Driving to the Gym

April 28th, 2014

Is there a sillier first world problem than not being able to find any parking at the gym?

I’m stoked that Ravenswood, my home for the last 7 years, finally has a grocery store and a gym, but let’s take a look at how LA Fitness is situated here:


This is the back of the building. The parking lot. This is where the entrance is.


This is the front of the building along Lawrence Avenue. All this prime street-access real estate and yet there is no entrance to LA Fitness. It’s all windows and no doors.

In a city where the streets are notoriously congested, in a neighborhood with a ton of foot-traffic, on a major street that is easily accessible, we’ve built a gym that is easier to drive to than walk to.



Dewey G Biv

March 25th, 2014

I’ve been toying with the idea of organizing my books by color. Actually, that’s not quite accurate. We’ve organized our books by section (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, etc.) but within each section I’ve been playing with color.

First off, it’s pretty. I’ve long held that my favorite color is “all of them.”

Second, I think there’s actually some function here. I’m terrible at remembering authors, but I darn sure remember the dusty yellow cover of Watership Down and the lovely teal of In the Time of the Butterflies.

Interestingly, this organization would work terribly in an actual library where book colors are completely unreliable. It only works with personal collections of books that you’ve held and read and spent time with.

Of course, if this organization doesn’t work out, we can always organize the books “autobiographically.”


Auto-Awesome Indeed

December 11th, 2013

Google introduced a new feature a little while ago called “Auto-Awesome.” Occasionally, when you upload movies or videos to Google+, they will create a new version that has some animation or music or something else that’s… well… awesome. My phone automatically backs up all of my photos to Google+, but they have never deemed any of my photos worthy of the auto-awesome treatment… until now.

Here is the first photo that Google decided to awesomize:

What’s that you say? Why was I taking a photo of my dog pooping? I don’t see what that has to do with anything.

You know what’s kind of neat, though? Watch any snowflake and you’ll see that it is part of an evenly spaced group of flakes moving in a straight line. The faster flakes are spaced further apart and the slower flakes are close together. The effect feels random, but to loop the .gif efficiently, Google built things in a very structured way.


The Fabric of (2 Years of) Our Lives

October 10th, 2012

Shama and I have been married for 2 years. It’s been the best 2 years. The second year anniversary is the “cotton” anniversary. A year ago for our first (“paper”) anniversary, I made Shama a pop-up book.


I was pretty proud of it. I wasn’t expecting us to make crazy presents this year since Shama’s been so busy writing lesson plans for school, but when we were out to dinner she told me she made something “entirely of cotton.” I guessed and guessed (pillows? a hat? socks? stapler cozy?) but I never got it. Finally, as we were eating dessert, I realized what it was. “Did you make ‘us’?”

She did.




What’s a Mule?

October 9th, 2012

Three times I’ve tried to buy my wife shoes and three times I have failed. The first time we were going to a wedding and she mentioned that she wished she had some red shoes to wear to it. “Okay,” I thought. “How hard can this be?” I offered to go over to the softer side of Sears to pick up some red shoes while she was getting ready. Shama was skeptical. When I got to the store, there were only two pairs of red shoes to choose from. I chose… poorly.

Now, I must emphasize that Shama is not a very picky person. In fact, I’m pretty sure I had a fairly large margin of error to work with. The shoes I picked fell well outside that margin of error.

The next two times I tried to get shoes for Shama I ordered them from Zappos. Famed for its customer service and “no-questions-asked” return policy, I figured I couldn’t go wrong. Well, I can personally vouch for their return policy! Now, when I look at my order history on Zappos, I see two orders and two returns. The second time they asked if there was anything they could have done to prevent this return. I wrote, “help me understand my wife’s tastes in shoes.” I haven’t heard back.

UPDATE: I was wrong! I’m not 0 for 3, I’m 1 for 4!  I forgot that I got Shama some Wellington boots when she left for Ireland and she didn’t return them! Self-high-five!


Boy Dogs Have Nipples

October 8th, 2012

Gus and I managed one last trip to the beach this summer. Over the last year and a half we’ve really gotten to know a lot about each other. One thing I learned that I never knew before: boy dogs have nipples. Seems obvious now.


Piefest XIII

October 6th, 2012

We’ve made it to Piefest thirteen! It was a lovely day for Piefest this year! Much better than the downpour we had last year. (This time it started raining just after Piefest. Thanks, clouds!)

There was an unusual three-way-tie for best in show, and more amazingly, none of the three pies won their respective categories. You just never know how people will vote at these things.

Shama and I were interviewed for the Stupid Nerd Podcast about Piefest, which you can listen to here:

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

More photos and the complete list of pies below:

Read More »


Name That Tune

October 5th, 2012

I’m halfway through the third book in the Song of Ice and Fire (better known as Game of Thrones) saga. It’s not the first epic series I’ve gotten sucked into, and I’m sure it won’t be the last, but it’s helped me hone in on something I can’t stand in literature — a feature that many of my favorite books seem to share: songs in novels.

A Storm of Swords is silly with songs, and every time I get to one it’s the same problem. How do I read this? Do I make up a tune? Do I read it like poetry? Do I just skip the stupid thing, because, really, who cares? Drives me crazy! I dabble in songwriting, but I can’t just come up with a melody on the fly.

Read More »



October 2nd, 2012

I recently got my first Android device and I’ve been finding myself, as far as technology goes, losing interest in the products Apple makes. Last night I was watching the Bears game and two commercials came on, one for Google and one for Apple. The Apple commercial was cold, smug, and insulting to physics aficionados (ever heard of volume and density?).

The Google commercial, on the other hand, was funny, sweet, and entirely about people and their relationships. I thought I was judging the products on their merits, but maybe I’m just falling victim to good advertising.

You be the judge.



Journey to the End of the Night 2012

May 13th, 2012

Another year, another Journey to the End of the Night. This year’s course took runners from Humboldt Park through Logan Square and Wicker Park before ultimately ending in the meat packing district. After chasing people (including Felix) for a few hours, I settled in at one of my favorite checkpoints in Journey history: Paparazzi!

As runners stumbed into the checkpoint, exhausted, they were guided down a red carpet where a slew of photographers, fans, and reporters were begging for their attention.  As a faketographer, I took photos and shouted ridiculous questions and comments.  My favorites were War Horse themed: “I loved you in War Horse!” “When does shooting start for War Horse II?”  “What was it like to work with War Horse?” “Why weren’t you invited to War Horse’s birthday party?  Did you have a falling out?”

By the end of the night, I couldn’t name another movie.

Strike a pose

Read More »


Piefest Dozen

September 3rd, 2011

A dozen Piefests is nice, but I’m really excited for Piefest Bakers Dozen next year.  It will be epic.  Italics!

Piefest Dozen was a throwback to the indoor Piefests of years past.  After two hours setting up tables and everything in the backyard, the sky opened up and drenched our lovely pie-petheater.  Fifteen minutes later, a two very soaked people managed to get everything moved inside.  I don’t think either of us were expecting a lot of people to show up, but man were we wrong.  Piefest 12 had over 30 amazing entries.

Best Cream Pie
It was a great year for cream pies.  The indoor venue kept the cream pie’s worst enemy, Mr. Melty Sun, at bay.  Emily took home Best Cream Pie at her second Piefest with her Bananas Foster Cream Pie.

Best Savory Pie
With only two (on-time) entries in the savory pie category, it was slim pickings, but both were delicious.  Ultimately, “Potonion” took home the award.

Most Ambitious
Shama once again entered a concept pie into the competition with her “Pepto-Pie: The AFTER Piefest Pie Solution.” I’m pretty sure this is the only pie ever to be garnished with Tums. It was… interesting.

Best In Show
And it was such a pretty pie too! Ashley Bauer and Jon Ferguson took home the top prize for the Moloko Stout Caramel Bottomed Pie.


Read More »


Gravity + Downhill = Great Mileage

August 16th, 2011

Shama and I took a day to drive through Pisgah National Forest, stopping at Lookingglass Falls and Sliding Rock before getting on the Blue Ridge Parkway.  You know what’s not on the Blue Ridge Parkway?  Gas stations.  You know what else isn’t on the Blue Ridge Parkway?  AT&T service.

So we were a bit freaked when all of a sudden Shama said, “Oh no, the gas light’s on!”  I had remembered seeing a while back that it was 16 miles to the next exit from the Parkway and our car’s handly onboard computer told us that we had 9 miles of cruising range before we ran out of gas.  Ruh-roh.

Shama drove like a pro, coasting down the mountain as much as possible, breaking as little as possible, flying off sheer rock cliffs as little as possible.  As we came into town we may or may not have gone through an interminable red light before making it to a gas station.  The result: 16 miles with 2 miles worth of gas to spare!


Full On Across the Sky

August 13th, 2011

Sometimes it’s hard to understand someone’s reaction until you experience something for yourself.


How Did I Not Know This Before?

May 28th, 2011

Okay, so the dog beach is basically the greatest place on earth.


Happy Birthday to _ _ _.

May 17th, 2011


My wife indulged my obsession with puzzles by giving me a mini puzzle-hunt on my birthday.  Solving it told me to meet her at a bakery where I was given a cupcake, taken to lunch, and then given another puzzle!  As if the best birthday present ever wasn’t already enough.

I’m lucky.  Shama, you’re the best.