January progress report

One month in, the Writing Big Year is intense to the point of near mania. I’ve finished two chapters but am falling a bit behind schedule, without much possibility of catching up later in the year. Protecting early rises by staidness and moderation in the evenings is a habit that’s onerous to master. In practice I’ve missed a handful of in-the-darkness alarms and had to scramble to make up time later in the days. So far I’ve honored the basic commitment. February will be key: can I deliver on the (adjusted) schedule? Let me also say how enjoyable this focus is.

The Fitness Big Year is a magnificent work-in-progress. I’ve kept up the daily jog/cycle/workout commitments and find the new activity mix exhilarating. Who knew riding a bike would be so much pure fun? Jogging has turned into a trial by fire but I’m only a bit behind target: 71 kms towards my 1,000-km goal. A persistent chest muscle injury hasn’t stopped me from getting to the gym 7 times, close to what I need to meet the 100 workouts/year goal. That injury, however, has led me to hold back on longer cycles and I’ve only managed 252 kms, only half what I’d hoped for in order to reach 5,000 kms over 2017. I’ll have to ride faster, or for longer, or both, or maybe I’ll have to put in some scary long rides. February also looms large for this Big Year.

Funnily enough, the Rock Music Big Year has proven straightforward. I’ve listened to 11 albums and written 11 “reviewlets,” exactly as proposed. I’d thought I’d listen on couch in evening; instead I’m one of those zombies you see walking the streets in a headphone cocoon. Such revelatory bliss! The only downside has been reduced book reading, but so be it.

February, be kind to me!

Writing Big Year: Chapter 4

Historian Lorna Arnold describing the world’s second troubling nuclear reactor accident on October 10, 1957, on an isolated northwestern coastline of England:

He went straight to the pile area. Going to the charge hoist, he saw what Gausden and others had seen; part of the pile below the channels that were being discharged was a mass of flames.

This is a period of intoxicating visions for the nuclear pioneers. Windscale 1957 cautions them.

Philippa Hawker interviewing Dennis Lehane

Ah, the joy of seeing one of your favourite authors, one of his best books, on the big screen! Check out this interview in The Australian. Even if the movie disappoints, as it mostly will, even if the actors threaten to poison the images in your head . . . Dennis Lehane has always been my model for a certain form of writing and I’ll ever read him and see the films. (Image from The Australian)

Rock Music Big Year: Oh, the burden of listening to inanities . . .

It’s one thing to listen, three days in a row, to a new album bursting with vitality and chops. It’s another to start with high hopes and then groan through three days of vapid electro-pop. “I See You” by The xx came with such industry hype . . . what a waste. That said, part of developing an inner library of musical appreciation is surely taking the bad with the good.

Fitness Big Year: One day at a time

Nervous yesterday when lacing up my running shoes. In the first three weeks of 2016, I jogged 12 times. In the first three weeks of 2017, I’d only run four times, and two of them had been failures. Perhaps my body just doesn’t like less regular effort. And this sore chest muscle made me anxious.

Well, I stretched slowly, then headed out along the river on a nigh perfect day. My first three splits were quite fast but I made myself slow down. At the halfway mark, the monkey mind tried to tell me to stop, but I stuck with the slow pace and, to my relief, arrived back home without stopping. A slow pace of 6:31/km but I was so pleased to have not succumbed this time.