Thursday, December 29, 2005

Lets Go Out For Some "Zzaaa" - Stewie Griffin

Pizza pizza pizza!!!

Today I decided to make homemade Chicago-style deep-dish stuffed pizza. I don't know what gave me the idea, but I came up with it last night. So today, I went online to and I searched for a deep dish pizza dough recipe. I found it right away! So off I went to Jewel, to buy some of the ingredients I didn't already have.

It was very simple. A few easy steps:

One: Mix some yeast, sugar, and warm water in a small bowl.

Two: Mix flour, corn meal, and salt in a food processor, then add the yeast mixture and some olive oil. Blend until it forms a ball of dough.

Three: Knead the dough a bit, and transfer to a large bowl.

Four: Sit back, relax, and let the dough rise!

Five: Once it is done rising, punch it, roll it out, and put inside two 8" round pans. Make sure you spray the pans with some oil, and sprinkle a little corn meal on the bottom before putting the dough in.

Six: Pre-bake the dough for 8-10 minutes. That's it! Now just add whatever you want to top it off! [Oh yeah, bake the two pizzas for about 20-30 minutes.]

Results: Well, it was very tasty! The crust turned out good, but a little crispy around the edges. I think maybe a little less pre-baking would be good, say, max 8 minutes. The cheese was perfectly melted inside. And you know, I forgot to add the olives, so we had a cheese + mushroom pizza. The mushrooms well, we really couldn't taste them, so next time I will use fresh ones instead, or a mushroom with a stronger taste. I topped the sauce off with thinnly sliced fresh tomatos, and sprinkled them with Italian seasoning. Yum yum!
4.5 out of 5 stars!

I am making it a new tradition to make homemade deep dish every Thursday night. Hopefully, I'll have the time once school starts again, but it actually is not so time consuming.

I call it,

"Eating Out At GioJenno's!"

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Today I am planning out our future trip to Quebec City, Quebec, Canada. So far the plan goes like this:

Sat. Mar.18: Pack and get ready to go!

Sun. Mar.19: Drive to Quebec, stay overnight.

Mon. Mar.20: Night @ Ice Hotel! Brrrrrr!

Tues.-Fri. Mar.21-24: Night at hotel/hostel/YWCA with skiing and city exploring during the day.

Sat. Mar.25: Home!

There is a lot of stuff to do in the area of Quebec City. First of all, the city itself is very old, founded by the French in the 17th century. It is the ONLY walled-in city north of Mexico. Can you believe that? There is a "castle," which you can see in the picture I posted, and lots of other stuff.
Outside of the city, there are many activities like cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing, even dog sledding, but we are on a budget, so looks like cross-country skiing is the winner!
I am hoping to be able to make reservations at the YWCA in the city. They have 17 rooms, each decorated uniquely. Check it out!
Other hotels/motels are running at the cheapest $60/night. The YWCA is charging $45/night. Well, there are also hostels, but they are not so cheap as expected. You can find hotels for the same price!
The second pic here is the entrance the the Ice Hotel we will be staying at for one night. I can't wait! Looks like this mini vacation for spring break will be awesome!

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas!!

Christmas finally got here, actually, it came pretty fast. We had Christmas Eve dinner yesterday. And after we opened presents. I got an electric blanket! Yes!!!! Thats what I wanted because I am always cold when I sleep.
Me and Romy both caught some kind of weird sickness. We are both really tired, have a scratchy throat (not sore) and feel out-of-it. Its annoying because you don't feel really sick, but you do. I want to go to the gym, but I can't cuz I wouldn't even be able to lift. Oh well, I hope it goes away soon.
Today I am selling all our old textbooks on Amazon Marketplace. I hope we sell them all!!! Oh, and then we are going to Jerene's to have Christmas dinner. No wonder its so easy to get fat over the holidays. So much eating!!!
So since we felt so blahhh last night, we just layed and watched the History Channel and Comedy Central (Romy really loves South Park, and there was a Christmas marathon on. . .)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Christmas Preparations

Another day of the Xmas break is over. . .
Today I went grocery shopping with my mom to get all the stuff for dinner tomorrow. We went to The Egg Store. They have cheaper produce than fsf does. I think we might start shopping there. They had pineapples for only 99 cents! For desert we are having vanilla ice cream with egg nog liquer.
Romy didn't get donuts today. He was gonna bring them into work, but he thought a lot of people would bring donuts. Well, no. . . nobody did! Oh well. I kinda wanted one.
I added a few more thing to the blog. I have a little message tag board (under ~+ say hi!), which you can leave me a message or talk to someone who is also online, like an instant messager, but the bad this is it doesn't auto refresh. You gotta pay extra for that!
I finally finished cutting the tiles around the outlet in the kitchen. Once I got the right bit for the dremmel, it was quick and easy. But ceramic dust sprayed all over the basement, and I had to vacuumn it up. And I also wrapped the gifts. Now all that's left to do is the fruit baskets. Just add the fruit!
Oh, and I got an e-mail from Anie today. She was in my TEFL course in Prague (and she is in the center of the photo, pink dress). She's from Lebenon, but she prefers to live in Cyrus (no kidding!). Well, she just told me that she started studying for a PhD at Charles University in Prague, and she is also teaching English and French. I am so jealous! Thats awesome! That pic was taken at the "going away" party after our course was done, at the Tulip Cafe in Prague. It was a place that all TEFL teachers get 25% off, so we went there a few times. It is owned by a guy (Party Ray) who came to teach English, but decided to go into the bar business instead. Oh well! Whatever floats his boat!

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

Fruit Basket Day

Today there is a lot to do. Yesterday, if anybody noticed, I changed the skin of my blog. I am proud to say that I created it myself, after hours of looking at java script of other blog skins. A good site is, if anyone is looking for pre-made ones. Warning: some are not so good, others are okay. But if you really want to incorporate your own style, make your own!! I wanted to create an art nouveau style, my favorite!

Well, since yesterday I didn't do much, that means today I have a lot to do, including going shopping for some food, and fruit for the fruit baskets I am going to make for Xmas. Making your own fruit basket is simple and cheap, and people love them! I am going to the craft store for some small baskets, Xmas ribbons, etc. Then I am going to the grocery store to get some nice fruit, and one exotic one (like a baby pineapple).

What else? Oh yeah, I have to measure out the storage closet we have to finish that is above the bathroom. Uhg. . . for some reason when you don't have much to do, you get even lazier! Poor Romy, he's mad at me because I am not doing much. . .

Oh! And today is Wednesday, so that means we are going to Vertical Endeavors! I can't wait to climb! Maybe I will take a picture, if we remember to bring the camera with.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Its Silo Time!

This past weekend was a little crazy. We went to go see Matt's graduation from ISU at Bloomington/Normal, Illinois. Well, his graduation was, blah blah blah, long and boring. But the other stuff we did was fun. The first notable event was lunch after the graduation (or commencement as ISU calls it) at the American Legion hall. It was good, like buffet style, cooked by Matt and his family at the hall. We played pool while they were cooking. We weren't any good, but at least that was some fun filler before the real reason that we came: rock climbing at Upper Limits!

A lot of people were supposed to come with us, but they all passed. Thats okay, it actually turned out better that they didn't come with, because the easiest route they had set up was rated a 5.6 "Citrus Tree" and let me tell you, it was harder than 5.6, it seemed. Not exactly beginer friendly over there.

Well whats cool and unique about this place is that it is built inside of abandoned storage grain silos. The routes are 65 ft high. The pic to the right is between four silos (the rounded walls are actually the outside of 4 silos, which make up even more climbing routes). Thats Romy going up "I'm a banana" a 5.9. Aside from the erie lighting inside, and the freaky heating, it was awesome. They set up the routes with the minimum amount of holds, so that you climb up and you have to use only what they give. Other places give you a million holds, but color code them, but then its so tempting to cheat, and I get confused when I can't see the color tags. Also, the concrete walls provide a lot of friction for smearing.

There was also a bouldering cave, and an open bouldering area in the front (not inside the silos). All in all, we climbed for about 3.5 hours, and had an awesome time doing it.

When we came back, everyone at the Legion hall was ready to go out to the bar and celebrate Matt's graduation. So we went to some Irish place, where they had HUGE long island ice teas served up in a mason jar! Woah, we saw the bartender make us our teas, and she just kept pouring the booze in, and the last 10% she poured in some ice tea concentrate. I had one and was finished (we really didn't eat dinner after rock climbing. . .) and I don't know how many Romy had. But we ended up crashing at Marty's motel room with our sleeping bags. We drove home this morning, and I was soooooo tired driving! Ugh!

Friday, December 16, 2005

Monsieur Chopin

I must admit, I at first was not so excited to go. It was an excuse to go out and do something instead of sitting at home that evening. And, the tickets were free too, so that was a motivator as well.
Driving down to the Royal George Theater on Halsted was a great adventure, listening to Romy's mom comment about EVERYTHING she possibly could. The car ride was filled with her voice commenting about the neat old bridges, the fire escapes, and an old tennis club she once belonged to. . . there?
When we couldn't find parking, I was cursed again by the CTA! It was screaming,
"Ha ha, I told you so! You should of taken me!" as it passed overhead. Remeniscent of the snowy blizzard day when I begged Romy to drive me to the egg place! Woah, bad idea!
So we finally got there, about 15 minutes before it started, sat down in the balcony, and watched the show. It was unlike any other show I had ever seen. There was only one actor, Hershey Felder as Frederick Chopin. The audience, we were his student, and he was giving his lesson, and life story, in his salon, 9 Square d'Orleans, Paris. It was March 4th, 1848, in the afternoon.
Somehow I got sucked in, listening to his life story, bits and peices between his music, in chronological order, the first peice being one he composed when he was only 7 years old! He went through his life in Poland, then his "escape" to Paris, France. There he played in the salons of the rich and famous, etc. But what made it so interesting to me, was that it was told as if Chopin himself was telling his own story.
When it was over, Chopin brought us up to date to March 4th, 1848, and told us that a year later, he would die of the disease that was ailing him his whole life, consumption. And then, once Chopin was dead, the actor turned into a narrator, and told us further about Chopin's life, how he had bipolar disorder, and that it is evident in every peice of his music, ups and downs, like he was in real life. When you find that out, it was kind of freaky, because then you realize at some points of the story line, you remember how he was a little psycho. Then you have an, "Ohhhhh. . . " moment.
But it didn't end in a depressing way at all. Me and Romy made up a song, "At the end the end of the roll. . . . My colon will blow. . . ." Hehehehehe!!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

Nicole Visits / Our FIRST X-mas Tree!

On Sunday, Nicole and Marcel came to stay with us again before they left to Europe (yesterday). A few hours before they came, we went to Menard's to pick our first Xmas tree. It is a real tree. We brought it home on the roof of the car, and then brought it inside, stuck it in the red base, and then cut away the plactic netting that wrapped the tree. The smell instantly infused the whole apartment. Mmmmmm nice pine tree scent.
A few hours later, the branches began to go down, and the tree fluffed up (with some of Romy's help too). So the next morning, Nicole, Romy, and I all went to Romy's house to go get their old Xmas ornaments. They are all from the 40's and beyond. They were Romy's grandma's.
We spent a few hours decorating, and then we went to the Y to go rock climbing. In the evening, we took pics again with the new Xmas tree. Here are some:

Nicole and the tree:
Darth Vadar makes an appearance; Romy hangs from the warrior training board.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

ONLY IN. . . .

Only in America:

Only in Mexico:

Only in Spain:

Only in India:

Only in Hawaii:

Only in France:

Only in Africa:

Only in Texas:

Only in Japan:

Thursday, December 08, 2005

75% Done With Finals!

Today marks that we are both are 75% done with finals. Only one more to go. So far, my first final was math, Linear Algebra, which was a good final. Our teach Rafail just changed the numbers on the sample finals online. In fact, on some of them, I don't even think he changed the numbers at all! They seemed very familiar! Hehehehe.
My next final, Cell Bio was a nightmare! My teacher likes to do a lot of "which one is false" type questions. That pissed me off because you might know two that are true, and the other two you don't know if they're false, or you just don't know enough details about it. Well, some were okay because I knew which one was really false. Uhg! It sucked! I feel like I could've guessed, and my score would be the same as if I tried. My eyes were starting to go blurry after an hour and a half of reading her questions!!!
Then my third final ws Statics. That one was great because it was open notes/books, and I just did many example problems in my notes so that I was prepared. But I got stumped on the last potential energy problem. It has a circular shaped rod, which I couldn't figure out the equation for in the time they gave us. There were no problems like that in the book either. Maybe he pulled it out of his ass.
And finally, yesterday night, we went to the gym a little later than usual, around 8:30pm to go climbing/exercise. Some fat bitch at the front desk asked us,
"Are you certified to go climbing?"
"Well, it doesn't show on your membership that you are certified. . ."
Blah blah blah, so she had to call some other trainers and all of them weren't certified to certify us! We have been clibing there for the past two months, and now some fat bitch tells us we can't go (and we were certified to climb in the spring). So finally, we came back after 1/2 hour, and the cool guy just waved us through, and told the fat bitch it doesn't matter, we come here all the time to climb.
We ended up climbing for about an hour, and I finally got over the hump in the rock that I could never do! Romy had his new climbing shoes on too, and he liked them a lot.
Thats it!

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Somebody Shoot Me!

Who the hell cares where the rocket's new center of inertia will be once its fuel is exhuasted!

Rock climbing @ XtremeFitness

Today, I finally remembered to bring the camera with so we can take some pics of us climbing. This wall is in the back of the gym we have a membership to. It is actually not so high, about 20 feet only, but its fun because the wall is actually shaped like a real rock, so in some places you can grap at a fake rock hold, or you can try to grip the rock itself.

Above is Romy climbing, and doing his hanging stunt. He can climb every part of the wall, except this side-route, which is pretty tough. There is an automatic belay machine that pulls out the slack when you climb up, and lets you down slowly when you jump, or fall off the wall. I like it, except that is is positioned about two or three feet off the wall, and it keeps pulling you back off the wall as you climb. But its better than a person belaying you because the person sometimes lets you cheat by helping "pull" you up.

Next is me, and I am working on getting over the hump that is created by the "natural" rock. It is tough because I am kinda hanging backwards, plus the rope pulls me backwards, and I kinda have to jump to reach the next hand hold. The rock cut my finger in that picture (it sucked!). The second pic is me on the easiest route. It is like a warm-up now, but when I first started, it was hard! Hehehe I can't believe it was so hard before!!!

Friday, December 02, 2005

A Night at the Ice Hotel

I never thought that I would ever stay at a Ice Hotel. I only see them on TV, and they're always in far away places, like Sweden, Iceland, etc. But man, did I get a suprise!
Browsing through the weekly TravelZoo Top 20 e-mail, towards the bottom of the list was a special offer by the Ice Hotel - Quebec, Canada.

$99 Arctic Fox Special per person per night

Woah! I was so amazed, and I could NOT let this chance pass by! So I booked one night @ the Ice Hotel for me and Romy during spring break.
This hotel is rebuilt every year during November-December, opens in January, and melts back down in late April. It is made purely out of about 11,000 tons of snow and 350 tons of ice. Inside it is decorated by artists, so each room is unique. Oh yeah, and all the furniture (including the beds) is made out of ICE!!!
This picture is of the ICE Bar, where they serve shots of Absolut vodka in carved out ice shot glasses.
Of course, we'll write more after we survive to tell about it!

Climbing Harness

Today, and yesterday, I am feeling sick with a cold or something. Its started with a sore throat, and then progressed to a head ache and runny/stuffy nose.
I am also very sore because I was exercising, doing squats and lunges, and I wasn't used to it. Now my body doesn't feel like healing my muscles, because its concentrating on getting rid of my cold!
Yesterday, I won the climbing harness I was looking at on Ebay. I won it for $1.04, with $8 shipping. It is size small.
My muscles are getting stronger, which is good. Tonight we went climbing at the Y again, and it was tougher than normal because I felt weak, but I still could do everything I normally can do when I am feeling good.
Tomorrow, Romy is going to help out at the climbing wall for some program for little kids. I think I will clean, or do some studying for finals!

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Vintage Scarpa Shoes

I just won the vintage Scarpa rock climbing shoes on Ebay!! I am soooo excited because they are really vintage, and I love the colors. They are hardly used, too!
I really like going rock climbing. Its fun, and good exercise. The shoes help you climb because they have a lot of rubber on them, which helps you grip the wall, even when there are no grips on the wall. They are also form-fitting to your foot, unlike gym shoes, which have bulky sides. We go climbing at XSport Gym, and at the Y. Next week, once they come in the mail, we are going to Vertical Endeavors, a huge indoor rock climbing facility. I am training with weights at the gym too, so that I can do a pull-up all by myself. It'll help me climb much better. I am also improving my grip, which is suprisingly very very helpful, more than arm strenght! If you can't grip something, no matter how strong your arms are, you aren't gonna hang on!!!!
Next, I'm searching for climbing harnesses on Ebay. Women's sizes are not so popular, because its mostly a guy sport. There are so many men's shoes, etc on Ebay, but only a few women's things, and I'm so lucky because there are also few bidders for womens' items!
Hehehehhe. . .

Friday, November 25, 2005

Lots of eating!

There was a lot of eating going on in the past few days. It started on Wednesday night, when we went to Klas to celebrate our birthday. We had a nice dinner and some beer. Then after, we got a little tour of Klas, and explored all the rooms upstairs. It was pretty cool. This pic is in the Dr. Zhivago room. There a beautiful murals all over the walls, and a big fire place.
We thought that we might as well ask if the date for our wedding was open, June 24th, so that we could have the big crystal room, with a bar, dancefloor, and outside beer garden. To our suprise, it was marked down for a 50th anniversary party! But, there was no deposit made by the other party, so I said I will put a deposit on it RIGHT NOW!! We were planning on having it there, and we couldn't afford not getting our room!! That was close!
Then, it was turkey day, and we stuffed ourselves good.

We saw a good Czech movie called Zelary, about World War II and a girl trying to hide from the Germans. She hid in a small Slovakian mountain village, and got all involved in their life there. . . it was such a good movie!

Then we watched Ju-On, a Japanese horror movie.

Then finally, today, we ate a second Thanksgiving with Romy's family at his house. It was good too, especially this brown sugar squash stuff. Mmmmm.

Monday, November 21, 2005

TBP Engineering Honors Society

Yay, Romy finally got initiated into Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor's Society. It happened on Friday, actually, at UIC. To get into TBP, you need to be in the top 1/5th of your class, in the college of engineering. I was initiated my Junior year @ UIC, and now Romy is finally initiated too! After, we went to Leona's to celebrate. Here are some pics:

Romy is somewhere in there! Those are the new initiates.

Romy is awarded for being the "best initiate." He got a $25 "Gift Certificate" to Best Buy! That's Samantha, our president, in her retro polyester dress she got off of Ebay.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Today was Math Day.

Today was mega study linear algebra day! We studied all of yesterday night, plus this morning, then we went to school to have lunch, and studied for math again for an hour. Then we took our math exam. I believe that we both got 100%, so the studying was very worth it.
The test was similar to the practice exam he went over on Friday, so thats good.
Now, we just got done doing more math homework that was supposed to be due today, but its due Wednesday, because the exam was today.
We are both so awake right now because we went to Caribou Coffee while doing other homework that had to be done. Ahhhhh! Non-stop studying today!!!! My brain is fried!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2005

a new machine

It finally arrived in the mail, my new (old) Sharp Zaurus ZR5800 little organizer/word processor! I love it. It comes with a "pen," so you can do touch-screen stuff, like a PDA, but it also has a very mini QWERTY keyboard.
The reason I got it was because I was looking for a little machine, ideally cheap, and small, and it would allow me to type articles while riding on the train through Siberia. I needed something that would run on batteries for a long time, and have also a cord in case I was to plug it in.
I found the perfect machine, after searching for about half hour on Ebay. It runs on two AA batteries, for 60 hours, or one month. It has a cord incase I wanna plug it in to the electricity. It has a word-processor, spreadsheet, and all the cool stuff an organizer PDA has, a calculator, plus it can capture notes I take with the "pen," and it has a PC card slot, so I can have a flashdrive or whatever hook up to it. It is also able to hook up to any computer and transfer the files.
Finally, it is small, small, small! It can fit in a large pocket, perfect for traveling. Now I can write about anything, where ever I go, when ever I want! And it only cost $30 bucks. I don't even have to cry if I lose it! ;-)

The BEAST!!!!

Ho-k, so Jenn's mom asked me about speakers for Bill's Jeep cos his are blown. She works for Bosch, who owns Blaupunkt, so therefore has a nice hookup. I picked out the best ones for Bill's Jeep cos apparently Blaupunkt is moving their headquarters away from the same building as Bosch, so they're doing a clearance type thing for employees and the stuff I guess, is cheap. Jenn's mom said that if I wanted anything to pick it out and that maybe, but probably not, we'll see, type of thing. So I picked out their best sub, the Vw1200. This beast (I love that word!) handles 1200WRMS. Ok, I'll repeat that to get it across again. 1200W R M S!!! I mean, damn!!!!

I have an Infinity sub right now in my car which draws just 300WRMS and bumps as it is, but 1200?!?!? Now I need to find an amp that doesn't suck and can push somewhere around that much!

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Happy 21st Birthday!!!!

Wooooooo LETS DRINK!!!!!!!!!!!!! Well, actually, we're not celebrating today, but this weekend, and next week when Nicole comes for the whole week of Thanksgiving! I got a special coupon for Brown Cow's Ice Cream Parlour for a free scoop. Mmmmmm. . .

Well, as Peter Griffin would say, "You know what really grinds my gears?"
The people who find something on Ebay, and the item has like, more than 2 or 3 days left on it, and they freakin BID on it!! Why? It makes me so mad because there are these awesome espresso machines on Ebay, and one has been on there for only one day, and it already has 6 bids on it! And some idiot over-bid himself, three times. Don't they know the secret of bidding? You bid during the last few hours, when as many
people don't have the chance to over-bid you! Duh! That'll keep the price lower too. . .

Well, this is it, the espresso machine made in Italy, manual press, with steamer, La Pavoni Romantica. It is sold brand new for $7-800, but on Ebay, they are going for $1-300. A lot of them start out even lower, but the dumb people bid on them right away for some reason. Well, I am watching out for them, because one of these would be the perfect B-day present for myself (if no one gets me one. . . .)

Saturday, November 05, 2005

Latte Art on Jackson

Many people may appreciate art on the walls, or in furniture, architecture, etc. Me, I appreciate it on the froth of my latte!

A little cafe, hidden near the Jackson exit of the CTA Blue-Line, called Intelligentsia, has a really cool employee. He makes your latte very special by making a design on the top, mixing the dark creama and the light froth into a leaf-shape, or a heart! I never got the heart though, but I saw him make one for the guy infront of us . . . . guy you ask? It was actually some old man, and I don't think the special employee is gay or anything, but whatever.

The coffee they brew is excellent, and they used to have this quarter machine that was filled with chocolate covered espresso beans. I ate so many of them after downing a latte, and I was shaking like never before! Well, they don't have the machine anymore, and maybe thats a good thing.

This pic was taken when Nicole visited in the early summer, and we went downtown for a walk, or maybe to visit STATravel or something. Well, as you can see, we both got leaves!

Friday, November 04, 2005

Ode to Rafail Abramov

Ahhh yes. . . our Linear Algebra Prof. Is there any way to describe him?

Lake Baikal Plan:

So I've been preparing a plan of activities while we will stay by Lake Baikal.
This is a map of Lake Baikal and the cities around it. We will be mainly on the west coast. The train will take us to Irktusk, where we will find a hostel to sleep the night and of course, get a nice shower!! There are a few I found already on that are not bad.

Our next stop, after a good rest, it to get to Port Baikal or Listviyanka by bus. At that point, our handy hiking map has a hike from Listvyanka - Bolschoi Koty (18km) and from Bolschoi Kotuy - Bolschoi Goloustnoye (35km). We will be camping, of course, by night.

This will be major hiking, because I would like to eventually reach Buguldeika. Thats about 90km away though, and a total of 140km one way. Hmmm. . . thats a little outrageous! Maybe we will hike only half way, and take a bus back, or take the bus first, and hike back. There is a bus that runs between Irktusk and Buguldeika. We'll see. . . . just some initial planning!

I'm also planning a possible week or so helping to build sections of the Great Baikal Trail, but I have to research more into it!

Thursday, November 03, 2005

The Great Baikal Trail

Today I did a lot of research on the Lake Baikal area.
A few weeks ago, I was surfing the internet for info on the Trans-Siberian Railroad journey, and I found an awesome hiking tour that starts in Irkutsk, by Lake Baikal, and goes up north along the coast and into some of the mountains surrounding the world's deepest lake. You hike the whole way, or you can choose to kayak part of the hike. You camp over-night, and the excursion was 5 days.
The problem was the price. On the website, they advertised $310/person. That was great! But when I e-mailed them, they said the price changed to about $700/person, which didn't include hourly rent of kayaks, or the guide! What a rip off!
Then I found another website that offered a very similar tour, for about half the price. But today, I found the PRIZE!
I've been searching for a website that just has info for hiking/outdoor activities around Lake Baikal without the whole "tour" thing. The site is and its packed with lots of great info, including a site which just sells hiking maps of different regions of Siberia: Its great!

Well, today I bought this map, called "Great Baikal Trail from Listvyanka to Buguldeika," and it includes 4 hikes that those two tour companies were charging hundreds of dollars for:

1) Listvyanka - Bolschoi Koty (18km)
2) Bolschoi Kotuy - Bolschoi Goloustnoye (35km)
3) Bolschoi Goloustnoye - Bukhta Peschanaya (46km)
4) Bukhta Peschanaya - Buguldeika (45km)

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

Happy Halloween! We don't have any candy this year because no little kid ever ventures to our door. Maybe its too scary. Anyways, its nice and warm out today, in the 60's and overcast. Thats how it usually is, but a little cooler.

In the picture, thats Bobby as Batman, Romy and the drunken Superman, and me, as Superwoman. We were at Jerene's annual Halloween party. We spent most of the time watching the White Sox play their first game of the World Series.

Then yesterday, it was Nicole's last day in Chicago with us, so we went downtown because it was sooo nice out.
We parked in Lincoln Park, and walked to the Hancock in hopes of getting a coffee at the lounge on the 96th floor. No luck, the bastards don't let you sit there unless you're 21 years old.
So, the bimbo waitress said, "So sorry. . ." and began taking away the napkins she layed down on our table. We got a better view of Chicago in the bathroom anyway. But the guys didn't!

Whatever. . . So we moved on to the beach, and finally to a park that is hidden away near the Lincoln Park Zoo and the Peggy Notebaert Museum. It looks Frank Lloyd Wright-ish. Anyway, we plan on making s'mores there next time, and some brats.

Saturday, October 29, 2005

Stylin' Comfy-Semi-Pants

This weekend, Nicole brought me some stylin' comfy-semi-pants that she sewed. She got some fabric at her super walmart store, and sewed me three pairs, and one for herself too. Later, she'll make Romy a pair also (they should be pretty stylin' as well!!).

My first pair has all goldfish fabric. The second has 3 peices of Diet Coke, and one teapot design. The third is all crazy with teapots, a fishy-scene, and goldfish all in one pair of comfy pants! She did the majority of the sewing last weekend, and then finished up on Monday, when her school was canceled because of Hurricane Wilma!!

We decided to go to Caribou Coffee Thursday night in our stylin' pants, but Marcel chickened out on wearing his Gucci sweatpants with us! What a party pooper!

After Caribou, we stopped in Trader Joes to get some Exstra, Staropramen, and some orange sorbet from France that you eat out of actual oranges shelled out! It was kinda cool!

Friday, October 21, 2005

The 54th/Cermak Nightmare!!

It always happens at UIC, that on the way home, you'll always miss the Forest Park L-train because of the 54th/Cermak nightmare.

It happens like this:
3:50pm Class gets out.
Hurry, gotta rush, power walk to the train station.
Wait, I have to go pee kinda, I'll just stop in the bathroom.
2 minutes later, out of the bathroom.
Power walking to the train, oh no, I hope I didn't miss it.
The paranoia is starting.
3:56pm Nearing the expressway.
And just as you get a sight of the tracks, there comes the Forest Park train, right under your feet! Damn!
Punch in my card ::Bleep::
Walk down the steps to the platform,
Wait at the platform for AT LEAST 20 minutes, UHHHHHGGG!!!

Or, it happens like this:
3:50pm Class gets out.
Hurry, gotta rush, power walk to the train station.
Wait, I have to go pee kinda, but I can't stop in the bathroom or I'll miss the train.
Power walking to the train, oh no, I hope I don't miss it, or pee in my pants!
The paranoia is starting.
3:54pm Nearing the expressway.
And just as you get to the tracks, everything thing looks good, no train yet.
Punch in my card ::Bleep::
Walk down the steps to the platform.
Hang head over the tracks to look down and see if the train lights are shining out of its tunnel.
Wait, I see lights! Which train is it?
Blurry light of the sign, coming closer. . . uhhhh is it more blue-ish, or white-ish!?
Oh no, I think its more white-ish.
Damn it is. . . .
It's the freakin 54th/Cermak NIGHTMARE!!!!!!!!!!!