2015 in review…(aka my “Holiday Newsletter”; grotesque navel staring)


Ok, like most people, I have some things that are important to me that I am keeping private. I can say that my health, finances and job are fine. I just make this statement, because some view these “here is what is going on with me newsletters” as PR which pretends that things are better than they really are.

So, in my omission, there is nothing life threatening or even all that unusual.

This is really written for me but I am making it available to friends who might be interested in parts of it.

Personal Life Pretty much same old, same old. This was the first year complete year without my parents. What was different is that I only made one trip to Austin this year, and that was to visit my daughter. This was the day after my mathematics conference at TCU ended. I did make several trips to Ohio to visit her and bring her to Peoria. We also toured the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Museum together this fall.

Barbara took several trips; I guess that she was gone for about a total of 2 months.

About the only other thing is that I had a personal administrative task early this year.

Professional life I didn’t make as much progress on research as I hoped. But I was busy. I did have one large administrative task this summer. I also taught “life contingencies” which is a part of actuarial science; the material was completely new and foreign to me. It was almost as if *I* were taking a brand new course. That was very draining.

I also taught topology for the first time. I’ve linked to the class blog; I had a ball writing it. It still gets a few hits here and there.

I also had a nice conference at TCU; I talked about my own research and outlined some ideas I have on extending it. My research is in this area.

I also have some other ideas to mull over. Next week?

I reviewed 3 articles (Math Reviews and Math Z); I got an idea from a couple of these papers.

Goals for 2016
One of my goals is to submit a paper for publication.

The stuff I can’t control: we had mass resignations of upper administration (President, Provost, Athletic Director); that occupied the thoughts of many of us.

Sports life: personal sports

This was a disappointment. Running: 25:27 was my fastest 5K; I had only a few others under 26 minutes, and none after May. I have slowed from 2014. But perhaps this was due to my flirting with the very long stuff again; I had a 59.9 mile 24 hour in June (no training), 5:48 walking marathon in October (and I really did train for this), and a disaster of a trail 30 miler this November (tired from the marathon 3 weeks earlier?).

Perhaps the highlights were the 24 hour and the Illinois Valley Half Marathon: I walked a very slow time (did 4 miles prior to the race). But during the walk, I had a very fun back and forth with a local GILF who gave me good natured grief along the way. It is rare that I have fond memories from a bad race, but this is one of those times.

Swimming: I worked back to 2-3 times per week, but didn’t do a single 10 x 100 set where I got under 1:40 for each one, but I am close to being able to do that now. I can do 200’s on the 4 under 3:30.

Weight lifting: On a good day I can do a couple of sets of 15 (on the way to at total of 50 repetitions). Max bench press was 200, and I got 4 x 185 at that bodyweight on the bench press. I haven’t declined that much this year.

Goals for 2015
None at the moment; I have to decide if I want to focus on long walking or 5K running, or even focus on swimming.

Social I started off the year with a NFL playoff game (my first): Colts vs. Bengals and Bradley Basketball.
I was a faithful fan, but the men’s season was a disaster and the women…well..showed some hope later in the season.

I also caught one NIT game (Illinois State)

Then I watched a ton of Chiefs games (low A minor league baseball). I anticipate more of the same; it is a pleasant way to spend a summer evening.

Then football: a full season of Illinois home games (6 games), one Baldwin Wallace D-3 home game and one FCS playoff game (Illinois State). I also caught a slew of NFL games: 5 Rams home games, 2 Colts home games, and I have a ticket for a Chiefs home game tomorrow. I even managed to go to one of the games…well…make it 3 of the games, with a complete crew. I did make 2 games solo and am about to make a third.

Why so many? I think that part of it is that I no longer do lots of marathons/ultra marathons and I don’t drive to Texas anymore. And, there is something about a road trip that is just uplifting, especially if it is to do a specific thing (e. g. marathon) or see something (e. g. a game).


I am not sure as to what will happen next year, especially if the Rams leave to Los Angeles. Sometimes, it has been a chore rounding up people to go with, though I have enjoyed my two solo NFL trips.

It hasn’t gotten to the point where people run away when they see me coming with tickets…but it might get to that point. 🙂

Friendships I talked about this earlier. Doing stuff with people is fine. But it is tricky line between saying “I care” and starting to give unsolicited suggestions to those who are acting in a self-destructive manner. I’ll be a better friend if I practice “MYOB” more often…as in “all of the time.”

What I have learned in 2015: on the average, liberals are every bit as guilty of “bubble thinking” and “failing to examine their assumptions” as conservatives are. I am guilty of this at times.


December 27, 2015 - Posted by | Friends, Navel Staring |

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