Saturday, September 21, 2013

Minnesota State Fair 2013

Almost caught up. Not that I'll be out of things to write about. I'll just be caught up on the picture heavy bits.  I suppose I could chunk things a little more efficiently, but I like to bundle my tasks for efficiency.

The State Fair marks sort of one year of being back on my bicycle.  I was on it before the end of September last year, but it was my first longer ride, and I remember how much it work me out - physically and mentally - in 2012.  It was within two weeks of the fair this year, or about 54 weeks of total tracking, that I hit 3000 miles of bicycling on RunKeeper.  Very close to 3000 miles in a year.  If only RAGBRAI had been 20 miles longer, I think I would have made it.  I set the new goal to 3500 miles in a year.  That might be wishful thinking. I was motivated to get my leg back in shape over the last year (and a half).  I might be trending toward lazy.  If I do, I'll just use Adam's excuse that I'm focusing on strength building and flexibility rather than long distance cycling.

Here's my favorite sight on reaching the fair.  The helmeted bear at the bike pen.  Hey.  Hey bear!  NICE HELMET!  Don't judge me.  You don't know whether the bear is Malaysian or not from this angle.

As usual, my first stop was at the Minnesota Farmer's Union, the place I learned to drink Americanos.  It was a bit too crowded to hang out this year, despite being there before things were even really open (maybe that's why), so I didn't sit and read.  Instead I went off and tried to cover most of the non-ride related fairgrounds before my wife and daughter showed up.  Usually they come pretty late, so I have time to loiter, but this time they wanted to see the Channel 9 news weatherman, so my alone time was limited.

Note the guy in the yellow shirt at the farmers' union.

Here he is in close up.  His shirt scares me.  It's scary with the caption.  It'd be terrifying without it.  Like he was a kidnapper or serial killer.

They don't really have boots for sale.  It should say "coffee".

I went to the Hamline cafeteria for breakfast.  It was good.  But it amazes me that the Chris Cakes folks on RAGBRAI can serve unlimited pancakes at the speed of pouring to thousands of passing cyclists, and the MN State Fair cafeterias have food they're keeping in warmers, there's generally a wait, and it's limited to a pancake or two.

Still, Hamline is so far ahead of the Salem Lutheran Church dicks (yes, dicks) who stopped me at the door last year and told me breakfast ended with the guy in front of me.  I'm still mad.  See that Lutheran dudes?  I'm not eating at your cafeteria!!!  I walked over there just to not eat there.  And I walked back later for a chocolate shake at the Kiwanis booth and didn't eat there AGAIN.  I think you should be surprised I didn't haul my Hamline breakfast over there to eat outside the doors.

This picture is for Adam.  When we were on RAGBRAI there were signs on the side of the road telling us Pain is Weakness Leaving Your Body.  I reminded Adam of it constantly.  He wasn't reassured by the thought. I think he preferred to be weak.

The Channel 9 news area.  I showed up just as Keith Marler, the local meteorologist, got off the golf cart. I very much enjoy getting the weather from him in the morning before work.  Kyle might tell you I also like Kelsey Soby (here, enjoy almost 3 minutes of her dancing) and her traffic reports, which is true.  But as you can see in the dancing video, Keith is a good sport and joins in the dancing frequently. I like the part around 2:11 where he's dancing to ABBA with Thor's hammer.  I was worried Eryn would miss him, but she showed up in time to catch Keith and Tom Butler and have her picture taken with each of them.  Tom was incredibly nice.  Very pleasant guy to talk to and was wonderful with kids.

All these cat pictures are for Ming.  The fair is full of cat-related art.  Cat needlepoint.

Cat needlepoint with bonus yarn.

And cat tiles, which Kyle pointed out to me first.  I find the one of the cat giving the other cat a massage on the beach particular strange.  Why?  What makes you think, I'd like to make a tile, and I've got this picture of massaging cats in my head.  Not massaging them myself.  Massaging each other.  What sort of freak do you take me for?

In the arts building.  The Minnesota Wheelmen exhibit.  A neat array of bicycles including gearless (driven by a screw of sorts), and the next one...

..with a suspension seat.  I'm not sure how comfortable that would really be.  What if it sags?  But it's got the cut out center a hundred years ahead of the newfangled open centered seats.  The headlight is interesting too.  No wires.  So it's probably powered by burning something like oil (whale or otherwise).

Pretty cool Wizard of Oz pinball machine (alt) over at the games area: "Each Oz pinball machine is the size of a casket built for a member of the Lollipop Guild. On this day in early fall, millions of dollars of parts—LED lights and emerald-green legs and a forest’s worth of anthropomorphic plastic trees—are sitting in cardboard boxes, waiting to be fished out by arcade-world craftsmen. On one assembly line, they’ll put together the machine’s heart, adding rails, rollover buttons, and magnets to the yellow-brick-road-laden playfield. They’ll also add the brains, stuffing the PC board, power supply, and other electronics inside the Wizard of Oz’s exterior shell."

All of that is great - but Toto escaping pisses me off greatly.  Every time I thought I was doing a good job Toto would run away and I'd have to save him and I'm pretty sure it takes a lot of practice to become a well versed Toto-saving Dorothy.

Me as a corndog! If you're not willing to be an idiot, I'm not sure the MN State Fair is really for you.  People would probably say the same thing about me for my limited food intake.  I had a chocolate shake, a real breakfast, previously pictured, a medium fry I ate half of, some honey-sunflower seed ice cream, and a lot of cider ice pops, on top of 50 miles of bicycling.  I didn't even make up the calories I burned.

Eryn loves the midway.  It's my least favorite part of the fair.  I like all the Minnesota-centric stuff.  This ride attempted to capture at least a little bit of Minnesota with this wonderful air brushed Prince art.

See...Minnesota-centric stuff.  I went to the rooster crowing contest while my family was at the midway.  That's right, for over thirty minutes I stood behind this guy who recorded whether his chicken was getting in the most crows.  I missed being a counter by moments, so I adopted the last chicken to get a counter, the little one in the lower left corner.

He was pretty noisy for the first ten minutes and was winning, but then he wore out and everyone surpassed him.  Early performer.  Got our hopes up and then they were gone, like the sunrise.

And I recorded it!  Twice!  Now you can enjoy all the sounds of roosters crowing in the poultry building.

In case a minute wasn't enough for you.

Ha...Polish, non-bearded, golden cock.  It was a building full of cocks.  And turkeys.  And geese.  And ducks.  At least I think there were ducks.  I didn't get further than the first three.

I took a picture of this because this plaque told me the giant slide is as old as I am.  Actually, it's a few months older than I am because it has an August birthday.

We met up with my brother and his family and my parents.  Drew didn't want to ride the slingshot with my nephew, so he asked Eryn and she was all on board.  It doesn't look scary here...

...but it does here.

More things that are better than the midway.  Lifesize mermaid art made from recycled materials.

Grace Jones made out of seeds.

A very pissed off cat made out of seeds (grains).

And grumpy cat made out of seeds.  There was a Captain Kirk with the Gorn done in seeds as well.  Nice.  The whole cat video extravaganza was at the State Fair this year.  I saw several older women standing around in grumpy cat and "humorous" cat t-shirts.

I like the corndog picture better.  This is over where the cider freezes were and the honey-sunflower ice cream.  We bumped into my wife's cousin over there and her family, so we hung out for a while and had freezes and watched the bee presentation.  Good time.  I think this picture is weird because that looks like it could be me (the body - the head obviously looks like me).  My old body - around age 21 or 22.  But semi-recognizable as about right proportionately.

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