March 26, 2023

A Quiet Evening in Downtown Minneapolis


A Quiet Evening in Downtown Minneapolis
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 26, 2023

Miss Sheri stumbled across this little lady a block away from our house this week.  We're in a pretty crowded neighborhood, so we don't see a lot of deer wander through but sure do find it pleasant when they do.

My old buddy, Ron "Sugarman" Myers, came up from Iowa to spend the day with me on Saturday.  He bought a new car for the trip which I thought seemed a little excessive, but he said he was planning on buying it anyways.  Just a coincidence I guess.

The first stop on his visit was to go see Luke & Avery's place and then we all went out to lunch afterwards.  They like to see Ron when he comes to town.

Ron and I had plans to spend the night in Minneapolis and were excited to go exploring.  It wasn't nearly as busy as I remembered.  Our waitress at the hotel told us they've really struggled to get people to come back since Covid.  She even said their owners had listed the hotel for sale because they weren't expecting things to change.  She also explained there was a shooting a block away a week ago and another 2 blocks away 2 weeks ago.  I can't imagine that's helping bring back the people.

  We walked over to the Foshay Building which has a rich history.  It was completed in 1929 and was modeled after the Washington Monument.  I also recently discovered there's an observation deck on the 30th floor that is open to the public.  I worked across the street from this building for 2 years and never knew about it, so figured this would be a great time to visit.

When we first arrived, we entered the elevator and went straight up to the highest floor.  We then proceeded to get a bit lost scaling random staircases trying to find an exit.  We then went down to the lobby and discovered we had to pay $10 each to go on the observation deck.  It's a pretty neat place to visit.  They have a small museum dedicated to the Foshay that you go through before you can get outside.  The deck is covered all around by these iron bars so you can't jump off I guess.  I thought I could squeeze through them if I really needed to, but couldn't think of a good reason to do that.

 When I started at Oracle back in 2015, I worked with 800 other employees in the building on the left.  Covid killed that office and everyone who is still with the company now works from home.  That's just one company.  When you multiply that by all the companies who had offices down here pre-pandemic, you can start to get a feel for why all the hospitality businesses that still remain here are having such a struggle.  Pretty sad.

 The IDS Center is the tallest building in the state of Minnesota and we had a nice view of it from the Foshay.   You can see Target Field tucked away behind it in the lower left hand corner.  The observation deck was a fun way to get a different view of the city.  We didn't stay for long, but for $10 I thought it was well worth the visit.

   We walked by this mural of Bob Dylan.  I couldn't think of anything good to say about it, so I asked Chat-GPT to give it a shot:  
The colossal Bob Dylan mural, a mesmerizing masterpiece by the globally acclaimed street artist Eduardo Kobra, stands as his most significant public art contribution in the United States. Capturing the essence of Minnesota, it has soared to the top as the state's most Instagrammed image. This awe-inspiring, five-story homage to the legendary Bob Dylan emerged in autumn 2015 as a private commission, swiftly transforming into an emblematic symbol of downtown Minneapolis and the pulsating heart of the Hennepin Theatre District.  That's a lot, Chat-GPT.

Ron and I finished off the evening with visits to Manny's, Cowboy Jacks and dinner at Fogo De Chao.  Fogo was bursting at the seams with people, so I guess they've figured out a way to keep the crowds coming.  Here's hoping the other businesses have similar success soon!   

March 19, 2023

Almost a Pot of Gold on St. Patrick's Day


Happy St. Patrick's Day 2023
Todd Swank's Diary Update for March 19, 2023

My friends down south can't believe we still have as much snow as we do.  This winter has been pretty brutal with not a lot of relief for us.  It currently ranks as the 8th snowiest year in Minnesota history and who knows if it's done yet.  I'm hoping it is and seriously considering moving south for next winter.   

Krazy Kory & Young Ben came to town this weekend to celebrate St. Patrick's Day with us.  We hooked up with our old buddies Jen & Dan Walters to drink some green beers at St. Patrick's Tavern in New Prague, Minnesota.  It seemed like the appropriate place to be.

It was a hootenanny for the entire evening. A band called Wreckless was there and they were Jamming!  I heard sounds I never knew could be made by stringed instruments before.  I had an out of body experience listening to their Twangy Beats, but that also could have been caused by all the green beer that was flowing.

@toddswank Wreckless plays at St. Patrick’s Tavern in New Prague, Minnesota on St. Patrick’s Day. #stpatricksday #stpatricks #tavern #newpraguemn #wreckless ♬ original sound - Todd Swank


Krazy Kory made it a fun evening.  He's always making new friends everywhere we go.

I was making new friends also.  I saw this little guy sitting nearby and I grabbed him immediately.  The way he looked made me swear he was a little leprechaun.  I'd heard you can sometimes catch them and convince them to lead you to their pot of gold so I jumped at the chance.  And I swear he was just about to tell me when some lady started screaming and said something like "Let go of my baby."  As I explained to the officer, you really shouldn't dress your kid that way if you don't want these kinds of things to happen.  They let me off with a warning, but I was ticked off the rest of the night because I never did end up with any gold.

Saturday morning, we grabbed Luke &Avery & Abby and headed to have a gourmet meal at iHop.  I sure do love me some pancakes.

We then headed to Mystic Lake Casino to try to win some jackpots together.  We held our own, but I was again reminded that I was moments away from a pot of gold the night previous.  It always feels like I'm a day late and dollar short from the easy riches!   It was good to hang out with Krazy Kory and Young Ben though.

March 12, 2023

Marching Through Winter


Marching Through Winter

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for March 12, 2023

This week, Minnesota had enough snow to move us up in the record books to the 8th snowiest winter since they started keeping records of such things.  It just feels like it's been going on forever.  We primarily stay inside our igloo, but occasionally feel the need to get outside and go for a walk.  It's rarely very pleasant when we do.

Blue is a master manipulator, always demanding to be taken on walks like some sort of furry dictator. I'm convinced he's trying to drag us out into the cold just to prove his dominance. He doesn't even flinch at the sight of snow, which makes me wonder if he's secretly plotting to take over the world with his icy powers. Or maybe he's just a sadistic pup who gets a kick out of watching me shiver.  That's probably it.

Since we haven't become completely depressed with our lengthy winter, we decided to add to the gloom by going to see another Minnesota Timberwolves game.  They're still in a position to go to the playoffs, but they constantly seem to lose games they really should be winning.

Target Center knows how to keep the audience warm when it's really cold outside.  The NFL banned fire related stunts in their stadiums, but somehow the NBA gets to keep doing it.  Maybe they don't care about their fans as much?  I'm not sure how that works.

When I bought these tickets, the Brooklyn Nets were considered a Premium Team, so I had to pay a bunch more money for the game than I did for other games.  I thought it would be worth it to see Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irwin play.  Then the Nets traded away Kevin and Kyrie and now have a bunch of players you've barely heard of before.  I'm sure the Timberwolves will be refunding me the premium price I paid for this game any day now.  Yeah, right.  At least I figured we'd get to watch the Wolves win a game.

It was a date night for Miss Sheri & I, so I thought I would surprise her by getting our picture up on the big screen.  She didn't seem nearly as excited about it as I thought she should have been.  

We were in good company for date night as it looks like the Timberwolves billionaire owner, Glen Taylor, was also there on a date with his wife.  I'm thinking we should double next time.

We were also excited to see Minnesota Vikings Head Coach, Kevin O'Connell, was at the game with his wife and kids.  Nice to see they're still hanging around in the Twin Cities after the NFL season is over rather than moving to a warmer climate.  They're one of us now!

One guy we weren't excited to see in the audience was Karl Anthony Towns.  He's been out injured since November and they still have no timetable for his return.  The team could really use him again as they try to improve their position for the playoffs.  Hopefully he comes back soon.

The Wolves started out the game strong and were leading at half time, but a really ugly 3rd quarter put the Nets way ahead.

Somehow the home team scratched their way back into it and forced overtime with a clutch three-pointer by Naz Reid at the buzzer.  Unfortunately, they couldn't maintain that momentum and lost the game by a score of 124 to 123.  Hopefully next time we'll get to see a win.