Saturday, May 03, 2008

My Wife ad-libs

At breakfast the other day, I was reading the WSJ and my wife some ladies magazine. She came upon Lance Armstrong's recipe for Guacamole: Said she: "Take ONE avocado..."

dbp, what do you mean by your "true self"?

I was asked the above in another setting and I decided to answer it here because the answer (might) end up being pretty lengthy.

I thought up a little story to illustrate what I meant:

There is some guy, who from childhood had a lot of different aspirations. One of them was to be rich. If you asked him why he wanted to someday be wealthy, he would say that it would be great because then he wouldn't have to work and he could travel or buy anything he wants.

Later in life, he is married with children and a good job. He likes his work--it pays well and is interesting. He lives close to work in a modest house. He enjoys spending time with his family and has a few hobbies, but they are not ones that cost much to pursue. Really, there is only one nagging concern: His current career path will never make him wealthy.

If he was to think about his situation, he would realize that his "true self" is not someone who really wants to be wealthy. His reasons for wanting wealth don't apply: He likes his work and he does not have expensive tastes. All wealth would do is give him the means to buy stuff he doesn't want and allow him to quit job he loves.

He would benefit if he could make this realization, since this one nagging concern is about the only worry he has. But getting back to the original subject of this post: Isn't it possible that his "true self" was there all along? There is a certain amount of randomness in life, but the seeds of interest we have when young guide us toward what we will do later. The life our hero chose for himself reveals what he really cares about.

This is how I roll

In certain respects I kind of like that fuel has become so expensive. It gives me permission to do things I always wanted to do.

Here is what I mean:

Part of my morning routine is to wait at the bus stop with the my two younger daughters and then to drive to work right after the bus comes. The stop is about 4 or 5 hundred yards from our house, so I just drive there rather than walking down and then having to walk back to get my car. I used to let my car idle while waiting for the bus on the theory that it isn't good for the engine to be starting it too often.

First, what I changed was that I turned the car off when I got to the bus stop. Later I realized that it is down hill the whole way from home to bus stop, so why even turn the car on? I just have to remember to leave my car in such a position that it will start to roll once I release the hand brake and turn the steering wheel. So now what I do is turn the key just enough to unlock the steering column and then coast to the bus stop. There are a couple of 90 degree turns and it is a bit of a work-out to do with no power steering. Also, no power brakes; so I have to break early and hard to get the thing to stop.

Maybe by next Winter fuel will be cheap again--it was pretty sweet getting into my car after the bus comes and finding it toasty warm.

Thursday, May 01, 2008

Actors, who to me, look and act very much alike

It is probably just me, but there are two pairs of actors who I used to get mixed-up and even now that I know they are different, I still think are pretty similar.

What would be great is if they could be cast all in one movie. So here is the outline... Joey Lauren Adams (Chasing Amy) is married to Crispin Glover (Back to the future) and their bosses are their lookalikes: Crispin's boss is played by Renée Zellweger while Ms. Adams' is played by Matthew Modine (Full Metal Jacket & Married to the mob)

Twins, or more commonly, an actor playing duel roles has been done to death. Here, we have similar looking and sounding actors all playing in the same film. The makeup and costume people can make the actors look either more alike or less so, depending on what is needed as part of the story ark.

The plot gets moving when the couple decides to kill three birds with one stone: Invite over the boss for dinner--both of them (who are single) and set them up on a blind date as well. The dinner has lots of dramatic and comedic potential since each half of the married couple can talk shop with their respective boss, plus have inside jokes with each other. The only people left-out are the bosses, but only with respect to each other. Naturally they begin to date and to confide in their subordinate about how things are going. As they date, there is plenty of opportunity for the subordinate to take their boss's side in disputes or the opposite given their knowledge of the bosses personality and for fights and arguments to break-out between the married couple. The script almost writes itself.

The four lead parts do not notice that there is any similarity between them, but there should be 2-6 supporting cast who do notice and enjoy making smart comments about it throughout the film.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Davids are not as fast as other men, on average

At least based upon the one example of the Groton Road Race...

There were 15 Davids in the race, of which I came in 3rd. So I beat 12 and two beat me, giving a ratio of 12/2, which reduces to 6. Of the non-David men, I beat 167 and lost to 48, giving a ratio of only 3.5.

I would have to do a lot more research to find out first: Is this just a fluke and if I looked at other races this pattern would go away. (My guess is that it is not a fluke--15 is a pretty good number to work with in terms of statistics like this) And second, if it is not a fluke my working hypothesis would be that David is a name which was more popular long-enough ago that the participants as a whole are younger than the average David's age.

Now that I have looked at the data some more, I don't think the age hypothesis holds-up. At first it looked as if the idea was good: All of the Davids are aged between 36 and 60--which seems like the members are not so much old as lacking in any young members of the David club. The slowest five are: 54, 37, 50, 39 and 36; while the fastest five are 42, 45, 45, 39, and 60.

What really made me discount the age hypothesis was that my assumption about the relationship between age and speed is incorrect. I figured younger=faster, but look at this:

48 men in their 30's ran with a median time of 52:06

97 men in their 40's ran with a median time of 48:50

37 men in their 50's ran with a median time of 51:50

*there were only 11 men in their 20's so this didn't seem representative and I didn't include them in this analysis.

The men in their 40's were by far the fastest and largest group, even the men in their 50's were faster than the 30's guys. There were 5 Davids in their 30's--they were the ones dragging down the Davids.

Update: We were a platoon of Davids, not An Army of Davids that's something else.

How to find stuff

This doesn't happen all the time, but often enough that it is worth noting.

Sometimes you know that certain information is posted on the web, but there is no link to it. What you can do is modify an existing link and this will work sometimes.

In this case, The Groton Road Race site has links to results from 2003-2007 and I want this year's results.

Here is the URL for the 2007 results: Link

So what I did was change the URL to this: Link

I changed the 07 to an 08 and the Apr29 to Apr27.

The same kind of thing works for the race pictures, but I shall leave that as an exercise for those of my 6 readers who are interested. You can also find the pictures from the link at the bottom of the previous post.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Have I hit a plateau?

The Groton Road Race results are available now, so I have been looking at them and at past results too.

Here is how I have done over the past few years:

2003---51:14 8:16 185th out of 448 median time: 52:47

2004---Didn't run

2005---49:30 7:59 133rd out of 418 median time: 52:34

2006---46:31 7:31 103rd out of 446 median time: 53:03

2007---44:41 7:12 326 out of 912 median time: 48:37

The median time this year was really fast because Groton was chosen as the location for the championchip race for New England and thus attracted a higher caliber of runners.

2008---44:34 7:11 57th out of 371 median time: 53:24

Most years I enjoyed a minute or two gain from year-to-year. This time I did better by only a paltry 7 seconds. Now admittedly, I didn't push as hard this year as last, but this should be more than made up by the better conditions this year: It was cool and there were far fewer runners--so that should have helped.

2009---45:45 7:22 46th out of 435 median time: 58:05

It was unseasonably hot this year and this slowed runners down by 4-5 minutes.

Photos by Jim Rhoades The Runner

2010: did not run
2011: 52 44:47 7:13 44/284 M 22/104 Median: 55:06
2012: 66 44:14 7:08 62/254 M 20/69 Median: 53:42
2013: did not run
2014: 46 44:23 7:09 39/202 M 8/50 Median: 54:56
2015: 40 44:44 7:12 35/190 M 6/48 Median: 55:36
2016: 38 44:30 7:10 30/197 M 4/55 Median: 54:46

Pictures from 2016 race: 1/2 mile from the finish.

About 1/2 mile in--the tall guy next to me wearing white runs the Grand Prix, so we have gotten to know each other. He always beats me but I can keep up for about a mile.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Meenah running after the ball

To the Races...

I am off to the Groton Road Race. Normally, the whole family would come to cheer me on, but today is chilly and rainy, so I will go alone.

This is perfect weather for racing, but not so good for spectators.

I don't feel as well-trained as last year, I will know in about 2 hours and 45 minutes from now.

UPDATE: I was overly optimistic about finding out that quickly. Oh I know from looking at the timer above the finish that I did roughly the same as last year, but they haven't posted (on their website) the official results yet--and the race finished like 8 hours ago...What is weirder is that they posted the results on paper at the event just as I was leaving. I saw the results but didn't bother to memorize them since I thought they would be on-line by the time I got home.

2nd Update: Cool running had the results! 57 340 DAVID PECCHIA 45 M 24/97 M4049 CHELMSFORD MA 44:34 7:11

Seven seconds faster than last year. Not much of an improvement but at my age I will settle for not doing worse!