The Green Bay Packers have earned a break. After last Sunday’s come-from-behind win, the guys in green and gold finished the regular season with a 13-3 record, which was good for the division title and one of the top two spots in the NFC. New coach Matt LaFleur and star quarterback Aaron Rodgers seem to be getting along swimmingly. The defense is playing out of its mind. The offense is clicking. The team has a viable running game for the first time in eons. And the Bears missed the playoffs entirely. Life is good.
As we all know, Green Bay’s impressive season also earned them a bye in the first round of the postseason. While the much-deserved bye week will give players a chance to rest AND will guarantee the Packers will advance to the second round of the playoffs, the week off also means fans will have to entertain themselves this Sunday. It’s a good problem to have, but where does the bye week leave us fans?
Thankfully, in the past five seasons, we’ve put together ideas for things people can do during the bye week. So with a huge game on the near horizon, we figured we’ve put many of those ideas and some new ones into one huge, hopefully useful bye week guide. Enjoy!
1. Put that plastic shit on your windows
You gotta do it, why not just get it over with? Yeah, there could be another 50 degree day this year. However, do you know what there probably won’t be any time soon? Another 50 degree day this year.
2. Go to a movie
Knives Out absolutely lives up to the hype. Uncut Gems is pretty good too.
3. Bake some banana bread
It’s a proven fact that no mere mortal is able to finish all the bananas they’ve purchased before at least one of them begins to turn. The resourceful consumers among us will put that soft, brown banana in the freezer to be baked into a recipe at a later date. Well today’s the day, fucko. Clear some freezer space and have desserts for days by baking some classic banana bread.
4. Change your name
With all due respect to your parents and your lineage, your stupid name has been holding you back. And let’s be honest, you’ve been wanting to change your name for years. Well, you have three hours to spare this weekend, so get on it.
5. Clip your toenails
It’s getting bad.
6. Organize your CD collection
Sure, you love music, but who has the time to organize their compact discs?! Start by alphabetizing them, then upload them to your computer. After that, throw them away or try to sell them at a used CD place. Maybe you can make enough scratch to buy brunch.
Winter is officially here, the holidays are over, and food isn’t getting any less delicious. It couldn’t hurt to bust out a few crunches. Okay, this is a mostly a message to ourselves.
8. Try CBD
CBD is all the rage. Yeah, it’s kind of pricey, but this stuff works!
9. Get the Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Popeye’s
If you’re anything like us, your undying hatred of waiting in lines overtakes your chicken sandwich cravings and the desire to be part of the conversation on the internet. However, the bye week grants you three hours you would’ve just been watching football. Maybe Sunday is the day you finally try “The Sandwich.” (They’re still serving it, right?)
This isn’t a place for religious conversation, but if skipping service lately in favor of pre-game festivities has you feeling you may be on your preferred deity’s shit list, maybe it’s time to renew your afterlife insurance and get down to church. It’s not that bad. Some of them even give you a free shot of red wine just for showing up!
11. Get renter’s insurance
People always forget about renter’s insurance, but you’ll be happy you got it once something goes wrong at your place. Protect yourself and your belongings.
12. Play two-hand touch with the boys while wearing Wranglers
13. Sit on a patio
Yeah, it’s cold and all, but some Milwaukee area bars and restaurants still have a few patios open for your lounging pleasure. Need a recommendation? Cool! We’ve written about more than 100 of ’em.
14. Go roller skating
There are still rinks around Milwaukee. Put on some skates and listen to some songs from the ’90s. Do you think they still sell Sour Punch at roller rinks?
15. Make a meme
Everyone is doing it. Sometimes they can be funny. Here’s one we made. Take that, THE ESTABLISHMENT!
16. Read a book
You can knock out most new books in a single day. You don’t have to do that, but you can at least make a dent in one.
17. Sleep. Just sleep
Sure beats being awake, right?! Bonus: every hour spent sleeping reduces the amount of time you’ll be conscious between now and the next time Aaron Rodgers ducks under center.
18. Adopt a pet from a local animal shelter
Cats and dogs are great furry companions, yet there are so many without a good home. Be a hero and adopt a cat or dog already.
19. Get coffee with an old friend
These days, it’s easy to lose touch with pals. It’s like you blink and you haven’t seen an old friend in a year. Change that. Invite a buddy to catch up with you in the comfort of one of metro Milwaukee’s many fine independent coffee shops.
20. Grab a beer with a new friend
These days, it’s becoming more difficult to forge new friendships. It’s like you blink and you haven’t made any meaningful connections in, like, a year. Change that. Invite an acquaintance to spend some time getting to know each other in the comfort of one of metro Milwaukee’s many fine tap rooms. We suggest Enlightened Brewing Company.
21. Try and almost instantly abandon the hobby of bird watching
The butthole of winter isn’t the ideal time to start this pastime, but hey, give it a shot. If looking at and subsequently identifying avian life isn’t your thing, it’s cool. That shit’s for the birds anyway.
22. Look at the moon and wonder if Aaron Rodgers is looking at it too
He isn’t. He’s looking at Danica Patrick looking at the moon. Doesn’t count.
23. Do that thing where you make a bunch of meals to be your work lunch for the entire week
Whip up some soup or a batch of chili. Grill a bunch of chicken breasts or throw together a salad. The world is your oyster. By Wednesday, you’ll be thanking your past self for doing this.
24. Watch another NFL game
This Sunday, Wild Card Weekend will feature a pair of NFC match-ups, both of which have direct bearing on the Packers’ next opponent. Depending on how things pan out, Green Bay will play New Orleans, Philadelphia, or Seattle.
What is it? Is it good? How much does it cost? You can answer all those questions (and more!) this weekend.
26. Drink a Re-Porter
Since 2016, Milwaukee Record and Company Brewing have joined forces to make a delicious spiced porter called “Milwaukee Record Re-Porter.” For the uninformed, Re-Porter is Company’s Night Rye’d Porter that has been infused with cinnamon, cacao nibs, medium roast coffee, vanilla bean, and three types of chiles. The first three runs of the seasonal brew were well-received by beer enthusiasts, and helped raise thousands of dollars for local charities. Not only is Re-Porter back for a fourth year, it’s available in cans again! A portion of proceeds benefit Milwaukee Women’s Center, so grab it while you can.
27. Make an appointment with the optometrist
Your family will stop hounding you about it. Again, mostly a reminder to ourselves.
28. Return holiday gifts
Maybe a shirt you got didn’t fit. Perhaps you just weren’t a fan of a present. No matter what brings you to the return line, make it happen Sunday.
29. Take up whittling
All you need is a knife, a piece of wood, and a few hours. You’re almost guaranteed to be bad at it, but haven’t you always wanted to give it a try? No! Okay, sorry. Luckily, we have more suggestions for you.
30. Go to a soccer bar, pick a team to support, and get really drunk
We’ve secretly always wanted to do this.
31. Visit a business in an area impacted by construction
Speaking of local businesses, some are hurting solely due to road work. You have time to kill, so use some of it to brave the annoyances of road construction and help an area business owner stay afloat during a tough time they, likely, had no control over. We don’t know where you live, but we’re sure there’s some place nearby that could use a boost.
32. Donate old clothing to a thrift store or homeless shelter
Once you’ve collected a few garbage bags worth of old clothes and household items, donate them to your local Goodwill. While you’re there, look for a jersey to wear next week.
33. Call your local and state representatives
It probably won’t solve anything, but we’ve heard it’s something you can do.
We’ve only heard good things.
35. Put all the money in your change jar into those paper roll dealies
With how long it takes to organize your change into coin rolls, it’s sometimes less of a sunk cost to just throw the entire jar into a river and be done with it, but since you have extra time on your hands, keep your brain sharp and your finances on the up and up by counting currency as you watch The Shawshank Redemption.
36. Catch up on My First Band podcasts
Did you know we have a podcast? Each and every Friday, we release a new episode of My First Band, a show that traces the on-stage origin of musicians you know and love. We know there are a million other podcasts out there, but we’re pretty proud of what we’ve been able to put out there these past 44 weeks (and counting). You can listen to our entire catalog of interviews with lauded local and noted national talents here…and wherever else you get podcasts. Here’s an episode we did with Mike Kennerty from All-American Rejects.
37. Worry about next weekend’s game
Sure, the Packers might have the number two seed and have been great this season, but anything can happen. Gulp!
38. Eat carbs
Cheat day, baby!
39. Catch up on new Milwaukee releases
Like every preceding year lately, 2019 was a banner year for local releases. With a rare lull in local music for the next week or so, you should probably take some time to brush up on everything you missed. Our monthly Milwaukee Music Roundups are a great resource for that.
Pizza. Or burritos. Or that chicken sando we mentioned earlier. It’s a free country, baby! Feast.
41. Give a food you’ve never liked another chance
Your taste buds change every seven years, you know. Maybe 2020 is the year you started liking eggplant and you weren’t even aware of it. Once you’re done with you pizza or burrito or chicken sando, re-try something.
42. Can/jar preserves and shit like that
Nothing “beets” the Packers bye blues like pickling the remainders of your garden haul and jarring up some things to be enjoyed this winter. Could we actually spend an entire Sunday pickling and jarring? Yes we can! [Pauses 10 seconds for laughter]
43. Watch Detroiters then begin an online campaign to bring back Detroiters
Have you ever seen Detroiters? Man, that show was unbelievable! Seriously, it might be the best new half-hour television comedy of the last 10 years. That’s up for debate, of course, but it was hilarious. How did Detroiters only last two seasons before getting cancelled, but Comedy Central keeps renewing Tosh.0 and other bottom-of-the-barrel bullshit without a second thought? So dumb. And sure, Tim Robinson’s new sketch show on Netflix (I Think You Should Leave) is good too, but it’s got nothing on Detroiters. It just needed one more season to find an audience. Sadly, that will never happen. It’s a travesty. See what you missed, and start a movement to bring it back. We can do this.
44. Consolidate your loans
We’ve heard this is a good thing to do. Once you do it, explain to us what it is and how to do it. Thanks!
45. Pet a dog
You’ll thank us later.
46. Clean your oven
There’s a first time for everything. There’s a specific oven setting for cleaning, so we assume it supposed to be done at some point. Why not this weekend?
47. Smoke a bunch of weed
While you’re waiting for your oven to finish cleaning or watching a non-Packers NFL game, consider getting totally cheeched out. Its relaxing properties will help you get through Green And Gold withdrawals.
48. Go on a date
Trick a potential mate into thinking you aren’t football-obsessed. Try a sculpture garden or a romantic lakeside hike if you really like someone. If you’re lukewarm on somebody and you’re hoping they’ll eventually get the hint, the airport Chili’s Too is always open.
49. Try kombucha
What is it? It’s impossible to know. Give it a shot. It’s pretty good. They say not to shake it up, but you should totally shake it up.
50. Call your mother
She’d love to hear from you. Some day she won’t be around to talk to. What will you do then, huh? Call your mother!
Flossing is a necessary part of life, and one of the top reasons life can be so hard.
52. Do yard work
Regardless of your living situation, there’s probably some work to be done outside. Take down your stupid ass “People’s Flag Of Milwaukee” or underrated actual Milwaukee Flag before the elements ruin it. Transfer plants into pots. Shovel.
53. Try a new and unfamiliar activity
Have you tried ax-throwing yet? Football bowling? Shuffleboard? If you’ve answered no to one, two, or all three of these things, perhaps it’s high time you remedy that. Or just go regular bowling. That’s fun too.
No, not for exercise. Just run! We don’t have time to tell you why. Never look back.
55. Rekindle your love life
Have you and your significant other fallen into a rut? Change that! Throw a log on the fire, pop some bubbly, and get down to business. You’re single? Who cares?! You can still do all that stuff alone.
56. Clean out your closets
There’s no better time to go through your wardrobe and cycle out clothing you either no longer like or no longer fit into post-holiday debauchery. It’s a productive and time-consuming task.
57. Write a long and rambling Facebook status about politics
Let’s just say it: the world is going to shit. With so many political and environmental issues tearing us apart and threatening our way of being, what’s a civilian to do? Simple. Type out an exhaustive Facebook status. Keep the fun going by engaging in a day-long comment section argument with the one person in your feed whose beliefs don’t very closely mirror your own.
58. Volunteer somewhere
This one might be a better use of time than that last idea. This is a good start.
59. Try hot yoga
Or try room temperature yoga. Do anything you can to work off the calories.
60. Go to an art gallery
Milwaukee Art Museum is always a treat, but we’d also recommend taking in another exhibition at Redline, Latino Arts, or Var Gallery. They’re great and they’re all free. Get some culture!
61. Practice saying “Equanimeous St. Brown”
He’s been out all season, but he and his NFL-best name will be coming back next year. Get in some reps.
62. Play a board game or something
When is the last time you played a board game? Probably not recently enough! Scrabble is awesome. Risk is cool. Uno is fine. Hell, there’s probably a ton of new board games we don’t even know about. Y’all ever play Tenzi before? It rules.
63. Check in on the Milwaukee Brewers offseason moves
Did they sign another platoon player who used to be on the Mariners yet?
64. Do something outside
Take a walk with a significant other. Stop and take his or her hand while looking out on Lake Michigan or some serene glen. Tell him or her you love them more than ever. After all, you do love them, right?
65. Go to a local arcade
We have ’em now, so make a point to go every now and then.
66. Get your affairs in order
No offense, but you aren’t getting any younger. Make sure your loved ones are taken care of when you lurch into what’s almost assuredly an eternity of nothingness by getting your affairs in order. If you’re feeling extra silly, set up your will in a way that’s sure to result in life-long disputes that will fracture your family for decades after your death.
67. Clean your house
What better time than the dead of winter to give your house a once-over? After all, you’re about to be spending most of your free time indoors now. Oh god.
68. Start watching The Wire
Dude, you’ve never seen The Wire? So good! It’s, like, the best drama in television history. Seriously. Since you’ll have four extra hours Sunday, why don’t you knock out five or six episodes? You’ll be hooked. Honestly, it’s so good. Man, it’s so fucked up when that kid shoots Omar in the head in that bodega in episode 8 of season 5. You’re going to be so surprised. Spoiler alert: The Wire ended in 2008. You’re going to get mad about learning Omar dies when it’s 2020?! Shiiiiiiiiiiiiiit!
70. Remember that parachute game you played in elementary school? What was that called again? Play that!
Man, that game was really fun.
71. Have an all-day brunch
Lately, brunchers have faced a different dilemma every Sunday. Do you skip brunch to make it home (or out to a bar) in time for a noon game? Do you cut a meal short to be ready for a 3:20 kickoff? Do you curb your bloody mary or mimosa consumption to make sure you’ll be alert for a 7:30 game? This week, you can let ‘er rip.
Take the money you would’ve spent on drinks and fried pub fare and use it to bet on games. A wager is literally the only way the Hornets and Suns game will be even remotely exciting.
73. Pet a cat
Trust us. Pet a cat. You’ll thank us later.
74. Spend time with your family
While it can be argued that you and your father both yelling obscenities at David Bakhtiari between bites of beer dip constitutes as “quality time,” maybe use this vacant block of weekend hours to bond with loved ones. Push your kid on a swing. Call your grandmother. Listen in horror as your grandfather weighs in on politics. You can’t put a value on family time.
75. Beat Contra
Pressing UP, UP, DOWN, DOWN, LEFT, RIGHT, LEFT, RIGHT, B, A, START at the title screen should help a lot.
76. Clean out the junk drawer
There’s too much shit in there. When are you going to use that Noodles & Company gift card? That gum is probably expired, and you don’t need 500 rubber bands. Get your junk drawer in order this week.
77. Try to do burpees
It looks so easy when other people do burpees, but those bad boys are pretty difficult. Set a new personal best of, like, 11 or something.
78. Join some type of secret society
Here in Wisconsin, football is just part of our culture. As such, the weekly ritual of watching the green and gold for a few hours each week is a means of bringing people together. If you find yourself aching for camaraderie this weekend, consider enlisting in some type of secret society. Ask a hotel concierge for a line on an underground fight club or, if you have the means, the Illuminati could be the group for you.
79. Take a goddamn walk
Sunday is supposed to be pretty nice in Milwaukee…at least by winter standards. Hell, 39 degrees is like Summer Jr. in early January. Get out that pedometer and walk some trails or stroll through the neighborhood.
80. Register to vote
Because it’s quite possible you’re no longer registered to vote because democracy is a goddamn farce.
81. Make small talk with a stranger
Motherfuckers everywhere seem to love doing this, so maybe there’s something to it. Start with the weather (there’s always weather and sometimes it differs from recent conditions) and see where the conversation goes from there.
82. Fire off those emails you’ve been meaning to send
C’mon. Clear that Drafts folder already. It’s pathetic.
83. Brush up on your state capitals
Quick, what’s the capital of Missouri? Wrong! It’s Jefferson City. Crack a book, you dunce!
84. Take mushrooms
If you enjoyed the altogether mind-altering sensation of seeing the Packers win after leading for exactly zero seconds of last week’s game, maybe you’re the type of person who would like tripping balls on ‘shrooms. If you have the means and a sober friend to drive you, consider doing it at Float Milwaukee. Do NOT poop in the isolation tank, no matter what that sentient mountain range tells you to do.
85. Look at the clouds
Why not? You might find something good up there…or something absolutely terrifying. MUHAHAHAHAHA!
86. Write the great American novel
It’s been inside you all along. Let it out.
87. Write the good American pamphlet
More realistic and will take much less time than the last one.
88. Fall in love
We know it’s hard sometimes, but you just need to keep putting yourself out there. You’re a handsome and/or beautiful young man and/or woman and someone special is out there waiting for you, we just know it. Have you tried online dating?
89. Start watch and/or re-watch Joe Pera Talks With You
A new season recently started. This show is amazing and there are lots of reasons to watch it. So yeah, do it.
90. Send out some Thank You cards
You certainly got a few thoughtful gifts from loved ones over the holidays. Perhaps the upstart web-only publication you co-founded enjoyed a record-breaking year and there are lots of supporters to thank for that. We know you received holiday cards from people. Send out some Thank You cards already. You’re an adult.
91. Catch up on our Public Domain music video series
Over the course of the past few years, Milwaukee Record has released a whopping FORTY installments of our Public Domain video series, which finds musicians performing some of the world’s best-known songs in ways they’ve never been heard before. It’s great and we’re incredibly proud of it. We’ll back back with six more episodes in 2020, but in the meantime, you can catch up on past installments here.
92. Go to your public library
Similar to the way Milwaukee is home to an out-of-this-world County Parks system, the city also boasts an abundance of amazing public libraries. Even though the publishing industry is in a state of decline, Milwaukee Public Library continues to be an invaluable asset to the community. The city’s 15 public libraries offer a wide range of literature, as well as free media like movies and music, a wealth of career and educational resources, and a safe, comfortable space for children and people of all ages to spend time.
93. Get a massage
Relax. Unwind. Breathe. And don’t be creepy about it.
94. Take a day trip to Madison or Chicago
Get out of the norm, break the pattern, and take a short day trip to a nearby-ish place you don’t make it to very often. Get lunch in Chicago or visit an old pal in Madison. You’ll break the winter doldrums, and by the time you get home, you’ll probably have a newfound appreciation for Milwaukee as well.
95. Pick up the latest copy of Off The Record at a Milwaukee area Colectivo cafe
That’s right! We’re in print now. Our monthly zine is free at all 13 Colectivo’s in the region. There’s a print-exclusive story (at least until we post it online a month after it comes out), a crossword puzzle, and a Colectivo poster with each edition. December’s is still out there and Matt’s story is hilarious. Pick it up now!
96. Get sucked down the How Ridiculous rabbit hole
Okay, so there are these three Australian dudes who have made a career out of dropping objects onto other objects from great heights. It sounds dumb, but it’s incredibly fun to watch. Check one out. We bet you’ll blink and an hour will have flown by.
97. Frame some of your posters
You’ve been meaning to for some time, right? How will your house guests ever know you like Scarface if you don’t frame that poster. Michael’s usually has good deals.
98. Turn it all around
It could be just another Sunday…or it could be the first day OF THE REST OF YOUR LIFE. Be the person you’ve always wanted to be—the kind of person who does yard work, flosses for once, pets dogs, and tries yoga. The new you was inside of you all along! Find them. That, or sleep in. Rest is important, too.
99. Choose your own adventure
Who the hell are we to tell you how to spend your Sunday? Do whatever you want (as long as it doesn’t hurt others). Have fun!
100. Smell a baby’s hair
Ask the baby’s parents first. One whiff of an infant’s hair should be enough to remind you of better things to come. The future is bright. This weekend may be tough, but The Pack will soon be back.