Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Nano: R.I.P

Born: San Diego, CA, March 2006. Died: Everett, WA January 2007.

I remember when we first met. I had just been unceremoniously dumped by my first iPod, who left me for an Alaska Airlines flight attendant or lost and found employee somewhere in Southern California. She took with her dozens of playlists and 5 gigabytes of music, leaving me nothing but my lousy iTunes memories of our time together.

After drowning my sorrows at a hotel bar, I went to bed with a resolve to move on in my audio life, and the next day I hoofed it to the Fashion Valley Mall Apple Store, where a sleek, all white 4 gigabyte beauty caught my eye. I immediately loaded her up with all new playlists, popped her earbuds into my ears, and took off running.

My best estimate is that we shared over 500 miles of running and at least 700 cycling. Plus thousands of miles in the air and on the water. How many train trips? How many late nights trying to drown out the sound of the 95 year old couple upstairs? Sigh. Quite a run. But on Sunday I plugged her into The ‘Hood’s stereo and she just stared at me with a lifeless screen before giving a little gasp and fading out. The Nano is dead.

Here are some of my favorite playlist memories from our time together. Tomorrow I’m dragging the kids to the Lynnwood Apple Store to replace her. I think there is a John Mayer song about this…I’m gonna find another you…bitch. I hope she looks like you. And lasts LONGER too. Maybe this time I'll go Black...yeah. That will totally piss my parents off...

The Fly Away List
(for a recent trip to San Diego, during which nothing of note happened)
Pass Me Over - Anthony Hamilton
Passenger Side - Wilco
Never Know - Jack Johnson
Crazy - Seal
Dance With You - Live
Reality Used To Be A Friend Of Mine - P.M. Dawn
Sister Sweetly - Big Head Todd & The Monsters
Waiting for You - Ben Harper

The Kenmore List
(Kenmore isn’t just for High School Keg Parties anymore)
Kissing My Love, Bill Withers
On the Couch, Prince
Light as the Breeze, Billy Joel
Let's Get it On , Marvin Gaye
Sign Your Name, Trent d'Arby
Flow, Sade
A Song for You, Herbie Hancock
The Very Thought of You, Etta James
Love me Like a Man, Karrin Allyson
Breakdown, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers

The Leaving List
(good for moving on…)
Nothing Left to Lose, Mat Kearney
Chasing Cars, Snow Patrol
Colorful, Rocco DeLuca & The Burden
Hold You In My Arms, Ray LaMontagne
Until We Fall, Audioslave
Last Request (Live & Acoustic Version), Paolo Nutini
My Kinda Lover, Billy Squier
If You Want My Love , Cheap Trick
Best of My Love, The Emotions
Dusk And Summer, Dashboard Confessional
Rock 'N Roll with Me, David Bowie
The One I Love, David Gray
Girl Like You, Donavon Frankenreiter

So, we bid farewell to the Nano and prepare to welcome in a new Nano. Bigger, better, more colorful…Luckily Mom VB and I did some damage at the local casino this week so I can drop some cash on new electronics. Lord knows I’ll need it to drown out Cap’n Ron’s desert-air-snoring in J Tree next week.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

This Week in Diversity

This year’s Superbowl, for the first time ever, is interesting and important. It marks the first time the Superbowl has been contested by a black head coach. More startling? Both teams, the Chicago Bears and the Indianapolis Colts are led by black head coaches.

"It means a lot. I'm very proud to be representing African-Americans. I'm very proud of Lovie."
-- Tony Dungy.

"I'll feel even better to be the first black coach to hold up the world championship trophy."
-- Lovie Smith.

What is this proof of? Maybe the “Rooney Rule” that required NFL teams to consider minority candidates for all vacancies has had its desired effect? Maybe professional football culture has just “matured” to the point that the fans are ready for African American men to be more than the labor on the field, but also the administrators on the sidelines? (I have a really hard time using the words “mature” and “football” in the same sentence.)

This is my damn blog, so here is what I like to think about this:

Having two black head coaches in the Superbowl is a big deal. It is proof that if you offer opportunity for minorities to enter into previously white-dominated fields, those minorities will eventually “trickle up” to positions of power. If you want to see a black president at a university, you need to start by having more black students. Doy.

If we believe that sports are a good microcosm for the society in which they are played, then this shift would serve as an indicator that we are becoming a more progressive, inclusive, society.

I am still waiting for the first openly gay major sports athlete to break through and start changing the culture of football, baseball, and basketball. I have a feeling it is going to be a long wait there.

New Rule: If you need a translator to file your grade complaint in your college English course, that grade complaint is instantly denied.

What are you talking about GVB? Ok. I’m creative and all, but I couldn’t make this shit up:

Concerning an essay - the first essay consisted of three assignment. Second essay of two. In the fourth module you spoke that students are in a free essay - answers to questions. I also not clear your subjective general criteria - college-level paper.

As the instructor your problem to learn and not just examine. I also do not agree with your phrase- "None of your essays was submitted correctly despite my repeated requests".. Any repeated inquiries was not. It is easy through a web of the Internet. I wish to tell that is measured to lift seriously mine a question. And if it will be necessary will not be limited to "walls of college (VP)".

Also? The next time a student petitions The Colleague and me for an entry pass into the English sequence with the following sort of phrasing? Death by Middlemarch:

hi, i need to kwno how to talk to so to challenge placement test soonest.


After a week of feeling myself get fat while nursing a nasty chest cold (for the record, The Colleague didn’t sound any better), I finally laced the New Balance back up today and started back in on the miles. You can see the route and data here. In all not a bad warm up. Lungs felt ok and the legs are fine. The stomach is still a little angry from being sick for a week and not eating well, and I gave into my gastrointestinal needs after about 4 miles.

Oh, and I know NOTHING of import has ever gone down on Rucker Avenue, but today I got the sheer pleasure of seeing a cop beat down a high school kid in front of the climbing gym. Good times. I wonder what city ordinance he violated? Did he post a bill? Did he cross against the red? Did he stay out past 9 pm on a weeknight? Everyone knows that Everett closes at 9.

For the record, that student was off his nut.

I rescued all of the climbing gear from Mrs GVB’s house today. Kick ass. This must mean that gravity testing can’t be far behind.

Friday, January 19, 2007

I Think They Call it "Seasonal Depression Disorder"...

Seattle is known for its supposed rainy weather, which anyone who has ever really lived here will tell you is not really rain at all. It’s more like living in a low, wet cloud that settles in sometime in October and hangs on until February. And after 30 some years of living (mostly) in the Seattle area, I’ve gotten quite used to, errr, “moisture”. This means that I really don’t mind running, cycling, sailing, walking, hiking, tap dancing or bar hopping in the rain. Dr. Gore didn’t invent his miracle membrane fabric specifically for Seattleites, but he might as well have.

And, generally speaking, I’m a fan of the occasional snow day we get in Seattle. It’s rare enough that it feels sort of like a vacation day, and schools and such are pretty quick to just shut down and give us lucky academic types the day off. If you happen to find yourself snowed in with your significant other? All the better.

But we are just now coming off a long stretch of shit ass crap weather. Snow, ice, slush, sleet, wind, flooding, freezing cold…Give me one of these at a time and I can function pretty well. Training in this shit? No thanks.

Add in this mystery cold/flu/cough thing I’ve been fighting off for a week and what you get is a training calendar that has nothing on it for over 5 days.

This morning I had to run 100 yards to catch my train and it almost killed me. It’s an hour later now and I’m still breathing hard from the exertion. None of this is good…someone/thing needs to inspire me to get the shoes back on soon. Anyone?

Maybe I need to sign up for a race every weekend like Al Bangorhard.

Just to keep my blog sorta literary, allow me to recommend the following:
It Is If I Speak by Joe Wenderoth. And if you don't already know his Letters to Wendy's you should get that one too. Awesome.

I’m not officially alarmed yet, but a glance at the conference standings has the UW Men sitting at the bottom of the Pac 10 with a road game against suddenly relevant WSU this weekend. There is some cause for concern. I was really hoping to watch the Dawgs in the NCAA tournament again this year.

Be afraid. The normally comically incompetent crew of Dent-de-Lion is winning races. Thank Non-Denominational-Supreme-Being for high wind.


It occurred to me recently, as I was wasting a solid two hours playing NCAA Football on my Playstation, that what we need is a realistic college sports video game. In the most current version of the football game (which is enormously fun by the way) you can create a “Dynasty” program by recruiting blue chip players and allocating energy to training, recruiting, and discipline. But I want to be able to really coach the team just like real college coaches. I want to take bribes from boosters, gamble on my own team through thinly disguised “office pools”, torture my players with “optional” off-season workouts, offer my star players “jobs” working at my lollipop factory, extort favors and concessions from the university president, force “tutors” to do my athletes’ homework for them, bail my star running back out of prison after he beats up his girlfriend in a fit of ‘roid rage. That sort of stuff. Then I want to take a lucrative contract offer from Alabama right before the shit hits the fan at my current school.

I also want the option to take cheap shots after the whistle (a feature I really, really miss when I am playing WSU or Oregon), intentionally hurt the star quarterback, hold, kick, trip, commit pass interference on purpose, taunt the opposing fans, stomp on the logo of my rival school. Come on EA Sports. Step up. If it’s in the game…

You Tube is My Friend
Some of you saw this clip posted on the BiCoastal Boys Blog...but check it out again. Funny stuff. How many time can I tell people to "suck a bag of dicks" today? 3 and counting.

The Annual Geology Tour and Gravity Test is coming soon! All interested parties shall meet at Jumbo Rocks Campground in Joshua Tree National Park on the 6th of February.

Big Head Todd and the Monsters at the Showbox February 28th. Don’t get me started on how good this band is…

The VB Brothers’ Annual State-Funded Beer Fest will be held in Chicago this year in early March.

Taking over The Former Student’s fab Belltown loft for a few nights? Um…ok.

Stay tuned.

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Death By Training

Did a nice 8.5 mile run today in the early moments of whatever storm is about to knock our power out for the 30th time this winter...

The first 4 miles? Uphill, upwind. Slow.

The last 4? Downhill, downwind. Still slow.

I suck.

Ah, but to return to find that The Colleague had restocked the Winterhook? That makes it all worthwhile.

In other news, the oldest GVB offspring turned 6 today. Cupcakes for everyone. 6 years ago tonight? I'd rather not talk about the terror of THAT evening...

Happy Birthday Little Girl. Now stop growing up. I don't relish what I imagine your teen years to look like.

Point Click SHIT!!!
Have I mentioned that Cap'n Ron "accidentally" signed up for the Vancouver Marathon? Right...

Net result is that he is training like a madman. Look out.

The Same Old Shit in 2007...and Threesomes

Let's start with the "Bowl Championship Series". Is there a more screwed up system in sports for awarding a championship? Maybe the NBA Playoffs, where the teams with the highest television ratings get to play for the trophy. But the BCS? What a god damned joke this is. Boise State is the ONLY undefeated Division 1 football team left at the end of the season. 13-0. They beat Oklahoma in their bowl game (a bowl game that most thought they didn't deserve to be invited to). Ohio State goes into the "championship" game undefeated and gets TROUNCED by Florida. Florida ends the season 13-1. Ohio State 12-1. Boise State? 13-0. Hmmmm. I don't need no computer to tell me the the best team in the nation is the one that never lost a game.

AND, the final polls have Boise State at #5! What?!

This is what happens when you let Tostitos and Fed Ex dictate the bowl games, folks. Either start a playoff system NOW, or go back to letting the voters decide. At worst you end up with a situation like 1991 where both Washington and Miami ended up undefeated and never played each other. Big deal.

So far I'm a fan of global warming. Snow, rain, floods, wind, power outages. Kick ass.

Run Forrest Run!
Training for a marathon...'nuff said. Burning through the new shoes pretty fast. BUT, if people don't stop hitting me with their cars in crosswalks I'm not going to make it to May.

The 'Lion is back on the waters of Port Gardner, kicking ass and pissing people off. In a new twist this year, we've had high winds for every race. Again, I'm a global warming proponent at this point. More wind!

Three Bi Dudes
So Al Bangorhard, MoveitFred, and some west coast dude have banded together to co-blog. Sounds straight to me.