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When I put together my 101 Things in 1001 Days list back in 2007, I included doing a "fun run" as the sort of end point to a series of running goals. At the time I was running a couple of miles fairly regularly, but not taxing myself. Other running goals on my list were Couch to 5K (which I could never quite get the hang of…too much structure), run 10 miles a week for 5 weeks (which wasn’t too hard after I managed to run 3-4 miles in a row), and interval training 3x a week for 5 weeks (pushing my pace seems to result in a unhappy joints, especially doing it for five weeks in a row). I was interested in testing my limits as much as simply providing things to do that would burn calories. Doing a fun run  would be a gut-check. Could become a confident enough runner to do a public run? (Granted, what I lack in confidence I make up in obliviousness. I am certain I would not want to see a video of myself playing ultimate during 2001-2007.)

Yesterday, I ran the Skirt Chaser 5K. I didn’t do it last year mostly due to fitness considerations. I hadn’t run at all in January 2009 according to RunLogger. From journal entries, it doesn’t sound like I was doing much else either. In the interim, I’d seen Skirt Chaser shirts and skirts and been a little envious. Considering that people I knew were doing it this time, I took the opportunity even if I hadn’t been running much this year either.

Per my advisement, Casey and Reif parked by my apartment and we’d took the light rail to quite-near Tempe Beach Park. Once there, we met with Laura, Josh, and Jeff (our cheering section/holder-of-stuff (And stuff there was. I didn’t remember that the fare kiosks gave change in the form of dollar coins and therefore didn’t warn Reif before he received $13 in non-runner-friendly currency.)). Much to my relief, this plan worked well. I was also very happy to have Laura there, considering the women’s start time was 3 minutes before the men. As a race veteran, Laura dragged me with her to near to front of the pack and was generally a reassuring presence.

As for the race itself, the experience wasn’t as I expected it to be. I’m used to saying, "I’m going for a run" and going. No waiting in line for a tracking chip or for the race to start amid other antsy people. As soon as the race did start, I was thirsty, needed to use a restroom, and most annoyingly, my shoes felt too loose. Running with people wasn’t as energizing for me, mainly because I was concerned that I was going to overpace myself. The course was nice, though again I was distracted by how I was doing that I didn’t enjoy it as much as I might have if I were running on my own. I slowed to a walk a couple of times to change my music and after the substantial hill about a mile in. I didn’t think I did very well and was tired enough to not think of looking at my time at the finish line. I was hoping for better than 30 minutes and figured I did about 29. (The results were posted this morning and I managed better than I thought: 27:39. Not the best 5K I’ve ever done, but decent for me. I crossed the finish line 241st (or with the 354th best time, if you subtract out the men’s 3min. penalty) (or 15th among women age 35-39).)

Post-run festivities included music and free beer which were loud and not that tasty. After Josh, Laura and Jeff took their leave, Casey, Reif and I adjourned to Rula Bula, a downtown Tempe establishment that I had heard about but never been to. Much better beer and atmosphere more conducive to conversations about television, movies, ultimate drama and lack of drug usage.

In all, a good experience, but made so by the people involved. Due to that, I’m really glad I didn’t do it last year.

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Anecdote: DVD Subscriptions

Netflix 4Q Profit Up 45 Percent –
It doesn’t hurt that Blockbuster has pretty much dropped the ball with their online service.

I’m a Netflix re-convert. I joined them back in December of 2005, dropped them in February of the next year when the throttling got to be too much and joined Blockbuster Online.

When I started, Blockbuster offered a free in-store rental each month, which was a nice perk. Then for a while in 2007 they had a ridiculous deal going on. As an online subscriber, you could return any mailed DVD in-store for another. With the 3-at-a-time plan, I was getting 6-slightly-staggered. They started losing money on that because, while a once a month coupon might entice a customer into the store to rent or buy something else while they were there, turning in three movies for three more doesn’t do that. When they raised the price of their subscriptions, I dropped them for a while. Not really because of the price increase (which was minor at that time), but because I had run out of things I wanted to rent.

When I was interested in their service again (April of last year), Blockbuster had changed their subscription structure entirely. In-store trade-ins were now a premium. Since I favor that $15 price point (and I have a feeling many other people do as well), I went for the plain old 3-at-a-time subscription. They were still better than Netflix, I figured. Things were good for a while. Blockbuster doesn’t throttle; they ship on weekends. But gradually, I ran out of movies that were available. Everything in a queue that included old and new, cult and mainstream, was at least on a short wait. Screw that, I thought. And I certainly wasn’t going to go to a Blockbuster store to rent movies while I was paying $15 a month to have a queue of on-hold movies.  So I went back to Netflix.

It’s only been two months, but so far Netflix has impressed me. The instant downloads are handy, especially since I like to have a movie going in the background while I work. I watch them on my laptop and generally the quality is good. They’ve changed their policy about damaged discs; they now immediately send a replacement or next disc instead of waiting for the other one to be returned. And surprisingly, when one of my discs needed longer for shipping, the sent the next quickly-available disc as well. Maybe Netflix is trying too hard now, but it’s working for them.  For the moment, it’s working for me too.

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The Woes of the Web

Notebooks: Where to Go When Google Notebook Goes Down:

Google Notebook isn’t closing down right now, but its users should see the writing on the wall. In the service’s official blog, Notebook’s project manager states that its team plans to “stop active development,”

Bastards. While I’m not a fan of Google Docs, I’ve always liked Google Notebook. It was very handy for aggregating a set of bookmarks and adding notation and bits of text. I use multiple computers and it’s nice to have everything synced online. Delicious isn’t quite up to the task that I require of it. I’ve tried Zoho‘s in the past, but I found it not as easy to use. (Aisde from the fact that Zoho is an under-powered service.) Alas, this is the downside of online applications. I guess I’ll try Evernote.

Time to get to work. Rewrites went well yesterday and I have chapter 2 slated for today.

Again, my body isn’t feeling too badly after practice Tuesday and disc yesterday. Last week, I suffered a flare up Saturday. I’m interested to see if that will happen again this week as a sort of delayed reaction. Eric has practice tonight, I’m staying home.

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Post-weekend update with a side of link salad:

Writing-wise, I did sort a water-treading thing, squandering one of my “ahead days” on Friday and holding with an even 1667 on Saturday.  It was a good rest. 
I played some EQ2 on Friday, which I haven’t done since October.
Huskers!Football won their game Saturday and Huskers!Basketball won their game today, so that’s all good.
Watched a few movies, nothing of note. 
Tried Culver’s fried chicken: it’s tasty, though not as tasty as custard with caramel.

I am now going to go read and try not to fall asleep until I’ve read a least two pages.

Links from last week that never got posted:

One of my 101 things is to identify 10 commonly held beliefs (mostly scientific) that are wrong. Hence a link to
Really? – The Claim – Tongue Is Mapped Into Four Areas of Taste – Question –

Tor’s Worlds Without Death or Taxes: When is a mainstream publisher also an anti-authoritarian propagandist? When it publishes science fiction. – Reason Magazine
I had never made the association between libertarian ideology and science fiction.  Anyone who knows me would not be surprised at this.

One more link pertaining to politics and maps:
330 – From Pickin’ Cotton to Pickin’ Presidents « Strange Maps


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NaNo Eve

First, a link of interest, considering Eric and I were talking of running and injuries the other day:
Learning More From Athletic Injuries –

Tomorrow is the beginning of NaNoWriMo. Today, I tried to get a few things done and mostly succeeded in being annoyed with the world. I won’t get into just what annoyed me, it’s not worth it. Since I’m embarking on a large writing project (my writing fling as I put in a previous entry), I figured I’d go through my 101 Things and clean it up a little. Some things on it were causing me undue stress. The list isn’t meant to do that, exactly. It’s meant to push, but not to the point where I’m avoiding the list. And since I’m coming up on the year anniversary of it (in a month and a half), I figure I’d evaluate what I’m getting out of it too. The cleaning goals haven’t become habit. The exercise goals have taught me that it’s hard for me to do anything for five weeks straight without associated joints acting up. The writing goals are…just sort of there. With writing, it’s a fine line. Weordan is an exhausting endeavor, but I never feel like I’m doing enough for my writing career. The one thing the 101 list has given me an excuse to do that I’ve found…enriching?…is visual art. I haven’t quite decided what art is giving me, but I had missed “doing art.”

Hallowe’en was again a bit of a let-down. While there were lots of kids out and about, very few come to our street, much less to our second floor apartment. I had four little girls visit us and then we went out reverse trick-or-treating: basically heading to the next street over and giving candy away. The bucket we took lasted maybe five minutes. I still had extra at the apartment, but no one else came by. Oh well, I’ll need the sugar during NaNo.

I will be working on a re-do draft of Fuel Eaters for NaNo.  The intention is to get a 50K draft based on the outline Eric’s worked up for it.  My first try at this novel was in 2005.  I got 25K done before the revisions took over.  I want to avoid that this time.  We’ll see how it goes.  I’m moderately excited.  I’ll be diving in at midnight.

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Barefoot and in the Kitchen

Arrr!Acquired a pumpkin yesterday after disc. Carved that baby up last night in pirate-ish style (see crappy web cam shot at right). I always toast up the seeds. It’s a level of cooking a can generally manage: two ingredients (minimum) and lots of room for error. But the velvety yellow pumpkin flesh always calls to me. People cook with this. There are possibilities for its use and it seems a shame to throw it out. Sort of dishonorable to the pumpkin to just toss it. Now, I’m not a great cook, and I was never good in chem lab. Therefore, I’m a really poor baker. Around 10-11 years ago, I made pumpkin cookies and I think it was about then that Eric told me that, for the good of society, I should give up on baking. I agree. Mostly.

I’ve been in a pretty rotten mood for the last week or so and I probably should have broke out the acrylics and pastels because writing creativity hasn’t been with me. Since I had pumpkin and all the other ingredients for this recipe, I figured I’d give it a try. I pureed up the pumpkin last night and set about creating Downeast Maine Pumpkin Bread this morning. What resulted does not look like the picture. Instead of dense and orange, mine is sort of spongy and dark yellow. Tasty, though. ‘Course, I’ll be the only one that will eat it, so only my opinion counts. (Eric doesn’t like pumpkin stuff anyway.)  It could use powdered sugar frosting or something, but I’m done with the tempting the baking fates.

I tossed my pumpkin seeds with a little butter (okay, Smart Balance), cinnamon, sugar, nutmeg and cloves before baking them. Didn’t turn out as good as I hoped, but decent once I added a little salt to them. Funny how salt brings out all the other flavors. And I really should stop eating pumpkin seeds while my tongue is still in one piece.

Cripes, I forgot I was cooking dinner/lunch today too. I wish I had a dishwasher…

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…and, supposedly, later today is Saturday.

Writing-wise, it’s been a mulling, quasi-block kind of week. I finished up the edits tonight at about 10:30. I just couldn’t get anything going without the stress of a deadline. And the carrot of my new MP3 player.

Eric caught a screaming deal on a 4GB Sansa. Yes, I fully realize that the rest of the world has moved on to very large iPods/iPhones. I am the anti-early-adopter. It seems to be a nice little player though I’m just now loading it up. It doesn’t do the retarded things that the CreAtive did when I used Media Player to sync, though the USB port on the front of this computer is a bit wonky.

Cooked yesterday. I made a white chicken chile that came out to be more of a green chili chicken chile due to my over abundance of peppers. It was edible.

Been restless. It’s the weather.

My knees hasn’t been too shabby. I think I might attempt a run sometime next week.

Too tired to add much else.