Friday, March 30, 2007


Lunchbreak Errand

I found an amazing little store at Ogilvie Station where every birthday card they sell is NOT lame. I hope Kathleen likes what I got her.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007


Shamrock Shuffle


Distance:  8K
Official Time:  45:59

I performed better than expected, coming within 42 seconds of my time from last year.  Amazingly I managed this even though I walked at least six blocks in addition to the water stop.

The surprise is that I held it together aerobicly, never once running out of breath.  But my poor leg muscles, atrophied from lack of recent use, refused to carry me as fast as I liked.

I've certainly got my work cut out for me!  It's one thing to dissapoint at an individual event, but I refuse to embarass myself in front of the Buffalo Warriors at River to River.  I've got less than a month to get my act together!

Fortunately, I'm not as bad off as I had feared.

Now I'm off to my new job, where there will be no talk of running and lots of talk about systems I've never seen before.

Saturday, March 24, 2007


Not Ready But Gonna Run It Anyway

This is going to be a quick post because it's nearly midnight and I have to get up tomorrow morning to run Shamrock Shuffle.  I must admit that a small part of me had been hoping that oncoming thunderstorms would force cancellation of this event and thus cover up my complete lack of training these past few weeks--or even a simpe day-before warmup run.  But (sigh) looks like I have to go through with this one.  Wish me luck!

On a happier note, Denise and I have been living together for a week now, and we are getting along terrific.  Thanks to our new storage locker, Denise's ceaseless unpacking, and the reorganization of my closets, we have managed to comfortably fit us both in my tiny one bedroom apartment.  Amazingly we never trip on each other, and I'm really happy she's here!

As many of you know, Denise's moving here was a complicated affair that involved two separate flights to Minneapolis in one week, a broken car (left behind in MN), a police adventure in a redneck motel, a long rental truck drive, and lots of moving of boxes.  And somewhere in the process I caught a yucky cold.

Here is a picture of us at Melting Pot, where Denise took me for a surprise dinner the other night to celebrate our new jobs.  It was my first ever fondue experience!

Actually, Denise's move to Chicago and my yucky cold were only two of the three distractions that kept me from taining these past two weeks.  There was also three of us quitting Chase at the same time: me, Jay, and Mark.  Needless to say, there were lots of celebrations going on in a short period of time!

Here Mark says his special goodbye to Chase.  

Good luck Mark!  Good luck Chase!

Jay and I celebrated our departure from Chase with a party at Jak's Tap.  Our favorite former colleagues all came by to celebrate with us, but that didn't stop Jay and I from getting away for some self-congratulatory cigars.

Our friend Don Julio was also a big part of the celebration!

Denise kept an eye on me, helping me home when the cigar smoke and alcohol fumes finaly overcame me.


It's after midnight now and I'm still working on this blog entry.  I still have to fold laundry and get to bed soon so I can get up tomorrow and run that race I'm not ready for.

I was going to post my mp3 playlist for tomorrow, but the sound of Denise's electric toothbrush in the next room is reminding me that it's time for bed.

Good luck to everyone who is running, walking, or cheering tomorrow.  See you in the beer tent at the end of the finish chute!

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Last Day at Chase

Thanks to those who sent me good wishes when I started to feel sick.  I'm recovering quickly and should be well enough to embarass myself at Shamrock this Sunday.

Today is my last day at Chase.  I'm going to take the rest of the morning to cleanup my desk and say goodbye.  I plan on saying farwell to every individual on the production floor (all 150+ of them) one at a time.

Although I'm leaving for a better opportunity and dispite occasional differences with management, I'm actually sad to go.  I'll be leaving behind a lot of happy memories, including:

Tomorrow evening, after I pickup my packet for the Shamrock Shuffle, the Public Sector IT team is taking Jay and I out to celebrate our departure from Chase.  We'll be be at Jak's Tap at 901 W Jackson.  Anyone reading this is welcome to join us for good pizza, craft beer, and fun gossip.

I may even shed a tear or two.

Monday, March 19, 2007


Uptown 60640

Meet Uptown's newest resident, Denise!

It was a long, exciting weekend.  We got back to Chicago on Saturday night and spent most of Sunday unpacking the truck and getting organized.

Now Denise is an official Chicagoan and I once again have a live-in girlfriend.

To celebrate this momentous occasion I picked up... the flu!  Bleh!  Going to have to call in sick tomorrow, even though it's my last week on the job.  But what can I do?

So the Shamrock this weekend is going to be a bit more of a challenge than expected.  Not only have I been particularly bad at training this winter, now it looks like I get to run this thing with a cough.

If I break my PR this year, I'm going to celebrate with an extra shot of Airborne.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007


COPS: Roseville

OK, here are the details from our Super 8 adventure in Roseville, as promised by Denise.  I'll try to keep this story brief but probably wont be able to.

So as I've discussed with Running Jayhawk and Out of Shape Guy and others, the expression "Super 8" refers to something that all men ought to know about women.  But for Denise and I this past weekend it came to represent something entirely different and nowhere near as nice as the other meaning.

Our story begins in Roseville at 10PM Sunday night, when Denise and I returned to our hotel room at the Roseville Super 8 (motto: "low rates and no towels to serve you better") after a long day.  Our room keys didn't work, so I went down to the front desk where the clerk recoded the keys and gave them back to me.

(Number of teeth missing from the night front desk clerk = 1)

The re-coded keys worked, but our relief was short-lived.  For it took us only a few minutes to realize that we had been robbed.  Both Denise's iPod and the WiFi card from my laptop (though not the laptop itself) had been taken from our room.

Thinking that the cleaning person had perhaps left our door open, I called the police to file a report and then called the front desk.  The front desk clerk told me that the manager would be onsite to speak with the housekeeper first thing in the morning.

Now even before this incident we were already fed up with this hotel.  It was ugly and there weren't enough towels and our door security chain was broken and the place smelled bad and many of the rooms were occupied by loud hockey hooligans.  On top of that, the promised free WiFi didn't work in our room.

Needing to book a new hotel room (because we sure weren't spending another night in that shithole) I took my laptop (with spare network card) down the hall in search of a better wireless signal in order to conduct my hotel search.  On my way down the hall I bumped into a nice woman named Julie, who noticed both my laptop and the room I had emerged from.  Julie told me that she was in the room next door and had seen the people who had taken our things, and that they had tried to sell her Denise's iPod.  Apparently these people had been checked into our room by mistake and had helped themselves to our stuff before being given another room by the hotel.  I asked Julie if she would be willing to talk to the police but she said she would prefer not to--though I eventually persuaded her.  I then called the police again and the officer said he would be on his way over.

(Number of teeth missing from Julie = 1, but with at least two looking like they were about to fall out)

I don't have a photo of Julie, but she looked something like this.

Denise went downstairs to wait for the police, calling me on my cellphone when they arrived.  I then knocked on Julie's room door, only to be surprised when her boyfriend answered.  Now I don't want to say that this was the biggest person I saw the entire weekend (that distinction goes to someone else), but he was certainly a close second.  This piece-of-the-mountain introduced himself as Lewis and seemed quite aggravated to be bothered.  Here's how the discussion went:

Josh:  I'm really sorry to bother you, but Julie offered to speak with the police and they're here.  I promise they'll have her back in 5 minutes.
Lewis:  I'm not comfortable with this.  It's going to have to wait until morning, maybe.
Josh:  The police said they wont help us unless we have an eyewittness.  And Julie already promied she'd help.
Lewis:  Listen, I'm the MAN in this room and what I say goes.  We're not going to do this tonight.  [closes door]

The officers showed up a few minutes later and they seemed quite sympathetic and helpful, unlike everyone else, though they warned me that without our eyewittness all they could do is try to persuade our suspects residing in room 309 down the hall.  I sent the officers next door to talk to our eyewittness, warning them that they may not get any cooperation.  I then closed the door to my room and waited for something to happen.

I listened to the loud voices out in the hall for about 40 minutes, which included the police, the occupants of the suspect room, and another man I didn't recognise.  Finaly, there was a loud knock on my door.  I opened up to find not the police but Lewis (the uncooperative neighbor) holding our stolen merchandise in his hand and wearing a nametag reading "Super-8 Security."  I didn't quite know what to say.

After Lewis and the cops went downstairs to complete their paperwork, I asked Julie why her boyfriend hadn't been very cooperative before--especially since he worked for the hotel.  She wasn't able to explain very clearly, but from lots of little hints I later guessed that Lewis probably had a wife at home who perhaps thought he was away on a hunting trip or something like that.

I forgot to mention one funny detail.  The night before, while Denise and I were struggling to fall asleep on our terrible Super-8 mattress, we heard the couple next door having sex.  It consisted of 5 minutes of loud thumping, then silence.  It was funny to meet Lewis & Julie the next night in order to put faces on the five brief minutes of thumpa-thumpa.

The entire ordeal kept us busy until about 3:30AM.  After everything was done (the thieves were kicked out of the hotel but not arrested) I took my laptop down to the lobby to try and find a new hotel.  Several of the night staff were hanging around, including some dude who I think was the night manager.  He tried to make small talk with me but all I could bring myself to do was glower at him.  Can you blame me?

(Number of teeth missing from night manager = 2)

The next morning I got up at 7AM to give the hotel manager a piece of my mind.  I was intercepted by the daytime front desk clerk and she admitted to me that she had been the one to give access to our room to the thieves the day before.  I confronted her on this and she immediatley grew defensive, insisting it was an honest mistake and not a big deal.

Those of you who are familiar with my anger management issues can imagine how I reacted.  By the time my tirade was finished, the clerk agreed to wipe out our entire bill.

(Number of teeth missing from daytime desk clerk = 1)

Still feeling angry, I channeled my energy and had an amazingly satisfying run around not very scenic Roseville.  I didn't have a lot of time but still had a great workout.

Distance:  3 miles
Time:  27:24
Pace:  9:08/mile

After my run Denise and I couldn't get out of there fast enough.  So we quickly gathered our things and I went downstairs to wait for Denise to pull the car around, which was parked far away.

Standing out front with me was the night mananager, some other hotel staff, and a few locals and their pit bull (which was growling).

(Number of teeth missing from this group collectively = at least 6)
(Number of fangs missing from pit bull = unknown)

By the time Denise pulled the car around I was ready to jump in before she even hit the brakes.  If it had been me driving I would have peeled rubber to get out of there.

Let us never speak of Super-8 or Roseville or dental hygiene ever again.

Sunday, March 11, 2007


Jaws at the Mall!

Visitors to Mall of America are often treated to a wide variety of birds flying around the indoor theme park.  Less well-known is the dangerous shark problem.

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Bye Bye Chase!


            Hello US Bank!

After three years with Chase, I'm saying sayonara.

In two weeks I begin work with an IT deliverables group at US Bank.  My title will be Business Technical Analyst III and I'll still get to work in downtown Chicago.  Same early morning hours of work, but it's worth it.  Let's just say that I will be treated much better at the new job.  Much, much better.   :)

So far both myself and Denise have landed jobs we really wanted.  But that's not all!  My friend the psychgeek just got admitted to her first choice grad school program.  AND one of my best friends is about to land a terrific new job... just 1/2 block from my new job!

So there will be much celebrating!!!  A select number of you should be watching your e-mail for invitations to the most elaborate party I have ever thrown.

Thanks to everyone for their encouragement (especially Denise)!

Sunday, March 04, 2007


Special Guest: Oglethorpe

Today's special guest is Oglethorpe, who has agreed to write a guest post for this blog during a break in post-production of his new movie.

Put back my eyes so that I might furrow my brow, und express the anger I am feeling!  What do you know of fire?  You prance around like you have laser eyes.  You don't!

We are on a top secret mission of world domination!  You might be interested to know that we are just about to destroy your planet!  Plans are for fools!  Now do you see how my mind works?  It's like a laser!

Well, that's all the time we have, folks.  Watch for Oglethorpe this spring in the upcoming major motion picture: Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie for Theatres.

UPDATE:  I had a nice run today to Maproom.  Not a great distance or fast pace, but it was by far the most enjoyable run I've had so far this year.

Distance:  4.73 miles
Time:  45:07
Pace:  9:32/mile

And the best part was the glass of Cantillon Saint Lamvinus at the end!  (Mmmm.... sour merlot grapes!)

Thursday, March 01, 2007


Signed Up

Tagged by Jeanne, I have registered for the 2007 Chicago Marathon.

My goal:  Avoid injury between now and October 7.

(Oh, that and beat Oprah this year!)

And speaking of goals, this weekend will be my first running event of the year: the Lou Pinella 5K.  Joining me will be Jay, Dana, and Jeanne.  Jeanne wants to run this as a double-5K.  Let's hope the weather permits.  This Saturday's race will be a fun run, so my only goal is to not drink too much beer at the end.

Winter may not be quite over yet, but I've got to get ready for a busy spring and summer of running...

March 3:  Lou Pinella 5K

March 25:  Shamrock Shuffle

April 1:  10 mile loop as pacer/crew for Shea at the Clinton Lake Ultra trail marathon.

April 21:  River to River (with the Buffalo Warriors)

May 5:  Indy Mini half marathon

June 8-9:   Great Midwest Relay (with the Yet-To-Be-Named Team)

I figure if I'm not injured after all that, I should do fine at the Chicago Marathon this year.

See you out on the running path, everybody.  Just as soon as the snow stops..

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