Monday, December 07, 2015

drive time

on the way to work this morning, i rolled up to a stop light.

standing at the corner was one of our ubiquitous homeless. the hood was up on his inadequate raingear, his sign was dog-eared, and he carried a battered cane.

i waved to him, and he slowly shuffled over. the light was about to change, and the line behind me was eager, no doubt, to make their right turn on red. i felt hurried and a little anxious.

"how about some breakfast?" i asked, offering him my clif bar.

saying something i didn't quite catch, he took it from me and then said, "thank you."

"you're welcome," i replied, rolling up my window as i turned and accelerated, already late.

the first notes of 'happy christmas (war is over)' began as the man's words finally coalesced...

"i don't have any teeth."

"what am i supposed to do with that?" i silently yelled at no one.

pounding the steering wheel a couple times, i drove on.

Sunday, November 29, 2015

winterfest with attitude

last evening we returned from buying a christmas tree on bainbridge island.

it was a "cut-your-own" place, complete with hot apple cider and handsaws that may have been sharp, once.

we waited in the ferry queue for over an hour on the way back, worrying we wouldn't make it home in time to see the annual tree lighting in magnolia village. 

we made it, with 10 minutes to spare. the lights went on, and everyone said "ooh" and "ahh." after, smiling adults and young children wandered the bucolic main street visiting festively decorated shops.

rockwell would have felt right at home.

on our return to the house, i loosed the tree from the top of the car, and began tying it to the rail next to the driveway. while doing so, i became aware of two women, nearby, shouting at each other...

"no, YOU shut up!"
"i can't believe you called the fire department!"
"i was trying to help you!"
"shut your face!"

there was more leading up to this exchange, but those were the words that made me stop and pay attention. 

(it may be worth noting that in magnolia overt drama typically manifests itself in the occasional, furtive eye-roll. one hardly ever hears "shut your face!" outside the local playground.)

with that, the shouting stopped.

and i went back inside.

no additional drama has ensued today. 

yet.

***********
update: dropping off the girl for a babysitting gig, i was tailgated and flipped the bird by a guy who apparently wanted me to drive more over the speed limit than i was comfortable with.

shut your face, tailgating dude.




Tuesday, November 24, 2015

scary clown

#trump2016
at some point, someone is going to have to hit donald trump in the face with a pie.

it's the kind of thing that happens at circuses all the time, after all. and if the pie turns out to be made of acme bird seed... well, you know. oops.

because while trump is a clown, suddenly his act has taken a dark turn, with a combustible momentum all its own.

***********
recapping the past week, the leading GOP contender has said if he were president he would:

* reinstitute torture of terror suspects
set up a database and ID system to track muslims in the U.S.
close houses of worship

if that were not enough to fan intolerant flames, trump also falsely claimed "thousands of new jerseyans cheered the 9/11 attacks," and said that protesters at one of his rallies "should have been roughed up," after a black lives matter demonstrator was punched, choked, and kicked by trump fans. (yes, he calls them "fans.")

trump's incendiary week was capped off by this particularly wild-eyed exchange about muslims in america:

"But anyway, we have training camps growing where they want to kill us,” the man said. “That’s my question: When can we get rid of them?"

“We’re going to be looking at a lot of different things,” Trump replied. “You know, a lot of people are saying that and a lot of people are saying that bad things are happening. We’re going to be looking at that and many other things.”


yes, bad things are happening. but they're not going on in secret camps: they're happening on camera, for the whole world to see. which is why, for the first time in a particularly seedy GOP campaign season, donald trump is being called a "fascist".

since the beginning of his campaign, trump has incrementally raised the bar on low-minded rhetoric. but what started as boorish insults has degenerated to inflammatory talk appealing to the easily stampeded. and with each sexist, racist, inhumane, anti-american quip and proposal, his numbers have gone up.

what this says about trump is self-evident. what it says about the faction of america embracing his latest raving is disgusting and disquieting.

trump's "message" (if by message you mean "the deranged swagger of the incompetent and incoherent") resonates with the same dark underside of america that crawled out to shout inarticulately for george w. bush ~ and the war crimes that helped make daƩsh possible.

too many times (and too easily) in recent history, americans have been whipped into a frenzy by current events. instead of responding with measured courage and resolve, we surrendered to irrational fear. which led to gratuitous war, torture, and the debasement of america's reputation at home and abroad.

where once we unwaveringly said, "never again," and "that could never happen here," we now shake our heads and say, "what's next?"

with donald trump, and too many others we've actually elected to uphold america's values, the red flags are flying in plain sight.

what's next? 

as always, for good or ill: whatever we choose.
***********
“We’re going to have to do things that we never did before. And some people are going to be upset about it, but I think that now everybody is feeling that security is going to rule. And certain things will be done that we never thought would happen in this country..."

"Introduce a little anarchy. Upset the established order, and everything becomes chaos. I'm an agent of chaos. Oh, and you know the thing about chaos? It's fair!"
~ the joker




Thursday, November 19, 2015

hell, meet handbasket

the dirty water washes down
poisoning the common ground
taking sins of farm and town
right wing christian swimming area.
and bearing them away
and the captains of industry
and their tools on the hill
they’re killing everything divine
what will I tell this child of mine?

~ don henley, goodbye to a river
***********

in the last 24 hours....

sarah palin: "jesus would defend our second amendment rights!"

donald trump: "the u.s. will have no choice but to close down mosques."

chris christie: "i wouldn't take 3-year old orphans into new jersey."

ben carson: "refugees are like rabid dogs."

jeb bush: "we should allow in orphans and christians. people who clearly aren't going to be terrorists. there are no christian terrorists in the middle east."

the house of representatives of the united states of america: "go somewhere else, syrian refugees."

john kasich: "i would create a federal agency to promote judeo-christian values around the world."

"not the ones jesus talked about," kasich didn't go on to say. "rather, the ones we believe in here in america."
***********

one hell of a day.




Tuesday, November 17, 2015

"why do they call it oyster dome?" "it's an ancient temple built by oysters."

live streaming at KBOD 2015. photo
courtesy  of susan harumi duffield glesne.
i lost count of the stream crossings at the kill bill's oyster dome challenge 25k.

partly because there were a lot of them...partly because some of the trails themselves were streams.

the organizers for this, the inaugural KBOD event, set a strong precedent. this was a low-maintenance affair, classed up with nice people and actual oysters. i mean, i've heard about exotic aid station fare at other events, but i'm not sure they included bivalves.

"did you actually eat an oyster?"
"heck, yeah, i ate an oyster."

evermore, part of the lore.

because of what cliff maas described as a "potent westerly atmospheric river event," there was an amazing amount of water coursing through the, uh, course. in the pre-race briefing, one of the organizers said there was water on the trails where there's never water on the trails.
trip-trapping over someone's bridge.
photo courtesy of takeo suzuki.

so, while you may have been able to keep your feet dry after the first couple of crossings, the rest of the day you just picked a path and plunged through. bloosh. also, that thing about trails themselves being streams? that was real. in some places the only way to go was down the sluice. sloosh.

car ride from seattle to alger: rain.
car ride from alger to seattle: rain.
entire race and post-race: no rain to speak of. (despite a dire forecast for bellingham and the surrounding areas. "an inch or more on the way, starting at about 9 a.m." yeah, nope.)

the course was a trail runner's playground: chinscraper-esque climbs, long descents, and lots of runnable terrain in between. gps reports vary, but the range was from 3200 to 3750 feet of elevation. at either end, a sturdy challenge.

many thanks to the folks at northwest endurance events for a new race on damn fun trails. and to the oysters for sharing this great place they call dome.

***********
kill bill's oyster dome challenge 25k

3:35:37
26/76 (overall)
3/6 (m 50-59)
shoes: saucony xodus 3.0 with lots of miles and a grippy vibram tread. glad i still had these in my closet.


Monday, November 16, 2015

lights out

Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed, to me:
I lift my lamp beside the golden door.


***********
just a few weeks ago the world mourned over the photo of a 3-year-old boy, drowned in the surf in turkey.

today, the governors of nearly half of all american states indicated their desire to see more drowned children (along with their parents and grandparents), if at all possible.


"Governors call on U.S. to stop admitting Syrian refugees"

all but one of these governors is GOP, so you can assume they righteously call themselves "christians."

they're not. they are anti-christian. 


un-american. 

cowards.

the united states used to call itself "land of the free. home of the brave."

today, half of america can pretty well dispense with that last part.







Tuesday, November 10, 2015

crazy happy

this just in from the "horrible advice" files...

------->

***********

no one is this happy.

any attempt to be this happy will result in people becoming terrified of you.

need proof?

ask a clown.

Friday, November 06, 2015

harbingers

the beam from my headlamp caught an owl in midflight tonight. it glided through the trees beneath the canopy, gray, ghostly, silent. i followed its flight for a few moments, then turned away and ran on.

***********
in cultures around the world, the owl is a harbinger of death. its screeching, in particular, is said to presage disaster in many forms.

sitting here after the fact, i have no idea how real the danger was today at ballard high school. what we know is that a student was arrested outside the school, reportedly for carrying a gun.

we know the school was under lockdown for a few hours, with our children inside. lacking more real-time information than that, our imaginations were free to run wild. to envision disaster as it's been visited on countless children at countless schools across the nation.

today, it was ballard. just over a year ago it was seattle pacific university, where three people were shot, one fatally, in a random shooting. right in front of the building where our daughter does gymnastics.

in the days to come? well, we don't know, do we? we just know there's a numb inevitability about those days now, and a case to be made that we deserve them.

we have become a country whose gross national product is violence. we inflict death on ourselves at a catastrophic rate, and export it to people eager to be as viciously proficient as we are.

we fight in a burning house with people who insist the fire shouldn't be put out.

the screeching is deafening.
***********
i am handicapped, i suppose, not to believe in harbingers. i am, however, just perceptive enough to recognize that there are days when death looks us over, head to toe, deciding whether to take us or to pass us by.

today was supposed to be a rest day, but there was too much stress accumulated, too much crazy not to go burn some of it off. so i ran. and i wept. it was dark, the roads and trails were empty, so it felt safe to just go ahead and let it out.

somewhere along the way it occurred to me that we're running out of times and places that feel safe any more.


Monday, November 02, 2015

random #gw100k


"'normal' is an illusion. what is normal for the spider is chaos for the fly." ~ charles addams

***********
the training requirements for this little adventure will disrupt our family routine for the next few months. this may not qualify as actual "chaos," but we are creatures of habit. and at the moment, i'm the only one with an inkling of the disarray to come. i should probably clarify this with everyone before they decide to go all "spider" on me.

i may have to rethink my "no music while running" rule. i still prefer not to have someone else's thoughts pumped into my head on the trails, but road miles are another matter. an occasional break in the jackhammering might be a useful thing.

there are new batteries in my headlamp. it's now actually bright enough to run by. because, yay daylight standard time.

13.3 howling-windy, seriously soaking miles halloween morning. an out-and-back from seven hills running shop to the seattle ferris wheel ~ the first time our saturday group had ventured along the waterfront. we saw some things i'd never seen before, including several works in the seattle sculpture park. this thing was particularly fascinating, in that its perspective seemed to shift asymmetrically as we moved around it. weird.

the route is almost entirely pavement, but
 the new scenery was a welcome break in our running routine. the matrix can use a little chaos, now and again.
***********
also noted: it would be ridiculously easy to run-commute from magnolia to the new expedia (formerly amgen) campus. if one had a job there, that is...
***********
t-minus 153 days to #gw100k.










Wednesday, October 28, 2015

getting past the tipping point #gw100k

this is hal koerner, an elite runner with a plan.
not MY plan, mind you...
yesterday was day one.

or t-minus 159 days to gorge waterfalls 100k.

either way, just before noon yesterday the reality that this race is an actual thing reached a tipping point, and my anxiety level spiked.

that feeling doesn't suit me at all, so i did something about it.

1. google "100k training plan"
2. sort through multiple plans untethered from my ability to run THAT MANY miles in a week (dear hal koerner, your plan looks great for an elite, unmarried, financially independent runner; i am none of those things)
look, right there it says, "and ultraladies men!"
i'm no ladies man, but the training plan looks good.
3. eventually find a plan that a) looks manageable and b) might actually have me prepared by race day
4. disregard the fact that the plan is from the "UltraLadies" web site, and is actually a 50-mile training plan. what's 12 more miles?
5. print calendar pages for oct. 2015 to april 2016
6. mark up calendar pages with planned (and completed) workouts; totally include all october runs retroactively (i ran a half marathon a week and a half ago!)
7. feel anxiety levels dropping
8. leave work early and go for a run

today is day two. or t-minus 158 days to #gw100k.

why am i still standing here?

(leaves work to go run...)


kicking it up a notch: #gw100k

i'll be running the 2016 version, btw...
"how do you get to carnegie hall?"
"practice, practice, practice."

***********
words i never imagined i'd type:

"i signed up for a 100k."

i mean, it hasn't been that long ago that i said, "i still don't like running. but i've been hating it less recently...

it was even less long ago that i ran my first half marathon, and cried at the end of it.

it was just two years ago that i ran my first marathon, something i really believed i'd never do.

so how did i get from being a run-hater to a running fool to 22 weeks away from attempting a 100k with 12,000 feet of elevation?

like so many things in this life: i have no idea.



***********
but with a handful of marathons and 50k finishes now in my repertoire, here's what i do know: any 100k is going to be hard. this one, in particular, is going to be rillyrilly hard. but, you know, one step at a time.

having spent the money on registration (and the custom t-shirt and the pint glass), i figure i'm all-in. and while i won't be fast, i am willing to try rillyrilly hardTM.


a sign very much like this one... #gw100k
the run-up to the runpocalypse will be documented here, with the telltale #gw100k in the header. if you have no interest in these sporadic training tales, the hashtag will warn you away like a, uh, sign that warns people away from things.

we try to avoid the tragic results whenever possible...

Friday, October 23, 2015

aloha hour

well, well. look who we have here.
#
hellobeautiful
"now boarding for honolulu..."

i didn't bring sunglasses. #knewiforgotsomething

waiting at the gate while they repair a mechanical problem. there is some irony in that the temperature aboard the plane is about what it will be on the island. and yet, people don't seem to be enjoying it. #delayed

on one smallish device i can text, talk, type, surf, photograph, video, record, listen, map, search, forecast, track, document, and access the sum total of human knowledge. technology level: #miraculous #6s

didn't sleep well last night. hoping to sleep on the flight and wake up feeling refreshed. #neckpillow

taking off an hour and 20 minutes late. a full 80 minutes of hawaii time literally ripped from my grasp. #firstworldwhining

the hawaiian air pre-flight video cost a fortune to shoot ~ multi-camera set-ups on every island ~ but every dime shows up on the itty-bitty screen on the seat-back in front of me. #productionvalue

can't sleep. so much for the #neckpillow #sleepdeniedissleepdeprived

"poomilla" is not the name of a real flower. #sorrydear

in-flight vodkas at 11:15 in the morning? "can we get two each?" #seriously

hydrating like crazy. still, my feet are swollen and my fingers feel like sausages. #morewaterplease


"we'll be coming through the aisles with our beverage carts, and for our guests 21 and over we have a tropical rum punch..."

"sir, can i offer you something to drink?"
"no, i'm good, thanks."
"and you, sir?"
"i'll take a punch."
#yeshereallysaidit #nicehawaiianpunch

more in-flight vodkas at 11:45 in the morning. "can we get two more, each?" #loudly

read read read. type type type. #passingtime

"we'll be coming through the cabin to collect all service items in preparation for landing in honolulu..."

zzzzzzzzzz... #finetimeforanap