Sunday, July 6, 2008

Cubs part two

Been a while since I posted. It's not that I'm just so crazy busy with my new life that I haven't had time...I have. I'm still just getting used to blogging.

My friends Cheryl and Ryan came in town Wednesday night. They try and make it to Chicago for a few days each summer to take in a few games. Lucky for me, they had an extra ticket to the day game Thursday so I decide to play hooky. Actually they had a total of four tickets and were also inviting their friend Eileen who moved up here last year from the south. At the last minute, Eileen finds out she is getting some great seats from her company. Ryan sells his tickets to a scalper and we're now at her mercy. We meet her in Wrigleyville at a bar called Goose Island which is a local brewery with some really good beer. Anyway, her seats are better than great...they're the best in the house. Eileen works for an advertising company which does business with the Chicago Tribune (they own the Cubs). We had the Tribune seats - First row behind the Cubs dugout. I've been to two games now in Wrigley Field and I've stood for almost the whole game behind center field and I've had the owner seats. If you had watched you probably would have seen me every time the Cubs ran back into the dugout after an inning.

The next night I came home from work and took the train back in to meet them. We went to a bar in Southport called Southport lanes and billiards. Ryan and I get along great because, aside from the same taste in women, we also both love Crown Royal. I haven't had liquor of any kind since I've been here. This bar is awesome, and it's not just the CR. They also have a good beer selection and decent prices. In the back they have some really nice pool tables. In another part of the bar they have four bowling lanes. These are old school lanes. They are no computers and the pins are reset by a couple of guys who work back there, not machines. According to Eileen and the waitress, you're supposed to roll up money and stuff it into one of the holes every few frames as a tip. When you do it, these guys are very generous with your pins. It's kind of cool but you actually feel bad because you have no idea what your real score is anymore.

They left on Satuday but it was great to see them. So now I've basically been in town for three weekends (I'm not counting the 1st one since I flew in on Saturday afternoon) and I've hung out with Atlanta friends for two of them. This is great but it probably won't hold.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Catching up

I meant to update this daily and I've just been slack about it. Last Wednesday I went to my first Cubs game. My roommate Ryan had and extra seat. Nice bonus...they were playing the Braves. Chicago folks will hate me for saying this, but Wrigley Field just isn't that great. I appreciate the history and all but it's probably time for a new place. The scoreboard and the ivy are all that's worth keeping. We went to a few bars around Wrigleyville after the game which was cool. It was also my 1st time riding the El.

Thursday my department went to happy hour at a place called The Yardhouse. I'd actually been there before during one of my other visits. During happy hour appetizers are 50% off and they have a great beer selection.

Over the weekend my friend Elizabeth came in town. Her cousin Anna lives here. Anna wrote a play and it was the final weekend of performance. Friday we met for dinner near Anna's in Wicker Park and then went to the Sear's Tower. Pretty cool seeing the city lit up at night from that vantage point. Saturday we saw the matinee show. Heavy subject matter but a great play. That night I crashed at Anna's place b/c I couldn't find my car! This is what frustrates me about parking on the street. Despite all the houses being old, they still look the same. They may not be cookie-cutter John Weiland, but they still look the same.

During this past week, not much went on. Today I got my car fixed. During transit, a piece of plastic fell off near the front bumper. It's covered by the shipping company. Something else was broken that I got a price on. It's a little piece of plastic that plugs into the headlight...$750 to get it fixed! Eventually I'll really have to get it fixed but, yeah...I'm gonna shop around.

My roommate Ryan has been gone all week but his sister Emily showed up Friday night. Emily is pretty hot but unfortunately very married. Se la vi. She had some friends over last night and we just hung around the house. She has friend staying with her that got a tatoo today. These girls are early thirties. I thought people at that age were past the age where tatoos seem like a good idea. Guess not.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


I went to my 1st Cubs game Wednesday night. My roommate had a pair of tickets and he offeredme one. This automatically gives him cool points. Extra bonus because the Braves are in town. So, because of work, we didn't get there until the game had already started but it was only the 1st inning. In Atlanta, this would be no big deal because the stadium seats over 50,000 and all seats have numbers on them. Not so in the great and all powerful Wrigley Field. Wrigley only seats about 30,000. For those of you not mathmatically inclined, that's 40% fewer seats than Turner Field. Our tickets were for the bleachers which are not numbered. Due to our tardiness, we couldn't find two seats together...not even TWO! We stood up until the 7th or 8th inning. I didn't mind because my only payment was buying Ryan a hot dog and beer...which are reasonably priced. After the game we went to a bar called Cubby Bear. It's very big inside and has an area for live music. Normally it seems like a place I would enjoy but on this night it was a sausage fest. We went to some other bar after that for a beer and then headed home. Overall it was a good night but I have to say I'm not as impressed with Wrigley as I thought I'd be. The overall area is much cooler than the stadium itself.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


2nd day at work. Today I left at 6:40 and it still took me over an hour to get there. At least I was on time I guess. Exhausted, but on time. Luckily there are two Starbucks in the office. That's right...two. If you know what the campus layout is, you'll understand. Walking from end to end, Home Office is half a mile long and consists 9 buildings. That's just on one side of the street. We also have a bunch of soccer fields, softball fields and volleyball courts.

I got a nice suprise after lunch. My car showed up! They told me it would be between 1 and 12 days. I'm pretty sure that even the cable guy gives you a more narrow range than that. Anyway, it means I only had to pay 4 days of the rental car. The bad news? I spent over $70 filling up the tank! Gas is expensive everywhere, but it's even a little more expensive than Atlanta.

Head exploding

So Monday was my 1st day at the new office. Of course I wanted to make a good impression, which in my eyes means showing up late. I had great intentions but I forgot my laptop. I was only 10-15 minutes late...but still. I got my cool little photo ID badge so now I can get into the building. I sat in on two phone conferences with a director and VP of Treasury. That's when it happened. It started with a little pressure near the temples and then on the forehead. Then, my eyes felt like they were getting bigger like but eyes and BAM! my head is all over the wall. I understood all of five words in the phone calls. We're interviewing Investment Banks to help us out with something complicated. Needless to say, I've got a lot to learn. Actually I think it'll be pretty cool.

Random comment - I thought I walked into the bathroom at the office and it turns out I wound up at Niagra Falls. That's right. I was on the toilet and they have one of the automatic flushers equipped with a sensor. As soon as I stood up I heard the thunderous sound of millions of gallons falling hundreds of feet onto the rocks below. Swear - I've never heard a toilet like that before in my life.

My roommate came in town tonight. His flight was delayed so we didn't get to hang out that much but he seems pretty cool. Unfortunately I've got to park on the street now that he's back but I'll manage. I think we're going to the Braves/Cubs game Wednesday which should be pretty cool.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Day 2

I woke up this morning and went for a run. There's a high school stadium across the street so that will be nice for running stairs. Plus, it'll be a great way for PD to pick up chicks when he visits. Actually when I went there today, there were some maintanence folks there and they said it's normally locked, including today. There are some other parks in the area including one with a track. It's actually a pretty nice community, there's just not much night-life here.

I decided to walk into town again and "The El" stops a few blocks from my place. I got a map and I'll explore that soon. Thirst, I found a nice little coffee shop called Starbucks. They have outdoor seating so I hung out there for a while. Keep your eyes open for Starbucks. They're out of Seattle and I see good things in their future.

It started raining again after I got home so I've been inside again. At some point I've got to go back out b/c I don't have any furniture here. Last night I slept on a futon. I hung up some clothes but I have to get something to put boxers, socks and t-shirts in. Plus I need a dirty clothes hamper.

Day 1

So the big day finally happened. I got up at the crack of dawn to make my 8:10 AM flight. My Dad is freakin' awesome. He drove down from Dawsonville to pick me up at my place at 6:00 AM and take me to the airport. It's amazing how much stuff you can pack into two bags. My idea was to have two large bags checked and bring my work laptop as a carry-on. One bag weighted about 60 lbs and the other weighted 45. Travel tip - If a bag weights over 50 lbs, they (Delta) charge you something like $80. Ridiculous. I had my personal laptop in the heavy bag so I took that and my alarm clock out to just make it under 50 lbs. However, you still have to pay $25 for a 2nd checked bag.

Other than leaving a little late, the trip was pretty uneventful. It's a pain in the ass carrying two laptops on your shoulders and dragging around two 50 lb bags. I was actually sweating when I got to Enterprise. I think the guy there felt sorry for me and gave me a water.

I found my place in Oak Park without much trouble and got there a little after 11 CST. Oak Park is a suburb of Chicago, about 8 miles west of the city. I have a roommate that I've never met. He's out of town this weekend so I won't actually meet him until Monday night. He's trying to sell his place here. Property values here are higher than Atlanta...A LOT higher. He has a townhouse with 3 bedroom, 2.5 baths. One parking spot is outside (no garage). Asking price is $430k. My place in Smyrna is 2/2 and in a suburb of Atlanta. I have a garage and a pool. My place will sell for about 40% of what he's asking. Amazing.

I was pretty hungry by this point so I walked from the house to the town of Oak Park. There's a lot of stuff withing walking distance. I found a quaint little Mexican place called Chipotle to have my 1st meal. Give me a break. I'm going to be here for quite some time so I can afford to eat chain food. Besides, Chipotle is freakin' awesome. There was no sweet tea. I expected that but it's a strange sight to see when there's only 1 pot of tea at the drink station.

Next I went to meet a real estate agent. I kind of forgot about this and looking back it was kind of stupid to schedule this immediately upon arrival. It took me a while to find his office but I saw Lake Michigan for the 1st time. It's just like driving along the ocean. I've never actually drove along the ocean...but I can imagine. There are boats and beach volleyball courts everywhere. The office is in a neighborhood called Linkin Park (yes, the band is from Chicago). I can't really afford anything in this area. I could buy a place with 500 sq which includes parking. There are other places that are bigger but parking spots cost ~$30k. That's not a typo...parking here is expensive. I got to see Wrigley Field for the 1st time, including all the bars around the area. My agent actually suggested I rent in the area for a while to decide what area would fit me best. I think he just knows I'm poor. Housing will be an ongoing topic here I think.

I got "home" and it starting raining so I didn't really do anything else. I went out for dinner and went to Whole Foods to pick up a few things. Whole Foods may have high quality stuff but they're expensive. I miss Publix. That's pretty much the end of Day 1. I watched some movies On-Demand. My roommate actually pays for cable, so he has a great picture and gets just about everything. Sweet.