Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Soft Star RunAmoc - first impressions

I've been through a number of minimalist running shoes since I started. Over the years I've worn, in general order: 

VFF Bikila
Merrell Trail Glove 1.0
Vivobarefoot EVO 1.0 (x3)
Vivobarefoot Neo Trail
Vivobarefoot Stealth

I loved the EVO most of all, and ran 4 of my 5 marathons in them. I had high hopes for the Stealth when it came out, and even though I PR'd in them in Houston this year, I was generally disappointed in fit, quality, and durability. I've conveyed my thoughts to the folks at TerraPlana, as I'm sure others have, and I still consider them among the leaders of the pack in minimalist running technology. Their commitment to sustainable and animal-friendly materials is admirable, but after suffering some serious chafing on the synthetic liner, I found myself thinking during training that there should be a simple, no frills, leather minimalist shoe that offers more protection than a huarache, but less bells and whistles. What I really needed was a moccasin. 

Enter Soft Star Shoes (http://www.softstarshoes.com/). Based in Corvallis, Oregon, the "Elves" have been hand-making shoes since 1984. They jumped into the minimalist running game in 2010, and the current lineup includes the RunAmoc, the Dash, Dash Lite, and the Moc3. 

I decided to order the Dash Lite, as the perforated leather option seemed a good idea for the Texas summer heat. 

Sizing proved to be a bit of an issue, as they don't offer half sizes on the website. Going off the sizing chart they provide, I initially ordered an 11U in both normal and wide. Upon arrival, they seemed big, but the wide size was super big. I sent that pair back and ordered a size down. When the 10U arrived, it was obvious it was too small. I sent that pair back (which I had custom designed) and waited until I received notice of the store credit. Once I did, I emailed the Elves, related my story, and asked if they could make a 10.5. Their answer: no problem. I got the 2mm vibram outsole and reflective tags. 


Truly a zero-drop shoe. The softness of the leather can only be described in terms of babies' bottoms, marshmallows, and cloud pillows. We're talking soft, here. Right out of the box. 

Having had a few miles already in the 11s I kept, I knew socks wouldn't be necessary. I strapped up and went out for a five miler. They fit, and feel, great. The last time I ran that route in a new pair of shoes, I came home with deep cuts in my ankles and blood-stained synthetic uppers that never got their sheen back. 

The RunAmoc is an entirely different story. I'm looking forward to more miles in them as the soles break in. More to come. 

More info on how SoftStar goes about being awesome here:

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Adventures in Backyard Zoology

This little fellow showed up in a sunny spot yesterday afternoon. I fed him an old Ike-tomato, and as quickly as he arrived, he was gone. God speed, friend tortoise. Wherever you may be, I hope the tomatoes are small and tasty.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Houstonista in the Sunshiny State

A momentary victory in the ongoing struggle to capture vivid blue sky

I need to learn photoshop.

Flowers are easy.

I'm totally in love with this shot. There's so many elements to it - the red, the curb, the not-quite accurate blue of the sky, the reflection in the bumper - this is one that I could do a lot with, if I only knew how...

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


"Sittin', thinkin', sinkin', drinkin'/wonderin' what I'll do when I'm through tonight"

arty, but washed out

A lot of effort went into this bench no one uses.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Deliciously Delay-ed

Tom Delay is history. In a statement last night, the embattled former majority leader from Sugar Land announced that he will be resigning his position sometime in May.
While I do not agree with Delay's politics and generally find him despicable, I must tip my hat to this ultimate show of gamesmanship. Delay knew he was facing a fight that he might very well lose. Rather than run the risk of losing to a Democrat, he steps aside and thereby deflects all of the partisan angst that would surely be heaped upon him by the rabble-rousing hoardes of leftists hell bent on his demise.
With the 800-lb gorilla now out of the mix, the race returns to the most fundamental of all political truths: it will likely be a cold day in Hades when a Democrat wins the seat in District 22 - the mother of all gerrymanders. A suburban, upper-middle class, SUV driving, gay-marriage hating, god fearing White people's congressional district. Good luck, Mr. Lampson.
Now that the hammer will sounf the final nay, an interesting question arises as to who will fill his spot on the ballot come November. Even the GOP hierarchy in these parts is at a loss. Today's Chronicle has this from Harris County Republican Party Chairman, Jared Woodfill, "We'll have a little bit of time to figure it out. We have our lawyers looking at it."
Well, yours truly has been looking at it for about twenty minutes this morning, and some questions emerge. Given my exhaustive expertise on the Texas Election Code, I'm led to the conclusion that these particular circumstances implicate Chapter 145, appropriately titled "Withdrawal, Death or Ineligibility of a Candidate." There is no doubt that Delay can withdraw, but the question of how the GOP executive committee is to name a replacement candidate remains.
Section 145.036 grants authority to the appropriate executive committee to nominate the replacement candidate following a withdrawal only if 1) the candidate withdraws because of illness (not applicable, unless greed and avarice counts) itical party that held primary elections has a nominee for the office sought by the withdrawing candidateas of the time of the withdrawal (not applicable); or, 3) the candidate has been elected or appointed to fill a vacancy in another elective office (also not applicable). How then, to get around this provision?
I'm sure there's a way, and I'm sure they'll figure it out in no time. But for now, the best we can hope for is that the the Democrat Party realizes that getting Delay out of Congress is not as important as getting Nick Lampson in. It's time to go to work.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Kids make the darndest faces

I don't know what to say about this other than "yeah."

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

US v. China, Round 1

Just the other night, I was reading a news report of the Chinese spy ring in Los Angeles. The authorities recently busted up a spy ring of two naturalized citizens and a foreign national which had successfully transferred copius amounts of sensitive information, including the Navy's Aegis system, to the Chinese governent. I observed, and mused to my colleagues, that the PRC has the upper hand in the espionage game: as a totalitarian regime, it can easily do away with perpetrators with little or no scrutiny. The United States, on the other hand, constrained by the rules of the "civilized western world," is obligated to conduct the affair in an open and transparent manner - trials and such.

Apparently my pragmatism is contagious.