29 March 2009

Zombie Target

To put an end to an already excessive weekend, JB and I stopped by the Target on Miller Park Way in hopes of acquiring a pair of galoshes (for me, not for him). Mainly because they're so fun to say, and also they will be great for walking to work in the spring/summer rain.

We parked and were confronted by a security guard on a three-wheeled Segway-esque thinger with flashy lights. He told us that the store had lost power so they were closed.

So, to continue with the weekend-long theme of bad decision making, we stopped by the Chili's that was nearby and were seated with a waitress named Rozy who had a squirrel nest atop her head, and so much makeup on her face it could probably be scraped off with a spatula.

After going over 3 different menus (one 'regular' menu and two 'special' menus), and noting that everything was 'fried to perfection,' JB ordered a crispy-chicken-glazed-crisper thing and I got these buffalo chicken burger bite things. (I just pointed at the picture when I ordered.) After 4 or 5 soda refills and a serious discussion about dessert, we left. When we were in the parking lot, we noticed that folks were once again entering and leaving Target, so we ventured back....

The three-wheeled cop was now standing at the door with his Segway thinger parked nearby (flashing lights still on) and told patrons that all of the power was on except for the lights. Associates were posted every 20 feet or so with flashlights, and if you wanted to venture down and aisle, they escorted you and were actually quite helpful and pleasant. I located some galoshes (that are pink and plaid) and then wandered down to camping supplies (because, after all, spring is in the air). After attempting to look at the little mini tents, we decided it wasn't working well and started to head out.



So we ran back to camping supplies! And saw a lovely pink camouflage sleeping bag. (Can it really be called camouflage if it's bright pink???) Anyway, we went through camping supplies and a few other sections and then the lights clicked off again. It was at that point that we were in the very far back corner of the store, where it was the darkest. JB ever-so-kindly pointed out that this would be the perfect setting for a zombie movie, and proceeded to attempt to freak me out every possible chance he got. (I hate zombies.) So I decided it was time to leave.

This was probably the strangest and most surreal Target experience I have ever had (and, honestly, that I ever hope to have). I give them props for triaging the situation and helping customers, but SO much could have gone wrong at that point (looting, pillaging, people finding ways to hurt themselves, people hurting other people, etc...). If you don't have lights in a giant warehouse with no natural light, just take the loss for the day and close your doors. And stock up on anti-zombie apparati (whatever that may be).

21 March 2009

Seasons Change

I'm sure most of you have heard it at some point or another: "There are only two seasons in Wisconsin - winter and road construction." Well, it's half right. For me, the only two seasons I need are winter and Brewers baseball season. 

Today marked the end of my '08-'09 snowboarding season. A randomly assembled crew headed up to Devil's Head for some high quality (?) slushboarding. Tickets were 2 for 1 and the weather was gorgeous - midday was up into the 60's. The snow was decent on the first few runs (we got on the hill at about 9:30 AM) but as the sun climbed higher, conditions deteriorated. Good thing we brought beer. (Oh, and I got to break in my gorgeous new bindings. LOVE THEM.)

I would also like to point out that I have never actually heard the sound of snow melting until today. It sounds kind of like Rice Krispies. 

Without boring you, I will say that I had a great time today and some good conversations. I also will have a lovely bruise on my right elbow and have a farmer tan/sunburn on my forearms. 

At any rate, dear winter, I wish to bid you adeiu. The time has once again come for us to part ways. I will greet you and welcome your sweet shredding snow once again in December. 

And now, my second love: Brewers baseball. Well, to be fair, I loved the Brewers first, and snowboarding second. Snowboarding just happened to be my thing when I started the blog. Anyway. 

The countdown has begun! Just 20 short days until Opening Day! I already have my famous hamburger recipie ready to go, and our tickets and parking pass has been purchased. I purchased a 20-pack with some friends this year, an investment that is sure to not disappoint (more on that later). 

My first Brewers game was on UWM night in 2004. We sat way up in somewhere near section 426 and I didn't pay attention for most of the game. 2005 brought me back to Miller Park 3 times, in 2006 I was there 7 times and in 2007 I took part in my first 9-pack with my friend Grant. (Of course I was there 14 times total that season.) 2008 renewed the 9-pack with a different group and had me there 17 times total. I think it's safe to say that I enjoy the sport. 

I know, I know, most people think that baseball is the most boring sport ever. Not so, I say. At my second or third Brewers game, I learned how to keep score by hand in baseball, and my love affair with the team was begun. (Also, a lot more of the radio commentary makes sense now.) I usually keep score at games when I make it in from the parking lot before the 2nd inning. Also, my love grows stronger each time I watch Baseball Tonight and the FSN postgame and learn what they mean when they say things like "manufacturing a run." And what's not to love about all of the great history behind the sport, with everything from the Curse of the Bambino to the Curse of the Billy Goat (wow, hexes abound!) to the Miracle in Milwaukee when the Boston Braves came to our great city. 

As you can imagine, I could go on, but I plan to blog on this topic again. The main point I am getting at is that for me, snowboarding fills the time between baseball seasons, and baseball fills the time between snowboarding seasons. This does leave a small lag, right about in November, but November is filled with my favorite holiday, Thanksgiving. I look forward to the next 8 months of warm nights, tailgating and root-root-rooting for the BREW-ERS, because if they dont' do something amazing this season, it really will be a shame. 

09 March 2009

To Read or Not To Read

I have long felt it important to finish what I start. (Unfortunately, this does not hold true for the scarf I began knitting something like 4 winters ago.) Wow, that sounds really depressing and makes me look quite bad. Do over!

Whether or not I have said it out loud, I have been a firm believer in following through with what I set out to accomplish. It's how I learned to snowboard, lost 10 lbs (still 15 more to go) and why I canceled my cable.

That being said, I am at a terrible crossroads. I am reading a book that I have absolutely no desire to finish. I've been working on it for about a year (though the canceled cable resolution has definitely helped spur it along in the past few weeks). The "bookmarks" are a bike rental brochure from last summer's camping trip to the Apostle Islands and an Amtrak ticket stub from our Nov. 4 adventure to Grant Park. I believe I purchased it about last May, as I remember discussing with a friend at our Memorial Day camping trip that I was going to start it.

That Memorial Day conversation may have been the beginning of the end, because my friend told me that he didn't like the book at all. But I started it anyway, because he thought that I may like it, after all, it is quite a popular book. I got a few chapters in, it didn't seem so bad. Then I set it down for a bit and came back to it while on the Apostle Islands trip, where a second friend mentioned that he didn't like it either. Darn. (I will admit, I got a bit mad, at 2 of my friends telling me they didn't like it, that they were just setting me up to fail and they should have just let me read it and make my own decisions.)

At any rate, the book was set down and picked up several more times over the next few months until I've reached the point where I'm at now, about 3/4 of the way done and absolutely no desire to finish. I don't care about what happens to the characters because they are not people I would care about in the first place. Three quarters of the way into the book and there is no interesting hook or plot synopsis for me to care about. I feel that the author has failed to engage me, and it took me 3/4 of his book to figure it out!

So what to do next? Do I stick it out to the painful end, with the hopes that something amazing will happen and make me glad I read the book? Or do I accept defeat and put it back on my shelf and maybe gather it with a bunch of other books in 6 months or a year to sell to Downtown Books for in-store credit?

Given the recommendations of my friends, I think the answer will be to accept defeat. It's going to go back on the shelf and I'll pick up the other book that I've only partially started (though the story behind this one is far more exciting... this book is called Istanbul, and I purchased it while in Istanbul in 2007. And the story is interesting too!).

Wish me luck, dear friends, as the list is only more exciting after this!

In no particular order:
The World is Flat (Friedman)
And The Band Played On (Shilts)
The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide (Adams)
American Gods (Gaiman)
The Audacity of Hope (Obama)
I Was Told There'd Be Cake (Crosley)
Bowling Alone (Putnam)

Also, I kindly ask that you don't share your opinions on these books until I've had a chance to read these books, as to not set me up for the dismal failure mentioned above. Many thanks, Lars.

08 March 2009

Cat and Mouse - Update

Hopefully this is the last time I will have to write about this situation. After my initial mouse encounter, I called the landlord who called the exterminator people who were able to come out that very day. A very nice man named Bobby walked all around and assessed the situation and said that he thought they were coming in from the floorboard crack (that the cat was still intently watching).

Bobby set some poison in these special locked-box things so the mice could sneak in and get it but the cat could not. After explaining in graphic detail how the poison works to dehydrate the mice, and how I may have deranged, dehydrated, confused mice wandering around my apartment in search of water while in the process of dying, he suggested that I called my apartment manager and ask to have the baseboard sealed.

So I called my apartment manager and thanked him for getting Bobby the pest control guy to my apartment so quickly, and informed him of the suggestion to fix the baseboard. I was told that they'd get the maintenance folks out there as soon as possible.

So, in the meantime, I went to trivia night at Hooligan's and came back a few hours later. When I returned, I discovered that my cat is very good at math. She somehow measured and found what was pretty much the exact geometric center of my apartment. And what did she use to mark this geometric center? You guessed it! A dead mouse! I am certain that this mouse was not the same mouse from the night before, as the first mouse was a wee little baby mouse, and the now-dead-center-marking mouse was a full grown (probably) momma mouse.

It was also quite apparent that in the 24 or so hours since the first mouse incident that my cat had evolved as a huntress and had beat the crap out of this second, larger mouse. She may or may not have been aided as the mouse may or may not have already been deranged/disoriented from possibly already consuming the mouse poison. But I'll still give the cat credit for the kill as the mouse had some puncture wounds and looked as if a few bones were slightly out of place. And the cat still continued to paw at the now-lifeless mouse body as I walked on my tippy-toes and tried to figure out what to do with the mouse.

I wanted to pick up the mouse somehow and put it in a plastic bag for disposal. I didn't want to sacrifice any of my cooking utensils so I thought for a minute... what could I use? Chop sticks came to mind, I had a few extra pairs from my last visit to Noodles, but then I'd be down a pair of chop sticks. What else? Digging through a kitchen drawer turned up a plastic fork from a past carry-out. The mouse was shoveled into the plastic shopping bag, the fork was tossed in after it, the bag was tied in about 30 knots and taken swiftly down the stairs, out the door and into the dumpster.

I came back inside and washed my hands for about 15 minutes. ICK.

The next day maintenance visited my apartment and sealed what we think were the problematic cracks in the floor/wall. At least, I think they got them all because there haven't been any crumbs of the mouse poison near the poison box things. Also my cat hasn't killed any more mice (a pretty good sign).

So now I'm breathing (and sleeping!) easier. Special thanks to Shoreline for their prompt response to the situation. In 1.5 days I had mouse bait put down and all of the holes sealed. Not a bad response time!

04 March 2009

Cat and Mouse - Literally

I woke up at 2:30 AM to the sound of my cat knocking something over. No big deal, right? Then I heard a little squeak. And then another little squeak. I thought, "No way."

Yes way. My cat had discovered a tiny gray mouse. In my apartment. Eep!! I couldn't believe it. I stood on a footstool as I peered around the corner to verify that yes, indeed, this was a mouse, and no, I was not having one of my dreams again. After about 10 minutes of watching the cat bat at the mouse (not attack or kill, as one might expect a cat to do), the mouse scurried back into the kitchen and apparently disappeared into a crack between the floor and baseboard near the radiator. And the cat has been on steakout ever since:

The landlord has been called, and I requested box traps instead of snap traps, because I'm pretty sure that the cat would get caught in the snap traps herself. Hopefully this is the last time I have to write about this!

I would also like to point out that I live in a relatively nice and well-kept apartment in downtown Milwaukee. It is not unkempt or filthy by any means!