Sunday, February 27, 2011

Among My (Edible) Souvenirs

Awesome apple pie from Al's Oasis
I haven't been to Al's Oasis out in Oacoma (Chamberlain, sort of), for quite a while, but I'm enjoying a pie from there, thanks to our intrepid snow-traveler who spends time with us each month during the school year.  Thanks, DW!

Friday, February 18, 2011

Josh Ritter Video

Saw a reference to Josh Ritter and thought I'd check it out.  Here's a cool stop-motion video featuring his song, "Long Shadows."  Video by James Holland.


Long Shadows from James Holland on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pine Ridge is Now a Wet Bummerville

I'm sorry to see the trouble they're having out in Pine Ridge.  We've all had a lot of snow and when the warm weather comes around, we've got unfinished business.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

A Tall Cold Drink of Water. Very Tall. Very Cold.

Howard Water Tower
There's a very cold tiger beneath all that ice on the Howard water tower.  Apparently a leak has let the water flow out and the cold took care of the rest.  Who wants to be on that crane?  Anyone?  When it warms up later this week, watch out below.

More photos here:  http://www.facebook.com/photos.php?id=181947971870

Monday, February 07, 2011

Google Art Project--Look Closely!

video
Here's a little take on Google Art Project, another ambitious and beautiful work from Google that allows viewers to look at famous works of art in museums around the world.  The zoom feature is something special, since it enables a look at the works that brings all those brush strokes to life.

Vince's Trophy Back in Titletown

The wife and I enjoyed the big game yesterday with some friends out at the Moose house, where we ate too much and watched just enough football to see the Packers put away the Steelers 31-25.  We enjoyed too the high-rent commercial spots that featured some cute animals (and insects) and some downright steamy scenes.

There were two that caught me off guard.  One was this Groupon ad that tried to wrench humor out of a difficult situation in Tibet.  What?  Tibetans in danger of losing their culture?  Let's eat!

The other was this ad for the Mini that asks viewers to "cram it in the boot" of the little car.  Is that a super-long sandwich he's sliding in?  Why is our contestant so uncomfortable with the question?

These two made my list of the tackiest ads.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Pickup, Snowdrift, and a Friendly Farmer

So, a friend calls, and our hero goes out on a rescue mission.  It's been cold, and it's been snowy, and the wind has been doing its typical thing in these parts, turning the snow into snowdrifts that function like concrete road barricades.  Our hero jumps in his Ford pickup, confidently heading to his friend's house, confidently navigating north, into the wind, on a day when the temperature reads -15. Confident, because he's got FOUR WHEEL DRIVE and MUD GRIP TIRES.  Almost the same as snow-grip tires, right?  Almost.  He's got HOT COFFEE!  Well, our hero turns off the Firecracker road and sees that someone has already driven down this road.  Yesterday.  BW.  Before the concrete-producing wind.  He can see the tops of fence-posts.  He can see the remnants of a plowing from days gone by.  And he can see snow.  Lots.  His confidence fades, but he takes another sip of hot coffee and hits the gas.  Then he hits the brakes and waits, thinking.  He steps outside and trudges through the snow, most of it somewhere between his boot-tops and his knees.  The wind blows much of his coffee-induced, four-wheel-drive confidence away.

Our hero's father always claimed that people with four wheel drives got stuck more often than people without.

Our hero decides his pickup can handle the snow.  He drives in.  Stops.  Backs out.  Looks over one daunting drift.  Shovels some of it away.  Drives through the drift, into more drift.  He stops, one wheel dangerously tempting the ditch.  He feels a kind of sinking that hot coffee cannot buoy, a kind of wind-whipped flag beginning to tatter and pop, so that someone seeing the tattered flag might wonder, "Why would anyone leave a raggedy flag like that up?"  Our hero musters a hint of confidence again, shovels some snow away, peers beneath the FOUR WHEEL DRIVE pickup to see he's clear of the snow.  He's clear.

He backs up, away from the tempting ditch, back through the daunting drift, following his tracks, except his tracks don't go into the ditch, where he now finds himself.  He's got a cell phone, so he calls for a tow.  Todd's Towing.  Quick answer. He'll be right out.

Then, his friend calls.  Farmer on the way.  Soon, over the hill, the smoke and vapor of a tractor appears, then the tractor itself, its bucket down, scraping a path through concrete barriers that fail to daunt.  Our hero calls back Todd, who says he'll wait to see whether the tow is necessary.  The tractor passes by.  Then returns, backing up, then a friendly farmer emerges from the cab, a log chain in hand.

"On a rescue mission?"
"I was."

Our hero hears how the farmer is clearing the road for his wife.

"She's got a swimming lesson at Lake Campbell."
"She's a tough old bird," our hero retorts.

The pickup comes out nicely.

Our hero calls Todd, calls the friend, calls the wife.  His coffee has cooled.  He arrives home safely.  He is confident there is hot coffee at home.

TCM Time Again

I've crossed the finish line in a lot of marathons, 26.2 miles at a time, gradually moving back into the pack where things are crowded, where people look a lot like people I see every day at work, in class, at the grocery store.  They're not, like I once thought of myself, the go-getters, the demons, the dedicated souls who jump at the sound of their alarm clocks going off at 5 am and spring from their beds and are soon out the door, music in their ears, the dreams of a good finish driving them forward.  I'm back in the pack now, with the people in costumes, people with love handles, people who months ago decided they'd like to try one marathon to tick it off their bucket list.  Who knows why I'm doing it now, throwing down the gauntlet once again like I did today, forking over the entry fee for the Twin Cities Marathon, whose registration opened today and will soon fill.  Yes, 11,500  of us will pony up the cash, while only a few elite sprites will jockey in the lead pack, gliding through Minneapolis and St. Paul, grinding it out until they reach the Summit hill and ease down into the finish chute just short of the capitol building.  They'll finish in two hours and change, while many of us are chugging along through miles 16, 17, 18, hoping not to crash, eating our Gu and high-fiving the enthusiastic children lining the streets, hoping to glimpse those who love us enough to make signs and rise early to cheer us on.  October 2, 2011.