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

Freedom’s just another word for nothin’ left to lose

ted | driving | Thursday, September 25th, 2008

1.8 miles left on my Golf’s warranty, and I’m about to go drive 9 miles home.


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.

I’m proud to announce…

ted | junk,travel | Tuesday, August 19th, 2008

…that I have never read The Da Vinci Code.

I suffered through another one of that hack’s book once, on my honeymoon in 2005. I started reading it on the plane from Chicago to Boston then to Keflavik and finally to London. When I finally finished Digital Fortress, I threw it across our hotel room near Kensington High Street and loudly proclaimed that Dan Brown was the worst hackjob of a writer that I had ever been tortured with, and that includes wading through the miasma of a rural Georga public school education. I’m fairly certain I also yelled that we should shut off BBC 4, don our jackboots and head down to the corner Sainbury’s for more lager and a curry takeaway on the way back.

Turns out I’m not the only one that thinks Mr. Brown writes like two shits in a biscuit.

That omnivore top 100 list.

ted | food | Friday, August 15th, 2008

The Omnivore’s Hundred is a list of foods the gastronomic Andrew Wheeler thinks everyone should try at least once in their lives.

The rules of the thing: bold those you have tried, strikethrough those you wouldn’t eat on a bet.

1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Alligator
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart

16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava

30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat

42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk in cheese form
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more (truly the most shaming one on the list)
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear

52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores

62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst

65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost

75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail

79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini

81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky

84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers

89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox

97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake

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.

Cotton kills

ted | bike | Thursday, July 10th, 2008

Everyone who’s ever been camping when it’s less than 10°C knows that you shouldn’t wear cotton, since it absorbs moisture and when you stop hiking/hauling wood/drinking liquor by the fire, your sweat-soaked clothes then keep you cold. Then you get hypothermia, death or just have a bad time. That’s why you wear wool, silk or polypropylene next to your skin. I have camped in the cold and I did not die, instead I had a great time.

Anyone who’s ever spent any time being active in hot weather knows that a cotton/polyester blend offers superior breathability and wicking than just straight cotton. I’m no stranger to being active in hot weather.

While plain cotton t-shirts (vee neck, extra large tall) are a staple of my wardrobe because they’re cheap, easy to clean and look nice – which is why I think I put one on this morning instead of the myriad of 50/50 poly/cotton shirts I own. Why I didn’t realize I would be arriving at work with a heavy, sweat-soaked, non-breathing plain white cotton shirt is beyond me.

I need some cotton/poly XLT vee neck white t-shirts.

And to ride my bike to work more often. It’s nice. You get to ponder the mysteries of life, the beauty and elegance of your human-powered two wheel machine, spend time thinking about the condition of the road & blissfully ignore the assholes behind you honking. Seriously, guys, go read this and this and this and this. Or let me just spell it out for you:

625 ILCS 5/11-1502– Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles
Sec. 11-1502.Traffic laws apply to persons riding bicycles. Every person riding a bicycle upon a highway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle.

Same road, same rights, same rules. But you can get away with wearing a plain t-shirt in a car in the summer.

Reading comprehension ain’t your strong suit, James

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

All comments on here go to a moderation purgatory before I get around to deleting all the ones that are ads for boner pills, real fake watches, official Windows 98SE floppies & noodie pix, I often find one or two from a real person. I’m still amazed anyone reads this, honestly, much less that they comment on anything. Turns out I may have struck a nerve with someone when I posted about how I wasn’t happy how two guys in a company truck were driving very dangerously and when informed of this, their employer made the decision to terminate them. Instead of letting his/her/its comment stay buried in obscurity at the end of that post that’s over a year old now, here they are for your reading enjoyment.

The first comment, posted at 12:49 AM on 2008-July-02:

I read your blog and feel that you should be proud of yourself. By your whining and bitching you got 2 people that work hard for their money fired. Yes they came to close to your bumper because you, the dick, decided to drive the speed limit. You should share your story with others that are not in your eco friendly circle. The rest of us trying to get home at 5:30 and we live way far away from where we are at 5:30 can truely apreciate the likes of you. I hope you get a DUI after having your white whine spritzer. F you you prick. Pat yourself on the back and think about the the mortgage and kids welbeing shots and all the other shit that didnt’t get paid because someone came to close to your Jetta that got 47 mpg because it went rediculaously slow on a major expressway. FUCK YOU, YOU PRICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And the follow-up comment, posted 3 minutes later at 12:52 AM on 2008-July-02:

IF you didn’t get it before, you are and asshole. If you were going below the speed limit on a major road at 5:30 the you should be flipped off, called names, etc. You are a prick that may have gotten 2 people fired for waiting for some prick to drive the speed limit. I hope some one makes you late for something very important to you. Take the side streets if you care so much. F U

Both comments came from “James”, who gave his email address as may431@att.net and posted from I can tell this is actually adsl-99-142-32-126.dsl.emhril.sbcglobal.net which means it’s someone in the vicinity of Elmhurst IL redback and on AT&T/SBC/Ameritech/IL Bell/AT&T network. So, “James” please permit me to refute your points. I won’t even begin to ridicule your terrible grammar, sentence structure or your obvious failure to read and comprehend. In rough order:

  • You claim I got two people fired. Not so. Their employer pulled the records from the truck’s built-in GPS recorder and based on that data, they (the employer) opted to terminate their employees. It’s true I was the catalyst for this investigation, but it’s entirely plausible that after a periodic review of the GPS recorder’s data, they would have then been terminated anyway.
  • You also claim they worked hard for their money, which is pure conjecture.
  • I have been categorized as “whining and bitching”, which is a matter of opinion. I feel I framed my email in the most professional matter possible. Driving like they did was extremely unprofessional, a fact corroborated by their employer.
  • Fortunately, we are both in agreement that they did come close to my bumper. Why they did so was not because I decided to drive the speed limit (I was actually going 10 mph over the limit) – I have no idea why. I was in the far right lane with an open lane to the left of me. They were welcome to pass me at any point.
  • I was trying to get home as well, safely. At the time I worked 32 miles away from home. You are assuming (again) they had a long distance to drive.
  • You aren’t the first person who’s wished harm or injury on me, but I think you are the first to wish me a DUI after having a “white whine spritzer”. I can’t tell if that is a humorous double-entendre or just your bad spelling at work again, but I don’t drink much white wine and never a spritzers. I also take pains to drive when I’m legal to do so. So, it’s doubtful. But I’ll keep you updated.
  • The drivers’ “mortgage and kids welbeing [SIC] shots” weren’t my concern before this happened and they aren’t my concern after it happened. It is again conjecture on your part that they had mortgages, children & imminent vaccinations.
  • I drive a Golf, not a Jetta.
  • IL-394 isn’t a major expressway and I wasn’t going “rediculaously [SIC] slow”. IL-394 is a standard two-lane divided state highway, not a limited-access interstate highway. As I stated before, I was already going 10 mph over the speed limit in a construction zone with a $375 minimum fine and points assessed.
  • I did get it before, thanks.
  • Apparently you weren’t. I wasn’t going below the speed limit on a major road at 5:30. I was going over the speed limit on a major road in the rightmost lane and still being tailgated badly. I did get flipped off and I’m sure I got called names, too.
  • I’d like to point out (again) that I may have been the catalyst for the GPS data review, but it was the employer that terminated their employee’s employment. Blame the Production Director if you want to blame anyone for the actual firing. Or blame the employees who were willfully and repeatedly tailgating, speeding, driving recklessly and doing so IN THE COMPANY TRUCK.
  • I’m late to plenty of things on my own volition, or due to trains, school busses, traffic jams, bad drivers causing accidents, etc…
  • The side streets don’t get me where I need to go. Were they an option, I might take ’em.

So, “James”, who might be may431@att.net, from, I can appreciate the fact that you think I’m an asshole. I’ve never considered myself otherwise. But honestly, you missed the point here. I’m guessing you’re one of the guys in the truck or a friend of a friend or something. Maybe a guy who has to drive a company truck all day, tired of us slowpokes in your way all the time. Any way you slice it, the guy driving the truck should be responsible for his actions at all times, especially when driving a company truck. Everyone is free to tailgate and drive like a moron in their own vehicle, but when you do so in a work vehicle, your employer’s name is on the line, not yours. What they choose to do with you is not my concern.

I guess I should also point out that it was in a construction zone. 21 highway construction workers died while on the job last year. While 2007 data isn’t available yet, the DOT says in 2006 there were 6,317 commercial vehicle crashes in Illinois.

And please, if I’m driving the speed limit in the far right-hand lane, for fuck’s sake, pass me on the left, be on your way, have a Coke, a smile and leave me alone.

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