In addition to United Airlines grounding their fleet for the second time in a month (yesterday), here's more Minnesota madness that I get to content with:
In somewhat related news, the director of the Minnesota Zoo is headed to Houston. No word if he plans to bring along the monkey rebellion with him.
For the sake of completeness, the state Capitol in St. Paul is closed to the public while they do interior renovations. Good thing I can still take in all those statues around the Capitol mall, I suppose. Also, mudslides along the Mississippi look like they'll make for some interesting detours to get to some parks and river walkways.
And with that, I'm off to find out exactly how excruciating of an ordeal it can be to deal with TSA, reservations made by Orbitz, DOS attacks on United Airlines' system, and other atrocities known to world travelers.
I have yet to see an Astros game in-person as an American League entity. But tomorrow involves catching this team in their new stadium in downtown St. Paul.
On the topic of the Twin Cities' bike share program, I think it's safe to say that I will not be singing while pedaling.
In lieu of any truly meaningful blogging, I thought I'd start with some pre-vacation items. The wheels go up for me Thursday morning. Dog-sitter has already been procured. And I've taken the radical step of purchasing a piece of luggage. After checking the memory banks, it seems the last real vacation I had was to Toronto in 2000. About all I know to expect for my first post-9/11 flight is to arrive early, take off the shoes, and rely on the hotel for shampoo and conditioner.
The biggest reason that the Twin Cities is a destination of interest for me is to visit Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul. I've been listening to podcasts of Greg Boyd's sermons since sometime after he was profiled in the NY Times in 2006. And the first time I read the article, I wasn't particularly swayed. I wasn't looking for another Jim Wallis to listen to. But I eventually gave him a listen and his messages grew on me rather quickly. I picked up the book he was known for at the time - "The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church" - and it resonated pretty strongly. I'm sure there are those who would still classify Boyd as a crazy liberal evangelical. But I've never been disappointed that I didn't make the time to listen to each week's message. Since then, the podcast-listening hasn't been as routine. But Woodland Hills has remained on something akin to a bucket list. So that's my Saturday. To set the vacation mood, this little blog post of Boyd's is worth the time.
Outside of that, my vacation criteria were rather simple: get to another plot of geography outside the state. If for no other reason than to say I've actually set foot outside of Texas. And make sure there's enough big-city accoutrements to satisfy my exploratory curiosity. So, with all due regards to Podunk, Idaho, I'm off to a big city with the following agenda items somewhere on my to-do list:
» Mall of America - This really goes without saying.
» See the St. Paul Saints - The Twins are in town while I'm there. But where's the fun in that? The Saints are partly owned by none other than Bill Murray. Yes, Ghostbusters Bill Murray. And all I know otherwise about the team is that the catcher is the only .400 hitter in the American Association of Independent Professional Baseball (the only Texas teams being the Grand Prairie AirHogs and the Amarillo Thunderheads). Lucky me, I get to catch the Ottawa Champions.
» Stone Arch Bridge - And about a handful of other places to see the Mississippi River up close.
» Ride a bike - The Twin Cities has a pretty robust bike share program and given that much of my sightseeing falls conveniently in each downtown area, biking it makes the most sense.
» Whitesnake - They happen to be in town Saturday night. Coincidence?
Obviously, there are loads of other details to take up time. I'll try and save a few as a surprise.