October 2007 Archives

Wisconsin Trip

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(Apologies in advance for the poor grammar - I've been sick ever since we left WI and had a hard time writing this up.)

As most of you know, I went to Wisconsin last week with my friends Nat and Karl. We had a pretty full weekend - we saw a radio show, a Packers game, and took a brewery tour. We also spent time in Madison and time with my parents - we had a really good time. I tried to take as many pictures as possible, but somehow managed to miss some of the "highlights." Here's what I was able to catch on camera:

We drove to Kansas City at around 12:30pm, as we flew out of the MCI airport on Midwest Express. The drive was really easy, and we stopped at a Culvers for some lunch. Our flight departed at 6:45pm and arrived in Madison at 8:00pm, where my brother was waiting to pick us up.

He took us to the Esquire Club in Madison for some good 'ole fashioned Fish Fry. Nat, Karl and I had the ocean perch with fries, while my brother had chicken and fries. After we stuffed ourselves, we spent the night at my brother's house. Apparently, I snored a lot, but that's another story.

We started the day by going to see Michael Feldman's What'dya Know? radio show. It's one of my favorites - I listen to it just about every Saturday morning on NPR. Here are some photos from the show:


That's us, sitting in the middle of the auditorium at the Monona Terrace Convention Center.

Prior to the show, we were treated to donuts and coffee, compliments of Mr. Feldman. And we had to fill out our cards for the audience questions - none of ours got picked, but Michael did talk to us a bit, as my brother quickly notified everyone that we were from out of town...

It was surprising how laid-back the show was, and I was shocked by how small the venue was. I always envisioned a huge auditorium, filled with hundreds of people. Instead, I found a smallish auditorium, with maybe 100 people on hand. I also pictured the announcer, Jim, to sit "behind" the audience, but instead, he sits right on stage, up front with everyone else, as you can see here - Michael is on the left, and Jim is on the right.


The show featured its usual guests and quiz; but this time, the quiz was a "celebrity" quiz. In the first hour, the celebrity contestant was Wink Martindale (of Tic Tac Dough game show fame); in the second hour it was the infamous Bob Barker. Michael did his usual good job of "helping" the contestants get the right answers. :-)


That's Michael talking to Bob Barker and the audience contestant. And here's Michael talking to one of the audience members about something (I don't remember what they talked about... I think the guy was an inventor):


After the show, we went over to the Great Dane Brew Pub for some lunch. The special looked interesting:


The place was quite busy, so we had to wait for a table. Nat bought us some beers, of which the Great Dane brews themselves. The next few pictures are dark - I think my brother changed an exposure setting on the camera while he was reviewing pictures I took from the show... I didn't catch it until later, so these photos are a bit dark.

Our food:

Karl's Brat Favre:

Nat's Reuben:

My Fish & Chips:

Karl *really* liked the Brat Favre (he's hamming it up for the camera):

After lunch, we went to State Street, and took a walk up and down it. Here's a view of the Capital from about mid-way down the street:


We saw this amazing painter - he uses spray paint, plates, and bottle caps to create these unbelievable paintings in a matter of about 3 minutes. Here are a few pictures of his work:



After walking up and down State Street, we stopped in to the "Wisconsin Chocolate Shoppe" for some ice cream. It was pretty yummy stuff!


With our bellies full, and our legs exercised, we decided to head over to the Capital Brewery in Middleton to take a tour. I'd taken the tour before, and thought Karl and Nat would really enjoy it. My brother drove us over there, and then went to the gym (he's a good guy).

Capital is a small brewery that regularly wins a bunch of national and international awards for its beer. It brews about 22,000 barrels of beer each year, and has a really relaxed attitude and atmosphere. Our tour guide insisted that we share a beer with him on the tour, because he'd be "nervous" if we didn't.

We got their early, and sat in the Bier Stube and waited for the tour to start:


Our tour guide, Rhett:


He was a super nice guy and gave a great tour. We spent about 1 hour on the tour, and got to sample some yet-to-be-released beers. Here we are in the part of the facility where they age/filter the beers:


Here's Rhett letting us sample some of the new offerings:


More samples, this time it's out in the Bier Garten:


And here's me and Nat, with our sampling glasses after the tour was completed:


After the tour, my brother picked us up, and we drove over to Pavlov's Pizza. We took the pizza back to my parents house and had a feast. It was quite good. We had thin crust, thick crust, and beer nuggets with marinara sauce.


We watched TV that night and went to bed rather early. We'd have another big day ahead of us...

We got up early and had breakfast (even though all of us were still stuffed from Saturday), then drove up to Green Bay for the Packers game. The Packers were playing the Redskins, and we got an early start so that we could beat the traffic and find a good parking spot.

Lambeau Field:

The fans were pouring in early:

Inside the front gates:

The atrium:

View from our seats:

Karl, "getting to work" early:

Our seats were up on the Club Level, which was absolutely fantastic. We had access to really good food, lots of bathrooms, and we had the benefit of having actual seats rather than bleacher seats. It was super nice and we were extremely lucky to get these tickets - thanks again, Dad!

Some of the food options:

An omelette station:

A desert station:

Another desert station:

While we walked around the Club Level, we noticed a house that was across the street from the stadium. Talk about a prime tailgating place! They built seating on top of their garage...


Karl decided he was thirsty again.

Here's all of us, standing next to our seats (we sat on the left side of the aisle). Our "waitress," Jennifer took the photo for us.


Karl ordered some BBQ nachos - they looked fantastic:

The stadium started to fill-up quickly about 10 minutes prior to game time. Prior to then, it was really empty. I guess everyone was hanging out in the parking lot until the last possible moment.


The National Anthem ended with a F-16 flyover. It was extremely cool - those things are so loud!


And now, for some miscellaneous game photos:





Karl, with a hot chocolate:

And Karl with our waitress, Jennifer. She did a great job of keeping us stocked with food and drink:

The game ended, with the Packers winning by a score of 17-14. We drove back to my parent's house and had a wonderful dinner as prepared by my mom. She made us beef pot roast, pork tenderloin, mashed potatoes, and a bunch of other yummy stuff.

We went to Madison again, and had a La Bamba Burrito. These burritos are famous for being "as big as your head," and we enjoyed our fair share. We also went and visited some friends and Amy's parents. Even though it was cold and rainy, we had a really wonderful time.


My parents also built an edition on to their house earlier this year - a three season porch. I slept on the porch each night as it was cool and comfortable, not to mention pretty beautiful. Here are some pictures of it:




On Monday night, we swung through the local Culvers again for some ice cream... :-)

My parents drove us down to Milwaukee so that we could catch our return flight home, and once we landed in Kansas City, we headed back home. I think we got home at around 7:30pm or so. It was a fantastic trip, and I can't thank my parents and brother enough for accommodating us. We had a blast, and will hopefully be able to do it again next year.

Morning Visitors

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Amy had to work this morning, so I was lying in bed with the dogs, trying to gather-up the energy to get up and go work in the front yard. As I was petting Monica, I noticed that Big Boy wasn't really on the bed - he was standing at our bedroom window, looking out the window and trembling.

Waves of shivers were cascading through his body. He was standing very alert, and his ears were lifted. I figured there had to be something outside, because I tried to ask him what was wrong, and he didn't budge - he was fixated on whatever was in the backyard. So, I snuck out of bed - didn't want the dogs to bark, and looked out the window. Big had found two deer, both of which were eating grass and plants from along our fence line.

I snuck over to the office, grabbed my camera and took a few pictures. Unfortunately, I had my wide-angle lens installed, so I couldn't zoom in too well, but a few pictures did turn out:


There were two of them, and they lazily snacked on the greenery. After about 10 minutes, they made there way deeper into the woods, and I lost track of them. It was awesome to watch them, just eating and minding their own business. I hope they'll be back again - I'd like to get some better pictures of them.