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By TheophileEscargot (Sun Nov 05, 2017 at 01:43:11 AM EST) Reading, MLP, Watching, Me, Museums (all tags)
Reading: "The Sisters Brothers", "The Song of Achilles". Museums. Me. Links.


What I'm Reading
The Sisters Brothers by Patrick DeWitt. Picaresque, bloody, half-comic Western about two brothers on a mission to assassinate a man in the Gold Rush. As is usual for brothers working as hired killers, one is a ruthless psychopath, the other has a sentimental side and pangs of conscience; the soft-hearted one is the protagonist here.

It's well done, with a good sense of place, larger-than-life characters, and some good set pieces. But it didn't seem quite up to the standards of Joe Lansdale who pretty much has the patent on this kind of fiction; not quite as funny, not quite as grotesque. From the blurbs it does feel like another case of a "mainstream" labelled writer getting credit while someone characterised as genre gets ignored.

Overall though, pretty entertaining.

What I'm Reading 2
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Novel set in ancient Greece about the relationship between Achilles and Patroclus. In the Iliad, Patroclus was Achilles' favourite companion , whose death led to Achilles breaking his sulk and rejoining the war. Homer says little about their relationship, but classical Greeks speculated that they were lovers.

The novel refreshingly doesn't try to historicize the Iliad: gods, centaurs and prophecies appear freely. The first half deals with the youthful romance between the pair, the second half covers the Trojan war. The chief irony is that Patroclus knows that Achilles will die young, and agonises over how he will cope with the death, not realising that he will go first.

I really liked reading this. It paints a great picture of mythological Greece, not shying away from the casual and accepted brutality of history, but still with a sense of wonder at gods and monsters and natural beauty.

The downside is that the romance feels a bit Mills-and-Boony, especially the sex scenes which strive a bit too hard to be tasteful. It's hard for a straight man to know how realistically a woman is writing about a gay male relationship, but it felt a bit artificial to me.

Overall though, a good book.

What I'm Watching
Saw Thor: Ragnarok. Not a deep movie but a lot of fun. Reminiscent of the 1980s Flash Gordon movie, it manages the tricky job of being funny and tongue in cheek in the format of a big effects movie. Some of the dialogue is improvised which keeps it a bit fresher. Plot is entirely predictable and revealed by the trailers, and the effects are weightless CGI. But there are good supporting performances keeping it interesting: especialy Jeff Goldblum as the camp Grandmaster, Tessa Thompson as the drunk Valkyrie, and writer-director Taika Waititi as the inept rebel gladiator Korg. Even manages to sneak a memorable tune into a Marvel soundtrack by using Immigrant Song for Thor. Well worth seeing.

Museums
I managed to snatch a look atthe Scythians exhibition at British Museum as we were meeting some relatives there and arrived earlier. Had to go round with the toddler in tow though, and he wasn't very impressed at all, and had to rush. Seemed like a good exhibition. The highlights are the gold belt decorations, usually depicting struggling animals; but there are also archaelogical remnants and artists impressions of how these ancient people looked. Seemed good but not enough time to appreciate it.

Me
Going on a 5 day business trip to Eastern Europe at the end of the month, haven't been on one in a long time. Will be a bit crap: budget is tight with hand-luggage-only economy flights, and previous hotels have apparently been horrible with nasty smells from the drains. Very good that I can go though: the other guys do lots of these trips and it's looked bad that I keep ducking them.

Had one of those ultra-low tides and walked around on the bed of the Thames with the toddler. Was interesting but didn't find any bronze age swords, pirate treasure or even Victorian coins. Lots of shells there which I wasn't expecting.

Running going well. Intervals seem to be having an impact after I flatlined for a bit, shaved 9 seconds per kilometer off my time on my usual route when I pushed. Not sure if wrist based heart rate sensor is accurate. A week ago ran same route with average 167, peak 190. Now with a a faster run the heary rate was average 135, peak 154, so slower heart rate for a faster run.

Still mostly on Mastodon. Joooiiiiin uuuusssss...

Links
Socioeconomics. Reawakening conference: beyond disappointment.

Politics. latte Socialists to Gauche Caviar: luxury leftwingers around the world. Scottish tax-raising powers have been booby trapped by Westminster.

Video. Gatwick airport drone disruption.

Fiction. The worst muse.

Sci/Tech. Mastodon language popularities.

Pics. Thor's Helmet nebula.

Articles. Cave paintings from lost culture. Forgotten authors.

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Like raging fire | 7 comments (7 topical, 0 hidden) | Trackback
You appear to be doing it right by lm (4.00 / 2) #1 Sun Nov 05, 2017 at 11:07:19 AM EST
"A week ago ran same route with average 167, peak 190. Now with a a faster run the heary rate was average 135, peak 154, so slower heart rate for a faster run."

That's what you want to see. Part of it is your body is learning to be more efficient. Another part is that the intervals should help lower your base heart rate.

Your results aren't outside of the range of what would expect if you're taking raining even half way seriously.

That said, infrared HRMs on wrists are typically pretty accurate at rest and low intensity exercise and tend to lose accuracy as intensity increases. If your device isn't accurate, I would expect it to probably not be accurate in the same way during most of your runs.

Of course, good old fashioned chest straps with electrodes are far more accurate.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
Up to a point by Herring (4.00 / 1) #2 Sun Nov 05, 2017 at 05:27:08 PM EST
Depends how you are training. I always found it difficult to maintain a high HR when training (or the turbo for instance) but in a 10 mile TT I could go much harder. Something about having an old bloke in hi-viz with a stopwatch at the end.

On the turbo trainer, I'd get up to a HR of maybe 170bpm and after 10 minutes think "fuck this". With even a club 10, I could get a HR starting around 180 (after easing in) and ramping up to 188 at the finish.

When I was at my fittest, it was mostly from doing 2-3 TTs a month - varying in distance from 10 miles to 100 miles. Then I had a resting HR about 44bpm but was able to hold high 160s for a couple of hours.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Well, yeah. by lm (4.00 / 1) #3 Sat Nov 11, 2017 at 05:08:49 PM EST
I was presuming that TE is doing most of his running in HR zone 2 where he should be. Most endurance athletes do most of their training in zone 2 save for speed work in zone 4. Races are another matter entirely. Elite athletes plan for that by scheduling time to rest after a race.

But if you train in zone 3, sure, you'll get faster peak speeds and a faster heart rate.


There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Hmm. by Herring (4.00 / 1) #4 Sun Nov 12, 2017 at 03:37:22 PM EST
When I was fit, I wasn't doing much Zone 2 training - except maybe the club run. Mostly going at it in zones 4 - 6. Not very scientific but long, easy rides are time consuming.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Just done some calcs by Herring (4.00 / 1) #5 Sun Nov 12, 2017 at 03:49:57 PM EST
And for my 100 mile PB, I had an average HR of 160 which is at 80% for nearly 5 hours (well, 4:46:16).

Yes, it was hard.

One of the people from the district committee I sit on broke the Women's 100 mile record this year. She rode 3:42:37. Gulp. She's got a full time job (teacher) and I have no idea how she finds the time to train.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
Have you ever taken a holiday in Tanzania? by lm (2.00 / 0) #6 Wed Nov 15, 2017 at 06:17:30 AM EST
I think that perhaps you've been bitten by a mutant Tanzanian devil.

There is no more degenerate kind of state than that in which the richest are supposed to be the best.
Cicero, The Republic
[ Parent ]
Hmm by Herring (2.00 / 0) #7 Wed Nov 15, 2017 at 01:29:59 PM EST
I've not done a (serious) triathlon, but time trials on the bike are all about trying to find that edge - going as hard as you can but not so hard that you can't finish.

This is why I hate 10 mile TTs. Because you're going so hard that by the end you feel dizzy and nauseous.

You can't inspire people with facts
- Small Gods

[ Parent ]
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