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Minnesota Wild versus Edmonton Oilers

Posted Sunday, February 25th, 2007 10:50 pm GMT -5 in Family,Hockey at 10:50 PM

I bet Backstrom is glad he doesn’t have to face this coming at him (pictured above: Gaborik and Demitra attacking during pre-game warmup).

My daughter and I had a Girl Scout hockey outing today to see the Wild play the Oilers. I’m getting spoiled–this was the first time I’ve been on the upper level all season. There really aren’t any bad seats at the X and it was fun seeing the game from a new angle.

We took the camera down by the glass for the practice skate. I’m slowly learning some of the secrets to taking better action shots indoors, but I still have a lot to learn. I’ve uploaded a number of un-corrected images to the Wild photo album (the new ones start on page 11).

The game itself was a blast and they played a solid game. It was great to see Burns score the eventual game winner. The back-and-forth with Demitra and Gaborik was a thing of beauty and we think PMB scored that empty-netter for my daughter. We don’t have any more tickets for games this season, but I may try to pick up a few more. Fingers crossed for the playoffs too…

Golf Show Notebook

Posted Saturday, February 24th, 2007 08:06 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 8:06 PM

Some notes from my visit to the 2007 Minnesota Golf Show yesterday:

  • Dee Forsberg-Voss (The Golf Institute at the University of Minnesota) was among several pros giving free 10 minute lessons on the range.
  • I visited with the manager from The Summit in Cannon Falls. The land next door that was for sale sold for almost ten times the amount they originally paid for the golf course land. He also mentioned that the new deck is complete and they will continue to invest in the course and facility.
  • As I mentioned on my personal website, there were some surprising names on the schedule at the KFAN Golf Academy Stage. Top-rated golf instructors Mike Barge from Hazeltine and Peter Krause from Windsong Farm were paired with local sports figures to talk golf. Too bad this wasn’t promoted better before the show.
  • The Minnesota Section of the PGA and the Minnesota Golf Association were promoting a new “Play Golf Minnesota” week, scheduled for April 23-29. Various events are planned for the week, including golf discounts, clinics and charity events.
  • Also at the Minnesota Section of the PGA, a $50 “Golf Privileges Program” that listed a number of interesting benefits, including the ability to be a “member for a day” at participating private clubs.
  • Note sure how I missed this, but there are two new Titleist drivers out, the 907D1 and the 907D2. They had the D1 available to hit on the range.
  • Favorite booth swag: The Wilderness at Fortune Bay handed out nice black notepad holders with their logo stamped on them. Too bad it included a fake “555” phone number at the bottom. Love that whole operation, though, and can’t wait to get back up there again. UPDATE: that “555” number really works!
  • Chad Hartman from KFAN was there broadcasting live, while attendees got to chip balls through a cardboard Common Man’s heart to win a prize.
  • Harmon Killebrew was on hand to promote his charity golf tournament and sign autographs. The event will be held July 15th and 16th at Mendakota Country Club in Mendota Heights. Proceeds benefit the Harmon Killebrew Foundation, which raises and distributes funds for various children, health, human services, education and medical organizations.
  • The 2008 U.S. Women’s Open at Interlachen is looking for volunteers for the event, to be held June 23-29, 2008. I thought it was interesting that their website says that an Alabama-based sports marketing and event management company called Bruno Event Team is the “Championship Service Company.” Were Jim Lehman and SFX Sports busy that week?
  • As I mentioned last year, Willinger’s Golf Club is under new management. Not sure if I like the new logo, but there will be some big changes this year at one of my favorite south metro courses. The new website by Treefort is beautiful, though, just like their work at Legends Club.
  • 2007 MGA Associate Member Days are June 24 & 25 at Giants Ridge ($125 for both courses over 2 days), July 23 at Midland Hills ($100) and September 24 at Rochester Golf & Country Club ($70). Online registration starts April 2 at
  • Dacotah Ridge in Morton was promoting a number of 2007 stay and play packages, including an interesting “Golf & Poker Getaway” for you and at least 7 of your friends. That one includes two rounds of golf with cart, rooms at their hotel, breakfast and a private Texas Hold’em poker tournament with $40 per player buy-in starting at $244 per person. That would be really fun, if I had 7 friends…
  • Looks like it started last year, but Giants Ridge now has a Golf Academy. Ryan Martin is listed as the head teaching professional, with various individual, group and playing lesson options available. An 18-hole playing lesson at Giants Ridge for $200 would be very interesting.
  • Somerby Golf Club outside Rochester continues to promote a national membership option that I think is very appealing for Twin Cities residents who travel south on occasion. After a $7500 initiation fee, individuals pay $500 annual dues with no food and beverage minimum. Guests play for $75 ($55 for immediate family or pay an additional $500 annually for family dues) and there is a corporate national membership option as well.
  • Arrowwood Resort’s newly renovated course, Atikwa Golf Club, is scheduled to open May 2007.
  • StoneRidge Golf Club in Stillwater was promoting 2007 memberships starting at $315/month or $3300/year (if paid in full). Watch for their new print ads this season–not your typical golf course campaign.

The show continues through tomorrow (Sunday hours: 10am – 4pm, adult admission: $9).

Pierre-Marc Bouchard Player Appearance

Posted Saturday, February 24th, 2007 04:45 pm GMT -5 in Family,Hockey at 4:45 PM

Today we battled the freezing rain and snow to see if there really was a player appearance by the Wild’s Pierre-Marc Bouchard at a car dealership near our house. I heard about it during the last TV broadcast, but it wasn’t listed on and I wasn’t sure he’d be there.

We pulled into the dealership (after passing several cars in the ditch and one 3-car accident) and saw some green, gold and red balloons inside. There were about 30 people waiting, but the table was empty. About ten minutes after the scheduled starting time, PMB arrived in a nice Range Rover and started signing shortly after that.

Mr. Bouchard was extremely friendly to everyone and seemed like a truly nice guy. At a reported five foot nine, 162 pounds, a lot of people seemed surprised by his size. I’ve posted a few pictures in the private photos section of PMB and my daughter, who had her jersey signed. They were using different 5×7 photos today, so I elected to have him sign a “To DK” hockey card instead.

Tomorrow we will fight the snow for a home game against the Edmonton Oilers and Rollie the Goalie.

2007 Minnesota Golf Show

Posted Saturday, February 24th, 2007 01:37 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 1:37 PM

Yesterday I attended the first day of the 2007 Minnesota Golf Show at the Metrodome with Phil Callen from the Tapemark Charity Pro-Am. Minnesota Golden Links premiered at the 1999 show, but I haven’t attended very many since then.

The show hasn’t changed too much since then (although I missed seeing Blimp Guy). The floor layout was the same–two-thirds booths and one-third driving range. With the looming snowstorm forecast, crowds were very light. I picked up a lot of information and saw a few people I knew–more from my notebook soon…

Wes Walz at the Golf Show

Posted Saturday, February 24th, 2007 10:55 am GMT -5 in Golf,Hockey at 10:55 AM

Never thought I’d meet a Wild player at the golf show, but Wes Walz was doing a presentation with Mike Barge from Hazeltine. He was kind enough to pose for a picture afterwards.

More on the golf show coming soon on the Golfing in Minnesota site.

Water Park of America

Posted Thursday, February 22nd, 2007 02:08 am GMT -5 in Family,Food at 2:08 AM

Last weekend I took the kids to the newest indoor water park in town, the Water Park of America, located next door to the Mall of America. I’m not a big swimmer (and had an earache that day), but it was part of a birthday promise and my wife needed to write a paper for school…

Aside from the pricing (same price for adults and kids, ranging from $20 to $44 per person, depending on the day of the week), I thought it was a well done attraction. It has a Minnesota theme, with a mock Split Rock Lighthouse in the middle and lots of references to various parts of the state. There is enough variety among the different sections to provide something for all ages. It was crowded, but people were dispersed enough to make it tolerable. We ate lunch at the passable greasy spoon cafe and beat the rush by a few minutes.

I would go back again sometime in the future, but I’ve heard that it’s actually a better deal for families to get a room in the attached hotel (which comes with free water park admission).

Pan’s Labyrinth at AMC Rosedale 14

Posted Thursday, February 15th, 2007 11:52 pm GMT -5 in Movies at 11:52 PM

“that sucked–it didn’t have anything to do with Peter Pan” – my wife

Apparently I didn’t explain it well enough to her before we went. This was a movie we tried to see at the Uptown in Minneapolis a few weeks ago (before it went into wide release) and the line was down the block.

I loved it. Dark, intense, violent, shocking, sad, moody and well-made, this adult fairy tale (in the traditional sense of the word) was full of eye candy for nerds. I wish I knew Spanish better so that I could have spent more time watching the actors.

This was our first time at the new AMC Rosedale 14 theaters and I still can’t get over how dumb an idea it was to have outdoor ticket windows in Minnesota (and not connecting it to the mall directly–you have to go outside to enter the rest of the mall). Still, it’s always nice to have brand-new seats and projection equipment.

Enhancements to the Photo Gallery

Posted Sunday, February 11th, 2007 05:44 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Technology at 5:44 PM

The photo section of 7 Minute Miles embeds an open source photo management application called Gallery 2. It’s worked well for me, but it’s pretty complex and somewhat hard to customize. There are a lot of hidden features and some that don’t work so well. It also supports custom themes, which I’ve done on this site.

This weekend, my sister and my wife both asked if there is a way to view a slideshow. I had experimented with that in the past and didn’t really like it. I just turned the latest slideshow version on and it’s not bad. The full-screen option is clunky, but the regular option is OK. Here are the steps to use it:

  • Go to the album you want to view
  • Use the album actions drop-down box to select “View Slideshow”
  • Change the max size to 640×640
  • Change the delay seconds (if desired)
  • Click the [-] box to hide options
  • Enjoy the show!

I also enabled simple RSS feeds for albums, so if you use a newsreader, you can subscribe to an album to find out when new photos are added. My favorite reader for Mac OS X is still NetNewsWire Lite, now offered by NewsGator.

Two final photo tips: when navigating single photos, you can click on the right side of the photo to go to the next one and the left side for the previous one. Lastly, if you are on page 2 of a multi-page album, you can change the page number in the URL and hit return to jump right to that new page.

Minnesota Wild versus Florida – the Demise of Dufus

Posted Friday, February 9th, 2007 04:56 pm GMT -5 in Family,Hockey at 4:56 PM

Little did we know last night was the final game in a Wild jersey for Pascal Dupuis (or as we affectionately called him, Dufus). My daughter is actually a little sad, so in his honor, I present my fake commemorative Dufus puck above.

The first ten minutes of the game were awful, but the Wild escaped the first period tied 0-0. We had lots of action in front of our net in the second, when the Wild took a 2-0 lead. The third period was full of suspense, as the Panthers made a game of it at the end. I’m not sure what they were reviewing with Demitra’s goal, but who cares as long as it counted. Burns’ shot to seal the victory was a thing of beauty. The final two minutes of the game were strange–it seemed like both teams just wanted to get off the ice.

The line to get Koivu pucks at door one was totally backed up, so we snuck out a different door. I’m trading one Koivu for a Gaborik puck with my aunt and uncle and might try to pick up a ticket for the Phoenix game (and PMB puck) on March 20th. This was our last regular season game with season ticket seats. There is one Girl Scout game at the end of the month and I still really want to find a way to attend the final home game on April 7th. Fingers crossed for playoff tickets too!

Park Hopper Day

Posted Tuesday, February 6th, 2007 09:15 am GMT -5 in Food,Travel at 9:15 AM

Yesterday was our last full day in Florida, so we jammed it full with 12 hours of theme park goodness. We started in EPCOT, with a visit to the robot-construction exhibit in Innoventions, followed by another trip on Test Track. Hopped a bus to Animal Kingdom for two more rides on Everest (six total for the trip), another ride on the Safari, then a walk on the Pangani Nature Trail to see the gorillas.

Another bus ride took us back to Disney-MGM Studios for rides on Tower of Terror, Rock and Roller Coaster and a visit to the Little Mermaid stage show. One last bus ride back to EPCOT, where we visited Mexico and Norway before heading to dinner at the Biergarten in Germany. The girls danced the night away to the German band, while I loved the pork schnitzel and spatzel. The night was capped with the light and fireworks show Illuminations, held in the middle of World Showcase lagoon.

Today we head back to the tundra. Thanks again to my brother and his wife for hosting us–we really had a great time this week.

Animal Kingdom and Expedition Everest

Posted Saturday, February 3rd, 2007 11:19 pm GMT -5 in Travel at 11:19 PM

On a cloudy, cold and rainy day, we visited Disney’s Animal Kingdom today with my brother and his wife. The weather was, of course, still very warm to us (although I did add a jacket to my shorts and shirt).

We headed straight to Expedition Everest and rode it three times back to back to back. It’s really a well-done attraction, with lots of great Nepalese/Tibetan detailing (I’ve uploaded some pictures in the Walt Disney World photo section).

The rest of the day in a nutshell: lunch at Restaurantosaurus (the fancy Animal Kingdom McDonald’s), a ride on Kilimanjaro Safaris, back to Asia to watch Finding Nemo – The Musical, a fourth ride on Expedition Everest and two rides on Primeval Whirl. Half of the group skipped those last two, opting to see the Festival of the Lion King instead. My brother knew some of the people there, so they got to sit in the front row and my youngest got to be an assistant in front of the whole crowd.

We stopped at Super Target on the way home, picked up some food for dinner (and Super Bowl snacks) and watched the movie Cars for a nightcap. I listened to some of the Wild game online and can’t wait to see them later this week (against Florida no less).

Tomorrow: sleep in, then football all night. Go Bears! Go Tony!

Resort Hotels Old and New

Posted Saturday, February 3rd, 2007 08:08 am GMT -5 in Food,Travel at 8:08 AM

Yesterday was the day we picked to stay out of the parks and visit some of the resort hotels (along with Downtown Disney). I slept in until almost 11:30am and woke up to my cell phone ringing. My mother-in-law called to make sure we were OK–tornadoes had ripped through central Florida overnight and killed at least 15 people. The storm was about 50 miles north of us, so we were not impacted. Our thoughts go out to those affected by the devastation.

We met my brother at the Polynesian Hotel for lunch. Many of my childhood trips to Walt Disney World were spent at the Polynesian and it remains one of my favorite hotels. The Kona Cafe is a newer addition to the hotel, but we ate there last time we visited as well. I had a chicken in peanut sauce dish with sticky rice and macaroni salad that had too many peppers for my liking, but tasted very good.

We hoped on the monorail and visited the Contemporary Resort. One entire wing is being torn down to build a 15-story tower for use by the Disney Vacation Club. This hotel feels a little dated now, but it was fun to walk around the expanded arcade and the outside pool area. And you can’t beat having a monorail line running right through the heart of the place.

Returning on said monorail to the Polynesian, we walked those grounds and took some photos while the girls played on the beach (both the Walt Disney World album in the travel section and the Florida 2007 Trip album in the private section have been updated).

We drove from the Polynesian to the Animal Kingdom Lodge, which we had never seen. I was very impressed with the level of detail in the lobby and common areas and loved the smell of the restaurants in the main building. There were huge crowds waiting to get in, so I’m sure the food is wonderful. They seem to know their audience too–the upscale restaurant had filet mignon with macaroni and cheese! This hotel reminded me a lot of the Grand Californian at Disneyland–the atmosphere was very upscale. We saw lots of animals from the observation areas and had a great time there.

My brother took the tired girls home while my wife and I drove to Downtown Disney. The crowds that had been missing from the parks were all at Downtown Disney. The place was packed! Wall-to-wall people everywhere and it took us a while to find a place to park.

We shopped at Virgin Records, World of Disney and Disney Sports stores and had dinner at the Earl of Sandwich. I ordered the Earl’s Club, which wasn’t really a club sandwich in the traditional sense, but was made with some awesome bread. The place was packed and was worth the wait.

Today: Animal Kingdom and Everest!

The Magic Kingdom

Posted Thursday, February 1st, 2007 11:11 pm GMT -5 in Food,Travel at 11:11 PM

Today we met my brother at EPCOT Center and caught a monorail over to the Magic Kingdom. Once inside the gates, we went straight to Adventureland to ride Pirates of the Caribbean and check out the new Jack Sparrow enhancements. My wife really liked seeing her boyfriend, while I was left wondering why there were no Elizabeth figures added. The Davy-Jones-in-the-mist effect was really cool, but I was a little sad to see some of the music from the movie replacing the original attraction score.

After Pirates, we rode Splash Mountain (once) and Big Thunder Mountain Railroad (twice). Other attractions later in the day: Haunted Mansion, It’s A Small World, Mad Tea Party, Space Mountain (twice), People Movers, Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin (twice), Mickey’s PhilharMagic (twice–the first time the curtain malfunctioned), back to Pirates for a second pass, then finally on the WDW Railroad for a loop around the park.

It rained a little in the afternoon, but we didn’t get too wet. The temps were much warmer today, so I was able to wear shorts and a golf shirt and show off the whitest skin in the state of Florida. Crowds and attraction lines were again really, really good. The only place that had any significant waits was Fantasyland–we walked right on Space Mountain and Splash Mountain and had at most 10 minute waits on all others. Fast Pass wasn’t really necessarily, although we did use it once on Big Thunder.

We ate lunch at the Pinocchio Village Haus, a childhood favorite of mine. They no longer serve hot dogs and fries, though, so I ended up with the ever-present chicken strip basket and fries. I hope the Magic Kingdom adds some additional sit-down dining options in the future–EPCOT has an overabundance and could serve as a model. I know the demographics are different, but even kids like options. And not every “nice” restaurant needs to be a character event.

For dinner, we left the Disney property and went with my brother and his wife to a new Mexican restaurant near his house called Tijuana Flats. They were started by a University of Central Florida student and have expanded to several southeastern states. Their attitude and atmosphere seemed very Gen-X to me, but in a good way. I’m not a big Mexican food person, but I enjoyed my chicken taco and beef burrito combination and the staff was really friendly and nice to our kids. And any place that has a product called Smack My Ass & Call Me Sally has got to be good in my book.

Tomorrow: sleep in, visit my favorite childhood hotels and hit Downtown Disney.

New Pluto Hockey Jersey

Posted Thursday, February 1st, 2007 07:23 am GMT -5 in Personal at 7:23 AM

Thanks to my brother and his wife for the great gift.


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