7 Minute Miles

The break room here rocks

Posted Thursday, December 8th, 2022 07:42 am in Food,Holidays,Work at 7:42 AM

Also, first new photo frames from Camera+ in years – huzzah!

Originally published by DK on December 8, 2022 at 7:42 am

Windows Server Summit

Posted Wednesday, December 7th, 2022 12:44 pm in Technology,Work at 12:44 PM

Some interesting topics, to be sure

Originally published by DK on December 7, 2022 at 12:44 pm

Crackey Mac @ Lone Oak Grill

Posted Friday, December 2nd, 2022 02:04 pm in Food,Friends,Work at 2:04 PM

Comfort food, indeed. Great to catch up with Cheryl and Josh in Eagan

Originally published by DK on December 2, 2022 at 2:04 pm

The Depot burger @ Skyway Grill

Posted Monday, November 28th, 2022 12:14 pm in Food,Work at 12:14 PM

This food court has a lot of character(s)

Originally published by DK on November 28, 2022 at 12:14 pm

That vase looks familiar

Posted Tuesday, November 22nd, 2022 03:09 pm in Art,History,Work at 3:09 PM

Somebody raided my childhood home

Originally published by DK on November 22, 2022 at 3:09 pm

Up Next: Public Broadcasting

Posted Thursday, November 17th, 2022 09:14 am in Business,Friends,Longform,Personal,Technology,Television,Work at 9:14 AM

Now that I’ve been in my new role as systems engineer at TPT for a month, I figured it was a good time to reflect on this change and write about my experience so far. The organization’s post-COVID return to the office has been branded as a “Return to Lowertown” and it literally is for me too. Hard to believe it’s almost a year already since we left Rayette Lofts to head on down the river…

The commute back and forth has been great so far, usually taking under 15 minutes each way. Next spring, I hope to ride my bike a few days each week if I can sort out the storage issues. I splurged on the expensive parking option in the Lowertown Ramp, which is easy-in on Sibley and easy-out on Jackson (plus covered spots with no winter scraping). I’ve never really had any security trouble in Lowertown, but it is convenient to have a parking spot right next to the office entrance.

Some other logistical things: currently working a hybrid schedule of four days in the office and one day from home (Wednesdays), which has been very nice. While every day has been focused on getting up to speed on systems and technology, I’ve been trying to use the work from home day as a deep-dive research day (which is easier alone). TPT has a nice lunchroom, so I’ve mainly been bringing in frozen lunches to eat. The reawakening of the downtown St. Paul lunch dining scene has been slow, but there are pockets here and there. Still exploring the skyway, but always open to suggestions and recommendations.

Totally digging the culture and mission of the organization:

Enrich lives and strengthen our community through the power of media.

How can you not smile walking into an office with a two-story Big Bird on the wall? I grew up watching Sesame Street, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood, The Electric Company and 3-2-1 Contact, while my kids were raised on Teletubbies, Arthur, Caillou, Zoboomafoo, Clifford the Big Red Dog, Sagwa and Fetch! with Ruff Ruffman. Our family was addicted to the old Action Auction they produced in the former studios across from the fairgrounds on Como, regularly bidding on 25-pound salted nut rolls (among other things).

Looking at some of the other pictures and signs around the office bring back a flood of other positive memories: Downtown Abbey, Rick Steves’ Europe, Nova, Nature, Austin City Limits, Lowertown Line and Almanac. So much good content has been broadcast from this PBS affiliate and I’m really excited to help such a talented and creative crew. My high school friend Terry Gray has been at TPT for 15 years and was a major influence on me considering this role. Super excited to work with him again (we worked together at HSRA Minnesota and I saw him occasionally on the sidelines at U.S. Bank Stadium).

The Information Technology team at TPT is solid and I really enjoy being part of a larger group again. Former McNally Smith veteran Nick Kaihoi is great to work with and we have so many shared tech experiences and philosophies, it’s scary. The team picked out a new M2 MacBook Air for me to use, which was just perfect. I also appreciate that the HR department has an actual “No Jerk Policy” and find the overall vibe just so refreshing. It reminds me of this Mr. Rodgers quote:

There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind.

“Funding provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and contributions to your PBS station from Viewers Like You”

Originally published by DK on November 17, 2022 at 9:14 am

Marie is ambitious

Posted Friday, November 11th, 2022 12:10 pm in Food,Work at 12:10 PM

Easy to make at work and the sale price was good, but the flavor just isn’t quite there

Originally published by DK on November 11, 2022 at 12:10 pm

The coworker is j chillin’

Posted Thursday, November 10th, 2022 10:05 am in Family,Pets,Work at 10:05 AM

Swapped home office day this week

Originally published by DK on November 10, 2022 at 10:05 am

Elmo Knows Where You Live

Posted Thursday, November 3rd, 2022 03:29 pm in Business,Links,Television,Work at 3:29 PM

https://www.nytimes.com/2020/10/13/arts/television/pbs-pledge-drive-history.html

Originally published by DK on November 3, 2022 at 3:29 pm

Day brightener 🥰

Posted Tuesday, November 1st, 2022 08:26 am in Pop Culture,Television,Work at 8:26 AM

Will never get tired of seeing this on the way in to work

Originally published by DK on November 1, 2022 at 8:26 am

On Tuesdays we eat cupcakes!

Posted Tuesday, October 18th, 2022 01:18 pm in Food,Television,Work at 1:18 PM

Damn, I already love this place 🧁

Originally published by DK on October 18, 2022 at 1:18 pm

The new neighbors

Posted Thursday, October 13th, 2022 04:59 pm in Pop Culture,Television,Work at 4:59 PM

Day Four ✅

Originally published by DK on October 13, 2022 at 4:59 pm

To infinity…

Posted Tuesday, October 11th, 2022 06:29 pm in Technology,Television,Work at 6:29 PM

…and beyond!

Originally published by DK on October 11, 2022 at 6:29 pm

Burger Time

Posted Wednesday, June 22nd, 2022 10:39 pm in Food,Work at 10:39 PM

Going away drinks and burgers @ the OG Parlour

Originally published by DK on June 22, 2022 at 10:39 pm

Another great story from STR

Posted Tuesday, June 21st, 2022 09:28 am in Links,Technology,Work at 9:28 AM

Wi-Fi Scores 100X Data Increase at the Super Bowl over 10 Years for 20X Less Money than 5G

Originally published by DK on June 21, 2022 at 9:28 am

Day One ✅

Posted Wednesday, June 1st, 2022 08:44 pm in Nature,Work at 8:44 PM

Opening Day @ The Hotel

Originally published by DK on June 1, 2022 at 8:44 pm

The days are a blur

Posted Saturday, May 28th, 2022 08:28 am in Food,Work at 8:28 AM

Waldmann Brewery and Wurstery, Hennepin County Library, Socca Cafe

Originally published by DK on May 28, 2022 at 8:28 am

Soccer Night @ Allianz Field

Posted Saturday, May 7th, 2022 10:14 pm in Sports,Work at 10:14 PM

Thanks, Yagya ⚽️

Originally published by DK on May 7, 2022 at 10:14 pm

Thanks, Chef!

Posted Wednesday, April 13th, 2022 08:48 am in Food,Work at 8:48 AM

Always nice to have treats at work

Originally published by DK on April 13, 2022 at 8:48 am

Pretty solid 🍕

Posted Friday, April 1st, 2022 12:48 pm in Food,Work at 12:48 PM

Not sure where this one came from (it was Wrecktangle)

Originally published by DK on April 1, 2022 at 12:48 pm

Thumbs up on Wrecktangle Pizza

Posted Saturday, March 19th, 2022 12:21 am in Food,Work at 12:21 AM

Would probably be even better straight out of the oven

Originally published by DK on March 19, 2022 at 12:21 am

Nice morning surprise at work

Posted Tuesday, March 1st, 2022 08:37 am in Food,Work at 8:37 AM

Big thanks to our training manager for the Baker’s Wife donuts

Originally published by DK on March 1, 2022 at 8:37 am

Wall patterns

Posted Friday, February 18th, 2022 06:23 pm in Design,Work at 6:23 PM

Design is the spice of life

Originally published by DK on February 18, 2022 at 6:23 pm

YOU ARE HERE

Posted Saturday, February 12th, 2022 04:45 pm in Work at 4:45 PM

The skyways are now open

Originally published by DK on February 12, 2022 at 4:45 pm

This was a nice breakfast surprise

Posted Monday, February 7th, 2022 06:53 pm in Food,Work at 6:53 PM

Thank you, Florian!

Originally published by DK on February 7, 2022 at 6:53 pm

Assistant to the Assistant

Posted Saturday, January 15th, 2022 08:54 am in Links,Technology,Work at 8:54 AM

https://fourseasons.wd3.myworkdayjobs.com/en-US/search/job/Minneapolis/Assistant-IT-Manager_REQ10233293

Originally published by DK on January 15, 2022 at 8:54 am

Somebody is watching me work

Posted Monday, January 3rd, 2022 11:14 am in Family,Pets,Work at 11:14 AM

Work doge has two offices again

Originally published by DK on January 3, 2022 at 11:14 am

So long, Four Seasons LAX

Posted Friday, December 10th, 2021 08:57 pm in Travel,Work at 8:57 PM

Thank you for all the kind hospitality

Originally published by DK on December 10, 2021 at 8:57 pm

It’s the fashion

Posted Thursday, December 9th, 2021 12:23 am in Fashion,Shopping,Travel,Work at 12:23 AM

The spa sells logo merch!

Originally published by DK on December 9, 2021 at 12:23 am

Four Seasons Los Angeles

Posted Monday, December 6th, 2021 09:53 pm in Holidays,Travel,Work at 9:53 PM

Such an eye-opening start to the trip

Originally published by DK on December 6, 2021 at 9:53 pm

Alex Roberts, Part II

Posted Friday, December 3rd, 2021 08:20 pm in Food,Work at 8:20 PM

Fun team visit to Cafe Alma (going back for birthday dinner on the fancy side next year)

Originally published by DK on December 3, 2021 at 8:20 pm

M M M My Sha-Roni

Posted Wednesday, November 24th, 2021 05:22 pm in Food,Work at 5:22 PM

Late work lunch with the crew @ Pizzeria Lola, Minneapolis

Originally published by DK on November 24, 2021 at 5:22 pm

The Minneapolis pages are live

Posted Friday, November 19th, 2021 12:21 am in Business,Links,Work at 12:21 AM

https://www.fourseasons.com/minneapolis/

Originally published by DK on November 19, 2021 at 12:21 am

The Friday Adventures continue

Posted Friday, November 12th, 2021 10:21 pm in Food,Work at 10:21 PM

The Market at Malcolm Yards, Minneapolis

Originally published by DK on November 12, 2021 at 10:21 pm

Flippin’ good (fish) burger

Posted Wednesday, November 10th, 2021 01:05 pm in Food,Work at 1:05 PM

Way closer to the temp office than I thought

Originally published by DK on November 10, 2021 at 1:05 pm

Flip the Bird

Posted Tuesday, November 9th, 2021 01:26 pm in Food,Work at 1:26 PM

Roti Modern Mediterranean, IDS Crystal Court, Minneapolis

Originally published by DK on November 9, 2021 at 1:26 pm

Tried a new one for salad day

Posted Monday, November 8th, 2021 04:29 pm in Food,Work at 4:29 PM

The small Apple + Pear @ Green + The Grain, Minneapolis

Originally published by DK on November 8, 2021 at 4:29 pm

A return to hospitality

Posted Sunday, November 7th, 2021 11:59 pm in Business,Personal,Work at 11:59 PM

A little late on writing the follow-up story to my post about the end of the stadium chapter, but as many of you already know, I’ve decided to return to the hospitality industry. On October 25th, I joined the opening team at the new Four Seasons Hotel and Private Residences Minneapolis, which will be located in the RBC Gateway building at the intersection of Nicollet Mall and Washington Avenue in downtown Minneapolis.

The project is owned by the Pohlad family, so a tip of the hat to Twins technology guru John Avenson for telling me about this opportunity (and the history behind it). The tower will be mixed use: office space for several Pohlad companies and RBC Wealth Management, a new ground floor restaurant and coffee shop from Gavin Kaysen, event space (two ballrooms and multiple meeting rooms), an outdoor pool deck with restaurant, spa with indoor pool, exercise and yoga rooms, eight hotel floors and 34 private residences.

The Four Seasons brand and corporate culture is outstanding and will be a great addition to the Twin Cities market. I’m so impressed with the local team being assembled here, along with all the people that I’ve met from the home office in Toronto and at other locations around the world. The Director of IT from Houston was in Minneapolis last week and will help with our opening. Later this month, I will travel to Chicago for orientation (and my first stay at one of the properties).

From a technical perspective, this move will take me back to the world of Opera, along with all of the other systems that hotels need to operate: door locks and keys, IPTV, WiFi, telephones, security cameras and digital signage (among others). It’s also really nice to have a strong network of internal support, as well as a world-class corporate IT group that have well-defined standards and procedures. My office will have a window peering into the data center and it’ll be fun to have IDF rooms on multiple floors of a really tall building (along with brand-new equipment throughout).

Similar to my start at the stadium, we are in temporary offices down the street while construction continues (offices should be ready in February, with the hotel set to open in the summer). Great to be back in construction mode again with a hard hat and reflective vest: McGough is the general contractor and I get to work with Gephart again too. Other primary groups include Pohlad-owned United Properties as the site developer and JLL as the leasing agent.

Originally published by DK on November 7, 2021 at 11:59 pm

Legendary Spices Hot Pot

Posted Friday, November 5th, 2021 05:43 pm in Food,Work at 5:43 PM

Team outing on University

Originally published by DK on November 5, 2021 at 5:43 pm

By Appointment Only

Posted Monday, October 25th, 2021 11:08 pm in Business,Work at 11:08 PM

First day at the new project

Originally published by DK on October 25, 2021 at 11:08 pm

The stadium chapter concludes

Posted Thursday, October 21st, 2021 10:50 pm in Business,Family,Football,Friends,Personal,Work at 10:50 PM

Yesterday was my last official day working at U.S. Bank Stadium as the Director of IT. I was about a week shy of six years, but what a wild ride it has been:

  • Five plus seasons of Vikings Football (including the Minneapolis Miracle)
  • Super Bowl LII
  • Men’s Final Four
  • Summer X Games
  • A.C. Milan vs. Chelsea
  • Monster Jam and Super Cross dirt shows
  • MSHSL Championships
  • Metallica, Coldplay, Taylor Swift, Guns N’ Roses, Beyoncé and Jay-Z, U2 with Beck (and many other shows)

It’s been an honor to work in this building from pre-opening through today, partnering with outstanding organizations, working with truly amazing people and learning an awful lot about the sports and entertainment industry.

There are really too many people to thank for helping me succeed in this chapter of my life, but I’d like to call out a few:

  • Armon Farrari, who I stole from Apple (h/t Pash) and who became one of the best technology managers I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with in any industry.
  • Curtis Schmillen, Director of Operations, Leo Pidde (now retired) and Ed Kroics (who took Leo’s place): just an amazing group of coworkers inside the building and great people to be with outside of work – be it on a golf course or at a happy hour.
  • Jim Farstad, executive director of the Minnesota Sports Facility Authority (and former technology consultant during construction): a true renaissance man in every way.
  • Inaugural GM Patrick Talty (and HR manager Shelly Wynia) for picking me to join the opening team back in 2015.
  • Current GM John Drum, who helped during my health emergency outside the stadium in 2018.
  • The CTAC team at CenturyLink (now Lumen) that designed and built the original technology infrastructure: Andy Diment, Mark Olson and Evan Teisberg. Still helping to this day, extraordinary knowledge that always made my job “really pretty simple.”
  • Bill Anderson and Wesley Terry at AmpThink: no one in the world knows more about WiFi than these two individuals.
  • Mentor Doug Podolak: your continued support of my career (and friendship) means the world to me.
  • My wife and daughters: zero percent chance I’d be here today without their love and support. You da best ❤️

Lastly, to everyone at the Vikings (past and present): you’ve been great partners and I can’t wait to see you bring home the Vince Lombardi trophy to the great state of Minnesota. Skol, Vikings!

Originally published by DK on October 21, 2021 at 10:50 pm

One last go at press box popcorn

Posted Monday, October 18th, 2021 07:25 pm in Family,Food,Friends,Work at 7:25 PM

Emotional day at the stadium ❤️

Originally published by DK on October 18, 2021 at 7:25 pm

End of a purple era 💜🏈

Posted Sunday, October 10th, 2021 07:47 pm in Food,Football,Friends,Work at 7:47 PM

Last Vikings game @ U.S. Bank Stadium: Vikings 19, Lions 17

Originally published by DK on October 10, 2021 at 7:47 pm

Now Hiring – Inquire Within

Posted Saturday, October 9th, 2021 10:16 am in Business,Football,Links,Technology,Work at 10:16 AM

https://recruiting.adp.com/srccar/public/RTI.home?c=1152751&d=ExternalCareerSite&r=5000780763706#/

Originally published by DK on October 9, 2021 at 10:16 am

Testing the snow machines

Posted Friday, October 1st, 2021 03:40 pm in Football,Weather,Work at 3:40 PM

I was a skeptic, but it really is a cool effect ❄️

Originally published by DK on October 1, 2021 at 3:40 pm

Better late than never

Posted Thursday, September 23rd, 2021 06:30 pm in Food,Work at 6:30 PM

Should’ve put it on my calendar – missed all the chefs

Originally published by DK on September 23, 2021 at 6:30 pm

Sunny Shore Lunch with Keri

Posted Thursday, September 16th, 2021 01:52 pm in Food,Friends,Work at 1:52 PM

Farmers Kitchen + Bar

Originally published by DK on September 16, 2021 at 1:52 pm

Minneapolis Cider Co. ✅

Posted Thursday, September 16th, 2021 09:28 am in Food,Work at 9:28 AM

Thanks to Cisco for helping cross that one off the list

Originally published by DK on September 16, 2021 at 9:28 am

Baseball Night in Minneapolis

Posted Tuesday, September 14th, 2021 10:11 pm in Baseball,Food,Work at 10:11 PM

Work outing to Target Field with a stop @ Kieran’s

Originally published by DK on September 14, 2021 at 10:11 pm

See the other Billie Joe(l) ✅

Posted Tuesday, August 24th, 2021 09:29 am in Concerts,Music,Work at 9:29 AM

And both at Target Field, no less

Originally published by DK on August 24, 2021 at 9:29 am

Industry research

Posted Wednesday, August 18th, 2021 02:49 pm in Baseball,Business,Work at 2:49 PM

Reverse ATMs and WiFi6 @ Target Field

Originally published by DK on August 18, 2021 at 2:49 pm

Data center cleanup day #1

Posted Tuesday, August 17th, 2021 10:55 am in Technology,Work at 10:55 AM

The first of many, I’m sure

Originally published by DK on August 17, 2021 at 10:55 am

Here we go, 2021 Edition

Posted Saturday, August 14th, 2021 10:04 am in Football,Work at 10:04 AM

Release the hounds!

Originally published by DK on August 14, 2021 at 10:04 am

Winter is Coming

Posted Tuesday, August 10th, 2021 06:51 pm in Football,Work at 6:51 PM

MAKE IT LOUD

Originally published by DK on August 10, 2021 at 6:51 pm

Almost back to normal

Posted Tuesday, August 10th, 2021 06:38 pm in Business,Football,Work at 6:38 PM

Third time’s the charm, right?

Originally published by DK on August 10, 2021 at 6:38 pm

Cat’s out of the bag now

Posted Saturday, July 31st, 2021 03:06 pm in Business,Food,Football,Work at 3:06 PM

Original Hockey Mom Brownies are coming to my office this fall

Originally published by DK on July 31, 2021 at 3:06 pm

Pretty much live here now

Posted Tuesday, July 6th, 2021 04:27 pm in Art,Football,Work at 4:27 PM

…but the artwork is nice

Originally published by DK on July 6, 2021 at 4:27 pm

Curious Minnesota

Posted Monday, July 5th, 2021 08:24 am in Business,Football,News,Work at 8:24 AM

Why is my office always in the Star Tribune?

Originally published by DK on July 5, 2021 at 8:24 am

Getting the joint ready

Posted Thursday, July 1st, 2021 10:00 am in Football,Work at 10:00 AM

Stadium Opening 2.0

Originally published by DK on July 1, 2021 at 10:00 am

Busy day of networking

Posted Wednesday, June 16th, 2021 10:02 pm in Business,Food,Golf,Work at 10:02 PM

Rush Creek + Willingers

Originally published by DK on June 16, 2021 at 10:02 pm

Fire safety training day

Posted Monday, June 14th, 2021 02:39 pm in Work at 2:39 PM

Always good to get a refresher…

Originally published by DK on June 14, 2021 at 2:39 pm

Help Wanted at USBS

Posted Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 02:38 pm in Football,Technology,Work at 2:38 PM

Events are coming back and U.S. Bank Stadium needs help getting ready. Looking for an entry-level tech support candidate to join my team this summer:

  • Will train – great first job for a tech-savvy graduate
  • NFL game day excitement at least ten days a year
  • Good chance of working with roadies from world-famous bands
  • Get paid to learn really expensive systems and equipment
  • Flexible hybrid remote and onsite work environment
  • Cool office that makes the news on a regular basis
  • Fun team, decent boss

The posting is now up on the stadium website, while here is the direct link to the ADP hiring site (PDF here).

Originally published by DK on June 8, 2021 at 2:38 pm

Plain ice water 👍

Posted Tuesday, June 8th, 2021 01:29 pm in Food,Weather,Work at 1:29 PM

Days like these make it taste real good

Originally published by DK on June 8, 2021 at 1:29 pm

Time to restock the candy drawer

Posted Thursday, June 3rd, 2021 11:45 am in Food,Work at 11:45 AM

Stadium delivery

Originally published by DK on June 3, 2021 at 11:45 am

Look what’s back, back again

Posted Tuesday, May 25th, 2021 04:15 pm in Sports,Work at 4:15 PM

Ghosts of Final Fours 🏀

Originally published by DK on May 25, 2021 at 4:15 pm

Football looms 🏈

Posted Tuesday, May 18th, 2021 03:48 pm in Football,Technology,Work at 3:48 PM

Getting ready for another go

Originally published by DK on May 18, 2021 at 3:48 pm

Totally worth the drive

Posted Wednesday, April 28th, 2021 02:20 pm in Food,Friends,Work at 2:20 PM

Lunch at Smokey’s – thanks, Jesse!

Originally published by DK on April 28, 2021 at 2:20 pm

FIREPOWER 🔥

Posted Wednesday, April 14th, 2021 02:00 pm in Technology,Work at 2:00 PM

Not quite ready, but nearly there

Originally published by DK on April 14, 2021 at 2:00 pm

A Return to Baseball

Posted Sunday, April 11th, 2021 01:45 pm in Baseball,Food,Longform,Technology,Work at 1:45 PM

Looking back through the archives, I don’t think I’ve ever actually written about our baseball ticket group. State Farm Insurance Agent Kirk Detlefsen (and his family) have been running a Twins season ticket group for quite some time. I was introduced to them through my Northwest Airlines mentor six years ago and have been hooked ever since.

Each season, Kirk buys up a bunch of season tickets in different sections, then divides them into shares at various price points. A ticket “draft” is held every year and each shareholder picks the games they want to attend. Usually this is held in February in the Delta Club with snow on the field, guest speakers from the Twins and an assortment of ballpark food available for purchase. We didn’t have one at all in 2020 and the 2021 version was held via Zoom (of course). Kudos to all the Detlefsens for pulling that off (and managing 100% digital tickets for the first time ever).

The smallest share in the group is two tickets to two games in the Champions Club. Since these seats are super expensive (and generally not available to the general public via single game sales), this was a nice way to splurge once a year (I split the share with my uncle). After a few years of that, we switched to a share with two seats for ten games in the Delta Club. That’s what we currently have, although it appears that our actual seats may be all over this season because of capacity restrictions.

So what was the return of fans like?

To be honest, the thing I was looking forward to most were the new Andrew Zimmern KFC wings that Stephanie March wrote about for Mpls/StPaul magazine. They are available in Bat & Barrel (which will now be called Truly On Deck, but none of the signage has changed yet), so we headed there first. They still apparently take advanced reservations, as most tables had reserved signs on them and you couldn’t order food from the counter (just drinks at the bar). I asked the person standing at the podium if I had to order through the app, but she wasn’t sure. The tables had QR codes on them, so I scanned that, which took me to a menu page, but no link to order online. Hmm…

So let’s talk about apps for a minute. MLB offers several, but these are the two primary ones I’ve used (and had on my phone): MLB and MLB Ballpark. I could’ve sworn the first one used to be called At Bat, but maybe I’m making that up. The MLB app lets you follow games around the league, while the Ballpark app is supposed to handle all the stuff you need at an actual game – tickets, mobile ordering, Twingo. I opened the wrong app so many times – maybe I need to move them to different screens. I also added the ParkWhiz app to my phone today to park in Ramp A, but more on that later.

There were multiple reports across the league of issues with mobile ordering on opening day, so I was interested to see how the process worked. I was also under the impression that all food needed to be ordered from the app, but that was not the case at all. With limited stands open, lines were long all around the main concourse, but you could place an order at a stand and pay with a credit card (no cash accepted – Apple Pay did work fine, which has been an issue for me there in the past). Here’s what the Ballpark app screens looked like to order my KFC wings:

The first disclaimer screen comes up every single time you try to order. The app doesn’t automatically try to figure out where you are located, so you have to select from the drop-down menu, which has what seems like a million options to scroll through. When I selected Bat & Barrel, there was a limited selection of items – I could order the wings, but no drinks or sides. The app was not integrated with Apple Pay, so I had to manually enter my credit card information. My card got billed right away and the screen said I would receive a text message when my order was ready. The app didn’t ask for my number, though, so I never received a text. Also, once you closed the confirmation window, it was not obvious how to pull up your order info (with the important order number) and I did not receive any email receipts of the transaction. Later I found that you can access a “My Orders” section, but that is only available by starting a new transaction:

There was signage at the front serving area for mobile order pickup, but there was no one working there. After a few minutes of standing around, someone came and asked me if I was waiting for an order, then went back to the kitchen to get it. By this time, there were a few other people waiting too. When they brought out my food, it was in a stapled shut brown grocery bag that just contained the food in a container – there were no utensils or napkins. This was only the second game back after a year of no fans, so hopefully these issues will get worked out as operations get back into the grove. The quality of the wings was really good, but a cheese brat I bought later from the Kramarczuk’s stand was small and overcooked.

While it was great to be back at a game, we had a few other negative experiences. The digital tickets in the app say you must enter at the gate indicated, so we headed to gate 34 when we arrived. Since we were early, there was no one in line at all, but a guest service staffer immediately confronted us. She said this was an ADA entrance and wanted to see our “Sweet Spot” card on the app before letting us proceed (?). That part of the app was not working and she eventually just let us proceed to the empty security screening line. Guessing this process will also get better as the season progresses.

The announced attendance for the game was 9,817 and the concourses never felt overcrowded. People in general followed the mask and distancing rules while moving around, but the concession lines were tight and the group of “bros” behind us decided that since they were drinking all game long, they didn’t need to wear their masks. At all. Seat spacing was similar to the Saints last season, alternating rows with four-seat blocks on both ends in one row with two-seats blocks in the middle of the next. Blocked seats were zip tied shut, but one group asked an usher if they were supposed to cut them to sit (they were in the wrong section). We didn’t see any ushers trying to enforce mask rules, the scoreboard and PA announcements were minimal and it would be nice if the fancam operators would only show people following the rules.

With state regulations capping attendance at 10,000 right now, I don’t envy the task of the ticket office managers. We really like our experience in Delta Club and hope that we can have seats back in there later in the season. It was rather frustrating to see entire empty sections up there the whole game, but I’m guessing that’s because most people wanted to stay inside the warm part of the club (which we would have traded our 12th row seats for in a heartbeat – it never got above 47F). Target Field’s current published capacity is only 38,544, so jumping up to 50% shouldn’t be a huge change. It will also be nice to see the menus expand back to normal – Red Cow, for example, was not offering turkey burgers yet.

The final issue we had (aside from the dumb start-a-runner-on-second rule and Twins loss) was leaving the parking ramp. I drove up to the exit kiosk and opened the ParkWhiz app, only to find my barcode gone and a prompt to login. When I bought the parking pass earlier in the day, they sent me an email with a link to the barcode, but never asked me to set up a login ID and password. With people waiting behind me (and no staff at the exit), I had to pull my car over to the side, find the email, then get back in line. I will now know to have this ready before I start driving, but I wasn’t the only car that had to do this. If there was a regular-sized crowd exiting at the same time, this would be a disaster.

A return to hockey is up next for me tomorrow night (with another Twins game on 4/23). Stay tuned for more reports…

Originally published by DK on April 11, 2021 at 1:45 pm

Ready for the jabs

Posted Thursday, April 8th, 2021 09:28 am in Football,Science,Work at 9:28 AM

First of four days @ USBS

Originally published by DK on April 8, 2021 at 9:28 am