Fitbit IX – Week 18

A pretty steady week, as I managed to extend my streak of days over 4000 steps to thirteen while crossing the 30,000-step plateau for the second consecutive week.  Things got off to a decent start on Sunday, a trip to Guaranteed Rate Field left me needing just 32 additional steps to get to 5500.  A decrease on Monday pushed me down to 4200 steps.  A smaller drop on Tuesday put me at 4100 steps.  Wednesday saw a nice bounce back up to 6200 steps thanks to a post-work trip to Wrigley Field.  Micahel’s high school graduation on Thursday pushed me up over 4600 steps.  The start of the long holiday weekend on Friday left me just 18 steps shy of 4100.  Saturday ended the week with 4100 steps.

Total steps: 32,884

Daily average: 4697.7

Travelling The 50 States – Virginia

Over my 48 years, I’ve done my fair share of travelling across these United States.  I thought it would be an interesting experiment go look back at those trips to each of the 31 states I have visited (62% isn’t bad, is it?) and see if, and when, I may be returning.  Working in alphabetical order, we continue today with the 10th state to be added to the Union: Virginia.

State: Virginia
Joined the Union: 1788
Visits: 2

Over the years, I’ve two trips to Old Dominion, in 2016 and in 2018.

My first foray in Virgina came in 2016, on a road trip from Chicago to Disney World.  Arriving about fifteen hours behind schedule, we finally managed to get to Jeff’s apartment in beautiful Roanoke.  After schlepping our luggage up to the third floor, it was time to relax and take in all the sights Virginia had to offer.  And what it had to offer was a White Sox spring training game on the MLB Network and the first four episodes of the recently released Daredevil season 2 on Netflix.  A take-out Chinese dinner was the capper on the day, after which we retreated to different rooms and called it a day.

Things got off to an early start, for me at least, as I found Saturday night’s dinner not agreeing with me very well.  When I woke up for real on Sunday morning, Jeff had been out to the market and had returned with bagels and other items and fresh coffee being brewed.  Eventually, Val woke up and the three of us spent the morning eating breakfast and watching the Sunday morning news shows.

After taking in a fifth episode of the new season of Daredevil, we decided to head out on the second leg of the trip, with Disney World our next destination.  Our first stop was at the Wendy’s in Ridgeway, Virginia, about an hour into the trip.  While certain people tried to once again get their bearings, I went in and bought lunch for both Jeff and myself.  Val expressed interest in some curly fries, perhaps intrigued by the previous day’s stop at Arby’s, but the Hardee’s across the street did not offer them and there was no Arby’s in sight.  Over Val’s objections, Jeff vowed to stop at the next Arby’s we found to get her those curly fries, but we oddly did not see one for the rest of the day.

I made my second trip to Virginia in late July of 2018 to celebrate Jeff’s 50th birthday.  The trip started Thursday night after work, when Val and I caught a flight to Roanoke.  The three of us worked remotely on Friday before heading out for dinner and to see the sights of Roanoke, which basically was The Roanoke Star and a grocery store.  Saturday, we headed out early to hike up Catawba Mountain to McAfee Knob.  With an elevation of 3,197 feet and a trail distance of approximately 4.4 miles, McAfee Knob is one of the highlights of the Appalachian Trail.  It took quite an effort on my part, and probably more time than we were planning, but the views from the top, not to mention the satisfaction of one of my traveling companions, were worth it.  The trip back down was a bit easier, thanks to a fire road, but a small stumble by yours truly certainly made things interesting.  Sunday was spent relaxing and recovering from the strain of the previous day, until it was time to head back to the airport and fly home.

Will I return?  One day, I’d imagine.

Fitbit IX – Week 8

After a nice week thanks to days worth of activity, things came crashing back down this week.  The week actually got off to a decent start on Sunday, thanks to a trip to the United Center to see Purdue win the Big Ten Tournament, which left me a mere 4 steps shy of 5500.  Monday fell off the cliff, as I returned to work after a week of jury duty and ended the day with just 2200 steps.  Tuesday was even worse, just barely managing to pass 2000 steps.  A bit of an improvement on Wednesday pushed me up to 2700 steps.  Thursday was even better, coming 13 steps away from 3700.  Another drop on Friday put me back down at 2800 steps.  A night out for dinner with the Purdue crew pushed Saturday back up over 4200.

Total steps: 23,192

Daily average: 3313.1

Fitbit IX – Week 5

A disappointing week through and through, as I failed to break the 4000-step plateau any day of the week.  Things got off to a poor start on Sunday as I managed to record 3800 steps despite traversing downtown Lafayette to attend Danny’s band concert.  Monday was easily the low point of the week, finishing with just 2700 steps.  Tuesday saw a slight improvement, jumping up to 3500 steps.  Wednesday saw another improvement as I ended the day over 3900 steps.  A slight decline on Thursday due in part to a morning of PI Planning put me back down to 3400 steps.  The high point of the week came on Friday, as I finished 7 steps shy of 4000.  Despite a trip out to get the car washed and my hair cut, Saturday finished just over 3000 steps.

Total steps: 24,443

Daily average: 3491.9

Once Upon A Time There Was A 10,000 Step Club

My world was very different three years ago, as I was finishing up my fifth year using a Fitbit.  I had just added 45 new 10,000 step days, my third best year to date, and, with upcoming trips to Boston and California already on the docket, things were looking good to add a good number more and add some new tales to this list of my Top 25 step days.  Then, the corona virus happened, the world basically shut down for the next year or so, and I stopped needing to leave the house.  I’ve worked from home since March of 2020, which theoretically gives me plenty of free time to go out for walks, but, in practice, leaves me homebound more often than not.  All told, I managed only thirteen 10,000 step days for the just completed eighth year of Fitbit usage, which, granted, is better than the prior two years combined, and gives me a total of 283 since I started keeping track back in 2011.  With that in mind, here’s the list of my Top 25 step days, which has now stayed static for three years.

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 full day of 2019’s summer trip to Washington DC spent most of the day at the Smithsonian Zoo.

5: 8/8/2019 – 23,866 steps

Late in the summer of 2019, I spent two weeks in San Francisco for a work trip.   On my last full day, I went out after work, walking to Pier 39 and then back the other direction to Oracle Park to see the Giants take on the Phillies.  My totals 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

My first day in Las Vegas for the 2017 IBM Think conference, the day’s totals include gallivanting around town, including a late night 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 →

Yet Another Mix Tape Monday – Volume 5

33 years ago, during my sophomore year of high school, I put together the first of what would eventually become a nearly 20 volume collection of mix tapes, containing my favorite songs that I had gathered either from the radio, a cassette tape, or (eventually) CD. Today, we revisit those mix tapes for the fourth time and see how, or if, the soundtrack of my youth still resonates in today’s digital world and how much has changed over the past four years.

I got my first CD player, and my first CD, for Christmas in 1991.  My sister and I were going to Florida to celebrate Christmas with the grandparents, so we celebrated at home early.  In order to enjoy my new gift while I was gone, I added two songs from that CD, Poison’s Swallow This Live, to this collection.

My CD collection grew slowly, being a poor high school student.  When I left for college that next August, I had added five CDs to the collection: Def Leppard’s Adrenalize, the so-called Black Album from Metallica, Use Your Illusion II by Guns N’ Roses, Boyz II Men’s Motownphilly, and C.M.B. from Color Me Badd.  In college, things started to grow more quickly and, once I got out of college and had some real disposable income, things went a little crazy.  I have CDs where not only is there not a song on there that I like, but there isn’t even a song that I know.

That slowed down a bit as technology advanced, replacing physical media with digital downloads and, eventually, streaming.  I can count on one hand the number of CDs I’ve bought in the last eight years.  The question now is what do I do with 30+ years’ worth of CDs that are never used?  Everything is ripped to my computer and the only CD player I have now is that computer.  Plus, I could use the space that a cabinet full of untouched CDs is taking up in the office.  Something to consider as I remake my workspace now that I am a full-time remote worker.

Volume 5 takes us from the end of my junior year of high school, through the summer, and all the way to spring of my senior year, from mid 1991 through early 1992, and once again features a healthy dose of hair metal and pop.

Side A

Firehouse – Don’t Treat Me Bad
iTunes stats: 21 plays, most recently on 11/12/2021

Peaking at #19 on the Billboard charts, the first hit from Firehouse picked up nine new listens over the past four years.

Color Me Badd – I Wanna Sex You Up
iTunes stats: 19 plays, most recently on 12/12/2021

Featured on the soundtrack for New Jack City, the first single from the R&B boy band, which I had on cassingle, added five new spins since 2019.

Boyz II Men – Motownphilly
iTunes stats: 26 plays, most recently on 8/20/2021

The debut release from the Philadelphia crooners, which hit #3 on the Billboard charts, had a healthy seven play increase since last we checked.

Mötley Crüe – Don’t Go Away Mad (Just Go Away)
iTunes stats: 43 plays, most recently on 9/27/2022

The fourth single off of Dr. Feelgood, originally recorded off 103.5 The Blaze, gets a nice thirteen listen increase thanks to its use at Guaranteed Rate Field after strikeouts from White Sox pitchers.

Slaughter – Fly To The Angels
iTunes stats: 19 plays, most recently on 11/4/2021

Six new plays for the second single from the band’s debut album, which peaked at #19 on the Billboard charts.

Boyz II Men – It’s So Hard To Say Goodbye
iTunes stats: 62 plays, most recently on 12/31/2021

Originally written for the 70s film Cooley High, the cover, originally recorded off the radio from Hot 94.7, saw a fourteen-spin increase over the past four years when you count both the radio and album versions.

Salt-N-Pepa – Let’s Talk About Sex
iTunes stats: 25 plays, most recently on 7/22/2022

The tune, nominated for the 1992 Best Rap Performance by a Duo or Group Grammy, increased its play total by eight since 2019.

Side B

Continue reading →

FB8 – Week 51

After a good start to 2023 in Florida, I couldn’t quite keep up the same pace once I returned home.  The week started off decently on Sunday, where an early morning flight home from Orlando left me with 5200 steps.  A day full of meetings on Monday led to a nearly 3000 step drop, finishing with 2400 steps.  Tuesday was even worse, as I needed a single additional step to get to 2300.  A slight bounce back on Wednesday pushed me up to 2900 steps. Thursday was the low point of the week, managing just 1800 steps.  Another disappointing day on Friday left me needing 32 more steps to get to 2900.  Saturday was no better, falling 26 steps short of 2400.

Total steps: 20,061

Daily average: 2865.9

FB8 – Week 50

2023 gets off to a great start, as I managed to post my highest step total since last February when I went to Hawaii.  The week, and the year, started on Sunday, where a trip to the airport for a flight down to Florida, leaving me with 5700 steps.  Travelling to the Citrus Bowl at Camping World Stadium on Monday helped put me over my step goal for the first time in nearly two months, finishing just over 7600 steps.  A day of relaxation around the hotel, including a dip in the pool, led to 5100 steps on Tuesday.  Returning to work on Wednesday, I still managed to take advantage of the good weather to get 5400 steps. Thursday was the low point of the week, yet still managed to come in just 24 steps away from 5000.  A morning walk on Friday helped me jump back up, needing 7 more steps to get to 5500.  Another walk, plus packing and preparing to head home, gave me 6200 steps on Saturday.

Total steps: 40,584

Daily average: 5797.7

FB8 – Week 47

The first week of my annual December vacation led to my first week over 30,000 steps in nearly two months.  The week got off to a decent enough start on Sunday, finishing with 4200 steps.  A drop on Monday, my last work day of the year, left me with only 3700 steps.  A nice bounce back on Tuesday put me at 4300 steps.  Wednesday was pretty similar, with 4250 steps.  Thursday saw a slight decline, coming 12 steps away from 4000.  Friday jumped back over 4100 steps.  A trip to the grocery store on Saturday pushed me up over 5400 steps, easily my highest total of the week.

Total steps: 30,111

Daily average: 4301.6

FB8 – Week 46

A disappointing total for my last full week of working for 2022.  The week got off to a decent enough start on Sunday, finishing with 4400 steps, my highest total of the week.  A drop on Monday left me 8 steps away from 3800.  Another downturn on Tuesday put me at 3100 steps.  Wednesday fell even further, dropping to 2500 steps.  An after-work retirement party on Thursday put me back over 4100 steps.  Friday needed 6 additional steps just to reach 2300.  Saturday was even worse, finishing the week off with a woeful 2000 steps.

Total steps: 22,396

Daily average: 3199.4