I’m just back from the sixth Stupid Guy Trip, an annualish gathering of my brother, me, and a few of our oldest and dearest. This year Chris McMains, Daniel Priest, Mike Brack, Ben Mengden, Ross Richie, Jason Young, and Jonathan Hunter made up the roster. More than ever this year, it was an experience I can’t really do justice to in a weblog post. A few of the highlights, however, were these:
- A visit to the Milwaukee Art Museum. Great collection housed in amazing architecture. Most notable was the giant, bird-wing shaped sunscreen that opened and closed over the solarium several times a day, but the rest of the space was fantastic as well.
- Nearly getting into a fight with some people vying for a parking space near the mob scene that was RiverSplash. They noticed the license plates on the rental car, and shouted repeatedly at us “Go back to Idaho, you potato-*****,” which was a wholly novel epithet for us.
- Touring the Lakefront Brewery. Our guide was funny and personable, the beer was good, and the company excellent.
- The Safe House, a spy-themed bar. To gain entry, one has to know the password or perform an embarrassing act in front of the video cameras that pipe your image into the bar ahead of you. Once cleared, a bookcase swings aside and admits you to the establishment proper, which features all sorts of cold war/James Bond/spy memorabilia, as well as a “secret passage” that locks behind you as you go through it. (I ended up having to exit the bar altogether and lobby the doorkeeper for re-admittance.)
- Seeing a Brewers game. Miller Park is beautifully constructed, and we had a great view of the ball field from our relatively-cheap seats. It was especially enjoyable to see how seriously fans there take their tailgating; we could see the smoke rising from all the grills from half a mile away, and actually getting in required dodging a number of thrown beanbags from an inexplicably popular game that was played throughout the parking lot. Plus, it’s the only ball park I’ve been to with a slide, though it was sadly not open to the public.
- Trocadero, a European-style cafe where we enjoyed a fantastic brunch twice. The service was great and the food amazing. (I got to try ratatouille: yum!)
- Playing full-contact whiffle ball in a park near Jonathan’s apartment. We attracted a fair number of spectators, a couple of injuries, and innumerable grass stains.
- The biggest highlight for me, however, is always the company and conversations. I count many of these friendships in decades now, have been through a ton with these guys, and am very grateful indeed to be able to carve time out of our lives to nurture those relationships. (Though from the outside, it may be hard to distinguish “nurturing relationships” from “insulting each other’s mothers”.)
A special thanks to Jonathan for hosting our octet of malodorous males in his efficiency apartment.