Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Coming to the End of Another Semester

Things always get a little hairy and busy at the end of a long semester, and the fall term has a special difficulty with Christmas nipping at my heels as I try to get all my grading done and the final grades in.  But I'm closing the gap now as I edge ever closer to the end point, and it's fun to see the result of the student work all through the 16-week period.  One of those things I can share is my students' work on some little informational videos we post on a blog site.  It's here:  http://compdsu.blogspot.com/

Sure, the videos are a little uneven, but consider the students put these together after finishing their long researched essay (some of which were condensed to the video text) and they only had a week to work on it.  Nice.  I'll keep doing it.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

The Tinder Box Heats Up Mochavino's

The Tinder Box at Mochavino's
Mochavino's was graced tonight with the cool bluegrass fusion band The Tinder Box this evening.  These guys have a unique sound, mixing banjo, guitar, and trumpet with some high lonesome vocals, a snare, and a bass drum.  Nothing plugs in!
Their original music, available on a free CD they offer at each appearance, is haunting and beautiful, and I find myself playing the songs over again and singing along.  Check out some of their music on their Facebook page or on their Youtube page.
The three guys are Dominic Osterloh on banjo, Chad Konrad on guitar, etc., and John Wallner, trumpet.  Chad and John offer up some great harmonies while Dominic picks away on the banjo.  You might think the combination sounds a little odd, but these guys have it worked out.  It's really amazing what a philosophy, sociology, and psychology major can put their collective minds to.  Their songs are often haunting and sorrowful, but then they'll do a foot-stomping blues number and shake things up.  Nice.
Combine that with some good food, good company, and good conversation, and things are . . . good.

First Fire

All through the summer, back into spring, back to last winter and beyond, and even now, as winter rolls in and the roads and fields finally turn white with snow, I've been stocking up for the cold, stacking wood, splitting, stacking again into the back yard.  And now it's time to fire up the stove, finally, and turn that wood into heat for the house.  And for Walter, the old dog whose big trick is to find the warmest place in the warmest room.  Now he can find a spot that's too warm for even him.  He won't go to the edge of the fire, creep too near the stove.
We've had such good weather coming into this winter that a fire in the stove hasn't seemed right, so the big heater has stayed cool until last night, when the right thing seemed to be, bring the ash can and log holder up from the basement, lay the fire tools near the stove, bring newspapers in to get the ball rolling, gather up kindling to be the first to flame, then add the first logs to the fire.  Fast forward an hour or so and the stove is blazing and the thermometer, set at 70 degrees, now shows the room to be at 75.  Finally, the payoff for cutting, hauling, splitting, stacking, bringing into the house.  Walter, now snoring by the fire, seems thankful.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Nate Berkus Likes My Brother's Pottery

Okay, so the name Nate Berkus didn't spring to my mind as a mover and shaker that I had heard of, but once I started the video I recognized him from some morning shows.  And LO!  He recently recognized my brother Jered's Pottery as a great source of some inexpensive, but finely crafted pieces.

And now I can say, "Nate likes it.  You might too!"  He's on Etsy, and 'he's also got his own site:  http://www.jeredspottery.com/.  It's beautiful stuff.  You'll like it too, and it makes great gifts.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Looking Forward to a Darn Tough Winter

Winter has come.  Snow has fallen, wind driven and cold, covering most of the leaves that never got raked, the wood that didn't get moved yet, the snowmobiles that have rested since spring came, the porch floor that didn't get painted.  So now some of those are hidden, temporarily, until spring comes round again.  Meanwhile, the wife and I are happily facing a short week, just one long day and one short one, then a Wednesday free from duties, then a Thursday for giving thanks.

One item on my thankful list is this dandy pair of Darn Tough socks, a gift from my daughter and her beau.  They're guaranteed to last as long as I hope their relationship does--meaning, for a lifetime.

I've been dogging on the blogging, but we have been busy, gone to Sioux Falls for a weekend getaway on Veterans Day, where we enjoyed a stay at the Holiday Inn, dinners at Parker's Bistro, Phillips Avenue Diner, and Bros Brasserie Americano.  All great places to eat.

In addition, we enjoyed an evening with the Carpe Diem String Quartet and picked up a copy of their Montana CD, which extends the enjoyment of the weekend.  It's awesome, tough and beautiful, like Montana itself and this fine Vermont pair of socks.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Sun-Dogging the Night Sky

The full moon isn't until Thursday, but it was shining bright tonight so that I had to try for a photo of what appeared to be moon-dogs around the moon so big and bold in the clear cool sky.  I had a little trouble finding a setting that would work; it turned out to be the "sunset" setting on my little Nikon Coolpix S3000.  The moon-dogs were fading as I struggled with the camera, but the result is pretty cool anyway, I think.  Don't you?

Monday, November 07, 2011

A Key, With Air Bags

You'd think the BMW had air bags enough, but apparently the new key we ordered needs the kind of protection you might expect for your own brain pan.  When I get a package like this from Amazon or some other place, protecting a thing like a key or some other tiny gizmo, I can't help imagining some worker in a warehouse.  In this case, he's got the little envelope in hand, wandering along looking for a box:  "Nope, too small, too small, too small . . . AHA, just right!  All I need now is a half-dozen pillows to protect this delicate key."  I'm sure there's a reason for such packaging, but don't these people know about padded envelopes?  

Sunrise, Sunset

Saturday morning I cruised up to Browns Valley, MN, where I used to live, sort of, and where some of the former in-laws live, for a funeral.  It was a beautiful daybreak and sunset, as you see here in the pictures, and it was a good visit with two of my kids, Mr. CO, and lots of people I hadn't seen in a long time.  It was time to say goodbye to Aloma, who had made herself comfortable with the folks at Sisseton Wahpeton College as their archivist.  She will be missed, but like the beautiful sunrise and sunset, we've all got a limited time before our light fades.

Thursday, November 03, 2011

Early Holiday Present, Eskimo Style

Sure, it's a little early to be singing the Hallelujah Chorus, and you might not expect the folks young and old in a little Yupiq Eskimo village to be the internet sensation they seem to be, but there they are, putting on their version of George Frideric Handel's Messiah.  Enjoy.  Thanks, Nancy!

I've got to say I enjoyed it more than the cute little girls in pink singing to Nicki Minaj's "Super Bass."  Nicki singing it herself, that's another matter.  I hope the kids didn't learn the song by watching the video.

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A Call to the Courthouse

I've been called before, but never served.  Maybe this year they'll pick me from the crowd and have me judge, but I'll be fine either way.  Being called upon to serve my county, though, that's okay.  It's not the "good roads day" my dad had pictures of in Wyoming, when the good citizens turned out to tame the wild roads after a mucky spring, but it's a little thing we do besides pay taxes.  Interesting, though, as I'm reading papers that make arguments about the nature of justified killing, that I get the call, the juror summons.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

Even Bavarians Make Mistakes

If you've got a junk yard, used car business, and a scrap metal business, it's no surprise if sometimes odd and wonderful things come across your line of vision, and you just have to divert the scrap from the scrap pile.  That's what happened to Mr. Lee Roy Hartung, who died in May and whose automobile, motorcycle, and bicycle collection will be sold off in bits and pieces.    The car here is one of those, a 1949 Veritas, with running gear by BMW and a body by Spohn, a German company.  Take a look at The New York Times article on Hartung here and a site called Bring a Trailer with lots of pictures of the old beast here.  Now I'm a big fan of some of the good work the Bavarian Motor Works has done, but this thing looks more like the whale that Captain Ahab was hunting than the spritely convertible the wife and I brought back from Seattle.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Saddle up with the Ghouls and Boys

Posted by PicasaWhat other time of the year can you get a visit from not one, but two cowgirls, Snow White, three Eskimo  girls, the Grim Reaper, Rapunzel, a ghoul, a scary blue-haired girl, and a pepper shaker?  Did I forget Elmo?  Gotta have a cute Elmo to round things out.  Tack on a gangsta computer wizard with blue tresses, and it's another great Halloween on 3rd Street.  

Kelly MacLeod and the Metamorphoses of DSU

My friend Kelly MacLeod knows how to get something great out of the people she works with.  Wouldn't it be great if we could all elicit similar things from our students?  She's good, and the work her students did with the play at DSU on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday night (when we went) is a testament to her ability to inspire. They did a contemporary twist on Ovid's Metamorphoses and rocked it solid.   Thanks, Kelly!  Thanks, students!

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Cool New DSU Commercials

DSU "Vampire" Commercial, 2011 from Dakota State on Vimeo.Dr. Knowlton says our new commercials were slated to run during the World Series game last night, when Mr. Crisler's Cardinals whipped the Rangers to win the title of world champs.  They're going to get the attention of young people looking for cool factor, that's for sure.  What do you think?

DSU 'Techie' Commercial 2011 from Dakota State on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"Sledgehammer" Moviemaking--You Thought You Couldn't Make Movies

How's about making that horror movie you always knew you had in you.  Don't have a huge production budget?  No problem.  Get out the video camera, flip video, or whatever, and see if you can top this little number.  Think it's bad?  Come on!  Do better.

A Sweet Birthday Celebration for the Wife

Yesterday the wife celebrated her birthday once again, and, like usual, the shower of gifts got to me, too, and in just the way I like.  One of our friends whose cooking talents are a gift she shares with us (you know who you are, CB) offered up her knock-out bread pudding and her makes-me-wanna-shout caramel topping as a birthday gift.  Yes, our trousers are little tighter as a result, but it's worth the squeeze!  Thank you, birthday goddess!  And, happy birthday, dear wife!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Long Arm of the Tripod

Daughter, daughter's guy, wife, me in camera as they two folks from Minneapolis aimed to return with their newly acquired transportation.  Turns out, their other car had trouble on the way home and I'm still waiting to find out how the trouble evolves.  We enjoyed having them here and don't like the idea that there's trouble in their lives.  Keep good wishes in mind, please.  

Crowded Schedule

"Time is what keeps everything from happening at once."  Ray Cummings.

Ray, is time a thing that moves in a stream, or comes in clumps like cottage cheese?  Does it flow like a river, come down from north like a wind, or does it rumble from time to time like California earthquakes?  I'd like to know, because lately it seems as though the long stretches of quiet, the bowl of sun and space with nothing to stir it but my own steps forward, these seem gone, or become the dumped contents of a pair of salad tongs.  One arm of the tongs is me.  What is the other?  

This week, in addition to my teaching, I've done a prep session for students getting ready for the CAAP exam, co-hosted, sort of, a conference for the GPACW, participated in a panel discussion of the English for New Media program at DSU, and led a workshop (with a colleague) on the multimedia authoring software Sophie, which neither of us knew before we took on the workshop.  

Nothing wrong with keeping busy, except when it invades the need for quiet, or time with family.  It just so happens my sister and her man came through this week on their RV journey west after selling their home, quitting their jobs, and packing everything into an 18 year old motor home and leaving Nashville for California via St. Louis, South Dakota, Boise, Portland, and maybe even Seattle.  Then my daughter and her man arrived for a visit from Minneapolis.  So it's great having them here, but I wish, Ray, that there could be less of it all happening at once.  

It's all good.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Characters in a Pinon Tree

Our tan-clad hero cooks up some new kind of trouble every episode, and the wife and I are Breaking Bad fans, following the troubled twosome of Walter White and Jesse Pinkman, unlikely allies in making meth for Albuquerque.  Sure, we came to the party late, but that doesn't make us any less enthusiastic.  

The wife reminded me that each episode is a reminder of what I tell my creative writing students about how they should put their characters up a tree (or any difficulty) and then keep pelting them with trouble until something happens.  Trouble seems to be at their elbows at every turn.  That's what keeps us coming back.  

Our Slightly-Open Door Policy

Early this month we had our first visitors to our offering on Airbnb, which we used to book our place in Seattle when we traveled there last summer.  The deal was, list your own place to stay and you get 20 bucks off, so we did.  Little did we know that people would want to stay here!  But, apparently, they would!

In fact, while we were IN Seattle in July, we had our first request to stay, but that wouldn't work, so it wasn't until October, when two traveling Wisconsonites, seen here in a corny photo shot in Mitchel after they left, booked with us and actually stayed.  Same day as our return from the marathon?  Sure.  They were a lively pair, and we enjoyed having them stay with us on their journey west.  We look forward to having more visitors.

As of today, our August House is the ONLY place in eastern South Dakota to stay using Airbnb.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Sonnet to Vandalize Your Car

My students are writing sonnets.  Go figure.  Makes me want to do one or two myself, so I do.

Sonnet XIII

This bad sonnet wants to punch you in the gut
Make your momma cry and your dad get drunk
The rhyme makes you think you woke with a slut
Or made bad sexy with a tattooed punk,
You get done reading and your mind’s gone wild
Like a tornado pickup truck four wheel drive
Ripping up a cornfield like a crazed meth child,
Wondering if you wanted still to be alive.
But a sonnet can’t hit, and your dad don’t drink,
Your momma seems happy and your loved one mild,
And the scene with the pickup truck—just spilled ink,
Lines on a page, like this one (there, you smiled). 
A sonnet can turn like that, bad to good,
Or come out swinging like Mrs. Tiger Wood(s).  

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Great Day, October, South Dakota Style

What could be better?  Another beautiful October day, temps in the 70's, a light breeze, the smell of fall in the air, full moon hanging over the back yard with clouds cris-crossing beneath it, a light show on the horizon.  A nice lunch, good class, and then a good bike ride with a friend out east and north of town, followed by a soothing shower, a great salad, a stop at some friends for a great time with kids, then capped off with a trip to the BrickHouse for some photos, art work, gelato, and kuchen.  And home to come to.  Thanks to the people who make it happen.

Yours Truly in the News

Chuck Clement covered the doings at the Smith Zimmermann Museum on Sunday afternoon and wrote up this fine story.  The paper version of the story featured a photo of yours truly.  Story on the Madison Daily Leader.

Milton Conference Coming Up

Poster for the John R. Milton Writer's Conference, 2011
Looking forward to the John R. Milton Writer's Conference in Vermillion, SD, at the end of October, the 27-29th. It's going to feature a number of good writers and teachers of writing, giving readings and presentations.  I hope to take a group of students there and have them rub elbows with the folks there.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Smith-Zimmermann's 50th Anniversary

Here's a video I made to give a sense of what the dedication was like in 1961 of the Smith-Zimmermann Museum in Madison, SD.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

An Ode to Speed, Corvette Style

My friend EJ is a curious fellow, 
heavy is his foot, and his jacket yellow.  
When his car came back a new Corvette,
He told himself, it isn't tested yet,
so he went out east where the road is flat,
bucked up his belt and pulled down his hat.
He looked both ways, put the hammer down,
watched that speedometer go around.
He hunkered down low, the road whizzing by,
and discovered a speed limit, way up high.
But another was watching, with a little red pen,
and he told EJ not to speed again.
But EJ knows, though he has to pay,
the Corvette rumbles for another fray.  

Monday, October 03, 2011

A Marathon From Back in the Pack

I know from long experience--over 20 years of it--that running marathons is no piece of cake, but it's hard to realize just how more traumatic it is when you're out there for the extra-long run, like four and a half hours.  I once ran with a friend in Omaha way back in the pack, taking things slow and easy, and it was one of the hardest I'd ever done, until Sunday's Twin Cities Marathon.  Yesterday I finished in about four hours and 27 minutes, with the final 2.2 miles taking me almost a half an hour, and I was "running " the whole time.  But slowly.

But I was only slightly behind the average finishing time of 4:20.  So there were still a lot of people behind me, coming in at 4972nd of 8535 finishers.  The marathon results page here shows a lot of information on each runner, including where you were in the pack.  There's even video, where you can watch yours truly come across the finish line.  Sadly, my data shows me slipping gradually back through the pack a thousand at a time, with people streaming by all through the miles that went by.  I started too fast, hitting the half-way mark at just two hours, and as the race wore on, and my stuffy head and sore throat took their toll on me, I slowed more and more, with a constant wave of runners passing me.

But, there's a good possibility I'll try it again.  I may never reach the 3:04 marathon time that stands as my PR, but maybe a Boston qualifying time is still a possibility.

Minimize the Me

A note to my writers in the composition class I'm teaching:  minimize the "me."  I'm often reading papers that have, at their center, the experiences of the writer, with any other ideas, information, narratives, and examples playing second fiddle to those experiences.  I encourage them to pull in, and draw out, the comments and experiences and ideas of others.  Once they see how powerful that can make their writing, and how it can enhance their own narratives, they get on board.  Most of them.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Sometimes You Gotta Let Go

I'm not a hoarder.  I might have the pile of chocolate bars that once seemed a great deal, even though now they're faded glory.  I've got a lot of notebooks with poetry, notes, doodles, story ideas, drawings, lists.  I've got piles of books I have or have not read.  Right now I've got three motorcycles, two that don't run.  I've got a pickup.  I've got three cars.  But I've just reduced my car inventory by one.  I watched yesterday as the Interstate Auto Transport guy drove away with my sexy little German up on the ramp.

It just didn't work out.  I was tentatively hopeful when I loaded the little yellow roadster onto a trailer from north of Madison and brought it home, but eventually it became clear that what it needed was more than I could give.  Too bad.  In the mean time, I'm going to turn my attention to other matters, doing my work, getting some writing done, and maybe seeing what those two dead motorcycles need.

Monday, September 26, 2011

artshortfilms--Check it out.

The Alphabet 2 from n9ve on Vimeo.
I enjoyed this video from artshortfilms--good for fun, but teaching spelling?  I don't think so.  D is for destruction.  Which seems to be a bit of a theme. 

Sunday, September 25, 2011

A New Top Dog in the Marathon (no, it's not me).

As I consider what it will take to complete the Twin Cities Marathon a week from today, I know what it takes, or at least what it has taken in the past, when I was younger, thinner, in better shape.  It's a good thing that aging happens slowly, because it's hard enough to take the way it is.

But it's inspiring to see what the human body can do, and I don't mean mine.  Yes, I think I'll be able to survive the 26.2 miles that the marathon requires.  I need to do that to earn my finisher's t-shirt.  But I am amazed when I think of what some of the speed demons do, like Haile Gabreselassie, who won gold medals in the 10k in the 1996 and 2000 Olympics and owned the world record in the marathon at 2:03:59.  At least until today.

Running in Berlin on a flat and fast course, Gabreselassie ran up front until late in the race, when he stopped for a minute, rejoined the race, and then stopped again for good.  It may be his last days as a marathoner.

In the meantime, a new runner claimed the world record, which means running FASTER than Gabreselassie 's 4:44 per mile pace.  It's Patrick Makau, who churned through the marathon in 2:03:38, 21 seconds faster (less than one second per mile).

Nobody will run that fast in the Twin Cities, but at about two hours and eleven minutes or so, I'll imagine what it must be like to be finishing at that time.  And then I'll run (and walk) the last 12 miles or so.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

From Tree to Flame

The back yard has been noisy many evenings as I've been busy making big blocks of wood into small blocks of wood.  The wood splitter has a new engine, and it's been working well, making the process much smoother with a steady, reliable power plant.

As the winter comes on, we'll move the wood to a handier spot near the back door and begin the winter-long process of feeding our nifty wood stove and enjoying the wood as it transforms from fuel into heat.  I love it when the wood is finally aflame, and I'm relaxing in the radiant glow.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Temporary Tomato Shelter

Tomato Yurt
Dire warnings were out last night for a hard freeze, which would have meant the end of the line for our gigantuan tomato, tomatillo, and pepper plants.  So, we took precautions, employing almost all sheets and blankets, pillow cases, painting tarps, and car covers.  Then, it didn't freeze, although it was 32 degrees when I came down in the dark this morning.  No worries tonight, so the temporary shelters will need to come down.  

We weren't the only ones prepping for a freeze.  A nippy drive around town in the convertible last evening (enjoying a TCBY "Waffle Cone Wednesday" treat) revealed others in town who weren't taking any risks with their tomatoes.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sky Full of Contrails

When I was in junior high, we had a textbook titled Contrails, a reading textbook, I think, that opened the doors to many stories and led me on to the kind of reading that developed into a Ph.D. in English.  While I was working on that Ph.D., teaching at DSU and taking classes at USD, I spent a lot of time driving between Sisseton, Madison, and Vermillion, putting many miles on my little Honda Civic, watching the contrails expand across the vast South Dakota sky.  Everyone going somewhere.

On September 11, 2001, my morning class composition class at DSU was interrupted by a student who was notorious for either sleeping in class or browsing the internet.  "Someone flew a plane into the World Trade Center," he announced.  It was the first classroom contribution he'd ever made, and I admonished him, told him to get off the internet and get back to work.

Later I learned what was unfolding in New York.  Later yet that day I got in my car and as I drove down to Vermillion for class, I noticed how empty the sky was, how from brim to brim the blue curve of the sky was empty, unlined.  It felt to me, now full of the knowledge of the collapsed towers, the crashed plane, the burning pentagon, that the vast criss-crossing of contrails was a web that had come unraveled, a basket broken through.  It felt a little as though I were suddenly working without a net, that some woven underpinning to my life had come undone.

Contrails over South Dakota, 9-11-11
But yesterday, as the wife and I returned from Sioux Falls, where before the half-marathon we stood in restless silence to remember those who fell from the web of life ten years ago, I noticed the sky again.  Blue sky, cloudless, crossed again and again by the contrails left by airplanes carrying their trusting passengers from one end of the country to another.  I leaned back in my seat, looked over at my wife driving me home again, and felt as though that web, that basket, were being woven again, that it was being mended.

Four at the Forecast Saturday Night

Alfredo pasta with chicken
The Forecast Restaurant in Howard finally drew us in for dinner (now "supper" on the menu) to celebrate the father-in-law's 75th birthday.  The wife and I joined her folks and enjoyed four of the dishes on the menu.  Since I was running the Sioux Falls Half Marathon on Sunday, I wanted the hand-made pasta.  Rich and creamy, the pasta was very tasty and included a nice salad, as did all the other dishes.  I added the chicken.

The birthday guy ordered the braised pork belly, which we all tried.  The pork was tasty, but the cabbage and spatzle, a German specialty mini-dumpling, was especially good.

Braised pork belly with spatzle and cabbage

Chicken with red pepper coulis
The wife ordered the chicken with red pepper coulis, a thick peppery sauce, just a little spicy, with a good peppery taste.

Walleye with vegetables 
Mrs. Birthday ordered the walleye, after being told it was out, then hearing word more was ready (popular that night).  It came in a parchment envelope, steamy and cooked with veggies, just right.

New York style cheesecake with blackberries
Desserts were nothing to crow about, but all were very tasty, including the cheesecake, the chocolate mousse, and the lemon pie.

Chocolate mousse

Lemon pie
The folks at the Forecast are working hard to get it right.  It's a start-up, and I suspect some of the wait staff has never enjoyed the experience of dining in the kind of high-class restaurant the Forecast is aiming for.  I hope they get there.  The chef has the right touch, and he's working his tail feathers off to get it right.  

Get on over there and try the fare. Then let the chef know what you think of his work.

Friday, September 09, 2011

The Grasshopper and the Ant

Roasted tomatoes for sauce
 This evening the wife spent putting away some of the summer harvest, cooking tomatoes and making sauce, chopping jalapenos and making jelly, then canning them up and setting them aside for later.

Meanwhile, someone else was having a bowl of ice cream, browsing the web, fixing the router, sending email, and wondering how eating ice cream was going to get him through the half-marathon on Sunday in Sioux Falls.  Maybe if he saw The Tinder Box on Saturday, that would help.
Jelly and sauce in process 
Finished jalapeno jelly and tomato sauce

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Wave of Things to Come

As the school year begins, it's like a big wave of students suddenly appears on the scene, washing over the quiet and isolation that might have prevailed over the summer months as teachers pursued their own individual studies, working at their scholarly ambitions.  But teaching is where it's at, and like the surfers in the video below, the teachers take on the challenge with a hope that the wave will take them all to the shore.  

Sunday, August 21, 2011

He Cooks! He Makes Zucchini Disappear!

Yes, he can cook.  How about a little Italian Zucchini Pie?  Right out of South Dakota Magazine, this little number dispatched several of the garden club-sized vegetables that seem so abundant these days, and it fed us both with plenty left over for round two.  Yummy!

The recipe is in the July/August issue of SD Magazine, print version.  Enjoy!

Monday, August 08, 2011

What I Learned on My Ride to Rutland

I got on my Trek road bike this morning and put in some miles in the cloudy hours, although today was such a good day, pleasant weather, that a ride any time of the day would have been pleasant.  No wind, no killer heat, no killer humidity.  I didn't learn much, but I'll count these things.

  • It's much nicer to ride when there are no dogs to knock you into the road.
  • A little sprinkle on the back end of a long ride can be a good thing.
  • You can't see much of the Carper corn empire from the road.
  • The row of junker cars up by the Rutland turn (including the old Cadillac hearse) is still awaiting rescue. 
  • Getting to the Rutland turn off County Hwy 20 is satisfying enough  without going into Rutland.
  • Filling the water bottle with ice cubes and then topping off with water is a good idea.  
  • It's good to have a nice road bike.
  • Keeping a 20mph pace is not easy.  
  • The downhill run to our house in the last quarter mile is a nice way to end a ride.  

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Kudos to the Jimi Hendrix Neighborhood

Afternote:  We enjoyed our stay with Laura in her home in Seattle, which we found on Airbnb.com.  She's this one!  Thank you, Laura!  She even let us stay an extra day!

First Leg, Roundabout Journey Home

The wife is pretty happy with this quick
 point-and-shoot of Narada Falls as it tried
to mist up her camera lens.

A long hike resulted in this self-portrait with
the mountain crowding into the shot.  Pushy mountain.  
We are happy to share our BMW with the mountain!
We hustled out of Seattle today and watched Mt. Rainier loom closer and closer until--there we were, in the park, sun shining, car making smooth German BMW noises all along, top down, wind in her hair.  Yep.  Sunshine, a day Seattleites dream of.  After a stomach and budget stretching last evening in Seattle, it was time for bagels and peanut-butter, which we picked up at the Safeway in Enumclaw, where Creation Fest was buzzing and the teenage Creationists were hogging the Safeway unisex bathroom.  But it was happy days on the mountain, with lots of viewing and some vigorous hking, after which we managed to find our way to the happy little Relax Inn in Chehalis, WA.  Then for some pie at the Kit Carson Cafe, and we're all set for the night.

Our Return Flight

1995 BMW 325iC
We'll forego our flight on Delta Airlines for a trip home in this little number, which I hope is ready for the long journey.  Today it's supposed to be a sunny 78 degrees in Seattle, which bodes well for our journey home.

Somewhat Busy in Seattle

Yep, we've been on the run.  Up in Seattle via the air, then traveling galore, foot, bus, light rail, train, car, and more and more feet.  Been to the Space Needle, yup.  On a ferry out to Bainbridge Island, yessir.  Up and down Pike and Pine more than once, check.  Up to the U of W and canoeing on Lake Washington, yeah.  Bought a car, got it.  Sampled beer and coffee and seafood and other delights, oh yez.  Tramped our legs off, ja.  Now it time to start wending our way homeward, maybe after a sideline to Mt. Rainier, a cruise up Snake River Canyon, stop in Boise, that kind of thing.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

New Ulm Loses its Bohemian and Family

Photo from Star Tribune
Friend TQ notes that the city of New Ulm is trying to cope with the loss of its premier bed and breakfast, the Bohemian, which burned to the ground a few days ago with its owner and family inside.  Some guests were also killed in the blaze.

It's a sad loss for the town and a loss for us too, having stayed there on one of our anniversary trips. We told friends about it and encouraged them also to stay there, which TQ and wife did.  It was a beauty of a place, very comfortable, and Bobbi McCrea made a great host and cook.  Too bad.  Star Tribune story is here, follow-ups here and here.

Sunday, July 03, 2011

Coming into Independence

Back on this day in 1977, I was a 20-year-old newly-dismissed soldier hitch-hiking across Europe.  On July 3, I woke up in Switzerland, having spent the night beneath a roadside sign that offered some protection from the lights of the traffic passing by, but little from the morning sun that greeted me on the first day of my freedom from Uncle Sam's schedule and requirements.  I was a free bird, and I spent the next night in a little hotel in view of the Swiss alps, having chatted that evening with a mountain climber who was spending a few days of his own freedom doing some serious mountaineering.

I wouldn't get home until September, spending the next several weeks meeting people in Italy, Greece, and England, where I hung out with my sister, who was just finishing her own military stint in Lakenheath AFB.  

It was an eye-opening several weeks for me, trying to shape up and shake out the lethargy of barracks life, a kind of journey of discovery that had many twists and turns, ups and downs (which included having all my American Express travelers checks stolen in Greece), and finally brought me home.  Even the final stages of my journey, hitchhiking from Sioux Falls to Ramona, then to Fort Pierre, were memorable and instructive. But finally I was taken back into the embrace of my family, who were surprised when I arrived, about 26 months after I had boarded the plane bound for Germany.

Happy Independence Day, all!  

Friday, July 01, 2011

Guerrilla Knitters Down Under and Above

The wife an a friend of ours have been knit-meisters for over a year, turning string into a wide variety of items for gifts and their own use, wearable and otherwise.  But they haven't knitted a toilet-cozy.  Not a toilet SEAT cozy.  A public toilet cozy.  Yep.  Check out the vid.  Those Australians!

You might enjoy looking for other evidence of "yarn bombing," which in Vancouver has an "International Yarn Bombing Day" devoted to it.   I may have to encourage the wife to create a decorative knit cover for her bike like this one.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

My Little Rustic Tart

Fruity, crusty
Sweet, fruity, definite crust but soft and warm inside, that's how I like my rustic tarts, as the wife calls her little creation last night, a delight after a delicious meal.  Peaches, blueberry, and some kind of sweetness.  Very tasty!  I'm feeling better already!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Video from the Flooding

More video of the flooding in Ft. Pierre (my hometown) and Pierre.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All Hail the Pie that Heals

Posted by PicasaThe wife has taken such good care of me over the past few days, keeping things easy and feeding me well as I rest on the couch, keeping my leg up and healing.  All I had to do was peel some apples, and she managed the rest, making the crust and the goodie.

And this was after also making homemade pizza.  The pie goes especially well with Twin Peaks, where Agent Cooper shows his own affection for the pinnacle of foodstuffs.  (He prefers cherry, while apple is my choice).  

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Knees Before and After

Posted by PicasaOkay, so it doesn't look like much, just a couple of small holes, one punched on each side of the knee for camera and roto-rooter access.  But here's hoping the little procedure does the trick and takes the cringe out of running.  It's really not that painful, what with my medications and all, and I'm able to walk about and do pretty much as I please as long as generally I'm keeping the knee elevated and icing it on schedule.  I've got high hopes!

Meanwhile, we've started watching Twin Peaks on Netflix and are enjoying the bizarre soap-opera/mystery/drama/comedy in order.  Oh, Laura Palmer, what has become of you?   

My Minesectomy and Explanation

I've been gimping along with a sore knee for over a year, but I hope it's largely over now with yesterday's minesectomy, explained in this video by Dr. Allan Mishra.  My doctor is Dr. Pete Rodman, who's retiring this year after a long and successful career, which was recapped in an article that just happened to appear in yesterday's Argus Leader.  

I'll follow their directives, take good care of the wounded knee, and try to get back to running and biking ASAP.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Flowers Ahead of the Rain

Summer flowers
The wife just came in with flowers she means to keep from the coming storms tonight.  I took my hand at identifying--goat's beard, lilies, daisies, roses, and . . . um . . . that's as far as I got.  They're beauties!

Food Fairies at Work Yet Again

While the wife and I were down in SF today getting my knee repaired, friends came by and left the kind of generous and thoughtful gift that comes from caring people.  And they're teaching their children their ways.  Here's a depiction of me and Anna on a bicycle after my knee gets better.  Well, maybe just practicing, since my knees in the drawing don't seem to be fully flexible.  

Prizes to those who post a proper translation of the caption offered by a beginning speller.

Thank you, fairies!  

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

A Cinematic Dream, 80 Years Old

I was a 19-year-year-old hick from South Dakota who loved movies like "Vanishing Point" and "Evel Knievel" when I was introduced to "Un Chien Andalou" at a David Bowie concert at the Jahrhunderthalle in Frankfurt in 1976.  It blew my mind, opening up a whole new film experience for me.  Check out this brief introduction from A. O. Scott at The New York Times.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Water Street Meets Water Avenue

Photo by Patrick M. Callahan, PMC Moving Photo
Pat Callahan has been busy taking great photos of a bad situation in Pierre and Ft. Pierre.  Check out the photos on Facebook here.