This evening I took a break from cleaning cages, packing & prepping for tomorrow (including spilling a jug of detergent..) to hang with Leki. His new favorite toy is a ferret toy he found in her stash. Here he is taking a break from doing backflips and tossing the toy across the living room.

Very entertaining to watch.


It's been awhile since I've made lasagna.  Previously when I had lived alone I didn't make it often because honestly, you don't really need all that pasta or a freezer full of lasagna meal-packets (which I've done before) but today I just craved it.

So while Chris and I were at the store picking up some grocery provisions we snagged some lasagna noodles and got to baking tonight.  I prefer it with sausage but we had some tasty morning start wanna-be meat in the freezer so I opted to use that instead to see how it tasted.

It was tasty!

Lunch was great!  The sun was shining, flowers were blooming, and all kinds of people were enjoying the lovely weather.

It's nice that the sun is able to shine, even if some days are a little chilly still.

Tuesday always has the potential for a movie night at Wealthy Theatre.  This week they were showing the cult-classic The Big Lebowski, which Chris had never seen.  So after work we got a quick bite to eat and headed to Eastown/East Grand Rapids to walk around and enjoy the weather before the movie started.

Monday wasn't bad.  Work was quiet but fine, and the afternoon walk I took on lunch at the park was fantastic.  But, I was excited to get home.  I wanted to get a few tasks done at home, enjoy some Dr Who, and have some tasty chocolate cake.

So while watching the news I medicated with chocolate cake, ice cream, strawberries, and syrup.  It almost made me not yell at the news! Almost.

It rained a big chunk of Sunday as well. So we didn't really get a chance to bike ride or do a picnic this weekend, as hoped.  Instead Chris worked on his C2E2/Chicago trip video and I played more Lord of the Rings Online.  Look at that picture and tell me you wouldn't rather the weather be like that, swimming in a nice body of water with sunny skies?

The rain let up in the early evening, so after an unnecessary nap that ate up the afternoon, Chris and I headed out to stroll down Kent Trails.  It still looked stormy, but it didn't rain at all while we walked for a few miles, and it was good to get out of the apartment for a bit.

The tulips planted all over the apartment complex are up and ready to open any day.  They're a lovely array of colors tossed all over the wooded complex.

I also made a tasty-looking chocolate cake in the bread machine (which, of course, looks like a chocolate loaf of bread).  I'm looking forward to trying it in a bit with some tasty vanilla ice cream.

And in case you missed it and are curious what the trip to C2E2 & Chicago was like - here's a link!

The day started out rainy.  I checked outside - rain. I read tweets and facebook statuses - rain in other states.  I logged onto Lord of the Rings Online - raining (consequently for you Tolkien fans that is a shot of the Prancing Pony). 

We headed out to the post office to pick up a pre charger I ordered.  It's the same one Chris talked about here. I was so impressed with it at C2E2 I thought it wouldn't hurt for us to have two between us.

It had been awhile so we did some laundry.  Correction - I studied while Chis did the laundry (which is often the case).  He works around that laundromat so quickly I could barely keep up if I tried.  And, apparently, I'm not very good at laundry since I hardly ever separate my clothes. 

Instead of cooking dinner we headed out for Chinese. Chris isn't really a fan of the cuisine so I'm happy he was able to find some tasty chicken legs that they served as an appetizer.  6 massive drumsticks is a heck of an appetizer.  I ordered some rangoons and now I have a massive amount of leftovers for tomorrow.

Peppy likely heard about "Take Your Child To Work Day" on the news last night.  So this morning she was awake and adamant that she would get attention! 

Unfortunately, given that she cycles through hours of sleep and then massive bursts of energy I didn't think she'd enjoy coming to work with me (nor would my co-workers appreciate a sock-stealing friend invading their cube) so alas, she had to stay home today.

As a compromise I had her out for a bit before going to work, though I know that isn't quite the same.

Yesterday I used the handy-dandy bread machine (this Zojirushi machine is better than the last one I had) to make some pizza dough.  I tossed it in the fridge overnight so that we could have calzones tonight.

And voila, ready pizza dough for the molding and pizza creating!

I ended up making 4 large ones, since the dough was enough to make a thick crust 12" pizza.

And as you can see in the photo, the food was tasty!

Old habits die hard, apparently.  Wednesday after work instead of going to class, since I'm on break, I headed downtown to pick up one of the textbooks I couldn't find online for cheaper.

This Tuesday is panning out to be relatively low key - which is fine.  Work has been relatively quiet today and I had a nice walk on lunch at Cascade Township Park.  It was great to get out of the office and see spring popping up all around the park in the form of flowering trees and pretty petals contrasted against fall leaves.

I'm looking forward to the evening and working on some photos from this past weekend in Chicago and possibly playing a video game or trying out a new tv show with Chris.  Maybe I'll take some time to enjoy a good book I'm reading by Dennett as well.

Monday was a day of recovery.  Catching up on emails missed last Friday, catching up on news missed, and some random shows on the DVR.

I didn't really remember to take a photo of anything so I quickly snapped a shot of the growing garden of glasses in the living room.  Not interesting but hey, at least it is technically a photo from yesterday!

I should probably get to doing the dishes....

Sunday we spent the day traveling around downtown Chicago, checking out Millennium Park, the L, and more.

So the first stop was Millennium Park and Cloud Gate (or lovingly called the Space Coffee Bean by me).  It was interesting and there were a lot of people enjoying having their reflections come back to them distorted.

We checked out the rest of the park, saw The Crown Fountains and some other sculptures then headed over to a Graham Cracker Comics to peruse the latest books.

A friend of Chris’s suggested checking out a gallery at a place called Rotofugi, so since we were on foot we decided to take a series of trains and subways across town to Rotofugi

Coming from a city that has virtually no public transit, it was a thrill to ride the L and enjoy the public transit system.  Admittedly at first glance it was confusing.  There are several different colored lines that go various places and junctions you need to stop at and switch trains, if necessary.  All in all It is an amazing thing and I can see how it would be very useful for a lot of reasons.  Imagine how much reading, studying, or video game playing I could get done if I took public transit as opposed to driving 40 minutes to and from work!  It may have its own cost associated with it, but the freedom from driving and spending money on gas and parking is likely a worthy trade-off.

So we trekked over to Rotofugi only to find that the gallery was closed though the store was open.  No matter!  We saw crazy vinyl artwork for sale and enjoyed a walk through a very hipster neighborhood.  I saw several non-purse dogs draped in sweaters and the like.  Amusing and very much what East Grand Rapids strives to be in some ways.

On our way back I was getting increasingly hungry. I’d already eaten my “emergency” muffin at the start of the day and needed lunch.  So we wandered down Division, me getting increasingly irate, looking for somewhere to eat. Finally we stumbled upon Pizza Metro.  A charming little joint that is littered with football (that is Soccer for you Americans) paraphernalia.  My dad would have loved it. 

And that was pretty much it for the day. With the three hour drive back home we made it back around 7:30, in time to hang out with Leki and assure him we still love him.

If you'd like to see more photos of Millennium Park, go here. If you'd like more of Downtown Chicago in general, go here

Saturday was the big con day in Chicago.  Normally Chris attends Wizard World, which is in August in Chicago. However with Marvel and DC pulling out of the con for C2E2, it was decided we'd check this new convention out.

So we arrived Saturday.  I kept arguing with Chris that we should have pre-ordered tickets.  I base this off of my experience watching for several years the line at Youmacon go around the hotel lobby and out the door.  Yeah, ok, I was wrong.  So wrong. This is the big leagues.  More organized, faster moving. More impressive. I love the anime cons because, honestly, they feel more youthful (and the attendees are younger than a comic convention) but these older peeps are just more organized.

We hit up a few areas (DC booth, complete with action figures, even World of Warcraft ones) and then headed to artist alley to see Adam and Comfort, creators of The Uniques, at their booth (pictured left).  This is them in their con-element. And it's cool to hear that they've got a lot of interest in their awesome comic, The Uniques, and that their experiences thus far (Saturday anyway) were smooth with this new convention.

This convention (and my understanding if Wizard World - which is much larger) is mostly shopping.  So if you love super heroes, action figures, or other comic-related swag - this is where you go for a massive conglomeration of it.  I was impressed by the sheer amount of shopping.  Very different than the smaller anime conventions I've been to which have shopping for both dealers and artists in less than half of what this place had just for artist alley.

There were a few panels we popped into to listen to, such as one put on by DC (as Chris is a bigger DC fan than Marvel).  Unlike several we listened to at youmacon, these panels are put on by people in the industry.  That is, of course, a little harder when you're talking about anime and studios in Japan.

Like I said, this convention has a different feel than an anime convention.  Anime conventions have a younger crowd (I'm honestly on the upper cusp of the attendees) and they are far more social.  There is a lot of running around in crazy costumes, random hugging, singing, and chanting in impromptu circles.  There was a little bit at this convention, but it was mostly serious shopping and hardcore comic fans talking to the creators of their favorite works.

So on the one hand, it is awesome that you have a lot more people in the industry attending one of these, running panels and interfacing with fans.  On the other hand it is a much more "grown up" but commercializing feeling.  It isn't better or worse - it is just different. I really want to see more of these to get a better feel and to experience an industry that is often misunderstood by non-comic fans.

I took a lot of photos and honestly, we were only there from a little after 10am to a little after 5pm.  If you'd like to see more, including random floor shots and an adorable wookie from Star Wars, look here.

After the convention we did do some walking up and down Michigan Ave.  We saw some street performances, did some shopping, I have a few shots of the evening here and will be adding more to flickr over the next few days.

My last final for the semester was this afternoon.  So this semester is officially closed! 

There's also the matter of C2E2 and the weekend in Chicago to attend to.  Which meant some last minute shopping for convention food.  It's good to have water and granola bars while on the floor of a convention so you don't end up hungry, thirsty, or wasting money to satisfy either of those issues. 

We packed our clothes, and even got some help from Leki who thought was charmed by the new cubby we provided for him. 

In the evening I played a little bit more of Lord of the Rings Online, trying to take advantage of the Spring Festival ending soon.  And in a few minutes I fully intend to enjoy a tasty strawberry shake and enjoy the rest of this relaxing Friday.

Ok. So It's not technically Friday, but for my purposes it might as well be.  I have a 3-day work week because of finals, which means I'm off of work tomorrow (and I was off on Monday).

So while I finished up what was left of my work week today, Chris was kind enough to take a day out of his week off to wash my car, vacuum it out, and get the maintenance done on it I've been neglecting (oil change, etc).  

I'm also seeing the movie Kick-Ass tonight.  This is another reason why it is very Friday feeling today.  The movie comes out in theaters tomorrow (4/16).  No, I don't have an early pass.  For some reason a they have a midnight showing of the movie starting at 10pm.Works for me!

Good day, and glad to have a 3 day weekend ahead of me!

And the movie was pretty good too - by the way.

This evening when I got home from work I was greeted by the amazing comic-creating team, Adam & Comfort (The Uniques).  They are on their way to Chicago for C2E2 this weekend and staying over before they head out in the morning for the convention.

It was a good night, complete with tasty veggie quesadillas fixings.  The sausage Morning Star veggie "meat" was really tasty.  I'd never had it before and was very impressed.

The gang played Hero Clix and we watched a super hero movie Defendor.

It was a great night and I'm looking forward to this weekend with a 3 day weekend, a trip to Chicago (and yes, a final tossed in for good measure).

This draining into my throat and coughing thing keeps lingering on, apparently.  So in the morning in an effort to combat it (or at least make my throat less scratchy) I bushed out some local (Flint, MI) honey from Adam & Comfort's (The Uniques) parents.  Adam's dad does some beekeeping so Chris and I have quite the stash of local, tasty honey.

That, combined with hot tea, made for a tasty drink.  Glad I have more bears at home since this one is nearly empty!

Ok that isn't exactly what the exam today is on.  It's more like your ability to memorize specific rules of professional conduct in the legal profession.  This is in contrast to the reality that in practice, you'd be able to look up these rules or, if you're really stumped, call the ethics hotline for some advice.

Still, a working knowledge of how the rules roughly play out is necessary, so in-between strolls outside on a beautiful day and some video game playing, I reviewed some rules of professional conduct in preparation for the final exam tonight. As you can see from the photo, Leki was very helpful.

And most of the time I walk away from an exam and feel somewhat blah about it - which usually isn't an indication of anything other than me over-analyzing it.  But on this one I felt good.  I anticipated the test being much more painful than I had imagined.  A lot of classmates who had already taken the class talked about how surprised they were with the final, how out of the blue it was when they took it.  Not so.  All the essays and short answers we did in class really served to get you into the mindset for the exam.  I was oddly pleasantly surprised with this one.

The semester is winding down which means exam time is ramping up.  So this means studying my little heart out, right?

Or I could log onto Lord of the Rings Online and run around like a hobbit for a few hours on Sunday and relax that way.  Which is precisely what I did.

The game is pretty detailed in terms of lore and graphics (at least from what I'm used to in World of Warcraft or even Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning).

So I checked out the the shire, ran into the Sackville-Baggins arguing at Bag End, and then wandered off to the hills to enjoy grand scenery in Evendim.

And yes, for the record I did review materials for the exam I have Monday night.  I just can't force myself to have a jam-packed 6 hour study marathon.  You either know the stuff, or you don't.

Today was a makeup day. Both Leki and I attempted to make up for the little sleep I received on Friday.

Got up around the normal time, tweaked my outline for studying this weekend for a final on Monday, and played around a little on the computer.  I booted up two different MMOs - Lord of the Rings Online and World of Warcraft - for no other reason than because.

Then I passed out for a few hours in the early afternoon.

I tried to do it again later in the afternoon but Chris convinced me a shower would be a better idea.  It woke me up a bit and I didn't want to take a nap until the evening.

I was so lazy I didn't even take any photos! So I stole one Chris took of Leki, alternating between sleeping and resting.

I work up around 1:30 in the morning on Friday.  I tossed, turned, tried to read, tried to force myself back to sleep, tried all manner of things.  Nothing helped. 

Finally I feel back asleep a little after 6am.  Chris got me up a little after 7 so I could get ready for work and start a very long, long day.

When we left in the morning there was a smattering of snow on the ground and the car.

I wimped out and left work a little after 4pm, picked up Chris, and went home with the intent of sleeping the entire evening.

I didn't get close to sleep until after 11pm... *sigh*

The beginnings of a cold began to set in Thursday, so Chris was kind enough to cook up some hot soup (look at the steam!) and tasty bread for me after work.

Wednesday is another rainy day in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  That means no going to the park and walking or enjoying the sunshine.

Instead on my lunch I wandered over to Centerpointe Mall and walked a lap around there.  Not ideal, given the commute time there and back, but my work isn't really close to any other large, indoor, walkable locations.

They still have an indoor skate park (pictured), have really put in a lot of photo booths and little game kiosks. They even have a recording studio in the middle of the mall (like a kiosk) and, of course, a coin-operated model train.

Today was the big phone switch in the office.  We went from having normal desk phones to headsets and a VoIP system.  There is a comparison here. We now have a graveyard of phones.

On lunch I wandered over to Target (there wouldn't be much walking at the park with all the rain pouring down today).  I checked out a working eReader display (finally) and was disappointed.  Also noticed they had a ton of Easter candy left over (at 30% off it's like a normal price!), including some crazy coconut flavored Hershey kisses (bought these, but have yet to try).

I also went over to the Apple store in the mall with a co-worker to get her ipod fixed.  Place was crazy busy with people scoping out the iPad.

After work Chris and I went for a walk before the rain started.  Then watched some of Red Letter Media's Star Wars Episode II review (long but funny).

The morning was a foggy one, as you can see from the photo.  I love the fog, though not nearly as much as I love thunderstorms, which happened later.

After work on the way home Chris and I stopped at Meijer and picked up some groceries and 50% off Easter candy, including Easter candy corn, which totally made me sad for Lewis Black (candy corn rant - very funny you should listen).

Later in the evening, after a stroll outside and some minor Noblegarden questing, I woke up from being passed out on the couch around midnight to the sound and flashing of thunder and lightening.

Nice end to the day. I'm hoping for more this week (since it's supposed to rain for the next few days anyway).

Easter isn't one of those holidays I did a lot of travel as a kid.  Christmas was always driving to Bay City (a two hour drive north of metro Detroit) but Easter was hit and miss.  Sometimes we would go, sometimes we wouldn't.  We always celebrated it at home though.  My parents did the traditional egg hiding and candy in a basket thing, as well as egg cracking (egg tapping).  I shot some video of the event, complete with basic intro since Chris was new to it.

It was great to see my little brother again, as well as my grandmother, who I've not seen for almost a year.  So we had three generations of women in the house.

There was plenty of food, and plenty of treats to munch on afterwords.  My parents even made mini-Easter baskets for Chris and I (I totally haven't had a basket in years, BONUS!).

My parents dyed a little over a dozen eggs for the day, which were brightly colored and stickered (see cute sheep sticker).

I spent probably too much time outside photographing them, as you can see by this blog post, but I had a good time.

The entire set of photos and days events can be found here.

As a little side note - I even logged onto World of Warcraft for a bit and dressed my undead appropriately for Noblegarden (their in-game Easter event).  The event comes complete with bunny ears, and egg-laying rabbits.

I woke up earlier than I do on a Saturday - 7 instead of 8ish to 9ish - so I took advantage of the opportunity and nice weather to open the window and hang out with the cat, listening to birds sing and squirrels run around like crazy.

There were errands that needed to be run though, and so Chris and I headed out a little after 9 to get some things done (seeds/corn for the wild animals, groceries, etc).  While out we stopped by Best Buy to see the new iPad.  Chris played with it more than I did. Honestly I'm just hoping the cost of eReaders drop after this thing has been on the market for awhile. I have no interest in the iPad but I'd like an eInk device.  Chris has a pretty good summary on his thoughts on the device here.

It started raining just after we got home, which means I promptly passed out and napped for several hours.  It was a good nap and I really enjoyed having a relaxing afternoon and evening.

As you can see, I spent part of the day making cookies for Easter at my mom's on Sunday.  I also made some Chocolate Wows, which thankfully are supposed to be lumpy looking.

I did a lot of the prep work in the morning before work started, since the apartment gets pretty warm (being on the top floor will do that) and I wanted to get some of the baking (the chocolate cookies) out of the way.  Sugar cookies, as you may or may not know, need to refrigerate for hours (preferably overnight), so it was best to do most of the prep work in the AM.

And I'm not going to lie - I frost cookies like a 10 year old.

Luckily since the weather was nice I was able enjoy an open window, as were the parakeet and cat.

Thursday was pretty quiet.  There wasn't a whole lot going on at work.  On lunch I went with a co-worker to exchange a shirt at the mall, just to break up the day a bit.

So here's a shot of the store, complete with whole lighted walls of accessories and shoes I'd be afraid to go near.