Monthly Archives: November 2006

another side of the marathon

i helped course marshal during the seattle marathon and half yesterday.  it was a lot of fun, despite being very cold and miserable outside.  i got a kick out of seeing the race from a completely different perspective.  we were at the 9 (half) or 22 (full) mile marker, so by then you could surmise what kind of a race folks were having.  we were also just after the worst of the hills, so some people were still hurting from the climbs.
the highlight for me was seeing someone on my team at work doing her first half.  she looked like she was feeling it, but mustered a smile and a steady jog when i called out to her.
other friends did well too, including several cohorts from the infamous seattle pi picture.  the folks that ran, all managed strong marathon efforts, ranging from a 3:26 (hi john!) to 3:52 (may doing perhaps her 5th race in 2 months).
great energy out there.  but it was easily the coldest i’ve been in a long time.  temperature was in the high 30s to mid 40s, with steady rain.  very penetrating.  would have been much nicer to have been running.

time off for pain and suffering

so the knee pain i’ve had now for about five weeks isn’t getting much better.  i’ve been seeing a chiropractor, who’s been doing active release on it – the pain moves around (hamstring, it band, quad) but doesn’t go away.  worse, when i try airing it out on a run, it gets significantly worse.  if i take a day between runs, i can more or less hold the pain level steady, but it doesn’t go away.
coincidentally, today an article ran in the seattle post-intelligencer about running.  it included a couple of pictures taken during last sunday’s training run with a local group of maniacs on the preston-snoqualmie trail.  they interviewed a couple of us for it, so i got to hold forth a bit on how much i love running – and then complain about my injury (fortunately they didn’t print my whining).
they did however print my assertion that running is good for those of us not good at skill sports, like basketball.  this is what i apparently said :
"It’s a sport that rewards perseverance and planning, and us old people tend to be better at that," said David, who ran his first marathon at 34. ‘It’s about the same time we stop being good at skill sports like basketball.’ " 
i imagine i’m going to get some grief about running because i’m not good at anything else.  that’s not what i meant at all.  i’ve never been good at basketball!
oh well – the pictures were pretty good.

v-v-v-viva las vegas!

i spent a good bit of last week in the strangest place on earth – las vegas.  i was there on business, which went very well.  i also had a pretty good time, didn’t gamble a cent, and saw a couple of great shows.  i was there on election day too – so got to watch the returns coming in while there.
in many ways, las vegas is the symbol of much of what’s wrong with our culture.  rampant consumerism (somebody buys all of the crud in the shops).  throwing money away on useless stuff (gambling).  very poor use of natural resources (like the big lake in front of the mirage that must evaporate at a shocking rate when the temperature hits 110).
the philosophy behind casino design seems to be to replicate many of the world’s landmarks (statue of liberty, eiffel tower, sphinx and pyramids) in order to draw people into your adult amusement park.  what do people really think – once they’ve seen the great pyramid in the nevada desert, that there’s no compelling reason to travel to egypt?  i just don’t get it.
throwing some statistics around for thought.
my employer paid for me to go to las vegas.  many other people pay their own way.  the average person apparently drops around $700 in three days at the tables or slot machines.  that seems like a significant chunk of their paycheck, doesn’t it.  i do pretty well, but would definitely notice if that much money disappeared from my bank account.  add about $150/night for a room, perhaps $250 for airfare, $100/day for food and drinks for two – that’s about $1700 in hypothetical expenses.  it doesn’t count tickets to shows, shopping, or even more of a hit at the tables.
had wanted to run the nearby valley of fire marathon next weekend, but can’t, owing to a nagging knee injury.  would have been interesting to contrast the gaudy opulance of the city with the winding trails through red-rock desert … with some luck the i’ll be able to try the marathon next year.

best thing about the elections?

  • watching the social conservatives thrown aside in all of the local legislative races?
  • watching rick santorum lose?
  • watching the reds lose both houses of congress?
  • watching gwb’s neocons getting pushed aside in favor of someone more competent (we hope)?

honestly i can’t choose.  like ’em all!  best of all is knowing that with split government, gwb’s ability to do further harm to the country (at home and overseas) is marginalized.  we hope.

the democrats have two years to show us why we should vote for them, rather than against the republicans.

dave reichert : petty tyrant

story showed up in today’s seattle p-i (and apparently the usa today too).  short version :
– school bus stuck in traffic watching president’s motorcade.
– 8th district congressman dave reichert is riding along with president.
– bus driver makes eye contact with president, flips president off.
– president remarks "that one’s not a fan" to reichert.
– embarrassed, and apparently mortified too, reichert phones school district superintendent and makes sure driver is fired.
– reichert brags to an audience of supporters that he did this, leading them to believe that he was behind the firing.
everyone agrees on the first part of the story.  the timeline and content of reichert’s phone call to the issaquah school superintendent is disputed.  the driver, a single mom, was indeed fired.  several things are clear to me.
the driver exercised poor judgment.  her political statement (while amusing to me) was a pretty crude political statement to make.  doing this while on the job was also a poor choice.  doing this in the presence of students was also a poor choice.
also – dave reichert is a small small person for asking the district to fire the driver.  he’s an even smaller person for bragging about it.  i expect people in positions of authority to exercise more measured judgment than this.  what does he think the folks who aren’t synchophants to hear?
i hear that he’s afraid of dissent, insecure about his position of authority when challenged, and that if you embarrass this congressman, he’ll get you back.

equal rights applied equally

woke up this morning and had a brief scare.  read online that 10 people had been shot at the halloween party in the castro district in sf.  i knew my brother and his boyfriend had gone to this party before, but didn’t know whether they’d gone last night.  against my better judgment i waited until the civil hour of 8:30 before calling to make sure they were okay.  it took a little while to reach them, but yes – they’re fine.  apparently they’ve stopped going because there’s been trouble before. 
apparently the festivities have drawn gay-bashers the past few years.  kind of takes the fun out of what was apparently a big, fun, and pretty irreverant party.
so what does this have to do with equal rights?  everything.
there are plenty of people in the world who don’t believe that civil rights extend to everyone.  some of them carry gun, knives, and blunt objects.  some of them wield pens and enact legislation.  the more these well-dressed folk reenforce the notion that we don’t need to afford equal protection under the law to everyone, the more they make it okay to abuse those unprotected civil rights.
passive complicity is an ugly and inexcusable thing.