May 31, 2015

Smalley's Wench Fest 2015 in Stillwater, Minnesota

Smalley's Wench Fest 2015 in Stillwater, Minnesota
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 31, 2015

It's been pretty cool in Minnesota this spring, but the kids decided enough time had passed for them to get on the tube and give it a whirl.

I don't know why Avery and Sydney get so excited whenever Luke goes flying off the back of the tube, but it sure seems to make them happy.

Blue is slowly starting to become a better dog and is starting to get ingrained into the family.  I'm thinking Sunny is even starting to accept him a little bit.

We've been kennel training Blue and it's pretty cute when we open up the zipper on his kennel each morning.  He pops up like a Jack in the Box!

On Friday night, we took a trip to the local Bowling Alley to work out some aggression on some pins.  We had a team match and for the first time, the kids beat the parents in a straight-up game.  We'll get 'em next time.

I may not look like it, but I can throw a wicked curve ball.

On Saturday night, we joined some friends for a cruise up the St. Croix river.

Captain Karl and Tina invited us for a good time steaming up the river from Afton to Stillwater, Minnesota.  

They're building a new bridge in Stillwater which is a pretty impressive engineering feat to see up close.  I have to imagine those construction workers need to be able to hold their breath for a really long time to work on the bottom of these pillars.

We arrived and were ready to take on the town!

We went to a Pirate Bar called Smalley's who just happened to be celebrating Wench Fest 2015.  I really like wenches!

Captain Jack Sparrow was there, but he seemed a little bit inebriated so I didn't go and talk to him.  I thought that guy would have cleaned up his act by now.

We ended up waiting at the bar for about 2 and a half hours to get a table, but apparently none of those wenches wanted to leave so we had to get our food to go.  The staff at Smalley's was incredibly cool about the fact that we waited so long and ended up giving our group a nice discount for the inconvenience.  A big Thank You to them for what I thought was a very classy move.  The food was great!

We ended up heading back down the river after the sun went down and had a lovely moonlight cruise to end the evening.

May 30, 2015

Avago Reveals $37 Billion Blowout Acquisition Of Rival Broadcom

"This feels like an Internet-of-Things play. We might not be seeing a lot of success stories yet with the Internet of Things, but it's coming," said Todd Swank, senior director of product marketing at Equus Computer Systems, a Minnetonka, Minn.-based system builder. "Companies like Intel are doing everything they can, including acquisitions, to enhance their products and keep up with IoT."

"This space has always moved fast, but today we're in the midst of a paradigm shift between server architecture to devices and client architecture," said Swank. "Everyone is switching and making their bets with the Internet of Things, big data and cloud. The traditional servers and client PCs are not a focus as they used to be."

Read Entire Article Here:

May 24, 2015

Memorial Day Weekend 2015

Memorial Day Weekend 2015
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 24, 2015

Blue went on his first walk on a leash through the neighborhood this week.  He did pretty good, but I think that's because he gets to follow Sunny and see how it's done.  The neat thing that happened was Blue's mom and dad were out in the yard and he had a chance to visit with them for a couple of minutes.  He hadn't seen them since we picked him up four weeks ago.  His mom was all over him for a couple of minutes, but quickly lost interest and started playing with Sunny.  It's so weird how dogs are indifferent to their children. She liked playing with him, but she certainly wasn't overjoyed or obsessed with him.  Definitely not like people.  Can you imagine seeing your 3 month old baby walking by on your street and just saying "Oh, hey.  How are you doing?"  and then just saying "Bye."?  It's so weird.

Luke had a band concert this week.  He played 4 different instruments in 3 songs and I could pick him out of the band with each one.  He clacked the sticks, shook the maracas, pounded the bass drum, and clanged the crash symbols.  He's just so loud.

On Wednesday night, we went to the end of the year banquet for the robotics team.  We spent three hours eating, getting demonstrations of the robot, and enjoying a review of all the team's accomplishments over the past year.

Luke and Avery both earned letters and received some other awards for their personal contributions to the team.  We just love this group of great kids.

We also like hanging out with the other team parents.  There's a bunch of crazy characters that support this team.

Jackson's mom, Jen, texted me this picture.  She has been taking pictures of Jackson and the boys all the way back to the 7th grade when they first were on a robotics team together and 4 years later, they're still going strong.  I'm so glad we got involved because there's been so many positive things that have happened to the boys because of it.

On Friday night, I visited with some of the Hornbuckle clan.  They were trying to give me some restaurant suggestions, but none of the ones they talked about sounded very good.

Instead we ended up going to Mystic Steak House at Mystic Lake Casino.  This always ends up being a very expensive meal even when somebody else ends up paying for it.  Darn casino.

On Saturday, we had the joy of celebrating the wedding of some of our good friends, Chuck and Clarice Jorenby.  Congratulations to the both of you!  We wish you many years of happiness and love!

When we dropped Luke off at work last night, we saw this car in the parking lot.  I had never seen one like this before, but I found myself really tempted to walk up to it and pull it backwards just to see if it would then shoot forward.  Like this:

May 17, 2015

The Minnesota Zoo in May, 2015

The Minnesota Zoo in May, 2015
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 17, 2015

It has now been three weeks since Blue came into our lives and we are a little surprised that he's not potty trained yet.  He also chews on everything within eye sight that we haven't raised to higher grounds and bites all of us every chance he gets.  If he wasn't so dang cute, we'd probably be re-thinking this whole new dog idea.

On Friday night, we gathered up the gang and headed to Paragon Theaters in Burnsville to see the instant classic, Pitch Perfect 2.  OK.  It probably won't be considered a classic.  Actually, it was pretty lousy compared with the first one .  Sure, we still liked grooving along with some favorite acapella renditions of beloved songs from the past, but the story and dialog were pretty weak vs the original.  Aca-apalling!

So the movie may not have lived up to our expectations, but the chairs and theater were quite the pleasant surprise.  We weren't aware we were getting the luxury lazboys until we got in there, but were pretty happy when we took off our shoes, socks, and outer-garments and really cozied up and made ourselves at home!

On Saturday, we were excited to have a visit from Krazy Kory and his lovely daughter, Harli.  They decided to come to Minnesota to go to the zoo and we were happy to join them.

Krazy Kory also brought his dog, Buddy.  Sunny has been pretty passive with Blue since they've been together, but Buddy was much more aggressive.  Blue was undeterred, though, and just kept coming back at the much larger dog.  This puppy's got bite.

We spent the day at the Minnesota Zoo visiting old friends like the Bald Eagle who has been here for a few years.  Something happened to this guy's wing so he's no longer able to fly, but he still looks really majestic when he goes Spread Eagle!  Kind of looks like me if I were a bird.

The bears were chilling in their pool tossing around a log like it was a little baseball bat.  This guy started to look annoyed like he was ready to take his log and go home.

One of his friends was working with a trainer to get some treats.  It was incredible to see up close how big these guys really are.  I still think I could take one of them if we ever met up in the woods.  I used to be a pretty good wrestler in high school and I'd just sweep his leg, take him to the ground, and then put him on his back.  That's exactly how I'd do it.

This guy is called a takin and he just kept staring at me the whole time we were standing near him.  I was kind of surprised that a creature that chose to live his life in a zoo like this would be so offended by someone coming up to take his picture.  You'd think he would have stayed in the wilderness with that kind of an attitude.

I knew it was Saturday, but after seeing these guys I just couldn't resist yelling "Hump Day!" for the rest of the afternoon.

The zoo has a brand new carousel which Krazy Kory really seemed to like.  I think Harli kind of liked it also.

Sheri and the boys were hung up at the bunny cages for quite awhile.  They really like bunnies.

We had a chance to watch the wild dogs being fed.  They called them wild dogs, but they sure looked like foxes to me.  Now that I think about it, I really wish I would have stuck around to hear what they had to say.

They tried to claim this was a moose, but I'm no dummy.  I know moose have big antlers on their head.  This looks like some kind of big donkey to me.

We walked around the whole zoo all day and eventually started to get tired, so we sat down a lot.  It's fun to look at sleeping animals while sitting down.

Several of the monkeys had little babies with them.  I really hope they're careful with them sitting up in those trees all day.

I never realized porcupines were such party animals, but this guy looks like he just rolled out of a Grateful Dead concert.

Krazy Kory doesn't read very well, so it's fun to tell him that signs like these say "I'm very friendly.  Please pet me."

I'm not sure how I'd feel if I was walking through the woods and suddenly saw a Minnesota Lynx looking back at me like this.  I'd probably do the same thing I did at the zoo and exclaim "Here, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!"

We watched these sun bears for quite awhile expecting one of these branches to break under their weight, but lucky for them they held firm.   That would have sucked for them to fall down on top of one another.  Would have made a pretty funny video, though.

All in all, I think Harli had a pretty good day.  

To top it off, we took her on her first ride on a ski boat.  It was a little to cold to take her skiing, though.

The water wasn't too cold for Krazy Kory and Avery to dive in and beat up on a buoy.  That'll learn it.

Luke wanted nothing to do with swimming.  He was much happier sitting on the boat and not catching fish.

We ended the night with a trip to TGI Fridays.  I probably annoyed the waitress when I kept exclaiming "It's not Friday, it's Hump Day!!!"  But then again, she didn't get a chance to see the camels at the zoo.  She would have totally understood my feelings if she had.