7 Minute Miles

7 Minute Miles Turns Three

Posted Monday, March 30th, 2009 08:46 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 8:46 PM

Today is the third anniversary of the first post on 7 Minute Miles. Wow, how time flies…

The Dashboard reports:

  • 382 Posts
  • 40 Pages
  • 25 Categories
  • 97 Non-Spam Comments
  • 20,787 Spam Comments

We hit a new high for number of pages displayed last month (21,955) and visits this month (5,371). On an average day this month, almost 180 people dropped in to read my ramblings. Crazy.

Note: Due to server maintenance, this site will be off-line from approximately midnight tomorrow until around 8AM Wednesday morning.

Originally published by DK on March 30, 2009 at 8:46 pm

More New Rankings – Golfweek’s Best

Posted Sunday, March 29th, 2009 06:12 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 6:12 PM

The March 14th issue of Golfweek magazine contains the 20th edition of their annual rankings, broken into a classics list (courses built before and 1960) and a modern list (1960-present). They also publish a state-by-state list ranking courses open to the public.

Golfweek architecture writer Bradley Klein (who visited Northland last season) compiles the lists, which are based on reports from nearly 475 course raters.

The classic list contains four private Minnesota courses. One of the four (Northland) moved up the list, while the other three dropped slightly (Interlachen, White Bear Yacht Club and The Minikahda Club).

Here are the specifics for the Minnesota classic listings:

  • #52, Interlachen Country Club, Edina (was 51st) – 7.27
  • #54, White Bear Yacht Club, White Bear Lake (was 46th) – 7.22
  • #78, The Minikahda Club, Minneapolis (was 71st) – 6.89
  • #84, Northland Country Club, Duluth (was 87th) – 6.82

On the modern list, only one Minnesota course made the list:

  • #68, Hazeltine National Golf Club, Chaska (was 64th) – 6.95

Here is their courses you can play list for Minnesota:

  • #1, Wilderness at Fortune Bay, Tower
  • #2, Giants Ridge (Quarry), Biwabik
  • #3, StoneRidge, St. Paul
  • #4, Deacon’s Lodge, Brainerd
  • #5, The Refuge, Oak Grove
  • #6, Dacotah Ridge, Morton
  • #7, Legends Club, Prior Lake
  • #8, The Classic at Madden’s, Brainerd
  • #9, Rush Creek, Maple Grove
  • #10, The Wilds, Prior Lake

Golfing in Minnesota has never compiled a Minnesota course ranking, but after reading all of these others, I think that may change in 2009 – stay tuned!

Originally published by DK on March 29, 2009 at 6:12 pm

The Joys of Car Ownership

Posted Sunday, March 29th, 2009 02:42 pm GMT -5 in Cars at 2:42 PM

The past month has not been kind to our garage or our pocketbook. Our two cars are getting older (both are 2005 model years), but I wasn’t expecting events to unfold like they did.

First, my wife gets a flat tire on her Accord sedan. I helped her get the temporary spare on and she drove it to the local Honda dealer. They tried to tell her that all her tires were so threadbare that it was illegal to drive it and then tried to sell her $1100 worth of new tires. We shopped around and talked to some friends before deciding to order four new Pirelli’s from Discount Tire Direct for $404, including shipping. An extra $100 at the local Discount Tire center for installation and I thought I was golden. Didn’t turn out that way, unfortunately…

The online site had me qualify her car for the correct tire size and I placed the order. It took about five days for UPS to deliver them and I set up an appointment for installation. Once there, the installer comes out and tells me the tires are too big for the car. So much for the online qualification. I had to buy a second set of new tires that they had in stock (which thankfully I had already researched and liked) and arrange to send the others back. Discount Tire Direct did refund the full $404, but I had to pay UPS another $75 to ship them back to Ohio. So the total cost for the new tires was lower than the $1100, but still a royal hassle.

On the day I took the Accord in for the new tires, my wife drove my MINI Cooper. She calls and tells me the car is out of wiper fluid. I told her to pop the hood and look for the blue cap on the left side of the engine bay. She calls back a few minutes later and says it’s still not working. I get home and take a look – she put the wiper fluid in the coolant compartment by mistake. I make arrangements with the local MINI dealer for a fluid flush and they say it’s OK to drive it in that day. We make it over there, get checked in and I’m more than happy to pay the $100 to have it fixed.

A few hours later, I get a call from the mechanic at Motorwerks, Tucker Masui. Tucker says there is a transmission fluid leak and it appears to be along the input shaft seal. Since they have to drop the transmission to reach that, it would cost $1600. He also found a loose tie rod and two torn arm bushings (which apparently wear out after 60,000 miles). The total would be about $2500. Shock sets in.

I consulted with a several other MINI owners and did some research online. Everyone thought that, yes, the price sucks, but yes, it likely needs to be done. One additional piece of advice I decided to take was to have the clutch replaced at the same time, since they would have to drop the transmission for that too. I asked Tucker to keep the whole repair as close to $2500 as possible, but it still turned into a $2800 bill. Since my tax refund hadn’t arrived yet, I had to dive into the line of credit at the credit union to cover it.

Tucker says it will drive like a new car and should be able to go 3-4 years without any other major repairs. He was right about the clutch – I’m amazed at how precise it is now. I can also feel the tie rod and bushings difference in the steering. Tucker had actually asked if the car had been in a front end accident, as the rods were slightly bent. He also said that could be caused by running into curbs on a regular basis. Guess I need to be more careful with speed bumps.

Originally published by DK on March 29, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Final Weekend At Afton Alps

Posted Saturday, March 28th, 2009 08:42 pm GMT -5 in Skiing at 8:42 PM

It was too cold to golf, so I decided to take up Afton Alps on their $5 lift ticket offer today (bring three items for the food shelf and get a lift ticket for $5). Tomorrow is the last day of the offer (and of the season), so if you want one last bit of metro-area skiing, this is it.

They were running four lifts (#2 through #5) and had 12 runs open in the Alps area (although it looked like the Meadows and Highlands areas still had a fair amount of snow). I spent most of the time on chair three, alternating runs on Barbi’s Challenge and Trudy’s Schuss.

The snow was really nice – it got a little slushy at the end, but there were no bare spots and it was actually a little icy in the shade.

The Alps chalet has been upgraded since the last time I was here and it was nice to see reasonably priced ski area food. It’s still mostly greasy junk food, but at least it’s cheap.

7MM Afton Alps Photo Gallery

Originally published by DK on March 28, 2009 at 8:42 pm

2009 Golf World Readers’ Choice Awards

Posted Friday, March 27th, 2009 12:56 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 12:56 PM

Last fall, Golf World magazine weighed in with their first ever course rankings and published their 2009 Golf World Readers’ Choice Awards. Readers voted on courses based on multiple criteria, including clubhouse, condition of course, speed of play, service, reputation and overall value. Courses were divided into public, private and resort categories. With readers doing the ratings, some of the lists are very different from the traditional rankings.

Minnesota was snubbed in the list of top 38 golf destinations in North America and Europe, but five of our courses scored at least 75 points (out of either 100, 110 or 120 possible, depending on category):

All three of the private courses listed above made the top 50 private list overall, with Northland at number 15 with a score of 91.57, Hazeltine at number 19 (91.1) and Interlachen at number 38 (87.62). While Giants Ridge and Madden’s did not make the top 50 public or resort lists, the former was listed as ninth overall for quality of courses.

In private course individual categories, Northland really cleaned up: tenth overall for quality of course, eighth for speed of play, T-7 for locker room and second overall for dining. Think there are a few Golf World readers in Duluth?

Congrats to these outstanding courses!

Originally published by DK on March 27, 2009 at 12:56 pm

GiM in April Twin Cities Business

Posted Thursday, March 26th, 2009 10:56 pm GMT -5 in Golf at 10:56 PM

Thanks to our friends Dee Forsberg Voss and Gerald McCullagh (Golf Institute at The University of Minnesota), we are featured in the April 2009 edition of Twin Cities Business magazine. Dee and Gerald publish a golf blog on the TCB site called Tee Up that is full of great information. Be sure to check it out (and add it to your news feeds).

I didn’t know about this story until today, so this is as good a time as any to take down the winter hibernation post and resume normal publication. We were teased by early course openings last week, but the snow and cold has returned. Stonebrooke claims on their Facebook page that they will be open again this weekend, but the forecast is still a little cold for my taste. Be sure to watch the course openings page at TwinCitiesGolf.com to get the latest news on your favorite courses.

Originally published by DK on March 26, 2009 at 10:56 pm

Old Photo Scans

Posted Wednesday, March 25th, 2009 10:20 pm GMT -5 in Housekeeping,Photography at 10:20 PM

Today I decided to upload all of the old photos I scanned a few months ago to the photo gallery here on 7 Minute Miles. Most of them had already been uploaded to Facebook, but I only allow people on my Facebook friend list to view photos on that site. These are available for all to view and have the added benefit of a link below each photo to download the original, full-sized file.

Lots of great memories in there…

Originally published by DK on March 25, 2009 at 10:20 pm

Return to Welch – the Back Bowl

Posted Saturday, March 21st, 2009 07:19 pm GMT -5 in Skiing at 7:19 PM

Last weekend I decided to return to Welch Village before all the snow was gone to use my gift card, visit with some friends and check out the new back bowl.

The weather was perfect for spring skiing, with plenty of sun and great temps. The snow got a little slushy at the end of the day, but runs like Chicken and Bakkelyka stayed nice all day, as they don’t get a lot of direct sun.

The back bowl was a bit of a disappointment. The new chair is a very nice quad, but the new runs are just too short. While the trail map lists nine open black diamond runs, there are really only four that come off of the new chair. When you get to the top, the three runs to your left, 4-Score, Lauren’s Ledge and Adam’s Abyss, all start with a flat traverse, a fairly steep, short section, then a flat traverse back to the chair. The one run to the right, Great Scott, is more of an open cruiser that funnels into a steep chute at the end that drops right to the chair.

Future plans call for two more runs, a second chair and a new chalet at the top of that chair. The back bowl is accessed from the triple chair located in front of the east chalet. The Allie’s Alley run gets you back to the east slopes from the top of the new quad.

Welch will be closing for the season tomorrow at 6PM.

Originally published by DK on March 21, 2009 at 7:19 pm

It’s Tourney Time!

Posted Wednesday, March 11th, 2009 07:03 pm GMT -5 in Hockey at 7:03 PM

The best hockey of the year is underway at the Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul.

Follow us on Twitter for the latest (@hockeymn) and enjoy the excitement!

Originally published by DK on March 11, 2009 at 7:03 pm

Return to Target Center

Posted Monday, March 9th, 2009 10:52 pm GMT -5 in Sports at 10:52 PM

My friend Brad invited me to a Timberwolves game tonight at Target Center. I’m pretty sure the last basketball game I went to was at least 10 years ago – not really much of an NBA fan, I guess.

I knew things were bad across the river compared to the Wild, but wow. I sort of felt the same way I did when going to Circuit City just before they shut down. Attendance was supposedly 13,119, but I’d be surprised if there were half that many in the building.

The Wolves lost their 11th straight home game 110-99 to the Washington Wizards, a team that ranks lower than Minnesota in the standings and lacks any big-name stars. I felt sorry for the guys trying to sell season tickets after the game – even at $5 per game, that’s a hard job…

Originally published by DK on March 9, 2009 at 10:52 pm

Bibo Restaurant and Wine Bar Eagan

Posted Sunday, March 8th, 2009 07:50 pm GMT -5 in Family,Food at 7:50 PM

Tonight we stopped in at the (semi) new restaurant in town – Bibo Restaurant and Wine Bar, located just off I-35E and Diffley in Eagan in the former Viva Italia spot. The new place is owned by the same person who runs the wonderful I Nonni and Buon Giorno Italia in Lilydale, so we had high hopes that the food would be an improvement over the previous restaurant. Plus we heard the chef was from Rome, so that’s got to be a good sign.

We ordered a mozzarella appetizer that was very unique – the cheese was served between two slices of bread (like a Monte Cristo), coated and pan fried. They tasted a lot like state fair cheese curds, actually, but with less cheese.

For the main course, my wife ordered the mostaccioli ala norcina with pork sausage, truffles, fennel and parmigiano, along with some red wine. I had pork saltimbocca with potatoes, which was served without the usual cheese layer, but came in a very nice sauce. I usually get chicken saltimbocca and wasn’t sure if this would be too much pork, but it was very good. At first I thought the portion sizes were a little on the small size (mine came with three, thin pieces of pork and about six small potato slices), but it seemed just right after we were done.

My mom had Lasagna, while my dad had the same thing as my wife. Kid one had salmon in white wine and butter sauce with herb-roasted potatoes and kid two had penne pasta with parmesan cheese. Soft drinks were by Pepsi and my only complaint the whole night was that they put in a ton of ice, which meant about 956 refills over the course of the evening. That would be fine if the server came back every few minutes, but she didn’t. It also seems like a waste to have to clean all of those extra glasses.

For desert, the kids had chocolate and vanilla gelato, while Colleen and I shared a chocolate torte with a scoop of vanilla gelato. She thought the wine and the desert were the best part of the meal and everyone liked the food. I was hoping they would re-model a little inside – I would have changed the table layout and removed the high dividers to open up the room more – but almost everything seemed the same as before.

The quality of the food is a definite upgrade from before and I’d like to go back again. Prices seemed a little high to me, but they weren’t any worse than what Viva Italia was charging for food that wasn’t as good. My parents paid, so I didn’t get to see the total, but I do know my dad wasn’t happy that they added an automatic 18% tip for our party of six.

Google doesn’t turn up any website address for them yet, but I thought it was funny there is another Bibo Wine Bar in Osoyoos, British Columbia. I had a hockey player roommate in college from Osoyoos – always thought that was a great name for a town.

Originally published by DK on March 8, 2009 at 7:50 pm

Wild Kids Club Benefits

Posted Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 12:55 am GMT -5 in Hockey at 12:55 AM

While the hockey operations part of the Wild is struggling these days, other parts of organization still have their act together. My kids have been members of the Wild Kids Club for a few years and we’ve found it well worth the cost. Two really nice recent things: the life-sized poster of Boogaard and Butch and a cool birthday card. Bravo!

Originally published by DK on March 3, 2009 at 12:55 am

2009 TCM Postcard

Posted Tuesday, March 3rd, 2009 12:35 am GMT -5 in Marathons,Running at 12:35 AM

Got this is the mail recently from the Twin Cities Marathon – mark your calendars!

Originally published by DK on March 3, 2009 at 12:35 am

7 Minute Miles Site Clean-Up

Posted Monday, March 2nd, 2009 12:15 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 12:15 AM

I’ve finished some site maintenance the past few days:

  • Upgraded to the latest version of WordPress (2.7.1)
  • Upgraded to the latest versions of all my plug-ins (except for Exec-PHP)
  • Added back my office webcams to the contact page (see sample above)
  • Updated and consolidated all of the fetishes information on one page
  • Made some minor edits on the biography and résumé pages
  • Changed the menu bar “stamps” link to start on the 1980 first day covers page (still adding more)
  • Added the 2009 Walt Disney World Marathon medal to the background image

Seems like the new version of WordPress is allowing much more comment spam than before (despite using Akismet)…

Originally published by DK on March 2, 2009 at 12:15 am

Cirque du Soleil Coming to St. Paul

Posted Sunday, March 1st, 2009 01:38 am GMT -5 in Concerts,Theater at 1:38 AM

Originally scheduled to make the U.S. premiere in St. Paul, Kooza is finally re-scheduled to come back. Shows start July 3rd and are currently on sale to Cirque Club members for various dates through July 26th (no shows on Mondays or on Tuesday the 21st).

Pricing for this show is sort of complicated (see this page), but basically ranges from $60 to $215 for adults and from $42 to $150.50 for kids age 2-12. Discounts are also available for students and seniors on non-peak performances. Children under 2 years old are free, but must sit on a parent’s lap.

I believe the big top (or “Grand Chapiteau”) will be in the parking lot off of Kellogg in Lowertown overlooking the river. Capacity for each performance is 2,600 and the show is 2 hours and 40 minutes long, including a 30-minute intermission.

Even though Cirque is one of my fetishes (and I had purchased four tickets for the last time this show was supposed to be here), I’m not sure if we will be going to this one. I definitely can’t afford to take the whole family, but maybe Colleen and I can sneak away for two cheap seats.

Originally published by DK on March 1, 2009 at 1:38 am
 

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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 Run Mileage: 113.7
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  • TC 10 Mile - 10/7/18
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  • Elton John - 2/21, Target Center
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