7 Minute Miles

Pearl Jam and Tom Petty at Xcel

Posted Wednesday, June 28th, 2006 02:38 am GMT -5 in Concerts at 2:38 AM

As one of only three cities to get the double bill of Pearl Jam and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, we thought we were getting a great deal with two concerts for the price of one. We’ve seen Pearl Jam a number of times, but this was our first time seeing Petty. The Tuesday evening show was the second in a two-night stand and the newspaper reviews of the Monday concert were positive, so we had high hopes. Unfortunately, we left feeling a little cheated.

Both acts were listed as co-headliners, but the table was tilted towards Tom Petty, as they got to have an encore, played longer and brought out Eddie Vedder for two songs during their set. That wasn’t necessarily a bad thing by itself, but it meant no encore songs from Pearl Jam and no return appearances from the other Pearl Jam members. There may be more to the story, but I couldn’t believe that “the two Mikes” didn’t have a guitar jam together at some point. Vedder commented that two of the best guitarists in the world were stage right (McCready and Campbell)–it would have been great to hear them play together.

The night was plagued with production issues. First, McCready’s guitar had issues that caused him to just stop playing mid-song and walk off stage. There were also feedback and volume issues early in Pearl Jam’s set that caused Vedder at one point to throw his water bottle (or beer?) towards the side of the stage. Most of the issues during the Pearl Jam set were resolved about a third of the way through, only to reappear during the Petty set. Most annoying moment of the night–Vedder joins Petty to sing the opening verse of The Waiting, only to have a dead mic. Vedder continues to sing passionately throughout the song and we couldn’t hear a word. Thankfully, he returned on the last song of the night (American Girl) and did a quick “check, check” before starting the song–to huge applause.

As for the actual performances, it was a loud, entertaining night. Pearl Jam performed a nice mix of new material, older “minor” hits and just enough mega-hits to keep the crowd happy. Since we’ve seen them a number of times, we really don’t need to hear Jeremy and Daughter again and didn’t have to in this show. They played two of my all-time favorites: Not For You from Vitalogy and Black from Ten. Finishing up with Alive, the set also included Corduroy, Elderly Woman Behind The Counter In A Small Town, Given to Fly, Glorified G (!), Low Light (!!), Life Wasted, State of Love and Trust, World Wide Suicide and Hail, Hail. The only other songs I really wanted to hear (but didn’t) were: Spin the Black Circle, Yellow Ledbetter, Nothingman and Rearviewmirror.

On the Petty side of things, it was like a live performance of the Greatest Hits album with some covers and a new song thrown in. Since I hadn’t seen him before, this was exactly what I wanted to hear. I’ll look for a setlist later, as I don’t know my Petty as well as my Eddie. Don’t Come Around Here No More, Refugee and Runnin’ Down A Dream, though, are a few that stick out mainly because they all caused me to have flashbacks to watching videos on early MTV and listening to WLOL and KDWB growing up. For a 55-year-old, Petty still knows how to shake those old guy jeans…DK

Originally published by DK on June 28, 2006 at 2:38 am

Theodore Wirth Golf Course

Posted Saturday, June 24th, 2006 05:26 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 5:26 PM

Today’s round started at 7:30am on the 18-hole course at Theodore Wirth Park outside of Minneapolis. The first four greens were horrible and should not have been open for play. The rest of the greens were better, but all played very slow. A storm front moved through when we were on the sixth hole, so we waited until it passed over. The back nine did not drain well, though, so it was a soggy round.

When I was at the Open, I spent a lot of time watching Ernie Els hit irons on the practice range and noticed a few things that I decided to try today. First, he really arches his left wrist outward and keeps his hands only slightly ahead of the ball at address (I have always had my club angle much farther forward). Second, his tempo was excellent–slow takeaway, slow start to the downswing, acceleration through the ball, then slow follow-through to the same slot every time. I had a lot of success with this today and I hope to learn more during my first lesson at the U of M this week.

Score today: out in 43, back in 47. Lots of shots left on the course due to poor short game chips, but that was to be expected after no rounds for more than two weeks. Nothing firm planned, either…DK

Originally published by DK on June 24, 2006 at 5:26 pm

Final Thoughts on the Open Trip

Posted Thursday, June 22nd, 2006 01:11 am GMT -5 in Golf,Travel at 1:11 AM

We really had a great time on the trip last week. Special thanks to Jim Reinhart, USGA Vice President, who donated the tickets to the Tapemark that I won in last year’s 1-in-5 raffle. Thanks to another nice USGA official named Jeff, we got to meet Jim on Friday (and again on Saturday) and he was very gracious.

A few other things:

  • Spoke to Tom Lehman briefly during the practice round and thanked him for doing the video for the 35th anniversary of the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am. He asked how the tournament went and asked who won. After telling him Tentis beat Berry, he commented “Ah, good to see the big dogs battling it out.”
  • Also asked Tim Herron if Gerald was there this week (Gerald McCullagh, his instructor, who currently teaches out of the University of Minnesota practice facility) and he said “No.”
  • Lumpy was sometimes friendly and sometimes not. Mostly not as the weekend went on, but his 63rd place finish (last of those that made the cut and good for $15,836) explained a lot.
  • Can’t decide which method I like best to spectate at a golf tournament: follow one group around or stay in one spot and watch all the groups. With multiple days, there was ample time to try both.
  • I’m not a big Lefty fan, but the person I really felt bad for was Monty.

We left Sunday before the final group teed off so that we could get a jump on traffic and the trip back, but we listened to the drama on the radio (and saw the final round later on TV). Sunday was by far the hottest and most uncomfortable day, so I didn’t feel too bad about leaving early aand getting into an air conditioned car. We spent that morning following Lumpy to the 10th tee, then stayed there in the shade until Ernie Els’ group went through (he’s my current swing hero).

The hotel we stayed at in Milford, CT was fine, but it was just too far away. Traffic on I-95 always seemed horrible and the train system was OK, but it was expensive and complicated (no signs at the stations or on the trains, no clocks and difficult to tell which train was which). It was $18 roundtrip from Milford to Mamaroneck, but not all trains stopped at both stations, so you’d have to get off and wait again at an intermediate station.

Milford did have a number of good restaurants and a beautiful downtown seaside harbor area that we discovered on the second day. I had decent fish and chips at the Southport Brewing Company and the chicken wings at Archie Moore’s claimed to be the best in Connecticut. They were really good, once you covered them in sauce.

We drove through New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and most of Ohio before stopping to rest on Monday night. Ohio, Indiana, Illinois and Wisconsin followed the next day and we made it back to St. Paul before 5pm on Tuesday evening. The Mini did great and had better gas mileage than the ski trip earlier this year (around 32mpg). I’m done with driving trips for a bit, though…DK

Originally published by DK on June 22, 2006 at 1:11 am

Bruce Springsteen at the Xcel

Posted Wednesday, June 21st, 2006 11:47 am GMT -5 in Concerts at 11:47 AM

The day before I left town for the Open, my wife and I saw Bruce Springsteen with the Seeger Sessions Band at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul. His new CD doesn’t hold a candle to the live show, which was truly amazing. The 16 member band had an energy level I haven’t seen since Lyle Lovett’s Large Band was in town. The brass section was a special standout–more bands could use a good brass section, methinks.

They played most of the songs from the new album during the 2 1/2-hour show (which started an hour late with no explanation), but for some reason they skipped Froggie Went A-Courtin’ and Shenandoah. There was an incredible version of When the Saints Go Marching In, though, and four re-works of previous Springsteen songs. The reviews in the local papers were both very positive and it was a show I would see again in a heartbeat…DK

Originally published by DK on June 21, 2006 at 11:47 am

Hole in One at the Open

Posted Sunday, June 18th, 2006 06:31 am GMT -5 in Golf,Travel at 6:31 AM

Highlight of the trip so far–standing directly behind Peter Hedblom (Sweden) on the third tee when he aced the 243-yard hole with a 3-iron. We thought we’d be on TV, but all of the replays we’ve seen online so far just show the picture from the camera that was next to us. Today is the final round and then we head home…DK

Originally published by DK on June 18, 2006 at 6:31 am

Michael Bartosh Memorial

Posted Saturday, June 17th, 2006 08:03 am GMT -5 in Personal,Technology at 8:03 AM

Michael Bartosh, noted Macintosh author and consultant, died in a tragic accident last week in Tokyo. He was 28 and is survived by his wife Amber. Macworld Conference and Expo is establishing a scholarship in his name. Details are still being worked out, but you can sign up here to be notified when more information is available.

I only knew Michael online through mailing lists and email, but he was a true expert who was willing to share his knowledge to help others. His home was in Colorado and we had talked a few times about trying to get together to ski at Copper Mountain, where he had a season pass. Through his consulting and training contracts, he got to travel the world and it was also fun watching his iChat status in my buddy list to see where he was now. My thoughts go out to his family and friends in their time of mourning…DK

Originally published by DK on June 17, 2006 at 8:03 am

Practice Day at the Open

Posted Wednesday, June 14th, 2006 11:29 pm GMT -5 in Golf,Travel at 11:29 PM

Today was the last day of practice rounds at Winged Foot and the last day you could bring cameras though the gates. Since this was the only practice round I could attend, I made the most of my new lens:

  • DK’s 2006 U.S. Open Photo Gallery

The first round starts tomorrow and we are going to try taking the train instead of driving (which took 2 hours to go about 35 miles). More updates tomorrow…DK

Originally published by DK on June 14, 2006 at 11:29 pm

Sites and Sounds from the Road

Posted Tuesday, June 13th, 2006 10:17 pm GMT -5 in Travel at 10:17 PM

OK, no sound, just sights. We left the Twin Cities early Monday morning and stopped in Madison for lunch (see Gritty story). The drive through Chicago unfortunately coincided with rush hour and took almost two hours. We made a pit stop in South Bend to visit the Notre Dame bookstore and had dinner at the Great Wall. Final stop that day was Toledo, Ohio, home to a nice Holiday Inn Express and my new favorite restaurant name–Frickers. We left Toledo this morning at 8am and made it to Milford, Connecticut at about 6:30pm. Practice round tomorrow; photos at eleven…DK

Originally published by DK on June 13, 2006 at 10:17 pm

The Gritty

Posted Tuesday, June 13th, 2006 10:14 pm GMT -5 in Food at 10:14 PM

Stopped in Madison on the way to New York for the Open. One of my favorite places to eat in Madison while in school was Marsh Shapiro’s Nitty Gritty on the corner of Frances and Johnson. They used to have an item on the menu I loved–a chicken strip sandwich with fries and the secret “Gritty Sauce.” Last time we visited, it wasn’t on the menu and the server couldn’t quite figure out how to bring me a bun to put the chicken strips on. Didn’t have that problem this time and it was wonderful…DK

Originally published by DK on June 13, 2006 at 10:14 pm

Live at the Tapemark

Posted Friday, June 9th, 2006 11:49 am GMT -5 in Golf at 11:49 AM

Hooked up live in the tent at the 35th Annual Tapemark Charity Pro-Am. We’ll be here the next three days and we’d love to have visitors. Directions are available on the tournament site linked above. The pro field is strong this year and there should be a lot of exciting golf to watch. This is one of the best opportunities all year to see high-quality pro golf for free, so stop by if you can. If not, check out some of the new features we added to the tournament web site:

I also added a new golfer location feature that will give you an estimated location for a player (listed on the player profile page). The rain is holding off and there haven’t been any major bugs or issues so far, knock on wood…DK

Originally published by DK on June 9, 2006 at 11:49 am

2006 Heart of the City Half Marathon

Posted Saturday, June 3rd, 2006 07:41 pm GMT -5 in Running at 7:41 PM

This morning was the 2006 Heart of the City Half Marathon in Burnsville, Minnesota. Benefitting the Tender Hearts Foundation, the race is an out-and-back course that runs along the Minnesota River. I’ve run all three years this event has been held and unfortunately the weather has not been kind lately. Last year it rained and this year was really hot. I ran a good pace for the first nine miles, but started to feel dizzy and decided to walk most of the remaining distance to finish in 2:35.

This is a new race, but they still have a few bugs to work out. The lines at registration this morning were very long and I only had about 10 minutes to make it to the starting line, which is about a block away from the registration tent. They also decided to hand out T-shirts at registration instead of at the finish, so I had to carry my shirt with me to the start of the race, then duck over to my car during the race to drop off the shirt.

Speaking of shirts, we had issues last year with the children’s races (they did not have any shirts for kids, despite being listed on the online registration form) and the T-shirt woes continued this year. I picked my shirt size during online registration, yet the tent did not know what size I wanted. When I asked for XL, they said they were out of those and only had medium and large left. Why even ask then?

On a more serious note, they continue to have issues with drinks on-course. The first year they ran out of water at the last two stops and this year there were large gaps between stops on a very hot day. Also, with running magazines recommending drinking only sports-drinks during marathons, this race continues to offer only water (both on-course and at the finish). I like the course and the cause, but I think I may take a year off and see if things inprove for the fifth anniversary…DK

Originally published by DK on June 3, 2006 at 7:41 pm

Southview Country Club

Posted Saturday, June 3rd, 2006 07:21 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 7:21 PM

On Friday, I joined a great foursome at Southview Country Club in West St. Paul, Minnesota. The 35th Annual Tapemark Charity Pro-Am will be held there next weekend and I will be volunteering and maintaining the tournament web site Friday though Sunday. The course was in beautiful shape and hopefully the good weather we’ve been having will hold up for the tournament.

The green complex at the par 5 fourth hole was changed during the offseason, with several bunkers rebuilt and some changes made to the putting surface. I played OK to start, with the best drive I’ve ever had on one and a birdie on two. I drove the ball well on most holes and just need to work on my iron play from the fairway. I’m playing telephone tag this week to get some lessons lined up (maybe as a Father’s Day present?). I ended up with a 92 from the white tees and my handicap is now trending to 17–almost four strokes higher than my all-time low. Those lessons can’t come fast enough…DK

Originally published by DK on June 3, 2006 at 7:21 pm

Thoughts on the Apple MacBook

Posted Thursday, June 1st, 2006 04:56 pm GMT -5 in Technology at 4:56 PM

After dropping off an eMac for repair, I paid a visit to the First Tech showroom in Minneapolis to take a test drive of the new MacBook laptops. The black model is visually very striking and in my opinion, much better looking than the white version (which looks just like the old iBook casing). I spent most of my time on the black demo unit, which had the stock 512MB of RAM and the 2.0GHz dual core Intel processor.

There were four things I wanted to check out in person: 1) the keyboard, 2) the glossy screen, 3) the speed of the integrated graphics and 4) the overall size and weight.

Keyboard

The keyboard has a nice looking design, but how is it as an actual typing surface? At first, I thought the keys were spaced too far apart, but this is really just an optical illusion. It definitely has a feeling unique from other Apple laptops, but I think I would adjust to it after an hour or so. The recessed keys also prevent the screen smudging that occurs on all of the PowerBooks I’ve used.

Glossy Screen

I’ve always hated the glossy screens on Wintel laptops at Best Buy and was disappointed that Apple was only offering screen options on the Pro models. After seeing the MacBook glossy screen in action, though, I quickly learned to block out the minimal glare that was present. I think I’m just used to doing that with shiny television screens and this screen is too small to get really annoyed with it. In fact, that’s really the only thing that would prevent me from considering one of these for myself–I’m spoiled with the 1680×1050 resolution of my 17-inch PowerBook. With Exposé, however, I could probably get by with the upgraded 1280×800 resolution in exchange for a machine that actually fits on an airplane tray.

Integrated Graphics

There is a certain stigma associated with integrated graphics that began because systems that had this were usually bargain basement PCs. Apple describes theirs as “Intel GMA 950 graphics processor with 64MB of DDR2 SDRAM shared with main memory.” The reviews and feedback I had read were a little mixed–most said it wasn’t like the old systems, but it still wasn’t good enough to run the highest-end games and applications. I’m still curious to know how much of a difference going from the base 512MB of RAM to the maximum 2GB makes, but the stock machine at First Tech did very well with the tests I threw at it.

First, I opened iPhoto and did a scroll and resize test, which it performed faster than my PowerBook (although with a much smaller library). Then I launched a slideshow using the cube transition effect and it was very, very smooth. Finally, I turned on the iTunes visualizer and watched the frame rate–30 frames per second versus about 21 on my current machine. If it does this well with 512MB, I imagine a MacBook with 2GB of RAM could do just about anything I want or need.

Size and Weight

The overall styling of the black model is awesome. The fit and finish were solid and the magnetic latch is better than people have said–you really need to see it in person to appreciate how well-designed they are. The MacBooks are noticeably thinner than the iBooks and reminded me of the 17-inch PowerBook thickness. They are a little wider than the iBooks, but the trade-off in screen resolution (and the widescreen aspect ratio) is well worth it. At 5.2 pounds, they’re not too heavy for typical laptop transportation needs and felt pretty light when I picked it up. The demo unit also wasn’t very hot (at least as far as I could tell). The speakers weren’t loud at all, but I’ve found that to be the case on most Apple laptops. The reflection of the speakers off of the screen is very clever.

At $1499, you are paying a $150 premium just to get black, but I did not feel like the white model was as well built. The additional of a user-installable hard drive is one of the biggest improvements Apple could have made to a laptop design and is much appreciated (I can finally forget about microscopic Torx screws). My wife is applying for graduate school and this machine would make an ideal student laptop. In fact, I can’t think of many people who would really need a MacBook Pro over a black MacBook.

For more detailed reviews, I recommend those found at Ars Technica and Macworld…DK

Originally published by DK on June 1, 2006 at 4:56 pm
 

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