Monthly Archives: December 2006

Missing In Action?

Missing in action?

I suppose I should recap what happened last weekend before this weekend starts up. Or something like that.

After work on Friday, I drove down and picked up takaza. We were both pretty tired, so any thoughts that we had entertained of going to see a movie were pretty much discarded. We drove down to the southern ‘burbs and checked into a La Quinta to put us a bit closer to our Saturday destination. We originally were going to go to a nice sit-down place, but as we pulled out of the parking lot, we both agreed that fast food would be cheaper and faster, and we just wanted to hang out in the room. So we elected to eat at Wendy’s instead, then stopped by a nearby Walgreens to pick up some items for Dan. While we were there, we rented a copy of The Lake House from the Redbox, but once we got back to the room we instead decided to watch a Doctor Who episode I had on my laptop and go to sleep early. (I tried ripping the DVD, just for grins, but couldn’t figure out how to easily get around the encryption key. I didn’t work very hard at it, though).

On Saturday we headed down to Urbana, where we were to celebrate Candlestick Lane at Mirkowuff‘s. We got in at about noon and hung out at his place for a bit, then ran some errands around town (Mirabelle’s is a mighty fine bakery, by the way!). We checked into the Champaign La Quinta (Bing! Dan scored some free upgrades with that room stay), and ran into Roho and Genet there. Dan and Roho decided to brave the mall for some last-minute shopping, and Genet and I stopped by the grocery store for snacks and libations, then headed back to Mirko’s. A decent crowd started showing up shortly thereafter, and we enjoyed a pleasant evening of good company, tasty food, Christmas lights, and electric sex.

Sunday morning we gathered most of the crew from the previous night for yet another gluttonous breakfast at the House of Lard. I just can’t say no to their huge western omelet, but thank heavens I passed the pancakes that came with it to Dan, ‘cause I couldn’t have eaten them. We bade goodbye to the Urbana-Champaign metroplex after breakfast and made the short drive home, a trip made rather enjoyable by a very exciting Bears game, including a detour to swing by Soldier Field towards the end of the fourth quarter, just because we could 🙂 The rest of the day was spent quietly relaxing; Dan went to take a nap at 5:30 PM and wound up staying asleep until 1 AM.

The rest of this week has been a train wreck for me. The commutes home have been bad, with me getting home at 6:15 or so each night, and then we’ve been heading off to bed by 9:30. Not a lot to time to get stuff done, unfortunately. I’ve tried to get some Christmas shopping done, but unfortunately the one item I was looking for for Dan seems to be out of stock anyplace I go. This time of year is always frustrating and distressing for me because I feel like I haven’t been paying attention all year to what Dan might have said he wanted for Christmas, so when it comes time to look for gifts, I have no idea what he wants. In my own twisted logic, this makes me a bad husband; don’t try to figure it out, it’s certainly not a rational thing. But there it is. So I’m trying to work through that this week as well, and I’ll admit it’s making me a bit moody and cranky.

Looking at the traffic reports right now it looks like it’s another ugly day on the roads. Fortunately, I just got an e-mail from Dan suggesting I pick him up after work and we can get some dinner and poke around the ‘burbs a bit before attempting to fight our way back into the city. That makes it a much better afternoon indeed…

‘Tis the Busy Season!

Right. Wow, long time since my last decent update, huh? Anyway, last week found us at Gameworks on Thursday night for my contracting agency’s holiday party. It was exactly what I look for in a holiday party: bring a guest, free food, free booze, fun stuff to do, and no onus to socialize with cow-orkers (who I don’t know, having just been hired a few weeks ago, and they all work at other companies anyway). We had a lot of fun, even both takaza and I injured ourselves playing Hyperbowling (imagine a giant bowling ball going down a crowded city street. “Yay! I flattened a car!”).

On Friday we went over to perro and darkwolph lovely house to celebrate Andrew’s birthday and to help, um, warm their house. Or something like that. We got to meet Chaos, their German shepherd, who has the sweetest disposition of any dog I’ve met recently. The libations flowed freely, and Dan had a heck of a lot of fun playing bartender at their fabulous basement bar (that you can barely see over for all the bottles of booze perched atop it). Good times, great company, and we stayed out later than I have for a while. It probably helped that I didn’t drink much, since I had to drive home.

On Saturday we were going to get up early and go get Dan’s new driver’s license, then take a bunch of stuff up to our storage locker in Lake Villa, then go to Dan’s employer’s holiday party. Well, the first two were scotched by the 2:30 AM bedtime the night before, and Dan had some nasty workplace drama that left him not particularly interested in the evening’s festivities. Instead, we made some short-notice dinner plans and met daveqat and jimcyl for dinner at Cafe’ Bernard. It was a very tasty meal, and I got to try their cassoulet which was…well, not as good as mine, quite frankly (which reminds me – I have a monster post about making cassoulet that’s been waiting in the wings for weeks). The meal was excellent, though, and we had a great time.

Sunday we were just plain lazy, but we did finally roust ourselves out in the late afternoon to stop by Bobtail and pick up some coffee beans for me. While were in the area, we decided to grab a quick dinner at Potbelly Sandwiches, which really hit the spot. After buying provisions for the next few days’ dinners at Whole Food$ (for $6.99/lb., those had better be some pretty damned amazing chicken breasts), we came home and watched some Tivo and did laundry, then spent some time celebrating the birthday of one of linnaeus‘ friends.

And here we are at Monday. Woo. There’s plenty at work to keep me busy, but I’m still learning procedures, and the sequence of projects and spending an inordinate amount of time waiting for assistance from others. Hopefully this awkward period will pass soon and I can start going ahead full speed.

Convention Worst Case Scenario: When It All Goes Wrong

Wow. Big convention news going on right now, and it’s not a happy thing.

Flanvention 2 (aka The Big Damn Flanvention, Part 2), a professionally-run convention based around all things Whedon (Buffy, Angel, Firefly) was supposed to take place this weekend. Tickets were amazingly pricey, which I suppose is to be expected given that relatively small niche we’re talking about. Tickets for the weekend started at $229, with premium packages going for $2,000 and up.

Except yesterday Booster Entertainment announced on their website that the event was cancelled. Now everyone is asking what happened to the approximately $200,000 in revenue went, and the Booster people aren’t talking. You can follow the developing story on the Whedonesque message boards, or on the LJ community. This is Big and Ugly.

The one good thing in all of this is that so far Adam Baldwin (“Jayne”) and Mark Sheppard (“Badger”) have shown up, uncompensated, to meet and greet the fans. That’s pretty darned cool.

Birthday, Moving Plans, and Commuting

Well, as I mentioned on Friday, I was hoping that we would be heading up to Antioch to hang out at roho and genet‘s place, and that’s exactly what happened. We were joined by linnaeus and datahawk, as well. We celebrated takaza‘s birthday in grand style, with dinner at the local steakhouse, and cake and drinks and good conversation afterwards. It was a delightful evening.

Saturday morning we were slow to get started (as usual), but finally made our way over to our customer brunch stop, Las Vegas Restaurant, where we had a tasty meal. We then parted ways, as Dan, Paul, and I headed back into the city. We spent the rest of the day relaxing and watching stuff off the Tivo. In fact, Sunday was pretty much a copy of that afternoon, as I declared that it was too freakin’ cold outside, and I didn’t want to go anywhere. So we didn’t! It was nice to have a quiet weekend in. We did get a chance to look at our financials, though, and talk about upcoming plans, and we did arrive at an important decision: we hope to move out to the ‘burbs by the middle of January or so, probably somewhere in the vicinity of Wheeling or Buffalo Grove, as those would provide a roughly equal commute for Dan and me. Obviously, we haven’t had a chance to scope out places yet, and it’s up in the air whether we’ll be renting an apartment, a townhouse, or a house; it all depends on what’s available and what fits within our budget. Once we secure a place and a date, though, look for plaintive wails for assistance to be sounding loudly here!

Yesterday kicked off what promises to be a long week. Dan’s North Carolina driver’s license expired last week and he didn’t have a Social Security card to apply for an Illinois license (he does now, having applied for one last week), but that means that until he can get to a Secretary of State’s office he’s without a license. I’m driving him into work each morning, which surprisingly only adds about 20 minutes to my commute – not bad at all, and the company is nice, even if we are minimally communicative at that hour 🙂 Yesterday was a pretty crappy day for Dan, so instead of him taking the bus/train/bus combination to get home, I went down and picked him up. A friendly face as you leave work is always a nice thing. We’ll see if he needs a lift today – it’s really not too far out of my way, surprisingly enough.

Looking ahead this week, we have my staffing agency’s holiday party on Thursday (at Gameworks! Woo!), then someone’s house (luke)warming on Friday, and on Saturday, Dan’s employer’s holiday party (dinner then a Second City show). We’ll hopefully get Dan’s license on Saturday, too, and maybe drop some stuff off at our storage unit, if we have time. And on Sunday, maybe we’ll get to sleep in, who knows?

Back to this exciting training stuff…

Driving in the snow is fun!

Yeah, as y’all may have heard, we got a little snow in the Chicago area today. In the city itself it wasn’t too bad – I estimated that there was maybe two or three inches of wet, heavy snow on my car when I went out at 6:30 this morning. Once I extricated myself from where I had been parked in (gods, I hate parking on the street!) it was time to begin the fun:

North on Jersey to Peterson, Peterson west to the Edens, the Edens north to Touhy (took 15 minutes), Touhy west to Caldwell (traffic light was out), Caldwell north to Golf, Golf west to the Tri-State Tollway. Tri-State Tollway north (25 mph all the way, snow depth and accumulation rate increasing as I go – stop twice to clear snow out from under wipers). Try to get off at 137/Buckley Road – accident on the ramp between a truck and a car, no dice. Continue north to 120/Belvidere Road – truck stuck on the ramp, no dice. Continue north to 132/Grand Ave. Grand Ave. west (parts still unplowed, a good 10″ of snow on the ground) to US 45. US 45 south to IL 120. IL 120 west to Wilson Road.

Total travel time: Three Hours. It’s normally a 45-minute drive.

Well, that was fun.

I expect the roads are going to suck even worse tonight as everything starts freezing. With luck, I’ll be heading northwards after work to Antioch rather than deal with all of the foolishness in the city. We’ll see…

Dates to remember

This is a remarkable day. Thirty years ago today something happened that would change the world – something that would make many, many people happy, something that would improve the lives of even more people, whether they knew it or not. It’s something that would change my life for the better and make me feel happy and loved.

Thirty years ago today, takaza was born. Happy birthday, love!