Sunday, November 30, 2008

Jogger's Progress

Time29 days, 4 hrs, 34 min
11 days, 59 mins

I meant to run today, but it snowed overnight. The gym isn't open on Sunday morning, so that wasn't an option. Of course, they are open this afternoon, but I don't think I'm going to get over there. The Packer game is almost over, and when it is, I'm going to get to the office to do some work.

It has still been a good month. I feel pretty good about what I've gotten done. It's been a pretty typical month for me. This was the sixth time this year I've run 21 days. I could have run more, if the weather wasn't going bad on me. Of course, if the weather was good, I'd probably find another excuse.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Day 741 -- Connell

This is ash from the 1980 eruption of Mt. St. Helens, covering the landscape near Connell. I got the photo from the web site of the Cascades Volcano Observatory in Vancouver. It's an interesting photo, even if I'm 28 years late.

I went to the gym this morning, and ran 100 laps, which covered 13.3 miles. I was pretty proud of that. I had been meaning to put in a long run, and since I wasn't in any hurry to go anywhere this morning, that was my chance. It was very quiet. There weren't more than a half dozen people when I started, and there was no one there when I finished.

We did some holiday partying today. The Chamber of Commerce sponsored a showing of the movie Prancer, with admission being an item for the food pantry. They do this every year on the day after Thanksgiving, although frankly, they've had movies that I liked better than Prancer. And it was not at all a movie for little kids. It was very slow and sappy. It's much better when they have some whacky comedy with exploding elves and crashing reindeer.

Tomorrow, we are going down to visit Grandma Walker. She doesn't have room for us to stay, so it will just be a day trip. It will be nice to see her. It's been a while. She's a great cook, so I'm looking forward to more overeating.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Day 740 -- More Eltopia

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

Having had no picture of your humble Jogger yesterday, I decided to go with two today. Both of these grain elevators are from They have a whole page of grain elevators, feed mills, silos, and terminals. These two are both from Eltopia.

I slept in this morning, then got out and went for a run. It was nice to see the sun, although it was still cold. I didn't try to run real far, and I knew from the first step that it wasn't going to be real fast. But it was a good run.

I've been grading all day, and watching some football, although both games were pretty dull. We had a traditional Thanksgiving feast, with turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, cranberry salad, and, still to come, two kinds of pie. I was going to give myself permission to eat a little meat, but when we sat down to eat, it didn't even look good to me. So, I loaded up on the carbs. Don't worry, I still managed to overdo it, even without the turkey.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Day 739 -- Eltopia

Well, I couldn't find a reasonable way to add myself to this photo, but I nonetheless couldn't resist: crop circles! Yes, folks, this photo was posted by someone who seems to think that crop circles are evidence of some extra-terrestrial visitors, come to earth to crush the corn. They say,
If you are one who believes that 'most' or 'all' of the Circles are made by miscreants, consider asking yourself upon what proof, what documentation or evidence, you're basing your beliefs.

Yes, that makes sense. If I don't have good evidence that the circles are made by drunken frat boys, the inevitable conclusion is that they are made by Awful Green Things from Outer Space. Got it.

I ran outside again today. It was cold, but I bundled up. I felt pretty good as soon as I lost the feeling in my face. I did run into someone who was jogging in shorts. Works for him, I guess.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Days 737 and 738 -- Pasco

I'm a few miles past Pasco, which abuts Kennewick. However, there's not much out here, and this was too nice a pic to pass up.

It's been a little while since I managed to post anything. Long enough for my mother to send me an e-mail politely asking what's up.

I didn't run at all on the weekend. I managed to sleep in a little, do a lot of grading, and go to the littlest Little Jogger's choir concert on Sunday afternoon.

On Monday, I popped out of bed, ready to put in a nice long run. I headed out the door, and found....snow. We've had some snow showers for a couple of weeks now, but never enough to stick. Finally, on Sunday night/Monday morning, we got a good half inch on the ground. Which meant that I didn't want to run outside, because I don't want to slip and break my clavicle. So I went off to the gym, and did a solid seven miles on the track.

This morning, I again went to the gym. There are still icy patches on the ground, and it is kind of cold. I got in four quick miles, although I kind of lost count, so I may have been short a lap.

It's a short week, of course, but busy. I told Mom that I'm trying to get a week's worth of work done in three days, while my students are trying to stretch a two-day vacation to a week. Not a good recipe.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

You know you've been spending too much time on-line when....

Yesterday, right before class, I was reading the student newspaper. It occurred to me to check the time, so I looked at the lower right corner of the paper.

Needless to say, the current time was not there.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Days 735 and 736 -- More Kennewick

While in the tri-cities area, I thought I'd visit this cool skate park, which I found at Concrete Disciples. This Derek Barden. The photo was taken by Mike Barden. I'm guessing that's his father, but it could be his brother. Or a stranger with the same last name.

It's been a busy couple of days. Last night, the oldest and newest Little Jogger had a choir concert at the middle school. It was really quite good. Their choir director is just terrific! She gets the kids to do amazing things, and they have fun doing it.

Tonight was the annual Thanksgiving dinner put on by the University's Hmong Club. That's always fun, although the medium Little Jogger was kind of a pain. He was hungry, and it was taking too long to serve. Then he didn't like the food. Then he wasn't feeling well and wanted to go home. Oh, well. This, too, shall pass.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

TIaRT -- Giving Thanks

I haven't done a Take It and Run Thursday at the Runner's Lounge lately. Partly, it's been a lack of time, and partly, none of the topics have really turned me on. But this one, I can't miss, even if I doubt that I'm going to say anything truly original.

This week's topic is "Thank Goodness for Running". Where do I start?

  • First of all, I'm thankful that I can run at all. Lots of people can't. As I think I've mentioned, my brother and my dad were among those physically unable to run, and I still think about them sometimes, and I'm grateful that I can.
  • I'm grateful that I have the opportunity to run. I have a good job, in a safe neighborhood, in a great and generally peaceful country. There are lots of people in the world (and yes, in America, too) who are too busy just trying to survive. They don't have time to run just for pleasure.
  • I'm thankful for the support of my family. No one in my family runs, but they all tolerate me going out and disappearing for hours on end, obsessing about the upcoming race, and spending way too much on needless running junk.
  • I'm thankful for the on-line running community. I honestly don't know if I would be able to keep it up if it weren't for the encouragement of a bunch of people that I've never even met.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Day 734 -- Kennewick

Well, I'm not quite to Kennewick, but it looks like there should be plenty of photos in the tri-cities area. (The tri-cities are Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland.) This is the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. It's apparently a reasonably new building, although I couldn't find the exact date that it opened.

I had a really hard time getting moving this morning. I really wanted to just skip my run. I had to tell myself over and over again that I would feel better if I ran. And I did run. And I did feel better. It wasn't as cold as yesterday, although it is not quite spring, yet. I ran 5 miles, with a faster mile in the middle, just to shake off a little of the rust.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Day 733 -- Walla Walla

OK, I admit it. I'm not terribly near to Walla Walla, which is a good 40 or 50 miles to the east. However, I thought that I would visit Walla Walla for several very good reasons. First of all, there is almost nothing on the map in this stretch of road, between McNary, Oregon, and Kennewick, Washington. Second, I do have friends in Walla Walla, and it would be great to visit them. (He is the pastor at Christ Lutheran Church.) Finally, it gives me a chance to plug one of my favorite kids books, Double Trouble in Walla Walla.

If you have kids, get this book. If you don't have kids, get this book. It is simply a delight to read. It's best if you read it out loud.

Four easy miles today. It was cold. The bank clock said 22 degrees, and the meteorology station at the University recorded 17 degrees at 6:00 am. There still hasn't been enough snow to drive me indoors, but pretty soon the cold is going to.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Day 732 -- Entering Washington

I don't know why I haven't run across James D. Teresco before. He has visited all 50 states, and has "Welcome to..." signs for 49 of 'em. (Apparently he hasn't been able to get one for Hawaii.) This is not the correct sign for me. It's on I-5, far to the west. But I'll take what I can get.

I did get in my long run this morning. It snowed for 10 or 15 minutes, some time in the fourth or fifth mile. It was heavy enough to start to stick, but never really built up enough to make the footing difficult. So I just kept running.

I wasn't blindingly fast, but I got in 12 miles. This was my first two-hour run since the marathon. I did a little plodding in the last four miles or so. But that's OK. I need to practice my plodding, too.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Day 731 -- McNary Dam

Somewhere in here is the McNary Dam. It's listed as being in Umatilla, which is slightly to the west of where I'm running. McNary itself is slightly to the east.

No snow, yet. It was actually 38 degrees or so when I ran this morning, but it has gotten steadily colder all day. I want to go for a long run tomorrow, but I'm worried about how cold it might be. Oh, well, worrying isn't going to have any effect.

I did a brisk four and a half this morning. I was tired, but I managed to make it through.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Day 730 -- Hermiston

When you Google for images using town names, you get a lot of hotels. I usually resist those, because they all look pretty much the same. "Look, it's the Holiday Inn in Walla Walla! Looks just like the Holiday Inn in Des Moines!" However, the Oxford Suites in Hermiston has an interesting photo. They have a "cowboy dinner package", and this covered wagon is what they use to sell it. I don't know if they have an actual covered wagon.

I hopped off of I-84 today, onto I-82. Tomorrow or the next day, I'll cross over into Washington.

It felt good to run today. I did fartleks. You runners and Swedes know that "fartlek" is Swedish for "speed play." It's a kind of informal speed workout. You warm up, then just run at varying speeds, according to how the spirit moves you. Sprint to the corner. Jog for a while. Run medium fast for three blocks. Jog for a while. Run fast up that hill. Jog for a while. It's a good workout, and a nice change of pace--literally.

They are predicting snow for the weekend, so I may or may not be able to run. We'll see.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Two Days Off

This is the second of two days off. No particular reason. Just basic laziness.

I should know better. One day off often does me some good. On the second, I get all moody and depressed and grouchy. So I've been all moody and depressed and grouchy today. Not helped by the major pile of grading that I have to do, nor by the fact that I'm not really sure what I'm going to do in one of my classes tomorrow. I've got a lot I want to do, and I'm having trouble getting it organized.

No matter what, I'm running tomorrow.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Day 729 -- Umatilla Chemical Depot

Welcome to the Umatilla Chemical Depot (formerly the Umatilla Ordnance Depot). According to the web site at, this picture shows "A Umatilla Chemical Depot employee stands in front of a storage igloo. Safely stored inside this igloo are munitions containing the nerve agent sarin (GB)." If you'll pardon me, I'm going to tiptoe quietly out of here....

I set out this morning to run about four, but ended up running over 5, on some of the worst hills in town. It was a good workout, but wearying. It was cold, but the rain didn't start until later in the morning. Once it got started, though, it kept up all day. I may wimp out and go to the gym in the morning, if it's still a cold rain. If it's sleet or snow, I'll definitely go to the gym.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Day 728 -- World Run Day

Happy World Run Day!

Last year, I went ahead and registered for World Run Day, bought the t-shirt, the whole nine yards. This year, I didn't, but I still got the benefit out of it. I turned off the alarm this morning, and sat there wondering why any sane person would get up before dawn on a cold November morning in Wisconsin to run around in circles. Then it hit me: World Run Day!

Somewhere in my 10 mile run, it occurred to me that I hadn't really answered my question. It was hardly any more sane to go running just because a bunch of other people are. I mean, it's not like they were all there helping me run. Most of them were probably running in warmer climates, or indoors, or on a treadmill.

What's with the picture? Look at that big fish! I don't even believe that's real! How do you catch something like that? I don't think that it was caught anywhere near here, but I took it from the MySpace page of Mushywaffles, who is from Boardman.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Day 727 -- Boardman Bombing Range

I'm approaching the Boardman Bombing Range, but there don't seem to be decent photos of it on the web. I wonder if that's because, well, it's a bombing range. Not much of a picnic spot, I imagine. So, since it is Day 727, how about a picture of a 727 jet?

I did take yesterday off, as planned. It was miserable weather -- cold and windy and snow flurries all day. Today wasn't much better, although there weren't snow flurries while I was out. There were occasional patches of heavy, cold mist, which was not fun. But the gym isn't open on Saturday, and I needed the exercise. I got in 5 miles, at a decent pace for an outdoor run.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Day 726 -- Ione

I'm slowly sneaking up on Boardman, my next actual landmark on I-84. Today, I have again gone off the track a little to visit Ione.

It was a real struggle to drag myself out of bed today. I finally made it, but I think I'll just sleep in tomorrow. Then, once I did get up and go out, lightning started to flash in the distance. So I went back home, hopped in the car, and drove to the gym. The lightning didn't ever get terribly close, but I didn't know that was going to happen. So, anyway, I got in 5.3 miles on the indoor track, at a pretty good pace. Running indoors is always faster than running outdoors. And it felt good. And I've earned a day off.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Day 725 -- Cecil

Still going off I-84 a little bit, just to find something to stand in front of. According to Daisha's Picassa Web Album, the population of Cecil is 7.

I ran an easy three this morning. Well, it was closer to four. It was one of those days when I just got out and ran. Not fast, but steady. It felt good. It was fairly warm, but windy. They are predicting lower temperatures, and possibly snow, by the weekend. I'll have to start running indoors before too long, I'm afraid.

Election Reflections [with Update]

I could be working, but I don't think that I can keep this bottled up inside me.

At the end of the TV series The West Wing, the country elected Matt Santos, a Latino. I remember thinking that that's all well and good in Aaron Sorkin's world, where hard work, competence, and compassion triumph over bigotry. But in the real world, we are a long way from a serious candidate of color, never mind an actual president.

I'm happy to have been wrong.

The series ended before Santos took office. We don't know how he fared, but we were left with a feeling of cautious optimism. Yes, the world is a nasty place. Yes, Santos is going to face opposition, even bigotry. But he's the best man for the job, and the country is in good hands.

That's pretty much the way I feel this morning.

On the dark side, bigotry won out in California, where they passed Proposition 8 to take away the right of gay people to marry. I suppose I should be grateful that they are defending my traditional marriage. Heaven knows that Mrs. Jogger and I would never have been married for 21 years if gay marriage had been legal in California. Our marriage has been a little rocky for these last few months, what with all those happy gay people making commitments to each other. But now that that's over with, our marriage is back on solid ground.

I know this is backlash. I believe strongly that human history is progressive, and that we will inevitably move towards a state of greater tolerance and greater equality. Someday, hopefully within my lifetime, historians will look back at the "Defense of Marriage" movement the same way we look back at Jim Crow. I just hope that we get there soon. Because it's the right thing to do.

Update: A couple of nice posts about the Prop 8 outcome by Jeff Fecke and Digby.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Days 723 and 724 -- Olex

Another big stretch of empty road lies before me. I continue to mark my virtual miles on I-84, but I slipped down highway 19, southbound out of Arlington, for this photo. At least I think I did. The town of Olex, Oregon, lies down that way, and Crestline Construction posted this photo as part of the OLEX Rock Creek Grade. So I assume it's around here somewhere.

I did get out for a short run yesterday. I could have taken the day off, but, anticipating a long day, I decided to run. And a long day it was. I gave another evening exam, so I was at school for 13 hours, nearly all of it actually working. I could be grading the exam now, but I'm not.

I also ran this morning. I went for a "tempo run," which means that I ran a mile sort of slow, then a mile a little bit faster, then a mile pretty quick, then the last mile at medium speed. Well, it turns out that "pretty quick" was pretty slow this morning. Oh, well.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Day 722 -- More Arlington

Here's a little park in Arlington, which I got from Wikipedio, el Libro Enciklopedio. I don't know what language that is. It doesn't seem like Spanish to me. Portuguese, perhaps? Interestingly, the English language Wikipedia doesn't have an entry for Arlington, Oregon.

I ran into Arlington today. No sign of the current mayor, and no clue what they look like in their underwear. The more I think about that, the more steamed I get. It's not just that they fired this mayor for stuff she did in her private life that was none of their business. It's also the inherent misogyny of the issue. Do you think the same thing would have happened if a male mayor had posted some photos of himself in dishabille? Heck no. They would have put him in their promotional material. But Mayor Kontur-Gronquist is a woman, so she's either a virgin or a whore. Since these photos don't look very virginal, she must be a whore. I'm sure that the people of Arlington were pleased that their mayor was a pretty young lady. But as soon as she showed the slightest sign of being a sexual being, she was out on her ear!

I ran 7.7 miles today, my first run of over an hour since the marathon. I wasn't exactly sprightly by the end, but I was still running. That was my only goal.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Day 721 -- Arlington

I won't be to Arlington until tomorrow, but as I keep saying, there's not much out here, so I went ahead and plopped myself into this photo of the Village Inn Motel, from Not really exciting, but I thought maybe it would be a bad idea to plop myself into the most common photo when you Google "Arlington, Oregon":

This is the former mayor of Arlington, Carmen Kontur Gronquist. (Some sources hyphenate the second and third names, and some don't.) She is the former mayor because of these photos. She had posted them on her MySpace page before she ever became mayor. She was mayor for three years, when someone in the city government dug them out, and decided that she was not projecting the proper image of a small town mayor. Sorry, Carmen, thanks for the hard work, but don't let the door hit your ass on the way out. The people of Arlington (at least some of them) are idiots.

I ran four miles today. It was fun. I didn't set a route, I didn't worry about time. I just got out and ran.