Tuesday, February 28, 2006

2/17/2006 - Correction

Mystery commentator "Matt" reads my post on the Johnstown flood and notes that the flood took place in Johnstown, PA, not Johnstown, NY, through which I walked.

I guess that I have once again proven that, while a little knowledge can be a dangerous thing, a little ignorance tends to be worse.

Thanks for the correction, Matt.

11,700 embarassed steps today. Oops,

2/16/2006 - Dunnville, Ontario

According to the Wikipedia, Dunnville is a city of 13,000, 45 minutes from Niagara Falls. I'm embarrased to say that it took me 11 days. Bick's Pickle Factory is the largest employer out here and it sports such eateries as "Bob's Place."

Since I imagine myself to be camping out at night, I will probably end up at Knight's Beach where I may have engaged in Karaoke or Volleyball (no curling) had the weather been better than the 45 degrees in which I walked.

I contacted a local historian and am hoping to have more to tell you about the city in a future post. In the meantime,

18,600 sweet 'n' sour steps today. Cheers,

2/15/2006 - Atlanta, GA

Okay, I didn't really walk from Niagara falls to Atlanta, GA. I'm really in Atlanta (or was on the 15th). My job sent me there for an actuarial junkett involving presentations, debates and a couple of tours. I was actually in Atlanta from the 14th through the 16th, but the 15th was my one full day and I made the most of it (see the bottom of the post for evidence).

I woke up at 6:30. Since the meeting didn't begin until 8:30, I nipped down to the exercise room and grabbed a treadmill. I used to run for 30-40 minutes at a stretch, but I'm still being protective of my knee, so I walked briskly for an hour, while listening to my podcasts. Between the treadmill and navigating the hotel, I was up to 6,000 steps by the time my meeting began. We met all morning. I managed to do a little walking during breaks and lunch. Maybe I was up to 7,000 by the time we left for our tours in the afternoon.

In the afternoon, we did walking tours of CNN and Coke. I was not so impressed by CNN (this is Reuters, repackaged) but Coke was a lot of fun, featuring a soda jerk and "tastes of the world." I really wanted to bring home some Lychee Pop for the wife. I forewent the bus home from Coke and by the time I returned to the hotel, I was close to 17,000 steps.

For dinner, my comerades all went out to a restaurant. Since I keep kosher and wasn't in the mood to watch others eat, I munched quick PB&J in my room and returned to the exercise room. I decided to walk for 2 hours. Feeling adventurous, I threw in some running. Every 5th minute, I ran at a pace of 6 mph. My knee did fine, although my muscles complained the next day.

By the time I finished my hike, I was delighted to learn that I had already cleared 30,000 steps! I was ready to turn in, but it was pretty early, so I walked slowly around the hotel for a while and called it a night at 32,100 steps, my new high.

I did a good job drinking this time and experienced no dehydration, but my body got its revenge by causing me to sleep until 8:15 the next day, thereby missing 30 minutes of my meeting.

32,100 steps (15 miles, 1,250 calories) today. Cheers,

2/14/2006 - My cup of tea

One of the challenges I face in my quest to cross the country is that I lead a pretty sedentary worklife. On weekends I get my footage up by taking unnecessary trips across the apartment to break up whatever else I'm doing (washing dishes, cleaning up, playing with the boys). At work, my computer is my productivity pod. The less time I spend in front of it, the less I get done. Oh, sure, sometimes I find myself in meetings, but these aren't higher footage events…

So I have enlisted a new ally in the fight for steps at work: Tea. As background, I drink a lot at work. Until recently, the beverage of choice had been seltzer. On a typical day, I drink 48-64 ounces of seltzer over the course of the day. This makes me feel healthy, but it hardly helps my steps, because I keep unopened bottles of seltzer under my desk and open them as I drink them. Not much walking.

Tea, however, is a totally different matter. I am not, by nature, much of a hot beverage drinker, but I recently had a bout with bronchitis. It wasn't very serious but gave me a sore throat. The wife recommended tea with honey as a way to soothe my throat, but I soon found that the honey was superfluous. At work, I found myself drinking 6-9 cups of tea a day. Now hot water is something not easily kept under my desk, so with every cup, I have to walk 50 steps to the water cooler and 50 steps back. That leads to 600-900 steps a day! That may not sound like much, but given that I typically walk 200-400 steps per hour at work, an additional 100 per hour really counts!

19,100 sloshy steps today. Cheers,

Saturday, February 25, 2006

2/13/2006 - These ain't no Hatfields

From ace reporter Libby Silver, comes the following story we may not have heard about, south of the border...

"Elijah McCoy was born in 1844 in Colchester, Ontario to 2 former slaves (who escaped via the underground railroad). He gained fame as an inventor of lubricant for engine locomotives. The story goes that his product was so popular that other people started copying it, leading engineers to enquire whether they were getting 'The Real McCoy.'"

I wonder whether he ever met Uncle Sam?

12,900 McSteps today. Cheers,

2/12/2006 - Port Colborne

Having crossed the border, Port Colborne is my first stop in Ontario! I'm happy to report that Port Colborne has a lovely website with lots of interesting information about the city. I'm less happy to report that all of it was in Adobe Acrobat format, which my computer doesn't handle well (I know, I need a new computer...)

So instead, I sidled next door to the Opera Society of Port Colborne. I've always been a sucker for light opera (someday I shall have post my experience singing "Eponine"). Despite the name, the society appears to have done exclusively Broadway Musicals including both classics (Pajama Game, Annie Get your Gun) and new musicals, which will never become classics (Crazy for You).

Still, any city with an Opera Company is a real city in my book, population (18,500) notwithstanding.

23,400 box steps (and jazz fingers) today. Cheers,

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

2/11/2006 - Hack (wheeze)

I am supposed to blog about Port Colborne, my first stop in Canada, but that will have to wait until tomorrow. Today I have to blog to my health.

Both of my boys wrestled with croupe this week (that seal-like cough to which young children are sometimes prone). Inevitably, I fell victim to whatever they had. I, like most adults, am not prone to croupe, but I did have a lingering, hacking cough. Over the course of the week, I hit it with a combination of tea, cough drops, menthol and finally cough surpressants (bleah). The cough drops intermittantly deferred the cough and the nasty stuff made even less impact.

I finally found something that worked. Sometimes, I can be a charicature of myself. My magic bullet was a stopwatch. I made up my mind to time the intervals between coughs with the goal of increasing them. My first interval was barely over 1 minute. Then I managed 3 minutes. Quickly I got up to 1 hour. I have probably only coughed 4-5 times in the last 2 hours.

That which is not measured is not understood.

14,100 steps today. Cheers,

Monday, February 20, 2006

2/10/2006 - Various sundries

Tonight I feel a little alone. The baby has a bad cough -- bad enough that the wife took him off to see the doctors, leaving me and my eldest at home. My eldest has taken to falling asleep more easily, so now I am by myself, blogging.

The baby is really in fine shape, so the two of them will be home later, but the line can be long at the hospital, so I'll have some time.

I often imagine myself actually taking this hike. I imagine walking 20 or so miles a day and staying in hotels at night (I really don't like camping out). But then I often think of how lonely it would be, night after night on this glorious hike, with or without cable TV at night.

And if I were by myself, I would have missed evenings like tonight. Tonight we played trumpet for the first time in a month. My eldest hit a high C (C above middle C, if I have that right). Beats walking to Alaska any day.

10,000 contented steps today. Cheers,

Sunday, February 19, 2006

2/9/2006 - On my way out

I've got to check my passport, trade in my greenbacks and brush up on my Hockey trash talk (e.g., that Zamboni ain't makin' nothing but slush). I'm going to Canada!

I have invited a few Canadian friends to share lesser known insights as I pass through the country ("It's that country immediately north of America" -- thanks Q). In the meantime, I will restrain myself to one joke:

Two gentlemen are sitting around trying to decide what to name their country. After crossing off many suggestions, they agree to pull letters out of a Scrabble bag.

"C, eh?"
"N, eh?"
"D, eh?"

And thus a country way born.

12,600 unamerican steps today. Cheers,

Saturday, February 18, 2006

2/8/2006 - Charles Lutwidge Dodgson

Daniel H. mentions that I have, perhaps, entered the elite company of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, as people who walk more than is strictly healthy for themselves.

A quick google search shows that Mr. Dodgson was born in the 19th century, studied at Christ Church College (Oxford) and gained some renown writing treaties on mathematics.

He died quite suddenly in 1898, after contracting what originally appeared to be minor cold. I could not confirm this, but perhaps his penchant for outdoor walking was to blame.

I shall be sure to bundle up.

12,200 wondeful steps today. Cheers,

2/7/2006 - Youthful enthusiasm

After 3 days in Atlanta, I phoned home to tell the family that I was in the airport and on my way. The wife handed me off to my eldest, who demanded that I come home immediately.

JG: "I'm coming home now, to play with you."
Eldest: "And go to sleep with me?"
JG: "Sure."
Eldest: "OK."
JG: "And maybe even give you a bath."

I lost my hearing, but it was worth it.

10,300 "very clean" steps today. Cheers,

2/6/2006 - Niagara Falls (last exit in NY)

For starters, let me apologize for my absence of nearly 1 week. This was due to a business trip to Atlanta which really kept me on my toes. Maybe I'll walk down the Eastern Seaboard once I finish this little jaunt.

That being said, here I am in beautiful Niagara Falls. If you'd like to take a peek, try here. I feel like there is very little that can be said about the Falls that hasn't already been said, but I'll take a shot at it.

The American Falls see about 150,000 gallons of water pass by every second. That's about 1/4th the volume of an olympic swimming pool. So if you ever find yourself in an Olympic Swimming pool when Niagara passes by, you have about 4 seconds to exit.

The falls reached their full power about 5,500 years ago. The national debt is increasing by about $2.2B per day. So counting backwards, when Niagara first starting pumping at 4 s/OP, the world owed us about $4 quadrillion, ignoring leap seconds. For those 6-year olds reading this blog, that's a little less than 1 gazillion.

Niagara is the 3rd most significant fall in the world after Victoria Falls (in Africa) and the 2004 ALCS. OK, OK, no Buckner jokes, please.

The rocks supporting Niagara are composed largely of dolomite, which has the chemical formula CaMg(CO2)3. I have absolutely nothing funny to say about that. Except maybe that "Niagara Falls Dolomite" = "I edit all anagrams, fool."

12,000 thundering steps today. Cheers,

Sunday, February 12, 2006

2/5/2006 - New Record

I put up my second 30k today, and a new personal best. When I look back at what I had to do to achieve it, it makes me wonder why I even bother trying to hit 30ks, but I'm sure I will again.

I have to start walking seriously pretty much from the moment I wake up. So during the first 2 hours of the day, I put in 2000 steps each, largely by carry the baby aimlessly around the apartment. Once everyone was up and ready to go, I cleared the kids out of the house (so the Wife could do some work) and walked over 1 mile to a toy store where my Eldest could play.

We walked 30 minutes to get there, stayed for 30 minutes and then walked home for lunch. My kids appear to greatly appreciate walking in the stroller. My eldest talks animatedly with me and the baby sleeps peacefully. If they ever change their minds, I am going to lose a lot of steps.

After lunch, Eldest and Wife took a nap together and the baby and I got back on the sidewalk. I had in mind to walk to Brookline for some kosher shopping, but the beautiful 50 degree weather had been preceeded by a torrential downpour and mud puddles cut off my route. Instead we wandered aimlessly for something like 90 minutes.

We came home and I woke up the wife. I then took the baby to a mall for more walking (and new work-shoes!). I came home, we quickly packed up and I walked the Eldest to a Superbowl party at M&M's. We stayed for the first 3 quarters (just think of all the steps I lost!) and then I walked him back home.

Unlike earlier attempts, I drank enough. I felt neither sore nor warn out, but I did collapse into bed upon return home. All in all, a good experience.

30,300 terrible steps today. Cheers,

2/4/2006 - Snow day!

On the day that I posted this (as opposed to the date in the title) we experienced our annual Bostonian Blizzard. For 3 days running up to the storm, there was so much general consternation that I couldn't believe the storm would live up to the hype.

The storm was forecast to come in Saturday afternoon or evening. I went to the Bruin's game (yesterday's post) with some fear as to how we would get home. No worries. As we were leaving (at 9) the sky was still clear. At 2:30 the baby woke up and needed to be carried to the Wife. I peeked out the window. Still no snow.

When I woke up at 7 (the boys let me sleep in for once) the air was thick with tiny flakes but there was little apparant accumulation. Blizzards are funny things. Some areas get coated with snow and some areas are wind-swept. When I finally checked the walk, I realized that we already had 6-8 inches on the ground. I would clear away nearly 2 feet in the 4 times I hit the walk over the course of the day.

But that wasn't the fun part. The fun part was, this being a Sunday, I found an opportunity for a walk. Although I spent about 90 minutes on my walk, I didn't manage one of my 4-5 mile walks, because of the snow. Instead, I went slogging through many an unshoveled 18-inch sidewalk. In addition to my usual winter gear (leggings, sweatshirt, hat - thanks mom!) I added a pair of plastic bags with rubber bands to seal them shut.

I will admit it, these bags made me look like the geek I am. But my wonderful, comfortable, warm boots have the unfortunate quality that they are not quite water proof on the soles. These lovely bags kept me warm and dry on the walk. Had I the time, I could have easily walked another hour, 17 degree weather notwithstanding.

18,400 properly attired steps today. Cheers,

Saturday, February 11, 2006

2/3/2006 - Bruins

Hockey isn't my favorite sport. It's probably not in my top 5 to watch. But I always enjoy watching something with someone who's passionate about it, so tonight I went to see the Bruins with the Priest.

The nominal purpose of our excursion (other than to enjoy a daddies' night out) was to see whether the Bruins would be a good place to take our 4 year olds. The wife answered that question before I even left the house. Apparantly, the NHL has a higher concentration of "smushie-mushie" than that with which she has comfort.

It was a different game than the pre-strike version I remember. Much more scoring (although I am told that this was abnormally high) and much less fighting.

The Bruins lost, alas, but I enjoyed the game greatly as the Priest was able to walk me through strategies, penalties and "why people were booing." All in all, a good night.

13,100 high-sticking steps today. Cheers,

2/2/2006 - South Newstead, NY

Today I pass through South Newstead, achieving an odd sort of landmark. This is the first time Mapquest has been forced to show my progress on the 3rd largest setting (I had heretofore been tracked one level down). That means that, far from only seeing MA and NY in the view, I can now see pieces of Kentucky and Virginia, not to mention my own native New Jersey (hi mom! hi dad!).

What can I say about the city? Not much, but it does have a bit of a web presence. It was formed in 1823 and currently has slightly more than 8,000 folks living there. The gypsum industry was pretty good to the city, although probably not too good to the miners.

It was a balmy 43 degrees (F) as I passed through the town. It has been a fairly moderate winter -- good for walking, bad for those who choose not to worry about Global Warming.

16,000 temperate steps today. Cheers,

Thursday, February 09, 2006

2/1/2006 - I have arrived

I now have evidence that I have succesfully integrated this walk into my day. On most nights, I end up sleeping with my eldest. He wakes up around 3 and calls for me. Without waking up, I climb into bed with him and we snuggle off to sleep.

Yesterday, when we woke up, he said to me:

"I want to go downstairs daddy, put on your [pedometer]."

I don't quite remember what he actually said. It may have been "thingy."

13,100 familial steps today. Cheers,

1/31/2006 - A Compliment

Autumn came by to dine with the family tonight. She showed me her pedometer and commented that she was taking "J.G. steps," not "Autumn steps" tonight.

I had to admit that she was 3,000 steps ahead of me already. Based on her plans for the rest of the evening, I had no doubt that she would end up 5-6,000 steps ahead of me by the end of the night. Still, I was pleased at the compliment.

10,000 sub-J.G. steps tonight. Cheers,

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

1/30/2006 - Baby feet

Today the baby learned to put his feet in his mouth. It is amazing from what I derive that sense of accomplishment these days.

12,000 feet filled steps today. Cheers,

1/29/2006 - Batavia, New York

Am I in Holland? Nope, Batavia, New York. Named after the short-lived Dutch Republic, Batavia can claim many firsts:

  • Home to the first Business Incubator
  • First Union soldier to enlist for the Civil War
  • It's where John Elway hit his first professional home run. No joke.

Would you like to see Batavia? Try here, the Holland Land Office Museum.

23,000 steps today. Het beste,

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

1/28/2006 - 1,000,000 steps

Today, I took my 1,000,000th step on this journey. I will pause for a minute to enjoy a sense of accomplishment, but only for a minute. It will take me another 6,500,000 steps to get to Seattle and another 5,500,000 after that to get to ANWR.

And I would walk 500 miles
And I would walk 500 more

19,500 steps today, about 980,500 previously. Cheers,

1/27/2006 - Lazy Friday

You may or may not notice that the number below will be my absolute lowest footage to date (and I hope henceforth). The 27th happened to be a Friday. On Thursdays I tend to stay up until 2 AM getting ready for the Sabbath and then wake up at 5 AM to be able to work a full day from 7-3. This particular Friday, I crashed around 7 PM and never really woke up until Saturday. I'm lucky that doesn't happen more often.

8,500 pathetic steps today. Yuck.

Saturday, February 04, 2006

1/26/2006 - Hamayvin Yavin

Got him in one today!

13,100 happy steps today. Cheers,

1/25/2006 - All tuckered out

Having wrestled with yesterday's political post, I am reminded of why I gave up my political blog in the first place. Way too hard.

10,700 lazy steps today. Cheers,

Thursday, February 02, 2006

1/24/2006 - State of the Union


Apparently the State of the Union is "strong." I thought that the state of the Union was "South Dakota," but I was wrong. It's clearly not Alaska. President Bush pledged to replace 75% of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025 without mentioning ANWR once. Did you notice? Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) sure did.

But now I get to play my favorite game, known to many of you as

"Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics"

President Bush would like to "replace more than 75 percent of our oil imports from the Middle East by 2025."

What's wrong with this phrase?


For starters, I'm not really sure what that means. Right now, according to the Government, we get less than 20% of our oil from the Middle East. We get much of it from Canada, Mexico, Venezuela, Nigeria, Russia and Great Britain. So let's assume that Bush's goal is to go from 20% to 5%. That still seems like a courageous statement to make, right?

Issue #1: That may happen on its own. It will always be more convenient for us to import our oil from Canada and Canada is where the big oil discoveries are being made these days. It is virtually a given that Middle East is oil going to be a smaller piece of the pie by 2025.

Issue #2: Oil is pretty much the quintessential commodity - it's interchangeable. The more oil we buy, the more all oil sellers benefit, regardless of whether to whom they are selling. If the Chinese have to buy oil from the House of Saud, the Saudis will benefit from all of that oil we are buying from Canada.

Put another way, as long as we continue to use a lot of oil, we are going to continue to have a vested interest in the welfare of the governments of Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Kuwait (dare I mention Nigeria, Venezuela, Russia...). If we purchased no oil from Saudi Arabia, we would still see a huge spike in prices following a terrorist attack affecting their oil as their customers started competing with us in Ottawa.

Of course, I'm not being entirely fair. The President spoke of plenty of other initiatives that would be more meaningful (e.g. fuel cells). The fact that my favorite measures (requiring more fuel economy, taxing gas) weren't there is kind of my problem.


11,700 carbon dioxide-free steps today. Cheers,

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

1/23/2006 - Henrietta, NY

O, for a Muse of Bandwidth, that would ascend the brightest monitor of invention. A website for a stage, hyperlinks to act, and lurkers to behold the swelling post. Then should the nerdlike J.G., like himself, Assume the Port of Yoda (patron god of geeks), and at his heels (leashed in, like hounds) should Virus, Spyware, and Error 404 crouch for employment.

We ask you, having read this prologue,
Gently to read, kindly to judge our blog.


Henrietta, named for Henrietta Laura Pulteney, countess of Bath, sits in the center of Monroe County. It is home to over 40,000 folks and sits a good 600 feet above the sea level. It is also, more or less, home to the National Technical Institute for the Deaf.

While I was there, I checked out the school's sponsored blogs. I left a note for some of the folks there who will hopefully post me back something cool about NTID.

10,000 Steps (technically) today. Cheers,