Depending on how long you’ve known me (or whether or not you know me at all, I suppose), you may recall that I have a
tradition of heading out to Wisconsin every summer, around the 4th of July, to visit a friend and business partner (Keefe) and see some concerts at Summerfest. I believe this was my fifth summer to head out there, and I hope to go back again next year. I left Minneapolis with a friend from school (Matt) around 4 PM on Friday, June 30 after having to get up at 0630 to make it out to Eagan for an 0830, 2.5-hour series of interviews with four different people, and we were lucky enough to hit absolutely awful traffic between Minneapolis and Saint Paul. When all was said and done, I think we made it past Saint Paul about 90 minutes after leaving Minneapolis … a trip that should take only about 15-20. Despite that somewhat sub-optimal start, we made pretty good time the rest of the way, and I think we made it to Milwaukee around 2230 (10:30 PM, for those of you unfamiliar with 24-hour time formats).
Although a few good bands were playing Summerfest that evening, the headliners usually start at 2200, so Keefe and I decided that less than an hour of a concert probably wasn’t worth $15 each, and walked around an office building in downtown Milwaukee for a while instead. The
Wells Building, as I believe it was called, used to house the Techware Labs server, so Keefe had a key for after-hours entry. Among other things, we were able to get out onto the roof, which presented a good opportunity to take a few pictures, only a couple of which turned out well. (Sadly, I didn’t make any other good use of my camera during the trip, though maybe I’ll grab a few other pictures that Keefe took and put ‘em up later.) I generally enjoy going onto roofs of tall buildings, so that was a pretty decent way to pass the time for free, in lieu of half of a $15 concert. Later, Keefe’s girlfriend (Jenny) ended up calling from Summerfest for us to pick her up, which is no small feat, to navigate dozens of half-blocked one-way roads with thousands of people roaming around to find their cars. Among other things, we passed the same intersection no fewer than four times, and unnecessarily (unintentionally) drove ourselves to the back of a huge line of cars trying to exit a major parking lot. We never did end up finding Jenny near Summerfest, and instead ended up picking her up from a bar about 15 minutes away from downtown Milwaukee. It was somewhat unclear how she got there.
I don’t really remember everything I did for the rest of the week (until leaving the evening of Sunday, July 09), nor do I believe it would necessarily interest anyone to read it (much less me to write it), so I’ll just try to cover a few highlights.
- The Sunday before the 4th, Keefe and I headed over to John Chaillet‘s house for a huge barbecue/grill/cookout extravaganza. I guess that many hours were spent preparing food before the hours of cooking could even commence, including making a few dozen hamburger patties with onions and peppers mixed into the meat. Needless to say, it was quite delicious. It was also cool to meet
havoc (John) and
chillywilly of irc.havoc.org #havoc in person, with whom I’ve been conversing on the internet for nearly half a decade. I played volleyball there, too, probably for the first time since 10th grade gym class. I dominated everyone :P.
- Monday, Keefe and I went to a client’s business to install a wireless internet subscriber module and wire it up to their network. This was a somewhat daunting task, as the antenna needed to be on top of the 2-story office building (with only ladder access to the roof), then have the cabling run to two
wiring closets on the two floors, and then to nearly the opposite end of the building to reach the client’s router. It took several hours, involved a lot of time on ladders and awkward places in ceilings, etc, but we got the job done, and now Keefe gets to make some more money. I’m still unemployed :P.
- On Tuesday, I spent the day with Adrianne (my girlfriend) at Summerfest, and saw Punchline, Lucky Boys Confusion, and Bowling for Soup. Despite the fact that the bands weren’t necessarily a perfect match for my main musical tastes, the shows were very fun, the bands had good stage presence and high energy, and that was reflected by the atmosphere in the audience. It was also really nice to get to see Adrianne for the first time in a week, though it’s been almost another week again, which may not sound bad, but it feels like a long time (I guess that’s a good thing, hey?). We later met up with Matt at a coffee shop, and again the next day for lunch at the SafeHouse, which was a decently cool experience in and of itself.
- I had a job interview with Google (over the phone) on Thursday afternoon. It was somewhat brief, but they had already emailed me and I completed ~4 pages of problems/programs/etc. they had sent me the preceding week. The position is located in Mountain View, CA at their headquarters, so if they offered that to me and I took it, that would mean moving out to California.
- Keefe, Jenny and I went down to Summerfest on Friday and saw about half a dozen songs from Yellowcard, a little Cheap Trick, Train and Big Wu, and maybe another half dozen songs from Styx.
- We went to Jenny’s birthday party on Saturday, and then Keefe and I departed for Summerfest, only for his alternator (presumably) to fail along the way. We barely made it off the freeway, and with a little help of my pushing, we got Keefe’s truck onto a side street. After about a $150 tow back to Hartford, and much disappointment about not getting to see Panic! At the Disco (and my added disappointment for missing my friend Brian (of Savin Hill fame) and 30 Seconds to Mars), we headed to a local bar. Having turned 21 only the month before, this was my first time in a bar, and the Mike’s Ice Hard Lemonade I consumed was only the third alcoholic beverage of my life. I’m not an individual of particularly large build, and have no prior tolerance built, so the single bottle containing ~5.2% alcohol did affect me somewhat, but having no desire to actually get drunk, insistently refused Keefe’s attempts to buy me more drinks. Sorry Keefe, you don’t get any embarrassing stories to tell about me doing stupid drunk stuff. (No one shall have such an opportunity so far as I’m concerned.)
- I headed back home with Matt on Sunday evening. Aside from the massive storms around Milwaukee around the time of departure (of which I saw only a few minutes of a torrential downpour and a few pieces of hail slightly larger than peas), the trip went quite smoothly, and I think we got back to Minneapolis in about five hours (not counting the one stop we made).
Among other things, one aspect of this yearly trip I make that sticks in my mind is the music I hear while out there. I don’t necessarily even mean the concerts I hear at Summerfest (although yes, those are typically very good), but rather just the music I hear on the radio while riding around rural Wisconsin. While this experience probably doesn’t translate well for others, I almost never listen to the radio throughout the rest of the year, so when I’m out in Wisconsin with Keefe for a week, and we do a fair amount of driving, I’m exposed to exponentially more radio than I am otherwise. Over the course of the week, there are, of course, various songs that receive a considerable amount of air-time, consequently impressing themselves in my memory in association with that week. While some years/songs leave a stronger impression than others, I figured that since I went to the effort of making a
Music category for my posts, I might as well include some mention of some of these songs. If you’re not a radio-hermit like myself, have some other decent exposure to
new music, or have convinced yourself that you’re
too cool to like popular music, then the following brief list will be of no interest to you. It will basically just be a snapshot of some songs off the top-40 list for July 2006, but it might be fun [for myself?] to look back at this in a few years to remember what was happenin’ back then … er … now.
So, without further adieu, the list of songs (in no particular order) that I will henceforth associate with my trip to Wisconsin, 2006: