where cars park. And it’s not one of those no parking during commute hour things either. I’ve seen cars parked there at the same time before the photo was taken.

Since none were there for whatever reason that day, drivers who were turning left just made it into a lane rather than wait in traffic for the light to change.

Now, I’ve seen some crazy shit go down while stuck in traffic in San Francisco. When you are trapped in traffic, you do tend to lose your mind.

These people WERE NOT trapped in traffic. They were just being jerks.

But, it’s not just this instance.  I’ve seen it all over the Twin Cities area.  Yes, I used to see people in Sacramento go around someone who is turning left in front of them (HOW DARE THEY TURN LEFT!!!), and I see it here, but it’s far, far worse.

Why are you all in such a hurry?  It’s not even cold yet, or so I’ve been told.

Luckily, the red light running is not as bad here as it was in Sacramento.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, there is still a decent amount of people blasting past the red, it’s just not as frequent.  I’ve actually gone a whole week without seeing it happen…well, maybe more like five days.

Here’s one thing I’ve come to realize, bad driving is universal. It’s just the type and flavor that can change.