It's hard to have a truly great day while wearing uncomfortable shoes. In the latest version of "OMC Recommends," we look at a trusted brand that always delivers, along with a new album by Aqueduct and a tasty Spanish tortilla.
Use the Talkback feature to let us know what you think of our picks and if you'd like to add some of your own, e-mail them to firstname.lastname@example.org
The Nike Air Pegasus -- I had to run a quick errand the other day and didn't feel like pulling on the clodhopping snow boots. At the back of the shoe closet, I found a recently-retired pair of Air Pegasus running shoes. I slipped them on and was amazed at how cushiony and comfortable they felt. Perhaps my soles were becoming a little jaded from trudging through the slushy snow in all-terrain kicks, but the old Air Pegs felt so comfy that I put them back into my regular footwear rotation, which for me is a major step.
I'm no snob, but I always thought that running shoes were for running. Period. I always felt that the only people who can pull off the running shoes with jeans look are the same ones who finish a 10K race in 35 minutes or less. Well, forget that. I used to wear my old basketball shoes to bum around town, but it has been more than a decade since I found a pair that wear comfortable and not hideous looking. If Nike ever stops making Air Pegs, I'll drive to Oregon to protest in person. -- Drew Olson.
Lomography.com -- In the world of fast-paced digital photography and Photoshop, Lomography takes a step back and reminds us all that photography shouldn't be about premeditated perfection, but rather about the beauty of the unexpected and the unexplained. Using a multitude of film cameras, including the Lomo LC-A -- a wondrous little machine that the Russians stole, copied and improved upon from the Japanese in the '80s, and the Holga -- a medium-format plastic toy with light leaks that produce beautiful mistakes -- Lomographers capture the colors of the world around them quickly, passionately and without apology. Among Lomography's 10 golden rules are "Don't think, just shoot" and "Don't worry about the rules" and this philosophy shines through the work of those who adhere to it.
Do yourself a favor and get your hands on a Lomo, if even for a day or two. At the very least, give your eyes some candy and check out the Web site. -- Julie Lawrence
"On The Media" podcast -- This is a weekly must. Hosts Brooke Gladstone and Bob Garfield do a fine job of surveying every aspect of media. It's entertaining, useful and informative. Check it out at http://www.onthemedia.org/. It airs weekly, too, on WUWM. -- Jeff Sherman.
Supporting youth hockey -- When the high school football season ends, the eyes of the media in this town turn to prep basketball. Lost in the shuffle of dunks and three-pointers (not to mention post-game fistfights) is one high school sport in which five of the top 10 teams in the state come from this region. If you didn't already know it, high school hockey is alive and well in Southeastern Wisconsin. On a weekly basis, the blue lines at Arrowhead, Marquette, Homestead, Kettle Moraine and University School are defended with all the school spirit teams can muster. Brookfield, Wauwatosa, Pius XI and Catholic Memorial have all taken their spots at the top of the polls at some time or another and other schools that have jumped on the hockey bandwagon and are starting co-op programs.
Hockey is no longer a sport dominated by "up north" teams like Superior and Northern Pines. It has come south for the winter, and it is a great deal. For less than $10, you can watch some great hockey, munch on some incredibly salty popcorn and wash it all down with lukewarm hot chocolate. The state tournament is in full swing and while you may not see the next Gretzky in action, you will get a couple hours of great entertainment. -- Kevin Brandt.
Aqueduct's "Or Give Me Death" (Barsuk) -- Holy pop hook, Batman! David Terry and his rotating cast of players known as Aqueduct have done it again, or, more accurately, outdone themselves. If you found '05s "I Sold Gold" to be a slice of melodic gold, "Or Give Me Death" is the frickin' pirate's booty.
Playing up that Brian Wilson thing that he seems to have going for him, Terry has written an album that is as close to everything to everybody as you're liable to find from an indie act. Whether it's the piano ballad, the beat-heavy dance track, the self-deprecating poetry or horns aplenty that you crave from music these days, this record serves it all up in a tight package that manages to be diverse without sounding disconnected. And that's probably why Barsuk Records scooped him up and is releasing this album Feb. 20. -- J.L.
The Spanish tortilla at Yaffa -- It's a caramelized mushroom soufflé', served atop a grilled baguette with a little truffle oil and amazing Manchego cheese. At just $8, this appetizer is one of the best in town. Manchego is an interesting cheese, too. It's a sheep's mike variety, semi-firm and aged nicely in the Spanish region of La Mancha. Yaffa is located on the Riverwalk at 106 W. Wells St. -- J.S.
Comet Café's "Beermergency" -- In the spirit of OnMilwaukee.com's Bar Month, I'm going to recommend Comet's happy hour, appropriately titled, Beermergency. Each weekday, they serve up $1 Old Styles from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. (and on Monday nights $1 PBRs pick up where the Old Styles leave off). One of my favorite post-work activities is gathering my friends, hitting up Comet's next door neighbor Bulls Eye Records to see what new goodies the shelves have in store for us and then kicking back at the café with cheap beer and quality conversation. -- J.L.