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.

Not Contrary At All

It is supposed to be thirty degrees today. If you’re reading this from the US, I should note that I’m getting pretty tired of writing Celsius on the end of my temperatures so as not to confuse you further, so I’m officially phasing out my unit conversion service, trimming back the excess overgrowth and organic creep, just like I did in my flowerbed for and hour and a half last night. On hands and knees I clipped a good five centimeters of overreaching lawn from the edging around my tulip farm. With this and the other winter dead fall I filled nearly an entire composting bag… from one flower bed. It looks darn good, even though it has yet to fully emerge for the season, but it makes me realize just how much yardwork I have to do in the coming weeks to catch up. Can you believe we had ten centimeters of snow less than two weeks ago?

Commuting by Feets: Season Three

It’s the last Friday in April and before I start work for the day I thought I’d note that I’ll be ending it by pulling on a pair of sneakers, meeting up with my partner in crime near her office, and starting the latest season of the Commuter Runs. I think this is the third summer? I packed light for my day, left all the unnecessaries at home, hopped a bus (coincidentally joined by another runner, one of the new folks who also works downtown and who expressed an interest in the commuter run club) and made my way to the office. When the day ends, I’ll slip into my gear, leave my civvies under my desk (to be brought home on Monday) and boot up the Garmin. Sixteen klicks of post-work, pre-weekend run-bliss await. But now I’d better go earn it. (Well, as soon as I finish my coffee.)

Mario Meets Zelda

After two months of mashing at Zelda: Breath of the Wild, I’ve made pretty good progress… but I still have plenty of work to do to finish the game. Sixty six shrines complete. Two sub-bosses subdued and two more on the verge of confrontation. Many of the sub-quests quashed. Master Sword owned. Wardrobe polished (though not quite maxed.) And of course the entire map unlocked. I’m going to keep pushing, of course, because it’s truly one of the most amazing video games I’ve ever played. But two things: spring might actually be here (fingers crossed) and Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for the Switch comes out this weekend… so… there will be some hard choice to be made.

28 Apr 02017 | asides & shorts | gamer
Even Split

Did I mention that I’m keeping track of my practice? Ridiculous track. Obsessive track. I’m treating my violining like I treat my running. Log everything. Track everything. Math it up in ways never before seen in the history of mathing things. (Well, maybe not that nuts.) So, I just thought I’d make a note about some random stat. It’s truly meaningless for anyone but me, but it is an odd sort of confluence of numbers. As of today, I have logged exactly 140 hours and 20 minutes of violin practice since starting in September: 70 hours and 10 minutes of that was in 2016, and 70 hours and 10 minutes of that was in 2017. Even split. See… I warned you it was pretty meaningless.

28 Apr 02017 | asides & shorts | musician
May Spring #PixelThread

I’ve neglected my photography lately. I admit it. I have this amazing camera sitting there and then I try to inspire myself to take more pictures, and it never really works out. The thing is, I always set these strict rules around challenging myself and then I bend them and then it flops and then I stop taking photos… so… fail. But here’s what I’m going to do. May has 31 days. I’m going to take 31 pictures (and post them here, of course). But there are no rules besides this: there needs to be a thread that connects one photo to the next, no matter how tenuous or how elaborately convolutedly explained by me, one photo needs to connect to the next. A palette, a subject, a shape, a mood… whatever. This is not daily. This is not themed. This is not even guaranteed to just be 31 consecutive photos taken and hastily posted on the afternoon of May 31st. It just is me kicking myself gently in the backside to take some photos. Hopefully nice ones.

28 Apr 02017 | photography
Summer Versus Violin

I’m not sure if my lessons stop when the summer rolls round. (You’d think I’d ask someone about that important little scheduling point.) But if they do, it’s probably a good thing. Not that I want to cut out my practice when the weather turns more hospitable to evenings outside, but I can already see that hiding in the basement playing mediocre fiddle tunes is going have some stiff competition from bike rides and long runs and mowing the grass and walks in the wilderness. Either that or I’ll need to find a way to combine the two: sit on the front porch a play some Bach for the neighbours? That might be interesting.

11 Apr 02017 | asides & shorts | musician

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