May 2008 Archives

Goodbye, Samantha

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Dear Samantha,

We're very sorry that we had to leave so early and didn't get a chance to say goodbye. We love you very much and will see you later this summer. Until then, please enjoy the pictures of our wonderful weekend.

Uncle Byron
and Baga

Visiting Minneapolis

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I'm in Minneapolis. Here's a pic and a video.


Samantha and I in our Sunday finest.

"Oh No!" - Thats for Ella.

Beautiful Chicago

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I went on a 'bike ride' last weekend. It lasted three miles before I got a flat, but I at least took some pictures in Grant Park/on the water front before walking home.

Chicago's skyline and Grant Park from the Shedd Aquarium

A prayer for Zim babwe

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I've always thought the title, A prayer for Owen Meany to be very poetic.

Zimbabwe doesn't quite roll off the tongue, but they could surely use a prayer now... perhaps the people are even crying out for God to deliver them from oppression.

Economist: Billionaires' Woe

Billionaires' woe

May 16th 2008


Zimbabwe issues a Z$500m banknote, as inflation rockets to unbelievable highs

A BOTTLE of beer may cost half a billion dollars; by next week it could be a billion. Hyperinflation in Zimbabwe reached a terrifying 355,000% in March, with prices doubling roughly once a week. It is probably much higher now. In a vain attempt to keep up, the country has just issued a Z$500m banknote, which is worth some $2 (or less by the time you reach the end of this sentence). The billion-dollar note is surely on its way. After a decade of recession Zimbabwe is reaching all sorts of extremes: it has the fastest-contracting peacetime economy; its people are fleeing both repression and chronic hunger; life-expectancy is plummeting to the mid-20s. Despite all this, Robert Mugabe, the incumbent, expects to win a run-off presidential election on June 27th.

In other news, my co-worker Mark just walked out the door for the last time. I'm particularly saddened as he's a friend I've spent nearly 40 hours a week with for the last 2.5 years. We might hang out occasionally, but I don't know what I'm going to do on Monday when I read something at ESPN and just have to talk about it with someone.


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I've been thinking of taking a trip to visit Wyatt in Brazil since he went down there in January. Well, today is the big day and I booked my flight. Now I just have to get through the visa process and brush up on my Portuguese.

My trip will be from July 10 through July 22, and I'm flying United non-stop from Chicago to Sao Paulo. I'm super-jazzed about landing a non-stop flight as I don't have to deal with all the crazy customs rules that I had to deal with when I returned from Cancun.

Brazilian Flag

In other news, I met with the owner of one of the Wrigley Rooftops tonight. I'm not sure where this is going, but I think I can reasonably expect to either sell my website or meaningfully boost the revenue I'm collecting off it. And the larger my internet/passive income, the better... just in case I find myself working for $6,000 a year some day. In a related thought, Haven of Peace. Everything is unsettled right now, but I think that's the way I like it.

Homeward Bound

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Homeward Bound was on TV the other day. I was flipping through channels, waiting for a baseball game or something, and there were the two talking dogs and a talking cat. I remember watching it as a kid and really liking the movie. I watched about 30 seconds and had to change the channel. How grating. I can only imagine what Michael J. Fox was thinking as he did the voice-over for the spunky dog.

Anyhow, it was Mother's Day weekend, so I hopped the South Shore to Gary after work on Friday, and Mom picked me up as she left.

Friday was good times. We went out to Applebees, and then drove all the way to Schereville to watch Expelled, the Ben Stein movie about intelligent design. (It was decent. Certainly DVD fare rather than full-priced theatre material.)

On Saturday, I slept in and then went on 'shopping errands' with my Mom. It was good bonding time as we picked out a new toilet seat and paint scrapers at the Home Despot. After HD, we swung by Kohls and I went a little crazy. I replaced the pair of shorts I apparently lost last summer with an identical pair off the rack. I also found some cool brown shorts, a pair of Nike athletic shorts, a new set of trainers, and work shoes that aren't stained with salt. It seems like every time I go home, I end up buying clothes. It's probably because I never seem to go shopping anywhere but Kohls, and the Kohls in Chicago isn't convenient to any of the trains. Oh well. I'm prepared for the summer, which isn't here yet. (It's rainy and 47 degrees fahrenheit right now.)

Sunday involved church with the parents at Liberty, some indecision, and finally lunch at the slowest Bennigans on the face of the planet.

I called from home to make sure they weren't backed up like crazy.

Ring, Ring, Ring...
Bennigans Man: Hello, Bennigans.
Byron: Hi, could you tell me how long the wait is today?
Bennigans Man:The wait for what?
Byron: Er, the wait for a table of 3?
Bennigans Man: I'm not sure. Let me check... We just had a large group come in, so I'm pretty sure table 3 will be busy for a while.
Byron: Erm, not table 3... how long is the wait for three people?
Bennigans Man: Oh, we don't have a wait.
Byron: Thanks.

As it turns out, when we got to Bennigans, our waiter was the same person who answered the phone. He was having a tough first day, but lunch was very good and you've got to try their potato soup.

In other news, my professional life just got a bit more exciting/complicated/stressful/complex. Mark, the accountant one notch above me, has announced he is resigning. Last year at this time, there were four of us doing the fund finance and accounting work. That's now down to two... so not only am I going to be insanely busy for the next few weeks, but I am also going to have to train whomever we hire next.

A devastating day

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I met Mandy and James on Coast-to-Coast last year, and we met up once in Chi-Town. Yesterday's news is a blow to the gut.

James and Mandy in Wisconsin

Bicyclist killed in Logan Square leaves heartbroken family - Chicago Tribune

Please pray for James and Mandy's family.