November 25, 2012

Thanksgiving in Inwood, Iowa 2012

Thanksgiving in Inwood, Iowa 2012
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 25, 2012

We headed to Grandma's farm for Thanksgiving.   Good Food.  Good friends.  Good family.  Good times! 

Uncle Jerry carved the turkey.  She was a good bird.  I like to think she lived a long, exciting life and then died of natural causes before donating her body to the grocery store to help us celebrate our time of thankfulness.  

The boys got to spend the holiday with not one, but two grandmas!!  Avery just about overdosed on sweets and treats!

Luke's weakness is Grandma Pancakes.  They're a little bit too thin for my taste, but I'm glad he gets to enjoy them.

We sure were happy to spend some time with Aunt Marian on Thanksgiving.  I think she was kind of glad to see us as well.

At the end of the night, Chuck and I sat down to tackle a very challenging puzzle.  It took us quite a bit of sweat and tears to complete it, but we toasted our good fortune once the last piece was placed!

It was pretty cold and windy while we were there, so we didn't spend a lot of time outside.  Although we did go out to one of the buildings to help Uncle Jerry move a trailer.  Well, he pretty much moved it and I put my arms on it and did my best to look like I was struggling.

On Saturday night, we went into Sioux Falls, South Dakota to catch the home opener for the Sioux Falls Skyforce.   They're part of professional basketball's D League.  I'm not sure who's grading these things, but that seemed about right to me.

At least it helped us answer the burning question, "Whatever happened to Minnesota Timberwolves point guard, Troy Hudson?"  Now we know...

Grandma Leona was happy to spend some time with Thunder.  Apparently they've had eyes for one another for some time now.

The game was a lot of fun, but then suddenly at half time these two dudes snuck on the floor and started climbing all over one another.  I kept waiting for an usher or someone to go shoo them away, but nobody ever did.  Apparently they're pretty loose about this kind of stuff in South Dakota.

November 19, 2012

Intel Partners: Otellini's Successor Must Continue Mobile Charge

Intel (NSDQ:INTC) President and CEO Paul Otellini is set to retire in May, leaving the chip maker's crucial transition to the mobile market in the hands of an unnamed successor. 

 "The industry is changing rapidly and obviously Intel is being affected by it, with the transition to mobile and all the dominance ... of ARM chips in phones and tablets and everything lately," said Todd Swank, vice president of marketing at Nor-Tech, a Burnsville, Minn.-based solution provider and Intel partner. "It will be really interesting to see who they choose." 

According to Nor-Tech's Swank, Otellini's replacement needs to be somebody who can build upon Intel's mobile strategy, without losing focus of the chip maker's bread-and-butter markets, such as high-end PCs and servers. 

"It's hard to believe that [Intel] would hire somebody from the outside. They've never done that before. But I mean, it's different times," Swank told CRN. "I mean, look at their stock price, it's down pretty low right now. So I imagine they want to get some new blood, new ideas and new focus. But, then again, they don’t want to lose what's made them strong and made them the great company they are today." 

"Otellini has been a big channel guy. He always has been very supportive, he has come to some of our channel events, and he was definitely a friend of the channel," said Nor-Tech's Swank. "So hopefully the next person will have the same feel."

Read Full Article Here:

Miss Minnesota at Nickelodeon Universe

Miss Minnesota at Nickelodeon Universe
Todd Swank’s Diary Entry for November 18, 2012

On Sunday, we were invited to join Camp Odayin at the Mall of America for an afternoon of fun at Nickelodeon Universe.  Miss Minnesota aka Siri Freeh had a bunch of tickets to share with the families of Camp Odayin campers.  The boys were pretty excited for the opportunity.  As Avery commented while we were there, “Everything is Coming Up Swank!”

Siri is a former counselor at Camp Odayin and has been a huge supporter of the organization.  She is a doctorate student in Cardiac Research and her platform for the Miss America competition is "Living Heartstrong".   We know who we'll be rooting for in the big competition this January!

The boys had a great time while we were there, although this kind of activity is a little bitter sweet for Luke since he’s not supposed to go on most of the rides at the park.  So we split up after a while and let Avery get some fun on the thrill rides while Luke and his mom found things to keep themselves entertained.

Avery drug me on some of the big rides like the Avatar Airbender which spins around in circles while it rushes back and forth to the roof of the mall on some vertical rails.  I guess I’m getting a little bit old for these rides because I felt a lot more nauseous than thrilled.

I always enjoy when we have the opportunity to dress up like one another.

On Tuesday night, I flew to Seattle to visit with Microsoft for a couple of days.  One of these times I’m going to actually go over and climb Mount Rainier rather than just stare at from the airplane as I leave town.

On Friday night, we went to watch the Prior Lake High School production of In The Woods.  

Dana is a friend of the family and she was one of the stars of the play.  We were blown away by her singing!

Although we were all a little bit shocked when we discovered that this was going to be one of those kissing plays.  Our delicate sensibilities were a little bit taken aback by this revelation.

Our favorite character in the play was Jack’s beloved cow.  I have no idea how the girl was able to stay in this position for the nearly 3 hour musical, but I have to image her back was getting sore.  She must have been taking a lot of pain pills, though, because she sure was funny!

On Saturday, we headed back to the Boy Scout Christmas Tree Lot to help unload a truckload of Christmas wreaths and another truck load of Christmas trees.  These trees sure are heavy.  If somebody could figure out how to invent an Ultra Light Christmas Tree, they’d be rich!

The boys weren't complaining.  They were like a little colony of ants marching back and forth to the truck to load up on trees and deposit them in their appropriate piles.  It’s amazing how many trees you can move when you get 50 or 60 boys together!   

November 11, 2012

Water Park of America November 2012

Water Park of America November 2012
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for November 11, 2012

Tuesday night brought me to Detroit, Michigan.  From this angle, it looks just like Minneapolis.

The reason for my trip was to present at a customer event hosted by Intel and Simulia.  I was there to introduce the new Nor-Tech Personal Clusters.  

The person I followed was a nice man from General Motors.  He told me he was responsible for designing the drive trains on new automobiles.  Sounded pretty cool to me!

On Saturday morning, I was back home and dragging the boys to the Boy Scout Christmas Tree Lot bright and early to help them set-up for the upcoming season.  Hard to believe it's already time to start selling Christmas Trees again!

It was cold and drizzling, but the boys did a good job walking around trying to look like they were hard at work!

On Saturday afternoon, we headed to the Water Park of America for a little bit of fun and relaxation.

We went with our good friends, the Zitzewitz Family.  There was a time when Karl and I could handle the solo tubes, but we discovered that as we get older the double tubes just work better.

We established home base off in one of the corners.  It's nice to rest for awhile after repeatedly subjecting our bodies to abuse down the tube and body slides.

Karl and I had fun taking Grandma Linda down the 10 story family raft ride.  Oh sure, she swears and screams a lot, but in general she's a pretty good sport.

It was hard to get the boys to leave at the end of the night, but I guess that means they had a good time. 

Doc and Portia's Wedding

Doc and Portia's Wedding
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for September 1, 2012

On Saturday night, we headed to downtown Minneapolis for a Party at the top of the IDS Center.  That's the tall one on the left.

Our friends, Portia and Doc, were getting married at Windows on Minnesota.  Our ears popped as we whisked up the elevator to the 50th floor.

We don't get to dress up very often, but when we do we like to bring Grandma Linda with us.  She just makes us look better.

Luke and Avery have been in scouts with Gavin for quite a few years now and that's how we got to know his mom, Portia.

Of course, we'd never seen her like this before.  Gavin's mom looked like a Million Bucks!

Her new husband, Doc, didn't look too shabby either!

This is Portia's sister, Kathleen.  She read a piece during the ceremony on how to have a successful marriage and it was quite enlightening.  Not only did she read it with incredible passion, she also ad-libbed her own thoughts on the piece throughout it which brought a lot of smiles to everyone's faces.  It sure made me want to figure out how to have a successful marriage!

Portia's daughters, Dana and Tess, looked quite lovely as they added their own commentary to the ceremony as well.  It was honestly one of the most enjoyable wedding ceremonies I've ever attended.

I was also happy to be there because I had a chance to see the dessert table.  I gained 9 pounds by the time the night was over.

We had an incredible meal and celebrated the joyous occasion until the wee hours of the evening.

Suddenly this incredible band appeared.  And they played Music!

So we had to dance.  And Dance We Did!

It was a great experience celebrating the union of these two incredible people.      

It is nice to see Portia so happy.  We wish the both of them the best as they spend the rest of their lives together!!