blueollie

low energy all around but life is good

I was sort of low energy today. I slept in..that felt good but I still had time for 10 miles:

My time: 2:33…15-15:10 mpm. Not much energy but I got it in.

Then I had lunch with Tracy and assembled a chest of draws for her; I am just terribly incompetent.

By the time I was done…I was tired and resolved to go home and rest..I had given up on making the Chiefs game; it was 5:45 and the Chiefs game started at 6:30. But I said…”what the hell” and left the house at just before 6.

I had time to get a ticket, get a cheeseburger and watch the game (3-1 Timber Rattlers winning; 2 run home run and then an insurance run in the top of the 9’th).

Contrast the above to the 7 dollar ticket that I got for Friday night’s White Sox vs. Cleveland game:

It was a full, if unproductive, day.

I have much to write about, re: my Chicago trip, but this trip, my nights were taken up by 2 White Sox games (one with a buddy) and travel. I also had a very pleasant lunch with a friend.

With Pat at the Cubs vs. White Sox game (Cubs won 6-3; good game though)

Our view (better than the other one)

Michelle agreed to go to lunch; I had not seen her since 1974 (in Yokota High School, Yokota Air Force Base, Japan). I played football with her brother Johnny.

I walked a bit; I did two Lakeshore path courses. This is from Northerly Island. You can see some of the skyline and Soldier Field.

From below the Shedd Aquarium

There was some great mathematics too. There were a couple of talks I wish that I had prior to teaching certain courses, and one that I wish that I had early in graduate school.

This is Dusa McDuff. She was the main speaker and gave three great talks. She is a professor at Columbia and..a member of the National Academy of Science (a very elite list, very elite; most Ivy league faculty do not make it). And yet..she rode the L to get to the airport. Someone of her accomplishment in, say, economics, would have been given a personal limo.

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July 31, 2017 Posted by | baseball, Friends, mathematics, travel, walking | , , | 1 Comment

Chicago day one

Took the bus from Peoria to O’Hare airport (got a bit carsick) then the L from the airport to downtown (went fine). Sox vs. Cubs tonight; lunch with an old friend tomorrow!

On the L; a lady went to sit next to me but lost her balance a bit and fell partially into me. She apologized (and yes, I had my wallet; this was really an accident) but hey, worse things have happened to me. 🙂

So it is day one; I should practice my talk a few more times.

Workout notes: though the gym is extra, it is a genuine gym. So I got 56:30 on the treadmill (threat of thunderstorms kept me off of the Lakeshore path, which I hope to visit later today or tomorrow) and I did 2 sets of 10 squats to the 20 inch box (50, then 60 goblet style). The run felt good, for a change. I varied the pace, starting at 5.1; I did back off a bit in the final .75 miles.

July 27, 2017 Posted by | running, travel, weight training | Leave a comment

Unreasonable anxiousness

It seems as if, more and more, I get a bit anxious before I travel. It usually goes fine and I suspect that this trip will as well.

Twitter: I kind of stepped into it:

Wow..almost 1000 likes. Oh, I’ve heard from some..well, I’d assume second rate Russian bots and some not-so-bright dissenters too.

Problems of people with small butts
We often hear about the problems of those with big butts Well, those of us with small butts also have problems. For example, if I forget to tighten that drawstring on my shorts, the shorts start to slide down when I do pull ups or rope skips! And there are flip turns in the pool…

Workout notes: hip hikes, rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), incline presses: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 8 x 150 (hips were fine), military (dumbbell) 15 x 55 seated, supported, 20 x 40 standing, machine: 10 x 200. rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 dumbbell, 10 x 110 machine. Headstand (went ok), 20 rope skips (shorts started to slide)

run: 11:37 first mile on the treadmill…just was NOT into it, so I walked 3 more miles outside, focusing on posture. They were taking down a tree in upper Bradley park.

July 26, 2017 Posted by | politics/social, running, social/political, walking | | Leave a comment

Pre-packing entertainment: college football memories

Oh yeah, I am painfully aware of the fiasco in the Senate. I’ve had some things to say and I am getting way more responses on Twitter than I am used to.

My political account is here:

Now if I could remove just ONE politician from office (by edict) : well, it would be Trump since he is unstable and has the nuclear codes. But if he were a stable person (and just did stuff that I didn’t like politically), then I’d remove McConnell, as he has quite a bit of political skill.

Now for the post Since I am talking about disasters and dumpster fires and NOT talking about my own footraces, that means Illinois football.
I’ve had season tickets for 6 years (and I did see them a couple of times in person..one was a 51-3 loss to USC in the 1990s)

I also went to 4 years of Navy games (and caught a couple of road games) and 9 years of University of Texas games.

Now Navy and Texas were much more successful, overall, than Illinois. In the 6 years I’ve had season tickets, 7-6 and 6-7 were the BEST records.

So riddle me this: (aside from the singular 51-3 loss I talked about): who got beat the worst at home among Texas, Navy and Illinois? (for a true home game, not a “road home game”)

That’s right: TEXAS.

I am not counting the 46-3 loss in the Cotton Bowl to a strong Miami team.

The 1988 Texas team got annihilated 66-15 at home by Houston (quarterbacked by future Heisman trophy winner Andre Ware) and the 1989 team got smeared 50-7 by Baylor. And there was the 1976 team that got drummed 30-0 by Houston at home and 27-3 by Texas A&M.

Navy: while I did see Navy get stomped 33-0 by Notre Dame in 1980, that was in Giants stadium in New Jersey..same with the 35-0 pounding by Houston. But at home, the worst loss was 30-14 to Syracuse (who had future NFL greats Art Monk and Joe Morris).

But Illinos: in the 6 years that I watched them at home, well, they lost a lot of games but, as a rule, they never lost by 30 points or more at home the way that Texas did.

2011: 31-14 to Michigan (17 points). 2012: 52-24 to La. Teach (ok, it was up to 52-17 when La. Tech let up), 35-7 to Penn State , 2013: 56-32 to Wisconsin and 60-35 to Ohio State, 2014: 30-14 to Iowa, 2015: 28-3 to Ohio State. 2016: 40-17 to Minnesota (misleading), 34-10 to Western Michigan, 48-23 to North Carolina, 28-0 to Iowa (ok, 4 losses by 20+ points is a lot).

But nothing as bad as what I saw with Texas; no 30+ point losses at home. The biggest spread was 28 points.

Weird, huh?

July 26, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, politics, politics/social | , , | Leave a comment

Serving two masters

Politics It is a shame to see Senator McCain let himself be used by Senator McConnell to try to “shame” the other Republican senators into holding the line and moving forward with the “motion to proceed”. Courage in battle doesn’t translate to “courage in politics”.

That is just too depressing to think about.

Workout notes
The bad news: my running has taken a major nosedive. It is tough to do more than easy treadmill running.
The good news: walking is improving (right knee: slightly sore…)

today: I felt a bit bored with working out and so did a “jog two laps, skip rope 25 reps (had two misses in my skips)” then attempted a run on the treadmill. that turned into a run/walk for 1.25 miles.
Then I quit that, went to the track and walked 4 miles of “walk 3 laps steady and deliberately, 1 lap to recover the mind” and that took me 51:45 (13:27, 12:50, 12:51, 12:36). This was NOT at interval intensity.

So..I emphasize walking and the running suffers. But the walking improves. Go figure.

July 25, 2017 Posted by | political/social, politics, running, walking | Leave a comment

Trivial tasks..ugh

I spent much of the day getting a talk ready, and it isn’t even that long of a talk. The paper will be…ugh.

Workout notes: sort of low energy: weights, rope skips, 2 mile walk, focusing on posture.

Weights: hip hikes, rotator cuff, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench presses: 10 x 135, 1 x 190 (FAIL), 3 x 190 (better; but empty gym), 4 x 185 (again, empty gym), incline: 10 x 140 (easy)
military: 15 x 55 seated, supported (dumbbells), 10 x 45 standing, 20 x 40 standing. rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 dumbbell, 1 set of 10 x 60 dumbbell
abs: 2 sets of 12 twist crunch, 10 yoga leg lifts, head stand (easy?)
rope skips: 17, 48, 27, 16
Then the walk; it was a bit cooler this morning.

July 25, 2017 Posted by | walking, weight training | Leave a comment

Depressing state of politics

Ok, it is no secret that I never considered Donald Trump to be suitable POTUS material. Enough of my countrymen disagreed enough for him to squeak by in the Electoral College though he lost the popular vote by about 3,000,000 votes (and if you start complaining that is a fake statistic because of “illegals voting”, you are too stupid to be reading my blog, so just get lost right now).

Now our rough, tough, MAKE AMERICA GREAT AGAIN president is…whining?

Pathetic. But it probably plays to his hard core supporters because, well, many of them are also whiny little victims. A great explanation is here: (and he uses a King Solomon story to help make his point)

Upshot: remember those pitiful “what has happened to my country” whines when President Obama was in office? (if you want to be nauseated, watch at 1:15)

They had an idea of what their country was like (no, it never was that way), and they had a skilled con man running to saying “he would make it great again” by…well, sticking it to the liberals. Sure the real agenda is the same as it always was (tax cuts for the wealthiest among us), and they sold it to the base by, well, attacking people like me.

So that brings me to the Democrats.

And I’ll say it: as evil as I think the elite Republican mission is (the tax cuts for the wealthy above all else), they are better politicians than we are. And their “message to the base” is an easier sale; all one has to do is to cherry pick a few ridiculous college campus incidents to get people fired up about how ridiculous liberals are (like this one)

(for the record: there are crackpot professors…but it has gotten so ridiculous that people who have never set foot in a college classroom see fit to tell me what goes on in colleges and how *I* brainwash students into not working hard, hating American, etc.)

So, what are Democrats about? We are supposed to be about a society that works for all, including the less talented, the disabled, the poor, the sick, those born into tough circumstances, etc.

And guess what? That is a tough sell. The Republicans glorify the rich…and well, most all of us want to be rich, or at least moderately comfortable.

Who wants to be poor, sick, laid off, mentally ill, or disabled?

We Democrats talk about safety nets (e. g. Medicaid) and minimum wages. BUT FEW WANT TO HAVE TO USE SAFETY NETS, TO BE ON MEDICAID OR TO WORK FOR MINIMUM WAGE. These policy issues are tough to rally around and those who would benefit the most vote at low rates. (directly, anyway; the economy does benefit from safety net programs). “The poor” is not that big of a voting block and much of the “working class” really isn’t poor.

Yes, there are people who will never grow much past a minimum wage job and Democratic policies might help them, but no one wants to face up to the fact that they are doomed to be stuck on that rung for life.

And so we get critiques of how well the Democrats are doing (and yes, “pathetic” is accurate). Oh, true, we did win the popular vote in 6 of the last 7 Presidential elections (2004 was the exception) but the EC hurt us in 2000 and really hurt us in 2016.

So we try to critique ourselves, and get, well, pathetic articles like this one. Example:

When the poll came out saying that “Democrats stand for nothing more than opposing” Trump, I thought to myself, ‘If only that were true!’” But they can’t even do that well. When House Democratic Caucus chairman Joe Crowley was asked by the Associated Press just what his party’s core message was, he “hesitated” and then said, “That message is being worked on.”

It was as tone deaf (but honest) an answer as when Mother Jones writer Kevin Drum – as sycophantic a representative of the Democratic party in the punditocracy as there is – wrote about how people would have to be “crazy” not to “have a reflective disgust” of people who are homeless and mentally ill.

Considering homeless people are also disproportionately black, LGBT, disabled and, of course, poor, Drum managed to reveal the disdain the liberal elite has of wide swaths of Americans.

Uh, I think the latter is just reality. Most people do have at least an internal “yuck” reaction to many of the homeless and mentally ill.

My response is that we need to use our morals and intellect to work past that “yuck” response ..and to realize that our discomfort might be born from fear that we are just a single (or a few) unlucky incidents from being just like that homeless or mentally ill person.

Example: what if I sustain a head injury that harms my ability to even do math, much less teach and research it? Oh sure, there is enough in the bank to have the home free and clear (and pay taxes) but what about that income? I have disability insurance, but times would get tougher, very quickly.

Nevertheless, articles such as the one I quoted attempt to throw cold water on what I think are needed, frank discussions.

And there is the old “Bernie would have won” bullshit. Yes, I am aware of the polls that showed him beating Trump head to head by bigger margins than Clinton was leading by..but you don’t think that the Trump analytics team would have absolutely vaporized Sanders? Please.

And some are saying he is the 2020 front runner? Oh, spare me. Oh yes, Hillary Clinton is not a great campaigner and I think that she is done, just as Al Gore was in 2000. But Bernie Sanders? Nope.

Oh well, this is why I haven’t written much about politics this year. I consider Trump to be dangerously incompetent and temperamentally unsuited for the job. But I consider my party to be politically incompetent.
In short, the Republicans can win elections but cannot govern; the Democrats can govern but suck at elections.

And yes, I think that the extreme political skill (and policy chops) of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama hid many of our party’s weaknesses. How many of these “purple unicorns” (blessed with show business AND policy skills like Pres. C and Pres. O) do we have?

It is just too depressing right now.

July 24, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, economy, politics, politics/social, republicans, republicans politics, social/political | | Leave a comment

Is there such a thing as a bad workout? (sans a setback)

Ok, of course, it is not good to get injured, or say, take away from an upcoming event by overdoing it prior to the event (e. g. doing 16 x 400 2 days prior to a marathon).

But aside from disasters and silliness…

A friend asked “is there such a thing as a bad workout?”

Answer: “what do you mean by bad?”

Today, it was hot (by Illinois standards) and my walking pace was ridiculous (16:25)

As far as my convoluted course: I started out and noticed a few things:

1. I was hot and sweaty within the first 10 minutes
2. My pace was snail like (16 minutes, when I like to be 15:00 at the Broadway/Columbia Terrace intersection )
3. My legs felt heavy from the get go
4. My bladder was..full..

So when I got to Forrest Hill, I did not turn north on Central but rather continued to Prospect and then into upper Glenn Oak to the tennis court bathroom.

At this point, I said to myself: “survival test”…and decided to take a few selfies and not worry about my time. I kept my time so I could go on a non-standard route and know when to turn home.
So I went through upper Glenn Oak park (yeah, saw a couple of bespandexed cuties), and then decided to take it to the Cemetery.

In the cemetery, I realized it would be a tough sell to ask my body to take the trail to the Tower..and yeah, I was already getting sick of the “weekend cyclists”. (there weren’t that many but..I was grumpy). So I turned left, went over the lower bridge and up the hill, taking right hand turns to add mileage. Then at the top, back to Forrest Hill then right on Central, to Marietta. But on Marietta, I took the bike path to Glenn, then right on Glenn to the Tower.

I had guzzled one bottle, so I did a refill. Oh yes, took my second electrolyte tablet…I will keep taking these. They help.

Then I went down Prospect, right on Marietta and back on Boredom..but I did get to Bootz via Hansler (Sheridan/McClure intersection is under construction).

Then back home. I must have looked terrible; at least one person asked how I was doing and it appeared that one other car stopped to ..check on me? (University student driver). But I felt…well, fine. I was slow as hell though…perhaps my posture was bad.

Now about the question I suppose that a workout is a success if it further advances one’s goals..it can be for pleasure, exercise, or training for an event.
In my case, I’d call it a “bad workout” because I was so blasted slow; that hurts my confidence. But ..I did 5 miles at a 12:20 pace yesterday (walking) and 13.1 at 12:24 last weekend. So I know that I haven’t fallen apart.

I should be experienced enough to know it was just the heat and the wear and tear from last weekend..and two decent workouts in a row.

But…on the other hand, I am a bit of a head case, and I suspect that many of my endurance sports friends are as well..and sometimes we have a workout that is way slower than normal. Today: that was me. But I really am ok..and I do not feel drained, wiped out, etc.

July 23, 2017 Posted by | walking | , | Leave a comment

What’s in store for Illinois Football this year?

Ok, time to speculate on what might happen to Illinois football.

I’ve heard it said that Illinois regressed between 2015 and 2016. I am not so sure.
Yes, Illinois went 5-7 in 2015 and 3-9 in 2016. BUT:
1) the 5-7 record was against a schedule that featured 8 Big Ten games; the 3-9 featured 9 Big Ten games.
In 2015, the Illini went 2-6 (narrow win vs. Nebraska at home, easy win at Purdue); the 2016 version went 2-7, winning easily at Rutgers and narrowly at home vs. Michigan State.

2. As far as the non-conference schedule, in 2015 they had two easy wins vs bad opponents, a blowout loss to North Carolina and a very narrow win vs. Middle Tennessee (missed field goal at the very end). In 2016, the Illini faced North Carolina and a strong Western Michigan team (both blowout losses) and one very bad FCS team (easy win)

3. In 2015, two of the wins were, well very fortunate. As I stated earlier, Middle Tennessee missed a 41 yard field goal at the end and the game against Nebraska: well, let’s just say that Nebraska had the game all but won and had some terrible clock management with about 1:2x to play and Illinois out of time outs. Those could have easily been losses.

On the other hand, Illinois really should have won the Purdue game at home; they made some key mistakes in regulation and in overtime.

So what is in store? Via ESPN

Sat, Sept 2 vs Ball State 68.7% -11.2 (104) —
Sat, Sept 9 vs Western Kentucky 52.0% -5.3 (80) —
Fri, Sept 15 @ South Florida 14.5% 3.9 (47) —
Fri, Sept 29 vs Nebraska 36.4% 1.6 (56) —
Sat, Oct 7 @ Iowa 13.5% 5.4 (40) —
Sat, Oct 14 vs Rutgers 56.2% -7.4 (88) —
Sat, Oct 21 @ Minnesota 25.5% -1.4 (68) —
Sat, Oct 28 vs Wisconsin 6.3% 17.5 (9) —
Sat, Nov 4 @ Purdue 49.0% -9.5 (97) —
Sat, Nov 11 vs Indiana 33.2% 1.0 (59) —
Sat, Nov 18 @ Ohio State 0.8% 29.1 (1) —
Sat, Nov 25 vs Northwestern 16.3% 8.8 (29)

What this means: Illinois is favored in 3 games (Ball State, Western Kentucky, Rutgers), and almost even vs. Purdue.
Best chances for upsets: Nebraska and Indiana at home, Minnesota on the road.

My take:

1) Western Kentucky is underrated. They split with Louisiana Tech last year; I really do not see the Illini winning this game.
2) As far as Illinois vs Purdue: the visiting team has won the last 5 games. Maybe we will see a 6’th?

I can really take nothing for granted; not even Ball State (though the Illini really should win that game).

My best guess:
6-6 if everything goes right (wins over Ball State, Rutgers, Purdue, the 3 of (WKU, Neb, MN, IN, NW)
2-10 if everything goes wrong (Ball State, Rutgers)

Realistically: 4-8 (a lot like Beckman’s 2’nd team), with wins over Ball State, Rutgers, Purdue, and ONE of (WKU, Neb, MN, IN, NW) This closely aligns with the above ESPN model, that has Illinois winning 3.7 games.

The bottom line is that the Illini lost almost all of their best players from last year, save the star wide receiver who hurt his knee the last two years in a row; will be the same?

Most of the magazines are saying 2-10 to 3-9.

Fan note: the fact that I made up a spreadsheet of Illinois games (season tickets), Illinois State games (maybe 3?), Colts games (maybe 2?) and Bears games (1-2?) means nothing. 🙂

Workout notes: 5 treadmill miles in 1:02:15 (walking); thunderstorms outside.

July 22, 2017 Posted by | college football, football, walking | | Leave a comment

Why do people lie about dumb stuff?

Yes, I can understand (but do not approve of) lying for gain and maybe even lying to not hurt someone’s feelings (in subjective matters…say, giving a sympathy “like” to someone’s …let’s just say, less than attractive selfie or “less than impressive but they appear to be proud of it” performance. No…I am not one who does this…ok, I might do this on very rare occasion but rarely with someone I consider to be a friend.

But why lie about..say, a time you ran, a weight you lifted, a team you claim to have played for, etc.? After all, someone who knows enough to be genuinely impressed will know that you are full of crap, and others..well, why seek approval from someone who doesn’t know the area?

Sometimes I wonder if it a sort of test..to see if you’ll attempt to “one up them”, in which case, they’ll know that you are a liar. It might be a way of sizing you up.

How I handle it: with someone I don’t know, I might say “wow…I’ve never even been close to that..here is what I’ve done…” and give them an honest accounting of what I’ve done.

It is amazing how many “400 lb. bench pressers“, “12-13 minutes per mile walkers”, former “NCAA/NFL” players there are out there. (*)

Workout notes:

Weights, rope skips, 2 mile run, goblet squats:

weights: rotator cuff, hip hikes, toe raises, pull ups (5 sets of 10, good), bench: 10 x 135, 4 x 190, 8 x 170, incline: 10 x 140, military: 15 x 55 dumbbell, (seated, supported), 10 x 45 standing, 20 x 40 standing, rows: 2 sets of 10 x 55 dumbbell (each arm), 10 x 110 machine.

2 mile treadmill run: 10:35 mile 1, 8:35 mile 2, 2.1 in 20:00
rope skips: 29, 34, 37 to get to 100. I am spastic….just awful.
goblet squats: 10 x 44 (to 24 inches), 5 x 60 (lower bench), 10 x 62 (24 inches), 5 x 60 (lower bench)

(*) And if you must know: I boxed in college PE class (made an 86 on my final), flamed out in high school sports, (football, wrestling) ran a 5:30 mile, bench pressed 310 (at 230 lbs. bodyweight; current best is 200 at 195 lbs. bodyweight, 57 years of age), 3:33 marathon (lifetime, 1980, 3:38 masters, 2000), 1:34 half marathon (1999, 40 years old), 18:57 5K (1982, 20:37 at 40), 39:50 10k (1982, masters best is 42:27 in 1999) 101 miles of walking in 24 hours (2004), 4:44 powerwalk marathon (2002, not judged), 2:17 half marathon powerwalk (monitored), judged racewalks: 8:31 1500, 18:03 3000, 30:42 5K, 2:27 20K, all between 42-43 years of age.

Swim: 1:36 5K swim (2008 Big Shoulders) , 15:36 1000 (my own), 15:59 official meet.

July 21, 2017 Posted by | running, social/political, weight training | , | Leave a comment