Tag Archives: milwaukee

Weekend Successes

Had a real fine summer solstice weekend here in Milwaukee.  The weather was mostly beautiful, with a couple occasional rain showers.  It set up a nice backdrop for outdoor activities…

On Friday, the Justin Roth show at Jen & Joe’s was great.  The hosts provided ample food and beverages (including Spotted Cow on tap), and the music was awesome.  We got to hear a few new songs, and some classic faves like “Dead Horse Trampoline,” “Ones to Hold On To,” and “Fatima’s Waltz.”  Got a chance to chat with Justin a bit, and he said he is starting to work with a new producer on an album– but it sounds like it’s nothing that’s immediately on the horizon (maybe within the next 12 months or so?  Hopefully?).  Also got him to sign the picture that Christy took of him behind the wheel of the Festiva; he chuckled recalling the days when he shaved his head.

It was really cool that a lot of Jen and Joe’s friends who had never seen Justin or Storyhill, et al. were around to take in the show and enjoy it.  That’s been my experience more often than not– if you get a chance to see the talent that these guys have in person, and how much they truly enjoy what they’re doing, it’s hard to not feel that energy and to have a really good time yourself.  Justin sold a ton of CDs afterwards, if you want to use that as a measuring device.  And of course, I took pictures during the show, so I’ll post a few of them here within the next couple days.

On Saturday, Mom, Grandma, the Mundschaus and I all went over to PolishFest for a few hours.  I rode downtown with Mom and Grandma.  We parked at WI & Plankinton, then caught the shuttle down to the grounds, but considering how early we got there, probably could’ve parked right there just as easily.  We ate, drank, shopped for some Polish paraphernalia, and got to catch part of a set by Neal Zunker’s Music Connection, and Eddie Blazonczyk & the Versatones, respectively.  We also ran into our cousin Chris and his buddy Scott, who got some free tickets from Uncle Mark.

Sunday was Michelle’s mom’s 60th birthday shindig at Joey Buona’s on Water Street.  It was EXTREMELY filling, as usual.  Sheryl seemed to have a really nice time; a number of her old high school chums made it out, as well as Michelle aunt & uncle from Sheboygan, among others.  It was a fun party.

Earlier that day, I got to visit with Eric and Christine Kiefer for a while (!!).  Yes, you read that correctly.  I was thinking of them as we got primed for the Justin Roth show, and decided that I had put off actually getting in touch for long enough.  They seem to be doing well, both on a professional and personal level.  They’re staying very busy with 2 young kids around the house, but they seem pretty happy, top-to-bottom.  Hopefully, I’ll be able to stay in touch a little better, particularly since I’m moving to their side of town.  I got to share what limited news I could about myself, and I also spilled the beans about everything going on with everyone I know from back in the Osh Vegas days; didn’t think I was probably spoiling any surprises.

Sunday night, Michelle came over and helped me actually start packing a little bit.  We took everything that was hanging down off the walls, and I began to strike the living room.  I think I’m going to work on finishing that up tonight; I barely watch TV in the summer anyway, and if I really want to veg out, I have a laptop and the Internet.  Packing up always seems daunting when you get started, but once you’re on a roll, it moves along.  I think I’ll pick out my wardrobe for the rest of the week and get clothes packed out of the closet tonight, too…

Got a short week at work this week (took Thursday and Friday off to doing moving business), so I better get to it.


So I found out on Monday morning that I did NOT get the apartment on Capitol Drive.  Since that afternoon, I’ve been working madly (with some help from Jen) to try to find another place, and soon– I’ve got just 18 days left on Wright Street.

I told the manager at 1029 E Knapp yesterday that I would take one in that building.  I wanted to secure something as a backup, and since that building is owned by the same folks as the one on Capitol that I didn’t get, they already had my application and a security deposit.  They don’t have a signed lease yet, though, so I’m still going to take a look at this place on Ardmore Ave in Shorewood.  This place that I’m going to see this afternoon could be a LOT cheaper per month overall (50 bucks or so).  An extra 600 clams in your pocket at the end of the year makes a diff, y’know?  The description is a little frightening, though: “small but charming.”  In apartment hunting for me, size is going to matter a bit, and if it is somehow smaller than the place on Knapp, well… I’ll have to cough up that 600 bucks.

A Welcome Addition

A part of me is very afraid of all the information that Google is collecting.  The scariest part is that unlike people, who reach a certain capacity point and then begin to purge (“Whoops, closet’s full– what can I get rid of..?”), Google is just looking to find ways to store MORE information.  They never throw anything out.  What are you going to do with all of that in the long run, y’know?

That being said, I am a frequent user of serveral of their software products.  By default, I use both their search engine and their map software.  An addition to the latter that is just AWESOME in my book is the “public transit” map option that just recently debuted for Milwaukee.

I pay about 30 bucks a month for an UNLIMITED bus pass through the university.  It’s great, because I don’t need to pay for parking at work or worry about finding a space, and I also save the gas money and wear-and-tear on the car.  However, I really don’t use the bus other that for getting to work (and occasionally to Michelle’s), in large part because figuring out how to get from point A to point B on a particular schedule is sort of pain.

No longer a problem with the public-transit-google-mapping.  Tell it where I want to start from, where I need to go, and what time I need to get there, and it gives me all the info I need.  VERY cool and FANTASTICALLY convenient.  I just might start driving even less…

Try it out– here’s just an example of a route I have to take to go see an  apartment tomorrow morning (different unit in the same building I mentioned last week).

ESPN is saying John Hammond as new Bucks GM

Took a little break for lunch, and lookie what we have here.  Hammond is the #1 assistant to GM Joe Dumars in Detroit.  I think this will be a good hire, if it goes through.  That’s only half the battle, though, as Milwaukee also needs a coach that actually knows how to (A) get through to players and (B) win in the NBA.

Don’t hold your breath, but this is definitely the most exciting day for the Bucks since Game 7 of Conference Finals in 2001.

Well… Schlemiel, Schlimazel.

Schlitz bottlePicked up an article from the Journal-Sentinel yesterday about how Schlitz is going back to the original formula, in bottles only.

A little excerpt from that article:

Despite the renewed focus on aging boomers, Schlitz might also find new fans among drinkers in their 20s, Schumacher said. He cited Pabst Blue Ribbon, another old-time brand that has enjoyed a revival in recent years from young drinkers drawn by its retro appeal – and lack of a big ad campaign.

“They might get some young hipsters” to drink Schlitz, Schumacher said, “just because of the irony of it.”

No, they “might” not– I GUARANTEE you that’s what will happen.


Uploaded some more photos today.  I now have a galleries for Oshkosh, Eagle River, and Milwaukee, as well as for a few of the vacations I’ve taken in the last few years.  Take a look as you will.

Michelle and I were talking about it recently– I don’t think I ever actually put photos from our Glacier Nat’l Park trip on the web last summer.  I’m gonna work on those next, be watching for it in a few days…

In other breaking news this evening, I guess Tom Crean is leaving Marquette.  How bout them apples?

A Little Revelation

I was thumbing through emails this morning as I started my Thursday, and I had yet another message about PantherFest. I won’t be attending this event, but it made me think about how the festival season completely blew by me this year.

I was living in Milwaukee all summer, and this is the first time I can remember since I’ve been in college that I didn’t go to a single ethnic festival all summer long. Michelle and I had a couple hours at the State Fair, but that was it. I even missed Summerfest and fireworks on the 3rd of July by the lake.

Next year I’ll probably be more settled in and whatnot, so I imagine things will be different.

Here’s another little revelation, though– I’ve never lived in Milwaukee over the winter. I don’t think it’ll be any different than what I’m used to in other parts of the state. I guess the commute could suck more, with things like trudging through the snow on my way to the bus stop, etc.


Only 110 days until Christmas.

Race Issues

I considered it carefully, and finally decided that I would post this thought from yesterday.

If you’ve ever lived in or near Milwaukee, you probably know that the city is extremely (and mysteriously, from an outsider’s perspective) divided along racial lines, manifested most directly through geography. The physical separation of blacks and whites (there are others, but let’s focus on the Big Two) makes the intermingling of the races a tenuous affair at best.

I think the most common response of white people in Milwaukee is to pretend there’s not actually a problem, and that the racial/social/economic divisions are some sort of mysterious coincidence. Most white people, I think, like to believe that they received license to stop worrying about race somewhere around 1970 (at least way up north here in Wisconsin, by God).

My speculation, based on interactions and observations I’ve had, is that most black people are going to be guarded, and cautiously suspicious in interactions with whites, which is completely understandable in a city whose casual racism simmers just below the surface.

Ultimately, what you end up with are interactions that are cordial in appearance, but where one or both parties has a proverbial finger on the trigger, just waiting for the slightest reason to write the other off as the personification of a racial stereotype.

I don’t think of myself as a racist. However, I do know that my hyper-awareness of the existence of the race problem in this city probably affects the way that I am in interracial encounters. I don’t know how to resolve this, other than to give it time.

One thing that’s definitely not going to help is events such as what transpired at work today. I’m sure that it’s not appropriate for me to say much about it, but the short version is, a student who I legitimately could not remember working with claims that I promised something I could not/would not have promised, gave me a total of four hours to look into it, then went to folks much further up the chain to accuse me of discrimination.

I think that this situation escalating so far so fast has a lot more to do with the climate in Milwaukee than with me personally. I really believe that if my skin and the student’s were the same color, these accusations would not have been made.

I’m trying my best, but this is just another one of those things that makes me wish I wasn’t here. I don’t have the solution to 150 years of history in my pocket. If I did, I’d be doing something else.

Lacking overwhelming praise or accolades, I prefer anonymity, and for that, I’m probably in the wrong job. I know that sounds naive or selfish. But, this is what I’ve been thinking about today.

Made it home. Stop.

Sorry for the telegram-style post. Busy @ work. Made it to Sioux Falls by 1AM Monday. Forgot that it was bike week, South Dakota overrun w/ bikers. Don’t like Sturgis. Deadwood seems kind of neat, if not for 3000 Harleys parked in a 6-block downtown area.

Rapid City likewise overrun. No bikers panning for gold, so that was OK. Met a western film vet/quick-draw record-holder. Accidentally saw Mt. Rushmore in passing. All heads intact. Rapid City-area is marketed almost as heavily as WI Dells. Drove through Custer State Park in SD, but had a hard time enjoying it w/ very heavy motorcycle traffic/noise. Saw a herd of buffalo. Bikers not very conscientious of their highway crossing.

Wall Drug same as ever. Michelle bought souveniers. We ate ice cream. Motel 6 in Sioux Falls cheap, adequately comfortable. Minnesota boring. Played a lot of the Yes & Know book games on Monday.

Also went to state fair on Monday night back home, consumed the following:
– two 20-oz. beers
– corn, 1 cob
– bratwurst, 1 (with sauerkraut)
– spiral-cut potato chips (one heaping plateful)
– half a thing of cheese curds
– a few bites of Michelle’s elephant ear
– half a cream puff
– butter pecan ice cream cone