Archive for December, 2003

Shots at work

December 31st, 2003 No comments

Someone wanted to see my new camera at work the other day, so I took it in and snapped a few of the area I work in. Check them out.

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Mill Wall Key

December 28th, 2003 No comments

Drove around a bit this weekend (Ross came with) then headed downtown for some food at the Safe house (recommendation: don’t bother eating there, just drink). Here’s a gallery of some pics, and a great shot below from downtown Milwaukee.

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Ho Ho Whoa my bucket needs some money

December 23rd, 2003 No comments

The other night my family went to Omega on 27th/Rawson for some food. When we got inside, we noticed the place was decked out in Christmas cheer. As we were ordering, we noticed we also probably want to deck out someone who was there.

A man dressed as Santa was wandering around, boisterously proclaming “merry Christmas” to all who were eating. After I ordered, I stepped back from the register and noticed Santa was standing not too far away. He offered people who passed him a sucker, and made trite conversation.

This was all well and good, but one thing was quite odd. His bucket full of suckers was also a bucket full of dollar bills. The Santa they hired was seeking donations, tips if you will, for his services. I would assume that Omega was probably paying him to play Santa, so it seems horribly tacky that he would also exepect donations.

Just before our food was delivered, Santa stopped by our table. He directed everything at me. “Hello, how are you” “Umm, ok I guess.” “What are you up to?” “I’m waiting for some food (duh)” And then he got the hint and walked away. It was really obvious that he was seeking donations because he held the bucket of money in front of us as if we were supposed to feel sorry for his lack of bills in the bucket.

A few days later I was picking up a pizza from Papa Murphy’s. As I was at the register paying for the food, I feel someone tugging at my jacket. I turned to look at what was causing the tugging and some small child was next to me. He said “Excuse me sir, would you like to buy some candy?” and had a box of Snickers bars with him. My response was a terse “no, get away from me.” And he left.

As I drove away with the pizza, I saw him and his brother wandering to the next store (Mobil gas station in this case) to hawk more goods. How bold do you have to be to go into someone else’s business and attempt to sell candy bars. Their weird little act put a different twist on “No Soliciting.”

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Ad space for sale

December 19th, 2003 No comments

Full gallery of studying pics
Time-lapse study video (with music): Windows Media RealPlayer
Cam headed over this afternoon to study for our final exam of the semester. As usual, it took us a while to actually get in gear and do some studying.

In semesters past, we’ve often setup a webcam or two, or taken pics while we study. We did the same thing this time, except using my new Digital Rebel. Doing this proved more distracting than other methods because the camera makes a nice loud snapping noise every time it takes a pic. But, we openly welcome distractions.

We got about half way through studying and realized a break was in order. Cam had just picked up some new shirts from his triathlon club, and kept putting them in the view of the camera. This led him to realize that we could sell advertising space on the webcam and make some money.

So, we decided to create some demo shots of what advertisement may look like on the studycam. We took a half hour or so to create the perfect shot. We set up lights, products and signs. At the peak, we had 12 products in the shot. Aren’t you amazed?

The last half hour of studying actually proved quite productive compared to the 3+ hours spent before that. That certainly isn’t to say we’ll ace the exam tomorrow, but we had fun trying to study.

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These beans were Dunn this morning

December 19th, 2003 No comments

I’ve got a new favorite coffee place here on campus. It’s not like I go to anyplace for coffee on a regular basis anyway, but when I go someplace now, this will be the one.

Dunn Bros. Coffee, between the KK and Walgreens on Lake St., settled in just a few months ago. The took up residence underneath a new apartment building that was just opened for this school year. It’s not the best of locations, but it’s been relatively occupied the two times I’ve been in there.

The obvious place peopel think of for coffee is Starbucks. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Just about anyplace you go, you’re going to pay between $3-5 for whatever you get, Starbucks or not. So no one should complain about their price unless the only coffee they drink is Folgers out of a tin can. That’s not me.

I’ve pretty much stayed away from the local hole in the wall places. Not because they’re bad, but because Starbucks works. The few times I did try those places, they were ok, but nothing really stood out.

Steep ‘n Brew actually has good coffe, but it’s on the bitter side. I really like their holiday latte (holilatte?), made with egg nog. I’ve even tried their beans from the store – the Kona blend was pretty good.

Because exam week is so boring, stressful and generally agonizing, I keep spending money and eating lots of food to give myself tiny bits of enjoyment. So, I headed down to Dunn Bros. instead of making my morningly cup of Starbucks store blend or Millstone hazelnut in my room.

I was impressed that they offered free Internet access. I saw two workstations near the register and a couple of people using them. I’m not sure if they offer wireless access, but I think I did see some people with laptops. In the other areas there were plenty of places to sit, and lots of people in those seats. However, I’m not the type to sit there and study. Well, I’m just not the type to study in general.

They apparently roast their own coffee in the store daily. When you walk in, there’s a big red roasting machine greeting you. It doesn’t talk, but I think I saw it smile. I would assume that fresher stuff is supposed to be better than something roasted last week, and juding by the taste of what I had, it is.

Overall their coffee wasn’t bitter or too bland either. The two things I had were loaded with the sugary things that were supposed to be in it, but not to the point of tasting like chocolate syrup. I think 16 oz. of was $3.50, which is most likely cheaper than Starbucks.

The chain is out of Minnesota (read: competitor to Caribou) and this appears to be its only Wisconsin location. With the way things seem to be going for them, I wouldn’t doubt seeing more of their stores around the area soon. Maybe even Milwaukee in a couple years.

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Sometimes it’s good to be cold

December 13th, 2003 No comments

Some shots I took today at the Union Terrace. I think they’re some of the best I’ve taken. Check out all of them here.

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December 13th, 2003 No comments

This is a map of my “neighborhood.” Take a close look at the key. It appears as if we have something called a “librarie” in the area. Does your neighborhood have a “librarie?”

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What exactly do they mean by backing in?

December 13th, 2003 No comments

After wandering around for the power outage fiasco mentioned below, I pass through the “Buckeye” parking lot just off of State St. It’s a metered lot, and why it exists always confuses me because it’s so small.

As I was walking, I noticed a sign, and then the car parked next to the sign. The sign car said “No Backing Into Stalls.” That seems pretty clear to me. Apparently, it just wasn’t clear to the driver. No, I’m not trying to be mean. I just thought it was quite the ironic shot.

I couldn’t make the image look right and still be able to see the sign exactly, but you get the idea. Squint a little, or use your imagination.

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Who pulled the plug?

December 13th, 2003 No comments

As I was sitting here diligently studying for Tuesday’s finance exam, the lights went out. It was pitch black, execpt for the glow of my monitor. How did that stay on, you ask? Well, because the computer runs off an uninterruptible power supply.

When the lights first went off, I heard numerous screams and yelling, indicating it wasn’t just my room that had the problem. I looked out the window to see that everything north of Univeristy Ave. and east of Park St. had basically lost power. Seeing an opportunity, I grabbed my camera and headed outside.

After using the LCD display on my camera as a flashlight to navigate around, I saw a firetruck arrive at the Towers. No one was around to explain what was going on, so I began to wander.

Cam had told me the hockey game on tv had gone black, so I checked out the Kohl Center. By this time people had begun to stream out of the building. No one was panicky or rushed, but it was odd to have the lights out in the arena behind them. A few people got a kick out of my camera and tried to get in the shot or make comments at it. They weren’t funny.

Then I headed over to State St. again. While crossing University Ave. at Frances, I saw a good shot of a cop directing traffic. As I was walking, I kind of haphazardly snapped a pic of the cop. She didn’t like the big flash that went off in her face, and apparently assumed the picture was to anger her, not capture the moment.

This resulted in a short shouting match between myself and her. She said something to the effect of “Was that really necessary?” to which I said “I was just taking a picture.” She didn’t really buy that, and said how it wasn’t necessary to flash it in her face. Well, it’s hard not to get someone in a shot with a flash without the flash being in their face. Anyway, I yelled at her for a few seconds and told her I could take pics as I wish, and she told me that she wasn’t saying it was illegal to do so.

On the other side of the street, someone had heard the whole thing. This seemingly idiotic person told me I should take another shot of the cop, and then positioned himself in the middle of where that picture would be. I wasn’t amused and told him I wasn’t trying to be a jerk to the cop, and then I moved along.

I headed back to my apartment to make sure the candle I left lit in there wasn’t burning the place down (it wasn’t). As I was taking my jacket off, the lights came back on and the world returned to normal. Cheers went up, and everyone went back inside to watch tv like normal people do on a cold Friday night.

As I was at the Kohl Center earlier, I came across Lauren Leamanczyk of WKOW TV (ABC affil) setting up a remote. She came up to me and asked if I was at the hockey game. Apprently she thought I was a fan leaving the game. I told her no and asked what was going on and she gave some flippant answer and moved along. I watched the news she was reporting for after that and she was out there in the cold for the entire half hour. Too bad for her. That was my brush with (fellow?) local media today.

As reported on that same newscast, the problem stemmed from equipment failure at the East Campus substation at Dayton and Park Streets. I headed back later to check out the repairs they might be doing and found two trucks there and noises. After further snooping, I noticed someone welding something, but I couldn’t quite get a good shot of it. Don’t ask who the shots are for because I don’t know. I’m sure it looked as if I was some terrorist scoping the place out.

So that was my fun evening. I still got about 45 minutes of studying in, and got to wander around and take pictures of people in the dark. Oh yeah, I got to make another cop mad at me for taking her picture. I guess it wasn’t as boring of an evening as I had expected.

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Entrance to boredom

December 11th, 2003 No comments

Grainger ala flurries.

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I’m so tired my eyes are McBurneying

December 11th, 2003 No comments

At the beginning of the semester for my philosophy class (241, I hate it) an announcement was made asking for a note taker. These note takers are needed for McBurney students, who are those with disabilities that keep them from taking their own notes.

The note takers are paid a certain amount per credit for the class, and write the notes on yellow carbon paper. It’s an easy job, if you take notes. Seeing I rarely take notes, and nearly expect professors to provide Powerpoint slides for me to print, this isn’t a job for me.

In this class, Cam and I have generally sat in the back row. We do that mostly because we’re bad students. However, being a bad student may be a result of sitting in the back row. It’s a vicious circle type thing – or begging the question if you wish to speak in philosophic parlance.

In front of us sits, or should I say sleeps, this one girl. With an extraordinary amount of regularity, she begins class by attempting the Badger Herald crossword puzzle and then moves on to a nice 40 minute nap. That’s not to say she does poorly on the crossword puzzle as much as to say she seems pretty tired.

The picture included with this article is of the girl in question, taking her nap. It was quite the adventure trying to take a pic in the middle of class without being noticed, but it was a good thing because you don’t often get adventuresome in class.

One of average intelligence would then be inclined to ask, “Well, how does she know what’s going on in the class when she sleeps through it?” That’s what the McBurney note taker is for, of course. Why else would I have mentioned that before.

Cam was the one to notice this, so props to him. However, he doesn’t have a site like this to provide adequate forum for his opinion. Nor the anger and general nastiness to do this, but that’s a different story.

On the way out of class, this girl was speaking to another student who provided her with some yellow papers and arranged a meeting time. Cam recognized the papers and pointed them out. After more specific observation this afternoon, it was conclusively discerned that she was getting notes from him.

Talk about abuse. Well, ostensibly it’s abuse, and I’m going to run with whatever I discern from visual observation. She’s sleeping through class while someone else takes her notes and gives her the gist of what’s going on. The only alternative to this situation is she has ADD and gets so hyper she sleeps. Is that possible? She’d really have to work herself into a frenzy doing the crossword puzzle to do that, I’d imagine.

I guess I’m complaining because the system is apparently being abused. While I completely recognize that the McBurney program isused for good things on a regular basis, it certainly seems someone found a way to use it to their advantage. I’m sure this isn’t an isolated case, and it probably doesn’t matter. How far will people like that get when someone isn’t there to do the work for them and wake them up once in a while?

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Comics Stay Home

December 7th, 2003 No comments

Last night I took some pics at the Comics Come Home event in Madison. It’s a yearly event (this is their 6th year) held to raise money for the Christ Farley Foundation. The event is usually hosted by some b-rate star, and once again this year’s host was supposed to be Jim Breuer.

Well, it didn’t turn out that way. Promos for the $40 or $60 a seat event touted Breuer and a “special guest” to perform at the show, but both were snowed in in New York. I know I would have been more than disappointed to find this out had I paid to see it.

A collective moan was heard as Tom Farley announced the “celebs” wouldn’t make it. I didn’t see anyone walk out because of that, however it really wasn’t a packed house. In fact, they were taking people from the upper level and giving them tickets to sit downstairs to make it seem like more people came. Pretty sad, eh?

While I pretty much can’t stand Jim Breuer, nor Chris Farley for that matter, it would have been nice to meet him and get some pics. I could have added him to the list of celebrities I’ve seen or met while in Madison. The only other recognizable comic there was Tim Kazurinsky, of SNL and Police Academy fame. You might recognize him here.

The show itself was decent for the most part. The comics who performed were good enough to make me laugh a few times, but not anything uproarious. I sepnt the middle 45 minutes of the show talking to someone from high school, so I can’t vouch for that part.

The Farley brothers were funny despite the perception of them riding on their brother’s fame. They were pretty good at the improv parts, yet you could tell that Kevin was trying a little too hard at times to sound like his brother’s “I live in a van down by the river” character.

I did get to meet the Farley brothers and their father beforehand. They had setup a small press conference beforehand to introduce the comics and the show to the media that were there. All three local tv stations sent video crews out, but the Cardinal was the only paper there.

It was funny because the guy handling the media at the show kept asking if I wanted him to bring out any comics for pics or if I wanted to interview any of them. I take pictures, not ask questions.

You can see the better shots I took from the event here.

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