Grrrr, I am so mad at myself.

I accidentally deleted one of my posts. This was functionality I coded to the base Slasp code. This version of delete, actually removed it from the underlying database. The problem is, I can’t remember what it was that I deleted. Stupid, stupid, stupid. I quickly wrote a different version of the delete that doesn’t actually remove it from the database. I won’t make that mistake again.

Tea Party Concert on Oct 29, 2002

admit one
Two days ago I made my way to Vancouver for a Tea Party concert. Not just any Tea Party concert though. They were playing with an orchestra. Actually, I was a whole lote more than just that. They had a dancer, a cellist, an opera soprano, indian drummers, and more.

By far this was the best concert I have ever been to, simply for the music. I still get goosbumps thinking about it. Read on for a recap.

I knew this was going to be a good concert, but really I had no idea how good. I got on the 3pm ferry,Erin picked me up, and after fighting a bit of traffic we got downtown. He had a errand to run, so I walked around downtotn Vancouver for a bit, then made my way to the Lennox for a pre-concert beer. Mmmm, Kilkenny.

7:45 rolls by, and we walk a block up Granville to the Orpheum, get in line, and begin to wonder about the upcoming spectacle.

Now, I have seen the Tea Party in concert a few times now. A couple times in Victoria, and once in Vancouver (I think). I know they are an excellent live band. They thrive on the energy from the crowd, which in turn thrives on the outpouring offered up by these three amazing musicians. It is a synergy that must be experienced, and cannot be fully conveyed by words.

With this in mind, we made our way to our seats. Somehow, Erins friend Evan had managed to snag 4th row seats. I was expecting to be eye level with the stage. Was I in for a treat. The seats were 4th row on the balcony! Even better. We had an amazing view of the whole stage. We could see the whoel band, the orchestra, and the drummers.

The show started pretty much right on time. This is one thing I really like about theatre concerts. As soon as the first song started, I knew that this was going to be the concert of a lifetime. The blend of sounds emanating from the stage was all enveloping. It surrounded me, uplifted me, and took me to a new plane. For me it was a surreal experience. The orchestra filled in the spaces of a sound that was completely full to begin with.

Not only did the Tea Party have an orchestra behind them, they had an Indian drummer ensemble, a dancer, a cellist, and an opera soprano, each for various songs. To further enhance the visual aspect, they had a woman from the Cirque EOS who worked acrobatics with fabric that hung from the ceiling. She brought in the second half of the show.

The highlights (as far as the songs go) were Save Me, Temptation, Transmission, and .

It was amazing to see the band interact musically with the orchestra. During solo’s, the band was ripping and snarling, but just as the orchestra came back in to the mix, their sound went back to a level that complemented the orchestra, and not overpower them.

I quite literally had goose bumps through most of the show. This wasn’t because I was cold, but rather because the music was so exciting. I sang along with every song I could, clapped when I could, cheered, whistled, hooted, hollered, and ogled. This was something I wish I could have preserved forever, so I could rewatch it when I felt the need, but alas they were checking for recording devices upon entry. Originally I was thinking about bringing a disposable camera, but as soon as I saw our seat I knew that it wouldn’t have turned out any good pictures anyway, since the stage was too far away (perfect for the group, bad for cameras).

The forrest is wet, but that tree is on fire.

Today was the best ride I have had in a long time. The air was a crisp, the ground slightly tacky, the rocks dry, and the riding group fun. We met at the dump at 9:30, and proceeded to do one of my most favorite loops.

Up Skull, down Inventive, up to the Switchbacks, through the Twister, up Phase 2, down Daves Line to Champs Cafe. Down South Ridge a bit, then a quit jaunt down part of Falling Satellites, over to Green Ribbon, then down and out.

Did you catch all that?

I have begun to realize lately that I can’t ride hard from the parking lot like I used to. I have to warm up, and once warm I can push hard up hills. Today was no different. As soon as I began Skull I could feel myself pushing too hard. I backed off and allowed my muscles to slowly warm.

At the base of the switchbacks I decided to walk. I wanted to conserve energy on this climb as it kills me every time I attempt it. After the group rested at the top, we headed out for the Twister. This has always been a fun trail for me. There are lots of twists and turns. The trail is quite long, but it is packed into a tiny area.

After making the climb up Phase 2 it was time to bomb down Dave’s Line to Champs Cafe. While heading up a short climb, I looked across a ravine, and there, standing amongst the Evergreens was a lone shockingly yellow-leaf clad tree. The yellow was as bright as a flame, and against the dark green background, that one lonely tree really stood out. I couldn’t help but revel in how truly wonderful nature is.

Through all this I was feeling great. My climbing was going pretty good, and I was feeling pretty confident on the descending. I had the feeling this was going to be a great ride, but I didn’t know how great.

The destination trail was Green Ribbon. There is a side trail called Falling Satellites, that loops off of, and back onto Green Ribbon. The drop onto Fallin Satellites is pretty steep, into a 2 foot pullup at the end. Somehow I managed to get down there in full control, then do the pullup nicely. I was beaming as a bunch of guys congratulated me on the descent.

A little later on Falling Satellites I rode a steep rock face that I hadn’t ridden before, and that only one other person in our group of 10 rode. I knew this was one of my “on” days, and I was looking forward to the rest of the trail.

Further down I rode a couple more drops that i had never done before. I have watched many people go off these, and have always wanted to try them. I knew I had the skills, and I definitely have the bike for them. Well, I was in the right frame of mind, and gave them a go. That is such a feeling. I can’t completely describe it, but it is almost like a weight being lifted from my shoulders, coupled with intense relief, happiness, and shock, followed quickly by the adrenaline rush of doing something that scares you. I love that feeling.

The rest of the ride was pretty unremarkable, but was still enjoyable. I was on the high of a great ride!

In a fog today.

foggy downtown victoriaOK, it’s not a hard concept to grasp. When a fog settles, it is time to make yourself be seen on the roads. This also means it is time to be more careful and aware of your surroundings when driving.

This morning on my way to work, I couldn’t believe the sheer stupidity of people. In this day and age I expect people to be smarter because of all the information that gets crammed down out throats. Sadly, this is not the case.

I saw all manners of stupidness. The first being vehicles driving with no lights on. It was still dark out, and foggy. Come on. Hit the little button, turn on the lights, and voila, you can see where you are going. As an added bonus, others can see you too!

The other stupidness was tailgating. While I think this is a bad enough habit on its own, doing this in the fog is extremely dangerous. What if the lead car had to slam on their brakes due to an obstacle suddenly appearing? Someone is going to get creamed.

The worst fog offender I saw was a cyclist. I have nothing against cyclists (I am a big cyclist myself), but I just have to shake my head sometimes. In one particularly dense section I saw a rider, in the left lane of the oncoming traffic. I have no idea why he was there. There was no left turn coming up. He was definitely going slower than traffic. To top it all off, he had no lights of any sort. He was a sitting duck, just waiting for a car to squish.

Smarten up people!

Pounding the pavement for fun???

Today I did my first running race. The Royal Victoria Marathon has differing lengths (a full marathon, a half marathon, an 8km race, and a 1 km kids race). Since I was too old for the kids race, I entered the 8km.

I signed up with no intentions of grandeur. Even now I am not sure why I entered, but I thought I would try a running race at least. I have been running lately, but nothing great. I am not sure, but I don’t think I have even run 8 km straight.

Jump forward to this morning. An early rise, for an early starting race. “She” was doing the half, and since that started at 7:45, we had to be downtown around 7:15, and we left home late. We did get there on time for the half marathon start, but for a little while, some of the people in our party were a little stressed.

It was a chilly morning, but the sky was clear and cloudless. As the sun rose, my anticipation grew. After I made my way to the 8km starting chute I found myself at the front of the pack. Learning from my mistakes in cross country mountain bike racing I let theose people who wanted to be in front of me move past.

Soon enough my group was off, and all I could think about was holw cold I was. I quickly realized that I was pushing myself too hard, and that if I kept that pace I would blow up before I could finish my race. I backed off, and settled into a comfortable pace while dozens of people streamed past me.

Running into the sun was a great feeling. It warmed my core. The downside is that I was unable to see any of the cheering crowd.

Throughout the whole race I never felt great. I had woke up tired, felt a little sick, and never really felt like running. As I progressed throught the race, I slowly started to feel a little better, but not great.

As I entered the designated cheering section, the crowd making all the noise caused me to run just a little harder, something I did not want to do. As soon as I exited the section, I realized what I was doing, and slowed down.

The run took us along Dallas road up towards Beacon Hill park, into the park to the turnaround point, and back along the same route.

Just before I got to the turn into Beacon Hill park I heard some of my friends cheer for me. I had been told by many people that my cheering had been a great boost to them in theor races. Well, I got to experience that first hand. It truly was a boost. For a few moments I felt great. Then I entered Beacon Hill Park.

I knew the tirnaround was up ahead, and I kept wanting to check my watch to see how my time was doing. I decided I wouldn’t look until I finished. As I ran through the park, I saw Spiderman. Someone was running the half marathon in a full Spiderman costume! It was quite a sight to see. The turnaround eventually came, and I marked the time in my watch, and merged into the half marathoners.

The stream of people heading back to the start line was amazing. I was almost shoulder to shoulder with other runners, and only a few feet off other runners. It was almost claustrophobic feeling.

I had to pickup my pace to keep up with the mob. I soon developed a really bad stitch, and I knew I either had to start walking, or change my pace. My main goal was to run the entire distance, so I opted to slow down and to change my breathing. The stitch got worse and worse, but I kept the slow pace and shallow breathing. Eventually it subsided.

I exited the park, and began the downhill back along Dallas road. I passed the cheering section, and heard them again. I knew that I was over half way, so I plodded along. I couldn’t get over the feeling of slowness. Maybe it was the lack of coffee, maybe it was the air temperature, or maybe it was the early time of day. I am still not sure.

As I got closer to the water station my mouth was extremely dry. I decided to not get anything though because I didn’t want my stitch top return. I decided to run through the station, which proved to be a little difficult as most people stopped to get a drink. I dodged my way through, and kept running.

When I got to Fishermans Wharf I decided to pick up my pace. I extended my leg stroke, but within 5 strides I knew I had to return to my previous pace or I wouldn’t be able to complete the run to the finish line. After slowing again I felt better.

Before I knew it I crossed the finish line, and my race was over. Or was it? I quickly discovered I couldn’t just stop running. I had to do a cool down walk so I got my timing chip clipped, then proceeded to walk around for a bit. After a 10 minute walk I had cooled down enough, and felt much better.

I returned to my truck, put on some dry clothes, then made my way back to the finish line to watch her finish.

My finishing time was 46 minutes 49 seconds, but I am not sure what my official time is. My time to the turnaround was 22 minutes 42 seconds, and my time from the turnaround was 24 minutes 07 seconds.