2018 week sixteen

Books Read:
20. Angel of the Underground — David Andreas

Kilometres Ran:
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.

okay start good start bad start

Books Read:
2. The Princess Diarist — Carrie Fisher
3. The Long Tomorrow — Leigh Brackett
4. Nutshell — Ian McEwan

Kilometres Ran:
week two — 58.1
week three — 50.9

To date: 175 km

So 2017 so far: okay start on the reading, good start on the running, bad start on the writing. I think that of all the celebrities that died in 2016 Carrie Fisher is the one that probably had the most effect on me. Bowie was big. So too were Prince and George Michael, but there’s just something about Carrie. One of my earliest memories is going to see The Empire Strikes Back with my [late] father (I was barely five years old) and us showing up late and coming into the theatre at the moment Leia and Han are arguing the the ice tunnel on Hoth. In university I dated a woman that was a Fisher fan, though I wonder if her fandom was more due to an episode (I have no idea how many…) of Sex and the City that featured Carrie playing Carrie being Carrie. I managed to find first editions of all of Fisher’s books (at that time) and gave them to her one by one. Regret isn’t the correct word because I don’t regret, but maybe I should have doubled up and collected copies for me. Alas. It’s strange how death seems to force us to appreciate life in retrospect. I’d not read anything of Fisher’s, though I was very curious about this book given the salacious attention to the Harrison affair. It still amazes me that it was kept a secret for so long. I had no idea that Brackett also wrote The Empire Strikes Back. Her book was on a list of post-apocalyptia that I thought I would like to read. I liked Empire better. I feel like Nutshell is a book that crazy, right-wing, anti-abortionists might read and shout “SEE!!!” thereby completely missing both points, if there are points at all. I think you’ll have to have read it to understand that. And a part of me doubts that crazy, right-wing, anti-abortionists read much of anything except for a book that they claim is the basis for their crazy, right-wing, anti-abortionist stance in spite of the fact that said book, in all its eternal wisdom, actually says literally zero directly about abortion. Zilch. I remember pointing out this fact to a Rock for Life dude once (I had a past life). And he, in his white maleness (they’re almost always white males, aren’t they?) tried his best to co-opt some vague scripture but couldn’t quite answer the overt question that is if this is really as important as you want people to believe that it is don’t you think that your precious book would be a little more overt? I recall him being stumped, but memory is a strange thing. Anyway, it’s a pretty good book. You should read it. No, not that one. The McEwan one. Gawd.

I was getting nostalgic the other day looking at my accomplishments and realized that about a year ago I was pretty damn happy with running a sub-one-hour 10 kilometres and 12 or so months later I’m running a hair-thin sub-one-hour 13 kilometres and that is pretty effing humblebrag inducing. I was on the Seawall the other day and there were some tourists walking and chatting (like they do) and I’ve a pretty decent pace going and I’m just about to pass this pair and then this dude, let’s call him Kevin, blows by all three of us and one says to the other that’s not jogging that’s running. So I still have some more work to do.