Monthly Archives: November 2006

Pictures and more pictures

I actually didn’t know what I was starting when I decided that the Wausaublog needed a photo or two to spruce things up and show what we really look like.  Bascially, Tom (who is like a brother to me) has gone competely nuts.  He filled up the free Flickr account (200 photos) in a couple of months.  Since he filled it, I have been dithering over what to do.  And now I have come to some decisions (better late than never!)

The easy one is to keep using the Flickr account for most of the photos for the blog.  Most of the current event photos have a limited shelf life and the fact that they are no longer visible on the site is not a great hinderance and having the last few pictures uploaded to the Flickr page show up on the blog automatically is a nice benefit.  So we will keep doing that.

But I also could not help but notice that once in a while there is a photo that seems deserving of a bit longer shelf life, and perhaps a little nicer presenation than Flickr gives.  So, I have opened another photoblog page on another service.  And I have two really nice ideas that I hope will work together.  First, here is the location of the second, more permanent photo page.

I saw a nifty idea over on Flickr, a guy has challenged himself to take 365 self portraits, one a day for a year.  But I think we can get by with a little less. 🙂  In the spirit of the Friday Dudley, I am announcing the CW360.  A “self portrait” of Central Wisconsin (almost) every day.  I will not only put those pictures on the new Shutterchance site, but I will also be replacing the “Leaf-O-Meter” (yes, I know, I should have fixed that weeks ago!) with the daily picture.

And you can get involved with the CW360 as well!  If you chance upon a nice shot, or even if you hunt one down very carefully, why not take a moment to email it to me and I will feature it on the blog.  Send those emails to wausaublog@badgers.com.  If you have your own blog or photo site and would like to leave your picture there, simply email me the link, and I can handle the rest.

And if appearing in the Wausaublog is not  enough glory for you, I got an email the other day from Pat over at the City Pages on a very similar subject.  Here is what Pat had to say:

City Pages is inviting anyone interested in photography in the area to submit photos for possible use in the paper’s p.3 feature called Scenes or “pic of the week.”

You’ve probably all noticed the photos. The idea is to have a photo that is current, somehow pertinent to the greater Wausau area, preferably of something public or visible from a public place.

There’s no money involved, but they will give photo credit, unless you prefer anonymity.

E-mailed photos are preferred.  They can be sent to citypages@dwave.net.         Thanks.

So there are two ways to photographic glory.  Get those digital cameras working and lets show the world Wausau and Central Wisconsin’s best side.

Buy Fresh, Buy Local

Perhaps it is just a coincidence, but over the weekend there were two stories that shared the “front page” of the internet version of the Herald — the coming closing of the Gelato Cafffe and that the big box stores out on Rib Mountain road had great day on “Black Friday.”

Gelato CaffeNow, there are always many reasons why a business has to close so it is hard to generalize from just one instance. In the case of the Gelato Caffe downtown construction and characteristics of the building where it is located were cited as factors. But still, I tend to see at least a slight connection between the two stories.

One connection is that the tilt toward the big money players is very real. One example that I have recently become aware of is over on Rib Mountain drive itself. It seems that the city fathers of Rib Mountain, in order to preserve the pristine beauty that is Rib Mountain Drive has a pretty strict sign ordinance. Yes, in order to protect the sensitive eyes of those driving to Wal-Mart, Rib Mountain cracks down on the little businesses along that strip when they try to put up a sign. You might remember that the Liberty Tax preparation business was fined for putting up a thing that was somewhere between an American flag and a kite to promote their business. Best Buy and Kohls manage nice big signs though.

But as much as the city fathers don’t help the situation, we have to look ourselves in the mirror and admit that we have seen the enemy and it is us. Well, OK, maybe not the readers of the Wauasublog in particular, but the public in general.

If Best Buy was full on “Black Friday” then we were the ones filling it. And if we were filling Best Buy, then the Gelato Caffe would have been empty. We can’t be in two places at once. Of course I am speaking in relative terms here. 🙂

Every time we shop at a chain store, we are taking money out of the Wausau area. This is absolutely true. Not only do the profits of your chain store purchase go to Chicago, Minneapolis or New York, but lots of overhead that would otherwise stay in this area. Chain stores make up their advertising copy elsewhere, don’t hire local architects (and often contractors!) and have a chain of regional, district and other managers who live elsewhere that you are paying for. All this so we can have cheap stuff from China. Such a deal!

This is not to say that all out of town goods are bad and that we should be totally provincial. That too stifles economic and cultural growth. There does have to be a balance. But a big part of that balance is shopping locally where possible.

Friday Dudley November 24, 2006

I tried to capture the Dudley in the holiday spirit today.

November 24, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Wausau

Decorating the First American Center downtownFor some people Thanksgiving is just the gateway to the Christmas shopping season and for others just an excuse to overeat and watch football all day. But many do take the opportunity to take stock of their blessings and ponder things of the spirit. Perhaps it is because I am currently listening to Thoreau’s Walden but I find this now a unique combination.

Walden, is, of course one of the earliest American guides to what is now call voluntary simplicity. The notion that Thoreau was operating under and many that spiritual teachers have mentioned, is that material wealth often leads to a spiritual poverty. Thoreau went to the woods, not only to write, but also to see if less focus on material goods would lead to a richer inner life. You can be the judge of that by either listening to Walden yourself or perhaps even reading it online. If I can suggest, that maybe over this holiday, put aside your usual blog reading (well, except this one, of course) and spend the time with Thoreau instead.

One of the things that quickly struck me about Walden on this reading was how absolutely contemporary it seems. As he describes a people and a country going to hell in a handbasket because of their over concern with the trivialities of things and the burdens those things actually put on us, I had to keep reminding myself that it was in fact the 1840’s that he was referring to. Truly, the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Thoreau was neither the first nor the last to discover that by decreasing our material wants and “needs” we can reach a place where we have time to think, develop our spiritual side and even play because work is no longer a full time burden. Joe Dominguez told of his discovery of this principle in his book, Your Money or Your Life. He found that by paring down to the bare essentials he could live quite comfortably on $6000 per year. Which meant that he could quit his job and simply live on his savings. But even if you have no savings, imagine how much free time you would have if you only needed to work long enough to earn $500 a month. In many ways, that might really be living.

Now on the flip side to that, neither Thoreau or Dominguez were trying to raise kids and and trying to put them through college and such. And there is always the question of “what would happen to the economy if everyone did this”? And perhaps that is a valid question. But I think it is a question worth pondering on this day we give thanks for both our material and spiritual wealth.

Zenta ClausAnd tomorrow is a special day in this regard too. Adbusters every year declares the day after Thanksgiving as “Buy Nothing Day.” It is interesting how difficult this is for me every year. I always was more of a spectator than a participant in the busiest shopping day, but buying absolutely nothing (no Big Buddy, no filling up with gas, no bargain hunting at Smith Sales and so on) is actually pretty hard. So I have much to work on.

Whether you plan to shop til you drop on Friday or plan to use the nice weather to take one more quiet walk in the woods before the snow flies — Happy Thanksgiving!

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Not So Bad After All

I used to feel vaguely uncomfortable about my life, that perhaps I was missing something, that maybe there was more that I could do in this world. But after this weekend, my view has brightened considerably.PS 3 Sneak Peak

On Friday I was running an errand for a friend of mine, an I noticed a bunch of people camping out in front of Best Buy. “Strange place for a campout…” I mused and wondered if it might be some kind of publicity stunt. You see, this is what happens when you learn about the world just by walking around like I do, major media blitzes have no impact whatsoever. Later, I was over by Target and there were people camping out there too. So, I investigated a bit, and when the truth was revealed, I just had to laugh.

These poor people camped out three days — three days wasted — so they could get their hands on a video game system. So they could waste more of their time more effectively. What seemed even worse to me was the ages of the people in “line.” They were not (for the most part) teenagers. Nary a high school student there. But they also did not appear to be old enough to be the parents of kids old enough to care about such things. So, these 20 somethings, in the prime of their lives had nothing better to do than stand in line for a video game system. Wow. Quite astonishing to me really.

Oh and there was one more thing. It seemed that at each store there were maybe 20 or so people camping out. So unless the stores were only getting say, three of the things, showing up first thing Sunday morning would have done just fine. On the other hand, considering that in some other cities, there were fights and even gunshots over this stupid thing, overall Wausau seems to rank quite high on the sanity scale, so we can all be glad for that.

Or if they were really in the know, like the leader of this organization to which I belong, they could have gotten an advance sale on the thing anyway.

So, even if you are grinding away in the office Monday morning, at least you can work secure in the knowledge that your life has plenty of meaning to it. Well, at least compared to some other folks. 😉

Friday Dudley November 17, 2006

OK, I am actually posting this late, but here it is. Looks like it has reached its full height, except for the huge WNRB radio tower which will surely be installed. 😉Click for Larger Image

How Can We Make Wausau Even Cooler?

Eds Note:  I got these comments in an email and decided that the questions were certainly worth considering in our little forum here.   How do you think the Wausau area could best move forward and now that we are “cool” stay that way?

The idea of a new city zoo has been being considered by the Wausau city council. Of course they hope that this would be a draw for residents and visitors alike. I have been to several city zoos this summer around the state, some were pretty tired others were great fun. Zoos can be a great addition to a city.

My question, however, is why doesn’t the council get behind some of the other great initiatives currently trying to get off the ground in Wausau? There is the Monk Gardens, which could include a Raptor Education Center in cooperation with the Raptor Eductaion Group out of the Antigo Area. The plans are there, the support is growing (sorry about the pun)- a push from the city would be great.

Another project working hard to get going is the WINDIAN center. A cultural center/museum that would include all the tribes of Wisconsin. A wonderful collaboration just waiting to get more support.

These projects are unlike others in the state, and are growing in support within the community. Maybe the council should focus on these initiatives and help make them happen.