# blueollie

## Unrequited Love

Over the past year, I’ve had an energetic back-and-forth with someone who I’ve grown fond of. A year ago, I didn’t even know what she looked like, though we were FB friends for a couple of years (I wasn’t even sure if “she” were even a “she”…that is, was this an “alternate account”?). So our FB relationship has grown and evolved; right now I play the part of a clueless, infatuated, socially awkward male who constantly gets rebuffed…but still doesn’t learn. This has generated a series of memes, and here is one of the latest ones:

I admit that I like this one as I am a fan of “over the years” photos; I’ll post another one as a “PS” to this post.

But behind all of the joking is the idea of “unrequited love”, which the Main Ingredient sang about so well:

And this has been a big part of my life, albeit NOT in terms of human relationships. Oh sure, many (most?) of those I had a crush on did NOT have crush on me. But hey, that is life for most of us. I am thinking more along the lines of my life and professional aspirations.

Yes, for most of my young life, I really, really, really wanted to be a professional athlete. And I did all of the “right” things: I ran wind sprints, lifted weights, practiced my football drills. And it paid off: I stared two years of JV an one year of varsity football in high school.

But, well, college competition was a different story, and, in all honesty, I didn’t have even enough ability to play Division III ball. There just isn’t a market for those who take 5.8-5.9 to run a 40 yard dash (to put this into perspective, linemen usually run 4.8-5.0, backs 4.3 to 4.5).

So now, yes, I do hear from professional sports teams….when they have ticket specials. 🙂

But this has a happy ending. You know all of that running and weight lifting I did? Well, I am still doing it, albeit at a more age appropriate level. I grew to love working out, and I still do.

So, sometimes unrequited love really does have a happy ending. In my case: no broken body (though I have a few aches and pains…that is normal for someone in their late 50’s), no concussions. No athletic performance either, but I can still run a 5K at 8:30-8:40 mpm (yeah, that used to be 6:20…but never mind) and I can still do sets of 10-15 pull ups.

February 18, 2017

## Bucky: Rest in Peace

You will be sorely missed.

## First Class Eve

Ok, time to get to bed as classes start tomorrow.

I’ve had some interesting political discussion today and…ok, watched a lot of short videos about some of the “100 greatest NFL players” and focused on the linemen, especially the offensive linemen.

Workout notes: 5.1 mile Corntalk course; jogged to the start of the dogpark hill, and then ran the uphills hard; walked, then jogged to the next uphill. I did that workout on December 31’st. Felt good.

Time to get it..lots of admin stuff to do.

So for a bit of “mathematical physics” humor:

1.5 hour department meeting, plus an extra 20 minutes for us older folks…

Workout notes: run on the treadmill (to break in new shoes): 5 minute segments for the first 50 minutes (0.5 incline)
5.2-5.3-5.4-7.0-5.3-7.0-5.3-7.0-5.3-7.00, then walk jog for 4 minutes, 6.7 for 3, 6.8 for 2, 6.9, 7.0 for 1 minute each; 6 miles in 1:00:04
3 mile walk (I think) and it felt good…until I tried to get up after sitting down. It WAS work but work that left me feeling refreshed.

Time: about 52 minutes (by the time of day), or 15:0x ish minutes per mile, which felt like the pace I was walking.

August 23, 2016

## Olympics and useful BS (nonsense)…

Yes, I’ve watched some Olympic action (in particular, boxing, swimming, gymnastics, court volleyball). I remember watching these when I was a teenager…and watching NFL games and thinking: “wow, with some work, that COULD BE ME.” I still remember using my Exergym rope exerciser while watching NFL games on the black and white television in my bedroom.

This was on the weekend; I used my high school universal gym during the week, as well as running the steps, running the track, doing agility drills on my own, etc.

I remember when I was on the JV: our games were on Wednesday night. On Sunday evening, after the NFL game, I’d go to the track and do 2 miles, reasonably hard (13:30-14:00 was my time, as a 220 lb. offensive tackle).

No one was going to outwork me! My motto was “you can do anything if you want it badly enough and are willing to work hard enough.”

That, of course, is complete and total bullshit.

The reality is: “if you see someone on TV because they are good enough to warrant TV coverage, that will NEVER be you…unless you are one of those “1 in 1000” outliers.

I eventually found what I was best at (mathematics) and even that, I was nowhere good enough to be, say, a MIT professor. Getting the Ph. D. and getting a few new results published was about my talent level; it is a bit like the 2:25 (male) marathon runner who dreams of sneaking into the Olympic Trials, though he knows that he has essential zero chance of making the team, or the baseball player who peaks out at playing, say, A or AA ball. It is still damned good, but not “TV good”.

So, would I have been happier (and better off) had I known that early in life? It is hard to say.

On one hand, I would have been more relaxed. On the other hand:

1. I grew to love lifting weights and running because I did these things to get ready for football. I enjoy these activities to this day; my first weight room workout was in 1972!
2. I can sympathize with the student who, say, is enrolled in engineering but doesn’t have the talent for it. I can explain that there are other rewarding paths to a college degree and that humans tend to have different talents.

And yes, I am getting ready to go lift, work on my math paper, watch some more Olympics, and see yet another class A baseball game this weekend.

August 12, 2016

## Rant: recognizing the limits of what one knows

I’ll admit that I am an expert in a very narrow slice of mathematics. But I am at least an AU from being an international or even a national caliber expert in that narrow field of mathematics.
And yes, I often read about topics that are not in my area; I enjoy popular books and articles on topics from the various branches of science, economics and the like.

Nevertheless, I also realize that when I read such a book or article, or when I attend a public lecture, I am getting a watered down, simplified treatment of the subject. I lack the context and the prerequisite knowledge to appreciate a presentation aimed at the experts.

And there lies one of my biggest frustrations when it comes to talking to people, either on the internet or in person. There are so many who really can’t detect the difference between expert knowledge and what they read (and perhaps half-digested …if that much) from a popular book. It is THAT level of “lack of humility” that makes some unpleasant conversation companions; I am ok with ignorance. After all, I am ignorant of the vast majority of human knowledge. I think that all of us are.

And, sadly, I see this lack of intellectual humility in political or social issues discussion, especially from the “losing side”. It appears to me that being on the losing side of an election (and I’ve been there, many, many times) brings out the worst in people in several ways.

Example: I had someone try to tell me that Hillary Clinton’s popular vote is “within the margin of error”, when one factors in the caucus states.

Of course, that is a dumb statement for a number of reasons.

1. There is a difference between a vote count and a poll count, even though both have a margin of error (remember Florida in the 2000 general election). The margin of errors in vote count is much smaller than it is for a poll.

2. The margin of error for a poll is $1.96 * \frac{.5}{\sqrt{n}}$ (assuming a 95 percent confidence interval and a relatively close election; this comes from the normal approximation to the proportion distribution. So as $n$ increases, the confidence interval, and therefore the margin of error, decreases. Note: for more on polls, read this wonderful little article written by a physics professor.

3. Hillary Clinton leads by about 3 million votes, even when one counts the caucus votes. The latter doesn’t add much as there are fewer caucus states, and these tend to be smaller states. Anyhow, she leads about 57-43.

4. The person making the claim appeared to not understand that winning a small state by a very large percentage didn’t make up for winning a bigger state by a smaller margin.

Yes, by knowing that Sanders won a lot of caucus states and that there IS such a thing as margin of error puts this individual into the “above average” category. But this person was clearly ignorant of their own ignorance.

There is another factor in play: I really think that desperation makes one dumber. When one really likes a candidate or a person, or even a sports team, it is tough to accept an unpleasant reality. I’ve become acquainted with the latter as an Illinois football fan (“yeah, we have a shot at being Wisconsin!” Sure.)

Desperation can lead to an abandonment of one’s values. Check out the Republican Chairman’s take on Donald Trump

Oh sure, few would be surprised at Donald Trump’s behavior, and I doubt that a certain type of Republican really cares that much (“hey, what do you expect with Trump anyway?”)

May 16, 2016

## My attempt at “touchy-feely” memes..

I’ve seen so many “please understand me because I have condition X” memes on the social media. I’ve seen only a few that exhort the reader to treat others better. here is one:

Am I there? Uh…no; I have a ways to go. But it is a worthy goal.

Here are a couple of my attempts; they need work.

## Not the smartest thing I’ve done…

TMI Post
Two weekends ago, it took me 3:01:30. Today, the same course took me 3:04:25 (12:05 pace, not a misprint). I was 1:32 at 7.6 miles. 3:00:21 at 14.95 miles. The return was slightly faster and when I finished, I had a deep cough and drainage all over the place. It was disgusting.

What was fun is that I saw some other runners along the way and passed a couple of pretty bespandexed women on the way up from Affina to the Tower section, and then I ran into T and her crew at the tower. Sadly, T had the “dreaded coat around the waist”…that made me sad.

And when I got home…it wasn’t quiet like it was in recent weekends but instead there was the drone of Barbara babbling on the phone and waiting for kids/grandkids, etc.

March 5, 2016 Posted by | Personal Issues, running | | 1 Comment

## Online IRS scam

Just beware: I got a mail notice claiming to be from the IRS saying someone had tried to set up an online account.

But when I called the listed number: they first wanted stuff on the letter…then wanted my full SSN at which point I hung up.

I went online to see the official IRS numbers; this wasn’t one of them.

March 1, 2016

## wind out of my sails…

Oh, I got some official good news today, and I still have a lot to do. Nevertheless….no more home basketball or other things for a while…

Perhaps I can do a medium long run this weekend. Still have a very sporadic, light cough.

Well, the spring races aren’t that far away, and neither is Chiefs baseball. And I’ve got stuff to work on.

March 1, 2016