25 January 2011

Journey to the Center of North America: Part 5

Way back in July 2010 the Man of 3 Names and I set out from Grand Forks, ND on bicycles to sojourn to the Center of North America (Rugby.) This is the continuing log of that eventful journey. We left off as 3 Names and I descended upon Langdon along Highway 1.

We arrived in Langdon about dinner time on July 4th. I stopped at the local grocery before it closed to get some food, including 1/4 of a watermelon. Afterward we rode to a local park to rest and eat and fill up on water. The park was deserted but had water and restrooms and if we so desired we could have camped there for $10. Not bad, they even had cable TV hook-ups. However, I wanted to make it a bit further today so we pushed on.
Upon leaving town we encountered an obstacle which we would meet many times- farm dogs. This dog put up a good chase. We needed to push ourselves over 25 MPH in order to escape and even then the dog nearly kept up.
Once that ordeal passed, we continued west at a leisurely pace on ND Highway 5. As dusk approached we turned south on ND-20. 3 Names had no headlight so I had the lead the way as darkness surrounded us. In the distance on all sides we could see fireworks near and far. The small town of Munich would be our resting place for the night. They have a pleasant campground just off the highway but unfortunately they did not have the restrooms open for us. 
Although it was Independence Day, the night in Munich seemed rather quiet. There were some fireworks but not a barrage like I have experienced elsewhere. We slept well that night.

19 January 2011

Journey to the center of North America: Part 4

Way back in July 2010 the Man of 3 Names and I set out from Grand Forks, ND on bicycles to sojourn to the Center of North America (Rugby.) This is the continuing log of that eventful journey.
Part 3 left off  with 3 Names and I at a crowded campground in Wahalla on the evening of July 3rd.

I finally got to sleep after the pre-Independence Day racket died down in the wee hours of the morn.
We awoke, ate a little breakfast, filled up on water, then began our trek to the Pembina Gorge west of town. The wind was against us as we made our way up the first hill traveling out of Wahalla, but it was warm and I did not mind it much.
Now the Pembina Gorge is unlike any other place in North Dakota except perhaps the Badlands. Most of eastern North Dakota is flat prairie but the Pembina Gorge region is hilly and wooded. An ancient and much larger iteration of the Pembina River of today carved out the gorge.
Once the edge was reached we descended quickly reaching speeds of 40 MPH along the way. We stopped by the bridge to admire the scenery of the Pembina River. It looked like something from Colorado or New Mexico, not North Dakota. We loitered for another minute before tackling the most difficult ascent of our trip.
Descending was a piece of cake but pedaling ourselves up and out of the gorge became tedious. I think it took us about an hour before we reached the top of the west side. We tackled the incline in spurts to ensure we would not get totally worn out. However, we were very exhausted once we got to top. We stopped and looked out upon the scenery again, took a few photos, ate some energy bars, and drank Gatorade.
Did I mention the road thus far has been gravel?
We continued west on the gravel road and into a now relentless head wind. I forget what the planned destination was supposed to be but it would have been 40 more miles west on gravel. The time came to re-evaluate that choice at a lonely country church- Aspeland Free Lutheran Church to be exact.
The church building near Vang, ND had seen better days but it was a welcome respite from the wind and heat. It didn't look like it had been used much lately. The church yard was well overgrown with grass. We ate lunch under a tree that provided a good canopy.
I powered up the cell phone to call in a reference service ( The AKG)  to help us plan for our changes. I gave the AKG a few town names in the vicinity and he came up with some campground options.
After removal of ticks we were on our way to get on pavement. The head wind set us back quite a bit. Once reached Highway 31 we pedaled southbound towards Langdon. Along the way we smelled a most pleasing aroma. I thought it safflower but it turned out to be canola. Lots of canola out this direction. The tiny yellow flowers amongst the green field were a pleasant and common backdrop.

16 January 2011

The air is good

I decided to go to the performance of Dakota Air this weekend. This monthly radio show is recorded live someplace in North Dakota each month. Today it was a few blocks away from where I currently reside.
An acquaintance at work is the music director for the show and since it seemed pretty similar to the show I do at Christmas I decided to check it out.
I was not disappointed. The show was chalk full of musical performances intermixed with historical and local flavor in the form of skits and monologues. Steve Stark anchors that side of the show flawlessly. The host, Merill Piepkorn, kept the show flowing and often sang and played superbly on the harmonica.
Now the show is definitely a step-child to Prairie Home Companion minus fake sponsorships and a fake town which a monologue is delivered about. In fact, the show is a lot less fictionally based than Keillor's gig. Dakota Air is also missing the big name acts which often appear on Prairie Home. Instead, they utilize local talent. The show tonight featured the NDSU faculty jazz band, local music teacher Sam Mack, and the Gold Star Marching Band. And it was very good.
I'm sure fans of PHC will pick apart Dakota Air when it is heard over public radio in the region this month. But it is like comparing an elephant to a lady bug. Heck, back in the golden age of radio numerous shows had similar styles and formats. I think Dakota Air is proving there really is some hidden gems in North Dakota.
Still, I think the show is more like an offshoot of Big Top Chautauqua.
Special mention should be made for Thomas Isern, a professor of history at NDSU. He performed a song about prairie towns and read an essay he wrote about class B basketball. He reminded me a little of Irish singer Christy Moore. Oh and the Gold Star Marching Band gave a stirring performance. I like marching music.

As an additional note: I want to make a correction to the omission the Forum made about the show in their article of 14 Jan 2011- Tim Hoffelt, music director of the show and guitar virturoso, is also from Fargo. I guess he blends in so well no one recognized this Fargo talent. He doesn't do much self promotion at work unless he let's it slip he is playing at Basie's or the HoDo. A few of his MP3s show up on the Net, but typically are hard to find- especially a song about a time machine.

09 January 2011

Nearly was cheated 3 times and post radio show thoughts

Went shopping today but I was amazed at how many times I could have been taken had I not piped up and said something. 3 time!
Actually the 1st time I let it slip. The clerk caught the markdown on one item but not on the other.
Next at the hardware store I often frequent, I was nearly charged from 4 feet of an item instead of the 3 which was on the order slip. I caught that one. I am not sure why the clerk input 4 when it clearly said 3 on the slip.
The last time was at one the big box home improvement stores. It was sort of was my fault- I decided to pick up a live Christmas wreath because they were free now. I put it on the belt and the clerk rang it up. I interjected that it was supposed to be free. He mentioned the sign near one entrance and assumed it was for live items at that door. Finally another clerk had to step in and verify that indeed all live wreaths were now free.
Hurrah! Now my balcony is just a little more festive.
I found it odd that this retailer (rhymes with jacquard) still had a bunch of holiday stuff. At 50% since the Eve, not much was moving. I did a little shopping before Christmas at this store and got some gifts for my MFG's brother and father but was not enticed to buy much more.

Onto to other topics- like the Christmas radio show.
It seems to be the most unpublicized shows we've had- meaning that after the show I have seen virtually nothing about it in either photos or a recording (there is a recording someplace.) I did see on FB a few short videos from the show. I am sad to say I forgot my camera that evening so I have no record.
The show went well. I would say this probably ranks as the most organized and planned show we've done. There was no last moment rush to rehearse or get the set built or the lights hung.
As I usually think in retrospect, the show could have been better but what we did was good enough. And that's not a cop out. We do what we can with what we are given.
I lead the band this year and had a few parts in sketches. If I can ever locate a recording, I'll get it linked here.

The guy at the left is the MFE, although that's not really what he is anymore but I am not about to discuss his job title. He also has a radio show like ours. He leads the band, too. However he arranges music as well and I don't touch that. In fact his show is actually on radio, public radio. I am planning on going to a recording of the show, Dakota Air, next weekend. The show is suppose to be something like Prairie Home Companion but we'll see it comes closes.
And GK will be coming to Morris in February but unfortunately I will not be there. I have other plans.
The last time I saw GK it lead up to be being ill over Labor Day weekend.

07 January 2011

Take a swim in Star Wars style

Seems like Star Wars is coming to blu-ray.
Oh, really.
Star Wars is also making its way in swimwear.
You can take a dip in the pool pretending to be Threepio or Artoo. But these are only for the ladies.
Guys, you'd look rather strange in these suits.
The swimwear seem to harken back to Underoos. I seem to recall that Star Wars had quite a line of underwear for the kiddies. I think I had Darth Vader.

06 January 2011

The ugly ads always ring twice

 Nothing like a little make-up and some photoshop to uglify yourself into an online ad. I doubt the woman in the picture ever looked this way when she could not sleep through the night. The photo itself might make you not sleep through the night but I think that is a little exaggeration. The stare get us to look closer and pay attention so it is debatable whether this indeed could count an UOA (ugly online ad.)
Next is a much more distiburbing image. The Hulk was finally cured but kept all his bulk.
Getting buff ads have been popular since the old pulp fiction days. Looks like they are trying to break into the online world in a bulky way. This speciment of a man only confounds me. What on earth could  you do with all that muscal matter. I mean this guy needs something like a XXXL shirt. Anything else will burst at the seams. He certainly could pass as a super hero. Maybe an X-Man hanger on.
"But Dr. Xavier I'm not like all the like the other normal people, I have all this muscle."
"Come back when you have a real mutation, next."
The X-Men even think he's a freak.

If birds fall from sky, who ya gonna call?

Apparently the go-to guy in this scenario is Kirk Cameron.
The interview is actually pretty hilarious.
Not sure why CNN's  Anderson Cooper gave Kirk a ring.
Perhaps he equated Kirk's role in those Left Behind movies as some sort of official spokesperson for End Times.
Strange, I don't equate birds falling from the sky with the end of days. It is certainly odd.
However, there is one point in end times which birds do play a role;

I saw an angel standing in the sun. He called in a loud voice to all the birds that fly across the sky. He said, `Come, gather for God's big feast.
Come to eat the bodies of kings, the bodies of captains, the bodies of strong men, the bodies of horses and those who ride them, the bodies of all free men and of slaves, those who are great and those who are not great.'
I saw the beast and the kings of the earth and their armies. They were gathered to fight against the One riding the horse and his army.
Then the beast was caught and the prophet who is not true was caught. The prophet had done big works for the beast to see. By the things which he did, he had fooled the people who had the mark of the beast and who worshipped its idol. The beast and the prophet were thrown alive into the big fire which burns with dust that chokes people.
Their armies were killed by the man riding the horse. He killed them with the sword that came out of his mouth. All the birds ate all they wanted of their dead bodies.
Revelation 19:17-21
Eventually Kirk gets down to business speaking about his faith and a new movie he stars in. I think Anderson needed a lead in for Kirk so the producers told him go with the bird thing.