Our current sadness

I feel like I should say something about the tragedy that happened in Charlottesville this weekend, but frankly I’m not sure what to really say. I shouldn’t have to say that white supremacy is wrong. I shouldn’t have to explain that fascism is bad for humanity. I shouldn’t need to state that violence isn’t the answer. Yet, here we are.

The fact that we’re continuing to need to have these conversations in 2017, in America, is beyond sad. As a people we should have moved so far beyond this. Yet, it keeps happening again and again. The worst parts of our past keep creeping to the forefront to express anger and hatred to those that are different than them. Even those who proport to hold the values of Christ, try to defend this ludicrous notion of ‘white power’, but thankfully not all. One of the most striking images from this weekend, was pastors of all denominations standing with linked arms between groups of protesters, trying to emphasize that Christ taught peace.

I recently had a long conversation with my son, emphasizing to him how important it is to realize how privileged he is, just because he is a white male. He doesn’t have to struggle in the same way that women and minorities often need to; with no effort on his part, just the color of his skin. My ability to pull myself out of a tough childhood was no different than many others, yet I succeeded, while others failed. Many times that was due to the fact that I had a leg up, in a world that accepted what I had to say by default vs. those who have diminished power because they are looked at with skepticism (at best) or hatred (at worst).

It’s all tiring and sad and makes me long for things of beauty, so I will simply end here, and share the photo at the top of this post, from my time up north, as a reminder that there are things of beauty in this world, despite what we see around us.

A Duluth SHT fatass

This weekend the wife and I headed up to the Duluth area to participate in a UMTR member’s fatass. For non-runners, a fatass means no prizes, no aid, no whining. It’s basically just a big fun run with a pot luck at the end. The course that this one was on was the Superior Hiking Trail south of Duluth, following the Wild Duluth 50K race.

We had decided to only do a portion of the course, but we still met up with everyone at the beginning before getting a ride to where we were starting. From the Magney-Snively trailhead, the course follows some majestic Minnesota mountains towards Ely’s Peak. It’s a very difficult and technical course, but you’re rewarded with amazing views. Eventually we came down from the hills and got to experience the SHT on the south side of Becks Road for the first time. This portion is incredibly runnable, with beautifully cleared trail. However, it’s not without elevation change. It was a constant up and down and was relentless in burning up your legs.

Since we didn’t need a ton of miles, we took a shortcut towards the end and called it good at 10.5 miles in 3:40. It wasn’t quite as far as we had planned, but when the SHT is involved you never get the miles you thought you would. Yet, it’s one of the most beautiful resources for runners, hikers and outdoor people in the region. It’s filled with amazing terrain, and spectacular vistas of northern Minnesota. It’s a cruel mistress, but one we keep coming back to again and again.

Trees in the fog

It was a foggy morning again this morning, and on my drive down to the coffee shop I came across a cool scene. This is near some baseball fields, but because of the dense fog you can’t really tell that there’s much out there besides a few trees.

I pulled it into Lightroom Mobile and de-saturated it for an even eerier effect.


12welve Eyes Brewing

I recently got to sample the latest brewery to open up in downtown Saint Paul: 12welve Eyes Brewing. This is a new brewery started by three gentlemen who all wear glasses, hence the name about 12 eyes. They are located in the historic Pioneer Endicott building, in the garden level. Because of this, they are the only skyway connected brewery in Saint Paul. With the boom in housing in downtown Saint Paul, this feature alone will help them generate a solid crowd of regulars.

I got there just as they were opening up in their first week of business. I took a seat at the bar and ordered up three small sample sizes of their 11 brews that they had on tap. I have to say that starting a new brewery with so many beers is a gutsy move. One of the biggest issues I’ve found with new breweries is that they get over ambitious and lose sight of quality by trying to do too much too soon.

Before I talk about the beer, I want to make one comment about the space. One of the key components in a great experience at a taproom is being able to order your beer as efficiently as possible. Many taprooms that I have been to have beertenders behind the bar taking orders wherever people can squeeze through and order. Or perhaps they pull aside a couple of stools to made a space, but it never feels like you know where to go to order. I incredibly happy to see 12welve Eyes has learned from others, and corrected this in their design. When you walk into the brewery, the entire end of the bar is dedicated to serving up beer without disrupting people sitting along the sides of the bar. It helps create a nice easy flow for people ordering.

However, I chose to sit at the bar, along the side, to enjoy my brews. The first brew I sampled was their lemon hefe, and wow was this one a winner in my book. They use lemon puree in it, and it created a beautiful, rich, lemon flavor. I don’t think I’ve ever had a beer quite like this one, and I could see enjoying this one again. I hope this one becomes one of their staple beers.

I then moved on to their Black IPA. This was well balanced, though not as hoppy as what most people consider a IPA (even a CDA version). It was still really pleasant and enjoyable and well brewed. I finished off with their brown ale, which was very delightful. It is brewed with oats which gave it a very unique character for a brown ale. It had a smooth finish, similar to much bigger beers, but with a lighter feel of a brown. Overall, I think it worked.

All the beer I sampled was well brewed and contained no flaws that I could detect. This was a pleasant surprise with a new brewery with so many taps flowing. 12welve Eyes is committed to being a nice local brewery for the area, and I think that they’re on a winning track. They have a nice taproom and a solid beer list. I’m looking forward to trying them again very, very soon.



Wither the Application

Despite the rise of apps on our phones and tablets, I find myself using dedicated applications on my computers less and less. I was contemplating this fact recently when I started using the online version of Office 365 for my work email, and foregoing starting up the dedicated Outlook app on my work computer. The latest version of Outlook online is actually very, very robust, and I’ve only found one or two occasions when I’ve had to boot back into the fat client to get something done. I’ve also started transitioning over to using the web versions of Word, PowerPoint and Excel, since they integrate so nicely with the web version of Outlook.

It shouldn’t surprise me that much since I’ve been application free for years at home. Ever since converting over to the Google suite of products, I almost never boot up a dedicated application for basic productivity. My email is just in tabs on my browser, and my office suite is a click away in Google Drive. To be honest, I don’t miss dedicated applications for these tasks at all. I’m able to be just as productive, and I don’t need to worry about installing software or keeping it up to date. As long as I have a modern web browser available to me I can do everything I need to do.