Friday, July 25, 2014

Arby's - thinking outside the box.

It's heavy bomber weekend in Madison . . . . this weekend - just spreading the news..

I had the Sun Prairie Worthog homebrew club meeting night last night in Sun Prairie and a B25 flew over and the sound was magnificent.

It was nice that we found out that the two home brew stores in Madison are telling customers that if you want to DRINK beer join the Madison Home Brew Club, if you want to learn how to make better beer join the Worthogs.

Our next meeting is all about water and how it is SO important in making beer and probably the most overlooked part of beer if you want to make a good tasting brew.  August 28th at The Nitty Gritty 7:00 all are welcome to attend.  

I bottled my Bavarian Dunkelweizen yesterday and decanted my small batch Munich Dunkle which is still lagering.  I think I'll have to make my Double Chocolate Stout next so it will be ready for late October.


Yesterday I took my father-in-law to the airport so he could attend the 69th reunion of the sinking of the USS Indianapolis.  One thing that is important this year is that a "Band of Brothers" style series is being created my a movie company and they want to interview Mel on camera for the movie. Being one of the last two Marines survivors they are running out of time.

A great read is " In Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors"  
It's a pretty exciting story and Mel was with the small group away from the larger group. There is a photo in the book with Mel (top right)


Here is a shot of Jenny and Josh's Caydance and Sydney goofing around.  Sydney was so funny at the Lake Mills Art Fair - seems they went into a very good water colorist canopy and Sydney says "Oh, I don't like theses at all!".   She says so many odd things it's funny.  A few weeks ago she was playing in one of our bedrooms and came out and everybody was in another room.  "Where is my family?" she proclaims!

She is really good at taking care of Caydance even though she is the young one (with no fear of anything). Caydance is doing great and starts Kindergarten in the fall.


Frankie on Big Brother received bad news as his grandfather passed away.  It's very very rare that house guests get any contact with the outside world for the 3 months that are quarantined.  The one other time was 911 when there were only 3 left and one of the contestants had a relative in one of the towers. Otherwise they get zero news of the outside world.  

Live feeds showed the entire house crying for Frankie.  That is the difference with Big Brother, you can tune in 24 hours a day and see what is going on. Nothing is hidden.

Arby's thinking outside the box.  

Before I go to home brew club I normally make a stop at Arby's to put something into my stomach and every time I go I ask the same question. Since they seem to have 100% turnover from month to month I always hope I will get a different answer to a simple question.

I say "I would like a normal size Ham and Cheese Melt".  Well, they ONLY have the $1 mini ham and cheese and for the last 10 months it seems it's totally impossible to make a bigger one. Can't do it - OH - I can buy TWO though.

I don't want TWO.

Well last night it all changed.  I asked the question knowing I would get the blank stare as I always get but this guy said "Oh, you want to order a Mini with extra meat then".  I was stunned.  BUT WAIT. He gets on his headset and calls to the sandwich maker and here is what the problems started.  

The order TAKER, obviously understood the Common Core philosophy and new how to work through a difficult problem such as this, the sandwich maker on the other hand who was not a Common Core student could not think outside the box.

How much ham?  5 ounces?  no - double the 1.5 oz so it would be 3 oz.  Oh - but but but what about the extra buns?  NO - put it on a normal bun, ONE bun.  cheese? does he want cheese?  YES, the normal cheese.  Double meat, one bun and cheese, like a mini but with more meat.  How much meat?  DOUBLE THE MEAT, ADD CHEESE, ONE BUN.

Well then came the problem of how much do we charge this trouble maker since we have totally gone off the grid on this bizarre sandwich that no one has ever thought about before.

I kept looking around to see if anybody else was watching this but there were only a couple of truck drivers that looked like they had been on the road way too long.   OH - and then they wanted my name for the order. Really?

OK - there is ONE guy in the place now and I say "Rod".  Ron?  "Rod" , Rob?  ROD! - DOES IT FREAKING MATTER?  And please please don't ask if I want my receipt, printed? emailed? text? facebook? tweet? Instagram?

In the end I had a fantastic sandwich that made me very happy.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Columbus Streetscape Part Un

OK OK - perhaps yesterdays blog was a cop out - but it IS a good show.

CSS Taskforce

MAN! - you would think recreating an entire downtown streetscape inside a budget with strict rules but no one will tell you what the rules actually are and there is a drop dead deadline that if things are not perfect the whole 16/60 reconstruction can be moved back 2 years - NO PRESSURE!!!

Before I forget - stoplights for the BP/ShopKo/Strip mall area is scheduled to take place in 2016 and will cost Columbus zero.  In fact we should GET CSS funds to help  . . . do something.

As for the above streetscape here is the deal.

DOT is funding a MAJOR project from 16/60 all the way through town and by killing downtown business (what there is) they will give us 3% of the total cost (which seems to have worked out to 1.5ish% in reality) to make improvements.  In fact $166,000 worth.

Now you would THINK that $166,000 is a nice chunk of money and would go far right? Well, it sort of does actually IF we get help from metal working businesses in the Columbus area WHICH we have 3 so far penciled in lightly. (Purchasing benches ($2000 each) and trash cans ($1000 each) and bike racks can cost a LOT of money).

ANYWAY - you have read here about my trials and tribulations with trying to understand the unknowable on how things get decided.

As it turns out we have been ultimately dealing with The National Park Service.  WHO KNEW!!  I typically don't think of the The National Park Service being that involved with streetscapes.

Here is the deal.  The F&M bank as we all know is an historic building but it is also an Historic Landmark which is like a top of the line historic building because of it's "Outstanding example of design or construction".

 Seriously - so many photos are taken of that building it's crazy.

So - the problem we were dealing with was colored corners.  In the master plan we will have a striking crosswalks in a dark dark gray outlined with white lines starting from Charles Street at the top of the hill running south all the way through town to Manning.

This will tell motorists on the new super smooth CONCRETE road that they are about to enter a special area.

Once they hit the historical, conical tree lined (3 trees per side) city with new lights they will know to slow down.  Then each corner of the four corners will be colored (a dark lush brown - I can't think of the actual name) with two at-grade planting beds per corner (it's fine, DPW is on board).  

But the main attraction is Dickason Blvd though.

There will be four, 4 foot bumpouts with two bumpouts colored colored and two with normal cement next to the City Hall AND F&M bank, AS PER The National Park Service demand.  Don't get me started as that is ridiculous.  At the very least it's a funny story when people ask why 2 of the 4 corners are colored and two white.

It seems both the City Hall and F&M bank are Historic Landmarks which is pretty darn cool.

BTW - Wikiepedia has Farmers and Merchants Union Bank located at the northwest corner of James Street and Broadway.  BOOM - now you know where the Broadway Theater group got it's name!!  Dickason used to be called Broadway.

Hey Broadway Fans! Keep an eye out when visiting local businesses for these flyers, and make sure to grab a tab! 

So that is the plan and I'm excited. 2017 is the date the band aid gets ripped and the downtown will fester for a summer but only to grow stronger.   I hope I have not been run out of town by then.  Downtown businesses should REALLY be saving $$ as I suspect business will be at least 50% off for a summer.

OH - this reconstruction is going to cost us for sure but Columbus has gained in net worth this past year and we have been preparing for this.  Of course there are unknowns and this is ONLY the historic downtown area that had to pass Smokey the Bear and the rest of the crew with The National Parks.

Did I mention that overhead lines will be buried?  And yes - trees will be lost (and replaced).

OH - I almost forgot - There will be n Art/Sculpture planting island taking up the 1st 2 parking spots in Dickason BLVD . . WITH electricity (thank you Alderman Thom - good call with the electric).

Has anybody noticed what the world stock markets are NOT doing?  We got planes being shot down, economic sanctions with Iraq and Syria and Israel and Gaza and Ukraine and Russia and threats to the global supply to oil and the Scottish government seceding from the UK and world markets have not even blinked.  

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Big Brother is watching

Hope everybody is keeping cool for this long long heat wave that we have to endure for another EIGHT hours (we should start dropping in temp by 7PM and hit 62 degrees by tomorrow morning 7ish). Summers over.


I bet nobody is watching this fantastic strategy show but BB did some great casting this year with this group of caricatures with actual brains and personalities are very entertaining.  STILL, the best game on TV.  ANYBODY that likes strategy games should watch this - highly entertaining and insightful.

Now that the fluff has been voted out and some of the opening volleys have calmed down AND, more importantly, most house guests REAL personalities are coming out here is who we have left.


Amber - Part of the original alliance called the Bomb Squad which consisted of a whopping 8 members and was doomed from the beginning.  She became part of the all male alliance because a FORMER house guest went whacko and decided to have her in the group - he is gone now.

Has no actual personality BUT - is a grown-up and is not there to have a showmance. She is like a real person.


Caleb - WOW - this dude has a HUGE personality and HUGE muscles. He is another member of The Bomb Squad but does not realize, YET, that him and Amber are the ONLY members in that defunct alliance.  His problem is that he has totally gone head over heals over Amber and Amber wants nothing to do with him at ALL.  However, Caleb assumes that if he likes someone she will automatically like him back. His game play has left the building.  The odd thing is that he really has a big heart AND a huge ego.

Dead woman walking. She will be gone this week and this is the worst photo of her ever taken. 

Christine the tattooed one. Alliances just keep falling into her lap and she just goes along. Right now she is on the 5 member Detonators (basically The Bomb Square without Celab and Amber). Good game player and is good friends with Nicole and Hayden's on the non-named "friends" alliance.   


 Derrick - the normal one - an undercover cop and probably the most normal person there. Running the Detonators (Christine, Cody, Frankie, Zach).  A great game player and knows what is going on for the most part. 

If there is such a thing as a caricature of a normal person - its him.
Donny Donny Donny - America as fallen in love with Donny - a student of the game and pretty smart.  He's a janitor and dare I say a country bumpkin, Forest Gump kind of guy.  His parents do not want the show (Gunsmoke and Bonanza are more important).  House guests think he is maybe para military? a Harvard professor? a super genius scientists? but no - he is Donny the janitor. 

"I'm probably smarter than they think I am, but I'm probably not as smart as I think I am."


Cody - his problem is that him and Amber have a friendship going and Caleb HATES it and is freakishly jealous.  And it's just a friendship.  Nice guy totally.
Frankie is the flamboyant Broadway dancer (Mama Mia) who's sister is currently one of the biggest pop stars in America (yet I personally had never heard of her) Ariana Grande.  He's a little wild at times but has a good personality when not playing it up to the camera.  His strategy in the game is to play ALL sides until week 8 and then pick up. 
Zach came into the game saying - "I don't have a lot of friend because I'm my own best friend - I don't like most humans at all".  He is playing a Dr. Will game (Dr. Will was one of the greatest game players of all time and invented how to play this game i season 2).  He is aggressive and friendly at the same time and he cuddles with Frankie "I like girls, I'm not bi at all but there is something about cuddling with Frankie . . . .BUT I LIKE GIRLS".  
Jocasta - I can not stand this woman - a preacher that wears a dumb bow tie all the time, she must have a hundred of them and everything she does she thanks God for it. She had the flu for 3 days and was throwing up constantly and was thanking God for allowing her to throw up. REALLY???    Donny saved her from eviction and she wept way too much.
Very nice, very sweet, very smart country girl having a showmance with really nice Hayden.

Hayden is an awesome surfer dude. Honest, likable, and funny. 

Here is the problem at the moment - The detonators are running the house and while others know that there is some big alliance running things . . . . they are not forming a counter alliance.  At some point they need to focus.  I think there are so many other shoot off alliances that that is what is getting in the way.  Will it be too late when they realize it's us vs. them.  They are all in a "as long as it's not me going home this week"?  mode. 

Watch the show Wednesdays, Thursdays and Sunday nights CBS.  If you more then one show and start to see actual personalities you might be surprised.  


I'm worn out - that's enough.