By the Numbers: February 2013


Total read: 4 of 36 (target was ~6)

I know February is a short month and all, but it seems like this February went by at an unbelievably fast pace. It went by so fast, in fact, that I didn’t have enough spare time to finish *any* books this month. I find this particularly hard to believe, but I’ve actually been slowly chewing my way through Blue Remembered Earth for an entire month. Yikes!

It’s not that I don’t want to finish it — far from it. I’m really enjoying the book. It’s long, but not long enough to justify an entire month of casual reading for me. Even though I haven’t finished it yet, I will say that I highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys science fiction adventures with political / social sub plots. I have been thinking of it as “Dune crossed with Little Brother / Homeland…” Which isn’t entirely fair because I haven’t actually read either of those books by Cory Doctorow (yet). I have heard him speak a few times and have a general idea (from Greg) about his novels.


My writing class that started at the very end of January has been occupying almost all the free time I’ve had outside of swimming and work. And, if you remember, I have a second writing class that starts this month and overlaps briefly with the one I’m currently taking. I am just beginning to freak out about that.

I did more writing than blogging this month (only 3 blog posts!), mostly due to free time and my writing class. I wrote two poems for a class assignment — the first time I’ve written poetry since high school. I also attempted to write a short story.

I say “attempted” because the process was messy and I’m not entirely pleased with the result. I wrote two different versions of the same scene that I was attempting to turn into a short story. But then I realized the story would have to be longer than I intended, and I had no ideas about how to make it shorter. So, I abandoned both versions to my “drafts” folder and pulled out something I’d written previously but never submitted to polish up for class. I need a lot more short story practice. Lucky for me, we’re working on short stories for the next two weeks in class.


I didn’t compete in any swim meets this month, but I did hit it hard in the pool. My US Masters Swimming FLOG (Fitness Log) says I swam:

  • 18 of 28 days (target was ~20 days)
  • 27.13 miles (target was ~30 miles)

I surprised myself by swimming a couple of sets at times / pace faster than I though I would be able to swim. I’ve had several people at the pool that I don’t know comment to me about how fast I am. Compared to the competitive swimmers, I’m not that fast yet, and I know how far I have to go before I’ll admit to being “fast.” However, to regular lap swimmers that just swim for fitness or as practice for a triathlon they’re training for, I probably do appear to be “fast.”

Sometimes I will admit I am the fastest person in the pool at my gym (including the guys). But there are two women (both appear to be younger than me, and significantly taller), that are faster than me — except in breaststroke. I don’t think there is anyone that I’ve seen at the gym that’s faster than me at breaststroke.

You might think this would make me feel good, or confident. However, I don’t get any great joy from swimming faster than and/or intimidating a bunch of casual lap swimmers. At the same time, I worry I won’t get substantially faster unless I have someone faster to compete with and to push me. So, I’m beginning to seriously consider joining a masters swim team in the summer or fall. We’ll see how this season goes and how I perform at the meets coming up in March. I’ll decide after that.


I spent some of my book reading time watching movies. This month we watched:

  • Celeste and Jesse Forever – Disappointing. I was expecting this would be funnier. 
  • Perks of Being a Wallflower – This was better than the book. Emma Watson was fantastic in this. We were probably almost 30 min into the movie before I realized she was speaking with an (flawless) American accent.
  • the entire first season of House of Cards – This was way better than I expected. I had only 3 gripes with the first season: 1) Francis has terrible rowing form making him less believable as an ex-rower (#CoxswainProblems), 2) I noted one plot loophole that didn’t quite tie out (but I’m now having a hard time remembering what it was…), 3) The last episode was frustrating for many reasons that I won’t get into here so I don’t spoil it for those that haven’t watched yet…

And that’s February 2013…