By the Numbers: April 2013


Total read: 8 of 36 (target was ~12)

  • Sassinak (re-read) — This is one of my favorite books, but it’s been in a box for years along with all my other books. I finally unpacked those boxes a few months ago when we moved into this apartment, and I immediately wanted to re-read this, but didn’t have time. Then I found out they released it on Kindle and that was it. I had to buy it and re-read it. I have to say, I still love this story. Sassinak may be the best heroine ever. She would definitely make a “top five fictional heroine (from a book)” list were I to put one together… (future blog post idea!)
  • Beautiful Creatures — basically I read this because I saw the preview for the movie and decided I had to read the book first. I will say it was much better than the Twilight series (which I didn’t like), but not as good as some of the other YA fantasy / sci-fi that I’ve read recently. I’m not sure it’s worth continuing in the series. I am just not that interested in what happens next.

I have also been reading lots of short stories for my writing class, and I purchased quite a few new books for my Kindle this month that have now been added to my rapidly growing “to read” pile. Besides Sassinak, I purchased:

All this focus on short stories in my writing class must be paying off… I think I might finally be learning to enjoy / appreciate short stories… Hard to believe I purchased TWO volumes of short stories this month…


Only three blog posts, but lots of progress on other writing fronts… You might be interested to know that I took that writing exercise that I posted here and turned it into a short story. I submitted it to my workshop class and got some great feedback. I’m making revisions now and will find a way to publish / post / share with anyone interested once it’s complete. Everyone in my class seems to think it should be a novel, but I’m trying very hard to cram it into a box labeled “short story” because I can’t see a full novel story arch here…

I also completed another “just for fun” exercise for class which I think I will post here today or tomorrow, just for fun…


My US Masters Swimming FLOG (Fitness Log) says I swam:

  • 13 of 30 days (target was ~20 days)
  • 21.14 miles (target was ~30 miles)

I was a bit of a swimming slacker this month. I intended to only take one week off after the Pacific Masters SCY Championships. One week turned into two. Then when I tried to go back, forces conspired against me. So, I swam just over half the number of days I intended to swim this month. However, I seriously kicked up my mileage and am not trying to swim 2800 – 3200 yards (1.7 – 1.9 miles) per session (this takes me about an hour).

I only had one race this month. You can check out my race times on the US Masters Swimming website here. But if you’re lazy and you just want to see my times / events from the Pacific Short Course Yards (SCY) Championship swim meet I participated in this month, see below:

Date Event Time Age Group Place
 2013-04-05  50 Breast 38.27 2
 2013-04-05  100 Breast  1:20.59 2
 2013-04-05  200 Breast  2:51.81 2
 2013-04-05  100 IM  1:17.11 2

As of right now, I have the 16th fastest time in my age group (35-39) for the 200 yard breast stroke, and I have the 25th fastest time in my age group for the 100 breast stroke. Not bad for about three months of training. Of course, the Nationals are next weekend and I’ll probably slip a bit in the rankings before they finalize the 2013 SCY season best times at the end of May. Until then, I will enjoy the fact that I achieved two of my three swimming goals for this season (Nationals qualifying times and top twenty times). Next year I’ll get that stretch goal — top ten times here I come!

Besides all my “season best” swims this month, I did achieve one additional swimming milestone… as of today’s practice, I have swum just over 100 miles since January first! Yay me!


We averaged about one movie and two TV show episodes a week this month… that means we probably watched almost four hours a week of entertainment. Not bad. Still WAY below the national average…

The movies of April:

  • Total Recall (the new one) — People told us this wasn’t as good as the original, but I actually liked it better than the orignal. The conclusion I came to was that action / sci-fi movies really benefit from a special effects refresh… and better acting… 
  • Argo — How did I miss this one when it came out? This movie was so good. I absolutely loved it. And now that I’m thinking about it, I want to watch it again.
  • The Hobbit — I really liked Lord of the Rings, but this… this was SLOW, almost nothing happens, and it made me think of this addendum to the submission guidelines for an online sci-fi / fantasy magazine that I read recently:

Stories that start in an inn are usually out.

Ditto for stories that start with a group of strangers meeting at an inn.

Ditto for stories that start with a group of strangers meeting at an inn and being hired to do a job by a mysterious individual who is clearly a sorcerer (or vampire, or sorcerer/vampire).

Double ditto for stories that start with a group of strangers meeting at an inn and being hired to do a job by a mysterious man who is clearly a sorcerer (or vampire, or sorcerer/vampire) who then turns on the very adventurers he/she/it hired only to be thwarted by the one dwarf in the party.  In fact, toss us a dwarf curveball.  So far we’ve never seen a story with a dwarf character where that character doesn’t kick ass from beginning to end.

  • No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (part 1) — Greg says we watched this already, but I don’t remember watching it. So we watched it (again?). I love Bob Dylan. He is so full of shit. And he is such a talented artist. Watching this I was struck by the similarities between being a musician / artist in “the Village” when he was up and coming, and the start-up scene in Silicon Valley today. He was like the Mark Zuckerburg of his age / industry. So many parallels… someone should write about that…

Besides movies, we’ve been enjoying Sunday night Game of Thrones, season 3, episodes on HBOGo (thanks, @MagMarCat!) and we finally finished season three (the final season) of Lie to Me on Netflix. We really liked Lie to Me and are very sad it’s over. At least we have Game of Thrones

And that was April…

And tomorrow is the first day of the best month of the year… my birthday month!