Cold recovery walk/jog playlist

I stopped running with music years ago.  I focused on thinking and also being more aware of my surroundings, especially the fast-moving cars.  Recovering from a cold that included a mild fever, I decided to ease back into my jogging with some music.  I started just walking, then power-walking, and today I tossed in a smattering of jogs in between walking.  My 90’s playlist really helped:

  • Evenflow – Pearl Jam
  • Supernova – Liz Phair
  • Volcano Girls – Veruca Salt
  • Just a Girl – No Doubt
  • Unbelievable – EMF
  • Chinese Burn – Curve
  • Cantaloop (Flip Fantasia) – Us3
  • Titanium Exposé – Sonic Youth
  • Divine – Rollins Band
  • All Hail Me – Veruca Salt
  • Smells Like Teen Spirit – Nirvana
  • Everglade – L7
  • Gone Away – The Offspring
  • Girl, You’ll Be a Woman Soon – Urge Overkill
  • Animal – Pearl Jam

Conquest of the Planet of the Apes by John Jakes

Conquest of the Planet of the ApesMy rating: 5 of 5 stars

A fantastic read that was perfect as a commentary for the times when it was published. To be fair, it was a novelization of the movie, yet it used the original, darker ending that was omitted from the film. The novel cuts better.

What’s even better, and profoundly sad, is that this book is still relevant today in the age of Trump and the white supremacists he surrounds himself with and motivates. A book for our times…perhaps a handbook…

The Diary of Dr. John Polidori, 1816: Byron, Shelley, Etc.

The Diary of Dr. John William Polidori, 1816: Relating to Byron, Shelley, Etc (Classic Reprint)My rating: 3 of 5 stars

An interesting, if possibly unreliable, diary of Dr. John Polidori, who was for a short time Lord Byron’s doctor and traveling companion. Polidori’s sister transcribed the diary and admitted editing out some unsavory pieces. She then destroyed the original manuscript. His nephew then edited and published his aunt’s transcript.

Having said that, it was fun to read his entries that coincided with Byron working on Childe Harold and Mary Wollstonecraft working on Frankenstein.

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Ovid’s Metamorphoses (transl. Charles Martin

MetamorphosesMy rating: 5 of 5 stars

What a way to start off 2017. Charles Martin’s translation of Ovid’s Metamorphoses has skyrocketed into my list of favorite books. I savored each page and made sure I was calm and focused each time I sat down to read so that I wouldn’t miss anything. If I had to quote the best part, I’d say it was: “My mind leads me to speak now of forms changed / into new bodies … and if there is truth in poets’ prophesies, / then in my fame forever I will live” (Book I:1 – Book XV: 1112).

I enjoyed Ovid’s grouping of history into four ages: Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron. In the beginning, we had beauty, no need for laws, peace and nature. By the time we find ourselves in the Iron Age, we have war, greed, and despoiling of nature in furthering of those two desires. Ovid writes that in the age of Iron we dig in the ground to unearth gold and iron, the latter to kill and secure the former (p. 20).

I was fascinated with all the origin myths of the gods and heroes of the classical world. I am thankfully to have come to Ovid after having read so many other things from Greek and Roman mythology. Encountering Ovid first would have been confusing and not as wonderful an experience. As I’m a huge Homer fan and of the larger Epic Cycle, I enjoyed the “Ajax versus Ulysses” section of Book XIII, which deals with the awarding of Achilles’ armor after his death at Troy. I also enjoyed Pythagoras’s thoughts on the moral imperative of vegetarianism in Book XV. I loved seeing the seeds of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet in Ovid’s tale of Pyramus and Thisbe (Book IV, p. 125). Ovid didn’t invent this theme of forbidden love but I was so surprised reading this section that was written almost 1600 years before Shakespeare’s play.

The only part of this translation I didn’t enjoy was the “rap” part in Book V with the “The daughters of Pierus.” It just seemed full of pandering to stereotypes. One thing I found troubling, not with Ovid or the translation but with the mythology, was a thought I had in Book XI (though it built up over the entire work). Were all females, either goddesses or woman, raped to produce the male “heroes” of the classical world?

Almost all of Ovid’s metamorphoses (transformations) are of beings (gods or humans) being turned into flora or fauna. There are physical changes, mental fogginess, and the loss or change of spoken language. This death of personality can also be seen as a birth of sorts, whereby a new object comes into being, sometimes one beloved like various birds, trees or streams.

I’ll close this review with a note I wrote on the inside cover of my edition: “What wonder, to write when Homer, Ovid, Virgil and Horace wrote. To describe the world when it was new.” As a writer, I hope to try reinvent this newness and address it with my simple prose and verse.

Forward the Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Forward the Foundation (Foundation: Prequel, #2)My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Didn’t enjoy this volume as much but glad to have read it and finished Asimov’s Foundation series.

One thing that struck me (and saddened me) was his writing about some in his fictional world who denied science. Writing in 1993, this may have seemed far fetched. But, living at the end of 2016, it is the frightening reality we face. At times, I felt I was reading the news, not a work of science fiction.

Foundation and Earth by Isaac Asimov

Foundation and Earth (Foundation #5)My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More of the sexism that I saw in Foundation’s Edge but a better overall read even though the conclusion came about rather abruptly and wrapped things up very neatly. Having said that, I did feel compelled to finish this story and felt a resurgence of the love I had for science fiction novels when I was younger. I still like the original trilogy the best but now I will turn my attention to the two prequels. Fingers crossed for two good reads!

Prelude to Foundation by Isaac Asimov

Prelude to Foundation (Foundation: Prequel, #1)My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More of the sexism of Foundation’s Edge and Foundation and Earth and a fair dose of colonialism and stereotyping. Asimov just can’t seem to write a solid, strong, independent female character. The last item, stereotyping, is used by Asimov to make a good point on how stupid such a practice is, but he’s so heavy-handed that it doesn’t come across with enough finesse.

Having said that, his story telling skill made me want to read through to the end. It wasn’t necessarily the best story and some parts were easy to figure out, but the process of the story kept me engaged and intrigued. He was telling a moral or ethical story with the Foundation series, and while at times awkward or heavy-handed in how he presents his thesis, the thesis itself it good. This is one of Asimov’s greatest assets, keeping me fully engaged even if I’m not totally enjoying the in-the-moment experience.