Relaxing hike

Easy peasy, 7 mile walk from the Heights tower to the FPNC trailhead and around. I didn’t exactly kill myself.

I don’t know whether to sign up for the Quad Cities Marathon or not; they have a 7 hour limit and a 7 am start and I’ve finished some longer walks in heat this time around. I appear to be somewhat faster in the longer walks than last year but.. we shall see. I was hoping to be either much faster or much slower so a decision would be easy.

Observation: almost everyone I see hiking is slender; there are a few, rare exceptions.

July 29, 2018 Posted by | hiking | Leave a comment

Good intentions…bad results …

I read yet another editorial that calls for “abolishing requiring the SAT/ACT for college admissions” (which, to be sure, isn’t the same as placement into a program)

I know that the issue is worth talking about but one thing: what might work for one university might not work for another.

Yes, there are some elite universities that turn away thousands of students who CAN do the work. (example: Admiral Nimitz, of WW2 fame, was rejected by West Point but did well at Annapolis)

BUT that is certainly not the case at many (most?) universities. And when one looks at high school transcripts, seeing a student got a grade of A in, say, high school calculus does not really say that much either; I’ve seen many such students fail to place into freshman calculus ..and even struggle greatly in a pre-calculus class! Variation between high schools and grade inflation really make it difficult to screen based on high school transcripts alone.

And, eventually, some high schools develop reputations of sending underprepared students to college…so a student from such a school might well suffer from their school being “profiled” as low quality. So, an entrance exam score could well mitigate that effect.

So, my preferred method of affirmative action would be to take student backgrounds into account, as well as college entrance scores, at least for an institution like mine.

Workout notes: easy outer loop hike yesterday (3 miles), 2 mile walk after weights today.

I did my standard PT, 5 sets of 10 pull ups, decline: 10 x 135, 7 x 175, incline: 10 x 140, military (2 sets of 10 x 50 standing dumbbell, 10 x 180 machine, 3 sets of 3 x 210 Hammer rows).

Usual abs; 2:30 of plank still was uncomfortable.

May 23, 2018 Posted by | hiking, walking, weight training | | Leave a comment

Cleveland trip..

Workout notes: 4 miles on the treadmill in 46:40; 3 run in 32:50; 33:50 for 3.1 (breaker trip at 2.55 at 28:10; 6.1-6.2 to get to 3.1, then walked.

Later: Rocky River Park stairs (note: 2 minutes per uphill walk, steady, not fast, but deliberate).

Overall, it was a nice visit with Olivia and Barbara was great company as well.

Yesterday: Greater Cleveland Aquarium and Brunos.

Today: Rocky River Nature Preserve and lunch, and Half Price books.

We took a trolley tour of Cleveland afterward. Note the colorful blue paint on the bridge.

They had all sorts of fish.

Note the size of this could take air from the surface too.

The shark tank was interesting.

Yes, you could put your hand in the water to pet the stingrays.

Handsome toad.

At Brunos.

At Rocky River

The Nature Center has lots of rocking chairs and some animal exhibits.

The Stairs: 2 minute walk up. I did this 3 times, just for the heck of it (some ice still left). Great views from the top.

March 18, 2018 Posted by | family, hiking, running, travel, walking | , | Leave a comment

Easy Hike

2:15 (1:07 for the outer loop) from the Tower park.

I saw a few other hikers

December 23, 2017 Posted by | hiking | Leave a comment

Basketball Tuesday: Bradley Women, Illinois State Men

Wife out of town, and no classes…basketball time!

11 am: Bradley Women: hosting 7-3 Cleveland State. BU brought in 2500 grade school students on field trip day and they did make things a bit noisier, though the Cleveland State team threw candy at them (before the game)

The game started quickly and the first quarter (10 minutes) ended 23-22 Cleveland State; it was almost “defense optional” and both teams shot well. The second quarter saw BU play better on defense but only score 6 points (36-28). A 6-0 run by Cleveland State appeared to give them control; they were getting to the lose balls, driving, playing great defense, etc.

But Bradley fought back. The game became very close, with BU rebounding and playing better defense. As you can see from the photos, it was a 1 point game with 13 seconds to go. CSU shot very well from the free throw line, especially in the final minute.

But on the next to last possession, the Braves scored a 2 (instead of passing for the tying 3 point FG attempt). Cleveland State hit one of 2 to attain the final margin. It was an exciting game though..a tough test (after playing ranked Green Bay the previous game) so..perhaps this will play dividends in conference play.

Bradley Men: they just beat Southeast Missouri State 75-67 (today: Wednesday) ; I wouldn’t call them a great team yet, but they are much, much improved.

Remember where Bradley was over the past 4-5 years; this is a big improvement.

Illinois State Men

This ended in a 71-70 Illinois State victory. It was 7-6 early before UIC’s constant slashing driving offense (and 40 percent 3-point shooting) got them a lead; UIC was to shoot 49 percent for the game (mostly on drives) to ISU’s 39.7.

ISU fought back to take a 33-29 lead at the half.
Second half: same as the first; UIC constantly attacked the basket and built a 4-6 point lead. But ISU came back at the end taking the lead (for good) with 3:2x to go. UIC cut it to 2 with 44 seconds to go and then 1 with 5 seconds left.

Note: my ticket was midcourt …as midcourt as one could possibly get, and 10 rows up.

Social notes for the Illinois State game, I took the shuttle to and from the remote parking lot. On the way back, I overheard a guy say that he lived 90 minutes away but still had season tickets. I sat next to a very elderly lady (80’s?) who appeared to be by herself; from the conversations she appeared to follow the team closely. My wild guess: perhaps she used to go to games with her husband? I did not ask and do not know; I felt good that she could still go but bad because she seemed eager to have someone to talk to.

Workout notes: weights, then 4 mile hike at FPNC (outer loop then Valley Trail)
weights: usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10, last 2 sets were 7-3 (switch grip), incline press: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 6 x 150, military press: 15 x 55 (seated, supported), 10 x 45 standing, 10 x 80 (each arm) machine, rows: 10 x 55 (2 sets) 10 x 60.

December 20, 2017 Posted by | basketball, hiking, walking, weight training | , , | Leave a comment

Trump trolls and Warren (and others bite)

Ok, Trump acts like, well, Trump:

And…well, many women HAD to make this a sexual innuendo (the “would do anything for them”) though this phrase is often used to describe power hungry male politicians, crooked football coaches..even driven athletes. And yes, other liberal WOMEN have told me that they don’t see this as an inherent sexual innuendo (though many that I like and respect do).

So how do national Democratic politicians respond? Senator Elizabeth Warren:

Oh dear.. SLUT SHAMING???? is 2016 over again, and once again, Democrats are doubling down on what FAILED in 2016. They are going to paint Democrats as wildly out of touch kooks that try to make everything about misogyny, sexual harassment, etc. This really doesn’t sit well in the context of the Al Franken flap, where…even Republicans are making more sense than many mainstream Democrats.

I am so despondent right now. The Republicans have dreadful, simply dreadful policies. But the Democrats seem to insist on running as if the nation were a liberal arts college, which it isn’t.

At least the Alabama election between Jones and Moore is close, at the time being. Jones has a genuine chance as of this writing.

Workout notes: morning: I went to the treadmill; ran 10 minutes at 5.1, 10 more at 5.2, some at 5.3 (23:00 for 2 miles) then did 7 at 6.7, rest at 6.8 to get to 3.1 in 33:03. Walked to 46:40 for 4 miles.

noon: hike at Forest Park Nature center; 3.5 outer loop. It has been to long since I’ve been there.
Photos part I:
Photos part II:

December 13, 2017 Posted by | Democrats, hiking, political/social, politics, running | | Leave a comment

resting and more baseball

I wondered if I was getting rundown so I went to the Forest Park Nature Center (left from the Heights tower) and walked 2:12 (about 7 miles). Normally I don’t doubt the distance but this time Wakerobin was closed. So I took Deer run back to Possum Path to the Valley, then to Bee Tree to Cardinal, back to Valley and then to Wilderness (1:05 which is about my outer loop time) Spurs: 23:16 out, about 27 back (uphill..and tired).

Then it was time for some baseball. Bradley beat Illinois 8-6 to win the series 2-1. Of interest was the fielding. One one hand, 4 errors (3 in a 2 innings 5-6) kept ISU in the game. On the other hand, fielding saved the day. The center fielder made an “over the shoulder” catch on the warning track (near 400 feet) with 2 out and the bases loaded, and the first baseman made some great plays too.

A 2 run home run in the bottom of the 8’th provided the winning margin.

A Political Science professor and his wife (also a Ph. D. in political science) sat next to me.

April 23, 2017 Posted by | baseball, hiking, walking | | Leave a comment

FCS football can be fun: Western Illinois vs. North Dakota State

Workout notes: Yesterday, weights then an easy 4 mile walk along the Illinois River. Weights: 5 sets of 10 pull ups (reasonably good), bench presses were weak: 10 x 135, 1 x 185, 5 x 170, 7 x 155. Incline: 7 x 135.
military presses: 10 x 45 (2 sets) 10 x 40. Rows: 3 sets of 10 with last two 45/25 on each side. Abs: 2 sets of twist crunch yoga leg lifts and then headstand.

This morning: my usual route from the Heights Tower to the Forest Park Nature Center, 1:14 lower loop, 28 minutes for the spur back. Lots of leaves but good footing; pace was deliberate.

Along the way I chatted briefly with someone who was at last night’s Western Illinois vs. North Dakota State football game, a mom with her 15 year old son and some scavenger hunters. Total time was 2:30, about 10 minutes slower than the usual.

When I finish this, I’ll finish off some paperwork for my job.

Well, you didn’t expect me to miss the chance to see a football game, did you? When I saw that North Dakota State (winners of the last FIVE FCS national championships in a row) was visiting, I took the 90 minute (each way) trip to Macomb to watch the game.

I got there way early; it actually takes about 80 minutes and parking is plentiful…and there is a free lot right next to the stadium:


And tickets: 10 dollars for general admission and 15 for reserved; actually though I bought a reserved ticket, I moved to general admission so I could use the top row for its backrest and for standing. Even the top row seats are equal to prime seats at a Big Ten game. The concessions were more “hot dogs and chips” stuff so those with special dietary needs to take stuff in or tailgate (and there was a large, active, festive tailgate area). They had nice game programs which were free!


The post sunset sky was lovely; it was a perfect, crisp night for college football.


The teams walk from locker rooms which were about 100 yards away from the field.


As far as the FCS level: the teams don’t have the depth to complete, say, a Big Ten schedule. But their starters are excellent; just ask Northern Illinois (lost to Western Illinois), Northwestern (lost to Illinois State) or Iowa (lost to North Dakota State). My guess is that at least a couple of players I saw have a shot of playing on Sundays.

The game itself: it started off well for NDSU: they got a stop and then on their opening possession, drove it 60+ yards for a touchdown. It looked way too easy.


They used a mix of formations including a two tight end “pistol” package, the I and the conventional spread.

WIU countered with a drive and a field goal; they used a clock burning “run the clock down before running a play” scheme. NDSU got a touchdown and, on their next possession, threw an interception. WIU converted it to another field goal and it was 14-6.

NDSU ran an excellent 2 minute drill to score its third TD before the end of the half; WIU got the ball with 45 seconds to go and drove it close enough to get a field goal attempt, which was blocked. So it was 21-6 at the half.

I noticed that the WIU secondary made some fine open field tackles to prevent long touchdown runs; I wondered if NDSU would blow it open in the second half.

WIU actually controlled play the rest of the game, but mistakes cost them dearly.

WIU got a stop and then made a nice drive to cut the lead to 21-13; it appeared to me that momentum was shifting.

Then came the first of 2 key plays. WIU intercepted the ball and ran it back inside the NDSU 5 yard line. But a late hit on WIU pushed them back to the 20…the NDSU defense held and then blocked the field goal attempt.

WIU got the ball back and got first and goal at the 8. A pass made it to the 1 (I thought the runner was going to score, but he was turned back by a hard tackle. The next two plays from the 1 were stuffed, but NDSU was offside on 4’th down, so WIU got another chance. The runner fumbled the ball just prior to entering the end zone and NDSU recovered.

Still, WIU wasn’t finished; they stopped NDSU (who botched a field goal on a bad hold), threw another interception, but got the ball back again.

But at the end they were on their own end of the field with 40 seconds to go and no time outs; a final interception finished them off.

It was a great game to watch and extra exciting if you were a fan of either team (I was cheering for Western Illinois)


October 23, 2016 Posted by | college football, football, hiking, walking, weight training | , | Leave a comment

Fun hike and other topics

I did my 7 mile hike from the Heights Tower with T. Yeah, she took a tumble and I had a momentary ankle twist, but for a couple of old people, we got through it ok. It took us 2:25 but it was done at a “social” pace. It was 77 F with 90 percent humidity at the start; 85 F, 77 percent humidity at the end. Yes, I was soaked and T was also “dewy”. I really, really enjoyed it.


Marathons: The Olympic marathon will be run on the next two consecutive weekends; women this Sunday and men the next weekend. Though it is “winter” in Rio, the conditions will not be ideal for a fast time.

Politics Lessons from previous era: a political campaign is tough stuff and the politicians need to bring brass knuckles …or they will lose. Michael Dukakis found that out the hard way.

And temperament matters, as the 1990 Massachusetts race showed. (thanks Carmen!)

August 11, 2016 Posted by | Friends, hiking, political/social, politics, walking | Leave a comment

More reality (and a fun hike)

I did an untimed 10.5 mile hike at Forest Park Nature Center: Peoria heights tower, the 1.25 mile spur, 2 3.5 mile lower loops (Wakerobin), 1.25 miles back, the back to the Tower. It took close to 4 hours (perhaps a bit less) and it was warm.

But there was an all time first. While on my first Wakerobin loop I passed a young man who had stopped to do something with his phone. Later as I climbed the second hill, the young man passed me while merely hiking his pace.

I had NEVER been passed by another hiker before (I had been passed by runners). Ever. Sure, he was in his 20’s and had what one would call an “athletic slender” build (like a distance runner) and at a 5K, you’d bet the rent that he’d beat me by a tidy margin (say, 5-7 minutes). So I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise.

Still, I enjoyed the hike, even as the temperature hit in the 90’s.

But that was a startling revelation. I used to think of myself as a “fast hiker”.

I am no longer that. My legs are too weak to handle the large uphills at a quick pace, especially when I am tired.

Life marches on.

Oh yes, I saw an older friend out there too; he used to run the 440 yard dash for Bradley (before it became the 400 meter dash) and ran a 64 second 400 while in his 50’s. He was out there as well.

June 10, 2016 Posted by | hiking, walking | | Leave a comment