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 Travel

Once again, I thought it would be nice to look back at the many trips I took this year.  As you may recall from last year‘s wrap-up, the year began in California.

New Year’s Day was spent in Pasadena for the Rose Parade, where Danny and the Lincoln-Way Marching Band were performing.  Lucky for them, they were slotted right after the float that caught on fire and eventually mucked up the entire end of the parade.  However, they were able to march around the disabled float and keep things moving for the time being.  The next day we went to the California ScienCenter, where we were able to see artifacts from King Tut’s tomb and the space shuttle Endeavor, and the beach before heading home.

And home is where I stayed for a whole month before heading out to Hawaii in February.  I arrived that first Saturday in February, checking out my surroundings around the resort and down Waikiki Beach after the long flight.  Monday, I took a tour of the island of Oahu, with stops at Hanauma Bay, Nu’uanu Pali lookout, Valley of the Temples Memorial Park, Sunset Beach, Waimea Falls, and the Dole Plantation.  Tuesday, I took in a whale watching cruise, where we were able to see multiple whales surfacing during the excursion.  Thursday, I traveled over to Pearl Harbor and all of the associated attractions and museums.  Come the following Saturday, it was time to head home on an overnight flight that got me in town very early Sunday morning.

Come June, the whole family headed east to celebrate Michael’s graduation.  We flew into Baltimore, where Dennis, the boys, and I went to breakfast before heading to Camden Yards to see the Orioles take on the Giants.  On the way to the stadium, we stopped at the grave site of Edgar Allen Poe and the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum.  After the game, we walked to the local bus depot, where we caught a bus to Washington DC for the remainder of the trip.

Continue reading →

Fitbit V: Week 2

A tremendous week in paradise, as I put up over 100,000 steps in a week for the first time. The week got off to a good start, thanks to a morning walk up and down Waikiki Beach, followed by the day’s activities around the resort. When all was said and done, I finished Sunday with over 14,800 steps.  Monday, I took a tour around the island of Oahu, with numerous stops along the way, which got me over 16,300 steps.  Tuesday combined my beach activity with a whale watching cruise for over 12,500 steps, my lowest total of the week.  Wednesday was a down day, activity-wise, but I did manage to get just over 15,000 steps.  Thursday, I went to Pearl Harbor, which put me over 17,100 steps.  Friday was another relaxing day, despite my 13,900 steps.  Saturday was check out day, so I managed 13,500 steps before heading home.

Total steps: 103,337

Daily average: 14,762.4

Ballpark Tour: Wrigley Field


Stadium Name: Wrigley Field

Location: Chicago

Home Team: Cubs

Years in Service: 1914 – Present

Visits: 313

Weeghman Park, home of the Chicago Chifeds (soon to be the Whales) of the Federal League, opened on April 23, 1914.  In December of 1915, when the Federal League folded, team owner Charles Weeghman was allowed to buy the rival Chicago Cubs and immediately moved them from the dilapidated West Side Park and into his Weeghman Park for the 1916 season.  The Cubs played their first game at Weeghman Park on April 20, 1916, besting the Cincinnati Reds 7–6 in eleven innings.

Also in 1916, Weeghman sold a minority interest in the Cubs to chewing gum magnate William Wrigley.  As Weeghman’s financial fortunes started to decline, Wrigley acquired an increasing number of shares in the club and took on a growing role in the team’s affairs until November 1918, when Weeghman gave up his remaining interest to Wrigley, resigned as president, and left baseball for good. Wrigley would acquire complete control of the Cubs by 1921, and, prior to the start of the 1927 season, the park was officially renamed Wrigley Field.

William’s son, Philip K. Wrigley, had intended to install lights at Wrigley Field prior to the 1942 season.  However, when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December of 1941 and the US entered World War II, Wrigley donated the materials for the lights to the war effort.  The Cubs eventually became the only team without lights, continuing to play day games at home exclusively until 1988, when lights were finally installed.  To this day, the Cubs are still limited in the number of night games they may schedule per season, though that number has increased significantly since the late 80s.

As Wrigley Field prepares to enter its second century, there are plans in motion to renovate the stadium and make it economically viable for the 21st century.  Those renovations were expected to start this offseason, but threats of lawsuits from the rooftop owners, who fear that new signage would block their views, have stalled those plans.

I’ve managed to identify 313 games I’ve attended at Wrigley Field, most of them since 2002, when I became a season ticket holder.  While it is hard to argue with the historical value of Wrigley Field, it is as hard to argue that the stadium needs work to satisfy the needs of fandom in the year 2013.  I hope that the bickering sides come to an agreement soon so that Wrigley Field can continue to be a viable home to the Cubs for the next 100 years.  Besides, they will need that time in order to bring their first World Series championship to the ballpark.

2011 Movie Review – Part 2

The 131 movies I saw last year was good (bad?) enough for 4th all time, behind only 2000, 2008, and 2001.

Now, continuing Tuesday’s look at the first batch of 50 movies that I saw last year, here are movies 51-100.


The Thirst (2006)
A dying girl becomes a vampire to stay alive.


The Good Life (2007)
A kid who doesn’t fit in meets a girl who encourages him to look beyond the town’s borders.


Thor (2011)
The Norse thunder god falls from grace and recovers quickly to save Asgard.


The American (2010)
George Clooney stars as a former hitman trying to go straight.


Due Date (2010)
Robert Downey Jr goes through his own Planes, Trains, and Automobiles moments while trying to get home for the birth of his child.


Valentine’s Day (2010)
A group of vignettes celebrating the day that celebrates love.


MacGruber (2010)
The latest one-note SNL sketch to get strectched out to feature length. 

Continue reading →