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  1. There are rules to Uno?
  2. Leap

    Fourth Quarter 2019 Reading

    I haven't read the Lightbringer books, but I have mixed memories of the Night Angel trilogy. I think I enjoyed them, I definitely read them more than once...but I also kinda remember it as having a pretty awful-even-for-fantasy portrayal of the main female character (Vi, or something). Is that right? I might be thinking of someone in the Demon Cycle, another YA series by a guy called Peter V Brett (as opposed to Brent Weeks). Anyway, I finished up with Richard III, which I really enjoyed by the end. The first few acts felt proportionally large though. Would love to see this played - perhaps I'll check out the McKellan film if I can. I also read Bill Browder's Red Notice, which I thought was quite good. Extremely interesting story and a lot of backstory that I personally found quite engaging, although Browder himself is a bit of an ambiguous personality to my mind. I'm currently reading W Somerset Maugham's Collection of Short Stories Vol 1, which is interesting to say the least. I think some of the shorter stories tend to not have too much beyond the obvious implications, but the longer ones have been quite fantastic. The foreword by Maugham leads me to suspect I'm not being quite as charitable as I should be though, and some of these stories are well worth a re-read. He is excellent at painting a scene though. I recall each short story quite clearly so far. I also started Treasure Island, by Robert Louis Stevenson. I'm really only a few pages into this one - about as far as I got the last time that I picked it up. This time, however, I am thoroughly loving it.
  3. Leap

    Fourth Quarter 2019 Reading

    Just finished Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House. This is up there with Paolini's Inheritance and Robert Jordan's Crossroads of Twilight as one of the worst books I've ever read. Firstly, it is extremely poorly written. It's little more than a loose collection of notes. Two defining features are Wolff's consistent abuse of commas and loanwords. Besides that, it's just sickening to read. In no small part this is because of the content - anyone looking too close at the Trump White House will certainly get that feeling of nausea. Mostly, however, the manner of this retelling is that it lacks self-awareness on a profound level. This is a book in many ways about a national (and international) reaction to a festering political climate, and it reacts to what it quite fairly calls a "revolution" exactly as an artefact of establishment "Swamp" politics would do - and with not a single trace of irony, though it is often called for. At one point, Wolff even describes the chaos of the White House as "having various anonymous hanger-ons and opportunists scurrying about". There is no wink to let the reader know that yes, he is one of those very unknowns. (this quote is my invention, but I am creatively paraphrasing what the line was as I can't recall and don't intend to open this book again). I think I'm going to have to put this book in the recycling. I certainly don't want to keep it, but I think I'd be doing a disservice if I gave it to charity. Total crap.
  4. New Kanye West album Jesus is King just released. Really enjoying it so far. It's nice to have an album that's so short but also manages to feel sort of full.
  5. I've been away this week but still managed to get in some miles (and build on the previous week, which is the important thing). That said, for a number of reasons all my runs have been fairly slow. I think that's partly because Edinburgh is a lot hillier than anything I've been running on for years now, but also just a sense of wanting to look around - and in particular not get lost. I did succeed in getting up Arthur's Seat the other night, but I definitely won't be attempting that again without a headtorch. Super dangerous, but also my favourite run in months.
  6. Agreed. I feel the same way about running watches, where you're paying 2-5 times as much for the higher models that only seem to have a few extra features. For 90% of amateur runners, that feels like overkill, especially on things like battery life where the base models have a pretty good duration already. Perhaps I'm undervaluing features like smart pay though... I've struggled a bit with running this week, but I have been out for 3 short runs. Today I did 6k, most of which was really steady - but I did go for it on a local Strava segment and got my first "CR", which is nice. Also a 1K PB in the process - 3:42. My second best half mile time is apparently 2:59, so maybe I'm not as close as I thought to a sub-6 minute mile...but hey ho. Back out tomorrow for a long slow run so at least my mileage will be back up.
  7. Couple of 5ks down this week, both at a steady pace. I wasn't as far gone as I'd worried with the press-ups. No difficulty in pumping out 30-50 per night, and more than that I can't be bothered with just yet.
  8. Leap

    Fourth Quarter 2019 Reading

    Yeah, I really enjoyed it. I'm a long way short of an economist, but I did think it was delightfully refreshing to have that sort of issue be the central story of the book. Downsides were: the trash female characters, some of the dialogue. It's not going on the favourites pile, but I did give it a 5 star rating on Goodreads because it felt so, as you said (perhaps colloquially), neat. Well crafted. I've heard of the Dying Earth books - I'll definitely put them on the to-buy pile now. That pile gets cleared way more often than my to-read pile! Next up, I'm going to pick up two books. Michael Wolff's Fire and Fury - started reading this when it was published but never finished it. I kind of hate this book, but I don't like to get rid of books half-read. I desperately want to put this away before the end of the month, it's been gnawing away at the back of my mind for years now. However, I already take in so much modern political content via podcasts, I'm not sure if I can handle more of the same in books without going completely nuts. But I don't have anything in with a light subject matter right now, so I'm going to pick up Richard III. It may be another book about a corrupt, vindictive and unlikable political leader, but Shakespeare is somewhat better than this Michael Wolff guy.
  9. Yeah. At my local parkrun, the fastest pace was 17:XX out of ~650 people. There are sometimes a few runners who turn up regularly and do it in the 16s, and might have a PB in the 15s, but the number of people who can do a sub-15 minute parkrun even among club runners has to be quite small. It's ludicrously fast. Speaking of ludicrously fast, I am somewhat far from that at the moment - it's been a very slow week. After my week mostly off, I ramped back up to 24km, but only the 5k I did was remotely quick. I managed 11km today at 4:59/km, but I was absolutely dead on my feet by the end. My heart rate was nearly at 190 on that last split, even though it was half downhill (granted, off the back of a split that was half uphill). However hard it was, anything below 5:00/km counts as alright in my book, so I'm not too disappointed even though I felt naff. This week I should be back up to 30-something km, and I'm going to set at least one session aside for 400m repeats. The only pace I can comfortably find by feel is 5:00/km, so I will try to get used to something a bit faster for short distances.
  10. What an incredible feat. Kipchoge will go down with the greats in sport and athletics, if he wasn't doing that before. Really glad I managed to switch it on for the last 10 minutes - this is probably the single greatest achievement in running history. I hope he tries is at an official event now. I don't really race short distances, but on the occasions that I've tried, my best 1km has been 3:40-something. Just under a minute slower than his average pace over the course of the marathon. I'm hoping to do a sub-6 mile at some point this year, which is just under 90s/mile slower than his average pace. Truly incredible. And Kipchoge's not bad either.
  11. Leap

    Fourth Quarter 2019 Reading

    Finally finished A Short History of England (Simon Jenkins). Not a bad read, and although I wouldn't say I had a poor grasp of English history I did still learn a fair amount. Not a big fan of Jenkins as an author though. Fairly heavy handed at times with bias typical of certain types of journalist, I felt. Perhaps that's unfair - I'm not familiar with his career. Still, glad to have read it. Definitely the longest 300 page book I've ever read - took me over 1000 years! Next up, Emphyrio by Jack Vance. I've never read any Vance before, although I'm under the impression he had some association with GRRM. I bought this book ages ago, so I'm quite glad to finally get started on it. I will clear that to-read pile, if it takes me ten years.
  12. Went out for a short jog earlier just to see how I felt. Bit of an ache in the cut when I got back, but not too much. Surprised by how quickly it has healed really - still looks pretty gruesome though, even with the stitches out. Couldn't really feel it while running, so I'll try to do 5k tomorrow morning and go from there. Itches like crazy!
  13. Thanks everyone, it is definitely sub-optimal. Only about 3 inches long but quite deep. It does seem to be healing nicely though, so I think I'll be able to get out for some jogs next week when I get the stitches out. For now I am milking it at work by limping occasionally.
  14. Well, no chance of hitting sub-20 5k this year. Slipped on Saturday night and now I have 7 stitches in my right calf. It doesn't really hurt much, but I'm definitely going to have to take the next week or so off. Good run on Saturday before that though, trying out a new intervals routine.
  15. Finally hit a sub-45 10k! Tonight's run came in at 44:33 (~4:27/km), which I am incredibly pleased with. Last week I had a succession of about 3-4 pretty tough runs, culminating with a draining 51:30 10k on Sunday, so this is doubly satisfying. To be honest, it has been a long time coming. My 10k has always trailed my 5k time by quite a bit, so the story of this summer has been bringing some balance to that (albeit unintentionally). It is quite odd to have made such huge inroads on it however - this is 1:12 faster than my previous best, which I only got two weeks ago. I had planned to do a 5 miler tonight, and I almost bailed on that and just did 5k. Glad I decided to go for it after the first few KM came in strong.
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