thingelstad

Jamie Thingelstad's personal website

Month: October 2005

Mazie Moves… To Her Bedroom

Newsflash! Mazie has moved to her bedroom! This seems like a pretty giant step to me. I took her crib apart and moved it out of our room into her bedroom on Sunday night. Last night was her first night in there. She was a brave little girl, sleeping all by herself in that big room. It was a little shocking to have our bedroom back. Seems like there is all this room now, but it’s nice for us and I think she was ready as well. She seems to sleep a bit better in her room, it’s a bit more quiet.

She also figured out last night how to kick the music toy in her crib. After a few hours we started hearing music on the baby monitor and it finally dawned on us what she was doing.

I still miss taking naps with her though — she won’t do that, at least not easily, anymore.

Music Everywhere!

A few months ago I bought the Roku M1000 MP3 player for Mazie’s room. I really liked it, even wrote on here about how great it was. Well, I liked it so much I decided to buy two more. Not the M1000, but the cheaper M500. Roku was running a sale, I think moving them out to make room for new models. I picked up two to put the whole music collection in the bedroom and a yet-to-be-determined location.

Install was easy as can be. Hardest part was finding a power outlet for it. (Note to self, need to redo power in bedroom!) Still like these units, even though I’m ultimately left a little frustrated with UPnP servers.

Corteo

We went to see Corteo, the traveling Cirque du Soleil production that is getting ready to leave Minneapolis. This marks my seventh Cirque production. I’ve previously seen “O”, Dralion, Alegría, La Nouba, Varekai and Mystère (perhaps not in that order, but close). I enjoyed Corteo greatly, it is hard to not be impressed by any Cirque production, however it didn’t fill me with awe as other productions have. Granted the traveling productions (Dralion, Alegria, Varekai and Corteo) are somewhat handicapped when compared to the permanent installations (“O”, La Nouba and Mystère), but Dralion for example was a stunning performance, on par with “O”. The acts in Corteo were visually great, but the acrobatics and performances lacked the sizzle of other productions.

Corteo is set in the dreamland of an aging clown. It starts with a funeral prosession as the clown envisions the events after his demise. This opening act sets one of the unique things about Corteo, the stage design. The big top is setup with the audience in a circle, which is typical for a Cirque production. However, the stage is a long strip that cuts right through the center of that circle. It starts before it even enters the big top, allowing the acts to run on stage and run off. It gave an interesting perspective as characters didn’t seem to come on and off stage, but instead to simply appear off the edges of the screen, as if you were watching someone walk off-frame in a movie. Also typical for a Cirque production the stage itself, in the middle, was a circle with several rotating rings. This allowed for very cool performances where characters on the outside would rotate around action happening in the middle.

The clowns in Corteo were not as memorable as other Cirque productions. Additionally, this was the first time I’ve ever heard english words used in a Cirque production. Typically Cirque uses no dialog. It was a little shocking to hear someone start saying things, and then to realize it wasn’t French, the only other language I’ve heard in a Cirque production.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed Corteo, and if you’ve never been to a Cirque production you will find it stunning. However, it didn’t reach the heights that I really expect of Cirque du Soleil. The acts were good, but there were few that lingered with me. I found the Chandelier act somewhat dull. Probably most notable in my mind was the Teeterboard act which was both fun to watch and comical. I really enjoyed the Giant Clown character in Corteo.

Where Corteo missed in my mind was just putting it all together. It’s a little surprising since it was one of the more literal Cirque production (for example, english words) but I didn’t get a strong sense of connection across the production. The others in our party shared this perspective. Perhaps buying the $10 (crazy!) program would have helped, but I hardly think that should be necessary.

Next on my Cirque-list, for a future visit to Las Vegas, is Ka or Zumanity.

2005 Olson Family Weekend

Last weekend was the 2nd annual Olson Family weekend. This is a fairly new tradition on Tammy’s side of the family where everyone does a mini-vacation together for a weekend once a year. Each year someone different plans it. Tammy is excited for the 3rd one next year already because she is planning it. :-) This year started off well by being much warmer than our trip last year up past Duluth.

Corinne did a great job picking this years trip to the Wisconsin Dells, or as those in the know call it, “The Dells”. We stayed at the Wilderness Resort cabins, which were very nice. The Wilderness is a little crazy, it’s a giant resort, waterpark, golf, spa location and I think it has some locals unhappy — but they seem to be doing a very good job. Tammy and I went to Sundara a while ago and loved it, which is also a Wilderness property.

It was a nice weekend with days outside hiking, geocaching and exploring the Dells, and nights goofing around and playing Xbox. I put up a number of pictures from the weekend. It was also Mazie’s first trip to Wisconsin, and she had a nice time hanging out with all her aunts and uncles (grandma and granpda too!).

Mazie's First Concert

On Saturday Mazie went to her first concert, and it was rocking! Our neighbor suggested that we go to see Ralph’s World with their family. Mazie had a great time!

When I first walked into the concert I was a bit surprised. It was loud! Not as loud as a show I would have went to at 1st Avenue, but a far, far cry from a guy with a guitar. Ralph’s World looked like a real band. Dudes in t-shirts and jeans, guitars, bass and drums. The three things that were a tip that this was a kids concert were the hundreds of kids having a blast, the song titles like “We Are Ants”, oh and the predominance of minivans in the parking lot.

I really thought Mazie would be screaming mad due to the volume, but she was digging it. She had a great time but had to cut it short because she got tired out.

If you have kids (you know who you are, see the minivan comment above), you should definitely haul the kids to a Ralph’s World concert. You will have some fun too!

Just Typing

Sometimes I just feel like typing something on this here website. I guess that’s the advantage of being the site operator, author, editor, publisher and everything else.

This has been a busy week. I’ve been completely absorbed with this project at work. We finally got it launched today and I really think it’s one of the, if not the, most amazing thing we’ve done. If you are curious, go to MarketWatch when the market is open (M-F 9:30a to 4:00p ET) and look at news stories, quotes, etc. You’ll see the quotes are streaming at you. We did this ourselves, and it was a massively challenging and fun project. I was literally unable to sleep, waking at 4:00a most days, my mind whirring with ideas. I’ve gotta take some time this weekend and decompress a bit. I put some especially peaceful music on my iPod so when I wake up in the middle of the night I can try to listen to that to help me sleep.

I sort of took today off, even though Mazie and I went into the office for a couple of hours and I was email for a couple more hours at home. We had furnace contractors, roofing contractors and our landscaper over today to discuss projects. I pulled the trigger on the furnace one so that is going forward. I need to decide on the roofing project soon so that I can let the solar guys (we are also looking at solar heat and electric) know what is going on.

We are starting phase 3 of our landscaping project. First phase was the front yard, 2nd was some hardscaping in the back yard, and this final phase is the conversion back to native plantings for the undeveloped area in our backlot. It was completely filled with invasive plants, and we are now getting ready to transform it. It will be perhaps the most challenging and interesting of the projects, but the least visible, at least from the curb as it were.

I’m debating the whole solar thing. I’m not sure what I think about having 4′x6′ black panels sticking up off the top of the house for heat. The solar electric stuff is much less obtrusive, but has a lot higher cost.

We are heading to Wisconsin for a family weekend with Tammy’s side of the family. I expect it to be a blast. May pack up the telescope since we’ll be in darker skies. I feel a little bad that I haven’t given that the time it deserves. I really do have too many hobbies. It’s just that everything is so interesting! :-)

Rix Bar & Grill

We tried a new restaurant today. It was my mothers birthday a couple of days ago and we went out for lunch. We chose Rix Bar & Grill in north Minneapolis. Rix is fairly new, replacing what I hear was a fairly rundown bar that used to be there.

The restaurant was non-assuming and relaxed. Open kitchen, nice bar area and a medium size dining room. We had a really nice experience and great food, I would recommend others to give it a try.

  • The sweet potato french fries are a must. I love sweet potatoes, and these were just stunning. The chipotle dipping sauce is great as well. I also give the green bean appetizer high marks.
  • I had the huevos rancheros, which is only available on Sunday. It was very good, with plenty of kick.
  • The deserts were tasty, however if you order the rhubarb tart make sure to get ice cream with it. It’s a big mistake that they don’t serve it by default that way.

Update: We’ve been to Rix a couple of times since that initial visit and it continues to be a great, neighborhood stop. Give it a go!

Honda Odyssey Pt. 2

We’ve had the 2006 Honda Odyssey for two weeks now and I thought I would share some of my comments on it. All in all, I really like the vehicle a lot more than I expected I would. There are a couple positives and negatives I would point out though.

Positives

  • I’m amazed at the engine management. The ECO mode (which cuts runs the 6-cylinder on only 3 to conserve fuel) is pretty amazing. I’ve never felt it turn on and off, and it cycles all the time. You would think this would only turn on when you are cruising down the highway, but it is very active and seems to have no negative for performance that I can perceive.
  • We still keep finding more interesting and thoughtful feaures. Just discovered another storage area today. And I found where the Honda designers actually created a spot to hold a pen. They thought of pretty much everything.

Negatives

  • This one is driving me nuts. We bought the touring edition for a number of reasons, but a big one in my book is driver memory. My last two cars have been a BMW and Audi and it’s standard in them that it remembers the driver seat position and other things depending if Key1 or Key2 opens the car. The touring Odyssey has this and I really wanted it. When your wife is almost a foot shorter than you it’s a really nice feature to not mess with your seat all the time. However, the mirrors are not linked to the memory! This is just stunningly stupid to me. So while my seat is positioned correctly when I get in, the mirrors are not.
  • Let me touch on XM, which comes standard with the car along with a 3-month trial subscription.
    • First off, I don’t get it. I’ve heard from a number of people, and people I would value their input on these topics, that XM and satellite radio in general is great. I’m not seeing it. The programming is just boring. With the exception of unique features like the Comedy channels or listening to CNN Headline News I don’t see the value, and those unique features just aren’t all that compelling.
    • XM missed the boat, at least with our family, in a big way when they didn’t get NPR. That’s only on Sirius.
    • Can I rant for a bit that XM had the opportunity, creating a completely digital new music distribution method, to do so much but seems to have done so little. For example, the navigation system will show the XM information and it’s a nice touch that you get song and artist as you listen (but really, FM can do this with RDS support). Where is the album art? How about other graphics related to the artist? Or how about just not cutting off the song title after 40 characters? How ridiculously dumb is this.

I’ve added the rubber floor mats to it so we are ready for winter and I got the cooler bags for the lazy susan (yes, it really has a lazy susan in it!). So, still liking it a lot, just wishing my mirrors would move “automagically” and don’t think we’ll be signing up for XM.

Mazie Mazie Mazie


Little Maze is getting less little by the day it seems. Along with getting bigger she’s really developing a lot more of a personality. She’s got her “I want mom” cry, her “I’m hungry cry”, and her “I want mom” cry. Did I mention that one already? We went through a few days a while back where she decided her dad simply would not do. If I tried to hold her she just threw a fit. She’s gotten a lot better at that too, throwing fits that is. She can get her legs and arms shaking, and just wail. If this gets beyond a certain point there is nothing you can do but give her to mom.

She’s also having a lot more fun cooing and blabbing to herself in the middle of the night. She particularly likes it when her dad tickles her and blows on her belly. She giggles away for a good long time. This ends up being endlessly fun for her dad and fills his heart with big amounts of pride and happiness. If you can make your kid giggle you can do anything.

We have her four month appointment next week. That seems to have arrived quickly. I think Tammy may disagree with that assessment though. That means another round of shots, no fun. We are looking forward to getting an okay to start giving her some food. We acquired a high chair already continuing our pattern of getting baby stuff well ahead of the need for it.

Maze loves her new mini-van. She thinks it’s just great. She particularly likes the navigation system. :-)

Tammy and her sisters threw a surprise birthday party for their mom recently and she did a little photo shoot with Maze and the birthday stuff. Some great pictures, check them out. My friend Dan and his wife Melanie are about to have start this parenthood thing any day now! With these 4 months under my belt I get to give advice to someone like I actually have a clue what’s going on. That’s fun too.

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