Archive for August, 2019

Some consequences of walking, part 2

August 31, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 31, 2019

Friday afternoon, I opened up a window of my Internet browser and did something I’ve been fortunate enough not to have to do much this year: I logged onto my health insurance company’s website. Because an exercise-induced rash had lingered for more than a week, I’d resolved to make an appointment with a dermatologist.

However, there was a glitch in the website. When I went to search for a health-care provider, “dermatology” wasn’t one of the specialties listed.

I was baffled. Had dermatology been subsumed by some other field, such as sports medicine? This seemed unlikely to me. I played with the options — could it possibly be listed under primary care or behavioral health? — and scanned the drop-down lists, but dermatology continued to elude me.

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Some consequences of walking, part 1

August 30, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 30, 2019

Author’s note: This post concerns a very mild health situation and may not be appropriate for younger or sensitive readers. MEM

My Aug. 23 walk had some lasting consequences.

I woke up the following morning with a rash high on the inside of my legs. Nevertheless, I was determined to get in some exercise, in part because I was hoping my Fitbit app would record more weekly steps than my Parental Unit — this in spite of having flushed away my Fitbit.

I can be a stubborn beast when the mood seizes me.

My upper thighs bothered me throughout my hike beside the Eno River; regardless, I proceeded. However, I knew that I’d have to have a look at the area once I got home. I think I may even have recognized that I was probably going to have to take a few days off from walking.

Little did I know…

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Some more walks: A short list, with pictures

August 29, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 29, 2019

Here are some walks that I took last week:

Tuesday, Aug. 21: I drove back to the same area of Duke Forest that I hiked on Aug. 5 and 6 and walked 5.04 miles in 1:20:16 for a pace of 15 minutes and 56 seconds per mile.

Wednesday, Aug. 22: From my house, I walked north on Broad Street to Stadium Drive, where I turned east and proceeded to Rock Quarry Park, which I’d never really visited before. After briefly wandering the field in the park’s northern area, I started wandering through a forested area that I’d never realized was there.

After proceeding south through the park to West Murray Avenue, I picked up the Ellerbee Creek Trail, which I followed south to Northgate Park. Upon reaching West Club Boulevard, I turned west and followed the road Northgate Mall. Then I turned north on Guess Road and headed home. This journey covered 5.16 miles in 1:18:09 (15:08 pace).

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A German officer and patriot recalls his service — loyal and otherwise — in the World War II memoir ‘Valkyrie’

August 27, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 27, 2019

Philipp Freiherr von Boeselager, born in 1917, was the fourth of eight children of a prominent and monied German Roman Catholic family. He served as a cavalry officer during World War II and was part of an Army cabal that unsuccessfully attempted at least twice to assassinate Adolf Hitler, the Nazi dictator. Boeselager died on May 1, 2008, almost eight months before the release of a Tom Cruise movie about the conspiracy, Valkyrie.

Nearly a year to the day after the former cavalryman’s death, his wartime memoir, also titled Valkyrie, was published in English. The book is subtitled “The Story of the Plot to Kill Hitler, by Its Last Member,” but this turns out to be somewhat misleading: Ewald-Heinrich von Kleist passed away in 2013 at age 90. (In fairness to the publishers, I found at least two Boeselager obituaries calling him the last or “almost certainly the last” surviving plotter.)

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Fitbit, disconnected: A short(ish) tale of woe

August 23, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 23, 2019

As mentioned in my previous post, I removed the wristbands from my latest secondhand Fitbit before reattaching one wristband. I normally kept the device, a Charge 2, in my pocket to count my steps throughout the course of the day.

My typical sleep outfit has no pockets; however, I sometimes still move around when I’m dressed for bed. In order to capture my steps during these evening (and occasionally morning) periods, I stuck the wristband in my waistband.

It was initially quite difficult to take off the Charge’s wristbands. Afterward, however, they slid on and off all too easily. The device itself frequently separated from the wristband in my pocket. That was only a minor problem.

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A few notes about secondhand fitness trackers and the activity they’ve inspired

August 22, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 22, 2019

Here is some information about the two Fitbits that I’ve owned.

Both of my devices were hand-me-downs from my Parental Unit. The first of these was a Flex, which I believe I began using in October 2015. In the following calendar year, 2016, I wrote a number of different posts that revolved around walking and using this device. Sadly, the gadget went kaput either because it got rained on and/or I inundated it with sweat. As best I can tell, this happened toward the end of August 2017.

Sometime this year, I think, my parent gave me what I believe was a Charge 2 after P.U. once again picked up a newer Fitbit. It sat unused for several months before I picked it up about a month ago.

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Poker postseason recap, summer 2019

August 11, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 11, 2019

The six-month-long World Tavern Poker season will conclude this evening. Thus far I’ve collected one prize — or make that two prizes, a plaque-and-medallion two-in-one combination — thanks to my taking the season points championship at the venue where I serve as tournament director on Sunday nights. It’s only my second-ever season-points title.

On Wednesday, July 31, I finished second in a tavern championship, one of two sorts of postseason tournaments that World Tavern hosts.

There were two key hands at the final table. In one, Janet, the player to my right, pushed all in for, say, a quartet of 5,000 chips at a time when I had around eight such chips in hand. I had king-10 unsuited in the small blind. Did I want to risk a major chunk of my stack on a pair of hole cards that were, at best, moderately strong? I discarded my hand.

Janet ended up winning the main pot with KQ, which would have beaten my KT, while D—, sitting immediately to my left, collected a modest side pot with a hand that was inferior to mine. I later kicked myself because, without knowing it, I’d passed up an opportunity to eliminate D—.

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Some good walks: A list, with pictures (and a pair of videos to boot!)

August 10, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 10, 2019

Recently I’ve been very active on the walking front. A quick recap: 

Tuesday, July 30: I hiked 3.44 miles in 1:26:25 (25:09 per mile) at Occoneechee Mountain State Natural Area, which is located a little southwest of Hillsborough, N.C. This was my second-ever visit to the park; I went around five years ago as a volunteer on some kind of work party. As I recall, we stayed around the fishing ponds near the park entrance and never approached any of the forested areas. My pace was extremely slow because I’m not used to sustained inclines of any sort. I also paused at the highest point I reached to take this short video:

• Thursday, Aug. 1: I hiked 4.1 miles in 1:05:28 (15:59 pace) on the American Tobacco Trail from a little north of mile 8, where Durham’s Streets of Southpoint shopping mall is located, to probably around the 9.75 mile marker, a little past Crooked Creek. I’ve hiked the ATT before, but always on stretches further to the south, in Chatham and Wake counties. 

• Saturday, Aug. 3: I hiked 3.2 miles in 52:18 (16:22 pace) on the section of Bolin Creek Trail between Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard and East Franklin Street in Chapel Hill. I’ve traveled this trail before, both on foot and on bicycle, but it was my first journey along this track in probably at least five years. 

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Cheeps and Chirps for Aug. 8, 2019: Not-quite-as-political edition

August 8, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 8, 2019

More of my microblogging

• Miscellany

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Cheeps and Chirps for Aug. 8, 2019: Political edition

August 8, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 8, 2019

I guess it’s time for another dive into my stream of consciousness.

• Politics ’n’ stuff

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Iain Banks considers the morality of force in his third Culture novel, ‘Use of Weapons’

August 3, 2019

By Matthew E. Milliken
MEMwrites.wordpress.com
Aug. 3, 2019

Iain Banks’s 1990 novel, Use of Weapons, is the third entry in his Culture series, which revolves around an immensely advanced human civilization that dominates the galaxy in the far future. Superficially, the subject matter here has more in common with the series’ initial volume, Consider Phlebas, which followed the exploits of Horza, a mercenary fighting on behalf of the Culture’s enemies.

The protagonist this time around is one Cheradenine Zakalwe. Like Horza, the main character of Use of Weapons is a mercenary born into a society outside the Culture. However, Zakalwe generally fights on behalf of the Culture, even if he doesn‘t always understand or agree with its aims.

The book’s core has an interesting structure. Chapters numbered 1 through 14 relate what I think of as the main narrative, detailing Zakalwe’s most recent exploits; they alternate with chapters, counting down from XIII through I, which chronicle earlier parts of Zakalwe’s life. This is sandwiched between several short items: at the front, a song and a prologue; at the end, an epilogue, a poem and a separate epilogue that I initially skipped because I mistook it to be an excerpt from a separate Banks novel. (This last section’s title, “States of War: Prologue,” was not helpful.)

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