From Nick Hornby's More Baths Less Talking (book 8): My only complaint about this engaging and thoughtful book is that its author uses the word vanilla pejoratively too often, as a synonym for bland, dull, safe. This usage, I think must stem from vanilla ice cream, which, typically, tastes of nothing and is certainly the unthinkable option if you're in an ice-cream establishment that offers scores of varieties. The flavor of the vanilla pod itself, however, is sophisticated, seductive, subtle. Have you tried the Body Shop Vanilla Shower Gel? I don't want to write advertising copy for multnational companies - not for free, anyway - but Body Shop Vanilla, it seems to me, is much more suggestive of deviance and light bondage than it is of missionary position.

And from the same book, on Charles Dickens:

Quilp and Steerforth, Uriah Heep and MAdame Defarge, Fagin and Bill Sikes and scores of others... If these all came from Dickens's shadow side, then we must all be grateful that psychotherapy hadn't yet been invented. If it had, some well-meaning shrink would have got him to talk these extraordinary half-human creatures into nothingness.

We're four weeks from Comox. A third of the way between the last race and my next one, and what have I done? A couple of workouts that stayed aerobic. A sprint workout, on the track, with spikes. Some shitty runs and some decent ones. Nothing exciting. Nothing to suggest I’m on target. Yesterday’s workout was important and I pulled out during the first of five intervals. Lateral proximal hamstrings sore. Breathing ragged. Legs tired, not firing. I slowed to where it wasn’t worth continuing. Walked a kilometer back to the start. Changed out of my flats. Jogged home.

Ate a sad breakfast and drank two cappuccinos, completely off the wagon now. Beast mode is cute little rabbit mode. Schizophrenic Bunny mode. Whimpering, fearful, uncertain mode. Read the signs. Read the signs. I haven’t been sleeping well. On Saturday the wind off the water ran west to east and brutalized. I was in the park for my run. Giving the wind the finger the way crazies do. Friday was the same. Read the signs. Not sleeping well, agitated, irritable. Music from my ipod nothing but white noise. Words on the page two dimensional.

Monday: rest.

Finished book 9: The Dinner - Herman Koch. Wow.