wine by the color

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Kids, we have a LOT to talk about.

For now, I am going to skip my issues getting to Chicago on Friday. As soon as I finish my letter to the evildoers at Continental Airlines, I'll post it and that should help paint a good picture of my adventures. But just know that around 8 p.m. Friday, I sent the following text message to the Sandman: Here's something to look forward to - an upcoming blog entitled, "the filthy (very bad four-letter c-word) from Continental who caused me to miss my flight." It should be a real doozy.

Thus, ignoring that temporarily, I arrived in Chicago around midnight, and was greeted by the lovely Megan. The next morning, after retrieving my luggage from someone in an industrial complex parking lot, we enjoyed some important television programming (there's no better way to get me hooked on a show than lines like: "I just love making out with people. It's like, my thing"), had lunch and headed due north for Sheboygan. After quick stops to buy warm boots and visit a castle of cheese, we arrived in Megan's hometown.

I hate to say this about my soul sister, but Megan is a big liar. Sheboygan, or She-Vegas, as the locals call it, is fantastic. The city has small-town charm, is on the water, and features a slew of bars. Really, what more do you need? Two wonderful parents who made me feel so welcome I felt like I'd been there many times before, despite this being my first visit? Yep, Sheboygan has that too.

After a delicious dinner with her fantabulous parents Saturday night, we met up with a friend of mine who happens to be living in Sheboygan for a few months and proceeded to a local tavern, where we watched Rutgers lose a heartbreaker to West Virginia. (As a sidebar, Schiano is staying? Very good news for R-U Rah Rah. I'm not shocked - I didn't think he'd want to walk into the shit-mess that is Miami football at this point.)

Sunday morning, after piling on enough layers to look like Randy Parker, we headed north to Green Bay. Anticipation hung heavy in the air, as did frigid weather conditions. But only once during the day did I think we might freeze to death, during the walk from the car to the tailgate at this little joint. The wind was whipping and my face and feet began to freeze immediately. But we remedied that with footwarmers and screwdrivers and it didn't really bother me again.

After several hours at the tailgate, including some time with fellow Jet fans (of whom there were a surprising number, but I attributed that to the lure of Lambeau and the hard-core nature of the J-E-T-S faithful), we headed to the Frozen Tundra. After a brief, unpleasant run-in with one of Green Bay's finest, who felt I didn't have the right to carry my little backpack into the stadium, we were sitting on the metal bleachers of Lambeau (albeit, thankfully, with padded seats under our derrieres).

Lambeau is amazing. Certainly the best professional football stadium I've visited. I don't know that there's a bad seat in the house. And it snowed, so I got the full Frozen Tundra experience, which is exactly what I wanted. The people sitting near us were all quite friendly, even after discovering my allegiance to the visiting team.

As for the game...

Prior to my trip, I fielded quite a few queries regarding which team I'd be supporting. I had two hopes for Sunday's game - that His Holiness would play well but that the J-E-T-S would win, thus keeping them in the hunt for a playoff spot.

I got one of the two.

There are a few potential explanations for what happened Sunday:
1. His Holiness was nervous, feeling extra pressure to perform well knowing I was in the stadium.
2. His Holiness was felled by the Sports Illustrated cover jinx.
3. The Packers are a horrible football team.

We'll take votes until midnight, but I'm pretty sure #3 is going to be your runaway winner. Here's the Green Bay paper's round-up of Favre's Day.

Favre said walking off the field at halftime with the Packers down 31-0 was one of the low points of his career.

"I haven't ever seen anything like that," Favre said. "I was hoping I'd never see anything like that in my career."

It was painful to watch at times. It's not entirely his fault, because his supporting cast is young and providing very little help and the coaching is A-trocious. But he's definitely struggling, and although it wasn't enough to ruin my pilgrimage to the holy land, it did diminish my enjoyment a bit. I didn't see any exuberant running around the field, and I was really looking forward to that.

So that's the bad news. The good news is that the Jets looked really good, albeit against the worst defense I've seen in person all year, including Syracuse's effort against Rutgers. Gang Green didn't punt until more than midway through the fourth quarter.

Admittedly, I was skeptical when the Jets hired a head coach younger than me. But Mangini deserves a good look for Coach of the Year honors. This year's personnel isn't that much different than last year's, outside of Pennington remaining healthy, and the Jets are 7-5 and a possible playoff team. I've said it before, but at no point did I expect them to have a winning record, let alone in December.

One thing that did amuse me was the Green Bay crowd's sheer indignity that the Packers were being blown out by the Jets. Apparently, the home crowd doesn't think a whole lot of the Jets' success this season. Oh, and as the Jets built their lead during the first half, the woman behind us continued to hope that the Jets "get cold, because that's the only way we're coming back." Hee!

After the game, we wandered around Lambeau a bit, then enjoyed some post-game antics on the streets surrounding the stadium. It was then time to return to Sheboygan, where we met up with friends for dinner, including fried cheese curds, and some fine Milwaukee beer.

Monday, I got the five-star tour of Sheboygan. It's right on Lake Michigan, and has a lovely downtown area. It's somewhere I could imagine living, although Megan insisted that was crazy talk brought on by a Favre-induced fog.

Yahoo Photos is being a pain in my ass so I can't figure out how to directly link to slideshows. However, if you go here, and then select Slideshow, you should be able to check out the highlights of the weekend. I amused myself with the captions, which will provide more details about the trip.

So this was my time in America's Dairyland. The hell with good times - this was EXCELLENT times all around. I'd highly recommend checking it out if the opportunity presents itself.

I'll be back, Wisconsin. I'll be back.


  • At 12/05/2006 2:10 PM, Blogger Megan said…

    For real? You really want to come back? Don't tease us.

    Very nice recap! Sheboygan is blushing right now.

  • At 12/05/2006 4:01 PM, Anonymous wendyu said…

    Gee - could Sheboygan be on the horizon in July??

  • At 12/05/2006 7:52 PM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    Seriously, I could live in Wisconsin. That is my kind of place.

    And Wendy (welcome, by the way!), it's not currently on the horizon, but I may have to change that.

  • At 12/06/2006 1:30 AM, Blogger SJPSandman said…

    You could live in Wisconsin?? Last time I checked, nobody ever recorded a song called, "Wisconsin Girl."

    I think the freezing temps have numbed your brain.

    Stop talking blasphemously, or I will be forced to slay you!

  • At 12/06/2006 9:18 AM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    Lighten up, Francis. I'm not going anywhere.

  • At 12/06/2006 2:20 PM, Blogger Maggie said…

    Glad your weekend turned out after that flying nightmare! And since one can't visit Freakgirl without watching The Real World, I saw that too. Man, I wished I could have just sat there and watched the whole season back-to-back at once, taking time out only to pee and get some more wine. What a train wreck! I particularly loved the morning-after sobbing BFF ritual.

  • At 12/06/2006 9:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Well if you're looking for a reason to visit Wisconsin again, let me know if you're not doing anything on August 4th....

  • At 12/06/2006 10:27 PM, Anonymous jerrycarino said…

    You glossed over one tiny detail in your report...

    How was the tailgate (aside from cold)?

  • At 12/07/2006 12:58 AM, Blogger Joependleton said…

    Jerseygirl: Great call on Lambeau. Like Wrigley Field, it lives up the hype. Of course, the day I was there I was sweating my arse off with a certain former disgrunted Gannett copy editor.

    Please tell me you had the Bratwurst with the cheese already inside it.

  • At 12/07/2006 10:31 AM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    Man, I wished I could have just sat there and watched the whole season back-to-back at once, taking time out only to pee and get some more wine.

    This idea has serious merit. Perhaps we should have some sort of summit during which we do this very thing.

  • At 12/07/2006 10:46 AM, Blogger jersey girl said…

    The tailgate was solid. Because of the area around Lambeau (an actual neighborhood rather than our parking lot situation) it reminded me of a college environment - a lot of large, sanctioned tailgate parties. Then, in the parking lot around the stadium, people were tailgating like we do. The most noticeable difference for me was that there were no short Italian men cooking meat for three hours wearing shirts that should have been retired in the 1980s. And no red wine.

    And JP, no cheese in my brat. I figured that since we had smoked string cheese for the road trip that I didn't need to completely overdo it.


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