I really liked my gig at Thomson Reuters and had a great time working on my team. Reuters managed to gather very smart people, both in the US and in China. I had a blast.
What wasn’t so cool was the commute on I-290. For the uninitiated, it’s one of the busiest highways in Illinois. Despite the fact that I was “reverse commuting” the traffic would sometimes be brutal. NPR helped, but I felt like I was just wasting time sitting idly in the car.
Some friends reached out to me and I took the bait. I decided to join Chicago Trading Company. Right downtown, so bye-bye commute, bye-bye I-290! I’m looking forward to my first day!
My kids love trains and I must admit I’m a fan as well. On weekends I always try to take them to the train yard. We sit in the car and wait for the trains and locomotives to go by. It’s the main Amtrak train yard, so there are plenty of Amtrak cars and engines – long haul GE Geneses, and many shunting locomotives. Every once in a while we see coaches all the way from California, or some vintage carriages.
In the summer the boys were ecstatic because we spotted a locomotive that endured a collision. From what I could find, a truck carrying oil field pipe ran into the eastbound Empire Builder in early December, 2013 at a rural grade crossing near Motley, Minnesota, and took out locomotive #90. It was sitting on a siding for several months, awaiting repair. Kids were disappointed when it finally disappeared.
Amtrak engine #90 after head-on collision, patiently awaiting repair.
This past weekend was a very exciting day. Adrian noticed a brand new, electric Amtrak locomotive being push around the yard. It was quite a surprise, considering the fact Amtrak mid-western lines are not electrified. Something didn’t quite add up. Adrian right away recognized it as Siemens ACS-64. He’s very familiar with it, since I bought him a wooden version for the National Train Day. We watched the locomotive roll right by us. Indeed it was Amtrak Cities Sprinter (ACS-64) manufactured by Siemens. I did some quick googling to discover that they get assembled in Sacramento, California and Chicago is one of the stops on their way to the East Coast. The locomotives hitch a ride on the California Zephyr to Chicago and then on the Capitol Limited from Chicago to the Wilmington, DE. ACS-64 is slowly going to replace the toasters that currently serve the electrified lines of the eastern corridor.
In January I started my new job with Thomson Reuters. It’s in Oakbrook, so my commute is completely different than what I was used to. No more walking, no more Metra. Now it’s all about Chicago traffic.
I was a little bit nervous whether I would be able to handle it or not. This is why I decided to treat myself to a funky gadget. I purchased a Bluetooth-enabled OBD II scanner, and promptly paired it with the SoundRacer app on my Android phone. The results can be seen (and heard) in the video below:
It’s really tons of fun! The SoundRacer app reads the RPMs from the OBD II scanner, generates race car engine sounds to match, and plays them through the car speakers. It really makes you want to rev the engine! Probably not a good thing if you want to avoid speeding tickets 🙂
Unfortunately, I quickly discovered that it’s not feasible to have it on all the time. I just want to fly, but sometimes traffic just forces me to idle. Now I’ve switched and enjoy listening to NPR and get a much needed break from electronics. It’s very refreshing 🙂