Monday, June 30, 2008

Bon Voyage to Intrepid Travelers

The wife and I hosted a little gathering last night for three colleagues and friends who will travel to China this summer to teach Chinese teachers of English about some finer points of pedagogy and language. The wife made a spicy chicken dish and some of her Korean aunt's bulgogi, which were both big hits. It was a great gathering.

We spent a chunk of the morning at the local Grace Episcopal Church, a fine old stone church that continues to hold services with a handful of participants. They made us feel welcome and we enjoyed coffee, conversation, and treats afterwards.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Flower Tour, Late June

The lilacs have lost their luster, and the peonies are about pooped, but the summer showers and sunshine have boosted the blooms on a bounty of backyard plants. Take a tour of flowering plants in our yard today, imagine the birds chirping outside, the ting of baseball bats in the park across the street, and the buzz of mosquitoes as you enjoy the slide show here. I'm providing a few pictures here as enticement. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Rosemary's 75th

The 10 kids she raised are having a get-together and party in Ft. Pierre coming up, but today is the real 75th birthday party for mother dearest, so the wife and I put together a party and invited the family that was in the area. Look who turned up!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Finally a Batch of Photos, Two-wheeler Types

You asked for it, you've got it--an entire batch of photos from my brother Jess and my trip to Elkheart Lake, Wisconsin, for the vintage motorcycle racing. Here's a little taste, with these three pictures of the man in black himself. The link includes some photos of the trip there, which was harrowing enough, coming as it did during a driving rainstorm that flooded some of our route, including Fond du Lac, which was closed to us. Coming back through, we saw people putting their ruined and soggy belongings on the streetside. In between, there are plenty of pictures of Jess and others racing and working on their machinery.
Anyway, check out the cool bikes, some vintage, some racing, some both, some neither. Cool stuff! I liked the simplicity of the silver Honda 350 racer in the pictures. Check out the pics in the album here:
Elkheart Lake Motorcycle Trip

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

New Post

Back in town now for the duration, I'm aiming to get some work done over the next few days. Siblings are in town, so expect a few pics, and I'll post some about the trip to Elkheart Lake, monsoon, racing, brewery tour, visit, bike ride, and the whole ball of wax. But please, not tonight, dear.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Report from Road America, Elkheart Lake, WI

Morning came quietly to the track and the paddock area at Road America, where riders and crew slept until the call of the track arrived and practice started at 8:00, which kept everyone busy until noon, when everyone took a break. Then the driver's meeting came and went and racing started. Brother Jess rode the 1966 Norton through practice spitting and sputtering, but we made headway, and by racetime, we had it ready for the rigors of the 4-mile track.
Tomorrow promises to be better. We're getting the bike dialed in, and if the sun doesn't shrivel me and the rain doesn't wash me away, I think we'll have a good day tomorrow.

The Wife Guest Blogs

John is still in Wisconsin breathing in gas fumes and listening to the roar of racing bikes. (His brother Jess's big race is today.) In the meantime, I didn't want the millions of readers of Horseshoe Seven to be disappointed in yet another day with no new entry, so I hacked in to leave you with this Eye-On-Keloland feature. In it, you'll see John's Aunt Kathy, a real go-getter as the story shows, and his brother Jim, the handy one with the hammer.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Off to the Races

One of my brothers called the other day to ask if I'd like to ride along (and help, I suspect) on a trip to Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, to race his motorcycle, a 1970-something Norton Commando, in the vintage motorcycle race there. You can check out what he's up to by watching the video below. In another video, available here, you can see a video of Road America, with commentary on having raced there by old-timers like Bobby Rahal, Phil Hill, Mario Andretti, and Carroll Shelby. Pretty cool, huh? The picture here is something like his bike, but I'll post pictures later on.

Cleaning Up is a Relative Thing

The idea was to get a picture of the wife in the midst of cleaning the windows on the porch, a big project we finished yesterday. Perhaps Walter wanted it known that he had a cleaning project of his own.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

And, a Trip to Sioux Falls

For all the griping I do about health care and the lack of it, and its cost, and the way a few people make a lot of money off of it, etc., etc., I was very pleased with my trip today to see the folks at Sanford about my gimpy knee. Yes, I had an appointment, and yes, I have health insurance, but no, I wasn't sure about how much it would cost or whether I needed a referral, blah blah blah. I hate going to the doctor. But the wife again pondered how a friend had seen someone there for free. So I searched the Sanford site for FREE, and it came up roses. Check out the news release on Free Athletic Assessments. I canceled my appointment, made another for the same time this afternoon, and saw a woman there that got me right with the world again. Thank you, Cathy! Thank you, Sanford!. Now I'm taking some over-the-counter stuff and doing some exercises with a full reading on what's amiss with my joint. I think I'll survive. Maybe prevail.
We also had some Chinese for lunch, bopped around the thrift places, checked out the Habitat for Humanity Re-store there, visited W-world, and enjoyed a nice supper.
Check out my three great movies, only pennies apiece, a view of some wind turbine blades sitting along side the highway, and this tattoo parlor in a converted church, offering "righteous tattoos for righteous people."

Tripping to Ramona

My cleanup guys didn't come through this summer yet, so the little Ranger and I are having to deal with things on our own. In the picture here, the pickup looks like it's grown a Rastafarian hairdo. When I arrived in Ramona with my load, passing, as always, the corner with the stone marking my grandpa's property, I found my aunt Celia tilling the little garden ("before it rains!") and my great-aunt (sort of) Kathleen Huntimer mowing the grass ("before it rains!"). It didn't rain. Celia showed me through the house she and her husband Gene have been renovating there, and on the second trip I saw my aunt Kathy, who helped yank the load onto her burn pile. On each trip north, I saw one of the many trucks hauling wind turbine parts to or from the area. Yesterday was a good testament to the value of wind turbines in SD, though today has begun bright and calm.
Today we head south to see one of Sanford's experts (Dr. Hurd) who's going to tell me what the heck is the matter with my knee. (You think I should tell him about bouncing up and down packing branches into the back of the pickup?) I'm hoping he can thump some tendon back into place and it will be as good as new. I suspect it will be something less instantaneous.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Our Next Prisoner

We have documented well the one mammalian prisoner we've kept for years, confined to the house or tethered to a rod in the back yard. Yes, that's the way it is. We feed him nothing but dog food, water, and a few scraps, which he is willing to lick from the floor. Now we have a new prisoner, temporarily, which we plan to confine to a glass bubble, never let him out, feed him nothing but fish food, and hardly speak to him at all. How long will he survive?

Friday, June 06, 2008

Cloudwest Pottery and Tile Grand Opening

My brother Jered is opening his own studio in Berkeley, CA, with the grand opening this weekend. It's Cloudwest Pottery and Tile, with an online gallery and cool pots like the one you see here. There are also old-timey photos of the Nelson family on the site, just cause they're so cool, I guess. If a trip to Berkeley's not on your agenda this weekend, you'll have to write and ask about shipping rates. Good luck, Jered!

After I Got My Teeth Cleaned

There seems to be a lot to do with them. Wednesday it was the chicken, last night it was meat loaf, and tonight it was hot meat loaf sandwich, with roasted asparagus (with cashew chips). Me gusta!

Thursday, June 05, 2008

We Don't Always Eat This Way

But sometimes we do, especially during asparagus season (now). Good stuff, Maynard.

My Photo on the New York Times! (sort of)

I mentioned earlier that the New York Times had a spot for people to upload their photos of polling places. The site came up again and now my photo of the Dakota Prairie Playhouse is on the site. Cool! Check it out.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

What Happened to South Dakota?

After voting, I was busy through the evening and only recently found out what happened today in the race for the presidential primary I was following so closely until now. What happened in South Dakota? What happened in Montana? Look at the articles on the NY Times or even the Sioux Falls Argus Leader, and it's hard to tell. Yes, Obama won the nomination as we were pretty sure he would, but after all the attention the news media and the candidates gave to the primaries in these last two states, there's little mention of what happened here. The media seemed to be saying, until this morning, that South Dakota and Montana were playing the pivotal role in choosing the president. But it didn't happen that way. Read the lead article in the NY Times article tonight and you'll find the bare results of the South Dakota primary in the 9th paragraph, toward the end. Clinton won here. But in the end, the superdelegates worked hard to render the results of the primary here and in Montana meaningless, announcing that, after the polls closed, they would announce that they were backing Obama.
I hope he'll be a good candidate; he's got plenty of good Democrats, including Clinton, that he can tap to build an campaign that can take him to the White House. Let's hope he uses them. Go Obama!

Walter: Bring Back Socks

Walter shows his patriotic pride and his candidate preference. He doesn't find any humor in the election process, but he does like the look of the feline candidate. Somehow he and the cat have striking similarities.

Where We Cast Our Ballots

The NY Times offered a spot to post a picture of our polling place, so I took one, but the site won't load, so I'll just post it here. The Obama camp was out in force, a team of youngsters holding up their signs and encouraging voters to swing their direction. We wore our buttons, and the wife wore her signed t-shirt, but we got dinged by the polling officials, so the buttons came off and the wife turned her shirt inside out to cast her ballot.

If I Had Five Votes Instead of One

What would I do with the other four? Hmm.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Sunset on the Primaries

The sun went down tonight as the candidates made their final pitches to South Dakota (and Montana), with the Clinton family gathering in Sioux Falls and addressing an overflow crowd at the armory. We arrived too late to get inside, but just barely, and they told us right away that the three would be coming out to greet the supporters. So we stood at the rail, the mother-in-law, the sister-in-law, and the wife and me. And an elderly woman we befriended in line. We had to listen to the addresses over a loudspeaker, but afterwards, Chelsea, Bill, and Hillary all came out and shook our hands. Chelsea even signed shirts and stood for a picture. Bill said the two sisters looked good in their shirts, and everyone, including the "repentant Republican" among us, enjoyed the rollicking, energetic, and friendly event. We brought home a few Hillary signs to put up in the yard. I'm going with the gal.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Obama in Mitchell

After a typical Sunday morning at church and a late breakfast at the Howard golf course (no country-club images here, just folks either diving in to an eggs-pancake-bacon buffet or selecting from among the fried options on the one-page menu), we headed down to Mitchell to hear Barack Obama's side of the story after hearing Hillary and Bill Thursday and Saturday.
After the folksy and up-close style of the Clinton's, this event was like a rock show, highly produced and carefully staged. The event, held in front of the Corn Palace with "Everyday Heroes" emblazoned in corn on the front, had barricades, a security check under a tent, a huge sound system and stage, and bleachers at the side and back. Volunteers worked the crowd, selecting those who could go to the bleachers. We were chosen, but elected to stand and actually moved quite close, though behind, the candidate.
Obama's delivery and content were fine, a little soft on details and the folksy asides and examples that both Clintons use to such good effect. He's not the master of the million little details--facts and figures--that both Clintons use; either that, or it's simply his style to stick to broad portraits of what's to come. I was surprised at the little stutters that still punctuate the candidate's delivery, even after campaigning for 15 months.
But the crowd was with him, responding to the calls he made for change in policies on Iraq, the economy, and energy. There were young people in abundance, with a much more colorful array of people than you'll typically find at a South Dakota event. And his campaign appears to be well funded. The event involved some expenses, with multiple buses, free placards, and bright lights, even on an afternoon that was so sunny and warm one person even fainted during the speech.
Tomorrow, the Clintons, all three of them, will be in Sioux Falls, and it's looking like we might be in attendance.
The wife and I, who have both been hauling our cameras to the events, have put our pics here.
You might note there that we ran into George McGovern on a Mitchell street, making his way to the event, where he'd make introductory remarks. I got my picture taken with him. Now I've shaken hands with Hillary, Bill, Barack, and George, all in a few days. Now that's quite a hand. I wonder what I'd get for it on eBay.
Enjoy the photos, make your call, and get out there and vote. Maybe we'll see you at the Clinton fest.