"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Mr. Saturday Night

Number One Advice: keeping a number of hobbies keeps life interesting. I started the day holding a line at 34mph. And ended it wearing eyeliner dancing to Michael Jackson.

It was the end of my first rest week since beginning my training program with Randy and it was well deserved. I had been on the bike 15, 16, 13, and 13 hours again the first four weeks of the plan. This week was only 8 hours, on paper. I had a bout with food poisoning on Monday that kept me out of commission until Thursday, so Saturday's ride up to Highland Park was my first real ride in a week. I'd been getting recovery rides to work everyday, but that wasn't much to speak of.

It was a fast pace up, with the colder weather thinning out the pretenders who want to come out and test their legs. We averaged about 22mph into a pretty stiff head wind. People we definitely taking shorter pulls off the front of the paceline. It was gray and blustery, but yellow, red and golden leaves blowing everywhere. I love the contrast of the leaves against the gray sky in fall. It reminded of my first ride back in April, when I spoke with team president Bob Willems about racing at Snake Alley. I smiled and remarked to myself yet again at how much has changed in less than a year.

I got my first flat on a team ride this year, hitting a pothole square on my rear wheel, pinching it. Kevin and Stocky came back to help out. I didn't have any levers with me (wtf?) and I had some pretty cheap chinchers on with a really tough bead. But we got the tire off in short order and replaced the tube. I was also converted to using CO2 in the future. It was so much quicker. Plus it was really cool to see all the ice form on the canister. What causes that, anyways? I got a B in chemistry.

After a hard final pull into the wind, we arrived in Highland Park a little before 10am, and finally saw that the Einstein's Bagels was closed. Good. I'd been using the independent coffee shop across the street for a few weeks anyways. It's only drawback is the single use restroom. Their espresso is ten times better, and you get it much faster. And with the rides starting an hour later for winter, the bike shop next door is open to by time we get there.

The plan was to head to Superdawg with Tami, my drummer from Shrieking Violet, upon returning back to Evanston. Most of the team headed out for a few extra miles, but Kevin, Erik, Jenn, and a few others, plus I, headed back. We had a few good sprints, especially since I'd had really planned on doing them. I was riding my vintage steel Cilo, with downtube shifters and squeaky SPD pedals. I've popped out of them before, plus the bike weighs a ton, so I was nervous about it. But coming into Glenview I found myself on Kevin's wheel after he'd been left out in the open when his draft cracked. I dropped the right shifter all the way to the tube and passed to the left, winning the sprint. Athough Kevin's just gotten back on the bike in the last month after recovering from a broken collarbone from Superweek. Had he been in better shape it would've been a different ending for sure.

We reached Evanston in about 20 minutes - the swift tail wind kept us above 25mph the entire way - and I called Tami. She was about ready to go and would meet me at The Italian Coffee Bar in 15 minutes. I sat and read the paper and ate some cookies with my coffee, as the Judson riders came in, and then Tami arrived. As we were ready to leave, the rest of the xXx-ers came through. We headed off west.

It was just a perfect fall day. A great day to be on a bike. We took Church Street out to Austin, and found the bike path. The new pavement is still immaculate, and the vivid color and cool damp air were absolutely invigorating. And how awesome was it that we were headed the unofficial trail head of the North Branch trail, Superdawg. The line was long, the kitchen was busy, and it was the perfect end to a morning fall ride. I must ride there more often.

We ate, warmed up with some coffee, and headed back. I was home by 1:30, in time to relax on the couch for a bit and watch Psycho before saddling up again to head to Logan Square and load out for our Halloween Show.

Every year for the last 11 Double Door has done a Halloween show. Local band dress up as famous groups and do a half-hour set of cover songs. Last year was a great show, with us (The Midnight Shows) doing Rod Stewart, as well as The Go-Go's, Daft Punk, and KISS on the bill. This year Local H (the previous producer of the last ten year's shows but declining to be a part this year), Pearl Jam, Misfits, MC5, Alice Cooper, and us, playing third, as Culture Club.

Not take anything away from anybody else, but the rest of the line up was a lot of gray, heavy, head-bobbing rock, and we absolutely livened-up the evening with a ton of color and a set of 6 six hits that everyone sang along and danced to. We opened with the lights off and Rudy singing the opening strains to "Do You Really Want to Hurt me" and then Bang-Bang - hit the brights and into the reggae heavy riff. Next was "Time (Clock of the Heart)", and then "Church of the Poison Mind".

The crowd was really moving by "I'll Tumble 4 Ya" and set up for a strike with my personal favorite "Miss Me Blind." When the opening riff of the number #1 hit "Karma Chameleon" began the place went absolutely ape, and all of us on stage had huge smiles on our faces as all of our hard work had truly paid off.

We went off into the night for several parties - keeping the dress up game going. I still had a bit of the eyeliner left for work the next morning. I think it gave me a look of sincerity, because I sold a ton of wine.


Miss Me Blind?!?


I know that I haven't been around much, but at the risk of being a Karma Chameleon, I wanted to let you know that Culture Club will be giving an exclusive, one-night-only performance at Double Door for their annual Halloween Show, this Saturday night, October 27th!!!

But, Time (Clock of Double Door's sales) is ticking fast and this show will sell out before the weekend...so please get your virtual ass to doubledoor.com and get some tickets. This is a night not to be missed! I would hate for you to miss it! Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?

The full line up:
The Last Vegas
(as Alice Cooper)
Catfish Haven
(as The Misfits)
Thunderwing w/ Mike O'Connell
(as The MC5)
The Midnight Shows
(as Boy George & Culture Club)
The Sleepers
(as Pearl Jam)
(as Local H)
The Double Door is at 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave, in Wicker Park, with the entrance on Damen Ave, just under the El tracks. The doors open at 8, music starts at 9, and each band will play approximately 30 minutes, with a 10 minute set change in between.

So come and relive the best (or worst) days of your life, dancing to the 80's pop alone in your room as you struggled to figure out life as an 11 year old, or as queen of sophomore year, your oversprayed claw in full bloom, supporting your ironic top hat as you Molly Ringwalded it down the hallway...wherever your Church of the Poison Mind was, we'll bring it all back on Saturday Night, center stage.

I'll Tumble 4 Ya...love,



The Whine Guy

So I'm sitting here, unable to stray too far from the toilet. Picked up a bit of food poisoning last night. I missed riding yesterday and today with the vomiting and cramps. Still had to go to rehearsal last night and to work this evening at the bar, however. I've never had food poisoning before. It was pizza. I eat anchovies all the time on my pie, and this tasted just as good, but shortly after I was lying under a blanket, unable to move off of my couch. Three hours later is was all coming up. I felt much better, but then headed to rehearsal, and started feeling chills. Slept until 10 am this morning and now the problems are with my other end.

Yet I'm still due to head out to Northbrook for a second interview at 1 and hopefully clinch this sucker. I may have to clinch something else while I'm at it. Even if it doesn't work out, I'm pretty satisfied where I've ended up.

I've had to switch a few things to make it work, but at least I'm happy and enjoying myself. The bar is a great place to work, and on a good night is pretty worthwhile. During the week I'll be working at Sam's Wine and Spirits as a Wine Consultant at their new South Loop location. It's going to be a fantastic store, with a wine and bottled beer tasting room and a rooftop party deck. The clientèle will be plentiful and wealthy, as is life in the South Loop. Currently I am working at the Marcey St. location in the Clybourn corridor, until the new store opens. It's pretty simple work.

Stock wine. Face wine. Talk wine. Taste wine. I still can't believe I get paid for it.

Now if I can just get some insurance. Not a good position for a bike racer to be in, I think.

Wish me luck. I'm outa here.


The All-American Boy Series - Part XIII: "The Weekend"

Author's Note: back in my myspace blog days, I had a long running series called the All-American Boy. Basically just funny anecdotes from my life. Everything from a passed field-sobriety test at Damen and Harrison at 4am to my mom's surprise birthday last year. I'll post the previous ones here retroactively soon, but here is a new installment.

A few years ago, I got a call from my brother, telling me he was coming down to visit.

His favorite band of all time, Anthrax, was playing at the House of Blues and he'd just purchased to tickets to the show and airfare to come stay in Chicago for the weekend. He'd be here on a Friday night, the show was on Saturday, and he would stay through Monday. It was to be a weekend I'd never forget, that started innocently enough and became one for the ages.

It started serendipitously enough. I had just started my training to become a Certified Personal Trainer and had also been dating a woman for a few months. The night my brother arrived I'd been out in the far south side, at an airport Hilton by Midway, attending a two-day conference sponsored by NASM as part of my training. The timing couldn't have been more perfect as I left the train to walk to my apartment and my brother called, saying his bus was just about the arrive at the stop I'd given him.

We literally met outside as we both walked up to the iron gate of my building, and hugged, and gave each other all sorts of brotherly greetings. He looked good. He'd always been a big guy since high school. Seeing him there in my living room, tall and broad, grinning above his scraggly long goatee, gave me a warm feeling. The knowledge that we were in for a magical weekend, no matter what happened.

We opened a bottle of wine, cooked a couple of steaks and some veggies, and visited and drank into the night.

I overslept my alarm for the next day's training by Midway - the trip was Red Line to Orange, and then the Hotel Shuttle from Midway. Although since I was late, I grabbed a taxi. During the first break I called Kat, my girlfriend, to let her know the plan for the evening. I was going to be done and back downtown around 6, and I was meeting Duff at the House of Blues for dinner and the show. The weekend had come on so suddenly I wasn't able to give Duff much idea for spending the day in town other than the Museum Campus. But Kat had offered to spend the day with him, so after talking with her, she called him, apparently.

Once I was back downtown and changed, I met them at the HOB restaurant for dinner. Duff had jumped on the Damen bus at Foster and Ashland and met Kat in Roscoe Village at Kitsch-in, a funky little cafe at the corner of Damen and Roscoe. From there they went to the Museum Campus - Duffy was a fish collector at the time and wanted to see the Aquarium - but the line was too long at the Shedd, so I they walked around for bit, hit the Field Museum instead and explored Grant Park.

It was very nice of her, and Duff had a great time. Kat seemed to enjoy his company. He's pretty much a large teddy bear with limited-listening skills, so if I like hanging out with a talker with very good manners open to all options and no where to go, my brother is your date.

After dinner it was time for the show, and Kat agreed to met us later. The crowd there to see Anthrax and Dio was definitely the bands' hardcore fan base. There's a Seinfeldian theory: your manner of dress is from the best year of your life. Once you hit that year, your style - clothes, hair - stayed that way. Apparently 90% of this audience hit that year around 1985. The only thing that changed about their clothes was that they had gotten bigger. These people were so morbidly obese the same audience back when Anthrax was a major act would've been twice as big. Center parts, bleached blonds, and acid washed jean jackets. It was all there.

Three were some hits I remembered. "Spreading the Disease." "I Am The Man." "Antisocial." But there rest was warm-over Nu-Metal that apparently Anthrax wasn't even above copping in order to keep today's generation of lower-IQ music fans at attention. The crowd was wired though, and it helped Anthrax was filming a video. The audience hammed it up with tongues and metal hand-signs.

Dio was about to start, and we weren't about to hang around for that. I'd had enough of the 80's arrested development. I called Kat, let her know we were on our way out and she met us up at a bar I'd worked at a year ago in Lincoln Park, Lilly's Tavern. A dirty, cramped little place, my friends of the band Penthouse Sweets were playing. I'd bartended there a few months there a year ago. It's a rat-infested hole that serves primarily under-age Depaul students $2Bud Light drafts and provides a place to get high upstairs.

Always on the edge of running out of beer because she never paid her suppliers on time, the bar's signature drink was an $8 Long Island Ice Tea that was built like an outhouse. She premixed pitchers of Rum, Vodka, Tequila, Gin, and Triple Sec, and left one on the bar. You simply poured it over a pint glass filled with ice, and topped with lemonade and Coke. She even advertised it in the window as the best deal in Lincoln Park: "8 shots!" It was routine to serve someone three and then have to throw them out. Occasionally someone would think the pitcher was filled with water. The resultant look on their face was worth the wasted liquor.

We stayed for a while, greeting more friends, and watching Lou and Loren play. Duff had settled into a good night of Chicago drinking. He knew everyone's name and appeared to be a Chicagoan through and through. Although, to anyone who would listen, he'd talk non-stop about Alaska We soon decided to move it on up to my neighborhood, and saved the best part of the night for Simon's in Andersonville.

Simon's was my favorite bar in Chicago for years. The clientèle was chill and relaxed, cool and funny. The jukebox had one of the best mixes in the city and there was always a seat. The light is low and it's always inviting, especially at Christmas when they have glog. Duff and I drank Jameson while othere drank cheap beer and we laughed and had a great time until closing. At some point before they chased us out I lost my brother. I assumed he'd cornered somebody to talk at about Alaska. I found him as they were throwing us out, near the front, talking to some long, dark-haired woman. I left him there as Kat and I were going across the street with Nadine so she could give me my birthday present - which had been the week before.

After opening it, I heard by brother's voice from across the street.

"Hey! Where's the Green Mill?"

Kat's face immediately lit up at the prospect of my brother going off with this chick, for him and the fact that we could have my apartment to ourselves for a bit. I told Duff it wasn't far, and even closer to my place. Kat and I went home, and Duff headed off with some pick-up for a classic 5am Chicago night at one of the most famous bars in the city.

Cut to the next morning, around nine. I'm in bed awake, Kat is next to me still asleep. I nudge her. "Did you hear Duff come in?" She just groaned. I got up, fully expecting him to be on the couch as I went to the toilet, but it was empty.

"He's not here yet," as I got back into bed. I wasn't worried, really but my unease grew as the hour went by and no Duff. He'd left his cell phone on my coffee table. I lay there unable to go back to sleep, waiting, until finally I heard the front door click open.

I got up and saw him come in. We stood in the hall, outside of my bedroom, and he told me that after the bar, she'd taken him back to her fathers Wrigleyville condo and they'd fooled around until just after 8, and then he took off. But he had no idea about the bus or train system. He still recognized Addison Street however, so he walked west from Halsted Street all the way to Damen, a mile and a half, to find the Damen bus. Once there he waited another 30 minutes until it arrived. He could've just jumped on the Clark Street bus and been home in 15 minutes.

"Well?" I asked. "Was it worth it?"

He nodded. I laughed, questioningly...

"She let me put it in her butt."

Once I picked myself up off the floor, I went back into the bedroom, and he took a shower. Kat was fully awake now, and her hands were up around her mouth while she giggled like a 10 year old. I knew she was something special when she saw the beauty of my brother getting laid on his trip down here, and even more so for the extra curricular stuff.

She spent the day at home, and Duff and I kicked it down at the Shedd. The line was long, it was worth it, so he could see it all again (we used to visit the Shedd when we were kids like it was going to Church - on family vacations to visit Grandma.) We got home in time to change, and then catch the Red Line down to State and Grand for dinner with the three of us at Shaw's Crabhouse on Hubbard St.

A lot of people like to bag on Shaw's. Sure, it's a Lettuce Entertain You place, essentially a chain. All of their joints are 40's type retro places. But Shaw's is special to me. It's menu is far beyond that of a typical themed restaurant, and really, it's not themed at all. It's a seafood place, with an inviting interior and a menu that changes daily. The waitstaff are incredibly knowledgeable, they know the specials backwards and forwards, and my dining experience there just two weeks prior for a work lunch meeting had me making reservations there again that night.

And miraculously we ended up with the same waiter I had at the working lunch. Who was a big part of the reason I came back. We met after having a cocktail in the bar, and Kat snapped this pic of my bro and I:

We sat down and Michael came over and gave us the spiel. We all ordered drinks, and then Kat ordered salmon, myself the halibut, and Duff, of course, got a 20 ribeye topped with $6 worth of blue cheese. It was a wonderful dinner. Expensive, but worth it to have Duffy there enjoying it with me and Kat. Michael was with us all night long, asking us about Alaska, and making jokes with us. He comped us dessert and a round of drinks, and we gave him nearly a 40% tip.

As we were leaving, Michael came out to thank us, and we told him no problem, it was the topper of a fantastic weekend. My brother clarified: Saw my favorite band, broke a 2 year dry spell...

"And she let me put it up her butt."

Once Michael got up off the floor, he said goodbye and we left.

I said goodnight to Kat and Duff and I went home. He was on a plane the next morning, and the weekend came to a close. But it lasted in my daydreams at work that whole week, and it's repercussions were even felt months later.


The following Valentine's Day. Kat and I are at Shaw's for dinner. Upon arriving at the restaurant, we realize to ask for Michael's section and he's working that night, so there they seat us. After walking with Kat back to our table, I excuse myself to run to the men's room. As I stroll back through the restaurant, I pass Michael, and we recognize each other instantly. After 5 months, he looks me in the eye and says, "Alaska." Upon returning to our table, Michael is sitting there, talking with Kat.

He then told us that he took our story to the entire kitchen, and my brother is probably now the most famous patron in the history of Shaw's Crabhouse.

Ah, the power of a great story.


Tomorrow Night!

My band, The Midnight Shows, is live at Dark Room, 2210 W. Chicago Ave.

A sexy, dancable mix of soul and rock, you will groove your ass off and I guarantee you will make out with someone! Might be your wife or husband, or boyfriend or whatever...but if you're single, you gotta like the odds.

We go on at 9:30...so plenty of room to get home in time for bed...(yeah, right).


Guinness and Chili

I greeted the weather this morning with a gusty sigh into the cold breeze and smiled. I hope it's here to stay.

How tragic and almost taunting, that it's finally arrived less than 72 hours after Sunday's debacle, the Marathon. I am so glad it worked out I wouldn't be running this year...even though all I did was sit around in the heat most of the morning, serving brunch to rude non-tippers. It was supposed to be an epic weekend in Cleveland with the Midnight Shows. We had a gig all set to play Fishbone's (yes, of Bonin' in the Boneyard - they are back on tour) afterparty at the Cleveland's House of Blues.

I had sacrificed enough for myself and my racing at the expense of my music and musical colleagues. So when we found out we'd be touring the weekend of the Marathon, I figured we'd get more than enough free booze to offset the $120 registration feee. But our drummer felt it wasn't very important enough to go, even though she committed to those shows. They were to be her last. We liked her a lot. Very talented and had time like an atomic clock. But she killed the whole weekend for all of us simply by deciding she didn't want to drive out to Cleveland. Breaking her word.

Not to bring everyone down. Regardless of it all, I wasn't running in that furnace on the city streets last Sunday. I'm glad it wasn't my first marathon.

Were you there? Was it your first time? Or 10th? I'd love to hear from you regarding how it all really went down at those water stations. Was it really poor planning? Reckless neglect by the organizers? Did you have to run into Walgreen's along the route for a Gatorade?

Bring the Haterade for the marathon in my comments section!



I guess I can skip that protein shake.


The Year of the Rat

It's coming.

My year. The year of the Rat.

Epic days and epic nights. Weekends, and the month. 2008 is the Year of the Rat, and although it is technically next year on my birthday, the Year rolled in on the heels of my ride back from Evanston on last Sunday night, thunder rolling in the distance and finally soaking me to the skin as I arrived at my door shortly after midnight. Lightning flashed on the blowing leaves, like a camera-shot, showing green in the night, as though it were a negative in my eyes.


Where do I begin?
...rats are leaders, pioneers and conquerors...
Last month began, as I so meticulously cataloged, with my layoff from my corporate job, and my life tumbling head over heels down the stairs and out the set of the creaky doors, spilling out into the sunlight. I took advantage of the daylight, and never took a faltering step. The very same week, less than two days later I was up before dawn to ride and train, bringing pain to fight the pain. Very soon after, I completed the race of my life, and began interviewing for jobs I never would have considered myself qualified to take. Including waiting tables.

How could I have ever thought I would be in this position 5 years ago? I wouldn't have occurred in the most delusional fantasy, much less that I would be good at it, or that I would like it.
A rat's natural charm and sharp demeanor make it an appealing friend for almost anyone...
At first the training was degrading, menial. Following around a server, being told the most basic tasks -, so obvious, that of course I would never have thought of them - of serving. And to smile though it all. The rudeness, the complaints, the too-fast pace, 5 tables sitting down at once, and going home with nothing but a $4.50 an hour wage, a free meal, and no tips. That is training at a restaurant. Fortunately, it only lasted 3 days, and then I was thrown to the lions.

And like Daniel, didn't fight them, but swallowed my pride (heh heh heh) and joined them. I have come to enjoy everything about this job, and my new identity as a server. It has made me much more humble, thrifty, independent, and not afraid to ask for help. And much more generous and understanding. The last two qualities I feel I have never been short on so I feel that is saying something.

The highlight of my new job however, came just this past Thursday night. It was one of those, yes, epic nights, as my friend Luke likes to say. It was Cubs Night, Game 2, highly anticipated after the nail-biter the night before, and I was closing. The best tables for money, right by the bar. Those people aren't there to eat dinner, tell their kids to stop playing with their food or send back the soup. They are there to drink. My new boss was sitting right at the middle table, as well, racking up a huge tab, including 2 bottles of wine. But when the ladies came in, the night was not looking as promising as I'd hoped, as many of the tables, had camped out, waiting out the long game with water instead of beer, not paying for their prime real estate.

But, the ladies came and rescued me. A bachelorette party of 12 came and sat in the back room, and it was inexplicably given to me. I already had the prime tables, but I drew first blood when they opened the party room up. It was round after round of shots, some on the tab, but several in a row of comped drinks, as the bartenders tried to get rid of some old, cheap alcohol. The tab grew longer and longer.

At one point, as I brought in another round of blow-job shots, the girls asked me to settle a debate. What is the proper "motorboating" technique?

A "motorboat" - since a visual is way better than a description:

"Do we push 'em together or leave them apart?"

I knew where this was going immediately, and stayed quiet, just smiling. It didn't work. "Would you do it on her?" And pointed to the girl at the table who appeared to have cantaloupes under her sweater. "Ohhhh, no," I laughed. "Are you serious?" Melon-girl was most enthusiastic that I motorboat on her. "Noooo, noo, nonononono," I protested, laughing. "Really?!"

Another girl screamed, "her boobs are a size G!" I looked at Melon-girl, who nodded sheepishly. I confirmed that they were absolutely serious. "Should I have you sign something that I won't get sued?" This brought waves of laughter, and Ellen just pulled her neckline down. When would I have a chance to do this on a set of G's again? The pictures were all too late, if I had waited for the flash to go off, I would had my face in her tits for at least 10, long, beautiful seconds, an eternity in which any number of other employees could've walked in, not the least one of the all-female managerial staff. But, I swear, true story. Later, when I walked in with another round of shots, the top was off. Girls just wanna have fun.

They left me more than a 30 per cent tip on a pretty big bill, and combined with my manager's tip on her 100 per cent comped tab, it made my night pretty worthwhile for the lack of sleep.
Rat in general should guard themselves against hedonism, as it may lead to self-destruction...
The actual birthday on Monday was an amazing one, the best I think I've ever had. It included an 80-mile solo ride down just past 145th street, past the south-side city-limits, a team-meeting, a rehearsal, and a last-minute change in plans to meet up at Quencher's. Good-friends, new-friends, old-friends alike. Quencher's kicking us out couldn't keep us down, and we loaded up and headed to Underbar. Rudy dropped us off at 4:30 in front of her apartment. She called in sick when the alarm went off about 4 hours later, and we had a leisurely lunch across the square around 1.
They are charming, passionate, charismatic, practical and hardworking...
And Friday, following my very successful (hopefully) interview in Northbrook, networked through a teammate, I helped him install his new bike rack on his car after he drove me back to the city. We shared a couple beers, cursing over stripped screws, bruised thumbs, and the dying daylight. We planned to drive out to the Fall Fling road race the next day in Rockford.

He left on a date, and another teammate invited me over for wine and pizza as a birthday dinner. He is a wine rep by profession, and is helping me network in that area. I love wine, and the chance to have fun night chatting and BSing over some bottles I'd never find on my own was too good to pass up. We drank too much, ate too much, and I got home too late. A great night. I rationalized that I didn't want to sit in traffic 4 hours to ride in a 40 mile race, when I could sleep an extra hour, not drive anywhere, and get in 80 miles, and still be home in time to get a nap and not be late to work. It was a grand ride, missing the usual suspects - at the race, but it was scorcher, and I met several new potential teammates. I certainly began to feel the benefits of my new training plan on the bike, since having hired the coach. We rode very hard, and had at least 5 sprints.
They are energetic and versatile and can usually find their way around obstacles, and adapt to various environments easily...
The interviews are coming in fast and furious, and hopefully growing to a critical mass. As of Friday, I will have had at least three in seven days, barring any new ones popping up on the schedule. 2 of them could potentially double my salary.

Hopefully all of them will let me continue working at the restaurant.

If all this can happen in one month, just think of what a year will bring.