Monthly Archives: September 2005

Tasty Dinner and Busy Weekend

Last night’s dinner was perfectly fabulous, I must say. We tend to get into a bit of a rut with the same-old, same-old menus (pork chops, sauteed chicken breasts, burgers), so I tried to break out a bit. I poked around America’s Test Kitchen‘s recipe archive and I found an excellent recipe for pan-roasted chicken with a sage and vermouth sauce. I really like how nice and browned the chicken came out, and the sauce was relatively simple and quick. I’ll append the recipe below since ATK seems to demand you register just to access the recipe.

This week has dragged by slowly. Dan had some kind of nasty upper respiratory infection and initially it looked like I caught it too, but since I never developed a fever I guess it was just a nasty cold. It’s all but gone now, leaving me with a slight cough and sore throat and a rather hoarse voice. I’m sure it will all be over with by the end of the weekend.

Registrations for Midwest FurFest are pouring in as people try to beat the 9/30 deadline for cheap registration, and this makes me very happy. After the slow start in getting online registration up earlier this year I was concerned that our overall attendance might take a hit, but all that seems to have happened is people put off registering until the last minute. This is confirmed by the rate at which people are reserving rooms at the hotel. A word of warning: last year we came extremely close to selling out the hotel; this year I would not be surprised if we did in fact sell out. More importantly, as the hotel fills up, certain types of rooms become harder to get (i.e. double, king, whichever) and not being able to get one type or the other can really throw a wrench into people’s plans. Take my advice and reserve now.

Looking ahead to the weekend: Well, there’s Serenity tonight, of course. Tomorrow I have a ton of MFF stuff to work on, and rumor has it that we’ll be joined by hartree. Sunday is the MFF meeting, and while we’re out that way I want to duck into Ikea for a few things.

As promised, here is the recipe for Pan-Roasted Chicken with Sage-Vermouth Sauce:

Kennel cough?

Well, that was actually a pretty productive weekend. Our agenda was pretty short, since takaza has been fighting an upper respiratory infection (or as linnaeus called it, “kennel cough”) for the last few days and so was not up for a whole lot. On Friday, Datahawk joined us after work and he had a pleasant evening of chatting, tasty pork chops, and (heaven help us all) We {heart} Katamari, the sequel to Katamari Damacy. Paul was off for an early bike ride thing so he turned in early and we were all pretty tired so we turned in around 10 PM. Sorry we couldn’t join you, Woody – it sounds like it would have been a fun time!

On Saturday I met up with partran and we walked around Little Italy for a bit, then caught a bus up to Wicker Park and walked around there some. I looked lustfully at some recumbent bikes but they didn’t have anything in stock for under about $2,200. Yeah, I’m thinking not. There’s a place up in Niles that has a pretty lenient test ride policy – I need to try them soon and see what their prices were like.

On Sunday, Dan was feeling well enough to go in to work to catch up on some of the work he’d missed. In the meantime I enjoyed the quiet apartment and got a lot of work done on Midwest FurFest stuff (sorry about all those e-mails, neowolf2!). I still have a ton of work to do on the Restaurant Guide, but otherwise I’m in pretty good shape. Unfortunately, while I was working all afternoon I started to get a tickle in my throat that blossomed into a full-on sore throat. Last night I slept very poorly, with lots of sinus problems and coughing. I’m getting by today, but I think the pseudoephedrine I took is starting to wear off; fortunately I brought more. I’m going to hold off on calling the doctor unless I’m actually running a fever – she can’t really do much besides treat the symptoms anyway, and we have meds for that. Now, if I can just keep from falling asleep…

For Want of a Nail

So I stopped by the Illinois Secretary of State‘s (aka the Department of Motor Vehicles) office yesterday afternoon, because I’m a masochist or something. Actually, it’s because Dan’s car still has North Carolina license plates, and they expire at the end of the month. So I went in to find the place blissfully uncrowded. I got the forms needed and started to fill them out, until I got to the line: FILL IN YOUR IL DRIVERS LICENSE NUMBER. Um, whoops. See, I’ve never quite gotten around to getting an Illinois driver’s license, even though I’ve been here for about a year. Heh. My bad.

Well, the Drivers License office was right next door, so I figured what the heck? I opened the door and was shocked to see that it, too was uncrowded. I was directed to a large, unsmiling man who asked me what I wanted and what documentation I had. I handed him the bundle of papers I had, he looked through it and said, “Where’s your Social Security card?” Aw, crap. I haven’t seen my Social Security card in more than five years. And if it’s still around, it’s somewhere in our storage locker – good luck.

So now it looks like I need to come in a early one day next week and leave by 2:30 PM so I can get to the Social Security office in Waukegan before they close at 4 PM. There’s an office right near us in Chicago, on Lawrence between Western and Damen, but it too closes at 4 PM. And me with a 40-60 minute commute to get there? Yeah, I’ll go to Waukegan. And theoretically all of this needs to get done by the end of the month. Um, yeah. We’ll see.

Television Made Me Stupid

This past weekend was pretty good, actually. I declared on Friday that, dammit, we were going out for dinner. After a year of driving past L. Woods Restaurant on Lincoln in Lincolnwood (right by the dreaded Purple Hotel), we agreed that it was time to check it out. Now, I’ll admit I had some trepidation – the place always seems packed, and it was a Friday night. A quick check on Metromix showed that the entrees were in the $8-15 range, and that it was a Lettuce Entertain You restaurant (a local chain of restaurants that are pretty much excellent in quality). Takaza phoned and we were told that they took call-ahead seating (i.e. put your name on the list before you get there) so we were off!

We were seated immediately, but the menu…well, $8-15 isn’t quite accurate. I’d say $15-30 is more like it. Not awful, but not what we were looking to spend, either. Fortunately, they had a small section (“The Lighter Menu”) that was essentially their lunch menu for dinner – $10 or so entrees. Hmm, that might work. Dan had the bacon cheeseburger, and I opted for the beef brisket sandwich. Both were OK, but the mashed potatoes that came with mine were excellent, and worth coming back for. The real draw that will bring us back are two things: Sprecher sodas on tap (root beer, cream soda, and orange cream soda), and cooked-to-order desserts. We got the large apple strudel ($12, serves 4) that was divine. I’d also like to try their “Ooey-Gooey Chocolate Cake”. I’m also intrigued by their “Supper Club” menu for six, which is $28 per person for a whole lot of food! (Granted, as Linnaeus points out, for $28 per person you could go to Sal e Carvao or Fogo de Chao, too…).

Saturday was pretty mellow; Dan had to work and I took care of some Midwest FurFest-related stuff, then attempted to take his car over to the nearest Currency Exchange to get new plates. I had the bright idea that I’d avoid the lines at the DMV by taking care of it there, but I didn’t account for the extra $45 they wanted to charge in service fees, on top of the $78 for new plates (they also expected to sell me a new title, but I’m not certain that’s necessary. More research needed on that). So that idea got aborted. That evening, Paul and I had the bright idea that socializing would be good so we went over to LAFF bowling (Dan was smart and stayed home). You know, there’s not much to say; we went, we bowled, we left. There may have been stuff that went on with the rest of the group, I have no clue. We pretty much just stuck to our lane and drank beer 🙂 My bowling was awful, though, and between knee and back problems I dropped out after two games.

On Sunday siriuswolfstar came over early and he and I drove the circuit around Woodfield Mall to collect the last of the information for the MFF Restaurant Guide. His help was very much appreciated! The MFF staff meeting went well and was quite productive. Dinner at Fuddruckers afterwards was quite tasty, and the conversation was quite entertaining and informative.

Not a lot happened yesterday – went to work, did laundry, and we watched the latest Monster House, which I swear is getting more and more stupid (“Let’s see how badly we can bitch up these poor saps’ house!”). Since Paul and I have read Anthony Bourdain‘s excellent book of the same title, we also decided to watch the premiere of Kitchen Confidential on Fox. We made it through about 18 minutes of it before we turned it off and deleted it from the TiVo. Yeah, it was that bad. Think all the stupid parts of “Hell’s Kitchen” meets “Sex and the City” with a dash of every stock sitcom character you’ve ever seen, with awful, self-conscious dialogue.

I’ll be coming in at 6 AM for the rest of the week to make up for the afternoon I’m taking off on Thursday (to be detailed in a later entry). And on Wednesday, Dan and I are going to an eye doctor that woodychitwn recommended so I can get both new glasses (my current ones are five years old and scratched all to hell) and finally get some prescription safety glasses. Hopefully the doctor will be as cute as advertised 🙂 And now, back to that aforementioned work!

Due to the proliferation of Brazilian steakhouses, chophouses, and carnicerias in Chicago, Mayor Daley has been forced to declare a state of emergency. Dozens have died in horrible cases of meat exhaustion.

Yes, it’s a meatwave!

Run Silent, Run Deep?

I’ve been accused of running silent for the past few days (hi Mom!) so I guess it’s time to bring everyone up to speed on what’s going on in my life.

First and foremost, I’ve been worrying about my Dad. As I mentioned in my last entry, he’s in the hospital recovering from a repair of a repair of a repair to his back surgery. The good news is that he seems to be recovering nicely, and I’m hoping may be out of the hospital as early as next week. My mom and my sister have been busting their butts keeping him in good spirits, cooking dinners for him, and generally making sure he’s got the best possible care. It kills me that I can’t be there helping, but time and money and circumstances prohibit.

We actually had a pretty busy weekend. Takaza, Linnaeus and I spent Saturday walking around a whole lot in preparation for a event we’re working on in October. Preparations went well and I’m confident that folks will really have a good time. We had a lot of fun but unfortunately I’ve confirmed that I have weak arches or some such because my back was a complete mess by the end of the day (and my left knee wasn’t so hot either). I’m going to need to see a doctor about this sooner than later, and I’m hoping the resolution isn’t going to be more of the “Lose weight ya fat bastard” sort of thing.

I spent a good portion of the day Sunday resting my back, but Dan and I finally headed out late in the afternoon and spent the better part of four hours doing research for the Midwest FurFest Restaurant Guide. The idea was to pare the radius of restaurants listed from five miles down to two miles. Just lopping off the list at the two-mile mark cut about 20 restaurants, though a few were added back (Outback, Gameworks, etc.). We covered about 75% of the area (still need to do Woodfield Mall and its environs) and wound up crossing off 3 or 4 restaurants that closed and added a good 20-30 restaurants that hadn’t been listed before. Yikes! We’re going to have to take a hard look at that list and decide either to cut back the radius or be more selective about the restaurants we list (probably the latter – do we really need to list all four Quizno’s in the area?).

Last night was a nice change of pace. I got a call on the way home from daveqat informing me that I really needed to stop by their place to pick up something. That something turned out to be a belated birthday present, a very nice cheese board, a nice set of knives and little cheese label thingies. It was a lovely gift, and very thoughtful of them. We hung out and chatted at their place for a while, then were joined by tecknow. We all went out to Tom Yum, a little sushi/Thai restaurant a few blocks from our apartment (though Dan and Paul bowed out from dinner). The food was pretty good, the service appalling. A nice reminder of why I only get take-out from there. Fortunately, the dinner conversation was entertaining and I had a really nice time.

As for the rest of the week, we don’t have a lot planned. I might have to work late on Friday (yay overtime!) and Dan might have to work this weekend – we’ll see. I’m hoping to maybe hang out with friends, because I feel like I’ve been a bit of a hermit of late. Who knows? We might even show up at LAFF Bowling this month. And of course there’s also the Midwest FurFest staff meeting on Sunday – lots of fun to be had there!

Well, back to work I go…

Holy cow

This is a first. Fox News actually broadcast the unvarnished truth last night, and it’s not a pretty picture for Our Fearless Leader. I’ve never had much use for Geraldo Rivera, but he is absolutely compelling here, and Shepard Smith does a good job showing Sean Hannity’s obfuscations for what they are. Just watch the clip.

For a Friday, this sure seems like a Monday

First, let’s get the whinging out of the way: I need a new pillow, I think. I woke up this morning at around 2:30 AM with a headache (neck strain, most likely) and slept fitfully the rest of the night because of it, never waking up quite enough to get up and take some ibuprofen for it. When I did get up at 5, I had to make the coffee twice, because I hear the coffee tastes better when you remember to actually add the coffee grounds to the coffee maker. And just when I thought the day might pass uneventfully, I heard from takaza that there has been a fiber cut to his employer’s building, so they’re without phone or connectivity and he’s left to twiddle his thumbs until they work it out (just got an e-mail from him – they’re back up. Good).

All of this, of course, is completely meaningless and insignificant compared to what is going on down on the Gulf Coast. There’s plenty of discussion and finger-pointing and speculation going on so I don’t see much need to add fuel to the fire except to say let’s tend to the living and bury the dead first, folks. It’s a question of priorities. It’s worthy of note that, according to New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, the city worked to get everyone who couldn’t get out into central locations and then…the system failed. No one appeared to ship them out to safe locations, and so there many of them have stayed. Make no mistake, I believe there should be some serious analysis of what happened, just…not now. Not yet.