I’ve been jammed at work the last couple of weeks, and haven’t had the time or inclination to post. Finally, Mrs. Unfocused suggested that maybe I wouldn’t be so darn grouchy if I got back to writing. A few days ago I started working again on the short story I began in late October and my mood improved, so last night she told me it was time to post on the blog.
Yes, dear. Nothing like being insufferable to motivate your loved ones to remind you about your hobbies.
Thank God, the election is over. The right guy won — hell, we all won, didn’t we? — and now I can stop biting my nails and thinking about big issues and go back to being completely self-involved. With that in mind, let’s get to the stats. I’ll try to cover the last two weeks, since I know you’re curious.
How’s the running going? Not badly. Today was a little slow: 10.19 miles in 1:31:55, a 9:01 pace, although that includes 2-3 minutes spent for a bathroom break at a Starbucks along the way (yeah, I know, TMI; the runners understand). Last Sunday was better: 10.07 miles in 1:24:22, an 8:22 pace. Both days were cold — it had just climbed above freezing when I started my run this morning, and it wasn’t much warmer last week — and I’ve been running into a headwind during the second half of these runs, which isn’t any fun. I have good winter gear, but there are going to be plenty of days from now until spring when it’s going to be too cold or snowy or icy to run outside, which is why I’m so glad that we finally bought ourselves a treadmill. We moved into this house six years ago, and I finally wore Mrs. Unfocused down to the point that she thinks it was her idea, so she did the work of finding a used NordicTrack Apex 8000 on Craigslist last Sunday. I checked it out on Monday, bought it and got it moved that night (before she could change her mind), and used it for the first time on Tuesday morning. It’s not super-fancy, but it has all the basics and a few frills, and most importantly, a 3.0 continuous horsepower motor, which keeps it moving smoothly. So far, it’s been great.
What’s been playing on the iPod? During today’s run, I listened to: Phedippidations #161 (Gifts for the Holiday Runner, hint hint honey); Accident Hash #278 (Blame Chance); Escapepod #183 (Beans and Marbles). I didn’t finish the Escapepod episode — the cold weather kills the battery on my iPod even when I wear it under my jacket, and it died about 10 minutes before I finished my run. Since my last post, I’ve also listened to: Adventures in SciFi Publishing #66 (Elizabeth Bear and Tobias Buckell) and #67 (Tobias Buckell — I’m going to have to read something by Tobias Buckell soon, it seems like the guy is everywhere); Metatropolis (edited by John Scalzi, with stories by Scalzi, Jay Lake, Elizabeth Bear, Karl Schroeder, and — believe it or not — Tobias Buckell; I’ve only heard the Jay Lake story, which is pretty damn good, so I’m looking forward to the rest of it); I Should Be Writing #104 (Interview with Benjamin Rosenbaum); and The Takeover #7 (The Office Romance, Part 2).
I have two favors to ask in connection with the iPod; please leave any suggestions in the comments. First, let me know what you use to listen to your iPod when you’re running or exercising — the standard issue earbuds, or something else? I have a pair of nice noise-cancelling headphones I use for airplanes, but for running this year I’ve been using Sony MDR-A35 phones, which insert into the ear like earbuds but go over the head like headphones. They’ve been fine but they’re unusable during a Chicago winter — if I put them over my hat, I have to leave my ears exposed to the cold in order to hear anything, but if I put them under my hat, the hat pushes them into my ears hard enough to hurt. The last two weeks I’ve been wearing the earbuds that come with the iPod, and they just don’t fit; I had to take off my gloves half a dozen times during my run this morning just to put the left piece back into my ear (the right one didn’t fall out at all). If you wear an iPod while you run or exercise and you have a solution for this, PLEASE let me know. Don’t force me to run with nothing but the voices in my head to keep me company.
And speaking of company, if you listen to any interesting podcasts that you want to recommend, please feel free. I’m particularly interested in podcasts about running, writing, indie music that doesn’t sound like bad imitations of the heavy metal bands I listened to in 1985, and podcast fiction. I don’t have vast amounts of time to listen to podcasts, but I’d like a little more variety. If you’ve got a suggestion, please let me know.
What about the writing? Of course, the writing. Since Fall Sunday Stats #5 two weeks ago, I put another 2,500 words into the short story I was working on (almost all of it in the last four days) and finished the first draft. The Mrs. liked it, which soothes my ego and means it gets an immediate first pass edit. I want it in shape to send out by the end of the month. One of the short stories I sent out came back with a form rejection on October 30, and I’m going to send it out to another market sometime this week; I have only one story out on submission until I do, which strikes me as inadequate. I have another short story sketched out, and I’d like to get a draft of that done by the end of the month; if it isn’t done by November 30, it will have to get back-burnered, because I’m going to start the revision of Meet the Larssons by December 1 (if not over the Thanksgiving weekend). I’ve left MTL alone long enough; I’ve got some distance, and it’s time to get back to work on the novel.
I’ll try to be a little more regular about posting, especially since my one year anniversary is coming up on December 17. In future posts, I’ll share my suggestion for the Obamas’ puppy, host (maybe) a contest, and (of course) kvetch about not getting enough writing or running done.
Where are you putting the treadmill? We have ours in the back laundry room with no TV or anything. It is tough to stay focused when you are staring at nothing. Even with music.
I use Sennheiser PMX 70 headphones. Actually they are my wife’s. I haven’t tried the running with a hat, but I’ve walked the dog with a hat and those headphones. They do wrap around the ear so it may not work well, or be very comfortable. I can’t use the earbuds either. They fall out of my ears when I’m sitting in a chair.
Mike – We put the treadmill in the guestroom, looking out a window at nothing interesting. We’ve discussed mounting a TV or an extra computer monitor, but haven’t done anything yet. I’ll take a look at the Sennheisers.