Land o' Lincoln

February 12 was Abraham Lincoln's 200th birthday. To celebrate, Disc0 and I took the train from Chicago down to Lincoln's home town and our state capitol, Springfield (on the way down, we kept singing the song from the Simpsons when Bart and Milhouse go crazy Broadway style...look, you already know we're nerds...we went on a Historical Daycation.)

It was a very enjoyable History Daycation. In the 7 or so hours we spent in Springfield, we saw the old state capitol (where we witnessed re-enactors and listened to some gospel music in the old house of representatives):

visited the outside of the new state capital (very impressive building, even grander than Georgia's gold dome if I do say so myself):

took a tour of Lincoln's home and neighborhood (a well-preserved national park):

(check out his wallpaper!):

took a tour of Lincoln's law office, and watched some edutaining little movies about Lincoln's life and times.

I knew a decent amount about Lincoln and obviously understand what an inspiring figure he was in his time and still is. But it was very satisfying to learn a lot of little details about his life, and in a setting where he got the hero's treatment. In Virginia, in the 80's and 90's, I was taught a lot about the "war heros" Stonewall Jackson and Robert E. Lee. I was taught that the war was "about economics, more than it was about slavery." Uh huh...Ah, crazy ol' Virginny. It was nice to go someplace where I know school children take field trips and learn the Union side of the story. The one that WON. The one that did result in the abolition of slavery. That story.

And it was sobering to get the details about what a trial-laden life the man led. In school, I was also taught that Abe and especially Mary Todd Lincoln were emotionally unstable, depressive, and a bit crazy. Well, 75% of their kids DIED in childhood. Mary Todd lost two sons, her husband, and then another son. That sounds pretty crazy-making to me. He still managed to get some nice policy work done, right?

Anyway, I am now a huge proponent of the Historical Daycation. Especially if you can take the train down and back. Ah yes: at the end of the day, we got some ice cream and some popcorn for the trip back. Illinois is a magical place for popcorn. At Del's, we got "charmel corn" upon which both caramel sauce and cheese...substance are heaped. DELICIOUS!


Baby Laughs Alot

This has nothing to do with anything...I just sort of needed to be seen. And possibly re-enacted.

WTF?! Were all toys terrifying in the 70's or what?


Food Blog!

This new blog talks about what I'm more likely to be doing now - cooking at home instead of going out all over tarnation. Luckily it's fun and I'm going to share the recipes I find!


Yeah, pretty much

Matt Damon (for some reason? whatever, he's right) on Sarah Palin. Hear him now and believe him later and vote for Obama in two months.


They are not invisible friends so much as teen idols?

All of my new best friends (in my head) are internet-famous comediennes. Sarah Haskins is a hilarious genius. Apparently she recently left the Chicago comedy scene for sunny L.A. Please note this awesomely pointed video. Unfortunately, it brings to light the fact that the entire "We" network should have an eating disorder trigger warning instead of "TVPG" or whatever the FCC decided to give them. Find the rest of her amazing "Target: Women" items on infomania.

My other new (again, fake, totally in my head) best friend is named Jen Kirkman and this something awesome that SHE does:

See more Danny McBride videos at Funny or Die


Pitchfork and fine weather

So this summer, the weather in Chicago isn't as idyllic as last year. It has been rainy, muggy, hot, or all three on many days. But we're finally starting to get some beautiful days in succession.

My friend Erin was in town visiting this weekend, and we had a crazy/great time. Friday night, before picking her up at the airport, I had a delicious dinner with a friend K at Le Colonial - the place is a representation of French colonialism in Vietnam, which is weird. But the food is fantastic, and the atmosphere quite nice for a Viagra Triangle joint. Afterwards, we headed over to Streeters to meet our menfolk. I loved it. It's like Moe's Tavern on the Simpsons, except the bartenders are really nice. There were like 15 people there on a Friday night. Half of them were in our party, playing beer pong and eating absolutely revolting hotdogs (but delicious french fries) from a nearby hotdog stand. I wasn't playing because I had to pick Erin up at the airport, and also because I don't really like playing beer pong.

Saturday, Erin and I took advantage of the decent weather and checked out the Pitchfork Music Festival. Vampire Weekend was as precious as I expected, and they tie for favorite show of the day with Jarvis Cocker (lead singer of Pulp, now doing solo work). Also, in the merch tents, I bought a fantastic unicorn shirt and we had our pictures taken for a music video of a children's song, or something.

After the show, had a quick bite to eat at Twist Tapas in the hood, met up with some gals, and then headed out to the Rainbo Club in the Ukrainian Village. I'd never been there but I really liked it. Friendly and chill like most of Chicago, with a fun photobooth, beautiful people, CHEAP drinks, and the nicest hipster bartenders ever. It's kind of far from home to make it a regular spot, since I don't even make a regular spot of the bars across the street from my house what with being an old fart and all. But I hope to make it at least a regular spot for when I feel like taking a cab to a bar. The funniest part was that there were probably 8 or so guys dressed up in Joker makeup, presumably having caught a screening of the Dark Knight earlier in the night. It made me wonder if they make it a habit of going out to bars dressed as Boba Fet, or Dumbledore, or Orks, or some other doofusy thing that I've never heard of. Anyway, despite encounterig scary Joker faces at every turn, we met some fun and interesting people, discovered new drinks, got in the photobooth and had a good night.

Sunday we slept, hurt, ate D'agostino's, and went on an architectural river cruise.

Yesterday, before Erin headed home (sniff), we went on a shopping tour of my neighborhood. There are a number of cute and resonably priced boutiques that I'd never been to because of my shopping addiction, but we did a good job and only bought one item each.

Good times!


The Dells Tradition Continues!

For 4th of July 2008, disc0 and I decided to head back up to the Wisconsin Dells (this is our third year running), but this time we made it a real family vacation. My sister ("SB") and her girlfriend ("T-shirt C") came along. We had some FUN TIMES!!! Those times are probably best explained in pictures, but first I'll give a little synopsis. On the way to the Dells, we stopped at a place called Mars' Cheese Castle in Kenosha; the MCC is an extremely amazing and overwhelming place where one can buy all sorts of Wisconsin based (and also European imported) food products. As you can plainly see, their logo seems to indicate that some non-Martian, ringed planet is also involved in their business (thanks to usuer "romkey" for this sharable image):

While in the Dells, we spent most of our time and money at the various Old Timey Portrait studios that pepper the Dells boardwalk. We also took a duck tour to look at the actual dells and the effects of the major flood a couple weeks ago that destroyed Lake Delton, went to a really terrible water park (I won't name names, but it has a really poorly executed ancient theme, which can't decide if it is Roman, Greek, or Mayan) and a really wonderful teppanyaki dinner at Ginza of Tokyo. Neither Disc0 nor T-shirt C had ever been to a teppanyaki restaurant before, so SB and I had to show them the ropes. The delicious, iron griddle ropes. There was an onion volcano.

But I know what you really want to see is pictures of our time traveling exploits.

We started from the earliest time period that made any logical sense. Meaning of course, that we went back to pirate times. Luckily we brought a camaarrrrra (ha!). For the pictures, I'm going to point you to this album, because blogger isn't necessarily the most cooperative when it comes to amazing photographic compilations:

So, modeling for old-timey photography studios took up much of our time. While SB and T-shirt C were here in the Midwest, we also made cupcakes and cupcake toppers which were tiny imitation cheeseburgers made of icing and mini cookies, ate a Uncommon Ground twice, watched a few episodes of All-American Girl and generally had a great time together like always! Yay for sisters!