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