My Design Wins Black Forest Inn Contest
Black Forest Inn, Oktoberfest menu coverLauren recently encouraged me to come up with an entry for the Black Forest Inn’s Oktoberfest menu design contest. Black Forest Inn is a German restaurant on Eat Street in Minneapolis with the city’s best summer patio, and is very close to our old place at 112 W 26th St. I saw some of the previous winners of the Oktoberfest menu design contest and their complex designs that must have taken hours, and decided perhaps a minimalist approach would win over the judges. Thursday I received the call that I had won! I get a gift certificate, t-shirts, a poster of my winning print, and souvenir menus. Plus everyone who eats there in the coming month will see my original artwork! We were planning to go to BFI Saturday for Tim Rosok’s birthday anyway so this worked out well!

Being Nosy with the Neighbors
A few months ago, our apartment neighbors below were moving out. They seemed like a pleasant couple, our building supervisor and his girlfriend. Surprised by this development, I went out on the balcony and yelled to them down on the street, “Hey, you guys are moving out?” The man motioned his fingers across his throat, as if to say “shut up!” “What?!” I yelled back. He mouthed to me “I broke up with her!” “Ohhhhh…” I said and went back inside.

This past weekend, our neighbors from across the hall were moving out. They seemed like a pleasant couple, a man and woman our age, who frequently received our mail by mistake since Glanzer and Glasgow are fairly close. The guy was moving out when we bumped into him and he told us he was heading to New York. The next day, I saw the girl moving out as I was heading to the gym and wished her good luck in New York. “Uh, I’m not going to New York…” she mumbled. “What, you’re not going to—ohhh, I understand,” I said. Apparently those lovebirds broke up as well and went their separate ways.

The lessons learned here? It is awkward for all involved when I talk to the neighbors, and this apartment complex must be bad luck. Lauren and I had best move out before it gets to us!

State Shape Book
Lauren bought me a couple books for my birthday, one of which is called “How the States Got Their Shapes.” Somehow I had run across this book online and read a free preview, which told the surprisingly twisted story of why Maryland is shaped the way it is. It was so fascinating that I decided I must have this book! I have read alphabetically up through Louisiana and there have been some really interesting stories so far. I especially like to read about states with little tiny plots of land that aren’t connected to the mainland, like Kentucky has this 11-square mile area that is attached to Tennessee, several miles away from the rest of Kentucky. Why did Kentucky want this little piece of land, and how did it expect to govern it when it was across not just Tennessee, but also a piece of Missouri’s border? All these fascinating questions are answered in this book.

The main reasons most borders are where they are are because of the following reasons.
• Arguments between England, Spain, France, Netherlands, the US, and sometimes other nations
• Those who wanted slavery vs. those opposed to slavery
• The idea that states be created equally, either in terms of height or width
• Natural geographic boundaries like mountain ranges and rivers
• Lines of latitude or longitude

That may not sound that interesting, but each state has a very interesting story for each of its borders.

Other Stuff of Note
• Most of my favorite shows have premiered for the new season. The first couple episodes of “Always Sunny” have been a little on the weak side, but the new “How I Met Your Mother,” “The Office,” and “30 Rock” were all strong. I keep hearing some people think “The Office” is going downhill, but I think it’s as good as ever. Hard to believe it’s already time for the “Dexter” premier on Sunday!
• Thanks to those who offered advice on my last blog’s rant. I was able to get some cooperation from both Wells Fargo and State Farm.
• I heard another of my fellow 21 WLHS ’01 grads is getting married in two weeks, which by my rough estimate will make it 14 of the 22 to get married, with at least one more engaged. But again, this is only by my rough Facebook estimate.
• I am a fan of Uncle Kracker’s country crossover music.
• Someone created a much better Twins song than the crappy G. B. Leighton song that plays on FSN every night.