Run 834: Puddle dodging and hood a-flappin’

Brunette River, pre-run

Looking at the forecast, there was no way I was going to avoid the rain today unless I just didn’t run at all.

Which I gave some thought to.

But I did run, and it did rain steadily throughout–while only rising to a chilly 3C.

I wore shorts (which were fine–the walk to the river trail was a little chilly, but not too bad) and my long-sleeved shirt with my OR jacket. The OR jacket did a pretty good job of keeping me dry. When I got home, I found only a few light damp spots on my arms and chest, almost like a light (if very cold) sweat.

As for the run, it actually went better than expected. Despite the chilly conditions, my BPM was a nice 151, without any weird spikes, and my pace was 5:43/km, just edging my fogariffic Wednesday run. There was wind, so visibility was not too bad. There was a lot of puddle dodging and for the first 2 km, I kept the hood of the jacket up, which produced a strange, rhythmic sound as I ran. Eventually, my head bobbing was jostling it enough that I finally pulled it down. I actually preferred having it down instead of weirdly bobbling on top of my head.

There were a few others out getting soaked, including the guy I now call Green Shorts. He apparently starts his route somewhere in the Sapperton neighbourhood, as I passed him post-run in Lower Hume Park. He was not just wearing his green shorts again, he was entirely green, so maybe he is also a leprechaun or just prepping really early for St. Patrick’s Day.

It is surprisingly rare for me to see the same person running more than once

Anyway, the run went better than expected, so I am pleased. I am also still frickin’ cold as I type this, so a nice shower is next.

Mini waterfall raging post-run, reflecting conditions


Run 834
Average pace: 5:44/km
Training status: Productive
Location: Brunette River Trail
Start: 10:07 a.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 28:48
Weather: Rain
Temp: 3ºC
Humidity: 96%
Wind: light
BPM: 151
Weight: 169.5
Total distance to date: 6060 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (195/360/555 km)

Linux Mint and the all the updates

I decided to peek in at Linux Mint again and this meant there were a plethora of updates ready to be installed. After doing so, I had to reboot, then fix the updates that didn’t install properly, and so on.

I mean, it was no better or worse than doing the same in Windows 11. I mean, it was a little worse in that Linux-y way, but not overly so.

But I never gain any traction with Linux because I just don’t spend enough time with it. And I don’t spend enough time with it because there are so many niggles that irk me. Not a lot, but enough.

But still, I try, because I am a dope and a sucker for new things or different things.

And it is different.

Now that I’m (mostly) updated, I’ll stick with it for a bit and see how it goes.

November 2023 weight loss report: Up 0.9 pounds

Yes, I am up again (though not as much as last month, which is semi-good).

In fact, for the month, I was only down from the initial weight of 168.3 pounds once–three days in when I hit 168.1 pounds. It was all up (and down and up and down) from there.

But let’s look at the full set of stats from the beginning of the month to the end and compare. This calls for a table, which I hate doing in WordPress, but here we go!

DateWeightBody fatBody waterMuscle mass
Nov. 1168.1 pounds24.5%55.1%30.0 kg
Nov. 30169.2 pounds25.4%54.5%30.1 kg

As you can see, the news is…not good. While my muscle mass is up marginally for the month (muscle is denser than fat, so adds more equivalent weight), my body water is currently lower and my body fat percentage is higher. Meaning I have, in fact, gotten a bit fatter.


But! I swore to go snack-free in November, and I didn’t. In fact, I snacked regularly like some dirty little snacker. For December, I am again vowing to go snack-free. I will allow a few exceptions as follows:

  • Fruit, like bananas or apples
  • Vegetables, in case I develop a sudden carrot addiction
  • 30g of cheese or less after a run
  • A small glass of chocolate milk after a run
  • That’s it!

We’ll see what happens. I mean, in theory I should be able to stay below 169.2 pounds for the month, but I’ve been saying this for multiple months as my weight has gone up, so maybe I’ve been secretly cursing myself. I make no predictions for December, except that my weight will be a set of numbers.

January 1, 2023: 164.2 pounds  
Current: 169.2 pounds
Year to date: Up 5 pounds

November 1: 168.3 pounds
November 30: 169.2 pounds (up 0.9 pounds)

Body fat: 
November 1: 24.5% 
November 30: 25.4% (up 0.9%)

Skeletal muscle mass:
November 1: 30.0% 
November 30: 30.1% (up 0.1%)

Body water:
November 1: 55.1% 
November 30: 54.5% (down 0.6%)

Historical: January 1, 2022: 182.8 pounds

Note: I will not be writing 24 posts today

For some time I’ve had an informal rule on this blog to write a post per day or what works out to be a post per day by the end of the month (30 days = 30 posts), then I started going a bit overboard and making it two per day.

At the end of last month, I was 16 posts short of that two per day goal, but I took it upon myself as a challenge and cranked out 16 posts on the last day of the month. It was a little nutty, and kind of fun.

I have been even more derelict in posting this month, meaning I would need to add 24 new posts this month to come up to the magic number of 60.

And I am not doing that.

23 more posts to go!

But I will provide another amusing cat image for having read this far:

Run 833: Fog and bunnies

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run. Fog can be seen on the lake in the distance.

For the first time in a week I was not totally unmotivated to run, woo.

I pondered how to dress. It would be 0C as I headed out and probably only a bit higher for the run. I decided on:

  • Running pants
  • My long sleeve Nike shirt
  • My ancient and barely worn heavier gray long sleeve MEC shirt I bought before I even started running, which means it is turning 15 next year

I wore the lighter Nike shirt on top and overall this worked. Because it was colder (it got to 2C) I never felt overly warm, unlike Monday’s run, so this should work for similar conditions.

And speaking of conditions: Yes, it was cold. It got to 2C and stayed there for the run, and it was foggy at the lake, though much lighter than last November’s fog. It started to coat my glasses, but not until later in the run, and I could still actually see where I was going, which is a nice thing when you are running on a trail with big trees all around you. I actually wasn’t expecting fog, because it was sunny when I got to the lake (see the photo above), but once I got past the Avalon trail and closer toward the lake, the fog settled in and remained in place for the rest of the run.

I originally thought of doing a short loop counter-clockwise, then changed that to clockwise once I got there, then changed to a full loop around the lake because the fog was pretty, and I wanted to take photos. Yes, I added an extra 5 km to my walk home to take a few photos. Because I am weird like that.

I didn’t have any issues on the run. My BPM was higher at 156, but expected, given the cold conditions, and my pace was a very cromulent 5:44/km. There weren’t a lot of people out, which was nice. Maybe people find fog spooky or cold or something.

Overall, it was a nice and surprisingly more ambitious mid-week outing.

Oh, and the bunny: About 3 km in, a small brown rabbit hopped across the trail ahead of me. I’m going to say that means good luck (unlike when black cats do it, not that black cats normally hop), so I fully expect to win the (checks) $44 million Gold Ball 6/49 jackpot tonight! If I do, I totally swear to use my winnings wisely, and for good, unlike, uh, anyone else who might win. Yeah.

Anyway, I’m uncertain what to do for Friday’s run, because the weather looks awful. Might need to wear the rain jacket. Or run virtually, like in my head.

Still Creek, post-run: Sun trying, but not quite breaking through the fog.


Run 833
Average pace: 5:44/km
Training status: Productive
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 9:46 a.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 28:49
Weather: Light fog
Temp: 2ºC
Humidity: 86%
Wind: light
BPM: 156
Weight: 168.6
Total distance to date: 6055 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (190/356/546 km)

Book review: The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 1: 1950-1952

The Complete Peanuts, Vol. 1: 1950-1952 by Charles M. Schulz

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is the first volume of The Complete Peanuts, covering 1950-1952, and I was always curious to see how the strip started out, since I didn’t start reading it until decades later.

Right from 1950 it combines the innocence of small kids with the existential crises of adults, all while never showing an adult. The kids are variously mean, complimentary to each other, helpful, hurtful–often in the same series of strips. Snoopy looks like a real dog! The characters of Lucy, Linus and Schroeder are all introduced as babies, but grow quickly. By 1952 we see Lucy yanking away the football from Charlie Brown for the first time, but Linus doesn’t have his blanket yet, no have we seen Sally, Franklin, Pig Pen or many other characters.

Amidst the bad jokes, clever wordplay and gags, the thing that stands out most is the art itself. Schulz drew the strip with an eye for both economy and detail, the lines crisp and confident, characters expressive in both body language and their faces. Simply put, he was an artist who happened to draw a comic strip, and it showed.

For anyone interested in the comic strip form–not just Peanuts–this is a fascinating look back at the art as it began to evolve over 70 years ago. Highly recommended.

A perfect example of the droll, adult humour.

View all my review

Run 832: Overdressed, plus the pace car that was me

Brunette River, pre-run

For the fourth time in a row, I felt little motivation to go out and run, but I ran anyway. I copied last Monday by doing the river trail again, with the plan to be done and back by noon. Mission accomplished!

There is a rare fog advisory in effect today and remembering my last experience in the fog, I wanted to be prepared. As it turned out, I was over-prepared:

  • I ran on the river trail, rather than at the lake, thinking it would be less misty at the river. It turned out to be not foggy at all.
  • I wore my running pants because it was only 4C, and I expected it to be very humid and damp (chilly). The pants were unnecessary. I’m not saying I should have run pants-less, but shorts would have been fine.
  • I also wore my running jacket (the one for cold/wind, not the one for rain) and it kept me nice and comfy walking to the river trail, but it was actually a little too warm for the run itself. Noted for future reference. I think my double layer approach would have sufficed.

As for the run, I started strong and wavered a bit in the second km, but mostly kept my form. I didn’t have any weird spikes in my BPM, keeping to a range of 153-161 with an average of 153.

A young guy dressed in bright green shorts and almost-matching cap went jogging by me as I was heading back on the final stretch. He seemed way too happy. No one is that happy when jogging. He was obviously moving at a faster pace and I expected him to catch up and pace me if he also looped back.

He did loop back, and he did catch up–but then he never passed me. Instead, he hung back at a respectful distance, using me as a kind of pace car. Before realizing he was doing this, I deliberately slowed my pace, hoping he would pass, but he didn’t, so I resumed my normal gait. When I reached the gate near North Road and turned around, he did not follow, so I assumed he either ran beyond the trail or was taking a break. Shortly after I finished my run, he showed up and ran by, still looking happy as the proverbial clam.

The happy runner, snapped as he ran by me post-run:

I do like the colour of the shorts, though. Especially among men, you usually see black, black and black. I wear black.

Overall, this was a decent start to the week, with a decent result–5:42/km–and no issues to report. Wednesday is looking like it might be the coldest run of the fall yet, but still sunny. We shall see!

Brunette River, post-run, with bonus heron


Run 832
Average pace: 5:42/km
Training status: Productive
Location: Brunette River trail
Start: 10:47 a.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 28:42
Weather: Low cloud and fog
Temp: 4-5ºC
Humidity: 92-90%
Wind: light
BPM: 153
Weight: 169.5
Total distance to date: 6050 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (185/343/528 km)

Birding, November 25, 2023: I was talking to the ducks

Where: Reifel Bird Sanctuary (Delta), Piper Spit, Burnaby Lake (Burnaby)
Weather: Sunny, 4-8°C

The Outing

It was a sunny if brisk day. I headed out before sunrise! I took this photo while waiting at the SkyTrain station for the train to arrive:

We headed off to Reifel and the lack of any real wind helped a lot with staying warm (the extra layers helped, too). We were immediately greeted by the sight of at least four sandhill cranes, grazing about in the grassy area near the hummingbird feeders, and covetously eyeing the yum-filled Rona bucket. The light was pretty terrible here, and proved to be an interesting challenge throughout the day. The birds, however, were plentiful and adorable.

Also, for reasons I could not fully suss out, the sanctuary and Piper Spit (and the restaurant we lunched at) were all super busy. It’s not a holiday (sorry, Black Friday doesn’t count :P), so I’m not sure what was up. I speculated that maybe people were afraid this would be the last sunny weekend for the next four months.

The crowds meant the birds were being well-fed, which meant we had plenty of targets of opportunity. Even the towhees, normally on the shy side, were feeling friendly, with one hopping right up to me, too close to even get a shot. A chickadee casually hopped between Nic and me, Another swooped right past Nic’s face, perhaps as a show of force by the Chickadee Empire.

It was also a heronpalooza. They were all over the place at Reifel, including in the air. And we saw a rare harrier perched on a tree (if only for a few moments), so that was neat.

Four avocets were still in the big pond by the outer dyke, so they may be settling in for the winter. They were too far out for me to get good shots, though. Boo. A guy coming out from the haunted bird blind1It’s more isolated than the others, but I can’t say I’ve seen any ghosts there–yet! gave vague directions on an American bittern he’d seen, but we never saw it. I was a little sad, Nic was a little bittern.

The shortage of wood ducks at Reifel continued–we only saw a single pair, and they were too obscured by low branches to get good shots of. Also, somewhat weirdly, no Canada geese were present, though the snow geese were raising a ruckus along the shore, along with some swans (which we got shots of flying overhead, woo).

We also saw buffleheads and mergansers. Nic caught a shot of one male merganser that looked like he was about to take off, but was actually just taking a massive poop instead. Nature is not always pretty.

The wigeons were being whacky, and we observed various bits of wigeon warfare. I also witnessed some wigeon wuv2Sorry! Mostly. as a pair did this strange head-bobbing ritual, followed by the male, er, doing the deed, then the female going into a flapping frenzy afterwards. I’m not judging!

And I took pictures.

Since the shorebirds were not close by and in bad light, we headed to Piper Spit for some golden hour hijinks and hopefully get better, closer shots of some dowitchers. As I mentioned, it was packed here as well, with lots of bird feeding, feeding frenzies, and birds all over the place. The only disappointment was no Steller’s jays this time.

The light at the lake was especially weird–not just increasingly golden as we neared sunset, but also with lots of interplay between shadow and light, in part due to so many people moving along the pier, with the sun being low behind them. It produced some dramatic shots, as well as some not-so-great ones.

We also saw the world’s largest gray squirrel. I’m not one to fat shame a squirrel, but let’s say this particular one was set for this winter and possibly several others.

In all, a fine outing, and we got out just as the temperature started to plunge (though we got caught by a train and had to take photos of it while we waited). I feel I got a much higher ratio of good shots vs. last week, so I am pleased.

The Shots


The Birds (and other critters)

Sparrows and sparrow-adjacent:

  • American robin
  • Black-capped chickadee
  • Dark-eyed junco
  • Fox sparrow
  • Golden-crowned sparrow
  • House finch
  • Red-winged blackbird
  • Song sparrow
  • Spotted towhee


  • American avocet
  • American bittern
  • American coot
  • American wigeon
  • Bufflehead duck
  • Canada goose3Technically we didn’t see them at either location, but I saw some in a field outside of Reifel
  • Great blue heron
  • Green-winged teal
  • Hooded merganser
  • Lesser scaup
  • Long-billed dowitcher
  • Mallard
  • Northern pintail
  • Ring-necked duck
  • Snow goose
  • Trumpeter swan
  • Wood duck


  • American crow
  • Rock pigeon
  • Seagull


  • Bald eagle
  • Northern harrier


  • Black and gray squirrels
  • Rusty the pipe

Run 831: Sun good, sun bad

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run: clear and calm (and cold)

I almost talked myself out of running today, but finally headed out, later than normal. The funny part is that I was thinking of doing a short run on the river trail, to get it over with as quickly as possible, then ended up doing a full loop around the lake and posting my fastest run of the week.

In general, this was all good, with one notable asterisk, which I will get to in a moment.

First, a list:

  • It was 7-8C for the rub, but it felt much colder. In fact, it felt colder than the 3-4C run I did a week or so ago. Weird, and I have no explanation. There was no wind, hence no wind chill. It was especially cold in the shade. This leads to…
  • Sun good: It felt noticeably warmer in the sun than in the shade
  • Sun bad: Along the northern side of the lake in particular, the sun was flickering through the now naked trees, producing a strobing effect that’s kind of annoying even when you’re just walking
  • People confused: A family (I can’t say for certain due to the aforementioned sun getting in my eyes) was on the trail ahead of me, with a dog off-leash. One of them had the dog by the collar and the dog seemed fairly docile, so not terrible. But the people did this weird slo-mo panic at my approach and moved in every direction to make room for me, which resulted in no room at all, so I threaded through while applying the brakes.
  • I was surprised by the pace, especially the stronger start, because I did not feel like I was pushing at all. Maybe I was running faster to keep warm.
  • This leads to my next point…

My BPM was 155 overall, which is fine considering my pace (a brisk 5:40/km) and the weather (also brisk). However, my heart rate peaked at a rather alarming level:

This would be OK if I was still, say, 23

I checked and it looks like this:

The spike is 178 BPM

Generally this is pretty normal–the BPM ramps up as I start my run, then levels out and fluctuates in minor ways as my speed ebbs and flows. But from 1.18 to 1.44 km it shoots way up, peaking at 178 before drooping quickly back down to a normal ranger, then staying there for the rest of the run.

My pace during this section is not unusually fast (I had faster stretches), and in terms of distance, I’m in the first half of the second km, when my energy is still relatively high. This is weird. I usually aim for 150 and try to never go above 160, so 178 is breaking that by a lot. In terms of total time, this covers about 1:47 minutes. I don’t recall feeling any different, certainly not like I was over-exerting myself. The stretch of trail would cover the first boardwalk, where, if anything, I would be more cautious.

It’s possible it may have been an anomalous reading, too. I mean, at that level I would almost expect the watch to blare an alarm and say HEY YOU ARE NOT 29 ANYMORE, SLOW DOWN.

Despite this, it was nice to have an unexpectedly faster pace and to round out the week with a full loop around the lake. I warmed up fairly quickly, but the walk back was a tad chilly, even with two layers.

Still Creek being very still, post-run


Run 831
Average pace: 5:40/km
Training status: Productive
Location: Burnaby Lake (CW)
Start: 12:12 p.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 28:33
Weather: Sunny
Temp: 7-8ºC
Humidity: 70-66%
Wind: light
BPM: 155
Weight: 169
Total distance to date: 6045 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (180/339/519 km)

Resume Being Annoyed with iCloud

Yes, I’m afraid this is a complaint. I promise an adorable kitten at the end.

I updated to the latest version of Mac OS yesterday (I am no longer going to write out Apple’s stylized “macOS” anymore. I also say iPhones plural, so take that, Apple marketing department!), which is 14.1.1 as I type this. The update did not go smoothly.

It took multiple reboots to get everything working again. Why, I do not know. But now, the Photos app, which has always had stupid syncing settings on the iPhone, seems to have adopted these stupid, idiotic settings on the Mac.

I noticed that the last few photos from the phone hadn’t synced. I tried restarting the Photos app, to no avail. It said the last sync was yesterday and that was that.

I turned the Mac off, and went back to my Windows PC, which still behaves like a normal computer.

Today, I turned on the Mac and the Photos app presented me with this prompt:

Some context: I am using a Mac Studio with an M1 Max SoC. This is a desktop computer. At the time this prompt appeared, I had two photos to sync.


I am curious how much system performance optimization was achieved by not syncing TWO photos.

And look, Apple is being generous. If I really MUST sync, I can go ahead…for the next four hours, after which I guess I get this prompt again?

This isn’t just bad design, it is TERRIBLE design, and the people who coded and approved this are trying way too hard to be smarter than the user.

Here is your adorable kitten:


I decided I should at least offer a solution or two instead of just griping!

  • Make this a setting the user can control
  • Allow granularity/context in the controls. Some examples:
    • Always sync photos
    • Never sync photos
    • Only sync when system has been inactive for [xx] minutes
    • Sync if there are fewer than [xx] photos
    • And so forth

Run 830: Birbs and people unfamiliar with people

View from Cariboo Dam, pre-run

I can’t remember the last time I saw so many birbs flitting about the lake trail on a run. They were everywhere. It must have been birb lunch hour. It was kind of cute!

Less cute were two couples I encountered. The first was during the run, a couple that chose to walk with each on the opposite edge of the trail, forcing me to run between them. I thought they saw me approach, but apparently not, because as I got closer, they actually began a kind of pincer movement, moving in toward each other and giving me nowhere to go. I managed to squeeze through without collision.

I wonder if people like this just exist in a perpetual state of obliviousness around others or if it’s just the first time they have ever walked on a public trail.

The others were post-run, on the river trail. The river trail is a service road, so normally there is never any issue getting by people, because it is generously wide. But!

These two people were walking down the centre for reasons, so I had to pass either left or right. Since I was already on the right (as one should be), I opted to pass on the right. Right. Wrong! As I got close, they must have heard me, and I guess they thought they’d give me room to pass–by moving to the right, or directly into my path. Again, questions were raised (in my head), and collisions were avoided.

All dogs seen, however, were on leash!

Oh, and the run:

It went well. I started a little slow, then dragged a bit in the middle, but made up for it in the last two km, with an overall pace of 5:47/km, better than Monday, with the same BPM. It was cool, but not cold and cloudy, despite the weather app weirdly reporting “mostly sunny.” I found myself not thinking about my knees, but my stamina and general energy level, which is a positive sign, I think. I will probably do a full loop around the lake on Friday (though still only a 5K run. I likely won’t try a 10K again for another week or so).

Silver Creek, post-run


Run 830
Average pace: 5:47/km
Training status: Maintaining
Location: Burnaby Lake (CCW, short loop)
Start: 11:09 a.m.
Distance: 5:03 km
Time: 29:06
Weather: Overcast, some low mist
Temp: 8ºC
Humidity: 88-90%
Wind: light
BPM: 152
Weight: 168.8
Total distance to date: 6040 km
Devices: Garmin Forerunner 255 Music, iPhone 12, AirPods (3rd generation)
Shoes: HOKA Speedgoat 5 (175/326/501 km)