Sunday Morning Stuff 21/07

Another week, another Sunday Morning Stuff. But this time I’m actually here on a Sunday morning with a cup of coffee pre-long run writing this out as I always intended, a little Orville Peck on in the background. Very chill indeed. So let’s get right into it and take a little look at all the stuff that has been grabbing my attention this week.

Reading

I finally got my act together, albeit in a small way, and read Of Mice and Men, which I had been planning on writing about for a month at least. Problem was that instead of life finding a way (in the immortal words of Ian Malcom) it has kind of just got in the way. But I broke my duck with that classic novella and now there’s a considerable pile of unsorted books on my bookshelf which need attacking with refreshed reading vigour. They also really need sorting out into some kind of order, and oh dark lords please forgive it’s irregularity for I am running out of space, bless me with shelves and I will repent for my madness.

Playing

Nothing new to report on this front, I continue to make gradual progress through Hollow Knight, and it continues to be one of my favourite games of this generation. Mario Maker awaits on the Switch which sleeps in the dock, although the HDMI isn’t actually even plugged into the TV because I’m really into playing into handheld and handheld only.

Xbox Game Pass has been putting out some good stuff recently, new and old, and I’ve downloaded Middle Earth: Shadow of War to mess around in, but after playing a couple of hours I decided that it was stupid of me to start playing it before I’ve completed Assassin’s Creed Odyssey – which still hangs over me like a demented spectre, cackling at me every time I play a new game: “you’ll never complete me!” it bellows. “Never!” Well I’m pretty damn close to completing the main story but after putting in so many hours I did stop and consider how much more it would take to fully complete it. I found the answer, not in hours, but in the number of achievements I still have to collect. Admittedly most of them are from the DLC but there are 40, FORTY, achievements left. I’ve played for 130 HOURS. I think I can hear that spectre laughing again.

Music

As I mentioned up top I have been digging on some Orville Peck, a “masked gay crooner” as Billboard puts it. His latest album Pony is country music for modern America. It lingers in the traditional country storytelling roots, each song a little vignette about hustlers and gamblers and bad boys lost in the wide country of those United States. But it’s not all six-strings here, songs like Queen of the Rodeo have the twinkling 80s synth sounds which have been tickling my fancy so since Stranger Things set me clattering back into my nostalgia phase. Single Dead of Night might remain my favourite song though, a creeping baseline and slow knocking percussion reinforce this mysterious cowboy’s persona, and sends you spiralling with him into the eerie twilight of a lonesome country road lit only by the silver of the moon.

But let’s double back to those twinkling synths as Ollie Wride, vocalist for synthwave stalwarts FM-84, has his own album out. Full of 80s styled pop bangers and ballads, it’s a really bloody good time for everyone caught by the 80s bug or looking for an easy access point into the synthwave scene as his personal brand of electro-pop is drenched in the same neon lit aesthetics of that retro scene.

Watching

Here it is! The one thing on this weekly list that gets the cold shoulder. Last week it was reading, this week I’ve watched jack diddly, what’ll be next week? Tune in to find out!

Running

I’ve had the bright idea to run a half marathon. Specifically the Great Eastern Run, pretty much the biggest run in my local area. It’s not until October, but that means I’ve got 12 weeks of focused training to get to work on. Looking at the schedule on paper, it’s not that daunting, it’s mostly just a lot of time out on the road, and on the treadmill, gathering up as many hours of time on feet as possible to prepare the body for the slog. I’m aiming for a time of 90 mins. It’s really difficult for me to say just how doable that is, because I’ve never even run the distance before, but it’s a pace I know I can run, and I know I can maintain for 6/7 miles already. The next few months will be preparing my body to drag that distance out the whole way.

If anything the first part of my training has been to slow down some of my miles, I’ve got a lot of ground to cover and pretty much every plan that I have looked at suggests a running at least once a week at about 8-minute mile pace, and a couple of times around 7:30 pace, because at the end of the day a fit runner beats an injured one 100% of the time. Sounds silly but I’ve been struggling to do that on the road because I’m just not used to slowing things down like that, but I can see the benefit, and there is a joy in being 4 miles into a run and not being completely knackered. Still, it’s a weird struggle to have.

And with that we’ll finish, because I need to head out and knock out some more of those slow miles right now. 10 of them to be precise, so…

…yeah.

Wish me luck.  

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