Archive for July, 2007

MIA again

So I’ve gone MIA again. Apparently, I’m not very good at keeping up with this blogging thing. I’ll try harder. Maybe.

Anyways, here’s an update:

  • I’m going home to Oregon for two weeks tomorrow. Lots of old friends and family. It’ll be fun! I’m hoping to go camping at Crater Lake. I might even remember to take (and use) my camera this trip, something I rarely do.
  • I’ve actually continued to run regularly! I’m surprising myself here: almost 50 miles in July.
  • Last night was our last ultimate game of the season. Unfortunately a tough loss which knocked us out of the playoffs, but we’ll be back strong for Fall season. I do love the frisbee, but it’ll be nice to have a couple more free evenings a week for a while.
  • Both of my roommates are moving out (one last week, one next week) and are being replaced. I’ve met one of the replacements already and she seems cool. I’m excited about the new people, but I’ll miss the old ones.

I guess that’s it for now.

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Much faster!

I ran the Tidal Basin 3k again today, and I finished 43 seconds faster than last time. Talk about a big improvement. So my time this month was 12:19, according to the official results. I think I ran a 3k in high school, but I don’t remember my time, so we’re calling this a PR. Go me.

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Snooker = Cool

I have only played snooker a couple times when I was a little kid. I didn’t know what I was doing at all. Ronnie O’Sullivan clearly does, though.

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HOIFL: Two In One Day

That’s right, two pieces of music in one day. You’re lucky!

Sage Francis – Good Fashion

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Jetplanes of Abraham – Take the Cash

That band I saw in Ottawa, Jetplanes of Abraham? They’re really good. I bought their album and have been listening to it a bunch. I really like the track, so check it out.

Jetplanes of Abraham – Take the Cash

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Ottawa: My Full Saturday and Less Full Other Days

I went to Ottawa for this weekend plus Monday. Why? Because I’m a Canadian who is out of touch with his country and it seemed like a good place to get acquainted with. I did end up learning a lot about the city and country while I was there. I have some pictures that Ryan gave me, too, but I’ll post them later.

Saturday was a very busy and decadent day. Let me tell you about it.

It started out around 8:30 in the morning when Jazz, Ryan, and I went for a short run around their neighborhood. I have been starting to get into better shape recently, and this one felt pretty good. I’ve included the route here and you can zoom out to see where they actually live.

Before I get into what happened next, let me deal with an example of strange differences in the way Americans and Canadians talk. Americans take showers, where Canadians have them. I don’t know why this is different, but it is. So we all had showers, and then we headed for the bus station to go downtown. Turns out Ottawa has a great bus system, and I made full use of it all weekend.

Our first stop was the Canadian National Gallery, which besides looking cool has a neat exhibit of Renoir landscapes going on right now. I didn’t even look at the permanent collection, something I regret, but I guess it just means I’ll have to come back sometime.

After the museum we walked a couple blocks to a restaurant that we had a coupon for, and I bought lunch for all of us. Jazz and I had New Orleans-style pasta, which was good, and Ryan had a wrap, which was not so good. Meh, I liked mine. Jazz had a craving for dessert, and I wanted coffee, but the restaurant’s dessert menu didn’t quite cut it, so we took off. Fortunately, we were in the middle of the Byward Market, a busy market district right near Jazz’s work, so she quickly led us to a cheese shop that happened to have imported chocolate. As she was buying a fancy chocolate bar I noticed a stack of little bars next to the register with a sign saying “Lebanese Baklava.” I always like trying new things, so I asked “what’s the green stuff?” because the bars had green stuff all over them. The answer, “crushed pistachios,” sounded good, so I got one and it was delicious. Then, as if we needed more, we stopped at a busy outdoor cafe to get coffee and while we were waiting some crazy triple chocolate dessert bar caught Ryan’s eye so we ended up with coffees and our (my) third dessert of fifteen minutes. I only had one bite of the bar and it was very rich. I couldn’t believe that they ate the whole rest of it between them.

After lunch, we decided to walk down to the Ottawa Bluesfest, which we had purchased tickets for earlier. We could have stayed on the Ontario side of the river, but the walk is quite nice on the Quebec side and I wanted to at least walk in the province so I could say I’d been there. So off we went, across a couple bridges and along the Ottawa River for a nice walk. Lots of bugs, though. I remember hearing stories and jokes about Ontario Mosquitoes when I was a kid, and they were definitely based in reality. Lots of bugs.

I had noticed on Friday that Manu Chao was Saturday’s headliner at the Bluesfest, so I suggested that we go to that. Turns out it was a big festival and there was nonstop music at 4 stages all day Saturday. It was a very cool scene. Here are a few of the highlights:

We stopped at the Black Sheep stage to see a band whose blurb in the brochure made them sound cool, Jetplanes of Abraham. They’re a six-member Ottawa band made up of musicians from several other local bands. A neat sound, for sure. I like Canadian indie bands.

After that we wandered over to another stage and saw a band I’d heard of before, Mute Math. They were very crazy, lots of percussion, and really fun to watch. Highly recommended if they come through your area.

For dinner I ate a Jamaican patty, which I’d never heard of before, and a samosa, making it almost the cheapest meal of the weekend, and a good one at that. They had a bunch of local restaurants running food booths and the prices were actually pretty reasonable.

Finally, Manu Chao played. The place had really filled up by 9:00 and we pretty much resigned ourselves to seeing it from far away. Ryan and I attempted to get closer, however, and managed to get within 200 feet of the stage for a little while. I’ve never been to such a big show before, and the amount of energy in the show was quite amazing. Everybody within a couple hundred feet of the stage was dancing. Not that many Canadians understand Spanish, either — the energy was coming from the music and the crowd itself, not necessarily from the lyrics and showmanship. I really liked being part of the show. Also, the amount of weed smoked all over the crowd at the beginning of the set was impressive.

Like I said, I’ll post pictures soon, and maybe write something about some more general impressions I got from the trip. It had been a while since I’d been to Canada and I’d forgotten some things about it.

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First Race in 7 Years

I’m a little late on writing this. The race was a 3k and it was on June 18th. It’s called the Tidal Basin 3k (map), and DC Road Runners puts it on for free on the third Wednesday of every month. If you’re in the area you should come out and run with me!

The last time I ran competitively was in the Spring of 2000, so it’s pretty exciting to be getting into it again. I’m pretty slow so far, but I’m actually running regularly and stuff so I should get faster. It will get hotter and more humid over the next two months, though, so Kevin, our resident speedster / experienced runner here at the office, tells me that I shouldn’t expect to improve too much right away. I’m gonna try anyways, obviously.

The really fun thing about it is that somewhere around 35 people from the Fed go out and run this race, since it’s at lunch time and only a couple blocks from work. Some nerdy economists have devised a scoring system so that the three different groups are racing against each other, which keeps it interesting.

Right, my time. I ran 3000 meters in 13:02, which I was happy with and am excited to improve on. I’ll post again after this month’s race.

Update: results.

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