Behind the times, scroll past phrases, etc.

Someone on Twitter posted this:

So I responded: “yes, my life HAS improved” (in many ways anyway); in my case I got a promotion, got some raises and had a reduction in expense (daughter graduated from college, debt free) and yes, my retirement account went up in value.

And I got some angry responses. I must be in denial as “only the richest benefited” (nope: here is how the tax cuts worked; we had a modest reduction)

Yes, my retirement account is stock based. And yes, it is up…from a January 2017 baseline.

(stocks were overvalued at the peak; I didn’t pay attention to that).

And some people just couldn’t accept my answer. And some thought “well, you must be a Trump supporter who doesn’t care about others.”

Uh, I can say that I didn’t vote Trump in 2016 and that, well, I’ll vote for the D nominee in 2020, even if it is a rubber chicken.

But it is a mistake to think that *everyone* but the ultra rich are suffering; it is possible to have improvements in one’s financial life that are independent of Trump policies.

And it is no longer the case that “rich vote R, poor vote D”. That was mostly true at one time..but not so much anymore. Via CNN:

By income it was pretty much “even-Steven”.

Our country and the world, on the whole, HAS changed and what was once broadly true when I was an undergraduate is no longer true.

Scroll past phrases
There are some phrases that..when I see them, I almost automatically “scroll past”. One is “toxic masculinity.”
Yes, I saw that horrible video of an elderly Native American being taunted by some very unpleasant “MAGA” hat wearing brats. But someone tried to make the case that this was an example of “toxic masculinity” in action.

Oh boy. Yes, sometimes groups of people act worse in a group than they would individually. But that can be true of women as well (think: “mean girls”).

Yes, women can act in hideous ways too, though there isn’t always symmetry. Statistically, men and women ARE different, but both are fully capable of evil.

Workout notes: getting ready to go do partner yoga.

Yesterday: shoveling (road to alley) part II; this time it was fluffy stuff (easier than the wetter, heavier, deeper stuff on Friday). But it tired me out enough to limit myself to 5 “mostly walking” miles on the treadmill (perhaps jogged 1/2 of a mile total..much of the walking was at 13:40 or so) 1:10:30 for 5 miles total (last mile at 15:30).

January 20, 2019 Posted by | economy, political/social, politics, politics/social, social/political, walking, whining | | 1 Comment

stumbling and bumbling into the end of Thanksgiving break (whiny)

First: workout notes: easy 5 mile run in the morning; no watch. I was about a 12 mpm shuffle.

These holiday breaks have almost been a “ok, you think that you’d like a break from work, so let’s ensure that you look forward to work again” type of thing and this year has been no exception.

Oh, I’ve enjoyed some things about it (the Turkey Trots and the occasional live football game) and this year:

1. I had a lovely 3 hour walk with a dear friend that I don’t see often enough..followed by coffee and photo sharing and conversation.

2. There was the Turkey Trot where I saw a ton of cute spandex and ran reasonably well (averaged under 9 mpm, which is good for me right now)

3. Basketball game yesterday.

4. Hopefully, an NFL game today…albeit with …well…never mind.

Downers: daughter couldn’t make the trip and the usual family gathering stuff…and in a blended family, there is no “shared history” to connect to.

Then, when I tried to prepare lessons…I got stuck on a problem..or so I thought. After running the problem through the spreadsheet, I think the key may be in error or there may be some unstated assumption.

And…well…let’s just say that I am in a hotel room..alone…after driving an intellectually challenged individual for 3.5 hours to his place. I made the mistake of stopping to eat at a place where you are supposed to read the menu on the wall and order and he didn’t think to tell me he couldn’t read the wall because he didn’t have his glasses on. We got it figured out..eventually.

Then I incorrectly entered a hotel address into my google maps and was directed into an apartment complex. I managed to look up the correct hotel and get there, but that was an extra 15 minutes I didn’t need when I was getting cranky.

And then the drive back tonight: snow is forecast. Oh joy..followed by a prompt 8 am meeting at work, which is being held because two Ph. D. adults cannot work things out, followed by…well, never mind.

Oh, not a single one of these things in and of itself is a big deal, and I suppose all taken together, it still isn’t a big deal. But I don’t understand why the ritual of stressing yourself out without adding any benefit.

Next year’s holiday, I may well just pack a bag and leave…alone…even if it is to a hotel room in town. And those who enjoy the socialization can do so…without Mr. Grumpy Goat. Win/win.

November 25, 2018 Posted by | Personal Issues, whining | Leave a comment

Who I respect and dealing with minor discomfort

I respect those who can act cheerfully and act with courtesy toward others when they are feeling bad themselves.

I know that even minor discomfort puts me in a grouchy mood; the pain or the hassle does not have to be that great.

Currently: I have a cold and am putting up with minor inconveniences at work and at home.

And this is me:

Workout notes: weights only; it was enough to get me very sweaty.

pull ups (5 sets of 10; went fine), rotator cuff, bench: dumbbell: 10 x 70, 10 x 75, incline: 10 x 135. rows: 3 sets of 10 x 110. Military: 3 sets of 10 x 45 dumbbell.
plank (usual 2:30…sweated buckets but it was ok), side plank, boat, twist crunch.

I did sleep longer than normal.

August 31, 2018 Posted by | illness, weight training, whining | Leave a comment

Pull ups suck and other observations

I have a love-hate relationship with pull ups. Yes, there was a time in my life when I couldn’t do a single one; I managed for work up to 4-5 of them in high school, 12 in college and then hit my PR of 27 as a young man. I still do them: typically I do 5 sets of 10 with rest breaks of hip hikes, toe raises and rotator cuff exercises, though sometimes I do 2 sets of 15, 2 of 10. And ok, while the first 4-5 are pretty good reps, maybe the final 2-3 reps in a set of 10 are “iffy” as far as getting that chin completely over the bar?

Today, I did them as follows: 4 sets of 5 with brief (10-20 second) rests, and did this twice, followed by a set of 10. OMG, this hurts; my guess is that they are of better quality.
Is it really worth so much effort to look good for Lynnor for my Steamboat photos? 🙂

Ok, part of it might be my overcompensating for my grade school PE humiliations (where the gym teachers openly ridiculed me..I was a fat little f**k) and part of it is my fight against aging.

Later: bench press: 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 6 x 175, incline: 10 x 135, declien: 7 x 160 (this is how I hurt my shoulder..was very careful here).
military: failed with 50 pound dumbbells, did a set of 10 with 45, and then came back and got 10 x 50, then did 10 x 180 on the machine. I just couldn’t accept failing with the 50’s.
Hammer rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200. Then abs: started with 2:30 “bent elbow” plank (this SUCKS), ab sets (twist crunches, yoga leg lifts, moving yoga bridge) then headstand.

I am awful at sports, but my determination is still there. And it was a good start to my day..and then I read my work e-mail…

May 4, 2018 Posted by | weight training, whining | Leave a comment

Getting passed by…

Well, I have gotten a few tasks done. I did notice that I had a bit less energy than I anticipated; in the pool I could not stay with Jason, even for a short while.

swim: 250 free, 250 drill/swim (fins), 5 x 100 (25 fist, 75 free) on the 2:10 (about 1:55 each), 4 x 100 IM (with the fly this time), 6 x 100 pull, 100 free, 100 fins, 100 free with Jason.
run: 5.1-5.5 (every mile; goosed it slightly in mile 5) 56:38. I had all sorts of grand plans of (sub 10 mpm for the final 2 miles, etc.) but was grateful just to finish 5 miles; very mild discomfort in the foot in the final mile.

Commentary: I am on the Illinois Valley Striders Facebook page, and the moderators fill it with “you can do it”, “push past the fear”, “you can do more than you think you can” stuff. That really drives home how out of touch I am.

With me: it is mostly about “dialing back” expectations! It is about managing the little aches and pains, adjusting to how my body feels on a given day, and perhaps doing a bit more (within reason!) on good days, and settle for “just doing it at all” on the tougher days. I keep thinking that there will be that one workout where my body will say: “oh, just kidding, here are your 6:30 mpm miles back” but … it hasn’t happened yet.

And that means, at least for me at the moment, a decent training pace in running is 11:30 mpm, 10 mpm is “brisk” and 9 mpm is an OMG pace. Walking: 14 is moving, 15 is brisk, 16-17 is “deliberate”. That is just how it is. Of course, part of the reason is that I have to mix up activities: 2 yoga, 2 swim, 1 bike, 2-3 walking, 3 runs, 3 weight lifting sessions per week. I don’t do any one thing enough to get significantly better at it, but I am avoiding the doctor’s office too.

Oh well, back to checking to see if my exam is correctly written.

April 17, 2018 Posted by | running, swimming, whining | , | Leave a comment

Attitude matters

I was just a bit off in the weight room. Since I did not do all that much over the weekend, my guess is that attitude has something to do with it. I just don’t feel that “get up and go”; winter just messes with my mind. BUT, I have some fun events coming up.

Usual PT
pull ups: 5 sets of 10 (went ok)
bench press: (sluggish) 10 x 135, 4 x 185, 5 x 185, 7 x 175
incline press: 10 x 135
military (went well): standing, 2 sets of 10 x 50, seated, supported: 1 set of 15 x 50
rows (single arm dumbbell) 3 sets of 10 x 50
abs: twist crunch (50, 24), yoga leg lifts (10, 10)
core: side planks, 2 minutes front plank (tough, but better than last week)
headstand: got up ok, but never felt steady..a bit shaky
goblet squats (to the window sill) 10 x 53, 10 x 62
bike: 10 minutes (butt hurt)
AMT: 2 miles (23:35) easy; didn’t want to aggravate the heel

Heel: not close to being well (ached a bit when I walked on the cold, cold snow outside) but much, much, much better.

February 12, 2018 Posted by | weight training, whining | , | Leave a comment

Ugh..heel is fried

One weird thing: the heel feels best when I wear my shower shoes…nothing touching it. But I’ve accepted that it is really injured and so, I begin a (hopefully short) hiatus from running or walking…probably take a couple of days off of AMT and elliptical too.

I only lifted today and right now, it feels good. We’ll see a few days from now.

Workout notes: full weight workout: usual PT, pull ups (5 sets of 10), bench press: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 4 x 185 (off), incline: 10 x 145 (good), military: 10 x 50 standing, 15 x 50 (seated, supported), 10 x 180 machine, rows: 3 sets of 10 x 50 each arm. Abs: 2 sets of twist crunches: 50, 24, yoga leg lifts (2 sets of 12) planks (side, side, 2 minutes front..hard), goblet squats: 10 x 53, 10 x 62 (to the sill).

And the Winter Olympics are on..that means women’s speed skating.

February 9, 2018 Posted by | butt, spandex, weight training, whining | , , | Leave a comment

Winter sucks!

Cold. Wind. Dark. Snow everywhere. Snow getting tracked in the house. Bundling up..time to bundle and to unbundle. Getting shocked all the time (touching metal).


Yes, I am here because I like being employed more than I despise Illinois winters…

Workout notes: weights plus cardio machines

usual pt; pull ups were strong (5 sets of 10), bench: 10 x 135, 5 x 185, 7 x 185, incline 10 x 135, military: 2 sets of 10 x 50 dumbbell (standing), 10 x 45, then 10 x 180 machine, 3 sets of 10 x 200 Hammer (very quick today)

Then abs: 50 twist crunch (25 each side), moving bridge (2 sets of 10), yoga leg lifts (12), planks (side, 2 minutes for regular plank ..that hurt), goblet squats 10 x 53, 10 x 62 to the sill, then machines: 21 minutes for the AMT (2 miles), 20 minutes (2.15 miles) elliptical trainer.

Foot: feels much better; not well though.

February 5, 2018 Posted by | weight training, whining | , | Leave a comment

Damn you Father Time…

An unrelated post about Track and Field got me to thinking about my own performances. Yeah, they are declining.


1. One’s potential decreases with age. Competitive athletes told me that they notice this in their early 30’s. Of course, if one starts later in life, or decides to up the level of their training, they can see improvements in performance; after all it is possible for, say, 80 percent of a lesser capacity to exceed 50 percent of a greater capacity. But one’s upper bound does decrease and that decrease accelerates when one reaches their 50s and really accelerates in their late 60’s and early 70s. See: Gompertz law.

2. Injuries accumulate; I noticed a “jump” in my decline after my last knee surgery (2010)

3. Attitude: now-a-days, I tend to do “what is fun” when I workout rather than what is optimal training. And I don’t push as hard…I need to be able to recover to do the rest of my day.

4. Prior performances have taken something out of me: I know that I am not a real athlete. But there are some performances where I felt like I left a bit of myself out there. May 2004: I did 2 24 hour events in the same month: 101 miles and 88 ..then the next year (caustic 100 miles on a trail in just under 30 hours); I just haven’t been the same since.

But hey, it is still fun and even though I don’t have new PRs to look forward to, I still get joy out of a “good for this year” performance.

Workout notes: weights and an easy 5K walk on a beautiful day.
rotator cuff, pull ups (5-5, then 4 sets of 10), incline press: 10 x 135, 4 x 160, 6 x 150 (attention to hips), military press with dumbbells (20 x 50 seated, supported, 10 x 45, 10 x 45), Hammer rows: 3 sets of 10 x 200.
Headstand (got in easier) and goblet squats (sets of 5) 45-50-55-60-65-65-70-75. These ARE getting easier.

May 24, 2017 Posted by | walking, weight training, whining | | Leave a comment

Recovering from a stinging rebuke (resentment and whining alert)

Workout notes: easy 2 mile jog on the treadmill (22:15). I just had breakfast and am waiting for rush hour traffic to lighten up a bit before getting on the road.

Weird FANS note: I did one lap with Centurian John Greene. He is also a math professor; he was working this years event as a volunteer. We..talked math.

He told me about two of his published results. One was about unique factorization domains (UFD): his result showed that every UFD has an “almost Euclidian algorithm”. His other was about the trace of 2 x 2 matrices and how the trace behaves under matrix multiplication. It turns out that when 3 matrices are multiplied (in various orders), a certain property is obeyed with probability p = \frac{1}{\sqrt{2}} . Note: the assumptions is that the matrices have real entries and that the entries are selected via a normal probability distribution.

Now how cool is that? I had a moving mathematics seminar. 🙂

Note on yesterday’s baseball game and today’s hotel stay
Yes, I had club seats (splurge, though I paid a discount price). I was uncomfortable with all of the service (being deferred to by attendants, etc.). I ate breakfast at the hotel. I got the “full” breakfast and ate..what I normally eat. My tummy just can’t hold that much anymore. I don’t like trying to drive while stuffed.

For me, luxury (middle class luxury anyway) is a big waste of money (even when purchased at discount rates), or at least these luxuries.

I’d never cut it as a Republican. 🙂

Accepting defeat and moving on

This result stung. I won’t pretend otherwise. I was struggling 1/3 of the way into the race and that is not a good place to be, at least so early on. I’ve thought about what went wrong, and it is possibly one of two things:

1. I didn’t do enough of the “right kind” of training (e. g. monthly 6-8 hour training sessions) even if my total weekly milage was ok.

2. I just can’t do these events any longer.

And yes, there is a bit of envy when I see the successful basking in the glow of their successes …my thinking “dammit, that used to be me”. Well, it is not me any longer. When it comes to sports, you are what you do…that is, what you CURRENTLY do, not what you did 10-12-15 years ago.

But there is still plenty of time for redemption. I have some ideas for a math paper (more important than my sports), and I still am on track to attempt to run a marathon this fall, hopefully in less than 5 hours. My “long run pace” is right as is my training mileage, and this weekend’s event didn’t set me back. So I have goals to work toward, and striving for these, rather than envying others or longing for past successes, is the way to emotionally heal. Nurturing resentments doesn’t help.

And there is my home. My wife: yes, I am glad that the fitness bug bit her in a minor way. This should add some quality of life for her and I want to remain encouraging. But: last night, she listened to my whining for about a minute or two and then wanted to know if I remembered her text about what SHE did…parked 2.5 miles away from lunch, walked to lunch, and walked 2.5 miles back. Yeah, I know, my first marathon and 50K were very slow (7:12, 8:40 respectively, but remember I was going at my “I hope to go much longer than this pace”) but in my current emotional state, it is hard for me to work up much enthusiasm for my wife’s “feat”, even if she got a ton of “likes” for it on Facebook, way more “likes” than any of my marathons/50 milers get. 🙂

But that’s how it works. A “I got an A on my calculus test” gets more attention than “I published another math paper”; it is WHO you get the kudos from that counts.

June 6, 2016 Posted by | mathematics, relationships, walking, whining | , , | Leave a comment