Monday Musings and Music and More

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Well, another long weekend of me not being around much … but something Megan said in response to a comment from me really rings true: “Isn’t it amazing that once you start to disconnect, it just seems so much easier to do so?” And the reality is – YES, it is true.

Sure I got runs in on Friday and Saturday, and had a very busy weekend, but normally I would have made sure I got some blogging done on Saturday … but instead I got in my run, and made sure I chatted with my older son about his girlfriend and how both were doing, and brought my younger son to do his DJ gig and then a few hours later had a late lunch with him and Lisa, and so on. What it comes down to is this: I prioritized reading and writing blogs lower than I ever have before. And that is OK.

1. Run for the Memories

I have talked before about how much I love exploring places by running, and for more than 2 years I have run everywhere I have visited. In fact, in a month I will be in North Carolina for a conference, and aside from meeting with some of the best minds in statistics and seeing one of my friends and colleagues speak, I am really looking forward to finding a new place to explore through running!

But this weekend Harold had a great post about when running is about MORE than just the run. He details what I would call a ‘run through the generations’ – his dad, an old coach, places where his siblings lived and grandparents and grat-grandparents lived, old factories long forgotten, and so on.

As I mentioned in the comments for his post, I wonder what that would be like for me. For the house I lived in until the middle of first grade it is impossible, as it and the whole neighborhood are now part of an industrial park. And my parents lived in a different town than their parents, who were half-way across the state from their parents. And for me, no one in my immediate family lives near where we grew up, and most of my extended family is scattered up and down the east coast.

What would a ‘running through your memories’ look like for you?

2. No Race Weekend

I didn’t run the race I was planning on Saturday, for several reasons:
– Friday was very busy with the move-in, and also emotion, and a long day (past midnight)
– Both Lisa and Chris had to work Saturday, and I knew they would be long days.
– The previous year had 700 runners and about 1400 people … and a parking lot that fits about 16 cars (and on the other end of the trail one that fits a dozen.
– I would have had to bike over due to logistics, and when we were sitting up past midnight the night before I thought ‘no … not gonna happen’.

Am I disappointed? A little … Lisa and I were planning to do it together, she would have walked and I would have run and it would have been fun. But ultimately I am more disappointed that we didn’t do it together than about my choosing not to go.

I had decided I would have done the 5k, because I really was interested in that ‘sustained pain’ feeling. I still haven’t run a 10k so it would have been ‘instant-PR’. Oh well … there are always other 5ks – even this coming weekend!

3. College Move-In

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The situation that had us with a fully loaded car last Friday morning is someone else’s story, but it was a fun and rewarding day and I was glad we could help out. The picture above is our son and his girlfriend.

Cornell is a beautiful campus that is really its own community, isolated by a few miles from the heart of Ithaca. It was a very busy day, but we were there to help every step of the way and got to see how much things have changed since Lisa and I had OUR first college move-in days 31 and 30 years ago respectively.

I do love how much has changed to really focus on the successful integration of new students. When I started it was more just a few social events then BAM into classes. Now they have loads of things throughout the calendar to help the kids learn how to navigate the school and their future.

4. New Phone

I posted about this on Instagram, but I got a new phone this weekend. It is a Samsung Galaxy Note 3 – and it is HUGE. The goal? To see if this device can replace both my iPhone and iPad for the majority of things, such as blogging, email, RSS feeds, and so on. Music software remains pathetic on Android so the iPad will remain for that, and I am really not doing much gaming recently, so it will be interesting to see if there is any impact on that front.

While I have had Apple products going back to 1979 and the Apple ][+, I have been an Android phone used from when they first came to Verizon right up until getting iPhone 5. At this point I have regularly been using the iPhone 5, iPad Air, Macbook Air, gaming PC laptop as well as a Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Fire HDX, and Sony Playstation Vita. Yeah, too much stuff. Worse yet – I regularly find myself seeing something on the phone and then grabbing the iPad to type the reply. Makes no sense!

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One immediate thing? The Note 3 deoesn’t fit in my running belt. I see that the SPIBelt ‘large pocket’ fits these things well.

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And in general, I forgot how clunky so many things are in Android, as I work to get devices to pair, apps to link together and so on. I STILL haven’t gotten the Polar Loop to pair up correctly. Here is a good mantra: “With great flaxibility comes many hassles.”

5. Wealth vs. ‘Class’?

I subscribe to Quora because I love all of the discussions and reading great answers to questions. But sometimes the questions are … interesting. This one in particular documents parents who have shown their child a very warped view of the interaction between money and class.

Here is an interesting – and demonstrably true – view of reality from a different post:

in most cases lazy sons of multimillionaires end up better off than hardworking daughters of slum-dwellers

And from the post in question?

β€’My parents always told me to never leave a tip for waiters/waitresses at restaurants because they are just fishing for tips

Aside from being incorrect (and really just the tip of the iceberg of the article), it engenders an attitude of elitism that is unconscionable. And the wealth-based discrimination is every bit as real as any other type.

But the question I have for myself, and that I think we should all ask ourselves: in what ways do I have similar attitudes about things? I know that as a professionally employed, home-owning white Christian married male in America I have a position of considerable privelege. I just hope that when I can affect change, I do so to the best of my ability.

6. THIS Is America?

I have started and deleted many different things about the ongoing violence and racial tensions … and none of it felt right to me. I have always been a ‘question authority, but support your police & fire’. Because OF COURSE there is racism in police forces – these are people, and people are racist.

But there is also tremendous bravery and kindness and goodness and a desire to help – because these are people, people who choose a dangerous profession hoping to make a difference.

Here is my basic thought: the problem isn’t the police, it is US. Because they are us – and the problems reflected there in terms of race, religion, gender and so on … are problems endemic in our society at large.

My biggest problem comes with the militarization of America. When Reagan invaded Grenada, there was a groundswell of pride, and the decades since have built up the concepts of ‘American exceptionalism’ and ‘might = right’. More scary is how starting in the late 90s we have seen police forces equipped with tanks and so on.

So what we see more and more in the country is exactly what is shown here:

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7. Movies are Easily Diagrammed

You know how most times when you are watching a Rom-Com you can see the formula coming into play? Y’know, how the two people who will eventually end up together have a ‘near miss’ (or are just friends), there is at least one ‘other’ romantic interest, then in a dramatic turn there is the realization that ‘the one’ was always rigt there? Over at Neatorama this is diagrammed out for a number of genres:

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How do you feel about this? Is it accurate?

7. Do You See a Problem?

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I just started getting Tennis magazine, and two issues arrived at once. Both covers are from the very top playes in the field, one is male and the other female. One has a person playing tennis, the other has a sultry, over-the-shoulder barely clothed shot. Am I overly sensitive thinking WTF? Personally I think Maria Sharapova looks awesome playing tennis, just like Roger Federer.

8. Almost School Time!

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Hard to believe that we’re already at the point of heading back to school. This past week was band camp – a week of 9AM – 8:30PM spent playing and marching and drilling … the kids were lucky that the weather was generally nice. Two years ago we had a heat wave, last year alternated between hot and thunderstorms. There was only one rainy day this year.

If you are looking for my boys, they are the tuba on the left and bass drum on the right. This was as close as they got during the ‘public practice’ on the last night. The final song was rough – but what I love is that we will see an amazing progression from now through the competitions throughout September and October.

9. My Running Summary

For the most part this was a pretty ordinary summer week – out early, do my run, do my abs, get ready for work and go. Here is the summary:

Sunday: Bike trip with Lisa
Monday: 9.75 miles
Tuesday: 9.75 miles
Wednesday: 10.1 miles
Thursday: 9.75 miles
Friday: ‘Rest’ Day (College move-in)
Saturday 14.5 miles, fast & flat

The weekly total was about 54 miles running, plus a great long bike trip with Lisa, and a busy day walking around with heavy boxes at Cornell! I was definitely happy with my runs this week, especially my long run on Saturday – I really pushed the pace throughout, trying to keep my heart rate up at all times. And I continue enjoying trying to get in my ab work and planks every day! I don’t want to let this great habit stop!

10. Music New and Old

We watched a bit of the VMAs last night … and as always I don’t know why. For me, they represent the absolute WORST of music – it isn’t a celebration of artistry, or even of music … it is a self-gratifying celebration of celebrity as personified by those with the most marketing money to spend. I have very little good to say – except that I loved Ed Sheeren thanking and handing the mic to the ‘guy who made the song’. That is important – pop music isn’t made by the people singing them … they are just the new ‘Johhny Bravo’.

Anyway, the most annoying thing for me was Nicki Minaj, whose one-trick schtick of fast-rapping is played out, augmented for the video crowd by booty-shaking. The song she did shows the depths of the current state of pop music – she has made an entire song from a line from a throw-away one-hit gimmick song from the 90s. Here is the original:

And here is the new rip-off:

The distinction? One was a joke when it came out, the other is supposed to be ‘artistry’. Puh-lease.

Finally, Lisa came across a new song she loved this weekend, and we added it to our iTunes and listened on YouTube – ‘Night Like This’ by LP:

Myself? I have mentioned that I’ve been re-stocking my iPod with older music that has sat un-played for too long as I was reviewing more and more albums over the last 5 or so years. One song I had completely lost track of? ‘Night of the Iguanas’ by Joni Mitchell from her 2007 album Shine.

Did you do any races this weekend? Any cool new music? How was YOUR week?

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30 thoughts on “Monday Musings and Music and More

  1. I’ll stand by my comments that it really is amazing how it’s easier to step back once priorities shift. Do I miss spending several hours every day reading and writing blogs? Yes. Do I think I will get back to that point sometime? Most likely, yes! But for now, my stepped-back schedule is really working for me, and I’m glad you’re doing what’s right for you, too.

    Sounds like you made the right decision on the race … college move-in sounds overwhelming and fun (and you’re so kind to support your son’s gf) … that Tennis cover makes me shudder, and also makes me wonder who they’re targeting … and WOW that’s a lot of band camp!

    • Thanks Megan – I really feel good with my choices around prioritizing time lately. No guilt, no stress – well, not too much anyway. I have been evaluating how I see myself and my blog long-term, and I think no mater what I’ll end up ok with my choices.

      And yeah, just looking at the two covers – I mean, I KNOW Sharapova has been on the cover plenty, and chances are most are tennis-playing … but still.

  2. Don’t judge me- I am obsessed with Taylor Swift’s new song. I like all kinds of music, but TSwift has always been my guilty pleasure. I have already had many solo dance parties to this song, so far (no shame!).

    I ran a 5k this weekend as my 3 mile training run. It was hot and humid and miserable but for a cause I really care about, so worth it.

    • I am a huge music lover and do not begrudge anyone loving anything πŸ™‚ Seriously.

      My bigger issue is with the music industry – the digital era was supposed to democratize music, but instead fewer and fewer artists control more and more of the sales and money. That works for labels- they can spend 10s of millions making sure every radio station in the country plays Katy Perry or Taylor Swift a dozen times a day until people start requesting it themselves, and let everyone else battle for scraps. Three companies control nearly 95% of worldwide music sales … think about that for a minute … it is an incredible concentration of power. Anyway …

      Good job on the run this weekend !

  3. I started to watch the VMAs then felt old. I like some of the music out today for what it is – just music to bop around to. There is nothing more to it sometimes. I added some new songs to my playlist over the past couple weeks – TSwift and Maroon 5 being some of them.

    • Pop music is what it is – not for contemplation or enrichment or serious study … just for fun. And what is wrong with that? I have plenty of that music from each of the last 8 or 9 decades on my iPod πŸ™‚ And if we do not get entertained by our entertainment choices, what purpose does it serve?

  4. I’m so glad you were able to disconnect and not feel bad about it. As you know, I am coming back from a 2 week vacation. I rarely was on social media other than to upload a pic onto Instagram or quickly check my emails, which was a huge change for me since I am usually connect every minute I am awake, it was SO awesome and much needed. I felt bad the first day or two and then had to let it go and just live in the moment and enjoy my time with the boys.

    As far as your phone, I commented on Instagram but I have the Note 2 and really like it, I don’t think it could take over for my computer or tablet but I really like it. I don’t think I am as tech advanced as you are though, so I am curious in the end how you like it. As far as your belt, I have a Flip Belt and it holds my Note 2 (my review of it is coming up shortly on the blog) so that may be an option for you??

    I just added a few new songs to my playlist, mostly some new country songs and Ingrid Michaelson’s Girls Chase Boys which I am really digging right now for some reason!

    • Thanks Sara – and again I am so sorry about Morgan, it made Lisa sad as well when I told her!

      I think it is great to disconnect, and very healthy for us as well. Loved your Instagram pics πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to check out your full vacation post!

      I do like the Note 3 – I had a review Note 2 a couple of years ago (non-Verizon, so reception was useless) and found it too big, but I am adjusting. The biggest pain is how slowly iMessage (from Apple) propagates back to standard SMS text messages … people still have me popping up as an iMessage account, which means I get nothing! Ugh.

  5. SOooo much to comment on. Right now I am playing that song that Lisa found. Loving it so far–so many musical references in it, from so many different genres. Really cool and uplifting. I need this on a sunny day bop about run.
    I have the HTC one and I honestly wish i had gotten the Samsung S5–i miss the button at the bottom, and the size is ever so slightly smaller. The HTC is just too big for my hand. I am thinking about a Flipbelt (as Sara alluded to) because they are flat, and I wonder if that might be a fit for my phone. Random, but I am also super pissed because my phone decided over the weekend to stop having the incredible battery life I have up to this point enjoyed. I DON”T GET IT.
    Some other cool new music, but mostly sans vocals–I always like Lindsay Sterling, so she is a winner, and also this guy Joey Fenrenbach (I think that is how you spell it?). Super easy to listen to, but has some great moments for sure.

    • Thanks Suz! I have friends who are big fans of the newest HTC One (M8) – and really dig the sound quality and speakers. The Note 3 is a behemoth! It was hilarious in my shirt pocket today! Watching video? Incredible! One of the ‘joys’ of Android is this sorts of random crap … haha. If Apple releases a 5.5″ iPhone this fall I’ll be all over it! πŸ™‚

      99% of the stuff in my iTunes has no vocals … and half of it lacks strict meter, harmonic structure or tonal center. But that is me … I don’t live in the world of music that many people occupy. According to my family that is a good thing, as it is a pretty scary place!

  6. I agree that once you start to disconnect it becomes easier! As long as you can feel ok about not completely catching up. When I was away a couple weeks ago I found myself reading and commenting on blogs less and less each day, until midway through the week when I didn’t ready any. And it was a nice feeling to not think about it or feel bad about it.

    • I notice myself doing more ‘liking’ for stuff I skim and can’t find time to comment. I want the blogger to know I read and enjoyed even if I can’t comment. That said, I still have 60 blog post emails to deal with since Friday morning!

  7. Wealth, class and race are such interesting and complicated issues in this country, and have been since the country’s inception. Unfortunately, not any easy solutions either.

    I unplug most evenings and weekends from blog reading and writing, and sometimes also from social media (but I don’t spend much time on there anyway). Basically, if my husband is home, I’m offline, which leaves me mornings before work and lunch breaks at work, but it seems to be the right balance now. I could happily read forever — blogs, books, whatever, but it’s too solitary for the time that we’re together I’ve found.

    • Very much agree, and while I get incensed about many things, issuing block generalizations to complain about someone making block-generalizations … doesn’t quite feel right! πŸ™‚

      Is it too solitary because he keeps talking to you? haha

      • Lol, too true. I should try to read a book or blog one evening for 30 minutes and count the times he starts conversation. I’m betting it would be over 45.

      • haha – I took that from your ‘work from home’ post πŸ™‚ I know I would be terrible at telecommuting for exactly that reason. I can focus and isolate a few hours here or there … but that is about it!

  8. Appreciate your views on wealth, class, race, and militarization, the police, etc and would love a post devoted to the subject of race, although obviously a tough one to tackle. But I completely agree that people are racist, and it’s reflected in all of society and it’s unfortunate that many are unable/unwilling to see it.

    And I love Joni Mitchell, so thanks for that πŸ™‚

    • Thanks Michele – yeah, I have talked about a number of social issues, and they can be very difficult. Getting into race is even trickier, because then you start involving police, the judicial system, education, business and more. And there are so many nuances I would really have to think about it …

      I became a fan of Joni in the late 70s with hey foray into jazz, and love her non-traditional vocal stylings (more like an instrumentalist than a singer).

  9. Ah college move in. Such mixed emotions. I remember crying, being so scared of finally being on my own. But I also remember being so excited – to finally feel like I was an adult (hah). The physical act of moving however…it’s never fun.
    UGH the difference in those magazine covers! I get so tired of women always being portrayed a little, feminine creatures. We are powerful beings too – we are human just like men. Some of the ads in Runner’s World bug me too – who really looks like that when they’re out for a run? I usually have sweat dripping off of me, a beat-red face, and frizzy hair. So over photoshop and the fake feeling of ads.

    • Thanks Amber – agree that moving seems more exciting as a concept than a reality!

      And I agree – it is one thing to have the poses on the covers of Men’s Fitness or whatever, but for tennis magazine, I want a tennis-style pose and not something like what they did with Maria that looks nearly nude. Again, watching her play at the US Open the other night, she needs nothing but to be shown for the badass player she is.

  10. Interesting interview with the head of an organization for improving policing in the US on some NPR show I heard today. He was arguing it wasn’t so much the heavy duty military equipment, rather the failure is lack of community participation in determining the policy of what is appropriate and when. A quote that you would have appreciated was “The police are us and we are the police.”

    • I love that quote and totally agree – I mean, when I look at the people we grew up with who became police and fire and also those I have known through the years, and most were just average people (yeah, some were a bit high strung). I still think that there is some of the ‘when police become militarized, their mindset shifts’ – and there is some evidence (SWAT-style raids up 1400% is one piece of data tossed around). But definitely think that the lack of community involvement is a huge issue in all of this stuff.

      • My husband works for a medium sized suburb and I think he’s open minded, big hearted, and so free from prejudice, but when people call the police, at least in his city, they are required to respond. And so when someone in a nice neighborhood calls to complain about someone “out of place” walking in the neighborhood (and out of place seems to 100% of the time mean a minority), they are required to respond, thus compounding the problem of minorities feeling harassed. It is such a messy issue.

      • That is why I backed off from really getting into it – because I think most people in general are just decent people trying to live their life.

  11. There is so much here to comment about and so much that I love. But I have to just plain agree with you about that song. It came up on my Pandora the other day and I was so confused. Was it a remix? No? I didn’t get it and then I was so let down. I would have just been amused to hear that old song and reminisce about how funny we thought that was as kids.

    • I remember that it became popular again and of course among 12-year old boys ‘I like big butts’ will never get old. But to turn it into a song that people are pretending to take seriously? Really?

  12. That phone is massive! That said, I am sure reading on it is much easier than on the iPhone. I don’t understand popular music. I watched some of the VMA’s and was just lost. Half of them can’t sing and they all need to learn how to dress themselves.

  13. Tomato, tomatoe but I have a post I’m working on about how I enjoyed the VMA’s the other night. The VMA’s is more about entertainment versus music I think. Do I think a lot of the music is all that great? No, but do I think it’s entertaining? Yes.

    I thought that was Cornell too! We had a bunch of cross country races up that way so I know it fairly well.

    • Music means different things to different people … and if you are entertained that is what matters most.

      Cornell is a beautiful campus and pretty sprawling … and not much parking! πŸ™‚

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