Running + dogs = el mejor

…I took the leash off, and we ran.
We ran next to each other. A mini stampede. We were completely in sync, and not thinking about much but the present moment. We ran as fast as we could as the trees whooshed by. Gizelle came up to my hips, but she never tried to jump in front of me or nip at my feet like a lot of dogs would. Her jowls flapped in the wind and her long pink tongue flailed happily out of her mouth as she ran next to me. Like a protector. Like a friend.

—Lauren Fern Watt, in Gizelle’s bucket list

Haul from the library

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Went to return two books, and maybe borrow one. Ended up bringing seven of them home :)

The one I went to get: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

The two that were in my read some time list:

  • The Art of failing by Anthony McGowan and
  • Mr. Iyer goes to war by Ryan Lobo (finished)

The four that I picked up from browsing around the sections:

  • Gizelle’s bucket list by Lauren Fern Watt
    – A dog story, my weakness
  • Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas by Maya Angelou
    – Saw her name, picked it up
  • Can’t Swim, Can’t Ride, Can’t Run by Andy Holgate
    – I’d come across this book often in Amazon recommendations, never enticed enough to buy.
  • Running up that hill by Vassos Alexander
    – Running & hills, two of my many other weaknesses :)

Continue reading Haul from the library

Late night + name confusion = a very different book

I read Jon Krakauer‘s ‘Into thin air‘ earlier this year. It’s about an Everest expedition gone wrong. I’d seen the movie based on it years ago so knew the story line. I still enjoyed the book. Mark of a well written book.

Late one night last week, I was looking for another book to start. I spotted Jack Kerouac‘s ‘On the road‘ on the book shelves.

The book name seemed similar to Jon’s ‘Into thin air‘ and ‘Into the wild‘.
Author name sounded similar too—Jack Ker… vs Jon Kr…
The introduction on back cover sounded interesting, though a bit unlike the outdoorsy vibe of Jon’s other books.

I took a chance—took it upstairs and started reading.

It was different.

I was about 70 pages into the book before I decided to double check and realised my mistake. This was a story about young men in the 50s discovering booze, drugs, music, themselves, women, and America. Far from the gen-x characters in Jon’s books.

Not a book I would’ve picked up knowingly. But a book I’m enjoying nonetheless.

Me, here, now.

Gardening

After neglecting the garden for 5+ years, I finally started getting my hands dirty this year. It’s been a surprising delight. The flowers are blooming. No plants have died yet. And the weeds are more under control than any time last year. All this for a couple of weekends’ work, and 5-10 mins every morning or evening. My highlight achievement must be saving a few plants from near death—the purple petunias, the value pack bogonias and the medium-sized marigold—and seeing them flourish.

I am really enjoying the work in the garden—probably too much according to R. There must be some truth in what Cal Newport said—the joy of creating physical things with our own hands.

Running

I’ve been running well. I like my current running form, and the times have been reflecting the improvement. I ran my Park Run PB earlier at Woking—22:42. I ran the London marathon earlier in just under 4 hours—3:58:44. This is the first year where I have run at least 100 km every month. It’s also the first year when I’ve run at least once every week. I plan to keep the momentum going through rest of the year.

Reading

Reading has been a continuing theme from last few years. I haven’t read as many fiction books this year as non-fiction. Just haven’t found too many of ones I really want to read. Amitava Ghosh released his new book, Gun Island, so I polished that off in less than a day. But nothing much else.

I’ve read a lot of non-fiction though. Quite a few are based around self-improvement and productivity— Make time, GTD for teens, Digital minimalism, Messy, Range, Sprint, Turn the ship around

I’ve read some books from the running, swimming, cycling, hiking world, but again not as many as I would’ve liked. Goater’s Art of running faster gave some good tips, and Scott Jurek’s North was full of inspiration.

I’ve started listing the books, and notes from some of them on this site.

Head & heart

Parents were planning to visit UK this year. They’ve cancelled. I’m sad.

I stopped meditating regularly months ago. I still meditate occasionally, but without the app there isn’t much to guide me through session after session. Most of the time it is just noticing a breath (tip from Make Time).

The year, mentally, has been a roller coaster. I haven’t really touched the depths of depression like I did around October last year, but I haven’t had many periods of consistent happiness either. I have a feeling it’s all very fragile. Or is it brittle?

Finished Todo.txt for Android

I’m ending the second phase of active development for Todo.txt for Android. All core functionality works sufficiently well for my own use. Dark mode is half baked, so have moved it to the backlog for the next phase, whenever that happens.

Not doing much active development on extensions at the moment.

Next up

Next up is starting a new project, or finding a new role. Either way, it’ll be a time of flux and vulnerability. Tread kindly, por favor!

Continue reading Me, here, now.

RSS & site updates

New combined RSS feed

Added new combined RSS feed comprising posts from all the blogs hosted on this domain. The combined feed is available here: Adi's combined feed.

The combined feed includes:

  • Speak Easy—feed
  • Converge—site, feed
  • Middlering—site, feed
  • Paws N Pedals (never updated)—site, feed
  • Photos (new)—site, feed
  • The winter blog (rarely updated dev notes blog)—site, feed
  • Use my marker (highlights from Instapaper and kindle)—site, feed
  • App Updates (update notes for my apps and extensions)—site, feed

Photos & Books pages

The new photos blog, and the experimental books page are now linked from the home page.

A good structure for non-fiction writing

I read a fair number of books every year. Based on the stuff I’ve read last couple of years, I have observed a winning method of structuring concepts in non-fiction books. The easiest to consume non-fiction books appear to use this familiar structure to present the chapters/concepts:

  1. Start with an anecdote, or a story. The story displays, or better, ends with the concept the chapter intends to impress.
  2. Follow up with an explanation of the concept—its definition, origins, benefits, why-it-works, side-effects, etc.
  3. Reinforce with references to research, or interviews with researchers who have studied the characteristic in depth.
  4. Finish with a few more short anecdotes. Even better if these are follow-up stories to the ones in the first section, and/or lead to the concept in the following chapter.

Continue reading A good structure for non-fiction writing

Me, here, now.

Finished Todo.txt for Android

I’m at the end of second phase of active development for Todo.txt for Android. All core functionality works sufficiently well for my own use. Dark mode is half baked, so will now be moved to the backlog for the next phase, whenever that happens.

Next few weeks may see small updates to the Chrome extensions—bug fixes and minor tweaks based on user feedback over the last month and a half.

Next up

Next up is starting a new project, or finding a new role. Either way, it’ll be a time of flux and vulnerability. Tread kindly, por favor!

Gardening

After neglecting the garden for 5+ years, I finally started getting my hands dirty this year. It’s been a surprising delight. The flowers are blooming. No plants have died yet. And the weeds are more under control than any time last year. All this for a couple of weekends’ work, and 5-10 mins every morning or evening.

I am really enjoying the work in the garden—probably too much according to R. There must be some truth in what Cal Newport said—creating physical things with our own hands.

Running

I’ve been running well. I really like my current running form, and the times have been reflecting the improvement. I ran my Park Run PB a couple of weeks ago at Woking—22:42. I have been off running so far this week due to an ankle injury picked up on Saturday (thankfully, after I’d completed my 14 mile run). Looking forward to testing the ankle again with a short run later today.

Reading

I’m loving reading ‘Turn the ship around’ by David Marquet. It’s one of those books that is best read in small bits, munched over for a while, then continued. The last book in this category was Daniel Kahneman’s ‘Thinking fast and slow’. They’ll both stay in my forever library, with frequent references to notes and books.

I’m also reading Messy by Tim Harford. This is my active reading book, and will probably be finished tomorrow. It’s an interesting journey of rediscovery. I used to be atypical messy—thriving only in mess and chaos. Working independently forced me to learn discipline and to streamline my life processes. Now I am rediscovering the value of messiness. It’s a brilliant brain tickler for me—harmonising my tidy, streamlined life with a bit of messiness to add some anti-fragility.

The third book I’m currently reading is Sanjaya Baru’s ‘The accidental prime minister’. It’s hard reading, specially because I like the subject. The author covers too much of himself relative to the subject (the prime minister). It also, like bits of ‘Up in the air’, way too frequently delves into explanations and bureaucratic minutae. R tells me it gets better later, so I’m ploughing on.

Continue reading Me, here, now.

In praise of a paper receipt

Surrey library receipt

It is so well contained – shows all the information that is important, and none that isn’t.

There’s a short header with logo, timestamp and my member id.

Then, right up front in the first box, it shows the book that I just borrowed, when it’s due for return, and any associated fees.

In the next box it lists the books I already have out on loan, with due dates for each1.

In the final box it shows any fees that I have outstanding. In this case it is £1.50 for two books that I had reserved (75p each).

Then there’s a concise footer reminding members that books may also be renewed/reserved online2 (how I do it), and over telephone (for digitally disinclined).

That’s all. Simple and sufficient.

Continue reading In praise of a paper receipt

Successful tweak – meditation before sleeping

For the last 10 days, I have meditated in bed before sleeping.

I updated my pre-sleep routine. It now starts with meditating for 10 minutes – usually Daily Calm, though yesterday I tried and liked a quiet meditation. Then I massage my feet, ankles and achilles with a massage ball before wearing sleeping socks (keeping feet warm). Finally, I read a book till the eyes shut off – usually 5-15 minutes.

I have been really enjoying this routine. The meditation calms me down drastically. The massage helps the feet stay fitter while I am increasing running mileage (or at least I think it helps). Then I read something – an easy book1 or a few paragraphs of Meditations (Marcus Aurelius).

I have been having really good sleep – drifting into it peacefully, and waking calm. The anxieties from rest of the day have mostly kept at bay. I’m lovin’ it.

Continue reading Successful tweak – meditation before sleeping