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Do you have a penchant for close-call, head-on collisions? This chicken wants to know.
Do you have a penchant for close-call, head-on collisions? This chicken wants to know.

My first game of "chicken"

I had an unnerving experience on the way to work on Friday. It took me a few days to process this, otherwise I would have blogged about it sooner. Anyway, I was driving east on Burleigh at around 9 a.m. when, about three blocks away, a car driving in the oncoming traffic lane quickly cut into my lane and started driving towards me, head on.

Clearly, the driver was accelerating because the car was moving at an uncomfortably fast pace. My mind started to race, partially in confusion, partially out of fear and partially in delight.

"Holy crap," I thought. "Is this a game of chicken?"

When the car was a little less than a half of a block away, still accelerating, I quickly turned right onto an intersecting street. The car flew past me and turned onto the next street, squealing the tires. My heart was beating faster than normal and I started rubbing my fingers together in this way I reserve for moments of heightened nervousness. (It does absolutely nothing and yet it totally helps.)

A part of me finds this escapade stupid ... but another part finds it kinda awesome. I mean, it was, after all, my very first game of chicken. Playing chicken wasn’t exactly on my "bucket list" of things to do before I die, but as an experience junkie, I appreciate it on that level. And yet another part of me -- probably the mama bear side -- feels freaked out by the possibility that someone could have gotten seriously messed up. I thought about how quickly I turned the corner to avoid the oncoming car, and how easily I could have hit someone crossing the street. It gives me the shudders just thinking about it.

Finally, I wonder who exactly plays a game of chicken at 9 a.m. on a weekday?

Later, I called a friend and told her about my experience. She suggested it was a "sign." That the car moving towards me was a "wake up call" and that, clearly, I need to face something that I am unwilling to face. I understand this esoteric way of thinking, but I don’t think it "means" anything unles…

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East Side? West Side? Where do you wanna eat your artichoke a la mode pizza, people?
East Side? West Side? Where do you wanna eat your artichoke a la mode pizza, people?

Where should we put Pizza Man?

I checked in again today with Deanna Amidzich, owner of Pizza Man, to find out if she could divulge where she plans to reopen her popular bar and restaurant that was lost to a fire in January.

Rumors have spread like, well, fire and people claim Shorewood, Bay View and the western suburbs as sure-thing relocation spots, but nothing has been confirmed. Amidzich did not report back (yet) and I know she has an eye on a space, but financing may or may not work out.

So, in the meantime, let’s voice our opinions as to where we want our Pizza Man.

If it were up to me, I’d keep it on the East Side (wow, I didn’t suggest Riverwest!), but I could see it in Walker’s Point, too, because the neighborhood already has a developing pizza scene with Olive Pit and Transfer.

But where would you want to see the new Pizza Man?

Jose Garza loved talking to people. And drinking good tequila.
Jose Garza loved talking to people. And drinking good tequila.

Happy birthday, Conejito

Last night, I accidentally attended a birthday party for former owner of Conejito’s Place restaurant, Jose Garza. Garza -- who went by the nickname "Conejito" -- died on Oct. 7 and yesterday, he would have turned 76.

At about 7 p.m. last night, I stopped in for what I refer to as "Mexican comfort food" and margaritas and found a room full of green and red balloons. The bartender, Lala, was offering up shots of Centenario -- a high-end tequila that was Garza’s favorite. She poured one for Garza, too, and put a lit candle in the full shot glass. Then she played "Happy Birthday" on the jukebox about 10 times.

I have been a regular diner at Conejito’s since I was a kid, and I spent numerous evenings as an adult sitting at the bar with Garza, talking mostly about Milwaukee, family and food. I appreciated the chance to toast him one more time.

I Googled "cute ski mask" and this is what I found. Nope, not gonna work for me.
I Googled "cute ski mask" and this is what I found. Nope, not gonna work for me.

Knitters, I need you

The subject of ski masks and why I’m not wearing one keeps coming up. It all began a week or so ago when temperatures first started to really get mean, and after walking just a few blocks to a coffee shop, my face was so frozen I looked like I got a bundle of botched Botox injections.

Since then, I remarked to a few dozen more people -- including Kramp and Alder during our Heat Index segment last week -- that I don’t understand why more Milwaukeeans, including myself, don’t wear ski masks in winter.

They make perfect sense for the frosty season and yet, I never see anyone wearing one who’s not a toddler, a snowmobiler, a superhero or a television robber or rapist. (Maybe real-life robbers and rapists wear ski masks, I do not know for certain because, luckily, I have never seen one in action.)

This is where you come in, knitters. Is there -- or could there be -- such a thing as a cute ski mask, or is this an oxymoron? Are they inherently creepy? Furthermore, can a person wear one without looking like they’re on the verge of  committing a felony? I really want to rock one, but I'm not sure I can really pull it off.

Damn, it’s cold out there, Milwaukee.