Saturday, February 20, 2010

What's up peoples? Been a while but wanted to check in. I'm already nearly at mid-term here in the spring and it has been hectic. I'm getting much closer to the end of this process and reality is really setting in. I'm starting to get ready for some significant next steps that I'll not detail here but more to come on that soon.

In the meantime, I'm busy working through a class with the same professor I had over the summer. Not a fan of the guy but I feel a little ahead of the game since I know what to expect from him. However, it is very frustrating when you feel like you are spinning wheels in class since everything changes every five minutes. Oh well, only about eight more weeks in the semester :-)

Work has been pretty busy since about Thanksgiving. I've taken on a new role at the job and it took me about 2 months or so to get rid of all my old responsibilities. That is mostly complete now though and I'm settling into a nice rhythm. The new role is strictly internal so absolutely no client interaction, which has it's pluses and minuses. One of the minuses is no more fun travel. I am taking my last trip out to beautiful San Francisco in a couple days, I'll sure miss those trips. Already planning a trip with the kids to drive out that way one of these summers, hopefully in the next 2-3 years or so. When I win the lottery, I'll definitely own a place on the North Coast (might have to win twice, land is a little pricy up there!) I'll be forever indebted to Babou and Richelle for getting married out there and introducing me to the place.

I also need to say congrats to virtually every friend I have as they have all had kids recently, it has been a real population boom. I think everyone is making sure they have enough kids to pay for their nursing homes when they get older with the way these folks are reproducing! As a matter of fact, the better half is off visiting my sister-in-law who just had her first, congrats B & B!

I'll try to stop back by before too long!

Song lyric of the day:

If I stay lucky then my tongue will stay tied /
and I won't betray the things that I hide

Seven Mary Three - Lucky

Until next time.


Thursday, December 10, 2009


A couple funny one liners I saw today about the incomparable Tiger Woods:

I heard Mickelson called Tiger's wife and said:"So that's how you beat him!"

A spokesperson from the Wood's camp has asked that he no longer be referred to as Tiger. From now on his new nickname is Cheatah.

Song lyric of the day "It's the eye of the Tiger!" Survivor

Until next time.


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Welcome back welcome back welcome back

Hey peeps, I'm really still alive, just been caught up in the business of day to day life. I am mid-semester in my African American lit class, it's been ok so far. Unfortunately my classmates aren't as insightful as some of my previous grad classes and as such, I've gotten less from our roundtable discussions than I had hoped. But things are heating up with my term paper, a draft is due in a few weeks and I'm still torn on my topic. I expect great movement in short order!

I am absolutely crushed that I'm unable to disappear to Peoria tonight to check out Silversun Pickups. Unfortunately it is the closest they will be in many many months. On the bright side, got to check out Airborne Toxic Event (no, that's not a swine flu reference) over the weekend at Metro in Chicago. Love the venue, the show had ups and downs but glad we were there. It was great for the better half and I to hang with Q & Krissy, good times!

Work has been absolute madness, which is par for the season. I'm hoping calmness is on the horizon. And my first stint coaching kiddie basketball starts tomorrow night, coincidentally, the start of the Bulls season as well. Ah, serendipity.

I had an interesting discussion with one of my nieces last night, me giving her a sort of carpe diem speech about getting herself educated and stop procrastinating. I feel like I was convincing myself of the need as much as her. But I'm on my way folks, this train of mine is moving ahead at full speed. I'm excited and scared but hopeful.

Lastly, if you care about your money at all, check out This site is really cool, let's you track all your accts (banks, loans, credit cards, 401ks, etc) and sends reminders when stuff is due. The budget features are really great. It only takes a very short while to set up and is very user friendly. And, bonus, I can play with it on my iPhone, which I am loving.

Finally, root for a tie so neither the Yanks or Phillies can win this year's world series. Glad to be back!

Song lyric of the day: "It's been such a long time, it's been such a long time" Boston

Until next time.


Thursday, August 20, 2009

Back on the attack

A lot has happened since my last post. I've been to Vegas, San Francisco and a concert. I've spent most of my short break between summer and fall semester cleaning up a number of small, nagging things. But what I wanted to write about today concerns a recent visit to Wrigley Field.

The fam and I had an opportunity to visit Wrigley Field earlier this week as part of a fan appreciation event. The concept was cool and had me very excited. Fans get to go out on the field and visit any of the seating areas in the stadium also, including playing catch on the field and taking batting practice. Very sweet.

So the fam and I schlepped down to the big city and headed in. First things first, we grabbed some grub and decided to eat right behind home plate. Sweet! It was really cool to be able to hang out all around the stadium. We checked out where my season tix are located, took some pictures out near the ivy in the outfield and let the kiddies run the bases. The grass in the outfield was perfect, like the best fairway on a golf course you can imagine. And I even managed to get a couple pics taken in the Bartman seats, recreating that awful moment from 2003. So, there was a lot of fun stuff. But I had some problems with this whole event.

First, I was surprised how many people there were - kinda sucked but not the biggest deal. Unfortunately, the line to take batting practice (which occurred under the bleachers in right field) was too long so we never got to do that. But the bigger problem were the fans. For example, home plate was a popular area for pictures, with a line of probably 40 or 50 people. One group of guys decided they needed to literally slide into home for several picture opportunities, taking 10 or 15 minutes. The same was happening around all the bases, people literally laying on the ground taking pictures sliding into the bases. Not really a big deal unless you're taking forever while there is a line of people waiting to take pictures.

Another problem were the people who decided their need to play catch required them to throw the ball all over the field whether people were walking past or not. Again, no problem if you want to play catch but do you really need to throw it over the head of dozens of people across 80 or 90 feet? Really pretty awful.

I guess what it all boils down to is that you should never underestimate the rudeness and cluelessness of Cubs fans. Lesson learned!

Otherwise, I'm getting ready to head back to class next week. Also working on some things around the house, hoping to finish a long outstanding project in the basement and preparing for a couple of concerts in the next few weeks. With that, I'm off.

Song lyric of the day "Driving south on Lake Shore Drive, heading into town" Aliotta, Haynes & Jeremiah

Until next time.


Monday, July 27, 2009

Bored to tears

I realize that posts about running and my workouts are probably not all that interesting to anyone but me. So I promise this will be the last one that goes into detail. After my previous post about the Gov, I'd hate to leave everyone hanging about the big race last week.

First of all, it took me 2+ hours to drive from my class to Q's place. Weather sucked, traffic sucked, and I very nearly missed the race! But I made it to Q's, we jumped on the train and hurried over to the race. We got there literally 7 minutes before the race started.

I did not care much for the course. First off, the starting line was on a narrow strip of walkway that could handle approximately 10 people across. Not good for a race with 1600+ runners. So, after the quarter mile walk to the end of the line, we were finally ready. Well, kind of. You really couldn't hear anyone at the starting line, nor was there a starting gun we could hear. We just saw the mass of humanity in front of us start moving. So, we started moving too. Nearly 4 minutes later, we actually made it to the starting line.

As an aside, this is the first race I've done where the organizers utilized a timing chip that electronically monitors when you start and when you finish, taking all the guesswork out of it. It was pretty sweet and convenient. Anyhow, now we're running. I did this run with Wudchuk and Q, both of whom have been working out plenty lately. Wudchuk took off quite quickly right off the bat and Q dropped back as he was trying to stick to his marathon training pace, or at least somewhere near it. I took off at my own pace but had Wudchuk in my sights for pretty much the whole race, never being more than 25 yards behind.

There were a lot of people in this race and since we were starting near the end, a lot of the people in front of us needed to be passed. This caused the first couple of miles to be an exercise in dodging bodies while trying to maintain a good pace. In some ways, that helps keep your mind off getting tired or whatever but it's kind of a waste of time and energy and probably slows things down. Remembering that my run last month took 28:56, I was hoping to beat that time in this race.

One thing I worry about in each race is going out too fast and meeting the Governor or some other untimely demise. So I usually consciously try to hold back. But it's hard for me, I get pretty psyched up with all of the people and the race environment and the adrenaline gets going. As we approached the 1 mile marker, I was feeling good and crossed the marker at about 8:10. Whoa, that's quite a bit faster than usual. But I was still feeling ok so didn't worry too much about it.

The second mile was also not too bad, crossed the 2 mile marker at just over 16:00, not bad at all! No visit from the Governor so I'm beginning to think that I might not get to exchange pleasantries with him after all. I've still got Wudchuk in my sights and he seems to be slowing down a little bit. As such, I was able to finally close the last 10 meters on him at about 2.25 mile marker. With a clap on the shoulder I let him know I was there and helped him keep his pace up.

The things I didn't like about the course were a few. One, the width of the course we were running on. Get some streets blocked off or something, this is a big race! Two, the conditions of the path we were running on weren't the greatest. There were several areas where the pavement was thoroughly chunked up and kinda dangerous to run on. Three, there was no mile marker at the third mile (which we didn't know until the end!) and you didn't see the finish line until you had about 200 meters left in the race. Not good. So, I hope they change these things in the future, they were distracting and annoying.

I mention them because by the time we hit what was around the 3 mile mark, I was feeling it. At this point, Wudchuk helped me keep my pace up. When we turned the corner and spotted the finish line, we both dashed with whatever we had left and crossed that finish line side by side, gasping, panting, victorious! I knew it was a good run time but wasn't sure exactly how good. Well, the next morning, Wudchuk looked it up online and we both scored major personal records with a 26:06 finish! Whoa!!!!!!!!! I shaved almost 3 minutes off in a month. I would not have believed I had it in me. That is far and away the fastest I've run probably since junior high.

Very excited at the finish and now really looking forward to my next race (which hasn't been identified yet, sometime in August for sure). I would love to get down under 25 minutes by the end of the season. I believe this should be motivation for me to keep the training going. Thanks to Wudchuk for being a great running partner (and pacing beacon with that bright yellow shirt of his, very Tour de France of him).

Since then, I also managed to check out the Hangover for a second time (definitely funnier the 2nd time) and hit the local card room for a couple hour session Saturday night where I managed to crack Q's Aces and finished the session up nearly $150. Great warmup for my trip this weekend out to Vegas! I expect to be swamped between now and then finishing up my final project for class and hopefully getting in a couple of runs. As such, I probably won't be back for a bit to visit unless it is very brief.

Song lyric of the day "Running down a dream / working a mystery / going wherever it leads" Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Until next time.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Uh-Oh (or How I Learned to Love The Governor)

I recently posted about a race I did on Father's Day, where I achieved a recent personal record. By recent I mean my best since junior high / high school, which hardly even counts. So, anyhow, the good time has motivated me to keep running. And, seeing so many of my friends that have been dedicated to their workouts (including one who's lost over 100 pounds) has also been very motivating.

This motivation has manifested itself in me running pretty regularly. Not every day, because I don't really like running, I'm really just doing it to keep in shape. But, with the goal in mind of improving my times, I have been sticking to running more than just mixing it up with biking, elliptical, etc.

So, during my runs, the first mile usually sucks because I know I still have so far to go but eventually I just keep going and then I'm done. Some days are really tough - usually it feels tough to stick it out and finish the run. Others are just sort of mediocre. But every once in a while, you get one of those days where it just feels good. For me, these days are pretty irregular, I've really only ever had a few of them. One was maybe 3 or 4 weeks ago. Another was yesterday.

I'm preparing for a race on Thursday and so I wanted to do my final prep run yesterday, thinking I'd just do my normal loop, which equates to somewhere around a 5k. As an aside, I really have no idea why I haven't mapped out this loop to see how far it is, I've run it over 50 times and it would be nice to know how far I've gone and also track my times. Especially since I'm kind of a stat junkie, you'd think I would have done this by now. I digress.

For anyone that doesn't know running, you generally are supposed to take it pretty easy in the several days leading up to a race, I suppose it gives your body a chance to rest up and be in peak form on race day. So I went out last night just hoping to put my time in and be done with it until Thursday's race.

If you've run any distance before, then you're familiar with the ache or cramping feeling you get in your stomach, especially if you run too fast. Well, I found in my last really good run before last night that I got that ache very early in the run but it never got bad or made me feel like I needed to slow down. Same thing happened last night. Within the first half mile, I could feel it. But I could tell it was the good ache, where it wouldn't get worse and I was in complete control of it. I kept pushing myself and I could tell as I adjusted my effort the ache would change accordingly. So, it was acting sort of as a governor on my speed, similar to how the go karts at your local track are limited in their speed by a governor placed on the cart engine. It was weird and empowering, but it felt like I could control the ache very precisely. Like I had my hand wrapped around it and could throttle up or down just like a motorcycle.

Well, me and The Governor (since he's mine and personal he really should be capitalized) had a very nice run last night. So nice that I decided to push beyond my normal loop, even more than I have been in previous runs, maintaining a nice speed for nearly the entire way. My last few runs I didn't feel good but had extended about another half mile past the normal loop, primarily in an effort to improve my endurance. I decided last night I'd go about a mile past the normal loop. Things went pretty well for the most part although about halfway through the extension I started to get pretty wiped out. I believe maybe I did a Blago and impeached the Governor. Anyhow, I finished the run and cooled down, happy to have a nice run behind me. I hope me and the Gov hang out again soon.

The real problem here is that after my last really nice run, I had several in a row that were very difficult. And of course, rather than taking it a little more easy (as described earlier), I overextended myself. And, oh yeah, my next run is my race. I really am quite dumb - I hope I don't turn in an awful time Thursday, that would be disappointing.

In non-running news, I only have 3 weeks of class left! Got a B+ on my big assignment from last week, have revised it for re-submission today. Big final project is just starting up but I expect to make significant progress on it tonight after class, we'll be doing an in-class workshop on Thursday and then have another week to pretty it up for another workshop. I think it should be pretty good. Then the last thing is our in class final. So, the end is near!

Heading to Vegas in a few weeks too, definitely looking forward to that!

Song lyric of the day "Wait - there's something up ahead / I've seen its claws / I can see the mark it left / Well fed and eating with a thousand hands" Cassino - Governor (I confess to not having ever heard this song or of this group but this seemed pretty good!)

Until next time.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tales of Domesticity

Following is a real-life exchange between myself and the better half.

Better half: "I was watching TV and saw that having sex is supposed to improve your immune system. We should work on that."

Me: "That's funny, you already seem immune to sex with me."

Song lyric of the day: "I want your sex" George Michael

Until next time.