Business Intelligence Technology

How Cold Is It?

With the latest “Polar Vortex” or whatever that is happening, EVERYONE is talking about the weather. Everyone always talks about how it has been this cold many times, etc, etc. “It was colder in my day” – ok. Well prove it!

So I took a look at the NOAA data you can get hereΒΒ and got an extract to CSV for my hometown of Chisholm, MN (actually the Hibbing/Chisholm airport since it has data from 1962 to today)

I downloaded the CSV, opened in Excel 2013 and imported into Power Query. I think did some formatting to get the date parts and a date field, and converted the “tenths of a degree of Celsius” to Fahrenheit. Then started analyzing.

I will have to refresh this after this cold spell, because it only has data to 1/1/2014 and these last few days have been cold, but, not the coldest.

Back when I was 16, in 1996, there was a stretch of days in January that were COLD. The data supports this. First I took all the days with a Low temp of UNDER -35 degrees F.

Chisholm Low Temps


You can see, there are a bunch of days in Jan/Feb 1996 that were UNDER -35 Degrees F. So then I copied that pivot and expanded on that date range to see all the days.



Pretty dang cold from 1/19/1996 to 2/4/1996. Lowest day was -50 Degrees F. Average of -31 Degrees F. Of course these are “real” temps, it was even colder with wind chill. These last 3-4 days of -20 to -40 are cold, but not sure they are colder than in Jan 1996. We will see when it is all said and done.

If you can’t remember how cold it was, NOAA, Excel and Power Query can remind you. πŸ™‚

I have the spreadsheet up on Skydrive.Β

Life Product Reviews

Vacationing with the iPhone and iPad

Was just on vacation since Sept 3rd through today.. Drove up to Nisswa to drop the little one off, then down to the Twin Cities for 4 nights, then back up to get the little one in Pierz, then back down to Eau Claire for 2 nights, then back home for 2 nights.. fun time. I didn’t really connect to work (only to extend my holiday by 2 days!) but I was still *connected* to everything I wanted to be.

First, I shut off email/exchange sync to my iPhone/iPad, easy enough in the settings. Turned off the calendars too so I didn’t get any new meeting alerts. Good to go.

How else did I use my devices?

Well beyond the basics (on the iPhone – Phone, SMS, Email (personal), Taking pictures and videos, weather, calculator, maps, maps, maps, maps..)

1. Gowalla/Foursquare – I recently just killed both my accounts and started fresh. I tried to see the usefulness and benefit of these. I like Gowalla better – just prettier. Foursquare tells me what is trending better. I use them both to find things around where I am, and check in to keep track of where I went πŸ™‚

2. Twitter/Facebook – just killed my Facebook account again as well, I think I have 15 close friends on there now, so it is pretty quiet, but nice. Twitter I use to just keep up on the real time stuff going on, track favorites, as usual.

3. Soundhound/Shazam – used these to lookup songs I heard at bars or wherever, it is a given pretty much anywhere.

4. Flixster – used this to find movie theater near by and showtimes. Couldn’t buy tickets at the theater I went to, but I could have with fandango, just not worth the hassle I guess.

5. Yelp/OpenTable/Urban Spoon – more targeted in finding foodie places. OpenTable to reserve.

6. SportTacular – to keep up on the Twins and Vikes πŸ™‚

7. WF (mobile site) – to view my accts and transfer and what not

8. Nice Ride and Train Brain – these are where it gets good. Downtown Minneapolis has these cool bike stations you can rent out a bike (for free for under 30 minutes!) or for a small fee ( (FYI Trek has a similar offering, called B-cycle). Ride it all over and drop off at another station. We rented two and drove them from Uptown to Downtown. Was pretty awesome. The app shows you the stations and has a timer, it could do much more though πŸ™‚ Train Brain shows you the light rail schedule in town, we took the train from Govt Plaza to Mall of America, and back. Was pretty cool.

9. Scanner – QR codes are all over in Uptown on shops, etc. I used this to scan their codes and open links.

10. Reeder – on the iPhone and iPad – used this to keep up on my Google Reader πŸ™‚

11. iPad – in general used it for mostly news apps, and surfing the web, used it as a “computer” – did you know on on an iDevice, if you click on the icon of a “place” it does much more than the native Maps app on the device? I thought that was cool.

I also used CityPages app on the iPad to look up some things going on.

Saw a Twins game vs the Royals (they won!) and Wicked as well. Got a little sick Wednesday morning through Friday so that was a bummer but overall it was a good vacation


Repressed Memory from High School: Wearing Baseball Stirrups Playing Basketball


In high school, playing basketball for Chisholm High, we had to wear baseball stirrups (leggings). See the above picture. As you can see, these are listed on amazon as “Baseball Stirrups


See you might be fooled when looking at the first picture that these are socks, but alas, they are stirrups. What a PITA. Uncomfortable, pulled up to the knee, just bad all around. You can see the picture above the player has spandex below his shorts. Why? Because Chisholm Basketball shorts are still 80’s style. Look at the player behind him, they are below the knee!

Anyway’s, this is a post about Chisholm Basketball, since they made it to state this year, first time since 95, when I was on the team, wearing baseball stirrups on the court. Good Luck Bluestreaks.. πŸ™‚

Life Ramblings Random

Minnesota Smoking Ban Loophole: Theatrical Performances

Last weekend, I was up in Chisholm, Minnesota for my Grandfather’s 80th birthday. After the party, we headed downtown Chisholm to check out my step sisters boyfriend play in his band, at Sabin’s bar.

Now, Minnesota passed a smoking ban (Freedom to Breathe Act) in bars and restaurants in October 2007. This means NO SMOKING. Well, they have found some loopholes in the law, that says to some effect “actors and actresses are allowed to smoke while performing, like in a play”. Well, bars are starting to take this loophole and use it, as Sabin’s did that night, and there were many people smoking in the bar.

I happen to see the “Playbill” on the bar, and snapped a photo (which I retyped below as it might be hard to read)

Smoking Ban Loophole


The Tobacco Monologues

Live at Sabin’s Bar!


A Theatrical Performance and Satire Regarding the Minnesota Legislature and the Freedom to Breathe Act

Note: There will be some smoking during the performance.

Friends, tonight YOU get to participate in the first of many amateur theater nights at Sabin’s bar. You will get a chance to perform in our play. The bar is the stage. If you want to be a part of the play tonight see one of the bartenders. They are in charge of the casting call. If you make the cut you will be given a sticker to wear which identifies you as one of the performers. As a performer you will be allowed to smoke. That’s right smoke indoors! You are already on state, and in the play. Have fun!!!

Special thanks to our friends Mark Benjamin & Sheila Kromer


What a joke. First off, I was pissed because there was smoking. I hate smoking, I hate smoking in the bar. I hate coming home smelling like smoke, my clothes, hair and whatever. I hate having to breathe it, and feel like I am about to gag. It is good there is a smoking ban, there is no reason smokers should be able to smoke indoors and pollute the air everyone has to breathe. They can go outside. Plain and simple.

The next day in the Duluth News Tribune, I read a bar in Babbitt MN got cited for doing a Theater Night. Good! But they got fined $300. WTF? They could just collect 2 dollars from every smoker and pay the fine every night. They need to get fined $10,000, or be shut down for a night, to feel the pain.

I am not sure, but I hope Sabin’s gets busted too. Loophole or not. It looks like they are going to start busting more bars for this. Leave your opinions in the comments.


Heading to St. Cloud Next Week

I will be up in St. Cloud starting tomorrow (Saturday Jan 26th) through Saturday Feb 2nd. Looking forward to seeing some old friends, seeing how the office is doing, and all that. Jeff Lee – we need to have a beer. I am at the Kelly Inn so lets meet up downtown, I probably will be out Saturday night for sure. My mobile is on the side of my blog, so txt me!

Oh yeah, and MN is colder than WI right now, yesssss!


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Busy next few weeks … Portland to Minnesota to Portland to …. Madison?!?


Going to be a hectic next few weeks for me. Started packing up my apartment this week, because I am moving next month, to Madison WI. But, just found out the move in dates and such yesterday, so that set forth in motion the timeline for the rest of the stuff. I am heading back to MN this Friday through Nov 2nd for work and stuff, so that cuts into any packing/planning time. Me and Emily are then coming back to PDX, packing, U-Hauling, Relo-cubing, and then moving to Madison, so that is going to be a busy time. Probably won’t be settled till the 3rd week of November.

Getting back to Minnesota will be good, seeing some old friends drinking buddies (Joe and Spiller – we will see if you guys can handle it!) from college in the Twin Cities, as well as working at the office for the week, and then heading up north to the Iron Range to see my family and eat some Bimbo’s buffalo wings and pizza (don’t forget the banana peppers!)

I really like Portland, really do. Why Madison then? Well, closer to home for one. It is probably the most equivalent city to Portland in that area. Emily and I got a sweet apartment, which I can’t wait to get into, also a little more quieter area than right on Burnside Street :). I guess also, I haven’t seen a flow chart (Keep trying Reena!) that can convince me to stay (hehe). No, seriously, it will be a good move, and I hope to come back to Oregon some day, the Portland area, it is just a great city and state, the values and politics and just way of thinking here is different than pretty much anywhere else. It is just time to move on to the next chapter, which will be a good thing. I do need to get to the Matador a few times before I go though, can’t beat those 2 $ PBR’s and tots!

And now about the move. Seriously – moving companies are scammers! check out  – it is just ridiculous. I boneheadingly submitted a quote to another site before finding that site, and I think I got calls from like 15 moving brokers like non stop for like 2 weeks. There are so many horror stories that you should almost be scared to move. I decided to go with  but I am not having them bring a cube to me, instead just bringing my stuff to their terminal, and they will drop the cube off at the new apartment once we get there. PODS is the first thing that comes to mind, but they are about 3 times as expensive as upack, and recommends upack. I actually got their free DVD and it is pretty informative, and puts to rest a lot of questions. We will see how it goes, and if it is good or bad, I will blog it πŸ™‚

In the last couple of years, I have been a moving machine. From around August 2005 till now, this is my 5th place, and the new apartment will by my 6th. Hopefully it is for a couple years at least, that is the plan anyways. One good thing about moving now, I keep purging out stuff I don’t need or use anymore. I am actually right now using Handbrake on my Mac to rip my remaining 10 or so DVD’s to the hard drive, and I am going to go sell those, and a few CD’s I have as well. Pretty much after this move, most of my college area nonsense crap will be gone, time to move on to my IKEA phase I guess – yes I know what a duvet is (wow, a moving, and Portland type reference at the same time – see: Fight Club)

So, if anyone wants to track my flights..

Friday Oct 26th – NWA 218  And then on Sunday Nov 4th NWA 597

Also, for this trip I am trying to use the new site TripIt which seems to work well, but I reserved my hotel through like a broker site, so it couldn’t really handle that reservation. I set it up manually though. If you don’t what TripIt is, what you do it email your itineraries and emails from various booking sites and it puts it all in one nice little package for you, you can share it with people, export to calendars, etc. Pretty sweet.

So, wish me luck. If by around Nov 15th if you haven’t heard from me, I probably got lost in New Mexico and am wandering around with amnesia asking for quarters so I can go buy 40’s at the nearest liquor store, but hopefully I will have a few blog posts along the way for the next few weeks…and I am sure there will be some “Madison Differences” blogs coming up, for all those on the edge of their seats (Aaron)

So long PDX, we hardly knew ye! Hello Madison!

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The Half Steps @ The Veranda – That's Amore

Last week, Heidi and I went to The Veranda Lounge at the Pioneer Place Theatre in St. Cloud. The Half Steps were singing. I pulled out the digital camera and recorded them singing “That’s Amore” (think: Dean Martin).


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Still Here, just in Minnesota

I have been in Minnesota since Saturday night. Like being back, but for some reason I miss PDX. Many stories though already and it is only Tuesday. Will blog more later. I need to go do the Dance of the Manatee…

Many changes happening. Some good, some great, some just, changes. Who moved my cheese? πŸ™‚

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Blogging Life

Saturday Night, Pioneer Place, Blogging

Last night, a friend and I headed out around Central MN, we ended up going to the Pioneer Place, which both of us have heard of, but never ventured into. It is a theatre, that has a little bar in it. Almost feels like a “nice” house party. There was some guys playing acoustic guitar and piano. Very laid back, no smoking (yes!) and just a cool atmosphere.

It is kind of funny, because earlier in the night we talked about going to see Amadeus which is playing there right now. Obviously we needed tickets, but we just weren’t thinking.

Anyways, I recognized one of the guys up on the little stage, the piano/harmonica player. Earlier this week I was getting made fun of #1 because “blogging” was on the front page of the St. Cloud Times, and #2, because I didn’t make the article πŸ™‚ – anyways, I read the article and it covers the blogging life of Jeff Lee, who run’s a blog called “View from the Cloud

I snapped a picture of them playing, sounded really good too. Something I could see myself doing if only I could find someone to play with πŸ˜›

Jeff Lee at Pioneer Place

I’ve been doing alot of blogging lately, and really started a few years back, but I never really got into the St. Cloud blogging scene. Seems that SCSU Scholars just wasn’t my type of read. I’m more into technical blogs, and also friends that keep their blogs up to date [everyone is a blogger! – one post and gone for a year :)]. I’ll probably subscribe to Jeff’s blog now that I have met him, so that is kind of cool.

In any event, I think I’ll probably be hanging out at the Pioneer Place more often. I’m pretty sure they have Wi-Fi too. What I need to do is drive around and find all the hot spots, or, I could just buck up and pay the extra $ to have my phone (Pocket PC 6700, which BTW, I probably have sold more of them than salespeople at Sprint – I think I probably sold 2 last night just showing mine off) as a modem, which I just might have to do.

Fun times, as usual πŸ™‚

Life Product Reviews

River City Grill – Richmond, MN

I live right across the street from the River City Grill. It by far is the best bar in Richmond. They have good food and allow you even create a tab πŸ™‚

I try to get over there at least once a week for the Twins game, couple beers and burger. They are having Scott Hansen Comdedy night on Oct 7th so that should be good, I saw Scott Hansen at the Red Carpet on the opening comedy night there a while ago.

You could say that the River City Grill is my “Moe’s” πŸ™‚