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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

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Door County's stark natural beauty is even more obvious in the winter.
Door County's stark natural beauty is even more obvious in the winter.
Door County Coffee and Tea Company fulfills all my caffeine needs.
Door County Coffee and Tea Company fulfills all my caffeine needs.
Shipwrecked Microbrewery makes some great ale.
Shipwrecked Microbrewery makes some great ale.

Door County still makes a solid day trip, even in the off-season

I’m proud to say that the Jurkiewicz family makes an art of "The Day Trip."

My parents always felt that nothing bonded a family or educated a child more than travel. They took us on full-fledged vacations as often as possible, but in a pinch, a 16-hour getaway worked just fine. We had plenty of those, and they count among my favorite childhood memories.

Now that we’re grown with spouses and children, my siblings and I still love to travel with our parents, and not just because they pay for our food. We usually transform my mom’s Astro van into a clown car and pile all eight of us inside; this July, when my sister has her second child, that won’t be possible, so we decided to take the clown car out for one last spin on Saturday. Door County or bust.

It might seem like a strange choice for this time of year, but my family has previously day-tripped in Door County during the winter. It’s true that many attractions and shops are closed (my all-time favorite, Wilson’s, shuts up for winter), but there are still a lot of great places open – and in the off-season, they’re not clogged with rich Chicago vacationers.

Because the truth is, Door County is something of a ghost town this time of year – and frankly, that’s just how we like it. When my parents honeymooned there in 1983, it wasn’t the chic Midwestern vacation destination it is now. It was a kitschy, north-y retreat with vistas that took your breath away. Seeing Fish Creek, Ephraim, Egg Harbor and Sister Bay all but abandoned in the middle of winter is reminiscent of the tranquil, removed setting and slowed-down pace that made these towns a tourist hotspot in the first place.

For us, the drive is as integral a part of the trip as the destination. We take I-43 to Manitowoc and then continue north on Highway 42. It’s a peaceful, beautiful route that takes about three and a half hours and, in my opinion, shows Wisconsin at its most charming – miles of farm fields, shoreline, small towns, and be…

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Good things are happening for Chicago band Chasing Mars.
Good things are happening for Chicago band Chasing Mars.

Five questions for Chasing Mars

Good things are happening for Chicago-based electro rock/synth pop band Chasing Mars. Their sound is reaching a whole new audience with the release of their self-produced album, available for download on their website and Bandcamp page

The group - comprised of Neven Armic, Sam Brown and Sean Goes - has been likened to Radiohead and Coldplay. Their vibe is deeply rooted in rock, but they mix it up by sprinkling in tips of the hat to electronica and pop. Some of the tracks, like "Cryptoamnesia," are fun, trippy and - at times- almost anthemic, reminiscent of recent Coldplay releases.

The boys are hitting the road on their first big Midwestern tour, and they’re making a stop in Milwaukee this weekend at Stonefly Brewing Co. on Sunday with Alchemy and Eagle Trace. The show starts at 9 p.m. and the cover charge is $7.

OnMilwaukee.com caught up with Nevin Armic via email this week to talk about the band’s exciting future, as well as the challenges of producing his own album.

OnMilwaukee.com: Tell me a little about the background of your band. How long has Chasing Mars been together?

Nevin Armic:We've been together for a few years. It started as just a fun project with Sean and I. We started working together on songs and then as we were recording our first album we added our drummer Sam to the mix. We're now a four-piece with our friend Westy playing bass.

OMC: What’s it like to produce your own album?

NA:It's fun and frustrating at the same time. It's great having all the creative freedom to try anything you want and record any song you want but the major downside is that you can't afford to do things the major artists have. And by that I mean a recording room with awesome sound absorption and great outboard gear is still really expensive. Now computers are leveling the playing field for the most part and the digital effects are getting pretty close to the original units, but they even charge an arm and a leg for the software. Overall, it's nice not to hav…

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Over 1,500 people came out to the inaugural FNO Milwaukee event on Sept. 6, 2012.
Over 1,500 people came out to the inaugural FNO Milwaukee event on Sept. 6, 2012.

Fashion's Night Out to merge with Gallery Night & Day for 2013

A few weeks ago, the future of Fashion's Night Out Milwaukee seemed uncertain.

In February, Vogue and the CFDA declared FNO officially on hiatus for 2013, to give time for organizers and retailers to reevaluate the program. It was bad news for Milwaukee fashionistas, who turned out in droves for the first-ever FNO Milwaukee last Sept. 6.

Would the feather in Milwaukee's fashion cap be plucked after only one year?

Nope. Turns out, Midwesterners are a hardier bunch than those New York folk.

FNO Milwaukee announced today on their Facebook page that the event will merge with the fall edition of Gallery Night & Day. Gallery Night & Day: Fashion Night Out Edition. Boutiques and retailers throughout downtown will be opening their doors alongside the usual Gallery Night & Day participants, and pop-up shops from the 'burbs will participate just like last year.

Additional details, including a list of participants, will be announced this summer.

What would my life be like without Facebook?
What would my life be like without Facebook?

What if I didn't have Facebook?

I used an antiquated term the other day.

"Did you see our wall-to-wall?" I asked one of my friends.

"Whoa," she replied. "Look at you, with your retro Facebook references."

It’s not my fault. I’m super old. Not in human years. In Facebook years.

It’s amazing to me how much it’s changed in so short a time. Remember when you didn’t "friend" someone, you "added" them? Remember SuperPoke? Remember the "20 Things About Me" note trend? Remember notes, period? Remember when people used to get confused and write on their own walls? Remember when the mini-feed was new? Remember when your status always had an "is" in front of it?

More mind-blowing than anything: remember when you didn’t have Facebook?

I got a Facebook almost exactly six years ago, soon after they started allowing people to create accounts without a university email address (one of your brighter moves, Zuckerberg). Everyone warned me that it would become addictive and that I would spend hours on it every day. For a while that was true, because there was so much to discover. So many photo albums to lurk on. So many people’s profiles to see. Kids at school that I thought were really boring were suddenly fascinating on Facebook.

Now, of course, I don’t even spend a whole hour on Facebook a day - it’s just become one of those mundane, necessary things that I check, like my email. I can’t imagine being disconnected from it, not because I couldn’t go without the photo album stalking (which has lost its luster) but because it’s how I stay in touch with so many people. It’s an easy way for, say, my aunt and I to stay a part of each other’s daily lives. She has a muffin for breakfast, she posts a picture of it, I comment on it saying, "No way! I had a muffin for breakfast, too!" Boom. Family bond reinforced.

It’s almost hard to remember all the changes happening, because they seemed to happen slowly – just like my life. I’m not the person I was when I created that account, and the ac…

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