hightensile arrived at the apartment about 45 minutes late (12:15, when he was supposed to be here at 11:30) so we made our way up to BD's as fast as we could, stopping only long enough for me to pull some cash at the ATM that is fee-free for me. almanzo and daf666 were already there waiting for us, conveniently seated in Sarah's section! Sarah took good care of us and made the experience very enjoyable, I think it' safe to say that everyone had a good time. I know I really enjoyed the conversation, and almost everyone had some sort of alcoholic drink. If I recall correctly roho and enveri shared a Mongorita, Hightensile had the Skyy Blue Lemonade and Daf had a couple of really huge beers. I had a rum and coke to start with, and since that didn't really do anything for me (despite the fact that the glass was filled with rum that had just the faintest hint of cola for color) I ordered another drink, which was a "chocolate raspberry martini." I wasn't terribly impressed with the martini, the raspberry was too strong and didn't gel too well with the chocolate liquor. Sarah fixed it with a bit more chocolate and the taste smoothed out, so I didn't really have a complaint. Not long after I finished my meal the various quantities and types of booze began to take effect and I felt a lot better, the underlying sense of tension that's been throbbing under my skin for the last two weeks sort of faded and I was left feeling a good deal better overall. Another positive thing about today's lunch: I took advantage of the presence of the restaurant's general manager to request some paperwork, which I promptly filled out and turned back in -- I'm now officially signed up as a "Guest Griller," so I can step back behind the counter and fry bowls for customers and partygoers whenever I want! I think this'll be sort of fun, I've wanted to get back there before a time or two and now I've finally gotten official permission to do so. I abstained from any dessert plans, but Roho, Kes and Hightensile split one of the immense brownies. It honestly does take three people to successfully eat one of those things.
Before long it was time for the four of us to be on our way, so we bid a good night to Almanzo and Daf and then packed into the truck for the drive down to Schaumburg -- Hightensile and I needed to attend the MFF staff meeting to work out some sticking points as the con date approaches. On the way there we stopped in at Wal-Mart -- I needed to pick up a tape measure to do some quick figure-checking with, and while searching for the hardware department I stumbled upon a hot/cold water cooler that accepted one, two, three and five gallon jugs. Roho and I have been looking for one of these for a while. The price was right -- $48, and the jugs were also conveniently priced. We picked that up, located my tape measure, checked out and were back on the road in under fifteen minutes. I think that's a new world's record for shopping and checkout time in a major Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon.
The meeting went pretty well. I got a few of the technical questions I had answered, and Kestral sat in on things. I figured she would be bored but she was able to add a suggestion here and there while she drew in her sketchbook. I really enjoyed watching her work, and I was rather flattered at what she drew (more on that sometime this week). After the meeting was over Hightensile and I did a quick map out of the art show room to make sure we could get tables arranged in a sane manner for this year -- there seemed to be some concern that last year's position of tables left something to be desired. While we debated layouts Roho and Kestral each made some pretty good suggestions, and I think we'll implement most if not all of them for 2003. I think this year the art show will rock, and I'm glad since I'm getting out of my staff position once this year's activities are concluded. It will be nice to leave on a high note. chebutykin, will you be attending this year? We love you and want you here! yotogi wants to play Nookie with you again and roho wants you to be a runner in the Charity Auction one last time. Please?
Post-meeting we returned to the apartment and I mixed up a fresh round of drinks; Hightensile had a Dirty Bird and I made a gin (Tanqueray) and tonic for Kestral. Roho mixed himself an experimental concoction and I just abstained from drinking entirely as I was feeling rather tired already and didn't really know what to make for myself anyway. We all crashed in the living room and, after some disciplinary excitement involving Ra and my door, put Babylon 5 in the DVD player. We got through two episodes, "Point of No Return" and "Severed Dreams." I continue to be reminded why I was so utterly taken with this series as a whole (even when you include the regrettable fifth season): it's just damn good television. "Severed Dreams" was a particularly heavy-hitting episode, I know it left Kestral in awe and I had to take a few minutes to recover as well. And let's not forget that it has one of the best dialogs Delenn delivers throughout the entire series!
We sent Hightensile on his way home at around 8:00 PM with heavy hearts... he never gets to stay at all long enough, and we all really enjoy his company. Once we'd seen him pull out of the parking lot we puttered around the apartment for a while. I experimented a bit with the WAP he brought me (I'm taking it for a test drive to see if I want to buy it). I'm disappointed to see that this unit too is a half-duplex device (at least it is according to my Ethernet switch). Maybe that's just a WAP thing in general, I don't know. I'm curious to see how the signal on this Linksys holds out, what features it has, and how well it delivers content to my laptop. The fact that it has detachable antennas is a definite plus in its favor -- that's just begging for some Cantenna loving. If I can get a better quality MP3 stream from it I'm going to consider the Adaptec WAP a junker and put it up on eBay. If things are about the same I'll still consider buying it from Hightensile, but I'll at least know that I didn't shell out $34 for the Adaptec for nothing. As a whole Wi-Fi is a technology that needs a great deal more time to mature. I'll save my rantings on that matter for some time in the future.
A quick trip was made over to Dominics around 8:45 so we could get water for the cooler. Getting the bottles into the cooler is a bit of an adventure -- they have a huge open top, so you just sort of "tip them in and hope for the best." That's how they've always been for me, but Roho claims that he's seen ones with a ball-and-cock mechanism that prevents leakage upon loading. I'm all for picking up a few of those if we can find them (even the manual recommends them) but I haven't the faintest idea where we might obtain said bottles... or if we can just get caps or plugs that serve the same purpose. Until then I think we'll use the 5-gallon jug to refill the 2-gallon jug. Loading the 2-gallon jug causes enough splashes to wet down two paper towels... the 5 gallon jug is just large enough to be awkward, and I can see it going all over the table and floor before we get it anywhere near the intake at the top of the cooler.
Tomorrow starts another week at work, and it will undoubtedly be an interesting one as I'm covering all the voice-over-IP services for the company (both our VoIP guys are out this week; one is at training and the other is in a completely different control on vacation). I'm hoping that my time won't be utterly consumed dealing with trivial changes... although I'd rather that be the case than have all my time consumed by major crises. As my father would say, pray for the best and plan for the worse... so I'm expecting ten to twelve hour days at the very minimum. The good news is as a reward I will have an extra-nice weekend... captain18 will be in town and I will be joining both Captain and his father for a pilgrimage to Wisconsin Dells to catch a Don Williams concert. The trip and show last year positively rocked my world, so I'm looking forward to a repeat this year. It may be a different venue but I have no doubt things will be just as fun.
As an added bonus, I just read that chebutykin has bought a house. With luck I'll be joining her as a homeowner within the next few months, but for now I'll have to make due with congratulating her and being very, very envious.
The life of the wife is ended by the knife