Monday, November 23, 2009

Happy Monday

The Dude and I were flabbergasted when we spotted this outside his school this morning. The school is home to many free-spirits, and there are a number of interesting vehicles parked nearby - several hand-painted cars, others festooned with numerous bumper stickers - but this one takes the cake.

What is that animal? A rat? Possum? I don't know.

If you owned a Mercedes would you attach a large furry rodent to the roof? Maybe if it was a Yugo - but not a Mercedes - but that's just me.

But then I'm such an old fuddy-duddy that my one of my first thoughts was - hey it's raining - imagine the smell of wet fur in your garage later today.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Damn Dog

First big mistake of the morning – thinking of myself before the dog.

Breakfast was over, and we both had to “go”. Usually I take the dog outside, then take myself inside – so to speak. Today I said, “No, me first, then you – it’s no fun hopping around on one leg outside while you do your business – though it does keep me warm on a frosty morn.”

You can probably see where this is leading.

What amazed me was that he waited until I had my coat on and was walking towards the sliding glass doors off the family room before lifting his leg and peeing all over the door-mat and little bucket where we store the leashes and other dog stuff.

Those who know Duke know that once he starts – he doesn’t stop. In addition, he’s not the kind of dog to take little pees – marking here and there. No, he waits, and goes once per walk – and it takes the old guy about 30 seconds. This was one of the long ones and as I stood there with the back door open yelling and swearing, he just stared at me – and peed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Upper Mississippi Shakedown

The Dude and I, and several of his friends, spent a lovely 2 hours cleaning the eastern banks of the Mississippi River in St. Paul. How did we come to do this you may ask?

One of the Dude’s classmates determined that the Mississippi River banks needed cleaning – and she set out to do something about it. She wanted to gather a group to spend several hours cleaning along the river, and worked with school staff to put a notice in the school newsletter.

There were six kids and three grown-ups at today’s event – a great kick-off for this group which promises to grow and do more clean-ups.

[The Dude climbing the river bank bluffs.]

I was amazed at the “interesting” stuff that one finds along the banks of the mighty Mississippi. I found a few items that Mark Twain would never have thought of – or maybe he would have?? In addition to spectacular bluffs and views, this particular portion of the river is known for its “social” life. It’s essentially a place where one parties and meets folks for “adult interaction”. Apparently the signs posted by the city stating that certain illegal behaviors can result in one’s picture being posted on the city’s website haven’t quite done the trick. The youngest of us – a kindergartener – happened upon the section of the river bank where most of the adult partying occurs. She had no idea what she picked up and handed to me. Luckily we were wearing disposable gloves. I quickly cleaned up the rest of the evidence, even locating two stashes of interesting reading material.

Most of the litter was of a more mundane sort – lots of cans, bottles, and plastic crap. Yuck. In addition to the interesting finds mentioned earlier, we did uncover one pair of underwear, one bra, a car muffler, two full cans of beer (Coors Light 16 oz), a hack-saw, and a small football – possibly a dog’s fetch toy.

[Looking south towards the Lake Street bridge.]

All-in-all it was a very successful outing. We collected over six garbage bags of junk – and had a great time doing it.

[People of a certain age will recognize the title of the this post.]

Friday, November 13, 2009


[Source Wikipedia]

That's National Institute of Mental Health - just learned that today while doing a little research about Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH.

Exciting news from the Hobbled Household: M will play the lead in her school’s musical production of Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. She has been in so many plays and musicals over the years, and is quite elated to have the lead. It will be one more thing to add to her busy schedule, but I know she will have a great time.

I’m not familiar with the book – or series - so I’ll have to read quickly to get up to speed with this deal.

Several sources point to this interesting bit of trivia – the changing of Mrs. Frisby to Mrs. Brisby for the 1982 movie, The Secret of NIMH.

The lead character's name was changed from Mrs. Frisby (in the novel) to Mrs. Brisby to avoid legal entanglements from the Wham-O company (makers of the Frisbee). Unfortunately this change came late in the film's production, long after the actors had recorded their dialog. Because it was not feasible to have every actor using the word "Frisby" in the movie re-record his or her lines, the change from "Frisby" to "Brisby" was actually made by the sound editors, who, by hand, carefully sliced the "br" (taken from other words spoken by the actors) into the "fr" on the magnetic dialog tracks.

Wired’s GeekDad has a nice review of the book.

I'll post more as the rehearsals get underway.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Duke - an Update

The compass is moving along nicely. It appears to come out one end as effortlessly as it went in the other.

More good news this morning, when M found the metal “handle” like part, along with the little view-finder piece on the floor in the backseat of my car. It appears all he needed to “pass” was some chewed up plastic and little shards of glass, which Shana spotted yesterday. That’s nothing for an omnivore like Duke.

Let’s hope it’s all out.

Monday, November 09, 2009

Duke Lost? Ask Duke

Duke now has an internal compass system – at least until he poops it out.

Duke accompanied me while I dropped M off at GVE (aka Girl’s Vocal Ensemble – a 7 member subset of the Church Choir.) GVE meets Monday nights from 4:30 – 6:00. Since it was a beautiful day, I figured Duke and I could walk along Summit Avenue, then I’d put Duke into the car, pop into the store for milk, and be back in plenty of time to pick up M.

I swear I was in the store about 9 minutes tops – I come out and Duke had eaten a compass. I forgot it was in the back seat. It was my compass from when I was kid – and the Dude had been playing with it and left it in the car.

The compass used to look like this.

What was left looked like this.

I think the face was real glass – pretty thin, but I don’t think it was plastic. The little metal handle thing is long gone too.

M joked, “Did he swallow a magnet? We could stick him to the fridge.”

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Indian Summer

It's been beautiful here in Minnesota the past few days. I believe we hit 60 both today and Friday. I spent several hours engaged in outdoor work - raking and mowing, draining the rain barrels, etc. But it wasn't all work. Here's M sitting outside the Dunn Brothers in the St. Anthony neighborhood- we stopped after bringing the Dude to a friend's house.

In addition to the outdoor fun, the Dude and I cleaned the Hamster cage this morning. After we got it cleaned out and put back together, Roscoe went a bit mad trying to figure out how to get in and grab Chubby (the Hamster).

Friday, November 06, 2009

Duke says, “Good Morning”

Duke stands on the front step to say “Good-bye” to M and I as we head off to school/work Thursday morning.

It’s been a very busy week. I’ve thought a lot about blogging – but that’s as far as I got. Let’s see if I can piece together something out of some of my earlier thoughts. I actually draft these in Word in a daily diary I keep, and then copy/paste into Blogger. I start a lot of posts that never see the light of day. Some don’t make it “the moment” has passed and what seemed fascinating at noon has lost all its appeal by 5:00 p.m. Most are just censored because they seem too personal or potentially embarrassing – but really, what are blogs for?

Planning Commission Update: Until now, most people probably thought, “He’s never met a cell tower he didn’t like,” but Wednesday night marked my first “no” vote on the location of a tower. The proposal was brought by a wireless internet provider for a 100 foot tower and small “base unit” at the foot of the tower. The tower was to be located in a park. The city staff then upped the ante by proposing a 150 tower that would require a 20 x 20 foot enclosure at the base. The larger towers are optimal because they allow co-location – having several providers on one tower: in this case it would be the original wireless provider, and then (most likely) several cell phone companies. The city has several such towers on city property. Leasing the towers results in about $375,000 a year revenue to the city. This new tower would possibly bring in another $20,000. Nothing to sniff at in these times, but I thought the park was a bad location for the tower. My colleagues on the planning commission decided to send the proposal back to staff for more work, with the understanding that it would come again before the commission at it’s December (or January) meeting. The park still seems the likely location; they just wanted more work on the placement in the park and look at possible efforts to mitigate the tower’s impact in the park. I voted no to tabling the proposal and sending it back for more work because I oppose the park location – period. Mine was the only no vote.

Thursday ended the work day with some seeding. A colleague is heading up a employee volunteer effort to plant native grasses and flowers along a berm between one of our parking lots and Highway 149. I didn’t participate in the earlier weed pulling – that was the real hard work. Seeding was quite easy. Just use your shoe to scrape up some dirt, drop the seed mix, then step on it to make sure it stuck into the dirt. It turned out to be very nice way to end the day.