Saturday, November 1, 2014

What I've been up to

Between work, and packing, and life, and an assortment of stuff that includes running (see also: brand-new niece...I think she's a pretty good excuse, don't you?), it's now been more than a week since my last post. 

So what have I been doing? 

Baby snuggles  
How can I possibly say no to this face? 


A week or two ago, I met up with some friends and some total strangers from the Internet for a nice evening run - the only thing we had in common for sure was running, but we all know running is a great equaliser and even where two runners have absolutely nothing else in common, we can certainly TALK about running for at least several hours.  

I met up with Holly, Isaac, @MikeH71a, @wallflowergrace, and a few other folks at the Stadium MRT station in Kallang. Singapore is usually a fairly punctual place (give or take five minutes - we're not Switzerland here) but folks were held up for various good reasons and we ended up starting out half an hour later than planned. 

We ran (walked, jogged, recovery-ran, shuffled) for half an hour along the river. (The best time to run in Singapore is when it's dark out and all the city lights are twinkling.) 
And then we had beers and dinner at Brewerkz by the river. 

Photo via Isaac's blog

I'd been thinking about chili cheese fries since midafternoon that day. 

CHILI CHEESE FRIES. (Are really only good when they're piping hot.) 
Would I do this again? But of course! (I would love to start on time next round... :) ) 

The lazy off-season

As I'm not training for anything in particular right now and have no current long-term goals (that visa stuff is still up in the air; I don't have a visa interview or flight date yet; I don't even know if I'm doing my annual marathon next year or when or where), I've been trundling round the neighbourhood, the Botanic Gardens, the Green Corridor, you name it... between 5 and 10K at a go, which is pretty much my happy place that keeps me sane and destressed.

Lots of books (edited to add synopses) 

- How We Learn, by Benedict Carey: If you are at all interested in learning, and learning about some very counterintuitive study findings about how we learn best, READ THIS BOOK. 

- Annihilation and Authority, by Jeff Vandermeer - books 1 and 2 of the eerie Southern Reach trilogy. (A good Halloween read!) Area X is a spot where some unnamed and cryptic ecological disaster has occurred sometime in the past, and the Southern Reach agency is in charge of investigating it. But for the agency staff and expedition members, all is not as it seems...

- Station Eleven, by Emily St John Mandel - tells the stories of Arthur Leander, a famous actor who drops dead during a production of King Lear; Jeevan Chaudhary, the paramedic who tries to rescue him; and Kirsten Raymonde, the child actress who is on stage as Leander dies. The novel skips backward and forward in time to weave together post-apocalyptic narrative (the same night Leander dies, most of the world is wiped out in the grip of a flu pandemic), mid-apocalypse and pre-apocalypse tales.

- Being Dead, by Jim Crace - Celice and Joseph, two doctors of zoology, are murdered in the sand dunes where they first met. Like Station Eleven (quite coincidentally) this book switches backward and forward in time to tell the stories of their lives and deaths. Jim Crace is one of those writers who...I feel like he verges just on the edge of being precious, but doesn't tip over. In worse hands this book could so easily fall flat. It doesn't. 

And podcasts

- I've been listening to the Hardcore History series by Dan Carlin for Audible. I don't think of myself as a serious history buff, but I've been entertained by the drama and narration of these history podcasts (and at up to four hours long they are hardcore; I tend to split one up over several runs). Most recently I listened to Prophets of Doom, about the Anabaptist cult in Reformation-era Germany - gripping stuff! 

Upcoming stuff:

Great Eastern Women's Run - I'm doing the 5K for fun
A wedding anniversary staycation! at the W! 
A birthday (yikes)
A media hackathon (on my birthday weekend; suffice it to say I will NOT be hacking overnight, because the thing about birthdays is you get older and the thing about getting older is that YOU APPRECIATE SLEEP MORE).


  1. What a cute little baby! I'd be snuggling the heck out of that little thing!

    1. She is truly adorable! (I'm unabashedly biased.) My sister and parents live fifteen minutes from me, so lately when I can I've been taking my work over there and...uh...working when she sleeps...

  2. Cute kid! And sorry but I need to go run out RIGHT NOW to get some chili cheese fries. That picture = amazing. BRB.

  3. All those books sounds fantastic! I've been wavering on the Southern Reach trilogy, but maybe I'll go ahead & give it a shot.

    Good luck with all the visa stuff -- sounds like a giant headache. Hope it all works out!

    1. Thanks! I'm pretty sure it'll all work out eventually - it's just S L O W!

      I'd definitely recommend the Southern Reach trilogy. Try the first one - if it's not your thing, it's a pretty fast read anyway. I would DEFINITELY recommend Station Eleven, though. Next up I'm thinking about picking up some Paolo Bacigalupi.

  4. Your niece is such a little cutie. Makes me clucky for grandkids.

    1. I'm sure you'll get 'em careful what you wish for though. The little critter was completely irascible yesterday and it took four of us carrying her around in turns to calm her down.

  5. Sounds like you've been keeping busy with a lot of fun things! I've recently gotten hooked on the Serial podcast - an amazing spin-off of This American Life. Definitely try it out if you haven't already. Oh, and it's important to start with the first episode!