What I’ve been up to…

I’ve been relatively quiet lately…  here’s what I’ve been up to:

  • Working!  I tallied up the total number of vacation days I’ve used this year.  The total was 4.  That’s right, I’ve only had 4 days off of work this whole year.  How sick is that?  Well, I plan on remedying that over the next couple of months (more news to come).  Other than that, work itself, has been going relatively well.  Still lots of changes, but I feel relatively safe right now.  By safe I mean, that I have been busy as hell working a lot of different projects.
  • Commuting!  Up until last week I had been commuting to Chicago by train and bicycle.  It’s been great.  I feel less burnt out when I’m done with work.  I feel a little more motivated to actually go to work each week.  And that’s why winter has me worried.  The colder it gets, the less likely it is that I’ll be able to commute by bike.  Which means that I’ll need to start driving again.  Let’s just hope that gas prices stay low this winter (yeah right!).
  • Volunteering!  I have been volunteering time to two community organizations.  The Bike Project is a bike collective in Champaign-Urbana.  It gives people a chance to learn how to fix their own bikes and to build their own bikes from donated used bikes.  They also do things like give away bike lights, build bikes for underprivileged kids and other organizations.  I also volunteer a little time at WEFT, 90.1, a local community radio station.  Champaign-Urbana is blessed with several community radio stations.  My “job” at WEFT is to open the new Rock, Indie Rock and Pop music that comes into the station and get it ready for the on-air folks.  It’s a simple job, but it does afford me the opportunity to listen to a lot of new music (some of it actually decent).
  • Gaming!  I still play D&D every week.  I play in a game in Chicago and one in Champaign-Urbana.  I also play some board games here and there with Liz and her school friends.  I would love to play more board games, but oh well…  you can’t have everything.
  • Politics!  I’ve been really sucked into the elections and the campaigns.  I read a lot online and as I mentioned in a previous post I’ve done a little phone calling.  Go Obama Go!
  • Fostering!  Up until last week, Liz and I were fostering a rescued Bernese Mountain Dog.  Carly was adopted last week by a family in New Jersey.  I had to drive her up to Chicago so she could fly to New Jersey to meet her new family.  Carly was a real sweetheart, and I think both Liz and I will miss having her around.  If you’re wondering about Kiko.  He’s just fine.  🙂

And that should get you up to date on what’s been going on lately.  Watch for another post about what’s coming up!

–sam

Introducing…

Originally published at Kickin’ the new Kuh-nowledge. You can comment here or there.

As I have hinted at in the past, Liz and I decided to get a roommate/tenant.  At first we were hoping to get a grad student, and we had some interest from a few.  Unfortunately, none of those really worked out.  Grad students can be flaky (my wife excluded, of course).  We also learned that the majority of students did not want a rental over the summer, and if they did, they only wanted it for the summer but not the fall.

So instead of waiting for some awesome grad student to contact us, we went on the offensive.  We looked for folks that were actively seeking a roommate situation on craigslist, on facebook…  wherever we could find.  Liz eventually ran across an ad for Tim.

Tim is a local guy.  He works at one of the few factories in the area on the 3rd shift.  He’s also a fan of hot rods and belongs to an online international metalworkers club that meets once a year for a week of camping.   Tim is not a grad student.  We’re perfectly happy with that.

Of course, we had some trepidations about offering a room in our house to someone we don’t know.  It’s not like we’re a rental company that’s going to go out and do credit checks on people.  Do we even need to use a contract?  What about reporting this on our taxes next year?

In the end, we decided to use a contract.  I found a few examples online and played around with them until I had something that worked for us.  I also checked the Illinois Attorney General’s website on info for tenants and landlords.  I just wanted to make sure everything we do is legal.  Sure, to protect our interests, but also to protect Tim’s interests.

So far things have been good.  Tim, as noted above, works the 3rd shift from 6pm to 6am.  In generally, I see him just as he gets up and leaves for work.  We haven’t had to interact much, but I suspect that this will change once we all fall into a more normal rhythm.

Probably the hardest thing about having Tim as a roommate is that he sleeps during the day… so we really can’t make a ton of noise during the day.  No jamming out to that Cult song.  No singing at the top of your lungs in the shower.  You get the idea.  For the most part, though, it’s a non-issue.  If I really feel like jamming out, I can put on the headphones.  It’s the other stuff that we have to work around.

Here’s to looking forward to a year with Tim.  May he become a friend over that time.  :)
–sam

Next Weekend is Made of Awesome

Two things are happening in Shamu’s Bandana (Champaign-Urbana to the uninitiated) next weekend of vital importance to national security to all of you awesome blossoms out there (well, maybe only to the ones that live here, but you get my drift).

  1. The Pygmalion Music Festival. Who knew that Shampoo-Banana had its very own music festival. And the lineup looks pretty awesome!
  2. The Urbana International Beer Tasting & Chili Cookoff. Two great tastes that taste great together? Move over Reese’s it’s time for the two best things in the world to have their very own day! As the young kids say… Oh Hells Yeah! It’s On!

That is all my dear friends. Let that be a lesson to you. Just when you thought the gods of good times have forsaken you… they might just be out planning a kickass weekend just for you.

–sam