Despite mother nature's best efforts to stop it, Madison Blog-fest 2006 was an unqualified success. When the GF and I arrived on Friday night, we checked into the Courtyard and began planning the weekend. Spice and J.Bro had supplied multiple activities for the weekend, so we planned away, and then collapsed onto the surprisingly comfortable bed.
In the morning, we woke up to clouds and spinkles, as nature threw everything she had at us in a muted midwestern way – as if to say “Hey you big-city types! Fear my wrath...if it's not too much of a problem!”. We went down to the Capitol Square farmer's market and I found myself in heaven – surrounded by baked goods, fresh apple juice, and cheese. We helped ourselves to strawberry rhubarb turnovers*, fresh apple juice, chocolate/cheesecake muffins, cinnamon rolls, and cheddar/basil scones. Sooo...tasty.
Stuffed with pastry, we then toured the state capitol building, and were shocked by the bad mojo that Wisconsin seems to have with building capitol buildings. There have been three different ones, the first two having burned to the ground**. Apparently, God was angry with Wisconsin for some unknown reason. Finally, in the third one managed not to self-destruct. My theory (revealed here for the first time) is that God's wrath had been appeased through the use of Minnesota limestone for the bulk of the walls in the new building. Obviously, since Minnesota is almost heaven, the use of building materials of that state has been enough to thwart the bad mojo. The building itself is gorgeous, in fact Wisconsin is still re-doing it, having just finished a complete restoration of the supreme court***.
After warming up inside the capitol, we walked through the shopping district along State Street and had a very tasty lunch at the Great Dane restaurant. By then we had to head back out to the hotel to change clothes and prepare for Blogfest. We met at a nepalese restaurant – myself, the GF, Spice, J.Bro, M.Bro, and the Geometrator. We had a nice dinner, entertained by a “belly dancer” who managed to get one table in the corner to slip dollar bills into her skirt and basically spent the rest of the evening over there trolling for more. Honestly, we felt that was too close to tipping a stripper to try it ourselves, so we left for an evening of indoor mini golf, which is where we snapped the obligatory foot picture:
Clockwise from the top are M.Bro, Spice, the GF, me, J.Bro, and the Geometrator. Oddly enough, I remembered the colors of the balls each of us were playing, but not the exact order in which we formed the circle. Lucky for me that we kept the balls in the picture.
The game itself was a good one, where we got to play over, around, and through various Madison landmarks. My front nine debacle was quickly balanced out by a back nine that would have made Tiger Woods proud. Still, it wasn't enough to catch the Jack Nicklaus-like stylings of J.Bro, who is obviously either on steroids, or who derives superhuman powers from exotic denim.
After the game, the staff gratefully took back their putters, shut off the lights, and kicked us out of the building – just in time to sweep off the snow and make our way back through the driving snow. Of course the next morning the snow was gone and honestly, we weren't quite sure whether it actually happened at all. But as we walked around the University campus on a the beautiful day when we were supposed to leave, we were struck by how pretty the campus was and how much fun we had while we were there.
So we celebrated with lunch at the Olive Garden. I think I'm *still* full.
* Made, we think, by skilled Amish craftsmen
** They did not, however, sink into the swamp.
*** Complete with plush, harvest gold carpeting!