Monday, April 02, 2007

Chicago, My Kind of Town - If I want to be bitten by a snake

If I ever got downtown, that is. But we stayed in the northern suburbs...sort of Milwaukee-ish burbish, but not in Wisconsin, if you can picture it. It was my nephew's third birthday, so we hit the Windy City for the weekend. I have to say, sticking around for Christopher Moore (courtesy of Mean Mr. Mustard), and then leaving at 9:00 p.m. for Chicago, is sort of fool's errand. I was seriously tired by the time we pulled into the hotel at almost 4:00 a.m., even with Pooteewheet taking a shift.

Not that it wasn't worth it. It was interesting to listen to Moore talk. Now I know I could a.) be an author and b.) go on a speaking tour. I could just pull sort of a "best of" NodToNothing on the road and be fine. He was funny, I'll give him that. And I appreciated that he wasn't just doing a reading, but trying to be amusing and different. I just wish I had actually brought the copy of You Suck I had purchased that I'd been so uptight about not getting here in time. I was much more relaxed once I'd forgotten it. I particularly liked his story about the lady who liberated her bunnies, and then subsequently managed to kill a number of them. Pooteewheet and I speculated about various cars on the way to Chicago as to whether they were full of dead bunnies. And my food at Jewel of India was delicious, and the beer at Town Hall was tasty, so that always makes me happy.

Anyway...I was in Chicago...or to the slightly northern area thereabouts. Third birthday party and all. It was at my nephew's cookie factory. Seriously, he's got a cookie factory. So the kids got to decorate cookies, and bake them. And meet The Cookie Monster. You can't go wrong with that sort of action.

Here's my nephew decorating cookies. You can never have too many sprinkles. Hell, you might as well just eat baked sprinkles, because that's the only good part.

Here's the final product. It tastes better because you baked it yourself in an industrial, rotating oven crewed by employees. That's not sarcasm. I'm serious. It's a cookie, you decorated it yourself, and someone else did the work of cooking it - delish.

And Cookie Monster - he's the bomb.

Apparently you got to be Cookie Monster is you place first in the mini-chocoloate chip cookie eating contest. Fortunately for me, I took second. I couldn't mentally picture the milk to cookie to time ratio, so I had over half a cup of milk left at the end. That's foolish. I could have poured cookies into my milk and drank them with that much left. And then puked. Puked hard and long and in a way that would have shamed my wife and child. WAY too many cookies, even taking second place.

Now for the snake bite. We all went geocaching. We had Bongo the travelbug monkey with us, who was trying to get to Namibia, and we thought, "Hey, he's only traveled 10 miles so far, maybe we could get him 400 miles closer to his destination." So I collected a number of caches, and we went looking for two that were in memory of a lawyer/motorcyclist son who had passed away. Unfortunately for us, he was a practical joker. Fortunately for us, the joke was damn funny. The thing was disguised as a drain. Once you really thought about it, you wondered about that drain in the field. And when you opened it up, you wondered why there was a faucet of some sort out there. But then common sense took over and you yank it out of the ground in an act of blatant vandalism, and it is the cache. The dad of the lawyer the cache was dedicated to showed up while we were there and gave us some good hints about how to find the next one (and how to avoid being up to our eyeballs in water), so that was neat.

Here we are putting Bongo in the cache. Eryn was very sad to see him go, but we added a watch to him so we can see where he goes on Google Earth, which is very cool. Pooteewheet kicked it up today so Eryn could see how far he'd gone compared to his zoo to northern Minnesota back to the zoo trip he'd previously engaged upon.

Oh yeah...the snake! So after the two caches we found in honor of David the lawyer, Pooteewheet and Eryn went back to the hotel to swim, while I hit the local park for some exercise and to look for a few more. I have to tell you, being a late 30-something guy wandering around a big park alone in off season and holding a cache shaped like a skull and knowing cops are in the park...I was expecting to be hauled in at any minute. I found a few caches and missed one (too much water), but the highlight was when I realized that it's all well and good that they mark on the website that there might be ticks, but they don't just come out and say, "If you're from an area without many snakes, maybe you should be careful if you're out of state, because not all states have a freeze, and they might have poisonous animals." Fortunately, I was in northern Illinois in March, so the animal that brushed against my pantleg because it was striking and coiling back up was just a < Garter Snake, but it made me realize that perhaps I should actually be watching where I was stepping. That's my advice to geocachers from Minnesota. Everywhere else is potentially much more dangerous than here.

This picture has nothing to do with snakes. It's Eryn and my niece Sofie at Michael's hot dog place. My recommendation, don't order the double char burger, it is much bigger than a double at Culver's. I thought I was going to be sick. And don't take care of Sofie if you don't have a pacifier/nook...that's asking for trouble.


Anonymous said...

Your brush with the garter snake was just good practice for the day that you might be wandering around the bluffs in SE Minnesota looking for a geocache - it might help you in avoiding an unpleasant encounter with a Timber Rattlesnake.

Anonymous said...

Just curious - how many mini chocolate chip cookies did you have to eat to take second place?

China valve said...

Oh! it is very curious-but the chidlern are more cute.
welcome to my blog;

boringsahm said...

Oh I have just worked out why they don't do geocache in Australia, snakes are not one of our friendliest reptiles to met in the bush!

I like the look of the kids cookies, absolutely agree with more freckles the better!

And I have reserved a C.Moore book from the library, you have inspired me!

Scooter said...

I didn't see any wildlife when I was in Australia for my sister's wedding, Sahm. I think somewhere on my site there's a picture of some wallaby poop we found, but that was about it. Oh...wait...I saw bats in Sydney.

Lamb is Moore's best book, by the way. It was funny, at his "reading" he said that they were using it in a few seminaries, which really suprised him (and not in a "don't be like this blasphemer" sort of way). We only had three minutes, but I was eating about five at a pop, and that was about every five seconds. Maybe 200? Could have been more, I started off strong.

Anonymous said...

500?! Impressive. I didn't notice any puke buckets under the cookie eating contest table ala fear factor.

"In memory of Geocaching" is strange, isn't it?