19. The Motorcyclist — George Elliot Clarke
this week — 28.65
to date — 265.63
So I slowed down on the reading this past week and I cannot quite put my finger onto why that happened but it did and George Elliot Clarke is an extremely accomplished poet and the current Parliamentary Poet Laureate and this is his first novel and you’d expect it to be beautifully written and it is. Unlike that sentence. I like it when poets write novels. Still one of my favourite books is by the American poet Nick Flynn, and it has arguably one of the best titles of a novel ever: Another Bullshit Night in Suck City. Sometimes I’m a sucker for nostalgia, and reading Clarke’s book brought memories of one of my favourite courses in my undergraduate career — an English lit elective on motorcycles and speed in literature (think Pirsig, Guevara, etc.) peppered with contemporary philosophy via the likes of Donna Haraway and Paul Virilio. This book would have fit in nicely. (So too would have The Flamethrowers for that matter.)
Part of why I ran so little this week is just because of how the days fell and that I infrequently run two days in a row (since the “incident” in January) and partly because I’m getting sick and I don’t want to get sicker. Anyway, it’s March now and since I don’t have a whole lot to write about running this week I’m looking back on my sober February. I’m generally careful to not make the correlation=causation mistake. But Fitbit has given me some interesting data to consider. I’ve read and heard that one sleeps better sans alcohol. Well, for me at least, if Fitbit is to be trusted, is not the case. I saw no change whatsoever in my sleep patterns, in fact I found it more difficult to fall asleep at night. I did notice a change in the mornings, in that I didn’t wake up feeling like absolute garbage and spending the first few hours in a fog or grossness. But I didn’t feel “great” and “rested” and “alert” and whatever else I was “supposed to” feel. But not feeling like garbage was pretty great. The two biggest changes were in my weight and heart rate. My resting heart rate fell 14 points from the beginning of February to March, and I lost nearly eight pounds. Now I’m left wondering if pull-ups have gotten easier merely because I weigh less.
9. A Sport and a Pastime — James Salter
10. Poetryworld — Louis Cabri
this week — 28.61
to date — 120.64
A sport? I must have missed something. I kind of get the pastime part. Maybe there’s some baseball metaphor at work that I completely missed. Sounds like a job for George Bowering…. Anyway, I thought this book was alright although I found the narrator rather curious. He’s a character in the story, obviously, but he’s rather shady it seems. Not trustworthy to say the least. But strangest is that he seems to be around directly observing an awful lot of the arc of Dean and Anne-Marie’s relationship. Impossibly so. It reminds me of when people claim the Bible stories of Jesus are definitely all totally true because they’re from eye-witness accounts, including events that happen without anyone around to eye-witness them. He sweat blood? Really? You watched him and Satan hang out in the desert? Sure you did. Seriously, the amount of time that narratorwhatshisname spends watching Dean and Anne-Marie have sex…there’s a lot of sex. With an audience. Wait, am I also the audience? So, anyway, Poetryworld, another from the CUE Books archives that I’ve failed until now to read. And I should have gotten to it sooner because I loved Posh Lust and Louis Cabri is one of the best people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting. Poetryworld hurts my head, like a long series of tongue-twisters for my brain. I enjoyed this collection a lot. Worth picking up a copy, and I know where you can get one.
My physiotherapist suggested that I try the Strava app to go with my Fitbit so I did a few runs and I’m confused. The thing on my wrist tracks what I’m doing and then it syncs with the Fitbit dashboard and Strava syncs with the Fitbit dashboard and the two take the same data and come up with remarkably different results. The distances are often close, but you’d think they’d be exactly the same, no? The times and splits, close. The calories burned, well, not close at all. And that’s fine because I assume that they’re both just guessing, really. But the information going into both apps is the same information from the same source. The only thing that I can think of is that the Fitbit dashboard is lying to Strava, but that doesn’t make much sense because Strava tends to be a bit more generous on the time tracking. And waaay more generous on the calories burned. I used to pay more attention to that caloric burn, because I would think that if nothing else I’d earned enough metabolical reserve for that post-gin-and-tonic bottle of wine. Doesn’t matter much, what with currently doing–and killing at, I might add–sober February. But if I start doing hot yoga, someone just put me out of my misery.
Fifteen Dogs — Andre Alexis
Clean Sails — Gustave Morin
Kilometres to date: 36.84
I didn’t like Fifteen Dogs because it made me miss my dogs but otherwise it was a pretty great novel. I guess the fact that it won the Giller trumps whatever I might have to say about it, whether positive or critical. The nice thing about it winning the Giller is that I found a copy at Costco for $9.95. I think it was the fourth or fifth printing, but whatever. Clean Sails was really great. I really like concrete poetry and I really enjoyed Morin’s autobiographical essay at the end of the book. If you’re wondering if I think that a book that is predominately a picture book is cheating the 95 Book challenge my response is that I’m willing to bet George W. Bush “read” many picture books.
In step one of my cyborgification I bought a Fitbit Surge off of Craigslist and I love it and it was one of the more pleasant Craigslist experiences that I’ve had. The guy seemed really suspicious that I was going to no-show on him and we swapped Claigslist selling horror stories. It’s brand new, factory sealed and saved my over $100 and then yesterday Fitbit announced the Blaze that is basically the Surge but with a colour screen and more features and much finer aesthetics for less money so that makes me just thrilled. Up until Surge I was tracking my running with the Walk Tracker Pro app (it was free from one of those Starbucks free-app-card thingies a while ago) with decent success but the accuracy wasn’t always great–like when it tells me that I ran a kilometre in under three minutes–and I really didn’t want to carry my phone any more. My left knee that I had bent the wrong way in a ju jitsu class a few years [lifetime] ago is starting to hurt more than usual which is a concern. I think I should stretch once in a while.