The March “Last of the snow?” treadmill run

I was actually planning on using the elliptical tonight, but they were all in use when we got there and I was too impatient to wait for one to free up. On the other hand, a bunch of treadmills were free, so off I went, planning to do the same interval thing as the last few times (which I duly executed).

Here are the stats, with the previous treadmill run results in brackets:

 Distance: 4.24 km (4.10)
Time: 29:28 (29:05)
Average pace: 6:57/km (7:06/km)
BPM: 157 (159)
Calories: 330 (330)

The calorie burn likely stayed the same because I was up a bit in weight vs. last time. Overall I saw minor improvements in each category, so I am pleased, but not doing cartwheels because the improvements are quite modest. Also, I’d probably seriously injure myself attempting a cartwheel.

Jeff wants to go more often, so we’ll see if that happens. If it does the stats should continue to get better and when my average BPM drops low enough, or it stops being so unseasonably cold, I’ll resume runs outside.

Clickbait secrets revealed #1

The world is a busy place and the internet is part of the world, so it’s also a busy place. I’m here to help.

Instead of having to click on a clickbait link and then read an actual article and junk to glean the valuable pearls of wisdom within, just read below for the actual clickbait content*. Save time, save money!

Clickbait title: Self-Made Billionaires Like Warren Buffett and Elon Musk Prove If You Don’t Make Time for These 6 Little Things Every Day, You’ll Never Be Successful

Clickbait secrets revealed:

  • Eating
  • Sleeping
  • Breathing
  • Pooping
  • Not getting run over by a bus
  • Dumb luck

* not actual clickbait content

The MacRumors drinking game

MacRumors has a large and active forum and each news post on the main site also gets automagically turned into a forum thread in the news discussion subforum. Certain people will use some of these threads—well, really, nearly all of them—to dunk on Apple and the various things the company is or isn’t doing (or is perceived to be doing or not doing). The actual topic of the thread is often irrelevant.

Here’s a fun (?) drinking game. Take a drink any time someone mentions the following in a MacRumors news post discussion thread. NOTE: I am not responsible for any blood alcohol poisoning that may result.

  • Refers to Tim Cook as:
    • Timmy
    • Tim Crook
    • A bean counter
  • Fire Tim Cook
  • iSheep
  • iToy
  • Emojis
  • Animojis
  • Memojis
  • Watch bands
  • iWatch
  • Touch bar
  • Butterfly keyboard
  • Apple is now just a fashion brand
  • Where is the new Mac Pro?
  • More to come…

Meditating on meditation

I have a decent beginner’s guide to meditation and the only reason I haven’t read through it is because the book strongly encourages you to read and then immediately do each exercise on consecutive days (for maximum effect), and I wanted to wait until I had a block of time where I could commit to doing that without the possibility of interruption.

Which naturally turned into an excuse to keep putting it off because I never have time when secretly I do and I am either lazy, afraid or some combination of both. Lazfraid. Afraizy.

So tomorrow I start with the first exercise. I successfully trained myself to be a long distance runner after not running for 20+ years. Hopefully I can manage sitting still and not thinking.

March 16, 2019

This is the date that The Weather Network is promising Vancouver will reach double digits for the daily high for the first time in 100 years. The temperature is alleged to reach 10ºC. I will ya out my shorts and t-shirt that morning in anticipation. They are also forecasting showers, so I will also include an umbrella next to my shorts and t-shirt.

With spring approaching this month and the promise of un-cold weather in the near future, let’s review Winter 2018/19:

December: This month was a bit of a throwback to winters of yore, which is to say it was relatively mild and not-so-relatively wet. It rained a lot and I spent many-a-minute eyeing the traffic roaring at highway speed along Brunette Avenue, hoping to avoid being sprayed by a giant wave kicked up by an 18 wheeler. I was mostly successful. No snow. Yay.

January: Mild with some cold days and pretty dry. This is similar to a lot of the winter weather we’ve had in recent years. I like it. Only a few traces of snow. Yay.

February. The entire month was pretty much 3-6 degrees below seasonal temperatures. And it snowed. Not once, not twice, but more than that. Some snow was wet and gone the same day, but the last snowfall has become semi-permanent as daytime temperatures have been too low to melt it much and nighttime lows have been consistently below freezing. We had an actual snow day at work. I am kind of over the cold and snow now, so no yay.

Early March has been more of the same, with cold temperatures, though it seemingly got up to 9ºC today. While it has been getting slightly warmer, this has been offset by sharp winds that end up making it feel even colder than when it’s cold. No yay.

If I was actually running outside right now…well, I wouldn’t be, because there is too much compact snow on the trails, as was the case two years ago during The Great Snow of 2017. At current rates of melting, the trails might be comfortably run-worthy in two or three weeks–assuming we don’t get more snow or another polar vortex or a frost giant heavy-breathing over the region for a week.

The final question is: Why are people so fascinated by the weather? I can only assume it’s because there’s no way to avoid it. And getting soaked by an 18 wheeler hellbent on hydroplaning is an experience you are not likely to forget.

Book review: Dead Shift

Dead Shift

Dead Shift by John Llewellyn Probert

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is a fast-moving and witty romp that starts with a cancer-riddled old man completing the proverbial deal with the devil shortly after being brought into Northcote Hospital. He summons Terrible Things, gets his just reward (not so good), then leaves the hospital staff to deal with the cosmic horrors he’s invited to our dimension.

Complete with a literal shout out to Lovecraft, Dead Shift is full of gruesomely gory scenes and characters both smart and sarcastic. They take the whole “world transforming into some unspeakable place” thing well, considering.

The story zips by quickly and though the climax is predictable, the journey getting to it is entertaining as the three central characters–a doctor, a pathologist and a staff nurse–team together to undo what the old man has done, showing resolve, ingenuity and that ineffably dry British wit along the way.

The only reason I rate the novel three starts instead of four (come on, Goodreads, add half stars already) is I felt there was an unnecessary tonal shift in the final scene. It is rather humorlessly grim, unlike all that came before it, and feels designed more to show off a shock/twist ending. As such, it left me disappointed, because the twist is trite and doesn’t earn the abrupt shift in tone.

Everything before is a spiffy take on the ever-growing library of Lovecraftian fiction. If you like yours with a dash of sarcasm and a handful of sensible characters that don’t behave stupidly to advance the plot, Dead Shift is recommended.

View all my reviews

Cold weather writing prompts

Apparently Vancouver set a record for low temperatures in February and I can vouch that it was pretty chilly for this particular patch of the planet. What better way to celebrate (?) than a bunch of questionable cold weather writing prompts.

  • It’s said there are 500 ways to say “snow.” Come up with another 500.
  • Write an action adventure about a snowman caught in a hothouse. Throw in some vampires, too.
  • Imagine you were caught up in the mountains during a raging blizzard. That would really suck. You’d probably die or lose all your hands and feet or something. So write a romantic comedy featuring anthropomorphized raccoons instead.
  • List 10 things to do with snow and hard liquor
  • Write a story where one night a magical frost gnome appears and grants you anything you want, as long as it rhymes with frost
  • The first time Betty went ice skating she fell and fell and fell. She just couldn’t skate. Everyone laughed! But Betty wouldn’t let others get her down. She practised and practised and got better and better. Then she got got run over by a Zamboni on the night of her Olympics competition. Write the story as a safety brochure on Zamboni driving.

February 2019 weight loss report: Up 0.8 pounds

Well, poop. Or fat, to be more precise. If February ended yesterday I would have been down for the month. Alas, it did not and my slight overindulgence yesterday resulted in SWI (Sudden Weight Increase). I was up a little less than a pound for the month, but in my defense, 0.8 pounds is a modest increase. My weight regularly shifts up and down by that amount on a nearly daily basis.

But it still means I was essentially treading water (or retaining it) for the shortened month, and the small increase of body fat was not encouraging.

I am starting to exercise more, something I intend to ramp up starting next week, assuming we are free of blizzards for the last few weeks of winter. And I’m getting better at enforcing my “no snacks after dinner” rule by drinking tea and subsequently running to the bathroom a lot.

I also remain donut-free.

For the year so far I am only up 0.4 pounds and there’s an excellent chance that could be wiped out when I step on the scale tomorrow. So while things are not moving as quickly as they could be, I still feel I am headed in the same less-fat direction.

As always, the stats:

February 1: 167.1 pounds
February 28: 167.9 pounds (up 0.8 pounds)

Year to date: From 167.5 to 167.9 pounds (up 0.4 pounds)

And the body fat:

February 1: 19.6% (32.8 pounds of fat)
February 28:
19.7% (33.1 pounds of fat) (up 0.3 pounds)