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This will be here soon enough.
This will be here soon enough.

Dreaming of snow

Last night, I had two weird dreams. The first involved a baby bear attacking me in rural Canada. That was pretty scary. The second was of a blizzard in Milwaukee. That wasn't scary, but it was pretty disappointing.

After all, it's 90 degrees and humid right now, but in just two months, we'll start to see winter creeping again. That's the blink of an eye.

I really don't mind winter, at least until January. Fall and winter clothes are more flattering their summer counterparts, and hey, fondue. Snowy football games are so much fun to watch, and Milwaukee looks pretty when covered in the white stuff.

But I'm not ready for wall-to-wall storm team coverage and slow, slippery driving. I'm not excited for dark afternoons and bone-chilling temperatures and getting my socks wet (and also, wearing socks). I'm certainly not ready for the deluge of Christmas decorations and music to take over, well, everything.

It feels like summer just started, and now it's almost over.

At least I escaped that bear attack in my dreams. There's no escaping the long and cold Milwaukee winter. And I have a feeling we won't get off easy like we did last year.

If summer is our reward for living in Milwaukee, then winter is our punishment. Maybe it's time to start planning a vacation ...

One boot and done at the century-old Mader's.
One boot and done at the century-old Mader's.

Where do you "pre-game?"

Call it youthful exuberance, but I got to Turner Hall a little too early on Friday.

Along with the two friends who joined me so I could review the Brian Jonestown Massacre show, we were so excited that we arrived just after the doors opened. Obviously, it was a long time before the band went on stage.

Three guys standing around in a concert venue before any music is played is, well, boring. So we walked around the block to Mader's for a beer.

Mader's is a funny place to grab a pre-game beer. The historic Milwaukee German restaurant is over 100 years old, but I don't hear a whole lot of people talking about it as a bar.

Which for our purposes, was great. So close to Turner Hall, yet barely crowded, we grabbed a seat at the bar, drank one fancy German beer in a boot, then headed back to the venue just in time. This is a tradition I can sink my teeth into.

Where, if at all, do you pre-game? For Brewers games, it's usually Fourth Base. For a show at Cactus Club, it's probably at Palomino or Club Garibaldi. At the Pabst Theater, it's the Newsroom Pub. Beyond that, I don't really have any hard-and-fast pre-gaming rules.

But I bet you do. Chime in using the Talkback feature below.

Anton Newcombe, the lead singer of The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
Anton Newcombe, the lead singer of The Brian Jonestown Massacre.
BJM plays Friday night at Turner Hall.
BJM plays Friday night at Turner Hall.

BJM's Anton Newcombe previews Friday's Turner Hall show

On Friday, The Brian Jonestown Massacre will play its third show in as many years in Milwaukee, visiting Turner Hall for a 7 p.m. gig.

It's hard to classify this band, but having seen their last two shows in Milwaukee, I can safely say that BJM is one of my all-time favorites.

Newcombe is touring in support of the band's new record, "Aufheben." The album is reminiscent of BJM's earlier work, but it also sounds distinctly different from the vampy, guitar heavy, almost surf-rock music you'll find on its two-disc retrospective, "Tepid Peppermint Wonderland."

Interestingly, BJM has been a little more visible lately, as its 1996 song, "Straight Up and Down" is the theme song to HBO's "Boardwalk Empire."

If you saw the 2004 documentary, "Dig!," you'll know that the band's front man, Anton Newcombe, is a very complex, albeit brilliant, musician. So, distilling a 15-minute phone conversation with him into one interview, in which we talked about everything under the sun, wasn't easy.

From his home in Berlin, Newcombe said he likes playing in Milwaukee. "Turner Hall is right next to a German beer garden, right?"

But seriously, "Wisconsin, despite recent events, is a progressive state," said Newcombe. "I like salt of the earth, normal people, and I also like its progressive politics."

For an unbelievably prolific band that was seemingly recording nonstop in the late '90s and basically received no radio airplay, BJM is also an incredibly experience live.

"I think you'll enjoy this trip, because we've been out for a couple of months doing Europe and the West Coast and Australia. I think the band's playing pretty good," he said.

So how is "Aufheben" both different and the same as the band's other work?

"I like to see things evolve, but also stay true to whatever traditions and theories are involved," said Newcombe.

I asked Newcombe if "Boardwalk Empire" has opened his music up to new fans.

"I'd like to think that's true," he said. "But I think it's a combination of so…

Officer Chad Stiles, at the TEMS class at WCTC in April.
Officer Chad Stiles, at the TEMS class at WCTC in April.

Tactical EMS trainer on Sikh Temple shooting

Shortly after I heard the news about last Sunday's Sikh Temple shooting, I couldn't help but think back to my day in April with Milwaukee police offers participating in the Tactical EMS Training class at the Waukesha County Technical College.

The scenarios I watched matched up so closely with the real-life shooting in Oak Creek, that I had to give Officer Chad Stiles, the instructor at the class, a call to get his reaction.

Stiles, who works for both MPD and WCTC, couldn't comment on behalf of Milwaukee Police, but he could talk to me as the TEMS instructor.

"I'm not trying to Monday morning quarterback anything, because I wasn't there," he said, before we started talking.

But Stiles had heard the audio of the dispatch call, and he could offer some insider analysis of what happened in those volatile first minutes.

"Initially patrol is going to get dispatched in situations like this, and their job is to go in there and assess the situation," said Stiles. "Sometimes they have little information to start out with. They might not know the scope of what they're getting into. They might think it's just one person down, and then you find out there there's still a subject on the loose."

He said, "They have to try to interview people during this dynamic situation ... so they know who they're looking for. Also, medically try to take care of anyone who gets hit."

I asked Stiles if the injured police officer, Brian Murphy, acted according to protocol, tending to a victim before neutralizing the threat of the shooter. My first thought, from the outside looking in, was that he had not.

"As far as the information he had specifically, that may have been the best course of action. I can't say for sure what he knew at the time," said Stiles.

"The way we train is that if we know it's an active shooter, they go in in teams, walking past potential injured people because they need to stop that homicide in progress. If you don't know that it's an ongoing, active shooter situation…