Yesterday had most of the ingredients for a top notch Saturday including family, friends and gorgeous weather.
It was an early start to the day with the alarm going off at a little after 7. I headed to Horicon to my dad’s. We loaded up my kayak in the back of his truck and he dropped me off at Greenhead boat landing for the Horicon Marsh paddle put on by the Friends of Horicon Marsh. It was sunny with a nice breeze. There were over a hundred boats doing the 6.5 mile trek with stops along the way to learn about birds from DNR employees. I took my time and finished in 2.5 hours. I saw a bald eagle pointed out to me. There is one nesting and has 3 little ones.
After I got back my brother, father and I headed to a family friends 50th anniversary party in West Bend. It was neat to see all of the lives this couple have touched over the years including our family’s. And the food was good as well – I especially enjoyed the Swiss steak.
After driving back to Horicon I headed back to Middleton for Shake the Lake fireworks on Lake Monona. I took the bus downtown (with my bike on the front of the bus), grabbed a quick bite to eat at Paul’s Pelmeni and met with some friends to watch the fireworks. It was almost a 40 minute show. I think it was aptly named as at some points the ground was indeed shaking. There were hundreds of red and green lights on the lake from the boats watching the show.
Afterwards I biked home in the beautiful evening weather. I hadn’t bike from downtown since last fall. It is about 7 miles or so and is really peaceful late at night (as long as you have a headlight to see where you are going).
Overall it was the kind of Saturday that you look forward to beforehand and treasure afterwards. Summer days with weather like that make the winter more bearable and the family and friends just enhance the enjoyment.
I recently finished reading Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne. I first became aware of the book at a Barnes and Noble a few years ago. I thought about buying it then because I like bikes and I like Talking Heads but I decided not to. I was browsing at my library when I ran across it again and I thought it would be a good time to read it.
The book seems to based on the author’s view of different cities as he sees them from his bike. The title is very fitting. From what I understand he generally takes a bike when he travels – either on his tour bus or a folding bike in a suitcase. Some of the cities we learn about are Berlin, Manila, London and Sydney. The only populated continent not represented is Africa.
As I was reading I realized the book was a little older by the many references to the Bush (W) presidency. I am not left wondering which way the author leans politically. I think the book was written over a period of time and over many different places. It is interesting to get the view of the citizens of other nations and I think that is a really cool part of the book.
The real meat of the book, and the part that interested me, was the writing about biking. I got to vicariously ride throughout cities all over the world. Some cities are easy to bike, and some are difficult. Biking (or walking) gives a different perspective of a city than a car does. And in some cities it is faster than driving. The thoughts that come to the author while biking lead to many cool insights and tangents.
The idea of bringing a fold up bike traveling is an intriguing one. It can save quite a bit of cab or bus fare, and it allows you to see the city on your own terms.
In the back of the book the author has some sketches of bike racks he designed for New York City (his place of residence). They are meant for specific areas – for example a dollar sign for Wall Street. I think this is a good idea. It is public and functional art.
If you like travel books and semi-random musings this might be a book to consider reading. I enjoyed it. You can check it out at your local library or at the official site here.
I will start off by apologizing. I have not had a post in awhile. I have no real excuse but I am going to try anyway.
I had been studying for a test at work (I passed). These tests are voluntary and are to earn designations (letters after my name). I find several benefits to these tests and the designations I can earn:
1. It shows I care and looks good to management
2. The designations are recognized industry wide and are transferable
3. The company pays for the tests, bonuses when you reach certain levels and gives study time and extra time off if you pass
I think the time I spend on it is well worth it.
I saw the movie Gravity with my brother the other week. It floored me! It was visually stunning, the story was great and I was on the edge of my seat with the characters. Look for the fetus imagery, the howling at the moon scene (noticed by my brother) and the evolution out of water scene. For those of you that now a bit about the Polish language keep an ear out as well.
My girlfriend and I had the chance to spend some time together. One of the places we went to was the National Mustard Museum in Middleton. I have never really eaten mustard but with the free samples it was a great time to try it. I did like some of them. The museum was free and was pretty busy, much more so than either myself or my girlfriend expected. It was a fun place. I would suggest checking it out if you find yourself in the area with time to kill.
I am continuing to commute by bike. The only problem I have had has been my lock freezing up after the snow we had earlier in the week. It was only just below freezing so I was able to get it undone by blowing hot air into it. I have no shortage of that. I am now being more careful about how I position it. I have also bought lock deicer. Two solutions that I have heard since I was talking to people about it were a lighter and a cup of hot water. I would have never have thought of these things myself. I guess I don’t know everything just yet.
How have you been? Has anything exciting happened to you lately?
Last night I went out. The UW Cinematheque was screening “The Producers”. I had never seen it before but have only heard good things about it.
The movie exceeded expectations. Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel were hilarious. I cannot imagine how it would have been received in 1968. It crossed so many lines but still managed to be funny. Almost every line was memorable. Laughing at the jokes with the rest of the audience is more satisfying then laughing alone on my couch.
Before the film started they showed a trailer for a movie called “Skatetown USA“. It is hard for me to believe that at some point in time someone thought this was a good movie to make. It apparently was the film debut of Patrick Swayze.
After dinner it was time to eat. I cycled from Union South (where the movie was) to downtown to find some food. I ended up going to Paul’s Pel’meni. It is the little place on Gorham with the “Gorham Dumplings” sign in the window. It was my second time there and I like the place a lot. It is simple, the food is good and the service is good. For a half order of dumplings is $4.5 and only a buck more for a soda. And they have Sun Drop. I will be returning again.
If you really like pel’meni but can’t always get downtown you can buy frozen pel’meni at Intermarket which is a Russian grocery store on Old Middleton near Knoche’s Food Store. Lots of interesting things there.
The best part about my evening was the biking. I haven’t biked at night in a long time. It is much different than biking during the day. Looking at Google maps it looks like I biked 13 miles for my dinner and a movie. I was tired but it was great exercise. And for The Producers and pel’meni I would do it again.