September 30, 2012

A Trip To Grandma's Farm

A  Trip To Grandma's Farm
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 30, 2012

I've been working on a project at the local Microsoft Technology Center involving their Kinect Motion sensors.  We ran into a problem which was eventually resolved by Nor-Tech master technician, Terry Sheridan.  On Wednesday, we went back to the MTC to deliver our product.  As a reward for his efforts, Terry got to experience the "Emperor's Chair" which is a new way to experience computer games in an immersive environment.  They have some pretty neat stuff over there!

On Friday night, we went to the Kickoff meeting for the 2012 Prior Lake Middle School Robotics Club.  The boy had the chance to mess around with the latest contender from the high school team, KingTech, which shoots basketballs with amazing speed and accuracy.  Lucky nobody got smacked in the face, because these boys were making that robot shoot basketballs everywhere!

These are the parents from Luke and Avery's 2011 team along with Joe Passofaro. Joe helped his sons found the high school team seven years ago and has since helped them win 30 different trophies in various state and national competitions!  This is Joe's last year in the program and he will be sorely missed by everyone!

On Saturday morning, we decided to take our talents to Inwood, Iowa.

We went to see Grandma Leona.  The boys hardly ever leave her side while we're there, mainly because she keeps them smothered with cookies and cupcakes throughout the weekend!

We do make them do work on the farm for 8-10 hours a day while we're there, though.  Otherwise, they'd just get way too fat.

Miss Sheri loves having the opportunity to spend time with her brother, Jerry.  And Jerry loves having the opportunity to beat up on us at the Golf Course!

  The boys love having the opportunity to tear up the gravel roads on  Uncle Jerry's 4 Wheelers.  Next time, I'm bringing a face mask though because that dust can be a killer!

Avery made me re-take this picture several times to ensure I had the full moon framed just right to balance against his masculine pose.  Then I climbed back on and he gave me a ride back to the farm.

We love riding the 4 Wheelers!  It's way cheaper than going to the hair stylist!

September 23, 2012

Dan Navarro House Concert in Monticello, Minnesota

Dan Navarro House Concert in Monticello, Minnesota
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 23, 2012

On Saturday, Miss Sheri and I were invited to go to a house concert.  I'd never been to a house concert before, but it was a lot like what I expected.  It was a concert at somebody's house.  Lucky for them, they had a really big garage.

The opening act was a guy named Tom and some other guy.  I didn't catch his name, but he said he was normally much more comfortable running the sound board than being behind the microphone.  Not sure why he said that, though, because I thought they sounded very nice.

The headliner for the evening was a nice gentleman by the name of Dan Navarro.  You may have heard of Dan as being the co-writer for the song "We Belong" which was made popular by Pat Benetar.    Dan and a couple of local musicians entertained us for several hours.

Our friend, Heidi Wojahn, seen here with her sister-in-law, Patti, and my wife, Miss Sheri, turned us on to Mr. Navarro.  She told us last summer that she was a groupie of his and the next time he was in town, we had to go see him live.  I've been searching for somebody to be a groupie for as well, so we took her up on her offer.

I'm thinking I may end up being a groupie for her husband, Mark, instead though.  We sat together for most of the performance and he's a really nice guy, so I may take to following him around town.  At least until he calls the cops on me.

The neat thing about a house concert is that it has a lot of the same characteristics as that of a pot luck dinner.

Although the jello tasted a lot better here than it does at most of the pot lucks I've ever attended.

They also had nice dogs in the audience which you hardly ever get to enjoy at a concert.  So that was nice.

Dan's longtime collaborator was a man by the name of Eric Lowen.  Sadly, Mr. Lowen passed away in March of this year.  I had never heard the two of them perform together, but hearing the way Dan spoke of him as well as how people in the audience loved their music, it sounds like I missed out on something pretty special.

Here's a couple clips of the concert that I recorded.  I hope you enjoy the music as much as we did.

Prior Lake 8th Grade Marching Band Performance at the Community Fest

Prior Lake 8th Grade Marching Band Performance at the Community Fest

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 23, 2012

On Monday night we went to the Prior Lake Community Fest to see the boys in their first performance as members of the 8th grade marching band.  Avery is such a good little tromboner!

Luke normally plays the cymbals, but apparently there was some sort of a mixup and his cymbals weren't there for the first few songs of the performance.  But we thought he stood in the line real nice.

Mr. Hanson is the boy's band instructor at school.  He runs a great program!

His partner is Mr. Melody who runs the band program at the other middle school in Prior Lake.  You just know with a name like Melody, he's gotta be good!

September 16, 2012

6th Annual Cabin Classic Golf Tournament in Clear Lake, Iowa

6th Annual Cabin Classic Golf Tournament in Clear Lake, Iowa
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 16, 2012

The wife and kids were getting sick and tired of me hanging around them all the time, so I headed down to Iowa for a guy's weekend.  Harvest time is near.

Jason Alexander has organized a golf tournament based at his cabin in Clear Lake for the past 6 years.  This year it was called the 6th Annual Cabin Classic which makes a lot of sense when you think about it.

The tournament usually attracts a pretty gnarly cast of characters.

We were scheduled to leave for the golf course at 7am on Saturday morning.  Amazingly everyone showed up on time and were raring to go.  

I think the three gallons of Bloody Marys Jason Bradshaw brought may have helped everyone wake up just a little bit.

OK.  They actually helped a lot.

And whenever you ran out of your drink, there was always somebody right there willing to give you another!  What a bunch of nice guys!

The first 18 holes of golf just seemed to fly by!  It probably helped that we were playing a Best Ball format.  For some reason, we didn't use a lot of my shots.  I found myself constantly muttering that I have The Worst Balls in the world.

Lunch time arrived and we headed back to the cabin so these guys could serve us some meat.  

Then we headed back to the course for another 9 holes.  It was supposed to be another 18, but we were too pooped to continue.   

We were also excited to get back to the cabin to indulge in some more meat.  Matt Glidden was kind enough to bring us a whole side of prime rib which was quite delicious.
All in All, it was one of the best golf weekends I've attended all year!  I can't wait for the 7th Annual Cabin Classic. 

September 9, 2012

Cowboy Jack's in Bloomington

Cowboy Jack's in Bloomington
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 2, 2012

On Sunday night, we connected with our old friends, Jason, Jen, Tim, and Brad for some good old fashion BSTalking.  Then we went to Cowboy Jack's in Bloomington, Minnesota.

This was my first time there, but I'd heard about it for quite awhile.  Mainly because they have a mechanical bull right in the middle of the bar!  I rode the thing, but unfortunately the video didn't turn out so well.  I can give you the details, though.  I struggled to climb on it, I then spun around a couple of times in an unimpressive fashion, then I fell off.  But I did it and didn't break any bones, so ultimately I figured my first ride was a success.

We had a great time together even if Jason did get a little bit too "Handsy" with Tim.  

Tubing with the Walters Family

Tubing with the Walters Family
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 2, 2012

Sunday was a beautiful day, so we invited our friends, the Walters Family out on the lake to enjoy it.

We were greeted at Candy Cove by this sign on the boat.  I'm not sure if this was an affliction of mine if I'd brag about it quite so much.  Oh who am I kidding?  I'd probably do the exact same thing.

The boys were all excited to go on the tube.  I told them they'd probably be even more excited if they'd turn it over!

Avery and Jackson were up first because they wanted to go "Crazy" on the tube.  I sent them airborne a few times, but luckily it didn't flip.

Luke tends to like to go a little bit slower.  I think he enjoys having a captive audience that he can tell jokes to throughout the ride.  I'm not sure if Conner enjoyed it nearly as much as he did, though!

Swank Family Best Ball Tournament

Swank Family Best Ball Tournament
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 31, 2012

Luke and Avery have been taking golf lessons for a few years now and played in a golf league this summer.  I thought it was time to put their skills to the test and see just how badly they'd beat their old man on the links.

We decided to do a Best Ball game with Avery and I taking on Miss Sheri and Luke.  In the end, Avery and I won by a couple of strokes, but I really can't take any credit.  Avery had most of the Best Balls on our team.   As a matter of fact, I think if I would have joined Miss Sheri and Luke's team, the end result may have been the exact same!  

Part of the reason they lost is that Luke insists on crawling into the sand trap every time his ball goes in there.  He says it's to "Avoid Snipers" but I have no idea what that means.

We had a taste of what it's going to be like in 3 years when Luke and Avery are old enough to drive.  All I can say is it's going to be scary.  I may turn in my driver's license to the state before that happens, because there's absolutely no way that I want to be on the roads at the same time as they are.