Milwaukee Y2K Expo : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

Mrs. Rimmer and I drove over to Milwaukee yesterday and attended the Milwaukee Y2K Expo (at the Waukesha Expo Center). Had the pleasure of meeting with Steve Hartsman and sitting in on his "Y2K in Detail" presentation.

Those of you here who are familiar with Steve's hard work in raising awareness in the Milwaukee area (as well as on this forum) would have been proud of the job he did there. He used a subset of his Powerpoint presentation, avoided scare tatics and never once mentioned household appliances (why aren't our reporters more able to grasp the real issues here?) He urged personal preparedness and a calm (but active) approach. The audience at the presentation was not large and, at this late date, that certainly does not bode well for the citizens of the Milwaukee area.

There were a number of interesting exhibits at the expo. There was a fairly good turnout and a number of vendors seemed unprepared to immediately sell at the volume needed. Lots of orders were taken. Example: one vendor was all sold out of large water barrels by the time we got there 4pm. We did pick up a bung wrench, some aluminized mylar bags, a book on wood burning, and a couple more of the Dietz lanterns.

As with any expo, some of the vendors were overpriced and others were pretty good. The mylar bags (24"x30") were $2.25 each, cheaper than I've seen anywhere else for small quantities. There were 55 gallon blue plastic water drums for approx $30 - a good price but the vendor did not bring enough to the show. He offered to ship of course but that incurs the shipping charges. The diatomaceous earth (fossil flour) was terribly overpriced ($5/lb) - I can buy it from my local overpriced garden shop for half this amount. I remember seeing a site on the net where $37 gets you 50 pounds.

A couple of booths had a pretty good book selection - Countryside magazine was there. I bought the wood burning book from them.

The Dietz lanterns were slightly overpriced. I could have bought them mail order for about 4 bucks cheap each but after shipping, I might have save $3. It was simply more convenient to pick them up at the expo.

A couple of vendors seemed out of place. Example, one church group was using their booth to push their anti-gay/hate agenda. Just what this has to do with Y2K escapes me but I assume their God has told them. Another vendor that didn't seem to get much attention was a decorative window coverings booth. Perhaps remotely related but they didn't seem to attract much attention.

Just inside the hall was a huge "community-size" solar cooker. Folds up into its own self-contained trailer. Useful for large cookouts and I suspect it would also have a useful application as an emergency crematorium. I didn't ask about price.

Finally, about the American Red Cross pulling out of this expo - they have lost a golden opportunity to reach out to people who would listen. They have lost an opportunity to present a balanced picture, provide truly useful information, and help avoid panic. They have allowed politics to prevent them from doing the very job they claim they are trying to do. I believe that they will live just long enough to regret this incredibly short-sighted decision.

The expo continues through today (2/13/99) and if you are in the Milwaukee area, I urge you to get out there for a bit.

Though we didn't buy a lot, we felt the trip was worthwhile simply for the opportunity to meet Steve. Though community awareness of Y2K in Milwaukee is nowhere near the level it needs to be, it is far above our own local area here in Iowa. I urge those of you who are easily able to take advantage of this expo to do so.

-- Arnie Rimmer (, February 13, 1999


It was a pleasure to meet with M/M Rimmer. Arnie, has the wife been chopping wood? She's got a great grip!

Sorry we couldn't have talked longer. And I hope I didn't give you my stomach flu. I will file my report on the Expo soon.

-- Steve Hartsman (, February 15, 1999.

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