They got the same shit over there as we got over here…

ted | travel | Wednesday, November 30th, 2005

…except theirs is very different. As much as I loved Pulp Fiction, it is imminently clear that John Travolta’s unenlightened character was wrong about Europe, at least the parts I’ve been to. While I’m not exactly a jet-setting multimillionaire playboy, I’ve been in central europe for nine days several years ago and spent five days in London and another five in Iceland back in Octember (plus ten days in India last winter). And they got wholly different shit than what we got here.


  • Well-built small cars. For the longest time, all you could get in the US as far as small cars were shitboxes like Ford Tempos (which had a nasty habit of catching on fire). Over there? Hell, they can get all manner of amazingly well-built small cars. Things are getting better on this side of the Atlantic but they’re nowhere near the amazing selection and variety they’ve got. I’m on the prowl for a different, more fuel-efficient vehicle. They’re barely meeting my demands over here.
  • Anti-climb paint. It looks like black, tarry oatmeal that you paint on stuff you don’t want getting climbed. Brilliantly simple. Never heard of it until we were in the hotel, sucking back cans of lager and watching too much BBC 4. Apparently it contains a bunch of slippery shit (banana peels, goose shit, vaseline) that is also very tacky, so it sticks to the surface you paint it on and to the would-be climber, but doesn’t allow them to get a good grip.
  • Bizarre drinking laws. I’ve been told it is recently no longer the case, but while we were there, pubs closed at 2300. Being used to Chicago-style drinking, where one doesn’t even venture out until 2200 but can remain out as late as 0500, just won’t cut it there. We befriended some punters in a Highgate pub (a nice change from central London) and apparently the way they do things is to hit the pub straight from work, eat there (or get a curry takeaway) for dinner and stay there until last call. You still get in five hard hours of drinking but can still get home by midnight. How… sensible.

I could probably go on for hours about other shit (widely available and inexpensive GSM cell service, crazy savory breakfasts standard, indian takeaways on every corner, drinking in public or on the tube) but you really gotta experience it first hand. Is it any better? In some ways yes, in some ways no. What really matters is that it is different and perhaps helps you get a different perspective on things.

ibook case painting

ted | junk | Monday, November 21st, 2005

It’s been done and documented by many others before me (most notably by the crooklyn kid hisself, perdedor). Far from blazing a new trail, i was merely following a well-worn one and decided to branch off onto this one.

ibook disassembly

ted | computer | Monday, November 21st, 2005

As promised, pictures of my ibook disassembly to replace the broken reed switch cable. This has been well documented elsewhere, but let me assure you it takes a long long time to take everything apart. And i do mean everything.


ted | driving | Monday, November 21st, 2005

I swear to gawd, there’s a National Snow and Ice Data Center and goddamnit it that doesn’t make me feel national pride welling up in my chest.

Oh, sorry. It was a belch. Burritos, dig?

Got our first snow of the season last week, looks like more on the way for Thanksgiving.

weekend update

ted | chicago | Sunday, November 20th, 2005

It started out innocently enough. The Girl and i trucked up to Hot Doug’s for some fine encased meats and to meet up with Scott & Leighanthrax. Made our way through the line and I ordered the game of the week, a three-chili wild boar sausage with lemon pepper dijonaise and pepper jack cheese and a side of duck fries. Yes, fries fried in duck fat. God, it was fucking delicious.

Afterwards, we headed back to S & L’s for some drinks and hanging out. It’d been since the wedding that we’d seen them and we spent the afternoon talking and drinking. Scott & i drank an entire bottle of Jameson (slowly, in lo-ball glasses with a bit of ice) and we all went to go see Walk The Line in Evanston. Evanston is a very strange place… it’s akin to Chicago Lite, but with half the good stuff and four times the tax. Even though we sat in the very front row and Leighanthrax had to shush some mouthy bitch behind her, the movie was fantastic and i highly recommend it to anyone else that vaguely likes the man in black or at least a good story. Whats-his-name Phoenix was suprisingly good as Johnny Cash and Reese Witherspoon’s acting was commendable – it didn’t make me want to beat her in the face with a shovel (a first, congratulations).

Afterwards, we went to this crazy ethiopian restaurant and ordered some beers, some honey wine & a giant platter full of meat and vegetarian dishes. We scarfed down everything very quickly and i momentarily felt very hot and as if i might barf, but it passed and we trucked back down to the south side as we were both starting to fade.

Other than that, i’m down ten pounds, not going to georgia for thanksgiving, still plotting the purchase of a turkey fryer (looks doubtful this year, so i’ll prolly resort to grilling the massive 15.5 pound bird with some wood chips to smoke it), thankful we finally got some snow last week and finally got my goddamn ibook put back together. Replacing the reed switch cable (to solve backlight intermittance issues) is a royal pain in the ass and basically entails disassembling the computer down to components. It’s a 4 hour dis|reassembly to replace a $20 part which only takes 5 minutes of the ordeal. While doing so i took the time to strip the cases of their “snow” paint and give it a coat of medium grey with an off-center black stripe. After much worrying and masking and cutting myself with the razor accidently and breathing paint fumes and cursing, it’s back together and works, well, just like it should. Pictures to come later.

cyanoacrylate, the one you love

ted | junk | Tuesday, November 15th, 2005

Lest anyone say that i mince words, let me be plain when i say that i love superglue. While i find it less than ideal for most household repairs, the biggest problem with handling it turns into its biggest advantage: BONDS SKIN INSTANTLY.

SUCCESS! (so far)

ted | HAMLOG | Monday, November 14th, 2005

So far so good. Started my membership at the little gym near work, been hittin it about every other day for lifting heavy things, stretching and a bit of cardiovascular what-have-you. What boggles my mind about it is that several other people from work have memberships there, and while it does present some interesting possibilities to see the company president’s junk, it mostly annoys me. Especially how they all drive to the gym. The mile between their parking lot at work and their parking lot at the gym. One mile. Drive. To the gym. Where they then spend twenty minutes on the treadmastairelliptrainertic. Twenty minutes what could have been spent walking TO THE GYM instead of IN A CAR. Granted, there aren’t sidewalks everywhere in the rural/suburban armpit where i work, but it ain’t like semis are blowing by at ninety. While this ain’t socal, i have yet to experience weather that wasn’t walkable in when dressed properly, including the morning i walked half a mile to the morse red line stop when it was -17 and stood on the elevated un-windowed-in platform for 10 minutes and got hit by blowing frozen chunks of lake michigan. Quit your whining.

When i go to the gym, i spend five minutes to pull my singlespeed out of the trunk of my car, reattach the front wheel, fix the front brake, put on my helmet (i always wear a helmet) and ride my happy ass to the gym. It takes me approximately 2 minutes longer than the folks what drive and when i get there, i’m ready to lift.

But like i said, so far so good. i’m down about seven pounds, and while that is only about 1/9 of the weight i need to lose, i’m already feeling stronger and more fit. i also don’t feel like i’m starving myself at all, only paying more attention to myself – discriminating between “i would like to eat some food” and “FEED ME” takes some getting used to, but it’s paying off. The desire to eat without a biological basis of being hungry got me where i am today.


ted | chicago | Wednesday, November 2nd, 2005

What’s this moving violation shit? What’s this bullshit? I don’t fuckin’ care! It don’t matter to Chicago Ted. But you’re not foolin’ me, man. You might fool the fucks in the league office, but you don’t fool Chicago Ted. This bush league psyche-out stuff. Laughable, man – HA!

One thing I like about living in a big city is that the police, who have a great deal of my respect, spend their time actually protecting the public. What I don’t like is when you come across the one or two who have nothing better to do than pull some Barney Fife crap and pull me over after I turn right on a red light. True, there was a “No turn on red 7AM – 7PM” sign and it was still within those time limits, but the sign was obscured by another sign and it’s impossible to see when you’re waiting at the light behind the white line. Yeah, I took pictures. Sometimes carting a digital camera around with you all the time helps out.

I dunno. It just seems like bullshit to me. Dunno yet if imma pay the ticket & do online traffic school so my insurance doesn’t go up or if i’ll request a court date.


ted | HAMLOG | Tuesday, November 1st, 2005

My buddy Andy put it thusly:

20:42  * jm_ stardate 12938234: lol i m fat

true story. i’m fat. two hundred and sixty five pounds is my current mass. i wasn’t always fat. i was pretty fit all though high school, put on about twenty or thirty pounds my first two years of college, then started riding my bike more, working out and whoa – i was in pretty damn good shape. at my peak of fitness, i was probably two hundred fifteen pounds, riding my bicycle 50 – 75 miles a week and working out 3 – 5 times a week. i could bench press my body weight, could hoof out fifty pushups and went shirtless all the time in the blistering georgia heat. i ate everything i ever wanted (Matt, remember the time i ate eighteen Krispy Kremes in a row?), drank beer all day long and smoked at least every day.

Fast forward a few years. since then, my house got broken into and my bicycle stolen, so i couldn’t ride it around anymore. it was near the end of college, so i had no fucking money to buy a new one. i finally graduated and moved to chicago, so i didn’t have free access to a gym. the whole time, i was still eating like i was riding forty miles every weekend (and home from work during the week) and yet doing just about zero physical activity. this is me now. Hello, my name is Ted and i am fat.

i’m smarter than the average bear – the whole weight loss phenomena is pretty transparent, if you ask me. i have a giant brain and can reduce any complex system into a simple “yes” or “no” answer. calories ingested minus calories burned equals x. if x is positive, you gain weight. if x is negative, you lose weight. i reckon it’s just motivation and lack of accountability. so here, in front of random strangers, i am saying this:

i am overweight. i am going to lose sixty five pounds in the next year. i am going to do so by carefully monitoring what i eat, monitoring my body mass and exercising.

i like exercise. i’m a big tall guy with a big frame, even as guys go. i like physical activity. i like the way i feel after doing twenty five pushups or biking fifty miles in an afternoon. i like being able to pick up heavy things. i enjoy feeling like i did some work. i want to be that strong scary motherfucker again.

none of this will be done stupid, though. i will not eat bar-shaped food alternatives. i ain’t gonna take creatine or phen-fen or what-have-you. this will be done simply by eating good, nutritious food and getting exercise in the proper proportions. eating lettuce and trying to run a marathon ain’t my style. to make this stick, it’s gotta be a lifestyle change, one that i can maintain. i’m not trying to turn into some oiled-up thinly veiled chickenhawk. i have been in much better shape before and i liked that shape. it suited me well, and i want it back.

i will definately continue to drink beer, just as i continue to brew it. i’ll probably quit smoking as much and make it back into a social/when drinking treat.

i am an engineer and am approaching this like any other problem. what i have is a broken feedback loop – i eat too much and exercise too little – and i first need to push this system into a normal state. first goal is five pounds. stay tuned.

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