Starry Wisdom

Entropic Words from Neilathotep

Monday, May 6, 2013

Lazy Saturday

This Saturday I woke up early and did some cleaning in the kitchen while listening to an episode of Bullseye. I was very interested in the Brian K Vaighan interview, and I thought I might go and get the first collection of Saga at some point. A little bit later I went to the coffee house on the corner and got some breakfast and did some work, and was reminded that it was Free Comic Day via a post on facebook. I decided to see if my neighborhood comic store, Isotope was participating, and they were, so I decided to head over there at 11 o’clock when they opened at 11:00. I picked up some free comics I plan to give to my nephew when I am in Chicago later this month and the Saga Graphic Novel.

I spent the rest of the sunny day at a long, several blood mary brunch at Absinthe, a couple of hours in the Suppenkuche beer garden, an impromptu cookout at my house, and then hanging out at our neighborhood bar late that evening with some friends in from San Diego. It sounds like I did a lot (ok, not really), but I never really went more than 3 blocks away from home. Lazy!

posted by neil at 8:50 pm
under adventure,Milo,rambling  

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Summertime Adventures – July 2011 (part 1)

This July has been jam-packed with adventure. I was away from home every weekend this month, until this, the last weekend. As such, I didn’t have time to keep up with my bills (I managed to pay my cell bill on the last possible day), let alone my blog. But as I am home this weekend, I have had time to go through the photos I took, a pre-requisite to the blog post. So here we go on a recap of the month:

July 4th Weekend – Donner Lake

Our friends Tori and Steve invited us to their cabin on Donner Lake for the July 4th weekend. It was a great weekend, jam packed with fun and food (all the couples invited took charge of a meal to prepare for everyone. Mackenzie and I took Sunday dinner, for which we did a tacopalooza – carne asada, carnitas, and chicken tinga, served with all the trimmings -I should make a separate post on this.

We spent most of the time during the days on or by the lake. Tori and Steve rented a speed boat on Sunday, which the group took turns using, and on Monday, July 4th, they rented a pontoon boat, which we could all fit on. We spent a great afternoon out on the lake (which was freezing cold, no wonder, there was stills now on the mountains).

As Tuesday was a work day, and in particular I had to be in by 9am, we had to leave before the firework show at the Lake. However, on our way back to San Francisco, we stopped at Mackenzie’s sister’s house in Davis, to visit her family and go see the fireworks. Her nephew, Orrin, who was about 16 months months old, had fun with Angry Birds on my phone, and watching the fireworks.

This is the full gallery of photos posted from the trip.

July 9th Weekend – Chicago

I was home for only a few nights before heading to Chicago that Thursday afternoon for my nephew Milo’s second birthday weekend. Thanks to spending several days in Burbank for work earlier this year, I had a free flight on Southwest airlines, which I took advantage of for this trip. This meant, of course, that I flew into Midway, which is quite a bit farther from my parent’s house than O’Hare, but my parents graciously agreed to ferry me to and from the airport.

The fast paced nature of the month makes the early part of the trip hazy, but I know that on Saturday my parents had Milo at their house, as they do almost every Saturday. We had a fun playing in his sandbox, drawing with chalk, and playing with toys.

I thought Milo was his normal, light-hearted self, but my mom was a bit concerned as he had a bit of a bowel issue that day. We took him home to his parent’s, and then I went out to dinner with my parents.

This brings us to Sunday, the day of Milo’s birthday party. The party was to be held at his house, and his dad, my brother, was going to cater it, as he did last year, and the main course was to be smoke brisket. The plan was that my parents and I would watch Milo again during the day, as Keith and Sarah prepared for the party, and then he would take him back for his party around 3pm. However, I woke up to the news that my brother was violently ill, had slept in the bathroom, and was not able to make the food. Sarah, while not a cook, is a great super-connector, and she enlisted one of their chef friends to help her with the brisket, and other friends to help set up for the party.

Our morning with Milo was fun, although he did seem a bit off. He took a longer than usual nap, and we set out for him to be late to his own party. Things started to turn concerning right before we pulled up to the house, as Milo puked a bit in the car. Thankfully we were almost there, so we rushed him home, and his mom changed him, and as he seemed that he was OK, he was able to attend and enjoy his party.

In hingsight, maybe he shouldn’t have been eating deviled eggs, as he threw up again an hour or so into the party. I helped Sarah get him cleaned up and changed, and all the poor kid wanted to do at that point was watch his favorite TV show, “Martha Speaks”. Keith, who was still pretty out of it, took him into his bedroom and they watched tv together. So not only was Milo’s dad unable to attend the party, but Milo got knocked out of it too. I carefully washed my hands after getting him cleaned up.

At this point, I was roped into assembling my parents’ gift to Milo – a pretty awesome kitchen set. Despite the small size of this project, it was incredibly complex, and took over two hours to assemble. Milo came out, part way through, to supervise.

Then Monday, the day I was to go back, I woke up at 7am to my mom telling me that both her and my father had gotten violently sick. Bleh, I thought, and went back to sleep, to be awoken by some thunder a bit later. It turned out that the thunderstorm knocked out power for my parents’ house along with a few hundred thousand other houses. This was the second time his summer my parents had no power for more than a few hours, and after the last storm my dad had gone out to buy a generator. I helped him (well did most of the work) to get it set up and running so that they could have power for the duration of the outage (which turned out to be about 24 hours more). However, I also got picked up by my brother to spend the day with him and in theory get a ride to the airport. But since Milo wouldn’t nap, and ended up running errands with the two of us, and Sarah was also Ill, I took a cab to the airport from their house, instead of subjecting Milo to another long car ride. Oh, while I was there that afternoon, we put together my present for him, a push bike, and I played ball with him in the house.

This post has turned out to be quite long, and since I promised I would post something tonight, and need to watch true blood, I will leave this as TO BE CONTINUED.

posted by neil at 9:38 pm
under adventure,Milo,travel  

Monday, May 30, 2011

Chicago Trip and Etc.

Mackenzie and I went to Chicago earlier this month for my friend Nancy’s wedding, and also to see my family. It was planned for a pretty short trip – fly out on Thursday evening, and return to San Francisco Sunday Afternoon – but more on the travel schedule later. We met my friend Erin at the airport, as we were flying out on the same flight, and sharing a rental car for the first day or so.

We were flying American, which meant we went to the newly reopened Terminal 2 at SFO. The new terminal is fancy, and it seems fairly upscale in the concessions. We decided to grab some food and a drink at the Cat Cora lounge, as it was something new and different that we heard about. The cocktails were good, albeit pricey (but hey, it’s in an airport) and the food was OK. Definitely better than the last few restaurant meals I’ve had, but that’s not saying much. I’ll probably try one of the other venues next time I fly from Terminal 2 after work and need food, however.
The 6:30PM flight got us in to ORD around 12:30AM, and it took about an hour more for us to get our luggage, pickup the rental car, and drive to the hotel.

The next day the three of us met up with my old friend Scott and his fiance Kira for lunch. They were staying at the Hyatt Lodge at Hamburger University, which was couple of miles from our hotel. We met them there, so we could check out the McDonald’s campus area and the unique hotel. It was interesting, but I haven’t had a chance to post pictures yet. I am a slacker… After we decided that lunch choices at the hotel were not sufficient, we went over to the Oakbrook Mall, which was about midway between our two hotels, to find food. We ended up at a place called the Clubhouse, which was basically like a Friday’s dressed up as a fine dining restaurant. Well, that is not exactly fair, since the food was pretty good. Also, the portions were astounding – my lunch portion of Chicken Pot Pie was the size of a dinner portion out here.

Yadda, Yadda, Yadda, it was time to get ready for the wedding. I wore a suit for the first time in well over a decade (I actually bought a suit for the wedding), and took the occasion to go all snazy, and wearing a pocket square. Since, as I said I was too lazy to post my pictures from the trip, here is a photographic proof, from Facebook:

The wedding was a delightful affair – low key, because that’s how Nancy rolls. My friend Scott was her ‘Man of Honor’! It took place at the Mayslake Peabody Estate an Tudor revival mansion from around the turn of the Twentieth Century.

While there was a breakfast planned for the next day, related to the wedding, we could sadly not attend. We had to get Erin to the airport for her flight, and then we planned to go to my Parents house to spend the day with them and my nephew Milo. I feel that was a pretty good win, since he’s super cute. And there are no pictures, not because I didn’t post any, but because I didn’t take any. But we had a good time going out to my parent’s local hot dog/gyros place for lunch with him, and then running around the mall. While he napped in the afternoon, Mackenzie and I went to visit my 94 year old grandma, who recently fell and hurt herself and was in a rehab facility. It was great seeing her, and I love her dearly, but I wish we were able to visit her at her house.

For dinner on Saturday my parents took Mackenzie and I out to Wildfire, which is a steak/seafood restaurant that I had been to a couple of times before and enjoyed. Even though it is a chain, and part of a giant restaurant group (Lettuce Entertain You), I can recommend it as a place for a tasty, not terribly expensive dinner. I will say that they definitely know how to cook a steak in the midwest!

So far, everything was going as planned, but a snag was about to enter the story. at around 4:20AM on Sunday my phone rang. I picked it up and there was an automated message from American Airlines telling me that my flight was cancelled and we were rebooked on a flight that sounded like it was about half hour earlier – but instead of going nonstop ORD-SFO, it was to have a stop at DFW. That sounded like a drag, but, the only other choice I had was an earlier flight that same day, also through DFW, but at least it was a more convenient time for my Dad to take us to the airport.

When I woke up, I confirmed when the flight actually was, and it was the next day (Monday), not the same day. I called the airline and saw if there was anything we could do, but we were screwed. So not only did we have to fly with a connection, we had to burn another vacation day. It’s a good thing that we were staying at my parents and didn’t have to worry about accommodations!

And there were some bright sides to this, too – we would be able to spend some extra time with Milo and my brother and sister-in-law! We had already planned to have brunch with them, but we got to have dinner with them too, and be with Milo until his bedtime – which was super cute, as he showed us his artistic renditions of his family with crayons! (he is only 22 months old, so they were very abstract). For tracking purposes, I’ll say that we had brunch at The Portage in Portage Park, Chicago. It was a good brunch, and they had an all you can drink Bloody Mary bar – my parents were there so I could only drink two, but still not bad! And we did carry-out pizza and salad from perennial favorite Lou Malnati’s. So yes, our extra day was put to good use – we also saw Bridesmaids in the afternoon, during Milo’s nap time, which we enjoyed quite a bit.

So now we get to Monday, the day we were supposed to be back to normal – and we leaft for ORD at around 8am. Our flight was at 11, but a bit of extra time isn’t so bad. We ended up taking off about 20 minutes late due to some service issue, but we had enough time between flights in DFW that we weren’t worried. We got to DFW, took the train between the terminals of our two flights, and grabbed a sandwich to take on the plane with us – and then we got to the gate and found out the flight was delayed. And the delay kept going up – it turns out that someone had flushed a coke can down the toilet, causing a vacuum leak. But it took them something over 3 hours to figure this out. Well, eventually we took off, and got back to our flat around 9PM, pacific time. That’s a 15 hour travel day – to something that should have been about 6 or so hours, if we had been able to take our original flight, or the NONSTOP flight that I payed for. Oh yeah, we also weren’t able to sit together on our flights. Needless to say, I sort of hate American Airlines a lot right now.

In other news, we went strawberry picking at our CSA’s farm in Dixon, CA yesterday and it was deliciously fun.

posted by neil at 9:13 pm
under daily tribulations,food,Milo,travel  

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