Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Happy Paczki Day!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Frozen Snot and Tour Da Chicago

Let me make a disclaimer to everyone who did the entire Frozen Snot Double Century, I did not, in fact do the entire thing. In fact, I think Clare and I decided that we had done only 30% of it. Hats off to the brave souls that rode from Chicago to Milwaukee and then back again this weekend.

Anyway, the part my Girlfriend and I did was the last leg from Kenosha, WI back to Chicago. As I've previously mentioned in this Blog, Clare and I have done this ride before. In January, we took the train to Kenosha and rode the Robert McClory trail back to Chicago. I wrote a little about it in this post.

Anyway, this time around, the trip was a lot more pleasant. We met up in Kenosha with our friends Paul and Sherry who had done the whole double century. That had actually taken Sheridan Rode the entire way from Chicago and avoided the problems that we had with the muddy limestone path. They were also anxious to get back to the city, so they really were in the mood to hustle.

We rode Sheridan until about North Chicago where the Robert McClory trail goes from being crushed limestone to being paved. We stopped briefly in Highland Park for Lunch and then got back on Sheridan. North of Evanston we got onto Green Bay Road (Or was it Old Green Bay Road?) and then eventually to Ashbury which turns into Western Avenue.

The whole trip with the half-hour stop for lunch only took about four and a half hours. This fact was a little embarrassing for us because it took us a lot longer to do this trip when we had done it in January. There is something to be said about the group dynamic when bicycle touring.

Sunday was the 5th stage of the Tour Da Chicago. I place pretty close to the bottom, but it was one of the most fun I've had in a race in a while. When I raced two weeks ago, I had lost my pack, and did most of the ride by myself. This time I got in a big pack and stuck with it. Luckily as well, that Clare was in my same pack, and riding with her is always a pleasant experience.

The route was pretty crazy. You can take a look at it here. If you have a myspace account, also look here.

I plan to write a lot more about winter bike touring and the Tour Da Chicago, so stay tuned.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Cubicle Mates

So the woman who sat behind me got canned a couple of weeks ago. No one seems to know why and if anyone does know, they ain't sayin'. I was fine with her termination; she was nuttier that squirrel shit anyway. She had closed the shades on the windows in our office because she was afraid the people in the next building were spying on her. Apparently, the building is full of creeps who get off by watching women do office work.

Apparently, some of her files weren't moved to their proper place after her departure. All this time I've been sitting next to some very important documents and didn't even know it. Point is, I had to listen to some higher-up go on and on about how things aren't being taken care of.

I also nearly poisoned my other cubicle partner today. I was on an important phone call (Important = conversation with girlfriend), and I started to doodle absent- mindedly on the dry-erase board I use to keep track of assignments. After a few minutes the woman in the next cubicle (lets call her Vanessa - not her real name) starts coughing like crazy. I didn't think much of it because she had been sneezing all morning. Then she wanders over to my desk with her hand around her neck and her face all red. I guess the smell of dry-erase markers has a bad effect on her. She was fine, but coughed for about twenty minutes afterwards.

The funny thing came later when I mentioned this to another co-worker. I said, "I accidentally made Vanessa gag on the smell of dry erase markers today."

The co-worker said, "Well, she makes me gag every time I look at her."

I was a little taken back by that so I just back away slowly...

Winter Touring Part II

Clare and I are going to re-do our previous bike trip from Kenosha to Chicago this weekend. There is a group of people who rode up to Milwaukee, WI today and will be riding back tomorrow. It's called the Frozen Snot Double-Century.

I think this will be a good reason to re-visit that topic because I don't think I wrote about it as much as I liked on our previous trip. Stay posted.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

What's Wrong with These Cats?

My girlfriend and I have two cats. A female named Kitty and a male named Jay. In reality, Clare had these cats long before I came along. In fact, she's had kitty for 17 years. Since we live together, they're my cats, too.

Anyway, these cats have always been a little eccentric. Kitty is famous for her thumping skills. She'll back up to a wall and hit it repeatedly with her hind legs (Think Thumper from Bambi, but with a longer tail). Jay likes to jump in the bathtub after one of us has taken a shower and lick the water off the sides.

These little idiosyncrasies make them unique and entertaining, but the have their dark sides too.

First off, they have the worst grooming habits I've ever seen in cats. Cats are supposed to be clean animals, right? They constantly have dingleberries (if you don't know, I'm not going to explain it) and cat litter crusted on their feet. They don't bury they're crap, and they track litter yards away fro the litter box (including onto our bed).

After we bought our condo this summer, we let Kitty walk around on the back porch whenever we were outside. For the record, both of our cats are inside cats, but we figured, if we could keep an eye on them, it shouldn't be a problem. Then it became a problem. One night while hanging out on the back porch we didn't notice that Kitty had wandered away. We spent nearly an hour trying to find her. We found her in a yard on the next block, but it was enough stress to make us decide that there would be no more outside adventures for Kitty. This wasn't that big of a deal because soon after fall kicked in and we were no longer outside as much. Kitty, however, didn't get with the program. To this day she'll go to the back door and cry. Well, maybe cray isn't the right word. It's more like a screech or a scream. We're amazed at the volume she can get. She's a small cat (no more than 5-6 pounds), but man, can she belt out those cat-screams. Oh, did I mention she usually does this about 2am every night?

Then there is the puking. I have no idea what this is about, but both of the cats have a habit of gorging themselves and then puking the food on the floor a short time later. I've been told that cats don't do this, but I've also been told that cats are clean.

This was a simply annoying habit until the other night when Jay damn near puked on my head. For those of you that have heard an animal vomit before, you can imagine how troubling it is to be awoken at 4am to that sound. In my confused stupor, I woke up and put my had right in the pile of puke. I'm impressed how quickly Clare woke up and snapped into cat-puke cleaning mode. The bed sheets were rinsed, new sheet was put down, and my hand was thoroughly scrubbed in a manner of minutes. It was hard to feel affection for Jay after that incident. It took me a few days before I could bring myself to pet jay when he would come up to me and rub his slimy nose on me.

Speaking of which, that's another annoying habit...

(Picture of Kitty impersonating Jay and his strange bathroom habits)

Friday, February 03, 2006

Honest Internet

As a follow-up to a previous e-mail, we now have an internet connection at home. It was actually pretty easy. We simply went to our upstairs neighbors and offered them a monthly payment for the password to their wireless network. Now, we have internet for only $10 a month!

Talking to our neighbors for the first time since we moved in was a little bit of a strange experience. They moved in on the same weekend six months ago as we did. We met them then, but hadn't talked since. Their condo has an almost identical floor plan to ours. We had actually bid on their condo but lost to them (that's another long story). They invited us in to talk about internet and we ended up hanging out in their place for about 45 minutes.

It was weird because here are two people about our age, living in a condo almost identical to ours, and who have all the same observations about the neighborhood as we do. Apparently, we both like spying on our vaguely European neighbors that eat outside all summer but never seem to talk to each other (We guessed that they're Germans, they guessed French). They were also as pissed as we were about the graffiti that keeps appearing on the corner of our building. We also were able to clear our name of the crime of not pulling the front door closed so that it actually locks (it's now us against the first floor tenants).

I guess the thought of people above us living parallel lives not ten feet above us kind of disappoints me. While we still don't know what those strange noises are (I didn't see any bowling balls around, so I don't know what is they're dropping at 1 a.m.), but there is certainly less of an air of mystery.