Sunday, July 31, 2005

travelin' blues

i had a 7:35 flight out of oakland to boston, i figured that if i got to the airport by 6:40 i should be fine. seems reasonable, right?

grabbed the first bart train to oakland, arrived at coloseum station at about 6:30, hopped a cab to the airport, and had my bag checked and boarding pass in hand by 6:40 and was heading for the gate... HOLY fucking shit! the line for security was THREE TIMES as long as the terminal and moving slowly.

i have no idea what the whole massive cluster-fuck was about, maybe they forgot that a whole bunch of people who wanted to fly were going to show up that morning? i can see it now; "dude! where did all these people come from? what are we supposed to do? how was i supposed to know they were going to show up!?"

mix in not one, but two kids pitching world-class screaming tantrums and you have an all-around crappy way to start a saturday.

i only made my flight becuse security started pulling people out of the main line and routing them through an 'expedited' line; still slow, but just fast enough to get me to the gate right before they closed the doors.

cue screaming kids; the kind of loud, protracted shrieks that say 'i'm in this for the long haul'.

thank god for itunes, headphones, and laptops is all i have to say.

Sunday, July 24, 2005

lessons learned

it turns out that if you don't eat enough, ride in a bike race in very hot temperatures, don't drink enough water, and then drink a whole bunch of beer you get very drunk and wake up with a hangover.

this is your chance to learn from my mistakes.

Monday, July 18, 2005


thursday evening j., p., and i flew up to anchorage to run a race called 'crow pass crossing'. it's a point-to-point, unsupported trail race that includes one river crossing and covers about 24 miles from girdwood to eagle river. p.'s sister c. and her husband live in anchorage, and they'd offered to let us stay at there place while were were up there.

the plan was to get there thursday night; bum around anchorage on friday, go to the mandatory pre-race meeting friday night, race saturday, and then j. and i were going to catch the red-eye back to san francsico at 1:00 a.m. sunday.

p.'s brother a., who lives in the phillipines, had also flown in for the race, and p., c., and a.'s mom and her partner had flown in from austin as well, so it was a big family thing, and there was going to be a big bbq blow-out after the race.

we got into anchorage at about 10:30 p.m., and after some minor hassles with the car-rental folks were driving through the late-evening sunlight to c. and p.'s house, where we crashed almost immediately after introductions were made.

friday we had breakfast, then took off to run a bunch of errands and buy food for dinner. we'd been able to catch a glimpse of denali (about 120 miles away) the previous evening, but on friday the visibility was minimal and there was a strong smell of smoke. we learned that there was a fire across cook inlet, and the smoke was sitting in the valley with no wind to clear it out.

after the errands we went back to the house, did some prep for dinner, and drove to the u. of a. campus for the pre-race meeting.

the race was postponed for one week due to air-quality and visibility issues.


two hours after the meeting the smoke cleared out completely, and didn't put in appearance for the rest of our visit.

let me retiterate: argh.

the silver lining was that we got to go see c. sing that evening; she's a classically trained singer who's recently started singing jazz standards, and not even the crappy sound system or the mediocre band could hide the fact that she's a talented singer with a truly lovely voice.

we decided to go for a nice long run on saturday as a consolation prize, and after much consultation and poring over maps and phone calls we had a route. we set off saturday morning around 8:00 in perfect running weather; cloudy and cool with a bit of a breeze.

every thing was great until we got to the top of williwaw pass, where it got seriously cold and windy. since, like idiots, we hadn't bothered bringing layers or windreakers or anything sensible like that, things got pretty uncomfortable. add in a sky that looked like it was going to start dumping rain any second and you had a group of unhappy runners.

thngs got better as soon as we reached the valley floor though, and from there on the rest of the run was wonderful. j. headed back to the car after about 3 hours, and p. and i went on to climb the misleadingly-named 'near point' mountain before returning to to car.

we were out for around 4.5 hours, climbed 5000' and covered about 22 miles (my best guess for the distance based on time).

the bbq was wonderful; tons of food, interesting people, kids running around all over the place, tons of food, home-brewed beer, tons of food... you get the idea.

the flight back was a slog, as red-eyes are, and i was happy to get home, but i'm going back to anchorage next year for the race, check back then for an update.

on the climb up willwaw pass

looking back from the pass

looking towards the head of the valley

the route down the back side

one of the williwaw lakes

looking back up the valley with wolverine peak in the background.

Monday, July 11, 2005

sidewalk sale!

yesterday n. a., (my across-the-hall neighbor)and i, had a sidewalk sale. i needed to clear out a ton of stuff, so did n., and a. had a few things that she wanted to get rid of as well.

we set up around 10:30, just as the fog burned off and the sun came out, starting a day with the kind of weather that makes the mission famous (at least in san francisco).

things were REALLY slow to start; we broke out the beer at about 1:00 out of desperation, and be the time we were on our second one people finally started to trickle by. (i'd forgotten that breakfast happens around noon on sundays here).

because i'm not always so smart, i didn't take taking pictures of people who came by until late in the day and so missed some real gems, but here is a selection from what i got (with aplogies to vice).

the latino mom with a couple of little kids, totally standard outfit until you got to her feet, and then, pow!

glasses guy; his shades are just the best acid/lime green you can imagine

good-hair-girl: there were a bunch of girls rockin' this type of outfit over the course of the day, but she pulled it off better than any of them. the combination of the glasses, the attitude, and the black socks was a 'very good thingTM'.

n., a,. and terry. terry is a 54 year-old speed-freak who hung out with us for a bit. he talked so fast he was almost impossible to understand, and was very sweet, but fucking tragic. he seemd to have a pretty good sense of where he was; homeless, tweaked out of his mind, and not much going for him, but a genuinely good guy with a daughter who graduated from college this summer.

the dog: marked down from $5.00 and not feeling too hot about it.

sleeves girl: charcoal grey jeans, black t-shirt, black sleeves, the white glasses, all topped off with a german accent. she was like franka potente, but better 'cause she's real.

Monday, July 04, 2005

mt. whitney

yesterday some friends and i hiked to the top of mt. whitney, the highest point in the continental u.s.

just over 6000' of climbing, 22 miles roundtrip, maximum elevation of 14,497', 11.5 hours car-to-car (inluding 2 on the summit), it was a blast.

pictures are in order from lowest elevation to highest.

top o' the continental united states ma!