Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness (book review)…

Other Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of ConsciousnessOther Minds: The Octopus, the Sea, and the Deep Origins of Consciousness by Peter Godfrey-Smith
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

One incredibly interesting book for anyone who enjoys learning about evolution – and cephalopods, of course.

Written by a philosopher, the writing is really accessible and really engages the reader – unlike a lot of scientists’ approach to this subject – and dives deep into the world of the evolution of large brains and intelligence and how they have evolved along completely different evolutionary paths.

It also explores the world and habits of cephalopods, particularly octopuses, but a fair bit about cuttlefish as well. These really are the most incredible creatures.

Well worth a read.

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The Twilight Kingdom (Feyland #3) (book review)…

The Twilight Kingdom (Feyland #3)The Twilight Kingdom by Anthea Sharp
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I quite enjoyed that. As i said about the first book in this trilogy, if you can get over the YA thing and just focus on the Faerie mixed up with VR thing then these books are really good.

As i also said, the worse thing about this trilogy was Tam’s back story and family issues that really detracted from the story in book 1, were a much lesser distraction in book 2 and actually worked with the story in book 3. But the annoying thing was that in order for them to work with the story in book 3 there really was no need whatsoever to make it such an annoying part of book 1, or to be so depressing about it all.

I think that in these days of publishers cutting costs, editors are doing a worse job than ever. A good editor would have made sure that Tam’s family stuff was tidied up and tied in better with the overall story. But it is what it is, and the trilogy is still really worth a read if you’re into Faerie stuff and like the idea of the Faerie realm using a super advanced VR system to bridge to our realm.

There is a second trilogy in this series, which i may come back to in the future, but for now i’m having a break and reading some other things.

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Rouvy – Boccadasse – Chiavari via Boschetto…

My current best attempt at Rouvy’s ‘Boccadasse – Chiavari via Boschetto’ route…

Another nice route i had to ride to complete one of Rouvy’s challenges. A good ride with plenty to look at along the way.

#loverouvy

The Bright Court (Feyland #2) (book review)…

The Bright Court (Feyland #2)The Bright Court by Anthea Sharp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just like the first book in this series, i had to give it 4 stars, and for similar reasons.

While this book didn’t let Tam’s ridiculous family issues interfere with the story line as much as the first book, i kept finding myself bracing myself for another onslaught of it, which thankfully, this time, was kept to a minimum.

It wasn’t until i finished the book that i felt like i could relax and enjoy the story i had just read. And this was definitely better than the first book.

As i said, Tam’s family issues were kept to a minimum, while the Faerie and VR stuff got turned up a little further with more people entering Feyland.

I’ve just started book 3 and it’s already looking like another great story.

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The Dark Realm (Feyland #1) (book review)…

The Dark Realm (Feyland #1)The Dark Realm by Anthea Sharp
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I gave this book a go because i got the first 3 books of the series on an Amazon 99p thing and i liked the idea of Faerie being able to bridge through VR.

The good bit was the Faerie and VR stuff, all really well done and really enjoyable.

The not so good bit was the young adult thing, but that is irrelevant if the story is good enough and the young adults protagonists fit well within the story.

The bad bit, and why i only gave this 4 stars, is Tam’s back story. I really can’t see the need in making his life so utterly depressing with such a total chaos of family life. This brought nothing to the story and was, at times, a big distraction from it. It made me think of ‘Ready Player One’ but in that the protagonist’s back story worked with the narrative, whereas in this book it detracts from it as it doesn’t bring anything to the story.

So yeah, 5 out of 5 for the Faerie and VR stuff, but a big 0 out of 5 for the stuff on Tam’s family life.

But well worth a read for anyone interested in folk lore and VR. Tam’s family life has certainly not put me off diving straight into the second book in the series.

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Rouvy – Crocetta d’Orero – via Sant’Olcese…

My current best attempt at Rouvy’s ‘Crocetta d’Orero – via Sant’Olcese’ route…

I’m currently partaking in one of Rouvy’s challenges and this is one of the routes to ride to complete it. And i must say, i really enjoyed it. A really nice ride with plenty to look at along the way.

#loverouvy

Gulliver’s Travels (book review)…

Gulliver's TravelsGulliver’s Travels by Jonathan Swift
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I decided to read this after reading ‘The Toymakers’, in which ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ gets more than a passing mention.

I used to think that ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ was a children’s book, but how wrong i was. Maybe that’s the way the establishment wants everyone to think about it, but it really isn’t for children. It’s an incredible critique/satire of the society at the time, but unfortunately it is just as relevant today as it was back then. It’s a shame that society took no notice of what Swift had to say and simply condemned this book to a child’s bookshelf as fantasy nonsense.

For example… hypertension, and its complications, is one of the human race’s biggest killers globally, and it is simply caused by consuming sodium chloride (salt). Swift knew back when he wrote this book that salt was a luxury of no use to humans and that you soon adjust to not using it and realise that you actually don’t need it. Yet here we are today stuffing our faces with this debilitating substance that our bodies simply don’t need making ourselves sicker than ever…

I was at first at a great loss for salt, but custom soon reconciled me to the want of it; and I am confident that the frequent use of salt among us is an effect of luxury, and was first introduced only as a provocative to drink, except where it is necessary for preserving flesh in long voyages, or in places remote from great markets; for we observe no animal to be fond of it but man, and as to myself, when I left this country, it was a great while before I could endure the taste of it in anything that I ate.

So if you are one of those people who thought that this was a children’s book, then go and read ‘The Toymakers’ and then read ‘Gulliver’s Travels’, you may just get a different view of it.

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April’s Best Efforts…

April’s been quite a pleasing month.

Vice wise… Onto a fully raw diet now, but had to go back on the vape to do it. It seems at the moment it’s one or the other. I just crave bread, beans and potatoes as soon as i quit nicotine, and the cravings are intolerable so i always collapse to them.

I also ended back on the coffee to maintain some enthusiasm in the morning after fully quitting the cacao. I started with 2 mugs with 6 grams of full caff in them and have now weaned it down to 3 cups with 1.5 grams of full caff and 4.5 grams of decaf. So my caffeine intake is slowly reducing and i’m able to maintain enthusiasm and it’s keeping me at full gas for my training.

I did try going cold turkey once i got down to 3 + 3 grams with coffee and once again lost all enthusiasm and just struggled on the bike. Yes, caffeine is a performance enhancing drug as it’s make perceived effort so much lower than it really is. But i’ve found that by reducing the full caff coffee 1/2 gram at a time and replacing that with decaf every few days i haven’t noticed any loss on the perceived effort front nor any desire for cacao either.

So fingers crossed i should be completely weaned off coffee by end of May while maintaining full enthusiasm and perceived effort levels. And then i’ll wean myself off nicotine and hopefully be able to manage the cravings for cooked food if i go gentle enough with that.

But yeah, where there’s a will there’s a way and each person’s addictions are unique to them. You just have to find the correct order in which to deal with your addictions and the correct method of dealing with each of those addictions.

My lowest minimum heart rate for the month…

And my lowest 5 minute average heart rate…

And my lowest blood pressure…

So i’m pretty happy with the health and look forward to some even lower heart rate numbers once i sort out the coffee and nicotine.

Onto the training…

Once again, it’s been a busy and full on month where i’ve done some training every single day and my average power is continuously creeping up. A little bit each 5 days, but all those little bits will add up over a year or two to something quite significant. So well happy with everything.

Cycling covered 709.6 miles in 44:16:50 burning 22,058 calories while climbing 38963.46 ft, which i’m pretty happy with.

Walking covered 18.51 miles in 11:22:24 burning 1,955 calories.

Running covered 29.59 miles in 5:17:50 burning 2,453 calories, so a nice increase on March. The foot is much better and hasn’t been a problem, but all the cycling takes a toll on the legs. But i managed a couple of days doing quarter marathons so my plan is to work at that distance and get that below 1 hour before increasing the distance.

And weight training was a total of 17:08:58 burning 2,563 calories. I’ve really settled into a nice routine and improving in strength all the time with the weights now and while the rest of the training suffered a fair bit while i got settled into it it’s certainly feeling worth it overall.

Anyway, that’s a total of 28,554 calories burned for the month which is over 3 kilos of pure fat and that total doesn’t take into account the extra calories my body burns in recovery. That’s a lot of extra food i get to shove in my mouth without putting on unwanted weight – and i love eating food and not putting on weight. 😀

Other things…

The new stem and changing the saddle position really helped with the back and knee soreness. Totally sorted out the problems, so job well done and slowly getting more and more comfortable in the new position. I also raised the stem 12mm at the same time and once i get really comfy with it i’ll lower it slowly back down.

Other than that, nothing much else to report. Just to say that i’m really pleased with how it’s all going at the moment and will keep on keeping on with what i’m doing as it really is working.

Anyways, wishing anyone reading this a fit, healthy and well May. Have fun and keep ‘Growing Young’ else you’ll have to do the other option and grow old.

Best wishes.

BikeLab Challenge…

81st out of 505…

Quite a nice challenge. I didn’t push for any fast times, just choosing to ride each route on my normal training plan. So i’m more than happy to come 81st.

#loverouvy

The Toymakers (book review)…

The ToymakersThe Toymakers by Robert Dinsdale
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When this book came up on Bookbub as a 99p deal i was immediately attracted to it. Yes, i do judge books by their covers, and also by their titles. So i went to Amazon to check it out and it stated that it would suit those who enjoyed reading ‘The Night Circus’.

So as i’d very much enjoyed ‘The Night Circus’ and it being only 99p i went ahead and bought it.

But to be quite honest, it’s nothing like ‘The Night Circus’. They’re 2 very different books, IMHO.

‘The Toymakers’ is, at the end of the day, a story very much about unrequited love, and sibling envy, whereas ‘The Night Circus’ is neither of those things.

While both are set in magical worlds, there are no other real similarities whatsoever.

But having said all that, i did very much enjoy reading this book. It is a fantastic journey through decades of 20th century London, including WW1 and WW2. It also delves well into PTSD and it’s affects on those who come back from the horrors of war and have to fit back into the lives they left behind.

And the ending…

…well, i never expected that. What a wonderful twist in the tale.

If you’re looking for a really decent read, then look no further than ‘The Toymakers’. I doubt many will be left disappointed.

Supurb!

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