duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Now the The Month From Hell is over, I can finally come up for air.

The last few weeks have featured a whole lot of early mornings, late nights, and working weekends. I'm looking forward to having a little more normalcy in our lives now.

Saturday sucked - I was at work from 8:30 until 4:45 PM putting the finishing touches on the final report for the project at work. Nothing like having your boss, his boss, and HIS boss keeping an eye on your work as you're writing the report. I got a nice round of kudos once it was done, though, so that was nice.

Yesterday was a real hoot. [livejournal.com profile] takaza, [livejournal.com profile] rustitobuck, and [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus took part in the Fox Lake Polar Plunge, a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. I posted a sample of the pictures I took on Facebook, and you can see the full album here. Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] roho, [livejournal.com profile] genet, [livejournal.com profile] rolliebear, and RJ for showing up and providing moral support. After the event we went home and the swimmers showered, then we got some lunch. Roho and Genet had to take off, but the rest of the folks hung out at our place for the afternoon, chatting. It was a lovely way to spend the day! After folks left we watched The Amazing Race. I have to say that I'm really liking the cowboys - they're smart, they play the game well, and they've got a great sense of humor. As for who will be gone next, my money is on either the detectives or the brothers.

So it's a new month, and I'm looking forward to working on some new personal projects. I have some MFF work to take care of this week, and we need to get the builders into our house to take care of some warranty work. We're working on possibly adopting a pair of adorable dogs, but the shelter is being amazingly picky about things and we may get turned down, though I'm still not sure why. I'll be calling them today and figuring out what's going on. Also, we've got some planning to do on our fall trip and Memorial Day festivities as well. Oh yeah, and there's this Anthrocon thing I need to start planning for...
duncandahusky: (huskyface)
I am still here, and still reading LiveJournal. This has been the month from hell due to some ferocious deadlines at work. The good news is that we're in the home stretch, but the next few days (and part of Saturday, too) will be long and tedious. I've got a lot to talk about, including some potential exciting news on the home front, but that will probably have to wait for this weekend.

Now, I'm off to bed. Tomorrow promises to be another 12+ hour 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: (Erf?)
12 hours at work yesterday, 11 hours the day before, and working most of the day last Saturday. The best thing to say is that we're just about done with the equipment testing and that I will not have to work this weekend. It's mighty draining, though.

As you may have seen on Twitter, we got a call on Monday from our real estate agent. We're supposed to close on the new place August 7th, but there's a snag - the house appraised for about $20,000 less than the selling price, which means that the bank will only finance the appraised amount. Our lawyer is talking with their lawyer, and one of three things will happen: They'll walk away from the deal (most likely, though we know the seller is relocating and in a rush), they'll try to meet us in the middle (no luck there, since we don't have that much cash on hand), or they'll agree to the appraised amount (yeah, I doubt it). No word yet from the lawyers, but hopefully we'll have something today. We're already researching new properties to look at, and the good news is that we've got a place to live at least through November or December.

Oh, and just to add to the fun: yesterday morning while we were getting ready for work, [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I saw a quick brown flash along the baseboards - yep, we had a mouse in the house. One quick trip to Ace Hardware later and a few traps spread around, that is an ex-mouse. It is passed on, is no more, has ceased to be...well, you get the picture. I'm certain that was an isolated incident, but just in case we're leaving a few traps down in case he had any buddies along with him.
duncandahusky: (It's BACON!)
Great googly moogly, it's been a crazy seven days!

After work on Friday [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet came down and we grilled up some burgers and brats and celebrated the end of the week with a very tasty drink that included mango juice, pineapple rum, and Cointreau.

On Saturday I drove down to LAFF Softball while [livejournal.com profile] takaza worked on Anthrocon finance stuff. I had a great time hanging out with friends and generally socializing. After the game [livejournal.com profile] ramalion and I came back home to de-grungify, then Dan, Rama, and I met up with [livejournal.com profile] justincheetah and [livejournal.com profile] calapurr for dinner at Cooper's Hawk Restaurant and Winery, which is located right in front of the Westin Chicago North Shore (MFF's hotel).

We had a very tasty meal at Cooper's Hawk; not quite the level of Tramonto's Steak and Seafood, but better than Claimjumper. The price point is about the same as Claimjumper, too. I had the bacon-wrapped scallops, which came with a yummy mac and cheese and a fabulous mango salsa. I also found the wine to be surprisingly good - Cheetah and I ordered the "Red Wine Flight" ($12.95), 2 oz. pours of four of their popular red wines. Three were good, but their cabernet sauvignon, while OK, had some VERY non-cabernet flavors going on. When our waitress asked what we thought of the wines, I was candid in my appraisal. She surprised me with a sample of the cabernet sauvignon reserve, which I found to be excellent. She then brought Cheetah, Cala, and I samples of the oak-aged cabernet sauvignon (also gratis), but the reserve was by far the best of the night. The only downside of the place is that at peak times (like, say, on a Saturday night at 8:30 PM), it is extremely loud and crowded. Overall, though, it was a great meal and I look forward to going back. It will be a great addition to the Midwest FurFest Restaurant Guide, too.

On Sunday, we relaxed for most of the day and worked on Anthrocon stuff. In the evening we had the online Midwest FurFest staff meeting, where we covered a lot of useful topics. It's coming up on Labor Day weekend, the point where people start to realize, "Oh crap! We have a convention to put on in less than three months!" and things really move into high gear.

Then came the work week. I had not one, but two projects moving into high gear this week. Both projects have involved a lot of time out on the production floor, and by the end of each day I've been exhausted. Today was a little different, since I spent most of the day in a mandated technical writing class, one of two. It was...yeah. As I observed to one cow-orker, "This is not the most productive use of my time that I can think of." Tomorrow it's back to the grind to wrap up one project and figure out some snags with the other. I'm looking forward to drowning my sorrows in Mongolian BBQ and good company tomorrow night, though!
duncandahusky: (Husky Sign)
Whoa. Been kind of quiet around here.

Work has been busy, and between that and Midwest FurFest planning I haven't had too much to write about here.

Last week was [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus' birthday. We celebrated this by going out to one of our favorite restaurants in Chicago, Heaven on Seven. We carpooled down with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet; Roho was kind enough to brave the horrid Friday traffic. the company made the time pass quickly, though, and we got there with time to spare. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] simbalion, [livejournal.com profile] siriuswolfstar, and [livejournal.com profile] rustitobuck, and we had a very good meal. Not as awesome as usual (the halibut was only so-so, and the beef tips were served with an unfortunate Worcestershire-based sauce that was very like A-1 Steak Sauce), but the company and the very tasty drinks made up for it.

On Saturday I was up far too early to go in to work. We had some testing that needed to be done when the plant was not in production, and this was one of the few weekends we could do it. I got in at about 7:30 AM; by 9:30 AM the engineer we were working with had determined that the database he had prepared the upgrade files with was of a newer revision than the one on the production floor and that he had to completely revise his files. While he was doing that, I took off for home since there was nothing for me to do there. As I was leaving the parking lot I heard the dreadful "tick tick tick" sound of something lodged in one of my tires. A quick trip to the nearby tire store and a $30 repair later, I had the upholstery nail that had been lodged in my tire. Bleah. At 2 PM I got the call that they were ready to resume testing, and I went back in and worked until 6 PM or so.

Sunday morning was nice and lazy, which was pleasant and needed. At around 1 PM [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I drove down to [livejournal.com profile] steviemaxwell and [livejournal.com profile] magicpaw's place for a birthday party for Magicpaw and Linnaeus. Various folks were there and a fun afternoon of movies and games followed. We ducked out a little early to take care of our grocery shopping for the week, then came home and relaxed.

Back to the grind now. I've got a couple of projects going right now, one of which is in the process of wrapping up. The boss is out on vacation this week, so things aren't too stressful. On my to-do list for tonight is to cut up the ten pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts we bought on Sunday ($1.59/pound!) so we can freeze it in smaller portions perfect for a single meal.

This weekend we're hosting Dan's family for a birthday BBQ for his mom; looks like the weather will cooperate so I suspect we'll be grilling up some steaks. On Sunday there's a possibility of another BBQ, but we need to see what the plans are there.

Midwest FurFest plans are slowly coming together. If you have mentioned to me that you were interested in volunteering and I haven't yet directed you to someone, do please remind me because I have some departments in mind who could use a bit of a hand. We also have some loose plans percolating for Wuffmeet, especially on how to divide things up so Dan and I aren't quite so stressed out the whole event.
duncandahusky: (WTF?)
So the craziness of the past week and a half is done, and I'm looking forward to a busy, but not insane week ahead. Now that I have time to breathe, let me explain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. )
duncandahusky: (Erf?)
Due to a conjunction of a huge project at work hitting this week and a couple of personal projects happening this weekend, I'm pretty stressed out right now. Hopefully I'll be able to write up last weekend's doings (including working a 14.5 hour shift on Saturday) and Monday's trip to see the Beach Boys at Ravinia. That'll have to wait until next week, though - too much going on right now. If I seem a bit short when you IM me, I ask for your patience. I'll be better next week, really!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Well, that was fun. I wrapped up my trip to Atlanta yesterday. After grabbing a quick breakfast at a ubiquitous Starbucks, my cow-orker and I met with the vendor and worked through the software we were reviewing one more time. It was very productive and I was glad that I made the trip. After we wrapped up, a rep from another part of the vendor's company took us to lunch at a fantastic Japanese restaurant.

After lunch we were in a bit of a time crunch to get back to the airport. Fortunately, we had a Mustang and were driving on I-85 through downtown Atlanta - 85 mph the whole way? Sure, why not! I was glad my cow-orker had the car on his credit card when we dropped it off, though - the $156 bill for two days will be fun for him to explain ($63 of that courtesy of Avis' "Fuel Service Option" was the culprit, as they charged him for a full tank of gas). The flight back was uneventful, though I will never again take a window seat on a CRJ if I can avoid it - I spent the whole flight bent slightly to the left, and had no room to do much more than listen to my iPod and read a magazine.

[livejournal.com profile] takaza was of course wonderful and had a tasty dinner of mashed potatoes and pork tenderloin on the stove when I got home. Unfortunately, due to some Anthrocon-related screwups I fell into a truly vile mood, but Dan was sweet and put up with me. Dinner was quite tasty and afterwards we played some Boom Blox, which Dan had picked up the day before.

And here was are on Thursday. Things have been a bit slow as I try to ramp back up from being away. I just found out that the project I was working on that HAD TO HAPPEN by the end of the month, then got delayed due to paperwork, will now be delayed even more since the process engineer in charge of it put in his two-weeks' notice. Ah, life in the corporation. I'm just glad tomorrow is Friday.
duncandahusky: (Thoughtful)
It's been a while since my last substantial update. Obviously, I made it home from South Carolina OK. My flights were on Midwest Airlines from Milwaukee to Atlanta. Now, Midwest's prices are usually more expensive than most, but in this case it was only an extra $10 or so. For that I got nice wide leather seats (the equivalent of business class on United or American) on a comfy Boeing 717, free sodas (two rounds), and of course the vaunted chocolate chip cookies (which weren't all that great, but they were free!). I'm sad to hear that they're rolling out "Saver" service, which will convert the majority of the 717 cabins from 2 x 2 seating to 2 x 3 seating, which will make them a lot less attractive to me. One thing I did learn in all this, though: Milwaukee Airport is a hell of a lot easier to fly in and out of than O'Hare! Given that MKE is just another 10 miles' drive for us vs. ORD, MKE is now my airport of choice when fares allow.

So anyway, I got back very late on Monday night. Tuesday I was dragging at work, but got a lot of stuff done. When I started the week, things were looking hectic: two projects that MUST be done by June 30, and we were going to be scrambling especially since I'll be gone to Anthrocon from June 24-30. As the week went on, though, things started to fall apart. The one project that could have had me working weekends until Anthrocon ran into regulatory delays and is now pushed back to mid-July at the earliest, more likely August. As for the other project, a new packaging line, the equipment won't be delivered until June 27th at the earliest. Given that I'm not comfortable writing a protocol without the equipment in front of me, and that the following week is Summer Shutdown (meaning that while I have to be there, most of the people who need to sign off on the protocol won't be there), I don't expect that we'll be able to start the validation until July 7th at the earliest. So, now it looks like July is going to be busy, but at least my June has opened up a whole lot!

Also, a funny thing about my trip down South: originally, I was supposed to visit a vendor in Atlanta who is supplying software for the packaging line on Tuesday and Wednesday. I changed my ticket accordingly, and life was good. Except they weren't ready, and needed to reschedule. So I changed my ticket back. Net result: my employer paid $250 for me not to visit the vendor :-) Such is the way of business travel. However, they rescheduled the vendor visit to this Tuesday and Wednesday. So guess who's flying BACK to Atlanta? The engineer I'm flying with booked a United flight out of O'Hare, but I was able to get a cheaper flight at the same times from Milwaukee (alas, on Delta not Midwest - Midwest's fare was $600 vs. Delta's $300). Granted, although we're supposed to take off and land at roughly the same times, any guesses who I expect will be first to arrive in each case? Hint: O'Hare on a summer weekday afternoon is approximately the fourth circle of Hell.

So work his kept me quite busy this week, as you can see. In my spare (!) time I've been working on Artists Alley stuff for Anthrocon, programming the cash registers and working on documentation. [livejournal.com profile] rooth, I'll be e-mailing you this weekend about spreadsheet applications. I found out last week that instead of the 100 seats we were going to have in the Alley this year (compared to last year's 80), the number looks closer to 120. This explains my panicked post seeking more staff. I'm pleased to say that [livejournal.com profile] delphi_of_clf and [livejournal.com profile] tecknow have signed on, along with the rest of the Artists Alley/Con Store staff: [livejournal.com profile] frostyw98, [livejournal.com profile] woodychitwn, [livejournal.com profile] ramalion, [livejournal.com profile] shy_matsi, [livejournal.com profile] chanur2000, [livejournal.com profile] rooth, [livejournal.com profile] space_dingo, and of course Grandma and Grandpa Kage. As soon as the programming schedule is released (something I've heard will be happening Very Soon Now) I'll be contacting folks to see when they will be available, then build a staff schedule around that. Gosh, the things we do for fun!

So, what's going on this weekend for [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I? Nothing. Absolutely, gloriously nothing. No plans. It's quite lovely, really :) I expect we'll venture out and do something, perhaps, but we'll see what the days bring.
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: (Inquisitive)
A relatively busy weekend and a very busy week.

On Saturday we went to a St. Patrick's Day party; I had wanted to make something in advance but just couldn't muster the motivation, and as it turned out there was more than enough food. The corned beef and cabbage was excellent, and the shepherd's pie was really yummy too. Unfortunately, the evening was clearly taking a turn towards very heavy drinking, something that isn't really a lot of fun to be around when you're not doing the same (usually three drinks over an evening is good enough for me), so we bowed out early. Not that it's any judgment on the people involved, just...not our scene, y'know? (and even less so [livejournal.com profile] takaza's, since he rarely drinks at all)

Sunday was the second in-person Midwest FurFest staff meeting of the year at the Westin Chicago North Shore. I was pretty happy with my preparation going into the meeting, and looking at the meeting notes so kindly provided by [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus, I see that we managed to keep the meeting to exactly an hour. This makes me happy. Over eight years, I think I've learned that 60 minutes is just about right for our meetings; any more than that and people get restive and the meetings become more of a trial for everyone involved. I think we had a good balance of stuff addressed during the meeting and stuff addressed in smaller groups afterwards. Several staff members who hadn't seen the hotel got a tour of the place, and everyone seemed suitably impressed.

After the meeting and attendant after-meetings, we adjourned to Claim Jumper, which is located right next door to the hotel. Granted, we had a group of 16 people, but still - 2.5 hours from seating to paying and leaving seems a bit excessive. I will also say (and I preface this by saying that I'm very picky about my restaurants), I don't have much interest in going to Claim Jumper again (sorry [livejournal.com profile] little_wolf!). I've eaten once at the Lombard location and twice at the Wheeling location and I have yet to really be happy with the food there. The prices are a bit high, but that's because you are literally getting two portions (or more!) on your plate; if you don't take the other half home you're really losing out. Sadly, my fish and chips were more batter than fish, and the in-house beers were merely "meh". Oh well - I have two months to try to find the next option for our after-meeting meal.

This week has been a little nuts at work for me. On Friday my boss dropped a quick project in my lap that had me running all over on Monday getting signatures and talking with other departments. Then yesterday, I spent the day across campus implementing a laboratory instrument that I've been trying to get validated for fifteen months now. Maybe now I can finally get it and all of the associated paperwork off my plate! Today will be spent back over there making sure all the lab techs are comfortable using the instrument, then I've got meetings for much of the afternoon. Fun.

Last night brought an enjoyable surprise, though. We got a call from Linnaeus asking if we wanted to join him for dinner. He had to meet up with [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet to return Briana, their floofy, brainless Samoyed, after R&G had spent the weekend skiing in Maine. We met up at BW3 in Vernon Hills and had an extremely tasty dinner (I tried the mango habanero sauce, which was really tasty but very burn-y too!). We also had a lot of fun playing NTN Buzztime, where I proved I still have my old College Bowl chops :-) Sadly, Roho was detained by his evil employer and unable to join us; this just means that we will need to get everyone together again and drink beer and play NTN. Oh darn!
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Right. Wow, long time since my last decent update, huh? Anyway, last week found us at Gameworks on Thursday night for my contracting agency's holiday party. It was exactly what I look for in a holiday party: bring a guest, free food, free booze, fun stuff to do, and no onus to socialize with cow-orkers (who I don't know, having just been hired a few weeks ago, and they all work at other companies anyway). We had a lot of fun, even both [livejournal.com profile] takaza and I injured ourselves playing Hyperbowling (imagine a giant bowling ball going down a crowded city street. "Yay! I flattened a car!").

On Friday we went over to [livejournal.com profile] perro and [livejournal.com profile] darkwolph lovely house to celebrate Andrew's birthday and to help, um, warm their house. Or something like that. We got to meet Chaos, their German shepherd, who has the sweetest disposition of any dog I've met recently. The libations flowed freely, and Dan had a heck of a lot of fun playing bartender at their fabulous basement bar (that you can barely see over for all the bottles of booze perched atop it). Good times, great company, and we stayed out later than I have for a while. It probably helped that I didn't drink much, since I had to drive home.

On Saturday we were going to get up early and go get Dan's new driver's license, then take a bunch of stuff up to our storage locker in Lake Villa, then go to Dan's employer's holiday party. Well, the first two were scotched by the 2:30 AM bedtime the night before, and Dan had some nasty workplace drama that left him not particularly interested in the evening's festivities. Instead, we made some short-notice dinner plans and met [livejournal.com profile] daveqat and [livejournal.com profile] jimcyl for dinner at Cafe' Bernard. It was a very tasty meal, and I got to try their cassoulet which was...well, not as good as mine, quite frankly (which reminds me - I have a monster post about making cassoulet that's been waiting in the wings for weeks). The meal was excellent, though, and we had a great time.

Sunday we were just plain lazy, but we did finally roust ourselves out in the late afternoon to stop by Bobtail and pick up some coffee beans for me. While were in the area, we decided to grab a quick dinner at Potbelly Sandwiches, which really hit the spot. After buying provisions for the next few days' dinners at Whole Food$ (for $6.99/lb., those had better be some pretty damned amazing chicken breasts), we came home and watched some Tivo and did laundry, then spent some time celebrating the birthday of one of [livejournal.com profile] linnaeus' friends.

And here we are at Monday. Woo. There's plenty at work to keep me busy, but I'm still learning procedures, and the sequence of projects and spending an inordinate amount of time waiting for assistance from others. Hopefully this awkward period will pass soon and I can start going ahead full speed.
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Well, it's been a real up-and-down week. On Wednesday, I heard from [livejournal.com profile] takaza that things weren't going well at work. I skipped the gym and met him after work and we had a nice walk in a nearby park and talked some of his stress out. After that, we drove around a bit, exploring some of the northern burbs that we hadn't seen before, and then wound up at Old Orchard Mall where we splurged a bit for some not-bad hot cocoa and some excellent chocolates. I'd like to think that helped Dan a lot and made the rest of his week a little better. We capped off the evening with a nice episode of The Amazing Race, though we're bummed that the oldsters got bounced. They seemed like genuinely nice people.

Yesterday was relatively unexciting - work, then a cardio workout at the gym. Because of my knees, I'm sort of limited in the cardio I can do, so I vary between the treadmill and the recumbent stationary bike. If I ride the bike, I can definitely get my heart rate up, even though I top out at about twenty minutes and about 130 calories burned. If I use the treadmill I can go twenty-five minutes (and longer - I need to push that a bit) and that theoretically burns 320 calories or so, but my heart rate doesn't really get into the "cardio" range. I need to figure out how to better balance these. I'm alternating those with one day of shoulder and abdominals exercises and one day of arm and leg exercises; that seems to work pretty well, but I'm having a hard time sticking with the five-times-a-week schedule my doctor has suggested. Well, some is better than none, anyway.

This weekend we're rewarding Dan a bit for the two weeks from hell that he's had by spending it at the La Quinta in Hoffman Estates. It isn't all fun, though - we're checking out the hotel to make sure they're ready for Wuffmeet, and on Saturday we'll be scouting the FRAC course, taking pictures, making notes, and making evil plots :-) On Sunday we'll be hitting Sam's Club to check prices for food and drinks and play with budgeting a bit more. In between, though, we'll be doing a lot of relaxing, which I'm looking forward to.

Gotta get some work done, but look out for some links coming up this afternoon!
duncandahusky: (happygolucky)
Don't know what the Friday Dance is? Just jump up and dance around because the next two days won't be spent stuck at a desk all day. YAY!

Last night was lots of fun. After pulling an all-nighter, [livejournal.com profile] takaza was told that a sizeable bonus is in the pipeline for him. This, coupled with the nice chunk of change I'm getting back on my federal and state taxes will help to pay down some of our debt that much faster, which makes us very happy. To celebrate, Dan informed me (as I was relaxing, exhausted from the gym) that we were going out to celebrate! We stopped first at Martin's Big and Tall, a nice little shop in Lincoln Square. I had thought that they were a bit expensive in the past, but since Dan and I both needed shirts, we stopped by to see what they had. It turns out that they had some great shirts at reasonable prices (MUCH better than Casual Male's shoddy crap), so we bought several, including the spiffy shirt I have on today.

From there we decided to explore Lincoln Park a bit (and hang out with trixies and chads) and took the Brown Line down to Armitage. Dan was in the mood for steak and while we were looking around we stumbled onto Select Cut Steak House at the corner of Armitage and Halsted. The steaks were good. We both got combos; Dan had a strip steak and chicken breasts ("it'd be good on a chicken sandwich, not so much by itself"), I had the strip steak and ribs. It's telling that as I dipped my fries, Dan pointed out that it was probably barbecue sauce I was dipping into and not ketchup. It took me a couple of fries to tell the difference. We also felt a bit rushed by the waitron, which was silly since the place wasn't busy at all. All in all, it was an OK meal but I don't see us going back. We finished off the night by stopping by my new favorite place for desserts, Bobtail, just off the Southport El stop. I {heart} the Brown Line!

So tomorrow is Night of 100 Champions. We're supposed to be showing up at around 11 AM at Soldier Field and help set up the raffle and silent auction, then (tentatively) will be helping to sell tickets and pimp the auction items. Theoretically, we're also supposed to be helping out with the brunch at the same location on Sunday, but that's even more loosely-organized. I think I've been spoiled by the conventions I've worked on, because volunteer organization for this event is a bit lackluster and disorganized; I've always followed the guidelines that volunteers want to know what they're going to do, where they're going to do it, and when they are going to be there. There's a few gaps in these facts for this event. This is a shame because there's plenty of people willing to help, but I fear that by the end of the night it's going to be a valiant few who have stuck around through the chaos who have to clean up. I hope I'm wrong.

I had a few other items to touch on, but work calls. More stuff to come!
duncandahusky: (huskypuppy)
Here, have a rambling entry, just because. I'm feeling better today, even though I forgot to take the heavy-hitting cough syrup (mmm, codeine-licious!) this morning. I'll stick with the OTC stuff to carry me through the day, I guess.

I'm vastly amused that an innovation from our old stomping grounds in North Carolina has been picked up on a lot of the tech blogs: Taco Bell/KFC Tries Out Touchscreens For Orders. It wouldn't surprise me if that was one of [livejournal.com profile] takaza's occasional lunch stops.

I'm still having fun at WikiFur. If you haven't created an entry for yourself, well, why not? I'll be happy to help with the editing and wikification, if needed.

We still need to try out some of the excellent restaurants in our area. Last weekend's trip to Tre Kronor was a good start, but there's so much more to try. Hey [livejournal.com profile] hartree - you need to come up and help us figure out the Korean BBQ place around the corner from us. It's gotten rave reviews, but the prospect of navigating all the dishes and condiments is...daunting. I think I need to make a list to work from.

Speaking of restaurants, we're looking at the possibility of hitting my favorite French restaurant in Highwood this weekend. Anyone care to join us? Plans aren't set in stone, but if there's enough interest, we'll see what we can do. Fair warning: while it's an excellent value for what you get, it is certainly not cheap! The Gourmet Menu ($32) and Chef's Creation of the Day ($36) are a steal for a prix fixe meal.

Microsoft Word is the bane of my existence. I've successfully managed to crash it eight times in the last two days - either our templates are retarded (quite possibly) or my MS Office installation is borked (also quite possible). I'll muddle through somehow, though.

Oh, and hi [livejournal.com profile] nymphara! Your comments about "the little Nazi" cracked me up, I must say :-) I hardly know the guy but my impressions of him have been, um, less than favorable.

OK, I'm off to immerse myself in my iPod and beat on Word some more.
duncandahusky: (Inquisitive)
Man, what a crazy weekend.

Friday was not quite as fun as I had hoped it would be. Our department at work was rewarded with a day out to celebrate, um, doing well, or something. OK, fine by me! We met up at the Sears Tower and went up to the Skydeck, then caught the train up to Cafe Iberico. The food there was excellent, the service, not so much. We had a surprisingly good time, though. I suspect the sangria helped.

The next stop was supposed to the Shedd Aquarium, but since I had lost part of a filling the day before, I opted out and headed home instead. [livejournal.com profile] takaza was a complete sweetheart and not only looked up what dentists were covered by our insurance, he also called around to see if they could see me on short notice. He found a dentist within a mile of where we live and at 2:30 or so I was in the chair. As you might have surmised from my previous entry, what should have been a small repair wound up being a root canal. I have four more visits with the dentist before the end of the year - wow, won't that be fun.

On Saturday, I was up well before [livejournal.com profile] takaza, too damn early, in fact - 6:30 AM, but I couldn't sleep anymore. After showering and coffee, I was on the road! First stop, up to Wauconda to pick up the staff badges. Trust me, they're purty. People will really like them, I think. From there it was southwards, first with a detour through Palatine to locate Emmett's Tavern (this will be useful a week from today!), then to the MFF storage unit in Lombard. There, grabbed all of the Registration equipment we're going to need.

After that I was pretty much done for the day so I wandered over to Windycon to see how things were going. See, the majority of the MFF security crew provides staffing for Operations and "Adult Supervision" at Windycon, and I got a first-hand look at why they view MFF as their "vacation con". All I'm saying is that people who complain about how outré furry conventions are have never attended a single science fiction convention. Wow. Anyway, I wound up sticking around for quite a while, and just enjoying the fact that I wasn't responsible for any of it :-) I do hope I didn't annoy those who were working, and I have to say they were doing every bit of the excellent job one would expect of the fine MFF Security team.

On Sunday, I was again up early, this time for a drive up to Libertyville for an MRI test on my knee. That was dispatched reasonably quickly and then I was headed northwards to Antioch and [livejournal.com profile] roho and [livejournal.com profile] genet's place. We were joined by [livejournal.com profile] neowolf2 and headed over for a tasty brunch (mmmm, Las Vegas Restaurant's Vegas skillet). Afterwards, we walked over to the little games store and were pleasantly surprised to find that the place had a good stock of games and comics, including Furrlough. Roho also picked up a nice addition to the charity auction: a 24" tall inflatable Brian (from "Family Guy").

Then it was back to their place for the reason for the trip: pre-printing staff and dealer badges. Roho did a good job wrestling with the database for a while, but we finally got some very helpful advice from [livejournal.com profile] rustitobuck that made things flow much more smoothly. It then took a couple of hours to debug the printers and determine that not only were the color cartridges in them bad, so were the brand-new ones that had been purchased last year. One expensive trip to Wal-Mart later, we got that resolved. After all that, printing was a snap, though one of the printers might have some issues with the paper feed mechanism. These have served use well for five years, but I suspect we may be in the market for new printers next year. (And yes, [livejournal.com profile] ramalion, I'll be sure to look into top-loaders :-)

So now it's Monday, the first day of a three-day week for me. In between wrapping up some documents for work, I've been mopping up last-minute details and posting information stuff about the convention. There's still a lot to do, and a lot to be packed up, but I'm pretty confident that we can get to con with a minimum of stress. After that, well, we'll see...
duncandahusky: (Amused)
Hmm. Sox tonight, but also Amazing Race. Good thing we have Tivo...

So. The weekend. Saturday was a busy day for us. [livejournal.com profile] takaza got up early (10 AM!) and we made the drive that I know so well up to my employer for the biannual Open House. It was pretty neat, actually - Dan got to see some of what goes into manufacturing tablets and capsules and hopefully got a little better insight into what I'm supposed to be doing up here every day. After the tour I showed up for my timeslot for the department "entertainment booth", which is to say a toy 4-foot-tall basketball hoop in the middle of a hallway. Compared to other departments (DDR setup with full amp and mixing board, baseball with radar gun, free popcorn) we looked pretty crappy, but the kids seemed to like it when they made a took a couple of shots and got a free trinket. As a nice surprise, on Monday my supervisor instructed me to add the two hours we were there to my timecard, so that was a nice little bit of overtime.

That evening, we picked up [livejournal.com profile] unclevlad and gave him a ride to the party in honor of some-event-in-his-life-which-is-not-his-birthday, held at
[livejournal.com profile] emrldgirrl's place. The party was fun, and I had a good time even though I'll admit I spent the majority of the evening hiding on the balcony. I don't want anyone to think this is a criticism of the party, which was fabulous - it's just that the loud music got to me a bit. That's my own personal peeve, though; everyone else seemed to be having a good time, so hey - it's all good. We headed out relatively early at 11 PM, just before the serious drinking started, I'm told :-) The blueberry cobbler I made seemed to go over well, so that was good.

Sunday? Well, I had all of the great things I wanted to do on Sunday. In reality, we relaxed around the house and generally were lazy. I did make some peanut butter cookies, which were quite tasty, and made dinner. Dan printed up some Registration postcards for me and was kind enough to grab them on Monday morning on his way to work, then cut them to size, stamp them, and mail them for me. I have the bestest husband!

This week should be a lot less hectic than the last. [livejournal.com profile] datahawk is couch-surfing with us because it works out well for her work schedule; four people living in Linnaeus' apartment may get a bit close, but I think we can work it out, plus it's always a pleasure to see her (occasionally) smiling face ;-) On Thursday Dan and I are having dinner with [livejournal.com profile] chouette to celebrate her putting MFF Programming to bed - well, theoretically, anyway. And there's always more work to do for MFF...
duncandahusky: (Default)
And so ends a particularly crappy week. Fortunately, the weekend is looking up.

I've been spending a lot of time this week working on Midwest FurFest related stuff (yeah, I know - such a shock!). Most of what I needed to order has been ordered, and I've already proofed a good bit of it as well; that's a huge weight off my shoulders. Now it's down to a lot of small tasks between now and the convention, which thankfully I can split up a bit more between [livejournal.com profile] neowolf2 and myself. I'm blessed with a fairly high level of interest from my Registration staff in working again this year - thanks guys! - and a registration server that works well and is even getting some slight improvements. Oh, and the restaurant guide is ready and just needs final proofing before being sent off for formatting and printing. Things are definitely going well.

[livejournal.com profile] takaza was in training all week - his company is rolling out SAP companywide and his region is one of the pilot regions. They are so abundantly screwed, but that kind of goes hand in hand with SAP. Anyway, my poor wuff has been in training from 7:15 AM - 5:15 PM each day, then having to go back to the office and work another couple of hours. On the bright side, since he's hourly he's racking up a lot of good overtime. For me it's been a pretty quiet week at work, but that lets me work on, um, outside projects. For instance, I was able to rewrite much of the travel information for the MFF website, incorporating a lot of the comments that I got last year. I sent it off to Puma just a short while ago, so it may be a bit before it goes up (if there's links to hotel, air, train, and driving info at the top of the page, that's the new page).

Tomorrow is the open house for my job, for which Dan and I will be here. Normally I would have skipped it, but it will offer some neat tours of tablet and capsule manufacturing and packaging, and it's something I know Dan will enjoy. After that it's off to a small get-together. And Sunday? Gloriously, nothing is planned! We'll see if it stays that way, of course...

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