Tuesday, December 26, 2006

2006? Ummmm.

I love the week after Christmas for the absolute glut of “year in review” articles and shows. My favorite so far is ESPN.com’s Page 2 tribute to all of the stupid sports stories of the year, including two sidebars: “The Year in Tyson” and “The Year in Canseco.” Funny. http://sports.espn.go.com/espn/page2/story?page=hruby/061226&lpos=spotlight&lid=tab1pos1

2006…Let’s see…what happened in 2006? Not much, really. Errrrr. Oh, except one or two MASSIVE changes. Ugh. Yours truly focused on running training, did some sailing, rode a bike, swam some laps…I avoided major surgery, major illness, major tragedy. In all, not bad. As the year winds down, I’m largely better off than I was at the end of 2005.

Of course, 2006 also sucked. Most of you know why. 2007 HAS to be better, right? Right!?!?

Here, in no particular order, are some of the carefully selected highlights of 2006. Stay tuned for the lowlights in the coming days.

• The Seattle Half Marathon. My longest race to date, and one I wasn’t particularly in shape for. Cold, rainy, miserable, but still faster than my target.
• The San Juan Islands. Aside from one really horrific (and rather important) weekend at Rosario on Orcas Island, the San Juan cruising with the kids was unbelievable. Warm, windy, and uncrowded. Turns out that high gas prices can keep a lot of would-be anchorage assholes home.
• The A3. Seriously, this car kicks ass. There isn’t anything I don’t like about it.
• San Diego.
• Vancouver.
• James Blunt’s “Back to Bedlam” and the Everett concert from the subsequent tour. Dude has talent. And? He can write.
• John Mayer’s “Continuum”. Sure it’s an uneven album, but really? I’ve worn the thing out.
• Fall Series Racing. The “Lion” finished second in class after a series of high wind races. Love high wind on the Lion. With the blade flying we kick ass. Even for a bunch of incompetent fools.
• Cap’n Ron’s “accidental” registration for the 2007 Vancouver Marathon. He swears he meant to sign up for the half. Right…
• Talladega Nights. “Dear sweet infant baby Jesus…”
• The 305.
• The Castle.
• The Fuji.
• Philadelphia. Not the city so much as the trip. Thanks RPD and Al B.
• Joshua Tree. Once you get past the ground fall, the broken foot, the airline disasters, the sketchy climbing, and the loopy pain killer and beer fog I was in, it was a great trip to the desert. Time to go back!
• There are more. Scan the archives of the old blog here to see some of them…

Monday, November 27, 2006

13.1 (It's the .1 that Gets You)

There is a virtual tour of the route for the Seattle Marathon on the official web page for the race. It shows Seattle Center and the Experience Music Project "building", a wide open and sunny 5th Avenue, beautiful images of fall foliage along Lake Washington and in the Arboretum...What they don't show you is the blinding rain, gusty wind, and nasty old dudes puking on the sidewalk in front of you.

I ran the Seattle Half Marathon on Sunday. 13.1 miles of pure weather. You know what sucks? Rain. You know what else sucks? Cold. In my book there is nothing worse than 33 degrees and raining. Either snow or rain. Or be dry. But almost cold enough to snow? Sucks.

Mrs. Math Dude and and I drove to Seattle for the 7:30 start, arrived at 7:29:58, and started the race without so much as a little stretch or a trip to the porta-john. And even then it was only a little miracle of a parking spot JUST big enough for the A3 next to the EMP that let us get there on time. Nice way to start. And here's the thing about an early morning start in Seattle in the winter. It's dark. I mean, we could see and everything, but the headlights would have still been on in the car.

The course (Map Here) goes south through downtown on 5th (2.5 miles or so), onto I-90 and east through the Mount Baker Tunnel (the first climb), north along the shore of Lake Washington, back west up Galer and Madison Streets (brutal climb up Galer) and then through the Arboretum back to downtown. The finish is 3/4 mile of pretty painful climbing, especially if you are trying to kick at all. The finish in Memorial Stadium is great (running on the padded astroturf is very welcome after 13 miles of pounding pavement). It rained off and on but was never too bad while I was on the course. In fact, the little rain that there was kept my temperature about right for most of the race.

My goal pace for this one was 8:45 per mile, hoping that I could maybe run 8:30s. I didn't know the course and had no idea how much the hills would slow me down. Thanks to a little miracle called the Garmin Forerunner and MotionBased, here are my splits for the course:

1. 8:20
2. 7:46
3. 7:40
4. 8:00
5. 7:50
6. 7:50
7. 8:08
8. 8:17
9. 7:34
10. 7:33
11. 7:33
12. 7:35
13. 7:12

I had set out thinking I would try to run 8:30 for the first 9 miles and then see what I had left for the last 4. Race pace always surprises me, and I am mostly just glad that I didn't burn out on the hills. Overall I ran at 7:58 or so by my chip time, 7:43 by my GPS pace. Either way, sub 8:00 makes me happy. Official time: 1:44:33.

Mrs Math Dude ran a very nice 1:54 and RPD ran at his goal: 1:59:40.

Next up, the Vancouver Marathon Marathon on May 6th. Yikes.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A Philly Reflection

RPD and I are set to get on an aging jet plane and head back west. Here, in list form for the prose averse (this means you, Towse), is a recap of our week in Philadelphia:

1. There’s a lot of meat in this town. It’s like the whole town is catered by Applebees: bacon on everything. Even the Vegetarian soup has chicken in it, baby. Eatin' good in the neighborhood. Yum. Let’s just say that the cuisine here is not worth the travel. I’ve lost weight. "Can I get the Vegetarian Pizza without the sausage? Thanks.
2. Leaving Seattle for anywhere else in the country is a lesson in bad beer. Seattle bars are stacked with great beers. Here? Don’t even ask. At least they stock decent gin.
3. Al B drove his ass up to Philly on Friday for a nice 10 mile run (8:30 per mile, Al, in case you want to log that) and some beers.
4. I somehow ended up logging over 40 miles on the shoes while I was here. My legs are feeling it.
5. We tried to sneak into the Philadelphia Marathon route today, but didn’t. Still, we did a nice 12 mile route alongside the marathon route this morning (8:40 per). There was a lot of human wreckage en route. Paramedics and tragic limping. Here's a clue, folks, marathons are hard.
6. There might be more dead white men memorialized in bronze statuary in this town than anywhere I have ever been.
7. How important is cheap real estate to you? Move to Philly. A 3 bedroom downtown condo on a great street in an updated brownstone? 285k. The same joint in Seattle would be 600k easy. Still, you’d have to live in Philly, and Philly ain't close enough to NYC to make it worth it.
8. As I post this, the waiters in the lobby bar are grousing over their Philadelphia Eagles losing their asses to the Tennessee Titans. They really seem to care. Why? I have no idea.
9. Home. Time to go home. To the rain, to the weirdness. To a short work week. To a meat-related holiday. How much was that condo again?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Emerald City > Brotherly Love

RPD and I left rainy, windy, nasty, cold Seattle at some ungodly hour this morning to travel to The City of Brotherly Love for some work-related (WR) purpose. I still don't know what that purpose is. I'll find out tomorrow when they slap a nametag on my new Calvin Klein shirt and force me to carry around a lame bag with logo on it...

Anyway, even though I am in another time zone, NOAA keeps sending me weather updates for the Seattle area. I love the color map when it looks like this. Something is going down somewhere at home. High winds, rain, nastiness.

Here in Philly? Overcast and 65 degrees. Sorry folks. If it's any consolation, they showed "You Me and Dupree" on the flight out here. Ugh.

RPD and I did a nice 4 miler today through town and along the river. Nice place to run.

Tomorrow is WR stuff and then an 8 miler in the afternoon, assuming this third martini doesn't kill me...


Monday, November 06, 2006

2 by 2

Building me an ark over here. The "Flood Warnings" are coming in from NOAA, updated every few minutes:


Still, the Seattle Half is on the horizon and I need to keep my legs moving. Did a 5 this morning in sideways rain and ankle deep gutter wash. This afternoon I am headed to the New Balance store to get a second set of shoes for the rainy season, because there is no way I can get one pair dry by tomorrow morning. Here's my mileage plan for the few weeks remaining before the Half:

This Week: 35 miles
Monday: 5
Tuesday: 8
Wednesday: OFF (Swim)
Thursday: 10
Friday: 5
Saturday: OFF (Cycling)
Sunday: 7

Next Week: 33 miles
Monday: 5
Tuesday: 5
Wednesday: OFF (Traveling to Philadelphia)
Thursday: 3
Friday: 8 (Al, are you paying attention? You're on the hook for this one.)
Saturday: OFF
Sunday: 12

Race Week: 17 miles
Monday: 7
Tuesday: 4
Wednesday: 3
Thursday: OFF
Friday: OFF
Saturday: 3
Sunday: Half Marathon.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The Halloween Hangover

It’s the 11th month already. November is here, full of its bizarre academic schedules, painful family holidays, and the lull before the December finals barrage. With 2 months to go in 2006, here are 11 Things for No Reason:

1. Halloween in Suburbia is a trip. We’ve never really done the full-blown Halloween thing with our kids since we’ve never lived with them anywhere but out in the country. In our old “neighborhood” there were four houses, and they were so far apart that it took an hour just to get to them all. But the New Casa GVB is smack dab in the middle of suburban nuclear family paradise. Kids everywhere. And it’s the type of neighborhood that parents from other lame parts of town bring their kids to trick-or-treat. Still, the parents in our ‘hood just don’t do this right. We need to pick one house in the center of the development and make Adult Land: a safe place with comfy chairs and nice drinks where we can escape the chaos of costumes and candy and get the sort of buzz on that one needs in order to survive Halloween. It was a good chance to check out the reclusive neighbors, though. I think the two couples on lots 12 and 13 are swingin’…
2. The Seattle Half is This Month. I am trying to get back on a decent training schedule, but life keeps getting in the way. I’ve managed 16 miles this week so far, 8 of which came on a great loop around Edmonds and Lynnwood. Details here. . Why is it that some part of the body always goes shithouse on long runs? If it isn’t the legs, it’s the feet. If it isn’t the feet, it’s the lungs. If it isn’t the lungs, it’s the brain. This week? The gut. At mile 7 the whole system when down. Not good. Still, I managed an 8 miler at race pace (8:45), so I’m thinking the half will be doable. I’m trying not to have RPD’s race in my head for this one.
3. Some Things are Always Good. Example? Ok. How about Leonard Cohen’s “Light As A Breeze?” Give it a try sometime. Also? Shawn Mullins’ “Sunday Morning Coming Down”. Seriously.
4. Snow Cap. The Winter Ales are out and pouring. Every year I get excited about this and EVERY YEAR I drink one too many Pyramid Snow Caps the first night I discover them. Nothing says “headache” like too much winter ale…
5. Cash. With the insurance money for my golf clubs that were stolen from Mom GVB’s house, I could replace my clubs at full retail. OR, I could buy any of the following:
- A new spinnaker and jib for The Hood
- A totally decked out Apple MacBook Pro AND 30 GB Video iPod
- A first class trip to Kenya
- A new Scattante Triple Carbon Race Bike
- Half of a used Catalina Capri 22 (Cap’n? You in?)

And I’m pretty sure Towse is going to hook me up with some wholesale clubs anyway…Right Towse? Who’s your brother?

6. Go Huskies Ugh. Here’s the thing…I’d MUCH rather the UW Huskies Football team suck ass and lose by 30 points every week. But no. They’re JUST good enough under Tyrone Willingham to ALMOST beat USC, Cal, and Arizona State, only to lose each game in heartbreaking fashion at the last second. Hell, they even hung in with Oklahoma for 3 quarters. But the overtime loss to Cal almost killed me. Come back to tie the game on an improbable last second 43 yard touchdown heave from your backup quarterback? Then lose in overtime? I hate to second guess the best coach we’ve had since Don James, but seriously, Ty? Go for two and the win on the road when you are a 23 point underdog. Go for two. We can only take these “almost” wins for so long. Still, as I am sure DVB and others will support, just beat WSU in the Apple Cup and all is forgiven. Oh, and congrats to Math Dude’s OSU Beaver Believers for finally proving what we all knew: USC is all hype. The Pete Carroll era has officially started its downslide. In 5 years that dude is out of a job.
7. Go Ex-Huskies. As I write this Brandon Roy has just schooled the Seattle Supersonics as a rookie starting his first game in the NBA. Nice. The dude is a total stud and will make me a Trailblazers fan before he’s done. If he isn’t he prohibitive favorite for Rookie of the Year, something is wrong. His line for the first game of the season: 35 minutes, 10/16 shooting, 20 points, 2 assists, 1 block, 2 steals, 3 turnovers.
8. The GVB Tattoo. I am officially getting my first tattoo at the end of Fall Term. I have two basic ideas and designs in mind but am now officially taking suggestions. Two tat rules: It must be on a part of the body that will not sag into unrecognizable ooze as I age (see The Colleague’s ankle tattoo for example), and it must be readily visible to the general public. Hiding a tattoo on your ass (Towse, this means you) is not acceptable as a midlife choice.
9. The Trainer I finally broke down and bought a trainer for the Fuji today. Winter is coming and I need to keep the legs going since Cap’n Ron is dragging me on the One Day Seattle to Portland ride...I bought a nice CyClops fluid trainer with a solid footprint and nice smooth resistance. But after an hour of assembling the trainer and setting up the bike I realized it was sunny and 40 degrees outside. Duh. So I sprinted a nice 10 mile ride outside instead. I was going hard, as evidenced by the peak heart rate of 192. Oops. A great ride despite the fact that I forgot my gloves. Brrrr.
10. Cheese Steak. RPD and GVB are headed to Philadelphia for a conference on collegiate honors programs. This can’t go well. BUT, Al Bangorhard is braving the 45 minute train ride from NYC to consume alcohol and not be gay. Good for Al.
11. Friends. To Cap’n, NPAW, Al, The Colleague, DVB, and RPD: Thanks. You know what I mean.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Things I Know (With Conclusive Video Evidence)

Miss me? Sure you do. I’m still here. Most of me, anyway.

Here, in no particular order and for no reason, are things that I know:

Traffic in This City Sucks
Friday afternoon I left campus for what is usually a 45 minute drive home. Earlier in the day there had been an accident in Everett. A 2 hour drive? Nice.

When Stuck in Traffic, Music Helps
How good is John Mayer? How many times can I play “Continuum” before it becomes this year’s “Songs About Jane?” I listened to that Maroon 5 album for weeks, and haven’t heard it in months. What’s with my compulsive listening behavior? Maybe I am just testing these albums to see if they’ll make the final cut. By the way, have you seen these VW commercials with guitar players? Here's John Mayer's...

Big Head Todd and the Monsters Still Kick Ass
Proof that the above “album testing” theory does yield winners: “Midnight Radio”. Without a doubt the best, most underrated, and unknown album of the 90s. There is a local radio station that does a feature called “Desert Island Discs” where listeners have to choose the 3 albums they would take with them to a desert island. “Midnight Radio” is my #1. What are the others? What are yours?

Game 7 of the NLCS is an “Instant Classic”
Rain falling at Shea, two unlikely game 7 starters, a pitching duel, the most spectacular catch you will EVER see, the Mets down by 2 runs in the bottom of the 9th bases loaded, Beltran at the plate with a chance to win it…I don’t think anyone wanted that game to end. Except Al B, who just wanted Carlos to hit the ball out.

Some Things Are Just Cool
Example? Ok. My 32” LCD television with HD and a Sony Home Theater system? Even “Clifford the Big Red Dog” looks and sounds good on this set up. Is it weird that John Ritter as the voice of Clifford creeps me out? It’s like he’s speaking from the grave.

Some Things Are ALWAYS Funny
Example? Sure. The old Chevy Chase SNL “Land Shark” skit? Fucking funny. The skit itself isn’t funny, but knock on someone’s door this week and say “Land Shark”…totally funny for everyone. “Candy Gram…”

I Shouldn’t TXT and Drive at the Same Time
But I’m getting pretty good at it.

College Students Are Hypocrites
Someone explain to these kids that if they want me to be forgiving and interested in their lame ass excuses for late work, they need to cut me some slack when I am a day late posting an assignment.

I have clinical proof that a man can live on nothing but coffee and beer for at least three days.

Instant Replay Sucks
Why do we have instant replay? It slows down the games, it takes the game out of human hands, and the officials still never get it right. AND, the way instant replay rules are written, everything hinges on what the original call on the field was. So, when in doubt, the officials make the least controversial call and then rely on the “conclusive video evidence” to overturn the call. And THEN, they still don’t get the calls right. Grr. Can you tell I’m watching college football right now?

Who Do I Hate More?
It’s hard to know if I hate Notre Dame more than Washington State. Who would I root for if they played each other? This will keep me awake at night.

The Seattle Half Marathon
Committed to the Seattle Half Marathon today. RPD is running, and so is Mrs. Math Dude. Cap’n Ron is wimping out. BUT, Cap’n Ron is stuck with his decision to do the One-Day Seattle to Portland Bike Ride next summer. Sucker.

Goal pace for the Seattle Half is 8:45.

The Weather
The weather in Seattle has me rethinking Southern California.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Almost Mexico

Those of you who have been paying attention know that this will be my 3rd conference in San Diego in less than a year. And it isn't that I mind San Diego so much, but it would be nice to change things up a little. How about sending me back to San Francisco? Austin? Sheesh.

•The airport is right downtown. More so than any other biggish city, access to the aiport here is outstanding. AND, the airport is small and fast. Getting off the plane and into a cab takes about 10 minutes.
•The Gaslamp District. Gaslamp is like Pioneer Square but clean. It isn't much on funky joints and unique dives, but there are a lot of great restaurants and nice bars to hang out in, even if the whole joint seems to be overrun by Trust Fund 20 somethings.
•Weather. The forecast here is always the same: 70 degrees and mostly sunny. I couldn't really live in that sort of climate, but as a visitor it makes it very, very easy to take.
•Trails. The entire downtown and Harbor Island waterfront is linked by a nice wide sidewalk system. Perfect for running.
•Boats. From my hotel balcony last night I watched as the local yacht club ran a series of match races. You can see the action from right on shore and can hear the crews swearing at each other. It does make me wonder what people would think if they could hear Krumm's tirades onboard the Lion...

•Cost. This place is terribly overpriced in all senses of the word. Hotel rooms are outrageous ($350 a night for the Marriott? Really?), meals are pricey, and if god forbid you decided to live here, housing is completely out of reach.
•Sports. San Diego Padres fans are a pain in the ass. Especially after their team loses a home playoff game to the Cardinals.
•The War Machine. The views toward the ocean here are totally blighted by the massive military presence in the bay. Destroyers take up the waterway, helicopters rumble around burning fuel for no reason, and jets shake the damn foundations all the time.
•Those Who Work for the War Machine. I'm all for the "support our troops" thing, especially if that means recognizing that they are doing a job they probably don't want to be doing and acknowledging that they are underpaid and mistreated. But the attitude these "sailors" carry with them through the streets of San Diego is just plain maddening. For example, why do you dudes have to walk 5 abreast down a crowded sidewalk? Oh yeah, to make people get out of your way.

I did a nice easy 4 yesterday (8:54 pace). Today is a 10, which is the longest I've done since mid-summer.

More later. Four more days here before I get to head back home. Home! No longer homeless! More on that later...

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

This is Why Football is so Stupid

OU coach Stoops still hot over bad cal

Oklahoma's head coach Bob Stoops argues with a referee following Oregon's onside kick in the fourth quarter of their college football game Saturday, Sept. 16, 2006. Oregon defeated Oklahoma, 34-33. Stoops said Sunday, Sept. 17 he was "incredibly disappointed" after reviewing videotapes of a disputed onside kick and pass- interference penalty from the Sooners' last-minute loss to Oregon.
EUGENE, Ore. — There are no bad feelings between Oregon's Mike Bellotti and Oklahoma's Bob Stoops. Both are having difficulty with last Saturday's blown call.

Bellotti because it taints the Ducks' victory, and Stoops because, well, the Sooners got robbed.

Dear Bob Stoops:

Shut the hell up. Seriously. Yes, your team got jobbed in Eugene. Everyone does. This is why everyone outside of Eugene (and Portland, where Oregon alumns ALL seem to end up) HATES Oregon. Oregon is the school, remember, that was caught piping fake crowd noise into its stadium during rivalry games against the Huskies in the 1990s.

But seriously. You've been whining about this since Saturday night. The officials blew the call. Yes. But your team still had a chance to win and they didn't. Your team had a huge lead and gave it up. Your team gave up 2 touchdowns in 44 seconds. I'll grant you that Oregon should never had a shot at the second one, but your team could have stopped them and you would have won. It's not always someone else's fault. The truth is, the Sooners are not an elite team this year. And they weren't last year either. And this loss is not what was going to keep you out of the BCS title game.

You, Bob Stoops, get an official "Shut the Fuck Up" from me.

Dear Oregon:

No one likes you. You aren't an elite program. You aren't a national powerhouse. You have a lot of money and you bling it around with your uniforms and your stadium renovations. You can't recruit players based on your program so you recruit them with LCD monitors and Playstation. Your players are dirty, your fans are some of the most disrespectful and rude in the country (I'd rather see a game in Nebraska, where the fans actually understand the game and respect other teams) than in Eugene. Hell, I'd rather go to Pullman to see a game, and that's saying a lot since my UW Alumni Contract specifically disallows such travel). The national football world thinks that you have to cheat to win. And you didn't win that game. Sorry. If by some fluke you go undefeated this season you will not deserve a nod for the national title game.

Oh, and I didn't like you before anyway, but remember that billboard your school paid to put up in Manhattan pushing your mediocre quarterback for Heisman consideration? Lame. If your dude isn't good enough to get noticed on the field, HE DOESN'T DESERVE THE HEISMAN. Dumb asses.

You, Oregon Football, get an official "Get Bent" from me.

Now can we please move on to something more interesting?

Oh. Here's one. The NFL has prematurely warned the Seattle Seahawks that they will be penalized if the crowd noise in the stadium gets too loud this Sunday against the NY Giants. What? Do we really have a sport that is so ridiculous that the league needs to create rules to govern fan behavior and volume? Try that at a Premier League soccer match. Try that at an All Blacks Rugby match. Can't play with noise? Take up golf.

Football is stupid. That said, I will be watching the UW-UCLA game this Saturday AND the Seahawks-Giants game on Sunday. Come on over. Wait. I'm homeless. Never mind.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Somewhere on Long Island, Al is Getting Loaded

NEW YORK (AP) -- They soaked themselves in wine and beer, then ran out of their clubhouse to go back on the field, jump up and down some more and share the glee with their fans.

Ending nearly two decades of disappointment in their division and days of delay, the New York Mets brought the NL East title back to Shea Stadium for the first time since 1988 with a 4-0 victory over the Florida Marlins on Monday night.

Ok Al. It happened. Now can we start to wager on which AL team will stomp the Mets in the World Series? Or should be discuss the degree to which the Dodgers or Padres will kick the Mets right out of the NLCS?

Saturday, September 16, 2006

The 100th - Part One

According to the little stats that come with this blog, this is my 100th post to SailRunClimbRide. Huh. Seems like I could be doing better things with my time. Fuck it.

In celebration, here is a massively long, unedited, random post. Surely all of you faithful readers can find something here to respond to or clip and post on your office door.

1. Total Immersion. Al B tells me that the secret to my shitty swimming is Total Immersion. So like a dutiful consumer, I went directly to Amazon and purchased the book. I'm a cynic, mind you, and I was pretty sure this was going to be something like a fad diet. Turns out it works. You want to swim? Think like a fish. Or a naval architect. I'm up to training in sets of 500 yards and really digging the pool.
2. Marathon. RPD is apparently going to bash his way through the Portland Marathon. His first. Go get 'em. Based on RPD's most recent run totals (20 miles in 3:05.49 or a 9:17 pace) I'm not concerned about his prospects.
3. Half-Marathon. I am planning on running the Seattle Half Marathon in November. For this to come true I'll have to actually run.
4. The saddest song on my iPod right now? "Goodbye My Lover" by James Blunt. I dare you to listen to it late at night after a glass of wine and not cry. Even you, Al.
5. The coolest song on my iPod right now? "I'd Like To" by Corinne Bailey Rae.
6. Does anyone else stare in disbelief at the cars that still have "W" stickers on them? I want to pull these people over and ask them what world they are watching.
7. Football is a really stupid game. This doesn't stop me from watching, mind you. Early reports: Math Dude's OSU Beavers go out in Week One and beat the high flying Eastern Eagles 56 to 17 and then go to Boise State and lose 42 to 14 AND get run all over on the blue turf for 240 yards and 5 touchdowns by a walk on. Ouch. GVB's UW Huskies go out and barely beat San Jose State in Seattle, then go to Oklahoma and actually play well for 3 quarters, only to get pounded on the scoreboard. They suck. Al B's J-E-T-S suck. And the Seahawks? Well. Who really cares? Football newbies need someone to root for? Try this: Anyone playing against the WSU Cougars.
8. My golf season is officially over now that some punk kids broke into my mom's house and stole my golf clubs. I liked those clubs, too. Also lost in the "transaction": brand new golf shoes, gore-tex rain suit, my favorite yellow hat, and a pair of really nasty socks that I just now realize were stuffed into my shoes. Take that you petty thieves!
9. My friend Jim Caple really deserves a front page column at ESPN.
10. Classes begin on September 18th. Allow me to take this opportunity to apologize in advance to my students for whatever inattention or shoddy teaching they receive from me.
11. Race season is upon us. The 'Lion will be bashing her way through the fleet starting September 17th. Rumor is that Admiral Krumm might be joining the crew?! Thank god. A mitigating force to balance out Skipper Krumm's lunacy.
12. Just give me an excuse to open this bottle of Lagavulin 16 I have on my desk. Go on. I dare you.
13. "Family Guy" opened its new season with a 22 minute running joke about prostate exams and anal rape. How can that NOT be funny?!
14. I have downloaded over 1,000 songs from iTunes since it came online. Do the math.
15. Speaking of math...How cool will it be if Math Dude and I can actually pull off the coordinated studies class on the theme of "Vegas?" Pretty cool. Field trip! Research!
16. A few nights ago I was jonesing around the in-law house in search of a late-night snack and a beer. I found a Blackhook Porter in the back of the fridge from 1999. No lie. Now all of you can share in the pain of living here while Casa GVB is completed.
17. Casa GVB is almost complete. Kick ass. Inspection and walk-through are this week.
18. Will someone please do the research and tell me how far I can get with 256,978 United Frequent Flyer miles? Former Student seems like a good candidate for this job, but I think she died of exposure at Burning Man.
19. Is it too late to make fun of the Crocodile Hunter's death? Ok. Here's Norm MacDonald on The Daily Show doing it for me.
20. Mileage Update: A3 4,786. Fuji 893. The 'Hood (summer totals) 620 (nautical, not statute). Cap'n Ron's motorcycle: 3,000 and change. Some of those are Canadian miles, though, so they don't count.
21. Canadian Chicks Still Rule. Right Cap'n?
22. Bar Tab Update: Cap'n Ron, myself, and The Colleague somehow drank all night, ate dinner, and still only received a 21 dollar tab. I think Carrie the Waitress is in love with The Colleague.
23. The climbing gym as been sold to a large company that runs several gyms. Fine. Whatever. But they took away our couches! How can I work out without a couch to nap on?! And where will Andy's Mom sit her pretty little self while we climb? So sad.
24. There is no good reason to ever, ever, ever, go to a circus. Trust me. I just got back from one. Dentistry is more fun, and Soap Operas are more entertaining.
25. What is the best hangover lunch? My vote is Kraft Macaroni and Cheese with tunafish mixed in. And a cold Coke with ice. There is no other time when that would be palatable. Nor is there any other time I would drink a Coke.
26. Seriously, have any of you read The Looming Tower yet? Read it and then listen to a couple of Bush's lame ass terrorism speeches.
27. The Oldest GVB child started kindergarten this week. GVB only cried a little.
28. Last month I sent 1,294 txt messages and received 1,302. Seriously, I need to stay in touch more. Thank god for the IN Network. Unlimited txt, baby.
29. Here's a combination of good things, in no particular order: Hendricks Martinis, Dungeness Crab Cakes, Karryn Allison, Jazz Alley. Ok. They were in order.
30. I know Labor Day is the cutoff for white shoes and pants for women, but where is the cutoff for these flip flops I've been wearing all summer?
31. Last week I officially became the first man in Stanwood, Washington history to have a Mani-Pedi. It's important that my new neighbors and my wife's colleagues question my sexuality from the start.
32. Any of you parents out there seen "Lazy Town?" Is this the worst kid's show ever? Might be.
33. Just for kicks I went to the track the other day to see how fast I could run a mile. Not fast.
34. All you assholes wearing those Bluetooth headsets all the time - even when you aren't talking on the phone - need to be shot. They look ridiculous, and no one is impressed with your $38 technology purchase.
35. Pure Fun: Watching a woman practically give oral sex to a Pacifico bottle in a bar and then getting caught mocking her to everyone at my table. Pure. Fun.
36. Pay Attention: Ok. I know people are stupid as a general rule, but if we would just pay a little attention I'd me happier. I heard someone saying that they found "cheap" gas in Seattle. $2.89 a gallon. The only reason this seems cheap to you is because the oil companies jacked prices over $3.00 long enough so that seeing "2" as the first digit makes you think prices are low. Remember when "1" was the reference point?
37. Pay Attention More: Iraq isn't going well. Duh. Anyone notice the sudden re-focus on Afghanistan? How distractable are we? Oh look, a kitty...
38. NASCAR is stupid. I'll tell anyone. And anyone in Washington who really believes that building a NASCAR track in the middle of nowhere will do anything but cost taxpayer dollars is in need of a math lesson. Kudos to the group promoting the track's construction though for their perserverance. They've tried every county in the state with a large redneck population and still can't find a government entity to agree to fund their big concrete oval. Duh.
39. Congratulations to the City of Seattle for banning fortified wine and malt liquor in and around Pioneer Square. Racial profiling much?
40. Johnny Depp. There. I said it.
41. It seems reasonable to me that I could sneak an XBOX 360 into the new home furnishing purchases, right? Madden '07 anyone?
42. More football. Notre Dame needs to go away.
43. Improbable Parenting Phrase of the Week: "No, honey, you can't listen to 50 Cent."
44. Go outside to your car right now and take off those magnetic "ribbons" meant to commemorate something related to 9/11. And while you're out there, take them off your neighbors' cars too.
45. If you could live and teach at any university in the country, which one and why? Before you answer, think about Texas for a minute.
46. When should I start being concerned that my son likes to wear his sister's underwear?
47. Even more football: I like the new trend of keeping players' names off of their jerseys.
48. Sportscasters should be banned from using the the word "ironic". And baseball commentators should never be allowed to say "crafty lefthander".
49. RPD just sent me this article. Typical shit.
50. Dear Sports Fans: Chanting "Bullshit" at a referee's bad call is stupid.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The 'Hood is Back

While the family was away for Labor Day Weekend (I hardly labored at all, just two medium length runs, but on one of them I managed to hold a 6:53 pace for 3 miles), the 'Hood was unceremoniously delivered back to her slip by the boys from Marine Service Center.

I arrived onboard today to take her south for my annual "I Can't Quite Give In to the Start of School" cruise to Edmonds.

Good news all around. The new electrical work is superb (new batteries and charger with an inverter to run all my electronic toys), the dripless shaft seal actualy works, and the new MaxProp? Kick ass. This thing has WAY more torque than the old prop and it gives me a better cruising speed. I made the 14 mile trip to Edmonds in 2 hours. Granted, some of that was a helping current, but even in slack water I motored at almost 6 knots. It isn't much better than the 5.5 knots we used to averaged with the old prop, but over the course of a long trip, that really adds up.

What I can't get used to yet is the new sound the engine makes after the old broken engine mounts were replaced. Nor can I get used to the sound the new prop makes when it slams into gear. Oh well.

I'm here in Edmonds. Come on by K Dock for the last of the cold IPA. It's going fast.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Dear Ralph

Bring me some Advil.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Portland? How Do I Keep Ending Up Here?

Math Dude and I made our way south to Portland for some lame ass work-related meeting. But the meeting isn't until Wednesday so we spent the day on the links, playing a Skins match for dinner. The final scores are as follows:

-GVB 92, Math Dude 99
-GVB 3 lost Calloway Golf Balls ($14)
-Skins Match: GVB 10, Math Dude 8

I am happy to say that I won the Skins Match on a 10 foot birdie putt after a perfect 8 Iron to an island green. Math Dude even made it interesting by chipping in for his par before I lined up my putt.

Dinner at some dive steak house (I had the tomato linguine and some martini). Then some truly tragic trailer park action at Hooters. Yup. There's a Hooters across the street from the hotel. So sad...

More golf tomorrow.

Still no word on the 'Hood. I hope they don't sink her.

Monday, August 28, 2006

You Aren't Here

See all those boats? More than 2,000 of them. Look closely at C Dock South. See an O'Day 302 there? No? THAT'S BECAUSE THOSE F&*%^RS AT MARINE SERVICE CENTER HAVEN'T FINISHED THE WORK YET!

Cap'n Ron and I arrived at the yard in Anacortes at 9:30. By 11:00 they splashed the boat. By noon we were turning around because the prop wasn't working.

Bottom line? We lost one of the best sailing days of the year. The 'Hood is 2 weeks overdue and $1,000 over budget. GVB is PISSED. Mrs GVB called to yell at them and get a promise that they will be delivering my boat back to Everett for me next week.

On the plus side, I did sit on Allegro and entertain a six-pack of Mirror Pond.

Off to the Rose City tomorrow. I seriously doubt this trip will be as good as the last to that part of the northwest, but I will be dining (read: drinking good wine) with Ralph-o-matic on Wednesday.


Sunday, August 27, 2006


Two images of yourself you never need to see:

Your "O" face,


Your breathing face while swimming.

They're surprisingly similar.

Hot day today, so I went inside, of course. Did 1000 yards freestyle followed by 1000 yards with the pull buoy. Finished off with 100 yards of kicking, some sauna time, and a late lunch by the water where the 'Hood is supposed to be. Sniffle.

BUT, if all goes well, the 'Hood will be home on Monday night, complete with new batteries, a new charger, new AC wiring, new engine mounts, a new prop, and a new dripless shaft seal. All for free. I'm sure of it. Cap'n Ron will join me for the trip south. No beer will be consumed. Weather report? Weird. So we are on the official "fuck it" plan. Head south and expect everything. I have the reef lines set...

In other unrelated news...I think I just hired CAG? Am I old and lame enough that my former students are teaching for me now? Time to retire. Cap'n, I need a high paying job with summers off. Hook me up.

In further unrelated news: Am I really on the hook for a golf outing in Portland this week? Yikes. I've played exactly one round of golf in the last year. Should be interesting. Let's keep those stakes low boys. The good news here is that Portland means Ralph time. Dinner and drinks? You betcha!

And a note for the men at my gym. Two words: hair management. Sheesh. It isn't a crime to trim that shit once in a while.

More soon after the 'Hood is home.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

Short and Sweet

Nice ride today around Camano Island. 38 miles or so at 17 mph with one bombing downhill at 48 mph. Starting to finally get used to the bike after 900 miles. As the comfort level goes up, so goes the chances of taking a big digger. At 48 mph you're just trying to miss the biggest of the rocks and cracks in the road and hoping if you hit one you can hang on. Still, passing cars full of tourists? Pure fun.

You can get the data here.

Also did a 500/500 in the pool.

I'm wrecked. Tomorrow some weights.

More later.


Saturday, August 12, 2006

Bottoming Out: Weirdness Abounds

10:00 a.m. - Phone Call from Cap'n Ron

Cap'n Ron: Hey. You've been through Swinomish Channel, right?
GVB: Uh. Yeah. Why?
CR: We missed slack at Deception Pass so we're going to go through the channel to get up to the San Jans.
GVB: Oh. Go north to Skagit Bay, turn east, stay in the channel.
CR: Ok. I wish my depth sounder was working...

6:00 p.m. - Excerpt from Email from Cap'n Ron

...I did come up the channel... mostly by brail. I don't think this keel can ever say she has scraped her bottom more times. We actually ran pretty hard aground once... took a bit of coaxing to get her off...

Boat Weirdness Abounds
The 'Hood is still up on stands in Anacortes. The engine bone's connected to the transmission bone...the transmission bone's connected to the propeller bone...etc. The problem with letting a great mechanic dig through your boat is that he will find everything that needs to be fixed, and he will charge you to fix them. Batteries? Sure. Charger? What the hell. AC Inverter? Of course!

Estimated completion date: The exact last day of cruising season. Whenever that is.

The'Lion and the Buoys

Skipper Krumm wants to race the old tub this fall. Ok. Did you put in that auxilary cooler we have been asking for? How about that clever little sign that reads: "Have You Flogged Your Crew Today"?

Other Things
1. Despite a nasty little chest cold, I couldn't resist some pedaling time last night. Today I will do my best to keep from hacking up a lung in the pool.

2. Watched "The Lords of Dogtown" last night. Awesome. Heath Ledger as SoCal skateboard pioneer Skip Engblom? Perfect. Any of you punks who remember the old empty pools and banked sidewalk skating of the '70s and '80s have to watch this movie.

3. On Shuffle Play, the Nano served up not two, not three, not four, but FIVE straight Donavon Frankenreiter tunes on my last ride. Any statisticians care to tell me the odds of this on a 567 song playlist? Show your work.

4. The Looming Tower by Lawrence Wright? Read that one.

5. Do we really need Back to School sales in July? Just wondering.

6. The World Series of Poker has ended. The winner gets over 12 million. I know it's a big deal to win a tournament with over 8,000 people involved, but doesn't the fact that the same person never wins or even comes close to winning twice in row suggest that the game is more or less washed out? When dudes from Fresno who learned to play on the Internet can take down Poker "legends" with a hand of King-8, something is wrong.

7. Today's Statistically Improbable Parenting Phrase: "Son, those are your sister's panties. Put them back and get your own."

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Playing Catch Up

Hey look, I have a blog. Last you heard we were at Rosario with a broken boat and some happy kids. A lot has happened. Let's catch up.

Heading away from Rosario:

The plan was to go to Blind Bay for a night and then on to South Pender Island in the Canadian Gulf Islands. Several forces (the least of which was a very unhappy diesel engine) found us turning east instead of west. The 'Hood is now on the hard in Anacortes, in the capable hands of Marine Service Center. New engine mounts, new hoses, a new propeller, new propeller shaft seal, new AC wiring, etc. etc. etc.

We should have her back this week. Collective finger crossing, everyone.

Beach House:

A little boatless vacation on Hood Canal. Beach, sun, sand, seafood...Logged a nice run today. You can see it here.

I've given up the playlists. I'm letting go and letting Shuffle Play dictate my world. So far, so good. The trick to Shuffle Play is to not be too quick to delete songs from the iPod. There are some gems in the back of some of these albums. Here is what the Patron Saint of Shuffle Play served me today:

Too Much Food – Jason Mraz
Since I Seen’t You – Anthony Hamilton
Stay With You – John Legend
You Had Me – Joss Stone
Break Down – Tom Petty and the Heatbreakers
Runnin’ With the Devil – Van Halen
Less is More – Joss Stone
Morning Yearning – Ben Harper
She Don’t Have to Know – John Legend
Road Buddy – Dar Williams
Spectrum – Animal Liberation Orchestra
Engraved Invitation – Ben Harper
Just the Way You Are – Billy Joel
Yes I’m Ready – Barbara mason
Fooled Around and Fell in Love – Elvin Bishop

All great songs. "Engraved Invitation" is a great running song when the fuel starts getting low. And I can't get enough Joss Stone these days. It's like my Nano knows me. Creepy.

A short fast run in the morning to keep things loose and then it's back to the city-side of the water. Rumor is that I am expected at work on Thursday. What?! Can't The Colleague take care of all of this shit? Oh. She has been? My bad.

Oh, and the move-in date for New Casa GVB is set for September 29. Warm up your backs, everyone. Once everything is in the house, all the beer you can drink. Except you, Cap'n. I can't afford that much beer.

P.S. Vegas, Baby!!! Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Days One and Two: Fun for All Ages

Day One: Everett to Point Hudson

The ‘Hood cared for us nicely on the 30 mile trip from Everett to Point Hudson, which is without a doubt the coolest, most underrated little marina on Puget Sound. We pulled in after a little more than 5 hours of sailing and motoring on what turned into a very nice day, even if the winds were a little on the slim side. Still, the long reach from Double Bluff on Whidbey Island across to Oak Bay was perfect: 6 knots in flat water.

We grabbed the last slip at Point Hudson and set about being tourists in a town we have been to a hundred times.

Right before I went to bed I checked in on the NOAA forecast for the Straits of Juan de Fuca onWednesday. Here’s a bad recipe:



So I “slept” worrying about the next day’s crossing. There’s only one way from Port Townsend to the San Juans: across the Straits. My drowsy plan: get up and out early, before the winds rose and the waves had a chance to build. We’d have a little ebb tide to ride out into the Straits and if the timing was right we would enter Cattle Pass between San Juan and Lopez Islands at slack. Perfect.

Day Two: How to Take a Pounding

Up at 6:30, we were out of the slip by 7:00 and into thick fog in Admiralty Inlet. Smooth water and no wind. So far, my plan was working. We were doing over 7 knots with the tide and only encountered one tug as we crossed the shipping lanes. As we neared the Whidbey Island side of Admiralty, we turned north and made a course for Lopez Island.

Flashback: Labor Day 2005. Cap’n Ron and GVB, aboard Allegro are headed for Victoria BC, riding a big ebb out of Admiralty Inlet on a perfectly calm morning. Then all hell broke loose as the Point Wilson Rip Tide smacked us down. Massive standing waves with no wind pounded us into submission.

So I knew the rip was there. And I knew it was serious, but I didn’t expect it on this trip since the currents were so mild. I also allowed for it by reaching across to the Whidbey side to get away from the worst of it if it was there.

As soon as I crossed the shipping lane the fog lifted just enough for me to see Point Partridge to the north, and sure enough, there was the line of white caps stretching across the channel. With the current pulling us along we were in it in minutes: just enough time for your timid captain to get some foul weather gear on and make sure the kids and the Admiral had PFDs handy.

The Point Wilson Rip isn’t like most others. Most rip currents in the Sound create swirling water that pushes and pulls you. A little slapping chop is the worst wave action you get out of any of them. But the Point Wilson Rip, with the long westerly swell fetch from the Straits and the entire Puget Sound flushing its toilet out Admiralty Inlet, is a different monster. Add a westerly wind in the Straits and it just gets worse. The waves in the Point Wilson Rip stand straight up and bounce off each other. The current drags you into them and they just beat the crap out of you. The waves are STEEP, breaking, and fast. They come one after the other with no rhythm or predictable sequence. For the helmsman, it’s a nightmare.

Regular waves, no matter how big, are pretty easy to deal with on a sailboat, especially under sail. You hit them at an angle off the bow and ride over them. Last time I crossed the Straits on the ‘Hood I was alone, and that’s all I had: a westerly wind of 10 knots and a 5 foot swell. Perfect.

Today we got pounded. Beaten. Battered. Everything was tied down and stowed fine (Lesson #1 from the Allegro Bashing). And I knew better than to turn around to try to get out of it (Lesson #2 from the Allegro Bashing). And we were fine through most of it, even if the Admiral was both a little angry with my decision to go that way and the first mate was a little green from trying to play Barbies in the forward berth while we were rolling 40 degrees each way and pitching almost vertically over the waves.

Then the wind died. Without wind in the sails the boat whipped around even worse with every wave, and it means we had to fire up the Yanmar Wind to get through it.

There is nothing quite like the sound of a propeller, which is positioned well under the boat, coming out of the water as a wave rolls past you. Except maybe the sound of the cooling water intake coming out of the water and sucking air for a second or two.

This is when the skipper starts pleading with the Yanmar to stay alive. “I know you need seawater to live, but please don’t die, dude.”

The worst and only actual moment of fear came just a half mile before we were out of the Rip: a breaking wave (how waves break in 300 feet of water I’ll never fully comprehend) caught us right under the port stern quarter, lifting the stern up and rolling us to about 40 degrees, which puts the leeward rail in the water. No problem. But when a smaller wave came at us from the other side and grabbed that leeward rail and spun us over another 10 degrees, I was pretty sure I had finally found the combination of events that could capsize the ‘Hood.

Hey Cap’n Ron, remember that conversation we had the other night about cockpit scuppers being able to drain fast enough? Turns out mine work ok.

By the time we passed Partridge Bank the water completely smooth out and the wind built to 15 knots. We beam reached toward Lopez in a building sea (but a normal one) and when we found opposing current coming out of Rosario Strait, we pointed up and opted for Cattle Pass and San Juan Channel instead.

Tucked in now at Rosario for a few nights. Kids in the pool, Mac and Jacks on tap, massage appointments already booked for the Admiral, and some trail running planned for me.

Damage report: ouch. The forward bulkhead broke loose of its tabbing and is now rubbing against the hull. Something in the steering quadrant is either broken or loose, which will require me to take apart the entire aft cabin today in order to inspect it.

Oh, and one of my favorite pair of Julbo sunglasses took the big swim.

And the vent on the holding tank is clogged. Yummy.

That is all for now.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Sailing Away

We’re out. The ‘Hood is fueled up and fully loaded. Port Townsend, Rosario, and points north. See you in August.

The kids dragged me to the pool today, on my rest day, but I decided I could still afford a light workout. Ended up doing a 500 and then when the kids weren’t ready to leave, I grabbed a pull-buoy and did another 500 with just the arms. The swimming is coming together, but I still sink. I really do.

The lap pool at the club has underwater speakers. Which is fine but a little over the top. Further over the top in a perfectly cool workout sorta way? Swimming to Guns and Roses “Appetite for Destruction”. As Cap’n Ron said recently, as Quiet Riot played on the ‘Hood, “There’s no music that isn’t good at the right time.”

I hear ya.

However, I have decided that it will be my duty to teach the people of this town a little locker room nudity etiquette. For those who haven’t experienced the men’s side of the locker room, it usually goes something like this: the teenagers (who arguable are the only ones who should be bravely naked) are very modest and usually wear a towel or underwear everywhere they go; the 20 and 30 somethings tend to be unembarrassed but discrete, wearing towels and mostly minimizing the amount of time other men have to spend looking at their balls; and the older men are completely naked before they get all of the way in the door.

Whatever. Fine. Except for the truly gross old dudes, be as naked as you want. But there are rules:

1. The first ones in the sauna or steam room get to establish the cover-up protocol for that session. If you come into the steam room and everyone is naked, feel free. But if you come in and there are four dudes in towels and/or trunks, keep your shit covered. I thought this was common knowledge.
2. Locker proximity matters. If you have to step to the left a few feet to keep from sticking your ass on me while you bend over to pull your shorts on, do it.
3. Dry your shit off at the showers. Don’t drip dry in front of your locker.
4. Look, but don’t stare. Straight or not. Or at the very least, buy me a drink.

More reports from the field. But first, please explain to me how the forecast for Port Townsend can call for northerly winds at 10-20 knots but the forecast for Admiralty Inlet (about a mile east of Port Townsend) can call for southerly winds at 10-15? How the fuck do I plan for that?

Why not push up through Deception Pass, GVB? Good question. Try this on for size: Max ebb, 6.7 knots. Max flood, 7.1 knots. Slack? What’s that?

Weather permitting we will be on a mooring at Rosario Wednesday afternoon. See you there.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

A Lesson in SandBagging, By Cap’n Ron

First, plan a long ride for the following week. Then in every phone and email communication during the preceding week, talk about your lack of training and time away from the bike.

Several times, specifically say, “Dude, you’re gonna have to take it easy on me.”

Then, when it comes time for the ride, tear out of there and average 19 mph as if you haven’t missed a day in the saddle. Oh, but still ride in back and let your partner drag you around the county. “Take it easy on me.” Right.

The fair Cap’n and I did a nice long ride from Stanwood to LaConner today. We really have exceptional luck with these things. We managed to leave Stanwood with a northerly headwind and then turn around at LaConner with a southerly headwind. Try to plan that.

The ride kicked ass. On the last 13 miles or so we averaged 22 mph and then replaced all the burned calories with a late breakfast, complete with a breakfast drink containing tomato juice, celery, olives, Tabasco, and some magic mystery ingredient that they wouldn’t tell us about. Yum.

On another front, can someone please tell me why Snohomish County insists on “repaving” all of the rural roads with tar and gravel? It’s killing me. And the A3. And the Fuji. Ever hear of asphalt? All of my favorite riding and driving routes are now riddled with loose rock and oil. F Word.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Random Blog Content. Try to Keep Up.

Ok, first, it's hot. I'm on the 'Hood right now at the marina and the strongest breeze is coming from the fan that cools my laptop. I just flipped on the instrument panel. Here are the data:

Wind Speed (True): 1 knot
Wind Direction: WNW
Air Tempurature: 91 degrees
Water Tempurature: 61 degrees
Speed: 0 knots

Oh, and the temp down here in the cabin? Don't ask. Still, it's better than being in the basement of the In Law House where Mrs. GVB is pretending she is fine after suffering through gum surgery. Ouch.

Second, Cap'n Ron and I have planned a long ride for tomorrow.
I hit the bike shop today and spent my kids' college fund on some new clothes and tools to get the Fuji back in line. 800 miles into her young life and she's starting to complain about a few things. Has anyone seen the new Giant All Carbon race machine? Wow. Dear Cap'n, I need a raise. Or a job. Seriously...sexy bike. The Fuji is getting nervous.

The Seattle SuperSonics are sold. Hmmm. Does anyone care? I couldn't resist turning on sportsradio this week to listen to Bill from Tukwilla vent about how Howard Schultz has sold out the city of Seattle and how we should boycott Starbucks. Duh. I was pleasantly surprised by the caller from Everett who blamed the democrats for the Sonics impending move to Oklahoma City...Sure, if Dino Rossi had won the election the Sonics would be playing in a new crystal palace. Right.

Professional Basketball is the worst of the worst. As entertainment it is akin to watching reruns of MASH: interesting and nice as a diversion when there is nothing else to do, but really not something you go out of your way to do. The game has devolved into thuggery. It has lost all drama. The players are mostly distant pricks that you couldn't even imagine saying hello to. The salaries are obscene. The tickets are unaffordable. But mostly...who fucking cares? We live in a world where the New Orleans Jazz became the Utah Jazz. Jazz? In Utah? The Charlotte Hornets became the New Orleans Hornets. What? Now the New Orleans Hornets play in Oklahoma City? What? I am actually hoping the state and city tell the new Sonics' ownership what they want to hear: Fuck You. We're not building you a new arena. Go back to Oklahoma. We have MLB, NFL, and NCAA Division 1. We don't need your shit.

The Good Ship Parenthood sails again on Tuesday for waters north. A couple of days at Rosario, where it appears The Colleague and her family will be recreating as well (small world, much?) and then off to the Gulf Islands for the remainder of the trip. This means a blog blackout, of course, but the training will continue. Trail shoes and swimming trunks. There are lap pools at Rosario and Poet's Cove, and great running routes on all the islands. Updates to come.

The Math Dude and GVB will hit the links in Portland at the end of August.
In theory we are there for a college-related retreat. In reality it is 36 holes at Heron Lakes and Pumpkin Ridge. And, it looks like a dinner and many cocktails with Ralph-o-Matic are in the works. Add a screaming southbound trip in the A3 and the end of the month is looking good.

RPD is still alive.
He was last seen moving into the high-rent offices on campus. I hope the neighbors (me) don't piss him off too much. You know how much I like to listen to my 50 Cent while I grade papers, right?

Oh, and the youngest GVB child turns 3. Happy Birthday you little monster. Now stop hitting your sister.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

I'm So Hot, Baby


Nice. This is what we need. Stale air and heat. And of course I have a long run planned for Friday and a decent ride with Cap'n Ron on Saturday. Go early and avoid the heat, I say.

Logged some pool time this morning. Did a 500 before cashing it in and hitting the steam room.

Oh, and by the way, I don't really like hot weather.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

FPP Was Here

The mysterious FPP emerged in Seattle, beers and various foodstuffs were consumed, and then FPP vanished via airliner back to Colombia (via Canada? Odd.)

I know he was here because I was out all night in Seattle on a Monday night and woke up somewhere near Westlake with a headache and a mostly empty wallet.

I also know he was here because my "Recent Calls" log includes several friends from NYC and New Hampshire.

I also also know he was here because at some point we were asking our waitress about her underwear choice (nice, sexy, dirty, or filthy sexy?) and which of the Friends girls she would sleep with.

Oh, and since Mrs. GVB has said to me twice in the last two days: "You're not in Grad School anymore, you know" I know FPP was here. Nothing will provoke an eye roll and dismissive hand gesture from Mrs GVB than the arrival of a Grad School friend in town.

So FPP is gone with a suitcase full of Victoria's Secret panties (ostensibly for his girlfriend back in Colombia, but I think we know better). Good to see you, brother. Don't get dead.

Where's my car?

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Like Riding. A Ride Report in 2nd Person.

Start the day being dropped off, with the Fuji, at the marina. For 3 hours, pull wire, change engine oil, clean bilge, check hose clamps on cooling system, install remote for stereo, offload the beer bottles from last weekend (and realize that you may have found the source of Cap'n Ron's headache from last Sunday)…then lock up the boat, clip into the pedals and start north.

But the thing is, the best route north starts out going south to pick up Highway 2 across the river, then east to the far side of the valley, then north. 12 miles in and you are only as far north as you started 35 minutes ago.

You’ve done this much of the route with Cap’n Ron before, but when you hit Marysville you stay east and head up toward Arlington.

This is when you start to really notice the signs along the road:

Jesus Has Risen. Eternity? Where?

Help Wanted: Portable Toilet Technician.

Refuse Center Next Left.

Dump No Refuse.

Manure/Compost $10 a load.

Grandpa’s Fresh Oysters. Open Daily.

Pavement is Forever.

It’s Grandpa’s Oysters that get you. Fresh oysters in Arlington, purchased from the back of an old Chevy? You’re not so sure. And you like oysters. You really like oysters. Ask anyone, they’ll say you really like oysters.

Just before you head west on Highway 530 toward Silvana and Stanwood, the obligatory Ford F-150 pulls alongside you, slows to your speed (22 miles per hour, you notice) and does the little fake-out swerve trick like he’s going to run you off the road. After three or four of these moves, you reach out and bash the side of his truck with your water bottle, prompting the tiresome and predictable, “get off the road, asshole!”

“No,” you say. “You get off the road. I was here first.”

Your wannabe redneck then steps on the gas and you laugh as it lumbers down the road, imagining what that would look like in your own car.

The real fun comes when you catch up to F-150 driver at the stoplight. You’re stupid but not suicidal, so you stop next to his rear bumper rather than pull forward to his passenger window. People out here don’t shoot each other much, but just to be safe….

West now on Highway 530 into the teeth of a surprisingly strong westerly wind. It feels like 30 knots, you realize. A lesson in apparent wind speeds. It IS 30 knots. A 15 knot wind and 15 mph of speed.

Silvana, though, is where your thinking starts to fail you. Tired of the headwind, you just can’t stomach the thought of riding west out the river delta to Stanwood, straight into the breeze. So like an asshole, you turn left on a road that will shorten your distance by 5 miles or so. What have you done? You traded a long flat route into the wind for a short(er) hilly route. Duh. When given the choice next time, take the flat road.

As your Garmin beeps at you for passing the 40 mile mark you are on the last stretch to the house, past the lake that you will start swim training in next week. And you think as you ride past the little boat launch, “If I had to stop here and swim across this lake, I’d die. Truly die.”

And this is where you almost really die. You forgot about the Big Black Dog. This dog, one of these days, is going to get a size 10.5 Shimano right in his grill, if only you can get your foot out of the pedal in time…

Home. You find on the counter three new arrivals from Netflix that you put in your queue over a month ago. Among them is “Jack Johsnon: Live in Japan” which you immediately pop into the DVD player and watch as you update your blog. Not a bad day.

Before you fall asleep on the couch, the last thing you remember thinking is “Where should we go out for dinner? Because I’m not cooking anything.”

Friday, July 14, 2006

Welcome Home Heroes! You're Fired.


Rome, Italy: Italian Serie A football clubs Juventus, Lazio and Fiorentina have been demoted to Serie B after a massive match fixing scandal has come to light. 13 of the 23 players from the Italian national team that just won the World Cup are on those teams.

For the socccer-impaired, European soccer leagues have a demotion system in which the team with the lowest point totals in Serie A gets moved to Serie B and the highest Serie B team gets moved up to Serie A to play with the big boys. Imagine if the last place team in the American League was moved to Triple-A at the end of the season and the winner of the Triple-A world series took its place. Cool system.

Italian soccer is hosed. These world-class players won't play in Serie B and Juventus and Fiorentina can't afford them with all of the financial hits they are taking in this scandal. And if you figure that not only has Juventus been moved down to Serie B but ALSO been penalized 30 points AND barred from European play for a year, the club is in serious, serious trouble.

The sentence for Juventus marks the first demotion since its founding in 1897. The Turin-based powerhouse has won 29 league titles - including the 2005 and 2006 titles stripped by Friday's verdict - two European Champions League titles, four Italian Supercups, two European Supercups and two Toyota or Intercontinental Cups.

1897 and they have never been demoted.

I am reconsidering my subscription to the Fox Soccer Channel. With out Juventus and Italia, I will be forced to actually pick an English Premier League team to root for. And no, it will NOT be Manchester United.

Right Turn!

Yesterday I snuck out for a nice 40 mile ride. I was distracted most of the time playing with my new Garmin, but when I was paying attention there were cows and tractors and Ford trucks.

There was also a golf ball-sized rock at the bottom of a nice tight downhill turn. Front wheel hit it first, bounced sideways, and by some divine miracle caught traction again before I went tits up into a corn field.

Here's the fun part of wearing a heart rate monitor: I was riding at about 160 BPM most of the day. The "High Heart Rate" alarm on the Garmin is set at 190. Beep Beep Beep.

I really can't believe I didn't go down on that one. 25 MPH downhill. Sharp turn. Damp pavement. Big round rock. Scary.

Also scary is that my forks have developed a little carbon-fiber crackling sound that is most noticeable when I am climbing. Hmmmm. Someone tell me this is normal.

Anyway, I arrived home from the ride to be told that I was taking the kids to the club to swim. Ok. While there I decided to get a few laps in myself. Turns out that after a 2 hour bike ride, 10 laps in the pool hurts.

Who knew?

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Oh the Weight of it All!

On a recent long ride I made a startling revelation. I have arms. And they aren’t in shape. Why didn’t someone remind me that cycling, especially climbing hills, requires upper body strength?! Al, I’m looking at you.

The last long push back to the temporary residence is a low-grade 3 mile climb up from the Stillaguamish Valley to Lake Goodwin. Legs? Fine. Lungs? Fine. Heart rate? Fine. Arms? Gassed. It actually felt unsafe there for a while: standing and pushing up the last hill I thought I might just drop the damn bike on its side.

So I have added a little more weight training to the old regimen in hopes of combating this. Is there anything as boring as lifting weights? I really don’t think so. Except maybe the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, which I Tivo’d to watch Jason Bay’s at bats (1 for 3, btw) and then promptly deleted.

The worst part of the weights? The meatheads who come in and groan and grunt while they do nothing but bench press. That top-heavy Mark McGuire look? Not good. I keep waiting for their tiny little ankle to snap as they walk to the dumbbell rack.

I ran an easy 7 last night without the aid of a watch, so I have no idea how slow I was. While I was out the FedEx dude showed up with my new Forerunner, which I will break in tonight on the bike. Cool toy. I’ve already found a massive problem with it, though: it isn’t waterproof. Neither is the heart rate monitor, which means it really doesn’t work for a dual or tri sport trainer. I have to switch out to my Polar HRM if I want to record my sessions in the pool. Luckily, I still can’t swim far or long enough to make recording my pool sessions worth it. Mrs GVB, former competitive swimmer, lifeguard, and general water nut, promises to teach me not to sink.

How is it that I can run 12 miles and bike 50 miles but I can only swim 5 laps without getting winded? This is a serious problem that must be addressed. I am guessing it has something to do with the breathing. Mrs. GVB will tell me, as she swims past me laughing at my aquatic lameness.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

They Still Play Baseball?

Got a call from Mom GVB today who is, apparently, in Pittsburgh for the MLB All-Star Game? Pittsburgh? All Star? What? I guess when your neighbor is married to Jason Bay, you get invited to these things. Jason Bay? How can a kid from Trail, British Columbia, who went to Gonzaga, become an All Star? The mind reels.

Aside from Al B, who can't seem to get over his love affair with the Metropolitans, does anyone really care about baseball? Just curious. Not that there is anything wrong with baseball, but I just never hear anything about it anymore. Could it be the mind-numbingly long season? Could it be dickheads like Barry Bonds? Or am I just becoming a lonely cynic here in the baseball deficient Pacific Northwest?

I've officially started working out again. The new gym in the new town where our new house is still unfinished has a triathalon training group, so I am hooking up with them for the indoor work on the weights and in the pool. The swimming will get me. I sink.

Today I am going to do a solo ride to LaConner (50 miles). Wednesday a short run day. Thursday on the weights. I'm in danger of getting in shape if I stick with any part of this.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Now I Can Really Hate Zidane...

The underdog Italians, whose soccer federation is a mess of corruption and dysfunction, hung tough against the French side on Sunday and prevailed on penalty kicks. These are players who likely no longer have teams to go home to in their home country, who were supposed to be soundly stomped by the more technically perfect, more experienced French side. Those fuckers.

Want to know why I was rooting against the French team from the start? Zidane. This prick has all of the talent any player could hope for, but he throws it away at least once per tournament by doing something so utterly unsportsmanlike and mean that even the French press turns on him.

On Sunday, in overtime, tied 1-1, Zidane responded to a comment from Materazzi by attacking him with a brutal headbutt to the chest. The field referee didn't see it, but the sideline referee did. Red card. Buh Bye. You just lost the match for your side.

This from the same beloved player who stomped on the chest of a fallen Saudi player in 1998. Nice. I mean, sure the Saudi player had taken a dive to try to get a penalty call, but still.

When it came down to penalty kicks, the best striker on the team was in the locker room, and the French couldn't match the Italians.

Of course, the sportswriters then jammed their heads into the pitch and voted Zidane the best player of the tournament. Um...really? What about Italian captain Fabio Cannavaro? He played a brilliant tournament and didn't attack anyone as far as I know...

So, good bye to the best French player in history. I hope you stick to your word and retire from international play after this.

Now as for the rest of the World Cup, I hope FIFA doesn't cave into the media pressure to change the game again before South Africa in 2010. The American press especially are calling for the addition of another field referee, automatic red cards for diving, instant replay, and the abolition of the penalty kick shoot out in favor of returning to the Golden Goal overtime...

No. No. No.

Referees should keep total control of the game. Soccer is different because so far it has resisted massively dehumanizing the game with computers and television replays. The referee is a part of the game in soccer, not merely a technician. Teams must adapt to the referee's mood and tendency. Referees make mistakes, and it is part of the game, just as the sporting courtesies even hated rivals afford one another on the field (like putting a ball into touch when an opposing player is down or conceeding drop balls and throw ins back to the other team). I still think we should go back to the extra time being kept solely on the field. Playing past 90 minutes and not knowing how much time the referee is going to add is massively exciting in a tie game when your time is striking.

Overtime. If anything, FIFA should extend the overtime to another 30 minute session and allow the sides 3 more substitutes. After the first overtime period, go to Golden Goal. The shoot out is actually not a bad system, and it is exciting to watch, but I understand how some think it is a cheap way to end a match.

And diving...well, it's part of the game, always has been. Is it unsporting? Maybe. But added to the human element comments above, I think it adds drama to the game.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Park the Boat, Lace the Shoes

Let me get this out of the way: I hate the 4th of July. I don't think fireworks are pretty or neat or fun. I don't like crowds on the water or in the national forests. I don't like the maddening lack of awareness of the deep irony and symbolism of fireworks and purchasing them from Indians...But we survived.

We survived:

A sudden thunderstorm opening up over the boat, which was already anchored in a sketchy spot.

Motoring in the dinghy as a squall blew across the bay with 25 knot winds, driving rain, and 3 foot waves.

My pyromaniac father with $1,000 worth of illegal fireworks.

And we survived the above pictured sunset. Not bad.

With the forecast for increasing southerly winds, we decided to move the boat deep into a little storm hole, about 2 miles from where we had been anchored in front of my Dad's house.

Good thing: when we pulled up the anchor we found that it had been hooked on kelp rather than in the mud. Yikes.

This morning we moved the boat up to a slip in Port Ludlow. Tomorrow, with the forecast not really improving, we are headed home, a quick 5 hour trip across the sound.

Since we've been here at Hood Canal, I've logged two pretty good runs (what are you running from, GVB? Your parents? Uh, yeah.)




Averaged 6:53 on the short route and 7:50 on the long one. Not bad.

Time for a beer on the deck, methinks.

Cheers. See you on the water.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


118 minutes of scoreless soccer between host country Germany and Italy ended in one of the most spectacular finishes you'll ever see, with the Italians scoring two brilliant goals in the last 2 minutes of overtime to finally shut up the German fans.

Just as GVB's Mom drifted through the TV room to comment on how boring soccer was (this from a woman who watches every Mariners game of the season...yawn), Grosso put a perfect left footed shot into the side netting, and GVB almost knocked the coffee table over during his "GOAL!" dance.

Then, as the uninterested finally become interested, Del Piero finished it for good with a counter-attack strike.

2 - 0 Italy.

It was good to see the Germans lose. One, no one (except the Germans, of course) wants to see the host country in the finals, in their own stadium, with all their own fans. And B, the Germans were so clearly playing for the tie in the waning minutes, hoping to get to penalty kicks (where they have never lost in World Cup play and Italy has never won). I don't mind ties in soccer as much as most Americans do, but I definitely do not like watching a team TRY to tie when they could be trying to win.

Oh, and three, the German style of play is so decidedly Eastern European (read: boring) that the games themselves are torturous to watch. German club soccer is technically perfect and endlessly boring. The Italians, the Brazilians, the Portuguese, even the French put some flare into the game.

And no matter who wins between France and Portugal on Wednesday, next Sunday's final will be fast-paced and physical. I say Portugal advances but loses to Italy in the final, 2-1, in overtime. If I was a betting man. Which I am.

Oh and by the way, cheers to FIFA for having the most sensible overtime rules in professional sports. I still would favor a play until someone wins system (except that it would kill the players), but getting rid of the Golden Goal (hello NFL?) was the right choice.

Let's Talk About the Weather

So here we are, anchored out in Hood Canal in a bay that is great in a northerly wind. We had a perfectly smooth night Monday and as of noon on Tuesday the northerlies are filling in and keeping the 'Hood pointing nicely offshore in about 20 feet of water. Perfect.


NOAA is giving me all sorts of grief today:


Ahhh, I should sleep well as those southerlies build and swing us toward the lee shore tonight...

Monday, July 03, 2006

I'm out. Again

The 'Hood is ready roll and we're off.

Hood Canal for the 4th. Port Ludlow after that. Maybe Port Townsend for a few. Home soon with details and pics

Be excellent to each other.

Friday, June 30, 2006


How does the world's most popular and important game, the most popular youth sport in America, and one of the last pure sports suffer from such indifference in this country?

As I write this I am watching Germany and Argentina in the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup. Argentina just scored on a brilliant set piece header to silence the hometown German fans in the 49th minute.

Last week we were moored at Rosario Resort on Orcas Island (more on that later) and in the hip little dockside bar that served me up some wireless Internet, I watched Argentina beat Mexico in overtime to advance. There were 15 of us crammed in this little bar in the middle of an 80 degree day watching soccer on a cheap ass television with a sketchy satellite signal. It was a great afternoon.

But that's not the point here. Why do Americans dislike this game so much?

Don't give me the low scoring argument.

Last night's Mariners-Diamondbacks game ended 3-2.

Don't give me the lack of "action" argument.

In soccer the action never stops. The play is always moving, for 90 minutes. In American football the play stops every 4 seconds.

Oh, and in the paper last week I read a commentator arguing that the game was too complicated.

Please. The rule books for American sports are mindboggling and so nuanced that they have to change every year. They tweak the rules in the NBA and NFL every month, and we don't even trust the officials enough to call the game, so we have to use computers and cameras to call the games. Try explaining American football to a newcomer. False starts, offsides, men in motion...

Here's what it is...

Americans are idiots. We look at a sport that the rest of the world has endless passion for and we dismiss it out of hand. Because we can't claim it as our own, we turn away and create our own games. We aren't as good at it as Ghana or the Ukraine, so we quit like a sore loser on the playground. "Oh yeah, well I didn't want to play with you anyway!" So what if the USA lost in the World Cup, it's a dumb game anyway.

Americans are ruled by rules. There is nothing pure in this country anymore. We have even ruined baseball, the closest thing we had to a pure sport.

Americans are stupidly fixated on superstars and individual accomplishments. This gives us, instead of wonderful teamwork and strategy, Barry Bonds...

You would think that since so many of us played this game as kids we would have a greater affinity for and understanding of the game...soccer doesn't privilege size over speed or speed over size or one skill over another. There is a place on the soccer field for any reasonably athletic kid.

(oh, and there's a reason that so many kids play soccer: it has a short learning curve, it doesn't take expensive equipment, and you can play with as many kids as you happen to have around at the time. Try playing baseball with 6 kids.)

Look folks, watch soccer. It's a beautiful game.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Missed Me?

So you noticed I was away did you?

Here I am.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Channeling my Inner Jack Johnson

Finals week always feels like summer camp around campus. Not for the students, of course, who are racing around trying to get extensions on papers and cheat sheets for exams.

For faculty, though, the mood is high. We don’t have classes to teach and we don’t yet have finals to grade. Lunches go long(er than usual) and normally pathetic and reclusive social scientists migrate out to local Chinese restaurants for the $5.95 lunch special. They still actually talk about work, but it’s a start. Come on, guys. Branch out. Talk about music, or baseball, or sex...wait. Stick with what you know.

So Wednesday I broke several office rules, including, but not limited to, the footwear expectation. It’s warm out, even if it’s raining, and the bare feet are my attempt to channel my inner Jack Johnson. I missed the Kokua Festival this year, and I won't make it to NYC for Jack's Central Park show...give me a break on this one.

I also failed to show up for my own final. Nice. Tenure? Sure, I’ll have some of that.

Cause? Or Effect?
Wednesday night, after cleansing my guilt-ridden soul after my day at “work”, I went through the vacant Former Casa GVB one last time to check all the cupboards and drawers for forgotten treasures. Then I jumped on the Fuji for the ride back up to our current/temporary/massively weird living situation at the In Laws’. 17 miles on winding, hilly roads with no shoulder in a 15 knot breeze. Fun. It was a short distance so I went all out and averaged 23 mph with a high of 41. Weeeee.

But it occurred to me as I almost wiped out on a particularly sharp curve that I was riding way more aggressively than I had in the past. I was diving into turns and getting down in the dropouts more. Hmmm. Where did this behavior come from? Where else in my life am I behaving this way? Ask Mrs. GVB.

Call it the A3 Factor. Everything is fast these days. I need desperately to get back on the boat and remember what it’s like to go slow again. Even then, I imagine I will be sailing The Hood pretty hard when we leave next week for our first long summer cruise. Why do 5.5 knots when you can do 5.7?!

From the Mouths of Babes
5 Year Old: “Mommy, can we take Daddy’s new car to school today?”
Mrs. GVB: “Um, no. It’s called Daddy’s New Car for a reason.”
5 Year Old: “It’s sooo way cooler than your car.”
Mrs. GVB: “I’m aware. As soon as you grow up and move out I can get one, too.”

Things I’ll Miss
Today is my last day on campus for the summer. Sure, I’ll pop in to check on things once in a while and have meals with The Colleague, who is trapped here teaching full time for the summer, but I’m shutting down the office and hanging out the “Gone Climbing/Sailing/Riding/Running” sign. Among the things I will miss about the school year (this is NOT a comprehensive list):

-The Aloha
-My several boyfriends’ places (Anthony, Rory, and Arnie among them)
-The daily anticipation of the next mental meltdown from the Outgoing Dean (who yesterday actually mistook NPAW for Mrs. GVB. This is not an easy mistake to make).
-Rumor and Innuendo

Next Up
Today, a gym session with the Cap’n.

This weekend with Dad GVB at the beach for Father’s Day.

And stay tuned for my predictable World Cup Soccer rant. Here’s the headline: “Americans Are Stupid”