Saturday, September 19, 2009

It's done. We did it. The Youngstown Ultra Trail Classic 50K.
7:16:00. It was tough. Really tough.
A 50K usually takes 6 1/2 hours for me.

I'll fill in the gory details later. For now, enjoy these photos I've posted at Picasso (see linki) and these two photos:

Bob and Me

Just Me

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

360 Tour Video Clips

I'm considering a job in videography based on the quality of these clips. I may also take up a pop-singer profession. Listen for my amazing voice in some of these clips ! :)

No Line on the Horizon

This video shows the wonderful back singers that U2 strategically placed right behind us.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Photos from the U2 360 Concert

Snow Patrol played as the sun went down.

The stage gets reset for U2


Levi anxiously awaits the 8:45 start time.

The Claw lit up.

The finale. The band walked slowly down the stage before exiting for good. No more encores after two encores.

Concert done, people start leaving. We stayed around so Levi could search the seats for loose change.

Emma looking over the floor entrance to Soldiers Field. We sat on the grass for 10 minutes to let the crowd disperse. Then we walked to Michigan Ave, up to Monroe and then two blocks to the van.

Amazing Grace & Where the Streets Have No Name

Monday, September 14, 2009

Concert Photos

U2 360 Tour Soldiers Field

Here begins the unashamed inundation of U2 photos and video clips from our trip to Chicago and the U2 concert!!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

U2 in Chicago - this weekend!

Here is a short clip of "Magnificent," one of my most favorite U2 songs, being sung at the 360 concert in Barcelona. The U2 website says that the Claw stage is being assembled in Chicago right now.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

This Morning's Run

The full moon at 4am.

Full moon at 6:20

Full moon at about 5:30

Great morning run. Started at 4, finished at 7:30. 18 miles. Full moon. Two scares.
Car circled back toward me, I scattered to hide behind a tree. It was 4:20am. You'd do it too.
Car passed slowly. I came out of hiding, jumped on the road, car slowed and turned around. I scattered to another tree. Car shone its light toward me, then turned around and sped on. I started running on the road again. Car slowed, turned around again. It was then that I realized it was the paper deliverer!

On very foggy road. Pile on the side of road ahead. Running by the light of the moon. It looks like a body, but it can't be. I pass, then think it wise to return just to make sure. Switch on headlamp. It is a body. Lying on its side, left leg over right. How do I approach? What do I do? I walk closer. It's a life-size Spiderman dummy.

Pledges that Matter

A recent comment on my facebook critique of the Pledge Video:
You really think that the purpose of this video is to subvert organized religion? I think that's giving it a little too much credit. I agree, it has a lot of dumb silliness in it, but like it or not, these are the people that many of the American public today look up to. I believe that this was meant to inspire a bunch of slackers into doing something, if even something small, to improve our world.

(See the Pledge Video below)

I do not know the purpose behind this video. I think the conclusions above are correct.

The video might inspire all along the spectrum of those who will be inspired: from the slacker who will now use paper, to the energetic and self-sacrificing who will leave the comforts of the Disney World of America to rescue Albanian women from the slave trade in Amsterdam, or Berlin, or Providence, Rhone Island (see Wall Street Journal, 9-4-09).

But the video still falls flat on me. Most of these pledges are silly, and because they are made in the context of a pledge, they are dangerous.

For most of these pledges, if you're not already doing what they're pledging to do, you're an idiot.
(However, I'm not serving the President, and I'm not pledging allegiance to Funk.)

I could teach my 3 year old to keep most of these pledges. In fact, I could teach most household pets to keep these pledges. Guide dogs do more than these people are challenging us to do.

How about pledges like these:
"I pledge to stay married for 68 years"
"I pledge to sit by my blind husband for two years while he dies"
"I pledge to go to every country that gets hit by disaster and provide free drinking water"
"I pledge to spend 4 hours every week with an inner city kid who has no dad"

I know people who have made these pledges. I am in awe of them. I don't even know if it ever crossed their mind to go on youtube and tell people that they are doing it. They just do it.

Lastly, while the people on the video are in large part people looked up to by many Americans, they are not people looked up to for their resolve, fortitude, perseverance or commitment. Let me suggest a few people that could have been thrown in....hhmmm. I'm having trouble thinking of anyone from the popular crowd. I can think of lots of people from church, from my ultra running friends, neighbors, etc.

But maybe that's where the strength of the video lies. See, Ashton and Demi and the others are not pledging to anything that takes real resolve, fortitude, perseverance or commitment.

A person can venture much, when there's nothing to lose because what's ventured is nothing.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Whom Do You Serve?

How noble is it to pledge:
"to stop using the plastic bags at the grocery store?"

to pledge "allegiance to Funk, to the United Funk of Funkadelica?"

"for the environment, to flush only after a duce, never after a single?"

A pledge is a serious matter; or at least it once was. A pledge is something that one is willing to stake the continuation of their life upon; or at least their good reputation.

So how do we consider the emotional, youtube, Generation X (or whatever it is this week) plea to do something of meaning found in the videos below?

Only a few of these resolves are bad. So why am I disgusted by these videos? I think it's because it highlights a fundamental reality of our plight as humans.

We were made to exalt in great things. We were made to say, "Wow!" when looking at the Grand Canyon and not when looking in the mirror. When we grow accustomed to saying "Wow" after looking in the mirror, we find that our passions are for little things, our exploits are mundane, and we feel adequately in awe of the mud castles we've created when the majesty of the ocean is right before us.

So watch these videos. Pity these people whose public pledges are 1) the things we do every day, and 2) nothing for which I would lay down my life or stake my reputation. Would you?

Brooks Cascadia 4 - The Dream Lives On

The new Brooks Cascadia 4s sitting on my office desk, pleading to go out for a spin.

It's been a long time since I purchased a new pair of running shoes. The last 4, 5, maybe 6 pairs have been the Brooks Cascadia, designed by Scott Jurek.

I've never met Scott. I have met Anton. I was impressed. I blogged about the event last fall. I've never met Dean.

And Dean also designed a shoe. I wore his shoe during my very first ultra run.

Last night, after consulting with Marty about such a purchase, I pushed the Purchase Now button on the website at 9:53 pm. Brooks Cascadia 4, size 10.5. All the kids thought the grey ones were the best - except for Grace. She liked the yellow ones. I did too.

Today, at 10am, the UPS truck delivered these. Unbelievable. A new pair of shoes, transported from KY to our doorstep in 12 hours. And I paid no shipping charges.

I'm tempted to run in these tomorrow morning, but I really want the new shoe smell to last a little longer!

I know we all have our favorite shoe that we've grown to love. However, let me encourage you to try the Brooks Cascadia; either the 3 or the 4. It's lightweight, flexible, has great traction on the trail, drains well, dries well, cleans up well, has a forefoot rockshield (surprisingly few trail shoes have this), and it comes in a variety of fun, green-friendly colors.