Monthly Archives: July 2004

Break out the balloons and silly hats! Today is the day that we celebrate the birthday of a dear friend, someone who I count as family, someone who can wear a hat and drive a car with the best of them, and (yes, Dali) someone who is a major hottie!

Happy birthday, Linnaeus!

Well, getting the laptops into shape is taking longer than anticipated. I had forgotten how much of an adventure in pain setting up networking in Windows 95 could be. So far it looks like I’ve got a couple of Dell Latitudes, a P150 and a P166, both running Win95. Next up is a couple of Digital laptops that have Win98 – maybe that will be easier (ha!). Of the six laptops we have here, takaza tells me that four of them should actually be in working order (the one with the shattered screen is definitely out). Mmm, I love sorting through hand-me-downs.

It looks like there was very little interest in the football pool that I proposed. Linnaeus and cuttercoon mentioned off-LJ that they might be interested, so that would give me four people (including Dan and myself). I’d need a few more folks to make a go of it – if you’re interested, let me know by LJ/ICQ/AIM/e-mail (how quaint) and I’ll figure out if this is something worth pursuing.

Nifty link of the day: One Million Free and Legal Music Tracks! Someone is setting up a list of links to free music all over the net. I’m only just getting started on it, and I’m really liking a lot of the music I’m finding on SoundClick. It’s similar to the late, lamented mp3.com, with lots of unsigned and unknown bands. I’ve only investigated the Acoustic and World sections, but I really, really like what I’ve found (the stuff on the World Fusion chart is great!). The quality of the performances varies a bit, but the one thing that impresses me is that the sound quality of all of the recordings has been excellent. I need to investigate how they handle playlists (probably with their My.SoundClick thingy).

Looks like a pretty quiet weekend ahead, which is cool. I need to figure out how I’m going to cook this huge pork roast that seems to have finally defrosted in the refrigerator. Yay for leftovers!

By the way: a couple of times this week, we’ve gotten some late phone calls. No one has woken us up or anything, and there’s certainly no hard feelings. For future reference, though, unless you check with us online first by AIM, ICQ, or FurryMuck, assume that any time after 9 PM Eastern Time is too late to call.

I’m a bad boy. I haven’t been following the orgy of self-congratulation going on in Boston that closely, though I will admit to keeping up with events through weblogs. The newest addition to my blog roster is John Aravosis’ AMERICAblog. He’s helping out with the Sirius OutQ coverage from the DNC, so that provides an additional bit of interest. It’s amusing to see pictures of OutQ’s posh broadcasting facilities at the Fleet Center.

Meanwhile: we had a lovely dinner with tervicz last night at the Mad Hatter. We’ve been remiss in meeting Vish all the years we’ve been down here and it’s nice to know another friendly face in the area. We’ll definitely have to get together again soon, maybe to hit the new Greek place down here in Apex.

Got a surprise phone call last night that could mean a couple of trips out to Asheville next week. Depending on the timing, I may look into spending the night at my parents’ place, which is only 90 minutes from there (Mom, Dad: Surprise! Just when you thought you were going to get some peace and quiet…) I’ll be in touch with the relevant folks as soon as I know more.

Speaking of driving and other fun stuff, I’ll probably be driving up to Chicago sometime the week of August 9 in preparation for the Midwest FurFest staff meeting. Our accommodations for the weekend of the meeting are covered (yay!), but I’ll need to get in touch with a certain panther about imposing on his generous hospitality yet again. Likewise, I need to shake some of the dust off my employment contacts and once again investigate possibilities up there. Not sure how long I’ll be up there this time, but as soon as I have a general idea of my schedule, I’ll let y’all know.

In the immediate future: we’ll probably be hitting a computer show this weekend, just to browse around a bit. Also, wildmouseJanelle mentioned some possibilities about celebrating me_not_youDonald‘s birthday, so we’ll block out some time on the calendar for that as well.

And now it’s off to shower before heading out to do the weekly grocery shopping. Also on the menu for today: checking out and rehabilitating five laptops (to be named Nikki, Muk, Luk, Dixie, and Sylvie) for MFF’s Registration system.

One last post

Mr. Sun answers the question we’ve all been asking: How can I score at the Democratic National Convention?

First off, I would target a delegation with really bad seats. You’ve got to come home with something, and if you can’t see any of the political superstars up close then perhaps copulating with a pseudonymous blogger would suffice.

I would look forward not backward: urging hot delegates to sleep with me not out of frustration over the past but hope for a sexy future. Having said that, some truly nasty bitterness sex sounds really hot. The more I think about it, I remain open to going off message for some hate-sex.

Anyone interested?

So I’m toying with the idea of creating a college football pool for the fall. No money involved, just bragging rights, really. This would involve furry folks from all over – if people seem to be interested I could put out the word to a couple of different furry communities. I would use an online pool manager like the one at Sportsline.com so everyone could follow the action easily. Leave a comment here if you think would be something you’d be interested; keep in mind, this would be a weekly commitment for a span of 12 weeks or so.

I swear, it seems like every week, there’s a Monday

So. Back to the grindstone or some such.

Friday was a nice break from the ordinary. After lunch at takaza at Dakota Grill (love their fish and chips!), I went over to Trinoc*con and wandered around a bit. I suppose that since I’m in the con business I shouldn’t be quite so critical but wow – if a con I was associated with was ever that disorganized on a Friday afternoon I’d go insane. Rooms that are supposed to be open hours earlier were not open. No idea when Registration opened on their website, let alone a schedule of when stuff opened and closed (OK, they had a programming schedule up there, that was good). In general, just not a lot going on. I’ve gotten used to cons that kick off around noon on Friday, I guess.

Anyway, I bought a one-day pass (because ghosting offends my sensibilities as well) and wandered around a bit. I was unsure about dropping off MFF flyers until I got a look at their freebies table – flyers for cons all over the country, including the CECE at the repulsive Ramada O’Hare. I was delighted to find a flyer for the Chicago in 08 Bid, not just because I saw some familiar names on the committee, but because they were kind enough to list Midwest FurFest in their list of annual cons in Chicago (the fact that Uncle Vlad is on the committee might have something to do with that). Finally, when the dealers room opened I stopped by to see Ursula and James and bought a couple of prints. Then it was time to head home.

Saturday and Sunday were spent in the company of my parents, my sister, my nephews, and an old family friend who I hadn’t seen in years. It was extremely pleasant, and it made me quite happy that our friend gave Dan her stamp of approval 🙂 The weekend was low-key, and we got in some nice swimming in my parents’ pool (thanks for the quite time Sunday morning, guys! It was much appreciated).

Today has been busy – had lunch with Dan at Lubrano’s (yummy cheese steak sandwich!), then took care of some laundry at home, dispatched the latest round of MFF registration confirmation postcards, and fired off another shotgun blast of resumes around the country. Also got a nice call from a recruiter with a possibility in Gastonia, NC, near Charlotte. Not my first choice of locations, but a job is a job. We’ll see if anything comes of that.

Beer Update

So, two days ago, we bottled/decanted into minikegs Donald’s Imperial Stout.

For those following along at home, it was brewed on May 31, 2004, placed into the secondary on June 8th or 9th (I can’t remember), and bottled on July 20.

The Original Gravity was 1.097. The Final Gravity is 1.030. By my calculations, that amounts to a beer with 8.8% alcohol by volume. And it ain’t done yet! The malt in the beer will continue to ferment over the next 8-12 months to yield a beer with a kick like a mule. But damn, it’s tasty!

From the Department of Not-Thinking-Things-Through

From Inverness, Scotland, we have today’s story of unintended consequences:

Hardy Highlanders taking part in a giant charity zip slide this weekend are being asked to cover their modesty to avoid scaring tourists.

Marie Curie Cancer Care has organised the event for the Inverness Highland Games to raise money for terminally-ill nursing care in the region.

A huge zip slide towering 130ft above the ground and stretching for 585ft will be set up in Bught Park, offering daredevils the chance to raise funds while raising their adrenalin levels. But organisers have issued a request to people planning to slide down the route with kilts to put on underwear.

Highland Council events manager Gerry Reynolds said: “We are asking true Scots to make appropriate arrangements so that visitors from foreign countries don’t get jealous.

“Highlanders have a lot to be proud of and that is allegedly one of them. However it is a fun day out for the whole family so people should cover themselves up. Also the wind-chill factor high up at the top of the slide could be potentially damaging.”

Bursts of Activity

Not a whole lot going on this week, which explains the quietness in my journal. Back over the weekend, we had friends over for a fun night of Chez Goth and bukkake bul kogi. Didn’t do much on Sunday, but enjoyed the quiet day.

Last night I helped me_not_youDonald bottle his Imperial Stout – things went well despite the fact that I brought the wrong tubing, forgot the hydrometer, the bottles weren’t done cleaning, and pretty much every other thing that could go wrong. Even despite that, we managed to maintain sanitation and filled three five-liter kegs and eleven bottles. Now the stuff needs to sit for a good 8-12 months. I’ll get the spare bottle that I set aside (but forgot to take home) last night and get a measure of the final gravity sometime in the next few days.

We’ve got a busy few days coming up. Tonight we’re going over to Thomas and scarlett_fireSherry‘s place for more gaming. Tomorrow, we will be celebrating wildmouseJanelle‘s new job as well as Rich’s birthday by a trip to The Angus Barn, one of the finest steakhouses in the Triangle. Friday evening, we hope to swing by Trinoc*con, drop off some Midwest FurFest flyers, and maybe say hi to Ursula Vernon in the Dealers Room, if it’s still open when we get there. I notice that an old friend is scheduled to perform at 7 PM, so it might be fun to stop by and say hi. Hey, tervicz – interested in doing dinner that night, since we’ll be up in The Bull City?

Then we’re up early Saturday morning for a trip down to my glorious hometown for a visit with my parents, my sister and nephews, and an old friend of the family. Should be a fun trip!

In other news, I finally finished my report on Anthrocon’s Artists Alley and Con Store (all five pages of it!) and sent it off to my bosses. After a little back-and-forth, it appears that I’ll be in charge again next year, and I’ll be handling staff scheduling independent of Operations. It’s a daunting task, but it’s fun in it’s own way. The set of challenges presented are very different than what I see at Registration, but at the same time some of the difficulties are similar and I can carry over a lot of what I’ve learned. If anyone has any feedback on Artists Alley or Con Store, I would love to hear it! You can either comment here or e-mail me at the address in my profile.

Oh, and about my current music: the new Carbon Leaf album rocks my damn socks off. It’s much more cohesive than their previous albums, and has a nice selection of musical styles from the boys. You can also buy the album from iTunes Music Store, or just listen to the majority of the album on their website.

We’re Home

We’re home safe from Anthrocon. Yep, I’m exhausted.

My laptop is dead. Again. Will be dealing with that tomorrow. Donald, I may need some assistance from you. I think the problem lies in the hard drive, so my next step is to get a new one.

As soon as it’s cool enough upstairs (had the AC set to 85 while we were gone), we’re going to bed.

Anthroplans

So, the weeds have been evened out (I’d call it mowing the lawn, but there’s not much grass there) and all the laundry is done. Yay. Still to do today: run some errands and start making a pile of stuff to pack into the car. Make dinner when takaza gets home, then pack everything we can into the Element. Break at 9:30 PM to catch the premiere of The Amazing Race 5. Go to bed far too late, but oh well. Then it’s Wednesday, and the fun starts:
Pardon me while I indulge my OCD

Please pardon me for squealing like a little girl

I think I have finally, after several years of looking, found an RSS/Atom aggregator/reader that has a user interface that doesn’t make me run screaming. And I found it in a most surprising place!

Sage, an extension for Firefox, has a pleasing layout, an intuitive interface, and is remarkably easy to install. As a test I set it up with feeds from Slashdot, Gizmodo, BoingBoing, Engadget, and Fark and it works like a charm. Very, very cool. I am a happy geek.

Holidayness

So, it’s a Monday that feels like a Sunday. Man, three-day weekends always mess with me.

The weekend was quite enjoyable, though. Friday evening was grilling with friends , accompanied by some surprisingly good (and surprisingly bad) wine. Saturday was a complete wash, spent catching up with the Tivo and generally lazing about the house with takaza. On Sunday we went to see Spiderman 2 with me_not_you, wildmouse, scarlett_fire, Thomas, Echo, and Richard. The movie was…OK. It was better than the first one, but still had a goodly number of flaws. At least I was kept entertained looking for cameos and those weird Sam Raimi touches (*boom* zoom in *boom* zoom in *boom* zoom in). Afterwards we did a nice collaboration dinner at Donald and Janelle’s and discussed redecorating their house. It’ll be fabulous!

So, as I sit here I realize that we depart for Anthrocon in, um, 55 hours. Wowsers. We’ve still got a lot to do – I need to finish lining up some folks to help with Artists Alley, Dan needs to finish newsletter preparation, then there’s the grocery shopping, baking (scones make wonderful breakfasts and keep for days!), and packing. What fun! I’ll post our detailed itinerary tomorrow, probably.

Oh yes, and that dessert surprise I mentioned on Friday? It was the result of some ideas that Dan and I had about how to improve on ice cream cakes, which I generally despise. I started with the wonderfully moist yellow cake recipe from The Best Recipe, only I halved the recipe (since it’s for two 9″ cakes). I divided the batter equally among eight 3″ ramekins that I had buttered and floured and put a round of parchment paper in the bottom of each. I baked these small cakes and then carefully removed them from the ramekins once they were cool. I cut the cakes in half, then popped them into the freezer. Meanwhile, I made a batch of Chocolate Velvet Ice Cream. Once that was ready I pulled the cakes out of the freezer, removed the top half, slathered on about a 1/2″ layer of ice cream, put the top half back on, and popped it back into the freezer.

The verdict? Pretty damn good. After being in the freezer for a few hours, they benefited from sitting out at room temperature for about ten minutes before eating. It was a great mix of flavors and the chocolate ice cream was delicious, if extremely potent. Next time, I’d want to put a little less batter in the ramekins so the cakes wouldn’t stick up quite as much, and maybe top it with some kind of whipped cream frosting just before serving. But hey – for something made up of whole cloth, I was pretty happy about it.

Back to making lists now…