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November 29, 2005

Vikings Kensington Runestone curse?

While tooling around the fantastic Wikipedia I chanced upon this article about the Minnesota Vikings. Inside the article it describes a couple of curses that currently plague the Vikings ala the Curse of the Bambino or the Billy Goat Curse. The curse that caught my attention though is the Kensington Runestone curse. I must admit, I have never heard of this one:

The Vikings have the more esoteric rune stone curse, named for the Kensington Runestone, claimed to be Viking in origin, which was found near Alexandria, Minnesota. Legend has it that the runestone predicts the fate of the Minnesota Vikings in the future.

  22 Norwegians on
  discovery voyage from
  Vinland over (the) west we
  had camp by 2 skerries one
  days journey north from this stone
  we were and fishe(ed) one day after
  we came home found 10 men red
  with blood and dead.

The 22 Norwegians in this reference are a reference to the 22 players that play on a starting offense and defense on an NFL football team. The 10 dead are usually a reference to a massive group of injuries or an offense or defense that plays sub par.

Has anyone ever heard of this? I have been a Vikings fan for like 30 years and this is the first I have ever heard of this.

Whether I have ever heard of this curse or not, though, it sure seems to be working. Curse you, Kensington Runestone! First of all it is a fake, and now I find out it has kept the Vikings from winning the Super Bowl! It must be destroyed!

Posted by snackeru at 9:41 PM | Comments (5)

Sqwaking about all three stadiums...

Howdy everyone! Well, just a quick word about the upgrade of the software that runs this blog. If you didn't know, the Greet Machine sits on the UThink system at the University of Minnesota. Yesterday, we upgraded the entire system from Movable Type 2.661 to Movable Type 3.2. This was not a trivial change so it was a little nerve wracking yesterday. Well, for the most part things went OK. I did have to work on the system last night to fix comment submissions and allow people to change templates, but everything is looking good. On with the crux of this post.

Let's start with the Vikings. If you didn't get a chance to read Mark Craig's story in the Strib this Sunday, Saying No Way to the Cleveland Way, you should definitely check it out. Again, Wilf is emphatic that he won't move the Vikings. And up to this point I have always believed him. Unfortunately, after reading the story of how Cleveland lost the Browns, I am now of the opinion that while Zygi is a great guy, there is now way that he stays in the Metrodome forever. No way. I still think the Vikings have a better shot at a new stadium than the Twins, but if the Vikings situation turns into a repeat of the Twins fiasco, I don't expect Zygi to be patient and understanding forever. I don't know what it was about the article, but I just got a bad feeling.

The part of the article I foud most interesting though was this quote from Zygi:

Wilf said if anyone is waiting for him to pay for the entire stadium project, “it won’t be happening. We have a partner that is willing to throw in $280 million, the county of Anoka.?

That shouldn't surprise anyone. However, what I take away from this snippet is that I think Zygi is beginning to realize he has got to take the state out of the equation. Right now the state is expected to kick in $115 million. Forget about it Zygi! If Zygi came out and said, "OK, $280 million from Anoka County and the rest from me." Well, I think we would have a done deal. It would also demonstrate to Pohlad how to open up his wallet a little more.

Secondly, let's talk about the Twins. You probably saw this editorial/commentary from Hennepin County Commissioners Mike Opat and Randy Johnson so I won't get into it too much, but I was thrilled to see that Opat and Johnson still have hope. Obviously, they blame Pawlenty more than anyone over this mess, and I can't say I disagree. Pawlenty has shown zero leadership on this deal, even though it meets all of his criteria for stadium construction for the Twins. Again, though, the fact that Opat and Johnson are still discussing this is a good thing. We may see some action on this front in December.

And to back up that notion we have news about the Gophers stadium situation. Today in the Minnesota Daily there is an article discussing the sponsorship deals the U has put together and how they are in danger of expiring. That we all knew. However, the article also quotes University Chief Financial Officer Richard Pfutzenreuter as saying they haven't given up yet on a special session:

Pfutzenreuter said the University will attempt to renegotiate the deals if they are in danger of expiring. Before the University contacts the businesses, it will make another effort to reach out to Gov. Tim Pawlenty, he said.

“(This week), we’ll take the temperature of the governor about a special session,? Pfutzenreuter said.

So, in other words, we may get another flurry of activity soon concerning the possibility for a special session. This is certainly good news, but I'm not sure we should get our hopes up yet.

Well, that is about it from here. There is more UThink work to do!

Posted by snackeru at 8:39 AM | Comments (4)

November 27, 2005

Kokology

A couple of things to report: first of all, I won't be updating this here blog tomorrow (Monday) as the software that runs it (Movable Type) will be upgraded. So, don't expect much of anything.

Secondly, I didn't even watch the Vikings' game today, so I can't even speak intelligently about it. Believe me, it was not my choice to miss it; it was the choice of anti-football women at my church (including my wife) who decided to host a huge wing-ding called "Advent Workshop" at the same time as the game. Gah! It was very frustrating helping people put together little fluffy sheep ornaments made of yarn knowing that the Vikings were throughly handling the Browns. Needless to say I'll be staying up tonight to catch the Sports Wrap with Mike Tice.

So, instead of writing about that I will take a chance and write about a nifty book I chanced upon this weekend called Kokology: The Game of Self-Discovery. What an interesting book! It is not a novel like I normally read, or a self-help book. It is a book with a series of scenarios and questions that you play out, most likely with another person. Let me give you an example:

You are standing in front of a painting at an art museum, hands clasped behind your back as you try to take it in, when a total stranger comes up alongside you and says something to you.

Which of the following does the stranger say?

1. "Isn't that a beautiful picture?"
2. "What do you think of this painting?"
3. "Excuse me, do you have the time?"
4. "You know, I happen to be a painter myself."

Now, don't try to guess what the answer should be. Just go with your first instinct. It may tell you a little bit about yourself.

If you are ready to find out what your answer says about you, click the link below...

Ready for the "key"? Here it is:

When a stranger suddenly speaks to you there's always a momentary mix of apprehension and expectancy. In this imaginary scenario, the words the stranger spoke actually reflect how you might react in chance encounters and when meeting others. Your answer reveals what kind of impression you make when meeting someone for the first time.

1. "Isn't that a beautiful picture?"
Your friendly and positive nature creates a great first impression on almost everyone you meet. Your only concern should be that people may or may not take you seriously at first.

2. "What do you think of this painting?"
You're the type who likes to feel out the other person's temperament before committing to anything. People can sense that hesitancy, and it may color their reactions to you. You won't step on any toes with your cautious approach, but you may end up living on other people's terms.

3. "Excuse me, do you have the time?"
To have the world you seem like an alright sort, but to the other half you look a little strange. You create a first impression of living life at your own pace and maintaining an individuality that some would call eccentric. You don't place much value on what others may be thinking or feeling. For better or worse, therein lies the secret with you.

4. "You know, I happen to be a painter myself.
On first meeting someone you come across as a little bit nervous and overeager. Maybe you're trying too hard to be liked, but the harder you try, the worse impression you make. Don't worry so much about making people think you're great - they'll like you better if you just loosen up and relax.

Did this surprise you? It did me. I answered #2.

So, if you liked this one let me know. I'll try to put up another one tomorrow evening (after the software update).

Posted by snackeru at 8:02 PM | Comments (4)

November 24, 2005

Thankful

I am thankful for a lot of things, much like last year:


That should cover it for this year. Have a great Thanksgiving!

Posted by snackeru at 10:19 AM | Comments (3)

November 23, 2005

Wow! Lots of stuff to chew on ...

Wow! I leave for Boston for a couple of days and the travesty that is the Twins stadium debacle just explodes with news. Let's get it on!

Today it is being reported that the Florida Marlins will begin exploring a move out of Miami. Of course, the same old cities are trotted out as possible new homes: Las Vegas and Portland to be specific.

If you'll recall, the Marlins had a bill before the Florida legislature that called for a team contribution of upwards of $190 million, almost half of the cost. The Florida House approved the bill, but the Senate balked at a state contriution of $60 million in the form of a sales tax rebate. It is this kind of flat out stupidity from the Florida legislature that has me convinced that no matter how much the Twins offer for a new stadium, our illustrious legislators will tell them to take a hike unless it is 100% of the cost.

According to the article above Portland has already given the Marlins office an exploratory phone call inviting them to consider western Oregon as a new home. Portland has an interesting web site discussing their efforts to build a stadium and land a team. You'll note that in the upper right there are a bunch of articles that highlight the difficulties the Marlins, A's, and Twins are having building new stadiums. It seems Portland won't be picky, they'll take any of our teams. How nice of them. Anyway, they are hot for the Marlins now.

Portland also seems to have a stadium financing plan in place, but it is a very weak plan from what I've read. According to an article in the Oregonian, the financing plan looks like this:

Portland does have the baseball stadium financing bill in place, passed in 2003, that would contribute an estimated $150 million from the income taxes of players and team officials to the construction of a ballpark. There also has been progress on moving the U.S. Post Office from downtown and freeing up what could be the best stadium site -- that could be accomplished within five years, Kanter said.

$150 million? Wow, that is weak. It would appear that Portland is far from ready for this.

That leaves Las Vegas, which Jayson Stark recently listed as the odds-on favorite to land the team:

One baseball man familiar with the situation says there is "no way" Vegas could get a ballpark up and operable before 2010. But since the Marlins have a lease in Florida till then, they could, in theory, stagger through four lame-duck seasons while they're waiting for the moving vans. It's not a perfect situation. But people who know Loria continue to predict that if Vegas builds it, the Marlins will come. ODDS: 2 TO 1.

Stark also writes that Loria considers the Las Vegas market to be a "gold mine" so I look for the biggest push for the Marlins to be towards Sin City.

The big question in all of this, though, is how does this affect the Twins? Is this good news or bad news? Obviously one less city to worry about as a possible future home of the Twins could certainly be looked at as a good thing. However, the way I see it there will be two cities (Portland and Las Vegas) that will now be going ape over trying to land the Marlins. Only one of them will win the team, but they will both do a ton of work trying to land the team. I would wager that the losing city, having worked so hard to land the Marlins, will then make a huge push for the Twins or the A's. And by 2010 the Twins in particular will be willing to listen.

Thankfully, the Twins haven't made any kind of overt threat like the Marlins yet saying they are exploring the possibility of a new home. But I wouldn't be surprised if they do after December 31. Recently I began thinking about just what are the Twins options after Dec. 31 when the Hennepin County plan expires?

I think Major League Baseball and the Twins have a bunch of options: 1) they can threaten a move ala the Marlins, 2) MLB can purchase them ala the Expos, 3) MLB can threaten contraction, 4) the Pohlads can sell the team, or 5) they can keep quiet and realize they are stuck.

Given that the Marlins beat them to the punch, I don't think the Twins will make the same threat to move. At least not this year, or probably even next year or the next. As Stark mentions above (and Jay Weiner mentioned a couple of weeks ago), Las Vegas won't be ready for a new team until at least 2010, and Portland won't be ready for a team ... well ever probably. It was probably a big problem to get the public to pony up $150 million, let alone the $400-$500 million Pohlad will expect to move the team out there. So, I really don't expect the Twins to make any threats to move.

I also strongly don't think MLB will buy the Twins ala the Expos. They don't want that headache again. ESPN reported last week that the Nationals still don't have a stadium deal hammered down (Baseball is balking at Washington DC's request for guaranteed rent, believed to be about $6 million a year. Can you believe it?), they still don't have an owner (about 8 groups are rumored to be ready to pay upwards of $450 million for the team), and they don't even have a budget for next year ready. MLB has made a total mess of this situation and it doesn't look like it will be cleaned up soon. Does MLB want the same situation with the Twins? No, not at all.

And now with the Marlins threatening to move, contraction would appear to be off the table as an option for the Twins. For contraction to work, the Twins would need a dance partner and without the Marlins there would be no one left.

Selling the team also seems to not be an option given that Pohlad has already made it quite clear he doesn't want to sell the team. Plus, who would buy the team? Reggie Jackson has already been proven to be the second coming of Donald Watkins, and what other idiot would want to buy a team without a decent stadium?

That leaves the Twins one option, it would seem, and that is to shut up and do nothing. I suppose they could threaten to move, but where would they move to? Las Vegas will already be courting the Marlins, and Portland is a joke. The Twins will be stuck, and they know it. I can't say for how long, but for the next 4-5 years the Twins have zero options besides staying in Minnesota.

Why am I writing all this? Well, it is my sincere hope that Pohlad realizes that the game is up. It is my sincere hope that he knows he is stuck until at least 2010. Again, he has a choice: he can either sit there and "lose money" every year as he claims, or he can bite the bullet and offer more money.

The Hennepin County plan is a good one. Again, I wonder what would happen if Pohlad cracked open his wallet just a little wider and bumped his contribution to $200 million? Would the legislature throw it back in his face or would they stand up and take notice? Given that in 4-5 years any new stadium plan, any last gasp of an effort, will probably require a $200 million contribution from Pohlad (or probably more). So, why doesn't he "shock the world" and just get this deal done NOW? There is room to negotiate Pohlad! Please, for the love of Pete start thinking about this and make this plan work!

All bets are off after 2010, but I can't see the Twins doing anything but sticking around in our sorry excuse for a stadium for the next 4 to 5 years. Pohlad has got to know this. Sadly, it would appear the Minnesota legislature knows it too. As much as I would love Pohald to "pull an Irsay" as Kevin in Arizona has written, I just don't think it is going to happen.

Posted by snackeru at 2:49 PM | Comments (7)

November 20, 2005

In Boston

Hey everyone! Talk about interesting, I am in Boston right now! So, unfortunately I probably won't have anything substantial written tomorrow (Monday). I am planning on a "future of the Twins" piece and possibly a little essay on Intelligent Design. But that will have to wait. Sorry.

Before I go, I must send a Shout Out! to Kevin in Arizona who I heard this morning on the Sports Huddle with Sid and Dave. Kevin voiced his opinion that if the Twins are to leave our pathetic state he hopes they do it soon so that Pawlenty is the governor of record for this dark day. Well said Kevin! Of course, Sid totally disregarded his comment and then went on a tirade about Gopher football. Anyway, it was nice to hear the voice of Kevin, a regular contributor to the Greet Machine. Nice work Kevin!

Finally, I have discovered a new singer that I must share with all of you: Sufjan Stevens. My goodness he is writing some good stuff. I can't even categorize it ... maybe it could be considered alternative folk with a heavy dose of spirituality. I don't know. Anyway, Sufjan has taken it upon himself to record an album about all 50 states. He has already finished Michigan and Illinois. A tall task to finish the rest of the them in our lifetimes, to be sure, but so far the music is beautiful. If you'd like to give it a listen, his song "Chicago" is freely available on the web (MP3).

Gotta go for now. It is midnight in Boston and I am tired. Talk to you soon!

Posted by snackeru at 11:00 PM | Comments (4)

November 18, 2005

Links of the day

Gotta go for now. Enjoy!

Posted by snackeru at 4:34 PM | Comments (3)

November 17, 2005

Boring vs. Interesting Day 23 -- plus other randomness

• Well, my "boring vs. interesting" series is winding down. I said I would do this for a month, so I've got a bout 7 days. Then I will make a decision on whether or not I think my life is boring or interesting. Right now the stats look like this:

Interesting days: 14
Boring days: 8

So, things are looking good so far. You know, I've kind of enjoyed breaking this down, but I'm not sure at all any of you have enjoyed this. So, if you find these little snippets in the life of snackeru to be worth while let me know. If not, the tiny minutiae of my life will torment you no longer. Anyway ...

Last night my son and I made a poster for his paper towel absorbency experiment.

The whole experiment turned out pretty good, and as you can see our poster is colorful and (hopefully) interesting.

After we made the poster, I made a batch of cookies for the Cub Scout Pack meeting tonight. Every Pack meeting we give away cookies to the Scouts that are having a birthday in the month of the Pack meeting. So, I had to make 6 big cookies last night:

Hopefully they turned out OK.

Overall, it was kind of a boring night:

Interesting days: 14
Boring days: 9

• In reading Jim in St. Paul's material concerning the first 10 years in Minnesota for the Twins and Vikings I came across a startling discovery: The Vikings were not the first NFL team for Minnesota. The document above mentions the "Duluth Eskimos" so I decided to do a little research into the history of the NFL in Minnesota.

In 1921, the same year the Green Bay Packers joined the AFPA, the Minneapolis Marines also joined the league.

In 1922 the APFA revises its name to the National Football League.

In 1923, the Duluth Kelleys joined the league.

In 1924-25, the Minneapolis Marines folded.

In 1926 the Duluth Kelleys were renamed to the Duluth Eskimos.

In 1927-28 the Duluth Eskimos folded.

In 1929 the Minneapolis Red Jackets joined the league.

In 1930-31 the Minneapolis Red Jackets folded and we wouldn't get another team for another 30 years.

Interesting stuff, no? Speaking of the Duluth Eskimos, in 1927 they had a record of 1-8, with a 0-20 drubbing from the Packers in Green Bay. Also note that they played every game "away." Methinks they were begging for a new stadium and when they didn't get one they were probably contracted! See?!?!? There is precedent!

Let us all lament and weep for the Eskimos! What could have been if only Duluth would have just built them a stadium! It is a shame ...

UPDATE: Here is the real story of the Eskimos. Their lack of a decent stadium had something to do with it, but it had more to do with money.

• Spycake wrote an interesting comment yesterday which discusses, among other things, the phenomenon of fantasy sports. Spycake writes:

Pro sports are less of a requirement now to make a city "great", or even truly "major league." They're just businesses themselves, national businesses, and their direct effects are rather lost among the myriad of suburban and summertime diversions we have access to today. Especially football, the reigning king of pro sports. Most of the "Vikings fans" I grew up with now care more about their fantasy football teams and DirecTV Sunday Ticket subscriptions than the real local team.

That is an interesting thought. I can't say I agree, but then again I'm not really a part of the whole "fantasy football" scence. But his comment got me to thinking, if I was really big into fantasy football, would I care more about my team than the Vikings? Unlikely, but I'm sure there are people like that out there.

Then it dawned on me: that is exactly why I can't get into fantasy sports. I can't stand the thought of cheering for anyone other than the Twins, Vikings, or T-Wolves. I had a fantasy football team in college and I had absolutely zero interest in it. I only cared about Sunday afternoon with the Vikings. I can't imagine having Ahman Green on my team, or Kyle Orton, and having to follow those players every week and maybe even having to cheer for them. Quite frankly it makes me sick.

It reminds me of a quote (for some reason) from Larry Bird who was asked what he thought of Magic Johnson and Isaiah Thomas kissing at mid-court before games. Of course, Bird said he thought it was "disgusting" and that it also made him sick. Bird then went on to describe how when he was a rookie he was really good friends with another player on the Celtics who was then traded the next year. Bird said that player is now an enemy and that he has never talked to him since.

I thought this exchange was hilarious, but it also demonstrated that Bird was loyal to the Celtics (almost to a fault). Most likely he also expected that same loyalty from the fans. I can't imagine that Bird ever played fantasy sports for the same reason I don't: I can't imagine cheering for anyone other than the players on my favorite teams.

Now, I'm not saying that I'm against fantasy sports. I'm sure they are a lot of fun for a lot of people. I just found Spycake's comment interesting and it made me think of the reasons why I don't play. Too much loyalty is one reason, but not enough time is definitely another. But I think he has a point, for some fantasy sports may be more important than the teams they grew up cheering for.

Posted by snackeru at 8:31 AM | Comments (17)

November 16, 2005

Stadium news update

Believe it or not, there has been some stadium news as of late that may or may not be of interest. The first item of business comes to me from long time reader freealonzo who pointed me in the direction of this recent post on the City Pages blog The Blotter. In the post, Mike Opat voices his disgust with T-Paw and his inactivity on the Hennepin County Twins stadium bill:

"The disaster scenario is that they think we're going to be there next year with this proposal," Opat continued. "But I'm not going to sit across the table from the Twins this spring and tell them we don't have a deal yet. If this doesn't happen, there will have to be a proposal that uses state dollars."

...

Either way, Opat seemed resigned to walking away. "If this proposal isn't hashed out, I'm done," Opat said, with just a hint of bitterness. "I've got to move on with my life."

So, there you have it. I suppose this is nothing really new (Opat has hinted at this before), but you can really read the frustration in his quotes now. The post also includes some interesting comments from Frank Hornstein, Minneapolis representative and moron extraordinaire:

Hornstein, who has expressed distaste for public funding of stadiums in the past, said that the current proposal might have legs in the legislature--"the Minneapolis delegation would vote against it, and half of the Hennepin County delegation, but everybody else seems fine with it"--but that he would rather see a proposal that involves the Twins ponying up more than one-quarter of the cost. And, he said, if the deal changes to the Twins needing state money, all bets are likely off.

So we have Opat saying if another deal is struck it will include state money and Hornstein saying if state money is involved "all bets are off." A bit of a conundrum, don't you think?

But really, again, this is nothing new. Hornstein does offer a ray of hope in saying that the Twins need to offer more money and it is beginning to look like (actually it has always looked like) this is exactly what needs to happen. How likely is this? Not very, but I sure wish Pohlad would get his head out of his butt and start seeing the inevitable.

As has already been pointed out, Vegas is a long shot to be a future home of the Twins. Best case scenario is 2010 and only if "all the stars are aligned." So, your probably really looking at 2014 or 2015.

So Pohlad has a choice, it would seem to me. He can either stay in the Metrodome and "lose money" or he can offer more and get this deal done. What if he decided to bump up his contribution to $200 million? What if as a last ditch effort he said, "Screw it all, I'm old and I can't take it anymore. Here have an extra $80 million." Would a special session be called then? I would hope so. But again, what are the chances of this happening? Probably zip.

Well, I'm just rambling now. The fact of the matter is I want this to be over.

I also wanted to send a big Shout Out! to Jim in St. Paul for recently sending me some really, really interesting old documents detailing the history of Met Stadium and its construction. Fascinating material. I became so enamored with the documents and the stories of how the Twins and Vikings decided to make their homes here in Minnesota that I decided to scan them myself and make them available on this here blog.

Unfortunately, due to copyright concerns, I was only able to scan one of them titled "A Decade at the Met: The Twins and the Vikings." Download it with the link below:

A Decade at the Met: The Twins and the Vikings

For the purposes of getting the file to be as small a download as possible I stripped out all the pictures and just left the text. But it is very, very juicy. The story of the building of the Met is quite fascinating, especially the claims that it was built without a dime of tax payer money.

Most of the work of building the Met fell upon the broad shoulders of a group of Minneapolis businessmen who called themselves the Minute Men. The Minute Men sold many of the original bonds that financed the original construction of the ballpark in 1954-56. Without these phenomenal leaders the Met would have never been built and who knows if the Twin Cities would be major league even today. The document states:

The Minute Men's initial task has been accomplished. But the work of the group has not ended. It committed itself early to support those enterprises which have made the area big league. "Screaming successes" have faded in other towns because boosters became complacent and figured that they had no further obligation to back and promote the sports attractions they had won.

As one wag said, "And who would be stupid enough to let such a dynamic collection of talent disassemble?"

It seems we are stupid enough as the Minute Men are no more. Sadly we need them now more than ever.

More on these documents from Jim in St. Paul at another time.

Posted by snackeru at 12:40 PM | Comments (4)

Boring vs. Interesting Day 22

Well, while I'm waiting for my ride to pick me up after that brutal snow storm last night, I've decided to finish off this blog entry concerning my day yesterday. Yesterday my eldest son and I conducted a science experiment for his class where we tried to determine the absorbency of 3 different varieties of paper towels.

We put the towels into a cup of water (250 ml):

Then after a minute we removed the towel:

Then we measured how much water was left in the measuring cup in order to determine how much water each sheet could hold.

Here is our results:

Bounty: 50 ml per sheet
Viva: 56 ml per sheet
Sparkle: 28 ml per sheet

This computes to this much water per roll:

Bounty: 4500 ml per roll (90 sheets in a roll of Bounty)
Viva: 3920 ml per roll (70 sheets)
Sparkle: 1680 ml per roll (60 sheets)

Then, we deduced which type of paper towel is the best value by dividing the number of milliliters per roll by the price for the roll:

Bounty: $1.69 = 26 ml of water per penny
Viva: $1.79 = 22 ml per penny
Sparkle $1.06 = 15 ml per penny

So, Bounty is the best value. It is cheaper that the Viva brand, it holds more total water, and you get more bang for your buck.

All in all it was a fun and interesting experiment. Tonight we will make a poster for his presentation. That's all for now. Stay tuned for some more stadium ramblings...

Interesting days: 14
Boring days: 8

Posted by snackeru at 7:46 AM | Comments (4)

November 15, 2005

Boring vs. Interesting Days 16-21

What is happening to me? To much going on and not enough will power to sit down and type out these blog entries, that's what. Enough whining though. Let's get on with the boring vs. interesting rankings!

Day 16: Back to church

Man it feels like I'm at church a lot. Last Wednesday night we went back to church for another episode of Mission 6~7. This month the theme is "Gratitude" or "Letting someone know that you know how much they've helped you out." Good lesson for everyone and something I'm going to try to be better at. Let me start by saying thanks to all of you for reading these meager ramblings! I appreciate a great deal that you (all five of you) find this blog worthy of reading every once in a while.

(Actually I think upwards of 100 people read this blog everyday. This is amazing to me.)

This day was interesting.

Interesting days: 11
Boring days: 5

Day 17: Scout meetings

Thursday night I had a Parent/Leader (PAL) meeting for the Cub Scouts and a Webelos Den meeting. It was a busy night, but honestly nothing really interesting happened. At the PAL meeting we just sat around and talked and I offered to make the cookies for the birthdays at this Thursday's Pack meeting.

After the meeting I went to the library and checked out the newly published fourth book in George R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire Series, A Feast for Crows. Man that is a good series. I'm not a big fan of fantasy, but Martin really nails it with these books.

But, again, nothing too interesting:

Interesting days: 11
Boring days: 6

Day 18: My wife left me

On Friday my wife left for a weekend conference and the kids and I were left to fend for ourselves. So, I did what any self respecting husband and father does, I took the kids to McDonalds. Cheesehead Craig and his kids were also there as our wives were at the same conference. The conference, Hearts at Home, is for stay-at-home moms. Honestly, I'm not sure how many things there are to talk about concerning being a stay-at-home mom, but my wife had a wonderful time. Before she left I told her to only attend the "how to please your man more" sessions and stay away from the "how your man is not doing enough for you" sessions. I think my plan worked because when my wife got home she didn't immediately make me sleep on the couch.

All in all, though, Friday was not the most intersting day.

Interesting days: 11
Boring days: 7

Day 19: Minnesota History Center with the Tigers

The Tiger Scout program is set up for a couple of den meetings a month, the Pack meeting, and then an event where you actually go out and do something as a den, like go to a fire station or a bakery or a museum. On Saturday I had scheduled a "Go See It" with my Tiger Den at the Minnesota History Center.

This was a lot of fun. If you haven't been to the Minnesota History Center it is very interesting with a lot of displays about Minnesota history (duh), but it also has a lot of hands on activities for the kids. One of the favorite activities for the kids is the "grain elevator" which is really just a big jungle gym. In the elevator you can climb around and pretend you are a grain of wheat or a piece of corn. We spent a lot of time letting the kids climb around in this contraption.

grainelevator.jpg

I also wanted to go to the Center's exhibit of Pulitzer Prize winning photographs. This exhibit was packed. I have never seen so many people in the Minnesota History Center and these famous photographs were the big reason. Unfortunately I will have to go back to this exhibit at another time for a couple of reasons: 1) some of the photographs are of a graphic nature and possibly could have been upsetting to some of the scouts and 2) I have never received so many unpleasant stares and bad vibes from so many people in all of my life. In fact a couple of people even asked us to leave. I know ... I was amazed.

I knew some of the photographs would be of a disturbing nature, however I had also hoped to take the scouts by some of the other types of photographs and talk about them. For example, there is a great picture of a lighthouse being consumed by waves. It is a really powerful image. However, as we were walking through on more than one occasion people told us how strongly they disapproved of us being there. One woman said to me, "If I knew my Tiger Scout was in here I would be so angry!" I said back to her, as I was looking at the lighthouse picture with my daughter, "All of their parents are here with them. If they want to leave the exhibit they are more than welcome to do so."

Now, I am of two minds about this. On the one hand, do I really want my young kids looking at these images ... of someone being lynched, or the famous picture of a naked Vietnamese girl running down the street after her village had been napalmed? Probably not. However, these images are also excellent teaching tools. What happened in these pictures? How can we prevent these things from happening again? How can we be better people? How can we help people more? These are published images, and probably no worse than some of the things kids see in cartoons. What makes them different, though, is that they are real.

Skilled parents could probably guide his or her child through the exhibit and look at only the pictures they deemed appropriate. Honestly, our Tiger Scouts were quite oblivious to the pictures as they searched for something hands-on to do. However, due to the negative vibes we were getting from the crowd, the subject matter of some of the pictures, and out of respect for the overall somber feeling in the room, we decided to leave.

I'd be interested in what some of the other parents think about this, but I will certainly not be taking my kids back to this particular exhibit. In some ways I think this is a shame, but then again I know they will come across these pictures again sometime in their lives. So, probably not a big deal. But yikes! Some people have very strong opinions about kids seeing Pulitzer Prize winning photos!

mhcscouts.jpg

So, this day was very interesting:

Interesting days: 12
Boring days: 7

Day 20: Church, Viking game, and back to (a) church

On Sunday I woke up early to again get to church and set up the sound system for our Sunday School program, Disciple Zone. No big deal there, thankfully, as things went off without a hitch. Unfortunately though, I didn't get out of church until 12:30 since we only have one car and my wife had some things to take care of after the service.

I cannot express in nearly a forceful enough way how unacceptable it is for me to miss the kickoff for a Vikings game. It just pains me to no end. I know, I better look out for the lightning bolt to come down on my head, but dag-blast it, I like the Vikings! I like watching the Vikings! Can I have 3 hours on a Sunday afternoon where I can watch the Vikings and just enjoy myself? Sheesh! I guess not.

Anyway, the game was awesome, of course. I was as stunned as everyone else at the horrible offense, phenomenal special teams, and vastly improving defense. I got into my house and turned on the TV right before Sharper returned one of his interceptions for a TD. That is a nice way to enter a Vikings game, let me tell you! The rest of the game was a lot of fun to watch, and you all know the outcome. I was happy for Zygi.

After the game I went out again with the Cub Scouts, this time my older son's Webelos Den. If you'll recall, we are visiting some different houses of worship in an effort to see some diversity. A couple of weeks ago we went to a Jewish synagogue. That was fascinating. Well, yesterday we went to St. Mary's Basilica in downtown Minneapolis.

What a neat place. If you've never been there it is truly spectacular. The ceiling, the stain-glass windows, the altar and statues. Wow. One of my favorite parts is this mosaic:

In the Middle Ages the pelican was thought to pierce herself in the breast in order to feed her blood to her young. Depictions of pelicans in churches are meant to symbolize the shedding of Jesus's blood.

Anyway, we also saw some of their most sacred and oldest icons, and we got to talk with one of the Basilica staff. I asked him what the difference is between a basilica and a cathedral, and he said in the early days of the church it had more to do with architecture than anything, but now a church is deemed a "basilica" when it is deemed historically or spiritually important. Basilica's are therefore of a higher "rank" than cathedrals. A cathedral is usually the home parish of the area archbishop, and it contains a special chair or throne called a "cathedra" for the bishop (or the pope as the case may be). And as you might imagine, a basilica can also be a cathedral if it contains one of these special chairs (and probably for other reasons). However, in the case of the Basilica of St. Mary and the Cathedral of St. Paul, if the Pope ever came to Minnesota protocol would dictate that he would have to speak at the Basilica of St. Mary first since it is a basilica (and a cathedral). Interesting stuff, no?

So, we sat through the Mass which I could tell most of the boys thought was pretty boring. But that is OK. It was good to have the experience. The priest did make a special mention of the Scouts at the end, though, which most of them thought was pretty neat.

All in all, it was a very interesting day.

Interesting days: 13
Boring days 7

Day 21: Typing out this blog entry

Today I went to work, rode the bus home, made some dinner for the kids, helped my older son with his homework, and then sat down to write this now epic blog entry. Seriously, I have now been sitting here for a couple of hours getting all the pictures ready and typing it out. I hope you all appreciate it!

Not a very interesting day though.

Interesing days: 13
Boring days: 8

See you all later!

Posted by snackeru at 7:55 AM | Comments (7)

November 14, 2005

Nostra-COD

nostracod.jpg

All hail the mighty Nostra-COD! Fear the man, the only man, who dared to predict that the Vikings would beat the G-Men of New York.

Note the scowl on the face of Nostra-COD! He is angry with you! He is angry that so many doubted! How could we ever doubt the majesty of Nostra-COD? Needless to say, we will not make that mistake again.

Oh great Nostra-COD! Who will win the Monday night battle vs. the Packers? What numbers shall I pick in the lottery? Will I beat Craig in bowling? Only Nostra-COD knows. We are lucky to live in the presence of such greatness!

Posted by snackeru at 2:25 PM | Comments (3)

November 10, 2005

Called Out

I have been cold-cocked. Blind-sided. I have had sand thrown in my eyes and a sucker punch delivered to my gut. But what else would you expect from a Cheesehead? Over at the Oracle of Cheese, my neighbor and "friend" has called me out to finish our Backyard Border Battle. There are certain things I'll admit to: yes, I'll admit that the Backyard Border Battle has not been my highest priority. I will admit that being at a 2 win to CC's 4 win disadvantage has left me flustered. I will admit that Cheeshead Craig throws like a girl. However, let's get a few things straight here.

When was it decided that it would be my responsibility and my responsibility only to schedule the next game in this epic battle? For the record, I don't recall any time, besides this week, Cheesehead Craig ever suggesting that we get together and play chess, or that we go bowling, or that we play horse shoes. No, CC has seen fit to rest on his laurels, sit in his basement, and weep over his precious Packers (3-5 vs. 1-7 ... now there is a stat that matters!).

So, now all of the sudden CC is upset that I haven't been banging down his door to play his little games. Bah! CC has even besmirched my honor by writing this nonsense:

Very well then Shane, your cowardice is plain for everyone to see now.

The Backyard Border Battle is hereby over and I have won by knockout as Shane simply cannot get up off the canvas.

I will let you know when you can be my beverage server for a day as per the agreement we had at the beginning.

Cowardice? Over? I think not. I'm sorry that my positive contributions to society have gotten in the way of what I thought were our friendly little games, but I'm pretty sure that we never agreed to allow either of us to call the competition "over." Especially on a misguided whim. This move reaks of poor sportsmanship. I am outraged! I could handle it from a 12 year old girl, but I am a little perplexed as to why a man 2 years my senior would stoop to these levels. For shame!

So, here is what I propose. Since you feel so wronged, Mr. Cheesehead, I propose one last battle to dictate the future of the overall Battle. I propose we go bowling. If I win 2 out of 3 the Battle will continue with what I hope will be a pleasant game of chess. If you win 2 out of 3 I will abide by the rules of the Battle and serve you, in humiliation, your prefered beverage(s) for a day.

Surely, even a Cheesehead can agree that this is more than fair. Personally, I also feel it is a honorable solution, but I wouldn't expect a Cheesehead to understand that.

Cheesehead Craig, I await your response.

Posted by snackeru at 12:35 PM | Comments (3)

November 9, 2005

Random musings

This will be completely off the cuff, and rapid fire. Everything I can think of that I want to get down right now:

• I really want to see the movie Serenity but I can't find the time or willpower to do it. It is playing at the Hopkins theater for $2 right now. Is it worth it? Has anyone else seen it?

• Speaking of movies, I have recently seen Sin City and Secret Window. Sin City was decent. Truthfully, I liked it probably for one reason and one reason only: Carla Gugino. I'll just leave it at that.

Secret Window was not very good. Predictable and not very suspenseful. I would not recommend it.

• Thanks to a past recommendation from Andy at Twins Killings I am really enjoying the music of Air right now, specifically the album Talkie Walkie. Very pleasant and different.

• It has taken me 32 years of life, but I am finally going to read Watership Down. I'll let you know how it goes.

• I am really enjoying the T-Wolves right now. Maybe it is the mystery of a new team (how will they play together? how good is the Jaric guy?), maybe it is Rashad McCants (did you see that alley-oop from THUD? Yikes.), or maybe it is because this is the start of a new season and I'm supposed to be excited. Whatever the case, I am watching a lot of basketball and I am loving it.

Did you see the City Pages article about the T-Wolves last week? Good stuff. Well written. The author, Britt Robson, does not care for THUD at all. Among his more salient points he had this to say:

Every minute Hudson steals from McCants at the shooting guard position will penalize this franchise down the road.

True. McCants is the future, not the defensive nightmare that is Troy Hudson. Give him some PT Casey!

• Now for a Boring vs. Interesting update ... unfortunately I've had three boring days in a row. On Sunday I watched the Vikings game. That was the highlight. On Monday I watched Sin City. Again, a pretty lame highlight. And last night I went to the library. Nothing too exciting there.

At the library I picked up a book for myself (Watership Down), and a bunch of books for my kids. Specifically I got Fantastic Mr. Fox for my middle son. We read half of it last night and really enjoyed it. Roald Dahl was a very gifted childrens' author.

Anyway:

Interesting days: 10
Boring days: 5

Have I really been tracking this for 15 days?

• I've got a question for everyone: how many years have you been working and how many times have you switched jobs? I've worked at the U for 7 year now, and while I still enjoy it, perhaps I should look around. Let me clarify, I'm not looking around right now, I'm just starting to think, "How long can I work in the same job?"

Anyone out there interested in a 32 year old webmaster and adjunct professor at St. Kate's, with a Master's degree in Library Science and a sad obsession for stadium related issues? Let me know. I got mad skills.

• I like Cheer or Die's prediciton that the Vikings will win this Sunday. I think the team has finally turned the corner.

• I gotta say I liked how the Minneapolis mayor race turned out. Keep Rybak in office so McLaughlin stays on the Hennepin County board. Of course, it probably doesn't matter since the Twins deal with Hennepin County expires at the end of December, but I still have a little hope.

St. Paul's race is another story. I think St. Paul's chances to land the Twins just took a serious hit with Coleman taking over. We'll see though. What do you think Jim in St. Paul?

That's it. Talk to you later.

Posted by snackeru at 9:04 AM | Comments (18)

November 8, 2005

Links of the day

See you later...

Posted by snackeru at 8:48 AM | Comments (3)

November 7, 2005

Ellen Anderson, my new enemy

Let's see ... my list of enemies is growing. The "list" has always been topped by Phil Krinkie and John Marty, followed closely by Ron Abrams. New additions to my list have included Frank Hornstein, Ann Lenczewski, and Eric Paulsen. Now, thanks to this article in last week's Star Tribune, I must also add Sen. Ellen Anderson.

It seems Ms. Anderson is in favor of a special session to deal with heating costs and heating aid. That is certainly a noble cause and one I would also favor. However, towards the end of the article, she also had this to say:

Anderson said she doesn't want a special session that would have energy assistance as its primary purpose but would also produce hundreds of millions of dollars in stadium subsidies for privately owned teams.

"If that was the result, I think we'd all look really bad," she said ..."

Sigh. No, Ellen, I'll tell you what would make you look "really bad": waiting and waiting for a mythical "better deal" until stadium costs are so prohibitive that any savings you hoped to achieve are all eaten by inflation.

A new basebal stadium is inevtitable. We can either do it now and save ourselves a lot of money or do it later for probably 10 times as much.

Back in the late 80s/early 90s U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago was built completely with public money for $167 million. You know what? They look like the smart ones now given that any public investment for a stadium in Minnesota will probably be twice as much as that. Even if the Twins paid for half, the public investment on a new stadium would probably be around $250 million.

How in the world has this fight against stadium financing benefited Minnesota? This is what we fought for? The opportunity to get a "better deal" that will actully cost us way more than if we had just built the stupid thing back in 1995? Gee, thanks Ellen! Its a good thing I have you on my side!

And by the way, if you are wondering what it means to be on my list, well it means Ellen Anderson can look forward to a nasty letter and less than flattering commentary on this blog! Take that!

Posted by snackeru at 12:46 PM | Comments (2)

That is what I'm talking about!

• Wow. The Vikings looked really good yesterday. I think Jay Glazer nailed it on the head when he asked Mike Tice at half time, "Where have you been for 6 weeks?" Just look at what this team was able to do:

Having said all of this, let's do a little "reality check" here: The Vikings were playing against quite possibly the worst QB in the division, who, on top of being just flat out putrid, had no one to pass to besides the fleet-footed Mike Williams and the undrafted Scottie Vines (who?). If Garcia was in there I still think the Vikings would have won, but it would have been much closer.

Still, for this victory I give all the credit to the Vikings defense. They played with passion and determination and it was nice to see them dominate for a change. Detroit punted 5 times! That was nice to see.

And of course, I gotta say something about Brad Johnson. Johnson only passed for 136 yards, but, again, he capitalized on Detroit turnovers and the Vikings were running the ball well. I know he provided some sort of "calming effect" on the team, but I'm not ready to name him the starter next year. Let's see if he can string together a couple of nice games before we hand over the keys to the car. Besides, Daunte had a pretty nice game against Green Bay and I'll take that performance over Johnson's performance over the Lions any day of the week. Don't get me wrong, I love Brad Johnson, and I think he did a great job. We are lucky to have him. Let's just see if he can beat the Giants.

If the Vikings can beat the Giants next week ... well, that would be something. After their performance yesterday, though, I do have some hope.

Posted by snackeru at 8:48 AM

November 6, 2005

Boring vs. Interesting: Day 12

So, I got up on Saturday morning expecting it to be a boring day. I was going to mow my parents lawn (yes, I still do that but they pay me pretty well), and I was going to lounge around some more. Then I got a phone call at around 10:00 from the father of my oldest son's best friend who asked if I wanted tickets to the "Gopher game." I immediately thought of Gopher football and I said, "Yes! I'll take them!" Then I remembered the football team was playing at Indiana. "Shoot," I thought, "What 'Gopher game' is he talking about?"

Much to my happiness it was Gopher men's basketball. So, I asked my younger son if he wanted to go and later than afternoon (after mowing the lawn) we headed out.

gopher2.jpg

We were quite excited to be at the game. The seats were 4th row courtside so we were right on top (or below due to the raised floor) of the action.

gopher1.jpg

The Gophers shot very poorly yesterday, and while they ended up winning, it was only by 9 points (59-50) to Southwest Minnesota State University. I know, that is very frightening. However, like I said, they shot extremely poorly yesterday. If some of those shots start to fall, they'll be all right. Plus, this was only an exhibition game, so I'm sure (I hope!) Monson was using this as an opportunity to give a few things a try, like playing some of the scrubs.

gopher3.jpg

My son and I had a great time, and the highlight of the evening for him was definitely the band. They were a lot of fun to watch and listen to.

So, yesterday was definitely "interesting":

Interesting days: 10
Boring days: 2

Posted by snackeru at 4:14 PM

November 5, 2005

Boring vs. Interesting: Days 10-11

If you are here to read about Reggie Jackson's interest in the Twins and how that affects the stadium issue ... well I don't think it is worth writing about. This is probably the last we'll hear from Reggie as the Twins have made it clear that they are not for sale. So, forget about it.

Today, on this beautiful Saturday morning, I'm going to write yet another entry in my series to figure out if my life is boring vs. interesting. So far the tally is 7 interesting and 2 boring days. You'll note that after some user feedback I have changed one of my days to interesting. Here is a description of days 9 and 10.

Day 10: Den Meeting

On Thursday night I had a Cub Scout Den meeting at my house. As I've said before, I am the Den leader for my younger son's Tiger den. There are 9 boys in the den, so it can get a little crazy. For this Den meeting we worked on family scrap books and I was thrilled to see how excited the boys were to do this activity. They all brought some family pictures and for a good 20 minutes we all cut and paste pictures into little three-ring binders I bought for everyone. And, of course, I had some Star Wars and Spongebob stickers for everyone to spruce up their pages with. The boys were thrilled with that.

I also did a "fancy" demonstration of the importance of teeth brushing which I felt was especially timely given Thursday was just a few days after Halloween. At the beginning of the meeting I put a hard boiled egg into a glass of Pepsi. The boys thought that was hilarious. And I asked, "What do you think is going to happen?" One said the egg would explode, another said that the egg would float, and another said the egg would get dirty. I told them we would have to wait until the end of the meeting to find out.

At the end, I took the egg out and held it up to another hard-bolied egg. It was readily apparent that the egg in Pepsi for an hour was extremely dirty. So, I said, "How can we clean it off?" The boys all thoguht that water would easily clean off the egg so I got a bowl full of water and swished the egg around in it. Nope. Still dirty. So, then I said, "The only way this will get clean is if we brush it." I got out a tootbrush and a tube of toothpaste and I brushed the egg. They all thought that was quite funny. But it really got the point across.

So, I said to them, if you want clean teeth you can't just drink a glass of water, and you certainly can't drink a lot of pop. You've got to brush your teeth. Ha! They thought that was pretty cool. And I gotta say I was surprised with how well it worked. It was one of those activities that 20 years down the road they'll say to themselves, "You know, I don't remember much about being a Tiger scout, but I do remember Shane putting an egg into Pepsi and then brushing it like it was a tooth." That is kind of neat.

Interesting days: 8
Boring days: 2

Day 11: Maxin' and relaxin'

Last night I didn't do much of anything. And that is nice sometimes, just to vegitate a little bit. However, I didn't vegitate in front of a TV. I vegitated with a really good book. I started to read The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Now usually it takes me one or two weeks to read a book, but The Kite Runner was so good, so interesting, I read it all in one night. I was reading it from about 7:00 to 12:30 because I just couldn't put it down. It isn't that action packed, but the characters, the setting, and the story were all fascinating. It is also written in a style where you can tell the author pain-stakingly chose every word for the utmost clarity and it reads almost perfectly. The Kite Runner gave me a new appreciation for Afghanistan and the heartbreak and turmoil that country has gone through, but it also demonstrates the overwhelming guilt we as humans can carry, and in this case how one person overcomes that pain.

The Kite Runner tells the story of Amir and Hassan, two boys living in Kubul. Amir is the son of a rich business man, and Hassan is the son of Amir's father's servant. Amir and Hassan grow up as best friends, but a certain horrible event shatters that friendship and sends Amir on a lifelong quest for redemption. About half way through the book, Amir and his father are forced to flee their home due to the Russian invasion. Most of the story happens in Afghanistan/Pakistan, but a lot of it also happens in America.

If you think this story is only about war and or civil/war you couldn't be further from the truth. This is a story about a wonderful culture and an area of the world I know very little about. It is also about the relationship between a father and a son, the heartbreaking relationship between two friends, and one man's efforts to make things right. "Come," one of the characters says to Amir later in his life, "There is a way to be good again."

Man! I don't mind saying I had tears in my eyes at the end of this one. What a phenomenal book. The one over-arching theme I can take away from this one is the importance of doing the right thing, even if it harms you in the process, and especially if it means taking care of the people around you, the people you love. The Kite Runner is a riveting and haunting story. I receommend it whole heartedly.

So, even though I just read a book, it was one of the best books I have read in a long time:

Interesting days: 9
Boring days: 2

Posted by snackeru at 10:09 AM

November 3, 2005

Boring vs. Interesting: Days 4-9

Well, I'm not sure anyone really cares (besides my Mom ... hi Mom!) but here is a run down on days 4 through 9 in my series to figure out if my life is boring or interesting. So far, I am at 3 "interesting" days and 0 "boring" days. And for those of you keeping up with this, I rank days as "interesting" pretty much as long as I didn't spend a large part of that day sitting on my butt watching TV. So, on with the rankings:

Day 4: Rachel's birthday rachel.jpg

So, on Friday night my wife and I went out with Cheesehead Craig and his wife Rachel for Rachel's birthday. We went to Sidney's where I had a most delicious plate of Beef Stroganoff, and then we went to a movie. Both my wife and I had a wonderful time as Craig and Rachel are both our neighbors and best friends here in the Twin Cities.

When I was in college one of my roommate's professors had a close family member tragically die. My roommate, Curt in Grand Forks, remarked to me something his professor said to the class, something to the effect, "Nothing else matters in this life besides your family and friends. Remember that." Curt can probably fill in the details, but I was touched by this sentiment, as simple as it is. I am very thankful for Craig and Rachel, and I thank God they are such good friends. Thanks for the fun time guys and happy birthday Rachel!

My rank: Interesting!
Interesting days: 4
Boring days: 0

Day 5: Brick and Mortar

So, on Saturday I heard my dad was putting mortar in the joints of the new brick facing he had put up on his house. Beautiful job, really. It is very impressive. Anyway, a couple of years ago my dad helped me re-mortar my leaking chimney, so I felt compelled to help him with this task. So, during the pathetic Gophers game I helped him mortar his new stone facing.

He asked me what I would rank this on my Boring vs. Interesting tally, and I said, "Well, any day you spend a long time with your parents ... well it has got to be boring. Sorry." And really, putting mortar into joints is not exactly exciting.

Although my dad did introduce me to a great new saying. During a lull, I stepped back and I said, "You know this really looks good when you stand at a distance and not look at it close up."

My dad answered, "Yep, it looks good from a galloping horse."

I love that saying! I will now use it whenever it is appropriate.

Interesting days: 4
Boring days: 1

Day 6: Church, Vikings, and Slide Show

Sunday started out with me going to church. Every other Sunday I run the sound system for our weekly Sunday School class called "Disciple Zone." It is actually quite the production. So, I get to church at 8:00, set up all the microphones and wireless microphones, make sure the lighting works, and get the music and power point(s) ready. Then the fun starts at 9:00. As you might guess, this isn't your typical Sunday School class and the kids love it.

Then I got home and watched the Vikings game. Ugh. Daunte's injury was nasty. The Vikings play was nasty. Smoot got torched, and Brad Johnson looked feeble. How can this be? You know, I could have handled mediocrity. I've handled it for a few years now. But with their off season acquisitions I expected better. I expected them to be better than "awful." Did anyone think they would be this bad? Anyone? It is just too upsetting.

Then, Sunday night we went over to my wife's parents' house to watch a slide show of their trip to Europe. Yep, any time you get stuck at your in-laws house and your visit involves a slide show of any kind ... well you've entered into the "boring" zone. Now, I must say I was not bored. I actually found the slide show to be interesting and my wife's dad is hilarious when he starts telling stories, but in the grand scheme of things this activity would be considered boring. So:

Interesting days: 4
Boring days: 2

Day 7: Halloween at the Creek

halloweenatcreek.jpg

On Monday I took the day off to help my wife prepare for the "Halloween at the Creek" festivities. HAC is put on by the city of Plymouth and local area churches as a family friendly Halloween activity. My wife was a HUGE part of the planning for this event. She coordinated all the volunteers, put together all of the entertainment, and generally was the go-to person for any and all things having to to with this event. I was incredibly proud of her.

Over 600 people showed up. And they had a lot of different things to do. There was a clown/magician, there was an animal show, there was a puppet show, there were tons of games/stations where the kids could win a prize, there was pizza, and candy ... oh my goodness was there ever candy. For most of the evening I stayed in the "Dome" area and ran whatever game stations needed running. In particular, I ran the Pop Bottle Ring Toss, the Bungee Basketball Battle, the Basketball Shooting station, and the Hockey Goal Challenge. I really had a good time. Tons of kids and tons of smiles.

Again, though, I gotta say how proud I am of my wife. To pull off this kind of event took a lot of her time and a whole lot of planning. And it went smoothly. People had a blast and it was all due in large part to her efforts. Needless to say, I was very, very impressed.

And of course, this was an "interesting" day.

Interesting days: 5
Boring days: 2

Day 8: Completely boring

Nothing really to report for this day. I took another day off to help my wife recuperate from the big Halloween event and I cleaned the house all day. No big whoop.

Interesting days: 5
Boring days: 3

Day 9: Mission 6~7 m67.jpg

So, last night my family and I again went to our church's Wednesday night production called Mission 6~7. It is a fun, very family friendly service that includes loud music, a little skit (or two), and a great opportunity to laugh and play with my kids. We have a really good time.

Interesting days: 6
Boring days: 3

So, that's about it from here. Thanks for reading Mom!

Posted by snackeru at 7:58 AM | Comments (7)

November 2, 2005

Stadium in the North

Good article in the Strib today:

Time is now for stadium in north

Among other salient points, the author makes these arguments:

This development will produce thousands of jobs, generate millions of dollars in economic activity, improve infrastructure and help ease the local property tax burden. It's estimated that the two impacted school districts each will see their property tax base strengthened by $5.4 million, and the city and the county each will see their tax base grow by $10.8 million. This provides the schools, city and county an enhanced tax base enabling property taxes to remain the lowest per person in the metro area and among the lowest of all 87 counties in the state, while funding education and human services programs for residents.

Interesting. It sounds good to me, but how likely is this actually? What is the "reality check?" Personally I have no doubt that a stadium would benefit Anoka County, so what would the anti-stadium crowd say to these claims above?

Regardless, Anoka County won't see this project approved for quite a while. I'm thinking not until the Twins leave.

Posted by snackeru at 3:06 PM | Comments (11)

Stupid things I have recently done

OK, this will be just one stupid thing, but I'm sure I could turn it into "things" if I really tried hard enough. In my job I do a lot of "scripting." That is computer lingo for writing a file that I am incredibly proud of, that actually does something based on some kind of user/computer interaction, and that actually turns out to be rather lame when other more seasoned programmers take a look at it. For example, you know how I can show my Netflix queue on this here blog's home page? Well, I had to script that with something more than just HTML. To be specific I use PHP.

I do a lot of PHP scripting throught the course of a day, and one of the first rules of scripting in any programming lanuage is to provide the user with meaningful error messages. In other words, tell the user in plain English when an error has been made and if possible how they can fix that error.

When I am just beginning to write a script I usually don't take the time to put in meaningful error messages. Takes to long. So, my usual modus operandi is to fill my scripts with the following error message:

You are a doo-doo head.

Seems pretty innocuous, right? For example, let's say you are trying to log into a page I have created, but you aren't a part of the list of people I am letting in. Well, when I begin writing the script it will say to you, "You are a doo-doo head" if it finds it shouldn't let you in. This may or may not actually be true, but it does entertain me and quite frankly that is all that matters.

So, usually at the end of my scripting I will go back and take all these funny little error messages out and put in the actual "real" error messages. This is what I usually do. Well, unfortunately, recently I missed one of these error messages and left it in.

Do'h! It seems that the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Education here at the University of Minnesota does not share my sense of humor. He wondered to me why my script had called him a "doo-doo head." Needless to say, that is a little embarrassing.

So, this little fopaux has provided me with a wonderful example of how you should always check your code to make sure it has meaningful error messages. Or it is just another example of something really stupid I have recently done. I'll let you be the judge. Oh, and after apologizing to the Vice Provost, I fixed the error message. Again, how embarrassing.

Posted by snackeru at 2:49 PM | Comments (1)

I know, I know!

I know what you are thinking, "Where is Shane? I need my Greet Machine!" Well, I'm very sorry about my absence yesterday. I decided to take another day off from work to help my wife recuperate from the festivities of "Halloween at the Creek." Obviously, I'll have to describe this, but at a later time.

Because I have taken two days off, I am now swamped under a tidal wave of email. So, I must keep this brief. In my time available I would like to point this little tidbit out that you may have missed:

Dean Johnson, the Senate majority leader, credited Gov. Tim Pawlenty with making phone calls to various members of the Legislature trying to get the votes necessary to hold a special session. The session would include voting on the Gophers and Twins stadium. Johnson said he's still hopeful something will be done.

My prediction: there will be one more weak attempt to call a special session, but surprise, surprise it won't go anywhere. Pawlenty is playing both sides right now in hopes that he can placate enough people to get re-elected. This stadium business is just part of the game. Oh well, I'll keep my fingers crossed. Although, they've been crossed for over 11 years now and they are starting to hurt.

Posted by snackeru at 8:52 AM | Comments (1)

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