Archive for January, 2008

you can get drunk off water

One of the more memorable random quotes from the college roommates back in the day was Eric announcing one evening that, yes “You can get drunk off water!”

The way Eric delivers all of his anecdotes about life is just humorous, so we figured he was just joking around. Plus he’s a random guy to begin with so you weigh heavily the seriousness of everything he says. So we laughed about it, he swore it was fact, and so on.

Well, turns out Eric was right. A couple years later I came across an article indicating that you can in fact “get drunk off water.”

Then today I’m reviewing my daily news feed, and low and behold, some guy in the U.K. drank too much water and died. An unfortunate story. But can you imagine the amount of water you’d have to drink to actually make this happen?

back from the dead

Tim, your car nearly died this week. [I drive Tim’s old car]

I was backing out of my parking spot on Tuesday, put it into first gear, then went to second, and I wasn’t able to shift from there. It was permanently stuck in second – couldn’t even get it to neutral. I figured that was it, the transmission was blown, it would cost untold thousands to fix, and that would be the end. Tuesday night I drove it for three miles in second gear through Brentwood to the mechanic – Steph drove behind me in her boss’s truck, we both had our flashers on – I said to her, “It’s like we’re in a parade… a parade of losers.”

Turns out it wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be. The shifter cable had frayed and broken, resulting in my inability to remove it from gear. And while it hurt financially to fix it, it wasn’t as bad as a new transmission, and certainly not as bad as having to buy a new car on the spot.

I’m determined to get this car to 200,000 miles… then I’ll feel like I accomplished something. We’re extremely close. At the same time, it was a reminder that we probably ought to start shopping for a second car, so we’re going to do that.

accepting failure

After a little more than a year, last night I decided it was time to call it quits on my website. A business that was set up to make money and generate income just wasn’t doing that, and it was costing me too much to keep it going.

It’s frustrating when you have in your hands what you know is a brilliant idea, but are unable to convince the rest of the world of the same.

So last night I disconnected all of the inner workings… the credit card processing, the storefront, the shopping cart. Felt like I was killing my child.

One thing I’ve learned over the past year or so – the service industry is extremely difficult, and draining. It’s incredibly hard to automate, and even if it did slowly begin to turn a profit, I wonder if I simply would have burned out sooner or later.

So on to the next thing I guess….

bud and vern

Here is the final post regarding our adventures over Christmas this year recounting truly Minnesotan experiences:

This one tops them all… Grandpa Fjordbak’s birthday falls during Christmas week, so while we were visiting him at the nursing home where he stays, they had a birthday party en masse for all the birthdays that occur during the month of December. It was celebrated with your typical fruit punch and cake in the dining hall, but the best part of the event was the entertainment they hired out for the afternoon… “Bud And Vern”, the local polka band.

It was a truly Norwegian afternoon….

whirly swirly tirly

Ugh, it only took, what, five days… finally feel like I’m getting back into the swing of things at work.

We all crowded into the stairwell at the office today to suffer through a tornado warning together. Oh wait… isn’t it January?

anybody want a tic tac?

My wife has new blog – check it out at!

grandma fjordbak’s hipster pda

Here’s Grandma Fjordbak…

Check out her hipster PDA

nature photography tips

some things you should know about minnesota

Well we are back from our 13 day whirlwind tour of the great North. This was a truly Minnesota Christmas with plenty of snow and cold to go around for everyone.

Spending a couple weeks in Minnesota during the dead of winter always makes me realize that southerns truly have no concept of what four seasons really is. So, to offer a deeper sense of reality, I thought I would dedicate this first post of 2008 to giving a little picture tour of Minnesota in winter:

To set the scene, here is a picture of my parent’s house all snowy-ish. For some reason, the past two years the snow has come late to Minnesota (January), which meant no white Christmas… very sad. We had a very white Christmas this year… in fact, I think this was taken on Christmas Day.

It always humors me listening to people in the South talk about snow. If wintry-precipitation is ‘predicted’ sometime within the next week in Nashville, all out chaos breaks loose. There’s a rush on the local grocery store to stock up on all necessary items like milk, eggs, and canned goods that would get anyone through a nuclear disaster. After that, the roads all but shut down out of sheer fear – no one dares to venture out. The News programs go into 24-hour coverage updating you on every degree change in temperature, interrupting your television show and generally annoying the heck out of you.

In Minnesota it is quite different – we don’t get all amped up about a little driving in snow. Note the picture above – this is New Years Day at about 2PM. Note the mounds of snow in the road, the ice on the windshield, and the numerous cars on the road. Getting from Point A to Point B is just something that has to be done, and so it is. If we were to sit around inside every time it snowed we wouldn’t get anything done for four months out of the year.

Here we have the Official Pace Car of Minnesota roads, our friendly orange snowplow. The plows in Minnesota are really quite impressive… they’re out immediately when a storm moves through and clear the major roads quite quickly, and work through the night to keep them clean. Frankly, we laugh a little inside everytime a Southerner complains about driving in the snow because we think you’re a pansy.

This picture is for Steph… she works with horse-people in Nashville who baby their animals every time the temperature dips below 55 degrees, giving them blankets, barns, and heat lamps. Animals can adapt to their surroundings… look how these cows get all fuzzy in the winter to keep them warm.

For the benefit of Wachs, I want to establish the difference between a ‘snowdrift’ and a ‘snowbank’. Snowdrifts are naturally formed by the wind and generally look very soft and clean [note image to left]. Snowbanks on the other hand are formed by snowplows or some other man-made device and are essentially piles of cleared snow [see right].

Minnesota has a lot of limestone, which is a rock very susceptible to cracking due to various acidic elements in the ground. As a result, this picture to the left is a common sight around our hometown… giant icefalls where water has been seeping through the cracks of limestone, and freezing on it’s way to the ground.

So when all is said and done, this is generally what your car looks like after traveling through the wintryness of Minnesota… lots of road-salt and gunk all over it. I washed the car on Wednesday which took care of most of it. As it sat drying in the driveway, streams of saltwater started oozing onto the pavement leaving these giant white streaks beneath our car… nice.

So there you go. Winter in Minnesota.