November 18, 2018

The 2018 Minne Mini Robotics Tournament

The 2018 Minne Mini Robotics Tournament
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 18, 2018

I spent much of the week in Kansas City along with my team attending a very intense & powerful sales training.  We worked hard and played hard together.

On Saturday, I attended the 2018 Minne Mini Regional FRC Robotics Tournament.  The tournament consists of 36 robotics teams from Minnesota & Iowa competing in a game called First Power Up.

Basically each match consists of 2 alliances with 3 robots per side competing to score points by performing various tasks including lifting large blocks onto a scale to gain control away from the competing alliance.  It's 2 minutes of chaos on the field and a lot of fun to watch.

I was one of 8 judges observing the tournament and interviewing the teams to determine which ones would win various awards for showcasing talent in engineering, spirit, and gracious professionalism.  It's hard to judge because there are so many worthy teams to be considered and a ton of great kids.

It's also fun spending time with my fellow judges.  These are a bunch of great guys.

After the tournament we went out to dinner with the Korkowskis and one of Sue's best friends from childhood.  We had a nice dinner before heading back to the high school for a late night event.

We went to see the Prior Lake High School performance of Sister Act.  If you haven't seen the movie, the story is about a night club singer who witnesses a murder and has to go into hiding so she pretends to be a nun in a local convent.  Hilarity ensues.

We were there to support Grace Korkowski who was one of the nuns.  It was fun seeing her sing and dance throughout the various performances.

There are a lot of talented performers at Prior Lake High School.

There were more than 120 students involved in the production which seems pretty crazy to me.  That's a lot of kids.  But you could totally see the amount of passion and hard-work they put into the production.  It was a phenomenal show!

November 11, 2018

Our First Curling Lesson

Our First Curling Lesson
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 11, 2018

We had our first curling lesson this week.  Our friend, Guy Perera, is getting certified to be a curling instructor and needed some really pathetic participants so he could practice giving lessons.  Miss Sheri and I were more than happy to volunteer.

I've always wanted to try curling, but never really had the opportunity.  I had concerns if I'd be able to do it, but after some practice, great instruction from Guy, and special Short Arm Guy adaptations I was able to hurl the stone down the ice.  I have a long way to go before that sucker travels straight, though.

Miss Sheri is a natural at curling.  She was getting it going straight very quickly and will probably be a pretty competitive player if we ever get to play an actual game.  She did fall on her butt, though.

I did my civic duty and voted this week.  I'm not sure why they make me go to this polling place, though.  Seems kind of discriminatory.

On Saturday night, we had the Browns and the Zitzewitzes over for dinner and a hot tub party.  The temperatures were down in the teens so we figured it was a perfect time to go outside and get in the water.

Ana celebrated her birthday this week, so we were pretty excited to get the chance to sing her a song.  The song was called Happy Birthday to You.

It was Rhonda's birthday this week as well so she also received a celebratory cheesecake and her named mentioned in the song.  It was in the third line where we substituted the word You and instead said "Ana and Rhonda".  I thought it all came together pretty good.   

November 4, 2018

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Minnesota State Mavericks Hockey

Minnesota Golden Gophers vs Minnesota State Mavericks Hockey
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 4, 2018

Blue likes to swim with the ducks.  He actually likes to swim without the ducks also, but I enjoy it more when they are out there with him.  They actually let him get amazingly close to them when he's chasing after his ball.  I guess they must think he's not coming after them, but I have no clue what he'd do if he actually caught up to one of them.  He'd probably fetch the duck and leave the ball.

We had another get together for the Prior Lake Empty Nester Club on Thursday, this month at Bowlero in Lakeville.  We actually had pretty light attendance this month.  I guess a lot of people don't like bowling alleys.

We did have some new friends show up this month when Tom and Kellie Wolf stopped by to see us.  Tom is the local county commissioner so it's always interesting talking politics with him and getting the inside skinny about what's going on out there.  

On Friday night, we went to Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis.

We went there to attend the first meeting of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers vs the Minnesota State Mankato Mavericks in Men's Hockey.  We were excited to see a good match. 

Avery goes to the University of Minnesota while Luke goes to Minnesota State Mankato so we had to root for both teams while we were there.  We can't take sides between our boys.

The Gophers were ranked the #10 team in the country before the game with a record of 1-1-1.

The Mavericks were ranked #4 with a record of 5-1.  You can tell that hockey is a pretty popular sport in the state of Minnesota by the level of competition we were getting a chance to see.

The excitement levels were high going into the game and the cheerleaders worked the crowd into a frenzy.

Goldy Gopher was dressed extra special for the event and impressed us all with his smooth dance moves.

In the end, the home team got whooped by the visitors.  Mankato won the game by a score of 5 - 1 including an impressive short handed goal late in the third period to seal the victory.  The family really enjoyed the game.  We all decided to make going to this rivalry game every year a new tradition for us.

Our albino squirrel friends keep visiting our yard every day.  We've actually seen three of them running around but still haven't been able to capture all three of them together in a single picture.  But we keep trying.

October 28, 2018

A Confirmation Weekend at the Farm

A Confirmation Weekend at the Farm
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 28, 2018

Autumn has come with a vengeance and Miss Sheri has been busy all week dealing with dead leaves that have been carpeting our lawn.  Thankfully she has a big tractor otherwise we'd need a lot of really good rakes.

We drove down to Iowa this weekend for a visit to the farm.  The weather ended up being beautiful so we spent a lot of time outside.

I brought my drone down for the first time so had some fun walking around getting photos in different places.  There's a lot of freedom to fly it here with not many obstacles.

Blue loves coming to the farm.  So many interesting things to smell, although we have to be sure to watch him to make sure he isn't eating anything he isn't supposed to be eating.  There's some nasty stuff lying around and that's what he's drawn to more than anything.  The nastier the better.

It's fun to wander through the fields where there isn't a soul around for miles.  It's a pretty peaceful feeling.  I'm definitely coming here when the zombie apocalypse starts.

 Miss Sheri and I went for a ride on the 4 wheeler and rustled up this owl.  He wasn't very willing to pose for pictures even though we chased him for quite awhile.  I kept thinking he might decide to be more friendly with us, but he just kept flying away every time we'd get close.  One of these days I'm going to meet a nice owl.

The reason for our visit to the farm was to attend the Confirmation ceremony for our niece, Karli.  It was a beautiful service in an incredible church.  We were very happy to be part of the celebration.

We had a lot of fun spending a couple of nights with Miss Sheri's side of the family.  Unfortunately the boys weren't able to join us this trip, but we had enough fun for the four of us.

We don't get to see her mom and brother as much as we'd like, so we make sure we fit in as much enjoyment as we can while we are together.

Blue discovered on this trip that he likes to put his head outside the window while we are driving.  For some reason he's never shown much interest in doing this before, but maybe there was something interested he smelled this time.  I'm sure it was something nasty.

October 21, 2018

Minnesota Timberwolves 2018 Home Opener

Minnesota Timberwolves 2018 Home Opener
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for October 21, 2018

My job as an enterprise salesperson at Oracle has given me the opportunity to travel quite a bit lately.  I caught this shot of Minneapolis while flying by this week and thought it was pretty cool.

This week I had the chance to spend a couple of nights in lovely Omaha, Nebraska.  The weather was beautiful while I was there and the people I met were very friendly.  A couple of important things for me to have a good time while on the road.

Krazy Kory also covers Omaha for his job and we had the opportunity to have dinner together.  I always enjoy seeing Krazy Kory.

We bumped into the Main Sisters while we were out and about.  I found out that there were another 2 sisters who couldn't make it out that night, but it was quite the pleasure getting to meet these 6.

On Friday night, we had the good fortune to spend the night on the town with our friends, Jen and Dan Walters.  I saw some pictures of Dan from several years ago where he was wearing a Kangol and I complimented him on his good taste.  So Jen and Dan surprised us with some new head-wear for us to enjoy on our special night.  Needless to say I was thrilled with the fashion statement we were making.

Our destination was the home opener of the Minnesota Timberwolves.  They were taking on the Cleveland Cavaliers and we were excited to go down to the Target Center and cheer on the local team.

Jen and Dan had never been to an NBA game before.  Dan was absolutely tickled pink when he was invited to the administration office so he could receive a certificate for attending his first game. I'm sure he'll get that framed and hang it somewhere special.

There's been a lot of drama around the Wolves to start the season as one of their best players, Jimmy Butler, has decided he doesn't like to play with us any more and demanded to be traded.  He was crying for much of the game because fans were booing him.  We were able to catch this shot of him when the taunts were especially loud.

It was kind of ironic that we were playing against Kevin Love who was another one of our superstar players who decided he didn't like playing here any more and demanded to be traded to the Cavaliers.  He was probably pretty excited when that happened and Lebron James was on the team.  I'm not sure it's as much fun now that Lebron is a Laker.  I don't know why these players hate Minnesota so much.  We think it's a really nice place to live.

The rumor is that Jimmy Butler thinks our young stars like Andrew Wiggens don't put enough effort into honing their craft and he wants to play on a team where all the players put in the same level of effort he does.  I guess I can understand that feeling, but wonder why he can't be the kind of leader who inspires his teammates to want to work harder like he does?  It just seems like leaving isn't the right solution, but what do I know?

At least they were able to put their differences behind them on Friday night as the team rallied together to beat the Cavs by a score of 131 - 123.  Maybe that will help Jimmy want to stay with us.

We really liked the half time act where the nice lady rides around on a unicycle while flipping bowls on to her head with her foot.  We've seen her do it before, but it's still impressive nonetheless.  I just have no clue how someone figures out they have a skill like this.  Do you just sit at a table one day with a bunch of bowls and notice a unicycle laying nearby when the light-bulb goes off?

I keep thinking I'm not going to post our albino squirrels for awhile and then get a better picture than the week before.  This week, we had the two come into our yard and line-up more closely so I could get a better shot of them together.  They're good little nut collectors.