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  •        
    12 Dec 2011

    Happy Birthday

    Last night, as an end to my 30th birthday weekend, I went to see The Birthday Massacre in Teaneck. The show was at the Mexicali Live which is a rather small, intimate venue with full table service for dining, and a bar with some really good microbrews on tap.

    The first act was A Verbal Equinox. I thought they were pretty good, especially considering they all seemed to be still in high school. Their set was pretty tight, with mostly original songs and a My Chemical Romance cover. Frankly, I think they did the MCR song just as well, if not better, than MCR. They definitely had a good rhythm section.

    The next band, who shall remain nameless, was described by some as "Armenian Industrial." I thought the music was good, but I wished the singer would just shut up. No singing, no talking to the crowd. Just. Shut. Up. Their set would have been awesome as an instrumental.

    During their set they had two "gothy cheerleaders" on stage. It turned out that one of them was my friend's niece. Kinda random.

    After their set, I ran into a couple of the kids from the first band and talked to them a bit. I told them I liked what I heard and they thanked me and gave me a CD-R labeled with sharpie containing their first recorded single. Something about that is just awesome.

    The Birthday Massacre was great. They played a good mix including songs from every album.

    If you care (or even if you don't), their set list follows:
    • Pins and Needles
    • Control
    • Happy Birthday
    • Forever
    • Burn Away
    • Shallow Grave
    • Always
    • Weekend
    • Video kid
    • Blue
    • Looking Glass
    • Lover's End
    • In the Dark
    • Horror Show
    • Red Stars
    • -- Encore --
    • Sleep Walking
    • Midnight


    They didn't play my favorite song, "Broken," but I was not disappointed in the set at all. After they finished, Rainbow was on stage for a bit talking with people from the crowd. I told him it was a great show and asked if they'd be playing "Broken" at tonight's show with Dir En Grey. He said it wouldn't be in the set, but he loves that song and they'd rehearse it for their next tour.



    The Birthday Massacre on stage at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ
    A rather blurry picture of The Birthday Massacre from the show.

    [/tbm] [permanent link]

    Happy Birthday

    Last night, as an end to my 30th birthday weekend, I went to see The Birthday Massacre in Teaneck. The show was at the Mexicali Live which is a rather small, intimate venue with full table service for dining, and a bar with some really good microbrews on tap.

    The first act was A Verbal Equinox. I thought they were pretty good, especially considering they all seemed to be still in high school. Their set was pretty tight, with mostly original songs and a My Chemical Romance cover. Frankly, I think they did the MCR song just as well, if not better, than MCR. They definitely had a good rhythm section.

    The next band, who shall remain nameless, was described by some as "Armenian Industrial." I thought the music was good, but I wished the singer would just shut up. No singing, no talking to the crowd. Just. Shut. Up. Their set would have been awesome as an instrumental.

    During their set they had two "gothy cheerleaders" on stage. It turned out that one of them was my friend's niece. Kinda random.

    After their set, I ran into a couple of the kids from the first band and talked to them a bit. I told them I liked what I heard and they thanked me and gave me a CD-R labeled with sharpie containing their first recorded single. Something about that is just awesome.

    The Birthday Massacre was great. They played a good mix including songs from every album.

    If you care (or even if you don't), their set list follows:
    • Pins and Needles
    • Control
    • Happy Birthday
    • Forever
    • Burn Away
    • Shallow Grave
    • Always
    • Weekend
    • Video kid
    • Blue
    • Looking Glass
    • Lover's End
    • In the Dark
    • Horror Show
    • Red Stars
    • -- Encore --
    • Sleep Walking
    • Midnight


    They didn't play my favorite song, "Broken," but I was not disappointed in the set at all. After they finished, Rainbow was on stage for a bit talking with people from the crowd. I told him it was a great show and asked if they'd be playing "Broken" at tonight's show with Dir En Grey. He said it wouldn't be in the set, but he loves that song and they'd rehearse it for their next tour.



    The Birthday Massacre on stage at Mexicali Live in Teaneck, NJ
    A rather blurry picture of The Birthday Massacre from the show.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    22 Sep 2011

    When will I realize...
    I've been running for 3 years 6 months and 9 days. I've been 100 pounds lighter* for 2 years 9 months and 3 days. And I still don't feel like this is my body.

    [/musings/self] [permanent link]

    19 Sep 2011

    Updates!
    I realized I haven't updated this section of my blog (that no one reads anyway) in over a year. A lot has happened since then.

    I sent my DeLorean (#6291) to DMC Houston to have the frame replaced. (A quick note to anyone buying a DeLorean from a private owner: Have a mechanic you trust get the car on a lift before you buy it). The guys at DMC found a lot more wrong with the car that had been covered up. After many conversations with Steve Wynne about the car, I decided to cut my losses and sell it for parts. I tried to live the dream, and it turned into a small nightmare.

    It was then that Steve told me about a DeLorean they had just taken in from an owner in Indiana. This DeLorean was a month older than mine (built in October of 81) and had the grey interior and 5-speed manual transmission just like mine. Everything was in great condition and it only had about 9,900 miles on it. He offered me a trade-in value for my car, far more than I thought it would be given its condition.

    After some deliberation I decided if I didn't take it, I'd never have the car and my childhood dream would be dead. I agreed to the trade-in and then I began working with James Espy about all of the details of the purchase. I continued working with Steve in regard to the work being done on the car.

    They replaced the leather on the seats. While the original leather was not cracked, it was almost 30 years old and a bit dry. They replaced the headliners and the radio, and performed a full maintenance on it. They even took it to some local car shows.

    When I took delivery of the car in early September, it had just over 10,000 miles on it.

    After a year of owning the vehicle, I've put about 1000 miles on it. And I've enjoyed every one of them.

    DMC-12 at DMC Houston DMC-12 door open at 80's Night Party DMC-12 door open night time wooded area
    DMC-12 doors closed night time wooded area DMC-12 doors open front view DMC-12 doors open rear view

    [/dmc] [permanent link]

    15 Sep 2011

    The Big 4: Metallica Setlist

    • Creeping Death
    • For Whom the Bell Tolls
    • Fuel
    • Ride the Lightning
    • Fade to Black
    • Cyanide
    • All Nightmare Long
    • Sad But True
    • Welcome Home (Sanitarium)
    • Orion
    • One
    • Master of Puppets
    • Blackened
    • Nothing Else Matters
    • Enter Sandman
    • ---
    • Overkill (with Megadeth, Anthrax, and Slayer)
    • Battery
    • Seek and Destroy

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    The Big 4: Megadeth Setlist

    • Trust
    • Hangar 18
    • She-Wolf
    • Public Enemy #1
    • Head Crusher
    • A Tout Le Monde
    • Sweating Bullets
    • Symphony of Destruction
    • Peace Sells
    • Holy Wars... The Punishment Due

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    22 Apr 2011

    This makes me sick...
    This is why I was fat. I can't believe I used to eat this way... Although the Guinness Chocolate Pudding does sound good.

    [/musings/self] [permanent link]

    19 Apr 2011

    It's not magic, it's C.
    I love reading comments like

    /* These defined magically in the linker script. */
    I found that in the GNU Standard C Library implementation when GCC told me the the variables to which the comment referred were undefined. I guess that linker script isn't magic after all...

    [/code] [permanent link]

    18 Apr 2011

    25th Anniversary Lincoln Tunnel Challenge 5K
    Yesterday the Giraffes ran the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey. It was the events 25th anniversary and the Giraffes' third anniversary.

    The weather was much nicer than the previous two years with far less rain than last year and a much milder temperature than the 90+ degrees of two years ago. In fact, the weather outside was ideal for running. The weather inside the tunnel was a few degrees warmer, but still in that ideal range.

    Before the race, I met up with my friend Bobby. He's an athlete who competes in the Special Olympics. We went to school together and were on the Cross Country and Track & Field teams in high school. Back then, he and I were almost always the last two runners to finish at the Cross Country meets. The difference between us was that I was a quitter and he never gave up.

    That first time I ran this race in 2008, I failed to meet my goal 31:26. When I saw Bobby after that race, it made me think back to Cross Country. His determination to never quit was one of the influences that kept me running after that day.

    Back to this year's race...
    After talking to Bobby, I met some other friends from my town who were running (but decided not to register as Giraffes... grrr...). They, as well as the other Giraffes, were running in the second wave at 8:45. It was getting close to the start of the 8:00AM wave, so I parted ways with them and took my place in the starting area. After the standard pre-race speeches, including the announcement that this year's race raised almost $180,000 for SONJ, the gun went off and the race began.

    After a few seconds in the tunnel, my watch lost satellite reception and continued using the footpod while searching for satellites. Because it went back into the open sky search mode, I couldn't see any sort of timing or pacing information on the display. I was running blind, so to speak. Having set a PR of 19:08 in the 5K last month and a previous best of 20:16 for this course, I was hoping to just break 20 minutes. The Lincoln Tunnel is essentially a "V" shape with the second and fourth quarters of the race being uphill.

    During the second half I caught up to another runner I had seen in Weehawken prior to the start of the race. As I approached, he sped up. I said to him, "You're going to make me work for this, aren't you?"

    He replied, "I don't like people passing me. And I'm trying to catch that guy," gesturing to another runner about 50 feet ahead of us.

    I said, "Okay" and started picking up the pace a bit, overtaking the runner who had been in front of us. And I kept going. I started to feel the lactic acid in my left calf. I decided to ignore it. The feeling subsided. As I neared the end of the tunnel, I could hear the announcer calling out the finishing times. I gave it everything I had left, and cross the finish line.

    I stopped my watch and saw my time at 18:57. I knew then there was the possibility I had broken 19 minutes, but it would be close. I'd have to wait for official results. But I was too excited, I had tell someone, so I text'ed a few friends.

    I reconnected with my friends from town and the other giraffes, and told them all to kick ass and chew bubblegum. I watched as their heat started and they all entered the tunnel. I went and picked up my blanket from the registration table and tried to keep warm while I waited and watched my friends finish. It brought a huge smile to my face to see each of them, and especially Bobby, cross the line.

    The Giraffes celebrated another race and another year with our traditional post-race brunch. And the waiting continued...

    The official results were posted late in the afternoon, while I was helping a friend prepare for the flooding we're experiencing for the second time in two months. A friend text'ed just before 5:00PM with

    18.55
    congrats
    
    It was two seconds faster than I thought. It was 13 seconds faster than my previous PR set only last month. I finally broke 19 minutes, and I did it on the same course on which I ran my first race three years ago. I took 16:56 off my time in those three years. I finished 9th in my age group and 33rd overall, and for the seventh time in nine races this year, I set a new PR.

    Damn, it feels good.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    10 Apr 2011

    Acceptance, or lack thereof...
    A few days ago I picked up some dumbbells that had been left out, they were 40lbs each and I lifted them with one hand each. Three years ago the most I could lift, with both arms combined and "lifting with the legs," was 43lbs (the weight of my computer).

    Last month, I ran a 5K in 19:08. Yesterday during a speed workout I ran my two fastest 100m ever, 17.9 seconds and 17.87 seconds. Today I ran a 10K at a 6:24 pace, finishing in under 40 minutes. I've set a new PR in every distance I've raced this year except the half marathon, and that race I set a new record for myself on that particular course.

    I've put lost 126 pounds of fat and gained 36 pounds of bone and muscle. My body keeps getting stronger and faster.

    And I still can't accept my body for what it is....

    [/musings/self] [permanent link]

    Scotland 10K 2011
    This morning I ran the NYRR Scotland 10K for the third year in a row. The first time it was cold and raining, and I had food poisoning from eating at the Macaroni Grill the night before. (The Giraffes had a team dinner the night before and 40% of us got sick.) I ran that race at a slower pace than the 15K race a few weeks prior.

    Last year, the morning of the race was unseasonably hot and I was dealing with an ITBS flare-up. I ran that one almost as slowly as the previous year.

    All of the other 10K's I've run were always sub-par compared to my 5K and 15K times. I had never felt like I had a good 10K race. I always felt like I let myself down; like I should be doing better.

    Until today...

    Today's Scotland 10K was the first time I had a good run at this distance. When I set out this morning, my goal was a 6:56 pace, one second per mile better than my PR. Central Park was a bit chilly at about 52 degrees with an overcast sky.

    My team made our plans for meeting afterward and we took our places in the corrals. The gun went off and I started running. As soon as I crossed the starting line I decided I wanted to see how fast I could do this, how fast I could run a 10K. I wanted to see if I could break 40.

    So I ran fast and hard, watching my pace a little too closely at times. After the first mile I was warm and debating whether or not to take off the arm warmers. I decided to wait until later in the race, as one side of the park is usually warmer than the other. At about 2.5 miles I had a weird cramping feeling in the ball of my right foot, but within a few hundred meters the high kicked in and the pain went away. At the halfway point I knew I'd be close to a 40 minute finish if I kept up the pace.

    I kept up the pace until the last mile, then I sped up. I was close to the goal. I was going to make it or die trying. Well, probably not die. More likely vomit or pull a muscle or re-injure the IT-band. But not one of those problems happened. What did happen was I crossed the finish line less than 40 minutes from the time I crossed the starting line.

    For the first time, I had felt good during and after a 10K. I ran the race I wanted and the race I needed. I accomplished what I set out to do and it felt awesome.

    The official results posted a few hours later put me at 39:46, a 6:24/mile pace. This is a faster pace than my current 5 mile and 4 mile PRs. I ran at a 67.5% AG performance rating and finished 318 of 8491.

    I'm pretty pleased with myself...

    [/running] [permanent link]

    08 Apr 2011

    1302293987
    Why do I run?

    --
    ==================================================================
    This mobile text message is brought to you by AT&T

    [/mobile] [permanent link]

    23 Mar 2011

    Lincoln Park Triathlon
    This Summer Lincoln Park will hold its first triathlon. More information can be found at www.lincolnparktriathlon.com.

    If you're not quite interested in racing it, we're looking for volunteers to help out that day.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    22 Mar 2011

    WPLJ's NYC Half Marathon Themed Phone Scam
    Yesterday Scott and Todd aired a phone scam related to the NYC Half Marathon. It's available here for now if you haven't heard it.

    I was a little disappointed in the way the guy from the running store responded. He struck me as the kind of guy that looks down on the back-of-the-pack plodders. They're out there doing their best just like the elites and everyone in between; they deserve respect too.

    Other than that, it was a rather funny phone scam; one of the best I've heard in a while.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    17 Mar 2011

    I wasn't born this way; I made myself.
    I heard that Lady Gaga song on the radio the other day, you know the one that sounds like the Madonna song, and it got me thinking. On the surface it seems to contain a very positive message about accepting yourself because you were "Born This Way." You were born like this, you were made this way, there's nothing you can do about it so be happy with it.

    I disagree. Sure, when we're born we're stuck with the genetic material passed on to us by our lineage. But we're more than that, what we are, what we become, is so much more than how we were born. And this made me think about the Incubus song, "Make Yourself." I find the message of that song to be much more positive. While the song has an overt "them vs. you" context, the general theme is one of taking responsibility for yourself and what you become.

    Was I born the way I am today? Judging from the direction my life took in the first twenty-six years, and comparing it to the last three years, the answer is no. I was born heavy, weighing in over nine pounds. I grew into a heavy kid. I was always sad and lonely as a kid. I had few friends. I rarely went outside. I never played sports. I watched a lot of TV. I ate a lot. I got heavier. I got sadder. I got lonelier. But I was born this way, right? I should have just accepted it, right?

    While I was born heavy, I didn't have to stay that way. It was my own choices that made me into the depressed, obese misanthrope I was. Despite my claims that I was born that way, genetically predisposed to those conditions, I really made myself that way.

    And then I decided to change that. I took responsibility for my life. I started exercising. I ran. I ate healthier. I lost weight. I had better relationships with my friends. I started making new friends. I became happier.

    Just as I had made myself into what I was, I made myself into what I am today. The key to this change was taking personal responsibility for myself. No longer did I use the excuse of being born that way. I knew I was like that because of my decisions and my actions. I knew through my decisions and my actions I could change. And I did. I made myself.

    "If you really want to live, why not try and make yourself?"

    [/musings/self] [permanent link]

    27 Feb 2011

    Why does tomorrow have to be Monday?
    Today I decided to be awesome. My friends decided to be awesome too. It was awesome.

    We packed up and drove down to Westfield and ran the CJRRC Hangover 5K. It was supposed to be held January 1, but was rescheduled multiple times due to the weather.

    I ran a PR today finishing in 19:22. I was 4th in my age group and 15th over all.

    My friends ran the race too, all except one who has a broken toe. Everyone was happy with their time and met their goals for the day, ranging from sub-25 to "eh, taking it easy, seeing how it goes..."

    After the race we went cycling. This was my first bike ride outside. I've been working with an indoor trainer for the last few weeks and this was the first time I had been on a bicycle, outside, actually moving, in about 16 or 17 years. My friends have been cycling longer and more recently than I have, so today's 17 mile ride was rather easy for them.

    I was freaking out quite a bit, but they calmed me down, gave me pointers, and just helped me out in general.

    As we rode, I got more comfortable with the bike and I realized comparing this bicycle to my last bicycle is like comparing my DeLorean to my old Mercury Sable. It takes a while to get used to the differences, but once you do it handles far better and offers more control.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    07 Feb 2011

    Look How Far We've Come
    Just under 3 years ago, I started training. That first 5K took about 53 minutes and change. My first race was the 2008 Lincoln Tunnel Challenge, about 6 weeks after I first stepped on the treadmill. My time in that 5K was 35:51, about 11:32 per mile.

    Yesterday I ran the NYRR Gridiron 4 Mile. I finished in 25:47 (6:26 pace), a full ten minutes faster than that first 3.1 miles.

    Last month, I ran the Fred Lebow Classic 5 Mile race in Central Park. I finished that race in 33:09 (6:37 pace), over two minutes faster than that first 5K race.

    I hope this achievement will serve as a testament to the fact that with determination and hard work, anything is possible.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    13 Jan 2011

    Duality
    Given the infinitesimally small reader base of this weblog, and the fact that most, if not all, of those readers know me personally, there's a good chance that you know I've fairly recently gotten a pair of tattoos.

    The first tattoo, on my right arm, is a "26.2" in a giraffe print. That number, of course, is the distance of a Marathon in miles. Approximately one tenth of one percent of the population has ever completed a Marathon. I am one of those individuals and it is because of the Giraffes, the running team my friends started and pulled me into, that I was able to accomplish this feat.

    The second tattoo, on my left arm, is a 6x8 grid of binary digits which spell out my first initial and last name in ASCII. Beneath the binary grid is a "v3.1" in a more stylized font. I was named after my father who had been named after his father, making me the third, version 3.0 if you will. In the last few years I've "upgraded." I'm smaller, faster, stronger, kinder, more extroverted and more optimistic than I was, but I am not an entirely new person. Hence v3.1.

    There's more to the meaning of these tattoos than the explanations above. They represent the duality of myself. One represents the decidedly geeky nature that has been a part of me for almost my entire life. The other represents a newer aspect of myself, the endurance athlete.

    It has been difficult for me to resolve these aspects. You were a nerd or a jock. There was a perceived inherent conflict between the two. You could be one or the other, not both. I was a nerd. I was never a jock. Now I'm both.

    And I can be both. There is no reason can't, because this is what I've become; this is what I am.

    [/musings/self] [permanent link]