Where In the World

So my daughter’s and I are heading South to go on a two to three day backpacking trip. In previous years we have gone on canoe trips in the Boundary Waters (BWCA) which I recommend highly if you do the backwoods thing. In conversations the girls indicated a desire to try backpacking. This past January we purchased backpacks and this week are doing a “test run” of our equipment on a short trip. In late May we plan to go for 7-10 days in North Central Pennslyvania on the Susquenahnock Trail System (and perhaps the Black Forest Trail). Before we do that we want to get feedback on shoes, packs and so on and have a chance to make corrections before the “big hike”. 

We are going to be hiking in the Shawnee National Forest in the far Southern tip of Illinois on the River to River trail. We are driving tonight into the area to get an early start tomorrow.  Or as early as you can get with college age kids on Spring Break. 

Not Shostakovitch’s 7th Exactly … But

So, Shostakovitch’s 7th Symphony was written in Leningrad during the horrific siege of the same city in WWII, first movement. After the introduction there is a quiet pizzicato in the violin section with a Mozart-like melody accompanied almost inaudible snare drum. The melody is meant to evoke an (allegedly) favored Mozart piece that Hitler liked. The melody and drum represent the far off Nazi war machine and the threat of the violence of war. By the time the movement ends, this melody has been repeated louder and louder and louder with more and more sections and instruments joining in to a terrific climax. See this … 5:50 starts the crescendo. Listen to the whole movement though, it is worth your while.

This post then is to presage the weekend, when blogging will resume here on a regular basis.

So … Backwoods?

Tomorrow my daughter’s and I drive north to Tofte, MN, and Saturday we enter the boundary waters for eight days, seven nights of canoeing in untamed wilderness. If you ever want to do something like that, here is an excellent place to start. We start early Saturday morning, and hope to camp at Grace or Phoebe on Saturday night. After that … we will plan day to day … but end up back at Sawbill lake Saturday … late morning or early afternoon.


So. I’ve been busy (yet again). Now I’m on a job, which is fairly big, in Ohio (outside/southeast of Dayton). I found a place to swim (woo. Did 2.5 km today! … huff puff). It’s a bit of a drive (less next week as I’ve sorted the hotel/pool/jobsite triangle better). We start early on the job … but I promise. Links with each with a short paragraph remark tomorrow.

Oh. John Wright has a new novel. That has been sucking time as well. It’s an excellent start btw. (if this is your first Wright novel, I’d still suggest starting with Golden Age)

Training and Training and Travel

So, back home and now caught up on sleep. Fitness training took a few days off, with some shoulder soreness and work requirements overlapping. On the other hand, my “brain” fitness experiment is under way. I’ve chosen texts (with a trio of Sussman &co books as the textbooks with which I’m starting). I’m out of practice, which in itself is interesting.

My eldest daughter arrived home from college today, which is a good time for us in this little house.


I’ve been neglecting the blogging thing. I’m going to blame (mostly) Holy Week last week which in addition to getting exercise sucked all my spare time out of my life.  Anyhow, our Paschal celebration was exhilarating and joyous and we are not in Bright week.

I’m traveling later today and will try to pen an essay for posting tonight whilst on, uhm, da plane boss, da plane!

Tomorrow’s the Day

So. Surgery (sort of) tomorrow. Technically it’s a cardiac Electro-Physiology Lab study. The lab study will attempt to replicate my SVT (Supra-Ventricular Tacchycardia). If it can be replicated then RF ablation will be used to stop the cross-talk between nerve clusters on my heart. Then the SVT trigger process will be repeated event. When if/when the SVT cannot be triggered via electodes …  we are done and my SVT will not recur (and ala Monte Python, there will be great rejoicing).

If you have a mind to, offer a prayer for me tomorrow about 11am CST. Thanks.

Update: Good news and bad news. Good news is, I’m in recovery (at home) and things look a good … for recovery. The bad news is that they couldn’t emulate the SVT event in the first step and never did any ablation. I’ll have a followup in a few weeks. One option I’m considering is seeking the option of trying this or s similar procedure with a EP specialist who is an amateur endurance athelete. My impression is that they didn’t push hard enough to trigger the event, in part not realizing that my heart is quite a bit fitter than average.

The Cunning (and current) Plan

So the current cunning (blog) plan is to return to weekday (Sun/Mon-Thursday) daily links blogging, 5 days a week and an occasional essay. I’m not giving up on returning to essay blogging but I’m not going to try that again until my #2 daughter has gone off to college (late August).

With that being said, links return tonight. Wednesday however will be a off-day as I will be on the train all day returning to Chicago.

A Change of Pace

For the last two weeks, those few who follow this blog have noticed I’ve not posted. My posting of late has been irregular and I’ve some changes are in order. When I began this blog, I wrote an essay every night. I have since accomplished my primary goal. Which was to write much better. My sentences are now more structured, less frequently I resorted to double negatives, fewer non-sentences jammed in there, hopefully I get the correct preposition more often than not, and so on. Then time constraints occurred, plus I had less “new” to say and I resorted to my strengths, that is to say … I read very fast so collecting links was perceived as something I could do well. For I had begun my interest in blogs as a reader not a writer. I had, and still have, a large list of feeds which I keep up with and I read quickly. “Links” posting become a stop gap.

At present I see a few choices. I could stop. I could continue link blogging. I could try to start writing regular essays. I could try some combination of the above.

So …. after this two week period. What have I decided. Well, I’m going to try returning to essay blogging. I’ll use links occasionally to spur conversation, but I think the links only posting will fade away. I don’t know how regular I’ll manage to write. But … on this flight to Atlanta, I’m going to write. The results … you see in the next post.

Thanks for your patience as always.

A Quick Weather (!) Related Note

So. Lemont (the village in which I live) had some tornadoes play peekaboo through town. None touched down but winds were high and lots of trees didn’t stay upright or lost very very large branches. We’ve been without power for about 24 hours now (my office has power). Right now I’m here “charging” stuff, to take home, some tomorrow and some tonight after an hour or so. We have water and gas …  and (ergo hot water) and can cook in the grill, which has one burner as well. So we’re doing pretty darn Ok. But no Internets at home.

Am Back

We are back from the land of loons, woods, and lakes and all in good health. Well, our small dog found the going a little to taxing and we exited early because she couldn’t keep her food down. Both of my kids are talking about when not if we go back. Much sun (and rain) and forest quiet was had by all. Actually probably too much of the black flies and mosquitoes was had, but we also survived that as well.

Summer Holiday

So … in almost a week, my two girls and I are planning to venture into the BWCA (Boundary Waters Canoe Area) in northern Minnesota for a 8 day/7 night backwoods canoeing trip. No net. Now news. Only two small flashlights and a watch or two will be the extent of our electrical tech.

That’s a big reason for the light post of late, I’ve been busy at work and we are planning out trip. We leave next Thursday morning, 9 hours of driving puts us the night in Tofte, MN. An hour drive on Friday and we’ll be at the outfitter. An hour or two after that we’ll be on lakes and portages and campsites watching for bald eagles and loons and moose.


Well, we made it home Saturday. Then it snowed. Then it got cold. The diesel didn’t start when we got home (not because of any diesel fuel issue but because of a dead battery). Since it was snowing … and today it was -20 F we didn’t trickle charge it yet. We’re going to charge it tomorrow and then try starting it Wednesday when the temps are supposed to get north of 10.  We’ve discovered some things about packed snow, ice, and salt.  When temps are below -15 salt doesn’t do squat. Snow melted/softened by salt which then is cooled below 10 or 15 below is hard as a rock. Squeeky snow (which is snow below 0) is very slippery on the roads. The only solution is to go slow … and finally, I live on a road which is on about a 15% grade. You can’t drive up it. You can only go down. If your speed gets above about 5mph … you’re out of control doing down. Creeping is only way.

A reminder, the difference between 60 and 20 is the same as the difference between 20 and -20. Think of what you wear at 60 compared to 20. Stay warm out there if you’re in this arctic blast.

I’d have posted tonight, except life intervened. I did get to the gym to swim however but a little late. I got 1500 yards in, but we got there late so I had to stop before I got to 2000.

Travel Update

Well, we made it to the West (Colorado). Getting up at 3:45 to catch our flight stressed the good graces of my young girls (and likely myself). But we are recovered now,  think. Saturday we all skied, and I managed to tweak my right knee … badly enough for me to be a little shocky Saturday night, but which is healing quickly enough I think to try again tomorrow.  Lesson #1 for me is that my legs are not at the same strength and durability as they were when I was racing bikes. Lesson #2 … caution is not always a bad thing.


Interesting Trip

Well, we had a brush with the news on our trip to the East coast. Our connecting train from DC to Trenton was Train number 168 on Saturday, which struck a “trespasser.”

As a kid we played on and around the tracks across the highway, … which didn’t have 100 mph Acela trains on it but … it seems highly likely it was suicide (and this is the season for that sort of thing).

We were delayed for 2 hours, we left on a Metra train at 4:30pm CST and got to Trenton at 8pm EST the next day.

Almost Back

Well, work tsunami almost overwhelmed. I was almost out from under … when I found out I have to be up at 4am to start work tomorrow … after which I should be back blogging again regularly.

So, anything happen when I was gone?

I did, btw, blow off a bit of steam this weekend and read the Jonathan Maberry Rot and Ruin series, a Y/A non-mystical post zombie apocalypse coming of age story in several volumes.

Posting Update

Work started off at a gallop this morning … and an old buddy from my undergraduate collegiate days is in town (1980-84) … so nothing will come tonight. Tomorrow should be more normal.

I tell my kids that I went to college back when dinosaurs roamed the planet, but this being the Interwebs and all, it’s likely I’ll be corrected by someone pointing out that no, dinosaurs weren’t alive in 1980. 😀


Well, I”ve been quiet for a bit.

Next week I’ll be back, Friday or on the weekend I’m going to try to kick off a series of essays based on my responses to this book.

I’m so far behind in links review that I gave up and reset them. I may or may not have time Friday to post a few that collect between tonight and noonish tomorrow.

The job I’ve been on has been in Salt Lake City, I thought it was going to be a bit easier than it turned out to be, as I was more prepared than before, but hardware glitches and things kept it interesting.

Format Change for This Week

Normally I link .. and get out essays when I have time and energy. This week, internet access will be limited. I’m going to try to reverse the trend and write more essays and push links to next week. If I do post links there won’t be many.


Travel/Blogging Schedule

Well, we’re back from vacation … and I’m flying out to the LA area on work for the next two weeks. I should have time to blog but posting and any writing (besides the hopeful essay I write on the plane) will be probably relegated to the evening hours. I should be able to participate in comments throughout the day after today however.


OK. I’m back on the left coast, working very very early hours (well, not so early today as my flights got me to my hotel kinda late to get up early today). Links will be posted evenings for the next two weeks. I’ll try to keep up with comments.

Oddly enough, I learned on the flight over I need to get back to essay posting. I started an essay and half-way through it I’d argued myself out of the thesis I’d started with. Essay writing gets me thinking about issues more clearly and more of that is needed. So, perhaps that’s good news.

Ahm Back

OK. Regular blogging will return tomorrow … and later tonight I’ll finish and publish the gun control article I wrote half of two weeks ago flying here, I didn’t finish it on the plane … and didn’t have time to finish it until tonight.

New Joiseee Here We Come

Well our triple train travels went well. Chicago Metra was on time to get us to downtown Chicago. Amtrak delivered us 7 minutes late in Wash DC on the Capitol Limited from Chicago, and 2 minutes late to Trenton (Northwest Corridor Amtrak from DC). We boarded Metra at 3:37PM Tuesday and arrived in Trenton at 6:30pm Wednesday not much worse for wear.

Normal blogging (hopefully + daily weekday essays as in days of old) will resume.

As Noted Earlier

I’m traveling today. I’ve done the research now for tonight’s post on Star Wars and religion and will have a “double” links post in the morning.

We’re vacationing (at my girls request) in Florida (in the summer!?) … near Destin (Panhandle, Gulf beach).

Fly Fly Away

Off to the left coast am I. On business. The unusual aspect to this trip is that “go live” is scheduled for Monday … and the site is far enough from transport that travelling back on Saturday, returning Sunday didn’t make sense. So, I’m staying the weekend. We’ll see what I find on the weekend in California.

Hopefully the flight isn’t very full. That’s always nice (for the passenger, not so much for the airline).


I have not. Vanished that is. I’m at a job, near Chicago but far enough that I’m not staying at home, starting early finishing late … and the hotel has iffy connection. Anyhow, I’m collecting links, probably alas a monster post of stale links will be posted later this week. Maybe tonight?

Vacation and Some Questions

Well, a week off. Due the inability of our family to make a definite decision in a reasonable amount of time, we waited until low rates for airlines and such had passed (and the time is somewhat fixed by this being the week of spring break). Our first choice had been to go to Sante Fe for the break. But instead we are driving to St. Louis for the week, in part just to get away we a have no clue what we are doing. Any suggestions of “things to do” in the St. Louis area would be appreciated.

On the drive, I read one of the “econ” books recommended/linked Friday (I think). It was purported to give an overview of economics. Anyhow, I have a question for those who might have a more substantial background in economics. In the micro-economics section they show a plot of supply/demand curves. These curves plotting price and quantity (if I remember correctly). The slope at the intersection points seem to be termed “elasticity”. What also seems to be assumed is that these curves are monotonic, smooth, and well behaved. These assumptions however do not seem to be realistic. An example of non-monotonic behavior would be the assumption that if a price there will be higher demand or that more of a thing will be sold. But product that prides itself on being “high quality” will not necessarily sell at a lower price because that lower price nobody would believe that high quality would be possible. High price can also signal elite/elitist products. These products would not sell more, their cachet is in part inseparable from their high price.

So here’s my question. Are these curves assumed to be mathematically well behaved in these ways. If they are not, what breaks done in their models?

Some Housekeeping

Of a personal nature. OK. Remember the “emergency car” thing, having to replace the MIMA enhanced Honda Insight (typical mileage 70/85 when the temp was above 50). Well, I got used Nissan Versa 6 speed manual. It gets somewhat crappy mileage, i.e., about 30 city and 38 highway (it’s listed as 24/29  but that’s what I get). Our family will be receiving a hand-me-down VW Jetta TDI from my parents later this year … both are likely destined to be passed to my girls who are both in High School. Someday, somewhere regulatory barriers keeping out that 2 seater that gets 150-200 mpg highway will drop and it will be on the market, and then I’ll be able to drive the car I want. And on the car subject, if you drive a car without real-time MPG readout (average and instant) and you think conservation is important … there is a word for people like that, we call that being a hypocrite. You can get a inexpensive gauge like the ScanGauge or EcoGauge for about $150/100 respectively … which means the price of the gadget is not an excuse.

Also, I haven’t been biking so much. I want to get back into it but other time constraints make this difficult. Right now I’ve gotten back into lifting weights as an interim sport for the last 9 months or so … in part because the time constraints are more flexible. My bench-press (one metric … and fun lift) has gone up from 145 or so at the beginning to a one rep max about two weeks ago of 215. Back in college I lifted weights semi-seriously for a few years. My lifetime one rep bench max is 230. I’m getting close … and should be able to eclipse that by the end of the summer.

And while I’m not a fan of CFLs, as I don’t think they last very long and their mercury content is problematic. LED tech is more promising. However, my family on the other hand, doesn’t like the four Phillips 10W 800 (60W incandescent equiv) lumen dimmable LEDs I just put in the kitchen chandelier. Allegedly they will last 22 years … although judging by the CFL lifetime claims that means 5 … but we shall see. If they do last that long, I’ll be replacing them when I’m somewhat over 70.

A Quick Question

Recently jobs numbers came out … two data points are of interest and can be used, perhaps, to judge the bias of the sources. One set, points out that January job numbers are up and by one metric unemployment has dropped to 8.3%, getting firmly below 9. The other set, which is new as well, points out the divergence between two proxies which normally track but recently have diverged. Unemployment, as tracked by those applying for unemployment benefits and jobs, normally tracks well with the number of unemployed. Yet in the last 18 months this tracking has diverged. More and more people have (according to the second unemployment proxy) have given up seeking work. By that second metric, unemployment is above 10.5%.

Honest reporting would, I offer, report both points. There are many, who for political reasons, decide on or the other figure is more significant. Are there good reasons besides the nominally “bad” political partisanship ones for not noting both?

Oh, by the by, I’ve got to run early to get to a job site about an hours drive north. My links post will go out tonight.