Posts Tagged 'madison'

Shops I miss that were on State St, Madison, WI*

{Dates are approximate, and I’m filling them in as I learn more. Feel free to correct me or to share info!}

Tellus Mater (1959-2019)

Driftless Studios

The Puzzlebox

MMoCA gift shop

The Peacock

The Boot Barn (I mean, because)

The Den

That store that had all the backpacks and travel bags


Avol’s Books

Sacred Feather

The Yellow Jersey (1971- moved to Arlington, WI in 2013)

Shakespeare’s Books**

Capitol Kids**

*This is limited to retail shops. I’ll save restaurants for another day. I know you folks really want to know how I feel about those.

**On Carroll Street, but so very close.


Will it be Chicago?

I was up around 5 this morning (well, let’s face it, not UP, but awake) and turned to CNN.  I knew the decision was coming soon, but I didn’t realize it would be today!

So, if Chicago gets the Olympics in 2016, lots of biking would be in Madison. I know peeps have mixed feelings on hosting the Olymps because it costs, say, billions and I think some peeps just don’t like having loads of extra people in their town for a few weeks, but I really, really, really hope it happens. I just think it would be super cool. What I don’t think is the coolest thing about it, though, is that I’ll be 41 in 2016.  Not that that’s inherently uncool or anything, but it has given me pause.

So, we’ll know today whether or not there will be an Athlete’s Village in Madison.

UPDATE:  So sad.  Chicago was eliminated in the first round.  Given that there are only four finalists, I’m not clear on why there are rounds, but there you have it. * I had heard that the favorite was Rio.  We’ll see in a moment, I guess.  I’m bummed.  [And, yes, I know South America has waited a long time for the Olympics, but so has Madison…er, well, yeah.  The end.]

* Apparently, the IOC members vote and if there is no majority in the first round, the vote proceeds to a second round and the city with the fewest votes in the first round drops out.  Oh, poor Chicago.


Photo courtesy of the Chicago Tribune’s website.  I just love the shocked faces.  I mean, I don’t love that their shocked and sad, but I think the picture is so great; it makes me giggle a little.

Ok, and this really makes me laugh, which I sorely needed as this whole Polanski bonkers bonanza has my blood pressure at record levels.  It also, nicely I think, ties my previous two posts together.  Sorta.

Away We Went

I’ve actually revealed this neurosis of mine before, but I need to hash it out some more.  When I see a movie I really, really like, I usually need to stay for most, if not all, of the credits.  I’m not like my aunt Terry who has to stay for all of the credits of every movie.  Certainly not!  In fact, I really can’t imagine stomaching staying through all of the credits of a movie like, say, The Reader.  Pukeasaurus Rex.  But when I think a movie’s really good, there are several reasons why I want to stay: (1) I want to give every name involved a little of my time in a small effort to show my respect and admiration and gratitude; (2) I often want to check who played whom and who did the music; and (3), and this is usually the biggest reason, I need time to collect myself before moving on with my life.  And this third one is the one that gets me in real trouble.  I LOVE seeing movies in the theater.  I love the grandeur, the shared experience, the sound, everything.  I just love, love, love, love, love it.  But there is little that I hate more in this world than the end-of-a-great-movie experience in which I am sitting paralyzed with emotion, trying to absorb what I have just seen and been through and listening to the final song of the film (sometimes the most important song, like in Gran Torino & The Wrestler) when people all around me just start talking and — the worst — laughing and moving on with their lives at a rate I can’t contemplate.  It makes me so annoyed and angry and then I’m left not being able to soak in the whole experience and irked with myself for letting it get to me.  The thing is, I know I’ve probably pissed someone else off in the same way folks have done for me.  I think it’s probably a safe (though disturbing) bet that someone was moved by The Reader and I couldn’t get out of the theater fast enough and I’m sure I let out an inappropriate chuckle.  Ugh.  So, I know there’s no real solution to this problem.  If I want the movie theater experience, I just need to understand that this is going to happen.  Again and again.  As it did tonight.

Tonight we saw a truly lovely, moving portrait of a 30-something couple trying to navigate through life and figure out where they belong.  In Away We Go, Burt & Verona are a couple who are very much in love and about to have a baby.  They don’t, however, know quite where they should live.  They want to live in a city with family or friends or both.  They want to feel rooted.  So, they travel North America — Phoenix, Tucson, Madison (!!! though it’s not really Madison, but it is very pretty), Montreal & Miami — in an effort to find out what city fits them.  Along the way, we are introduced to a bunch of characters from their past: In Phoenix is Verona’s ex-boss; in Madison is Burt’s childhood family friend; in Montreal, the couple’s college friends.  Some of the people they visit are totally bonkers (Maggie Gyllenhall plays so insane and is part of one of the best scenes in the movie: John Krasinski + stroller = madcap comedy.  Who knew?), and some are incredibly sympathetic and stirring.  But it’s Burt and Verona that make the film.  Their effort to make it as a couple, as a family, in a tough, unfair world moved me to tears.  It is one of those precious, rare films that makes us remember that just being here, just loving someone is really beautiful.  And it’s enough.


I was going to start out this post with a story from my morning. But now I’m distracted by a negative story, so I think I’ll start with that to get it out of the way. To cleanse myself of it, if you will. Or even if you won’t. Though I don’t blame you if you won’t. Anyway, I was just walking back from the gym to work in the lovely Wisconsin springtime sunshine (you may ask why I don’t just exercise outside, and I get your point, but please just shut it) and smiling away. I passed by a man that is quite frequently on the Square. In fact, I saw him not that long ago, on the Square, and as he was walking towards me, he threw a saran-wrapped sandwich into the street. When I looked at him curiously, he said, “I didn’t want it anymore.” Hmm. Well, anyway, since it was such a nice day I didn’t let this bother me when I saw him today sitting on a bench on the Capitol lawn. Because the weather was so nice, I didn’t even take offense at the Cubs hat he was blatantly sporting. When he asked me for some change, I politely apologized, saying that I had none, which was true. I smiled throughout, which I realize is not exactly a gift to anyone, but something I consider civilized and, unfortunately, rare. He then said, “I notice you’ve got a baby there.” I just kept walking, thinking, “Oh no.” And then he shouted, “How far along are you? Three months?” I turned around, smiled, and said, “I’m not pregnant.”

Um, fuck you.

On a brighter note, and what I really wanted to write about, is this morning’s surprising encounters. I was out at my bus stop early this morning — 8:15 a.m. This is crazy-early for me but my friend Gwen was introducing a speaker at a DOJ-sponsored training and I wanted to be there. As I stood on the corner that I have been standing on most week day mornings for four years, I held a book in my hand. Something that I do almost every time I am waiting on that corner. I have read some very interesting, lovely, breathtaking books over the years. Of course, I’ve also read some snoozers and annoying ones. Anyway, no one has ever said a word to me about my book. From time to time, the bus driver might make a crack about the book I’m holding. One time a bus driver said, “You must be a student teacher.” What? Anyway, today, though, was different. I am reading City of Thieves, sent to me by my beloved Kristin.  As I stood on the corner, a middle-aged woman in a long blue trenchcoat approached and stood waiting for the light to change to cross the street.  She turned to me and said, “Great book.”  I smiled and said, “Yeah, I just started it, but I’m really enjoying it.”  She smiled and went on her way.  It couldn’t have been more than one minute later when another middle-aged woman came from the other direction and as she passed me, turned and said, “Great book.”  I was shocked.  I told her another woman had just passed by and said the exact same thing.  She said her book club had just read the book.  I told her my friend works for Penguin and had just sent it to me with a post-it attached declaring the books awesomeness.  She liked that, smiled and went on her way.  The bus came and I went on mine.  Smiling all morning.   Until jerkface ruined it.

So angry

I was angry when Mayor Dave recently proposed raising bus fares from $1.50 to $2 a ride.  This made me so angry, I could barely articulate the reasons for my rage.  This is Madison, WI not Chicago or NYC or any other major metropolitan area where such a fee may be reasonable.  As salaries are being cut, jobs lost and a general recession/depression sets in, this is the worst time to raise bus fares.  Particularly in my fair town, public transportation is used in disproportionate numbers by the less well-to-do.  [As I’ve said before, I am one of the only people I know who regularly takes the bus.  I do so because it is fairly convenient for me, parking is too expensive and I’m trying to do something environmentally sound from time to time.  Additionally, given that I refuse to bike in winter, it just makes sense most of the year.]  A fifty cent increase hurts everyone, but it is a particular smack in the face to those who make a paltry hourly wage.  Four dollars to ride round-trip in Madison!  Well, said the mayor, we must have this money otherwise we will be forced to cut services.  The Transportation Committee on the Common Council voted down the increase, but the Council overrode that vote.  Bugger!  So, now, here we sit at $2 a ride, one of the highest rates in the country.  Well, phew, we’re not cutting services.  Right?  Right!  Not only are we not cutting services, we’re increasing services!  And where?  Between the UW campus and the UW hospital.  Who rides this route the most often?  Well, I’d have to guess that it’s mostly students.  Students who get a free bus pass with their student fees.  And, I was told by my alder, that the contract for those passes was not in negotiations at this time.  So, basically, if all of this is true, the rest of us lowly busriders are just subsidizing a primarily UW student bus route.  WTF?

And another thing that really, REALLY pisses me off are these &^%$@#* “mobile billboards” or whatever the f— they’re called.  You know, the ones for, say, TQ Diamonds…A dumb truck drives around town with a big billboard-y type thing on its  bed with a sign for a dumb store in town.  Most often it is TQ Diamonds.  I don’t know where this shop is, but I hate it.  I called them once to tell them so, but it didn’t seem to have much of an impact.  In this economy and in this environment, what kind of insensitive moron do you have to be to think that advertising on a gas-guzzling truck for your blood diamonds is anything but a morally condemnable idea?  Dis-gusting.

Ok, sorry for the rant.  I’ll be nothing but sunshine tomorrow.

March 2023

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