“I don’t have to take this!”
“That’s right you don’t have to, because you already took it… in the lap… from… not…me!”

God bless those Venture boys.

Anyway, since I’m finally getting around to posting some reviews and such, thought I’d throw out some updates on what’s been going on.

One of the coolest days I’ve had in a while was when Kelsey and I went down to Chicago to meet my parents at the White Sox game. Mom had gotten tickets from a contact at work, so Kelsey and I decided to make a day of it, and hit the Museum of Science and Industry. I hate driving in Chicago, plus parking is expensive, and we would’ve had to park twice. So instead, replicating the White Sox game from April, we drove to Rosemont, and took the train into the city. We transferred once, then hopped a bus to the museum. It had been many years since I’d been there, and I was under the impression that it was on the “museum campus” with the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. Nope. It’s kinda off by itself, the red-headed stepchild of Chicago museums. We got there, though, which was comforting. Not so comforting was the fact that we had to wait in line for an hour just to buy tickets. An hour! This was a Wednesday morning in July, I figured there would be some kids off school, but this was crazy. Then I remembered how much bigger Chicago is than Milwaukee, and it made a little more sense. Still, an hour? Come on!

We didn’t have much of a game plan, we just kinda wandered around, which is fine by me. There was a special exhibit of toy robots, including a very non-toy prop sentinel from The Matrix. Picture here. Robots, incidentally, are one fifth of the “Pentagon of Terror”, but there was nary a ninja exhibit to be found. Perhaps there was though, it was just too stealthy to detect. There were many screaming children, which is to be expected, but I was still taken aback. They were roaming free like packs of wolves. We still had fun, though. Parts of the museum looked like they hadn’t been thoroughly cleaned since my last visit, back in junior high. For example, dusty brain: there was just a brain in a jar, with a sign that said “Human Brain” and it was covered in dust. Some poor guy donated his brain to science, and this is what he gets? There’s not a museum staffer with a Swiffer to fix him up?

We went to the game, and had fun there as well. Comiskey has the best hot dog slash polish stands, if you know where to hit, because you can get a heap of fried onions on your dog, and they’re so damn good. In all other respects, give me the Cubs, but when it comes down to the nitty gritty of onion availability, you gotta give the edge to the southsiders.

I went to Joliet for a week. I had vacation to use, and it’s always nice to go home and see the folks. They just got a new computer, so I worked on getting them up and running with the SBC DSL they ordered. Let me just say this: I love me some Road Runner. The DSL experience was just frustrating, considering their new user signup server was down for something like two days. That’s ridonkulous. But everything eventually worked, and they got to see the Pink Floyd set from Live 8, so everybody’s happy.

I also got to hit the “holy trinity” of Joliet area dining establishments, those being Chicken N Spice, Merichka’s, and Joe’s Hotdogs. If I wasn’t so sure I would drop dead after about two weeks, I could just eat at those three places for the rest of my life. I think the best part is that no stranger driving by would be tempted to stop just by looks. Joe’s and Chicken N Spice are both pretty shady-looking, and Merichka’s, while nice, is an old building, with an old sign. I would still gladly demolish every Applebee’s in Wisconsin for a franchise of any one of these restaurants on 108th St. You hear me, Applebee’s? I’m coming for you!

I also waited until July to swing into the baseball season. Besides the aforementioned White Sox game, I caught the Jackhammers while I was home, which is always a blast. I am always astounded as to how much an independent minor league team has affected the downtown area, and I find myself wishing I still lived in Joliet, so I could get season tickets. I went to two Brewers games in three days, both against the newly minted Washington Nationals. The first was a trip with Hollywood & Game Crazy, preceded by tailgating and followed by liberal application of aloe vera. Seriously, I got so sunburned, but just on my forearms, cheeks and ears. So I looked stupid for a while. The second game was with Rikki and Dave, with Kelsey and Beau absent. Kelsey had to work some kind of superfantastical power-shift at the B&N, while Beau said he would go, I bought a ticket, and then he said he wasn’t going. What the crap? Sigh. That game was interesting, since we sat in the absolute last row in Miller Park. The very last. Now I know what birds feel like, when they watch baseball. But we did get some pretty sweet Rollie Fingers bobbleheads, and I’m now inclined to go buy some mustache wax.

This past weekend, I hopped up to Appleton to watch the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Rikki’s mom had scored tickets, since she owns a Saturn, so along with Rikki’s sister Elise and her friend, we met up at the park. Free food is always good, and the atmosphere was cool. The team is a class A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners, in the same league at the Kane County Cougars, and the experience was much more like a Cougars game than a Jackhammers game. Pictures are here. A good time was had by all. Plus there were 3-D fireworks afterwards! Well, not really. They just gave us wacky glasses that refracted light, like a prism. The overall effect was pretty sweet, though.

What else? The Ben Folds show we were going to go to at Ravinia is sold out. I dropped the ball on this one, since I was waiting for some more pavilion seats to open up, and in the meantime, the lawn sold out. So now we can’t go. I guess I’m not too broken up about it, since I bet Ben will tour this winter, without Rufus Wainwright, and I can catch that show, and get a longer set. There might be a trip to Ravinia anyway, for CSO’s Star Wars concert. I don’t know if anyone besides me is interested, though. Tim might be, but Brian is at a family reunion that weekend, and Kelsey seemed less than enthusiastic about the prospect. We’ll see.

I finally broke down and bought an I-Pass. Screw Illinois. Screw them. They doubled their tolls for non I-Pass users, so the first stop on 94 south of the border in now $1.50. So I finally got the stupid thing, and I guess it’s pretty cool. I still don’t like the automatic withdrawal from my credit card, but I do like being able to zip past lines at the tollbooth.

Umm, I think that’s the little stuff. I’ll put up separate posts dealing with work issues and meeting Mr. Bruce F’n Campbell.


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