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August 2006
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October 2006

TCF Bank Stadium Ground Breaking

Beginning at 12:30 pm a handoff of a football will start at the Metrodome (the current home of Gopher football) and head down Washington Ave towards campus. The ball will take a left on Oak Street and end up at 4th Street and the Gopher Lot.

   

This area will be the future home of TCF Bank Stadium, the new home of Gopher football.

   

From 2:00 pm – 3:30 pm a program consisting of speakers from the university, performances by the band, dance and cheer teams, and an appearance by Goldy Gopher will be part of the ceremonies. Personally, I just want to see the shovels hit the ground. That will be the highlight of the event.

   

As part of the football relay I get to participate representing the Minnesota Greek Alumni Partnership (MGAP).. I am in the area in front of Kolthoff Hall, which is adjacent to the mall.

   

This is going to be a fun day…


University of Minnesota Goal Line Club Luncheon

Jason and I attended the event this afternoon and had a good time as usual. We heard from Offensive Coordinator Mitch Browning, and players Matt Spaeth and Joe Ainslie.

   

Coach Browning gave some historical statistics around 1,000 yard rushers, multiple 1,000 yard rushers, and how no one in the country has done what the Minnesota Golden Gophers have done in the past three consecutive years with two 1,000 yard rushers.

   

Hopefully our success on the ground continues this week with the #6 ranked Michigan Wolverines. In their first four games they have yielded 70 some yards in total by the run. That averages to something like .8 yards per carry.

   

I am optimistic every year that the Gophers are going to the Rose Bowl and that each week we will win that game.

   

But I am not delusional. The other goal of the day besides attending the event was getting pictures with the Little Brown Jug. You know, just in case it is another 10+ years until we see it in person again.

   

Yes, we only show the maroon side of the jug. The other side is painted blue with their M in maize (is that really a color?) but who wearing the maroon wants to see the blue?

   

Many thanks to Doug and Teresa of the Goal Line Club for dealing with my email(s) this week inquiring about the appearance of the Little Brown Jug today. The next lunch event is Friday, November 3rd, the day before the homecoming game against Indiana.

Little_brown_jug_92p06Jason_and_paul_with_the_little_brown_jugPaul_with_the_little_brown_jug_2Little_brown_jug_3


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August 2006 Federal Reserve Beige Book

This report was issued on September 6, 2006 and is part of the information that the Federal Reserve used to continue the paus ein raising interest rates.

   

National Report

While no districts saw negative economic growth five did see a slowdown and seven saw moderate growth. Basically, the country stabilized. That’s not a bad thing if you ask me.

   

As for the labor markets:

Labor markets around the nation have generally been steady since the last report.

And wages:

Overall increases in wage pressures were mentioned in the Philadelphia, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Dallas Districts.

Minneapolis Report

Not much “new” in this report as the economy continued its moderate growth.

   

As for jobs:

A survey of online recruiting sites showed that Minneapolis-St. Paul area job postings in July remained unchanged from June, but at relatively strong levels; postings for science and education were up, while those for health care were down.

And wages barely moved.

   

Last I month I mentioned (joked) how I was concerned with the increase in brass prices. Now there is even more to be worried about:

Price increases were noted for some building and energy products. Prices for asphalt, concrete, copper, steel mill, and plastic construction products posted notable increases.

First brass now copper, what’s a guy to do…


August '06 Minnesota Job Scene

The roller coaster that is the State of Minnesota job creation was down for August. We lost 2,500 jobs yet the unemployment rate went down. A likely sign that some have left the workforce pool.

   

While some jobs have been lost 71,653 jobs in the past year have been created, a 2.6% increase compared to the 1.3% national rate. On average the state creates between 30,000 and 45,000 jobs.

   

Unemployment rate:

August ’06, 3.7%

July ’06, 3.8%

June ’06, 3.6%

   

Jobs Created/Lost:

August ’06, -2,500

July ’06, +11,600


August ’06 National Job Scene

I am almost four weeks late with this post but hey, at least I got this in before the next months numbers.

    

The August employment numbers were released showing a slightly higher than expected increase of 128,000 jobs. The unemployment rate declined .1% to 4.7%. June and July numbers were revised a combined +18,000.

    

Winners:

Health care +35,000

Professional and business +26,000

Leisure and hospitality +16,000

Mining +5,000

   

Losers:

Retail -14,000

Manufacturing -11,000

   

Average hourly earnings were up .1% matching the estimate. Wages are up 3.9% over the previous 12 months.

    

National job gains:

December '05, 145,000

January '06, 154,000 (revised) 170,000 (first reported)

February '06, 200,000 (revised again) 225,000 (revised) 243,000 (first reported) 210,000 (consensus number)

March '06, 175,000 (revised again) 200,000 (revised) 211,000 (first reported) 190,000 (consensus number)

April '06, 126,000 (revised) 138,000 (first reported) 200,000 (consensus number)

May '06, 100,000 (revised again) 92,000 (revised) 75,000 (first reported) 175,000 (consensus number)

June '06, 134,000 (revised again) 124,000 (revised) 121,000 (first reported) 185,000 (consensus number)

July '06, 121,000 (revised again) 113,00 (first reported) 142,000 (consensus number)

August ’06, 128,000 (first reported) 125,000 (consensus number)

   

National unemployment rates:

December '05, 4.9%

January  '06, 4.7%

February '06, 4.8%

March '06, 4.7%

April '06, 4.7%

May '06, 4.6%

June '06, 4.6%

July '06, 4.8%

August ’06, 4.7%


San Francisco Trip Day 3, More Sight Seeing

We woke up and the sun was out:

3_the_sun_made_a_4_hour_apearance_on_sun

   

   

   

   

   

I know that sounds a bit odd but we had not seen it since we landed there so this was a big deal.

   

Jason and I needed to be at the airport by 9:30 pm so we had a full day to do as we wished. We went to a local place for breakfast and then caught parts of a few NFL games. The time change (2 hours behind Minneapolis) had me a little off. When I went to turn on ESPN at 9 am to check out the pre-game news, games had just started and I had not thought about it.

   

We left Dan’s in the afternoon and took the Bay Bridge back in to San Francisco. Off in the distance we could see the fog line and it was right over the Golden Gate Bridge. The bad news was it was coming back in. In these pictures the white clouds are the fog and you can see that above the layer is a blue sky:

6_fog_above_golden_gate_bridge_view_from_1 7_fog_above_golden_gate_bridge_view_from_1

   

   

And this my first clear picture of San Francisco:

8_san_francisco_from_the_bay_bridge

   

   

   

   

   

We took an exit and thought about getting tickets to the baseball game. The San Francisco Giants were playing the San Diego Padres but we decided against it. We did drive by AT&T Park and saw the statue of Willie Mays:

11_att_park_home_of_the_san_francisco_gi

12_att_park_home_of_the_san_francisco_gi

13_att_park_willie_mays_statue

14_willie_mays_place

   

   

   

   

   

We than stayed in the area and I took a few photos of the Bay Bridge:

18_an_francisco_view_of_bay_bridge_and_o   

   

   

When we saw the sea lions on Friday Jason had called and left a message at home for the kids to hear the sounds. Unfortunately it got erased so we decided to head back over and take some more pictures. Maybe because it was later in the day or not after they had been feeding but they were much more active. So I have this one picture and also have two QuickTime movies that I have posted on You Tube. It was fun to watch them defend their space:

San Francisco Pier 39 Sea Lions, Part 1

San Francisco Pier 39 Sea Lions, Part 2

21_pier_39_sea_lions   

   

   

   

   

One last picture of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge. What’s that you say? Can’t see the bridge? Yeah, I know. Can you tell I was annoyed?

23_pier_39_under_that_fog_is_the_golden_   

   

   

   

   

With the fog coming in fast we decided to head over to Coit Tower while we could still see some of the area. The drive there was spectacular:

24_coit_tower   

   

   

   

   

And we had a good chuckle with seeing these signs:

25_nice_warning   

   

   

   

   

The view from the tower was awesome:

26_view_from_coit_tower

27_view_from_coit_tower   

   

   

   

   

We stayed up there for about 30 some minutes and literally watched the fog roll in. Here are a few pictures and you can see how fast this happened:

28_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in29_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in33_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in35_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in39_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in40_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in   

   

   

   

   

Same with these “movies” I put on You Tube:

Coit Tower Fog Part 1

Coit Tower Fog Part 2

Coit Tower Fog Part 3

Coit Tower Fog Part 4

   

Then there is this set of three pictures of an eagle that was at first sailing and soaring with the wind, never flapping its winds. It did get to the point where it was having a hard time staying in the air and it flew off. In the next couple of days I will post a link “here” to a story that will explain why I found this to be prophetic:

41_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in_e42_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in_e

43_view_from_coit_tower_fog_rolling_in_e   

   

   

   

   

After the tower we went to McCormick and Kuleto’s for dinner. The food and service was great, just as I have experienced here in Minneapolis at McCormick and Schmick’s on the Nicollet Mall.

   

I know I had a lot to say about the fog in these three posts. The first day it was kind of “cool” to see and experience but after three days of fog, damp and cool temperatures I was getting a little (a lot) irritable. I found myself looking forward to getting back to a cooler but much sunnier Minneapolis

   

Would I make the same trip again knowing what I know now? Absolutely.

   

I look forward to getting out there again soon.


San Francisco Trip Day 2, Minnesota vs Cal

After sleeping in a little bit Jason, Dan and I headed out for brunch. I took this picture from Peidmont, as we were hopeful the fog was going to break and it did look a little brighter:

1_saturday_morning_view_from_peidmont   

   

   

   

   

   

Besides, Dan told me not to worry. The weather is always better in Berkeley.

   

We then headed over to the Cal campus. Jason, Dan and I were pledge brothers of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity at the University of Minnesota. When Jason and I make these trips we try to pick a game where the school has a Deke chapter.

   

We found the Cal Deke’s. They have a great location on the opposite corner to the stadium so we pulled in and asked if we could park there. After explaining who we were their response was, “Absolutely, and the beer is inside.” Ahh, just like home.

   

There were not many guys around as it was still early so we took a quick tour of the chapter house:

4_cal_deke_house5_cal_deke_house8_cal_deke_house   

   

   

   

   

   

Outside they had their drinking table ready for the pre-game festivities:

2_cal_deke_house_drinking_table_jason_an_13_cal_deke_house_drinking_table_jason_an   

   

   

   

   

   

We then headed to a reception held by the University of Minnesota Alumni Association and Goal Line Club. I was not yet ready for the game but seeing the maroon and gold fans got me going:

9_minnesota_pregame10_minnesota_pregame   

   

   

   

   

   

Goldy helped:

13_minnesota_pregame_paul_and_goldy   

   

   

   

   

   

The best motivator was this one. It is a picture of student’s window across from the reception:

11_minnesota_pregame_gotta_love_it   

   

   

   

   

   

After eating, meeting some friends, having a beer or two (I swear that’s all I had), and hearing from among others President Bruininks:

15_minnesota_pregame_president_bruininks   

   

   

   

   

   

We headed back to the Deke house to meet the guys. Their “preparations” for the game were in full swing:

21_cal_deke_house22_cal_deke_house   

   

   

   

   

   

There was the friendly shake, offering of the beer (I said no, really I did), Deke talk, and then once the formalities were over with the friendly trash talk between the Golden Bears and Golden Gophers began. Cal was just coming off their loss to Tennessee the week before and the fall from the Top 10.

   

We took amore extensive tour of the chapter house and found that they have an amazing view and a really cool mural:

19_cal_deke_house_roof_view18_cal_deke_house_roof   

   

   

   

   

   

After meeting some of their alumni we decided to head to the stadium. Not a far walk by any means but, umm, it was steep:

24_cal_stadium_look_at_all_of_them_steps   

   

   

   

   

   

I took some pre-game pictures:

25_cal_stadium_first_look_in26_cal_stadium_band_during_pregame27_cal_stadium_right_before_game_time28_minnesota_vs_cal_pregame29_minnesota_vs_cal_here_come_the_golden31_minnesota_vs_cal_here_come_the_golden   

   

   

   

   

   

Cal started with the ball and was held to a three and out. Minnesota started on their own 29 yard line and marched down the field, scoring in our end of the field:

34_minnesota_vs_cal_alex_daniles_first_s   

   

   

   

   

   

But no, wait. They ruled Alex Daniels knee was down at the one-foot mark. I included that picture because on the TBS telecast they had a three second clip of the Minnesota fans cheering. It shows about 10 rows of happy maroon and gold clad people including in the second row of the picture Jason yelling and clapping and me taking that picture.

   

Minnesota does score on the next play so all went well:

36_minnesota_vs_cal_alex_daniels_second_37_minnesota_vs_cal_showing_the_pride   

   

   

   

   

   

Because Minnesota dominated Cal on that drive many of the Gopher fans started chanting, “You can’t stop us. You can’t stop us.” That seemed a little premature although it was nice to hear the optimism. The Cal student sections certainly looked a little concerned:

35_minnesota_vs_cal_students_are_a_littl   

   

   

   

   

   

Cal went on to tie the game and then take a 14-7 lead. On the kickoff following the second Cal touchdown Dominic Jones returned it for a 99-yard touchdown. It happened quickly and with the camera in my pocket I missed it. Here’s a pic from the replay in the stadium:

38_minnesota_vs_cal_dominc_jones_return_   

   

   

   

   

   

After a few punts by each team Cal took a 21-14 lead and then a 28-14 lead. A late second quarter drive by the Gophers stalled and Jason Giannini kicks this field goal (off the upright but through) to make it 28-17 at the half:

40_minnesota_vs_cal_giannini_fg_good_off   

   

   

   

   

   

And that’s as good as it would get. The scoreboard continued to move for Cal:

42_minnesota_vs_cal_start_of_4th_quarter   

   

   

   

    

   

The fog started coming back fast and thick (compare these two picks with the one before the game started):

43_minnesota_vs_cal_4th_quarter_here_com44_minnesota_vs_cal_more_4th_quarter_fog   

   

   

   

   

   

Final score Cal 42 and Minnesota 17.

   

We went back to Deke to catch the end of the Ohio State vs. Texas game and other scores from the day.

   

We had a good day except for the game and the weather. Jason had to remind that we were in the Bay Area, at Berkeley watching a game outdoors and that was good enough for him. Apparently his glass was half full and mine was half empty.


San Francisco Trip Day 1

It’s kind of weird to be writing this blog post(s) two weeks after getting home but stuff happens.

   

We started early the first morning by driving our friend Dan to work in San Francisco. Jason drove as he always does. He wishes I would be a little more obsessive compulsive like he is and I wish he would pull that rod out of his back side and relax a little bit.

    

But we are the best of friends although he learned a new reason to be annoyed with me. I am the navigator when he needs it. Usually he has it already figured out, where to go and what order but occasionally he needs some assistance. The thing is, I turn the map every time a turn is made. That way I can visualize where we are going.

   

Jason however does things by a compass and he wants the map held in place. He knows he needs to head, say, NE and that’s what he does. Mean while I am turning the map on him.

   

Each to his own.

   

We had a map and some sights marked to see and started driving. We also had the camera with. This being my first trip to the Bay Area I was in full tourist mode.

   

We went to Fisherman’s Wharf. It was a dreary morning. Damp, cold, and foggy but it would burn off by the afternoon right? Right… Not

   

After getting some breakfast at Johnny Rockets (I swear that was the best breakfast of my life. Maybe not eating much if at all the previous day played a part in it) We walked to Pier 39 and got the following pictures of Alcatraz and the Sea Lions:

   

2_pier_39_alcatraz

5_pier_39_alcatraz_2

Pier_39_sea_lions_2Pier_39_sea_lions_1_1Pier_39_sea_lions_5_1   

   

   

   

   

Oh, and I should not forget about this street performer who paints himself a metallic silver. He does some routines to R&B music and then some “frozen” or statue like poses:

   

Pier_39_silver_man_2   

   

   

   

   

We checked out the shops and stopped in at Ghirardelli Square. We found Chocolate Heaven. As we stepped towards the entrance there was a certain spot when the aroma of the store took over. Oh my, there was a lot to choose from. I was able to resist the temptation, not sure why. Jason bought a square of raspberry chocolate fudge. Heaven indeed.

   

Took a quick stroll over to Pier 45 and saw two World War II era ships. The submarine U.S.S. Pampanito and the liberty ship SS Jeremiah O’Brien, the last ship floating from the D-Day invasion of Normandy:

   

Pier_45_ss_jeremiah_obrien_ww_ii_liberty   

   

   

   

 

One of my must sees was Lombard Street (also known as the Crooked Street). We first drove down it and then looped around a few blocks to get back to the top.

   

It was during this time that my senses were on over load. The views, ocean, and vertical features were amazing. Like I said, this was my first trip to San Francisco. Minneapolis and the Upper Midwest are fairly flat so this was all brand new to me. I was wondering how much speed could a person get on roller blades or what if a moving truck let loose:

 

How_fast_could_a_roller_blader_go

If_a_truck_broke_loose   

   

   

   

   

Jason was wondering how often a brake job is needed or a parking brake would need adjustment. I was wondering about driving a stick. Or what if the streets were iced over. Always thinking like a Minnesotan.

   

So we parked and started walking. We found this driveway, which was common in the area. Nice pics of Jason thinking about it and then laughing out loud:

     

Do_you_think_cars_have_suspension_proble_1How_do_you_pull_in_the_driveway_1View_from_the_garage_door_to_the_street_1   

   

   

   

   

The view down from Lombard Street was very cool:

   

Lombard_ave_driving_downLombard_looking_downLombard_looking_out

   

   

   

   

   

We then walked down and saw this plaque and tree that has been carved on a few hundred times:

   

Lombard_crooked_street_plaqueLombard_tree_carving

   

   

   

   

   

The view from the bottom looking up was very cool too as I am a big fan of gardens:

   

Lombard_looking_upLombard_looking_up_2

   

   

   

   

   

We then headed to the Golden Gate Bridge, another must see on my list. Even with the foggy day it was very cool to see. We did start walking out on it but because of perspective we did not realize how far we had walked out (more like how far we had to walk back and in time to get back to the parking meter) and how much further we had to go:

   

Golden_gate_bridgeGolden_gate_bridge_jasonGolden_gate_bridge_walking_out_on_itGolden_gate_bridge_view_of_san_franciscoGolden_gate_bridge_looking_down

   

   

   

   

   

   

Golden_gate_bridge_paul

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

   

From there along the 49 Mile Scenic Drive:

   

49_mile_scenic_drive_249_mile_scenic_drive_3

   

   

   

   

   

To Baker Beach where for the first time I touched the Pacific Ocean. I also like the warning sign (in 4 languages), the dude fishing, and my future home:

   

Baker_beachBaker_beach_paulBaker_beach_warning_signBaker_beach_whatcha_catchingBaker_beach_sweet_views_of_the_ocean

   

   

   

   

   

To Ocean Beach:

   

Ocean_beach_1Ocean_beach_3Ocean_beach_paul_getting_feet_wetOcean_beach_seagulls

   

   

   

   

   

And the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park. This area reminded me a lot like our areas along the Mississippi River and Minnehaha Falls area. It was very quiet and peaceful. Although I am not sure how the others visiting the garden felt about Jason and I. We were walking around fast and talking kind of loud. Not exactly Zen like but hey, we had a schedule to keep:

   

Japanese_tea_garden_entranceJapanese_tea_garden_2Japanese_tea_garden_3Japanese_tea_garden_pagoda

Japanese_tea_garden_water_fall_2Japanese_tea_garden_yogi_berra_fork_in_tJapanese_tea_garden_zen_gardenJapanese_tea_garden_paul_and_buddha_stir

   

   

   

   

   

While Jason was taking his time in the gift shop (his excuse was he is married with three kids to shop for, whatever) I sat down on this bench and this bird hopped up there with me. I sat and watched him for a while. It sat there looking up at me. I slowly walked from the bench and it hopped off still looking at me.

   

I took a picture of my new friend:

   

Japanese_tea_garden_bird

   

   

   

   

   

We started heading back to pick up Dan from work and stopped at Twin Peaks. We did not exactly find the street we were looking for (Jason said it was not his fault) but were high enough for a couple of pictures:

   

View_from_twin_peaks_area_2View_from_twin_peaks_area_4

   

   

   

   

   

After getting Dan from work we headed back to his home and for me a much needed nap. We were able to do most of the sights we wanted to see in one day over six hours.

   

That night we headed back in to the city to meet some of Dan’s friends and a couple of drinks. Here is myself, Jason, and Dan:

   

Deke_brothers_having_a_drink

   

   

   

   

   

And so ended the first day…


MN Headhunter Where Have You Been

Whoa, I had no idea I would be missed. I have had a lot of information to post the past two weeks but have not been able to get to it.

   

I was working a lot before the trip to the Bay Area for the Minnesota vs. Cal game. While there my grandma passed away so last week was spent making arrangements and spending time with my mom.

   

Now I am trying to catch up on work and will then get back to the blog so for those reading the RSS feed do not be surprised if one of the next three mornings you wake up a bunch of material from me.

   

More in the next days…


Good Morning San Francisco

That's what I get for forgetting to spell check before posting...

   

We had a good flight from Minneapolis last night and made our way to our friend's house. This being my first trip to the Bay Area it feels a little foreign to me but I look forward to getting out this morning and doing what a tourist does.

    

How does one dress for sightseeing? Staring with 50 degrees and fog knowing it will lift sooner or later. Bring a change of clothes with I guess.

   

I have a great quote from buddy Jason as we were driving in last night from the airport. Being new to town and driving by map we were following very close to the speed limit which at that time was 65.

   

People are whizzing by us (like as in a blur) and Jason says, “F*** that’s just crazy”.

   

For those looking for the employment statistics from the last week I will be behind on them until later tonight or tomorrow morning.

   

Go Gophers…


Minneapolis Venture Capital Firm Raises $375 Million

I cleaned out the change in my desk drawer and the ash tray and drink holders in my car, combined that with a cup of change and even though most of the quarters were gone (parking meters and the soda machine) I still crossed over the $100 amount.

   

The $375 million second round announcement by Thomas, McNerney & Partners is a whole lot of coins for investments in life sciences and med-tech companies. The firm has offices in Minneapolis, San Francisco and Stamford.

   

This is great news for the local market and follows last year’s announcement by Split Rock Partners of their $275 million fund.


Minnesota Cup Announces Finalists

Minnesota Cup has announced five finalists for this year: IDInsight, IntelAccount, Interrad Medical, Vast Enterprises, and Zero Turn Radius Push Mower. Information on the companies can be found here, Minnesota Cup Finalists.

   

Co-founded by entrepreneurs Scott Litman and Dan Mallin of SDWA Ventures, Minnesota Cup is an entreprenurial competition for residents of Minnesota. There is also student competition open to college students attending a Minnesota higher education institution.