Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Shave Ice

As we finished our hike through Diamond Head crater, my Midwestern in laws gravitated toward a roach coach colorfully emblazoned with "Hawaiian Shave Ice". I was a little wary.
"There are only a few places where you can get authentic shave ice", I explained. I peered inside and sure enough, "They are making snow cones, not shave ice." I walked away. "Whats the diff?" they asked, thinking I was some sort of snow cone snob. "Real shave ice is made from a razor sharp blade skimming an ultra thin layer off a rotating block of ice. It is topped with syrups from exotic tropical fruits. I like guava or lilikoi. Snow cones are made from crushed ice. You probably like them in grape or cherry. Not the same." They turned around and headed back to the roach coach, probably thinking I was crazy. They ordered cherry.

Shave Ice is da kine, and my buddy Barack agrees.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Barefoot in the Sand

Ellen and I took a quick trip to Molika'i yesterday and kicked it at their famous 3 mile beach. Spectacular.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Mele Kalikimaka

Santa Barbara was getting a bit chilly of late so it was off to Hawaii for a little relaxation. A little run around Diamond Head, some swimming, surfing. I really feel fortunate that I have Hawaiian roots rather than, lets say, some midwest winter hell hole.

Monday, December 15, 2008


A friend sent me this the other day. Its funny in that juvenile, sophomoric kinda of way, which suits me just fine.

1. When you are sad, I will jump on the person who made you sad like a spider monkey jacked up on Mountain Dew!!!

2. When you are blue, I will try to dislodge whatever is choking you.

3. When you smile, I will know you are plotting something that I must be involved in.

4. When you're scared, we will high tail it out of here.

5. When you are worried, I will tell you horrible stories about how much worse
it could be until you quit whining, ya big baby!!!!

6. When you are confused, I will use little words.

7. When you are sick,stay away from me until you are well again. I don't want whatever you have.

8. When you fall, I'll pick you up and dust you off--After I laugh my butt off!!

9. This is my oath... I pledge it to the end. 'Why?' you may ask;
-- because you are my FRIEND!

Friendship is like peeing your pants, everyone can see it, but only YOU can feel the true warmth.

Try sending this to 10 of your closest friends, Then, get depressed 'cause you can only think of 4.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

News Worthy

I dug up this news clipping of our overnight adventure.

Friday, December 12, 2008


We weren't really lost, we just ran out of day light. That was our story after spending one cold December night in the Los Padres wilderness some eight years ago. What started as a morning mountain bike ride up to Little Pine Mountain with my bud Mike T., turned into a day of boulder hopping, creek crossings, and bush whacking. That's what happens when you turn right instead of left. The end was always around the next bend. The following morning we made it to the ranch roads east of Lake Cachuma where we managed a free helicopter ride courtesy of the sheriff department. The first comment from Ellen when we arrived home: "So did you make spoons with Mike to keep warm?"

Monday, December 08, 2008

Knuckle Sandwich

Another remedy from Vince's Big Book of Fringe Medicine. I totally forgot about this gem until Ellen reminded me the other day. You may have heard about shark cartilage and cancer prevention. The theory is, sharks do not get cancer, eat shark cartilage, no cancer for you! I'm a little skeptical about this one but my father-in-law Vince has taken it to another level. Too cheap to actually go to the health food store to buy actual shark cartilage, Vince substituted what he thinks is the next best thing. Chicken Knuckles. I am unclear whether he washes it down with a Listerine chaser.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Don't cramp your style

Ellen calls him a bit eccentric. I call him a little crazy. He gets most of his medical knowledge from his barber and speaks with the authority of a Harvard Medical School grad. He expounds the miraculous healing powers of Listerine and yet when he speaks, I listen with great anticipation. That's my father-in -law, Vince. Spending Thanksgiving day with him was bound to turn up another nugget of medical wisdom. So here it is. The malady: leg cramps. The cure: sleep with a bar of soap under the covers. He has used both Dial and Ivory and they both work. Who knew.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Fight On

I love college football. I love good ol' rivalries. My good friend Tom bleeds Irish green. His father played football for the legendary Knute Rockne and as expected, Tom is about as die hard of a fan as you can get. I repect that. My buddy Cook mocks my love of all things Trojan, but I think he secretly wishes he had a big time college team to root for. I guess it is not the same rooting for UCSB soccer. This weekend USC plays cross town rival UCLA. The Rose Bowl is on the line for the Trojans; the Bruins are looking for the big upset. Ironically the biggist Bruin fan I know, my friend Kristen, did not even attend UCLA. I suppose she just has a penchant for powder blue.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I took Morgan and Lilo up to West Camino Ceilo the other day. This was Lilo's first time; Morgan has been up there plenty. My old dog Tux was the king of the WCC. We would spend hours on a running adventure. The rest of the day we would spend snoozing on the sofa. It doesn't get much better than that.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Swim like an Eagle

It has always amazed me how most animals have an innate ability to swim. Here is a story about a woman who used swimming to help rehabilitate an injured bald eagle. I also found a video of an eagle swimming in the wild.

I hate to admit it, but there is an uncanny resemblance between the eagle swimming and the last 25 meters of my 200 fly.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Fear of France

Apparently in a recent interview, Lance Armstrong is fearful of an attack by spectators when he returns to next years TDF. Come on Lance, show some balls... err, ball.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Nike didn't do it

Just a little update on Arien O'Connell, the winner of last months San Francisco Nike Woman's Marathon who was denied her first place moment in the sun. Reebok has apparently stepped up and provided Arien a years worth of running shoes and various other swag. Nike stubbed their toe on this one.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fire Pictures

Here is what is left of Duncan and Terry's house. There are more pictures here. I was really disappointed their antique stove went down in flames. Some of the best shortbread cookies came out of that baby. Sometimes there is no justice in life.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

High Times

Soon after I snapped this photo Sunday morning, my black lab Morgan was rushed to the CARE emergency hospital. She wasn't able to walk, was shaking and having urinary incontinence. Poisoning, I thought. Off to the hospital. The Vet did an exam and asked the usual questions. Her diagnosis: marijuana toxicity! She asked if Morgan had access to marijuana. The only place I could think she could have gotten some is during our morning run, she was rooting around a lookout point at Elings Park where I know people come to party. After a night in the hospital, she has apparently recovered. It was quite a scare. In retrospect, Morgan does look a little stoned in this picture, probably craving a bag of Doritos.

The stoner look is universal.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Unwanted Jogging Partner

I was slightly annoyed the other day when a pebble wandered into my shoe during the last tempo run with Mike and Rusty. Then I read this story about an Arizona woman who ran a mile back to her car with a rabid fox attached to her arm. I guess a little blister isn't so bad.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tea Time

Enough with the fires already. Santa Barbara has once again been hit hard by the Tea Fire. My good friends Duncan and Terry Thomas lost their house and a lot of memories Thursday night. Larry and Cheri Savage narrowly escaped and fortunately their house was spared. Klaus and Lynelle defied the evacuation order and hunkered down in their Tunnel Road home. I think they were going for a Darwin award.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stretching, the truth

Stretching makes you weak. An interesting article that gives me another excuse not to do it.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

New Dogface

Meet Lilo, the latest addition to the condo-kennel. She's a 2ish yellow lab that just had pups and was abandoned at the shelter. :(
We'll pick her up next week after she is spayed. Lilo will then start her new life of adventure followed by plenty of sofa time.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

The Day After

Dear World,
We didn't mess it up this time.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Shin Kicking

OK, I pretty much have abandoned the idea of taking up Chess Boxing, but luckily I've stumbled upon another sport made popular by those crazy Brits- Shin Kicking. Somehow I have the feeling Monte Python must be involved.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Amazing save

This is absolutely amazing.

Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween

This ad was banned in the USA because it was deemed to be anti-women. I think it is awesome. What do you think?

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bike for Sale, if you are man enough

If you are looking for a manly bike, check out this Craig's list ad.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Liquid Smoking

Nicotine in a can
? It is all the rage in the UK. Those crazy Brits are always looking for new ways to jack up their teeth.

Monday, October 27, 2008


The Monarchs usually do not start appearing at Ellwood until December-January. This guy must be one of the first scouts of the season. If you have never witnessed the Monarch butterflies swarm, you are missing something wondrous.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Serious Skills, or maybe a future Darwin Award

See more skate, snow, surf, and moto videos at Shred or Die

So you think you have mountain bike skills? Check out the Red Bull Rampage. You'll need more than wings to do this kind of stuff.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Your the Winner! but not really...

When is the fastest time not the winning time? Apparently at the San Francisco Nike Women's Marathon. 24-year-old Arien O'Connell posted the fastest time of the day but since she did not register as an elite athlete she was denied the gold medal. Race organizers defend their position. I think it is just weak sauce.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Chess Boxing

I am always looking for a new sport to try since I am kind of a flop at the more mundane swimming, biking, and running. Robb at Titan Sports turned me on to this sport: Chess Boxing

Monday, October 20, 2008

What would Laird do?

The phenomenon is known as a reef pullout. The picture was taken in Teahupo'o, Tahiti. There are only a handful of surfers who drop into this baby.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Hommie

Ran into my brown brother Ray while out spinning today. Ray is the undisputed king of the Westside.

Friday, October 17, 2008

More Ironman memories

Hawaii Ironman 1996

This is how you look minutes before you throw-up on yourself.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Night of the Living Dead

I found the debate last night pretty predictable and boring until McCain turned into a zombie.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

More Ironman '99

Coach and physical therapist extraordinaire Mike Swan is also a not too shabby Ironman. In 1999, Mike finished in a tad over 9 hours. A pretty good day at the office.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

More Vic

Here's Vic on the podium after Hawaii Ironman '99.

Monday, October 13, 2008

11 times Ironman

Vic and the late, great Steve Issaris at Ironman '02

For an amazing 11 times in a row, Vic Birtalan completed the Hawaii Ironman this past weekend. Vic finished in 13:50. Vic's accomplishment just boggles my mind. That's a lot of lava dust to pick out of your teeth over the years.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Hawaii 99

I was digging thru my archives the other day and came across this picture of my buddy Chuckie V downing a cold one during the '99 Hawaii Ironman. Chuckie was unfairly banned from from Ironman events for the following year. I think a little bit of the fun of Ironman died that day.

Friday, October 10, 2008

At the Beach

It doesn't get any better than running on the beach with my crazy dog Morgan.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Gadget Man

I love gadgets. I probably have 3 or 4 heart rate monitors, a couple of GPS devices, and seem to change my MP3 players as often as I do my running shoes. None of these gizmos seem to make me any faster but I do like the diversion of frantically pushing buttons while I work out. My latest gadget- a Electro Muscle Stimulator, recommended by my fellow nerd, the Wanger. Here I have it set on the electro shock mode. I find this very handy to erase the memory of a painful Rusty Snow workout.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Dog Attacks Shark!

Keeping with my dog theme, check out this video. I kinda feel sorry for the shark.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Man Attacks Shark

What would you do to save your dog? This Florida man took on a 5 ft shark. You can read about it here.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

If I didn't Have a Dog

My friend Dave sent this to me the other day:

If I Didn't Have a Dog
I could walk around the yard barefoot in safety.
My house could be carpeted instead of tiled and laminated.
All flat surfaces, clothing, furniture, and cars would be free
of hair.
When the doorbell rings, it wouldn't sound like a kennel.
When the doorbell rings, I could get to the door without wading
through fuzzy bodies who beat me there.
I could sit on the couch and my bed the way I wanted, without
taking into consideration how much space several fur bodies would need
to get comfortable.
I would have money .......and no guilt to go on a real vacation.
I would not be on a first-name basis with 6 veterinarians, as I
put their yet unborn grandkids through college.
The most used words in my vocabulary would not be: out, sit,
down, come, no, stay, and leave him/her/it ALONE.
My house would not be cordoned off into zones with baby gates or
My house would not look like a day care center, toys everywhere.

My pockets would not contain things like poop bags, treats and
an extra leash.
I would no longer have to spell the words B-A-L-L,, F-R-I-S-B-E-
E,,W-A-L-K,, T-R-E-A-T,, B-I-K-E,, G-O,, R-I-D-E
I would not have as many leaves INSIDE my house as outside.
I would not look strangely at people who think having ONE
dog/cat ties them down too much.
I'd look forward to spring and the rainy season instead of
dreading 'mud' season.
I would not have to answer the question 'Why do you have so many
animals?' from people who will never have the joy in their lives of
knowing they are loved unconditionally by someone as close to an angel
as they will ever get.

How EMPTY my life would be!


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Dark Horse Candidate?

A good friend of mine and a Santa Barbara legend is making a surprising push to challenge both Obama and McCain. Could this dark horse candidate pull an upset in November? Check it out here.

Monday, September 29, 2008

To Infinity and Beyond

When I was a kid there were two things I wanted, a hover car and a jet pack. Well, Swiss Yves Rossy became the first man to don a jet pack and cross the English Channel. The trip took a mere 10 minutes. He would have gone a bit faster if not for the friction from the huge cajones this guy must have.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sweaty palms

The Wanger sent me this article on how heat exchange through the palms of your hands will improve aerobic endurance. I've been carrying an icy water bottle during my Ironman runs for years. Yet another one of my secret tips made public.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

I'm still shaking my head

I'm sorry, but some people should not be allowed to vote... or reproduce.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Santa Barbara International Marathon

The Santa Barbara International Marathon will debut on Dec 6, 2009. This will no doubt be a big time event so it is never too early to start training, or in my case, probably get injured. Coach Rusty Snow is one of the main organizers so plan on the course to be extra torturous.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Endurance Athletes Mind

Besides long fingers, what other attributes make up an endurance athlete? For one, they are not afraid of failure. Check out the others here.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The longer the better

This latest study shows there is a possible link between people with long fingers and the desire to exercise. I have no idea how scientists come up with this kind of stuff but all I can say is ET must have been totally ripped.

Friday, September 19, 2008


I was reading this article linking eating vegetables and brain shrinkage. Vegans were especially susceptible. I always wondered why my vegetarian friends have small heads.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


Sadly, my 17 year old faithful training partner, Tux, passed away last night. Ellen and I found Tux wondering the neighborhood streets 15 years ago. Flea ridden and half starved, Tux was lured with a dog biscuit and cautiously followed us home. He has been faithfully at our side ever since. Tux trained with me through five Ironman races and countless marathons. He was a trail running phenom. And while age finally took away most of his giddy-up, he happily accompanied me on slow walks through Elings Park. I spent many a morning sipping my Pete's watching the sunrise with Tux strolling at my side. Good bye Tux, you lived a long, wonderful life.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Hockey Moms for Truth

There is some funny stuff out there on the internets.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Scientists have discovered that human hair follicles are a source of EPO. I imagine it is only a matter of time until this is the next doping scandal.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Thursday, September 11, 2008

J Lo

Nothing gets my friend Cook going more than a Jennifer Lopez movie. "A very under appreciated actress" he says. In my opinion however, she can't hold a candle to say, Drew Barrymore. Now that's quality acting. But I digress. How does J Lo get back into shape after having twins? She trains like a triathlete. Check it out here.