Tag Archives: photos

Photos from Ohio

I feel like I’ve made a reasonably comfortable transition to my new home, for the most part.

But the parts outside of that most part are the funny ones. And fortunately, just for you, I’ve documented many of them. So view these and experience the life that is me:

Tree jailAs part of local initiatives aimed at being “tough on crime,” several miscreant trees have been imprisoned in the past year. This is a community that refuses to allow tree-on-tree crime to take root.

Horrifying bunny cakesThey literally made this cake out of a bunny, which they first compressed into a plastic bunny-shaped mask that stares into your soul, plaintively asking “Why would you do such a thing?”

Drinking vinegar

This is the most disgusting thing I’ve seen here, and I’ve seen a 2-pound, 8-ounce jar of “pickled rope bologna” that had a sticky film and had developed suction sticking it to the shelf. No, seriously.Pickled rope bologna

Pac-Man Skill CraneI could cope if this were just a Pac-Man–themed skill crane machine, even though there’s absolutely nothing in Pac-Man that connects to the skill crane mechanic, or even any attempt at incorporating Pac-Man branding apart from the name panel. But the fact that the prizes are all pastel-colored sheep is really messing with my head. Was “shepherd” Pac-Man’s original career before he quit the rat race to subsist on dots and hunt psychedelic ghosts? Is Pac-Man Scottish? Those are the only possibilities I see.

Corner Cone sign

Yellow Springs is sort of the local hippie enclave outside the big local military base. It’s the kind of place where businesses simultaneously sell ice cream and rent bikes. (The ice cream is good, at least.)

By all accounts, my new bank is really good. But grammar isn’t its jam. (Also, they believe my first name is “First Name,” which is how I’d like to be addressed from here on out.)

Henry David Thorough's shack, or a facsimile.This shack is noteworthy for one of three reasons. It might be Henry David Thoreau’s shack, or it might be a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s shack, or I might have my story completely and utterly wrong.

Karen Knotts show poster

This is the kind of place where you can be famous for being the daughter of Don Knotts. She’s like an extremely rural version of Dannii Minogue.

PizzadillaNo. Just… no.


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Photos: DRX-Games

I’m later with these than I’d intended (major freelance gig distraction) but as is my habit I’d like to share photos from the DRX-Games. They had some official photography going on, and one of the nice things about the relatively small event is that there are a lot of photos of everyone.

As has been documented, I prefer to share the bad ones. Plus, I have this condition called ugliness that causes the light that bounces off my body to twist into a grotesque form as it approaches an observer or a camera. So these shouldn’t be considered a reflection on the photographer; I’m just not a fair subject.

Let’s start with what I call the constipated hippo pose:

Me on the DRX-Games Cargo net

Nearly as elegant is the immediate precursor to this shot, where I’m roughly impersonating that “Hang in there” cat, although less convincingly.

DRX Dash cargo net

Seriously, that cat’s dead now.

The tire flip was one of my better events, but I have to take issue with my form. Shouldn’t I be squatting a lot more thoroughly? Although that’s not quite fair, because if I were squatting well I’d be all, “Here’s me in the ‘slightly dim ostrich who doesn’t realize his egg is actually a big rock pose’ so maybe I should be easier on myself.”

Me in the DRX-Games Tire Flip

I like this one because of what’s probably an optical illusion. How did the spear get all the way up there when my hand is all the way down there? Probably the shot is after my follow-through and the spear is from someone behind me, but I prefer to simply call myself a wizard.

Spear Throw at the DRX-Games

This was actually a race. Doesn’t it show? The intensity on my face, the determination in my gait? I mean, I’ve nearly caught up to that inanimate tire!

Tire drag at the DRX-Games

From the same event: How does this face happen? It’s like I’m trying to smile but I’ve never seen a smile, only a description of a smile from someone else who also has never seen one.

DRX-Games Tire Drag

This one’s an ego boost, since I’m quite literally the only person in the world. So the problems in the face are okay because there’s no one with a better face to compare them to.

Farmer Walk at DRX-Games

This one you can smell the grunting. This wasn’t even the heaviest of the Atlas Balls, so I’m pretty sure I’m grandstanding a bit.

Atlas Carry from the DRX-Games

There are a bunch more (as I said, their photography game was on point and there are way more albums than that on their FB page), but the ones where I don’t look mental… well, why bother?

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2016 Chicago Spartan Photos: Why Aren’t These Worse?

I got my pictures from the race this weekend today, and was pleasantly surprised. Not by the photos themselves, but by how easy it was. The past several Spartans the “search by bib number” has not worked at all for me, so I’ve had to estimate the time that I hit each obstacle and do a brute-force manual search. This time, however, flawless. Perhaps it’s just because I had one of the easiest possible bib numbers (2900). Or, more likely, it’s because a few minutes into the race, while we were stuck in a muck bottleneck, a couple of women let me know that I had my headband on upside down. (I put it on real quickly and didn’t notice.) I have no idea who they were, but thanks to them!

Anyhow, the photos are disappointing just in that they’re not the spectacularly bad offerings of the past, but they don’t make me look good, like someone I’m not. It’s the uncanny valley of photogenic mediocrity. Welcome to where I live!

Still, I’ll share a few:

Me doing the bucket brigade at the 2016 Chicago Super

It’s time for America’s favorite game: Which of the moles on my face is real, and which are made of mud? The winner gets a more intimate knowledge of the moles on my face.

Me at the 2016 Chicago Super

I actually saw the photographer here, and made an effort to smile. Or portray a serial killer. For me, the dividing line is awfully thin.

Me at the dunk wall at the 2016 Chicago Spartan Super.

I actually really like what the mud did to my hair here. Were it practical, it might be my new look. I am not sure what’s coming out of my mouth, but were it practical that might be my new look as well.

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Why, No, I Don’t Photograph Well

As we all know, the real OCR starts when the photos have been published and you have to start hunting through the bajilliobytes of data to find ones of you. Citi Field’s have been posted, and there are a lot of me. Not, strictly speaking, good ones, but that’s more on me and my ugly, non-posing face than anyone else.

This year it was easier to find mine than usual. The bib number search worked—not perfectly, but enough to provide some useful information. But also, I wisely decided to not wear black, and instead chose my bright red Excalibourbon shirt and my Extremely Blue Shorts. Anyhow, they should be good for a laugh. In order of amusement-inducingness, from low to high, are:


Meh. Me on the cargo net. Next to my brother, who I didn’t realize was next to me. It’s pretty much all business, with an appropriate amount of effort being shown and a mild quantity of action. Easy to share with your aunt; way less memorable than my sarcastic 1980s aerobics instructor look from last year.


Fun fact: This is one of the few times I’ve actually seen a photographer on the course. They’ve obviously been out there; I just don’t notice things like that. Anyhow, for some reason I decided to switch the sandbag to the other shoulder, and I noticed the photographer while I was doing it, and I thought to myself, “Wow, that’s going to make for a terrible picture,” and I was right.


This one’s really not interesting for me (although the facial expression does make me look like a complete wanker). But if you can look at the guy next to me without singing “A-aaa-aaaaaah!” and preparing to fight the Night Man, well, I don’t want to know you.


The motherload. And yes, I blurred the woman in front of me’s face to protect her privacy. It looks exactly like we just finished up having mommy-daddy times inside the Gladiator Gauntlet. Which probably has happened at some point, so think about that next time you’re running a stadium race.

This one does raise an interesting ethical question: It’s really not hard for me to find the other person in this image. I almost feel like I should make contact with her to say, hey, I’m really sorry—I’m the really creepy-looking guy behind you and I promise to never contact you again and please don’t let this make you lose faith in all humanity. Is that a reasonable thing to do or should I just let her recover as she will?

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So, Spartan Has an App, Sort Of, I Guess

This is a month and a half old news, and it’s a bit of a weird one. Spartan Race released an app in September.

(It released another one in October related to the world championships, but this post isn’t about that one.)

I delayed writing about it because, well, it’s complete shit.

It’s spectacularly shit, like the diaper of a baby with dysentery who burst. So much so, in fact, that I’m not entirely sure it’s meant to exist. This app is bad in a way that’s completely inconsistent with Spartan—there are plenty of things you could criticize about the company, but doing stuff half-baked is not one of them.

So I think the most likely explanation is that the version in the store is an early alpha version that will continue to be worked on. I don’t think Spartan has really promoted it—it doesn’t appear to be on Spartan’s website or promoted on its social media accounts. Maybe Spartan was hacked and they were supposed to have another six months of development for release.

But even if the release was intentional, I don’t think releasing such an alpha version is necessarily a terrible idea. The fact that the app is in the app store doesn’t mean that it can’t or won’t be refined over time. And the very act of producing and publishing the app could catalyze further development. There are times, after all, when you need to make something before you can produce it.

I feel like it’s important to get that rational assessment out of the way. That’s the fair part of this post. The funny part is below, and it won’t be fair. Fair and funny don’t always go together, and this is the internet, where being an asshole is usually rewarded.

So, where was I? Oh yeah, shit.

Let’s go through it component by component:

Spartan App Home PageHome: You start on a list of races, with the obvious implication of “Register here and give us your money now!” I’m okay with that—commerce isn’t fundamentally a bad thing, even if one might wish its excesses could be reined in a bit. But the races are ordered by distance from your location, which isn’t really, you know, good.

The problem with that is, there are really only three distances from you that a race can be. It’s either local, or it requires travel, or it requires international travel. So the app displays Chicago races first, and that’s not bad, but Minnesota vs. Ohio vs. Atlanta vs. Los Angeles—all of those are functionally equidistant. So putting Minnesota next and Los Angeles last is pointless: any of them require a flight or some other major trip, and the length isn’t a particularly important factor in whether or not I decide to make the trip.

Perhaps this distance organization is a bit more useful for people who live in areas that have multiple events. But I have to assume that even they could also get some benefit from a date-ordered list, at least as an option.

One other thing, if Spartan doesn’t want to put races in an obvious order, it might want to use the other information it has. Specifically: Despite being not particularly nearby, I ran the Citi Field sprint in New York this year. My brother lives there, and it takes place at approximately my nephew’s birthday, so it’s a good excuse for me to visit. In other words, its one I’m likely to be interested in for years to come. So why isn’t Spartan making the fairly obvious conclusion that I’m likely to be interested in races I was interested in in the past and moving this one up to that coveted #2 spot.

Anyhow, if you try to register for a race through the app, it takes you to the Spartan website to do it. Which you really don’t need an app to do.

A second tab on the home page will show you photos from your friends. If you have friends who have posted photos to the app. If you don’t have friends, the app will recommend them for you, but the profiles don’t have much in the way of, you know, information. I guess you could just stalk random people, but I have a feeling that would be the least effective stalkery ever.

Spartan App Workouts tabWorkout: This is actually a good idea, but it’s ludicrously badly implemented. This feature allows people to post invitations to public (presumably) workouts that (I think) anyone can come and join in on. I’d actually really like to find some local groups that do OCR-related workouts—not necessarily as my everyday workout, but as a once-a-week kind of thing to mix up training and also have a chance to meet locals in the flesh, rather than through team Facebook pages.

I don’t know if these are ordered by how close they are to you. Many of them I can’t even get a location for. I’ve got an iPhone 5c, which is a bit smaller than the newfangled phones, and it cuts off the location field well before the city and state are fully shown. That’s why I missed the Relays workout in Pisc…

It doesn’t order workouts by date, which is pretty goofy, but even worse: I’m writing this on October 29, and it’s showing me workouts from September 23. I appreciate Spartan’s belief in my abilities, but I am not yet a timelord.

Take a photo: I guess? It’s very possible that this tab was designed by Banksy. It brings up a screen that looks a bit like the iPhone’s camera functionality, only it doesn’t function. I’m pretty sure I can turn the flash on and off, though.

No, seriously. I’m not making this up. This is what the page is.Spartan app photograph tab

Tribes: How many “h”s do I need to convey a sigh lasting fourteen minutes? Because that’s as many as I need to convey how ill-implemented this one is. There are a few public tribes that exist, and if you go to one you get… like, a Bulletin Board from the mid-90s, basically. No threads, just one massive ‘conversation.’

Spartan app tribe chat page

It’s possible to create your own tribe, which can be found by others, if they already know about it. Or if you manage a hit on a blind search. There doesn’t seem to be a directory or anything to actually find new people, though.

More: Which brings up this:

More! From the Spartan AppYou can, apparently, change the volume, even though the app is silent. I wouldn’t mind hearing the conversations that led to that decision (Though hearing those is perhaps what the button is intended to prevent.) Beyond that… oh, just fuck you thrice, Spartan app.

Does the app have a reason to exist? Not in its current state, certainly. If you’ve already got a collection of OCR friends, I can’t imagine you don’t already have better ways to communicate with them.

It might ultimately fill a niche at connecting people who don’t currently know each other but are local to each other and share similar interests. I think there’s a need for that—my experience with Facebook-based teams certainly hasn’t turned up any that function in that way. But in its current form, the app doesn’t do that at all.

I guess I hope it develops into something useful. Will it? I have no clue; I don’t know Spartan’s plans for it. It could just be a thing that happened that they’d like everyone to forget real soon, like the time they ran out of water in Vermont or the time Joe De Sena met the queen of England and farted on her. I also don’t know if the potential value even warrants the kind of development that would be necessary to make it good.

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A Brief Public Service Announcement

Given all the flesh-eating ebola brain eye fever deathmaking tubelcain that’s been showing up in every single race lately apparently, here’s a quick PSA:

Shart Week(My first OCR was a Warrior Dash, and I did have my mouth open during the final slide into the mud pit. That was a bad idea.)

My deepest apologies to Col. John Keenan, who appears in this photo, and Fort Carson, who posted it to Flickr under a Creative Commons license.

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My Enemies…

MirrorI spend a lot of my workout life thinking this…

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