November 12, 2017

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Nebraska Cornhuskers

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Nebraska Cornhuskers
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 12, 2017

I bought the new iPhone X this week so I've been having fun playing with the new photography features in it.  I especially like the Animoji Feature as can be seen here:

The Poop Animoji Sings Metallica's One.

I live by the boat launch and wander down there quite often to see what's happening. The temperature was down to 20 degrees on Friday, so I was a bit surprised when I found this nice young lady about to go out on the water by herself. I asked her what she was doing and she said she was studying the habits of the carp in the lake. She was tracking them and trying to understand what they were doing right before the lake ices over, thus the timing. I asked her if the end game was to reduce the carp populations and she agreed that was the eventual goal. Her name is Mary and I asked her if I could call her "Mary The Carp Hunter" and she thought that was OK. I wish I had a name like Mary the Carp Hunter.

She worked for a company called WSB and had a pretty high tech set-up. She said they had previously put radio tags on some of the carp and this antenna looking thing would help her to locate them in the lake. I'm also hoping to be able to pick them up on my Dish Network at home because I'm guessing those carp sound pretty amazing.

On Friday night, we invited some friends over for a hot tub party. It was 25 degrees outside so perfect time to go out and take a bath with some good friends.

I still was playing with my new iPhone and taking photos of anyone who would let me. Lucky for me, Karl never seems to tire of me taking his picture.

He actually didn't believe it was on and leaned in to investigate, but it was on.

Actually, I think it may have been Ana who took the previous photos. Apparently, this was her first experience with the iPhone X and so I woke up to find all sorts of fun new photos and videos filling up my new phone. She really seemed to like the animojis.

Luckily for all of us, The Browns showed up so we could put away the cameras and phones and get to the business of the evening! Appetizers! I even bought a new swimsuit for the event. I think it makes me look pretty hot.

Sadly for Blue, he's not allowed in the hot tub. It's cute that he gets out a towel and puts on a swimsuit, but we can't just let all that hair get in the there. Sorry, Blue.

Saturday morning came up a little too quickly for my taste and we headed downtown to TCF bank stadium to see the Minnesota Golden Gophers take on the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

We were greeted by a light dusting of snow before we left the house, so we knew it was going to be a cold day to watch the game. We made sure to bundle-up extra good.

We were pleasantly surprised to see our neighbor, Jim, at the game along with his grandson, Carter. He came along with his daughter, Jill, who we normally would go tailgating with if only we could get out of bed earlier.

Everybody was bundled-up to try to stay warm, even the cheerleaders.

It was veteran's day, so we had several opportunities to pay respect to those honorable men & women who have served our country.

The band always does an amazing halftime show and we were pleased to see them incorporate honoring the veterans during their performance.

Thanks to all veterans and active military personnel for serving our country and helping provide us the freedom to live in the greatest country on the planet! You all rock!

We were pleased to see our son, Avery, who gives us the honor to come over and visit us for a brief while during halftime. We didn't even have to pay him to do it this time.

The Gophers had been struggling in the Big 10 so far this year, and were only 1 and 5 in the conference before this game. But for some reason, they had Nebraska's number and put a whooping on the away team by a final score of 54-21. It was fun to be able to cheer for some touchdowns for our team for a change this week.

November 5, 2017

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Indiana Pacers

Minnesota Timberwolves vs Indiana Pacers
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for  November 5, 2017

Miss Sheri and I are pretty much on our own now that the boys have moved on to college so we go on dates from time to time just to get out of the house.  Last Tuesday night, we went to eat at Crave in downtown Minneapolis before we went to the Timberwolves game.  Steak and Sushi really hit the spot!

Walking to Target Center took us right by the world famous First Avenue nightclub.  It always feels like a museum to me rather than the dive bar that it actually looks like.

There's a whole bunch of stars on the outside of it filled with music legends who have played here in the past.  Of course, our hearts are always with Prince who's Purple Rain made the bar famous in the first place.  I've also been there a few times in the past to watch professional wrestling which believe it or not are classic memories for me as well!  I also saw Run DMC perform there when I was still in high school which was my first official concert experience.

The Target Center just went through a $140 million renovation project that was completed right before the NBA season started.  It looks really nice!!  Although I'm sure if they would have let me do the negotiating I would have got it down to $138 million.

Timberwolves owner, Glen Taylor, still looks a little bit shell-shocked for having to spend that kind of money to fix up his arena.

I bumped into local sports columnist and radio personality, Patrick Reusse, before the game and he was kind enough to take a picture with me.  Patrick asked where I was from and I told him Prior Lake.  He then told me that his kids graduated high school from Prior Lake and as a matter of fact, he did also.  I thought that was a pretty cool coincidence.  Maybe we can start hanging out together or something.

We were excited to go see the Wolves because they had a tremendous off season and brought in veteran stars like Jimmy Butler, Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson, and Jeff Teague to go along with their young superstars Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony Towns.  It should finally be a great year for us after suffering through more than a decade long drought of not making it to the playoffs.

We were somewhat disappointed when the starting lineup was announced and we learned that Jimmy Butler was out sick.  We thought that really sucked because he was the main new player we wanted to see.  We figured, "Oh well, I'm sure all the rest of the players will step up and still play great."  We were wrong.

In what was probably their worst performance of the young season, the Wolves couldn't find their defense and were outscored by the Pacers 130 to 107.  Jimmy Butler was also sick their next game against Detroit which they lost, but since he's been back the Timberwolves have gone on to win 4 in a row and now have one of the best records in the NBA.  I guess we'll have to get to another game sometime and see if we have better luck to watch them have a victory!

I work on the 8th floor of the Oracle building in Downtown Minneapolis and am always fascinated watching the window washers scale up and down the building.  I don't think I could do this kind of work.  I would never be able to stop making fart noises with the suction cups long enough to clean the windows.

We had a Halloween costume contest at work and my co-workers and I dressed up as characters from the kids game "Guess Who?"  I also had on a wiener costume, but that wasn't for Halloween.

On Friday night, our friends Jen and Dan Walters came over for a hot tub party.  It's always so much fun taking a bath with them.

We still have a plethora of albino squirrels visiting us.  I was finally able to get two of them in one photo which is quite a difficult accomplishment because these guys are very skittish to pose for pictures.  According to this article, the odds of a squirrel being born albino are thought to be about 1 in 100,000 but for some reason, we've had them come visit us regularly for the past 18 years since our boys have been born at two different houses.  We find that pretty cool.

Attendance at our monthly Prior Lake Empty Nester club meetings fizzled quite a bit this month.  Although our old buddy, Ted, is still a trooper and joined us.  We're going to have to pump up the marketing spend in December to see if we can get some others to join us again. 

Blue is pretty frustrated with this whole almost winter thing and gets very upset with me that I don't take him outside more often.  He wants to go swimming constantly and doesn't care that it's 38 degrees and snowing.  Just throw the dang ball in the water!

I know Goldens are bred to be hunting dogs and retrieve birds in the coldest of conditions, but it never ceases to amaze me that they just seem to be impervious to the cold.  This dang dog and every other Golden I have owned will jump into the water over and over again and not think twice about the icicles hanging off his ears.  I get cold just throwing the ball to him.

Having the boys go to school within an hour of home has given us the luxury of regular visits from them which we love.  They both came home this weekend.  Of course, I thought it was to spend time with us, but after about a half hour of being home they informed us they were going out with friends and we didn't see them again for the rest of the night.  That half hour was nice, though.

On Saturday, they did actually go to a movie with us.  We saw Thor Ragnarek which was fine, but I'm getting a little burned out on superhero movies.  I do like wearing the 3D glasses, though.

October 29, 2017

University of Minnesota Homecoming 2017

University of Minnesota Homecoming 2017
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 29, 2017

It was back to TCF Stadium for us last weekend as we attended the Minnesota Golden Gophers homecoming game against Big 10 opponent, the Illinois Fighting Illini.  Not sure what an Illini is, but it sounds pretty intimidating.

We didn't do any tailgating at this game so we didn't have a chance to connect with Avery before hand.  He was kind enough to take a break from sitting in the student section to come over and say Hi to his parents.  He didn't say too much more than Hi, but it was nice to see him for a couple of minutes in any case.

Goldy Gopher must have been in the Halloween spirit or something because he kept coming out wearing different costumes.  I've never seen a Gopher walk like an Egyptian before, but he had it down pretty good.

The week before we were soaked while watching the game because of an ongoing storm, so we were nervous when we heard rain was also in the forecast today.  We got pretty lucky, though.  It was gloomy and cloudy, but the water pretty much stayed in the sky and didn't really drop on us too much.

There was a huge BandPile at half time which was pretty cool.  I'd have to think it's hard to keep playing music when you're jumping on to your fellow band-mates.

The Gophers had not had much luck against Big 10 opponents so far this year, but they gave us a good performance and ended up winning the game 24-17.  Which was nice.

After the game, we rushed back to Prior Lake to go to a pizza party hosted by our friends, the Brown Family.

Troy built a really fancy pizza oven and enjoys using it to cook delicious pizzas for his friends.  We really like to be invited to these parties, because that's some really good pizza! 

Plus we always enjoy the company when we're hanging out with the Browns and Zitewitzes.  They're a bunch of fun people.

And I did I mention delicious pizza?  There were a bunch of them!  Even one with shrimp on it which I can't say I've ever had on a pizza before.  So good.

The only sad part of the evening was watching the Browns Dog, Chunk.  Apparently he's not supposed to drink alcohol, but you can just see it in his eyes that it's hard for him to fight the temptation.

We also had a chance to get together with our friends, Jeff and Cathy.  Which was nice.  We went to Old Chicago for pizza, which I'm starting to notice may be a common theme in our lives.

We went to Mankato Family weekend to see Luke and his roommate, Jackson, a couple of weeks ago.  We just received this picture from the official Mankato photographer which I thought was cool so I'm sharing it now.