July 30, 2008
From time immemorial ...
Some of my favorite things in the whole wide world are roadside historical markers. If we are ever on a road trip and I see a marker my wife will immediately start saying to me "No, no, no Shane ... just keep on driving." Sometimes I do keep on driving and sometimes I don't.
As you might imagine, the University of Minnesota has a few historical markers. One of my favorites is right in front of the Weisman Art Museum along the banks of the Mississippi. I never see anyone reading it, and gosh darn it, it is pretty interesting! So, I have decided to take it upon myself to document it for all of you. The marker is attached to a huge rock and it looks like this:
OLD PORTAGE TRAIL
From time immemorial, Indians, traders, explorers, among whom were Hennepin and Carver, have used the Mississippi River as the highway of travel unloading their canoes at the bend just below here. They plodded up the portage trail across what is now the University campus, and along the bluffs to a point about a half mile above the Falls of St. Anthony.
This tablet erected by the Minnesota Society Daughters of the American Colonists 1933.
That is kind of interesting, is it not? One of the many hare-brained ideas I have rattling around my head is to create a national database of all the historical markers that can be documented. It would be easy to create a database and allow anyone to add a picture, a transcription, and location data about historical markers in their area. People could also tag the markers or even add some commentary. And with the location data a Google Maps application could be created to show the locations and concentration of markers across the country.
Wouldn't that be interesting? Useful even, perhaps? I can imagine the database would get pretty big. There has got to be tens of thousands of markers in the United States.
Some day, I will realize my dream. Some day.
July 29, 2008
Gophers stadium and a reality check
Greetings from the Greet Machine everyone! Today I thought I would take a little tour of the progress of the new Gophers stadium. And I do mean a "little tour" ... only 4 pictures. I can take more, just let me know what part you'd like to see.
Here is a picture of the south side of the stadium which will feature the press boxes and other seating that I'll never be able to afford:
Next we have a picture of the steel beams that will hold the new scoreboard. And this won't be any pansy sized Wisconsin scoreboard. This will be the second largest scoreboard in the country (second only to Texas). While I was looking at this I thought to myself, "Why not go the whole distance? If you are installing a scoreboard and you find out it will be the second biggest in the country, why not go for the whole kit and kaboodle and figure out a way to install the largest?" The answer is money, of course, but that really is a weak excuse when it comes to being the biggest and best. Don't you think?
This is a shot of the north side of the stadium. It gives a pretty nice view of what the brick work around the stadium will look like. I think it is safe to say that this stadium will look a whole lot more "collegiate" than the Metrodome.
Finally, here is a shot of two of the county stone plates that will line the stadium on top of most of the arched entrances. And on a side note, I gotta say nothing good ever came out of Wadena county. Wadena county is the most backwater, hickville, good-for-nothing county in all of Minnesota. I'm sure all of you would agree.
Finally, a short story.
So, a few weeks ago my wife and I had lunch in Dinkytown during a slow day at work. After lunch, I decided to take her by the new stadium because quite frankly it is an impressive site. The stadium is huge and it is an imposing presence on the far east side of the East Bank of campus.
Anyway, while we were driving around it my wife casually remarks, "Well, it sure doesn't look like a baseball stadium."
Confused I answered, "This is the new Gophers stadium. They are going to play football here."
Indignant she replied, "We're building two stadiums?!?! How did that ever happen?"
Now for the moral of this story. For the past 14 years my wife has lived with the most stadium-crazy individual in the state of Minnesota (with the possible exception of Jeff Thompson). This was especially true over the last five years when I went into Twins stadium crazy-person overdrive. I used to live blog Minnesota legislative hearings and Hennepin County government meetings, for goodness sakes.
But after all this time and effort my wife still didn't learn any of the details, even while living with me.
And that, my friends, is a typical Minnesotan. Ask them if they'd like to pay for a stadium and they will most likely say no. But after construction starts and the teams start playing in them, all this belly-aching about stadiums will be a distant memory.
That's all I got for today. Have a good one!
July 27, 2008
So, sorry for the silence, but for the past month (or two) my house has been in shambles. You see, we remodeled our kitchen. If you've never done this yourself before, it really throws you off your groove. Not having a kitchen for even a couple of days really stinks, but not having a kitchen for almost two months? Yikes.
Anyway, here is what my old kitchen looked like. This is the "front" of the kitchen. Note that it had a peninsula that jutted out into the middle of the floor and a vintage 1950s pink GE oven. I believe the oven was original to the house (built in 1957):
This is a picture looking at the backside of the kitchen (and peninsula). Note the "granny" style tile flooring:
This is a picture of the crappy counter top that we had to put up with for 5 years. Note that the last time this kitchen was remodeled the people doing the remodeling (in their infinite wisdom) decided to take the counter and stretch it all the way up the wall. Also note that the counter started to peel off the wall all over the kitchen. It was ugly.
Finally, this is a picture of the sink and window. Ugly, old, and in desperate need of re-doing.
Here is the new kitchen. All new cabinets (Dura-Supreme), bamboo wood flooring, new appliances (Maytag), new front window, new lights, and counters (Corian). I do believe it is an improvement. Also note that we did away with the peninsula to give more room for the dining room table.
A shot of the back of the kitchen:
One of the highlights of the new kitchen is a "boot bench" for the family to hang coats and put on ... well, to put on our boots. Pretty slick, heh?
This is a shot of the front of the kitchen. Having a brand new oven and stove has been amazing.
Finally, a close up of the new flooring. Along with bamboo wood flooring (which is cheaper and more environmentally friendly), we found some Travertine tile at a discount tile center. So, we put that at the front door and the back door. It looks quite nice actually.
So, that is the new kitchen. We had to eat into our home equity to do it, but I'd like to think we got most of it back by improving this very important room.
Until next time! Hopefully it won't another month from now!