Run 750: Frosty

Frigid view from Cariboo Dam, pre-run.

I wore three layers up top and my running pants and did not feel overdressed at all.

It also stayed below freezing for the entire run, starting at -3C and only warming up slightly over the course of my jog.

Despite the frosty conditions (I earned the Frosty badge on my Garmin Forerunner for my first sub-freezing walk), I didn’t experience any issues during the run. At first, I didn’t pay much attention to my BPM, just going with what felt right and assuming that it might track a little higher due to the cold. It did, but only by a very minor amount, coming in at 152 BPM and a pace of 5:56/km, which equals Friday’s pace when it was 11 degrees warmer.

The only real complication was the cold tends to agitate my WSB (World’s Smallest Bladder) and midway past the 7K mark, I approached the turnoff to Phillips Point and thought, “Hmm, Phillips Point or PP as one might call it. Pee pee…” and made a slight detour to heed nature’s call. I had a very nice view of the lake for the short time I was there.

In terms of traffic, my early start meant I encountered some other early risers, including two small groups of runners, all of them bundled to the hilt. The one wrinkles was a woman walking a black poodle about the size of a small horse and that was off-leash. It kind of got in my way and she said, “Sorry” but it would have been better if the dog had just been on leash and under proper control.

Still, it was a good start to the week, and while I can’t say I’m crazy about running in the cold, it went about as well as could be expected.

Stats:

Run 750
Average pace: 5:56/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 9:19 a.m.
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 59:31
Weather: Sunny
Temp: -3ºC
Humidity: 63%
Wind: low
BPM: 152
Weight: 163.5
Total distance to date: 5565 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: Saucony Peregrine 12 (237 km)

The missing frog

On June 25, 2022, I went to Burnaby Lake to shoot photos, then never posted any of them. Oops.

Today, while pruning out my photos on OneDrive, I came across these photos and found one of a frog–the only frog I’ve taken a photo of at Burnaby Lake (or anywhere). so here is the frog, seven months late.

The Black Hole: Not quite a review

The Cygnus, full of surprises and murder bots.

I saw The Black Hole originally in 1979, when I was 15 years old. I thought it was great. I bought the novel!

I never read the novel.

I wonder if I still have it stuffed in a box somewhere?

Last year, I watched the movie again on Disney+. I think it was the first time I had seen it all the way through since 1979. It’s goofy and weird, very un-Disney in many ways. I suspect it got the green light due to the success of Star Wars, but at its core, it’s actually more of a horror/fantasy film dressed up in science fiction clothes.

Yesterday, I saw a YouTube video about it and thought, “I’ll just watch the opening sequence” and ended up watching the entire movie again and going to bed late. And it’s not even a good movie, really.

This isn’t a review, as such, but I wanted to collect some thoughts on the movie while it was fresh in my mind. This may be a bit scattershot!

  • The film starts with a black screen while music plays over it for about two minutes. I have no idea why. Are they trying to set the mood? Are they showing just how black a black hole really is?
  • They obviously had no actual visual reference for a black hole in 1979, but I like to think they could have come up with something better than what appears to be blue water swirling down a kitchen sink drain.
  • I like that they did some scenes in zero gravity, even if it looks a little goofy. There’s at least a pretense to realism here.
  • The cast is chock-full of big stars, very unusual for any Disney pic back then.
  • Maximilian Schell is great. I love his giant mop of hair and intense gaze. I also like that the killer robot also has the same name.
  • Speaking of the robots, it’s super obvious that none of them are made of metal, though they are obviously supposed to be. Vincent and BOB come off the worst here, each of them looking like painted wooden toys. With lasers.
  • And speaking of lasers they have this satisfying sound that is like a thunky pew-pew.
  • The scene with Vincent and BOB playing what amounts to a video game with the menacing former head robot is just weird. I’m not sure why it’s even in the movie. Maybe they felt they built all these cool robots, they were going to use them, dammit!
  • The Cygnus is an amazing ship design. It’s been described as a cathedral in space. If they ever did a remake, the ships need to be miniature models, not CGI. Get Chris Nolan to direct, he’s totally into that stuff.
  • The special effects are all over the place in terms of quality. The matte paintings (of which the film had roughly a billion) are for the most part excellent. The meteor tumbling down the interior of the ship could pass for an FX shot made today. But other stuff, notably most of the green screen work, is terrible, like they either ran out of money for those shots, or handed them over to an intern who never got hired on full-time.
  • The score (by Bond composer John Barry) is as weird as so many other things in this film. During action scenes, the score picks up, but it doesn’t really reflect the action, it’s just bombastic music.
  • I love how Schell scolds the robot like a misbehaving child after it slices and dices Anthony Perkins’ character. “Maximilian, you shouldn’t have done that!” Maybe this is where J.J. Abrams got the idea to name his company Bad Robot.
  • I love the initial mystery of discovering a ship that’s been missing for 20 years, hanging out next to a black hole without getting sucked into it. Alien (released the same year!) has the same kind of vibe in its early scenes, but with a lot more swearing.
  • The ending is still totally bonkers no matter how many times I see it. Schell and Maximilian appear to embrace while floating in space, then, uh, merge? So now Schell is inside Maximilian, his eyes looking about frantically from inside the robot’s visor as it stands on a rocky spire in…hell? Then there’s a long glass hallway (?), an angel (?) and suddenly the surviving members of the Palomino crew are A-OK and heading peacefully toward a shiny planet somewhere on the other side of the black hole. If they do a remake, I’d love to see how they’d handle the ending, though I suspect it would end up being a lot more conventional.

Is The Black Hole a good movie? No. It feels like it wants to be a bunch of different things–a fantasy epic, a horror film, a disaster movie, and the science fiction part is kind of bolted on. It’s an odd, uneven mix.

But the design is fantastic, the effects, though mixed, generally hold up, and the initial mystery is captivating. After that, the film gets a bit thin, and it’s only Schell’s scenery-chewing, the ever-present threat of what will Maximilian do, and Roddy McDowell making pithy remarks that really keeps you interested. And I’ll give a few points to the general destruction of the Cygnus as it drifts to its doom.

Why did I sit through the entire movie again, though? I really can’t say. I will ponder this.

Run 749: Hitting the target

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run.

Today’s run brings me to an official™ tracked total of 5555 km. Easy to remember!

The titular target was hitting an average heart rate of 150 BPM, which I did! This happened in a way that was kind of a fluke:

  • I had no weird spikes that would skew the average higher
  • I had some sections of the run where my BPM was surprisingly low, like 141 (I swear I was not lollygagging)
  • I had to stop to heed nature’s call between the 5th and 6th km. This allowed my heart to recover a little, also bringing down my average heart rate

Still, I’ll take it!

Again, no issues today. I was going to wear my long t-shirt and a base layer but stepped outside, decided it felt cold, and swapped to my windbreaker. I think if I could teleport to the lake, I’d be fine with the t-shirt, but the walk there can be quite cool. I didn’t feel overdressed in the jacket, but I probably need a new one. This one is about a size too small (it’s too short, not that I’m too girthy for it).

As mentioned, despite being 8C and little wind being present, it felt somehow colder and clammier. The sky was gloomy, but the “we promise, no rain” forecast stayed true. I’d say the Friday crowd was down a bit, and most people were fairly bundled up.

Overall, though, another good run.

Stats:

Run 749
Average pace: 5:56/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW)
Start: 12:07 p.m.
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 59:34
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 8ºC
Humidity: 91%
Wind: low
BPM: 150
Weight: 163.1
Total distance to date: 5555 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: Saucony Peregrine 12 (227 km)

ChatGPT weird drawing prompt #6: A mermaid on a unicycle

I did this one with no reference at all, and I do not have a lot of practice drawing mermaids or unicycles. The mermaid seems a bit small and there are lots of other things I’d change. Still, not bad for a one-night effort. I’ll revisit this one when I’m done all ten prompts. Or maybe before.

Run 748: Consistently consistent

View from Cariboo dam, pre-run.

After skipping Monday’s run, I was eager(ish) to get out today. I checked the weather forecast and it said 5C and cloudy. I checked it again, because outside it looked like it had been raining recently. The forecast literally said 0% chance of precipitation. “You better not be wrong!” I told the weather app. The weather app said nothing in response.

But it was right. It didn’t rain. I wore my windbreaker jacket and Nike shirt and actually feel that two layers (long sleeve and sleeveless) would have been fine.

They are digging up right around the part of East Columbia Street where I cross to get to the river trail, part of my 4 km walk to the lake. There’s no real alternate route without making a very long diversion, so the construction is a bit annoying. On the other hand, they had flag people on the road right at the entrance to the river trail and they actually stopped traffic to let me cross. I felt a tiny bit special!

I ran clockwise, not realizing I had done so last time, but no big deal. It’s not like my body will forget how to turn to the left after two cockwise runs. If it does, I will report so after Friday’s run. I again aimed at an average BPM of 150 or so, and came pretty close at 152. My pace improved slightly to 5:53/km, but the Forerunner said I needed 73 hours to recover. I may have to fudge that a little.

During the third km, my BPM started climbing steadily again and I still have no idea why. It peaked at 171, I adjusted my pace slightly (I was never running “fast”) and it shortly dropped back down to the low 150s. Is the heart rate monitor being goofy? Is my heart being goofy? Replacing the Forerunner is a lot simpler than replacing the latter. Will see if this happens again.

Other than this glitch, no issues at all. Everything worked as intended. I even passed not one, but THREE different runners. Granted, the first one looked pretty old (good for him being out and running!), another was running with a dog and had actually paused when I passed her on the bridge at Deer Lake Brook, and the third was probably the only one close-ish to my age and was merely moving at a slower pace, not like dying or anything, so that one almost counted.

Still, passing other runners is rare and it secretly delights me.

Overall, another solid effort to start off the new year.

Stats:

Run 748
Average pace: 5:53/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 10:23 a.m.
Distance: 10.03 km
Time: 59:04
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 5ºC
Humidity: 94%
Wind: low
BPM: 152
Weight: 163.2
Total distance to date: 5545 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: Saucony Peregrine 12 (217 km)

ChatGPT weird drawing prompt #5: A spaceship shaped like a giant slice of pizza

A star destroyer would have been perfect, but maybe too perfect, so I went with this retro thing, with rivets and all. But piloted by a giant alien (the satellite provides scale).

Five prompts to go!

Name 10 weird things to draw

  1. A two-headed unicorn
  2. A giant potato wearing a top hat and monocle
  3. A house made entirely of cheese
  4. A robot with a pet dragon
  5. A spaceship shaped like a giant slice of pizza
  6. A mermaid riding a unicycle
  7. A palm tree with arms and legs
  8. A giant hamster in a tutu
  9. A cactus wearing a sombrero and a bow tie
  10. A chicken playing the drums

A Bewick’s wren and other birbs

Yesterday at Burnaby Lake I managed to get some photos of a Bewick’s wren, which I’d never seen before. Spiffy! Plus chickadees and other assorted birds. Here are a few shots.

Bewick’s wren. Totally adorable.
Chickadee. Perfectly adorable.
Canada goose. Somewhat adorable when young, or not hissing at you.
Seagull, definitely not being adorable.
Coot adorably demonstrating water physics.
Lesser scaup adorably caught mid-preen.
Long-billed dowitcher, adorable in the shallows.

Exciting blog topics: Too exciting

a vintage typewriter
I love stock photos. Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

I asked ChatGPT to generate ten exciting blog topics because I didn’t even write anything yesterday and felt bad. It came up with a list that’s way too ambitious compared to the kind of mindless frippery I usually post here. So I’m just going to paste its list instead and call this a success.

10 Exciting Blog Topics

  1. “Exploring the Future of Artificial Intelligence and its Impact on Society”
  2. “The Rise of Remote Work and its Effect on Productivity”
  3. “Sustainability in the Fashion Industry: How Brands are Making a Difference”
  4. “The Science of Sleep: Understanding the Importance of a Good Night’s Rest”
  5. “The Evolution of Virtual Reality: How it is Changing the Way We Experience the World”
  6. “The Future of Transportation: Electric Cars, Hyperloops, and More”
  7. “The Mental Health Benefits of Gardening and How to Get Started”
  8. “The Role of Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare”
  9. “The Future of Food: How Technology is Changing the Way We Grow and Eat”
  10. “Exploring the Benefits of Mindfulness Meditation and How to Get Started”

Run 747: Jumbo jet joke here

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run.

Today the plan was another Mellow Run™ and that is what I did!

First, I had to face a potential UBB (Unplanned Bathroom Break), but fortunately I got to the Jiffy John in time, and it was not occupied. The number of times it is occupied in the summer months may surprise you.

After taking care of business, I backed up all the way to the south side of the dam and started my run clockwise. Despite being a Friday, I didn’t encounter a lot of other runners, though a few people were out walking. Weather-wise, it was a bit chilly, but the clouds gave way to partly sunny skies about halfway through the run.

The “strobing” effect the sun produces in the winter when jogging along the Cottonwood Trail was not an issue today, thanks to my overall slower pace. It turns out that all you need to do is not run as fast, and the flicking light doesn’t flick as much. Who knew? Probably most people. And now I do, too!

No real complications on this run. Stamina-wise I felt pretty good, though my legs felt a wee bit tired by about the mid-point. I worked through it and the back half of the run felt like it went by pretty quickly. Probably the biggest complication came when I tried to adjust the music playback through the Garmin Forerunner. I pressed the lower right button (wrong) and this seemed to set an interval? I clicked a few more times, hoping to cancel (this is normally the “back” button) and set a whole bunch of intervals. What this meant is that while my run was still being tracked, it was no longer alerting me at 1 km intervals as it normally would. I felt kind of dumb for trying to do something when I obviously did not recall how. Let this be a lesson, kids. Runs are no place for experiments with your technology!

Anyway, I hot pretty close to my target BPM of 150, coming in at 151 and a perfectly fine pace of 5:57/km. It even said I should be ready to go by Monday, which is when I will be running next!

Stats:

Run 747
Average pace: 5:57/km
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 11:50 a.m.
Distance: 10.01 km
Time: 59:36
Weather: Partly sunny
Temp: 5-6ºC
Humidity: 92%
Wind: low
BPM: 151
Weight: 162.2
Total distance to date: 5535 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: Saucony Peregrine 12 (207 km)

Random shots around Hume Park

My goal in walking around Hume Park today was to take shots of things I don’t normally take shots of, or to shoot things from different angles. One of those “see things in new ways” kind of things.

Looking up to one of the trails that line the western side of the ravine (look closely, you can see the fence).
From the path connecting the lower and upper parts, looking out across the Brunette River and beyond it, the future maintenance yard for the Millennium Line.
Moss on a tree.
Picnic area.
Just some trees catching the sun.

Run 746: A shorter, more mellow run

Brunette River, post-run.

Or as mellow as running can be.

After working fruitlessly on my PC this morning (though inside the case is a lot less dusty now), I opted to do a shorter run this afternoon. This also allowed me to miss the rain (yay). It was 7C and felt quite mild. I wore two layers up top (no jacket) and never felt chilly. As usual, there was little wind.

I ran the river trail and after declining the suggested run on my Forerunner, set out on a more relaxed 5K, as demonstrated by the low BPM of 148. Despite this, my overall pace was still 5:50/km, which is entirely respectable.

The pace varied quite a bit during the run, too. Observe:

2nd km: 6:01
5th km: 5:35

Overall, I felt quite good, not straining or stressed at all. And finally getting a dry run again was a pleasant bonus. Even my watch agreed, saying I only need 48 hours to recover, just in time for my Friday run, when I’ll go back to 10K.

Stats:

Run 746
Average pace: 5:49/km
Location: Brunette River Trail
Start: 2:35 p.m.
Distance: 5.04 km
Time: 29:18
Weather: Cloudy
Temp: 7ºC
Humidity: 90%
Wind: low
BPM: 148
Weight: 162.8
Total distance to date: 5525 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: Saucony Peregrine 12 (197 km)