Photo: joojaebum, Flickr Creative Commons
My knee is still screwed up. I can't run without aggravating what I'm pretty sure is ITBS. Unlike the first first week after screwing up my iliotibial band on a trail run, I can walk without noticing it (unless I've been sitting in my chair at work for a while, and only that chair for some reason). At this point, it only affects me by preventing me from running. I'll test it out every few days to see, but by the time I'm at the end of the hall, I notice that tightness and pain building up on the outside of my knee and I slip deeper into depression.
Luckily, it doesn't bother me at all on the bike. I can go for at least an hour without noticing the slightest bit of problem and have no lingering affects afterward. Actually, my leg tends to feel better on the days I ride than when I don't, so I'm riding a lot now. The only problem is that tennis season had started and it's still getting dark early. Despite the fact that I actually am quite impressed with the respectful driving of the locals here and always feel safe on the low-traffic roads I ride, there's no way in hell you're getting me to ride my bike in the dark. That's not too much of a problem, though. The wife got me a stationary trainer for Christmas, so I can just hook that up to my back wheel and pedal away. I've even taken to the habit of getting up at 5 am, more than an hour before I have to, to get my rides in. That's a pretty unnatural habit for me, but it's working. Which means I'm getting old. Who cares. I'm in better shape now than I was at 20. I hate my 20-year-old self. Twenty-year-old Jacob was an idiot who made a lot of bad decisions and ruined my life. Sure, none of those decisions were so bad as to actually make my life that bad, but I definitely could have had more money and maybe a better job. Weird that I'd be closing in on my mid-30s regretting being too cautious in my youth instead of a lack of caution.
But that's not the point. The point is Game of Thrones. See, riding a bike on rollers is a lot like running on a treadmill. Boring at best. Soul-crushingly evil at worst. I can go hours and dozens of miles outside without getting bored, but it takes less than 5 minutes while moving in place. To make up for this, I've been watching old TV shows on my indoor rides. I started off with The Wire and finished that series finally. I loved that show. It took a couple of episodes to decide if I really liked it, but after that I was hooked. After The Wire, I watched a few episodes of Weeds, which I also really like, but I was streaming those and ended up going over the data cap on my satellite internet. We can't have that, now can we. I spent the last week of the January billing cycling suffering through internet that didn't stream Youtube very well. Such barbarism. Finally, I got Netflix to stop sending me movies and got Game of Thrones and I've been watching those since late last week.
I read book one of that series last year and loved it. It's not a perfect book, but it's a very good book, so I was looking forward to seeing how HBO turned it into a series. To my surprise, they basically just turned the book into a screenplay. This may be the most faithful adaptation of a book in the history of motion pictures. That is possibly hyperbole. Perhaps. But not by much. They do compress the story a little, but I don't think someone who's never read the books will have trouble without the parts that were cut. The cast is incredible and the story was already good. It's done a good job holding my attention for 50 minutes while I pedal furiously to nowhere in the pre-dawn dark.
Well, technically it's the pre-dawn fluorescent lighting of my kitchen. I just didn't think that was as writerly of a description.
There are a couple of things that slightly disappoint me so far, though. First, I always imagined the Dothraki more as a Mongol horde in appearance and style than the seemingly Plains Indian-inspired group on the show. A very minor complaint, really, especially since it's possible the Mongol connection was more me than George R.R. Martin. I'm also not a huge fan of casting Mark Addy as Robert Baratheon. It's not Addy's fault. He does an impressive job with the role and is barely recognizable. He normally looks kind of goofy is I've always thought of him as a comedic actor, but none of that comes through in his King Robert. It's just that I imagined the king as a large, broad-shouldered man, whose youth as a massively strong warrior was still evident under the years and blubber he'd added since his last battle.
There are a couple of other minor quibbles, but like Baratheon and the Dothraki, they're all conflicts between what I imagined as I read and what the producers put on the screen, not necessarily what was in the book. My complaints are really just blessing with faint criticism. The show is beautifully shot and the sets and special effects alone must have been ridiculously expensive. Combine that with a huge cast of incredible actors (many of whom will be recognized by any halfhearted cinephile), and I'm shocked this show ever got made, or at least made this well. Honestly, the worst part of this is that when I finish the first season of the show, I can't immediately switch to season two. Even if it's released by then (it's due out on Netflix Feb. 19), I haven't finished book two in the series yet. I guess I'll just switch over to Weeds and finally finish off that series. Oh, the suffering of modern man.