Friday, September 28, 2007

This Week in Running

Last week was not the busiest week for running. Too many events conspiring to keep me busy, so I looked at it as a much-needed rest week. I ran once on Tuesday then did 10 miles with FJ and Andy on Sunday morning. We were joined for a bit by Rachel and Sean.

This week has been more active, but the rest didn't do my legs any good. I woke up today with very sore legs after last night's run in Beverly Hills.

Here's the week in running.

09/17 - Four miles. I ran in the median along San Vicente from Ocean Park to 26th Street. It's not as easy as it looks. The ground in the median isn't all that even, so my muscles were tense a lot of the time. Add to that the slight incline towards Brentwood. I think if I run it a few more times I can get the rhythm of the course down and be more relaxed.

09/19 - Four miles with the Frontrunners. I didn't time the run, but I think I made my dash up the final hill to early because I almost pooped out--literally--near the end. I also had to miss the potluck because I had to meet my family for dinner in Pasadena. All in all a good run.

09/20 - Five miles with Club Run LA in Beverly Hills. We were fast. I didn't time it but I could feel it. It's the same course as the training runs for Run Hit Remix and many of the same people, but it was a smaller group. I'll join them in future runs. After Thursday's run I took part in the Niketown sale and bought a long sleeve dri-fit shirt and matching shorts. Can't wait to wear them

Tomorrow morning I'm meeting with FJ and Andy. I'm not sure how far we'll go. We'll see how it goes.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Concerts, I've Got Concerts!

It seems to work out that I go to concerts in a mad rush for a period of time--at least once a week, maybe twice. Then follows a period of no concert-going. Earlier this week I made a list of concerts I plan on checking out, and by the looks of it I will be quite busy till the end of the year.

On my calendar:

10/25/07 - Josh Ritter @ the El Rey
10/26/07 - Final Fantasy @ the Glass House*
11/10/07 - Jens Lekman @ the Troubadour
11/11/07 - The Walkmen @ the Troubadour
11/26/07 - Band of Horses @ the Glass House*
11/29/07 - Sea Wolf @ the Troubadour
12/7/07 - Andrew Bird @ the Orpheum Theatre


That's not to mention shows by Rogue Wave, Two Gallants, Feist and Sunset Rubdown that I really want to see. I had to hold off on buying tix to make sure I can really afford to go. Concerts are great fun, but they are also expensive.

See you all at the shows!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

From the LA Times

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From the LA Times:
CORONADO, Calif., -- The U.S. Navy has decided to spend as much as $600,000 for landscaping and architectural modifications to obscure the fact that one its building complexes looks like a swastika from the air.

The four L-shaped buildings, constructed in the late 1960s, are part of the amphibious base at Coronado and serve as barracks for Seabees.

From the ground and from inside nearby buildings, the controversial shape cannot be seen. Nor are there any civilian or military landing patterns that provide such a view to airline passengers.

But once people began looking at satellite images from Google Earth, they started commenting about on blogs and websites about how much the buildings resembled the symbol used by the Nazis.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Three and a Half Hour Lunch

As I walked out of the building to go to lunch at noon, the LAPD began closing off the section of Wilshire Blvd. in front of us. I thought it might be a protest of some sort or a bomb threat across the street. I called upstairs and warned everyone. I was right, but the threat was actually in our building. A suspicious package was left downstairs and when I came back from lunch they wouldn't let us back in. If only I had my car keys I would have headed home and there I would be now. No, instead I'm back here not really getting anything done.

At least it wasn't a real bomb, but boy it wreaked havoc on street traffic. I would hate to have been stuck on Wilshire at that time.

New York Times Wedding Announcement of the Week

This week's Announcement isn't quite a workplace romance, but the seed was planted there.

Daisy Wademan and Luc Dowling

I went on recruiting dinners when I worked at an accounting firm, but I really only went for the free meals. The conversation was always dull and rote.

My favorite part of this announcement is their shared love for Paris and the spontaneous weekend getaway they go on, which basically was their second date. I'm not terribly spontaneous, but if someone asked me to go on a long weekend trip, I would probably say "yes" after the initial doubts about the prudence of packing up on short notice. I've done it before. I just need the right motivation.

The announcement also points out that Ms. Wademan is a descendant of Miles Standish and of John Alden and Priscilla Mullins. I have no idea who these people are or if we're supposed to be impressed by it. I see this a lot in the NY Times announcements. Often it's a prominent, recognizable ancestor. Still, regardless of their prominence, if you're 200 years removed from that ancestor, it's not all that pertinent to know. It's interesting trivia. I'd be more interested in knowing about the couple's interests than where they descended from.

In any event, congratulations to the happy couple.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Arcade Fire? They Were OK

Am I insane? They were more than OK. They were phenomenal! Note the exclamation point! Equally terrific, even though I missed the first few songs, were LCD Soundsystem with a hot Asian chick kicking ass on keyboards and vocals. LCD Soundsytem's set was a blazing hot party, while Arcade Fire's was a revival. Both, though, succeeded in lighting a fire within each and everyone of those in attendance.

I had a terrific seat in the terrace section near the middle. As it turned out there were a couple of seats available in the box, so Andy and Sheila came down from their far-flung seats to join me (and Bart).


Wake Up
Arcade Fire performing their final encore, "Wake Up," which prompted a glorious sing-along.

LCD Soundsystem
LCD Soundsystem performing "Yeah!"

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


Work today was relentless--a bunch of little projects being thrown at me. The last few days had been pretty light, but that doesn't make today's inundation any better. A day like today makes me long for the great birthday weekend I just had. Yes, this weekend I turned 31. I'm marching my way right through my 30s.

With no further ado, here was the weekend in pictures.

September 15

7:30 AM - Meeting FJ and Andy for a run at the Rose Bowl
Birthday Run

9:30 AM - Getting a birthday haircut from Eric at Tantrum
New Haircut

10:30 AM - Starbucks breakfast

12:00 PM - Picking up tickets to Wolf Parade at the Glass House
The Glass House

6:30 PM - After doing laundry and taking a much-needed nap, I blew out my birthday candles with the help of my niece and nephew
Blowing Out the Candles

11:45 PM - Wolf Parade's awesome show lets out,
The Glass House

September 16

3:15 PM - Checking out the classic cars at SGV Pride in Pasadena

5:30 PM - Climbing up the walls

7:00 PM - Exhausted but still looking good
Lovely Ladies

Monday, September 17, 2007

New York Times Wedding Announcement of the Week

With a name like Freeman Freeman, it's obvious why this week's couple caught my attention.

Freeman Freeman and Steven Levine

But then a glance at their announcement gave me even more reason to choose them as this week's couple. They have been partners for 36 years, which in gay years is almost two lifetimes. Even in straight years it's quite a long time. The announcement does not explain why they decided to get married now, but they did get married in Canada, so perhaps they are making a statement about gay marriage. Or maybe they just did it for their own personal reasons beyond anything political. Regardless, it's a heartwarming thing to read. I was hoping I could make a joke about Freeman Freeman's name (i.e. "Freeman Freeman is a Free Man No More"), but it appears that he hasn't been a free man for 36 years--and I'm sure there are many out there who long for the same sort of loving captivity he has enjoyed.


Friday, September 14, 2007

Ferraby Lionheart and How I Almost Died

Ferraby Lionheart, originally uploaded by savemejebus.

After running in Beverly Hills with the Nike Run Hit Remix people last night, I dashed off two miles away to check out Ferraby Lionheart open for the Brunettes at the Troubadour. Ferraby was his usual charming, engaging self, and the new songs from Catch the Brass Ring worked well live. Songs that employed horns and strings, such as the Mardi Gras-like "Before We're Dead," suffered a little since Lionheart employed a minimal sound of guitar, pedal steel, keyboard, bass and guitars, but his charm and wry sensibility still carried through. By the time he closed with his rendition of "Pure Imagination" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, Ferraby had won the smallish crowd over. He shares a similar musical sensibility with Jon Brion--and the comparison is favorable. Both write songs of love and life that offer a sense of muddling through it all because, in the end, it's worth it.

I also got to the Troubadour in time to catch most of the Mezzanine Owls' set. They're a terrific local band. There were only about ten people inside when I got there, but in a few months they will be selling out their own shows. They're that promising and good.

I didn't make it through the Brunettes set. They were kind of lame and I left four songs in. I probably would have given them more of a chance had I not been so exhausted.

When I got home (almost 11), I made a quicky dinner of fried Spam and rice. To get rid of the smell I lit a pineapple scented candle and placed it in the kitchen. I was watching TV (Leno, unfortunately, since NBC is the only network I'm getting on my TV at the moment), and promptly fell asleep. The candle was still lit. I woke up this morning with the TV on and remembered the candle. Thankfully it hadn't burned the kitchen down.

Ironically my Mom's main concern when I moved out on my own was that I was going to leave a candle burning overnight in my apartment and set myself on fire. I guess I shouldn't tell her that it already happened.

There Goes the Neighborhood

Pinkberry is Coming, originally uploaded by savemejebus.

Yet another Pinkberry is popping up--this time a block away from my apartment at the corner of Fuller and Sunset. I swear these things are everywhere in Los Angeles. I have no idea why. Their "yogurt" is a sour, unsatisfying snack.

There's a good chance, though, that this location will do well. They are cleverly situating it on Fuller, where all the sweaty, famished, health conscious types will be passing by it after their rigorous workout/people watching at Runyon Canyon. Imagine it--you meet someone on the trail and you ask them out for a Pinkberry. Clever!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

The Runner Says #1: iPods? Yay or Nay?

As anyone can attest to reading this blog, my major passion these days are music and running, and as much as music can complement a run, the method of listening may not be safe nor convenient. On this issue I recommend running without an iPod (or a Zune if you're one of the unfortunate souls who purchased it). Here are my top reasons:

1. It distracts from the enjoyment of the run. Most folks run with an iPod to help them ease the pain or tedium of running, but if you find running to be painful or boring, then you're probably not doing it right. Running should be fun, and even though Los Angeles may not be the most runner-friendly city, there are some wonderful sights to behold running through this fair city of ours. Rather than distracting yourself with loud music, how about enjoying the scenery, the sounds of the city or the trails, and the company of other runners around you. I feared being bored to tears running without an iPod on those long runs, but I can honestly say I've never been bored.

2. Es muy peligroso, especially if you're running on the car-clogged streets of the city. There are many crazy, terrible drivers out there, so it's good to be aware of your surroundings. The fact of the matter is most people have their iPods turned on too loud that they can't hear what's going on around them. There could be a Mack truck coming from behind. Out in the trails by yourself? You may not hear the footsteps of the crazed murderer behind you. Furthermore, all the fiddling with the controls can take your attention away even just for a split second, but it only takes a second for disaster to strike. The first rule is Safety First!

3. If the first two reasons aren't enough for you, then I'm going to appeal to your sense of pride. The cool runners don't run with iPods. See those fit, sexy, shirtless runners racing down San Vicente in Brentwood or up through the trails in Pasadena? They don't use iPods. Instead they carry on conversations or focus on their breathing and technique. Everyone knows it's only the newbies and poseurs who run with an iPod. Are you cool or aren't you?

This does not mean you should never run with an iPod. If you're running on a treadmill, then by all means listen to one--I certainly do, if only to drown out the horrible techno music they're playing at the gym. On a treadmill you're less likely to be attacked by a lunatic. But if you still feel compelled to run with an iPod outdoors, then do so with the sound turned lower so that you can hear everything around you. There's nothing more obnoxious than an oblivious runner.

The Runner has spoken.

(First in a series)

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

This Week in Running

This week in running was an overload. I ran every day except Friday, so that by Sunday my legs were feeling the strain. It was a good week, though, with some strong workouts.

Monday, 9/3

Labor Day, but I still showed up in Santa Monica to run 5+ miles with the Nike folks, and this was after being on my feet most of the day painting my apartment and moving furniture in 100 degree temperature.

Tuesday, 9/4

Ran again with the Nike folks--well, I tried. I got there late and had to play catch up, which I did, but by the time I caught up I was moving so well that I ran past the group on my own. Definitely a good, strong run.

Wednesday, 9/5

Met up with Frontrunners for 4+ miles. Some new folks showed up that night, so now I'm no longer the newbie. Good run, ran on my own since the Jeffs weren't there, so I wasn't pushed as hard as I usually am. All the better considering the hard running for the week.

Thursday, 9/6

Beverly Hills. Started with the 9 minute group and finished with the lead pack of the 8 minute group. I haven't been using a watch, but the pace leader--who stopped the clock at every stop light--said we ran a 7:30 pace. Personally I include all the time spent dawdling since it's recovery time, but I won't argue if someone told me I ran well.

Saturday, 9/8

8+ miles. FJ and I were supposed to run together and Andy wasn't going to join us. Just before I was about to get dressed, though, FJ called and couldn't make it. I was going to go back to bed, but I failed. I considered heading out to Griffith Park to run with the Frontrunners when Andy called--he wasn't going surfing after all. He wanted to run, I was ready to run, so we met up and ran about eight. I'm not really sure how far we went since we took a different route coming back, but we were out running for about an hour and a half, so we at least did eight miles.

Sunday, 9/9

When FJ cancelled I mentioned we should make up the run on Sunday. This was before I knew Andy and I were actually going to run. I met up with FJ at 8 and we ran the southside. By the time we were heading back from the horse stalls my legs were aching. The run couldn't end soon enough. I thought we ran a slow 9+ miles, but as it turned out, we were fast. We did it in 1:21. Maybe that's why my legs were feeling it.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

New York Times Wedding Announcement of the Week

I'm not a fan of spoiled rich kids, but this week's groom, while an heir to the Vanderbilt and Whitney fortune, may be one of the good, well-adjusted ones.

From the New York Times

Jocelyn Hunter and Josiah Hornblower

Hornblower isn't simply living off his family's money and name, he has an actual job as a portfolio manager in San Francisco. He also appeared in the 2003 documentary, Born Rich, where he was one of the few Children of Privilege profiled to come off as sensible and decent. Ivanka Trump, too, emerged as a laudable figure in the documentary. Many of the rest were rotten narcissists who seem content not to do anything worthwhile with their lives. I believe money can make you happy, but if you're already rotten at the core, money wil just exacerbate your base values.

In the documentary, Hornblower appears as a normal guy who wants to do good work. He worked two years at an oil field and came to the conclusion that working hard makes him feel good, and he seems to be following through on that. Watching Born Rich was fascinating in an irritating way as I just about wanted to punch most of the kids, but Hornblower offered one of the few amusing lines of the documentary when referring to the Whitney Museum, he wryly asks, "Don't you have a family museum?"

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Song of the Week: "Seems Like Home To Me"

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Download: Two Gallants - Seems Like Home To Me

The music of Two Gallants is purposely anachronistic, something they perpetuate with their ceaseless touring and haven't-slept-a-wink-in-days stage presence. You almost get the sense that Two Gallants--Adam Stephens and Tyson Vogel--long for a rootless existence that is just about dismissed in these times. The songs--Guthrie-like in nature--sound as if they come from grizzled and bruised veterans of the hard-luck life, not from two twentysomethings from San Francisco.

"Seems Like Home To Me," a song from an EP released earlier this year called The Scenery of Farewell, captures the essence of Two Gallants. A lot of the Gallants' songs speak of restlessness and unceasing movement, and in "Seems Like Home To Me" this thirst for freedom lays waste to the possibility of love and stability. It's all a vicious cycle as what makes the road so appealing is the promise of the destination and the sweet melancholy of leaving behind something good:

Baby, let your light shine on me
When I'm lost on the road
You know you could set me free
You could ease my load
There's something that I lack, it just won't let me be
I've been gone so long, it seems like home to me

As evocative as their songs are on record, they sound even more fiery live as the duo's ragged, messy playing provides them with a worn glory. Two Gallants first came to my attention a couple of years ago when they performed a cover for The Believer magazine's music issue, but it wasn't until I saw them open for Cold War Kids earlier this year that they pricked up my ears. A new self-titled LP is due from Two Gallants later this month.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

This Week In Running

I'll try not to talk too much about how hot it was this weekend, but it was hot--a real scorcher. Despite the heat, though, I got in a couple of runs over the long weekend. Since this was started as a running blog I'll try to post more regularly about my running, at least once a week, so hopefully this new weekly feature will keep me regular. Heaven knows I'm quite consistent with the Songs and NY Times Wedding Announcements every week.

Monday, August 27

approx. 5 miles
Where: Santa Monica
Notes: The easiest to navigate of the three Nike runs I did last week, but somehow it's not my favorite. The course is quite ideal, running along the dirt trails of Palisades Park before a short uphill run near the Stairs and up to 14th Street. Not a very demanding course but it does feel long.

Tuesday, August 28

Distance: 5+ miles
Where: Hollywood/Los Feliz
Notes: It's smoggy, hot, crowded and the course is full of demanding hills and uneven sidewalks, yet this is my favorite run of the week. It's a smaller group that runs here, so I've won a couple of raffle prizes including a gym bag last week. Last week's run had the additional wrinkle of having to dash off to the Greek Theatre to meet up with FJ and Andy for the Crowded House show. I made it to the show, but I sweated like a pig walking up to the Greek.

Thursday, August 30

5 miles
Where: Beverly Hills
Notes: Eh. We had to be on our best behavior because apparently neighbors have complained. We never got a good move until halfway through. Too many lights and not enough real estate to run on. We also had to dodge more people, but I did like seeing all the glamorous diners as we ran by sweaty and stinky. I hoped that we ruined their experience a little.

Saturday, September 1

6 miles
Where: Rose Bowl
Notes: FJ and I had hopes of doing eight. We did six instead. It was too damn hot! Even the six miles was embarrassing in how long it took us to do it. We stopped a lot and chit-chatted, taking advantage of every walk break. I wanted to join FJ and Katie for a Sunday morning run to make up for the bad run on Saturday, but when I awoke I was already sweating, so I went back to bed and tried to cool off. I hate this weather.