Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Space Contest, Drinkin' Spelling Bee, and a Crashed Wedding

 LET ME JUST START BY SAYING I would be thrilled to title one of these posts as follows:

Coco Goes Out...OF THIS WORLD

That's right. Ellipses and all caps. You know I don't use those grammatical tools lightly.

So what's the big occasion? It's the 50th anniversary of the Space Needle. And there will be a contest to accompany the celebration. The grand prize is the opportunity to travel into suborbital space. That means the winner will be able to see "the curvature of the earth and the blackness of Space."

If I don't win on behalf of the Space Needle, I'd love to petition Space Adventures to send a blogger (i.e. me) into space.

To keep myself from getting completely wound up about the idea of flying into orbit, I must distract myself with novelties here on earth. So, on Saturday I helped judge the Drinkin' Spelling Bee at the 331 club. It was a total blast (blast off? See? I can't get my brain down to earth now.) I witnessed someone spell a very long word backwards. I also saw a couple of people spell in their underwear.

And then Bunny and I crashed a wedding. 

Bunny and I danced a bit and then discovered a camera in one corner of the dance floor. Let's just take a look at what's going on here for a second, shall we? Obviously Bunny is trying to high-five the camera. Clearly I was afraid of bright lights at this point and slowly sinking into the floor. And then there's our new friend Eric -- a friend of the brides'. The brides' friend. Did I mention this was a lesbian wedding? And Eric is the fellow who invited us over for some Lillet on the rocks. Thanks again for one helluva great night, Eric!

Took some time for other summer activities this weekend -- including sitting outside at Gather, the new D'Amico & Sons restaurant at The Walker Art Center. It couldn't have been a more perfect afternoon for sitting outside. I'm not usually one for garden-y tasting cocktails, but their lavender lemonade was a perfect match for the summer afternoon. Be sure to visit on Thursdays for happy hour. A specialty cocktail is chosen as their feature and is only $5. Appetizers are also only $5 during happy hour, too.

There are a couple of feature appetizers each month as well. During August the two features are gnocchi, foie gras meatballs and cold porchetta, parmesan cracker, with horseradish cream. I had the gnocchi. I don't think I've used the word delectable on this blog before, so I will use it now. These appetizers were delectable. I'll share more about this later.

My uncle lives in northern Minnesota and likes to make his own wine using the area's wild fruits. In the past I've tried his various wine flavors, including choke-cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and, most recently, blueberry. One night the bottles of blueberry wine fermenting in his basement decided to have party of their own -- corks were popping. Instead of wine, my uncle accidentally made sparkling wine. And let me tell you, blueberry sparkling wine is luxurious. I wonder how many bottles are left...

Remember when I told you I took a very special behind-scenes-tour of the Science Museum of Minnesota? I'm making good on my promise to share it all with you -- I wrote about it here, for the local CBS affiliate.

Go. Eat, drink, and be merry, Chester.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Flash Flood, A Meteorite, and The Claw

Took a dip in the Rum River last Sunday with Indiana Jones, my mom and dad's flatcoat retriever mix. He likes to swim and he likes me, but I'm not sure he likes both at the same time. He starts to whimper if I float out too far and feels like he has to swim out and rescue me.

Walking back from the river I noticed a strange rock in the ground. I didn't pick it up at first, but then went back for it. I am so glad I did! Its dark red color stuck out in the light-colored sand of the field I found it in. I noticed shiny black specks in it as well, so when I got home I checked if it was magnetic. To my amazement, it was! However, I can't seem to find any photos of similar looking meteorites.

In my research though, I found out a 3-pound meteorite was found in that field in July 1961 (50 years to the month that I found this little rock!) and came to be called the Anoka Meteorite. In 1963 a 123 pound meteorite was found in Champlin, Minnesota, and has the exact same composition as the Anoka Meteorite. Found out a bunch of other information, too, but on to something else!

The next day on the bus ride back to Minneapolis, well before rush hour, I was surprised at the sudden traffic jam near the Broadway bridge on I-94. Cars were trying to merge back into the main lanes of traffic from the exit lane. As the bus continued forward, slowly, I saw what the problem was -- flood! I got some footage for you:

It seems I visit the Walker Art Center more than anything else lately, but how could I miss meeting famous wrestler from the 1960s and '70s, Baron Von Raschke? I couldn't, that's how. His son was present for the filming of a documentary by Phil Harder about Baron Von Raschke, so Bunny and I dressed as extras to appear in the film, too. Pretty great.

Hope you have a great week, Chester! Grrr!