Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Day 282 -- Jogger's Progress

Time9 days, 2 hrs, 27 min

It's been a good month. This was only the second month that I've run 25 days. (The first was September, 2006.) Last January, I only ran 17 days. I did run on Sundays this month, which I didn't last January, but I still made four more weekdays than last year. And I'm almost to 1500 miles. I'm only supposed to run 3 miles tomorrow, but I don't know if I will be able to resist running 3.9, to make an even 1500.

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Day 281 -- KU

Long-time readers know that I seldom pass up a chance to visit a college or a library. So, since I'm this close to Lawrence, I thought I'd better stop in at The University of Kansas. Here I am, standing in front of Snow Hall, the building that houses the math department. I don't seem to know anyone in the department, but I do know a couple of people by reputation. Interesetingly, one peron wrote a book that I got for my independent study this semester, but my student hasn't started on that book yet.

Monday, January 29, 2007

Day 280 -- Cheating

As I posted last week, Monday is cross-training day in my current workout program. And I did get on the exercise bike and do a healthy 30 minutes. But after, I was sore and tight, and I didn't really cool down, because you have to jump off the bike and let the next person have it. So I cheated. I went to the track and ran a mile. I'm really not supposed to do that. I'm supposed to take Mondays off from running. But I couldn't resist. Next week, I'll walk after the bike. I promise.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Day 279 -- Lawrence

Not quite to Lawrence, yet. Actually, I'm not sure that I want to get there. Look at this rotten weather. I guess tornados are probably rare in January. This one, on May 8, 2003, was captured by Michael Billigmeier and Everett Griffiths.

I ran eight miles today, my longest run since January 8. I went pretty slow, and it felt good.

Friday, January 26, 2007

Day 277 and 278 -- Linwood

The library in Linwood, Kansas, has a very nice collection of old photos. Some older than others. Above, I'm looking on at a railroad handcar in the 1880's. Below, the M.E. Church, some time in the 1960's.

I did run yesterday, but didn't blog it. Three miles easy yesterday, and 5.3 somewhat faster today. Today was the first day that I ran with my new heart monitor. It went pretty well. I held it right at 80% of my maximum heart rate, which is the "anaerobic zone." So it's good that I was able to run five miles in that zone. Tomorrow, I'm taking off, but I hope to get in eight miles on Sunday. We'll see.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Day 276 -- Shadow Glen Golf Club

Isn't this a pretty place? I don't golf, actually, but I'm sure that the purpose of belonging to the Shadow Glen Golf Club is much more to be able to say that you are a member, than to actually golf or anything. I hear that running on golf courses is good. Do you suppose if I kicked in whatever astronomical sum it takes to be a member, they'd let me run on the course first thing in the morning?

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

What famous feline are you?

From the same quizzer, and also via Shakespeare's Sister:

Which famous feline are you?

You're Hobbes. First of all, the makers of this quiz would like to congratulate you. You have our seal of approval. You are kind, intelligent, loving, and good-humoredly practical. You're proud of who you are. At the same time, you're tolerant of those who lack your clearsightedness. You're always playful, but never annoying. For these traits, you are well-loved, and with good cause.
Take this quiz!

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What mythical creature are you?

via Shakespeare's Sister, who usually doesn't go in for this kind of stuff...

What mythical beast are you?

You're a pegasus. You're very calm and loving. Something about you makes others want to get close to you, whether or not you feel the same way about them. You don't bond to others easily, but when you do it's long-lasting. Your alignment is *good*, but not so much that you can't have fun.
Take this quiz!

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This just may work out....

I have mentioned before that I am team-teaching a course in leadership this semester. It is, needless to say, a real stretch for me. It is very, very different from, say, Calc II. So I've been more than a little scared about how it's going to go. But today we had our first meeting, and I think that it went OK.

The course meets from 1:00 to 4:00 on Tuesday afternoons. So that's already a new experience for me. We don't have many math courses that meet in three hour blocks, once a week. But we broke it up nicely with different activities. We did some talking, we let them do some talking, and we had them do a little writing to loosen up some ideas.

The students seem to be game for anything. Three of the students are educations students, and they all said that they hadn't passed whatever state exam that they need in order to qualify for student teaching, so they just needed some credit to fill out their load while they wait to take it again. That really inspires confidence. That's why you want students to be in your course!

Our leadership team has four people -- me, a member of the education faculty, someone from the office for students with disabilities, and someone from OIT. The latter two have basically no classroom experience, and the person from education had to miss today, because she's got a sick child. So I had to pretty well take the lead. But we made it through, and Julie will be back next week to help me guide the discussion.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to seeing how this course develops. After the first day, I'm feeling OK about it.

Day 275 -- Shawnee Mission County Park

I'm a little south of Shawnee Mission County Park, the largest park in Johnson County and the most visited park in Kansas. They have boating, fishing, horse-back riding, an archery range.... Here, I'm just waiting for these guys to throw me the frisbee.

I did a very slow three miles today. The track has been crowded with students back from their holidays. I'll have to assign more homework, so that they don't have time for recreation.

Monday, January 22, 2007

No sympathy

I haven't seen this on any of the teaching blogs that I frequent. So I'll post it here. It's a list of common student complaints, with answers, put together by a fellow from the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. It's a little snarky, but I like it. My favorite response, I think, is to the complaint that "The course wasn't relevant".
If something as vast as mathematics or science or history can pass through your brain without even scraping the sides on the way through, that's a pretty big hole. Are you sure it's the course that doesn't relate to anything?

For me, much of the post comes under the heading of "Things I would like to tell students, but wouldn't dare." I don't know, maybe this guy actually dares.


Two important kick-offs today.

First of all, today was the day that I start my eighteen-week training program for the Mad City Half Marathon in Madison in May. I'm psyched. Of course, I didn't actually follow the program today. See, the program has long runs on Sunday, and cross training (in my case, the exercise bike) on Monday. But I didn't do a long run yesterday, so it seemed a bit silly. So I ran 5.3 miles, effectively completing a long run of 9.3 miles from yesterday. After all, there was only a little over 12 hours between yesterday's run and today's. Anyway, I promise that I will start the program tomorrow, and that I will do my best to get in a long run (8 miles) on this weekend, and that if I do, I will cross train next Monday.

The other big kick-off was the first day of school. I met all of my math classes, and they went pretty well. I have two sections of Calc II. We mostly talked about what they should know from Calc I, and I did some examples to highlight some places where I'm planning to be picky about the notation. The classes seem to be pretty game for the first day. They participated pretty well, and a few even laughed at my jokes.

The other class I had today was Modern Algebra. That class has only eight students. That will make the grading easier, but it doesn't look particularly good for our deparment. Since this course is required for the math major, it pretty much means that we only have eight majors who are at the right point in their program. That's certainly down from other years. Two years ago, a colleague had something like 30 on the first day. Last year, I was closer to 20. Eight is not much.

Of the eight, I've had five before in class, so getting to know their names won't present much of a challenge. Of those five, I confidently predict that four will do pretty well. The fifth will have a struggle. But perhaps with some hard work and extra help, we can get him through it.

I have one more class to meet for the first time, and that's the Leadership class. I have no idea what to expect from that course. I'll probably post tomorrow about how it goes.

Day 274 -- More Olathe

I made it to my friend Tracie's house. This is her family. Left to right: Tracie, her brother, her niece Alecia, her son Austyn, her mother, her niece, her dad, her niece, me, her son Dusty, and her son J.T. Unless I screwed up her message.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Day 273 -- Olathe, Kansas

I'm just short of the Olathe exit today. I'll be at my friend's house tomorrow. (Are you ready, Tracie?) Today, I decided to take in the Mahaffie Stagecoach Stop & Farm Historic Site. Tracie says that this is one of the places she likes to take real visitors, so why not take a virtual visit? The stagecoach stop ceased operation in 1870, but it's still open to tourists. In fact, it's the last stagecoach stop on the Santa Fe trail still open to the public.

I ran four miles in the late afternoon today. I was up early, but we had fresh snow on the ground, and I'm afraid to run in the snow. I'm afraid that I'll slip and break something.

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Day 272 -- Playing Outdoors in Mission, Kansas


Thursday, January 18, 2007

Day 271 -- Welcome to Kansas

I'm pretty sure that today was the day I crossed over into Kansas. Anyway, I'm counting it. Above, a generic "Welcome to Kansas" sign, from here. Below, I turned around and took a picture back across the river, looking at KC, MO.

I ran four miles today, a little faster than Tuesday. It felt good. I've been running inside all week, because we've had snow and cold temperatures. I'm beginning to miss being outdoors. We'll see if it warms up a little, and I can sneak out on one or two days.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Cast of Characters

This blog has turned out to be a lot of things that I wasn't expecting. It's at least partly a journal of daily occurances, and I decided it would be nice to have a post where I talk about my family, since I refer to them in such weird terms. I'll put a link to this post in the sidebar.

USJogger: That's me. No, my name isn't USJogger, nor is it Hiram Ulysses Jogger (and extra credit points to those of you who get that joke.) Half of my regular readers already know who I am and where I live, and if you don't, it's probably easy enough to find out. But I keep with the pseudonym partly because I don't want this blog to show up by Googling my real name or the name of my university. So, do me a favor. If you choose to comment, don't use my real name, even if you know it.

Mrs. Jogger: My lifetime companion, friend, and co-parent. Our twentieth anniversary is May 24, 2007, and if I could go back in time, the only thing I would change is that I would have snapped her up even sooner.

The first Little Jogger: Our first child, born in spring of 1995, is extremely bright, very mature, and somewhat stubborn. She likes math and science (and has just recently made her Middle School's Science Olympiad team) and does music and Girl Scouts and wants to go out for track next year, as soon as she is elligible.

The medium Little Jogger: Our second child, born in spring of 1998, suffers all the usual strife of middledom. He is very sensitive, very curious, and very loud! I don't think he ever rests until he collapses.

The littlest Little Jogger: Our third child, born in spring of 2001 (are you recognizing a pattern here?) is by far the brightest of all of us. Currently in kindergarten, he's reading at pretty much a first grade level. He has a huge vocabulary and a huge imagination.

The oldest and newest Little Jogger: Our fourth child, adopted in summer of 2004, was born in Ukraine (or possibly western Russia) and entered an orphanage when she was around six. She's currently 12 -- we celebrate her birthday on July 1, but don't know exactly when it is -- and suffering all the slings and arrows of impending adolescence, piled on top of the tribulations of being adopted, having a weird accent, and, to hear her tell it, having the two strictest parents in the world. Our life has become somewhat stormier since she came along, but also a lot more interesting.

Day 270 -- Kansas City, Here I come!

I just hopped on to Interstate 35 to take me over to Kansas City, Kansas. I think I'm about as close to downtown Kansas City, Missouri as I'm going to get. I decided to visit two places. Above, the old Union Station, newly renovated and reopened. I just love these grand old railroad stations. There's one very much like this in Omaha that we used to visit when we lived near there.

Below, the World's Largest Shuttlecock, courtesy of our friends at the World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things. I really love these guys. (I should admit that my Google search first turned up the shuttlecock at Roadside America, but as soon as I saw it, I knew I'd have to look for it at TWLCOTWSVOTWLT.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Day 269 -- Gladstone

Gladstone, Missouri, is home to the Kansas City Area's only free Theater in the Park. Sorry that this isn't the best image. The theater website didn't seem to have any images at all. Sometimes I'll pass if I can't find a good image, but I hate to miss Theater in the Park. Particularly if it's free. This year, they'll be doing Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast. But alas, not until summer. I don't suppose the park is particularly warm long about now.

I didn't run this morning. We had a rough night. The littlest Little Jogger was already sick with flu on Monday, and he was up in the night with emergency trips to the bathroom. The medium Little Jogger had leg cramps, and in the morning he decided that he was sick to his stomach, so he also stayed home from school today. The first Little Jogger had stomach cramps in the night, but was well enough by morning to go to school. She hates to miss school. The oldest and newest Little Jogger wasn't sick, but she was up in the night complaining that we were making too much noise.

So anyway, nobody slept well, particularly not Mrs. J, who was up through all of this tempest. I was up once or twice, and when my alarm went off, I got up to take over the herding of the kids, while Mrs. J copped a nap. So I didn't run this morning. But, since school hasn't started yet, I was free to go to the gym at 3:00 in the afternoon. I asked Mrs. J if she needed me to stay home -- the boys were home all day, and had about burned off their illness, and the girls were due home, soon -- but she pushed me out the door. She says I'm cranky if I miss a run. She should talk. She was cranky all day, just because she only slept a couple of hours all night.

Anyway, I got a gentle four miles, and I hope I can go back in the morning and run some more.

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Day 268 -- Claycomo, Missouri

Claycomo, Missouri, is home to a large Ford plant, where they make this hybrid Escape. This photo is from a two-year-old press release, announcing the plan to begin to building them.

I ran today at noon. It's too cold and snowy to run outside, and the gym isn't open early in the morning, so I popped over there after church and ran 7.5 miles in an hour. I didn't run yesterday, and the gym is totally closed tomorrow, because of the Martin Luther King, Jr., holiday. So I had to get in three days of running today. Right now, I feel pretty good. The endorphins are still coursing through my veins.

Friday, January 12, 2007

New Blogger, New Template

Well, I took the plunge and upgraded to the new Blogger. As you can see (unless today is your first ever visit to JogAmericaBlog), I changed the template, as well. Over the next few days (weeks? months?) I'll be playing with it, trying to make it a bit more interesting. If you have any troulbe with it, you can e-mail me. If you have no other e-mail for me, you can reach me at my new account: bvcc(at) .

Day 267 -- William Jewel College

Liberty, Missouri is home to the "nationally recognized" William Jewell College. Long-time readers know that I almost never pass up a chance to visit a college campus, particularly not a small, Liberal Arts college like Jewell. Here you can see me hanging out in one of their math classes. If the instructor needs to take a break, I'm ready to take over.

I woke up feeling tired and cranky this morning. I had a bit of a headache, which had caused me to sleep restlessly. I had had some goofy dreams, including my semi-annual dream about showing up to class unprepared. It came a bit early this semester. Anyway, I knew exactly what to do. I headed for the gym, and five miles later, I had a much more positive outlook. Man, I wish I could bottle that!

Thursday, January 11, 2007

Fasten Your Seatbelts....'s going to be a wild semester.

I've been meaning for a while to talk about the upcoming semester, and I'm going to take the opportunity here. This will be a long post, and probably boring to those of you not in academia, but you won't offend me if you don't read it.

I've got a lot on my plate this semester:

  • I'm teaching two sections of Calc II. I taught Calc II this fall for the first time in a long time, and made a big long list of things to do better the next time. Well, this is the next time, and I really do want to make some changes. And I certainly don't have the material down well enough that I can show up unprepared. It's going to be a lot of prep work, and a lot of grading.
  • I'm teaching Abstract Algebra. Abstract Algebra is a fun subject, but it's very, well, abstract, and not all the students share my enthusiasm for it. This is the fourth time I've taught it in the last five years, so the prep work won't be that extensive, and the class only has eight students (! Last spring I started at about 20!) so it won't be that much grading. But I know that it will mean a lot of students in my office hours, because it always does. (And I know some of the students, and a few of them are the kind who come in fairly often.)
  • I'm team teaching a course in leadership, of all things. This is one of those responsibilities that somehow snuck up on me. A year and a half ago, I attended a workshop where they charged us to go back to our own campus and make a difference. After kicking around some of the ways that we could make a difference, we settled on this course. It seemed like a good idea at the time. Actually, I think it is a good idea, and I'm excited to see what we can make of it. But I'm not used to team teaching, and I barely know more about leadership than the students, so I'll have to work hard to keep up.
  • I'm leading an independent study on game theory. I just hope that it's a really, really independent independent study. The student involved is very bright and hard working, so I jumped at the chance to do an independent study with him, but in retrospect, perhaps I should have said, "No."
  • We're hiring, as I've mentioned before. That means I'll have to meet with candidates, attend their talks, take them to lunch and to dinner. Not me alone, of course, but I'll have to do my share. One of my colleagues was gently chiding us today because last time, it always seemed to be the same people who went out to dinner with the candidate. So I'll have to make time to do that.
  • I have my usual bundle of committees, subcommittees, advising, etc.

All in all, it fills me with a faint dread just thinking about it. I know that there will be lots of things about this semester that I will like, but I also know that there will be times when I just wish it was over.

The semester actually doesn't start until January 22nd. I have the impression that many schools have started, but not ours. So I have one more week of dread, before I jump into the deep end.

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Day 266 -- Watkins Mill State Park

A few miles east of Kearney is Watkins Woolen Mill State Park. I'm not actually running that direction; I'm running south and a little west. But state parks are usually good for a photo or two, and I got this nice one of the woolen mill. I really don't have much of an idea of the scale of this machine, so for all I know, I've made myself into a midget or a giant.

I ran four miles today, indoors at the track. It's not looking like I'll be running outside soon. That's OK during the week, but on weekends, the gym isn't open early in the morning. So I might get two days off this weekend, whether I like it or not.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Day 265 -- Kearney, Missouri

Kearney Missouri is one of the fast growing cities in Missouri. Strong economic growth coupled with a well developed Master Plan have helped Kearney move forward. How do I know this? It's a direct quote from the Kearney web site. They just celebrated their sesquicentennial in 2006. They also have a Jesse James Festival, since Kearney was his birthplace and boyhood home. I guess not every town has a Nobel Prize winner. (Although I'd guess that Jesse James is more well known than 99% of Nobel Prize winners, when it comes to that.) Anyway, you can see me above standing by the bouncy ride at the JJ Festival. The rumors that I posed for the drawing of The Hulk are entirely unfounded, but please spread them anyway.

I ran 6.3 miles this morning, in the cold. Sixteen degrees is definitely not warm enough to run outside. But once I was out, I was committed. The next time I run outside, it will be considerably warmer. This I promise.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Day 264 -- Holt, Missouri

Someone with the Flickr handle FotoEdge took this photo of a homemade sign south of Holt, Missouri. I don't think that there's much doubt about the politics of the person who put up the sign, but I can still get behind it. (Oh, horrible pun.) I'm willing to pray for our military, and for Israel.

I ran four miles, indoors at the gym. The weather here has turned cold and windy, so no running outside for me. Not today, anyway.

Monday, January 08, 2007

Stationary Bike

After yesterday's long run, I thought I'd take a day off. So I just went to the gym and rode the exercise bike for a half an hour. It was enough to work up a sweat and get my blood pumping, but I didn't go very hard. My legs actually feel pretty good, and I probably could have run, but again, I'm trying not to overdo it.

Image from

Sunday, January 07, 2007

Day 263 -- Converse, Missouri

According to this page of miscellaneous old photos, "First township meeting and Farmers Institute ever held in Clinton Co. was in Converse, Nov. 1, 1910...."

Last week, I started out to run 13 miles, but only ran 9. It was a good decision at the time, but it meant that today, when I started out to run 10, that 9 mile mark loomed large in my mind. About mile 7, I started thinking, "I can't make it longer than I did last week. I'm already exhausted. I think I'll just lay down and die right here." Fortunately, I had a route where at mile 8, I was just about as far from home as I was going to get this morning. So I could either walk the two miles back or I could run them. I ran them. It felt good, but I'm sore now.

I am going to have to work hard to get myself in shape for a marathon. There is no way I can run 16 more miles on the legs I finished with today. The good news is, I have time. It took a long way for me to get myself to this point, and it will take a long time for me to extend it to 26.2 miles. A little bit at a time, that's all I need.

Friday, January 05, 2007


Our department is hiring this year. Again. They hired or tried to hire every year since 1999, except for last academic year. This year, we have a total of three positions. This has all happened because of (a) the wave of retirements echoing from rapid hiring in the late 60's and early 70's, (b) a few well placed resignations to take jobs elsewhere, and (c) expansion of our University, due to a new initiative to attract students from neighboring states. I understand that we are extraordinarily lucky to be expanding at this point, and I'm counting my blessings. But.

The biggest pain of hiring is reading all those files. (Our department, in the last few years, has opted for a hiring committee of the whole, after a few too many times when the department shot down the hiring committee's recommendations, so I'm on it.) All the teaching philosophies start to blend together after a while. Everyone likes and respects their students, has clear, organized lectures, and tries to show real-world applications of the abstract concepts. Ho-hum. It's to the point now that if someone can surprise me in their teaching philosophy, I automatically bump them up. One person started out by talking about meeting his third grade teacher in a supermarket, and telling her what he was doing these days. It was a good hook.

One thing that's got me a little depressed is that I'm starting to feel like a jaded old man. I read all these teaching philosophies from people with five years TAing at a major school where the students appreciate it if you actually show up on time, and call you a great teacher if you bother to hold office hours, and I think, "Wait until you hit the real world, kid." No doubt I sounded just as naive and unrealistic when I was first out of grad school.

We met yesterday to identify the top fifteen candidates, so we can contact them and see if they are really interested. I have two grad school friends in the mix (a married couple currently in tenure track positions elsewhere, who would like to get back to the upper midwest.) I didn't rate them, since I know them personally, and I'm trying to stay scrupolously neutral, but I'm really rooting for them to come here. So I was happy to see that they were both highly ranked by the committee, even without my help. So now we'll see what they think of us. I imagine that we will be a step down in pay from where they are now. Also, our University never gives credit for time towards tenure for experience at another school, so they would have to start their tenure clocks from zero. (This happened to me, too. I had four years experience on the tenure track at another school when I came, and I was a little pissed that they didn't give me any credit for it. Then I found out that someone else hired in the same year, who had 18 years experience at another school, and tenure, also got no credit for it. After that, I took it less personally.) If those two things don't scare them off, they just might end up coming here, which would be great.

We'll see how it goes. In recent years, we've sometimes had trouble getting our first choices to actually take our offers. Often, they are also the first choices for other schools that can offer them more money, and/or schools that aren't in rural western Wisconsin. We've made some really good hires (besides myself, I mean) but we've also missed out on some people that I thought would have been great.

Day 262 -- G'day from Turney

Tonight I think I'll spend a virtual night at Camp Down Under in Turney, Missouri. Why there's a camp with an Australian theme out here in the middle of nowhere, I'll never know. But it seems quite pleasant. Here you see what they charmingly refer to as "Bare Bones Cabins," inside and out. They sleep eight. They are air conditioned, but do not have running water or toilets. I don't think I'll need the air conditioner in the middle of January, but I think I'd miss a toilet. So screw it, I'll just spend the night in my own bed, thank you.

I ran five miles today, and I'm ready for a day off. It might be snowy first thing tomorrow, so my timing is good. Word is still out on whether it will be nice enough to run outside on Sunday morning. I'll let you know.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Rube Goldberg

By popular request (OK, one anonymous poster asked), here is the First Little Jogger's Rube Goldberg machine. To activate the thing, pour marbles onto the wheel (1), which pulls the rope through the pulley (2), which lifts the weight off the lever (3), which allows the spring to pull the weight up the inclined plane (4), knocking the ball into the cup, which pulls the rope through the second pulley (5), which lifts the weight off the can, allowing the smaller can to lift it using the second lever (6).

This machine got second place, and it deserved it. The winning machine was so much more carefully crafted. Ours was made out of cardboard and tape. Theirs was made out of wood and screws. Ours had stuff stuck wherever we could fit it. Theirs had a careful plan and everything laid out in measured spots. Ours had six simple machine. Theirs had 12. It was actually closer than I thought it would be, partly because there weren't really any style points in the grading rubrics. Also, theirs didn't work at first, so they lost a few points. Ours worked on the first try. (That's not a tribute to us. It failed the second time.)

Day 261 -- More Cameron

Having dissed the Cameron, Missouri web page yesterday, I nonetheless went there again today, because I'm not far past there, and there aren't a whole lot of other places to look. And also because they have this fabulous Veteran's Memorial Wall, and I always like to pay tribute to veterans. The answer to yesterday's stumper, by the way, is that to find these pictures, you have to go to the "text only" version of the page. Figure that out. They might be there somewhere under the full version, but I can't find 'em.

I ran three miles today, at the gym.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Parents: Does this sound like you?

"Listen, it's your science project. If it doesn't get done, that's your problem. And you are not staying up late to get it done. So just get to work."

Well, ha! The first Little Jogger and Mrs. Jogger and I just stayed up late (well, a little late) finishing her "Rube Goldberg Machine" for the Science Olympiad.

Part of the problem is that she failed to carefully read the instructions. The whole thing was supposed to fit inside a box that is 50 cm by 50 cm by 80 cm. All the stuff she had worked out was way too big. So we had to basically redesign, starting today after school.

Another part of the problem is that she is part of a team. She and her friend are working together on some things, and sharing credit on the rest. They got first place on Tuesday and second place today on things that the friend had done. So I kind of felt like the FLJ should contribute something! (She is also doing a trebuchet, which isn't due until next week, and which should be pretty good.)

Anyway, we got the Rube Goldberg Machine to work, and it should be OK, though I don't imagine it will get first. They get more points for each simple machine that they include, and ours only has six. But at least it's done, and it works.

Day 260 -- Cameron, Missouri

If you're ever in this area, you should definitely drop in on Cameron, Missouri. It's a wonderful little town. However, I can't recommend that you drop into their web site, which seems disorganized. See if you can find the original of this photo. I'll give you a hint. These are the Tuggle Monuments. According to the site:
A matched pair of 28-foot granite monuments erected in 1886 and 1909 honor a local farm couple. The wills of Johathan and Polly Tuggle specified that $10,000 of their estate be used for the statuary located in Packard Cemetery on BB Highway. Both female figures hold anchors in their left hands while one points skyward.

I did run today, but not until noon. I just couldn't get out of bed this morning. I had to stop twice to walk, which was frustrating. But both times, I picked up where I left off, so I ran the full 6.4 miles that I had planned. We'll see if I can get up tomorrow. If not, I doubt that I'll run at all, since I've got a couple of things to do during the day.

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Day 259 -- Blogiversary

Today, I am declaring my official blogiversary. The actual first post on JogAmercaBlog was Dec. 17, 2005, but that wasn't the beginning of my trip. That was just a post so I'd have something to link to in the "About My Journey" link at the right. My journey started in New York City on January 2, 2006. It's been a fun year, and this blog has become something somewhat different than what I first imagined. It has somehow failed to shoot to the top of the most visited blogs on the web, but I have a small but faithful cadre of readers. Thanks to you all, the posters and the lurkers. I look forward to another year together.

For your viewing pleasure, here's what I looked like then and now.

Monday, January 01, 2007

My Life, Rated

This Is My Life, Rated
Take the Rate My Life Quiz

Hat tip to Addy N., whose life is 0.3 points less satisfying than mine. Sorry, Addy.

Day 258 -- Happy New Year!

This train depot in Winston, Missouri, is from an archive of Rock Island line depots at Simpson College, in Iowa. You'll note that I've taken a new picture of myself for the new year. It was about time I changed my clothes. They were getting a bit whiffy.

I began the year with a 4 mile run. No, I didn't get up early after staying up late. I slept in, and then ran right before lunch. It felt great, and I managed a snappy pace. It was fairly warm, but there was a brisk wind, which chilled the body, but not the soul.

The girls made it to midnight last night, but neither of the boys did. The littlest Little Jogger conked out pretty early. The medium Little Jogger missed it by about 20 minutes. The rest of us were in bed by about 12:03.