Monthly Archives: September 2008

Bowling Movies and Real Estate Lust

Busy times before, and busy times ahead! It was a very full weekend, but we had a lot of fun.

On Friday, takaza and I met up with roho and genet for dinner at Las Vegas Diner in Antioch, then retired back to their place to watch The Big Lebowski (with white Russians in hand, naturally). It was my first time seeing it, and it was every bit of what I have come to expect from the Coen brothers. I enjoyed it, even if it seemed like half of the movie’s scenes could have been cut and left the main plotline intact. We also made a quick run to Wal Mart and picked up some nice lamps for our new bedroom set. I really should post some pictures of it now that we have everything in place.

We were slow to get started on Saturday, eventually leaving the house a little before 5 PM to drive around and look at rental house possibilities. We’re not unhappy with where we are now, but we know that we could do better if we must rent (and we agreed that we’re at least a year away from buying). We looked at some nice places in Wauconda, then on our way back stumbled across this jaw-dropper of a rental house. 4,000 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3.5 baths with an in-ground pool on 6.5 acres in a very rural setting. Holy cats! Even stranger is the fact that it’s an $850,000 house that they’re willing to rent for $2,500 per month. I swear, if Dan and I could find a couple of suitable roommates, we’d jump on that sucker in a heartbeat.

On Sunday, Dan stayed home to deal with some workstuff while I hitched a ride with Roho and Genet down to colliedoc and hypersnazz‘s place for Straif’s belated birthday party. A good time was had by all, and I was very happy that the homemade caponata that I made was well received. Straif cooked up some tasty chicken katsu and teriyaki burgers, and Genet’s bourbon chocolate torte was simply sinful. We headed out on the early side so I got to spend some time with Dan before turning in.

Monday it was back to the grind at work. I spent the evening catching up on Midwest FurFest projects, answering e-mails and putting the finishing touches on some projects. Things are really coming together well, and I’ve got high hopes for this year.

Looking ahead this week, we’re getting together with linnaeus, Roho and Genet tomorrow to finally watch The Amazing Race season premiere. Rumor has it we might be hosting a lion this weekend, then on Sunday is an in-person Midwest FurFest staff meeting at the Westin. I may not have time to sleep, but at least I’ll be kept busy…

Road trip to Cheeseland!

I’m still alive, and still around. Things are busy at work, where I’m juggling several projects, and at home, where it’s premiere season on the broadcast networks and finale season on cable, meaning there’s been lots of great stuff on like Burn Notice, Heroes, Eureka, and more. Still, I wanted to write about our amazing weekend.

On Saturday we drove up to Madison…

I’ve got a little project…

I’ve been kicking this around and while I have some ideas I don’t have the know-how to make it happen. This is a project for this year’s Midwest FurFest.

Imagine if you will: Your basic coat check at a hotel. Doors which fold open on either side of the opening, a counter about 3.5 feet off the ground. The top of the opening is about 7 or 7.5 feet off the ground. We need a light which can be either freestanding or perhaps clamp to the door (with suitable protection to keep from scratching the door). It needs to project out from behind the counter about 12-18 inches, high enough that no one walking by will hit their head on it. The light should flash, but it can’t be obnoxious, like a spinning strobe light. The light would be turned on and off from inside the coat check, so no fancy controls are needed.

I’m thinking something similar to a broadcasting studio “ON AIR” light, only one that says “VOLUNTEERS NEEDED”. Alternately (but not nearly as spiffy) a flashing light with a sign next to it that says, “Volunteers needed when flashing”.

Oh yeah, and I need one more thing: Someone to build it. Any takers? 🙂 You would be reimbursed for all materials used.

Midwest Furfest Announces Charity for 2008!

(Sorry for the spammy cross-post)

Midwest FurFest is pleased to welcome our charity for 2008: Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy!

Rainbow AAT was founded in 1987 to assist the therapeutic needs of special needs children. Since their humble beginnings with just seven dog owners, Rainbow now service the city of Chicago and the surrounding six-county metropolitan area, operating over 75 programs and reaching more than 1000 children per month.

Among their many programs, Rainbow AAT uses trained and certified therapy dogs to help hospital patients with occupational/physical therapy, bedside and waiting room visitations, and in-patient and out-patient psychiatric therapy. The dogs also go to schools to help with special and remedial education, and to residential centers to help with recreational and group therapy. Rainbow also offers “Read to the Dogs”, giving a child a nonjudgmental environment and a willing and attentive listener, as well as classes designed to help children overcome their fear of dogs and to teach dog safety.

Another important program that Rainbow AAT offers is crisis response. After the terrible tragedy at Northern Illinois University earlier this year, several of Rainbow’s members took their dogs to the campus – not to perform, not to talk, just to be there for the students.

Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy will have a table as well as several of their therapy dogs at Midwest FurFest. They will be showing off all the fine work they do, and will be happy to answer any questions you might have. They will also be presenting several panels to talk about various aspects of their organization. Don’t miss our Charity Auction, where the always-entertaining Uncle Kage will auction off donated items to help raise money for Rainbow AAT. To find out how you can donate items to the Charity Auction, see our web page at

So that’s what it’s like to do nothing. How odd…

First off, thanks to everyone for their kind words in response to my last couple of posts. They are very much appreciated!

After a go-go-go summer with seemingly at least one day of every weekend busy, this has been a odd weekend. Yesterday was spent relaxing and watching football games. I also made a test install of Drupal on a spare laptop and tried to figure out how to configure it. Today was spent watching some movies* and napping in the afternoon. Through it all takaza has been a wonderful husband, making dinners and snuggling up with me on the sofa.

The bad news is that I have a strong suspicion that the strep throat has moved on and left me with bronchitis in its wake. That would explain the wracking coughing that leaves me breathless (what fun!). I intend to call the doctor tomorrow and see what, if anything, is to be done. In the meantime I’ll cuddle up with a nice dose of cough syrup and hopefully get a passable night’s sleep.

* Wilily Wonka with Johnny Depp – enjoyed it, even if they took significant liberties with the ending; Meet the Robinsons – hated it and turned it off 20 minutes in.

Sick at Home

Bleah. This cough is hard to shake, and it’s kicking my ass. The doctor has prescribed a teeny-tiny bottle of Hycodan, which is a good start. I’ll have to call tomorrow to get a refill on that to get me through the weekend. The syrup helps me get to sleep, though it tends to wear off by about 3 AM, which means I get to cough myself awake. Sleeping for the past few nights has been difficult. I left work at lunch today with the intention of relaxing at home, but I wound up just sleeping for four hours – a rarity for me, since I don’t usually nap during the day.

takaza is wonderful, of course. He bought a couple of teas for me to try, and now he’s making chicken and rice, which smells delicious.

I’m really glad that this weekend is going to be a quiet, relaxing couple of days at home. I need that.

They’re Not Cocktails, They’re Craptails!

The Ten Worst Drink Concepts of All Time

My favorite:
The D-Bomb
Meat from one ripe durian, cut in half, immersion blended with:
6 ounces vodka
6 ounces light rum
Juice of four limes

Spoon mixture into durian halves, each garnished with a gently used sock (recipe makes two sizable drinks).

Looking to step up the visual impact of your next Pacific-themed grilling party? Tap into the power of the biggest, baddest tropical fruit under the sun.

The sock garnish helps moderate the drink’s odor without in any way conflicting with the earth undertones of Abe Vigoda and capital punishment that make durian such an adventure. Switch up to pantyhose to set a classier tone, or dress the drink down with a sweat sock that has survived a grueling neighborhood game of b-ball!

Columbus, Part II

When last I wrote, we were looking forward to seeing what Sunday would bring during takaza‘s and my visit to Columbus, Ohio as we visited fordshepherd and kai_darkwolf. After a whirlwind day on Saturday, Sunday was a bit less busy, something for which I was quite grateful!

Following a nice, lazy morning we were joined by rayneepanda and the five of us ventured forth to North Market, a kind of farmer’s market/foodie paradise. With the exception of a parking lot that made me rather homicidal, I adored this place. I picked up a tasty Vietnamese sub (banh mi thit) for lunch from the Vietnamese counter, and then for dessert we had some of the amazing ice creams from Jeni’s Ice Cream. As tasty as the cherry lambic was, I opted for a trio of goat cheese with cherry compote, cucumber Piersporter, and wild berry lavender. Oh my gosh, it was so good!

Following a bit of uncertainty about what to do next, we opted to skip the crowds and traffic craziness at Easton Town Center and instead crashed back at Ford and Jack’s place and watched Little Miss Sunshine, a wonderfully twisted movie I had not seen yet. I really enjoyed it. Julie headed home shortly after the movie.

We wrapped things up with a delicious meal featuring garlic-rosemary-and-pepper-rubbed steaks, rosemary-infused mashed potatoes, and for dessert, a wonderful combination of creme fraiche with basil served over macerated fresh strawberries, as well as a molasses-banana pie. Ford claims he doesn’t know how to cook; I think he’s full of it 🙂 After dinner we relaxed for a few hours playing some Wii and winding down.

On Monday it was time to hit the road. We opted for a more scenic route home, through Van Wert, OH and Fort Wayne, IN. Shockingly, we ran into no traffic as we passed through downtown Chicago on our way home. We pulled in a few minutes before 6 PM, which left us some time to relax and start some laundry. Dinner was ordered from Olando’s, with a small pizza for Dan and a half-rack of barbecued ribs for me.

Thanks again to Jack and Ford for their hospitality! We had such a great time. Your dogs are awesome (I want to steal Pete!) and your house is fabulous – I’m afraid I now have bungalow envy 🙂 I hope that we have the opportunity to get back to Columbus again sometime soon!