Monthly Archives: November 2008

Midwest FurFest 2008: Thanks Where Thanks Are Due

One of the most humbling things at Midwest FurFest happened to me on Sunday afternoon after Closing Ceremonies. I was trying to walk from Ravinia Ballroom to the Westin lobby, and the trip took me 15 minutes. Not because of traffic, but because of so many people stopping me to hug me, shake my hand, and thank me for a great convention. And while it was tremendous gratifying and appreciated, I still don’t think I did half as much hard work as all of the staff did. During Closing Ceremonies, I said that there was no way I could thank everyone. But dammit, that doesn’t mean I can’t try!
Man, and you thought those Academy Award acceptance speeches were long!

And Now It’s Come To This

So here we are. In a few hours I’ll leave work, stop by home to check the mail and any last-minute deliveries, then head down to the Westin Chicago North Shore. My email access will be spotty to nonexistent between 2 PM today and Monday evening, so if you need to reach me, call my cell phone. Remember that while I can receive text messages, don’t expect them to be read immediately.

This is going to be an amazing convention. We have a hell of a staff and we’ve had 11+ months to prepare for this. We are going to rock that damn hotel, and we are going to make this convention a success. I hope to see many of you there!

Never More Than Now

Last night was a bit rough for me. I was stressed, worrying about the convention, worried about alienating my friends, worried about annoying takaza, worried about all the stuff we have left to do in a very short time. Dan saw how stressed I was and snuggled me close and we talked. He helped me see how it will all work out, and how my fears are for naught. He calmed me down, and he made me happy. I was reminded yet again of how lucky I am to have this wonderful man to share my life with. And while today marks the seventh anniversary of our celebration of lifelong commitment to one another, it’s just a another date. It is much more notable that Dan brings joy to my life every single day, and makes me so happy that we are together with every moment that I spend with him.

I love you so much, Dan!

Two Days To Go

Where in the past few years we’ve spent the weekend before Midwest FurFest working Windycon, this year we tried to take it easy. I met linnaeus down at the MFF storage locker on Saturday morning for some last-minute preparations. That was wrapped up pretty quickly, so it was back home to snuggle with takaza a bit and relax.

Sunday was nice and relaxing as well. Late in the afternoon we drove over to aureth and jenwolf‘s new place to help them offload all of their stuff as they move from Iowa back to Northern Illinois. It was good exercise and I’m glad we were there to help, though somewhere along the way I torqued my back a bit and I’m paying for it today. Ah well.

I’m boggling at the fact that we have only two nights left at home before we leave for MFF. Dan is working a half-day on Wednesday before heading over to the Westin, and I’ll be leaving work between 2 PM and 3 PM and be down there about 40 minutes later. Wednesday night will be the annual Registration bag stuffing (and hot tub soak? hmmm…) and then the wild rumpus will begin.

Oooh, and I just got a call that the staff badges are ready. Sweet! Guess I’ll be going down to pick those up on my way home.

On Proposition 8

Last week was tough. As elated as I was at Obama’s win, I was disappointed and depressed at the outcome of propositions on gay marriage and adoption in California, Arizona, Arkansas, and Florida. And I was angry that the happiness I should be feeling was taken away by the backward- and closed-minded thinking of so many. I wish that I lived in California now, so that I could be at the protest rallies that are continuing.

takaza posted this out, and it bears repeating.

(Or you can read the transcript here)

I am reminded of a joyous occasion in 2001.

While that commitment ceremony was and is very real to us, it saddens me that our society and government do not agree.

That Was The Weekend That Was

Wow, I’ve not been good with the updates lately. A lot of that has to do with the nearness of Midwest FurFest – I’ve been working on a whole lot of convention-related stuff, and when I’m done with that I usually just want to put the computer away and not deal with anyone or anything for a while. But it was an eventful weekend and worth talking about.

On Friday I drove down to Buffalo Grove and picked up takaza from work, then it was down to linnaeus‘ place where we were joined by darkwolph. From there we carpooled down to the United Center. You see, we had scored some tickets to a suite to watch the Chicago Bulls play the Phoenix Suns. We were joined partway through the first period by mirkowuff, as well. It was a great game (Bulls won), but the suite was swanky – open premium bar, a full buffet, and a dessert cart to die for (little chocolate cups with Bailey’s Caramel in it? Why yes, don’t mind if I do!). We did a shameful amount of damage to a bottle of Morgan’s and discovered the deliciousness that is Effen Black Cherry Vodka as well.

Saturday was much more low-key, though we were joined by roho and genet for dinner. I made a tasty pork roast with braised potatoes (note to self: next time start thawing pork roast MUCH earlier!) and we relaxed while watching some good TV and enjoying an excellent Australian shiraz.

We finished off the weekend on Sunday with the last MFF staff meeting of the year. Everything seems to be well in hand and I am extremely happy with all of the work everyone has done so far. I’m looking forward to what is sure to be a very exciting and enjoyable weekend. We have some nice surprises, a lot of great programming, and some nice little extras that I am sure will please everyone. After the meeting we returned to Mi Mexico for dinner and I was gratified to see that my rave review which appears in the Restaurant Guide holds true – great food, great services, and a great value.

And here we are in the last full week of work before the convention. I have a slew of small projects to wrap up; my goal is to have all projects and everything we will need for the convention in hand by Friday so we’re not fretting about any last-minute items. Hopefully I can avoid more mornings like today, where I woke up at 4 AM fretting about some emails to be sent out and never really got back to sleep. I’m thinking it will be an early night for us!

Traffic in Chicago Is Tough on Everyone

From the Chicago Sun-Times:

Traffic tip for the days ahead: If you see a motorcade with police cars, black SUVs and guys with sunglasses talking into their cuffs, don’t try to cut it off.

One couple tried to drive their tan sedan around Barack Obama’s motorcade downtown Thursday morning and found themselves looking at the barrels of Secret Service firepower.

“The [Secret Service] SUV cut the car off immediately, and the security team aimed their weapons at the car,” a reporter in the motorcade wrote in a pool report. “The driver and passenger in the sedan stopped and looked stunned — until the male driver appeared to understand what was happening (your pool reporter could see him mouth ‘Obama’).”

The president-elect was on his way to a security briefing at FBI headquarters in the Loop, when the motorcade left Lake Shore Drive and the sedan tried to drive around it on Van Buren, according to the pool reporter, P.J. Huffstutter, the Los Angeles Times’ Midwest Bureau chief.

“Some of the drivers here in Chicago do not seem to understand that a) The Chicago police car at the end of the president-elect’s motorcade is serious about having traffic pull over when the officers flash their lights and hit their sirens, and b) It’s not a great idea to jump ahead of traffic by trying to cut around the black SUV filled with five heavily-armed Secret Service CAT members,” Huffstutter wrote.

Nifty Announcement for Chicago-Area Foodies, one of the Chicago area’s best resources for cooks and restaurant patrons, just posted their 2008-2009 Great Neighborhood Restaurant Awards!

There’s lots of fantastic little places listed there, not just in Chicago but all over the area. I am really intriguied by Chaihanna in Buffalo Grove, at the corner of Buffalo Grove and Dundee Roads. It may be the areas only Uzbeki restaurant, and the menu sounds like quite an adventure.

Oh! And here’s all of the Great Neighborhood Restaurants (past and present) displayed on Google Maps.

I Voted!

…two weeks ago. Yay, early voting!

It should be an interesting day; I’ll be monitoring the news feeds and keeping an ear out for any useful news. Tonight, takaza and I will be heading down to linnaeus‘s place for the traditional election night gathering, one that I hope will be a lot more enjoyable than the one four years ago.

In the meantime, not too much going on. The weekend was fun, with a party over at justincheetah and calapurr‘s place, followed by a very enjoyable brunch on Sunday with friends.

Lots of small MFF projects going on, but I’d hate to spoil any surprises. I think people are going to be happy with all the cool stuff we have in the pipeline, though.

Hallowon’t and Adventures in Media

So last night we had made a commitment to a family get-together at takaza‘s sister’s which was cancelled at the last minute, literally as we were walking out the door. That was fine by me since I had been feeling so-so all afternoon, so I stumbled upstairs and took a nap. A few hours later I felt ever so much better, although it made any hopes of being social that night just too darn late. Dan tended to the trick or treaters (all six of them) with the candy we had intended to bring to the party. Instead, we spent the evening catching up on Tivo and heading to bed early. Woo, party guys, we are! 🙂

I’ve spent the morning giving some thought to my newspaper subscription to the Chicago Tribune. I currently get the paper delivered seven days a week, but I’m pretty dissatisfied. Since their grand redesign earlier this year, they have moved to making the paper 50% advertising/50% content, and a good portion of the content is from the Associated Press, which I can read for free online from numerous outlets. While their local coverage is serviceable, their world coverage has been pretty lacking, reducing many important stories to a one-sentence blurb on a hard-to-read world map – very USA Today-esque. They also cut out a couple of comics that I liked and shrank the rest. I’ve been giving thought to dropping my subscription but didn’t have a good alternative. I’m a news junkie, and I like to know not just what’s going on in the world but what it means as well. NPR gives a nice glimpse of that but since I only have a 5-10 minute commute, that doesn’t give me a lot of listening time.

Earlier this week there was the big story that the Christian Science Monitor was going to cease daily paper publication and move to a net-only presence with a paper version mailed out weekly. This reminded me of the late, lamented Monitor Radio. That was a radio show that played on various NPR outlets until 1997 that I always enjoyed and respected. Knowing the quality of CSM’s reporting, I checked out their daily “treeless” edition, a 20-page PDF that is emailed every morning. With that, I think I may have found a good replacement for the Tribune. I subscribe to many different RSS feeds using Google Reader, so while I get my world and national news from the Monitor, I can get local news with feeds from the Tribune, the Sun-Times, the Daily Herald, and the News-Sun, all of which are updated continuously. I already follow several blogs on the Tribune’s site (The Stew and Tower Ticker) so I get the content I like there before it ever sees print. Comics? The Houston Chronicle lets you build your own comics page for free. Yeah, you don’t get Sunday comics, but to be honest those mostly suck anyway.

Looks like I’ve found my new media mix!