Does this make me an optimist?

I spent Saturday through late Tuesday in the northern I-95/I-87 corridor, centering my travels somewhere in New Jersey, and as a result spent very little time in my favored online haunts. I discovered upon returning to my usual surfing habits today that when I don’t visit loci of cognitive decriptude (e.g., this, this, and this) for even a few days, I very quickly become desensitized to the moronistry therein, and am amazed anew at how many people can live in a purportedly knowledge-rich society and still exist at the gut-wrenching pinnacle of human ignorance. I’m about due for another excoriation of Kerwin Brown but don’t know if I can stomach such a job again.
Maybe this all means I actually believe that there’s still hope that a majority of people will one day at least think about hot-button issues before drawing conclusions about them, even if these conclusions continue to appear far-fetched to my jaundiced and duly arrogant eye. Maybe the genuine cynics are the ones who aren’t shocked or discouraged by revelations about what the “average” American allegedly believes about science, the environment, and skygods.


Anyway (and if you haven’t figured this out yet, this post is really none of your goddamned business), it was a fun trip. On Saturday morning, before hitting the road, I entered a 5K cross-country race held in memory of a promising young runner who died in a car crash a couple of years ago. As I was toying with the idea of racing a half-marathon in New Jersey the next morning, I opted to hold back and ran with the local high-school track coach, a prep teammate of the deceased. To see close to 200 people out for a small-town race benefitting a youth scholarship fund was heartening. (Okay, now I know I’m mellowing with age.)
Later that day I stopped at the Albany Crowne Plaza and met up with Duncan Larkin, a guy I’d previously “known” only via his uproarious Internet presence (and vice-versa). He was running the Mohawk Hudson Marathon on Sunday morning and aiming to run under 2 hours, 30 minutes after finishing second last year in 2:32 and change. Interestingly, not only was the Crowne Plaza the official race headquarters, but was hosting a sci-fi/fantasy convention of some sort. Duncan, who also ran the Mohawk race in 2005, noted that the same convention had taken place here last year when he was in town to run. Moments after I snapped the random photo below, someone apparently aiming for a borderline illegal version of the Princess Leia look and “covered” in a grand total of about three square inches of fabric sashayed by, bringing nearly all conversation in the lobby to a halt. Duncan observed that one wouldn’t expect to spot such specimens — supernatural as they may appear — at gatherings of the sci-fi sort, and certainly didn’t recall seeing her last October (when she may well have been cheering for her town’s high school spirit squad).


Duncan would go on to win the race despite missing his goal by six and a half minutes.
By Saturday evening I was in Franklin Lakes, New Jersey. There I met up with another runner, this one unfortunate enough to be under my cacophanous tutelage. She was planning to race the aforementioned half-marathon, but on Sunday morning, a piriformis-type injury that had been slowly worsening for a week or two was still singing loudly, and so, acting on the sage advice of the coach who’d helped injure her in the first place, she opted not to race. As a result I didn’t race either. (I realize that someone else’s problems present an odd rationale for not racing myself, but trust me, it makes sense.) I did manage to grab a few photos of her teammates, who helped the Running Company to top honors in the distaff division. Below are two of them — they look for all the world as though they’re auditioning for a putative sequel to The Ringer, but they’re actually not composed enough for such roles.
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By Sunday afternoon I was headed south again. This post is doing the same, in accordance with my own attention span, so I’ll have to continue this later, or not.

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  1. #1 by The Unforgiven on October 12, 2006 - 12:28 pm

    As you were galavanting around the mid-Atlantic and taking pictures and garnering laughs of comely young runners, getting groomed by the Refuge matriarch, YT was engaged in a minorly epic fracas re: a hallowed chatroom member’s self-admiration of his member. To be called in relative succession, prudish, jealous, stupid, immmature (kindergartner), crazy, as well as stupid an evil a few more times has resulted in a somewhat trampled feeling; nevertheless, some excellent ethnographic data were gathered which will be used for future endeavors. A little sacrifice in the name of science.
    Carry on.

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