Archive for November, 2008

I’m a vocal celebrant of my half-birthday, so why not run a birthday half? For some reason, I like to sync long races according to when I was born.

Well, I’ll tell you why not.

It all started in June or July when I signed up to run the full Seattle Marathon. The weather was nice (always deceptive) and since I had run a marathon before, I thought this would be a great way to buckle down and get back in shape. I looked at the elevation map, and it didn’t look horrible. But after talking with some people about the course and going on a few ill-timed trips that ate up my weekends (no regrets, I just couldn’t complete my long runs), I decided to do the half marathon instead.

The morning arrived and I really wasn’t feeling it. November 30th is the tail-end of Thanksgiving weekend this year. I had a delicious dinner with the Texpats on Thursday, but the holidays still make people crazy and I’m not above the law. No one I spent time with did anything wrong, but a few looming scum clouds started closing in, as they tend to do around times we’re supposed to be celebrating and giving thanks. I was in a foul mood, and sometimes a good, long run is the perfect remedy.

And sometimes it just makes you angrier. I’m glad I did it because I said I was going to. Although it was inherently bittersweet because I started out telling everyone I was running the full race, there are some other logistical aspects of the Seattle Half that made me stabby:

Packet Pick-Up
After riding the escalator half-way into the clouds at the Expo Hall, I found the registration table and changed my bib to run in the half marathon. No problem there. Want your race packet with t-shirt, coupons, and other goodies? Back of the line. Two-hour wait. No exceptions. Forget it. I move once a year and just donated a giant garbage bag of race t-shirts. Fine. But it would have been nice to have the option.

Before the Race
What a clusterfuck! As I approached the chute behind the starting line, I found that it was not only packed, but all the spectator areas around it were packed… with other runners! They must not have made the chute long enough or wide enough because people were having trouble moving to where they were supposed to be. There were also some spectators that had gathered near the chute, making it even harder to move back. It seems like everyone wanted to be in front, right at the line. With over 14,000 people running the half-marathon alone, and the city of Seattle boasting one of the most educated populations in the country, I was at a loss for how this could be. Seeing that I couldn’t move, I had to hop over a barrier and begin my run about 10 minutes in. Mind you, it is logical to begin a big race long after the starting gun is fired. It’s okay because the chip you tied to your ankle doesn’t start timing until you cross the line. A few people who didn’t seem to know that panicked about being outside of the chute when the race started. *facepalm*

The Highway
After a brisk run through Downtown Seattle, I found myself on a highway. An uneven, slanted highway… for a long, long time. At one point, we entered an underpass where everyone felt the need to shout to hear their voice echo. Fan-tastic. Perhaps they would like to revisit this underpass after the race…

The Hills
There were about three miles of aesthetically pleasing scenery out of the 13-mile run, and around two of them were through the Seattle Arboretum. It was pretty hilly, which destroyed my shins. Oh wait, we’re back on a highway again!

The Elbows
People were throwing ’em! Seriously, I’m one of the angriest motherfuckers on the planet and even I won’t do this. I’ve never run a race where so many people have shoved past me, only to outpace me by a second or two. I was running with the 2:20 pace marker and finished with a time of 2:21 (thanks for looking, John). As I noted, the confusion at the beginning of the race was ridiculous and they should have spread the pace markers further apart. Still, there’s no need to be a jerk. The beginning of any race is a little hairy, but eventually it thins out. If you wait a second or two, a space large enough to run through will usually clear.

The End
Also a hot mess. After the finish line, I received a metal. I can’t drink that. I just ran 13 miles, so some water would be nice. Oh, that’s way over there, but first try this nasty berry blast sludge that’s supposed to have electrolytes or something. I’m glad the label covered the whole bottle so no one could see me throwing all but one sip of the drink in the trash. There wasn’t any entertainment or free food like the Pints to Pasta Run in Portland or almost every run in Austin, so I took off. I walked through Seattle Center (and conveniently said good-bye to it all) and through the rest of the city back to First Hill with my number still attached to my chest so everyone could see I was a runner and not a red-faced crazy person. Admittedly, the two are indistinguishable sometimes.

When I finally made it home, I took a long bath and enjoyed another dinner with the Texpats. All the people who called and texted to wish me a happy birthday are awesome!

Been gone awhile, celebrating Thanksgiving early in Sin City with my newly-legal little sis. Here’s a list of stuff we did:

Played craps 100 times
Hit the buffet and ate skrimps
Played cards at the Mirage
Got Dave Attell’s attention
Got a really tall hurricane in a purple cup
Ate mo’ skrimps
Met my little brother from another mother
Ate deerishus breakfast at Paris
Yelled at some bitches for killing my table
Saw the Cirque du Soleil Beatles Love show:

Took 100 self-portraits in the Love lobby:

Met drunken wheelchair Santa:

Saw the blown glass ceiling at the Bellagio:

Pretended we were in Italy at the Venetian:

Practiced piracy at Treasure Island:

(See? Claire has loot.)

True, the cars depicted are actually Hot Wheels brand, but Hot Wheels parent company Mattel acquired the rights to Matchbox in 1996, so they’re pretty much the same thing, and I can’t think of a cutesy title linking Hot Wheels to Christmas.

Yeah, it’s mostly pictures these days. If I’m not chained to a desk, I’m chained to a pretend-desk in my apartment, and if I’m not chained to either of those, I’m catching a glimpse of daytime and taking pictures of stuff.

I don’t like that the Christmas season (a.k.a. pressure-shopping time period) begins earlier every year, but I liked seeing this tree. Instead of a cookie-cutter plastic pine with a few variations on a common-themed ornament hanging on it, it’s a bunch of Matchbox cars, which were some of my favorite toys as a kid.

All the new ones are made of plastic now, but I had some really old ones made of metal. I’m not sure if they were my dad’s or not, but I played with them as far back as I can remember. There were four, each of them one solid color with little difference in detailing: red, orange, green, and blue. The blue one looked like my dad’s old Pontiac Lemans. Come to think of it, if you painted all those cars blue, they’d probably all look like my dad’s old Pontiac Lemans.

His car ran okay but it looked like it was born old. I think it was a 60s model. He extended the life of the muffler by reattaching it with a soup can. I could still hear him coming home from a mile away, so if I was doing anything bad, I had a few minutes to wrap it up before he caught me.

I had some newer plastic cars too and a mat with roads and buildings painted on it to run the cars on. I don’t remember if I had a specific story to it. I guess I didn’t need one. I had cars and a road. That was enough.

Actually, that would be enough now. Is it too late to get my Camaro back?

This week has been full of ’em. But I must address one glaring one here. Right here, on my site. A lack of proofreading on my part.

It’s making me mad. It’s making me mad because it has existed for over a week, and no one said anything and I didn’t notice. I don’t expect my three-person readership to catch all my mistakes, but I’m mad that I didn’t catch it. And I’m madder still that I can’t fix it until later tonight when I’m not behind an absurdly strong firewall. Well, maybe it’s not that absurd. But this new one keeps me from using FTP and the old one didn’t.

Oh well. I’ll fix it when I fix it. But I still hate making mistakes.

Addendum: I fixed it.

Miranda: What’s your favorite mixed drink here?

Bartender: Bourbon. Neat.

Another ostentatiously large, unnecessary item for my expanding list of wants (to be obtained when I’m rich and famous and have more money than sense).

As seen at the XXX Root Beer Drive-In:

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Coming soon!
Dear John letters: Tell him you’re not coming back like you mean it!
Ransom notes: Get the location and directions right the first time!
You’re Adopted notices: It beats an orphanage, you ungrateful little shit!

“My headphones… They saved my life.” -Bjork, Post

MY headphones, however, are making my life a living hell. I’m not talking about just one pair. I’m referring to the 800 pairs I’ve had to use in the last few months because every single set on the market today either breaks after a few weeks or won’t stay in my ears.

When I bought an iPod shuffle about a year ago, it came with headphones, like this. Life was good for awhile. In the past, I’ve found the standard iPod headphones to be perfectly fine for my purposes and I needn’t worry about getting new ones. Then they broke.

Since then, it has been a never-ending quest to find the right cross-section of quality and usability. At first, I tried going for inexpensive. The cheap ones are usually no-frills and have a shorter cord. Unfortunately, even if I get lucky and they fit into my ears (which are apparently extremely unique and shaped like no other pair of ears the world has ever seen), they still end up breaking after three weeks.

So, it looks like I have to pay a little more if I want something longer-lasting. Okay, fine. I have a job. I commute on foot and by bus to that job, and so do some of the most obnoxious people on the planet. Headphones are important, and after all this BS, I’m willing to pay just about anything for a good pair.

Unfortunately once again, no matter how much I’m willing to shell out, there is no such thing as a normal pair of headphones. There are a bunch of fancy ones (with the highest end being Shure) that have different-size attachments that you can choose to fit your ear, like this. But you have to shove them deep into your ear canal to get them to stay, and I have a big problem with shoving random objects into the orifaces of my body. Just ask my gynecologist.

Some of the slightly more expensive pairs may have decent earbuds, but the cables retract into some stupid case like this. There are also ones with volume control, ones that hook over your ears, ones that make you look like an air-traffic controller, and ones that tard you out proper, like this.

Another anti-feature of many “good” headphones is the likeness of a light headset, where one earbud cable is longer than the other, like this. I guess they think you’ll put the longer one over or behind your head, because as we all know, everyone’s head is exactly the same size. How friggin’ ghey is that?? How am I supposed to run or even walk anywhere with these stupid pieces of crap flying around?

As an aside, I found out this morning that the nice headphones I bought yesterday were “over the head” and pretty much the opposite of everything I was looking for. I ended up using my G1 during my run this morning, which has the same type of headphones I despise, but at least has the new CLP mix from Joe in it. Oh wait, no, it has 8 seconds of the CLP mix from Joe in it. So I ended up futzing around with my damn headset for an hour while listening to a Radio One Essential Mix from Adam Freeland, who is like the Earth, Wind, and Fire of techno. (Good stuff, but you know… safe.)

Because of the asymmetry of the headset, I couldn’t get it to stay in any configuration, and it kept banging against my left tit for the duration of my run. I’m should invent a new epidemic involving chafing of the tit and sue T-Mobile for my pain and suffering.

Or I could just continue my search, and as a last resort, I could buy the original iPod headphones for $29, which I know I like. Because I haven’t bent over enough lately. Goddammitall.