duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
On Saturday, [livejournal.com profile] aureth and [livejournal.com profile] jenwolf were hosting a party over at their place. I thought I'd try to make a couple of new dishes to bring: Spicy Baked Plantain Chips and Salsa Verde. The plantain chips did not turn out well - a bit leathery, unfortunately. They were close to burning, but could have used a bit more time in the oven to crisp up. The salsa verde was... well, it wasn't up to my standards. Way too salty, and the four Serrano chiles in the recipe made it mighty damn hot! This was a good reminder that I really need to only make tried-and-true recipes for these sorts of things.

[livejournal.com profile] mirkowuff arrived Saturday afternoon with his malamute, Chase. Buddy seems to be feeling better (though his appetite still isn't up to snuff - possibly due to the continued antibiotics) and so greeted Chase with a wagging tail...and then spent the next hour trying to mount him. Oy. At this point I have to assume it's a dominance thing. Chase let him know it wasn't appreciated, and eventually they got things sorted out, but it was certainly comical to watch. We were a little late to the party because Mirko wanted to watch some basketball thing or something with his alma mater. He spent the rest of the evening squee-ing about the game :-)

The party was a lot of fun. Jim's brown ale was excellent, and the company was wonderful. I wish that we could have stayed later, but we had to get up stupidly-early the next day, so we grabbed [livejournal.com profile] hartree and Mirko and headed back to our place.

On Sunday morning, Hartree and Mirko and I left before 8 AM (well, left the first time - we had to double back because I forgot my ticket. Doh!) for the Illinois Rail Museum Snowflake Special CTA Tour. This was a 9-hour tour of the Chicago elevated train system. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] dexcat, [livejournal.com profile] rustitobuck, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus. The tour went from Rosemont (right next to the Hyatt Regency O'Hare!) to downtown, out to UIC, down the South Side to 61st Street, then north to Evanston, with numerous stops and detours along the way. I have to say I was very much impressed by the IRM's organization, and the quality of the tour was very good as well, with near-continuous narration provided by a pair of very knowledgeable fellows. I took over 180 pictures, and I'll post some of those soon.

We had lunch in The Loop, stopping at the Qdoba on Randolph. We were unexpectedly joined by a rather loquacious train fan who was maybe 10 years old. He talked a blue streak, and while he knew his stuff, it was amusing to listen to him rattle on about the wisdom of the Circle Line while his parent nodded wearily beside him with that look of, "Oh thank God, he's talking to someone else for a change." After lunch we had time for a quick stop at Intelligentsia Coffee, then it was back on the train. All in all, I have to say that it was about seven hours of an interesting tour - the last two hours really dragged and it was a bit of a relief when we pulled back into Rosemont. [livejournal.com profile] takaza, [livejournal.com profile] roho, and [livejournal.com profile] genet met us there (with Chase, who went home with Mirko from there). The rest of us went down for dinner at Smoque, which was excellent, as usual.

And here we are at a new week. I have some errands to run after work, then I'll grill up dinner while Dan works on the FCN con book. It sounds like we're going to go see "How To Train Your Dragon" tomorrow night at one of my favorite local theaters, so we're off to a great start to the week!
duncandahusky: (huskypuppy)
Here is a link to a Google Calendar I maintain of Furry Conventions in the US and Canada.

Also, here is the Offical Midwest FurFest Calendar, which will have MFF Staff meetings and events listed on it as soon as we figure out when those will be :-)
duncandahusky: (Geeky)
One more weekend down. Not too much going on, really. On Saturday, following a late start, [livejournal.com profile] 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 [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] roho, and [livejournal.com profile] 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 [livejournal.com profile] 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!
duncandahusky: (Geeky)
So once upon a time, I signed up for Twitter. I've found over time that while I'm still posting here on LiveJournal, the quick, off-the-cuff stuff is going onto Twitter. Because I know I have several non-LiveJournalers who follow my journal (mostly family members), I just implemented LoudTwitter to ship my tweets here. The tweets will show up once per day, posted at midnight Chicago time, they'll be behind a cut tag (i.e. you'll need to click to see them), and they'll have a unique user icon: This will hopefully let folks who aren't interested quickly skip past the post. I'll be the first to say that I'm not a huge fan of LoudTwitter, but I think this is a pretty reasonable compromise.
duncandahusky: (Geeky)
Well, I seem to have gotten on the Twitter bandwagon. I'm really not sure how much I'm going to use it personally, but you can follow me at http://twitter.com/DuncanDaHusky. Oh, and I can assure you that I will not be copying my tweets to LiveJournal. I'm not much a fan of that approach.

More interesting, though, is that I have established an official Midwest FurFest Twitter feed at http://twitter.com/midwestfurfest. I have found a very handy service that we can use to load up with notifications like "The Charity Auction will begin in 15 minutes in Ravinia DEF" well in advance of the convention. Additionally, we can also send out notifications of programming changes and, um, whatever else I can think of :-) I'm definitely very new to Twitter, so if anyone has suggestions about how to best use the feed, I'm open to ideas!

Last night, after a very hectic week at work, we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet for an extremely relaxing evening featuring cheese fondue, some crusty bread, a couple of bottles of excellent wine, and chocolate fondue for dessert. After that was a screening of the Big Lebowski episode of Ace of Cakes, followed by the latest episode of Iditarod: Toughest Race on Earth. That show is really amazing, and it always really lifts my spirits. If you haven't seen it I would highly recommend it - the cinematography is great, and the narrative is very well put together. This is definitely one of Original Productions' (Deadliest Catch, Dirty Jobs, etc.) better shows. We saw Roho and Genet off at around 11:30 PM, then stumbled off to bed ourselves. Throughout the night my body reminded me why drinking several glasses of wine is a bad thing. Note to self: stock up on Rolaids.

So today I'm off to Chicago to do some shopping. I'm not sure how long I'll be around, but we'll see how the day goes. I suppose I'll also swing by the MFF storage locker and pay for the coming year as well. Off to shower now!
duncandahusky: (Mmmm...beer)
Man, what a crazy few days, and this week is shaping up to be pretty crazy too.

After work on Friday, I sped out slightly early and picked up [livejournal.com profile] takaza at his employer in Buffalo Grove. Then it was a stressful drive through Friday rush-hour traffic down to Lisle, where we checked into the Hyatt Lisle. After a short break it was back into the car for a short drive to Bolingbrook and BD's Mongolian Grill. There we met up with [livejournal.com profile] ottr, [livejournal.com profile] datahawk, [livejournal.com profile] feren, [livejournal.com profile] lady_curmudgeon, [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] wyldekyttin, and [livejournal.com profile] unclevlad for a fun dinner and drinks. Alas, I agree with Dan - I am kind of over BD's. For one thing, it seems that no matter what I do, everything I put together there ends up tasting the same. I'll freely admit that's my own fault. The drinks were pretty weak, too, which was unfortunate. Ah well, at least the company was good.

After dinner we retired back to the Hyatt with Roho, Genet, and Linnaeus and had a lovely swim before bed. On Saturday morning, the five of us had a delicious brunch at Juicy-O then went our separate ways. Dan and I stopped by [livejournal.com profile] perro and [livejournal.com profile] darkwolph's place to drop off some MFF stuff and we wound up talking shop for a bit.

Then it was off to Dan's mom's place to try to get her Wii hooked up to wi-fi. I'm not even sure if what we were trying to do can be done: She has a laptop running Vista with built-in wireless as well as a Sprint EVDO card connected via USB. We were trying to create a bridge so the wireless would receive the Wii signal and go out through the EVDO. No joy, though. Instead, she brought her Wii over to our place and we downloaded a bunch of older games for her. She left after a bit and Linnaeus arrived shortly thereafter.

After a bit of chatting we jumped in the car and drove up to Kenosha, where we met the crowd from the previous night (as well as several new faces) for dinner at Charcoal Grill. The phrase that pays is "half-price appetizers and drinks after 8 PM". Holy cow! So good, and those Long Island iced teas had a kick!

On Sunday...we did nothing. And it was good. OK, actually, we finally showered late in the afternoon and went out to Target at about 7 PM to pick up a few groceries and things for the house.

And here we are back in the middle of the work week. I'm really looking forward to Friday - I just got the OK from my boss to take off early, so Dan and I will be leaving at noon or before for Columbus, OH, where we will abuse the hospitality of [livejournal.com profile] fordshepherd and [livejournal.com profile] kai_darkwolf. I have only a vague idea of what the plans might be, but I'm sure we'll be in good hands. I promise to take lots of pictures :-)
duncandahusky: (Chewy!)
My, doesn't time fly when you're having fun. Which leaves me no explanation for this week, but that's OK. Not that it's been a bad week, mind you, just...eh.

Monday found [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I having fun making dinner. While Dan experimented with slicing and frying techniques to make home fries, I fired up the grill and cooked up a couple of steaks, as well as some fresh pineapple. I learned a couple of things: 1.) Three chunks of hickory is too much. The steaks tasted a little too much of smoke. 2.) When grilling pineapple, add the cinnamon sugar after grilling, otherwise the cinnamon gets bitter. Ah well. It was a learning exercise all around, and in the end we still had steaks and yummy home fries. Yay!

Last night we were feeling minimally motivated. I sautéed up some peppers and onions, then Dan cooked some chicken and diced it up and we had tacos. We both love the whole wheat flour tortillas we've found, and the chihuahua cheese is delicious. A little salsa and some crema...yum. It was a quiet evening, as Dan was working on Anthrocon cash sheets and I engaged in a bit of transit geekery (see below). Afterwards we watched the latest episode of Deadliest Catch.

Click for boring transit geek stuff )
I've been working on Anthrocon planning as well, revising and updating the artist and staff handouts explaining the Artists Alley and Con Store, and updating the necessary forms. While I'd hoped to maybe open signups a little later this year, I'll be sticking with last year's schedule if only because it allows the artists time to come sign up, then get a leisurely breakfast before they have to be back for seat assignment. Unfortunately, it means that I have to be there at 8 AM on Saturday and Sunday mornings. As long as I can get some coffee somewhere before heading over to the Convention Center, I'll be OK. I need to touch base with [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus and see how much space he's going to have in his car to carry stuff to Pittsburgh for us. Don't worry, we're going to cut it down to one box of booze, but there's a few other things I'd like to see if you could take, Paul :-) Hmm, Italian sausage sandwiches for dinner tonight, yum! Oh, and laundry to be done once I get home. Isn't my little world fun and exciting?
duncandahusky: (Geeky)
Oh dear. I wasn't aware of the mini-comics NBC has on their site which offer backstory and off-camera plot developments (like the origin of Wireless, who showed up this week - she's ex-Mossad!). Each comic is 5-7 pages long, and very well done. NBC seems to be going all-out with this, since there's also:
* The Heroes wiki
* Hiro's blog
* Episode commentary (this week featuring producer Greg Beeman and the actors who play Sylar and Suresh, the latter of whom has no accent whatsoever)
(Great quote: "You know, we don't really talk about this much, but it's incredibly convenient that all the genetically mutated people are like, really hot.")
* And, of course, the full episodes can be streamed from their website

Neat stuff!

Caution: Possible spoilers in the comments if you haven't seen this week's episode.

Quick Hits

Jan. 10th, 2007 08:34 am
duncandahusky: (HTML Husky)
Enough with all the seriousness and real estate and hand-wringing and the oy!

* Hey [livejournal.com profile] feren - it turns out that you can do something else with all that gin around your house.

* Are you a Star Trek: The Next Generation fan? If so, I highly recommend you read Wil Wheaton's recaps/review the series pilot, "Encounter at Farfetched Farpoint" (Part 1, Part 2). Besides being quite amusing (Wil feels that Wesley Crush was an annoying twit, too), the behind-the-scenes insights he adds are quite interesting and he's a pretty good writer too. Oh, and fair warning: Wil uses some Bad Words in his writing.

* Oh yeah, Apple announced some phone or something. Unfortunately, since it's Cingular-only, the iPhone is officially Dead To Me.

* Eclipsed in all the hoo-hah yesterday, Tivo TiVo announced that they're going to start testing their software on Comcast's existing DVR hardware this spring. Perhaps at some later date Comcast will not suck. Or at the very least, suck somewhat less. EDIT: Engadget scores some pics of the new TiVo software in action.

And now to get some work done...
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Wow, it's been pretty quiet here lately, aside from random MFF spammage. Well, let's see here...

First off, one of the big reasons it's been quiet is that there isn't a whole lot to talk about. I am currently unemployed (though looking all over for a position), so a lot of my days consist of waking up early, spending a few hours shotgun-blasting resumes across the Internet, going to the gym, and playing househusband (laundry, dishes, cooking, etc.). Unemployment checks should start rolling in soon, and Dan's job has us covered with benefits and a good portion of the bills, so we're doing pretty good on that front. Having said that, I guess I can talk about the few interesting things going on...

I'm writing this from Panera Bread in Arlington Heights, IL. From here, I'll be driving over to Schaumburg and starting the process of verifying data for the Midwest FurFest 2006 Restaurant Guide - making sure that restaurants are still where we say they are, and adding new ones that have sprung up in the past year. I've found some new toys to play with, which make the possibilities of the guide a lot more interesting: I found a nice utility that can take the Excel spreadsheet I have with the guide data and make a Google Earth KML file of is; now I just need to figure out how to easily convert a KML file to something that will work with Google Maps. In the meantime I created this page, which gives an idea of what's possible: MFF 2005 Restaurant Guide. Keep in mind, that's data from last year, and only includes the restaurants from the guide and not the services part, with stores and pharmacies and such.

I'll be taking a break from driving around to grab lunch for [livejournal.com profile] takaza, [livejournal.com profile] nymphara, and [livejournal.com profile] emrldgirrl at Chipotle (arr num num!), then after work Dan and I will probably celebrate his survng his employer's end-of-the-fiscal-year crunch time by going home and collapsing. For the weekend, on Saturday Dan is taking some folks to see the last Cubs home game of the season, and I might be helping some friends move. And Sunday? No idea. We'll fake it :-)

Oh, and because it's been too long:
When: 7:30 PM - 10:00 PM, Wednesday, October 4 (this coming Wednesday)
Where: Bobtail Soda Fountain, 3425 N. Southport, Chicago, IL
That's a half-block north of the Brown Line Southport station, and the El is by far the easiest way to get there. Street parking is available, though you may have to hunt a bit. Bobtail has very tasty (Intelligentsia) coffee, and excellent ice cream as well. They don't serve much in the way of non-dessert food, but there is a Potbelly Sandwich Works right across the street. Dan and I will probably hit Potbelly at around 7 PM for a quick dinner if anyone wants to join us there. If you'd like us to save you a seat, just let me know, here or by e-mail!
duncandahusky: (Chewy!)
Well, that was a really enjoyable weekend, for all that we didn't really have much plans initially.

We were just thinking about putting together some kind of dinner on Friday when I got a call from [livejournal.com profile] jimcyl asking if we'd be interested in coming over to their place for burgers and poker. Well, heck yeah! [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I CTA'ed it over there and enjoyed a great evening of wine, poker, wine, burgers, good conversation, and wine. I'm a complete novice at Texas Hold 'Em but I acquitted myself quiet well, mainly due to Jim's going all in on his three queens against my four tens in the first hand. Yeah, that was ugly :-)

On Saturday Dan and I had a nice, lazy morning then eventually got motivated enough to head out to Hot Doug's for a late lunch. The selection of gourmet "encased meats" is always fabulous, but I chose the cognac-infused smoked pheasant sausage with truffle sauce moutarde and foie gras "butter" (the latter a nice tweak at the Chicago City Council). I also opted for the duck fat fries of course. It was a delicious meal, but it always is at Hot Doug's. (Oh, a side note: I came across a cool bookmarklet that lets you tag pictures on Flickr with a link to where they were taken. It's geeky, but cool!)

After lunch we met up with [livejournal.com profile] siriuswolfstar and [livejournal.com profile] simbalion and wandered around Boystown for a while. We didn't have any real destination in mind, we were just enjoying the marvelously cool evening and window shopping. After a while, Dan began to feel a bit ill, so [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus was kind enough to drive down to meet us and let Dan take the car back while Linnaeus walked a bit more with us. We found a great (and oh-so-gay) pet shop, where I got to spend time with a very laid-back and amiable black lab and the cutest tortoiseshell kitten, who was having a ball playing with all the cat toys on the counter by the cash register. We walked a bit more down to Reckless Records, which is always a neat place to browse, and then stopped by Intelligentsia Coffee and just sat around and chatted some more. We headed home after that, but it was a really great way to spend the evening.

On Sunday we drove out to meet with [livejournal.com profile] wyldekyttin, [livejournal.com profile] crim_ferret, and [livejournal.com profile] foxish; Crim is thinking about a new car and wanted to test drive my Element to see how he liked it. We took this as a great excuse to grab brunch with friends! We went over to Juicy-O, the restaurant opened recently by Heaven on Seven owner Jimmy Banos. I was hoping for an experience as good as Ho7 and I wasn't disappointed - the complimentary homemade doughnuts were delicious, and my strip steak skillet was to die for. Everyone seemed to really enjoy the place, and I'm confident we'll be going back soon. Afterwards we chatted over at Crim and Kyttin's place as we suffered through our food comas. Eventually, though, Dan and I headed back home and spent the rest of the evening relaxing and watching some TV.

This coming week looks to be a bit busy. Tomorrow we'll be hitting The Hopleaf with friends, then on Wednesday it's the August Coffee Night at Bobtail, which I'm sure will be a lot of fun. This coming weekend is the Milwaukee Irishfest, and then on Sunday is the Midwest FurFest staff meeting. Busy busy busy!

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