Monday, October 26, 2009

Roller Derby!

You asked for it, and I can finally deliver. What follows are a few summary shots of our bout against "Atomic Assault" (from Fresno) on Saturday night. Our team, the Diamond Divas, won 106-64 (check out our website to learn more about the team and the game). More photos are here.

some action - our pack dominating the front line

the VIP seat (couch that we raffled) seeing some action and losing their drinks... pile ups are frequent, but this is definitely the funniest we've had

this is definitely a penalty... you are NOT allowed to bear hug in derby

the jammers jamming - our Devious Darling on the way to score some points

speaking of names, here's me: "Canadian Crusher" - note my appropriate number

the requisite booty shot - what really draws the crowds in...

one of the funniest names on our team: Dutch Dynamite "kiss my tulips" hahaha!

proof that I was actually in the action

Atomic Assault and Diamond Divas, all done, sweaty and about to go to the after party

Saturday, October 24, 2009

You never knew that you wanted to do this. Now you're jealous!

The geology club has been working on their float out at a cotton gin in Buttonwillow. Yesterday, during some downtime waiting for papier mache to dry, we eyed this:

The Mt. Shasta of cotton seeds.

And then climbed it. Not unlike Mt Shasta, climbing up a 45 + degree slope of softness makes each step sink in and down. Unlike Mt Shasta, it's much shorter.

Regardless, it still took quite some effort to get to the top (not that that meant we didn't climb up more than once...)

From the top, the obvious thing to do was to use a scrap of cardboard as a sled and slide straight down, as illustrated below:

Since we were unprepared for such fun to occur, the photos and video are all cell phone captures (now THIS is how cell phones are useful!!!) and thus, not the greatest quality...

One extra strength antihistamine later, I slept like a giant allergy-infested, leg-fatigued log - and am wondering a little how this might affect my game in roller derby tonight...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

cats + yarn = danger

Loki is turning out to live up to his name - trouble maker - quite well. Some time ago he ate his way through a cardboard box that was housing some yarn, extracted a substantial amount of this yarn, and then set up an elaborate trip-wire with it, a leash, and my bike shoes at the bottom of the stairs. Besides being annoying, it was also quite impressive.

He later showed that this trap may not have been indicative of intelligence and menace so much as a total fluke of spazziness. Below he has wrapped himself up so tightly in the yarn that he is "army-crawling" his way out of it with his front paws...

getting tangled...


the army crawl (Kiki looks on with dilute interest)

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Mermaid Triathlon

At the end of September I did the Mighty Mermaid Triathlon in Santa Cruz, this is an all-women's event, and just to add in some extra challenge for myself I did the Olympic distance (1.5km swim, 40km bike and 10km run). This post is a little late because I've been impatiently waiting for the event photos to be posted!!! You can find a few shots of me through the search function, my number was 8. Anyway, the real reason I was waiting for the photos was to see if my sweet Dogfish Head beer jersey would be photographed appropriately, and the answer, sadly, is not really. The corner of the photo below is the only evidence of the coolness of my jersey, and it's so not visible, that I added a red circle to it so that you can see one of the 4 beer bottles "sticking out of" my pocket.

Especially being that this was almost exactly one week after the disaster that was my 2/3rds of this year's Bakersfield Triathlon, I was 'mighty' (haha) impressed with my results, 28th overall (at one point it was 25th, then 26th - I guess some people's timing chips didn't register or something, but the number of participants keep increasing on the results page and some of them are beating me!).

swim - 30:22 - this was an ocean swim, and a cold one at that - not to mention other dangers. One of the women who had practiced in it the day before told me it was in the 50s. That's some sort of farenheit number, and it translates in degrees C to "brrrrrrr". There were substantial waves crashing at the shoreline and as waves of competitors got in to start, we saw many of them being held back by wave after wave and they just couldn't really start swimming. When our wave, the Olympic wave, got going, I abandoned my traditional at-the-back-so-you-don't-get-swum-over rule and booted it to get through the waves and actually swimming. This partially worked, I was not held up by waves so much as the heart-stopping cold of the water (and a little bit of the stanky dead fishyness of the water) and I ended up doing the water polo head-up swim for the first 1/8 or 1/4 of the swim until I stopped gasping and won the mental battle of "just get your damn face in the water and swim". By the time we passed the half way buoy my hands and feet were completely numb and I felt like I was kicking and slapping rubber nubs around at my extremities. In the water this was fine, but when we got out and had to run across the beach and up 150 stairs (they numbered them for us) to the transition zone, the rubber foot nubs that were supposed to do the running were pretty ineffective and the rubber hand nubs that were trying to take the wetsuit off (difficult enough in general) were failing miserably.

bike - 1:32:42 - once the removal of the wetsuit was accomplished, the attempt at removing the wads of sand from my feet was the next task. Again, relatively numb hands and feet make adept maneouvering of towel between toes more challenging. Eventually I gave up getting my feet clean and just pulled my socks and biking shoes on in order to ride and warm up. We had been warned that the ride had 2 very steep hills on it, and one of them was pretty soon after leaving the transition zone. They weren't kidding! As biking is my best event, and I like to think I'm pretty good at it, I'd evaluate the course as having 3 steep hills on it - this based on me having to stand up and pump out of the saddle on 3 separate hills during the ride. I'm never out of the saddle. Not on the ridge route, on the Bakersfield course, and if I hadn't here - the bike would have stopped rolling forward and toppled over. Despite that, the route was pretty and I felt really good throughout the ride. Just past the half way mark I even managed a record setting farmer blow that finally rid my sinuses of the dead fish ocean from the first part of the tri.

run - 59:53 - I made a commitment to myself to go all out on the ride, no matter the cost to me physically. I knew the ocean swim would not be fabulous, and I had lost faith in my swim time potential after Bakersfield this year, and I also knew that I had not done anywhere near enough (ok, ANY) training on the bike besides the daily commute to and from work. I also figured that no matter what condition of fatigue I was in starting the run, I could always fall back and walk and still complete the event. By some miracle I had enough juice left in me to jog the entire entire run, including the 2 steep hills (it was actually the same steep hill that we had to run up twice). In fact, the only part of the run that could even be classified as terrible was the crispy salt thigh chafing that occurred because I did not remember to put body glide on after the swim...

In addition to my times, I was also thrilled with the friendliness of the competition, and walked away with half a dozen new Santa Cruz friends from my transition area.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

"Sunny" Bakersfield

Quite some time ago, I unearthed these name stickers from the depths of my office, and sent them, among other items, to kilometres for entertainment value. Regarding the name sticker, two things truly struck me as bizarre: 1) California's most "conventionable" city??? What on earth does that mean? 2) Why is the word "Sunny" in quotes? It's almost never NOT sunny here, so... uhhh... what's going on?

Today I brought the entire roll of name stickers over to the College Archives, just in case they wanted them for some reason. I said that I thought they were funny, and I also said I guessed they were from the 50s or 60s based on the generally brown and multi-fonted theme. The Archive Queen took a look at them, and after a few moments, a look of surprise and recognition came over her face.

"These must have something to do with Sunny Scofield", she said, "she had a talk show and that little icon in the corner was her logo".

Her brief biography follows, and this will be considered another post in my unofficial series "lessons in odd California history".

First woman producer/director and host of a television talk show (The Sunny Today Show, 1968). Almost 2500 shows aired weekday mornings. Believing that existing TV programs did not meet the needs and interests of viewers, Sunny originated a morning program with such a variety of guests and subjects that the program became nationally recognized.While talk shows are common today, there were no programs like this on the air in the late ‘60’s.