Wednesday, July 31, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,709; 31 July 2013

If you look to the right on your screen, and maybe scroll down a bit, you'll find a blog 'gadget' captioned "Labels."  Browse through that list of words and phrases, and you'll see the word "sunshine" stands out in great big letters, with the notation "(20)" beside it.  That is because twenty of these posts have included the label "sunshine," to indicate that that weather condition was an element of the hashes described in those twenty posts.  If you squint a bit, a few lines above sunshine, you'll see the word "rain," in tiny letters, with the notation "(4)".  If you had checked before Job Blow and Heats it UP's fabulous hash tonight, that notation would have been "(3)."  But it poured like the dickens, or something a lot wetter than the dickens, in Reston this evening.

Not at first, mind you.  As about forty of us gathered around the Blows's fish pond, where the Mufti was gregariously distributing anniversary t-shirts, the sky was maybe partly cloudy, or overcast if you're pessimistic.  The heat and humidity were doing their thing, and Job Blow was out in the driveway, making sure no one ran over the neighbor's mailbox.  Despite vigorous efforts by our Fearless Leader, a pair of New Balance lost-and-found shoes went unclaimed (Mufti!  Do not drop those in the fish pond!) and after a bit people slowly straggled out front for the brief.  I frankly remember nothing of JB's sapient comments, having been mildly concussed by an over-enthusiastic hasher gesticulating recklessly, but there may have been something about blue chalk and true trail being determined by at least four, not three, ons.

It's a RUNNING club!  Somebody RUN!
"On on!" someone eventually shouted, and a bit more straggling ensued.  Misled by an over-enthusiastic hasher misinterpreting marks recklessly, the pack headed up the street, then turned 'round and came back down, and into the woods trails through the kindly neighbor's yard.  Thank you, kindly neighbor.  Once everyone -- walkers, too -- had gotten well into those woods, the clouds moved in fast and thoroughly.  The walkers and a horde of shortcutters made it back to the house before the skies sundered, but the true trailers (all eight or so of them) got soaked to the bone.  Poor things.  And then no one tried out the new salt-water pool, which looks just gorgeous.  BC3 is putting together a party to sneak over there while JB and HIU are off on their next vacation.

The usual HIU generous feast was laid out on the kitchen buffet, with roast pork and three salads (the tortellini artichoke was my favorite, although the bean-corn-avocado was a very strong contender).  A wide variety of beer was available, as were Black Box and Ch. Ste. Michelle wines.  Dessert was ridiculous, and included super-fresh and juicy cantaloupe, many pastries and two flavors of ice cream.

Imitating the courtship ritual of the blue-footed booby (or double-breasted booby) is a great way to stretch out after a long, soggy run.  Photo is proof I did not hallucinate this, despite my brain injury earlier in the evening.

Mufti's roll was notable for the strength of the replies, except when he got to Zipperhead and Rrock Starr, who didn't make a peep.  Eventually someone realized they were still out on trail, in the dark and the wet, and a search party formed.  A whole bunch of people got cheers for their first runs -- a German, I think, and at least a couple of Americans -- and BC3 is getting awfully close to 500.  Then a huge gust of cheering burst out as our lost sheep returned to the fold, with tales of winding trails and invisible marks and very, very wet t-shirts.

My attempts at photographing the koi were dismal failures, but you can see much of the other stuff in the pictures here.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,708; 24 July 2013

What to say about an evening this lovely?  That it was perfect for bouncing up Seneca in a Jeep?  That it was ideal for a three-mile run through the woods?  That it could not be improved upon as the setting for a walk in the woods and golf communities of Great Falls and peripheral Loudon County?  All that and more, and thanks to the admirable efforts of Radar, Packing Pink Heat and Pickled Peter, 35 or 40 of us had the opportunity to enjoy the warmth, the sunshine, the blessed lack of humidity, and our runs or walks, as well as a boatload of pizza and a surprising paucity of skeeters.

About 90 minutes before a *gorgeous* sunset closed a perfect evening.

After a brief editorial on the paucity of hosts during these difficult summer months, Radar and PP sent the pack off into the woods, with the assurance they'd be back in about 40 minutes.  The walkers went off in several directions, and Suck Squeeze Bang galloped up just a few minutes late (and was nonetheless an FRB).  Other than a dramatic spill that resulted in a bloody nose for Paint in the Ass, the runners enjoyed their gently rolling trail.  The walkers wended their various ways to the On In in as little as 30 minutes and as much, for Flowerkraut and Leila, as 60-minutes-plus.  There's a lot to see out there.

The guy from Domino's showed up just when we were starting to wonder where he was, and there was more than enough piping-hot pepperoni (and plain and sausage and veggie) for everyone.  Paula lamented not having ridden her motorcycle on such a nice night, but balanced her regret with enjoyment of PPH and PP's wine list (wine + motorcycle = no-no, per Paula).  PitA got several offers of analgesics, plus medical advice from a real medical professional -- those dentists know a lot about blood, after all.

a) Why are these beer-drinkers holding cups?  Beer comes in bottles. and b) it was not so hot as Brent is pretending.

The Associate Mufti called the roll, lauding our hosts with the raft of superlatives they deserve.  Abby and Kylie behaved impeccably off-leash, and Espion was remarkably well-mannered for her age.  No one gave away any garden produce.  Maybe next week.

Until then, you're welcome to wax nostalgic over this week, via the photos here.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Jojo the cat, 1985? – 19 July 2013

Jojo attended about a dozen hashes over the last five years, beginning in 2008.  At her first, she strolled through a relatively-new-to-her living room crowded with strangers, all talking, eating, drinking and bumping into each other.  After checking out a few laps and requesting a few pats, she jumped to the arm of the sofa and settled into sphinx position, and remained there for most of the On In, observing the scene.

Jojo was an immensely sociable and personable cat.  She could get chatty, and often used an outdoor voice (imagine a runaway train braking or some kind of nuclear-plant-meltdown-warning siren) indoors, although she was also capable of some pretty adorable hiccuping meows.  She saw the human lap as her natural territory, and was very gracious in rolling and stretching to indicate which part of her most desired extensive patting at any particular time.  When she was done with patting, she would assume the sphinx pose.

At 13, when INDY and I first met her, she was agile and playful, although only the string toys engaged her for long.  But, oh, my, the acrobatics she performed when a bit of yarn or ribbon flicked into view!  By 18, when we returned with her to the Arlington Animal Welfare League for her Final Shot, she was less of a jumper, and the digestive issues that had troubled her for two years had advanced to an untenable level.  Expect Kleenex® prices in the Arlington area to rise sharply, given the sharp uptick in demand on Friday.

She developed strong friendships with Suck, Squeeze, Bang and Air Horn over the years, and was always happy to see Ole Fud, Blow in the Hole, Bionic Babe (though not so much her older offspring, who came one weekend to administer the meds – goodness, how that cat could deploy the acrobatics, and the slashing, knife-sharp teeth, at pill-taking time), Paul S. and a few others.  Queen Cobra once made her the fanciest toy ever seen, with feathers and wiggly bits and noisemakers and a dozen different colors and fabrics, and Jojo so far forgot herself as to play with it, briefly, before remembering her boycott of every non-string toy.

INDY will love and miss her forever and ever.  I shall, too.

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,707; 17 July 2013

Lezley, stepping up onto the curb outside The Buffalo Wing Factory and Pub in Reston:  "Goodness, it's hot."  Everyone else:  "No, really?!?"

On the good news front, it wasn't nearly so humid as it has been, nor as it will be over the next few days.  So while it was somewhat uncomfortable, and the big tub of bottled water on ice on the sidewalk outside the Factory was decidedly welcome, no one was fainting, nor quite so thoroughly drenched in his or her own fluids as everyone was, for instance, last week at Rrocks Starr's.  And good thing, too, since the On In took place inside the said Factory and Pub, where neatly dressed waiters were serving civilized people, and the intrusion of a crowd as -- ummm -- olfactorally unsatisfactory as the hash at its peak of ripeness would have been intrusive indeed.

Storing solar energy to be expended on the run.
But before making the dinner hour slightly less comfortable for innocent bystanders, our crowd of 31 gathered on the sidewalk to receive instructions from Lori, who chose the location and mapped the run, and Bite Me, who set the course with help from Blow in the Hole and a friend with a much-appreciated GPS.  (For those of you keeping track, this makes four times BitH has hosted, hared or helped in the last seven hashes.  Somebody stop her!)  Lori also had printed instructions for the walkers, which they followed until they got into the woods and couldn't read them clearly anymore.  Mufti:  "We'll go half a mile and then turn around.  Someone keep track of where we go."

The runners did a big, zig-zagging circle in a bit less than an hour, with several young whippersnappers helping to lead the pack in, including BMe's nephew.  Since they are young, they don't yet know to mark the checks.  What Easy Strider and Mini Schlonga's excuses are is unclear.

PBR was available in cans for $2, and there was a $10 pizza special back at the Wing Pub place.  Thirty-one hashers squeezed into two very big tables, and the super wait staff coped admirably.  Mufti was not intimidated by the presence of strangers and two dozen TVs showing different sports channels (and some really gross commercials), and called the roll only very slightly sotto voce.  Paint in the Ass hit 400, and as threatened kept her name, despite such alternative offers as "Problem Child" and "Ass the in Paint," the latter of which would allow her to keep wearing her valued necklace.  Spurt hit 600, so if they got one of those cojoined-twins-separation operations in reverse, they could apply for a satin jacket.  I think.

If you finish an order of the 911 Wings, they put your name on the wall.

In the meantime, they could step outside with the Mufti to his car, and receive their super-duper new 31st anniversary and Mufti Appreciation Day t-shirt, zip-locked bagged for maximum shininess.  Air Horn:  "Who's this Shriner on the back?"

Lori says her mum reads this blog, and looks at the pictures.  Hi, Lori's Mum!  Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,706; 10 July 2013

Well, it was great while it lasted, but sadly, the Great Falls Hash House Harriers have come to the end of their trail.  With no one willing to host ever again (though July and August are usually the most popular months of the year to host), the GFH3 is no more.  Too bad, really.

Too bad, because clearly some sort of mojo is working for this group.  The clouds gathered tonight, the forecasters warned, the wind picked up and Ole Fud saw a drop of rain.  Yet somehow, that drop's fellow drops did not drop, and Lezley was able to keep everyone mostly out on the back deck, and everyone who risked taking electronic gadgets out on the trail brought those gadgets back dry and functioning.  So let's see if we can't keep this thing going after all...

Having gathered in a Herndon driveway to accept their cucumbers (fresh picked in Easy Strider's garden), commiserate with Oral Advocate over his busted wing (Blazing Straddle:  "Don't fall off bicycles!", apparently advocating for falling off subway platforms, roofs (Lori:  "No, Ole Fud has rights on that one.") or fancy raised kitchen/sunken living room floor/curb thingies), and twirl about in skorts (FIVE hashers wore athletic skorts tonight, following the lead Multiple Lustings, that fashion pioneer, set two or three years ago), the hashers enjoyed a brief brief under threat of ankle-breaking if they didn't stop talking.  Spurt threatened worse if they didn't mark checks, but apparently a few of them didn't hear that part.  Oops.  And then they got going, in fits and starts, to cross OVER the Fairfax County Parkway, circle around a few times, cross UNDER Wiehle, jog over a basketball court, cut a corner of a neighbor's lawn and head for home.

Happy!  Because they know B is N even though, having short-cutted, they did not see the "BN" mark.

The walkers (about 15 of 35 were walkers tonight, and five of 35 were hosts, hares or helpers; Valiant, paraphrasing Our Founder:  "This is becoming a serious walking club.") crossed under Wiehle a couple of times, making their own circles and carrying their pups across the streams or letting them wade, according to personal preference, dog size and color, and carpet cleanliness standards.

Damp and delightful, back at the On In the crowd tucked into burgers, brats and dogs, slaw and spud salad, chips and stuff.  Don wielded the grill tongs as soon as he got back from compassionate leave/emergency airport pick-up run.  For dessert, there was Lori's birthday cake.  Mufti celebrated Bite Me's 901st and Paint in the Ass's 399th (PitA:  "I'm keeping my name.") during a fairly sedate roll call.  Mufti, did you note Austin's #4?

Listening to a GFH3 rendition of "Happy Birthday" is a heavy price to pay for a single slice of cake.

Lori has volunteered to scout and map a Reston trail for next week, and arrange with Wings 'n' Things for a pay-as-you-go On In if someone's available to set her trail.  Please oh please, check out the Score! page and make a mental note that if your name's not on that list, and you haven't had major surgery in the last 6-8 months, you are probably due for a stint as host or helper.  If you can't have/don't want this bedraggled and pungent crew in your own home, borrow a friend's, book a pavilion, find a party room, or look for lightly-patrolled parking lots or houses whose owners are on vacation (ha ha!  That's a JOKE!).

While you're checking out pages, feel free to roll an eyeball over the photos.  The three young ruffians in the final photo are a Nashville-based band and airport-rescue-requirers, in case you were wondering.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

GFH3 Run #1,705; 3 July 2013

Ah, summer in Great Falls:  the heat, the humidity, the threats of thunderstorms, the verdant, vital, vigorously flourishing poison ivy festooning ancient oaks, stilt grass and parking lots.  The thirty-or-so hashers thrashing about under overcast skies, fruitlessly searching for the turkey/eagle split.  Okay, that's an exaggeration.  There were only about 35 hashers total, and of those let's say 20 runners, and of those perhaps three or four actually found that t/e split.  So great work setting those marks, Rrocks Starr, Phoenix Rising, Blow in the Hole and Dances with Bulls!  Great work!

Hashers paying close attention to explanation of the t/e split.
That's right, Blow in the Hole has now co-hared three of the last five hashes, and may be helping out with next week's course.  Perhaps someone ought to speak with her therapist about adjusting the meds.  While you're at it, talk to Brogue Bait and Seth's counselors.  When they reached the path back to R.S.'s, having lost trail and accidentally turkey-ed pretty seriously, they conferred briefly and decided a couple more laps around the park would be the right way to spend the next thirty minutes.  Ah, youth.

By all accounts, it was a great course if you could find it through the oozing mud, and those who persevered were only out for about 90 minutes, and it makes a nice change of pace to have the usual FRBs DFL instead.  The walkers and shortcutters, having enjoyed watching kayakers working way too hard to go nowhere on the falls, made serious inroads into a luxurious sandwich spread with side salads and assured each other of the strength, competence and survival instincts of the missing eagles.  Since the Starr family does not skimp, the return of Mike I., Easy Strider (the Mufti:  "It looked like he might be straining just a bit."), Suck Squeeze Bang, Bionic Babe, Paula and, finally, Chip Off the Old Dick, individually and severally soaked to the skin in their own sweat, could not ruffle Christina:  she just laid out more cold cuts and cheeses, and the late-finishers dug into a well-earned dinner.

Mike smiling now that he's been back for ten minutes or so; COtOD not ready to smile quite yet.
Finally, the Mufti could call the roll.  Paint in the Ass hit 398, Spurt 598, Lilla number one (99 to the cup!), and both Mr. Herman and Mr. Hermansson reached #5.  Thanks for visiting!  Were there really no pup dogs at this hash?  Check out the photographic evidence here, and thanks to Lilla for help with camera-wielding.  There are pix as well of four of R.S.'s 37 or so carefully plastic-wrapped signs providing parking instructions.  As if buying beer and setting out chairs and spending five hours setting a trail no one can follow weren't enough work...