Archive for November, 2012


Right, then…

As of late, I’ve been getting hit with random thoughts.  Nothing bad or scary.  Just things that elicit the “…and just where the hell did that come from?” response.  Mind you, I’m not on any meds that I’ve been made aware of, and I’m going on almost 2 years sans booze, so it can’t be that.  But every now and again, they pop up.  To wit:

  • Helicopters are aerodynamically suspect.
  • Wait wait wait wait wait…are you telling me that’s NOT butter? I can’t believe it…
  • When the French go to change a tire, do they use a Jacques?
  • For some reason, the word “residue” makes me laugh….I’m sure subconsciously my mind is thinking something nasty, but it’s not sharing it with the rest of my brain…
  • I just realized that planes don’t have horns (like trains, cars or buses). I figure it’s because by the time two planes are close enough to warrant the use of a horn, both guys are screwed so it doesn’t matter…
  • I think sweet potatoes are just Yams that are in the Witness Protection Program…
  • I think tonight’s debate should be moderated by Alex Trebek. That way after every time Obama or Romney state their piece, they can say “…so suck it, Trebek.” Yes. That would be optimum.
  • I just realized that when a boat leaks, it sinks; when a house leaks, it doesn’t. Which is a good thing, because IKEA furniture does not handle water very well…
  • I just realized that The Earth is the largest planet in the world…
  • Here’s a great name for a band: Maximum Squish

I’m actually sort of happy with these thoughts because they all fall in the odd/funny category (to me, anyway) – I just sort of wonder how these come about and if anyone else thinks things like this…



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8th Annual Silicon Valley Turkey Trot

Right, then…

[This is something that I posted on TheBarefootRunners.Org]

I started to regain feeling in my feet after about 1½ miles. Up to this point, they were fairly numb due to the cold; after all it’s Thanksgiving Day. Well, maybe I should qualify that: The numbness was due to the “cold”. I have to put that in quotes because cold means a lot of things to a lot of people – so if you live in the Northeast, cold means temps are hovering around 0 F. But I wasn’t in the Northeast, I was in San Jose running the 8th Annual Silicon Valley Turkey Trot and temps were in the mid 50’s. Me and 8039 other folks were tooling through downtown San Jose, trying to make a caloric dent in forthcoming grotesque exercise in extreme gluttony to commence later in the day. This is the third year I’ve run this.

Overall, the run was good. I’d run 10K before BFR, but that was a trail run; this was all pavement. I hedged my bets by carrying a pair of Invisible Shoes with me, lest the road surface be too much to tolerate. Fortunately, they were not needed.

Also, I applied [ahem] “Nail Paint” to my toenails to make them aerodynamic.


Orange and brown seemed to be somewhat seasonal, but folks did not notice my nice Earl Scheib-quality paint job (or if they did, they felt awkward saying something). Regardless, bolder colors for maximum “Dig Me” effect are in order.

Interestingly, it took a bit before I was able to settle my mind into just cruising down the road. Normally when I run, I’m somewhat familiar with the surface, but this was all new. In addition to that, I had 8000 other people to contend with. So it was a lot of random thoughts: Watch out for the pothole; run in the center of the road at the top of the crest; the manhole cover has drain holes in it, don’t get your toes stuck in one; pass this dude; pass that dude; pass this chick….no – wait – let’s hang back behind her, what’s the rush?; I can run on the painted lines if the road surface is too rough; I think I just stepped on a LEGO; that guy has a tattoo of either Pat Robertson or Andy Rooney on his calf – can’t tell which one.

I’m not positive I was the only one running barefoot, but I would not be surprised if that was the case. At first, while waiting for the race to start, I’d get the random sideways glances, or someone would whisper something to their friend who’d turn around and look at my feet. After the race started, more folks felt comfortable saying something. I’m happy to report that the comments were along the lines of “Hardcore!” followed by a fist bump, or the general “You’re running barefoot!” I’d ask if they tried BFR – some had, some hadn’t but said they wanted to – fair enough. I happened upon a couple of folks wearing min shoes but they weren’t up to chatting too much about footwear. I must have intimidated them with my aforementioned hardcoredness.

In the end, I’m happy with the outcome – I did 10K in 1:08:14, which gave me 10:59/mi. Being that shod, I normally run 10K in about 62 min, I can live with the 1:00/mi slower time. All this got me back to my friend’s house in time to start setting up for a meal that could choke Henry VIII.



These are my hiking boots. Like a lot of folks, when I have to carry them, I tie the laces of both boots together, like you see here. Something I recently learned: When you’re in a low-light situation, or if you catch this out of the corner of your eye, or if you’re just not paying attention, that knot looks like a big hairy-ass spider. Fortunately, logic and reason took over in time, preventing me the embarrassment of explaining why there are bullet holes in my boots…

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Hummus Recipe

Right, then…

Since the Hurricane Sandy post was rather deep, I thought I’d counter it something a little lighter:  A hummus recipe!  Yay!

Admittedly, until a few months ago, I never thought of making my own hummus.  I always thought it was one of those things you had to buy at the store, like milk.  I mean, I guess in a theoretical, abstract sort of manner, I knew one could make hummus at home but – my God! – it would take all sorts of weird ingredients and expensive machinery and probably involves complicated cooking concepts like “blanching” (which, incidentally, does not sound appetizing, at all).

An article on, part of the “You’re doing it wrong” food series, taught me otherwise.  In short, they were saying that making hummus at home is easy and cheaper (and potentially better) than buying at the store.

Here’s what I use:

  • 2 cans of Garbanzo beans
  • 3-ish Tbsp of Olive Oil
  • 1 to 1 ½ lemons worth of juice
  • 3 Tbsp of smoked Paprika (also known as Pimenton)
  • 3 Tbsp of Lemon Pepper seasoning
  • 3 Tbsp of Cumin
  • 1 to 2 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 3-ish Tbsp of Tahini

*NOTE – I upped this to 3 Tbsp of cumin, paprika and lemon pepper as 2 Tbsp was a bit too bland for my taste*

Throw it in a blender and go for it.  It makes me a little under a quart of hummus (or 800 mL).

Admittedly, the Tahini – or sesame seed paste – might be a little hard to find in some chain stores.  That said, I’d reckon that if someone lives in an area that has any Mediterranean or Middle-Eastern population, there should be a store that sells it.  I’m told that almond butter or natural peanut butter can be used as a substitute.  Then again, once I made it and forgot to add the Tahini and it was just fine….

…which is also the beauty of this recipe – you can add or subtract whatever you please.  Want more paprika and less cumin?  Go for it!  More garlic?  Grip it and rip it.   Pesto and sun-dried tomatoes?  Live the dream. Chili powder or Cayenne?  Get in there, big shifter.

The hardest part of this is the cleanup.  I don’t think the blender is the best device for this and wonder if maybe a food processor with its larger container and removable blade might be better suited.

I eat this with carrot sticks (I’m so not giving you a recipe for those) as a snack.  Naturally, it will be good with pita chips, crackers, whatever.

Eat well.

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Thoughts on Sandy and What it All Means

Right, then…

I posted this on my Facebook page the other day in regards to some people’s [negative] reaction to the New York City Marathon being cancelled:

I’m a runner. I know what it’s like to train for a marathon. I know that I would be unhappy if the event that I have trained for and spent a large sum of money getting to was cancelled. Yes, Bloomberg and NYRR handled this poorly – they could have cancelled the race a week ago, and spared a lot of people a large inconvenience. I get that. But fucking focus, people! Thousands of people have lost family members and homes, there’s little fuel to go around, water is scarce, police, fire, utility and sanitation workers are stretched thin. That the New York Marathon was cancelled is mice nuts compared to all of this. Not being able to run in a 26.2 mile circle is not the end of the world; losing your family, ass and fixtures might well be, for some.

I should know better than to be appalled at how self-involved some folks are being about this…yet, I am.

I am happy to say that as things are progressing, more and more people are coming out saying that cancelling the race was the right thing to do and runners are trying to help out since they’re there and all.

But the initial (and probably ongoing for some) self-involvement is indicative of a larger-scale problem.  As a society, we’re ignoring (or worse, denying) that things are changing.  Further, we cling to the status quo  “because it’s always been this way” or, worse “Because I don’t want to change.”

I don’t care where you stand on the global warming issue; the causality does not matter anymore.  One thing is undeniable:  Things are changing.  When I was growing up in the central San Joaquin Valley during the 70’s and 80’s, snow on the valley floor was unheard of.  In fact, my parents had a picture of the last memorable snow – in 1962.  Now, at least one day a year, there is a light dusting. 

Hurricanes are hitting in places they don’t normally hit with any magnitude.  Last winter was one of the warmest winters on record (behind 2000, 1999 and 1992).  While California still has the title of earthquake country, we’re now seeing them where they aren’t expected (like the East Coast). 

What this means is that we need to change.  Not necessarily our driving habits or what kind of light bulbs we use or shifting to re-usable grocery bags or worrying whether our food comes from the ground, a box or a plastic bag.  We need to change our expectations.

For decades (centuries?) we’ve viewed ourselves as the top of the evolutionary chain and masters of all.  When we were cold, we built a warm box to live in.  When the box was warm enough to make our food spoil, we built a box to keep food cold inside of our warm box.  When we didn’t like cold food, we built another warm box that allowed us to take our food out of a cold box – which was located inside of a warm box that was designed to keep us from being cold – and warm it up.  Don’t like the surge in the harbor?  We built tidal breaks.  Can’t catch fish off of the shore?  Build a pier and walk out to where the fish are.  Live in a flood area?  Build levees. 

We’ve done this so long and so well, when something like Hurricane Sandy (and before that, Katrina) comes along, we’re taken aback.  We have completely forgotten that Nature can hand us our ass at any given moment.  We live in areas that are prone to flooding, hurricanes, tornados, volcanoes, tidal surge, mudslides, fires, etc… and then we’re shocked when these things actually happen. 

But when it’s all over – after the shaking has stopped, after the fire is out, after the storm has blown over, after FEMA has gone about their normal business, what do we do?  We go right back and rebuild on the same exact spot.  Why?  Because we’re humans:  Top of the evolutionary food chain and masters of all. 

Things are normal for a while.  Then Nature spools up and hands us our ass again…and we go through the same cycle.  Because we cannot be asked to move or do something differently:  “But the views here are so great!,” or “I really must live in the city – it’s so vibrant!”, or “I like living away from the flatlanders – this is God’s country up here.”

Darwin stated – in so many words – that a species must adapt in order to survive.  As a species, we are showing a distinct inability to adapt…and that does not bode well.

Maybe it’s time for an agonizing appraisal of the situation.