Monday, April 30, 2007

Running with Kenyans, and Greyhounds

Kenya. I love running. I love the sport of running. I love watching it, doing it, talking about it. Sure, I haven't been doing it much lately, damn these busy lives we live that keep us from what we love. I love the simplicity of the sport. You just put one foot in front of the other, then you try to do it faster or longer. that's it, anyone can do it. Most people run for fitness and exercise, others run to earn a living. Some of those who do the best at it are from Kenya. This is especially true in the distance events (my particular favorites). It seems that they win every event they enter in, although occasionally an Ethiopian will win). I wish I could run as the Kenyans do. smooth stride, wicked fast pace. They make it look so easy. In 2006 I ran in the Crescent City Classic (CCC). I finished the 6.2 miles in 57:19 (57 minutes, 19 seconds). I was super excited because my goal was to do it in under an hour. My months of training paid off. While running that day I felt invincible, I swore I was catching up to the leaders. I was flying past people, I refused to be passed by anyone. But, reality is a kick in the head. The winner, a Kenyan, finished the race in 25 minutes (and some change). Yes, even though I was running wide open, he still ran it twice as fast. He was getting a deep tissue massage while I was at the half way point. He was probably on a plane back to Kenya by the time I got to mile 5 and was on his second pack of peanuts when I crossed the finish. I stand amazed at the ability of these elite athletes. I know I will never be one, but the "Battle That I love" is chasing the dream that though many may finish ahead of me, I will be able to cross the finish line with at least one Kenyan behind me.

Lofty? yes, but why dream any other way.
What is the Kenyan in your life?

Sadie has Kenyans in her life, she calls them Greyhounds (she is pictured with one below). She can't run as fast as them, as we found out Sunday on her first visit to the dog park. She just enjoys the chase and loves the dream that maybe once, just once, she'll catch one, just one. Oh Sadie, how wise you are.

This last picture is of Sadie playing with a boxer. Sadie is part boxer, part lab so she felt like she was with her people.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sunrise, in your old hometown

When you think of being a tourist what do you think of? An exotic destination, somewhere you've never been. Well, that's what I usually think of as well. But, I found something new last week. Let me set up the scene for you. I commute from Baton Rouge to New Orleans on Tuesdays and Thursdays. I have an 8am class. So, to avoid the peak of traffic through metairie I leave the house at by 5:30am. I usually get to new Orleans a little before or a little after 7 (as long as there are no wrecks on the spillway). Last week, instead of coming straight to campus I got off the interstate(I-610) at canal blvd(as usual) but instead of taking a left towards the lake I took a right into the heart of the city. I went up canal to the river(at this point it was about 6:55), made a u-turn at canal place and then a right on N. Peters and headed into the quarter. Typically I only find myself in this part of town in the afternoon or evening and usually on a weekend. This of course means there are lots of people and activity. This is not the case at 7am on a weekday. It was quiet, the roads were still wet from the street sweepers(which according to the signs pass between 5 and 8am). I had the windows down and van-halen(or was I listening to jim croce) turned up as I finished off my bacon egg and cheese bagel. It actually smelled good as I drove around. the only sign of life were the downtown clean up crew in their bright yellow jackets and john deer carts as the power washed the side walks with a mixture of cleaner that is infused with some type of scented stuff (for lack of a better word) that has a very pleasant smell. There was no traffic, no pedestrians stepping in front of the car. If needed, i could have actually parked in the quarter. The coffee shops were open, they were pulling the chairs off the tables at cafe dumonde. Even bourbon street was clean. yes, even bourbon street was clean. it was a beautiful morning. I saw several runners making their way through the streets and down esplanade ave and assumed there must be more along woldenburg park & the moonwalk. Children with backpacks and sleep in their eyes made their way to the bus stop and street car lines.
It was as If I was being allowed to watch the city wake up. As I drove around for about 40 or so minutes I began to see a few more people, then a few more. A little more action, a few more shops open. But it was good to watch New Orleans come to life. So often we see the hustle and bustle, the traffic and the headaches that go along with living in the big city that many of us head for the burbs and we use the city as a playground. But, for most of us it's where our history begins. It's where Louis met Annie. Its where Gerard met Ruth. It's where Mom met Dad. It's Popp fountain on marconi drive. It was Saint Roch park and Melba's Ice cream, Colton and Cohn, Nicholls and Abramson. It wasn't just Mardi Gras weekend. It was birthday parties in city park and thinking storybook land was the cooler than Disney world and of course it was the "tickle bridge".
I am not so naive to say we should move back to the city, but if you ever have the chance to be there as the sun comes up, slow down, take in a deep breath, look around and see the unique treasure and beauty that is your old home town.

Monday, April 23, 2007

up to date

Hello all, I am doing well-busy-but well. I have 2 weeks left of the semster and have much work to do before it is over. Once again I let myself get behind on a few things and it snowballed into this huge mess I am now in. But, don't worry, I'll survive it. I won't be much fun the next couple weeks but fun isn't the issue-passing these classes is. After this semester I will take one class this summer and student teach this fall. I am almost done.

So, I did something I swore I'd never do. I joined MySpace. You can find me there at
It's not as bad as I thought. There many pages that are young punks and hoochies that clutter my beloved internet, but it is also a good way to stay intouch with your friends and family and to reconnect with old friends. chances are that if you are reading this then I searched for you, I what what you are doing, and you should be ashamed.

I really want to go eat pizza buffet and take a nap right now but since I don't want to be in school forever, I guess I'll get back to work.
I still have a couple ideas I want to blog about so stay tuned.

p.s. I will not spellcheck here or there, i will not spellcheck anywhere.
If you don't like it heckle as you may, but I will not spellcheck anyway!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

I Want the Best of Both Worlds

SO, the question has come up regarding my Van-Halen preference. As many of you mayor may not know, I am a big VH fan and have been since the 5th grade (1983/84ish). One of my most vivid elementary school memories is the day we were to go to music class and it was my turn to bring in some music for the class to listen to. I brought in the album 1984. My classmates and teacher wanted to hear "Jump", and we did. Then I told them that there was another song they HAD to hear and I played "Panama" for them. They totally loved it. 2 weeks later it was on the radio and MTV, I looked like a genius.
But back to the question at hand, which VH is better? Of course that has a lot to do with personal tastes, but I will do my best to give you my side of the argument. I tend to lean towards the original version of things as the better. Often reincarnations lack the heart of the original. Yes Kristi, I know that Garth's "shameless is better than Billy Joel's, but that's a rare case. In the case of VH I would suggest that we have are two distinctly different bands that should be judged each on the merit of their body of work.
David Lee Roth Van-Halen gave us such hits as:
1.Jump 2.Panama. 3. Hot for teacher 4. Ain't talkin' bout love 5. running with the devil 6. Unchained 7. beautiful girls 8. jamie's crying 9. and the cradle will rock. 10. You really got me now(that is a Kinks cover but is smoking hot as a VH version)
Van-Hagar (the sammy hagar years) gave us hits like:
1.Right now 2.Best of both worlds 3.finish what ya started. 4. top of the world 5. dreams 6. why can't this be love walks in 8. runaround 9. when it's love 10.poundcake.
Above are 20 songs that are all great songs in there own right that comprise one hell of a catalog, and there are many others as well.
Let me be straightforward. I prefer the old van-halen. Not because of Diamaond Dave or because I dislike Sammy. Rather it is because I like the sound, the tone of the music. It is more hard edge, more raw. That's how I like my rock and roll. The Hagar material is a lot cleaner, a lot less abrasive. It is as if the early stuff is intended for guys but with enough sex appeal in it to attract the ladies whereas the later stuff is targeting the ladies but with enough of an edge to it to keep the fellas listening.
What is most important to hardcore fans is that there is a basic VH sound that exists in both versions of the band. The voice and the message may be different but the heart remains unchanged. Most would suggest that that sound emanates from Eddie's guitar. I would suggest that The VH sound is built on the foundation of Alex VanHalens drums. Eddie has a distinct guitar sound but many have duplicated his style and to some extent it can be hard to pick him out of a crowd, but when you hear Al's drums you know your hearing VH magic. He is the Heartbeat of that sound. Now with that said, you can not understate the importance of Eddie's sound and techniques. His guitar is what separates VH from any other past or present. There is only one Eddie. Let's consider why he may the greatest of all time.
1. listen to the body of work, especially "eruption" This one solo changed the sound of rock guitar.
2. Listen to the sound of those who have come since, Eddie lives in their music.
3.When the king of pop needed a guitar solo in "beat it" who did he turn to? Eddie
4. When Marty, in back to the future, needed something to scare his dad with (in the scene where his 50's dad was asleep and he came to him as if in a dream) He put an EVH tape in his Walkman and turned it up.
5. Do you not remember the discussion between bill and ted that went; bill:"we're never gonna get Eddie van halen with out a video" ted:"we're never gonna get a video without Eddie vanhalen". and as we all know "Wild Stalyns" eventually brought peace and harmony to the world. Party on dudes!!!
So what we have learned here is that VH, in both of its forms provides us with some great rock and roll tunes. would I want to see the original lineup together again? maybe, but I'm good with two versions. i DO want the best of both worlds!