Monthly Archives: June 2006

My name is Tom, and I’m a Train Geek

…which explains why this list tickles me so: The Top Five Movies Filmed on the El (as in Elevated Trains, part of the Chicago public transit system). This makes me want to go and rent a couple of these (oh, and I still wouldn’t mind seeing The Lake House, in spite of my firm and abiding loathing of Keanu Reeves, if only because the whole bloody thing is all about Chicago).

I imagine this will be all over LJ by the end of the day, but hey – here ya go. Pittsburgh City Paper did a front-page article on furries and Anthrocon that hits the stands today, and it is surprisingly even-handed. The reader is left with the impression that furries are a bunch of people who are slightly weird and very geeky, but certainly not the sex fiends that the media has made them out to be. They even got most of the facts right! The web version leaves out many of the pictures that ran with the article, so scans of the article are below the cut (thanks to artemisfur for the scans).

Article below the cut. Woe betide dial-up users!

In case anyone missed it, tugrik has his amazing pictures from Anthrocon up and ready for viewing.

This is my favorite picture because it shows both the beauty of the venue we were in (David L. Lawrence Convention Center in Pittsburgh, right on the Allegheny River) and the sheer number of fursuits gathered – almost 200!

(Click picture for a ginormous 6610 x 2149 version showing an amazing amount of detail)

Oh, and here’s how they got that shot (that’s PNC Park in the background).

Yeah, we’re weird, but it’s a good kind of weird 🙂

And Bingo Was His Name-O

Well, after Anthrocon and a very trying week at work, racing against deadlines, we came to the weekend. What would one want to do to recover? Hey, how about relaxing at home? Or maybe going to the Chicago Pride Parade? Or catching the Pride edition of Too Much Light?

No, we called bingo games, drove to Wisconsin, and went to meetings. Logic? What’s that?

On Saturday, takaza and I drove up to Vernon Hills for his company’s summer picnic. Man, it’s nice that he works for one of the few companies that isn’t cutting costs to the bone these days. The picnic was open to all employees and their families, though this was the first year that they didn’t offer free beer and wine (and attendance suffered somewhat, but not terribly). We were in charge of calling bingo games for two sessions, from 12:30 – 2 PM, then from 2:30 – 4PM. The organizers gave us a huge box of $25 gift cards to give away for everything from Jewel and Toys R Us to Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants and Wal Mart – probably close to $1,000 worth of cards total. Dan did some excellent pre-planning and made some signs that were a huge help, and although I’ll admit I was a bit unsure about things at first eventually I did have a very fun time. We alternated, first calling two games, then walking among the audience, answering questions, and checking cards. I think we called about 30-40 games total, and had crowds that pushed 100 or so by the end of the day.

That was pretty fun, but it gets better. First, Dan won a door prize: a $25 Lettuce Entertain You gift card (mmm, that’s two large, home-made apple strudels). They were holding a charity raffle to benefit Ronald McDonald House in which, among other things, they were giving away six Blackberrys. Dan took some of his leftover cash from Anthrocon and bought sixteen $5 tickets. As we were finishing up the last session of bingo, one of the organizers came over and told him he had won and gave him his prize…a 1 Gb iPod Nano. Which is all well and good, except that we both already have 30 Gb iPods. Dan ran into a cow-orker who mentioned that he had won $100 in gift cards to Best Buy; after some talking, they agreed to swap prizes, since the gift cards would be much more useful to us and the cow-orker’s son really wanted an iPod. As we were driving away from the picnic, Dan opened the envelope and pulled out one $50 card, then another $50 card, then another, unmarked card! One call to Best Buy’s automated number later, and we find that we actually have $150 in gift cards. Woo! To cap all of this off, after we helped last year we each got $40 in gift cards, so I’m assuming we’ll be seeing something similar this year. It turns out that it was a very lucrative afternoon, plus I had a surprisingly good time.

After the picnic, we headed up to Milwaukee to have a going-away party for Straif (colliedoc). It was a lovely, low-key affair. The company was excellent, the food was good, and the wine very tasty 🙂 (Steele Carneros Pinot Noir, of course – you can’t go wrong with that!) unfortunately, we were both feeling the effects of the long day outside and had to take our leave early – I slept a good bit on the drive home, and poor Dan was feeling pretty sleepy too, but we made it home OK.

Sunday featured the Midwest FurFest staff meeting. Not much to say about that, though do check out our spiffy new website, courtesy of hooktail. Really nice work! We lazed around at home a bit in the evening, and continued slooowly going through the first season of the new Doctor Who by watching “Daleks” – yet another strong episode.

Today has been a pleasant day at work, a lot less stressful than last week! It sounds like Dan will be heading down to the St. Louis for his employer tomorrow for a few days, but with the possibility of late nights there the prospects of socializing seem regrettably small. In the meantime…Anyone want to go out for sushi tomorrow or Wednesday night?

So I was commenting back and forth with rooth and he mentioned that people needed more to do on Sunday night of Anthrocon, and maybe something like a scavenger hunt would be a good thing to keep them occupied. Well, I have some experience with treasure hunts, and hmmm…

And right about there is where Takaza bopped me with a rolled-up newspaper. Because yeah – what am I really good for by Sunday night? Sleep, and that’s pretty much about it.

Now Thursday night, on the other hand…


The usual panic

Just because I haven’t said much, don’t assume there’s not a lot going on 🙂 The last few days have been spent in pre-convention stress mode before Anthrocon. I’ve printed up all the forms, handouts, and MFF flyers we’re going to need and we’ve been working on a packing list for everything that we’re going to cram into Dan’s Element. Naturally, work hit me with a big deadline so the last few days here have been unpleasantly stressful, but that’s past and even though I’m still here, my brain has already left for vacation.

The biggest problem I have right now is insomnia – the past two nights I’ve woken up at 3:30 AM; Monday morning I was able to get back to sleep, but this morning I finally said t’heck with it and got up at 4 AM to check e-mail and such. I’m sure I’ll be paying for it later tonight, but at least I got some stuff taken care of before coming into work at 6 AM. I just chugged down a Monster, so I expect jitters to start soon.

As for tonight, I need to pick up some boxes for sorting receipts in Artists Alley and then make a stop by the grocery store for last-minute supplies. Then it’s back home to start packing and run a last load of laundry. We’ll be up at 5 AM tomorrow morning (if not before) to hit the road to Pittsburgh. It should be an easy drive out of town, and we should arrive there before rush hour. Then it’s a couple of meetings, and hopefully a chance to grab some dinner in between.

Hope to see many of you in Pittsburgh at some point this weekend!

Where Did The Weekend Go?

Yes, we do indeed have a personal life too, and I’m sure y’all are tired of reading about FRAC, so enough about that for now.

On Friday, even though takaza had driven in to work we decided that it would be better if I picked him up and we left his car at his employer’s over the weekend. I really enjoy meeting him after work on Fridays because I usually get there 30-40 minutes before he’s ready to go so I have time to read or nap or just relax, and the weather on Friday was ideal – 70’s and breezy. I parked under a tree for some shade and read the paper, and dozed a bit too. Once he was done for the day, we drove deep into the darkest wilds of Evanston, to explore the mysteries of the Central Street shopping district. Although my initial target was The Spice House, we also found Foodstuffs, which is an evil, evil place, and checked out a couple of interesting restaurants (Jacky’s Bistro was tempting, but a bit too spendy for us that night). We wound up opting to drive down to the Davis Street business district, which wasn’t nearly as interesting even if it is bigger (too many national chains represented there). We tried to drop in on siriuswolfstar at work, only to find that he had traded shifts and was well on the fast track to inebriation elsewhere. We wound up at Trattoria Demi, a “red-sauce Italian place” that I found to be…eh. Nothing exciting, but at least it wasn’t too expensive.

Saturday found me poking around on the net in the morning to try to find something to bring to wyldekyttin‘s birthday party that evening. I utterly failed at matching the theme (“something that can be deconstructed”), but I did come up with an extremely tasty Asian chicken salad. I sauteed up some chicken breasts using The Spice House’s delicious Argyle Street Asian Blend. I stole the dressing and fried rice noodles from this recipe, only I used a nice spring blend for greens, and added snow peas, scallions, and baby bok choy. Once the chicken breasts were cooled, I tore them apart by hand. The nice thing about this was that I could I put the noodles in one bag, the greens in another, the prepared veggies in another, the chicken in another, and the dressing in a plastic container; when it was time to serve I just dumped them all into a bowl and tossed. Quite tasty, too.

The party was great fun, and crim_ferret did a sterling job on grill duty (mmm, Asiago cheeseburgers!). Alas, the fact that I had woken up at 6:30 AM caught up with me and we left the party at an unconscionably early hour because I was close to falling asleep.

Sunday was spent working on Anthrocon stuff – Dan on signage, me on Artists Alley and Con Store prep. I’ve almost gotten the work schedule in place, I just need to give it a once-over before sending it out to my staff. Thank heavens I was able to recruit enough folks this year so that I don’t have to schedule myself, since I get pulled in four different directions at once during the con and I need to be able to deal with stuff when necessary. We took a break in the afternoon to grab some food, do a bit of shopping, and finally pick up our rings from the jeweler. This ordeal has taken over two months, but we finally have both rings back and I’m once more wearing my wedding band – no more cruising the bars for me! {snicker} Once home we watched some Good Eats and worked on more Anthrocon stuff (this will be our refrain for the next week).

Incidentally, for those that care: we’ve made a slight alteration in our Anthrocon travel plans. We will be driving, leaving Chicago sometime between 5:30 AM and 6:00 AM (when we normally leave for work anyway) on Wednesday, June 14, aiming to arrive in Pittsburgh by 3 PM EDT; we’ll be departing Pittsburgh before noon on Monday the 19th. We were originally going to put in half-days at work and leave Chicago at noonish, but we realized that the loss of hours for me is more than made up for by the decrease in stress in not getting in late to the hotel and not scrambling to get stuff done Wednesday night. Heck, we might even be able to take a swim before the con starts!

We don’t have a lot of plans for this week, since we’re trying to save a small bit before the con. Mostly finalizing Anthrocon stuff, and clearing up the huge backlog we have on the Tivo (NINE episodes of Doctor Who? I need to get watching!)