The 10,000 Step Club – 2020 Edition

Last year, as I was finishing up my fourth year with the Fitbit, I took my last look at my 25 best step days since I first started tracking my steps way back in July of 2011.  At the time, I had surpassed the 10,000 step plateau 217 times.  In the past year, I have managed to add an additional 45 occurrences, my 3rd best year to date, for a total of 262.  With my fifth year using the Fitbit coming to an end last week, I thought it would be appropriate to take a new look at my top 25 step days over the past 8 1/2 years, featuring only 3 new entries.

1: 4/14/2018 – 27,470 steps

My best single day total is from my April 2017 trip to New York to see Angelina.  The day’s excursions included trips to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.

2: 7/21/2018 – 27,278 steps

My July 2017 trip to Virginia, to hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob with Jeff and Val, fell just short of the top spot.

3: 6/6/2013 – 24,988 steps

2013’s trip to Disney World, which spent 5 years as my single day best, included excursions to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom, and yes, falling 12 steps short of 25,000 still irks me.

4: 6/3/2019 – 24,665 steps

The first new entry comes thanks to last summer’s trip to Washington DC, and the day spent at the Smithsonian Zoo.

5: 8/8/2019 – 23,866 steps

The second new entry is from last summer’s work trip out to San Francisco and the day I walked to Pier 39 and then back to Oracle Park to see the Giants take on the Phillies.  It would have been even higher but I was dead tired and took an Uber back to the hotel after the game.

6: 3/18/2018 – 23,780 steps

Dropping out of the top 5 after only 1 year is my first day in Las Vegas for the 2017 IBM Think conference.  The day’s totals include gallivanting around town, including a trip up to Caesar’s Palace from the MGM Grand to see Absinthe.

7: 10/24/2018 – 23,362 steps

My October 2018 trip to Boston to see Angelina for our birthday gives us our next entry.  While she was in class, I took tours of Fenway Park and Harvard, before meeting up with her for a late lunch and then heading to the airport for the trip home.

8: 3/22/2016 – 22,493 steps

My one-time second highest day took place during the ill-fated trip to Disney World in March of 2016.  The day’s excursion started at Hollywood Studios before heading over to Epcot Center with Jeff and Val.

9: 7/27/2013 – 20,592 steps

Still my highest total at home in the state of Illinois, the next entry comes thanks to the 2013 BTN 5K and a, for lack of a better word, misunderstanding about where I should be picked up after the race.

10: 12/29/2018 – 20,374 steps

We wrap up the top 10 with 2018’s trip to California and the trip to Disneyland to see Danny perform with the Lincoln-Way Marching Band.

11: 8/5/2017 – 20,218 steps

The next entry came in August of 2017 on the first day of my trip to Boston with Danny and Michael.  After landing in town, we traipsed to the Science Museum, a breakfast joint, our hotel, and, finally, Fenway Park.

12: 7/14/2017 – 20,208 steps

Down to #12 is my 2017 trip to Disney World, a one day journey with Angelina to celebrate her high school graduation. Continue reading →

2019: The Year In Movies

Movie_Reel_22

The return of my annual long December vacation, with very little to do otherwise, saw a big increase in movie watching for me, with my highest total since 2011.  I managed to watch 89 movies last year, my eighth consecutive year under 100.  Again, many things contributed to this, chiefly the insane amount of TV I’ve been watching, the greater effort made towards going out for walks, and the awful amount of time I spend either at work or getting to and from work.

Here’s a look back at the first 50 movies I did manage to watch last year and what recollection, if any, I have of them. The films are listed in the order I saw them.

Life Of The Party (2018)
Melissa McCarthy joins her daughter at college after her husband leaves her.

The Haunted Mansion (2003)
Eddie Murphy tackles a movie based on the Disneyland ride.

Downsizing (2017)
Matt Damon shrinks himself to 5 inches tall, gaining wealth but losing a wife.

Knight And Day (2010)
A young woman gets mixed up with a disgraced spy who is trying to clear his name.

Keep Watching (2017)
A gang of intruders takes a family hostage and forces them to play a game.

The Space Between Us (2017)
The first human born on Mars heads to Earth to find his long-distance crush, even if it will kill him.

Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018)
A choose-your-own-adventure film about a young kid trying to make it in the video game industry.

Bird Box (2018)
A woman tries to save her two children in a world where seeing things leads to death.

Hereditary (2018)
A grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences.

Invasion Of The Body Snatchers (1978)
Aliens take over the human race. Continue reading →

The Still Growing 10,000 Step Club

Last year, as I was finishing up my third year with the Fitbit, I took my last look at the top 25 step days I’ve had since I first started tracking my steps way back in July of 2011.  At the time, I had surpassed the 10,000 step plateau 165 times.  In the past year, I have managed to add an additional 52 occurrences, my best year to date, for a total of 218.  With my fourth year using the Fitbit coming to an end last week, I thought it would be appropriate to take a new look at my top 25 step days over the past 7 1/2 years, featuring 10 new entries.

1: 4/14/2018 – 27,470 steps

My best single day total is our first new entry, coming this past April during a trip to New York to see Angelina.  The day’s excursions included trips to the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.

2: 7/21/2018 – 27,278 steps

Another new entry, from July’s trip to Virginia, fell just short of the top spot, thanks to a hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob with Jeff and Val.

3: 6/6/2013 – 24,988 steps

After 5 years as my single day best, 2013’s trip to Disney World falls down two spots.  The day’s excursion to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom ended up with a total of approximately 12.5 miles.

4: 3/18/2018 – 23,780 steps

The third new entry comes from last spring’s trip to Las Vegas for the IBM Think conference.  The day’s totals include gallivanting around town, including a trip up to Caesar’s Palace from the MGM Grand to see Absinthe.

5: 10/24/2018 – 23,362 steps

We round out the top 5 with the fourth new entry, from last fall’s trip to Boston to see Angelina for our birthday.  While she was in class, I took tours of Fenway Park and Harvard, before meeting up with her for a late lunch and then heading to the airport for the trip home.

6: 3/22/2016 – 22,493 steps

My former second highest day took place during the ill-fated trip to Disney World in March of 2016.  The day’s excursion started at Hollywood Studios before heading over to Epcot Center with Jeff and Val.

7: 7/27/2013 – 20,592 steps

My now seventh highest total, and my highest at home in the state of Illinois, came thanks to the BTN 5K and a, for lack of a better word, misunderstanding about where I should be picked up after the race.

8: 12/29/2018 – 20,374 steps

The eighth highest entry, and fifth new entry, took place just over a month ago and the trip to Disneyland to see Danny perform with the Lincoln-Way Marching Band.

9: 8/5/2017 – 20,218 steps

The ninth highest entry came in August of 2017 on the first day of my trip to Boston with Danny and Michael.  After landing in town, we traipsed to the Science Museum, a breakfast joint, our hotel, and, finally, Fenway Park.

10: 7/14/2017 – 20,208 steps

We wrap up the top 10 with another trip to Disney World, this time a one day journey with Angelina to celebrate her high school graduation. Continue reading →

2018: The Year In Travel

As I arrive home from California, I thought it would be nice to look back at the many trips I took last year.  Things got started in March, when I headed out to Las Vegas for the IBM Think conference.  Along the way, I took in a show, Absinthe, at Caesar’s Palace, a Barenaked Ladies concert at Mandalay Bay, and a show by The Chainsmokers at MGM Grand, where I was staying.

Following the conference, I took a detour to Phoenix for a long weekend, where I took in some Cactus League action at Camelback Ranch and Peoria Sports Complex, seeing the White Sox, Cubs, and Mariners (twice!).  I also enjoyed a trip to the slot canyons and Horseshoe Bend in Page, followed by a quick trip to the Grand Canyon.

About a month later, I took a short weekend trip to New York.  Danny, Michael, and I flew to New York on a Friday night, where we met up with Angelina and had dinner with the family she was nannying for.  Saturday was a glorious spring day, spent sight seeing at the 9/11 Memorial & Museum, the Museum of the City of New York, Central Park, the Guggenheim museum, and the Empire State Building.  Sunday was spent at the Lyric Theatre, watching both parts of Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, before heading home early Monday morning.

My next trip came at the end of July, as Val and I headed down to Roanoke, Virginia, to celebrate Jeff’s 50th birthday.  After a day of “work”, the highlight of the trip was Saturday’s hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob.  Sunday was spent recovering, before heading home.

I spent most of September in Europe, starting with a week in Belfast, Northern Ireland.  Aside from work, there was a trip to Castle Ward in to look at Game of Thrones filming locations, a hockey game featuring the Belfast Giants, a trip to the Ulster American Folk Park and a nip across the border to the wonderful town of Muff in Ireland, and a Black Cab tour of locations in Belfast related to the Troubles. Continue reading →

FB4: Week 48

A very schizophrenic week, with 3 days over 10,000 and the other 4 below 3800.  Things got off to a good start on Sunday, where some unseasonably nice weather led to a neighborhood walk that put me over 10,700 steps.  Monday’s Christmas Eve celebrations left me under 3500 steps, while Christmas Day was no better with just over 3000 steps.  Boxing Day was the low point of the week, with less than 2300 steps.  Things improved slightly on Thursday, thanks to a lunch date in the city with Val, which garnered me nearly 3800 steps.  A flight to California on Friday, followed by a walk down Hollywood Blvd to check out the Hollywood Walk of Fame improved things dramatically, ending with over 17,200 steps.  A trip to Disneyland on Saturday to see Danny perform put me over 20,300 steps.

Total steps: 60,881

Daily average: 8697.3

The Ever Growing 10,000 Step Club

Last year, as I was finishing up my second year with the Fitbit, I took my last look at the top 25 step days I’ve had since I first started tracking my steps way back in July of 2011.  At the time, I had surpassed the 10,000 step plateau 116 times.  In the past year, I have managed to add an additional 49 occurrences, raising the total to 165.  With my third year using the Fitbit coming to an end last week, I thought it would be appropriate to take a new look at my top 25 step days over the past 6 1/2 years, featuring 7 new entries.

btn10K-41: 6/6/2013 – 24,988 steps

My best single day total continues to be from my 2013 trip to Disney World.  The day’s excursion to both Epcot Center and the Magic Kingdom ended up with a total of approximately 12.5 miles.  And yes, it still bothers me that I didn’t get those 12 additional steps to reach 25,000.

2: 3/22/2016 – 22,493 steps

My second highest day shares much in common with my #1 day, taking place in Disney World in March of 2016.  The day’s excursion started at Hollywood Studios before heading over to Epcot Center with Jeff and Val.

3: 7/27/2013 – 20,592 steps

My third highest total came nearly 2 months after my highest, thanks to the BTN 5K and a, for lack of a better word, misunderstanding about where I should be picked up after the race.

4: 8/5/2017 – 20,218 steps

The first new entry came last August on the first day of my trip to Boston with Danny and Michael.  After landing in town, we traipsed to the Science Museum, a breakfast joint, our hotel, and, finally, Fenway Park.

5: 7/14/2017 – 20,208 steps

Our second new entry came last July, as Angelina and I took a day trip to Disney World to celebrate her high school graduation.

6: 9/19/2017 – 20,028 steps

The third straight new entry, which helped to double my total of 20,000 step days from the previous 5+ years, had a myriad of activities.  First was the latest edition of the Sprint and Stride, followed by a trip to Best Buy with Val to buy a new TV, then off to her apartment to install the new TV, and, finally, Season Ticker Holder Family Night at Wrigley Field.

7: 11/11/2017 – 19,590 steps

Our fourth straight new entry came thanks to last fall’s trip to California to see Angelina skate.  This day was spent in Anaheim at Disneyland.

8: 6/2/2016 – 18,725 steps

Day #8, which dropped 4 spots, comes from June 2016’s trip to Universal Studios.  Our first full day at the park, we split the day between Universal and Islands of Adventure, taking in all of the different Harry Potter options.

9: 6/4/2016 – 18,617 steps

Our next entry is also from the June 2016 trip to Universal Studios.  The day included another trip to Islands of Adventure, and would have ended up even higher but for an afternoon trip to the hotel pool.

10: 6/21/2017 – 18,290 steps Continue reading →

Fitbit III: Week 41

What looked to be a disappointing week got turned around thanks to a trip to California.  Sunday got the week off to a slow start despite a trip out to see the new Thor film with Hayley and Val.  Monday was a nice bounce back, coming close to 8500 steps thanks to a trip to North to work out my issues with Hayley.  Tuesday and Wednesday were both back down under goal, despite Hayley’s goodbye party.  Thursday bounced back once again, due to post-work packing.  Friday started with a flight to California, followed by a trip to Hollywood and the Warner Brothers Studio Tour.  Saturday came 410 steps shy of 20,000 thanks to spending the day in Disneyland.

Total steps: 63,339

Daily average: 9048.4

Book 1 (of 52) – Behind The Bell

Behind The Bell - Dustin Diamond

Behind The Bell – Dustin Diamond

When I was in college, there was a daily 2 hour block of Saved By The Bell, courtesy of superstations WGN and TBS.  When I first heard of this behind-the-scenes tell-all from the former Screech, I was of course interested.  Just not interested enough to shell out retail prices for the hard cover version of his autobiography.  For 99 cents, though, I was willing to wade into the supposed sordid details in my first foray into Ebooks.

Dustin Diamond is sure of one thing: he was a normal kid growing up in an abnormal world.  Nearly everyone else, including cast mates, other child actors, network executives, were colossal douchebags out to harsh his good time.  Mark-Paul Gosselaar was the golden child who horded his status over everyone and could do no wrong.  Mario Lopez was a man whore.  Tiffani Amber Thiessen was a slut who was passed back and forth between Zack and Slater.  Elizabeth Berkley got TAT’s sloppy seconds.  Lark Voorhies got even sloppier thirds.  Dustin Diamond, meanwhile, was the well meaning kid who just wanted to make friends but ended up the outcast for not buying into Mark-Paul’s golden status.  Somehow, it all reads a little false.

What can easily be explained by age difference (Diamond was 3 years younger than the rest of the cast), Dustin ascribes to malice.  He takes little-to-no responsibility for his own actions and is more than willing to blame others for every real or imagined slight.  He tells tales of his extensive womanizing, using extras and Disneyland as his personal whorehouses.  There is strangely no mention of the sex tape he released.

At the end of the day, I’m sure some of Diamond’s tales, both personal and about his SBTB cast mates, are true.  One would have to be incredibly naive to think a crew of teenagers would not be involved in some sexual hijinks.  But Diamond goes beyond just telling the tales, instead painting everyone except himself in the worst possible light.  It’s little surprise that Diamond has had little success after Saved By The Bell.  I suppose that is someone else’s fault as well.