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Duran Duran @ MN State Fair ✅

Posted September 3, 2023

It was nice to finally cross a band off the bucket list, especially since the last time we had tickets to Duran Duran we were *this* close to seeing them at Treasure Island before the skies opened up and everyone had to evacuate. We love seeing shows at the Grandstand, but I think I’ll need to get a foundation membership to ever have a chance at close seats again (we were in section J, row 18 for this show, which I bought right when they went on sale).

Both the Ross Raihala and Jon Bream reviews were positive and also reflected our view that Nile Rodgers and Chic were amazing and probably should’ve been more prominent on the bill. I’m not really sure why Bastille was there at all, to be honest. I called them the UK Magic Dragons, while Ross used “Big Lots Coldplay.” In any case, Chic busting out Le Freak right out of the gate caused many of the 12,816 fans to miss out on one of the highlights of the evening (to say nothing about Good Times and the cover of Rapper’s Delight).

As for Simon (the name’s Bon, Simon Le Bon), Nick and the Taylors (John and Roger – who were also in Power Station with Robert Palmer and Tony Thompson of Chic), it was great to finally see them live and in person. I’m not really a fan of their latest album Future Past (this was officially the Future Past Tour), but the 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees played all the big hits (set list below). Looks like they play the exact same songs every night on this tour, but we didn’t think they were going to finish before the curfew. We stayed in our seats for the entire fireworks show, which was fun since there haven’t been a lot of fireworks post-pandemic…

Setlist of the August 31, 2023 Minnesota show (from setlist.fm):

  • Night Boat
  • The Wild Boys
  • Hungry Like the Wolf
  • A View to a Kill
  • Notorious
  • Lonely in Your Nightmare / Super Freak
  • Is There Something I Should Know?
  • Friends of Mine
  • Careless Memories
  • Ordinary World
  • Come Undone
  • Planet Earth
  • White Lines (Don’t Don’t Do It)
  • The Reflex
  • Girls on Film / Acceptable in the 80’s
  • Save a Prayer
  • Rio

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Mastodon June 2023 Update

Posted June 15, 2023

After reading a blog post called “Why did the #TwitterMigration fail?” by Bloonface, I thought, “what kind of name is Bloonface?” Then I thought, I should write an update to my April Mastodon post. So here we are.

To be honest, I haven’t been following user numbers like I did at the beginning, so I can’t verify the “active user numbers have dropped off a cliff” statement. All I know is that a few friends who joined don’t post much and none of my family have created accounts, but WWDC week on Mastodon for me was as busy as any on Twitter. I’m now following 307 accounts and easily see similar daily traffic on Ivory as I did on Tweetbot.

I only have 34 followers, so I’ve never really been exposed to trolls or gatekeepers. As a white male, I also don’t get any of the crap that women and people of color often experience on social media platforms. And since I’m on mastodon.social, I’ve never had any issues with the moderators or their policies and I think the only service issue was spam-related (and addressed quickly).

For me, going back to Twitter is a non-starter. I don’t really care all that much about decentralization or that the platform runs on open source tools, but I do love that my Ivory timeline is just the people I follow, in chronological order, with no ads. Still waiting for my Bluesky invite to do a trial there, but I don’t see that ever being like the Tweetbot/Ivory experience. And what a hype machine they have – all that press and buzz for 100K accounts?

Running an instance is too expensive and has too many issues (in my opinion), so just like with email servers, I’ve decided I will pass on that indefinitely. I don’t currently pay for mastodon.social, but I would (and probably will eventually). Mastodon is my only social media (outside of LinkedIn), so I guess that makes me “weird relative to the rest of the Internet.”

Stay weird, Mastodon, stay weird…

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Golf Digest Top 200

Posted June 15, 2023

As I’ve been watching the U.S. Open today at Los Angeles Country Club, it reminded me of the latest Golf Digest rankings that I linked to recently. LACC’s North course is ranked #16 and hasn’t really been seen by many people until this week. Turns out it was just a few blocks away from my last visit to L.A. and I didn’t even know it.

Going back to the rankings (Top 100 and Next 100), I went through again and found the ones I’ve played:

  • #84 Interlachen (pictured)
  • #96 Pasatiempo
  • #127 Streamsong Red
  • #138 Hazeltine
  • #148 Atlanta Athletic Club Highlands
  • #151 Streamsong Blue

Six out of 200 isn’t a very good ratio, but I don’t really see it changing much anytime soon. Cypress Point Club (#3) is my biggest dream course, but Southern Highlands (#161) and Streamsong Black (#178) probably have the highest likelihood of happening. Oh, would still like to hit Shadow Creek (#27) too…

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The Cure @ Xcel Energy Center

Posted June 11, 2023

This was round two of seeing Mr. Smith live in Saint Paul (after the last show on June 7, 2016). Thursday’s show was just as much fun as the last time, with his voice still as strong as ever (Ross Raihala review here, won’t link to Riemenschneider any more). Oh, and check out this great Joe Lemke shot from the arena Twitter account – artist gifts are the best.

Interim Xcel Energy Center GM Jim Ibister really has the arena operation humming, as we breezed through security and the ticket scanners to find well-organized merch lines and walked right up to a well-staffed bar on club level just behind our section (C24). It’s too bad the food and beverage pricing didn’t match the value proposition that The Cure otherwise present on this tour: extremely reasonable ticket and merch pricing ($46 tickets plus fees – which were further reduced with a $5 fee refund; $25 T-shirts and $20 bucket hats).

As Ross mentioned on Twitter, the only song they didn’t play that he wanted to hear was Fascination Street. Setlist.fm can be hit or miss with the user-provided stats, but their Cure pages seem to be pretty comprehensive and they say that song has only been played twice so far on this tour (Hollywood Bowl and New Orleans). Personally, I’m still waiting to hear The Lovecats (not played yet on this tour; last played October 2019 in Mexico City and not played in the U.S. since July 2016 in Honolulu). Also super cool to see people updating set lists live – watched the Chicago show update last night as it happened.

Quick note to concert lighting directors: could you please cut down on the use of strobes? Throwing the notice signs up on the doors is nice and all, but Colleen basically had to shield her face from 50% of the show and ended up leaving early. Plenty of ways to make lighting cool and artistic without constant strobe effects, no?

Read more…

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Minnesota Historia ✅

Posted June 6, 2023

The Star Tribune had a story today about this YouTube series by PBS North (the former WDSE-WRPT) hosted by UMD alumni Hailey Eidenschink (who gives me strong Megan Steil vibes). Season one has six short episodes (under ten minutes each), while the new season will have eight (five are online now).

With a heavy focus on the Northland, but I found all of them to be super fun to watch. From agates to shipwrecks, there are lots of great topics covered. I found it difficult to track them on YouTube, so here are direct links to all of the current episodes:

I will update this post as the others are released…

Nicely done, History Nerd!

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WWDC23 – Apple Fans Unite!

Posted May 30, 2023

It’s almost time – the 2023 edition of the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference starts next week in California. It’s now been 15 years since my last in-person WWDC and I can’t remember the last time I signed in to the developer site. But I did attend a bunch of them back in the day (four years in a row starting in 1998, then again from 2003 through 2008).

Most recent WWDCs have dropped all pretense of having an enterprise IT track and just focus on people writing code (which is perfectly fine – there are other options for Apple admins). It was always fun to be a developer party-crasher, though. And as Bynkii says, it’s really all about the people you get to meet while attending that makes it so special.

My Mastodon social community has a heavy Apple developer focus, so it’s been fun reading everything that people are getting excited for on day one. Personally, I’m not a fan of virtual reality googles, so those rumors don’t do much for me. Would probably be most excited about the 15-inch MacBook Air rumors if I wasn’t already locked in to my 14-inch MacBook Pro for the foreseeable future…

Keynote: Monday, June 5 @ 12:00pm central
State of the Union: Monday, June 5 @ 3:30pm central

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Happy 20th, WordPress

Posted May 26, 2023

Wow – May 27th really snuck up on me. It’s the 20th anniversary of the web publishing platform WordPress and I created a draft of this post nearly two months ago. Thank goodness Jeremy Herve published his WordPress story a few days early so I remembered to come back and finish before the big day.

I won’t rehash all the details of this site, as I tend to do that here every year on March 30th already (the anniversary of my first post). This site is the one I have used WordPress on the most, however, and is the one I focus on more than any other. That said, I have used WordPress on many other sites over the years, including charity golf and sports news sites, personal sites for friends and family and several private intranet sites for companies I have worked for over the years.

While I have never been skilled enough on the coding side to contribute to the project directly, I have leveraged WordPress to learn more about PHP, MySQL, Apache, Nginx and UNIX in general. I ran most of my WordPress sites on Mac OS X in the early days before migrating to a virtual Linux environment on AWS. While I’m still not a fan of the Gutenberg direction, I truly appreciate everyone in the WordPress community – both the paid pros and the volunteer experts.

Happy anniversary, WordPress – stay jazzy forever…

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Art in Bloom 2023 @ mia

Posted April 28, 2023

Today SK called me up and asked if I wanted to go to the Minneapolis Institute of Art with her to see Art in Bloom (which honestly, I had never heard of, but it started in 1983). This annual event is free and features floral displays that interpret selected art from Mia’s permanent collection.

Turns out this event is super popular and you need to plan for crowds (both for parking and for getting around inside). The ramp and surrounding lots are $15, while valet is available at the main entrance for $20. The 2023 edition runs from Thursday, April 27 – Friday, April 30. Lots of pics after the jump.

Highly Recommended

Read more…

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Minnesota 18-hole golf courses I’ve never played ⛳️

Posted March 22, 2023

Private (14):

  • Austin Country Club
  • Burl Oaks Golf Club
  • Cloquet Country Club
  • Medina Golf & Country Club
  • The Minikahda Club
  • Moorhead Country Club
  • Oak Ridge Country Club
  • Owatonna Country Club
  • Ridgeview Country Club
  • Somerset Country Club
  • Spring Hill Golf Club
  • St. Cloud Country Club
  • Wayzata Country Club
  • Woodhill Country Club

Public (98):

  • Albany Golf Club
  • Alexandria Golf Club
  • Atikwa Golf CLub at Arrowwood Resort
  • Balmoral Golf Course
  • Bemidji Town & Country Club
  • Benson Golf Club
  • Blueberry Pines Golf Club
  • The Bridges
  • Cedar River Golf Course
  • Cedar Valley Golf Course
  • Chisago Lakes Golf Course
  • Coffee Mill Golf Course
  • Cragun’s Legacy – Lehman 18
  • Crosswoods Golf Course
  • Crow River Golf Club
  • Cuyuna Rolling Hills
  • Daytona Golf Club
  • Detroit Country Club
  • Dodge Country Club
  • Eagle Creek Golf Club
  • Falcon Ridge Golf Course
  • Forest Hills Golf Course
  • Fountain Valley Golf Club
  • Glencoe Country Club
  • Golden Eagle Golf Club
  • Grand View Lodge – The Pines
  • Great Life Golf & Fitness
  • Green Haven Golf Course
  • Green Lea Golf Course
  • Hawley Golf & Country Club
  • Headwaters Golf Club
  • Hidden Haven Golf Club
  • Interlaken Golf Club
  • Kimball Golf Club
  • Koronis Hills Golf Club
  • Lake City Golf
  • Lake Miltona Golf Club
  • Lake Pepin Golf Course
  • Litchfield Golf Club
  • Little Crow Country Club
  • Little Falls Country Club
  • Long Bow Golf Club
  • Long Prairie Country Club
  • Lynx National Golf Course
  • Madden’s Pine Beach East
  • Madden’s Pine Beach West
  • Marshall Golf Club
  • Meadow Greens Golf Course
  • Meadows Golf Course
  • Minnesota National Golf Course
  • Monticello Country Club
  • New Ulm Country Club
  • Northern Hills Golf Club
  • Northwood Hills Golf Course
  • Oak Summit Golf Course
  • Oakcrest Golf Course
  • Oakdale Golf Club
  • Oneka Ridge Golf Course
  • Ortonville Municipal Golf Course
  • Pebble Lake Golf Course
  • Perham Lakeside Golf Club
  • Pheasant Acres Golf Club
  • Pine Island Golf Course
  • Pomme de Terre Golf Club
  • The Ponds Golf Course
  • Princeton Golf Course
  • Redwood Falls Golf Club
  • Rich Spring Golf Club
  • River Crest Public Golf Course
  • River Oaks Golf Course
  • Rivers Bend
  • Riverwood National Golf Course
  • Rose Lake Golf Club
  • Ruttger’s Bay Lake – Jack’s 18
  • Shadowbrooke Golf Course
  • Shoreland Country Club
  • Southbrook Golf Club
  • Spring Brook Golf Course
  • Sundance Golf Club
  • Territory Golf Club
  • Thief River Golf Club
  • Thumper Pond Golf Course
  • Tianna Country Club
  • Tipsinah Mounds Golf Course
  • Tyler Golf Club
  • Valley Golf Course
  • Valley High Golf Club
  • Viking Meadows Golf Club
  • Village Green Golf Club
  • The Vintage at Staples
  • Wapicada Golf Club
  • Warroad Estates Golf Course
  • Waseca Lakeside Club – played 6/8/23
  • Wedgewood Cove Golf Club
  • Whispering Pines Golf Course
  • Whitefish Golf Club
  • Whitetail Run Golf Course
  • Willow Creek Golf Course
  • Zumbrota Golf Club

We were already playing in 2021 – hurry up and get warm, Minnesota…

Note: Not 100% sure of the accuracy of this list – might have played some, might be missing a few.

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Video hosting: Vimeo vs. YouTube

Posted March 16, 2023

When I first added my concerts page back in 2020, I looked for a third-party video hosting option to process, store and stream my videos to this site. I didn’t really like all of the ads and other junk that YouTube added, so I signed up for a free basic tier Vimeo account. After quickly running into their daily upload limits, I upgraded to a plus tier plan. That annual renewal is now almost up and I’ve decided I don’t want to renew. Unfortunately, they don’t really allow you to downgrade gracefully back to the Basic tier, so I decided to take another look at YouTube.

While it appears that YouTube still has many of the issues I didn’t like before, it does seem that I can add all of my Vimeo videos to a newly created @7minutemiles channel at no cost (“be sure to hit the like and subscribe buttons”). Tonight I ran into an upload limit of ten videos, so I’ll see if that goes away after I finish an ID verification process they offered or if ten is just going to be the daily limit. I decided 720p versions of these concert videos shot on various iPhones is fine and the quality so far seems to be good. It also looks like I can go back and set custom thumbnails like Vimeo, so that’s nice. It was weird that YouTube seems to be much more concerned about checking for copyright, but every video I’ve uploaded so far that it flagged said the owner allows the content to be used on YouTube.

The last part of my research will be to look at custom WordPress plugins that enhance the default handling of embedded YouTube videos. That was one thing I liked about having a Vimeo shortcode for WordPress, as it allowed me to set the initial player width to 850 pixels. Plugins like this one seem to allow that, plus a lot of other things I probably don’t want or need. Mostly concerned with mobile scalability, but some of the video SEO might be nice too, as I don’t think many people really saw my videos on vimeo.com (or my hard to find concerts page). EVERYTHING seems to be on YouTube, and now I guess I will be as well…

UPDATE (3/19/2023): My ID has been verified with Google and I can now use “advanced YouTube features,” which removes (or at least vastly increases) the daily upload limit. All of my former Vimeo concert videos are now on the new @7minutemiles YouTube channel. Join MK and SK and subscribe today!

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Seven old metro retail faves

Posted February 6, 2023

A Grammy tweet from Gregg Litman last night reminded me about an old favorite Twin Cities store of mine, so I thought it was time for another top 7:

  • Sony Sound Center (Roseville + several others)
  • Northern Lights Music on University
  • LaBelle’s Catalog Showroom, Roseville
  • Power’s Department Store, Highland Park
  • Let It Be Records, Nicollet Mall
  • Bober Drug, Grand Avenue
  • Shinders (13 locations?)

Gone, but not forgotten…

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HomePod mini and Hey Siri

Posted February 4, 2023

With all of the recent press surrounding the second-generation HomePod, it’s easy to forget about the progress made by the baby brother speaker, the HomePod mini. We bought one of each color for the new house and use them daily. I decided on a Sony sound bar for the big TV, but have had issues with the the HT-Z9F that Best Buy and/or Sony has never really resolved completely. If I had to start all over, I’d probably get a pair of the new HomePods and place them on a short table below the TV.

I was shocked to read that the minis had hardware sensors that weren’t initially enabled. With the latest iOS 16.3 software update, however, all of the minis in the house can now respond with both room temperature and humidity level, which is a nice surprise bonus. I haven’t spend much time studying the Home app or any of the enhanced features enabled by HomeKit, but we can ask Siri to open or close the four sets of power blinds in the house. Haven’t really looked at any smart lighting or door lock stuff and our HVAC just has a standard, unconnected Honeywell controller.

Our garage door opener has some online functionality via the LiftMaster myQ app: our add-on camera records movement, can broadcast video and audio remotely to the app and enables Amazon Key delivery. I can’t currently tell Siri to open or close the garage door, but it is kinda cool to enable the speaker when the girls visit and do the old “intruder alert! intruder alert!” The LG washer and dryer we bought are connected to the home network (and have an app), but I really don’t care to get alerts that say a load of laundry is finished.

Siri for me on my phone has a checkered history. In the beginning, it wasn’t very good at understanding my requests, but has definitely improved over time. With the mini speakers, it’s really handy to just tell Siri to do stuff without typing anything. It’s perfect for interacting with Apple Music, setting kitchen timers, getting the weather forecast and closing the blinds earlier than programmed. I’ve also set the Siri voice to be Irish and female, which is all kinds of fun, lassie.

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More on the WordPress 2023 project

Posted January 23, 2023

Following up on the soft launch post, I thought I’d share a few more things to document and credit some of the incredible people in the WordPress community that have taught me so much. This post by Nick Schäferhoff was the kick in the pants I needed to just build off my last theme instead of trying to start with someone else’s theme and trying to make it mine. That article really helped me focus on reducing the number of theme files (now just have index.php, single.php and page.php) and finally cleaning up my CSS style sheet.

Mobile-optimized hamburger navigation menus seem to be everywhere, but it took me a while to pick Rui Guerreiro’s WP Mobile Menu plugin. This seemed to be one of the most popular options, with both free and premium versions available. My problem was that it wasn’t the easiest to set up and customize, but all of the people that participate in the support forum (especially Rui) really helped get me across the finish line on that aspect of the project.

Speaking of plugins, I encountered a few issues that needed to be resolved. There were two plugins that I’ve been using for a long time that do not appear to be supported any longer, one breaking with PHP8 (timeago) and the other apparently pulled from the WordPress directory (add-meta-tags). I’ve been using the excellent WordPress security plugin Wordfence for many years and it now alerts me to issues like this, which is very handy. Timeago hadn’t been updated in 13 years and was based on a jQuery plugin of the same name (which was last updated in 2014). Decided to drop the custom dates and just use the standard get_the_date() call for now.

Add-Meta-Tags started development in 2006 and has officially been deprecated and is no longer recommended for production sites. It was easy enough to find another tag plugin – decided to use Meta Tag Manager, by Pixelite (which also has free and paid versions). I thought I previously wrote about the PHP Everywhere plugin issues, but in any case replaced that with Insert PHP Code Snippet by xyzscripts.com a while back. Looks like the Gmail SMTP plugin might be next on the hit list, according to WordFence…

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Soft launch of 7 Minute Miles 2023

Posted January 22, 2023

Welcome to the long-delayed new theme for 7 Minute Miles! I’ve had a number of design goals for quite some time, the biggest of which was making this site appear better on mobile devices. A few months ago, I set up a test environment using the excellent WordPress development tool Local, by WP Engine. While there is still a lot of tweaking to do, it’s time to make the switch and make updates to production (I know, I know).

So what were some of my key goals?

  • Responsive design
  • Dark theme
  • Larger fonts/easier to read
  • Hamburger menu navigation
  • One design for all devices
  • Clean up and simplify code
  • Full PHP8 support

There were a number of things I initially had on the list that I decided to drop. I still really, really like the three-column newspaper look on larger screens and it was hard to let go of that Masonry codebase that I’ve used for quite a long time. Also decided I just don’t like Gutenberg and don’t want to switch now. That will change if/when the Classic Editor plugin reaches end of life, but I’m comfortable modifying the underlying theme code directly when needed.

So what’s left to do? Lots of testing across different devices (iPhone, iPad, iMac, Windows) and a review of all my previous sub-pages (some of which may not come back). Now that this is live, I need to review the demise of Tweetbot/Twitter and decide how often I want to post here and what format that will take. As always, you can find the RSS feed here and I still highly recommend NetNewsWire for following people.

Thanks for visiting!

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State Fair Food Hall of Fame

Posted August 24, 2022

Today the Star Tribune ran a story on the 25 foods that should be in a Minnesota State Fair food hall of fame. I really enjoy reading and admire Joy Summers and Sharyn Jackson, but having an inaugural class of 25 seems too large to me. Here would be my ballot choices for the founding class (in my preferred order):

  • Pronto Pup
  • Fresh French Fries
  • Corn Roast
  • Danielson’s and Daughters Onion Rings
  • Dairy Goodness Malts
  • Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar
  • Tom Thumb Mini-Donuts

Let’s start with seven and see where we go from here…

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Nickel Orchid Addendum

Posted August 2, 2022

Headed up to Grand Casino Hinckley today to test a theory about Black Orchid – that the top Orchid Progressive has the same odds on a nickel bet as it does on any other bet (see my recent long-form post on the Orchid here). On our last stop at Hinckley, there was still one machine with an unusually large top progressive on a nickel bet: a little more than $10,000. Unfortunately, someone beat me to it and that machine reset down to $500 (same as the yellow progressive).

Grand Casino is one of the only properties I know of that has tried to educate guests on volatility. They used to place stickers on the machines with a 1, 2 or 3 so you could tell how the game played. I don’t think they use those any longer, but Black Orchid was always marked a three for high volatility. After my multi-hour session playing nickels, I have to say that playing only one line boosts the volatility through the roof. I think I might’ve had a stretch of 100 or more losing spins before winning anything. Probably not the experience most players are looking for in a slot machine.

Of course the flip side of that is that when you do win, it’s usually for higher multipliers. The closest I came to getting a normal progressive was four cats, which paid $20 (400x win). Also had four jacks once, but that only pays $2.50 (50x). Very few three of a kind wins, although I did get three black orchids once. One of my free spin sessions re-triggered multiple times, for a total of 60 spins (total win: $3.00). Based on play today, I’d say that the frequency of black orchid symbols is the same as other bet levels. All of the other progressives hit much more often with the 40, 80 and 99 cent bets, however.

One last note, nickel orchid is probably not driving the level of play that the marketing department wants from their promotions. The August flier I received offered $5 of free play for every 20 points earned during the day (valid up to three times). I’m only first tier with their players club (“Preferred”) and am not sure how much play is required per point (the Grand Rewards page doesn’t really say). I think I played nickels for almost three hours and earned around 12 points. I prefer to be a low roller in general, but will enjoy going back to “regular” orchid at Mystic Lake next week…

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Top 7 Brands

Posted November 9, 2021

I’ve turned into a marketing executive’s dream. Here are seven of my current favorite brands:

  • Apple
  • Descente
  • Disney
  • Johnston and Murphy
  • Mizuno
  • Polo Ralph Lauren
  • Sony

Most of those have been on the list for years and years too…

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Morrissey at Caesars Palace

Posted October 24, 2021

As I get ready to go back into concert mode tonight for the Rollings Stones, I realized I never posted my pictures from the Morrissey show last month at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. This was a last minute impulse trip (booked the Wednesday before) and we were really glad we did it. This short five night residency had been postponed during the pandemic and we caught the last show of the rescheduled run.

First time for both of us in the venue built for Céline and we were very impressed – great sight lines and amazing acoustics. We were about 15 rows back on the main floor and loved the production. Second time seeing him live (and we will never forget the run-in at the Las Vegas airport Cinnabon after his House of Blues show too).

Not sure if I wrote much about the rest of the trip, but for posterity sake, we stayed at the Mirage, I golfed with Herm on the Paiute Sun Mountain course, Colleen saw RuPaul’s Drag Race LIVE! at the Flamingo Hilton and we had a lovely dinner at Chef Keller’s Bouchon in the Venetian. Setlist and photos can be found after the jump.

Viva Moz Vegas!

Read more…

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2021 Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular

Posted October 17, 2021

Just a short mini post to get some photos archived from the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Minnesota Zoo. This is the third year, but our first visit. Running through November 7th, we thought it was well worth the $24 tickets (and fighting the huge crowd). Thanks again to zoo staffer Sarah Mariette for recommending that we go this year. Make sure you get tickets online ahead of time if you want to go – they are not available for purchase at the door.

Read more…

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Doobie Brothers at the Grandstand

Posted September 9, 2021

Before I forget all the details, here is a short post about the Doobie Brothers show at the Minnesota State Fair. Our original tickets were for the 2020 version of the fair that never happened, so we just held on to them. This is the second time I’ve been suckered into buying seats on the “floor” that are really much worse than being farther back in the actual grandstand structure (the other was Stevie Nicks). Fool me once…won’t get fooled again.

Of course everyone was excited to have Michael McDonald rejoin the band after a 26 year absence, so it was heartbreaking to get the notice a few hours before the show that he would not be performing. When they said openers Dirty Dozen Brass Band were also scratched, I figured it had to be a serious health issue and hoped everyone was OK. Ross Raihala at the Pioneer Press and I exchanged some private messages and he initially thought it was 50/50 health and 50/50 band fight (spoiler: it was COVID).

The show started promptly at 7:30pm and overall we were entertained. You can find the Ross review here, while the Star Tribune sent Jon Bream. Colleen and I loved that Bream caught both the Prince tribute by saxophonist Marc Russo and the ZZ Top moment by Johnston, Simmons and McFee. Reported attendance was 11,461 and here is the setlist from setlist.fm (which is also after the jump, along with a handful of very bad photos).

Read more…

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Memorial Day 2021 🇺🇸

Posted May 31, 2021

Remembering those who perished in service to this country:

  • Civil War: 655,000
  • World War I: 116,516
  • World War II: 405,399
  • Korean War: 36,516
  • Vietnam War: 58,209

And as vaccines start to take hold, also thinking of these American lives lost:

  • Flu Pandemic of 1918: 675,000
  • COVID-19 Pandemic: 591,265

Rest in Peace 💜

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Limited Edition 2021 Get in Gear

Posted May 30, 2021

Better late than never – here is my very brief race report from the 2021 Get in Gear 10K. It was great to be back to running in-person again, even if it wasn’t completely normal. This was my 21st Get in Gear (and 20th in a row, if you count last year’s virtual race). It’s still my favorite 10K and I hope to continue running it every spring as long as I’m mobile.

The 2021 edition was shortened to 5.5 miles, as the start and finish were located in the parking lot near the entrance to the lock and dam on West River Parkway. The sign-in and T-shirt tables were located under the Ford Parkway bridge, which were only available on race day (none of the usual spots in Minnehaha Park were used this year). The streets were not closed, so the entire route was on the pathways. We even had to use the stairs on the St. Paul side of the Lake Street bridge.

The field was limited to 250 people, with two waves starting at 8:30am and 9:30am. Pods of ten runners were spaced two minutes apart – I started in pod one of wave two and had a nice bike escort for the first few miles. I don’t know why they let me set the pace in my pod for the first mile, but it was a cool feeling to be in the “lead” briefly. Finished with a 58:32 chip time (10:39 Minute Miles), good for 187th out of 240 and 12th in my age group. First time with peanut butter at a race finish – thanks, Old Home!

Up next: State Fair Milk Run 5K.

Read more…

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Finally, a Grand Story

Posted January 10, 2021

The very clever series of commercials for Grand Casino (developed by the talented Chad Germann and his team at Red Circle Agency) has always made me feel like I should have one of those experiences at some point. Sadly, I’ve never had a large jackpot at Hinckley or Mille Lacs, but today my daughter and I at least had something happen that might qualify as a true Grand Story:

Hinckley has a ton of my favorite game, Black Orchid, often with unusually high progressives. The first machine I played today had a large frog progressive, so MK pulled out her lucky frog (a handmade clay pin) and set it on the machine. A few minutes later, boom, $78.43 frog jackpot. On our way out, we saw another Black Orchid that had a very large butterfly progressive that we tried to hit (unsuccessfully). Just before giving up, though, we hit a smaller $30.61 frog jackpot that put us back on the positive side of the ledger for the night…

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Reflections on Season Five

Posted December 20, 2020

My head is still spinning after returning home from the last home game of a very strange 2020 season:

  • Games with fewer people aren’t as stressful overall, but it still takes me several hours to wind down after the final whistle blows.
  • Immensely thankful everyone on our team stayed healthy all season.
  • I don’t walk nearly as many steps on game day since we got a Cushman for IT.
  • Five regular seasons already? 2016: 5-3, 2017: 7-1, 2018: 5-3, 2019: 6-2, 2020: 3-5
  • The people in the Vikings organization are extraordinary and it’s a pleasure to work with them year after year.
  • Three stadiums are now newer than us in the NFL, but next year will feel like opening the building all over again.

Just a few things to clean up this week in the building, then on to 2021…

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Kernel Panic Big Sur Update

Posted December 17, 2020

The stability saga with my upgraded 2017 Retina 4K 21-inch iMac, MrJackpot, continues. The latest:

  • All panics still involve IONVMeController.cpp in the crash report.
  • Definitely caused by the Aura Pro X2 SSD from Other World Computing.
  • Upgrading to Big Sur initially did not change the number of crashes (which were averaging about once a week while sleeping).
  • The latest Big Sur update (11.1) has made things more unstable, causing multiple crashes a day (even during normal operations).
  • I turned off screen sleep in Energy Saver and unchecked the following: Put hard disks to sleep when possible, Wake for network access, Start up automatically after a power failure and Enable Power Nap.
  • Also ran this command from Terminal: sudo pmset -a standby 0 autopoweroff 0 hibernatemode 0 (which OWC support suggested in a July email). This initially seemed to slow down the number of crashes, but did not stop them completely.
  • So far, the system starts back up with no noticeable file system damage (need to hold the power button for ten seconds, wait, then single press the power button to get the kernel panic multi-language message to appear (above), which then automatically starts the reboot process after a few seconds.

At this point, I don’t know what else to do until I can buy an M1-based iMac next year. I thought about buying an M1 Mac mini with an LG 4K display now, but that’s a pricy option. I sent a follow-up email to OWC support, but frankly I’ve been disappointed in how they’ve handled this issue (which seems to have impacted a large number of people). I’d been a happy customer of theirs since I started my Mac support career at NWA in 1996, so it’s sad and frustrating to be in this situation…

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