Jeopardy report!

Watch Hilary on Jeopardy Part 1
Watch Hilary on Jeopardy Part 2

I’d aged out of the contestant pool in November, 18 months after my audition. I figured I’d take the online test again at the end of January and hope for another chance at auditioning. But on 1/8/2010, Jonathan handed me the phone saying, “It’s Glen from Jeopardy.” He started by that checking all my information was the same, giving me a chance to think, “is he calling for the reason I hope he’s calling? Is this The Call“? Finally he said “Can you be here for taping on February 2nd and 3rd?” I told him I was thrilled and excited, of course, but it wasn’t until I hung up that Jonathan and I started screaming, laughing, and dancing around the living room!

Continue reading “Jeopardy report!”

Moved to WordPress

Because Blogger is dropping FTP support as of May 1st, I’ve finally been motivated to switch all my blogs to WordPress.  I’m using the great Virtual Multiblog, which seems to work perfectly; I’d be done except that the Blogger2Wordpress converter is having a buffer problem right now, and this is the only blog I’ve managed to send over so far.

Then I get to start messing around with themes!

Weekly run

Trying to get back into the writing (of any kind) habit!

Another incredible day, 60+ and sunny. My indoor/outdoor thermometer is currently at 99.9, but clearly there’s a problem there… I heard a raven off to the west and wished I could take off after it. The black lab with the purple collar who lives along my route and is usually on a chain came with me for about half a mile. He is quite well-behaved–doesn’t bark, jumps up but doesn’t make contact–and his joy in tearing past me is infectious. He’s lanky with a big head, which according to our friends Alex and Rani means he’s of the field type rather than the show type. I met up with my running mate Kris, who worried about the dog getting too far away from home, but I predicted that he would come as far as the timid border collie and then stay with her or go home. That’s exactly what happened. We both alternated running and walking, but my brief interval run on Thursday seems to have helped me do a little better than last week.

Wyoming Valley Striders Summer 10K

I’ve now completed the Wyoming Valley Striders Triple Crown and have a cool (if large) Frank Shorter shirt to show for it. The 10K was in Kirby Park again (like the Cherry Blossom run, which I didn’t blog but in which I placed for the first time EVER because there were only 3 women in the 40-44 age category!) This time we got to run over the bridge into downtown Wilkes Barre and along the new river walk, which is gorgeous.

The race was at 9am. I got there around 8:30, a little later than I had planned because I always underestimate the length of the drive, bearing copies of the two checks that had been cashed for the Cherry Blossom (there was a mix-up and I had to pay again at the last minute). An envelope was already made out for me, marked “FREE,” so no hassle at all. I got a nice denim blue WVS hat in addition to the shirt (technical fabric, not yet another cotton T-shirt I wouldn’t wear.) The race start was on top of the dike, and before the start I walked down to the swampy natural area between the dike and the river. There was a forest of yellow jewelweed, many plants a good 8 feet high, with a little path into the heart of it so I could walk in (stems crunching under my feet). Very cool to see them towering over me.

I was quickly at the back of the pack, near a guy I recognized from the Cherry Blossom. Not a lot of training going on this summer, but I have been doing Tabata intervals regularly so I was curious to see how I did. Two related problems: it was very humid (although overcast, thank goodness), which normally slows me down, and I ended up taking advantage of two water stops, which also increased my time. I should have been more careful about my fluids and especially electrolytes (they only had plain water at the stops, which didn’t help). My final time was just under 1:10–not great but not terrible.

The course was very complicated, with a total of 5 separate loops that kept crossing each other. At least it was varied. Instead of seeing the fastest people coming back, I got passed by just the leader (he was so fast and I was so slow that we intersected). It was amazing–he passed me like I was standing still. It felt like seeing the RoadRunner go by, except that he was so smooth and quiet that I didn’t hear him come up or even go past–a barely-noticeable breeze and then he was speeding ahead of me, short blond hair flying out behind his head and green dots on the base of his shoes bobbing up practically to his waist. It’s thrilling to watch the people who run like the wind, effortlessly.

The coolest part of the race was crossing the beautiful Market St. Bridge and running along the new RiverCommon. It’s gorgeously landscaped, with wildflower banks on the river side. I just attended a fascinating presentation on wildflower meadows yesterday (with expert Larry Weaner, who was brilliant and down-to-earth), so I was excited to see them and notice the black-eyed susans which will be gone next season, as I learned.

Post-race I spoke again to Dr. Armillei of Active Performance Chiropractic. He told me why he’s not covered by our insurance (applied twice and was rejected because they have “enough specialists”), but his rates are reasonable and I might just go there on my own ticket. It’s far away so needs planning, but I do think it might help me.

Plus yummy oranges, potato chips, and “the best whole-wheat pizza in NE PA” according to the race director. It was delicious.

IE7 recent fixes

Man, do I hate IE! For my own future reference:

Floated images are cut off when next to text with italic tags (related to guillotine bug?): assign hasLayout by adding zoom:1 to a containing element.

Absolutely-postioned elements inside a relatively-postioned div inside a margin:auto layout pops to the left: wrap the problem element with something absolutely positioned.

And thank you,!

Winter’s End 4.5 miler

I ran the first event of the Wyoming Valley Striders‘ Triple Crown yesterday–the Winter’s End 4.5 mile run, on the Penn State Lehman campus. It was a wonderful event. First of all, registration is in the heated and comfortable student center, with REAL bathrooms (whoo-hoo!) Second, advance fee was only $8. Third, you get a hat or gloves instead of yet another useless cotton T. (If I run all 3 races in the Triple Crown, I get a Frank Shorter performance shirt–now you’re talking). I got a nice knitted red hat with the event embroidered on it. Fourth, the setting is absolutely gorgeous. It’s a lovely campus, surrounded by barns, fields, and beautiful big houses. The course is rolling and varied, part on asphalt and part on dirt road, with essentially no traffic at all. There are wetlands, gorgeous old trees, and a lovely pond. Bucolic! And fifth, free massage afterwards–more on that later.

I had a good run in terms of competing with myself. My low-bar goal was not to be dead last, and my personal goal was to beat 50 minutes. I did! The clock was at 49:17 when I crossed the finish line. When they posted the results, I showed up at 47:24 and was thrilled–but I think they skipped someone and put me in the wrong place. In terms of competing with others… every time I’m in a race I’m confronted with being the SLOWEST fit person possible. Not that I can’t get fitter, and losing 10 pounds would help, but I’m in way way better shape than the few people I manage to beat. Only 3 people came in behind me. And I run good races–I don’t go out too fast, I expend my energy evenly, I really pour it out at the end and don’t leave anything on the road, my form is decent, I have fun with it. I’m just as slow as molasses in January, as a turtle just out of hibernation, as a snail in the sun… whatever you can compare it to, I am SLOW slow s l o w… But who cares!

So after the race, Active Performance Chiropractic was doing free massages. I told Dr. Armillei that I didn’t have any particular complaints but I am inflexible and hate stretching. He asked me to try to touch my toes and I showed him how far from the ground I end up, with pain up and down the back of my legs. He had me lie on one side and then the other, while he jabbed his thumb into the side of my upper thigh. Meanwhile, he had me stretch my leg out and down (the technique is called Active Release). It hurt quite a bit while he was doing it, but it didn’t linger. After just a few minutes of that, he had me stand up and try again, and I gained probably 4 inches of stretch, just like that! He explained that my sciatic nerve is entraped by the piriformis muscle and stretching doesn’t help when that happens–I need to massage and release the nerve, then I’ll be able to stretch. I was very, very impressed!

Stubborn craziness: centering an image horizontally and vertically with CSS in IE7

So, I’ve been telling everyone how learning CSS is totally worth it and not as hard as it seems. But today I spent probably 2 hours trying to get one simple image vertically aligned without using a table. I should have just put in a table, but I’m crazy stubborn. I guess it was educational… The breakthrough was finding this site for vertical centering, but then I had a hard time making it center horizontally too. You can see the ultimate solution at Jonathan’s new website (just a forwarder right now, so the code is simple), but here it is for anyone searching. There are a zillion solutions out there, which SEEM to be collected at SuzyUK’s thread, but I couldn’t get any of those to work for me. I fully admit my approach to CSS still has a lot of superstition!

Style sheet:

body {
    background-color: #000000;
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;    
#outer {
     top: 0;
     left: 0;
     width: 100%;
     height: 100%;
     position: fixed;
     display: table;    
#middle {
    display: table-cell;
    height: 540px;
    vertical-align: middle;
    text-align: center;
img {    
    border: 0;        
    margin: 1em auto;    

<!--[if IE]>
<mce:style type="text/css">
#middle {
        position: absolute;
        top: 50%;
        left: 50%;
        height: auto
#inner     {
        position: relative;
        top: -50%;
        left: -50%;

and the code:

<div id="outer">
<div id="middle"> 
<div id="inner">
 <a href=""> 
<img title="Click to enter" src="JCEcom.jpg" alt="Jonathan Caws-Elwitt, humorist and playwright" width="720" height="540" /> 

5-mile run – a thousand points of light

Timing myself–how quickly can I write a run-report post? Great run–just around freezing, a few days after an ice storm, so all the twigs and shrubs were still coated. I “shook the hands” of a few trees bending over the road, hoping the ice would cascade off, but that’s going to be later in the day. Mostly cloudy but with some cobalt blue peeking through, plus lovely pastel blue with a little purple at the edges of the sky in the distance. At times the sun shone through, sparkling in the rounded ice drops–not like diamonds, even though that’s the image my brain reached for first, but dots of white light. Met two people walking a gorgeous collie–Ernie, I think they said his name was; first week in a month I didn’t see a raven, but did flush a grouse; doves, crows, and lots of tracks in the snow. Focusing on peace of mind, my primary goal for my 45th year. Thank goodness for my Stabilicers, or I couldn’t run at all on a day like this.

Goal 60 follow-up

We finally got the Carl Kasell CD for our outgoing message (about a month ago, I am behind in posting this). Jonathan had to tweak it in order to get it on our voicemail (since it’s phone-based, it had to play loud enough to record well through a handset)–thank you, J, for the tweakage and writing the script, and thank you, Emily Ecton (Wait Wait Don’t Tell Me producer who was my contact), and most of all, thank you, Carl! Script by J. MP3 here (a lot easier than calling us when we’re on vacation!) And here‘s the link to the segment of the show I was on (it’s in my 101 Goals list but hard to find). Other samples of Carl’s messages are on the NPR site here. I encourage anyone who wants to be on Wait Wait to email them at waitwait AT with a couple of interesting/funny things about yourself. Go for it! It’s fun!