Gwinn in MN

Stupid things faster, with more energy

Posts Tagged ‘twin cities’

Looking for holiday charity opportunities?

Posted by chrisgwinn on December 18, 2008

The economy is bad.  We all know that – hell, I just got laid off.

What you may not know is that local arts organiztions are getting hit hard.  Intermedia Arts and In the Heart of the Beast  Puppet and Mask Theater have both shut down temporarily, laying off all their staff.  Both organizations are Minneapolis institutions, having been around since the 1970s.

HotB does the annual May Day parade, which is one of my very favorite Minneapolis traditions.  In addition to the parade and their shows, they do all sorts of community workshops, parades, etc.  If you live in South Minneapolis, you’ve almost certainly seen their puppets.

Intermedia Arts, just down the street from me, does all sorts of crazy stuff.  The Aquatennial Art Car parade?  That’s them.  Minneapolis female hip-hop festivals?  Minnebar?  Yup.

These aren’t organizations like the Walker or the MPR.  They don’t have big endownments, and if they go away, they’re gone.  We already lost Theatre de la Jeune Lune this year.  Let’s try and make sure it doesn’t get worse.  Give what you can.


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Less good donut news

Posted by chrisgwinn on August 18, 2008

I appear to have become the guy who blogs about donuts in Minnesota. Well, we all have our niche to fill in the world, and I can think of worse.

Mel-O-Glaze was burglarized this morning. Around 4 AM, somebody broke one of the doors and tried to steal their TV. I guess one of the guys who lives in a nearby apartment saw it happen and called the cops. There was a TV sitting in the ally when I got there, so maybe they didn’t get far? I’m confused on details.

Apparently this is not the first time in recent months that Mel-O-Glaze has been robbed, which is why they are no longer a donut shop and an internet cafe. Sad. If you live in Minneapolis, you should stop by and buy something – I’m sure they can use the business.

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Minnebar 2008

Posted by chrisgwinn on May 11, 2008

Saturday was 2008’s Minnebar. Minnebar’s the Minnesota version of barcamp, which has a bit of a complicated history – the short version is that it’s a free (un)conference, but on by and for geeks. In Minnesota, bar camp has a strong focus on people doing software as a product, instead of people building software for non-software companies. This year they were at the Coffman Union on the East Bank of the University of Minnesota, which is a nice venue for this sort of thing.

Most of the talks I went to were not particularly helpful or interesting. Free Geek Twin Cities looked interesting, although I’m skeptical of the surrounding Open Circuit organization. Otherwise, the length of the sessions (roughly 50 minutes) made it hard to get very deep into any topic. Unfortunately, Enleiten had their session in the final period and I didn’t get to see Doreen’s talk.

Side note – if you haven’t checked out Enleiten yet, and you’re interested in GTD or project management software, go take a look. It’s a number of friends of mine’s little software startup, and it seems pretty cool.

Back to Minnebar. The pre-lunch panel was the “State of the State”. Jamie Thinglestad (one day removed from Dow Jones, and my old boss), Dan Grigsby, Robert Stephens (found of Geek Squad), Michael Gorman (a VC from Split Rock) and Matthew Dornquast (code42) talked about the state of software development and entrepreneurship in Minnesota.

Their opinions seemed to track pretty closely to my feel for things. The development community is good, but we have a lack of good managers/execs. The risk-adverseness of minnesotans makes it hard to tear people away from corporate IT departments, etc. No new wisdom, but there was a sense of excitement about software entrepreneurship in the room that seems to be new and growing here. I’m not sure that was happening, say, ten years ago. When I went to MarketWatch, most of my friends were doing consulting or big company gigs. Now more and more of them are at software companies. So that’s nice.

Overall, I can’t say I found it particularly useful from a education standpoint, but it was a good community building/networking exercise. And I got to see people I haven’t seen in a while – Ira, Lou, Murphy, etc.

If you’re interested in the Twin Cities tech scene, I’d say it’s an event you shouldn’t miss.

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Mel-o-glaze is both tasty and nice

Posted by chrisgwinn on April 4, 2008

I had a surprisingly positive customer service experience this week that made me check the calendar and make sure it wasn’t 1957. I had gone to the friendly neighborhood donut shop (mel-o-glaze, for you locals) to buy donuts for my coworkers and myself, and after the woman at the counter had boxed everything up, I realized I’d misplaced my wallet. I ran out to check the car. Not there. So I went back inside and told her that I didn’t have my wallet and would have to go.

She suggested that I take the donuts anyway and come back and pay them later.

I assumed there was some communication problem – english is clearly not her first language. But no, that’s exactly what she meant. I scribbled my name and phone number on a piece of paper and gave them to her, then left with my tasty, tasty donuts.

Will I go back there again? Hell yeah. Did I buy more donuts when I came back to pay them? Sure did.

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