duncandahusky: (Wagging Husky)
Spring continues apace! Last weekend we had considered doing some Spring Cleaning, but after thinking about it, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I decided the weekend was better spent doing very little :-)

Friday night after work, we decided that we really wanted to see How To Tame Your Dragon again, this time in 3-D. We bought tickets at Gold Class Cinemas in South Barrington, and we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] justincheetah, and [livejournal.com profile] calapurr. Yes, the tickets were a bit expensive at $17.50 apiece, but considering we were originally looking at the IMAX in Lincolnshire ($17/ticket), it was a very good deal indeed. Gold Class is a "premium theater", one of the more over-the-top examples. There are (I think) ten auditoriums, the small ones having 22 seats and the large ones having 44 seats. And what seats! Comfy electric recliners with lots of space all around, and pillows and blankets provided on request.

We decided to try the whole deal and ordered dinner and drinks before the movie, to be delivered during the movie. Dan ordered the Wagyu beef burger duo (which unfortunately turned out to be served with mustard - not to his liking at all). I had the Cuban pork sandwich, which was delicious. Also, they have a fantastic drink called a ginger collins (Hendricks gin, Canton ginger liqueur, fresh strawberries, Pama pomegranate liqueur, sweet and sour mix, and ginger). SO GOOD. The prices were sky-high, though, and although the food was good, we could have had an amazing dinner at a fine steakhouse for what we paid. We won't be doing dinner there again. Fortunately, there's a Cooper's Hawk Restaurant and Winery right in front of the theater, so I can see a nice combination of dinner and a movie right there.

Oh, and the movie? Really great, even the second time. The 3-D did add to the experience, so I'm glad we saw it that way. We'll be buying the DVD for sure.

On Saturday, we did nothing. And it was good.

Sunday, I got a little more motivated. I took Buddy for a walk at a local forest preserve, then did some shopping at Garden Fresh, our local grocery store. Why do I love this store so much? They cover the basics, but also have a wide variety of ethnic foods. It's a wonderful mix of foods and cultures, and I was amused when I stopped by a sample table and had to help a Korean woman explain to a Middle Eastern woman what was in the kim chee dumplings (tasty, too!). Roho and Genet joined us for a dinner of bacon cheeseburgers, grilled asparagus with rosemary, lemon, and goat cheese, and a dessert of grilled pineapple. Somewhere in there we attended the online Midwest FurFest staff meeting and watched an episode of Glee, too.

This week is going by pretty much as usual. One bright spot is that with a nice influx of reimbursements from various sources we've paid our credit card off. Looking ahead to this weekend, the Spring Cleaning will kick in in earnest. After that, our weekends are claimed through the beginning of June. Yikes!
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
Work work work...yeah, it's been that kind of week (and weekend).

Most of last week was spent wrapping up the latest Big Project at work - still some stuff to do on that but we're very close to getting things into production by the end of the week. [livejournal.com profile] genet stopped by for dinner on Tuesday, which was a nice break in the routine and her company is always a pleasure.

Friday night we were joined by Genet and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus ([livejournal.com profile] roho was stuck with workstuff) for dinner at Jimmy John's. [livejournal.com profile] takaza, Genet, and Linnaeus went off to see Harry Potter and the Giant Wads of Money; I wasn't really feeling it so I decided to chill out at home. It sounds like I probably made the correct choice :-)

Saturday was Bingo Day! It was once again Dan's employer's Summer Picnic and once again we got drafted to run bingo. It went OK, and we gave out about $900 in gift cards as prizes. When we wrapped up there, we drove over to Trader Joe's in Lake Zurich and splurged on a few things, then back home. For dinner, we decided to try Smokin' T's BBQ in Long Grove, which [livejournal.com profile] darkwolph had recommended a while back. The pulled pork was extremely tasty, the short ribs only so-so, and the sauces were a little underwhelming (though the Alabama White BBQ sauce was very tasty). We had a lovely walk through the area and enjoyed the sunset afterwards, then headed home.

Unfortunately, it appears that something Dan ate, either at the picnic or at the restaurant, caused something akin to food poisoning because he was up all night. I woke up on Saturday and saw that Dan was already up, which worried me. I came downstairs to find him in the middle of making me breakfast in bed, which was incredibly sweet of him. He finished making breakfast then headed off to bed himself. I came in to work and spent a few hours finishing up some testing that had to be done during the off-hours of production. I was home by noon, though. Later in the afternoon I went over to Remington Pointe in Volo and signed the papers to start the process of purchasing our new home.

The whole process has been too complicated to get into and to be honest it's stressing me out a lot, but the upshot of it is that we are on to buy a new townhouse and close the sale on Friday, August 7. Moving day is slated for August 22. The new place is fabulous - a really nice place, backs up to woods, and not in a terribly crowded neighborhood like where we live now. I'll feel better once we work out the details of the sale, but I definitely like this place better than the one we were originally going to purchase. The only drawback is a kitchen smaller than I would like, but the open floor plan makes up for it. It's very beige right now, but I suspect we're going to be applying some paint and changing that up a bit.

As for this week: besides the ongoing home purchasing trials, we're going on a little trip on Thursday. Many of you already know the details, but shhhh! Don't tell Linnaeus ;-) I'll have a lot more to talk about when we get back.
duncandahusky: (Wagging Husky)
And we didn't really even do that much!

Last weekend, [livejournal.com profile] fordshepherd came up to visit. We were, of course, mostly selfish and kept the sheppie hidden away, enjoying a quiet weekend at home. We're mean that way :-)

Ford didn't get in until late Friday night, which is how we found ourselves sitting down to dinner at Tramonto's Steak and Seafood with [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus at 10:30 PM. They were quite gracious, though, and the meal was delicious. We left there around midnight, and spent the next few hours chatting and unwinding.

Saturday started predictably late. We shared an excellent lunch with [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, and Roho's mom, who I really enjoyed seeing again. Afterward, plans for a semi-fancy dinner sort of fell apart in a fit of laziness and contentment as we relaxed at home, watched some stuff off the Tivo, and enjoyed Ford's company. Pizza was ordered, some truly amazing white port was enjoyed (thanks again, [livejournal.com profile] baja_hyena!), and we closed out the evening with a viewing of The Lion in Winter. Wonderful!

Sunday came all too soon. I enjoyed an excellent lunch at Cooper's Hawk Restaurant and Winery with [livejournal.com profile] woodychitwn, [livejournal.com profile] ramalion, Ford, and Linnaeus (the peach bellini was yummy, the raspberry sangria not so much). The Midwest FurFest Board meeting followed shortly thereafter. The one item of note is that Midwest FurFest has a chairman for next year and that would be...[livejournal.com profile] takaza! Yep, it all comes 'round again :-) The staff meeting was mercifully short, and then we took our leave of the merry crowd, dispatching Ford back Columbus-ward with his crew in tow. We spent the evening unwinding and making plans for our trip next week.

After such an excellent weekend, it's tough to get back into the grind. Things were OK at work today, though, and the balance of the week should be busy, but no late nights will be needed.

Oh, and we're working on the real estate front, but nothing new to report there just yet. Sorry, Mom ;-)
duncandahusky: (pukey-cute)
Right. Friday. Where did the week go?

We've got a busy weekend ahead, but before that happens I wanted to post about the past week. On Saturday, we were joined for dinner by [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] hegdish, [livejournal.com profile] drakeduck, and [livejournal.com profile] baconcoyote. We grilled up some very tasty bacon cheeseburgers and had a lovely evening of chatting and catching up. We don't get to see the Milwaukee folks too often so it was a lot of fun to hang out with them!

On Sunday we did some work around the house, though [livejournal.com profile] takaza was feeling a bit iffy. I wound up going up to [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet's for dinner and The Amazing Race by myself. Unfortunately, Dan's illness carried over into the next day, when his boss sent him home because he was running a mild fever and had a slight cough (OMG SWINE FLU!). Even after he saw a doctor (who diagnosed it as your basic virus-caused upper respiratory ick), he didn't go back to work until Wednesday.

My week at work has been pretty busy, wrapping up a final report and starting in on my next project. It has kept me hopping (and extremely stressed on Monday), but it hasn't be too bad.

Last night was a fun change to the usual routine; we met up with [livejournal.com profile] aureth, [livejournal.com profile] jenwolf, and [livejournal.com profile] moryssa for dinner in McHenry at the decidedly pedestrian Bambino's (so-so pizza and $5 bottles of Guinness? Seriously?) before walking down to see Star Trek. On a scale of 0 to 100, I'd give it about an 85. Entertaining, pretty to look at (though as Dan and I said on Twitter, you can make a drinking game out of counting the lens flares, and be very drunk by the end of the movie), though ultimately lacking in...something. It was amusing to see them follow the "Star Trek checklist", though: Bones says "Dammit Jim, I'm a doctor, not a *", Scotty says he's "giving her all he's got", etc. I absolutely got my six dollars' worth, so I have no complaints.

As for this weekend, we're going to stop by Anime Central briefly tomorrow, then either go for some tasty BBQ or a wine tasting for a great cause, the German Shepherd Search and Rescue Dog Association. As for Sunday, I have a list with a lot of tasks to complete before we open up our house for Memorial Day, mostly stuff that no one would notice if we didn't do them, like cleaning the windows in the stairwell and such, but I'll feel better once they're done. Hmm, Sunday is also the finale for The Amazing Race. We (or someone) should do something for that. We'll have to work on that :-)
duncandahusky: (Crochet)
Busy times before, and busy times ahead! It was a very full weekend, but we had a lot of fun.

On Friday, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I met up with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] 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 [livejournal.com profile] colliedoc and [livejournal.com profile] 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 [livejournal.com profile] 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...
duncandahusky: (Crochet)
Good heavens, what a weekend! I had been feeling a bit under the weather and had hoped to at least have one day to relax, but that was not to be. On the bright side, we had so much fun, it's OK!

Friday: Shopping! )

Saturday: Partying In Style at the Drive-In Theater )

Sunday: Takin' Care of (MFF) Business, and a Surprise Found Locally )

Unfortunately, the cough that was lingering through the weekend is still here. I slept poorly last night, and I'm really paying for it today. The good news is that I have a previously-scheduled checkup with my doctor first thing tomorrow morning, so I can ask about it and see if I can't get something to treat the symptoms. Looking ahead to next weekend, I see precious little on our social calendar, and I suspect that it's going to stay that way. We're overdue for a quiet weekend at home. Maybe I'll watch some football games, and Dan and I can snuggle on the sofa and watch a movie. Yeah, I'd like that :-)
duncandahusky: (happygolucky)
Kevin Smith is back with his latest movie, which he wrote and directed: Zack and Miri Make a Porno, set to open on October 31. The trailer has just been released! (Caution: contains NSFW words) How many View Askew regulars can you spot?
duncandahusky: (License)
When last I wrote, we were looking forward to seeing what Sunday would bring during [livejournal.com profile] takaza's and my visit to Columbus, Ohio as we visited [livejournal.com profile] fordshepherd and [livejournal.com profile] 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 [livejournal.com profile] 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!
duncandahusky: (Ky00t Duncan)
Anthrocon reports will continue, but a brief break to talk about the three-day weekend.

Isn't it funny how what is supposed to be a relaxing weekend suddenly becomes a very busy one very quickly? We started things out well - I slipped out of work an hour early on Thursday and got to relax a bit at home. [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I stayed in, watched some Tivo, and generally relaxed. I packed it in relatively early, but Dan stayed up late doing some baking and watching some shows I wasn't interested in.

Friday morning was rather pleasant. Not a whole lot going on, just chilling at home, chatting on Furrymuck, that sort of thing. We finally got going in mid-afternoon and drove down to [livejournal.com profile] justincheetah and [livejournal.com profile] calapurr's place in Lombard, where we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] dexcat and Dexgirl for a fantastic evening of good food and good company, capped off with fireworks just a few hundred yards from their back deck. We ended the evening watching Harry Potter Being an Angsty Teen, though I was falling asleep periodically through it. We crashed for the evening at the felines' house.

On Saturday we made the pilgrimage to Juicy-O, which was fabulous as always. Dan and I drove home while Cheetah and Cala tended to some stuff at home. We were joined not long after by [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet, then Cheetah and Cala again, and we all went to see Wall-E at the McHenry Downtown Theater. I think I prefer the Antioch theater (the same company owns both of them) - it seems a bit cleaner and more pleasant in general. The movie was very good. Not quite a Pixar masterpiece like Ratatouille, but still a fun and enjoyable movie. Afterwards we lazed around our place while Dan cooked up some burgers. We also introduced Cheetah and Cala to Boom Blox :-)

Sunday was a big day - we were supposed to be testing recipes for the LAFF Softball Picnic coming up on June 19th. Roho, Genet, [livejournal.com profile] steviemaxwell, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus joined us to help pick apart the recipes, discuss improvements, and generally refine things overall. They were all a huge help in preparation and cleaning as well, something for which I am very grateful! We came up with this menu:

  • Asian mixed green salad with baby bok choy, scallions, and snow peas, tossed with a sesame vinaigrette and toasted sesame seeds

  • Potatoes with kosher salt, Tellicherry pepper, and garlic, grilled in foil

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts, brined and wrapped in thick-sliced bacon, grilled to perfection

  • Grilled Arrachera (marinated skirt steak) tacos with corn or flour tortillas

  • Old-fashioned pound cake served with a raspberry coulis and fresh whipped cream

  • Fudgy Texas chocolate cake with (or without) toasted pecans

Right now we're cooking for 40, but we'll see how many RSVP's finally come in (need to RSVP? You can find information on the picnic and RSVP instructions here). Given how stuffed everyone was at the end of the meal, I think we've got a winning menu put together, and it's manageable for the number of people that we're talking about. Given that the only facilities we're going to have is coolers, some tables, and a five-foot-by-two-foot charcoal grill, our options are somewhat limited but I don't think this shows in the above menu.

And now it's Monday and I'm back at work. Booo! Still, there's a ton of stuff to be done today so I need to get started on those...
duncandahusky: (WTF?)
Yuck. I woke up a few times last night so I'm really dragging this afternoon. Fun.

Not a bad weekend overall. We were up far too early Saturday to drive down to Naperville to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] unclekage, who was in town for Duckon. Breakfast was acquired at Juicy-O (missed you by 24 hours, [livejournal.com profile] perro!). As always, the meal was excellent and we had a great time discussing last-minute Anthrocon business. We hung out and talked a bit more (and complained about Anthrocon's stealing Midwest FurFest's ideas on a certain nifty tidbit, though really it was just that they hit on an idea at the same time we did :-) then we took our leave. On the way home we picked up a few things from the MFF storage locker and ran a few errands, then [livejournal.com profile] takaza took a short nap once we got back home.

A short while later it was down to Lincolnshire to see Kung Fu Panda on the biiiiig IMAX screen with [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] genet, and [livejournal.com profile] midwestcougar. The movie was technically excellent - they did a really great job on the textures and the character design, and that was really highlighted on the ginormous screen. The content of the movie...Eh. I'd call it adequately entertaining, but nothing too fantastic. My biggest problem is the same one I always have with stars cast in voice roles - Jack Black spoke and I didn't see a giant panda, I saw Jack Black. Others may not have a problem with this and may enjoy the movie more, but it didn't really blow me away.

After the movie Jaycee had to take her leave, but the rest of us drove through a sudden thunderstorm up to Gurnee to meet [livejournal.com profile] roho for a tasty Indian meal at Bombay City. Nom naan nom!

Sunday was stressful, even though we didn't even leave the house. I spent the day working on Artists Alley stuff, programming registers, finalizing documentation, and other fun stuff like that. I got most of what I wanted to accomplish done, but I still have several documents to write up. Dan was working on similar things for the finance office and I think we both got stressed out and started annoying each other. We got it worked out, though, and were able to relax later in the evening.

And here we are, eight days before we hit the road for Pittsburgh. I still have a lot to do, including making the Artists Alley/Con Store staff schedule. It looks like we'll be getting together with some friends on Wednesday, then next weekend is pretty much shot with Dan's company picnic and other stuff going on. I should be able to take a breather sometime around July 4th. Yowza!
duncandahusky: (Tom and Dan)
Oh my goodness. Now that was a heck of a holiday weekend!

On Friday night, the out-of-towners arrived... )
On Saturday, the party really started... )
On Sunday, things were more relaxed, but much fun was had... )
On Monday, we were sad to see folks go... )
What an amazing weekend. Thanks so much to Ford, Jack, and Kwik for coming up from Columbus, and thanks to all of our great friends for making this such an enjoyable weekend for us. I hope you all had as good a time as we did, and I look forward to our next party...just as soon as we've fully recovered from this one :-)
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
Now that was a nice, low-key weekend. On Saturday I came into work at about 9 AM and worked until around 2 PM before heading home. It's not that I had anything too urgent, it's more that the boss is very cool about comp time and I'm hoping to take a half or full day off on Friday the 11th so we can head out earlier for FCN. I could probably get away with asking for a full day at this point but I may come in for a few hours next Saturday morning just to seal the deal. It doesn't hurt to be seen coming in on weekends, either, since so few in my department do it (excepting the boss).

After I got home, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I talked a bit, then decided to run some errands. We went over to Target and picked up some things for the house (including a spiffy new clock radio), as well as some grocery items. Just to try something different for dinner Dan tried making chicken egg and cheese biscuits; unfortunately, the flavor of the sautéed chicken was eclipsed by everything else. But hey, it was an interesting experiment. We enjoyed the rest of the evening watching accumulated episodes of "Chuck" on our Tivo.

Sunday, [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus came up to hang out. We ran some errands, which including getting some supplies for our party at FCN, then rented a couple of movies from a nearby Redbox (which is a pretty slick deal!). We picked up Monster House and The Queen. We went home, ordered pizza and put on Monster House. It was...wow. I can see why the reviews on Metacritic range from 30 to 98 out of 100. I would say this movie is too scary and intense for kids, but too schlocky for adults. I'm glad we didn't pay full price, but at least I didn't feel like I wasted the time spent watching it. Linnaeus had to head home shortly after the movie; I suppose we'll eat the late fee (ooh, another dollar!) and watch The Queen tonight.

No real plans for this week, though who knows what might pop up. I would really like to get back into the habit of getting together with folks during the week to break up the monotony a bit, but being way out in the suburbs can be somewhat limiting in that regard. We'll have to see what we can put together - maybe more NTN one night or something.
duncandahusky: (Default)
I had all kinds of plans Friday of the wonderful cooking I was going to do when I got home from work, but as the day wore on...not so much. Instead, we opted for a simple burrito dinner and spent the evening relaxing and making plans for Saturday.

Saturday, on the other hand, things were hopping! We got a relatively early start (11 AM) and headed north towards Antioch. We got sidetracked, though, by the realization that we needed lunch and we needed to line up food for New Years Eve. How fortunate that we were going by one place that would provide a solution to both problems: Scott Dogs! Following a delicious lunch (I had the pulled pork BBQ sandwich), we sat down with Scott's aunt, who runs the catering business, and we got a quick education in planning a catered event. Our original plans were for three appetizers, three entrees, three side dishes, and two desserts - all for $15 per person.

She was nice and didn't openly laugh at us, but we had a great conversation about buffet psychology, serving portions, and the virtues of having too much food vs. too little food. We scaled things back a bit in terms of options and upped the number of portions, and we only came in a little over budget (mostly due to taxes and delivery fees, which were still very reasonable considering they were planning on being closed that day and will be coming in expressly to make our order and bring it to us). So now we'll be serving roast pork and stuffing and Chicken Vesuvio, with garden salad and pasta Alfredo on the side. For dessert, we'll have homemade apple strudel and three-layer chocolate cake. Yum!

It was a great experience and extremely educational, but unfortunately also took a couple of hours we hadn't budgeted for. We scrambled to stop by Antioch Packing House and pick up stuff to put in our shiny new freezer, but had to pass on Antioch Liquors, where we had planned on buying champagne for the New Year's toast. Following a quick stop by the house to drop off our meaty purchases, it was off southwards to Schweppes, my favorite restaurant supply store. We shopped around a bit there and got some items we needed for Wuffmeet, as well as some much-needed items for our kitchen (like replacing our old, scarred cutting boards with nice new color-coded cutting boards). It wasn't a cheap visit, but we got a lot of very useful items.

From there it was down to Yorktown Mall, where we met [livejournal.com profile] aeto for a showing of The Golden Compass. Many others have reviewed it, but my thumbnail version: great cast, wonderful effects and scenery, nifty armored bears, but...it seemed to lack an essential something. I'd give it maybe a 7 out of 10, which is a heck of a lot better than the 5 out of 10 I'd give Enchanted. Still, it was a fun way to kill a couple of hours so I won't complain. Afterwards we grabbed dinner over at an Irish place in Glen Ellyn (the bangers and mash were quite tasty, though Dan's burger was less so). The evening was spent at [livejournal.com profile] perro and [livejournal.com profile] darkwolph's place, celebrating Wolphy's birthday; Perro documented that disturbingly well already, though.

When we left, we got to chip our car out of the ice that had encased it (gotta love freezing rain), then make a very short drive over to [livejournal.com profile] justincheetah and [livejournal.com profile] calapurr's place, where they were kind enough to put us up for the night. Following an excellent night's sleep and a pleasant morning chatting, we had an excellent, if rather heavy, lunch over at Juicy-O. Oooh, so good. Then we all headed over to Sam's Wine to do the booze shopping we had skipped the day before. An excellent cava was procured for New Year's Eve, as well as a number of other tasty drinkables. We parted ways from the kitties and drove home to relax and recuperate from a busy weekend.
The one thing we did accomplish that evening though was to divide, bag, seal, and freeze our meat purchases of the day before, so now we have 10 pounds of hamburger patties, three one-pound packages of bacon, and a 2.5 pound package of stew meat in our freezer, with more to come. I'll be running to Target this week for more Foodsaver bags, though!

As for the coming week, I'll be finally getting back to making that lamb, lentil, and tomato stew for New Year's, as well as a chili con carne. Oh, and I have to work on Saturday (boo!) but in exchange I get Monday the 24th off (yay!). I expect that will be a pretty laid-back workday, though.
duncandahusky: (happygolucky)
So I suppose the last substantive post I made kind of left things off around the middle of last week. The rest of the week was pretty quiet; honestly, I was so darned tired all week long that actually doing anything would have been difficult. Also, it didn't help that the cough that lingered through Anthrocon continued to haunt me, waking me up a couple of times each night and making catching up on sleep difficult.

Saturday we finally got around to being social again, catching Harry Potter and the Moneymaking Juggernaut on Saturday afternoon with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet. Order of the Phoenix was my least favorite book, between Harry's pubescent whining and interminable scenes at the Order headquarters filled with talking, talking, talking. The movie cured a lot of that by cutting out great chunks of the story (which was needed, I think, if only to make the run time manageable). For that alone I would have liked the movie, but the casting was fabulous as well. I always adore Emma Thompson, and her depiction of Professor Trelawney is always great. Evanna Lynch wasn't quite the way I was picturing Luna Lovegood but I thought she was a good choice. And Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge was just delicious - how she gives you the willies with a girlish giggle. All in all, a good movie, and one I enjoyed a lot.

After the movie, we retired back to our place where we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] colliedoc, who was crashing with us between weekend shifts at Bristol Renaissance Faire. Fajitas were consumed, as well as yummy artichoke dip and a caramel apple pie that was just divine. We watched some Flip This House and World Series of Pop Culture, and everyone had a great time.

Both [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I woke up before 8 AM on Sunday (!), so we saw Straif off for the day. After relaxing a bit and catching up on some Tivo, we headed out to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] justincheetah for a Top Secret Project. Not much I can say except that it was a pleasure to Mike (Calla), Cheetah's boyfriend. Afterwards we headed home and had a quiet evening in.

On Monday, I finally got tired of the wretched cough and went to see the doctor. I explained that I had tried taking Tussin AC (guaifenesin + codeine, left over from a prescription from last year) but it didn't really seem to help. She prescribed another cough syrup and told me to call if that didn't help. I left a bit disgusted, hoping to have a bit more help than that, but oh well. I got out of the doctor's in time to catch Dan on the way home on the train, so I picked him up at the Mundelein station (yay for Google Maps on my Motorola Q!) and we went shopping for the week's groceries at Target using the $100 in gift cards we had gotten as thanks for helping out at Dan's company picnic. While we were there, I had the cough syrup prescription filled, to the tune of $0.69. The groceries were a lot more, though we went a little nuts and bought some stuff we probably wouldn't have otherwise, just to try out new brands and such.

That night, I took the cough syrup before going to bed and...I take back everything I said before. The doctor had prescribed Hydromet, which I thought was more of the same but is actually hydrocodone and homatropine. I knew hydrocodone affects me a lot more than codeine (following some fun in college with an abscessed tooth and Lorcet Plus; "Whoa, I think I'll sit down now."), but the homatropine is some serious stuff as well. Since I took that first dose I haven't coughed. At all. Holy cats. And this after I was wracked a couple of times each day and night with a nasty, rasping cough. I took it again last night (earlier than I had Monday night, which was good since I didn't feel quite as dopey this morning), but I'm thinking that should be all that's necessary.

As for the rest of the week, there's not too much going on. I have the Midwest FurFest registration database up to date now, and while we're ahead of last year's registrations I'm not seeing any insane explosions of growth. The fact that we're selling out the Hyatt in July (as opposed to in October last year) is more a reflection of the fact that it costs nothing to reserve a hotel room, but actually costs money to register :-) Anyway, now that everything is caught up, I have about 70 or so confirmation postcards to send out, which I hope to do tonight. I don't think we're doing anything Friday night, but Saturday night we're going to stay at the Amerisuites Schaumburg (thanks again, [livejournal.com profile] r_bear!), then on Sunday is the Midwest FurFest board meeting at 1 PM then the staff meeting at 2 PM. Lots to do before those meetings, so off I go!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
I know I've been quiet here this week, but I have excuses! You see, much of our week has been consumed with preparations for Anthrocon; even when we weren't actively working on convention planning, we were thinking about it and that kind of wears on you. Add to that the fact that I'm fighting off a mild summer cold. Yuck.

In general update terms, though, things have been going well. If I didn't mention it earlier, I haven't been hired on full-time at my employer yet since they were still working out which positions were open and which they were going to fill with whom. I have been assured, multiple times, that it is a matter of "when" and not "if" I get hired, though. My contract was extended to the end of July, and that's OK by me. While that means my three days off for Anthrocon will be unpaid, the good news is that I still come out ahead in net salary. I had a good talk with my boss this week and he is satisfied with my performance and seems willing to put a bit more on my plate, which makes me happy.

Work for [livejournal.com profile] takaza continues to be stressful; I worry about him and I know that all of this stress takes its toll on his health. Things got a little more difficult this week (I won't go into it here, but my heart does go out to those involved), but he's been assured that it won't affect his vacation time. He is justifiably skeptical and unfortunately probably will have to log in from Pittsburgh to do some work for some part of the time that we're there.

We did find time to relax a bit last night. We had a pleasant dinner with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet at a frozen custard place in Antioch (good sandwiches, not so good frozen custard), then we caught the late showing of Ratatouille at the Antioch Theater. GO SEE THIS MOVIE! It was so much fun! Great character design, a nifty score, and a really great expression of the love of food and cooking. I adored it, and wouldn't mind seeing it again. As an aside, I also love the Antioch Theater - $4 admission, popcorn for a couple of bucks (and free refills on popcorn and sodas, provided by roving ushers), a trivia quiz by a real live employee before the show. When we went to see Waitress a few weeks ago we went to the Regal theater in Round Lake; tickets, plus popcorn and soda came to over $30 (and that's at matinee prices!). That's just plain offensive.

Ahem. Movie theater ranting aside, it looks like the next few days are going to be pretty nuts for us. I can't even guarantee that I'll be posting between now and Anthrocon, so here's a quick rundown:

Today, once [livejournal.com profile] datahawk gets up here, we'll all head down to Arlington Heights to meet [livejournal.com profile] justincheetah at the MFF storage locker to get a power distribution panel for him (I hope it's not buried too far under everything!). Then it's over to [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus's place in the city to drop off some stuff that he is kindly carrying to Anthrocon for us. After that, it's down to Merrillville, Indiana where we have tickets to see "Weird Al" Yankovic in concert!

Tomorrow will be con packing and (more) planning, and staging everything as best we can. Oh, and relaxing somewhat, since that'll be our last chance before the con. Monday will be work as usual.

Tuesday, we fly out from O'Hare at 7:05 PM, arriving in Pittsburgh at 9:32 PM (supposedly). Give that it's an evening flight in the summer out of O'Hare, I figure if we get to PIT before 11:30 PM we'll be doing good. We'll spend the night at the La Quinta Pittsburgh Airport, then on Wednesday morning catch the 28X bus downtown to the Westin Pittsburgh Convention Center. We hope to be at the Westin by 11 AM or 12 noon.

And after that? Madness and chaos. With any luck I'll be able to document some of that...at some point.
duncandahusky: (happygolucky)
You know, as exhausted as I felt at work on Friday, I was astonished at how much energy I had when I got home. It turned out that the power had actually come back on at 8:30 AM, which meant that while the freezer was pretty much OK, some serious culling needed to be done in the refrigerator. Fortunately, it wasn't too bad - mostly party leftovers and anything with dairy in it (including, sadly, the Keke Key Lime Pie liqueur). Once [livejournal.com profile] takaza got home, we talked a bit about dinner and decided that we both wanted something more than a hot dog. We decided that Indian food sounded good, so we met up with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet for dinner at Bombay City. The food was, as always, delicious and the company was excellent as well. It was fortunate that we weren't far from home, because once the food coma set in, I was very quickly ready to fall asleep.

Saturday found Dan and over at his mother's house with some family to play some games. I have to admit I had some trepidation going in, but I was readily accepted and we had a whole lot of fun. We played Scene It, Apples to Apples, and Taboo, and it was a blast. It was even better since we moved the table out to the deck and we got to enjoy a perfectly beautiful day outside. At about 7:30, it was time to head south to [livejournal.com profile] wyldekyttin's birthday party. Because it was such a beautiful evening, we wound up taking back roads through Crystal Lake down to Randall Road, all the way down to Aurora. It was a very pleasant drive along the western edge of the densest Chicago suburbs. When we got to the Holiday Inn Select Naperville (her party was held in conjunction with Duckon), we hung out for a little while, but as is always so typical, between being tired and having a long drive ahead of us, we had to leave before the party really got going well. It was a pleasure to see so many of our friends, albeit briefly. One nifty thing: On the way out through the parking lot we passed by the Tesla coil demonstration. I thought to grab our camera out of the car and grabbed a quick 30-second video of the powerful electrical arcs, which were set to music:

On Sunday, we met up with Roho and Genet to see Waitress. It was a lovely movie, and I really enjoyed it. Not too deep or profound, but enjoyable nonetheless. Keri Russell was fantastic in her role, Nathan Fillion was adorable as always, and the late director was also very good in her supporting role; it's a crying shame that she passed away before the move was released. After the movie we retired back to our place for a marathon of home improvement shows, including Hometime, The Real Estate Pros, and Flip This House (as well as some Good Eats and Ramsey's Kitchen Nightmares). We ordered some pizza somewhere in there, and mainly just relaxed and hung out. Quite a nice, low-stress day. Right before bed, though, I was contacted with an interesting bit of news that left me a bit gobsmacked and made getting to sleep difficult. Nothing bad, just surprising.

And so we have this week. Looks like I may have to work some off hours this week (and maybe the next few weeks) to support a project here, which is fine. If anything, it's unusual that I haven't been asked to do this before, and it's not as if it's mandatory (the boss is cool like that). We'll work something out.
duncandahusky: (happygolucky)
Sometimes a weekend is so low-key you hardly know it's there until Monday whacks you upside the head with a two-by-four.

We had a nice, relaxing "cat weekend", something that I promised [livejournal.com profile] takaza we'd try to have at least once a month. I'm a go-go-go social butterfly kind of guy, but he needs a weekend to recharge his batteries every so often (and I suppose it doesn't do me any harm either). Dan got to sleep in late both Saturday and Sunday, and we even stayed up far too late on Saturday night (yes, I can stay up later than midnight! So there!).

On Friday we relaxed a bit after work then thought about going out for dinner. We started to leave but looking at the radar and the approaching storm front elected to delay our departure by a half-hour. It's a good thing, too, because a fast-moving storm blew through with torrential rain and 40 mph+ wind gusts. The sky was amazing right after the front went through; Dan took a couple of pictures and e-mailed them off to the local CBS affiliate, who posted both of them to their website! For dinner, Dan wanted to try the Popeye's Restaurant, just because it was something he hadn't had before. One underwhelming meal later, we knew why he hadn't had it before. We won't be returning. After dinner, we decided to stop by the Round Lake Streets of Summer Festival. The rainstorm had taken its toll, and the actual festival attendees were outnumbered by the festival staff and security. It was really pretty sad. We walked through the festival grounds and listened to the increasingly-awful band playing (more volume does not mean better music!) and decided to leave.

On Saturday we had to take my car in to the dealership to have some upholstery checked for a possible warranty repair. That's a whole other rant, though. Afterwards we got a tasty late lunch/early dinner at Scott Dogs. We bummed around the house for a bit, then snuggled up on the sofa and watched Spellbound. I had meant to see this years ago, and I am pleased to report it is every bit as engaging and entertaining as I had heard. What a great movie! Afterwards, we stayed up far too late watching Flip This House.

Sunday we pretty much just bummed around the house before heading out to the week's grocery shopping. Dan made a big pot of a very tasty chicken/rice/chorizo stew which we had for dinner and we'll both be having for lunch for the next few days, then we watched some TiVo before going to bed.

Excitement city, eh? But it was a very enjoyable weekend nonetheless. Oh, and obviously we never did get out to see Waitress. Hopefully it'll still be around next weekend.
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
[livejournal.com profile] takaza and I have been wanting to see Waitress since it was in limited release a few weeks ago. Here's the trailer. It's a light romantic comedy, and it co-stars Nathan Fillion. And even better, it can't be cancelled by the Fox Network in mid-run!

We want to see the movie on Saturday at the Regal Cinemas 18 in Round Lake Beach. We've got two options:
1. See it at 2:25 PM, then go by Garden Fresh Market afterwards and pick up fixings for grilling up a tasty dinner, or
2. See it at 5:00 PM, and go out for dinner someplace afterwards.

So, who's interested, and what time works for you?
duncandahusky: (huskypuppy)
I'll be posting an MFF report of sorts sometime soon - I admit so much of the con was a blur for me, so don't expect anything particularly detailed. There's the annual Registration report coming too, but that may be a week or two.

So what has happened in the meantime? Well, on Tuesday I started my new job. Like a new job at any pharmaceutical company, the first week or so is spent in training and orientation. Boring PowerPoint presentations and then document after document there I'm never going to remember. This coming week I'll hopefully get a computer at my desk and can start in on some of the computer-based training as well. Owing to FDA regulations and company policies there's some fun new restrictions: my cell phone has to stay out in the car during the day, and no food or drink (except water) outside of the cafeteria. But hey - at least there's a cafeteria. It's going to take some getting used to, but it seems like a good and challenging gig. It's still up in the air whether this is a three- or six-month-to-hire gig, but as much as they're paying me hourly, I'm all for stretching out the contract portion of the job as long as possible.

I've worked two days there so far; both times the morning commute has been smooth - about 40-50 minutes in, in clear traffic. On Tuesday, it took me two hours to get home. Wednesday was bad, though - the pre-holiday traffic had the roads choked and traffic completely snarled. I chose the less stroke-inducing option and drive 25 minutes north to Antioch, where I enjoyed some lovely conversation with [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, and [livejournal.com profile] shadowstalkerw followed by a tasty dinner at Las Vegas Restaurant. The downside to all of this is that [livejournal.com profile] takaza, who was supposed to be on vacation until tomorrow, got a frantic call from his boss and went in to work at about 1 PM. I took my leave right after dinner and drove down the now-blissfully-uncrowded interstate to pick up Dan from work; he got out of there at around 9 PM. We indulged his craving for Long John Silver's chicken planks on the way home, so at least he got dinner.

Thanksgiving was quite pleasant; we had a late start but we didn't need to be over at Dan's mom's place until 3 PM. Or so we thought, until we got a call at around 12:30 PM saying the food was ready. Ack! We hustled out the door and drove the hour and twenty minutes to her place, where we enjoyed a HUGE meal of a roasted 14 lb. turkey, stuffing, deviled eggs, mashed potatoes, mashed rutabagas and carrots, sweet potatoes, corn, biscuits and apple pie and ice cream for dessert. All for just the three of us. Um, yeah - that was a heck of a lot of food, but it was all quite delicious! Needless to say, we took home a ton of leftovers. The post- meal digestive torpor was spent watching a bit of TV and poking around on the net on my laptop. With Dan's family, just being together is enough - not a lot of conversation, just spending time around each other. It's radically different from what I grew up with, but it works for them so there's nothing wrong with that.

Friday we didn't do a lot. Dan was feeing under the weather, so we pretty much just stayed in, ate leftovers, and lazed around. It was delightful.

On Saturday I got a bit of clothes shopping done, then we met [livejournal.com profile] siriuswolfstar and [livejournal.com profile] simbalion up in Evanston at The Lucky Platter for a tasty late lunch, followed by a viewing of Casino Royale. I found the movie to be a good 30-45 minutes too long, and I'd give it more of a 70% rating, as opposed to Rotten Tomatoes' 94%. Daniel Craig is some damned nice eye candy, though! More shirtless scenes, dangit!

And today? Well, once Dan wakes up we'll need to fetch his car from his employer so he has a way to get to work tomorrow. And hey, that'll be an excuse to get out and enjoy what is likely to be the last decent day of the season. Hmm, and now to forage through the leftovers for a bit of lunch...
duncandahusky: (huskyface)
Traffic in Chicago on Friday afternoons sucks; traffic on Friday afternoons when it's raining is just downright retarded. This would explain why it took us two hours to get from Mount Prospect to Naperville last Friday afternoon. The trip was worth it, though! We had an OK dinner at Famous Dave's (thereby scratching my yen for BBQ - almost. Now I just want some good BBQ). The company was excellent, though, as we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] wyldekyttin, [livejournal.com profile] foxish, [livejournal.com profile] emrldgirrl, [livejournal.com profile] datahawk, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus. After dinner we headed over to the theater and saw Clerks 2, which was a lot funnier than I expected it to be. Like most of Smith's movies, it's very quotable, and educational, too (hence the title of this post :-)

On Saturday we had a pleasant morning and early afternoon of bumming around the house, then headed out to Sheffield Walk to see Carbon Leaf. That was a heck of a lot more people in too small a space than I was prepared to deal with. The sound mix, alas, was abominable, and between the crowds and incoming rain, Dan and I bailed about halfway through the set. We retreated to Bobtail for tasty ice cream, and were joined there by Linnaeus. Devin and Data picked up Kyttin and met us in Lincoln Square, but we eventually opted to adjourn back to Linnaeus' place for dinner from the taquiera on the corner nearby. Dinner was yummy, and it's always fun to hang out with friends.

Sunday found us driving up to McHenry County to visit with Dan's mom. Her Tivo wasn't connecting and we suspected we knew the problem but had to be there to fix it. Sure enough, the Netgear wireless router had somehow completely reset itself; fixing it was a two-minute thing, very simple. We got a delicious lunch out of the deal, though, and a nice afternoon of familial socializing. We headed home and lazed around the house for the rest of the evening, watching a little more Tivo.

And here we are at today. Ever since Friday, I've had a pain in my right ear that has gotten worse and worse. I suspected I knew the problem, and I just got back from the doctor who confirmed it: Otitis Externa, or Swimmer's Ear. A round of levofloxacin (a relative of Cipro) should take care of it, and the Tylenol with codeine to help the pain at night won't hurt either :-) Having taken care of that, I'm off in a few minutes to pick up Dan and then we'll wander our way down to Lombard to celebrate [livejournal.com profile] rustitobuck's birthday. Yay!

Oh, and for locals: if you haven't seen it, there's a coffee get-together in the city on Wednesday!

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