Friday, April 24, 2015

When your heart beats in your head ~

I found myself on a ride up Mount Tamalpais last Sunday morning with some of the most fit bicycle riders in history. Greg LeMond and Tony Tom were two of us in a group of eight and I had to laugh. At least I had my GoPro mounted to my handlebars to capture the video below and remind myself of this when I'm old and filled with only wistful memories.

When the group stopped about half way (or maybe even just a quarter way) up Mt. Tam, Greg LeMond looked over to me and remarked, "you could benefit from an electric assist on your rear tire, they have them now." Well, coming from him -- I told him I wasn't going to be too upset.

Then I asked him "Greg, do you feel your heartbeat in your head right now? Because I do." And I wondered to myself if this was a prelude to a stroke.

I obviousy survived and it was one of the best experiences of my life to meet and ride with a legend I have been following since the 1980's when I was riding my own Nishiki on long distances up the coast of California from Santa Barbara.

Ride with Tony from Anna MacKinnon on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

A Piece of History ~ leaving flesh on the oar

The alarm went off at 4:45am which meant it was time to row with the Dolphin Club. Dragging the body out of the bed and jumping into rowing attire, then shooting out the door to drive into SF. The boat was prepped, and then as a team ~ all six of us rowers and the coach Charlie headed over to the South End Rowing Club (SERC) to have a pre-regatta meeting and sign up. Turns out the route was the same as last year ~ starting at Aquatic Park just outside the opening and rowing along the piers of the SF waterfront down to the Bay Bridge, rounding the "B" tower in a counter-clockwise direction and then coming back through the middle of the bay to ride the strong ebb.

In this annual regatta last Sunday (the 12th of April) we had the standard match race against SERC's Hurley barge and we beat them by over ten minutes. Once in a practice, Andrea Fabian stared down at her hands following the long row and she remarked "there is flesh on my oar (from her hands)" ~ true enough. We all leave a lot of flesh on those oars and then sometimes I ponder how much flesh has been left since 1888 when the boat was built. More history of the vessel can be found here.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Numb but Fun ~ Winter fitness routine in sunny California

Yesterday’s weekly ritual of meeting up at the Dolphin Club with my friends Kelley Heye and Andrea Allen for our swim in the bay, we happened to literally float into Joe Locke while he was swimming too. We had a little chat about his accomplishment last July (see article here). Joe said he decided to do his historic record-breaking swim after a bet was made one night with some friends. Photo below of Kelley with Joe. Kelley inspires me also with her business of physical fitness training and putting the “fun” back into fitness, her website here and we enjoy our own personal bests at the club. {photos taken on an old iPhone inside a waterproof bag courtesy of Kelley's ingenuity}
me under the Dolphin Club dock on the way back in from swimming

Kelley by the first swim buoy

Kelley with Joe Locke

Andrea Allen at left with me ~ we're not cold, just numb (54 degree water)

what it feels like ~ a bit distorted

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The man in the red suit ~ here he comes again

Time to bring out the annual INVISIBLE SANTA blog.

I'm looking for authentic Santa Claus but yet again this year, not quite finding the rosy-cheeked man but sure seeing a lot of interesting imposters! Just this morning I saw a strange 6 foot model of St. Nicholas in a PAWN shop in San Rafael next to a green guitar.

This is more my idea of what he would look like if I found him...

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rowing ~ good for what ails you

Today a group of us rowed the Wieland from the Dolphin Club to Sam's Anchor Cafe in Tiburon for brunch. This was our celebratory time following the big win on October 25th against the South End Rowing Club. Highlights of today include leaving the calm of the harbor to be greeted by impressive and noteworthy swells with "confused seas" that ended up smacking us repeatedly and leaving gallons of water in the boat. Things on the bay calmed down after we got to the West of Alcatraz but I fully expected to see a fish or two swimming in the boat with the amount of water we had taken on. We arrived at 9:45 am to Sam's and promptly tied up to go eat a sumptous brunch complete with bloody Mary's -- why not? Then it was time to switch seats for the row back. I took the leisure seat in the bow in order to film this piece below while watching rowing happen. As we were getting ready to launch from Tiburon, a man was excitedly watching us on the dock as we bailed the water with drinking cups. I invited him down and he was gobsmacked to discover Charlie as one of the people in the crew being surrounded by a bunch of Valkyries and so he had a short dialogue of inquiry with Charlie who simply responded in classic improv fashion "This is my 'Make-a-Wish' event". The row back was calm and cool, we switched seats a few times and ended up having our lovely president Diane Walton bring the boat in and land it. Following the recovery of the barge, we then alerted Charlie that it was time to toss him in the water.  We carried him to the end of the Dolphin Club dock and try not to hurt him while tossing him off the end of the pier. Just a regular Sunday at the club!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Traveling through time ~ TARDIS

Last week as I noticed things in New York on the streets, I saw this beguiling image on a door with "ALL WE SEE" and the blue field was especially interesting. I posted this same photo on my google+ and someone mentioned TARDIS. I looked this up and was delighted to learn about the time machine aspect of a blue police phone booth. Time travel and the certain sad feeling of parts of the afternoon in New York are all bundled up in a sense of emotion almost too difficult to describe but would explain the Tardis and their telepathic sentience. This was my first visit in about 15 years to New York and in some ways, I needed to board the TARDIS to get there. Modern airplanes will have to suffice instead of the phone booth in today's world.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Grand Style of Storytelling at the Castro Theatre

Last Tuesday was the second annual GrandSLAM show of storytelling for The Moth here in San Francisco. It is a great honor that I am able to be part of this as producer and this event seemed to go smoothly especially for the size of about 1,300 in the audience.

The SF Chronicle gave us a review two days later. This show marks the 37th SLAM in San Francisco since the initial one in March of last year. Closing in on 400 stories I've heard live and always they are interesting and somewhat transformative, aligning with my Southern gene pool at a deep level. For a a more complete group of photos from the evening, click here.

Marquee outside Castro Theatre before the show / photo by Erica Steimetz

stage from up on balcony before the event

audience holding up cell phones to host Brian at commencement of show

marquee outside the balcony of the Castro Theatre / photo by Erica Steimetz
Corey Rosen tells his story as final one of the evening, musician Amie Fenwick looks on from the stage

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Imposing order to a chaotic world -- knolling away whenever possible

I learned this morning about the concept of "knolling" as I read through my e-mail. It is "the process of arranging like objects in parallel or 90 degree angles as a method of organization." Then I watched this brief video about it and had to laugh out loud. After working with architects for over a decade, a few of them naturally do this and in my genetic make-up ~ I've had a keen urge to do this too most of my life. I've surmised that it must have to do with wanting to impose order on our chaotic and mostly disorganized world. Sometimes I'll even knoll my closet while on the phone (using a headset) having an important call.  I'm sure this will manifest into some kind of diagnosible mental disorder one day.  #knollitall 

LIPSTICK KNOLLING ~ because lipsticks are interesting and beautiful in their design

MAKEUP DRAWER KNOLLING ~ because make-up attempts to put beauty and order onto a woman's face

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Whiskey Bravo Six Oscar Echo November ~ in a sea of bicycles on a gorgeous landscape

Yesterday was the annual Marin Century event sponsored by Marin Cyclists. This is the eighth year I've been involved as a volunteer on the motorcycle to ride around the course and offer support.  There are six bicycle rides offered ranging from 30 miles to 200 miles and around 3,000 bicycles are involved. The routes go through the various parts of beautiful Marin County. This year was personally notable though ~ after years of being told by others "just get your amateur radio license as you'll be able to help more", I finally did. Back in the eighties and nineties, I occasionally experienced my stepfather Ken sitting for hours in his ham radio room and talking with people on the "other side of the world", I'd hear him sign off with "WB6OEN" as his call sign and then he'd repeat it sometimes in the military or NATO phonetic alphabet "whiskey bravo six oscar echo november". I was always interested and asked many questions at the time. When I passed the exam two months ago, I immediately applied for his call sign and the FCC moved with lightening speed to transfer it to me. Having the portable ham radio on the ride yesterday made all the difference and I was able to hear who needed help in which area and what was going on. I wore an earpiece in my helmet during the whole 200 mile shift and the many volunteers with various amateur radio clubs in the Bay Area really work efficienty to "run" the operations of the ride.

Below is a video I pieced together while on the ride, camera mounted to my handlebars, and here is a link to the few photos I took.

Marin Century 2014 from Anna MacKinnon on Vimeo.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

time honored tradition ~ steel shoes and patient horses

For all the modern developments over the years through the centuries, it's nice to be part of something that is largely unchanged over time. The need for steel horse shoes to be shaped and applied to horses hooves about every eight weeks is something most people don't know about if they don't have horses in their lives. Here's a brief look at the process of putting 16 horse shoes on yesterday at the barn by Chris Minick of Farrier Art ~ some of the most difficult work out there and interesting to watch.

Steel shoes and patient horses ~ hard work rooted in tradition from Anna MacKinnon on Vimeo.