Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Heckmas

xmas: "1. Death - White Lies
2. Ambling Alp - Yeasayer
3. Velvet - The Big Pink
4. Alligator - Tegan and Sara
5. Sleep Alone - Bat For Lashes
6. Young Hearts Spark Fire - Japandroids
7. Furr - Blitzen Trapper
8. Switched On - Islands
9. Animal - Miike Snow
10. All The King's Men - Wild Beasts
11. My Step - Little Dragon
12. Psychic City (Voodoo City) - YACHT
13. Welfare Bread - King Khan & The Shrines
14. Actor Out Of Work - St. Vincent
15. Auditorium featuring The Ruler - Mos Def
16. Introducing Palace Players - Mew
17. Fire - Kasabian
18. Dangerous Animals - Arctic Monkeys
19. Might Like You Better - Amanda Blank"

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fake Tilt Shift Photos

I have been working on some fake tilt shift photos. The goal is to get the images to look like models. Not quite there, but getting closer.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Three Days in the Pain Cave

I spent a couple of days acting like a fake pro cyclist. Three days of racing in a row was tough, on top of all the driving. The races in Cincy were great, with some tough courses and even tougher conditions.
Cincinnati Cyclocross Festival-Day 1

Cincinnati Cyclocross Festival-Day 2

Chicago Cross Cup #3

Photo Credits:

Monday, August 31, 2009

Palos Meltdown

Photos Courtesy of Rusty

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Photo: Velogrrl

Monday, July 13, 2009

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Feel the Heat

“Some like it hot and some sweat when the heat is on
Some feel the heat and decide that they cant go on
Some like it hot, but you cant tell how hot til you try
Some like it hot, so lets turn up the heat til we fry”

The above lyrics are from the song ‘Some Like it Hot” by the 80’s group, The Power Station. I’ve had this song in my head since this weekends WORS Subaru Cup mountain bike race, so much so the Kelly had been getting really annoyed with me singing it around the house. In my version I decided to add the following lyric to the chorus “Some like it hot, I do not”. Probably not long enough to be added to the chorus, but it is straight to the point on how I feel about racing the heat. I have never been one that performs well in the heat, and this race was no different. My race went off at 2:00 and the temps were in the mid to upper 80’s and high humidity. Before the event I tried to stay as hydrated as possible and out of the sun, while watching teammate Andrew Truemper suffer in the heat during the Expert race. By the look on his face I knew my race would be tough.

I was racing the Comp category and we were scheduled for 4 laps. The gun went off and I had an OK start, but was quickly feeling the conditions, and within a half mile I was doing my best imitation of Frank Schleck with my jersey completely unzipped to deal with the heat. As the first of four laps progressed I found myself making stupid mistakes, one that was really embaressing. Coming out of a wooded section I thought it was going to be a flat doubletrack trail for awhile. I reached for my bottle with my right hand, and started to drink and quickly realized there was a short downhill section, so I grabbed the front brake and completely lost control, almost flipping over the bars. I ran off the trail into the grass, almost going over the bars a couple more times as I let on and off the front brake. Under normal conditions I would probably have let go of the bottle to get two hands on the bar, however the heat had me doing really stupid things. After that near miss there was a tough secion of tight uphill switchbacks. With the crowd of riders on the first lap I ran the last couple of switchbacks and once out of the woods pulled off to the side of the trail and sat down. I was hurting and thought if I continued I was going to end up hurting myself. So I sat there for a couple of minutes and decided to finish up the lap. As I got near the start/finish I told myself to give it one more lap, considering I had drove 4 hours and spent money to race I owed it to myself to give it another shot.

Lap 2 went OK, and I decided to finish the race after a stop at the neutral water area where I drenched my head in cold water and filled up the water bottles. As I started lap 3 I came up with the goal of passing 5 riders in the next two laps. I was feeling much better, not sure why, and I slowly picked off a few struggling competitors. In the end I passed 11 guys and finished up hard to hold off a couple of them. So not a great race, but I was happy the way I finished, and really happy that I decided not to pull the plug after lap 1. The course the WORS crew had set up was awesome with lots of climbing, some tough rock gardens and tones of great singletrack. I can’t say enough about how well these events are organized. The WORS crew does an amazing job !!

Friday, June 19, 2009


I don't remember much of my high school french classes, but I do remember that "Je me sens comme le poulet ce soir" translates to " I feel like chicken tonight". I also remember that Avec means with in French. After years of failed attempts of making it to the restaurant Avec in Chicago Kelly and I finally made it there a month ago. In the past we had shown up at 6:30 or 7 and would be greeted with a two hour wait. Well we finally figured it out and after a trip to the Art Institute we arrived really early, 3:30 in the afternoon early, and had no problem getting a seat. As you can see by the photo the restaurant is small and because of the size and communal seating they don't take reservations. So our first visit was amazing, probably one of the best dining experiences for the both of us. Everything we had was top notch and wanted to go back to see if we got lucky picking out dishes or if everything was just as good.

Last night for our anniversary we decided to venture back to Avec. This time we showed up around 5:00 and had no problem getting a seat. According to our waiter it seems 6:00 is the cutoff for having no problem getting a table. This trip we were not disappointed. We had a special made up of pork liver sausage pickled onions and horseradish sauce, a flank steak rolled up stuffed with sausage and egg, a boudin sausage made with braised pork and rice served with fava beans, and a focaccia made with taleggio cheese and truffle oil. We did go whole hog for pork with our meal, however everything was amazing. The best part about Avec is that the price seems reasonable for the quality of food and the serving sizes. If you can get over having to go early or having a wait the place is well worth it. After two visits I can say this may be my favorite restaurant in Chicago, or anywhere for that matter.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

My Yearly Reminder

Each year I do the same thing, I race one or two crits, and each year I tell myself I am done with crit racing. I think it comes down to me feeling that when racing mtb. or cross and I do something stupid causing myself to crash I have no one to blame but me, but if another racing does a risky move in a crit and takes me out it really makes me feel like it is not worth the chance of getting hurt. As like past years I was hearing from teammates about all the tough racing and good results they were having this spring and I get psyched up to race around in circles for 45 minutes. Well this year I made it all the way to mid June before giving in. My team was hosting our annual criterium at Sherman Park in Chicago, so I decided to suit up for some Nascar style fun, as well as many hours of volunteering. The weather was looking iffy and up to the start of my race things were dry, unfortunately on the warm up lap the rain started, and by the time the gun went off it was a constant downpour. Luckily Sherman Park is a one mile oval (ie not technical) and the rain really only meant asphalt in the teeth and a dirty bike and uniform to clean. So the race progressed and attacks went and came. I covered some breaks and put in a couple of attacks that lasted about a half lap each, one with 3 or 4 laps to go that might have gone somewhere, but I missed calling out to my teammate that I was bridging and ended up dropping him. By the time he was back on and we got organized we both were hurting and the attempt fizzled. At that point there we 2 laps to go, and I settled back in the pack. I really wasn't planning to contest the sprint so with lap and a half to go I dropped off the pace and my race was done. Not exactly an exciting race report, but what happened next reconfirmed my thoughts on crits. Fifty yards ahead of me I see a couple of guys go down on the left and then the carnage went across the field like a tidal wave. I rolled up to the accident and there were people screaming, riders laying in the street, and bikes tangled together. In the end there was plenty of roadrash, a broken collarbone and several busted up bikes. Pure carnage.

This guys Cannondale ended up in three pieces. His wife rushed over and crying and after she realized that he was more or less OK, she handed me his business card, half joking saying that if I buy a painting he could afford a new bike. The paintings really are pretty cool, so take a look, and help him buy a new bike.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

clown torture, 1987

This is an installation in the new Modern Wing of the Art Institute. Not sure if I consider this art, but it is definitely creepy.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Be an Olympic Guinea Pig

The promoters of the Tour of Americas Dairyland just announced that on June 18th a new road race has been added to the week long event. The race is will use the proposed course for the 2016 Olympics if Chicago gets the bid. The course is not in Illinois but near Madison on some really hilly roads. I am personally glad to see this event moved to a location that would challenge the racers, and this defiitely fits the bill. The race has all categories and should be super tough.

Monday, May 18, 2009

From Bad to Better

Sunday was the first stop of the Wisconsin Off-road Series (WORS) held in Iola, WI. I have always wanted to make it to Iola for this race, but since it is a bit of a haul to get up there I have always found a reason to stay home. This year, however, with a couple of teammates racing and a place to stay the night before it was time put the excuses away and hit some early season dirt.
The other great thing about making the trip was getting to see friends that don't get a chance to see during the winter months. We were like bears coming out of hibernation, greeting the other bears and woodland creatures.

After arriving at the course, we had enough time to check out the trails before the sport race went off, and found near perfect conditions with nice grippy singletrack, tough climbs, and some fast downhills. The first half of the course consisted of tough steep climbs and fire roads while the second half was flowing singletrack and some technical downhills.

All warmed up it was now time to sit at the startline for 15 minutes before the comp race went off. Then 10 seconds and the WORS countdown to "GOOOOoooo!!!" and we are off. Up the starting climb people were battling for position, dust in the face and elbows to the gut. The race started with a couple of up/down sections into a fast downhill past the start/finish area, and into the ski jump bowl where most of the crowd had gathered to cheer. Past the fans and into the woods. At this poin I made an effort to get by as many riders before the tight singletrack in the second half of the lap. I have to say this was a shock to the system, and most of the first lap really hurt, but at some point I recovered and settled into my race pace. Unfortunately I didn't feel like I was going going that great, and while I was passing riders from the earlier waves, I was also getting caught by the leaders of the later waves. I would try and hold their wheels, but after a half mile or so they would open up a gap and that would be the last time I would see them. This would be the pattern for the rest of the race as I rolled into the finish after 20 hard miles with a really sore back.

The first race was done, and I was cooked. I really had no clue how I did, and upon seeing the results I found myself really disappointed. I was way down in the Comp class, and fourteen minutes behind the leader, however with my first race issues, the WORS crew was also working out the kinks. The results were revised and I was moved up to 8th in my age group and top half of the overall rankings. Looking back I was pretty happy considering this year I am making the jump for Sport to Comp. I know there is a ton of room for improvement and I will be looking to get some great results as the racing continues. I can't wait!!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

A Fun 48 hours

This past weekend Kellly and I headed down to Louisville with a couple of our friends. The reason for the trip was to attend the "Greatest two minutes in Sports", the Kentucky Derby. While we were in Louisville I think we tried to pack as many activities and fun into the trip as possible.

-Hiked at Iroquois Park
-Visited Grandparents
-Ate at Wild Eggs
-Visited a Goat Cheese Farm called Capriole.
-Searched for hours for parkas for the anticipated rain at the Derby. Of course Derby day was dry.
-Had dinner at a great pizza and beer spot, the New Albanian Brewing Company, and met some -locals at the bar in the comunist themed room
-Spent all day at Churchill Downs betting on the ponies and looking for stars (didn't see any). Cashed a few tickets and had an awesome time hanging with my cousins.
-Visited some local watering holes after the Derby.
-Saw a car rolling on what appeared to be 30+" rims
-Had a late night burrito
-Visited other grandmother
-Chased Bernie around the neighborhood after he got loose.
-Drove home
Goat Cheese in the Making
Hanging with the locals
At the Derby
Winning horse"Mine the Bird" crossing the finish line
30" rims?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009


Just finished watching this documentary about Portland, OR on WTTW. As an urban planner, Portland is always pointed at as the model city, however things are not perfect. Great to see the good and the bad get airtime in this documentary. Even with the bad, watching it really made me want to pack up the house and move out there ASAP.

Friday, April 10, 2009

I'll be back

but for now this video of Bernie form a couple of years ago can keep you entertained

Friday, February 13, 2009

This ain't Chicago

Monday, January 26, 2009

Thank You Universal Sports

The Universal Sports network, home of what most consider fringe sports (Downhill skiing, XC Skiing, running) all of which I love, actually aired the Crossvegas race on Sunday evening. The station also mentioned in a commercial that they will be airing the World Cyclocross Championships. So if you get a chance drop them a thank you email so we can hopefully get more of cross racing on the television in the future.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

La Bocca della Verità (The Mouth of Truth)

This is pretty fun. Someone created a group on Flickr for people that had their picture take at the Mouth of Truth in Rome. It took Kelly and I a couple of days of searching, but we finally found it.

Belgian Frites!!

Kelly spent all afternoon cutting potatoes into 1 cm x 1 cm sticks for these Belgian Frites, and it took us about 3 minutes to eat them all!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

French Bread

Made some french bread this week. I used this recipe Still need to tweak the taste a bit, but they came out nice a crunchy. Still not as holey as you find in a bakery, but from what I read this is more due to limitations of baking in a residential kitchen than me following directions. At least that is what I am telling myself.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Snow Running

Went out for a run today in the snow. Not as nimble as this snow leapord, but trying to act like one. I think if I had the big tail like it does I might have a shot. My route took me through Riverside and with all the snow on the ground and the trees it made for a really beautuful backdrop. Running through some of the deep snow really is a full body workout, as you are always correcting to stay upright. I really enjoy the snow when I am using it for recreational pursuits, but trying to get anywhere becomes a big hassle.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Long time, no post

I can't believe it has been a month since my last post. With the Holiday season it feels like yesterday that I was writing thawing out from Montrose writing my race report. So this is what I have been doing since then, in no particular order:

  • Thankfully had an uneventful drive down to Louisville for Christmas (no snow or deer)
  • Spent Christmas with my family in Louisville and learned I am not very good at Texas Hold em
  • Kelly and I had our annual Holiday Thursday in the City and ate at Frontera Grill. May is that place good.
  • Went to a couple of Christmas Parties with the in laws and Kelly's family
  • Went to the Map Room a couple of times. Their beer menu is amazing!!
  • Added peanut butter and cranberries to my banana bread recipe which I think are nice additions to the recipe
  • Had a really fun New Years Eve, actually too much fun and was regretting it the next day
  • I have been running 3-4 times a week, and signed up to run the Shamrock Shuffle in March
  • Signed up to take the AICP exam to become a certified urban planner. Fortunately or Unfortunately depending on how you look at it I have the time to devote to studying for the exam right now.
  • Made a bread with Semolina Flour
  • Pickled Jalapenos (super hot) and Sweet and Spicy Pickles, and do have to say they are really good
  • Tried to make fudge twice but couldn't get it to firm up correctly. I guess I just don't have my dad's touch for making fudge.
  • And I also still have this going through me head. I think I may tape a copy of this photo to my handlebars to keep me motivated for next year. It is perfect that Nevada Dave can be seen in the foreground.

Photo by: Venicen

Even with my unemployment Kelly and I had a great 2008; spending a lot of time with family and friends, meeting some great new friends, visiting some really cool places, seeing some really great concerts, and I hope that 2009 brings more of the same, and of course a job for me :)