If only my powers were used for good...

If thanksgiving's shown me anything, it's that a two-step baking process can easily be stretched out to a five or six-step afternoon filler. Baking and frosting cookies proved to be no exception.Dough by hand, frosting by hand with food coloring. Give me all afternoon to do some holiday work and I'll make a joke out of it somehow.

I also tried a classic from my childhood, a pineapple roll -log you slice and shape into a christmas tree when they get baked. This one doesn't need any stretching, as you're already working with yeast and letting the dough refrigderate for 2-3 days before rolling it out and combining the filling. It's already crazy complicated, so let's hope it tastes like it should on top of taking up two days of my time.

Current beer-scale: ditched for whiskey. It is the holidays afterall.


the unemployment beard gains steam

I realized last night as the wife went to bed that unemployment has effected me to the point of even shifting my sleep cycle. Part of that is probably my starting to take advantage of having the entire day free to take a nap after running. There are few things I enjoy more than getting back into bed after a 7-degree run with the dog and a quick shower. But that also keeps me out of bed later and later into the night.

Of course that means I'm starting to get more and more unemployed and trying not to worry about it. After going a week without an interview getting me to shave, my whiskers have transitioned to a full-fledged beardling. Not quite a beard but almost.

The search continues, and really it's just more of the same. Occasionally something will really catch my interest but within two weeks of Christmas, I doubt anyone will be doing any hiring until after new years. With no other choice I guess I can wait. I need to read up on interview tips anyway, based on prior engagements.

Still, staying home with the dog has really grown on me. I have no idea how either of us will adjust if I ever find gainful employment again. And right now, I'm not in a real hurry to find out.

Current beer-scale: 9.2


If unemployment=couch time vs biking to work in -15 degrees

then unemployment it is.

The wife headed out of town for a girls weekend today, and guess who got to get up and drive her to O'Hare in below zero temps and all the wintery pain in the ass that goes with it. Woo hoo frozen doors, wipers, and traffic.

Despite the weather, I'm missing riding the bike around town. I could always just head out to head out, but at 10 below I'm a little hesitant. Inside time, although depressing, is easier to handle.

The job search slogs along, with two interviews recently and nothing to show for them. The window for things to happen before the holidays is once again closing, so I'm begining to accept the idea of lounging about for the rest of the month. Watching Die Hard, christmas episodes of Arrested Development and Venture Brothers, there are worse ways to spend your time.

Current beer-scale: 7.8


Let me check my calendar...

Yeah, I think I could fit in an interview sometime this week. My schedule is pretty open these days.

Although, now that I have it scheduled, I would prefer that the interviewer came to me vs the other way around. I'm getting quite comfortable at home, thank you. I can watch "The Office" dvd's we picked up after Thanksgiving and the dog is fun to pet too.

Hey, in the long run I'm just happy to get some new interviews scheduled. I was going a little nuts over the holiday knowing that no one's going to be hiring over Thanksgiving, and I have a limited window before Christmas. So let's go impress some people.

Current beer-scale: 7.8 and wishing I had some more SA winter lager.


high time for pie

There's only so much job searching you can do. And while gaining employment is pretty much number one on my priority list right now, there are way more hours in the day than there are job sites and resources. So sometimes it's necessary to find other things to add to that to do list.Such as, buy some pie pumpkins and try to make a pie. Seasonal-appropriate but maybe not the easiest way to fill a couple of the morning hours. Exactly what I was looking for in a project.

First step, buy some pie pumpkins. Not only does finding them in the neighborhood take time, but prepping them is also way more labor intensive than opening a can. Plus, this makes for a much better pie.

Clean it.

Cut it.
Gut it. This was a lot easier than carving a normal pumpkin. Used an ice cream scoop, it took about 30 seconds.
According to the internet there are a lot of different ways to get the parts you want to make a pie out of ready, but microwaving it for 15 minutes just sounds gross to me. Today I steamed mine, cutting the halves again and putting them over a steamer tray for about 25 minutes.
After they came out of the pot, the guts were soft enough to slide right off the skin and into the food processor. This was about when the dog started to realize I was messing with food, even though it didn't smell too edible and it wasn't like I was going to offer her some steamed pumpkin guts.
Hopefully it's alright if things are still a little stringy. Not having had the pie yet I have to admit I don't know. That was another plus for the project though; not knowing how to do something like this makes me flex some different muscles and plus, my mom made the best pies ever when I was a kid and I'd love to be able to make them myself. On that front, I didn't want to mush things up too much, b/c the pies I had as a kid always had some chunks of pumpkin in the pie that soak up spice and really give the pie good texture.
Into the mixer with all the spices, eggs, and sugar. This looked way runnier than I expected but seems to have baked up well. Surprisingly (again, and this is why I don't really bake) there was a lot of mix left over after filling the crust up too. Again, I just kind of shrugged and threw it in the oven.

Judging by the after, things might have worked out pretty well. The good thing about spending a morning like this, on top of hopefully having a delicious pie, is that all the baking gave me plenty of time to do the usual morning job searches and send some apps out. Now I just have to keep trying to forget another awful weekend of football. Outstanding.

Current beer-scale: 4.9


Ow my ass.

Back on the bike this morning, after almost a two week break with weather and running and just not feeling like getting on the bike. 12 mile round trip, north then back.

Then back to the pc and the job search, writing new cover letters and hoping against hope to use my phone for something other than looking up numbers for old offices that I should have memorized by now.

Do I need to get out and wifi a job search for a while? Probably. Can I be bothered to actually leave and get some of that "different scenery" people giving me advice seem to be so fond of? Absolutely not. You can't nap at Starbucks. And off I go!

Current beer-scale: 7.1


Heads up!

When you see the freight train coming, it's best to get out of the way.
Current beer-scale: 5.1


It takes 4-6 weeks for a broken finger to mend and to start getting motion back pain-free. I can't complain about something I didn't go to the hospital for and probably should have, but damn is my finger throbbing in colder weather since getting doored. The motion range isn't too bad, but it aches like hell after wearing gloves on a cold bike or run.

Oh well. I can still type cover letters, and it hasn't interfered with my Beatles Rockband playing at all the last two days. Which comes in handy when there don't seem to be any letters to write.

Current beer-scale: 6.3


decisions decisions

It's only day 3, technically, but unemployment seems to present some interesting dilemmas through the course of a day.
Which job site do I check first? Do I bother to shower first, or could I go for a ride first then job search? If I went for a ride, do I do north or south? Could I do both? Sure, why not.


Doing both seemed sensible. There's only so many times you can check NPO.net, and if you're checking by 9:30 AM you're not seeing anything you didn't see checking the night before. Actually this morning I had already lined up an interview for next week so accompanied by the unfamiliar sense of accomplishment, it was time to take the bike out. Even though the dog and I have been running this week, the bike's been getting neglected. So out I went, hoping I was well-enough layered.

Things weren't that bad actually. There have been an ungodly amount of bikers out when we're running in the morning, but that seemed to have tapered off by the time I was out today. Down to Navy Pier, then back up to Foster and home. Nothing too fancy, but long enough and cold enough to feel like I'd accomplished something for the second time today. The hardest part was just trying to ride and not think about hitting the PC back at home.
The search hasn't been too bad lately. Hearing back in the negative about all my interviews wasn't great last week, but I'm back on the horse this week. I have to keep writing so I don't lose my rhythm, but I don't think I can bring myself to jot down failure notes each day. I also can't bring myself to be the guy bringing his laptop to starbucks to write in social settings. That entails wearing pants, and that's not gonna happen. Again, no pictures of that though.

After running 3 out of the last 5 days, she was happy to stay at home while I got some extra miles in. Smart dog.

Current beer-scale: 5.2 and finally starting to recuperate.



Two pieces of advice for halloween survival:

One, if you're wearing a wig be sure to get as short a haircut as you're comfortable with the day before.
Two, keep said wig away from curious pets.

The rest is up to you. Here's to a fun night and renewing the job search.

Current beer-scale: inconceivably low.


Beer me. Or whiskey. Whatever.

So, three interviews this week. One I ended up turning down the position, one I've already heard back as a negative, and one that seemed the most interesting has me crossing my fingers and fighting off panic. Why yes, it was a long week, thanks for asking.

It started off well enough. A pleasant drive up to Evanston for the first NU interview. I could see myself working up there. And yes, I am stubborn enough to think I could bike the 12+ miles each way a few times a week.

Not a bad part of the neighborhood.

Next was two consecutive bus rides downtown, for both the second NU interview and then CAF. Hard to believe, but the bus wasn't that bad.

That middle interview is another story. I had asked multiple times for a job description, only to hear that things weren't settled yet. Turns out it was basically coordinating a grant involving cancer research. Only the research is sometimes done using animals. Not for me, thank you.

The last one went way better than I expected, and suddenly that's the one I'm most interested in. Which is nice, b/c NU called yesterday afternoon to say that they had gone with an internal candidate for the first interview of the week. Wow that was fast.

Thankfully, I had picked up an old friend on my way home in the rain on Thursday and put it to good use to end the week.

Yup. Whiskey sure is good.

Current beer-scale: 6.6


It's a fight alright.

This week is trying my patience. I'll sum things up after the last of the interviews this evening, but in the meantime take comfort in the fact that a large part of getting through this next week is the thought of dressing up as Kurt Cobain for halloween while the wife goes as Courtney Love, and the copious amounts of liquor I will drink while so attired.

Current beer-scale: 9.0


This is it

Scheduled three interviews on consecutive days this week; Northwestern, Northwestern, CAF. The bookends are what interest me, with the one in the middle pretty much meh. I'm ready to rock 'em though.
Current beer-scale: 8.8


I immediately regret this decision!

Time to wring out my socks!

I rarely if ever regret riding to work. Since I was relatively fine after getting doored and the bike was still rideable, even Monday wasn't enough to get me to drive. But the wind howling outside the window this morning was enough to give me some hesitation before pulling on the layers.

It was a little douche-y in traffic this morning but that's to be expected in crappy weather. Throw in the Dan Ryan evidently exploding yesterday and traffic's going to suck for a while. Traffic struggles paled in comparison to what mother nature had to offer though.Stupidly, I decided to keep going and get some miles in. I immediately regretted that decision as the first crashing wave's mist came up to hit me in the face and drive tiny ice needles into every exposed surface. Brr. It was a laugh riot out there.

I know I shouldn't complain; I knew what it was going to be like when I left today and no one made me go farther that I had to to get to work. But damn was that cold.

Current beer-scale: 7.6


After getting doored, Tuesday morning was the moment of truth. Was I going to get back on the horse, or take some time off and walk to work?

The hell with walking. Between the weather changing and looking for work, if I didn't ride who knows how long it would be before I got back on a bike. So off I went, heart pounding my chest.

The psych major in me was fascinated by the entire thought process. One, the "fuck it" attitude of mine seems to be growing to encompass more and more aspects of my life right now and explained a lot of how I found myself riding. But more importantly, both my arms started to hurt as I was riding and would actually start throbbing as I passed parked cars on the way in. Yes I have huge bruises and a wicked road rash spot, but they were relatively pain-free walking the dog and getting ready. As soon as I was on my bike, they flared up. It was all in my head.
It may have been all in my head, but this still hurt like hell yesterday.

The ride was incident-free, as my wife was also happy to hear at the end of the day. This morning was fine too. And most rides are. Think of the hundreds of rides commuters and rec-riders alike take every year. I've gone years w/o incident, and will hopefully go more years w/o another. I'm focusing on the fact that I'm fine, and gearing up for a lot of drinking this weekend at ND/USC. Now is now, and that's all that matter.
Continuing to ride lets you see how palm trees do in October in Chicago. The answer: not so hot.

Current beer-scale: 7.8



I wish I had that on video.

I've been riding to work for almost 4 years. Had a few close calls, a few minor incidents, but never anything major. Today I got doored on the way home. Flipped completely over the bars, rolled a bit and skidded to a stop on my left elbow and the back of my head. Ow.

The scary thing was I saw it coming but there was nothing I could do. The timing was just too perfect; I saw the door opening and yelled a heads up, but couldn't slow down or get left enough in time. Watched the driver turn to look at me as the right brake hood slammed into the door and over I went.

I *think* my right hand was still braking when I hit the door, and that's the only thing that really hurt. I have some scrapes and bruises, mostly on my knees and elbows but that's it. I was a little concerned my right middle finger was broken but I'm less worried by now.

The bike wasn't in the best shape. The brake hood was jacked, and the front wheel was bent enough to rub against the brake and stop. In the "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers" department, REI was able to "magic" the wheel back into reasonable shape for no charge a few hours later. Hopefully that will keep for long enough for me to find a job and be able to afford a new rim.
That looks a little off to me...

I had my phone out by the time I was getting up off the pavement and dragging my bike to the sidewalk. Called the cops, asked the guy if he had insurance and told him to stay where he was. Of course he didn't have insurance, so on top of getting issued a citation for opening his door into me he also got ticketed for that. The cop on the scene was actually pretty great and made the whole thing a little more bearable.

A copy of the incident report and a court summons if I decide to follow up w/any charges

Hours later I'm still pissed though. People call getting doored a rite of passage but I could have gone without, thanks. On top of dealing with getting laid off and the stress of interviews, I'm not in the best head-space to deal with this right now (I will be sure to wear short sleeves tomorrow to show off my damage, but that's another matter).

If dooring really is a rite of passage, it makes me wonder how inevitable it really is and if there isn't anything else someone can do to make sure it doesn't happen again. I know the majority of my environment is really out of my control but the powerlessness of the situation is ulimately what bothers me. I think I handled the situation about as well as possible; made sure the cops came, had the guy cited, kept my cool, but the fact that it happened at all makes me crazy. Plus I feel I have an increased amount of pent up aggression now but a right hand that doesn't like making a fist right now so I'm just grinding my teeth.

I'm still riding to work tomorrow. Why? B/c fuck it, that's why. Yes that was awful. Yes, I will probably be thinking of how it felt to go flying through the air for a while. As my head was scraping across the street before I came to a stop, all I could think was "at least I have a helmet on." That's not a memory I'll lose any time soon. But all things considered I'm probably lucky with how things turned out. I made it through a crash and right now I feel pretty good. I described it to my wife as just feeling like I had played a little football yesterday. My bike isn't in perfect shape but it's still rideable. If I let today scare me off of riding tomorrow, who knows when the next bike commute will be.

So the next one will likely be tomorrow. Now for another drink. I have a feeling the adrenaline flush from earlier will make it pretty easy to sleep tonite, but a few cocktails won't hurt either.

Current beer-scale: 8.9

When it comes to days off, 4 is better than 3

Now that was a nice long weekend. Even without any ND or Bears to watch, four days away from the office did me good.

Anytime I'm off for a significant length of time, the dog really enjoys it at first. Trips to the dog beach, long walks in the middle of the day...she's happy all the time. Eventually though it wears her down to the point where I'm asking if she wants to go out and she looks at me like I can't head back to the office soon enough. Hence this look from her comfortable spot in the sun during yesterday's early game.
Would you just be quiet and watch some awful football please?

Oh well. Thinking of this made me smile on a cold ride in this morning. Now if I can just gut out the next 3 & 1/2 days, I'll be all set.

Current beer-scale: 5.1


REI scored a lot of points with me this weekend. Initially I was hesitant to use my bike-to-work tune up b/c I had ready some fairly negative reviews about the bike work there. But with a mental health day Thursday I had four days off this weekend so what the hell. There wasn't going to be a better time.

Waiting a while had its benefits too. I tried two or three times to drop in, but the shop was always busy. But waiting until October, I dropped it off Thursday and picked it up this morning. The bike rides like new. It turns out I couldn't figure out what kind of bottom bracket I had on the bike b/c the damn thing was installed backwards! The wheels were out of true as well, but after 18 months of riding that kind of makes sense. But REI actually called when the bike was ready and explained the work they did, which was cool.

So don't buy bikes from suburb bike shops, and don't believe everything you read about the mechanics at REI not knowing what they're doing. Too bad it's going to rain all week.

Current beer-scale: 7.1


I walked to work today. I was carrying a suit to change into for an interview this afternoon. Against my better judgement, I decided to apply for the manager position that had just opened up above me. I was eventually able to convince myself I could overcome the awkwardness of getting laid off and if I was given the reins of the entire program, I could have some really positive impact over the long-term.

Apparently, my "great cover letter" and "demonstrated ability to do the job" couldn't overcome the department's "need to start fresh." Next time I'll go with my better judgement.

Big picture, this is still probably for the best. I'm just pissed I let me talk myself into thinking I had a chance at not only a promotion, but a move that would be easier in the short-term than finding a new job. The easy way was not the way to go here, and now I'm just stewing over that as I'm rehashing the interview in my head. Who exactly did I piss off at some point?

Current beer-scale: high enough to convince me to stay home sick tomorrow.


Yeah, last night was very nearly a humbling ride home. Drafting off a roadie, took the s-curve after the Belmont dog beach slightly too fast and my rear wheel started to skid out from under me. Didn't lose the bike, but it was enough to convince me to finish up in a slower fashion and calmly head home.

Which is the right attitude to have when the bike path is invaded by geese. Maybe not the brightest time to take a picture, but I never said I was very bright.

Current beer-scale: 6.1


never been happier to say good bye-week

Wow. There's a dull roar in the back of my head after a fourth straight week of close finishing and drinking way more Saturday beer than I planned to. I've never been so glad to see an off week coming up in the football schedule. At least it was a great morning to ride into work.

Golden Tate right before he was somersaulted to the 3-yard line in OT (credit AP).

Never mind NBC 5 kept cutting out or going to "Access Hollywood" or whatever retarded celebrity crap so I didn't actually see the play. At that point I could barely watch anyway. But christ almighty did that game have everything, and winning makes everything tolerable. I still can't believe that late 2-point conversion counted and thank god it did, so great job Robert Hughes on pushing the entire pile into the endzone with you. Now let's hear the Bears beat the Lions senseless (b/c I'm down to a radio now that the digital conversion happened vs the old office tv) and it'll be another fantastic weekend.

Well, fantastic when I'm not thinking about the message from HR I had when I got in this morning at least. It seems a manager position above me is suddenly open, and they want to meet about it early this week. So it's feast or famine; get laid off or possibly take a position with the institution that was going to lay you off with a slightly better title, working w/people you really don't trust anymore. Goody.
Just keep ridin'. Things will work out.

Current beer-scale: 6.7, way higher than it should be after all the drinking yesterday. Thirsty.


So I got calls 3 & 4 today and they were polar opposites. Call 3 was to set up a phone interview tomorrow with one of the local universities. Call 4 was a "pre-screen" before interviews. The phone scheduler: peppy, friendly, very happy to hear any time tomorrow would work. The pre-screener: abrasive, short, and honestly a little presumptuous about my current duties. Let's just say I'm not going to be upset if I don't make it through the pre-screening for that one.

But calls are calls, and they still make me feel better about my chances. Desperation still hasn't settled in, and I'm still getting fall-down drunk this weekend. Fantastic.

Current beer-scale: 5.1


tailgating's already awesome, thanks.

Speaking of football, how fucking dumb is this thing?


Advertising is something I try not to pay too much attention too good or bad, but seriously, WTF. Tailgating is awesome by nature--it's drinking beer & grilling outside before a football game with old college roommates and thousands of your closest friends. For a Saturday or Sunday morning in the fall it cannot get much awesomer than that. Throw in tossing around a football, and that's my idea of fun. I don't need some foam-finger coozy that makes it impossible to drink the beer I'm holding. How the fuck am I supposed to drink with that thing on?

A grill/cooler I can kind of see. The dog-vest/condiment holder is something I could almost get behind. But this entire ad campaign is ruined by this retarded foam finger. It drives me crazy to the point of screaming at the tv every time it comes on. STFU pitch-guy. The guys at Mad Men would laugh you out of the building with this stuff.

Sorry, just something I had to get off my chest.

Current beer-scale: 8.6

thanks but no thanks

I got a call for a second interview yesterday...unfortunately they were looking for someone willing to work saturdays. As close to desperate as I'm getting, I'm not there yet. So I thanked them for calling and said I wouldn't waste their time for a practice interview.

As difficult as it was to say no, it was the right decision. Getting a second call does up my average tremendously too, even if I didn't end up actually interviewing. I'm up to about 50 resumes out right now, and 1 out of 25 feels a lot better than 1 out of 50. Not great by any stretch, but better.

In the meantime, let's get to the weekend so I can watch some more football already. Leaves are falling apples are getting picked, and I'm in the mood to get fall-down drunk on oktoberfest.

Current beer-scale: 8.4


Like a frowny face drawn in a bowl of lumpy oatmeal

Not the best way to start a day, but when your alarm's going off and that's the image that pops into your head, it's probably a sign.

It's fall today, with big wind gusts and waves and leaves. Time to layer and hold out until the weekend.

Current beer-scale: 7.1


back behind the wheel. pt 2

Yikes. 400+ miles round trip to visit friends in Iowa that just had their first kid. The kid was absolutely adorable, two months old. The rest of Iowa, not so much. Still worth the trip.

On the way home, we stopped to grocery shop so we wouldn't have to in the city. I bought beer, but should have bought more b/c the ND-Purdue game was so aggravating I drank the entire 6 of sam adams oktoberfest, along with the two linie's I had left over. So much for having another during Bears-Seahawks. A win is a win is a win though, so cheers.

Speaking of beer, High Life's fall packaging was almost enough to talk me out of the oktoberfest. Almost. Next time I'll just pick up both.
Current beer-scale: 6.3


back behind the wheel

Not only did I have to shave for an interview yesterday, I had to drive to and from work to get there in time. Even though I wasn't sharing the fact I had an interview, you would think no beard and no bike would probably make it fairly obvious what was going on. You would if anyone noticed things like that at least.

It made for a long day. Let's just say things didn't seem to go too well, and by the time I was stuck on Ashland on the way home I was incredibly jealous of everyone I saw riding by.
Don't worry, traffic wasn't moving when I took this shot.

Looking on the bright side, at least I managed to get in the door for an interview, and for something that pays a lot better at that. I'm still not quite to the point where I'm going to start panicking and actually getting an interview confirms that. Hopefully it's the start of something good.

This morning it was back on the bike, and avoiding going into the office for as long as possible. Fun way to end the week.Current beer-scale: 8.8


Fancy meeting you, and you, and you, and you...

It got a little busy on the path this morning, with a cancer run taking up most of the space out there.I wasn't about to complain, b/c what the hell did I care. I was only out killing time not going to work anyway. That didn't seem to stop some of the other bikers out there though.
Oh well. It was a gorgeous day, I'm wishing I was at home looking for jobs instead of work, but what can you do. As long as I can leave early enough to catch the majority of the Bears game, it's all good.

Current beer-scale: very low after 7 or 8 at a house-warming yesterday, where I did my best not to frighten anyone during a hair-pulling ND win over MSU. Yikes.


Whoops--spoke too soon yesterday.
It might still be 70+ degrees out, but when the lake is getting choppy that's a sure sign more fall-like weather is on its way.
It was a surprisingly wet ride this morning, but only momentarily. Hopefully it's still a little rough out if I have time to hit the dog beach this afternoon before the Cubs game.

Current beer-scale: 6 Old Styles out of 9


Hi Fred!

Hitched a ride on a tri-bike this morning from Fullerton to Oak St. He hit me with a "HEADS UP!" as I was waiting for him to go by as I was getting on the path after crossing LSD this morning. Go ahead and guess whether I was rolling in about to cut him off or actually just standing there waiting for a spandex-clad idiot to go by. It's early enough in the week that it didn't sit too well with me, so I caught up and latched on for a couple miles.

It bugs the piss out of me when someone settles in behind me. So it seems petty for me do it as an annoyance to someone else, but I always figure if it's bugging me then it's my job to shake that someone off. The guy looked back a few times, shifting after each time to get to a smaller ring, but asshole that I am, I wasn't going to let him go until I was damn ready. Once we went up the ramp at Oak, I used the sidewalk to circle around and head back to work. I don't know if I actually bothered him or not, but I felt better.

Usually someone passes me and I just let them go. Yesterday I got passed by a group of three people that it looked like were in the same mood I was this morning, with two of the guys trying their best to keep up with a roadie in front. The awesome thing was the guy in the middle was on a brompton. I was so impressed I had to catch up to take a picture. It doesn't look like it, but these guys were absolutely flying.
Look at the guy's tiny wheels! That's spectacular.

I can't believe there are so many speed freaks still out. Heading back to work there were at least two more bunches of roadies drafting off each other going the other way. I'm not looking forward to the weather turning more fall-like, but there's always a silver lining at least. Hopefully I have a job to bike to once fall settles in.

Current beer-scale: 5.8


Is football on yet?

One more day until more football. ND-Michigan, all the excitement I need. To take my mind off things and stretch my legs a bit, I took a ride down to Millennium Park and checked out the cycling center. Turned out to be a great day for a ride.

I don't know what I was expecting, but what I found certainly wasn't that. I think I was imagining something like an overpass rest-stop, but really there were just some indoor racks and a maintenance center. The most prevalent thing I saw were a number of signs designating each area as member-only. Which made it kind of hard to see anything interesting, since I'm not a member. And the one person I talked to about it didn't really seem to care, so away I went. So no pictures for after this paragraph.

There was more walking involved in getting to a cycling center than you would think, but that was my fault. Instead of getting off at Randolph and heading straight to the center I went a little past and took side streets, but there was too much traffic to really ride. I ended up walking through the park itself afterwards, which looked way too much like fall for my liking. Look at all the brown/orange in this picture.

With that boring little side trip wrapped up, I phoned the wife to see if she was free for lunch. Alas, she wasn't. So I headed home to drag the dog to the pet store for food and treats, and now it's back to the grind of looking for jobs and waiting for football. At least there's beer tonite; there's always beer.

Current beer-scale: 7.0


spare me your antiquities

So I'm back on my coping mechanism, busting my ass. I could use some additional assistance coping though, b/c my beer scale scores are creeping ever higher.

Mmmmmmmmmmmmmm, Heineken keg can.

Anyway, someone was telling me today that all I really had to do was follow up on the resumes that I've got out there and I would find something no sweat. And for whatever reason, that struck me as a totally asinine comment. The source probably hurt the impression of what was said, but christ almighty, we live in the digital age. I don't have to "pound shoe leather," I have to write a brilliant cover letter. I don't have to glad-hand, I have to e-network. Thanks for the sentiment, but it's not really hitting home right now.

"The State" had a sketch were an announcer in a cereal commercial was stopping people to interview and David Wain walks by and instead of telling the guy he likes cereal, they start talking about how Wain's looking for work. So the announcer tells him he's "really got to start looking" and "making the rounds." He buys Wain a cup of coffee to get him to admit his cereal is pretty good. I felt a little like that today. Is pounding on doors or repeatedly emailing until I get a response a way to make a positive impression or to come off as stalker-ish and desperate? Of course, if I had heard back for an interview or something I wouldn't have to stop and think about it but that's not the case.

It's like the professor I had in grad school telling us one night, once we had our Masters any job not paying X-amount wouldn't be worth our time. And this was at the height of W's presidency--the tech bubble had burst, people were starting to panic and didn't know if we were in a recession or not, and here's a guy who hasn't looked for a job since he was tenured THREE DECADES AGO spouting out ridiculous figures to "help" in our job searches. Yeah, thanks.

So I'm still not panicked, but I'm not exactly comfortable either. At least football's started, at least ND is 1-0, and I've got more beer in the fridge. For now, that'll have to do.

Current beer-scale: 8.7


move your ass, cupcake!

Labor Day or not, it'll be a long time before I take 5 consecutive days off the bike again any time soon. Gah, my ass. Let's hope Obama can fix healthcare after tonite.

Current beer-scale: 5.9



Think I pushed it a little too hard this weekend, with Bears, Irish, White Sox and drinking, drinking, drinking. Oh well. What else is Labor Day good for.Bears game was the only one we didn't have tickets in hand for showing up, but considering it was the last pre-season game and the starters would probably play all of one series, we didn't think it would be too hard to find tix. And it wasn't--we didn't even go scalpers for them, we went up to the box office on the south side of Soldier and got right in. Decent seats too.I had to take a shot of Walter on the way out to go drink more.
So that was our Thursday night. Saturday was South Bend and the 35-0 home opener win over Nevada. Afterwards it was drinking and cigars until the mosquitoes ate us into oblivion. It turns out a buddy of ours that got laid off last August showed up, still laid off and kinda enjoying it at this point. This was on top of hearing about one more guy getting laid off from the ND athletic department--we're gonna have to make up jackets or something.

I'm blaming my current state on the cigar. Labor Day is usually pretty hard on my allergies; a ride out to the boonies of Indiana plus a rubusto really wrecked me for the rest of the weekend. Oh well. It's a short week and I can stuff myself to the gills with medication until Thursday. So much for interviewing this week. Fun.

Current beer-scale: 8.1

ETA: There's something really awful about riding home in 70 degree weather and getting home soaked with sweat. Unpleasant.


Hit the beach!

Went for a walk today during lunch, over the North Ave bridge and back up to Fullerton.


B/c fuck it, that's why. That's how I cope w/having two months to find a job.

Current beer-scale: 6.1


This weekend left me in tears

Not the sad kind, but the "Why in god's name does my back hurt so much" kind. One night in the 'burbs and my back hurts more than it did after our move.

I blame the dog. We went out to the in-laws Friday afternoon, and she came into the house at one point smelling like behind the scenes at one of the houses in the zoo. Pure stink, to the point we had to stop eating lunch and throw her back outside. People were literally gagging as she walked in happy as a clam. "Guess what I rolled in guys!" We never did figure out what it actually was. Fox urine seems a likely culprit, but it could've been anything.

One bath with normal shampoo only made her smell like someone had rolled a bar of soap through a pile of horse manure, so the wife made an emergency run to the pet store while I tried a mix of baking soda, dish soap, & vinegar a few times. That didn't really help, but it at least took some of the stink from the first wash off my hands. Good lord that was bad.

She ended up getting 6 baths in total, included a scrub with Nature's Miracle odor remover that we had to let dry on her and then rinse off. I think it was the two-plus hours I spent trying to get her to not run away from me & the hose that messed up my back. Ow. On the plus side, the dog did smell and feel great for the rest of the weekend.

Of course, I'm not smart enough to realize that a ride probably isn't the best thing when my back is in that kind of shape, so off we went Saturday morning on one of the trails around Wheaton. I have no idea where, but we ended up by a stable with some horses out. Even they smelled better than the dog had the day before.

All of this added up to me almost in tears last night when it was time to get off the couch and make dinner. God do I feel old. Several doses of advil later and a night back on my own bed and I feel a little better. Good enough to ride into work, but still grimacing at times. Again, at least the dog smells better. I'll take small victories where I can get them these days.

Current beer-scale: 7.8