June 30, 2013

Krazy Kory and Dora The Explorer

Krazy Kory and Dora The Explorer
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 30, 2013

On Tuesday night the boys thought it would be fun to go for a round of early evening tubing.

For some reason, they don't seem to enjoy it nearly as much when the boat actually starts moving.

On Thursday, Krazy Kory came to town with beautiful young Harli at his side.  We said "Let's Go To The Mall of America!!!"

We had a great time at the Mall even though Avery spent the first hour while we were there jumping in front of all of us and exclaiming "Pinch My Butt!"  Thankfully, he eventually tired of this game.

Harli was very excited to see Dora The Explorer while we were there and gave her a big hug before we left!

Not wanting to be left out, I also gave Dora a big hug before we left.  Although I was a bit disappointed that she didn't hug me back nearly as enthusiastically.

On Friday night, Miss Sheri worked hard to provide us all with a home cooked meal.  And Krazy Kory grilled the steaks.  And I sat back and enjoyed the fruits of their labors.  And the meat too.

Krazy Kory and I had a pretty late night and surprised Sunny with a walk.  He was pretty excited.  It's not often he gets to do dock dives at 1 o'clock in the morning!

We then went back home where Kory dazzled me with some tricks he can perform with pool balls.  It's amazing what impresses people at 2 o'clock in the morning.

June 29, 2013

Western Digital To Acquire sTec, Beef Up HGST SSD, Flash Storage Business

Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus Computer Systems, a Minneapolis-based system builder, said Western Digital's proposed acquisition of sTec is evidence of a continuing rationalization of the SSD business, and will likely be welcomed by the channel.

"There's such a bloodbath in the SSD space," Swank said. "Who are the masters? Companies like Samsung and Intel (NSDQ:INTC) that have their own chip manufacturing. Western Digital and Seagate are seeing the importance of having the chip business."

Western Digital is reacting to the growing long-term strength of the SSD market, while sTec was competing in the brutal second-tier SSD market, Swank said.

"The second-tier SSD market is so competitive, it's silly to be selling someone else's stuff," he said. "Getting Western Digital behind sTec should result in big changes to that company. Consolidation in this space is good for all of us. It's hard to keep up with all the vendors. SSDs is one of the more active categories in the channel." 

Read Full Article Here:

June 23, 2013

World War T

World War T
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 23, 2013

We've had lots of storms in Minnesota this week with power outages and trees down.  We've been pretty lucky so far, but our neighbor took a direct hit from a big old tree that messed up their roof and porch.  Just been weird weather this year.

On Friday night, we went to check out the new Brad Pitt movie, World War Z.  I had pretty low expectations because the reviews weren't that good.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Sure, the story line with Brad Pitt was completely unbelievable with the world in chaos all around him, yet he was still able to easily navigate in and out of town in three different countries.  However, I really thought it was an interesting set-up and the zombies gave some genuine frights.  Worth checking out on a rainy day!

On Saturday, we volunteered to help the Prior Lake High School robotics team with a hot dog fundraiser at a local grocery store.  We didn't really do much, but for some reason they needed to have an adult volunteer on site with them.  Miss Sheri is an adult, so I asked her to come with me in case we were questioned about it too closely.

This is Kevin Tran.  I'm a fan of Kevin because he was the creator of the Prior Lake Next Top Model competition when he was only 15 years old.  Here's the website.  I'm an admirer of people with big ambitions in life and Kevin is one young man who is going places!

I'm also a fan of Joe Passofaro who has served as the team mentor for the Prior Lake High School robotics team since it's inception seven years ago, but is retiring this year before our boys get to high school.  The team made it all the way to the finals in the World Competition in St. Louis, Missouri this year.  Here's a fun video from a regional competition they won in Denver, Colorado that shows just how dominant they were.  Be sure to watch the second half of the video where you can see how accurate their robot could shoot a frisbee into a little slot all the way across the field!

We went to drop off Jackson and saw yet another large snapping turtle in the road.  I don't know why it is this year, but I've been seeing big, snapping turtles all over the place!  This guy may have been dead though, because he wouldn't move when we approached him, although he was gone when we drove by a couple of hours later so who knows.  Next time I'll put my hand near his mouth to see if I can get a reaction from him that way.

When we arrived at the Walters Place, we discovered their Florida friends were in town so we decided to crash their party for a little while.  They are all very fun people.

Unfortunately, we couldn't get the boys to leave the house when they discovered that Emma Stone was inside.  They pretty much stayed glued to her hip whenever she comes around. 

On Sunday, we decided to go golfing.  It was hot, sticky, wet, and I played like garbage.  But it seemed like a good idea at the time.

June 16, 2013

Graduation Parties 2013

Graduation Parties 2013
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 16, 2013

When I was driving home from work on Friday night, there was a group of cars backed up on a road near my house.  When I was able to see what was happening, I discovered this guy trying to navigate a baby snapping turtle across the road to avoid being hit by traffic.

The guy was just trying to help him, but the turtle let us know pretty clearly that he wasn't a very big fan of the shovel.

On Friday night, we went to our first graduation party of the weekend at one of Miss Sheri's co-workers house.  Her daughter was celebrating her high school graduation.  Miss Sheri quit her job recently to become a full time mom, so the ladies were giving her a hard time about retiring so young.  If I'd have known that she wore hats like these when she was around her co-workers, I would have encouraged her to stick it out for another year or two.

On Saturday morning, we decided to go for a boat ride, but first we had to stop and have a discussion with Natalia who works for the DNR.  She works at the boat launch near our house and educates boaters on the invasive species they discovered in Prior Lake a few years ago like zebra mussels and milfoil weeds.  It became the law in Minnesota that boats are no longer allowed to drive on the road with their bilge plugs installed.  Lucky for me, my wife is pretty good with a wrench.

Luke and Avery brought a couple of friends from school with us to go on the boat.  It never ceases to amaze me how much better behaved my boys are when there's a couple of girls their age around.  We may need to adopt a couple of them to keep these guys in line.

I like pulling the kids around on a tube because it helps me to keep them all in line.  When they start acting up too much, I just send them over higher and higher waves and they scream themselves to a calmer mood.  It's a very effective technique.

Another one of the boy's classmates arrived with his family and we tied up the boats together to have a real party in the middle of candy cove.  Well, maybe not a party.  There weren't any other boats around us and the cold water kept us pretty mellow, but it was still fun all the same.

Saturday night brought us to our second graduation party of the weekend.  We went to join the celebration of  the lovely Jamie Erickson who is excited to move into her next stage of education studying pharmacology.  We've known Jamie since she was just a little girl, so it's weird to see her as a young lady moving out on her own.  It's weird to get old.

Jamie is the daughter of my good friend and former co-worker, Jay Erickson, who you never heard me talk much about before because he would never let me take his picture.  Now that we don't work together any more, he lets me.   If I would have known that's all it was going to take, I would have quit my job years ago!

June 9, 2013

First Boat Ride of 2013

First Boat Ride of 2013
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 9, 2013

On Monday night, we went to the last Boy Scout meeting before summer break and were proud of Luke and Avery as they both earned their Star ranks.  Now they only need to earn their Life ranks and then they can start working on becoming Eagle Scouts.  I never would have guessed they would have lasted this long in scouts, but am really glad they have.  They gain a lot of helpful skills and experience through this program and there's so many great people involved in our troop.  We feel blessed to be part of it.

On Friday night, we drug Grandma Linda out of her house to the new movie, The Intern, starring Vince Vaughn and Owen Wilson.  We liked those guys in Wedding Crashers, so we thought this would be a good movie also.  We were wrong.  Although it certainly had it's funny moments, the plot was pretty unbelievable and predictable all at the same time.

About halfway through the movie, I decided to walk out and spend the rest of the evening riding this prop from the movie Turbo in the lobby instead.  I think I made the right choice.

Although it's still ridiculously cold for June, we decided we couldn't wait any more and drug the boat out of the garage for our first boat ride of the year.  It was short, but pleasant.  

It was also pretty dangerous apparently, although we didn't even know the risks we were taking until I was looking through these pictures the next evening.  If you look at what is behind the boat, you'll see that we have one of those fresh water great white sharks stalking us.  I'm so glad it was too cold for swimming, else we'd have been goners!

Although we didn't stay out for long, we did continue our bird watching hobby and found this Great Blue Heron sitting in a tree high over our heads.  These guys are huge and fun to watch flying over the lake because they're kind of awkward.  Just like me.

Sunny pretended he was interested in the birds, but I knew it was a challenge for him.  He's not real fond of riding around in the boat.

He'd much rather be jumping into the lake rather than floating around on top of it.  I guess I can't blame him.

June 8, 2013

Intel Partners Say New Haswell Motherboards In Short Supply

Nevertheless, some system builders thought they'd have more time before having to turn to alternative motherboard options. 

"We've known this was going to happen for months, but it's still a big transition, and I think a lot of people are still in denial," said Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus of Minnetonka, Minn. "This is probably going to force companies to make the transition earlier than they expected."

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Is Windows RT At The End Of Its Rope?

Still, VARs aren't seeing the demand for Windows RT, and some would like to see Microsoft cut its losses with RT and rally around Windows 8. Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus of Minnetonka, Minn., said Windows RT has some promise but not enough to overcome a lack of apps and Windows RT's identity crisis. 

 "I've had some folks who've used Windows RT and loved it," Swank said. "But it's not really the Windows experience that people know, and that makes it an uphill battle. I think Microsoft is much better suited with focusing on Windows 8 for tablets."

Read Full Article Here:

Monkey Foot Guy

So I never thought I would do this.  Since 1999, I've proudly posted on my website, www.shortarmguy.com , pictures of my funny looking arms held high in the air. 

But I've always been more embarrassed about showing people what my foot looks like.  

Quite frankly, it looks like a monkey's foot.

I usually always wears socks for pictures, but my wife snapped this one of my me a week ago and I figured, "What the heck!"  

I just can't decide if I should change the name of my website to www.monkeyfootguy.com or not.

June 2, 2013

Minnesota Twins vs Seattle Mariners

Minnesota Twins vs Seattle Mariners
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 2, 2013

We had a very busy weekend starting with a visit from some of my former co-workers and good buddies.  I think Jay has let me take more pictures of him in the two months that I haven't been working with him than in the 12 years I was working with him!

The reason for their visit was to play a little bit of Texas Hold 'em and to share some laughs.  Not a lot of money changed hands, but at least John and I were smiling at this point of the evening.

Saturday morning brought us to the local grocery store to join some of the men of Boy Scout Troop 331 to help the local Lions Club sell tickets to their pancake breakfast.  I keep telling the boys they're gonna be Eagle Scouts some day, but it still doesn't seem to eliminate their grumpies when I tell them they're spending part of their Saturday doing volunteer work.

On Saturday night, we had the honor of joining Lindsey Bollig to celebrate her graduation from high school.  We've known Lindsey since she was just a bump in her mama's belly so it's hard to believe that she's grown up into such a wonderful young lady already.  Where the heck did all that time go?

Lindsey's dad, Dr. David Bollig, has been a good friend of mine for almost 20 years now.  David will be undergoing hip replacement surgery this week to help him with an injury he sustained as a child.  Please keep him in your prayers as we wish him well with the procedure and a speedy recovery!

We spent a couple hours at the party and enjoyed spending time with old friends like Jessie and Nick Forga.  They're a couple of avid bird watchers like we are, so we were so excited when we saw a....

Scarlet Tanager.  I would have never known his name had Jessie not emailed it to me later in the night.  I was fascinated with this bird right when I saw it because it's color was so striking.  I was also curious why the bird was so mellow and didn't fly away even when I came pretty close to take this picture.  I later asked David about it and he said he saw it run into the house earlier and maybe it had sustained a concussion.  Poor little tanager.

The boys love going to the Bollig's house because they have a zipline in their backyard.  I'm really hoping they wished Lindsey a Happy Graduation, but in hindsight I'm wondering if they ever even saw her the whole time we were there!

On Sunday, we were excited to be able to spend one of the first sunny days of the year at Target Field cheering on the Minnesota Twins.

Of course, it only took about 30 minutes before half the family was bellyaching about it being too hot.  You can just never be happy with the weather no matter what when you live in Minnesota!

The Twins have been on a bit of a roll lately and had a high scoring trouncing over the Mariners.  The final score ended up being 10 to 0.   Which was nice.