when did it get so nice today?

Last night I was on the fence about the bike today. My ass was sore after three weeks recuperating, the tank is tough to get moving in any kind of wind, and the forecast called for rain and black ice all over the place this morning.

So where in the hell did this come from?I'm not complaining. It's 40 degrees, and I'm about to call it a day and go watch ND play in a bowl game with the last of my beery holiday leftovers. Now that's how you wrap up a year.

Current beer-scale: 7.7



Back to it on every level.

I could sit on the trainer for a few minutes yesterday without much discomfort, so I took a chance and rode the tank in this morning. If I had to come in, it wasn't going to be on the train. Not too bad, but I'm a little dubious to see how I feel by the end of the day.

The biggest bummer about getting back to work this week, other than having to leave the wife and dog in our warm bed this morning, is losing my mileage file when my pc crashed last week. 18 months of rides, gone. 2600+ miles from just this year, gone. Not that I need to track anything, I just enjoy having the numbers.

I guess I should open my email now and actually get back to work. Eh, it can wait a few more hours.

Current beer-scale: 3.2


It's been a long week(s)

A few days on the train and I'm going fucking insane. But it's finally the holidays and I can drink drink drink. Yahoo!

Current beer-scale: 9.5


Stay safe man, stay safe

Okay, after 7 cocktails at the office holiday party all anyone could tell me as I was leaving was "stay safe."

Like it's so hard to walk three blocks to the train. Everyone knew I wasn't riding. Is it that much of a reputation killer to ride a bike and enjoy pounding the occassional half-dozen cocktails?

Current beer-scale: very low


9 days

One short week. That's all the work I have between me and a few days off. No sweat.

Add on the fact that two of those days have department or office parties ending the day early and that's enough to balance out my ass still killing me and having to take the train for at least another week. I can't complain too much-I hit over 2500 miles for the year and can probably afford to take some time off and pick it back up in 2012 a few pounds heavier.

Current beer-scale: 8.8 and about to get taken care of.



So I don't think I'll be riding in the near future, thanks to a hellacious fall snowboarding on our ski trip. Nothing broken, but the pain when I go from a seated to standing position is enough to make me wish I had spent the weekend in the hot tub instead on on the hill.

It definitely made the six+ hour drive that much more unpleasant, and the idea of taking the train when it's in the 40's is driving me crazy. We'll see how long it takes to feel human again.
At least the dogs had fun. They picked up some great begging skills from each other.

current beer-scale: 8.9



I'm about to drive 6+ hours in the first real snowfall of the year and all I can think is "I'm glad I didn't have to ride today."

Not crazy about the driving either though.

Current beer-scale: 5.5


taking shape

Got my new toe clips just in time for the rear fender to get knocked loose. Back to the garage in 20-degree temps, put a scarf on under my canadian tuxedo for that extra hipster doofus effect. Who knew zip ties would only be partially effective at holding parts on a moving bicycle?

Anyway, the tank is pretty much what it's going to be for now. Some reflective tape might be in the works but that's probably about it. "The tank" might be a lame name but it's appropriate. The thing is a motherfucker to get moving. But the fat tires make the ride pretty comfortable, even if Lincoln feels a lot scarier than I remember sometimes.

I need to think of a better name.

But today is my Friday, and tomorrow it's time to drive 6+ hours through Wisconsin into Michigan to go skiing. Do I ski? Hell no. Do I drink? Hell yes.

Current beer-scale: 7.8


when you see a swat team, turn around

Well that was a bust. On multiple levels.

I stupidly decided to stay on the path and take Wilson last night, which first resulted in walking through some wave spray and ended with a flat and walking the last 10 blocks.

The flat probably happened when I hit a metal plate covering some road work as I was trying to get around the bad traffic that had sprung up. Traffic was terrible on Wilson b/c everyone was rubbernecking at the tactical units on the street dealing with a standoff:


Didn't know that at the time, but there was a report on WGN this morning. Insane.

Anyway, switched tubes when I got home, took Lincoln this morning. Puttered along, didn't have to worry about anything. I guess that's the way to go from now on.

Current beer-scale: 4.3



I actually got a compliment on the heavy bike on my way in this morning. Granted I didn't have the back wheel on tight enough when I left, the seat could stand to be a little higher, the riding position overall is completely ridiculously upright, and I was practically crawling the entire time, but I looked good doing it.

It even was a little fun to take some of the dirt short-cuts and bigger bumps with the cross tires on and know I didn't have to care about how gunked up things might get. I laughed at one point. Let's see what the weather has in store tonite.

Current beer-scale: 2.1 and nauseous after that atrocious Bears game


Eh, we'll see how it goes

Today's Bears game is making me want to vomit but at least I got the fenders on for tomorrow.
Yeah, it's zip-tie heavy and not perfectly installed by any stretch but it should do the job.
Turns out I was missing the screws to mount the front fender where there were actual eyelets, and no eyelets for the back so they just got tied on too. As long as the wheels spin I don't care. Good test ride today so we'll see just how f-ed up the riding position actually is tomorrow.
Now if only the Bears' offense could see about getting some of their fucking jobs done.

Current beer-scale: 9.1


Be careful what you wish for I guess

So it's another maintenance weekend, thanks to a quick delivery from amazon.

That's a huge fucking box.And that's a lot of paper.
The dog wasn't even that interested.
And yet, the fenders were still jammed in there enough to be bent out of true.
Whatever, they were cheap and now I have a huge box to wrap a tiny christmas gift in. Good times.

Current beer-scale: 8.9 on a get-me-the-fuck-out-of-here-Friday.



It struck me on the way in this morning that I absolutely cannot wait for summer. That was after I was done watching out for ice on the LFP that I almost bit it on yesterday.

The trek might be just about done for the year. It's starting to groan pretty seriously and could use a break and tune-up. Fortunately my fenders should get here in time for another maintenance weekend and trial run for heavy bike on Monday. That gives me some time to think up a good name at least.

Time for some coffee and for the day to hurry the fuck up already.

Current beer-scale: 6.8


go a little heavier next time

50 mph wind gusts are nothing to sneeze at, so to speak.

If I had gotten the new walmart bike ready by this point it probably would have been a good idea to give it a test ride this morning. Unfortunately it's still a set of fenders, toe clips, and a front light short of being ready for a winter commute.

I did at least remember I had a set of cross tires in my parts bin so it's even less ronald-mcdonald-y.
That bike is heavy as shit and might have been a little steadier than the carbon trek. In any event, Lincoln wasn't bad this morning despite having to fight huge wind gusts to stay in the right area. By the time I hit a red at State and Elm I figured that was close enough and hopped off to walk the last block. Good enough.

Current beer-scale: 3.1



Yeah, Black Friday is always a blast. Hungover, waiting for family members to leave me the hell alone, it's my favorite day of the year.

Actually, once everyone is gone things usually pick up. The wife and I take the dog around the deserted neighborhood and put up christmas crap. This year that included our new tree since the last one got trashed in our water-logged basement last year. Thanks, crappy old apartment.

But we were psyched to put this one up-a 7.5 ft fat-looking fake wesley pine with lights from Home Depot. Of course, once we opened it, the stand was missing. The lights didn't work. And oh yeah, there were rat turds all over the place. Good times.

So we made a rare Black Friday trip to a store to make a return, which thankfully went smoothly. There weren't any more wesleys left but we picked up a GE after we opened it in the store to make sure everything was in it and used a display outlet to make sure the lights worked. Ah christmas.

But it's up now, getting decorated, and we have three more days off to relax. Finally, the thanksgiving I was hoping for.

Current beer-scale: 6.6


Whiskey Wednsday

Turned into hung-over Thanksgiving. It took a beer and three whiskeys to put up with having my mom stay with us last night, and that put me in great shape today to deal with prepping the disgusting turkey. Fucking fantastic.That is fucking gross, even though eventually it looks like this.
And the dog always enjoys her thanksgiving, especially when she ends up cleaning the plate of who-ever is paying the least attention.
I think that's strawberry topping from a cheesecake, although it could be cranberry sauce too. Ah, the holidays.

Current beer-scale: 2.2


let's just say that was on purpose

A little wet this morning, perfect conditions to lay down a bit of a controlled skid when some asshat turns left directly in front of you.

ETA: Add another shitty rainy ride in the dark to come home and I've flat out had it for this week.

One more morning to go. Then it's beer & whiskey time!

Current beer-scale: 7.7


2.5 more days


More work on the walmart bike last weekend, and it's slowly coming together. Frankenbike was in worse shape than I thought and not all the parts are salvage-able, but I'm still only $20 over the $100 mark for the bike so there's some room to upgrade.

Which is good, b/c the wife started making some subtle hints about Christmas shopping this weekend and nearly sent me into a panic. I have no clue this year. Nothing new. I usually have very little clue in general but it seems to be spectacularly low this year. What do you get your pregnant wife of 5 years for Christmas?

Current beer-scale: 8.7 but coming down as I talk myself into Caleb Hanie starting the rest of the season. Ouch.


One more day

Four days in the car and I'm losing my mind. A guy riding his bike on the sidewalk while walking his dog almost set me completely off yesterday when I finally got home. I need to make the shift to the 'it's the holidays' mindset and get back on the bike as soon as possible.

So lets get through one more late friday and gear up for the ten day countdown to having time off.

Current-beer scale: 8.9

ETA: and 10 hours later I've called it a day and I'm waiting for a train freezing my ass off. Christ I need to go to bed.


Surrounded by asshats

It's a bike-light week this week, out at O'Hare for a conference. And that means two hours in the car and a$22 parking fee each day. Joy.
So I'm surrounded by the same asshats that piss me off when I'm commuting, only I'm in the exact same boat. It's a blast.

Yup, that's $22/a day worth of parking right there.

I need a beer.

Current beer-scale: 5.9


Wow that's ugly

Frankenbike went tits-up last winter. The freewheel went completely free around mid-March, so the Trek came out a few weeks early. Cut to May and getting ready to move, when Frankenbike comes out of the basement and the entire thing has rusted together. The freewheel went from spinning to being so fused it might as well be a fixed cog, both wheels had spokes rusted off, the chain was one long piece of rust, and the front brake had fused into place. Joy.
The summer started with me determined to get the bike into ride-able shape for this winter. The chain and the brake weren't too hard, but the wheels were a challenge. Ultimately it would be cheaper to get a new set versus having a shop rebuild them. But in the research into affordable options, I saw a $99 fixed gear at a big box. Namely, Walmart.

Ew. But that was where Frankenbike had originally come from, and it had lasted about 5 years in truly heinous conditions. If I could get an entire bike for the price of a cheap track wheelset, it might be worth picking up and parting out. So that's exactly what I did yesterday.

Actually we were out in the 'burbs to pick up several other items, including a new comforter for our kick ass bed, dog food for the next few weeks, and a Sam Adams winter brew package (more on that later). So tacking a stop at wally-world wasn't too out of our way. Even better, the closest one claimed this bike was still in stock.

Which it did, even though it took finding a stock-guy and having him grab it from the back. That actually worked out for the best, since that meant the crappy bike was still in it's crappy box. I'm glad we ended up with the Caliber, b/c anything any smaller wouldn't have been able to get everything home last night.Notice on the top of the box:What a useful warning. I wonder what prompted them to put that on the box versus other warnings.Anyway, not a terrible packing job. They did offer to put the thing together for me at the store, but I figured at this point I had more than enough experience dealing with shitty bikes to handle it. So far so good, but there's plenty of little detail work I need to get to before it'll be ready to actually ride.

One such issue:
How the fuck is that supposed to work?

Anyway, the thing is basically together and man does it look ugly. Surprisingly one thing I thought I would immediately change would be the tires, but they're actually in decent shape and might work well for a winter. We'll see. If I can get fenders around them they'll stay.
At least there's still some time before I have to have it ready to ride. It was in the 50's this morning, and even with some rain coming the Trek can handle that. Here's to a nicer fall.

Current beer-scale: 7.7


It's drinkin' time!

Current beer-scale: 8.9 & it's friday.


three weeks

Thanksgiving is just three weeks away. A mere 23 days. I can it that. Just hang on a few more weeks and it's five days off time. Sure, no problem.

Current beer-scale: 8.8


Dig in or dig out

Between the snow that hit the east coast yesterday and the city putting "emergency escape" exits on LSD after the mess of snowpocalypse and the excuse to show clips of cars buried in snow there seems to be a lot of winter scenes on the news lately.

Knock it the fuck off already!

Please let me enjoy the sun that is out and a snow-free late October/early November. It will turn to shit soon enough. Fall back and be glad there are still only leaves on the ground and nothing more.

Current beer-scale: 8.9


"Actually, we've got a pretty nice little Saturday planned"

Ah adulthood and home-ownership. Where the thought of having a new bed delivered makes your weekend.

I love my ikea bed, but it's been 10 years and the mattress is kaput. And with the wife expecting it was time to upgrade to a king-size.
The ikea has been through a lot. 6 moves, first cohabitation, marriage, the dog, all have left their mark on a bed and mattress that cost less than the king-size mattress we bought to replace it. I still remember how happy I was to put it together and spend my first solo night in the biggest bed of all time. Out of respect I decided to wait until this morning to take it apart and spend one more night in it. So much for letting the roomba take care of the floor under the bed. That's only 4 months worth of dust. Not even close to how gross it was under there when we moved but still not great.

If the bed was getting delivered, I might as well have the delivery guys put everything together too. They were super fast, despite noticing some of my ND stuff around and talking football. Add that to liking the look of the dog and they got a nice tip.
Throw a cheap set of sheets on that bad boy and the old comforter and we're ready to go. Wow that really is big enough to merit a new king-size comforter. Oh boy, another weekend spent at home stores. Better rest up.

Current beer-scale: 5.7



Whew! When I got home last night I clipped my ankle with the back axle as I was stepping off the bike. Very graceful. It hit hard enough to knock the wheel loose thanks to the quick release not being very tight (evidently I've been slacking as a responsible bike commuter). It wasn't a huge deal since I was already home but it did make me take a close look at the rear brake pads, which were in pretty terrible shape.
Evidently I've really been slacking as a responsible bike commuter.

Yikes. Hard to believe I was able to stop at all for who knows how long. Thankfully I took a mental health day today and have spare pads all over the place, including the winter bike that keeps getting torn more and more down. So the Trek can stop again, but I'm to the point where I'm tempted to just buy another cheap yet complete bike-shaped-object over re-building frankenbike. Again, maybe not the most responsible approach but definitely the most affordable.

Current beer-scale: 8.9 and I'm home for a weekday, break out the rye!


Going solo for too long

The wife is at her annual conference this week so I'm on my own for the duration. It's an even longer week than usual b/c she's having a girls weekend in San Fran when the conference wraps up so I have an extra few days to account for. In the past I would have looked forward to a long week of pizza and beer but this weekend just dragged.

By the time I was getting up this morning I was not crazy about spending an entire week just me and the dog, but the dog seemed to be up for it. A few long walks and she was done this weekend.
Football provided a decent distraction for some of the day yesterday, but after having to self-medicate with rye after the dismal ND game I was about done with sports for a while. But the rye was good so more of that will likely happen this week.

Current beer-scale: 4.4 and a boring MNF game


wednesday waves

Wind and waves conspired to keep me on the train today, to say nothing of staying late and not having the heart to do so on a bike. Boo to me.

The number one lesson I've learned lately? When you drive 1100 miles with your brother-in-law fanatically eating jerky the entire time, it pays to clean the car out as soon as you get home. Gross.

Current beer-scale: 9.1



Still phone-less, thanks to two-day shipping that must have meant four days. But it's perfect out, sunny and in the seventies. The perfect day to have a meeting at Lakeshore campus and spend some time sitting by the lake.

I might have thought I was going to die taking a shuttle ride up there, but that's what I get for not biking. Something I will remedy by the time I go home tonite.

Current beer-scale: 5.5



The wind is back this morning and conditions are crazy out there. I would have taken pictures but I got taken down by a wave and everything got soaked, including my now-dead Droid. Dammit.

Even worse, I went down on an elbow and now there's a hole in both my jacket and my wool jersey. Fuck. At least the jacket will look tough with a patch on it.

Current beer-scale: 8.9


Explain it to me.

Seriously what is wrong with people. The first morning it's not raining all week and someone takes the time to roll down their window and hurl obscenities at me while I'm riding down Wilson. Traffic was moving, I wasn't in anyone's way, the sun was coming out, but this guy felt butthurt to the point of rolling down the passenger window of his Escape and telling me to get off the road and go fuck myself.

What am I supposed to do at that point? I'm in my bike area and he's not too close, so I didn't necessarily feel threatened. What I felt was dumbfounded at why this guy was screaming at me and what his problem really was this morning. Unfortunately the more I think about it the angrier I get but there's nothing to be done at this point. I'm at work in one piece, and I'll be back out there when it's time to go home. The control I have over things ends at my handlebars. All I can hope for is that things don't get crazier than I can handle I guess.

Damn I need a drink this morning.

Current beer-scale: 8.7


violet hour

Shit but it is fucking DARK between fullerton and diversy on the path these days. There were a surprising number of people still out too.

I can't believe we don't fall back until early November this year. It's going to be dark all the time. If it wasn't for the apples fall would completely blow.

Current beer-scale: 8.2


Oh that's rough

The dog has the amazing ability to make it 1000x more difficult to leave the house when I come home early to get ready to go to an evening meeting. Today it was stopping by the house before heading up to Rogers Park, only to have her stare at me as I was leaving after a surprise walk around the block.
It was a great day to leave early though: in the 70's at 1 PM with almost no headwind to fight. God I wish it was still June.

Current beer-scale: 8.1



It might not be fall for another two weeks but I hate this time of year. Yesterday's commute home was through a hellacious headwind, and tonite's looks to go around a fashion show commemorating the opening of a new shop where Borders used to be. Yahoo.
And yes, that is a line of idiots waiting to get into the store when the doors actually open. I cannot wait for this fucking week to be over.


Current beer-scale: 9.8


Cue Mr. Nelson

Give us a long weekend and a car that runs and is fun to drive and we'll think of something to do. Especially after a lousy Notre Dame game.

Actually, it took us a while to figure out what exactly we wanted to do with our Labor Day. We were headed to a forest preserve in the burbs to give the dog somewhere to run around but once we were on the road that changed into a trip to the Indiana Dunes. It ended up being the right thing to do.

The dog was a little restless when we left. I don't think it helped that we were all the way to 294 south when we decided to switch destinations. She was expecting the suburbs, and got two hours in the car instead. Everything was forgotten once we made it there though. The next time I feel the urge to go to a beach this is where I'm heading. It wouldn't be a trip to the dunes if we didn't climb them too. Even the dog was panting by the time we made it to the top, but that's more b/c she was freaking nearly the entire time we were there.
So she was plenty tired for the ride home.
A trip like that fascinates me these days. When I was a kid I didn't like taking trips like that. My parents never ended up anywhere I thought was worth the time in the car. It could have been just growing up in the middle of nowhere, it could have been my parents were idiots. But now that I'm in charge it's a lot more fun, even though it's nearly impossible to feel like you're doing anything remotely spontaneous when you can look up anything on a phone and instantly find GPS to anywhere. Makes me really look forward to driving to Kansas City for a wedding in a few weeks.

Current beer-scale: 8.1




And by "football" I mean NFL, a week away still.  It didn't even dawn on me that Notre Dame starts their season in two days, which pretty much scrapped any Saturday plans the wife and I might have had. 

As fun as it will be to have football to watch this weekend and Oktoberfests to drink I'm a little down.  To be this "meh" about ND football is a bummer.  Maybe it's not having the high expectations that everyone else seems to have, maybe it's preparing myself for falling short of those expectations, maybe it's just that we've had a shit-ton of other stuff going over the summer and not having had time to miss football.  Or maybe I'm just a little older than I thought and I have other things to get excited about.  Whatever the reason it's a downer. 

But football is here dammit, so let's get it on!

Current beer-scale: 8.9


pulling the trigger, again

We've been squeezing every last drop of life out of the Rav since the move, limiting our driving as much as possible. The good news is we live in a very walk-friendly neighborhood. The bad news is even that wasn't helping the car last any longer. Corrosion on one of the wheels meant we had to add air to one tire every time we went out, and by the time we got to the gas station down the street the entire car was pulsing and shaking. Replacing the coolant pump and ruptured starter hose had to be done when it broke down in June, but there doesn't seem to be much life left in the old girl.

So after copious amounts of internet research, we had a list of cars (hopefully) within our budget to test drive. Toyota's Yaris and Matrix, a Jeep Patriot, Dodge Caliber, Ford Focus, and possibly a Nissan Juke. That's a full day and then some.

We started at Toyota out of some misguided sense of brand loyalty. I say misguided b/c as soon as we mentioned what we wanted to test drive and trade in, the salesman took us for sure things and started rolling back any end of year price cuts. Apparently everyone in Illinois wants a Yaris or Matrix, and we were astronomically lucky to see one of each on the lot that day. Which might have been the case, but who knows. It felt more like a line to feed customers. Actually test driving was a blast though--they had a separate track to go on with obstacles. The wife and I traded off; I took the easy lap with the Yaris, and the obstacles with the Matrix.

The Yaris had more room than I expected but ultimately we liked the Matrix better. The Yaris is a cheaper, less-stylish Mini Cooper. Which would be cool, but I'd rather have a Mini. We talked price on the Matrix, and I was dumb-founded at how little they were willing to give on price. I expected some negotiations with the model year ending and economy in the crapper but nothing was happening. I guess they felt like they would sell it one way or the other. But they didn't sell it to us, and we left there pissed at wasting our time. That, and at the idea of only getting $200 for our trade-in.

The Ford dealership was a little better. We tested a Focus sedan, nothing fancy. No track to test on either but the local streets gave us a better feel anyway. At that point we weren't interested enough to talk price, and still being pissed about Toyota jerking us around, we took off.

Having already been out for over 3 hours we decided to skip the Nissan and hopefully kill two birds with one stone at the local Jeep/Dodge. As luck would have it, they had tons of Patriots & Calibers, and the salesman by the door when we first hit the lot seemed alright.

Both models are actually built on the same chasis and drive very similarly. The Patriot was way too much car for us though. It felt smooth and had good pick-up, but the thing was just way too massive. The Caliber was a little closer to what we were looking for, with a lot of the same features but at a few thousand less.

Add on getting over two grand more for our trade-in, and by the end of the day we went from this:

to this.

The funniest thing is the Rav doesn't look half-bad in that picture. But that doesn't show you just how much dirt, sand, & fur we vacuumed out of there that morning, or the smell from the dog barfing in the car Friday afternoon, or the 130K miles we had on it, and the sad rumbling and clanking noises the engine made. It's only been a day but the Caliber is fantastic: we drove it home that night after showing the in-laws and driving them to dinner in it. So far so good. Rave reviews all around. We'll see how it goes Monday night when we have to drive back to hand over the title to the Rav. But that's one car trip I'm looking forward to.

Current beer-scale: 3.3


Not terrible, I guess

Today was the first day I went to work but not on a bike since the move. Every other day I haven't biked, I haven't gone to work. 908 miles-worth since June 1st, not too shabby.

At the old address(es) that would have meant walking, but I think I would have had to get up just a little too early for that. Which unfortunately meant the train.

Amazingly, it wasn't too bad, besides the guy who kept farting. Audibly. Seriously, I could hear it over my music. That's only b/c I could take my phone out to turn it up after someone sat down next to me but that doesn't make it any less gross.

Rather than switch trains I stayed on the brown line to walk a few blocks and not get to the office too early. When I was finally at my stop and could breathe again things got better. A quick stop at starbucks:And then the walk.
Like I said, not terrible. By now I only have two hours before a lunch date, then eventually it's off to the burbs for some car shopping. Now that just might be terrible.

Current beer-scale: 7.7


triathalon time

Ah, so that's why there seem to be more spandex out there than usual hunched over aero-bars. That makes sense.

It's worth it, it's still too nice out to start wishing it was fall.

Current beer-scale: 4.9


Ah Sunday

The wife and I have been saying we're going to take a ride for weeks now. Weekends have been pretty busy since we've moved and we kept putting it off for whatever reason. We could have gone car shopping today, but instead after taking the dog on her long morning walk we hit the road on our bikes. It was a fabulous idea. We just went in what we had on, I didn't even bother to clip in. I did bring my bag, but I bring my bag everywhere and I've learned that lesson already. Easy or not, I wasn't going without at least an extra tube and the usual tools.

I worry a bit sometimes riding in the road with other people, that gets magnified ten-fold with the wife. But other than some other cyclists who didn't realize they had to share the road/path things went fine.
Smooth sailing, especially w/everyone else at the beach for the A&W show.

I don't know if it was the zen approach or just being on a bike without having to go to work but that was one of the more enjoyable rides I've had in a while. Even though I couldn't get the camera to focus for the life of me.Which was too bad, b/c there is some weird shit up there. We'll definitely do it again soon though b/c we had a blast. I shouldn't be surprised we had fun--bikes are fun. Commuting is fine, but it doesn't hold a candle to being able to relax outside on a gorgeous day with the wife.

Ultimately we packed it in a little earlier than expected and headed home. Eventually we'll head up to the Botanic Gardens. Then we'll see just how enjoyable the ride really is.

Current beer-scale: 3.1


hooray for work beer(s)!

Air & water show or not, tonite's going to be worth it. The third night in a row of staying late, but this one has an open bar as the light at the end of the tunnel. Too bad it's just beer & wine, I'll have to save the whiskey for back home.

Speaking of the A&W show, the crowds yesterday were already getting ridiculous. That might have just been heading in at 10 AM vs 7:15, but it was enough to convince me to try something different this morning. Besides, it would be worse today with the jets already roaring by overhead.It's about a mile & 1/2 shorter down Lincoln but takes just as long. Oh boy will that be fun this winter. "Streets ahead" it's not. It felt a lot busier than Wilson to the path does, but that might be leaving later in the morning again. We'll see when the weather changes.

In the meantime I just have to make it 9 more hours, then hopefully I'll be on my way home for quiet weekend and LOTS of drinking.

Current beer-scale: 8.5


gearing up

There are a few late nights sprawling out in front of me this week so I'm trying to be a little more zen while I bike as an attempt to relax. I'm swamped at work right now, updating handbooks and writing articles and doing whatever else I do before the school year starts and the idea of adding a few hours to my schedule this W-F is not helping.

Usually if I had to stay late I could go in late after a trip to the beach, but our car is basically dead and the idea of negotiating a sea of 'end-of-model-year sales at dealerships on top of all the furniture shopping we're already doing makes my stomach want to jump out of my body. But I'm way too frantically trying to get everything done by next Monday anyway to stick to an 8-hour workday. Joy.

So I try to squeeze as much enjoyment out of each bike commute as possible. It seems to be working, as I got passed on the right this morning by two Freds and it barely registered. I just have to make it until 8 PM Friday, then I'm all set. Plus, I bought more whiskey last weekend. Cars and furniture might be a pain, but I'd shop for whiskey all day if I could.

I know I've done this before having already spent more than a year at the new job, I just have no idea how it got done last time. The downside to having a program to call your own is managing that program, on your own.

Current beer-scale: 9.4


What a strange morning. A dog out with a jogger lunged at me on the path. When I was about to head out of the underpass at Chicago a woman with a heavy accent came down the stairs and said "smells like homeless," or maybe she said "hummus." I don't know.

This week will not end.

Current beer-scale: 8.8


words to live by

Never spend an afternoon reading a zombie book before trying to beat the rain home. I was creep-ed out the entire way home last night.

Current beer-scale: 8.7



Faced with a choice between the bus or the bike, the bike is going to win. And it did today, when I had to drop off some grant proposals at Chicago & Ashland. I was debating the bus or the bike, and once the bike won it was going in the middle of the day vs. going at the end.

Going at the end of the day had obvious positives: I could leave earlier, take a new route home, both things I enjoy doing. But I'm already leaving early today after last night, and the new route home was basically Chicago's hipster silk route--Milwaukee to Chicago up to Lincoln Square. No thank you. So instead of eating lunch I hit the road.All in all it went well. Locking up on a tree is never my favorite but pickings were pretty slim.
When I was unemployed, there were a few interviews that I couldn't figure out how best to get to and ended up walking a ways. One such interview had me walking down lake all the way past the dan ryan. Going over the dan ryan today made me glad I rode instead of walked, but also made it feel like I was pretty far away.There was also a river crossing with a grated bridge. I toughed it out on the way out, but after sliding all over the place the first time said screw that on the way in. I walked, b/c why the hell not.Good times. Now to just make it through the next few hours, then enjoy a trip to Soldier Field for Bears' family night and a few Labatts. Thank god we have football this year.

Current beer-scale: 8.2


"night" ride

An evening training meant a twilight ride home tonite, but I found myself actually wishing it was a little darker even. That feeling pretty much evaporated by the time I turned onto Wilson, but on the path it felt too light.

I wasn't about to stop and take pictures in the middle of the ride so the view from the steps to the underpass will have to do. But it was a strange inverse to be riding around 8 PM; the streets downtown felt strangely easy to navigate, and the path was a crush of humanity. Volleyball games fuck everything up.
But it was a good way to end a long day, despite the chances for Friday to be even longer. I have to make a run to Chicago & Ashland in the middle of the day, and I think I might be breaking out the bike to get it done. Hopefully it's worth the effort.

Current beer-scale: 2.1