Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Some post-rain photos

I find it interesting what the rain brings. Here are a couple of recent photos.

It may not be apparent, but the dark area is a colony of ants who have swarmed around something embedded in the crack in the sidewalk.

This mushroom is one of very many that have sprouted in the neighborhood, now that the rain has enabled the spores to flourish.

Finally, grass seed that I planted in May, just before the drought, has finally sprouted and started to cover a bare spot in the ground.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Minnesota State Fair...what do the kids think of the food?

Last year I wrote about the two trips I made to the Minnesota State Fair, including a review of Umphrey's McGee and of the food. We went yesterday, Saturday afternoon, and I asked the kids and Melissa what they thought. So here it goes:

The first item was Bacon-Wrapped Turkey Tenderloin on a Stick.
  • Big sister (before tasting): "Mmmmm!"
  • Little sister: "It's great!"
  • Big sister (after tasting): "Mmmmm!"
  • Joe: "Juicy. Tasty."
  • Melissa: "It's good. It's no turkey drumstick."
  • Little sister made a sad face when it was gone.
Melissa had an opportunity to talk to Al Franken's people. She told the camera person that he was too lefty for her. (She felt bad not getting my feedback, but we rectified that later.)

Little brother wanted a Foot-Long Hot Dog. We adults agreed it was okay, but it is a much better little person food.

Melissa ordered a small Turkey Leg from a different vendor than last year. I thought it was pretty good, but Melissa felt it was too fatty.

Two weekends ago, Melissa missed the chance to try an Irish egg at the Irish Fair. However, we found Scotch Eggs on a Stick, so we had to try this. The little sister said that "It's good. It's so really, really, really good." Big sister gave it two thumbs up and a smile. Melissa liked it, but little brother didn't like the egg part. (He liked the sausage part.)

The "World's Greatest Fries" were not quite that. Mis gave them a B/B+, my daughter gave them an A-, and I'd give them a B+.

We split a couple of Deep Fried Snickers. The experience is best summed up by my daughter, "Absolutely disgusting, and the best thing I ever tasted."

After the long day we were headed towards the exit, but we passed by Franken's booth. Al was there, but he had a long line of people. Melissa found the cameraman she talked with earlier. She reminded him that she was the person who said she'd more likely vote for Coleman, but then she introduced me. After a couple of seconds of camera fright, I said that Al's values more closely reflect mine, and I listed a few of the things that are important to me. Melissa felt much better that both of us spoke our minds.

It was a good visit. The weather was very pleasant, we walked a couple of miles, but we didn't drink near enough water. We were pretty tired by the time we got on the bus to go back to our park and ride lot. We picked up some caterpillars from the butterfly house that are now munching on their milkweed.

Tags: Minnesota State Fair

Friday, August 24, 2007

Great non-profits at 10,000 Lakes Festival

Besides the excellent music that I enjoyed at the 10,000 Lakes Festival last month, one of many other things I was impressed with was the inclusion of some excellent non-profits. I had a chance to talk with the people at HeadCount and at Conscious Alliance.

I am a registered and active voter, and I appreciate that HeadCount has worked diligently to register more people and encourage them to engage more in our democracy. (I'm posting this entry today because of the interesting preview of their documentary on their home page.)

Conscious Alliance has worked to feed many poor individuals. In exchange for a donation of food or money, Conscious Alliance has provided some wonderful posters. I've gotten posters from 10KLF, an STS9 show, and The Dead. I think the exchange of some great art for the donation is quite worth it. It brings me joy to think of that exchange!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

More on my uncle's sci-fi book

A month ago I posted an entry on my uncle's newly published science fiction book, The Caverns of Mare Cetus. Today an article on him and his book were published in his community paper.

The interview starts out:

Why did you write this book?

Erjavec: I've always had a love for science fiction books. I even took a science fiction writing course as an elective in college, of all things. With a strong science background one of the things I liked about sci-fi books and movies was a sense of realism grounded in science. I felt I might be good at writing something like that.

Check out the rest of the article.

Tags: science fiction

Thursday, August 16, 2007

A few pictures from the last few weeks

I dumped the last three weeks of pictures from our camera onto the home computer. I thought these few were interesting.

This was taken from our front window in late July during a much needed heavy rain.

I thought the grilled pizza looked good, but it tasted horrible. Next time I try experimenting, I won't cut corners with the dough.

We caught this butterfly for a few minutes in our son's bugcatcher.

This furry, winged friend was flying around the house in an early August evening. I found it sleeping on a screen the following evening. It has gone on its happy mosquito-hunting ways.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Twin Cities Chess League, 2007-08, just a month away!

One of my favorite chess events begins one month from today, on Friday, September 14. The Twin Cities Chess League will begin its 2007-08 season at the Roseville Skating Oval.

No membership in the MSCA nor USCF is necessary. Please show up on that Friday, as a few teams may be short players, or you may want to start a new team on the spot.

Tags: Twin Cities Chess League, chess

Monday, August 13, 2007

Politics: Dennis Kucinich and Sam Brownback on This Week

Yesterday we had our normal Sunday morning routine of breakfast while watching This Week with George Stephanopoulos. He hosted Representative Dennis Kucinich and Senator Sam Brownback in two separate interviews. (The video locations are here: Kucinich; Brownback.)

Although I will not be casting my vote for either candidate, I was still impressed with what they had to say. Kucinich spoke about a way to peace that admitted the insanity of nuclear weapons. I totally agree with him. Future generations should not live with that. Communication and diplomacy between nations and people is necessary to remove this spectre of fear from all of our lives.

Brownback talked about the necessary of political solutions for Iraq. He strongly recommended that Jim Baker be involved in helping guide the Sunni, Shia, and Kurdish people. (It is extremely unfortunate that Iraq is not close to any compromise, but it seems like the only way to having a relatively peaceful country.)

Although the Democratic and Republican parties will each elect one candidate for the general Presidential election, many of the candidates who will not make it to that election have valuable ideas that should be listened to and fostered. I appreciate the time the candidates take, especially those that have the integrity to speak honestly about their positions, regardless of whether I agree with them or not.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Iran arrests 200 music fans

I was watching CNN with my wife this morning, and as I often try to do, I check the little runner of news at the bottom of the screen. I saw there that Iran had arrested 200 music fans.

I am not surprised by this, but I didn't want this item to go unnoticed. Justifiably, the story of the bridge collapse over I-35W in Minneapolis is taking up a lot of bandwidth. However, this story is important to me, and I want to do my small part to make sure it doesn't fall through the cracks.

Tags: Iran