Since the free fishing weekend coincides with MLK day, many people are already off of work. I signed up for the early afternoon session and walked with the family down to Moore Lake during my lunch hour. The guides were super knowledgeable, and they had everything set up and ready to – including bait! 🪱
They talked about ice safety and showed the depth of the ice (over 20″ this and last year) – my 9yo daughter was especially concerned about this. The guide had half a dozen holes already augered, with a 5-gallon pail to sit on and Vexilar sonar rigs ready to go. They supplied the ice fishing rods and even had bait ready to drop in. Both times we’ve gone, everyone caught at least one fish.
In 2022 all of our catches were small perch.
Marlo became the media darling of Fridley as her picture was featured in both the Fridley newsletter and the Parks & Rec catalog.
No aerator for 2023
For this year, there’s sort of an interesting experiment taking place. Moore Lake Park is being renovated in 2023. Part of the renovation includes the removal of a building that houses the aeration pump, so it’s not being run during the 2022-2023 winter season.
While the aeration system was installed to prevent winterkill, the real risk of winter fish kill is on the west side of the lake, where the water is extremely shallow. The aeration, which was intended for good, also has negative consequences. Like leaving a hole in the ice which tempts waterfowl to stay for the winter, rather than migrating south. Whatever the case is, I’m glad it’s being tried, and eager to see what the result is in the spring.
Since the aerator wasn’t running, we were able to fish the spot that would normally be a hole in the ice.
Quickly after the guide refreshed us on using the ice fishing sonar, we started getting bites. He exclaimed “Fish on!” as we were all getting some action. This year it was nothing but fat sunfish, which was fun. Everyone caught at least one fish. Check out Jessi’s Blue Gill Sunfish, what a beauty! 🐟
10/10 Would Fish Again
Like I said, this event makes it so fun and easy that I considered getting ice fishing gear. But for $5, I could bring the entire family a dozen times to this event before I equal the cost of the sonar setup. Not to mention the ice auger, the sled, the ice fishing rod, etc. But it makes me think about it! Next year I might bring my Sonarphone T-Pod and see how it compares to the Vexilar ice-ducer. Or maybe I’ll look at something like the Deeper Sonar Pro+ 2 which has a ice-ducer like display on their app (and can be used in the summer too).
I’m still happy to talk down to the lake with the family once a year on my lunch break. We’re guaranteed a catch 🎣
I got my daughter a FItbit Ace 2 from Best Buy for her birthday in 2021. You can get the older model Ace 2 there frequently on sale for less than $50. I honestly didn’t think she’s wear it, but I quickly learned she loved completing the challenges that it offered. She’s the type of kid that never sits still, so it seemed like a good fit.
She stopped wearing it later in the year. I thought getting her a new band for Christmas would get her excited about wearing it again, but my wife thought it was a lost cause. After Christmas came and went I asked her why she didn’t wear it, and it was because she didn’t like the band! 💡So I decided to revisit a new band for her birthday.
There are several big band stores out there like StrapsCo and Axios that sell several different styles of Fitbit bands. I really thought she’d like this rainbow one (which cost as much as I spent on the watch) 😅
Inspire 2 / Ace 2 bands – interchangeable?
So I ordered it because it claimed the Inspire 2 bands also work on the the Ace 2… sort of…
When I got the band, there was one problem. There’s an extra ridge on the band that must work on the Inspire but the Ace doesn’t accommodate it.
That was back in 2013-14, and we didn’t renew the orchestra tickets for the next couple years. Jessi was getting more involved with winter guard, which presented several scheduling challenges. I realized I missed it… dearly.
My Vikings season tickets were $130 per game. They sell you ten games, which is a crock in my opinion because two of the games are preseason and some of those you couldn’t even give the tickets away – let alone selling them for $100. Ten games times two seats was $2700 out the door with fees and everything.
If I did 10 concerts at $26/seat times two it would be $520, probably $550 or less with taxes and fees. It’s 20% of the cost of Vikings tickets, and leaves me feeling far more satisfied. The best part is – I can reliably select the cheapest tickets at Orchestra Hall. Sonically, there’s not a bad seat in the house.
For this season I did a Create Your Own Series where you only need to choose 3 concerts. I set out to choose 6, but ultimately picked 5. It was partly for scheduling reasons, but also because I picked the Empire Strikes Back which was twice the cost of the normal cheap seats.
Still at slightly over $100 for two to watch the whole Empire Strikes Back movie with a live orchestra isn’t bad. It’s less than one seat at a Vikings game which my son would have zero interest in anyway.
Our first visit this season was for the opener. Going back to Orchestra Hall was like visiting an old friend. It’s still mostly old people, but now I’m somewhere in the middle. Jessi and I are less conspicuous visiting the orchestra in our 40s vs. in our 20s when it seemed everyone wanted to know why we were there.
Pro-tip: I learned that you can bring light liquids like Prosecco or white wine into the concert hall, but you can’t bring in red wine or coffee 🤔 I didn’t ask about beer – I will next time.
I was excited for the Requiem for Brass and Percussion and the Grieg Piano Concerto. The orchestra delivered. The crowd was really into it as well, and gave the pianist, Juho Pohjonen, such an ovation that he was compelled to give an encore. 😍
I enjoy Elgar’s Enigma Variations, and my favorite movement is Nimrod. But this piece wasn’t what attracted me to this concert. Maybe it was because I had heard it performed when I had my last set of season tickets. In 2014 they performed it with a voice actor who would introduce the personalities for which each variation was composed, right before it was performed.
But today my love affair with Nimrod was renewed. Because of the narration before, I did not realize that the previous movement W.N. (Winifred Norbury) goes right into Nimrod without a break.
At the concert, Osmo Vanska had the first violins so quiet at the end of W.N. that I was wondering when it would end. It had me on the edge of my seat… they were molto pianissimo, but they never stopped. And then the gentle strains of Nimrod began. The hair on my arms stood up and it brought a smile to my face. Magnifico!
Snacks and Salutations
After the concert we had dessert from Edwards Dessert Kitchen, who will be serving desserts in the hall foyer for the season 😋 By spending $10 at their stand I also got copy of the Minnesota Orchestra Mahler 1 CD. It came in a very nice (and environmentally friendly!) card-stock case. I’m glad some people still deem the compact disc as a valuable form of media for music. It has yet to be improved upon!
Osmo Vanska was signing copies of the CDs after the concert. I complimented him on the transition from Winifred to Nimrod and how it brought a tear to my eye. He thanked me in his thick Finnish accent, and signed the cover of the case. What a night!
My orchestra experience got to extend into the next day as I soaked in Mahler’s First in the car while on an errand.
I know most football fans would not find the orchestra as fulfilling as a solid 42-0 routing of an opponent, but I’d like to know what events give you similar gratification. Post a comment below, I’m always looking for new avenues to explore.
I thought about posting this to streets.mn as part of their Bike To Work Week series. But I’m going to go beyond their editorial policy and name names. These terrible drivers need to be outed to their neighbors and peers. So here it is, my own Bike To Work Week Wall of Shame.
Normally my commute just consists of me walking down the stairs to my office.
But there were plenty of other trips to be taken during Bike to Work Week that I consider commutes – whether they were to school, the grocery store, or piano lessons. Here are some of the speed bumps I encountered on the way.
In early May I rode with my son to and from school. They were make-up days for the mid-April blizzard that interfered with our 30 days of biking plans. On the way to school I noticed a guy on our route taking the plow off of the front of his truck. He obviously plowed driveways with his vehicle in the winter.
On the way home from dropping Jules at school, I was traveling on Able Street southbound in Fridley. As I approached West Moore Lake Drive I noticed that the plow guy was now in his truck, waiting to turn right on Able Street. Here is my route in blue and his route in red:
He waited for me to pass – I had the right of way. But I could tell he was already impatient. He was one of those drivers that never fully stops on a right turn. His truck just kept rolling. I wondered had slowed down, if we would have simply crashed there in slow motion.
I kept on, and he pulled behind me. Sensing his impatience ahead of time, I took the lane (near the middle of the road) because in 200 feet I’d be turning left on Moore Lake Drive and then on to the shoulder where quick-tempered drivers like him could safely pass.
At one point I believe he actually tried to pass me on the left in the 200 feet from Carol Drive to Moore Lake Drive – I didn’t look back, I was busy pedaling hard so he wouldn’t run me over and kill me.
Once on Moore Lake Drive, I went to the shoulder and he shouted some unintelligible curse-laden something-or-other about “cars” (that’s all I could make out).
What could I do? It clearly was harassment. Remember how I saw him taking off his plow? With a little research I found his business, Greenmakers Lawn Care & Landscaping, which has a commercially driven vehicle – the very truck he was harassing me with. So I filed a complaint with MnDOT. Let me tell you how good it felt to hit submit on that form. If you’re ever harassed by a commercial driver you should use this tool.
To my surprise MnDOT actually called me on the phone to speak about the incident before they followed up with the driver. 💯
I frequently ride in the road on E. Moore Lake Drive. There is a bike trail on this stretch, but it is in such terrible shape that it will rattle your brain loose. I’ll take the ultra-smooth road, plus there’s an extra lane here that doesn’t get much use.
On this particular day I was riding with my son to piano lessons. Thank God I took the lead here. This woman who was going to the strip mall crossed right in front of us. I swear if I leaned over the handlebars I would have been able to touch her car.
I decided to take action and follow her for a chat. “Can you do that?” my son asked. “Watch me.”
I pulled up behind her car and snapped this photo just as she got out:
I told her that she pulled right in front of us almost causing a crash. I reminded her that we had the right of way and that she can’t turn in front of us from the left lane, cutting us off. Then I gave her a chance to reply by asking “What were you thinking?!?”
“I was navigating”
She replied as she gestured to the phone in her hand.
So this is what it’s come to. We’re all going to get run over by idiots who can’t take their face off of a screen for even the shortest of drives. Be safe out there everyone – stay vigilant and get home safe!
It saddens and enrages me to read a story like this. This is a moment for our local government to act, and for our judicial system to stand-up.
Streets for People
61st St. NE in Fridley has 12-foot lanes. This is the national standard for lane width on the interstate highway (55+mph). We put that road between two schools, between the park and the community center. This is proof-positive that we care more about the vehicles going through this area more than our own children.
I’ve spoken to city staff about reducing the lane widths and adding bike lanes here and it may happen. This is really the only way to slow things down. The road needs to be narrower, or at least seem narrower (with paint). Then we need to “put stuff in the way.” Bump-outs, bollards, parked cars, and bike lanes are other great techniques for making the road busier. The more the driver must concentrate on, the slower he’ll go. It seems counter-intuitive, but the wide lanes, barren clear-zones, and open sight-lines have only made us all feel safer in our cars, which leads to driving faster.
We need to stop the victim blaming. Whether or not the student was in the crosswalk is irrelevant. It was at 3:15pm after school got out and other students were present. I went to the site of the crash less than a week later.
It was 4:15pm and still light out even an hour after the crash.
So what is the response? Notice the plastic green fence above by the school sign. The schools put up this temporary fence following the crash to prevent students from crossing outside of the crosswalk areas. They went so far as to block their own walkways:
The fence is just another ugly fence that is added to the huge inventory of ugly chain-link fence here in Fridley.
This sends the message that “Streets are for cars, kids!” Especially the way we build them. Adding a fence is just putting lipstick on this pig and going in the wrong direction. We need to slow the cars, not impede the people. Drivers go way too fast here and simple police enforcement isn’t enough when lives are at stake…
I refuse to call this incident an accident because this was no accident. It was a crash. People will only change their behavior when there are real consequences – ones beyond the traffic stop. The perfect crime right now is to kill someone with your car. In New York, only 5% of drivers involved in fatal crashes are arrested. The Dutch wrestled with this in the 1970s with a campaign called Stop de Kindermoord (Stop the child murder). The uprising transformed the nation into a bicycle and pedestrian friendly mecca. In the Netherlands the drivers are responsible for their actions; manslaughter is murder – plain and simple. Here in the USA lawyers have invented terms like involuntary manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter that are labeled negligent acts. The driver was more than negligent and should be punished the fullest extent.
Right now you can do two things to help facilitate change:
Email Mayor Scott Lund – 61st is a city street, not a county road, so there’s no red-tape. It should be put at the top of the city’s restriping list.