an idiot in wisconsin

March 2001

Sunday, 4th March 2001.

Today we went to Milwaukee! Yes Milwaukee, home of Laverne & Shirley and Happy Days. We had the radio on during the drive there, and what should be on the radio but "American Top 40" with Kasey Casem! Woo-hoo! Aah yes, I remember as a young lad in Evandale, turning on the radio to 7EX (remember 7EX? this was before they were bought out and turned into a country music/horse racing station) on a Sunday morning and listening to AT40. So much pop music! So little time!

First stop in Milwaukee was Tara's aunt and uncle's house down by Lake Michigan. Tara's aunt lent us her membership at the museum, so we could get in there for nothing.

And we got value for money too. After a short while we were bored, so we went to the outdoors ice skating rink.

Will my attempts at ice-skating be as embarrassing as my efforts on the ski slopes of Mount Washington? I hired a pair of skates, and waddled onto the ice. Tara had brought a pair of her own skates from home. I'd never been rollerskating, let alone iceskating, and I was a bit of a klutz on the ice. I became the master of the unplanned pirouette, but I was pleased with myself in that I only fell on my arse once and in all my time out on the ice I didn't wipe out any little kids.

After about half-an-hour an announcement was made ordering skaters (and me) off the ice.
"What's going on?" I asked Tara.
"The Zamboni is about to come out."
"You mean...the Great Zamboni?"
"No, just a regular Zamboni."

I had never seen a Zamboni before (I sound like I was raised in the forest or something! Hey there aren't exactly a plethora of ice-skating rinks in Tasmania!) and I stood there watching it do its thing when Tara reminded me that we were going to the ice hockey.

We walked over to the Bradley Centre, where the Milwaukee Admirals play their home games. This evening they were playing the Grand Rapids Griffins.
"What's a Griffin?"
"Er, one of, er, those things."

We bought cheap tickets and then sat in the expensive seats, figuring that no-one else would turn up. We were right. The highlight of the evening was the entertainment during the breaks. In the first break we were treated to a juggler on ice skates who juggled things aflame, tennis rackets, dwarfs, etc. Then there was some human ten-pin bowling. In the second break some bloke came onto the ice and led a group of scouts in "Simon Says". It was a bit surreal, really.

Oh yeah, the game. Well the game announcer would put on a gruff voice whenever the Admirals went on the powerplay (i.e. the other team had a player sin-binned) - he'd say: "...and the Admirals [pause] go on [pause] the powerplay!" and the little kids would all cheer. Every time the game stopped (which was a lot, but that might have just seemed to be so because every time it did stop...) a burst of music would be played on the PA. Mostly MOR Triple-M rock.
"Have you noticed that all the music they've played has had male singers?" asked Tara.
"Oh, ah, no, but now that you mention it, yes!"
"I bet they won't play any music by a woman."
I thought for a moment, and figured they'd probably play some Pat Benetar. "Hmm, I reckon they will."
"Bet you a donut," said Tara confidently.

For most of the match Tara's donut looked safe, but towards the end there was a burst of Republica, and I had won me a donut. "Bah! Damn you Republica!"

Sorry, sorry, the game. The Admirals were beaten 6-5, the match wasn't as close as it sounds, the Griffins led 6-3 at one stage. But the Zamboni came out twice!

After the game we ate at the Waterstreet Brewery, then headed back to Madison, with the impatient Ian in charge of the radio.