Saturday, January 31, 2009

January thaw arrives Jan 31; Lego League State Championship

OK, you may not believe this, but it's true..... Snow is actually melting outside right now as I type. Seriously! Today it is 34 degrees -- we were just half a day shy of not seeing above freezing temps for the entire month. It's been bad and it wreaks havoc on your training and your mood.

BUT.... today Holly, Chae, Diane and I ran around Medicine Lake (7.75 miles). It was perfect out. We even heard real. live. birds. chirping. 

Below is a picture we took this morning of a suburb of ice houses - if you don't know about ice fishing, it's like the state sport in MN. These houses are often beautiful inside with wall paper, flat screen tv's, sleep up to 4 comfortably, etc. It's so toasty in there that you don't even wear a coat. When you get bored, you go snowmobiling for a while (or drive your car to your real home) to get more food or (gasp) more beverages. 

Ice fishing is basically a way for a guy's guy to get out of the house, hang out drinking with their buddies watching the game, and still manage to bring home fresh fish for dinner. 

Here's how it works: You drop a line into a hole you auger'ed through about 20 inches of lake ice, and when a fish is on the line, the bell rings. If you have an extra hole outside your ice house and you can't hear that bell, a flag will go up if you have a fish. Isn't it ingenious? THe fish sort of catch themselves for ya.

We know guys who spend all day out in these houses on weekends.

Here are Holly, Diane and Chae - part of the lake loop is across a boardwalk through the wetlands. It's really pretty.

Last weekend was the State Tournament for Lego League. The first picture I took is of the scrolling leader-board when the Steel Claws were in first place after the first round. Their robot eventually moved down to 4th overall, but considering there were 34 teams from all over MN, (that first had to win at their respective regions), it was pretty awesome and we are so proud of them! They did win 1st place in one category, though - yea!!

Bobby's in the front holding the trophy (made of legos of course) that they won for 1st Place in Presentation. The had to invent something useful that was good for the environment and they created a Zamboni-like truck which heats and sprays a brine solution onto the MN roadways to melt ice, but not damage the foliage or pollute the nearby rivers and lakes. So their winning presentation was basically a sales pitch of their invention to the judges. 

They pitched it like a newscast - Bobby was the anchorman, Josh was the field reporter who was on the scene with car crash victim Tanner, Isaac was the weatherman, and Daniel and Spencer were the featured scientists/ inventors of the Boni Ice Thawing machine.

Daniel, Spencer, Isaac, Josh, Tanner, and Bobby in front with their trophy.