I had Friday off, as I've already mentioned. At about 4:15 that afternoon I got a phone call on my work phone. The caller-id indicated it was my supervisor, a man I can deal with, relate to and in general get along pretty darn well with. Since he was calling instead of the manager, I decided I'd answer the phone. Preparing myself for the worst I answered with, "Hey, Dan, what's up?" His response of, "Oh, not much. Charles just wants to know what you did all day," was not quite what I was expecting. After a few minutes of conversation I found that both Dan and Charles were bored out of their minds on this particular Friday afternoon, were jealous I wasn't working, and decided to prank me because they knew I'd spin out at being called on my day off.
Zing, they got me good. Way to go, guys. :)
Jen arrived around 5pm, which was nice, because nobody else was home besides myself and it gave us time to just spend together, alone. It's always relaxing to have that sort of Quality Time to oneself. Especially for me, because lately I only remotely approach a state of relaxation when I have some time to just snuggle in with her... and the way these last two weeks have been, I needed to relax, badly. It's hard to believe it's almost been two weeks since the WTC atrocity. It feels like much, much longer. Something on the order of "a week of Sundays," to borrow a phrase.
Anyways, so Friday night Jen and I went to our usual hangout for dinner, a little restaurant called "The Spring Garden" that is run by a Greek family. It's got very good food, with large quantities, for very reasonable prices. I like these little hole-in-the-wall places for just those reasons, and usually try to find one in any area I frequent, work near, or live in. What makes SG even better is that they're open 24 hours a day, so when I'm suffering insomnia or have to work late I can swing by there for a bite to eat. twanfox and I used to go there every few days when he was working late second shifts and I was putting in my 16 hour workdays. While we haven't gotten the same sort of attention and notoriety that my group has at the work hangout (A place called Copper Kitchen at the corner of St. Charles and 83 in Villa Park, IL) have, it's still a friendly place to go.
So Jen and I ate at SG after we got done watching (and taping) the America: A Tribute to Heroes telethon that aired on all the major networks Friday night. I was very pleased by the teleton in general, amazed at the star power that turned out, and quite happy to see Neil Young in there a few times. I bet the folks over at HyperRust weren't expecting that particular choice in song! I had some gripes with how the directing was being done, but it was a small gripe compared to the massive amount of effort and coordination that was taking place at that same time, so I won't go into it. I put in a contribution for myself as well as Jen via their website, since charities almost always get me to open up my wallet, and this one was no exception. This whole tragedy has really rattled me badly, for any number of reasons.
Anyways... we arrived at SG, sat down and ordered. Jen got a seafood sampler while I opted for something a little more plain: beef stroganoff. I didn't really feel like eating, and when I got my plate it had way more food than I could have eaten even if I had brought my appetite. I was feeling down, out, angsty and anxious about the weekend ahead. Just a culmination of negative emotions, I guess. So we ate, I brought my food home with me, and then we slipped off to bed, only to be assaulted by my cat a few times throughout the night and into the next morning.
Once we were awake and showered I decreed that it was my quest for the day to find an American flag. I wanted to display it off my pickup, since I've got any number of ways to mount a flag of nearly any reasonable size. This was to be a doomed quest, because other patriotic citizens have completely gutted every retail sales shop there is of anything remotely flag-related. Flags, flag poles, flag mounting hardware, sew-your-own-flag kits, everything. So I guess I'll just print one out on my color inkjet, hope that I still have enough color, and tape it to my windows. I'm okay with this... I just wanted the slightly more official method of showing my pride (Yes, you can make whatever snide comments you want about citizens and patriotism in wake of the WTC attack. You can also bite me). So, while we failed miserably at locating actual flags (although we did get a nice drive in) we did get a chance to stop and eat at Subway, which is something I haven't done in a very long time. I'd forgotten how good their BLT subs actually ARE! Since they've reopened a store not far from me I need to start frequenting them again, and stop giving the local grease-on-a-bun places (read: McDs and BK) so much money.
After we ate, Jen and I drove back to the apartment, where was sat around for a bit and digested our meals. I snuck into the shower not long before aureth called, informing us it was time to go join them at the hotel that is serving as home for Midwest FurFest this year. Once I'd gotten showered and shaved we drove up their, met up with Kitfox and Aureth, and then made our way to Mickey Finn's Brewery in Libertyville, Il. It's not a bad place as far as pubs go, especially since they have a most excellent hefe-weizen. It's a fairly big layout, but it feels small because it's very popular and usually has a large number of patrons at any given time of day. We met upstairs, the group consisting of the aforementioned Kitfox, Aureth, Jen, myself and roho. We ate pizza (Mickey Finn's also has fairly decent pub pizza.. thin crust, lots of grease), drank beer, and discussed art show stuff. The art show stuff I was, by and large, disconnected from because I don't have to do much for it.... the recent turn of events with Roho's programming has pretty much removed most of my hardware from the equation. I only have to provide the server and the database software, which is about a five minute job for me to load and unload into the car. If the rest of the hardware is being provided by somebody else, I'm practically home free. And Tallears is writing the program, so all I have to do is keep the old system handy just in case he can't make the cut-off date, and we're golden. I love it when a plan comes together and I have to do practically nothing for it.
After we finished at Mickey Finn's, Kitfox headed for home and the rest of us made tracks to Roho's place. Aureth and I got to examine the work Roho's done so far (I give him "mad propz" for getting anything done... I'm not a coder by any means, so most of what he does is black juju magic to me), Jen got to see Roho's snake, and Aureth had a place to crash for the night. I didn't really have reason to stick around once the software was spoken about, so I bid everyone a good night and rode back to the apartment with Jen. She decided it was too late to head for home herself, so she crashed again at my place and left around 9 this morning. I'm currently just hanging out on the IRC after paying some bills for the month -- namely my Amex bill, my CitiBank bill, my MBNA bill, rent and car loan.... which leaves me with about $100 in liquid assets for the next two weeks. Ah well, such is the joy of budgeting tightly.
Tonight I will probably kill by watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network, reading a little and doing another load of laundry. I lead such an exciting life.