It’s Miller – I mean Conference – Time

Welcome to the Miller Time Pub in downtown Milwaukee. I had a few delicious lagers here during my week of conference hell. The software conference I attended was required for my job, and I thought that maybe I would have some time to go around the city and visit the old Pabst, Blatz, and Schlitz breweries, but that sadly did not happen. That is because the majority of my time was spent in training rooms with 173 other strangers watching Power Point presentations about databases and having sanctioned fun-times at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

The typical day would start at 6:30 AM with taking a shower and then heading down the sterile and empty “sky walks” that connected the Hilton and Hyatt Hotels to the Midwest Airlines Center (I had never flown Midwest Airlines prior to this trip. They bake their own chocolate chip cookies during the flight (or so they say)).

After walking to breakfast, I would attend classes until lunch, when all 173 of us would sit at round tables and small-talk for an hour and a half. Next, it would be another three hours of training courses and then, finally, the time I most looked forward to each day: when I could go to the Miller Time Pub for one hour before heading off to dinner.

To the left here you can see the inspiring hallway in front of Midwest Airlines Center room 202D. Note the inspirational quote on the wall in raised letters, the Native American battle-axe-themed carpet, and the long tables just waiting to be topped with bottles of water and bowls of Caesar salad. Oh, if these walls could talk, they would bore you to tears with the endless small-talk they hear. “Where are you from?”, “How long have you worked there?”, and “How did you enjoy that Power Point?” are featured daily.

When I came to Durham for my job interview, I woke up and the first thing I saw out my hotel window was a huge ad for L&M cigarettes, followed by an interview at the American Tobacco Campus (which has a water tower with “Lucky Strike” emblazoned on it). When I woke up each day in Milwaukee, I would see the Miller Lite sign on the building across the street. If you combine Durham and Milwaukee’s industries, you get the best dive-bar ever. Too bad they both had to specialize.

Although I did not get to see too much more than a four-block radius of what I suppose was downtown Milwaukee, I did see enough to know that I want to go back with some free time to see more. It was a very unassuming city and I really liked how no-frills it was. Like the tourist article in the in-flight magazine I read about it stated, “Milwaukee does not try to be something it’s not”.

I wish I could say the same for the Power Point presentations.