Easter 2019: Eggless

Or more accurately, eggless thus far. Tomorrow is Good Friday, so I still have a few days to rectify my egg-free situation.

In the meantime, I recall as a kid I loved Easter because of the copious amounts of Easter candy. I don’t recall the origin of Easter turning into a candyfest and even though I could easily look it up now (thanks, internet!) I don’t really need to know. All I know is I loved Easter for the following reasons:

  • Chocolate bunnies. The hollow ones were fine, the solid ones were the kid equivalent of gold bars in value.
  • The cream-filled eggs that came wrapped candy-bar style. They weren’t true egg shapes, as they had flat bottoms, but they were very yummy. The Oh Henry! variant was quite good.
  • Cadbury Creme Eggs. Interestingly, these have been hard to come by this year. I don’t think I’ve seen any in stores. Did they stop making them? (Fake edit: No, they just changed the packaging to confuse me.) They are apparently only 150 calories each. I say “only” because I don’t think I’ve ever eaten two in a row, or ever could. They are, as they say, rich. But they were always my favorite. And who am I kidding? As a kid I probably ate a three-pack in a minute flat. 450 calories–I could burn that off in a 10K run now. I’d be tempted, but I really don’t think I’d make it through three. I’d need days to recover before I could even think about running to work them off.
  • Pretty much any other bunny or egg-shaped candy, unless it contained black licorice. That stuff is grossbuckets. I’ll happily eat broccoli as an adult, but black licorice was and still is still a no-go.

Anyway, here’s to a happy Easter. The weather is supposed to be decent-ish (cloudy, seasonal) so I may go out and pretend to hunt for eggs. Then buy some for half-price the day after.

A short, odd book review

This single paragraph–for a horror novel called Salvage, posted on the Kobo website–may qualify as one of the oddest book reviews I’ve seen:

“I had a hard time with it. The chapters being on average 30+ pages induced me to skip many, perhaps too many in order to finish the chapter being read. I became lost at times and finished the book by sheer determination. the book is well written but those never ending chapters.”

The idea that 30+ pages per chapter is too long is strange. It’s not like there’s a rule for chapter length, and with ebooks, you don’t even have to keep track of where you left off. Perhaps the reader is one of those people compelled to always read to the end of the current chapter before setting the book down. Even then, it’s such a weird affectation that I wonder why one would even bring it up. But even more baffling is how the reader confesses to skipping a bunch of chapters, then becomes “lost at times” (no kidding), but still finishes the book (“well written”) and gives it three stars.

(I bought the book in question–not based on this review.)

The world we live in

I did that thing tonight where I watched a particular video on YouTube and ended up going on to watch a bunch of mostly-unrelated videos. One of them was Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance,” which is a catchy song with a well-choreographed video (seriously, it’s obvious the director is meticulously timing the entire video to the actual music, something you don’t see that often).

One of the things I noticed is the video has over one billion views. It was released in 2009 so it’s had time to acquire those views, but it’s still a staggering number.

But more than the number of views, I was struck by the number of comments.

802,810.

If you read one comment per second, it would take you 223 hours (over nine days) to read them all. Also you would be insane.

And this is the world we live in.

I am afraid.

Run 605: Faster, colder

Run 604
Average pace: 5:47/km
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 1:36 pm
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 29:04
Weather: Overcast
Temp: 9ºC
Humidity: 63%
Wind: moderate
BPM: 158
Weight: 166.8 pounds
Total distance to date: 4605 km
Devices: Apple Watch Series 2, iPhone 8

I was a little leery going into today’s run because the last time I ran at the river it was cool–7ºC–and my BPM was crazy high, as in so high I was actually a bit afraid to run outdoors again under similar conditions.

Although the temperature was similar today at 9ºC, I have been running at least weekly for some time now, both on the treadmill and outdoors, so I was thinking I’d probably be okay. I set out for a modest pace under cloudy skies and a small threat of rain. The wind of the last few days eased up, so temperature-wise it actually felt decent during the run.

There were many people on the trail, most of the dog walkers had their dogs unleashed (boo) but the dogs were well-behaved (yay). I generally stuck to my plan and the only issue of note was some discomfort right around the bump in the orthotic in my left shoe. This is somewhat odd, because that bump is specifically there to keep the left foot from getting sore when I’m walking and especially when I’m running. Is my foot changing? Is it going through foot puberty? I may have to make a trip to Kintec to get them to have a look. Plus I should probably get the orthotic re-upholstered or whatever the term is for getting the padding replaced, as it’s getting old, scruffy and the heels have holes in them from where gravel has gotten stuck (I’ve been wearing my gravel scoops–aka Brooks Cascadia 12s–since I got the orthotics).

In the end, and with a light coat of sweat, I finished with a much faster-than anticipated pace of 5:47/km, which is 23 (!) seconds faster than my last run at Burnaby Lake, and even 12 seconds better than the “my poor heart” run at the river on January 26. Come to think of it, why is the temperature only 2 degrees warmer nearly three months later? I’ll file a report with The Weather Bureau or other appropriate agency.

Overall, I am pleased with the result. I am getting faster, which shows I am getting in shape, but more importantly, my heart rate is back down to a healthy level, after a couple of alarmingly high runs. As a bonus, I don’t really feel the knees are a major factor at this point. I can still feel them when I run, but it’s easy to ignore them. If anything–and despite having done nothing specific to treat them–they seem to be feeling better than they did at this time last year when they first started getting sore. So yay for that.

Photo of the Day, April 13, 2019

Usually in most of my shots, the bokeh effect just happens, but I actually quite like the way it fuzzes out the background of this shot at the Brunette River.

Facebook uses its inside voice

This was posted on 9to5mac.com, and while many sites covered the story, I like the way they use Facebook’s explanation in the headline, which I imagine is meant to be read deadpan-style:

What an interesting accident. I like the cheek of the person who arranged for the “accidental” printing of a message onto a physical Facebook product stating “Big Brother is Watching.” It’s a great thing to read before strapping on a VR helmet and blocking yourself off from the “real” world.

Book review: Transmission

Transmission

Transmission by Ambrose Ibsen

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Transmission is a short, direct, no-filler, no subplot horror story with perfunctory prose that feels more like an initial treatment for something more substantial than a complete work.

It’s perfectly okay as is, but that’s my main issue–it’s just okay. Nearly every aspect of it falls short of its potential. The student protagonists of Kenji and Dylan are sketches and I never really felt much of anything for them. The Vietnam vet Reggie (you are reminded he is a Vietnam vet–for no real reason–so often it almost becomes part of his name) is a generic semi-retired guy who similarly has no life outside the narrow confines of the book’s plot. The characters feel like pieces put into play to be subject to the spooky goings-on.

The plot itself is one I’m a sucker for. As the title suggests, it’s about the transmission of a message from a mysterious woman who somehow gets herself into a World War II documentary and a song by an obscure band. The students and Reggie are compelled to decipher the cryptic message she speaks and from there both spooky and bad things happen.

All this is good and I kept reading to see what would happen, just as any author would hope for, but by the end I was left unsatisfied because the whole experience is a little too straightforward. By eschewing any subplots or supporting characters, by cutting away the rest of these characters’ lives, save for the bare minimum, I felt detached from them, instead of invested. And the transmission and the fallout of the successful deciphering (spoiler!) likewise left me wanting more. It’s all just a little too…little.

This is where really sharp prose could have lifted the entire story, but the prose only does its job, nothing more.

Transmission is not bad by any means, it just seems content to amble along instead of trying to fly.

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