The women's finals were a bit of a mixed bag — afterwards, Alex Puccio said she felt a little bit embarrassed that she couldn't even work out how to pull on to one of the problems — but it was fun to watch Stasa Gejo and Janja Gambret crushing problems no-one else was able to touch.
The men's finals, on the other hand, were absolutely fantastic, with Jan Hojer, the only European to make the last round — four members of Team Japan made it through — climbing in front of a German crowd. And it really seemed to help: he used a very sneaky beta to top the first boulder; flashed the second, where no-one else even picked up a bonus; and cleaned up on the third, leaving him with a one boulder lead going into the last round.
Climbing second after Yoshiyuki Ogata, Hojer came out looking distinctly nervous and, with everything to play for, powered his way up top to take the win. It was one of the best finishes of the season — up there with Coxey and Chon in Mumbai — and so well deserved, especially after his storming performance in the lead world cup in Villars.
The only minor problem turned out to be ensuring everyone got a chance to retrieve a ball. Because Martha won't fetch things if there are bigger dogs around — she's quite small and remembers having things taken off her when she was young — we had to engineer things so that someone threw one ball for the spaniels and, while they were distracted, someone else threw another one in the opposite direction for Martha.
This strategy worked successfully the first few times we tried it. It was only when Dasher, swimming back with her ball, noticed that the other one bobbing in the water that things started to go askew. She swam out towards to the other ball, putting Martha off, but couldn't actually bring it back because she already had a tennis ball in her mouth and couldn't fit both at the same time. Eventually, she brought her ball back — dropping it in a very muddy puddle in the process — leaving the other to float away. Fortunately, the crisis was averted by a passing labrador, who kindly retrieved the second ball for Martha.
Partway round the field, the others got talking about a fence post A had tried to climb a few days before. After making a decent attempt this time round — in her defence, she was wearing wellies — I reluctantly let myself get talked into it. Although it was a decent height — maybe 1.5m — it was probably 25cm in diameter and actually pretty easy to mantel, even if I did use a cheeky knee, rather than go for a proper hand-foot on the top.
After a couple of hours — the time flew by — we fetched up back at the quay. I'd originally planned to go for a climb, but my left knee was nagging slightly, so I decided that discretion was the better part of valour and went home to watch the finals of the bouldering from Munich.
Rattle's comments before the concert were particularly striking. He described the piece as young man's music — Schoenberg was in his twenties — and a summation of 19th century music; he said it was almost as if Schoenberg was demonstrating his complete mastery of Romanticism in order to reject it in favour of the development of his twelve-tone method...
If we save the ACA I keep my "in case I'm laid off/fired" healthcare safety net. If we save ACA I could be a full-time writer someday. If we don’t save ACA and I lose my job for any reason, I’ll probably die. Meds are $1500 a month to keep me alive (not counting premiums).
When I went to pick up my latest round of meds and the pharmacy tech asked if I knew the bill ($500) I said "Oh yes. But I’ll die without them. So they kind of have me over a barrel."
And she said, "I guess I would die, then. That’s more than I make in a week."
Makes you realise why socialised medical schemes like the NHS are worth fighting for; why they're as popular as they are once they're implemented; and just what we've got to lose if they disappear...
The book starts with an excellent overview of the nature of writing and eviscerates some of the most common myths — such as the notion that talent is a sufficient condition for success; hell, in some cases, it doesn't even seem to be a necessary one! The second part delves into culture — mostly geek culture — and skilfully takes it apart, often from a feminist perspective, to show its inbuilt assumptions and biases. Hurley's essay on the first series of True Detective, focusing not on the supernatural but on what makes the lead characters monsters, is particularly good — and particularly disturbing, given that much of the perspective comes from first hand experience.
The last two sections of the book deal with the wider world — the justifiably famous and deeply horrifying The Horror Novel You’ll Never Have to Live: Surviving Without Health Insurance should be required reading for politicians of every stripe. The final section, which focuses on revolution and change picks apart moments in history and, although the ideas may not be original — the notion that default views are not apolitical reminds me of, I think, Felix Holt where being a Tory is considered to be apolitical! — they're expressed with clarity and an enjoyable sense of brio.
If the collection has a weakness, it is that all the pieces were originally written as standalone articles. Thus they include slightly more throat-clearing than usual, with Hurley setting out various facts that we've just read about in the previous essay. But that's a minor quibble with a easy solution: simple spread out the essays rather than reading them in one sitting, or dip into them out of order.
(As an aside, I particularly like the llama on the cover which, amusingly, appears to be a slightly modified version of the one the cover Schwartz and Christiansen's Learning Perl. My copy, now 20+ years old, notes that this particular llama comes from a 19th century engraving in the Dover Pictorial Archive, perhaps explaining how it came feature on both covers)
But what really clinched it was the final round, which featured two sets of four questions which link together to give answers to the fifth and tenth questions which count for six points each. Yesterday, we managed to get both sets of links, dropping only question in the second set. In general, I enjoy these sorts of connected rounds — last week there was a one where each question formed a chain, with the tail of the answer to the previous question starting the next — because they're very like crosswords, where you can work out the answers even if you're not sure what they mean.
I'm not sure we're going to compete next week — some of the other team members are doing a triathlon — but I'm sure we'll be back in the not too distant future...
The section around the start is particularly problematic. Not do a large group of people start at the same time, but they funnel through a narrow section between two temporary chainlink barriers which connects the canal path to the start of the divided bike-and-pedestrian path that runs along the edge of the flood channel. The path is supposedly temporary, although it's been there for almost a year, and consequently it's made of packed but uneven unmetalled aggregate, giving it a worryingly undercertain feel under foot and tire.
Even at the best of times, the rights of way across the path are unclear — although D says it explicitly isn't part of the cycle path. It's always hard to navigate, with pedestrians walking on either side as if it were completely pedestrianised, some cyclists sticking to the left as though they were on the road, and others sticking to the side that matches the cycle part of the divided path that runs along the channel.
Usually people — both runners and cyclists — slow down and make their intentions clear when they approach, making collision avoidance easier. But every so often, as just after the start of this morning's parkrun, you get a someone — in this case a cyclist riding in north-west against the general flow — who just bowls on through.
You'd think common sense, along with the notions of self-preservation and of decency towards one's fellow path users, would suggest giving way but obviously not in some cases. And as for the person who, a few weeks ago, was trying to ride a motor scooter along a later section of what is clearly marked as a pedestrian path, the less said the better!
Granted it's annoying to have to give way to other people, but it's one of the most fundamental aspects of living a civilised existence that you cannot always do exactly what you want, when you want, and damn the consequences. As Robert Nozick says somewhere: your right to swing your fist ends where it intersects with my face.