My Infrequently Updated Blog. The web-based journal of M. Forde, computer nerd, endurance athlete, and DeLorean owner


Subscribe to a syndicated feed of my weblog, brought to you by the wonders of RSS.

There's more than one way to view this weblog; try these flavors on for size.

  • index
  • circa 1993
  • Sections

  • main
  • musings
  • running
  • DeLorean
  • code
  • unix
  • album
  • TBM
  • Archives

  • 2022
  • 2021
  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • Disclaimers, Copyrights, Privacy, Etc.

  • ToS
  • Copyrights
  • Links

  • olix0r.net
  • netmeister.org
  • Giraffes
  • Eat. Run. Sleep.

    13 Mar 2018

    Tenth Runniversary
    Today is my tenth runniversary. It's been a decade since I first stepped on that treadmill. Like my first day running, I ran on the treadmill while listening to br\oken. I've had some set backs in my recovery. Not properly rehabilitating the atrophy in the left leg has caused some problems with the muscles around my hip. Listening to my trainer only made it worse. But now I'm taking care of it properly. Like that first day ten years ago, I have a goal I am working toward. This time it is the Dublin Marathon in October. This will be marathon number 13. I don't expect to PR. I think 10 minute miles are a much more reasonable goal at this point, but frankly I'll be happy just to cross that finish line. It's been a long, hard road out of Hell, but God has been by my side and put some amazing people in my life to help me along the way. I have to thank the Giraffes for today. I have to thank the Giraffes for much of my life this last decade. I was heading for an early grave, and they changed that. Giraffes, I thank you from the bottom of my heart and I look forward to running the LTC and many other races with you in the next decade.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    14 Mar 2017

    Ninth Runniversary
    Yesterday was my ninth runniversary. Like my first day running, I ran on the treadmill while listening to Broken. Unlike the first time, I only listened to it once, and covered 4.48 miles during the duration of the EP, thanking God every step of the way.

    I'm confident in knowing that the bone in my ankle has healed completely now; however, I'm still rebuilding the muscle in that ankle and the rest of that leg. There was significant atrophy during the early phases of recovery. Slowly as it may be, I am making progress, and I am thankful for that.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    26 Sep 2016

    Don't Call it a Comeback
    On June fourth, I was running in the Tourne on a trail I first ran twenty years ago, a trail I've run hundreds if not thousands of times before. On that morning, my foot came down on a wet rock at just the wrong angle, slipped just enough and I rolled my ankle. Not only did I roll the joint, I came down on it with enough force to break it; a fact I would learn when I final saw a doctor about it on June ninth.

    No surgery was required, but I was unable to run for three months. I was finally cleared to run. The plan was to start with short distances, about a quarter mile, on a rubberized track then build up from there, moving on to treadmills and eventually roads and trails. I was instructed to spend six months rebuilding my 60 mile per week base.

    On the morning of September 11 (a day I will never forget and a morning that will always make me feel a bit uneasy), I took to the track for the first time. I started by walking a mile. As I finished the fourth lap, I said a prayer, asking God to give me the run I needed and the wisdom to know when to stop. I queued up my playlist: AC\DC's "Back in Black" and LL Cool J's "Mama Said Knock You Out." I took my first stride.

    I've been progressing well in the last two weeks; pushing it on some days, resting when necessary. Though the short, slow distances have been frustrating, it feel good to be running again. Every stride I take I'm reminded of everything I love about the sport.

    It's good to be back.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    03 Jun 2015

    National Running Day ... part 5
    This evening on my second run, I met up with one of the middle school kids I had coached on the cross country team. He was driving (because he's not in middle school anymore) and stopped at an intersection waiting for me to cross. He called out to me, I stopped, and we chatted briefly.

    Although the conversation was brief, I realized that I had left an impression on him, I had made a difference, however small, in his life. And no matter what else happens, nothing can change that.

    Happy National Running Day!

    [/running] [permanent link]

    09 Aug 2013

    WARNING: possible TMI

    I thought I had healed from the chafing left after Saturday's River to Sea Relay... Until I ran in the rain yesterday. To quote a friend, "It feels like someone took a cheese grater to my crotch."

    [/running] [permanent link]

    22 Jul 2013

    Why do I run?
    So, why do I run? Here's one reason:

    [/running] [permanent link]

    30 Apr 2013

    I LOL'ed

    PATIENT: "The problem is that obesity runs in my family."
    DOCTOR: "No, the problem is that no one runs in your family."

    [/running] [permanent link]

    17 Jan 2012

    Races, Races, Races
    I've been busy the last few weeks or so; I've done a few races.

    • On October 30, I ran the Marine Corps Marathon in Arlington, VA and Washington D.C.
    • On November 5, I ran the Beavertown Fall Classic 5K in my hometown.
    • On November 6, I ran the New York City Marathon for the second time.
    • On November 19, I ran the Knickerbocker 60K Ultramarathon in Central Park.
    • On December 3, I ran NJ Winter Trail Series Race #1 Half Marathon in Wayne.
    • On December 10, I ran the NYRR Jingle Bell Jog in Prospect Park.
    • On January 7, I ran the Walt Disney World Half Marathon, part one of Goofy's Race and a Half Challenge.
    • On January 8, I ran the Walt Disney World Marathon, completing the Goofy Challenge.

    In 10 weeks I ran a 5K, a 6K, two Half Marathons, three Marathons, and an Ultramarathon, plus a few training runs in there...

    And last night Wii Fit called me a couch potato.

    In defense of the game, I hadn't used it in 547 days, and I'm now 11 pounds heavier than when I had last used it. It has no way of knowing that the vast majority of that weight gain was lean mass. It also has no way of taking into account all that I've done outside the game.
    Even with that in mind, it's still a little frustrating to be called a couch potato after running a marathon and a half last weekend.

    Each of these races were pretty special. I ran MCM alongside some fairly awesome people; people who I consider to be among my closest friends. In the Beavertown 5K, I somehow managed to take 12th overall and 5th in my age group without really trying.

    At NYC and then at the Knickerbocker, I ran with the friend who got me started running in the first place. I credit him with saving my life, and it was an honor and a pleasure to run with him.

    The trail half was my first trail race (not counting my time on the high school cross country team) and I ran that with a friend I hadn't seen since our days on the high school track & field team (she was a runner, I was thrower). We have both run full marathons in less time than it took us to complete this half.

    The Jingle Bell Jog was a fun race with bells and hot cocoa, and it was the first time I ran alongside my friend and former physics TA. And lastly, I ran the Goofy Challenge alongside another one of my close friends and training partners.

    These races were a lot of fun. Some of the courses were quite amazing to see, and these races were opportunities to spend time with some pretty awesome people.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    18 Apr 2011

    25th Anniversary Lincoln Tunnel Challenge 5K
    Yesterday the Giraffes ran the Lincoln Tunnel Challenge to benefit Special Olympics New Jersey. It was the events 25th anniversary and the Giraffes' third anniversary.

    The weather was much nicer than the previous two years with far less rain than last year and a much milder temperature than the 90+ degrees of two years ago. In fact, the weather outside was ideal for running. The weather inside the tunnel was a few degrees warmer, but still in that ideal range.

    Before the race, I met up with my friend Bobby. He's an athlete who competes in the Special Olympics. We went to school together and were on the Cross Country and Track & Field teams in high school. Back then, he and I were almost always the last two runners to finish at the Cross Country meets. The difference between us was that I was a quitter and he never gave up.

    That first time I ran this race in 2008, I failed to meet my goal 31:26. When I saw Bobby after that race, it made me think back to Cross Country. His determination to never quit was one of the influences that kept me running after that day.

    Back to this year's race...
    After talking to Bobby, I met some other friends from my town who were running (but decided not to register as Giraffes... grrr...). They, as well as the other Giraffes, were running in the second wave at 8:45. It was getting close to the start of the 8:00AM wave, so I parted ways with them and took my place in the starting area. After the standard pre-race speeches, including the announcement that this year's race raised almost $180,000 for SONJ, the gun went off and the race began.

    After a few seconds in the tunnel, my watch lost satellite reception and continued using the footpod while searching for satellites. Because it went back into the open sky search mode, I couldn't see any sort of timing or pacing information on the display. I was running blind, so to speak. Having set a PR of 19:08 in the 5K last month and a previous best of 20:16 for this course, I was hoping to just break 20 minutes. The Lincoln Tunnel is essentially a "V" shape with the second and fourth quarters of the race being uphill.

    During the second half I caught up to another runner I had seen in Weehawken prior to the start of the race. As I approached, he sped up. I said to him, "You're going to make me work for this, aren't you?"

    He replied, "I don't like people passing me. And I'm trying to catch that guy," gesturing to another runner about 50 feet ahead of us.

    I said, "Okay" and started picking up the pace a bit, overtaking the runner who had been in front of us. And I kept going. I started to feel the lactic acid in my left calf. I decided to ignore it. The feeling subsided. As I neared the end of the tunnel, I could hear the announcer calling out the finishing times. I gave it everything I had left, and cross the finish line.

    I stopped my watch and saw my time at 18:57. I knew then there was the possibility I had broken 19 minutes, but it would be close. I'd have to wait for official results. But I was too excited, I had tell someone, so I text'ed a few friends.

    I reconnected with my friends from town and the other giraffes, and told them all to kick ass and chew bubblegum. I watched as their heat started and they all entered the tunnel. I went and picked up my blanket from the registration table and tried to keep warm while I waited and watched my friends finish. It brought a huge smile to my face to see each of them, and especially Bobby, cross the line.

    The Giraffes celebrated another race and another year with our traditional post-race brunch. And the waiting continued...

    The official results were posted late in the afternoon, while I was helping a friend prepare for the flooding we're experiencing for the second time in two months. A friend text'ed just before 5:00PM with

    It was two seconds faster than I thought. It was 13 seconds faster than my previous PR set only last month. I finally broke 19 minutes, and I did it on the same course on which I ran my first race three years ago. I took 16:56 off my time in those three years. I finished 9th in my age group and 33rd overall, and for the seventh time in nine races this year, I set a new PR.

    Damn, it feels good.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    10 Apr 2011

    Scotland 10K 2011
    This morning I ran the NYRR Scotland 10K for the third year in a row. The first time it was cold and raining, and I had food poisoning from eating at the Macaroni Grill the night before. (The Giraffes had a team dinner the night before and 40% of us got sick.) I ran that race at a slower pace than the 15K race a few weeks prior.

    Last year, the morning of the race was unseasonably hot and I was dealing with an ITBS flare-up. I ran that one almost as slowly as the previous year.

    All of the other 10K's I've run were always sub-par compared to my 5K and 15K times. I had never felt like I had a good 10K race. I always felt like I let myself down; like I should be doing better.

    Until today...

    Today's Scotland 10K was the first time I had a good run at this distance. When I set out this morning, my goal was a 6:56 pace, one second per mile better than my PR. Central Park was a bit chilly at about 52 degrees with an overcast sky.

    My team made our plans for meeting afterward and we took our places in the corrals. The gun went off and I started running. As soon as I crossed the starting line I decided I wanted to see how fast I could do this, how fast I could run a 10K. I wanted to see if I could break 40.

    So I ran fast and hard, watching my pace a little too closely at times. After the first mile I was warm and debating whether or not to take off the arm warmers. I decided to wait until later in the race, as one side of the park is usually warmer than the other. At about 2.5 miles I had a weird cramping feeling in the ball of my right foot, but within a few hundred meters the high kicked in and the pain went away. At the halfway point I knew I'd be close to a 40 minute finish if I kept up the pace.

    I kept up the pace until the last mile, then I sped up. I was close to the goal. I was going to make it or die trying. Well, probably not die. More likely vomit or pull a muscle or re-injure the IT-band. But not one of those problems happened. What did happen was I crossed the finish line less than 40 minutes from the time I crossed the starting line.

    For the first time, I had felt good during and after a 10K. I ran the race I wanted and the race I needed. I accomplished what I set out to do and it felt awesome.

    The official results posted a few hours later put me at 39:46, a 6:24/mile pace. This is a faster pace than my current 5 mile and 4 mile PRs. I ran at a 67.5% AG performance rating and finished 318 of 8491.

    I'm pretty pleased with myself...

    [/running] [permanent link]

    23 Mar 2011

    Lincoln Park Triathlon
    This Summer Lincoln Park will hold its first triathlon. More information can be found at www.lincolnparktriathlon.com.

    If you're not quite interested in racing it, we're looking for volunteers to help out that day.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    22 Mar 2011

    WPLJ's NYC Half Marathon Themed Phone Scam
    Yesterday Scott and Todd aired a phone scam related to the NYC Half Marathon. It's available here for now if you haven't heard it.

    I was a little disappointed in the way the guy from the running store responded. He struck me as the kind of guy that looks down on the back-of-the-pack plodders. They're out there doing their best just like the elites and everyone in between; they deserve respect too.

    Other than that, it was a rather funny phone scam; one of the best I've heard in a while.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    27 Feb 2011

    Why does tomorrow have to be Monday?
    Today I decided to be awesome. My friends decided to be awesome too. It was awesome.

    We packed up and drove down to Westfield and ran the CJRRC Hangover 5K. It was supposed to be held January 1, but was rescheduled multiple times due to the weather.

    I ran a PR today finishing in 19:22. I was 4th in my age group and 15th over all.

    My friends ran the race too, all except one who has a broken toe. Everyone was happy with their time and met their goals for the day, ranging from sub-25 to "eh, taking it easy, seeing how it goes..."

    After the race we went cycling. This was my first bike ride outside. I've been working with an indoor trainer for the last few weeks and this was the first time I had been on a bicycle, outside, actually moving, in about 16 or 17 years. My friends have been cycling longer and more recently than I have, so today's 17 mile ride was rather easy for them.

    I was freaking out quite a bit, but they calmed me down, gave me pointers, and just helped me out in general.

    As we rode, I got more comfortable with the bike and I realized comparing this bicycle to my last bicycle is like comparing my DeLorean to my old Mercury Sable. It takes a while to get used to the differences, but once you do it handles far better and offers more control.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    07 Feb 2011

    Look How Far We've Come
    Just under 3 years ago, I started training. That first 5K took about 53 minutes and change. My first race was the 2008 Lincoln Tunnel Challenge, about 6 weeks after I first stepped on the treadmill. My time in that 5K was 35:51, about 11:32 per mile.

    Yesterday I ran the NYRR Gridiron 4 Mile. I finished in 25:47 (6:26 pace), a full ten minutes faster than that first 3.1 miles.

    Last month, I ran the Fred Lebow Classic 5 Mile race in Central Park. I finished that race in 33:09 (6:37 pace), over two minutes faster than that first 5K race.

    I hope this achievement will serve as a testament to the fact that with determination and hard work, anything is possible.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    14 Nov 2010

    2010 New York City Marathon
    One week ago, I ran the New York City Marathon. As noted many times throughout this blog, this race was something I've been working toward since December of 2008. This event was the culmination of nearly two years of hard work and dedication. And it was worth every single mile I've run over the last two years.

    At 9:40, the cannon was fired and the marathon started. Within minutes, I was crossing the starting line and running over the Verrazano Bridge. Not only was I running in the footsteps of the current world record holder and the first American to win New York in 27 years, I was running in the footsteps of legends.

    About three and half hours later, I entered Central Park for the last few miles of the race. I looked around and had the odd sensation that I was home.

    It's difficult to put into words the feelings of that day. Despite having completed three sanctioned marathons prior to this day, crossing the finish line was something I couldn't believe I was actually doing.

    It was absolutely amazing.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    13 Nov 2010

    Pre-Race Thoughts
    Last Saturday, I sent a letter to the Giraffes mailing list. I've decided to post here.

    In March of 2008, Brian told me I was running a 5K with The Giraffes. He didn't ask and he didn't give me a choice. Two days later I got off the couch, got on the treadmill, and started running. Six weeks later I ran my first race with this team. This team saved my life that day.

    Nine months later and a hundred and one pounds lighter, I got this crazy idea in my head. I decided I was going to run a marathon. I thought, if I'm going to run a marathon, I'm going to run the biggest marathon in the world. I'm going to run the New York City Marathon.

    I did some quick research about how to get in and found the 9+1 qualifying method. A couple of days later, I told Brian I was going to spend 2009 working toward guaranteed entry for the 2010 NYC Marathon. Almost immediately, he sent out an email to The Giraffes saying, "Mike and I are doing this and so are you." I'm paraphrasing, although it was quite close to that.

    So on January 10, 2009, five of us piled into the car and drove to Central Park on a frigid Saturday morning and began our journey with the Fred Lebow Classic.

    We continued to run, and picked up some new members along the way. Some with an impressive history of ultramarathons, and some just starting out.

    Those of us who first set out that day in January reached our goal and qualified for NYC 2010.

    At some point we decided we should run a marathon prior to NY, to get an idea of what we were really getting into. We chose Philadelphia, and for several Giraffes that day, it was our first. It was the day we joined the ranks of the one tenth of one percent of the population who can call themselves marathoners.

    While training for Philly, I fell in with a group of runners from my hometown and began running with them. At first it was short runs during a 5K training program they were running, but soon thereafter, they began including me in their longer training runs on the weekends. They introduced me to a number of other runners. Eventually I convinced (most of) them to sign up for the Giraffes mailing list.

    For the past two years, I've run with these people, the original Giraffes and the runners who have joined us along the way. And through it all, this team is what has kept me going. Through inspiration, through motivation, through friendships, through training runs and races, you've kept me going. You have been my support system.

    And now I sit here on the eve of the New York City Marathon, less than 24 hours from the start of the race, less than 24 hours from realizing our goal we set for ourselves so long ago.

    To all of you who have been with me for this journey in some way, shape or form... To those who got the team started and pulled me in, to those who saved my life... To those who persevered through qualifying races under grueling weather conditions with me... To those who got food poisoning with me from Macaroni Grill the night before the Scotland Run 10K... To those who got me through the last 5K of Philly... To those who made the 22+ mile training runs a little more bearable at the end... To those who have shown their support in any way they could...

    I offer you my eternal gratitude. I would not be where I am today without all of you. I love you all.

    One final note. To those of you joining me in tomorrow's running of the New York City Marathon... Kick ass and chew bubble gum.

    M. Forde
    "Running never takes more than it gives back."

    [/running] [permanent link]

    30 Oct 2010

    It's been a while...
    I haven't updated this blog in quite some time. A lot has happened since the last post.

    First and foremost, I spent about two months volunteering as the Cross Country team's coach for the local Middle School. Due to budget cuts, all athletics programs were cut. The local Police Athletic League stepped up and volunteered to take over the programs. Many of the teachers who have coached in previous years did not want to do so now, so the PAL went looking for volunteers within the community.

    A friend of mine with whom I train put me in contact with the PAL and after an application and vetting process, I became a Rutgers Certified coach and began my duties.

    The team was relatively small, seventeen boys and six girls. Having never really worked with kids before, I was glad that this year's team was half the size of last year's; however I was still apprehensive about working twenty-three middle-schoolers. Thankfully, several parents helped me throughout the season. One in particular was there with me for almost every practice and every meet.

    I tried to emulate the aspects of my middle and high school coaches that I thought worked, and tried different approaches in an attempt to avoid the aspects I had never liked. I wanted to motivate and inspire these kids.

    I told them about my history as a runner: my experience in 8th, 9th, and 10th grade, my first 53-minute 5K on the treadmill in March of 2008, my marathons, my personal records, and my improvements over the last two years. I told them I would never make them do any thing I wouldn't do myself in training. And I ran with them. Whether the day's training was 100 and 200 meter repeats, running the course, "time on feet" running, or fartlek's, I ran along side them.

    During one session I was catching up to the lead group, the fastest of the 7th and 8th graders, and asked, "Are you really going to let an old man with bruised ribs keep up with you?" One of them turned and said, without breaking pace, "You're not that old and you run marathons."

    During the Cross Country season, in the last six weeks or so I've run a few races and set a few PRs. On September 19, I ran the Marathon Tune-Up 18 mile in Central Park. I set a new 18-mile PR at 2:27:34, taking 18:56 off my time from last year. Also of note, I didn't end up in medical being treated for hypothermia this year.

    The following week I ran the 5th Ave Mile. I shaved 9 seconds off from last year's race and 3 seconds off my previous best in training. My new mile PR is 5:25.

    About 2 weeks later I ran the Hartford Marathon. My friend and I got there very late the night before the race. Because we were stuck in traffic for about four and a half hours, my friend missed the on-site registration. He debated what to do while we went to dinner at a local tavern. I promptly felt sick after eating.

    The next morning we got and got ready to run. I still felt sick from the night before and threw up the previous night's meal shortly before we went to the registration packet pickup. I got my bib and timing chip and my friend failed to convince the race officials to let him enter. When he asked, "can I run unsanctioned?" the response of the somewhat sympathetic official was, "I can't tell you that you can." So my friend decided to run unsanctioned. After all, no one said he couldn't.

    We lined up in the corral. Despite the way I felt, I knew I had to go out there and run my best marathon. I had told the Cross Country team what Prefontaine had said, "To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift." I had to go out there and try to PR. But as Yoda said, "Do or do not; there is no try."

    I started the race keeping the 3:45 pace group in my sights. My friend kept along side me for the first three miles then fell back a bit. I had some conversations with two runners in the pace group, Gavasker, the pacer, and Jen, a woman who was looking to BQ. I kept with them the whole way and finished in 3:43:32.

    Unbeknownst to me at the time, my friend dropped out at mile 8 and made his way back to the start/finish area. He was there at the finish line, waiting for me as I crossed the line just ahead of Jen who BQ'd with 2 minutes to spare.

    The next morning I went out with some other friends and ended up running another 24 miles putting me at 50 miles for the weekend. Monday evening I ran in a charity 5K with another friend, and then took a few days off.

    Since then, the Cross Country season has ended. They had their last meet, a few more days of practice, and then this past Wednesday they had team photos followed by an end-of-season pizza party.

    At the party the kids presented me with a plaque to say "thank you." I damn near cried when I unwrapped it and saw the photo taken at one of our practices. But if anyone asks, I'll deny that part.


    The 6th and 7th graders also asked me to come back and coach next year. During and since the season, I've run across some of the kids in town. Every time, they come up to me and say, "Hey coach!" And that means the world to me. It makes me think I've succeeded, that there's a possibility I've inspired them to keep running. Hopefully they'll love running as much as I do, if not more.

    I've encouraged the kids to enter our town's annual 5K next weekend and several of them have signed up. I'm looking forward to running with them again.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    31 Jul 2010

    If my calculations are correct...
    Over the course of the last two years and four months, I've changed considerably both mentally and physically. I lost 108lbs and then put on 6 while marathon training. This 6lbs was purely lean mass (muscle, bone density) and I'm now at about 6% body fat.

    Running is known to increase bone density, and the various forms of exercise I use in my training increased my muscle mass as well throughout this transformation. I've been curious to know just how much fat I lost.

    If my calculations are correct, throughout this process I lost 123.96 pounds of fat and gained 21.96 pounds of bone and muscle resulting in my current net loss of 102lbs.

    Why is this filed under the Running section? Because running was what enabled this transformation to happen.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    26 Jul 2010

    Damn, it feels good to be a gangsta..
    After I finished my run tonight, still in my soaked running gear, I walked directly to local grocery store for chocolate syrup and had the following conversation with the woman at the check out counter.

    her: Over ice cream or chocolate milk.
    me: Chocolate milk.
    her: Nothing hits the spot like a cold glass of chocolate milk.
    me: Especially after a long run.
    her: How far did you run tonight?
    me: Half marathon. My third in three days.
    her: God bless you. God bless you.

    Then, as I walked away she said, "Nice legs."
    "Thanks. I've worked hard for those."

    [/running] [permanent link]

    02 May 2010

    2010 New Jersey Marathon
    I was registered for today's NJ Marathon in Long Branch. I lost a few weeks in training due to some IT-band issues, and earlier this week was stricken with a bout of bronchitis.

    I got down there today, and 30 minutes before the race start I did a quick quarter mile and decided I wasn't over the bronchitis enough to run a marathon today. It was difficult for me to be there as the race started, watching my chance at reaching my goals disappear. As the morning went on and clouds disappeared and the temperature rose, my thoughts changed.

    Not running today was probably the best and hardest decision I've made in a while. Often the right choices in life are not the easiest to choose, no matter the circumstances.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    22 Mar 2010

    2010 NYC Half Marathon
    Yesterday was my best half marathon yet. As I stood in the corral waiting for the race to start, the chill in the air was a welcome change from the heat and humidity of last year's race. The decision to move the race from August to March was a good one. The course is definitely a fun one. It starts with an 8 mile loop around Central Park before exiting onto 7th Avenue. From there, the route goes to 42nd street, through Times Square, and out to the West Side Highway where the course finishes near Battery Park.

    I started out with the goal of beating my time from last year. As long as I did better than 1:51:49, I'd be happy. I was hoping I'd finish within a minute or two of the half marathon PR I set back in January, but I wasn't counting on it.

    As I ran I looked at the split times, and roughly gauged how I was doing, trying to stay on target for something close to 1:37 finish, but primarily making sure I was doing better than last year's 1:51. At mile 8, just before exiting Central Park to head to Times Square, the clock time was about 59 minutes. I realized that the winner of the race was about to finish, if he hadn't already, and I hadn't even made it out of the park.

    This year's splits were much better than last year's.


    This is the first time I've run negative splits. What really amazes me is that not only was the second half faster, but every 5K split was faster than the previous. There was an excitement exiting the park. There was an amazing rush turning the corner onto 42nd street. The crowds were great, cheering every runner as we passed by.I remember around the mile 11 marker realizing I had a chance to PR, estimating my time at about 1:36, and picking up the pace a bit. I started passing people left and right. One runner saw me and yelled, "Go, man! Go!"

    Out of about 15 to 16 thousand people that signed up, 11,493 finished. I finished in 895th place; far, far, behind the winner who took home $20,000.

    Universal Sports had a live telecast of the event. I set the DVR to record it before I left, but I haven't had a chance to watch it yet. It likely focused primarily on the professionals who ran, including the Marathon world record holder, Haile Gebrselassie.

    This was a great race on a great day.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    12 Mar 2010

    Coogan's 5K - Update
    Officially I ran my best 5K to date. I finished in 19:41 averaging 6:20 per mile.

    It was a rather hilly course, starting at 173rd and running up to the Cloisters. After circling the museum, the same route was taken back to 173rd.

    On Saturday I said I was going to PR. I was told that was a bit a of a lofty goal given how hilly the course was. Sunday morning I woke up with a bit of discomfort after gorging on sushi the night before and thought I might not do well.

    As I stood in the corral, those feelings changed. I knew I was going to PR. And I did.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    07 Mar 2010

    Coogan's 5K
    Unofficially I just PR'd at 19:44.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    21 Feb 2010

    Run for Haiti
    Yesterday I posted on the mobile section that I had finished the race coming in number 256 of 8704. The statistics have been updated and I need to post a correction. I finished number 266 of 9421 at a time of 27:17.

    This was of course about a minute slower than the Grid Iron classic where I PR'd, but I finished in the top 2.8% this time.

    Yesterday's race raised over $400,000 for the relief effort in Haiti, with over 10,000 people registering and making donations.

    Yesterday's race was also the first time I had run in a week. Last Saturday (February 13) I ran 31.73 miles. With the upcoming race schedule and training for the New Jersey and Pocono Marathons in May, I figured it would be best to actually rest.

    It felt good to run again. I missed it.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    02 Feb 2010

    On sunday I ran...
    27.22 miles because I felt like it.

    I woke up Sunday morning, ran some errands, and then met a friend for a run. While I was waiting for him, I ran a one mile warm-up. Then he and I set out and ran a half marathon.

    I felt pretty good afterward, so a little while later I set out to do another 10K. That 10K turned into an 8.4 mile hill work out.

    I realized I was only about four miles shy of a marathon at that point and I still felt really good. After a short break I went out one more time. Four and a half miles later, I was back home and had logged the most miles in a single day that I had ever done, breaking my previous record by a mile.

    It felt absolutely amazing.

    Can every body feel like I do? Can't you can't you trip like I do?

    [/running] [permanent link]


    My Infrequently Updated Blog. The web-based journal of M. Forde, computer nerd, endurance athlete, and DeLorean owner


    Subscribe to a syndicated feed of my weblog, brought to you by the wonders of RSS.

    There's more than one way to view this weblog; try these flavors on for size.

  • index
  • circa 1993
  • Sections

  • main
  • musings
  • running
  • DeLorean
  • code
  • unix
  • album
  • TBM
  • Archives

  • 2022
  • 2021
  • 2020
  • 2019
  • 2018
  • 2017
  • 2016
  • 2015
  • 2014
  • 2013
  • 2012
  • 2011
  • 2010
  • 2009
  • 2008
  • 2007
  • Disclaimers, Copyrights, Privacy, Etc.

  • ToS
  • Copyrights
  • Links

  • olix0r.net
  • netmeister.org
  • Giraffes
  • Eat. Run. Sleep.

    26 Dec 2008

    An Awesome Christmas Present
    I waited until to today to verify that it wasn't just a random occurrence. I checked again this morning and it was the same as yesterday.

    I gave myself one of the best Christmas presents I've ever received. It took me about nine months to accomplish it, but I gave myself a new body, and more positive perspective on life.

    As of yesterday, I have lost 101 pounds (45.8Kg for those of you who prefer the metric system) and over nine inches (22.86 cm) from my waistline.

    A friend of mine told me tonight that, her doctor had told her recently that people can live much better lives, with fewer ailments, if they just made simple life changes. She said that having watched me over the last year transform my body, my mind, and my life, she found me to be a good model for positive changes people can make in their lives. As much as hitting the century mark meant to me, her words meant even more.

    I've been thinking about this for a while and I think I'm going to become a motivational speaker. I want to help people change their lives for the better.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    24 Dec 2008

    Season's Greetings
    To my Democrat friends:

    Please accept (with no obligation, implied or implicit) best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday,practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. We also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2009, with due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great (This is not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country, nor that America is the only country in the Western Hemisphere), and without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wishes. By accepting these greetings, you are accepting these terms. This greeting is subject to clarification or withdrawal. It is freely transferable with no alteration to the original greeting. It implies no promise by the wisher to actually implement any of the wishes for himself, herself, or others. This greeting is void where prohibited by law and is revocable at the sole discretion of the wisher. This wish is warranted to perform as expected within the usual application of good tidings for a period of one year or until the issuance of a subsequent holiday greeting, whichever comes first, and warranty is limited to replacement of this wish or issuance of a new wish at the sole discretion of the wisher.

    To my Republican friends:

    Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    19 Dec 2008

    A Strange Encounter
    Yesterday morning at work I was walking back to my cubical from the cafeteria with a bottle of water in my hand and a woman from another department stopped me in the corridor.

    She said (roughly), "I've seen you over the last few months and you've lost a lot of weight and I just wanted to tell you you look great."

    To which I replied (roughly), "Thank you," and I smiled.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    It's snowing!
    Okay, it's not snowing right now, but it was earlier. I took some vacation time and cut out of work early today. I spent an hour and a half driving 11 miles home. By time I got home the snow was already 3 to 4 inches deep and still coming down.

    So what did I do? I put on my normal cold weather running gear, put on sweat pants and a sweat shirt over that, and took off running.

    After the first mile, I was a lot warmer than I thought I'd be. There was a big difference between running today at 28F and running last week at 20F. I took off the sweat shirt and continued running. Along the way I got a lot of strange looks from people shoveling their driveways, but I suppose that is to be expected.

    I ran about 6K and while it wasn't my best run, it was good fun.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    06 Dec 2008

    Coding Soundtrack
    Two albums that are great for background music while coding:

    • The Matrix Soundtrack
    • Spawn: The Album

    The industrial/metal/techno mix on these two just fades into the background. The music is repetitive enough to not require direct attention, but not so repetitive that it draws attention to itself.

    If anyone has any other good suggestions for background music while coding, I'd love to hear them.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    05 Nov 2008

    On Saturday I ran in the Beavertown 5K Fall Classic. The run took place in near my home, so I ran the two miles to the registration location. About a half hour after I signed in, the 5K started. Once I finished, I ran the I ran the (roughly) two and a half miles back home.

    I did much better than in my previous 5K runs this year. I took almost 12 and half minutes off my time from the Lincoln Tunnel 5K, and over 4 minutes from my previous best.

    I think a lot of the improvement in the shorter distances can be attributed to the fact that I've been training on longer distances lately. In the past two months I've been running about eight to ten miles each day.

    A few weeks ago I ran my first half marathon distance. About 10 days ago I ran 20 miles, and took 15 minutes off my time in the half marathon. I promptly fell apart after that and my pace slowed dramatically.

    Yesterday I attempted another 20 miles and did not fall apart completely after the first 13. I made it to the 15 mile mark before I had any problems. I managed to finish the run and take a half hour off my previous time.

    [/running] [permanent link]

    29 Oct 2008 27 Oct 2008

    BSD v. GPL
    Jason Dixon gave a talk at this year's NYCBSDCon entitled "BSD v. GPL (a.k.a. not the sequel to "BSD is Dying")." It's a humorous look at the differences between the licenses and their supporters. Despite the humor, he made some good points.

    You can find a copy of the presentation at The Dixon Group website.

    [/unix] [permanent link]

    13 Oct 2008

    Over the past few weeks, I've been running longer loops than I used to. While out and about on these loops, I often come across other runners. There are a few who I see frequently, and others I see not quite as often. Some have obviously been running for quite a long time while others seem to be just starting out.

    One thing I've noticed is that almost all of these people will wave to other runners as they pass each other. It's like when two motorcycles pass each other on the highway, or when a corvette driver sees another on the road.

    There's a feeling on camaraderie; a feeling that, despite having never spoken to any of these people, we share a bond.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    17 Sep 2008

    The other night I installed mailman on my server. I integrated it into the apache configuration and restarted that. The mailman web interface became available as expected.

    I used the web interface to subscribe to the one list I had set up and I received an email asking me to confirm my subscription. I went to the included link, and all seemed to be good.

    Another person joined the list successfully, then sent an email to the list. This email never arrived in her inbox. She told me about it, and I checked only to find I did not have a copy either. I sent a mail to the list and promptly received a message saying that [listname] was not a valid recipient at the domain.

    That's when I realized I had forgotten to tell the mail server (postfix) about mailman. I had told apache about mailman, and mailman about postfix, but not postfix about mailman.

    I used mailman to create an alias database for its single list, then updated postfix's configuration to use that as one of its alias maps. All seems to be working now.

    In conclusion, I learned two things. One is always test your configuration before telling people it's ready. The other is, "I'm an idiot."

    [/unix] [permanent link]

    31 Aug 2008


    "You need strong emotion, whether it's fiery or depressed, an extreme state of mind. I think in any art form it's the case." -- Daniel Ash

    Maybe it's my lack of experience. Maybe it's my lack of talent. I tried to sit down and write music for the song known as Ravage in the new naming scheme, but I failed miserably. When I try to force it, like I did tonight, nothing comes out right. I have ideas, I can hear them in my head, but without that inspiration, without that emotion, nothing I produce sounds right.

    I've been too happy recently and it's destroyed my creativity. I get the urge, I have the inspiration, to write when I feel negative emotions. I need anger; I need depression. It is in dealing with these emotions that I am able to write.

    I have tried several times to force myself to feel this way. This usually buys me a few minutes in which I can write, but it often fails. Because the emotions are artificial, the results are mediocre at best.

    I find this situation to be quite frustrating. I want to move forward with this album, but without that inspiration I am unable to do anything.

    In the meantime, I'm slowly teaching myself to play guitar and, to a much lesser extent, a keyboard-style synthesizer. I've also been going through materials my music teacher friend gave me to learn some basic music theory. Hopefully once I find that needed inspiration, or find a way to work without being angry or depressed, this new knowledge will make things easier.

    [/album] [permanent link]

    29 Aug 2008

    On August 27th, I attended the Nine Inch Nails concert in East Rutherford, NJ held at the arena. I think I enjoyed it.

    I ordered a pair of tickets through nin.com during the presale. Tickets went on sale at 5:00PM, I managed to get through by 5:05 and ended up with two tickets for Section 121, Row 8, opting not to purchase floor seats. I went with a friend with whom I've attended a number of concerts, including the Bauhaus/NIN show at PNC Arts Center in 2006.

    As per the terms of the nin.com presale, we had to pick up the tickets at the venue. Because of this fact, and the massive amount of pointless and unnecessary construction at the Meadowlands, we decided it would be best to get there early.

    My friend took the night off from work and I picked him up at his apartment after I got out of work. We grabbed a quick meal at a nearby Wendy's (which I'm still paying for...) and then headed over to the arena.

    We arrived around 5:30PM, about two hours before the show. We asked one of the security staff if the box office was open because we had tickets waiting at Will Call. He informed us that the box office opened several hours prior and we could pick up our tickets.

    We headed toward the box office and found a long line. We waited for a few minutes and noticed that the line had not moved at all. Figuring that a line for Will Call would be moving slightly faster than not-at-all, I went to investigate while my friend saved our place in line.

    After a short walk I found another line marked by a sign reading "NIN.COM PRESALE TICKET HOLDERS." I asked the event staff member near the line if that was the line to pick up the tickets. He explained the procedure to me.

    I went and got my friend from the other line and explained to him what the staff had just told me. He then waited outside while I walked into the box office, passing event staff who asked if I was picking up the presale tickets. Inside, another staff member indicated I could pick up the tickets on line 13 or 14. I picked up the tickets, went back outside and we got on line. The staff member who had explained the procedure to me came over to us, checked our tickets, and gave us wrist bands.

    A little while later, just before the gates were set to open, another staff member came down the line checking people's tickets. He looked at ours, cut off our wrist bands, and told us to skip the line and enter the arena through the box office lobby. It seems people with lower section tickets were let in while people with General Admission floor tickets remained on the line.

    Once inside the door, we waited on another line for about 30 seconds to have our tickets scanned for entry into the arena. On the other side of the turnstile, an escalator brought us up to the main floor. We walked around realizing we came in almost directly opposite our section. We stopped at one of the entry ways to have a look at the stage. The staff member at the entry asked to see our tickets. We told him we were on the other side but just wanted to take a quick look at the stage. He had no problem with this. I asked him if he new what time the opening act would be start and he replied, "7:30." I then asked if he knew what time Nine Inch Nails would go on. He took a piece of paper from his pocket, unfolded it, then said, "They'll be on from 8:40 to 10:55." I thanked him and we moved on. We found our section and went down to our seats.

    It turns out that row 8 is actually row 3. We were at the level of the stage and about a hundred feet away. We were angled enough to have a view of almost the entire stage (the lights on the stage right we facing away from us).

    After that we then decided to walk around for a while since we had quite a while until the openers started.

    I stopped and purchased an overpriced souvenir t-shirt at one of the merchandise stands. I should have gotten it a size smaller than I did. I'm still not used to not being overweight. We stopped at a concession stand and payed way too much for water, then did a few more laps around the arena. Finally we went back to our seats.

    At 7:30 the opening act, Does it Offend You, Yeah?, took the stage. They were pretty good. I enjoyed their music despite having heard only one song prior to that evening. It was hard to hear their vocals because the gain on the microphones seemed to be a lot lower than it should have been, especially while they were playing. They thanked the crowd for not booing. When the announced that their next song would be their last for the evening, people cheered. The guitarist quickly replied, "Thank you to all the people who cheered because they like us."

    I was fairly impressed by their set and wish it had been a little bit longer, maybe another song or two.

    At 8:45 Nine Inch Nails took the stage as 999,999 played. As soon as it ended, 1,000,000 started. The continued with a few more songs from The Slip. After Discipline, the band tore into March of the Pigs. The crowd exploded.

    The band made extensive use of three screens, which could be raised and lowered, throughout the night. During The Warning and Vessel, the screen to the front of the stage obscured most of the stage as the instruments used for the almost-acoustic Ghosts set were set up. Justin Meldal-Johnsen played a bass violin during the Ghosts set, which included a new rendition of Piggy.

    After that part of the evening's set, the front screen was used again to hide the stage as the instruments were removed during the next song, which featured an animation set to the music and live video of Trent Reznor being processed on-the-fly to distort his image. I think the only way to describe the processed video is to say it looked like white noise in the shape of a person's face.

    At the end of that song the screen turned completely blue. As Pinion played, the screen's lights were turned off in a rather unique way until the screen did little to obscure the band. The screen was raised quickly as the band tore into Wish, followed quickly by the classic Terrible Lie.

    The entire 31 song set, including the five song obligatory encore was about 2 hours and 15 minutes. It was an amazing show. The set highlighted the musical ability and range of the performers and featured songs from all of NIN's major releases. The visual element of the show was well thought out and very well executed, adding to the music rather than distracting from it.

    I took a few pictures using the low-res camera built into my phone. There is one of the stage, the foremost screen, and Trent during Hurt.


    • 999,999
    • 1,000,000
    • Letting You
    • Discipline
    • March of the Pigs
    • Head Down
    • The Frail
    • Reptile
    • Closer
    • Gave Up
    • The Warning
    • Vessel
    • 5 Ghosts I
    • 17 Ghosts II
    • 19 Ghosts III
    • Ghosts Piggy
    • The Greater Good
    • Pinion
    • Wish
    • Terrible Lie
    • Survivalism
    • The Big Come Down
    • 31 Ghosts IV
    • Only
    • The Hand That Feeds
    • Head Like a Hole
    • - Encore -
    • Echoplex
    • God Given
    • The Good Soldier
    • Hurt
    • In This Twilight

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    26 Aug 2008


    There's nothing terribly wrong with feeling lost, so long as that feeling precedes some plan on your part to actually do something about it. Too often a person grows complacent with their disillusionment, perpetually wearing their "discomfort" like a favorite shirt. I can't say that I'm very pleased with where my life is just now... But I can't help but look forward to where it's going.

    -- Jhonen Vasquez, "Johnny the Homicidal Maniac: Director's Cut"

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    The DNC Hates Unix Users Pt 2
    Looking through this script, it appears that DNC is relying on Microsoft's Silverlight plugin. Currently, this browser plugin is supported for a limited selection of browsers on a limited selection of operating systems. A relatively complete list of supported platforms can be found here.

    Knowing full well how limited the support for this technology, the DNC still decided this was the best solution.

    I hope the RNC will use technologies that are more cross-platform than this. Currently the video available at their site is based on Flash. While Flash support is a bit shaky outside of Windows and Mac OS, it is supported in Unix.

    [/politics] [permanent link]

    25 Aug 2008

    The DNC Hates Unix Users
    Just confirming the Slashdot story (http://news.slashdot.org/news/08/08/25/229210.shtml):

    We're sorry, but the Democratic Convention video web site isn't compatible with your operating system and/or browser. Please try again on a computer with the following: Compatible operating systems: Windows XP SP2, Windows Vista, or a Mac with Tiger (OS 10.4) or Leopard (OS 10.5). Compatible browsers: Internet Explorer (version 6 or later), Firefox (version 2), or, if you are on a Mac, Safari (version 3.1) also works.

    My User Agent string is currently "Mozilla/5.0 (X11; U; FreeBSD i386; en-US; rv: Gecko/20070527 Firefox/"

    So not only does the Vice Presidential nominee want to expand the powers of the DMCA, the entire party wants to prevent Unix users from obtaining information.

    [/politics] [permanent link]

    18 Aug 2008

    FreeBSD 7 SATA Weirdness
    Over the weekend I installed the x86-64 build of FreeBSD 7 on my workstation, dib. I haven't had time yet to configure everything to my liking yet, but almost everything works.

    The one really annoying issue centers around a SATA DVD burner. When this device is attached to the primary SATA controller (ICH7), the system refuses to boot from the hard drive. It reports that no system disk has been found. I've tried all of the SATA settings options in the BIOS and none work.

    If I connect the SATA burner to the secondary Marvell "RAID" controller the system boots from the hard drive without issue. In Windows, this requires another driver (which for some reason installed a copy of apache along with it). Under FreeBSD 7; however, this second controller seems to be currently unsupported, leaving me with only the IDE burner available.

    I may spend the $20 and get another IDE burner and just forget about the SATA issue, but I really would like to know what the problem is. If any one has any idea why the system would fail to boot from a SATA hard drive when a SATA optical drive is attached, please email me and give me some insight into this issue. Maybe the Unix category wasn't the best for this. I spent more time discussing the hardware/BIOS weirdness than the installation or configuration of FreeBSD7. In fact, FreeBSD 7 isn't a very good title for this either. I'm going to change that.

    [/unix] [permanent link]

    15 Aug 2008

    A little less evil
    Another posting on Slashdot reports that YouTube (owned by Google) contacted the IOC concerning the take down notice recently filed. After being contacted, the IOC backed down. YouTube (owned by Google) restored the video.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    12 Aug 2008

    Don't be evil?
    There's a story over on slashdot about the International Olympic Committee demanding YouTube (owned by Google) remove a video of a Free Tibet protest. Of course YouTube (owned by Google) removed the video immediately.

    The video of the protest was filmed in New York, because the protest was in New York near the Chinese Consulate. Last time I checked, which granted was a while ago, New York was in the United States. Also the last time I checked, we had the right to free speech in this country.

    Maybe I'm ignorant. Maybe I'm just dumb. To me, this sounds like the IOC and Google denying the protesters their freedom of speech.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    Cuban Pete's
    Last night I went to dinner with some friends. After debating for a while, we finally decided on Cuban Pete's on Bloomfield Ave. in Montclair.

    We arrived and the restaurant was a little crowded, but the three of us were seated in the outdoor dining area rather quickly. The weather at the time was nice, with clear skies and a comfortable temperature in the mid- to upper-seventies; beautiful Autumn weather.

    We looked over the menus and made our decisions and then waited. And waited. And waited a little more. Eventually our waiter, Miguel, came over to the table and took our order. My one friend attempted to order the breaded steak. Miguel quickly said, "You don't want that. It's not very good." My friend took his advise and ordered something else instead. After Miguel took our order he quickly came back with our drinks.

    We then waited. And waited. And waited some more. After about 25 minutes, the tapas we had ordered as appetizers finally came out. We split orders of chicken empanadas, beef empanadas, fish fritatas, and goat cheese fritters. All of these were quite tasty in my opinion and only to make us hungrier. At this point we had arrived at the restaurant a little over an hour prior.

    As we waited for our entrees, the sun set and the air became rather cold for August. Eventually our food arrived. We were all very hungry at this point and starting to run short on time as well.

    The food was all quite good. One friend had a Cuban burger made from beef and pork served with potato sticks. He said he liked the burger a lot, but the roll left a lot to be desired. My other friend and I both ordered the marinated skirt steak. The steaks were served with rice, black beans, and fried plantains. All of the side dishes were good. I was less than thrilled with the plantains, but then again, I've never really liked plantains. My friend liked her plantains even less than I did. The steak was quite good and the best I've had in a very long time; however, it was the first steak I've had in several months.

    As we were finishing our meals, it began to rain. Apparently some clouds rolled in as the sun was setting. We quickly finished the last few bites and we ran inside. We got our bill from Miguel, paid, and headed back to the car while the rain was still just a drizzle.

    Overall, I enjoyed the evening. The food was good. Miguel was friendly. The service was a little slow. We were there for a good two hours, an hour and a half of that waiting for our meals. On yelp.com there's more details of other people's experiences at Cuban Pete's; a lot of them more opinionated than mine. Some people loved it, others hated it. I thought it was okay. I'd like to go there again, when I have three or four hours to sit and wait for food. I've heard good things about the paella there and I'd like to try it.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    09 Aug 2008

    Revision Control
    One could argue that this should be filed under the Unix category, but this post is more about the album than it is about the Concurrent Versions System.

    Friday night I created a CVS repository on this server to manage album related files. After discussing it with rskutins, we agreed on several key points.

    First, with changes being made a little more frequently than before, it would be best to have some way to track what was going on, and to be able to roll back to a previous version if the changes don't quite work out. Second, we wanted to have a way to organize several files for each song, for instance, lyrics, notes, bass tabs, drum tabs, etc. Last, and maybe the most important reason for the reorganization, we wanted to move away from the numbering scheme that was in place. Each song was numbered from 0 to 17. This was fine until we realized 11 was likely to be the first track on the album.

    Now the album is stored in a CVS repository. This will keep a version history of each file, allow us to simultaneously work on parts of the album, and merge our changes.

    Within this repository we now have a tree structure where each song has its own directory. The directory will hold any and all files related to that song. In an effort to move away from the numbering scheme, an arbitrary naming convention was mutually agreed upon. The songs are now known by names such as Soundwave, Ravage, Frenzy, and Rumble.

    The album is starting to come together. I feel motivated to work on it and recently I've found myself inspired to write. Now if only I had time.

    Omlette listened to the Accidental Mix I posted (of the song now known as Soundwave) and gave me some feedback.

    It sounded ominous. I don't know how else to describe it since I'm not familiar w/ either artist. Oh wait. Were you mixing your own stuff?
    Ominous seems like it could be a good thing given the current direction of the album.

    If anyone else takes the time to listen to it, I'd appreciate any comments or suggestions. If you don't have it, my contact information is on this page.

    [/album] [permanent link]

    08 Aug 2008

    Another Demo Update
    Two weeks! Ha! It's been closer to two months.

    A few days ago I had some time so I sat down with the ProTools set up again. After considering some advice from jlight, I decided to record a second track of the bass line. I decided to use my Yamaha for the second track, as I had used my Fender for the original recording back in June. The two instruments have different characteristics in their sounds and the two playing together seems to add a "fullness" to the sound.

    So all I had to do was record 24 seconds of bass and put together a mix. This should take, what, 15 minutes? It took 45 just to record. Once again ProTools repeatedly crashed. When it wasn't crashing, it would report an error and stop recording. Does anyone know if there are updates for ProTools LE 7.1 that will fix this issue? As it stands now, I can't run ProTools for more than a few seconds without disabling multi-core support on my CPU. I have multiple processors. It is a multi-threaded application. It should run better... But I'll save this for that upcoming ProTools rant I keep promising.

    Anyway, after about an hour and fifteen minutes, I got two mixes complete. One of them was accidental and sounds, "interesting." The other is closer to what I had in mind. While I wait for feedback on the actual mix from certain people, everyone is free to enjoy the accidental mix found here.

    If anyone actually listens to it, I'd be happy to accept any comments and criticism.

    [/album] [permanent link]

    06 Aug 2008

    A number of years ago, Stephen Bloom taught CS115 at Stevens Institute of Technology. Any one familiar with his teaching style is well aware of how "animated" he can be in class. In this particular course, one student made some recordings of the lectures.

    Copies circulated around campus, but over time these recordings became harder to find. In an effort to preserve a piece of history, I present to you The Bloom MP3s.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    18 Jul 2008

    Yet Another Charity 5K
    On August 4th I will be participating in Hoboken's 17th Annual 5K Run/Walk Against Crime & Drugs.

    Some police officers told me about the run on Tuesday after I finished the Party With Purpose run. They said the money raised would be donated to various Veterans' organizations.

    This run in August will be the same course as this week's, a map of which can be found here. I enjoyed the course. It was rather flat (especially compared to the Lincoln Tunnel Run) and there was a nice breeze coming off the Hudson.

    I urge any and all of you who will be in the area to participate in the event. More information can be found at Active.com.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    15 Jul 2008

    5K Run for Charity
    I have entered a 5K run sponsored by Party With Purpose. The run is tonight in Hoboken and all donations are going to the Hoboken Boys and Girls Club.

    Registration starts at 5:30PM and the run begins at 7:00PM on Pier A.

    For more information, including info about making donations, please visit www.partywithpurpose.org.

    Thank you.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    29 Jun 2008

    Happy Birthday

    Friday night was the Birthday Massacre/Mindless Self Indulgence show. Due to various circumstances and events, my friends and I made it to the venue just in time to see the last 3 minutes of TBM's set.

    I made an attempt to see The Birthday Massacre last August in new York but that attempt failed due to prior commitments. So for two years in a row I tried to see them, and for two years in a row I failed. Sorta.

    After seeing the last 3 minutes of the set and being very disappointed, I went over to the merchandise booth to buy a souvenir T-shirt. My friend James joined me and we, mostly James because of his gregarious nature, started a conversation with the guy at the counter, whose name was Zimmy. We told him what had happened and asked if there was any chance of catching the band as their equipment was being packed up.

    He told us their gear had already be packed, but if we hung out after the show they'd be coming out to meet the fans. So we hung out after the show.

    After the crowd dissipated, we went back into the venue's main room. Sure enough, several members of The Birthday Massacre were standing around, signing autographs, and talking to the fans. James and I went up to O-En first. He was very friendly and talked with us for ten or fifteen minutes. I told him about missing the show two years running and he gave me his sympathies and thanked me for trying to get to the shows. I asked him if he had any idea when they'd be in the area again and he gave me a general idea of when to expect them to be back. He was nice enough to sign my copy of Violet and let us take a photograph.

    Next we went over and talked with Chibi. She was also very friendly although we didn't speak to her for quite as long as we did O-En. She signed Violet and took a photo with me and thanked us for coming to see them, even though we missed the set.

    The last member of the band I got to see was Rainbow. Like O-En and Chibi, he too was very friendly. We talked to him for several minutes and I collected another autograph and photo.

    All three of them were very friendly with every one and they all seemed to genuinely care about their fans. I had heard from some one who had met them before that they were some of the nicest people you could ever meet. O-En, Chibi, and Rainbow confirmed that on Friday night. Now that I've met them, I can't wait for the next opportunity to finally catch their set.

    Not that anyone really cares, but these are the photos James took. If you view the full version, be warned that I'm in the photos too.

    O-En Chibi Rainbow

    [/tbm] [permanent link]

    Happy Birthday

    Friday night was the Birthday Massacre/Mindless Self Indulgence show. Due to various circumstances and events, my friends and I made it to the venue just in time to see the last 3 minutes of TBM's set.

    I made an attempt to see The Birthday Massacre last August in new York but that attempt failed due to prior commitments. So for two years in a row I tried to see them, and for two years in a row I failed. Sorta.

    After seeing the last 3 minutes of the set and being very disappointed, I went over to the merchandise booth to buy a souvenir T-shirt. My friend James joined me and we, mostly James because of his gregarious nature, started a conversation with the guy at the counter, whose name was Zimmy. We told him what had happened and asked if there was any chance of catching the band as their equipment was being packed up.

    He told us their gear had already be packed, but if we hung out after the show they'd be coming out to meet the fans. So we hung out after the show.

    After the crowd dissipated, we went back into the venue's main room. Sure enough, several members of The Birthday Massacre were standing around, signing autographs, and talking to the fans. James and I went up to O-En first. He was very friendly and talked with us for ten or fifteen minutes. I told him about missing the show two years running and he gave me his sympathies and thanked me for trying to get to the shows. I asked him if he had any idea when they'd be in the area again and he gave me a general idea of when to expect them to be back. He was nice enough to sign my copy of Violet and let us take a photograph.

    Next we went over and talked with Chibi. She was also very friendly although we didn't speak to her for quite as long as we did O-En. She signed Violet and took a photo with me and thanked us for coming to see them, even though we missed the set.

    The last member of the band I got to see was Rainbow. Like O-En and Chibi, he too was very friendly. We talked to him for several minutes and I collected another autograph and photo.

    All three of them were very friendly with every one and they all seemed to genuinely care about their fans. I had heard from some one who had met them before that they were some of the nicest people you could ever meet. O-En, Chibi, and Rainbow confirmed that on Friday night. Now that I've met them, I can't wait for the next opportunity to finally catch their set.

    Not that anyone really cares, but these are the photos James took. If you view the full version, be warned that I'm in the photos too.

    O-En Chibi Rainbow

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    23 Jun 2008

    Demo -- Update
    Rskutins recorded his drum part and sent it to me via the wonders of TCP/IP netowrking. On Friday night I finally had enough time (and motivation) to start recording.

    I spent a lot of time fighting with ProTools. It repeatedly crashed. Often, when it didn't crash, it simply stopped recording and reported that an error had occurred. I'm remembering this for the ProTools rant that will be coming in the future.

    After 45 minutes I had recorded about 6 seconds of vocals and the 24 second bass line. The next block of Copious Free Time(TM) I have, I'll begin the rough mix of the three parts. Hopefully ProTools won't crash as often during that phase.

    With any luck, it'll be mixed in the next week or two.

    [/album] [permanent link]

    03 Jun 2008

    In the next few weeks we are going to attempt to record and roughly mix a demo of a short track which will serve as an introduction to the album.

    Currently known as 11, it is a very short piece in 4/4 time at 80bpm. It is in the key of B minor and the spoken words are taken from a quote attributed to Nietzsche.

    What upsets me is not that you lied to me, but that from now on I can no longer believe you.
    This short demo will hopefully get me motivated enough to put more time into the album.

    More information will be posted when it becomes available.

    [/album] [permanent link]

    29 May 2008

    A Brief History
    Last Summer, my friend, rskutins, and I decided we were going to write an album. He got out his drum machine, being smaller and easier to store and carry than a full kit, and I got out my bass and we started putting together some pieces that were... not good.

    We had little direction, I was afraid to play things outside of my comfort zone, and we had some problems communicating. This project quickly fell apart, but we never completely gave up the idea.

    In March I found the inspiration I needed. I talked to rskutins and we started working on an album again. This time, fueled by strong emotion, both fiery and depressed, I started by writing lyrics.

    Not all are complete, but there are about 15 sets of lyrics for us to use as a starting point. Rskutins has tweaked the lyrics in some places to make them fit a better rhythm while still maintaining the intent of the words. I am quite pleased by what he has done.

    Based on these lyrics we have begun writing short pieces here and there when we feel inspired. Rskutins has laid down some pretty good beats to start with. I've been attempting to learn some basic music theory and trying to apply those ideas to the layers on top of what rskutins has written already.

    And that's where we are now. Still learning, still writing. Our day jobs have slowed down our progress considerably so it could very well take until the Autumn before we're ready to record and mix the album.

    [/album] [permanent link]

    19 May 2008

    New Addiction
    After many months of speaking with coworkers and friends, I gave in to peer pressure and purchased an Nintendo DS. My decision was based on more than just the games available, as I've considered myself to be only a casual gamer.

    DSLinux has a set up for running GNU/Linux on the DS hardware, which includes support for the touch screen and the 802.11b wireless network. If it hasn't been done already, I'd like to port the drivers and the on-screen keyboard application from Linux to NetBSD and run that on the DS.

    But before that happens, I'm going to have to complete the game I'm currently playing. As a result of giving in to peer pressure, the first game I purchased for the DS was Pokemon Pearl. It is very addictive. So far I've logged about 31 hours, obtained 7 of 8 gym badges, traded pokemon with and battled against friends and coworkers.

    I am eagerly awaiting the Nintendo event at Toys R Us at the end of the month which will unlock Darkrai.

    Yes, I am a loser. I never said I wasn't.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    15 Mar 2008

    5K Run for Charity
    I have entered the 2008 Lincoln Tunnel Challenge to help raise money for the Special Olympics. I would appreciate it if every one could make a donation, no matter the amount.

    You can make a donation by visiting http://www.kintera.org/faf/r.asp?t=4&i=259467&u=259467-208197882&e=1594945751. Any and every donation is appreciated.

    Thank you.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    23 Jan 2008

    Best Buy Capitalizes on Actor's Death
    I stumbled upon this information today. The Best Buy in Mission Valley San Diego attempted to cash in on Heath Ledger's death mere hours after his passing. You can read all about it here.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    22 Jan 2008

    Best Buy Charges Customers for Exchanges
    This weekend I witnessed a friend try to exchange an item at Best Buy. He had mistakenly purchased the full-screen version and wanted to exchange it for the wide-screen version. While he did not have his receipt, it still had the Best Buy sticker on the shrink wrap as well as the $19.99 price tag.

    The signs on the shelf indicated that the wide-screen version was also $19.99 and as of January 22, both versions are $19.99 on the Best Buy website.

    My friend waited online patiently for about 15 minutes to make his exchange. He handed the Blue Shirt both the full-screen version he had purchased and the wide-screen copy he picked up before going to the customer service line. The Blue Shirt asked if he had paid cash or credit and when my friend said credit, the Blue Shirt asked for his card.

    The Blue Shirt swiped the card and pushed a bunch of buttons then told my friend he'd have to pay $5.35 ($5 plus 7% sales tax) due to a "difference in price."

    When we questioned this "difference in price" we were told, "Wide-screen always costs more than full-screen."

    I am boycotting Best Buy and I urge others to do the same. This company has a long history of using underhanded tactics to increase profitability at the expense of its employees and its customers.

    [/musings] [permanent link]

    05 Jan 2008

    Google blocks browsers
    Netmeister has an interesting blurb about experience with Google blocking various UserAgents.

    From the posting:

    For example, perl's LWP::UserAgent sets the agent string per default to
    "libwww-perl/#.#". Google apparently doesn't like that and will not
    return results to you. Setting it to something like "Mozilla/5.0 (X11;
    U; NetBSD i386; en-US; rv:" would work.
    Interestingly, they appear to whitelist agents, rather than blacklisting

    What was that about not being evil?

    [/musings] [permanent link]