Good feeling...

won't you stay with me, just a little longer...

When I was in college I would listen to that album (and that song) non-stop if I was down. Then, when my stereo crapped out, my world went to shit. I learned not to depend on one form of relaxation.

Apparently it's a lesson I could stand to re-learn though. I'm in a pretty good place right now, but the one thing I'm depending on for relaxation is actually wearing on my nerves quite a bit. I'm still thrilled to have a job to commute to, just not so much about the commute.

That could all change as early as tomorrow though. Tomorrow's our 4 year anniversary, and I've planned it so I'm hosting a workshop from 6-7 PM, with dinner reservations at 7:30. So I can come in late, stay late, and head straight to dinner. That means train instead of bike, and will likely be enough to put me back in the saddle on Friday with a smile on my face and a song in my heart.

Actually, I still had a song in my heart this morning, only it was "Meleki liki maka" for whatever reason. Don't ask me, I just live here.

Current beer-scale: 8.1 & threatening to climb


Yeah, whoops.

So, apparently there's a "no bikes" policy for the building surrounding my new office...too bad I've declared my office a fiefdom unrestrained from such draconian ideals. Upstairs the pilot stays, says I.

The pilot's getting a workout today though, about 22 miles RT. I completely bonked on the way back south from Rogers Park. Pooped out completely. The trip worked out alright though; I got to use the bike dungeon up there, which seemed like a decent alternative to just locking up on Sheridan. Still, not where I'm planning on stashing a bike all the time.
Nuts to "no bikes."

Current beer-scale: 8.1


the pilot's new home

That was how you start a work day.

I always, always, always, come in too early on my second day. I'm anal about traveling, especially via public transit, and leave way earlier than necessary. For whatever reason, this really seems to happen on the second day even more so than the first at a new job. Yesterday, I walked in almost 15 minutes early. Unlocked the doors, turned on the lights, looked for coffee to make a pot. Not the worst way to start a day, but it makes me feel a little weird to be the new guy walking around an empty office.

Two days on the train is about all I can handle these days. So it was finally time to hit the streets this morning, and boy was that a fantastic ride. I took it easy until a she-spandex whizzed by on my right, which woke me up enough to catch up. It didn't really help my timing though, b/c even though I left later than I wanted to, I still got in earlier than I wanted to. Can't complain about that commute though.
Tomorrow I have the first of two orientation sessions scheduled up north in Rogers Park, and I've decided that screw it, I'm riding the bike as much as I can. So tomorrow it's up to RoPo, then back down to water tower at noon, then home. Now that's a commute.

Current beer-scale: 4.1


Earning that paycheck

It's amazing how much one piece of paper with your name and a new title on it can do for one's spirits. To walk into my new office yesterday, w/my name next to the door and know that I had some big projects ahead of me felt great. Thankfully, after a full day and a half, that feeling hasn't lessened. If anything, I'm getting a clearer picture of exactly just how many things I actually have to do now, which is a lot more than I'm used to.

So good for me. Today is also the last day I have to put up with the train on a regular basis, b/c screw lasting the first week tomorrow I'm back on the bike. Scoped out the commute yesterday, sweated my balls off on the train this morning, that's enough wait time. The pilot comes to work with me from now on.

Look out Lincoln Park.

Current beer-scale: 8.4


Back to the grindstone (in the best possible sense)!


On Monday, an 11-month job search comes to an end. Over 8 months of actual unemployment. A 10.5 page list of resumes sent out. 27* different interview contacts. 3 new shirts, 1 new suit, 1 new tie. One accepted offer.

To again have a set of interviews that went really well and try not to get my hopes up was extremely difficult...to finally get the offer call was a fantastic feeling. It was even a few days earlier than I expected to hear back, so it was with the additional relief of having the "wait by the phone" time cut as well. I hadn't allowed my hopes to get too high this time, didn't tell many people about how close I thought I might be, and of course this is the one that comes through. That's just how life works sometimes.

So early retirement ends on Monday, and I head into a new office having learned a few life lessons. A lot of what I learned revolves around who I am and how I deal with adversity, which honestly is better than I first expected way back last August. But I feel I learned a great deal professionally as well. The biggest lesson? Enthusiasm makes up for a lot in an office. I'm not the most energetic person by nature, but I each time I was really interested in a job, that translated in my interview performance and most of the time, those were the jobs I expected to get. That really came through in my first round interview for this new job, and was carried over into the second round interviews as well.

I've recently read that it takes the average person 7.5 months to find a new job right now, the longest stretch in the US since 1948 (source, however dubious). Whether that's a different number for the unemployed vs. for someone just looking to switch I don't know. I've also heard rather daunting numbers for jobs to candidates ratios, and resumes sent to interview ratios as well. It's brutal out there, and everyone knows it. With this experience behind me, all I know is that I'm thankful to be going back to work, and am happy to have a chance to make a positive impact again.

Plus, I have somewhere to commute to again! Daily bike rides!

Current beer-scale: 6.1 low, but rising as celebrations near

*This doesn't include the two calls I've gotten this week since accepting the offer...my favorite part of the day is being able to say "Yes I would be interested, but I recently accepted another offer that starts next week." Fantastic.


Thank god for multi-tools

Took another ride to my new favorite spot today, was excited to gear down and take a few speedy laps through Meigs Field again. About 6 miles in, just before I got there, my seat started really killing me. I thought I was just sore from an earlier workout, but nope, that clearly wasn't the case. I stopped to check the saddle when I got there, and it was tilted up at a 45 degree angle. Evidently I hadn't tightened the seat bolt sufficiently and after a couple of rides, it started to shift. Ouch.

Thankfully I had a big multi-tool and straightened everything back out. While I was stopped, I saw one of a cyclist's greatest natural enemies...
A segway tour. Tourist-y, very dangerous. Zoomed in that practically looks like nature film footage. Still gives me the creeps.

Current beer-scale: high enough for some 3:00 old fashioneds I think


Again, I need to ride more often

B/c good things happen while you're on a bike.

The last time I took a big ride south, I had wanted to try and ride whatever peninsula was to the east of the McCormick center jutting out into Lake Michigan. I must have missed something though b/c before I knew it I was passing Soldiers Field. No big deal.
A quick look on google maps showed that the area south of the planetarium was in fact where Meigs Field is, complete with some nice big loops to ride. Sounded good, but I quickly forgot about trying to go. Today, as I was moseying south, it sounded like a good idea to try again. And it was. What a fantastic ride. If anyone was reading this, I'd hesitate to share b/c it was just too awesome.
It took some exploring, but eventually some ways into the marina I was able to sneak under the Planetarium and head south by the Charter One Pavilion. I spotted a bike sign by some construction and headed east, which opened up to a gorgeous nature preserve and Northerly Island Park.
Walk your bikes! (seriously, does that ever get enforced?)

The Field itself was perfect; practically deserted and smooth pavement over a wide open area of tall grass and wild flowers. There were a few other bikers out, and one in particular seemed especially annoyed at having to avoid some park district campers at one point. I didn't care. It was so fun to open things up and really get a cadence going I went for a second loop. Just a great ride.
Eventually I headed home, and for the third time after a ride, got a call about an interview. Bike rides are good. Good for the heart, good for the soul. Good for working up a powerful thirst!

Current beer-scale: 8.1 & in the mood to celebrate...


burn, baby burn

I am a disgusting mess of peeling skin and heat rash. Good times.

I've been too sore to move, let alone go outside for a ride, since a 3 hour canoe trip up in Wisconsin for the fourth. So no rides. I was movement free until I had to go out for an interview I had scheduled before the holiday. After I got there early enough to straighten up in the restroom, I painfully removed my jacket to notice the blisters on my shoulders had popped and were leaking through my shirt. Fantastic.

Blisters meant that was probably the absolute worst burn I've ever had. Which also meant I was about as uncomfortable as you could imagine in that interview. Fortunately the popping meant everything receded slightly for the next day's interview. Hopefully by Monday I can lay down without crying.

Current beer-scale: 7.2