Monthly Archives: September 2011

White Rock Racing Labor Day 5K

For the first time in what seems like sixteen thousand months, the temperatures on Labor Day morning were below seventy degrees.  Perfect day for a run, at the White Rock Racing club’s Labor Day 5K/15K race.  And the cooler temps must have been a factor, because I shaved over a minute off my personal best for the 5K.

(That graphic is clearly for last year’s race.)

Overall I clocked  27:28, down from 28:32 last month, for an 8:50/mile pace.  That placed me 40th overall, 32nd among men, and 4th among men in my age group.

Overall I felt good.  I had enough gas in the tank for a strong sprint at the finish, and I wasn’t shouting “NEVER AGAIN!” afterwards.  Just a few minutes of walking around gulping Gatorade, and I was ready for the next race.

I love this sport.


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The Android’s Dream

Here’s another humorous science fiction novel by John Scalzi, The Android’s Dream, being a nod toward Phillip K. Dick’s seminal SF classic, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Harry Creek is a State Department bureaucrat tasked with smoothing over a trade negotiation snafu with the warlike alien race Nidu.  Creek is a computer geek, war hero, and nice guy in one package with the job of locating a special breed of blue-wooled sheep required by the Nidu for their next coronation ceremony.  But other forces decide that a good healthy war is just what Earth needs to bump up its status amongst the alien races.  So Creek struggles against government assasins, alien marines, and the disciples of the Church of the Evolved Lamb, the one (?) religion that openly acknowledges that it was begun as a scam.

There’s action, humor, and some backhanded criticism of patriotism and religion, all in a fast-paced story.  The central characters seem a bit too good to be true, but the story spins out to a satisfying conclusion.

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Filed under Books, John Scalzi

The Wise Man’s Fear

I recently finished, for the second time, Patrick Rothfuss’ newest book, The Wise Man’s Fear.  This is Book Two of his Kingkiller Chronicles, in which magic adept Kvothe (rhymes with ‘quoth’) makes his way with wit, skill, and a little bit of luck.

I was thoroughly impressed with the first book, The Name of the Wind, recommending it to fantasy readers at my store.  I describe it as Harry Potter with a darker, more interesting main character.  I have no compunctions to recommend Book One to young and old.

Book Two, however, goes into a different direction, involving more sex than some parents might feel comfortable for their younger readers.  The story is also more episodic, which might frustrate some readers used to the more linear narrative of the first novel.  But for those okay with all things Kvothe, this book is significantly longer, and explores more of his storied past.

I’m a fan, that’s for sure, and I eagerly await Book Three.

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Filed under Books, Patrick Rothfuss

Sailors on a becalmed sea, we sense the stirring of a breeze…

I’m a big fan of Carl Sagan, and particularly the Sagan Series, a collection of videos featuring our planet in its glories and perils along with the unique and familiar voice of Sagan.

The human race has a particular trait, in that because we need to eat and sleep and other things of basic survival every single day, we tend to focus only on the here and now.  We’re like cattle, heads held down low, munching on a tuft of grass.  When that one’s eaten, we move on to the next tuft, still with our heads down low, eyes fixed just a few inches before us.  Then we munch more grass, then more a little ways ahead, and still more.  And after a while, when we finally lift our heads and look around . . . we have no idea where we are.  We’ve wandered far astray for the simple reason that we’ve only been watching our feet and the ground directly in front of us.

It’s hard, and not popular, but Sagan encourages us to lift our heads sooner rather than later, to measure how far we’ve come and we we are going, lest we find ourselves trapped in a peril of our own making.

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Filed under Carl Sagan, Science