Friday, August 30, 2013

Total lack of suckage in a busy day!

Late Thursday as I rearranged novel bits I discovered several bits having an argument about who came first. All for of them thought they did, and it got confusing. I had only ever looked at them individually before. Now I have to separate them out, and do so carefully, as it will totally affect the ending. I'm pretty sure I know how I want to arrange it, now I just have to do it.

As you will recall my last run sucked very badly, but this morning I woke up knowing I'd have a good run. Funny how that is sometimes. I made some coffee and ate breakfast, thinking about where to run, and how hard. After that settled I started warming up, then headed out while it was still cool. Lots of things to do so I couldn't wait for the warm part of the day.

Those 3 K in the middle are probably the most overall consistent 3 K I've ever run. That pace used to be a fast race pace, but today was a nice relaxed run. Even the really fast bit in the middle didn't feel all that fast. My feet and legs felt relaxed and happy. I could easily have run further at that pace, but I had other things to get on with. Not quite so much of a stretch after as I normally do.

I was pleased to discover that I have to pay business tax. That means I got to keep all that money earning interest for me, rather than the government deciding to give some back, after I prove it owes me. Shortly I'll have to write a cheque or transfer money to several places, but that's just fine.

Taxes are the price of a civilized society. That's a bedrock principle for me. There are too many benefits of living in the modern world to list them here. Nobody would read a blog that long. These things cost money. Plain and simple. If you want to be part of this society, you should be paying to support it. (With a recognition of special circumstances for some.)

If you want a team of people standing by that are both willing and able to deal with a house fire, for example, should you be so unfortunate as to have one, you have to pay them for the time they are not putting out fires, as well as training to deal with fires, and their equipment, and a system that coordinates their response with other emergency services. It's all of a piece. You can't just pay for the time they spent on your house.

We don't have children, yet I recognize that having well educated children leads to well educated adults, and a much safer society because they are more likely to earn a living legitimately, rather than stealing from me. Schools cost money, which comes from my taxes. I'm pissed off that a public education is gradually becoming less public because of ever increasing fees. It's already reached the point that some people can't pay. The whole point of a public education system is that it should be public, there should be no additional fees for the basic service.

I get really annoyed when I see people piecemealing up their taxes, and saying they don't want to pay any of them because they disagree with how some of them are spent. That seems to me like someone buying a condo on the first floor, and not wanting to pay for elevator repairs because they never use it, or roof repairs because no water is coming into their unit. Idiots. The USA has a really bad case of this.

That isn't to say that governments should be allowed to spend willy nilly. There should be oversight. Like those thieving bastards in the Senate. Every one of them should be audited to within an inch of their financial lives. What they've been doing is theft, and any other employer would have fired them long since. Think of the charity you most support, and think of what a difference it would make to them to get the money stolen by the political Senators. 100K each times 108 is nearly $11 million. Maybe some of them are innocent, clean as driven snow. I won't believe it till they are audited. Then once they get up a head of steam they should start on the House of Commons.

When you come right down to it, the reason I have to pay tax is that I earned an income that generates a tax payment. I've been very fortunate the last few years in my work life, and since from a banking perspective I work for myself, paying personal or corporate taxes is a bit of a 6 of one half dozen of the other kind of affair. There are ways I can legitimately reduce the amount of tax I pay, and I take conservative advantage of them. It takes me a couple of work days to pay for my accountant to do my corporate taxes, and it's probably the best money my company spends in the year. The last thing in the world I want is to trigger an audit because some computer program thinks my expenses are too high or my deductions are just a bit too creative. I'd rather pay a bit of extra tax.

How many of you have been to a function where many people have to split a large bill, and the contributions come up short? Yes, all of you. I thought so. The price of the meal is a certain amount, and even though it's detailed on the bill, people always seem to underestimate their portion. They "forget" drinks, or grandly say their part is $x, and leave, or make a "mistake" in their calculations. Or they piss and moan about the automatically included gratuity because these big groups are hell on the restaurant, and say they never tip that much. Suck it up assholes. This is why the tax system is structured the way it is.

I don't mind at all paying my share. The system should be able to show what my fair share is. The same goes for our other goods and services. They all cost something, but often it's so complicated that nobody knows what anything actually costs now. That, and a recent mindset that thinks that everything should always be cheaper, has led to a society where fewer and fewer people actually want to pay for anything. This will quickly turn into anarchy.

Then I dropped Linda off, and headed for my massage. There has been steady progress since early this year, with my body gradually relaxing. AE is doing amazing work. If you're looking for a good massage therapist in Calgary, ask me nice. Now I'm running again, and I'm still less tight than I was (last week excepted). Yay me! The only surprise was just above my right knee. It wasn't bothering me even a bit, but it was surprisingly sore.

Then I got Linda again, she was done early. She is fine and happy. You don't want to know any more than that.

Now we're having a nice evening, getting into the long weekend. Life is good.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Well, that sucked

I guess my readers don't like it when I don't intrigue them with a teaser in Twitter and Facebook. Hardly anyone read that last post. Not that I had much to say.

Tuesday and tonight are writing nights. I'm getting things arranged into a first draft order. Not quite chronological in the beginning. Dropping out the bits that don't support the narrative. There are lots and lots of words there. My first goal is to tell the story, and damn the word count, though I know I'm going to be way, way over the word count for a typical novel. From there I can decide if I want to trim it down to novel length, or make it two different stories. This is a very conversational book, so far. (which is an in joke for my characters and me.)

Wed I tried running again. It looked like this.

I don't usually complain about my runs, but this was dreadful. In hindsight I shouldn't have done it. My hips were still a little bit stiff, and my legs felt very heavy. Most of the time they come around after an easy start. Not this time. It got worse and worse. I started by favouring my left leg a bit, and then more and more. It was warm and humid, and  I didn't think it was that hot, but I could not get my breath.

That big rise in the graph? I had to stop and walk. I got this nice shot though, so it wasn't a total loss.

I did a bit of a stretch there, and tried running again. No better. There was about a K to walk to get home and I was limping pretty badly by then. Bed called me pretty early, and I was sure happy things were much better this morning. The only thing I can think of is sitting on the ground several hours for the fireworks festival.

The pretty picture I was too tired to show you earlier was this one, looking NE from Glenmore and McLeod Trails. No manipulation of this one at all. I'm sure looking forward to this 4 day weekend, though I've got lots to do.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Fast tired writing

Sunday night I was up way past my bedtime. We had a quiet day here then went up to the Global Fest fireworks display. It's pretty amazing. The fireworks are some of the best you'll see without having to travel to specialty shows. The food vendors are varied to say the least. The cultural displays are fun.

The only problem is the traffic. Picture 20,000 people and no parking to speak of. None. They close off roads and the nearby neighbourhoods. We parked in a mall parking lot about a kilometre away. That's not bad for us to walk. The worst is getting out again. I very carefully chose my spot, and we got very lucky. Just 25 minutes after reaching the car we were home, and almost all of that was driving. It's about 25 minutes. Last year my buddy Gord was not so fortunate, and we were in the car about an hour before we got 100 m from the parking spot.

If it wasn't for that we'd probably buy a pass and go to all the nights. Explore the cultural stuff in a bit more detail, a few at a time. But dealing with traffic after is brutal. There are shuttle buses, but they can't move till the huge wave of humanity leaves.

If I'd been on the ball I'd have run on Sunday, but didn't. When I got up Monday I was very stiff and creaky. I gradually worked through it during the day, and with a good warmup I was almost ready for a run in the evening. It was slow and heavy, and not too long, but it was a good warmup for some stretching and core.

I thought of a variant on the thing I wrote that was supposed to be an ending, that works better. I had some plotting ideas at work today and scribbled them down. Now I'm playing with it a bit, actually rearranging text and chapters. This is kind of fun. If I got left alone for a little while I might have something that was almost the first draft of a novel.

Too tired to show you the pretty picture, though you might have seen it on Facebook or Twitter.
Too tired to show you the runmeter graph that I'm not sure I believe tonight.
Too tired to pick the nice labels that warn you what you are getting into. Suck it up princess.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

4028, or 35, whichever you like

Today I was determined to start writing out the ending. I should be getting used to abrupt left turns because it happened again. 4028 words worth today alone. The conversation is a bit wordy, and one sided, and not quite what I expected. Still, I'm very pleased. I'll have to think about if this is a step to the ending, or is actually the beginning of something else. Hmmm. None of this would make any sense without reading what comes before it, so I won't post any snippets.

I was not BICHOK all day. It was beautiful so I went out for a ride. I had no idea what to expect, and that's what I got. I flatted barely 2 K into the ride, and didn't get the chain back on right so it popped off on the inside of the cassette. That's never happened to me before, and I got my fingers all mucky getting it out again.

This was an easy spin around the neighborhood for 35 minutes, plus another 15 dealing with the flat and the chain. My calves were all tingly on the one little hill I tried, so I don't think I'll be out to Road to Nepal this year, unless they come around really quick. I could feel the rust on my bike handling. Estela was grumpy about not being ridden so much this summer.

Three months ago I bottled this Portuguese Aragones Cabernet Sauvignon. There is still the faintest hint of carboy rawness, but it's a nice crisp dry wine with lots of fruity zing to it. It went very well with the BBQ chicken for supper. There is some nice body to it, and I think it's going to be excellent in another few months. I like these kinds of labels. The plastic will peel off without any residue.

Friday, August 23, 2013

773 to 610


Writing, mainly. I had these two scenes in my head and wanted to get them written down before they went away. I'm up to about 7,000 words, and there was very little writing Thursday. This morning I woke up realizing I wanted to take another run at the Tango scene. (No, Stampede bars typically don't play Tango music, but some C&W music has a Tango beat.) From the same start, to the same end, the original had 773 words, and the rewritten version has 610 words. I've just reread them both, and the rewritten version is better. It's probably still too long, but good enough for now.

I think that scene is over, with them walking back to the table after the dance. We don't need to know what happened on the way home. I think. I was reviewing my notes about the book ending, and I'm trying to work up the nerve to write it. There's a bit of a gap between what I have, and the ending I want. What's that called? A leap of faith? Something like that.

Thursday night was my writers and bloggers meet up. Lots of fun, mostly we talked about the recent writing convention. We had a 5 word game. Mine was - The CASTLE guard ate a LEMON TORTILLA and was overcome with EMOTION as he vomited onto the STRAW. That got a round of applause, but I hadn't realized we were supposed to write 2 paragraphs. I though it was MAX 2 paragraphs, and I was feeling like being short.

Ran through Fish Creek this afternoon before the rain, aiming for an easy run the whole distance, and this time the Runmeter mapping worked. Here's the route.

What's interesting is that The big downhill into the park starts at 2K. I don't know what that huge dip is that the chart shows just after 3 K. The path is pretty flat there.

The big spike at 4 K is running on the trail where the path washed out, complete with roots and a tricky side hill that had me walking. The slow bit on the hill up 24th St is self explanatory. I was hoping for 7 K, but settled for 6, with my feet and legs still happy. I think another K would have got miserable pretty quickly. A good stretch and a bit of core rounded it out.

Some photos. I was sitting on the patio the other day, facing the window for some reason. I was taken by this grumpy cat face.

My feet haven't even been out of those shoes for more than a few seconds after a hot run. I was trying to get her with her little face right in the shoe, but she was too quick, the little cat sweat pervert.

After the rain today, a rainbow. This is the first one I've Snapseeded.

Oh, and the final review of business tax paperwork. I must get that done this weekend. I'd rather be writing.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013



The house number finally arrived. They've had a few problems with it, but all done now.

This happened just after my run. My left quad is really tight so I didn't want to over do it. 3K, 21 minutes after a good warm up, and some stretching after. Linda rolled my hams. I pummeled the offending quad. It's better now.

I had this great pair of scenes come into mind. It's just great when things write themselves. Nearly 5,000 words later in just a couple of days. Love it. I think Les is about to get propositioned by 3 different women. One couple formalized their arrangement, to nobodies surprise. Another secret relationship is about to be revealed. And Dwen, what will happen to Dwen? What's the worst that could happen, is always good writing advice.

Here's the start of the bar scene, exactly as first written. It's during Stampede, if that means anything to anyone.

“Guys, this is Annette. She’s a buddy of mine and I will not hear of her getting stiffed on drinks or a tip.” Ronnie tucked a $20 into Annette’s halter top and tossed more on the table. “Ante up for beer, and virgin drinks for Les and BJ, coz they’re the only ones driving home tonight. Pitchers of draft as needed till the money’s gone, Annette. And for God’s sake, when this crew starts ordering shooters, get it in cash first and batten down the hatches.” Bills quickly piled up on the table and Annette scooped the lot as Ronnie and Ben poured and passed glasses around.

They all toasted each other. “While we’ve got your attention, and before you think we’re doing it because we’re drunk, Blair and I have something to say,” Carol said. She swung her leg across Blair’s lap and wriggled up to him to share a somewhat beery sloppy kiss. She straightened up again. “Yes, we’re official guys, to put an end to the speculation. We’re going to get a place and move in. Please tell me you’re all shocked and surprised,” she yelled over the chorus of “Get a room!”

Another round of toasts assured them that everybody was completely astonished, and wished them well.

“You guys are all the biggest liars I’ve ever met!” Blair shouted. “Lets get the first dance in, Carol, and these guys can join in whenever they get up the nerve.” He swigged more beer, then stood up with Carol still in his disappearing lap. She slithered down his body, then they headed off to the dance floor.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

A patio novel day, or

Or I'm going to regret those Riesling labels, I just know it.

It's summer out here. So nice on the patio, sitting and writing.

Not once (though with coffee and a wonderful cinnamon bun).

Not twice (with a big glass of juice)

But three times (with a glass of wine) I was out on the patio working on my novel.

The problem with being a pantster is that as I was brainstorming endings (I came up with 6), and working on outline, I got this great scene in my mind involving a bunch of the operators out at common Calgary summer activity, where all sorts of shenanigans happen. Like what often happens at this activity in real life, in the book some relationships are, shall we say, tested.

And then I thought of a great scene leading into that one, that builds into the ending I like best. Tension building and all that good stuff. Pounded 2,000 words into Scrivener today for that lead in scene, in addition to everything scribbled into the note book.

So that's been a good day. I could get used to that. It's probably good I don't have a lap top, because I might not ever have left the patio all day. While drinking, and writing, and making notes the last time, one of my neighbours dropped by to chat.

In the breaks between writing I managed to bottle the last wine kit of the season. This is a Riesling, a bit tart out of the carboy, but that's not a surprise. The problem is going to be the label, I think. It's old school, using a peel off backing. I suspect it's going to be horrible to get off.

Curtis hopped into the sink as I was putting things away after finishing all the wine stuff. He likes it there, even after I ran the hose a little to rinse my fingers. I managed to get this shot of him licking at the drops coming out of the hose. Lest you think we are cruel to them, they have a bowl of water refreshed daily.

Later in the afternoon I came upstairs to find this. How could I not take a picture?

Then I BBQed some chicken legs in a specialty Linda sauce. Chocolate ice cream and fresh raspberries are tres-wonderful when eaten on the patio, on a nice summer day. Pity about this day job thing happening tomorrow morning.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

The Brunello situation has been averted

Friday I was out of work by lunch time, and had a quiet afternoon reading to finish Gaiman's The Ocean at the End of the Lane. It's wonderful! One never quite knows what to expect with him. This is almost entirely told in a flashback by a 7 year old, and it's completely compelling. The story doesn't sound plausible at all, until he gets started, then you're right in there with the characters. The next book is Is That a Fish in your Ear, Translation and the meaning of everything, by David Bellos.

We are in the middle of summer here, and I'm loving it. We had DD here this morning to look at our back yard. She did the interior design for our house. We are at a total loss of what to do in the back yard, and we're hoping she will give us some ideas. Of course, she's up to her eyeballs dealing with people flooded out and trying to do something with their homes. There's one sad situation where she is trying to convince the homeowners that it's cheaper and better to knock the place down and build over. Except they don't want to. The foundation is compromised, the design makes it hard to strip stuff out so it can all be properly sanitized and rebuild, and they think it's an easy fix. Clearly they don't know what was in the water. It will be a while before she gets back to us, and nothing will happen this year.

Afterward I went for a lovely run down into Fish Creek in the 25C heat. I know the loop is about 7 to 8 K, depending on exactly where I start and stop. Runmeter thought I'd done 9 K, but it admitted it didn't have a good GPS lock for a while. Take a look at the map for the large red dot.

There I was running along, thinking that girl on the bike looks awfully familiar, then I realized it was Katie! She stopped and I ran back so we could chat a few minutes. Haven't seen her in a while. She had done a swim already, and ridden Road to Nepal TWICE, and was still fresh as a daisy, looking to ride more. She is awesome. While I'm standing there chatting my phone tells me I'm up to 3 K, but I already knew the distance wasn't right. Still, I'm amused by what it thought I was doing, standing completely still. According to this I was playing in traffic.

The rest of the run was nice and easy, except dodging around part of the path that isn't there any more. This is looking back, in the photo, the alternative path is off to the right. Duh. If you look carefully you can just see where the path ends on the other side of the washout. The river moved about 30 m maybe to take out quite a good sized chunk of path. This is after the huge floods in Fish Creek a few years ago, when they piled up a lot of rip rap to help stabilize the bank. I guess that only goes so far.

The great Brunello situation has been brewing for a while. It's one of my all time favourite wines, and my existing stock was getting down below a dozen bottles. In our house, this almost qualifies as a crisis. The Brunello kit has been ready to bottle for a little while, but I haven't been able to get to it. At last! It is very nice, though a touch sharp, just out of the carboy. I drank several glasses while BBQing rack of lamp, and a mix of sweet potatoe and ordinary potatoes.

One thing with summer in Calgary is you get interesting cloud formations. No rain here out of either of these, but I liked how they looked.

Lastly, I've been having some of the novel brew in my head over the last week, and I'm finally starting to capture some of the ideas. I'm hoping to do a deep dive into it tomorrow. One of the characters has spoken up, asking for something that is very interesting. Writers, have you ever had this happen? Do you agree and write it in, or go where you wanted to go?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

I held the phone at arm's length, while

Summer is finally here. Finally. It's so beautiful out, I'm almost thinking I should have taken another week of vacation. Had I known.

But this is warm by Calgary standards. The radio said it was 32 C (89.6F) and humid. It wasn't so long ago that just being outside in that would break me into a sweat and not want to do anything. A brisk walk would turn me into a puddle.

So what did I do as soon as I got home? Dressed for a run, and went out for a lovely easy 6K, 41 minutes. My legs would have been happy to do more, but I could feel the heat creeping up on me, and decided not to over do it. I took this as soon as I got back into the house. I think I started sweating more as soon as I got in, than I had during the run.

I'd done quite a bit of limbering up, mainly working on stiff hip flexors. They were giving me hell yesterday, though that's a nice change from calf and thigh. It took almost 2 K to settle in and find a stride, then relaxed and took a winding route through the neighbourhood.

At one point someone had a sprinkler on their lawn, so I channeled my inner kid and ran through it. My inner adult was hold the phone at arm's length. I was all set to do that again near the end of the run, but the home owner turned the tap off as I approached. Normally that would be considerate, but I didn't want to stop and explain. Oh well.

Even though I was going faster, I was breathing much easier after the 2K. Lots of stretching afterward. The runmeter graph is all over the place.

I haven't been able to work on my book at all, other than in my head. I exchanged some texts with my buddy Susi about which guy Dwen might choose. Her ew response was interesting. But then Susi is very particular. With any luck this weekend I'll be able to get some vestige of an outline down. I've got one ending worked out, but I don't know if I like it.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

I need another vacation

The first part of my vacation was wonderful, having some naps during the day and catching up on my rest.

The second part of my vacation was wonderful, social butterflying here, here (though not many people read that one; you might have missed it), and here mainly at When Words Collide, which was wonderful.

Then back at work getting caught up. And lots more stuff assigned to me. The dull task has not gone away, more's the pity, though I'm about 2/3 through. The other ones are interesting.

I was a bit of a slacker last couple of nights, but ran, sort of, tonight. My legs were feeling heavy and a little bit unsteady, so I only went 3 K, starting easy, and doing a good walk, and a better stretch session after.

Supposedly the internet is much faster now. Some speed tests give me results that are about the same as what I had, varying all the way up to the top of what I've paid for. The guy at the ISP did say that I wouldn't see much difference on small files, but big files should be much quicker. Let's see.

Now it's bedtime. I missed you all while my internet was down. Did you miss me? Did you notice I was gone? Funny, that's what the cats say.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

When Words Collide

What fun! I don't think I've ever run into so many authors and aspiring authors in one place before. The weekend has gone by in a blur so I'm glad I took lots of notes. In one sense, I wish I wasn't going to work tomorrow so I could unpack the notes and start thinking about the changes I'll need to make to my wanna-be book. It's more of a big hot wet mess than I thought it was.

The difference is that I've been writing bits and pieces of it as they came to mind. I stalled on one spot for along time, then figured out how to write my way past that. As I attended the conference it became clear that I need to think of the book as a commercial property, something people will buy. The people that read it won't know what I do about it, all they see are words on a page.

It needs to have a beginning that hooks people into caring about the characters and what happens to them. There needs to be a middle that is full of interesting stuff, and a conclusion that satisfies the reader. What I have written so far has some interesting bits, all of which are much too long. I think there is the genesis of an opening scene there. I don't have a firm ending yet, although I have several ideas floating around. I'm not even firm on the balance of genres involved. There is some romance, some mystery and crime, and if you read on, some science fiction elements are dragged in.

It seems my writing style so far is a pantser and a quilter. Which is all ok, except that it's not uncommon for us to get lost for a while. I was particularly interested in hearing from panelists with experience in outlining a novel, and novel structure. I think I need to take a step back, and nail down my ending. From there I can go back and look at the structure that needs to be there to support the journey from beginning to end. Then look at what I've written so far to see what is useful or not. Or I could outline the novel from start to finish as if I hadn't written anything, and see what matches. With my luck it would go somewhere else entirely. So, characters, Dwen, Les, Mitch, Belinda, and all the rest of you? Better start winding up that backstage party you've got going. You're going to be put to work pretty soon.

In case you hadn't guessed, I found the event well worth my time, and plan to attend next year. The event sign up on the web was painless, as was picking up my registration card. I was wondering what the huge line up was for, and it turns out that some of the panels were sign up required. That was brutal. One long line, and a bunch of panels you could sign up for. Some people were dithering. That would be "No panel for you!" Many people were concerned they weren't going to get to their first presentation. I'm not sure why they didn't allow sign up in advance, over the web, once the scheduling is confirmed. Or have separate line ups for each of the panels. That way one person wouldn't get dibs on all of them.

I had real readers block trying to digest the program schedule on line. That doesn't usually happen to me, but it was a real struggle to try to figure out what I wanted to see. The paper copy was much easier, but I could see improvements that could be made. Here's my marked up version, though not as marked up as one I saw, in neat 3 colour highlighter.

I lost count of the number of times it was in and out of my pocket. Many people were wandering around consulting theirs, especially when their friends asked where they were going next. Now I wonder if there is an app that does this. One that a convention like this could load all their programming into, along with a map of the hotel, emergency contact numbers, and any other useful information. Then each user can browse all the information about each selection, including the blurb, the presenters, and information about them. As they select each, the app builds their schedule for them. They could put in a lunch or coffee break with a buddy. In an ideal world it should plug all that into your calendar app. After the event the presenter could add any desired follow up material, like notes from the presentation, or requested followup material.

If this was available on an ongoing basis as the schedule was being nailed down they could see which panelists were most in demand, how many were in danger of over filling, or how many had no interest. This might influence the changes made as the program develops. Of course it would run on a smart phone first, and a tablet second.

The part that was most enjoyable was catching up with long lost buddies. Conversations snuck into the quiet spaces, or before/after the talks. I'm glad I'd joined the writers and bloggers groups, since I hung out with several of those people for a while. I also got a head start on research for various publishers, editors, and agent contacts. There was also a buddy's 50th birthday party squeezed in there. Overall, an excellent weekend.  And zoom, my vacation is over.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Butterflying madly

Wow, this is fun. Should have done it long ago. I'm having a really good time at When Words Collide.

I've run into a bunch of people I haven't seen for a very long time. The panels I've been to, or presentations, or whatever you want to call them, have been interesting and informative. The parties last night were in hot rooms so lots of people were standing in the hallway. Met a few new people. The Crime Writers group put on  an excellent live action mystery, though I didn't actually see much of it. I was butterflying.

All this has made me rethink my book a bit. So far, I've been a very indulgent writer, letting the characters do their thing, develop their own relationships, and I've suspected there's a bit of a party going on backstage. However, I can see that I need to start tightening things up, and build a proper story if I'm going to get anyone to read it. Better yet, BUY it. That is the whole point after all.

One of the first bits I wrote was the job interview scene where Ceridwen is hired. It's first in the list of scenes merely because it takes place first chronologically. However, it's death on toast as a first chapter in a book. Now I'm working toward the discovery of a bone in the digester as the first scene. The problem is that Ceridwen comes into that scene late. Hmmm, just had an idea.

I can see I'm going to have to do more thinking. There are lots more panels to attend, and no doubt, there will be even more to think about.

Some of that thinking happened during my run this morning, up toward the reservoir. Lots of people out walking their dogs as it changed from being humid and cool to getting warm. 6 K 40 minutes, nice and easy. There was a bit of complaint as I passed 5 K, but things settled down again. Rolled and stretched after.

The elevation graph is crazy. I turned around at about 3.5 K. You'd think the graph would be a mirror image, but no.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Me, trying the social butterfly thing

Some people naturally seem to have busy social lives. They flit from meet up to meet up. Coffee here, lunch there, after work drinks at another place, dinner with a beau, late night meetings at Tubby Dog or a pizza place. They run into their friends at race starts with thousands of other people around. You have to get on their calendar weeks in advance, or bump into them at just the right time and place.

Even though I'm tall and can see over top of most crowds, I rarely seem to run into people I know that are at the same race (Hello Julie A!). Sometimes they spot me first (Hello Kelly R!). Sometimes people I've never met come up to say, Hello, aren't you Keith? That's happened a bunch of times (Hello Dan, Cath, Jason, Kelsey, and probably a few more I can't bring to mind at the moment).

I've been buddies with Gord since we did shiftwork together many, many years ago. I suspect some of my readers weren't born when we first met. There was a time when I got every other Friday off, and we regularly met up for coffee and chat. We haven't done that for a while, so we made plans to meet in Turner Valley for breakfast this morning. That's really nice to get caught up, and breakfast at Chuck Wagon is always good.

From there I zoomed back into town to run with Cori. We've been buddies on blogs and Twitter for a while, but have never met up. She has some nice 5 K loops near here, and that's what my legs seem to be happy with these days. We had a very chat chat run, and hope to do more. This is one of the things I love about social media, to be able to meet new people that share your interests. No awkward pauses wondering what to say.

Here's some stuff. The first spike is crossing Anderson, and the second is the selfie at the top of the hill. This is pace and elevation from RunMeter.

Here's the pace and elevation from her electronics. Like I said, I think the elevation is a little wonky.

The busiest/noisiest part of the whole run was along Southland, but everything else was nice and quiet.  It's a very nice neighbourhood to run through.

And here's the promised selfie. The photo is better on her blog. My excuse is that the regular camera is much better than the front facing, and it's really hard to know exactly where the camera is pointing. I'm just glad I didn't jiggle the phone as I tried to press the button.

The run goes much quicker when you're chatting. At the end my legs were all, what why are we stopping? I could easily have run more. Stretched and rollered once I got home. That's two good runs in a row, maybe it's time to push the distance up a tiny bit. It makes me much more hopeful about my goal for next year.

Yesterday's massage was all about my legs. I knew the left one was still a bit tight in places, but AE found lots more tightness and worked on it. I'm not sure if she was rolling a ball tool across the sole of my foot, or it was a knuckle, but Holy Hannah! I was actually feeling a bit beat up afterwards, since it involved breathing to the pain for a few minutes. Good pain. Things were a bit creaky last night, but after a good stretch and mobility session this morning they were ready to go.

Now I should go do my business tax paperwork. There isn't much to do, really not. But somehow I'm just not in the mood. I see some other blog buddies have posted, so I will go read.

Tomorrow is When Words Collide. How many of you will I see there?

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Contrasting photos

Curtis loves being helpful with paperwork. On my desk. On the floor. On a footstool. Whatever. He's an equal opportunity helper. Here he is helping me with my business tax paperwork, and helping to clean up a Celina hazardous spill. Lets just say I'm glad I was a awake for the spill, and there were no untoward consequences.

Our new climatis is flowering. I think it's happy.

The other night I was out with a buddy on a photo shoot. You can compare photos, mine, his. Both shot from almost exactly the same spot at the same time. That's the difference when talent uses a real camera.

Yesterday I woke up knowing I was going for a run. It was a beautiful day out, warm without being too hot. Ran nice and easy, starting with light and happy feet. Even the last half K, when they weren't quite so light and happy, it was still better than Sunday's run. No knee pain or even twinges, though there was starting to be some normal feeling tiredness. All good. Rollered and stretched after. Then again before going to bed.

I'm not sure what that huge slowdown at the 1 K mark is. I can't remember anything happening there. The elevation profile sure seems to be exaggerated here. I really must go running some day with a person wearing a garmin, and compare data. hmmmm.

Being on vacation is nice. While there are a few things I want to accomplish, and have got some done already, the main thing is to relax. To snooze. To try to experiment with a semi-retired lifestyle.

I finished the retirement planning book. Lots of resources listed, and it's basically a primer on why you will probably need them. Us boomers don't like to think about old age, so I think it's going to smack some of really hard inside the head. I didn't learn anything I didn't already know, sort of, but it's well put. Some cautionary tales, and success stories.

The next book is The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman. It isn't really big so I don't think it will take long. Next will be The Revisionists, by Thomas Mullen.

Monday, August 5, 2013

My hot date

For years I've said I need to get out more. Being the shy retiring creature I am, I tend to keep a low profile on social stuff. However there is a ton of stuff going on, constantly. There are tools to find out about it and keep track of it. As I've always said, if you're not having fun, it's your own damn fault.

Not to say I'm not having fun. I have been. But lately I've been thinking about life a lot. My current book is called You COULD Live a Long Time: Are you READY?, by Lyndsay Green. Her main point is that many of us are going to live longer than we expect. I can remember a bit of my grandparents as people in their early 60's. Of course you expect your grandparents to be old. But in many ways they really were. They'd had a tough life, 2 world wars and the depression between them. 

I still have one grandparent alive, last I checked. That's uncommon, but not unheard of for someone my age. But it's going to become common. Now someone dying in their 60's is considered to have been cheated. Estimating how long you will live is a major preoccupation of financial planners and those thinking about retirement. My planner is currently assuming I'll live to 85, and I'm aiming for 100.  

That is a long time by human standards. I certainly won't have enough to retire at 55 and live comfortably for that long. Almost nobody does. Yet there we are. The book talks about some of the consequences of this, and coping strategies. Part of the problem is that many people aren't living longer, they're just dying longer.

One of the suggestions boils down to constant renewal, trying new things, meeting new people, going new places, while maintaining current connections. Sooner or later one end of that connection is going to go away, and you'll need all you can get.

So with that in mind I've joined a couple of writing groups. And even though I'm often in bed by 9pm I jumped at the chance to join my buddy Neil Z on a photo shoot. If you live in Calgary you've probably seen some of his work. His best known subject is the Calatrava Bridge, this is but one photo of it, and not even the famous one. There are many others as well. Look here to find your favourite. In a crass commercial note, he makes his living selling these. Contact him if you'd like greeting cards, framed art prints, or other photographic products done. He does many kinds of corporate events and has started doing weddings.

Even though I could see why people could get really into photography, I never did. The whole film world seemed like way too much trouble. Even when point and shoot's became common we often forgot ours. Getting the developed prints back (after a whole week!) was an exercise in surprise. Then digital happened, and I started taking more photos. Then my iPhone 4 happened, and I started taking a ton of photos. Most are barely adequate even in the sense of "this is what that person looks like, and the background is x". Snapseed has helped rescue some of them. Out of the thousands of photos only a few are interesting, and I don't propose to bore you with a retrospective here. Or here either. If you've been reading my blog or Facebook, you've seen many of them already. 

Here's some of mine from last night. The low light limitations of the iPhone are obvious and most of these have been pushed in Snapseed. Neil's are much better of course, given that he's got about 100x the camera, but he's also got an artist's eye. These are pretty unique subjects, so it's fairly obvious where we were. Yes, we were wearing rubber boots. Enjoy!

Earlier on Sunday I warmed up by washing windows inside and out, then went for a run after. I figured up and down ladders, going in and out, around and around, bending, stretching, reaching, swabbing, rinsing were all a good warmup. The run wasn't far, and felt merely ok. I didn't want to push it. 

My legs are feeling really odd lately. Sort of tight in places, often low hams and calves, but in a different way than I'm used to. They don't seem to have any endurance at all. Not sure what that's all about.

It's been a good long weekend. Naps. Sitting on the patio watching the world go by. Chatting with neighbours. Getting out for the Sunfest and the photo shoot. That's right, I didn't even mention the Inglewood Sunfest on Saturday. It was sunny and warm, so perfect weather. We strolled, enjoying the crowds and checking out the various booths and street performers. We didn't meet up with some buddies as tentatively planned, but life with a small child is filled with uncertainties. 

As is a life filled with the inevitabilities of aging. I'm starting to work on that in an active way. Are you? What are you doing about it?

Friday, August 2, 2013

She was not feeling the photo love

A quiet day for the first day of vacation. Sitting with the cats in my lap for a while. Celina was giving me a grumpy look while trying to photograph her. Don't you agree? Pretty, but grumpy.

There was some stretching and core today, then a nap. Naps are good.

Later on in the day we had some nice clouds rolling by, with a bit of scattered rain. Not quite as dramatic as some of the Snapseed photos, but it will have to do.

Will I see you at the Sunfest tomorrow in Ingelwood?