August 29, 2010

residency times

From mid-August 1979 to mid-June 1986 I lived in a house in southwest Atlanta, GA. For 2 or 3 summers, though, I stayed with my grandparents in St. Louis, MO. So real time in that house was either 6 years 1 month, or 6 years 4 months (I'm 90% sure that my brother and I spent 3 summers in St. Louis, so it's the former). I've been in my current house for 6 years and 4 months, so I've either tied the record for real time lived in one house, or have exceeded it. They'll be no question about it at this time next month! Also, at the end of the academic year (mid May 2011) I would have lived in my current Minneapolis home for 7 years 1 month, which will exceed the total time (excluding summer breaks) of 6 years 10 months in the "Belfrey Place" house (as I term it in my memoir). My current home, them, is close to being the house in which I've lived the longest. Nice!

Posted by wrjacobs at 6:07 PM

August 14, 2010

visit to a planetarium

On August 12 I visited the Morehead Planetarium. It was the first time I'd been to a planetarium since I was a teenager. It was fun seeing two modern digital shows, but I also wanted to see an old-fashioned star show. Morehead only offers that once a week, and I had a conflict for that time, so I'll have to go back on my next trip to Chapel Hill....

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:55 AM

June 25, 2010

Nice Ride Minnesota

The Twin Cities now have a bike sharing program: Nice Ride Minnesota. (There is a cool iPhone app for finding nearby bikes.) I just activated a one-year subscription; occassionally I'll use it to quickly get from the University of Minnesota's west bank to the east bank.

Posted by wrjacobs at 10:56 AM

June 6, 2010

last year's trip to Japan

Last year at this time I was in Japan (June 4-12, 2009). Wow, it's hard to believe that this trip was one year ago! I hope to return soon...

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:01 PM

April 13, 2010

ghost activity

My ghost pulled another prank last night: when I opened the dishwasher today I discovered that a glass inserted yesterday was broken into three pieces. Sure, that could have happened with an old glass going through a wash cycle, but I did not run the washer last night, and there were no other items around the glass. As I've said in other postings, though, infrequent minor inconveniences like these are OK, though she knows that doing stuff like this on the 13th day of the month does freak me out a little....

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:43 AM

March 20, 2010

Census 2010 (completed)

I received my 2010 Census, and filled it out in less than 5 minutes. I was hoping to receive the long form, but according to the Census wikipedia entry this option was phased out. Oh well....

Posted by wrjacobs at 5:39 PM

March 9, 2010

Census 2010

Yesterday I received a letter from the Census Bureau informing me that I'd receive a 2010 Census form in about a week, and that I should return it promptly. I'm looking forward to this, as I am not sure if I've ever filled out one. I was too young, of course, the first two times a Census was taken while I've been alive: 1970 (age 2) and 1980 (12). In the spring of 1990 I was just about to turn 22 and graduate from Georgia Tech, but don't remember seeing a form at my apartment...maybe my roommate filled it out? In 2000 I was here in Minneapolis, and living solo in an apartment. I have no memory of receiving anything then either. Let's hope that the 2010 form does indeed show up....

Posted by wrjacobs at 7:18 PM

October 2, 2009

a new era begins

For the first time since I finished graduate school in June 1999 I do not own a car. When the lease on the latest car expired on Wednesday we decided to experiment with riding the bus for the daily commute to work, and use a zipcar for weekend errands. The first two days brought colder weather and rain. Of course, one can handle this for a few days; hopefully I won't rush out to get a new car after a month or so....

Posted by wrjacobs at 6:29 PM

September 5, 2009

latest ghost activity

The ghost who lives in my house pulled another prank last night: she pushed a glass to the edge of a shelf inside a cabinet, so that when I opened the door this morning the glass fell out and shattered on the counter. I can put up with little things like this, though....

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:32 PM

August 29, 2009

bus/train adventures

It was a day for unusual events on Metro Transit today: (1) the White driver of the #16 bus scolded a couple of college-aged Asian women for not standing close enough to the bus stop when he pulled up ("I could have driven right past you. You need to be next to the stop so that the driver can see you."); (2) the driver then scolded the pair for trying to push open the exit door too soon ("this ain't no stop!"); and (3) for the first time in at least two years I got on a light rail train that was boarded by police who checked tickets...this raised my blood pressue a little because I ran to catch the train from the bus, and did not re-swipe my Go-To card. Luckily the police just looked at the card and did not check to see if it had been swiped....

Posted by wrjacobs at 4:27 PM

August 28, 2009


I think that I have an infestation of gremlins at my house. First, the oven goes out, then a garage door opener quits working, and now my cell phone has problems...and all three things happened this week! Some may have also been in my car, as it has been in the shop for almost 2 weeks (!). Anyone know how to get rid of these little beasties?

Posted by wrjacobs at 12:49 PM

August 26, 2009

first zipcar reservation

Last night I reserved a zipcar for the first time. It was very easy. I think I'm gonna like this service....

Posted by wrjacobs at 8:44 PM

August 17, 2009


I just signed up for a zipcar Account. I have to wait up to a week for a keycard to arrive before I can start reserving cars, though. Hopefully this will prove to be a great car sharing service....

Posted by wrjacobs at 6:30 PM

July 28, 2009

airline bereavement fares

Yesterday I booked a ticket to attend a funeral on Friday. I was shocked that airline bereavement fares were more expensive than regular tickets available online. I should have read an article beforehand on bereavement fare basics that notes that the fares are not always cheaper, but have more flexibility. In the end I just cashed in some frequent flyer miles so everything worked out.

Posted by wrjacobs at 4:42 PM

July 22, 2009

a mild bus adventure

In December 2005 I posted an entry about calling "Back Do'!" in order to exit the rear door of a bus. Well, kinda: at that time the person said "Back door! Open the back door, please." Today someone came correct on a #16 bus: yelled "Back Do'!" and stared in the driver's direction until the door opened....

Posted by wrjacobs at 5:50 PM

June 21, 2009

Japan 2009

Well, it's been a week since I returned from Japan, and I still think it was an amazing trip! Here are a few overall impressions in this final blog entry on the subject.

  • I love the juxtaposition of the old and the new in a very cosmopolitan seting.
  • I was surprised at how infrequently the gaijin (foreigners) acknowledged each other's presence. Even the other Black folks averted their eyes when we came near (!).
  • I did not stand out as much height-wise as I thought I would. Although I did not see anyone taller than me, there is a considerable height variance among Japanese folks, plus there were a bunch of tall Aussies around.
  • Although 7 out of 8 days were in Tokyo, we only saw a portion of the city. There are many other neighborhoods we want to visit.
  • One can get around the city fairly easily with just a knowledge of English: there are plenty of signs in English, and lots of people speak English too. In order to get around better next time, though, I'm taking Beginning Japanese in fall 2009!
I can hardly wait to return next summer....

Posted by wrjacobs at 8:28 PM

June 14, 2009

trip to Japan

From June 4-12 V and I visited Japan. We were primarily in Tokyo, but also spent a day and night in the Hakone area. I posted pictures and videos on my facebook page. The videos are embedded in today's previous 4 blog entries. Pictures can be accessed via a public facebook photo album link. I also made daily blog entries about our activities. Scroll down below the videos to find those postings. Overall, the trip was fantastic, and we can hardly wait to return!

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:20 PM

Japan video 4

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:08 PM

Japan video 3

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:06 PM

Japan video 2

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:06 PM

Japan video 1

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:04 PM

June 12, 2009

Japan day 8 addenda

I wrote the day 8 summary just before heading to the airport to fly home. I should have waited until I got home, as I just added some info to the list.

June 11, 2009

Japan day 8 (June 12)

  • Visit to the Central Fish Market.
  • Sushi brunch in the Central Fish Market.
  • At brunch witnessed a plate prepared where the fish was still alive when presented to the customer (!).
  • Took the subway and JR Narita Express train line to the airport. (Took a bus and taxi to the hotel on day 1.) My scheduled train was initially delayed and then taken out of service due to mechanical problems; the next scheduled train packed in two loads of passengers.
  • Arrived home before I left (departed NRT at 4:25 PM on Friday the 12th; arrived MSP at 1:00 PM on Friday the 12th).
  • Did not receive an exit row seat on the flight. Luckily the guy in front of me did not recline.
  • Decided that Steerage (Economy/"Coach") is OK for domestic flights, but I'll have to shell out for First Class or World Business Class on the next international flight.
Posted by wrjacobs at 9:46 PM

Japan day 7 (June 11)

  • Self-guided tour of the Tokyo Open Air Architectural Museum.
  • Another unsuccesful search for an eating establishment in Ginza. The guidebooks need to improve the maps of that area!
  • Found a building I missed on an earlier tour of Aoyama architecture. It (the Spriral Building) was not one of my favorites.
  • Saw some cool buildings in Shinjuku.
  • Visited the Imperial Palace park.
  • Had a late dinner in Shinjuku, and dessert in Aoyama.
Posted by wrjacobs at 10:29 AM

June 10, 2009

Japan day 6 (June 10)

  • Visit to Roppongi (Roppongi Hills mixed-use real estate complex) and Akihabara ("Electric Town").
  • Lunch at an order-by-prepaid ticket Ramen bar.
  • Guided tour of Studio Ghibli Museum.
  • Called out as a gaijin by a couple of giggly school girls.
  • Could not find a Lonely Planet-recommended noodle restaurant in Ginza for dinner, after a 30 minute search; ended up in a great Chinese restaurant.
  • Waited over 5 minuites for the first time for a subway. This is not a complaint; normally they arrive every 2 or 3 minutes, it seems! 5 minutes is still way better than a 10+ minute average wait in some other cities I've experienced...
Posted by wrjacobs at 9:34 AM

June 9, 2009

Japan day 5 (June 9)

  • Visit to Asakusa (THE hotspot for tourists).
  • Had lunch at a restaurant with no English signage. We recognized the 3-letter Kanji symbols.
  • Went on a self-directed tour of Aoyama architecture (using a guide in the Lonely Planet Tokyo guidebook).
  • Visit to Waseda University.
  • Met up with a friend who is also travelling in Japan.
  • Had a fabulous sushi dinner: patrons select plates that slowly cruise past on a moving track. We had 16 plates for a total of $40 (!).
  • Visit to Shibuya (New York City's Times Square on acid).
Posted by wrjacobs at 9:20 AM

June 8, 2009

Japan day 4 (June 8)

  • Took another dip in the outdoor onsen at the Fuji-Hakone Guest House.
  • Rode the Hakone Ropeway (gondola car lift); fantastic views!
  • Rode the Gora Cable Car.
  • Visited the Hakone Open Air Museum (sculpture garden).
  • Took the Shinkansen back to Tokyo.
  • Ate at a Tokyo McDonalds. Food tastes a bit different, but everything is recognizable. We ordered standard American stuff, not Japanese twists.
  • Checked back in to the Tokyo hotel, and received the room next door to the first one. The second rooom appears to be a little larger than the first.
Posted by wrjacobs at 6:39 AM

June 7, 2009

Japan day 3 (June 7)

  • Observed Cos-Play (Costume-Play) kids at Harajuku.
  • Rode the Shinkansen (bullet train) from Tokyo to Hakone.
  • Rode a bunch of buses in Hakone using the Hakone Free Pass; unfortunately the pass itself is not free.
  • Took a ferry ride on Lake Ishi.
  • Discovered a memorial that has a twin in San Francisco's Japantown.
  • Checked in to a Guest House with an outdoor onsen.
  • Had great soba noodles at a restaurant to which we were shuttled after a Guest House call to the owner.
Posted by wrjacobs at 7:07 AM

June 6, 2009

Japan day 2 (June 6)

  • Walked Omotesando Blvd.
  • Visited Harajuku and the Meiji Shrine.
  • Walked past Jingu Stadium, and visited Aoyama Cemetary.
  • Lunch: Noodles and sticky rice with shrimp from a corner supermarket.
  • Dinner at a restaurant where everything was written in Japanese.
  • Bought PASMO cards from a vending machine after an unsuccessful attempt to get them from a ticket agent who did not speak English.
  • Initial rides on Japan Railways (Yamanote line) and the Tokyo Subway (Marunouchi and Ginza lines).
Posted by wrjacobs at 8:39 AM

Japan day 1 (June 5)

V and I are in Japan from June 5 through June 12. Highlights from day 1:

  • Arrived in Tokyo at 5:00 PM without incident.
  • A Japanese colleague was on the same flight, and helped us reach the hotel.
  • Saw a 3-story McDonalds (!)
  • Got a room on the 25th floor; great view!

Posted by wrjacobs at 8:24 AM

May 16, 2009

ghost activity

The ghost who lives in my house is active again: last night she was shining a blinking light in the corner of the bedroom. I saw it on two occassions, but decided to wait 'till the morning to investigate. The only light-emitting object in that corner of the room is a surge protector, but (a) it shines in the other direction, and (b) it doesn't blink. No biggie, since I don't mind the ghost's (infrequent) antics:

  • playing with lights in the attic bedroom
  • knocking over Christmas trees
  • leaving a cold spot in the TV room (she stands in the same place to watch TV)
  • opening appliance doors
  • unscrewing kitchen light bulbs

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:59 PM

May 1, 2009

visit to TCF Bank Stadium

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:44 PM

April 27, 2009

Home Tour 2009 wrap up

Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour 2009 is now over. I went to a total of 13 (!) homes. The bad thing about this: after seeing home #7 and home #19 I want to hire Otogawa-Anschel Design-Build, LLC to finish our basement...but don't have any $$$ to do this. Frak!

Posted by wrjacobs at 7:42 PM

April 25, 2009

Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour 2009

Our house was on last year's Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour (see blog entries for April 25, April 26, and April 27, 2008). Today and tomorrow (April 25-26, 2009) I'll get to go experience other "Real homes. Real people. Real ideas." The 2009 Home Tour is the first big event in the new Live MSP initiative.

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:41 AM

February 10, 2009

San Diego beach video

Posted by wrjacobs at 12:19 AM

February 8, 2009

e-boarding passes


Northwest Airlines has a new option: e-boarding passes. Instead of printing out a flight boarding pass, you can have it emailed to your phone, and use that image to check in. I was able to successfully use the e-boarding pass pictured above to get on a plane to San Diego yesterday, but that was after I got off another plane, so I was already in the gate area. I wonder if peeps have problems with e-boarding passes while going through security check-points?

Posted by wrjacobs at 11:24 AM

December 30, 2008

a ghost who does not like Christmas trees

In previous entries I've noted ghost activity at my house, most recently in the basement. Yesterday the ghost was active again, as she decided to knock over the Christmas tree. I've never indicated the gender of the ghost before, but I think it's a she, as she waited until after family departed to push the tree over. If it were a male ghost I think he would have done it while we were opening presents (!).

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:44 PM

December 23, 2008

first time snow shoveling

My sister-in-law is a California native. She is visiting us in Minnesota for Christmas. This is her first time shovelling snow!

Posted by wrjacobs at 6:42 PM

December 16, 2008

Shovelling snow at night

My brother shovelling snow at the end of his second winter day in Minnesota.

Posted by wrjacobs at 10:52 PM

December 15, 2008

Keith's first winter day in Minnesota

December 15, 2008, 10:00 AM. The temp: -3 degrees (!)

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:26 PM

October 5, 2008

ghosts in the basement

A couple of years ago I wrote an entry about ghosts in the kitchen. Now it seems they have moved down to the basement. Earlier today I put a load of laundry in the dryer, but it cut off after only 5 minutes. I went downstairs and found the door open! Now I know that the door was closed when I started it (the dryer won't run with an open door), and V was upstairs and did not change anything, so the ghosts are active again. I suppose that I can't complain, though, if all they do is occassionally unscrew light bulbs and open appliance doors....

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:12 PM

September 26, 2008

SE 2nd St. I-35W underpass

bridge-opens.jpg Today I drove under the re-opened I-35W bridge for the first time. This SE 2nd St. underpass was one of my regular routes before the August 1, 2007 collapse, so I'm happy that it's now back in service.

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:30 PM

September 22, 2008

my first political yard sign


Posted by wrjacobs at 6:48 PM

September 16, 2008

I-35 bridge to re-open

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune has posted a video about Thursday's re-opening of the I-35W bridge.

Posted by wrjacobs at 10:36 AM

July 18, 2008

Simon Delivers

Simon Delivers is going out of business. Man, V and I just signed up for that a couple of weeks ago! While we probably would have only used it once a month or so, it would have been a nice option when we didn't have much time to get out to a traditional grocery store. Oh well....

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:08 PM

July 17, 2008

birthday party for a house

Last weekend one of the houses on a neighboring street turned 100 years old and got its own birthday party. What a cool idea! Our house is 96 years old, so if we're still here in the summer of 2012 we'll have to also host a house birthday celebration....

Posted by wrjacobs at 11:47 AM

July 14, 2008

35W bridge evenness

Roadguy reports that the two sides of the I-35 bridge did not initially line up over the middle of the river, as one side was weighed down with scaffolding beams, but this was fixed when the scaffolding was removed. I had noticed the unevenness, and wondered if it was real or an illusion. I'll have to go check out the bridge again to see if it now looks correctly aligned.

Posted by wrjacobs at 7:29 PM

June 1, 2008

Home Tour stats

Yesterday I received info on attendance at the 2008 Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour. We had an official visitor count of 390, which put us in the middle of the pack: we were #26 out of 50 houses in total numbers. Overall attendance was down due to the less-than-ideal weather, but still, 390 folks tromping through a house is no joke!

Posted by wrjacobs at 11:32 AM

May 30, 2008

The View From Prospect Park

Minnesota Public Radio has posted an interesting story about Prospect Park's relationship with various historical transportation initiatives and reactions to the proposed Central Corridor light rail transit system.

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:32 PM

Pratt Ice Cream Social

Today is a big day for Minneapolis' Prospect Park neighboorhood: the annual Pratt Ice Cream Social will take place from 5:30-8:30. For the second year in a row, though, it looks like it will rain. Hopefully the rain will hold off....

Posted by wrjacobs at 12:31 PM

May 25, 2008

35W bridge construction

This afternoon I watched workers add the first piece to the river span section of the new I-35 bridge. I got there at 2:45 and it appeared that the section was about to be lifted, but I ended up waiting until 3:30 for the actual start, and left at 4:00, as workers started the final aligning process. Wow, 30 minutes+ to lift 120 pieces into place...that's gonna take a while!

Posted by wrjacobs at 5:49 PM

May 3, 2008

Home week later

This time last week we were in the thick of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour. The website currently says "Check back here soon for statistics from the Minneapolis & Saint Paul Home Tour April 26-27, ’08." We had 379 visitors, which is on the low end for a house, I think. Hopefully the overall Home Tour numbers were high.

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:46 PM

April 27, 2008

Home Tour day 2

174 people came through our house on the second day of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour. Total number of visitors: 379. Now it's time to pass out until the morning....

Posted by wrjacobs at 8:22 PM

April 26, 2008

Home Tour Day 1

205 people came through our house on the first day of the Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour. I went to bed this morning at 1:30 AM (after cleaning until 1:00 AM), then got up at 7:30 AM to prepare for the 10:00 AM opening. Now at 7:30 PM the adrenaline is gone.

Posted by wrjacobs at 7:31 PM

April 25, 2008

Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour

If in the Twin Cities tomorrow (April 26) or Sunday (April 27) check out the Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour!

Posted by wrjacobs at 8:59 PM

April 5, 2008

MSP Home Tour

In three weeks V and I will be on the Minneapolis-St. Paul Home Tour. We are also on Home Tour TV (segment 3). The Tour itself should be a piece of cake after doing all the photo/video shoots....

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:03 PM

March 29, 2008

street observation I

Thursday on campus I watched a guy put up flyers that advertised student jobs. Each flyer had multiple tear-off contact info slips at the bottom, and the guy tore off the left-hand slip on each flyer. I suppose he did this to create the impression that at least one student was interested in the opportunity, but he should have torn off slips randomly, don't you think? A left-hand missing slip here, a middle slip missing there, a right-hand missing slip way over there.... This (non)pattern is much less suspect than slips missing in the same place on each flyer, I think.

Posted by wrjacobs at 12:44 PM

January 26, 2008

Target at The Quarry

I just discovered that the Target at Minneapolis' Quarry shopping center is being expanded. I hope that it doesn't become a SuperTarget, which are insanely huge: items that you need are never close to each other, so you are forced to wander around searching for stuff....

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:47 PM

November 9, 2007

first snow

This morning I looked out the window and saw some stuff floating past. "Hey," I grumbled, "I thought all of the leaves were down?" A closer look revealed that the stuff was snow flurries, the first of the season! Time to unpack snow shovels and ice scrapers....

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:39 AM

Midtown Greenway bike bridge

Yesterday I forgot to go over to the grand opening of the new Midtown Greenway bike bridge. Dang!

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:34 AM

October 29, 2007

bad movie theater design

Back in January the owners of the AMC Rosedale 14 admitted that its outdoor ticket office was a bad idea. I rolled past the theater this weekend and saw that construction on an enclosure has begun.

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:21 AM

October 23, 2007

historic neighborhood destrict

My neighborhood of Prospect Park is seeking national historic district status on the National Register of Historic Places. This process has attracted the attention of the U of M student newspaper.

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:00 PM

August 10, 2007

Ghostbox definition 2

I just learned that the title word of my memoir has multiple definitions. A ghostbox can also be an abandoned big-box store. Interesting.

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:36 AM

August 2, 2007

bridge collapse

As you no doubt know, yesterday the I-35W bridge collapsed over the Mississippi River here in Minneapolis. Today I viewed the wreckage from a pedestrian bridge that crosses the highway not far from the river. The empty highway was eerily silent, and a lone white car clinging to the southern side was...I can't even describe it. See the second photo (labled "From University Avenue") on Lost Forest After Dark.

Posted by wrjacobs at 10:39 PM

July 5, 2007

Stern Grove

Earlier in the week I was in San Francisco, and discovered a cool natural oasis in the midst of the dense built environment: Stern Grove. I visited it on Monday, one day after the weekly Sunday concert in the Stern Grove Festival. I'm tempted to fly back out later this month to catch one of the concerts! If only I had a private jet....

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:56 PM

May 18, 2007

Gold Medal Park

On Wednesday Minneapolis opened Gold Medal Park. I went to check it out yesterday. It's very cool in the day, but might be even more stunning at night. Well, at least the twilight photos look great; I'll go back this weekend to see for myself.

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:46 PM

May 16, 2007

a good mess??

Possessing a neat house may be an over-rated goal, claims an article in today's Star Tribune. That's blasphemy!!

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:48 PM

May 2, 2007

first use of Go-To Card

Last Friday I posted a note about getting my Go-To card. I used it for the first time today, and it appears that there will be some permanent bugs in the system. When I first used the card it worked fine right out of the gate when boarding the train to the Mall of America, but on my return trip I got a "card read error" message, and then the machine read the card. Just before exiting the Lake St. station, though, when checking my account balance I had to get through seveal read failures before the amount was displayed. Oh well, I'm still glad to have my card!

Posted by wrjacobs at 8:39 PM

April 27, 2007

Go-To Card in hand!

After an almost 4-year delay, I finally have my Go-To Card, which I bought downtown today after lunch. I didn't get to test it yet, though, as I had the car. I'll use my new card this weekend....

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:43 PM

April 16, 2007

Madison's State Street

Late last week (Thursday through Saturday) I was at the University of Wisconsin for a conference. I was able to walk down State Street several times. That is one cool strip!

Posted by wrjacobs at 4:28 PM

April 5, 2007

house lemonade

Yesterday I noticed a drip in my kitchen's ceiling, which turned out to be a broken drain pipe from the bathroom sink directly above. While my contractor and I were tearing out part of the ceiling to investigate things I said, "well, this will be a good time to install a range vent hood since we now have this channel for the exhaust duct work." Yes, I like to make lemonade out of busted-up lemons.

Posted by wrjacobs at 5:17 PM

March 13, 2007

Go-To card test

I can't believe that I missed an opportunity to participate in the latest public test of the Go-To card system. Metro Transit says that the mass release of the cards is "coming soon," but I've heard that for almost four years now. I just hope that the latest bus violence doesn't cause a significant additional delay....

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:03 PM

March 5, 2007

inventing the city street

This morning I learned about the development of the city street system. Interesting stuff!

Posted by wrjacobs at 10:08 AM

December 25, 2006

new pedestrian bridge

I just learned that next year a pedestrian bridge will be built to span a highway that cuts through the Midtown Greenway. (For even more info, click here). The bridge design is very cool; I can hardly wait to bike it!

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:39 AM

November 30, 2006

bus shoot-out

Last night a guy was shot at a downtown bus stop. The story does not say which bus routes were involved, though. I thought about hopping on the #16 last night to go downtown; I wonder if that was one of the routes!?!

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:54 AM

November 9, 2006

UMore Park community

One of the proposals for The U's UMore Park is to develop it into a visionary planned community. That would really be a key to Transforming the U!

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:53 PM

September 11, 2006

urban racoons

At the tail end of a major home renovation, there are 3 trash bags in the yard behind my house. This morning a hole was poked in one, and some leftover food pulled out. Another bag had the top untied, but nothing was missing. My contractor thinks that some racoons are the culprits. I can buy that with bag #1 (with the hole), but these critters can untie a knot?!? Damn!

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:59 PM

August 8, 2006

light rail accident

Yesterday there was another accident on Minneapolis' light rail line. Be careful, people!

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:46 PM

July 31, 2006

the endless bridge

Yesterday I experienced the Guthrie Theater's Endless Bridge. Wow!

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:37 AM

July 6, 2006

go-to card in September?

Last week V heard that Metro Transit's Go-To Card will finally be available to the general public in September. I hope so, but I won't hold my breath, as the full rollout is two years late.

Posted by wrjacobs at 7:58 AM

May 17, 2006

light rail vs. bus

A proposed light rail line on the Central Corridor between Minneapolis and St. Paul will be slower than current express highway bus service, according to a new study. Yeah, but speed is not everything!

Posted by wrjacobs at 5:03 PM

March 3, 2006

Empire of Care

Just before my achilles tendon surgery on Tuesday, two nurses were discussing how lucky Americans are to have great medical facilities instead of the scarcities experienced in the Philippines (one Filipina nurse had just returned from a trip there). I started to tell them to check out Empire of Care to read about how more than "luck" is involved, but since they were about to pump me full of drugs I figured that I should keep my mouth shut....

Posted by wrjacobs at 11:03 AM

January 5, 2006

Nicholson Hall

I just walked through recently renovated Nicholson Hall, which looks amazing. I think I've found my new favorite building on campus....

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:15 PM

November 22, 2005

home milk delivery

This morning a truck labeled "MILK MAN" rolled down my street. Wow, I thought that home milk delivery was as extinct as wood tennis racquets. Seeing the truck brought back memories of the 70s, when my Dad would put a banged-up red cooler by the door the night before deliveries, and I would wake up early to try to spy on the milk man inserting ice-cold glass (!) bottles. In all the years of trying, though, I only saw him once or twice....

Posted by wrjacobs at 9:44 AM

November 14, 2005

preparing for winter

It's that time of year again: winter in Minneapolis! The first snow storm of the season is predicted for tomorrow, along with low temps in the teens. So today I went around the house closing all the storm windows, and last weekend we cleaned out the gutters to cut down on ice dam growth. Gutter cleaning and storm window closing time are the only days of the year when I wish I still lived in an apartment....

Posted by wrjacobs at 4:29 PM

September 30, 2005

the Hi vs. BART

I'm sitting at a computer in San Francisco's Hotel Vitale at 1:45 AM PST (3:45 Central time... to which my body is still synched). Why am I doing this? I'm all worked up that I had to waste $40 on a cab because I missed the last BART train from the airport into town. It left at 11:45; I got to the station at 12:30. I can NOT believe that a major international city has a crappier subway schedule than a system in "fly-over land": Minneapolis' Hiawatha line runs 'till 1:00 AM. Sad....

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:57 AM

September 28, 2005

PDA subway maps


The map above is of the BART subway system in San Francisco, posted to iPod Subway Maps. I don't have an iPod, but I'm gonna put the SF map in my WiFi-enabled Sony PDA for a trip that starts tomorrow. BART also has the map on its website, which includes a wireless PDA section that I'll also play with when I arrive. Isn't technology fun?!

Posted by wrjacobs at 6:37 PM

August 25, 2005

suburban dreams/new urbanism

I live in a 93 year-old house in the Minneapolis neighborhood of Prospect Park. Every once in a blue moon I wish I lived in a new house in a new suburban subdivision, one where I'd be long gone by the time house repairs are due, like today's replacement of a dead hot water heater. Wait a minute, I just remembered that one doesn't have to give up all the quirks and charms of city life for a new house, s/he can opt for New Urbanism-inspired developments like Minneapolis' Heritage Park or The ATL's Glenwood Park. Cool. I, however, will stick with 90 year-old+ houses for now. There's just something about them that can't be replicated in new construction....

Posted by wrjacobs at 4:53 PM

August 11, 2005

open house

Yesterday I went to an open house for a large commercial property in my 'hood, 2929 University Ave, owned by Prospect Park Properties. The building used to be the headquarters for Kemps Ice Cream, but now is being renovated into a multiple use facility. The highlight of the tour: a walk through the 15,000 square foot freezer where ice cream was formerly stored. It would make a great setting for a horror movie, with its burnt out lights, large puddles of murky water (I think that the power had been off for a few weeks prior), and creaky/rusty chains swinging around. Several of the leasing agents thought I was there scouting out a business location vs. being a curious neighbor, so maybe I should set up an appointment and pretend to be a Hollywood location scout? Hhhmmm.

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:14 PM

July 7, 2005

I want my Go-To Card!

Today I took the Minneapolis Light Rail train to check out a new place for lunch, and almost had to use my credit card to pay the fare, 'cause I forgot that the cost of a ride went up 25 cents. I left with $1.25 in my pocket (plus a twenty in my wallet), but found another quarter in my bag for the $1.50 fare. Hopefully in the near future I'll be able to just swipe the Go-To Card, which is a year overdue. Hurry up, Metro Transit!

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:55 PM

June 20, 2005

walking across the Mississippi

This weekend I was at a cabin in Nevis, MN with friends and family. On Saturday we went to Lake Itasca, which is the source of the Mississippi River. At the point where the river starts as a shallow stream, one can walk across a series of rocks from one bank to the other. Of course, this is an artificially created experience, but it's fun to walk across the headwaters!

Posted by wrjacobs at 11:13 AM

May 2, 2005

Twin Cities hidden places

The latest TV commercial in the "searching for Mr. Goodwrench" ad series is supposedly set in Minneapolis-St.Paul, but there is a mountain range in the background. Since moving to the Twin Cities in 1999 I have never spotted any mountains, but today I rolled over to St. Paul to look for some. No luck with that, but I did discover a cool hidden neighborhood in the Summit Hill area. I'm calling it "hidden" because I've driven past one of Summit Avenue's unnamed side streets (it actually looks more like an alley) hundreds of times, but today followed it down a steep hill to a few houses that are barely visible through dense foliage. I've got to get some more 411 on this place!

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:09 PM

April 15, 2005

good, bad, and ugly on the Hi

Riding the Hi (Minneapolis' Light Rail system) was very eventful today. I'll break observations into The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good: At each station are several interactive audio/visual art kiosks, but the ones I find are usually either broken or play stories that are irrelevant to life in the Twin Cities (for example, a piece about fog rolling in to San Francisco). At the 38th St. station two of three kiosks were busted, but the third played a nice story about a promotion at a 1984 MN Twins baseball game: one could win a car by landing a paper airplane through the sunroof; after only a dozen or so planes from the thousands launched from the stands reached the field, the author jumped down, ran to the car, and slam-dunked his plane in.

The Bad: Two transit cops harrassed a young bearded guy who appeared to be of Middle Eastern ethnicity. Wait, make that three officers, as backup was called in. For twenty minutes they went through his bag, examined several types of ID, and asked a steady stream of questions before turning him over to a G-man in an unmarked car (who interrogated him for at least another 25 minutes; was ongoing when I split). His crime? Taking pictures as the train rolled out of downtown. Did the Po-Po take a White guy off who was doing the exact same thing?! Frell no. Gotta love the Patriot Act!

The Ugly: After turning the "terrorist suspect" over to the government official, the cops turned their attention to pre-9/11 usual suspects: pulled a Latino and a Brotha off the next train and frisked them both before issuing citations. Another great day in the U.S.A....

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:53 PM

March 8, 2005

real estate on the web

One year ago today I closed on my current house. When searching for stuff in January and February of 2004 I used Edina Realty's search engine. They've recently added a "Radius Search," which allows the user to very narrowly target properties around a desired location. Cool, but they will really be the shits if they can figure out a way to help folks use tools like this to fight redlining.

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:43 PM

February 24, 2005

Minneapolis has a YellowArrow!

Someone has posted the first Minneapolis YellowArrow. In my neighborhood of Prospect Park there is a grass maze at the corner of Franklin and Bedford. When the snow melts I'll have to go over and slap up the city's second YellowArrow....

Posted by wrjacobs at 11:07 AM

February 17, 2005

intrigue on The Hi

Last week something unusual happened on The Hi (Minneapolis' light rail train): the police removed an abandoned mountain bike and bookbag. I must admit, when the officer rummaged around in the bag I got nervous: "what if the bag was intentionally left and will release some kind of toxin when touched!?" One of the episodes of the CBS show Numb3rs contained a storyline of a mad scientist releasing a virus on a public bus. Maybe I need to quit watching that show...

Posted by wrjacobs at 11:05 AM

January 26, 2005

sushi in the snow

Last week Minneapolis received its first significant snow storm of winter '05, piling up about 7 inches. Yesterday, however, we lost a lot of it, as the afternoon high temp was 45 (!). At 1:00 yesterday I ate lunch (sushi from Byerly's) on the front porch. Some say that one becomes a true Minnesotan the first time s/he complains about being hot on a 20 degree day following several sub-zero ones, but maybe that should be amended to lounging outside in the 40s with an open coat and no hat or gloves....

Posted by wrjacobs at 2:25 PM

December 21, 2004

Parking for The Hi

So far when I ride The Hi I usually bike from my office to the Cedar/Riverside station. Now that it's getting cold out (6 degrees today) I'll drive to a station and park. Last week and today I parked at the new Lake St. station parking lots . The smaller, closer lot was about half full today, but the bigger one was almost deserted when I used it last week...even though only a slightly longer walk is required to access it. I don't think that Minnesotans were scared off by an extra minute or two in the cold; but slushing through an unpaved lot is another matter. I know that Metro Transit is running short on cash money, but what were they thinking?!? That lot's gonna be empty until May....

Posted by wrjacobs at 5:02 PM

December 14, 2004

Target store design

Yesterday I popped in to a Target that I've never been in before, and after wandering around for 10 minutes looking for lint traps, gave up and went home. I have often noticed that each Target has a slightly different layout but never gave it much thought until the ride home, when it suddenly struck me that maybe Target does this by design vs. idiosyncracies of each store manager. The reason? If a shopper is not in his/her normal Target they have to seach for items and during this time may see other stuff to add to the list, so end up buying more than they intended. Wow, are Capitalists really that ingenious, or was it my Triskaidekaphobia in operation yesterday, December 13?

Posted by wrjacobs at 1:01 PM

December 9, 2004

Riding the Hi (part 2)

On Saturday Minneapolis' light rail system opened a new segment, serving the airport and the Mall-O (Mall Of America). Yesterday I rode the Hiawatha line to check out its 5 new stations, despite the objections of my grrrrl Connie ("Why don't you wait till you actually have to go to the airport or mall?"). Now being the fan of light rail that I am I've got to check it out while the paint's fresh, right?!

Of the 5 new stations, only one (Airport-Lindbergh Terminal) was really interesting, maybe because it's unique in that it's the only one that's underground, like my favorite Atlanta MARTA station, Peachtree Center. MARTA, by the way, is an acronym for Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, but suburbanites call if "Moving Africans Rapidly Through Atlanta." One of them must have been on a trip to The Twin Cities yesterday, as before siting next to me a White woman asked (a bit nervously), "Is anyone sitting here? Can I sit down?" The proper etiquette is to just sit, or -- if someone is sitting on the aisle and the window seat is open -- say "move before I put my foot in yo' ass, fool!" Try it next time you're on the bus or Hi....

Posted by wrjacobs at 3:15 PM

November 17, 2004

Bring Yellow Arrow to MSP!

Yellowarrow. [noun] A Collective symbol for personal communication. [verb] To leave and discover messages pointing out what counts. is a movement active in several cities...but not Minneapolis/St. Paul! We've got to get it going here....

Here's an example of what one could post:

Advice to new arrivals looking for housing: This sunroom looks enticing at first glance, but make sure it has a heating source, otherwise only Frosty the Snowman will enjoy it when winter rolls in....


Posted by wrjacobs at 4:22 PM

November 9, 2004

Riding the Hi

Last week I took a couple of pictures of the art work at the 38th St. station of the Minneapolis Light Rail system (Hiawatha line):



All of the stations are supposed to reflect the character of the surrounding neighborhoods. 38th St. station is in my old 'hood, Longfellow, known for its Arts and Crafts style architecture. I think that this roof sculpture fits in with that theme!

Check out an article about LRT stations as places, featuring the 38th St. station.

Posted by wrjacobs at 5:34 PM