Friday, August 29, 2008

Barack, Our Savior!

Well, I hate the Republican talking points that suggest Obama has a Jesus-complex, but you have to admit, Jon Stewart has a funny take on this!

1 Down, 1 to Go!

Well, now that the DNC Obama-LoveFest is over, it's time for the RNC to come to town. I'm looking forward to their arrival like I am a colonoscopy, but since they're going to drop something like $100+ million into the local economy AND still lose Minnesota to the Dems, I'm ok with that. Give us your money, I'm giving Barack my vote.

My thoughts on the DNC Convention: Pretty good, as good as it had to be. I still don't really like Bill Clinton, but wow, what a speech! That guy still has the magic, so dynamic. And Obama, you keep saying you're going to elevate the campaign. Snarky ads and comments about how rich your opponent is makes you a typical politician. You still inspire me and you have my vote, but I'm disappointed with the direction your rhetoric is going.

But next up, RNC! I'm so freakin glad I live and work in Minneapolis. What a cluster St. Paul will be. Most of my small readership is probably equally annoyed that we got the RNC instead of the DNC, so while you're bitching about road closures and crowded St. Paul restaurants this next week, enjoy this hilarious video by Current TV about the convention right here in the Twin Cities by Trace Crutchfield.

I know it's going to suck next week, but let's all be nice to those Republicans. They have a lot of money and when McCain and that "Alaskan hockey mom" leave, their money will still be here with us.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I Love Lamp....and Summer

Many are already lamenting the end of summer, but complaining that it feels like it only just began. Well, get over it. Stop complaining and go enjoy the outdoors!

After a 3 hour run in Lebanon Hills this morning and a trip to the North Shore looming, my mind is definitely NOT on working. I'm thinking about all the fun I've had so far this summer!

So since I'm lazy and not in the mood to write a lot, I'll let the photos speak for themselves. Here are a couple photos of random fun things I love about summertime in Minnesota.

In the category of "Exploring My Backyard":

I started out the summer by visiting Fort Snelling on Memorial Day. Re-enactments and history, so you know I loved it!

I am embarrassed to say that I had never been to Eloise Butler Wildflower Sanctuary. A special treat was seeing my first Lady Slipper in bloom. It's not the Showy Lady Slipper (MN's state flower), but it was incredible nonetheless.

Well, I had to wait 4 years, but it was worth it. 4 years after their wildly successful Art Mini-Golf course, the Walker Art Center did it again. This time, there were 2 courses set up, and even better, the sculptures functioned so much better (generally) for actually sinking a putt!

I LOVE Minneapolis at night, especially on the Stone Arch Bridge. I've been down there several times this summer for fireworks and festivals. A new reason to go this summer was Red Bull's Illume photography exhibition. The photo exhibit made for some great photo opportunities! neat how that works.

Exploring just beyond the urban core, I had a fun weekend camping with some friends in Afton State Park, an incredible retreat just minutes from the Cities. With the hike-in sites and the gorgeous river views, it's easy to forget how close to the city you are.

Afton is a short hop from Stillwater, where my FAVORITE festival of the year, Lumberjack Days, takes place. I haven't missed a Lumberjack Days since I moved to Minnesota, and I can only say that about HighlandFest in St. Paul as well. I don't really have any photos of HighlandFest, even though I went twice this year and had a great time listening to music and climbing the water tower. But I took some great photos of the Lumberjack competitions in Stillwater. Here's a fun photo of the dog jumping competition that you can see sometime this fall on the OLN channel I think.

But Minnesota saves the best for last. The summer will close out soon with the Minnesota State Fair! There's nothing better than the fair, not even Lumberjack Days. It's the great get-together, and I just can't wait! I biked by the empty fairgrounds a couple weeks ago. Soon, this photo will be filled with tens of thousands. I'll leave that as my parting shot, of summer fun yet to come!

Monday, August 4, 2008

More PRs!

Stop the presses, 2 posts in 4 days!

I've had a hiatus in blogging and racing lately. I finally got out for a race, the Hennepin Lakes Classic 10K. Oddly, I've never raced that distance before. That meant I was guaranteed a PR! 10K is an weird distance for me. So short that you need to push harder than is really comfortable, but too long so that you really can't just will yourself through it like a 5K.

The race was basically 2 laps of Lake Calhoun. The first I went out a little too slowly perhaps, but that let me hammer it in for the last lap for a nice negative split. I ended up finishing in 36:37, which is in the range of what I was shooting for based on race calculators and my other PRs from shorter and longer distances.

The race also featured a 5K, with a "doubleheader" option of running both the 10K and 5K. The true MDRA superstars were the flying married duo of Kirk and Anne. Both took 2nd in their age groups. Great job guys! They also have the annoying distinction of being the two most photogenic people WHILE racing. They always look like they're enjoying running. What gives?

To prove that racing is painful, I submit to you a photo of me at the halfway point of the race, running side by side with local running great Dan Morse (editor's note, he ran the doubleheader and I only ran one race, which is the only way I could keep up with him). He's demonstrating to me proper form. However, I'm apparently not paying any attention! I am generally an exhibit on how not to run!

Nathan, don't punch yourself in the face! Get those arms down.

Since I last posted, I also PRed in the 5K at Brian Kraft. So that makes PRs in the 1 mile, 5K, 8K, 10K and half marathon, all in 2008. The one that eludes me is the marathon! Here's to a PR at Twin Cities in October! It's been a great running year thus far, and hopefully that continues!

Friday, August 1, 2008

August 1

I know I haven't blogged in a while. Like most of you, I'm out having too much fun in the summers to blog. And of course, I probably have more blog-worthy material now than ever, but no time to actually blog it.

But I couldn't let today pass without a post. One year ago today I was biking with the youth from my church in southern MN when time seemed to stop all over the state. I don't want to over dramatize a tragic event where (fortunately given the circumstances) ONLY 13 people died, but those first few days after the bridge collapse, there was a different feeling that palpable, and reminded me of living in DC through 9/11.

Photos speak much more clearly than I can write, so I'm going to just put some photos online that I have taken over the past year for you all to see.

Photo taken from Stone Arch Bridge days after the collapse

The old bridge takes shape down on the river flats below the UofM

One month later the bridge is still on the rail cars

One month after collapse

It's hard to see the 35W logo, but this is from a post-collapse Twins game last fall

Bridge is really taking shape - July 13, 08

This past Tuesday I had the extreme privilege of taking a hardhat tour of the 35W bridge reconstruction. I was able to walk around the entire site. The progress they have made in less than a year is astounding. Absolutely astounding.