Recently in Personal Category
Next week, I fly out to Cupertino to start working at Apple as a full time employee. This is a big move for me, as I’ve been working for myself since 2001. But this is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that I cannot pass up. As is the case for a lot of people my age, I began my computing experience on an Apple ][ and have been a huge fan of Apple ever since (with a slight defection to Linux in the late 90s and early 00s). Apple-related technology (Mac OS X and iOS) has been my main source of income since around 2006, so in many ways, this is a dream come true. I’m very excited to work with a great team and for a great company.
My wife and I recently brought home two new additions to the Ross-Dribin family: Lily and Zach! All four of us are doing great, but everything since then has been a blur.
I broke my foot. And while I’d like to blame it on my cat, I can’t, in good faith, do that. He was involved just a little bit, though… Our cat is a playful cat, and he likes to be chased. One of our play routines is where I chase after him, running pretty much at full speed down the length of our condo. Then we turn around, and he chases me back. We do this, back and forth, for a good ten minutes or so. It’s fun for the cat and me, and it wears him out before we go to bed.
Every time I do this, I keep thinking, “One of these days I’m going to kill myself.” Running full speed in our condo is just downright dangerous. I always thought I’d slip on the hardwood floors and break my leg or crack my head open or something. Well, it finally came true. I didn’t fall and crack my head open, but I did break my foot. We had one of those big backpacking backpacks (which is full of hard plastic) laying around, and I slammed my foot into it. The result, a fracture of the fifth metatarsal on my left foot:
[ Editorial note from the cat: Seriously, I thought I was a goner as Dave came crashing down towards me. Thankfully, I’m fine. And Dave’s new boot amuses me. ]
Just over a week ago, on the afternoon of September 29th, I got married to my bride, Nancy Ross. The wedding ceremony was the happiest moment of my life, bar none. It still makes me cry to see photos of her walking down the aisle.
Everything worked out perfectly. The location, the photographer, the guitar player, the cupcakes, and even the weather. I don't have a single complaint with how it all went. Plus, Nancy and I were actually able to eat our dinner and have fun at the reception. I've often heard stories about the bride and groom not eating, or not being able to enjoy their reception. That was just not the case for us. We loved it.
We decided to take a minimoon afterwards, postponing the honeymoon until we can better fit it in to our work and personal lives. Since we got married in another state and were already staying at a bed and breakfast, we continued our stay at the B&B in Rocheport, MO for a few more days to decompress and walk the local trail. I'm so glad we did this, and I'd recommend it. We didn't have to worry about planning yet another thing, and we didn't have to get up early the next morning to to fly out somewhere. After getting home in the middle of last week, we decided to continue our minimoon and not start work again until yesterday. So it's back to reality, only now I get to share it with my wife, Nancy.
On Sunday, I finished my third Shamrock Shuffle 8k in three years. The 2004 Shuffle was my very first running race ever, and this year was as fun as ever. There's just something about seeing downtown streets saturated with 25,000 runners that is very exciting. And I may be getting older, but I'm still getting faster. My official time this year was 49:02, a pace of 9:51. Every year my pace seems to be getting faster by about 15 to 20 seconds, however my legs were extremely tired this year. They're still recovering two days later. This race marks the start of the running season, and the weather is finally doing its job to mark the start of spring. I can't wait to start running outside again.
My 10,000th birthday (in binary... that's 32 for you non-nerds) was last week, and it's really been a music and gluttony filled weekend to ring in the new year. Thursday night, I saw Kid Koala at the Abbey Pub. He is a fantastic turntablist which you just have see to believe. This is no ordinary DJ... even those that scratch and mix. He just takes it to a whole new level. For a brief insight to what he's capable of, check out this Real video clip from the BBC of him remixing Henry Mancini's Moon River, live. I don't think even that video does him justice, but it's a start for newbies.
Saturday morning, we went to Cereality (hooray for stupid Flash intros!), a cereal bar and cafe. Thanks to Chicagoist, I've been looking forward to this place for months. And after reading Metromix's review, we decided to check it out. I loved it! Granted it was more like dessert than breakfast, with the sugar cereals and whole milk. They do have non-sugared cereals and skim milk, but what's the fun in that! And I can get my sugar cereal fix without buying a whole box. I'm looking forward to some Alphabits next time.
Saturday afternoon and evening was spent at Lollapalooza. Granted this was no Lollapalooza of old where you could see new and budding bands. I got to see the Pixies, again, Billy Idol, Primus, and Weezer. Okay, so we opted for the single day, and I didn't know half the bands that played on Saturday, so maybe there were some hip bands and I am just getting old to know who they are, but it was still a great time! I'm so glad they decided to play in Grant Park, rather than the usual places, such as Tinley Park or Alpine Valley. It was great to step out my front door a few feet and stumble to the show.
And to top off the weekend, we went to the ethereal Margie's Candies. Best. Butterscotch. Banana. Split. Ever. There's not much more to say, really. I'm still in a food coma, so check out Chicagoist for more info.
Last week I made some homemade mayonnaise, which, if you don't know, contains egg yolk, vinegar, lemon juice, and oil all mixed together. It's actually quite tiring to make as you've got to whisk very fast in order to get the whole thing to mix together. You're basically making two things that don't want to stay together, oil and water, stay together. Luckily with some elbow grease and the egg yolk to act as an emulsifier (it contains lecithin, the magic emulsifying ingredient), the mixture will stay together indefinitely, unlike, say, a vinaigrette dressing.
The outcome was really great mayo. The only down side is that it makes about a cup, and only lasts about a week. So I had to figure out ways to use up all that mayo.... I choose egg salad and crab cakes. Next time, I think I'll make some french onion dip or potato salad. Unfortunately, the store bought stuff lasts forever (how do they do that?), so I probably won't be making my own very often.
And for those attentive enough, yes, this is made from raw egg yolk. And yes, you could get salmonella, even though the chances are extremely small. You can avoid the issue all together with pasteurized eggs, and that's what I do. Pasteurized eggs are great... you can eat raw or undercooked eggs without the fear of getting sick. This means cookie dough, sunny side up eggs, ice cream, meringue, and yes, mayo. I've been able to readily find pasteurized eggs at both the Dominick's and Jewel near me. They come in these yellow containers that you have to watch out for, or you might not see them.
I'm a big fan of the "you get what you pay for" mentality. So many times I've been cheap and the stuff turns out to be crap, that I almost always avoid inexpensive stuff if at all possible. In fact, I usually try and go to the middle to upper end of the spectrum for just about any significant (and often insignificant) purchase I make.... ear phones, paint, kitchen equipment, spices and computers just to name a few. Maybe that makes me snobby, but I don't buy the nicer stuff as a status symbol or to brag. It's just, well, better. This isn't an absolute attitude, though. I'm quite happy to drink an Old Style or PBR, for example.
Anyhow, the latest example to reinforce this philosophy was my desire for a bike storage rack. I first bought this Bikes Aloft 2 rack from Performance Bicycle for $70. When I got it home, it was uglier than I remembered seeing in person. This I could live with, if it functioned well. It turns out it was also a major pain in the ass to put together. Certain parts needed to be aligned before adding the bolts, so you really needed to be an octopus to hold all the pieces. Not surprisingly, this made it quite difficult to put together alone. After much frustration, I did get it together, but then it just felt flimsy. The whole structure just didn't seem stable... the two vertical tubes would twist and turn with very little force. So I took advantage of Performance's good return policy and gave it back. This time I ordered the Ultimate Velo Cache for $145. Yes, this is twice as expensive, but it was so worth it. This thing was a snap to put together, and it does not feel flimsy in the least. Very rock solid. Plus, it looks good to boot. Well worth the extra $75. Thus concludes my latest lesson in "you get what you pay for".
Since completing a metric century earlier this year, I have really done a lot of biking. In fact, I've put almost 1,200 miles on my bike this summer. In contrast, I've only put 2,500 miles on my car since January. The pinnacle, thus far, was finishing the 100 miles of the Apple Cider Century on Sunday. I did it with a friend who is a triathlete, and we finished in just over 6.5 hours, averaging over 15 miles per hour. Considering the hills and the wind, this is an awesome pace for me. My typical biking workout is a 17 mile stretch from museum campus down to 71st, along the lake shore bike path. I usually sustain a 17 to 18 mph average for those, and that's on a very flat path. If there is a next time, I'd like to train on some hills, but for now it's time to give my legs some much deserved rest. At least for a few days. Oh yeah, according to my favorite calorie calculator, I burned 4,800 calories!