21 May 2008

Fargo Marathon 2008: The Final Run

Late Marathon Crossing the Red, a photo of the Fargo Marathon director and companions running across the Main Avenue bridge nearing dusk as they run a marathon for Caroline Ruby Vetter.
They started at 6PM and it was about 8:30 at this point. Earlier that evening a few people cheered them on in the 8th St stretch. I also witnessed a group cheering them on near the end of the Old Milwaukee Trail at the Discovery School. This "event" was not publicized much. I think I read about it in a marathon mailing I received weeks before. You can barely make out the runners but they are in the center of the photo.
Of the people I knew running on May 17, meaning the actual races, I colleague and soccer team mate of mine, Chris Hass did the best. He placed 12th in half marathon. Others running that I knew included KT, Chris Myers, Mark M, Erin E and few execs at my workplace. Way to go!

48 Hour Film Fest: The People Have Spoken

Indeed it was crowd in the Fargo Theater lobby for the 7 o'clock showing of entries for the 48 hour Film Festival. I thought that this theater was bigger. I think if it seats 1000 then that's pushing the limits. Nevertheless, I was entertained by a wide variety of films (DVs more accurately) that made up the 12 on-time entries to the festival. One entry which did not make it in on time was screened as well and it was a top notch production.
Team Testudo arrived in full force with director Charles making a fashionably late appearance. Our film was screened second to last sandwiched between 2 fictional bio-pics. I remember most of the films but unfortunately their titles elude me. Well, not all titles. "No Shoulder," an entry in the drama genre was well executed with some excellent shots. However, it seemed to fall prey to the cliche that drama=yelling and fighting. Nevertheless, it was one of my choices for best film.
The other bio-pic which followed our "Fantasy #10" garnered the best of the show by the judges. They were not wrong. An experienced team put together the brilliant "Precious Metal." It harkens back to Edward Scissorhands except this orphaned misfit, Otto, "created" nuts and bolts and eventually a frictionless ball bearing. It's welled acted, cute, creative and even employs underwater photography. Watch this film!
Finally I will plug my team's film, "Fantasy #10."
You never know what you did until you see it on the big screen. During the first screening, the audience tittered throughout. I guess we may have been funnier than the comedy. I was amazed. Adam and Josh were incredible writers and actors but special mention must be given to Ray as required character Brad Billups. Ray ended up winning the best required character rendtion of th required character.
When all was said and done, Team Testudo took home the audience favorite award too. Quite a feat for a southpaw team.
You know, there should be something like this for the Fargo Street Fair.

20 May 2008

Fargo Marathon 2008: Play by play of men's race

Jeff Kolpack blogged the men's race suboerbly from start to finish but did not get his early predictions correct. He was probably quite surprised by Eric Sondag overtaking the Kenyan John Rotich in the last few miles. On Monday, Rotich's coach reported that Rotich injuried himself during the race and was not fatigued by his previous Lincoln marathon. He thus downplayed Sondag's strategic assumption that Rotich may not have enough to keep pace in last 2 miles. Sounds a little bit like rhetoric to me. Injuries in running can be the result of fatigue, lack of stretching, or over-exertion. There might be more. Nevertheless, even injuried, Rotich finished 3rd.
The men's half and marathon course records made this weekend were not too substantial. Neither broke the previous record by large amounts. I suspect the wind may have been doing a bit of damage. Fargo has yet to break the 2:30 barrier in the marathon despite a few runners who have bested that mark. The presence of the Duma Racing Club members really put some excitement into the 4th year of the Marathon with that possiblity. They deserve some props for coming up this way.
Hopefully next year more elite runners will come and create another fantastic race. Especially more elite women should come too because the women's races need a little competition. This year I suspect a lot of elite US women were going for the Olympic Trials last month in Boston. A Tico (aka Costa Rican) Gabriela Trana won the women's half with a time of 1:20.04 but well ahead of the next competitor. I doubt she is related to Jesse. The women's world record is 1:06.25

19 May 2008

Fargo Marathon 2008: The Aftermath

Hours after most of the runners had completed the course, race director Mark Knutson and 2 friends laced up and ran the deserted Fargo course in honor of Caroline Vetter and I suspect raise money for leukodystrophy research. 5 year old Caroline succumbed to the disease recently. A mile of the marathon near Lindenwood Park was named for her.
I finished filming for the 48HFF at 5PM and wanted my fix of marathon. I caught up with Knutson and his posse as they arrived at the Lindenwood split and snapped a photo. I then furtively followed them through the south Fargo portions of the marathon up until the infamous Troll bridge. I only missed them in 2 sections: coming back from the turnaround and Condcordia. As they crossed back into Fargo it was getting too dark so I headed home satisfied to cover this run.

18 May 2008

My 48 hour film festival Fargo

The tough part is over. I filmed from 7am to 5pm for a fantasy film. It bent the rules a bit but the obligatory stuff was in there, including a wizard and a battle with a dragon. I also got to play medieval Elvis, which spawned another movie idea- Time Travel Elvis, he didn't die he just leaped into another time.
Well Tuesday night is the showing and I hope to get a seat. But how on earth does an event that hardly anyone knows about get sold out. It's not like any famous directors were competing in Fargo. I'll see what the competition (12 other teams) is really like. By my only understanding there are only 2 decent filmmakers in Fargo and I was working with one.
So show us the films!

Fargo Marathon 2008: The results

I had reported earlier, some Kenyans (ex-pat ones) had entered the marathon and half marathon. Just the mention of a Kenyan puts a bit of fear into your average competitive runner. I was quite amazed that any Kenyan runner would consider Fargo a worthy prize. There are 3 other marathons in the Midwest that bigger payouts and more notoriety (of course there are more races, but I digress.)
Well, they came and they did not quite conquer. Unfortunately I was not there to witness events but man it had to be exciting at near the 24 mile mark when a Grand Forks man saw his chance for glory. Leading the race at that point was Kenyan John Rotich. The thirty something Grand Forks man, Eric Sondag, got site of Rotich and with some cunning research he had done Eric raised it a notch and passed the Kenyan to win in 2:30.34. Read the coverage here. Sammy Malakwen, a Kenyan, did win the men's half marathon.
About 13,000 took part in the trio of races this Saturday with about 1,200 volunteers.

16 May 2008

Happy bike to work day!

I didn't see many biking today.
Okay, I did, but not at work. The rack at work was average capacity today.

These are bikes at the mass transit hub downtown.

Today, after fixing the flat on my C-200, the C-200 went flat again and at the wrong place. I was half way home and it totally went. I think they gave me the wrong inner tube and so I blew it up too much because no air would stay a moment in the tube. Also I need to get up to the Fargo Dome to volunteer. Bummer on that. I increased my pace, got home with only 15 minutes to spare and then relentless pedaled the Trek to the dome. I just made it. My only concern is why the Fargo Dome doesn't have a bike rack?

Fargo Marathon 2008: Catching up with a Myers

Yet again I volunteered myself to the Fargo Marathon enterprise and once again I became "Chip Verification." It has to be once of the best jobs ever. I get to meet people, joke around with them, talk about running, talk about where they are from, and encourage them to run far and run fun. There will be perhaps upwards of 13,000 participating. A few ex-pat Kenyans are also in line to run the marathon.
Well, this year I met a lot of Myers. A lot from Canada and some from the states and one from my storied past. Chris Myers might not be a recognizable name to most of you but you die hard fans of the Kevin Myers' Show will remember him as the peculiar doctor who says "It may be hazardous to your pancreas" in a few of the early episodes. Chris also is the elder Myers sibling. His venture up to Fargo includes running the half marathon on Saturday. He is running it with a friend, Steve Robertstead (sp?), who had lived in the Go many years ago. I wish Chris and Steve all my best.
More l8r.

14 May 2008

A big weekend ahead

48 Hour Filmmaker: Fargo 2008
If Bike to Work Week isn't enough then I shouldn't mention the Fargo Marathon or the 48 Hour Film Festival.
Once again I will be volunteering as a chip tester on Friday. Shortly afterward I will then join Team Testudo to work on the 48 Hour Film Festival entry. We've been planning since January in some way or other. Basically the deal is you draw a genre of film and then have to include a few required elements and then have 48 hour to make a film or in our case a DV. The team producer Beth has assembled looks pretty good. I'm part of wardrobe and make up and may make a cameo appearance if necessary. Should be a blast. I hope I can stay up.
You can view the finished works at Fargo Theater on Wednesday. I'll try and get some good stuff to post.

Bike to work week

Bike to Work Week 2008 has garnered much attention as oil prices rise and green consciousness is all the rage. The week, which is still going on, is promoted by the League of American Bicyclists and hopes to raise awareness and interest in 2 wheeled transportation. I'm not sure if Sean Connery or Superman are members but I would welcome it.
Not much organization up in my neck of the woods although I have seen quite a few bike commuters. The rack at work was nearly full last week. Gas is inching its way to $4 and I suspect more will get the bikes out. I'd say we have a 65% bike friendly community. The only negatives are lousy community snow removal and aware drivers. The city does a great job at clearing the streets but the sidewalk clearing is crappy. The city mandates that residences are responsible for snow removal on the walkways but rarely have I seen it enforced. There a residence next door to me that only cleared the walkway 1 or 2 times. It makes for really difficult riding when the streets are too busy.
I've been looking at getting a bike trailer so to ultimately make my auto nearly obsolete except for long excursions. The trailers on the previous website are pretty hardcore. There is even a testimonial on the site that says somebody moved a refrigerator with one. I might just make one myself although I have come to like the Wike. They have an inexpensive kit that looks fine.
Finally, I will also put a plug in for Carfree Cities. The New Urbanists must be behind this carfree stuff. Really I think this is possible. Maybe not across the board but doable in certain locales. Their premise is a bit radical for even the liberals in these states. Europe probably is thinking of legislating these ideas. As I mentioned in the Train Day post, our forebears did away with possibility of fast and efficient mass transit by unleashing the consumerism on post-war America. Now that sound pretty ominous, but I will also add that from their vantage point in history that appeared to be just and fair after America suffered through the depression and the war. But I am going beyond what I desire to say- let's think multi-modal efficiency. Bikes for the short distances. Mass transit for longer. I could probably do carfree. I'm nearly 75% there. Who knows maybe even Phil agrees with me. He once had a bio-diesel vehicle.

10 May 2008

National Train Day

“A train is one of the most beautiful ways to see America as you move around the country.”
-Al Roker, spokesman for National Train Day and weatherman

May 10th marks the first ever National Train Day in the States and also marks the date of the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad. I am pleased, however there are no events scheduled in the Go for this day. (The closest is Rugby, ND. Not even the home of the Empire Builder, St.Paul, could muster up enough to celebrate.) For a city [the Go that is] that owes its existence to trains, I am a bit dismayed. 2 historical stations still exist in town. One designed by Cass Gilbert. But I guess this burgh is looking to the future. But shouldn't the future include trains? Will there be another great era for train travel?
With gas prices on the rise, Amtrak ridership is up. I must admit I like the idea of train travel, however a few of our forbears of previous generations seemed to have dismantled the possibility of greater coverage of the passenger train system. Granted we are not Europe or Japan. We are massive. But are we not being bit in the buttocks by the gasoline powered automobile right now? Do we even have an infrastructure in place to deal with the possibility of abandonment of the automobile so quickly?
Well, my celebrations will probably involve looking for trains and taking their pictures. There are plenty of them a just up the street. Nearly a 100 a day come through.

02 May 2008

Global Day of Prayer

Not much to say about this Global Day of Prayer, except that I am amazed that it began in Africa and not someplace in the U.S. or Canada.
I guess here's some things that Royce Files might file under prayer requests:
  1. Phil gets an unlimited supply of beer and shares it with his friends
  2. Intramural Glory and Chad Vader get picked up by the same network
  3. Peace

01 May 2008

Wiki article of the day

Well, if it isn't Dr. Livingstone I presume.
Been listening to podcast on church history and this guy came up. Pretty cool. He had some ideas that were probably ahead of his time, like ordaining indigenous evangelists. He also makes it on the list of great world explorers.