Thursday, August 31, 2006

Stair Fair 2006

Beautiful day at "The Fair". This year we decided to go "early" - we usually wait until Labor Day (the last day) because many of the rides and other stuff are cheaper. Given cruddy weather in the forecast, and not so nice weather at the cabin, we decided to do the Fair today, and the cabin starts tomorrow.

Sunny, high of about 75 - beautiful.

[Maria checks in with Grandma-ma at the cabin.]

We went on the Space Needle - a first for the kids, and the first time in about 30 years for the Hobbled Runner. (Mom stayed behind - watching from the street.) Other exciting stuff - the Tilt-a-Whirl - the favorite of the Hobbled Runner and Daughter, and the Giant Slide, a favorite of all - - except Mom of course. Did you know the Tilt-a-Whirl was invented by a Minnesotan? Perhaps I should nominate it for the MN150 thing - make the Hobbled Wife and her colleagues happy.

Of course the Fair is famous (or is it infamous) for it's Crop Art display. We got there just in time to do a little crop art ourselves. You will notice that the Dude has taken a rather free-form approach to his design, while the Hobbled Runner opted for the mundane "name as crop art" theme.

Update: At least our Fair visit was injury-free. Not everyone's was.

Monday, August 28, 2006

She Could Steal, But She Could Not Rob

Beatles fans may be obsessive, but they occasionally perform useful public services:

LONDON, Aug 25 - An American helped foil a burglary in northern England whilst watching a Beatles-related webcam over the Internet, police said on Friday.

The man from Dallas was using a live camera link to look at Mathew Street, an area of Liverpool synonymous with the Beatles and home to the Cavern Club where the band regularly played.

He saw intruders apparently breaking into a sports store and alerted local police.

I wonder if the burglar was attempting to come in throught the bathroom window?

Apparently he could steal but he could not rob. [Do your own search for the lyrics to that song. I wanted to link, but the pop-ups on the various lyrics sites are awful: Google/ beatles lyrics bathroom window.]

[source: Morning News]

Lutheran Humor

While searching around, I stumbled upon this cool site, The Old Lutheran. OK - I realize that not everyone will think it's that interesting, but amongst my father's side of the family, where Lutheranism was the family business for many years, this site will find a receptive audience.

Lutheran Tidbit of the Day: You might be Lutheran if . . . P.M.S. is defined as "Post Merger Syndrome."

Don't worry if it makes no sense, it's a very inside joke.

The Old Man and the Radio

We were talking baseball on Saturday. M’s friend Anna was sleeping over. Rather than watching Bewitched (2nd season on DVD – one of M’s favorites), we started watching the final innings of the Twins-Sox game. (Twins won in extra innings.) Anna is a BIG Twins fan – and knows a lot more than most 9 year olds about the Twins and what’s happening in the American League Central race. She actually knows more than this 44 year old – but that’s not too hard.

M even joined the conversation – and she does not understand baseball at all. She thinks it is so funny that Boppa (her grandfather) likes to listen to Twins games on the rickety old radio at the cabin. Reception on the old radio isn’t good to start with, and given that the game is on AM, there’s usually some static. If there is any “weather” within several hundred miles – and there usually is – the radio generates a fair deal of static.

M painted a nice picture of the Old Man and the Radio: You can always tell when he’s listening to the Twins, she said, because it looks like he is bent over the counter staring into the backyard. At first you wonder what he’s looking at out back, but then you hear the scratchy radio, and realize he’s listening to the Twins game. M thinks it’s funny.

The Hobbled Runner often wonders why he doesn’t put the radio near a comfortable chair or the couch and actually sit or lie down while listening to the game. For that matter, what about a better radio? We may never know.

(Remind me to get a picture of him staring out the window while listening to the Twins this weekend. Perhaps M should take the shot.)

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Children's Museum

S and the kids visited the Children's Museum this afternoon. Here is some photographic documentation of the event. The Hobbled Runner did not attend so he can't provide much detail.

The drawing pics (above) I can make sense of - this last one, I have no idea.

Penultimate Cabin Trip

Got away to the cabin for three days early this week. Beautiful weather, and we got to enjoy the quiet of the regular week - without hardly any boat or personal watercraft traffic.

Enjoyed some quiet reading on the wooden "swing".

Notice the price - - only $2 at Bev's Book Nook. The darn thing probably cost 75 cents when it was released in 1964. Dig that crazy chick.

Maria and the Dude each snapped a variety of pictures - some of the Dude's are NSFW (Not Safe For Work), but I thought I'd include some of the more interesting ones.

Only one more weekend to go at the cabin - Labor Day Weekend. I'll be sure to blog about the annual de-docking (taking in the dock). Looking forward to a new chore this year - dismantling the trampoline.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Opening Night

Friday night was Opening Night for James and the Giant Peach. Here's a picture of M and her friend Anna. It was a good show - a few missed lines, but unless your daughter was in the play and told you about the mistakes, you would not have noticed.

Since Friday, the Hobbled Runner has seen the play 3 times, Mom 2, and the Dude 3 times. On the whole I'd much rather watch the same play a dozen times than spend 10 hours on a baseball diamond for the weekly tournaments that most kids have to endure. [OK - maybe not a fair shot at kids' sports, but a work colleague has a 9 year old daughter - same age as M who is involved in their city's softball league. They have twice (sometimes thrice) weekly practices, games every weekend, and rather frequent tournaments - often on Sundays - and lasting most of the day. Can you tell who never played sports as a small kid???] Yes, give me a theater performance over kids sports any day.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Caught - A Casualty of the Larger Meth Wars

Minnesota passed a law this year that outlaws folks from purchasing more than 7.5 grams of a pseudoephedrine product every 30 days. That’s the equivalent of 60 tablets of 12-hour Sudafed. (Or 30 tablets of Claritin-D 24 - my drug of choice.)

Anytime you wish to purchase a product with pseudoephedrine you must approach the pharmacist who swipes your driver's license through their computer. They caught me on Friday at the Roseville Super Target, when the system said I had purchased too much of a "Restricted Item". Actually I am allowed to purchase 60 mg more before I hit the wall, but since no one sells individual pills, I'm out of luck.

You can also be assurred that I will be stuffed up – due to seasonal allergies and who knows what else. I’ve had a few dizzy “spells” in the last few days, so I suspect I’ll be visiting my doctor to get a prescription for the darn pills.

Don’t get me wrong, Meth is an awful drug. It has had quite an impact in rural areas of Minnesota. The public billboard campaign with their before/after faces (like these) freak my kids so bad they turn away when they see one.

I trust the new law is working, thought I haven't heard much news about it's impact yet.

To borrow a phrase - - "When they outlaw pseudoephedrine, only outlaws will have pseudoephedrine."

Monday, August 14, 2006

Looney Days - Times Two!

I was all set to blog about this past weekend's cabin trip, complete with highlights of the Vergas annual Looney Days. So anyway, I Googled "Looney Days" and I was flabergasted to learn that there were two Looney Days festivals - and both were held last weekend!

The one that's nearest and dearest to my heart is the Looney Days in Vergas, MN. The other Looney Days was in Colman, SD.

I'm sure "ours" was better than their's. New event for 2006 - Minnow Races. Let it be known that the minnow races were in addition to the usual Turtle Races. Crazy fun - - where will it end?

Odd url note - Does anyone think that vergasmn is a little suggestive? Maybe not - - It's the final "n" that keeps it clean.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

The Show Must Go On

The kids finished Drama Camp this week with a performance of "The Real Red-Riding Hood." Lots of fun - 3 days of rehearsal (spoken lines and songs) then the performance at Noon today. M was Grandma, and the Dude played Skunk #2. The pictures turned out poorly, but they captured the general mood of M and the Dude post-performance - - hot, tired, and crabby.

[The cast of James and the Giant Peach.]

In addition to this week-long camp, M has been very busy with James and Giant Peach at the Young Artists Initiative. This is a rather "big time" production and she has several roles: "Someone in England", a Seagull, "Cloud Person", and "Someone in New York." She refers to these as her "random parts".

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Economics and Nutrition

I'm not obsessed with High Fructose Corn Syrup, though it seems that way at times. Marginal Revolution has an interesting discussion of how economic/trade policy impacts the production of High Fructose Corn Syrup - a cheap sugar substitute.

As one who reads food labels carefully, I know how hard it can be to eliminate (or minimize) your consumption of HFCS.

On a related note - - I read somewhere (sorry, don't recall where - I'll try to dig it up) about the impact that the increasing demand for HFCS as well as ethanol-gas products, has on corn production. It's a big deal in Minnesota, as many farmers produce corn for HFCS or fuel. Corn is apparently very hard on the soil - resulting in a lot of top-soil run-off and mineral depletion. The article I read warned us not to be too cocky about lessening our demand on foreign oil by increasing ethanol production, as we risk hurting our soil by encouraging the production of so much corn.

Tradeoffs - always tradeoffs.

Found something - - though not where I initally read about corn and soil:

The False Hope of Biofuels, Washington Post.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Required Reading

The Hobbled Runner discovers the real reason his father-in-law won't retire from medicine. Jake still maintains he gets the magazine "for the articles."

Monday, August 07, 2006

Vendor Recipes

[Carnation Sweetened Condensed Milk - Easy Coconut Banana Cream Pie]

My cousin Blair has started a new blog called RecipeInside, where he tests out "vendor recipes" - - those recipes you find inside food packaging.

I have decided that 8 (Recipes) Is Enough to acknowledge and make public my latest blog: Recipe Inside!. Recipe Inside! is a food blog focused on the recipes found on (or on the inside) of food packaging. After finding recipes on the groceries I buy (and I've found quite a few) I then make the recipes, attempting to follow the recipes as closely as possible. This can be a very bad idea. The areas of the site that I have really not yet figured out are the tone and structure of the posts. The erratic posting frequency hasn't helped in that area.

You'll have to visit the site yourself to see the Clabber Girl Baking Powder - Donut Muffins - mmmm.

Cabin Antics

It was a quick weekend at the cabin - up Friday night, home Sunday night. A regular weekend to be sure - but we are so accustomed to the extended weekend that two days didn't seem like the real thing.

Best part of trip was the (relatively) "short" ride home. After about 6 god-awful trips to the cabin this year - the worst taking 5 hours!!, we decided to avoid 94 altogether Sunday evening and take Highway 10 all the way into "the Cities". Best trip so far this season - and we got to see most of Anoka County: Big Lake, Elk River, Anoka, and Coon Rapids. Now that is a successful weekend!

Friday, August 04, 2006

What I Do

In my new role as a Product Development Manager, I work on a lot of smaller print products. (Yes, print is alive and well!) Here's the first product I worked on in my new role. To be honest I only worked on the business case for this newsletter - - it was mostly a done deal before I came on board in my new position (end of May), but it's still fun to see the real thing.

Click to buy.

Amazing New Exercise

I've discovered the key to health and long-life. It's an amazing new exercise. It's performed as followed: Remove training wheels from the bike of a 6 year old, place 6 year old on bike, then bend over and grab back of seat. Now (while bent over) run along-side the bike for 1 mile - or more.

The benefits of this exercise are many. You can't beat the anaerobic benefits of running while bent over at the waist. Since your lungs are compressed considerably, it's almost impossible to catch your breath. When it was all over, it felt like I had run 5 miles. It also helps build the muscles and tendons of your dominant hand. My right hand/wrist enjoyed a great workout, since those are about the only muscles you employ to keep the bike/kid from falling over.

For the record - - he was able to ride unassisted for several small intervals - about 10 seconds each. We are making progress.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Flying South for the Winter

Despite 100 degree temperatures, the fall migration crossed my mind Sunday when I observed a Hummingbird “drinking” from S’s hanging flower baskets on Sunday.

Wiser birders than me have noted the same as evidenced by this posting on the MOU listserv:

Message: 11
From: "birderguy"
To: "MOU-Net"
Date: Fri, 28 Jul 2006 20:02:05 -0500
Subject: [mou] Hummers on the move..

Well over the last week I have noticed some male hummers at the feeder, for the last few it's only been females and young, I'm guessing the males are on the move south..


Andrew ----
Minnesota Ornithologists Union Member


Yesterday I experienced some dizziness after lunch – had to "hold onto" the wall twice (once while leaving cafeteria) and sit down once before I made it back to my cube. Ducked out of a 1:00 meeting and went to the nurse. An on-site nurse is one advantage of a big company with a manufacturing plant. She probably appreciated the challenge of a non repetitive-stress injury.

The nurse figured the dizziness was due to allergies. I had done a lot of dusty, dirty work over the weekend, and was a little stuffed-up. She took my blood pressure (108/68 - normal for me) to make sure it was not too high to give me some generic sudafed. She then dispensed the decongestant (samples – expiration date 6/06 !!) and sent me on my way. Apparently ears stuffed from allergies can cause dizziness. I agree that is possible, but she was pretty quick to reach that conclusion, so I left feeling a little "cheated" by the experience. Total time of visit, less than 5 minutes.

Later on - - it worked. I could feel my ears clearing and the dizziness seems to have passed. I guess I'm gonna make if after all.