Thursday, June 21, 2007

strange town names in wisconsin

i've been going blind (and numb) this week making maps for a ground-water comprehensive planning website that we're building. in particular, i'm detailing a pollution-susceptibility series, which consists of 6 maps per county. there are 72 counties in wisconsin, so you do the math.

the one highlight has been catching the hilarious town names, and i'm only seeing the towns that are considered "major cities" in whatever GIS data layer the maps were originally built from. here are some of my favourites, but i'm sure there are plenty others in wisconsin's minor cities.

+ Land O' Lakes (just a marketing ploy to sell butter? think again.)
+ Liberty Pole (what a great stripper name)
+ Hustler
+ Euren (just say it out loud)
+ Neopit
+ Combined Locks (i swear this is a town name, not a GIS glitch. here's the town website)
+ Dresser
+ Footville
+ Winter (how ironic)
+ Fontana-on-Geneva Lake (the new Stratford-upon-Avon?)
+ Lake Five
+ Tony (not Anthony, just Tony. just like my boyfriend Tony, who is also not an Anthony.)

i'm sure you've got some hilarious town names... care to share?

Saturday, June 16, 2007

reward post 3: geese and more geese

one morning a few weeks ago, as i approached our office building, i saw a few heads of geese appear above the tall grass in the vacant lot across the street. as i slowed down, three adult canadian geese appeared and started to cross the road. as they emerged from the grass, a whole mess of fuzzy goslings appeared behind them. they crossed the street and headed towards our building.

i pulled into the parking lot and ran in to alert my co-workers, who were already watching the goose parade. they stopped to feed outside MG's window (she has a birdfeeder which she fills almost every day). the adults stood guard while the babies fed their little faces. you could tell that there were two different broods; there was a small difference in size. we counted 23 goslings in all. we're guessing that two of the adults are a bonded pair, while the other has lost their mate and has joined the pair for help raising their goslings. it's really quite impressive to watch that many geese all in one place. here are some photos:

they came every day for a while, and now they only come occasionally. the babies are growing up so fast. here's an image from a week and a half ago; they're already starting to grow into their feet and develop tail feathers:

just another day at the office, i guess. add this to the menagerie of finches, cardinals, grackles, crows, red-tailed hawks, cooper's hawks, 13-line ground squirrels, chipmunks, and occasional lost house cats that visit our office grounds. it's always interesting to what suburban wildlife will stop by.

Friday, June 15, 2007

reward post 2: my apologies to neko case - a concert review

i should admit now that i'm a late-comer to the incredible neko case. i heard a few early songs that didn't really knock me over the head, and i stopped paying attention.

however, when her new album (fox confessor brings the flood) came out, and i heard the song "hold on, hold on" on KEXP (when i could still stream audio at work), i was completely smitten. i bought the whole album, and i couldn't take it out of my stereo for two months straight. even now, i keep coming back to it.

if you're not familiar with her, check out some of her music and videos here. technically, she's classified as alternative-country, which i guess is an accurate enough label, but i would sure stress the alt part. her lyrics are strange and full of twisted stories, and while the music certainly has its roots in country traditions, they're thick and rich, often mournful and raw. additionally, she's also the crazy female backing vocalist for the canadian collective called the new pornographers, who i would also highly recommend, although she rarely tours with them.

because of my initial disinterest, i missed her first show at the Pabst theater in milaukee, which i'm so fond of after the amazing sam beam concert earlier this year. i'm sure it was my complete loss. so, when i heard that she was coming to madison this time to play the Barrymore, i couldn't wait to get tickets. and i was justly rewarded.

the entire show gave me chills. on her albums, she has such a huge voice, and i wondered if it would be as strong and heart-wrenching in person. it was. i was even more blown away by her backing vocalist, kelly hogan, who is the perfect complement to neko case. i wish they would have gone un-miked for a song, because i bet they could have filled the theater. while she played all her songs pretty close to the album versions, they were still haunting and powerful.

so, my apologies to neko case for not falling in love with her music sooner. she has certainly become one of my favourites, and i'm sure her albums will stay in my elite rotation for many years to come. i promise that what i lacked in initial interest, i will make up for in my future dedication.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

reward post 1: where have i been?

what joy! four people looked at my blog the day i posted! i'm so touched. so, as promised, i'll post a new entry for the next three days.

the first is an update on the past few months, which have been filled with a lot of internal indecision and bit of angst. but let's do the external stuff first.

tony and i decided this winter to look for a new apartment, and after a month of searching, we've finally found one here. it's pretty deluxe, with a lot of amenities that we haven't had in a long time (or ever)... dishwasher, in-unit laundry, underground parking (no snow!), heated indoor pool (year round, which is amazing for the state with the shortest pool season ever), and, finally, a huge kitchen. whoohoo! but the best part... i can get another dog (up to 35 pounds). i can't wait. i'll admit that i've already started checking out the, even though it will be a few more months yet.

work, as always, has been fairly crazy. it always amazes me how i can be so busy and so bored at the same time. it makes my indecision about school and my future that much worse.

i guess now that i've mentioned it, i should talk about my future plans--or lack of plans. many of you know that i've been thinking about going to grad school for a few years now, probably to study coastal geomorphology/coastal managment. but i haven't applied. it will be two years this fall since i took the GRE. i don't know why i can't find the motivation to go back... maybe i'm not ready for another stint at school. maybe i'm afraid that after another bunch years of time and a pile of money, i'll still won't be happy with where i end up. maybe i still don't know what will make me happy.

for a long time, i've believed that since i didn't intend on having children (at least none of my own), my job would be the thing that would feed and sustain me. it would be something meaningful, interesting, productive, fulfilling. but i haven't found that yet. now i wonder if it's possible for me. maybe my joy and my purpose will come from something other than my job.

the other thing that i've been searching for is home. a place that i love. a city that keeps me interested and intrigued, but that is comforting and familiar. i loved st. louis, and i wish that it was on a coast, because it would be perfect. so part of me thinks that i should just move to a city that i want to live in, and see what happens.

so what do you think, dear readers? do you have any thoughts on what might make me happy? can you offer any advice on how i might make this decision? are there any alternate paths or explorations that i haven't thought of?

anyone out there?

when i started this blog, i swore that i wouldn't be one of those bloggers that wouldn't have months between posts.

yeah, look how long that lasted.

so i need a little encouragement from you, dear friends. give me a shout out in the comments, let me know you're still with me. let me know you miss me!

as a reward, i promise a new post the day after the first three comments. that means you could have three posts in three days! could you ask for anything better than that (besides world peace, an efficient renewable energy resource with little waste, and universal health care)?