Out and About

NWS Launching a Weather Balloon

The National Weather Service launches two weather balloons each day, separated by 12 hours. I took these photos at 6 a.m. this morning. The next launch is presumably at 6 p.m. (these times are probably different if the time is CST rather than CDT).

If you ever come across a weather balloon on the ground when you’re walking around, follow the instructions to send it back to the National Weather Service, since they reuse some of the equipment. As this “kidscorner” article on the National Weather Service’s website states, “The balloon flights last for around 2 hours, can drift as far as 125 miles away, and rise up to over 100,000 ft. (about 20 miles) in the atmosphere!”

These photos were taken at the National Weather Service Forecast Office in the Twin Cities/Chanhassen, Minnesota.

Getting ready to bring out the weather balloon
Getting ready to bring out the weather balloon
Bringing out the balloon
Getting ready to launch the balloon
The balloon launches
The balloon quickly rises
Personal Life

My Dad Agrees to a Rare Family Photo, With Conditions

Sometime within the last week, I bought flags for my mom, my dad, and myself. I did this because I wanted a family photo on the Fourth of July, since I realized there weren’t any photos of my dad on this blog.

I almost forgot about my photo opportunity this evening, but luckily remembered just as my dad was about to go upstairs to his bedroom. When my dad came outside this evening for the family photo, I told him where I wanted the photo—by a tree—but he started yelling loudly at me and saying he can’t go down that far in our yard.

My dad is in a walker and likes to stay at home in the kitchen, presumably because it’s hard for him to get around. (With that said, he always liked spending most of his time in the kitchen even when he wasn’t in a walker, which basically amounts to all my life.)

Back to the story, he said he needed to be in front of my mom’s flower garden. But not only that, he insisted that he rotate his walker such that a compost bin and his old SUV in our garage are my background. Yet my parents got to have flowers as their background. When I asked if we could rotate ourselves a different way—so that the compost bin and his old SUV in our garage are not by me—my dad started crying loudly. Interestingly, he stopped crying immediately after I let him get his way.

Indeed, I acquiesced, since I wanted a photo with the flags on the Fourth of July. The photo below, which was taken by me with my smartphone, is probably the one where the compost bin and garage show up the least (my head is blocking most of it).

My dad’s T-shirt reads, “RUNNING THE COUNTRY IS LIKE RIDING A BIKE,” which is apparently a reference to President Biden falling off his bike. Most of my dad’s shirts have a political message.

In other news, I’m eight months sober. No alcohol, no nicotine, no drugs. Also, a hard pass for Delta-9 THC, which became legal in Minnesota on July 1. If everyone else in my family followed suit, many of our problems would dissipate. #NQTD

Note: The backward flag was unintentional (at least on my part).

My family holding flags in our yard on the Fourth of July

UPDATE, 07/04/2022: Since I’m not one to end a holiday (or any day, really) on a bad note, here is a photograph of the grand finale of Chanhassen’s fireworks display at Lake Ann. I stood across the street from Paisley Park to get this photo. It’s where I was last year as well.

Chanhassen’s fireworks display at Lake Ann (I was standing across the street from Paisley Park)

UPDATE, 07/05/2022: I took a portrait of just my dad this morning. Now I have recent portraits of my mom, dad, grandpa, and grandma. Although I recently visited my grandparents’ house, my dad stayed home. This portrait was taken in the same place as the photo with the flags from yesterday evening. The lighting is harsh and could have been ameliorated by using fill flash, but I currently do not have a flash for my Canon camera. It probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to get one.

Portrait of my dad

UPDATE, 07/08/2022: While watching “The Ingraham Angle” on Fox News (with Raymond Arroyo filling in), I discovered my dad’s shirt is a reference to a video taken by a reporter named Nikki Schwab.

Out and About

Chanhassen’s 2022 Fourth of July Celebration

My mom and I went to Chanhassen’s Fourth of July celebration two times today (it is free, after all). It was sprinkling the first time we went at about 2:30 p.m., but otherwise the weather was nice; the precipitation was over by the second time we went at about 6:45 p.m. The weather is significant because, for Independence Day, there will be heavy rain and a chance of thunderstorms.

All photos were taken with my smartphone.

Coin pusher game with a memento mori
Water Hogs
Break a Bottle
Tickets, ATM, and Ferris wheel
Fair food
Lemonade concession stand
More fair food
View from the Ferris wheel
Self-portrait from the top of the Ferris wheel. I also took photos of my mom and myself on the Ferris wheel last year.
Pirate’s Fury
Various stuffed animals for prizes (including pugs!)
Out and About Pug Life

Visiting My Grandparents for the First Time During the Pandemic

Today, my mom and I drove to see my grandparents in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. I had not seen them in person since the pandemic started, though my mom had. It was nice to see them, since it seemed like it had been so long. The temperature was mild, it was sunny, and there was no noticeable wind, which were all perfect for hanging out in their backyard during the start of the Fourth of July weekend.

My puggles, mom, and grandparents
Portrait of my mom
Portrait of my grandma
Portrait of my grandpa
Portrait of my grandpa and grandma
Out and About

Who Makes Sunsets? Not the Government.

Who makes sunsets? My sources tell me it’s not the government.

But, tonight, I did get to experience my first nice sunset in a long time. Even though yesterday I posted about why smartphones are not replacements for professional cameras, I went on a walk this evening with only my smartphone for a camera.

I took these photos of the National Weather Service Forecast Office in the Twin Cities/Chanhassen, Minnesota. For the uninitiated, I have been photographing this entity since at least high school. It’s located right next to my neighborhood, and it’s been pretty neat getting to grow up next to it.

Pictured on the right is the Doppler radar
This is the building where they inflate the weather balloons. The dome on top houses the tracking antenna.
Pictured is the Doppler radar and the office building
Out and About

Carver County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse

I went to the grocery store Lunds & Byerlys in Chanhassen, Minnesota, at about 11 a.m. today. As I parked my car, I saw two people riding horses in the parking lot. Not wanting to miss a photo opportunity, I ran up to the equestrians. I presumed they were with the Carver County Sheriff’s Office and practicing for the Fourth of July (though I never bothered to ask what they were doing). I did, however, ask if they were police officers, and they said, “No,” but they did say they were volunteers for the Carver County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse. They then told me to send a photo to the Carver County Sheriff’s Office so they can post it, which I will do after I post this article.

On a related note, today is the 15th anniversary of the iPhone. See this article from the Associated Press to find out what some of their photographers from all over the world think of the iPhone. Note: It might not be what you expect! (They’ll stick with their professional cameras, but the smartphone still has its uses, such as for this photo I took of horses in a parking lot when I didn’t have my professional camera.)

Carver County Sheriff’s Office Mounted Posse at Lunds & Byerlys in Chanhassen, Minnesota
Pug Life

It’s Meteorological Summer!

June 1 is the first day of meteorological summer, which is based on the temperature cycle. But some contend the first day of summer is actually June 20–22, the solstice, which is based on the position of Earth in relation to the Sun. In any case, today’s blue sky and fluffy clouds look like summer. I took these photos with my phone.

Song of the day: The Orb – Little Fluffy Clouds.

Headshot of Missy
Side profile of Pugsley
Out and About

Late Spring at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum

Today, my mom and I checked out the 40,000 blooming tulips and completed the Three-Mile Walk at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum in Chaska, Minnesota.

Red, orange, and yellow tulips
Pink tulips
Red and white tulips
Idyllic path near the beginning of the Three-Mile Walk
Athyrium filix-femina, the lady fern
Fallen Quercus rubra, the red oak
My mom sitting on a bench
Fallen cones from Pinus wallichiana, the western Himalayan pine
Scenic view
Male red-winged blackbird on cattails by a pond
Mushy path in a bubbling bog
Signpost along the Three-Mile Walk
Out and About

Excelsior at the Golden Hour

For my first photos of 2022 (taken with my professional camera), I visited Excelsior, Minnesota, at the golden hour—the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. I was there today for the sunset. These photos depict some of my favorite places as a child.

The Glow Lounge (I’m not sure what it is)
Excelsior Coin & Collectibles, a shop I used to visit as a child to add to my coin collection
Licks Unlimited, where my favorite ice cream flavor was Superman
Excelsior Dock Cinema, where they are showing the 2022 adaptation of Stephen King’s 1980 novel, Firestarter. I didn’t see that many movies here as a child, but I do remember seeing Twister.
Leipold’s, a store selling antiques and odds and ends. There was an article about this unique store in the Star Tribune, which one can read here.
An abandoned gas station in the heart of Excelsior. I wonder what they’re planning on doing with this building.
Trinity Episcopal Church, the church my family attended when I was a child was parked near Lake Minnetonka
Lady of the Lake, a three-deck charter boat on Lake Minnetonka
A tree in the foreground and the moon in the way, way background
Commons Ballpark
Bark on three similar trees near Lake Minnetonka
Lake Minnetonka two minutes before sunset
Pug Life

Carver Park Reserve Off-Leash Dog Park in Autumn

Today, my mom, puggles, and I made it to Carver Park Reserve Off-Leash Dog Park (that’s a mouthful) in Victoria, Minnesota. This dog park is actually the only dog park we knew about after getting Pugsley, and it wasn’t for quite some time that we found out about all the other dog parks in the area.

According to the Minnesota DNR’s Fall Color Finder, now is the perfect time for fall colors in Victoria. However, fall colors this year are not as spectacular as other years because of the drought we had this summer. Nevertheless, it was a nice day to visit a dog park and get some photos.

Missy and Pugsley by a fence
Pugsley and I looking at each other
Pugsley by a fence and entrance to the area for small dogs. Ours were the biggest dogs there.
Missy and Pugsley take a break off the path to enjoy the smell of grass
Pugsley smelling more grass with my mom and Missy walking toward Lake Zumbra in the background
A nice portrait of Pugsley in the grass
Missy walking over some fallen leaves on the path