Monthly Archives: May 2005


Wow, what a great weekend. We got together with some friends and hung out at a nice hotel over the long weekend. It was really nice to spend the time with folks away from the bustle of conventions, and to just relax. Swimming was great, and the heated pool made up for the less-than-ideal temperatures (as long as you stayed in the water). We tried a bike ride on Saturday that seemed a good idea at the time, but after realizing that the route had a heck of a lot more hills than I was used to dealing with, I had to turn back. It’s a bummer, but it’s obviously something I need to build up to. I will go back and do that loop before the summer’s out, dammit!

Tired now, though. I’m going to nibble on some food and head to bed soon.

Oh, ouch…

Yet another reason that Hollywood sucks and why I haven’t been to a movie theater since November is this quote from the Chicago Tribune’s Kevin Williams on the remake of The Longest Yard with Adam Sandler:

Yet the biggest mistake of this “Yard” is that it all hangs on on Sandler, whose acting is as inept as the rest of this movie, serious dialogue issuing from his dead face like Clutch Cargo doing “Hamlet”
Rating: One star out of a possible four stars

Not much to say right now. Been preparing all week for some fun stuff going on this weekend. I came in at 6 AM this morning so my butt is out of here between 2:30 and 2:45, woo!

In lieu of actual content, I give you: The Guinnessicle! It’s Guinness…on a stick!

** Edit – the site has been BoingBoing’ed. Ah well – you can see a picture of the finished product on BoingBoing’s site. **

Weekend Entertainment, Part The Second

Let’s pick up with Saturday morning, then. After the bike ride, Paul and I headed back into the city and unloaded the bikes. Dan joined us and we drove up to Waukegan for the game. We found the field without a problem. After seeing how many people steviemaxwell had to play (enough and then some), I was content to play the spectator, relaxing on the sidelines and enjoying the beautiful day. Takaza acquitted himself well, I thought, and everyone had a pretty good time, even if the final score was, well, a massacre. After the game, Dan, linnaeus and I drove over to Cub Foods to pick up some items for the cookout, while posicat and tybis went to Sam’s Club for burgers and dogs and such. Once we got back to the park, there was a bit of a wait while everything got sorted out. datahawk, moryssa, and ashawley tried to spirit us away to a hockey game, but we declined and instead spent the next few hours chatting with friends. The drive back to the city was uneventful and we went to bed very shortly after getting home (after showering to remove all the sunscreen, though!).

On Sunday I loafed around the apartment like the lazy bum I am. Once Dan got up, though, we drove out to Schaumburg for the monthly Midwest FurFest staff meeting. It was a lightly-attended meeting (unsurprising, and typical for this time of year), though a lot of good stuff got discussed. Afterwards, we adjourned to Fuddruckers, where steviemaxwell and serenthia joined us for hyooj tasty burgers. A quick stop by Best Buy on the way home netted us the Scrubs Season 1 DVD (woohoo!). We finished out the evening watching the Scrubs pilot plus some fo the DVD extras. Man, I love that show.

Yesterday? Wake up, commute, work, commute, flop on the couch. Yay. Not much to say there. Instead, let’s talk about stuff that amuses me.

I love Cooking for Engineers. It’s a cooking blog that appeals to the Alton Brown/Harold McGee/Shirley Corriher food geeks out there. One brilliant innovation is the distillation of recipes down to a simple, easy-to-read table that gives you most of what you need to know at a glance, as with this recipe:

Sure, it won’t displace the usual way recipes are written, but for me this is a good tool for reference while I’m in the middle of cooking.

I added the syndicated feed to that to my Friends Page, to go along with the two Chicago-centric blogs that I follow: Chicagoist and Gaper’s Block. The latter is a new addition for me and I find that it has more wide-ranging and entertaining commentary.

Oh, and finally: if you’re going to make a fan-film about Star Wars on the cheap, making light sabers by filling fluorescent light bulb tubes with gasoline seems like a great idea! I mean, what could possibly go wrong?

Weekend Entertainment, Part The First

Friday was just beautiful, and because we were meeting friends for dinner in Gurnee, I was able to relax and enjoy some of it after work. I stopped by Target and GameStop (still looking for a cheap copy of Ratchet and Clank: Up Your Arsenal), plus spent a nice twenty minutes or so enjoying the breeze and chatting with my mom on the phone. Finally, I headed over to Outback Steakhouse where I met up with takaza, linnaeus, roho, and the gimpy genet, who had just had knee surgery a few days before. Dinner was tasty and the margarita really hit the spot (note to self: avoid the Wallaby Darned next time. Nasty bitter aftertaste to that). After dinner we went to a nice local ice cream place and savored the evening sitting out at a picnic table. Just lovely.

On Saturday, the weather was perfect in the morning – sixty-five degrees, blue skies. Paul and I motivated early and put our bicycles into The Box. We drove over to Busse Woods, where we met up with Muganga. We rode the 7.8-mile loop trail, and it was pretty good. I was afraid my slow riding was holding us up, but Tom and Paul assured me I wasn’t doing too badly (I think they were just being nice πŸ™‚ It was a thoroughly enjoyable ride, and I’m amazed at how little I ached in the days afterwards. This is something I really would like to do with some regularity, even if it means getting up early on weekends in the summer to catch the cooler part of the days. There’s something about the feeling you get after a nice ride early in the morning – you’re awake, you’re motivated, and you have the whole day ahead of you.

More to come in a bit…

Wow! It’s almost delicious!

Here’s some great news for folks in the Chicago area! Gee, maybe we can go there after tomorrow.

‘Not Quite Perfect’ McDonald’s Opens in Illinois Outlet Mall

“It’s true that consistency is part of what makes McDonald’s the leader in the fast-food industry, but so is good value,” said Brian Landers, manager of the McDonald’s outlet. “When customers see the low, low prices, they’re more than willing to give our Six-Piece Quarter Pounders and Fish McGriddles a try. The food’s a little different at this McDonald’s, but it’s really very close.”

Continued Landers: “Now, who’s ready for factory seconds?!”

Wired Husky!

Another afternoon, another energy drink. I blame my cow-orkers, for inviting me down to the cafeteria as a mid-afternoon break so we don’t all fall asleep at our desks. At least it’ll help keep me awake on the drive home.

Not too much going on this week. Traffic on the drive home yesterday was considerably unpleasant, and coupled with some irritation as I was leaving work, by the time I got home my mood was downright foul. It’s a good thing that takaza and linnaeus arrive home about an hour after I do; some time to relax and unwind helped a lot. I anticipate today’s commute won’t be much better, since WBBM says that they’re still pulling the semi out of the ditch on the Edens at Cicero that was there this morning.

Something else that is amusing me today: is a handy little site that tells you what crimes people are getting arrested for all over Chicago, broken down on a block-by-block basis (RSS feeds available, too!). It looks like there have been six arrests on our block since February – a couple of assaults (domestic-related), telephone harassment, and a property theft. Compared to other neighborhoods, we’re getting off pretty good, I think. Eh, city life.

I’m going to talk to Dan and see about maybe having dinner out in the burbs tomorrow night, maybe in the Deerfield area. It’d be nice not to have to fight the super-retarded Friday traffic all the way home, and to relax a bit at the end of the week. Hmm, I’ll have to make some plans.

P.S. – Glad you liked the flowers, Genet! Rest up and enjoy the drugs while you can πŸ™‚

Monday, Monday (la la, la la la…)

Whew, it’s been far too long since I updated. Well, looking back on my last update post, it looks like my attempts at prognostication were mixed at best. We had to bow out from Synicism’s birthday party on Wednesday, but we did clean up the MFF storage locker. Plus a lot more!

Not much to say about last week. I did finally visit the gym and found it to be quite an impressive facility. It amused me that their programs are almost exactly like the gym we used to go to in Raleigh, probably because they’re both members of the same national fitness association whose name escapes me. After a brief tour I was given a couple of passes to try out the place, so I’ll be going there a couple of times this week. The good news is that they take a very progressive approach to what constitutes a “couple” in their membership pricing – a couple is two adults. That’s it. They may be spouses, siblings, neighbors, whatever. Way cool! This means that I can join under linnaeus‘ existing membership and we both benefit from a reduced monthly rate.

On Friday The Party House (aka Synicism and daveqat‘s place) held a potluck dinner to celebrate Jim’s party again. Always a good reason! I reached a bit and tried a recipe I hadn’t made before, which generally isn’t a good idea. I tried making pot au feu. At its heart, it’s basically boiled meat and vegetables, but the array of meats and vegetables involved was impressive. Beef brisket, beef short ribs, and veal breast, plus leeks, cabbage, onions, carrots, and potatoes. It was tasty, but very subtle. It was probably not worth the expense and time it took to make it, but it was a fun recipe and it’s always great to try new things. The party was great, with many more entrees than we needed, but on the bright side no one went away hungry. It sounds like I left far too early, but hey, I’m boring and old that way (and monogamous, too πŸ˜‰

On Saturday Takaza and I joined neowolf2 to the Midwest FurFest storage locker to make order from chaos. To be fair, I don’t fault aeto and his crew one bit – their job was to get the equipment from the hotel into the storage locker on Sunday night. I know what Sunday night of con feels like, and I doubt I would have done a thing differently. Nevertheless, the equipment was in there but in complete disarray. We pulled a good bit of it out, sorted through it, compacted a lot of boxes of Registration bags into boxes, and got items grouped by department. hightensile and mindslide joined us after a bit and sorted through some of the Art Show bins and helped get some of their equipment in order as well. All told, the task took less than two hours, which wasn’t bad at all. We’ll need to go back at some point for the Con Suite folks to take stock of what they have and what they’ll need to buy, but that’s not a problem – you can even walk into the unit and maneuver around now!

Afterwards we rambled around the northwestern burbs a bit. We wandered up to Hoffman Estates, where Dan played a bit of Dance Dance Revolution and we played a little air hockey. Then it was over to the Millrose Restaurant to check out some of their beers – not too bad, and worth trying some of their others on tap. Then we stopped by Mitsuwa Marketplace, which is always entertaining. It wasn’t until we got over to the snack aisle that I remembered that Anime Central was going on, and sure enough the aisles were swarmed with anime otaku and gothlings – it was so cute! From there it was back into the city, where we grabbed a tasty dinner at Charcoal Delights (and were amused at the theological conversation going on next to us – the effect of living next to a Christian university).

Sunday was somewhat less impressive in terms of accomplishments. We had a tasty brunch at Tre Kroner (mmm, crab cakes benedict), then spent the majority of the afternoon taking care of e-mails and finances. We watched the Survivor finale (Eh. Not a particularly exciting season for me, but I don’t object to they guy who won it), then it was off to bed.

Hopefully more entries this week than last. Not a lot planned, but somehow that always seems to get fixed along the way. Next weekend: , and the MFF Staff Meeting.

Bad Morning Feeling #37

Standing in the shower, shampoo in your hair, wondering if the alarm really went off before you got out of bed or if you’re actually showering at 3 AM.

It was 5 AM, which is the proper time. Man, I need a clock for the bathroom.

To Milwaukee and Back Again

When last we left yr. humble narrator, he was dragging badly from not enough sleep but still very happy to have made it to the sneak preview of Serenity the night before. Friday evening was enjoyable, though. datahawk came over, and pizza was ordered. We hung out, watched some TV, and generally relaxed. I went to bed around 10, but takaza and Data stayed up until ridiculous hours of the night chatting, which is cool. I admit that when I woke up at 1:30 and saw Dan wasn’t in bed yet, I had the same pang of jealousy I get when I’m at conventions, that Dan is out having fun without me. Then I realize that I’m too damn tired to move from the bed, and it’s hard to have much fun when you’re face down on the table snoring πŸ™‚

I was up early on Saturday and enjoyed a mellow morning of surfing around on my laptop, playing some Ratchet and Clank, and enjoying the quiet. Once Dan got up at about 11, it was time to start moving. The original plan was for us to visit rolliebear up in Milwaukee, then head down to McHenry to have a nice Mother’s Day dinner with Dan’s mom. We got to Milwaukee a wee bit later than expected (Sorry Rollie!), and proceeded to get a nice tour of the city. As we were driving around Dan’s mom called, saying there had been a death in his extended family, and that she would be in Rockford for the rest of the weekend. Rollie offered to make some tasty homemade pizza for dinner. Yum!

Our travails took us to The Spice House, where I gleefully (finally) spent the gift certificate that Rollie was so kind to give me last Christmas. From there it was over to a nifty little Italian grocery, then to Alterra Coffee, which is every bit as great as I’ve heard it is. Then it was back to Rollie’s place for some nice company (and plenty of time to snuggle and play with his dog Kira, who is simply adorable!). The pizzas were outstanding, and it was with regret that we took our leave at around 10 for the long trip back to Chicago.

On Sunday I finally pulled my bike out of the garage and put it to good use. I did a short, six-mile out-and-back along the North Shore Channel Trail (up to Touhy and back). The fact that I was pretty winded after that tells you how badly out of shape I am, but I’m working to fix that. I hope to do more bike riding now that the weather’s better, but maybe in a day or two – 1. It’s raining outside right now, and 2. Man, but butt is sore! I need to get a better seat for that thing. Dinner was a quick run up to Charcoal Delight, thereby negating any good that might have come from my ride. I have discovered that I do enjoy the canonical Chicago Hot Dog, though.

So tonight I’m hoping to stop by the gym near us (finally!) and check out their facilities and rates. Looking ahead, we’re going to help Synicism (aka jimcyl) celebrate his birthday with dinner on Wednesday, and on Saturday I’ll have the fun of helping to re-organize the Midwest FurFest storage locker. I’m not looking forward to that much, but it needs to be done.

Time to wrap up a few things before heading home!

And another post about Serenity

You thought you missed out last time, huh? You thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if they did it again? If they had another advance screening of Serenity, only this time instead of ten cities they did it in twenty cities?” Holy crap, they’re telepathic, I tells ya! takaza has all the dirt on another round of advance screenings on Thursday, May 26. Watch Can’t Stop The Signal for more information on tickets – it should be updated sometime today, I’m guessing.

Tuesday Threesday Foursday

Woohoo! Two of three big projects down here at work, and the third one is complete except from some input from outside of my department. I can finally consolidate some of the paperwork that has been spread all over my desk for the last few weeks and start planning my next projects.

I was puttering around a bit last week and sent away for a couple of catalogs, just for fun. The first was for Burley, a bicycle manufacturer. Seeing how regular bikes play hell with my knees, I’m thinking about a recumbent (which seems to work well for xydexx). By comparison, the recumbent cycles at the gym are usually not too bad for me. The only drawback is that new models start at $750 and head north to about $2,000 from there. I need to figure out where I can find a rental place or something where I can at least try out a ‘bent to see how well it works for me. I’m sure as hell not going to drop that kind of money on one of those things without testing it out first!

Also, just for fun, I sent away for a catalog from Lindsay Publications (as mentioned in Cool Tools). It includes such books as the Impoverished Radio Experimenter series, “Rockey’s Regenerative Receivers,” “Build a Full Size Coal Forge,” “Build a Mower-Style Line Trimmer,” and “Preserving the Dead.” I don’t see me ever actually ordering any of these books, but the catalog is entertaining in an American Science and Surplus kind of way.

So it sounds like we suddenly have dinner plans for tomorrow night. Cool! I’ll have to get the specifics from Dan tonight, but I’m happy about it. I’m a social kind of guy and I sometimes feel we don’t get out enough, but that’s just me. And now, back to work!

“Jayne, your mouth is talking. You might want to see to that.”

Ah, the joys of three-day weekends!

I took Friday off to accompany takaza for his Unpleasant Medical Procedure (UMP). Going into such things, you’re always of two minds: you’re doing it for a reason, to find out why something is going on; you want News, you just don’t want Bad News. Well, in this case, it seems like everything pretty much normal, so we’ll see that the doctor’s follow-up will be. The UMP included light sedation, so Dan was understandably sleepy for the rest of the day. I was going to be all productive, but I was pretty tired too so I elected to nap with my sweetie instead πŸ™‚ We ordered pizza and had a quiet evening at home.

On Saturday, the original plan was to get together with roho for some brewing of beer. However, apathy was running rampant and instead we just stayed around the house and worked on clearing stuff off the Tivo. Eventually, we got motivated to brave the crappy traffic (it’s a Saturday, people!) and head out to Bolingbrook, where we had dinner with Roho, genet, and feren. Dinner was a hoot! As we were leaving, I was shocked yet amused and somewhat flattered when a couple of passing teenage girls gave me a pinch on the ass on their way by. I should have been indignant, I suppose, but I was laughing too hard. Back at Feren’s, we gathered ’round and watched four episodes of Firefly. Yep, all the folks there, in addition to linnaeus, posicat, and datahawk will be going with us on Thursday night to see the sneak preview of Serenity and we thought it would be good to catch them up on the show. As always, the scene at the end of “The Train Job” cracked me the hell up (“Here’s the money back. Tell your boss -” “No problem, buddy. I totally understand!”). We left Feren’s at about 12:45 AM (probably unwisely given how tired we were) and headed home. What can I say? There’s something about sleeping in you own bed, y’know? We got home at a little before 2 AM.

Sunday I slept in. Shocker! We spent the afternoon hanging out, and Dan got to watch his programs (Enterprise and ER, neither of which interest me in the least). After a run to the grocery store, I started work on a nice batch of chicken and dumplings. Just as I was getting started, siriuswolfstar called to see if we wanted to join him for dinner. We invited him over and spent a pleasant evening chatting and devouring a large amount of chicken and dumplings. Lots of fun.

So now it’s Monday. Work is reasonably busy, which is cool. I’ve got a few things I need to take care of for Anthrocon this week, and some MFF e-mails to send as well. The sneak preview means it’ll be a late night on Thursday, and Friday is going to really, really suck. Ah well – it’ll be worth it!