Sunday, July 01, 2001

Ultra-Whining Checklist 3.0

Get in, sit down and shut up.
A long time back, many dog-years ago in 1997, we rolled out the the UltraWhining Checklist [Golden Showers Beta Version].

But...a whole new crop of contendahs have sprung up, and institutional memory fades. The role of the Internet has radically shifted the Dialog Paradigms ®™. It's now YouR Website-R-U.

So here, a somewhat updated Klassic for your delectation. And if you are easily offended, read thru to the bottom and get your money's worth.

Ultra-Whining Checklist 3.0

I attribute my DNF(s) to the following reasons: (if there are additional causes, use the back of this form)

Ia. Early Years

My formative years were dramatically warped by the following:

1) I was dropped on my head as a child.
2) My past life as Cleopatra was miserable.
3) Demons were a regular part of home life.
4) I was allergic to beets.
5) I was tragically misunderstood.
6) My invisible playmates always abandoned me.

Good. Now we are getting somewhere. Carry on, you're looking good!

Ib. Recent Present

In my current life:

1) I can't get laid to save my life
2) Running makes me high
3) Live in my favorite running shorts and race t-shirt
4) Walk around sucking water out of a bottle
5) Mumble about splits and ITB syndrome
7) Am on permanent taper
6) Can't get laid to save my life.

II. Your Running Resumé

When you go for a long traning run, do you:

1) Get lost easily?
2) Get lost by friends easily?
3) Route your runs past salt-licks in cow pastures?
4) Route your runs past sheep meadows?
5) Carry at least 4 bottles of pickle brine?
6) Run without shorts?

Or are you:

7) Incontinent?
8) Garrulous?
9) Flatulent?
10) Delusional

add 15 points if all apply. Don't stop now!

III. Race Day

You are at the start line. When you start, do you expect the following:

1) That your mother works the aid-stations?
2) That everything you read in "Runners World" applies to ultras?
3) That if there is a God, He/She/Whatever is looking out just for you?
4) That eating the 3 sticks of butter on a bet was not such a swell idea the night before.

add another 10 points if all apply. Time's a-wasting!

IV. Into The Night

It has been a character-building day on the trail. Now you have just met your pacer for the first time. This is his/her first time as a pacer. You were going to impress them with all your saved up stories of wisdom. Their eyes are bugging out as they watch you lose your lunch on their shoes. How do you really feel?

1) Swell
2) Fucking swell
3) I was clearing my throat the easy way.
4) What the hell are you staring at?
5) We're having fun now!
6) You are remembering an IRS audit with pleasure.

V. Evening Prayers

Now, you've had all day to think about why you aren't doing as well as you had boasted to ayone who would listen. Check all that apply:

1) The course was poorly marked.
2) You were not paying attention, and the hot-pink ribbons blend in with the leaves.
3) The RD has a personal vendetta with you.
4) It's taking way too long to pee.
5) The cut-offs are too harsh and arbitrary
6) Turtles have gotten faster due to global warming
7) The pre-race pasta feed was botulin-tainted
8) There is a 3rd stage smog alert 200 mi downwind that wasn't publicized.
9) The trail is too stony.
10) The trail is too sunny.
12) There are too many uphills.
13) The course is long.
14) You have just figured out that this is not a track ultra.

VI. The Body Electric

Your body is telling you things. In particular it is saying:

1) You have blisters the size of water balloons
2) You have ring of fire.
3) You have jock-itch
4) You are special, and tragically misunderstood.
5) That big buckle really is supposed to be yours, dammit.

VII. Conclusions.


You have managed to assign all personal responsibility to others! You really measure up and deserve better. Go ahead! Assert yourself! Be all that you know you can be! You can now take the full upgrade from "Half-Assed" to "Complete Asshole".

Thanks :). Put down your pencil.

=======New Millennium 2001 upgrade portion here=============

But wait. All is not lost.

You can still feel *real good :)* about yourself, and you *can* change the course of time, space and your own vacuity with the following questions:

[Don't worry about the non-sequential numbers, it'll only make your head hurt...]

That been said, we now present the MULTIPLE CHOICE ULTRA EXAM in which there are only several right answers. There will be no essay questions. You can still feel really *good* about yer-se'f. Say "hi" to the intern!

5] You see a runner commit an infraction of an unspecified magnitude. You...

a] fire off a flare and shout "stop, in the name of love!"
b] see if the pacer is cute and has big chi-chi's.
c] Foreswear your rage and harbor your resentments for the next 8 hours after passing him/her/it.
d] pack heat and shoot the SOB

e] Go thru its pockets for incriminating evidence

6] You have decided to Stand Up and Be Counted. You...

a] Start your own chapter of Ultra-Promise Keepers
b] Propose to your pacer
c] Propose a short-term gratuitous sexual relationship with your Official Inflateable Trail Safety Companion.
d] propose that every time you stop and pee that the Big Clock at the finish line stop also.

e] Dismiss the whole race concept as bogus, because all records are in your mind.
Note: This only counts after your check has cleared, and you are in the race. Otherwise, its "Posing 101".

7] The finish line is "half a mile away" You recognize this because...

a] You can see the chalk lines through your tears
b] You spent your childhood listening to Billy Joel
c] Your ski-poles and leg splints are 1/8 of their original length.
d] You can hear the "Chariots of Fire" theme song.
e] You are tripping over a volunteer who is rolling up the red carpet
as the sun goes down.

f] You charged thru the last 4 aid-stations, cut-offs or not.

10] Finishing a 100 makes you more satisfied than:

a] DNFing a bowling match.
b] Taking the EPI-Lady out for a trim session
c] tearing out your useless toe-nails
d] tearing out your useless toe-nails at the pre-race carbo-load
e] Getting a "hands-behind-the-head-knobber" while keeping an eye on the game.
f] Because you turned it over in your mind, and you were Victorious
as you finished on the Tuesday afternoon following.

g] Your TV deal came in, and someone yells "CUT".

Not so bad, wasn't it?

OK. We give in. You wanted it, and now's your chance...

For EXTRA CREDIT, you get to describe in 100,000 words [or more] in 20 minutes [or less] one of the following topics:

What Is An Ultra?
Salt: Friend or Foe?
Blisters I have Known
Why I Hate The Guv'mint
Why Ultra-Chicks Don't Put Out For Me
Why I'll Never Get Laid
Dum-Dums or Hollow-point: Which is better for Squirrels?
Suing the Race Director: Status-Enhancement among my Peers?
Why Ultra-Guys Don't Put Out For Me
Why Ultra-Sheep Don't Put Out For Me

===================================='re good! I feel like lighting up a blunt, and just cold chillin'....

©1996, 1998, 2001 D&L Lifestyle Institute & Ursine Proctological Foundation. Spoogebuilder (r) (tm) is a licensed product of D&L Holistic Industries.

No animals were harmed, coerced or fudgepacked except as necessary for profits or humor value. We take extra care in preparing our free-range chickens--we read them stories until their 401ks are about to vest. Then we cut off their haids.
Contains 98% post-consumer concepts and raw fiber.

Eat Like A Peasant, Light Up Like A King®™Your mileage will vary. Eat More Possum, and Have A Nice Day.

Tuesday, June 12, 2001

Ultra Oscar Acceptance Speech

Runners, Fellow Listers, thank you, thank you! You are all so wonderful, I don't where to start...or stop!

[insert craven shit-eating grin here]

First, I want to thank Gawd®™. Nothing Compares 2-U. You are the Race Director of Life, in the Biggest Ultra Of Them All! I want to see what kind of buckles He hands out!!!

Secondly...I want to thank my training partners. Yes, every one of you! You know who you are...don't pretend! I know the parts where I shared with you about my work and tax's a brand new day! My new kidney is doing well too...what with ebay and a billion
Chinese, now there's a combo!!!

Third, I'd like to thank all of the really "velocity-challenged" out there who made me look *really* good. I couldn't have done it without you. Also all of you who were busy hiding in the bushes because of the pre-race have my sympathies. I made up at least 10 places.

Volunteers. I love you. Every one of you. Especially the ones that listened to me screaming and cursing because I forgot to put something in my drop bag. And especially the ones who lanced all my blisters.

A big shout-out to the nurse who checked my hemorrhoids and verified they were still external. Let's talk after the ceremony.

Then I'd like to thank the hottie who let me "follow too closely" for at least 20 miles. Thank you for lettin' me be "Mice Elf", Again. [Get it???] The part about being married, nah...did I mention anything about the other girlfriend? Damn!

Well, now that I've got this Fabulous 22lb nickle-encrusted Flying Gerbil Trophy...I'll treasure it *always*. Every time I'll look at it and think "that was *me* barfing my way past you losers!!!


Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Our Forest Prince's Noel Rhapsody

A legacy presentation from the Mr Trail Safety KunstSchriftArkiv. This originally appeared in The Journal of CryptoAethnology, Winter 1999.

Part 1

The snow lay in a crisp white blanket on the ground. The trees where shrouded in ice rime and crystals. One's breath hung in the air in silver wreaths. The outlines of the trees were like silhouettes cut by a happy child with way too much time on it's hands with a dull razor. It was so quiet you could hear a bird fart. And smell it too.

But all this was far far away from our hirsute Forest Prince. Where he was living, the semi-tropical air wafted in through the glass louvers, bringing in the warm damp vapors of the great outdoors and carrying with it outside remembrance of his morning pot of coffee and chili.

He stood in the kitchen, with his distinctively shaggy short squatty legs sticking out of a pair of oversize canvas shorts, his rotund gut spilling over the top of his "69" belt buckle he'd found in a bar in Mobile. His aggressively shaggy eyebrows were especially wild, and no amount of tongue-basting could ever get them to lay down properly. Right now his mind was on other matters, as he idly scratched his nuts with the 3-tined steel hand-rake he'd gotten before Halloween. It did a great job on the matted tangles down there.

As usual, finances were looking a bit shaky. His last trip to San Francisco had been a budget bustierre, I mean, buster. That chick's hooters were something else, but sometime it paid to shop locally. The radio was tuned to salsa, which was a low-level buzz. He contemplated going out to buy a paper when the phone rang.

"Mr Prince?" It was Eddie from the temp agency. He had a way with words.

"Yes?" Hope prongs eternal said a wise guy. Once.

"We gotta gig for you" Pause. "All the other Santas are booked, or have called in sick, and we're stuck with you, pal!"

Eddie made you feel wanted.

"So wherezit at?"

Eddie's voice was a rasp. "You, lucky dick that you are, get to be the Santa over at the Biddle-Barrows Young Ladies Finishing School. You know where it is?"

Of course he knew where it was. Spent many a pleasant afternoon in those precincts as a "guest lecturer" of sorts; declaiming Moghul poetry whilst accompanying himself on his fretful oud.

He remembered fondly the looks of rapture that would overcome his dewy young charges as they marvelled, apple-cheeked and perky-nippled, at this seething anachronism who would bat his long eyelashes and then as his short stubby fingers plucked out a complex refrain, then licked his eyebrows in a blinding flash. The young women would stare, slack-jawed, crimson rising in their cheeks, outraged and yet possessed with an uncontrollable urge to snicker. Had they really seen what they thought? Of course they had. But could they quite describe it?...well, no.

His perigrinations were interrupted yet again.

"So you get to put on the red outfit, the beard and the hat and make your sorry-ass way there. This time try not to tool the head-nurse like you did last year at the Imelda Marcos Appreciation Salute, OK?"

"Got it."

"You're our last chance, don't fuck up!"

A click and the dial-tone signalled Eddie's departure and now the clock was running.

Part 2

As the sun sank low in its usual place, our short-fingered temporary seasonal guest-worker was making his way up the lengthy drive towards the afore-mentioned Academy. The headlights of his distressed Yugo flickered over the imposing double row of oaks lining the gravel drive, draped in timeless Spanish Moss. Off in the distance as the gently curving drive revealed were the twinkling lights of the the Biddle-Barrows Young Ladies Finishing School.

Faint strains of string-quartet music greeted his ears as he pulled up. A trim athletic valet approached the car, but changed her mind once it came into the light and she careened off on a tangent. The Yugo backfired a staccato popcorn-fart, then settled on its springs with a sigh.

Our Prince, ever mindful of his season obligations, virtually leaped from the parked car and bounded up the steps to the portico. His Santa Claus suit was less-than-red, the trousers had a tendency to slid down so he could really get the Plumber's Crack thing going on. They were tucked into the tops of some gold spangled go-go boots.As usual he had a crank-spot down by the knee. It was pretty big. His fuzzy Santa Claus hat was parked at a rakish angle over his bushy eyebrows. His coat was patched an bit short in the sleeves. His pot-belly was insufficiently covered most of the time. He was here!

At the door he was met by the Mistress of Ceremonies, lithe and wily Ms Crepidus, who was determined to keep things well in hand if at all possible. The crank-spot was a foreboding augury of potential disaster. This might be a two-hander at best, you just could never tell.

"Lookin' good, sweets, where's the party??"

He never changed. She felt his eyes on her butt. She turned around and saw that he was putting away a pair of orange and black spiral-lensed X-ray glasses. She'd always wondered. Now she felt her thong sliding s-l-o-w-l-y up past the point of no return. She walked on.

"This way...You'll be sitting on the chair, and answering the girls' questions..."

Part 3

We had last left our warm-n-fuzzy hero, recently arrived for a an engagement as a Seasonal Santa; following the lithe and wily Ms Crepidus down the hallowed halls of the famed and genteel Biddle-Barrows Young Ladies Finishing School.

Did I forget to mention that he was indeed carrying a lute, so as better to convey the essence of a Euro-centric Yule-fest spirit? I stand corrected, and am the better for it.

Ms Crepidus, you will also remember, had been scrutinized by our Forest Prince with a pair of orange & lack spiralized x-ray glasses that he had found in the back of a comic book. He noted to his satisfaction that she was wearing the Deep-Vee Malibu Buttfloss with the 200lb test.

Our occupationally-united pair now stood at the threshhold of the Yule-decorated ball-room, which in certain respects was a macro-parallel of our dear FP's shorts, ie dim, red and capacious. He was led to an embowered throne, and told to "get comfy, it was gonna be a long nite..."

Ms Crepidus gave him a wink and vanished. Our Prince surveyed the arrangements, and found it good. Not only was he going to be the Designated Santa, but he was also on a seamless so keepsake wallet-sized portraits could be photographed. He was prepared for anything. He brought his Altoids.

In the fullness of time the ball-room filled with the debutante "jeune filles" of polite society, a veritable wash of pulchritude and sassy freshness in the full bloom of estrogen'd splendor. What was once quiet became rowdy with the clamor of voice and animation. Our Prince was in his element; a grouper amongst tuna, a goat among gazelles, a satchel amongst pages. His nostrils quivered, his eyebrows became animated. He adjusted his beard, licked his eyebrows and awaited his first supplicants.

At first they approached him hesitantly, not seeming to recognize the randy old goat beneath his fake white beard. He would solicitously ask them what they wanted for Christmas, and being far from home and their cel-phones, would succumb to the spirit of the occasion. They also obliged him with Hannukha and Kwaanza notions as well, and he was moved excedingly.

Word began to spread and the line began to grow longer. An enterprising fly on the wall would have seen the most remarkable sights through its compound eyes.

Part 3: The Final Reckoning

This is how the story ends. The room was full of the bright and beautiful young ladies of Biddle- Barrows. This was the culmination of the old year, and a final salute to the year before they all went home for Christmas. Lights played off exposed shoulders and bare arms. A mambo band played sly variations on traditional airs and tunes, one where the rhythms cheerfully suggested motions and attitudes that were at odds with notions of holiday decorum.

The lithe and luscious young ladies had demurely waited in line, and each in turn had not been disappointed. The ancient rituals—wheezy and hoary but also vigourously new, a sturdy sapling that grew large and strong as the taproot of communal memory dug deeper in the to core of primal mind. They daintly approached our Forest Prince, sovereign and regal in his faded red Santa-claus pants tucked into his go-go boots. They then gently and oh-so-s-l-o-w-l-y lowered themselves onto his lap. They instinctively relaxed as they felt heat radiating out from our cheery rogue. They wiggled and seated themselves, and confessed their holiday desires. Willow transmuted to hickory.

The wily and alert Ms Crepidus was keeping an eye on our Olde Forest Prince, to make sure that all remained in order. It was killing him, he had the biggest short-n-curly tangle he'd ever remembered. In his reveries his hand closed on the handle of his favorite 3-tined steel hand rake. Seconds of pleasure awaited him.

The lights in the ballroom had gotten dimmer. The room had warmed considerably, and the estrogen'd tension levels had increased perceptibly. For very soon it would be time for the much-awaited Yule Ritual of the Biddle-Barrows Young Ladies Finishing School—The Entwining of the Tree.

The ritual tree stood in the center of the ballroom. It stood a good 20' tall, a fine specimen of evergreen and wood. It had 24 streamers fanning down from the top of the tree, that were lightly secured to the floor. It awaited the maidens.

The room grew quiet. The music stopped. Ms Crepidus strode purposefully out on the floor, and clapped her hands sharply three times. On cue, twenty four of Biddle-Barrows most delectable young ladies in silk and chiffon appeared from the crowd. Each took a streamer, turned their backs to the tree, and demurely curtsied to the silent room.

The congas led with a stately rhythm, and the ladies began to slowly whirl and twirl clockwise around the tree. They would pause in their dance, and then continue, twirling in a contradance, then commence clockwise again.

Our hirsute Couch Cossack was in his element. This display of rhythm and art was totally divine. He discretely scratched himself with his hand-rake. He caught Ms Crepidus appraising his assets. He paused not.

By now the tree had been completely wound about with the streamers. The tree was trussed, and it bulged against its silken bonds. The old FP found himself thinking about a long weekend, a knotted silk cord, and an ancient jade lingam that was timeless. Oh...sighs and whispers!

The drumming had increased in tempo and the room had gone dark without his even realizing it. At the exact moment of maximum arboreal confinement, the young ladies and their streamers now began to unwind at an increasingly faster rate. Now they were practically shimmering white blurs.

He felt a strong hand on his shoulder. He recognized the fine hand of Ms Crepidus. As the drumming climaxed the dancers literally exploded out from the tree into the crowd as the doors blew open and the room filled with the horny young cadets of the Alfredo Stroessner Military Academy.

The horns kicked in and everybody started shouting and dancing. Drinks were knocked back and everyone lost their minds simultaneously.

"I need to see you in my office"

Our Prince reached for his spiralized x-ray glasses.

"You won't be needing them"

He licked his eyebrows in response. A young woman passing by saw this, and stopped slack-jawed as our Aulde FP put his firm stubby fingers on Ms Crepidus' hips and propelled her out of the room via a side exit.

Up the stairs and down the hall. A door opened. A desk beckoned. She was a vision in 4" heels and a tight black, inky black, short leather skirt.

"What are you waiting for...?"

A strong shaggy arm cleared the desktop. Pens went flying. A stapler would never get the chance to be stuck in someone's ass. He swiftly scooped up Ms Crepidus, and then gently laid her down on the desk. It was a good 8' of old growth wood, elephant mahogony. The desk was large too.

A blizzard of clothes flew through the air. In an instant he was buck-nekkid and all business. His stubby hand hovered over an acorn nipple. Her breasts were twin moons. The smell of Yohji Yamamoto perfume mixed with ozone. There was a buzzing sound. An arc travelled from her nipple to his hand. She slipped her hand around his Full-Auto Love Gun.

"... Christmas?..."

His head was between her thighs. Couldn't help it. Her thighs. Oh Boy. He talkin' to the Goddess now. She was really sayin' something. He couldn't hear too well. His head was being squeezed like a grape. Things were happening on the other end too. The Little Prince was getting a tongue-lashing. Bad boy. Real bad boy. Come to Big Mama.

His tongue continued it's interrogation. You want it when? Now? Sure? Maybe later? How much later? Want to wait? A little bit longer. For Me.

She answered him, but had to decide that deep divots in the back of his head pulling further in the Goddess Paradigm meant yes. And she was bucking so hard that his head was becoming rhythmically acquainted with the desk top.

Finally she stopped. The steady beat and pulse of music came from downstairs. He shifted.

"Not so fast.."

As he stood up, her heels hooked him around his back and pulled him forward. He was going for the Mothership, the tractor beams had him locked on. He felt himself slide slowly into her. It was a tight fit. She opened her pelvis in a move he'd only read about. She looked up at him and winked.

Her legs slowly locked around his back. He was seated like there was no tomorrow. Thus began the call and response. Mr Happy called for back up, and Team Flexor & Extensor responded. He was in the grip of the Oh-Mi-Goddess now. It was a full court press.

Her grip never let up. Her legs were something else too. Our Wily Shaggy Rogue found himself on the proverbial canoe drifting towards the increasing roar of the mighty Zambezi. His mind began to struggle. The GNP of Bulgaria. The workings of a toll-booth. Sermons heard while he was boy. Pat Buchanan.

He last remembered the moment when the rowboat fell away in a dwindling speck of color. He was going over the falls. All around him was a rainbow of waterdroplets. The crocodiles far below smiled and waved. Life's been good to him so far.

In a moment far from that time and place, he remembered that they awoke as the rosy fingered dawn peeked up over the wine-dark sea. She turns and smiles in her sleep. The sun creeps across her face.

"...OH SHIT!"

Ms Crepidus rose on one elbow and groggily surveyed the scene. She, lithe and alabastrous, on an executive desk. He, shaggy, smoking a turdarillo. The smoke spiralled up to the ceiling.

" the FUCK was I thinking????"

Good question. But damn, it was fun.

She read his mind. Her hand closed on a Swarovski crystal paperweight, which was soon on a direct trajectory towards his head. He ducks, scoops up his Santa duds as the weight connects with the window pane, shatters the glass, and kept right on going into the rosy dawn.

He grins. Damn he loves her style! On the way out he turns, winks licks his eyebrows and departs with a cheery "See you next year Ms Crepidus...and by the way...Merry FUCKING Christmas!"


Thursday, April 19, 2001

Re: JMT record fever


It's always good hearing from you! Seeing that we're all real busy these days, I'll make this short and to the point.

1] I stand by my observations.

2] Sharp-focus commentary is not "picking on you"; it's part of the "balls to wall" experience.

3] If I am living a dull and creativity-challenged life, let me know. I'll be at Highline 50 next week, Mile 44.

[But, time's a wasting! Back to the main show...]

4] I don't dispute your reasons for pre-announcing your intentions. What was fascinating how you two did it. The terms "enabled" and "enabling" come to mind; along with "safari hunting with a brass-band".

5] Unsupported. Unsupported. Unsupported.

Big noises about that. Now it's easy to say otherwise. Whether or not Tweit, Hoff, LaCava or anybody else had support is beside the point. It was all about *you*, baby. Being unsupported was going to make the whole shebang real *special*.

Furthermore: I know I'd be feeling a *whole lot better* if I got a ride to a comfy-squishy motel, then a ride back up to the point of departure to complete the run. Maybe we ought to try this out at Western States, or maybe Leadville. I'll bet everybody will find something to like about this idea!

[And this is the part where we pull back a little bit...]

6] Name calling requires a broader vocabulary. I'd suggest night school if I thought it would help.

7] Sorry I couldn't respond earlier, its a job thing.

8] Anytime you are in SoCal, look me up. I'm sure I can arrange an unsupported run that will satisfy.

[Group hugs from Barney here]

Wednesday, April 18, 2001

JMT Record Fever

I love this talk about John Muir Trail and "record fever". There's such a rancid desperate air about it. But it's Spring, and it's with us again.

Blake Wood did a masterful job. The account is low-key, insightful, accurate and bullshit free. Bruce Hoff did his turn several years ago. Again, low-key, honest, funny and sobering.

Last year Buzzy & Peter treated us to a brass-band fanfare prior to the Great Unsupported JMT Record-Breaking Event. We were directed to the appropriate press flackery, which Was All True, of course.

The air was thick with attitude about it all, Cali trails being wimpy and all, and how Two Colorado Dewds were gonna show ever'body a thing or two about trail running. Unsupported. This was canon law. The Mountain Gods stirred from their torpors.

Pulverized mule turds set the tone, and the howling started there. Four days of no sleep and robotic humping thru what...Gawd's Epic Back Yard. They might as well have run along the side of an interstate.

As to "unsupported", this conveniently went away when a tent appeared midway thru the Event. Somebody who had hiked in a good 17 miles if memory serves. The participants get edgy when this detail is examined.

Nonetheless, a fine weather front rolled south thru the Sierras, and kicked butt every inch of the way. It hailed so hard you couldn't think straight, especially after holding your bladder for miles on end and getting sub-minimal sleep. The Mountain Gods took their due. But it all ended well, there was a Saul to Paul conversion on the Road to Damascus by one of the participants. Group Hugs all around.

Conclusion: The day I do JMT, ladies and gents, I'd like to believe that I have the wit to enjoy where I am, and not on trip that is the land-bound version of running laps on an icebreaker. The idea of using the JMT to set a record is like getting a blow-job from a shark--i.e. memorable, but pointless.

And with that, enjoy!

Tuesday, April 17, 2001

My Big Ass SnowShoes and Baldy Beach

When I awoke this Easter morn, I knew things were different. I came downstairs and found that my chocolate Jesus had his ears nibbled off. But I come not to dwell on the travails of the Prophet, but rather to expound brightly on an overly long short run I took on Saturday; destination--Baldy Beach.

I departed Baldy Village as a man burdened only with the dynamic sense of the impossible. The snow was in vagrant patches, and remained so past the Alberto Salazar Rustic Showers. Climbing upwards into the clear blue sky, I was surrounded by warm and friendly chaparral. Eventually the trail disappeared beneath snow pack. My moment had arrived. I donned my spiffy 2-toned Redfeather S-25 snow shoes. I continued to climb, the pack was hard.

Following the tracks of an unnamed local, I wound my way higher and higher. For some reason the air got thinner. I was sucking down Gatorade like there was no tomorrow. Had I been the Nazarene...don't get me started. Satan however is on call 24/7 with his primary franchisee Mr Murphy. I found myself summitting W Baldy, with Baldy yet to go. Damn!

Wheezing over Baldy Beach I was in fine sweat. Down to my lime-green shirt sleeves, my smiley-faced Eyore slippers held tight in the snowshoe bindings. I was met by perfectly-outfitted Sierra Club Dorks in full Denali pile jackets. They adjusted their hoods in the face of 15mph breezes, with the temperature hovering at 50F. I could hear the snickers of Yetis as they donned their Velcro gloves. After all, "no glove, no love" is a universal concept.

Descending off the top presented new opportunities to take a seated glissade straight into the depths of Enchanting Lytle Creek nearly 5,000 feet below. It was thrill I would have to procrastinate on many times in the next 3 miles. This is a side trip I'll take maybe later, with Balto as my co-pilot.

Navigating the slush-crest of the backbone made me reconsider my choice to remove the Shoes during that pesky 1/8 mile gravel stretch. After I exhausted every opportunity to slip to my death, I reattached them on solid ground masquerading as frozen mashed potatoes and became ShuffleMan down to the Notch. It was downhill from there on in.

Here I made an Executive Decision not made in Sharper Image Catalogs. I could proceed up over the 3-Ts trail and finish much later than I cared to. Or I could cut my losses, declare victory and have a parade if I ducked down the service road. Expediency won out, and I cut off a couple of hackysacker snow-boarders on my way out. Passing by the equipment shed, I surprised 2 guys and a gal who were...barbequeing. They invited me in, but I had clouds in my coffee.

Running under the ski-lifts I was cheered on by Berdoo Morons yelling "Run!" I countered with "Jump!" I got no takers. I finished out by runnning the last 4 miles downhill with shoes lashed to pack. Downhill asphalt is good.

But first, the numbers: Village to summit: 4.5 hrs. To Notch: 5:50. Back to Ice House Cyn where the Squirrel was parked: 7:15. A splendid number for 17+ miles! These are splits to cherish!

Until later, my post-winter chickadees...

Sunday, April 15, 2001

Summer Session With Our Forest Prince

This was originally dramatized on the Wanker Network, Autumn 1999.

Prologue du Bois

Our portly, avuncular, geezer-Brit sits in a large wing chair. His fingers are steepled and he contemplates, you, the audience with a smirk. It is presumed we are in his living room at the family estate, Wowzer Hall in Jamaica.

"Tonight's narrative concerns the rhythmic intersection of privilege and vigour as our dynamic protagonist, a class of high-caste female graduate literature students, and a middle-aged naif all collide one summer afternoon in a college classroom. Let us begin our story with the Aulde Forest Prince. He is outside on the College Green, riding a lawn tractor. And thus we begin..."

Whirring and cutting of the mower-blades released heady green aroma. The blue clouds of rich oily gasoline fumes blended together into a ritualistic summer perfume, dispersing into the early rising heat of the verdant summer morning. The lush and fertile campus of the Biddle-Barrows Young Ladies Finishing School was in many ways a hot-house flower needing tender care; constant and vigilant, probing and persistent.

The agent of this alchemy was a squat and manly John Deere lawn tractor. The guiding hand on the wheel was short-fingered, vigourous, and at times impecunious. A stocky and vital figure, clad today in faded green overalls with the non-regulation full-Cleveland white belt and patent leather shoes. There was an ominously large crank-spot above the knee. This is our hirsute and robust Forest Prince.

Our dear FP was driving his multi-bladed chariot with abandon while listening to Parliament-Funkadelic through his headphones. His circuit today was on the Auld Green portion of the campus, which stood the one of the oldest buildings housing the honors programs; Binkster Hall. He was following the convoluted bass line on "Up For The Down Stroke" when a sudden discordant clang interupted his reveries. He'd hit a sprinkler head, again.

Throwing the whirling knives into neutral, he dismounted from his toy-Clydesdale iron steed to investigate the damage. As the engine puttered away, a bird in one of the many high trees would have seen this unusual figure squatting down to have a look. A sibillant flatulance would have been heard. And for those downwind, experienced.

The sudden silence in this Arcadian interlude had been noted by several of the young women in elderly Prof Hector Marimacho's "Aspects of Post-Modern Structuralist Poetry". The windows had been open on this lovely early summer morning; and the tableau vivant thus presented featured our hirsute hero examining his stricken machine, as if it had been painted by Brueghel the Elder.

Heedless of the outside world, our professor had bidden his young charges to turn their attentions to several of the following stanzas. One began with the epic turn:

A young lad arises, awaiting a test
To see if he's man, he'll try his darn best.
The challenge awaits against nature's worst foe,
Only HE can decide how far he can go.

The class was fighting to stay awake. Their discomfort was not noticed by Prof Marimacho, whose vision had been increasingly troubled and vertiginous. It was as if he was peering "through a glass dorkly". The necessary sentences were forming and shuffling to leave his brain. The horizon wobbled and pitched, then went dark.

Our Forest Prince had just freed the mangled sprinkler head from the blade assembly when he heard sirens. The sirens peaked and quit as the paramedics ran into Binkster Hall. Curiosity aroused, the mower was forgotten. Shortly thereafter paramedics emerged with Prof Marimacho on a gurney between them.

The comely and lissome students of "Aspects of Post-Modern Structuralist Poetry" watched the parameds take Dr Hector Marimacho away in a gurney. Birds twittered overhead as the sun shone down through the embowered canopy. Thoughts of transience and mortality competed with nagging notions of truancy and the necessary class credits.

Our stocky and hirsute FP took instant stock of the situation, frozen in freeze-frame: a room full of empowered doe-eyed eco-femmes whose minds were about to be jump-started. He spoke in his distinctive profundo.

"Let's pick up where you left off"

Looks of surprise were exchanged, but since a decision had been made, the ladies meekly filed back into the classroom. Our Dear FP put on an exuberant pair of horn-rimmed X-Ray glasses, and followed the covey back into the classroom.

All eyes followed his shaggy-butt self as he clopped up to the abandoned lectern. Being somewhat shorter than Prof Marimacho, he stood on a box and perused the anthology. His vigourously dimble-digits flipped through the pages, perieodically stopping to scan a paragraph or two, while he licked his eyebrows in a blinding flash. The women were entranced, unbelieving, and amazed.

The FP looked out over the classroom. Twenty pairs of eyes studied him. He in turn surveyed the class, and it was good. A festive panorama of freckles, golden tans, pale red-heads, coppers, mahoganies and ebonies greeted his appreciative gaze. Mr Happy began to stir and groan in his one-eyed dark confinement, a sub-audible tremor felt by all. He dressed left for success.

A raven haired beauty in the back row spoke up. Distaste blemished her features.

"We were reading this...ahem...poem"

"Please continue, it you will, Miss...?"
The trail, it continues, from moonlight to sun,
The young man's victorious, the battle, he's won!
A young gentle lad, a babe at the start,
Has conquered his foes, found deep in his heart.
Her recitation provoked a pandemic of yawning, nodding, scratching and coughing. Notes were being passed. Cell phones were going off.

"Hold it right there...this sucks!"

The chatter and noise ceased instantly. Our Forest Prince had seized the high ground.

"I'm going to read you something that is of more topical interest to you...It's a story, of a man and a woman. It has a big something for everyone...history, drama, romance, violation of class-boundaries, whatever"

"This had better be good!"

The challenge came from a steely-looking statuesque redhead, a late convert to the the Dworkinite-Mackinnon sect of Paramount Patriarchy. Her long legs scissor-crossed with crisp precision. Her taught firm bosom heaved for no man [recently].

The FP gave her a crinkly smile, wiggled his eyebrows, scratched his butt through his coveralls, looked her directly in the eye, and began his tale.

"Isolde figeted restlessly in her chair. The string quartet was becoming unbearable. They had been screeching away for the last forty minutes here in the Rotchakokoff Solarium and Music Arboretum. As the lapidary gem of the Wanker Dynasty, her deftly chiseled features revealed nothing of her torments.
Her raven black hair piled in a ravishing chignon dramatically set off her luminescent pale swan-like neck and shoulders. Her perfectly swelling bosom dramatically presented in her Fortuny silk concealed a wildly beating heart as her mind cast back to the times that had changed her life in ways unimaginable. Her very waking hours turned on the One who had touched her like none other. She was not thinking of her diffident and shallow suitors, mere boys in men's clothing who endeavored to ensnare her with their tired values and shallow, detumescent presences.
No. her thoughts cast back to the vigour and vitality that was and is Rugbert, Master of the Horse.
Intermezzo Anglaise

Our portly, avuncular, geezer-Brit sits in a large wing chair. His fingers are recently re-steepled. He is being paid by the word, and he is picking them carefully.

"As you can see, Mr Forrest Prince has vaulted lightly into the cock-pit as it were, and is taking the class in a new direction. Some members of the class are not yet fully entrained in the rhythms, which will lead to some interesting denoument shortly...So let us return to the literature in motion at this time"

With the dramatic sentence ending with "vigour and vitality that was and is Rugbert, Master of the Horse." the Forest Prince looked up from under his bushy eyebrows, then licked them in a blinding flash. The class was absolutely still.

A skeptical voice broke the silence.

"Rugbert? Who the hell would name their son Rugbert?"

It was his flame-headed Cassandra, she of taut bosom and Patriarchal Conspiracy Theories. The Old FP adjusted his horn-rimmed X-ray glasses and had a closer squint. His eyebrows wiggled about, and refused to lie flat. His 5 o'clock shadow had darkened visibly in the few short hours since dawn. He smiled slightly when he saw what she had in her bag. After all, they were x-ray glasses.

"I'm sorry miss, I didn't catch your name"

His deep profundo rolled around the class like an 80lb Ebonite bowling ball. His mouth was a pursed cupid's bow. He waited.


The definitve emphasis was on the middle, with a flat "ah" in all instances. An arch enunciation. One who was used to a certain station in life, and not on the AM part of the dial.

Alexandra fixed the FP with a steady gaze. She recognized an infidel when she saw one. But she needed more evidence of Coercive Abomination. She held her fire.

The FP continued.

"Isolde at last could wait no more. She stood up in a rustle of silks and excused herself past her sisters, elder relations and guests in the Music Room and Arboretum. The quartet sawed on, reaching the dramatic climax of "Sonatas and Fugues for Anthracite" by Josiah Horneblende.

Her departure was noticed with acid clarity by Trevor Ricefield-Ratt, her persistent longtime claimant to Isolde's affections. Several times he had almost secured her assent in matters carnal as well as spiritual, which would have consolidated his position in local gentry considerably. Not for nothing was he known as "the Sphinxter" in awed respect to his perpetual presence.

Isolde's elegant Venetian slippers pattered across the parquetry, a staccato tattoo to the string quartet. The butler opened the door, stifled a yawn and closed it behind her. Trevor got up swiftly to make for the door, but slipped and fell on the wooden floor. He recovered to push his middle-parted forelocks out of his eyes to see the rapidly receding Isolde in full flight, running across the curving lawns in the direction of the stables. He muttered a curse and lit up another Catamite Clove cigarette"

The FP paused. The class was rapt.

"Anyone want to go back to that poetry you were discussing?"

A sudden flurry of coughing and fidgeting, followed by a chorus of "NO!"

When our Dear Forest Prince had posed the Poetry Question, he knew full well the likely response. For all of the likely posturing about High Art and Education, he knew deep down that his class of Soon To Be The Most Intelligent Yet Graduated In This Term wanted to get to the Good Shit.

It made him think back to his own undergraduate days, a long winter at Miskatonic University in the cold and eerie town of Arkham. Between classes devoted to the works of Ali Nazrullah and his Necronomicron, he had penned a ditty that earned him an exit from that gloomy vale. One verse in particular suited the moment:

As I pen this hearty ode,
I hear the wall clock ticking.
For "amor" it's "tempis fugit"
And my eyebrows need a licking.
And in the briefest instant, the paths of past and present converged in a high-speed merge.

"Shall I continue?" The old rogue was in his element.

"Oh yes! yes!" A sea of bright, upturned happy faces surmounting achingly sincere pulchritude and gently wafting free-range estrogen all around. Alexandra fixed him with her skeptical mien. He winked. She blushed ever so slightly. He thought about bringing in milk and cookies but decided it would have to wait.

"Ah yes...where was I?!"

"Isolde burst into the stable, her dark hair dishevelled from her sprint. The sudden arrival startled Obelisk, the prize stallion cross-tied in the aisle. Rugbert had his back turned to the doors whilst brushing him down. Isolde's perfumes wafted across the stallion's nostrils, and he reared up on his massive hind legs, eyes flashing and trumpeting his surprise. His mane caught in a gust, rippling in the afternoon light, echoed the snorting and trumpeting ringing from the rafters"

"Rugbert was nearly bowled over by the stallion's rearing. He whirled and faced the source of the disturbance. Isolde halted short. Her bosom heaved with the exertion, drops of sweat beaded her upper lip. Her eyes took him in at an instant, virile chest-hair swirling out of his half-unbuttoned linen shirt, hard tight buttocks surmounting sinewy thighs tightly clad in riding pants, supple leather riding boots well-worn but polished to a high shine.


Rugbert's blue-gray eyes surveyed Isolde as a wild stallion would a mare on the wild Tartary steppe. His nostrils flared slightly as her bouquet tendrilled his sensibilities. He set down his brush. She stood still as he gently approached her. His hands delicately traced the curves of her lower back and thighs, inexorably drawing her closer. Her eyes closed and in a summoning swoon, her orchid lips parted as he gently, yet powerfully kissed her. She wanted to yield herself yet again, as she divined the presence of the lithic bulge and confirmation of Rugbert's primal man-root."
Redecolletage Necessaire
The narrative voice pauses at this remove to give you, the gentle reader an update on the progress of our story. Picture if you will, that you and I together are a wide-angled surveillance camera witnessing academic verite in motion.

Our shaggy-rumped Forest Prince has skillfully inserted himself behind the lecturn of a summer-session peotry class at the Biddle-Barrows Young Ladies Finishing School.

Prior to this moment, he was driving a John Deere lawn-tractor cutting grass, pondering the mysteries of Poon-Tang Dynasty poetry when he dinged a sprinkler. While disengaging the cutter blades, his acute powers of observation serve him well when he notices that Prof Hector Marimacho was taken out of class on a gurney following an unspecified collapse.

All those young women who have been thirsting for truth but ill-nourished on retrograde poetry were thus left marooned. Never one to leave well enough alone, our hirsute hero divined their needs, and lo! there he be.

We now rejoin the drama in progress. Our Old FP as been reading from The Passion of Isolde, a work that is as florid and lush as any one could hope for; rich and deep, but easily absorbed in 15-minute intervals. Yet all is not quiescent in the class, there are elements that are chafing at the narrative thrust. Events will show the forces at work on Isolde and Rugbert, are working on them as well. Let's rejoin our bristly-eyebrowed interlocutor as he continues reading...

"...and she was acutely aware of the size and conformation of Rugbert's lithic manroot"
Our Forest Prince paused, looked up under his animated eyebrows.The class was deathly still. Gazing out over the class of young women, there was a distinctly studied look in the eyes of all present. In some instances there was a faint blush visible. Aaah, the power of literature.

There was a stirring, and he noticed that Alexandra, she of the flat-A "ahs" was building up steam and ready to engage.

"Manroot! Lithic! How completely....retrograde!!! Can't she see that she is the hapless pawn of a system that seeks her total compliance in a patriarchal conspiracy! Everywhere she turns she is confronted by predatory males...and lacking the proper insights she is helplessly drawn to the least vile m-a-n available"

Whoa girl. She really felt about this. Our hirsute hero was somewhat sympathetic.

"And what would you envision in this scenario?"

A pause. There was a general shifting in the class room. Another voice spoke up, coming from a slight black-haired beauty wearing Birkies and a short floral summer-dress. The pattern reminded the FP of gardens he'd romped in several years prior, but that's another story.

"Would it be possible that Isolde was acting as an author of her own destiny in seeking out the best possible alternative, irrespective of class and economic boundaries and limitations?"

Alexandra shot her a cold stare, and mouthed "bitch!". The brunette met her gaze, and gave a crooked grin, and blew her a kiss.

"Now we're starting to get somewhere"

The FP came around from the back of the lectern, holding the book in his stubby vigourous hands. Hefting a butt-cheek onto a vacant desk, making himself comfortable in the process. His coveralls bunched up in his crotch, and he casually freed up his LoveGun from the garotte-grip of industrial fabric. His feet swung freely above the floor, white sox visible beneath the frayed cuffs of his coveralls.

"Let's see if Isolde is a victim as Ms Alexandra would suggest"

Isolde could feel herself melting in Rugbert's manly embrace. Her nostrils were teased by the spectrum of virile aromas; horse-sweat, leather, sweat, the smell of his linen shirt which had been sun-dried on the clothesline.

"I couldn't bear it anymore...I had to come see you..." Her heart was thumping so loudly she feared it would drown out the sound of her voice.

Rugbert answered in his characteristic smooth baritone. "I was thinking about you too...wondering when you would arrive." His voice thickened with desire. His nostrils flared.

Isolde's fingers began to unfasten the silver buckle on Rugbert's riding breeches. She could feel his endowment seemingly uncoil and stiffen as it sensed a liberation at hand. He deftly began to unbutton the back of her silk dress, watching it change shape as it started to slide off her alabaster shoulders. Her nipples stiffened as they felt the breath of fresh air, even though it was limpid and mild outside. Her heartbeat was now a dull pounding roar in her ears. Rugbert's sure hand had ensured the final demise of dull conformity. Isolde felt herself going light-headed, and seeking to avert a swoon, collapsed to her knees in front of her Priapic Minotaur just as she pursed her full lips in a perfect "O", tongue tipped with moist anticipation of...."

Contemplative calm was suddenly interrupted with the sudden opening of the door, followed by a crashing of books on the floor. The commotion was caused by the sudden entrance of a short, round, frizzy red-headed woman of indeterminate age. She smiled uncertainly as her cascade of books and papers brought the literary spectacolo d'amore to an unwanted halt.

" this the class in Post-Structural Modern Poetry?"

She smiled uncertainly in puzzlement. One of the women spoke up.

"Actually this is Aspects of Post-Modern Structuralist Poetry"


The intruder paused, then brightened.

"I guess I'm at the right spot. I brought some of my poetry, and I want to read it to you....I'm Lady Gee-Spot!

There had been an especially long pause. Sometimes the Literary Muse tarries on her serendipitous path. In this instance there had been several detours. It's like that when you drive a 1963 Nash Metropolitan. We now rejoin our story in mid-stream....

Lady Gee-Spot was in a bright mood. Now she was going to be able to read one of her special poems, especially for these bright young women. With no further ado she scooped her fallen books and papers into a heap and shovelled them back into her Earth Day Book tote-bag.

She fished the promised poem from the depths of a dog-eared notebook and began to read.

On The Powers Of Ginger:
A Poem by Lady Gee-Spot

I have found ginger to do exactly this.
It is also a very good relaxer,
For When Love's Arrows are Hit Or Miss,
It is My Forest Prince's Celestial Elixer.

When you first take it there may be a little hot feeling,
In the middle or back of your throat.
Suddenly a tempest, you think you are reeling,
It's high seas over for the little man in the boat.

I Take it with honey, and it is great!
I know much when I used to know nothing.
I credit this root for my vigor of late,
When the FP is pistoning my stuffing.

The morphic calm mentioned earlier had returned. The classroom was still. Only the sounds of birds and a faraway lawn-tractor could be heard. The women in the classroom were sprawled in agonized poses, eyes glazed over with only a bare hint of life. Lady G-Spot stood transfixed with eyes at half-mast, smile on her face. A private reverie removed her from this plane.

Our hirsute hero had maintained a composed facade during this exposition, but it was too close for comfort. She'd blundered into this classroom out of the blue, and there was every possibility she'd recognize him. Perhaps it was time to make a discrete move towards the door.

Fate had other plans. Gawd's Invisible Magic Finger applied a wee dab of tabasco to Alexandra's perkily occulted nether rosebud. She sat bolt-upright and fixed Lady G-Spot with a gimlet stare. She was sure looking good as her lithe athletic torso showed off her cantilevered endowment to spectacular advantage. The Forest Prince marveled at how beauty and calamity conspired holistically in these dicey moments. He maintained his poker expression, although a faint sub-sonic groaning noise was heard. The iceberg continued to scour the starboard side of the mighty ship as the orchestra played in the main ballroom; far, far away.

"Although I'd like to express solidarity with your health-and empowerment is this root you are referring to?"

Time enough for that, later. Much later. Our Old FP leaped into the breech by interrupting this unproductive line of inquiry, cutting off Lady G-Spot by fixing Alexandra with a winning grin and an eagle eye.

"Alexandra, I think it's a swell idea if you were to read the next portion of our story!"

Alexandra, she of the flat a's and the lithe, lissome endowment glared at our mufti'd satyr. He gave her a beatific smile, then licked his eyebrows in a blinding flash. She stared at him in disbelief, reddening all the while. He handed her the book and found her place.

"It's right after 'Isolde felt herself going light-headed, and seeking to avert a swoon...'".

"I know"

There was gritted teeth and tension.

Alexandra picked up the story where our Auld Sylvan Regent had left off. He was making himself comfortable in a swivel chair. He had relieved the strain on his bum caused by his overalls cracking him bigtime. This was going to be fun.

"...avert a swoon, collapsed to her knees in front of her Priapic Minotaur just as she pursed her full lips in a perfect "O", tongue tipped with moist anticipation of Rugbert's Jade Stalk. All she could hear was the thumping drum of her heartbeat in her ears that drowned out the buzzing and chirping of the ever-receding world outside the barn.

She felt Rugbert's strong tanned hands at her shoulders, gently caressing her earlobes. Her head was spinning...this was so much more fulfilling than the fumbled clumsiness of that despicably inept bounder, Trevor Ricefield-Ratts, who was forever endeavouring to maneuver his narrow-gauge funicular device into her Orchid Bower. Her nostrils flared at the clean manly scent of her equine lover. She lavished her pent-up passion on his Celestial Dragon, conveying by gesture and motions the depths of her true affections.

Isolde felt herself coming into sunlight, and being eased back onto the newmown hay on a cashmere throw, and opened herself to receive the Full and Massive-Girthed Edifice that was Rugbert. Transports of ecstacy made her exquisitely porcelain skin ripple with goosebumps. Her toes pointed exquisitely as the two lovers conjoined in rhythmic delight.

But in this world of sunshine and delight, a small black cloud crossed the sky. The shadow of the Unclean was about to be. Isolde opened her eyes in premonitory shock.

"Trevor! What are you doing here?!?"

Monday, February 05, 2001

SGM50k: Minding the Store at Sturtevant Camp

The rescheduled SGM50k was run under perfect conditions this past Saturday. For those laboring under sleeting conditions elsewhere, now would be a good time to ignore the following paragraphs.

RD Jim O'Brien has designed the San Gabriel Mtn 50k to take full advantage of the vertical delights of Mt Wilson. The course is largely absent of debilitating flat stretches, which can only lead the unwary into the snares and traps of complacency. How many flat loops can any sane person do? How much frozen Hoosier mud does anybody need in this short life? I'm certain that many people asked themselves these questions.

Runners got off to a scenic start from the top of Mt Wilson. A scenic view of Catalina Island and the blue Pacific beckoned off to the south, but many had their focus on PowerBars, splits, Gu and future glory.

Tom Nielsen hung back in the parking lot, by accident or design is not clear. Perhaps it was too crowded at the start. In any event, a full 90 seconds had elapsed before he busted his first move of the day, which led to his eventual win.

In the meantime, the Sturtevant Camp Aid Station crew wended their way down the mountain to our appointed destination. Rafael Acero, Bryan Beel, Daniel Fabian, Bob the Ham Radio Dude, and yours truly, the modest and retiring Mr Trail Safety comprised the talent. Bob's Beer-Seeking Dog Hansen had other engagements this year, and was unable to make it.

We set up shop. We had the invaluable assistance of Mr Chris Kasten, who manages the Sturtevant Camp on weekends. This camp dates from 1893, the original site of the Santa Anita ranger cabin. Only 4 miles from Chantry Flats, it is an entire world away from the hell-bent pell mell world of Western Civ Yuppie Anxiety.

But back to our suffering penititents. They would pass through our Aid Station twice--miles 17 and 28 respectively. Some of you [and you know who you are] didnt train as well as you ought to, and frankly looked like hell. They got pulled as they were missing the cut-offs. Others were more of the Gallants, and got gold stars stapled to your foreheads.

A Mr Trail-Safety Aid Station is not complete without an espresso machine, and Barney, the purple fuzzy ultra hand-puppet. The satanic vapors of strong black 'spro and Barney's cheery words and phrases of sincere encouragement were much appreciated by many of the runners; or at least the ones who are not terminally humor-challenged. Even the recent diagnosis of Tourette's has not slackened Barney's enthusiasm. I drink my coffee black, you devil.

By 1430 our last runner had gone through. We had seen many familiar SoCal luminaries, including but not limited to Tom Nielsen, Suzanne Brana, Jorge Pacheco, Mark Marcelli [a recent repatriate from PA], Dana Taylor, and Bill Kissell for starters. Representing NorCal were Jennifer Johnston, Dave Penny, and Mike Soltesz from Marin.

The rest of the fragile eggshell minds continued their way along the dawn's highway. The finish is so close, and somehow, so far away. But in the end, you are up where you belong, and you say to yourself...what a wonderful world!

Until next year, my ultra-chickadees!