Phew! That was freakin' brutal. But I did it: I got under 40 minutes (this time safely under at an official 39m33s) in this mostly-downhill 10K (6.21 miles). I prepared and trained a lot for this race (maybe not as much as the marathon, but still I took it pretty seriously) and yesterday was my first 29th birthday so I didn't really behave myself on Friday night, but I'm really glad I got my goal time so I can retire from the 10K distance. I hate that distance. Super long distances are painful, but not because I run at an uncomfortable pace, just that I do it for hours. I like that better. 5K is fine because you suffer bad but it's over in 20 minutes. 10K I feel like I am pushing just as hard (indeed my 5K split in this race was my fastest ever 5K and my time was less than twice my Run Around The Square time), just for twice as long. Pukey. The whole long uphill parts on 5th Avenue and Boulevard of the Allies I was continuously doing that giving up game, like literally visualizing myself pulling over to stop at a specific spot coming up twenty yards down the road, really succumbing to it, but then when I get to that point declining (it's really more like forgetting than declining). I don't know how to explain this, really. Anyway, it was definitely my hardest race. I'll run it again, but I currently don't feel any need to improve or match this time.
I don't have any race plans in the near future (basically, I'm heading back to full-time Pac Tommery) so you won't have to see this template for a while, but I must:
ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED Official 10K under 40 minutes
Okay, the last ten (!) posts have all been about running or music, so I'm trying to get out of the music/running rut. Here's a thing: I don't want to be rutwise in my extramural behavior either, so I've been trying to do things that are a bit outside my comfort zone. There's a hipster bar Brillobox nearby in Lawrenceville that has a monthly "Drink and Draw" event, which from its name sounds like basically an ideal event, for me I mean, combining two great tastes that go great together—I even have on my vague list of themes for parties to host, a similar hypothetical event—although you gotta be careful because you can't be sure of what sense in which they mean "draw"; for example, WordNet reminds me that it might mean Draw Poker (not so bad) or a tie game (I prefer it to be settled decisively) or maybe even drawing blood, which will make me pass out especially with the drinking. And who knows what kind of drinking they're talking about; like maybe they mean drinking ethylenediamine and drawing blood. No thank you. It does turn out that the kind of drawing they had in mind is human figure drawing like they do in art school. This is I think literally the thing that I am worst at in visual art: realistic renderings of the human form, not because I have some weird misanthropic relationship with the body or lack of appreciation or even for lack of trying, just that it's really fucking hard and we're so good at recognizing people and their deformities that when the drawing is not great, it looks truly terrible. So I went and thought I'd sort of hang out in the shadows and use the occasion as kind of inspiration for whatever I felt like drawing, and maybe do a little halfhearted dabbling in drawing the actual model without anybody being able to see what I'm doing, which sounds good to me, like being in a classroom where they serve beer. 'Cept when I got there, there were only like 3 people in attendance, and so I felt obligated to be in the front row, and everybody could see what I was doing, and I felt obligated to draw the model who is clearly doing these stoic poses right in front of me. So I am inadvertently significantly more outside my comfort zone than I had intended, yikes. I had brought technical pens because that's my favorite for illustration, but requires a certain kind of confidence in stroke that I don't have for human figure drawing. So I tried for a while to do some realistic renderings, where this was the best I got
and it was a good and interesting exercise, but kinda embarrassing. Towards the middle-end I was like jeez, I gotta do something that's not my worst thing or else I can't stand it. So then I started doing me-style illustrations with fonts and crap, and drew for example:
And I like those pretty okay. The art people did at least smile at these, and say positive coded messages like those are "cool" or "fun", which I deserve for bringing pens and then flouting the format. It was definitely worthwhile, though, and I'd do it again, especially with a friend or two in tow. Brillobox is so hipster that it's all-vegetarian now, by the way.
Now, to make sure this post is partly about music to keep up my streak: iTunes spankin' new "Genius" feature (which allegedly has some similarity metric and can create playlists of songs that are two great tastes that go great together) is absolutely fucking worthless. I want it to work, really really, because the main problem with listening to music in this post-9/11 world is that there's just so damn much good of it to be swimming in, so the idea of having a hot ass computer DJ spinning me some stuff that's just what I want and not yet tiresome is really appealing (last.fm is pretty good at this, actually, just not very convenient for the ways I want to listen to music). I always start with something hard when I'm testing out a feature like that, so, I was only slightly disappointed when it knew zippo about Kleenex Girl Wonder or Tom 7 Entertainment System, but then it didn't know Guided By Voices, The Bad Plus, Don Caballero, or like anything in my music collection until I got to shit that they wouldn't even play on All Songs Considered on account of them there songs being embarrassingly popular despite, you know, being called All Songs Considered. The foul language is I guess because it's especially annoying because Apple has this tendency to name and describe things with this condescending hyperbole (e.g. The G4 is the "world's first desktop supercomputer"). At least the Genius Bar at the Apple store can politely replace my iPod when it freezies.
Tom 7 live @ Open Mic Night, 5 Sep 2008
(09 Sep 2008 at 19:14)
OK, here is the other music post, as foretold by the bards. I played "open mic night," one of the first times I've played by myself in front of an audience of more than 2 or 3 people. As I've mentioned in previous posts, I'm trying to get better at this. It's strange because I don't think of myself as being nervous in front of others (like for example when giving talks), but I definitely make more mistakes when I'm playing guitar for an audience. Maybe it is the distractions. Anyway, I got a mini camcorder a few weeks ago to play around with, and so there are videos of this performance:
I highly recommend clicking through to view the "HD" versions, or even downloading the 1080p AVIs linked on the bottom right of those pages. I was limited to 10 minutes so I was playing fast. The middle one, Post-Glacial Identity, I think is the best performance of the three (contains fewest screw-ups). I also have a fourth video of the remainder of my 10 minutes, which I want to show you, but I'm hesitant because it gives away one of my best secret projects, which I want to arrive in the most best way possible. I'll let you know.
Music, running, music, running. That's all there is to do on Tom 7 Radar these days. I even have a music post queued up next. Oh, actually, I have a non-music and non-running post queued up too, phew.
But here's the thing: 'tis the season. So I got up at 4:45am and took public transportation to the IKEA Half Marathon in Robinson, which starts in a shopping center. No kidding. After a big downhill for the first 3/4 mile (which IMO they should get rid of, since I think it cheapens the race) it's a loop out and back on the Montour Trail, which is pretty nice. It is reminiscent of the Farmington Canal in New Haven county. These running stories are tedious but I wanted to share two things. First is I registered in the morning right before the race and smirked when I saw my bib at the top of the pile:
Yeah, really 666. I mean, it's even in bright-ass red. I got some good comments on this one. The other thing is that even though I wasn't taking this race very seriously (in terms of preparation; I definitely ran it hard) I ended up achieving another personal goal, which was to run a half-marathon under 1h30m. I'm not sure exactly what my official time was, but I timed myself at 1h27m48s, which works out to a pace of about 6m45s per mile. It's a small race too (something like 700 runners) so I also got 3rd place in my age group with that time, though I don't know what that age group is (for all I know it could be exactly-28-year-olds). So anyway,
Theme from updn. I'm somewhat embarrassed to admit that I first realized at the age of nearly 29 that "updn" exhibits perfect rotational symmetry in many fonts, which is pretty lucky because taken as the opposites "up" and "down" it's also sort of self-describing. I'd like to claim that this song has some kind of rotational symmetry too (that would be an interesting experiment), but it is just a song. It does have some parts that go up and some parts that go dn, though. Perhaps too much so.
Theme from msiegler. This one is unusual in that I had finished it enough to record it to MP3 and have it on my MP3 player over the weekend and I decided that I liked it enough that I needed to fix up a lack of ruling during the midsection by adding in some more ruling. So I gave it another shot this evening and I'm glad I did because that's when I added the ripcord freakout portamento stuff, which is now my new favorite part. While writing this one I really tried to own some of the weird chords that came up, not brushing their hair really at all, and just surrounding them by (relatively) easy melody to make them fit as best I could. (e.g. the uneasy part near the beginning that goes G♭7sus2, D♭, G♭m, B♭dim—B♭♭5 or the E7♭5 before it loops.) (I don't really know the names of chords aside from the easy guitar stuff nor do I think it really matters, but I bet that if I looked these up they'd look impressively weird, which they do.) I like this one better than the above.
These are clearly new-phase songs (I was looking at the Beatles's Let It Be LP just recently and found it pretty ironic-sad that it claims boldly "This is a new phase Beatles album!" on the sleeve), but you'll perhaps notice that I headed off that dangerous trend that would have suggested that these be 7 and 12 minutes long, respectively. Brevity is the soul of wit.