Monday, March 24, 2008

Where Am I Going? Where Have I Been?

3,000 Miles on 2 Wheels. (Well, four if you add the two bikes together.)

Cap'n Ron and I are back from the moto trip to Joshua Tree and back. I'll let the narrative at Geomatic Guy do its thing. I am left with several unanswered questions:
  • Which I-5 stretch is worse, 530 miles from Bothell, WA to Yreka, CA? Or 480 miles from Yreka, CA to Visalia, CA?
  • Which is better, dirt riding in Joshua Tree National Park or paved mountain roads near Sequoia National Park?
  • Which is worse, 29 degrees and snowing in the Mojave Desert, or 32 degrees and snowing outside of Bend, OR?
  • Which town is more tragic, Barstow, CA or 29 Palms, CA?
  • Which is worse, paying $4.39 a gallon for gas in Death Valley, or paying $20 for 2 gallons of gas from Stu the toothless hick in Shoshone, CA?
  • Which is better, coasting into Shoshone, CA on fumes, or finding that an apparently normal power outage means there is no way to pump gas?
  • Would you rather be killed by an angry military serviceman in Barstow or in 29 Palms?
  • Why, exactly, are drivers in Washington the absolute worst drivers on the planet?
  • Why does a 25 mph corner mean you can do 50 mph when a 10 mph corner means you can only do 5?
  • Exactly what benign force kept Cap'n Ron and I from dumping the bikes in that deep, sandy corner on Geology Tour Road?
  • Why is it my fault with Cap'n Ron drinks more beer than he planned? (And, I might also ask, why doesn't Cap'n Ron just plan on drinking more beer so he won't feel like he had too much?)
  • How far into a trip do you have to be before 300 miles seems like a "quick hop?"
  • Or, maybe the proper question here is this: How close to home do you have to be before powering through 300 miles seems like less torture than staying away for even one more day?
  • Who the fuck lives in Beatty, NV?
  • Is it worth playing $5 worth of video poker to get a comped drink that costs $6?
  • Which is more interesting, 208 feet below sea level or 6,380 feet above sea level?

And now for the visual portion of the program:

Cap'n Ron making turns in the mountains:

Geology Tour Road, J Tree:

That Don't Look Good, Cap'n:

I'll give you one guess who had their wedding reception in this barn:

The Low Point, Death Valley:

The thing is, I would have paid $4.29 if they would have sold it to me. Shoshone, CA:

You can't see signs like this enough when your "Low Fuel" light is on:


Let's Go By Air
If it's all the same to you folks, I think I'll fly to San Francisco with The Colleague later this week...anything to get her off the streets. Work it. Work it. DVB will be there with all of the Media Studies geeks just DYING to give me their money at the poker table.

Let's Not Go At All
Still trying to pretend I'm training for a marathon. 4 weeks and 4 long runs left. Ouch.

In Fact, Why Don't YOU Go On Foot
The Colleague is walking 60 miles over three days to save the boobs. Send her your money. Help save the boobs.

Friday, March 21, 2008

New Blog Post

In theory, this is where a nice long blog post about an 8 day motorcycle trip with Cap'n Ron would go.

In theory.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

I Suck. And Other Things.

I am NOT good at my job. I know this because I am reading drafts of final papers from my research writing students. I haven't taught them anything. Not a god damn thing.

But I'm sort of stuck, because I've been pretending all term like I've been teaching them and now it is grading time. I can't fail all 50 of them, can I? Well, I can fail these ones...let's go to the In Box. As always, these are real emails from real students. Except the ones I've made up:

Hey GVB whats up i'm at stevens pass snowboarding and the pass is closed and won't be open until tuesday so sorry i won't be in class on monday thanks.
-Super Snowboarder

Dear Snowboarder,
I'm glad you are getting out there and exercising and enjoying the natural beauty of this area. It truly is an amazing place to live. Two things: one, since I don't take attendance and don't really know who you are since you never come to class, it was probably a better choice to just not show up for class. Telling me about it only makes me pay more attention to you. Two, according to the Department of Transportation's latest press release, the pass will open at 4 p.m. today, so GREAT NEWS! you'll be able to get home tonight and make it to class on time. Also, I've just decided that we are having a pop quiz tomorrow that is worth 75% of your grade.

Dear GVB,
I keep checking the online gradebook and you haven't graded any of my work all quarter. I have no idea how am doing in your class. I have already complained to your dean and department chair. I expect to hear from you today or I will take further action.
-Grade Anxiety

Dear Grade Anxiety,
Thank you for checking in about your grade in Week Nine of the 10 week term. You're right on top of your game. And being proactive enough to see my dean about your complaint BEFORE you brought it to me? Awesome. A+. Oh, wait, one more thing. The department chair is sitting right here in our living room and she says you never contacted her about anything, so I know you're full of shit. Ok, two more things. You haven't received any grades this term because you haven't turned anything in. Don't make this about me you low-rent piece of - Sorry. I have to sign off now. My department chair wants to go to bed.

Dear GVB,
I am a student in your afternoon class and my daughter is selling Girl Scout cookies...


Dear GVB,
I was wondering if it would be ok to write a research paper on how much things have changed since my dad played sports in high school. He's like 35 years old, and it is amazing how different things were way back then...


Dear GVB,
You're doing a great job with the class. You bring good ideas into the classroom and you challenge your students while not overworking them. Great job.
Love, GVB

Ok, ok. Only the last one is real.

You heard it hear first. Running is stupid. Training is kicking my ass. Mostly because I'm not doing any of it. 25-30 miles a week is all I can manage. Sucks. I've managed some quality runs, like THIS ONE in Port Gamble last week, but mostly I'm sitting at home watching Cap'n Ron run all over the damn place getting stronger and faster by the day.

I'll admit, there are times when running is the coolest thing I can imagine, like on the run mentioned above when I came upon a 1 mile single-track downhill trail without a soul in sight. I bombed down that fucker at full speed, whooping it up the whole way. Just awesome.

I'm on the mileage buildup plan now. Still a good 6 weeks until the Vancouver 'Thon. I can still make it. Time to start thinking about a realistic goal...3:30? Seems like it's worth trying. I'll still have to find an additional 15 minutes somewhere in Portland in October if I want to be running Boston in 2009. Lofty goal for a fat dude.


Cap'n Ron and I are just days away from the 4th annual Joshua Tree extravaganza (also known as the 1st Annual Motorcycle Trip to Joshua Tree). 9 days of winding roads and backcountry. Ok, 2 days of Interstate 5 drudgery followed by 7 days of windy roads and backcountry. Rock climbing officially optional this year! One of the planned highlights? A 20 mile run in Death Valley.

  • As much as I hate to admit it, when given a choice, I will usually opt for Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as a post-run meal. It is just SO good.
  • The Colleague Actually Updates Her Website
  • I just opened a can of StarKist Albacore Tuna. It looks like actual fish. It tastes like actual fish. Which makes me wonder, what the fuck is in those "regular" tuna cans? Don't answer that question.
  • I lost our Academy Awards pool again this year. I really thought it might be George Clooney's year, even though I hadn't seen his movie. Then we watched "Michael Clayton" and I understand why he didn't win. Clooney is like a really good long reliever in films. Solid. Likeable. Strong. Intimidating. But he just isn't a starter.
  • The Ex-Mrs GVB is still a horrible, horrible person
  • I'm about to cancel my subscription to Runner's World magazine, otherwise known as "Abs You Will Never Have Monthly." Seriously. Every fucking cover has a ripped man or woman with a headline like "A New Stronger You". No one looks like that. I prefer the Peyton Manning approach.