duncandahusky: (huskypuppy)

Originally published at Tom Brady's Blog. You can comment here or there.

Last night we put the call out to the interwebs: “We’ll be at Walt Disney World Dec. 1-4. For you Disney fans: If there’s one thing you think we must do/see while we’re there, what is it?” We got a lot of fantastic suggestions, including (links added for future reference):

That seems like a good list to start with, but if anyone else has further suggestions, we’d welcome them! Additionally, our travel agent, TC, suggested a great book Birnbaum’s Walt Disney World 2012. Dan picked this up on iBooks last night and it looks like it has a ton of useful info.

(Side note to anyone who has ever accused me of overplanning our vacations: After looking at some of the Disney websites, reviews, and guides, I have to say that these people make me look positively relaxed and easygoing! :-)

duncandahusky: (Tom and Dan)
It’s that time again! No, it’s not time to butter the cats, it’s time to talk about travel. In past years we’ve made some amazing trips: Napa Valley, Pacific Northwest, Montreal, and Alaska. For 2012, we’re planning an awesome extended weekend and we would like to invite our friends to join us. We’re going to NEW ORLEANS!

Plans are still being worked out, but the idea right now is that the trip would be from March 1, 2012 through March 6, 2012. We would fly into New Orleans on the evening of Thursday, March 1, and fly out the afternoon/evening of Tuesday, March 6. We will be staying in a hotel in downtown New Orleans. We’re going to try to incorporate some of the things that everyone loved about cruising into this trip. This means that while we’re all staying in the same place, meals and activities will be on an a la carte basis - if you want to join the group, great! If you want to go off an do your own thing, that’s great too.

Plans for the trip are still rather vague right now, but will be nailed down as time goes on. You can be certain that we’re going to be eating a lot of really good food and enjoying some tasty booze. We will probably have a couple of native guides (including Genet’s brother, an officer with New Orleans Police Department), and will have the opportunity to see parts of the city and its surroundings that your average tourist doesn’t get to see.

The nice thing about the a la carte approach is that you can RSVP as long as airfare and hotel rooms are available - we’re keeping things flexible! We will need to know who's going with us, though, so we can possibly negotiate for group discounts and such.

So now it’s your turn: Are you interested in joining us? Leave a comment here or contact us by other means and we’ll add you to the list of interested folks!
duncandahusky: (License)
Ever reach the point where you have to capture previous adventures before starting in on new adventures? Yeah, that's kind of what it's like here.

On the Friday before Labor Day, we packed up my car with our stuff, Buddy's bed, and Buddy, and off we went. It was the Friday afternoon of a summer holiday weekend in Chicago, how bad could traffic be? It turns out that traffic was appalling. Horrible. Wretched. It took us three hours just to reach Indiana, and even that was only because of a detour through the middle of nowhere Illinois/Indiana and down through Lowell, IN to avoid the craziness of I-80/94.

Once we were past the worst of the traffic it was pretty much smooth sailing, except for the fact that for all that Buddy enjoys short rides in the car, long rides are an adventure in anxiety. We finally wound up dosing him with ace-pro, but that didn't really make him sleep. He instead just lay between the front seats, head drooping, trembling slightly less than usual. Poor guy. Anyway, we got to [livejournal.com profile] fordshepherd and [livejournal.com profile] baja_hyena's place in Columbus a little before 1 AM and crashed not long after. We arrived at the same time as [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, and [livejournal.com profile] r_bear had flown in earlier in the day.

Saturday morning came way too early. We chatted the morning away (accompanied by very tasty lattes from Baja) and then it was time for the big Labor Day bash. And a party it was, with lots of great folks, great food, and a whole lot of drink. The highlight was [livejournal.com profile] kwik's monster slushie machine, which was loaded up with tasty strawberry daiquiris and a homemade frozen bloody Mary that really snuck up on you. A great party all in all, and we had a blast.

Sunday was a little more laid back. We made our annual trip to North Market where I picked up a few items for dinner, had lunch (mmm, banh mi), and then headed north on High St. up to Denise's Ice Cream, which proved to be quite excellent. For dinner, Ford and I collaborated. He made roasted pork and creamed spinach, and I made potatoes roasted with duck fat. A great meal, and excellent company.

We went out for a tasty brunch on Monday, then it was time to hit the road. The drive back was uneventful, and we determined that while the ace-pro still didn't knock Buddy out, he's much happier when we're moving and not stuck in stop-and-go traffic. We got home at around 7 PM and had time to relax before crashing for the night.

Not too much of note has happened since then. We enjoyed a lovely meal with Roho and Genet last Friday, helped Dan's mom move on Saturday, and had a very productive Midwest FurFest staff meeting on Sunday. This week has been dragging by as we get ready to leave on Thursday afternoon for our big annual group trip: Montreal, Quebec!

We're flying out from Milwaukee to Burlington, Vermont. We're staying at a rental house that is part of the Fiddler Lake Resort property, which is far enough out of Montreal to be rural, but close enough for day-trips. We'll have twelve people in total, which has introduced some interesting logistics, though nothing that we haven't been able to handle. I've put together some fun itineraries, but I hope to take a laid-back approach . we have twelve people and four cars, so if someone wants to stay behind or strike off on their own, mazel tov! (as long as we're not left with more people than will fit in cars) I'm hoping for a fun, relaxing trip. We're flying home on Tuesday. It's all too short a trip, but it's what we had time and money for this year.

So much to do before leaving tomorrow afternoon! Yikes!
duncandahusky: (License)
Busy times, my friends!

On Friday we sped out from work, threw everything we'd packed into the car, and high-tailed it to Milwaukee to catch the Lake Express Ferry. We stopped for a quick bite at Subway and got to the dock right at 6 PM, just in time to be one of the last cars there for the 7 PM sailing. The ferry was just coming in through the breakwater, and [livejournal.com profile] takaza was able to get some nice photos of it approaching the dock.

Dan walked on with the other passengers while I drove the car onto the ferry (one person per vehicle), then I met up with him in the main passenger cabin. Think a whole bunch of airline-style seats (though not nearly as uncomfortable) with narrow tables between them and that's what the main cabin is like. There was a "Premiere Class" cabin available as well, but at $15 per person for a 2.5 hour trip, it just didn't seem worth it, and in hindsight that was a good choice. They showed a movie during the crossing (some horrible Miley Cyrus flick) that we ignored. Premiere class would have gotten us "Iron Man 2", but we were OK without a movie.

We got some snacks from the snack bar (overpriced and meh, as expected, but not egregiously so) and passed the time taking pictures of the receding Wisconsin coastline, hanging out on the very windy deck (we were traveling at 40+ mph, so that generates quite a wind), and generally goofing around on our iPod (me)/iPad (Dan). (Full album of photos here)

We left Milwaukee just ahead of a line of nasty storms, and they never really impacted us on the trip. I'd guess the seas were never over about 1-2 feet - enough rocking that you want to keep a grip on a railing as you walk around the deck. As the sun set, we passed within maybe a half-mile of a huge ship that was carrying perhaps coal or iron ore to Indiana. I thought it odd that in the vast expanse of Lake Michigan we would come that close to another ship - just an accident of navigation, I suppose. When we arrived at Muskegon, Michigan, we first passed through a narrow passage into Lake Muskegon. It was a warm and humid night, but the wind made being on deck comfortable, and watching the various small boats approach the ferry with cries of "hello!" and escorting us into Muskegon was charming and a perfect cap to an enjoyable trip.

Was the ferry trip worth the nearly-$300 for a one-way crossing with two people and one car? I would have to say yes. I'd say it's worth $100 alone to avoid the hassle of late-summer Friday afternoon Chicago/Northern Indiana traffic. Throw in another $100 apiece for a novel and fun experience, and it all works out. I'm not sure we'd do it again (the sailing schedule is somewhat difficult, and Muskegon is inconventient to anywhere we want to go in Michigan), but I'm glad to took the trip.

Once back on shore, we drove about 50 minutes to Grand Rapids and spent the night at a Springhill Suites. The next morning, we continued on down to Ypsilanti, where we met up with Nik, Gir, and Dusk (the latter visiting from Virginia). A tasty lunch followed, then an FCN staff meeting. They've got an awesome convention planned for this year, and I think everyone is going to like their theme and awesome guests of honor. After the meeting, we ordered pizza and Chinese, and hung out and chatted with the excellent Michigan folks. It was a real pleasure to talk with Keet and Raeth some more, and it's always good to chat with Eddi, Cadyr, Ed Hyena, and the rest of the FCN staff.

We crashed for the night at a Courtyard in Ann Arbor (10 minutes away) and then had a lovely brunch on Sunday with Gir and Dusk at Zingerman's Roadhouse (mmm, eggs Benedict). Then it was a six+ hour drive home, where we picked up Buddy from Dan's mom's, stopped by the grocery store, and collapsed back at home. So, not a lot of time in Michigan, but we had fun. I think next time we may try Amtrak, which would also be a fun trip (and much more affordable!).
duncandahusky: (Ky00t Duncan)
OK, I seem to be backsliding in my journal entries. Something to work on, I reckon. In the meantime, here is yet another bulleted list of what's been going on since my last entry.
This got a little long. Click to catch up! )

So there you have it - all caught up! We were woken up at 4:15 AM this morning by a nasty thunderstorm rolling through, followed quickly by a trembling dog attempting to climb into bed with us. I'm running slightly sleep-deprived today, but not too badly. We've got a busy week coming up, and some fun travel this weekend. I'm looking forward to it!
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
So, what have I been up to these last few weeks (besides, you know, answering questions)?

Well, back on January 17th we had the first staff meeting of the year for Midwest FurFest. Time to start it all over again! It was a good meeting, recapping some of last year's activities, and including a walk-through of the new hotel space. We've got a lot of big plans, but it's going to take some time to bring everything to fruition. I've got some items for the website that I need to take care of, and I need to get some information posted. That'll come this week, I hope.

On January 23rd we braved some freakishly dense fog to visit [livejournal.com profile] aureth and [livejournal.com profile] jenwolf's lovely place in Hebron. Excellent company, some very tasty beer, and entertaining games followed. The next day I finished up my taxes and arrived at some very happy numbers (yay for first-time homebuyer's tax credit, boo for not being able to e-file if you claim that credit!).

That week kicked off what may be my most stressful week at work since I started with $employer, and it's been pretty crazy ever since. This has really put a damper on my time that I would be able to post to this journal, or even to think about posting anything since when I get home from work I just want to de-stress. Unfortunately, this trend will continue at least until the end of February, though I'm hoping that things will ease off a bit after that. It's all but certain that I'll be working Saturdays for the rest of the month, though.

At the end of January I squeaked out of work on Friday the 29th and [livejournal.com profile] takaza gave me a ride down to O'Hare Airport, where I caught a flight to Columbus to spend the weekend hanging out with [livejournal.com profile] fordshepherd. The ostensible purpose of the trip was to give him a weekend to relax and not stress, but we all know the futility of this - it would be like someone wanting to do the same for me :-) Anyway, it was a delightful weekend, with dinners with [livejournal.com profile] roby_panther and [livejournal.com profile] kai_darkwolf, cooking up a storm (and a lot of smoke) with crappy recipes from Jamie Oliver, and generally just hanging out and chatting. I had an excellent time!

This brings me up to this past weekend. On Saturday, Dan's mom and sister joined us, along with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet for a joint early-birthday celebration for me and Dan's sister. We had a delicious turkey dinner, and I made a butternut squash risotto that turned out really well. Afterward we watched "Julie & Julie", which is a really fun movie. Last night we took all those leftovers (along with a freshly-made bread pudding) to Genet and Roho's place where they hosted a Super Bowl party. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, Aureth, and Jenne. We had a whole lot of fun and I really enjoyed the game. The couple of beers I had didn't sit well with me, though, and as expected I had reflux issues all night long. I'm dragging a bit right now with the combined lack of sleep and lack of caffeine, since I can't face the acid of coffee right now. Maybe a soda before I head off to work...

Speaking of which, time to shower. Hope everyone has a great day!
duncandahusky: (License)
So work has been eating my brain lately, but the good news is that one way or another it all wraps up by 2:30 this afternoon, which is when I have to go.

We're flying out of Milwaukee this evening at a little after 5 PM - hopefully just before the worst of the snow and ugliness that's coming. We're flying down to Atlanta, spending the night,t hen tomorrow driving up to spend Christmas with my family in exciting Anderson, SC. We'll be there until Sunday, and will be flying home Sunday night.

And next week? More work, then it'll be time for last-minute Wuffmeet preparations! But that's next week. Now, I just need to concentrate on surviving the next six hours...
duncandahusky: (Default)

Originally published at Tom Brady's Blog. Please leave any comments there.

And now, the final installment!

We started the day with Takaza making some extremely tasty breakfast burritos. Since we weren’t on any schedule, we didn’t actually get everyone motivated until around noon. Linnaeus, Aeto, Mirko, and Roho elected to rent sea kayaks for the afternoon and cruise around Bellingham Bay. Takaza and Genet elected to stay at the house and relax for a bit.

Frysco and I decided to tour some of Bellingham. We walked around the Fairhaven neighborhood for a while and got a quick snack.

We walked down to the Alaska Ferry Terminal, where the ferries leave weekly for Ketchikan, Juneau, and points north, as well as to the Orcas Islands and Victoria. It was amusing to see the Homeland Security guys hanging around the sleepy little terminal – yes, they get international traffic, but only occasionally.

Eventually, everyone in the group met up at a local Fred Meyer where we did a little grocery shopping. While everyone else went off to Boundary Bay Brewery to sample their wares, Takaza and I headed back to the cabin to relax a bit and get a start on dinner. Dinner was grilled burgers and hot dogs with potatoes grilled in foil with garlic and rosemary. Afterwards we played a fun game of Say Anything, then wound down the evening chatting and reading.

After a delicious breakfast of French toast casserole made by Genet, we piled everyone into two cars and it was off we went up the Mount Baker Highway. The town of Glacier, where we were staying, is the last civilization on the Mount Baker Highway before you enter Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. From there, it’s approximately a 20-mile drive to the end of the highway, up in the mountains. We headed east but before we got into the mountainous heights, we stopped at Nooksack Falls.

These beautiful 88-foot falls made a nice backdrop for exploration of the area and some fun pictures. Takaza played with time lapse photography a bit and took some nice shots of the river, including two of Linnaeus and me over 10 seconds where the rushing river behind us looks like smoke.

After the falls it was time to continue east into some of most enjoyable mountain driving I’ve done since I was in Europe. We drove up to Artist Point, the very end of Mount Baker Highway. At 5,100 feet above sea level, we were treated to beautiful views in all directions, and a nice break from the heat of the valley.

We goofed around on the snow a bit (the road had been plowed to make Artist Point accessible only three weeks prior) and admired the view for a bit, then it was back down the mountain we went. I was driving pretty conservatively, but once I realized that the weird smell I was smelling was our car’s brakes, I decided to take things a bit faster (sorry to my passengers!). I had fun, though.

After a brief stop at the cabin where we made a fine lunch of the previous evening’s leftovers, it was back into the cars for a trip back to Bellingham. We walked around Fairhaven a bit more, bought some fun tschochkes, and then had one final dinner together before Aeto and Frysco drove back to Seattle and Vancouver, respectively. The rest of us drove back to the cabin one last time and spent the evening packing, then chatting and relaxing before heading off to bed.

On our final day we loaded up everyone into the cars, cleaned the cabin as required by the (many) signs posted there, and locked up the place. After dropping off the keys, it was back to Vancouver International Airport via the Peace Arch crossing in Blaine. It was uneventful, and we made it to the airport with plenty of time to spare. After clearing customs, we had time to grab a quick bite to eat before it was onto the plane for the flight home. Our flight caught some good tailwinds, and although we left on time we got to O’Hare about an hour early. After bidding farewell to Linnaeus and Mirko, Takaza and I caught a ride home with Roho and Genet, where we promptly collapsed.

So there you have it! The Great Pacific Northwest Trip of 2009. It was a fantastic trip, and I really had a great time. You know you’re doing something right when you’re on vacation and you can’t quite remember what day it is, and you don’t really care, either :-) We’re already making plans for next year, when we invade Canada once again to explore Montreal!

duncandahusky: (Husky Sign)
And now, the final installment!

Sunday, August 2: Kayaking and Touristing )
Monday, August 3: From Baker to the Bay )
Tuesday, August 4: Home Again, Home Again, Jiggety Jig )
So there you have it! The Great Pacific Northwest Trip of 2009. It was a fantastic trip, and I really had a great time. You know you're doing something right when you're on vacation and you can't quite remember what day it is, and you don't really care, either :-) We're already making plans for next year, when we invade Canada once again to explore Montreal!
duncandahusky: (Default)

Originally published at Tom Brady's Blog. Please leave any comments there.

Right, so we’re picking up the story on Saturday, August 1. genet started us off with some excellent made-to-order breakfast sandwiches which were quite tasty. Once we got everyone fed, showered, and ready to go, we piled into two cars and drove…all of five minutes away. The good news is that it was to Wild and Scenic River Tours!

Genet has posted the pictures from this trip, and has done a great job captioning them. I’ll be linking to various pictures as we go, but here’s the whole gallery.

After some in depth research (read: intensive googling), we found that some of the best whitewater rafting to be found in the area was right around the corner from the cabin we were renting, on the Nooksack River. That section includes Class II and Class III rapids, so that seemed to be about the right speed for our group. We were booked for a 4-hour trip, with a nice lunch provided right on the river bank. Alas, kodi_pup was supposed to join us but had to bow out at the last minute due to work obligations. We missed him!

When we showed up we were introduced to Tyler, who owns Wild and Scenic. He struck me as a capable, laid back guy who loved what he was doing (and was a sharp businessman, too). They got us outfitted with wetsuits (necessary, since the water was mostly runoff from glaciers, and averaged about 45 degrees F), which fit with varying degrees of comfort, and helmets. We lined up for a group picture, then piled into the bus, which was, um, yeah. It got us there, anyway :-)

When we reached the put-in we stood around for about 20-30 minutes as Tyler explained the equipment and basic safety procedures, including the Three Important Rules:
1. Stay in the boat.
2. Stay in the boat.
3. Don’t get out of the boat.
Of course he also reviewed what to do should you accidentally forget these three rules, too. For all that there was a lot of joking around, I really got the feeling these folks knew what we were doing and we were in good hands.

After all the explanations it was down to the boats. Takaza, Mirko, and I were in one boat with three other folks we didn’t know; Linnaeus, Roho, Genet, Aeto, and Frysco were in the other boat. They had one of their crew in an inflatable kayak running ahead of us as we went downstream; his job was to take pictures and video of our trip. Once we pushed off, we were in the thick of the rapids almost immediately. We bumped hard into a rock that sent me pitching across the raft into Takaza’s lap and almost shoving him out of the boat, but we recovered.

The rafting experience was amazing. There was more paddling than I expected, but it was usually in quick bursts. The guide in our boat would read the currents and direct us to row forward, back, right, or left so that we would be in the proper position to navigate through the rapids and avoid the worst of the obstacles – boulder, trees, sand bars, etc. Once we got the hang of paddling and anticipating the bumps and dips, it was quite an exhilarating ride.

We took a break by putting into an area out of the current and several of the Wild and Scenic crew jumped off a huge boulder into the frigid water. Linnaeus, Aeto, and Roho were nuts and took the plunge as well. Takaza and I opted not to :-)

Then it was back to the rapids, and these were a bit more intense. Unfortunately, Genet became preoccupied and forgot the Three Important Rules and got bounced out of the raft. That set up a minor rescue operation where she unfortunately got dragged across the rocks a bit and got rather bruised and numb from the cold water. Fortunately, they get her back in the boat and we continued down the river.

We pulled up on a sand bar not long after and the third boat (with the Wild and Scenic staff in it) broke out the supplies they had brought: drinks, salmon and cream cheese, and deli sandwiches. We relaxed a bit and the warm sun took some of the chill off. The group got to see some fossils that had been found along the river, as well. After a bit, it was back onto the rafts, but this portion of the trip was much more sedate – mainly just a brisk trip down the river with minimal rapids but some really impressive scenery along the way. The trip was over too soon.

One of the more amusing things about the whole excursion was the staff. The fellow in the kayak was pretty funny and enjoyed showing off (the comment was made that he worked maybe 10% of the trip and got to screw around the other 90%); one of the more memorable fellows was a heavily-tattooed guy who was quite friendly and funny to talk to. Whenever we were along the road (mainly when putting in and taking the boats out), he would shout at passing cars, “RAFTING! RAFTING! RAFTING! WHY AREN’T YOU RAFTING?” As we rode back to our cars, we asked him if that form of advertising ever brought in anyone. His response was something like, “Well, not that I know of. But if someone did come in based on that, we know we’d get along with them!”

After the rafting trip we relaxed a bit back at the cabin and tried out the hot tub, which was judged to be quite acceptable. Then Aeto, Frysco, Linnaeus, Mirko, Roho, and I drove down the road a bit to Deming to find one of the important local venues I’d read about: The North Fork Brewery, Pizzeria, Beer Shrine and Wedding Chapel. There we sampled some of their beers (verdict: not bad, but they’re no Sailor Hagar’s), got some munchies, and chatted a bit. It was a nice way to relax after a strenuous afternoon.

Once we got back to the cabin, it was my turn for dinner: grilled Asian-marinated pork tenderloin, grilled asparagus with rosemary, lemon, and goat cheese, and grilled corn on the cob. It was quite tasty, and really capped an excellent day.

Still to come: Kayaking, Mountains, and the Wrap-Up

duncandahusky: (Mmmm...beer)
Right, so we're picking up the story on Saturday, August 1. [livejournal.com profile] genet started us off with some excellent made-to-order breakfast sandwiches which were quite tasty. Once we got everyone fed, showered, and ready to go, we piled into two cars and drove...all of five minutes away. The good news is that it was to Wild and Scenic River Tours!

Why aren't you rafting? )

After the rafting trip we relaxed a bit back at the cabin and tried out the hot tub, which was judged to be quite acceptable. Then Aeto, Frysco, Linnaeus, Mirko, Roho, and I drove down the road a bit to Deming to find one of the important local venues I'd read about: The North Fork Brewery, Pizzeria, Beer Shrine and Wedding Chapel. There we sampled some of their beers (verdict: not bad, but they're no Sailor Hagar's), got some munchies, and chatted a bit. It was a nice way to relax after a strenuous afternoon.

Once we got back to the cabin, it was my turn for dinner: grilled Asian-marinated pork tenderloin, grilled asparagus with rosemary, lemon, and goat cheese, and grilled corn on the cob. It was quite tasty, and really capped an excellent day.

Still to come: Kayaking, Mountains, and the Wrap-Up


Aug. 4th, 2009 10:02 pm
duncandahusky: (huskypuppy)
We're home, returned from celebrating [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus's birthday in glorious Vancouver, BC and Washington state. So much to write about, but that will have to wait - once the house has cooled down, we're off to bed.
duncandahusky: (License)
Holy cow, where did the week go? Things have been crazy for me at work all week, which leaves little time to update (write stuff at home? why would I do that? :-)

Anyway, as [livejournal.com profile] takaza mentioned, we went to Pittsburgh last weekend. Short version: good trip, useful stuff accomplished, things are on track for July.

Click here for the long version )

I was sad that we had to miss Furp's funeral last weekend, but we were unfortunately stuck with nonrefundable tickets to Pittsburgh. I'm glad that we were able to call in and share a virtual toast with those who were back in Wisconsin, at least. Speaking of regrets, this weekend is the Dorsai Thing; we had hoped to attend, but lack of funds is a bit of barrier, as is the knife skills class I have on Sunday morning. I look forward to seeing many of our DI friends at Furry Connection North next month, though.
duncandahusky: (Wagging Husky)
So as I mentioned, we got our new sofa last weekend. We had to give it a good workout, so we invited folks over to hang out both Saturday and Sunday, being graced by the presence of [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, and [livejournal.com profile] steviemaxwell. We watched some TiVo, took part in the Midwest FurFest online staff meeting, and ordered pizza. It was a good, low-stress weekend.

It looks like we're going to do a little shopping at Ikea tonight (yes, [livejournal.com profile] girtygrin, I agree with pretty much everything you said :-) We need to pick up an overhead light for the living room and also see if we can find a narrow-ish (12" wide) end table, or something that can serve as such. [livejournal.com profile] genet will be joining us for dinner tomorrow, and Thursday night we'll be doing laundry and packing because on Friday evening after work we fly out to Pittsburgh. We're going to help a little at the Anthrocon storage locker, meet with the DLCC about plans for the coming year, and generally make sure everything is shaping up well as we plan for the coming Anthrocon. We're flying back Sunday evening.

Not too much else to talk about today, though I did want to mention that I came across a great webcomic called Paradigm Shift, a Chicago-based police/paranormal comic. I'm extremely impressed with the artwork; the artist plainly is local and works from either photographs or by standing right at the locations. I especially enjoy stuff like the last panel on this page - I know that Citgo! It's at the corner of Addison and Halsted, and I've watched the Chicago Pride parade while standing on that corner. And it's fun to know that the first panel on this page is the view from the Chinatown El station. Now, if only I could figure out where that Ravenswood location is...
duncandahusky: (License)
As I mentioned last week, we were off to Supercon in Rochester, Minnesota last weekend. Joining [livejournal.com profile] takaza and me were [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus.

Road trips, tire blowouts, time with friends - this weekend had it all! )
It was a very enjoyable weekend! I'd been itching for a road trip lately, and this certainly qualified. I enjoyed our excellent company, and I hope that someday soon poor Roho can unfold himself from the pretzel he was stuck in from having to ride in the back seat.

I'm dragging a bit this afternoon, which I suppose isn't too surprising. This should be a fun week since Dan has informed me that we're doing stuff Wednesday and Friday nights (and possibly the weekend?), though he hasn't told me what. It'll be enjoyable no matter what, though!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Just one more day until Friday!

This has been a pretty slow week, both at work and at home. About the most exciting thing we did last night was watch the Good Eats episode about oranges (and that orange sherbet looked tasty!).

I'm looking forward to tomorrow, though! After work, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I are picking up a rental minivan and meeting up with [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, [livejournal.com profile] roho, and [livejournal.com profile] genet, then it's off to Rochester, Minnesota. We're heading up there for Supercon, a relaxacon that [livejournal.com profile] uberhill and [livejournal.com profile] kellicjtiger talked us into. It should be a fun trip, and I'm hoping to see a part of the country I've not traveled before (though I've flown to MSP more than once, I've never driven further north than Madison, WI). I'm looking forward to seeing [livejournal.com profile] foxfeather and [livejournal.com profile] mbala while we're up there, as well!

Next week will be interesting as well. Um, I think. Dan won't really tell me :-) I know that he has more than one thing planned for my upcoming birthday, but what those might be will be a surprise. In other upcoming social plans, the weekend of the 21st will include a visit to Capricon at the Westin Chicago North Shore to see how they're making use of the space there. And the last weekend of the month we'll be flying to glorious Pittsburgh to deal with some Anthrocon business.

I've got a few things on my to-do list that I'd like to get wrapped up by next week as well, including a rewrite of the Anthrocon Artists Alley rules and working out some interesting plans for this summer. More immediately, though, I need to go to the grocery store after work and pick up stuff for dinner, since Dan's mom is coming over. Oh, and we need to do laundry and pack tonight too. Whee!
duncandahusky: (happygolucky)
And we're back! [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I spent the last few days down in St. Louis visiting with my parents and my sister's family. We had a very enjoyable time, and Christmas was lovely. We visited Soulard Market (though many vendors were closed for the holidays) and got lost (willingly) in downtown St. Louis. Mostly, though, it was just fun to spend time with the family.

The trip down was a bit unpleasant, as we were leaving Chicago in the throes of a snowstorm. Things were much better after we got south of Joliet, but the 40 mph crosswinds between Bloomington and St. Louis made driving difficult. The drive back was a lot more pleasant, though. We detoured into Alton, Illinois on a quest to find Pietown Stompin' Grounds (visited by Alton Brown in Feasting on Asphalt 2: The River Run) only to find that it was completely closed and out of business - but the website is still up? Bah. We instead stopped for breakfast at Forgettable Family Restaurant #2,341 and then hit the road north. We detoured onto I-39 from Bloomington and came across the nifty wind farm near Mendota, Illinois. Dan took a bunch of pictures - for some reason, I found the sight fascinating.

And here we are in a new, but short, week. Dan has gone off to work; he works today and tomorrow, while I don't have to go back until next Monday. Hooray! I shan't be idle today, though. We have a ton of preparations for our New Year's festivities, starting with a huge shopping trip this morning. I'm making four pans of lasagna, and Dan will be cooking up about twenty pounds of chicken tonight. We've got a bunch of other cooking to do, so we'll be busy today and tomorrow. After that, it's off to party!
duncandahusky: (License)
Hitting the road to St. Louis momentarily. Though net connectivity may be spotty for the next few days, I'll likely be Twittering (Just not here. You're welcome ;-)
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: (It's BACON!)
Last night we got [livejournal.com profile] takaza's car packed (stuffed to the gills, actually - we had to remove the back seats of his Element. Three cash registers take up a lot of space!) and it's parked in the garage. I dropped him off at the train station this morning, so all I need to do when I leave here at 2 PM is go home and toss a few final things into his car (like my laptop). I pick him up from work at 3 PM and then we're off! We're driving as far as Independence, OH tonight, then we'll be arriving in Pittsburgh at around noon tomorrow.

All that's left now if for me to try to be productive until 2 PM. Yeah, wish me luck on that.

To distract and amuse myself, I give you...links!
All You Can Eat Bacon? It's a heart attack waiting to happen and yet heavenly at the same time! Sounds like a fun place to visit in Chicago, though.

You know what the world needs? It needs a bacon cheeseburger sausage!

Keeping with the theme, there's something to be said for "bacon textiles" - it's delicious!

OK, enough with the bacon. Let's talk about Monopoly + nukes.

Finally, because Anthrocon is so much on my mind, I'll point out the handy Official Anthrocon Map to those who will be attending. I just added a couple of interesting nearby restaurants yesterday (as recommended by roadfood.com!). [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, if you get some time, you might want to check out Robert Wholey & Co., located only a few blocks from the hotel towards the Strip District - it looks like an interesting food market with great seafood dishes. Heck, if I'm free I want to go with you! If I get a chance, I also wouldn't mind going to DeLuca's ("best breakfast in Pittsburgh").

Four hours to go! Time to look busy...

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