Running, reading, blue hair, and orbital mechanics

4 minute read Published:

I’ve lapsed yet again in the weekly writing requirement of the Iron Blogger project at Noisebridge and so feel compelled to give a core-dump type post to recount the happenings of the last two weeks.

I made a real breakthrough in my running in the last two weeks, after picking out some advice from /r/running on Reddit. I was absentmindedly browsing looking for training plans when I came upon a “beginners guide” of sorts which I scrolled though. All of it I was familiar with, except a very good point about pace: that you should run at such a pace as allows you to have a conversation throughout. Previously I’d run run intervals and push myself to the point of being out of breath, which sucked as I knew that I knew my legs could carry me further but my cardiovascular system could not. Slowing to a more comfortable pace has made the experience much more enjoyable: I find it easier to get into a groove where I can run for a while and let my mind wander. I’ve set a personal goal of running a 10k this summer with a friend, but have yet to nail down a particular race event. In the meantime I’m following a 10k training program and running 2-3 times a week.

I’ve started reading again after a lapse of many months. I’m reading two books simultaneously, the first being Tales of the City by Armisted Maupin, the second being Neal Stephenson’s latest work Seveneves. About the only thing the two share is the fact that they’re both fiction. Tales of the City is a great look into the San Francisco of yesteryear and the characters that enriched the culture that draws so many different groups to the city. I’m lucky enough to have friends in the city who have been here longer than the dominant technology and so get to experience some of the “counter culture” aspects to the city that I think many miss out on. Reading Tales of the City makes me want to contribute more to the “weird” side of the city as opposed to the “disruption” that everyone else seems intent on.

Seveneves is great near-future scifi where Stephenson blends the world we know and his magnificent fiction into an almost believable look at our future. The plot is centered around the human race’s attempts at survival in space after Earth is made uninhabitable by the breakup of the Moon and subsequent bombardment by meteorites. The combined nations of Earth have 2 years to create a viable space colony to carry on the human race, no easy task even without the social problems of having over a thousand humans in confined quarters in space. I’ve found this particularly hard to put down, keeping my Kindle with me to snatch a few pages here and there.

Reading about space in the generous detail that accompanies Stephenson’s fiction has me playing Kerbal Space Program again and brushing up on such subjects as orbital mechanics. I sat down and played a few hours of video games one night this week for the first time in what must be months, at least judging by the amount of Windows updates awaited me. KSP is massively entertaining with just the right mix of education and comedy. I’d highly recommend picking up a copy if you’re in any way interested. I’ve described it to people as a sandbox cartoon space program with all the mechanics intact. If that sounds good to you then you have many many hours of fun awaiting you.

I managed last Sunday to check off something I’ve wanted to do for a long while: dye my hair blue. I mentioned this wish briefly to Rubin while out drinking and he convinced me to do it that Sunday at his place. Rubin and Tilde were both incredibly generous in helping me out, and I’m incredibly pleased with the results. I’ve now joined the collection of folks you see wandering the streets of San Francisco with brightly coloured hair.