Monthly Archives: December 2004

Just a little while longer…

Well, as expected, it’s me and two others in the office now. Not a lot of work getting done, I’m mainly just making time until I can get out of here. If by some freak chance I can get to O’Hare early enough, I can make a try for the 5:20 flight to Raleigh-Durham, but I’m pretty much resigned to the 8:02 flight that I booked. I’m not going to kill myself, but if I make it, cool. The weather’s going to be something of a shock – it’s about ten degrees out there right now, and down in North Carolina it’s about 50 with thunderstorms. Looks like it’ll be sticking in the 30’s and 40’s over the course of the weekend, but that sounds downright toasty right now! The good news is it sounds like by flying I’ll be skipping over the worst of the weather in the Ohio River Valley – ramalion, jarrodhenry, tahamaki, animist, aerofox, loriana, tarirat, berin – y’all stay warm and stay safe!

It appears that there’s been a slight change of plans and we’re going to be hosting friends for dinner on Christmas night. Sounds cool to me! We’ll work up the menu and do some shopping for groceries tomorrow. We’ll probably play some games or just hang out and chat – that’s always fun too. I’m really looking forward to it, but not as much as I’m looking forward to seeing takaza!

I’m sure I’ll be posting from NC once I’m down there, but for those of you who will be away from LJ: No matter which holiday you celebrate, I wish joy and peace to you and your loved ones, and a happy and safe holiday. Take care, everyone!

And so the downward spiral of Christmas week continues. We’re down two (out of seven) people in our office, and tomorrow it’ll be three or four, until by Thursday it’ll be just me and the other two Manpower drones left here. This makes things a bit more relaxed, which is pretty cool. If I haven’t said it enough, I really do like this work environment – the people are nice, the atmosphere is comfortable.

Last weekend was pretty mellow, which was enjoyable given that the next few weekends are going to be nuts. On Friday, it was the unclevlad/rennie_frog/wyldekyttin/crim_ferret Christmas gathering (wherein it was learned that Whole Food baked goods are Not To Be Trusted, and much fun was had by all). On Saturday I pretty much lazed around the house a bit, then got motivated around dinnertime to go down to Whole Foods and get some ingredients for cookies. The El trip down was pleasant – uncrowded, and a light snow was falling. Not too cold, either. It was a good winter-in-the-city evening. I stopped for dinner at Wishbone, which OK except they seem to have this impression that in North Carolina they put some kind of beans in with their mashed potatoes. Not bad, just…odd. Went back home and completely lost all motivation to cook, but that’s OK.

Sunday I did finally get around to making cookies. My original intention was to make shortbread with caramel and chocolate. I made the shortbread and the caramel sauce (which turned out too thin for my purposes, but still quite tasty!) and melted some excellent chocolate and put it all together. It was…too much. Definitely gilding the lily. Maybe if the shortbread were less sweet, or the caramel sauce cooked a little longer to give it a slightly bitter edge. Ah well, it was fun experiment, and now we have plenty of caramel sauce for ice cream! I also got motivated to do a bit of winter cooking, so I made up a nice batch of carbonnade (a Belgian beef and onion stew). boixboi, daveqat, and jimcyl joined us for dinner, and rustitobuck came over later. A pleasant evening of conversation, good food, and good wine ensued. Way cool.

Yesterday I gave Linnaeus an early Christmas present, a Netgear WAP/router. We had some issues with it. And with the cat.

ARRRGH!

(Obviously, only one person on my friends list can’t see this 🙂

You know, it would probably have been better if I had decided I wanted to get Takaza a Playstation 2 for Christmas a little earlier than last week. The consumer frenzy is on and I can’t believe how quickly these things are getting snapped up. At lunch today I ran over to Beast Buy in Gurnee. They got a shipment of 48 PS2’s last night and they assured me that they had quite a few in stock. I got there at 11:50 AM and the clerks were as shocked as I was to find that they had just sold the last one. Well, that was a waste of time. I’ve checked Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA, Game Stop, EBGames, Target, Wal Mart, and probably a couple of other places I’m forgetting – no dice.

If anyone in the Chicago or RTP areas comes across a PS2 in stock (new, slimline design), call me immediately on my cell phone – chances are that I will ask that you buy it on the spot and I’ll reimburse you. Thanks!

The State of the Husky

How is it that the first night this week I’ll be eating at home will be on Saturday? Yeesh.

Monday I just wasn’t feeling motivated, so I walked a few blocks up to Boston Market. Yeah, it’s not the greatest, but I love their meatloaf. Their new potatoes au gratin are sinful, as well.

On Tuesday it was datahawk‘s birthday, so moryssa, posicat, and linnaeus treated her to Outback Steakhouse. Arr num num num! (to quote a certain pn0y) Takaza and I and Linnaeus went in to buy Data a nice gift – it’s up to her to keep Posi away from it! 🙂

Last night I had a lovely dinner at Noon-O-Kabab with chouette and Ed. Over some very tasty kababs we chatted about their trip to Philadelphia last week, con geekiness, and other fun things. A delightful evening with some folks of whom I really should see more.

So tonight it’s LAFF Coffee in Chicago night. I might see if I can dig something out fo the freezer for dinner before coffee, though. That would be sensible, anyway. Tomorrow night is a small Christmas get-together with friends – I’m looking forward to that, even if there’s no way that I’ll be able to bring anything homemade to the party.

One unfortunate thing this week: Linnaeus’ DSL through Earthlink went belly-up at 1:47 AM Tuesday morning and there’s been no sign of life since. Lin has spent quite a bit of time on the phone with Earthlink, and today apparently they finally changed their tune: it’s no longer “It will be up by 6 AM tomorrow.” Now it’s “We don’t know when it will be back up.” Oooookay. It’s significant that we were discussing cable modem rates this morning…

Anyway, if you’ve been looking for me on FurryMuck, AIM, or ICQ, that explains why I haven’t been around. With luck Earthlink will undo whatever cranial-rectal contortion they have gotten themselves into, and soon. If not, well hey – that does leave me more free time to watch TiVo and finally finish Katamari Damacy.

An Addendum

Now, I have to admit that, as I said in my last post, I did have an absolutely fabulous time in Chambana. But…

If I seemed somewhat quiet on Saturday it’s because I knew that while I was having fun, it would have been so much better to have Takaza there. I was worried about him, since he was DJ’ing that night for his employer’s Charlotte branch’s Holiday Party. I know my wolf, and I knew that he would do a fabulous job, but he was worried, and that made me worried. And that made me miss him all the more.

The absolute best part of the night was when he called a little before midnight to tell me what a smashing success the Holiday Party had been. It made me very happy to hear his voice, and to hear that everything had worked out well. Plus, he got a nice bonus for his efforts, too!

It’s ten days until I fly down to North Carolina for Christmas. I’m counting the hours.

I love you, Dan, and I miss you so much.

I Went Downstate and All I Got Was Muddy Shoes

It’s a slow day today, which is good considering the weekend was pretty busy.

First off, the court date on Friday went extremely well. I showed up about 45 minutes to the lovely Cook County 4th Circuit Court in Maywood. There’s were groups of courtrooms throughout the first floor of the building; looking at the schedule, I saw that the courtroom I was scheduled in was for Traffic Court for the Illinois State Police, 3rd District. The two courtrooms across the hall were scheduled for felony trials, which made me look at the other people waiting around for the courtrooms to open in a whole new light. The bailiff opened the courtroom door at 1 PM and I went and grabbed a seat and killed time for the next thirty minutes by people-watching and looking around at the courtroom. I noticed that only one state trooper was present and it wasn’t the officer who had written my ticket; that, coupled with the fact that I had a letter from my insurance company stating they had paid the damages on the other party’s vehicle, led me to think that I wouldn’t have any problems.

At 1:30, the judge came in and they did the “All Rise” thing. I was halfway looking forward to seeing some of the cases before the court, but I was called second. The judge called the name of the other party in the accident. When no one answered, he said, “Continuance denied. The case is dismissed. You’re free to go.” And that was it. I even looked at the bailiff, as if to ask “is that all there is?” and she made little shooing motions, sending me out the door. I walked out at 1:36 PM. Damn.
Then came an enjoyable weekend in Chambana

A quiet afternoon here at work. I’ve caught up with most of the stuff I intended to get done for today, so that gives me a few minutes to update.

The last few nights have been pretty uneventful – come home, geek a bit on the computer, maybe play some Katamari Damacy. Linnaeus bought a new Windows laptop so I’ve been helping him outfit that with the best free applications I know of.

On Tuesday we went over to the Thai place I mentioned earlier. Sadly, the food wasn’t quite as fabulous this time around, but at least the company was good. I guess now that I’ve determined that I actually like Thai food, I need to go to work finding some really good Thai food. I suspect there are an untold number of places to try through the Chicago area, so that goes onto my list of restaurants to find (right next to a good Vietnamese place, a decently-priced fondue restaurant, and a decent tapas bar).

I went ahead and reserved my room for the LAFF New Year’s Party. It would appear that I’ve volunteered to run, um, registration there. Quelle suprise! Fortunately, registration consists pretty much of just making sure that only people who have paid can get into the rooms that we have (and by extension, have access to the food). I also tried to reserve my room for Anthrocon, but the hotel keeps transferring me to national reservations, which has never heard of Anthrocon. I’ll try again tomorrow, I suppose. I’m thinking about pricing out a suite, but that will depend on how many people we’re going to have crashing in the room with us. There’s only 18 suites in the hotel, so I imagine they’ll go fast. If that doesn’t work out, I see that they have oversized rooms as well, and hopefully that would be comparable to a Junior Suite at the Adams Mark.

Speaking of Anthrocon, I touched base with Kage last night to check on the status of Artists Alley. It looks like we’re going to be reasonably well-off, though there are some things going on during the weekend that are going to make life interesting. More on that when I have more information.

By the way – I am looking for volunteers for Artists Alley and Con Store at Anthrocon. This would entail either running a cash register (and a free membership, if you’re willing to work enough hours), or helping out just an hour or so at the end of each day (no freebies there, but I might buy you a beverage of your choice afterwards!). Work scheduling would be rigidly structured (moreso than at MFF Registration), which means you’ll know where to be when and when you’ll be done, as well. Let me know either here or by e-mail if you’d be interested.

Tonight I’m headed back to Café Boost for another LAFF Coffee in the City. It’s always a nice, relaxing night and I’m looking forward to it. Then tomorrow I work half a day, then drive down to Maywood and traffic court. I need to remember to bring the letter from my insurance company that, although it admits no culpability, says that they paid for the damage to the other person’s car. That should help the judge dismiss the ticket, I hope. From there, I’ll pick up Linnaeus and we’ll head southwards, yay! Oh – I need to remember to pack my beer kegs and accoutrements into the car, tomorrow morning, too. Once more we’ll try to put a dent into the Great Stocks of Beer that I amassed before Midwest FurFest.

Now to find something to keep me occupied for the next 19 minutes…

Registration Data Analysis and Report for Midwest FurFest 2004

Executive Summary
In this report attendance, demographic and traffic data gathered at Midwest FurFest Registration over the past five years, the complete existence of the convention, is presented. Attendance data shows that we are continuing to maintain a healthy rate of growth (approximately 20%). Our sponsorship rate is improving as well, though not what it has been in past years. The rate of preregistered attendees is on the downward trend, something that we need to improve on if we hope to be able to provide reliable forecasts of attendees before the convention.

For the demographics data, the biggest trend was that was observed was a widening of the distribution of attendees over the United States and Canada, though attendance from outside of North America remains negligible. Traffic data shows that we continue to have an excellent throughput of attendees at peak times. It would also appear that more attendees are arriving earlier.

Click here for the full report

Twenty-Eight Years Ago

Twenty-eight years today something happened that has made me the happiest man on earth.

Twenty-eight years ago today, the most loving, most caring, most wondeful man was born, and he’s made me the luckiest guy I know.

Twenty-eight years ago today, takaza was born.

Happy birthday, my love! I hope you have a great day!