Dan Brown: Classical uniter!

I just finished inhaling Deception Point, a book by Dan Brown I found in my cereal. (Actually a coupon for a book, but let’s not quibble.)
I enjoyed it. It is light reading that is easy to get through. Trashy.
I also think he is a big fan of the classical unities. In the three books of his that I have read, they all take place in one day (unity of time) and don’t have much in the way of subplots (unity of action). He needs to work on his unity of place though as geography is no match for him. Which really stretches plausibility when he confines himself with the unity of time but still manages to traipse all over the Norman areas of Europe. Or in this case, Canada to the Jersey coast and places in-between.

Hunter vs. Gatherer

Today, after going out for (to?) lunch we discussed going to Best Buy. A deciding factor against going was that since it is a long weekend, it is easy enough to go on your own after work.
But going on your own isn’t as fun. When you go as a group it is a social activity. I am aware that when we get there, we all go off and do our own things. Some check out the DVDs. Others the latest cameras. A glance through the discount bin. But then we compare what we got, or discuss the latest in modern electronics.

“I get Nintendo Wii. What you get?”
“Me got Slings and Arrows season three. Good show.”
“Yours good. Mine better.”
“Ugh. You superior provider.”

Ankle avoidance

A friend from out of town came back this week. He wanted to go running. I am all in favor of running. However my ankle is still feeling crummy since the relay race. So instead I took him orienteering. I thought it would be a lighter exercise. It apparently wasn’t because my ankle feels worse now.
It was nice to see my friend again. However i still feel a little down. I had come to the realization that I am not going to get around to using my Ric’s Grill gift certificate; I have no one who really seems to want to go with me. So I gave it to him. Then, like a good friend, he starts asking the hard questions. Questions I don’t have good answers for. So now I’m wondering if I am where I want to be in life…
Oh wait. It’s not introspection week.

Never mind.

Sympathy and lack thereof

Let me tell you about leg six.
It was the one after mine. While Sharon was running it, Michael was driving the convertible and I was running out into traffic from it to support her. If she needs anything I had to get it to her as quickly as possible. I also don’t want to distract her much because she likes to zone out. She likes to zone out so much while she listens to the iPod that she starts to sing out loud. (We got it on film.)
While I was in front of her, waiting with some water, another runner (cute girl too) asked if the leg was nine kilometers of nine miles. I suppose the confusion can come from it being a 100 mile relay, but this is Canada. Nine kilometers. The next question was how far is that in miles. Since she was cute we figured out the correct answer and got the information to her as quickly as possible. Men will do almost anything for a smile from a cute girl.
Leg six is almost all downhill. Almost. The last mile is uphill. And after your leg muscles have had a long time to go downhill, they don’t switch gears easily. So she complained about it to me.
Please see the profile comparisons between my leg and her leg.
Yeah, not a lot of sympathy going on here.


Today I ran my leg. It was 17 km that was one long hill. And not the good kind (downhill). This was all up. (See the profile.) Strangely, there were places where it felt like downhill, but if a car is put in neutral you find that it was still going up. Optical illusion reinforced by a more gradual slope.
The first half hour was terrible. I was breathing heavily and wondering why I had signed up for this. The headwind didn’t help. After that, it actually didn’t feel that bad. I made good progress. The last half hour was once again horrible. It was a steep hill and it killed me. I usually did “ten and ones” (run ten minutes then take a one minute walk break) but on that final hill I was down to five and ones. I think I ran out of oxygen (altitude does that), which was weird because you would think the headwind was forcing it into me.
In the end I got a time of 1:39:08, which is about two and a half minutes faster than last year. Which means I want to try and do better next year.
There was an evening barbecue. It was interrupted by a bear wandering by on a high ridge until it was scared away by people with large guns and bear bangers. It was quickly blown out of proportion with people claiming it was a grizzly. I’m waiting until it becomes a polar bear.
Now I am relaxing at the Kananaskis lodge. I thought they might have wireless internet, but it looks like I have to pay for it. I’m cheap so I’ll post this later when I do have access. I’m thinking of abusing the pool, but there is a party for our group happening. I might go in the middle of the night. I haven’t had a good soak in a long time.
Of course the problem with that plan is that I am tired now. (And sunburnt.) I’m not physical tired, but sleepy tired. Mountain air is doing that to me. The air is also dry so if I start coughing, it takes me awhile to stop. My ankle is hurting, it has been since I finished the run. (It didn’t hurt during.) And I really want to brush me teeth. They hurt from all the sugar I horked back while trying to maintain energy.

B & E

I’ve got the K-100 relay tomorrow. So today I drove down to Priddis and broke into my parent’s place. They are currently touring the east. But their house is conveniently close to where I need to be. So, hey! Free room and board. As long as I don’t mess anything up. They are coming back tomorrow so there is less pressure to make sure the house is as pristine as they left it. I can leave things in the fridge for them.
I even brought a friend. Using the term loosely. I’ve only known her for an hour, but she is on the team and needed a place to stay. So here we are.
The drive wasn’t that pleasant as Calgary was full of construction. I think we had to wait twenty minutes total on the Deerfoot trail as traffic was reduced to one lane in two separate places.
I better get a good sleep tonight. I have an uphill run tomorrow.


Now that the boring introspection stuff is over. Let’s get onto other subjects.
Many years ago I had left my old hairstylist because she was going to another business. I decided to try a new place: See magazine had rated Swizzlesticks as the best place in Edmonton. For years I went there and had a nice stylist called Melissa. She then left me to go to B.C. Before she left she recommended I go with Pamela.
I usually book my next appointment after I’ve finished the current one. The last time I went I was told that they weren’t scheduling that far in advance; Phone back in a month. I was a bit later than that and I really needed a haircut. When I did phone, I found that Pamela had gone on to become a real estate agent.
So I’ve tried someone new today. But I’ve also noticed that See magazine no longer rates Swizzlesticks as the best in Edmonton.
Now would be a good time to try a new salon…

Introspection week end

Okay, the finale of introspection week. The personality trait I would like to get rid of?
I shouldn’t do it as often as I do. I should accept things and not analyze them.
Often, at a bar, if there isn’t something requiring me to pay attention (conversation, dancing, staring at half naked woman…) I’ll zone out. My mind won’t be there and I’ll think of other stuff. (Sometimes, horribly, I’ll think about what I should blog.) I won’t converse with people, and will be that creepy guy in the corner.
Live in the moment. Have fun. Take some risks.

Nothing wrong with that

Okay, not so much a personality trait, but another thing I would like to change.
I’d like to not act so gay.
I’m not gay, not that there’s anything wrong with that. But in the past I’ve had people who were surprised when I was attracted to women. “I thought you were gay.” Even a woman that I was nominally friends with for over a year.
My mother even asked.
And now a friend wants me to volunteer to be in the local gay pride parade.
I wish I could remember who said this, but I recall a good analogy. You can march in support of equal rights for blacks without people thinking you are black.

Stupid is as stupid says

‘Tis better to be silent and be thought a fool, than to speak and remove all doubt.
-Abraham Lincoln

The next personality-trait change?
This one is still related to confidence, but I would really like to not feel stupid after I talk.
I constantly expect that I’m going to say something dumb or offensive, and then people will think I’m a horrible person. Which will be true.
But you can’t not talk. The person at the party who sits in the corner and says nothing: creepy. He’s not going to make any friends. He’s not going to impress any girls. He will die alone. Unmourned. And unloved. We’ll call that Plan B.
An example: I have a gift certificate for Ric’s Grill. There was a girl in my running group that seemed nice. So I asked if she would like to join me and help me use it. I tried to make it a low pressure request. I don’t think I did anything wrong. But for the next week I felt as if I had said something bad. As near as I can tell, there was no basis for this.
That is what I want to stop: The anticipation that everything I say will be wrong. A corollary of this is that I start having my own opinion instead of changing mine to match the one of the last person I talked to.

The fact that the girl in question said we should make plans after the marathon and that that was the last I’ve seen of her shouldn’t be relevant to this discussion.

That certificate expires soon. I better use it.


Continuing the week of introspection. (Did I plan this? No, it just happened.)
So someone much smarter than myself (she’s closer to a psychology degree than I ever will be) asked me what is the person I would like to be.
This is a hard question.
The first thing that comes to mind is to be more confident; I would like to be able to start conversations with perfect strangers. To which it was pointed out that that doesn’t negate any current personality traits. But it is the feature I would most like to have. Yesterday I saw a pretty girl waiting for the elevator in my building. I said hello, but then continued on to the stairs. I would like to be the kind of person who could instantly realize that, in this case, I should be waiting for the elevator with her. And start a conversation that had meaning behind it.
I’ll see if I can come with any other traits as the week continues. Right now, all I can really come up with is confidence. And varying aspects of that.

Conservation of friends

There are only so many hours in a day, so there are only so many friends you can have at one point in time. If you go over your quota, you aren’t really paying attention to each of your friends. Your quality of friendship goes down.
If you get down to one friend, you are on the road to being a stalker.
I suppose some people can handle more friends and maintain a consistent level of friendship.
That’s why you have acquaintances and you have friends. Acquaintances are people you keep track of. Friends are ones that you do stuff with.
If you are only communicating with someone by reading their blog, you are not a friend. You aren’t dong anything together and getting to know them. This was pointed out to me by a (real) friend and I have to agree.
If I want to keep friends, I have to be proactive and actually converse with them. Be active instead of passive.


Since he got back, Steve has decided to like Kam. Why? Because without Kam, Steve would never have discovered smack, and without smack, he would have been trapped inside his old personality forever. (“Ethan, do you think I enjoyed being Ned Flanders every diddly-day of the week? [Expletive deleted] diddily-uck no. Every fibre of my being wanted to napalm the dry-erase boards, but instead I’d stand there smiling at pie charts, discussing how much of the budget we should allot for dried cranberries for the goodie bags at the Orlando staff retreat.”)

I didn’t learn anything about human rights, but later I did learn about how much my personality changed on smack. When I got back to Vancouver, I realized I was no longer a prisoner of that part of my brain that made me such a generic corporate suckhole. I found that I no longer cared about much of anything–that I could say whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. It was great.
-Douglas Coupland, JPod

I had some friends over yesterday. I had a schedule plan on my fridge; They made good natured fun about me. I am predictable and “That’s just like “. Other personality traits were pointed out and mocked. I will freely admit that I am an organized person, and fastidious about it.
I know it isn’t meant to be hurtful, but after awhile it gets to you. Am I the person I would like to be?
I have often said I would like to have a marijuana plant. Not to use for nefarious purposes. It’s a hardy plant that I could probably keep alive, and it would be a harmless act of rebellion. I have no interest in smoking it.
But it is probably better if I didn’t have the temptation sitting in my windowsill.

Not that I have any idea what marijuana looks like. Someone could give me a Cleome plant and tell me it was pot, and I would happily believe them.

Domo arigato

Last week I got myself a Roomba. Is it actually helping me clean up? It takes awhile for it to do its rounds of the room, and it is fascinating to watch. So I don’t know if I’m saving any time.
And it seems to really like bumping against my Wii. I don’t know if that should feel creepy.


Movie night was Raiders of the Lost Ark.
It brings up a question.
Moses got the ten commandments and took them down the mountain. And then in Exodus 32:19:

And it came to pass, as soon as he came nigh unto the camp, that he saw the calf, and the dancing: and Moses’ anger waxed hot, and he cast the tables out of his hands, and brake them beneath the mount.

So in other words, Moses destroyed the only actual evidence of the ten commandments before anyone could take a look at them.
For all we know, the ten commandments we know and love are a complete sham. Moses could have been saying what he thought would sound good, or would make him look better.
What might the actual ten commandments been before being edited?

Best laid plans of tigers and men

I had plans for today. I was supposed to sort through my books. I was supposed to clean up my butler table. Instead I played some computer games.
In the afternoon I did get around to going to Costco, with the full plan of doing an evening rollerblade along river valley road.
Unfortunately I read a chapter of Life of Pi So, as so often happens, I have now finished the entire novel.
I’m not hungry enough to eat (having eaten a hot dog at Costco) and am tempted to sit on my (cool) balcony with my laptop and keep playing the computer game.

Lunch date

Yesterday I ate my lunch outside. There is a green lawn next to the parkade. Even a cement block that isn’t so uncomfortable that I can’t sit on it. I can bring a magazine and enjoy the nice weather. I’ve done it before and it is nice.
This time, I noticed a magpie had settled in the lawn and was looking at me. I suppose if I had seen The Birds I might have been creeped out by this.
When I took out one of my apples, it started chirping at me. I think I know what is going on now.
In previous times, I’ve always thrown my apple cores into the bushes. They are going to biodegrade, so why not spread the nutrients around. Last week I spotted some small fuzzy creatures hauling the remains of a core away, deeper into the bushes. So someone must be getting some use.
It went away for awhile and I threw the core onto the lawn. A few minutes later it was gone and the magpie was horking it down in the bushes.
I’ve created a sucky bird.