Well guys, what can I say? Lovely Assistant giveth and Lovely Assistant taketh away. I followed her to Milwaukee from that mythical land of row houses and narrow streets, the East Coast, and now I’m journeying on to that mythical land of flatness and a football team most people here would gladly rip to shreds with their bare hands if attacking a pro football player wasn’t such a great way to ensure that you’ll be drinking all of your beer through a straw for some time to come, Illinois. I’ll be sad to leave, but hey, let us not bow our heads in sorrow — let us bow them in drunkenness! One more time! Rick and Donna’s 2541 N. Bremen • 264-1654 Ambiance: Like being in someone’s living room in a really good way, probably because it was so clearly made out of Rick and Donna’s living room. In fact, they’re still there, tending bar, cooking, chatting with the customers, and generally making you feel like an old friend. Crowd: Anyone in Riverwest. We arrived while people who’d clearly been in the neighborhood for decades were there, and stayed for the shift change to the young and funky. Everyone was greeted by name. On Tap: Bottles and cans, just clap your hands, just clap your hands. Top Shelf: Rail heaven. Stoli and that generic version of Kahlua I can never remember the name of stand out in my memory. Hey, look at that! I remembered something! Juke Box: No tunes, they’d mess with the mellow vibe and Packers games. Men’s Room: There’s beautiful woodwork on the door and an ashtray by the toilet. Women’s Room: “It’s nice. They have a cool inlaid mirror,” says charmed Lovely Assistant. Additional Comments: Excellent food, lots of Packer stuff and animal figurines. Mad Planet 533 E. Center • 263-4555 Ambiance: Oh maddest of planets! You, with your excellent acoustics, kick-ass DJs, and wild wall art! You are the place to get smashed and dance the night away. Crowd: Proof that we can indeed all just get along, Mad Planet is home to all manner of goths, punks, hippies, schlubs in jeans and t-shirts (that would be me), hipsters, and things we don’t even have names for yet. On Tap: Beer. Yes. I’ve been to Mad Planet many times, and all I can truly report is that there is beer on tap. Drink it. It’s good. New Glarus and Lakefront were there at least. Oh, how I shall miss them. Top Shelf: Hard liquor. Drink it, it’s good. Juke Box: Nothing shall inhibit the DJ groove. Spare me your amateurs, and get your tunes from the booth. Men’s Room: More brightly colored, brightly lit, and funkily painted than anything has a right to be if you’re drunk, so take it easy and enjoy the scenery, dudes. Women’s Room: “It was always a different color, and everybody was always drunk and friendly,” says intoxicated and friendified Lovely Assistant. Additional Comments: Retro dance night rules, and I will always be thankful to Mad Planet for making election night ’04 slightly more bearable, hammering me from without by Call Me Lightning and from within by the just-that-night-introduced-to-me Blind Russian. Well, that about wraps it up. It’s been a great two years. Thanks to everyone at the Currents for giving me this opportunity, all the bars we’ve been to for the good times, and for all of you out there for reading about it. Take care, and we’ll see you later.