A haiku to fall

The season, not like falling down the stairs or something.

The days get shorter
And the trees explode with color
Then everything dies

On the one hand, the last line is rather bleak. On the other, fall ends on December 20th and by then the sun sets at something like 3 p.m., it’s always cold and almost always raining, the trees are stripped naked and vegetation is all withered, dead or gone.

But lawns still look really lush and green.

All right, then.

The days get shorter
And the trees explode with color
It sucks after that

More accurate now. But fine, here’s a “happy” version:

The days get shorter
And the trees explode with color
Hot cocoa and gloves

Photo of the Day: Sunning snake stops slithering

After my run at Burnaby Lake, I came across a garter snake. They usually slither off quickly as you approach, but this one was contentedly sunning and remained indifferent to my presence as I took some photos.

Run 659: Delusions of grandeur

I had to get back on the full run bandwagon again, so I headed out a bit earlier in the afternoon today to do so. Fortunately, it was also a pleasantly warm and sunny early autumn day, which provides some grease on the motivation part vs. a monsoon with high winds (which we had last Friday).

I opted to do a full loop around the lake, running the first 5K, then walking/running out the rest of the way.

I felt a tiny bit of a stitch threaten late, but it subsided quickly, and there were otherwise no issues.

The delusion came as I headed to the lake, thinking I might try for a full 10K. That notion was cast aside by around the 3 km mark. :P I’ll get there, though!

This was my best run at the lake with a pace of 6:08/km, edging me closer to breaking the six-minute mark.

I also saw a snake post-run. It was just hanging out on the trail, soaking up the sun. It didn’t budge even when I got close to take a pic. I’ll post the photo in another, uh, post, but here’s another post-run shot of Burnaby Lake looking serene and pretty in its early fall colors:


Run 659
Average pace: 6:08/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 2:10 p.m.
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 30:50
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 23ºC
Humidity: 50%
Wind: light
BPM: 154
Weight: 177.9
Total distance to date: 4900 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12
Shoes: Brooks Caldera 5 (30 km)

Fixing clamshell mode external display issue on an M1 MacBook Air

Here’s my public service for the week. It happened to me, it could happen to you! (If you have the right combo of hardware).

The problem: When putting my M1 MacBook Air into clamshell mode, the 27″ external monitor it was connected to would go blank. The Air was still on and otherwise running, but was not getting a signal from the monitor.

Attempted fixes included:

  • Updating macOS
  • Swapping cables
  • Swapping HDMI ports
  • Cussing randomly

The fix: I found the fix in this Reddit post: https://www.reddit.com/r/mac/comments/knrcof/m1_macbook_air_in_clamshell_mode/

Unlike the author, I believe the issue isn’t related to the cable, just the fact that macOS does not support variable refresh rates and when closing the lid on a monitor with variable refresh rates, it would switch to a rate it didn’t actually support. In my case, I have an Asus VG27A, which has a max (without overclocking) refresh rate of 144Hz. I run it at 60Hz on the MacBook, but when putting it into clamshell mode, it switched to 72Hz, which doesn’t work, causing the display to go blank.

Step-by-step solution

Here’s my step-by-step for the fix in case something happens to the Reddit link:

What this applies to:

  • Any M1 MacBook connecting to an external monitor with a variable refresh rate (typically a monitor with built-in support for G-sync or FreeSync). I can’t verify if this would apply to the same issue on an Intel-based MacBook, but it might.

What you need:

  • M1 MacBook Air or MacBook Pro
  • Another computer (preferably with its own with display), can be Mac or PC
  • Remote desktop software

The steps:

  1. Install the remote desktop software on the MacBook and the other PC. I used TeamViewer, which is free for personal use, but there are lots of options. NOTE: Make sure the remote desktop software has appropriate permissions in the Mac’s security settings. TeamViewer prompts for this, but some software may not.
  2. Set the MacBook to display on the external display, and keep the lid on the MacBook open
  3. Use the remote desktop software to connect to the MacBook and make sure you can control the MacBook
  4. Close the lid on the MacBook. The external display should now go blank, but you should still be able to see the Mac desktop through the remote connection.
  5. From the other computer, go into Displays under the Mac’s System Preferences and change the refresh rate to 60Hz. Once this is done, you should see the external display work again.
  6. Test the new configuration by closing the lid on the MacBook. If the external display remains on, you are done!

Apple is adding variable refresh rate in macOS Monterey, which is due in Fall 2021 (probably a month or so from now as of this writing, but this will likely continue to be an issue on Big Sur. Story on MacRumors

Walk 59: I did it again

By which I mean I got so fully into run mode that when I hit the 6 km mark (and had two full km of run completed) I automatically stopped the workout, which I did not mean to do, as I still had 1.66 km of walking left (see Part B, below).

That said, this was another good effort and save for a few moments of creakiness right toward the end of the initial running stretch in my lower right back, I felt fine.

Well, I felt a little guilty. Today would normally be a run day, not a run/walk day, but I started rather late than intended, so opted for the combo instead. I can’t say I entirely regret it, as it was still a decent workout.

And it was very humid, showers having occurred earlier in the day. This assured there would be sweating, but no dry mouth. I can live with the trade-off.

My average pace of the combined efforts averages out to 7:38/km, which seems too fast, but is…possible. My running pace was 5:36 and 5:37/km, which is probably my best 1-2 so far this year.


Walk 59
Average pace: 7:55/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Distance: 6.04 km
Time: 47:53
Weather: Sunny with some cloud
Temp: 17ºC
Humidity: 72%
Wind: light
BPM: 127
Weight: 178 pounds
Total distance to date: 451.09 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12

Part B:

Walk 59b
Average pace: 7:21/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Distance: 1.66 km
Time: 12:16
Weather: Sunny with some cloud
Temp: 17ºC
Humidity: 72%
Wind: light
BPM: 146
Weight: 178 pounds
Total distance to date: 452.75 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12

Walk 58: Last day of summer with bonus old

Today is the last day of summer, and it was downright pleasant for a walk/run combo.

I wasn’t sure what I was going to do when I headed out (I missed yesterday’s usual run) but in the end I opted to stick to my run schedule and do a walk today (which always means running 2+ km, anyway). I felt pretty good, had no issues and overall it was a solid effort–almost identical to the last walk/run, actually. It’s always a little weird to match a previous effort with such precision.

The bonus old is this is the first running since my birthday on Sunday. I’m 57 now, and if you had asked me 20 years ago if I’d be running regularly at 57 I probably would have laughed, imagining myself with a cane and a long gray beard.

Well, maybe not the beard. Actually, not the cane, either. But I would have imagined myself creaky and docile, more likely to exercise by padding to the fridge and back to the recliner in the living room.

The reality is, I have no idea what 57 is supposed to feel like, but I feel pretty good. So that’s, uh, good!

The weather tomorrow is looking a little damp (though not like the downpour we had back on Friday), so this may be my first real test of getting out for a run, regardless of the weather.


Walk 58
Average pace: 8:00/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Distance: 7.75 km
Time: 62:04
Weather: Sunny with some cloud
Temp: 21ºC
Humidity: 50%
Wind: light
BPM: 131
Weight: 177.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 445.05 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12

Mac vs. PC, Round 846

I can’t decide!

A comprehensive overview of my thoughts on the strengths and weaknesses of both systems coming soon.

In the meantime, an animated image for your enjoyment:

Gum Gum Person with flying disc

I redid the legs multiple times. I always make them too long. I need to bone up (ho ho) on GGP anatomy more.

This was relatively quick, but I intend to draw more Gum Gum People over the next while.

Run 658: Strobe light

I hemmed and I hawed while heading out today. Would I:

  1. Be lazy and just walk to the end of the river trail and run back (2K)?
  2. Be less lazy and do a 5K, but start right at the entrance to the river trail, minimizing total time required for walking/running
  3. Carry on to the lake and do a quick loop running 2.5K and then doubling back

I ended up going for option #3 and was glad I did.

It was somewhat humid again but cooler than last time, resulting in some sweating, but also my mouth not really drying out. This was a good compromise, really, and probably provided a bit of an energy boost.

The strobe light part happened because the sun was low enough that it was shining through the tops of the trees when I was running westward, producing a distinct strobing effect. It’s a bit distracting. By reversing after 2.5K I completely avoided the effect on the way back, thus saving myself from getting bedazzled and running off the trail and into a clutch of giant skunk cabbage.

Also of note, I saw a squirrel on the trail holding a chestnut in its mouth–with the outer shell/skin still on it. You know, the one that’s covered in spiky bits. This must be the squirrel equivalent of eating Cap’n Crunch.

I found a comfortable pace from the start and maintained it throughout, completing the run without that OMG WHY HASN’T THIS ENDED YET?! feeling hitting me.

As a result, I shaved four seconds off my previous pace, had an even lower BPM and just generally felt a lot better. Running the lake trail is more technical than the river, though it’s pretty mild in terms of curves and dips, but it’s still so much nicer to run on an actual travel and not a seldom-used-by-vehicles service road, so the extra walking is worth it. Plus, with the resurfacing going on now between Piper Spit and Phillips Point, the entire loop is pretty much 100% exposed tree root-free. Even when the leaves pile up in the fall, I won’t have to worry about snagging a foot on one of those evil wood things. Woo!

When that resurfacing is done, the only remaining area will be the strip alongside the athletic fields, which can still flood or get very swampy from the rain, or even when they run the sprinklers for too long. The drainage in the area is a bit lacking.

In any case, it’s good to be back to a regular run routine. Here’s hoping my body doesn’t goof it all up.


Run 658
Average pace: 6:12/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 4:29 p.m.
Distance: 5.02 km
Time: 31:10
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 19ºC
Humidity: 50%
Wind: light
BPM: 150
Weight: 177.8
Total distance to date: 4895 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12
Shoes: Brooks Caldera 5 (25 km)

Rainbow cats

This CBC story explains how putting a colorful collar on a cat can help warn off birds they might prey on, as birds have good color perception.

I just like how fabulous it makes the cats look.

Walk 57: Cruise control

Some showers in the morning meant it was once again quite humid, but for the walk it was sunny and the temperature around 19C, so perfectly pleasant.

As has become my custom, I am now running an even two km on the way back from the end of the river trail and the pace for these two km was 5:50/km and 5:51/km, so I found a good pace and stayed with it. I actually kept running most of the way back after that–through Lower Hume Park and then along Fader Street (my shins especially notice the difference between running on a gravel trail vs. a concrete sidewalk and the difference can be summed up mostly as, “Don’t run on this really hard stuff.”

As I neared the condo, I experienced the first real taste of “I could keep going” since resuming my runs. It was nice.

I also just squeaked under the 8:00/km mark for overall average pace–not that I need to keep going faster and faster, but it’s still a fun thing to see.

The rest of the week looks a bit soggy. We’ll see how the runs go.


Walk  57
Average pace: 7:59/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Distance: 7.78 km
Time: 62:13
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 19ºC
Humidity: 62%
Wind: light
BPM: 128
Weight: 176.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 437.30 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 5, iPhone 12