Monday, December 24, 2007

Mark Twain, Kurt Vonnegut

A few days ago the ghost of Mark Twain (or Kurt Vonnegut, or maybe an actual living person that just looks exactly like them) came into the store and repeatedly yelled "You can't tell me what to do you f---ing son of a b----!" while calmly taking a lap around the store, and then he showed himself the exit. It reminds me of the time the guy in the neon blue unitard came to church and yelled, "I am a vegetarian," proceeded to spell the word "vegetarian," and left, but then remembered he'd forgotten his invisible hat and came back to get it.

Hopefully I'm laughing at the funny actions and not at the person with mental problems themselves. My non-crazy friends came into the chicken fast-food place where I worked as a teenager and took their shirts off to see if they could still get service because there was no "No shirt, no shoes, no service" sign, and I laughed then, and when my buddy told me about how he dressed up in a Sasquatch suit and terrorized the local Taco Bell, I laughed at that too.

Speaking of hats, I bought myself this hat as a Christmas gift, along with a Loretta Lynn greatest hits CD. I don't know why I think really old country music is good, and all new country music is bad, but I do. Maybe I think that because it's true. Or maybe I just like Johnny Cash and I over-reacted to my recent enjoyment of Coal Miner's Daughter. We'll find out.

Merry Christmas. I'm going to run from the Embarcadero to the top of Mt. Tamalpais and back.

P.S. Speaking of vegetarians, I'm sorta vegetarian now. Mostly because I hate cows. With 12,000 miles of backpacking under my belt, they've shat in my water one too many times. Plus there's that whole efficiency thing. I'm also considering making a joke about how I went "cold turkey" by having the last meat I ate be cold turkey Thanksgiving leftovers. Mmmmm, those were good.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Knockin' Boots

Yesterday I went to REI to try on a pair of boots. Knowing how much I hike, maybe you'd think I already own lots of pairs of boots. Not so. I hate boots. Boots are for sucks. Boots are almost as lame as shaving regularly. Seriously, who would want to lift an extra three pounds with every single step for thousands of miles, and get blisters while doing it? Not that my trail-runners are always blister-proof, but wearing big-ol boots when you've got blisters is worse than wearing lightweight sneakers with blisters. I also hate the looks that I get when I tell shoe salespeople that I deliberately wear my running shoes a size or size and a half too big. This is actually pretty common amongst thru-hikers, but I've even had one salesmen try and bring me euro and women's sized boots to try and trick me into wearing something he thought actually fit me. I admit this would probably be a bad idea if I ever wore boots, but for sneakers it seems to give your foot plenty of room to expand with the relentless pounding.

Oh, and by the way, I attended the best high school in the country. Take that, Stuyvesent!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Getting Left Shoes

I finally got a job. I'm working at a gear shop called Any Mountain. In winter it's 90% ski and snowboard stuff, it doesn't have much local flavor because it's owned by a huge company that has 170 stores under 40 names and is majority owned by Vail Resorts, and until today there hasn't been any snow in the Sierras, so business has been very slow. The company is kind of cool because they've bought enough wind energy credits to power the whole business, and they have programs to encourage donations to Big City Mountaineers. Anyway, I mostly just float around the store, get left shoes from the back for people, and occasionally help people with camping gear. Whatever. I didn't like it at first, but I seem to hate it less and less every day (I've worked four days now), so we'll see. Sorry, no funny stories about crazy people yet.

I went to a free advanced screening of the movie Juno. The soundtrack rocked, and the movie was absolutely hilarious (what movie with Michael and George Michael from Arrested Development, Dwight from The Office, and a 90+ on Rotten Tomatoes could be anything but great?) but I think it was pretty hard to meet my super-high expectations. I also thought it was a little weird that Juno and her friends maintained their same witty sorta vicious sarcasm when they found out she was pregnant. The tone changed in the second half of the movie, but the first half was oddly too funny given the circumstances. That said, still great.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

California International Marathon

I ran my ninth marathon (not including ultras), the California International Marathon in 3:57 today. I was really pleased with the course. Optimal weather (50ish degrees and chilly if you weren't running), no significant hills, just rolling tiny ones you don't even notice, reasonably pretty suburban Folsom and downtown Sacramento course, decent fan support, a big running crowd, but not so many that you get trampled/slowed down at the start, and pros running every five minute pace (3:45, 3:50, 3:55 total finishing time, etc.) with a sign making it easy to follow them and know how you're doing. The only reasons it's not perfect is that aid stations should be synced with mile markers so you have to think about even less during the race, and it's a little confusing when the porta-potties are parallel to and facing the starting corrals, because then the lines for the bathroom cross the starting area.

I'm happy with the 3:57. I felt really good, not winded or sore and only had a little foot pain, probably since I haven't been running on asphalt much lately. It's better than I expected given the fact that I went running maybe five times as training. Of course I'm still in shape from the trail, so I knew I'd have the endurance, but probably not any speed.

Good course, but it's no St. George.