March 31, 2003
X Marks The Spot

This is probably not in the national news scope, but it's definitely big news here in Chicago - City Shuts Down Meigs Field.

Mayor Daley had wanted to shut down Meigs field for some time, mainly citing security concerns of having small aircraft flying within a quarter-mile of the high-rise buildings of downtown. Well, without any notice to the public or the FAA, he instituted some gestapo-like tactics and had demolition crews roll through the loop late last night and tear up parts of the runway by making large 'X's and leaving it mangled and useless. As of now, 12 private planes are stranded on the taxiway, parked and unable to move.

Honestly, I believe that the 'Security Concerns' that are being pointed out are unfounded. The largest plane I've ever seen flying in or out of Meigs (and I have a pretty good view of that airport from 23 floors up) is a two-engine Piper that would't hold more than 8 people. Planes, primarily owned by the public or businesses in the loop, had to be pre-registered to fly in-and-out of the airport, and last year it handled over 32,000 take-offs and landings without any security scares. Heck, even emergency and medical aircraft use that landing strip now and again. I'd hate to see how long it would take to get a heart transplant from O'Hare to Northwestern Medical Center in the loop on a Friday afternoon!

But now the damage has been done, and it looks as if any attempts to sue the city over this may not have enough strength to hold up a case in court. It's the city's property, the lease on the land with the park district had ended, and the city is willing to pay for moving the planes that are stuck on the taxi-way. People are really pissed that no notice was given to the public and that the local news agencies had to break this story before the city was ready to respond.

I'm pissed that I won't be able to see the planes land anymore. That simple act was actually quite graceful.

Posted by Austin at 01:45 PM
Wasting Away in My Cubicle

Another "Weekend in Michigan" (R) completed, and more wedding stuff done and done. I picked up my wedding band on Friday, and it looks great! We also took care of finding the rehersal dinner restaurant... after a 15-minute lecture from Bonnie about how we need to do a tasting to make sure they do things like "cook the vegitables correctly."

I was planning on going down to Texas this week for work, but the factory decided to push our build date into next week, so I've got a whole lotta nuttin' on tap. Knowing me I'll kill time surfing online and probably take care of a few wedding-related things (when the heck am I NOT doing something wedding related).

As a side note, I bought spiffy new stationary last week. Now I just need to find something to write about...

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to start counting the holes in the ceiling tiles. 1... 2... 3... 4...

Posted by Austin at 10:00 AM
March 27, 2003
Are YOU Dumber Than a Monkey?

Take this scenario:

You work at a newspaper and get a request for a correction stating that you've switched the pictures for a wedding announcement and an engagement announcement.

Do you...

A) Switch the pictures and republish the exact same text, as requested, and republish.

B) Send a Monkey-gram to the affected parties, appologizing for the mix-up.

C) Completely fuck it up by switching the TEXT instead of the photos, but leaving the names right where they are.

Even the monkey from B could have picked the correct answer... too bad a fricking editor can't figure it out!

Posted by Austin at 12:06 PM
March 26, 2003
Clock Management

I just thought this was kinda funny and coincidental, and might make for good blogging.

I've been trying to get back into the running thing to stay in shape (and possibly think about training for the Chicago Marathon). So I decided to try running two miles out on the Lake Shore Path this morning. Running on the path is nice 'cause they have markers set up every half-mile to help pace yourself. I try to run a consistent speed, but I think I was a little too consistent.

1st Half-Mile Time = 4:37.88
2nd Half-Mile Time = 4:31.12
3rd Half-Mile Time = 4:37.74
4th Half-Mile Time = 4:31.51

Ya think I can run a constant 9-minute mile?

Posted by Austin at 09:13 AM
March 25, 2003
Globetrotters Anonymous

Sorry it's been a while since my last post. Orshi (my friend from high school and one of the bridesmaids for the wedding) actually few out here to Chicago to visit me and see the sights. We've had a lot of fun, and she's been able to do a lot of walking and museum stuff while I've been stuck at work during the day. She actually leaves tonight, but she's been here since Saturday... and it's been a blast!

Work is going okay, and I'm planning on heading down to Texas next week for a prototype build. The only issue is that we might not have a critical part available. I'll know by tomorrow whether or not I'll be making travel arrangements or postponing the build until we have the parts. I'm hoping I'll be traveling next week, but we'll see...

Not much excitement, really. I'll post again if I can think of anything good. Until then, TTFN!

Posted by Austin at 11:17 AM
March 21, 2003
Let's Roll!

Either this man is crazy, or he really likes to hold on to childhood memories.

Other than that, he has a really cool name!

Posted by Austin at 11:49 AM
Run Amok

Yesterday was an interesting day. I was in training for most of the day, bored off my ass. I swear I almost fell asleep no less than 5 times. I was able to come home early, though, and go running outside for the first time in 4 months. The last time I tried running I went 2.5 miles in one direction, tweaked my knee, and walked 2.5 miles back in 40-degree temps. FUN!

Last night, though, was down-right crazy... and I had a great view from 23-floors up. Apparently there was an anti-war rally downtown at 5pm last evening, to which about 3,500 people showed up. When they were done with that and ready to move, they made their way conspicuously onto Lake Shore Drive and managed to grow in size to as many as 10,000! This effectively shut down LSD and pinned many drivers in a virtual parking lot for 2+ hours.

Today there are two more rallies planned - one at 8am (who the hell shows up to a rally at 8am?!) and one at 5pm. This will mean only one thing - Traffic is going to suck all day and well into the evening rush-hour.

Methinks I'll be spending a little extra time in the suburbs tonight...

Posted by Austin at 09:18 AM
March 19, 2003
Coincidence and Conundrum

So my Mom called me tonight to let me know our engagement announcement made into the local paper in my home town back in California. A few things to notice:

- Our engagement announcement and the wedding announcement for my sister and her husband are published in the same paper. All together now - "Awww..."

- They got my major wrong, and I checked the letter I wrote to know that it wasn't my fault. I'm listed as a Mechanical Engineer, when most people know that I studied Electrical, instead.

- You can't see it in the online verson, but in the print version it's clear as day. Apparently both my sister and I submitted photos - they in their wedding garb (dress, veil and a tux for the guy), and us in nice semi-formal clothing (sweaters, basically). The photos are switched... even though it's pretty obvious one is a wedding photo and the other of the engagement variety!

So either I'm marrying my sister, or I'm from Kentucky. Either way you look at it, though, my Mom has the most reason to be pissed - She's going to have friends and neighbors commenting on this for the next two months... at least!

I'll see what I can do about getting a copy of the page scanned and posted, but it may take a while. Mommy has to send it to me first. ;-)

Posted by Austin at 09:31 PM

Not a whole lot to blog about recently... well, other than Dubya trying to finish what his daddy started, but that's a topic for some other blog. I'm going to say this now - I'm going to stay away from blogging about anything related to the war. No comments, no thoughts, no web links (unless they're funny flash animations or other crap as such)... nu'in.

My cold is still trying to hold on, but I think I'm finally winning. I'm still coughing and sniffling, but the cough has been getting dryer and the congestion less congesting. I'm hoping by the weekend that I'll be back to normal.

Speaking of this weekend, by "best friend from High School who I still keep in regular touch with" Orshi will be flying out here to Chicago for part of her Spring Break! She'll be here Saturday and will fly out Tuesday evening. It will be a little tricky trying to figure out ways to entertain her and spend time with her on the weekdays (last time I checked Motorola didn't have a Spring Break planned), but I'm sure I'll figure out something.

Speaking of work...

... Those of you in the know will be happy to know that I had the chance to talk to my manager about the whole Flex-Time thing. A possible compromise is in the works, but anything we come up with will be a compromise on top of a compromise. I'm trying not to put my work above my life, but this is a work-life balancing act that isn't easy to pull off and I'm certain that any solution is going to piss off everyone.

The thing I hate, though, is that the position I'm in is exactly what I was put through when I was a kid trying to grow up between two families (Notice I didn't say "with two families"). I've always tried to make both sides happy, and that's the way I've always worked since then... The Mediator, if you will. I want to make a decision that everyone will be happy with, but most of the time I end up being miserable in the end.

Sorry about the long and bitchy post. We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming.

Posted by Austin at 09:36 AM
March 16, 2003
Everything's Green

So another 3-day weekend in the books. At first I thought it was moving pretty slowly (which is a good thing) since we had Thursday night together, but somehow Sunday decided to sneak in on us today. Janine's about an hour out... probably in Indiana somewhere...

Contrary to our usual routine, we were actually able to do wedding stuff while in Chicago. We got started on getting the music ready for the CD favors (Shawn - I'll send you the pure .wav files on a CD in a few weeks), and we even bought a few CDs online (We figured if anyone asked we could tell 'em the truth and not feel too guilty). The other thing we got through was a rough schedule for the whole weekend, which I'm sure will make some of my family members very happy. Could you believe they were already asking what time the rehersal dinner was? Sheesh.

Oh, and as for the title of this post, it's there because it's St. Patrick's Day Weekend here in Chicago, and everyone knows what that means - Green Beer, people wearing green everything, and the Green Chicago River. They dyed it green on Saturday morning, and it's still greener than a cucumber. I'm thinkin' this city's gonna be green through next weekend, but who knows.

Posted by Austin at 04:32 PM
March 13, 2003
Friendly Schmendly!

So I'm sure most of you have already seen Janine's Post about the company jet being grounded under calm blue skies. There was a little bit of fog in the Chicago-land area, but nothing to keep a plane from being grounded.

We decided to just cancel the one-way ticket and get a whopping $20 refund. Janine is currently speeding through either Michigan or Indiana (at this point in time I'd guess Indiana) on her way to my place, so we'll get to have our extended weekend after all. There was a microsecond or two when I was wondering if we'd get a weekend at all, but that was real early in the morning and my brain hasn't kicked in yet.

I do feel bad about Janine having to drive all this way. This trip is an easy way to put 500+ miles on a leased car in 4 days, which is only compounded by the fact that the car is already above-average on miles. I know we'll deal with it when the time comes, but I feel bad that I'm not helping by living so fart away.

Posted by Austin at 03:20 PM
March 12, 2003
Gimme Drugs!

In my sickly haze, I forgot how good NyQuil is. I managed to stagger to the drugstore last night and picked up the every-so-popular combination of NyQuil and DayQuil. One icky cup of green nastiness and forty-five minutes later I was in dreamland... and I slept deeper than Rip Van Winkel for the first time in 4 days. I can't believe I didn't think of drugging myself earlier!

I'm currently hopped up on DayQuil and it's definitely helping. The past two workdays have had me feeling progressively worse throughout the day, but it's already lunchtime and I'm not nearly as crappy-feeling. Wahoo!!

I don't think I'll be un-sick by tomorrow, but here's hoping!

Posted by Austin at 11:22 AM
March 10, 2003
It Broke the Camel's Back

So my Mom's Easter Care Package arrived in the mail today... and it weights a frickin' ton! I'm not kidding - $11.50 for postage.

The contents:

- 2 Boxes of Thin Mints
- 2 Boxes of Carmel deLights
- 1 Box of Animal Crackers
- 18 Cadbury Creme Eggs
- 1 pack of Marshmellow Peep chicks

I now have enough sugar to last me through next Thursday.

Posted by Austin at 05:49 PM
March 09, 2003

Have you ever had one of those days where your head feels pinched by a vice, your nose is more plugged than Randall's toilet, the back of your throat feels like 5-grit sandpaper, and you're luck if you were asleep for more than 2 hours straight the night before?

Day number two is underway for me. I have to admit, I don't get sick very often. When I do actually catch something, half the time I don't even realize it. I usually just think I've got a headache and a stuffy nose and that the two are not related in any way. Today, however, I got a fairly good wake-up call when I had my second bad night of sleep in a row... not to mention that I got tunnel vision after standing up from the couch... the couch!

My plan for today - sit, try to nap this afternoon, nurse some chicken soup, and drink my body weight in water. At least I was productive yesterday, 'cause today is gona be a whole lotta nu'in.

Posted by Austin at 11:35 AM
Found it!

So I finally managed to find a copy of the REAL version of Brown Eyed Girl just now...

I told you they come out on Saturday nights! ;-)

Posted by Austin at 12:48 AM
March 07, 2003
War-time Work

I'm amazed at the variety of professions that benefit from a war... and the publications that print this type of news.

Must be a slow news day...

Posted by Austin at 05:15 PM
March 05, 2003
What are they doing back there?

Does noone have the unbutchered version of Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison?! Everyone knows damn well what those two were doing behind the stadium, and it sure wasn't "running and a laughing, hey hey."

In other news, this Wedding CD is going to be one tricky playlist to organize. I'm good at organizing compilation CDs for mood, but this one's gonna have me running in circles for a while...

Posted by Austin at 10:00 PM
Another Checklist Bites The Dust

Today's been productive... and I'm not talking about work. Two BIG things are getting checked off our to-do list:
- The Cake
- The Ceremony Musicians

We decided to go with Cake Decorator #2 from our weekend romp. She had her stuff together, it was yummy, and we know we'll be happy with whatever she does.

Cake Decorator: I decided it might look best if we make it look like a cow pie.
Us: Aww... It's bea-u-tiful!

As far as music goes, we're going to use a Brass Quintet. I believe the set up is two trumpets, a french horn, trombone, and a tuba. It won't sound as hoity-toity as a string ensemble, and brass fanfares really suck on string instruments... IMHO. The music contract is on it's way to me via smail mail as I type.

Now I just need to do something work related to balance out my day... or not. :-)

Posted by Austin at 02:29 PM
March 03, 2003
Beware the link!

There is a slew of words I can use to describe the Happy Tree Friends. Such words would be sick, demented, grotesque, and down-right disgusting.

To give you an idea of what you're about to click on (because I know you want to), think of South Park - specifically Kenny's many death sequences. Now combine that with the TeleTubbies, throw in a cup of Itchy & Scratchy and put it into a blender. Garnish with a cow's heart from high school biology. There ya go.


Posted by Austin at 06:16 PM
Let Them Have Cake

So another weekend in Michigan hath passed, which means another weekend of driving 'til your ass is glued to the seat is over and done with. This time our Wedding Planning Adventures took us deep into the depths of the baking world as we tried to find a suitable wedding cake. Deonna was dragged recruited to help in our search, which took us all the way to Lake Huron... for fricking baked goods!!

In the end our search was laborous yet fruitful. Out of 3 stops we found only one that was even worth our time. One of the "No Way" bakeries included a guy who A) couldn't shut up to save his life, and B) Showed us magazine pictures instead of his own cake designs. The last stop involved pictures of cakes that were at least two decades old... cake that was cheaper than dirt, but overall looking as though they had been beated with an ugly stick.

The middle one -- the textbook husband/wife team working from their own home -- was fantastic to say the least. While a little more expensive than what we were looking for, the added security of knowing we won't have to worry about anything was a BIG bonus. The search is still on-going, but we may have found our cake. :-P

Next week's story possibilities -- Will it be strings, brass or an accordion for the ceremony? Will the couple have to rent a private jet to fly from appointment to appointment? Will Batman and Robin escape from the evil clutches of The Penguin?

Posted by Austin at 07:33 AM