Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who is VE - The winners, the stories, the ridiculousness of it all

Holy Crocs, batman. That was a lot of well reasoned out entries. If only I’d given that much thought before I did most of them. But my overall favorite was thinkinfyou for her
“I say you didn't do any of the above ,and you are really just a delusional schizophrenic that found a computer somewhere on the psych ward and decided to start a blog posing as some sort of super hero.” Way to think outside envelope there…I’d totally buy VE in that scenario. But alas, she was wrong…

But we do have two winners!!! And don’t be whining because you didn’t win either. Let’s give Chris C over at Angry Seafood and Matt-man over at Bagwine Ruminations a big congrats for realizing VE’s weakness in not even being able to solo drive 1261 miles without having to stop for sleep. Had I known Jeff and his secret supply of ‘enhancement’ medicines I might have even accomplished that one.

Chris, Matt-man; you guys have complete control. I shudder to think what you might have Fantastical Nonsense do. Drop me an email at ewelter1 (at) comcast (dot) net to discuss. Someone suggested you take up a vote on what to do with my blog...sounds like a nice moneymaking opportunity too!

Well, you wanted stories, so you got them. It’s a long one so send the boss an email that a camera crew wants to interview him across town for his excellent work and then put up your feet, steal a cola from the employee fridge and enjoy…

1. I jumped between two ships in the Bering Sea during a hurricane

True. I was in the Coast Guard and we were up in Alaska riding out a storm (they don’t call them hurricanes up there because it’s always crappy conditions). Anyway, this particularly big storm didn’t allow us to turn into any of the Aleutian Islands so we just followed the wind. Meanwhile, I had a Red Cross request to get back to Oregon (death in the family) so they had a smaller Navy Ship pull up beside our ship and then (I kid you not) crash into the side of our ship while I jumped from ship to ship in this storm. The helicopter crew did so too. Get this: they tried to tell me ‘when’ to jump. It was right as the ships were separating…yeah, right… The Navy ship was small enough to get to Adak, a small remote island, but we had to jump from the ship to the dock because of the water conditions. From there I took an AWAK plane back to the states but it took about 30 hours to get off the ground due to the storm. Don’t even ask me about the evening on Adak when I went skating at the gymnasium and they had couples skating (there wasn’t a single woman on the base). It was a little too remote for me…

2. Drove over 150mph….legally

True. I was 22 and I rented a BMW 637csi and drove it on the Austrian Autobahn. If I had been 25 I could have rented a Porsche or a Ferrari at the time. I was touring Europe for a couple of months with a friend. We got that car up to 156mph and still had Mercedes, Porsche, and Ferraris passing up. My comfort driving tops out around 140 though, everything after that is pretty much white knuckle driving for me.

3. Climbed a 200 foot cliff without a rope

True. I’ve rock climbed for over 30 years. I was pretty intense in the 80s. I got comfortable with free soloing (climbing without a rope) at this one location and ended up doing a really long climb as a result. I never stopped and panicked once. Another time I was climbing my rope came unclipped when I was up about 80 feet and it slid over to my right about 10 feet. It was an area of rock I’d never been on. Didn’t even know if it was possible to get to the rope. There was an instance of panic there but I worked through it and got the rope.

4. Lost my car in a drive in and slept in the gravel until morning

True. I was in the Coast Guard stationed at Alameda, CA and the drive in was only about a mile from where our ship was. Anyway, I got so stoned (there were a few key people from Humboldt County, CA on the ship and this was pot capitol of the USA at the time) so bad that I wandered over to the concession stand, got a bunch of munchies, and ended up eating too much, throwing up, getting lost, and sleeping in the gravel until morning. Another banner night…

5. Wiped my ass with poison oak only to have it spread to 80% of my body

True. I was on a beer can hunt. I used to dig these up, restore and collect/sell them. Anyway, I really had to go and I didn’t have any TP with me. But there were plenty of leaves around for an emergency. Too bad they were the wrong kind of leaves. I had so much poison oak on me it swole my eye shut and I had to come back home early and check into emergency to get a cortisone shot. My wife at the time thought I had been beat up by some rednecks…

6. Rode my bicycle 200 miles in a half a day

True. I participated in the Seattle to Portland event and having been commuting to and from work by bike every day (it was 17 miles each way) I had plenty of mileage and was in great shape. Still, there were points around 140/150 miles in that were fairly tough to push through. Finished in 12 hours even with a nice relaxing lunch stop and a couple of breaks; and yes, I was basing this on a physical 24 hour day, thank you.

7. Been right in more than one of the top 15 strongest storms ever recorded

True. I was in Hurricane Gilbert in Cancun, Mexico for my honeymoon. This was the biggest hurricane in the Atlantic for nearly 20 years. It was bigger than Katrina. Perhaps it was a forewarning that the marriage would be doomed eventually. Anyway, we saw ourselves on Nightline and made the three local news stations when we finally arrived back home. The winds were so strong they blew parallel to the window and blew the rain right through the window frame and flooded the room. The other storm was Super Typhoon Zeb when I was in Taiwan for work. It didn’t seem nearly as scary and I even went out for a walk with a friend because we were bored. Turns out some strange rogue wind followed our path from walking and had picked up motorcycles and blown over trees. We couldn’t believe the devastation that had occurred just during our seemingly uneventful walk. Stupid is as stupid does.

8. Run into a deer; not with a car, with my body

True. I was running on an old obscure highway in Seaside, OR and the only way to navigate at night is to sort of follow the tree line. I ran smack into a deer in the middle of the road. I thought deer could see in the dark. Maybe he was just messing with me. Yeah, I screamed like a girl…

9. Drank 22 large full glasses of water at a single restaurant dinner

True. I know this one is hard to believe. Let’s clarify a few things though. Given the glasses were their large glasses, they were pretty narrow glasses and with a full glass of ice they probably only held about 4-6 ounces of water per glass. Also, I’d just gotten over pneumonia so I was severely dehydrated. This was a pretty fancy restaurant and the dinner lasted two hours. The waiter was really flustered because he couldn’t keep my water glass full. Eventually he just left a full pitcher and it further infuriated him that I kept consuming that at an alarming rate too. I left a nice tip…

10. Swam in the ocean 100 miles from the nearest dry land

True. Again, I was in the coast guard and we would have swim times down in the southern pacific. We rarely went south from California. Usually it meant our annual war game trip with the Navy; something we all hated because we sucked at that stuff. We’d be lucky to even hit the island with our big gun. But the swimming was nice and remember, this would have been 1979/80 and that wasn’t too long after Jaws so you had to have a certain disposition to dive into the ocean with no land anywhere around.

11. Drove from Denver, CO to Portland, OR by myself only stopping for gas

False. I tried it but I couldn’t do it. It was about 200 miles too far for me. I had been doing a lot of long drives around that timeframe. I drove straight through from Portland to Palm Springs, CA which was about 1100-1200 miles but for whatever reason, the Denver-Portland ride was brutally boring and I started hallucinating and had to pull off to a motel for sleep.

12. Walked through the watts area of LA at 3:00am with no car

True. Our ship had ported in Long Beach, CA and I had found myself on the public busses all over the LA valley. Turns out they stop the buses after a certain hour and I didn’t have any taxi money and didn’t know anyone. So I walked/ran back. It was about as far as a marathon and I sneaked through the Watts area in the middle of the night. This would have been 1979/80 too and it was plenty intimidating at the time.

13. Ran a marathon in under 2 hours 50 minutes (sub 5:30 per mile pace)

True. I was pretty young and if you’ll remember from my 70s post, I was pretty skinny back when I was 18-22. I ran two marathons really fast. One was a 2hr 47 minute finish. But I also ran one after a two month Coast Guard trip in Alaska when I couldn’t train a single mile. It was on the beaches of La Jolla, CA with zero training in the middle of summer. Talk about a stark contrast. I died. If this gal hadn’t taken her top off and kept me following her for 10 miles I might not have made it. It was interesting to be out of shape for a race for the first time in my life…

14. Was stranded in the middle of the Mojave desert

True. My VW bug’s engine blew in the middle of the Mojave desert while on a spring break vacation to Joshua Tree National Park. I had just enough money to get it towed to this freeway town. They wanted twice the amount for a new engine as it would have cost back home. My grandfather was so infuriated about their scam that he rented a flat bed trailer and drove all the way down from Portland, OR so southern California just to pick us up and bring the car back. This was when gas was only about $1.18 per gallon though. We checked into the local motel and laid by the pool in the sun for two days.

15. Jumped off a bridge over 60 feet into a river

True. At the bottom portion of the American River outside of Sacramento, CA is a damned river and there is a bridge that goes over it. A lot of the rafting kids would jump off the lower rafters and into the water (which was very deep there). There was a clear measurement of the height right on the side of the bridge. This was purely a peer pressure event for me. I had no desire to jump 60 feet into the water but after 10 minutes of talking myself into it, I did. Let’s just say the fall was FOREVER! The impact felt like cement but I was luck to go in straight. My rafting buddy went in slightly seated and ripped his swim suit right up the entire butt. He could barely walk!

16. Did a 100 mph high speed chase from the police, got caught but not arrested or ticketed

True. Went ice skating with a friend in the Bay area in California. We were drunk although I was less so. He got in a fight. The fight was over and we were leaving but right as we were pulling out, the cops pulled in. I floored it to avoid the police confrontation. Especially considering the entire back of my VW bug was filled with empty beer bottles. Right as I was heading to the freeway onramp I thought I saw some red lights in my rear view mirror. I was flying down the freeway at over 100mph thinking I would lose them. Meanwhile, I managed to get my drunken friend to put the bottles in a concealed area behind the back seat. I could see the red lights closing in fast so I took an exit and slowed waaaay down. Didn’t fool them, they saw me and followed and pulled me over. I played stupid and innocent and somehow they didn’t ticket or arrest us. I don’t think they could prove we were speeding and the rest was just me convincing them how innocent we were. It was an academy performance…

17. Walked right up to a full grown grizzly bear while hiking

True. I’ve blogged about this experience already. It was behind Juneau, AK. You can read about it here.

18. Been driven down a sidewalk, Ronin style, with people diving out of the way

True. While touring Europe for a few months with a friend, we took a taxi ride in Paris and this guy was truly insane. We didn’t speak a lick of French and he seemed hell bent on getting us to the train station fast. So fast in fact that when the roundabout was clogged with traffic he got up on the curb and sped down the sidewalk with people fleeing for their lives. I don’t really look for these kinds of things…they just seem to happen to me.

19. Rappelled off a 400 foot drop with a single rope without touching anything

True. I had a friend that was big in spelunking (that’s cave exploring) back when I was a really big rock climber. He wanted me to experience a really long rappel like they do in caving. We did this overhanging cliff that allowed a single 480 foot drop off an overhanging section. That was really something. Despite all my rock climbing, I have a slight fear of heights.

20. Made $7,000 cash overnight from a $200 investment which wasn’t gambling or illegal

True.
I used to collect beer cans. I had one of the premier collections in the United States. I had a guy contact me via the internet back in 1997. His wife had an uncle that was a pack rat. He had put 9 full beer cans into his attic back in 1941 and they stayed there until his death. He said the place had trails through the house it was so full of junk. He wanted to sell the beer cans. They were in perfect condition and at the time, no can had ever been found of this particular design. I gave him $200 for all nine of them. He left ecstatic. I then turned around and made seven calls and had sold all seven for $1000 each before the end of the evening. This was pre-Ebay time too. Later, I sold my own can for $3,200 on Ebay.

Yeah...it's not easy being me...but it is interesting.

49 comments:

Kanrei said...

I am speechless and you are my new hero! Just the Bering Sea thing alone (huge Deadliest Catch fan), but wow! You need, NEED to write a memoirs! I know I would read it!

VE said...

kan - Thanks. I've broken my nose, neck, back, arm, hand, ribs, and toe throughout these ridiculous adventures. People at work didn't want to travel with me. I should write a book because I held back on a lot of stories to get down to 20...

Roy Scribner said...

What a life! I surfed Hurrican Bob in 1991 at the Cape Hatteras CG Station. Normally there's just a handful of people surfing there since, well, the surfing sucks! But that day was 15-20 feet and there must have been 200 people surfing - lots of older guys on long boards, it was great. Of course the wind was howling at around 60mph and it there was a fierce rain and hail storm going on, but hey, it's surfing right? We finally had to leave in the afternoon when they evacuated the CG Station.

Sarah said...

Holy!!! I had so much fun reading through those explanations. I second the memoir idea! I wish I could have seen you run into the deer, talk about scarying yourself to death!

VE said...

roy - Cape Hatteras huh? I'm just a novice surfer and haven't really done it for about 20 years now. 20 foot waves makes me nervous. I've never been that comfortable in the water despite lots of whitewater, boogie boarding, surfing, and snorkeling. I remember watching the carnage up at North Shore while in Hawaii...man those waves are intimidating. Funny thing was, the Bering Sea regularly had 20 foot swells moving along it that we'd have to navigate with the boarding boat to go catch fisherman illegally fishing...

Matt-Man said...

You are sooo gonna regret this. I have to go to work soon, but I am going to put a lot of drunken thought into what I want you to do.

I mean, not that I drink at work...no really, I don't. Shuddup, I'll deny it. Cheers!!

VE said...

sarah - Yeah, I'm kinda glad nobody was around when I screamed like a girl. I once found myself on a lonely bike ride with my headphones on and realized I was singing some pathetic 70s song I wouldn't normally be caught dead listening too...and low and behold were a bunch of people waiting for a bus right as I'm belting this damn song out. I was highly embarrased...

Prefers Her Fantasy Life said...

Impressive. But can you win an argument with your wife?

VE said...

matt-man - I just rolled my eyes when I discovered you were one of the winners. I'm quite afraid... you have a more perverse sense of humor than even me. But you did earn it...

VE said...

prefers her fantasy life - Well I did with the ex...hence the ex... But mostly not in my current marriage...I'm a big pushover now.

Jacki said...

Out of all those stories, I think the one I would love to have seen in person is you running into a deer. That is just so random.

Anne said...

did you actually count those glasses of water or are you making that up?

VE said...

jacki - That is exactly why people don't want to EVER travel with me

anne - I'm sure of it because of the waiter. We did have to think back and estimate the first 6 or 7 before those I were with started counting so technically I could be off by one or two...

angie said...

Are you kidding me? Any other adventures up your sleve? How are you even still alive? :)

RED MOJO said...

I'm afraid I have to declare myself a winner as well, since there is no way in HELL anyone would consider 12 hours to be half a day! That is outrageous!
"Hey kids, only half a day today. You'll be home just in time to go to bed!"
:) Yay, I win!

lime said...

congrats to chris and matt!

interesting life indeed, but i still contend i am correct in a technical sense since hurricanes are a tropical phenomenon and don't occur in alaskan waters. big storms, yes...hurricanes no. not whining. just saying...

oh sure an african swallow could carry it but african swallows are non-migratory...

ReformingGeek said...

I still say you are ONE CRAZY GUY and no I don't think I could travel with you. The plane would probably crash and you would be the only survivor! I'm so gonna read the bear story next!

VE said...

angie - Oh yes, plenty more. Ask me sometime about going to Sao Paulo, Brazil right when the gangs were taking over the city and rioting and blowing up things...

red mojo - Ha ha. According to the dictionary of This-is-VEs-Blog-So-His-Rules-Apply a day constitutes 24 hours.

lime - I'm sorry...you forgot to phrase your answer into the form of a question. We'll be moving on to final Jeopardy now... (and I DID get that Monty Python reference by-the-way)

VE said...

reforminggeek - You have no idea how correct you are. My plane coming back from Brazil had the right engine in flames over the Amazon. In flames! We made an emergency landing in Guyana. Yeah, the Jim Jones Guyana. They don't even have commerical air traffic that goes there. The airline had to pay cash for their refueling when the replacement plane arrived because the country doesn't accept credit! Its another long story...

The Incredible Woody said...

You are my new hero! What's on the agenda for tomorrow??

justacoolcat said...

"spread to 80% of my body"

I'm thinking maybe you're wiping wrong.

VE said...

incredible woody - Nothing exciting just the usual nonsense!

justacoolcat - Ha ha ha. I should go to advanced wiping class I guess.

Evil Genius said...

Wow. Just, wow. What the hell is next for you, VE? Time travel? lol

Congrats to Chris and Matt-Man!

Thinkinfyou said...

Well whether I was wrong or not,my answer at least made me feel better about myself.

Now that I know the truth,all I have to say is, I hope you trip on your cape,VE Wonder!

Kurt said...

A VW bug that went 100MPH? That's not possible, therefore you did not do #16, therefore I am the winner, just as I predicted, therefore send me my prize.

VE said...

evil genius - Time travel would be nice. I'd like to pick up some of Warren Buffet's stock back in the early 60s, it was $100 a share. It's over $10,000 a share now.

thinkinfyou - Don't worry, if I had a cape I'm sure I'd trip over it and break something.

kurt - That would be true of a stock VW engine. But I didn't have a stock VW engine and my bug would do well over 100. I even broke the speedometer guage once. You lose.

Roy Scribner said...

I too, wondered about the poison oak spreading to your face so quickly, but I was reluctant to inquire further on the matter...

Nanny Goats In Panties said...

Well, congrats to the winners!

Serena said...

Well. Now we know. But you COULDA done them all.:)

ChrisEldin said...

Wow! These are very interesting!!

But people still get in the car with you? Man!

This was fun. Memoirs are hard to sell, so you'd have to make up a name and pretend it was somebody else. Let's call you, "Zeb."
:-)

Uncivil said...

Ok.....if you can survive the next four years with Obama as your president....I'll really be impressed!!!LOL!!!!!
I've always wanted to boil "poison oak" in a pot, and go on a shooting spree at a democrat rally with a squirt gun????

Dee said...

i loved this post!! What a colorful life!

Megan said...

I never would have picked that one as the correct answer. But then again, I've never driven farther than from L.A. to Phoenix in one day, so I have no frame of reference.

Can't wait to see what the winners have in store for you...

VE said...

Roy - You guys! You see...when you wipe with poison oak, the oils get on your hands. Once they get there, anything your had touches gets the oil, and so and and so on.

nanny goats - They're enjoying it; I'm very afraid...

serena - Yeah, I could have...

chris - I could call it 158 reasons by Zeb should be Dead!

uncivil - There you go again...being mischevious

dee - Thanks. Some of the color was blood...

VE said...

megan - Yeah, me neither. Just wait until tomorrow...

Frogs in my formula said...

Wow, the beer can run is truly impressive. Glad I stopped by (via Joe).

Jeff said...

I don't believe a word of it. I think you used to be a big lazy fat guy until just a few years ago when you discovered Subway and lost all your weight. Now you make up fantastical nonsense as a way to compensate for your slovenly past. And to think I trusted you. Sheesh.

VE said...

frogs in my formula - Thanks for visiting!

jeff - Oh yeah, well I don't believe you EVER had that mullet you got last week! And I don't believe you still write in your high school journal to this day!

Bee said...

VE! I want to be you for Halloween!

Practically Joe said...

Holy Crap!
You came up with 20 unusual things about yourself?
Well, really 19.
I can't even make up 7 unusual things.
I'm so usual.

Sharon said...

You are one interesting guy.

VE said...

bee - Careful though, it's quite painful!

joe - I guess your one of the usual suspects...

sharon - Thanks. I'm currently touring on the campire story circuit...

AngieSS said...

*sigh*

I guess Congrats to the weiners!

I'm sorry I didn't win, but (snickering) I'm so grateful that the poison oak story is true. I know. I can be so heartless sometimes. :)

I really enjoyed getting to know you better through this contest VE -- thanks :)

Kurt said...

Prove it. Please provide technical details. 1776? Dual Webers?

Mrs. R said...

You know what I was most surprised about was that it was a relatively small percentage of these stories that started out with "I was drunk" or "I was looking for beer cans." Seriously, how does all this stuff happen to one (mostly sober) person?

VE said...

angiess - Yes, I suffer for your amusement! ha ha

kurt - No, 1600cc, dual carbs. Air scoops to bring in more air. It would actually freeze the carb in the winter and the engine would sieze up until you unthawed it. Still, it was fun for awhile

mrs. r - Bad karma? Perhaps I am taking on the suffering of others for some cosmic reason...

leelee said...

wow...just wow...

you ARE cool...


HUGS!

VE said...

leelee - And beat up. It's not the years...it's the mileage!

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