Category Archives: 2G1L

Nearly 2,000 miles on foot: Walking the Mexican border

I flipped through this article in the drug store the other day, but had to go find it online. It’s EXACTLY the type of long walk trek that I’ve dreamed of doing for years. Writing in Esquire, Luke Dittrich describes his hike from the Pacific Ocean to the Gulf of Mexico, along (as best as possible) the U.S.-Mexico border:

The buffer zone between the two fences is reserved exclusively for the use of the U. S. Border Patrol, with one exception: At the top of the hill, there is a little door in the northern fence, and a sign informs that twice a week, Saturdays and Sundays from 10:00 A.M. until 2:00 P.M., U. S. citizens are allowed to enter. Then, if there happen to be Mexicans on the other side of the second, southern fence, the Americans are allowed to look at them and talk with them, though reaching through the fence or attempting “physical contact with individuals in Mexico” is prohibited. A portion of the American side of the visiting area has been paved with cement, in the shape of a semicircle, and there is an identical semicircle on the Mexican side of the fence.

The official name of this place is the “Friendship Circle.”

The story is the first in a year-long series describing the whole hike. Awesome. Exactly the type of long-form journalism that magazines do best, and easily worth the subscription fee. (Aside: Subscribing to magazines is ridiculously cheap.)

It’s like the article was written specifically for me, since it’s not just long walks that fascinate me, but borders as well. They’re so … odd.

(photo by Vance Jabobs, in Esquire)

Knopflerized version of Huck Finn

If you’ve been paying any attention to the news, no doubt you’ve read about the uproar over a bowdlerized version of Huckleberry Finn recently released in which the offensive word “nigger” has been replaced throughout with the allegedly-less-offensive “slave.”

Now, in Canada, comes news that the Dire Straits classic “Money For Nothing” will have bowdlerization enforced upon it. A person complained that the use of the word “faggot” was offensive.

So, I have decided to do the world a favour and combine those two crimes against political incorrectness.

Noting that the full text of Huckleberry Finn was available online, I imported it into a word processing program and did a quick find-and-replace for “nigger / faggot”. The two words are pleasingly similar with their double-g centres and consonant/vowel distribution. The whole process took no time at all. There were only a few hundred replacements needed.

So, I hope you enjoy the “Knopflerized” version of Huckleberry Finn, which you can download right here, in .doc format.

(Image, above, appears to be Huck Finn and his pal Faggot Jim, sharing a snooze together, perhaps after smoking each others’ corncob pipes?)

Foot-buttons for elevators a great idea — at first blush

Okay, at first I really liked this idea — especially when your hands are full with groceries or luggage or something, and you really want to grab the elevator, and you don’t have a free hand. Wow, just kick it! Awesome.

But then think … what do you do when you get on the elevator? How do you select your floor? You would still need a free hand.

So, this idea isn’t as awesome as first imagined. But, still pretty awesome.

(via Gizmodo)

Music video is actually a viral love letter

Awwww … so there’s a guy whose girlfriend just moved across the country. He misses her. What does he do? He secretly wrote her a song and, with his roommates, made a video to go along with it. He hopes that through people passing it along organically — virally — it will eventually reach her. He’s not going to show it to her himself.

I’m doing my part.

(via Gizmodo)

One beer, one shot, one glass

Talk about a solution in search of a problem! These glasses, available for $20 for a set of two (currently out of stock) are too clever by half, in my opinion.

Sure, sometimes I want a shot with a beer chaser, but the whole idea is that once you’re done the shot, the beer is right there. Who wants to slam their shot glass down and then calmly pour themselves a pint?

Also, who wants to alternate hard liquor and beer dripping onto the table or bar as they flip a glass upside down over and over again?

Also, have the designers behind this glass never done a drop shot?

(via Gizmodo)

Hitler the hipster

Is it socially acceptable to make Nazi jokes now? I mean, as long as we’re making fun of them, can characters like Hitler be somewhat sympathetic (emphasis on the pathetic)?

Here’s a comic about the Beer Hall Putsch, for example.

I don’t know how I feel about this. But I do know I laughed milk out my nose at the twist ending to this comic about the genesis of Mein Kampf. Serious laughter.

(Thanks? Colin)

An Egyptian fascination

As a child, I was entranced by all things Egyptian.  In fact, although it isn’t on my list, visiting the pyramids at Giza probably slides in at number 26.  Yes, I still retain that little bit of childish enthusiasm for Egyptian history.  I mean, I like the history and all, but I don’t read as much about it as I should — we can consider it an attention-deprived interest.

It was, therefore, a bit of a thrill (maybe ‘thrill’ is too strong of a word – let’s say I was titillated) during a recent holiday to an amusement park to walk through a recreation of an Egyptian archeological dig.  Being the kind of Dad who will try to find educational aspects even in line for a rollercoaster, I pointed out a jackal-headed statue to my 9 year old.  “Check it out,” I said.  “That’s one of the Egyptian gods.”

He sighed.  “Yes, Dad.  That’s Anubis.”  Then, pointing to various paintings on the walls, he said “And that’s Thoth.  And that’s Ra.  And that’s Osiris.  I don’t see Isis.”  The next few minutes consisted of a lecture on the family tree of Egyptian gods.

“How do you know all this?”

Another long-suffering sigh.  “Dad.  I’ve only been studying to be an Egyptologist since grade 2.”


This long-winded story brings me to my point:  how cool is it that a bunch of artifacts from King Tut’s tomb are on display in Toronto?  Tickets to see these ancient bits of history are surprisingly reasonable and I’m tempted to fly to Toronto for a weekend only to take in the exhibit. 

Part of me wonders why I would consider spending a few hundred dollars to see a handful of items that were buried thousands of years ago.  The other part of me wonders how much I will regret it if I don’t spend the money.

After all, it is King Tut.

(As a post-script, by writing this posting, I think I’ve talked myself into making the trip.)

Running video tells it like it is

Keith and I have an ongoing quest to help each other knock goals off our “life lists.” We call it “Two Guys, One List” and you can find out more about it — plus our tentative lists — if you click on “What’s 2G1L?” at the top of the page.

Ideally, since some of those goals will cost oodles of money and/or time to accomplish, we’d like to leverage our growing fame from this blog into corporate sponsorship opportunities. Yes, I would like to climb a mountain. But I’m perfectly happy to do so wearing only gear from “Mountain, Inc” and blogging about my “PowerDrinkTM Extreme Adventure.”

Anyway, because Keith’s a sucker, he’s signed up to run a marathon with me, as a symbolic first goal to accomplish. We decided to take it slow, to train over the course of a couple of years, and to run the Manitoba Marathon, tentatively, in 2010.

Last year, I ran a 10K for the first time, and I could suddenly grasp that a marathon was actually possible, so Keith and I decided to aim for a half-marathon this spring and the full deal next year. We figured that would allow us to train slowly and consistently. We would be able to recover from any injuries or attacks of laziness, and we could focus on other things rather than just running all the damn day.

On Sunday, we completed the half marathon at the Brandon YMCA Spring Run. I managed to finish in 1h54m40s, which was great — I was aiming for anything under 2h — and I took bronze in my age category (30-34 male). I had to fend off charley horse attacks in my calf for the last couple of miles, and it was galling to watch a 60-something guy who had walked up the last hill breeze by me to finish a minute ahead, but I was pleased as punch to finish at all.

Keith can tell you more about his run in the comments, but I suspect his knee’s hurting today!

My own body seems to have recovered fairly well — except for my left foot, on which I have a blister, a mysterious and searing pain in the metatarsals, a possibly sprained toe, and a very black nail. My right foot feels like I didn’t even run yesterday — if my left foot felt as good as my right, I could go run another half marathon today. (Any podiatrists out there?)

Nonetheless, I am a bit stiff here and there, and I hobbled around yesterday while recovering.

So I got a pretty fun chuckle out of this video, which my brother emailed to me this morning:

My brother, actually, has taken up running, too, and just finished the Ottawa Marathon last week. So I guess he’s a bit ahead of me, but Keith and I are now thinking of moving up our schedule — there’s a fall marathon in a town called Treherne that looks interesting. And, since I’ve become quite the running evangelist, and I got my whole family doing 5K or 10K races in the Spring Run, they can all join us, too!

And next year we can aim for the Voyageur Ultra — 50 miles of trail-running near Duluth.

An impressive marathon record

I have been thinking about running more than usual lately (see any of the 2G1L entries) and that has led me to looking at some running records.  Completely by accident, I came across the story of Shizo Kanakuri, a Japanese marathon runner who competed in the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm.

Part way through the race, Kanakuri became overcome with the heat of the day.  According to some versions of the story, he stopped at a garden party for an hour, drank some orange juice then left.  The country, that is. 

Too ashamed to admit he had quit the race, he returned to Japan without telling the Swedish race officials who considered him a missing person for the next fifty years.  It was only in 1966 when a Swedish television crew tracked him down, living in southern Japan that his status changed (despite having participated in the 1920 Olympic Marathon, in which in came in 16th, and the 1924 Olympic Marathon which he again failed to complete). 

This same television crew invited Kanakuri to return to Stockholm to complete his 1912 run.  He did, giving him a time of 54 years, 8 months, 6 days, 8 hours, 32 minutes and 20.3 seconds.

Suck it, Guinness World Records

Keith and I have talked lots and lots about our “2 Guys, 1 List” project, although we haven’t blogged a whole lot about it. But, that’s why we’re training to run a marathon (it’s on my list).

One of our other goals (Keith’s) is to get into the Guinness Book or World Records. Well, that’s hard. But, like many people with too much time on our hands, we have each scoured the record books, looking for a record that’s easiest to break.

Well, here’s an alternative — if the Guinness Book of World Records is like the Encyclopedia Britannica, then this is its’ Wikipedia — crowdsourced, beta, edit-it-yourself.

Hat-tip to my friend Colin, who passed the link along. It’s a compendium called the Universal Record Database, and it’s filled with records too esoteric or weird to attract Guinness’ attention:

or this one: Fastest Consumption Of A 24-Ounce Bottle Of Breakfast Syrup (2:32.2)

Note to Keith: We are not going to try to break that one.

Everything you ever wanted to know about pronation

Pronation:how the body distributes weight as it cycles through the gait. Types of pronation include neutral pronation, underpronation (supination), and overpronation.

I’ve been running so much that I have a very sore knee and a serious foot pain that bugs me. I found out lots that I didn’t know here at the Runner’s World website, although I’m not sure I found a solution to my particular issue.

I fear I run like this:

But Amy assures me I don’t. Two more videos and some interesting explanation of foot mechanics, though, at the link, if you’re into that sort of thing.