Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Firm with the Dragon Tattoo

In honor of exactly one month separating us from Nanowrimo, let's discuss the hugest blockbuster to be published in quite some time: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

First, kudos to the American publisher that decided to rename this baby. The original title in Sweden was "Men Who Hate Women." Accurate to be sure, but that title is a touch lacking in flair. "Men Who Hate Women" never would have sold 30 million copies, I can tell you that.

Anyhoo, I really had no plans to read this book. Probably because I'm sort of weird that way. Hey, I admit it! When something gets so popular that EVERYONE is reading it, watching it, talking about it...I just don't want anything to do with it. I still haven't seen Avatar! So that's my issue, and I know it's not reasonable, but there you go.

Still, people just wouldn't leave it alone on this one. "You'll love The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is the best thing I've ever read!" "You have to read The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo!"


So I got on the Corvallis Library site ( and put The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo on hold.

And got put in line behind 120 other people waiting for it. Crap. And they've got like 20 copies of the damn thing!

Anyway, last week it finally came.

And yesterday, I finished it.

And here's my official review (spoiler alert):

I've read this before.

Nineteen years ago.

It was called "The Firm."

And I've met Lisbeth Salander before. Back in 1991, her name was Mitch McDeere.

OK, there are some differences. But now that you're thinking about it, the two books actually have a lot of similarities, don't they? Go ahead, admit it, you're among friends here.

Anyway, it's good. I'm not saying it's not good. But it's not great. It's not 30 million great. It's not even "The Firm" great.

I'm gonna say B. No way more than a B+.

And now let's bring it all the way around. In one month, you've got a chance to write 50,000 words. If you can come up with 50,000 that grade out at a B+ or an A-, maybe you could sell 30 million copies as well.

Only one way to find out.

Monday, September 27, 2010

What will you choose? Four 10's or Marathon Sunday?

Ah, yes. The second weekend of October - otherwise known as the day where marathons go to die. You've got Spokane, you've got Victoria, you've got Walla Walla, you've got Elma.

And of course, you've got the Granddaddy of them all: the Portland Marathon.

If you can't find a marathon to run this weekend, you're not trying.

Or find a 10k on Sunday and do a 10k on 10/10/10 - woot! You won't be able to do that again for a while.

Let's race!


October 9th / What Women Want Fun Run 3.5 miles / Great Falls, MT

October 9th / 2010 Domestic Violence Awareness 10k and 5k / Salem, OR

October 9th / Miles for Midwives 2.8 mile / Seattle, WA

October 9th / Autumn Leaf 10k and 5k / Omak, WA

October 9th / Astoria Parks and Rec Sprint Triathlon / Warrenton, OR

October 10th / Portland Marathon, Half-Marathon and 5 mile / Portland, OR

October 10th / Spokane Marathon, Half-Marathon and 10k / Spokane, WA

October 10th / Royal Victoria Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 8k / Victoria, BC

October 10th / Great Pumpkin Run 10k and 5k / Corvallis, OR

October 10th / Pace Race 10k and 5k / Kirkland, WA

October 10th / Eugene Race for the Cure 5k / Eugene, OR

October 10th / Run Vera Run 10k and 4k / Seattle, WA

October 10th / Free Flight Run 10k and 5k / Newport, OR

October 10th / Sun City Half-Marathon and 5k / Yakivegas, WA

October 10th / Trail Sprint Duathlon / Bellingham, WA

October 10th / Columbus Day Marathon, Half-Marathon, 10 mile, 10k, 5k, Sprint Triathlon, and Sprint Duathlon / Elma, WA

October 10th / Bog Jog 10k and 5k / Grayland, WA

October 10th / Walla Walla Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 10k / Walla Walla, WA

No, I don't know where Bukit Bintang is...but if you get there to run on 10/10/10, we will salute your perseverance.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Black Diamond Results Are Up!

Well, for Saturday anyway.

Find them right here.

The Sunday races will have results at the same spot...but it's usually hard to get them on Saturday night.

Good luck out there on Sunday!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Limbering Up for Nanowrimo...

So we're almost through September. That means we're almost in October. And that means November is right around the corner.

And that means you need to be thinking about Nanowrimo.

One month, 50,000 words. How could it be any more simple?

But you've got to be ready. You've got to be prepared. Trust me, 50,000 words in 30 days (31 days? I don't know...I never learned that stinking rhyme) is not a walk in the park. Start thinking about your plot now. Today. Think about it today. Then think about your plot unfolding. Think about your characters getting in trouble, then getting back out of it.

For God's sake, don't think about vampires. Don't write 50,000 words about vampires! I'm begging you!

Where was I? Oh yeah, I'm planning on limbering up the writing muscles in October by writing my 25 part Christmas Card, called...wait for it..."Advent". I was supposed to write it last year. Didn't happen. This year, I'll work on it in October, hand it over to Jen for Art and Design and to get it ready to post to the web in December. In 25 parts. Maybe we'll mail the first part and the 25th part. Still working out the details...but it will be awesome.

Then in November...

It's Nano time!

Yes, yes I do want to write a "million dollar adventure novel." I think that's a great idea and I would like to subscribe to your newsletter, um...Dr. Ray, is it?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Definite Gloom, Possible Doom...

So I wasted most of the day today - most of the dry, even a few sunbreaks thrown in day. I just goofed around, knowing I had a seven miler I needed to run, but in no rush to do it.

I kept putting it off. And putting it off.

Finally, I took off around 4:00 in the afternoon. And 15 minutes into the run...downpour. And it just kept raining. All the way home.

I'm afraid it's that time of the year, my friends. If you see sun, get out there! Don't dilly dally, or you'll end up like me.


Let's race!


October 2nd / Oktoberfest Brewski-Daddle 5k / Vancouver, BC

October 2nd / Missoula All Women's 5k / Missoula, MT

October 2nd / Fall Finale 5k / Oregon City, OR

October 2nd / Highway to Well Half-Marathon, 10k, and 5k / Pendleton, OR

October 2nd / Orcas Island Triple Ripple Trail Festival 30k, 10k, and 4 mile / Eastsound, WA

October 2nd / Leavenworth Oktoberfest Marathon and Half-Marathon / Leavenworth, WA

October 2nd / Fallen Leaf Run for SIDS 5k / Spokane, WA

October 2nd / XC at the CX 4 miles (on the cyclocross course!) / Vancouver, WA

October 2nd / Walla Walla Crush 10k and 5k / Walla Walla, WA

October 2nd / Baker Lake 50k / Concrete, WA

October 3rd / Race for the End 10k and 5k / Bellingham, WA

October 3rd / Great Columbia Crossing 10k / Astoria, OR

October 3rd / Issaquah Rotary Run at Salmon Days 10k and 5k / Issaquah, WA

October 3rd / Wilsonville 10k and 5k / Wilsonville, OR

October 3rd / Footzone Dirty 2nd Half Half-Marathon / Bend, OR

October 3rd / Run of Hope Seattle 5k / Seattle, WA

Power Bar Fruit Smoothie Energy Bar Review!

Yeah, it's got a fancy new wrapper, but the R's is going to let you in on a little secret: shhhh, listen...the Berry Blast Fruit Smoothie Power Bar is really just the old Berry flavor Power Bar.

Yep, it's true.

Not that there's anything wrong with that! I was always a fan of the old Berry Power Bar and well, let's face it, that's all this one is. Now if you've somehow never had a Power Bar, they're definitely old school. These things are not your newfangled, whole grain, antioxidant, protein powered, energy bars. In fact, I'm pretty sure the first ingredient is sugar, although they call it "evaporated cane juice syrup." Yeah, sounds like sugar. Although, this Power Bar does have fruit of some form or another for a number of ingredients after that.

I've got to tell you though, that pretty purple color of the bar? Yeah, that's not from the berries. Keep scrolling and you'll see "beet juice." Yeah, that's the pretty purple color.

The numbers are ok: 220 calories. Very little fat, and almost no saturated fat (that's the sugar as the first ingredient), but also not a whole lot of carbs or protein, or even added vitamins and minerals. This one is pretty much for quick energy only.

So to the taste - like I said, it's pretty good. I verified it by offering bites to the kids.

"It's delicious," said Payton.
"Religious?" asked Jen.
"No, delicious!" said Payton.

So there you have it. It's religious!

Oh, and the children are also the reason for the odd bite pattern. You know...cooties.

Not much going for it except the taste, but for taste only, let's give it: 8 Bonkers!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Portland's Shalane Flanagan on the East Coast!

Over at Competitor, they've got a nice little interview with Portland's Shalane Flanagan, who's over on the other coast getting ready to run the Philadelphia Rock n' Roll Half Marathon. And that, of course, is just a warm up as she runs her first New York Marathon in November.

Good luck Shalane!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Some Inspiration for Nanowrimo...

If you're looking for a little inspiration for Nanowrimo, I've got just the read for you: Devils in Exile by Chuck Hogan.

Waaaaaay back in 1995, a young writer named Chuck Hogan put out an absolutely fantastic novel called The Standoff. The Standoff was a fictionalized retelling of the Ruby Ridge Standoff. Considering Hogan wrote it when he was 26, you knew there were a number of good novels waiting to be written by his hand...

But it took a while.

Hogan followed The Standoff with The Blood Artists in 1999. I'm not sure why it took him four years to write it, because - let's face it - it's not very good.

Then you're got Prince of Thieves, which Ben Affleck is coming out with in theaters under the name "The Town". Great novel. Has a bit of Dennis Lehane to it, which is never a bad thing.

Then Hogan co-wrote The Strain and The Fall with Guillermo del Toro. Haven't read them. I mean, vampires...right?

Anyway, Hogan just released his newest, Devils in Exile, and it's his best. I've always had a soft spot for the "revenge" novel and this one has layers and layers of revenge. Hogan has a real talent in showing his criminals and police as real people, and as he plays them off each other, showing just how similar they are.

Don't miss this one.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Summer is Sad...

but Fall seems quite happy!

I'm not sure if it's the increasing popularity of the triathlon - or maybe just my imagination, but it seems there are fewer and fewer running races in the summers months (but lots of triathlons), and more and more running races in the Fall.

Did it used to be that there were more running races in the summer? It sure seems like it. I know there didn't used to be three or four different triathlons on certain weekends in the summer like there are now.

Hmmm, who knows? But Fall seems to be the time...

Let's race!


September 25th / Priest Lake Marathon and Half-Marathon / Priest Lake, ID

September 25th / Black Diamond Long Course Triathlon and Duathlon / Enumclaw, WA

September 25th / St. Luke's Women's Fitness Celebration 5k / Boise, ID

September 25th / Arlington Airport Run for Hope 10k and 5k / Arlington, WA

September 25th / Run for Honor 5k / Lincoln City, OR

September 25th / Habitat for Humanity 10k and 5k / McMinnville, OR

September 25th / Cedar Creek Beach Challenge 5k / Pacific City, OR

September 25th / Run4US 5k / Tacoma, WA

September 25th / Indian Summer Half-Marathon and 5k / Richland, WA

September 25th / Valleyfest Run to Fight Hunger 10k and 5k / Spokane Valley, WA

September 25th / Freedom 5k / Bainbridge Island, WA

September 26th / Corvallis Fall Festival 10k and 5k / Corvallis, OR

September 26th / Running Water 5k / Sherwood, OR

September 26th / Black Diamond Olympic and Sprint Tri and Half-Marathon / Enumclaw, WA

September 26th / Fall Celebration 8k and 5k / Eugene, OR

September 26th / Rec the Capital 5k / Salem, OR

September 26th / Bellingham Marathon, Half-Marathon, and 5k / Bellingham, WA

September 26th / You Go Girl! Half-Marathon and 10k / Tacoma, WA

September 26th / K-Rod Memorial 10k and 5k / Vancouver, WA

September 26th / Winthrop Marathon / Winthrop, WA

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Best Running Song for September!

The year was 1992 and the band was STP.

These guys have the ultimate stereotypical rock band story: extremely popular with the public right from the start, with their first album, Core, but never critical darlings. The second album, Purple, was huge too, but then the drugs started. The lead singer, Scott Weiland, was in and out of jails and rehab centers for years in the 90's and the band only was able to put out four albums in eight years. Then fist fights between band members, the breakup, and all the side and solo projects. This year, nine years after their last album, a new release...

And it's their best album.

And here's the best song on their best album: Cinnamon. Sorry for the lame video, but the song is pretty new. I read they just did a video for it, but I haven't been able to find it anywhere. I'll post it when I see it.

Back to the song. Very poppy for STP - nowhere near as rocking as some of their previous stuff, but it's just so catchy and happy! Not only is it a great song to run to, but It's a fantastic song to blast in the car as you're cruising down the road (sunny day required).

They played a different song on Letterman a while back, but I wanted to post it just so you can see how good Weiland looks. Let's hope he stays clean and healthy!

Past Best Running Songs:
August: Louis XIV / "Guilt by Association"
July: Devo / "Fresh"
June: Saliva / "Your Disease"
May: Metric / "Gold Guns Girls"
April: OK Go / "This Too Shall Pass"
March: The Hours / "Ali In The Jungle"
February: Los Fabulosos Cadillacs / "El Matador"
January: White Rabbits / "Percussion Gun"
December: Deftones / "Knife Prty"
November: The Kooks / "Always Where I Need To Be"
October: At the Drive In / "One Armed Scissor"
September: Silversun Pickups / "Lazy Eye"
August: Joe Strummer and the Mescaleros / "Johnny Appleseed"
July: Deathray / "I Wanna Lose Control (Uh Oh)"
June: Raconteurs / "Salute Your Solution"
May: Tea Party / "Save Me"
April: Bloc Party / "Like Eating Glass"
Ever: The English Beat / "I Confess"

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Bonk Happy with FRS Healthy Energy!

Or not.

Hey, it sounded good. Citrus Pomegranate flavor. First couple ingrediants are Water, White Grape Juice and Orange Juice. Supposed to have a bunch of antioxidants.

How could it go wrong?

Well, if you didn't open the can, I guess it wouldn't...but I did.

As soon as I poured it in the glass, I noticed an "off" smell. I'm not even sure what it is, but it didn't smell good. So I took a taste. Same deal. There's a taste in there that shouldn't be in there. What was it? I'm not even sure. It just didn't taste...right.

So I went back to the ingredients. Hmmmm, only things on there that are possibilities are Inulin and Quercetin.

Wikipedia says Quercetin is a flavonol which may have inflammatory and antioxidant properties. Sounds good. Of course, it doesn't mention if it tastes like foot sweat, so I'm not sure if this is the culprit or not.

OK, Wikipedia says Inulin is a plant-based sugar replacement. Supposed to have some properties that are better than sugar. Also, does not mention how awful it may or may not taste.

So I still don't know why the FRS tastes funky, but I know it does. I couldn't choke down the whole can, that's for sure.

On the positive side, Payton drank quite a bit of it and said it tasted "pretty good." And he's more picky about food than I am, if that's possible.

So...I'm going to give it 3 "bonkers" purely on the taste. Who knows, if you can choke down the whole can, it might cure both cancer and the common cold, but I just couldn't do it. Payton says 7 "bonkers."

I guess we can average it out and give it 5 "bonkers" total. Good luck and Godspeed.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Ah, a boy's first pair of running shoes...

Truly, a moment to cherish forever.

You see, the oldest R child, that would be Payton, is heading off to middle school. And, after much cajoling, and...well, let's face it, bribing, he decided to join the middle school cross country team. And so, it was to pass that he needed to get his first pair of running shoes.

Real running shoes.


He picked out a pair of Brooks Adrenaline's - nice choice. And he's wearing a size 11.

A size 11...

Did I mention he's eleven years old?

Much like his Father, he is not going to have a marathon runner's build, I'm afraid.

Let's race!


September 17th / Beaver Fever Sprint Duathlon / Philomath, OR

September 18th / Kirkland Sprint Triathlon and Duathlon / Kirkland, WA

September 18th / YMCA Hidden Springs Sprint Duathlon / Boise, ID

September 18th / Run Wild 8k and 5k / Eatonville, WA

September 18th / Free to Breathe 5k / Tacoma, WA

September 18th / Harvest Classic 8k / Nampa, ID

September 18th / Prefontaine Memorial 10k Run / Coos Bay, OR

September 18th / Good Samaritan Challenge 12k and 5k / Corvallis, OR

September 18th / Late Summer Madness Sprint Triathlon / Vancouver, WA

September 18th / Farmers Charity 5k / Hillsboro, OR

September 18th / Plutonium Man Half-Iron Triathlon / Richland, WA

September 18th / Oktoberfest Road Race 10k and 5k / Mount Angel, OR

September 18th / RunWenatchee River Run Half Marathon, 10k and 5k / Wenatchee, WA

September 18th / Newport Half Marathon and 10 mile / Newport, OR

September 18th / 'Round UP on the Bluff 5k / Portland, OR

September 18th / The Grand Columbian Half-Iron and Olympic Triathlons / Electric City, WA

September 19th / Scenic Half Marathon, 10k and 5k / Sandpoint, ID

September 19th / Trek Women's Sprint Triathlon / Seattle, WA

September 19th / Champoeg Half Marathon and 5k / St. Paul, OR

September 19th / BD50k and LD25k Trail Runs / Issaquah, WA

September 19th / Salmon Run 10k and 5k / Leavenworth, WA