Friday, June 24, 2011 - My new favorite thing

" visualizes images using text. Lots of text. Drag and drop images on to the page to start, every image produces a unique result!"


Text = Harris (my cat)

Text = Vacation (and can I please go back to this moment?)

Original photo, wanted something with lots of color

Text = Fall

Text = Fall, using 'Preset" - "Stich"
Text = Fall, using 'source image' as 'background' I sort of like this effect.

It's a time waster...
... you're welcome!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Father's Day 5K Re-cap

When I joined No Boundaries back in February I had a goal of running 3.1 miles without stopping, at the Father's Day 5K on June 19th. After injuring my hip (IT band) before we even started, 8 weeks of physical therapy, snow in March, rain in April, 90 degree weather in May and everything in between for 12 weeks I wasn't sure it would happen. When I woke up this morning with a terrible stomach ache (greasy pizza is NOT a good way to carb load the night before a race, FYI) I was even more doubtful.

We had a beautiful day for running, my stomach cleared up and I actually felt good. My goal was to run at least the first mile, which I knew I could do based on past races. When I reached Mile 1 (in around 11:30 mins) I felt I could keep going so I decided to run for 15 minutes, then 20 minutes. At that point I knew I was close to Mile 2 and felt okay, so I kept going. After that I decided to keep going until I needed to stop. Around Mile 2.5 my mentor Elizabeth found me so there was no way I could stop. The last .6 miles actually went fast and before I knew it I had .2 miles to go, then .1 miles.

I RAN THE WHOLE THING! And my final time was 38:05 (by my watch), which meant that I kept a pretty steady 11:30-12:30 minute mile pace. In my memory, I can't remember running that far, ever. It's totally possible that I did while training for soccer or track in high school or maybe for rugby in college, but certainly in the last 5 or so years, I haven't run 3.1 miles without stopping!

I'm sort of in disbelief that I made a goal in February and reached it in June. I sort of suck at reaching goals but it feels pretty dang good!

Maybe my favorite race t-shirt. 

It was such a fun race because there were tons of No Boundaries mentors and participants running the race. Every few minutes I came across another runner or mentor who was there to cheer us on or run with us for a bit. Plus, every so often there were signs with Father's Day trivia questions and then a hundred yards or so later, another sign with the answer. Did you know...?

The person who is credited with inventing the concept of Father's day was Sonora Smart Dodd.
It's always celebrated on the third Sunday in June.
President Lyndon Johnson "proclaimed" Father's Day as an official holiday in 1966 and was signed into law by Presient Richard Nixon in 1972.
The most common Father's Day gift is a tie. (I don't think I've ever given my Dad one!)

Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Girls and Their Toys

I’m not sure what sparked the revival of vinyl, maybe it never died? Maybe artists who grew up on vinyl have reached the point in their careers where they can campaign for their latest album to be pressed? (Oh good they don't know either.) And while we are asking questions, why does “vinyl” sound cool and retro and “records” make me think of the 80's, the bad parts of the 80's?

Anyways, I finally got serious about getting into vinyl after being interested for a few years.  I’d been perusing Amazon and Craigslist for both new and used record players and finally hit a jackpot on Craigslist and found someone who was selling their stereo equipment. I got a great deal on a record player, 25 disc CD changer (I didn’t want this at first, but I'm glad I got it), AM/FM receiver (also acts as the record player amp and I can also connect my iPod into it) and speakers. I found the same record player on Amazon and I paid just a little more for the whole set on Craigslist than the record player would cost new. Craigslist win!! I think the original owners were respectable audiophiles so I trust that the equipment is probably more than I could afford new. Supposedly they were selling it because they are moving, but you can’t believe everything people you meet on the internet tell you.

My first record purchase was last week before I got a record player, but it hasn’t arrived yet. Matt Nathanson is releasing his new album, Modern Love (June 21st,) on vinyl and it was included in a sweet pre-order deal. I couldn’t help myself. I want to get Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers latest album, The Bear, on vinyl but otherwise I want to get some ‘classics’. From what I hear Albany has an awesome used music store that has a great vinyl collection, I’ll have to check it out this weekend. I don’t want to get hundreds and hundreds of records or anything, and I won’t be ditching my iPod anytime soon but I hope this will be something fun to play around with. Record player aside, it’s about time I had something other than crappy laptop speakers to listen to music on.

For now, I’m having fun hooking everything up and trying to figure out where I should put it. And I've checking out Craigslist for some fun “retro” record furniture. I sort of want this and the price is right at $20. A little repainting may be in order but it should be fun to have!

image 0 
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Any great records old or new I should look into? Do you have any favorites from way back when?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Freihofer's Run for Women Recap

Before the great tunes on Saturday, I ran the Freihofer’s Run for Women. I’ve been 5K training this spring with No Boundaries (thanks Fleet Feet) and this was my third 5K of the season (maybe I’ll recap those later). It’s such an awesome race for so many reasons. It’s a women’s only race, there are International Olympic/Professional level runners, 4,800+ other participants (new record this year), great crowd support, it’s well organized, close to home,  we run through a beautiful park, you get a free box of delicious cookies … I could keep going.

The weather was perfect! Nice and sunny but cool and with a little breeze. It was a vast improvement from last year when it was really hot and humid! Like I said I’ve been training but I’m not up for running 3.1 miles straight (yet). I had plans to walk and run depending on how I felt. I was feeling pretty good so I actually ran the whole first mile (and then some) without stopping; I can’t remember the last time I’ve done that! I was worried that I’d run out of steam so I took a bunch of walking breaks after that, I probably could have pushed myself a little harder but I wanted to finish strong so I had no problem walking when I felt like I needed to.

I love the course (despite the few uphill sections) because the last  ½ mile or so is all downhill with a great view of the crowds and finish line. There are lots of cheers and announcers pushing you to finish strong, I booked it downhill to the finish. I beat my time from last year by a few minutes (though running had fallen by the wayside by that point last year) and I had a season’s best time by about 35 seconds, so not bad. Can't wait to see what is in store for the Freihofer's run next year!

My next race is June 19th!

P.S. Congrats to Mamitu Daska from Ethipoia who won the race in 15:19! 15:19!!

P.S.S Again no pictures, sorry. I could steal some from someone else but I’m pretty sure that’s not legit and I still refuse to post crappy cell phone pics. I really do need to get a small digital camera to cart around. There are some cool pics and videos here if you want to check some out.

How about a pic of me before another race from this year? Works for me!

Looks like a runner.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

"An Evening Such as These"

Over the weekend I ventured to Milford, CT to see a night of live music; Seth Adams, Carbon Leaf and The Alternate Routes played at Daniel Street Club on Saturday, June 4th. It was my first time taking a trip to this venue and it was a really nice place to see music. It located in a really cute down town area that would have been fun to explore more of, especially since it’s right on the water. The only downside, very little parking, but I was able to find the teeniest parking garage with the teeniest parking spaces ever ( I should have grabbed a picture).

Before the show started I meet up with some of the guys from The Alternate Routes to help shoot a music video for the song, Kiss Me, off their latest album, Lately. (I can't recommend this album enough!)  It is one of my favorite songs from the album. It’s super fast, super fun, and has great rock – basically everything I like to see in a song, especially performed live. When I heard they were looking for people to help make the video, I jumped at the chance. I have to admit I was really nervous in front of the camera but hey, you have to do things now and then that scare you. It’s (usually) always worth it. The guys from AR really are some of the nicest people out there, so it was nice to see them again and have a few minutes to chat while they got things set up. I watched a few other people being filmed for the video so I can’t wait to see how it turns out. They said they are going to be putting the video together this week so I’ll be sure to share it when it comes out.

The show itself was great. I love love love shows where I know (and love) both the opening band and in this case, both headliners. It makes for a great night. I was treated to over 4 hours of live music from a bunch of great bands. I had checked out Seth Adams back in December as part of Brian Jarvis’ Holiday Concert (which benefitted a children’s charity in CT) featuring many great bands from Soundwave. It was nice to see him again and he did a great job opening. The opening gig can be hard but he got people up and moving before his set was over. 

Carbon Leaf took the first spot in the co-headlining position. I’ve been able to see them a few times -everywhere from The Rock Boat in the middle of the ocean (where I first came across them), to opening for Stephen Kellogg and the Sixers in NYC and this summer they’ll be in Albany opening for Enter the Haggis at Alive at Five. I hope I can make it to that show. They are full of energy and musical talent. So many instruments made their way onto the stage it was hard to keep up. They have a Celtic, Rock, insert adjective here, vibe but it’s very interesting and original. I like original.

The Alternate Routes took the stage around 11:00 and played to a hometown crowd. I’ve also seen this band in a lot of different settings – The Rock Boat, opening for Kevin Costner’s Band, a headlining show in Albany but it was so much fun to see them playing to a local crowd full of fans. I’m pretty sure they enjoyed it too.  They played a lot of my (concert) favorites like Carry Me Home, I Asked You Twice, Rocking Chair, Tell Me Your Name, Kiss Me and a whole lot more. It was full of energy and the crowd was really into it, which always makes for a great show from both the artist and the fan perspective.

They played until around 12:30 and I hung out for a bit to tell everyone how much I enjoyed the show and to say goodnight. It was a late start for the drive home but I eventually pulled in around 3:30 and headed straight for bed. It really was a great day and a lot of the memories and positive vibes from yesterday have stuck with me. I’m not sure I was able to convey how great it was and how much I enjoyed it but I hope you got the gist.

(Kiss Me - Live from Daniel Street Club a few months ago)

If you like great music, I hope you check out Seth Adams, Carbon Leaf and The Alternate Routes!

Sorry for the lack of pictures, I was travelling light for the show and didn’t bring my camera in and well... I refuse to post crappy cell phone pictures!

Title inspiration: Lyrics from Stay by the Alternate Routes "An evening such as these makes it easy to believe you could be my love"