A few days ago, a blog I follow called Chicago History Today posted a piece about the last cow path in Chicago, a ten-foot-wide alleyway in the Loop that couldn't be built on because of a cattle easement. Essentially, a farmer sold the "you can walk here" rights to a fellow farmer, whose descendants refused to sell the "you can walk here" rights to the developers who wanted to put up an office building on the site.

The office building did make a court case out of it but they couldn't have been too terrible sports about it, because when they lost the case they ended up building the offices with a passageway, ten feet wide and eighteen feet high, should you need to drive some motherfuckin' cattle from Monroe to Madison and traffic's backed up on LaSalle (you can't drive them up Clark, Clark is a southbound-only one way at that point).

At any rate, eventually the cattle path was blocked off by a building to the north of Monroe, but in the spirit of the thing they diverted the cattle path to an alley. Which smells quite nice after the rain and before the trash is put out.



Chicago: we literally have not stopped being under construction since the cows went home.

So I decided to visit and walk the last surviving cow path in Chicago, and it was a short damn walk. I thought I'd stop by Wendy's and get a burger after, but I had a Social Anxiety moment when I couldn't figure out their new menu (it's all pictures and apparently they don't just sell a goddamn hamburger anymore) so I faked an urgent text and left. But I did end up at the Chicago Loop Synagogue, which has a sculpture over its doors that looks like the fever dream of a very religious typesetter.



That was cool. And surreal. Mostly surreal.
Gemstone Adventur!

So, I went down to Jeweler's Row this evening and had a gem appraiser look at the stuff Mum sent home with me from Mama Tickey's collection. It was really awkward. The first woman I spoke with summoned a second woman who, well, understood English better, and she looked at the stones I had in their little plastic bags, but she wasn't actually qualified, I guess? So she summoned another woman who started clucking her tongue before I even had the gems fully out.

I managed to get across that I didn't want anything official, just wanted to know what the heck they were, and there was this weird moment where I realised that they weren't going to touch the bags or take the stones out of them. At first I thought maybe they were just observing good germ protocol, not touching strange stuff they didn't have to, but it occurred to me as I unbagged the stones and set them out that maybe they didn't want their hands busy while mine were free.

It's been a long time since I've had the "scruff treatment" -- I used to get it a lot when I was a scruffy theatre kid, any time I was in a reasonably high-end establishment where I was a bit out of place. I had the distinct sense, however, that combining my business-casual, my tidy but epically bad haircut at the moment, and my obvious lack of interest in buying anything --

I think they might have thought I was trying to con them. Which does bring a little bubble of Neal Caffrey joy to an otherwise perplexing experience, so don't try to dissuade me.

The upshot is that the woman who looked at the stones once I got them loose didn't look very closely before she said they were semiprecious, not gems, and dismissed me with a wave of her hand. Which does not, I have to say, incite confidence in me that she actually knew. It's disappointing to think I have a handful of stuff I could buy from a street vendor, but I can live with that -- it's not like I paid for it -- as long as I'm confident someone who knows what they're doing and isn't waiting for me to snatch a diamond has had a good look.

So, I think I'll call my insurance guy tomorrow and see if he knows an appraiser who will take me a little more seriously. And hell, even if the blue one isn't a sapphire, it's beautiful; I might have it set in something anyway. Who's gonna know? Aside from snobby jewelers...
Me: *hands over boarding pass*
Boarding Pass Machine: *TERRIBLE BLEAT OF DOOM*
Me: What happened?
Flight Attendant: We're printing you a new boarding pass.
Me: Wait, why?
Chorus of Angels: *descends*
Flight Attendant: You're being upgraded to an exit row. Are you willing and able to perform the duties of an exit-row passenger in the event of an emergency?
My inner voice: You bet your beautiful face I am.
My adult self: Yes, I am, thank you!
Chorus of Angels: *gentle song as I walk down the boarding ramp*
I am home from C2E2, the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo! I may no longer have feet, I haven't checked.

Last year I did all three days, but this year I only bought a Friday pass, which was wise and somewhat precognitive in retrospect, given that I didn't know then I would be traveling on the 28th. Friday's the best day to go, in terms of crowds, but even so it was pretty jammed by the time I left.

I got home covered in old-comic-book dust, con funk, and train grime. IT WAS PRETTY AWESOME.

One of the motivations for going, this year, was that I have all these 80s and 90s comic book trading cards to unload, and I was hoping to source someone who would tell me their worth (likely minimal) and maybe help get them off my hands.

What I discovered instead is that the people who deal in what are called "non-sports cards" are UNIVERSALLY CREEPY. I spoke to three of them before I gave up on finding one who was even minimally socially adept and not an asshole. I used to collect baseball cards so I know that card dealers can be on the low end of the "acceptable behaviour towards another human being" scale, and my social awkwardness tolerance is high because hello, very awkward myself. But these guys blew all previous experiences out of the water.

Still, overall I had a great time. The con was in a different building from last year, with an elevated food court at the center and much better cellphone reception.

Plus I got a pair of Captain America socks. They have wings on them.

I might wear them to the interview on Monday.
I AM HOME FROM POUTINEFEST.

Poutinefest: your gateway to ADVENTUR!

The trains are all effed up this weekend, or at least the red line trains are, so it was a bit of an adventure getting down to Haymarket Pub, where it was being held. Worth it though. There were eleven different high-end restaurants serving a variety of poutine, which for the sadly uninitiated is fries covered with cheese curds and then doused in brown gravy. I KNOW.

MY REVIEW OF POUTINEFEST '13 )

The funny thing is I paid $50 for my ticket, which is not inexpensive, but I figured that money was going towards renting the space and the free drinks (two free beers and a bourbon). Turns out it also went to give us a crapload of swag. I got a PoutineFest sticker, a button with the logo, a Jim Beam commemorative glass, some stickers, and

WAIT FOR IT

YES

YOU KNOW IT

A POUTINEFEST TOTE BAG.

I'm considering sending it to my mum.
I AM SNOT TASTIC.

So, I don't know where I found this, possibly someone in the cafe recommended it (if so, thank you) but I've had it on my "adventur" list forever: the NETI MASSAGE. I have very tempermental sinuses, so I thought, I'll get a neti massage, which is meant to break up your sinuses a bit and clear your nasal passages through the liberal inhalation of mint-oil steam.

It was a lot fancier than I expected.

I thought I'd just get a massage chair and a couple-ten minutes of facial massage, which to be honest was what I was after. I like massage; I don't touch people much in my everyday life and touch is important, they've done studies, so I make sure at least once a month I get some kind of touch therapy, which usually involves a student massage at the local school.

What actually happened was that they put me in a room with lots of candles and a robe, and then took my berobed ass to another room with MORE CANDLES and a steam machine. And then they scrubbed my feet. I mean, my feet could use it, but that was a surprise. They did do an actual full table massage after the foot-scrubbing, admittedly with a lot of focus on the face and head, before bringing me honeyed tea to drink for afters. FANCY.

But the lady who was doing the massage was using some kind of lotion that smelled very strongly of bananas and cinnamon. So there's me, face full of minty goodness and rubbed down with banana lotion, and after the massage I get on the train, where I shove in with a group of hipster-y guys who are talking about getting margaritas. About ten minutes go by, and all of a sudden one of them sniffs.

"Do you smell banana bread?"

Oh nooooooooooooooooooooo....

"Man, I do."

"I could totally go for some banana bread."

"I haven't had banana bread in years, probably."

"Maybe someone on the train has banana bread."

Meanwhile I am very casually SUPER-ENGROSSED in my phone, because I am unprepared to admit to strangers that the banana bread they smell is me. I'm not even that big a fan of banana bread!

Bet you all want some now though, huh.

Anyway, then I got home and there was a flood of snot from out my nose, so I'm sitting in bed with a box of tissue marveling at how much liquid my face contains.
So yes. Did not die at the City Museum, despite the fact that it has MANY OPPORTUNITIES. It's filled with sharp pointy things and narrow tunnels and stairs and small children to trip over.

I did have a total blast despite near death, and despite all my bruises this morning. The attention to detail is stunning -- everything has another thing inside it or on top of it. Tiny little details and things you have to step back to see. I can see why it's so popular and beloved. I mean, the ten-storey slide doesn't hurt (though the nine flights of stairs you have to climb kind of do). We were there with a five year old, which is a great excuse to do all kinds of stuff, so we did the giant slide and explored the caves and climbed up to the big scrapped airplane which still has bits of cockpit intact, went through the wire tunnel (BRUISES) and saw the shoelace-making machine and bought shoelaces. Also we got eyeballed by the giant catfish, holy crap.

We also hit up Crown Candy Kitchen, which is apparently a St. Louis landmark and does serve the best grilled cheese sandwich I have maybe ever had. Plus, malteds!

Then we had MOVIE NIGHT and I got to see some old friends I hadn't seen in a while, and will be seeing even more this afternoon for a potluck. Though admittedly I did drift off a few times during the movie. It was a good movie, I was just Very Tired.

I took more photos than I posted, but you can see the ones I posted to instagram if you check @ouija_sam on twitter for the last day. Including my super-cool new shoelaces which, because I am an ADULT, a GROWN MAN, I definitely did not pick due to them being Iron Man colours.
Man, I don't know you guys, the more I listen to Wait Wait Don't Tell Me and certainly the more I attend it (all of...twice now) the more I realise what a $25 crapshoot it is to see it live.

Because you don't know who the panel will be or who the guest will be and that's fine, I get it, they're kind of a shoestring operation. But last time I didn't even get to see Peter Sagal, he had a Substitute Peter in, and this time man, that was a boring guest. And his interview went on forever.

Don't get me wrong, the show was funny and entertaining, but I found myself questioning whether I'd have paid $25 after the show for having seen it. The guest was Fred Armisen, which is a name 100% unknown to me, but apparently he's on Saturday Night Live and writes a sketch show on IFC called Portlandia. And I guess if you're into sketch comedy it might have been cool, but I'm...really not, and for a comedian he gave a truly bland interview. They kept asking him really interesting questions and he kept giving really vague answers, like a mediocre date or something. Maybe he was having an off-night.

Bobcat Goldthwaite was awesome, but there's only so much you can do with the material you're given. He did make a joke about etch-a-sketch that I desperately hope gets into the final cut of the show.

Anyhow, I am home now and in the warm, and it's snowing, so I am about to make the Traditional First Snow In Chicago post. Stay tuned. :D
One haircut.

Two buses.

Three trains.

Four errands.

Home by five.

NAILED IT.

BTW if you are in Chicago, you should check out the exhibit at the Rotofugi gallery right now. It's awesome, all skeletons and masks and owls, and Rotofugi's a fun store.

CHRISTMAS, I HAVE SHOPPED U.
SO THEN I WENT TO SEE WAIT WAIT DON'T TELL ME.

Which for those of you who don't have rabid fans for mothers, is a weekly news-quiz-panel show that tapes in Chicago on Thursday nights. It was awesome. And I knew nearly all the answers but DID NOT blurt them out like some other audience members did.

Seriously at one point the answer to a question was "Mississippi" and all you could hear was the audience murmuring isssisisisisppssisisiss.

I was glad I showed up early because they weren't kidding about the crowd that turns out for this thing. At first it was me and two hipsters and A MILLION HIPPIES, which was kind of NPR-appropriate, but then I ended up standing in the ticket line with, randomly, a Boston politician, and then in the seating line with A GUY NAMED SAM.

And then the two hipsters came and sat next to me and we nerded it up. Well done hipsters, you have made hipsters at least 20% less intimidating to me.

That is the nice thing about going to anything associated with NPR, though. You are almost guaranteed not to be a) the nerdiest or b) the craziest person there.
So Sprinkles Cupcakes, which is an entire chain of stores dedicated to selling you $3.50 cupcakes, installed a Cupcake ATM at their Beverly Hills location. Not to be outdone, Chicago decided it had to have one of these.

It's...it's so pink. The first thing you notice on the grey Chicago street early in the morning (because it would be no fun to visit the Cupcake ATM while the Cupcake Store was open) is that it's so pink.


Because a cupcake from the cupcake ATM costs $4, which is too much to pay for a cupcake at any time of the day or night, they make it an experience. And mock me if you must, but I've paid way more than $4 for a way less satisfying experience that I did not even get a cupcake at the end of.

Once you tap the screen, it brings up photos of various cupcakes they sell. You navigate through the touchscreen to select your flavour of cupcake from whatever they loaded it up with the night before (so yes, you are paying $4 for what is essentially a day-old cupcake) and then swipe your credit card.

At this point the screen blanks into a sort of horror-film black-and-white video shot from the point of view of the mechanical arm retrieving your cupcake. You can watch on the video screen as your cupcake is pulled off the little shelf, lowered to a ramp, pushed gently down the ramp to the receptacle, and then spins around with the receptacle, at which point the little brown box holding your cupcake is revealed unto you.

And then it sings you a song. I didn't make special note of the song but the lyrics go something like

We love Sprinkles, yes we do
Nummiest cupcakes in the world!
This is a harbinger of the end
Bow and make peace with your gods!


I may have made up those last two lines.

And I have to say, it's not like I'm the only person indulging in this madness. As soon as I stepped away from the ATM to put my cupcake in my messenger bag and post an instagram photo of the ATM, a woman stepped right up into my place to buy her own cupcake.

Well played, Sprinkles. Well played.
I ate dinner at a vegan diner tonight. Oh, man, seitan "chicken" strips. So sad. So mushy. The fries were okay, though they would have been better if they'd been hot...

I don't actually like vegetables, though I don't mind seitan. I'm allergic to chicken and I just really wanted fried chicken. That encounter this evening did NOTHING to abate my longing.

Also, okay, if you walk into a large dining room in a seat-yourself style restaurant, and there's one other person in the dining room, I don't care how much you might want to socialise or how much you think they do, PLEASE DO NOT SIT NEXT TO THEM. It's weird and pushy and the antisocial among us would like to hate our vegan chicken in peace.

I wasn't at a community table, but I have to mention that Community Seating is the big new thing in Chicago, where there's either one big table lots of people can sit at surrounded by little tables for individual diners, or just a series of long tables and you have no choice but to share. I encountered this first years ago at Durgin Park in Boston, and I didn't mind it then because it was quirky and old-fashioned and people mostly left each other alone. In Chicago, at Grahamwich and Epic Burger and Native Foods and a jillion other places, it seems to be an encouragement to socialise with strangers. We're midwestern, I guess it's what we do. I'm just here because if I take my food home it will get cold! (Colder.)

I told Mum I was either going to get a sandwich from Which Wich or some vegan chicken. She reminded me the last time she ate at Which Wich she got sick, though she perpetually blames food poisoning on the ice machines.

She used to tell me "Don't chew the ice from your drink, it's dirty." Then why is it in my drink?

Clearly I need a nap.
I've been hearing about this sandwich shop called Grahamwich since it opened on State Street near my work a while back, but I've never been in because I've always either been too broke or in too much of a hurry to get home. It's a weird little boutique kind of place, sort of like a cafe without the coffee. They do a few sandwiches, a few salads, gourmet chips and popcorn, and sell weird beverages. Also greek frozen yoghurt, which is apparently the big draw.

Anyway, I finally decided to try it out because I had some shopping to do in the area anyway, justifying the expense because I'd saved ten dollars on said shopping, and also because I'd heard their grilled cheese sandwich -- made with cheddar, fresh cheese curds, and tomato relish -- was outstanding. It's a pretty good sandwich, but for $8 I expected more than I got. It tasted like a nice hot grilled cheese sandwich, but that was all. I will say that tomato relish is a lot more to my taste than the usual tomato slices that gourmet places insist on ruining good grilled cheese with.

IT TURNS OUT I HAVE STRONGLY HELD OPINIONS ABOUT GRILLED CHEESE.

They do have delicious ranch-bacon potato chips, though.

I kind of had the same feeling about Grahamwich that I had about MBurger -- it's a decent enough meal, but there's more food for cheaper and with better ambiance nearby, in this case a block south at the Weber Kettle Grill. Or a couple of blocks east at Burger Joint, my beloved hamburger speakeasy.
I took a friend and her family to the Museum of Science and Industry today, or rather they took me; we had two young kids with us, which was fun, because while the MSI is great for any age it's better when you have kids as an excuse to stop and try all the experiments. And they were entranced by the chick hatchery, which admittedly is the first thing I think anyone going to the MSI should see. BABY CHICKS.

It did occur to me, however, that the museum could be more accurately named The Museum Of Stuff I Found. There are science exhibits, like the baby chicks and the wave machine, but the stuff that's especially worth seeing is this bizarre collection of things that they seem to have just haphazardly acquired. Giant dollhouse fairy castle built by a silent film star? Yes, we'll have that. Railroad worker spent twenty years hand-carving and animating circus dioramas, including a freak show and a zoo? Sounds like Industry to me! Hey, those random dioramas filled with visual puzzles for no apparent reason can go next to the circus exhibit -- yes, even the creepy one with the penguins in costume. We'll put the model train table with the scale reproductions of Chicago and Seattle next to the baby chicks!

And who wouldn't say yes to permanently housing a captured Nazi U-boat in a sub-basement? A bargain at twice the price.

Most museums in Chicago -- most museums at all -- get their start as a random collection of stuff some rich person or organisation had and didn't know what to do with, so they built a museum to put it in. I get that's how it works, and certainly whoever brokered the U-Boat deal should get a medal of some kind since it's been here for fifty-five years and is still a major draw.

We also went to the Mythbusters road show, which is a neat mixture of show props and "LET'S DO SCIENCE" like the rain machine and the paintball-dodging exhibition. The kids went through the rain machine I think about six times.

In all, a grand day out, even if my feet are about to fall off. :D
So I went to the Willy Wonka sing along at the Music Box this afternoon. I'm going to have that stupid Golden Ticket song stuck in my head for a week.

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory was a go-to film for me as a kid, a movie I loved like burning, but I haven't seen it probably since I was fifteen or so. And yet, both I and the woman sitting next to me managed to sing along to every song, including the creepy boat song, and recite half the dialogue. (It occurred to me also, watching the opening credits, it's probably to blame for my fascination with industrial mass-production equipment.)

I frankly have no idea how that film got made or marketed to children, because it's like a psychotic romp through Roald Dahl's ultra-creepy subconscious and parts are genuinely traumatising. What other children's movie do you know has footage of a chicken being beheaded? I guess we can blame the fact that it was the early seventies.

And it's not like the film isn't enchanting, too. The whole thing is remarkably well-written, which I can appreciate more as an adult; Roald Dahl was a fantasist but he had a very firm grasp on how to tell a multi-channel story, using cultural objects like news reports and television interviews to build a world around the central plot. It holds up extremely well on the big screen, especially when you have Audience Participation and get to blow bubbles during the fizzy lifting drink scene. I've never blown bubbles during a movie before, they look really cool when they drift up through the projection light.

Next year I'm so going in costume. SOMEBODY FIND ME A PURPLE VELVET FROCK COAT.
I went to the movies! It is extremely cold out!

They're renovating the big theatre at the Music Box, so a lot of the front rows were taped off due to having no cushions. I ended up a few rows back from my usual spot, which was fine, but then this random woman came down the aisle, stood behind me for a REALLY LONG TIME, then sat down right behind me. After a few minutes she leaned forward and tapped my shoulder.

"Excuse me, do you think your seat is too far back?"

I was so startled by this seemingly nonsensical question (no, weirdo, that's why I sat here?) that I just said, "Um...no?" to which she replied, "I'm worried I won't be able to see anything."

So...am I supposed to...direct you to better seats?

I told her "Well, the screen is uh, pretty big" because seriously, what the hell? She didn't reply but after another few minutes she got up and moved to the very front on the far left side, so...I guess she wanted to see everything grossly foreshortened, I don't know.

Anyway. The film was "Leonardo Live", which is about the Leonardo exhibit that went up in November at the National Gallery. I was a bit curious as to how they'd present a museum exhibit on film, but I have to say in terms of presentation I was a bit disappointed; it was a show that broadcast live in the UK, so it was more like a television special than anything with some kind of documentary cinematic intent. It was neat to see all the paintings, but I could have done without the random and mostly uninformative interviews. It felt like a film an undergraduate-level art history class would watch on a day the teacher couldn't be there to give a lecture.

I do have a new love, though.



OH I AM IN LOVE. It's a gorgeous painting, luminous and clean with a hint of motion, and I love everything from her dress to her posture to her face to the vaguely vicious, knowing expression she has. Like she's just identified an enemy and is about to crush them.

The National Gallery exhibit tentatively identifies her as Beatrice D'Este, the wife of Ludovico Sforza. It's quite funny actually, in the exhibit she's hung so that her glare appears to be directed straight at Lady with an Ermine, who has tentatively been identified as Cecilia Gallerani, Ludovico's mistress. DRAMA IN THE GALLERY! WATCH OUT GALLERANI, SHE WILL CUT YOU.

Anyway. I'm not sure I got my $15 worth on this one, but it wasn't a bad time and I always like to support the Music Box. Plus, how often do you get to sit in a dark room and be presented with the works of the Master while munching on popcorn?
Tonight I was defeated. I was defeated by poutine.

I SUCCUMBED WITH JOY.

There is literally nothing about Burger Joint in Chicago that I do not love, from the fact that it's underground, like some kind of hamburger speakeasy, to the way it neglects to label its poutine as "For you, and two hungry friends".

I got a hamburger, a chocolate shake, and an order of poutine. And I was all "Yay poutine!" and my server was like "But not with real curds! But it has gorgeous creamy shredded mozzarella and provolone, you will not be sorry," and then proceeded to serve me the largest helping of poutine I have ever seen in my god damned life. I was expecting a cup of fries and cheese and gravy, like you get in Toronto, and instead I got A TRAY OF POUTINE.

I tried to eat it all. You guys know the expression "meat sweats"? I have gravy sweats. I brought two thirds of it home.

The thing is, it was so good. The fries were fresh and crispy and the cheese and gravy were in just the right proportions. And the burger was one of the best I've ever had, with a lovely fluffy bun and fresh meat, and I'm like BURGER! and then I'm like JESUS CHRIST POUTINE and then OH MY GOD THIS MILKSHAKE and the upshot is I am dead of food.

Burger Joint: you'll die happy!
Last night I went to the Morbid Curiosity exhibit at the Cultural Center. The exhibit is a showcase of pieces collected over the years by Richard Harris, who collects on the theme of death and the insubstantiality of life. The exhibit consists of two rooms: the Kunstkammer (Curio Cabinet) of Death, which is basically a room jammed with stuff, and the War Room, where the works explore the relationship between violence and mortality.

Awesome art displayed extremely badly. )

So it was a good time, but it could have been a lot better, which is sadly what I've come to expect of exhibits at the Cultural Center. I can't be too hard on them; the thing was free, and the Cultural Center has never really known what to do with itself as a space, though it's beautiful architecturally and I personally think it would make a marvelous museum if one could take it in hand the right way. But it doesn't have the money or the security to attract really top-level exhibits, and even if it did, it's competing with the Art Institute a block away. The placard in the War Room talks about Harris buying Picassos and Renoirs, and I have to admit I was really hoping for a Picasso skull, but of course the more well-known artists weren't in evidence. Half the time neither were the security guards, which is why I was able to snap as many photos as I did.

If you're in downtown Chicago between now and June, it's definitely worth a look, but don't plan your day around it. Swing by on your way out of the Art Institute, or go visit it and then head up the block to Sugar Bliss for a cupcake (which is what I did).

Mmm. Death and Red Velvet Cupcakes.
Well, I just committed two illegal acts, got showered in firework remains, and ate a cream bun. I smell like black powder and pastries. It's been a busy afternoon.

The Lunar New Year festival in Chinatown is different to the ones I've been to before; it's basically the parade, and that's it, no vendors or anything. I got there early and didn't want to stand around, so I walked down the parade route and ended up not entirely intentionally sneaking past some cops to where the step-off was. I thought I'd go back a bit, but they stopped me the second time, because the area I'd snuck through was laced with firecrackers and nobody was supposed to go through there.

Oops.

Anyway, it meant I got a nearly-front-row seat to the firecracker display that kicks off the parade, and was promptly enveloped in a cloud of smoke and red paper. Then I got to watch men taking their lives or at least their ability to walk in their hands as they kicked the firecrackers around to make sure they'd all gone off.

The parade was cool enough, and people were handing out free stuff so now I'm the proud owner of two Tsingtao Beer can-cozies, but after the second marching band and fourth very-boring-float I decided I'd let someone else stand in front. Plus I had legitimate concerns I might be getting sunburned, because this is the dumbest winter ever. So I started back up the route, but I hit an impenetrable mob somewhere near the emcee booth, and ended up nipping down an alley. I have photos of all the other people who were climbing the fence too, so I swear I wasn't the only one who went over the alley fence to escape.

Then I went shopping in the Chinatown Centre for a bit, stopped off at the Chinese Bakery, and accidentally cut in line -- I swear to god, I didn't mean to -- to buy a cream bun. I ended up stopping at Belmont to buy a comic book as well (Iron Man, and a very-cheap-sale copy of Ultimates Vol 2) and now I am home.

With a faceful of aloe just in case.
So I toured a hot dog factory, and now I'm a little worried about what might be on my shoes. :D

It's a super-popular tour, I'm not sure why -- I mean, I know why I went, and I had a blast, but I don't know why other people would be like HEY, A SAUSAGE FACTORY, GOOD IDEA. They only give the tour twice a month to groups of six maximum, and there were three of us today, but that's because it was going to be me and a five-person group, and they cancelled. So it was me and two other people who were supposed to do the tour this coming JULY and could come today instead. That's how long the waitlist is. Seriously, this trip was eight months in the making for me. Totally worth it.

Why I approve of Vienna Beef sausages. )

So yes, great tour, yummy smells, really gave me confidence in the product, and a good time. It's free, too, though of course it's difficult to do if you're from out of town because the wait is so long. But well worth it, at least I thought so.

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