Author Archives: jeshii

Grand Marshal’s 2016 Wrap-up

Hello, Marchers!File_000 (1)

The 2016 March is now over! We did it! All 8 of us!

Hahaha, yeah, we only had 8 marchers (and two lovely MaST members). But there is a sort of poetic symmetry to this number. 8 is the number of original marchers on the first March in 1999. Additionally, we had a classmate of those original 8 marchers show up for the first time this year. Lastly, the high temperature was almost exactly the same as that march 17 years past. In a certain sense, it seems we are returning to the mean.

File_000In other words, eight is great. We had one team (just like last year). We got to democratically elect the new Premiere. We also were all able to finish within an hour and a half of each other. We all got to have lunch together at Eagle Rock and the banquet was well attended; we had 8 previous Marchers (and that Chancellor of Banquets) in attendance. There’s that number again! For the banquet, we returned to our old haunt King’s Mongolian BBQ. But with a final count of 14 people at the banquet, I am reminded why we moved on from that venue.

The weather was absolutely beautiful. It really is amazing how much easier the March is when it is not 107°F. The funny part was that the Valley side was much cooler than the ocean side for some reason. The last hills did give us some punishment, but since we were still in good form from the opening half of the March, it wasn’t really a problem.

The theme was followed by a few marchers. I dressed as the Man With No Name. One marcher had a shirt and backpack dedicated to Blazing Saddles (RIP in Peace Gene Wilder). And one marcher had a space cowboy outfit planned for last year, but couldn’t make it! This year, the costume debuted and still worked with the theme!

File_000There are two new achievements! Take 6 pictures of Pokémon on the trail and do the March with a medical implant. Yes, Pokemon were found all up and down Topanga State Park. Not to mention, actual animal sightings included a snake’s “footprints” and a little baby horny toad.

All in all, we had one of the more enjoyable Death Marches in recent memory. I’d like to thank everyone for coming out and look forward to the Seasonals coming up! I have held off on assigning seasons as the new Premiere does not live in Southern California. But stay tuned, info will be coming soon.

One more thing! Next year’s theme is The Cold War. Oh man, we are going to have fun with that one.

Until Death, We March,
Your Grand Marshal
File_000 (1)

Summit 2016 Minutes

  • Date- Mike tabled until he okay with this concept
    • He was cool with it by 21:30
    • Aug 13
    • Sep 3
      • Unanimously Radified
    • Sep 10
    • Sep 17
  • Gil
    • Reelected Chancellor of Special Interests
    • Then renamed Superdelegate of Special Interests
  • Bylaws
    • Ace suggests: “Bylaws expire 3 years from radification at the banquet.”
      • Radified
    • “An official Death March year is from Banquet to Banquet.”
      • Radified
    • Expiring Bylaws
      • “Members who earned rank points on the Official March for the year cannot earn any more points for merely attending an absentee march. You may only earn points from an Absentee March if you haven’t already earned points from any participation on [any] march [that year], except for members who failed to complete the Official March who may go on an Absentee March that year to receive two (2) points for marching.”
        • RADIFIED
      • The Cavalry are a group of non-marching members who travel along the trail on the day of the March on a vehicle powered by a live organism and perform various support duties such as trail marking, supply delivery, first aid, and morale boosting. In return for their service, they earn one (1) rank point. for their service. They are allowed to hold Officerships and Rank. They may participate in Punishments, but may not earn any Achievements nor participate in the Race. They may also be Team Captains/Rangers if they are sufficiently qualified.
        • RADIFIED despite opposition from member who inspired the idea
      • Rear Guard is an elite team of folks who know the path and have vowed verbally prior to the start of the march to stay in the back of the group. Rear Guard earn the privilege of adding this to their official title. If the Rear Guard misses a turn, leaves anyone behind without prior consent, or otherwise fails in their duties, they shall not earn the title
        • Radified
      • Achievements
        • Metrosexual – Take public transit to and from the Death March.
        • Fancy Pants – Wear formal attire for the entirety of the March.
        • Triathlete – Ride a bicycle to the beginning of the Death March, finish the Death March, and then dunk yourself in the Ocean at the end.
        • Lone Wolf – Complete the Death March without a team.
        • All Radified UNIANIMOUS
      • Seasonal changes.
        • “This seasonal march must be held in the assigned season and must be at least six and one half miles in length .”
        • “A seasonal march is only considered official of two or more people attend the March
      • Pint decay at a rate of
        • e^-(successive matches / Max successive current ranking member marches)
          • Gave up on this one

Time to celebrate the 6th 64oz!

Wow, the Death March is old enough to drive and 64oz. to Freedom is headed to kindergarten.

Yes, the 6th Annual 64oz. to Freedom is coming this March 19th. In celebration of this fact, we have set up a special page for 64oz. to Freedom. We will be adding stories from the various editions of this hike. Also, you can jump there quickly by going to 64oztoFreedom.com.

So, get your TAP card, grab your Ladyface growler, and be prepared to MARCH this MARCH!

Grand Marshal’s 2015 Wrap-up

11940716_10152922965441364_586373160602708426_nWell, the March definitely lived up to its name this year. It was hot.

Now, I’ve said that previously. In fact, I’m pretty sure I mentioned how hot it was the last two years. As well as I should, the two previous years were the hottest Death Marches on record for their respective years. But each one was hottest by 1 or 2 degrees. 2015, not to be outdone, broke the record by 9 degrees! It was 107°F.

And man, did we feel it.

So when we gathered (and as I looked at RSVPs), I noticed that were were going to be a small march. We managed about 18 marchers, of which 1 quit. So we have been losing members at a rather steady rate (15 or so per year). What remains to be seen is why. My three hypotheses are:

1. It is just too hot
2. We are getting too old for this shit
3. Most people will only do the Death March once or twice and our recruitment has been shitty

In any case, like I said probably the last couple of years, a smaller Death March is never a bad thing. This year was a good example of this. We all formed one massive team (The Heat Strokes) at Eagle Rock so we didn’t repeat the fighting over who gets to decide things. We democratically elected a new Premiere. It was all very orderly and good. There were plenty of burgers and beer. And, most importantly, even though it was the hottest year ever, we managed to get everyone out.

I call that a win.

The theme was mildly followed. I ended up winning best dressed. Despite that, I think that having a best dressed award is a fun thing to do at Eagle Rock or the Banquet and I hope to continue it. There was also a really tubular Personal Punishment.

Additionally, we all left at about the same time.

This leads me to my next rumination — the banquet may be a fossil.

So aside from a couple of folks who left early, the great majority of the march hung out at the beach (and Gladstone’s bar) until the last marcher arrived. At this point, we all then packed up the cabana and headed for the caravan. It felt so good to all be together at the end. I can’t remember this sort of thing happening since some very early marches.

And then almost everyone went home.

I will admit, the banquet location wasn’t the best choice. What it had for it in being open late, it lacked in coziness for weary marchers. Banquets are generally about sitting around and reminiscing about the March. I also had to leave somewhat early… so I’m not sure exactly how successful it was as I wasn’t there for most of it.

While I have a grand idea to reinstate the glory of the banquet for next year, I can’t help but wonder if it is even worth doing too much planning. Banquets are hard beasts and I think it may need a few more tries at something new to match the joy that was Mongolian BBQ or The Pasadero House. Or the March will soon be the size appropriate for Mongolian BBQ again.

Onward! Our Lt. Marshal is in charge of the Autumnal March this year (as he puts on the best Seasonal Marches AND we’ve yet to have a single documented Autumnal March). Out Vice Lt. Marshal is in charge of Winter, and the Premiere is in charge of Spring. Next year’s theme is “The Wild West” which should be relatively fun and easy.

Hope to see you all soon at the Autumnal March!

The Fantastic Four

So, a crazy new achievement which seriously breaks all I ever thought about achievements was radified at the summit this year. It is called “The Fantastic Four.” It is based around the number four. Check out the bylaw:

The Fantastic Four – A team will earn four rank points to distribute as they please among four (4) different successful Death March participants for that year for completing all of the following four (4) conditions. There must be four (4) witnesses outside the team who can corroborate this story. This bylaw expires after four (4) years if no team has successfully completed it.
1. The team must be four (4) or more people
2. Four (4) of the team members must finish the march together, as in no one may register a finishing time between these four (4) members
3. All team members must complete the same four (4) punishments
4. Four (4) members of the team must complete four (4) unique achievements that are new to that member

Now let that sink in.

A team that completes it get 4 points to distribute in addition to an ultra-rare achievement!!! That’s like a whole year of marching! But with great power comes great responsibility. Yes, the conditions are harsh.

Basically, a team of 4 (or more) has to finish the march in such a way that NO ONE ELSE registeres a time between them. That’s 4 people who seriously have to march together to the end (or at least meet up before touching the ocean). They also have to finish the same 4 punishments. That’s like, drink alcohol, eat a chili burger, bring a flag, AND do… well basically anything (personal punishments count, but they’d all have to do the SAME personal punishment). And they would have to do 4 unique achievements. Personally, I don’t think that is as hard as the punishment requirement, BUT some people have done most of the punishments. And don’t think the Grand Marshal is going to let you say, “We did the Fantastic Four!” NOPE, won’t fly.

So, is your team going to try it?!?!

Summit 2015 Report

11200836_10206667657711781_890995223634359022_nHello my good Marchers. This is your Grand Marshal, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the officers (and the one bystander) who attended the 2015 Summit at Golden Road Brewery last night. We had a very productive evening. Many bylaws were changed and much beer was drank. So, let’s get down to business… What happened?

Bylaws
The main changes are as follows:

  • Chancellors gained much power this meeting! They are now able to cast one vote toward a triumvirate based on a majority of Chancellors present at a given time, as opposed to all existing Chancellors.
  • Bylaws expire on a paragraph basis instead of a sentence basis.
  • If the March last 25 years, all expired and repealed bylaws will come back into effect for the Silver Anniversary.
  • MaST members have to earn their one point by triumvirate vote every year (mostly just a clarification).
  • Team flair was challenged on basis of people not following it, but in the end was renewed for 3 more years.
  • No achievements expired, but the Paleontologist achievement is now entitled “Stromatolite.”
  • Clarified that achievements are earned forever, whether or not the bylaw is repealed or expires.
  • A new ridiculous achievement involving the number 4 was added. It will get its own article before the next March.

Teams
Much discussion of last year’s by-constitutional crisis ensued. The result is that there is one section of bylaws that say that team members must swear or affirm loyalty to the team in a manner specified by the captain. As a pilot project, we will be asking team captains what their loyalty oath is so that we have a little more evidence in case there is a team dispute.

Karaoke
The Grand Marshal attempted to sing Creep by Radiohead with the Casual Encounters Band.

Musical Instruments
One point about the Grand Marshal no longer bringing a bugle was brought up. The Grand MArshal is sad to announce he has no idea where the bugle went.

Beers
Many untappd friends were made.

Next up! The Spring March!!!

Grand Marshal’s 2014 Wrap Up

Once upon a time, there was a path. This was a dusty path, but not too unkept. This path was wide at parts and fairly well maintained. But as the years went by, the surrounding vegetation began to grow upon the edges. This made the path ever so slightly narrow and more difficult to pass, but it also defined the edges and kept people on course.

This path, my friends, is the Death March.

Welcome to the State of the March. I am your Host and Grand Marshal, Antipope Jesse I, Grand Marshal and Herald of the Death March, Ranger of Dai Gurren Dan, Protector of Japan, Transubstantiator, Flagbearer, o.g.

This year was different than every other year. Why? Two reasons. First, this was the hottest Death March ever. Yes, the official recorded high at Van Nuys Airport (which is my basis for measuring the temperature of the March) was 98 degrees. The last two years both tied the hottest as 97. While, subjectively, I did not feel like it was too hot, the data doesn’t lie.

Or does it? mentioned that our methodology might have some issues, so I’ve decided we will have to do some monitoring live on the March next year. For now, I will go with our baseline.

But how were we okay, despite the record temperatures? This brings me to the second difference this year: we shrunk. Seriously. For the last two years in a row, we have lost more than 10 people as compared to the previous year.

That being said, we had PLENTY of Ride Corps members. More than 50% drove. This is about the same as recent years, but it is still a good thing. Also, there were only 7 new marchers. That’s really not that many (21% to be exact). That means that there were 4 people who had experience on the Death March for every 1 n00b. That is unprecidented.

Those are the main two differences. But there were two other things that really stuck out in my mind after this March. One good and one bad(ish).

One) More people helped! We had a Timekeeping Corps of 5 people! And they bought things for the marchers to nom on when they got to the beach. This is epic. I am so impressed with the fact that there are so many people interested in greeting the marchers at the end. The timekeeping went smoothly, AND many prople waited at the tent for their team members who lagged behind. Unbelievable. In recent memory, I have never had a march where I didn’t feel guilty when I arrived at the beach. This year, my team captain was chilling and calm, despite waiting for an hour or more.

Two) More people failed. Yes, we had six people who started and did not complete the march. I expect this with beginners. And yes, two of the new people did not finish. But a full four marchers who knew totally well what they were getting into did not make it. Why? The reason I call this development bad-ish is because many of them knew they weren’t going to finish. My Dad planned only on doing half, and so left a car at the midpoint. Therefore, he was able to take some other people back at that point. This isn’t a bad thing. People knowing their limits is more than I can hope for. So really, I’m not that upset about this new variation.

Eagle Rock and the Hub were their usual grandness. Despite trying harder than last year, we did not make it to Eagle Rock until after 12noon. I was shocked. I have no explanation for why it normally only takes one and a half hours, but his year it took two and a half hours. But, in the end, the racers weren’t in any huge rush and calmly waited for the start signal. The only real problem at Eagle Rock was that not very many people brought any alcohol. Seriously folks, bring a couple tall boys. You will be loved if you do.

After that march, we had a great banquet at MacLeod Ale. While the food truck never showed, we had no problem ordering some food. We also had a sort of by-constitutional crisis when a fast group of mostly newbies claimed to have been faster than the fastest recorded team. In the end, I judged that since the fastest “team” did not realize they were a team at the ocean, there is no reason they should receive the dog tag. However, the team that realizes that they were a team because they 1) marched together; and 2) drove back together, was the “real” fastest team. Therefore, they get to decide next year’s theme. I await with bated breath. While I was proud of the compromise, both teams were left somewhat disappointed.

The last thing that I am a little sad about is the exchange of money. I am the worse offender, soliciting money for both Tommy’s Burgers as well as the domain name. I wish I could implement a gift culture, but it is hard to tell people to bring stuff for other people. At least the Timekeeping Corps were on the ball.

Whatever the case, I still enjoyed the march. I mean, I always do. Really, this video sums up my experience. I hope it sums up yours as well.

How to get home from the Death March

So, people are always asking me, “Why don’t you rent a bus?”

My response is usually, “Do I look like Rich Uncle Moneybags?” But just for shits and giggles, I’ve looked it up. It’s not cheap.

My own hobbies have made me consider taking the Metro bus. Now that the banquet isn’t in the boondocks, this isn’t as bad of a choice as before. Only $3 and 1 hours 40 minutes.

There’s also the Uber route. In fact, this is going to be my emergency idea for this year. If you get stranded at the beach, you can ride an Uber for free (new customers only, up to $30) to the brewery (I got a quote for $24-32). It might cost you a bit to get to your car at the starting point. Either way, keep this option in mind: https://www.uber.com/invite/1htej

Are you sensing a theme yet? Really, the best way for the last 16 years has been to just get a ride with your team. The only way you can be sure to get a ride is to join the Ride Corps. You are your best option.

Also, one little note: if your car is in disrepair, you might want to skip being in the Ride Corps. Seriously. It is better to have options at the beach than to strand yourself and 3 other people in the middle of Fernwood.