Not To Be Trusted With Knives

The Internet’s leading authority on radicalized geese


More About My Vacation. Plus 101 Footnotes!

So, we are back from our whirlwind trip to Portland1 and are now hanging out on Vancouver Island2,3 . Didn’t really take many photos4 since I went to pretty much all the same places as I did last year5, so I figure you could just look at the photos from last year6.

Some random thoughts about Oregon:

  • Powell’s City of Books is made of awesome7. It’s a bookstore that’s 4 storeys high and takes up an entire city block8 and killer prices. We may have spent a few hours in there and picked up a giant piles of books9, Incognito10, and The Third Chimpanzee11. And some zombie key covers!)). Because you know I don’t have enough things to read.
  • Did you know that there is a Comfort Inn & Suites Portland Airport and a Comfort Suites Portland International Airport and that these are two totally different hotels? I stayed in one of these last year and booked what I thought was the same hotel, but then it wasn’t. The hotel was still totally fine, and it was the cheapest price that we could find, so it was all good. But seriously, Comfort Suites, why would you name two hotels that are ~5 minutes away from each other virtually the same thing12??
  • And speaking of unoriginal names, why do so many cities in Oregon use names of other cities for their cities? There’s Salem13, Albany14, Milwaukie15, Dallas16, Florence17, Phoenix18, Toledo19, Harrisburg20, Dundee21, Jacksonville22, Dayton23, Oakland24, Glendale25, Arlington26, St. Paul27, Lexington28, Waterloo29, and Detroit30,31 ,32 ,33. And don’t even get me started on Vancouver, *Washington*34

More About The Zombie Race

Despite the extreme length of my zombie race posting, I managed to forgot to mention a few things I meant to mention in that posting:

  • I never even mentioned the race results35! I finished the race in 46:2036. Out of 2,788 competitors, I came in 1,037th place37. In my wave38, I came in 68th out of 237 runners39. That’s really not too shabby40.
  • Out of the 2,788 competitors, only 438 managed to get through the whole race without losing all of their flags41. That at least makes me feel a bit better about being zombified42.
  • I spoke to one guy after the race who told me that, despite finishing in about 30 minutes43, not only did zombies get all 3 of his flags, but they also got the 3 flags he got from a “health pack”44, and one flag that he saw on the ground and picked up. Picking up stray flags along the route is strictly prohibited, so I told him in as serious a tone as I could muster, “You can’t cheat death, dude. You can’t cheat death.”
  • Another guy after the race was regaling his girlfriend with tales of his adventures, the best of which was “And at the end there was a part where we had to crawl through mud and there was an electrified wire cage above you and I thought I’d be smart and go through on my back instead of on my stomach so that I could see the wire cage and not hit it. But instead I ended up electrocuting my privates!”
  • Another thing of awesomeness was one section of zombies that were doing the Thriller dance. Since I was without flags by that point in the race, I Thriller danced my way through that particular zombie horde45.
  • Completing the zombie obstacle course race means I’ve checked off item #91 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days46 ,47 ,48 ,49 ,50!

Since arriving at the Island, we’ve been on the more relaxation portion of our holidays51. Slept in52, had a lovely breakfast53, went for a glorious 12 km run54 ,55 , spent some time with Devon’s sister, brother-in-law and their kids56 ,57 ,58,59 ,60 ,61 ,62 ,63 ,64 ,65 ,66 ,67 ,68 ,69 ,70 ,71 ,72 ,73 ,74 ,75 ,76 ,77 ,78 ,79 ,80 ,81 ,82 ,83 ,84 ,85 ,86 ,((100%)) ,87 ,88 ,89 ,90 ,91 ,92 ,93, 94,95 ,96 ,97, including seeing a kickass thunder and lightening storm98. Other plans for the Vancouver Island portion of the trip include hiking some mountains, watching some movies, more time with the kids, some homework99, and hopefully some leisure reading100. And after that, we still have the Okanagan leg of our holidays to go101)

Did I ever mention how much I love being on vacation?

  1. Well, technically to Onalaska, WA, Portland, and various other places in Oregon state. []
  2. After a very poorly planned attempt to take the ferry from Ancortes to Vancouver Island. []
  3. Instead, we had to drive through the Peace Arch border and then head to Tsawwassen to catch the ferry from there []
  4. Did I mention I bought a new camera? []
  5. Voodoo Doughnut, the Oregon coast, the Tillamook Cheese Factory, the most amazing Mexican restaurant I’ve ever been to. []
  6. We did take a couple of pics, but I’m settled in on the coach with a nice cup of tea and waaaay to lazy comfy to go get the camera and upload the photos. []
  7. I went there on my trip last year too, but I don’t think I actually mentioned it much here on ye old blog. []
  8. And then, because an entire city block isn’t enough to house all the books, there’s Powell’s 2 across the street. []
  9. I bought a boxed set of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy 5-book “trilogy” ((By Douglas Adams []
  10. By some author whose name I can’t recall []
  11. By Jared Diamond []
  12. And why does one specify Portland *International* Airport and the other just Portland Airport. They are talking about the same airport! []
  13. a la Massachusetts []
  14. a la New York []
  15. a la Milwaukee, Wisconsin []
  16. a la Texas []
  17. a la Italy []
  18. a la Arizona []
  19. a la Ohio []
  20. a la Pennsylvania []
  21. a la Scotland []
  22. a la Florida []
  23. a la Ohio []
  24. a la California []
  25. a la California []
  26. a la both Virginia and Texas []
  27. a la Minnesota []
  28. a la Kentucky []
  29. a la Ontario []
  30. a la Michigan []
  31. In case you haven’t noticed this yet, I’m trying to write a blog posting containing 101 footnotes, which is item #10 on my list of 101 things to do in 1001 days []
  32. Are the footnotes getting annoying yet? []
  33. Note that I didn’t say they had to be “good” or “useful” or “relevant” footnotes. []
  34. When you are in Washington or Oregon and say you are from “Vancouver” people usually say “Vancouver, Washington?”. No! Not Vancouver, Washington! The *real* Vancouver! []
  35. All the race results can be found here. []
  36. Which would be pretty slow for a regular 5 km, but not terrible for a race with obstacles to get over/under/through, zombies in your way, 38 degree heat, and the decision to walk a bunch of the race once I got zombified! []
  37. That’s in the top half, at least. []
  38. The 2 pm wave. []
  39. That’s in the top 30% []
  40. Well, other than the part where I didn’t make it out of the race alive []
  41. That’s only a 16% survival rate. []
  42. I mean, insofar as one can feel better after being zombified []
  43. He used to be in the military, so was used to obstacle course type races []
  44. A few “health packs” containing extra flags were available around the race route for lucker runners who found them. []
  45. Damnit, I just typed “zombie horder” again? What is my damage? []
  46. Did I ever mention that I love knocking things off my to do lists? []
  47. I’m starting to think that writing 101 footnotes might just be harder than running that race! []
  48. I also have “run 3 races” as one of my goals for 2012, so I’m not 1/3rd done that particular goal too. Woohoo! []
  49. The Victoria half marathon will be race #2 and I’m thinking that the Energizer Night Race will be #3 []
  50. The Energizer Night Race is one that’s held in Stanley Park after the sun sets and everyone wears headlamps. Sounds like a blast. Also, you get a free headlamp []
  51. vs. the driving mega distances and running from zombie hordes portion of our holidays []
  52. Though we didn’t get in to Devon’s parents place ’til about 2 a.m., thanks to the ferry fiasco! []
  53. Devon’s mom always feeds us so well when we are here! []
  54. Which felt so good after all the time spent sitting in the car yesterday! []
  55. 12 km is usually my least favourite running distance, but today’s was totally fine! I’d been trying to prepare myself psychologically for this run, using the same trick as I did with running hills – i.e., tell myself that I love the 12 km distance, just like I told myself I loved hills – repeatedly, until I stopped hating hills. []
  56. Including feeding them Voodoo Doughnuts that we brought back from Portland []
  57. Though Devon’s sister was mostly excited by the Tillamook cheese we brought back for her! []
  58. We also brought ourselves back some cheese! So excited by the cheese! []
  59. Oh []
  60. my []
  61. god []
  62. writing []
  63. 101 []
  64. footnotes []
  65. is []
  66. very []
  67. very []
  68. very []
  69. very []
  70. very []
  71. very []
  72. very []
  73. very []
  74. very []
  75. very []
  76. very []
  77. hard. []
  78. Yes []
  79. I []
  80. know []
  81. this []
  82. is []
  83. totally []
  84. totally []
  85. completely []
  86. entirely []
  87. cheating []
  88. but []
  89. I []
  90. don’t []
  91. care []
  92. All’s []
  93. fair []
  94. in []
  95. love []
  96. and []
  97. footnotes. []
  98. With probably the loudest thunder I’ve ever heard in my life! []
  99. Including a teleconference with my business plan group tomorrow. []
  100. Because did I mention all the stuff I bought at Powell’s books? []
  101. I haven’t been to the Okanagan since I was there with a band of traveling scientists in 2006. []


I Am Zombie, Hear Me Moan

Run for Your Lives

Yesterday, I faced hordes of zombies and… I came out a zombie myself! I had such high hopes that I could run through the 5 km zombie obstacle course race, otherwise known as Run for Your Lives (in Washington State) and not be eaten, but it turns out that the undead got the better of me.

The premise of this race is that you have a belt with three red flags on it – and those red flags represent your lives. You have to go through 12 obstacles – and you don’t know what they are going to be before you get there – *and* you have to get past countless zombies who are trying to grab your flags. Are the zombies going to be fast? Slow? Will they jump out from behind the bushes? YOU JUST DON’T KNOW! There’s no predicting zombies, people.

Hundreds of people were out for the big event – runners, zombies, and spectators!

Here are some runners who were in a earlier wave than I was in:

Lining up at the start of the 2 pm wave of the zombie race

Notice that most of them don’t have any red flags on their belts. That means they didn’t make it out alive! Also notice that they are all covered in mud!

In the race, you could win prizes for being the fastest runner in your age category – but only if you made it out with a flag still on your belt. You could also win for best costume, hence why these Angry Birds were there:

Angry Birds preparing for the zombie race

They were having trouble figuring out where to put their flag belts! Oh yeah, and did I mention that it was 38 degrees Celsius out? THIRTY-EIGHT DEGREES! 38 degrees is too hot to do pretty much anything, let alone run a race. But what can you do? If the zombie apocalypse happens and it’s 38 degrees, you don’t get to say “sorry, zombies, it’s too hot to run.” You just run!

I did the race with my friend, Julie, who you may remember from that time we played hockey for 10 freaking days non-stop, and her step-daughter, Megan. We were the Apocalyptic Avengers! Here we are before the race:

Team Apocalyptic Avengers

Don’t we look nice and clean? And filled with life and hope and flags on our belts?

Here we are lining up for the race and discussing our strategy. Which was basically that Julie and Megan planned to run together and I said, “I’ll probably take off.” Because when there are zombies chasing me, it’s everyone for themselves! (Spoiler: I took off screaming the very first time we encountered zombies. True story.

Lining up at the start of the 2 pm wave of the zombie race

When we went to line up, you were to sort yourself by how fast you are – zombie appetizer, zombie entree, or zombie dessert:

Zombie Race

It’s a bit hard to read in the photo, but appetizers are those who can run 9 minutes per mile or faster, entrees are 9-12 minutes per mile, and desserts are 12 minutes per mile or slower. My problem, of course, is that I’m a Canadian, so I only know how fast I can run in minutes per km! Also, I suck at doing math in my head – especially when I’m more worried about being eaten by zombies than anything else. After some discussion, we decided that we were probably on the slow end of entrees.

Now, I have to say right off – this was the hardest race I’ve ever done! I’ve never done an obstacle course race and I’ve certainly never been chased by zombies. Also, I am trained as a distance runner1, so I usually like to run at a steady pace, keeping some in reserve to be able to go the distance. This, however, was not that kind of race. What I should have been training for was sprinting. Sprinting like hell! The race was a bunch of running – or more often walking – along the path until you came to an obstacle – climbing over wall, crawling under things through the mud, etc. – or, much worse, you approached a field or pathway full of walkers.

Here we2 are jogging along a path that is mercifully zombie-free. It became pretty evident early on that you had to stick together with other people – safety in numbers – as trying to run through a field of the undead on your own was suicide.

Zombie Race

And here we see runners approaching some zombies:

Zombie Race

And there’s no way around but through, as they say. Which meant that there was a hell of a lot of sprinting that I learned very quickly I was not in good shape for at all! In fact, I lost a flag on my trip through the very first field of zombies that we encountered3. It also probably didn’t help that I was screaming every time I sprinted through a field of zombies – that energy probably would have been better used in my sprinting than it was in my yelling “OH MY GOD!! NO NO NO NO NO NO NO! WHY ARE YOU TARGETING MEEEEEEEEEE??????!!!!!”  Live and learn4.

Some of the obstacles required you to make a choice – like this one where you had to chose which way to go through the maze:

Zombie Race

Of course, with a zombie blocking the right entrance, I’m guessing these runners went left. When I got to that obstacle, there was no zombie at the front of the maze, but there was one at the end, but she was a slow one, so not hard to get past. There was another point in the race where we had to chose to go left or right along the path, and after a short deliberation we decided to go right because we saw a few zombies on the right path and nothing on the left and we guessed that they were using reverse psychology to try to get you to go left and then there would be something much, much worse on the left. The right path only had a few very slow zombies, so it seemed to be a good choice, but I’m still *dying* to know what was on the left path!

Now, I mentioned that I lost my first flag in the first field of zombies that I came to. I made it through a few more zombie groups with some close calls and then another got me, so that I was 2/3rds dead before I hit the 1 mile marker. When I saw the 1 mile marker, I yelled, “1 mile? How far is 1 mile?? I’M A CANADIAN!!!!” This was a 5 km race and I already thought it odd that an American race used a metric measure for the race distance, but then they had mile markers? WTF? I was way to stressed out to deal with math! I got myself a much needed few glasses of water – did I mention it was 38 degrees out?? – remembered that 1 mile = 1.6 km, realized that I was only about 1/3rd of the way through the race, and wanted to cry because omg-I’m-only-1/3rd-the-way-through-this-race? But I again reminded myself that the only way to be able to stop running was to get the end and I was bolstered by the fact that having only one flag meant that I only had to protect one flag. This actually fared me pretty well for a while, as I had the flag on left hip, so I made sure to always run to the left of every zombie. Sadly, though, all good things must come to an end5 and I ended up losing my last flag in a thick group of the walking dead. At this point, I figured there was no point doing any more running because it was pretty freaking hot and I was pretty freaking worn out, and there was nothing zombies could do to me anymore. In the next herd of zombies, I decided I could just walked through. Now some people had been trying to trick zombies by walking through as if they didn’t have flags when they actually had a flag on their back. One zombie eyed me suspiciously as I approached, so I spun around to show I wan’t hiding flags and said, “I don’t have any flags, dude.” His reply: “Here you go!” as he handed me a flag from his pocket! Colour me surprised! I wasn’t expecting that. I happily said “Thanks, man!” and then went on my way, attaching my new flag to my belt as  I went. And about a second after that I thought “Crap! Now I have to run again.” I made it through some more of the race continuing on with my go-to-the-left strategy. I think I was in around the 2 mile mark when I was jogging through a particularly long stretch of zombies, but all of whom were fairly well spaced out and stumbling along slowly. And just as I was feeling confident that I was going to get through this stretch, I heard someone yell from the sidelines, “Zombies! Grab flags now!” Apparently, part of the way of keeping the runners guessing was that zombies were told to be slow zombies at some times and fast zombies at other times! And so it was that I ended up right in the middle of a herd of suddenly fast zombies. And I was done for! I tried to sprint, but there was too many and they were too fast. And so I was dead again.

I continued on through the last mile, resigned to my fate of undeath. One zombie even gave me double high fives6 while moaning “One of uuuuuuuusssss!” Another runner who shared a similar fate with me told me she decided weeks ago that it would probably be best to just become zombified. “Even in a real zombie apocalypse, why not just be a zombie? You wouldn’t have to worry about a job, or worry about your weight, or worry about getting killed by zombies!”

The final stretch of the race was, without a doubt, the most insane thing ever. I’m talking giant uphill, loaded with zombies, and when you crested the hill assuming you had made it – more zombies. Very, very few people made it through that final stretch with any flags at all. Anyone who did – my hat is off to you!

Zombie Race

So. Many. Zombies.

At the end, you got to go down this awesome slide into a pool of water. Sure the water was dirty as all hell, but I didn’t care. It was gloriously, gloriously cold water and I just plugged my nose and went right under!

Final obstacle of the zombie race

As I waited my turn at the top of the slide, I said, “Oh god, I hope there aren’t zombies at the bottom of this!” and the race volunteer monitoring the slide said, “That would just be mean.” “This entire race was mean! Did you see that big hill full of zombies??”

After the pool, the final obstacle was a very low cage with a bunch of mud you had to crawl through on your belly. Now, someone smarter than me  – or at least not so close to heat stroke – would have remembered that we’d been told there could electrical shocks in this race. But not me. As I crawled, I bumped my head into the top of the cage and zap! Because apparently dying by zombification was not enough for me – I had to have my brains zapped out too!

Now, despite the fact that it was hotter than all hell and I got electrocuted and I got zombified in spite of a zombie taking pity on me and giving me an extra life, this race was so freaking fun! I would definitely do it again – though I would do some serious sprint training first.  Though I am really, really tempted to be a zombie next time instead of a runner!

Here’s Team Apocalypse after the race, in all of our muddy glory:

Team Apocalyptic Avengers - covered in mud!

I took me quite some time to get all that mud off me and my socks I just gave up on. But I donated my shoes – as I’d worn a pair of my old running shoes, since I knew they’d get muddy – to Project Sole, an organization that gives shoes to people in impoverished nations and disaster-stricken communities.

Shoe donations

In reward for my hard efforts, I got this delicious beer:

Enjoying a post-race beer

 Post-race beers are the best kinds of beers.

But I also got these scrapes, which I didn’t know were there until I got all the mud off:

Zombie race injury!

Most importantly, however, I have a new race medal to add to my collection:

Zombie Race Medal

Best. Medal. Ever.

I can’t wait ’til next year!

  1. And, truth be told, I’m pretty slow at the distance running too! []
  2. I’m 99% that the short girl all in black in the middle of this group is me []
  3. Truth be told, I was happy that I only lost one flag there, because there were a lot of zombies! []
  4. Er, I guess that should be don’t live and learn. []
  5. If you consider fearing for you life a “good thing”. []
  6. Also known as high ten. []



As you read this, I’m somewhere between New Westminster and a field full of zombies. You see, I’m writing today’s blog posting yesterday – er, well, what will be yesterday by the time you read this – and it will be – er, has been –  automagically posted by the magic of the Internets while I am driving down to Onalaska, WA. I figured I should schedule something to post because I won’t have had time to write something before we left, as we left early in the a.m. to try to beat the long weekend border traffic1 and then I don’t know how long we’ll be staying at the Apocalypse Party after the zombie race and therefore I don’t know what time we’ll be getting into our hotel in Portland and don’t want to have to write a posting this evening after all the driving and being chased by a zombie horde2 just to keep up with my August Challenge. Don’t worry, I’ll be blogging about being chased by hordes of zombies for sure, I just don’t want to have to do so tonight, since I’m sure we’ll have many exciting things to do upon our arrival in Portlandia.

In related news, I finally got around to buying a bistro set for my balcony, so I wrote this posting sitting here:

bistro set

And enjoying this view:


Note: the picture doesn’t really do it justice.

Also, I bought a new camera, so I expect I’ll be posting more pictures than I have been lately. Like pictures of me being eaten by zombies. Incidentally, I’m in the 2 pm PDT wave of the zombie race, so wish me luck that I’m fast and agile – or at least that zombies eat people other than me!

  1. Fingers crossed that we made it! []
  2. Ha! As I was just proofreading this posting, I noticed that I’d written “zombie horders” instead of “zombie hordes.” Which (a) isn’t even the right spelling of “hoarders” and (b) omg, zombies hoarders would be the worst. I mean, what would zombies hoard, anyway? Brains? Or wait, it could be people who collect lots of zombies, like [SPOILER ALERT] that old guy in the Walking Dead was doing that in the barn. []



Well, they will be on August 4.

After much talking about it, I have finally got around to officially registering for the Run for Your Lives zombie obstacle course race, being held about halfway between Seattle & Portland on the August long weekend. Special props go out to Dr. Erika, who brought this race to my attention! I’ve joined my friend Julie’s team – the Apocalyptic Avengers. And I’m taking costume suggestions1.

Zombie Triple Attack

I’m terrified already!

Image from the Darlington, MD Zombie Race in 2011, posted by Rob Swatski on Flickr.

  1. The only caveats are that (a) it can’t include any weapons, real or toy, and (b) it can’t weigh me down, because I’m going to be running from zombies, FFS! []


I Need To Do This

Props to Dr. Erika for passing that along to me!