31 May 2009

48 Hour Film Festival 2009 in the 'Go

Once again Testudo entered the 48 Hour Film Festival this year. In nutshell its sort of a contest with teams and you draw a genre of film and you need to make a 6 minute film all within the confines of 48 hours. We did well last year so we decided to give a go again.
Our Genre- Holiday.
Our writers had a script out by 9:30PM on Friday and we were filming at 7 AM the next day at the Zoo.
My contribution- actor. Yep, I'll be in front of camera with lines this year. And no Elvis costume.
I won't say much about it since I have not clue what it looks like. However, it contains drama, comedy, and an ounce or two of sci-fi. Guess I'll take the chicken shirt on that.
We finished principal shooting at 6:30 PM.

News had also spread that this may be the last time it will be held in town. We need sponsorship to sustain it and a few more teams. I guess you can't blame the organizers- we are sort of an out of the way burg. Yet, the thought of trying to do Minneapolis in the future seems plausible. The Twin Town's version is sort of a monster with nearly 80 teams and 5 showings of the films across 1 week. To sustain this type of film making in town I would suggest going Kino- a bit mysterious but with solid footing.

Art of the Bargain 4

The bargains this week consist of a micro piano, a North Dakota Tree Booklet, and 4 first day issue catchets. Total= $2.50
The piano cost a quarter!
All these were acquired at garage sales while I waited for other scenes to be shot for the 48 hour film fest in town which I was participating.

17 May 2009

The art of the bargain 3

I was on my way to far south Fargo- the one that was in grave danger a few months ago- when my rear bike derailleur decided to destroy itself. This stranded me many blocks from home with a someplace to be soon. I used my two walking feet and in about 2 hours arrived home and switched to another bike. Before I reached home I picked up a few bargains along the way: Travel Boggle Game, Wireless Headphone, a Bartender's Jigger. Total cost $1.75. I guess I am a sucker for wireless headphones- I did not realize it required 4 batteries. The boggle game was sweet and I've been looking for a jigger for a while. I think I'm hoping to move toward mixology.
The garage sale season has begun in earnest around these parts. And soon spring clean up week will be upon the area too. Hope I can find some spare bike parts to repair my ride. For now I will ride the M200 or the C200.

16 May 2009

And marathoning grows in the region

Seems like the success of the Fargo Marathon may have created 2 new races and revived another. Or perhaps the increased interest in running the big distances among Americans is showing itself in the Upper Midwest.
May marathoning in the northland, as Fargo Marathon participants can tell you, is not for the feeble or faint at heart. To train to race condition, many begin their training just as they take down the Christmas decorations. [I just run in circles most of the year.] Weather in May can be pleasant or it can be a bear. The running of this year's Fargo Marathon was definitely on the bear side. Fortunately the snow did not fall. I was on traffic duty the first year and snow fell a bit during the 1st half hour after the start.
Two new marathons across the border in Minnesota will be run in May. The first, next weekend, will be in Stillwater. That's not far from my hometown. Anytime Fitness Stillwater Marathon will be run on Sunday morning May 24. I may be nearby and might try to cover some of the event. The terrain in Stillwater is scenic but there certainly will be a few elevation changes. As a child I always remember the steep hill that took you down into Stillwater. To me this could be a pretty decent event.
The week following, the folks who brought you the Monster Dash (Twin Cities Halloween themed 10k, half, etc.) will be putting on the Minneapolis Marathon. This is not be confused with the venerable Twin Cities Marathon run in October. This event seems to have plenty of incentives to get people registered. This one is run on a Sunday morning too. [What is with this early Sunday start for these marathons in the Twin Cities?] The route follows the Mississippi River to near Fort Snelling and then comes back. Plenty of riparian scenery to be had and elevation changes of up to 60 ft.
A marathon in Bismarck has been going on for who knows how long. The YMCA had been the chief organizer up until a few years ago. Now the Kroll's Diner Bismarck Martathon is run by some experienced competitive runners from the area. I saw a brochure in Fargo and noted they are touting themselves as North Dakota's friendliest marathon. The PR had similar feel to that of the Fargo Marathon adverts. I read lots of positive press about the race in Bismarck- especially the organization. Bismarck's event is run in August.
2 other marathons in the region which I didn't mention are of course Grandma's and the cross country-like Walker North Country Trail Marathon. Many are familar with Grandma's Marathon so I'll skip to the North Country Trail one [I'll refer to it as the NCM]. NCM is plenty small. No more that 1000 are in the event which traverses through small towns and into the woods. I've been in those woods. I should probably do this one. And one sad note- I believe someone perished on the course a number of years ago. There is a memorial at the mile marker I believe.
That's all for now.

13 May 2009

So you want to be a carnie?

How about this for a roustabout making literally powering your ride. Have no clue where it comes from. I could check but that would spoil the fun of guessing. India is my first guess. Does anyone know the liability of running something like this ride?

12 May 2009

More Fargo Marathon 2009

If you read the comments from one of my previous Fargo Marathon posts from Eric Sondag- he makes a valid point about the build up to the Fargo Marathon. There really wasn't anything, barring a few human interest type stories and then one about the Kenyans that will be running, that looked closely at the competition. 3 Olympic Trials participants ran Fargo this year. How did that go unnoticed? I suspect there are not many marathon media relation staff on board which could have given a number of these athletes a little press.
One of those runners was Kelly Mortenson, who I helped check in on Friday. Kelly finished 6th in the marathon. When I saw him pass on the course he was still in 2nd position. The eventually winner (who I think I have photographed here- actually it is Matt McCurdy pictured) Pete Gilman held the lead almost the entire course. Based on the last 10k timing, it appears that he was surrounded by the Kenyan pack as they attempted to pull away. Typical strategy when you know the frontrunner was almost a quarter mile ahead of you for most of the race. You begin to turn it up and attempt to create a bit of pressure. Pete either did not succumb to it or the Kenyans couldn't keep their push sustained. Kelly finished behind the 4 Kenyans. Sammy Malakwen, last years half champ took 2nd.

11 May 2009

Remembering SNOBOL

I was reminiscing with a friend of mine the other day and the discussion came to programming languages. We named quite a few. I then asked him to guess my favorite language. He took lots of guesses until I finally stopped him and said SNOBOL. It is also known as SNOBOL4 but my texts seemed to drop the 4 when talking about String Oriented Symbolic Language. I think I wrote a paper on it or gave presentation.
Although it is probably thought to be a dead language since the arrival of perl and the JAVA interations (Griswald, one of SNoBols the creators died in 2006), you can still find there is interest in it. Like here. Although Viktors earthlink website which holds the manual has been down for half the decade. Ah hah- but I struck gold and found the original by Griswald himself ( or something akin to it) here.
Oh the days of programming long past!

09 May 2009

A musical mystery tonight

Fargo North High School produced The Mystery of Edwin Drood of which one performance I attended with my roommate. It is a rather peculiar show as it seems to blend interactive with show within a show style. It is definitely an ensemble piece. There are no big parts although a few do stick out as important (yes Edwin Drood is a character.)
As like our previous theatrical outing, I took a staged photo with one of the actors. No flask photography was allowed until after the show. As you can see at left my roommate refuses to entertain swig from the flask. I think he's a Nazarene.

There was one photo op we just could not get because the actor kept entertaining the lady folk. This actor had particularly long sideburns plastered on. I wanted him to compare them to my roommate's natural ones. Instead I submit a side by side analysis without the hammy actor. (Yes the other guy above has long sideburns too, but he was the flask man.)

Mind over Miles : Will over Water Party

The Fargo Marathon festivities concluded with a big community shindig in the Dome with free food and the Johnny Holm Band and 32 Below. My roommate and I went to check things out.
The food was simple- a sandwich, chips, an ice cream treat and some soda. But who can argue with free. During the flood there was some pretty impressive food options but we're of the Midwest- this will do. I am not complaining.
I didn't realize Johnny Holm was still playing but he is and serenaded us with some countrified rock.
As show time neared for the play we were to attend, then the story gets interesting.
We are on our way out of Fargo Dome. I ascend the stairs and who do I see coming done the stairs. No other than Mayor Dennis Walaker! I say his name and he gives me wave. My roommate can't vouch for this because he was not paying attention. The Mayor waved at me and no I did not mix him up with Dallas the mechanic. It made my evening.

Fargo Marathon 2009: Relay Team Pictures

Katie and the one I think is called Trisha
Jeff (formerly of my workplace) and Kevin (a Volvo driver)

Fargo Marathon 2009: A whole lot cooler than you expected

A real cool morning welcomed runners and myself during the 5th Fargo Marathon. There were some brave souls who went sleeveless and even one who wore what appeared to be only a towel.
The news on Eric Sondag was he's a bit too injured to have prepared for the marathon distance. That is actually one of the reasons I have used not to do the marathon here. I still run but rarely do any monster distances.
Results are not posted on the marathon website yet to see how Eric did in the half (if he ran the the half at all). So this year the Marathon champ is Minnesotan Peter Gilman in 2:25.54. (course record!) He bested 4 Kenyans to win top honor for the men. I'm not sure if he was rated for the event. The Internet is coming up blanks- there was one link that said he was dead. Nix that, I found an interview with him from 2006. Apparently he ran the Chicago Marathon in 2:20. Very good.
On the female side of the world, Grinell gradate Nicole Cueno took the top honors in the marathon with a 2:52.16 time. Found an interview with her done by the same guy who did Gilman's. 2:42 is her PR and she ran in the women's Olympic Marathon Trials at Boston last year. I think she may also have been in a copy of Runner's World I had. Shoot! I could have had her autograph it but alas I recycled it months ago.
Chris Myers, who I mentioned last night, may have finished just a shade above 4 hours. I am not sure until official results get posted. I saw him come in around 4:20 clock time but he may have been delayed started by almost 20.
My manager at work and a few co-workers also took part. My manager ran the marathon for the 5th time and Jeff, Kevin, Unknown girl (who I think is named Trish) and Katie ran the marathon relay. Santa also ran in the marathon. A disabled veteran on crutches did the half marathon.
Food this year seemed average. Lots of bread. It was about the same as I had when I ran the Lewis and Clark Marathon. No gluten free this year.
Trophies were very unique as they were handmade in Fargo from clay. Hopefully it was clay that was used as a dike.
I took plenty of video footage as well as still shots so there might be a youtube video coming in the future. Photos are forthcoming.
I'll try to post more later. I've got to cover the big party and the Mytery of Edwin Drood.

08 May 2009

Highlights from the Fargo Marathon Check-In

It was down right nippy today. The wind helped make it feel like below freezing. No snow fell. Heading up to the Dome was a chore with the wind coming out of the north. Still, I got there on time and took my place at Chip Verification.
This year a Boston Marathon participant did most of the work at the table. I answered questions and took over after 8PM. I must say I am a bit intimidated by Boston participants because I know I could never get a time below 3:30 to qualify. I am not a sprite by any means and don't have that cross country runner DNA.
In the chip world, this year's chips can be kept as souvenirs. I joked that they could be kept and eaten. Imagine that- a edible timing chip. I think licorice would taste good. Participation certainly appeared to top 14000+ tonight.
Once again it was enjoyable to chat a little with the runners, try to pronounce their names, talk about their towns, and encourage them. ( I learned of a few towns in Minnesota I never knew existed.) There seemed to be a larger proportion of red haired women this year. The Boston Marathon participant I worked with even had a vaguely red tinge to her hair.

I filled in at the elite runner check-in for a bit while one of the marathon committee members took dinner. I checked in about 3 elite runners. I say about because I was on the third one when the guy returned. The Kenyans who are to run must have checked in earlier because I saw none. One of elite runner was a lady from where I grew up. We're about the same age but she went to Hastings. My sister might know her. In the picture to the right you can see the 2 Sondags (one won the marathon last year in exciting fashion) and another elite name Kelly. I forgot his name. There was another guy apparently sponsored by Anneheuser Busch who was looking to get into the half. Not sure if he ever did. I wonder if the Kenyans will start the race if the weather is going to be as cool as it was tonight. With a north wind the temps could feel rather arctic. It hasn't been like this since the first marathon 5 years ago.
Once again Chris Myers, the eldest of the Myers clan, will be running in the race. I forgot what he ran last year but this year he will run the marathon. His goal is under 4 hours. Certainly a formidable task. Have good run Chris!
Different from previous years, the kids races were run this evening rather than after the marathon on Saturday. It was an unexpected energy boost to kick off the events. The kids race is one of the largest in America and there was plenty of support.
After 9pm I returned home and then went out to inspect part of the course near my domocile. I ran the south bound from a few blocks south of Main to 13th and then up 8th. 8th was the only somewhat troublesome surface. The road is uneven in some places and may throw off candences. I also had the opportunity to try one of the porta-johns. It was fresh, clean, and new.
See you tomorrow.

07 May 2009

Going the Distance Party

Mayor Dennis Walaker said he'd get the beer. That day has come thanks to Dixie Brewery.

Downtown parties with Dixie Beer

The Going the Distance street party at US Bank Plaza gathered approximately 1000 people to drink beer, listen to funk music. Not everyone drank the beer. I decided against it on account that I would rather drink beer with people I know. I only saw one person I knew a little from work but the rest of the crowd were strangers. I wonder how many actually did help put up dikes or sandbag? You could never tell. Still the downtown was buzzing.
I expected more to turn out since the beer was free but alas not even Phil could be lured from his hovel to enjoy a brew.
The mercury dropped a bit but the music was good. A real good funk band with horns and stuff.

Volunteering for the marathon

Went straight up to the dome after work to do some prep for the Fargo Marathon. I was unpacking and stacking finisher medals. Not much to report on. Things seem under control. Saw the race director from a distance but nothing more. Therefore I'll do a picture post.
As you can see the dome has been cleaned since the last time I stood on its floor about a month ago. The sand is virtually invisible now- well its been cleaned. Elton John and Billy Joel were singing here last weekend.
Table of medals were all over the southside floor of the dome. Every even has its own color. Except the 2 person relay share a color with the marathon medal itself.
I had the opportunity to organize the marathon finisher medals. Don't they look good.

National Day of Prayer 2009

I made The Outsourced Prayer Network last spring in response to the lack of consistency in prayer gathering at the church I attend. It is purely satire. Nothing is true- it just seems true. After watching it again I am reminded of Jesus's words to his disciples in the garden "could you not tarry with me one hour?" Bill Hybels' book - Too Busy Not to Pray -- also comes to mind.

National Day of Prayer seems a bit like Christmas- that this is the one time each year we think about prayer. I doubt it was ever intended to be like that nor do I think even rivals getting people inside a church building like Easter and Christmas do. But then again who bothers with original intent. One can create context and voila, there's your day to give it a post-modern spin. I am of the opinion that such a proclamation as made by government asking for prayer recognizes that it's not our efforts by which we overcome- but only by the hand of The Almighty.
So pray for the United States- that our leaders and citizens would act justly and walk humbly, that greed and selfishness would not blind us to very good are hands have been made, that decisions in congress and the courts would be made that will benefit all.

I don't find it odd President Obama has not made any public expressions of prayer. Am I disappointed? Nah. Now in office he appears to be more private concerning religious matters. He leans toward an intellectual manner towards faith which usually doesn't make these religous expressions outward or in public. I could be wrong but the faith of Obama is rather subtle as contrasted to B. Clinton and G. W. Bush.

After reading a CNN article on the Presidents position, I have come to wonder why he wasn't more diplomatic. Mr. Obama will however sign a proclamation as have his predecessors. Traditional opponents of the separation of government and religion have cheered the decision.
So what? Does the decision hinder the prayers made this day for our nation? By no means.
However, the bloggers and other media are spinning this into a dust storm.

For those who will be praying- the Presidential Prayer Team doesn't take the decision into consideration. They enumerate plenty of things to pray for our President, Congress, and the Nation. Shall we pray?


Fargo Marathon Preview

2 days until the running of the 5th Fargo Marathon and it again surpasses last years numbers. It is estimated around 14000 runners will be involved in one of the races this weekend. That's a major race folks. And the odd thing is that this race really doesn't "pay out." What I mean is there is not much monetary rewards to be taken here. Other rewards are plentiful.
It looks like Fargo again has attracted a cadre of Kenyans with superb times to enter the marathon. And these are fast ones. Their best times smash the Fargo course record by nearly 15 minutes. Last year's champion Eric Sondag will have his work cut out to defend the title. His strategic victory last year was close to legendary. However, it appears that Eric may be running the half. Could he grab a course record for the half, too?
This year there will be a few runners who will be competing in Iraq. It found it on Steve Wagner's blog.
Due to the spring flood the course has been altered to a loop. 2 loops is the complete marathon. A few marathons have similar course setups- Amsterdam I think has it. The talk around town has been it will be a faster race this year becauase of it. Less turns is one reason touted.
My race coverage begins tonight as I head to Fargo Dome to volunteer. Tomorrow I do the same. On race day I'll be watching the packs come by on their first pass and then volunteer more later. Hopefully I'll have stuff up in a timely manner.

Walaker will keep promise

Dixie Beer is good for youIt's not that often you get a free beer. (Err, well for me it was sort of recent see this post)
During the tramautic days of the impending giant crest, Fargo Mayor Dennis Walaker spoke off handedly after making some statement about fighting the flood that he would buy the beer. Was I the only one who was listening? Even our resident beer conisseur, Phil, make no comment about that.
Well, Walaker has come through on his promise thanks to the Dixie Brewing Company of New Orleans. Dixie faced its own flood in 2005 during the Katrina incident. Unfortunately the brewery was looted and has ceased brewing in New Orleans. You can read the rest on Wiki.

Dixie is donating the beer -which is brewed elsewhere now.

So for those of you anxious enough to go out- downtown Fargo is hosting a post flood celebration at the US Bank Plaza from 5 to 11 tonight (which is May 7.)

01 May 2009

Crime Does Not Pay - episode 2

Gumshoe is lost but makes a bust in episode 2.