Lost in transit once more

I got a taxi to the airport with plenty of time to spare, assuming there’d be all kinds of extra hassle getting through security. I was wrong; from arriving curbside to dropping off my bags took less than five minutes. Of course, if I’d left a bit later I might have remembered to pack my jacket, or my power meter, or one of the other things I’m going to discover I forgot when I disembark at the end of my travels. Ah well, there are always credit cards.
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Marathon training – week 6 of 14 (too much too young)

I ended last week by slacking off and not doing my long Sunday run. That left me unexpectedly fresh on Monday, so when I went to the track I ran (in epically wet conditions) a surprisingly consistent set of 400m repeats.consistency

Pretty much every lap was under 1:25, and they were almost all within a second of each other. ┬áSo I was pleased with that (and pleased that I’d put in the fastest average in two and a half years, and the most consistent set since I’ve been running at the track). When I reviewed the power data in detail, it was also nice to see that every interval was pretty much the same as every other interval – so I wasn’t compromising my form on the later repeats as I got more tired… So that was all great.

It didn’t turn out to be so great for the rest of the week – running that hard wasn’t something I was really ready for, and I paid for it on each successive day.
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Peter Gabriel and Us

This afternoon I played La Serpiente and Destroyer some Peter Gabriel. All his best tunes aren’t on Spotify but the videos are on YouTube, so they got to see the utter wierdness/dreadful early 90s CGI that accompanied Steam, along with the no-less-inspired oddness of Sledgehammer. Both my daughters were transfixed by the sights that flickered across the screen. I’d like to think they were concentrating on Tony Levin’s baselines, but that’s probably a hope too far. 

It is as ever a pain that the rights of different music companies mean you can’t get all the music you want in just one place; much as it is for movies and videogames and books, when all I want to do is let my kids listen to twenty-five year old prog rock. What brave new world is this?

This morning we took the girls to a brunch at a friend’s condo. This was made more exciting by occurring at their swimming pool, where food is banned, providing a guilty frisson as I snacked on Domino’s Pizza and Coca-Cola. After that excitement, and after Peter Gabriel, all that was left was to take them to the local playgym and have them jump on the trampoline for two blessed hours. 

Sleeping through it

I had a fairly long run this morning, up and down the biggest hills I could find, and then as it was Chinese New Year today, there was nowhere open for coffee. We had all gone to bed quite early last night, only for the midnight fireworks to wake up La Serpiente, so I should have been well rested, instead of battling against my id to get out of bed.

The morning, then, was an attempt to persuade the children to go to bed so I could take a nap, and when they did eventually sleep and I got another hour, it was blissful but too short. This afternoon we had planned to see a friend DJ at a local bar, but the bar was a chain and the local bar wasn’t the right one; so home again, where minor but consistent misbehaviour from La Serpiente led to her having one of her Dora The Explorer books confiscated. 

This produced peals of tears and the enduring refrain “you made me sad”. No, you made yourself sad by expectorating and acting as if your parents wouldn’t take any steps against this. But it’s hard to make a three year old understand that the pursuit of happiness might be a right, but happiness itself cannot be guaranteed. Also, we’d had to read this damnable book so many times I assumed my wife had engineered the situation with the express desire to take Dora’s Springtime Fiesta out of rotation. 

I had to put Destroyer to bed, and she burbled and lay down waggling her legs in the air, but wouldn’t sleep. I awoke on her floor about 9, and she was still awake. I turned on her sheep again and tried to stay conscious, and after an hour of lying next to a sleeping parent, I guess she got the hint and went to sleep. At which point a shouting competition started on the floor above us, perfectly timed to wake up La Serpiente. 

This could be a long night…

End of the year

It’s the last day of the Year of the Monkey today, and music is wafting from Chinatown towards our eyrie on the 40th floor. Today I walked through a shopping centre in the middle of town, and there were a series of recommendations from an astrologer, put up on placards. Staunch stuff like: don’t expect financial windfalls this year, or don’t drive carelessly, or be careful in relationships. Does nobody ever get a horoscope that says “well, things will be fine for you this year whatever, so you can drive like a tit and stick all your money in a slot machine, you’ll come out on top”?
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The Sympathizer


Today I finished The Sympathizer, another of the books I discovered via the bookshop in Suvarbharmi Airport. It was really strong, even if the last chapters seemed to fade in strength – or perhaps that was my own fatigue. 

The Sympathizer is about a double agent in the South Vietnamese secret police, eventually escaping to America and then being drawn back to  Vietnam. There’s a detour to the Philippines for a (very) thinly veiled allegory for Apocalypse Now, and after that the book does run out of steam a little, before ending in a meditation on the nature of revolutions. 

The story is written as a confession to an unseen commissar (only at the denouement does the significance of this become clear) and while it is about Vietnam, the references to American policy, both foreign and domestic, appear again and again. (I’d quote liberally from it now, bit too tired to type it up right now.)

So, a definite recommendation. As you’d expect for a Pulitzer winner. Not a cheery bedtime read though…

Not sleeping

I couldn’t sleep last night, an aggravating state of affairs where I lay wide awake at 3am, cursing my alertness and regularly getting up to settle La Serpiente, who has been beset with nightmares, falling out of bed and plain awkwardness, like when, after I had finally got to sleep about 4, she came in to my room at 6:30 to demand I got up and cuddle her back to sleep. 

Thus my day was less pleasant than usual for a Wednesday, and when I got home from work tonight I wanted only to crawl into bed, not deal with a child almost as tired as me, crying and trying to negotiate her way out of bathtime. 

An iron fist in a velvet glove: we didn’t relent, we had her bathed and clothed by 8 and asleep soon after. Her sister, however, screamed bloody murder until 930, by which point I’d gone for a relaxing ten mile run that turned out to be overambitious in my weakened state. Arms hurt, feet hurt, head hurts. Oh, what sort of life is this?