Thursday, September 8, 2011

35. Ride from work to home in under 15 minutes

1) 13:54 on September 8, 2011
  I did have to stop on Broadway at the light for about 40 seconds but I caught good breaks the rest of the way.  I was definitely winded when I got home.
2) 13:53 on September 20, 2011
  Another stop at the Broadway light but no real troubles beside that.  I got my bike tuned up last week and everything is riding real smooth.
3) 14:19 on September 23, 2011
 It was pretty windy and I really had to work hard against the wind at times.  I hit 41 mph on my way home on one of the hills.  It was definitely wind aided.
4) 14:32 on October 6, 2011
 The wind was helping a little.  I had to stop and wait for 35 seconds to turn onto our street.  I'm glad it wasn't double that!
5) 14:37 on April 24, 2012
 The wind was pretty strong today.  I didn't have to stop at any of the major intersections.  I just got my bike back yesterday from a tune-up.  It is riding really smooth which is really nice.  I got up to 34 mph as my top speed down the Illinois hill.
6) 14:31 on May 1, 2012
 I don't know how but on a windy and rainy day I made it home in under 15 minutes.  I was stopped at Ohio St. waiting to cross for almost a minute and I was stopped at the Broadway light for about a minute too.  I kept looking at my watch and wondering how on earth I was making such good time.  Hopefully this can keep up and I can get done this school year.
7) 14:18 on May 4, 2012
 I got stopped at Farnsworth and at Broadway by traffic and a light.  Otherwise the whole trip went pretty well.
8) 14:17 on May 11, 2012
Windy ride.  I thought it was going to be close on time, but I got lucky in the end and made a pretty good time.
9) 14:30 on May 14, 2012
Nothing special...I was pretty tired at the end of this ride.
10) 14:12 on May 30, 2012
It was a windy day.  I pushed it hard and was really tired at the end.

Friday, July 22, 2011

68. Watch 5 movies that I watched while growing up

1. Harry and the Hendersons - Two moments that I remembered from the movie that never let me down:
"Shoot it!"  Reply - "It's dead."  "Shoot it anyway!"
Harry sticking his head out the window making a siren noise to get traffic to move.
This is a good movie, and it was fun to watch, but it is probably best left in 1987.
2. Last Action Hero
3. Surf Ninjas
4. Honey, I Blew up the Kid! - We're headed to Las Vegas in a few weeks and I wanted to watch a few movies that were filmed there.  This is one I watched a lot growing up. First reason, I liked the first movie in the series.  Second reason, Keri Russell.  Third reason, we watched a lot of movies in the early 90s. This just happened to be one of them.
5. Toby Tyler - All I remembered from the movie was that it had something to do with the circus and Toby riding on a horse. I watched it quite a few times. growing up. I am pretty sure we watched it (and taped it) after seeing it on Sunday night's Disney Sunday Movie.
 I was a big fan of the Disney Sunday Movie growing up.  I remember watching the opening credits:

Then watching Michael Eisner introduce the movie.  I think I remember him usually walking along a beach talking about the movie.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

66. Watch 10 classic movies

Classic movies to me are defined as ones that many others have seen, but I have not.

1. Monty Python and the Holy Grail - Watching this movie was a waste of time. I have friends that have talked about this movie and it seems as though there is a cult following to this movie. There were a few quotable moments, but overall it is a really stupid movie.

2. Blues Brothers - "We're on a mission from God." I have heard that line and know that it is from this movie, but I never knew the context or really what the movie was all about.  Now I do.

3. Rocky - This is the first Rocky movie I have ever seen.  I knew very little about the movie.  Yes, I knew it was about boxing and that he fights Apollo Creed and that his girlfriend's name is Adrian, but I didn't realize he was so dumb.  I guess that is to be expected when Sylvester Stallone is doing the acting.

4. The Godfather - I listen to the guys on ESPN Radio quote lines from this movie quite often.  It was a pretty good movie.  Now I know those lines in context.

5. Gone with the Wind - Did you know that this movie is 3 hours and 52 minutes?  I didn't until I popped it in then looked up online to see how long it was. It is a fun historical movie to watch.  10 Oscars!  As I said in the past, for a movie to win an Oscar it has to be long. I'm glad I watched it.

6. Dirty Harry - "You've got to ask yourself one question: Do I feel lucky? Well, do ya, punk?" Decent movie.

7.  Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid - Funny at parts, but some pretty corny lines.

8. Chinatown - On an ESPN radio show they said that this movie was probably one of Jack Nicholson's best.  I watched to find out if they were right.  The movie was ok.

9. Escape from Alcatraz - Another classic that I remember Mythbusters doing a show on to see if they could escape the same way that the guys in the movie escaped.  Myth confirmed.

10. Jaws - Good movie.  Boy does Richard Dreyfuss look young in this movie!

Friday, July 15, 2011

49. Read 10 books for fun

1. Born to Run
2. Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief - This book is a book very similar to the Harry Potter books.  At one point in the book Percy Jackson mentions "a security guard reading a rather large book with a wizard on the front of it."  I read that part about two chapters after I had started to see quite a few similarities between Percy Jackson and Harry Potter.  The book is about Percy Jackson and how he discovers that his father who left his mom right after he was born, is actually the Greek god Poseidon.  Percy has to save the world from "world war III" by recovering items that were stolen from the gods and getting them back to their rightful owners before the battles began.  I enjoyed the book and will most likely read the books that follow it.
3. The Help:African American servant's lives in the South in the 1960s. 500+ pages and I was interested the whole time.  Great book.
4. Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters - Another good book that follows The Lightning Thief.  There continues to be a lot of similarities to Harry Potter.  Since I liked Harry Potter its fine with me.
5. Percy Jackson: The Titan's Curse
6: Percy Jackson: The Battle of The Labyrinth
7: Percy Jackson: The Last Olympian
8. Wonderstruck - Fantastic follow-up book to The Invention of Hugo Cabret. The book is a picture 600+ page picture book with periodic chapters of reading. I highly recommend reading this book!
9. Hunger Games - This was an exciting book.  The whole idea of 24 teenagers sent into an arena to fight to the death in order for their village to have food scared me at the beginning.  After reading it my previous thoughts about it have changed a lot.  This is an interesting read and I can't wait to read the next one.  It is sitting on my night stand ready to go when I want to start it.
10. Quiet Millionaire - I read a lot of personal finance blogs.  The Simple Dollar, Get Rich Slowly, and Thousandaire are my favorites.  Two of them recently recommended this book.  It is basically an overview of all of the stuff that I read in the blogs, but it was a nice refresher.  The common things that are said, spend less than you make, don't let money sit somewhere if it can be growing somewhere else, don't lose out on taxes and tax breaks... Overall it is a decent book.  Not anything exciting, just important to know and refresh on now and then.
11. Catching Fire - The second book of the Hunger Games trilogy.  Unfortunately when I checked to see how many pages were in the book I read the last line.  To my credit it was in a larger font and was bold, but it really ruined the book for me as I knew how everything ended.  I can't wait to get to the last book.
12. Healthy Children's Lunches - This book was more of a book on eating healthy and 52 chapters on how to infuse more healthy eating habits into your daily life.  Most of it was stuff that I was already familiar with but there were a few things that were good reminders.  If anything, after reading a book on healthy eating it makes for a good week or two of making sure that I don't eat too much garbage.
13. The Myth of the Garage - This book is a collection of essays that each cover about 5 pages.  It is a fun quick read.  Each chapter is on a different topic that all seem to cover some type of personal development or professional development.  The first chapter shares the same title as the book title.  It basically shoots down the myth that Michael Dell, Hewlett and Packard and many other companies that claim their humble roots in a garage.  It argues that most of those businesses began with knowledge gained in another company or was an idea sparked by information gained elsewhere.  It's point, embrace life experiences and keep your eyes open when you are working on professional activities.  Then you can break away and begin your rise to the top of your own company in your garage.
14. Mockingjay - Final book of the Hunger Games trilogy.  I will miss Katniss Everdeen.  She was a fantastic main character.  I read this book in two days.  I think the other two in the series I read at a similar speed.  Great books!
15. Fair Food - Buy Local, Support Local.  That is the mantra that is throughout the book.  It talks about food shipped from Peru, and other countries and how they are grown more with a focus of how well they will be able to travel over nutrition content.  Makes sense.  Good propaganda book for going to the farmer's markets and having your own garden.
16. The Journey - This book is about Mary and Joseph and the birth of Jesus that was written by Adam Hamilton.  Interesting thoughts about why Jesus was born in a stable.  If you read Leviticus and all of the rules for cleansing of people and places after a woman gives birth and what happens with all of the blood and it makes sense that they would have been put into a stable in order to keep all of the other people clean.  It was a really good read.  I think I will be reading another book by the author, "24 hours that changed the world." I will probably read that one just before Easter.
17. KaBOOM - This book was written by Darell Hammond, a graduate of Mooseheart.  He talked about his journey from living in an orphanage to building an incredibly huge organization that builds playgrounds around the country for communities that need a place for their kids to play. The beginning and middle were a pretty cool story from him growing up all the way through how he got into the playground business. The end got fairly technical about how nonprofits are put together. Not as fun.
18. Unschooling Rules - Get out of the classroom and explore and play.  This book is written with the emphasis that homeschooling and exploratory school practices are the way to go.  They write that the current classroom setting is just a product of the assembly line factory practices in the early 1900s.  I read a lot of great ideas that I plan to use with my kids at school as well as my kids at home.
19. 365 Ways to Live Cheap - This book was written by Trent Hamm who writes and owns the blog The Simple Dollar.  This book is a fairly quick read as it is just 365 headings with a paragraph or two below it telling of a way to save money.  Honestly, for most of them we already do them.  I would say that the book is just a collection of the ideas that have been written about on The Simple Dollar already.  The thing that got me motivated to read the book is because Trent is doing one blog post per day this year on each of the money saving ideas that he has in the book.
20. The Red Pyramid - This book was written by Rick Riordan who also wrote the Percy Jackson books.  It follows the same concept but instead of Greek gods it has Egyptian gods scattered throughout the book.  It folows Carter and Sadie Kane on their quest to save the world and discover that their blood line goes all the way back to some very important pharoahs from ancient Egyptian times giving them powers that they were never aware of.  Good book.  I plan on reading the next one sometime soon.
21. Stuart Little - This is just one of the classic books I hadn't read.  Now I have.
22. Murder Over Easy - This book is a murder mystery set in southwest Wisconsin.  It is about a small town that has one of it's most prominant citizens die and the sheriff decided that he fell down the stairs to his death.  The newly hired editor of the town paper thinks he was murdered.  This was a free book offered on Amazon so I thought I would try it out.  I hadn't read too many adult mystery books (Nancy Drew as a read aloud to my students doesn't count) so I wanted to give one a try.  It was a good book and was well written.  I enjoy mysteries because you know that every chapter that you read could have a clue to who the villain may be.
23. Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of Nimh - I "read" this one back in 5th grade.  The only thing I remembered from the story was that there were mice in the story and that there was a crow named Jeremy.  It is a pretty good book.
24. Nurturestruck - Another parenting book about raising kids.  I read this on the plane to and from Las Vegas.  I learned a few good things from it.
25. Peter and Wendy (Peter Pan) - I read this book to the girls at bed time.  In original form it is way over their heads, but they liked the movie a lot so I wanted to read it to them.  Because they had seen the movie it was easier for them to understand.  I did a lot of changing of words and phrases as well as summarizing to make it more friendly to two eager 4 year old ears to hear.  I am so happy that I have kids old enough to read chapter books to at the end of the night.  Last night I got a chuckle as I was putting Charlie to bed.  I was carrying a book in my hand and charlie started to beg me to "read Peter Pan" to him.  He wants to be like his big sisters so bad.  The way he is going I think he will be there soon enough.
26. The City of Ember - A good book I read to my class awhile back.
27.  Your Money: The Missing Manual - This book was written by J.D. Roth who writes which is a blog that I read daily.  The book was basically an overview of the blog posts that I have been reading from his blog over the past few years.
28. The People of Sparks - This book is the sequel to The City of Ember.  Many of the same characters are in it. Good book.
29. Free Range Kids - This book was written by the mother that sent her 9 year old son on a New York City subway by himself.  She basically writes about how to be more willing as a parent to give kids freedom as well as how to teach your children to become independent.  I really enjoyed this one.
30. 24 hours that changed the world - This is a book on the Easter story.  It is a good account with Biblical description as well as historical background for the events that occurred during Jesus' crucifixion.
31. The Prophet of Yonwood - I was disappointed with this book.  It is the third in the City of Ember series, but it didn't have much of a connection to the series.  The book is 290 pages and you have to wait until the 287th page to find any type of connection to the other books.  The story is decent, but it didn't really have much to do with the others. Also, I read almost the entire book (280 pgs) at the hospital before/after Lucy was born.
32. The Wall: Growing up behind the Iron Curtain - This book is just from the perspective of a kid that grew up under a Communist regime.
33. Racing Weight - This is just how to train and eat without starving yourself.  It was a good book.  Now all I need to do is start running a bit more.
34. Heaven for Kids - Good book with Biblical answers to tell your kids when they have questions.
35. Cyclopedia: It's all about the bike - This book is basically an encyclopedia on the history of bike riding.  Pretty boring at times, but educational.
36. The Urban Biking Handbook - This is a beginners guide to things to do if you are going to ride in the city. It also spends a lot of time talking about components of bikes and how to fix them.
37.  21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership - Good book on leadership
38. The Thing about Georgie - This is a good book that I will probably read with my students.  It is about a dwarf in an elementary school and what life is like for him.  Good book.
39. Clementine - Another book I was considering as a book to read to my kids as a read aloud.
40. A Street Through Time - This is a quick fun book about one place and it's progression from pre-civilization all the way to current time.  It was interesting to see the picture and the changes that were made each page through time.
41. The Diamond of Darkhold - The last book of the City of Ember series.  I really enjoyed this series.  The book was good, but the end could have been better.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

52. Read 10 of the top 100 novels

1) Alice in Wonderland - Wikipedia says that this book is one of the best examples of a "literary nonsense novel."  I would say that is true.  The entire time I read this book I wondered why it was such a classic.  Had I known from the beginning that it was nonsense it would have been a much easier read.  I don't even know the real plot of the story.  I'm going to watch one of the movies soon just to try to see someone else's interpretation of the story to try to make sense of it.
2) To Kill a Mockingbird -  This is a classic that I watched the movie for but never read.  Back in college I assumed that just watching the movie meant that I had read the book.  After being disappointed by how much was left out of the Harry Potter movies I realize how much better the books can be.  This was true for this book/movie as well.  It is always interesting to look into a historical fiction book and see how things used to be.  Although I think I would have fit in better being born a couple generations ago, I am glad I wasn't around when racial issues were as they were back in the first half of the 1900s.

3) The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe - I remember hearing my second grade teacher read this book to us, but I haven't picked up the book to read.  I have to say it is almost exactly the same as the BBC's version of the movie.

4) Winnie the Pooh - When I told my students I was reading this book they all laughed at me.  They thought it was a baby book.  It is a legit chapter book, but far from a novel.  It is just a book written about a typical week or month in the world of Winnie the Pooh.

5) A Christmas Carol - I knew the idea of the story as I have seen the adapted play a few times.  Most notably when my Dad performed it on my first date out with Melissa.  Very memorable indeed!  In reading about the historical significance of the book, it shares that it had a big impact on bringing back the importance of Christmas as a time of gathering for families.  I thought that was pretty interesting.  Back in the mid/late 1800s the idea of celebrating Christmas in Great Britain and the US was dwindling quite a bit and the popularity of the book helped to get the bah humbugs out of many to begin celebrating the holiday again.

6) Little Women - I started this book in November and finished it in February.  It is a good story, just really, really long.  Now to watch the movie.  I actually read this book because Melissa often talked about how much she loved the story.  The sad part is that when I finished I found out that she had never read the book, and that she had only seen the movie.  She's got some reading to do!

7) The Jungle Book -I made it about a third of the way into the book and realized that the book wasn't just about Mowgli living in the jungle with Baloo and Bagheera.  There are six different stories about animals out in the wild and adventures of things that happen to them.  I was actually a little sad that the book wasn't only about the Disney version of the Jungle Book.  That was a great story!  Mowgli goes up against Shere Khan.  Only one can stay in the jungle and the other must die.  That's great stuff!  I did pick the movie up from the library to watch with the kids.  The movie stinks!  Aside from the song, "Bear Necessities," there isn't anything too memorable or exciting.  Shere Khan isn't even a major part of the movie.  I was disappointed to say the least.

8) Oliver Twist

Thursday, June 30, 2011

66. Watch 10 of the top 100 movies

1) Casablanca - This movie is about what you would expect out of a movie produced in the early 1940s.  The American Film Industry had a list of the 100 most quoted lines from movies and 6 of them were from this movie:
 "Here's looking at you, kid."  "Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship." "Play it, Sam. Play 'As Time Goes By.'" "Round up the usual suspects."  "We'll always have Paris."  "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."
 Some of these I was familiar with, others not as much.
2) Monty Python and the Holy Grail - Stupid movie with next to no plot.  I think I wasn't in the right mind to really give this movie a chance, but the humor was no good.
3) 12 Angry Men - This was a fantastic movie.  It was filmed in 1957 and is filmed in only three different rooms.  This requires the movie to be based solely on dialogue and plot and it was done very well.  I was interested the whole time to see how it turned out.  The idea of the movie is that there is a jury that sees a court case as an easy guilty verdict, but one juror slowly convinces jurors that it isn't as easy of a case as they had originally suspected.  Good movie.
4) Momento - Psycho movie.  I can see how it is viewed as a good movie due to it's interesting writing but it isn't my type of movie.  Lots to think through as you watch it to see how the progression goes through in the main character's life as he handles a disease where he has no short term memory.
5) Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - I still don't get the movie.  Minds get erased but it is strange throughout.
6) Reservoir Dogs -  I vaguely remember watching this movie only because I remember the character's names were all colors. The storyline is decent and interesting.
7)Wall-E - We watched this as a family. I would say half of the movie doesn't have dialogue but instead relies on you to follow emotions. I really enjoyed the story.  Great movie.
8) Apocalypse Now- Movies about the Vietnam War interest me. What a horrible time that must have been. Lots of actors in this one that I am more familiar with them being older.  Good movie.
9) One Flew Over the Coocoo's Nest - I really enjoyed this movie.  One time is probably enough for watching it, but I thought it was good.  The last 15 minutes have sad moments, but they add a lot to the story.
10) Modern Times - I started watching this movie with my mom a few months back. Then I forgot all about it until much later. It was really funny! I plan on watching a few more movies with Charlie Chaplin in them. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

79. Visit 10 stores/buildings in downtown Aurora

I put this goal down so I would force myself to explore some of the buildings in the downtown area.  I go through there a lot and figured if I added this goal in that I would try to explore more places that I wouldn't normally go to.
1) I visited the City Hall building for the second time this summer.  The first time I went was in May to go to a City Council meeting.  When I went for that I went straight upstairs into the meeting room and didn't go anywhere else.  I had the "pleasure" of stopping by there again to pay a parking ticket that I received.  After paying the ticket I decided to snoop around.  There is nothing special in there.  The first floor is made up of offices and little else.  The second floor is made up of the city council meeting room and other places that I was not able to access.
2) Ballyboyles - We went here for my birthday. I had heard lots of good things about this place.  I was pleased.
3) Waubonsee Community College - Waubonsee built a new campus downtown.  It is a pretty big building for downtown.  They spent a couple of years building it so I was excited to go explore it after it opened.  Sadly, after you go inside, it looks like any other college building.  Lots of classrooms with tables and chairs.    While I was there I checked out the library.  I was interested to see that there is as much room dedicated to computers as there was for books. At least now I know what is in there.
4) Leland Tower
5) Schorr Glass - They are really quick and really nice in this place.  Living in an old home I have had to use them plenty of times to get new panes of glass.

Places that I go to that don't count:
Library - I go to our library at least twice a month.
Bank - I know what it is like in there.