Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More Crosswords

I sent out my first crossword on Saturday morning, figuring that I had gotten than monkey off my back, and I could stop trying to write crosswords, and go back to solving them. By Saturday afternoon, I had worked out the theme for my second crossword, and by Sunday evening, I had a completed grid. I fiddled with it a little on Monday, and I liked it so much better than the first that I went ahead and sent it off on Tuesday. So now the crossword editor at the NYT is going to get two from me, practically simultaneously. The second one is good, though. I really do think he'll take it.

I've already completed the third one, although I have to sit down and write the clues. I'm not planning to send it off until I hear from the guy on the first two. I don't think the third is as good as the second, so if he rejects that one, I won't even bother to send this other one.

And, yes, I'm halfway through my fourth crossword. It's going to be really, really hard. But good. I'm enjoying it. I have no idea when my brain will quit doing this and let me work on something like, you know, math.

Day 96 -- Jogger's Progress


It's been a fantastic month. My goal was 21 days, and I actually ran 23. The total distance of 133.7 is thirty miles longer than my previous high, in March.

It's been so great, I don't know how to set a goal for June. I can't reasonably set a goal to surpass May. So I decided to shoot for 21 days or 120 miles or 17.5 hours. Those are 90% of my May totals. I actually want to shoot for all three, but I'm setting my goal for any one of them.

It was cooler this morning, but not much less humid. I made a good seven miles, and I'll be in Canton tomorrow.

Monday, May 29, 2006

Day 95 -- Plugging along

It was another warm and humid morning. I survived, but now I'm just sitting back, trying to drink as much water as I can.

I think that I've gotten a little ahead of myself. I'm not sure that I was near Louisville, yesterday. If I've got my directions right, I'm still (after today!) about 12 miles east of Canton, and Louiville is about 6 miles east of Canton. So for a couple of days, I won't be posting any progress on the map, although I will continue to run.

Sunday, May 28, 2006

Day 94 -- Louisville (Ohio, that is)

The city of Louisville, Ohio, has a very nice web site, with lots of cool information about community events, city services, local businesses, etc. Lots of cities have such web sites, of course, but I found this one particularly easy to navigate. And, they had this picture of their recycling bins. Not just a little blurb about the recycling program, but an actual photo of the bins. So you can recognize them.

Summer is beginninig to think about coming to Wisconsin. It was 69 degrees at 6:30 this morning. And humid. Really humid. I came home bathed in sweat. I know that it will get worse yet this summer. Still, it wasn't a real fun run this morning.

Saturday, May 27, 2006

Care to take in a play in the West End?

You Belong in London

You belong in London, but you belong in many cities... Hong Kong, San Francisco, Sidney. You fit in almost anywhere.
And London is diverse and international enough to satisfy many of your tastes. From curry to Shakespeare, London (almost) has it all!

This is cool. When we were much younger, Mrs. Jogger and I spent a semester in London. (She wasn't Mrs. Jogger, then, but by the end of the trip, had agreed to be.) We had a great time taking in the sight, and the history, and the plays. Especially the plays. As part of our British Culture course (or whatever it was called) we were supposed to see three plays, at least one of them Shakespeare. We ended up seeing a dozen or so, about half of them Shakespeare.

Hat tip to Addy N. for the link. Sometime when I get a few minutes, I'm going to make one of these called "Which City in Wisconsin Do You Belong In?" I'm sure it will be very popular.

Day 93 -- Mount Union

Today I visited Mount Union College in Alliance, Ohio. I applied for a job here, once upon a time. I got a campus interview, which went very well. I left thinking that I was probably going to get a job offer, but I never did. It's probably just as well. This was the year before I finished my thesis, and I intended to go out ABD. Considering that I just barely finished my thesis when I stayed in school, it would have been pretty tough to finish it while starting a full-time job. In any case, I didn't have that choice then, and I sure don't have it, now.

I chose to visit the football team, which last fall won their eighth Division III national championship (a record.) I was rooting for Wisconsin-Whitewater. I don't teach at Whitewater, but it is a sister school.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Crossword -- Updated

I have written a crossword. I've done crosswords on and off for a long time, but the last couple of years, I really got the bug, to the point where I do two or three a day, now. So it was inevitable that I would try my hand at writing one.

It's harder than it looks (and it looks hard.) The hard thing is that everything interlocks, so there are no minor changes. I had it complete yesterday, and I looked at a couple of words in the northeast corner and said, "I can do better." By the time I was done changing those two words, I had changed 31 of the 72 words in the puzzle, stretching all the way down to the middle of the bottom row. There are still a couple of words that I think are weak, but I don't dare tinker with them.

So, I think it is done. There's nothing for me to do but submit it somewhere, and see if they like it. I have hopes for it, but not great expectations. When I look at it, I see a lot of flaws that keep it from being an elegant crossword. But I think it has a nice theme, and there are a couple of really nice words and phrases in it. I don't think I've ever seen "XENOPHOBE" in a crossword.

UPDATE: Having written yesterday that it was done, I promptly sat down and tinkered with it for another hour, trying to fix a couple of weak words in the southwest corner. I got exactly nowhere. I'm going to print the thing off and send it in, so I can stop obsessing over it.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Happy Birthday, Little Jogger!

The littlest Little Jogger turns five today. Yes, he was a belated anniversary present. According to this list from the Chicago Public Library, the 14th wedding anniversary gift is traditionally the Ivory Anniversary, but the modern gift of choice is Gold Jewelry. Well, ha! In our house, the 14th wedding anniversary was the baby anniversary.

The littlest Little Jogger is bright, funny, energetic, and outgoing. He loves to sing and dance, and he loves to be center stage. He's a natural problem solver, and, according to his preschool teacher, will help smooth over the kind of ruffled feathers that can occur in a room full of four and five year olds.

Did I mention that he is bright? He's known all his letters for years, now, and is now learning to sound them out. He can read lots of simple words, and of course can fake his way through lots of books that he's read before. He's got a fantastic memory, and is always pulling out lines of dialogue from movies that he saw once months ago. I have a feeling that he's going to far surpass his parents' academic achievements. In this family, that's no easy feat.

He is a pretty even tempered little guy. Yes, he can wail like a banshee when he gets disappointed, but it never lasts. He still loves to cuddle and hug, and loves being teased. This morning, I went looking around, saying, "Where's my four-year-old? Has anyone seen my four-year-old?" So he patiently explained to me that kids don't stay the same age, but they change every year on their birthday, even though they are the same old kids.

That's my baby. The same old kid.

Day 92 -- Salem

For those few of you who didn't know, Salem, Ohio, is the home of Quaker City Raceway, where I found them hosting the Import and Truck Bash. With my ratings in trouble, I figured that this blog could use a little skin to attract that all-important 18 - 35 male demographic group. (As far as I know, we have exactly 0 readers in that group, so if we were to attract one, it would represent more than a 100% increase.)

I ran more today than I had planned. I was actually out for an hour and nine minutes, which was probably about 7.7 miles. I didn't mean to go that far, I just sort of did it. Which is OK. I feel fine. But tomorrow might be a good day to take off.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Happy Anniversary

Nineteen years ago today, Mrs. Jogger and I got married. This fact astonishes me, as we are each just a little over 19 years old. In the last 19 years, we have lived in six apartments and two houses, in five cities in four states. We have had two cars, two vans, and a truck. We have had four cats, two of whom are still with us. We have somehow collected four kids, all of whom are still with us.

It has been a wild and strange adventure. There are a lot of things I can look back on and wish that I could change, but I would never change the person that I did them all with. A very happy anniversary, Mrs. J.

Day 91 -- Columbiana

Columbiana, home of the Columbiana Clippers. And a very nice little high school it is. Here you can see that I've joined the horn section of the marching band. I thought that they needed a Jogger.

It was raining when I got up this morning, so I went to the gym and ran my "normal" 5.3 miles. It had stopped by the time I got out, and it has sort of almost rained all day. I have a feeling that it's going to bust loose this evening.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Day 90 -- Welcome to Ohio

Ohio, at last. This photo is not, of course, from the place where PA-51 turns into OH-14. But you can't have everything. I found it at

A few bits of Ohio trivia, from

  • The Cincinnati Reds were the first professional baseball team. [Who did they play?]
  • Seven United States presidents were born in Ohio. They are: Ulysses S. Grant, Rutherford B. Hayes, James A. Garfield, Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, William H. Taft, and Warren G. Harding. [Grandpa Jogger was also born in Ohio, but fell somewhat short of the presidency.]
  • Ohio became the 17th state on March 1, 1803. [However, according to Cecil Adams, Congress at that time did not officially pass a resolution formally admitting Ohio to the Union. This oversight wasn't corrected for 150 years.]
  • W.F. Semple of Mount Vernon patented chewing gum in 1869.

On to Wooster!

Monday, May 22, 2006

Day 89 -- Last Stop in Pennsylvania

I held back today. I only ran for about 3.8 miles. I had some energy left at the end, but I'll spend it tomorrow or the next day.

I'm three miles from the Ohio border. I'll be across next time I run.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

The Jogger vs. The Flagpole

We are the second family to ever own the house that we live in. It was built in 1965, and immediately occupied by a young couple who lived in it for 35 years before they sold it to us. He was quite a handyman, and made lots of improvements over the years. And one thing that we've found out -- he built things to last.

So, today we decided to dig up the flagpole. It was apparently put up in 1967 (there was a penny in the concrete footing) and in those 39 years, a very tall spruce tree has grown up in front of it. So even if we had a flag, no one would be able to see it. So we thought we'd just dig that puppy up.

Well, HA!

We dug around that thing. The footing was deeper than we thought. We dug some more. Still couldn't find the bottom. We dug some more. We swayed it back and forth. We dug. We wiggled it. The footing was a good four feet deep, and about nine inches in diameter. When we finally got it more or less loose, we couldn't lift the thing. So I took a sledgehammer and knocked off some of the concrete. Still couldn't lift it. Knocked off some more. Still couldn't lift it. Knocked off some more, until we were so far down we couldn't swing a good sledgehammer. Still couldn't lift it. So we took a hacksaw and cut the damn thing off. (This was easier than it sounds; we just had to make a little cut, and then it twisted off.) Finally, we simply buried what remained of the footing.

Here's the hole we dug. That's a yardstick, for perspective.

And here is the vanquished beast. Note the twist at the far end. That's the end that was in the footing.

Day 88 -- Darlington

I've really been pushing myself, lately. The last six times I've gone out, I've gone at least six miles. I need to back off a bit, because I'm really starting to feel it. It's hard to go back down, though. If I "only" go five miles tomorrow, I'll feel like I am not keeping up with my pace.

This photo, of a sheep near Darlington, Pennsylvania, is, as you can see, copyrighted by Patty Brdar Photo. I have used it without permission. (In case you are wondering, the original photo does not have my legs in it.) I have used nearly all of the photos in this blog without permission, and I can't believe that it would count under "fair use" under copyright law. So I believe that someone could sue me. However, I've tried to be careful to provide links to the originals, so hopefully people will be forgiving. It also probably doesn't hurt that I'm a teeny, tiny little web site that only a handful of people have ever heard of.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Random Thoughts from the End of the Semester

I thought about posting these in separate posts, but it appears that I am too lazy.

General Thoughts About Ending

As usual, the end of the semester is bittersweet for me. The sweet part is that I am absolutely done with grading. I have nothing to grade. Nada. Zip. Bupkis. It's probably been months since I could say that. I also have nothing to prepare, no meetings to attend, and no pesky students to come around asking for help.

The sad part is that I've really come to like those pesky students. As usual, I looked around the room during the final exam and thought about how I have gotten to know most of these students pretty well. I know who tries hard, and who coasts. I know who is good at math and who isn't. I know a lot about their personal lives, including the woman whose boyfriend is seriously ill, and the student who is prone to anxiety attacks. I'll miss them. And next semester, it will be another batch of strangers whom I have to get to know.

Thoughts About the Semester's Courses

I can't say that I'm entirely satisfied with the courses. I don't know that I ever am entirely satisfied, but this semester feels worse than usual. I don't feel like I've acheived the course goals very well. I feel like I was too easy a grader, and too many people got A's who deserved B's, and too many people got C's deserved D's. I feel like I let myself get caught up in the mathematical triviata, and lost some of the sense of fun that this material should carry.

I want to sit down and make some detailed notes for myself about what I think went wrong, and what I want to do next time I teach any of these courses.

Update on The Student Who Got The Talk

He got an A. I'm glad I didn't tell him, "There's no way you're going to get an A, buddy." The final exam was easier than I had planned, and he picked up some cheap points at the end. In some cosmic sense, I still don't believe that he mastered the material at the A level. But, I can't go back and change the rules, or give a harder final. And he is a nice guy, so I'm happy for him.

Update on The Students Who Cheated

I had already talked to the young lady, whom I will call Frederika, and she had confessed. She did it, she was sorry, and she would never, ever, ever do it again. The next day, the young man, whom I will call Octavio, came in and explained that it wasn't his fault. Actually, his girlfriend had sent his paper to Frederika, and he hadn't even found out about it until later. (He didn't say exactly how much later, but he didn't try to make the case that he didn't know that it had happened at all until he heard from me.) And anyway, he thought that Frederika just wanted to look at his paper for ideas, and he didn't know that she would copy it.

If you take all this at face value, he did get kind of the raw end of the deal. If the paper really was already out there before he even knew about it, what exactly could he do? He could have talked to Frederika and told her explicitly not to copy his paper, but that's kind of a hard conversation. He would have to say to her face that he assumes that she is planning to cheat. Or he could have come to me and said, "Hey, my girlfriend sent my paper to Frederika. If her paper looks too much like mine, it's not my fault." However, that would have taken a lot more guts than I would have had at that age. Hell, that would have taken a lot more guts than I have now.

However, I don't see any reason to take all this at face value. Certainly Octavio put the best spin on it he could, even if he didn't outright lie. I'm not sure that I believe that his girlfriend got her hands on his paper without talking to him at all. Even if she had access to his computer, she would have had to ask what the file was called and where he filed it. And I don't believe for an instant that either Octavio or his girlfriend thought that Frederika wasn't planning to copy his paper, although they might have thought that she would try harder to disguise it.

In any case, I gave Octavio and Frederika the same consequence, which was a 0 on the assignment. In a bit of strange kismet, it affected Frederika's grade, but not Octavio's. She got lowered from a C to a D, which likely means taking the course over. He got lowered from a high B to a low B, but his letter grade didn't actually change at all. So the only consequence for him was having a letter placed in his file with my version of the incident.

Oh, and I had asked them to hand in their first three papers, so that I could compare them. The first time Frederika handed hers in, she actually handed in two of her papers, and a paper from one of my students from a previous semester, that she had apparently borrowed. Since I change up the assignments, this wasn't technically cheating, but it doesn't actually help with the impression that she is normally a concientious and independent student, and that this incident was an abberation.

Day 87 -- New Brighton

New Brighton, Pennsylvania, home of Hank's Frozen Custard and Mexican Food. According to sp at Twelfth Story Window, this sign isn't there any more. But when did I ever let that stop me?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Day 86 -- Monaca

You no doubt recognize Teddy Yarosz, a middleweight fighter from the 1930's. According to Jerry Jazz Musician, he compiled a record of 76 wins (8 by knockout), 18 losses, and 3 draws. OK, I'd never heard of him, either, but he was from Monaca, Pennsylvania, which is about where I am, now. The guy's in pretty good shape for a man his age.

I ran long today, 6.4 miles. I'm approximately 18 miles from Ohio, so I should be there by early next week.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Day 85 -- Drive In Theatre

I'm convinced that this is the way to see the country. If I had merely driven through Coraopolis, Pennsylvania, I never would have found the Dependable Drive-In Theater. And that would have been a shame.

Another six miles today, but I won't run as much tomorrow, because I have an early exam.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Another Rant About Dishonest Students

As the title of this post implies, I doubt I'll say anything that hasn't been said before. I just need to vent.

One of my stats students got mono around the time of the third exam. These things do happen. She was gone for a week or more, and with the third and fourth exams close together, I just told her let's skip the third exam and prorate the others, rather than trying to cram in a make up, especially since she undoubtedly had work to do in all her other classes. What a nice guy, right?

She came back just about the deadline for the fourth paper, an "Investigative Task." So I didn't press her on it. I don't think I even set a deadline. I just said, "When can you get it to me?" So a week or so after everyone else turned it in, she came in and said she was having trouble with it. I tried to explain what I was expecting, and give her some ideas about what to do. She seemed happy enough, and a few days later, she turned in a paper.

Having read the title of the post, you can guess where this is going. Her paper was pretty much identical to one of her friends'. She changed the font.

I don't understand what she was thinking. It's not like I was being a real ass about getting this done. I would think she could have said to me, "I'm having trouble getting this done, and I have another paper to do, can I have a few more days?" You'd think she'd at least try. But no, she decided that I'm a pushover, or an idiot, or both, and that it wasn't worth the effort to try to do this assignment.

As you can see, I'm so mad I could spit. I sent e-mail to the two of them, suggesting that they come to see me. She has already come and thrown herself on my mercy. I'm relieved that she didn't have the temerity to deny having cheated, but I still feel betrayed and insulted.

I've told her that I am giving her a zero for this paper, and that I want her and her friend to hand back in the first three papers, so I can inspect them for signs of foul play. I imagine that they will be OK.

If any students are reading this: if you wonder why your professors are hard-asses about deadlines and excuses, this is why. Because we've had experiences where we've tried to be nice about it, and we've gotten burned.

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Day 84 -- West of Pittsburgh

I ran six mile today, without really trying. It was warm enough (and dry enough!) to run outside, so I just went. When I'm inside, counting laps, I start to drag around four miles, and have to really push myself to get six. But when I'm outside, just going where the spirit wills me, I stop and suddenly realize that I've done six. I hope it will be warm again tomorrow!

No picture today. I'll try to find someplace to stop tomorrow.

Saturday, May 13, 2006


Today was commencement at my school. Faculty are required to go to one commencement ceremony per year, but it's a requirement with no teeth, so a lot of faculty manage to miss it. I take it pretty seriously, because I think that the commencement ceremony is one way that we make an impression on parents, alumni, and the community. If faculty don't show up, or don't have the proper dignity, it reflects badly on the institution. That's my position, anyway.

It is also fun to see students graduate with whom you've worked in the past. I recognized one student from my very first semester here, fall of 2000. So she must have been on the six-year plan. There are some very good math majors whom I will be sorry to see go.

I've been to enough of these things that I am starting to get bored with the predictable displays of originality. The guy wearing a t-shirt, shorts and flip-flops under his gown. The students who mug for the crowd as they walk across the stage. The guy in the stands with the air horn. Today's guy had a particularly obnoxious airhorn, and either he knew a lot of people, or he got encouraged when a few people laughed the first time he honked it, because he honked it again and again, until I was ready to charge up into the bleachers and see if it would fit in his nose. But I don't suppose that would reflect well on the institution, would it?

The best news is that is was cool, so we weren't sitting there melting.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Day 83 -- Heinz Field

Actually, Ben Roethlisberger is in Switzerland. I know this because of series of articles on the Official Pittsburgh Steelers website detailing the trip for breathless fans everywhere. "It's Swiss Family Roethlisberger as Ben goes abroad." "Roethlisberger's having fun in Switzerland." "Ben says 'Cheese' while in Switzerland." "Roethlisberger's Trip is winding down." "Ben comes home to live his life; recommends that you get one, too." Okay, I'm pretty sure I made that last one up.

However, I have no intention of running to Switzerland. Fortunately, the power of Photoshop allows me to join Roethlisberger in mid-game, even though it's the off season.

If I want to run with Hines Ward, I can.

If I want to help Bill Cowher coach, I can.

Hell, if I want to meet LC Greenwood, I can.

I wonder if any of these guys mind that I'm wearing a Packers t-shirt. None of them said anything.

On the home front, the weather is crappy, and threatens to remain so several more days. It doesn't look like I'll be running tomorrow or Sunday, because the gym isn't open early enough. So, with a day off yesterday, and the prospect of two more days off ahead of me, I ran long and hard today. I ran 6 miles in a torrid (for me) 48 minutes. I'm feelin' good. And, I'm past Heinz Field, and on my way to Wooster.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Ben Roethlisberger will have to wait

I didn't get out this morning. The Medium Little Jogger was up in the middle of the night with leg cramps. Normally my strategy in this situation is to pretend to be asleep until Mrs. Jogger takes care of it, but she pretended harder than I did, I think. In any case, my legs probably needed a break, anyway.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Confusion in the Classroom

For the second time this semester, I ended up floundering over a problem in Modern Algebra. The first time was only partly my fault. I was taking questions, and someone asked about a homework problem that I hadn't thoroughly thought through. (I know, in the ideal world, I wouldn't assign them before I thought them through, but in this world, I do.) This one was even worse, since it was just an example that I picked out before class. I thought I knew how to do it, but I was wrong, and I didn't figure that out until I was halfway through presenting it.

On the one hand, this is very embarassing. It ruins my image as a master of the material who knows all. It also takes a lot of time. I think I spent about 35 minutes on this one example. We're in the last 100 minutes of class time, so that's an awful lot to spend on one problem. It also throws a scare into the students. One young lady -- one of my best students -- said when we were done, "Please don't put one of these on the exam." They get the idea that if I can't do the problem, how do they have any hope?

On the other hand, I really do think it's good for them to see that these problems take work. Too often, we present the easiest method of doing something, and we bypass all the floundering around that we do trying to find that easy method. I hope that, whatever else, it was a good lesson in how to peck away at a problem when you don't see immediately what the answer is. And I did get the answer. It just took longer than I had originally planned.

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Day 82 -- Carnegie Museum

Acting on a tip from Cousing Jogger, I decided to visit the Carnegie Museum. Great idea. How many times have you stood on a diplodocus's back? This particular image I found on Wikipedia, where it is under the entry for Sauropods.

Since Blogger is now uploading images, I thought I'd also throw in this one of Thackery Hall that I couldn't post yesterday.

I made 5.3 miles today, and I'm so close to Heinz Field I can smell the sweat. Tomorrow, I'll be there, and then off to Ohio!

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Sheep in the Classroom

In Stats today, I only had about 25 minutes worth of new material, and then I handed out a review sheet and told them to work on in in groups, ask questions, and finish it before Thursday. They are used to working in groups, but usually it's on a fairly short worksheet, which they are going to hand in at the end of the hour. So this was a familiar situation, but not quite what we usually do.

In the first class, two guys figured out pretty quickly that I wasn't going to do anything interesting, so after maybe 10 minutes they got up and left. I wasn't going to throw myself in front of the exit, so I just said, "See you on Thursday." A few minutes later, someone else figured out that he wasn't going to get in trouble, and he left. And then a few more, and then a few more. It's an hour and twenty minute class, but by about 55 minutes we were down to three groups, merrily working away. They all stayed almost the entire time, and kept working together and asking questions.

In the second class, no one figure out that they could leave. One guy fell asleep, a few groups got pretty far off task, but no one left. Finally, about 15 minutes before class was going to end, the one guy woke up and hinted that boy, he'd worked hard enough for the day. So I told him he could go, and he did. Within five minutes, everyone was gone.

I don't know what this proves, other than students are funny critters.

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Day 81 -- The University of Pittsburgh

I stopped in to the University of Pittsburgh today. I'd show you a photo of me in front of Thackery Hall, which houses the math department, but Blogger steadfastly refuses to upload any photos. Pity.

Pitt has a very nice campus. I have never been here before. Grandma Jogger got her Masters degree here before I was born. It occurred to me that I am working my way backward through Grandma Jogger's academic degrees. I have already visited Rutgers, where she got her doctorate in the 70's. Now I'm at Pitt, where she got her Masters in 1959. The only sensible thing to do is to go from here to the College of Wooster, where she got her bachelor's degree in 1956. In fact, she is going back for her 50th reunion next month. If I hurry, I can be there at the same time she is. It is about 120 miles, and I've got just about a month to make it. And if I'm a few days late, c'est la vie.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Day 80 -- Been on I-76 so long it looks like up to me

On February 13, Day 25 of my journey, I virtually entered Interstate 76 at milepost 344. Today, May 8, Day 80 of my journey, I virtually exited at milepost 57. That's a pretty good run. I've visited the state capitol, the Hershey's plant, the world's largest coffee pot, and once I even found myself transported by a trick of the internet all the way to Erie.

Actually, I only exited onto Interstate 376, so it's not like the view has changed a whole lot. I still have about ten miles to downtown Pittsburgh.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Day 79 -- Monroeville

I was a little lax on my diet yesterday (Read: Total Pig) so I jumped up this morning and ran 6.4 miles. It felt good, and I was glad that I did it. However...

This afternoon we took the Little Joggers to the spring festival at a nearby nature center. There was singing and games and cake and a big long nature walk. The walk was great. The kids had fun, and I got some decent pictures. However...

My legs are aching, now. I'll be hard pressed to run an inch in the morning, I think.

This is the Little Stone Bridge in Monroeville.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

And on the sixth day....

At the beginning of the week, I was really ambitious. I thought I would try to run six days in a row. Or maybe seven. And hey, if I ran Saturday and Sunday of this week, I could run five days next week, for twelve days in a row. Heck, I wouldn't really have to take a day off until Wednesday the 17th, when I have an early final. Actually, if I got up early that day, I could run a quick 5K, and maybe I could run a whole month!

Well, HA!

I took today off. Not that it hasn't been a good week. Twenty seven miles, and closing in on Pittsburgh fast.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Crunch Time

Next week is the last week of classes, and the week after that is finals. It's Crunch Time, and some of my students are getting crunched. It's kind of sad. I'm seeing normally good students fall behind on their work, hand in sloppy assignments (or not hand them in at all), miss class or snooze through it.

To tell the truth, I'm getting a little crunched myself. I've got a big stack of papers to grade this weekend (of course.) I'm giving two exams on Monday. (I hate giving exams the last week of classes. What was I thinking?) I still have two finals to write. At least the committee work has slowed down, since no one else has time for committee meetings, either.

What can we do about it? I don't think there's any good solution. I do try to pace myself, and to pace my students. I try to space assignments out so they are not all due at the end of the semester. But sometimes you just have to. I couldn't assign the paper that asks my stats students to do some statistical inference until we had covered enough inference to make it worth while. And, of course, when stuff gets pushed back, as my Linear Algebra exam did, there's only so far you can push it. I can't put it off another week. And it's too important to just cancel it.

So, it will be a rough couple of weeks on us all. Then I have a very slight breather before the Little Joggers are done with school. I'll probably sleep until noon every day.

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Day 78 -- Irwin

Grandpa Jogger would have approved of this photo. He was a big moose fan. This is probably a Moose lodge, and Grandpa wasn't much of a fraternity type, but still...moose is moose.

This is part of a very interesting collection by Sherry Justus. I recommend you check it out. I just happened to find her because this photo is in Irwin, PA, but she's got lots of good stuff from lots of places. I'm not sure that I understand her whole artistic vision, but I like her work.

I ran six miles today, and I'm ready for a day off.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Day 77 -- Ardara

I did something like this once before, in King of Prussia, but I couldn't resist this one because of the web site that I got it from. These guys are seriously into trains. You can browse trains by location (there are four pages of photos of trains taken in Ardara), by railroad, by locomotive type, just about anything.

I ran 5.4 miles this morning. Now if you'll excuse me, I'd better get off the track.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Day 76 -- Jeanette

Jeanette, Pennsylvania, is the former home of the Fort Pitt Brewing Company. Actually, it seems to be one of the former homes. Fort Pitt, at one time, was one of the best selling brands in Pennsylvania, and they seem to have had several breweries operating at once. If you like this can, it seems to be for sale here.

I ran 4.8 miles today. I had a longer route planned out, but my legs were kind of tired, and I didn't want to overdo it. I want to start May off right by running the first five days. So I cut it a little short.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Day 75 -- Historic Greensburg

The first thing that comes up under "Greensburg Pennsylvania" on Google Image is this lovely painting by Nevin Delacour. I think it's very nice of him to have included me. (Look close.)

I ran outside today, about 5.5 miles.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Day 74 -- Saint Vincent College

I am really past Latrobe, but only just past the exit, so I thought that I would drop in to Saint Vincent College, the first Benedictine college in America. A long time ago, I taught for a Benedictine College, so I feel a little kinship. I was looking around for a good photo, and I caught this visit from Bill Nye, the Science Guy. In case you didn't know, Bill Nye is one way cool scientist, who does lots of good kids stuff. I couldn't resist posing with him, although I feel a bit underdressed.

It was raining in Wisconsin this morning, so I went to the gym, and made the standard 5.3 miles.