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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wharf to Wharf Race

Those of you who have hiked in Colorado may know the sensation of standing in a grove of Aspen trees. The Aspen is a white-barked tree of such astounding skinniness that even a fully mature specimen can be ringed by holding your thumbs and index fingers together. Aspens like to be in large groups and they have an consummately efficient vascular system that allows them to flourish at extreme altitudes. (The tree in the phrase 'treeline' is most often the Aspen.) Their leaves are small and numerous and they catch the light wonderfully. In a breeze they make a lovely, musical sound, not unlike a Cottonwood.

Standing in an Aspen grove is a sublime pleasure, but if you can't get to the Rockies easily, try standing in the crowd of runners before the Wharf to Wharf race. Its largely the same effect: You're surrounded by thousands of light skinned individuals of astounding skinniness with excellent cardiovascular systems about to function under extreme conditions. Instead of leaves catching the light it is the runners outfit. 

Friday, April 25, 2014

The 2014 Silicon Valley Triathlon: Quest for the RED bag

Triathlons = Adventure.
But the Silicon Valley Super Sprint Tri was grand-double-super-secret-squared ADVENTURE.

And Adventure, as always, is defined as:
  • 90% Boredom
  • 5% Terror
  • 5% Laundry
In retrospect I should have known that things would go wrong on this race.
Due to the drought in California the venue had been changed from a reservoir in Santa Clara County to Half Moon Bay - the thinking being that the ocean is not going to dry up anytime soon. All fine and well - my FIRST TRIATHLON was held in a depleted Lake Mead that was so low the swimmers were cutting their feet on the sharp rocks on the bottom. But changing a race venue is pretty much a guarantee that some important details are going to be missed - like stranding 700 racers 6 miles from their gear and their cars.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Magic 8 ball: Tool of the Gods!

I worked at a Wicca store for a few years, and almost every customer I met ended up playing with the Magic 8-Ball by the cash register. It brings back warm fuzzy memories from childhood. 
I saw people asking it questions all day long and laughing at the answers it gave. A toy? Yes. Explainable? Yes. Then why is everyone nodding as they laugh at it? Why are they laughing with something that has no inherent magick in it?

Monday, March 31, 2014

Play Ball!

The Vernal Equionox has passed, but its not REALLY Spring until Opening Day. 

And so today there’s a singing bluebird on one shoulder, a Louisville Slugger on the other and the world is once again running in greased grooves.

Baseball is here again. We can relax.
Because baseball is all about relaxation. An Englishman once remarked that to endure the top of a 7th inning is to understand all eternity – this from a country that worships Cricket, where a game can easily last for three days.
On the field after running a Giant Race 5K.
But you know what? Let ‘em whine. Today I am in love with all the world. My teams are resplendent, untarnished, invincible. By the All-Star break they’ll be broken down, indicted, and able to strike out at will – but here, poised on the cusp of the season, they are immaculate, inviolate.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Dream: BIG Bathroom

Note: As clearly as I could recall this is exactly what I dreamt. And no, I wasn't watching "Back to the Future 2" or reading Gibbons' "Rise and Fall of the Roman Empire" or anything the night before.
Dusty desert bar standing by itself, next to a lonely two-lane blacktop that runs arrow straight, disappearing over both horizons. Early afternoon. Slight breeze blows some tumbleweeds around. The bar is almost empty – the only patron is a hippie dude with a beard and long hair sitting at a table with a glass of water before him.
Two teenagers enter the bar. Tall, skinny Chuck and short, fat Rob. College kids. Arguing about habits of the Roman Legions. One says they were loyal to Rome only, and the other says that they were often not Italian at all – in the later centuries – and were based hundreds of miles away from Italy, and sometimes never even saw the Capitol.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Saint Patrick's Day

Saint Patrick’s Day can be rough on a red-headed Irish guy who isn’t Christian, doesn’t drink alcohol, and has a modicum of shame.
Let’s go out tonight and what shall we experience? Plastic shamrock hats, green beer, bad “lucky charms” accents, and waking up the next morning with a hat full of vomit next to your bed and a feeling like the I.R.A. just set off a bomb in your head.
But I’m not a drinker, so I dodge that aspect. What I do get is all my co-workers talking like Darby O’Gill, adding “Mc-” to their surnames and continually berating me for not wearing green. I even still get pinched on occasion.
And I’m just not into playing along this year. I have taken off my “Kiss me – I’m Irish” button and replaced it with one that reads: “Don’t kiss me – you’re an idiot.”

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Troy (or "Frankie and Annette starring in 'Saving Private Helen'")

(Note: In 2004 the editor of the free paper in my town suggested that I try my hand at Movie Reviews. So I went to see "Troy" and handed in this review the next day. The Editor then pointed out that the movie theater that advertised in his paper would not appreciate my 'less-than-glowing' recap. So I told him that he could keep the hard copy - and also where he could put it.)

On the one hand you can't get too mad at a Hercules movie, whether it cost $100,000 and starred Steve Reeves or $175,000,000  and starred the hot blonde dude who peeked in "Thelma and Louise". 

Beefcake pictures are like beach books: they proliferate each summer, much like pollen, and are long gone by Xmas, when Oscars the grouch wakes up.* Gals drag their guys to them, mucho funno is had later at home, and the guys drag themselves to the gym the next day. Everybody's happy and the local economy prospers. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Pantheacon 2014, Part 4: Sunday

4 out of 5 dentists recommend that you begin your journey with THURSDAY, FRIDAY and/or SATURDAY.

Sunday morning at Pantheacon for many people means rolling over and saying: "Hello. And you are......?"

Or at the very least: "Wait....who am I?"

Being sober and married I had neither of these problems, and so my Sunday morning was the time for clear-eyed reflection. And what I realized was that I had seen, like, two things a day for the entire weekend. I would need to up my average if I was going to avoid looking like a complete doofus in these here reviews.

I mean, if I'm going to spend the entire convention just sitting in Cafe Ho-Hum and complaining about the food and service, I could just skip the whole Registration fee, right?

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Pantheacon 2014, part 3: Saturday

Backtrack to THURSDAY or FRIDAY. Or not. You have Freewill.

Amazingly I slept right through the Hockey in the Night, but I think it affected me nonetheless. I got 6 hours of sleep, woke up at 8:30am, and was totally going to make it  to a 9am workshop.

I got to the door to "Wake Up - to Spirit!" and then decided that I had failed the first half of the title. So I rebounded back to - you guessed it - Cafe Ho-Hum.

“Round and Round She Goes…..”

June 13th, 1986. 4 miles west of Ogallala, Nebraska.

A crappy place to have a rest day.

An average week on the Great Peace March, the rhythm that had been established on the West Coast and would be maintained all the way to Chicago, New York City and then down to Washington, D.C., was for each marcher to walk 4 days, work at their camp job for two, and we all rested for one.

That’s the way it was supposed to happen, at any rate.

What actually happened was that we were delayed almost 3 weeks in Barstow, California, as the original, legal peace march fell apart. This put us considerably behind schedule. Utah helped this situation by unceremoniously busing us across their state and throwing us across their border with Colorado. Fortuitous intolerance. But we were still a week behind schedule and had a big date in Omaha on July 4th. So the schedule was changed and we upped our daily mileage from 18 to anywhere between 20 to 25 miles.

And now we only rested every 10th day. Our last rest day had come in Denver, our reward for making it across the Rockies and the 12,000 foot Continental Divide. But now, 10 days and 214 miles of marching later, we were camped alongside Interstate 80 in the panhandle of Nebraska. Well, the locals called it the panhandle. I, for one, know the shape of the state, and where we were could only be described as the asshole.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Freeway Flying

It was one of those rare occasions where both Admiral Karen and I had evening appointments – in opposite directions. So she took Hymie the Hybrid and I resurrected our second car, a ’94 Toyota Corolla that only got used every month or so.

It had been at least that long, and the windshield was pretty gross. And the wipers had been installed during the previous millennium. So before going to work I cleaned the windshield with paper towels and Windex, even kneeling on the hood to get the far side. 

I went to work on the freeway – no problem.
 Got to work. Somehow survived the day. Left work in the evening, get on the freeway, accelerated up to highway speed…..

And I don’t know what happened. 

Friday, February 21, 2014

Pantheacon 2014, Part 2: Friday

(Starting with part 1, please. Thanking you: THURSDAY.)

I was up early as always, but I had my 'escape pile' all ready by the door. I went to the lobby, wrote my notes about Thursday, and just kind of anticipated what this place would look like in a few hours. It was a delicious feeling.

At 7am I got a small container of cream for the Admirals Coffee and took it up to the room. I left it discreetly outside the door, tiptoed away, and sent her a text from the elevator.

I know how important it is to sleep in, and have all the components of the Coffee Ritual readily available upon waking. Of such gestures do we build our lives together.