Fitness Update: decreasing diversity


Well, this past week has been one of recovery from the long, exciting days of WorldCon. The vacation week meant I hit all my points target on my MisFit, but didn’t do any running, swimming, or cycling.

This past week I didn’t manage to get any swimming or running in either. I cycled enough to add 72 more miles to my total, but didn’t get up and go running, or make it to the YMCA to swim some laps.

I can probably get the running worked back into my schedule; getting the gumption for the swimming will take more effort. Previously I did my runs when the wife got up at 4 a.m. on the mornings that she was opening at work. But she’s on sabbatical for 3 months, and so I’m not getting up that early. Still, I can manage a run or two a week, probably on the days I work from home.

It is the swimming that will require retooling. I’m thinking I might need to flip back to swimming after work instead of trying before. To swim before work I need to get up around 4:30 a.m. to get to work by 7 a.m. If I do it afterwards I can probably cut off at least 30 minutes of time, and still sleep later.  We’ll see how soon I put the swimming back into the cycle.

But the key thing to remember is that I keep active, rotating my activities among various activities to get my points. I might even put some weight work in for upper body strength. That’s probably the next element that I need to think about.

#118: When I Survey the Wondrous Cross


(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


When I survey the wondrous cross

On which the Prince of glory died,

My richest gain I count but loss,

And pour contempt on all my pride.


Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,

Save in the death of Christ, my God;

All the vain things that charm me most —

I sacrifice the to His blood.


See, from His head, His hands, His feet,

Sorrow and love flow mingled down;

Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,

Or thorns compose so rich a crown?


Were the whole realm of nature mine,

That were a present far too small:

Love so amazing, so divine,

Demands my soul, my life, my all.

The Evils of a Lack of Indifference…


“… how much happier you would be if you only knew that these people cared nothing about you! How much larger your life would be if your self could become smaller in it; if you could really look at other men with common curiosity and pleasure; if you could see them walking as they are in their sunny selfishness and their virile indifference. You would begin to be interested in them, because they were not interested in you.” — Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

There is a passage in scripture about not looking only to your “own things” but also to “the things of others” (Philippians 2:4). I think much of the world’s ills today come from a terrible misunderstanding of this concept. We would be much better off if we were to heed Chesterton’s advice to the insane man (lead quote).

For we are living in a world where the number of  insane people continues to increase. I am not talking about the sort of insane people that get committed to counseling and insane asylums. I am talking about the sort of insane people to whom everything that happens in the world is a personal affront to them, or has to be rectified to be personally suitable to them.

This is how we get micro aggressions.  These people are totally unable to let anything pass. Everything is aimed at them. They are interested in “the things of others”, but only to make them line up to their “own things”.

They need to learn the benefits of indifference. They need to be less self-conscious. I believe this is what Chesterton was getting at. His people of “sunny selfishness” and “virile indifference” enjoy themselves and things for themselves, without any need of approval from others, nor need to involve others. Though, if others were interested, they would be more than glad to include them in.

The world of micro aggressions is the world of the tyrant, the totalitarian state, which knows what is best for everyone, and everyone needs to do and see things their way. True or false, they all need to say the same things, tell the same story.

Much better, much happier, is the libertarian creed — “Taking over the world and leaving it ruthlessly alone”. For only in this world does “common curiosity and pleasure” exist.


An hour of fame …


When I got home from work today, and began my usual web browsing update, I had a surprise in store for me: My WordPress blog had scored the highest daily views of its life: 385 from 85 visitors.

I know many people would be disappointed to have that many views in a day. Me, I’m probably a 10-20 views a day person.

Of course, those stats don’t always count everything. Some of the people who see a blog see it through e-mail, Facebook, or some other intermediary — which doesn’t always keep the tally accurate.

Still my blog is a small force, with 128 followers, most of whom don’t register a visit on any one day. So what lured 85 people — most of whom weren’t my followers — to my site? Over half of the views were within the same hour.

It seems my series of blogs on MidAmeriCon II last week drew the attention of someone on another blog. I’ll post the comment here, but not the link:

Darren Garrison on August 25, 2016 at 11:16 am said:
Has this series of posts been linked here yet? The day-by-day experiences of a Puppy-adjacent first-time Worldcon visitor. (Much more positive than that guy last year who whined about the lack of “gunnies” he could talk to.)

They are welcome to find this on their own if they want, but I don’t intend to draw them here. I’m not in for pushing my numbers that way. If they follow the other way they will see this, but otherwise, I’d rather they come because of their interaction with the content itself.

All those people read my blog, and not one left a comment. Comments: I don’t seem to generate them on the blog. Some people seem to like it, but I don’t get the running commentary of some other blogs.

Ah, well, 15 minutes of blog fame, maybe an hour… more than one is supposed to expect.



#117: He was Wounded for Our Transgressions


(Part of a series singing through the hymnbook I grew up with: Great Hymns of the Faith)


He was wounded for our transgressions,

He bore our sins in His body on the tree;

For our guilt He gave us peace,

From our bondage gave release,

And with His stripes, and with His stripes,

And with His stripes our souls are healed.


He was numbered among transgressors,

We did esteem Him forsaken by His God,

As our sacrifice He die,

That the law be satisfied,

And all our sin, and all our sin,

And all our sin was laid on Him.


We had wandered, we all had wandered

Far from the fold of “the Shepherd of the sheep:”

But He sought us where we were,

On the mountains bleak and bare,

And brought us home, and brought us home,

And brought us safely home to God.


Who can number His generation?

Who shall declare all the triumphs of His cross?

Millions, dead, no live again,

Myriads follow in His train!

Victorious Lord, victorious Lord,

Victorious Lord and coming King!

Review: Fantasy uses mystery and mayhem well


A Lake Most Deep by Rob Howell

“A man, a horse, and a vicious kidnapping and murder saved me.”

I just reread the above line, to use as the intro for my review. And I just realized what it means. But I won’t tell you. To do so would be to spoil too much of this excellent book.

The reason I reread the line, is because it is the kicker line from the prologue that catches your interest, and starts you reading on the book. I wanted to quote it exactly.

This first novel by Rob Howell is a fantasy murder mystery set in his Shijuren universe. He weaves the elements of the murder mystery expertly through the fantasy setting, creating a sympathetic main character and believable supporting characters.

It is a good thing he gives a zinger to tease us in the prologue, because the first two chapters, while well-written, lull you into a sense of normalcy without a real sense of motion. For those who need action now, the sense might be to leave the book and find something else. That would be a mistake, however. Because in chapter three, when you, like the protagonist, are both lulled by the ordinary rhythm, the action collides both with the reader and protagonist. The effect, the use of rhythm, is very deft.

This is not the only place Howell uses rhythm to good effect in the book. His description of fight scenes have both a technical competence/plausibiblity to them and a sense of rhythm/pacing that keeps them live and not bewildering by excessive detail. And the rhythm of the gaps between the action scenes lend color and breathing space for the reader to appreciate the scenery of the city the story is set in and ruminate on the mystery before him.

I will mention one more technique that Howell used. There is a place in the book he has a particular character use a particular verbal tic  repeatedly, until I was ready to say enough, that it was overdone. Right as I hit that point he threw in a punchline that wrapped the tic up and justifed his use. Good timing again.

To comment on the mystery, let me first say that I am not a great mystery nut. I enjoy reading mysteries, and they must make sense, but I’m not the type that successfully solves the mystery, but I know when the solution is not satisfying. Howell wrote a good mystery. It wasn’t obvious, yet all the clues were there, and the solution was satisfying.

As a first novel, there are a few minor things you might expect of a first work, but nothing that makes you stumble or draws you out of the story. I guess the real proof is that I bought the second book: The Eyes of a Doll.