August 27, 2022

The Minnesota Vikings 2022 Preseason


The Minnesota Vikings 2022 Preseason

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 27, 2022

The NFL was back in Minnesota on Saturday night.  The Swank Family renewed our season tickets so we could cheer on our beloved Vikings on their journey to the Super Bowl!

US Bank Stadium was pretty full for a preseason game.  I guess a lot of people have Vikings Fever this year.  It's very contagious.

Miss Sheri was my date for the evening which excited me almost as much as getting to watch football for a few hours!

Preseason football gives us a taste for what's to come, but it's hard to get too thrilled when you know you're not going to be seeing many starters play the game.  It was announced shortly before game time that the Vikings would be sitting 27 players this evening.  So we ended up watching a bunch of people we've never heard of before and most likely will never hear of again, but it was still live football and we were ready to go!

The Vikings are under new leadership this year.  Kevin O'Connell is getting his first opportunity to be a head coach in the NFL following his successful year as the offensive coordinator for the Super Bowl champions, Los Angeles Rams.  We're excited to see what he can do.  We liked the former head coach, Mike Zimmer, but understand it was time for a change.  Skol!

The game itself was pretty dull and the local team struggled to score.  We were excited to watch 2nd year quarterback, Kellen Mond, lead the team but he struggled quite a bit.  So much so that the team went out and hired a new backup QB a couple days later.  Maybe the third year will be the charm for this young man.  Let's hope so anyways.

Our opponents for the week were the San Francisco 49ers.  Although they didn't play any of their starters either so it was mostly watching a whole bunch of people you've never heard of before play some pretty average football.  And they beat us by a score of 17-7.  Fun stuff.

Our home opener in the regular season is against the team that Minnesota fans love to hate.  The audience was already ready for the matchup.

On Sunday morning, Grandma Linda joined us for breakfast at Charlie's on Prior.  We were celebrating Miss Sheri's 55th birthday.  She likes going out to breakfast so it made for an even happier birthday than usual.

On Monday, I flew to Chicago for a couple of days.  I was there to join a prospective customer for a tour of Oracle's Industry Innovation Lab in Deerfield, Illinois.

I'm a geek at heart so visiting a technology lab is right up my alley.  They have a variety of experiences to showcase Oracle technology innovations with demos in robotics, virtual reality, drones, and other interesting things to see.  I had to keep reminding myself that I was there to meet with the client and not there to play with all the fun toys.

They even had a police car from the future on display.  It has high tech camera technology and can get real-time information from the cloud to help the police in a variety of situations.  I was hoping to see Robocop being deployed out of the back hatch, but they didn't show that part so I'm not sure if that capability has been enabled yet.

On Friday night, we had our annual Fantasy Football Draft Night.  Steve "Cuds" Cuddihy is the best commissioner in the business and hosts quite an event with visual effects, a catered meal, open bar, and a live auctioneer.  It's always a rock and roll kind of evening.

It's been quite a few years since I've won the championship, but I really feel like this is going to be my year.  Let's Go!!

August 21, 2022

A Voyage To Treasure Island


A Voyage To Treasure Island
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 21, 2022

On Saturday we drove to the St. Croix River to join our friends Karl and Tina for a cruise adventure to Welch, Minnesota for an overnight stay at Treasure Island Casino.

We were nervous about the weather.  After a relatively dry summer, our voyage was going to be a potentially treacherous journey due to storms in the area.

 Captain Karl reassured us not to worry.  He's had a lot of experience navigating storms and said it would just make the trip a bit more exciting than usual.  We hesitantly climbed aboard and held on for the ride.
@toddswank Heading to Treasure Island Casino for the Duran Duran concert. #duranduran #treasureisland #minnesota #stcroix #boat #river #storm ♬ original sound - Todd Swank
This video shows the worst part of the storm we sailed through.  Karl wasn't nervous at all although we did have to drive closer to the shore for a short time.  I on the other hand was terrified.

Eventually the rain stopped and we made our way to the marina at Treasure Island Casino.  We tied up to the dock and were ready to settle in for the night.  Let the fun begin!

We were excited to see a double rainbow greet us to the area.  We thought for sure this meant the rain was over for the night.  We weren't quite that lucky.

We were very excited for the main event of our trip.  A concert with eighties rock band, Duran Duran, who were in town to kick off their North American Tour.  We were ready to get our Reflex on!

It was an outdoor concert and we were pleasantly surprised to see our neighbors, Mike & Laurie, were also at the show.  Our happiness was short-lived however as shortly after this photo was taken, some nasty looking storm clouds suddenly appeared on the horizon and they were rapidly advancing towards us.  Long story short, we tried to ride out the storm by hiding under a couple different structures, but were eventually told we had to evacuate the premises by security.  We huddled inside the casino with thousands of other concert goers and waited a couple hours before we were finally notified the show was postponed.  Bummer for us.

We still had fun with Karl & Tina, even though we didn't get to enjoy our eighties rock fix.  These 5 birds flew by early the next morning and watching them almost made up for it.  Almost.

Lucky for us it didn't rain during our three hour cruise home, so we got to watch for nature as we love to do.  Miss Sheri counted 21 different bald eagles during our ride home which she claims is a personal record of ours for this trip.  I'm trying to get those results audited, but may just have to take her at her word.

I always enjoy watching the trains go by us as they ride alongside the Mississippi River on the Wisconsin side.  I think that has to be an enjoyable trip for the conductor, but then again maybe he's just really sick and tired of it.  

Near Prescott, Wisconsin the St. Croix River meets the Mississippi River and you can see their very different colors merge together.  We thought it looked like someone was adding creamer into their coffee, but I probably wouldn't enjoy drinking it very much.  It's gotta be full of fish poop.

Here were a couple more sights we saw along the way:

@toddswank Barge on the Mississippi River near Prescott, Wisconsin. #bigjohn #barge #boat #mississippiriver #prescott ♬ Big Bad John - Jimmy Dean
@toddswank Jurassic Park on the St Croix River. #jurassicpark #dinosaurs #stcroix #minnesota ♬ Jurassic Park Theme - Voidoid

August 14, 2022

12th Annual Savanah Bradshaw Memorial Golf Tournament


 12th Annual  Savanah Bradshaw Memorial Golf Tournament

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 14, 2022

On Thursday Night, Portia & Doc Vogt joined us for a boat ride.  It was a beautiful night to get out on the water.

Doc brought along a scuba system he and his brother designed.  It's basically a long hose attached to an air compressor which allowed him to explore Candy Cove.  He was able to search the bottom of the lake about 25 feet below the boat and see the exciting stuff down there.  He wanted me to give it a try, but I'm going to need to get some practice in shallower water first.

He pulled up some items that were covered in zebra mussels.  Prior Lake didn't have this invasive species when we moved here 21 years ago, but they're pretty much everywhere now.

We even made some new friends while we were out there.  At least I think we're friends.  It's possible they were just photo bombing me for selfish purposes.

We saw a pair of loons nearby, but they were being fussy about being photographed together.  Possible adultery going on there.

Miss Sheri and I traveled down to Clear Lake, Iowa on Saturday to volunteer at the 12th Annual Savanah Bradshaw Memorial Golf Tournament.  It's a fundraiser for local charities and we helped raise money by dealing blackjack and selling Jell-O shots.  

We were the only tent on the course selling booze, so Miss Sheri was quite popular with her customers.  I was dealing blackjack so the people who won seemed to like me, but the people who lost actually became a bit hostile towards me.  I'm starting to understand what it must be like to work in a casino.

It was fun seeing old friends throughout the day as they played two rounds for the tournament.

John and I are old buddies from high school.  It's been a few years since we've seen each other so we had a bunch of fun re-connecting and catching up on the good ole days.

Heather & Bobby were working another hole so we saw them at the beginning of the day and the end of the day, but not in the middle.  

There were 24 different foursomes playing in the tournament and it seemed like the play was pretty competitive.  We enjoyed the closing ceremonies and seeing the various winners receive their awards and prizes.

Jason & Julie Bradshaw were the hosts and put on a heck of a well run event.  We were extremely impressed.  They didn't miss a trick and had a variety of activities throughout the day to keep things interesting & exciting.  

Back home, Prior Lake is very shallow and launching the boat is getting to be extremely challenging.  So I have to help the boys when they take it out.  Which is fine with me because it gives me an excuse to take a picture of them and their friends before they go out for the day.  One of these days I hope I get invited to actually go out there with them!

August 7, 2022

A Visit To Philadelphia


A Visit To Philadelphia

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for August 7, 2022

I was in Philadelphia from Sunday through Wednesday.  I've been in the area before, but this was the first time I'd spent time in the city.  I found it to be a nice place.  As with any big city I did get a little nervous walking around at night by myself so I kept that activity to a minimum.

I was in town for the Oracle Transportation Management (OTM) User Event.  It was interesting joining a bunch of Oracle customers to hear about the latest breakthroughs in logistics and supply chain software.  With all the craziness happening in the world these past couple of years, there were a bunch of things being discussed that were very topical.

It was exciting being able to attend a conference in person again.  The opening reception was very festive.  Let's break out the band and get this party started!

I was very excited to be in Philly, but had no idea I was actually going to see Rocky Balboa.  Crazy thing is he looked about the same age as he was when his first movie came out in 1976.

I gotta get me an outfit like this one.

I had the opportunity to experience a bunch of fun restaurants including Alpen Rose.  It was a cozy little space that reminded me a lot of a speakeasy.  The food was great and our bartender, Miranda, was a master creator of some pretty delicious cocktails.

On our last night in town, I connected with some other conference attendees and went to see some tourist spots including the Liberty Bell.  It was pretty nice, but you'd think with such hype around the thing, they'd get it fixed some time.  We didn't even get to hear it play any bell songs.

Since we had hung out with Rocky, we thought we should go see the place where he exercises.  I was pretty impressed by these stairs, but not enough to actually climb them.  That seems like it would be a lot of work.

Yo, Adrian.  We did it!

Back home, we had the opportunity to hook up with some good friends.  Kray Kory was in town on Thursday night and we always have a good time with him.

On Friday night, we joined Tom & Kellie Wolf for dinner at the Crooked Pint.  Our conversations were very enlightening.

On Saturday, I met my buddy, Orlando Mazzolini, for one of our adventures.  He's a big fan of the Godfather so this is usually one of our regular stops.