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I read a book, and this time it wasn't assigned!

Just finished reading a great book. After being in school for the last 7 years, I forgot what it was like to read for fun.

The Fabric of the Cosmos: Space. Time. And the Texture of Reality, is about theoretical physics, cosmology, and particle physics / string theory. The book gives a nice history of the people and the experiments leading to the current theories in physics and cosmology and then goes on to describe the physics of the super small (string theory) and the super large (cosmology) and the attempts to join the two (unification). Brian Greene uses analogies (often involving the Simpsons) to explain some of the scientific concepts which makes it much easier reading but still gets the meaning across. Overall, the book tries to convey that our perception of our "world" is really far from the way the physical world works.
Every chapter left me in awe at how truly amazing our universe is and with even more respect for those physicists who got us to the point where we are now in our understanding.


I said I wasn't going to, but I did

Well I went out and got an iPhone. When I first saw/heard about the iPhone, it really had no appeal to me. I have been an early adopter of mobile technology starting off with one of the original Palm devices in the late 90's, then I switched to the Pocket PC platform, and finally to Pocket PCs with integrated phones. Windows mobile has always had some quirks especially when adding on 3rd party programs for pharmaceutical information and just to make the device more useable overall. My current PPC/phone is a HTC Advantage x7500 which works better than any other device I have used. However, its one main downfall is that in order to use it as a phone you have to have a headset (and its a little big to carry around as a phone).
Then I got my hands on an iPhone. I couldn't believe how easy it was to use. The touch navigation worked great, had Google maps integrated, and is an iPod too. One reason I hardly use my iPod is because I don't like to carry more than 1 thing with me at a time. But one of the features I liked the most was that it has a full Safari browser - no more "mobile' versions of the internet.
Yeah, the price is high, but consider this, for what the HTC costs, I could nearly buy 2 iPhones. Also, I was paying $50/month just for unlimited data alone (through AT&T) and the iPhone monthly cost is $60/month for unlimited data and the phone service.
I sold my HTC on eBay and after 2 weeks, I'm glad I did. Granted the iPhone needs some improvements namely cut and paste ability, a search function for the calendar, and the ability to organize your contacts into groups (things PPC does natively) but I still find that I use the iPhone more on a day to day basis than previous mobile devices. The fact that I can use Safari to keep up with the news feeds and blogs that I read (with Newsgator for iPhone ) alone is great.


Lost shopping list - anti baby pills?

Today while working at the pharmacy, I found this shopping list on the floor just outside the pharmacy counter. Check out item # 7 ...


Neillsville, WI road run

Ran in Neillsville, WI today where we were for Anne's sister's wedding (yesterday). Started our from our hotel and ran out of town going North. At about mile 3 (nothing but farm on both sides) two dogs, a collie and some type of mut, came running up barking out of a ditch. I stopped for a minute, then started running again and both dogs followed me, running along the side of the road. They stayed with me for about 1.5 miles then stopped. I continued for another 1/2 mile or so then turned around. The dogs were still where I left them and they followed me back to where their starting point was. Round trip was about 10 miles.


Road Running - Merrillan, WI

the trip) and the weather is a little nicer further up North. Ran around town today and yesterday (4 and 7.3 miles) spending the rest of the time with Anne's family. The dam in town was dry while the lake bed behind it was being dredged out. See the dry vs. wet pictures of the falls to the right.


Lake Lorin and Ashburn x2 - 4th of July!

Ran around Lake Lorin and Ashburn twice today (just under 7 miles) before heading up to Wisconsin. It is so freaking humid here, not so much hot, but humid. I'd take desert heat running over this stuff any day!


Frank Lloyd Wright Studio - Oak Park, IL

We went to tour the Frank Lloyd Wright Studio in Oak Park, IL today. Tickets are $12/person and the tour take you into and through almost every room in his home a studio. The tour was great, we had an awesome guide who told us lots of interesting stories along the way. Although this home is not anywhere nearly a amazing as his Falling Water design (in Pennsylvania) which we toured last fall, it was neat to see where he developed alot of his ideas and style.


July 1st, 2nd, 3rd - Swallow Cliff trail running

Got out early (6:00 CA time) and drove to the Swallow Cliff Preserve parking lot at 119th and La Grange Rd. Started out heading West from the parking lot through the woods following the trail as it crossed 104th Ave and looped South, then East crossing back over 104th. The trail met the Swallow Cliff toboggan run parking lot and we headed North to climb the 126 stairs to the top. These stairs used to be made of chiseled limestone and had a neat unevenness about them, but now they have been refinished with smooth concrete which while probably safer kind of takes away some of the fun from running up them. The trail picks back up at the top heading back to the parking lot on 119th Street making for a loop just under 5 miles. It is a really nice run almost entirely covered by tree canopy (quite different from the desert running we are used to). Saw a few other runners and a couple deer along the way.


Lincoln Park Zoo

Drove downtown today and met Tim and Julie (my brother and his wife) at their loft, then we all went to Lincoln Park Zoo. Admission is free and the zoo just the right size to get around in a few hours. Probable the most interesting creature we saw was the one armed monkey (who lost his arm trying to get food from some idiot that threw it near the cage). It was really amazing how well he had adapted and was still cruising around the trees.


Lake Lorin and Ashburn run (Orland Hills, IL)

Got to Chicago and got out for a short run this morning around the neighborhood I grew up in. Headed down the street going around Lake Lorin's North side, then out across the plankway over the wetlands, and out to Lake Ashburn. Round trip 3.6 miles.


Mt. Rubidoux run

Ran Mt. Rubidoux today (and a few times previously this week. We are flying to Chicago today to visit family and for Anne's sister's wedding (in Wisconsin). Heading down to San Diego right now to catch our plane.


Topanga Canyon State Park 10k trail run

Ran at Topanga Canyon State Park (near Santa Monica, CA) today with Anne. Started off at the State Park parking lot ($6 day use fee with nice bathrooms in the lot) taking Eagle Rock fire road (steep) up 1.5 miles to the point where the fire road junctions with Musch trail. Staying to the left we continued up past Eagle Rock at 2 miles. Passing Eagle Rock, there are many cool volcanic rock formations and possibly marine fossils in the fire road. At mile 3, Eagle Rock fire road junctions with another fire road staying to the right we headed down to Musch trail at 4.4 miles. The remaining 2.2 miles along Musch trail is single track closely following a dry canyon stream bed with a few too many wooden steps for my liking. I'd give this trail a 4 (on 1-10) for running but a 7 for cool geologic features.


Mt. Rubidoux run and fire

Ran Mt. Rubidoux tonight and 3 nights ago. While running up on Wednesday, the park just across the street (Fairmont) just started burning and we had a great view of the fire from above as we came around the North side of the mountain. Luckily the wind was blowing North so we never caught any smoke.


Holcomb Valley Trail Run - 15 mile race - 9th place finish

Anne and I ran the Holcomb Valley Trail Run 15 mile race today. There were around 120 15 mile runners in the race which started on the North side of Big Bear Lake (elv. 6,800ft) and followed Cougar Crest trail up to meet the Pacific Crest trail at 7,600ft. Cougar Crest trail is one tough trail to go up - nearly half of the 3.5 mile single track trail has you hopping your way through technical sections of sharp, off canter rocks which are just waiting to trip you. On the way up I had a good couple of people running with me (Heather and Roger) who kept me motivated to keep going.
After getting onto the PCT for a short time, the trail meets 3N09 (jeep road) going downhill (mostly) to meet 3N16 and then onto 3N12 at about mile 6.5. At this junction was a picturesque open meadow with an old ranch and horses grazing (really nice to run by). From here, 3N12 climbs from 7,200ft to almost 8,000ft elevation meeting the PCT again with a little more elevation gain to hit the high point of the trail at 8,212ft. The PCT levels out here and it is mostly a easy run back to Cougar Crest trail (except for mile 11-11.75 which was uphill (~200ft gain) which really slowed me down.
Upon meeting Cougar Crest trail, the course was all downhill back to the finish (same as the start), but now the rocky trail was in reverse and you had much more momentum! At about mile 13 (the steepest switchback section), there were no other runners around me and as I came around a steep corner there was a guy and his dog standing in the middle of the trail. I had too much momentum to stop, and in trying to pass him on the right, the side of the trail gave way and I tumbled off the side of the trail into the bushes! I got away lucky with only a few scrapes to my knee and a dirt covered back. I kept going down the trail to cross the finish line at 2hr 15min and obviously looking like I ate shit along the way. It was actually pretty funny, because I clearly wasn't the only one since there were a few others who were covered in dirt too!
Overall it was a really good time and really nice people to run with.


Got up this morning and ran Sycamore Canyon again at 5:30a. It was still really cool and foggy. Saw quite a few coyote along the way. This is my last run of the week before the Holcomb Valley trail race on Sunday.


Sycamore Canyon trail run

Got home today and went for a run across the street at Sycamore Canyon with Anne. We started out at the Central Ave trail head and headed up (South) into the park. Saw a coyote along the way but not much other wildlife. Ran out to and along the Pepsi bottling plant then turned back taking a different route home to make a 5.5 mile loop. It was pretty warm today, around 90F when we started. Sycamore Canyon's trails are nice to run but there aren't many flat sections, its mostly up and down following the canyon.


Mt. Rubidoux x's 3

Ran Mt. Rubidoux (3.9 miles, 900 ft elevation gain) the last 3 nights. The second night I beat my PR (27 min 1 second) by 24 seconds then beat that by 20 seconds the next night for a 6:47min/mile. I'm finally feeling back in shape after being sick for those few weeks. I'm really looking forward to the Holcomb Valley trail race this coming Sunday.


Santa Rosa Plateau trail run

Ran at Santa Rosa Plateau today with Anne. Same course as the previous run but started a little too late for today's weather. It was a cloudless day and got hot early on in the run. Quite a few people out on the trail today. Strangely, we ran into to other sets of runners just as we approached the junction of Valley Rd trail and Vernal Pool trail( map here ) - one from the South, one from the West and us from the East. Usually I don't see anybody in the part of the park so it was kinda weird to all arrive at the same point at exactly the same time.


Torrey Pines trail running

In San Diego today so went for a run at Torrey Pines State Reserve. Its the first day of the holiday weekend so the trails were somewhat busy. Started from the top parking lot and ran Guy Flemming trail, Parry Grove trail, and Razor Point trail going back up via Broken Hill trail.


Santa Rosa Plateau trail run

Went to the Santa Rosa Plateau today to run the same course as the last few times. Didn't see much wildlife along the way but it was a nice, cool, foggy morning making for an enjoyable 11.5 mile run.