Tuesday, November 29, 2005
Salaries are a touchy subject--especially in American society.
That's why meaningful information about what certain jobs pay is hard to come by. And the data that is out there is usually available only in expensive salary surveys.
As a service to you, my curious readers, here is a Salary Survey for 2005.
Be sure to have a good laugh next time you bump into your company's CIO in the hallway.
And be nice to Tumbler Operators.
Sunday, November 27, 2005
Saturday Night at the Map Room
Here's a picture of Jay and I, taken around 5PM yesterday.
We had just arrived at the Map Room hoping to participate in the evening's beer class, only to be told that they had already sold out. Jay was pretty pissed about this because he had already tried to call ahead for reservations.
We consoled ourselves by exploring the world of beer on our own, starting with one of Jay's favorites, Delirium Tremens. This beer really does taste great and I recommend it for anyone other than me.
It all started innocently enough, as we moved on to Chimay Blue and I reassured Jay, "To hell with these people." Stuffing BBQ ribs into my gullet, I continued, "We can start our own beer school."
Just one more round after that, right before I got us kicked out, I learned a lesson I should have long ago:
- I am allergic to hops.
- I don't do well with high-alcohol beer.
- No more fancy beer for me.
So, that's it. Whiskey or wine for me from now on.
(I'll start with the Granache I forgot in the back of Jay's car.)
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
God help me, I think I might actually pull this off.
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
bin Wine Cafe (the new bin36 in Wicker Park) the night before the opening.
Our charitable donation to some cause I don't remember got us all the wine and cheese we could drink and eat.
The chef (shown in the background of this photo) seems like a nice guy.
OK, I admit, it's not a big weight problem. Most overweight people (which in the U.S. is practically everybody) will laugh at my assertion. But it's not funny to me that none of my pants fit me anymore and that I have to inhale deeply in order to put on my favorite party shirts.
So, even though I never thought it would come to this, I have joined Weight Watchers. I'm in for three months and will do my best during that time period.
My starting weight (Sunday morning) was 176 lbs.
My first official weigh-in (Monday night) was 179 lbs.
I can only hope that the three pound difference is due to morning-evening variation.
My goal weight is 150-155 lbs.
25-30 pounds may not seem like much to lose, but to me it sometimes feels impossible.
I felt a little discouraged tonight when I took inventory of my dinner salad and realized that the avocado I ate cost me 9.5 Weight Watchers points. 9 1/2 points for a fugging vegetable!? All diets suck.
I channeled my avocado-induced rage into a very healthy bikeride into work. In a brisk headwind I managed 11 miles in 49 minutes, earning me 5 Weight Watchers "activity points."
I used my points to buy a Subway Club to bring to work.
My next official weigh-in is next Monday. Wish me luck!
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Justyna and I got back from a 2½ day vacation in Seattle Monday night, and we had a terrific time.
(This post has been revised to include pictures. Sorry it took so long. For more, see Justyna's blog. I finished this post more than a week after coming home from the trip but will publish with original time stamp.)
Justyna took me to Seattle to celebrate my 37th birthday, and it is far and away the best present anyone has ever gotten me. We stayed downtown at the luxurious Hotel Monaco and spent our time walking all over town, exploring neighborhoods and visiting with our friends Nicola, Laura, and Jameson.
Staying at the Monaco was a wonderful treat!
After picking us up from the airport, Nicola joined us in our suite for some Italian wine (courtesy of Kathleen and Shea). Eventually, late that night, we went out to Rock Bottom Brewery for a meal so terribly horrible that I shall mention it no further. Thank God the food we ate the rest of the weekend was much better.
We spent much of our first day exploring the Pike Place Market.
Without a doubt, this is my absolute favorite urban tourist destination. We could have easily spent the entire weekend browsing from shop to shop, people watching, and snacking.
Justyna buying mushrooms
endless rows of beautiful flowers
Lots of charasmatic fish mongers.
The night we got back to Chicago Justyna made us a delicious meal of Pike Place crab and exotic mushrooms.
We had planned to go on the "underground tour," but decided that was lame and time-consuming. Instead we hung out in Seattle's oldest bar (see left), ate fish tacos, visited a strange post-modern urban waterfall, and generally bummed around the area.
Very relaxing, very fun.
Nicola picked us up and we drove over to Capitol Hill to meet my old friend Jameson, who suggested that we dine at Crave.
This was not only the best meal we had all weekend, but one of the best we have enjoyed in recent memory.
Jameson even brought along a bottle of that Can Feixes he is always talking about, and it was superb!
Whoever thought that "Honey Bucket" was a good brand name for a portable toilet? These things are apparently all over the Seattle area.
We didn't go up in the Space Needle.
We also didn't ride the monorail, though we did stop to photograph the Experience Music Project building at the monorail's terminus.
We walked along the western shore of Lake Union and saw lots of houseboats grouped together into little neighborhoods.
We finaly reached the Fremont Bridge
View of Lake Union from the Fremont Bridge (facing southeast)
Lake Union doubles as an airport for seaplanes. We watched several take off and land.
View of the Fremont neighborhood from atop the bridge, facing east.
If you enlarge this picture and look closely you can spot a seaplane coming in for a landing on Lake Union.
Statues of commuters waiting at a stop on a streetcar line that no longer exists, thus blending Seattle's two favorite topics of conversation: art and the shortage of public transportation.
The Fremont Sunday Market
Not bad for a neighborhood flea market, I suppose.
I bought a cool hat (which I lost and am still trying to replace) and Justyna purchased some nice soaps.
Ecclectic poster art, typical of Fremont
The Fremont Troll
We stopped along the way to visit Nicola at his house in Wallingford, a nice quiet neighborhood on a hill overlooking the water.
After enjoying the sidewalk raving lunactics and some Japanese snacks, we took a break from being tourists to go to the movies and see MirrorMask--a film we missed in Chicago because it played for like two days and then disappeared.
The theatre was so chilly and the movie so visually stimulating that I almost had a seisure.
The atmosphere was pleasant and the view out the window across the water was stunning.
The salmon I ordered, however, was somewhat underseasoned.
(At least it was better than the Rock Bottom Brewery.)
The next morning we got up early for one more stroll through the Pike Place Market before heading for home.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Spinach salad with hot cacciatorina sausage, mango and orange tomato, topped with olive oil and tarragon vinegar dressing