Wednesday, January 7, 2009

- FROM THE LAND OF CHEESE AND BEER

'Cuz it ain't exactly the land of milk and honey. As many of you know, I've been in Wisconsin over the past week making a long-overdue pilgrimage to see 'my people'. Honestly, 15 degrees here feels like -15 in Breckenridge. Also, when you say "thank-you" to the person who makes your coffee, instead of "you're welcome," they almost all say "yup" with a lifeless deadpan expression, like they've just punched another brick out of the factory or something, your expression of thanks an entitlement, their acknowledgement a supreme effort on their part. You can also only travel about 3.5 miles from the center of Madison before you're deep into some bizarre amalgamation of Mayberry, the boonies and Green Acres. I don't mean to be a snob - i really don't, but if you've witnessed the cultural and geographical naivete that I have this past week you'd be a little shell shocked too.

Anyway, a little more detail about why pricing is delayed; we've got a few significant line items in the budget, two of them being school rental (or an alternative) and food. The food plan is a reasonably fixed line item...if you know where you're serving the food. We have two options; a field outside of the Breck Rec Center, or the cafeteria of Upper Blue Elementary, which is one block north. The school folks lit out for the holidays and just as they were returning, I was headed out here, so the long-anticipated sit-down-and-hammer-it-out session with them is delayed. If we serve at the BRC we have one set of costs for the vittles, plus what we'll call "site fee A" and if we serve at the school we'll have a slightly different set of costs, plus "site fee B". Each site fee comes with a different prerequisite in terms of rental equipment like tables, tents, simmering potpourri centerpieces and all that happy horseshit. I'll be back in the saddle on Monday and it shouldn't bee too long after that before we have final pricing out to you guys.

If anyone needs anything from 'Sconnie, just drop me a line and I'll throw it in with the 17 bags of miscellaneous crap that seem to be standard traveling issue when you have 2 kids under the age of three. What's one more thing? Curds, anyone? Nueske sausage? Some Michael's Frozen Custard ('cuz regular ice cream doesn't have quite enough fat, thank you very much!)

Til next week,
MM

6 comments:

The GreenSpeed Project said...

I will follow this up with a few additional observations:
1. the newscasters here are generally frumpy and fat in comparison to their Colorado counterparts. This is going to sound gayer than Easter and possibly a bit catty, but they look TERRIBLE. I can't believe that they're allowed to wear that shit on TV. Get to Chicago or NYC and get a decent blouse girls. And guys? The Men's Wearhouse suits are cheap for a reason...because they look cheap.
2. Madison itself is pretty hip, especially the core and the inner-ring neighborhoods. Once you start getting outside of that inner ring 'suburbia' quickly takes on the aspect and dimension of great waves of provincial culture breaking upon the shores of the the small island of this out-of-place and surprisingly cosmopolitan city.
3. Although it's only got 225,000 people, Madison feels a lot like Berkeley (where I lived in the late 90's). Except people are dressed a bit more drably and more of them are smoking.)
4. The food scene here is tremendous
5. "Rush hour" is laughable. In the worst traffic you can cross the entire city in less than 35 minutes
6. People drive like Mr. Magoo here - lots of cars driving side-by-side at the exact same rate of speed...we're not all on vacation folks. That effin' things not going to flip if you crank it up over 60! Oh wait, I am on vacation. Well speed it up anyway! Do you have any idea how annoying you are to those of us who like to drive fast (and who may be a little more tightly wrapped than you?)

I'm cranky. I need to go home. There's too much scrapbooking going on here and it's driving me nuts.

MM

Anonymous said...

You're from Wisconsin? You sound a little more like another Texan transplant to Summit County. Wisconsin has a lot to offer, namely the Wisconsin Off Road Series, and there are many who partake in the outdoors without having to shoot anything or run it over in an alcohol/gasoline haze. All that you said about Wisconsin can also be said for Colorado's sh!t kickers; whether slobbing it in Mile High or Lambeau, it's all the same. Don't be so quick to offend because us fat slob, cheese & beer eaters were planning to come and kick your @ss in what you call a race, but I am thinking that the hospitality may not meet the standard for the $$ you are asking. Maybe we would be better off in Utah or British Colombia.

Actually, I'm suspecting you're a FIB.

The GreenSpeed Project said...

I'm laughing out loud as I read and re-read your post...because you're so right! I did admit that I was cranky when I wrote that. The irony is that my wife makes fun of me for being such a vocally proud Wisconsinite. I'm always 'throwing up the W' to anyone in a Packers or Badgers hat while she rolls her eyes at me and the person I'm throwing sign to generally looks at me like I'm from Mars. It's tough to be a Cheesehead in CO...and by the time you guys get out here I'll be all out of Old Mil, El Rey tortilla chips and venison sausage, so I'l be expecting you guys to bring some.

I'll post a list of the things I LOVE about 'Sconnie (and there are many) just so I don't seem so mean-spirited.

MM

Sandblogger said...

You make it back alive?

The GreenSpeed Project said...

I did make it back alive, although not unscathed. Being cooped up in my mom's house with the two minions while my wife headed off to NYC for a media function she was hosting probably contributed to my overall negativity.

The kids were as good as you could possibly imagine, but it's still a huge travel day getting them through the airport, loaded on the plane and then STF'ed-up for the flight. We arrived back in Breck at about midnight after leaving Madison (Fitchburg for you sticklers) at around 11am, then stopping off at my dad's in Whitefolks Bay for another round of cheek-pinching and cartoons. We were both totally effing blown. For the first time in YEARS, my wife drove and I actually slept in the car while she did (I have weird petrifying fears while a passenger...dunno why.) I always forget what a beautiful drive it is, even at night.

Things I'll miss about 'Sconnie:
1. My mom
2. El Rey Tortilla Chips
3. Ron Roloff at Strictly Discs and Sam Parker from Context (and their wives). We all worked at The Great Dane together when it first opened and they're still good friends...the best kind of friends.
4. Being immersed in Badgerdom and Packerville. I need to hook up a Slingbox to my mom's TV. This whole counter-culture bike guy thing is a huge facade. I'm a core big-three sports driven midewesterner at heart. Go Pack Go!
5. State Street. I didn't even get to see it.
6. Michael's Frozen Custard, "French Silk". MMMMMM-mmmm. It's very lightly flavored chocolate ice cream (almost white in color) with chocolate shavings and hunks of semi-salty pastry dough. OMG is it good.
7. The people. Even though I bagged on them in an earlier post (and I'll stand by my words...I hate bad manners here or there and I'll admit that it's actually worse here in the winter with the transient workforce. When someone says 'thank you, you just don't say 'yup',) I will admit that out here we tend to love hires from the midwest and Wisconsin in particular. Why? Because they're hard workers, unpretentious and in almost unilaterally nice ( a quality that is sometimes lacking here in detached irony snowports hipsterville where a sneer and the lack of eye contact seems to be a part of the uniform.) Midwesterners, especially those in my homestate are NICE. They look you in the eye. It's refreshing.
8. Friday night fish frys.
9. Sprecher Root Beer
10. Slaughtered deer as hood ornaments. You guys who live there are wrong - nothing compares to the carnage of deer season in Wisconsin. Nothing. Colorado's not even close. I'm not passing judgement (I grew up hunting, but don't now...those memories were and are amazing even though I've morphed into a treehugging softie as I've aged.)
11. The fact that you can almost see Milwaukee from Madison. We got on 94 and both of us were blown away by how softly the land undulated.
12. Road riding. It is KING in the Badger State. Thank you, dairy industry for all of those unbeleivably good roads.

There's more, but that's probably a better than fair mea culpa.

Look for finalized pricing by the end of the week (or the weekend.) Thanks for hanging in there with us - this past week has been about as unproductive as I can remember.

MM

The GreenSpeed Project said...

...and watching live collegiate sports. Badger Hockey? Remember how cool and ghetto it used to be at the Dane County Coliseum? I went to see the Avs in Denver and thought I was at a friggin' golf tournament. No fans banging on the glass, no 20,000 people shouting for the opposing goalie to 'put your mask back on' every time he lifts it to take a sip from his bottle, no bucket-sized cups of beer...the Pepsi Center sucks. That may anger some Avs fans, but it is what it is: too homogenized and genteel. Someone throw a flippin' gopher or something on the ice wouldja? Hockey in the midwest is rabid.

Now the DU hockey experience is actually pretty good. What it lacks in courseness ('coarse' being a compliment in this instance) it makes up for due to the simple fact that they let you take your beer back to your seat. DU has also had an amazing team over the past few years, so they've been fun to watch. I'll also say that the Badger Hockey experience is something a little different now than when I was in school there. It's still awesome, but the modernity imposed by the new facility somehow detracts from the experience...and you still can't take beer to your seats.

I also miss Camp Randall and late-night B-ball pickup games at The Wall. And Parthenon gyros. And that Laotian eatery next to Steve's Tattoo on Willy Street. And Fetish Night at The Cardinal Bar. And The Memorial Union. & Helen C. White. And The Rathskellar.

Sorry. I know 99.9% of you couldn't care less about Wisconsin, but since this is a comment and not a post maybe you'll forgive me.