June 19, 2016

Happy Father's Day 2016

Happy Father's Day 2016
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 19, 2016

It was Father's Day weekend 2016 and we had the opportunity to crash the BBQ of one of our favorite families, THE HORNBUCKLES!  Turns out, it was Dick and Vic's 49th wedding anniversary and they were having a get together with their family.  So Miss Sheri and I showed up to see if they would let us in and lucky for us, they didn't require a blood test or anything so we were in like flynn!

Happy Anniversary, Dick and Vic!

Turns out it was also Kim and Mike's 27th anniversary which is an amazing coincidence!

Happy Anniversary, Kim and Mike!!

Chad and Riann were also there, but I don't think it was their anniversary.  At least if it was, they didn't say anything.  I'm guessing it wasn't.

Chris and Teresa were not celebrating an anniversary, but may have been celebrating a birthday or two.  If they were, it was pretty overshadowed by all the anniversary stuff and the pre-father's day celebrations.  But just in case, Happy Birthdays, Chris and Teresa!

I didn't remember meeting Jason and Jen's dog, but I think it was the anniversary of the date they got him.  So Happy Anniversary Jason, Jen, and Crash!  They're all really good people them Hornbuckles!

Our weekends are starting to get interrupted by the boy's work schedules.  First Luke used to do it to us with his job at Dairy Queen, now Avery is doing it.  He just got a job at a local golf cart distributor called Versatile Vehicles and gets to drive golf carts around all day.  Sounds like my kind of job, but he tells me it's a lot of hard work also.  I'm not sure if I believe him or not.  We did get to meet his employers and they are very nice people and are building an incredible business in Prior Lake.  We look forward to seeing their success.

It was Luke's day off, but he got stuck working anyways.  He volunteered with the Prior Lake Robotics team, KING TeC and their annual hot dog sale at the local Lund's & Byerly's.  Them were some good brats he was selling!

We also got to see our good friend Sue which is always a nice way to spend a Saturday.

Saturday night we got to go to the graduation party of Ryan Brown.  Ryan is a rock star academic stud and will be heading to the University of Minnesota next fall.  He also won the Swank Family award for having the best pizza at his graduation party so he's got that going for him as well.

On Father's Day, we went to my favorite restaurant, Benihana, for a little Hibachi style cooking.  Now that's the way to take care of daddy!

Now that's a FIRE!

Happy Father's Day, Everyone!!

Our New HTC Vive Showed Up This Week! #VR #HTCVive

We received the new HTC Vive this week and are still blown away by it every time we try it! It is by far the best virtual reality we've ever experienced. We just had no concept how much adding the hand controllers and motion tracking would add to the experience vs previous demos we'd seen. We literally feel like we are entering a different world every time we use it! 

It's hard to believe this is Gen 1 technology. We can only imagine what we're going to be experiencing 5 years from now once the platforms have been more thoroughly developed. We truly believe this is going to be as big as a cultural shift as the one created by the advent of the PC in the nineties and the development of the internet in the 2000's. 

This is a video Luke Swank made featuring Avery Swank demonstrating some different VR Apps. It’s hard to show anyone the experience because it just looks like some lame video game, but watch him use his hands to pull back the arrow and shoot it. When you’re in there, your brain quickly starts to believe you have an actual bow and arrow in your hands. 

This is the new website we are creating to share our experiences with Virtual Reality as well as interesting 360 degree videos and other VR content we're finding around the web:

My son, Avery Swank, is an avid programmer who has been chomping at the bit to start developing in Virtual Reality for several months now.  This is a screen shot of a futuristic basketball game he started working on after we received the Vive.

It's pretty bizarre picking up and throwing a virtual ball into a basket.  I found it even more fun when I realized I could just keep creating more and more balls and they just end up rolling all around me.  I haven't tried filling up the whole room yet, but it's coming.

June 12, 2016

Prior Lake High School Graduation 2016

Prior Lake High School Graduation 2016
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 12, 2016

Monday night we attended our last Scout Meeting of the year until next Fall.  Luke and Avery had the opportunity to participate in the awards ceremony which was fun to watch.  They both go into this summer working on their Eagle Scout projects.  We hope things go well for both of them since they only have a little more than a year to achieve their Eagles.

On Tuesday night, Miss Sheri and I attended an Advanced Screening for the movie Now You See Me 2.   It was fun because we bumped into an old co-worker of mine, Jeff, along with his son, Shane.  Seeing them was more exciting than seeing the movie.  We liked the first movie, but the sequel didn't do too much for us.  Except to give us an opportunity to cheat on our diets and eat a bunch of popcorn.

On Thursday at work, the Toastmasters Group I belong to had their annual officer elections which was interesting.  This is the new crew that will be running things for FY17.  I'm the VP of Education and I'm looking forward to the opportunity.

We've had a nice little heat wave roll through Minnesota this past week.  On hot nights, we like to hit the drive through at DQ and harass our son while he's working.  I like yelling at him through the intercom.  It's so much more fun than just yelling at him at home.

On Friday night, we attended the Prior Lake High School Class of 2016 Graduation Ceremony.  We figured we'd better have an understanding of how things work so we can be prepared for when our boys graduate high school next year.  It was pretty hot and crowded, so when we saw people we knew they said "Why the heck are you here?  Come back when your kids are graduating."

Of course, the reason we were there because our kid is in the band and we like to support him every chance we get.  Plus, I feel like I'm pretty cool when I go up to new people I meet and say, "I know someone in the band."  They always look at me kind of funny, but I'm sure it's just because they're so impressed with me.

Prior Lake High School is a pretty big school and they graduated 617 students this year.  It takes a long time to read 617 names.

On Saturday morning, we took Grandma Linda for a boat ride.  She likes that kind of thing.

It was pretty hot whenever we stopped the boat, but at least it wasn't raining.  Grandma Linda kept accusing us that it was raining, but we just humor her and let her play with the umbrella.  It seems to calm her down a bit.

We assumed these birds must be fighting, because they wouldn't look at each other the whole time we were watching them.  I really felt for them because I always hate to get the silent treatment.

We stopped by some other friends who graduated.  This is Nathan Wangness.  Nathan is going to go to NDSU to study a subject called Mecha-robotics or something like that.  Basically it's learning how to build and repair robot arms which sounds like it could come in really handy.  I've always wanted robot arms.

Krazy Kory spent the night Saturday night as a pit-stop for going to the airport early in the morning.  He was going on vacation and so came to be with us.  Because every time we get together, it's like a vacation of some kind.

It was the first time in quite awhile that we got to see Kory's son, Ben, who is here with his sister, Harli, and the boys.  I was shocked to see how much Ben now looks like Krazy Kory almost to the point where I had to do a double take when they walked into my house together.   It's kind of spooky.

On Sunday morning, we had the pleasure of having breakfast with Miss Sheri's cousin, Cindy, along with her husband, Jim, and her son, John.  The pancakes we enjoyed together were sublime.  

Sunday afternoon brought us to the graduation party of Braden Wojahn.  Braden is going to the University of Nebraska to play in the band and study bugs.  Hopefully not at the same time because that could get kind of gross.

Grandma Linda Tries Virtual Reality for the First Time

Grandma Linda Tries Virtual Reality for the First Time. We showed her the horror simulation, Sisters, on Google Cardboard. It didn't scare her quite as much as we were hoping.

June 5, 2016

Memorial Day 2016 on the St. Croix River

Memorial Day 2016 on the St. Croix River
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for June 5, 2016

It was a beautiful Memorial Day so we headed to Afton, Minnesota to join our friends, the Zitzewitzes, for a leisurely boat ride down the St. Croix River.

Captain Karl had the boat warmed up and ready to roll.  Or float.

The water was too cold for swimming so we ended up just hanging out and having a casual day.  

We did see a lot of turtles so we had that going for us.

We watched someone land and take off in their water plane a couple times which was pretty cool.  It must be fun to be able to fish from a plane.

We love watching the "Go-Fast" boats go by.  One of these days I'm going to bring my boat to the river so I can race these guys.

On Saturday, we were able to continue celebrating at good friends Graduation Parties.  Georgia had a rocking fiesta all ready for her friends and family.  She is going to Minnesota State Mankato next year and we wish her the best of luck!

On Saturday night, we went to the newly re-designed Charlie's on Prior for some excellent lakeside cuisine.

We had dinner with Orlando and Nancy Mazzolini.  They're Good People.

After dinner, we headed to Mystic Lake Casino for a little bit of live comedy.  We enjoyed the three comedians who performed including the feature act Will Weldon.  He had some unique perspectives and a powerful delivery that kept us all laughing.

Sarah Tiana is a hilarious lady who grew up in the South and tells funny stories about what life is like being single in California.  Plus, she was nice enough to take a picture with me.

After the show, we gambled the night away.  Unfortunately I lost all my money so didn't get the chance to buy one of these car/motorcycle looking things.

June 1, 2016

Nice Emails to A Short Arm Guy

I had something happen to me recently that really bothered me.

I'm not going to share the specifics with you, 
but the reason this "Unpleasant Situation" happened is because I have "over-shared" my life on the internet since 1999.

It made me sad.

I have been sharing so many elements of my life for the past 17 years and I hate when anyone misunderstands why I do it.

I'd like to think I've been doing it for good reasons.  

But I guess in this day and age, some people find me too 


So while I'm feeling sorry for myself about this situation, I suddenly get a nice email out of the blue from someone I've never met before that says:

You are such a help to me  

I am disabled my self and I think you are very inspiring and your stand up is really funny thank you for that you have put such a smile on my face on the days when I am in such pain. 

Again I thank you  


Seeing that made me happy.

It brought back some memories and reminded me of why I started doing this "Over-Sharing" thing in the first place.

I started blogging back in 1999 on the website: 

I've explained in this video why I created my website:


I saw this nice email from Aaron and it reminded me of the "hay days" of my site's popularity.  

Back in the early 2000's, I was adding funny pictures and videos to my site every week along with inspirational stories. jokes of the week, as well as pictures, videos, and stories about my family.

I used to get 1000 visitors a day to my site and would regularly get emails from all over the world on a wide variety of topics.

And I would get tons of nice emails.  Tons and tons of nice emails.

After seeing Aaron's nice email, I decided to search back through the archives of my blogs and look at some nice emails from the past.  

I found myself smiling and happy about the memories of these nice emails which inspired me to write this post.  So here goes:

Nice Emails To A Shortarmguy

Hi Shortarmguy!
My name is Sian, and I'm currently studying English Literature and Creative Writing in Bangor, Great Britain.

I would just like you to know that I have been visiting your site every week for about three and a half years now, and every time I do, I come away smiling. You seem to have a gift for cheering up the entire world, and I for one, am grateful that you ignore all the stupid, narrow-minded comments you receive about your site's content.

 If you want something to throw back in their faces, post this on your site.

I have been bullied my entire life about my weight in every school I ever went to. Children picked on me because I had a gap in my front teeth (Oh, how I hate Goofy), and I was mousy and bookish, and not particularly outgoing. This carried on from the age of five well into my late teens, and I was seriously down all the time. I didn't want to go to school, or even interact with the outside world at all.  My older brother made my childhood a misery. He taunted me about my weight, made up lies about me when we were younger, and was generally all around mean. Since he was a drop out, and had put my parents through a lot of strife, I decided at a very early age that I would do my best to be the sort of daughter they could be proud of. I took GCSES, A-levels, and I'm now studying a degree. But somewhere along the line, I buckled under the years of peer-abuse and pressure, and it happened. Bulimia. Great, yeah? 

I tried to toe the line for other people my entire life, and now I'm a miserable, comfort-eating wreck.

I'm slowly getting back to some sort of normality. I'm not very good at eating out, and some days I just lock myself in my room and cry my eyes out because I've been conditioned by others to hate the way that I look.

 It's on those days that I usually visit your site. Sometimes I watch the videos (I liked the little Budweiser Clydesdale), or the funniest emails, but I think my favourites are the emails that make me think. And somehow, I always feel better afterwards.

 So, you people who oppose Shortarmguy:

Is it wrong for a man to harness the power of laughter in any form so that he can make the entire world forget all their troubles, even if only for a second? 

Surely, God has bigger things on his mind than a few "inappropriate" pictures on the internet?

 And here's my contribution (I'm probably going to Hell for reading Harry Potter anyway).

 #1. The funniest Youtube video I've seen in a long time. 

and a picture of me, promoting the site!

Dear shortarmguy, what's up? I've been visiting your web-site for about two years now and am finally getting ambitious enough to write. I, also, have a disability (see pictures attached) but have never let it slow me down. Much. I grew up with loving adoptive parents who never told me not to participate in sports for fear of getting hurt. I started out playing softball (Cub Scouts!!) then on to Little League baseball for a couple of years. I gave up baseball after that because I wasn't fast enough to dodge a fastball! lol
    I moved into football later because that's what kids do in Missouri (where I grew up), I also wrestled and played basketball, a little. Although there's not much call for short, slow white guys that can't jump. I also played tennis, golf, table tennis, power-lifting and any other sport I could try. I still play golf (poorly) for fun, and table tennis in tournaments.

That's me in the gray t-shirt. I also grew up with the "looks" from other kids (still do) but have learned to deal with it. At 51 years of age, it's about time!
    I (like you) have a good sense of humor about my disabilty and about life in general (after all, no ome gets out of it alive!) and also have a very lovely and supportive wife and a large (my mom was one of 12), close-knit family. I thouroughly enjoy your web-site and want you to keep up the great work! Hope to hear back from you soon and Happy Father's Day!
Sincerely, Steve Still (not the singer)

you know man. . . . you're totally inspirational. I saw you on miami ink. good luck in getting famous!

Terra Lynne

This is Cody.  His dad tells me that he and I are like twins and he sent me several pictures of Cody doing the Shortarmguy Pose!

Watch out, world!  The ShortArmPeople are going to rise up and take over!

Nice Emails of the Week
Hey shortarmguy!

I wish there were more people like you were in the world! I admire the ways
you are able to take something that would be considered "disabling" to most people and make it into a source of strength and pride.
I check your website every morning for updates and I am proud to say that it is the highlight of my day! I myself, being a Minnesotan, love the way that you add your satirical and humorous touch to the way we "Minne-snow-tans" are viewed by others. I have a sense of pride to know that you are a fellow Minnesotan.   I have even sent links to your crazy e-mails to my all friends to enjoy. You really are an inspiration to all!
I feel silly admitting it, but I saw you once at a grocery store in Roseville (where I live) and I was so star stuck that I couldn't even approach you. I whispered to my husband as we left, "Oh my gosh, that was short arm guy!!!" I wish I could have gotten a photo of us together or even a handshake, I'm sure you would have been flattered, I know 
I would have!!!
I remember the first time I encountered your site. It was 
2new years eve's ago and I was sitting at home and was searching for  a 
particular photo of Ray Charles singing into a backwards microphone. Low and behold, I stumbled on your site.
The hilarity that ensued was priceless!
I want to thank you for inspiring all that visit your site to remember that, 
"handicapped is only a state of mind!"


Hello Todd
 My name is Santhush de Silva Mohotti and I live in Australia.  I am glad you liked the first email I sent you : ).  Just like everyone else in the rest of the world I have been visiting you web site for many years, but only now decided to forward something to you : ).  I will forward more stuff that you may like in the future.  I also would like to say that it is great to see the happy and successful life you are leading and it is an inspiration to me.
Take care.
Bye for now.

May 25, 2008

Hey, I have been off line for a while. Now I am back and see you are still flawless. Thanks for making me roll.  David

I just watched the last several weeks of Miami Ink and WOW was I inspired by you.  Your experience reminds us to be positive, and thankful, and to have fun.  I love your website and will be reading it all the time now.  Thank you, so very, very much, for spreading your story and being so extremely cool!

Cheers!!!  Sheri
"We have so much more in common than what drives us apart." Sen. Barack Obama

This email is from a mom with a son who's endured quite a few challenges in life including having hands that are similar to mine.  This one really touched me:

But now to the reason I am e-mailing you. Now that Michael is more 'aware' of things, he has also noticed that he is physically different from other children. I think it really hit him when the kids in his class were counting to ten, and like most kids; he uses his fingers...He was so upset and couldn't verbally express what was going on, but he was at home and counting to 9 with his fingers and then would count to 10 with mine. I told him that God could only make so many people who were special and not like everybody else...I doubt that was the best thing to tell him... Last night my sister in law was watching 'miami ink' and she called us right away to give us your website. I showed him your pictures, he would look at your picture and then himself...He did that several times, smiled but said nothing...today he pointed to the computer, so I pulled up the website again, and he smiled...So I wanted to send you an e-mail about my son and to thank you for not being afraid to share your story with the world. It not mean much to some, but to see him smile and see somebody who looks like him...Well it means the world to our little family. Thank You so much for putting a smile on my son's face! I doubt I could ever thank you enough! I guess he really needed to see that he wasn't alone and that it is cool to be different...Now hopefully he won't be asking for a tattoo anytime soon, this mommy isn't ready for that...ha ha!


Hi Shortarmguy,
I like your site, especialy mpg. hahaha

If you find time, please send me replay...

Greetings from Poland


I love to read your story page about yourself.........You know you should write a book.....you write very well...Your so correct about when people are trying to make fun of you or teasing you that you have to turn it around back to them .........

G'day Todd,
Hows it goin? I found your site while looking for funny photos, and google landed me on your site! Upon further browsing, I checked out your bio and your stand up act (funny shit!), haha. Good shit, I especially loved the "silver cross" incident in your bio!! Hahah, that would've been tops to watch - I love it when the tables get suddenly and fatefully turned!!!!

You must get some seriously weird e-mails, hahaha.
Have a good one mate, and thanks for the laugh!
(Sydney, Australia)

From a mom with a little guy who has different limbs: I saw you on Miami Ink (great tattoo by the way!) and it made my heart sing because, I felt like you were representing my son and other children like him. I just want to thank you for that. I think you are amazing....not because you have a limb difference but, because of the man that you are. -Amanda 

just saw you get your tattoo on Miami Ink. I just wanted to write to say that you filled my heart with a lot of hope tonight. My daughter, now 14 months old, was born with the same arm anomalies you were born with ~ the radial club arm with 4 fingers and the hypo- plastic thumb on the other hand. I have never seen anyone, other than my daughter, with these anomalies and when I saw you on the tv I screamed for my husband to come and see. I've been so worried about her, what her future will be like, the surgeries she will have, her struggles, and tonight you showed me that she can have a beautiful life and do whatever she wants to do. Not that I didn't already know that, it was just nice to see someone else who survived the long and SHORT of it. So, I guess, thanks. Thanks for being you! And for sharing your story. My warmest wishes to you and your family, Linda 

Hello, I saw you on Miami Ink and immediately checked out your site. You are such an inspiration and a wonderful role model! I have 7 year old twin boys; one was born perfectly normal, while the other has had serious health problems since birth, including a severe case of bi-lateral club foot. I can't wait for him to get up in the morning to see your site (I considered waking him up, but it is after 1am here). He will be so happy to see you and hear your story. He frequently asks me why God made him different. I always tell him that God had a plan when he made him the way he did, and some day he will figure out what the plan was. He will be so excited to hear you say the God just ran out of clay. It has been a long time since my son has been truly happy (he has been extremely sick lately) and I know you will bring a smile to his face. God bless you and your family and keep up the wonderful work with what you are doing! 


 hi short arm guy i am morgan fernandez i was watching miami ink and i saw the episode you were in i love the tattoo you got i was thinking of getting one just like that because you truly inspired me and i too am a fellow short arm citizen and we must all unite and stick together as a group. i think it was with your prayers and acknowledgements thank you very much i love you and my parents thank you too PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE, it would mean so much to me and my family if you would kindly reply to this email message. yours truly, 


If you found this post interesting and would like me to share more Nice Emails to a Short Arm Guy, please share this post on social media.  Thanks!  Todd Swank