Saturday, December 28, 2013

Saying Goodbye to the Dome

Tomorrow is the last game at the Metrodome.  In a month or so, they're going to tear the whole thing down and build a new stadium (which looks pretty nice).  I wanted to see it one more time so I took the older kids down there for a semi-pro football game today.  (For the record, it was some kind of all star game and I have no clue whatsoever what league was being represented.)
We got there in time for kickoff, just the three of us and about 200 other people.
We were in time for the national anthems of Canada and America.  I got them to stand still with their hands on their hearts.  Then we watched the football.  They were amazed that the yellow and blue lines from TV weren't actually there on the field.  What impressed them the most?  The kicking and punting. 
After some time we got in some bathroom breaks and started to move around a bit.  We met a nice lady from Green Bay who was filming the game for her boyfriend who was one of the players.  She complimented them on their binoculars and was generally nice to them.
Then they moved down to the sideline and talked to some of the players.
They'd run down and talk to them and then run back up to me.  Sample dialogue: 
Relia: I got to see a football helmet!
DF: They didn't know who Leo is!
 
And then it was time to go.  I had them say goodbye to the ol' dome and and I joined in with them.  To my surprise, I was touched.  The place is kind of a dump but it has housed a huge amount of my sports memories for the past thirty years.  
I'll miss it.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Happy, er, Tuesday

DF picked this out.  I think he wishes he was an elephant. 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Top Metrodome Moments

The days of the Metrodome are winding down.  IIRC, they're scheduled to deflate it on Jan 18th and then tear it down.  I don't have many memories of the Vikings before they moved inside.  I know that we had them on the TV but I just don't remember them playing outdoors.  The same is true of the Twins, but I'm not sure that they we ever watched any of their games at all.
My first memory of the dome was going to a Twins game as part of a reward for being a patrol at Sumner.  They played the Tigers and they lost in the tenth inning.  I can't tell you with any certainty what year that was but I would guess it was 1985.  I did also go to a Vikings game sometime around then but I barely remember that at all. 
For the past few days, KFAN has been listing the top 25 moments of the dome.  Part one is here.  Part two here and the final five are here.  I was actually in attendance for a couple of them, most notably the 1998 Championship game that utterly broke my heart. 
I'll miss the place, I guess.  It worked fine for football but was awful for baseball.  I'm not a huge fan of using tax money to fund stadiums, but I'm looking forward to seeing the new place. 

Thursday, December 12, 2013

The Door Sensor

Our icy door adventure continues.  Every day this week we've ventured out to try and figure out which doors will open.  It's a game that I've come to call 'Kia Roulette'. 
You see, there is some risk involved.  If you try the door and it opens, you can get the kids in the easy way.  If it won't open, then you have to load them in the front and then climb through and buckle them up.  As you're picturing this, make sure to include all of the bulky winter clothes needed to get through this ridiculous cold snap that we're having.  Loading them in the front had been something of the default.
So what's the risk?  Well, if the door opens just a bit, then you have the door sensor go 'bong, bong, bong' for your entire drive.  Pounding on the door might get it to reclose and turn it off but there is no guarantee.  (Pound anyway.  You'll need the outlet.)
Worst of all is that the door might open but then not close again.  That would be especially bad if I had the boys with me and super-duper terrible if it happened while we were away from home.  I can deal with driving short distances with an open hatch, like some crazy Huey pilot.  I don't think DF would be nearly as ok with it.

I'd like to disable the door sensor if I could.  I wonder if I asked the good folks at Kia if they could somehow turn it off.  I believe the car would be safer without it.  I ask you, what's more dangerous, a door that is closed but less than completely latched?  Or a constant bonging noise that makes me want to drive the whole thing off of a bridge? 

(It's not even the middle of December yet!)

Monday, December 09, 2013

Icy Doors

We are only nine days into December and I'm already done with winter.  Until last week, temps were around freezing or so.  We'd had snow, but not a terrible amount.  Then it changed.  We got some significant snow on Tuesday and Wednesday but it wasn't that cold.  That meant lots of moisture on the cars and roads.
By Thursday morning the temperature had fallen to just above zero.  I decided to take the boys out to the mall so they could run (or at least walk) around.  We got all bundled up and went out to the porch.  I had the boys wait there while I turned on the car and cleared off the snow.  I did my scrapping duty but there was a problem.  The side doors to the van were frozen shut.  So we stayed home.
When the FP Gal got home I told her what happened and she told me that I should have gotten them in through the front door and then buckled them up.  On Friday I decided to do just that.  It was a pain, especially because LL had no clue what I was doing and fought the whole time.  Poor guy didn't understand the plan.  To make matters worse, after we got moving, one of the side doors must have been just open enough to bother the sensors.  We had the 'bong, bong, bong' thing going the whole trip. 
Got to the mall and it was already busy.  I parked the car and went to the back to get the stroller.  Frozen shut.  I spent a minute or so trying to figure out how to move it all the way through the car past the boys.  Or should I get them out first so I didn't bash them with it?  Then what, have them stand near the car in the parking lot?  No.  Try it without the stroller?  When it was already busy?  Not a chance.  I got back in and told them that the plan was changing and I'd get them happy meals on the way home.
That afternoon when the FP Gal got home, I went to work on opening them up.  I read that a mix of warm (not hot!) water and anti-freeze can be poured on the door to open them.  We didn't have extra anti-freeze but I reckoned that if I poured and then quickly wiped away any water, I would be ok.  This worked well with the door on LL's side.  It opened right up. 
Not so with the other one.  It opened but then it wouldn't shut again.  I worked on it, chipping away any ice I could see.  Rubbing alcohol on the seals.  The FP Gal ran a hair dryer out to me and I melted away any ice that I could see.  Still didn't work.  We bungeed the door shut and took a break. 
Later I called Kia.  They said to spray some de-icer on the latches.  I made the short drive to the nearest auto place but they were sold out of de-icer.  Then I tried another one but the bungee wouldn't hold.  Which meant that I was going down Portland avenue about 30 mph with the side door wide open.  Not good.
Fortunately, the FP Gal's father helped me out.  I stopped at his place and we took his car out and got some stuff.  We sprayed generously, including the actual door handle and that seems to have done the trick.
Until Sunday morning, at which point both of the doors were stuck again.  We needed to go out, so we herded the kids in through the front and went to Ikea.  Again one of the doors was bonging and it was very tense.
We may just have to face this on and off this winter.  I told the FP Gal that I would volunteer to drive the car someplace warm (like Arizona) and bring it back in April.  She demurred, but I think I can convince her.   So far, this winter has been awful.

This morning, the passenger side sliding door opened and closed without problem.  So maybe there is hope. 

Friday, December 06, 2013

Have a Great Friday

On this cold, cold day, I think this should be my next house.  (Which reminds me, I need to buy a Powerball ticket today...)

Wednesday, December 04, 2013

Forecasting 2024 Olympic Site

An interesting article on Toronto's decision to bid on the 2024 Olympic games.  It's widely believed that the U.S. will have a leg up on the bidding simply because we haven't hosted an Olympics since Salt Lake City in 2002.  The United States is the biggest sponsor of the games and brings in the biggest audience dollars.  We haven't been shut out from hosting for more than 20 years since 1960.  Many people think that we're simply due.
But not everyone:
“The way IOC does it, the games go to Europe, the Americas and then somewhere else,” Paul Henderson, former International Olympic Committee member and the Toronto 1996 bid chief, told the Toronto Sun. “And what most people don’t realize is that the IOC considers North and South America the same continent. Now there are always funny things once in a while that change that, but normally that’s the thought process.”
So Mr Henderson believes that the pattern is a) Europe, b) Americas and c) somewhere else.  Does that hold up?  Here are the Olympic sites from 1980 - 2020 (A = Europe, B = Americas, C = somewhere else). 

B
A
A
B
B
C
A
A
A
B
C
C
B
A
A
C
B
A
A
B
C
C

That doesn't line up as nicely as Mr Henderson suggests but there are some patterns there.  Europe usually gets two or three hosting duties in a row and then other regions get a few.  After the European cycle, the Americas have often hosted next but Beijing broke that cycle in 2008.  If these patterns are correct, then 2022 or 2024 will feature a European host city and so will 2024 or 2026. 
One big caveat here is that this isn't a natural pattern but one generated by a committee that hears bids.  They won't be held by a tradition that Europe hosts multiple times in a row.  My guess is that the U.S. should still be considered the front runner for 2024 but now I'm less certain. 

Europe's Prettiest Cities

An interesting list from a reader poll.  The slideshow is here and the pictures are purty.  The top ten:

1. Riga,
2. Bergen,
3. Innsbruck
4. Dubrovnik
5. Chester
6. Prague
7. Budapest
8. Santorini
9. Venice
10. Bruges

In the commentary, many cities are compared to Paris but Paris itself didn't make the list.  It does make the list of runners up, but you'll have to click through to see those.  The list is very heavy on medieval cities and nicely colored waterfronts.  Makes sense to me.
I have been to a grand total of zero of these cities.  They all look very nice!  I'd gladly be in Santorini Greece today, especially with 3 to 7 inches of the white stuff due to hit us. 

Tuesday, December 03, 2013

Sagrada Familia

DF looked at our fun world map today and asked about one of the buildings on there.  (The map has a bunch of world landmarks on it, in case they get lost.)  I told him he had pointed at Spain and the building was the Sagrada Familia.  I told him that the FP Gal has been there and then we went online to look for pictures. 
I found this fun little video of what it will look like when construction is done in 2026.  They've been building for more than 130 years so another 13 isn't a big deal I guess.  It's on my 'someday' list and with any luck it will be on DF's as well.