Tuesday, June 24, 2008

why i need to carry a camera at all times

Tonight was just another beautiful Milwaukee mid-summer eve.

After a YNPN Book Club meeting, for which I hadn't gotten around to reading the book, at Trocadero, I decided it was too nice to go home and biked toward the Lakefront.

En route down Brady Street, I was rocking to the new Girl Talk album, but managed to hear someone cackle and yell "looooser." It was Jane and Ralf cruising down Brady. I'd seen them earlier in the evening, as they dropped off my Stevie Wonder tix when I was leaving for Troc. Proving that bikes are waaaay better than cars, I managed to beat them down Brady thanks to the traffic parade this evening. Of course this mission did make me forget to swing by Walgreen's and pick up my prescription, but eh well, I have until Sunday.

Biked down through Veteran's Park (I forgot that I wanted to go up and check out the new Bradford Beach, I'll have to try this weekend), and was amongst several Milwaukeeans enjoying our fair city this evening. As I rode closer to the lake, despite my iPod, began hearing a very loud bag pipe. Finally, turning the path past the kite shop, I spotted where the noise's origin. A bagpipe and drum circle comprised of about 15-20 musicians, some in kilts, some in jeans, some children, even a pregnant lady! All rockin' the pipes at sunset on the lakefront.

Yeah, really wish I had the camera. My cell phone doesn't do it justice. Plus I can't get picture mail until October, so there's no point anyway.

After watching the pipers for a few minutes--they appeared to be wrapping up practice--I hopped back on my bike and headed down by the art museum toward the lovely Lakeshore State Park. It looked like I'd just missed a jazz trio by the MAM, and my album ran out, so I switched over to the Hold Steady's new tracks. The park, which was barren last year, was overrun with prairie grasses and wildflowers, which were lovely lit by the setting sun. Again, no camera. The smells were also quite fantastic. My sensory overload was interrupted by my mom calling to check on my back (which has been ailing of late). I assured her I was fine, proof being that I was on a bike ride (it's sucked to be relatively immobile for the past couple of days).

After the park, I looped back around the Summerfest grounds watching them set everything up for the next couple of weeks. I rode through the industrial end of the Third Ward, and by the Italian Community Center. Approaching the ICC I heard more music overpowering my iPod, and hitting pause realized that it wasn't Italian. Instead, I spotted through the fence of the outdoor patio a Don Ho doppleganger singing in Hawaiian to a packed crowd.

Realizing that a camera wasn't going to sprout magically, I rode home in despair, realizing I'd merely have to blog about this and hope that my five readers believe me without photographic evidence.

Monday, June 16, 2008

free movies

I guess today is my day of getting the most out of what I'm already paying for.

I've been discovering of late the glories of Free Movies on Demand which is part of my overpriced cable package from good ol' Time Warner.

This winter I was pretty into watching classics on the TCM portion, but recently I've been catching up on Sundance films. Maybe it's because the film festival is rumored to be through, I need an injection of gritty indie.

A couple of weeks ago I watched The Bubble which to my understanding was a lighthearted take on the Israeli/Palestinian conflict via twentysomethings exploring their sexuality. Well, it was that, up until the last half an hour when it got so tragic that I was a blubbering sob pile on my futon. It's a great film! Go watch it!

Tonight I was pleased to discover that Kurt Cobain: About A Son had be added to the list. They tried to trick me and just call it Kurt Cobain, but I figured it out. It was a pretty highly touted documentary last year and it's totally worth the watch. You don't even have to be into Nirvana. The visuals of it are extremely cool, especially if you like photography. It's a really simple documentary -- just images, an occasional animation and narrated by recorded interviews with Kurt from the height of the band's popularity.

rock your wednesday lunch with mcts and wmse

Why I love my job:

With the summer music season in full swing, the Milwaukee County Transit System (MCTS) is pleased to announce that passengers can now hear their favorite local bands on the daily commute through an original program never done before on a major public transit system.

MCTS has partnered with WMSE (91.7 FM), Transit TV and Civilian Edit to bring MCTS passengers a sampling of local music. Nine two-minute spots highlighting Milwaukee-area musicians will be featured on the Transit TV network on MCTS buses. The first spot will debut this Wednesday, June 18 with a lunchtime launch party from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m. at the Cudahy Pub in the Pabst Theater. To kick things off, Paul Cebar will be playing an acoustic set on the MCTS My Ride for the Generations Bus. A limited supply of free soda and pizza will be provided.

Live band footage for the spots was filmed at the WMSE studios, where artists performed on-air as part of the Local/Live program airing Tuesday nights at 8 p.m. Civilian Edit formatted the results and added a music-video style intro to create the final product.

The premiere segment features the tune "Her New Church" by Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound. Passengers will be able to view all the videos in rotation over the next couple of months.

Musicians featured in the series include Paul Cebar Tomorrow Sound, Desert Sound Ensemble, El Gordo, Rusty P's, The Barrettes, Lisa Gatewood, The Trusty Knife, Robert Allen Jr. Trio, and Mike Mangione.

Transit TV has graciously donated the space for this project which will run on 340 MCTS buses. The spots will also air on Transit TV on buses in Atlanta, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Orlando.

Milwaukee County Transit System operates every day of the week, providing more than 42 million rides each year. Established in 1981, WMSE is a listener-supported, non-commercial music station which is owned and operated by the Milwaukee School of Engineering.

Hope to see you Wednesday!

random run-ins: i expect two more by the end of the week

You know how things come in threes? Deaths? Bad luck? Randomly running into people from your past? Indiana Jones movies (until this year, thus offsetting the entire functionability of the universe)?

Well I'm bracing for more blasts from the past. I'm pretty prone to them and today set off the string (or what I'm expecting to be a string).

With Facebook and MySpace, you can pretty much keep up on anyone you actually care about to some degree (and/or randoms who add you and you feel guilty declining them). So the only people left to run into who you don't know what's going on with are: acquaintances from long ago or people you freaking loathe with every last ounce of your soul.

Fortunately today I ran into an acquaintance from college. The twist? Most everyone I knew him through fall into the other category. He gave me his card to catch up (I was on my bike headed through the light when we spotted each other), but I'm definitely wary about emailing to get in touch. Mainly because I don't want to dance around the subject of why I have no idea what anyone is up to. It sucks to have to snub a perfectly nice person because of other people's drama.

pilates - is there something i'm not getting?

I resolved, after eating my leftover pizza for lunch, that perhaps it was time for a return to the gym. The Miller Ride is over, so I don't need to bike as hard, and I'll be darned if that $65 still isn't coming out of my account every month. Why just waste money?

Since I pulled ever muscle in my neck and arms this weekend lugging my treasures back from the Linens N' Things that is going out of business, I decided not to do a full-on work out, but to do something I'd *heard* stretches you out -- pilates.

I biked home threw together a gym bag and made my triumphant return to the Wisconsin Athletic Club. I arrived just before the 5:30 pm class started and followed the lead of the girl in front of me of a) where to walk once I got to the 10th floor (where the pilates studio is, the gym is on the 6th floor and I'm really glad this chick was on the 'vator with me, because I didn't see any signs) and b) what to grab when I got into the studio (mat & ball). They keep the lights off in there (I was glad of this fact once into the workout), so I fumbled through the dark to set up between two lithe blondes. I should've known my fat ass would be no match for the flexibility I was about to witness.

Basically, let's just say, my fucking hips and knees were on the ground most of the time. I was not able to locate the "anti-gravity" machine. And I was glad the lights were off because no one could see me crying and mouth "fuck this, I'm so outta here." Except I was in the back corner and there WAS NO WAY FOR ME TO DISCREETLY SNEAK OUT.

I began to miss spinning, my usual torturous instructed workout. As I was awkwardly trying to bend one leg over my head while circling the other ankle under my wrist, I really wished I was doing a 15-minute hill climb.

No, I'm not dumb, I knew what pilates was all about when I decided to jump into this. I just really wish that there was some sort of Intro class at the WAC. I know I felt the same way with spinning and after awhile found a good instructor and just "got it," but in this class it's a bit difficult to watch the instructor when your eyes are supposed to focus on your belly button which is parallel with your right shoulder while twisted under your tailbone.

Two of the girls in the elevator down agreed with me. So I didn't feel too stupid asking at the front desk if there was an intro class. Apparently not. But the girl was very interested in my feedback and took down my name and number. I tried to make it explicitly clear that this wasn't a complaint. As I put it, I'm sure people that have doing this forever totally love the instructor and everyone seemed to know what they were doing. But with something as complex as this, I just wish there were more introductory classes. I seriously would go to the gym more if I knew what the acceptable alternative was to doing a one legged pushup while balancing on your right index finger.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

where is my discipline?

Once upon a time I was an extremely disciplined person. I ate a spartan lunch of a Tina burrito and a yogurt. Not the healthiest option, but it helped me lose 60 lbs and save on my weekly expenses. I also was much more motivated to save money during that time. I set goals like "save $500 for your trip to England" and would put money in an envelope every week until I had saved far beyond the initial amount and didn't even spend it all in the UK.

The past three years have been challenging, though the last year I've been back on the upswing. Still I can't get my discipline back. I've transferred some of that energy to biking and the gym (although the latter has been waning as of late), but I need to reapply it to food and finances.

I just watched this video detailing the "envelope system" of saving and I hope to replicate starting with my next paycheck. It's good advice, if you can get past the yokel accent.

Does anyone else out there have any tips? Especially for getting back on track?

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