The Inaugural ‘Gal Pal’ Award

She tries. But it makes no matter, the Gal Pal routinely botches sports lingo. In her honor I am creating a new award whose prestige I’m sure will only grow over time.

The ‘Gal Pal’ will be awarded annually to the person who makes the biggest mess of basic sports terminology. I will present the award myself to the recipient who will be put up in one of downtown Olympia’s nicest tents. All expenses paid.

The first recipient is Roger Whitney whose podcast I enjoy. Recently Rog was talking about the importance of trying new things in retirement. He went on say he wasn’t a very good golfer but he and his wife had started playing regularly. And while still not very good, “I’ve improved by about 10 points.”

No, no, no! I didn’t even have to get the Award Committee together before declaring RW the inaugural winner. He is on his way to Olympia as you read this.

For those scoring at home (baseball lingo), what Rog meant to say was something along the lines of, “I’ve shaved 10 strokes off my average score.”

For the love of Golf, always “fewer strokes” never “more points.” Go and sin no more.

Our 15 Minutes of Fame

You know how A-list comedians like to play small clubs on occasion to try out new material and refine their craft, well that’s what Sacha Baron Cohen just did in little, out-of-the-way Olympia, WA, Saturday.

Watch Sacha Baron Cohen Troll Alt-Right Rally With Racist Singalong.

Saturday’s group run started and ended 100 yards from the stage. If only I had known what was planned, I would’ve stuck around to watch in person.

Dear Adam Silver

Do you really want to restart the National Basketball Association season in Orlando, FL with the 346 cases per 100,000 people in Orange County rising rapidly?Screen Shot 2020-06-21 at 10.04.47 AM

Especially when you could push “restart” in Thurston County, Washington with only 78 cases per 100,000?Screen Shot 2020-06-21 at 10.02.43 AM

I would be happy to work with your advance team who will find the Olympia, Tumwater, Black Hills, Capital, North Thurston, River Ridge, Timberline, South Puget Sound Community College, and Evergreen State University gyms to their liking. And I have no doubt the players will love the Motel 6 Tumwater mostly due to the outdoor pool and it’s proximity to McDonald’s, Subway, and Lemon Grass.

And then there’s the local golf courses which will be welcome respites from Florida’s brutal heat and humidity. Tumwater Valley is a fine test not to mention Capital City and  the underrated Delphi Golf Course.

Assuming a team is not scheduled to play, nighttime entertainment is no problem. The hotel provides free wi-fi.

Also, unlike Florida, Washington State’s politics are much more in line with the Association’s. The person posing as President even called our Governor a snake, so we have that going for us.

I challenge you to find a nicer place to be in July, August, and September.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Hating The Homeless

Monday morning post swim workout. YMCA locker room. The showers specifically, but you didn’t do anything to deserve that unsettling imagery. I’d say I was eavesdropping on the two men across from me, but the one man hating on the homeless was so worked up, so loud, I don’t think it really counted as eavesdropping.

LIVID at how many people were living under the 4th Street Bridge downtown.

ENRAGED at how many resources the state was dedicating to helping them.

FURIOUS at them for not having the decency to live indoors.

So indignant, I couldn’t organize my thoughts until immediately afterwards. Isn’t that how it always is? As soon as I escaped his orbit, I knew what I should’ve said to him.

“It’s so amazing how you’ve never lacked for anything, how you’ve never even needed any compassion from anyone. You are so perfectly together, your life is such a model of success, you owe it to everyone of those homeless men, women, and children to share your life lessons. You should go down to the 4th Street Bridge right now and start your “Live Life Just Like Me!” lecture series. I’m sure they will be appreciative and immediately start applying all of your amazing insights on how to live. And as a result of that wisdom, and your incredible personal example, they will no longer be homeless. And just like you, they will have disposable income, some of which they will use to also join the YMCA. Then they will join us in these exact same showers, and following your amazing lead, express their outrage at some other offending subset of people.”

La Ultima Guide To Increasing Visits Home

Once they fly the coop, most parents miss their adult children. And so they look forward to their occasional visits home. Often however, their visits aren’t as frequent as the parents would like. Thus, a fool-proof way to increase visits home.

Step 1. Have a charming personality.

Step 2. Keep it supe-light. Don’t ask about their love lives, job searches, or anything that might require them to reveal an inner thought. If at a loss of what to talk about, there’s always the weather and Lizzo.

Step 3. Pay for the plane tickets.

Step 4. For Christmas, get them generous gift certificates to their favorite hometown coffee shop (Ember) and/or book store (Browsers) that they love visiting almost as much as the homefront.

Step 5. If they get out of bed in time, make them morning lattes.

Step 6. Buy cinnamon bread and cinnamon rolls at Wagners and make french toast for breakfast.* Add in turkey bacon and eggs.

Step 7. Don’t sweat the small things. . . half the dishes disappearing from the kitchen, the other half dirty in and around the sink, the loud t.v. at night . . . you get the drift.

Step 8. Go to whatever movie they want, even Little Women.

Step 9. Have a charming personality.

Follow these nine steps and they’ll be home again before you know it.

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*thanks to Dan, Dan, The Transpo Man for the french toast “recipe”

The Million Mile Club

Two summers ago, nine of my closest cycling friends and I were heading out of town on a late afternoon training ride. More specifically, we were heading into the Boulevard/Yelm Hwy circle when it happened.

A renegade knucklehead rider who has since been kicked off the Olympia cycling island yelled at us to “bridge up” or something of the sort. The same guy I once saw nearly kill himself following a high speed, dumbshit, helmetless, curb jump into traffic.

I laughed to myself, going person-by-person in my head, totaling up the probable years and approximate miles represented. Conservatively, I knew each dude and I had at least 100k miles in our legs. A million between us. Pretty crazy, but not to Russ Mantle.

“The former carpenter and joiner has averaged a staggering 14,700 miles every year for the last 68 years, having first started cycling in 1951.”

Stupefying.

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[Thanks to a former cyclist of some renown for the tip.]

Cautiousness Is Costly

After spending Saturday morning exercising, I rallied when the family proposed a hike in Olympia’s Watershed Park, a beautiful 1.4 mile trail in the heart of a dense, fern-filled Pacific Northwest forest.

By the time we began, daylight was fading into dusk. In a steady rainfall we began our clockwise loop. A few minutes later, a young athletic woman materialized in front of us, maybe 18 to 20 years young, hair wet, holding her phone, listening to music. Her warm smile suggested this was a better than average run. Fifteen minutes later, she reappeared. Impressed, I said, “Man, you are really getting after it.” “Yeah,” she acknowledged, smiling even more exuberantly.

The Good Wife, Eldest, Youngest, her, and I all got to our parked cars at the same time. She split before I could thank her.

I would’ve liked to thank her for daring to be different. Or more simply for being daring. A lot of people, scratch that, nearly everyone, would say she was crazy to be running alone, near dusk, in the rain, in a park where a person or two have been accosted previously. By focusing on the one or two tragic episodes over the last 10-20 years, people would forget that in between, thousands of runners have joyously run the 1.4 mile loop unscathed.

Our semi-dark, rain drenched hike was great fun, but based on her radiant smile, I bet her run was even more exhilarating. One she’ll remember fondly.

Close in age to my daughters, I thought to myself, what would I think if I was her dad or if my daughters chose to run alone in Watershed at dusk in a steady rain. I would’ve felt better if she had a friend or dog with her and told me her plan, but I’d much rather her (and them) error on the side of running alone in the elements, than not.

Why? Because when we try eliminating risk from our lives, we’re not really living. We’re most safe when sitting on our sofas, but if we spend too much time on our sofas out of fear of what could go wrong if we venture outside, we forego adventures, new friendships, and positive memories of having successfully taken calculated risks alone or with others.

Calculated risks like running in Watershed in a steady rain, in the almost dark. Negotiating the rolling hills, the wet footing. Celebrating being of healthy mind and spirit. Of overcoming fear. Of being alive.

Thank you for reading some of what I wrote this year. My hope for 2019 is that we live a little (or a lot) less cautiously. Happy New Year or is it New Years?

 

Going Against Type

It’s human nature to extrapolate what we know about one another to predict the future. More simply, thanks to our pea brains, we put people in boxes. Case in point, my “friends” love nothing more than making fun of me for my sometimes frugal ways.

Truth be told though, I can open my wallet wide open, it’s just that it takes me a lot longer than the average person to be convinced of something’s value. In the last 18 months I’ve cracked the wallet wide open at least four times. From most to least expensive:

• New crib. Hard to express how fortunate I feel to have been able to make this purchase, the largest of our lives. I looked at enough waterfront properties in Olympia over the last several years to know the agreed upon price represented excellent value. We won’t make money on it because of real estate commissions and a 1.78% excise tax, but we won’t lose any either.

• New car. 2015 Acura TLX. It would be nice if I lived close enough to work to walk, run, or cycle. And close enough to everything else to ZipCar. But the crib is 4-5 miles from civilization and work is 30 miles. Amazing vehicle, no regrets, 90-95% as nice as luxury cars twice as expensive. The linked Edmunds review summary is a joke, my last tank, almost exclusively highway, I got 39.3 mpg. At that rate I can push 600 miles before finding a Costco gas station. I’ve averaged 35-36 from beginning. Perfectly quiet; excellent acceleration if you switch from “eco” to “normal”; buttery, Barbara Streisand-like smooth. Only blemish is a tech glitch. Occasionally, brake warning alert flashes on at random times. Last software update didn’t fix that. And since Dan is wondering, yes, a lot of women check me out while driving my new ride, but that’s been true since the first VW Bug beater, so can’t really credit Acura for that.

• 27″ iMac Retina. Three days old. Just read this article on it. Wowza, like being in Kenya. Never thought I’d own another desktop, but probably shouldn’t put myself in a box. Dig it.

• Last, but not least, this bad boy. The new crib sits amidst a lot of large trees. The wind blows most afternoons. This thing is total kick ass. One of my fav purchases in a long time.

So to my friends, put that list of purchases in your collective pipe and smoke it!

 

 

 

No Men, No How

When you look up “privilege” in the dictionary you see my picture (same thing with “handsome”).

So it was only a matter of time until the universe started evening the score:

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Is this just the first salvo in a war against me and my fellow “non trans male identifying” brethren? If you see me cycling around town all by myself looking sad you’ll know why.