Tuesday, April 28, 2009

thankful tuesdays: my first year as a mentor

Tonight was the wrap meeting for the Marquette College of Communication Mentoring Program for the 2008-09 school year. I can't believe how fast the time has flown since I first met my mentee in September!

I am so thankful that I lucked out and got the most rockstar mentee possible. Amanda was professional and courteous and really put a lot into our mentoring relationship. She made me want to be the best mentor possible. I was happy to review her resume, give her networking tips and pass her info along to my contacts. I was so proud of her when she landed a great internship with a local ad agency. Our "official" time is over, but I can't wait to hear about all the cool things she ends up doing with her career.

I really wish that they had a mentoring program when I was in college. I'm really glad to see that universities are realizing that their alumni have a lot more to offer than just cold hard cash. I definitely can't give up much of that, but I'm happy to dedicate my time and get to develop a great friendship as well!

I look forward to participating again next year.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

yes i can!

I know I've talked a lot on this blog about my appreciation for local and sustainable agriculture. I also have a strong desire to learn how to grow and preserve food. Well, luckily the Urban Ecology Center is here for us. I've highlighted some of their May/June courses below, which I plan on taking. A full list of events of course is at UrbanEcologyCenter.org.
In addition to the food ones, I'm probably going to check out the Food & Theology lecture, the Justice & the Environment lecture and the "Make Your Own Household Cleaners" workshop. I'm also definitely taking a water safety course so I can borrow a canoe or kayak this summer. Looking at 5/21 for that.

For those with houses and yards, there's some more in-depth gardening courses.

There's a cost for some of these, but remember membership is a BARGAIN at $25 which will will offset some costs.

I sent this out to several friends of mine, but if you are just a blog reader and interested in learning food preservation with me, let me know.

MAY 14: Container Gardening Pots on the Spot Series: Preparing your Pot
7 p.m.
For adults
$15 (Nonmembers- $20) per session
Call to register, 964-8505
After welcoming you to her store for twenty years, private gardener Victoria Vonier is coming to us! Victoria will present a series of workshops about container gardening - perfect for your urban homes and businesses. During this session you'll learn how to choose your container, create custom soil mixes and what to grow.


MAY 26: Savor the Taste of SummerFood Preservation Series: Introduction to Food Preservation

6 - 8 p.m.
$10 in advance, $15 at the door (Nonmembers - $15 in advance, $20 at the door)
Call to register, 964-8505

Learn about food preservation techniques with emphasis on hot-water-bath canning. This class is the basis for all other canning classes this year. Materials, hand outs and recipes are included for this class.


MAY 28: Container Gardening Pots on the Spot Series: Hands-on

7 p.m.
For adults
$15 (Nonmembers- $20) per session
Call to register, 964-8505

After welcoming you to her store for twenty years, private gardener Victoria Vonier is coming to us! Victoria will present a series of workshops about container gardening - perfect for your urban homes and businesses. During this session we'll explore seasonal plants, how to combine them and how to nurture them.


JUNE 10: Friends of Real Food: Baking Real Bread with speaker Dean Malloy

6 - 8:30 p.m.
For everyone
Free-donations appreciated

Have you ever tried to make bread or use a sourdough starter? Dean Malloy, artisan baker and founder of both Real Bread and the Enlightened Schoolyard, will join us for our potluck to talk about the idiosyncrasies of baking bread and more. Share a potluck dinner and join the enthusiastic, informative discussion.


JUNE 11: Container Gardening Pots on the Spot Series: It’s Never too Late to be Fresh

7 p.m.
For adults
$15 (Nonmembers- $20) per session
Call to register, 964-8505

After welcoming you to her store for twenty years, private gardener Victoria Vonier is coming to us! Victoria will present a series of workshops about container gardening - perfect for your urban homes and businesses. This session covers mid-summer succulents.


JUNE 18: Savor the Taste of Summer: Food Preservation Series: First Fruits

6 - 8:30 p.m.
For adults
$25 in advance, $35 at the door per session
(Nonmembers - $30 in advance, $40 at the door per session)
Call to register, 964-8505

Learn how to preserve the first fruits of the season. During this hands-on class, participants will experience canning berry fruits into jams and preserves. Materials, hand outs and recipes are included for this class.


JUNE 25: Container Gardening Pots on the Spot Series: Harvest Colors

7 p.m.
For adults
$15 (Nonmembers- $20) per session
Call to register, 964-8505

After welcoming you to her store for twenty years, private gardener Victoria Vonier is coming to us! Victoria will present a series of workshops about container gardening - perfect for your urban homes and businesses. This session covers beautiful and bountiful plants.

There's also a Tomato Canning Class on 8/20, a Pickling class on 9/17 and a Canner's Choice Evening on 9/24!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

daily inspiration: standing up for marriage equality

Certainly, unless you've been living under a rock, you're aware of the controversy stirred up by Miss California's answer to Perez Hilton's question during the Miss USA pageant last weekend.

I am not a beauty pageant viewer (I used to watch for the trainwreck effect, but stopped even that), but I do understand that thousands of people are. Even though I am of the general opinion that beauty queens are shallow idiots, I do understand there's a segment of the population that looks to them as role models. In that respect, I don't believe they should behave as ignorant twats.

While the bulk of the controversy focuses on the overall point that Miss Cali publicly stated that she believes marriage should be between a man and a woman, the way she answered the question was a big WTF for me. A couple of questions:
  • What the flip is "opposite marriage"?
  • In what alternate reality are Americans able to choose same-sex marriage?
With her "no offense to anyone" she clearly offended everyone. Even if I agreed with her I'd be pissed that someone chose to be the "opposite" of eloquent when making that point. If I was really right-wing I'd be freaking out that somehow there are equal rights and I was under a rock for that decision.

Of course, I completely disagree with her and watching follow up coverage, I can't even believe the arguments the anti-equal rights folks are making. One talk radio jackass said "well 97% of Americans are straight." HUH?!? The same guy also compared gay marriage to keeping boy scouts and girl scouts separate. I think the phrase WTF was invented for people like that.

Here's the inspiration part. Love him or hate him, I have to commend Hilton himself for sticking to his guns and raising awareness about equal rights via his powerful media presence. Yes, he posted some emotional responses initially, but can you blame him? Honestly, I feel like this would be if in the '60s an African-American judge asked a contestant if it would be okay for him to marry his white girlfriend and the contestant was like "um, nope, sorry dude, not what I believe." Anyway, despite the namecalling, Hilton is bringing the discussion to the dinner tables of many demographics. And beyond his celebrity gossip, he's been posting incredibly moving motivational quotes regarding equal rights on his site. How can anyone with half a brain read these and not realize that this is not about gay or straight, but about equality?
  • "The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice."- Martin Luther King, Jr.

  • "Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals."- Martin Luther King, Jr.

Concurrent to the bigotry of Miss CA, another right-wing group has created a scare-video called "Gathering the Storm" (I refuse to link to that crap). A lot of hilarious spoofs have popped up about it, but the one I posted below is much more poignant. Watching this, watching people who truly love one another, their children, their parents, etc., people who are just like you or me, but who happen to be compatible with someone with the same "special parts"--how the hell can you tell me that they should not have equal rights under the law of the land?

I have been single for six months now. I've had two failed long-term "opposite" relationships. If I were only as lucky as a happy gay couple to find someone that truly loved me and wanted to spend the rest of (in my case) his life with me!

Yes, there may be Bible passages that allude to "lying with a man" being wrong. But there are also passages that say I can't go to church while on my period.

At the end of the day, I know that my Jesus teaches a message of love and tolerance. And I'm okay with that, and I think He is too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

thankful tuesdays: whoa

Long story, may post later, but I'm just really thankful today.

monday munchies: don't try this at home

I do know it's Tuesday. I realized that many of my "Monday Munchies" posts on here might make me out to be an alright chef. Well, sometimes I fail. Sunday's soup attempt being one of them. I tried to make Garlicky Legume Soup out of my 400 Soups book and it was an absolute failure.

It tasted like barf.

I think this may be because I made it in the crockpot and the onions cooked for too long.

I tried to salvage it this morning by blending it and adding some more herbs and sour cream.

It tasted like baby barf.

I had no choice but to toss it.

Luckily I have leftover bar food from last night's TweetUp.

Man, I can't wait for my CSA to begin!

What is your cooking horror story?

Monday, April 20, 2009

call to action: UPAF Tweet Up Fundraiser TONIGHT

As some of you know I've been trying to raise funds for UPAF by vowing to ride 50-miles for the Miller Lite Ride for the Arts. I've been playing around with using social media to set a substantial fundraising goal of $1,000, but still need to pump up my efforts in the 6 weeks before the June 7 ride.
Well, my use of social media for fundraising caught the eye of Spreenkler, a local social media agency and they invited me to a TweetUp (meeting of Twitter users) they are hosting tonight for UPAF. I originally was on the fence about going, as I have Creative Council for FUEL Milwaukee tonight where it will be announced that I am 2009-10 Team Lead for the Healthy & Green Team. HOWEVER, @spreenkler just tweeted that all proceeds from tonight's event will go to @mcarnold's fundraising efforts. WAIT A SECOND...HEY THAT'S ME!!!
So, I'm going. I'll be there around 7:45 PM at Fanatics. Requested cover is $10. There's drink specials and karaoke. You should be there. Details are here: http://www.meetup.com/spreenkler/calendar/10177554/
If you can't make it tonight, I hope you consider donating to my fundraising efforts. (Thanks to those who already have!). Even $5 or $10 can make a huge difference. My fundraising page is http://www.firstgiving.com/mcarnold.
See you tonight!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

art attack: spring gallery night

What better way to cap off a triumphant arts week than with Spring Gallery Night?

Here's my personal list of galleries for tomorrow night. If you can meet out at any point please do!

Starting on the Eastside/Brewers Hill and ending in Bay View/Walkers Point. I included transit info for those who want to join me on the bus (although if it's really close to 70 degrees, I may be biking it). I opted to surpass the Third Ward this time around (too much to see in the outlying areas and didn't want to get bogged down), but I highly recommend you check that out on Gallery Day.

Here's a map of all the galleries:

View Larger Map

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

thankful tuesdays: score one for art and democracy!

One of the things I've been meaning to write about and never got the chance has been the ongoing public discussion of a proposed public art installation in downtown Milwaukee by renowned artist Janet Zweig.
The discussion first came to my attention via the Art City Blog written by Mary Louise Schumacher of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. [When the JS redesigned their site and screwed up all their feeds a couple of months back I stopped reading most of their specialty content, with the exception Schumacher and Tom Held's "Off the Couch" blog -- excellent stuff which makes a strong case for the importance of beat journalism]. At any rate, no sooner did I find out about this project (around March 31), that it was pummeled by politicians who clearly never had an art literacy program in their schools.
The "I wouldn't pay 50 cents for the Mona Lisa" comment will surely make "Dumbest Things Ever Said In Milwaukee" lists for years.
I don't know what it was about this near-defeat compared to so many others Milwaukee's Creative Community has faced in the 10 years I've lived here, but the troops were rallied. Yes, there was Mike Brenner grandstanding again, but this time he seemed to balance it out with enough thoughtful commentary (or maybe it's because I actually know him now, not just as the "crazy Bronze Fonz hater guy") that people took him much more seriously. Most local blogs, publications and even TV news (unable to find link) featured the issue. Spreenkler held an arts panel. The suits sorta, kinda tried to engage the artists (although it sounds like they could improve). Facebook causes formed and Twitter has been on fire for weeks.
Suddenly those in favor of the project realized that something bigger than just getting an issue passed was happening. Regardless of whether or not their opinions were in agreement, people were TALKING ABOUT ART. A public discourse was at hand. Most people were making sound and educated arguments, not just spewing forth regurgitated talking points from one political party or another.
It also became evident that the "other team's" constant bemoaning argument about "tax and spend," "liberal agenda," blah blah blah, wasn't going to work this time. We had a solid economic counterpoint -- this artist would be reinvesting $60,000 into the local economy by hiring local artists and manufacturers to assist with the project. I also think people are starting to "get" that government funds ARE already allocated to certain areas and when it comes from the feds it can't get reallocated to a different slot. If we did not use this money we would lose it. Perhaps the recent streetcar reallocation woke people up?
Personally I was so bombarded with information that I did respond to the calls to action. My alderman, Bauman, was already in favor of the project, but I emailed the full council to express my support and even called Alderman Puente after hearing via Twitter that he was on the fence. [Side note, it would be really handy if the Common Council had a group email like CommonCouncil@___.gov and committee emails (i.e. PublicWorksComm@__.gov)]
Perhaps it was just a perfect storm of factors: social media, a strong voice from "mainstream" media, a growing movement to make Milwaukee a progressive city again that brought us all together on this issue. Whatever it was, it worked.
Just like last November's election, the project's blowout win at the full Common Council meeting today showed what coordinated mobilization can do.
What I find encouraging is that the local politics ball has either a) been dropped for years and/or b) been hogged by the right wing radio guys. I think the initial defeat on the Zweig was the big final wake up call.

And hopefully we'll keep it up.

Monday, April 13, 2009

music madness: who would have ever thought?

That the English Beat was the most fun show I'd go to in ages. I think I sweated off 20 lbs dancing. Thanks to Wren for getting me a ticket. Definitely the best Easter show (well, the only Easter show) I've been to since The Rapture/BRMC double-bill in 2003.

Supposedly the Beat will be back for Summerfest. Count me excited. My friends better get on their dancing shoes.

Up next: Wilco on Tuesday!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Milwaukee Props: How I Spent My Opening Day

No, I was not at Miller Park to see this:

(Not the best camera work, but it was all I could find on YouTube)

Instead I was jumping and screaming with my friends at The Bomb Shelter in Walker's Point. With free food, free shots when a homerun is hit (thanks Corey Hart for that Apple Pie), an unpretentious atmosphere and a daunting beer list, I can see how this bar has quickly become one of Milwaukee's faves. The "Ultimate Peep Show" in the back was just an added bonus. Greg's collecting skills are truly unmatched, so it's not surprising that he was able to find rarities like "Peep-flavored" popcorn.

I joined my friends Wren and Sarah there around 3:15 and while I had to pass up on the free wings (darn Good Friday), I did enjoy a delicious Bloody Mary (extra hot--they were out of Tabasco and substituted Sriracha sauce) with a Lakefront I.P.A. chaser (hey, look at that "Goes great with: Any spicy food").

I then decided to take an expedition through the Bomb Shelter's mindblowing craft beer menu. I opted first Ale Asylum Mercy Belgian Grand Cru. I thought Mercy may be a good choice, since I missed Good Friday service for a much-needed facial at Neroli. It was a pretty intense Belgian, I could really only handle one. I felt pretty special drinking it, as I guess there's only 600 cases out there. Next up was the recommended Yuengling Original Black & Tan. It tasted eerily spot on to the mixture of Guinness and Harp. I was glad to finally taste a beer from this microbrewery as well, since I'd never heard of it until there was a friendly wager between them and Lakefront during the Brewers/Phillies playoff last year. This beer was really delicious and went down smooth. I'd definitely try it again. I capped off my beer journey after Weeks' victorious slide with a Central Waters Brewing Company Kosmyk Charlie Y2K Catastrophe Ale. I'll admit, I picked this beer just for the name. I don't know if I've ever had an "American Barleywine"-style beer before. It packed quite a punch, but I was glad to discover another Wisconsin brewery.

By this time Sarah had headed out and Jason, Grant and Becky had all joined the party. Grant and Wren opted to stay at the bar, but the rest of us were craving fish fry. We headed up the street to Triskele's to grab some fish and delicious water. Food was delicious (just the right amount of crispiness on the fish and even the coleslaw was good (I don't really like coleslaw)), but Jason did awkwardly embarass our table, so we shoveled the food in and got out quickly.

It was still early and Becky's brother wasn't getting in until 9:30 on the train, so we decided to cap off the night at Bryant's. Becky and I tried the recommended Candlelight cocktail for a change. It was quite tasty -- and on fire! Jason got a Black Magic. Becks and I ended with a Straw Hat for her and a Grasshopper for me. Even though there's no longer old ladies, Bryant's retains a special place in my heart.

Best part about the day drinking...I was in bed by 9:30 and up and at 'em early this morning. If only every day could be Opening Day!

Friday, April 10, 2009

happy opening day!

I won't be out at Miller Park this afternoon, but I hope my friends who got the hottest ticket in town have a wonderful time.

Go Brewers! Beat the Cubs!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

original hipsta?

Seriously, where is the safe haven for people who like indie rock and dressed in thrift store clothes prior to 2002?

Jason subtly accused me today of subscribing to this mantra:

How do those of us who don't totally suck regain our individuality? At least until these posers find a new "trend?"

The same thing happened circa 1992 when the Gap started carrying flannel shirts after Nevermind hit #1. I just raided my dad's closet.

Now I know how the Original Gangstas feel.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

thankful tuesdays: time to breathe

Honestly tonight I'm just thankful that I could come home from work, take my new baby out for a ride (and have a friend I could call to check out my stuck gears), go to the grocery store (FINALLY), make a delicious dinner of pan-seared tilapia coated in Spice House Moroccan Spice over a bed of mixed veggies and orzo, and then prepare a batch of soup to cook in the Crock Pot overnight.

I also exercised my right to vote. That ruled.

Oh and in the meantime jam out to a bunch of new (to me) songs on my iPod thanks to Brooke and Craig on my bike ride. And jam out to WMSE during my kitchen fest.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

sunday catch up: because my mom told me too

I'm completely exhausted but I got an email from my mom giving me crap about not blogging lately. Excuse me for having a life.

There are actually a TON of issues I want to write about, but I haven't had a freaking ounce of time.

This weekend was packed from start to finish. Began it at 5:15 p.m. on Friday meeting Becky and Maribeth at Lakefront Brewery for the tour and FINALLY a proper fish fry. Had to cut out to bike over to Turner Hall Ballroom to catch the Los Campesinos! show. SO worth the two years I've been waiting to see this band. I was a bit disappointed there weren't more folks there, but the band seemed to still brink the energy to their infectious, joyous indie rock. The encore involved the lead singer and two guitarists jumping into the crowd. Total awesomeness. Flying solo at the show, I indulged in a couple Fatty Boombalatty bottles. I somehow thought it was a good idea to stop at Buckley's for one more afterward. Gotta love the neighborhood bar.

On Saturday I somehow managed to wake up, head spinning, and head out to State Fair Park by 9 a.m. for the Wheel & Sprocket Bike Expo. Luckily I was "car-sitting" for Larissa this weekend, and cheated a bit and drove--instead of biking or busing out there with the oncoming hangover. Why so early? I'd signed up to volunteer with the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin. I was really impressed that as a member I got this cool opportunity to volunteer, get a free t-shirt, and a coupon for the expo (which I totally just realized I forgot to use -- d'oh!). But the volunteer opportunity did make me more familiar with the organization I just joined and even more excited about the bike community in this state. [Shameless plug: Don't forget about my upcoming 50 mile ride...please sponsor me here!]

After 3 hours of greeting people at the entrance and handing out Bike Fed flyers, it was time to shop. I've been contemplating getting a road bike for awhile, and well, just looking, okay well testing, wouldn't hurt....
Meet the new member of my family!! Isn't she a beaut?

We took an 11-mile spin yesterday, despite my desperate need for a nap. Rode to Whitefish Bay on the Oak Leaf Trail and back. All in about 50 minutes, with commercial interruptions (phone calls, passing up running friends). My sexy new bike is FREAKING FAST!

Following the bike ride, I had to head out to Waukesha to celebrate my friend Maggie's birthday retro-style at Skateland. Skateland may be as retro looking as can be (grainy cell phone pics may or may not be posted soon), but unfortunately they play modern pop music (I guess in the '80s they were playing modern pop music too, weird realization). One of my friends brought some "liquid enhancement" with her, so we invented the "Slushibu," which consists of Blue Slushie and, well, guess. The highlight of the adventure was requesting a shoutout to Maggie, complete with Tiffany's "I Think We're Alone Now." A full recap will hopefully come this week. Trust me, after initial apprehension, it was an amazing experience.

I got back downtown in time to meet the March Madness gang at Hooligan's to not watch the rest of UNC's annihilation of Villanova.

Was in bed before midnight and it was nice to wake up refreshed and unhungover, although terribly sore from my ride and skating. Copped out on the stalled Milwaukee Challenge: Church Edition and just hopped over to the Cathedral for Palm Sunday Mass. I mean, what's the point of having a church across the street if you can't roll out of bed and into your Holy Day of Obligation?

After Mass, I packed up my laundry and headed to the 'mat. Sheets, towels and comforters succesfully cleaned. Grabbed cheese for the evening at Beans & Barley and a bagel and Minty Green tea for sustenance at Alterra on Prospect (didn't realize they didn't have a full menu).

Laundry complete I jotted down to Brooke & Craig's to join Becky for a music geeking/dinner party/rock band awesomeness get-together. I have a cold/allergy thing going on, so I rocked R.E.M., Oasis and Nirvana fairly well.

Hope mom and any other fans of The Accidental Wisconsinite are now satiated. Good night!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

horn tooting: april fools!

I don't know if it was because I had to get up extra early this morning to take Lars to the airport or what, but I was in a naughty prankster mood all day.

I began my assault of practical jokes at about 7:30 when I texted a few of my friends that I'd made a terrible drunken mistake the night before. Jane and Becky didn't fall for it, but Maribeth and Jason/Yesh did. I just wish I could've seen their faces.

The next victims were my co-workers. My boss and our marketing assistant fell to realistic job-related "fake news." My other co-worker fell for the old "your shoe's untied trick." He tried to get me back by unplugging my keyboard, but felt bad and ruined the prank before it even worked.

Lars and my parents fell this afternoon. I told Lars that I heard there'd be an airport strike on Sunday and I hoped she'd get back to town. My parents were informed that due to my boss being out of town, I was appearing in a segment on MSNBC for my organization.

The parents were the hardest to get as I have a general rule about pranking that I don't want it to be within the realm of "jinxing." The easy one to go for is "I sprained my ankle," but since I do that often and don't really want to, it's out. The forbidden joke, which Brooke pulled last year on her mom, is pregnancy. Brooke was doing this in the context of being a newlywed, I would just be screwed (obviously on many levels, couldn't resist the bad pun).

The only person who remotely "got" me was my buddy Mark, who texted that he'd be showing up at our LOST party tonight with three friends, brining pork rinds and malt liquor. It was just a split second of worry, until I texted back "APRIL FOOLS."

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