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Fortnight, Two Weeks’ Results

Last week I neglected to post my result — I was in a bit of a rush to get to Morning Prayer, and I was frustrated by how the run felt (my breath was shallow, still, and my legs were leaden). Last week I ran my mile in 11:42, at about the best I have done in this experiment.

This week I didn’t break stride until I’d run four blocks (by far the best I’ve done — last week I barely made it three blocks) and didn’t feel too bad all along, and I managed the last block on the run without breaking stride. In the end I ran my mile in 11:22, a very encouraging time indeed.

What, Fifth? Fourth?

This morning was a neat 12:00 mile. Since I started at thirteen minutes a few weeks ago, I figure that by next October I’ll be running three-minute miles.

My wind is improving, but is still a big obstacle to really running. This morning, my knees were stiff, a bit sore, and generally reluctant to help me move along. Still, I’m making progress.

Another Week, Another Mile

I didn’t start the timer on my phone correctly, so I don’t know how long I took this morning, but I’ll call it 12:15 ’cos I’m moderately sure I did better than last week.

As I went, I pondered how my various components were handling this experience. I was looking for a body part to blame — as if it would be most interesting if I were generally fit, with the exception of this or that bit). I thought ‘Well, I’m easily winded, so limited lung functioning might be the problem’; but then I observed that my quads were not doing a great job of lifting my legs, and my right hamstring started sending me gentle warning messages, and even my calves and feet were not jolly contributors to the overall running experience. After thinking it over for a few seconds, I reached the startling conclusion that I am just plain out of shape. Which is, after all, the reason I started run-walking a few weeks ago in the first place.

Historicising

One of the cliches of twentieth-century theological reading of Scripture was that radical critics ween’t critical enough. I’ve seen that most often as an interrogation of the critics’ historical discernment — ‘You can’t say that miracles are impossible, because miracles are reported even today. You need to criticise your own modernist presumption that miracles can’t be historically true.’

I’m generally ready to poke biblical modernism, but i would take the ‘not critical enough’ gesture in a different direction. That is, the prevalent historical interpretive discourse persists in treating the most recent historical interpretations as self-evidently ‘true’ or ‘correct’. But if we have any historical awareness at all, we recognise that today’s self-evidently true conclusions are tomorrow’s risibly out-dated error. The biblical interpretation industry invests contemporary historical discernment with an authority incommensurate with its inevitable transience. Miracle stories may be accurate or not, but the restless necessity that interpretive judgement keep changing is a matter that any casual observer can verify.

Week Three

Same mile, same run/walk, same 12:35 as last week.
My thigh muscles felt weaker than last week, and my legs were leaden. I actually felt like running on Wednesday morning, but gave it a miss; this morning I was less motivated, and the run was hard.

Another Step

(A) I am not a runner. This is why I regularly begin my morning by skipping rope for ten minutes or so — to get my blood circulating, keep my breath capacity at least marginally satisfactory, and so on.

(B) This morning I ran/walked a mile in thirteen minutes. Not exactly Roger Bannister, but it’s a start.

Core-porate Relations

QuadrigaI remain alert to news from Cupertino, though less obsessively as I did when I was a younger man, so I was interested to hear from Gruber about a momentous leak of information relative to tomorrow’s planned announcement of the latest models of iPhones.

Of course, Apple is notorious for its track record of successful secret-keeping. Against that backdrop, the leak of a GM operating system upgrade would be a noteworthy news event in itself. What makes this special is that it came just a couple of days before a much-anticipated Apple Event, at which viewers ordinarily gasp, applaud, tweet, subtweet, marvel, and kvetch about each micro-unit of news (since no one will have known about them till they’re announced at the Event). Tomorrow, Tim Cook will walk out onstage with all the details of his iOS upgrade apparently already known.

Popular imagination can easily envision the scene — including furious tirades, multiple firings, and new security measures possibly including the sequestration of loved ones in an Apple-controlled remote facility — were this to happen to Steve Jobs when he was at Apple. That’ not Tim Cook’s style, much to the disappointment of drama-loving fans and journalists. On the other hand, it would be tough for Tim to walk out with the script intact, to say ‘… and now, for your mind-boggled consideration, facial recognition!’ while the audience yawns.

Apple may be desperately rejiggering some of the specs, so that they can say ‘Neener, neener, that wasn’t the real Golden Master after all!’, but that would run the risk of bugs and failures, and if Apple hates anything more than leaks, it’s failures. They have another option, though.

Apple could deal with its misfortune by choosing not to make grand public punitive gestures (those will surely come anyway) on one hand, or stiff recitations about what anyone could have read on macrumors.

Apple loves the media, and its association with coolness, and it wants the media to have something unexpected to report. The iOS specs no longer count as hot or unexpected, however impressive they be. What if Apple called up a comedy writer — a Seinfeld, or a Poehler or Fey or David, or a behind-the-scenes comic writer — to rework the presentation with self-deprecating humour? Well done (and admittedly, that’s a risk with 24-hour turnaround and technology execs as presenters), it could divert attention from the sensation of the leak, keep Apple on the good guys side by laughing at itself, and make the presentation enjoyable even if you know what’s about to be announced.

This isn’t a moment for circling the wagons and publicly shooting traitors; more urgent concerns face Apple and the world than non-surprise product announcements. Apple could show its sense of proportion in a world where to heads of state are playing chicken with nuclear weapons, where two hurricanes have just devastated parts of the U.S. and its neighbours, and where climate change and economic disparities threaten to blight… well, everything. And make a few people laugh, perhaps awkwardly, and introduce some new products which (as far as the leaks suggest) should still be pretty impressive.

Turning of the Season

QuadrigaSteve Himmer always used to keep track of the end of summer by noting the last day he could wear short trousers (a situation he regarded as self-evidently natural and preferable to long trousers for men), and the first day of long trousers.* I don’t mind long trousers as much as Steve, but I mark the change from summer to autumn (and, mutatis mutandis, winter to spring) by the first night I sleep without the eye mask that protects me from early dawns. Last night was ‘no sleep mask’ night — autumn has come.


* It is a sign of the fallen and frustrating world in which we now live that it’s exceptionally difficult to track down the posts from one pot meal, Steve’s old blog, in which he discussed this important phenomenon.