Posts Tagged ‘summer’


Football starts this week for realzies, as the kids say, with some Thursday night college games. Who’s excited?

I, for one, am not, although it has nothing to do with the sport. It’s just that football means fall and fall means winter is coming – at least that’s the way it works in my miserable brain.

I’m dead serious: The dread of winter begins to creep in at the summer solstice. The days start getting incrementally shorter, the nights grow chilly (present week excluded). And the knowledge of what’s coming bums me out weeks to months in advance. (more…)


I got stuff on my mind, man. Little things. And here they are:

* It seems like Sparkling Ice is taking over the beverage world. On what do I base this assertion? The fact that my wife and my grandparents both drink it despite living in different Dakotas. Air-tight case.
If you’re among the uninitiated, Sparkling Ice is carbonated water that comes in a variety of flavors. There are no calories and minimal vitamins. In other words, it’s like fruity diet soda without the caffeine.
I like it just fine, but it raises a question: Why don’t we just drink water when seeking basic hydration? It’s like we feel compelled to entertain our taste buds for fear that they’ll get bored and leave.

* Sweating is awesome. It’s my favorite bodily function at the moment.
This crossed my mind the other day while I was at the gym, pounding out a couple miles on the treadmill while watching Wimbledon. My gym is air conditioned yet there’s no question that I sweat more there during the summer. The only downside is that it makes my earbuds more slippery. But it’s a small price to pay for the positives – the warm, the accomplishment, the fresh start. I imagine that’s how a snake feels when it sheds skin.
This is why I refuse to complain about the weather being too hot.

* I’ve gotten in the habit of doing (at least) a couple hours of work before going to bed. Tuck in the kids; get stuff done. I’ve found it gives me more freedom during the day.
It’s just that the downside can be mentally taxing. When my wife and kids and whatever company that might be at our house are laughing and carrying on, enjoying a care-free summer night, I get anxious, start to withdraw and think about all of the stuff that’s hanging over my head, knowing that time is slipping away and my sleep will suffer for it.
I doubt that I’m alone in this – plenty of friends and colleagues also do the late-night work thing. But I’m starting to wonder if it’s worthwhile. Maybe it’s better to be absent more during the day if that means being entirely present at night.

* Know what’s awesome? Coffee knowledge. That’s not to be confused with coffee snobbery.
The folks at Science Friday have put together a series of videos on what makes coffee work and how it can be manipulated for greater enjoyment. You can watch them here. Really interesting stuff.
Coffee enthusiasm and the craft-beer craze seem to have many similarities. The thing I like about the former more than the latter is it’s built around a stimulant rather than a depressant. With four kids in my charge, energy has to be in abundance meaning coffee is a more practical hobby for me than beer. I’m looking forward to trying to find a nice cup this week during a work trip to St. Cloud, Minn. And I’m considering buying a Moka Pot in order to start tinkering with homemade espresso.

Then again, maybe I should stop considering so much minutia and, you know, do something. There’s always tomorrow.


The Summer Solstice is behind us, meaning the days are already getting shorter. How depressing is that?

Let’s reflect on happier times … like earlier this week, when the future still seemed to bright:

* So some big stuff happened in Washington, D.C., on Thursday. That’s the extent of my knowledge of the situation. I’m only half kidding.
After my Twitter timeline made it apparent the Supreme Court ruling about the so-called Obamacare was a big deal, I decided to do some – some – research to find out what the fuss is about. I also asked my Facebook friends to explain it to me in simple terms. That quickly turned into a partisan squabble, and I turned out. And THAT is the primary reason I don’t follow politics. People can hardly convey basic information without getting emotional and opinionated.
I did, however, enjoy all the SCOTUS references. SCOTUS, POTUS, AGOTUS … acronyms are fun!

* The NBA Draft was held Thursday night in Newark, N.J. It was unusually light in the insanity department, but entertaining nonetheless. Lots of human-interest angles in the first round, including the story of Minneapolis native Royce White, now of the Houston Rockets. White initially committed to Minnesota, but got off track and then left the school, announcing his departure in an impressively produced YouTube video. (It has been been removed. But take my word that it was glorious.)
This week, multiple national outlets have chronicled White and his interesting mind. Here’s the Grantland version. (You know, since that site could use the extra traffic.)

* Fury here. Bowling story! Crazy bowling story, actually. I won’t spoil it all but it’s about a guy going for a 900 series in Texas. The headline is The Most Amazing Bowling Story Ever but is it really more amazing than the time a 7-year-old girl beat me in a game when I was 29?

* Sports Illustrated’s Tim Layden has a great story about the photo finish in the women’s 100-meter dash at the U.S. Olympic Trials.


The Birdcage on a hot, humid night.

Took my oldest daughter to a minor league baseball game last night. At least, I think that’s the sport they were playing – we didn’t pay much attention. That is, we stared at the field and were vaguely aware that things were happening, but it was by no means our primary concern.

No, we were more into the food and the beverages (a Summer Shandy has never tasted so good), the bouncy bird adjacent to left field (think bouncy house in the shape of a pheasant), basic conversation and  sending text messages. Frankly, we spent more time comparing sweat puddles than studying the two teams.

On a related note, the crowd was … underwhelming at best. It’s safe to assume that the heat – temps were in the upper 90s near game time – kept some fans from coming out to the park. And how weak is that? Aside from infants and the elderly, Upper Midwesterners should embrace every moment of warmth considering how many below-zero days we survive. (more…)