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Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

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The Bublr Bike in its full glory.
The Bublr Bike in its full glory.
The newest kiosk is located at Red Arrow Park.
The newest kiosk is located at Red Arrow Park.
I threw my bag and solar charger in the Bublr basket and took one for a spin.
I threw my bag and solar charger in the Bublr basket and took one for a spin.
The very first kiosk is located at Discovery World.
The very first kiosk is located at Discovery World.
The basket comes with a built-in lock.
The basket comes with a built-in lock.
The lock wraps around the basket and into the bottom. When it's inserted, the key pops out.
The lock wraps around the basket and into the bottom. When it's inserted, the key pops out.

Ev'ryday I'm Bubln': First look at Bublr Bike Share

Midwest BikeShare announced its second kiosk opening today, and the city is abuzz about it (or maybe it's bubbling about it?), so I had to check it out. After signing up online and plunking down the membership fee (you can save $10 on your yearly pass with discount code: bublrnow), I went to checkout my first bike. While there, I saw Kevin Hardman, the launch director for Midwest BikeShare.

"Looking good," I told him. "I love the name: Bublr. It's friendly. It makes this program sound fun."

The name Bublr was derived from the Wisconsin-centric slang for "drinking fountain," which helps localize the program within the community.

"We wanted to make it sound easy," Hardman said, who mentioned that even the term "bike" can be intimidating. "Don't ride a bike, ride a Bublr."

So I did.

The checkout process was easy. Just insert the card you used to sign up, and follow the on-screen instructions. If you haven't signed up online, you can pay a daily fee at the station.

"Some of the instructions need slight updating," Hardman noted. "We're still working to make it more user friendly."

The main problem is that even when you have a membership, the screen still incorrectly says you'll be charged a daily fee, which is not true.

"Soon we'll be mailing out keyfobs," Hardman said.

Keep your card in your wallet; these keyfobs will replace the need to interact with anything besides the bike you want to borrow. Just wave it over the sensor of the bike you want and "beep beep beep," the bike is yours to ride.

The Bublr bikes are designed to be more upright and sit the rider in a comfortable position. The seat height can be adjusted with the flip of a lever. Each bike comes equipped with fenders, skirt guards, chain guards, a rack, a built-in lock and a bell.

I had a bag with me, so I threw it in the basket at headed out.

The inital start was a little different than my preferred bikes. With the upright fork, it felt a little twitchy. I attributed part of this to my bag in …

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One of the 44 Fake A$$ Rappers: Alpha Fo Fum
One of the 44 Fake A$$ Rappers: Alpha Fo Fum (Photo: Kristopher Pollard)
Gold Felice & The Midwest Ugly 3Way Crew wearing KPOLLY tees.
Gold Felice & The Midwest Ugly 3Way Crew wearing KPOLLY tees. (Photo: Kristopher Pollard)

Kpolly brings "Fake A$$ Rappers" to reality

After 10 years, Milwaukeean Kristopher "Kpolly" Pollard’s unique pen and ink illustration style should be recognizable to most of the city’s residents. His work has been shown at HotPop and Lucky Star, but most people will probably recognize those child-like, yet demonically black, oversized eyes due to their prevalence in the 2013 Milwaukee Film Fest ad campaign (Princess Leia has never looked so creepy).

Now Pollard has a Kickstarter that he would like you to back. Or not. It doesn’t matter now, because with 21 days to go the project was officially funded.

"I’m shocked and super grateful that I’m fully funded after only 6 days," he says.

It’s an art book called "Fake A$$ Rappers" and it contains 44 pages featuring a collection of 22 imaginary rapper portraits, and will include a brand new, never-before-seen rappers made especially for this printing. In addition to the portraits, each page gives rapper stats, like first album, seminal song and sample lyrics.

"I was never super into hip-hop, but I started finding it more and more interesting and entertaining," says Pollard, noting that after watching Kanye West perform on Saturday Night Live, an idea sparked. "He had this incredible set and outfit. It was all very visual and amazing. While drawing the series I got incredibly into hip-hop, reading about it and listening to as much as possible. I’m a big fan now."

Until now, the "Fake A$$ Rappers" series has only been shown for limited runs throughout Milwaukee. However, since the project has grown in scope, a new medium was necessary.

"The book seemed like the best venue for them, especially since I’m adding so much more content ‘about’ the rappers," says Pollard. "Their albums, songs and sample lyrics. It’ll be a lot of fun."

While the project has already been funded, you can still pre-order a copy of the book and take advantage of the other benefits the Kickstarter rewards have to offer. The smallest donation level ($20) nets you the b…

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Teams raise funds and walk to help support children and families in need.
Teams raise funds and walk to help support children and families in need. (Photo: Next Door)

Walk with Next Door to help children and families in need

Struggling with poverty is a difficult challenge, especially when children are relying on you to provide them with a stable, healthy life. But helping families in need can be as easy as putting one foot in front of the other.

Next Door Milwaukee will hold its 25th annual Walk for Children on Saturday, May 17th from 8:30 a.m. to noon. The kickoff will start at the Milwaukee Community Medical Center at 5310 W. Capitol Drive.

The two-mile walk will begin at 10 a.m. and will include festivities such as live entertainment, fun activities, prizes and food for all registered participants.

The purpose of the walk is to raise funds and awareness for Next Door's early education and family programming services.

There will also be special guests including walk leader Keith E. Wandell, the chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc., and former Green Bay Packers running back Ahman Green.

"We are so happy to welcome Mr. Wandell as our Walk Leader and Mr. Green as our special guest and thank them for their commitment to our 25th Annual Walk for Children," said Next Door Executive Director Carol Keintz. "We appreciate the longtime support from Harley-Davidson and all of our sponsors for this event to raise funds for our early education programming."

For more information about Next Door and to register a team for the Walk for Children, visit nextdoormil.org/NextDoor/Walk-for-Children.htm or email Kimberly Nerone at knerone@nextdoormil.org.

If you have something else planned for May 17th, there are still plenty of ways to help. Next Door is currently in the middle of their book drive. They are looking to collect 5,000 new or gently-used children's books—particularly infant-toddler picture books—by May 15th, which will then be distributed to over 1,600 children.

Beyond the walk and the book drive, Next Door welcomes more volunteers.

Next Door works with thousands of children and families throughout the city of Milwaukee to give central city families the skills …

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4 apps to help you learn a new language.
4 apps to help you learn a new language.

Learn another language with 4 easy apps

It's been a week since you resolved to change your life. How are you doing so far? Yeah, me too.

There is a belief that making small, incremental changes is the best way to go about changing your life. This is why big goals like exercising and eating right often fail. While these big goals are always a good idea they're just too disruptive to handle with ease.

How about learning a new language? That may also sound like "too disruptive" of an idea. Learning a language is complex, time-consuming, and schooling and software sounds expensive.

Well thankfully in the past few years a solid group of apps have risen to the challenge of making language learning easy, fun and for the most part, free.

Here is a comprehensive review of what I've tried:

DuoLingo

1. DuoLingo – free (Android, iOS, Web)

DuoLingo is a real winner in terms of design, fun and effectiveness. DuoLingo's goal is to immerse users into a language, rather than explain all the stuffy rules. There are reading, listening, and even speaking activities. The app strikes the perfect balance between being quick, productive and fun. There is a point system to compete with friends, a reward system to cash in for prizes and races against the clock. Don't feel competitive? There is still a lot of fun to be had. The designs are cute and the sounds are top notch.

The website also offers additional features over the app, including discussion forums for each lesson and real-world document translation for a tougher challenge.

One of the few drawbacks with this comprehensive system is that they currently only offer six languages to learn (German, French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, English), but there are plans to crowd source many more over time (Russian is next). Another problem is that immersion without rules can be confounding. For instance in German there are four versions of "you" that are never fully explained. It is best to pair your learning with a little online research. This goes for all apps.

DuoLingo was c…

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