What is a Spartan Race?

5 Dec

Leonidas

“What is a Spartan Race?” is a question that seems to come up more each year and there is yet to be an answer with satisfaction.  It seems everyone has their own definition so here is mine.

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The Spartan Race is a test of endurance, bravery and courage for the mind, body and soul.  It is the leader in the obstacle course racing (OCR) phenomenon that is increasingly impacting the globe.  Take the fast thinking agility of the Ninja Warrior and the determination of an Ultra marathon runner or Ironman and have them face themselves and their fears in the hero’s journey and it starts to give you an idea of the mindset of a Spartan Racer.

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Spartan commands it’s own distinction in new world of endurance and adventure themed events.  At the time of this writing it seems there is Spartan Race, Tough Mudder and “Everything Else”.  In 2010-2011 I discovered the world of “Everything Else” while working with first responders with my job with Praetorian Group.  Running seemed boring but playing “Jailbreak” or “Warrior Dash” was a blast.  Perhaps it was a chance for adults to get dirty and play in this world of safety helmets and antimicrobial tech.  For me there was no real training, planning or lessons to be learned.  It was just a bunch of us playing and drinking afterwards.  

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When I mentioned I was registered for a Spartan Race many were compelled to counsel me on what it was as if they were paying their final respects.  Tough Mudder gets similar reactions and I notice many favor one over the other but there is a mutual respect yet bias between the two. Racers usually have a preference and I favor Spartan.  (If you want to know more check out “Rise of the Sufferfests”.)

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Spartan Race come in all shapes and sizes from inspirational workout tours, blogs and Spartan Sprint all the way to 12+ Hour Hurricane Heats, 26+ Miles Ultra Beasts and Agoge.  https://www.spartan.com/en/race/learn-more/race-types-overview
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Spartan Race attracts racers of all shapes and sizes because it transcends just the physical athleticism and balances the importance of the heart and mind which often levels the playing fields for those that may not be the fastest runner or the strongest climber.  It is brilliant because it truly strengthens all three.  If you start with all heart, those burpees will get you off the couch and training your body for the best shape of your life.  If you are in top physical condition these obstacles will test and strengthen your mind and your spirit.  If you have soul these races will transcend you to another level and another plane.  
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Spartan Races are mental.  I got over fears I never knew I had in the very same race (Claustrophobia in those tiny green underground tubes in Austin anyone?).  Can you run 26.2 miles?  How about 28 miles over rugged terrain, slippery rocks, waist deep mud or waist high fire in extreme climates and epic destination terrain?  You must learn to psyche yourself up and how much of an influence the mind actually is over the body and soul.  Thanks to Spartan Racing I pushed my physical and spiritual farther than I could in any gym or place of worship.        
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Spartan Races are spiritual.  I distinctly remember thinking I as a few levels beyond a “near death experience” when suddenly storm clouds parted and light shined on a cross in a chapel carved into a granite cliff.  I also remember the multi-cultural spiritual experiences of the Hawaii Trifecta and if you are monotheistic your mind can certainly empathize how early Greeks had so many gods if you experienced the Spartan Race in Sparta.  “This is blasphemy!  This is madness!”  You know your cue.    

Spartan Races are physical.  You might think this goes without saying but top NFL athletes are put to the test and humbled.  I was running alongside Lance Armstrong in Austin a few years back, and know ultra fit pop stars that have taken the challenge.  My body may not look it as fit as I would like it to, but when I show up to a gym, cross-fit group or triathalon in a Spartan Finisher shirt it feels like having the pride of some well earned chiseled abs.  

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Spartan Race changes your life.  I remember the traffic to for the Texas Beast a few years back.  Cars were lined up for miles filled with amped up racers that took their pre-workout a bit early.  I got out and jogged almost 8 miles to the start line with a smile on my face.  I was honored to be the last volunteer sweeping the course after the Ultra Beast in Hawaii.  I no longer need a race to get out there and push myself.  I do it every chance I get.        

Who am I? I AM A SPARTAN!

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Chapter 10 – Pride and Extreme Prejudice

26 Apr

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of good fortune, must be in want of a wife…

…or a life or at least something like that.” charmingly chimed Greg Vestal
I acknowledge it” acknowledged Miranda G. Gilliam enjoying romantic literary references while running around the world much like Noble Nikki Robertson along with Amanda GarciaLori McCartySandy Kreps and Wendi Medling.

Therapist Beth Lewis grabbed the progressively narrative mic and said….
Yes, and as everyone knows acknowledgement is power.  Therefore it should also be acknowledged that everyone may not know it at the exact same time.  The consequences of that happening are too much to disclose at this part of the story, however it is safe to say that everyone will come to this understanding at least some point in their life.

David Ristuccia boldly hijacked the microphone channel to give history lessons on the bad ass men and women that have all acknowledged this.  Among them he noted David Ristuccia for his power lifting persona and of course his fair cousin Rachael Bower and the Marvelous Mikaila Munoz who were both making their way as a mermaid and a sexy lobster which is the hidden meaning to him always suggesting you take your fish oil.

Amy Beth Hinkhouse-Dunavant proposed that they should all acknowledge it at the same time just to see what would happen.  Carrie Campbell GerdesChristie Douglas and Nick Kriofske all being the acknowledgement daredevils they all were quick to volunteer.

Joel Ferrell felt it could be more powerful adpated for the stage. Katharine O’Sullivan Spadacenta stepped up as the stage manager and the cast was quickly assembled including Cheryl AmmeterJessica HoffmanStephanie DunnamStephanie Renee and Debbie Ramsey Lofland.  Shawn Patrello insisted there be clowns or “mechanicals” and Mark C Guerra (Markasaurus Rex) insisted on fairies.  Debbie Ramsey Lofland insisted they do the show in the dirt and Fred Curchack said he would just do it all himself with a few puppets and a some bic lighters for lighting.  John Venable thought he would hold out for Martin Scorese to direct him with Steve Martin. Joe Chapa supported that choice.

Eldon WristonShane Owens and Bella Eden Alexander-Johnson all realized they had something magical. Daniel Driensky and Darlene Hammond thought they would help get the word out and organized an awareness campaign

What shall we call this production?” posed Wendy Powell
Batdad vs Superteacher” immediately contributed Daniel Thomas Jones
Dead Bloggers Society” threw in Krystal Gable
The Never Ending Birthday Story” offered Elizabeth Owens and everybody silenced in agreement, then cheered at the pure resonance of it.

Haven Powers asked if there would be a Luck Dragon and Sher Jean Bear assured her there would be a variety of dragons.  Jamy Porter also demanded there be Bounty Hunters and Sith Lords with fabulous hair.  Benjamin Davis mentioned he has a place for that.

The creative group began rehearsals, production meetings and publicity campaigns while Patricia Pell and Charity HopperMotorplex Jones presented the celebratory cake and lit the candles.

What they may not have yet realized is that each candle they lit was a world that was burning.  Kimberly Kay Lucas acknowledged she was the bright light of one candle as the others were lit.  Morgan McClure let her light shine it created a shadow on everyone else.  Laurel Hoitsma filled those shadows with her light.

As the light got brighter and brighter one might think it could not possibly be brighter. “That is what one might call limits” said Law Michael Sullivan and his alter ego Lawrence Sullivan.

Jamie Matlock said “I don’t subscribe to limits“.  Theresa Vance and Kristin Sutton Ford nodded in agreement.
I don’t believe they really exist” added Deborah Longworth with all her Urbanity.
I will have to agree.  Any limits I thought I had I created myself” admitted the AmaZING Mikaila Muñoz Lotierzo.
Well if we create our own they still exist” debated Maggie Grant.
I like to refer to a limit as a #TIMIL.  That’s limit spelled backwards to remind me I created it” contributed Jennifer Besser.

By this time all the candles were lit and the light was brighter than they all imagined.  They began to transcend their reality and each emerged surrounded by their wishes.

Paige NashSteve Luce and Darlene Munger wishes all popped up like bubbles in the air, or in the water, or in space.  Lauren DunnawayFrieda Austin and Elias Sahwani had as many wishes as there were grains of sand in an hourglass.

While blinded by the brilliance, brighter lights seems to shoot from the center.  Sandy Degen LedbetterJennifer Eiffert and Carol Reed were each brighter than the sun but streaked across the brightness like a firework. Jamie Matlock and Adrianna Cervantes Grinke were like lasers. Louisa Lawless and Don Long where like shooting stars.

Elvis Monroe and Pamela Ann knew these lights had to come from someplace.

They come from here” answered Gwendolyn Michelle Phillips gesturing towards a source.  The funny thing is no matter who was looking, they all saw the same thing.  It did not matter if it was Taylor ReaCarrie Campbell Gerdes or Traci Towers Clark.  They saw the same source that Dianne Kelly Samoff II and Dianne Samoff III saw.  It was as if they were looking into a mirror when they looked into the light.  William Bill Gartin and Brandon Enriquez all saw the same thing, but they all saw something unique.

Guy Robison said “It’s our heart light.
Whoa, slow down there Neil Diamond” quipped Chris Garcia Peak.
He’s right!” said John D Kolinofsky
The light of the world is in my heart” realized Derek Phillips
What color is yours?” asked Cathrine Hatcher  “The color matters

Mine is silver-ish” said Joseph Di Lorenzo
Mine is green” said Tom Green
So is mine.  It’s the color of love” said Melissa Knight
Mine is pink.  I think pink is the color of love” Michelle Polvado
Brenda Johnson
 and Brenda Johnson both chimed in and said “Mine is purple
“I’d say mine is azure” added Jordan Roth
We can all be right.  We can all be love” claimed DeDe Boozer
Not today!” Cried Eric Dobbins
Today only I can be right” demanded Cynthia Kirchner
There can be only one!” proclaimed the beautiful Jessika Bouyer

And as silly as it sounds that was the dawn of prejudice.
Extreme Prejudice” added Gabriel Wheaton going for title credit.

Anthony Skibell Ph D harmonized a sound and #OurPro appeared with an understanding smile. Kristen Prezbindowski and Heather Sanford understood and said that’s why you always see her with a skull.
In homage to Shakespeare?” asked Kevin Brandon understanding it’s his Birthday too.
In homage to all things” said #OurPro placing one hand on the shoulder of Anne Young Fritsche and the other on Jessica Layman “And what is your wish?

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Chapter 9-It’s Your Party

28 Mar

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It’s the start of Spring with a full moon and a full basket of goodies.  Ophelia Flame is bound to ask “Is #OurPro dead?

Kenda Taylor suggests maybe just dead tired and sleeping very heavily.  After all it’s been an emotionally exhausting battle of dimensional forces crossing over making all the wishes come true.  Merilee Effingham would also like you to please note this is on top of manifesting nightmares for those that are not specific in their desires.
Know what you want!” declared Angela Lay Roberts
“...And be specific or you’ll be learning lessons in specificity for lifetimes” mused Brett Alexandria Unruh
Be prepared to get what you want, otherwise you may see your blessings as curses” assured Meredith Shook

Perhaps #OurPro has yet to live, in the sense as we understand it” explored Lilly Law.

Our protagonist is referred to as #OurPro for those of you just now joining us.  You might want to catch up as there are planes, trains, boats and ships and exotic vehicles that are all emerging in different worlds.  Entire moons and planets that are transported with a single thought.  There are epic battles and romances, but most importantly parties, dancing and celebrations all in honor of you.  Yes YOU!  Why you?

You say it is your Birthday” says Timothy Noonan.
It’s my Birthday too” jammed Ilona Scheel on a tamborine.
We’re gonna have a good time” added Gretchen Neary

Randy Clower and Nicoya Mothershed took you arm and arm and thrust you forward into the scene.  Martin Ezelle flashed a smile with such smoothness you’d think that Lando Calrissian was his pupil.  Fred Villanueva places your favorite drink in one hand and Taylor Bunn puts your favorite party favor in the other.  Everything seems grand.

Or does it!?” dramatically poises Nicole Pearce as she has a way with words.
Maybe a little too grand…“thought Heather Kidd
Or maybe we are just getting started” optimized Judith Prueitt-Prentice

However #OurPro still felt a bit off.  Something or someone is missing.  Who can it be?
Joanie Bannister sent for a magic mirror that can reflect the truth in any situation, and Jamie Singer ran her wild horses with the help of Lisa J Miller and Cindee Mayfield.

Are the birthday guest from the Riverboat arrived?” she asked Ginger Mensik.
Ginger nodded and #OurPro requested that she conjure up that ridiculously good looking world famous highly skilled private detective to help her find what is missing.

What is missing is essential” pondered Emily Murdock.  #OurPro agreed and charged her and Kamelle MillsTanya Brooke Dunlap and Bruce Allen Stewart to track down the Birthday Guests from the transdimensional railroad conducted by Skip Waters and make sure they make it to the party.

Marie Quevedo volunteered her league of endurance athletes to explore the terrain looking for anyone that might have gotten lost in the shift.

Amanda assembled a crew for the fasted ship in the dimension and commanded “Prepare to set sail“.

“Who will take to the air?” asked #OurPro as George AshcraftLisa Marie Wright and Dayna Delux all volunteered simultaneously.

 Ethan Norris and Cara Cassaday produced a dance card of all of the characters and realized it was only about a quarter full.

Still plenty of openings” chimed Ruth Engel-McEntire
So many songs” added Tash Kouri
So many dance partners” charmed Mary Friesen

Shanae Chandler fondly remembered one of her high school dances with a date with two first names and Melinda Imthurn served as a valet for the limo full of guests that pulled up.  Claudia Acosta opened the gates for Keith Randal Duncan and the royal Reka Reek.

We’re going to need a bigger ballroom” referenced Kenda Taylor
We’re going to need a bigger heart…” added #OurPro “to give all the love and wishes”
How do you do it?” asked a curious Courtney Gayle
How do WE do it.” corrected our beautiful protagonist as a statement. “That is the secret I am going to share with you.
Well let’s have it!” aggressively suggested Marty Van Kleeck.

Secret! Secret! Secret!” Started chanting Rachel Hull and Angela Heenan-Gair and soon the entire vibration of the dimension began to change until a sphere of light appeared.  A hush quickly fell across all the spectators and witnesses.  The timeless moment was measured by Terry Robertson-Baker gasping quickly followed by Chip Joslin asking… “Is this it?

#OurPro asked if anyone knew what it was and the answers were plenty!

It’s a world” offered Noble Tse
A UFO” added Jon Lee Hart
It’s Love” romanticized Cindy Walker Seely
It’s light” obviously stated Lauren Claiborne Black
Its’ beauty” declared Liz da Silva
It’s an egg” stated Jim Bigner
An Easter Egg!” quickly added Christina Shelton
A surprise visit with custom comedy” shamelessly plugged Jill Christine Peters
It’s a seed of something spectacular“offered Allison Rogers
It’s one of them She-Ra’s” suggested Zach Touchon
Like the Princess of Power? I Love her” comically saved Cassidy Crown Confer
I think he means Chakra” corrected Marty Copeland
It’s my wish” you said quietly to yourself.

#OurPro told them they were all correct, even the shameless plug.  Then the light became brighter and our beautiful protagonist couldn’t sustain it any longer.  It got brighter and the sphere began to crack….

It’s hatching!” observed Joanna Holden with just the right amount of dramatic intensity.
Is it Lady Gaga?” Asked Robin Devoe

The light seemed to go nova and as it dimmed the silhouette of a figure appeared in the classic superhero pose and a powerful voice said “I am your antagonist.  You may call me #YourAnt for short

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Chapter 8- 60 Characters In Search Of An Author

20 Mar

Shots Fired!” misused an apathetic and ironically misunderstood millennial because this was indeed a serious situation and not a simple verbal assault over interpersonal trivia.  This is not to say that verbal assaults on the internet are trivial or that this epic war of superheroes is just part of the natural order of the chaos in the universe.  It simply is.

Lou Smith and Brenda Lindenberg Stanton both felt this is the time to put a disclaimer that the names and situations in this story may be real or fictional but may reflect real life and certainly does not reflect the exclusive view or possibly any part of the views of the people that embody those names or the author in perpetuity throughout all the infinite  Universes. Elizabeth Wright would also like to add if they might seem to be true or based on real events that is entirely up to you and your imagination.  Chris McMurtry wanted to encourage the taking of flash photography or low-light or with filters all under the preferred hashtag (Might I suggest #HappyTSBday, #Shanespeare or #OurPro). Mike Salcido wanted to thank all the artists that made this possible, and also the car with the License Plate THX 1138 left their lights on and it was causing too much lens flare for Nikki DeShea Smith‘s fantastic light design.

Now  Sandi Bailey brings us back to the story from the front lines of this super battle.

Angela Raelene McGuire signaled she was ready to engage as she always enjoyed a fray for the right reasons.  Lauren Godfrey Patterson,  Ashley Head and Dixie Still got in position.

“I have the shot” affirmed Scarlett McAlister Harris.
“Then take it” commanded Daniel R States.

The shot was taken and quickly enhanced by Dalton James and the Prince of Pisces, Fan of the Fishes Mycal Sykes because it is what they do and they know how to work their craft.

So do the others.  Just then Greg Grayson dropped a joke grenade to bring us back to the story.  Jamie Wollrab waited for it to go off and then had to explain that is when you tell a joke but it doesn’t hit its audience right away.  However, since he had to explain it he felt people still were not laughing it was a dud… or maybe you were just not meant to get it.  Yet.

Cristela Carrizales reminded us to Beware the Ides of March right after Pie Day but Meg ShidelerLaura Laine and Taylor Munholland were already dressed in green leading the parade right out of the ironic land to the land down under while Mia Rae and Shelly Koehler were flipping their real estate like no one has ever seen.

Laurie McNair and Tiffany Williams skeptically joined the parade and as they saw it heading toward a large ship on the water they both thought at the exact same time.  “Deja Vu“.  They both said looking at each other”Pinch Poke, you owe me a Coke“.  They pinched each other starting a trend, like they do.  Monalisa Amidar pinched Bono and Nathan Allen Pinard pinched The Riddler.  However when Laura Reeves pinched Captain America he vanished!   POOF!  Gone!  This is when things started getting very interesting.

Laurie Williamson pinched the Green Lantern and he smiled and thanked her for keeping him relevant.  She though to herself “I’m Smart!” like people do and saw Batman and Superman promoting their movie and thought this would be a good time for her to take her own justice on Batfleck.  She got close and pinched him and nothing happened.

Rest assured you are not the only one disappointed with these circumstances.  Well… technically something happened, but it wasn’t the result she was going for.  Superman asked if she was with him and the mouth breathing Batfleck said “I thought she was with you” confirming they are going for the simplest dialogue ever spoken by superheroes.

Fiona Ann Norton interrupted them saying that since Batman didn’t have Robin or someone to say something along the lines of “Holy Green Thumb Batman, those not wearing green disappear when pinched.” She thought she would explain with her proper dialect to help move things along and we thank her for it.

Erin Treadway pinched the Hulk and there was no reaction and of course Ironman was hovering just out of reach.  Melissa Hartman Couture pinched Wonder Woman and she Poofed and Melissa coined the term “Pinch Poof!”  Why is it that those wearing green were immune to the Pinch Poof wondered Vivian Jimenez Hall.

Diamond Jim and Randy Tinkle were bummed that Wonderwoman was PinchPoofed so they started pinching everybody not wearing green causing a wide spread panic, even though the green smiley faced said “Don’t“.

Easy for you to say” provoked Zelmer Phillips “You’re nothing but a green smiley mouth“.
“And I’m not” said Steve Davis as a classic diversion allowing Eric Soto-Riggle to get close enough to Superman to pinch him but nothing happened.

“Why didn’t that work?” asked Dylan Hollingsworth.

“Because he wasn’t pinched by someone wearing green” explained Mary Williford Bayer.

Suddenly Batman pinched Superman and Superman Pinch Poofed followed by a thunderous applause from a variety of people wearing green or not.  Lisa B. Whitfield thought about pinching Batfleck but Ashlee James McCollom just walked right up and asked to pinch him.  Batfleck nodded, or maybe he was just looking down as such a sad Batman does, either way there was a pinch and he remained.  There was no Pinch Poof for Batman, not even the Ben Affleck one.

batfleck-originalHerschel Alan Weisfeld demanded an explanation because there was absolutely no green visible on Batman, but the mouth breathing crime fighter finally closed his mouth to make an uncomfortable smile and reveal he was wearing kryptonite underwear.

Ohh!” explaimed Donald Wayne Brown Jr. not exactly sure how he felt about that.

Lara Seibert Young loaded the last few from the green parade onto the ship and those not wearing green were scattering for the hills.  Jenni Tooley advised everyone to show their green and Hilary Tipps asked where the ship was going.

Probably to the moon” suggested Chris Spinks as there has been much of that going on.
Jorge Luis Davila led a team on the ground to break up the battle as Batman asked Mike Daniel what his secret identity was since it’s a dead give away that you are a super hero if your secret identity has 2 first names.  Jeramie Crawford suggested that they not reveal his hero yet because then you’ll just get into fights with other superheroes.

It’s all the rage these days” agreed Kristy Krüger but when you have all the feelings as a Pisces, a comic conflict is the last thing you want or need.  Diana Faro Daugherty and Russ Pond agreed.

As the ship left dock and powered out to sea towards the almost full moon Carie Welborn-Bair and Caramie Cason watched mermaids and Aquamen followed singing each to each.

Michael Brower noticed a man in a toga on the bow of the ship with his arms spread like he was King of the World.  Alicia G. Thomasson mentioned all of these heroes are people that she’s recently been reading about and that was Julius Caesar.  Bunny Miles Rothrock and Lynn Kawano noticed he was not wearing green.  The world leader turned to see he was about to be pinched into oblivion.  All he could say is “Etu Mia Rae
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Chapter 7- Well Wishes Through A Wishing Well

9 Mar

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It is wished that one day in the future one might say it’s an old saying; “To survive a broken heart makes you a better person”.  To say today who’s wish it is may jinx it, but in this moment twice as many eyes were closed as they made their wish and blew out their candles.

Jessy Black had exponentially more candles than her planetary clone Judy Smith Blackwell, so Linda Wallace pointed out that gave her exponentially more wishes as she sat back and sassed and sipped.  Shannon Kearns maximized the epic emotional exponent of the event as Terry Brink nursed them all in recovery.

Joshua Dennis must have wished for a light because he was all a glow, which was handy since everyone was in the dark since the candles were blown out.  Audrey Tennant led everyone in a serene prayer which Marie Del Marco commented on was a great way to understand the infinite spectrum of emotions they were all feeling at this party.

It was indeed an emotional time.  Terry Ash EbboMontie Jo Burgy and Logan Maxwell Green were tending to a group of crying guests and Jason Acton asked what was wrong.

Nothing!” respectfully replied Cynthia Santiago.  “They’re actually very happy“.
Why all the tears?” he politely probed.
If you’re not a Pisces you wouldn’t understand.” affirmed Kristine Mansour Armentor.

Haley Esposito and Etty Horowitz nodded and sipped their drink while Laura Lutz Jones and Karen Wiley commented on the snacks and Donald McLaughlin wrote a script about the party favors.  Of course Lydia MackayAndrew Aguilar and Heather Forsythe asked about auditions and Lee Jamison wished she could fit it in between saving all the kittens in the animal kingdom.

Jocelyn White and Christie Renee Welch were wishing in one hand and I would be no gentleman if I were to say what they were doing in the other.  (Lisa Moore says she will tell you if you really want to know)

 Shana Anderson was serving drinks like Bettie Martini and Mallory Malapeño Carrick was pouring shots while Carmen Dexter was serving books that Tiffany Riley was humorously interpreting for those physical comedy connoisseurs Arthur MortonKiki Curry Winters and Celeste Rogers.  Amanda Mount HunterCandy Buckley and Carolyn Collins cut a rug on the dance floor as José Bowen led the band in a funky new groove.  All was chill until the thrill of Kevin Long letting the dogs out.  As he did he noticed on the horizon a league of Spartan Race Warriors led by Matt Nguyen and backed up by Stephen BrodieScott WhiteJeremy EscobarEric Gacia and Trey Birkhead in his 5.0.  As Matt removed his duct tape helmet he commanded to his troops….
SPARTANS!  Prepare for Gloriiiious Birthday Cake!

Aroo!  Aroo!  Aroo!” they all said wondering if it was Gluten Free and exactly how many burpees would be involved.  As they stormed down the ridge to the party the moon eclipsed leaving them all in darkness once again.

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This is pretty cool” acknowledged  Brandon J. Walker as Brad Ward added
I’m prepared” lighting up his torch as did Shawn Gann down in the party camp.

The two lights traveled to each other just as the new moon reached it’s total eclipse of the heart and then once again, as before, there was an unmistakable sound.  Everyone looked toward it and once again, the moon seemed to be a portal transporting visitors from another world.

There was another crack of thunder followed by a downpour of something other than rain.

OUCH!” complained Wale Akin getting hit in the head with what he thought was hail, but turned out to be cold, hard cash with an emphasis on the cold and hard.
Coins!” identified Brad Hartliep
Yes, but they don’t seem to be from around here” observed Douglas D Martin
And they all seem to be coming up heads instead of tails” warned Becca Shivers 
“What’s that?”asked Abi Abel pointing to a tiny light which grew larger as it got closer.
Maybe it’s a shooting star” hoped Jerry Martin as she made yet another Birthday Wish.
Maybe it’s a soul” theorized John M. Flores
Looks to me like a train” pondered Margaret Ponder
It’s a SOUL TRAIL!” zinged Roxy Hernandez with her coming timing and dry wit

Robyn Fletcher Acevedo pointed right at you as you laughed for validation that you are developing an expanding sense of humor as well as imagination.Kevin Jeffers pushed everyone to shelter as the train glanced the ridge and came down towards the party camp.  All the hopes and wishes came through the portal in the eclipse but everyone was too busy scrambling from oncoming train to notice. Jessica Foster and Michelle McElree stood like a dear in the headlight until Tom Urquhart pulled them from the path just in time.
The train slowed and stopped right at the camp as if it was exactly what it intended to do.  Steam, smoke, dust danced in clouds of electric zapping as passenger cars doors opened and people flooded out.  Stefany Cambra and Eimilie Mitchell emerged wearing exceedingly fashionable steam punk attire.  Jacqueline PettitEric Wilder and Josh Hepola emerged at the caboose with what might have been strange weapons.  There seemed to be others but they were hard to pinpoint in the commotion.  Just as the clouds seem to settle and light began to return the train blew it’s horn so loud everyone covered their ears.  The engine turned off and the door raised open to reveal a man in a top hat carrying a large wooden box.  He dropped it down on on the ground to make a stair and two chucks appeared.  As people looked it it was #OurPro.  Her voice seemed to be amplified as she said…
“I heard it was your Birthday”
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Chapter 6-Leapyear Lizards and Aliens!

2 Mar

A hummingbird beats its wings and a circle of light appears.  A pause in that moment reveals what can seen between the hummingbirds wings.  It is the enchanted fairies known as the Wish Squad (#Wishsquad, told you there would be a test in the previous chapters).  This #Wishsquad can create a time when none exists.  They can add a day to February and call it leap year so nobody would ever Google it like they would #Shanespeare or #HappyTSBday.

The #Wishsquad whispered into the ear of Baqash Wilson something that made him head to the transdimensional riverboat to convey a message.  The message was passed to Mark Lawyer who asked Kimberly Alexander to help.  They jumped on the saddled unicorns and galloped to the riverbed.

Michael Murray asked if he could help and Kimberly climbed on his shoulders once they were aboard to deliver the message.

There is a rapping on the window.  A banging on the shutters and a knocking on the door.  Such a loud clatter that Christopher Piper and David Jeremiah startled themselves awake and knew not where they were.  They were not much help so they began to flip some coins, which ironically kept coming up tails.  That’s right!  Not heads, but TAILS!

Cassie Nova found it interesting but was always a fan of tails.  And heads too for that matter.  Jonas Miller found it to be an omen but was indecisive if it was a good one or a bad one. Vincent Wilbanks brought in more bags of coins and flipped and spun them all to the same result.

Perhaps it’s this room” suggested Bree Foster,
Let’s try this back on land” continued Brandy Bianchini,
Follow me!” ordered Ginger Valentine and far be it from anyone to suggest otherwise.

Christopher Todd Penn extended the boarding plank and the away team assembled on the bank of the river.  Janee Hill provided a fresh bag of coins and sure enough.  TAILS! Shauna McLean Tompkins suggested it was a magnetic field or some sort of energy.

Cheryl Andrea and Susan Gurvich cleared the energy of the circle and they attempted again.  TAILS!

This way!” led Christel Danning going further onto land accompanied by more than just the unicorns.  A pair of pegasus flew overhead while R.O.U.S.es followed closed in the trees.  Renee Smith and Amy Whitaker Marroquin suggested it might be the spirit of Barbara Macchia, while Stephanie Fischer was certain to find a scientific explanation.

It’s magic?” suggested Brent Morley
It’s movement.” connected Meghan Cardwell-Wilson
…like muscle memory” continued Elaine Stiglmeier.
It’s music.” concluded Bruce Richardson
It’s some sort of time rift!” hinted undercover time agent Rita Smith.
IT IS ALIENS!” offered Fern, a Peter Pan like figure standing in a toga.
WOW!  Who saw that coming?” asked Tammy Phelps.

Scary_Movie_Aliens

It should be noted that Patti GeolatDouglas L Voet and Tonya Walsh Fenoglio raised their hands while Tyler Santa ironically huffed that he did not believe in aliens and that they were a myth her parents made up so he would stop hunting the tooth fairy.  Micaela Brigida wanted to point out it was in the chapter title and Duraih Preston Smithizzle encouraged Fern to elaborate.

Fern gladly explained that on her 13th Birthday the aliens would return and take her to their homeworld.  Astin Bookout suggested that she might look old enough to buy alcohol and she further explained that she was born in a leap year, so by Birthday’s she’s only had 10, like the Pirates of Penzance but doubled.

So you are saying the coins will never land on heads again for another 12 or so years?” confirmed Mark Storozyszyn.
That is what she’s saying.” assured Grace Patterson.
No, that is not it at all.” corrected Kathy Hoffman.  “That is not what it meant at all”.
How is this furthering the story?” questioned both Emily Bragg and  Ande Bewley.

Just then Jose Granados and Dave Ruffin swung in with their swords drawn and an epic battle ensued.  Earl Browning III pulled his parachute forgetting he was on the ground getting James Prince all tangled up in it.  Dena Miller jumped on the shoulders of Brandon J. Walker and brought him to the ground where Angie Thompson tickled him until he gave up.  Brad Ward allowed himself to be bested by Etty Horowitz and Carmen Dexter.

 Erin McGrew Herndon and Whitney Vinson Rosenbalm faced off in a battle of the voices which drew the attention of most of the other fighters including Wes Raitt who was running alongside a tree when a note struck him so dumb he fell like a feather in a beautiful world.  Shonda Ratliff Graner helped Laura Lutz Jones out of the center of the action as the scurried off into the brush.
Chris and David both looked on and everyone seemed to have abandoned them.  Chris reached into his pouch and found a coin.  He flipped it high into the air and David caught it and looked at it.
Hmpf, That was lucky.” he said.
What?” Asked Chris
It was heads” said David.
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Chapter 5-Worlds Collide

24 Feb

The ship of wise witty fools traveled down the river of dreams.  As it began to pick up speed, the wind blew through Jay Bird‘s hair and Stormie McLeod uttered “I’ve got a bad feeling about this” and as it seemed as it it was going toward the dark circle of a new moon turned out to be some sort of black hole pulling the boat toward them.

Full Reverse!” cried Shelly Brooks as acting Captain.
It’s no use.  We’re caught in some sort of tractor beam” Stephanie Daniels pessimistically reported.
At least it’s not an ice berg!” optimistically reported Rowena Cruz Trovada.
That’s no moon” quipped Laiken A. Thompson.
Or Luna De Noche!” checked Yumiko Takahashi.
I am feeling some gravity waves” discovered Amanda Rose Sullivan.
Einstein was RIGHT!?” yelled Taylor Reed
Oh NO!  So was rapper B.o.B.  The Earth is flat as a 4 year old Coke” reluctantly admitted Ilumin Avila.
Hang on to your butts because here we go!” warned Gretchen Bell.
Novie Bowden, the real captain of the ship, took the wheel and went full steam ahead.

The riverboat launched off the edge of the Earth as the water and air and light swirled about going into the ominous dark circle like a cosmic drain flushing out all of existence. From the inside it seemed like the boat in the original Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory crashed into Dorothy’s Tornado Ride in the Wizard of Oz!

I can’t feel my legs” commented Claire Alexander.
I can’t feel my arms” agreed Heather Wiese
I can’t feel my face when I’m with you” joked Gavin Perry.
I think we are out of our bodies” theorized Elizabeth Marshall.
I think therefore I’m…” started Stephanie Hall
We are all out of our damned minds!” concluded Ronn Robinson.
My God! It’s Full Of Stars” quoted Super Spartan Vonda Wilson

The spinning got tighter, the spirals faster and the light brighter until suddenly there was nothing but deafening silence… and then… NOT EVEN THAT!

Some might argue that was the end, unless you understand that every ending is a beginning and every exit is an entrance someplace else.

Meanwhile, someplace else Daniel Huntley Solon was flying through a silent night with his Icarus wings when suddenly a light appeared ahead.  He began to slow his roll as the light seemed to get brighter.  Thinking it might be ancient aliens he cautiously approached.  As he inched closer the light exploded with a bang that sent Daniel falling to the enchanted land below.

Fannie Brito, Britt McEachern CokeSiobhan Antonioli and Natali Jones pulled out a parachute from an art installation they were collaborating on to catch the falling Daniel. He folded up he wings and rolled off the parachute as they embraced him to be sure he was alright.  lightsinskyWhat is that?“he asked, but the four artistic ladies had no idea.  Chandler Kaye and Vanessa Neil came running up to help but all were amazed and hypnotized by this new light in the sky and there was a loud sound since the explosion.  Just then a long elegant limousine pulled up and Aimee Ramsey rolled down the window and told them all to get in.  They did and the pulled off toward the lights of what appeared to be a nearby city.

The limo left a trail of kicked up dust that was spotted from the camp of dancers and renaissance fair folk.  Akai Draco gave the battle cry and rallied the forces and William Riddle trained everyone for combat but in a way that nobody really gets hurt.
Sound the alarms” ordered Liz Finkle of the Praetorian Digital Guard
They’re on the move” announced Laura Mccarthy.
Let’s be smart about this.  We will have to be crafty to infiltrate them undetected” led Gregory Lush.  “We must do our best acting as well as look our best“.
That’s my cue” jumped Michelle Lorelei Lee as she rolled out what seemed like miles of garment racks of everything imaginable.  Mindy Loll deputized a dozen fashion police as Katie Condry managed the line as everyone got ready to follow the limo’s trail to the city as if they were native that belonged there.  Marcus Blake and Kristin McCollum divided them into teams to increase their chances of success.

Before they could pursue the limo the light in the sky exploded again with such an impact there was no day or night, only love and light.  Everything looked different until out of it spewed the rain, thunder, riverboats and fairies and fools.  Everyone was shocked and awed in the true sense of the words.  To say it was a blackhole-tornado-hurricane-earthquake-flood all at the same time would be an understatement.

First was the sound of the thunder.  Not that romantic and powerful rolling thunder, but that suck your breath out of your lungs cracking thunder that makes you feel like you’ve just been shot.

Del Alan Murphy screeched like a little girl as Anne Beyer screamed like a grown ass man.
Not that there was anything wrong with either as it was quite an experience.  Even the Majestic Merritt Martin would be inspired to document the event through word and video if it were possible, but it were not so simple.  Action needed to be be taken right away; from everyone involved.

As the water hit the ground the splash made a wave over a mile high.  Marcy Barnes and Evan Figg both anchored themselves in a little oxygen bubble to protect them.  Liz Jackson DoneganAngela Parsons Smith and Abby Rupp warned the nearby communities to brace for impact and as a result saved dozens of lives.  Scott Simons and Brande Taylor grabbed their boards and surfed the wave toward the city.  Fortunately the “splash down” was not in a very populated area.

Then down came the riverboat with a crash but somehow stayed in one piece.  Candice Jones and Rebekah Lynn Bruflodt assisted the crew to their feet and reported the minor injuries to Allie Burdette and Jeff Rogers who tended to them immediately.  Philip Bentham made sure they still served Tea on time and Stephanie Rhodes and Marla Jo Kelly were thankful for the dedication to tradition in the face of such unusual circumstances.

Bob Carter looked up and noticed the portal of light began to collapse.  As his pointed hand raised to the sky his jaw fell down hoping some word would fall out, but none did.
How will we ever get back?” quietly pondered Jessica McClendon.
Why would you want to?” also pondered Cecil O’Neal
Where are we?” asked Larry Duncan to further the story line.
Where do we go from here?” continued Megan Mayo
Forward! No matter the obstacles in our path” marched Samantha Elizabeth McCrocklin

As the portal closed the lights faded to night and into what appeared to be the full moon once again.  Brande Taylor suggested they continue with the riverb0at for as far as they could and Kelly Tomlinson and Mark Deffebach played some music to take everyone’s mind off the transformation that just took place.  All aboard honored the memory of Charlie Freeman while they contemplated if they was all their birthday being born to this new reality.  Or this new dimension.

Ken Panosh lit his cigar and kicked back to enjoy the ride and the riverboat made it’s way along the surface of the new river. Hollee A McMurray and Sharon Spriggs Williams led everyone in birthday dances and festivities. Tana Bales and Ambre Low made everyone their favorite Birthday drinks and Lisa Devine showcased her latest work.  Elida Dakoli made everyone feel extra special and before long it was like they had no idea they were journeying into a brave new world.

Meanwhile the limo made it to the city limits before the waves hit.  Anita Mahram opened the gates and Andrea Jenkins and Shannon Mikles greeted them.  As they all emerged from the limo a team of military like officials surrounded the car in a very organized fashion.  However, instead of weapons, they were carrying musical instruments.

Musical Instruments can be weapons!” corrected Eddie Healy swinging his ax around and breaking the fourth wall while striking a chord cuing Elizabeth AnnunziatoJames ClaytoRandee Smith Prez and Lori Sundeen Soderbergh all to struck a pose.  Then they did a battle dance instead of just rolling in with guns, they rolled in with movement music and emotion.  “A much more intimidating weapon in my opinion.” coined Christoph Buelman.  Paula Sheppard Coco and  Laura Bartlett nodded in agreement.

Good” said Daniel “Because something otherworldly is here.
We better tell the authorities” suggested Arma Fitzgerald.
Not like this.  We need to freshen up” Lori Fomby
You mean like a Spa Day?” asked Natalie Burkhart rather enthusiastically.
More like the getting ready to see the Wizard” sourced Ashley W Dane

As the music played, Daniel and the artsy attendees all prepped to meet the authorities.
John McCaa reported on their fashion choices which seemed by the way everybody was getting ready for a date of a lifetime or maybe a wedding made one wonder who the authorities were in this dimension.  Not to them of course because this WAS their reality.

The water reached the city and everyone seemed happy about it.  Shortly behind the waves of water was Trevor Perry and Alan Dudley leading a team of the dancing fair folk in the mountains.  As one glanced back to the city they saw Bryan Lankford leading another such troop with Kat DaddeeAlleSandra Singel and Kathleen DeForest.  Since they were making an effort to be stealthy one might imagine they were not a fan of the authorities going on alert.

Back inside the city gates Daniel found himself leading a parade to the central tower. Sandi ScottLucia WelchGary TeagueRhiannon HoustonJennifer Glanton all stood on a float right behind him doing royal waves and confetti and flower pedals showered down from the windows.  Lissa Duty met them at the doors to the central tower and allowed Daniel through.

 Thomas Charles LeGalleyJennifer Perryman and Clay Liford all raised a fuss because they wanted to join but Lissa reminded them they all have their own festivities to attend to.  Peter Cykana and Tommy McCarthy toasted to that.  Susan Wx put on her invisible cloak and accompanied Daniel on the elevator completely undetected by Agent Sutherland Carter.
What Floor?” Asked the elevator operator Misty Petty.  It had been so long since Daniel saw an elevator operator he didn’t know how to respond.
The highest authority” said Susan risking blowing her cover but Misty just dismissed it as she had never heard Daniels voice before.  The elevator literally skyrocketed to the top floor, and when I say literally I mean in the original sense of the word.

That floor was 713 and obviously a tower that tall would have doors that would have to pressurize or de-pressurize before opening.  There was a hissing as Daniel walked into this air lock and Susan slipped in behind him.

Amanda Stucker and Hillary J Hart were on airlock duty and prepped them to speak with the highest authority.  Sam Nicholson opened the door and led him to the chamber filled with windows and there she was, in silhouette with her back to him for dramatic effect.
I’ve been expecting you.” she said in a voice familiar to both Daniel and Susan.
I know you.” said Daniel and Susan simultaneously.
You should.  I am the one you call #OurPro and you have been expected here so I can tell you your time has come“.
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