September 2023 was a month

I’m not sure how I’d summarize this September. Unlike last September, which was a long continuation of very hot and humid weather, this September saw enough precipitation that by the end of the month the fire danger rating dropped back to low. Fall arrived with Very Fall weather and two day into the new season, we had our first official fall storm, with weather advisories and everything.

September was never especially hot, though we had nice days. I gained half a pound, but at least 300 grams was sexy leg muscle, I’m pretty sure.

So, a mixed bag.

I’m expecting snow by Halloween.

It’s been a day


  • My first mini-run. Fastest 1K to date! Yay!
  • Taco dinner was yummy


  • Internet connection went down for the second time in a week (almost to the exact hour, hmm!)
  • Power went out for about 15 minutes (this almost never happens here)
  • I was baking bread when the power went out
  • Hot water is now out (probably due to the boiler shutting off and no one restarting it)
  • My weight jumped up 1.2 pounds overnight, putting me up for the month with two days to go. I try to convince myself it’s just dense, sexy leg muscle, but I’m not sure. EDIT: I checked, and my water weight increased, as did my skeletal muscle mass. The former is kind of neutral, but can explain weight gain, the second is actually good. So maybe a very slight increase in sexy leg muscle.
  • I had an interrupted, not great sleep
  • The above left me crankier than I’ve been in a good while. Or a bad while.


  • The bread survived, it’s just a bit lumpy, but in a lovable way
  • The dishwasher works, because it makes its own hot water. It’s smart!
  • I already had a shower post-run when hot water was still a thing
  • I’ll probably have weird dreams about some or all of the above tonight

Should we talk about the weather?

Today is the second day of Fall 2023. Tomorrow, as logic dictates, is the third.

We have a “special weather statement” for the third day:

I’m supposed to be running tomorrow. On the plus side, I won’t need to worry about getting a sunburn. On the negative side, getting clubbed by a laden tree branch would probably hurt a fair bit. I guess I’ll see how things look in the morning!

It’s the first day of fall, 2023 edition

Unlike the start of last fall, which turned out to really be the beginning of a one-month extension of a hot and humid summer, Fall 2023 has started out gray, with threats of showers in the afternoon, and a high temperature in the teens (17C).

Which is to say: Boo. I was prepared for a few more weeks of sun. I am not prepared for The Rains. Admittedly, lousy weather may help me be more productive at my various creative pursuits, though, because I won’t want to go outside.

Also, it’s time to revisit my evergreen post on the three seasons of fall.

Dreaming of giant cookies, and other things

I’m in a large, open food court or cafeteria. Although it’s a big place, it isn’t busy. I am going to order something to eat. As I walk by a glass display case holding food items, I notice an array of cookies that are the size of dinner plates. I am tempted, but will not order these, as I’m trying to lose weight, even in my dreams.

I get to the counter to order. A few moments later, another guy moves up behind me, then several others also join in. A girl approaches to take my order–except she ignores me and starts talking to the guy behind me. I stand there with a pretty convincing, “Whaaa?” look on my face before shrugging and moving on to another part of this giant cafeteria food place.

Here things get fuzzy, alas. All I can recall now is that I went to another food outlet of some type, and also failed to get food there for some reason, so I left the place, empty-handed and empty-stomached.

Another dream occurred sometime later: I am talking to two young women who are holding up some kind of line against a background of mountains in the distance. They want to know if the line is straight. Thinking about this now, it makes no sense at all, but in the dream it did, and I assured them the line was pretty straight. They seemed satisfied. I remember the mountains looked nice, and it must have been summer, because the sky was blue, and the peaks had no snow on them.

It felt like I was travelling.

I moved on, to a kind of outdoor shop that was filled with maps and outdoor gear and such. It was being remodelled, and the fragrant smell of fresh-cut cedar hung heavy in the air. It looked like about half the place had been remodelled using this raw, rough-hewn wood. I didn’t care, because in this dream, I just had to use the bathroom.

I got to the bathroom and again, everything was made from this rough-cut, fresh cedar. It was the best-smelling bathroom ever. The sink functioned in a fashion, but all the places where you could relieve yourself were covered in plastic and out of service. I had to leave because I couldn’t go. /zen

I later had a dream in which I was back working temporarily at my last job, something I would never do in a million billion years unless you, like, quadrupled my pay.

So the themes of this dreamfest appeared to be:

  • Not getting what I wanted
  • Getting things I did not want
  • Being somewhat helpful for odd purposes

Random thoughts from the internet, entry #435

My numbering might be off a little.

This comment is presented without context, because it could apply to a lot of people. If you absolutely must know who it references, click the spoiler below.

The quote:

When are we going to stop making stupid people famous for being both stupid and loud?

It’s not a great quote, by any means–some will bristle at using the word “stupid” to describe a person, for example, but I think what it conveys is an essential (and unfortunate) part of internet and social media culture, which is:

  • If you act stupid (substitute word of your choice here), you will generally be ignored
  • But if you act stupid and loud, people will pay attention to you, earning you “fame” of a variety
  • The internet allows anyone to be both stupid and loud
  • ???
  • Profit! The world becomes worse, by increments (at least to start)

In the end, this is basically about trolls knowing how to be effective, and the age-old advice for handling the trolls remains the same: Ignore them. When they are loud, it makes it harder to do so (think of a dog barking outside your window) but it can be done, and when the trolls don’t get any response, they eventually move on. Probably to a new troll, but eventually they may fall into the obscurity they deserve. Giving them attention, even when it’s calling them out for being “stupid” gives them the oxygen they need to continue.

None of this is new or revelatory. But just today I wanted to put it down in writing again. Life is about the choices you make, even when the choices are thrust upon you. We can all choose not to engage with the stupid and loud. And we should!

And now, a cat:

Identity of the stupid and loud person
Marjorie Taylor Greene

It’s the end of the decade as I know it (and I feel fine)

Today is my birthday. As is tradition, I will not be doing anything noteworthy to celebrate. This blog post is pretty much it!

This particular birthday is a milestone in a couple of ways, one of them in a reflective sense, the other a little more morbid1Which I will address as a footnote: I have officially outlived my dad, who died at the age of 58.

I’m turning 59, which means this is the last year I will fit into that 50-59 bracket. Next year, I will officially be Old. You know how surveys always divide age groups up? I am basically at the tail end of the second-to-last group now, after that, I’ll be lumped into that amorphous group of people that spans from 60 to whatever you get to. This group is apparently a demographic that does everything the same, so it is not further subdivided. Apparently I will eat, shop, and entertain myself at 100 in the exact same way as I will at 60. I can’t wait to start listening to country music in earnest.

I don’t feel old, though. In fact, after spending all of my 50s running regularly (barring injury/snow) I feel pretty decent2The weather could be better, though. They predict only a high of 16C today and a chance of showers. Decent for running, less so for basking in the final days of summer.

And that’s really all I have to say. Here, then, is the Bitmoji version of me eating a birthday cake:

This site has reached new heights! (of double digits)

I got my monthly Jetpack report, dig it1Do cool kids say “dig” now? I want to be hip again. I want to be lit, or a banger, or something.:

That number of visitors translates to about 12 per day! A dozen people! That is double digits. Double digits is only one away from triple digits, and from there the sky’s the limit.

I want to thank the following for making this success possible:

  • Birds
  • Jogging (?)
  • Lists
  • Doodlings
  • That writing prompt I did about a barista going back in time to kill Hitler

Top experts!

I used to subscribe to a newsletter from James Clear1This is an admittedly great name for a self-help guru to have. I obliquely made fun of him here. I dropped the newsletter because he sent a lot of mail, the advice got very samey, and ultimately it gets fatiguing to constantly read platitudes about how to be a better person, blah blah blah.

He’s back!

I received an unsolicited email from him today2CleanShot X makes this look far classier than it did in reality:

I like the unspecified use of “top experts” in the above. What are they experts in? It doesn’t matter, they’re top experts! Trust me. Actually, let’s have a look:

  • Serena Williams: Top expert at tennising
  • Neil Gaiman: Top expert at writing
  • Gordon Ramsay: Top expert at yelling

What “small behaviors3I’m using the American spelling here and my spell checker is getting mad at me” made these experts so expertful? Let’s see:

  • Serena Williams: Has probably played five thousand million hours of tennis
  • Neil Gamin: Has probably written five thousand million words
  • Gordon Ramsay: Has probably yelled at five thousand million people

The key to become a class master (surely the goal of a MasterClass), then, is to spend an extraordinary amount of time doing the one thing you want to be an expert at. This is prime TED Talk stuff right here. Further, the small behaviors would seem to be:

  • Find something you want to do (“I want to be an expert yak herder”)
  • Spend an inordinate time doing that thing
  • Top Expert!

Anyway, spoiler: I did not sign up to MasterClass™.

I already did, jerk!

The best, weirdest and worst instrumentals by The Alan Parsons Project

Over the course of its ten albums, The Alan Parsons Project released 20 instrumentals, though more on their first five albums (four of which start with an instrumental and the fifth, The Turn of a Friendly Card, starts with a pseudo instrumental that runs about two minutes before the vocals begin).

What follows are lists, because I love lists!

Top 5 Favourite Instrumentals

  • In the Lap of the Gods (Pyramid)
  • Lucifer (Eve)
  • The Gold Bug (The Turn of a Friendly Card)
  • Pipeline (Ammonia Avenue) and Paseo de Gracia (Gaudi) (tie)
  • Secret Garden (Eve)

Honorable Mention: Sirius (Eye in the Sky). This song is probably indelibly tied to sports team introductions now, but it’s still a terrific and dramatic intro to Eye in the Sky. “Mammagamma” from the same album is also very good, if a bit slick.

What all of the above songs have in common is atmosphere. “In the Lap of the Gods” is mysterious, soaring and melodramatic (see more here). “Lucifer” starts with somewhat unnerving strings and sound effects (including Morse code), fades, then comes back with a staccato drum and ringing guitar, before adding in the requisite choir. “The Gold Bug” does feature vocals without words, but these really serve as another instrument in a lovely, layered song. “Pipeline” is perhaps the most conventional on the list, but it’s so incredibly smooth it feels wrong to omit it. “Paseo de Gracia” ties–this closing instrumental is the only one to have a Spanish flavour, with horns and more fine guitar work by Ian Bairnson. “Secret Garden” also features worldless vocals (again by Chis Rainbow) and has a sunny, almost Beach Boys sound to its harmonies.

Top 3 Weird Instrumentals:

  • Total Eclipse (I Robot)
  • Chinese Whispers (Stereotomy)
  • The Fall of the House of Usher (Tales of Mystery and Imagination)

Honorable Mention: The two instrumentals from I Robot that aren’t “I Robot”.

“Total Eclipse” is the only Project song solely credited to conductor Andrew Powell, and it’s this weird, almost discordant song that sounds like a portent of doom, perhaps reflecting how ancient people feared eclipses. “Chinese Whispers” is an odd, short piece featuring a vaguely Asian-sounding acoustic guitar, with Eric Woolfson’s daughters providing murmured vocals. “Usher” is the longest song the Project did at over 15 minutes, and it’s divided into movements that encompass sound effects of a storm, the house collapsing, choirs and everything else. It sounds entirely different from everything else on all ten of their albums. The two “I Robot” instrumentals, “Nucleus” and “Genesis Ch. 1 V. 32” are largely mood pieces.

Probably the Worst Instrumental:

  • “Hawkeye” (Vulture Culture)

It’s not bad, per se, it’s just very bland. Without any orchestration, it leans heavily on sax and keyboard, which also helps date it as a very 80s song.


clean clear cold drink
Mmm, water. Photo by Pixabay on

When you’re hot and thirsty (after, say, just completing a long run), there is nothing more refreshing than cool, crisp water. This is not a revelation, but it struck me when I supped from the water fountain at Hume Park post-run today.

(This is also a blatant attempt to convince myself to drink more water.)