Photo of worker adjusting a wireless access point.

Worker adjusting the wireless access point outside my window.

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Sunday, August 24, 2008
MN State Fair Milk Run
Milk Run 2008

Mary, Hallie, and I ran in the Minnesota State Fair 5K Milk Run today. What a beautiful day for running!

We started too far back in the pack so we had a very slow beginning. We were actually behind some walkers! There was no room to pass at the start either. Still, Mary and I completed in about 29 minutes and Hallie completed in 26. It's a really nice run through the neigborhoods around the State Fair and the U of M campus.

Doesn't look like the results are available yet.

After the run, home to shower then back for a day at the Fair. Watch the Flickr account for more Fair pictures.

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Friday, August 15, 2008
Political Fix at Your Local Tom's Drugstore
You can't spend much time around the U's Humphrey Institute without hearing the story of Humphrey's dad's drugstore in Doland, SD and the political discussions that took place there. That civic tradition serves as inspiration for the monthly (give or take) Tom's Drugstore discussions at the Schneider's at 3400 University Ave. SE in Minneapolis (across from KSTP). Tom Gupta is owner and host.

Tom's Drugstore is a a lively, informal political discussion. The conversation takes place around an old, fake pot belly stove, and people sit in the drug store aisles. If you're a big D local Democrat and haven't heard of Tom's, then you're head has been in the sand as folks like Wellstone, Mondale, and Franken have been in attendance.

Next Thursday, August 21, the topic is how to build on the tremendous civic energy that has been generated this year in the elections -- after the election -- for positive social change. Harry Boyte, author of The Citizen Solution: How You Can Make a Difference, will lead the open discussion.

This is a very important topic. We all do enjoy the Presidential Campaign Show and we do need a positive change in the top leadership of this country. This campaign has triggered political passions and brought many more people to the polls. But what happens on November 5th? No matter who is in the White House, I doubt if there will be lights on the bike Transit Way that links the Greenway to downtown. I doubt if there will be a stop sign on my corner of Franklin Avenue where traffic has increased like 500% since the 35W bridge disaster. And I have my doubts that the new president will intervene if the Minneapolis Park Board decides to block bike transit ways again to benefit corporate interests. But I do have hope that we can do some things together locally and keep the political energies flowing in positive community-building activities.

I'll be there and it will be my first Drugstore event. Hope to see you there too.

Bonus Links

In Minnesota, a Drug Store Becomes Town Hall : NPR

November Fifth Coalition | Citizens at the Center

Tom's Drugstore: Building on the Energy of Campaign Season

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Minneapolis Unwired: USI at 10,000
The Steve Alexander of the Star Tribune reports that US Internet Wireless has more than 10,000 subscribers and is operating at a break-even point. He goes on to say that the number of complaints about the system reaching his e-mail inbox is also reduced, concluding that "the Wi-Fi network seems much improved" although there 5 percent of consumers are unable to get a signal and there are still challenge areas around lakes and parkways.

Congratulations to USIW.

This is great news for the Digital Inclusion Fund as a percentage of the profits will go there.

Friday, August 01, 2008
Red Bull: parting words
Red Bull

I bet you thought we were done with the whole Red Bull black cube thing, huh? No such luck.

Being a responsible citizen journalist and all, I decided to tie up some loose strings and give you a link group of articles discussing the Illume installation in Minneapolis. Most of them feel that tying up the bridge, a major bike commuting route, for ten days was not a good idea especially when the photos were only visible for a few hours after sunset.

Highlights of the set include Lisa's post at Corporate Babysitter, the blog for Parents for Ethical Marketing. She notes the direct tie-in to Red Bull in the photos (several athletes are on Red Bull's payroll) and the difficulty in finding out who approved the exhibit in the first place. (Minneapolis has rather opaque governance.) It turns out Red Bull paid $25,000 for a permit to the Minneapolis Park Board.

The Star Tribune even published an editorial by a recent Humphrey graduate as to the folly of the exhibit after initially publishing a press release with no comments.

I should also mention the glowing review of large-scale corporate advertising over here (not sure who publishes this blog) wherein the auther states:
Yes, it’s not art like Christo and Jeanne-Claude’s “The Gates” in Central Park. But for an advertisement on the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis, it’s really well done. And it just may have expanded my perspective on large scale marketing campaigns. Well done, advertising.
Somehow "Well done, advertising." just doesn't compensate for 10 days of blocked bicycles.

Questions left unanswered:

Was there any discussion with the Park Board as to where to locate the exhibit?

Did Red Bull demand the Stone Arch Bridge location? (Erica Mauter at Metblog points out that Gold Medal Park -- which is down the block from the bridge -- might have been a suitable location.)

Did Park Board Commissioners even know about the permit? (And, did they discuss closing a bike commuter route?)

I plan on emailing this post link to the Park Board. Maybe they have some answers.

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