Category Archives: Toby

Roundball Oracles – Year 16

Congratulations to Micky on winning this years Roundball Oracles Basketball Pool.

His name has not been etched on the list of immortals:


2021 – Micky Augustin
2020 – Tournament Cancelled
2019 – Becky Parmelee
2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

And congratulation, I guess, to Rachel for “winning” this year’s “The Sara” for last place:

Past “The Sara” Winners:

2021 – Rachel Gildersleeve
2020 – Tournament Cancelled
2019 – Russell Kennerly
2018 – Robert Henning
2017 – Shannon Bardole
2016 – Laura Priest
2015 – Derrick Gorshe
2014 – Sara Lockner

Both of your trophies have been ordered.

Here are the final standings:


1. Michael Augustin – 275 points
2. Jorge Rios – 252 points
3. Jordan Toot – 240 points
4. Corey Faust – 233 points
5. Tim Peterson – 229 points
6. Mike G – 228 points
7. Dawn Krause – 216 points
8. Joey Randazzo – 210 points
9. Elizabeth Nordeen – 204 points
10. Kio Dettman – 203 points
11. Humble Narrator – 202 points
12. Angie DeWaard – 202 points
13. Brandon Kahler – 199 points
14. Bill Wentworth – 194 points
15. Toby Sebring – 191 points
16. Carla Stensland – 188 points
17. Andree Jauhari – 187 points
18. Lowell Davis – 184 points
19. Dylan Groves – 179 points
20. Jesse Howard – 177 points
21. Derek Dohrman – 174 points
22. Joseph Duff – 170 points
23. Robert Henning – 168 points
24. Jackson Faust – 167 points
25. Sarah Karber – 151 points
26. Michelle Haupt – 143 points
27. Rachel Gildersleeve – 142 points

Hopefully in 3 or 4 years Iowa State will be good enough to make the tournament again.


This is your reminder that there are two themes to work on this week:


It was apropos that the theme was LOVE the week that we had to say goodbye to Mom. I don’t know anybody that embodied the various definitions of LOVE than my Mom. It is strange that the very next theme is SLICE OF LIFE. SLICE OF LIFE is a theme that was designed to honor my Dad. For those of you that don’t know, my Dad passed away when I was 9 years old. His legacy is a large part of the reason as to why I got into photography. He had started a postcard company called Slice of Life.

Therefore, a SLICE OF LIFE image is an image that looks at your local town and capture an image that could be used as a postcard. His postcards were black and white, if you want to go the extra mile.

The second theme to work on this week:


This theme isn’t very complicated. It is merely a picture of a DRINK or DRINK(S).

Happy photo harvesting!


It is with a heavy heart that I want to start today’s post by honoring my cousin Alan, who suddenly passed away last Monday morning. He was a wonderful person and will definitely be missed. Here is his obituary, so you can get to know him a little bit as well:

Alan Lee Johnson
May 3, 1967 – November 30, 2020

Alan Lee Johnson, age 53, died suddenly on Monday, November 30, 2020 from a massive heart attack.

Alan, the son of Sheryl and Terry Johnson, was born at Boone County Hospital, May 3, 1967, at 8:17 a.m. and weighed 8lbs and 3oz.

He attended Lincoln Elementary School and was baptized at Central Christian Church where he attended Sunday School, participated in choir, Christian Youth Fellowship (CYF), and represented the youth at The Sanctuary Cornerstone Dedication Ceremony. In 1985, he graduated from Boone High School where he was an active member of the Swing Choir, chorale, theatre, and yearbook committee. Post high school he attended one semester at Iowa State University before moving to Los Angeles, California; Ames, Iowa; Jacksonville Beach, Florida; and most recently Des Moines, Iowa where he was employed at Vision for Less.

Alan loved music. He loved singing it, playing it on the piano, dancing to it, listening to it and sharing it with his nephews. Alan also enjoyed listening to the many programs on National Public Radio and reading a wide variety of books. He kept quotes that spoke to him and cherished his books. He enjoyed creating and viewing art with his sister and nephews and attending live musical and theatrical performances. Alan spent many years living two blocks off of the beach in Jacksonville, Florida. He relished the relaxed, unhurried attitude, beautiful scenery, and mild weather. Walking with his best friend David and his dog Humphrey along the beach while collecting sharks’ teeth, was a favorite activity along with piloting the family’s speed boat for his friends and family. Alan’s quick wit, gentle spirit, accepting, loyal and selfless nature made him a friend to all who knew him.

He is preceded in death by his grandparents: Doris and Lyle Paris, Maxine (Peg) and Richard (Dick) Johnson, aunt Charlene Paris, uncles Gerald Bennett and Dean Walter, cousins Olivia and Samuel Bennett.

Alan is lovingly remembered by his parents; Terry and Sheryl (Paris) Johnson; sister Dee Ann (Johnson) Wulbern; brother-in-law Shands Wulbern; nephews Carsten Alan and Andrew Shands Wulbern; closest friend David Henderson; aunts Charlotte Bennett, Delores (Dee) VanDePol, Lori Sebring and Dianna (Annie) Walter; uncles Lyle (Butch) Paris, Gary Paris, Richard VanDePol, Roger Sebring; and many loving cousins.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the family requests no home visits, and a visitation is not planned. Thoughts, prayers and cards will be appreciated, 702 Fremont Street, Boone, IA 50036. A private burial will be held at Linwood Park Cemetery at a later date.

In lieu of flowers the family requests memorials be given to the Boone Food Pantry at IMPACT Community Action Partnership – Boone at 606 Greene Street, Boone, IA 50036.

Special thanks to all of the precious friends, old and new, that have held Alan in their hearts throughout the years.

I live in the same town as most of my cousins (on my Mom’s side of the family). There are a couple spread out in other states, but most live in central Iowa. That being said, it is rare that I see any of them. With the pandemic, I see them even less. Alan is the last cousin I’ve seen in person. That was in May, I think. His parents took over my Grandma’s house and I was over there looking through some of Grandma’s possessions. Alan was there helping point out some of the best stuff or we were laughing at some of her “worst” stuff.

When I heard of his sudden passing, it made me think about the last time all of the cousins were together. It was 2002. At Grandpa’s funeral. Grandma passed away on Christmas Day in 2019. She had a visitation a couple weeks later. Not all of the cousin’s made it back for that, cause there was supposed to be a family burial service on Mother’s Day weekend, where she was to be lain to rest next to Grandpa. That was another thing taken away from us by this pandemic. When the service happened, it was limited to 10 people.

I don’t know that all of my cousin’s would’ve made it back for the funeral, but I like to think they would have.

When I heard the news, I went to a trunk where I had put away some old pictures. In there I found a picture taken on the day of Grandpa’s funeral. The day that would end up being the last day that all of us were together. 18 years ago.

If you are wondering which one in the picture is Alan, he isn’t in the picture. When everybody gathered up on the stage in the Fellowship Hall of the Central Christian Church, he wasn’t there. He had ran home to take some medication (if memory is correct). I don’t know why we couldn’t wait 15 minutes for him to get back to take this picture. My memory doesn’t hold that reasoning.

If I had to take a guess, it was because it was thought that we would be able to get this cousin picture at the next family gathering. A wedding. A family reunion. God forbid, another funeral (and there have been too many in the following 18 years). Somewhere along the way, a picture with Alan in the mix would be taken. It just never happened. That makes me even sadder, that whatever happened on the day of Grandpa’s funeral that caused this picture to be taken without Alan happened.

Since I don’t have a picture of Alan easily available, I lifted this picture off his Facebook page:

It was from near the last day I saw him. He was helping sort Grandma’s attic treasures down to the garage for the family to go through. I’m sure it isn’t the best picture of him out there, but I think his personality and sense of humor really comes through in it.

Rest in peace Alan. You are missed.


62 straight weeks y’all. Sorry, I meant 62 straight weeks all of you! Good to see so many of you have good food in your lives! Also glad to see a submission by a 9, or maybe a 10 year old. Makes me proud to see that THE RANDOM WEEKLY PHOTO CHALLENGE ripples across generations.

But you didn’t come here to listen to me talk all tommyrot about participation rates. You came to see the submissions:

Elizabeth Nordeen

Kim Barker

Kim Barker

Kio Dettman

Christopher D. Bennett

Tamara Peterson

Michelle Haupt

Jesse Howard

Jesse Howard

Shannon Bardole-Foley

Cathie Raley

Katelyn Augustin

Micky Augustin

Mike Vest

But enough dwelling on the past. Time to look to the future. We are all interested in the future, for that is where you and I are going to spend the rest of our lives. And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future! This week’s theme:


FACELESS PORTRAIT! What a great theme! But what is a FACELESS PORTRAIT? A FACELESS PORTRAIT is simply a picture of somebody that doesn’t include their face. It doesn’t even have to include their head. It is also possible to do this theme without including any parts of their body at all. Pictures of objects that are unique to a person can also be a FACELESS PORTRAIT.

Click on a link below to have a look back at all the times in the past that FACELESS PORTRAIT has been a theme:






I look forward to seeing the new interpretations!




The picture has to be taken the week of the theme. This isn’t a curate your pictures challenge. This is a get your butt off the couch (my personal experience) and put your camera in your hands challenge. Don’t send me a picture of you next to the Eiffel Tower, when I know you were in Iowa all week. I will point out that I have let that slide some in the past. I will not in the future. Since it is literally about the only rule.

Your submission needs to be emailed to by 11 AM on the Monday of the challenge due date.


I now allow people to text me their submissions. In the past, I had made exceptions for a couple people that aren’t real computer savvy, even though it was an inconvenience for me and required at least 3 extra steps for me. I am now lifting that embargo because I have a streamline way of uploading photos. I’m not giving out my phone number, but if you have it, you can text me.

It should be pointed out that this blog auto-publishes at 12:01 on Mondays. So it wouldn’t hurt to get your picture in earlier.

That is it, them’s the rules.


Nobody showed class, taste, and sophistication this week by signing up for a Photography 139 email subscription. I’ll try and do better next week.


That’s all I got for today, so if the good Lord’s willin’ and the creek don’t rise, we will commune right here again next Monday. Hopefully it will be a very faceless Monday!

Pride. Integrity. Guts.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those of you that celebrate. I don’t. I’m mostly of Scottish and Welsh stock, so I’ve been trained by the English to hate the Irish and I do. I do hate the Irish. At least I hate the Notre Dame Fighitn’ Irish. They can straight bugger off.

That being said, under normal circumstances, I would make my way to West Street Deli and have the most delicious Reuben in the world. That was before we were in a global pandemic. Also, I think West Street Deli closes during Spring Break anyways.

Another thing that would normally happen tonight would be the beginning of the NCAA Tournament. This year it was cancelled due to fears of over the coronavirus. I one hundred percent support this decision. In situations like we find ourselves in, we should very vigilant. When this is over, nobody will regret being too cautious. That being said, it still makes me a little sad. The NCAA Tournament is by far my favorite sporting event every year. There isn’t a close second. Maybe Championship Week. Followed by bowl games. Followed by about every college football Saturday.

So let me quote a Brandi Carlile song to express a little bit of how I feel about the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament.

Look to the clock on the wall
Hands hardly moving at all
I can’t stand the state that I’m in
Sometimes it feels like the wall’s closing in
Oh, Lord, what can I say?
I’m so sad since you went away
Time, time, ticking on me
Alone is the last place I wanted to be
Lord, what can I say?
Trap all my troubles away
Drown my sorrow the same way
Seems no matter how hard I try
It seems like there’s something just missing inside

However, while I drown my sorrows, it seems I should still honor last years NCAA Tournament and the winners of my annual Roundball Oracles Pool.

You may recall that there are two trophy winners. The winner and then the biggest adult loser. The winner of last year’s Roundball Oracles Pool was Becky Parmelee:

2019 Roundball Oracles Champion
Becky with her Championship Trophy

Then the winner of The Sara Trophy for last place adult was Russell Kennerly:

2019 Roundball Oracles - The Sara
Russell with the Sara.

Last year, 42 people vied to join the List of Immortals with Becky finishing on top. Here are the final standings:

Roundball Oracles – Year 15

1. Becky Parmelee – 281
2. Linda Bennett – 265
3. Michelle Haupt -242
4. Lowell Davis – 242
5. Angie DeWaard – 242
6. Dawn Krause – 239
7. Sean Clubine – 237
8. Paul Golden – 237
9. Rachel Gildersleeve – 237
10. Jason Baier – 236
11. Jesse Howard – 231
12. Michael Augustin – 230
13. Corey Faust – 225
14. Derek Dohrman – 224
15. Shannon Bardole – 224
16. Cathie Raley – 223
17. Jordan Toot – 221
18. Robert Henning – 220
19. Frank Meiners – 219
20. Brandon Kahler – 210
21. Jackson Faust – 209
22. Which Mascot Would Win a Fight – 202
23. Bill Wentworth – 202
24. Ben Baier – 201
25. Derrick Gorshe -201
26. Humble Narrator – 198
27. Elizabeth Nordeen – 196
28. Jason Stensland – 195
29. Olivia Baier – 195
30. Tim Peterson – 193
31 – William McAlpine – 192
32. Jorge Rios – 189
33. Sarah Karber – 189
34. Toby Sebring – 185
35. Joseph Lynch – 181
36. Teresa Kahler – 181
37. Will Baier – 177
38. Jon DeWaard – 173
39. Carrie Baier – 170
40. Laura Miller – 166
41. Sean Gildersleeve – 161
42. Russell Kennerly – 160
43. JJ Baier – 150

The Updated List of Immortals

2019 – Becky Parmelee
2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

A few final thoughts on the end of the college basketball season. This year’s Iowa State men’s team was one of the worst in school history. At least one of the worst in my lifetime. In some ways there is little in the way of hope for next season as Iowa State will (barring a miracle) will lose their best player (Tyrese Halliburton) to the NBA. They only lose 2 seniors in Jacobson and Nixon, but I’m not sure how much talent is returning. Every guy that returns has shown flashes of greatness and then has returned to the mean. Freshman like Tre Jackson had to play way too much before they were remotely ready. The bumps those guys took could pay off next season as at least Tre could take a big jump. Solo is the heart and soul of the team and he could have a big senior season. George Conditt is an NBA talent, but he struggled this season, but if there is anybody on the roster that is able to make a bigger jump than him, I don’t know who it would be. If T-Lew could learn to play just a little bit of defense he could be a big contributor. I’m sure his flex after his dunk against Okie State instead of running back on defense will be a big motivator this offseason. Zion might be the biggest question mark on the roster. His playing time diminished as the season went along, but he still has a huge upside. Bolton is in line to be the best player on next year’s roster, but he has to start playing with more discipline.

There is a great recruiting class coming in with Xavier Foster being one of the biggest recruits in school history. With his silky smooth shot, he could easily fill that stretch 4 role that Jacobson struggled to fill this season. Dudley Blackwell is also a highly regarded recruit that could also contribute immediately. Darlinstone Dubar has an incredible name and frankly that is how I evaluate most recruits. He wasn’t a highly regarded recruit when he signed with Iowa State, but then he shot up the rankings. He has good size. which is something this year’s team lacked. Jaden Walker is another mystery. He isn’t all that highly regarded, but he is built like Tyrese. His rankings are similar to Tyrese. I’m not saying he is the next Tyrese Halliburton, but even the Steve Prohm haters that came out of the woodwork this year would struggle to criticize his record with point guards.

The other big mystery is sit-out transfer Javon Johnson. He is a 6-6 small forward that averaged double digits for Troy. He has a good shot and allegedly had NBA athleticism. But it is a big jump from Troy to what has been the best basketball conference in the country for the last decade. He is a big wild card.

Finally, Iowa State will have at least one scholarship to fill. I’d like to live in the world where Tyrese comes back, but even with his injury, some mock drafts having him going as high as #4 in the draft. That gives at least one scholarship to fill. I imagine Iowa State will try to sign an immediately eligible experience point guard. Bolton can play the point, but he is clearly better as the 2. Otherwise, you are looking at Tre taking over at the point. He didn’t get a ton of time there this season, so it isn’t the best case scenario.

It is also certainly possible that somebody transfers, opening up another scholarship. If that happens, I imagine Iowa State would look at a sit-out transfer (if that is still a thing). Not sure what they would go after there, but my guess is another combo guard.

Now, the Cyclone women had a much better season. They ended their season by defeating #2 Baylor and ending their 58 game Big 12 Conference win streak. Leaving Hilton Coliseum that day was the most joy I have experienced as a Cyclone fan since leaving Jack Trice on November 16 after the Cyclones knocked off Texas with a 36 yard Connor Assalley walk-off field goal.

The women’s had an up and down season, but they were projected to be in the NCAA Tournament as a 9 or 10 seed. They could have improved that seed with a run in the Big 12 Tournament, but to get to the finals, they would have had to beat that same Baylor team in the semi-finals.

Not much was expected out of the Cyclones this year. They had just lost Bridget Carleton, arguably the best player in school history. If she isn’t the best, the only person in the conversation is Angie Welle… for now. They also lost Alexa Middleton, the best point guard Iowa State has had since Allison Lacey. Finally, they lost Meredith Burkhall. Meredith wasn’t a star, but she was a solid post that might have been primed for a big senior season if she hadn’t experience a serious illness the summer before her senior season.

Iowa State’s season could have went south as the roster constantly battled injuries. Iowa State’s second best player Kristin Scott battled a back injury that sidelined her at the beginning and the end of the season. Starting point guard Rae Johnson also missed several games with a bad back. At the end of the year her minutes were being heavily monitored. Madison Wise missed a good chunk of the season due to debilitating migraines. Maddie Frederick was starting to get good minutes when she went down with an injury and only returned for the last few games of the season.

Despite all of that, Iowa State finished 4th in the Big 12 and were playing great basketball at the end of the season. They had the grit that the men lacked. People played out of position. People stepped up. Having Ashley Joens, who will be in the conversation with Welle and Carleton to be the GOAT when her career is over, probably didn’t hurt either.

But what will next year’s team be like? I think we are at the dawn of what could be another golden era for the Cyclone women. I don’t want to say that they could contend for a conference title next year, because.. you know… Baylor, but they could give Baylor a run for their money. Especially with what Baylor loses. But what does Iowa State lose?

Iowa State graduated 4 seniors. All of them were contributors, but none of them put the kind of a dent in the program that Bridget Carleton did.

Probably the biggest loss is Adriana Camber. Down the stretch, she played almost every minute of every game. Her numbers won’t pop out at you. She averaged 6.5 points and 3.8 rebounds a game. But she wassecond on the team with 845 minutes played. She was the consummate glue player. She did whatever the team needed. Usually that meant guarding the best player on the other team. More times than not, she was able to shut them down. She also lead the Cyclones with 48 thees. All of that will be hard to replace, but that is a role that a healthy Madison Wise could slide into. She struggled from 3 this season, but her history suggests she is a better shooter than she showed this season. Camber also struggled with her shot as a junior after all.

The second biggest loss is probably Ines Nezerwa. Ines was a post and probably one of the biggest fan favorites. Ines came to Iowa State very raw and left a little raw. You could see that talent there, but sometimes that meant bad turnovers. Sometimes it meant several minute stretches where she would dominate games. Sometimes it mean she couldn’t stop fouling. But nobody will ever forget the big 3 she drilled in the final minutes against Baylor to give Iowa State the lead. With Kristin Scott having an injury plagued season she came up big for the Cyclones over and over again. Especially when the only other big on the roster was Morgan Kane, who was a very green freshman. The good news is that there are people ready (hopefully to replace Ines). For starters there is 6-5 sit out transfer Lindsey Jarosinski. Plus it is hard to put into words how much Morgan Kane grew this season. At the end she was able to play valuable minutes. I don’t know that she will ever be much of a scorer, but she doesn’t need to be. Finally, Iowa State redshirted Gabby McBride this season. Iowa State will not be so thin in the post next season. Especially if Kristin Scott stays healthy.

The third Cyclones they lose is Jade Thurmon. Jade came up big for the depleted Cyclones late in the season. She was super fast with the ball and was hard to contain off dribble penetration. However, there are plenty of players coming that are coming that can take Jade’s minutes.

The last senior Iowa State loses is Nia Washington. Nia hardly ever played, but she was definitely a team leader. She was the player that gave the last words to the team before they took the floor. As an outsider, it is hard to quantify how much her leadership could be missed.

That is the bad. The good news is that Iowa State returns their (at least) 3 best players. Ashley Joens will be a junior. Kristin Scott will be a senior. Maggie Espenmiller-McGraw will be a sophomore. They will return Rae Johnson, their point guard and sometimes best player. Hopefully Madison Wise is healthy and returns to her freshman form. They add a 6-5 transfer. I’m very intrigued to see how Maddie Frederick develops. She has shown signs. She is somebody who could potentially take that Camber role as well.

While what returns on paper is more than enough to get excited about, we should talk about what is coming in next year. They have the #7 ranked class in the country.

Lexi Donarski from Wisconsin will be only the second McDonald’s All-American (Alexa Middleton) to play for Iowa State. She is the #12 player in the country.

Emily Ryan from Kansas has never lost a high school game. She has been the Kansas Player of the Year multiple times.

Aubrey Joens in Ashley Joens’ sister. Enough said, but she is also the #58 player in the country.

Kylie Feurbach from Illinois is the #77 player in the country.

If you can’t tell, I’m a little bit excited about the women’s team next year. The fact that thee is no NCAA Tournament this year doesn’t help.


I also wanted to share some pictures from my trip to the Iowa State Fair with Nader and Logan:

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

Iowa State Fair - 2019

I still need to crack into flower pictures I took at the Iowa State Fair on this day. I know some of you are looking forward to that!

Roundball Oracles – Year 15 Final Results

6 days ago another college basketball season sadly came to an end. While it was one of the most exciting tournaments in history, it was bittersweet as the Cyclones were eliminated in the 1st Round.

Now anybody that watched Iowa State’s mercurial season knew that there was a good chance that would happen. When I saw they were playing Ohio State, I was 95% that they would lose in the 1st Round. Ohio State was a completely garbage team that didn’t even belong in the tournament. Iowa State struggled all season with garbage teams.

Despite that, I still picked Iowa State to win it all in my bracket because I don’t pick against my rooting interests.

I don’t pick Iowa State to lose.
I don’t pick Duke to win the National Championship.
I don’t pick Michigan State to win the National Championship.
I don’t pick Liberty to win a single game.

When the overtime was over in Minneapolis on Monday night, the Virginia Cavaliers were the National Champions and Becky Parmelee won her first ever Roundball Oracles crown. Russell Kennerly won his first ever The Sara for last place adult.

Becky’s name has been added to the List of Immortals:

2019 – Becky Parmelee
2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

Paul Golden’s iron grip on the throne has been released.

On the other end of the spectrum, Russell Kennerly adds his name to past “The Sara” winners:

The Sara
2019 – Russell Kennerly
2018 – Robert Henning
2017 – Shannon Bardole
2016 – Laura Priest
2015 – Derrick Gorshe
2014 – Sara Lockner

The trophies will be in their possession shortly.

Here are the final standings:

1 Becky Perky 281 45 281 45 Virginia (112)
2 Linda Bennett 265 45 265 45 Virginia (93)
3 Michelle Haupt 242 40 242 40 Gonzaga (150)
4 Lowell Davis 242 45 242 45 Duke (148)
5 Angie DeWaard 242 41 242 41 Virginia (183)
6 Dawn Krause 239 42 239 42 N. Carolina (146)
7 Sean Clubine 237 44 237 44 Duke (152)
8 Paul Golden 237 43 237 43 Duke (135)
9 Rachel Gildersleeve 237 42 237 42 Iowa St. (125)
10 Jason Baier 236 41 236 41 Duke (159)
11 Jesse Howard 231 42 231 42 Duke (143)
12 Michael Augustin 230 43 230 43 Gonzaga (165)
13 Corey Faust 225 39 225 39 Duke (153)
14 Derek Dohrman 224 43 224 43 Duke (160)
15 Shannon Bardole 224 39 224 39 Gonzaga (138)
16 Cathie Raley 223 41 223 41 Duke (137)
17 Jordan Toot 221 40 221 40 N. Carolina (128)
18 Robert Henning 220 39 220 39 Duke (150)
19 FHMeiners 219 42 219 42 Duke (182)
20 Brandon Kahler 210 40 210 40 Duke (125)
21 Jackson Faust 209 38 209 38 Kentucky (126)
22 Which Mascot Would Win in a Fight 202 34 202 34 Iowa St. (150)
23 Bill Wentworth 202 40 202 40 Duke (105)
24 Ben Baier 201 36 201 36 Iowa St. (173)
25 Derrick Gorshe 201 38 201 38 Duke (128)
26 Christopher Bennett 198 40 198 40 Iowa St. (158)
27 Elizabeth Nordeen 196 41 196 41 Iowa St. (149)
28 Jason Stensland 195 39 195 39 N. Carolina (167)
29 Olivia Baier 195 32 195 32 Yale (155)
30 tim peterson 193 39 193 39 Duke (160)
31 William McAlpine 192 36 192 36 N. Carolina (165)
32 Jorge Rios 189 36 189 36 Iowa St. (150)
33 Sarah Duffel 189 34 189 34 Michigan St. (112)
34 Toby Sebring 185 36 185 36 Duke (144)
35 Joseph Lynch 181 38 181 38 Iowa St. (167)
36 Teresa Kahler 181 35 181 35 Iowa St. (124)
37 Will Baier 177 33 177 33 Duke (164)
38 Jon DeWaard 173 36 173 36 Duke (148)
39 Carrie Baier 170 34 170 34 Michigan St. (177)
40 Laura Priest 166 36 166 36 N. Carolina (155)
41 Sean Gildersleeve 161 31 161 31 Iowa St. (125)
42 Russell Kennerly 160 34 160 34 Villanova (145)
43 JJ Baier 150 25 150 25 Seton Hall (181)

If you are wondering, JJ Baier is 7 years old and isn’t eligible for “The Sara”.

Now that is behind us, it isn’t too early to start looking at what kind of team Iowa State will have next year.

Next year could be a potential step back for the Cyclones. They lose 3 seniors, including their starting point guard in Babb and leading scorer in Shayok. They are also losing Wigginton and THT to the NBA. Talented post Lard has also left the team and intends to transfer.

Iowa State has currently signed 3 players for the upcoming class. Currently, none of the freshman they have signed are highly ranked, but they all have the potential to be solid contributors. 2 in particular will be interesting to watch.

Marcedus Leech is perhaps the most intriguing. He was formerly a 5 star guy and one of the most recruited players in the country. 2 years ago he had a gruesome leg injury similar to the one Paul George suffered. Almost every school backed off, except Iowa State. Leech rewarded the Cyclones for their loyalty. If he gets back to what he was, he will be the steal of the recruiting class.

Tre Jackson is another interesting player. He was under recruited and didn’t really get many major offers until last summer. He is a shooter and a good athlete that recently dominated the Carolinas Classic by scoring 38 points and hitting eight 3 pointers. With so many guards leaving, Jackson will have a shot at getting some playing time.

Luke Anderson is the final commit. He will be a stretch 4 or 5. Even with the loss of Lard, Iowa State is still fairly stocked in the post with Jacobson and Conditt playing big roles this season and with Solomon Young coming back from an injury that sidelined him for a year and a half. That will give Anderson time to add some bulk to his body.

Another newcomer that I anticipate starting for the Cyclones next season is Prentiss Nixon. He sat out last season after transferring from Colorado State. The 6-2 point guard averaged over 16 points a game with the Rams. I anticipate he will be the starting point guard. He might not have Babb’s overall game, but he will be more of a scoring threat from the point.

Adding proven college players in Nixon and Young back to a returning nucleus of Halliburton, Jacobson, and Conditt, the Cyclones will still be pretty decent next season. How good they can be will depend on what a couple players buried on the bench last season are able to bring. Both Zion Griffin and Terrence Lewis were highly regarded coming out of high school. Zion was slowed at the beginning of last season with an injury and never really broke into the rotation. Lewis showed flashes, but got buried on the bench after Lard and Wigginton returned from injuries and suspension. Both could take great leaps next season if they can show some consistency. The potential is there.

The other unknown variable for next season is Iowa State currently has 3 scholarships open for next season.

I expect Iowa State to add 1 more freshman. Possibly Caleb Grill from Wichita. 1 sit out transfer. 1 graduate transfer.

Another possibility would be to leave one of those scholarships open for the 2020 class. As it sits now, Iowa State will only have 2 seniors on next year’s squad in Nixon and Jacobson.

The 2020 class is loaded and Iowa State is sitting in a good spot with a few very highly regarded recruits in Xavier Foster, Dudley Blackwell, and Ben Carlson.

Either way, I can’t wait for college basketball season to start again.

Roundball Oracles – Year 14

I hurt myself today
To see if I still feel
I focus on the pain
The only thing that’s real
The needle tears a hole
The old familiar sting
Try to kill it all away
But I remember everything
What have I become
My sweetest friend
Everyone I know
Goes away in the end
And you could have it all
My empire of dirt
I will let you down
I will make you hurt
I wear this crown of thorns
Upon my liars chair
Full of broken thoughts
I cannot repair
Beneath the stains of time
The feelings disappear
You are someone else
I am still right here

It is done. College basketball is over for another season.

In 11 days Iowa State football will hold their Spring Game. After that, the only sports worth watching until college football kicks off in 5 months is the NBA Playoffs. I’m not sure what I’ll do with my spare time. Maybe I’ll clean my house. Now I’m really depressed.

Who isn’t depressed?

Paul Golden, that is who! For the second straight year, he is cutting down the nets for the Roundball Oracles. His name had been added to the List of Immortals:

The List of Immortals

2018 – Paul Golden
2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

One more trophy and he will tie Willy and Mark for the most crowns ever!

I held onto Paul’s trophy from last year, when in became apparent he might win again, so I don’t have a picture of Paul with his trophy yet. But when I do, I’ll share it here.

I do however have a picture of last year’s The Sara winner:

Shannon with her
Shannon with The Sara

However, Shannon did not have the guts to come back and defend her The Sara Title. Therefore, there is a new The Sara “Winner” this year.

“Congrats” to Robert Henning for being the last place adult, that tried to win. I have went over his bracket with a fine tooth comb and even though he picked Kansas to win it all, it would seem he was trying to win in good faith. He joins the List of Mortals:

The List of Mortals

2018 – Robert Henning
2017 – Shannon Bardole
2016 – Laura Priest
2015 – Derrick Gorshe
2015 – Sara Lockner

There were 35 entrants this year. A slight dip from past years, but that was to be expected with the lack of any local teams in the tournament. Most of us adopted Loyola as our team, since they were powered by former Cyclone Clayton Custer.

However, it was a clean, close competition. Michigan’s defeat of Loyola in the Final Four left it down to just Rachel and Paul battling it out for the trophy. Villanova’s complete shellacking of Kansas gave Paul the repeat.

But you didn’t come here to listen to any of that tommyrot. You want to see the final standings:

1 Paul Golden 248
2 Dawn Krause 243
3 Yours Truly 243
4 tim peterson 232
5 Michelle Haupt 232
6 Nate Miller 230
7 Jordan Toot 224
8 Corey Faust 223
9 Angie DeWaard 221
10 Rachel Johnson 219
11 Lowell Davis 215
12 Benjamin Baier 213
13 Derek Dohrman 205
14 Cathie Raley 204
15 Bill Wentworth 200
16 Sean G. 198
17 Linda Bennett 195
18 Jesse Howard 195
19 Olivia Baier 188
20 Toby Sebring 185
21 Russ Kennerly 184
22 Jackson Faust 182
23 Sean Clubine 173
24 Jason Baier 173
25 Micky Augustin 167
26 Brandon Kahler 166
27 Nader Parsaei 166
28 Andree Jauhari 165
29 Liz Nordeen 165
30 Carrie Baier 162
31 Laura Priest 158
32 FHMeiners 156
33 Becky Perky 152
34 Will Baier 148
35 Robert Henning 141

The good news is that next year is that the state of Iowa won’t be shutout of the NCAA Tournament. If nothing else, the first two “real” rounds will be held in Des Moines. Plus Iowa has a lot of young talent that will be back next year. Admittedly, they still have the same sub-par coach, but they should be good enough to go dancing for a short while.

Iowa State on the other hand will be one of the most interesting teams in the country. This year’s team was very young and was decimated by injuries. The only major loss from last year’s team is Donovan Jackson, which Kansas fans know, is a major loss. However, assuming Lindell Wigginton comes back (and almost everybody assumes he will), they return a future first round pick in Wigginton and fellow freshman stud Cam Lard. Plus you bring Babb and Solomon back from injuries. Bring back a big time contributor down the stretch in Zoran Talley. A much improved Terrence Lewis will fight for playing time with super impact transfer Marial Shayok and impact transfer Michael Jacobson. Then add stud freshman Talen Horton-Tucker to the mix. One guy you don’t want to sleep on is Zion Griffin. Plus they are adding Tyrese Halliburton and George Conditt. I don’t expect those 2 to contribute next year, but they will be huge in the coming years.

This will be the most talented roster since Iowa State had 5 NBA players on the roster a few years back. That team lost in the first round of the tourney. I expect much bigger things from the Cyclones next year. The future is bright in the Cyclone State!

Roundball Oracles – Year 14

It is once again time for the Roundball Oracles NCAA Tournament Pool.

I want to start by saying that Paul and Shannon, your trophies for last years accomplishment and “accomplishment” are on order. They will be in your possession by the end of next week.

Here is the proof that I ordered the trophies:

The pool is your pretty standard pool. Pick the games. Pick the final score of the championship game. Win a trophy. This year, I’ll deliver on the trophy much earlier.

The pool doesn’t cost anything, but pride, but the winner gets a trophy and the last place adult (that tried) gets The Sara Trophy.

Here is a list of past champions.

The List of Immortals:

2017 – Paul Golden
2016 – Michelle Haupt
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2013 – William McAlpine
2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

Last year 38 people took their shot at mortality. Paul Golden came home the winner. Shannon Bardole came home with The Sara.

Last Year’s Standings:

1 Paul Golden 260
2 Frank Meiners 252
3 Angie DeWaard 247
4 Michelle Haupt 242
5 shawn lockner 238
6 Jen Ensley-Gorshe 231
7 Jorge Rios 231
8 Andree Jauhari 226
9 tim peterson 226
10 Jordan Toot 225
11 Carrie Baier 225
12 Toby Sebring 224
13 Lowell Davis 222
14 JJ Baier 221
15 Logan Kahler 220
16 Jason Baier 218
17 Dae Hee Yoon 213
18 Jackson Faust 211
19 Dawn Krause 209
20 Jon DeWaard 208
21 Nader Parsaei 204
22 Derek Dohrman 203
23 William Baier 202
24 Robert Henning 194
25 Christopher Bennett
26 Bill Wentworth 193
27 Rachel Johnson 192 36
28 Russell Kennerly 190
29 Nate Miller 189
30 Michael Augustin
31 Derrick Gorshe 181
32 Elizabeth Nordeen 164
33 Laura Priest 162
34 Corey Faust 160
35 Jill Gorshe 152
36 Shannon Bardole 149
37 Olivia Baier 143
38 Benjamin Baier 121

If you are interested in participating this year, drop me an email and I’ll get you hooked up.

If this post seems kind of low energy, don’t worry, Iowa State and my passion for the tournament will be back again next year!


I recently presented The Trophy for winning the 12th year of the Roundball Oracles to this year’s champion… Michelle Haupt

It was an exciting NCAA Tournament and an equally exciting Roundball Oracles NCAA Tournament Pool. If North Carolina would’ve won the NCAA Championship Game, Sara Lockner would’ve come home with the trophy this year. Alas, it wasn’t meant to be. Congratulations Michelle! May your reign be short.

Roundball Oracles - Year 12 Champion - Michelle Haupt
Michelle Haupt – Newest Immortal (Pictured with Lily)
Past Roundball Oracles Champions (The List of Immortals)

2005 – William McAlpine
2006 – William McAlpine
2007 – Tim Peterson
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2011 – Carrie Baier
2012 – Lowell Davis
2013 – William McAlpine
2014 – Brandon Kahler
2015 – Derek Dohrman
2016 – Michelle Haupt

Here be the final standings.
1.  Michelle Haupt –  275
2.  Sean Clubine –  270
3.  sara lockner – 259
4. Yours Truly 255
5. Micky Augustin 245
6.  Angie DeWaard 241
7.  Jackson Faust 241
8.  Derek Dohrman 237
9.  Frank Meiners 233
10.  Toby Sebring 230
11,  Lowell Davis 230
12,  Mark Wolfram 228
13.  Jason Baier 227
14,  Corey Faust 221
15,  Paul Golden 220
16,  Wily McAlpine 218
17, Jordan Toot 217
18.  Jesse Howard 216
19.  Shannon Bardole 215
20.  Benjamin Baier 214
21.  Liz Nordeen 214
21. Jill Gorshe 214
23 . Jon DeWaard 207
24. JJ Baier 204
25.  Dawn Krause 203
26.  Nader Parsaei 202
27,  Brandon Kahler 201
28.  Carrie Baier 197
29.  Jorge Rios 197
30.  shawn lockner 194
31.  Jen Gorshe 193
32.  Derrick Gorshe 193
33.  Andree Jauhari 193
34.  tim peterson 192
35.  Bill Wentworth 183
36.  Olivia Baier 180
37.  Russ Kennerly 180
38.  Carla Stensland 175
39.  William Baier 170
40.  Rachel Johnson 167
41.  Robert Henning 162
42.  Joe Lynch 156
43.  Laura Priest 152

Laura (Miller) Priest won the 3rd Annual “The Sara” for last place adult that tried. Joining the trophy’s namesake Sara Lockner and Derrick Gorshe as past winners. I don’t have a picture of Laura with her new trophy yet, but I will as soon as I get “The Sara” in the mail, it arrives in Manhattan, and she sends me a picture with her new pride and joy.

Roundball Oracles – Year 9

March Madness is upon us once again. Which means it is that time of year when I call upon all would-be-basketball-prognosticators to compete in an NCAA tourney bracket pool for the chance at everlasting glory, immortality, and a trophy.

As always, the Roundball Oracles is open to all interested parties, and yes to even uninterested parties as well. Regardless of basketball knowledge or basketball ignorance. Heck, I might even let my dog enter this year. After all, there is a tremendous amount of luck involved in this competition, so there is no reason for you to be intimidated by how well versed I am in the motion offense. You should only be intimidated by me on an actual basketball court. Even though I’ve admittedly lost a step, but I’m spending the offseason getting that step back, but that is an entirely different story…

As always, there is no entrance fee, but pride and my research indicates that pride is a low calorie snack, so swallow it and get in the game.

The champion will be given a trophy. I would normally at this time insert a picture of last year’s champion hoisting last year’s trophy, but I admittedly, still owe him a trophy.

Last year we had a record 29 prognosticators (as of this writing, 9 people have already signed up). I don’t think it would be too crazy to hope to break that record this year.

2012 Final Standings

1. Lowell Davis
2. Corey Faust
3. Jason Baier
4. Angie DeWaard
5. Robert Henning
6. William McAlpine
7. Mark Wolfram
8. Jason Stensland
9. Dawn Krause
10. Jesse Howard
11. Jon DeWaard
12. Derrick Gorshe
13. Nader Parsaei
14. Jackson Faust
15. Bill Wentworth
16. Tim Peterson
17. Mike Donner
18. Jen Ensley-Gorshe
19. Michael Augustin
20. Carrie Baier
21. Shawn Lockner
22. Russell Kennerly
23. Shaun Kirsch
24. Teresa Kahler
25. Your Humble Narrator
26. Toby Sebring
27. Brandon Kahler
28. Jordan Toot
29. Becky Perkovich

Lowell was able to chisel his place amongst the other basketball immortals that have managed to hoist the Roundball Oracles Trophy.*

Past Roundball Oracles Champions

2012 – Lowell Davis
2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

So the metaphorical ball is now in your court. There are no guidelines for participation. This contest is open to all competitors: men, women, small children and the elderly.

If you are interested and I need the information, you know how to contact me!

Oh… the deadline for filling out your bracket is tip-off of the first game on Thursday morning.

*Technically he has yet to hoist the trophy.

Sadness Ensues

It is the time of year that is filled with sadness. Another college basketball season has come to an end. But despite the gloom that will set upon the land for many more months, it is a time of joy as well. We get to crown a new King of the Roundball Oracles. A new name goes on the plaque of immortals with these past champions:

Roundball Oracles Past Champions.

2011 – Carrie Baier
2010 – Mark Wolfram
2009 – Mark Wolfram
2008 – Mark Wolfram
2007 – Tim Peterson
2006 – William McAlpine
2005 – William McAlpine

The latest immortal is…

Lowell Davis

In the closes Roundball Oracle competition ever, Lowell beat Corey Faust on the tiebreaker.

I will be ordering Lowell’s trophy soon and will be presenting it to him in the very near future. I’m sure there will be photographic evidence to back this up presented in this forum in due time.

Another reason why it was a good year for the Roundball Oracles is that we set a new record with 29 combatants. Shattering the previous participation mark by several people.

Without further adieu, here are the final standings of the 8th Roundball Oracles Challenge:

Rank/Name/Points/National Title Choice/Last Year’s Finish

1. Lowell Davis – 275 – Kentucky – 13th
2. Corey Faust – 275 – Kentucky – 6th
3. Jason Baier – 265 – Kentucky – 5th
4. Angie DeWaard – 255 – Kentucky – DNP
5. Robert Henning – 245 – Kentucky – 8th
6. William McAlpine – 236 – Kentucky – DNP
7. Mark Wolfram – 235 – Ohio State – 15th
8. Jason Stensland – 229 – Ohio State – DNP
9. Dawn Krause – 228 – Kentucky – 4th
10. Jesse Howard – 225 – Kentucky – 2nd
11. Jon DeWaard – 222 – Kentucky – DNP
12. Derrick Gorshe – 220 – Kentucky – DNP
13. Nader Parsaei – 216 – Connecticut – 14th
14. Jackson Faust – 214 – Michigan State – DNP
15. Bill Wentworth – 211 – North Carolina – DNP
16. Tim Peterson – 209 – Kansas – 11th
17. Mike Donner – 206 – Michigan State – DNP
18. Jen Ensley-Gorshe – 199 – North Carolina – DNP
19. Michael Augustin – 196 – North Carolina – DNP
20. Carrie Baier – 194 – Michigan State – 1st
21. Shawn Lockner – 189 – Baylor – DNP
22. Russell Kennerly – 176 – North Carolina – 9th
23. Shaun Kirsch – 175 – Iowa State – 16th
24. Teresa Kahler – 173 – Iowa State – DNP
25. Yours Truly – 164 – North Carolina – 7th
26. Toby Sebring – 157 – North Carolina – DNP
27. Brandon Kahler – 142 – Kansas State – DNP
28. Jordan Toot – 119 – North Carolina – DNP
29. Becky Perkovich – 0 – Undecided – DNP

Some people might think that I need to explain why somebody with my nearly infinite basketball knowledge could have fared so poorly, but I will not defend my lowly ranking. Truth is that my goal is just to beat Russell and the fact that I didn’t this year means that I will have to try harder next year. I cannot let RMK get the best of me two years in a row!

Even though the dust has barely settled on this year’s NCAA tournament, I am already very excited for next year’s season. I think that the Cyclones will be even better next season and I can’t wait to see them prove me right. I guess until the season begins anew, I will look forward to the Spring Football Game that is only days away!

Vacation Journal

Here is a copy of the journal I kept while I was on vacation last week.  It covers parts of 10 days and over 1300 miles.  While I doubt anybody reads this whole thing, it was an important exercise for me.

There are no pictures, but I will post some pictures from my vacation at some point in the futre.

17:33 – Put up my hard hat.  Clocked out. Left the Computer Mine.  Vacation officially started.
17:53 – Check mail.  Brandi Carlile tickets have not arrived.
18:45 – “Cleaned” living room for the arrival of the Gorshes.  Sat on Clockwork Couch. Fell asleep.
19:15 – Gorshes arrive.  Order Casey’s Taco and Hot Sausage pizza.
19:16 – Realize my house is not really clean enough for Evie.  I hate it when my Mom is right.
20:00 – While enjoying Casey’s pizza, determine that Evie enjoys Miles Davis. Not such a fan of live Led Zeppelin.
21:00 – Finish the 6/6 Gorshes Photo Project.
21:45 – Evie makes an incredibly loud sound.
23:57 – Bid the Gorshes a fond adieu and sleep the good sleep.

8:45 – Wake up in time to watch Game Day. Might be the last time I get to watch Game Day for a few weeks.  This saddens me.
10:58 – Lee Corso picks Wisconsin to beat Ohio State.
11:47 – Mail arrives.  Assorted bills and political advertisements. No Brandi Carlile tickets.
11:48 – Call UNI ticket office to ask: “What the Hades?”  I am told that for some reason they just decided to never mail me the tickets.  But they will be waiting for me at the Will Call Window.  “Thanks UNI Ticket Office”. This statement is a mixture of sarcasm and gratitude.  About 60% sarcasm.  40% gratitude.
12:47 – Clean out Foster Bunny’s cage and let him roam the back porch while I clean the back porch.
14:48 – Clean the fridge.  After the “Great Cleansing” the follow items remain in my fridge.  8 different types of jelly, 5 different types of salsa, 3 different types of barbecue sauce, 3 different types of pickles, 3 different types of mustard, 3 different types of root beers, about 24 cans of pop (7 different varieties),  6 bottles of bottled water ( 2 different varieties), 10 slices of processed American cheese, 1 jar of Miracle Whip, 1 jar of pickled beets that I bought due to a miscommunication with Derrick, 1 tub of butter, 3 sticks of margarine and a bag of baby carrots.
16:35 – Meet Sara in the Computer Mine Parking lot for trip to Cedar Falls for Brandi Carlile concert.
17:45 – Stop in Wellsburg, Iowa to try the award winning tenderloin of the Town House Supper Club. When we can’t find the restaurant we stop at the local Casey’s.  They have scorpions in shadow boxes for sale as “art”.  Kid behind cash register tells me that that the Town House Supper Club is closed for remodeling.  I thought I was only cursed by old timey ice cream parlors. I am not pleased. Sara buys me a Fig Newton to assuage my pain.
18:30 – We arrive on “The Hill”. I had contacted my Cedar Falls “expert” earlier in the week to find out a restaurant to eat at besides Sub City.  The response came back: “There are other restaurants in Cedar Falls?”  But what I heard was “I’ve criticized my parents for not wanting to try new restaurants, but perhaps that was hypocrisy.”  We try Great Wall Chinese Restaurant. This experience is similar to when Jill and I ate at Jade 88 back in February.  We are the only people in the restaurant.  The food is tasty though.  Not to the level of Chinese Homestyle Cooking, but not bad. They have cool fish lamps on their walls. I don’t feel that Sara appreciates them at an appropriate level.
19:20 – We arrive at Gallagher-Bluedorn.  It is not what I’m expecting.  Although the auditorium itself is beautiful, it is “designed” to make it as extremely difficult as possible to find your seats. After picking up tickets at Will Call, we approach Volunteer #1 looking for assistance.  She tells us that we have to go up the elevator.  Volunteer #2 walks us to the elevator.  After getting off the elevator we hand our tickets to Volunteers #3 and #4 that are standing right outside the elevator. They tell us to go to Door 5.  Door 5 is 10 feet away.  We walk the 10 feet and give our tickets to Volunteers #5 and #6 that are standing outside of Door 5. They tell us to go into Door 5. Inside Door 5 Volunteer #7 points out our seats.  There are two of us. There is 1 open seat. We point this out to him. He tells us that they will “make room”.  We get near “our” seats. People have made room.  We sit down.  Sara notes that the height of the wall that prevents you from falling 150 feet to your death is about 2 feet tall.
19:30 – Opening act Pieta Brown takes the stage.  She plays about 5 songs.  She isn’t bad.
20:15 – Brandi Carlile and her band take the stage.  They play a set without the Cedar Falls-Waterloo Symphony.  It is amazing.
20:45 – Volunteer #8 approaches me and asks to see our tickets.  I give them to him.  He tells me that these aren’t our seats and points in kind of a general direction of where we are supposed to be sitting. He is not friendly or jovial.
20:47 – We give our tickets to Volunteer #9 who points out our seats to us.  They aren’t really seats.  They are more like chairs that overlook the two foot wall.  I actually love this because it means legroom!
20:52 – There are only two other people sitting in this “section”, so rather than sitting in our assigned chairs, we sit next to them and strike up a conversation.  Volunteer #9 doesn’t seem pleased about this, but she doesn’t do anything about it. I ask them: besides Sub City, where is a good place to eat in Cedar Falls? She recommends Beck’s or Pablo’s. An exact quote from the lady: “There is more to Cedar Falls than Sub City.” I feel I should text this to my Cedar Falls expert, but I fear she might drive up to Cedar Falls and slap this poor lady.  Decide I will tell her about this swipe at Sub City in an indirect passive aggressive manner.  Hi Shannon! While Sara goes out to the hallway to drink a Diet Pepsi I learn that the male in this couple moved from California for the female in the couple. He is “looking forward” to his first Iowa Winter.  My Aunt Sherrie would think he moved here because he had “no options”.  The less cynical side of me would ask “are there options to love”?
21:00 – Brandi Carlile comes back on stage and kills it in the 2nd set.  I had thought maybe it was foolish for me to go see Brandi Carlile for a 3rd time this year.  But all told, I spent about $100 dollars on 3 shows. I will find out later in the week that there are people willing to spend quite a bit more than 100 smackers to see just 1 show.  So maybe I am cheap.  Brandi plays many of her best songs: “Dreams”, “The Story”, “Oh Dear”, “Closer to You” and “Turpentine” to name just a few. But perhaps the highlights of this show for me were two covers I’ve never heard her play before. I’ve always felt that her voice is reminiscent of Patsy Cline, but I’ve never heard her play a Patsy Cline song.  She played “Crazy” and nailed it!  Near the end of her set she played a cover of Lenard Cohen’s “Hallelujah”.  With the beauty of her voice and the majesty of the backing symphony orchestra, I’m not ashamed to say that I got goosebumps.
22:00 – After the show, (Brandi included her traditional Johnny Cash cover of “Folsom Prison Blues” in her encore) Sara tells me “I want to be Brandi Carlile.”  She did this with an inflection that only Sara can do that makes you think that it actually might be a possibility.

8:50 – I’m surprisingly up for Church, despite the lateness of the previous evening, when Mom arrives to pick me up.
9:40 – Andrea gives an awesome (truly awe inspiring) sermon about superheroes and how the greatest superhero the world has and ever will see is a Christian.  At the end of the sermon Andrea and Phil take off their robes to reveal that they are wearing Batman shirts underneath. I have a sinking suspicion that they didn’t have to go out and buy those shirts special for this sermon.
10:05 – The combined choirs of 4 churches perform a song to conclude our worship service. I’m disappointed to see that my Grandma isn’t in the choir, but excited to see a choir with lots of men in it.  Our church choir is a little light on the men.  Of course that is partially my fault for keeping my angelic voice under wraps.

10:15 – Josh tells me that Wesley’s hair color must have come from the Schwan’s man.  I assure him that I was born with red hair.  Then the red went away.  Then the hair went away. Mom tells him the story about how my Grandma (Paternal) knew I would be born with red hair because I “visited her in a dream” before I was born.  I’ve always doubted the veracity of this tale because I don’t remember visiting anybody before I was born.  However, Josh thinks it is a great story.  I am reminded that I should really make an extra effort to make it to Taize Worship next November.

13:00 – Angie, Jon and Alice arrive for Alice’s 3 month photo shoot.  I don’t really know how to take baby pictures, but Angie has ideas.  I give them a tour of the house that consists mostly of the phrase: “This room is too dirty to go into…” and “someday this will be different”.  Alice photography goes seemingly well.
17:30 – Meet the Howards near a private pond for the Howard family photo shoot.  The light wanes quickly and Jesse limping around on his crutches doesn’t help the speed of the event, but I think good work is accomplished.
19:30 – I show up at the Howards for supper.  Kelly makes a very good Shepherd’s Pie.  We watch the Phillies-Giants game.
21:00 – Willy shows up because he is a social butterfly and needs to be around other people.
21:30 – I realize that I was supposed to go to the Mehtodist Men Steak Fry tonight. Whoops!

9:00 – I wake up with one goal: to stay in my pajamas as long as is humanly possible.
10:00 – I thaw out hamburger to make Hamburger Helper.  I have friends who look down their long noses of judgment at me because I occasionally eat Hamburger Helper.  I don’t have the ambition to cook anything better on this day.
11:00 – I think about cleaning my living room.
11:03 – I email my weekly picks to Andree, Russell and Baier.  Upset: Baylor over Kansas State Lock: Oklahoma over Missouri.
12:00 – I realize I don’t have any milk to make my Cheesy Enchilada Hamburger Helper.  If I go to the store I would have to put on nonsleeping attire. I go down to my Mom’s to borrow milk. Instead, she makes me homemade chicken noodles.
13:23 – I think about cleaning my living room.
16:30 – I dust some stuff.
16:42 – I put the hamburger away. I’ll make Hamburger Helper later this week.
18:00 – Show up at my Mom’s for supper.
20:15 – I put on real clothes and leave for the bowling alley.
22:47 – The Patio Pros enter the night in first place, but get handled by C&B Drywall 18-6. I personally have a decent night.  Winning 3 out of 4 personal points, but it isn’t enough.

8:30 – Depart for Kalona with Mom.
10:45 – Buy Buttermilk Cookies at the Bakery.  I love these cookies. I refrain from buying any more jelly.  I have 8 jars at home in the fridge.
11:02 – Community Store is closed on Tuesdays.
11:11 – Stringtown Grocery Store is closed on Tuesdays.
11:17 – Jackpot! Cheese factory is open.  I buy two pounds of cheese curds, in case any friends drop by the rest of the week.  I also buy, Smoked Swiss, 2 Year Old Cheddar and Chocolate Cheese. I need to buy some crackers when I get a chance.
12:17 – Mom wants to go by Riverside Casino to see what it looks like. I take her to the Future Birthplace of Captain James T. Kirk.  I text a picture to a few people to let them know that this guy doesn’t waste his vacation time.
13:15 – Don’t find the casino, but decide to go to Iowa City to eat at Steak’n’Shake for lunch. This is despite the fact that both Sara and Jesse have tried to shoot down my dreams of eating at a Steak’n’Shake in the past.

13:37 – Turns out I don’t know where the Steak’n’Shake in Iowa City is located even though I KNOW I’ve driven by it many a time. Aimlessly driving around Iowa City.
13:47 – Call Sara for directions. She doesn’t answer.  Call Toby for directions.  He doesn’t answer. Call Jesse for directions.  He answers.  Apparently we drove by it about 5 miles back. Nice!
14:02 – The joyride works to our favor.  2-4 is Shake Happy Hour at Steak’n’Shake.  Steak’n’Shake isn’t anywhere near as bad as Sara and Jesse hyped it to be.  In fact, it was actually on the enjoyable side.  I wouldn’t go out of my way for one again, but it certainly beats the offerings of the Evil Clown Empire, Burger King and Wendy’s. Plus, to my knowledge, none of those places have a Shake Happy Hour. Game, Set, Match. Steak’n’Shake.
15:37 – Arrive at what is left of the Czech Village in Cedar Rapids.  They have a “Speed Hump” sign that is moderately amusing.  We stop in a bakery and buy some stuff.
17:17 – Stop at an abandoned gas station on Highway 30 to photograph it.
18:22 – Stop in Tama to photograph historic Lincoln Highway Bridge.
19:02 – Stop at Country House Family Restaurant in Colo for supper.  I love this restaurant. I have the fried chicken dinner and it is great. Order raisin cream pie to go.
21:30 – Sitting at home. Eat raisin cream pie.  Some cheese curds as well.

8:30 – Watch Prospect Place episode of Ghost Adventures on On Demand.
9:15 – Watch Waverly Hills episode of Ghost Adventures on On Demand.
10:00 – Watch Stanley Hotel episode of Ghost Adventures on  On Demand. Text Jill.  Find out she has been by the Stanley Hotel on an Orchestra trip. Color me with the colors of jealousy. I think they are green.  I decide to watch The Shining later that night in honor of my Ghost Adventures marathon.
10:45 – Watch Return to Bobby Mackey’s episode of Ghost Adventures on On Demand. This is an episode I’ve never seen before, but Jill spoke very highly of it.  By watching this episode I learn that Bobby Mackey’s is in Wilder, Kentucky.  I decide that if I go with Teresa to visit Ernie in Kentucky next year, Bobby Mackey’s is definitely one place we are visiting.  That list now consists of Lambert’s, Beale Street and Bobby Mackey’s.  I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’m willing to believe in the possibility of ghosts. That must make me a ghost agnostic.  Episode is as good as Jill advertised. I leave the epidosde confused as to why anybody would turn a slaughterhouse into a music club.

12:00 – Mom and I pick up Vi for lunch.  Since I get to pick the restaurant, I pick Pickles Pub in Kamrar.  I’m not sure that they are open for lunch, but there pizza is so good it is worth the risk. If not, Webster City probably has a restaurant or two that serve edible food.
12:47 – We are in Kamrar. At this point I tell Mom and Vi that I’m not sure that they are open during the day. I had eaten here once with Shannon during the day, but that was a Sunday.
12:53 – They are open, but they don’t serve pizza during the day.
12:57 – Mom asks the waitress if they will serve us pizza.  The waitress says it will be a little wait, but they will turn on the pizza oven.  Big points for Pickles! We order Fried Pickles because Vi has never had Fried Pickles.
14:00 – Pizza was excellent, as always.  We leave a large tip because they turned on the pizza oven and it looks like our waitress has been crying.
14:30 – Stop at Stanhope Meat Locker.  I don’t buy anything, but Mom does.
15:15 – Home cleaning living room.  It is spotless and I can finally get under my entertainment center to hook up the switch that makes it possible for me to sign up for Netflix.
15:20 – I sign up for Netflix.
15:25 – Watch Food, Inc. on Netflix.
18:00 – Eat pastries from Czech Village bakery. They are terrible. I spit some out. I think about giving some to Foster Bunny, but decide not to be cruel.
20:00 – Pop some popcorn and open up some ice cold Pepsi Cola.  It is time for The Shining on Blu-Ray!
22:30 – I love Stanley Kubrick!

7:30 – I’m up. I rearrange my bedroom.  I theorize that this new arrangement will help me keep my bedroom cleaner.  I have lots of theories on cleaning. However, I don’t actually do much cleaning. Cleaning is more of a theoretical activity for me.
11:30 – I’m cleaning my office. The goal is to clean out the Hat Closet and make it a second Frame Closet.  I also want to be able to see the floor again.
11:47 – I get an email from Russell that he is “vetoing” my upset pick of Baylor over Kansas State because he doesn’t “feel” that it is an upset.
11:48 – I point out that Kansas State is a 6.5 point favorite and ranked.  Baylor is not ranked.
13:30 – Russell emails that it technically might be an upset, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Baylor won.
13:33 – Of course, I’m wouldn’t be surprised. That is why I made the pick.  I change my upset pick to Texas over Iowa State.
14:22 – Russell refers to the belief that Iowa State could beat Texas as a “fantasy”.  I don’t respond. I shut off my computer. I believe I won’t touch a computer again until Monday.
3:30 – I can see the floor again.  I am a cleaning god.
16:37 – Teresa calls me to tell me she is in my driveway. I tell her that she might as well come inside. We aren’t leaving until my show is over, even though the show is on Netflix and I can watch it at any time.
16:56 – We leave for Trostel’s Dish.
17:30 – I get a text from Vest at the Computer Mine. He has a question about the Microsoft eOpen website. It is good to be needed.
17:47 – We arrive at Trostel’s Dish.  I can smell Yuppie all over this place, but despite being under the weather, I give it a shot.
17:48 – This is a sharing restaurant. I wasn’t prepared for that.
17:57 – Teresa orders Arancini and a Taco Pizza. I order Beef & Shrooms and Pomme Frites.
18:30 – The Pomme Frites were kind of average, but the Arancini is incredible.  The Beef & Shrooms and Taco Pizza are also above average, but the Arancini really steals the show. If I were to come back I would just order 4 orders of it and call it a night.
18:31 – Teresa asks me if I would come back. I tell her I would, but since it is a sharing restaurant I would come with a larger group of people (like when I went to Chino Latino back in April). Teresa is somewhat offended by this statement, but I tell her that I would let her come along.
20:02 – I’m standing in Sara’s garage.  She has offered to give me a mirror that is roughly the size of a twin bed.  I’m hoping that Teresa’s Murano is the perfect vessel to convey my new prize home. I have been eying the Gorshe Forrester behind their back for about a month now, but I’m hoping I won’t need it any longer.  Teresa says she doesn’t know if she can help lift the mirror because of her bad neck. I give her a pep talk and she’s willing to give it the old college try.
20:06 – By the slimmest of margins the mirror fits in the Murano!  Oh bliss! Heaven and bliss!
20:22 – Standing in the Beaverdale Walgreen’s. I am out of acetaminophen. They are having a sale on it. Buy 1 get 1 Free.  They are completely sold out of all sizes except for the Super Jumbo bottle. I now have enough acetaminophen to ease the aches and pains of a small village.
21:03 – At the Casey’s in Madrid.  They are selling scorpions in shadow boxes as art. Did I miss something?
21:30 – Leave giant mirror in my garage because Teresa can’t carry it to basement due to bad neck. Start thinking about strong friends that will be able to help me move the mirror to the basement.

10:45 – Stop at the Computer Mine to answer a Microsoft Eopen website question.  This seems to be my expertise at work.  Some would call it job security.  I call it reason #345 why I hate Microsoft.
11:00 – On the Interstate.
12:22 – Drivers from Wisconsin are stupid.
1:17 – Drivers from Nebraska are stupid.
2:00 – Wheels down. Eagan, Minnesota. The Promised Land. Nate and I go to lunch.
2:08 – Lunching at Genghis Grill.  There are small differences between Genghis Grill and HuHot.  They are as follows: Steak is marinated, seasonings, eggs, sauce is thicker, sauce is put in a separate bowl and cooks mix rice in for you.
2:25 – Genghis Grill is a winner.
2:32 – Nate and Bethany have canceled cable. There goes Plan A for watching Iowa State-Texas game.
17:00 – Nate has left for work. I’m heading to Minneapolis to see Becca and Gelli’s new apartment.
17:07 – On 77. Becca’s directions say to take 62 East. GPS says 62 West.  Trusting Becca.
17:15 – GPS was right.
17:28 – Arrive at the new apartment.  It is nice.  Get to meet Ponyo who is cute. Becca and Gelli don’t have cable. There goes Plan B for watching Iowa State-Texas game.
18:02 – On the way to a tea house we drive by the Uptown Theater. I still long to see a movie at this theater.  Their midnight movie this weekend is The Lost Boys. I am reminded that The Lost Boys terrified Bethany when she was young. I don’t think I could talk her into going to see it.  Then my thoughts are stopped cold.  I see an advertisement that lists their next several midnight movies. In a couple of weeks they are showing The Shining. If that wasn’t such a terrible weekend for it, I would come up to Minnesota just for that. I’m still miffed about missing A Clockwork Orange at the Uptown a few months back.
18:15 – At a tea house called Tea Garden.  The baristas look like cliché hipsters, but the clientele looks decidedly normal. I wonder if the baristas secretly wish to work at a more hip tea house.
18:32 – Becca tells me that she was willing to pay 600 dollars for a ticket to see Shakira in concert in Chicago. I’m flabbergasted. I’ve seen my favorite band in concert and it cost me 38 bucks. I’d be willing to pay more, but not 562 bucks more.
18:48 – Back at the apartment awaiting Bethany’s arrival.  We are deciding between two locations. Hard Times Café and Mac’s Industrial Sports Bar.  We decide on Mac’s Industrial based on the fact that their menu includes a Fried Plate of Death.
20:37 – I am face to face with the Fried Plate of Death.  It is a good distraction because despite the fact this is a sports bar, all that is on their televisions is stupid hockey. I secretly hate this state.  Saint Cloud State is embarrassing Minnesota. 1 billion chinamen and this American could care less.  Fried Plate of Death is good, but not great.  It pales in comparison to the appetizer combo plate at The Open Flame.  Now I am longing for The Open Flame.
22:28 – Make plan with Becca to go to the Sculpture Garden at 1 PM on Saturday.
23:13 – Watching Weeds with Nate back in Eagan.

11:00 – Search in vain for a way to watch Iowa State-Texas game. Ends with me staring at Bethany’s computer watch Gamecast on
11:04 – Bethany calls from work. Suggests I go over to John’s to watch football. That would be awesome, but I already have plans with Becca to go to the Sculpture Garden.
12:28 – Halftime: Iowa State 14 Texas 3. Really wish I could watch this game.
13:00 – Arrive at Becca and Gelli’s.  I watch Iowa State-Texas game on Gamecast on my phone.
13:14 – Becca and I head for lunch at Hard Times Café.
13:26 – Becca thinks Hard Times Café is in Dinkytown. We end up in a traffic jam. Minnesota must have a football game at 2:30.  Look at all these people headed to the stadium.
13:43 – We drive past Minnesota Stadium.  All these people aren’t driving to the stadium. They are leaving the stadium! There is 5 minutes left in the game and there is maybe 10,000 people left in the stadium. I text Jesse to find out the score of the Minnesota-Penn State game. Minnesota is down by 9.  They are down by 9 and their stadium is empty.
14:11 – We find Hard Times Café. It is in a Somalian neighborhood. That is code for ghetto in Minnesotan.
14:16 – This is a true hipster place.  Vegan and vegetarian food. The baristas AND the clientele scream cliché hipster. Who am I to judge though? They probably look at me and think I look like a cliché badass and it is true, but badass is who I am. I can’t run from it.
14:18 – Hard Times Café has an interesting way to order. You write down your food order on a piece of paper and hand it to the barista. But for the drink, you can actually talk to the barista. I order an Eden Omelet and Organic Grape Juice.
14:22 – Derrick calls me. Iowa State has officially beat Texas for the first time in school history. We discuss how proud we are to be Cyclones.
14:25 – I text Russell to ask him if he believes in fantasies. I still haven’t heard from him. Andree and Jesse both text me to celebrate the victory. I had received texts from Baier earlier in the day, but surprisingly he does not text me after the game.  Perhaps he was still in shock.
14:27 – Our food is up.  It is very good. I try some of Becca’s biscuits and gravy. It is surprisingly good for not having any meat in it.
15:03 – We arrive at The Sculpture Garden.  Although they have moved some sculptures around, I don’t think there are any new sculptures from the time I visited it with Bethany a couple of years back.
15:05 – Lots of wedding parties here getting their pictures taken with a giant cherry. Little weird Minnesotans.
15:27 – The flower garden hear is amazing!
16:47 – At Jamba Juice.  This is my first lifetime visit to a Whole Foods.  I order Banana Berry Smoothie without a boost. I don’t believe in performance enhancers.
17:00 – Hug Becca goodbye.  Going to Bloomington to meet Bethany and John at John’s place to take some pictures.
17:03 – The quickest route between Minneapolis and Bloomington involves 35W South.  The police have closed this road because Obama is in town.  I appreciate the meaningful health care reform. I appreciate Wall Street reform. I appreciate removing combat troops from Iraq. I don’t appreciate this Obama!  It will be a long 8 mile drive down Nicollet, with the sunlight wasting away.
17:22 – Arrive at John’s. Bethany still isn’t ready. Sorry for the angry words Obama.
17:47 – Arrive at Century Park. It is pretty dark, but we take some good pictures.  At least I hope they are good.
20:27 – At The Park Tavern Bowling & Entertainment Center in St. Louis Park.  For years I’ve listened to Bethany praise the green chicken wings served here.  Here with John, Bethany and John’s friend Ryan.  Hostess asks us if we want a table near the karaoke or far from the karaoke.  We ask if they can just “not do karaoke”.  She responds, “I wish.  Believe me. I wish.” Her eyes glaze over as she seems to be remembering a traumatic experience from the past.  Then in an instant she is back with us.  She seats us around a corner and far from the karaoke.
20:33 – Some guys is killing Journey on stage. Not in the Brandi Carlile way, this is literally musical homicide.  Hatred for karaoke is reinforced.
20:47 – The green chicken wings arrive.  They are excellent!  They are also very spicy and very large.  They are least 4 times the size of normal chicken wings.  Also interesting is rather than celery, the “side dish” is cucumber slices.  Tasty, but I think it actually makes the burning sensation on my lips worse.
20:52 – Woman who actually belongs a stage is doing a serviceable job on Janis Joplin. As it turns out, serviceable is as good as it gets on this night.
20:55 – Nate calls and says to order for him in 15 minutes.
21:10 – We order for him.
21:14 – The guy that murdered Journey is now murdering Survivor.  Fantastic!
21:20 – Nate’s wings arrive.
21:40 – Nate arrives.
23:23 – On the way back to John’s I hear my first legendary John-Hardcore-Right-Wing-Rant.  Ryan holds his own as his Yes Man!  Some of my favorite phrases include, “Back in the 70s” and “I heard a scientist say once.”  Okay, my real favorite phrase was when Bethany says, “I’ve asked you to show me documentation of that claim before and you can’t find any!”
23:42 – Back at John’s watching Jim Gaffigan clips on YouTube.

00:47 – I hug Bethany goodbye.
1:13 – Nate is already asleep.  I read several website reports of Iowa State’s historic victory over Texas.
8:45 – This is the 4th Sunday of the year that I have missed Church.  I missed Super Bowl Sunday, the Sunday after my Birthday Barbecue and Swell Season Sunday.  Now this Sunday.  Based on the Shorty Peterson Church Credit Theory, I still have perfect attendance.  I have missed 4 services, but I also went on Ash Wednesday, Maundy Thursday and Good Friday.  I also once stopped in on a Contemporary Service. However, that is partial credit at best.  I should really go to the Taize Worship in November. I know I’ll also go to the bonus Christmas Eve service. If they don’t cancel the midnight service this year, I might hit two services on Christmas Eve. I might end up with better than perfect attendance before the year is over.
10:02 – Nate wakes up.
10:15 – I say goodbye to Nate. No hug. Get in the car to head to Oakdale.
10:45 – I knock on the door to Jill’s apartment.  There is a small amount of time before we have to leave to make it to Hell’s Kitchen.  Our reservation is for 11:30.  Jill is watching the Travel Channel’s all day marathon of Ghost Adventures.
10:52 – I make an effort to be friends with Kitty Baby. The other encounters I’ve had with her have not gone particularly well.  This time she doesn’t hiss or run away from me. This is known as progress.
10:58 – Jill is going to see Maroon 5 in concert on Thursday. I already know this, but you probably don’t.
10:59 – Standing in the parking lot trying to decide who will drive. Jill says, “Don’t you want to ride in the Poor Man’s Porsche?” Truth is that I never miss a chance to ride in the Poor Man’s Porsche.
11:04 – Jill tells me that when she made our reservation, they told her that Hell’s Kitchen has a jazz band playing during brunch.  Considerable improvement over karaoke.  In fact, it is nearly impossible to quantify the breadth of that improvement.
11:06 – Jill asks if “How” is still my favorite song from Maroon 5’s new album.  I tell her it is, but the acoustic versions of “Never Gonna Leave This Bed” and “Misery” along with the cover of Alicia Keys “If I Ain’t Got You” are closing the gap.  She plays for me the iTunes Bonus Track “The Air That I Breathe”. She tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:11 – Jill tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:16 – Jill tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:20 – Jill tells me she’s excited for Thursday.
11:28 – We arrive at Hell’s Kitchen. The hostess asks us if we want a table near or far away from the jazz band.  We give the exact opposite answer that we gave the hostess from last night.
11:48 – This is a really cool restaurant.  Live jazz band. The servers are wearing pajamas. The art on the wall is cool without being contrived. There is an awesome angel statue on the stage behind the jazz trio.
11:52 – Our food arrives.  We ordered Sweet Potato Fries as an appetizer. Jill ordered Shrimp & Crab Cake with Poached Egg. I order Bison Benedict.
11:57 – I’m not a huge fan of breakfast at a restaurant, but this is phenomenal.  This definitely goes on the list of the best restaurants I’ve ever eaten at.
12:22 – The jazz trio announce when they will be playing Hell’s Kitchen again.  On the list of their future appearances is a night when they will be playing Led Zeppelin’s Houses of the Holy. I wish I could be here for that.
12:28 – While paying the bill we discuss whether or not we could steal the sweet pen our server brought her to sign the check.  We do this in front of the waiter. He tells us to go ahead and steal it. He says he sometimes brings stuff to people for them to steal. We decide not to steal the pen.
13:30 – We are at the Carmike Cinema in Oakdale. The original plan was to go see “Hereafter”. That isn’t actually true. The original plan was to see “Life As We Know It”, but after Jill’s most recent trip home, I showed her the trailer for “Hereafter” and “The Fighter”.  She decided that she would rather see “Hereafter” and we made very soft plans to see “The Fighter” when it comes out. However, we didn’t make it back from Hell’s Kitchen in time, so we are back to the original plan of seeing “Life As We Know It”.
15:30 – It is a fair but predictable movie. Most romantic comedies are predictable, so I don’t hold that against it.  I can deal with predictable as long as it is well done.
16:15 – Hug Jill goodbye. Wish her luck at darts.
18:30 – Stop in Albert Lea for gas and fast food at Burger King.
20:00 – Home. Foster Bunny survived my absence, but I swear he looks lonely. A trick of the eye.
21:00 – Start of first Computer Mine basketball game of the season. 9 players here. This is promising. Played a couple games last year with 5 or less players.  Still haven’t recovered from cold completely and am feeling the aches of being in car for 3.5 hours. I decide to play as little as I can in this game.
21:15 – First extended playing time in this game. I feel like I’m going to vomit. Burger King was a big mistake.
22:00 – We kept it close for most of the game, but lose by a final score of 66-45. Although that sounds bad, this is actually very promising.
22:22 – Ha! Ha! Brett Favre loses to the Packers!

8:58 – Back at Computer Mine. Vacation officially over.