3.31.2008

Results, Poll #10, God

This poll was pretty big in terms of social magnitude, but in my eyes, kind of fell flat. I thought this would be some sort of huge topic for everyone to comment on, but not really. I think this might go back to the demographic profile of the t.c. reader. And also the fact that many people tend to keep their beliefs about God close to the vest. I only know a few people that have talked about God "a lot". But no worries, 12 respondents this week is enough to keep it interesting and show everyone that God is in most people's thoughts at some point during the day/week.


0 people believe in God exactly as they were taught - hmm.
9 people responded that they believe in God with their own beliefs - a whopping majority.

1 person said they only believe in God when their in trouble - no, wasn't me.
2 people said that this whole thing is hooey - maybe everyone feels this at some point?

I wonder if God gets the internet?

3.30.2008

Sundries.

Does your local Walgreen's carry this too?

I think it's nice that you can pick up some Burt's Bees, Prell, a carton of Basic Lights, and the SI commemorative Brett Farve "The Tribute" issue. Amen, brother.

3.29.2008

Brocach.

I know everyone has trouble keeping up with my fast-paced lifestyle here in MKE, but I thought a recent quiet night out would make a decent post. The place that was chosen is called "Brocach" and happens to be a new Irish pub here in town. Now you maybe thinking - "Big deal!"... but having a good Irish pub in the town you live in is crucial for bar variety survival.

The front couldn't be more inviting, and it happens to be in a nice neighborhood, with views of the river and opposite bank's condo's.

Inside is what you would expect, but maybe a little nicer (even better than Chicago's Fado - yeah, I said it!). It's two stories, but feels small and cozy when you're inside. Downstairs is dark and warm, upstairs has a smaller bar and big fireplace, for cozying up.

They have a big menu and it's clear they would like people to drink AND eat... but having had some of the food, I think their best draw is the drinks and desserts.

I had a orange-fennel salad. Pretty good, but as a licorice lover, I could use more fennel. See the flickering candle - cozy, huh?

The Scotch egg was basically chosen for fun. It's a hard-boiled egg, wrapped in pork sausage and deep-fried. It's not gross at all, but also not as good to eat as you'd hope. Eh. Oh, it comes with Coleman's too. They even listed that condiment on the menu's description. (?) And we did have a chicken sandwich, but nothing to write home about... again, not bad, but not super.

Finally, the desserts. You can see from the pic I didn't get the shot before I tore into them. I had a bread pudding with cinnamon gelato on top. The other choice was a flourless chocolate cake with peanut butter crust. Both were very good. I could eat the bread pudding as a breakfast dish with some eggs and sausage on the side. And it's a shame we had them at the end - I was so full from everything else, I couldn't finish either of them. Yes, you heard me right, I left food on the table/plates. I'm still upset about it.

And don't forget, they have a great, full bar and plenty of Irish favorites on tap (beers) and on pour (scotches, whiskeys, etc). Plus, plenty of people coming in and out to make the night entertaining.

If you come to town for the Cabela's, but need to rehydrate before heading back home, stop here.

3.28.2008

Grosser than gross.

So over the last couple weekends, I have been doing more driving than normal (in WI and IL). It has given me the opportunity to see 6-12 occurences of someone tossing a cigarette butt onto the ground. Usually it's from the little "smoker's crack" in the driver's side window, and the telltale "ash-flash" (the sign of a lit butt hitting the pavement). Am I the only one that thinks this habit is not only disgusting, but also against the law? I don't come to your house and dump out my grill's ashes or mail you my fireplace's soot. I remember driving an old car that had a small gas leak (also not very environmentally friendly, but this was years ago)... well, I swerved hard and wide each time I saw the ash-flash come out in front of me. I didn't want the car blowing up, with me in it.

Just this week, I was walking down the street and saw a young woman toss her butt on the street as she got into the passenger side. I was two steps past saying something to her... but if I keep seeing it, it won't belong before I let someone know how I feel. I just hope it doesn't consist of me veering my truck into the offender's direction and causing some kind of motorway turmoil.

More likely is the creation of a website that lists the license plate numbers of all the people I see doing it. It would also allow anyone else to add their own occurences/plate numbers. Would public embarassment stop people from tossing their butts? Maybe, but it would be fun and make me feel better.

3.27.2008

I hate driving.

And let's not get ahead of ourselves - I don't hate cars or the freedom of going down an open road... but I do hate traffic and stupid drivers, talking on their cellphones, with their left blinker on, slowly making a right turn, on the same street I'd like to be going down, and giving me the finger when I honk with a "What's the hold up, Bud?" kind of honk. This goes double for highway driving in and around large cities.

To avoid the issue, I recently started using a route (or route) to work that takes me down the lakefront. It's basically like driving down Sheridan Rd. in Chicagoland's NorthShore. It's much better in terms of the amont of traffic, number of lanes, exit ramps. etc. And, it's not even that much longer in terms of total driving time, maybe 5 minutes extra time on a bad day (and that's assuming the highway traffic would be smooth all the time - it ain't).

Here's a look of some of the route, very near my apartment.


Not too shabby, if I do say so. (yes, that's Lake Michigan on the horizon)

But seriously, come up and visit. I now have a secret route for getting to my neighborhood and apartment...a lot less traffic, more serene, and quicker. A great backroad to Cabela's too.

3.24.2008

GreenDimes Update

So, gas is like $3.50/gallon. Yikes. Seems like a good time to come back to the topic of GreenDimes. This is a relatively cheap service that will rid your mailbox of unwanted and wasteful junkmail. I signed up sometime back and have been happy with the results. It's basically $20 for your address "clean-up". If you move, you can get it redone at an easy-to-stomach $10 price. I thought I'd splurge and go up to a $40 package. It adds green extras... kinda cool.



It includes:
- GreenDimes T-Shirt (available in different colors, and from American Apparel)
- Re-usable, packable shopping bag
- EarthDay Kid's book (any neices I know reading?)
- Two "green" flourescent bulbs

They also plant trees for catalogs you get on your "list". I mean, how many J.Crew catalogs do you really need each year (esp the 17 before Christmas)? I know, I know, you like them. How 'bout you just go online instead.

3.23.2008

Results, Poll #9, Peanut Butter

One of our more high-importance polls, with plenty of people around the world eagerly anticipating the results for peanut butter preferences of all the readers of transplanted.chicagoan. So as not to incite anyone further, into perhaps riotous action, here are the results:

4 people like only creamy/smooth peanut butter - do you have texture issues?
1 person only likes chunky peanut butter - They probably like Chunky Soups too...eats like a meal, you know?
7 people, by far the majority, are happy having either peanut - b/c peanut butter's is God's work
0 people are allergic to it - which I was a bit surprised by. I thought everyone is allergic to peanut butter these days, but perhaps not in the projected age range of the t.c reader?

Well there it is, pretty thick information that I'm sure will stick to the roof of your mouth.
New poll up now!

3.20.2008

Pirates of Cheddar?

Johnny Depp movie is coming to Wisconsin
By SCOTT BAUER
Published: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 9:41 AM CST

Associated Press WriterMADISON (AP) — It may have been the worst kept secret in Wisconsin film making history.But now it’s official: Johnny Depp is coming to Wisconsin. Gov. Jim Doyle’s office confirmed Tuesday that Depp will be in the state to star as bank robber John Dillinger in ‘‘Public Enemies.’’

The news that Depp was coming has been around for months as filmmakers scouted locations, held casting calls for extras and sought vintage automobiles.But official word of the film coming to Wisconsin had to wait until after NBC Universal signed an agreement with the state on tax credits last Wednesday.

The film will co-star Christian Bale and be directed and produced by University of Wisconsin graduate Michael Mann. Bale will play FBI Special Agent Melvin Purvis, who led the manhunt for Dillinger in the 1930s.Filming is expected to start in Wisconsin next month, but the governor’s office said there is no official timeline yet.

Parts will be shot in the Chicago area as well. Mann said in a statement that Wisconsin was an attractive filming location because many communities have high quality historic buildings. Mann and others associated with the film have scouted locations in Baraboo and Columbus and looked at 1930s-era cars from collectors in the Madison area.

Dillinger used a northwoods Wisconsin lodge as a hideout during his crime spree, which ended when FBI agents shot him to death outside the Biograph Theater in Chicago in July 1934.
_________________________________

I have also heard that casting calls have taken place for extras that will be used in scenes here in Milwaukee. They will be filming inside at the famous Oriental Theatre (on my best picks section) and outside at the quaint Downer Ave Theatre.

3.19.2008

This SUX.

Some random travel news:
> I know some of you are wondering, "What IS flying to Asia like?!" I'd say it combines the fun of sitting for the SAT about six times in a row, while being entered into a few eating contests, holding your urine like being in the 2nd grade, and the uncomfortableness of sitting in the middle of two strangers at the movie theater, both of whom are usually bigger and sweatier than you. In a nutshell, it's rough.
> I cannot recommend the flying part to anyone, but I will say that the noise-reduction headphones (even the cheap ones I got) really help a lot.
> For those that didn't rush to Google and punch in "ORD" based on the travel posts - The airport was constructed between 1942 and 1943 as a manufacturing plant for Douglas C-54s during World War II. The site was chosen for its proximity to the city and transportation. The two million square-foot (180,000 m²) factory needed easy access to the workforce of the nation's then-second-largest city, as well as its extensive railroad infrastructure. Orchard Place was a small pre-existing community in the area, and the airport was known during the war as Orchard Place Airport/Douglas Field (hence the call sign ORD). [from Wiki]

Challenge: A brand new "Clean Plate Club" tshirt (in a size of my choosing) for the first correct comment on the airport referenced in the subject.

3.17.2008

Results, Poll #8

WOW, 15 respondents. I’m not sure who’s reading now, but I doubt the spam guy filled out my poll before leaving his e-turd last week. In any case, thanks for voting, here’s what we all said about travel to foreign countries (yes, Canada does count).

1 person has been to 0 foreign countries - sorry, Coffee&College.
6 people have been to 1-3 foreign countries. Nice, good start.
3 people have been to 4-6 foreign countries... whoa, getting up there!
5 people have been to 7 or more foreign countries. This seems like an inordinate amount of world travelers, no? Maybe people that read my blog are more well off than the average? Maybe we like airline food? Maybe we like not being in the US?

And just for the record, I was one of the 7+. I had to recount yesterday just to make sure, but it's official - Mexico, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Denmark, Taiwan, plus stopovers in Japan. Also, about half are work-related trips.

Goodbye Kitty.

I'm out! We left this morning at 5:15AM local time and I'm now sitting at home, about 25 hours later. Just a couple shots of the day and one final look at Taipei 101.



Not only is it disturbing that this airline would make a hello kitty plane, it's seems extra weird, as a coworker pointed out, that a small squirrel is on the engine.


Seat 23K, right down the wing of the Boeing 747. Comforting?

This concludes the broadcast coverage from Taiwan. Again, I would say that if you have a couple weeks to spend in Asia and like new experiences, this would make a wonderful get-away. Here’s one last pic of the Taipei 101 tower, at night.






Results from the poll soon enough.

3.16.2008

Night Markets.

Taipei, as I suspect many an Asian city, is full of colorful night markets. These can be from what we would think of as a block party-sized thing, to one of a whole new neighborhood and city, built up each night for the good residents of Taipei. I got to go to two of them while in town, one of which was probably the biggest and most well know, the other a smaller, single block affair. Both were fun, had similiar items, and often held surprises.




If you don't like crowds, this is NOT the place to visit. Wall to wall people, and I was the minority for a change. Only a few people pointed, stared, or laughed though.

Visit the temple located smack dab in the middle, and then gorge yourself and shop til you drop.


Most of Asia has great colorful neon signs. I can't read them, but I am always drawn to the colors and lights. Here's a few samples.




If they look like they were taken from an open cab window, that would be correct.

Odd & End.

In the course of being in Taiwan for the week, you can’t help but stumble upon things that just don’t seem the same as in the good ole US of A (both good and bad). An example of this that I’ve already talked about would be the butcher stall in the market - kind of weird, but not really bad, just different. I’d like to talk about a few more examples of this here in Taiwan, and lucky for all of us, it’ll mostly be through pictures. Let’s get started:

Ditches-
I don’t think any of us know what the real word is for these little bad boys, but it’s pretty clear when you walk into an older building’s bathroom, or even here at the brand new tradeshow hall that this is not your normal commode. They are found all over Asia and are used by both men and women. I also believe they are known as being healthier than sit-down toilets.


Signage-
Though I believe it’s not anyone's fault, the limits of the Taiwanese/Mandarin to English translations often leave something to be desired, but add humorous extras in the process. Observe:

Sure.
Maybe not the best global brand name?


Always look out for rouge trousers on the subway, they've been known to steal things.
And finally, one of my favorites:

These are on the fences of construction areas. It does make its point in the end.

Baggage-
The first bit of baggage is a little disconcerting. This is a typical Taiwanese truck. You can see both trash bags and plastic bags of food. I’m not sure how the health dept in America would react to someone doing this back home. And in Taiwan’s defense, I have not (knock on wood) ever had any ill-effects (other than taste) from the food here. I enjoy trying new items and don’t think much even about eating street vendor food.

The second item is one of my favorites of the whole trip. This is innocuous looking enough, but boy does it hold a surpise. It’s blue, about 14” square, and seems to be made out of the material from disposable kitchen sink cloths or kind of like the Swiffer material.

Once something is placed inside, it converts into a bag for carrying. It was used here in the hall for food transport and I couldn’t believe how cool and simple it was. They all lay flat until you use it to carry, very cool.



I’ll be doing one more flight to home post and the results from the poll soon enough.

3.15.2008

"Snooty?... Snotty?

It’s now the time on the posts to talk about some rather difficult subject matter for some of you – foreign foods. However, I promise to only have a couple of things that could even be considered gross, mostly just interesting stuff.

We’ll start with the potential gross, found on the day I got to walk around. We were with one of our coworkers who’s actually spent some time in Taiwan before and even speaks fluent Mandarin (not too common for white folks). He took us down some smaller side streets into a local neighborhood’s market. There were all sorts of foods, but the most interesting for us Americanos was the butcher stall.

It might look bad from the pic, but honestly, everything looked really clean and the meat very fresh (of course it was, it was chopped up right there!).

The next interesting Asian food is something I only know as “honey lemon”. This was sitting in the fridge at our tradeshow booth on the first day. Not having had lunch, I needed something, so I grabbed it.

Now, the first thing you need to know is that a lot of drinks come in small containers with foil lids. You simply punch into the lid with a CapriSun-like straw and have at it (for me, this is always funny to see when grown men drink out of these). I punched this drink twice, once for an air hole and once to drink through. As I punched the first hole and retracted the straw, a small gooey glob came up, almost in slow-motion, with the straw. I didn’t think much of it at the time, maybe it was just really cold? Well, as soon as I got to drinking, I knew why it was gloopey; the drink was basically a thin version of Jell-O. However, the taste was quite agreeable and once I had a few mouthfuls, it was no big deal… almost surreal to be sucking down honey-lemon Jell-O in the middle of Taiwan. It was so much fun in fact, I had one of my old SRAM coworkers give one a go when he stopped by the booth. We soon dubbed the drink “snot-tea” or a “loogie in a cup”.

Even water comes in the dinky foil-topped cups. No "Big Gulps" here.



Next up is something a little more on the gross side, it’s known as the “Century Egg”. Here it is up close and personal:

It doesn’t taste nearly as bad as it looks. It seems as though the white of the egg has taken on an almost translucent appearance, and that lavely green hue. The yolk has turned equally as tempting, but in a much darker color. Again, unless it’s a dare (which it was not for me), I wouldn’t pick this egg as an appetizer; I’d probably choose a creamed or pickled herring instead. The taste is pretty egg like, but with a weird aftertaste that I would say American palettes are not used to.

The final installment on the food front is another interesting pick known in Asia as “dragon fruit”. Here is a picture of the opened fruit, with the skin still on:

Looks pretty exotic, huh? It has a bright, waxy pink and green skin and is about the size of an egg-shaped orange/grapefruit. Strangely enough, I had seen it only a week or so before on one of those travel food TV shows. At the time I thought, “Ooh, that would be cool to find while I’m in Taipei.” Little did I know it would be served everyday at the hotel’s breakfast buffet. The little black seeds seem to be akin to the ones found in Kiwi fruit. In fact, it tastes a bit like it as well, but I have to say, after having both side-by-side each day, I like Kiwi better.

The only thing I did not try, but def could have is called "stinky tofu". If I understand it correctly, it's something like a stinky cheese. It's left to mold, usually has a fuzz on top, and smells to high heaven (esp when walking in the "night market"... more on that later). I'm told it actually tastes good, prob like the good flavors from stinky cheeses.

And not for nothing, but does anyone recognize the admittedly vague quote in the subject line?

3.14.2008

Super Big Wind Damper

I wanted to spend some time on the architecture and buildings of Taipei. For those that don’t know (incl me), Taipei is home to about 3 million people. They share a history with the country of China and technically are part of China to this day. Their Olympic teams are known as “China-Taipei” and they also use an official designation of R.O.C., which stands for Republic of China.

I was very lucky on the first full day on the island to get to do some sightseeing. We had a beautiful sunny (is that what the sun looks like?), warm, humid day to work with, and did we ever.

We started here,

it’s a memorial to one of the founding fathers of modern day Taiwan, Sun Yat-Sen. He’s got a great big memorial museum and garden and is liked by both traditional Chinese people (mainland) and the people of Taiwan. They do a “changing of the guards”, which was interesting to witness. Plus, they had a bunch of school kids hanging around, most in their matching school uniforms. I think for me, being white, it’s funny to see large groups of little Asians all dressed alike.

We then decided to spend some time walking over to and checking out the building known (the world over) as ‘Taipei 101’. It’s so named b/c of the number of floors it has, you guessed it, 101. It currently holds at least a few of the building height records in the world. The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur seems to be in most of the conversations about height, but it’s mostly spire on top, not livable/usable space or floors.

The entrance we found (among its roughly 2 square city blocks) was the entry first and foremost to a very high end mall. Honestly, it was more high-end than Michigan Ave. and Madison Ave. IWC (a watch brand) has its own store here, among almost any other high-end brand you could name.

This is a shot from the inside observation deck on the 89th floor. They also allow people to go outside onto the 91st floor (below). While it was a very nice day outside, up here it was howling wind and noisy around all the fence supports.

Finally, they have something that I learned no other large building allows anyone to see, and in typical Taiwan-English, they have translated it as the “Super Big Wind Damper”. Basically, to combat any effects of the wind on the building, it has 3 large balls of steel within the building to counteract the forces of the wind. The largest of the three is on the 87th floor and totally visible. It’s about 20 feet in diameter and very impressive. There wasn’t much, if any, movement when we were staring at it… but still really cool.


They also have a lot of other funny old, and unique/modern new buildings all about town. Within 15-20 minutes of walking, you could go from a traditional neighborhood right into the most modern mall or building you’d see in any city in the world.

3.13.2008

MKE > DTW > KIX > CKI

As I flew the 18+ hours from Milwaukee to Taipei (those are the airport codes in the subject), I thought to myself, "Self, would you recommend that anyone take a trip this far and long?" The answer that I came to as I was on the flight was a quick "No." Having had some time to think about it and talk with fellow travelers, I would now say "maybe". If you like new food, architecture, people, etc and have the ability to plan a two week trip, then a trip to Asia could work well. I will be posting a few posts over the next week or so showing some of the above aspects of Taiwan and maybe convincing all of us that this type of long plane trip is recommended.


Above is the DTW airport tram. Evidently moving walkways (which they also have) are not fast or big enough for this airport, so they added a big tram that runs the length, all day, everyday.



And this is also in the DTW airport (did I have a lay-over there?). It’s one of those interesting shooting fountains. Jets of solid water shoot from spot to spot, in a wonderful, timed fashion. It provides hours of entertainment for the people stuck there… and the little birds in the airport also liked it for its inherent bird-bath qualities.

I also found it quite funny (though it could have been from all the flying) that the Osaka Japan airport code (you did know that all airports are known by a single 3 letter code, right? ORD ring a bell?) is simply KIX. I couldn’t stop thinking about the slogan… “Kid Tested, Mom Approved”. I’m not sure moms would approve this airport - fine and all, but decorated like an industrial cafeteria. And I would have given some hard-earned bucks to eat some Kix & cold milk right about then too.

3.09.2008

New look, New poll.

Wanted to spruce up the place with a new, cleaner, easier to read look. If anyone hates it, save it. There's also a new poll up, which should dovetail with a post this week, as long as I can swing it from Taiwan (leaving tomorrow). Finally, if any late votes come in about the guns, I can adjust the results... just getting a head start today.

3.07.2008

Do you know the Muffin Man?

Does any else remember that song from childhood? I think my Mom used to sing it to us (I'm sure Laughs&Tears will let us all know if I'm wrong). In any case, it came to mind, albeit briefly, when I saw this car in front of me the other day.

[no, it's not safe to take pics while driving, but it is fun]

I will admit that I've yet had the chance to fill out the DMV form for my very own vanity license (what, with only getting a car late last year). However, I'm pretty sure my first choice would not be "MUFFIN1". This plate should not have even gotten as far as the USPS to send in the form. They should have stopped it before it ever reached the post office. Barring that injustice, they should have, for sure, snagged it while a convict was stamping it out in the joint (yes, I believe convicts still make license plates). There's no way he/she could have gone back to their cell feeling good about stamping out a plate that read "MUFFIN1". He probably went back to his cell after burning that plate into his memory with the idea of finding this auto-owner and jackin her up upon his release, on principle alone.

Well, the plate did get out and onto a car. The woman driving this little compact was a pretty bad driver, but I wouldn't have even paid attention to her driving were it not for the "MUFFIN1" plate starring me in the face. I couldn't help but think "What would make someone get this?". Does she just really like muffins a lot? Does she have her own "muffin top"? Is she trying to ward off bad drivers, flat tires, and pot holes with an extra dose of cuteness?

I firmly believe that all vanity plates should go through a very strict approval process for humor and quality. Plates like "MUFFIN1" should not be allowed unless you are a baker or in the baked goods industry AND drive a large delivery vehicle that wafts off cinnamon and sugar smells all through the neighborhood. Another plate I saw the other day would be a step up - "LVNLIFE" - kinda tricky, has some thought in it. And one of my all-time favorites (esp in the bike racing world) is "H8LUZN", yeah, who doesn't hate losing? Finally, this mind-bender is almost too good "TIH5 HO". (hint, "reflect" on this for a little bit)

If this is the muffin man's car, I don't want to know him.

Results, Poll #7, Guns n' Ammo

Besides A Wintery Mix's bellyaching, this week's poll seemed to go pretty smooth. There aren't too many surprises, but maybe one or two tidbits.

4 - have shot a gun previously. Pretty cool, I am jealous (for reals). Ever hunt a human!?!

0 - have not shot any kind of gun. This is science people, don't question the results.
6 - have fired all forms of guns, just not the "real kind". I also missed some fakes guns in the poll, like potato guns, paintball guns... there are lots of fun, non-lethal guns out there, huh? t dope and I played with them all the time as kids.
2 - hate Charlton Heston. Will you even watch his movies?

So, there you have it everyone. Almost all of us have shot something, but not too many "average" people in the US seem to be shooting real guns. Of course, I live in Wisconsin, see
Cabela's.

3.06.2008

Google 'Bike There' Petition

I don't usually get to political or cause-oriented, but I saw this today and signed it. It's a petition that will be sent to the good folks at Google. The hope is that Google will add a button in their popular maps section that will allow people to get biking directions, along with the current driving and bus options.

If you wouldn't mind, sign it please.
Goto: http://www.petitiononline.com/bikether/petition.html

3.03.2008

First Date, #2

As some of you may know, I had another first date. The basic outcome is the same as the previous 1st date, but this time it's interesting to see how much I gladly put up with, keeping in mind that I was smitten with the girl. We had met each other previously, which is one point that differs from the previous date.

This smittenness (sp? word even?) changes the way the date even starts. I made sure I shaved this time and also brought a small gift. Now hold on, it's not like that... she had heard about the "Clean Plate Club" tshirts, and I had extras, so I thought it would be fun to give her one at the end of the night (or in the morning - wink wink nudge nudge). I also made sure that the location of the date was new to her, something she would like, and a surprise until arrival. This took some extra effort, but I felt it was well worth it.

I met her at her doorstep and we took a cab to the restaurant, ship-shape. She even made a funny comment as we got out of the cab, knowing I had still kept the location a surprise - something like "What, is this where we get on the bus now?" As if I had arranged a change of vehicle just to keep up the surprise. Well, I didn't. We were at our spot, a small little Italian place that gets good marks in my book (and others).

It's a BYOB place too, so I had brought wine (Malbec all the way from WI... yeah, this is taking place in Chicago). She finally said "Are you gonna pour me a glass?" And once I put the menu down, I poured. Dinner went as it should, and only 3-4 times did she spit something delicately out of her mouth or dribble water down her chin. Not kidding. This wasn't the same kind of food issues as First Date #1. This time neither of us could leave it alone and we made funny comments about each incident. This time it added to the fun, go figure.

We started with a nice, two-person antipasti plate (parmigiano reggiano, mortadella, salami, prosciutto, etc), which we ate mostly with our hands. Always funny with new people.Then each of us had our own entree (no halfsies or splitsies). She even felt comfortable enough to bat clean-up on my fries with basil aioli. I had no problem with this, esp since I was so stuffed from the 2 courses and bottle of wine. So stuffed in fact, we could only split dessert, a good tartufo, with a shot of hot espresso thrown over top. All in all, a very nice, relaxed meal with good conversation, laughs, comical food spitting, etc... just like when I was growing up. I can't ask for more than this on a first date.

But, all good things must end, and she had had a long weekend (this was a Sunday night). After 2 hours at dinner, it was getting late. She had to get to sleep, and I had to drive to Milwaukee. Once outside, we walked a little bit, but jumped in a cab when the Windy City's wind broke us down to shivers. The cab is where she pulled out her gifted tshirt (which was timely b/c we had talked about the Clean Plate Club at dinner. I wasn't even the one to bring it up). As we got to her 'hood, she wanted to make one stop at Walgreens. Sure, let's go. We walked right back to the prescription counter so she could pick up her... birth control refill. No lie! Did this offend me? Not in the least. I couldn't have cared less... not even when we made our way out and she led me through the "feminine products" aisle. Nothing like some "super absorbent wings" to cinch the first date. Still, did I care? That'd be a big "NOPE".

We walked the couple of blocks back to our starting point, her stoop. She fiddled with her keys, even dropped them on the ground for me to pick up. We both said we'd had a good time and wanted to do it again, gave each other a quick peck, and then I watched her get into the warmth of her foyer. I ran the half block to my truck. That was it.

A good first date in my book, but in the end it wasn't enough. There was no 2nd date and I'm not expecting one. Funny how two similar first dates can be so different. Finding that connection at the right time, with the right person, isn't always so easy. It's a challenge that I'll gladly accept though.

3.02.2008

Results, Poll #6, The Great Debate

First, thanks for the votes. I'm glad we can put this hot (ok, maybe only to me) topic to rest. Here's how it broke down this week -
2 people voted for Option 1
8 people voted for Option 2

Obviously, this is huge for Option 2. For the record, I will now post the final, as voted by the public, definition of the terms "Halfsies" and "Splitsies". Also, thanks to A Wintery Mix for writing his own version which I will quote here:
Halfsies = 2 people order 2 meals and each take half of each.
Splitsies = 2 people order 1 meal and split it.

The people have spoken - now, go share and eat!!!

Cabela's #3 - Wild Cabela

Well, I'm sad to say this is the last post in the series, save for the poll results. If you've been reading the other Cabela posts so far, I'm guessing that some of you have no idea what you're about to see/read - unless you've been to Cabela's previously.

In a nutshell, Cabela's has tens of hundreds of stuffed animals on display, for the most part in their "natural habitat". Not only that, but they have a very large, impressive aquarium in the store. As was the case with everything, they take pride in how this is displayed and do it really well. I'll leave it to the pics -


Is that a warthog I see before me!?!


Elk, eek!


Is that Marty Moose? Boo!
(note, it's in the middle of a babbling brook... yeah, still in the store)

But, let's take a detour to Africa, shall we?

Is that a tusk in your pocket...?


Poh widdle zeebwa.
(Uhhh, I don't think male lions hunt with the pride)


And finally, a quick jump to the chilly North Pole

Hello, Mr. Polar Bear. Nice to meet you. Don't eat me.

Wait, don't forget the Aquarium. This is one of those walk-thru deals with fish on both sides. For anyone expecting a little aquarium, this goes to 11.


I don't care what the in-store policeman said, I did NOT sink this boat.

Final thought - I'm not sure with all these posts that my actual admiration and astonishment came through for what Cabela's has made? If anyone in SE WI or Northern IL needs something to do (hopefully with the kids) in fall, winter, or early spring - this could easily be an outing that will last the whole day. Not only can you help the sagging-like-an-old-lady economy, but you'd also pick up some bargains and learn a little too. Portabella!!

transplanted.chicagoan

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