Crazy Runner Dean Karnazes

I’ve thought I might want to aspire one day to train for a marathon but this guy runs one every morning, before breakfast! Dean Karnazes, world famous ultramarathon runner, has also run 262 miles non-stop (it took him three days) and regularly runs from San Francisco to Sonoma as a training run. If you have the time, read the Virtual Run article from FHM, the guy is totally nuts!

Fat Man Walking

Read about this one in the paper. Steve Vaught woke up one morning tired of not being able to lose weight and concerned about how long he’d live (he was 400 lbs.). He threw everything up in the air and decided to walk from San Diego to New York. Totally bold move (he has two kids and a wife). It might have been better if he trained a bit because his progress is not as rapid as he planned. Instead of being safely North for the hot Summer months, he’s still in Arizona! Read the journal updated by his wife to follow his progress.

We, as a society, are growing larger and have become a big market for high dollar fast fixes. We are not getting the fix because it is an illusion. Don’t get me wrong, if I were given the option I would trade just about anything to be trim and fit again I have the  same excuses, desires and dreams as many others in my position. I know though, that there is no other option but physical exertion to truly get back into shape.

A Fat Man Walking

Decadence

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My high school roommate, Andy Hoffman, dropped me an email to ask if I wanted to join him and his skipper John as “rail meat” on his boat for an Friday evening sail to kick off the 4th of July weekend. His boat, Luna, is an Antrim 27, built for speed with high performance rigging, an open transom, and a superlight fiberglass & balsa hull. For a 27 foot, it’s got a surprisingly big cockpit and a 6′ keel fixed with a 1,000 lbs. bulb. She’s as close as you can get to a 27′ windsurfer.

She’s moored over in San Francisco near the Presidio and we set out in 20 – 25 knot winds out under the Golden Gate over to the Marin Headlands. On our way we spotted several pairs of porpoises and and dodged a few container ships on their way out towards Asia. The seas were choppy with five foot swells and shifty wind which I understand is normal for the Bay which is some of the trickiest waters to sail in North America. The boat handles well though and with Andy’s Lynard Skynard blaring, we even dipped the boom a few times as we raced back under the Gate to Sausalito.

We pulled up at a Tiburon sailor’s institution, Sam’s Anchor Cafe, for dinner and enjoyed the setting sun while watching the fog roll over the Sausalito hills like a gigantic, slow-motion tidal wave. Topped up with Bloody Marys and dinner, we set back home and turned on the navigation lights and planed our way back home.

It was really amazing to be out on the Bay on a beautiful Friday evening – the city was lit up all around us but we were all alone out on the Bay with only the searchlight and fog horns of Alcatraz to keep us company. It was like our own private playground. After tying up at 10 pm I was back home taking a warm shower by 10:45 and feeling deliciously relaxed and anticipate a deep slumber with the rocking motion of the waters lulling me to sleep.

Thanks Andy and John for a wonderful evening!

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A Drinking Club with a Sailing Problem

Today Mie & Dav came over to Alameda with their bikes and we rode to several yacht clubs on the Island that opened their doors to visitors interested in becoming members. It was kind of like a pub crawl because each clubhouse has a bar and they all had food laid out for potential members. I had another meeting so joined them after they had already visited the posh Encinal Yacht Club and Oakland Yacht Club.

We met in front of the Alameda Yacht Club and immediately fell in love with it. The atmosphere was real casual and the people real friendly. Dav called it the, “working man’s yacht club” and the bartender (who we all think was sampling the inventory) went on about how they have lots of parties at this club and also give me the line that’s the title of this post. Membership is reasonable and they have an active group that goes out regularly and are always looking for extra crew. If I were to join a sailing club, this would be it.

We then went over the the Aeolian Yacht Club which I’ve been riding by each morning on my way to the ferry each morning. AYC was founded in 1905 and is the oldest club on the Island. There’s a functional clubhouse and they have a drydock and fully outfitted workshop for its members. The walls are lined with wonderful old black and white photos of old boats on that used to sail on the bay. I spotted one photo of a beautiful old catboat under full sail with the half-completed Bay Bridge in the background. Every Thursday evening, club members gather at 6:30 to row a large whaling dingy out into the bay to drink wine to the setting sun and sing sea shanties.

As Dav says, it’s good fun getting to know a new subculture.

Thanks again to Mie for the photo of the Alameda Marina. I miss my DSC-T1!

The largest sloop in the world

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In the artists rendition on the left even a J-boat looks small in comparison to the 247 foot sloop, Mirabella V. The 290 foot mast stands taller than most redwood trees and is constructed of 31 tons of carbon fiber and stands 70 feet taller than the roadbed of Golden Gate Bridge. So tall is the Mirabella V is that it cannot fit under any bridge in the world! The mainsail has the surface area of a football field and had to be constructed from seven sections. Even so, it takes two cranes to remove the mainsail from the 90 foot boom.

For a cool $250,000 you can charter the Mirabella for a week (doesn’t include food or drinks) and it apparently costs $4 million a year just to keep her in operation.

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Game On!

Tyler’s T-Ball league teams are all named after real Major League teams. Tyler plays for the Washington Nationals who were most recently the Montreal Expos. Last weekend we all went to the beautiful SBC Park to see the real Washington Nationals play the San Francisco Giants. It was pouring down rain on our way in and everyone was wondering if the game would be called. As we waited for the light to change so we could cross the street to the stadium, I looked around and could see that this was a die hard crowd. They were going to this game even though it was raining and was predicted to rain through to the evening. They were there on the off chance that the game would be on. Folks were huddled under their umbrellas in grim determination and I began to wonder if this day at the ballpark was going to work out as planned.

As we waited, a station wagon rolled by in traffic with a young girl, maybe 9 or 10 years old, leaning out the window and waving her baseball glove madly and egging on the crowd, “Game On! Game On!” as if she could will the game to happen. You could see she couldn’t wait to see her SF Giants hit the field. And would you believe it, after a short delay, the grounds crew came out to pull the covering off the diamond to the roar of the crowd.

The game went into extra innings and came down to some questionable calls but by that time we had already gone. As you can see from the photo above, attention spans were waning and when the wind picked up in the fifth inning, it was time to duck out and head home.

The seats were great (thanks Andrew!) and the kids had a blast.

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You must not throw up at the Dojo

Izumi IM’ed me at work today:

izumikennedy: we have to come back from Aikido, tyler throw up, he cough too much.
red pile carpet: oh no
red pile carpet: is he ok now?
izumikennedy: he is fine , before class start
he was showing off to one of class mate about aikido and then he got
too excited. and he started to cough.
red pile carpet: poor guy, at least he’s excited about akido

Tyler needs to learn humility and respect. Less fidgeting, more attention.

This reminds me of the time my father was learning kyudo, the art of Japanese archery. For weeks he dutifully went to the dojo to practice and the sensei said that he would first need to practice his form with an old piece of rubber surgical tubing. He would stretch out the rubber as if pulling back a bow, then release and it to make this horrible, ungainly sound, phwap!!

It was so crude and clownish compared to the other archers who looked so graceful, releasing their arrows and having them sail the length of the gallery towards their targets. Each week Dad looked over at the others, longing for the day when he could try a real bow and each week, it was back to the surgical tubing. Stretch, aim, phwap! Stretch, aim, phwap! It was like practicing a crude form of scales. He had to practice in the corner, away from the others because the phwapping was distracting to the others, like loud farting.

After several weeks of this, sensei came over in the middle of his phwapping and gave my father an old bow. My father was told it was time to move up to practicing with an empty bow. Still no arrows but at least he had moved on from the surgical tubing. Barely able to repress his glee, he grasped the bow and joined the others in front of the gallery. He drew back, true to form, took aim, and zing the bowstring whizzed past his face and hooked his glasses and flung them a good twenty feet out into the gallery!

Sensei barked out for everyone to halt their practice and, through tightly pursed lips, hissed to my father to go fetch his glasses. When he scampered back to pick up the bow, sensei shook his head slowly, took the bow back and handed my father the limp old surgical tubing. It was back to the corner, for more stretch, aim, phwap!

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Little League

Tyler debuted on his little league T-ball team this past weekend. In Japan they have something called a koen debut which is the first time a mother takes their child to the park. It’s a stressful occasion because this is the time when mother and child learn if they are to be accepted into the community.

Taking your son to Little League has some of those elements. I’m the first to admit that I’m not a yelling-at-your-boy-from-the sidelines-to-pick-it-up type. I don’t even play baseball. But still, you always wonder if you’re both going to be accepted into the community.

I missed the buying of Tyler’s first baseball glove which, according to Izumi was memorable. Passing a rack of guns on the wall of the local sporting goods store Tyler questioned loudly why firearms were for sale, “Guns are bad, they shouldn’t be selling guns.” Right on. That’s my boy.

Each of the Little League team is named after a major league team and, seeing as Tyler and everyone on his team are just starting out, it seems fitting that he’s playing for The Nationals, the recently transplanted Montreal Expos, now reborn as Washington DC’s newest team.

I think it’s going to work out great. The coach is really nice and very patient working with the boys and is very good at explaining the basics. This week they worked on catching grounders. Hey, I might pick something up too!

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Soccer Champion

Last Sunday was the last day of the Alameda Soccer club season. Tyler’s coach, Jim Koermer, was amazing. He went out of his way to bake a cake (with little soccer men on it) and on his own dime bought all the kids a trophy; everyone was beaming.

Thanks Coach!

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Surfing One Huge Wave

The site that hosts this video tries to pawn this off as a shot of someone surfing Hurricane Ivan but the comments seem to agree that this 70 foot plus monster was off the coast of Hawaii at a place called Jaws and that the guy did make it after all. Still, the video has to be seen to be believed – you don’t really realize how big the wave is until it begins to break.

Amazing!