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Hazeltine National

Posted Wednesday, May 31st, 2006 02:42 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 2:42 PM

My holiday weekend grew by an extra day when I received a last minute invitation from my friend to join a foursome at Hazeltine National yesterday. After a “Hazelburger” and fries for lunch, we teed off on the back side first. I learned right away that U.S. Open length rough is nothing to mess around with. My tee shot on ten cleared the bunkers at the dogleg and was only three feet from the fairway, but was buried in grass about 7 inches long. I don’t know how the pros do it, but I could barely advance the ball at all–let alone in the right direction. Double bogey to open.

The par 5 eleventh hole started out better: decent tee shot to the left side of the fairway. My 5-iron layup shot was well struck, but rolled a few feet into the second cut. After another feeble attempt to advance the ball to the green, I decided it was best to just get back on the fairway–even if it meant going sideways. Another double bogey.

Double bogey was a popular score for me as the day went on. My sub-100 round streak runs back about two years and I was afraid it was in jeopardy: tee shot on 12 went wide into the right rough; tee shot on the par 3 thirteenth was awful and in the trees right; tee shot on the short par 4 fourteenth caught a tree branch and went in the junk. Five holes, five double bogies. Still smiling though–this is Hazeltine on a beautiful day and I’m just happy to be here.

There are a number of changes to the course since I last played there (October 2002). Several new tees have been added to lengthen the course even more for the upcoming U.S. Amateur. Back tees were added to 13, 15 and 18, along with numerous changes to bunkering (added new bunkers, moved some bunkers further down holes and deepened others). We were playing the gold tees at 6600 yards with a rating of 73.7 and a slope of 146. I can’t wait to see what the young guns do at the Am from the new tips.

On fifteen, my drive missed the fairway on the left, but I finally got a lie in the rough that was sitting up a little. Bogey instead of double! I hit driver on the lakeside sixteenth and got a lucky bounce off a tree to the middle of the fairway. My approach was wide left and I ended up with another bogey. Two holes left on the first nine–the par 3 seventeeth and the long, uphill par 4 eighteenth. I hit a line-drive iron into the back bunker on seventeen and tried to get cute with the sand shot to keep the ball on the right tier. It hung up in the fringe, then I proceeded to chip it to the wrong tier anyway–double bogey was back.

It took nine holes, but on eighteen I had two good shots in a row and hit the green in regulation. First par of the day! This did not carry over to the long par 4 first hole, however, as I hooked my drive into the recently fire-burned left rough. Penalty shot, drop and an almost perfect approach led to another double. I hit a good drive on the second hole and had a good miss on the second shot that left a straight uphill chip shot. My friend said the greens were a little slow right now, as the club is following a grow and cut procedure dictacted by the USGA to prepare for the Am. They were still plenty fast and I had many chip shots roll through the green.

The par 5 third hole always seems like the longest hole I’ve ever played. It’s not really that long from the gold tees, but it takes three good shots for me to make it to the elevated, well-guarded green. Unfortunately, I didn’t have three good shots in me and I took my only 7-X of the day. I made up for it on the next hole–the tree-lined par 3 fourth. The flag was in the back and was playing to around 175 yards. My tee shot stopped about 10 feet to the right of the flag and I made my second par of the day.

Holes five and six are dogleg par 4s in opposite directions–five to the right and six to the left. I hit a good tee shot on five and missed the green short and left on my approach. My tee shot on six went wide right behind a row of trees and I punched out back to the fairway. I think both of those holes turned into doubles somehow.

The par 5 seventh is said to be the easiest par 5 on the course. Not so from the trees on the right, I found out. I punched out, then hit a decent 7-iron to just over 105 yards out. My wedge went to around ten feet and I made bogey. My tee shot on the par 3 eighth landed just beyond the bunkers on the left and I hit a poor tee shot on the par 4 ninth as well. The round sputtered to an end, but I made it through with my sub-100 streak intact: an equitable stroke-adjusted 98. It’s frightening to think what I could score if I turned even half of those doubles into bogeys.

After the round, I stopped in the pro shop to pick up some presents for the kids and a U.S. Amateur hat for me. One final drink in the grill and some popcorn to snack on and my day at the number one modern course in Minnesota was over. Thanks again to my friend for his kind hospitality…DK

The Oaks and Maple Valley

Posted Tuesday, May 30th, 2006 12:48 am GMT -5 in Golf at 12:48 AM

Sunday was one hot day to pick for 36 holes of golf. The temperature hit 97 degrees and the wind was howling out of the south. My regular Saturday morning golf buddy grew up in Hayfield, Minnesota, and I wanted to get down there and play the course where he worked during school. I had visited both The Oaks and Maple Valley during the Golden Links days, but this was the first time playing both.

Oaks Tee

The Oaks is not what I anticipated at all. Based on the few holes I had photographed near the clubhouse, it looked like your typical wide-open Minnesota farm course. The reality was a course with several narrow, tree-lined holes, a meandering stream that comes into play on multiple holes and small, severely sloped greens that, when combined with the constantly blowing wind, made for a challenging start to the day. Despite the double bogey on one and triple bogey on two, I managed to string together a number of pars and shot an 89.

Maple Valley Tee

After a great lunch at the Miller ranch, we drove from Hayfield to Maple Valley–located just south of Rochester. Designed and built by Wayne Idso in 1964, Maple Valley is a shorter course that sits in the Root River valley. The course has craggy rock cliffs, large elevation changes and beautiful views of the Root River itself. It has a very low rating (67.2/106), but I find it hard to believe that the average high handicap golfer would find the course that easy. There are way too many places to get in trouble if you aren’t hitting the ball straight…DK

Live Music Archive

Posted Wednesday, May 24th, 2006 01:22 am GMT -5 in Music,Technology at 1:22 AM

It amazes me that there are so many online communities that I’ve never heard of before. Today I came across the Live Music Archive and found a huge source of free, legal music downloads by a number of artists I like. It’s important to read through the audio FAQ to figure out the format issues, but I was impressed with what I’ve found so far:

I’m sure this is all old news to the music traders out there, but I was very happy today…DK

New Home Office Accessories

Posted Wednesday, May 24th, 2006 12:34 am GMT -5 in Personal at 12:34 AM

Limited Edition Disneyland Enchanted Tiki Room Figurines…DK

Pippi Longstocking at Children’s Theater

Posted Tuesday, May 23rd, 2006 05:14 pm GMT -5 in Theater at 5:14 PM

On Sunday evening we took the family to the 5pm performance of Pippi Longstocking at the Children’s Theater in Minneapolis. This was the last of our season ticket package for the 2005-06 season, which included 4-ISH and Sleeping Beauty. There a number of good shows coming up next season, but we haven’t decided to renew yet.

Pippi was a fun show and the kids enjoyed it. Reed Sigmund has appeared in many of the shows we’ve seen over the years and he just knows how to make children laugh–very, very talented. Jessie Shelton was energetic in the title role and her style suited the role well.

The only disappointing thing about the night was CTC’s policy of not letting parents take pictures of their kids in their seats before the show and during intermission. It’s a public theater with no copyright issues during non-performance periods–how about some relief from the threatening P.A. warnings? Better yet, make it more fun for the kids by allowing pictures with the cast afterwards…DK

The Summit Course Review

Posted Sunday, May 21st, 2006 10:45 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 10:45 PM

We played The Summit Golf Club in Cannon Falls yesterday for the first time this year. It’s been one of my favorites the past few years, as there are a number of interesting holes, no houses on the course and all bentgrass tees, fairways and greens. It’s usually not very crowded and that was the case yesterday on an otherwise beautiful Saturday morning.

The first thing we noticed was the newly paved entry road and parking lot. There were also several new cement cart paths and they were starting to build a deck off the back of the small clubhouse. I joked with the manager at the desk that green fees must be going up this year. He said they had sold two more 1% ownership shares (now $50,000 each) and they put all of the money back into the course as capital improvements.

Originally priced at $40,000 per share, buyers received a 1% ownership share and 150 passes each year that could be used however you wanted. You could play all 150 rounds yourself, give them away, us them for business or sell them. The course, which was named Best New Affordable Public Course in Minnesota by Golf Digest in 2002, was built on land costing about $3500 per acre. Asking price of land for sale now next to the course: $40,000 per acre. Not a bad return for the original investors, eh?

As for the round, I played well on the front nine, but tired out quickly on the hilly back nine and closed with three triple-bogeys in a row–something I haven’t done in a long, long time. The trees along holes 1, 6 and 10 are maturing nicely and will really change the nature of those holes in a few more years. The greens were really fast and the closing holes still have my number. I need to get back there again soon to get my revenge on those holes…DK

New Deck Bric-a-Brac

Posted Sunday, May 21st, 2006 12:00 am GMT -5 in Personal at 12:00 AM

The weather has been nice and new things keep appearing on the deck…DK

2006 Eagan Fun Run

Posted Saturday, May 20th, 2006 11:48 pm GMT -5 in Running at 11:48 PM

Today was the 2006 Eagan Fun Run. I was signed up for the 5-mile run, but I got my schedule mixed up and ran the earlier 2-mile run so I could still make my tee time. I’ve never ran a 2-mile race before, so it was a nice change of pace. Finished in 16:02, my new 2-mile PR.

This year’s shirt pictured above…DK

Quick Links – Golf Scores and Stamps

Posted Saturday, May 20th, 2006 07:57 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 7:57 PM

I’ve added two quick links in the sidebar under the Random Photo section. One goes directly to my golf scores database and the other links to the new first day cover database I’m building. I have a huge backlog of first day covers to photograph and catalog, so that project will take a while. There is also a new fetish page for those, in case you are wondering what the heck first day covers are…DK

Cirque du Soleil Delirium

Posted Wednesday, May 17th, 2006 11:11 pm GMT -5 in Concerts at 11:11 PM

Last night we went to see the new Cirque du Soleil musical travelling show, Delirium, at the Xcel Energy Center in downtown Saint Paul. As my Cirque fetish page implies, we are big fans of their other shows. This one was a little different, though, so we didn’t know what to expect.

It started right on time at 7:30 with something unusual–an opening act. Nitza, described by Variety as “Eva Longoria channeling Enya,” has performed with other Cirque shows (KÀ in Las Vegas) and sang during the main show as well. My three-word review of Nitza: better than clowns.

As for the main show, it wasn’t what I thought it would be. I was expecting remixes of previous songs with a focus on the musicians and lots of multimedia effects. The show did have this, but it also had acrobatic performances like their other shows (albeit in smaller bits). Considering the price of the tickets, I didn’t feel it was as good a value, but it was still entertaining.

Several parts reminded me of various Vegas shows (both Cirque and others), with great lighting and vibrant choreography. The sound at the X has always been good and the unusual stage layout for this show didn’t change that. The visual effects on the multiple screens and sheer curtains created some really surreal images, but I wish we were a little further back (we were in the fifth row on the side–people on the floor missed it totally).

Favorite performers:

  • Wife – the energenic, sculpted dancer
  • Me – the hula hoop woman

Next up: LOVE – Cirque + The Beatles at The Mirage, previews start June 2…DK

ImageMagick on Mac OS X

Posted Tuesday, May 16th, 2006 11:59 am GMT -5 in Technology at 11:59 AM

This site uses Gallery2 for the photos section and I recently set up something similar for a client. They had an additional request to include EPS, PDF, Photoshop and Illustrator files in the gallery, which I was sure it could handle. Unfortunately, the experience wasn’t so smooth.

Gallery2 supports several different graphics libraries, including GD, NetPBM and ImageMagick. I already had GD installed and supported by my webserver, so that was what I had been using. Each one has it’s own advantages and disadvantages, but GD does not support the file types I needed to add. After comparing the other two, I decided on installing ImageMagick (IM).

There are many ways to install IM, but there are several critical dependencies required to get EPS and PDF support, including GhostScript and several font files. Compiling from the source on the IM site is complicated by this and many of the pre-compiled binaries do not have the required pieces. After trying several of the pre-built binaries with little success, I turned to Darwinports.

I had used Fink in the past and never really liked the experience much. Darwinports serves a similar purpose: help compile and update unix-based applications via the command line while making dependencies easier to manage. The instructions for installing IM via Darwinports were a little confusing, as I knew I needed the variant for Ghostscript (gs), but the page didn’t say how to do that. It was easy:

Hecubus:/ dmk$ sudo port install imagemagick +gs

After quite a long while, the install finished and I had a working copy of IM located in /opt/local/bin. I pointed the Gallery2 IM module at that directory and it passed all of the configuration tests (identify, convert, composite). The installed version was 6.2.6 and it said it supported the following MIME types:

  • image/gif
  • image/jpeg
  • image/pjpeg
  • image/png
  • image/tiff
  • image/svg+xml
  • image/bmp
  • application/pdf
  • application/postscript
  • application/photoshop
  • image/x-photo-cd
  • image/tga
  • image/jpeg-cmyk
  • image/tiff-cmyk

Eveything was looking good, but my first few test files were hit and miss. Some files got perfect thumbnails created (PDF, BMP, some EPS), some got a blank white box (most PSDs), some got a box with the text name of the file (some EPS), while others just say “no thumbnail” and give a smarty error when clicked (only using the Siriux theme, though).

I turned on debug and looked at the commands being called via IM. No apparent errors, so I did some testing in the command line. I think I’ve narrowed it down to colorspace issues with EPS files and multiple layers with PSD files. If I add a -colorspace RGB flag to the EPS files, good jpeg previews are created. Similarly, if I add a -flatten flag to the PSD files, I get good jpeg previews on those too. I don’t know how to make those changes in the Gallery2 module, so I submitted a forum post to the Gallery2 community, but there hasn’t been much response.

So close, but still so far…DK

The Complexities of Email

Posted Friday, May 12th, 2006 03:49 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 3:49 PM

The premise sounds so simple: get someone’s email address and you can send them a note. Just like traditional mail, there’s never been an absolute guarantee your email will get to its destination, but lately it’s felt like email is being lost more and more. Everybody hates junk mail, but the anti-spam methods being utilized today are impacting the delivery of legitimate email.

Case in point: about two weeks ago I tried sending a note from my personal Comcast account to my wife’s work account. I was on my work network at HSRA, so according to Comcast’s rules for sending mail on non-Comcast networks, I need to use different, secure port numbers to connect to them (SSL using port 465 for outgoing SMTP mail and port 995 for receiving mail via POP).

That had been working fine for months, but my message bounced back with the following message from her network’s mail server:

550 REPLY: 550_This_system_has_been_configured_to_reject_your_mail.

Spamhaus is one of the tools I use on my own mail servers to help with junk mail. The IP listed is the gateway address for the HSRA network, so when I went to the Spamhaus lookup page, it said that the HSRA network was being blacklisted on XBL because it appears in the Composite Blocking List. I had never heard of CBL before, but they said the HSRA network is a source of spam. When the blacklisted IP address of the HSRA network appeared in the header of my Comcast e-mail, the other network refused to accept and deliver it.

After spending a few hours reading through the CBL documentation, there were two things they said needed to be checked. First, they recommend that all port 25 traffic be blocked at the firewall (at least for all non-known mail servers). Since the HSRA mail server is located outside of the internal network, this would cause mail to fail internally unless the IP address of the HSRA mail server was specifically allowed. My connections to the Studio 4 email server would also be effected, but Comcast connections would work (as long as the alternate, non-port 25 settings were used).

The second issue was to identify which machine on the network was sending out junk mail. The HSRA network has more than 100 devices on it, but my initial focus was on the three Windows PCs we have. I checked the anti-virus settings on them and they were functioning OK. Windows Update was current. I downloaded and installed the new Windows Defender beta and found some Adware that wasn’t picked up by the other tools. I was still not confident I had found the culprit, though.

There are some basic traffic monitoring tools built-in to our firewall box (a SonicWall SOHO3). I captured some data and saw there was abnormal port 25 email traffic, but I couldn’t identify which machine was sending it. I made changes to the port 25 settings on the firewall to prohibit all traffic except to the HSRA and Studio 4 mail servers. The abnormal traffic patterns returned to normal. I still need to positively identify which machine was the source, but this was enough to get us off the blacklist.

I’ve never been formally trained on running mail servers, but this has been an interesting learning experience. I have new respect for the email gurus out there that try to keep things running smoothly…DK

The Tickets Have Arrived

Posted Monday, May 8th, 2006 10:57 pm GMT -5 in Golf,Travel at 10:57 PM

2006 U.S. Open, Winged Foot Golf Club, Mamaroneck, New York, June 12-18, 2006.

The planning begins…DK

North Links Course Review

Posted Monday, May 8th, 2006 01:18 am GMT -5 in Golf at 1:18 AM

This weekend I drove down Highway 169 to North Mankato to play North Links Golf Course. Built in 1992 by Wyss Associates of Rapid City for the City of North Mankato, North Links is a 6,110 yard, par 72 course. I’m not sure of the history of the course since it opened, but it’s now owned by the Wilson Golf Group (who also own Oak Glen in Stillwater, among others).

The course rating and slope from the tips are only 69.4 and 117, respectively, but there are quite a few challenging holes on the course. The tee box complexes were very nice and the man-made wetlands around holes 1, 2, 10, 11, 17 and 18 added a lot of visual appeal to an otherwise wide-open layout. The greens didn’t look fast, but they putted that way and most had a lot of conturing (especially 18). The suspension bridge over the ravine between the third and fourth holes was impressive, but also loud when carts went across. Too bad the ravine couldn’t come into play more on some of the holes.

With such a low slope, I was hoping to shoot better than 89. I did have two birdies, though: hit a SW to 4 feet on the par 3 eighth and my third shot on the 497-yard par 5 fifteenth hit the stick and dropped down for a ten-inch birdie putt. The pace of play was a little slow, but for $26, it was a good value…DK

Spring Has Sprung

Posted Monday, May 8th, 2006 12:09 am GMT -5 in Personal at 12:09 AM

After what seemed like weeks of rain, the sun finally came out this week and buds just started exploding everywhere. Even had to dust off the lawnmower…DK

City Pages Blog of the Day

Posted Wednesday, May 3rd, 2006 11:34 pm GMT -5 in Food,Housekeeping at 11:34 PM

Today 7 Minute Miles was named the “Minnesota Blog of the Day” by City Pages newspaper. I don’t publish this site with an intent to have a large audience, but it’s always nice to get recognized. For the record, my goal is not to run the Boston Marathon–that’s more of a wish. My times are so slow that I’d have to be about 70 years old to qualify, but I’ll keep trying to get better.

Last week, City Pages published their annual “Best of the Twin Cities” issue. The controversy over “Best Cheap Thrill” was dumb, but I always enjoy that issue because it gives me ideas of new places to eat. Like most people who grew up in Saint Paul, I don’t know much about what’s good on the other side of the river. City Pages seems to favor Minneapolis establishments, so this works out well for me (but why no “Best Wild Player” category?).

Locally-owned restaurants are sometimes more expensive, but they are also more unique and often have better quality food and service. This week I tried two of the winners at lunchtime: Matt’s Bar for best burger and Cafe Barbette for best fries. I had been to the latter once before for dinner and the sirloin burger special with fries didn’t disappoint. I had a Jucy Lucy at Matt’s and got burned by the cheese (despite the warning from our server). It was very good, though, and you can’t beat the atmosphere…DK


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  • Mile - 6:10
  • 5K - 21:42
  • 10K - 44:40
  • Half - 1:38:40
  • Full - 3:43:32
  • 50K - 7:37:00
  • 2018 Mileage: 53.8

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  • Get in Gear 10K - 4/28

Upcoming Sporting Events

  • Monster Jam - 4/7
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  • Twins vs. Boston - 6/20
  • Summer X Games - 7/19-22
  • Twins vs. Cleveland - 7/30
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Upcoming Concerts

  • Graveyard Club & Rushmore - 3/22, Fitz
  • Cloud Cult - 4/7, Orchestra Hall
  • Trampled by Turtles - 5/4, Palace
  • Kenny Chesney - 5/5, USBS
  • Caroline Smith - 5/17, Cedar
  • I Love the 90s - 5/18, Mystic Lake
  • David Byrne - 5/17, Orpheum
  • David Byrne - 5/18, Orpheum
  • Trampled by Turtles - 7/7, Bayfront
  • Jack White - 8/6, Armory
  • Beyonce & Jay Z - 8/8, USBS
  • Pearl Jam - 8/18, Wrigley Field
  • Pearl Jam - 8/20, Wrigley Field
  • Taylor Swift - 8/31 & 9/1, USBS
  • Ed Sheeran - 10/20, USBS