May 26, 2024

MJ and the Western Conference Finals


MJ and the Western Conference Finals

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 26, 2024

Our tour through various sectors of the medical industry continued this week when I met with the Urologist to address some kidney stone issues I've been having.  I had a procedure called a Cystography on Wednesday morning which is basically a probe being inserted into the only exterior opening of the urinary tract I had available.  It wasn't a pleasant experience.  The good news is they didn't find anything concerning, but the sphincter between my prostate and bladder has been violated in a way that I'll remember for a long, long time.

Our beloved Minnesota Timberwolves defeated the Denver Nuggets in a crazy Game 7.  It gave us the opportunity to attend Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals against the Dallas Mavericks.  Avery hadn't been to a game with me in awhile but jumped at the chance to join me for this one.

The Wolves had a regular season record of 3-1 vs Dallas, but Luka Doncic wasn't playing during two of those wins.  Minnesota wouldn't have that benefit going for them this time around.

Kyrie Irving has had some erratic seasons the past few years, but everything has been going great for him in Dallas this year.  He was on fire on this particular evening.

I noticed Mark Cuban and his family about 30 rows in front of us. Mark started in the computer industry about the same time I did so I've been following him for about 3 decades now.  I've always been a fan of his, but tonight we'd be rooting for opposite teams.

I enjoy watching the various celebrities.  It's always fun to see who Alex Rodriguez brings to the game. 

Everyone is worried about Justin Jefferson not signing his contract extension with the Vikings yet, but I've seen him at several games so he seems to spend a fair amount of the offseason in Minnesota.  Maybe he's just that big of a fan of the Wolves?

This being the Western Conference Finals meant that the NBA crew from TNT were at the game.  For some reason they brought Draymond Green which is an odd choice considering he was suspended earlier this season for putting our center, Rudy Gobert, in a headlock.  When Avery and I walked up on the crowd, we heard them chanting "Draymond Sucks" so I captured this video:
@toddswank Draymond Sucks! Round 3 Game 1. Wolves fans letting TNTs newest analyst how they feel about him! #draymond #nba #timberwolves #minnesota ♬ original sound - Todd Swank


Our seats were pretty close to Shaq and team so I kept sneaking pictures of them.  I bet they're a fun crew to hang crew to hang around with.  We have so much in common.

Charles Barkley made headlines this week complaining that their show is coming to an end since TNT is losing the NBA after this season. I'm betting one of the other networks will figure out a way to pick them up for next season.

The game was very exciting!  It was back and forth all night and the home team was putting up a heck of a fight!

Our superstar, Anthony Edwards, wasn't quite right unfortunately.  We'd grown accustomed to seeing perfection from him, but his shots just weren't falling.  He ended up going only 6 for 16 in the game. 

I was excited to see that Montell Jordan was there to entertain us at half time.  It was fun to see him show the crowd "This is How We Do It!"

In the end, Luke and Kyrie would prove too strong.  Irving finished the game with 30 points and four assists. Doncic logged 33 points, eight assists and six rebounds.  Dallas won the game by a score 108-105.  We will see if Minnesota can get another home playoff game this year.  They also lost Game 2 and 3, but I'll be there for Game 5 if it happens!

On Friday night, we went to the Orpheum to see MJ the Musical.  Our good friends The Browns and Zitzewitzes were happy to join us!

It was a great show!  It basically is a concert featuring a couple dozen of the King of Pop's hit songs, but there is also a story line which highlighted his life.  They showed young Michael and the Jackson 5 conquering Motown and addressed a few of the controversial aspects of his life.  But not all of them.

  I loved the music and really enjoyed myself.  
It was a Thriller of an evening!

May 19, 2024

Cruising into Summer

Cruising into Summer
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 19, 2024

On Sunday, we had the opportunity to root on our Timberwolves for Game 4 Round 2 of the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets.  As I'm writing this post, the series is tied at 3-3 with the deciding game 7 set to start in an hour in Denver.  It would be so cool if the Wolves made it to the Western Conference Finals!

The Wolves started off very hot in the series winning the first two games on the road in Denver.  When that happened I decided to do something I've been procrastinating for years and bought a half season membership so I could buy playoff tickets without getting completely robbed.  Of course the team went on to lose their next 3 playoff games immediately after I made that decision.  That's pretty consistent with my luck on these things.

Rudy Gobert was named the NBA's defensive player of the year and received his award before the game.  None other than Minnesota Vikings legend John Randle was there to present the award to him.  That guy knew a thing or two about defense back in his day.

Of course the defensive player of the year was going up against the league MVP, Nikola Jokic.  In game 4, Jokic got the better of him scoring 35 with 7 boards and 7 assists.  Gobert had a respectable night as well with 11 points and 14 boards.  It wouldn't be enough to secure the win though.

Anthony Edwards had a big game scoring 44 points and being explosive as ever.  Unfortunately his team wasn't as successful and Anthony was one of our few bright spots for the night.

Karl Anthony Towns had a tough night.  He was 5-18 from the floor going for 13 points and 12 rebounds.  It seems this team needs Karl to be playing much better than that for them to win against the Nuggets.

We tried to help as much as we could be screaming our lungs out.  Unfortunately it didn't seem to help that much.

The only win of the evening for us was to get our picture up on the scoreboard again.  It was a hollow victory.

In the end the home team fell to the defending champs by a score of 115 to 107.  We were glad to have had a chance to watch the game, but obviously would have preferred a different outcome.

We enjoyed watching the game on Thursday night much more.  Avery was in Detroit for work so we invited Abby and Luke over to watch the game with us.  The Wolves went on to dominate that one and won by 45 points.  Hopefully they can do the same again and my next post should feature us at Game 1 at home against the Dallas Mavericks!  

Blue's mother and brother are staying with us for a few days so these guys will be our companions for watching Game 7 tonight.  

Let's go Wolves!

May 12, 2024

Northern Lights: The Ultimate Mother's Day Light Show

Northern Lights: The Ultimate Mother's Day Light Show

Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 12, 2024

Due to some crazy solar storm that occurred this week, the Northern Lights were much more visible and widespread than usual.  At least that's what I saw all over my social media feeds this weekend.  Miss Sheri and I ventured out to see them near our neighborhood on both Friday and Saturday night and we didn't see Squat.  The two photos I'm displaying here were created by ChatGPT.  I asked it to show me what we should have seen had our efforts been rewarded.  Seeing them for real is still on my bucket list. 

We had a pretty mellow week and didn't get out too much.  What we did do, I wasn't on my game and forgot to take pictures.  Miss Sheri and I went out with Jen and Dan on Friday night for dinner and a little karaoke action, but somehow this was the only photo we took all night.  At least we were totally rocking the place in this shot.

We had a very pleasant Mother's Day celebration. We started the day by connecting with the kids at church.  That was pretty inspirational.

We then met up with Grandma Linda for Mother's Day Brunch at the Crooked Pint.  She's getting around much better and is able to drive and meet up with us again.  She still gets pretty tired easily, but that's to be expected since her surgeries weren't that long ago.  We're very pleased with how well she's doing which made for an extra special Mother's Day this year.

We hope all you fabulous moms out there have amazing Mother's Day celebrations with your families also!!

@toddswank Meet Todd Swank. #imhot #toddswank #shortarmguy ♬ original sound - Todd Swank

May 5, 2024

Going with the Flow at Minnehaha Falls


Going with the Flow at Minnehaha Falls
Todd Swank's Diary Entry for May 5, 2024

If you've spent any time talking to Avery's fiancĂ© Abby, you probably get the sense regarding how much she loves her family.  She moved to Minnesota for her job a year and a half ago and left them behind in her home state of Georgia.  We were excited to have the opportunity to meet several of them this weekend.

Our first encounter with the Bush family was at the Mall of America. It's always great to meet for the first time right in the middle of a crowd of a thousand crazy shoppers.  Lucky we didn't stay there for very long as we had several exciting destinations on the agenda.

I've lived in the Twin Cities for more than 30 years now, but somehow I've never been to Minehaha Falls when the water is flowing.  Miss Sheri said we went there once before but I don't remember it because the water was only a trickle at the time.  I asked ChatGPT to tell me some facts about it and it came up with the following:

Tucked away in the lush expanse of Minnehaha Regional Park in Minneapolis lies the enchanting Minnehaha Falls, a spectacle of nature whose name whispers of its heritage—'Minnehaha,' meaning 'curling water' in the Dakota language. Plunging gracefully from a height of 53 feet, the falls are more than a mere scenic marvel; they are a storied landmark steeped in cultural lore. The falls gained immortal fame through Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's "The Song of Hiawatha," intriguingly penned by a poet who never set eyes on their beauty. This magical cascade is a testament to nature’s artistry and history’s echo, a true treasure of Minneapolis.

Next, we hit the Stone Arch Bridge. ChatGPT says this about it:

Spanning the mighty Mississippi, the Stone Arch Bridge stands as a majestic testament to Minneapolis's gritty industrial past and its transformation into a cultural beacon. Built in 1883 by railroad baron James J. Hill, this granite and limestone marvel originally ferried flour mill freight and has since morphed into a beloved pedestrian promenade, offering breathtaking views of Saint Anthony Falls—the city’s powerhouse waterfall that once powered the mills that made Minneapolis the flour milling capital of the world. Today, the bridge is not just a pathway, but a timeline capturing the essence of innovation and endurance, a place where joggers, cyclists, and dreamers tread over the waters that carved the city’s destiny, making it a must-visit for anyone looking to connect with Minneapolis’s robust spirit and dynamic history.

As I walked by the Gold Medal Flour company, I was reminded that I've always wanted to visit the Mill City Museum contained within.  Let my friend ChatGPT  tell you why:  Perched on the Minneapolis riverfront, the towering Gold Medal Flour sign serves as a beacon to the city's industrious past. This landmark, part of the former Washburn A Mill—once the largest flour mill in the world—now anchors the Mill City Museum. Here, history isn't just told; it's felt. The mill's dramatic saga includes surviving a devastating explosion in 1878, symbolizing Minneapolis's resilient spirit. Now transformed into a hub of culture and learning, the mill stands as a tribute to the city's ability to reinvent itself. Gazing at its juxtaposition of historical architecture and modern design, visitors are reminded that from the flour dust of industry rose a community rich in heritage and innovation—a true gold medal champion in the landscape of American cities.

We had the opportunity to spend the most time with Andrew and Andrea and get to know them a bit.  What a great couple!  We had a lot of fun conversations and they absolutely destroyed us in multiple rounds of Cornhole.  I've told myself we've gotta practice our bag skills before we get together again because my ego is still quite bruised by the shellacking we experienced.

We also had fun getting to know Abby's sister, Avery, and her brother Justin.  We watched the Timberwolves game 1 victory over the Nuggets together and learned Justin is quite the source of NBA knowledge.  Even though he's a big Lakers and Lebron fan, I was seeing indications that we might be able to win him over to the Wolves and Anthony Edwards.  I guess we'll have to see how the rest of the series goes before knowing for sure.

We find it a bit amusing that Abby's sister is also named Avery.  I told them when we named him the only Avery I ever knew was Avery Johnson who played for the San Antonio Spurs.  Apparently the name has trended to be more of a girl's name in the ensuing years.  Sorry about that, son.  Young Avery is as cute as a button and such a sweet child.  We really enjoyed getting to spend some time with her.

Honestly they were supposed to be Luke and Leia after the Star Wars twins.  That kind of fell apart when we learned we were having twin sons.  So it could be worse, Avery.  You could be walking around introducing yourself to people with the name Princess Leia instead.  So you got that going for you.  Which is nice.

Later on Saturday night, we learned that Andrew likes to play Blackjack so we took him to our favorite casino, Mystic Lake.  He shined on the tables like he did with the Cornhole bags.  And my weekend losing streak continued.

It was a beautiful day on Sunday.  We went to Lakefront Park to visit the lake and play some basketball because I figured this was the place where my winning could finally start taking place.  Well, I was wrong again.  One of these weeks I'm going to find a competition of some sort where Todd Swank can shine bright like a diamond.  Tiddly Winks any one?