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Hockey is Back!

Posted Thursday, September 27th, 2007 04:13 pm GMT -5 in Hockey at 4:13 PM

Last night was our first visit this season to the Xcel Energy Center to see the Wild play the St. Louis Blues. Pre-season games aren’t usually the greatest, but the Wild won 7-0 and it was great fun to be back in that atmosphere.

My aunt and uncle moved their season ticket seats to the upper level (section 216) and I really like the location. Much more reasonable price too.

Bring on the regular season!

2007 PING/Golfweek Preview

Posted Tuesday, September 25th, 2007 01:09 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 1:09 PM

The University of Minnesota men’s golf team finished fifth (out of fifteen teams) at the PING/Golfweek Preview, held last weekend at the Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Junior All-American Victor Almstrom fired a final round 69 tying for second at 5-under 211. The second-place finish was a career best for the Swedish native.

Here are the Gopher individual scores:

  • T2, Victor Almstrom, 70-72-69-211 (-5)
  • T16, Clayton Rask, 76-72-72-220 (+4)
  • T41, Andy Paulson, 73-76-77-226 (+10)
  • T41, Ben Pisani, 76-71-79-226 (+10)
  • 73, Justin Kaplan, 79-85-78-242 (+26)

And the top five team scores:

  • 1, Charlotte, 288-288-291-867 (+3)
  • 2, Oklahoma State, 294-279-298-871 (+7)
  • 3, Southern California, 293-293-287-873 (+9)
  • 4, Alabama, 301-290-290-881 (+17)
  • 5, Minnesota, 295-291-296-882 (+18)

The next Gopher men’s golf event is the Windon Memorial Classic, to be held October 7-8 in Glencoe, Illinois.

More Childhood Treasure

Posted Tuesday, September 25th, 2007 12:28 pm GMT -5 in Personal at 12:28 PM

Hillcrest Golf Club Course Notes

Posted Monday, September 24th, 2007 09:42 am GMT -5 in Golf at 9:42 AM

Last week I was hosted by the gracious Steve Smith (aka Blimp Guy) at his home course, Hillcrest Golf Club of St. Paul. This is the same course that was mentioned recently in Shooter’s column:

That was Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Marian Gaborik, both of whom begin official Wild training camp workouts Friday in St. Paul, at Hillcrest Golf Club the other day playing with Houston Aeros player and Hillcrest member Danny Irmen.

I saw Mr. Irmen’s locker in the clubhouse and it was fun imaging those three playing the same holes I did.

The greens had been punched two weeks ago and had already returned to prime condition. Chris Bailey, one of Hillcrest’s pros (and an awesome Tapemark participant), said they were even faster before the recent rain.

Steve reported that the club had an issue with the driving range this year. Someone purchased a house next to the range and filed suit against the club, saying there were more than 7,000 golf balls that ended up in the yard. The club agree to put up a net and a judge ruled that the range be closed until that was completed. Amazing…

The Not Happy List

Posted Wednesday, September 19th, 2007 11:30 pm GMT -5 in Personal,Work at 11:30 PM

Not many posts lately, as writing web entries here has become too close to “work” for my taste. Plus I haven’t really done much the past few weeks except golf (which I cover on the Golfing in Minnesota site) and work, which has mainly involved flying back and forth to California way too often.

It finally struck me this week that my job currently makes me feel not happy. I decided to write a private not happy list, which I can summarize as:

  • compensation
  • no time for entrepreneurial projects
  • organizational issues
  • too much stress

I really like the work I do, my office and toys, most of the people I work with and the flexibility I have to make my own rules. Huge increases in responsibility and work hours with no increase in salary or ability to delegate tasks, though, makes me not happy.

So I’ve decided to follow two paths: 1) update my current job description and create a proposal to improve things internally and 2) update my resume (for the first time in four years) and start putting out feelers. The former is much preferred to the latter, but I like to be prepared.

Especially if it makes me happy again…

2007 Women’s Tapemark

Posted Tuesday, September 18th, 2007 02:02 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 2:02 PM

The weather finally cooperated yesterday for the 13th Annual Tapemark Women’s Golf Event, held at Southview Country Club in West Saint Paul. Threatening rain clouds moved out, the sun shined and the temperatures rose into the mid 80s.

LPGA teaching pro Sheryl Maize conducted a clinic before the tournament, which also featured a new “Beat the Sponsor” event on the second tee with the Anderson Agency’s Shaun Irwin.

Southview’s chefs again did a great job providing lunch before and dinner after, while fun was had by all during the silent auction, wine drawing and awards ceremony.

Proceeds from the event help support multiple charities that help people with learning and developmental disabilities and their families. The men’s and women’s events have raised more than $5.7 million during the history of the events.

The 2008 women’s event will be held Monday, September 15, 2008.

Here are the flight winners:

Championship Flight
1st, Carey Dubbs, Lynnda Frederick, 74
2nd, Sandy Braegelmann, Rachel Wight, 75
3rd, Sally Deyak, Shawna Johnson, 76

1st Flight
1st, Polly Foss, Mary Hynan, 80
2nd, Katie Gordon, Jeri Meola, 83
3rd, Nancy Roach, Judy Waryan, 85

2nd Flight
1st, Jennifer Jeannette, Mary Jo Abler, 84
2nd, Terri Banaszewski, Terri Fleming, 87
3rd, Margaret Bolles, Sharon Doyle, 89

Fun Flight
1st, Deb Weston, Donna-Jean Hill, 95 (*won playoff)
2nd, Michele Hein, Michelle Wirth, 95
3rd, Jeanne Eliason, Joyce Krech, 99

2007 Gopher Invitational

Posted Monday, September 17th, 2007 10:37 am GMT -5 in Golf at 10:37 AM

The 2007 Gopher Invitational held at Spring Hill Golf Club in Wayzata this weekend was not kind to the host team. Despite third and fourth place individual finishes by Victor Almstrom and Clayton Rask, the Gopher men’s team placed eighth among the twelve teams competing:

  • 1, Lamar University, 290-286-292-868 (+4)
  • T2, Arkansas, 298-295-297-890 (+26)
  • T2, Wisconsin, 293-289-308-890 (+26)
  • T4, Indiana, 297-295-299-891 (+27)
  • T4, Notre Dame, 294-291-306-891 (+27)
  • 6, SMU, 304-299-295-898 (+34)
  • 7, Michigan State, 306-283-314-903 (+39)
  • 8, Minnesota, 308-304-297-909 (+45)
  • 9, San Diego, 304-298-309-911 (+47)
  • 10, Illinois, 303-295-315-913 (+49)
  • 11, Georgia Southern, 312-309-314-935 (+71)
  • 12, Princeton, 316-324-319-959 (+95)

Almstrom’s 71-74-71-216 (E) and Rask’s 74-71-72-217 (+1) were both career bests for those players. Gopher Junior Andy Paulson, playing as an individual, also recorded a career-best finish with a tie for seventh at 76-70-73-219 (+3).

The Gopher team total was 308-304-297-909 (+45):

  • 3, Victor Almstrom, 71-74-71-216 (E)
  • T4, Clayton Rask, 74-71-72-217 (+1)
  • T50, Ben Pisani, 82-77-76-235 (+19)
  • T60, Patrick Datz, 81-83-78-242 (+26)
  • 63, Thomas Campbell, 82-82-84-248 (+32)

The next men’s event is the PING Preview, being held next weekend at Purdue in West Lafayette, Indiana.

New Holes Open at Cannon

Posted Sunday, September 16th, 2007 04:28 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 4:28 PM

The course redesign by Garrett Gill of Cannon Golf Club opened for play this Friday in Cannon Falls.

Some of the major changes include:

  • Retirement of the old par three eleventh and sixteenth holes.
  • Changed the old seventeenth hole to a dogleg left (now the fifteenth).
  • Moved the fairway of the third hole to the top of the ridge.
  • Created new par four sixteenth and par three seventeenth holes.
  • Built a new tee on the par five eighteenth hole.

We had a scheduled 1:18 tee time on Saturday, which was pushed back about 45 minutes due to a frost delay earlier in the day. Unfortunately, this also led to our first five hour round of the year. The course needs to do a better job of managing golfers on the course–there were a number of gaps caused by slow groups not being in position. After all of the marketing this course has done this year (and will likely continue to do with the new changes), it will be disappointing if they cannot handle the increased crowds.

As for the on-course changes, it’s a mixed bag. The two par three holes that were eliminated won’t be missed and the change to the old seventeenth is a great improvement. Something had to be done to the third hole, but I’m not convinced that keeping the back tees down the hill was the best option. The new hole looks and plays much better from the top of the ridge and would be a great short par four hole for all tees, but I’m sure the distance was needed for the overall course total. Not sure I like the blind tee shot from the white and blue tees, but maybe it will grow on me.

The new sixteenth and seventeenth holes lack pizazz, but with a flat, open field, there isn’t really much you can do. It would be nice to see some trees and a water feature added between those holes (which appears may be coming later). The par three seventeenth is actually a nice looking hole already (see above)–hopefully the addition of housing won’t spoil it too much.

Golfing in Minnesota plans to get some comments from the architect–watch for an update coming soon…

Titleist Fittingworks

Posted Wednesday, September 12th, 2007 10:08 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 10:08 PM

Last month, we paid a visit to Don Berry at Edinburgh USA to get professionally fitted for new clubs. Don uses the Titleist Fittingworks system, which describes the benefits to fitting as follows:

Why Get Fit?

As the leader in custom fitting, Titleist believes there are several benefits to being custom fit for golf clubs. The fitting tools and methods that comprise FittingWorks ensure that the player will be armed with the knowledge to choose the optimum full set of clubs.

By incorporating the correct club models and personalized set specifications recommended by an authorized FittingWorks Fitter, the player can expect to:

– Consistently drive the ball longer.
– Hit all shots more accurately.
– Shave strokes with better short game execution.
– Have noticeably better distance control.

In short, playing with properly fit equipment throughout the entire set will help golfers play better golf. See your authorized Titleist FittingWorks Fitter and Get Serious. Get Fit.

We had a great experience with Don and I can’t wait to see how the new clubs work out.

Sunset Over California

Posted Wednesday, September 12th, 2007 09:36 pm GMT -5 in Travel,Work at 9:36 PM

Very striking sunset over the Pacific tonight outside the Studio 4 apartment in Redondo Beach. Wrapped up another visit today cleaning up first-week-of-school issues at HSRA LA. Heading back to Minnesota in the morning…

Circus Reform in Minneapolis

Posted Wednesday, September 12th, 2007 01:00 am GMT -5 in Politics at 1:00 AM

A while back I received an email from 7 Minute Miles reader Rick Kelley of Minneapolis. He wanted to raise awareness about a local advocacy group called Circus Reform Yes!

From the group’s website:

Minnesota-based nonprofit advocacy group for wild animals used in entertainment. It is our philosophy that the use of wild animals in circuses is inherently inhumane. Circus Reform Yes believes in the power of compassionate, humane education to make profound changes in society’s attitude, and to alleviate the unnecessary suffering caused by the archaic institution of wild animal circuses.

I will never forgot the truly awful circus that came to the Eagan Civic Arena several years ago that I vowed never to attend again. And as you can tell from my fetishes page, I much prefer Cirque du Soleil to circuses with animals.

If you live in Minneapolis and would like to show your support of this group, there is a city council hearing today at 1pm in the council chambers at City Hall (350 S 5th St, 3rd Floor, Minneapolis).

Haunted Mansion Headstone

Posted Monday, September 10th, 2007 11:05 am GMT -5 in Pop Culture at 11:05 AM

Found this during the excavation of my parent’s basement. Copyright on the bottom reads 1970…

Stonebrooke Course Notes

Posted Monday, September 10th, 2007 10:06 am GMT -5 in Golf at 10:06 AM

This weekend I paid my first return visit to Shakopee’s Stonebrooke Golf Club in what turns out to be several years. The course has not changed much, but the clubhouse area sure has. It has expanded in size to cater to large receptions and the landscaping outside is picture perfect for those all-important wedding shots.

The signature eighth hole across Lake O’Dowd still has my number (just how far across that body of water is the tee shot really?). The greens had just been punched last week, so putting was not the highlight of our round. Overall, though, conditions were good for this time of the year.

While not a terribly long course, Stonebrooke makes up for length with variety and uniqueness. Many of the holes here are unlike anything else in the state. I haven’t played the executive course across the street, but that adds another element to the experience as well.

1776 at the Guthrie

Posted Sunday, September 9th, 2007 11:44 am GMT -5 in Food,Theater at 11:44 AM

Last month I ended my boycott of the new Guthrie (mad about the old one being torn down) to see my friend Phil Callen portray Georgia senator Lyman Hall in 1776.

The new building is stunning. The interior of the Wurtele Theater is a virtual carbon copy of the old space–intimate, with every seat a good one. The “bridge to nowhere” is unique and has awesome views of the river and skyline (including the eerie site of the 35W bridge collapse). The best view, however, was in the hard-to-find ninth floor, with tall, yellow-tinted windows. The restaurants looked great–I especially want to visit Cue, even though Lenny Russo is no longer involved.

The play was very enjoyable. It’s always fun to watch shows with people you know and the “charismatic” Phil Callen didn’t let us down. Love to see live musicians too–just like a Cirque show…

Best of luck to Phil as he heads out to New York. He will return to the Guthrie later this year performing in the Dowling Studio’s production of Pen.

Barge Wins Minnesota PGA Senior Championship

Posted Thursday, September 6th, 2007 09:10 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 9:10 PM

Mike Barge of Hazeltine National Golf Club won the Minnesota PGA Senior Championship yesterday at Valleywood Golf Course in Apple Valley, shooting a final round 68 to win by one stroke.

First round leader Brad Schmierer of Hastings Country Club finished second at 1-under par 141. The top four players advance to the 2007 Callaway Golf Senior PGA Professional National Championship at The PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida, October 18-21, 2007.

Joining Barge and Schmierer in Florida will be Mike Zinni of Mankato Golf Club and John Dahl of Oxbow Country Club (North Dakota).

Here are the top five spots on the leaderboard:

1, Mike Barge, Hazeltine National GC, 72-68-140 (-2), $1,000
2, Brad Schmierer, Hastings CC, 70-71-141 (-1), $800
T3, John Dahl, Oxbow CC, 75-70-145 (+3), $650
T3, Mike Zinni, Mankato GC, 71-74-145 (+3), $650
T5, Bill Israelson, Vintage GC, 75-71-146 (+4), $450
T5, Mark Peterson, Brackett’s Crossing CC, 72-74-146 (+4), $450

Full Leaderboard

MGA Launches Re-Designed Website

Posted Tuesday, September 4th, 2007 11:17 am GMT -5 in Golf at 11:17 AM

After a long delay, the Minnesota Golf Association finally launched the promised re-design to today.

The new site is a huge improvement over the old version and includes some of the latest web tools. The new designer is uncredited, but whoever it is has done a good job.

The last time the MGA website was redesigned, it was basically left to stagnate after the initial launch. This new layout should help avoid that fate, but time will tell.

It would be nice to see some new technologies like RSS feeds and podcasts added and so far the stories and course profiles are still very text heavy (although more photos were promised earlier this year).

Golfing in Minnesota welcomes more good Minnesota golf websites, although we strive to continually improve ourselves. Watch for our course guide to launch by the end of the month and for many new features next season.

We always welcome your feedback–leave a comment on this post or email me at

Trent Tucker Tournament Canceled

Posted Sunday, September 2nd, 2007 09:15 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 9:15 PM

The ninth annual Trent Tucker Golf Tournament that was to be held on Saturday, September 8th at Rush Creek has been canceled.

The official word on their website read:

“Due to the lack of sponsorship dollars the 9th Annual Trent Tucker Celebrity Golf & Poker Tournament has been cancelled. We hope you will continue to support our event in the future.”

A strange series of events preceded this notice. First, a Rush Creek email newsletter said:

“Please be aware that changes have been made to the Trent Tucker Event – NO PUBLIC SPECTATORS WILL BE ALLOWED. Thank you to all of you who have volunteered your assistance, but it will not be needed.”

A day later, another Rush Creek email said the event was off and tee times were now available for Saturday.

We wish the Trent Tucker organization the best of luck in finding new sponsors and returning to the Minnesota golf scene in 2008.


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Personal Records & Mileage

  • 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

Upcoming Races

  • Get in Gear 10K - 4/28

Upcoming Sporting Events

  • Monster Jam - 4/7
  • Twins vs. Houston - 4/9
  • Supercross - 4/14
  • Twins vs. Reds - 4/27
  • Twins vs. Detroit - 5/21
  • Twins vs. Cleveland - 6/3
  • Tapemark - 6/8-10
  • Twins vs. Boston - 6/20
  • Summer X Games - 7/19-22
  • Twins vs. Cleveland - 7/30
  • Twins vs. Pittsburgh - 8/15

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