Monday, June 27, 2005

Three Feet High and Rising

My top 10 hip-hop albums of all-time. Why not?

1. "Fear of a Black Planet" Public Enemy chuck d, flava, and the bomb squad dropping beats never heard before or since. literally every track is a classic.

2. "36 Chambers of Death: Enter the Wu-Tang" Wu-Tang Clan

3. "By Any Means Necessary" Boogie Down Productions krs-one is simply the most intelligent mc ever.

4. "Paul's Boutique" Beastie Boys complex and beautiful.

5. "Straight Outta Compton" NWA

6. "3 Feet High and Rising" DeLaSoul

7. "It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back" Public Enemy

8. "Black on Both Sides" Mos Def

9. "Raising Hell" Run DMC

10. "Low End Theory" Tribe Called Quest

11. "The 18th Letter" Rakim

Sunday, June 26, 2005

Farmdale Folly

We decided to do a training "run" this morning at Farmdale Resevoir near East Peoria. Started at 7:30 in what was already some pretty good muggy heat at the main parking lot area just east of the dam. Ran along creekside trail on the winding single-track mountain bike trail, across the Farm Creek bed, then along the more rolling "tnt" single track on the northeastern edge of the park. Across the service road, just down from the n.e. parking lot, is some pretty gnarly trail. Ended up going straight up this elevator shaft hill probably a good 60+ feet--rivals anything in this area for an intense climb. At the top of this hill (blue chevy hill, for obvious reasons) is a '54 or '55 chevy that someone drove in at some point and decided to permanetly park in the woods.

About an hour and a half into the run we somehow got off into the open meadow area west of the back trail and wandered around aimlessly in the heat for 30 minutes or so. the positive here is that we ended up looping around twice to this open ridge with an amazing view of the interior of the basin, and we had some more time to concoct a plan for hosting a race, speaking of which, Pam came up with excellent concept for a trail ultra race. I'm hoping this will pan out, details to come in the future.

We finally found our way back to the service road, cooled our feet in the shallow waters of the creek for several minutes, and winded our way back to the parking lot. an intended run of 1:30 turned into 2:20, which actually works out pretty well in terms of training. Nice solid run. We didn't even hit the hilly mountain bike trails on the south side. if you could carry more water or the day was cooler, you could easily get 3 solid hours per loop, at least at the speed we go, which is admittedly slow. I didn't realize how huge the reservoir actually is.

Dip net fished along the pond shore tonight at sundown. Large, orbital orange farmer sunset tonight. Ended up netting 20 or so baby warmouth, hybrid sunfish. A good day despite the heat.

Reading an older book on Mongolian history. Just started last night.

Friday, June 24, 2005

Prickly Pear

Went down to Sand Ridge State Forest this morning and ran/hiked 2 hours with my training buddy, Pam. Well you don't exactly "run" alot there since for the most part the trails are multi-use well...sand...remnants of outwash from the Kankakee Torrent of 15,000 years or so ago. At least if i understand my geology correctly.

Started on the more hard packed green trail, cut through at backcountry site 10 onto the blue. About a mile in we ran across a snake on the trail; i'm thinking it was an eastern hognose, but my herpatological (?) skills are seriously lacking. The heat was brutal even in the morning, highs today 96 or so. Took two water bottles but wasn't enough. Stopped at a water pump near horseman's camp for cold spring water, helps the legs and the soul. The open meadow areas are crawling with prickly pear cactus, albeit not giant cactus because of the short growing season, but cactus nonetheless. Learned a little lesson about prickly pear. Don't touch, repeat, DO NOT TOUCH the damn things. I made that mistake and got about 50 mini thorns in my thumb and forefinger.

Overall a good training run/hike, hopefully aiming at the Glacial Trail 50k this October, the one i was gunning for last fall before the fracture.

Typing of cactus, watched the Edward Abbey video documentary "a voice in the wilderness." Abbey, the old anarchist desert rat, in my opinion an american literary giant. The Thoreau of the late 20th century. Finished "Desert Solitaire" two weeks ago and would not hesitate to put it up in my top 5 or so non-fiction american works. Written with passion, grit and immediacy.

"I'd sooner kill a man than a snake." -Ed Abbey

Thursday, June 23, 2005

bones of the master

Just finished reading George Crane's "Bones of the Master." about the Chinese monk Tsung Tsai's journey out of Inner Mongolia after his Chan Buddhist temple was destroyed during the Great Leap Forward in the late 1950's and his trip 40 years later to find and give ritual burial to the bones of his teacher, Shiuh Deng.

"Tsung Tsai said that at fifty years of age the fox can take human form. At one hundred it can become a wizard or a beautiful woman. Fox spirit has three forms, three incarnations. From one to one thousand years the fox is brown. A bad spirit. Makes only trouble for people.

After the first thousand years he becomes black; fox who still makes trouble for himself. He knows path of dharma but is filled with desire. Just desire.

In ten thousand years he can become a white fox like a god.

Fox can make you healthy but sometimes fox can kill you. There are things you can't understand. Mongolia is a differenct place. You think village people are foolish. They are not. They are simple people. Dirt people. Natural people. You think they have babies, grow food, eat food and that's it. But they are true people and they know things you cannot. They know ghosts."