But baby, it’s cold outside

ted | chicago | Sunday, December 21st, 2008

No, really.

but baby, it's cold outside

This seem inordinantely cold for this early in December. Going into mid-January? Sure. Early February, absolutely. But now? Brrrr.

Tired, but not sleepy

ted | chicago,junk,travel | Sunday, December 14th, 2008

Insomnia? I dunno. Tired, but unable to shift that into sleep.

Great weekend, tho. My homeboy Mark came into town, as he’s been stuck out in Mongolia Wyoming Iowa Quad Cities Peoria for a while and he had his special lady rezendevous at my place for the weekend. Katie’s a hoot by herself but the two of them together are great. They even brought cookies & beer for us and bourbon for me. We had fun playing tour guide on Saturday and went out for a big fondue dinner at Geja’s. They had the good sense to want to see the Christkindlemarket/giant Christmas tree downtown, so we were able to walk off some of the boiling oil stank.

Today was a British morning, all tea & steel cut oats. They took off about 11ish to meet up with a different friend for lunch, so we took the rest of the day to install the iPod connector and the Sirius tuner box in her car. It’s so much cleaner looking now. We’re (thankfully) getting rid of the Sirius S50 (plus ancillaries) and I look forward to having EVERYTHING integrated into my headunit soon – I’ve already got the iPod connector, but we’ll soon install the Sirius tuner and blootoof module.

So, yeah. Always a treat to see Mark and especially so to meet his special lady. Hope y’all had as good a time as we did this weekend. If nothing else showing somebody else around really drives home what a great city Chicago is to live in.


Oh, hi

ted | beer,bike,chicago,computer,driving,food,HAMLOG,house,junk,travel | Monday, December 8th, 2008

Yeah, it’s been a while. So what’s new?

  • Turns out the bike/car wreck was my fault, according to the eyewitnesses. Whoops. Needless to say, it has been handed over to my insurance company for them to deal with. I’m 99% physically healed but my ego is still bruised… as big of a stickler as I am for Same Road Same Rules Same Rights, I caused a wreck. Damn. I am making everything right on the car repair side and turning my mangled Raleigh Grand Prix into a parts bike for a road frame Charlie gave me years ago.
  • My Senator got elected to be the next POTUS which delights me greatly.
  • It’s cold here. And snowy. Just in time, too – I like seasonal weather.
  • We had Fakesgiving III/Bullshit Thanksgiving 2008 at the home of Pete & Miz Royal. Fried a turkey in the chilly 15°F weather, had a couple Manhattans courtesy of Mr. Scott Action (Anton LaVey Jr.) and a great time was had by all.
  • I’m keeping track of what I eat again. And losing weight again. I need to do this, badly. I’ve got two data points from this year. One where I signed up for fitday last year and one where I got weighed for a weight-loss contest at work in August. I’m back down near my August weight but have about 20 pounds to go until I’ve erased 2008’s ravages from my body.
  • Out of homebrew. For now. Apple juice should start getting really, really cheap soon which means it’s about time to make another keg of hard cider.
  • Work’s keeping me busy. One of my projects entails modifying some of our equipment, including getting the die set out of one of our presses, and nobody there has had it out before – fun, challenging and downright scary at times. You go elbows-deep in an 80 ton press and tell me it ain’t scary.
  • My buddy Markh is comin’ up this weekend with his special lady in tow, which excites me. I haven’t seen Mark much since I moved 700+ miles away. Funny, that.

In short, first I:

But now:

And soon I shall again be:

Civic dooty

ted | chicago,the wrath of math | Tuesday, November 4th, 2008

All jokes aside, this is by far the most important election I have ever participated in. I stood in a line for half an hour at 07:00 this morning just to fill in some arrows – by far the longest line I have ever been in to vote. It was disorienting but incredibly exciting and not suprising at all considering the projections that voter turnout in my fair city to top 80%.


I did my part – I hope you did as well.

2008-Nov-04 Chicago voting receipt

2008-Nov-04 Chicago voting receipt


ted | bike,chicago,driving | Thursday, September 11th, 2008

I had to triple-check my spelling, lest I had swapped the D & R (link definitely NSFW). Honestly, no idea what’s going on with that as of yet, I was busy having a plain ol’ collision yesterday. Got hit by a Chevy HHR on the way home. Yes, I was on my bicycle. Aside from fresh road rash and some serious bruising, I think I’m OK.

I don’t recall what happened at all – I was riding down Kedzie Avenue, going down the hill in front of the Nabisco bakery and the next thing I know, I’m in an ambulance, signing the waiver so I can go home directly.

The cops on the scene were nice enough to give me a ride home (and they apologized for the uncomfortable hard plastic back seat) and I went straight on to the shower where I spent a good long while brushing asphalt out of my wounds. So far I think I’m OK, just some abrasions and a busted-up bicycle, but should any problems begin to appear I’ll be heading directly to the ER to get checked out.


Everybody in a car, please look twice. I’m tired of this happening.

Unintentional poetry

ted | chicago,food | Thursday, July 24th, 2008

Posted above a cantilevered glass shelf in a window overlooking the kitchen at one of the nearby Taquerias, El Gallo de Oro:






Ride report, mid-July 2008

ted | bike,chicago | Wednesday, July 16th, 2008

I’ve been riding my bicycle to work. It’s fun, good exercise, cheaper than driving, better for me & better for the environment. So far I’ve found a few things out that I wouldn’t have otherwise:

  1. Even the “big roads” can be a better ride than the small ones. I initially avoided going down Southwest Highway & Cicero Avenue because they were “big”. Turns out taking that route is not only shorter but allows me to ride faster. They both have lots of lanes, too, which makes the cars behind me happier and my ride easier. That route is also over a mile shorter than the other route I was taking.
  2. A water bottle is a necessity. I almost puked my guts out coming home on Monday, as it was easily the warmest & sunniest day yet. Today’s gonna be hotter and tomorrow even moreso. My 1976 Austrian-built Raleigh Grand Prix was not outfitted with water bottle braze-ons, so my secondary Local Bike Shop sold me a handlebar-mount water bottle cage. I will be following up with my primary LBS, the fine gents at Beverly Bike & Ski, to acquire one that will clamp to the frame as well.
  3. Having access to a shower at work sure is nice. I should have a locker assigned to me today and tomorrow I will be able to reap the benefits of not being still glistening with sweat when I arrive at my desk.
  4. This is the first time I’ve ever bicycled all the way to work and home. Back when I lived in Atlanta, I would take my bicycle on MARTA to work with a bit of a ride to the station from home and from the station to work, but no more than 2 miles total. I would then ride all the way home, a distance of some 12 miles or so. Now I’m riding 9 miles to work and 9 miles home. 18 miles a day is pretty good.
  5. I really need a rear rack & panniers. As much as I love my bigass Timbuk2 bag, I need the bike to carry the weight, not my back. Also will assist in me being less sweaty upon my arrival. Unfortunately the rear eyelets on my Raleigh have wallowed-out threads. Right now I’ve got an M5 bolt with a nylock washer on the back holding the fender stays in place, but this prevents me from using my smallest cog. I really need to braze or weld up the eyelets, then drill & tap for a proper M5 thread. This will allow me to use the rack I already own and the fenders I already equipped the bike with, and later add panniers.
  6. Full-finger gloves are nicer than half-finger gloves. I dunno, I just like them more.
  7. Dear everyone in a car forever: there are more lanes to my left. If you’d like to go faster than me, please use one of them and be on your way. Despite your almost Neanderthal-like insistence on using your horn, the sound waves impacting my back do not appreciably make me go faster, nor do they alert me to your presence – I saw you long before you saw me. So please, lay off the horn, pass me on my left, have a Coke, a smile & leave me the fuck alone. I’m trying to do something nice for the two of us, jerks.
  8. I really enjoy riding my bicycle. There’s something almost poetic about being able to get to work in 40 minutes under your own power when it takes up to 30 minutes when driving. The best I ever did on my way to work was 22 minutes and that was full-on Stig mode. I’m less than twice that time under my own power, carrying my breakfast, lunch, snack, work clothes, wallet, keys, pocketknife, sunglasses, deodorant, phone, bandanas, belt, an assortment of bike tools, heavy U-lock, spare innertube, patch kit, air pump & a fistful of change in a bag slung across my back.
  9. Bicycles don’t tear streets up. If the roads were paved nice and smoothly just once and it was a bicycle-only route, it would almost never need repaving.

So far, so good. My new employer has been nice about this, what with helping me find a good, secure, indoor spot for locking up my bicycle, giving me access to a locker & having a shower. My dear wife has been getting in on the act as well and rode her bicycle to work on Monday. I can only hope with the rising fuel prices that others will start to take a look around and say, “Hey, if that fat guy can ride to work, so can I” and actually give it a try.

We just watched a terrible, terrible movie that had an interesting bit of dialogue in it. While I can’t ever recommend anyone see “A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash” as it’s simply fearmongering, muckraking and completely devoid of any real content whatsoever (note to Gelpke & McCormack: a bunch of opinions do not a documentary make, it might help if you cited some “facts”), one line sort of reverberated with me. The gist of it was that if you tell Americans, “OK here’s your hydrogen powered car that will solve your part of the energy crisis” they will buy it and go on with their lives like they currently do. But instead if you said, “OK here’s your bicycle” and expect them to radically change the way they get around it’s going to be mass hysteria and chaos.

Don’t be an ugly duhmerikan. Help create order from chaos – ride a bicycle.

At the Drive-In

ted | chicago,driving | Monday, July 7th, 2008

Not the excellent band that later formed The Mars Volta and Sparta, but a real, honest-to-dog movie where one drives in your car in front of a screen and watches a movie or two.

It’d been a long time since we’ve had an Us Night, so we made the executive decision to go to a movie. We’ve been hating on movie theaters for a while now – way overpriced, crowded, annoying jerkwads in the theater always talking on their cell phones, can’t bring in your own beverages, bad sound – so we opted to go to the Melody Drive-In. Yes, it’s in darkest Indiana, a solid 90 minute drive from Our Fair City. The drive-in gives you the freedom to have a much more pleasant moviegoing experience. To wit:

  • It’s cheap. $6 per person for two movies is a bargain, only second to Brew ‘n View at the Vic.
  • You can bring in whatever food you want. We stopped to get a pizza on the way there and had 4 sodas and 4 tallboys of OE “800” with us.
  • Cell phones and uncomfortable, sticky seats aren’t a problem since you can bring blankets, lawn chairs, milk crates or whatever you want to sit on. Some folks just sit in their cars. Some have recliners in the bed of their truck. You’re spread out enough that people in the next row or even right next to you talking on their cell phones aren’t a problem.
  • Distributed sound is better than monolithic sound. True, you don’t get Dolby Digital 47.23089 AC9 buzzword-laden sound, but you can either listen to the given speakers (classic!) or use any FM radio to make your sound as loud as you want.

We had a great time. Wall-E was surprisingly good and The Incredible Hulk was the usual yawnfest “we were able to cram some plot in cracks in the CGI” summer action movie and we had a thoroughly decent time of it all.

I remember, as a kid, riding past a drive-in theater that was projecting a movie and being amazed at the size of the screen. This had to be easily 20 years ago and the North end of Carrollton has sprawled along US27 at an alarming rate so I know the screen’s no longer there, much less the projectors or lot. Never got a chance to go to drive-in until last year and I think they’re great. Given the choice betwixt a standard theater and a drive-in, I’ll pick the one that lets me drink beer, eat cheap pizza and have a nice time the way I want – it’ll be the drive-in every time.

New jorb update, 2008 July

ted | bike,chicago,driving,HAMLOG | Tuesday, July 1st, 2008

Basically the new place absolutely rocks. We got hell of labs and equipment and new computers and good software and I’m learning a whole lot of new stuff. Interesting stuff. Challenging stuff. I leave home at the same time as I did with the old place but I get home 1.5 hours earlier – read that again – I have an extra 1.5 hours AT HOME that I otherwise spent in the car or rotting away in my cube. Fuel economy for this first tank is down from 44ish MPG to about 40 MPG, but I only need to fill up about every 25 days instead of every 7 – 10.

But that ain’t really why I want to talk about.

I rode my bicycle to work today. Left home about half an hour early and had plenty of time to cool off a bit, change and be at my desk at my allotted start time. I felt great – awake, energetic and not really hungry at all. It was only after my big mess o’ black beans & brown rice for lunch that I got The Hunger. Fended that off until it was quittin’ time at Tara, whereupon I changed back and rode home. Took about 45 minutes to get to work and 40 on the way home. It’s nice to be able to ride to work again – or hell, for the first time ever. I used to only ride home from GE, 12 miles through Atlanta rush hour traffic. Now I’m going to be riding the full 18 miles to/from work a couple times a week, weather permitting.

This is more than just saving diesel. This is about getting back into shape by integrating exercise into my work day. This is about arriving at work fully awake and energetic. Getting the new job was just step one in my five year plan. Riding to work at minimum several times a week during that time of year when it won’t kill me is back to my roots and back to how I want to spend my time.

And like my homeboy President Carter from Plains GA said,

Every act of energy conservation like this is more than just common sense — I tell you it is an act of patriotism.

cabin fever

ted | chicago | Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

I like snow, but this is a little bit ridiculous.

(image stolen from the NWS)

Last Sunday, the NWS said “new snow accumulation up to one inch”, yet for some reason I had to go out and shovel six inches that fell that evening only.

I went outside when it was up to a gloriously balmy 36 foreignheit and I remarked at how nice and warm it felt.

I think I’m ready for spring.

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