You Flew Your Bicycle in My Window Last Night

There's usually a single fly joyflying around my apartment at any given moment. Not two, just one. It's a bother sometimes, but I decided a long time ago that it wasn't enough of a bother to make me close the door to my porch. I don't care if it has a screen up top, I like it open. And if it means I have to deal with a fly, I'm okay with that.

Then a bird flew in last night. The night's game of Crapples2Crapples was over, but Rachel and Ross were still around when it happened. My first reaction was to get a newspaper. Russ took off his shirt. Rachel screamed. Who knew she was so skittish around avians? The newspaper and the t-shirt proved to be poor bird-herding implements, and after it had given us the slip a couple of times we paused, discussed our college degrees, and went and got a sheet. That finally worked, but not before the thing had started taking reverse kamikaze missions into the ceiling. My living room is covered with little sparrow-sized streaks of bird blood. I should have cleaned it last night while it was fresh—now I'm going to have to break out some more advanced scrubbing utensils. Which just goes to show you, a bird in the den is worth two brushes in your hands.

First Impact
Little Dirty Birdie Blood
The Red Scare
The, possibly, good news is that it did fly away once I tossed it out of the sheet. It may or may not of run into the building next door though. I couldn't tell, it was dark.

The bad news is that Rachel really is scared of birds:


A Wisconsin Circumnavigation

One time my dad came to visit for a week. We started off by riding Hank & The General around Lake Monona, then we continued by driving 1,100 miles around Wisconsin. This is our story—and this is our route:

First up, the Driftless Region. Wyalusing State Park at the confluence of the wide, brown Mississippi River with the wide, brown Wisconsin River, is described alternately as Wisconsin's most scenic, most historic, or most varied state park. I choose least surprising. Here's the view from atop the bluff, but don't bother looking if you've ever seen the Upper Mississippi before.

On the upside, there was that monument to Wisconsin's last Passenger Pigeon. And the 1st in my series: Whitney Jumping Off Things in Wisconsin While His Dad Takes His Picture. And this great field of goldenrods. You can't argue with that.

Next up, La Crosse! Home to Wisconsin's best drinking water, and generally recognized as Wisconsin's prettiest city. At which point I told the guidebook, "Fool me once shame on me, fool me... you can't fool me again." It would continue to vastly over-sell its sights during the remainder of the trip, but I had its number now. Go ahead, call Granddad's Bluff "550 feet above the back haunches of La Crosse", without question the #1 scenic spot in western Wisconsin. I'll draw my own conclusions. Like how awesome that neon light eagle head up there is. Why aren't you talking about that guidebook? 
From there it was north along the river. Surprisingly, we'd passed up the chance to walk "the longest main street in any town or village with only one street" back in Ferryville the day before. Even more surprisingly, Ferryville has more than 1 street. 

We didn't want to give up the dream of the quaint riverboat town though, so we made sure to take in the sights of Trempealeau and the Great River Road State Trail via bicycles. It's been years since I've shifted gears, you know what they say about a derailleur, but I am a sucker for wooden bridges.

Actually I'm a sucker for almost all varieties of bridges. Perfect for jumping off.
Last up on the Mississippi leg—Pepin, WI, childhood home to Laura Ingalls Wilder and pre-blind sister Mary. Otherwise known as The Little House in The Big Woods. Most noticeably missing of course are the big woods. Which just makes me wonder, how long was that winter really, Laura‽
Inland, to Menomonie and beyond! Chequamegon National Forest holds innumerable inscrutable forest roads, one of which eventually leads to the trail to Morgan Falls ("the prettiest waterfall in the state") and St. Peter's Dome (i.e. Old Baldy). Waterfalls are only good for 2 things—jumping into and jumping on top of, and this one was only good for one of those

Domes on the other hand are good for sitting on, looking from, and towering over. ✓, ✓, & ✓. I can see Superior from here! Joanna claims it's only her 2nd favorite Great Lake, but that presupposes that Lake Ontario actually is a lake.

Just look at these lake-cliffs. Sandusky's not going to give you any of that. 

Don't think it's over yet though, 'cause it had just Michigan! [say it. out loud.] That's right, we went to Michigan. We didn't plan to. And it wasn't even the real Michigan, just its upper mitt. They lured us in with promises of virgin forests and words like Sylvania Wilderness, practically irresistible when from clearcut PA. It turns out my timing is lost in Michigan. Or in virgin forests. Or maybe on Fridays. I don't know what, but this is the closest I could get to a jumpshot up there.

Being Friday we needed to get back to Wiscosin though. The fish and the frying were waiting for us, or at least we thought they were. Green Bay had pulled out an unforeseen haute supper for us, foams and gelées included, but no fries. They obviously knew I was coming:

North central eastern Wisconsin proved to be a full load of jumping for the series though. Lambeau, De Pere, Winnebago... they all had one in 'em.

There was only one thing left to do; Milwaukee here we come. Challenges of all sorts ensued. A tomato challenge, a trivia challenge, a hammering challenge, and of course a typing challenge.

I won. Except for the tomato challenge, no one really won that. We all equally avoided rogue tomato shrapnel.


Taskmastering the Timer

At the top of a waterfall in northern Wisconsin I learned to master my camera's timer once & for all. 


A Moment of Reflection

The last Wisconsin Passenger Pigeon was shot in 1899 at Babcock, WI. This monument commemorates its death 130 miles south east of the point at which it was shot. Though to be fair, it's only 103 mi. as the pigeon flew.


The Points: Data Driven Alcoholism

There's a new game in town. Or, there was a new game in town last November that hasn't yet jumped the shark. 

Goal: Earn more points than your friends/family members.

Play: Drinking before noon.  Every chance you can. 

1. A player is to be awarded one (1) point for each drink consumed before 12:00 PM local time.
2. Drinks begun, but not finished, before 12:00 PM will also result in the awarding of one (1) point.
3. Drinks ordered before noon shall only be counted when begun before noon as well. If you cared about your standing in this game, you should have ordered it earlier or found a way to inspire faster service.
4. Drinks shall only be considered valid after a player has awoken with the intent of beginning the day. Drinks consumed at the end of an evening, regardless of the possible wee hour, shall not be counted.  Neither shall a drink(s) consumed during an inter-REM period. 
5. While on land or sea, a player shall be considered to have legitimately entered a new timezone at the moment in which they physically cross the internationally recognized timezone boundary.
6. While drinking in the air, a player will be considered to be in the timezone of their departure until one of the following has occurred:
      a. the player has entered airspace directly above, or has landed in, the timezone of which their flight or flight segment will touch down.
      b. in the case of overnight flights, the destination timezone shall be considered legitimately entered at the time at which the cabin lights are re-illuminated, thus simulating the dawn of a new day. NOTE: this is the lone instance in which a player may legitimately be considered in a timezone of which they are not physically in. Enjoy it if you can.
7. Although not required, drinks are traditionally named in an occasion appropriate manner. Strive to fit in.

The current tally has Evan & me battling it out for the lead. When you're ready to begin your own adventure just let me know, I'll add you your own personalized column. Don't be intimidated, even Katie is beating Taylor.


Sage Advise

I woke up this morning to the disappointing news that Evan had already gotten 3 points. It was the Red Bull Flugtag, so it's not like it was a surprise. And really, if you're gonna go to Camden in the morning, you're gonna need something to juice the goose. It was a harsh wake-up call though. And I knew there would be more to come. As the worst influence in my life often does, Evan once again drove me to the bottle before noon. I'm nothing if not competitive with my brothers, and that extra hour I've got in the Central Time Zone really does come in useful sometimes. Things were on an upswing as I accumulated a few conciliatory points and watched 2 of the best episodes of television I've ever seen. No really, go watch this week's Jersey Shore and The Real World right now. You'll never feel the same about watermelons. Or Ryan.

Then I cracked this cookie, read its fortune, and knew it was true. What a downer.
Katie, luckily, was warned to be less manipulative and more supportive today. I can't wait to see neither of these little yellow predictions come true.



That last line might be the funniest thing to ever appear in TIME™.


Crapples2Crapples: Update II

I've been meaning to get the latest update to Crapples out for months now. It's finally happening—Booster Pack #2 is headed to the printers in the morning. A couple of highlights you can look forward to in your Crapples2Crapples future: