May 26, 2010

Wine Tour 2010

This monday is Memorial Day. Combined with a semi-mandatory furlough day on Friday, I have a four day weekend blessedly approaching.

During the first half of this extended weekend, I'll be taking a mini-vacation of Wisconsin wineries. The trip will be limited to southwest WI, because there's not really enough time to hit all of the vineyards in the state. However, I expect the six-stop tour to be perfectly enjoyable.

The vineyards are: Botham, Spurgeon, Weggy, Vernon, Burr Oak, and Wollersheim. Once we get back, I'm hoping to expand this map and include a bunch of photos/reviews of the delicious, delicious wine(s).

May 13, 2010

2010 Field Season Beer Project

No, I haven't decided to drink through the entire field season - although I did find some of New Glarus Brewery's Unplugged Old English Porter this week in West Bend. This project revolves around highway survey and the discarded beer cans/bottles we find along the side of the road.

Walking along the side of a highway in Washington County (or Burnett, or Douglas, or Fond du Lac, or Brown, or...) can be a mind-numbing way to spend a work week. My mind tends to wander a bit during these surveys, especially when there is a decided lack of artifacts being found.

One of the questions my brain decides to ponder on these surveys is why there are so many empty beer cans along the side of highways. I'd like to give Joe West Bend the benefit of the doubt and say that a piece of gravel kicked up from the shoulder and tore a hole in one of the can-filled plastic bags in the bed of his truck on his way to the local recycling center, but this is Wisconsin. Joe was drinking beer while driving, and then decided to throw the can out his window.

I'll be keeping a running tab of the brands/styles of beer that I find on the side of the road and listing them here. Open a cold one and enjoy (from the safety of your house).

May 5, 2010

wednesday graphic links

I think banning books is abhorrent and counterproductive - when I see the yearly list of "most banned books" or whatever, I immediately want to read them. To Kill A Mockingbird is an American - a world - classic. I would feel sick writing a letter asking to ban it.

If your worldview can't handle a children's book about two boy penguins raising a baby penguin, it is not the book that has the problem. Anyway, Good has produced yet another quality transparency showing the 10 most-challenged books of 2009. I don't actually like this graphic as much as I like most of their work; my main complaint is that the colors chosen to represent the different challenges don't readily correspond to the reason for the challenge. I don't know that I have a better way to do it. There are twelve listed reasons that people challenged books, ranging from offensive language to violence to suicide to age-unsuitability. Twelve categories are a lot to differentiate just using color.

Speaking of color, Randall Munroe (of nerdy webcomic XKCD) just concluded a color survey. Basically, takers of the survey would enter information about their computer monitor and their 23rd chromosome and then start to describe the colors of squares that would appear on their screen. The results are in, and some of his conclusions are pretty interesting. Not surprisingly, people get mighty tired of describing colors after twenty squares or so. The descent into madness seems to start to occur after the 3rd consecutive square of 'green.'

On a more somber note, legendary Detroit Tigers announcer Ernie Harwell passed away today. You can find more eloquent and personal stories about him from guys like Rob Neyer, Joe Posnanski, and Craig Calcaterra. I will merely link to a timely graphic from Wezen-ball. I saw this last week when Bob Uecker had his heart surgery, but it works today as well.

May 4, 2010

Coming soon

I saw a 'preview' for something intriguing today:

Alinea creator Grant Achatz is opening a new restaurant that will offer four menus a year, each with a different space/time theme. For example, the first year will be serving meals from 1912 Paris and 2035 Hong Kong. From everything I've read about Alinea, Achatz's food is brilliant. News like this makes me wish I was both a Chicagoan and rich enough to dine at Alinea/Next.

Well, eventually. Right?

May 3, 2010


I've been accepted into UW's GIS certificate program. That's right...back to school, where I will:

hopefully avoid Ogre
probably not go streaking
dance along with Otis Day and the Knights

I will be meeting with the GIS program director this week to determine specifics of my return to college, but...back in school!