Sunday, November 28, 1999

Quadruple Dipsea: "I Got Woods, Babe"

I found myself with my lovely girlfriend at the Muir Woods Aids Station this past Saturday morning. It was as if I dreamt I woke up in Manila in a tub full of ice, holding a note that said "call 911". But I still had my kidneys. I was a volunteer.

Yes, I had departed my usual haunts in the roiling glittery mecca of sin and decadence of Los Angeles, known affectionately as "The Great Satan", and made his annual penetration to the Dark Heart of Northern California Ultrarunning. I was prepared. I had brought my 'Barney' hand-puppet, complete with bib number 69 from a previous Quad Dipsea.

Slowly our team assembled. Suzanne Williams, the Aid Station Sumprema bent us to our tasks. Ms Leslie Sowle, Professor Liz Boyd, Suzanne Williams, and Yrs Truly, Mr Trail Safety. Mo Bartley, erstwhile Goddess of Cool had other plans, presumably involving rotation of air in tires, and was unable to join us. We were a fine blend of wizened experience and fresh, raw talent.

Ms Kerry was our ultra-neophyte. She had spoken to the Tropical Himself and he had assigned her to us. He has a dark sense of humour. So does Tropical. She was going to get a real fine education. Something about fragile eggshell minds.

The early morning was still. The thundering herd had just left Mill Valley. They would be upon us shortly. Oh yes, the runners. They arrived in lemming bursts.Barney greeted them, some by name, others in a manner that was comic. At least to Barney. Something about a purple fuzzy hand-puppet reading the Miranda to folks is amusing. At least the National Park Service policeman thought so. He declined to stay after viewing the permit.

Once the crowds subsided, I requested permission to reconnoiter the course. Permission was swiftly granted as they looked forward to a quiet mid-morning. Barney was given his Grade-B Laudanum tincture, and retired to the trunk of the car. And thus, Mr Trail Safety rode the snake to the sea.

It was Volunteer VisionKwest® like none other. I passed thru Cardiac like a Hot Powerbar thru a goat. I was passed by several, including Mr Casino Bingo. I labored to stay with him, but he dropped me like a cheap coat. He kept his visions to himself.

At Stinson Beach the estimable Kap'n Kirk held things in fine array there. His sigmoidascopal placebo-placeholder was in easy reach, and found few takers. Something about that hickory handle is daunting. Nobody stayed long, there were no homesteaders in the chairs.

An ancient tune played over the gathering, one from a century long gone, and had this haunting refrain: "And I, am comfortablie numbe". I remembered this from ancient plainsong, as a work by Pinke Floyde.

Taking my leave of these magnificent Volunteers Like None Other, I made my way back to my post, returning whence I came. I passed many doe-eyed eco-femmes of Marin County, hungry for the knowledge that their free-range lives satisfied not. It was grist for future bandwidth. Come on down Zuma Beach, I'll make you the world's biggest star.

Oh yes. Upon my return there were swarms of happy faces that were eager and champing at the bit to run up the last hill, so they could lean forward and run down the last steps as fast as possible. I kid thee not.

As the day closed, Could I hear the cheery pop-pop-pop as the sweeps shot the stragglers in the lingering autumnal twilight? Of course not! That was at the High-Voltage 100-Mile Perimeter. Volunteers made the difference there too, but that was another day, another dollar pancake. It was all part of this majestic tapestry of helping hands that make this sport what it is. Gosh.

bone regards, Mr Trail Safety

Monday, October 18, 1999

Divine Madness, Love Lost and Other Passions

(4/09) further reading on Divine Madness running cult :

This Women's Sport and Fitness article on Divine Madness and a reporter's infatuation has really gotten a head of steam up. I read it with considerable interest, and located the following pressure points:


  • a sense of longing and lack of fulfillment on the part of the reporter
  • observations of a group dynamic that are manipulative
  • he curiosity of the reporter about how to do better
  • some editorial tweaking to pump up the text for the non-ultra readership [which is infinity minus 8,000, give or take].


For those who've seen Yo Tizer in action at Leadville and are willing to remember, it's memorable. Watching the "Yo Ladies" circle while he's having his feet rubbed and blocking traffic at Twin Lakes gave a lot of crews the burn. Never mind that their runners were on their way out or back.

If you missed that, the Awards in '97 were instructive, and over the top in '98. You missed a real treat.

Keeping all this in mind while reading the article was a useful grounding device. It looked like the same crew to me.

The larger themes outlined two years ago are still in place. Constant motion, caloric restriction, intellectual constraints. All of this would be meaningless if the dynamic wasn't giving something to the participants. Ponder that for a spell. Why? THE TECHNIQUES WORK.

And what about the reporter? I'll bet dollars to donuts that everyone of you out there has at one time followed an inescapably attractive man/woman into a place you never thought you'd go. We got to read about his, and he or she may not be the better for it.

For those who have not been in bad marriages, perhaps the cult dynamic was a little too intense. Maybe for those out there in bad marriages the same could apply.

Obsession? Really? Never woulda guessed that one either. Sometimes it takes a really good metaphorical whack up the side of the head to figure out you don't have a life, and that is the root of obssesion.

Well, gotta roll. See you on the flip side.

--As ever, Mr Trail Safety

Tuesday, September 14, 1999

Mr Trail Safety's Kare-Bear Ultras

In response to rising concern about the Safety Factor In Ultras®™,
Mr Trail Safety is happy to announce the creation of Kare-Bear Ultras.

Is this Evolution or Kreationism? Ponder that warm fuzzy thought while we happily spool thru the following features:

THE RACE COURSES:

* HO-Scaled 50k, 50Mile, 100k and 100-mile courses.
This HO scale is not what tourists go to Bangkok or Vegas for,
but we'll make adjustments *just* for you. Because you are *special*

THE COURSES WILL ALL BE:

* Gently Rolling
* Carpeted in PGA Spec-Compliant Turf
* Tree Shaded by Genuine Virgin Old Growth Brazilian Mahogany
* Moonlit as Necessary
* Marked with Glow Sticks and Really Kute Animated Animated Trolls that
grunt and point.

THE AID STATIONS WILL STOCK:

* Oversize Milkshakes in vanilla only
* Yummy Mommy-safe Power Pudding
* Tip-proof 80oz Sippie-Kups
* NoFat Irradiated Devilled Eggs
* Free-Range Not-too-Spicy KimChee
* Reclining Ergonomic Wide-Butt Lay-Zee-Boy Doubble-Wide Recliners
* Keepsake gingham pillows to nappy-nap on

THE VOLUNTEERS ARE:

* Certified Past-Life Regression Cat Therapists
* Sincere Concerned Trained Valet Parking Scratch-Free Experts
* Highly Trained Bladder Fillers and Emptiers
* Cordon-Bleu Sous-Chefs at every other Aid Station
* Svelte Doe-Eyed Eco-Femmes From the exotic Bang Slap Prang Archipelago
for all you UltraDewds out there

THE WEATHER WILL BE:

* Exempt from laws of Gawd®, Man, State & Local Ordinance & Kustom
* Pretty Much the Way You Want It

YOUR EXPERIENCE WILL BE:

* Adventure, or Adventure Lite
* Your Soundtrack will be available on CD exactly when you finish, FREEEEEEEE!
* You innermost dialogues with whichever Gawd You Choose
will be recorded on Hi-8 video

YOUR AWARDS WILL BE

* The best gol-danged awards any ultra-boy or -girl could ever hope for!

YOUR ENTRY FEES WILL BE:

* Comped by kind-hearted elderly philanthropists in a distant city.
They made their fortunes in Land Mines and Nerve Gas. Now they're having
Second Thoughts as Death approaches, and need a really good tax write-off.

Wishing all of you the best in responsibility-free Adventure-Lite ultrarunning,

bone regards,

Mr Trail Safety

Tuesday, September 07, 1999

Wasatch 98: Nostalgia, or Brain Death???


I, the Apprentice.
Wasatch 100, 1998 Finish Line, somewhere outside of Heber City UT
Hey, there's only 9 hrs difference between Brandon and me. And he was profoundly grateful. He'd paced me at Leadville in '97--25 miles of hilarious discourse on poisonous mushrooms, Copper Cyn, lizards, and then some ultra what-all. I was running so he wouldn't stall out from the granny-gear workout.

For all of you lucky guys and gals doing Wasatch this weekend. This is when it was easier. Sort of. Or maybe brain-death masquerading as nostalgia, which ain't what it used to be.



Looking For Kitty: Free-Range Organic Wasatch Bandwidth


We were all Looking For Kitty. This Kitty, and we the fortunate few. Over the course of time, space and electrolytic conversion; private ambitions were molded like sticky Powerbars into public objects. Sometimes art is not pretty.

I joined the Limbo Line with 250+ other supplicants. By race end, there were 14 Crimson Cheetahs, sub-24 Hour Gods all. And then there were the rest.

With my 28:14 finish, all I got were whiffs of Kitty farts. That trail was cold. But I cannot complain. Six years ago, my race ended in a 33:21 finish. I went home a happy, battered and fried Badger.

We'll start with some Basic Facts. One was that my projected times for miles 51-100 were accurate the way PENTHOUSE "Letters to the Editor" are; ie wildly optimistic. My awesome crew, Ms Leslie Sowle; and '97 Crimson Cheetah Bruce Hoff helped enormously. People like this who give up a weekend to watch and wait on your fortune and well-being are few and far between. Cherish them. Otherwise, the dings and dents on my particulars were placed there by myself alone. Gawd®™ was occupied elsewhere.

Of course we landed in SLC [ad infinitum], and went through all the particular pre-race motions etc. Saw a whole bunch of Happy Faces. When it was over I realized that next time I'll be flat on my back in a motel room channel-surfing and eating take-out. Doesn't roil my chi as much, and saves the spunk for the Main Event.

Mile 9: HEY, IT'S COLD ON TOP!

Surprise. At 9 miles, My nipples were pretty gosh-darn perky. Was it gonna rain? Yes, later. Did the sun come out? Yes. Were there people having way too much fun and going out too fast? Of course, The Wasatch is Epic Ridgerunning with forays into canyons to stall complacency. The entire course is littered with complacent expectations.

Vistas were saturated with detail. From a 40-mile viewpoint, the thunderheads bearing down on Swallow Ridge were *real* impressive. Made me real glad I wasn't going to be standing in a lawn-tent when the rain came in horizontally on 50mph wind-gusts. Having just passed through that several hours earlier, I was grateful for small favors.

Then you could be on a ridge overlooking Park City and wondering if it was true that "California Girls" are really made in Utah and reassembled in Hollywood.

Mile 65: LET THE GOOD TIMES ROLL?

Picture an alpine lake, a dramatic backdrop of astonishing peaks and tree-covered slopes. Picture a campfire burning warm and bright in the black night. See that comfy folding chair by the fire. Now picture yourself curling up and going to sleep on the coals....Kids, don't try this at home. The cheap fun quit about 15 miles ago. Things are looking serious.

Mile 73: ARE WE HAVING FUN YET?

What a question to ask at 74 miles. Those nano-necrotic sleep episodes going up Catherine Pass are hummers. Especially after sojourning briefly in Molly's, where the full panoply and pathos of Ultrarunning As We Know It®™ was on full display. Sensaround Nausea. Animated Corpses. Living Wills in Action. An organ donor convention. These are the good old days, and nostalgia ain't what it used to be. Your pacer reminds you why you're there. You remember...nothing. And out you go.

Mile 87: IT'S WORSE IN THE DARK

By the time I got here, the Hunters of Cheetah were well within striking distance of the finish, a long ways further on. It is sobering, if your brain had the BTU to process it.

When you were a child, demons lived under the bed. Well, you're an Adult now, and demons are everywhere. In this warped fractal of your perception, they slither out of reach of your flashlight beam. Your ears are telling you things you'd just as soon not hear. Stimuli is amped, clamped...whatever. Now the trail is narrower than when you ran it by day. Huh? Are we level or climbing? If I can't put my hand on it, then we're level. My form sucks in the dark, and this comic suffering takes longer. The shuffle is fixed. At least I'm not airborne, spitting out teeth like white-beans.

Mile 93: SAY WHAT?

The fun is not quite yet complete. Climb the wall for 1/2 mile, then a 5-1/2-mile drop down the dirt road, then a 2-mile blacktop spin.

Let's see if you remember anything from track workouts. You wished you were a marathoner, or at least played one in a runnning catalog. Shit-howdy! Those legs do expand, and the pace is quickened. You are a glowing red dot on the grid, and using telemetry you find your way to the finish line. Now I am a Legend In My Own Mind, which is not the one I started with. It's As Through A Glass, Dorkly, and the reception is bad.

Mile 100: THE POST-RACE APOCALYPSE

The Awards ceremony at Wasatch is a simultaneous hoot and cunning exercise in group psychology. Against all the rules, they call the winners first. Then reading off down the list until the 29:55 finishers. Most of you know what's next...HALF-TIME, which means the Induction into the Order of the Crimson Cheetah.

Without belaboring you, Gentle Reader with Arcane and Esoteric Details of Ritual, a brief instant will suffice. Our 14 Cheetahs* are in line before the crowd. The Crowns of Achievement are on their heads. The Inductor has read the Ritual Text announcing and extolling the latest crop of Inductees, symbollically smiting them with a Sacred Staff as he recites Liturgy.

He pauses. He then bades them to...KNEEL! And they do. The crowd laughs, and it is the laughter of peers, not hero-worshippers. In that moment all burdens vanish. The experience is fixed into the mind, and is not forgotten.

bone regards, Mr Trail Safety

*June 2013: This august selection of seventeen were headed by the first man (Karl Meltzer) and the only woman (Ann Trason). The visible lack of fawning an gooberage brought the broadest of smiles to Ann's face, which made this event enjoyable, instead of an obligation.

Thursday, August 19, 1999

Trail Runner: The Big Movie

A long time back, a nameless person suggested:

To make trail running really popular, it needs to be on tv. Or the subject of a box office smash. Then you'll have all sorts of folks out on the trail.

So, to humor the humorless...here's TRAIL-RUNNER: THE MOVIE!

*See gelatinous Hollywood club-rats act out some of your favorite trail-running scenes, and lip-sync lame dialog at low elevation!

*See Hollywood actresses with suspiciously large breasts fumble for their water-bottles and flashlights in the day-for-night shots!

*Hear the hit ballad "Your Love Is Like a Powerbar" as sung by Celine Dion, Britney Spears, Puff Daddy and the Teletubbies!

*Look for the 96-can Limited Edition Pepsi Cans of your favorite TRAIL-RUNNER stars in the BurgerSwamps near You!

*Watch and wait as MILLIONS OF AMERICANS just like you decide that they would rather eat a pine cone and bark at the moon instead of running a step.

*Gloat at your inevitable Darwinian superiority.

See, you really can have it all.

bone regards, Mr Trail Safety

Friday, July 23, 1999

12 Advice Nuggets for Ultra-Newbies & Others

This could be you. Have a nice day.

I originally posted this in 1999 or so. It has a long shelf-life and the mouth-feel is still wonderful.

Recently there have been a spate of anguished "drops" from the UltraList regarding content, tone, and suitability of the message, if not the messenger. Inasmuch as the majority of these messages appear to be from relative newcomers to the sport, or the List, some clarifications are necessary.

I want to thank Suzi Shearer and Laurie Staton for their historical reviews of basic Ultra Facts, such as "Grand Slam" info and other epistolary nuggets they kindly shared out amongst all of us. Be glad they paid attention to your requests...they are wonderful people with busy lives of their own.

Also: The List is not a 7-11 One-Stop Info-Dump Carry-Out designed to get Newbies thru "Baby's First Ultra". It is a bulletin board. Most of the posts are superfluous and meaningless. Some are even pretty funny, intentional or not. Like it or not, they will get you a feel of what the sport can be about. You'll get your "mountain money's" worth.

Remember also that this sport is much more a sport of giving than taking. Look who's giving and look who's taking. See what sort of debris trail forms behind either 'modality'. Draw your own conclusions.

Now, I will make this as easy to comprehend as possible.

"Put the kiddies to bed...PG time is over"
--Tupac Shakur speaking on "Sons of the P", by Digital Underground

1] Your first year in ultras is the worst possible standard to judge your competence and capabilities. The next worse year is your second, and so on.

2] This information is not tailored to your preconceived notions.
If this is what you truly want, go to an amusement park.

3] Comfort is proportional to your experience.

4] Your ability to separate wheat from chaff is proportional to your experience.

5] You are solely responsible for your own actions.
This means if you eat yellow snow or acquire dubious coaching advice, it is your problem. Admit you made a mistake and move up the food chain. Leave the offending problem in your wake, and perhaps warn oncoming traffic.

6] Behave like an idiot, and time is always against you.
Ultras are not sports of this race, this season or even this year. This is a sport of meta-cycles, and this means delayed reaction times with consequences not visible for years. Try it, you'll like it.

7] Don't make your problem my problem.

8] Instant feedback does not mean instant wisdom.
Not too long ago, ultra advice had to be acquired in analog 4D time & space. Information was slow, but it still out paced the body's capacity to process that information. Now an entire spectrum of advice and information is available at your fingertips...but the time to process that is still gloriously primitive.

9] Sports Highlights and You.
We live in a sports highlight world, 24/7. You can see a blizzard of sports/entertainment/etc. figures as perpetual highlights. The camera is never there when they are resting/injured/reconsidering their options/pondering medical procedures as a result of over training/over-racing. The camera also does not dwell lovingly on whether or not that person is a complete one-dimensional zero as a result of their fixations.

10] Instant recognition does not constitute Instant Mastery.
When I ran my first ultra [Baldy Peaks 50k, '89...thank you John Davis] I eagerly looked up my name in UltraRunning. I saw it, a full 9pts tall. No fanfares of trumpets, no phones ringing off the hook. Some of you should be so lucky. I got to labor in obscurity for years, and make some spectacular mistakes entirely on my own.

11] Pogey Bait.
Don't know the meaning of this phrase? Now's a good time to look it up. If you are being coached, or are considering being coached by someone who promises ribbons, trinkets and gee-gaws as the sole affirmation of the experience, you might do well to reconsider. What's in it for you...and them?

12] Fun.
Is this sport turning into a full-time job? Get out before you burn out. Rust may never sleep, but Neil Young doesn't know shit about the miracles of an extended sabbatical.

Remember one thing, although I am certain that 99% of the readership will forget: Running ultras is ultimately about the "freedom of the hills", the ability to move through the land for 25, 40, 100, 200mi at a pop, and enjoy the experience.

Tuesday, June 08, 1999

KM100: As Thru The Eyes Of A Childe


Note: Some of the original recipients made some suggestions and I felt that the UltraList in All It's Glory might benefit. Then again, maybe not. This is a Full-Spectrum Data Dump, so plan accordingly.

PROLOGUE

Yes. The title is a come-on and a cheap shill.

For this is really the story of one Andy Roth, who in the shape and form of VisionKwest Seeker "Casino Bingo", came to terms with Truth, Adventure, Manliness and Blood-Suckin' Freaks of Nature known as mosquitos. The wise man wonders why mosquitos don't pick on large and immobile pumpkins or zucchinis. That will be answered later.

THE STANDARD NARRATIVE

The Normal Ultra-Narrative commences here with the following incantations:

When I arrived at [race] I met [folks]. I ate the big pasta dinner at [locale]. I got up the next morning and took a good long [euphemism].

The race began. Things were looking pretty good. My splits were pretty near the [lotto numbers] I had planned. At about mile [tbd] I began to [barf/blister/heat/chill].

When I got to Aid Station [tbd] things got [better/worse]. That is when I decided to [drop/go on].

I crossed the finish line [running/walking/in the back of an ambulance].

In conclusion the race was [wonderful/hideous] and all the volunteers were [fabulous/unindicted war criminals].

AN EXPERT ADDS:
>"Despite my torn achilles and partial kidney failure I managed to get the old [lithic manroot] up long enough to [vigorously sport myself] my girl's brains out."

Next year I plan on [running it again/wrapping my legs around a bar stool].

-------------
AND NOW COMMENCES THE TRUE STORY

INSPIRATIONAL ULTRA QUOTE:
"If a revolver is shown in the first act, it will be used by the third act."
--Anton Chekov


The VisionKwest Krewe consists of Liz Boyd [AKA Mrs. Casino Bingo], Leslie Sowle [Ms. Giftshop Turquoise], Tim & Susan Halkowski; Chip Parsons, UltraStud of Northern Indiana; and Yr. Humble Scribe, Draw Poker.

We are at the Kettle Moraine 100 in Southern Wisconsin. Overwhelmingly flat, lush and green. Some hills, short and steep. Mixed 5th generation broad leaf and robotic pine trees which are arrayed on 20' centers.

After seeing Andy off at the 3pm start, the next 2 aid-stations are fairly close together. The first opportunity for the crew to wait comes after about 18 miles. We stopped in the village of Eagle to pick up supplies. Among other necessities for sale were whoopie-cushions. One was secured, and the stage was set.

Andy moves though the checkpoints at a steady rate. He's holding an overall 7th-9th place. Darkness falls. The mosquitos begin their ominous drone. The casual visitor to these parts notices a pallor in the inhabitants.

The night passes. Andy's pace is gradually slowing. The first signs of possible danger are noted by Chip, who feels the CarboPlex drink mix is a little thin. This observation is crucial. Chip will be Andy's pacer at 68 miles.

The crews pass their time. I try to sleep whenever I can. Sleeping in a Chevy Blazer with the windows rolled up leads to C02 headaches. The mosquitos beat their heads against the glass in fury.

Dawn comes with a fresh breeze. The mosquitos are blown south to Illinois. Chip picks up Andy. Andy is moving slower now, he's been out for 17hrs. I pull a donut in the parking lot, sending a rooster tail of gravel into the trees. I remember the story about Jack and Diane.

Mile 75.

We await Casino Bingo. The aid station is in the trees near a road. We wait roadside, in sunlight. The aid station people look cadaverous and drawn. Mosquitos are snoring on the ground, unable to move. The whoopie-cushion suffers an embolism and is rendered mute.

Mile 83/THE WAIT

Parked on a loop road inside Horserider's Camp, the tired VisionKwest Krewe awaits Andy. The Aid station is 100 yds away. He is due around 0815. Meanwhile, Draw Poker examines the tattered Whoopie-cushion and determines that it can be repaired. Remembering a complex procedure he saw on NOVA, he surgically applies duct-tape so structural integrity is restored. A trial inflation determines that the Sounding Device IS back, and ready to party.

Here the Krewe whiles away the time. They pondered how the "Girl From Ipanema", would have sounded with this device. Verses were supplied and the Device spoke on cue. The effect was astonishing.

Tim suggests that perhaps other runners might benefit as well. A runner is spotted. Draw Poker retires to a nearby "blind" to test the theory. Tense with anticipation, the Device speaks with a Mighty Blast that is robust,
sustained and sibillant. The unwary runner and his pacer suffer whiplash and spinal dislocation as they recoil in shock and yes...pity. The Krewe is doubled over in cotortions of merriment from witnessing the spectacle.

MILE 83/THINGS GET REAL SERIOUS

Andy and Chip approach. Everything looks good until Andy announces he is going to drop. A stunned silence ensues. Merriment is forgotten. I ask him to explain himself. He says everything just flat-out hurts. This sounds familiar. We let him finish. He sits on the ground.

Now its improv time. I have Andy lay on his back and elevate his legs against the bumper of the Blazer. We wrap him in a blanket. I am massaging his legs with Kool-n-Fit and I begin to tell some truths.

I've got him where I want him--away from the aid-station and all that suck of pity and rah-rah. He is immobilized, but not in a chair, which is the Place From Where We Never Return. More importantly, the blood is draining from his legs and back up into his head.

It always hurts like hell right about here. This is not unusual, and he's not the first. Given this is his first 100, he's in really good shape. He's not barfing and wall-eyed. His feet aren't pools of blood. His urine is clear and he's perspiring.

Nobody ever said it would be easy. In the context of his recent PhD experience he's "All But Dissertation". I also remind him that between Chip and myself we have about 15 full 100's between us, and several partials, so
he can't smoke us. All the while he's rehydrating with a "fatter" mix of CarboPlex, and the color comes back.

Andy gets up and sits up in the chair. The tension eases. He starts grinning and cracking jokes. I get the Device and run a few scales. He's ready to continue. We get him up and head him into the aid-station. Liz jogs along side him while Chip & I discuss the situation. He's in good hands.

I pick up Andy at 94.5. We walk and jog the last miles. The pace is steady. Andy finishes in 22:26, 12th overall.

CONCLUSIONS

Andy's finish was excellent given his training circumstances. I have no doubt that his subsequent 100s will go significantly better. Most of the issues faced at Mile 83 can be addressed in a more comprehensive and intensive training scenario. Andy understands that, and is deeply grateful he did not try Angeles Crest 100 this summer.

The Whoopie Cushion however, is an Item For All Seasons.

yours truly From the VisionKwest [Un]Divided Highway,

--Draw Poker

Wednesday, March 17, 1999

Poison Oak and You: A Public Service Announcement for the Perplexed

We all know nature is good. Walt Disney and Steven Speilberg say so. Christy Brinkley does too. They know. Especially Christy. She knows plenty about keeping warm in a snow-cave.

But now it's coming on to spring, and then summer. Amidst all the pretty flowers, there's our friend Mr & Mrs Poison Oak. Say Hi! to them. They like us, and you in particular. Now, if by chance, you r-u-b-b-e-d any of those shiny leaves on any part of your young bum, it's OK. Really. Here's what we do.

1) Sit back and wait. It's Nature's Way.

2) When the Itchy Monsters come, go ask Mom for several things. Ask Mom if she has any Clorox or a wire brush. Dad may have to get that from his work-bench. Then ask her for a can of lighter fluid and a big box of kitchen matches. She'll have them, because *Moms Know*.

3) Splash on the Clorox, and go to town. Then everywhere it itches, even a wee little bit, just get Mr Wire-Brush to do his thing. He's kind of stern. Then when you've had all the fun you could possibly want, be creative with the lighter fluid on whatever part of your body the Itchy Monsters are. They won't forget it, and neither will you!

4) Light up outside. This gives you lots of room to run around in, and you get to release all your feelings without making Mom or Dad miss any part of the "I Love Lucifer" marathon they're watching.

5) Well, that's it for me! I've got to get rolling. Enjoy the rest of your day!

Mr Trail Safety

Thursday, January 28, 1999

A Poem About Your Nipples...And Mine!

Am I alone in the raw nipple zone?
For most runs over 2 hours in the pouring rain,
With ground all wet and muddy,
I begin to experience tactile pain,
With hair-shirts turning bloody.

Surely many of you have experienced this exciting effect,
But I've come up with ingenious methods of cure!
Without resorting to a 7% Solution
And for mortification I will defer,
That Suffering is The Logical Conclusion.

The best news I could hear,
Is that my nips will cease to be affected.
I'll not slap the Bag Balm, nor apply the duct tape,
For my Path Has Now been Selected.
I'll straighten my Turban, and declaim: "Beulah, peel me a grape!"

--Indolent in Hollywood, Lady Gee-Spot

Tuesday, January 12, 1999

J-Tree Lost Weekend Millenial VisionKwest 2.0


J-Tree Lost Weekend Millenial VisionKwest 2.0

"You Want It Bad, You Get it Bad.
The Worse You Want It the Worse You get it."
Sri Mahand IsFast.



As was forecast by 'Casino Bingo' and 'Draw Poker', It Came To Be [r][tm].

This weekend's "J-Tree Millenial VisionKwest" at the Joshua Tree Nat Monument exceeded all boundaries of good taste and methane threshholds.Witness the following from a recovered- memory diary:

>Hi Everybody!
>Woke up real early, went to work, drank coffee,
>talked on phone, went to office burfday partee, then
>got in the car and drove 4 hours out to Joshua Tree. Woke up and
>filled my bottles and traded split info with all the other
>CRS JoggerDaddies I saw out there, including Bucky Kibble III,
>We started to run on the Poontang Trail but soon got lost etc etc.


He missed the boat. Sad to say, this diarist took a wrong turn, and ran in slow circles around the Big Casino off I-10. This is the same I-10 that passes near Tunica, MS. But he's been enrolled in a class for the remedially dull. Overcrowding is common there.

The Real Action was at Site B3 in the Jumbo Rocks Campground. A Fred Flintstone Wilderness of Pain awaited all that would Dare to Ride The UltraSnake across the Sonoran eco-clime of mind. Casino Bingo and Draw Poker had convened a Synod of the Blau Umlaut Kult. Tiny rodents and birds watched from the granular safety of Dildo's Cave in the Frodo Hills. Golem had the weekend off.

But here in the patriarchal Frantic postmodern time frame, it was fast-forward all the way. Exercising max caloric usage, critical mass was achieved at a breathless rate. Once we got the WeberKettle fully deployed, we tipped in several cubic yards of anthracite, and the BBQ was underway. Casino Bingo took notes while Draw Poker worked his Magic with his $12.99 Leadville souvenir hatchet. Cryptic Honky Shamanic Incantations of "Give it UP for Big Poppa!" "You gonna like this!" and the ur-primal "huuuuuuuhhhhhhhh!!!!!!" were essential to this process. Thus Reluctant firewood was reduced to compliant splinters. Chicks were diggin' it, totally.

Dorkness fell, as it must. Eventually Miss 'Giftshop Turquoise' arrived. And she too was brought to the flickering circle. All eyes fastened on the fire, which is a crude way of describing Paleolithic Multimedia, or perhaps Lascaux Son et Lumiere [good for redeemable Clovis Points]. For all eyes were on the Next Day, the 30-mile Run Across The Monument.

The full complement of We Few, We Happy Few, were gathered as the rosy-fingered dawn shouldered it's way over a wine-dork sea. By the time it got to Phoenix, we'd been rising. And we gathered together an carpooled to the Start, whence to contradance the sun in it's westward gyre. Invocations were made to the Gawd of PowerBars and Salt, and We began our Kwest Under An Azure Sky and persistent North breeze.

Very quickly, Balto, Red Headed Sled Dog succeded in establishing complete and total hegemony over the hapless Casino Bingo and Draw Poker. They were as dust in the wind, [if not wayward sons] who would cry no more...No more! A pillar o' dust Like Unto A Horse With No Name marked the advance of Balto. The progress of Bingo & Poker were stalked by invisible ducks. The Mysteries of the World never cease to Amaze.

With crystalline brow and parched demeanor, we were in the thrall of the Carmen Electrolytes. By sundown our transit was complete. At 5 hours and 35 minutes by Patriarchal Chronology...It was Done. And We Rested. We were now truly "We Phew, We Happy Phew".

Another firelit circle was joined. More Molly Hatchetry and incantations were necessary. The WeberKettle was fired up yet again, glowing cherry red as it's purpose became clear, as through a glass dorkly. Flesh that was raw was seared by free-range coals. The fat was in the fire, and the cat was in the cradle. Insert something about the man in the moon and a silver spoon.

But all is not chowing down and split-chat. This group did not lack for pedagogic wonderment. The multitudes was astonished and amused by the transcendant channeling of Casino Bingo's and Draw Poker's "Teletubbies Firelite Shadow Theatre". Jumbo Rocks provided a geologic scrim for the cartoonish silhouettes of unspecified Teletubbies emitting one-word repetitions of what was later decoded to be [in squeaky falsetto] "hummers!", "hummers!". For erudite contrast, Balto unleashed a Shaggy Dog of epic proportions. Ms Jenine played the flute and stilled the savage beasts. Then the maelstrom of degeneracy was broached yet again, and decorum vanished to the thwacks of pig-bladders and whoopie-cushions.

I Got Newt, Babe.

Sunday morning witnessed the Final Gathering. More than just camp was broken, which left few dry-eyed. In closing, when boot-heels hafta be wanderin' then it really doesn't matter, does it now... Mrs Jones?