Not dead, still here

ted | chicago,house | Saturday, July 11th, 2009

Woke up early this morning to torrential rain, the interwebs tells me about 1.6″ in under 2 hours. Po’bucker was very scared (as usual, when there are Big Loud Noises) and had to be invited up onto the bed before he’d calm down. The two of us plus Coltrane plus Po’bucker made for a mighty crowded bed.
But now he’s fine.

And it’s time to get back to paining the livingroom.

More later.

A quick fashion quiz

ted | Uncategorized | Thursday, March 12th, 2009

I am not a man who knows much about fashion and I care even less about it. I have a set of about five pairs of various color Dickies and about seven plaid shirts, all of which I mix & match freely for regular work wear. Weekends find me in jeans, a t-shirt and Chuck Taylors most days. On any given day you would mistake me for a vagrant, an engineer (the Dickies and plaid shirts are basically the non-elderly engineer’s uniform, which I’m totally comfortable with) or a mechanic. So I freely admit that I don’t know much about fashion, but I do know this:

Do you often do any of the following, singularly or in combination:

  • Wear any single Harley-Davidson© brand clothing or accessory?
  • Wear non-fancy all-black outfits?
  • Own more than one big puffy jacket?
  • Walk around with your untied Timberland-style boot laces flopping around?
  • Wear sunglasses indoors?

If you answered “yes” to any of these, then you might dress like a douchebag.

But I can also unequivocally say the following: If you ever walk around in public with a bluetooth headset in your ear while you’re not on the phone, then you most definitely are a douchebag.


ted | chicago,HAMLOG | Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

I hit my first goal last weekend. I’m down 10% and less than what I weighed at the start of 2007. Progress continues to be made and at this rate I’m on track for hitting my goal weight on or before my birthday.


The raw numbers for you are irrelevant, suffice to say after a relatively short period of feeling hungry all the time – maybe a month at most – I’m not having any problem losing weight simply by paying attention to what I eat. Fitday helps admirably in this regard, and I am sticking to approximately 2200 kcal/day. I’m fitting easily into pants that just 3 months ago were far too tight to comfortably wear, if indeed I was able to get them fastened.

Much like quitting smoking, I’m finding that losing weight is incredibly simple and easy. I just don’t want to do the latter 7 or 8 times like I’ve done the former.

Rest in peace, Mingus.

ted | chicago,the fam | Sunday, January 18th, 2009

Saturday was hard. We made the decision to euthanize one of our greyhounds, Mingus.


He had been acting a bit out of sorts for a week or so but the noticeable weight loss and not eating really got our attention. I took him to the vet Saturday morning, expecting some costly diagnostics and overpriced medicine, then to bring him home and a few days later have him back to his normal, happy self. But the prognosis was not good – quite bad, in fact. Infected fluid and blood was filling his abdomen. He would either need to be hospitalized over the weekend with intravenous fluids and antibiotics or sent up to a distant animal hospital for an ultrasound and surgery. Even with option #2, the doctor gave him a 50% chance at best, assuming they were able to diagnose correctly from the ultrasound. Waiting and seeing would just put him through more misery and the surgical option even moreso, not to mention his odds of survival were slim.

He’d just been to the vet in December and everything was stellar – his blood work, temprement and vitals were all exemplary. Then one day he just stopped being as active, as happy. One day he’d be better and the next day worse.

The vet told us there was nothing that could be done, that even if it was detected earlier, It was clear how much of this he was hiding from us, how much pain he was going through. The vet also told me it was terribly difficult to do, but it was the right decision. I petted him as he slowly drifted away, finally getting relief from the pain.

Mingus came to us through USA Defenders of Greyhounds group from the track in Fort Lauderdale, Florida where he raced as Mc Ten Yard Pin. He had an awful kennel name – Gangy – and having just re-read “Beneath the Underdog”, I thought Mingus a fitting name at the adoption. He was funny, quiet, loving and very relaxed, spending most of his time laying around on his bed, the couch, our bed or any other comfy flat surface he could find just as you’d expect a retired racer to do. I’ve never met a dog so large and polite – he wouldn’t step over an extension cord laying on the floor unless you told him it was OK, but he would hop up on the couch and curl up right next to you without a second thought. One minute you’d think he was the meekest dog on the planet, the next he’d be trying to climb into your lap or casually tasting your drink on the coffee table. We took him on thousands of miles of road trips, many of those rolled by with his head stuck out the car window, slowly painting the side of the car with slobber. He was the first dog we could call our own. And we miss him terribly.



ted | chicago | Friday, January 16th, 2009


I especially like the forecast icon the NWS uses. You can almost hear it thinking “FUUUUUUCK I’M COLD“.


At least we’re getting into nonzero positive integers Foreignheit today.

As the snow flies…

ted | chicago | Wednesday, January 14th, 2009

I sort-of like shoveling snow. Sorta. However on this cold and grey Chicago morning, I can’t say I do.

According to the WGN Weather “Blog”, we’ve already received a normal winter”s full snowfall… and we typically get 60% of our snow after January 13th. We may be in for another record-setting year of snow.

Though it is not even mid-January, the city has already surpassed the 124 year long-term
seasonal snow average of 36.6 inches with 37.9 inches on the books. Typically 60 percent
of the season’s snow is yet to fall, so the city could be looking at its second straight
60 inch-plus snow season.

Fortunately we are getting a break from the snow… in order to get some hard cold weather. Wind chills today of down to -40. Actual air temperatures tomorrow will get up to a balmy -18C (-1F) and we’re expected to have a solid 60-hour streak of subzero temperatures. The last time Chicago had a day which didn’t officially break into nonzero positive interger degrees Foreignheit was back in 1996.

The joys of a clean installation

ted | chicago,driving,travel | Monday, December 29th, 2008

I’ve had Sirius satellite radio in my 2006 Golf now for two years and an in-dash touchscreen GPS for a year – the best two upgrades I’ve done to it. Probably. Unfortunately, a bit messy. I had the Sirius S50 on a Panavise mount to the right of the HVAC controls and the iPod cable strung out under the dash. Add in a RADAR detector and I had 2 items pulling power from the cigarette lighter, an antenna cable & audio cable to the S50 and the iPod cable dangling out. It was messy and frankly looked like poop.

old installation

My lovely wife gifted me with my headunit-specific Sirius tuner & bluetooth module for this year’s presentmas and I took the opportunity last weekend to put them in place and greatly neaten up this mess of cabling. It also didn’t hurt that it was almost 21C and I had my in-laws’ garage to work in.

So, first things last – a list.

  • Pull existing iPod cable into glovebox.
  • Install Bluetooth module.
  • Install & activate new Sirius module.
  • Run key sense power to headunit & all accessories.

So here’s what I did.

  1. Purchased a generic 12V automotive relay, heat shrink tubing and ancillaries. I brought my butane-powered soldering iron & silver bearing solder. Found the key sense power cable exiting the steering column, stripped off about 1cm of insulation with my pocketknife. Wrap new bare wire around this joint, solder in place, wrap with electrical tape. Make leads for positive 30x terminal (fused), ground point under dash & 12V out to units. Crip on spade connectors, fit everything up, shrink on tubing, test with multimeter.
  2. Discover that removing the glovebox requires removing the entire center console. Curse VW. Find directions, discover it isn’t as difficult as it sounds. And it makes cleaning the center consoles MUCH easier when they’re out of the car.
  3. Remove entirety of center console & glovebox, run iPod cable into glovebox.
  4. Replace entirety of center console & glovebox. Clean each part before replacing.
  5. Wire up everything and see if it works. Discover why Pioneer color-coded the IPBus connectors.
  6. Shorten all wire runs wherever possible, stuff under driver’s side kick panel.
  7. Put everything back together.
  8. Drink lots of Canadien Club & Coke Zero. LOTS.

I did the above across two leisurely days, including family socializing, eating huge meals and the usual holiday stuff.

So my car went from how it looked above (functional, but messy) to this, mid-installation:



To looking like this: a much, much cleaner installation. And everything works perfectly, as it should.



The car itself is mighty dirty still, and letting my bastard red greyhound loose inside it with muddy paws didn’t help anything. I still have nothing but good things to say about the Pioneer AVIC-D3 but with the addition of the Pioneer-specific Sirius, iPod & Bluetooth modules, it’s a much nicer package. It makes my little Golf TDI a much nicer place to spend 5 hours in ultra-dense fog on I-65, but that’s another story.


ted | chicago,food,junk | Thursday, December 25th, 2008

Chillin’ at home today, having a lovely morning. We made monkey bread last night and it was absolutely freakin’ delicious. Heading out in a while to go see a movie, but you should get to enjoy some of my favorite Christmasy songs, so I have put together this playlist for just such an occasion. My wife is enjoying a bit of a Christmas miracle herself, as her advisor has actually emailed her letting her know that he is working on his notes for her dissertation draft and she’ll have them in a couple days.


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.


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