Monday, October 30, 2006

relaxing weekend...

I had a nice relaxing weekend for a change filled with good food and lots of just laying around and trying to shake the cold I caught at the marathon. I need to have weekends like this more often! Although I am totally itching to get running again...maybe sometime this week.

I spent a lot of saturday in the car driving in nasty city traffic (the reason for this will be clear soon...) but 101.9 had an all 90's weekend, so that totally made the hours fly by!! They should do that all the time...that's the best music ever!!


Thursday, October 26, 2006

career fair of a different sort...

It's been a busy week! With the marathon and everything, I never posted about this event that I went to last week down at the Museum of Science and Industry. It was a career fair for high school students to inspire them to go into careers in Science and Technology. All in all it was an interesting night. I got to sit at a table right by the coal mine and talk to a ton of middle and high school students from all over the city about what I do and how awesome it is. Unfortunately most of these kids were not on a college track. When I said I was an engineer for Motorola they asked if I did tech support or if I worked in the factory. They were excited when they asked these questions. When I said no, that I actually get to dream up how the phones will work and write the software to make them do that, they lost all interest and walked away. Sadly, I think most of them realized that with where they are right now in school they could never do something like that. One kid asked me how much school you had to attend to get a job like mine. I was like, well, most people have masters or phds. And he was like, oh, I have to go to college, screw that.

It's just sad on a few accounts. Most of these students weren't at all inspired by any of the things that engineers do. These jobs are not held up in their culture as ideals or anything worth working hard for. I talked to some of the other volunteers and they said the same thing, no one seemed at all interested in the things that we do. They couldn't relate at all and most students were there from the worst of the inner citty schools on class field trips, forced to attend by their teachers.

So what do we do about this? Personally, I think a career fair like this, with most students almost about to (barely) graduate high school is just too little too late. It doesn't inspire the students to be like us, it only shows them that they can't. And no one wants to be told that. And that continues to further the divide. I think I have to agree with Dean Kamen (gasp!) and say that we need to change the culture and we need to do that from a very early age. These students need to know what it means to create and invent and work in a knowledge economy. They need to value the education and hard work that it will take to get there. And they can't start this three months before they graduate from an inner-city high school. It has to be part of the culture. And that will take a lot of time.


Sunday, October 22, 2006

Chicago Marathon

So here's the post you've all been waiting for! The marathon recap...

A final check of weather this morning convinced me to do layers, which was a good choice! I packed up my bag and got on the 5:40am train downtown. Why do races have to be so crazy early in the morning?? The train ride was a lot of fun as it was all runners eating their powerbars, drinking their gatorade, pinning their numbers on, and talking about running!

I made it down to grant park with plenty of time and waited around for my friend Zack. I never saw him, so just checked my gear and lined up between the 4:30 and 4:45 signs. That was a good move as you'll soon discover. The race started and I was across the starting line in a little over 7 minutes which I thought was pretty awesome. I was expecting like a 20 minute wait. All went well with the run itself and I was really feeling good pretty much the whole time. No cramps, no sharp pains or anything...about as good as you could expect.

The course itself was good, except for a crazy blast of wind on Addison and heading out to the United Center. It was great to see all of the neighborhoods and people lining the street cheering!

Around mile 18 I started feeling the distance a bit, but after a quick gel break I was feeling great again! My parents came down to Chinatown and it was a good boost to see them!

The final mile was just so awesome, running up Michigan, over Roosevelt, and down into grant park. It just felt so great to make it to that finish line. And my final time...4:43:17

So yes, in case anyone was still in doubt, I'm hooked on this Marathon thing now :)


Saturday, October 21, 2006

Race Expo

Well, it's less than a day until the Marathon! Last night I went to the race expo down at McCormick place to get my packet for the race. I have no idea why they chose McCormick place. It's just so invonvenient to get there.

It turned out to be pretty empty and I quickly got everything I needed. Since it took me two hours to get there, I felt that I should at least stay and walk around. Silk was there giving out free chocolate soymilk which was awesome. I just totally love that stuff!! Clif bar was also there with free samples. I love free stuff at running expos! And I got one of the nike Run CHI long sleeve dri fit t-shirts. Too bad that wasn't free :)

So I still have no idea what I'm wearing tomorrow. The weather reports are quite varied from 35 and "steady rain" to 46 and "cloudy." Those are very different conditions to run in!


Wednesday, October 18, 2006


So I almost died laughing today when I got my mail. I had a notice from the Illinois EPA saying that I need to get an Emissions Check on my car. Yes, the hybrid. The Super Ultra Low Emissions (SULEV) vehicle that I drive. What are they thinking? The engine is going to turn off when I pull into there, I want to see them stick the emissions wand in the tailpipe and be like, hmm, there's nothing coming out! :)


Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I really like whoever does the weather for Spotlight on OS X. They are saying 51 and sunny for Sunday while the weather channel is saying 47 and showers. Let's hope it's sunny! :)


Sunday, October 15, 2006

one week to go!

It's one week until the 22nd! And you know what that means??? Only seven more days to donate miles to the Northside for Cubs Care!

Yes, and it's also 7 days until I run 26.2 miles! I can't wait!!! One year ago this weekend is when I decided that I was going to run this october. It's been a fun year of running and just amazing how far I've come in being able to run crazy distances!


Friday, October 13, 2006

watch this...

These talks are awesome. You should all watch them! (Thanks ampt - I finally had time to watch some of them!)

Also awesome is this view of the Chicago Marathon course. But less cool than the TED talks above. :)


Thursday, October 12, 2006


Yes, that's snow on the ground from this morning. They say it's the earliest in the fall that there has ever been measurable snow in Chicago. Let's just hope it warms up by the 22nd!


Monday, October 09, 2006


I went to this talk tonight at 826. It was this guy Lawrence Weschler talking about his book and convergences that he and others have seen. You can see some reader-submitted entries here. It was fairly interesting and cool to see how art and imagery takes so many forms from nature, sometimes without even meaning to. It reminded me a lot of Brenda Laurel's closing keynote at Ubicomp where she was talking about a design language and inspirations for future ubicomp systems. Lawrence ended with some interesting quotes about there not being any original ideas out there and showing some pictures of religious iconography that led up to the famous flag at iwo jima picture. Lots to think about...


Sunday, October 08, 2006


I decided that this weekend would be a weekend of relaxation and peace. I've just been so busy these past few months and haven't felt like I've had any time to myself to just relax (I have plenty of time to myself when I'm running!). These past two evenings I've lit some candles and curled up on the sofa with a book or to watch some tv. It's just so nice to relax and not have to worry about work or anything else.

I also had a wonderful 12 mile run along the lakefront this afternoon. It was 74 degrees in Chicago which was even just a little too warm. But still, it was a wonderful run and I felt so great at the end of it! I can't wait for the marathon!!

Oh, and if anyone wants to run with me for any part of the race, let me know! Two weeks to go!!


Friday, October 06, 2006


Does anyone want to go to this with me next monday?

OCTOBER 9th, 7:30 p.m. @ 826CHI

From a cuneiform tablet to a Chicago prison, from the depths of the cosmos to atoms in a cloud chamber, from brain stems to tree trunks, Lawrence Weschler (former staff writer for The New Yorker, author of over 15 books, and new Artistic Director for the Chicago Humanities Festival) finds strange connections wherever he looks. Join us at 826CHI for A Night of Convergences, during which Mr. Weschler will survey instances from McSweeneys' current online convergence contest which celebrates the publishing of his new book through McSweeneys, Everything That Rises. With Weschler will be Chicago actor TJ Jagodowski (former member of Second City, current instructor/director/performer at the iO) who in his experiences with improvisational theatre often discovers similar strange and beautiful connections with his own eyes, also brilliant and giddy.

Come marvel as this dynamic duo weave their way through the amazing, the beguiling, and the uncanny! Watch as they discuss their own convergences and then entertain and respond to further examples brought by audience members! Win mind-boggling prizes for bringing your own convergence the night of the event! To learn more, visit


Thursday, October 05, 2006


Tonight was possibly the most fun I've had in a while. All of the 826CHI volunteers got together for some game playing and pizza. Much fun was had with Hungry Hungry Hippos, Pit, Uno, and Cranium...maybe a bit too much fun at times :) Quite a fun night that hopefully will be repeated soon!

I had a post a few months (or maybe even a year ago) on good people. The people who volunteer at 826 are just such awesome good people.


Wednesday, October 04, 2006


On CSI tonight one of the key pieces of evidence was a sign that said "Marathoners are Crazy People" :) I don't think I'm all that least for running the marathon :) I had a wonderful 8 mile run after work today at Lake Arlington. I love that I can just go out for a random 8 mile run. A few months ago that would have been a major ordeal, now it's a nice easy run on a taper day. :)


Tuesday, October 03, 2006


So I had lunch with some colleagues at Macy's today. Some really nice noodles with fried tofu. It was actually quite excellent and I highly recommend it! But that's not the point of this story...I was reading the wrapper on the chopsticks and learned something really cool and interesting. Apparently, the use of chop sticks started with Confucius who saw knives as implements of hurt and killing and slaughterhouses and thought chopsticks were a much more civilized non-violent way to eat.

How cool is that???


Sunday, October 01, 2006

Banco Popular Chicago Half Marathon...

So this morning was the 1/2 marathon! Besides having to get up at 4am to make it down to hyde park in time, the day couldn't have gone better! Traffic was super light getting there and I had some time to eat an odwalla bar and get some water before wandering over to gear check. There were about 14,000 runners, so it wasn't too big of a race and there were no lines for anything. About 20 minutes before start time, they closed off the roads and everyone lined up. I decided to stand around the 9 minute mile section because the last time I started with the 10s and everyone was really runnings 11s or 12s. Yes yes, you can say that I was doing the same thing to the 9s people, but you can' on...

The race started and I crossed the start line about four minutes into the race (nice compared to the 20+ I'll have to wait for the marathon in three weeks!). I was all ubicomp'ed out - the nike+ accelerometer on one foot, the RFID timing chip on the other, and an ipod with the nike+ antenna plugged into it. I still haven't found a good way to carry a phone, so that was left behind :) Although there were a ton of things I wanted to ZoneTag along the way. Anyway, I got moving and hit the little center button on my ipod to hear my pace. It was sub-9. I was like, ahhhhh too fast! But kept going anyway :) I didn't slow down much from that except for the water/gel breaks where I just walked through the water stop and started up again on the other side.

It was a beautiful run through the park and up along the lake. I was feeling so good I had time to appreciate the views of the skyline and the lake. 13.1 miles later with no complaints at all I made it to the finish. As you can see on the graph, I was pretty darn consistent!

Mile 1: 9:14
Mile 2: 9:18
Mile 3: 9:21
Mile 4: 9:21
Mile 5: 9:21
Mile 6: 9:20
Mile 7: 9:23
Mile 8: 9:29
Mile 9: 9:08
Mile 10: 9:25
Mile 11: 9:36
Mile 12: 9:36
Mile 13: 9:29
.1 Mile 13.1: 9:15
Total time: 2:06:29

After the race they had some fruit and pretzels and gatorade. Pretty standard fare. Yes, they had bananas. I still can't believe that race in CA that didn't have bananas! After all that fun, Vertigo USA, a U2 cover band had a little concert. I thought they were much better at Run Hit Remix, but oh well, it's a free show :) All in all, a great run! I can't wait for the Marathon in three weeks!!!