Sunday, July 29, 2012

A Kingdom Besieged by Raymond E Feist

This book is another I grabbed at the library.  Feist has written a lot of books so I figured, if I liked his work, I'd have another 15-20 books to polish off.  This book was alright, but was a bit ponderous and assumed a lot of background knowledge that I do not possess.  I suppose I should start reading Feist's Riftwar books from the beginning, but I may intersperse them with other series since he's more of a volume writer with some formulaic plot points.  His description of magic is unsuitably vague and violates Sanderson's first law of magic.

I recommend this book only if you've read all the others.

A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans

When I drop a book off when the library is open I like to browse the science fiction and fantasy shelves for new authors.  The cover of this book looked interesting and the contents do not disappoint.  It's a fantasy book with elves, dwarves and magic, but is gritty like most modern fantasy.  It's Evans' first book and, while there are some slow parts in the middle, is a more-than-solid offering.  I found the magic to be believable and not overpowering and there is enough intrigue to keep my mind working.  The characters are well written and have depth.

I highly recommend this book and I will see if the library has any more in the series.

July track work

I figured I get enough interval training with squash so now I hit the track to jog as many laps as I can.  I finish off by running some stairs.

Of course, I hit the track a couple of times in early July, but that was using my larger GPS watch and I haven't bothered to upload that data to my Garmin account.  I'll also try to figure out how to export the calendar.

On Friday, I was able to run at a pace of 8:49/mile, but this morning I got it down to 8:35/mile and was able to do two more laps.  My goal is to run better than 9 minute miles, but I think now I should shoot for 8 minute miles.

I felt pretty good running and it helped loosen up some of the joints which were sore because of squash.  It might be more interesting to run around a neighborhood, but there aren't a lot of sidewalks where I live and I like being able to stop any time I want for whatever reason.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Fitness update

I woke up with a crick in my neck on Monday so I wasn't able to work out much this week.  I also ate a lot of crap.  Despite all that, I checked in with some good numbers this morning.

This month has reversed the upward trend and I'm getting back to where I was more than two years ago.  The older I get, the tougher it's going to be to stay lean, but I'll do what I can.  Playing squash for five hours a week should certainly help and I'm also jogging on the track for about seven miles a week as well.

Yesterday, I decided to run some stairs.  I'll have to be careful the next time I go hiking because I was feeling it in my knees going down.  I got some knee braces so I think I'll be ok, but it could still be painful.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


I just got done signing closing documents for the past 1.5 hours on my refinance.  I'm locked in for thirty years at 1.25 points lower than my original mortgage so I'll save money, but some of that I had to give back in a doubled PMI.  The bank also ate less of the closing costs than anticipated, but I'll live.

It took nearly three frickin' months to close, but it's done so it's all good.

Monday, July 23, 2012

30 Minutes or Less

This movie really isn't that funny so I suggest skipping it.  There are a couple of parts that might get a chuckle out of you, but it didn't do much for me.  The two bad guys tried to channel Farrell and Reilly from Step Brothers, but weren't successful.  The lone bright spot is the Indian hottie, but she's barely in the movie.

The good thing is the movie is only 83 minutes long so you don't have to suffer too much.

I do not recommend this movie.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Orphans of Chaos by John C Wright

As a reviewer said on the book jacket, this book has a Narnia feel to it and I concur.  There is a lot of mythology, but Wright attempts to provide a scientific basis for the gods.  I found a lot of good discussion on morality and was definitely mentally engaged.  The book is a little weird for sure, but highly entertaining.

The middle is a little slow, but it finishes with a bang.  The characters are well fleshed out and believable.

I definitely recommend this book and I look forward to reading the second.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Drop Dead Healthy by AJ Jacobs

I wanted to like this book and it has a nice premise - the author attempts to become the world's healthiest man.  It's a pipe dream, but he gives it the college try over two years.  The book is more a survey of bits and pieces of health advice, but it lacks a coherent theme.  I think listening to anyone and everyone is not the most effective way to go about it.

What turned me off is the constant name dropping - "my Sony TV" instead of just "my TV or "a pair of blue Nike shorts" instead of just "a pair of shorts".  He lives in NYC so you know he has some scratch so why is he a brand whore?  He also writes in a bit too much about his personal life.  There are some lame attempts at comedy and I chuckled a bit, but nothing noteworthy.

I don't want to come across too harshly because health is important to me as well, but the book felt more like a gimmick.

I recommend it only if you get it from your local library.

Photo a day July 16


Sunday, July 15, 2012

In Time

The premise of folks never aging past 25 years, but needing to add more time to keep living is intriguing, but the execution of this movie is flawed.  The science questions are glossed over to focus on a Bonnie and Clyde storyline with Timberlake and Seyfried.  Much of the movie is predictable and quite a bit of it makes no sense.  It's the future, but people still use payphones?  You can't even find a payphone these days.

All the adults are supposed to be 25, but they're all a very hard 25.

I do not recommend this movie.  It doesn't mean you shouldn't watch it, but you shouldn't expect much from it.

Photo a day July 15


Friday, July 13, 2012

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Burning Land by Bernard Cornwell

This book was actually the first Cornwell one I read, but I wanted to reread so that I could say I read the Saxon Chronicles in order.  It's another book focusing on Uhtred and his attempt to retake his ancestral home.  I'm a fan of historical fiction and this book does not disappoint with plenty of history and violence.  I didn't like this book quite as much as some of the others and I think I'm ready for the series to wrap up.

I highly recommend this book to fans of historical fiction.

Photo a day July 11


Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Monday, July 9, 2012

Game of Thrones: Season 1

I'm a fan of Martin's series and I've read most of the books several times.  This HBO adaptation does not disappoint.  The show is well cast and well acted.  Some have complained about gratuitous nudity, but I welcome the nice titties shown, especially those of Daenerys.  Sweet lord.

The series is faithful to the book with some embellishments.  Ten episodes isn't quite enough to cover all the subplots, but they got the important ones.  I was disappointed with how they depicted the direwolves since they're supposed to be more fearsome than dogs.

My favorite characters of the book, Jon, Tyrion and Arya, are also my favorite characters of the show.  The girl/woman playing Sansa does a great job and she's really easy on the eyes as well.

I highly recommend this series, but I suggest you read the book firstly.

Photo a day July 09


Sunday, July 8, 2012

The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian

The Mauritius Command is another book in O'Brian's entertaining Aubrey-Maturin series and does not disappoint.  This book focuses on England's attempt to take Mauritius and the surrounding islands from the French.  It has the usual elements of an O'Brian novel and is well worth a read.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you like historical fiction.

Photo a day July 08


Track work

Even though it's hot and humid out, I went to track this morning to put some work in.  I was able to jog two warm up laps, jog/sprint four laps, jog two cool down laps and then walked two more laps.  The easy laps outnumber the hard laps, but it's alright.

I need to get back to where I could sprint over 15mph.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Friday, July 6, 2012

Justice League: Doom

I felt like watching a cartoon since I've been mainlining the first season of Game of Thrones.  Justice League: Doom hit the spot since I like superhero cartoons and WB usually does a pretty good job.  The animation was just ok, but they had the usual voice actors so it didn't really feel like a low budget affair.

The plot was a standard one and there were plenty of instances of bad movie physics, but, overall, I found this movie entertaining and I recommend it to comic book fans.  I think it presupposes more character knowledge than a casual fan would have and it's a little rugged for those under 12.

Photo a day July 06


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Monday, July 2, 2012

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Photo a Day July 01

Self portrait
I like the zombie eyes.

New photo project

I'm done with Project Tree because it was lame.  It was even lame enough I don't feel guilty for stopping only a third of the way through.

Instead I'll do the Photo a day July Challenge.  It seems more interesting for sure.

Track work

I figured a week of rest was enough to let my knees heal so I hit the track this morning for a light workout.  I normally do twelve laps, but figured eight would be enough for today to get back into it.  I was slow, but I completed the workout without walking and my knees feel ok so I think I'm good to go.

My pace was 9:19/mile which isn't terrible, but my top speed was only 12.3mph so I was unable to really get moving.  I'd like to blame the heat and my injury, but perhaps I'm just slowing down in my old age.  Heh.