Half-Mind Weblog

portrait_3 copy A Hash House Harrier weblog by Flying Booger, a hasher living in Tucson, Arizona
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Spring Cleaning & Announcements

Have I ever told you a hasher runs the server the Half-Mind Weblog lives on? Beaver Bam Bam Balls has been hosting this and other hashing websites for years, and he is a patient man. I don’t know how many times I’ve crashed this blog by fucking up the database or trying to cram too many bytes onto my part of the server; BBBB always comes through with a fix.

This morning I noticed I’m approaching disk space limits again. For the past four years I’ve loaded hashing photos on Flickr, where I have unlimited storage: the photos you see here are actually linked from Flickr. But before that … and some of the stuff on this blog goes back to 1995 … I loaded photos directly to the server, where they take up a lot of room.

This morning I moved all those older photos to Flickr in order to free up space on BBBB’s server. For now that means there’ll be some blank spots in older posts where photos used to be. As I get time I’ll fill in the blanks with Flickr-hosted photos. The only way you’ll notice it is if you’re rooting around in the archives, so it’s probably not that big a deal to most readers.

I hate to put up a post that’s nothing but administrative qweep, so I’ll add some actual hashing news:

  • I scouted turkey and eagle trail for an upcoming PISS Hash this morning. The hash is on Sunday, March 8, starting and ending at Casa Booger. If you’re going to be in town, look us up on Facebook and come join us!
  • After I bitched about people not volunteering to hare, two bashers stepped forward to put on a Pedalfiles Bike Hash trail on Sunday, March 15. I’m bummed that I’ll be out of town for that one. If you’re visiting Tucson then, find a bike and come bashing with the Pedalfiles!
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Links Updated

Just wanted to let you know I cleaned up the links page yesterday, getting rid of dead ones and updating the ones that weren’t working. To my horror, I found that nearly all my old links to regional & national hash contact websites were broken. Well, they’re fixed now, and I promise to check them more often and keep them up to date.

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What’s In a Name?

Guess who isn’t a Hash House Harrier any more? Witness the Meetup page of the Birmingham Magic City Harriers:

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I’ll pick a few nits, if I may. Or should that be “knits”?

The Dog has complained about unfriendly hashers and hashing groups before, so I can see where he’s going with the name change. While a Google search for “World Harrier Organization” comes up dry, there are a large number of Harrier athletic clubs and Hare & Hounds clubs around the world. Harrier and Hare & Hounds clubs are definitely in hashing’s family tree, but if you visit their web sites you’ll see they’re a hell of a lot more serious about running than we are. I don’t know, but this business about “a wider and friendlier hounds and hares community as expressed in the World Harrier Organization” looks like wishful thinking to me.

Now, as to the “true original sport of live hare”: this may well be true of the original hare & hounds clubs. The earliest accounts of hare & hounds running I’ve seen date from the 1800s. Tom Brown’s School Days, published in 1857, describes a run with the Big Side Hare & Hounds that occurred in the 1830s. A New York Times article from 1883 describes a hare & hounds run put on by the American Athletic Club. Both events featured live hares. The Hash House Harriers, however — the original club, founded by A.S. Gispert and friends in Kuala Lumpur in 1938 — started out with pre-laid trails, and many hash clubs today, including the original club, still follow pre-laid trail.

In this respect — live hare trails — it does look like Stray Dog is being true to the hare & hounds concept, even if he’s making up the World Harrier Organization stuff. I hope he does manage to get a friendlier, hash-like hare & hounds club started in Birmingham. I suspect, though, that what he means by “friendlier” is something rather different from what the rest of us mean. I suspect his definition of “friendlier” is everyone agreeing with everything he says. Good luck with that!

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No Hare, No Hash

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Wow, I hated sending those messages.

I’m GM-by-default for two monthly hashes here in Tucson, Arizona. For each one, I maintain the Facebook page, keep the membership list up to date, raise hares, officiate at the circle, and write the hash trash. The hard part is raising hares, and it’s only getting harder.

At the end of December I sent messages to the members of both hashes, asking for volunteers to hare in February. I posted the same request to both Facebook pages. I also sent direct, personal messages to two hashing couples, asking if they’d hare in February. The reason I pinged these two couples? One couple promised to hare a few months ago but backed out at the last minute, so they kind of owed us one; the other couple has, in past years, hared in February. Also, both couples are close friends.

I didn’t hear back from anyone on the general membership mailing list, which has become pretty much standard. Surprisingly, though, I didn’t hear back from the friends I sent personal messages to. So, in early January I repeated the process, emailing another request to the general membership and sending follow-on personal messages to the two couples.

Here it is, the middle of February, both hashes cancelled for lack of hares. No one responded. No one so much as sent a “sorry, I can’t.” Most disappointingly, the friends I sent personal messages to never replied. For all I know, they closed their email accounts and moved away. Or maybe they just don’t care any more.

I fucking hate trying to raise hares. I always feel like I’m begging. When I post hare requests to Facebook or send out messages, I feel like I’m shouting into the wind. I often feel like I’m expected to step in and hare when no one else is willing … and, increasingly, I’m not.

Another couple did finally respond, but only after I’d cancelled the February bike hash. They said they’d be happy to hare for the bash in April or May, which is something at least, and very much appreciated.

No one likes a whiner. I know I’m whining. It’s not like every hare raiser doesn’t have the same problems. But I’ve been doing this for years (11 years for one hash, 8 years for the other), and it’s getting worse.

I’m not one to make ultimatums or get all dramatic, but damn it, I’m done. You want to hash, you need to hare once in a while, but I’m through needling you about it every month. If you want to pick a month and sign up to hare, you know how to get hold of me.

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You’ve Got Mail!

It’s fun to get mail from Half-Mind Weblog readers, but I have mixed feelings about this letter:

Stumbled across your Hash Rants last night, and, suddenly, I’d spent a good hour or so reading.

I very briefly participated in hashing in my town, over about 6 months, late 2012-mid-2013-ish. I quit due to some of the reasons noted in your rants: the constant worry of how to get home without driving while intoxicated; the cliqueishness of our mismanagement; and, well, basically, overall immaturity of some of the hashers. It was really only two or three key people I had a problem with, but their constant presence was enough to ruin hashing for me. It’s the only hashing group in my large-ish city, so…oh well.

Hashing has been on my mind lately because several of my friends have started to participate, and it’s come up at gatherings. I don’t usually tell anyone in great detail exactly what happened – just that I decided I had better things to do with my time, so I quit. I didn’t announce it to anyone, I just stopped showing up, removed myself from the FB group, stopped reading the Yahoo! group, and promptly unfriended most of those I had made connections with on FB. Hardly anyone noticed, and only one person even asked why, which just confirmed my decision.

Anyway thanks for writing all the Rants. I haven’t finished reading them all, but I probably will. There simply isn’t much other content on the Web about hashing, outside of kennel web pages. Certainly, almost no one writes candidly and openly about the parts that aren’t so fun or nice, as you do. Thanks for that.

It’s gratifying to get feedback on my hash rants, but this reader seems to think I hate hashing!

Sure, sometimes I rant about hash misbehavior, but I try to balance that by writing about what I love about hashing, and to pass on good ideas about haring and running the circle picked up on hash road trips.

If I don’t like something I see at the hash, I write about it, but I also try to suggest other ways of doing things. Sometimes people listen to me, most times they don’t. And that’s okay. The important thing is I’m still hashing, and expect to be for a long time yet.

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PISS Hash Trash: 1/18/15 (Updated)

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Yoda & Master Meat Finder, up to no good as usual.

Today marked the umpteenth 69th running of the Pima Independent Sunday Social Hash. Our hares were Zorro and Zorro’s Other Mark, who laid A to A eagle and turkey trails from Udall Park on Tucson’s east side. The pack consisted of Master Meat Finder with her three hash dogs, Flying Booger, Yoda and Appendage, and Hot Legs and Wankers Aweigh.

Trail went behind the baseball fields on the south edge of the park and into the shiggy, eventually leading to the bicycle path down the east side of Pantano Wash. An eagle loop featured a crawl through a drainage tunnel into the wash, but I don’t think anyone tried that today … we all chose turkey trail instead, which crossed the wash on a bridge and back up the other side of the wash, then through back alleys into the A at Udall Park. Zorro had said something during chalk talk about a back check, but none of us saw it, if it was even there. Maybe it was on the eagle trail no one took.

MMF’s oldest hash dog Bruno changed his mind about walking in the sun after a couple of miles, but managed to finish trail and perked up afterward. Yoda told some civilians we met on trail about the hash, Wankers and Hot Legs checked out the doo-loop the hares laid on the back side of the trail, and I stayed with MMF in case she needed any help with the dogs. Hot Legs reported a cow on trail, but the rest of us are skeptical. Strange things happen, though: Yoda had a trailside run-in with a whale, and this time there were witnesses (as you can see in the photo).

Circle was PISS standard: short, shorter, shortest. After sharing ZOM’s beer and cookies in the park, we were off to the Hog Pit for the social part of the Pima Independent Sunday Social experience, where a good time was had by all.

Thank you Zorro and ZOM for a truly shitty trail, and thanks to everyone who came out to hash on this beautiful blue sunny and cool morning!

We’re still looking for next month’s hare. The date is Sunday, Feb 8, if anyone wants to sign up. I’ll be haring on Sunday, Mar 8, and Yoda will hare on Sunday, Apr 12.

Update: additional documentation has surfaced, including a photo of Hot Legs’ bovine encounter. Click the thumbnails to see ‘em bigger:

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Big cow (not you HL!)

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On-afters @ Hog Pit

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Turkeys on turkey trail

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Our InterAm Dilemma

Screen Shot 2015-01-12 at 7.30.26 AMI’m not one to support alternate events that conflict with and undermine long-scheduled interhashes, but I’m making an exception for purely selfish reasons.

Pick’n'Flick and I will have been married 50 years this coming December. Last year about this time we started thinking about ways to celebrate our anniversary, and we both came up with the same idea: InterAmericas Hash. InterAm is scheduled for Labor Day weekend in Portland, Oregon, three months before our anniversary but close enough.

We went to the InterAm website to register, only to discover the event was sold out. We didn’t know organizers had capped the number of hashers who could attend and were surprised to learn we were too late to sign up. Well, no problem, we thought. The site offered a link to a list where people could sign up, in order, for extra regos. We signed up, and at the time (the beginning of 2014)  there were only a few people on that list.

A month later that list was gone, never to be mentioned again. Instead, organizers set up a regos-wanted email forum. As of today hundreds … literally hundreds … of hashers have posted rego requests. Unlike the disappeared list, which at least implied that the earlier you signed up the higher your priority, this one’s a free-for-all. The most recent rego requests go to the top of the list, shoving older requests (like ours) farther down, eventually onto a second page, then a third, then buried forever where no one will ever see them. The only option is to send follow-on requests every other week or so in an effort to keep yourself near the top where someone who might need to sell a rego will see it. Obviously, the list is dominated by the loudest, most attention-seeking hashers.

Sure, some regos will come up for sale as September approaches, but looking at the number of requests it’s clear there won’t be nearly enough to meet demand. I’ve reposted our request a few times in an effort to keep us on the first page, but I’m starting to feel like a beggar for doing so, and that goes against the grain. As for the idea of just dropping in on Portland sometime during Labor Day weekend, InterAm organizers have made it clear those who plan to do so are unwelcome.

I never thought I’d say this about an interhash, but I’m starting to feel as if the organizers don’t want me there. I know, it’s not personal … they’re just trying to control the numbers … but that’s still how I feel. And it’s left a bad taste in my mouth.

It must be really hard for hashers who’ll have to fly to Portland, because it’s looking like they won’t know whether they can go until the last minute and won’t be able to book airline travel until then. Our plan has always been to drive from our home in Tucson, making InterAm part of a 10-day 50th anniversary road trip which will also include a couple of days in the Seattle & Vancouver area. We’ll still take the road trip, whether we can spend a couple of days in Portland or not, and thank G we have that kind of flexibility. Most InterAm wannabes don’t.

Two weeks ago a West Coast hasher we know posted something about organizing an alternate Labor Day weekend hashing event in Bellingham, Washington. As I said at the top of this post, I don’t like the idea of setting up alternate events that conflict with long-scheduled interhashes, but in this case there’s no conflict. Hundreds of hashers who want to go to InterAm are going to be left out in the cold, including, most likely, us. Hashers who sign up for Bellingham will be hashers who can’t get regos for Portland, so there’s no question of undermining or taking away from InterAm.

I don’t have any details yet on the Bellingham event. When I get them I’ll post them here.

In our case, we wanted to take a road trip to the Pacific Northwest. If we could have included a couple of days in Portland at InterAm, we’d have been delighted. But now we have the option of still taking our trip and working in some hashing, only in Bellingham instead, and for that we’re thankful.

See? G is looking out for us after all!

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Pedalfiles Bash Trash: 1/11/15

The Pedalfiles started the new year off right with a truly shitty bash, thanks to hares Deep Dish and Is It In Yet?

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Hares (center) & pack at Greasewood Park

Trail was a 10-mile A to A from Greasewood Park on Tucson’s west side. Yes, I know 10 miles sounds short, but if you rode today’s trail you know there was nothing short about it. DD & 3IY must know somebody, because they were able to get the rules suspended and 9 of those miles were uphill. Steeply uphill. Trail was a ball buster, in other words.

Halfway through the first part of the trail some of us were preparing to pedal all the way up to the top of Gates Pass, up this road:

steep hill

Fortunately for us trail turned onto a side street that was only a 15-degree upgrade. Somehow we all made it — well, most of us, anyway — through the uphill part of the trail, finding a BN that led us to a very welcome beer check at 3IY’s new house. After the hares left the beer check the pack very reluctantly followed, but the last part of the trail, the one-mile section back to Greasewood Park, turned out to be the downhill run, so we all came in together, followed shortly by two late-coming bashers, Hash Jive and Pearl of the Andes, who started after everyone had left and somehow missed the beer check.

In addition to the regulars — the hares, me, Wankers Aweigh & Hot Legs, Zorro, Loose Nut, Arthur Gash & Eff Me (short for You Gotta Fuckme to Find Out), Hash Jive & Pearl of the Andes — we were joined by some newbies, first-timers, and visitors: Just Bill (no longer a virgin, now becoming a regular), 58 & Accounting, Just Pete, Cap’n Crotch, My Clit Talks, B Flat, and Victor Victoria. We were also joined at on-afters by Master Meat Finder, who couldn’t make the trail itself, so she’s not in the group photo. Some of the newbies, according to threats they dropped at on-afters, may even come back for more punishment.

On-afters were back at 3IY’s, scene of the earlier beer check. We had a short circle, then raided 3IY’s larder for a barbecue. For a brief time all the harriettes were in the kitchen and all the harriers were clustered around the grill, but by the time I grabbed my camera co-ed sanity had returned, thank Gispert. If we had a hash shit, B Flat would have gotten it for riding her fluorescent green, pink-cabled origami velocipede, which we all thought was the cutest thing ever. Everyone but Just Bill (which will be noted come naming time) made it to on-afters. After eating all 3IY’s food and drinking all his beer, the hash went in peace.

Speaking of next time, and the next, etc, we have a pretty much open calendar. The Pedalfiles bash on the third Sunday of every month. The third Sundays in February, March, May, and June are open, waiting for bashers to sign up to hare. One of our founders, Casual Friday, will be back in town for the April bash, and has agreed to co-hare with me, Flying Booger. So April is good, but we need hares for the other months. Please contact me if you’d like to try your hand at laying a shitty trail.

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