52 Dates a Year

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Policy & a Pint – Thomas Goetz February 22, 2010

On Thursday, February 18, 2010 we attended our fourth Policy & a Pint session. In the past we attended sessions on Education, the Environment and Justice. This session was about Healthcare and our individual responsibility for our own health.

From The Current website:
“Policy and a Pint” is an ongoing series co-sponsored by Minnesota Public Radio’s 89.3 The Current and Citizens League. The series’ goal is to provide an informal setting for the public to come and discuss important policy issues with community leaders and thinkers.

Policy & a Pint is hosted either at the Varsity Theater or at the UBS Forum at The Current Studios. We prefer the setup at The Current Studios over The Varsity for a few reasons:
1. Free parking in St Paul (some meters stop being monitored at 4:30)
2. The “pint” is included at the UBS Forum (in fact, it’s 2 per person!)
3. The food is higher quality and greater quantity at the UBS Forum

The speaker was Thomas Goetz, executive editor of Wired magazine and author of The Decision Tree.
Thomas Goetz
Thomas is educated with a Masters in Public Health and has obviously reviewed a lot of studies as well as human behavior. He said that only 3% of Americans follow 4 basic health guidelines. THREE PERCENT. You’d think these guidelines were impossible, wouldn’t you? Here they are, you judge for yourself:
1. Maintain a healthy body weight
2. Get some exercise
3. Eat vegetables
4. Don’t smoke

He also said something like “every decision we make affects our health.” EVERY decision…what you eat, how long to sleep, how much TV to watch/video games to play, drinking & driving…all day, every day. Almost everything has an impact on your health. I bet that’s not something that most people think about.

Chris’s Review
Policy and a pint will always get you thinking. Nikki and I agree on a lot of major issues, but it is fun to discuss some issues more in depth after hearing a different take on an issue. The night started out with some great appetizers and a couple beers, and afterward we found ourselves talking all the way home. It was great to talk and connect on something that we normally wouldn’t talk about. Great date night for a couple if they find the topic interesting.

Best Part: Having time to really sit and talk with Nikki before and after the policy talk.

Worst Part: None, awesome night.


Nikki’s Review
I think I would attend almost any P&aP that is held at the UBS Forum because the food is so good! I have enjoyed all the speakers we’ve seen and recommend these events to people who like to think a little bit harder than normal every once in a while.

Best part of the night: Thinking about what my responsibility is for my health & how that will affect our lives together. Also, I loved the concept that EVERY decision we make throughout the day affects our health.

Worst part of the night: There were a couple questions that were awkward because it was someone looking for recognition rather than asking a question. For example: “I quit smoking 4 days ago, yep, it’s been 4 days since I had my last cigarette.” Good for you, buddy, get on with the questions!


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Husky Hockey Game in St Cloud February 20, 2010

Filed under: A Treat ($$$),Out & About - Other,Party of More — Nikki @ 8:33 am

On Saturday, February 13, 2010 we drove up to St Cloud, MN to attend a men’s hockey game and hang out in downtown St Cloud. There were 8 people total who went to the game and 6 of us stayed overnight at the Kelly Inn which is within walking distance of downtown!
Harry Buffalo
We had Gary’s Pizza & a couple drinks in our hotel room before heading out to MC’s Dugout for a couple more drinks before catching the MC’s shuttle to the National Hockey Center. We got our tickets and headed to our seats, only to find them smack dab in the middle of a section of UND fans. Seriously, we were surrounded!
our section
That would have been fine if the Husky’s had played well, but unfortunately they didn’t. You can read a game re-cap here, but I can tell you in 9 words…UND scores six unanswered goals in the second period. We actually left at the end of the 2nd and walked back to the downtown area. Some of us stayed out for a couple more drinks and others closed the bar down!

Chris’s Review
Hockey was a ton of fun, if only the St cloud state hockey team wouldn’t have given up 6 goals in a period. St cloud is a nice cheap place to go to for a nice weekend away, and being able to do it with friends was great. I would definitely recommend it to try and relive some of the college years. It has been a while since I ate room temp pizza in a hotel hallway at 3 am…

Best Part: Having a few drinks with friends and being able to talk, and hitting the bars in a different town.

Worst Part: Sitting in the UND cheering section, and watching a losing game.


Nikki’s Review
Overall, the night in St Cloud was fun. I wish the hockey team had played better, but what can you do. We did get to meet a couple of Christy’s friends, hang out at a few of my old stomping grounds and only had to walk one way from the Hockey Center!

Best part of the night: The shuttle from MC’s and the first period of the hockey game. Also, Chris was pretty cute when he was drunk. 🙂

Worst part of the night: The second period where UND scored 6 goals to SCSU’s 0.


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Acme Comedy’s Birthday Club February 18, 2010

Filed under: Upcoming Event — Nikki @ 1:18 pm

In early February we went to Acme Comedy courtesy of the Acme Insider email. This month in the Insider email a Birthday Club providing FREE tickets was highlighted. All you have to do is figure out when you want to go (any Tue-Thur show during your birthday month) and fill out the form to make the request. They say you will receive an email confirming the event for yourself and up to 5 (yes…FIVE) guests!

From the Insider Email:
Acme’s Birthday promotion is a great way to help you celebrate “one more year” and our nationally touring comedians will have you laughing like a kid again in no time. Bring some friends…loosen the tie…let the hair down…and get ready to laugh…It’s on Acme! There’s nothing like comedy to start YOUR new year on the right foot and Acme’s got some fabulous acts to make this year the best year ever.

We think this sounds like a great way to celebrate your birthday, especially since it is good all month! Has anyone tried it? If you do, let us know how it goes. Our birthdays aren’t for a few months yet!!

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New Event – Obscura Day 2010 – March 20th February 15, 2010

Filed under: Upcoming Event — Nikki @ 8:21 pm

Chris came across an interesting looking event coming up in Minneapolis on Saturday, March 20, 2010 that we wanted to post about in case anyone is interested in attending.

Obscura Day is “a day of expeditions, back room tours and hidden treasures in your hometown” according to the website. The Minneapolis event begins at 4:00PM and is at the House of Balls museum. Click the link to register!

We’ve never attended but are looking forward to in the future. Unfortunately, Nikki has plans to be out of town this year so we’re unable to attend. If anyone goes, report back in the comments and let us know what you think!

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Black Sheep Pizza & Acme Comedy Co. February 9, 2010

Wednesday (yep – week night out!) February 3, 2010 we met Todd & Patty for a night out in Minneapolis. We had tentative plans to hang out that day when Chris got an email from the Acme Insider announcing “Insider Night” which meant 2 free tickets for each member! Todd & Patty were totally on board and so we each snagged 2 tix for the show. Since you don’t have much of a chance to talk during a comedy show we decided to meet up for dinner at Black Sheep Pizza which is just a few blocks away from Acme.

Chris’s Review
Acme has a good number of free nights during the week available if you join the insider club. We were able to get tickets with a couple of friends, and grabbed dinner at the pretty close, new pizza bar Black Sheep. The brick oven pizza was good, but was maybe a bit too highbrow on the toppings, and not the cheapest either.

Best Part: Great to share a luagh with some friends.

Worst Part: The first comic was almost a total miss, but it didn’t ruin the night. Also, it is a bit tough to talk at Acme… but we had a good chance to catch up at dinner.


Nikki’s Review
It’s always fun to try new restaurants & while the food at Black Sheep was good, I don’t think it was necessarily worth the price. If you’re looking for some unique pizzas, check it out, but arrive early because at 6:45 when we were done there were a lot of people waiting! The comedy show was great – three completely different acts. The first girl was a U of M student & she was very awkward and not very funny. The second girl, Amber Preston, was fantastic – my favorite act of the night. The main act, Henry Phillips, was okay. He presented a lot of his jokes in the form of a song & sometimes that really worked and other times it didn’t seem so great.

Best part of the night: Wedding & honeymoon talk…how can it not be happy?!

Worst part of the night: The opening act. She was very awkward and not funny.

We hope to attend more comedy events in the future. It’s always fun but not necessarily something you think of when looking for something to do!


NOTE: This could be VERY inexpensive if you weren’t drinking. We spent $20 on beer at Acme…leave that out & have an inexpensive dinner and this date could be very frugal but fun!

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Wiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii! February 7, 2010

Filed under: Free,Home Sweet Home,Just Us — Nikki @ 8:48 am

Saturday January 30, 2010 was one of those Saturday’s where you just feel like being a bum. So…bum’s we were! We got into our comfy clothes, mixed up some Guacamole (to be enjoyed with our favorite Mission chips) and settled into the couch for a night of playing Wii!

First up…Super Mario Bros. Wii, the latest (and greatest?) Mario game out for the Wii. Chris got the game for Christmas and surprisingly, this was Nikki’s first time playing! One different thing about the Wii version compared to the good-ole NES version is that BOTH Mario and Luigi (and apparently 2 others) can play a level at the same time. The jury is out if that’s a good idea or not. 🙂

Once we were done with that game we moved on to Dr. Mario which we’ve purchased from the online store. Chris is quite a bit better than Nikki is, but luckily the game allows you to adjust which level you start at and so our games are usually relatively close after the handicap!

Chris’s Review
We stayed home for this week and had a night of playing some old school super mario and Dr. Mario on the wii.

The new Mario brothers let’s you play at the same time as each other. We actually found it pretty frustrating, we each got in the way more often than helping out.

Best Part: The night was free and was nice to have a night at home together. Working on a game together was a nice twist in super mario brothers.

Worst Part: We are both pretty competitive, and we ended up frustrated at the game, and each other after a while.


Nikki’s Review
A good night “in” is sometimes such a treat! It was fun to relax with my husband & use the Wii system which sits idle way too often in our house.

Best part of the night: Comfy clothes & the new Wii game!

Worst part of the night: Chris is a mean Dr. Mario player…ruthless even! But, I guess that’s necessary when I start out with 1/3 less germs to kill.

I would call the night a success. Delicious homemade guacamole, random snuggles on the couch and lots of relaxation!


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Games! February 6, 2010

Filed under: Home Sweet Home,Inexpensive ($),Party of Four — Nikki @ 8:44 am

AcquireOn Friday January 22 our friends Liz & Casey came over for dinner. We tried a new recipe (after getting their permission) and it was a hit! Dinner was Pomegranate Beef in the Crockpot with mashed potatoes, green beans and rolls on the side. After dinner we played a competitive game of Acquire. As the scores were being tallied, we served up the delicious Chocolate Oreo Cake that Liz & Casey brought. In the end, Chris ended up running away with the game due to some wise investing in American and Worldwide!

Chris’s Review
Making dinner for our friends is always a good time. We ended up making dinner pretty much from scratch, but using a crock pot meal was great. It was nice to have most of dinner done before we got home from work.

Best Part: We played acquire which is one of my favorite games, and it was good to play with some new people, especially ones that used to play it before growing up.

Worst Part: None, great night!


Nikki’s Review
Eating in is such a great way to save money & have a more relaxed evening. We were able to enjoy a delicious meal for 4 people for probably less than $20 and all the alcohol consumed was way cheaper than at a bar too! Acquire is a strategy game and this was only the 2nd time I had played. I’m looking forward to trying out new strategies in the future and, maybe someday scoring higher than Chris!

Best part of the night: Catching up with Liz & Casey over dinner.

Worst part of the night: The icky weather that they had to brave to make it home.

I look forward to having game nights with Liz & Casey (and anyone else!) in the future. RATING: 5/5

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