I have a feeling that 2010 is going to be a pretty good year. In every way that 2009 kicked our collective butts, the new year brings optimism that, as we emerge from a rather crappy economy, is palpable in all sorts of examples.
I'm no futurist, but I have tracked down 10 of my most eagerly anticipated events of the year and that dates that they will go down. Add the events that you're bouncing off the walls to experience, using the Talkback feature below.
Apple tablet event (Jan. 27) -- As a Mac nerd, I'm anxious to see what Apple unveils at is upcoming event. Everyone knows it will be some sort of tablet. What will it be called (iSlate seems dumb)? How much will it cost? Will it be a glorified iPhone or will it be a full-fledged computer? More importantly, how will it change the future of computing? Surely, this first-generation tablet will be far from perfect, and probably too expensive, but think about what Apple did to mp3 players with the release of the iPod, and what it did to smart phones with the release of the iPhone. I expect this device to be a game changer.
"LOST" premiere (Feb. 2) -- Watching "LOST" is one my guilty pleasures, though the show has slowly become less cheesy as it has evolved. Finally entering its last season, I'm expecting, nay demanding, answers to every drawn-out island mystery. And if I don't get them, I plan on tracking down J.J. Abrams and punching him.
Daylight Savings Time (March 14) -- I don't mind winter, but I hate early darkness. In 2010, Daylight Savings time begins on a Sunday, so I won't mind losing an hour of sleep. I'll probably celebrate it by listening to the Brewers play the Giants, perhaps while packing for my annual trip to Spring Training the next week.
Opening Day (April 5) -- I love the idea behind Brewers Opening Day more than I love the event itself. As a baseball fan, I'm not overly interested in hanging out with 40,000 hammered jokers (though, usually, I enjoy hammered jokers) who don't care about what's taking place on the field. But just like Spring Training, I love the fact that the baseball season means I have 162 opportunities to be entertained each year, either on my couch or at the ballpark. And, Opening Day at the Miller Park press box feels a little like the first day of school, when you catch up with a ragtag crew of reporters and hangers-on (read: me) who haven't seen each other in six months.
Smoking ban (July 5) -- As a business owner, I have mixed feeling about Wisconsin's statewide smoking ban. I don't especially appreciate the government telling me how to run my company, so I sympathize with bars that fear they'll lose customers when smoking is outlawed. As a customer, however, I'm eagerly anticipating the day when I can come home from a bar or restaurant without reeking of smoke. Whether it's fair or not is besides the point, since it's going to happen. I'm also interested to see which bars abide by the ban -- and which flagrantly ignore it.
Storm the Bastille (July 8) -- A cold winter has knocked me out of shape just as quickly as I got into running condition, but I look forward to a return trip to the 5k Storm the Bastille race on the first night Bastille Days. This year, I'm shooting for a time under 30 minutes. Hey, it's easy to talk big six months before the race.
AT&T contract end date (July 11) -- I'm not saying I'll jump ship from AT&T Wireless the day my contract expires, but at least I'll have options. I can still barely make a phone call on my mobile from inside my own house, and it's a virtual certainty that the iPhone will become available on multiple carriers this summer. Whether I switch services -- or everyone but me does -- AT&T service will get better right away when its network gains some breathing room from data-hungry smart phone users. I'm a firm believer that competition forces the cream to rise to the top, and I'm ready to see who will do what it takes to earn my business for the next two years.
The day after the gubernatorial election (Nov. 3) -- I'm not really looking forward to the race for Wisconsin's next governor. I like Tom Barrett as Milwaukee's mayor, and I don't especially want him to leave the post. However, I'm not excited about the state electing Scott Walker as governor, either, so I understand why Barrett has to run. So, if Barrett loses (and I don't think he will), Milwaukee keeps a good mayor. If he wins, the state has a progressive governor, but someone else will be our mayor. I wonder who that would be, and if he or she will be up for the job.
"Red Dawn" (Nov. 24) -- "Red Dawn" was the movie I loved to be afraid of when it came out in 1984. It captured all my 10-year-old fears about the Cold War, and it both terrified me and fired me up ("Wolverines!!"). So imagine my surprise when I learned that a remake will be released this fall, with the Chinese replacing the Russians this time around. Perhaps this version, starring Chris Hemsworth (Capt. Kirk's dad), will be less nightmare-inducing but equally action-packed. I know I won't be the only guy my age who lines up to see this film opening week.
Chevy Volt launch (late November ... maybe) -- This is the only event on my list without a definite date, since GM isn't announcing exactly when it will release its electric car. Don't get me wrong, I don't plan on buying a Chevy Volt, but I'm interested to see how consumers react. Will it be in such high demand that car manufacturers start fast-tracking new electric models? Or will "range anxiety," real or perceived, cause it to flop? Like the iPhone, the Kindle and every other innovative invention, the prototype is rarely perfect. But the Volt could save GM ... or it could hasten its death.
Andy is the president, publisher and founder of OnMilwaukee. He returned to Milwaukee in 1996 after living on the East Coast for nine years, where he wrote for The Dallas Morning News Washington Bureau and worked in the White House Office of Communications. He was also Associate Editor of The GW Hatchet, his college newspaper at The George Washington University.
Before launching OnMilwaukee.com in 1998 at age 23, he worked in public relations for two Milwaukee firms, most of the time daydreaming about starting his own publication.
Hobbies include running when he finds the time, fixing the rust on his '75 MGB, mowing the lawn at his cottage in the Northwoods, and making an annual pilgrimage to Phoenix for Brewers Spring Training.