Friday, March 19, 2010

Back from Seattle, back in the saddle, back to the prattle

The downside of … no, wait. Let’s take the positive approach here.

The upside of a string of missed opportunities is that it’s at least hard evidence of a string of opportunities, and you could certainly do worse than that.

I rather wish I hadn’t blown my streak of staying on my M-W-F blog schedule, but instead I’ll whistle a happy tune and be grateful that I’ve amassed a substantial enough collection of regular readers who wonder what in the world happened to me for the past … oh, Lord. Week.

What happened was more opportunities. Too many to keep up with, I suppose, and it’s not that I didn’t see it coming. Two entries ago, I was raving about what a great time I had, and everybody had, at “Friday Night with Frazz” at Century Cycles in Cleveland. Then a brief lament about how much I had to do in a short week before I took off for a similar opportunity at the Seattle Bicycle Expo. Would I be able to keep up? Turns out I almost would. My apologies for the broken promises and tested patience.

And regrets for the lost opportunities to write about stuff. I lacked for time, not timely material. When I followed up my Flo & Eddie cartoon with a CAKE cartoon,
I missed the opportunity to shout about what a terrific band they are (supremely talented musicians and writers with that rarity of rarities, a truly original and yet not jarring sound), it somehow seemed important to mention that when saw them in concert recently I couldn’t help notice that lead guitarist Xan McCurdy was a dead-ringer for Steve Prefontaine.

On St. Patrick’s Day, I missed the chance to tell the story of the year I got to join a friend and march up Fifth Avenue in the New York St. Patrick’s Day parade, taking in sights that included a gentleman who was, according to my flash assessment as we walked by, happy, kindly, somewhere in his eighties and resplendent in a black vest with a bright green print that to this day still has me wondering if he knew were not shamrocks but marijuana leaves.

And I’m really just about past my opportunity to gush about Seattle. It really is one of America’s great cities, not least because it’s a city of great neighborhoods, and I was staying with friends (great friends, not to overuse the word) in the one called Fremont, home to a funky, artsy mentality, Speedy Reedy’s Triathlon Shop, the exquisite Theo Chocolate, and one of my favorite bridges (I just love bridges), complete with troll.

And starting point for a run worth gushing about. While working a bike expo somehow kept me too busy to bicycle, I did find time to get up early and run a while with a friend. And I have to say, running a number of miles along Seattle waterfront watching the sun rise into a perfectly clear sky behind Mt. Rainier’s craggy neighbors is an opportunity missing a couple weeks of sufficient sleep over. And maybe a few blog entries and a reputation for rock-solid blog reliability. I might be able to regain some of my fine name – trust me, I’ve had to do it before – but I don’t know if I’ll ever see another sunrise like that.

Meanwhile, I’ve miles to go. More opportunities. If you have the opportunity this weekend, I’ll be signing books tomorrow in Ann Arbor (Mich.) at Running Fit’s Trizomania expo from 11-2:00, and again in Okemos (Mich. again, haw!) Sunday evening at the Playmakers Triathlon Team spring kick-off. I’m sure looking forward to both. And tomorrow’s sunrise, even though the gray freezing rain will be a far cry from an orange sun climbing a magenta-to-blue gradient from a jagged, purple horizon. Sunrises are opportunities, and you’re only dead when they quit coming.


Mill Creek Running & Multi-Sport said...

Don't let him fool you...Jef calls it "running a while". 20 miles didn't even put a sheen on his shinola.

Thanks for dragging me for the last 5 miles, Man

Jim Smith II said...

Glad you had a good time in Seattle, your presentation on Saturday was great (I'm sure the one on Sunday was too, but I didn't see that so it would be wrong to guess)!

Jef Mallett said...

Ah! That comment is from Lars, who, in addition to being a good (old, too -- we grew up less than a mile apart) friend, was my running mate and guide for those glorious 20 miles of Seattle. Many thanks, Lars! I'm already looking forward to the next one.

La Professora said...

The photo of the troll under the bridge reminded me of something one of the graduate students recently told me: UPers refer to those living in the 'mitten' of Michigan as "trolls" for they live below the Mackinac bridge.

You haven't ruined your good blogging name; figured you needed the mental rest and recuperation. Air travel isn't as fun as it used to be.

What are the plans for SF in April?

Jesse said...

Great pics! You're making me seriously homesick here. And, you ran right past my house...did you at least wave?

Glad you enjoyed Seattle, the longer I'm gone the more I realize what a place it is...

Jef Mallett said...

To Jim: I absolutely had a good time! And I'm glad you enjoyed Saturday's talk. A big, busy, noisy expo isn't the easiest place to judge yourself, so that's great to hear. I'd say you chose the right day to make it -- Saturday's panel discussion was good, too, but I thought a bit earnest and less freewheeling than I expected given the panelists. But good. Sometimes things just go different directions than you expect. Loved that whole weekend.

Jef Mallett said...

To Jesse: Really? Right past your house? Then you lived someplace wonderful, because I didn't run past anything that was at all below that threshold. I'm afraid I'd be homesick, too! And a disclaimer: I didn't take those pictures (except I did draw the cartoon). I cruised and clipped appropriate images and probably violated a thousand copyright laws, which is either inexcusable or somewhat rationalizable since it happens to my own art all the time. Uh oh. Ethics crisis.

Jef Mallett said...

To la Prof:You and your grad student have got it right. "Trolls" is what the Yoopers call us. Having been literally under the bridge, I'm especially proud of the nickname. And I'm still on for swimming under the Golden Gate bridge, too, as well as the Alcatraz effort. I can't believe that's coming up so soon already! Although it's becoming clear that that sort of surprised look on my face is more the norm than the exception.

Liz said...

It was wonderful to see/meet you at the bike expo, Jef -- glad you had a good time. (Fremont is fun, isn't it? You ought to see the summer Solstice Parade. It's got bicycles, oh yes.)

Tom Nolan said...

There's a running website called ""