Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Macy Shows Off Her Cup Stacking Skills

I had no idea Macy could do this until she unveiled her talent at Christmas.  Apparently they teach this sort of thing in gym class nowadays.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Macy's Veteran's Memorial Presentation

Macy got a chance to present her Veteran's Memorial project to her 4th Grade class last week and she did an awesome job.

Christmas Images

A few quick pics from the Georgia trip.  Our Christmases are not always traditional.  First of all, my nephew Cody, who is a great kid, has broken more bones in the last two years than the rest of my family has combined -- ever.  This presented an opportunity to give him a gift that he could truly use: bubble wrap.

Make sure your mother applies liberally before you go outside.


Macy was showing off her cup stacking skills, something she apparently picked up during gym (?!) recently.  After a while, it naturally occurred to see if we could touch the ceiling.

Nobody breathe.

And what would Christmas in Georgia be without the annual Cataula Poker Challenge.  Who won, you ask?  Here's a clue:

The first two-time winner.

For more pictures, check out the online photo album here.

Friday, December 24, 2010

New at Say Anything: First-Person Flier: An Account of Air Travel in 2010 (Part 1)

I’m traveling for Christmas this year and with all the buzz around searches and groping and whatnot, I thought it might be interesting to document my experience with TSA on both legs of the journey. My point of departure was Fargo, North Dakota, which will never make a top ten list of busiest airports. As such, it lags behind in implementing new technologies (if not new procedures). In other words, there aren’t going to be any full-body scanners. Would this mean full pat downs for all?

Thankfully no. My printer being out of ink, I had to print off boarding passes at the self-service kiosks. These were not working however, which meant I couldn’t bypass the ticket agent and go straight to the security line. The agent was friendly, but I noticed that he didn’t ask for ID before handing me the passes; my name (and the names of those traveling with me) were enough to get them. That seemed odd at first — that certainly has never been my experiece in the past — but it made sense when I realized the TSA agent at the security checkpoint would check the boarding pass against my ID anyway. I made my way to the security checkpoint.

Click here to read the rest of this post at Say Anything.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

How Kids Become Small Government Advocates

We were packing for a trip to visit my family for Christmas when my daughter asked me why she couldn't bring a bottle of water with her on the plane. I explained to her that, because the bottle carried more than three ounces of liquid, it couldn't be carried on the plane. She asked why, and I told her that it was because someone once tried to blow up an airplane. She didn't quite understand where the three ounce rule came in. I couldn't help her with that one since I don't know either. Three ounces of a liquid explosive could put a nice hole in an airplane. She announced that the rule keeping her from bringing water on the plane was "stupid". I agreed.

It just so happened that soon after this conversation I read this post, in which it was revealed that the Department of Homeland Security was protecting us "24/7, 364 days a year".  I showed my daughter this mistake.  She rolled her eyes and made a remark about this person being silly.  Then I pointed out to her that the person who said this was the person responsible for that "stupid" rule that keeps her from bringing a water bottle on an airplane.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

New At Say Anything: Reid Pulls Spending Bill After Republicans Remember They Are Being Watched

That didn't take long. After word got out about all the earmarks in the omnibus spending bill with R's attached to them, Senate Republicans announced they would no longer vote for it, causing Senator Harry Reid to pull the measure.
Senate Democrats abruptly pulled down an omnibus spending bill after senior Republicans – caught with their hands in the cookie jar — deserted the measure in an effort to square themselves with tea party activists and conservatives in the party.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid made the announcement and signaled he would substitute a short-term spending resolution for the much more detailed year-long $1.1 trillion plus measure which many in the GOP had been quietly rooting for just weeks ago.

Continue reading this post at Say Anything...

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Michael Vick: A New Dog Could Help My Rehabilitation


Aww, isn't that cute.  He's so -- RUN
PUPPY!  RUN FOR YOUR LIFE!

So, Michael Vick, quarterback, secret agent, sportsman, smuggler, financial genius, and ladies man, says in an interview with something called "The Grio.com" that getting a new dog would be something he could get behind.  Because, you know, when someone treats something like crap, the best way to rehab is to get more of it.

In other news:
  • Charles Manson is thinking about adopting some hippies
  • Marion Barry was spotted Christmas shopping at a crack pipe superstore
  • Jesse James is eyeing a Gestapo uniform on eBay
  • David Hasselhoff could sure go for a burger and a bourbon
  • Nikki Sixx is reading up on that new heroin diet he's been hearing so much about
  • Kenny Rogers figures one more visit to the plastic surgeon couldn't hurt
  • Lindsay Lohan thinks that 2-for-1's at the Crown Bar are the perfect way to relax while she reads scripts

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Macy's Vietnam Veteran's Memorial Tribute

Macy had to choose a famous monument for a class project.  Naturally she thought of her veteran dad and chose the Vietnam Veteran's Memorial in Washington, D.C.  I helped out with the overall design and some of the painting.  Macy picked out the materials (with some help from Donna) and etched the "names" into the wall.


The finished product.
Macy used this photo as her inspiration.


Friday, December 10, 2010

New At Say Anything: Rights vs. "Rights": One Of These Can Be Taken Away When The Money Runs Out

The student riots in London demonstrate the consequences of turning every desire into a right. The British government promised everyone a cheap college education using the only tool with which it could deliver -- tax money. In doing so it bestowed a "right" that it could never afford to maintain. Now, with the British Parliament voting to triple the price of college (and let's me honest, what they really did was reset a price control), the effect is that Britain's youth sees a right bestowed upon them by the government being taken away.

Click here to continue reading at Say Anything

Thursday, December 9, 2010

New At Say Anything: Canada Has A Goal For How Long Emergency Room Waits Should Be

And I'm betting that the number is a lot higher than you would think. Take a minute and think about your longest wait for emergency room care. Let's assume that the number of hours you have in mind is ridiculously long. Long enough that you got pissed, that you're still pissed just thinking about it.

Now think about what it would be like if you found out that hospitals across the country were shooting for that number as an actual goal, rather than denouncing it as an aberration. I can tell you what it would be like: it would be like living in Canada where the healthcare is "free".

Want to see how your number compares to the reality of Canadian healthcare targets? It's just a click away.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Blogging In The Key Of Nerd: Intellisense Doesn't Work For WPF Projects In Visual Studio 2008

As part of a project I am working on, I need to design a form that mimics the Communicator contact UI that we use in Dynamics GP.  You've seen it before: it looks like a list of names with a bunch of stoplight-inspired orbs floating in front of it. Yesterday I open up Visual Studio 2008 SP1, create a new WPF Application and am greeted with this:


This is less... colorful... than I'd hoped.
 Okay, so, no Intellisense.  This is bad.  I've never worked with a WPF project before, so I am not in a position to whip out this form without everyone's favorite coding crutch.  I play around with it for awhile, to no avail.  I attempt to View Code on the form, only to be told this:


I keep telling you this is a blog.  I don't need an editor.

So the problem is that I don't have an editor capable of handling .xaml files.  Seems like something that should be there already, since I can select a project that uses these files and Visual Studio will, you know, generate code automatically in a .xaml file that it created.  Mildly irritated, I start Binging.  My first hit looks promising; it says there's a problem with a couple of KB-related updates.  I need to manually remove those, add a couple from the .NET 3.5 install and everything should be rainbows and unicorns again.  I do this (with mandatory restarts after each uninstall and each install).  No dice.  That's okay.  The next paragraph in the nicely detailed post I'm currently cursing has an alternate remedy:  reinstall .NET 3.5.  If that doesn't work, simply reinstall Visual Studio.  Easy!

--- 3.5 hours later ---

Still no Intellisense.  I ask around to see if anyone else has encountered this.  No one has.  It appears I have stumbled into another of those famous quandaries: Things That Only Happen To Me.  Sweet.  I get a suggestion that installing Microsoft Expression might do the trick.  The good news is that this didn't take nearly as long as reinstalling VS.  The bad news is that it didn't actually work.

Next up, I get a suggestion that it's the version of VS 2008 I am using (Professional).  What they hey, I can kick off another install before I leave and it will be ready when I get to work the next day.  I uninstall and path out to a local install location for Visual Studio Team System.

--- The next morning ---

No good.  Visual Studio has turned against me even though I never did anything to it.  What's that, Visual Studio?  That's not true.  You are lying, I never hit you. You are tearing me apart, Visual Studio!  I go back to Bing.  This time I find a thread that has a very different explanation for my issue.  It's all some nefarious plot by my registry to keep me from providing added value to Microsoft.  It appears that by some quirk of fate, installing the .NET SDK after installing VS 2008 can sometimes, under certain conditions and if the wind is coming from the northwest, cause a registry entry to become corrupted, thus letting the terrorists win causing Intellisense to stop working.  Eagerly I open regedit and find that my registry looks absolutely fine.  Sigh.  My hand moves the mouse to close IE... but wait!  What's this a little further down the list of responses?
thing was that xml editor does not support intellisense...
I set the default to source code editor which does support intellisense
Clearly this was written by a person of learned grace. I read further and found that whatever this person was talking about, it had helped others. If only I spoke gibberish. I checked Babelfish -- French to English, Spanish to English, Greek to English -- damn! No Gibberish to English. I tried another tack, searching for a way to set the text editor in VS 2008.

Sure enough, this can be done through the Tools menu. Under Tools >> Options >> Text Editor >> File Extension. I added an entry for .xaml files and set the text editor to Web Form Editor with Encoding.

They've got a window for everything.

I reloaded the .xaml file and...


Ted Turner couldn't have done a better colorizing job.

 I have since played around some more and found that setting the text editor to Web Service Editor with Encoding also worked.  I also discovered that no other developer I could find needed to do this to get it to work, so maybe this entire post is unnecessary.  Well, at least it was cathartic.

Update (12/9): It appears this didn't solve all my Xaml problems: the editor still didn't recognize all the .xaml tags, and so my code would not compile. However, upon the advice of another anonymous internet poster, I re-installed VS 2008 SP1 (just the SP, not the entire thing) without removing my previous SP1 install. Yep, just right over the top of that sucker. Now everything works as the universe intended.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

High Speed Rail Illustrates Broken Relationship Between Feds, States (Excerpt)

The news that California is forging ahead with plans to build the first leg of a high speed rail system might seem puzzling considering their budget woes. That confusion clears up once you get to the real reason for the urgency.

The California High Speed Rail Authority is committed to breaking ground on a leg of the train that will serve passengers between the unincorporated town of Borden and the half-incarcerated town of Corcoran.

Whether you call it the train from nowhere or the train to nowhere, nobody will be riding it even when it’s done. That’s not libertarian cant: The actual plan for the $4.15 billion leg is that upon completion it will sit idle until other sections of track are completed.

The CHSRA needs to break ground by September 2012 or lose $2.25 billion in federal funds.
(Emphasis mine.)

(Read the rest of this article on Say Anything Blog)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Theories Of The Walking Dead

Donna and I have been avid followers of AMC's new zombie show The Walking Dead.  It's been pretty entertaining so far, with a good mix of drama and eww -- zombies(!) moments.  One of my hopes for the series is that the cause of the zombie fever is never revealed.  Hints, maybe.  Wild guesses that are never confirmed or denied, sure.  But once the mystery is solved, I think something will be lost from the series that it can't get back.  However, this is television, and clever writers won't be able to resist the temptation to try and come up with their own clever rationale for how clever they can be.  Clever.

With that in mind, I thought I'd explore some of the possible theories for patient zero and try and determine their likelihood.

Theory 1: A Comet Did It

This, as you probably already know, would be a direct rip off of Night of the Living Dead. I doubt that a show that has shown such originality early in its run would resort to this.  [Odds: 100 - 1]


Theory 2: Scientists Did It

This is almost as tired a cliche as the idea of zombies roaming the earth itself.  Either evil scientists working for some shadowy conspiracy to take over blah blah blah or good scientists working on a cure for yada yada yada have their good works appropriated by the government to turn into a weapon capable of *snore*.  Sadly, this one probably has legs.  [Odds: 4-1]


Theory 3: God Did It

It's Judgment Day: do you know where your kids are?  Well, they should be in school unless they're dead, in which case they should be clawing their way out of their graves right about... now.  This would take the show in bold new directions, as religion hasn't been a focus of the scripts so far.  But if this is the direction they go, they'd better go all the way, by which I mean apocalyptic lunacy, souls being ripped from bodies, and Jesus and Satan going mano a mano for the title.  Somehow I just don't see the series going in that direction.  [Odds: 50-1]


Theory 4: Bush Did It

He's responsible for everything else that's wrong in the world, might as well throw "zombie apocalypse" on the pile.  There haven't been any CGI-enhanced flashbacks of press conferences where President Obama alludes to inheriting a zombie disaster from the previous administration -- yet.  [Odds: 15-1]

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Christmas Wishes

Had to share this -- Macy's Christmas list for this year.  I absolutely love the coy questioning if she's old enough for a cell phone.

(click to enlarge)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Macy's Veteran's Day Program

Macy's 4th Grade class (with some help from other classes) put on a Veteran's Day program at her school.  Enjoy!







Monday, November 8, 2010

Now The Tea Party Comes To The Hard Part

The Tea Party has gone through many iterations in its relatively short lifespan: in the beginning it was called inconsequential, utterly incapable of being anything more than a novelty. Certainly it could not be expected to become a force in politics capable of turning an election. When this description failed to take hold, a new narrative emerged: since the Party seemed to be growing it must be an astroturf effort funded by the Republican Party. While this view was popular with the left -- which had its own issues with astroturfing at the time -- it didn't survive long. Arms of the movement were popping up all over the country, and established Republican politicians were increasingly on the receiving end of the Party's wrath.

Next were two conflicting pictures of what a typical "tea partier" looked like. On one hand, a Tea Partier was a disaffected upper class white male, railing against having to pay his fair share. On the other a member was poor white trash, ignorantly rabble-rousing the under-educated to rise up in armed conflict against the government. These disparate views surfaced at roughly the same time and jockeyed for position, each one taking the fore depending on the context of the describer. The unifying thread between these two oppposite views was that Tea Party members were uniformly white and racist. That there were more people of color at a single Tea Party event in, say, Ohio, than in anything John Stewart ever presided over is lost.

Once it became clear that charges of racism and backwardness were only playing well to the far left, the Tea Party was accused of shilling for Republicans. Despite the fact that the Party endorsed some Democratic candidates, this description has shown the most staying power. The stories in the wake of the midterm elections paint a picture of a Tea Party that swept Republicans in and Democrats out. This is certainly true in a strict sense; the new balance of power in Congress shows this. However, this description posits that the Party is all about electing Republicans rather than electing small government, small deficit candidates of any political stripe. The truth in this view is weak at best in 2010. The Republican establishment has had little success in co-opting the Party. How that changes in advance of the 2012 election will go a long way in determining its legacy.

The Party defies a single descriptor. This is because it is a large, organic, amorphous thing. It means different things to different people. There are certainly some unifying principles behind it: goverment is too big; it spends too much money, and largely doesn't spend it well; it is slowly working to erode the everyday freedoms people should be able to take for granted. There are certainly other principles involved. You can go to a Tea Party rally and see Birthers. You can find a racist, a closed-border advocate, someone who wants to erase the line between church and state. To argue that the views of people like these define the movement is ludicrous, however.

In regards to the 2010 midterm elections, none of these descriptions matter. The plain truth of the matter is that the Tea Party influenced many races and won surprising victories over the types of politicians it opposed. The next two years will be the real test of the Party's staying power. Harnessing anger to achieve short term goals is relatively easy, especially in an economy like the one we face today. Keeping that anger focused over the long term is a much harder prospect. Many dangers lurk, not the least of which is co-option by the Republican Party apparatus. But lethargy, fatigue, and complacency are also real dangers. I'll be very interested to see what descriptions people come up with for the Tea Party over the next couple of years, and I'll be even more interested in what description it writes for itself.

(Cross-posted at Say Anything)

Monday, November 1, 2010

Republicans Better Remember What Got Them Elected

Tomorrow is November 2nd, 2010, a day which is supposed to live in infamy for Democrats. Many long-time incumbents with the letter 'D' after their names are expected to be looking for work soon. Many pundits who have put more thought into the whys are out there, and I encourage you to look them up and read what they have to say. For myself, I am looking forward to what I hope are election wins for North Dakotans Rick Berg (running for the U.S. House of Representatives) and John Hoeven (for U.S. Senate). If those two do win tomorrow, it will mark the end of the long and distinguished careers of Earl Pomeroy and Byron Dorgan, respectively (note that Dorgan decided not to run for re-election and so his time in the Senate is coming to an end regardless).

Pomeroy and Dorgan have served North Dakota honorably. I certainly didn't agree with all their policies over the years I've lived here, but I believe that they believed they were doing what was best for the state. In particular their support for farm subsidies, which I think needs to be reconsidered -- in light of the current economic situation -- now more than ever, was understandable in a state with such a large farming community.

What confirmed my vote for their opponents was their support for the healthcare bill. This was a clear case of politicians voting their allegiance to the party leadership rather than the wishes of their constituency. The bill was not popular in North Dakota. These men knew this, and publically denounced various bits and pieces of the bill, attempting to deflect criticism and promote the idea that they would not support it. But when push came to shove they voted with the party and it's going to cost them, I think.

But if the expected Republican wave does come ashore tomorrow, it won't leave behind any kind of Republican mandate, nor will it usher in any kind of permanent Republican majority. This election is less about restoring Republicans to Congress and more about punishing Democrats who made the mistake of thinking the election of Barack Obama gave them a blank check. The elections 2006 and 2008 weren't repudiations of conservatism; they were repudiations of the ways in which Republicans had mangled it.

Make no mistake: the Bush years were a lesson in how Republicans can be just as bad as Democrats when it comes to growing government and (not) controlling spending. Now that the electorate seems to regret turning things completely over to the Democrats, Republicans better remember that their sudden embrace of fiscal responsibility is what is getting them elected. Once in office, lip service isn't going to cut it. I, for one, will be watching.

Why Price Controls Don't Work

If this doesn't put you off of government-run healthcare, nothing will.
The problem for a government price controller is that he can never know when the price structure is “right.” He can know when physicians are unhappy with their prices because they will complain, but that does not necessarily mean that those prices should be raised. He cannot know when prices are too high, because physicians benefiting from that mistaken generosity will not complain. The bias is always to raise prices, not lower them.

Medicare tries to solve that problem by limiting how much average prices may rise using the infamous sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. That formula sets an arbitrary limit, unrelated to conditions in the market for physician services, on year-to-year increases in physician payment rates. Just as the price controller cannot know the “right” structure of relative prices, he also cannot know the “right” average price or its rate of growth. Again, the only signals come from those who want more, not less.

The inevitable result is that Congress breaks its own price control rules. In an annual rite of political contrition, Congress overrides the cuts in Medicare physician payment called for by the SGR. To maintain the fiction that someday we will take those reductions, they are pushed off to the next year—compounding both the amount to be cut and the political problem. As a result, Medicare is scheduled to reduce physician fees by 23 percent on December 1, and another 6.5 percent on January 1. Cuts of that magnitude are political suicide, and if imposed would cause millions of senior citizens to lose needed care.
Using one inadequate formula to make up for another, a built-in bias to inflating prices, no way to know when prices are "right"; what's not to love?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

LOL @ Joe Biden

Joe Biden says that every good idea in the last 200 years has come from government.
“Every single great idea that has marked the 21st century, the 20th century and the 19th century has required government vision and government incentive,” he said.
Here's a short list of great things the government didn't provide:
  • Airplanes
  • Telephones
  • Phone sex lines
  • DVDs
  • The Battlestar Galactica reboot
  • A trillion other things
It takes someone who has spent his entire life working to grow government to make a statement like that.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Nothing To See Here

From the delightfully named Yid With Lid blog:
Fox News uncovered a scandal involving Harry Reid's Press Secretary to the Hispanic Community.
Diana Tejada, (the Reid aide) admitted she took payment for “some of her expenses” in exchange for fraudulently marrying Bassam Mahmoud Tarhini in 2003 so he could obtain permanent U.S. residency, according to court documents.

Apparently the fake groom was under investigation for terrorist ties,

Following Tarhini’s arrest in 2009, he was interviewed by FBI agents who sources say asked about his ties to extremists groups. Some sources said they determined he did not have ties to any terror group, but other sources close to the case said that could not be ruled out.
“Not all of my cases involve the FBI,” said Tarhini’s immigration attorney, Timothy Lee Cook. “Certainly, there was something out there that caught their attention.”
Meanwhile Good Morning America offered a hard-hitting exposé on BMWs that sometimes slow down unexpectedly.

Monday, October 25, 2010

This Is Why I Don't Take Doonesbury Seriously

So Garry Trudeau, in this interview with Slate, explains why Barack Obama is the hardest politician to satirize:
Believe it or not, Obama's very tough for business. The contradictory characterizations of him as fascist or socialist only serve to confirm the truth—he's a raging moderate. And satirists don't do well with moderates, especially thoughtful ones. In addition, Obama rarely makes gaffes and has no salient physical or temperamental features. And sinking popularity isn't a critique. Even SNL's main rap on him is his unflappability, hardly a vice in a world leader.
Mmmm mmmmm.  Kool-Aid!  "Obama rarely makes gaffes and has no salient physical or temperamental features".  That doesn't sound like the President I know.

Now, if I can just figure out why I keep reading Slate...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Child Of The Corn

This year was Macy's first trip to some of our area's spooky attractions.  She's been begging me to go for a couple of years now and this is the year I thought she was ready for the sheer terror that only teenagers in costumes with chainsaws can bring.  First of course was to decide on costumes for us; this is my Halloween and we like to get dressed up.

Unlike past years where we decided to either mix a little humor with the horror or go with straight-out silliness, 2010 was a year for pure scary.  It was decided early on to incorporate our recent engagement into the proceedings, so we settled on a menacing bridal party with me as the groom, Donna as the bride and Macy as our undead flower girl.  After dealing with the usual problems with finding women's costumes not dual-used as streetwalker attire we remembered there was a thing called the internet and we were off.  Donna was in charge of makeup.  She has a second career in Hollywood if the technical writing thing doesn't work out.


Not pictured: my failed attempt to make it to 40 without painting my fingernails.

That's Donna: always smiling.

Gaahhhh!
First stop was the Haunted Farm where Macy got punk'd by a guy hiding right near the entrance.  Though her heart was beating around 400 beats per minute, that didn't stop her from getting surprised by the same guy as we went out.  She had a blast (we all did, really).  I refused to tell her what was waiting for her -- they change things up a little bit every year, but the basic layout of the farm is the same -- and you know Macy: she always wants to go first.

Afterwards we went to try out the area's Haunted Corn Maze.  We'd never been; man that place is huge!  It's laid out pretty nice; you can get lost for a bit, but eventually you find the right path.  There's all kinds of mini haunted building along the way along with a bridge that you at first go under then later cross.  It was so big that it was a bit much to do in the same night as the Haunted Farm.  Next year will break it up into two nights.

The great thing about dressing up for this is all the compliments you get from the people working the attractions.  We were told a few times we had seasonal jobs waiting for us if we wanted them.  We also scared more than one group wandering the corn maze who thought we were already moonlighting.

I'm happy to report Macy had a great time getting scared and slept like the dead (heh) when we got home.  No nightmares to report and I think she will want to go again next year. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Exhibition Soccer

The fall recreational soccer season is wrapping up, but Macy and I had a unique opportunity today to get a glimpse of soccer on a grander scale.  I was asked to coach one side of an exhibition for Moorhead Youth Soccer during halftime of the Concordia College women's soccer match.  It was a chance for the girls to play on a field ever-so-slightly larger than the one to which they are accustomed.  They were suitably impressed.  Before we got out there they were disappointed that we were going to use only part of the field.  Once they actually got out there they realized how prescient it was that we did; they didn't quite believe my explanation that "we didn't want them to die from exhaustion" until they got out there on the pitch and realized just how big it was.

It was heartbreakingly cute to see how nervous they were as the scoreboard clock counted down the minutes to halftime.  Of course, once they got out there they had a blast, and the spectators gave them a warm reception and send off, to the delight of the girls.

We preceded the exhibition with a tailgate party where many hamburgers, hot dogs and bratwurst were sacrificed.



Thursday, October 7, 2010

The Legend Of Antennatruck

Since the beginning of time Man has pursued those mythical beasts of yore.  Sasquatch.  The Yeti.  The Loch Ness Monster.  Extraterrestrials.  Manbearpig. A good Uwe Boll movie.  That the only evidence of these phenomenon consist of obviously faked footage, eyewitness "accounts" by insane drunken hicks, and TLC shows apparently produced by adolescent chimpanzees only drives some to even more desperate lengths to secure actual proof.

My personal demon does not take the form of an ape, a little green man, that dinosaur Fred Flintsone used to move rocks at Mr. Slate's quarry, or even Bloodrayne 3: The Third Reich.  No, the creature that haunts my dreams is something even more frighteningly puzzling: Antennatruck.

I first became aware of Antennatruck when I was a small boy.  My dreams, which were supposed to be inhabited by happy visions of friends and family, adventures in space, winning the big game, and punching Darth Vader in the nads instead was where Antennatruck stalked me.  Like the grim spectre of death it rode, its grille like teeth, its tail lights glowing like the fires of hell.  And from the roof of the cab, like a spire on the dark church of Satan, a steely metal appendage that could both impale little children and pick up Fawlty Towers in syndication on the local UHF station.

Soon after I began to see it in the waking world as well.  Stalking me from corner to corner.  Lurking at the bus stop.  Waiting for me to let down my guard.

As I got older, Antennatruck faded into the background.  It was at every other street corner.  Then every fourth; every tenth.  But I never forgot.  With dawning horror I realized the truth: Antenna truck had grown weary of waiting for my guard to drop and had moved on to other prey.  It was then that I began the hunt.

I couldn't let Antennatruck take an innocent, so I began searching.  My travels took me to the far reaches of the Earth.  In Tibet they call it 灵魂的贪食者 which means "devourer of souls".  In the Urals they refer to a beast which "roams the steppes on wheels of silver" and impales farmers with a "lance of evil".  And in Bangladesh it is simply referred to as "the truck that can get PBS".

The years passed, and the stories of children lost in the night, the only warning being the fuzzy strains of the theme song to WKRP In Cincinnati fading into the darkness, piled up.  After so long I lost heart.  I gave up the search, moving to the remote wilds of North Dakota in an effort to forgive myself for my failure, and to forget.

More years passed and I finally began to heal.  The occasional stories of horror and mayhem the authorities around the world passed off on some evil stranger (but I knew the truth, oh yes!) that made it to my ears grew less and less frequent.  I believed it was finally over.  I was stupid.

I saw it again.  It's back.  It's come for me and it won't stop.  God help me.

Click to enlarge, if you dare!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

One Ring To Bind Them

A picture Donna took of her ring while we were in the Bahamas...

(Click to enlarge)

Monday, September 20, 2010

She Never Saw It Coming

By now some of you may have heard that I popped the question to Donna while we were in Nassau, Bahamas on vacation. The plan was a lot more romantic before the Night of a Thousand Pukers. Since my original plan was spoiled by the rough seas, I decided not to chance waiting until the next evening and asked her as we sat poolside at the Atlantis Resort. Again, not the most romantic proposal in history, but it got the job done and she never saw it coming. To answer the inevitably questions:


1. Yes, she accepted. Jerk.

2. There's no date yet.

3. Donna is not pregnant.

4. I don't know if you'll be invited; we haven't discussed guest lists yet.

5. Yes, there will be an open bar.

Vacation, Happy To Get Away

So Donna, Macy and I are on a late vacation to Disney World in Orlando, with a 4-day cruise to the Caribbean thrown in for good measure. Things got off to a rocky start, what with our departure time and all. See, when I booked the flight I had two choice: 5:00 am or 5:00 pm. I chose pm as the lesser of two evils. The flight itself was actually quite pleasant; the plane to Minneapolis was only about 1/4 full. Normally the flights to the Twin Cities are piloted my guys who wear aviator goggles and long, flowing silk scarves. This time we were on an actual jet and thus the extra room.


The same thing happened on our Minneapolis to Orlando leg; we got to spread out and I only had to punch one old lady in the head for reclining her seat into my lap. Unfortunately, the late start meant we didn't get into Orlando until 11:00 pm local time. By the time our Disney-approved sherpa got us to our hotel it was almost 1:00 am.

Disney is generally a first class operation when it comes to customer service, but I have to tell you; if you take a Disney vacation don't cheap out and stay in the budget resorts. We stayed in the Mighty Ducks building of the All-Star Movie resort, which is a long-winded way of saying "Motel 6". At the time though we didn't care; by now it was almost 2:00 am and we needed sleep.

The next day (Sunday) dawned bright and humid in that inimitable Florida fashion. Soon the general disappointment in our accomodation was forgotten in the grease of a $32 breakfast and the disel exhaust of the giant bus taking us to the docks and our cruise ship. True story: the last time I took a Disney cruise I drank nothing by water, juice and milk for an entire week. Not a single drop of alcohol passed my lips. Another true story: this I lasted about 36 seconds in the welcome buffet line before I looked down and noticed I was holding a Bahama Mama.

Anyway, things were going swimmingly until the sun went down and we noticed that the ship was pitching to and fro like LA waiter to a table of network executives. I have never suffered from motion sickness. Not so for Donna (or my sister-in law). While putting up a brave front, Donna had to excuse herself from dinner (aside, appropos of nothing: I got escargot!) at which point I got her some Dramamine and tucked her into bed. Suffice to say I may never get her on another ship again.

At any rate, tomorrow we are scheduled to wake up in Nassau, Bahamas where we get to spend the day at the Atlantis Resort lying on the beach, playing in a water park, doing some shopping and otherwise not pitching around in random directions like the bridge of the Enterprise circa 1968.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Cell Phones To Get Bigger, Stupider

The National Association of Broadcasters has struck upon a novel way to try and keep themselved relevant in a world of digital music, internet ads, and well, it being the 21st century. No, they aren't working on a business model that would promote internet broadcasting. They've decided to go the lobby-Congress route and push for a mandate that future cellphones support FM radio broadcasts.
Behold!  The cellphone of tomorrow!
There may be an FM radio in your next cell phone whether you want it or not. The National Association of Broadcasters is lobbying Congress to stipulate that FM radio technology be included in future cell phones.
In exchange, the NAB has agreed that member stations would pay about $100 million in so-called performance fees to music labels and artists. Radio stations would be required to pay performance royalties on a tiered schedule with larger commercial stations paying more than smaller and non-profit stations.
The agreement is part of a compromise between the NAB and the Recording Industry Association of America, which will take the deal to legislators mulling changes to the laws that govern the music and radio industries.
Does anyone listen to the radio any more when they aren't in their cars?  And as soon as USB ports come standard in cars I'm taking my mp3 player with me wherever I go.  If this catches on, expect other failing technologies to latch on to this idea.  Cell phones can evolve into the Swiss Army knife of failed tech.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Scenes From The Ballyard

Tuesday night was Microsoft Night at the Redhawks.  Fargo-Moorhead hosts an independent Northern League team that is in the running for the championship pretty much every year.  Former Braves reliever Kerry Ligtenberg pitched in the Northern League before Atlanta signed him.  Legend has it he was once traded for a bag of baseballs and some bats (seriously).

Anyway, it had been awhile since I saw them play so I snagged three tickets and took my best girls out for a night of baseball.  It had rained on and off during the day, but by the time the game started things were looking pretty good.  This was the scene as we walked from the parking lot:

A sign of things to come for the Redhawks
We had some pretty awesome seats (though there aren't any bad ones; even the $1 bleacher seats are right on the field) right behind home plate.  First things first, though.  To the concession stand!

This is one way to enjoy a ballpark dog.

This is a better way.
There now.  All I need is a good beer and, oh right.  Independent league baseball.  Leinenkugel's it is!  Anyway, the weather held off for us and it cooled off considerably after the early rains.  The Redhawks would win the game 13-3 though we didn't see the end; it was almost 10:00 and some people had to work in the morning.  We did manage to squeeze in one last purchase from the stadium vendors before we left though.

Hope all your baby teeth have already come out.
Macy wants to take in another game, so I am going to try to accomodate her, though there are only about three weeks left in the season.  I think I can make it work though.  After all, how can you say no to this?

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

All I Wanted For My Birthday Was Awesomeness Part II: And A Good Morrow To You As Well, My Good Man

As I recounted earlier, Friday night was the time to celebrate my birthday.  My lovely girlfriend Donna treated me to a movie, Inception, which turned out to be good but not great.  That would become a theme for the evening as we moved on to our final destination, the hoity-toity Silver Moon Supper Club.  This is the one fancy-pants place in the area I had not dined at.  It had gotten good reviews from people I know who had eaten there, and as it was the one place I hadn't tried, I said why not.

It is right in the heart of downtown Fargo, which is kinda cool.  The downtown area is in year four of Fargo's 900-year revitalization plan and things are going well so far.  There's still the threat of hobo attack down by the old train station, but that's become pretty rare.  All in all, they're trying so I have to extend some credit where it's due.  But back to the Silver Moon.

This restaurant is billed as "simply the finest dining experience in the world" (or something similar) in its ads.  Needless to say, my expectations were high.  The Silver Moon uses a Chinese restaurant approach to its menu, allowing you to choose one from columns A,B and C for one price, two from each column for another price, or simply pick anything you want from anywhere all willy-nilly at ala carte rates.  Interesting approach and it works fine, I think.

Donna and I like to order different things so we can each try the others' dishes and this was mostly no exception.  I had one fancy kind of salad and she had another; hers was clearly better, and quite good.  I have no idea what it was called.  Mine was a strawberry and lettuce concoction which was fine but nothing too exciting.  So if you go there and want a good salad, ask for the one that isn't the strawberry one.  That will give you a 33% chance of getting the good one, as there were four to choose from.  You could try asking for the one that Donna had that one time, but I don't think we made that much of an impression on the staff during our visit, so, you know, it may not work.

Next we both tried a lobster and crab bisque which some lady in the bar called the chef out from the kitchen to rave about.  I'm not kidding.  When we heard this, Donna and I were all, "we've got to try summa that" and we were poised to get all orgasmy when it hit our pallettes right in the G- and A-spots, respectively.  It was not to be, sadly.  While it was really very good (honestly!) it also more closely resembled a pretty good tomato soup, albeit one with actual fresh basil as a garnish, with a few chunks of seafood for show.  Really good, just not "I simply must extend my personal compliments to the chef" good.  And I've called a chef out of the kitchen to rave about a chili dog before.

Next up were some fish tacos (for Donna) and blackened scallops (for me).  My portion was pretty small, but I can't lie; the scallops were really good and cooked just right.  I have it on good authority from Donna that the fish tacos were good, though I can't personally attest; they were gone before I could ask to sample them.  Happy birthday to me!

Our last course was beef.  I hesitated to order this, but my earlier courses were so seafood heavy I did it any way.  I kind of wish I hadn't.  This is not a knock on the Silver Moon, but I have officially learned my lesson: if you want to eat beef (and pay obscene amounts of money for it) just go to Norman's and be done with it.  There is no slab of beef of which I am aware that can hold a candle to Norman's ribeye.  I've eaten beef everywhere in the area, I've eaten it in the Twin Cities, I've eaten it in South Dakota and I've eaten it in Boston and none of them are as good.  It sounds strange to say that the best steak I can find anywhere is in Fargo, but there it is.

However, with all this said, I haven't spoken of the staff.  We had a couple cocktails at the bar beforehand, and let me tell you that the barkeep there knows how to make a mutha-truckin' old fashioned.  Just really excellent.  Tip-the-bartender-like-money-doesn't-mean-anything-to-you good.  I had a couple more (hey, I wasn't driving) and wow.  Just really excellent.  Go there now and have one.  Then go to Norman's and get a steak.

What took the cake though was our waiter.  Donna described him best, saying he looked like when he leaves work he goes home to the renaissance fairs.  It wasn't the pony tail or the dark eyes, though these things certainly added to the vibe.  It was the way he kept slipping antiquated verbiage into our conversation that cemented the image.  He used words like "mayhap" and "perchance".  He kept calling me "my good sir" and Donna "milady" and "gentle madam".  I briefly contemplated the possibility that those drinks had opened up a wormhole right there in the restaurant and I had been transported to 1629, but discarded it.  They didn't have vinyl seats back then.

All in all, I'd say the the Silver Moon ranks somewhere below the upper echelon of Fargo restaurants, and I'd (sadly) have to rank them below the second tier when you factor in costs.  The food was good -- in some instances very good -- but I can't say the entire meal was worth the price.

All this downerism and negativity may lead you to think I'm crapping all over Donna's efforts to show me a good time on my birthday, but nothing could be further from the truth.  The movie may not have been great, but I really wanted to see it.  The food may not have lived up to expectations, but I absolutely love trying new restaurants, especially when they offer something I haven't seen before.  And really, it's the only place in town where you can 1.) get a first-rate old fashioned and, 2.) get waited on by an actual pre-Enlightenment commoner.

It was a birthday where I got to get dressed up, do what I wanted, experience new things, drink as much as I could and not drive myself home.  It was an incredible evening and I have Donna to thank for it.

All I Wanted For My Birthday Was Awesomeness Part I: For God's Sake, Pick An Ending Christopher Nolan

So Friday night was my night to go and do whatever I wanted.  Since I could stay at home, cook a great meal and drink myself into a stupor while watching a movie, I thought, "why not do all those things somewhere else?"  God, I'm brilliant.  I like getting dressed up.  I don't mean in period costumes -- what I do in the privacy of my bedroom is my own busines; don't judge me -- but rather by putting on a coat and a dress shirt and some good shoes.  I don't have to dress like that for work, very few people like me enough to invite me to weddings, and Death has so far spared pretty much everyone I know.  So once in a while I like to put on some fancy threads and go out on the town.

This explains why Donna and I were dressed to the nines while standing in line to get popcorn at the West Acres cineplex next to the mall at 4:40 pm on an 85-degree afternoon.  We were there to see Inception which radiated all kinds of awesomeness through the TV screen during each and every one of the fourteen million iterations of the trailer.  Everything I read about it was positive.  Everything I heard about it was positive.  And for 2:25 of its 2:30 running time everything I had seen, read and heard was mostly correct.  Then Christopher Nolan went all Captain Ambiguous on me.

Nolan directed and wrote the screenplay for Memento which is a totally awesome mindbending movie that everyone on earth should see.  Inception is a mostly awesome mindbending movie that nearly everyone will enjoy until the ending.

THE NEXT TWO PARAGRAPHS CONTAIN SPOILERS.  IF YOU DON'T WANT TO HAVE THE ENDING RUINED FOR YOU OR HAVE YOUR DESIRE TO SEE THIS MOVIE SUCKED OUT OF YOU STOP READING NOW.

I won't recap the whole thing, as you can read about it here.  Basically, it comes down to Leonardo DiCaprio making it back home to his kids and Michael Caine.  When he walks in the door, he spins his top to see if it falls (long story short, if it falls, he's in the real world.  If it doesn't he's dreaming).  A sense of dread settled about me as the camera panned away from the spinning top to follow Leo to the back door where his kids were entering.  The extended shot was meant to build tension -- would the camera pan back to show a spinning top or one laying gloriously on its side, proving that he was in the real world?  Either one would have been fine.  Despite my penchance for human misery I actually would have preferred that Leo made it back to his kids.  The happy ending here would have seemed right somehow, unlike in most movies where "happily ever after" feels wholly unearned.

I would, however, have accepted the "Leo's dreaming" ending, even if it would have been a bit hackneyed and completely expected.  Instead the dread I felt solidified when the camera moved back to the image of a spinning top that wavered ever so slightly (the top had always spun smoothly in all the dream sequences) once, twice, then... cut to black.  Goddammit.  This was obviously meant to be ambiguous, a chance to let the viewer decide if it was real or not.  I don't know the answer to that, but I do know this: next time pick an ending Nolan.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

I Didn't Come Here To Destroy The Forest

Donna, Macy and I went camping this past weekendat a little resort just south of Itasca State Park called Breeze Campground (past adventures here and here).  If you read the previous posts that I just linked in the parenthetical, you'll quickly realize that something weird always happens -- spider attack, acts of wrath from Greek gods, stabbings -- within the first few minutes of the trip.  This time was no different.  This time it involved death, I'm afraid.

Did anyone feel a bump?
I swear I looked before backing up.  Another sumac was near it, so I assume I got them confused.  Long story short, I killed the tree.  The Jeep was fine; our bicycles cushioned the impact.  Oddly, while the other bikes were unharmed, Macy's, which was farthest from the impact, ended up with a bent rim.  Luckily, Chris (Donna's brother-in-law) always camps with a complete set of tools, so we got it back in working order.

Meanwhile, I completed the chalk outline and informed the office about the arborcide.  One of the office people came down and said she'd have the owners come by, which they did about ten minutes later.  They  noted that sumacs are evil anyway, being a symbol for Satanism in some parts of the Pacific Rim, and thanked me for removing the unholy relic from their campground.  They bade me burn it in everlasting fire but I demurred, not wanting to raise foul shades.

Anyway, tents erected, vehicles unpacked, beers de-capped, we set about building a fire with the world's most flame-retardant wood.  Thirty minutes and an entire bottle of Kingsford lighter fluid later (I'm not kidding) we succeeded.

The next day we (that is, the womenfolk) got to making breakfast.  Our choices were pancakes, doughnuts, fruit, or cereal.  Donna's nephew Cole chose the obvious: hot dogs.

This could have been me about 30 years ago.
I heartily applauded his breakfast acumen and followed suit.  Really, there is no better food on a camping trip than a hot dog.  Although Cole eats his with enough ketchup to cover a sumac, which I cannot do.  Oh well, he will learn.  Especially if he keeps camping with me.

We loaded up the bikes and headed up to Itasca State Park to make use of the biking trails which criss cross the preserve.  It's a beautiful ride with all sorts of interesting stops like log cabins from 1852 and pioneer graves.  There's also a nice balance between sun and shade, which really helped on a day that hit 80 before eleven.  Afterwards we headed back and jumped in the pool which was somehow ice cold.


Carly, Macy and Emily straddling the mighty Mississippi.

That night we cooked steaks which I managed to consume without bloodshed.  After another beer we headed down to the volleyball pit and played our customary game in which the kids get to randomly switch sides and go play on the merry-go-round as their whim dictates.

Sunday Donna, Macy, niece Emily and I headed back to Itasca to go canoeing.  The younder girls expressed their desire to go kayaking next year.  Apparently they don't like the way we drive.  During our trip we were regaled with Christian hymns from a nearby church, watched a procession of apparently high (or maybe jsut stupid) hikers and wondered at the acoustic properties of the lake as a young child, from the safety of his kayak, screamed to his father repeatedly, "Dad! I have to go to the baaaattthhhhrrroooooommm!"

If your dad loved you he would have rented the kayak with the port-a-potty.
All in all it was another great trip, albeit too short.  We are talking about making it a three or four day weekend next year.  I wonder what first-minute catastrophe will befall us in 2011... fire?  Locust plague?  Sudden blindness?  I can't wait to find out!

Would it be camping without chocolate chip pancakes?

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Facing The Wave

Macy and I went to ValleyFair, an amusement park in Minnesota with our friends Kris, Sunny and Bella this weekend, a trip we make every summer.  As usual, a good time was had by all.  This year the weather was especially hot, with temperatures that touched ninety and a lot of humidity.  Luckily, ValleyFair has a ride called the Wave, in which you ride a big boat down a steep hill into water.  Afterwards you walk across a footbridge that affords you the opportunity to soak any bits that might have been missed on the ride itself:




If you want to relive some of our past ValleyFair glory, you can get some firsthand experience here, here, and here, in videos I took on last year's trip.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Meat Orgy

Donna and I were in the Minneapolis area this weekend for Macy's last soccer tournament.  I am still working on the photos and videos from the games, so in the meantime I am going to talk about Fogo de Chao, the restaurant we visited with our friends and hosts Tim and Jenny.

It's a Brazilian place that takes South American cuisine and forces it to marry the idea of a buffet at the point of a shotgun and then jumps in to a three-way with the concept of dim sum, all for the price of a small condo in the south of France.

First, you go through a buffet line full of salads, breads and sundy other distractions like mushrooms and asparagus, caesar salad, cheeses, prosciutto and seventy-nine other things too meat-free to mention.  However, like the chips and salsa at a Mexican joint or the bread sticks at an Olive Garden, these things are meant to distract you from the meat.

Once you finish screwing around with the buffet, it's time for endless Parade of Meat.  Fogo de Chao features fifteen kinds of meat, each of which is brought to your table on skewers and offered as many times as you like by people who probably make six-figures as waitstaff.  You signal your interest in more meat by flipping over a little coaster from red to green.  Green signals your desire for more decadence while red means you need a minute to rest before partaking again.  Come to think of it, that is exactly how whorehouses work in Thailand.

There's sausages and filet mignon, two kinds of lamb, three kinds of chicken, several kinds of pork (including a parmesan-encrusted dish that was incredible) and many variations on good ole cow.  In the end we were impressed with everything; the food, the service, even the wine suggestion was right on the mark.  We shared a dessert that was simply sublime.  Which was good because I wasn't kidding about that French condo thing.

Here are some of the conversations we had (reconstructed from memory):
  • "I think Fogo de Chao is Portugese for 'meat orgy'.  That's what they speak in Brazil, right?  Portugese?"
  • "I want to go to the bathroom but my bladder is clogged with meat."
  • "I wonder if the servers are part of a pecking order defined by which meat they get to present.  Like, if you're carrying the sausage, does that mean you're the new guy?"
  • "I think I'm a vegan now."
  • Server: "Would you like some dessert?  We have a lovely 'chocolate meltdown' with seven kinds of chocolate."
    Me:  "Is there any meat in it?"
Good stuff, to be sure, but the kind of place you can only go to once a year or so.  I take it as a good sign that shoveling that much animal carcass into my gullet made me feel not-so-good for about sixteen hours or so.  I'm pretty sure that a few years ago I would have eaten twice as much and pissed off my digestive tract half as much.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Pardon Me Madam, Your Beaver Is Showing

There's controversy a-brewin' over in Bemidji, Minnesota over some statues commissioned for the city's sculpture walk.  The statues are copies of a form that various artists then painted.  This year's theme apparently revolves around the noble beaver: builder of dams, synonym for lady parts.

One of the beaver statues appeared to some as a little too true to form.  Not in the sense that it looked like a beaver; we're talking about hippie artists here.  No, the thing doesn't look much like the wood-chompin' kind of beaver.  It kinda sorta looks like the other kind.  Judge for yourself (warning: if you are easily offended by artistic depictions of what may or may not be the miraculous apparatus through which woman are able to both pee and eject children, look away...   NOW!)


The artist swears on a stack of vaginas bibles that she had no intention of painting her beaver in such a way as to make it look like a beaver vagina.  The artistic spirit simply overcame her and this is where it led.  Let's be honest: there's no way in hades that the artist finished this piece and said, "well, I'm done, and this in no way resembles lady bits."  It's unfathomable that she showed this to her artist friends, maybe some family member and no one said, "hey, nice beaver, and when I say 'beaver' I mean 'vagina'!"

Which is not to say that I agree with those who argued for the statue's removal.  This isn't exactly hardcore porn.  If anything, the problem stems from the fact that this beaver's beaver is way out of proportion.  I don't know if this is a congenital birth defect (ed: nice pun!  me: heh, thanks) or the result of the first MTF transgender surgery performed on a beaver (the animal) gone horribly wrong.  If so, I would sue the Dr. Nick Riviera clone that screwed this up, but he's probably fled to Cameroon by now.

But if this sort of thing gets the residents of Bemidji up in arms, I would seriously reconsider next year's sculpture walk theme, which is rumored to be Woodcocks: Nature's Cutest Package.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

The Tri-Cities Tournament

Another weekend, another soccer tournament.  Luckily for my body and my truck, this time we're playing in Fargo.  The Tri-Cities Tournament brings together teams from the Fargo-Moorhead area as well as sides from the all over North Dakota and Minnesota.

The first game was 8:00 am Saturday morning, so forget all that sleeping in crap just because it's the weekend.  It was actually a good thing, as we got the game in just ahead of a big thunderstorm.  The opponent was the Red River Soccer Club Strikers, a U-10 team that crushed us 11-0 in the opening day of the Sioux Falls tournament.  Our Pumas played tentative from the start, letting the older girls push them around to the tune of a 6-0 deficit in the first 15 minutes.  I turned to another parent, my assistant coach on the rec team, and said, "they're not pissed off yet.  They need to get pissed off."

Sure enough, they got tired of getting pushed around and started pushing back.  The scoring went 2-2 the rest of the way for a final of 8-2.  If they had come out mad to start the game...

During the game Macy played goalkeeper in the second half and did very well.  The coach wanted her to punt the ball though, which mortified Macy as she didn't know how.  She felt terrible about this.  Seriously.  So we headed back to the field an hour before the second match so I could teach her the basics.  I was pretty stoked that a couple of my girls from the rec team showed up and wanted to learn too.  It's like they see me a coach or something.  Anyway, we got a half-hour of punting practice in and were ready for the game.

Our second match was against a team from I'm not sure where.  I believe they were from the Detroit Lakes, MN area, but don't hold me to that.  Macy started on the forward line, and for once the team came out playing hard and wasn't intimidated.  We led 3-0 at the half and Macy took a nice center from the wing to score a goal.  It was her first tournament goal and she was excited to say the least.  Good times.

She played goal in the second half and wasn't as successful.  She played tight for some reason; she didn't have a lot of get-up-and-go.  She made a ton of saves, but also gave up three goals.  Luckily we also scored in the second half and hung on for a 4-3 win.  I will say her punting was excellent though.

We've got one more game tomorrow, but for now here are some Macy pics:

(This is it -- Macy's first tournament goal!)

More pictures can be seen here.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

What A Difference A Week Makes

All that time I spent throwing balls at Macy's head really paid off.  A nearly identical scenario to the one last week which resulted in Macy seeing little birdies flying around her head happened this weekend during the Wal-Mart Cup in Blaine, Minnesota.  This time though, Macy was ready for it, slapping the ball down with the sort of contemptuous disregard that could only have come from my DNA.  Good thing too, as the girl who struck the ball could kick harder than I could.

Macy played 75 minutes (across three games) in goal this weekend and was only scored on once.  One freaking goal.  I'm so proud of the way she played. More than that though, I'm proud of the way the whole team played.  It was a complete turnaround from last weekend.  The first game didn't go so well and a repeat of Sioux Falls looked inevitable.

Instead, the Pumas won their second game on Saturday.  I wish I had video of the aftermath of our first goal (the first one we've ever scored).  The girls celebrated like they just found out Twilight was real.  They jumped up and down and several of them actually shouted, "our first goal!"

They got used to it though, as they scored five more in a 6-4 win.  Macy played goal the first half of that game.  The score at halftime was 4-0 Pumas.  I told you Macy had a pretty good weekend.  We lost both our Sunday games, but the final scores were 2-0 and 1-0.  After last weekend these seemed like victories.  The 1-0 loss was actually by far their best game.  They had several scoring chances that didn't work out and they played like demons on defense against a team that, had they played a week ago, would have wiped the floor with us.  Some lights are starting to come on for the girls.

Lots of pictures here.  Also, here are some videos from our victory.  I'm proud to say that Kennedy and Emily are from the rec team that I coach.