Tuesday, June 26, 2012

this one goes to 13.1

the 2012 seattle rock n roll half marathon is in the books.

so is the 2012 seattle rock n roll full marathon, but i didn't run that race, so we'll speak of it no further.

at least three very good things happened during the race i did run:
1. i finished
2. i finished in less than 2 hours
3. it didn't rain

you might think, "those are some very good things, all right, but were there any that weren't about you?" yes! there were other good things, things that had nothing whatsoever to do with me...

for example, i ran with three people, a friend and two of her friends. they all finished, and one of them established a new PR for the half. it didn't rain on any of them, either.

also, none of us fell down or had a myocardial infarction or ran off the course in a state of delirium. (ed. note: that set was kind of about me, but only tangentially.)

i don't know if bad things happened to any of the other 22,000 runners. that's a lot of runners, though, so just by sheer volume you'd have to think that somebody might've thrown up or fallen into a storm drain or been chased by a rabid bat. something.

the people from the rock n roll race series did a good job here in seattle (this is in contrast with the job they reportedly did on their las vegas event, which like many a trip to las vegas, did not end well. this post is not about las vegas. why do i keep typing "las vegas"?)

the people from the rock n roll race series did a good job here in seattle. there were bands playing on every mile of the course, there were lots of nice volunteers handing out water and gatorade, it didn't rain, and i saw not even one rabid bat. which is just as well, because people and rabid animals don't mix well under many circumstances, and a distance race is one where they don't. i can't think of any where they do, at the moment.

i'm stalling here, can you tell?

it's because i didn't do as well as i wanted to and expecting to, and i don't really want to get to that part of this post. but i'm pretty sure i can't expect you to keep reading about bad things that didn't happen and the fortuitous lack of rain in seattle.

i didn't make my goal time.

there, that wasn't so bad. but there's more.

not only didn't i make my goal time, i didn't beat my time at the half marathon i ran six weeks ago. in fact, i ran seattle a full 60 seconds slower.

these facts have left me feeling a little disappointed. a little cranky, even.

how stupid am i?

the fact is, out of 22,000 runners, i finished 1,164th. i'm no mathematician, but i think that's pretty good. if ever math and statistics could make me happy, this should be one of those times!

there's more...

pace over the first 5k: 8:36
5k-10k: 8:26
10k-10m: 8:14
10m-13.1m: 8:04
look at that! the second half of the race was significantly faster than the first half. this is a good indication that i did something right training-wise and conditioning-wise.

so, i really shouldn't be all disappointed and demoralized…

still, a full minute slower!

okay, it's now three days later, and i'm not as disappointed. i've reconciled the fact that my finish was the result of what experienced runners call "bad race management." if i had started at a better pace, there would be only joy and satisfaction, instead of lingering regret.
i ran. i finished. i will run again.
these are good things.
the end.


(still...sixty seconds!)

Friday, June 15, 2012

cher and cher alike

you know who's had an improbable, implausible life?


(don't pretend you saw this post coming.)

imagine pitching a screenplay of her life...you'd get laughed out of every gin joint in every town around the world.

"so, here's what i'm thinking...it's a rags-to-riches story about a girl who comes out of nowhere to date warren beatty, marry sonny bono, and record hit songs across six decades. she stars in a hugely successful variety show on tv, wins emmys and grammys and oscars...incredible, right? but there's some bad stuff, too. she gets divorced from sonny, marries and divorces gregg allman, then speed-dates a bunch of other people, from gene simmons to tom cruise. later, sonny dies in a tragic skiing accident, after being elected to congress as a republican. there's probably no relationship between those two things, though...i'm still working on that part."

"there's also a part where her child transgenders from an adorable little girl into an overweight guy (not that there's anything wrong with that)."

"eventually she becomes an american icon, instantly recognizeable by her first name, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, minus a few hundred grand for tattoos and cosmetic surgery...all this from a girl with a big heart, a big voice, and a big nose from nowheresville. well mr. demille...what do you think?"

"it's completely implausible, kid. no one would ever believe such a cockamamie bunch of baloney. get out of here!"


anyway, the girl and i were watching "burlesque" this week, and it occurred to me that of all the fictional female characters in all the movies ever made, most don't compare to cher's real life. that, and at 65 she can still belt out a song.


"If I'd had as much plastic surgery as they say, you know, like I've got ass implants and calf implants and cheek implants. I've had the same cheeks my entire life. No butt lifts. No ribs removed. Having said that, if I want to put my tits on my back, it's nobody's business but my own."

~~cherilyn sarkisian

Thursday, June 14, 2012

a boy named sue

come and play with us danny.
forever and ever and ever.
apparently you can sue someone for scaring you.

it says here that 10 passengers are suing jetblue airlines because a jetblue pilot went, uh, slightly off-course during a flight.

which is to say he wandered through the cabin babbling incoherently about things other than flying over the grand canyon, cruising altitude, and keeping seatbelts fastened.

this frightened the passengers (and probably the rest of the crew), and understandably so. because, while it's disconcerting to see a homeless person on the street babbling incoherently, it's also kind of expected. when the captain of your flight does it, it's disturbing. in a scary way.

but do we really have a legal right not to be scared?

if we do, i'm hiring a lawyer, stat.

guy on the freeway drifting into my lane at 70 mph while talking on your cell phone? you're totally sued.

pajama-wearing teenager spending all day on the computer, drinking soda and eating popcorn? sorry son, you're sued.

pit bulls. guns. chain saws. you can't handle the truth.

severed achilles tendons. torn knee ligaments. idiopathic thoracic pressure? lawyer up.

the word 'avulsion.'

screenwriter, director and cast of "the shining"? sued. (especially those twins with the huge foreheads. sheesh.)

overpaying for mediocre wine.

aneurysms, stroke, cancer. fuck you, and please enjoy this nice legal document.

you know, come to think of it, one needn't actually be frightened to sue for emotional distress. on that basis, i could sue the seattle mariners for being so awful for so long.

months of cold, dark, wet pacific northwest weather? we'll see you in court.

onions? i've hated you for a long time. decades. you bastards owe me.

if this jetblue thing turns out to be legit, the possibilities are endless.

but i'm afraid it won't.

i should sue.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

desaturation point

the dirty water washes down
poisoning the common ground

taking sins of farm and town
and bearing them away
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


it's done.

i just cleared out my twitter account.

i couldn't take any more politics and propaganda and dogma-porn. so i unfollowed 25 sources of news and opinion tweets.

i know: woo hoo.

but every so often you have to climb up out of the cesspool and shower off. with disinfectant soap.

soon i'll be as unqualified to comment on political issues as 99% of americans. i will be a low-information voter.

next: unsubscribing from the email lists.

that will take longer.

disclaimer: historically this won't last. eventually, inevitably i start jonesing for another hit of ginned-up hysteria and faux drama. and i jump back in.

bring me the head of bambi garcia

it was a cake, but it was more.
with the addition of the hunter, and his prey,
it was a reflection of all that was good in birthdays,
and cakes, and killing badly outgunned prey.
"Fish," he said, "you are a friend of the old man and he kills you. It is love, this killing. I cannot knot. If you cannot knot, you cannot truly kill your love."

The young man thought that if only the old man were here, but he is not. He remembered the last words of the old man: "Cuidado los quitos!"

~hemingway's nephew


he liked things to make sense.

but in those days, fewer things seemed to make sense, and more seemed to resemble a hemingway parody contest.

this was troublesome at a time when good sense was increasingly insensate, or insensitive, or in absentia, and the examples were marching, legion.

for one, there was the ongoing and inexplicable and chaotic combination of guns and children. could there have been any doubt that children + guns was among the worst ideas since, say, lindsay lohan + tequila?

there could not. but that was just one opinion, of course. other people, with differing opinions, believed kids + guns = a party.

"They have birthday parties with go-karts and trampolines -- with proper education before going into a gun range, why not a birthday party?" said Texas gun range owner David Prince.

early indoctrination teaches children to treat guns with respect, they said. it teaches them to be careful with firearms. they (and by 'they' he meant "idiotas de muerta") probably would not use the word 'indoctrination,' because it sounded subversive and socialistic. at a time when those words had lost all meaning.

regardless, a review revealed 30,000 gun deaths in his country each year~~over 17,000 by suicide. about 1,000 accidental fatalities. leaving 12,000 intentionally inflicted gun deaths in the land of the free and the home of the grievously wounded. every year. or, a thousand per month, he thought through a booze-soaked forest of half-thought calculations.

oh, yes, they were very careful with their guns.

but why speak of unpleasantries when once there was talk of parties?

Some parents are already expressing concern over the new party spot. "It makes me very nervous," Dawn McMullan told ABC News' Dallas affiliate WFAA. "I think eight-year-olds, developmentally, can't tell the difference between play and reality sometimes."

let's be straightforward here, he said, where we are among friends and can speak straightforwardly and forthrightly~~there are many, many adults who cannot tell the difference between play and reality. some of them carry guns, and some of them teach children that guns are good and american and manifest destiny.

we can say this here, to one another, he said, because we are bold, and not afraid to speak of such things.

no matter how maddening and tragic they may be.

no matter how little sense they make.


He noticed them first by the sound. You always notice them first by the sound. When you hear the sound, the sound that they make, your insides go all moist and soft.

"Hijos of mothers!" he swore.

They came in a feeding frenzy, lusting for blood, biting, sticking, sucking, defecating. He fought them with the only weapons he had. Arms flailed in wild slashing cuts, hands slapped and splattered red tissue, feet stamped great gouges in the good black swamp mud.

They were too much for him. He was a mass of welts and corrupted flesh. He felt defeated. They had taken his blood but he was not destroyed.

Sunday, June 03, 2012


remember: they don't want to hear about it.

in extremely small doses, maybe, using very short words. beyond that, most people have no interest in your new obsession with {*whatever*}.

mine happens to be running, and every time i talk about it, i try to be hyper-attuned to the listener's tolerance level. typically it doesn't take long for their eyes to glaze over and for the lacquer to start cracking on their polite expression.

and i admit, i've become inordinately fascinated lately with shoes and tech gear and long training runs. i am aware that unless i'm talking to another runner, i may as well be talking about these things in silverback gorilla. the sounds are kind of interesting, in an unintelligible way, but pretty soon people get bored and wander to the next exhibit. muttering, "wow, he seemed almost human, didn't he?"


with that in mind...let's type some more about running!

i'm looking to participate in an organized running event somewhere other than seattle. not just a getaway, a runaway. literally. and there's no shortage of options. running events have apparently become big business. they're everywhere, year-round. you're familiar with eco-tourism? this is, oh-i-don't-know, amble-tourism. from urban roads to backcountry trails, anywhere people can move in the same direction, sort of quickly, and with purpose only they understand.

i want to try it out. the only questions are, what can i afford and how much time will it take?

i mean, i'd like to go immediately to hawaii and run the first tropical trail event i can find. i looked into it...there's an array of such things, on every island, practically every weekend. entry fees are completely reasonable. woo hoo!

it all looks great, until you check into airfare. have you checked into airfare to hawaii lately? it's uncheap. hotels, ditto. if you can imagine such a thing.

no problem. it's a big world, and there are plenty of interesting options out there. for example, there's the rotary unity run, a 10-mile fundraiser for the soldotna, AK rotary club. you fly into anchorage, then rent a car (or hop a bush plane) 147 miles to the kenai peninsula. the trip alone would be reward enough, but then you get to run through some of the most scenic countryside anywhere.

yes, i'm actually thinking the running is part of the reward.

have you looked into airfare to anchorage lately? it's expensive! to fly to alaska! who in their right mind wants to fly to alaska?

in july there's a half-marathon in juneau, on douglas island, in the backyard of glacier bay national park. with views of mendenhall glacier and the gastineau channel. it costs $20 to enter. but with airfare and, say, four nights accommodations, suddenly it's around a million dollars. or thereabouts.

there's a 10-k trail run in whistler, bc, in august. i love whistler. and there's no airfare required! and the summer room rates at whistler/blackcomb are cheap! let's check out the course. hmm, looks pretty cool to me...and it features just 645 meters of elevation gain over the route. that's not much, right? i mean, how tough could that be over a mere 6.6 miles? wait...645 meters is over 2100 feet. so the route is basically vertical?


not to worry, i'll find something. but the fact that i'm even considering traveling and spending money to run is fantastical. even a few months ago the idea would've been preposterous. but, here we are. i'm actually enthusiastic about the idea of going to alaska. to run.

but...i know you prolly don't want to hear about it. and i appreciate the polite look you've been wearing on my behalf. you may want to touch up the lacquer around the eyes, though...

i know...wanna talk about politics?