Results, Poll #49, Home Home.

So, who goes home for the holidays? Let's find out:

> 1 person (9%) chose 'yes, got to or i'll be disowned' - really? or are you just too scared to find out what'll happen if you don't go home?
> 7 people (63%) chose 'yep, i just always do' - i think we all would have guessed this was the majority answer, as it should be.
> 3 people (27%) chose 'nope, not this year' - it was a first for me, going home didn't seem to work out. i basically had 5 days off, with almost nothing to do and no one to see. it was different, but i have to say, not a bad different. a topical island and fruity drink would have made it very enjoyable.
> 0 people (0%) chose 'no, i usually don't' - i guess all of us have good relationships with our still alive parents. but, not the entirety of the t.c readership voted on this poll. hmmmm.

So there you have it. How we like to spend our holiday.
New poll has been up for sometime.


Quality with a capital 'Q', Part II.

I thought I would show off my new work-home. There's only a few, so you can't get the full impact of the place, but it's a good taste. If you're ever in the area, I can host visitors, depending on the day of the week, time of year, etc.

This is known as the "Hub". Not only is it a bike term, but it also accurately describes this area of the newer 2nd floor office. It has most things one might need during the day. Shown is the coffee, tea, latte bar, which also has our recycling area, small sink, and small fridge. I've already attended an after-hours beverage meeting here, hosted by a vendor. Not shown are some other areas like printer/fax area and some relaxed open meeting areas.

This is taken from the same spot as the first picture, but just to the left a bit. You can see more of the relaxed meeting areas (most of the IKEA couches are actually from SRAM). But, you can also see the use of natural light. It fills much of this (my) 2nd floor office space. It not only makes people feel better (during the loooong winter), but cuts down on lighting/energy costs too.

Finally, I would be remiss if I did not show the biggest and most lucrative part of the place, the warehouse floor. Again, this is taken from my 2nd floor office area, looking right down onto the 35ft tall shelving units. The forklifts are "guided by wire" down these long pathways, to ensure the forklift is striaght and can rise up true enough not to bang into anything (which would be bad).



I hope it's a white Christmas for all of you that want one... I get one no matter what. Maybe this is the year for my Red Rider BB Gun? Anyone get some coal? (No, surely not a t.c reader...)


Results, Poll #48, Pine.

Seems like a very mixed bag of results this week, but I suspect it maybe due to my shotgun approach on the writing of the responses. Ah well...

> 2 people (15%) 'yep, we had the christmas tree up for weeks' - sounds nice and cozy. make some warm nuts on the fire. "would you like my warm nuts?!"

> 4 people (30%) 'yeah, i put up a little tree for m
yself' - well, you did what you could, good effort. Santa will be pleased.

> 1 person (7%) 'yes, but all about kwanza' - a very multi-cultural holiday.

> 0 people (0%) 'sure, the dradle and menorah are out big time' - no mazaltoff for you then!

> 3 people (23%) 'not a holiday display, only the festivus pole' - alright smart-alecs - would one of you please photograph said pole and send me the pic? i'll not only post it but think of something extra for you too.
> 3 people (23%) 'nah, it's just lil ole me' - i hear ya, why bother? it's better to see "the real deal" at someone else's house.

13 votes up this week, new poll up NOW!

Thanks to all of your for reading in 2008. I hope the trend continues and grows in 2009.


Gift Idea, #6.

I've heard on TV that the most popular gift this year is giving (i.e. charitable donations). And with everyone not doing so well due to the economy, this idea is even more dire for people that already can't afford things.

I've cut & pasted some ideas for anyone on your list. Surely they won't get bent out of shape if you feel good and they feel good, plus no returns!

> St. Jude Childrens' Hospital - no kid's ever turned away - https://shop.stjude.org/GiftCatalog/express-donation.do?fnl=don_sin
> Chicago's Childrens' Memorial - you might know someone that was helped here, I do - https://secure.childrensmemorial.org/friends/foundation/donations.asp
> Chicago Food Bank - food helps alot - http://www.chicagosfoodbank.org/site/PageServer?pagename=diff_donate_tribmem
> Gary Sinise said to help the Troops - he's serious and a Chicagoan - https://www.fightforthetroops.com/donate.asp
> A bike related donation that can help people all over the world - http://www.kintera.org/site/c.nsIXJ4PJKtF/b.4742827/

Finally, I'm guessing these can be done "instantly" and cover up for someone you might have forgotten about. You know, write something in the card...


Discuss, Poll #48, Pine.

I wanted to see how many of us put up the ole Christmas tree (or what-not). Knowing many of the t.c readership considers itself "religious", this should be pretty high, right?

If you have a funny or cheery tree story or tradition, please post it here. You never know, it could brighten the season for someone else... or start your tradition in someone else's home.

Don't be a Grinch.

Results, Poll #47, Moving.

Finally, a good unsecured internet connection and some spare time to post:

> 4 people (26%) chose '0-5' - What!?!?! A max of 5 moves... did you go to home school through college!?!
> 2 people (13%) chose '6-10' - Still pretty low, but maybe you got out of the house before you were 30?
> 5 people (33%) chose '11-15' - Here's our majority winner. Seems like a pretty reasonable number, esp if college years are counted.
> 2 people (13%) chose '16-20' - This is getting up there, depending on your age. Not fun, not fun at all.
> 1 person (6%) chose '21-25' - It's been a bit since I voted, but I'm pretty sure this is myself. I believe I've moved, on average, once a year since I started college. I'm hoping this last move will go for more than one year, knock on wood.
> 1 person (6%) chose '26+' - I think I know who this is, but golly... that's alot of moves.

New seasonal poll up now.

Gift Idea, #5.

WHAT!?! You didn't get anything for the special woman in your life yet!?! You better take this suggestion and run with it then... your penance will be the fact that this can only be had in time for Christmas by making a trip to one of their retail boutiques in Chicago or New York (that is of course if it's still in stock).

Please locate the store near you via Bernardaud's website. Get in your car, drive the two hours+ during rush hour, and upon entry, ask the first associate you see for the Porcelain disk bracelet on cord, $105 each. It's a small price to pay to avoid her dreaded stink-eye come Christmas morning, with nothing under the tree for the girl that puts up with you.

New apartment = new levels of gross.

For the first few nights in the new place, I noticed a cigarette-type smell, but only in the evening. It started to irritate my eyes and gave me a headache one night. So, I thought I might have to clean some more things... what was left though? The radiators. Once I got down to their level, it was clear this maybe the problem. Not only did I confirm some former tenant was a smoker (found some old wrapper), but also that one or more former tenants had cats.

I spent over an hour vacuuming 3 different radiators, one about 4 feet long. I had to change the vacuum bag mid-job after sucking up tons of cat hair (that had also recently been painted over... least they painted, right?). I also found a bunch of stuff in and behind said radiators. Here's what it amounted to:

This pile o' life elicits a few comments from me:
- ooh, what a nice votive holder!
- how did you burn incense without the little tray!?!
- Miller and PBR bottle tops, fine by me.
- why two hair coloring brushes? (if that's what they are?) if you dropped one down the back of the radiator (in the living room), why would you then at some point drop another?
- the peace sign was literally stuck to the wall behind the big radiator. I don't want to know how or why. Peace.

As a corollary, I still hate cats. This maybe a bit much (though I just vacuumed up a cats worth of hair), but I think that cat owners are much lazier, by and large, than dog owners. They can let their cat do what he/she wants all life long and never clean up after it (oh sure, when the litter box knocks out company, time to empty). At least you have to commit to letting a dog outside everyday (and hopefully cleaning up after it). To be fair, I know lazy dog owners too.

[final note - as of this writing, I still have not confirmed that the irritant was the radiators, but I have my fingers crossed.]


Glenview dressed in lights.

Just took a few shots one night before I left town. Those of you that know Funview may recognize the spots, the rest of you, eat your heart out! (?)

Gift Idea, #4.

Looking for an enviro-friendly gift for the granola-eater or tree-hugger in your life?

Peep no further than the Keen Marshall Wallet (I'd say this is a unisex gift, possibly). It is made out of 100% reclaimed rice paper. And for the month of December, all proceeds of this product will go to a worthy cause. Not only that, but it's only $10, so you're not taking all the money out of your wallet to get this one. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but I would argue that this product hits the green aesthetic & looks categories easily.

If this isn't feminine enough for your secret-Santa recipient, Keen also makes some rice paper bags with a decidedly more female slant.


Discuss, Poll #47, Moving.

I can't remember if I've asked about this before or not, and I'd go through them all again to check, but I'm in the midst of a move myself. It's the very move that prompted this poll.

Count the word "move" however you see fit. Do you want to include some childhood moves you had no control over and no part of, fine. Do you want to count each new dorm room during your 6 years of college, Doctor, cool with me. Do you want to tally up all the empty boxes under the overpass, dandy.

Gift Idea, #3.

I'm sure all of you have seen the various offerings out there for "docking" your iPod at home and playing the music for the whole room or house, right?

Well, time to step it up a notch and get something that not only sounds good, but looks good too. This is the Vers Audio docking station. They also make a clock-included version too. This is real wood (4 to choose from), real sound, real nice stuff. And the best part is that it won't cost an arm & leg like some of those prissy brands (rhymes with 'Rose').

Results, Poll #46, Black Friday.

Seems like most t.c readers don't really dig Black Friday, though I know that some (possibly non-respondents) went out and shopped in it and at least one of you liked Midnight Madness (which I've heard is insane!).

> 1 person (7%) chose 'shop til i drop, it's a must' - did you wear little elf shoes with reindeer bells on each foot as you skipped from store to store?
> 1 person (7%) chose 'it helps me get in the holiday spirit' - i could see this helping, but i'd rather get my dose closer to the actual holiday.
> 7 people (53%) chose 'i try to avoid it for the most part' - now this sounds like the t.c reader i know!
> 4 people (30%) chose 'it's the devil incarnate' - yeah, it definetly feels like one of the made up "Hallmark holidays", like Sweetest Day or Personal Assistant Day or That Guy That Helped You with The Groceries That One Time at Costco Day.

Then again, since this year's Thanksgiving was on the 27th, people will feel like there is less time before Christmas to get all the shopping in, b/c there is.

New poll up very soon.


Brain Teaser, #10.

All are true/false questions:
> Cows can walk up stairs, but not down?
> Horses can sleep standing up?
> Male turtles can lay eggs?


Gift Idea, #2.

What times I would have had and trouble I would have gotten into if only I had access to one of these as a kid. It would have been broken in a few days anyways, but I still want one, right now.

I give you the Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25. It uses batteries and can shoot 3 rounds per second (just like an Uzzi?).

Finally, as I googled for info on this item, I saw YouTube videos on how to modify other Nerf gun to get more "oomph" out of them... very cool nerdery.


Gift Idea, #1.

Well, unless you're a holiday shopping pro, you might need a gift idea for someone on your list. I like finding unique items, so I thought I'd toss a few up on the ole blog.

Is that special someone or a favorite co-worker still using a tired old mug or worse, paper cups to get their morning tea fix? Check out this Metro Tea Cup. It's a surprisingly attractive, functional, and inexpensive tea pot & mug combo (you're getting a lot for $10).

It's at an NYC boutique called MXYPLYZYK (say that ten times fast!).


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