The Secret Olympian. Book by an anonymous ex-Olympic athlete on what it's like to train for and attend the Olympics. He points out that while it's obligatory to say to interviewers that you Always Dreamed being an Olympian, it's usually not true. More commonly they take up a new sport, sometimes even to get out of conventional sports, and gradually discover being good at it. Also a lot of the time for non-team sports selection isn't a big deal as it's usually fairly obvious whether you're in or out of the team.
Other stuff is as you'd expect: obsessive focus, difficulty of adjusting to life afterwards. Overall, fairly interesting, presumably more so if you're really into sports.
What I'm Reading 2
Nemo: Roses of Berlin by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. The female second Nemo visits an alternate WW2 Berlin on a rescue mission.
Saw this in the library and grabbed it as I can't really ignore a free book with Moore's name on the cover. However as before I couldn't really get into it, maybe because I haven't been following closely enough to care about the characters. Also the League of Gentlemen name-dropping of various fictional characters feels a bit pointless: might be harder now that we're well into the copyright era. If anything it undermines tension that the dictator is Hynkel. Not recommended.
What I'm Watching
Saw Korean movie The Tower on DVD. Effective old-fashioned disaster movie about rescuers and people trapped by a fire in a state of the art building. Liked it a lot, nice balance of melodrama and action, worth seeing.
- The LoveFilm DVD rental service has got terrible since it was taken over by Amazon. Ironically I was originally on Amazon DVD rentals which was good, that was sold to LoveFilm, then reacquired by Amazon but now terrible: they never send the high-priority disks just stuff from way down. So, cancelled that. Not sure whether to go for Netflix or Cinema Paradiso: was surprised to see that Netflix was cheaper, but doesn't seem to have some recent movies like Age of Ultron. Might just go with the library for now.
- Toddler is getting massively heavy: back killing me after pushing him and then carrying him around Kew Gardens, but still can't get him to walk far in the same direction (he's not yet two.) Maybe I can just not leave the house till he can walk everywhere?
- Toddler has a nasty cough and half a degree of fever: doesn't seem too distressed but might have to keep him out of nursery next week.
Socioeconomics. Why are drugs illegal?
Since the demise of ecstasy we have seen the rise and fall of several alternative legal highs, most notably mephedrone. This was banned following a relentless media campaign, despite no evidence of deaths and with little attempt to properly estimate its harm. Subsequently we have discovered that it saved more lives than it took because so many people switched from cocaine and amphetamine to mephedrone that deaths from these more toxic stimulants decreased by up to 40%. Since mephedrone was banned in 2010, cocaine deaths have risen again and are now above their pre-mephedrone levels.London property bubble? Cognitive bias.
Politics. What the British public believes about austerity. Is Britain losing interest in foreign affairs? The Lords and tax credits, Coming up with an alternative on tax credits will be hard, Fiscal Charter makes tax credits changes harder. Dan Hannan and Owen Jones are both wrong on Portugal. Should the Treasury be split up?
Articles. Neil Strauss on life after PUAs. Cnut and the Battle of Assandun. An Interactive Guide to Ambiguous Grammar. How did the Bridget Jones series end up with more reboots than a superhero franchise? The sad fading away of the refugee crisis story.
Pics. Melting Pot ceremony at the Ford Language School: "After going through a virtual smelting process, the immigrant's identity was boiled away, leaving a new citizen to emerge from the pot wearing American clothes and waving American flags." Model in the street.
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