Mitch's Blog 7.0

Mitch's Blog


Saturday, October 23, 2004

Pictures and pictures and, oh yes, more pictures

I've got way too many pictures that I've been putting off posting for way too long. So, without further discussion, let's look at some of them.

Here are some pictures of the fall colors taken from Mille Lacs Kathio State Park. This park is located about 30 miles south-southeast of Brainerd, between the cities of Garrison and Onamia. The first few photos photos I've posted were taken from the 100 foot fire tower located within the park. The view from the tower was simply amazing; not only could the colorful trees in the area be seen, but Mille Lacs Lake was also very visible as well.

A view from the tower

A view from the tower

A view from the tower

A view from the tower

A view from the tower

A view from the tower

A view from the tower

The sun peeked out of the clouds for a short time and really illuminated the colorful trees

A really nice reflection on the water can be seen in this picture

On the way down from the tower

An artistic shot of the tower (my camera wasn't even in B&W mode, either)

A small swamp in the park

A view from the Rum River

Just before the sun set, it peeked through a very, very small opening created in the clouds. The only thing illuminated by this little bit of sunlight was this colorful tree.

This tree stands out amongst all the others

The sunset along the Rum River

The park included a small waterfall created from a small dam owned by a power company


The next set of pictures were taken at Crow Wing State Park, located about 7 miles south of Brainerd. The intent of going to this park was to look at the fall colors. However, upon arrival, I soon realized that this is more of a pine tree park and thus didn't have the most magnificent colors. Nevertheless, I still managed to take some good pictures.

This is a view of the Mississippi River. The Crow Wing River flows into the Mississippi at the spot located at the top and to the left of the Mississippi in this picture. Interestingly enough, the island created by the two streams that the Crow Wing River splits into to flow into the Mississippi is what gave the river (and later the county) its name. The island is said to look like a raven's wing by air. However, due to a mistake in translation, the word crow was used instead of raven.

Another view of the Mississippi River

The Shamineau House now sits on the site of what was once the town of Crow Wing

A view of the boardwalk meant to represent the one that originally went through Crow Wing

Along the park's nature trail


Still some more pictures to post here. These ones were taken at the Gull Lake Recreation Area, where the Gull Lake Dam is located. The colors here were really nice. Equally as nice were the colors of the leaves that had already fallen and covered the ground.

The colors in the boat launch parking lot

A look at all the colorful leaves on the ground

Yellow trees

Along Cass County 77 near Gull Lake


Another set of pictures here come from Sibley State Park about 10 miles north of Willmar. The day I visited was very cold and blustery -- the coldest day of the season so far -- and many of the leaves on the trees had already been blown off from a strong northwest wind. However, here are the pictures I was able to take.

There were still some good colors from the overlook at Mt. Tom

More of the colors at Mt. Tom

Looking southwest from Mt. Tom

The overlook structure on Mt. Tom

The leaves along one of the interpretive trails in the park

A look at the grass along the wetland interpretive trail

An overview of part of the wetland


The final set of pictures were taken yesterday in Duluth. The trip would have been fairly uneventful -- and consequently not very good for taking pictures -- had the entire city not been covered in a thick fog. Although the fog was very thick everywhere in the city, it was much denser right at the lake and in the hills above downtown. The highest the visibility reached when I was there was 0.80 of a mile, otherwise it was all the way down to 0.10 of a mile for the majority of the day. Always an adventurer, however, I decided go to the top of Enger Tower, a very unpopular spot on this particular day for obvious reasons.

The lovely campus of The College of St. Scholastica -- at least lovely is how it should look on a clear day

At Enger Park

I'm sure the colors of the trees would have been pretty nice, had I been able to actually see them

Once again, the colors were probably pretty good...

The tower surrounded in fog

I know, I know...what did I expect it looked like from the top of the tower? Well, here's proof of what Duluth looks like in the fog. If you have good eyes, you just may be able to detect traces of tree branches in the bottom of this picture.

At Billings Park in Superior

The view of a foogy Lake Superior from Billings Park

The very nice trail in Billings Park that winds around the shore of the lake


Friday, October 15, 2004

More Links

I’ve been exploring the internet and have currently found two more websites to share that are related to the link I posted in the entry below.

The first website, called, is another website that deals with current state-by-state polls of whom the majority of residents would choose for president. The interesting thing about this site, however, is that it predicts, based on what the latest polls for each state say, how many electoral votes each presidential candidate would get, if the election were held today. Consequently, this website also purports to predict the winner of this year’s presidential election. The predictions tend to vary from day-to-day, though, since polls in so many states this year are tied, or extremely (within the margin of error) close. The website is interesting, though, if you’re interested in keeping up with the latest polls. Also, if you do some digging around, the website also predicts what the outcome of the Senate race will be this year.

The other neat website I found is much like, only designed in a more professional matter. It’s called, and is a great source to get results to polls answered by citizens throughout the United States. The polls on this website include whom the majority of people nationally would vote for for president (if the election were held tomorrow, of course...), what percentage of people think the war in Iraq was a good idea, what percentage of people approve of the way President Bush is handling his job, and so on. Just like, is another interesting website to check out if you’d like to keep up on the latest polls.

Both websites I’ve listed label themselves as strictly nonpartisan in nature, though I've noticed a slight slant to the left on some of the commentary that goes along with the polls at Also, be warned that any polling company listed on that has a (D) or (R) after their name is, in some way, affiliated with either the Democratic or Republican Party. Sometimes the results of these polls can be a little questionable, as these party-supported polling companies often try to make their own party's candidate look superior.

Friday, October 08, 2004

A Link Shared

Why I don’t share more links and devote entire blog entries to them, I don’t know – after all, a lot of Bloggers generally have some really good, useful links to share. Well, I thought I’d break from tradition with this entry and share a link that I actually found a month ago, but never got around to sharing with my readers of this blog.

The link I’m about to praise is called “Bush or Kerry: the Electoral College Map.” It’s definitely a very appropriate link considering the fact that the presidential election is now less than a month away.

The page you’ll discover if you click on the link is a very handy guide to the latest presidential polls in every state. Turns out that those “if the presidential election were held tomorrow” polls from every individual state are being collected and collected into a convenient guide that shows just exactly how the presidential race is shaping up in every state.

The website also lists which states will most definitely be won by Kerry – Massachusetts leads by the largest margin right now – and which states will unquestionably be won by Bush – Utah currently has the highest margin here. Along with this, a listing of all the states that are undecided, or “up for grabs,” is also on the page. This list has had the tendency to fluctuate quite a bit over the last month, as the latest poll results from each and every state come in.

Probably the best feature, however, of the website is the interactive poll tracker. This pop-up, interactive map illustrates which states are likely Kerry’s, which states are likely Bush’s, and which states are undecided. Put your mouse over any state, and you'll get the latest poll results showing how much of an advantage each candidate has there, as well as the voting record of the state for the past four presidential elections.

Another neat thing the map allows a person to do is create their own election scenarios. Click on any state and watch it turn pretty colors. A state can be made a red state, a blue state, or even, if so willing, a white state. Have fun seeing which states need to be won in order for Kerry one of the candidates to win presidency. Once you play this simulation, you’ll probably never forget that 270 electoral votes are necessary to win the election.

Now, before you go clicking off to the site, I should mention a tiny little detail. Since it is located at the Los Angeles Times’ website, you’ll need to be a registered member of the Tribune Media Network to actually view the website I’m talking about. If, however, you’ve already registered with or any other Tribune newspaper website, like or, you won’t need to register another account.

Although I recommend registering for an account since it grants access to the full slate of articles from the newspaper – and let’s not forget the Tribune Company’s newspapers are pretty reputable sources of information – if there’s absolutely no way that registering is going to be an option, I have found a free version of a website that offers essentially the same information. It’s from and can be found by clicking here.

In addition, I also see that CNN has a game where the goal is to correctly pick which states will be won by Kerry and which ones by Bush. The winner gets some sort of special prize. Maybe the knowledge gained at the website could be used in trying to pick which candidate will win each state.

Tuesday, October 05, 2004

Welcome to Mitch's Blog 5.0

Well, I’ve finally done it. Look around, and you’ll notice that the design of the blog has once again changed. This will be the fifth – yes, fifth – incarnation of my blog since it began some thirty-four months ago. If you look around, you’ll see Mitch’s Blog 5.0 written in some places, so now you should know why the blog is so genannt.

The biggest change to my blog, however, may not be the fact that the colors are now yellow and green, but that I have moved over from using Geocities to host my blog, to Blogger’s own service: Blogspot. Now, Blogger, in case you didn’t know, is the service I use to keep this site running. I would have never hosted the blog on Geocities to begin with if the Blogspot service had been as good as it is now, since Google took it over. When I signed up for my Blogger account in December 2001, Blogger had a very limited number of features. Basically all you got with a Blogger account was a blog, and that was it – no features such as comments, user-friendly archives, etc. Also, the old Blogspot service was chocked full of ads, unless you were willing to pay a certain yearly amount to remove them, and get a few other additional features, like spellchecking ability for posting.

Well, like I said, since Google took Blogger over and completely redesigned everything – mostly for the better, I must add – I will now be using the Blogspot service to post everything here. Any pictures, however, that I post here will still be managed at Geocities, so don’t be surprised if you see Geocities addresses for my various pictures that I will no doubt post here over the coming weeks and months.

Let me point out some of the changes you, as an ordinary reader, will notice the blog has undergone. First of all, comments on individual posts are back. I missed having to take them away from my old blog, but I was more or less forced to, because they required almost 14Mb to operate. 14Mb is a lot, too, when Geocities only gives you 15Mb total to work with. In addition to comments, an elaborate archiving system has been set up. Archives of the last 10 or so posts will be directly available on the main page. Any older posts will be available in the monthly archives. Now, you may not know it, but I always had a large achieving system at the old blog, I just didn’t really announce it anywhere. Now that the achieve feature is more user friendly, however, I think I’ll begin to convert all of my last posts from the past 34 months onto this page. It will be a pretty lengthy and time-consuming process, but, who knows, it might be interesting to read what I had to say on January 6, 2002 (I talked about the first Knowledge Bowl meet of ninth grade). Actually, now that I’ve been looking through what I posted on those first few months of the blog, it would be a lot of fun to repost them again. If I can do enough digging, I might even be able to find some of the posts from the very first week of the blog, as well. Now those would be fun to see!

Other than the comment and archive features, nothing else has changed too drastically. The only other big new feature that my blog has is an RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed. Let me also add that you might also see XML or Atom used instead of RSS in some places, but all three names are bascially the same thing. Since this is a rather new technology, not widely known yet, let me explain it a little bit. Basically, it’s a service that allows a person to read content from a multitude of different websites all in one place. For instance, if a person were to download a newsreader or aggregator (which are what programs that specialize in RSS feeds are commonly called), they could add an endless amount of RSS feeds – which are no more than links that look like this to an ordinary browser – to their program. The newsreader would then keep track of all the feeds, and tell the user when the individual feeds get updated, and point them in the direction (i.e. website) they could find the updated content. Most websites that have RSS feeds also send along the content with them, so, in many cases, a person who has a newsreader could just read all of the content from their newsreader, without even having to go to the actual website that the content came from.

The newly-designed My Yahoo, the personalized Yahoo page available to anybody with a Yahoo account, also functions as a newsreader, meaning any RSS feed can be added to it, as if it were a news source like AP or Reuters. So far, I’ve begun experimenting with this service, and have added a lot of blogs to it. I’ve also found the BCC’s RSS feeds, and have added them to my My Yahoo page accordingly.

The link to the RSS feed of my blog is The link to the RSS feed of any Blogger blog hosted on Blogspot is Now, while the feed is, by default, turned on, it can be turned off in the settings, meaning some blogs may not have an RSS feed to go with them.

And that’s about it for the new features. Hopefully you’ll enjoy the fifth edition of the blog just as much as you have the previous ones.

Previous Posts

Four Years Have Passed
Winter of 2007-08 Musings
7th Annual Top 10 Super Bowl Commercials
Another Birthday
A Beltated Update
2007 Vacation: Day 10 Summary
2007 Vacation: Day 9 Summary
2007 Vacation: Day 8 Summary
2007 Vacation: Day 7 Summary
2007 Vacation: Day 6 Summary


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Mitch's Blog Copyright 2001-2012 Mitch Wahlsten -- All Rights Reserved
The thoughts and opinions expressed are those of Mitch Wahlsten and the participants
Mitch's Blog began on December 23, 2001