the further adventures of

Mike Pirnat

a leaf on the wind

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Catching Up: Turkey Day Weekend

So, I've been meaning to catch up on things since last week, and just too busy and burned out to get around to it. I figure it's about time, so here's a little bit about our Turkey Day weekend.

We slept late. It felt incredibly good. I spent much of the day in PJ's, just being a big loafy bum.

Eventually we got cleaned up and drove out to Liz's cousin Rick's house. We got the tour from Rick while his wife Jennifer addressed Thanksgiving meal preparations. Liz and I chatted for a bit with various family members, and I took whatever breaks I could to watch Finding Nemo.

After about an hour and a half of visiting, it was time for us to hit the road, and we drove downtown to eat at Bin 36, a wine restaurant that was doing a special Thanksgiving dinner menu (scroll down a bit to "Thanksgiving Dinner at Bin 36 Chicago"). Liz and her mom had the porcini mushroom soup with a delightful sparkling wine from Albuqeurque, New Mexico, while I had the confit of goose salad with a perky Gewurtztraminer. For the second course, Liz and her mom had the grilled rosemary turkey with a luscious Zinfandel, and I had the chateau briand, which was paired with a killer Shiraz. For dessert, I had the apple pie with a Muscato d'asti, Liz had the banana bread pudding with a Port, and her mom had the pumpkin pie (also with Port, if I recall correctly). All were in agreement--dinner was delicious and quite a treat. We'll definitely be back.

Friday began much the same way that Thursday did, with much sleeping in and being lazy. Granted, Liz got up to go running with Chance, but I did enough lounging around to compensate and even up the average.

Friday afternoon we went to see Blue Man Group. It was a very fun show, firing on many different levels. You have the cool visual spectacle of things like the drumbone, the PVC pipes, and fun with paint; at the same time you have goofy slapstick humor that wavers between subtle and gross; and at the same time you have a powerful artistic statement about complex issues like modern western civilization, alienation, conformity, chaos, and information addiction. Oh, and they wrap things up with KLF's "Last Train to Trancentral," which is one of those rare and wonderful things whose quality increases in proportion with the volume at which it is experienced. It made me greatly happy indeed! And how can you not like a show which requires you to wrap your head with a strip of crinkly white paper, giving the feeling that the audience are a gaggle of escaped lobotomy patients? Very, very cool.

For dinner, we went to The Parthenon in Chicago's Greektown area. Apparently, this is the restaurant that invented saganaki, one of my favorite appetizers in the entire universe. You just can't go wrong when goat cheese is set on fire!! We ordered the "family style" for three, which meant that they brought us plate after plate of miscellaneous food, basically until we were about to pop. We had a bottle of nice dry red wine, something Greek and not very expensive whose name eludes me now, but it was a good match with the food.

Did a little shopping downtown. I picked up four shirts at Marshall Field (surprisingly, none of them even remotely black). All of them looked great on me (yay!), and were even on sale (double yay!).

That afternoon we went to see One Man Star Wars, a fabulous one-man show that covers the original Star Wars trilogy over the course of 60 minutes. It's a high-energy laugh-athon that had me gasping for breath between his excellent and loving jabs at the classic films. I highly, highly recommend it to anyone who likes Star Wars; unless you are a giant nincompoop, you will enjoy it immensely.

We rounded out the evening with a visit to Sam's Wines, a giant warehouse-like wine purveyor in the outskirts of the downtown Chicago area. We picked up a few bottles of 2000 Bordeaux to age for a decade or two, then drove back to Anne's side of town for a late dinner at Chi Tung.

We had the best, best, best luck with traffic on the way back. What is usually a six-hour drive we managed in under five. Don't ask me how, given that it was supposed to be the worst travel day of the year. The westbound lanes were not so fortunate, however; there were at least four 10-mile traffic jams that looked like absolute misery.

And, then... Hmm. We had a nice, relaxing evening, I think... It's kind of sad that I can't really put my finger on what I did just last weekend. Oh well. So it goes.

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