2011 picks: Andy Tarnoff
What a year it was. Most of it was spent in a fair amount of pain, culminating with back surgery in August, which led to an awful lot of time on the couch. But not all was bad, and even a herniated disc couldn't keep me from enjoying a lot about Milwaukee in 2011. Here's to an even better 2012!
Person: I was literally writing this paragraph about nominating our coworker, Tim Cuprisin, for my 2011 Milwaukeeans of the year, when his girlfriend called me to tell me that he had passed away. Rather than gloss over my thoughts about why Tim deserves this honor, you can read my expanded thoughts here.
Book: With a 3-year-old yanking on me during most of my non-work waking hours, who's got time to read? I know I don't. Still, I found enough solitary moments to read Walter Isaacson's amazing biography on the late Steve Jobs. For me, it really filled in the blanks to a story that I largely already knew. But the study on the man behind Apple, himself, is what moved me most. Steve was a jerk, a genius, a visionary and a stubborn perfectionist. As an entrepreneur, I see little bits of myself in him, though each of those traits are multiplied a million times in Jobs. It's a great book that documents the life of a man who changed the world.
Concert: I'd already seen The Pixies twice before their show at the Eagles Ballroom on April 23, but this time, the concert was exactly what I was looking for: a song-by-song recreation of my favorite Pixies' album, "Doolittle." One could argue that this iconic band was sleepwalking just a little bit through the set, but it didn't matter to me. One of my favorite bands, playing one of my favorite albums – I could almost close my eyes and it was 1989 all over again.
Event: Any other year, it would be easy to call the Packers' Super Bowl victory over the Steelers the Wisconsin event of the decade. And I certainly was excited about it. But as bigger Brewers fan than Packers fan, the Crew's playoff run during October is what had me singularly focused in 2011. For me, the single best moment was the victory in game five over the Diamondbacks in the NLDS (though that first game against the Cardinals in the NLCS was a close second). I still can't believe how close this team came to winning it all. It's almost too soon and too painful for me to even talk about it. And hey, Ryan Braun winning the NL MVP wasn't too bad, either.
Movie: I only saw a few, and honestly, I struck out. The closest I came to a great one was "Contagion," but it petered out near the end.
Road trip: As part of the "Seven Wonders of Wisconsin" travel series we did on OnMilwaukee.com this summer, my wife and I drove up to Bayfield and the Apostle Islands. It was a great, fun and romantic trip, learning about a part of the state I've never seen. I hope I can someday return to this super-cool area and appreciate even more of its natural beauty and welcoming attitude from the locals.
Weirdest Milwaukee obsession: Had you told me that putting up an interview with "Front Row" Amy Williams, Brewers' super fan, would garner 11 percent of all of OnMilwaukee.com October traffic, I'd never believe you. Something that took just a few minutes to write was read by more than 200,000 people. I don't see all the fuss, but I'm glad that our readers did.
Worst idea: Nyjer Morgan taunting Albert Pujols on Twitter. I could tolerate the Brewers' "Beast Mode" to a certain extent, but trash-talking a team like the Cardinals was stupid. They made us pay.
TV show: Again, AMC's "Breaking Bad." This show gets darker and better each season. I have no idea how they'll wrap it up when it concludes next year.
Personal highlight: I knew I had a herniated disc when I was preparing to run the Rock 'N Soul 10K run over the Hoan Bridge. I also knew that I couldn't make it much worse, so I sucked it up and did the six-mile race on very little water (not that big of a deal), no walking, and oddly, not that much pain. After, of course, was excruciating, and I went under the knife six weeks later. My prognosis for running again is good, but if I never do, at least I will know I finished a tough but amazing race.
Personal lowlight: While I'm proud that I'm the 2011 Wisconsin State Fair Baked Potato Eating Champion, this is an honor I'd happily hand off to someone else. Honestly, it was pretty easy. I just ate two potatoes really quickly. It wasn't that different than any other day.
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