Wednesday, April 27, 2016

please don't vote

We've been kinda quiet on politics over this horrible election season. Considering the media sponsored candidates, there's not a lot to say other than, "this sucks".

Ever since I've been able to vote, I've voted for the anti-war, pro-equality, anti-racisim, pro-freedom, pro-peace, anti-violence candidate. Well, every year except for 2004 when I voted for John Kerry lol embarrassing. I faltered. And in all these years, I've seen society move in the exact opposite direction of what I'm voting for. That sucks.

On politics and punk rock: 

When George W. Bush was President, it was impossible to not notice the punk rock community rallying against his completely failed presidency. Eight years of that guy would make any reasonable person pretty pissed off. But what I did not expect was what would come as a result: the widespread, unquestioned embracing of the Democratic party by the punk community. MoveOn, John Kerry, Barack Obama, all received blind endorsement by the loudest voices in punk rock.

What started as rage directed at shitty presidencies, became mindless endorsement of the closest, most visible opposition they could find. But for a community that is supposedly about DIY, the underdog, thinking critically and independently, working hard, and all that other bullshit, they sure do tend to support huge corporations and the government telling them how to live their lives. Is that punk?

Bush got a lot of heat for two main reasons: the war in Iraq and being a corporate lapdog. But the minute a Democrat took office and did the exact same things, it's all of a sudden cool. The current president has killed more non-whites than Bush did, and then he gave his buddies at insurance companies the best gift ever: a law that forces Americans to buy their product. I can't make this up. 

Punk rockers, lol.

On Trump: 

A lot of people seem to not like Trump so much. Understandably so: he's a loudmouth, he's arrogant, his hair, he doesn't apologize for being white, straight, or male, he might be borderline racist, all among other things. Seems he just can't win with any of the most vile groups of politicians either: establishment Republican politicians and Democrats or "progressives".

But he does appear to resonate with some folks who are sick of 16 years of shitty presidentry, along with what might be described as "tea-partiers". When I say "tea partier", note that I mean Republicans basically, the group the media assigned as (the new) tea partiers. Because that's really what tea-partiers are now, just shitty Republicans. Not that most Republican aren't shitty; they are.

Anyway, the media is painting a picture of Trump as the worst thing ever. Full disclosure here: I don't plan on voting for him (assuming he wins the nomination), and am not a Trump supporter beyond having to choose between him, Cruz, Sanders, or Clinton. Well, and the important fact that "progressives" seem to be getting triggered furiously at the mere thought of him. I do fully support his candidacy being a microaggression for chumps.

Think about this comparison: African American males commit crime at an insane rate. I don't think anybody would dispute that. The reasons for it happening, yeah, that is debated and slightly more complex. But you have folks defending it by blaming everybody but the actual perpetrators; they're blaming poverty, white people, low income, white people, racism, white people, everything. That all can be grouped together and called "the environment" and of course "white people". When Tyrone and Jerome and friends burn a white girl alive, we blame the environment, while excusing and defending these young pleasant lads.

BUT, when Trump says something stupid, he and only he is the worst thing in the world. I am not sure how things can work two ways. The off-kilter blame game kinda undermines the whole thing. Freewill is both a thing and not a thing, apparently, depending on convenience and political leaning.

This is skepticism, basic scientific reasoning and logic all being cast aside for an agenda. That to me is more terrifying than a Trump-Cruz-Clinton-Sanders super mega presidential ticket.

Political fun facts: 

There are (a few) candidates, a whole party even(!), running for President that are against violence, war, inequality, government greed, and corporate greed. Bet you didn't know that. There are also those same candidates running locally!

If George Bush did what Hillary Clinton did, you can be sure the media would be hanging that Presidential failure even more than they did. Liberals and progressives would think it's the worst thing ever.

Come to think of it, when George Bush did the same things that Barack Obama does, it was the worst thing ever.

The only things Donald Trump really has going for him are a ruthless marketing team and a seemingly peaceful foreign policy. He is pandering to the same IQ level that Clinton and Sanders pander to, and both groups both seem to be equally open minded: not very.

If Michael Moore was not alive any longer, the world would either not notice, or slightly improve.

I am not a Republcan because they hate me for not being rich.

I am not a Democrat because they hate me for being white, straight, male, and not rich.

Monday, April 4, 2016

adventure race report

A couple months ago I was invited/hand selected/included on an email chain gauging interest to be on a team for the Stubborn Fool adventure race.

Real quick, an adventure race is a four to eight hour race (sometimes 12 or 24 or more!) featuring some combination of biking, hiking/trekking, paddling, trail running, rock climbing, and puzzles - all while orienteering and trying to find checkpoints. You get a time limit, hit as many checkpoints as you can, report back to the headquarters by the cut off, and hope for the best.

Our race was cycling, paddling, and trekking for six hours. Sadly, due to the weather, the paddling leg got cancelled. So did the surprise repelling section, bummer!

Where: Devil's Lake State Park in Baraboo, WI.

Weather: Shitty. Mid 30s, up to 50mph wind gusts, lots of snow blowing sideways, and generally very strong winds constantly.

The race: We started out with a two mile trail run, hitting all four checkpoints. We must have jogged for a quarter mile, then resorted to walking. I was happy with that. Nothing too eventful on this opening leg, just wind gusts. Got back to the shelter to get our cycling directions.

Onto the bikes! This included some of the steepest hills I've ever done. As the weather jumped from really shitty to sunny, back and forth throughout the entire day, it made for a tough 19 miles. Wearing my running shoes on this part was horrible. The water on the roads splashed right back onto the toebox of my shoes, soaking my feet completely. With the brutal downhills and winds, both my hands and all of my toes were numb, sometimes when we'd pedal, I would be able to feel them again. Sometimes not though. A lot of times not though.

We hit three of the five checkpoints and decided to head back to the shelter to get our trekking directions. I think we were all over the cycling portion anyway.

Got back to the shelter, put on a dry pair of socks and my shitty gore-tex hiking boots. Wise choice, as it was pretty snowy out there. This part would have us climbing a very steep bluff made entirely out of large snow-covered rocks, in addition to wandering through a forest, and descending very steep dirt hills. And then climbing them too. We got two of the 11 checkpoints, but it seems like not many of the other teams fared much better.

For being pretty a brutal day, it was really fun. The crew put on a really well organized event. Having an awesome team helped too. Jereme and Sarah are adventure racing pros and knew exactly what to do. Danny, like me, was new to the sport, but ready to hit it, and hit it we did. Nobody got pissed, nobody argued, All the other racers and teams were really nice, always sharing words of encouragement as we would pass.  Also, furiously cat-6ing other racers on the bike does wonders for the inner-PUMP fun meter.

Well what did I wear!? I nailed the gear. Aside from the running shoes getting soaked, I felt really good. Tall gaiters kept my legs dry, packing extra socks was a cr00sh choice, four pairs of gloves kept my hands mostly pretty good, a nice light vest kept me warm when I needed to be, a Camelback daypack hauled my crap nicely, and the sweet rain jacket I purchased a day earlier was perfect.

One sour note though: I was advised that these events generally have pretty good post-race food. So after six brutal hours, I was ready to crush some noms, ya feel me. We get back, and guess what it was. Fucking Pizza Hut. I like pizza as much as anybody, even Pizza Hut, but dog I'm on vacation and I ain't trying to eat chain pizza.

Last thing: shout out to both Gem City Saloon and Eatery and the Thunderbird Motel in Baraboo. Good food, and clean enough rooms.

Fun trivia: we got to Baraboo Friday night, had dinner - pizza. I ate my leftover pizza on Saturday morning for a pre-race breakfast. We had pizza after the race. I got home to Eau Claire and Heckyeahwoman and I ordered pizza. Then I ate the last slice of homemade pizza on Sunday evening.