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Adam Bender
Climb harder, drive faster
Climb harder, drive faster
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I'm not going to achieve my fitness goal for 2016, but I might be able to read 10 books if I count the short ones. :)

I started playing Go in February while on paternity leave. About the only thing I could do for entertainment at the time was play games on my phone, and I was getting sick of sudoku. I thought about games I had tried to play in the past but wasn't very good at, namely Go and reversi, and decided to learn Go. I read a few books about it and am currently rated 13 kyu on online-go.com, which isn't great but I'm happy with it.

I've read The Game of Go by Matthew MacFadyen, Go: A Complete Introduction to the Game by Cho Chikun, and recently finished The Second Book of Go by Richard Bozulich. I initially didn't want to count these, as they are all about 100 pages, but a book is a book. The first two are intros to the game and contain roughly the same material; I think Chikun's was a little better. Second Book is widely recommended as what to read after you learn the rules. I thought some chapters were sub-par (for instance, I think Nick SIbicky's lectures are a much better way to learn joseki than this book, which basically encourages rote memorization). However, the chapters on liberty counting and capturing races are pure gold---they distill a lot of complicated information into a few memorable cases and algorithms.

This brings me to six books for the year. I'm in the middle of another short Go book and recently started an Eggers novel, so maybe there's a chance after all.

Little behind on this...

I finished The Idea Factory: Bell Labs and the Great Age of American Innovation last week. It was pretty good; probably the best researched tech book I've read. I was disappointed that it barely mentioned any of the computing contributions (only Unix was mentioned, briefly), but was surprised at how they were responsible for, or at least involved in, practically every technological advancement in communications over the past century. It also drove home the point of how vital the government was to Bell Lab's success: they permitted the monopoly that generated the profits to fund Bell Labs, as well as funded them directly with military contracts. Of course, the government also brought about the demise of the Labs, too, when they ordered that AT&T be split up.

This is my fourth book for the year. I'm counting two shorter book as number 3: This is Water, a graduation speech by David Foster Wallace, and The Game of Go by Matthew MacFadyen. I tried to learn Go some time in high school, when I was studying chess. All I remember is that I sucked at it and gave up quickly. A few months ago, bored during paternity leave, I tried to think of board games I could play on my phone. I decided to try to learn how to play Go for real.

Of course, a week after this, DeepMind announced that it had beaten Fan Hui and was challenging Lee Sedol, and all of a sudden Go was everywhere you looked. I attended the viewing party of the first AlphaGo match, which was pretty fun, but I was too shy to ask anyone to play a game. I have gone to a few Go Meetups in San Jose, and of course got my ass handed to me even with a 9 stone handicap, but I think I am slowly becoming marginally competent...

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Tomorrow is my last day of +HIIT School (I'm going on a ski trip Thursday and Friday). It's had a profound effect on my fitness and climbing, and I am looking forward to doing it again. The first change I noticed was improved aerobic fitness, which let me have longer climbing sessions. Then, after dusting off the scale, I started tracking my weight again. I'm down about 10 pounds since the start of the semester.

This has led to concrete improvements in my climbing. I onsighted a 5.11a last week and flashed three V3s yesterday (I had done only one V3 before, not a flash). Despite the success, it's been hard to find time to climb when I'm either too tired or sore from HIIT, so I'm going to take a semester/quarter off to focus on climbing, then repeat the cycle.
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I finished The Hound of the Baskervilles the other day, bringing me to two of ten for 2016. It was rather enjoyable. I read a lot of Arthur Conan Doyle's short stories in my youth, but I don't think I read any of the novels. At one point I tried to read the Holmes canon in order, but I think I stopped at the first novel.

HotB did have a few deus ex machina moments, but other than that it was a good story where the reader could guess most of the mysteries for themselves if they were paying attention.

Last night I finished Alone on the Wall by Alex Honnold and David Roberts, my first book of 2016. It was fantastic. I think the best aspect of it was also the most surprising: it's not a strictly first-person, ghost-written book. Instead, it alternates between pieces by each author. Reading what Roberts has to say about Honnold gives a valuable outside perspective to his life and accomplishments. I also learned a lot from this book: how Alex simul-climbs, how people prepare for fast and light Alpine climbs, and why Alex started his foundation and what he does with it.

A great book overall, though probably only of interest to climbers and hikers.

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Finished week 1 of Couch to 5K.
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My first 5.11a (though, oddly, I did an 11b back in February).
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I'm going to start posting more, especially about climbing and training for climbing. Posts on that topic will be in this collection.

I went to The Studio with a fellow CSDR (www.calstatedogrescue.org) volunteer today. It was the first time I've been to a Touchstone gym. The route setting was quite good, though the grading is 1-2 grades softer than Planet Granite. I got my fourth belay card, so I am now officially ahead of +Hyunyoung Song. The Studio in particular is quaint, located in an old single-screen movie theater, and was nearly empty when we were there. I'd go back.

In other news, I downloaded "Zombies, Run!" on +Alex Lusco's recommendation. It sounds fun; we'll see if it provides enough motivation to actually start running.
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