Saturday, December 30, 2006

Happy Birthday to me

I'm officially over the hill, as shown by this fine hat my sister (who, for the record, is 50 and soon to be 51) sent me:



But wait...there's more! In addition to the hat, I was also flocked by both sisters (the other, by the way, turns 50 in May), and not in a bad kinky way:


The sad thing is that the flock returns to it's natural habitat (which I assume is a storage locker or the back of a pickup) some time today. Ah well...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Up next on "Dirty Jobs"

Sewage Diver.

"At the end of each shift, the divers scrub their wetsuits with detergent, removing the stink of urine and rotten waste. "

Somehow I don't think we'll see Mike Rowe down in Mexico City pulling a body out of the sewer any time soon.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Not powerless in Seattle, thankfully!

Well, not in our 'hood, anyway. The lights blipped a couple times on Thursday night (naturally, I was working on the computer at the time...I really should get one of those battery backup thingies one of these days), but not enough to knock out the alarm clock. The Chicken house didn't suffer any damage from the wind or the rain (although I took down the bird feeders to be safe, and the wind chimes to keep the neighbors from calling the cops), and now that it's cold (low 30s) we're snug inside with heat and power.

My Mom, the elder Mrs. Chicken, is not so lucky. No damage to her house, but no power either. And since her neighborhood (on the outskirts of Bellevue) draws it's water from a well, that no power means no water. So Grandma is camping out in our basement where it's warm, dry, and there's water aplenty!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Another candidate for headline of the year

From the good people at Yahoo News:

Flatulence forces plane to land

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency
landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of
flatulence, authorities said.

The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened.

The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a 'body odor,' Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition,
authorities said.

'It's humorous in a way but you feel sorry for the individual, as well,' she said. 'It's unusual that someone would go to those measures to cover it up.'

The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane. The woman, who was not identified, was not charged in the incident.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Good news, hopefully...

News flash: people don't like Lurch.

Now, whether he'll pay attention is another story. In the article David Wade, a Kerry spokesman, dismissed the value of such polls and noted the senator's comeback to capture his party's 2004 presidential nomination: "A lot of pundits and prognosticators have lost a lot of dough pronouncing John Kerry politically dead".

True, but then in 2004 most of America didn't know who the hell John Kerry was. I think that now, after 2004, we do.

For the record, while I voted for Kerry in 2004 it was a case of voting for the lesser of two evils, not because he was a great candidate.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

The perfect Thanksgiving lead-in

Unfortunately, their plan to get a wicked case of the mucnhies failed. Then again, they don't have Thanksgiving in Holland, do they?

Group scraps attempt to smoke biggest joint

This may mark the first time that a group of people decided not to get stoned because "it might be illegal".

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Damn.

Saw the headline and thought they meant Bill. 'cause we need a new weaponized version of the blue screen of death...

Bush taps Gates to replace Rumsfeld

Oh, and one more thing: what's with that use of the word "tap"? I mean, did he actually tap the guy? Like walk over and poke him on the shoulder and ask him to take the job, like an awkward Sophomore boy trying to find a date for Homecoming? 'cause that's kind of a sweet image if you can ignore the whole "sending people to kill people" part of the job...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Radioactive Chicken Heads were robbed

OK, so there's this band in LA called the Radioactive Chicken Heads (they're both on the web and on MySpace). I've never seen them live, but they're kindred souls in the weird-getup comedy rock.

So, being in the LA area, they have access to television shows that we up here in Seattle just can't match. And somehow they ended up on the Tyra Banks show. And the results are, well, insanely amazing. Not only does the song rock, and not only are the costumes great, but the crowd reaction is perfect. They don't know what the hell they're seeing or how to react to it. My band (Chicken Starship could only hope to have such a great response.


Get this video and more at MySpace.com

Monday, October 23, 2006

European jails must be really, really comfy

'cause people just don't want to leave 'em. First up you've got this German guy who flat-out refuses to leave, and then there's this Belgian who managed to get himself sent back shortly after being released.

Maybe the food's better on the inside.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Race photos

Finally I've got some pictures from the marathon, 'cause there's nothing more facinating than pictures of some dude running...

First up, the start. Look at that sea of people! And to think there's even a bigger sea in front of me...



The next sighting after that was at 18 miles when the McKinstries showed up and I took a little break to walk with them:



A few miles later (OK, technically it was 3) I'm again walking, this time with Paige and the kids (they're behind her in the picture...):



Then you've got a shot from about 35k in to the race (roughly 22 miles):



And then it's on to the finish:



And I'm done! Dang that Gatorade tastes good!

Thank God someone tracks this stuff...

From the Albuquerque Tribune:

The balloon fiesta is the largest portable toilet event in the state

I skimmed the article and it's the largest number of portable toilets, not the largest portable toilets.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Next up: Seattle half marathon

Clearly I've gone insane. Why else would I willingly sign up for yet another running race? Well, a couple reasons...
  1. I'm in reasonably good shape thanks to the marathon training plan (thank you, Hal Higdon!) so it's really a matter of STAYING in shape rather than GETTING in shape
  2. I felt pretty darn good through the half-way point of the Portland marathon
  3. I've already run the course (or most of it) during my two longest training runs
  4. It's October, it's dark, and it's getting cold...why not continue to get up at 4:30 to go running?
The race is Sunday, November 26th, which I believe is the rainiest day in the history of rain (OK, that's probably not true...but Thanksgiving weekend is notorious as the first weekend of flood season...and it's when the I-90 bridge sank back in the day...I'm just sayin'). When I started running I kind of liked running in the drizzle, 'cause it kept me cool. Then I discovered the wonder of dry-fit and the cool-staying became less of a problem. Now I'm not so sure. Definitely going to need a long-sleeve shirt or two, though, 'cause it's getting COLD in the morning!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Go buy this book.



So this guy who sings in this band I'm in wrote a book. This book, in fact.

You should go buy it immediately. Unless you're related to me, in which case don't buy it because that would spoil the Christmas surprise. Which is now spoiled anyway.

Haven't read the book yet because either Amazon lost the order I'm sure I placed back in, oh, July, or I was just insanely high at the time and haleucinated the whole thing. One of those.

Did I mention you should go buy the book? 'cause you should. And no, I don't get a cut.

Monday, October 02, 2006

5:17:17

That was my final time according to the "champion chip". Yes, I made both of my goals: I finished (goal #1), and I beat my friend Jaime's time from her marathon in this summer's Coer d' Alene Iron Man. So I can now say I'm faster than a woman 10 years younger than me who has already swum 2 miles, ridden her bike 113 miles, and has 4 bruised and blistering toes. Hey, when you're almost 40 you've got to take your victories where you can, right? Right.

Here are the full stats:


Place Overall: 4845 out of 7548
Men: 2710 out of 3328
M 35-39: 478 out of 545
AgeGrade: 40.79% Place: 5842
FINISH: 5:17:17 pace: 12:07
10k: 1:12:00 pace: 11:36
Turn-9.1Mi: 1:50:03 pace: 12:06
Half: 2:30:45 pace: 11:30
20 Mile: 3:58:29 pace: 11:56
35K: 4:21:03 pace: 12:01

Not sure what "AgeGrade" means, or if 40.79% is a passing "AgeGrade" or if I have to go back for summer school. Anyhow, here's the fairly detailed recap (mile-by-mile seemed a bit excessive):

Saturday Night:
I prepare for the race the way all the greats do, by attending the championship bout of the Rose City Rollers roller-derby league. This was my brother-in-law Tim's first derby bout and he was, predictably, confused as hell by the rules and scoring. It's clear that Rose City is only in their first year...the skating was ok, but not inspired. Not a Femme Fatale or Burnette Down to be found. The commentary isn't quite as good as Rat City's, but it's still amusing. And they've got a great drum core to open the show, which is often hard to beat. All in all it's a good time and helps relax. We stay for the first half, then head back to Tim's for some pasta and a quickly whipped-up marinara (thanks, Timmy!). Then it's off to bed to lie in the dark and try to sleep.

Sunday morning:
Up at 5, get dressed, eat a packet of instant oatmeal (maple and brown sugar, if you care) and a banana, drink some Gatorade, then hit the restroom for that vital pre-run voiding. In the car around 6, and Tim drops me off a block from the race site at about 6:30. I hop out of the car, forgetting my sunglasses and my Albuterol inhaler. Luckily I won't really need either.

Start:
I work my way through the crowd, trying to figure out where my "pace group" was. You're supposed to line up by how long you think it will take you, and since my goal is to beat 5:30 I am looking for signs that would put me somewhere close. I knew there were going to be "pace runners", and there were supposed to be banners grouping people, but I can't see either in the sea of people. Finally I spot a woman carrying a yellow balloon on a stick with "5:15" written on it. I'd found my group.

We stand around chatting (she had run many marathons before, but had had to take some time off because of hip and knee problems...another woman in the group was on her 75th. I was the baby of the group, the "Almost 40-year-old Marathon Virgin" (which I should have put on my shirt...). Finally 7:00 rolls around and the gun goes off and we start to surge forward. Well, walk forward. Then jog. Then it is "avoid being trampled while avoiding tripping on someone else's feet or getting popped in the nose by an elbow" time.

First mile:
The first mile runs down 4th street through downtown Portland. It's a slow down-grade, which was very cool because you could see the sea of people stretching out in front. There were probably 6,000 of the 7,548 participants in front of me, and the line stretched an increasing distance as the faster people took off. Close to the 1 mile mark we pass a drum core beating a nice cadence. As I hear them I think "gee, wonder if that's the same group we saw last night at the Derby..." It is, and they continue to rock.

Second Mile:
The run on 4th continues through Chinatown, then turns around and starts north on the Naito Parkway. At this point I drop my extra shirt - I'd worn an old flannel from back in the day (complete with grunge-rocking torn elbow) to keep me warm while waiting for the start, and after a mile I am all warmed up.

About mile 1.5 we meet a motorcycle cop heading north on the Naito Parkway (the course starts out heading south on it, then turns north) escorting the first of the wheelchair racers. This dude on his hand-bike has just rolled 5 miles in the time it had taken us to run 1.5 (roughly 20 minutes, since he started at 6:59 and I crossed the start line at about 7:04).

Shortly after this we hit the first aid station, I slow to walk, sample my first "Ultima" of the day (a Gatorade clone...the orange is lousy) and take a much-needed bathroom break to get rid of all the Gatorade I drank with breakfast. Somewhere in there we pass a guy with a bright red sweat-suit banging those inflatable "bang sticks" they give a way at NBA games and cheering us on.

Third and Fourth Miles:
The first real hill hits just after the 2 mile marker, as we turn away from the river and run back up to 4th. Not too steep, not too long, but enough to wake up the legs which have basically been coasting along (amazing that I can now "coast" for 2 miles when back in February I was laboring to cover the same distance). After heading south on Barber Blvd. for a mile or so we turn back north on Front Street (which becomes the Naito Parkway) and pass under a marimba band performing on a pedestrian overpass. I fight the urge to correct the runner next to me who says to his girlfriend / running partner "Cool! A steel drum band!"

Fifth, sixth and seventh miles:
We continue down Front and back along the parts of the Naito Parkway we covered in the first few miles. Red sweat-suit guy is still there, banging and cheering away. We head north out of the downtown area and in to industrial NW Portland. The Ultima continues to be orange and continues to suck. At Mile Post 4 I have the first of my Hammer energy gel. It's vanilla, and kind of tastes like custard.

Eighth, ninth and tenth miles:
Continuing north on Front we pass a Christian rock band singing something I can't understand (not because I don't get the religious references, but rather because the crappy guitar is drowning out the vocals) and a hippie jam band. I stop for another restroom break at about mile 9, take a couple Hammer Endurolytes (electrolyte replacement capsules), and keep on truckin'. Well, truckin' for a mile, then walking a bit, then truckin' for another mile...

We turn around just after mile 9 and head back south, again passing the jammers and the Christians. Still can't understand what they're saying. At some point in there I pass the guy in the red sweat suit again. Apparently he has nothing better to do on a Sunday morning than to come and cheer us on. It's appreciated, if a bit odd.

Eleventh, twelfth and thirteenth miles:
Just after mile post 11 we turn up hill again, heading toward the half-way point. I'm still feeling good, and take the hill in stride. At mile 12 I take in more Hammer products - a raspberry gel this time, which tastes a bit like jam, and more Endurolytes. Both products are new to my training, so I'm not sure exactly what I should be taking in when. During my long training runs I drank Gatorade and ate Clif bars, but the Gatorade alone didn't do the trick and I ended up cramping. And the Clif bar was solid and toward the end of the bar just kind of sat in my stomach. So now I'm experimenting with dosage during the race, which is probably not the best idea.

Mile 13, the mid-point:
I've now been on the road for two and a half hours and feel remarkably good. I'm on a pace to hit 5 hours, which is insane. I've told Paige to meet me at mile 21 at 11 and am now wondering if I'll get there before her. That would be bad, since she's packing my final 2 gels and I'm sure I'm going to need them to avoid bonking. At some point around mile 12.5 my Garmin GPS decides that I've leapt forward in space and have actually covered 13.5 miles. So now I have to consciously subtract a mile every time I look at it, and the "average pace" readings are all wrong. Not a critical issue, but an annoying one.

Fourteenth, fifteenth and sixteenth miles:
We head north along Highway 30. They've coned off the left lane, but the street is open to traffic and there are a lot of cars going by. So everyone pretty much hugs the gutter to avoid accidentally getting clipped. Lots of cars honk as they pass, which is nice. Fewer bands out here, since there's not much space to set them up, and a lot of traffic noise to compete with. At about mile 16.5 there's a string of port-a-potties with a DJ station set up next to them. I take advantage of both, and thanks to the delay get back on pace to meet Paige at 11:00. As I leave the DJ launches in to "Gettin' Jiggy Wit It." Perfect song to eat your last energy gel.

Seventeenth and eighteenth miles: The Big Hill.
Throughout my training, every time I have talked to anyone who has run this race they talk about the big hill at mile 17. So in the training I've tried to put in some big hills at points where I'm tired. Now we'll see if it paid off...and it does. One advantage is I've ridden my bike up this hill on the Portland Bridge Pedal, so I know roughly how long and steep it is. It is both, but not insanely so. The hill on Madrona up from Lake Washington (in Seattle) is longer, and Lake Washington Boulevard is steeper. I chug up it, skipping my standard walking break at mile 17 since I just rested at 16.5. The hill is easier to run up than to ride, since I can run slower and don't have to worry about the bike tipping over. Waiting at the top of the hill, just before we turn on to the St. John's Bridge, there's another marimba band. They seem to be following me. I slow to a walk at the top of the bridge and enjoy the view up the river at downtown Portland.

Eighteenth, nineteenth and twentieth miles:
As I come off the bridge and turn down the hill, I see my friends the McKinstries. Now that is unexpected! I'd heard they might come down, then that they weren't, and so I'm a bit shocked to see them. I slow down, walk with Dave a bit, get some pictures taken, have some water, then continue on up the hill while Dave reports in on the phone to let Tim know where I am.

Within the next three miles I start to hit the wall. My feet are getting sore, I'm out of gel, and need a refill on water. At the aid station at mile 20 I get both, accepting a "Honey" gel that's flavored with bananas. One small taste and I toss the whole thing, because the combination of honey and banana is just plain wrong. The water is good, though, and the orange Ultima is starting to grow on me. The guy in the red sweat suit pops up again, banging and cheering. He's clearly having a good time watching us sweat.

Twenty-first mile:
Definitely flat against the wall now, I'm walking more frequently and my right heel is starting to hurt. I'm now pacing with a race walker...I jog past her, get ahead a bit, then slow to a walk and she chugs by me. She's got great form, just like Bill Nye in the old "Speed Walker" bits on Almost Live. I'm glad I wasn't near her at the start or I'm sure I would have been clocked in the chin by one of her elbows.

My back starts to itch, thanks to the sweat. It's right on my shoulder blade, and I'm sure I can reach it, so I reach up with my right hand to scratch it and my tricep starts to cramp. I curse at it silently, massage it a bit, and shake it out. Stupid arms aren't even doing any exercise, so they have no excuse for cramping. I pop another Endurolyte and drink more water to try to fight off the cramp. It seems to work.

Mile Post 21:
Paige, the kids and the McKinstries are waiting for me at mile 21. Paige hands off the gels, I crack the raspberry one, and Logan takes some pictures of my number and my sweaty head. I pop a few more Endurolytes, upping the dosage to 3 from 2, and drink more water. I scratch the back of my neck and my nails come away gritty with salt. Yum...

Twenty-second, and twenty-third miles:

We continue south along the bluff on Willamette boulevard, looking down at the city and the river. The view is great, but my legs hurt. A lot. And now my left heel is starting to hurt a bit too. And downtown looks a long way away. I'm now in uncharted territory, having never run farther than 20 miles. I shift the Endurolyte dosage, adding one pill every mile and a half or so, with two on the 3-mile marks. I pass a guy wearing an all-black outfit - the dry-fit style wicking stuff. He's got a great salt pattern on his back...looks like a dry lake bed in the desert.

Twenty-fourth mile:
The road heads down hill. A nice, long, not too steep down hill. Another one I've ridden on on the Bridge Pedal. Unlike the hill at mile 17, this one is definitely easier on a bike. My thighs are now starting to cramp up a bit, so I pop another Endurolyte, drink more water and Ultima at the aid station, and walk a bit. Down is definitely harder than up on the thighs.

After we hit the bottom of the hill there's a slight incline...not nearly as easy as the hill was at mile 3. Wonder why. Shortly before the mile 24 marker there's an aid station with a guy cheering us on. He's wearing a bib number and looks totally relaxed, so he's clearly been done for a while. He talks about how we've "only got 2 miles to go!" I round the corner and run another quarter mile and finally come to the mile 24 marker. Only 2 miles my ass...

Twenty-fifth mile:
Another quarter mile after marker 24 I find Tim. He's waiting at what originally was the "unofficial Beer Aid Station." He's been with these guys most of the morning as they handed out PBR to runners, interviewing them and the runners. At some point before I get there the cops show up and shut the operation down and there's apparently a bit of a confrontation. I'm sorry I missed it, not for the beer but for the fun. The end is now almost in sight and I start in on the "only a mile and a half to go" mantra that worked so well during my 20-mile training run.

Twenty-sixth mile:
Mile Post 25 is at the beginning of the Steel Street bridge. It's a moderately steep on-ramp to the bridge, but I hit it in stride continuing my streak of not walking up any hills. My legs really, really hurt. I walk on the top, then jog down the other side and turn back on to the Naito parkway. My shirt is still hanging on the fence where I tossed it 5 hours ago. I leave it there, hoping some homeless person will find it and it. I grab a few cups of water at the last aid station, drinking one and pouring the others in my bottle so I'll have them after.

2 tenths to go:
I jog up Naito toward Salmon where the finish chute starts. There are people calling out the number of blocks left..."Only 10 blocks to go!" "Only 9 1/2 blocks to go!" (this roughly a block and a half after the last guy...). I pause to walk and drink some water shortly after the 9 1/2 block lady but before Mile Post 26, then gear up for the final surge. It's slightly less painful to walk than run at this point, but the difference is minimal. A block or two later and I can see the turn and I pass Mile Post 26. The signs loom: "No non-registrants past this point!"

I turn in to the chute.

The finish:
The finishing chute is about 4 1/2 blocks long and up hill all the way...3 up Salmon street from the river to 3rd, then 1 1/2 up 3rd Avenue to the finish line. It's lined with barrier fencing, and that's lined with people. None of them, as far as I know, are there to see me, but they're all cheering nonetheless.

I'm now in full-on game-time mode: I'm going to push through the finish. I know I've got the energy, I know it's a limited distance, and let's face it, I've always been a better sprinter than a distance guy. So now it's time to prove that. I start to push. (It's really too bad that Paige couldn't get a good close-up photo of me chugging up Salmon, because I'd like to know what I looked like. In fact, that thought passed through my mind about half way up the hill, in between the mantra of "breathe...push...breathe...push..." I was definitely focused on finishing)

I pass the "fat lady" - a caricature of the classic opera diva, complete with Viking helmet and metal bustier - blaring opera music. I'm passing people as I head up the hill. I cross the first mat - the one that lets the announcer know I'm coming - then turn on to third and the finish line is in sight. So are Paige, the kids, and the McKinstries, lining one section of fencing on the right side and yelling at me. I waive, then push on toward the finish. The announcer says "It's a strong finish for Scott from Seattle," I take a few more strides, cross the final mats, and I'm done.

Aftermath:
The post-finish area is a frenzy of activity: Get medal, have timing chip removed from shoe, get space blanket from kindly old man, move to food booths, grab some grapes and water and stare dazedly around at other people doing the same thing. Move further on, having a banana and looking for the yoghurt smoothie that guy over there is drinking. Find smoothie, see more grapes, grab them. Avoid cookies (shocking, I know...) because they might hurt the stomach. Oh, there's some more water...grab that and drink it. Finally find myself at the end of the food area and it's time to get a pin on the way out. Now there's a Girl Scout handing me a rose and a guy asking if I want the white or green shirt. I chose green. There's a kid with a bag of goodies (mostly crap...) for me to take, and other kids handing out tree seedlings (it's a Douglas Fir, I think...not sure where to plant it, but I take it anyway). My hands are now totally full, so I pause for a photo. Pick up the stuff after the picture and head out to the Reunion Area where I find Paige, the kids, and the McKinstries.

Many hugs and photos later Tim shows up with my post-run bag and the cooler full of Gatorade. I crack a cool LemonLime, pass some stuff off to the family, and we start the long walk to the car. We get there, I go to change my shirt, and realize that somewhere along the way we've managed to drop my fancy green Finisher shirt. Shit. Hopefully they'll sell me another one (they will, but it's white and not green. Sigh...). I put on a t-shirt and sweatshirt and we drive back to Tim's where an ice bath awaits my sore legs and a nice soft couch awaits my sore behind. The race is over.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Gotta love that headline...

CNN.com - Wife, closeted lover guilty of husband's murder



I'm sure the inmates at whatever prison Mr. Rocha-Perez serves his sentence will be happy to learn that the new fish is "closeted".

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Who knew?

Certainly not me. I had no idea that Locusts had a spring break. Or that they took it in Cancun in September. I guess they wanted to avoid the guys taping "Girls Gone Wild."

Monday, September 18, 2006

Frickin' sweet!

Just what I need...Pong on a keychain. Thanks, OhGizmo!

It's good to be Willie

So Willie Nelson gets pulled over in Louisiana with 1.5 pounds of pot and 3 oz. of mushrooms and gets off with a misdemeanor.

Why do I think if it had been Snoop Dogg that penalty might have been a bit higher?

Um...what?

From the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal:
"An arbitration panel today reinstated Cedarburg High School science teacher Robert Zellner, who was fired by the school district after it discovered he had viewed pornographic material on his school computer.

School Board President John Pendergast said the arbitrator determined that the firing was improper because the school district had only reprimanded another teacher who had viewed stock quotes from a school computer. " (emphasis mine)

OK, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't there a sizeable difference between a teacher checking out hot naked chicks (or hot naked dudes...doesn't really matter either way) and one checking on his shares of Netflix? Yeah, I thought so...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

20 miles

So back when I started on this epic treck to run a marathon I was focused on today. Well, actually I was focused on yesterday, but mainly because I didn't read the plan right.

Why the focus on today? Well, because today capped the peak week of training: 40 total miles, 20 of them today. Back in March 26 miles 385 yards was almost inconceivable. That was something you drove, or maybe rode a bike, not something you ran. So instead I focused on the peak of the training, 20 miles.

20 miles was something I could understand. Back when I was a Boy Scout I hiked 20 miles in a day (ok, technically it was more than a day - maybe 26 or 28 hours - but it was also more than 20 miles because we kind of got lost. And stuck in two or three white-out blizzards. And had to sleep on a logging road in plastic tube tents for 2 or 3 hours until it got light enough to keep on hiking...), and I've biked 20 miles repeatedly. 20 miles is the distance from my house to my Mom's house, roughly. It's home to work and back. It's a nice round number without any "385 yards" tacked on to confuse you.

But still...could I actually run that far? In March the farthest I'd ever run was 10 kilometers, and that was when I was 14. But I read the plans - work up to a 10k in May, go from that in to the Marathon plan and ramp up to 20 miles on September 10th - and figured "yeah, I can do that."

And today I proved that yes, I can indeed. Now, granted, I didn't truly run 20 miles, I probably only ran about 18 because my pace is to run a mile, then walk for a minute or so and have a drink, then run another mile. This makes the whole thing more digestible: I'm not running 20 miles, I'm running one mile 20 times.

So, what's it like to run 20 miles? Well, here's a recap (roughly):

Saturday evening
7:00 eat a big wad of spaghetti and drink a 20-oz bottle of Lemon-Lime Gatorade (the original and still champion).

10:00 Go to bed early but don't fall asleep until 10:30 or 10:45.

Sunday morning:
5:30: get up, dress, eat one packet of Quaker Apples and Cinamon Instant Oatmeal and a banana - the breakfast of champions

6:15 or so: pack up (bottle belt, wallet, keys, phone, mini-cooler with 3 bottles of gatorade, 2 Clif bars and a second banana) and drive to the office (downtown Seattle)

6:30: park, go up to office, fill water bottles with 1) water and 2) Orange Gatorade, load pouch of belt with phone, ID, credit card, bus pass and one Clif bar.

6:45: final restroom break, Albuterol hit (I had asthma as a kid and the doctor suggested I use an inhaler before I ran...this was back in February or March when it was cold and I was just starting training, but I figure it worked then and it won't hurt now), and 2 ibuprophen to fend off minor aches and pains (better running through chemistry, I say)

7:00 hit the road. The route I took was this, a portion of the Seattle Marathon course. I ran a similar route two weeks ago when I did 18, but with a couple differences I'll outline below in the mile-by-mile recap.



Mile-by-mile recap:
  1. Mostly downhill on 2nd avenue through downtown Seattle. My left calf has been sore and tight all week, and today was no exception. Not enough to make me stop, just enough to be annoying.
  2. Mostly uphill from around Seahawks Stadium to Rainier Avenue South. The least pleasant leg of the run is now over, as the armies of homeless men in Pioneer Square are now behind me.
  3. Up through the I-90 bike tunnel under the Mt. Baker neighborhood and out the other side to a beautiful view of the sun over Lake Washington. It's now roughly 7:40.
  4. A little over half way across the I-90 floating bridge. It's approaching 8 on a Sunday morning and the bike dorks are starting to come out. I'm passed by 8 or 9 groups - mostly small, 2 or 3 - of spandex-clad Lance Armstrong wannabes.
  5. Up to the Mercer Island Lid and the first restroom break of the run. Also time to crack in to the Clif bar. I'm 1/4 of the way done and the legs feel pretty good.
  6. A half-mile loop on top of the Lid, then back down on to the bridge. More bike dorks go by, as does a never-ending river of cars.
  7. Back at the west end of the floating bridge. Time to walk down the stairs to the lake.
  8. Coleman Park, about half way between I-90 and the Stan Sayer's Pits (home of the SeaFair Hydroplane race). Second restroom break, top off the water bottle, add some water to the Gatorade bottle, eat some more Clif bar. When I ran 18 miles 2 weeks ago I turned around here, then ended up tacking on another mile or two at the end because I shorted myself...live and learn!
  9. Stan Sayer's Pits, the turn-around point for the southern leg of the route. Stretched out a bit, then headed back North. Lots of runners over the last 2 miles, including three pushing jogging strollers. Two of the stroller people were grouped together, the woman pushing a single kid, the man pushing two. I'm assuming they're together, and I'm impressed that anyone would try to go jogging with triplets.
  10. It's around 9:00, I'm half way done and back at Coleman park. I don't bother stopping, just drink a bit, eat a bit, and walk past. I'm feeling pretty good considering I've just covered 10 miles. But then, it's mostly been flat, and I know that the next 10 are more hilly.
  11. Continuing north past I-90 and up toward Leschi. Just as I hit mile 11 and stop to walk I'm passed by a massive peleton of bike dorks. Lake Washington Blvd. is a particular favorite of the bike dork breed, and these were parading by in true dork fashion: most in matching spandex outfits, riding 2 abreast and blocking traffic. Dorks.
  12. Up through Leschi to Madrona. This part of Lake Washington Blvd. isn't quite as peaceful and pleasant as the portion south of I-90...more people, more cars, more coffee shops.
  13. Mile 13 takes me past Curt Cobain's house (the one he shot himself in...or, if you believe some people, the house someone murdered him in), a bunch of other rich people's houses, then up some brutal switchbacks toward the Arboretum. I've ridden my bike up this hill before, and I dare say I think it's easier to run it. It still hurts, but in a different way.
  14. After the big hill it's relatively flat for a bit, then down hill in to the Arboretum. I'm now running on busy roads, which isn't all that pleasant. Actually, now that I think about it, the only not busy roads have been downtown (not a lot of people out at 7:00 on a Sunday morning) and south of I-90. Luckily, that's all about to change...
  15. Up Interlaken Avenue and in to Interlaken park. Interlaken is narrow, windy, and up hill. For the 18-mile run I took another street a block farther north that was straighter and less hilly...in fact, it ran down hill for about 2 miles. That was great, until I had to climb an incredibly steep hill to get back on the route...this week, I don't make the same mistake and am rewarded with a trip through a park I didn't know existed.
  16. Another mile and I'm out of Interlaken Park, which is a shame. This park basically winds across the north end of Capital Hill. I'm assuming that Interlaken Blvd. or Interlaken Avenue used to run through the whole park, but at some point they cut it off to vehicle traffic. It runs through a deciduous forest and across a couple nice ravines, and the trees drown out most of the noise of the city. I think I saw a grand total of six people over two miles.
  17. In to the home stretch. Mile 17 takes me parallel to I-5 until I get to the Lakeview Blvd. overpass. I ran this on the 18-miler, and it's not a lot of fun...slow grade, some traffic, not a lot of shade. My legs are tired, my feet hurt, and I want to be done. But I've got 3 miles to go.
  18. Down across I-5 to Eastlake, then a turn down Republican in to the "South Lake Union" neighborhood that Paul Allen is paying to spruce up. Another area that's not really running-friendly, but since it's Sunday morning (although it is getting later...probably 10:30 or 10:45) there isn't much traffic out which means I can run through a few lights. This is a very good thing, because the sore legs really don't like stopping. Walking is OK, but stopping is bad. And running in place isn't much better.
  19. Up through Beltown, heading back toward the office. I'm now chanting a mantra of how many miles I have left. The only problem is I know the GPS is going to cut out any moment as I get closer to down town...it doesn't like the tall buildings (or tunnels or trees either...my automatic 1-mile lap alarm reset from on the mile to on the mile-point-12 when I went through the I-90 bike tunnel between miles 2 and 3) and I'm sure I'm going to be short on distance if I go straight to the office. See, I didn't exactly follow the course outlined in Wayfaring, instead cutting up Bell. So I call an audible (kind of a grunt, probably) and decide to head up 4th to the Seattle Public Library, then loop back down to the office. This will give me a nice down hill cool-down, which sounds good since my legs and feet are dead.
  20. Done! The last mile is actually not completely bad. There are a lot of people down town, so I have to dodge them, but I make almost all the lights. The cool-down from the library back to the office works perfectly, and I'm actually able to stretch the pace for the last 2 or 3 blocks, or roughly the last 385 yards of today's run. Which is good, because I'd like to be able to finish strong in the marathon rather than wimpering and crawling across the finish line. We'll see if it happens!
11:30: Back at the office, drink another gatorade (fruit punch, I believe), eat a yoghurt and stretch. Then back to the car, drive home (drinking another gatorade and eating a banana on the way).

12:00: brief ice bath to cool and soothe the legs and feet, shower off the stink, then collapse on the couch to watch the Seahawks game on the DVR. Not as relaxing a game as I might have liked, but at least they won...

So, there you have it. Probably more info than you wanted, but it's good to get it out of my head!

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Running for a cause

So you know I'm running a marathon, right? I believe I mentioned something about that here... Well, I recently found out that I could combine the agony of 26 miles 385 yards of running with the joy of raising money for a good cause, the Oregon Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Why Make-A-Wish? Because the Arizona Make-A-Wish Foundation provided great opportunities to my nephew when he was fighting Hodgkin's Disease a few years ago. Where other kids with cancer ask to go to Disneyland or something, Robbie wanted to learn to fly a plane. And in spite of the fact that no one had ever asked for such a thing before, Make-A-Wish made it happen. He's now cancer-free, and he's still flying. Pretty cool thing. Oh, and they got him a tour of a local Air Force base so he could have this super-sweet picture taken, which is also a pretty cool thing.

My goal is to raise $2,000, which is a bit more than we raised for the MS Society last year. But then, last year I was riding a bike 30 miles through the woods for the 15th time...this year I'll be running 26 miles 385 yards through the streets of Portland for the first time (heck, before I started training the farthest I'd run was a 10k when I was 14 or so), and I think that's worth a little more of your hard earned cash.

To make it easier, you can give via credit card on line. All the donations will be processed via ActiveGiving's secure credit card processing services...you can visit the Active Network's Privacy Policy and User Agreement if you have any questions about whether they'll sell your info to anyone.

And speaking of passing it along, the more help the merrier, so please feel free to forward this on, post it in your blog, or otherwise get the word out.

Thanks in advance for your support!

Scott

Monday, August 28, 2006

Vietnamese police dispatch dildo-sniffing dogs to Chinese border

"Police and market inspectors Thursday confiscated the illegal shipment, which included more than 10,000 tablets of Viagra, sex toys and sexual stimulants in the form of tablets, powder and liquid hidden in a truckload of onions, the Laborer newspaper said."

And how could they have found them without the aforementioned dildo-sniffing dogs?

Chinese sex toys confiscated in Vietnam

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Monday, August 21, 2006

Thursday, August 17, 2006

My next car

It's little, it's electric, it goes 40 miles an hour. Which means it will get me to the park and ride! It's the ZAP Xebra Electric Vehicle and it's coming to a town near you.

Oh, and it comes in other colors than Xebra stripes, too...

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Thursday, August 10, 2006

A quick photo

Can't do the big "what I did on summer vacation" post yet (it's late and I'm sleepy...maybe tomorrow or Saturday), but here's a brief tidbit to get things started...

So, two nights ago we stayed at the "Crystal Springs Hot Springs and Water Park" in Honneyville, UT (just north of Bringham City...which is north of Ogden, which is north of Salt Lake City). And there, we found this little specimin:



Yes, that's a dragonfly. And yes, he's (she's? Don't know enough about dragonflies to know) dead. Where, you ask? On the floor of the men's room in the camp ground.

The reader board at the Crystal Springs Hot Springs and Water Park read "105 years old and still hot!" And, I might add, 105 years old and looking it.

The campground was great - grassy, trees, no heavy exterior lighting - but the "hot springs and water park" were, um, skeezy. The slide (there were two, but one was broken) was great - not too fast if you didn't use the foam mat, insanely fast if you did - but the pools were, shall we say, suspect. The main "swimming pool" apparently had broken or clogged skimmers, 'cause there was all kinds of junk floating in it. And they were all filled with natural spring-fed mineral water, whihc means one thing: cloudy. So you couldn't really see what it was you were stepping on on the bottom until you brought it up with your feet and found it was a koosh ball. Or the lid from a soda cup. Or something else you really wish you hadn't stepped on or looked at.

The hot pools were a bit better, but mainly because we weren't expecting them to be a swimming pool (we were spoled on pools by the Fort Collins Mariott's indoor-outdoor pool with the swim-under wall feature). The water was warm in the big one - maybe 90 or 92 - but insanely hot by the jet things - more like 120 or 130. The hottest of the pools overall was probably closer to 110 - hot, but not scalding.

You can get an idea of the cloudiness of the water in this picture from their own web site...

Anyhow, more on the trip when I get time...

Friday, July 28, 2006

Word of the day: Lactivist


Lactivist: a proponent of breast feeding.

According to this story on CNN's web site, "Babytalk" magazine is being bombarded with hate mail because they ran a this cover photo of a baby nursing. Shocking, I know.

For the record, I suppose I'm a lactivist. The wife nursed both kids until they were eating solids (our son for just about 2 years, the daughter a bit less since she took to food faster). She nursed wherever we went, very discreetly, and we only had one problem (an elderly usher in the old Kingdome who told her she'd have to move to the "family section"...this was AFTER the game was over, and there were about 10 people in the entire section. Ol' Eagle Eye spotted her nursing from the aisle and yelled up at us (we were probably 15 rows up), calling far more attention to the activity than if he'd just kept his pie hole shut).

But what strikes me about the CNN article is this quote:

"'I'm totally supportive of it -- I just don't like the flashing,' she said. 'I don't want my son or husband to accidentally see a breast they didn't want to see.'"


Mam, I think I speak for every straight male when I say there is just about NO breast we don't want to see. At least not of nursing age...

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Sorry, Steggy...

No more chants of "Steg-A-Saur-Us!" at Safeco Field, becuase the Mariners DH Carl Everett has been designated for assignment.

Why "Stegasaurus?" Well, because Carl doesn't believe the dinosaurs existed. So what better nickname? Besides, he's kind of spikey.

Sorry, Steggy...

No more chants of "Steg-A-Saur-Us!" at Safeco Field, becuase the Mariners DH Carl Everett has been designated for assignment.

Why "Stegasaurus?" Well, because Carl doesn't believe the dinosaurs existed. So what better nickname? Besides, he's kind of spikey.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

First trip to the Podiatrist

Haven't posted in forever, so here's a big 'un...

Yes, I'm clearly getting old, 'cause I had to go to the podiatrist today. No, he's not the one with the rubber glove and the KY, that comes after I'm 45, I think. He's the guy with the foot models and lots of shoes all over the office.

So the story goes something like this: Back when I was a kid I was prone to do stupid things like jump off monkey bars. One day, playing tag on said monkey bars, I violated rule number 1 of bar tag, "no touching the ground." Then I violated rule number 2, "don't get hurt." See, in a dodge to avoid being tagged I jumped backward off the bars and, to quote my current self (since I'm sure I didn't use such words at the tender age of 10 or whatever), "twisted the shit out of my ankle." Like to the point of requiring a cast.

So, fast forward about, oh, 25 years or so and it's 2000. I've had weak ankles on both sides pretty much since the Bar Tag Incident and, being a relatively smart and financially independent person, have purchased a pair of industrial-strength ankle braces to wear while playing softball. These are the good ones...steel ribbing, laces, they look like thoroughly unsexy ankle corsets. I'm playing a co-ed game and hit a weak line drive to the outfield. Being an idiot, I attempt to stretch a single in to a double, then decide to slide far too late.

The result? Well, as your basic physics text book will tell you, a body in motion will want to stay in motion. And, as a corolary, mass plus velocity equals pain. Especially when the lead foot hits the base, the cleat grabs the base, and the mass of the body continues to slide past the base, folding the ankle over.

Thanks to the ankle corset nothing broke, but I did have another case of "sprained the shit out of the ankle." No cast this time, but it never really healed completely. Or, rather, it did but was weaker than before.

Fast forward another 6 years and, as you are no doubt aware, I'm now in Marathon Training mode. As the milage increases I realize something interesting: when I run on the right side of the road my right ankle (the one that was hurt in 2000) starts to ache after a mile or two. If I run on the left side of the road it doesn't. It doesn't take a master's degree in rocket surgery to realize that the road is humped, and when I'm running on the right side the road is sloping down to the right, subtly rolling my ankle outward, the direction of the injury. On the left the ankle is rotated inward, which doesn't hurt. Naturally, I begin running exclusively on the left side of the road.

Unfortunately, while that plan is great for training, I can't guarantee that during the 26 miles 365 yards of the Portland Marathon I'll be able to exclusively run on the left. So I check with a friend who's also a runner, she says "you should get Orthotics", and voila I'm in the chair having my feet examined.

To the doctor's credit, he didn't say anything about all the gnarly calouses and excess skin on my feet. He did, however, say "yeah, you need orthotics, and it's going to cost you about $500." Swell.

He did, however, explain my new and previously mysterious foot pain! Ever since going to Cub Scout camp a couple weekends ago (after running 12 miles one Saturday morning I packed up the boy and headed off for 4 days in the woods with a bunch of 8 - 10 year-olds) I've been getting pain in my heels and along the outside of my foot. It's at its worst the day I run (especially on days I run before work, where I can't just sit on the couch with my feet up), and I noticed that the outside of the foot hurt if I tried to do things like open a drawer with my foot (what can I say, I don't like to bend over...). Well, as the good doctor explained, there's a big ol' tendon that runs from the heel up to the tarsal or metatarsal that keeps your foot in place, and I've been stretching it out. So it gets sore. Which means...I need orthotics.

Amazing how it all comes back to the $500 foot gear...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Another study I'm glad I wasn't a part of

Moms Prefer Smell of Their Own Baby's Poop

What kind of sick mind decided to study this one?

"In a new study, 13 mothers were asked to sniff soiled diapers belonging to both their own child and others from an unrelated baby. The women consistently ranked the smell of their own child's feces as less revolting than that of other babies.

This effect persisted even when the diapers were purposely mislabeled."

Apparently there are plenty of these studies going around:
"The finding is among the latest in a series of studies suggesting that humans can determine biological relatedness through body odor. Another recent study found that mothers more accurately identify and prefer the smell of their biological children over that of stepchildren."

That could explain the whole Cinderella thing, I suppose...

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Big Dig tunnel collapse

And Mayor Gridlock wants to replace the Alaska Way Viaduct with a "cut and cover" tunnels...why? Sure, it's probably a fluke, but really. I already spend most of each drive across the viaduct worrying about an earthquake dropping me 100 feet to street level (or sandwiching me between decks first, then dropping 40 feet to the street). I don't want to spend time thinking about bolts breaking and dumping 20 tons of concrete on my head.

Besides, the People's Waterfront Coalition has a pretty good vision of what things might look like if we blew up the viaduct and replaced it, not with a tunnel, but with a wide surface-level roadway similar to San Francisco's Embarcadero.

So where will the cars go? Well, if Mayor Gridlock hadn't killed the Monorail I'd say they could ride that. But he did, so that's out. My feeling is that people will adapt. After all, even if we build the cut-and-cover boondoggle tunnel there will be several years without either a Viaduct or a tunnel option, and I seriously doubt the city will grind to a halt. Sure, we'll bitch a lot, but we do that anyway. By replacing the Viaduct with a 6-lane surface street with well-timed lights and (hopefully) some pedestrian sky bridges we'll significantly cut down the amount of time the main artery is gone, as well as saving all the money that was going to be pumped in to digging the tunnel. That cash can then go to fixing the sea wall, creating parks and walking spaces, and generally making the waterfront something other than an orphaned tourist-trap.

Monday, July 10, 2006

GEEEEEEKS!

That's the only title I can think of. Who else would YouTube themselves solving the Rubik's Cube in 21.1 seconds?

Then again, who would blog said video? Clearly, I spoke too soon.


Saturday, July 08, 2006

Rocky Roll action and more Lego Dudes

First up, there is rocky roll action in White Center tonight courtesy of the most important rock band in the world. We're at the Pacific Rim brewery just off Roxbury on 14th. Show starts at 6-ish, there's no cover, and it's all ages. Rock on.

In other news, here's Logan's second directorial effort, a continuation of the Lego Dudes saga. No sharks this time, just more experimentation with the ol' stop-action animation. He did all the work this time, I just plugged it in to Adobe Premier Elements and created the movie.

Lego Dudes



Thursday, July 06, 2006

Flying the Manta Ray

Sweeet...."never soar higher than you are willing to fall."

Oh, it's got fill music, so turn down your volume...

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Apparently I'm Spiderman

I'd much rather be #2, Green Lantern:


You are Spider-Man
























Spider-Man
65%
Green Lantern
65%
The Flash
60%
Superman
60%
Hulk
60%
Iron Man
55%
Catwoman
50%
Supergirl
45%
Robin
40%
Wonder Woman
30%
Batman
30%
You are intelligent, witty,
a bit geeky and have great
power and responsibility.


Click here to take the "Which Superhero am I?" quiz...

Saturday, July 01, 2006

First two-digit day!

Ran 10 miles today, one more than last Saturday. And, not surprisingly, it was a bit easier than last week's. Part of that is that I got on the road relatively early (8:45...about an hour later than I'd planned, but hey, I wanted to sleep) so it wasn't too hot. Last week I didn't leave the house until just before 11, and by the time I got home at 12:30 or so it was about 78 degrees out side. Not that that's super hot, but when you're running the last 3 miles up hill it gets old.

Also finally got a decent shirt. Up to now I'd been wearing t-shirts, which are fine for the short distances but get really heavy and wet in the longer ones. So, at the urging of my friend Jaime (the triathlete...finished the Coer d' Alene triathlon last weekend in 13:12 or so) I went to Ross and found a "dry-fit" Nike shirt. Sure, it says "Basketball" on the front, and sure it's pretty much the same color as my shorts so I look like my Mom dressed me, but hey, it was $10 and it's great. Wicks the sweat like nobody's business, kept me cool, very nice. Now if I can only find one in white...

Anyhow, this coming week is a "step back" week, with 3 miles on Tuesday and Thursday, 5 again on Wednesday, and then only 7 on Saturday. Why, that will be a breeze!

Friday, June 30, 2006

Best. Headline. Ever.

Operation removes lightbulb from anus




And the key line in the article: "We had to take it out intact," said Dr. Farrukh Aftab at Nishtar Hospital. "Had it been broken inside, it would be a very very complicated situation."

Complicated indeed.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Rush vs ED...

Well, it appears that America's favorite wind bag is having a little deflation problem.

Man, first the Vioxx, then the Viagra...what V drugs are left? Vallium, I suppose, but that's so, oh, 70s.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Thursday, June 22, 2006

If only I'd seen this before Father's Day...



'cause every Dad needs a Stonehenge Watch. Just look at these features!
  • Pocket watch with chain
  • Scale replica of the major components of the 5,000 year-old megalithic monument
  • Analog watch on the reverse side of the watchcase
  • Includes: watch, chain, shadow casting gnomon, working compass and instructions


And, as importantly, shouldn't "Shadow Casting Gnomons" be the name of a band? Yes, yes it should.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Well, duh...

Thanks to a Rat study we now have further proof that eating dirt as a kid is a good idea. For Father's Day I'll take 'em out back and start them in on the mud pies.

Nominee for understatement of the week

From a story on CNN.com with the delightful headline "Severed head flies from truck in 'bizarre and tragic' collision":
"It was one of the more horrific and complex crime scenes on memory," Hightower said. "A woman and her child killed in a crash, and a severed head from an earlier homicide: It's nothing short of bizarre and tragic."

Thursday, June 15, 2006

From the "I may not know art, but I know what I like" school of thinking

Art gallery loses its head, displays plinth

"Plinth" being the thing that the sculpture stands on. Apparently the sculpture (a head) and the stand were separated and, according to a statement by the Royal Academy, "Given their separate submission, the two parts were judged independently. The head was rejected. The base was thought to have merit and accepted."

Man, that must have been once nice plinth. Or one really crappy head...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Yet another favorite web site

Google Idol. Unearthing the world's talent...so you don't have to.

As fun as the auditions for American Idol are, wouldn't it be better if the people were lip-synching to real singers' work on a web cam? Of course it would. Which is why Google Idol is so darn great. It almost makes me want to bust a move.

Almost.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Logan's directorial debut

So Logan Chicken, age 9, is now a director of film. I'll post more of his work at a later date, but here's his first forray in to the world of stop-motion animation. I served as technical consultant, camera man, and Lego-wrangler, although he handled the shark's exit (which, I hope you'll agree, is far more realistic than his lame entrance).

What I love possibly most of all is that the "Handless Guy" is smiling as he walks off. And now, without further ado, here it is:

Handless Guy (Because of shark)



My new favorite web site

Where can you see the Internet's finest lip synch stars? Google Idol, that's where.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Adding to the list...


The list of people I don't really want to see topless: Deputy Dawn Rene Roberson of the Garland County, Arkansas, sheriff's department. Apparently she was on several other peoples' list too, 'cause they called the authorities on her and now she's out of a job.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Proof?

So, I read the following quote in this story on Yahoo's news page today: " 'The man shouted 'God will save me, if he exists', lowered himself by a rope into the enclosure, took his shoes off and went up to the lions,' the official said. 'A lioness went straight for him, knocked him down and severed his carotid artery.' "

So, is that conclusive proof that God does not exist? I'd have to say no, it just proves that if God does exist she's perfectly willing to let people kill themselves. And I have no problem with that.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Run Recap

Just realized I'd forgotten to post a recap of the Over the Dam Run, or as the back of the shirt says, "The Best Run By A Dam Site."

Well, the words that pop to mind are hot, dry, painful, and fun. I survived. I was not the last person to cross the finish line. Nor was I the last man to cross the finish line. Nor was I lapped by any of the half-marathon runners (although it was close...the first of them came in about 15 minutes after me).

At the same time, I was not fleet of foot. I made about the time I expected (I think the official time was 1:14 or so). Could I have run faster? Possibly. But I didn't.

My results:
  • 95th overall (out of 116 10k runners)
  • 54th out of 58 men
  • Last (7th) in my age group (35 - 39)

Elements that acted against me that I will need to focus on in the future:
  1. Weather: I'm from Seattle. It's cool and damp most of the time, and I like that. The run was in Grand Coulee where it is warm and dry. The marathon is in Portland in September where it will likely be warm or hot and dry-ish. Fortunately, it will be hot and dry-ish this summer when I'm racking up the miles.
  2. Hills: the course had two fairly brutal hills. My training route doesn't. The Marathon has one killer hill at mile 17 and another one somewhere else. I need to start shifting my training route to work in more hills, clearly!
  3. Food: my normal running time is around 5 AM. I get up, drink some water, hit the Albuterol, get dressed and head out. I don't eat until I'm back and out of the shower. On race day I got up and dressed, ate, then drove for 2 hours to the race site. I then ate a banana and some "SportBeans" (which, I might add, are delicious) and drank more water. This, plus the sun and hills, led to some gastric distress and resulted in a pit stop at about mile 3.5. As the milage increases I'm going to have to figure out how to manage the energy level so I don't hit the wall too early (or at all). Any suggestions, anyone?

You go, Willie!

From Contactmusic.com:
"American singer WILLIE NELSON uses marijuana to judge the quality of the new melodies he writes. The 73-year-old has smoked cannabis for most of his adult life and is a campaigner to have the drug legalised. And he insists smoking joints helps rather than hinders his songwriting. He says, 'I figured if it wasn't worth remembering it probably wasn't a very good song, so that would be the test, to see if I remembered it (after smoking a joint and) got back to a guitar or a piano. 'That was usually a pretty good measuring stick, but I'm sure I forgot a few that might have been OK.'"

Friday, May 19, 2006

Headline of the week: BBC axes pole dancing

From our good friends at The Sun Online. Apparently they were going to do a "Pole Dancing With the Stars" show or something, then cut it when people complained. Sissies.

"Protect and Serve?" Apparently not in Baltimore...

Lots of punch lines to go with this one, but I'll go with the obvious: "here's why you don't stop to ask directions."

Couple Arrested For Asking For Directions

Thursday, May 18, 2006

And why is this relevant?

So in today's Seattle PI there's an article with this headline: Utility pays $8 million in fatal gas explosion. It tells the tale of Frances Schmitz, a 68-year-old woman from Bellevue whose house exploded due to corrosion of a gas line. She was horribly burned, died as a result, and the family sued. All well and good.

Then you get to the last line of the article: "Schmitz was the sister of Seattle strip-club magnate Frank Colacurcio Sr."

Why does that matter? Does it make her family less worthy of the settlement than if her brother had been, say, a Priest or Rabbi? Or does her brother's profiting from the baser natures of man make her a target for God's wrath via Puget Sound Energy? Or was it just a factoid the reporters had on hand and they figured they'd better put it in somewhere?

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Real Men of Genius

Well, real boys of genius, anyway...

Teen Says Friend Asked to Be Hit With Car

Man, I wish I had a tape of that little conversation...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Two pieces of running inspiration for the week

First up we have Jim Hicks from Spokane (I think...). I know I'm overweight...by standard BMI readings I'm so obese I shouldn't be able to get off the couch (apparently it's not normal for a guy who's 5'7 to weigh 225 or whatever I'm at right now). But then, the BMI doesn't account for "frame size" and I've got a big one. "Big Boned" as my sainted mother would say.

Anyhow, I've got nothing on Jim. He started out close to 600 pounds a few years ago, now he's down to 195 and does triathlons. He's running the half marathon distance in the Over the Dam run this Sunday.

Second we have Steven Bethune, a 24-year-old grad student at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. He's not 600 pounds. In fact, from the picture he looks like a runner. Which is good, since this summer he's going to run across the freaking country to raise money for the American Heart Association. He's trying to raise $50,000, which works out to what...$16.67 a mile or so? He's starting in New York on August 15th and will end up in California some time later. The "Itinerary" link on the site doesn't work, so we can't see the route, but the word is he's going to average about 40 miles a day which, assuming he takes no time off at all (which would be insane...) would put him in California some time in late October or early November.

I now no longer think that running a marathon in October is crazy, nor does it seem dauntingly impossible. But then, I haven't had to run more than 5.5 miles yet...

Score one for the Phillippines

Headline of the day: Penis reattached after maid cuts it off
"Earlier this month newspapers reported that the maid removed her employer's manhood when he tried to molest her in the middle of the night as his wife was sleeping. The maid is now in police custody."

I find the use of "molest" in this paragraph interesting...we almost always see "molest" in terms of children rather than adults, so wouldn't the word here be "rape?" Or does "rape" inherintly imply violence? According to Dictionary.com the definition of "molest" is this:

Molest transitive verb
1 : to annoy, disturb, or persecute esp. with hostile intent or injurious effect
2 : to make annoying sexual advances to; specifically : to force physical and usually sexual contact on (as a child)

Or perhaps the reasoning for the choice of "molest" is in the definition of "rape":

rape n.
1. The crime of forcing another person to submit to sex acts, especially sexual intercourse.
2. The act of seizing and carrying off by force; abduction.
3. Abusive or improper treatment; violation: a rape of justice.

Since this is a case in Saudi Arabia perhaps "molest" is the proper word, since there's probably no law against a man forcing himself on his maid.

If she's lucky she'll be deported and sent back home. If she's not, well, I don't think I want to know what the punishment is for disenmanhoodization.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Coincidence?

ResultsI think not...on the same day that Governor Gregoire selects the state quarter design with a salmon and Mt. Rainier (the top one), CNN reports that a giant fin is growing out of the crater of Mt. St. Helens.

Can anyone deny that the good mountain is expressing her displeasure at the Governor's (and on-line voter's) dissing of the Orca design (bottom one)?

Thursday, May 04, 2006

Headlines of the day

And they're both about people with problems I don't have:

Nicole Richie Trying to Gain Weight

Bill Gates wishes he weren't so rich

Things that will make you stop drinking, #173

Finding a "pickled corpse" at the bottom of your Rum barrel. And we're not talking about a rat or something, no, it's a 20-years-dead naked man.

Fortunately, according to those who drank the run, it had a "special taste"...

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Word of the day

Courtesy of the fine folk at the Urban Dictionary: Rail:

1. Rail
To fornicate with, without regard for emotional attachment.

I want to rail your sister, hard.
There are 18 other definitions (most involving drugs), but this is the only one that mentioned your sister.

From the people who brought you the Duct Tape Chemical Attack Safety Plan

Your friends at FEMA, or Homeland Security, or whatever Government Agency is in charge of the next major panic would like you to remain calm and review the safety instructions at PandemicFlu.gov.

There, you will learn that the Government's Pandemic Planning Assumptions are "based largely on the 1918 influenza epidemic"

You'll also learn that, for example, Washington State "will receive $1,990,994 from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to use for pandemic planning activities." Glad they didn't round that up to an even $1,991,000 for us... (find out what YOUR state is getting here)

Darwin at work: Soap Lake man selected out

There's no picture of the guy, but we can only assume he had a mullet...

From the Seattle PI:
Soap Lake man electrocuted while trying to reconnect power
SOAP LAKE, Wash. -- A man whose electrical service was cut off because of unpaid bills was electrocuted while trying to restore power to his isolated rural home, Grant County sheriff's deputies said.
Joseph M. Sims, 44, fell 20 feet to the ground and could not be revived after he was hit by 7,620 volts of electricity while using two large metal poles to try to reinstall a fuse in the line to the rental home about seven miles northeast of this central Washington town, deputies and Coroner Jerry D. Jasman said.
He made the attempt several hours after his residence was disconnected by the Grant County Public Utility District on Monday for nonpayment, sheriff's Deputy John Turley said.

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Cool product of the week

Yeah, I know that the headline makes it seem like I do a cool product every week. But still, the SawStop is a really cool product. If I a) had a bunch of money, b) had a shop, and c) still did any wood-working I'd buy this sucker in a heartbeat.

The "Hot Dog Demo" video (Windows Media or QuickTime) would have been more impressive if it was the guy's finger, but hey, it's still pretty darn cool.

Father of the year

I'm not sure exactly what is the worst thing about this picture. Is it the matching haircuts? Is it Dad's slightly evil look that leads me to believe he's eyeing a nubile young high-school cheerleader? Is it that Dad appears to be riding a BMX bike? Or is it the whole "taking the kid on a bike ride in a backpack with no helmet while talking on a cell phone" thing?

Holy Wally World, Batman!

Man, 4 hours in a school bus is rarely fun, but to spend those 4 hours on the bus only to learn that the Amusement Park is closed is, I'm guessing, even LESS fun. Wouldn't have wanted to be the teacher that broke THAT little piece of news!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I'm a little behind the times...

I didn't realize someone had developed a guide for those who do not want the Earth to be there anymore.

Thankfully, people who know this kind of thing are putting it on the web where we can all find it. Personally, I'm in favor of #4, "Meticulously and systematically deconstructed".

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

I won't be doing this October 1st

No Joggling for me. Nor anything approaching a 3 hour time.

Nor was I aware before reading this that there was such a thing as the "International Sport Juggling Federation. Not that you'll learn anything from their web site, but the pictures are nice.

The Saint Paul Saints strike again


Yet another genius give-away from America's favorite baseball team. 'cause nothing says "Hometown Giveaway" like "Make fun of the local NFL team's misadventures!"

Unfortunately, the boat doesn't come with a free pass for a lap dance.

And all this time I thought stretching was to KEEP you from getting hurt...

OK, I am officially middle-aged. I can no longer deny my middle-agedness. Why? Because my back went out.

Oh holy crap...

If I ever mocked you for your lower-back pain, I'm truly and deeply sorry.

Oh sweet Jesus make it stop...

So to set the stage, it's Tuesday. And Tuesday mornings I go running. Nothing huge, just 3 miles.

You hear that Elizabeth? I'm coming to join you!

Before I run, I stretch. The standard stuff...some hamstring hangs, calf stretches, a couple floor-based hamstring / buttock / inner thigh stretches. So I'm on the floor, doing that hammy stretch where your right foot is against your left thigh and you're reaching down to your left toe, and everything is going fine.

Goddamn I'm a woos...

And then it isn't. As far as I can tell, every single muscle in my lower back - and based on how it feels I'm guessing there are six million and seven of them - decided that it was time to contract. I believe in medical terms that's called a "spasm". In Scott Chicken terms it is called "Holy fuck that hurts!"

Hey, I think the massive dose of pain killers is finally starting to take effect...

So I ended up spending about 5 minutes on my hands and knees in the basement this morning, thinking "Gee, its 4:45 AM, no one's awake, and I can't move. This isn't good."

Oh yeah they are...

So I finally got to my feet without exploding, hobbled up stairs, ate a banana, and had some Oxycontin I had left over from last summer's gum surgery. And now I'm waiting for it to kick in, and the doctor's office to open so I can go get more and better drugs.

Hey look, birdies!


Then I'll spend the rest of the day trying to find a position to sit that doesn't hurt. Whee!

Please feel free to laugh and/or commiserate as you see fit!

Friday, April 14, 2006

The Federal Bureau of Unfortunate Names strikes again


From our friends at CNN.com, an article about how a FEMA / Homeland Security report on criticism of FEMA's Katrina response shows most of it was deserved: "'Much of the criticism is warranted,' Inspector General Richard L. Skinner writes."

I want no part of any investigation headed by Inspector General Dick Skinner, thank you very much!

Forget Bird Flu...

Look out for the freakin' Mumps!

Thursday, April 13, 2006

From Washington to Florida...



In Pasco the Mullet is the king of hair.

Even with $666,000 a year coming in, with hair like that you just ain't gonna pay no taxes.

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Ancient Book May Be Covered in Human Skin - Yahoo! News

The last book I heard of being bound in human skin was the Necronomicon in the great "Evil Dead" series. But I must say, after reading this paragraph I must say I'm disturbed:
"The practice, known as anthropodermic bibliopegy, was sometimes used in the 18th and 19th centuries when accounts of murder trials were bound in the killer's skin."

The question is, am I more bothered by the fact that this practice has a scientific name, or by the odd sence of justice found in binding the trial account in the executed murderer's skin?

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

"German gnome historians"



I had no idea Garden Gnomes were such a hot topic in Germany. First David Hasselhof, now Gnomes.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

Not sure what to think of this

I've never really needed a light show to look at a woman's chest...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Well, I suppose I'm committed

That or I should be committed. One of those.

I finally registered for the Portland Marathon. So now I'm about a hundred bucks poorer and I'm guaranteed a t-shirt and a bib. And a heaping helping of pain on October 1st. And 2nd. And, most likely, 3rd.

The one thing that worries me about the whole deal is not the two guys who died during the L.A. Marathon this year, 'cause they were old(er) and had probably eaten more donuts than me. No, it's the waiver I had to acknowledge having read when I registered. Here is the key first paragraph (the rest of it is a disclaimer for Active.com to get them off the hook if someone steals my credit card and buys a bunch of HDTVs)...I've highlighted the key points:
In consideration of your accepting this entry, I, the undersigned, intending to be legally bound, hereby, for myself, my family, my heirs, executers, and administrators, forever waive, release & discharge any and all rights & claims for damages & causes of suit or action known or unknown, that may have against The Portland Marathon, The Oregon Road Runners Club, The City of Portland, Multnomah County and all other political entities, the Portland Terminal RR Co., and it's owners, including PDC, Union Pacific, Southern Pacific & Burlington Northern Railroads, all independent contractors & construction firms working on or near the course, all Portland Marathon Race Committee persons, Officials & Volunteers, & all sporsors of the Marathon, & the related Marathon Events & their officers, directors, employees, agents & representatives, successors, & assigns, for any and all injuries that may be suffered by me in this event. I attest that I am physically fit, am aware of the dangers & precautions that must be taken when running in warm or cold conditions, & have sufficiently trained for the completion of this event. I also agree to abide by any decision of an appointed medical official relative to my ability to safely continue or complete the Run. I further assume and will pay my own medical & emergency expenses in the event of an accident, illness or other incapacity regardless of whether I have authorized such expenses. Further, I hereby grant full permission to The Portland Marathon and/or agents hereby authorized by them, to use any photographs, videotapes, motion pictures, recording, or any other record of this event for any legitimate purpose at any time. I further understand that there are no entry refunds, exchanges, transfers or rollovers, and that the event may be cancelled due to severe weather conditions, natural disasters, or threats to local and national security including suspected terrorist activity. I have read this waiver carefully & understand it.

OK...a couple of questions this brings to mind:
  1. The Railroad bit: how many miles of train track am I going to be running on? I don't recall that from the brochure.
  2. Weather: Man, this is a perfect legal disclaimer, isn't it? I mean, talk about covering your bases...it's October 1st in Portland. The average temperatures for Portland in October are 64 for a high and 44 for a low and a mean of 55. Granted, the extremes are pretty extreme - record high of 93 back in '87, and a record low of 33 back in '50, but I'm going to take my chances anyway.
  3. Terrorist strike: Wait, there are terrorist threats against Marathons? What the hell? What kind of terrorist group would plan to bring the U.S. to it's knees by attacking a group of idiots running 26.2 miles in Portland freaking Oregon? I mean, the Boston marathon I can understand, 'cause it's famous. And the New York marathon makes sense 'cause it's in New York and everyone knows the Al Quaeda has hated New York ever since Osama couldn't get a cab home from watching Cats back in the 80s. But Portland? I think not.
One good thing about the run is they allow you to customize your bib number. So naturally mine will say "SChicken" on it, along with my mighty bib number 550 (they limited it to 8 letters...what could I d0?)