Wednesday, October 30, 2013

maintenance 10/30/13

7mi easy / Still working through this strep throat nonsense. Zero energy.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

shoe lineup

It's been a long time since I've been this happy with my running shoe selection so I'm recording it for future reference.

Base mileage / LSD: Skechers GORun2. Light, flexible, spacious toebox, 4mm drop, doesn't try to "fix" bad mechanics. What's not to like? Also, Meb wears Skechers.

Speedwork: Adidas adipure Gazelle. Everything I said about the GORun2 but with less cushioning.

Racing: Adidas adizero PR. They weigh 3.9 ounces. Let me repeat that: They weigh 3.9 ounces.

There is, of course, some crossover here. I wouldn't wear the adizeros for a half-marathon. Ouchie. And I will occasionally wear the adipures for base mileage if it's the short-and-soft-surface variety.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

quality 10/15/13

15 min easy + 5 x 400:
73.0, 73.8, 73.4, 73.3, 72.5

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Saturday, October 12, 2013

quality 10/12/13

15 min easy + 20 min tempo + 10 min easy

Friday, October 11, 2013

one last thing before you kill me...

[Disclaimer: not a running post. Also, Breaking Bad spoiler alert.]
Last night while discussing the final episode of Breaking Bad with some friends, over friendly beer, I said that I wished BB hadn't resorted to that tired old "one last thing before you kill me" cliché. Those dreadfully insipid twists where the villain has a gun pointed at the hero, and is about to pull the trigger, but the hero manages to talk his way into a tiny bit of breathing space, and in that space the hero has just enough time to flip the situation and take down the villain.

This is used in everything from Scooby Doo to James Bond to Superman. Roger Ebert called it 'The Fallacy of the Talking Villain.' So, here we go... Uncle Jack is about to shoot Walt, so Walt has to find a way to: 1) grab his car keys and 2) trigger the automatic weapon contraption that 3) kills the bad guys. How does Walt pull this off? He pokes at the villain's pride, referring to Jesse Pinkman as Jack's "partner". Jack gets all in a tizzy because Jesse is merely his meth cook slave, and Jack has to prove that Walt is mistaken and... distraction achieved, victory!


[groan]

I sensed the "one last thing" moment coming on, right before Walt mentioned Jesse, and I cringed a little. I mean, guys, really? This is BREAKING FRICKIN BAD and you're going to end it with that trite device??

But what bothers me about the "one last thing" moment isn't so much the overuse; it is the plain silliness of it. I don't actually know any Uncle Jack-types, but I'm assuming there are a fair number of Uncle Jack-types out there. Real-life bad guys. In those situations, when they are about to kill someone, will insulting their intelligence/competence/whatever honestly give them pause? Come on. In response to the Jesse Pinkman taunt, Uncle Jack would have just fucking shot Walt in the head.

Which brings me to my real motivation for writing this post: HAL 9000. I recently re-read 2001: A Space Odyssey and... good god... HAL is such a fantastic villain. Even though HAL is an inorganic machine, he can't be classified as evil, or as a psychopath, or even as a sociopath. Clarke clearly defines HAL - within the reality of the novel, of course - as a substantial leap forward in artificial intelligence. HAL isn't merely a supercomputer; his designers were able to create "neural networks [that] could be generated automatically - self-replicated ... artificial brains could be grown by a process strikingly analogous to the development of a human brain."

In short, HAL does have emotions, and a sort of moral compass. And it is precisely these all-too-human traits - guilt, fear, shame, a sense of being trapped - that lead to HAL's temporary psychotic break (again, without any explicit conversion to psychopathy). Once HAL suffers this break and is forced into the climactic decision moment [how can I best alleviate this emotional turmoil?] we are rewarded with one of the most chilling moments in all genre fiction: "Dave, this conversation can serve no purpose anymore. Goodbye." The one thing HAL doesn't do? Despite Dave's attempts to keep HAL talking? He doesn't fall for the "one last thing before you kill me" trick.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

quality 10/8/13

32 min with 4 x 400;
74.3, 75.1, 74.5, 74.6

Monday, October 7, 2013

maintenance 10/7/13

am: 31 min easy
pm: 30 min easy

Sunday, October 6, 2013

LSD 10/6/13

10mi easy / 76:17