In Minneapolis

I’m hanging out in our hotel room in Minneapolis waiting for Mel and Helen to come back from breakfast. We got down here yesterday afternoon for a three-day weekend, and today is Mall of America day. Mel’s planning to go insane on the Gap with her 25% off coupon in tow, and I’m already on the hook to take Helen to Lego World. It would be fun to score a nice shirt at Nordstrom Rack, too; finding something there that is nice and also affordable is always fun, because it happens so rarely.

In all, I’m expecting a long, but fun, day.

“Inception”

I’m going to catch the late show of “Inception” in about two hours and 45 minutes. It’s going to be a late night, but I can’t wait… I’m very excited to see this movie. I’ll post a review of it when I get home.

**update

This movie was awesome. Not Dark Knight good, but still awesome. Easy to follow, ending wasn’t at all a surprise and actually made the movie make more sense to me. Visuals, acting, music, all great. Definitely worth a theater viewing if you’re for some reason on the fence about it; best movie I’ve seen this summer by far.

Grand Update for July 23

So, I haven’t been blogging much lately; things have just been busy at home and I haven’t put in the effort to post anything. Summer tends to be a busy time in the house with Megan visiting, so there’s less “free” time to sit around and come up with stuff to write about, and I’ve been busy at work so not really able to carve out much time there either. Anyway, enough with the excuses; here’s a catchup episode for the key events that have occurred since last we spoke.

• Comic reviews at The Terrordrome
I’ve had an opportunity to write a couple more comic book reviews over at The Terrordrome. You can read them here:

I’ve now reviewed issues in three of the five series IDW Publishing is putting out on G.I. Joe each month; I have yet to officially tackle “G.I. Joe: Hearts and Minds” or the new “G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero” series. I’m kindof getting into a groove with the main series, though, and I hope I get the opportunity to continue reviewing those. We’ll see what the guys who run The Terrordrome want me to do for them.

• Fourth of July
Yes, it’s been that long since my last update; I have missed basically the entire month of July here. Our Fourth was great; we hit up Bemidji’s water carnival, which means a rare chance to dramatically overpay for fair food like cheese curds and gyros, and Helen got to ride some rides. Both girls got a chance to do this bungy-bouncing thing, where they were attached to cords and got to jump pretty high up in the air on trampolines. We have pics and videos of them and I’ll try to dig them up off of Mel’s camera.

For the fireworks that night, Mel got a random call from her good friend Rachael, who wanted to know if we had plans. Her dad was out of town fishing, so she and her mom were looking for company on their pontoon boat. Mel jumped at this chance, so we spent several hours floating around on the water, and when it got dark our boat was positioned as close to the fireworks, which here get shot out over the lake from a position on the south shore, as the county sheriff would allow us to be. It was pretty awesome; we were so close to the firework that we could see the ignition plumes of the second-stage boosters for the big ones. Definitely a fourth to remember; Rachael and her mom were awesome for giving us a chance to tag along with them.

• Grand Marais trip
A couple of weekends back, Melissa and I took the family for our first trip out of town as a five-person family. She and I had a chance to go to Grand Marais, up on Lake Superior’s north shore, last year for a co-worker’s wedding, and had such a great time we decided we’d go back for a straight family vacation with the kids this summer. We reserved a cabin for the second weekend in July all the way back in January; even working that far in advance we got the last one. We timed our visit with Grand Marais’ annual art festival, your typical arts-in-the-park type thing where you can buy all varieties of handmade jewelry and carved, painted animals, etc. Cool stuff, but I think in my entire life I’ve spent less than ten bucks on the “stuff” being displayed by the various craftsmen at art fairs.

We had a great time; the cabin was cute and pretty much what you’d expect from an $80-a-night rent-a-cabin. We had a great time; the kids had a great time; and we had some really good food while we were out there. Mel found this beautiful ring for her right hand so she picked that up, and I bought matching $1 rings for me and all three girls at this rock-polishing stand and told the girls it was “so we can all remember this weekend and how much fun we’re having.” Megan then dropped hers the next day, and since it was made out of a rock it shattered everywhere. She felt pretty bad.

Neither Mel nor I have dumped our photos from that weekend yet; I’ll get some of them up on Flickr once we do. We’re already talking about the possibility of going back next summer. It really was a great weekend.

If we do return, about the only thing we’ll do differently is pack food. Food in Grand Marais is *ridiculously* expensive. For example, we went to this place called “The Pie Place,” thinking it’d be cute to have some pie after lunch. One slice of pie was $6.50. Making it a la mode added another $2.50. We were not pleased with this. So instead of pie for everyone, we got two pieces a la mode and four iced teas, and ended up dropping almost $30. We did not leave a tip; we figured they had bled enough money out of us. The pie was good, but not significantly better than what we could get by dropping $13 on an entire pie at Perkin’s.

That’s the big stuff since my last update. I’m going to try and get back into the flow of this, if not next week then definitely for August. This is Megan’s last week here; we’re planning a trip to take her to her grandma over in North Dakota next week, then are going to drive down to Minneapolis and hopefully hook up with our friends Justin & Darren. We’ll also likely be doing some school shopping for Helen, who’s getting perilously close to being a kindergartener.

Lego Gaga: The White One From the Bad Romance video

My fourth Lego Gaga, of the crazy body suit from the Bad Romance video. My first attempt at using White-Out for highlights (boot laces) didn’t go so well; but I learned some things for next time.