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Archive for November, 2014

Month of November

Half-marathon training: Hanson’s week 17

With all these miles, I’ve been really wearing down my shoes, even though I’ve been alternating them. I got a new pair on Newton’s (Sir Isaacs) on Wednesday, which should give me enough days to break them in before race day.

This week the strength run is a 4 x 1 mile on Tuesday, tempo run on Thursday is 5 miles. As we go into the taper, there is no Long Run on Sunday. Total target mileage 40 miles.

The previous week’s log is here.

Week 17 schedule:

  • Monday: Easy 5 mi - EASY run 5 mile, 46:44 9:21 pace. Ran around a neighborhood in San Antonio near the hotel. More hills than normal, and there will be some in the San Antonio Rock n Roll Half course. But the course looks like there is only one big hill.
  • Tuesday: Strength 4 x 1 miles with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down - OFF DAY. Rearranged the schedule for a few reasons: Thanksgiving travel, plus the place I was staying in San Antonio didn’t have very flat roads to run sprints on.
  • Wednesday: off day. STRENGTH RUN 4 x 1 mile  5.5 mi in 46:26, 8:27 pace. EASY RUN warm up 1.5 mi in 14:15, 9:30 pace; EASY RUN 1.5 mi in 14:07, 9:21 pace to cool down. My paces this week so far have been a lot faster than they should be according to the plan. Part of that is the cooler weather, part is that is that the pace felt right. It was the last Strength run of this program, so I did put a bit more into it.

4 x 1 mile

  • Thursday: Tempo Run 5 mi (with 1.5 easy warm up and cool down runs) – EASY RUN 5 miles 45:35, 9:07 pace. Did Friday’s easy run today so that I wasn’t doing two SoS runs in a row. My Newton’s were getting a bit low in the tread so a new set of Sir Isaac’s came in the mail today. Ten days to break them in should be more than enough, especially since they are the same type of shoes I have been running in.5 mile tempo
  • Friday: easy 5 mi -  EASY RUN to warm up 1.45 mi in 13:21, 9:08 pace  TEMPO RUN 5 mi in 41:35, 8:19 pace, EASY RUN to cool down, 1.55 mi in 15:14, 9:51 paceEASY RUN 6 miles in the RAIN! in 58:57, 9:50 pace. Focusing on negative splits, which is part of my race plan
  • Saturday: easy 6 mi – EASY RUN 6 miles 56:14 at 9:22 pace. The warmth and humidity has returned. According to the ten day forecast, this is what it will be will like on race day in San Antonio.
  • Sunday: easy 8 mi - EASY RUN 8 mi in 1:18:32, 9:49 pace. Warm and humid. 190 miles for the month of November, which I’m sure is a new personal record (month calendar below).

Plan total: EASY (5+3+3+5+6+8) = 30 miles + TEMPO 5 + 4 x 1 miles  =  40 miles

Actual total: EASY (5+3+3+5+68) = 30 miles and TEMPO 5 miles + 4 x 1 mile (5.5 miles) =  51.25 miles

Next week, week number 18, is the TAPER and RACE DAY!!!!

Month of November


Half-marathon training: Hanson’s week 16

Race day is not far away – received my confirmation sheet for the Dec. 7 San Antonio RnR Half. This is the last hard week before the taper (48 miles this week, then 40 and then 37 race week). Extended this week to 51 miles, most I’ve done in one week in many years.

This week the strength run is a 4 x 1.5 mile on Tuesday, tempo run on Thursday is 6 miles. It also has a 12 mile Long Run on Sunday. Total target mileage 48 miles.

The previous week’s log is here.

Week 16 schedule: 4 x 1.5 splits

  • Monday: Easy 5 mi - EASY run 5 mile, 45:32, 9:06 pace. Ran around the neighborhood because of the threat of rain. GPS always seems to track me faster here (home field advantage!) but 5 miles does feel easier after 15 weeks.
  • Tuesday: Strength 4 x 1.5 miles with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down - STRENGTH RUN  7.5 mi in 1:05:23, 8:43 pace. EASY RUN warm up 1.75 mi in 16:36, 9:28 pace; EASY RUN 1.5 mi in 15:34, 10:23 pace to cool down. The first three felt good; the last one had to really push on. That fact is easier to see in the splits chart to the right than in the elevation chart below.

4 x 1.5 miles

  • Wednesday: off day.tempo run splits
  • Thursday: Tempo Run 6 mi (with 1.5 easy warm up and cool down runs) – EASY RUN to warm up 1.5 mi in 15:12, 10:08 pace  TEMPO RUN 6 mi in 51:17, 8:32 pace, EASY RUN to cool down, 1.5 mi in 15:12, 10:08 pace. Much better than last week’s treadmill-boring run. The pace to run a 1:50 half (a sub 1:50 is my goal) is 8:46; the pace for a 1:48 is 8:35. I’ve been consistently doing my tempo runs in the 8:30s, and my long run last week was purposefully in the 8:46 range (just to see if I can do what I’m training to do). In this tempo run (and on Sunday’s long run) I’m focusing on negative splits. According to the splits chart, I did ok except for mile five.
  • Friday: easy 5 mi - EASY RUN 6 miles in the RAIN! in 58:57, 9:50 pace. According to my wife, my rain gear and hiking hat get-up would have caused people to stare if anyone else was dumb enough to be out in the rain. But the six was completed, and it stopped raining enough halfway through that I could ditch the water-logged hiking hat. I have a half-hearted goal to hit 50 miles this week, so I tacked on another mile.
  • Saturday: easy 6 mi – EASY RUN 7.26 miles 1:08:12 at 9:24 pace. From rain to warmish (60) and humid. No idea what the weather down the road in SA will be like in two weeks.
  • Sunday: LONG 12 mi - LONG RUN 13 mi in 1:55:13, 8:52 pace. Rained all night, but the morning was clear and a bit windy, temps in the 60s. Last long wrong, so I tacked on a mile to get close to the half-marathon distance.

Plan total: EASY (5+3+3+5+6+12) = 34 miles + TEMPO 6 + 4 x 1.5 miles  =  48 miles

Actual total: EASY (5+3.25+3.25+6+7.25+13) = 37.75 miles and TEMPO 6 miles + 4 x 1.5 mile (7.5 miles) =  51.25 miles

Next week, week number 17, has a 6 x 1 mile Strength run (the bottom of the ladder), goes down to five miles on the Tempo  and there is no Long run. Total is still 40 miles, the start of the TAPER!!!!

If you run in the Cypress Creek area, you may see these postings for the Cypress Creek Trails Master Plan. Survey is here, and their Facebook is here.



Half-marathon training: Hanson’s week 15

This is the “IS THE TAPER WEEK SOON?” and “I HATE TREADMILLS” post all rolled into one.

This week the strength run is a 3 x 2 mile on Tuesday, tempo run on Thursday is 6 miles. It also has a 10 mile Long Run on Sunday. Total target mileage 47 miles.

The previous week’s log is here.

Week 15 schedule:


  • Monday: Easy 7 mi – EASY run 7.25 mile, 1:09:22, 9:33 pace. Who put that 7 mile run the day after I wisely turned a 12 mile long run into a 13 mile long run? I guess because of the cold weather, I saw this lovely snake on the road, going back and forth…luckily I was faster than him. Looks like it was indeed a Coral Snake (Red touches Yellow, kill a fellow).
  • Tuesday: Strength 3 x 2 miles with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down - STRENGTH RUN  7 mi in 1:01:56, 8:51 pace. EASY RUN warm up 1.7 mi in 17:11, 10:23 pace; walk to cool down. Had some tightness and soreness at the bottom of my calf on the left leg. It went away during the second 2 miler, but came back at the end. I tried to run it off in the cool down, but walking felt like it was stretching it out. At least we are on the downward slope of the Strength ladder.

3x2 mile strength run

  • Wednesday: off day. Well timed, well scheduled. After running 13 – 7 – 3×2, a rest day was needed. The biggest issue for the rest of the week will be the cold weather that has blown in, and the fact that I’m traveling to Atlanta..
  • Thursday: Tempo Run 6 mi (with 1.5 easy warm up and cool down runs) – TREADMILL SIGHTING! EASY TREADMILL RUN to warm up 1.5 mi in 15:08, 10:05 pace  TEMPO RUN 5.5 mi in 47:30, 8:38 pace, no cool down. Treadmills bored the crap outta me. But it was cold and windy out, and I did not bring the proper gear to the hotel. So I used Siri to voice text my wife to ease the boredom until she decided that was fun. Didn’t do the  cool down. Then later, as I’m walking to meet my nephew for a late dinner, I see this kid running outside in 36 degree weather with a wind chill below freezing…and he is in shorts and a short sleeve shirt!
  • Friday: easy 6 mi - NO RUN. No time. Early work day, long travel day, and I couldn’t take the treadmill again.
  • Saturday: easy 5 mi – EASY RUN 7.5 miles 1:05:20 at 8:41 pace. Tacked on a bit more since I didn’t run Friday. It was quite cold, so the pace was a bit quicker that it should have been.Screen Shot 2014-11-16 at 4.58.18 PM
  • Sunday: LONG 10 mi - LONG RUN 11 mi in 1:36:24, 8:46 pace. Cool day, steady pace (see splits chart), a bit faster than Long Run pace, but felt easy. Need to be 10-15 seconds faster on the pace to best 1:50 half, but so far, so good.

Plan total: EASY (7+3+3+6+5+10) = 34 miles + TEMPO 5 + 3 x 2 miles  =  47 miles

Actual total: EASY (7.25+1.7+1.5+0+7.5+11) = 30.3 miles and TEMPO 5.5 miles + 3 x 2 mile (7 miles) =  41.5 miles

Next week, week number 16, has a 4 x 1.5 mile Strength run (going back down the ladder), stays at six miles on the Tempo  and the Long run goes back to 12 miles. Total is still 48 because the easy runs are all lengthened. One more hard week and then we get to TAPER!!!!

And yes, since it is Packer’s game day, below is what I wore on my long run. If it is cold enough, that will be the SA Half dress code.



Jury Duty, Harris County

I had the fun and privilege of performing a civic service for Harris County last Monday, and headed down for jury duty. You can postpone jury duty twice and seems like I hit my limit on that every time. My wife and i had planned to go together on a previous Monday but work screwed that up.

Here’s a few tips on this every three year or so adventure.


You can ride Metro for free for jury duty, and it beats the heck out of sitting in traffic and looking for parking. My wife did this before me, so I pretty much knew which buses to take. From the Seton Lake park and ride (which is on SH 249 just south of the Beltway) bus 212 is the non-stop downtown. But be sure and let the driver know you want off at the corner of Milam and Congress, or they’ll blow right by it.

This 212 bus is also direct back to Seton Lake….but only after 4:16pm. If you get kicked out of jury duty before then, take bus 44…which stops a lot, but at least gets you there. You pick it up at Travis and Congress, and it makes a few stops.

The direct 212 bus was a nice clean, seemingly new bus. The local 44 was…dirty…just like you’d expect a local to be. There was only one crazy man on the local, talking loudly, constantly to no one in particular.

We looked at taking buses from the 290 Park and Ride (near Spring Cypress at Skinner Road) but those lines didn’t drop you off as close to the jury building as the ones from Seton Lake.


A few blocks down Congress is the Harris Country jury plaza. Last time I went down for Jury duty (must have been three or four years ago) it was in the building where people now park. Now there is a new, nice  glass building.



After entering the building, head downstairs, and then you get to go through the TSA-like security, complete with removing belts and shoes (if you forget about this part and wear your dress shoes instead of your airplane travel shoes…like I did). I got down there pretty early; my wife said the line spirals up the stair case the closer you get to 8:30am.


The jury assembly rooms are still under ground. So cellular service is spotty at best; my T-mobile was non-existent. Therefore, I couldn’t rely on my personal hotspot, and its “known” security. I had to use the WiFi that Harris county was nice enough to put in place. There were a few limitations: I could not start our VPN or enter enter chat with my guys. Apparently the provided WiFi does block some ports.


Jurors are supposed to be in the room by 8:30. And, as is typical, after the welcome/this is what you are in for video, and the swearing in, jurors are basically waiting around…or working on the WiFi. They do allow food and drink in the rooms (and Here’s our timeline:

  • 1st group taken 2751-2900 at 9:30
  • 2nd group 2905-3153 at 10:08
  • my group (3rd), was only 24 folks. We got in line at 10:15


Those of you who have been around remember tropical storms (Allison?) and hurricanes (Ike?) where the downtown tunnel system flooded. When we got called out, they line us up in the tunnels…right next to some pretty impressive flood doors. Nothing’s getting past those doors without some serious power.



We headed over to the Criminal Justice Center, 10th Floor, Court 10. The 24 of us were brought in quickly, and Judge Sherman Ross told us they still had some work to do, for us to come back in 30 mins, at 11:10. After a quick coffee break (there is a cafe on the 2nd floor ), Judge Ross spent quite a bit of time walking us through what we were charged to do, and what the process would be. The next day was election day, and previous times I’d been at jury duty I felt like the Judges were campaigning. But Judge Ross is retiring at the end of this year, and his discussion on what the defense had to prove, on what “the truth” was, and other points, was interesting…almost enough to make me want to be on the jury. He also said each side got to remove 3 jurors from consideration. Choosing 6 our of 24 still have jurors better odds at going home than staying, even though it would only be a “rest of the day” jury. I was juror number one, which means I got all of the questions…but that doesn’t seem to change the odds of getting selected or not.

After that, the assistant D.A. actually walked us through the case with a Powerpoint presentation…which was actually pretty concise and efficient, but not something I expected.

Out of the 24, they grabbed their six…I grabbed my Metro bus pass and made for the bus stop. Since the bus wouldn’t come for another 30 minutes, I rewarded my execution of civic duty with a quick snack at the Niko Niko’s in Market Square. Civic Duty complete.



My review of the late Harry Harrison’s memoir, appropriately entitled Harry Harrison, Harry Harrison, has been published on the two-time Hugo-award winning SFSignal.com.

An excerpt:

World War II veterans and early pulp fiction writers share a common timeline; they come from a common generation and most of them are slowly but surely passing from this earth. Born in the early 1920s, they went through the depression and then straight into World War II.

Harry Harrison (1925 – 2012), the author of Deathworld, Stainless Steel Rat, the West of Eden series and Make Room! Make Room! (which made into the movie Soylent Green) followed this path, was influence by it and then went off on his own path.

Born in Connecticut to a “mother from a family of Jewish intellectuals” and a father whose “family was middle-class immigrant Irish”, Harrison and his family lived through the Depression in and around New York City.

I was shielded from the rigors of grim necessity; there was always food on the table. However I did wear darned socks and the same few clothes for a very long time, but then so did everyone else and no one bothered to notice. I was undoubtedly shaped by these harsh times and what did and dod not happen to me, but it must not be forgotten that all of the other writers of my generation lived through the same impoverished Depression and managed to survive. It was mostly a dark and grim existence; fun it was not. (pg 34)

Harrison’s novel Bill, The Galactic Hero demonstrates his dislike of the military, and his memoir echoes that sentiment. Though he never saw combat (spending most of his WWII years at a gunnery range near Laredo), he still learned to hate military life.

My life at the time was quite boring in content and can be summed up quite easily. It was the same as every other draftee of my generation. We grew up, starting as teenagers, and ending as army adults perfectly adjusted to military life. We learned to curse constantly, to chase girls when we got a pass to town – and to avoid work whenever possible. I could now fieldstrip a caliber .50 in the dark, could drive a truck – double-shifting the clutch, now a lost art – had hear untold live rounds fired on the ground gunnery range where I ended up – and have been deaf ever since. (pg 65)

Harrison used his GI Bill money to attend art school and began illustrating comics and science fiction. He was one of the founders of the Queens Science Fiction Club, keeping close to the genre.

After being discharged and living in NYC for a short time, Harrison had the audacity/fearlessness/cajones to leave the comfy confines and English speaking world of the US and live in Mexico, Denmark and Italy with a young family, in his quest to become a full time writer. His philosophy on life (it seemed like a good idea at the time) and writing helped cope with these times when money and other essentials may have been scarce:

A word of sage advice for any young writers: hock the bourgeois gear. Art comes first. If you are not committed completely you do not deserve to succeed. Harsh but true. (pg 147)

Harrison and family (with baby Todd) were in Italy when their resolve for this type of life was tested.

We now reached the bottom moment, the blackest night we had ever experienced. This moment came when we were down to exactly sixteen cents – one hundred lire. The price of one more airmail stamp to my agent or a liter of milk for Todd. These are the kind of moments in life one really does not need, but we had walked into it with our eyes wide open. Making this decision had been much harder for Joan than me. I had known that I wanted to write, needed to write, had stories and books that needed doing. I hoped that I would succeed. Joan did not hope. She felt very secure in her knowledge that I would do these things, create art, create literature – and support our family with earned income. I had no such assurance – she was rock steady in her belief. She had put everything on the line and would not waver. So she solved this one as well. Since I wasn’t doing too well as a good provider, she realized she had to go out and do it herself. She talked to the two brothers who ran the grocery store. In Spanish-Italian, she convinced them that it would be a wise thing to extend us credit. An acknowledgement to her tenacity, and their kindness. This was done. (pg. 147-148)

The memoir piece of this book sputters to a halt around the 1970s, with some brief vignettes that cover the next few decades. My assumption is that this part had to be cut short due to Harrison’s illnesses toward the end of his life. Some of these vignettes cover “not writing porn” (“I didn’t join the Silverbergs and Malzbergs and all the others who wrote porn back then.”), organizing the first World SF conference in Ireland in 1976, and other snapshots.

However, several essays are added to this memoir that were to be integrated are included, and, IMHO, they are worth the price of admission (yeah, okay, this is an ARC, so a low price of admission for me, but you get the drift).

The essays included as Part II would be worth the read as stand alone efforts. They cover a wide range of topics and Harrison’s most well-known works/series. The essays are:

  • John W. Campbell – “When I was fifteen years old I thought John W. Campbell was God!” This essay includes great descriptions of lunches with Campbell as he rattles off ideas, and Harrison’s idea to film with James Gunn (who had grant money) lunch with Campbell.

Real evidence of the dubiety of the screenplay was driven home to me when I overheard Edward G. Robinson say to the director, “Dick, I read the script and I don’t understand my role.” With good reason: there was nothing there to understand. Summoning up my courage, I introduced myself and offered to provide answers about his character. He ignored my rudeness, invited me to lunch with him, then listened closely while I explained the character he played as I had visualized him in the book. “You are the only person in this film who has lived in the world the we know now, who has seen a world of plenty. He can survive in this world of pollution, overpopulation and chronic food shortages. That doesn’t mean he has to like it.” Robinson said: “That’s a very good idea. Why didn’t they tell me? It isn’t in the script.” (pg 275)

  • Esperanto – first exposed while in the service in Laredo, Harrison was a big supporter of this world language.
  • Russia – Harrison’s Russian agent says to him “Harry, I don’t know how to tell you this, but you are the most popular author in Russia, and also the most stolen!”
  • Stainless Steel Rat
  • West of Eden
  • Alternate History

The book contains a detailed timeline of Harrison’s life and a detailed bibliography.

This review is based on an Advanced Reader Copy sent to SF Signal.


Half-marathon training: Hanson’s week 14

I’m tired. I’ve reached the point that is mentioned in the Hanson’s guide where the mileage just makes you tired.

This week the strength run is a lovely 2 x 3 mile on Tuesday, tempo run on Thursday is 6 miles. It also has a 12 mile Long Run on Sunday. Total target mileage 47 miles.

The previous week’s log is here.

Week 14 schedule:

  • Monday: Easy 5 mi - no run. Had jury duty and performed my civic duty. Rode the bus downtown, sat in a room (at least there was WiFi), got called into court, was interviewed and dismissed.
  • Tuesday: Strength 2 x 3 miles with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down - BLOODY HELL. I was so tired this morning I ran the wrong run. TEMPO RUN  6 mi in 50:58, 8:30 pace. EASY RUN warm up 1.7 mi in 16:32, 9:44 pace; EASY RUN cool down 1.3 mi, 12:18, 9:25 pace. Not sure if it was all of the sitting yesterday, or the fact that I did not run yesterday, but I was tired. And I’m not sure if I’d have done any better if I would have run the correct run, which was the 2 x 3 miles (which I’ll now push to Thursday). I started off feeling good, but after the first mile my hamstrings were tired, especially the right one.

Tempo run 6

  • Wednesday: off day. And I needed this one. Already up to 173 miles for the month of October and there are still days left in the month. This is by far the most I’ve ever run in one month. My knees and legs are a bit sore, but not painfully so. The normal Oct/Nov allergies are around, but so far they’ve just given me a bit of the sniffles, nothing that is impacting my running.
  • Thursday: Tempo Run 6 mi (with 1.5 easy warm up and cool down runs) – EASY RUN to warm up 1.0 mi in 10:13, 10:13 pace  STRENGTH RUN 2 x 3 mi in 55:51, 8:36 pace, no cool down. Did the Strength run today since I spaced on Tuesday’s run. Was heading for the airport so my cool down consisted of jogging through TSA.

2 x 3 mile

  • Friday: easy 5 mi - EASY RUN 6.1 mi in 1:05:18, 9:41 pace. Tacked on another mile since I missed Monday’s run.
  • Saturday: easy 6 mi – EASY RUN 7.1 miles 46:54 at 9:22 pace. Tacked on yet another mile.Splits
  • Sunday: LONG 12 mi - LONG RUN 13 mi in 2:00:01, 9:14 pace. Decided to do the entire race distance. Granted it was at long run pace, but it felt good to knock it out. I felt like I could have run further if needed. I need to check with the author – in the words around the long runs, it talks about the fact that they are every other weekend…but in the schedule I have, it is long run pace every weekend. Splits for this run on in the image to the right…pretty consistent long run pace, but again, not certain what the pace is…the lovely iPhone kept asking me to rotate is so that it could adjust its accuracy. If this is accurate, I need to kick 10+ minutes off that time to make my sub-1:50 goal. At this point, it looks quite achievable.

Plan total: EASY (5+3+3+5+6+12) = 33 miles + TEMPO 5 + 2 x 3 miles  =  47 miles

Actual total: EASY (0+3+1.1+6.1+7.1+13) = 30.3 miles and TEMPO 6 miles + 2 x 3 mile (6.5 miles) =  42.8 miles

Next week, week number 15, has a 3 x 2 mile Strength run (going back down the ladder), stays at six miles on the Tempo  and the Long run goes back to 10 miles. Total is still 47 because the easy runs are all lengthened. Two more hard weeks and then we get to TAPER!!!!


Stone of Farewell re-read – Part Three – Storm’s Heart

It has taken me a while to do this part three re-read post. I must confess…I read ahead. I got into the story and slammed through the rest of it, re-read notes be damned! But persistence is key!

This is the third and last part of the re-read of Stone of Farewell, the second book in Tad William’s Memory, Sorrow and Thorn series.

The introductory post is here, if you are interested.

The re-read post for The Dragonbone Chair part I, Simon Mooncalf is here.

The re-read post for The Dragonbone Chair  part II, Simon Pilgrim is here.

The re-read post for The Dragonbone Chair part III, Simon Snowlock is here.

The re-read post for Stone of Farewell part I, Storm’s Eye is here.

The re-read post for Stone of Farewell part II, Storm’s Hand is here.

This second book is 727 pages – paperback. Part Three: Storm’s Heart goes from page 447 to 727.

A note on the obvious: if you have not read the book, since this describes said book…here there be spoilers!


Even after you read the re-read, I highly recommend reading the books and Tad’s words. Click on the covers below to find them on Amazon.


Chapter 18: The Lost Garden - Simon hears voices, halfway between waking and sleeping. Though the voice is not identified, it is Amerasu, mother of Ineluki (who has become the Storm King) and Hakatri (who was burned by dragonfire and sent back across the sea)

In some ways, it seems only the turning of a handful of moon-faces since the Two Families left Venyha Do’Sae, the land of our birth across the Great Sea. Ah, Hakatri, if only you could have seen our boats as they swept across the fierce waves! Of Silverwood they were crafted, with sails of bright cloth, brave and beautiful as flying fish. As a child I rode in the bow as the waves parted, and I was surrounded by a cloud of scintilliant, sparkling seafoam! Then, when our boats touched the soil of this land, we cried. We had escaped the shadow of Unbeing, and won our way to freedom!
But instead, Hakatri, we found that we had not truly escaped shadow at all, but only replaced one sort with another – and this shadow was growing inside us. (pg 448)

This Unbeing…is that what Ineluki is looking for as the Storm King?

Simon hears someone calling his name (most likely Sludig or Binabik), but passes out again. That boy sleeps a lot! This is a means for the author to relate some back story by him eavesdropping more on Amerasu, most of which I think will be needed for The Last King of Osten Ard series, so I’ll put them here so I can remember.

I spoke a moment ago of the Two Families, as though we twain were the only survivors of Venyha Do’Sae, but it was the boats of the Tinukeda’ya that brought us across the Great Sea. Neither we Zida’ya nor our brethren the Hideka’ya would have lived to reach this land had it not been for Ruyan the Navigator and his people – but to our shame, we treated the Ocean Children as badly here as we had in the gardenlands beyond the sea. (pg 451)

You know that your brother blamed himself for your terrible wounding. When you went away at least into the West to search of heart’s-ease, he became cold and discontented. (pg 459)

Simon awakens, calls for Binabik and Sludig who are long gone, and then grabs the mirror that Jiriki gave him and asks for help.

Guthwulf is losing faith in Elias. His people in Utanyeat are leaving, as the White Foxes/Norns migrate south, headed for the Hayholt.

Tiamak, still injured from the bite of the gator on his leg, fights off a ghant, surprised that they would come this close and be this aggressive. He finally makes it to Kwanitupul, feverish from the wound, and makes his was to Pelippa’s Bowl, the inn Dinivan had told him about through sparrow-mail. When he can’t reach a ladder, an old man who sleeps in the courtyard of the inn (and seems quite addled) helps him out.

Ingen Jegger is back, pulled from Death’s door by Utuk’ku and given “weapons and wisdom no other Queen’s hunter has had.” He sets off on his unknown (at least to us readers) mission.

Chapter 19: Children of the Navigator - Miriamele and Cadrach are running away again, this time on a boat. Miri wakes up after being hit on the head by Cadrach and finds herself on a boat at see. Cadrach is awakened from his drunken slumber, and tells Miri of Father Dinivan and the Lector’s fiery demise at the hands of Pryrates. Gan Itai, a Niskie (one of the Tinukeda’ya, the Navigator’s children) discovers them and must tell the ship’s captain.

They find out that Aspitas Preves (yes, that  scoundrel who conspired to kill the Duke Leobardis with Benegaris) is the ship’s captain.

Maegwin is despondent to find the dwarrows in the caves, and not Sithi to help in the battle. But Eoliar speaks with them, and learns a bit about them after the Shard (the Witness) finishes speaking about Josua.

“No, Hern’s Child,” he <Yis-fidri is the speaker> said slowly, “we are not immortal. It is true that we are far longer-lived that you mortals be, unless your race has much changed. But unlike Zida’ya and Hikeda’ya – our old overlords, Sithi and Norn – we do not live on and on, eternal as the mountain. Nay, Death comes for us as for your folk, like a thief and a reaver.” Anger touched his face. “Mayhap our once-masters were of a somewhat different blood since back in the Garden of our old stories, whence came all the First-born; mayhap then we are just of shorter lived stock. Either that or there was in truth some secret kept from us, who were after all deemed only their servers and vassals.” (pg 479)

Norn and Sithi (supposedly Utuk’ku and Amerasu) had spoken through the Shard, looking for the whereabouts of the sword Minneyar/Memory. Yis-fidri tells them that the sword is the same named Bright-Nail, carried by Prester John. And he also tells them that one of the dwarrows weaken and spoke to the Shard with Utuk’ku was asking and threatening.

They then show Maegwin and Eolair maps of tunnels, not only of their own area but of tunnels around and under Asu’a/the Hayholt. Maegwin, slightly maddened, wants Eolair away and orders him to take these maps to Josua.

Chapter 20: A Thousand Steps - Simon is lost; Binabik and Sludig are looking for him, going back to the abbey where Skodi almost killed them, and the wolf almost will not go. They decide to give it two more nights, and then must take the sword to Josua.

Guthwulf visits King Elias in Green Angel Tower. The King wants him to lead a group of men after Josau. Guthwulf please with Elias to kill or send away Pryrates and briefly considers pushing the King out of the tower. But neither occurs.

Rachel over hears/spies on the King and Guthwulf, sees Miriamele’s name carved in the closet wall where Rachel is hiding, and continues to plot to revenge for Simon’s “death”.

Simon is alone, hungry and cold. He tries to get back to Binabik and Sludig, but ends up by himself in the snow for several days. In the end,  Aditu, sister of Jiriki, finds Simon to take him to Jao é Tinukaí’i, “home of their people.”

This part of the chapter, and those of previous “Simon is alone” chapters, are somewhat tedious, and no doubt what provides fodder for some readers who say that this series drags. There is quite a bit of character development here, where Simon declares “I will not die here” and other self-development statements. But as a reader who enjoys a faster pacing, this section of this chapter, and the chapter in The Dragonbone Chair where Simon is lost in the cave, and all of the other introspective chapters, certainly affect the pacing. As a reader, I tend to skim them (but did not for this re-read…one reason it is taking me longer than usual); as an author, I do not employ them, mainly out of my own reading tastes; I much prefer dialog to description and action to introspection. But Mr. Williams is the professional here, not I.

Chapter 21: Prince of Grass - Josua, Deornoth and the others take the horses won from Josua’s duel (Chapter 17, the end of Part II), while Hotvig tells Josua of other “stone-dwellers” who have settled near the area Josua wants to go to search for the Stone of Farewell. Josua and Vorzheva decide they will marry before they leave the Thirthings. Josua, sensing danger in the future, makes Deornoth swear that he will protect Vorzheva and their unborn child.

As Josua and Vorzheva are being married by Father Strangeyeard, Hotvig rides in to say knights lead by Fengbald are coming (apparently summoned by Fikolmij, Vorzheva’s father who hates Josua.

Josua and crew look for the Stone of Farewell and find a large number of settlers relocated from Erkyland to where two rivers come together, almost in the shadow of where the Stone of Farewell is supposed to be.

Chapter 22: Through the Summer Gate - Twenty-two chapters into the second book, Aditu finally arrives – next to Qantaqa the wolf my most favorite character (and sometimes the most enjoyable). She gives the perspective of a young Sithi who seems more interested in the humans (and Simon in particular) than the rest of the Sithi, like she has been told stories of the terrible things humans did to Sithi but treats them just as stories.

Simon goes where no mortal has gone (supposedly) as Aditu leads him through the Summer Gate and ultimately to Jao’é Tinukai’i. Simon notices the wind, weather and sky changing as Aditu “sings” there way there, and asks her if this is magic:

“I am not sure what you mean,” she said. “It is how we find a hidden place, and Jao’é Tinukai’i is indeed hidden. But there is no power in the words themselves, if that is what you ask. They could be spoken in any language. They help the searcher to remember certain signs, certain paths. If that is not what you mean by ‘magic’, I am sorry to disappoint you.” (pg 547)

Their passage from the wintery world into the Sithi world (the “real world”) is one of the most enjoyable passages in the book, especially with Simon’s reactions not only to the transit but to Aditu.

Staring up past the trees into the featureless grey sky, Aditu’s hand clutched in his, Simon wondered if he might indeed have died. Might this solemn creature beside him – whose eyes seemed fixed on things he could not see – be escorting his soul to some final destination, while his lifeless body lay somewhere in the forest, slowly vanishing beneath a blanket of snow?
Is it warm in Heaven?, he wondered absently.

Simon comes out of his funk and noticed how gorgeous Aditu is and tells her so, much to his embarrassment. But she has words of warning for him as they pass through the Summer Gate:

Despite the power and beauty of the great hemlocks, Simon was surprised. “This is the gate? Two trees?”
Aditu looked very serious. “We left all monuments of stone behind when we fled Asu’a the Eastward Looking, Seoman. Now, Jiriki bade me tell you something before you entered Shao Irigú. My brother said that no matter what may occur later, you have been given the rarest of all honors. You have been brought to a place in which no mortal has set foot. Do you understand that? No mortal has ever walked beneath this gate. (pg. 557)

They come into the Sitha city, which is a marvel of colorful cloth and rope. Aditu leads Simon to Jiriki’s house, where they encounter Jiriki’s uncle Khendraja’aro (whom Simon knew from the hunting ‘lodge’ when they met Jiriki while trying to find the sword Storm). Khendraja’aro is not happy to see Simon there (to say the least). Simon is ecstatic to see Jiriki and gives him a big bro-hug. Aditu exchanges winter clothes for sheer summer ones (much to Simon’s hormonal fascination) and the three head for Yásira, the butterfly tent.

The picture on the cover depicts Simon in the butterfly tent, but he does not actually have all of the items depicted in the cover with him when he is in the butterfly tent in this chapter. Binabik and Sludig have the sword Thorn.

Simon sniffled and wiped his eyes. Faced with the Y ásira, he suddenly thought he could understand the bitterness of Ineluki, the Storm King’s hatred for childish, destructive mankind. (pg 567)

Simon is taken in front of Jiriki’s father and mother, “Shima’onari, King of the Zida’ya, Lord of Jao’é Tinukai’i and Likimeya, Queen of the Dawn Children, Lady of the House of Year-Dancing.” Though Shima’onari tells everyone assembled that Simon is not to be harmed, Simon is told by Jiriki’s father that he can never leave, that he will grow old and die there.

Chapter 23: Deep Waters - Miriamele and Cadrach are on Aspitis Preves ship. It doesn’t seem that they know he is working with Benigaris, who is working for King Elias, Miri’s crazy dad. Miri is pretending to be Lady Marya from a small house and believes they are safe. Cadrach, of course, believes otherwise.

Eolair sets off on his task assigned to him by Maegwin. He skirts Skali’s troops, noting that they are building more, probably due to all of the folks fleeing from the strange winter. He hears from a drunken priest rumors that Josua is in the grasslands, and considers traveling there.

Miri is falling for Earl Aspitis charms, even as the seas are churning with kilpa (big ugly depressed looking things, as far as I can tell) which the Niskie sings away from the boat. Aspitis puts a move on Miri, which she almost accepts (he probably put a drug in her wine), but she goes outside feeling woozy, and speak with the Niskie, who provides some interesting background.

“It means we always lived on the ocean. Even in the far-way Garden, we dwelt always at land’s end. It has only been since we came to this place that some of the Navigator’s Children have been changed. Some have left the sea entirely, which is as hard for me to understand as if someone were to stop breathing and claim that were a good way to live.” (pg 591)

Background on the Niskies and the dwarrows and how they came to separate, and why they were treated as servants in the Garden is high on my requests for Williams’ next series.

Chapter 24: Dogs of Erchester - Josua and his party are off looking for the Stone of Farewell when they see horsemen behind them. They flee thinking this is Fengbald and his men chasing them. They turn to make a stand and Deneorth is about to loose an arrow when something joggles his bow and shouts not to shoot; the men are Hotvig and some of the Thirthings men, and the voice was that of Geloë, who appears mysteriously and stops what could have been a big mistake.

Rachael is running around Erchester salvaging items she needs, avoiding the wild dogs. It isn’t hard to determine why the story keeps bringing her up, since book 3 is called To Green Angel Tower we know that she will be in the mix again.

Guthwulf is on the balcony with King Elias, discussing Guthwulf’s soon-to-depart campaign to find and kill Josua in the Thirthings, and Guthwulf wondering if Elias means to have him killed. Pryrates joins them, freshly back from burning the Lector and Father Dinivan, though Elias does not seem to realize the he did so. Rachael jumps out from behind the curtains and stabs Pryrates between the shoulder blades. As Pryrates is about to retaliate and blow Rachael to pieces, Guthwulf for some reason intervenes, and his burned and blinded.

Hotvig and company tell Josua why the split from Fikolmij, Vorzheva’s father and march-Thane of the Thirthings. Fikolmij had let Fengbald and his troops onto Thirthings land, which is against the rules. Hotvig and others pointed this out, and made Fengbald go the long way around. Fikolmij lost a lot of face on this and on Josua’s winning the fight against Filkolmij’s man and thwarting his plans. Many left with Hotvig to join Josua.

Gelo leads them to the Stone of Farewell…which is more of a mountain.

Chapter 25: Petals in a Wind Storm – Simon is learning the Sithi game of shent while ogling Aditu;

Simon shook his head. He had struggled for days to learn the complex rules of shent, only to discover that what he had been taught were the rudiments. How could he learn a game that people did not play to win? But Aditu did not play to lose, either, as far as Simon could tell. Instead, it seemed as though the issue was to make the game interesting, by introducing themes and puzzles, most of which were as far beyond Simon’s comprehension as the mechanisms of the rainbow. (pg 625)

Simon tries to escape from Jao é-Tinukai’i  but he cannot pierce the magic way to find the Summer Gate. He asks Jiriki how he can change Jiriki’s parents decision, and asks why Jiriki broke the rule and brought him there:

“There was no rule to break. Not truly….It was always an unspoken law, but that is different from a Word of Command. It is traditional among the Dawn Children that we may do what we please unless it goes against a Word of Command, but this business of bringing a mortal here cuts to the heart of the things that have divided our people since time out of mind. I can only ask you to forgive me, Seoman. It was a risk, and I had no right to gamble with your life. However, I have come to believe that for once – and hear me, only this once – you mortals may be right and my folks may be wrong. This spreading winter threatens many things besides the kingdoms of the Sudhoda’ya.” (pg 631)

Binabik and Sludig re-appear, heading for the Stone of Farewell and being pursued by giants; they wonder at the fact that the sword is light, so light even Binabik can wield it.

Ingen Jegger is hunting but we are not sure who, though he is near the Aldehorte Forest. It could be Binabik/Sludig and the sword, it could be Simon, or Josua…or someone else.

Aditu is as fascinated with Simon as he is of her. Their game of shent and tickle is interrupted when Simon is taken in front of Amerasu Shipborn, First Grandmother, who he heard in his dreams and saw in the mirror Jiriki gave him. As he walks to meet her, Simon has some interesting introspection:

But the strangest thing, he suddenly thought, was that no matter where he went or what he saw, he always seemed to remain the same old Simon – a little less mooncalfish, perhaps, but not very different from the clumsy kitchen boy who had lived at the Hayholt. Those distant, peaceful days seemed utterly gone, vanished without hope of reclamation, but the Simon who had lived them was still very much present. Morganes had told him once to make his home in his own head. That way, home could never be taken from him. Was this what the doctor meant? To be the same person no matter where you went, no matter what madness occurred? Somehow that didn’t seem quite right. (pg 648)

Amerasu says that Simon is “one of the first mortals” there, perhaps not the first? Simon speaks to her of her two sons, one burned by dragon fire like Simon, the other being the Storm King. When he tells her he heard this through he speaking in his head, she grabs him, asks for forgiveness and basically mind rapes his memories. She says their meeting on the dream road and in Simon’s mind were not a chance of fate.

“I mean only that the bounds between those worlds and ours are beginning to weaken. Someone like this manchild, who has been pulled one way and another, who through true chance or some unimaginable design has been dragged into many powerful and dangerous connections between the dream world and the waking world…” She trailed off, seating herself carefully once more before continuing. “It is as though he lived on the edge of a great wood. When the trees began to spread outward, it is his house that first has roots across the threshold. When the wolves of the forest began to grow hungry, it is beneath his window they first come howling.” (pg 654)

Amerasu says she has learned much of Ineluki’s plans from Simon’s head, but must think on it more.

Chapter 26: Painted Eyes – The boat carrying Miri and Cadrach is ashore, and Aspitis takes them on a tour…only to have Cadrach escape.

Duke Isgrimnur, still disguised as a monk, drafts a boatsman to take him to Kwanitupul. Timak is there with his crocodile leg, running out of cash, sleeping next to a large old beggar man named Ceallio (who must be more than he seems, given the word space used on him in these pages!).

Miri is feeling in the dumps about Cadrach running away (‘his betrayal’) and her inescapable situation. Aspitis takes advantage of her state and seduces her. Cadrach is found, drunker than snot, and put in confinement. When Miri protests to Aspitis, he shows a bit of his real self, forcing her to return to her cabin where he will come to her later. Tsk, tsk!

Chapter 27: The Black Sled – Sludig and Binabik come upon the area surrounding the Stone of Farewell, and find that the storm has flooded it. With the giants hot on the trail, they quickly make a raft and push off into the moat, with the giants just missing them and floundering in the water behind them.

Eolair (lest we forget him) is still heading east to seek Josua, not knowing if he is alive or not. He had A LOT of alone time in the saddle, so he stews about Maegwin sending him away, and wonders about the riddle of the swords, especially with what the dwarrows told him about Bright Nail (that it is in fact, one of the three swords they are seeking). He sees Norns and other creatures he has never seen before.

Our old pal Ingen Jegger and his pet hound call the rest of the Stormspike hound/wolves together to attack “the Queen’s enemies.” (this would be the mad Queen).

Duke Isgrimnur finally makes it to Kwanitupul and the inn called Pelippa’s Bowl. He finds Tiamak, and is off to speak with him in private, when he spies the old man Ceallio, whom has been given much page space to day. And here’s why:

The duke felt the world tilt, as if giant hands had lifted it. It took long moments before he could speak, moments in which the landlady, the little Wrannaman and the old doorkeeper looked at him with varying degrees of fascination. When Isgrumnur spoke, it was to the old man.
“My Lord Camaris,” he said, and felt his voice catch in his throat. The world had gone mad: now the dead lived again. “Merciful Elysia, Camaris, do you not remember me? I am Isgrimnur! We fought for Prester John together – we were friends. Ah, God, you live! How can that be?” (pg 699-700)

Chapter 28: Sparks – All of the Sithi in Jao é-Tinukai’i  are gathered in the Yásira (the butterfly house) where Amerasu is making a rare appearance. On their walk over, Jiriki tells Simon that one day he will tell him of the responsibilities of the Year-Dancing house…sounds like an Osten Ard preview!  Jiriki’s mother and father are there, as well as a device like the Shard called ‘the Mist Lamp’ that helps bridge the real world to the Road of Dreams.

This entire chapter should be captured here verbatim as it is not only important for this story going forward, but it seems to me to lay a lot of the groundwork for Williams’ next series. But I’ll only put the bits that I want to recall going forward.

“We fled out of the Uttermost East, thinking to escape that Unbeing who had overwhelmed our Garden-land. That story is known to all but the mortal boy – even those of our children born after the flight from Asu’a take it in with their mother’s milk – so let it not be told here again here.
“When we reached this new land, we thought we had escaped that shadow. But a piece of it came with us. That stain, that shadow, is a part of us – just as mortal men and women of Osten Ard cannot escape the shadow of their own dying.
“We are an old people. We do not fight the unfightable. That is why we fled Vinyha Do’sae, rather than be unmade in a fruitless struggle. But the curse of our race is not that we refuse to throw down our lives in purposeless defiance of the great shadow, but that we instead clasp the shadow to ourselves and hug it tightly, gleefully, nursing it as we would a child.
“We brought the shadow with us. Perhaps no living, reasoning thing can be without such shadow, but we Zida’ya – despite our lives, besides which the spans of mortals are like fireflies – still we cannot ignore that shadow which is death. We cannot ignore the knowledge of Unbeing. Instead, we carry it with us like a brooding secret.
“The mortals must die, and they are frightened by that. We who were once of the Garden must also die, although our span is vastly greater, but we each embrace our own death from the moment we open our eyes, making it an insoluble part of us. We yearn for its complete embrace, even as the centuries roll by, while around us the death-fearing mortals breed and drop like mice. We make our death the core of our being, our private and innermost friend, letting life spin past as we enjoy Unbeing’s grave company.
“We would not give Ruyan Ve’s children the secret to near-immortality, though they were stock of the same tree. We denied eternal life to Ruyan’s folk, the Tinukeda’ya, even as we clasped death tighter and tighter to our own bosoms. We are haunted, my children. The mortal word is the only correct one. We are haunted.” (pg 707-708)

As Amerasu uses the Mist Lamp to show the gathered Sithi what she has learned by sifting through Simon’s brain, the Norn Queen speaks through the device. They argue…and then one of the Red Hand forces his way through the Mist Lamp, and Ingen Jegger and his wolves appear, attacking the Sithi. Jiriki’s father is badly wounded by Jegger’s big hound, and Jegger slays Amerasu….and is then pincushioned with Sithi arrows right before Simon bashes his head in with a rock.

Jiriki tells Simon that this as a long planned war attack that took a lot of energy, and to not blame himself thinking Jegger had followed his tracks. Simon pushed Jiriki to have the Sithi go to war with the Norns, but Jiriki tells him they must decide in their own way. He has Simon follow Aditu out of Jao é-Tinukai’i – Amerasu’s last wish was that he be allowed to leave. Aditu gives him a package that Amerasu said is for Josua, kisses him good-bye (we’ll miss you, Aditu!!!) and Simon gets in a boat and finds his friend Binabik.

This ends the re-read of Stone of Farewell. Now on to the third book, which in Tad fashion is actually two books, To Green Angel Tower, Part I.

Here is the link to the next re-read post in the series.

These re-read posts and other essays have been collected into an eBook, available by clicking on the image below.


Half-marathon training: Hanson’s week 13

This week the strength run is a lovely 3 x 2 mile on Tuesday, tempo run on Thursday is 5 miles. It also has a 10 mile Long Run on Sunday. Total target mileage 45 miles.

The previous week’s log is here.

Week 13 schedule:

  • Monday: Easy 6 mi - EASY RUN 6 mi in 59:50, 9:58 pace. Jogging around the neighborhood lake/pond, listening to the “Security Now” podcast about Apple Pay. I’m not sure the dude got it all correct, as I’ve read there is a unique token for each transaction…but I was sweating at the time.
  • Tuesday: Strength 3 x 2 miles with 1.5 mile warm up and cool down - STRENGTH RUN 7 mi in 58:43, 8:23 pace. EASY RUN warm up 1.7 mi in 17:49, 10:31 pace; EASY RUN cool down 1.35 mi, 13:42, 10:11 pace. According to the pace chart, I should be targeting an 8:05-8:10 pace in these runs.The first two were relatively easy, the last one was a bitch. I maintained the pace I wanted with the help of my trusty metronome program, this time at 182 beats per minute.

Strength run 3x2 miles

  • Wednesday: off day. And I needed this one. Already up to 173 miles for the month of October and there are still days left in the month. This is by far the most I’ve ever run in one month. My knees and legs are a bit sore, but not painfully so. The normal Oct/Nov allergies are around, but so far they’ve just given me a bit of the sniffles, nothing that is impacting my running.IMG_0935
  • Thursday: Tempo Run 5 mi (with 1.5 easy warm up and cool down runs) – EASY RUN to warm up 1.6 mi in 16:08, 10:06 pace  TEMPO RUN 5 mi in 42:33, 8:33 pace, EASY RUN to cool down, 1 mi in 10:25, 10:25 pace. Of all of the runs thus far, this certainly ranks at the top of the “DO I REALLY HAVE TO RUN TODAY?” list. I had to get up early to attend a breakfast meeting in town, so ran at lunch time on a full stomach. Still maintained an 8:30ish pace, but last week’s pace was 15 seconds faster.
  • Friday: easy 6 mi - EASY RUN 6.75 mi in 1:05:18, 9:41 pace. Ran a bit farther, nice cool sunny day out so why not?
  • Saturday: easy 5 mi – EASY RUN 5 miles 46:54 at 9:22 pace. Cool enough finally that I had to pull out the long sleeve shirt! Really worried about pacing, especially when I run in the neighborhood at nothing more than a trot and the ole “Smart”phone says I’m doing my LONG RUN pace.
  • Sunday: LONG 10 mi - LONG RUN 10 mi in 1:29:02, 8:54 pace. Cool enough to wear sleeves and push the pace a bit. Felt like I could have gone further at the end.


Plan total: EASY (6+3+3+6+5+10) = 33 miles + TEMPO 5 + 3 x 2 miles  =  45 miles

Actual total: EASY (6+3+2.6+6.75+5+10) = 32.95 miles and TEMPO 5 miles + 3 x 2 mile (7 miles) =  44.95 miles

Next week, week number 14, has a 2 x 3 mile Strength run goes up to six miles  and the Long run goes back to 10 miles.IMG_0932

Re-reading MSandT

Re-reading Tad William's Memory, Sorrow and Thorn

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Dusk Before the Dawn

Dusk Before the Dawn

Software By the Kilo

Software by the Kilo


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