Thursday, August 26, 2010

Gentile Summit 2010 - A photo essay with word and stuff

Welcome to my fly-over state. Welcome to Minnesota!

I really am quite proud of my state. It's breathtakingly beautiful. We get to enjoy all 4 season. I really do enjoy all of them (if I had to rank them: Fall, Spring, Winter, Summer - more on that later).

RamaRama was organizing a meeting of the annual Gentile Summit. If I'm not mistaken, this usually occurs in Chicago, or there abouts. While Chicago is fun and all, Minnesota had something new to offer: Target Field. The new home of the Minnesota Twins. Did you notice over there on the right, their magic number is 33 at the time of this writing? Not that I'm counting or anything. Lightning36 will never forgive me if I highlight the Twins lead the Central division by 3.5 games over the Mighty Whites (The Chicago White Sox).

How could I not participate in a blogger gather here in the greatest state in the Union?

Honey? Can I borrow the minivan, drive to Minneapolis, get a hotel room, drink beer, go to Target Field, watch a Twins game, drink beer, drink beer, photograph the city, drink beer, sleep, go out for a so-so breakfast, think to myself "I'm never drinking beer again", fill the minivan with bloggers and a girlfriend, drive to the golf course rated in City Pages as "The Best Golf Course To Hide A Body", go golfing, fear finding a body when my drive goes deep in the woods, drink more water then there is in any one of the 10,000 lakes, drink a little more beer (I can't so no forever...), say good bye and drive home? Pleeeeaaaaassssseeeee?

I love you honey!

The memories I have from this weekend are those of great friends and great times. What a blast.

My first day of the long weekend went something like this.

  1. Get my self and the kids up like any other work day Friday. Listen to the moan and complain about not wanting to brush something. Yada yada yada. Just like every other day. Only, I didn't seem to care so much. I just wanted to get going. I need to be at the office for 4 hours and then BOOM! I'm out of there. 4 hours...
  2. Get to work. Realize I'm completely out of Give A Sh!t. Holy crap - 4 hours is a friggin' lifetime.
  3. Hate twitter cuz people are talking about Summit things. 
  4. Notice that time has stopped.
  5. Call help desk and ask why time has stopped.
  6. Clocks reset.
  7. Time is moving slower then ever. FML.
You get the idea. I killed 4 hours at the office and the like a rocket, I was out of there. Get in the car, pick up the kids. Go home cuz I'll be damned if go to Minneapolis today in a suit. I have some dignity. Drive to my home town, dodging severe thunderstorms. This time of year, we don't usually go more the a few hours without sauna level humidity or a severe thunderstorm. Did I mention, welcome to Minnesota? Anywho. Drop the kids off at Grandma's Weekend Daycare and Spa.

Did you know that most traffic laws are optional if there's cold beer waiting at your destination? I didn't either, but I convinced myself that it had to be true. That theory was working great until I ran into the worlds longest construction zone. In all honesty, Minnesota has two seasons. Winter and Construction. From Hastings to Cottage Grove was under construction. FML.

I break free from the construction zone and speed into the heart of the metro area. I'm free! I'm free! To come to a crawling pace cuz it's now 3 in the afternoon and metro drivers suck. For the love of Pete. I'm never going to drink beer. At this speed, I figure there's no reason not to send a text message to RamaRama and Drizz:
Now I remember why I hate driving in Minneapolis.

Pulling off the interstate I entered Minneapolis at around the University area. 7 corners to be exact. I remember thinking to myself, this would be a great area to meet for some beers. There's some legendary bars here. Ha.

I get to the hotel, check in and immediately text Drizz, "I'm here." "Great! We are heading over to Old Town Brewery. Meet us there. You might want to drive."

WTF? I just drove 2 hours to get here. I look up Old Town Brewery my phone cuz it really sounded familiar. Sure as shit. It's back in 7 corners.

I'm not driving. I have beers to drink, so I grab a cab. Look what was waiting on the other end of a $10 cab ride. It's a thing of absolute beauty.

I only waited a few minutes, but was joined by RamaRama, Molly, Minneapolis Tim and StB. After a few beers, a bit of food, and laughs all around as Drizz schooled Minneapolis Tim at pool. We headed back to Rama Rama's apartment. This is the view from his roof back at the city. Wow.

I think it's no secret, I love beer. Nom nom. When I saw StB tweeting about bringing a case of Yuengling, I was still at work. Crying openly in my cubicle. "There's never gonna be any left for me!" Oh, but there was. You see in the background, that's Target Field back there. I'm officially jealous of this apartment.

This is exactly how Minnesotans pass the time before a baseball game. We play cornhole for hours on end. What a great venue. Flat. Open. Lots of places to sit. Great view. Did I mention that?

This is your standard gathering group photo. To everyone reading this, I'd like to introduce you to everyone. It was wicked ass bright up there. Camera bag for a tripod, and voila! Group photo. (Back row) StB, Molly, Girl, Emet, Joe Speaker, Chad, Minneapolis Tim, Girl, Boy (Front row) DonkeyPuncher, Drizz and myself. That's everyone that attended the game.
You can't go to a Twins game without taking a picture of Joe Mauer. It's required by local code.

This is the back of the head of the lady that everyone in our group accidentally kicked in the back at least once. I may not have mentioned this but it was uncomfortably humid here that summer weekend. My beer glass is dripping from condensation. It slipped out of my hand fell straight down and splashed everyone. She was not amused. Minneapolis Tim apologized quickly for it. It really was an accident. Still, she wasn't amused. Her husband thanked us for that. My foot slipped a few minutes later and kicked her in the ass again. Oh my. She was mad. Everyone wave and say Hi! 

I love this shot. Joe Speaker is looking disgruntled as his A's can get hit at will but can't seem to touch home plate. Our token Brewer's fan, StB is just enjoying the game. Drizz is in his happy place and Molly is posing for the camera. Hi Molly!

I missed the conversation leading up to this. But I'm guessing that since it was so humid, he was taking advantage of the extra shelf space.

Ya, he's just letting it park there for a while.

You may have read in some of the recaps of the weekend, there was a priest sitting behind us with his dad. Turns out he was a big Twins fan. The father probably got that from his father. We had a great time talking with him. Outside of Drizz swearing in front of him twice in a few seconds, everyone was at their blogger best behavior. He was happy to pose for pictures with us at the end of the game.

Final score 4-3. Twins Win! Twins Win! Joe Speaker didn't take this well. It took a sanity walk and then proceeded to talk on his cell phone to everyone in the greater Oakland area telling bad beat stories about this game. Not sure if you can read it but they had 13 hits and only 3 runs. That ain't good.

I did shoot a panorama of from our seats. Great spot to watch a game!

Back at Chad's apartment after the game and more corn hole. There had been some rain making for a nicely reflecting roof.

Ah. Minneapolis at night. I'm not really sure why it is, but when I drink a lot, I figure I can hand hold night shots with my camera. I've done this for years. I crank up the ISO, take a big swig of beer and click. That brightly lit building in the foreground, that's Sex World. We didn't go, but it seems there's a geocache near there. Hm...

Drizz demonstrating his prowess at the game. I believe he won 11 straight. Ride'm cowboy!

One of my favorite shots from the weekend. Heck, I even made it my submission for the 52 week challenge I've been sucking at since January first. Check it out here.

Here are some of the guys, taking a break. Great seats.

Kind of a fun shot showing StB and Molly holding the LED lights. They worked great for the game. Also a nice effect for the shots.

I thought this was cool. Dark roof, cornhole game, big bright city in the background.

The munchies started setting in around some time after dark. I'd ceased being able or caring what time it was a long time ago. We headed over to Pizza Luce for more beer and some really fantastic pizzas.

Below is a conversation I witnessed. I believe the solved all the worlds problems. Just look at that concentration.

Much laughing. Drizz and DonkeyPuncher.

I must be thinking I can do product photos while hammered. Nice depth of field but what the hell is this supposed to mean?

Somewhere along the way, we headed over to a bar I can't remember the name. I was handed a Pabst Blue Ribbon. It looked interesting to me so I took a shot of it. I had now been drinking for almost 12 hours straight.
At some point, this next picture happened. I don't remember taking this photo. Someone else might have had my camera. I couldn't tell you. What I do know is that Drizz was not the first person to ever crush a PBR can against their head. It's what boys do in Minnesota. No one knows why.

The next day, we went back to Pizza Luce for breakfast. We were hung over hungry. Note to self: Pizza Luce's breakfast was rather meh. My sunny eggs were a bit over done and my hashbrowns had been done a while before I got them. The are, however, big on vegan breakfast food. Um, ya.

We collected ourselves, and headed over to the Theodore Wirth municipal golf course.  Chad told us that City Pages had listed it as the best golf course to hide a body. Just recently, they had found a body there. It's near North Minneapolis. That would be the not so Minnesota nice part of Minneapolis.

The course had beautiful views of the city. A tournament had been played the same day, so it really was a bit rough out there. Not a huge problem. I hadn't hit a golf ball in about 8 years. I don't think I've hit one since my youngest was born. She's 7. Didn't matter, I was out driving everyone in my 3-some. Want to know my secret? First, I was using the Great Big Bearth II driver. From what I'm told, it has a MASSIVE sweet spot. Second, each and every time I stepped up to the ball, I had to go through the mental checklist on how to hit a driver. I had forgotten all of my bad habits. I also played 3 days a week as a young man.

~6 hours of golfing and I'm guessing 6 bottles of water for me. The golfing was done. I succeeded in not humiliating myself and shooting a 118. Not too shabby for borrowed clubs and 8 years of rust. Joe Speaker, Emet and I headed over to Runyon's for some food. I had had an awesome time. I only booked the room for Friday night. Seems several of the out of town guests aren't such big fans of the burbs so we didn't head out there to Drizz's place for cards. I decided I'd head back home for some R&R in my own bed. I'd packed a lot in the previous 30 some hours. At night on a Saturday, I figured I could probably get home in a little over an hour. As luck would have it, as soon as I started hitting full speed on I94, the tunnel is under construction and I'm stuck in bumper to bumper traffic at 11 PM on a Saturday night.

Now I remember why I hate driving in Minneapolis.

I'm so ready to head back to Vegas in December. The Winter Gathering just can't get here soon enough. I'm booked at the MGM. Getting there Thursday sometime and leaving some time on Monday. I suppose I should book a flight soon. OhCountess is waffling back and forth about whether or not she's going. It's one thing to book a room and end up going solo, it's another to buy a plane ticket.

Thank you everyone! I had a great time. I could see this weekend becoming a habit for me. Until we meet again...


MHG said...

Great recap, great photos. Looks like you had a blast! Looking forward to the winter gathering and hopefully not finding an excuse to cancel this year.

lightning36 said...

Great post ... except all the mentions of the damn Twinkies.

Memphis MOJO said...

Nice photos, great looking group. I see you got one of Joe Mauer on base. Nice work, Mauer.

Drizztdj said...

Someone needs to stand next to me next time with one of those *BLEEP* machines.

Great pics sir, still love that rooftop pic. Would like to use it as a profile pic.

Wolfshead said...


1. How did Drizz survive that text? i would have shot him.

2. Blogger best behavior? Am I then to assume you were all excommunicated by the 3rd inning?

3. A pizza place for breakfast? And you wonder why it's meh.

Sounds like it was a great time. If you ever make it down this way we'll have to organize a day trip to the Yuengling brewery just for you.

StB said...

Well said Tim. This post brought many smiles to my face. It was a great weekend.