Monthly Archives: November 2006

Yep, I’m still here

I’ll be posting an MFF report of sorts sometime soon – I admit so much of the con was a blur for me, so don’t expect anything particularly detailed. There’s the annual Registration report coming too, but that may be a week or two.

So what has happened in the meantime? Well, on Tuesday I started my new job. Like a new job at any pharmaceutical company, the first week or so is spent in training and orientation. Boring PowerPoint presentations and then document after document there I’m never going to remember. This coming week I’ll hopefully get a computer at my desk and can start in on some of the computer-based training as well. Owing to FDA regulations and company policies there’s some fun new restrictions: my cell phone has to stay out in the car during the day, and no food or drink (except water) outside of the cafeteria. But hey – at least there’s a cafeteria. It’s going to take some getting used to, but it seems like a good and challenging gig. It’s still up in the air whether this is a three- or six-month-to-hire gig, but as much as they’re paying me hourly, I’m all for stretching out the contract portion of the job as long as possible.

I’ve worked two days there so far; both times the morning commute has been smooth – about 40-50 minutes in, in clear traffic. On Tuesday, it took me two hours to get home. Wednesday was bad, though – the pre-holiday traffic had the roads choked and traffic completely snarled. I chose the less stroke-inducing option and drive 25 minutes north to Antioch, where I enjoyed some lovely conversation with roho, genet, and shadowstalkerw followed by a tasty dinner at Las Vegas Restaurant. The downside to all of this is that takaza, who was supposed to be on vacation until tomorrow, got a frantic call from his boss and went in to work at about 1 PM. I took my leave right after dinner and drove down the now-blissfully-uncrowded interstate to pick up Dan from work; he got out of there at around 9 PM. We indulged his craving for Long John Silver’s chicken planks on the way home, so at least he got dinner.

Thanksgiving was quite pleasant; we had a late start but we didn’t need to be over at Dan’s mom’s place until 3 PM. Or so we thought, until we got a call at around 12:30 PM saying the food was ready. Ack! We hustled out the door and drove the hour and twenty minutes to her place, where we enjoyed a HUGE meal of a roasted 14 lb. turkey, stuffing, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, mashed rutabagas and carrots, sweet potatoes, corn, biscuits and apple pie and ice cream for dessert. All for just the three of us. Um, yeah – that was a heck of a lot of food, but it was all quite delicious! Needless to say, we took home a ton of leftovers. The post- meal digestive torpor was spent watching a bit of TV and poking around on the net on my laptop. With Dan’s family, just being together is enough – not a lot of conversation, just spending time around each other. It’s radically different from what I grew up with, but it works for them so there’s nothing wrong with that.

Friday we didn’t do a lot. Dan was feeing under the weather, so we pretty much just stayed in, ate leftovers, and lazed around. It was delightful.

On Saturday I got a bit of clothes shopping done, then we met siriuswolfstar and simbalion up in Evanston at The Lucky Platter for a tasty late lunch, followed by a viewing of Casino Royale. I found the movie to be a good 30-45 minutes too long, and I’d give it more of a 70% rating, as opposed to Rotten Tomatoes’ 94%. Daniel Craig is some damned nice eye candy, though! More shirtless scenes, dangit!

And today? Well, once Dan wakes up we’ll need to fetch his car from his employer so he has a way to get to work tomorrow. And hey, that’ll be an excuse to get out and enjoy what is likely to be the last decent day of the season. Hmm, and now to forage through the leftovers for a bit of lunch…

Home.

We’re home.

I’m exhausted.

I start a new job tomorrow – probably it will be a few days until I make a coherent update. In the meantime, it’s time to relax.

Thanks to everyone – attendees and staff – for making this such a great weekend.

Recovery Mode, and Here We Go Again

So now that the Registration system has been repaired and the last few items for Midwest FurFest are being delivered today, I’m in a state of relatively little stress. So what to do? Why, go work another convention, of course! Which is why this afternoon I’ll be heading over to Windycon at the Wyndham in Rosemont to assist in their Operations office for the weekend. Yeah, it’s silly to work a con the weekend before working a con, but this one should be considerably lower stress for me since I’m not technically in charge of anything, and from what I saw last year, quite manageable.

In the meantime, I need to drive up to Wauconda and pick up the staff badges, and then down to Arlington Heights and rent a storage unit for MFF for the coming year. If all goes well, I’ll be able to meet takaza for lunch, then head down to the Wyndham, check in and maybe grab a quick nap, if needed. Expect more updates as the weekend goes on!

Apply The Brakes?

For the past few months, I’ve had two driving forces: get a job, and prepare for Midwest FurFest. These two things have been pretty much what I built every day around, and kept my mind occupied. So now I have a job in hand, and I’ve completed all of my preparations (well, save one or two, but those are not time-consuming). So I have before me a rarity: a day unclaimed. Now, because I’m the way I am, that doesn’t mean I’ll be lolling about; I have to get a haircut, stop by Sam’s Wine to stock up for the Fine Potables party at MFF, do laundry…but I do those things today or tomorrow or even on Monday, were I so inclined. The pressure to get stuff done is off, and it’s a very strange feeling. It’s certainly not one that I’ve felt in literally years, and while a relief, it’s unfortunate that it’s a little disquieting too.

Ah well. Off to start the day!

The Con Is Mother, The Con Is Father

As one might have guessed from my last update, Midwest FurFest is weighing heavily on my mind.

Friday I took takaza into work and took advantage of the glorious weather to take some nice pictures in and around McHenry County (well, except for the first one; that’s on Milwaukee Ave. in Niles). You’ll be seeing some of those pictures again come the convention. After driving for several hours I made a big loop and stopped back by Schaumburg and found a good place for MFF to store our stuff for the next year right near the hotel. I’ll be stopping by there later this week to nail down a contract with them. Afterwards I went to Dan’s employer and read the paper and killed some time until he was ready to leave, only about two hours after quitting time. steviemaxwell was over visiting so we had a pleasant evening of dinner from the taquiera and good conversation.

On Saturday I took off early and headed up to roho and genet‘s place where we were joined by neowolf2 and attempted to assemble all of the parts of the Registration server. Things didn’t go quite as well as we’d hoped. Computer geekery ensued, and Unix-y troubleshooting

Can’t Sleep, Con Will Eat Me

My life, reduced to bullet points:

  • On Tuesday I had an interview with large nameless healthcare company that happens to be in Round Lake, IL. Promising position, and would be very exciting. Contract-to-hire, three or six month contract (to be determined), then hire full time at 15% less pay (but with benefits and vacation). If hired, it’d be a bitch of a commute for the short term, but we’ve been wanting to get a place in the Northwest Burbs, and this would be the catalyst to do so. I might know something by the end of next week. Maybe. The good news is that my recruiter is going to see about submitting me to another position at the same company.
  • Not much action on any other fronts. Still putting out lots of resumes, but not a lot of nibbles. It’s a bad time of the year to be unemployed, unfortunately. The good news is that between Dan’s income and unemployment, we’re covered for the short term, at least.
  • So this leaves me lots of time to sit around and play video games all day? Not likely. This is the peak time for preparations for Midwest FurFest. In addition to being an engineer, I suddenly get to become a graphic designer, making layouts for all of the items we’re having imprinted, plus designing the staff and attendee badges. We’re trying some new stuff (thus all of the nifty new equipment) that will hopefully make our lives easier and make Registration run even faster. So in addition to being an engineer and a graphic designer, I also get to be a software designer/network engineer, as we tweak the Registration system to accommodate the new equipment. I also get to flex my management skills, since once the programming schedule is posted I need to figure out how to schedule the seventeen (!) people we have on Registration staff to maximize volunteer hours for those that want them and to make sure no one has to miss any event they wanted to see. You understand why I get a bit flustered at the convention approaches.
  • It’s been a chilly day here, inside and out. I didn’t notice it earlier when I absorbed in computer work, but now I’m realizing my fingers are getting a bit numb. I’ve set foot outside only to get the paper this morning, but the chill is quite penetrating. I’ll have to brave the cold later to go out and forage for dinner – I’m not really looking forward to that.
  • Tomorrow looks a lot more interesting, though. The present plan is that I will drop takaza off at work, stop for some breakfast, stop by the printer to drop off the files for the attendee badges, then strike out westward to take pictures of…something. Things that evoke “County Fair”. Yeah, it would have been nicer to do this earlier in the year, but we didn’t realize just what nice signs we were going to be having. It should be a nice, clear, chilly day, and I expect I’ll be driving around Huntley, Marengo, and Woodstock, which is very pretty country anyway. Later in the day I’ll pick Dan up at work and we’ll do, um, something.
  • This bullet point intentionally left blank