Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Now Where Was I?

Man, it's been over a month since my last entry. Either time has really been flying by or I'm just not giving a shit about my observations lately.

But last Sunday morning, I went on this Orienteering hike/competition for a friend's birthday party. There were a few actor friends there, including the birthday guy's wife, Jodi Fung, who looks amazingly great considering she had a kid last year.

Another actor friend, Jeanne Chinn, was out for the task as well, and I might as well explain the whole thing here.

Orienteering is sort of a sport that uses a topographical map, which is one of those maps that shows how the landscape is laid out on a piece of paper. Things are drawn to scale, and it includes such details as heavy brush, cliffs, roads, fences, almost down to the horse shit on the path.

There are several course challenges, usually involving time to complete the course, and also accumulating the most points for finding things called "controls." The controls are worth different point values, depending on their distance from the start or their difficulty to find.

By the way, everyone stresses the need for a compass, but I didn't use one and I don't think you need one as long as you have an idea of where north or south is. I mean, it's not exactly like being dropped from a plane in the middle of the forest and finding your way to the nearest drop zone planted with munitions. (Sorry, I loved "Band of Brothers.")

You're usually grouped with three others, and my group included the Chinese twins from "Big Fish," Ada and Arlene Tai, as well as Ada's boyfriend, Tian. Oh, and by the way, while they are actually identical twins, they aren't Siamese twins, as depicted in the movie. I found out, also, that one of them hasn't yet seen the movie. Not sure why because I thought it was a great movie and one of the worst-promoted by Miramax. I mean, Miramax has promoted lesser movies during awards season. Why not this one?

Anyway, now where was I? Oh yeah, on Griffith Park, hiking around with three people, looking for markers using a topographical map. We stuck to a strategy that, in hindsight, wasn't so strategic. We went for the big point markers first, then went after the smaller ones on the way back to the finish (which is also the starting point). But we were so tuckered out at the end, we were just taking a light stroll back down the hill to the finish.

Yup, two hours is a long figure out how out of shape you are.

But I will mention this bit of insight if you plan to such an activity: Look for the marker before climbing down a hill. I did the mistake of climbing down two embankments looking for a marker. The first wasn't so bad but the second one almost got me in trouble. Seriously, if I was any more out of shape than I am, I'd be still there right now on that hill.

All markers are pretty much visible from the path you walk on. Only a couple take a little effort to find, but because they consider safety a priority, you'd never have to climb down a steep embankment first in order to see it. Wish I knew that on Sunday.

Oh, also take plenty of sunscreen (and water) with you. Otherwise you're gonna get fried out there.