Friday, March 23, 2012

Best of the Week #52

Well I just had an epic fail of a morning. I set my alarm for a totally reasonable running time, but when it went off I was mid-dream (in Petaluma - there were dolphins!), so I quickly re-set it for ten minutes later…then when it went off a second time. Again I thought no way and re-set again….then ten minutes later I accepted the inevitable, gave up on morning running, and did my final re-set for a much later I’m-not-running-this-morning time. Sheesh.

That, combined with last night’s miserable tempo fail, leads me to conclude that I'm going to take today off.

Thanks to Pinterest and Photograzing, my most popular post this week was Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars.

This is a great Running Times article about American 5K specialist, Lauren Fleshman, with some good advice about training, injuries, and running/life balance.
  • Running is a serious pursuit, worthy of serious attention.
  • "Hyper-intelligent athletes tend to gather so much knowledge, but that doesn't always get converted into logical programming."
  • She tried the obsessive focus, and it made her miserable. Now she runs fewer miles than in college, but makes more of them. She cross-trains and focuses on strengthening exercises. She relies on her chiropractor and embraces massage, acupuncture, yoga, sports psychology and even applied kinesiology. Her holistic approach also leans, heavily, on happiness away from running. With all these pieces in place, she says, "It's almost like I get 10 [times] out of one workout."
  • Her writing addresses a lot of frustration like this. I ask if it serves a therapeutic role. "Definitely," she says quickly. "I looooove over-thinking." The writing helps focus her active mind. Paired with a healthy appreciation for the mental side of the sport, it's become a powerful tool.

I’m seeing The Hunger Games tonight after a pre-Hunger Games dinner party. I did not make these specific cupcakes, but they’re pretty awesome, right?

“Urban Dictionary redefines literature's biggest names: Cut the Kerouacing and don't Tolstoy on too long: what slang meanings could your favourite writers lend their names to?” (source)
  • The thought, for example, of teenagers choosing to incorporate the greatest surviving work of early Mesopotamian literature into their vernacular ("Gilgamesh: Something or someone epic beyond words, such as Gilgamesh himself. Something or someone worthy of having an epic written about them/it. Ex: Those shoes are just gilgamesh") makes me wildly happy. 

This is a fun blog, "Streets of Washington," that includes current and historical pictures with commentary about this city I call home. It’s written by John DeFerrari, who “is a native Washingtonian with a lifelong passion for local history. He has a Master’s Degree in English Literature from Harvard University and works for the federal government. He is also a trustee of the D.C. Preservation League.

"Why People in Cities Walk Fast" (source)
  • With the exception of Nairobi — insert joke here about Kenyans crushing everyone at the New York City Marathon — the fastest walking cities were from wealthy nations. The statistical analysis confirmed this general perception: two of the three strongest social predictors of walking speed were a country's G.D.P. and its purchasing power parity (the other was its individualism). Indeed, when Levine considered all his "pace of life" metrics, he found that pace of life was swifter in "economically productive countries" like Western Europe and Japan than in undeveloped countries.
This video is funny but also kind of depressing: Watch the second cartoon video: “Kony or Baloney.”

As I’m sure you’re aware, we are mid-March Madness. Here’s the nerd version: "Democrats vs. Dictators" from Foreign Policy.

And for actual basketball fans, “A History of Bracketology: Who invented the tournament bracket?” (source)
  • In the mid-1800s or before. One of the first single-elimination tournaments in the modern era was the London 1851 chess tournament, organized by the British champion Howard Staunton.
100 best first lines from novels” Some of my favorites:
  • Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendía was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice. - Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967; trans. Gregory Rabassa)
  • Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way. - Leo Tolstoy, Anna Karenina (1877; trans. Constance Garnett)
This is just insane. “Adventures of a Teenage Polyglot.” This 16-year-old has videos in 50 languages.
  • Then last March, during spring break, Timothy did something that changed the metabolism of his language study. In his family’s apartment in the East Village, he made a video of himself speaking in Arabic and uploaded it onto YouTube, with subtitles in English. The response was sparse but enthusiastic, mainly from people in the Middle East: Way to go, Tim! He followed with more videos, each adding viewers, until his Pashto video, posted on Dec. 21, had 10,000 views in two days.
And for those of you running Boston: (source)