Archive for August 2011

Car Issues

Originally posted on 2011-06-12 15:04:24.

There has been a slight wrinkle in my plans. My car may need some work, and that will cost me money.

I have a car, but since I live in Chicago and take the CTA most of the time, I do not use it very often. I occasionally take trips: I went out to Texas last year,  I have driven to Georgia a few times, I went all over Illinois taking photos of our state, and I go out to the suburbs once a month. I like having a car, but I really like not needing one even more.

Yesterday I took my car out to get the oil changed. When I started, there was a loud knocking sound coming out of the right front side when I went in reverse. Then I started hearing it when I braked. By the time I got it to the dealer, it was making the noise all the time.

So I will have to pay to have them look at it. Depending on what it is, I may have to pay a lot to have it fixed. Or decide if I want to junk it. I have had this car for ten years. It has 110,000 miles on it.

If I move to Texas, I will certainly need a car. So if I go through with my plans, I might be looking at expending a LOT of money.

BTW: I don’t own a Prius. I just think it looks better than my car.

Image from Wikimedia


Looking at Some New Sites and Who’s Running

Originally posted 2011-06-05 21:33:27

I found a site that looks pretty interesting: The Texas Freedom Network. They also have a blog called “TFN Insider“.  Just going by the name, they sound like one of these conservative wingnut groups that think you are only “free” if you are just like them. I mean, a group in Texas that says it cares about religious freedom. Sounds fishy.

But it looks like they really do care about religious freedom for everyone. According to their site, “The organization has been instrumental in defeating initiatives backed by the religious right in Texas”. Sounds good to me.

Some of the friends listed on their blog include the Baptist Joint Committee on Religious Liberty, the Center for Progressive Christianity and Sojourners. But if you read the whole list, it gets better: others include the Freedom From Religion Foundation and  the Military Religious Freedom Foundation. So there really ARE sane people in Texas.

One of the stories mentioned on the TFN Insider blog was the buzz that Rick Perry (aka Governor Goodhair). I was going to comment on that, but I decided that I may leave it for later. It seems like the talk of him running has suddenly died down.

Image from Texas Freedom Network website

Delayed Update

Originally posted 2011-05-30 20:35:04

I had planned on posting at least once a week. But last week I was not in a good mood at all.

I went to see a few friends in Oak Park, and I had another event planned in the city. So I had to drive back in. But traffic ground to a halt on Lake Shore Drive. So I got off, and wound up taking a detour. Some of the detour was on streets that were unfamiliar, so I spent some time going in the opposite direction that I wanted to go in.

Other streets were crowded and slow, and others were under construction. We have had construction all over the city for as long as I can remember. Why can’t anyone in this city build a road?

I went down to Texas last year, and from what I remember the roads seemed better. They do love their cars in Texas.

Another thing that happened is that I was talking to someone who had interviewed with a job in Denver, and I am now thinking about going to Denver. But I am still leaning towards Texas.

Image from Wikipedia

CTA Delayed

Originally posted 2011-05-17 07:26:54

Yesterday Rahm Emmanuel was inaugurated as mayor. A lot of people think that having a new mayor will revitalize our city. Maybe it will, maybe it won’t. I hope things get better around here, but I don’t know if it will be enough to get me to stay.

At the hour of the inauguration, I was on the CTA. There was a delay due to some signal problems. So I was on the CTA for an additional 30 minutes. I think it was pretty ironic. The start of a new era and I was motionless.

Image from City of Chicago website


Weather Update

Originally posted on 2011-05-15 14:32:18

It has been cold and dreary in Chicago for the past few weeks. It was sunny for a few days last week, but now it is cold and dreary again. Right now it is about 45 degrees in Chicago.

The weather in Texas, on the other hand, might be too hot. Right now it is in the 60s. But it is also very dry. There have been fires in west Texas. And according to the US Drought Monitor Texas is really dry. Texas and New Mexico are the only two states with 100% drought conditions. I can tolerate cold better than I can tolerate heat.

Image from US Drought Monitor website

Update May 9, 2011

Originally posted on 2011-05-10 03:31:33

My plan was to post a couple of times a week. Over the past few days I have been busy with my job, and studying some new software technologies to improve my marketability.

I have also been contacting people I know in Texas on Facebook and LinkedIn, as well as getting on some mailing lists to make more connections in Texas. I have been there once, and I have been reading about it. I want to get some more contacts in Texas before I decide if I want to take the plunge.

Plus I plan on posting more. I figure if I can get a good site going, maybe some info about Texas will come to me. We will see what happens. I will also try to get some images on my posts. I heard on a podcast that is a good way to get traffic. At some point I will post my pictures from my trip to Texas. I plan on going sometime in the summer, and I will probably take pictures then. I may also take some pictures from Wikipedia.

Image from Wikipedia.

Update May 4, 2011

Originally posted 2011-05-05 01:58:33

I have not posted anything in about a week.

The weather for the past week has not been too good in Chicago. It has been kind of cold, but that does not bother me. It has been cloudy and dreary, and that does bother me. It has made me lethargic and depressed.

I will make another post listing some of the links and sites about Texas that I have found over the past week.

More Job News

Originally posted on 2011-04-27 02:48:39

So there is more news on jobs in Texas.

Business Journal had an article about data released by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics about job growth from March 2010 to March 2011: 47 states and D.C. add jobs; three states continue to lose. 18% of the job growth in the country was in Texas, with 8% of the jobs. The population of Texas is twice that of Illinois, but Texas gained four times as many jobs in the period covered by the survey.

The Austin Chamber of Commerce also released an analysis of the data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The Austin area added 13,900 jobs (more that about 27 states). Of the Top Ten Performing Metro Areas, 4 are in Texas: Dallas, Houston, Fort Worth and Austin. Austin ranked number 8, even though it is the 35th largest metro area.  (I always thought that Dallas and Fort Worth were part of the same metro area.)

On the other hand, Texas is also 3rd for mass layoffs. Texas had more applications for unemployment in March 2011 that in March 2010. But Austin added jobs. Perhaps we are still seeing the trend of rural areas losing jobs while metro areas are gaining.

This trend of metro growth and rural shrinkage is also true in Illinois. But Texas has more metro areas than Illinois does.


Another reason to leave

Originally posted on 2011-04-20 03:30:05.

One of the reasons I have stayed in Chicago is that I have been able to get around via mass transit. I have a car, but I like the fact that I do not have to use it.

For a while I was working in Hyde Park, and going to school out in the suburbs. So three times a week, I would have to go up through the Loop and out to the suburbs to get to class. It was a real drag. Then I graduated and got a job in the Loop, and I was able to get to and from work on the CTA.

But sometimes the CTA gets on my nerves. Today the Brown Line derailed near Belmont, so I had to get on the bus. A very slow, very crowded bus. The CTA just seems to be getting more unreliable.

Granted, it is difficult, if not impossible, to get around in most of Texas without a car. But if  one of my main reasons for staying is not working as well as it used to, then it is time to start thinking seriously about leaving.


Jobs In Austin

Originally posted 2011-04-19 02:03:06

According to this article in Austin Business Journal, Austin added 9,300 jobs. It said that most sectors added jobs, “except for the information industry, which lost 200 jobs.” The article also said that the information sector lost 100 jobs for the past 12 months.

As a software developer, that worries me. One of the reasons that I am looking at Austin in particular is that it has a reputation for having a strong technology/software scene. Based on this article (which is only one data point), is Austin’s software industry losing momentum?