Lambeau You DI-INT !!!

I thought I'd give what is quite possibly *the most* Wisconsin attraction a try before getting out from behind the Cheese Curtain - Lambeau Field, home of the NFL's Green Bay Packers. I found a biased friend that would go with, negotiated some really cheap tickets on Craig's List for the last preseason game, put on something green (not really Packer green), and drove the 100 miles to [cue the NFL music] - Green Bay, WI. Having now seen the seriousness of their football firsthand, I can attest to the fact that they don't mess around (and really love Miller Lite). For the final preseason game, which everyone knows is a dog, they had near 70,000 people in attendance, all dressed in green and gold, cheering through the final play. Which wasn't hard, b/c the end of the game was actually very entertaining, esp for a preseason game.

One of the highlights for me (a lifelong Bears fan) was seeing the not-to-frequent Favre NY Jets jerseys in the crowd - a slight wag of the finger to Packer management and the debacle that was the trading of Brett. The only lowlight from this football mecca are the names of the food stands in the concourse - with names like "Meat Packing Company", "Munch Zone", and "Goin' Deep Pizza", you'd think we were in the food court on the set of an adult film, but no. The food was good (not great), and they even had a veggie friendly brat (though if people wonder what's in real brats, what could possibly be in a fake one?).

This concludes my Wisconsin immersion course, you'll have to wait and see where the Transplanted Chicagoan winds up next. Keep checking back for new posts, polls, and the randomness I can't do without.

Anyone else love the cammo hat AND pony tail? (I didn't even know he was in the shot)




Discovering Discovery World.

I often hear that it's not what you know, but who. Couldn't have said it better myself when I found out someone I know works in Membership at one of MKE's lakefront musuems. It's called Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin (say that ten times fast). She helped my and two friends get in last week. Interesting place, this time I really will let the pics do the talking, no comments from me. If anyone has questions about the pics, post a comment, please.

You sure you don't have a comment after all that, c'mon!?!


A day at the "office".

Chances are the best day at your office is no match for even a bad day at Wrigley. I jumped at the chance to make my first day of the season at the "Friendly Confines" last week and had to force myself to sit through nine innings of Cubs baseball (the Cubs did lose to the Nationals, badly).

None the less, the sun came out, the fans were geared up, SpongeBob was the give-a-way, and the Old Style was cold (and waaay over priced at $6.25/16oz).

The rain stopped a bit after the 1:05 start time and the crew came out to take off the tarps. Something I'd never seen at a game occurred - one of the grounds crewmen got stuck *inside* the tarp as the 20-30 people ran it over itself to remove the water. Once they inverted it, the guy popped up out from under it, soaked to the bone, and hat in hand. Must have been some ride.

No batted ball has ever hit the centerfield scoreboard at Wrigley.

Ah, Addison and Sheffield - really I was just trying a phone option for pics, but it was kind of gloomy when I took this.


Discuss, Poll #32, Motorcycles.

I'm conflicted in this week's poll - on one hand, I've had my motorcycle license for over 1o years, but have not been back on a motorcycle since I took the special class down in Champaign to get the State of Illinois certification. On the other hand, it's about to be Harley-Davidson's 105th (kind if an interesting number) Anniversary and MKE will be inundated with Hogs. This does not bode well for me as I live on a busy street, keep the windows open, and almost all drivers accelerate up the block. It's going to be noisy.

Anyone else got a good motorcycle story? Burns, babes, or body bags?

Results, Poll #31, Exercise.

Wow, one of the lowest poll totals in recent times and also one of the most lopsided. I guess t.c readers are the most read and most fit on the world wide web.

> 12 people (92%) chose "yes", they have worked out in the last week - it is interesting to me that so many people reading the t.c blog do get out and active. I'm pretty sure it's much much less than 92% for an average American.
> 1 person (7%) chose "no", they had not worked out in the last week- perhaps it was an off week, full of stress and headaches, though exercise could help with these troubles; I should know.

New poll up now. I tried to spice up the choices after hearing no one likes to fill 'em out if it just "yes" and "no" choices (which could be borne out in last week's low total?). Go vote!


Window Decoration.

Warning: this is not for everyone. Send the kids to bed or put the ear muffs on their eyes.

One other shop I only *walked by* while I was in Chicago is known as Cupid's Treasure, and happens to be in the Boystown neighborhood. (ok, truth is i walked too far and had to turn around and go back on the same street, i hate that) Now, as I walked under the hot sun in a neighborhood I have always found pays off with laughs if you pay attention... I had to double take at the window front I walked by. It looked like this:

"Who would be shopping for bar-b-queing stuff at a Cupid store? Why did they dress up the mannequin like that? Or is that a real guy? Dressed as a "chef"? Oh yes, it's a man." What's that, you don't think it's a real guy either? Well it is. How do I know - would a mannequin wear an Ace bandage on his leg?

Look real close, left leg, above the ankle. Many thoughts raced through my head as this all came to me in seconds - "...how can he stand there motionless? doesn't he get hot under the sun and in a window? wait, is he wearing *any* clothes? oh, maybe he's not so hot."


More plate for the Review Board.

I'm sorry, but only in WI is a car of this color acceptable transportation. If you drive this down to Soldier Field, watch yer back.

I don't know if the Review Board would be responsible for the car's color as well, but this would still pass in the state of WI. Other states? Maybe not.

Now, for one of my favorite under-the-radar license plates of all time (so far):

Pretty interesting if you know what to look for... and I'd seen this Volvo station wagon parked on my block before. As I went down the street today to ship some eBay items, lo and behold, there it was parked right by my building. As many may know, Volvos are known for their Swedishness and also their high safety standard. Ok, where we going with this? Well, "sov" means "sleep" in Swedish and "vagn", well I didn't go over that in Swedish class, but let's presume it means "wagon". So, you have the "sleep wagon". I can see it now - cramming the family in the wagon for a rod trip, only to be left at the wheel with everyone else snoozing. Not bad, not bad at all - your license plate has been APPROVED!


Reverse in Profile Store.

I was recently in Chicago and was able to visit a popular online company that recently opened their own store. The company was founded and is still run in the Ravenswood neighborhood of Chicago, so it makes sense that their new store is also in the city. It's located on Broadway, a few blocks south of Belmont. As I hope you'll see, it's a store worth checking out, for a variety of reasons. I'm going to go through it in reverse, maybe you can figure out what the store/brand is by the end of the post?

Hmmmm, what is it, an art space under the L tracks on Franklin? A new spot in Wicker Park? Well, this is the upstairs loft at the joint and it's not very big, but it crams a lot in. Don't quote me on it, but I believe it's local artists and changes pretty often.

There's even a place to sit while you just stare off into the art. I like that. Reminds me of the scene in the museum in Ferris Bueller's Day Off.

Here's a nice big possibility for that tattoo I've been talking about. Maybe just like this, on my back!?! Or maybe it was telling me something right before the job interview I was on my way to?

So, now we're getting to the nitty-gritty, ok, really just their product. It's t-shirts, all day and all night. Mind you, these are not just normal t-shirts - this company uses online submissions and voting to determine the designs of all their printed stocks. And, if you submit a winning design, you get more than just pride... you get cash and credit (for their products). They basically make everyone creative (or dumb) enough to send in a design a partner in the company (to an extent, of course). All the actual t-shirts are on the shelves, but above each rack is a flat screen monitor that shows you normal and not-normal folks in the t-shirts... kids, adults, crackheads, everyone.

It might be a bit hard to see the screens, so here's a little bigger picture of one. Each t-shirt screen has images that scroll as you shop. This particular shirt/screen features some pretty good celebs if you like Best Week Ever, Flight of the Conchords, or Human Giant. It's Aziz Ansari and Rob Huebel... pretty cool for the "local t-shirt joint"!

Nice front counter and they even have paying customers!!! You know it's good. (ah, no, I didn't buy anything this trip.) It's also interesting to note that they pack A LOT of thought and features into a physically small space. It's bi-level, but not very big. You get the art space, retail space, dressing rooms, office, etc. Pretty neat. Good things come in small packages.

Well, if you hadn't guessed it by now, the company is called Threadless, which is the name on the storefront as well - makes sense. If you're in the neighborhood, check 'em out. If you're not in the neighborhood, look 'em up online and submit a design or grab some sweet shirts.


Discuss, Poll #31, Exercise.

I'm just trying to find out if the t.c reader spends a lot of time reading, exercising, or both. I would count 20 (or more) minutes of running, cycling, walking (not just to your car), weight training, chopping wood, mixed martial art fighting, etc., as "exercise". If you have to convince yourself that something you did was exercise, maybe it wasn't?

Also, if you have any comments about the poll's question or choices, please comment here.

Results, Poll #30, Earthquakes.

After the recent earthquakes in China and the US, I was interested to know how many of us had been through them. A friend in NYC/CA, had just flown home only to experience the most recent CA earthquake one hour after arriving - great timing, huh?

Here's how it sorted out this week:
> 5 people (31%) chose "yes, pretty fun/freaky" - I can only imagine. I guess everyone is still alive from their 'quake or they couldn't have voted. Maybe they're just more scary than anything else... at least the common ones in CA.
> 3 people (18%) chose "no, but my family/friends have" - Hmmmm, the firsthand knowledge must have steered them clear of wanting to try it on their own.
> 2 people (12%) chose "sort of, I have bad gas" - comedians... but I guess I was the one that started it in the first place. I dealt it.
> 5 people (31%) chose "nope, but I'd like to try a little one" - this choice tied with "yes" for the most votes. I'm in this pile myself as I think it would be something one would want to try once in their life. I guess it could be pretty risky as you don't know how strong the quake would be. If the one time I got to experience once was the last time I was alive or I got buried for days and my class' hall monitor had to save me - I'll pass.
> 1 people (6%) chose "no, not interested, thanks" - are you sure you're not just a little curious? What if someone could guarantee it wouldn't be bigger than like a 4.0 or something? I think it would be interesting to find out... try everything once.

Thanks to the the 16 respondents this week, new poll up NOW!



Now, Will Ferrell did some commercials for Old Spice when "Semi-Pro" was coming out, and they were funny, a good theme match, and, I believe , aimed squarely at the I'm-a-smelly-teenager-that-worships-Ferrell crowd.

But a delightful surprise to me was the new series of Neil Patrick Harris editions. Of course, I'll always think of NPH as "Doogie", but these are funny. I'm just not sure where they're targeting? Doctors? The gay community? Teenagers? Nostalgic SOBs like me?

"I used to play a doctor, for pretend."


Olympic Tech: Swimming.

In case you've been in the NorthWoods of WI for the last week or so, below is info on the suit that many of the fastest swimmers in the world are rockin' in the Summer Games. It's won some gold medals already and promises to rack up more before the week's out.

Here's some 411 on the
Speedo Fastskin LZR Racer:
  • Speedo used NASA to help design the suit. Yup - rocket scientists.
  • Lots of tests in water flumes to test passive drag (10% better than the Fastskin FSII - 2004's fast Speedo swimsuit - and 5% better than then the FS-PRO, the fastest Speedo suit from 2007.
  • Tests to show where the most drag occurs on a swimmer's body led to a suit designed to minimize drag in those areas.
  • Body scanning of 400 elite athletes to help develop an efficient suit pattern for construction.
  • Bonded seams, so no stitches to cause drag.
  • A hidden zipper - again, less drag.
  • LZR polyurethane panels reduce drag in some areas of the swimsuit by as much as 24% compared to other Speedo suits.
  • And a bigee - 5% less effort to go the same speed - a swimmer can use less energy to go a given speed, so they ought ot have more energy to go faster or hold that speed longer.
Of course, swimmers not using Speedo products don't want to be left on the blocks, at least 6 other companies will be making their own version of a fast suit for their sponsored athletes. Thank God.

And since t.c is all about bringing great stuff to the masses, like all the other Olympic Tech posts, you can go out and buy this too, just pony up the $500 for the suit, then get two friends to help you get into it while you stand there naked. Fun.


It's all in the name?

Not being a parent, I've been pretty amazed, er, intrigued, by what some of the first names are of our US athletes. A quick trip to the USOC webpage pulls up some rather unusual names. Some are just rare, but some are unique due to the "novel" spelling. I guess everyone wants their little Britneigh to be different.

Here's a sample of the names I found:
Taylor (male)
McClain (yes, first name)
Erinn (yes, two 'n's)
Chellsie (a Wisco native no less)
Tairia (I don't know how to say her name)
(and one of my favorite athletes to watch) Misty

Perhaps a unique name might have something to do with all these people being Olympic athletes?


Olympic Tech: Volleyballs.

Mikasa has introduced a new volleyball for the Olympics. This reminds me of the Adidas soccer ball that was the "official ball" of the World Cup Soccer Tournament not too long ago. It seems that the International Volleyball Federation(FIVB) loved this new ball so much they named it as the Exclusive FIVB Game Ball and official indoor game ball of the 2008 Olympics.

Here's what Mikasa highlights about the ball's design:
  • New 8 Panel swirl design - The elimination of some panel seams allows for more contact area on the surface of the ball improving passing and control. Allows for greater accuracy and better feel.
  • Unique dimpled microfiber material - The dimples create turbulence & cut down on resistance as the ball cuts through the air.This lack of resistance allows the ball to fly truer through the air and allows you to be more creative with your serves and spikes.
  • Cemented panel seams - Cementing only the seams of the ball allows air in between the cover and carcass. This gives the ball a softer feel without losing any of its explosiveness.
  • Blue and Yellow color - The human eye picks up these two colors faster than any others,allowing for quicker reactions and better touches.
Yellow and blue, huh? I'll have to remember that - for what, I'm not sure. Yeah, pretty sure Joe Blow can go out and buy this one too... you know, for "peppering" the ball around the yard with your little sib.

[note: I've seen yellow and blue on the outdoor/beach volleyball and the waterpolo ball. Seems like Mikasa aren't the only folks in the know about the yellow & blue color scheme]


Olympic Tech: Shoes, update.

I spoke too soon in regards to the USA men's basketball team's kicks. Here's the updated info from a great "sneakerhead" blog, NiceKicks.com. Cool pics too, as these folks have the in for all the 411 in the sneaker world. It's interesting to note that the colorway of these shoes very much matches the designs on the USA Basketball Team's jerseys and shorts - it's all made by Nike, doncha know.

Discuss, Poll #30, Earthquakes.

If someone has a good earthquake story, I think t.c readers would love to hear about it.

Of course, just about anything else is open for comments too.

Results, Poll #29, Libros.

So, in case anyone was wondering, I did manage to carve out some free time this past week and was able to finish the book I had started earlier this month. Though The Big Sort is interested mostly in how the politics of the US have sorted themselves into specific geographic locations (e.g. Austin vs. Dallas/Houston), there is a lot of historical and related information that made it quite an interesting read. I would recommend it to anyone before the elections this fall.

Here's how others responded about books:
> 8 people (40%) chose "in the last week" - As one respondent mentioned, I think this is impressive. Kudos to you all, Nerd Herd.
> 6 people (30%) chose "in the last month" - Well, not too far off the weekly book readers, good enough.
> 4 people (20%) chose "in the last 6 months" - And now it's getting smaller, meaning, I guess, that t.c readers are just that, 'readers'.

> 1 person(5%) chose "in the last year" - You must be very successful in your work life, I hope.

> 0 people (0%) chose "in the last I don't remember" - uuhhh, I have no comments.

> 1 person (5%) chose " 'book', what's that?" - And to you I give my deepest sympathies, everyone knows you're missing out by not reading Harry Potter.

14 out of 20 people have finished a book in the last month - that's impressive!! Who says books are dead? Internet, suck on that!!

Nicest news as the t.c author - we've jumped this week to 20 respondents! I do know that we've had our first Netherlands respndent finally get on board. Thanks, All. New poll up NOW.


Beijing 08-08-08

[The "Bird's Nest" all lit up]

The 2008 Beijing Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony - what a great way to spend a night at home with a summer cold (one of those hot-outside-A/C-inside colds that always creep up). I was very impressed by the overt and symbolic displays of the Chinese culture throughout the night. I don't know what part was the best... maybe just one long "best". Here's some facts I grabbed onto while watching and listening to Lauer & Costas:

> With a population of 1.3 billion, China makes up 1/5th of the World's population. Yowza.
> China only has one timezone for the entire nation. No dilly-dallying with CST, MST, PST stuff... right now, on the western side of China, the sun rises at 8AM and sets at 11PM. Done and done.
> The opening ceremony used 15,000 people (no performers repeated). When the man in charge of all the proceedings was asked something like "How?" or "Why?", he replied, "Well, we have the people."
> The Olympic Stadium, or "Bird's Nest", currently holds 91,000 people. This is on par with some of the biggest college football stadiums in the US. After the games, it will be the home of Beijing's soccer team, and will then hold only about 80,000.

[I thought this was one of the nicer small things they did - Yao Ming and a boy who survived their recent earthquake went into the stadium for China's delegation together. The boy survived by digging himself out of the rubble, then saving two of his classmates b/c it was his duty as he was a chosen hall monitor.]

> Out of the 204 nations represented in the games, here's some nations I'll admit I don't think I'd heard of until they walked into the stadium - Vanuatu, Malta (I know this one, but it always sounds fake), Benin, Comoros, Cote d Ivoire, Kiribati, and Nauru (at 8sq miles, it's the smallest nation in the games).
> Palestine has an Olympic swimmer in the games, but they have no Olympic sized pool in the country.
> Chinese Taipei (uhhh, Taiwan) has a special flag for the games as they are not allowed to use their national flag in international competitions (esp in China). They will be involved in some heated games with China, esp in table tennis (I knew those shoes would need to keep their cool).
> Japan has the oldest competitor in the games, a man that is 67 years old. He will be competing in some of the equestrian events.
> Only the opening procession of nations can justify these kinds of combinations following each other into the stadium - Mauritania>Denamrk>Uganda or Australia>Zambia>China. To be fair, I didn't hear how they line up the countries, but it's not strictly on the English spelling of their country's name, it's something more official, I suspect.



I think screaming is the response of most people when going down that first big decline on a roller coaster. Our family used to go to Six Flag's Great America *every* summer. This was a big deal for a family with 5-7 kids. It was expensive to get in (multiply everything by 7-9), expensive to eat, and expensive to get souvenirs for each one of us.

Our father always liked the roller coasters and once the kids were old enough (and brave enough... and tall enough) we'd go along. I recently saw a show on TV with the biggest and best coasters, like:

This one is known as Millennium Force, not to be confused with the Millennium Falcon in Star Wars. Seems like one heck of a roller coaster, and you only have to go to Ohio to ride it. It's been voted the World's #1 Steel Roller Coaster 5 times since it was built. Must be good. You can see a youtube video of the ride here. It's worth the 1.5 minutes.

This next one is called Kingda Ka and is located in Six Flags-NJ. You can see a video of it here. This one isn't as twisty-turney as most, but it makes up for it in sheer force, taking you up to 128mph in 3.5 seconds to make it over the large hump in the middle of the ride. It's currently the World's Fastest Roller Coaster (but ride time is less than a minute). It also uses hydraulics for it's propulsion, not the old-school chain-driven (remember that clicking-clanking as you go up the hill on the American Eagle? That's the chains and cogs.)

And finally, thought it wasn't on the show, I had to toss in the old-but-goodie, American Eagle at Six Flags-IL. It's no longer the fastest roller coaster (it once was), but it continues to remain the highest (drop height), fastest, and longest racing roller coaster ever built. In 2006, the American Eagle celebrated its Silver Season (25th anniversary). That's a lot of rides! And let's not forget, it's made out of WOOD. You can hear the clicking and clacking and visit an old friend here.

Anyone hitting an amusement park this year for some roller coasters? The Demon is calling your name, perhaps?


Discuss, Poll #29, Libros.

This week's subject was chosen in part b/c I've recently been granted a Milwaukee Public Library card. I've also picked up this book after seeing the author on 'The Daily Show with Jon Stewart'. It's been an interesting read so far. I should be able to finish the book in time for the poll, but I wouldn't say I'm a voracious reader by any means. At most, maybe 3-6 books per year. I'm pretty sure some of you rip through books like Augustus Gloop rips through a WonkaBar.

Results, Poll #28, Housing.

Renting renting always renting. This is my personal mantra, but boy would it be nice to be creating some equity. I've said before that I've moved, on average, once a year since I gradated high school. Once or twice, I've moved 3 times or more in a year, for a variety of reasons. I can't wait, if it's ever possible, to be in a home and not move for many many years. That'll be the day.

This week, the rest of the t.c readers said:
> 9 people (50%) chose 'I'm enjoying creating equity while paying off a mortgage' - sounds like the smart way to go, even with the housing slump. Plus, if you're married, you only have one landlord to answer to, your spouse.
> 8 people (44%) chose 'Renting, always renting' - well, it's not sooo bad, buck up! However, I will point out that people in the know still recommend using only 25% of your monthly income on a rental/housing expense. More than that and it could be iffy, unless you don't have other expenses, like a car.
> 1 person (5%) chose 'Still in school' and live with M&D or in university housing - sure, we've all done that. Some days, I think it might be better than always renting (minus the cockroaches and couches filled with broken glass and loose change).

No one chose that they live in their car (I'll keep you all posted on my future situation:), but no one also chose that they own their home outright. I thought for sure one or two of the t.c readership would, shows how much I know. Perhaps I will have to do this again in 20-30 years time and see where it ends up.

Final Note; I believe we have a new, legitimate respondent record, 18 people. Thanks all.


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