Apr 3, 2006 - current events    No Comments

When "Senseless" doesn’t begin to cover it

A good friend of mine was killed this weekend in an act of utterly senseless, pointless, non-directed, moronic, stupid, childish, pathetic violence.

I don’t even know where to start. It’s hard to rant in multiple directions at once.

Al … I’ll miss you. We all will.

Feb 23, 2006 - bureaucracy, stupidity    No Comments

For every innovation, there’s someone that wants to capitalize on it

And, there’s some government agency that enables said capitalization.

For example, take U.S. patent No. 7,000,180. While it was originally filed back in 2001 (well before AJAX became the “acronym du jour”), it was finally granted this Valentine’s Day by the beloved U.S Patent Office … and it could well screw up web technology innovation as we know it, as it’s broad enough to (potentially) require any AJAX-like technology to pay a license fee back to the patent owner.

Brilliant … just bloody brilliant.

So, what do we learn from this? Simple:

  • Patent everything. Then, even if you have no success yourself, you can stifle everyone else’s.
  • Technology isn’t about thinking outside the box. It’s about who has the most legal paperwork on file.
Feb 17, 2006 - observations    No Comments

Mother Nature 2 … Weathermen 0

Woof. For the second time this year (once last month, and now this month) a predicted “wicked snow storm that will blanket the Twin Cities with at least 6 inches of snow” … never happened. Last month, the storm missed us by a few dozen miles to the north. This time, a few dozen miles to the south … and all they really got was “a dusting”.

Man … I’m in the wrong line of work: You get paid, yet are consistently wrong.

On the other hand, they got the temperature right … once again, Minnesota temperatures are more what we all expect up here this time of year: low double-digit, single-digit, or any-digit as long as it has a ‘-‘ in front of it.

Jan 16, 2006 - current events, local    No Comments

A Farewell to … Happy Hour

Living in Plymouth, on the west side of Minneapolis, for the past 8 years, I’ve become fond of a local establishment: Grandma’s Restaurant and Wine Bar. Grandma’s is a Minnesota original, with restaurants in only 5 cities in the state, and the Plymouth location (being close to home) I’ve grown especially fond of. I started out down the path of “becoming a regular” at the Bloomington store, which is long since closed (I may write about the stupidity behind that sometime … someday) and migrated to Plymouth, along with a collection of both regulars and staff.

Over the years, I’ve seen a lot of things … a lot of people. I’ve seen good times, bad times … and some really, really crazy times (good thing no one had a camera … at least, no one who’s come forth with pictures … yet). And, I knew that all good things, no matter how good and packed with potential, must come to an end … and Grandma’s Plymouth is no exception. On March 31, 2006, the Plymouth, MN, store will close … and I have to admit, I have mixed feelings about it.

On one hand, I’m not surprised. From a customer standpoint, the store isn’t doing stellar business. Traffic ebbs and flows with the booking level of the adjacent Comfort Inn.

On the other hand … frankly, I’m pissed off. The Grandma’s line is Duluth-based, and watching the way the Plymouth store has been handled tells me that their corporate office doesn’t have a clue about how to make money in the Minneapolis market. Granted, they’re doing ok business in their downtown store … which is located in the “Seven Corners” area of the East Bank of the University of Minnesota. I mean, come on … how hard is it to make it when you’re in a prime location … where all you really need to do is open the doors, serve decent drinks, and have one of the local radio stations play live music once a week. A near-sighted Rhesus monkey on crack could make money there … case in point.

No. The real challenge of making a business is going after something new … something different … and making it work.

From what I’ve heard, they want out of their lease big time. The price they’re asking for the property is a steal, especially with you factor in the rate of growth of the western suburbs.

So … if anyone is interested in partnering in what could be a very exciting venture …

… let me know.