words from the "asides & shorts" desk

Looking for a quick fix of bloggy-goodness but too lazy to browse the home page? This is as about as close to a light-weight, flat-read, blog-normal version of this website as you’re going to get. Bookmark shorts.8r4d.com to come back here directly next time. (Blog-casting as of October 2013.)

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This Used to Be a Running Blog…

…among other things. It has become increasingly clear that I’ve fallen off the running wagon this year. On Saturday I watched on the socials as dozens of my friends ran around the city and province, training and racing in events including five klick fundraisers, long training runs, late-evening party races, favourite mountain events, and even an epic ultra marathon trail run. I ate pizza and wandered around the science centre. Albeit it was my only daughter’s tenth birthday party and I was playing the role of the good dad, but I didn’t even go out for a modest morning jog on Saturday. It didn’t even cross my mind. I tell myself over and over and over that “I’m gonna pick it up” again soon, get back into some serious training and maybe even some serious distance… but there is a motivational element that isn’t clicking these days. It used to be that I wrote about it, ran it, and then wrote about it some more. Maybe that was it? Stay tuned, I guess… this slump can’t last forever.

25 Sep 02017 | asides & shorts | running
D’oh! Homer is Dead. Long Live the Bread

Born April 2016… died September 2017. Sigh. For those who have been refreshing this page DAILY to read the next chapter in my sourdough bread making saga, I’m sorry to say it ended in tragedy. After a limp, bread-weak summer, we watched Homer the Sourdough (sour… d’oh!) starter goopify himself in the fridge. I’ll blame myself. It was largely neglect, and lack of due care and attention. But I hadn’t invested as much energy in the poor guy as I should have despite providing dozens of mixed-result loaves since we’d hatched him over a year ago. As far as starters go he was pretty solid, though I was never entirely, one-hundred-percent satisfied with his effort. I’m sure that was all my bumbling, novice opinion however and with a year and a half of sourdough experience upon which to draw I’m posting today as a marker in time of the bumbling counter-redemption. Last night I washed out Homer’s cage and set the trap for a new culture… and hopefully my yeast-hunting excursions will be fruitful. I should know by the weekend. My second-born starter may be announced in mere days. Stay tuned and feel free to suggest a name in the comments.

Not Not Writing

I understand that you probably get a little bit worried when I don’t post here for a while. But as the tens of you who read this blog have probably already surmised, it’s been a busy couple of weeks. Usually that would mean plenty of fodder for posting in this space — race reports, travel photos, and hobby updates — but alas, I’ve been finding that the few spare moments I’ve had have been almost exclusively consumed with other little projects. Three weeks ago I dropped a couple random web comics into this feed and disappeared… but in the meantime I’ve run two major races, planted my garden, came into possession of a pretty slick new running watch, had a minor (but measurable) breakthrough in my violin studies, and launched a whole new side project involving those same web comics, which now has it’s own blog, instagram account, and twitter feed all of which have already started generating more traffic in a few weeks than this sixteen year old blog. I owe you an update, but let me get my feet under me first.

7 Jun 02017 | asides & shorts | blogger
Fast or Slow?

I was reminded recently of an insightful quote (and comedy bit) from the late-great George Carlin. He joked: “Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?” The podcast where I heard it was using it as a metaphor for the current political era, in that it’s the same perceptual mistake we all make when was say something like “anyone who thinks right of me is a fascist and anyone who links left of me is a socialist.” We all think we’re driving the exact right speed, just like we all think we are the only person being perfectly rational in our political viewpoint. Unless you’re the fastest car on the road, you’re too slow for someone else, and unless you’re parked, you’re a maniac speeder. It’s all relative.

12 May 02017 | asides & shorts | politics
Ankle’d Out

It’s not super serious, but with just two weeks until a double-header race season begins, I’ve been sidelined for a few days with a ankle injury. Two weeks AGO I went out and did some wilderness. It was an awesome, single-track trail run, with some challenging terrain. And an hour after completing it I could tell that my ankle had only just barely cooperated. Not rolled. Not sprained. But maybe a little bruised. I didn’t push myself for the rest of the week and it felt pretty much fine. Then I opted in on the group’s nineteen klick long run on this past weekend, and fifteen klicks in I could tell that my ankle was not fully recovered. I limped back to my truck after coffee and it’s been pretty sore since. Well, mostly. Five days later I can still sense that it’s not one hundred percent right, but it’s not hurting nearly as much. So the age-old runners question blossoms once again to the surface: which is more important two weeks prior to a race? The last long training run, or ensuring that an injury is completely mended? I think I just answered my own question.

12 May 02017 | asides & shorts | running
Performance Ready (Almost)

I’s usually pretty tough to objectively judge the quality of one’s own playing, but it’s a good sign that while at my lesson after playing through one of my practice pieces, one that I’ve been working on for about a month now, Minuet 3 by Bach in fact, my instructor suggested we (finally) move onto another piece because that one is (apart from noting a few string bumps and scratches) pretty much “performance ready.” I’m not sure I’m performance ready, but I guess that’s a sign of progress, right?

12 May 02017 | asides & shorts | musician
Larger Than Life

Before you ask about it, some clarification: if you’re a diligent reader of this blog you may have noticed that I recently wrote and posted some odd quasianecdotes about some of my strange friends. You may have perused through and not really paid any attention to the categorization of those posts or the keywords stamped at the bottom. And then you may have thought, gee… Brad sure knows some weird people and why have I never met these folks or heard of them before? And again, before you ask about it, some clarification: as subtly stated on the metadata of these posts, they are fiction. I’ve been working on a little writing project to create some larger than life characters in the theme of exploring the writing of a personal mythos in the form of a series of tall tales. It’s weird, I know, but it’s just a writing exercise. What you might have read are just fun-house mirror personas and meant to purposefully exaggerate, mash together, and amplify along vectors of the imagination some of my real personal experiences, but they are ultimately fictitious and meant to be more faux than reality.

12 May 02017 | asides & shorts | writing
Two Thirds Asked

Exactly two years ago today the book I’d ordered for Miss C arrived in the mail and we started a three year epic project. We officially start lap three of “Q&A a Day for Kids: A Three-Year Journal” today, and when (at bedtime last night) I was asking her the question for May 4 I told her that we had finished two full years she got a look of panic in her eyes. “Are we going to buy another book when we’re done?” She asked. I shrugged and suggested that there may be one for older kids or teens or maybe just some other similar sort of project that we could pursue. “Yes.” She said flatly and with absolute conviction. So, parenting hack: your kid might complain virtually every day about something like this, but suggest that it might be coming to an end and their real feelings will burst out like a beautiful blossom of parenting awesomeness. I guess I’ve got a year to find our next book… or maybe just write my own.

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