Thursday, October 7, 2010

Almost Aloha

I survived my days flying solo at home. Actually, it flew by. (Two sentences, 2 travelling puns! Yes!)

By the time I dropped Beth off, took the dog to my parents, had a cross country meet, set up my lesson plans, it was time for me to get to the airport and go.

This travelling from the east coast to Hawaii sure takes a while. My route took me from Pittsburgh to Chicago to Seattle, sleep, to Kona the next day. And, this was no mindless last-minute thrown together itinerary, either.

This route was the result of a very complex linear programming algorithm worthy of my IE 405 class at Penn State that I started working on the day Beth qualified back at Eagleman. Here were some of the constraints that came into play to get me out there:

*Minimize cost
*Minimize travel time
*Maximize time in Hawaii
*Days of school missed <=4
*Departure time > end of school day
*Return date <>

....and probably a couple of other constraints I can't think of off the top of my head since it's 1:46 am eastern (but I figured writing a blog would force me to stay up later, acclimating me more to Hawaii time).

I utilized all the travel sites. I looked at one-way and round trip. I looked at multi-day, multiple-airline options. I looked at layovers between Pittsburgh and Kona at (from North to South, then East) Seattle, Portland, San Jose, San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Denver, Dallas,....I think that was it. And, this is what I came up with.

On to the as I'm exiting my plane in Chicago and heading towards the central food court area, I see a familiar face in the airport....although he was on the wall:

Yep. One of the teachers I work with did a Make-a-Wish event a few years ago and there he is on a billboard inside the airport. I've seen this ad in a Pittsburgh magazine before, but he's going big-time now! The Chicago airport!

Speaking of people in magazines, guess who was part of the Mark Allen Online ad in the most recent triathlon magazine?

That's right. I know famous people (ha, ha)....and I'm sure I'll see some big time famous people when I get out to the island for the race.

One other thing of note is that when I get on an airplane I turn into a bookworm. For some reason I can't ever sit myself down to read at any point during my daily/weekly routine. Actually I know the reason--too many things to do: school, practice, training, spending time with Beth, watching sports. However, you put me on a plane, and I'll read for hours (at least until I fall asleep).

I actually ended up bringing three books (two of which I had started on previous occasions but didn't get too far). I polished off one and am well on my way to finishing the second.

The one I finished was Brain Training for Runners by Matt Fitzgerald. I have to admit, it got a little fluffy at times and I rolled my eyes. However, there was a lot of good stuff in there about pain threshold, preventing injuries, cross training, and body strengthening. In fact, I may use one of the suggested training plans for racing next spring. He did have some stuff in there I questioned about the whole running barefoot (or with those weird barefoot shoes) and hydration/nutrition during workouts. For those, he kept referencing back to what our ancient ancestors did when they were hunting down dinner on the African plains.

After wrapping up that book, I moved on to a book that I keep reading part of, but then it gets pushed to the back because I get another book I want to read more (like the Brain Training). It's called Wesley and the People Called Methodists. It's an interesting biography of John Wesley and how he started the Methodist faith. It's a little slow at times (thus putting it behind other books), but it's neat to read some of the quotes from his journal throughout the years. I just finished the portion where he left England to travel to the "colonies" across the Atlantic and started up churches in Savannah, Georgia. There was a map that was pretty neat to look at that had Hilton Head on it. Wesley was a very devoted man who was striving to always get closer to God with all of his daily activities--a very good role model.

And, if I get to it (I do have lots of hours still left to fly there and back) I also have "The Federalist Papers." I picked this up three or four years ago when there was a lot of presidential bashing. Much in the same way I did with my expansive investigative excel sheet looking at the state of the Pittsburgh Pirates, I thought it would be a good idea to read the "documents that shaped a nation" and see whether or not our leaders were sticking true to the goals of the founding fathers. Well, I never got around to it (see "time, lack of" from above), a new president is in, but I think the idea of seeking out the heart and intent of Hamilton, Madison, and Jay seems fascinating to me.

Oh yeah, I need to get some tests graded and analyze some student data from a standardized test they took.

So, off to bed in the Pacific Time Zone (beyond 2am in the east--I did snooze some on the flight) and onto the big island tomorrow to reunite with Beth, her parents, and grandfather. Looking forward to shooting lots of pictures and sharing lots of stories over the next few days!


Steve said...

Great Update. You are very thorough. I have the Federalist Papers too. I bought it used at the I.S.U. used bookstore. Like some of my other books, it hasn't been read.

One thing I think about these guys who started this nation. Many were slave owners.

They made a good constitution, but I think capitalism brings out the worst in people. Think Enron, and banks who have C.E.O.'s who make millions, when the only reason their companies are alive are from the imaginary money we lent them, that supposedly we the taxpayer have to pay for somehow. :)

Save the banks, but don't feed the poor or take care of the sick?? Or more importantly really make our nation great by making it easier to have higher and higher education available.

Money can make the priorities whack, and that would be something you would find in the good book. :)

Beth said...

I was wondering who that guy was in the ad. Saw the picture on FB and I'm thinking "oh man, I should probably know who this is but I don't!!" Can't wait until you get here! :)

Alili said...

From a former history student, Federalist Papers are a good read (content wise, not necessarily a 'fun' read!).

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