Friday, August 29, 2008

Chapter 79

He sat at the bar. It appeared to him that the lacquer finish on the Philippine Mahogany counter top was a foot think. He tapped it with his fingernails to test its hardness pinging out the staccato opening to the William Tell Overture perhaps by accident, perhaps not. Embarrassed, he looked quickly both ways to make sure no one was listening to his impromptu performance of a Rossini opera in a Hawaiian bar. No one was.

He remembered his speech from the prior evening. He was put on the spot by the wife of the Ambassador. He had wanted to avoid all talk of the election and politics, but when you travel with the circus, it's hard not to talk to the clowns. She was loud, drunk, right-wing by marriage and beautiful. Their eyes meet several times during cocktails, and he knew danger was knocking at his door. When she announced to the group that she was most interested in hearing his take on the candidates, he knew that if ever there was a time and a place for tact, diplomacy and eloquence, this was it.

"I think it's about attitude", he began, "more so than the issues, more so than the war, more so than the economy. I feel that we need to return to a country who is respected Internationally, trusted and ready to discuss new ideas, ways and means, new paradigms that will allow growth, will welcome new technologies, and at the same time promote human rights and protect the environment and its resources. I feel Americans truly want someone to admire, respect, and trust to lead us through these difficult times. We need a return to accountability from top to bottom and we need a CEO with integrity, tenacity, wisdom and the good sense as to when to use each. We also need a leader with a sense of humor. To tell a joke when the tension is thick. To laugh with our neighbors and to help our friends when help is needed. Character. Attitude. Charisma. I think the people want to be inspired. They want to help but they don't know how. They want to give but don't know where. They want to do for their country what their country has failed to do for them. They want to be united in a common cause. And, personally, so do I."

The room was silent.

Where was Tonto when he needed him?

Popular Demand

When loyal readers ask, loyal readers receive. This from the 2007 Ironman 70.3 Championships in Clearwater. Live Your Dreams.

Here we go

It's a seasonal thing. The day before the opening kickoff of the college football season. College Football is my last remaining team sport vice. I no longer read box scores or follow baseball. I detest the NBA. And the Superbowl and all the weeks leading up to it bore me to tears. It's all business and showbiz (meaning money). But I can't seem to shake the College game. And especially those Montlake Mutts at the UW. That's University of Washington for those of you who might be lurking in Exeter, Schwabach or Perth. You can debate the pros and cons of this all you want, but I am a loyal follower of this program, and have been for 30 years. I will not even try to shake it no matter how bad we have been since the last big hurrah (see ticket from the 2001 Rose Bowl).

So there is my prediction for tomorrow nights contest down in Eugene.


Thursday, August 28, 2008

Change is hard

Change is Hard. One of the oldest axioms running. Let's look at it closely. What does it mean and how altruistic is it?

You have all heard the stories about people who refuse to change their behavior even when they understand that it is killing them. I won't go any further than to mention three that are widely accepted in our society. Fast food. Alcohol. Tobacco. Killers all, yet condoned, promoted, supervised and subsidized by both your Big Brother Bob and Your Uncle Sam. Ask the obese, the addicted or the recovering how hard a change in life style truly is. That is our jump off point. I am going to take it a platform higher and state a few observations about our society, here on the day that Barack Obama will accept the Democratic nomination. My main need here is to try to understand why, as of this moment, he is running head to head with Mr. McCain in the polls. How the heck can this be? Why?

Because change is hard.

We have been successfully brainwashed by Rove, Cheney, two Bushes and countless neo-cons to buy into the politics, and therefore, the society, of fear. We are geldings. And as long as we remain sans testes, and max our credit cards, they giggle and cajole behind closed board room doors. Because they know that change is hard.

Because it is easier to:

Spend $4 for a Big Mac than cook your own soup.
Watch reality TV than volunteer in your community.
Listen to your iPod than listen to your spouse.
Read the paper than search for alternatives.
Drive your car than ride your bike.
Buy into rather than question.
Stay sedated than clean and sober.
Accept the loss of civil rights because of a war on terror.
Accept the loss of choice because of a war on drugs.
Accept the loss of young men and women because of a power struggle over oil.
Look the other way as torture is legalized.
Build a fence than negotiate.
Drop bombs than force dialogues.
Cheat, lie and steal than work, hope and pray.
Blame the other guy than accept responsibilities.
Make money the end instead of the means.
Not get involved than risk being called unpatriotic.
Not practice civil disobedience than risk having to hire a lawyer.
Be silently outraged than vocally appalled.
Be with them than against them.
Take the path of least resistance than the road to glory.
Do nothing than do something.
Moan, groan, bitch and complain than laugh, sing, commend and praise.
Be negative than positive.
Do the right thing than to do what is right.
Be a gelding than be a wild mustang.

So, my dear friends, it seems that 50% of the population would just as soon complain about the prices of gas, heating oil, corn flakes and milk, than suggest that there is a solution. That half of us would rather allow an illegal war to continue without accountability than to speak up in protest. That we don't mind losing our homes, our jobs, our children or our dreams. That it is somehow OK to have our government slide every day closer to fascism and a police state. That it is OK to weigh 350 pounds and think QOL is a 42 inch plasma screen. So we drink and smoke and make sure we have plenty of ammo.

Because change is hard.

And they know it, and they count on us to be spineless lemmings and be distracted by all their smoke screens. And to then avoid the one thing that we truly, desperately and immediately need: CHANGE.

But change is hard.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Dearest Huskies

Dearest 2008 Huskies,

I knew your fathers, your uncles and your hero's from other teams and classes. I hung out with the guys in the trenches, and traded war stories with the low number guys. I have sat in the pouring rain and watched a purple and gold blur march up and down a soggy field. I have watched glorious games in the Rose Bowl, down at Autzen, on the hill across from Sun Devil Stadium and on The Farm.

Many of my fondest memories are of guys with names like Heinrich, Redmond, Steele, Sonny, Tui and Steve. Hoffman, Ink, Hall, Meamber, Chico, Sterling and Chuck. I saw Napoleon carry the ball, Reggie catch it and Brunell toss it. I saw the good teams, the so-so teams and the bad teams. At one time I thought that Don James would make a better president than the one we had.

I was one proud Husky fan. Saturday afternoons in the fall became my favorite time of the year. I got my work done early so I could indulge in the TV coverage for a couple of hours. When we won I slept like a baby, when we didn't I tossed and turned all night, wondering why.

It has been a rough couple of years. Eight to be exact. Poor Gilby and Lambo, they didn't fail from lack of tryin' or because they didn't bleed enough purple. I respect Ty and what he is trying to accomplish, and how. I hope it works. Guess we'll start to find out Saturday night at Oregon.

But I want to say this on Wednesday of game week. Dearest Huskies, I don't care if you win by two scores, or lose by five. All I want, as a loyal fan of the University of Washington, is to see you grow as young men. I want to watch as you take that huge step from High School stars to Div 1 Major College Pac-10 student athletes. I want you to give this effort 100% of your focus on Saturday night in Autzen Stadium. I want you to be proud that you are wearing the colors of the guys I mentioned above, and give it your best for 60 minutes. If you do that, if your teammates all do this, you will win a game much bigger than the one tabulated on the scoreboard.

It's not about Home vs Visitor, Oregon versus Washington, it's about you vs YOU.

Good Luck, lads. We all stand behind you.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Thank You Canada

IMC #26 gets 9.9 CT Legs

You know by now that 10 is PERFECT. Closest to it this year has been Boulders 5430. There area a lot of good races, a few great races, and one or two exceptional races. But there is only one IRONMAN CANADA. I have long held that this is the best long course triathlon in the world. Unless you are a Pro and racing for prize money and sponsorship, this event is every age groupers dream. Folks, there are reasons why it is now in its 27th year. I will list three: Quality, passion, venue.

Quality. Tough to define, easy to see and feel. This event, under the expert direction of North America Sports (Graham, Helen, Roch, Joe, JD, Z, Mark, et. al.) put on a show second to none (are you reading Diana?) From the Expo and registration, through race day and into the awards banquet, this is an experience of an athletes lifetime. Hence the demand.

Passion: Graham told me last year that the people that work for NAS are passionate about what they do (or they wouldn't do it). The wonderful folks of Penticton open their streets, shops, homes and hearts to each and every Ironman participant, every year. They yell, they cheer, they support, they encourage, they inspire. They outnumber the participants almost 3-1. We get pampered every August in the Oakanagan.

Venue: The swim in Lake Oakanagan is about as nice as it gets, photo op mass start and two right turns in comfortable clean water. Aren't many one lap 112 mile courses anymore. Florida, Lanzarote, Kona. 'bout it. The spectacular 112 of IMC has it all. A thirty mile (mostly) downhill to start past incredible mountains and lakes, the signature climb up Richter Pass, the seven bitches - a set of relentless rollers - the Twilight Zone of Cawston, a TdF like climb up Yellow Lake and the screaming downhill finish into town and return through cheering Main Street. And that, folks, is the seriously condensed version, anybody who has done this race will take hours to tell you what unfolded on their personal journey. And the run, once outside of town, is as good as it gets, along Skaha Lake, at the turn in OK Falls and back. Running down Main St. towards the pandemonium of the finish is an experience that every tri-geek should know. How the mind deals with the pain of the body and the elation of the soul is truly unique. To be cheered onward by thousands of screaming fans as you deal with absolute physical fatigue, disorientation and dehydration is only reconciled by crossing the finish line. There are tears. There are hugs. Character is on display. Legends are made here. Heros born. Stories begun and chapters ended. This venue is so special, so magical and so meaningful, that even in the pouring rain at 10PM, fifteen hours after Ironman legend Peter Reid lit the match firing the starting canon, I sat in the rain and watched finishers hit the tape in a steady courageous parade. Sure, I've done my share of Ironman events, but siting there on Sunday night, I realized that I hadn't done one TODAY.

And suddenly a squall of empathetic gratefulness washed me clean. I am happy to have done my races in the past, I am proud of the folks finishing right now, and I am especially grateful that we have this wonderful opportunity to exercise our quality of life freedoms in such a beautiful and passionate venue.

Thank you Canada for 9.9 CompuTrainer Legs.

Photos: Kurt doing a street Renior Saturday night. I love the pipes, especially at mile 21. The Super Shooter Scooter gets primed. The finish and the start, all in a days work.

Friday, August 22, 2008

All I Ask

Friday of IMC 26 race week. Another great expo day. (Kurt above demos the IM OZ RCV to a potential CTer) This race is so popular, so emotional, so perfect (but please remember folks, that a perfect 10 CT Legs has yet to be awarded) that it is almost impossible NOT to sing in perfect pitch to the tri choir. Saw some old and dear friends, Ed Wong who has done (sit down please) ALL 26 IMCs, Matt Reynolds, whom I interviewed on an Hawaiian Airlines flight one year for an hour only to lose the tape when my camera was stolen in Kona), Fletch Newland, who has found a match for his considerable talents as the West Coast sales rep for Cervelo, and Suzanne Nowliss, my favorite all time gal triathlete, who was proudly sporting a HUGE diamond engagement ring, (see photo). SN is one of four people to have appeared in the lyrics of one of my triathlon songs, in this case the infamous "Snoqualamie to Siskayou" from Northwest Triathlon 2003: Tips. She is world class. When I get back to the studio on Tuesday I'll post the lyrics and maybe even a clip if I have the render time. Now that I'm thinking about it, where the heck is Michael Blue?????

I gotta add a couple of political notes here. And this needs exposition upon return.

I could care less what my choice for POTUS thinks about:
Same sex marriage
Estate tax
Lapel pins
Health care
Fanny Mae
Rush Limbaugh
Jackson Browne
Light sweet crude

Because the choice in all of the above is with me. I will decide for myself, and take care of myself, and be responsible to myself for my choices therein. I don't need nor do I want, somebody (even the POTUS) to tell me what I can or cannot think. I mean seriously folks, if I REALLY want to go gay, smoke herb and praise Allah, I will, legal or otherwise. SO STOP WASTING SO MUCH TIME PANDERING TO THE DEMOGRAPHIC YOU THINK WILL GET YOU THE VOTE. I want someone who will:

Think outside the box
Put the planet ahead of profit and exploitation
Put people ahead of pals, the common before the crony
Tell the fucking truth
Not get drunk on hubris and power
Be flexible
Lead by example
Piss off the Petite bourgeoisie
Rock the boat
Walk the walk
Do the right thing (no matter what).

That's all I ask.


Ironman Canada edition number 26. Friday of race week. Beautiful blue skies in the Oakanagan. This is my favorite stop on the IM circuit. I REALLY like this town, the surrounding area, the people and everything about this race. Gotta be brief with todays post as there is lots of prep for Sundays shoot, plus we are shooting video at the Expo. I was having coffee of the deck of the Lakeside when the 2008 edition of the UP run came cruising by, so I re-posted the vid from 2006. It embarrasses me (somewhat) to say that of all 35 or so video snippets posted at RCVman on You Tube, that this is the view leader with almost 7,500.

IM sign on the beach next to the peach.
The walking pier on the lake under blustery Thursday skies.
Ironman (T2)art downtown on Main St.
2008 underpants run in the lot at the Lakeside.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Us (again)

# It's almost certain that no significant political change will happen in the coming year in the United States because the culture is not ready to face these questions. That suggests this is a time not to propose all-encompassing solutions but to sharpen our analysis in ongoing conversation about these crises. As activists we should continue to act, but there also is a time and place to analyze.

# It's probable that no mass movements will emerge in the next few years in the United States that will force leaders and institutions to face these questions. Many believe that until conditions in the First World get dramatically worse, most people will be stuck in the inertia created by privilege. That suggests that this is a time to expand our connections with like-minded people and create small-scale institutions and networks that can react quickly when political conditions change.

# It's plausible that the systems in place cannot be changed peacefully and that forces set in motion by patriarchy, white supremacy, nationalism and capitalism cannot be reversed without serious ruptures. That suggests that as we plan political strategies for the best-case scenarios, we not forget to prepare ourselves for something much worse.

# Finally, it's worth considering the possibility that our species -- the human with the big brain -- is an evolutionary dead end. I say that not to be depressing but, again, to be realistic. If that's the case, it doesn't mean we should give up. No matter how much time we humans have left on the planet, we can do what is possible to make that time meaningful.

Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center. His latest book, All My Bones Shake: Radical Politics in the Prophetic Voice, will be published in 2009 by Soft Skull Press. He also is the author of Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008


Heading out to Penticton, BC, Canada tomorrow. It will be my 11th trip there. Trying a new mode of travel this time. I'll tell ya more when I get there. It will be the 26th running of Ironman Canada, as far as I am concerned, the best IM in the biz. Should have plenty to report, lot's of pictures and tons of video. Stay tuned RCV fans. This should be an interesting one!!!!


It was raining hard that day in Seattle. Nov. 10, 1990. Mom and I had a streak of five consecutive games going. She, the textbook coordinator at UCLA would score tix for the Bruins/Huskies game when they played in the Rose Bowl, and I would pull a similar coup when the Bruins came to the Dawg House. That year we were joined by sisters Kathy and Debbie (see photo). Carlo made the trip as well.

I won't bore you at this time with the game details, suffice it to say that we outplayed them all day only to lose 25-22, on one fluke play. That play (a 95 yard fullback dive by Bill Brown) cost us two consecutive National Championships. You might say it was a big play!

We sat in the rain all game long and everyone had fun. I got a little irritated late in the fourth quarter and kicked a coke cup that I thought was empty. Mom would tell me years later that it wasn't and that she wore coke stained pants home later that evening. I apologized profusely but never lost the guilt and embarrassment of being an out of control college football fan losing a big game (at home in the rain). Schmuck.

I bring all this up because Carlo is in the photo and he was diagnosed with inoperable pancreatic cancer earlier this week. It's his fourth quarter.

Carlo was a painter. So was his father. Carlo inherited the compressor when his Dad died and continued to paint houses in Westchester and Playa del Rey until he moved to Sanoma a couple of years back. One of the leading causes of pancreatic cancer is petroleum related fumes. I don't know if there is a correlation, but it sure fired a flare when I read up on it. Carl is my age.

I first met Carlo in 1977. He was buddies with our bass player Steve (Kingelli) in a band that we put together to play for Debbie & Mario's wedding. We eventually named that band Big Al and the Fiends, Dock, the fiddle player would eventually marry sister Dianne. I could tangent off in any number of ways here but the focus is Carlo. Carlo loved to party. I think he saw the Gillis Beach sunrise more times than the gulls that patrolled the shoreline. He had a heart of gold and was friends with everybody. Nothing he wouldn't do for ya. He loved music, baseball, football, poker, girls and good times. He had a wicked sense of humor. He once approached Kurt Russell at a hockey game and asked him to (please) say his name from Carlo's favorite movie, Russell (who also played minor league baseball), took the cue, shook his shoulders, smoothed back his hair, looked Carlo straight in the eye and hissed, "Plisken, Snake Plisken". You could hear the roar all the way back to New York.

He came up to visit on many an occasion. One year with a lethal concoction he had invented after a stop on I-5 near Puyallup. I remember I was out cutting alfalfa and heard this rumble up on the road. It was a compact car of some sort with four people all singing a NRPS song at full throttle. Dust was everywhere when they skidded to a halt and piled out of the car. Carlo had a plastic milk jug and was passing it around with great ceremony. When he offered me a swig (it was just after noon), I quickly became the latest victim of the rhyme game. OMG, what is this stuff?


For those of you who aren't familiar with the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest, The Muckleshoots have a long and proud history. I am not sure how they would have reacted to Carlo's naming a drink in their honor, but I am quite sure they would have loved his smile, humor, spirit and capacity to share.

Dear Carl. It was a pleasure my friend. I remember you as a brother. May you find the peace you deserve.


Monday, August 18, 2008


Why we play sports.

Somebody innocently asked me the other day what I thought of the Olympics coverage. He was, obviously, in the majority of the people that I know (one way or another) who DO NOT read my blog. Don't feel alone, there are millions of you. Those in the minority know that for reasons probably hopeless, but intensely personal, I am not watching.

I further responded that I was in the midst of an Olympic boycott and hadn't seen one event, read one article, or given any more attention to them, than say, where clouds come from. All this surprised my friend as he knows my athletic background, humble as it is.

However, being in the media, (and although there are similarities, my cabin is not a cave), I do know that Michael Phelps has won a ton of gold and that Beijing will stop at nothing to impress the world and manufacture consent (thanks Noam). Alleged age manipulation and body doubles being the latest counts added to their rap sheet. I am happy for the athletes and appalled by the host. The fact that a local swimmer, with whom I have shared a lane once or twice, won a silver medal is at the critical mass of irony.

I was thinking today about this irony and all the endorsements that Mr. Phelps will be offered. Wheaties used to be the only big box billboard to feature athletes, but now, don't be surprised to see his mug or signature on soda pop cans, video games, sunglasses, travel packages, cell phones, hybrid cars and lunch boxes. We do love celebrities (see photo) and the marketers will hover over his head like vultures in the Gobi. Anything to move product. So my boycott of the games will be meaningless as the supply of cheap goods bearing the "seal of approval" from Mr. Phelps is increased exponentially to meet the demand. The demand is here, the supply is there. China may not be leading the Olympic gold standings, but the increase of trade as a result of this 10 day infomercial will set a new gold standard in gross exports.


While contemplating all this, I came across this quote by the wonderful Byron Katie. It sums up in three sentences what would take me several chapters to say. It nails my thoughts like a 16d vinyl coated sinker.

Dearest Family,

As we watch the world embrace the Olympics in the coming days, let us remember why the modern Olympics came into being: to bring nations closer together, to have the youth of the world compete in sports, rather than fight in war.

As long as we believe our own war-driven thoughts, there will always be war, in ourselves, in our families, and in our world.

The first step to peace begins with you.

I think I'll go for a swim. Then have some cereal.

Saturday, August 16, 2008


You've been beaten like a drum every play today. But we're still in the game. That's because you have teammates who have picked up the slack. All day. You have a chance right now, with ONE PLAY to erase all that. YOU can be a hero. One play. All it takes. Everything you got. One play. You game? Yeah. You sure. Damn sure. No fun getting your ass handed to you all day is it. No. With the entire defense huddled during the time out, Teo, grabbed the freshman by the facemask and pulled him close. You only get this chance. ONCE in your entire life to make this play. Everything rides on this play. Do you understand? Yes. It's fourth and five. Teo glances up at the massive scoreboard. There are four minutes left. The O has put 28 up there. We have given back 24. We stop them here, give the ball back to Jake, and it's ours. This is a fucking war and we can win with one last stand. DO YOU COPY? 10-4. Teo looked at the rest of the D and without saying a word they responded. COPY THAT. Teo knew he was taking a huge risk by calling the play before it was brought in from D cord, but he was the one in the trenches getting doubled all day, and he knew that on this last desperate play, Oregon would triple him with the fullback, leaving the blind side open for a blitz IF the road was paved by the tackle. The freshman. The kid. He was tired and beat, bloody and scarred, but he was talking the talk now and it was their only hope. If it worked, nobody would say a word. If it didn't the flat would be open wider than the Grand Canyon and he would be in deep kimchee. Slant left hard into the guard and push him into the center, I will let them take me right, then DB will crash the gap and when that SOB turns to float the flair all he will see is one snarling fucking husky about to paint a gold dot between his numbers. Got it? Yo. Trent came hustling in from the sidelines and announced the play. Crash right. Send the house. Got it? Yo. Teo again looked at the kid. He was wearing number 90. Lotta history inside that jersey. Make it happen kid. He nodded his head, popped in his mouthpiece and looked behind him at DB. The crowds roar was deafening. The gaze from DB was as intense and fierce as he had even seen in a human being. He was a snarling fucking husky. And I am part of the pack. Oregon broke huddle and came to the line. Autzen stadium was bedlam. Fourth and five. Three fifty-five on the clock. Ball on the Oregon 47. 28-24 UW. A hundred thousand fans from Cottage Grove to Chelan took a deep breath. Don't go on the first count, they'll try to draw us. Teo crabbed left setting the trap. DB stayed five yards back deeking. The kid looked across the line and saw the Duck guards fingers twitch. When they move again the fury of hell will be unleashed. He heard Costa's cadence, and felt his own heart beating like a snarling fucking husky. They will call me Mad Dawg. Teo crabbed right as the ball was snapped. The kid saw the guards movement and pushed off his right leg into the line, catching him off balance as he was standing to block. The impact was so physical that the concussion pushed them into and over the center. Teo was doubled and the hole vacated by the stunt wasn't empty long as DB had timed the snap count like a metronome and was about to make the biggest and loudest hit by a Dawg since Lawyer Milloy. Costa had backpedaled looking right and as he turned left to loft the flair, all he saw was a gold helmet about to make a crash landing on his chin.


Friday, August 15, 2008


There has been some debate on one of my favorite forums of late about politics. Imagine that. I refuse to engage with the faceless cyber crowd in this arena for a couple of reasons, but for now, let's just say that it demeans the importance of the subject matter more than I care to allow. Might also have something to do with eye contact and body language (or the lacks thereof). Here is the back story:

John McCain ran another of his mud slinging commercials, You know the history. Obama is a celebrity, so align him with Brittany and Paris. He draws great crowds, as did Hitler. God, I should have stayed in political science, this is textbook schlock. Dare I say Rovian. His latest cultural and strategic gaffe, was to use one of Jackson Browne's songs 'Running on Empty' in yet another pea-shooter weak and impotently pathetic shot at Obama. Dear McCain camp: IS ANYBODY HOME????? You rip a song from a well known liberal Democrat to use in the attempt to gain another four years of power and corruption to continue the one thing that the singer/songwriter has railed about in beautiful and sensitive musical poetry for thirty years???? ARE YOU FUCKING KIDDING ME?

In one total and complete meltdown, Mr. McCain has achieved a milestone comparable with any political boner in the TV era. That is over fifty years folks. You wanna talk about being out of touch? You wanna talk about not having a clue? You wanna talk about alienating a vital demographic? You wanna talk about trying to not look (or act) your age? Jackson Browne? Jeeze, John, why not use Willie Nelson next time? Or the Dixie Chicks?

Folks, this would be like Obama using Toby Keith. Or Charlie Daniels. USA-rah. See?

Jackson Browne has written gorgeous songs of love. Of protest on human rights atrocities, of the senseless and relentless pursuit of profit over nature. Of war. He is a voice for generation that should be in power, and making change, IF THEY HADN'T ALL HAD THEIR BALLS FALL OFF. Thank you Joker. We sold out for money and luxury and greed and everything that McCain and his Bush buddies have wrought.

John McCain may be a patriot, a statesman, a war hero and a very decent human being. But we need change folks. the Bushies told us two things: Be afraid and consume. Now, with a policy induced recession on our hands, all we can do is be scared?

Mr. McCain, if anyone in this race is running on empty is is you. Try a little harder next time, please. Use some Guy Lombardo, I'm pretty sure the blue hair conservatives in Scottsdale will get it.

Non liquid assets?

This from's todays papers:

If all the numbers don't bring it home, the Journal makes sure the real-world impact is clear. "Cains Beer Co., Liverpool, England, has seen revenues at the 100 pubs it owns suffer as consumers cut spending. The cost of making beer at the 150-year-old brewer increased as the price of hops shot up. It also faced a 40% increase in the cost of aluminum for beer cans over the past year or so," it notes. Because of the credit crunch, no banks would extend loans to the brewer, and it's now liquidating its nonliquid assets to pay off debts.

Excellent use of the pint-sized pun, lads. I was under the assumption that in difficult and inflationary times that beer sales increased. I was also under the assumption that this was the case especially in the UK. Shows ya what I know. I recently paid $8 for a Guinness at an airport "pub", which was right at pain threshold. THAT is real-world impact.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Old Stuff

I like old stuff.
Worn, tested by time. Broke in.
Character by the square foot.
No pretensions, no concealed agendas.
Not shiny, not new, not under warranty.
Wise. Grey and brown, wind and sun.
A horses foot in gravel.
We'll get by. And that's enough. Stories.
About old stuff.

Photos: Lynn's beautiful "new" barn and smokehouse (turned guest house).

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Well, are You?

4. Forget that this was a historic year for women.
Obama should be making a speech about gender like the brilliant one he gave on race back in March. Millions of people, especially women, had high hopes for the candidacy of Hillary Clinton. Attention must be paid. And you don't pay attention to it by having your advisers run your wife through the makeover machine, trying to soften her up and pipe her down. Michelle Obama has been one of the most refreshing things about this election year. But within weeks of the end of the primary season, the handlers stepped in to deal with the "Michelle problem."

What problem? She speaks her mind? She wears what she wants? Her biggest sin, according to the punditocracy, was to say that, as a black woman, this may be the first time in her adult life she's been really proud of her country. Shock! Surprise! Outrage! But not from any of the black women I know.

You have to be white and stupid to not know what she was really saying. If you don't understand, let me ask you this: Have you been proud of what this country has been doing in the past few years? Are you proud your neighbors had their house taken from them? Are you proud to be sending a good chunk of your paycheck to the oil companies so they can post record profits? Are you proud to know your vice president outed one of our spies and put her life and the lives of others at risk?

That's all she was saying — what we are all feeling.

Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton both lost the white-male vote but won the White House. They did so by winning the black, Hispanic and female vote. That HAS to be Obama's strategy to win. Otherwise, Cindy McCain will be our new First Lady.

Thank you Michael Moore.

Chapter 78

Chapter 78

He didn't know why. The nagging and ominous feeling that something wasn't right. A shadow hiding in the alley, behind the dumpster, waiting to pounce. Lurking. The ringing in his ears was now hissing a minor fifth. His skin was cold. Why? What is this? What am I supposed to know?

Settle down, relax. Loosen the traps, wiggle your fingers. Take a deep breath. Look around.

A car backfired on the downshift as Willie Nelson's 'Blue Skies' floated from an open window. The latter was so refreshing he didn't even blink at the internal combustion. Funny how the smallest things can set you off.

Better now, he thought. Keep it that way.

Monday, August 11, 2008


5430 close to perfect.

Up front disclosure: No event anywhere has ever been awarded 10 CompuTrainer legs. That would mean perfection, a state almost impossible in the wonderful world of triathlon. There are simply too many variables, too many logistic challenges, and if those don't get ya, the weather, local municipalities, or the attitude of one volunteer will. All that being said, today's 5430 Long Course Triathlon in Boulder, Colorado, came as close as possible to going gold.

It was without question the friendliest race I have worked in maybe ten years. Everybody from CEO Barry Siff on down was helpful, energetic, cooperative and congenial. I mean EVERYBODY. Nothing but smiles today, despite the cloud cover, percentage of first timers and proximity to their last race, a mere two weeks ago. Sometimes you get a little toasty this time of year. It happens.

The race started in the warm and colorful waters of the Boulder Reservoir, a watermelon sunrise as backdrop, a squadron of albino pigeons, hot air balloons and 1,200 athletes in 7 waves, including the beefiest contingent of Aussies this side of Port MacQuarie. Well managed and well configured transition ensured a speedy flow to the two loop 56 mile bike leg. Some nice rollers, a few fast descents and ample shoulders on a mix of very decent surfaces gave the bikers their moneys worth each time round. And it was fast. We did it in 2:06, the course record set last year by David Thompson at 2:02. That is right around 27-mph folks, like I said pretty fast. The run is two loops around the rez and finishes in the park area that also houses the expo, food, massage, and park for the kids. You would be hard pressed to design a better configuration. It works, and works nice.

Maybe I should just go ahead and give them 10 legs, and get it over with. The custom awards rocked (pun fully intended), Uri, my pilot was superb who also competed IM France earlier in the summer Simon and Chuck manned the CT booth and had a pretty good show. We did 56 miles of RCV work and then staged a few interviews as a wrap. I have enough good video to Kung-Fu a fun little trailer. I will try to find something other that Joe Walsh for the score. Maybe ZZ Top, 'cause folks, I am here to tell ya, the 5430 has Legs and they know how to use em.

Congratulations to the staff, management, all the volunteers, locals and every athlete who competed today. Ya'll got a real winner on your hands.

Saturday, August 9, 2008


Got called on the carpet the other day in regard to my boycott of the Olympics. I bought a piece of luggage that fills my travel needs at Wal-Mart for half of what I had previously seen it at Best Buy. It was made in (where else?) China. So I am avoiding the media during the Olympics to send my tiny message to the sponsors and media moguls that I choose not to subsidize their exploitation of athletes. Because human rights trump athletics. So then I buy cheap goods made in the PRC. Am I a hypocrite, a fool, or just another brick in the wall? Does one balance the other? Where is the higher ground? What is a concerned person to do? I am looking for advice here. Please tell me what you think, how you feel and what we should do to eliminate the "lesser of two evil" syndrome. Peace, out.

Friday, August 8, 2008

I'm just sayin...

Random thoughts on flight 1700 to Denver.

It strikes me as comical how in the terminal the airlines instruct their personnel to use the phrase "on-time departure" in almost every sentence. As if they really are. But like savvy marketeers or veteran political handlers, they know that just by saying it plants the seed in the, shall we say, more fertile, minds. So you hear absolute crap like this, "this is the final boarding call for (enter airline and flight number) with an ON-TIME departure to (enter destination) please have your boarding pass ready and board from gate number B-15 at this time for an ON-TIME departure, again, last call for United flight 232 to Newark, boarding at gate B-15 for an ON-TIME departure." They sometimes get so revved they rival the talk speed of those AM radio commercial disclaimer fast talkers that you can't understand anything but the emphasis on the ON-TIME departure, which is, of course, the whole idea. I heard this blatant propaganda almost ten times while waiting to board today. I guess there is a plus/minus window as our ON-TIME departure was only 25 minutes after the scheduled time. Close.

Finally had a diagnosis on my aching back yesterday at Virginia Mason. After two years of self therapy, additional stretching, yoga, pilates, PT, Chiropractic, ibuprofen dosing, and red wine supplements, the team at VM, I think nailed it. It's a muscle thing. Meeting point of several groups, including both the major and minor gluteus, iliopsosas, and a few important nerves all converging at the L5. Throw in a touch of arthritis, excess biking and running, sitting on planes for 15 hours at a stretch, all my computer work, and you have a recipe for pain. Cathy the PT and Julie the MD, came as close as anyone to fingering what I was feeling. After a lengthy consultation and testing period we went right into diagnosis and treatment. Immediate isometric stretching and range of motion exercises helped almost immediately and I was walking more as a homo-sapien than a primate on the way to the parking lot. No more knuckles dragging on the pavement! Booked another appointment for two weeks and forgot all about the exercises that I am supposed to do in the interim. But i will get to them upon my return Monday. That is a promise!

I fund it humorous how fast I can segue into a bad attitude these days. As hard as I try not to. After hitting the studio running this morning at 0400 to finish the download of Vineman and set the render protocols while in Colorado, I somehow jumped from feeling groovy to feeling bad to the bone (with apologies to Paul and George). By the time that I dropped off RG (who had gregariously loaned me his PT Cruiser because the Exploder has a kaput water pump and we dropped it at the shop on the way in), I was ordering a French Slam at the packed Dennys, I was singing the b-b-b-b-blues. The valet at Master Park them had the audacity to ask me to pull the Cruiser up two feet after I had already parked. Looking around at the otherwise empty lot I asked 'why', and he muttered something about getting more cars in, and then said, 'never-mind', which I already already done. And the attitude was on it's evil way. Sorry Carlos, no need to drag you into this mess. And then the lines. Jesus Left Chicago. Half hour in those insipid double back lines waiting to check bags (I have condensed all the gear to one bag), only to go to the TSA line and stand there for another half hour waiting for the wonderful, cheerful and efficient TSA folks to pretend that they are somehow integral to the actual operation of the airline industry. Help. I need somebody, help, not just anybody. They now have the guile to separate the lines into two, one is for 'casual' travelers, the other for 'expert' travelers. No one that I have inquired with is quite sure exactly what qualifies the casual to the expert, but I go to the expert line because, well, because by this time I have a serious issue with authority and all I can hear in the raging bit torrent of my mind is Mick belting out Street Fighting Man and Uncle Neil warning about four dead in O-HI-O. We've been in the air almost two hours now and after a cup of industrial strength coffee (and a bag of peanuts) I am feeling better. Thank you Jesus, thank you Lord. And thank the girl with the far away eyes for the on-time departure.

Open letter to the wait staff of the world. I suppose it is a small gesture, me coming into your restaurant and ordering something to eat. I mean, I could have gone across the street to the Taco Time, down the street to the Olive Garden, up the street to the Applebees or even to the greasy spoon 24 hour joint on the corner, but i choose, your place. And I ordered a Caesar Salad. Yes I am a vegetarian, but in this case I don't care if you put anchovies on it or not, or if you pan fry the parmesan cheese into a cute little square that resembles a miniature fly swatter, but what I do care about is FRESH CRUSHED BLACK PEPPER. You gotta be there, with a pepper mill (the bigger the better) and twist that thing for a solid twenty seconds before looking up and asking me to 'say when'. I will, don't worry. and it won't be soon. So please, if you want 15% of the total, please do this before I pick up my salad fork. Thank you.

I was informed yesterday at CT HQ that we have already recouped half of the cost of the RCV project with the first five releases. And we have 25 more ready to go. Ford, GM and Chrysler should have such luck.

Watched 'The Italian Job" again the other night. Good, fun, action. Charleze can play in my sand box anytime. A couple of issues with the script. After the heist in Venice the gang is making it's escape in Switzerland. There is snow on the mountains, ice on the road and the lake is frozen. A double cross takes place on a bridge with the escape van going into the frozen lake. Ed (bad guy) Norton is firing an AK-47 at the submerged good guys as they share an oxygen mask. IN THE FROZEN WATER. They stay down there for a long, long time waiting for Ed to decide that they are dead or he runs out of ammo, whichever comes first. Cut to the crew on shore with Mark Wahlberg cradling a deceased Donald Southerland in a very beautiful and touching scene. Only one problem: It is cold as hell and they should be freezing or all dead from hypothermia. They could have worked around this simply by having Mos Def say something like, "OK, we have paid our respects, now let's get the freezing hell out of here." But they don't. Just a fade to black and we're now faced with a serious credibility issue. Dudes, I mean, really. But then again, And I'm just sayin.....

Customer Comments

A couple of months ago, we sent an e-mail questionnaire to everyone who had purchased a copy of the first two RCV releases, Kona and CdA. I had heard rumors of the results but never saw all the responses until yesterday. Lucy had printed them all and assembled in a classic three ring black binder. Roger, Ray and I were in debate as to the actual percentage of CT users who are triathletes (said to be a robust 95%) and so Roger presented the binder as exhibit A. I asked if I could borrow the collection and peruse, which I did on the boat ride home.

Here are a few unabashed samplings that I found most interesting and/or entertaining.

  • I used the video all winter, probably 30-40 times, it was definitely helpful to know the course. It definitely made it easier for me to train longer. - James C.
  • I loved it! It blew me away. It takes the boredom out of riding indoors. - Dennis C.
  • Love my CT! Only complaint is that when calibrated correctly the CT effort is 10-15 percent harder than the actual course. - Ron
  • Love it. Matter of fact, since I received a copy I have yet to ride any other course. It is a great product and I constantly badger my friends to purchase one because of how much fun it is. - Michael S.
  • Love the video and use it often! - John E.
  • My entire training was spent on the CompuTrainer. The RCVs made my indoor training much better. Keep up the good work. - A. Nichols
  • I got a very good understanding for the course feel, turns and areas for caution. - John C.
  • Overall. I love it. - David B.
  • I think it is great. - Tom G.
  • I am very pleased that RacerMate released this software. - Mike C.
  • Thanks for the GREATEST gift to cyclists from the Northern Hemisphere. - Sebastian B.
  • I raced at CdA last year when you filmed and it was a kick to ride and watch because it was like reliving the race. I even recognized a couple of the course workers up near that giant sun balloon and I think I can pick out my wife on the return trip to CdA. I use it all the time. - David K.
  • My observation is that it is pretty cool to race the actual course and keep focused. - George T.
  • Both my friend and I used the RCV and found it amazingly accurate and psychologically beneficial. - Joe R.
  • It is a fantastic product!!!!! - Thomas W.
  • My biggest surprise was how beautiful the CdA scenery was. I hope to order more videos in the future. - Lynn K.

I'll post more responses when we return from the Colorado trip. Until then RCV fans, ride hard and breathe deep.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Boulder Bound

We leave for the 5430 Triathlon in Boulder tomorrow. I say we because it makes it sounds like there is a crew involved, but in all reality it's just me. Chuck will be there working the expo with our local Denver rep Simon, who is a coach, an RCV beta tester and a great triathlete himself, but for all I&P the shoot is a one man show. Kinda. Although a scant five days ago I shot all 112 miles of the Vineman long course solo (in my peppy little Kia from Enterprise), I am quite dependent upon a motorcycle pilot for most shoots. And in Sundays case, I not only get a moto, I get a SIDECAR to boot!!!!! Another RCV first, boys and girls, shooting for the very first time in my own little self contained (yet attached) video pod. Yippers! We (there is that pronoun again) are already calling it the RCVpod. I have been wanting to test this for a long time and this weekend, in Boulder, Colorado, will be the test site. So stay tuned RCV fans as we continue our intrepid R&D on the road, in the pack and on the fly to bring you the most dynamic, highest quality Real Course Videos available this side of Saturn. Lotsa photos on the way.

Chapter 77

Chapter 77

These things are important to me, he said, channeling the sincerity of a kneeling repentant;
Honesty, value, effort, creativity, love, presence, happiness, balance and above all, forgiveness. Oh yeah, and quality.

"Define quality", was her rebuttal.

Stumped, he returned to his housecleaning.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Hot August Night

Nights like this one are rare in Seattle. Hot, borderline balmy, the August sky at sunset on fire. It is so beautiful. I am so happy. The challenges of the day have been met. Work got done, improvements made with minimal collateral damage. All the tough questions have been answered and they sit comfortable. As do I.

The format of this blog has been to add a "thing" a day. Just one of the ten thousand. I am adding this one tonight as Lake Placid II renders. After a visit to my brothers, where we got to talk and I took a ride with my nephew, the world famous Eli Otto. That was productive and fun, in that order. The photo is of MDL and RG in the back row, with Junior in front, in the helmet. 70 years separate RG from Eli. That in itself is worth a post. Dad bought me my first bike in 1954. He has watched me race. He now does child care services for his youngest son's son. He got to watch us ride today. Did I say that that is worth a post?????? It is.

Saw Sonny Sixkiller at the Oakland airport Sunday. Didn't want to create a spectacle, but when I was getting off the shuttle bus I looked at him and his wife and said, "Huskies by 10 over Oregon". They laughed loud and said "Sounds good to me." He looks like he could suit-up and play if needed.

GG Bridge en route to Santa Rosa Friday. The RCV in the pack car rig for Saturdays Vineman. Best footage ever.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Print Ads

A couple of shots from RAMROD and the Tour of California 2007. We are working on an ad for Velo News magazine trying to get some of the roadies of the planet into the CT fold via a few of our NTEs (Non-Triathlon-Events). That being said, wait till you see the footage from Vineman!!!!!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Post Vineman

Vineman gets 6.5 RCV legs.

The 19th annual Vineman triathlon rated 6.5 legs from the CompuTrainer real Course Video (RCV) global production crew. The event, in Northern California's wine country, is famous for its scenery and heat. It is almost as infamous for its logistical challenges (aka nightmares). First the good news. Ten years have passed since RCV man first tested the waters of the Russian River at sunrise, with all of those virgin effort memories back in technicolor as the 455 athletes prepped for the Saturday start. The river givith and the river taketh away. Depending on the current the river at Johnson's Beach can be swift or stagnant, high or low, cold or tepid. You just never know. Sometimes it is so low that you have to get out and walk over river rock, an occurrence that propelled me to my best ever IM swim of 72 minutes in 1997. I asked the lifeguard staff about their safety role and one commented that the only casualty last year was scrapped knuckles from bottoming out. Still, it is a beautiful sight to see all the swimmers in the water heading under the two bridges, water steaming under majestic redwoods as the sky turns from deep blue to white hot. And then there is the bike. I think that the reason the bike leg doesn't get the respect it deserves is that it is completely open. That means cars. And trucks. And rednecks in trucks. And rednecks in trucks who don't like to be told by the CHP that they need to slow down or stop to allow four hundred cyclists primary use of their roads. And some of the roads are narrow. And windy. And blind. And over bridges. And across 101 twice, and thru tiny towns, and back-roads. There are some gorgeous wide, newly paved shoulders and just as many snakes (no shoulders). The two loop 56 miles course is as picturesque as they come, making Wildflower look like a desert. If there is a prettier course in California, let alone the West, I have yet to see it. It is fun, challenging and has enough technical sections to satisfy the roadie as well as the tri-geek. The run has gone thru a lot of changes over the years and its current configuration is more utilitarian than esoteric, flatter than the old 'if the bike don't get ya, the run course will' out and back. The finish has changed again as well moving to Windsor High School. Again, more pragmatic than its industrial or winery predecessors, but not as much fun. Russ Pugh has done an amazing job leading this event thru the last two decades and now mostly oversees, turning the directorship to Dave Latourette. They take care of business and have a complete understanding of the complexities of staging a 140 mile, three event race in Sanoma County. The awards ceremony and race slide show have always been fun.

As we have mentioned several times prior, going the Ironman triathlon 3 for 3, is done very, VERY rarely. Vineman, with its beautiful and unpredictable swim and stunning bike leg, get two of the three. The run is boring and the logistics, including hotel and airport proximity, definitely detract, leaving us with an overall RCV rating of 6.5. A big leg for the entry price of less than $300, perfect for Iron virgins. The bike is a 10, and that is the leg we really care about.

ED Note: CT RCV legs are the movie equivalent of stars. A leg being metaphorical to both the limb of interest to bikers and the description of the section of the course that features the bike, e.g. A 112 mile flat course might warrant 5 legs, while a monstrously hilly and technical 56 mile 70.3 might net 10 legs.

Friday, August 1, 2008

More Later Updates

More Later Updates (from today's Seattle to Oakland flight)

I wish they would close another 2,000 Starbucks shops. Maybe then the price of a cup of coffee would return to something the regular Joe can afford.

Every time the McCain camp issues some type of retaliation to something that Obama says or does, I remember that they are so firmly entrenched in the politics of fear, that I have to laugh. HOPE is not POLICY, but WAR is?

Did you see how Exxon/Mobile spun the news of their latest accomplishment (the largest profit in the history of the world)? Filthy bastards.

The Critical Mass embarrassment on Capitol Hill mirrors society back to his and herself. The drivers excuse? I was in a hurry. Really?

Critical Mass redux: The driver also said this: "I am gay, the girl in the car with me is lesbian and we were attacked by eco-terrorists. How Seattle is that?"

Has Nancy Pelosi been abducted by Neocon aliens?

I hope the team formerly known as the Seattle SuperSonics wins the NBA championship next year.

I am now even further resolved to boycott the Olympics. ROC, take a hike.

If the American populace elects Mr. McCain, continuing eight of the most horrific, humiliating, negative, fearful, devastating and vile years on record (they didn't keep many in the Stone Age), I have narrowed my new home in political exile to New Zealand or BC, Canada.

Jake Locker and the 2008 UW Huskies will surprise lotsa college football fans from Pensacola to Pullayup.

Much like Bend, I remember Santa Rosa when it was cool.

I think about whether I am going to drink beer or wine come the end of the day at around noon.

I never said I was normal.

Chapter 76

"Are you home?"
"Can I come over?"
"Should I bring a bottle of wine?"
"See ya in a bit then."