The Daily Parker

Politics, Weather, Photography, and the Dog

Decent weekend so far

Today's weather was finally spring-like, meaning twenty degrees warmer away from the lake than near it. But Parker still got over an hour of walkies, I've gotten (so far) about 18,000 steps, and all the windows in my house are open for the first time in about a month.

Also, I made a decent showing yesterday at a trivia tournament (tied for first place, but lost the tiebreaker), and today at a Euchre tournament (upper half of the pack, 7-2-1 overall record).

That is all. Time to feed the dog, and maybe walk another couple thousand steps.

Fitbit reports the damage

Scroll down and you'll see that I did not achieve my goal of 25,000 steps on Saturday because (most likely) I ate contaminated kefta kebab on Friday night.

My Fitbit did provide some interesting data, however, that underscores how disappointing the trip turned out to be.

Sleep: I average 7 hours a night, generally. Friday night, more because I had absolutely no responsibilities than anything else, I slept in, getting 9:34 total. But then the sleep chart goes almost full-circle as the Fitbit recorded all my naps. Total sleep from Friday night to Saturday evening: 14:11. Total sleep in Bend: 20:41. (Given that I was only in Bend for a little over 40 hours, I slept through more than half of it.)

Steps: Instead of 25,000 on Saturday, I got 11,633. That includes the one-hour hike Saturday morning when the symptoms first hit me, and a shuffle to the nearest Walgreens to pick up some Gatorade. Do you know how much I hate Gatorade? Less than I hate serious dehydration, but only just.

Resting heart rate: My RHR usually hangs out around 63. Give me a good, painful illness, and that goes to hell: 65 on Friday, 68 on Saturday, and 70 yesterday, despite yesterday being spent mostly in transit.

Weight: Well, here's the silver lining. My body mass has remained frustratingly stable about 3 kg over where I want to be since mid-November. While I expected that to drop some as the weather got warmer, as it has every year, I didn't expect to drop all 3 kilos in one weekend. This may have something to do with me having no solid food from my bagel Saturday morning until I attempted (successfully!) some pretzels, saltines, and a hard-boiled egg yesterday afternoon. I also had a bit of success with a container of steamed white rice when I got to O'Hare. It turns out, water has no calories, and Gatorade has just over 200 calories per liter. So altogether, I had perhaps 1,000 calories in two days, at the same time my body was shedding every gram of food and water that got into my system from Friday night on.

Don't worry, I'm hydrating. I might gain a kilogram back in the next day or two. On the other hand, my appetite hasn't fully returned, so I might keep it off for a while.

Anyway, other than being pissed off about spending my one day in Bend asleep or on the pot (and not the pot one would ordinarily want to be on in Oregon), I seem mostly recovered. It's going to be a beautiful day in Chicago, so I plan to get another 20,000 steps today. And drink a lot of fluids.

Warm, but still a miss

Yesterday's temperature at O'Hare got up to 21°C, which we last hit on November 5th, and is the normal temperature for May 15th. It was quite a lovely day, in fact. Tom Skilling pointed out that this was the earliest 21°C day in 16 years, and was 3 weeks earlier than the average date of its first occurrence based on 145 years of data.

I tried, I really tried, to hit 30,000 steps, but...well:

Crap. I missed 30,000 by 225 steps, and missed my record by only 721:

2015 Apr 26 30,496
2016 Mar 8 29,775
2015 Jun 15 28,455
2015 May 2 26,054
2015 Sep 5 24,771

Note that on September 5thalso missed a goal by almost the same amount. Quite irritating. Still, yesterday's step count was fully 4.86 standard deviations above my mean daily count of 12,660, so it was a pretty good effort. (At this point today I'm already up to 9,534, so the week is looking pretty good.)

And Parker got over 90 minutes of walkies.

Back at the Remote Office

Man, I have missed this:

I had lunch with a friend here at the Duke today (and I walked, getting me to 15,000 before noon), so why not stay and write some documentation?

I've also decided on a new rule. I gave up beer for February because I think there's a correlation between me drinking beer and me staying consistently 3 kg over my target. Well, not much changed, and I missed beer, so my New Rule is that I can have one beer per 10,000 steps (or fraction thereof). And I think I'll aggregate this over the week.

Working from home on the warmest day in months

Yesterday's 17.2°C temperature at O'Hare was the warmest since it was 17.8°C on November 15th. It might not get warmer than that, but who cares, because it that's plenty warm for early March. 17.8°C is Chicago's normal temperature for April 29th; the normal for March 8th is 6.1°C.

That's the good news. The better news is that working from home means Parker is working napping from home as well. And we just got back from an 80-minute, 8.1-km walk, his longest in (no surprise) even more months.

Now the bad news. We were walking from the car dealership where they are figuring out how much I'm to pay them later this week. My car has a couple of "minor" symptoms including a damaged tire (thanks, Chicago!), but it's a 7-year-old BMW. So anything that would cost $100 to fix on a Corolla will cost me $200. Can't wait for the call...

I do have some work to do today—more on that this afternoon. But I'm already at 11,000 steps, with a goal of 30,000 for the day. I've only hit that number once, last April 26th. There's a lot of day ahead of me, and it's 9,000 steps back to the car dealership. Stay tuned.

Update, 11:26: The 11am temperature at O'Hare was 19°C, the highest reading since November 5th. If we hit 23°C we'll have the warmest day since October 21st.

The President's gadget

President Obama and I have the same fitness tracker. His, however, has some customizations:

What counts as must-have features for many people — high-definition cameras, powerful microphones, cloud-connected wireless radios and precise GPS location transmitters — are potential threats when the leader of the free world wants to carry them around.

And so using the latest devices means more than merely ordering one on Amazon for delivery to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. It means accepting the compromises imposed by White House technology experts, whose mission is to secure the president’s communications, and by the Secret Service agents who protect him.

He has not given up, though. Mr. Obama is the first commander in chief to regularly carry a specially secured BlackBerry. He reads briefings and checks scores from ESPN on an iPad (the first of which was given to him by Steve Jobs before its public release). And recently he has been seen wearing the Fitbit Surge, a fitness band packed with all the latest technology, on his left wrist.

The article goes on to speculate (because neither the Secret Service nor Fitbit will comment on presidential security) just which features, exactly, they've removed. And my friend request has so far gone unanswered...

Brrrrrr

We're experiencing what everyone hopes will be the two coldest days of 2016. This morning Chicago woke up to -18°C temperatures and a forecast for more of the same through tomorrow night.

And then Wednesday it all goes back to the weirdly warm winter we've been having. The Climate Prediction Center still says we're going to have a warmer-than-average winter, and even the long-term forecasts call for high probabilities of warmer-than-average temperatures through June and beyond.

These temperatures kill my Fitbit steps, though. After a 21,000-step weekend, so far today I've barely passed 2,000, and not a lot of motivation to walk miles in this cold. (Usually by lunchtime I've hit 6,000 or so.) During the coldest days of last January I had a similarly awful record, bottoming out at 4,447 steps on January 12th. The week ending January 18th was my lowest 7-day total (60,302) until November 29th (56,109).

Link round-up

As the work week slowly grinds down, I've lined these articles up for consumption tomorrow morning:

And now it's off to the barber shop. And then the pub.