Monthly Archives: September 2009

House Projects, Friends and Food, and Birthday Planning

So, we’ve finally settled into some kind of normalcy around the house, for some value of normal 🙂

The big push last weekend was to finish off the last of the house projects: Hanging various art around the house, installing the blackout shades in the master bedroom, and installing the undercabinet lighting in the kitchen.

The art was easy enough, though since I’m an engineer it involved a lot of calculations, levels, and weight measurements (to gauge the proper mounting hook). I’m pleased to say that it looks great!

I installed the first blackout shade last week, and it’s a very tight fit. The instructions are not well-written, unfortunately, and we found a couple of things that would have made the finished product look a bit nicer. Anyway, takaza (who had been running a fever and feeling lousy most of the week) took the initiative on Friday and installed the shades on the other two windows, aided by what we learned from the first window. They look great and are very effective, though for maximum effect I’m going to need to caulk all four sides of each window.

The undercabinet lighting was…yeah. Dan did a great job installing the track for the lights. I demonstrated that I am a chemical engineer and not an electrical engineer when I used the wrong kind of connector and wound up shorting across the two 12 V leads of the transformer for about 10 seconds, effectively frying it. One transformer later, I’m pleased to report that the lighting looks fantastic and really completes the look of the kitchen.

On Sunday we welcomed roho, genet, linnaeus, steviemaxwell, and magicpaw over for dinner, the online Midwest FurFest staff meeting, and to watch the season premiere of The Amazing Race. Dan and I made chipotle-marinated pork tenderloin (exceptionally spicy, but tasty) and butternut squash risotto, and Dan made an angel food cake from scratch. Continuing our fun with 10 Cane Rum, Dan showed off a new concoction that included watermelon puree, St. Germain Elderflower Liqueur, lime juice, 10 Cane Rum, and club soda. It was yummy, and it packed a punch!

We need to do a little more work around the house, but then we’ll be ready to welcome baja_hyena and fordshepherd this weekend to celebrate Ford’s birthday. Dan has cooked up quite an itinerary, and I think it’s going to be a very memorable birthday for him! 🙂

Oh yeah, and have you sent your RSVP for Too Much Light in yet?


TMLMTBGB! Say that five times fast 🙂

The LAFF dinner and outing to see Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind is on, and here are all the details!

This will be on Saturday, October 10, 2009.

WHAT: Pizza buffet! Ranalli’s will be providing salad, all we can eat pizza, beverages, and dessert in a separate seating area.
WHERE: Dinner will be at Ranalli’s of Andersonville (, 1512 West Berwyn (between Clark and Ashland), Chicago, IL 60640
WHEN: 8 PM – 10 PM
HOW MUCH: $18.00, including tax and tip (if you are going to be sitting with us, you *must* pay for the meal). Takaza will be collecting money from folks as they arrive.

WHAT: Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind: 30 Plays in 60 Minutes by the NeoFuturists ( See below for more info.
WHERE: The NeoFuturarium, 5153 N. Ashland (at Foster), two blocks from Ranalli’s of Andersonville
WHEN: Seating is first-come, first-serve, so we will be lining up at 10:15 PM or so for the 11:30 PM show. Come prepared to hang out, chat with friends, then enjoy a great show
HOW MUCH: $10 – $15 ($9 + roll of a six-sided die), cash only

RSVPs: Please RSVP directly to me at Please let me know if you will be at the DINNER, the THEATER, or BOTH.
RSVPs sent to LiveJournal and to the LAFF mailing list will be cheerfully ignored. A reminder: “I might be there” is not an RSVP. “I may be bringing three friends” is not a useful RSVP. These will be ignored.

Last time we did this we had a crowd of about 30 folks and everyone had a great time. I’m looking forward to another awesome night.

The NeoFuturists describe Too Much Light this way: “Too Much Light…, with its ever-changing “menu,” is an attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes. The single unifying element of these plays is that they are performed from a perspective of absolute honesty. We always appear as ourselves on stage, speaking directly from our personal experiences. Each short play is written by a performer, honed by the ensemble, and randomly collaged with twenty-nine other plays through high-energy audience participation. Each week, these plays shift as ensemble members add new plays to the existing body of work. Each night of performance, we create an unreproducable living newspaper collage of the comic and tragic, the political and personal, and the visceral and experimental.”

Having seen their performances many times, I can say be prepared for a night of unconventional theater, some crazy participatory stuff, some funny pieces, some plays to make you think. I hope to see you there!


Swedish Goodness, Beer and Cheese, and Fun With Social Media

One more weekend down. Not too much going on, really. On Saturday, following a late start, takaza and I ran some errands, with stops at Target, Binny’s Beverage Depot, the MFF PO box, the MFF storage locker, and finally Ikea. Three hours later, we left Ikea with quite a load of stuff. We picked up a new Billy bookcase for glassware and cookbooks in the breakfast area and a new headboard for the guest bedroom.

Sunday was the Midwest FurFest staff meeting at the Westin. It was a good meeting, relatively short, and included a couple of exciting announcements. Afterward, we came home and enjoyed a pleasant evening with linnaeus, roho, and genet, back from camping in the wilds of Wisconsin. They brought the spoils of their trip with them: beer and cheese! Dan grilled up some hamburgers and we enjoyed some of the beer, then watched the season premiere of Glee, which was quite amusing.

Today has been so-so. Last night’s didn’t sit well and my stomach is still not very happy. Life goes on, though. More work on the house to be done tonight and all this week – finish assembling the book cases, get the guest bedroom into shape, and put the finishing touches on everything. With luck, we could have the whole place in good shape by the end of next weekend.

Some of you might have noticed that I’ve stopped crossposting my Twitter posts over to LiveJournal. They were here for one reason only prior to that – so my family could read them. I made sure that they were behind a cut and were as unobtrusive as possible. I discovered something, though – the automated posting made me lazy and less likely to actually update this journal. Once I determined that my family knew to check my Twitter page directly (and thus see the tweets less than 24 hours later), there wasn’t much reason to continue them.

I do respectfully disagree with woodychitwn‘s thesis that Twitter is not an LiveJournal replacement. After giving it careful thought, I came to the conclusion that how social media is used is up to the user themselves. There is no right way or wrong way to use it, particularly since most social media is opt-in. In fact, I think it is somewhat presumptuous to instruct someone how they should be using one form of media or another (and I am guilty of this myself in the past, though I will endeavor not to do so in the future). If you disagree with how someone is using a particular media, no one is forcing you to continue to read it. If you worry that by defriending/unsubscribing you will cause issues, then you are going to have to judge whether that social cost is worth the annoyance the usage is causing you. And at that point, that is a problem for you as a reader to resolve, not the user of the social media.

OK, off to a short meeting. I need to post more this week about upcoming plans, parties, and other fun things like that!

Time To Update Before It’s Too Late!

Oh my, it’s been a bit since I’ve actually updated this, hasn’t it?

A quick recap:
Last Friday (8/28): Stayed in and had a relaxing night at home with takaza.
Saturday: Bummed around the house, baked some pain au chocolat cinnamon rolls (which were only partially successful – not enough cinnamon flavor), then enjoyed a fabulous party at justincheetah and calapurr‘s place.
Sunday: Bought shelving for the storage room under the stairs (which has been dubbed “The Harry Potter Room”), cleaned out the accumulated cardboard boxes from the move, and generally worked on housecleaning.
Monday – Wednesday: Work, then home improvement. Installed the shelves in the Potter Room, replaced the chandelier in the breakfast area, Dan whipped the garage into shape so we can park both cars in there (with the washer and dryer in there still! This garage is a lot wider than our last one!). On Tuesday night I grilled up some steaks for dinner on the patio, and it was fabulous.

Tonight I reclaimed the dining room, putting all the stuff that had been cluttering up the table there on the shelves in the Potter Room. Dan hung the track over the patio sliding glass door, but the panel blinds for the track are on back order and won’t be in until sometime next week. We can at least hang up a sheet so no one can look into the place while we’re gone this weekend.

And then there’s the coming weekend. Dan and I are working a half-day tomorrow, then heading out of town to spend an awesome weekend at fordshepherd‘s. Expect tipsy twitterings, amusing pictures, and a whole lot of fun to be had!

And now, dinner’s ready!