20. Angel of the Underground — David Andreas
week sixteen — 62.7
To date: 703 KM
I judged a book by its cover but I felt like reading some fluff and the cover caught my eye, appealing to some of my more crepuscular inclinations. I don’t read much horror. Come to think of it, the last horror novel I read was Robert Bloch’s Psycho a quarter century or so ago. So I’m not the best judge of the genre, but after a look at the reviews on Goodreads it almost seems like Andreas is a shoo-in for the PEN/Hemingway Award. Except that it’s a novella and not really a novel so it doesn’t technically qualify. (Not that that novel/novella caveat really matters…isn’t that right Ian.) The Goodreads rating system raises an issue that I think about a lot when it comes to just about any ratings aggregate drawn from the general public. Maybe the 17 people that gave Angel of the Underground an average GR rating of 4.24/5 tend to really enjoy mediocre books with first-person female leads written with all the insight that comes with being a 30-something white dude. Only slightly unrelated, I was trying to find a decent place to stay in Palm Springs and kept happening upon 2-star lodging with glowing reviews from people that I assume were used to dorm-style hosteling. “Like, no bedbugs dude! Five stars!” Reviews are only as good as the people doing the reviewing. Duh. Which is also why I’ve never given stars on Goodreads. I do sometimes say something/one is worth reading on here, though, but I figure the three of you that keep coming back here maybe share my reading preferences and proclivities. But who knows? All that to say this book was okay and served its purpose, which was to be a fluffy break from reading other stuff. And I read the whole thing, which I can’t say for some “important” books (I’m looking at you, Tolstoy). So there’s that.
And so week sixteen was another week of Garmin fails, with two in a row first on Tuesday evening and then again on Wednesday afternoon. Then on Friday my new Garmin Forerunner 235 arrived and I took it out for a test run on Saturday and guess what? It was a a bit of a mess. I knew something was up when I neared home and then had to take a few detours to get the watch up to 21.1 KM on the 23 KM route. When I checked the data there’s a GPS glitch that shows me taking a couple kilometre detour from my run to take a swim in English Bay and I’m starting to take it personally. This with both GPS and GLONASS on. This morning, I tried again, resisting the temptation to run the Strava app on my iPhone in parallel. But I also switched the tracking from Smart to Seconds, and ended up with much better results, although not without some discrepancies. I tried a somewhat analogue calibration exercise, so take it as you will. As I entered Stanley Park at the 0 KM plaque I checked my watch and it read 4.69 KM, then I checked every 2 KM plaque until the 8 KM marker at Second Beach Pool.
Park Markers / Garmin 235:
0 KM / 4.69 KM
2 KM / 6.68 KM
4 KM / 8.66 KM
6 KM / 10.64 KM
8 KM / 12.61 KM
So by my purely anecdotal exercise my new 235’s GPS is off by between 10 and 20 metres per kilometre. And I can live with that, I guess. I’m not sure that I can hope for any better, but I’m sure glad I didn’t opt to splurge on the 735XT or a Fēnix 5. Anyway, I have a gently used Garmin Vivosmart HR+ for sale. Cheap.
16. Steal It Back — Sandra Simonds
17. Further Problems with Pleasure — Sandra Simonds
18. Ariel — Sylvia Plath
19. My Ariel — Sina Queyras
week fifteen — 66.0
To date: 630 KM
It’s National Poetry Month. Why April, you may ask? I did. Seems it was started when in 1996 some members of the Academy of American Poets gave away copies of T.S. Eliot’s The Waste Land outside of a New York post office. Canada NPMed two years later, making this the 20th annual celebration of April cruelty. I’ve celebrated by reading less poetry than I have since I started keeping track of my annual failure to read 95 Books in one year. I’ve followed Sandra Simonds on social media for a while. The other day she suggested to me on Goodreads that I might like her new collection Orlando and I thought that maybe I should read some of her already published stuff so I picked up Steal it Back and Further Problems with Pleasure, both of which, I should add, come with five-star reviews on Goodreads from Simonds herself. Who am I to argue? As it happens, I like both very much. Last fall one of my favourite people I’ve never actually met Sina Queyras AKA Lemon Hound released My Ariel, which Coach House described as “a poem-by-poem engagement with Sylvia Plath’s Ariel” so I decided that I should revisit Plath (whom I haven’t read since undergrad a lifetime ago) and also decided (since no one could have possibly thought of this before me) that I would read Plath and then the corresponding Queyras, which lasted all of three poems since Coach House are liars. Not to take anything away from Queyras; these poems are pretty great. These aren’t happy poems, but neither are the referral materials.
Don’t call it a resolution but this year I wanted to at least try to once in a while be a bit social and over a quarter into 2018 I haven’t done a very well so I decided this week that I would join the Vancouver Running Co. Thursday night Flight Crew run which sets out at a very reasonable 6:15 p.m. from 1886 West 1st Avenue (which is a very reasonable 2.5 KM jog from my place), for a very reasonable 10 KM weekday evening run. Except that I got Translinked on Thursday and didn’t get home until 6:10 so I missed out. Except that I should have remembered from the two or three other times that I’ve ever joined a social run that social runs never start when they say that they are going to, as Strava let me know later Thursday evening that the Flight Crew took off closer to 6:30. So maybe next week. This week’s long run I did some reconnaissance on the second half of the BMO half and finished feeling very confident that I will new or near my PR on May 6. Less encouraging is that Garmin dropped for the second time in as many weeks. I believe in second chances, which is why I believe it may be time for a replacement.
57. Yellow Dog — Martin Amis
week forty eight — 42.67
week forty nine — 38.98
to date — 1,933.8
Seems that a lot of people did not like this book and then it went on to get long-listed for the Man Booker so what. I’m an Amis fan, though it’s been a long, slow slog through his library. And I still like his memoir Experience the best. Maybe I should reread that. You know, since I’ve nothing to read or anything. In spite of the warmth from the roaring flames of the CanLit Dumpster Fire 2016 I decided to go to the Real Vancouver Writers Series year end party and as usual bought a bunch of raffle tickets and expected to not win anything as I’ve been going to RVWS events for years and always buy raffle tickets and never win anything but this time I won (Sad Mag subscription) and then I won again (a pair of very hipster, ahem, artisan ceramic cups) and then I won top bid on the Chuck Tingle t-shirt for his Hugo Award nomination, which if you don’t know the back story then read it and hilarious.
I bought myself Christmas presents and Christmas came early in the form of a new Garmin Vivosmart HR+ and a couple pairs of Adidas Adizero Boston 6 runners and everything is better. I’m still getting used to the Garmin interface and the iPhone app, but I’m already much happier with its distance and tracking accuracy. New shoes are really great. After logging 1,145 km (oops…) on my Nike Air Pegasus 33s it was time for something new. To say the least. The Boston 6s are lighter and fit my narrow feet better than the Nikes. So far, no complaints. Which is weird for me. I complain about everything. I’m a marathon and a half or so away from my goal of 2,000 km for 2016 and with three weeks to go to cover 67 km I think I’m going to make it, barring illness or injury and I better not have just jinxed it.