Mass Appeal

We wrap up the first half of 2020 by turning our gaze to the east and the state of Massachusetts.  These pictures come from two different trips our east, the first with Danny and Michael in 2017 to see the White Sox battle the Red Sox at Fenway Park and the second in 2018 to see Angelina skate with Boston University.  The first row has Angelina performing at the BU Skating Show followed by Danny in a small chair at the Boston Science Museum.  The middle row sets the scene with a cool looking Boston Red Sox sign, followed by Angelina with her friends at the free skate after the show and, finally, Danny with his now famous Lendall Pitts card from the Boston Tea Party Museum.  The bottom row has Angelina and her teammates competing in the Cape Cod Synchronized Skating Classic, Michael measuring himself at the Science Museum, and Danny and Michael in the stands at Fenway.

iTunes Top 200 Artists: #41-50

It’s been 4 years since we last counted down the Top 200 artists in my iTunes library.  Since my iTunes stats are still intact, across multiple PCs, iPods, iPads, and iPhones, I figured it was time to take another look at the artists that have entertained me the most based on number of plays from late 2007 through January 1, 2021.

We start the final quarter of the list today with the next batch of 10 artists, with ties at 50th, 48th, and 43rd.

#50: Queen
iTunes stats: 176 plays
Previous ranking: #35

A big 15 spot drop for the band from England, due mostly to their dropping off the White Sox victory playlist now more than 10 years removed from their 2005 World Series title.

#48: Boyz II Men
iTunes stats: 177 plays
Previous ranking: #49

The stars of my first concert added 80 new listens from their 9 tunes in my collection, inching them up one spot in the rankings.

#48: Klaus Badelt
iTunes stats: 177 plays
Previous ranking: #30

The composer dropped 18 spots in the rankings due to the White Sox no longer using his theme from Pirates of the Caribbean as part of their pre-game routine.

#47: Snoop Dogg
iTunes stats: 181 plays
Previous ranking: #45

The ganja-smoking gangsta rapper, a somewhat surprising 14-time Grammy nominee, added 71 additional listens, dropping him two spots in the rankings.

#46: John Morris
iTunes stats: 182 plays
Previous ranking: #88

The composer of the score from the best movie ever made, Clue: The Movie.

#45: Purdue “All-American” Marching Band
Continue reading →

Fun In Wisconsin

For May, we turn our gaze to the north and the great state of Wisconsin.  We start with two pictures from our miniature golfing stop during the road trip to Minneapolis in 2014, the first with Danny and Michael posing with a giant Bucky Badger and the second with Danny sticking his head in a plaster rhinoceros.  The final picture comes from 2019’s trip to Miller Park to see the Cubs battler the Brewers.

Fitbit VII – Week 9

The second week of the March Madness Step Challenge puts me over goal for the second consecutive week, the first time I’ve managed that since early August.  The week got off to a good start on Sunday, as I picked up 7800 steps.  Monday I managed to garner my first 10,000 step day since my August trip to the zoo with Danny, finishing over 10,300 as I ventured out to a not-so-local CVS to get my first dose of the Pfizer vaccine.  Tuesday fell back down to 8100 steps, which I guess is still acceptable.  Wednesday finished with only 6300 steps.  Thursday bounced back, rising up to 7700 steps.  Friday was nearly as good, with over 7500 steps.  Saturday was the down day of the week, with only 4700 steps.

Total steps: 52,716

Daily average: 7530.9

Fitbit VII – Week 8

As we kick off our second year of working remotely, a little good news as, thanks to a March Madness step challenge at work, I managed to finish the week over goal for the first time since early August.  The week got off to a good start on Sunday, where I managed to pick up 9100 steps, my highest single day total since my vacation to Michigan in early September.  Monday fell off, coming in 7 steps shy of 5800 as the weather turned bad.  Tuesday bounced back, as I managed to get back over goal with 7600 steps.  Wednesday went back down again, but to a still respectable 6,666 steps.  Thursday saw another big increase, jumping all the way up to 9100 steps.  Friday was a bit of an adventure, as I drove down to Purdue to pick up Danny before heading to Indianapolis to see Purdue disappoint in the NCAA Tournament, ending up with 9600 steps, although I think I lost a few along the way as I relived the 11 PM hour thanks to the time change between EDT and CDT.  Saturday, despite being sore as all get-out from Friday, I still managed to get 7500 steps.

Total steps: 55,581

Daily average: 7940.1

Spending Time In The Mitten

For March, we turn our gaze to the north and east towards the state of Michigan.  Every picture comes from a skating event of some sort, split between the 2016 US Synchronized Skating Championships in Kalamazoo and the 2019 Porter Classic in Ann Arbor.  The first row has a picture of Angelina skating at each event.  The second row has Danny and Michael, in the stands at the first event and with Angelina following the second.  Finally, the last row shows Angelina getting the results with the rest of her team.

Locked Out Of The 10,000 Step Club

Things were a lot different a year ago, as I was finishing up my fifth year using a Fitbit.  I had just added 45 new 10,000 step days, my 3rd 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 and the world basically shut down.  I worked from home for the remainder of the year, which gave me a lot more free time, but also significantly cut down on my daily step totals.  All told, I managed only 3 10,000 step days for the just completed sixth year of Fitbit usage, which came to an end last week.  Just for giggles, here’s a duplication of last year’s top 25 step days, since nothing has changed over the past year.

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 →

I Heart New York

For February, we turn our gaze to the east and the state of New York.  The majority of the pictures come from the 2018 trip to see Harry Potter and the Cursed Child on Broadway, with one photo from my 2003 trip to Shea Stadium for Opening Day.  Starting in the top left and moving clockwise, we have Danny outside of the 9/11 memorial, Michael, Angelina, and Danny at the top of the Empire State Building, the three of them again on Bow Bridge in Central Park, posing outside of the theater on Broadway, the three by the lagoon in Central Park, and, finally, resting at the Museum of the City of New York.

And Never Brought To Mind

The hell year that was 2020 has finally come to an end.  While the world looks forward to vaccines and a (hopeful) return to normalcy without the impacts of the corona virus, we turn our gaze back to two trips to California, one in 2017 to see Angelina compete and again in 2018 to see Danny march in the Rose Parade.  Starting in the top left and moving clockwise, we have a picture of Danny in said parade on New Year’s Day 2019, Angelina and Michael posing in front of the Central Perk window at the Warner Bros. studio, Angelina warming up before her performance in Anaheim, Danny performing at the pre-parade Band Fest showcase at Pasadena City College, the entire family (minus Danny) outside Ms. Patty’s dance studio back on the back lot at Warner Bros.  studios, and, finally, Michael, Danny, and mom at Disneyland in 2017.

2021 Calendar

Normally, I put together a calendar every year with pictures I have taken of Angelina, Danny, and Michael throughout the year as a Christmas gift for my mom and sister.  This year, however, the pickings are very slim, due to the corona virus pandemic and not really leaving the house much since March.  Because of that, I had to re-think what this year’s calendar would look like.  What I ended up with was a new photo of each for their birthday month, with the remaining 9 months made up of a collection of photos from year’s past from a particular state.  The states that made the cut are California, DC, Florida, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Missouri, New York, and Wisconsin.  As in year’s past. the calendar was produced by the good folks at Shutterfly and we will unveil each month’s photo on the first day of the month throughout 2021.

This year’s cover comes from 2019’s trip to Washington, DC, as the three kids sit on the steps of the Supreme Court Building.