Monday, September 29, 2008

My Favourite Band

Why Depeche Mode?
My first recollection of Depeche Mode comes in the year 1987, while listening on a small imitation-wood clock radio, most likely the station was KJQ or what ever was the mainstream station at the time, I heard an intriguing song. It was "Blasphemous Rumors". Being six or seven years old, the lyrics meant nothing to me, but the overall sound was captivating. Was it the electronic melody or the sampled sounds? I couldn’t put my finger on it. Little did I know at that time what an integral part of my life this band would play.

I had limited listening for the next few years. My next real contact with their music was probably 1991. I was 10 years old in that glorious summer, and I had a friend who’s older brother was a “Waver”, you know the guys with long hair on one side of their head, with the other half, shaved off. Well he had just bought the Vinyl for “Violator”. My first time hearing “Enjoy the Silence” was mesmerizing. It was like discovering the lost city of Atlantis. Could there really be a world of music out there that I didn’t know about? I can remember really loving “Policy of Truth” as well. Later in that same year I purchased “Catching up With Depeche Mode”, a compilation of their earlier stuff. I found it had “Blasphemous Rumors” but some new songs I hadn’t heard before. It played in my small cd player endlessly. I captured a few of DM’s “Violator” songs on tape, recorded from the radio, and loved the tapes to the point that they wouldn’t play. That was the extent of my Depeche Mode listening until 1996.

At this point I was working at Granite furniture on the night shift. I found myself instantly drawn to one of the employees in the set-up and visual section of the warehouse. James started talking about his musical interests, and I quickly found he was a fountain of knowledge, trivia, and music, from the era and genre. He began to bring me albums from his collection. The first being “Speak and Spell” followed by many other earlier albums and cds from similar artists. Over the next year I began to become obsessed. The sounds of clanking metal, the haunting melodies, the dark lyrics, began to take on a new level of understanding for me. I began to play these many tracks endlessly in my car, as Tim and I drove around at nights, discussing life, love (well what we thought we knew of love), fishing, and happiness in our naive and innocent way. The songs began to be a soundtrack for my teenage years. I had dealt with some trying situations, and many of the tracks struck a chord with me.

My brother got home from his mission early in 1997 and he decided to take me on my first prospecting trip. I had always been interested in prospecting and treasure hunting and had all of the stories memorized. Our first trip was to our old family hunting spot that my dad had found good evidence of mining activity at. As we drove up there in his little Nissan truck, he popped in a tape he had bought from “The Good Will” donation house for $0.98. The tape began with the screeching sound indicative of “I Feel You” and as we began to enter the mountains on that rainy spring morning, Depeche Mode took on a new depth for me. It was at this point that my brother and I knew we were onto something big, combining good music with adventure! For the next 10 years we probably listened to that album 100’s of times on our prospecting adventures. I have fond memories of hearing the bluesy sound of DM mixed with fantastic electronic pulses in the background of a rattling dusty road in some forgotten corner of the Uinta Mountains. My obsession with the group began to become deeply emotional as the different songs and albums began to be linked with some of my most exciting, frightening, and intimate thoughts and experiences.

Ultra came out that year and it was magic. Finally, I had new stuff for me to sink my teeth into. Sister of Night was a particular favourite from the album. It was nice to know DM had pulled through their darkest moments with a new album, and were so happy doing it that they were here to stay. Shortly after this release, DM announced a tour and a new best of Album. 1986<1998, which was a two disc set from these years of the bands music. I waited in line at the record store to get my own copy with the special third disc extra. These two discs, orange and blue, are probably my most played discs I own. I have actually purchased them three times because of various reasons, but mainly abuse.

These two discs became the backdrop of the infamous “Delta Hunt 98’”. Where my car miraculously drove itself at 60 mph on cruise, in 6 inches of snow, while Tim, Bradford and I slumbered (I was driving). I awoke to the site of a deer in the road. Sufficeth to say, 15 doughnuts later, and a similar experience to that of John Candy in Plains, Trains, and Automobiles, we were back on our way to Delta, Utah, a “little” wiser. I have the sweetest memory of this trip, as it was really the icing on our friendship, and adolescence, and marked an end to our innocence. Shortly after this we were all on our own pursuing our different paths in life.

Previous to Delta Hunt 98, I was lucky enough to get tickets with James and his family to the Concert for the 1998 show. This was my first DM concert, and my most memorable because of it being my first. We drove down with James in his parents van, and I think we laughed the whole way down and back. The concert was awesome, and I can’t describe the feeling I got being there that night, but it is a similar feeling when you know you are experiencing something almost outer bodily or when you know you are experiencing greatness. The stands were swaying, and the energy in the crowd was like lightning. I was so caught up in the moment, that I can’t tell you what exactly, it was like for me. That night saw the start of a true friendship that will last the eternities. At that point in time, I knew that I was at some sort of climax in my life, and I was in a lot of ways.

Over the next few years I used the new internet as a way of checking out DM stats, trivia, and music. I was extremely pumped for Exciter and James got a copy from Napster before the release. I was in love all over again. Though to date, Exciter is not my favourite of their albums, it has its moments where it is. There was a new concert to follow this album up, and I once again was marveling at the genius behind this trio from Basildon. I went through phases of this song, or this album, or that, and was blown away by Playing the Angel several years later. The concert was insane, and the tickets were a gift from James and Jenny because I couldn’t afford closer seats, and it was Vye’s first DM concert, and though I don’t think her experience was anything like my first, she still loved it. In fact she was pregnant with Kaleb, and he loves music almost as much as me, especially “Daddy Music”.

After my first surgery I went to Richies house so I could have Tracy care for me while Vye was at work. I was withering away and could not eat a thing. I was so weak and looked like “Mister Burns” from the Simpsons. I began to get really sick and began to faint, or pass out in the shower, or while lying on the bed. My health took a turn for the worst and my mom stayed up with me all night, one night, because she swore I might pass in the middle of the night and Vye was too exhausted to stay awake another night in a row. The next morning I was told by my surgeon if I didn’t eat and start improving I would have to go to the ICU. I couldn’t stand the thought of another IV or being fed by a tube. I finally had Vye get my Exciter DVD and my mom bought some ensure. I sat in Richies family room and blared my DVD and began to sip the ensure. Within a few minutes my spirits began to sore (drugs may have helped the soaring as well, but that is another story), I began to feel the music, and it was almost like liquid music in my veins. By the end of the concert I was “Pointing” to the music and had drank a full ensure. It was a turning point for my health.

Throughout my undergraduate degree, I can remember reading in the quiet alcoves of the Stewart Library with the sound of Depeche in the background. They were a constant companion, as I pulled many all-nighters in a lab staring through a microscope, or at home cramming for a test. I have run many miles to Depeche, cried to Depeche, laughed to Depeche, formed relationships while listening to DM, I have discovered endless layers and insite to myself and others while listening, and I have lived with Depeche for almost two decades. When asked why is Depeche Mode my favourite band? I can’t simply answer because I like their songs, or their music speaks to me, I can’t say anything at all, because I can’t possibly do their music and what it means to me justice with the confines of the English language. I feel I have an intimate connection with their music, and I am anxious for what events in my life will be played out, over the fantastic sound of my favourite band.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

A long run and a short run

I did two additional runs this week. On Wednesday I did a really long run, I was gone 1:40 and yesterday I did speed work on one of my favorite runs and did 1:03. On Wednesday it had rained all day and started raining again as I ran. I left about 6:00 and thought I would go on a medium lengthed 1:15. The rocks were all really slick and I did a butt flop or two because of the slippery boulders. After I summited doug and slipped down the rock buster, I decided to summit little doug. At this point it was dark and I couldn't see a darn thing. I decided to go all around the park and missed my turn and found myself in the neighborhood. Once I figured out where I was I finished my run. In all it was a long wet and tiring 1:40 minutes. Yesterday was quite a bit different and I only went for speed. I did my favorite run just to the summit and back. I wanted to break 1:00 hour. I had done it in 1:15 before so I really wanted to shave some time off. I left the i-pod and bumbag at home at booked it. I really pushed. I almost completely summited without having to walk. Right at the end I had just to much lactic acid built up in my muscles and had to walk for two minutes to release it. It got dark when I summited and the whole run down was really dangerous and black which slowed me significantly. I finally got to the smooth sections and tried to make up lost ground. I finished right at 1:03 and missed my goal. I was a little sad but I will break 1 hour next Friday.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lyric of the Day

So here is a new one. No hints this time until you are all stumped. Good luck!

"She calls me goliath and I wear the david mask"

As for me I have just finished my mineral resource lab, and I thought it was a good one. I always love looking at the different mineral and ore deposits and samples. It is cool to see rocks that have made millions of dollars for those who were able to find and mine them. I got to draw each specimen and that was fun I think my lab is the best. It has been a nice temperature about 18 degrees, celcius that is. I think I will go on a easy run tonight maybe only 4 or 5 miles and prepare for a long run in the morning closer to 10 miles. We are going to the beach tomorrow as well and having a fire pit and are going to cook some hotdogs and hamburgers. It should be fun. I have about 200 pages of reading to do this weekend, so I should be busy with that as well, and I still have a 25 page paper to write on a subject that I haven't researched yet. I think I will have Angie be my personal editor since she has an abundance in time.

Talk to you guys soon. So far I think it is almost a tie with each person winning about one lyric. We will have to see who pulls in the lead.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Lyric of the Day

I have to post this one a little late due to having to grade papers this morning then teach. The students had a lab due today and also two quizes so they were pretty burnt out by the end of the 3 hour session. I feel I am a good teacher and if anything I am a bit too kind and leaniant. Oh wells so they will all get good grades, what you gonna do?

This lyric will most likely be a hard one. As for a clue I am thinking to mention this song has to do with cameras or photography, that might give it away but this isn't the most main stream of their songs. Good luck.

"remembering you standing quiet in the rain as i ran to your heart to be near and we kissed as the sky fell"

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lyric of the day

Day two might be a little harder, but I am still making it very simple.

Good luck!

"Even though I know - I suppose Ill show"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Lyric of the Day Game - The hottest game on this blog!

I am going to start posting a lyric from any given song and I am going to see if anyone can guess it. Granted there is only like two people who know about my blog, but oh wells. So I need some rules. No google or search engine of the lyrics. You must guess the lyric from your own knowledge and music collection. You can however if you know the lyric belongs to a group, listen to their songs online until you discover which song has the lyric. The person who guesses all of them correctly will most likely get some fantastic, crazy prize that is coveted above all other earthly possesions. The stakes are high and good luck! I may give a slight clue once in a while as well. If no one plays that is OK, but it will be your loss when you realize what you might have been able to achieve.

First lyric........I'll start easy and work up to some challenging lyrics groups and songs.

"Her intentions fall to the floor"

Think mid nineties grunge.

It pays to be first because after someone posts with the right answer it is lame

Tuesday Night Run

Today I did a shorter run from my saturday run. I just summited Doug and then went down the north "rock breaker" trail. I didn't start untill 7:05 pm and was done at about 7:57 pm so it was less then an hour. I had a hard time getting into this run. I began to really feel good about the time that I started climbing the mountain but then it was too dark to go my fastest. I had to slow down a bit. I pushed really hard up the hill and still pooped out a little from the top. I really want to get to where I can run to the top with out slowing down to a speed hike. It is really challenging doing the trails in the dark. I will have to get lights and start running more in the dark as the days start really shortening up. My shoes are really starting to hinder me on the rock breaker. The trail is just to rough for road shoes and I don't have good traction so I don't push. I dream of 100 bucks for running shoes. Maybe I can make a few extra bucks somewhere and get me some shoes, however that is quite selfish considering my family barely has food on the table. Oh the sacrifices a starving international grad student with a family makes. I also am having a hip in my left hip and hip socket. I hope it is just a small tweak and that it won't slow me down. I will try it out tomorrow, and if it is as sore or worse I may have to take a small rest and just do core strengthening for now. I HATE INJURIES! I have allready had a 2 month battle with runner's knee back in April and it didn't allow me to run any summer races.

My poor road runners are just not cut out for what I am putting them through. They are a very good shoe for the road though! It is amazing they have got me this far, that says something about these shoes.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

My current i-pod playlist

Well I decided to blurb on the current music I am listening to. I am mainly listening to just a few bands, but still dabble in some of my classics such as Depeche.

I am in a huge Chris Corner, IAMX / sneaker pimps mood right now. The majority of my most played music is from these two groups, but both bands are the same artist. Chris Corner originally found fame in Sneaker Pimps but wrote and played lead guitar, the vocalist was a female singer named Alli. I don't care for most of her vocals in their early songs, its not bad, it is just not quite hitting the spot for me. Alli left or was kicked out of the band, and then some great music started really coming from the band. My favorite by far is "lightning field". This is a great song with awesome background vocals, base line, beat and lyrics. All around my favourite pre-IAMX stuff. As far as IAMX goes, I have all their stuff and go through phases, but right now my favourites have to be "Missile, and Heatwave". These two songs are just fantastic. Missile is kind of hauntingly beautiful and I love the distorted piano-ish harpsachord at the beginning. The lyrics are great and can be applied to me in one way or another. Heatwave is just awesome all around. The beat is great and I love the vocals as well. Just sweet! I am also digging some good classic Placebo and find myself listening to Lazurus a ton. When I am running I typically listen to slightly different music and will have to post on my running exercise tracks later. These are mainly charged with purely electronic vibes but a few are surprising.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Long Run up Mount Doug and Little Mount Doug Victoria, BC

Today I did my long run (yellow and green run. I started at 8:40:00 and finished at 10:35:50. So almost a full 2 hours. This was my first really long run in a while and it showed. I was absolutely knackered by the end. I summited Mount Doug first from the Northeast slope, I then descended the the Northwest (more or less) slope, I then summited little doug from the north and descended from the south, I summited Mount Doug again from the south, and lastly came down my first ascent trail. I was not at my full two hours when I reached the park so I ran an extra 10-15 minutes on Whitaker. I really hit the wall at about 1:38:00 and must admit I had nothing left in the tanks to finish running. I ended up walking the last 15 minutes (how embarrasing). It was a great run and I excperienced some trails I hadn't attempted before. It was brutal and difficult with the multiple ascents, but what was surprising is the first descent of Doug is very challenging. It is rocky, steep, and fast and one trip could mess you up pretty bad. I think my total distance was between 7 and 10 Km when you add in the street running to and from the house. I am not quite sure for distance but nearly 3/4 of the gutbuster 11Km route. I purposely didn't pack down the carbs so that I would force my body to function almost completely on stored glycogen. I think it will help to improve the way my body metabolises glycogen in the long run. You do notice a huge difference running in the morning on no easy to burn carbs, vs dusk after a day of carb loading. My joints did well but I could definately feel it by the last descent of Doug. My repair meal consisted of two scrambled eggs with cheese, and a peanut butter and honey sandwich. After stretching and eating, and showering, I had to lay down for about an hour but I feel pretty good now and probably could even run tonight (but I am not going to). The weather was cloudy and maybe only 50 degrees. I am excited for my Monday run, and I will have to do it in the early morning since both lectures are in the evening and I don't get home to almost 10. I have a long way to go until I can compete in the gutbuster but I have a good chunk of a year to train. I need to increase distance by about 25% and cut my time by 50% to be competive. Distance won't be an issue, but speed is going to be my challenge. One last note is I am currently running a pair of Asics gel 1130's and they are not trail shoes. I have about 200 km logged on them and find I am nearing about 5o% of their life. The trails are really rough on them though and they had a major effect on my overall performance today, and once they are gone I won't have $100 for new shoes any suggestions are welcomed.

A picture of a portion of the trail, this is the flat easy section of the trail. I would like to photo and write details on the majority of my training runs so that I can focus on strategy. Maybe in the next week or two I will attempt it.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Mount Doug Victoria, BC trail Running

I decided to take my camera along with me on my run. This is not a simple task since my camera is not that compact. It has a 12x zoom and is pretty bulky. I have been wanting to document my average training run for quite some time so I finally decided to give it a go. It really didn't slow me down that much or make running that much more difficult but it did add about 20 minutes since I had to stop for each of the 200 photos I took. I held the camera the whole time and wrapped the strap around my wrist so I wouldn't drop it. So here is the course. The only variation is I start at point 26 on the map instead of point 1. This only changes the distance by less than 100 meters.

This is my starting point of my training run (point 26 on the map). I then head north or in the case of this photo follow the hiker on the sign on the Norn trail.

The first length of trail is very smooth and flat this is about 100 meters into the run at a place I call "the dip".

This stretch of trail is a rooty portion halfway between points 28 and 29 on the Norn trail. This length of trail has a very gently grade upward but is hardly noticeable.

Slight downward grade with some swerves between points 29 and 4.

Once again a narrow winding portion of trail between points 29 and 4. This portion of trail is flooded throughout the winter spring and after summer rainstorms.

This is the conjunction of Norn and Whitaker at point 4. The trail now gently climbs a shallow grade as it heads to the South-Southwest.

Just after point 4 and shows the typical trail conditions for the next couple hundred meters.

The trail now gives way to older growth Douglas Firs and more rocks and ferns and often has water flowing down the trail or standing water in the Spring and after storms.

The trail next climbs in a spot I call "the ferns". It is a short steep hill obviously drown in ferns just about to point 5.

You keep climbing toward point 5.

Classic stretch of flattish trail as you approach point 5.

You next have to "bob and weave" around these two arbutus trees between points 5 and 6.

A little climb leading to point 6.

A steep short climb onto the Churchill road crossing after point 6.

Point 7 begins the Irvine Climb.

This is where it starts climbing just after point 7.

Classic Irvine Climb

A nice stretch of trail next to a ledge with great views to the East towards Gordon Head and even Mount Baker.

Here is the view looking out.

The trail gets rocky as you approach point 9.

I call this slab the "rock ramp" can be quite slippy in the rain.

More climbing after the rock ramp.

This is the last steep stretch until the summit nicknamed the "Stone Staircase".

After the stone staircase there is a winding asphalt path that leads to the crow's nest at the summit. Approximately 500 feet of vertical elevation gained from the start of the run until the summit

Self timed summit shot with the gulf islands and mainland BC behind me across the Georgia Straight.

Summit shot without my mug in the view.

After the summit at point 10 you begin a rapid descent off the Northwest face of Doug know as the "Bedrock buster". A barren glacial scoured diorite face. This is a treacherous and technical trail and is where I am the most cautious. A miscalculation on this trail could seriously injure you. Rain only makes it worse and you have to move that much slower.

Typical footing and trail conditions as you descend the "Bedrock Buster".

Descending the buster

A stretch of trees along the Buster.

Last steep descent to point 11. Super steep here.

The trail between points 11 and 12 has slight uphill grade but is nice slice of rooty rocky single track.

Rocky approach to point 12 and starts the ascent of Little Mount Doug.

Begin climbing the short and steep north face of Little Doug.

Short and sweet climb up to LD.

The summit of Little Mount Doug with a lone arbutus tree. Big Doug through the branches of the Arbutus. Lastly a timer shot of me getting ready to take the plunge down the steep south face of LD.

Rocky and steep descent.

This is the last shot before I ate it and hit my camera lens on the ground. I was not happy but I think everything is OK.

Point 13 after running off from Little Doug.

The trail begins to head toward the trees at point 14. This is typical of the stretch between points 13 and 14. Rocky and barren with a slight decline. You can actually run this pretty fast if you pick the right line.

Average stretch of trail between points 14 and 15 and at point 15 the trail dives back into the forest.

When you enter back into the forest after point 15 you enter into a nice stretch of single track called Mercer. The trail has a steady decline that doesn't trash your quads but instead lets you really crank up the speed.

Classic Mercer!

Approaching point 17 along Madock.

Steep stretch between points 19 and 20 along the Whitaker Trail.


At point 21 you begin your final climb up Big Doug via a steep rocky gulley up the South face.

The climb starts out very loose and sandy and then changes into a rocky almost stair-like climb.

Here is where it gets rockier.

Almost to the summit.

Some stairs leading to point 22 and the second Summit of Big Doug.

After summiting you begin your descent of the "powerline" trail but the top bit is quite overgrown this time of year.

Here is some footage of me running down the powerline grind. The video sucks because the lens cap was clicking against the mic (so turn the sound off) and also the video gets very dark when I reach the forest. The actual video wasn't so dark but once I uploaded it, it turned black. It does illustrate the section of trail somewhat but it definitely won't win any awards for best cinematography.

"I now have been running for just over 10 kms, this is my last km."
"I am going to try to record my last descent of Mount Doug."
"This trails pretty overgrown."
"The most technical part of it."
"The next section is pretty steep and smooth, only a few roots get in the way."
"You can't tell how steep most of this stuff is because I have to hold the camera at a downhill angle just to see the trail. It's actually pretty steep. A lot of the photos I took earlier don't really do them justice at all."
"Just about done, only a few more hundred meters to the car, and it is basically just flat single track."

After the powerline descent there is just a few hundred more meters until you are back at the car. This stretch of trail tends to stay wet and muddy .

Last log to hurdle.

Bust out of the trail and ferns into the parking lot.

Back where I started. 11 km later, 2 summits of Big Doug and 1 of little Doug.

This is a day in my life. I think that the variability of terrain and scenery make this a perfect spot to train. It really is amazing that this is what lies just beyond my doorstep and I get to play in one of the most beautiful playgrounds in the world. Perhaps the main thing the course lacks is searing heat, and some of the dusty rocky trails with loose gravel so many of the Western US ultras have. I would like to have a longer climb like 1,000 feet at least, I feel the mountain with 500 feet is a bit short. I do repeats but that still works different parts of your legs on the down instead of solid 3,000 feet of up hill and solid 3,000 feet of descent. There are some areas close by on the Island with bigger climbs but still nothing compared to what I had at my doorstep in Utah.

On a different note I followed the Western States 100 miler off and on yesterday on various web sites. What an awesome year. Two people beat Jurek's 2006 record of 15:36. Geoff Roes came in at 15:07 with an amazing awe-inspiring first place victory. Tony Krupicka came in 6 minutes behind him at 15:13 and still smashed Jurek's 4 year record. What a show! I don't know how I faired on the contest to guess the top 10 places of the runners but I do know several of my top 5 of both men's and women's didn't start so I doubt I won. Tracy Garneau won the women's with a strong race, there was a mistake at an earlier aid station leading many to believe she dropped but she was the winner. Ann Trason's record still held though. Just amazing to see these awesome records fall. Only the utmost respect for these titans of the trails.

Geoff Roes amazing last mile. Unbelievable to see him cruising with such a relaxed gait after a ridiculous exhibition of speed over the previous 99 miles and 41,000 feet. What a machine gives me shivers as you hear him approach the the stadium what an amazing feeling I can't even begin to comprehend.

Original Post from September 2008:

Today I decided to run in Mount Doug my usual training grounds, but today I decided to change my route. It was an easy run today in preparation for tomorrow's long run. The route I chose followed my typical route but hung to the west side of Mount Doug. It was a great run for an easy run. The trail has a good amount of rocks and roots which at dusk when I run can be an issue. Infact I really ate it hard the last hundred meters of trail. I stubbed my left toe on a great root and supermaned to my demise. I found the bigger and older you get the harder you fall. One of my favorite aspects of the run is an area I call "the ferns". It is a steeper portion of trail that meanders through some old growth evergreens and a large glade of ferns. It is on whitaker as you approach the 3rd intersection. I started on Torquay near my home and ran down ash where I intersepted the route in Yellow. The total run took me about 50 minutes. Distance is tough for me to assess at the moment but I hope to figure all of the portions of trail out eventually. I had a fairly slow pace but it was constant and I maintained a good pace on all the hills. I felt pretty good about this run and I am excited for tomorrow. I think I will try for about a two hour run tomorrow so I will maintain as fast a pace as possible for that duration of time. My longest run since my runner's knee in April has been about an hour and a half. I feel my knees are doing better and I can handle the extended runs. I will probably do about 3/4 of the 11 km gutbuster route with the added distance of starting at my home which is about 1.25 Km away from the start of the route. In all I should be around an 8 or 9 Km run.