Fairgoers’ Progress, or, Hot Dish on a Stick

Much like Chaucer’s storied pilgrims, my family (along with a not-insignificant percentage of other Minnesota families) makes a journey to the Minnesota State Fair pretty much every year. We thought work and other obligations might prevent us from attending this year, but luckily, at the last minute, schedules opened up and we all had free time yesterday afternoon. Typically we go in the morning, which is a wiser choice, I think. You’re hungrier, and the fair is less crowded. Still, we had a grand old time.

Follow me, will you, as I take you on a short photographic journey through the Great Minnesota Get-Together? (Click on the photos to see them bigger. Both WordPress and Flickr have changed some of their settings, and I can no longer as easily share Flickr photos on the blog).

Last year I won fame and glory through the Heavy Table’s photo contest. With that in mind, I was eager to take more food shots as we went along.

I think this is my best one:

The tag on it says, “Mildly spicy hot & sweet ‘big bombs.'” I have no idea what that means.

This big boy was in the same area. Obviously a blue-ribbon winner, but there were others there that were even bigger.

Doesn’t this look good for you? And comforting?

I think the honey display is so beautiful:

Then we got on to the real business at hand: actually eating the food. AG said, “What was it I had last year? I want one of those. I think it had a dog in it?”

No, turns out she was not talking about a corn dog. Rather, it was a fudge puppy. Basically a Belgium waffle, folded over, and stuffed with chocolate, whipped cream, and sprinkles. Kid gives it the thumbs up. I thought the chocolate was a bit waxy.

Luckily, they were near the garlic french fries, which I remembered from last year as delicious.

They still are! Paul got some mini-donut beer, which came in a glass with a sugared rim, and which he thought was pretty tasty, too.

We went on rides. AG loves the giant slide, and she went on it about 47 times.


We took the sky ride to the other side of the fair,

where AG decided she wanted to participate in the giant sing along. So she joined in on “You are my Sunshine,” with several other fairgoers, some of whom were (intentionally?) butchering the song.

Then on to the Kidway, where we rode the Ferris Wheel and she rode the swings.

I know there are differing opinions on this, but, you guys, I love deep-fried cheese curds.

I’m not sure they’re all that photogenic, however.

AG loves horses, and she has a bunch of books about girls and horse competitions. Turns out, equitation is actually a real word, and a thing that happens at the fair. I didn’t get any good shots of it, though, because we were kind of far away. We did pick out a favorite horse, a paint horse with a lovely white mane and large black markings. AG called him/her “Oreo,” but turned out its name was “Intimidazzle.” S/he won something, too. Gorgeous horse.

We missed the llama dress-up competition, but we were able to take to the ring when it was over and take photos of the winning pair.

I think the llama is supposed to be a griffin, and the owner is a steampunk griffin driver? Not sure. Is it from Harry Potter?

By then, it was kind of getting late, and we decided to make our way back to the Kidway to use up our tickets. Along the way, I snapped shots of funny signs.

(As far as I could tell, neither was anywhere near this sign).

AG wanted to ride the bigger swings, but she was too small (to my relief, frankly).

On slow shutter speed:

So, she rode the long slide (a different one!) about 83 more times, instead.

Big Slide

My absolute favorite thing at the Minnesota State Fair (to eat, anyway) is the strawberry-rhubarb malts they have in the Dairy Barn. I maintain that you can get no better malt anywhere. So, even though it was quite late by 5-year-old time, we stopped there and stood in line one more time for one of those. Or rather, Paul stood in line for the malts while AG and I admired the butter heads.

I took a photo of my delicious malt, but, well, it looks rather macabre. And I don’t want anybody to think that the malts from the Dairy Barn are anything short of amazing creamy slices of Heaven, so I won’t post it. (If you can’t get enough of these photos, you can see more in my State Fair 2014 album on Flickr.)

Then we hopped on our bikes (did I mention we bike to the fair? Best way to do it, in my opinion. No muss, no fuss), clipped lights on ‘cuz it was late, and rode home. 

‘Til next year, when I think I’ll have to try the deep fried baklava.



Saturday Evening Posts


Seeing if this clickbait works as well as the last one.

I starred a lot of things in my reader this week. Hopefully you will find some of them interesting!


Relaxed can connect to your Facebook or Twitter accounts and automatically send out to replies to let people know you are taking a break from social media.

I think, maybe, if you need this app, you might have a bigger problem. But, on the other hand, if you need this app, I’m glad it exists for you!

Another amazing recurring bit in the Arrested canon is the Cornballer, George Sr.’s popular but really dangerous invention. The Cornballer, of course, made Cornballs, likely delicious fried treats (probably spelled with a ‘z’ like treatz), but it also severely burned its users.

Totally want to make these.

If you want to get a little activity while you sit at your desk or your computer, the DeskCycle may be a good fit for you. It’s a tiny stationary bike that’s essentially just the pedals, small enough to slide under your desk at work or at home so you get some pedaling in while you work, chat, or play video games.

Where our beloved FitDesk is a full standing exercise bike, the DeskCycle does away with the seat and handlebars, and instead acts a bit like a recumbent bike. You sit in your desk chair, and you continue to use your computer normally, you’re just pedaling under your desk. When we say the DeskCycle is small, we mean it—it’s only about 20 inches across, 24 inches long, and the tallest pedal height is 10 inches. That means if you have two feet square under your desk, you can fit this thing under it and use it without issue.

Going to measure my desk in my office first thing next time I go in. I kind of want this.

This morning Pew Internet & American Life released its latest report on libraries in the digital age. “How Americans Value Public Libraries in Their Communities” reports on the value of libraries services to their community.

People who answer these studies always seem to say they value their libraries, but does it ever have an effect on what happens to public libraries?

I admit that I don’t understand how 3-D printing works, but are people clamoring for the ability to print lingerie?

Part 7 of my Top 10 Ed-Tech Trends of 2013 series

This is the third year in a row that I’ve chosen “data” as one of the “top trends” in ed-tech. (See 2011, 2012) If you’re looking for a sunnier view of data in education, read those. 2013, in my opinion, was pretty grim.

The idea being explored is worth revisiting every single gift-giving season. Little girls are confronted by strong messages about beauty and body image conformity very early. They are pushed into sexy images early as well. It’s not just Barbie and Bratz with totally unrealistic body dimensions. The Disney princesses, even re-worked for modern theories of empowered women are still worth discussing with little girls. Do you have to have a dainty little nose to be a princess? Do you have to be thin? Do you have to have little feet and elegant hands? How about whether you have to have swishy smooth lush shiny hair that swoops back and forth around you? Do you have to have big eyes with long lashes? What if your mouth isn’t small in a cute, pointy chin, with pouty lips? What if, maybe you aren’t a classic beauty? Does beauty mean you are good? Does good mean you are beautiful? These two things are sort of mixed up together in the Disney princesses, and in way too much of our little kid toy, AV and illustrated material.

This isn’t what the blog author is talking about so much here, but have you seen the imagined girl-appealing portraits of Ruth Bader Ginsberg, Anne Frank, Harriet Tubman, et al that she starts this post with? I think it’s important to introduce children to these figures as role models in lieu of the Disney princesses, of course, but the drawings of the figures make them look like … Disney princesses. Which, of course, is part of the point – get girls interested in them. But they’ve got the waspy waists, giant eyes, low-cut gowns, etc. I think the sparkly clothes and “fairy-like” aspects could be kept – thus raising interest in girls – without making them have the same physical characteristics that we complain about with the Disney princesses (and Bratz dolls, etc., of course).

Do you have a great lesson plan or assignment that you’d be willing to share?  How about handouts or PowerPoint slides?  If so, then we need your help! The RIPS Teach-In Kit Committee is currently accepting submissions for the 2014 Teach-In Kit.  The Teach-In Kit is […]

Once our hybrid internet legal research class is all polished and shiny, I’m thinking of contributing to this.

Erin Go Bragh, y’all

Some reading material while you’re enjoying your morning Irish Coffee.