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June 2010

talented lucia

so here's my dog lucia on video.  she's staying in vladivostok with a friend while i'm in the states on vacation.  i'll miss her while i'm away but at least i'll have this clip to cheer me up.  we've been training since she was a pup. here's a video catalog of the tricks she's able to do now.

order of tricks in the clip:

  • sit
  • shake
  • beg
  • speak
  • hold a treat on her nose and wait until i say ok
  • come
  • stay
  • lay down
  • bang (play dead)

...the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs


i've decide to spend the summer running across the continental u.s.  i've also joined a group to see what zodiac sign runs the farthest.  and i'm in a 50 state competition to see what u.s state can run the most miles.  what cult-ish jogging club is this you ask?  it's actually a site developed by nike and apple.  it's i joined it back in 2007 when it was

ipod users can purchase a nike+ sensor and transmitter that will track the miles, calories, times and running history as you jog.  the sensor fits on or in your shoe and the transmitter attaches to your ipod.  so while you run and listen to your favorite tunes, the sensor is busy quietly calculating your miles. 

as you jog the nike program announces milestones at various points in your run.  or you can tap your ipod for a quick audio check to see what's your average speed and total distance.  there's even a powersong reserved for when you need that extra little push to keep going.  i usually save mine for the last mile.

to help motivate you, the nike site takes the uploaded data from your ipod and keeps track of your progress.  you can join challenges with other runners around the world.  you can also set personal goals to accomplish such as 10 runs in a month under 9min/mi, or run 100 miles in 3 months, and so forth.

if you like running to music, i strongly suggest you check it out.  if you're looking for something that contains more detailed running info and you're heavy into stats, then look else where.

I always loved running - it was something you could do by yourself, and under your own power. You could go in any direction, fast or slow as you wanted, fighting the wind if you felt like it, seeking out new sights just on the strength of your feet and the courage of your lungs.
Jesse Owens 

dog park discovered! err sort of

never let it be said i don't admit when i'm wrong.  last saturday i took lucia for a long walk at one of the nicer parks in the city.  on the way to it, we walk thru a smaller, wooded area.  during our outing this time, i ran into one of the same dog walkers i'd seen there before.  and as an added bonus, another dog walker was there with his dog.  we chatted for quite away while our dogs introduced themselves.  lucia seemed a bit nervous having two other dogs around, usually we only run across single dogs when we're out and about.  

during our chat, in russian, i learned they usually come out daily around 6pm to let their dogs play.  i haven't had the chance to go back in the evening since i just get off work around that time and would have to fight about 40-60min of traffic to get back to the park.  but we'll try it sometime when i can finish up early.

both the walkers had well mannered dogs, one was a little smaller than lucia and couldn't get enough of her while the other was just as shy as lucia and tended to stay away.  the shy one also had a funny habit of only coming up close to lucia if she could lick her in the face.  lucia always jumped away when this happened and both dogs would circle around until their paths crossed for another face licking.

before we left, lucia did her business and i scooped it up with one of my baggies.  i only mention this because the gentleman immediately offered me one of his packets to use.  i had already produced mine and did the deed of cleaning up after her.  so he then offered to show me where we could dispose of it.  i didn't recalled where a nearby trash can was, so i followed him down the path to what must be a bin somewhere i'd overlooked.  he stopped short in a tree covered area with lots of brush and pulled back a bush branch to reveal a hidden stash of other doggie bags laying on the ground.  he quickly tossed my bag in with the rest.  my jaw dropped and i was too surprised to say anything.  even now i think of that poo pile hiding in the bushes and hope nobody saw me contribute to its stinky bounty.  he seemed very satisfied at showing me how they clean-up after the dogs, so i didn't have the heart to tell him i don't mind carrying it for a 1/2 block to a trash can further up the road.  

so beware when walking through bushes.  sometimes the road less traveled is that way for a reason.


the other north americans

Neko case
 latest offering from neko case

occasionally my ipod thanks me for downloading new music that can be looped repeatedly without tire.  until now my tastes have always veered towards alternative, rock, blues and even dipping slighting into country music like johnny cash and hank williams sr.  but i came across neko case's latest cd, middle cyclone, a few months back, and it demanded a new category be added.  one reviewer called her music "country noir" which really fits her style.  after a few days of listening i bought several of her earlier albums; blacklisted, furnace room lullaby, and fox confessor brings the flood.  i even picked up one of the new pornographers albums since she joins them as a vocalist for some recordings.  i have to give her the credit for getting me back into practicing my guitar.  

back to the point of this post.  after listing to canada's 'the new pornographers', i tried to remember how many singers and groups i've listened to without realizing their canadians.  just on my ipod alone I have the following (* means i knew they were canadians):

  • bachman-turner overdrive
  • barenaked ladies
  • cowboy junkies *
  • crash test dummies
  • the guess who
  • jeff healey band
  • the new pornographers *
  • shadowy men on a shadowy planet *
  • steppenwolf
  • the tragically hip *
  • neil young

for the full list- see wiki's list of bands

on that note- '(hammy bar sound)

i'm getting ready to bid on my next tour.  i was hoping for canada and getting closer to home but nothing will be available when i leave here.  so i may be shooting for a domestic tour back in DC.  i miss the nights of DC concert going and live performances of my favorite artists.  one of the best concerts i saw in the district was the cowboy junkies at the 9:30 club. incredible.  

i've also been craving more riding on my scooter, seeing actually dog parks, and being able to jog outside.  i think i've seen two joggers since i've been in vlad.  the scooter riding is doable but definitely not stress free when you're looking for the next pot hole to swallow you up.

22 degree halo


eye in the sky

i caught this strange visual effect during a sunny saturday afternoon.  the ring was so large i couldn't fit it all into my point and shoot camera.  it lasted several hours before disappearing. the photo doesn't do it justice but you can see a rainbow effect in the ring.  the ring separated the blue sky around it from the grey sky and the sun inside it.  when this appears, precipitation appears soon after

here's what causes the halo to form:

the ring is formed because of the ice crystals suspended in the cirrus clouds.  if you could look at the crystals under a microscope, you would see that they're hexagonal in shape, and act as prisms for the sun's light.  as light passes through the two sides of the prism, it's deviated by exactly 22.  since the ice crystals are jumbled up randomly in the sky, most of the light is deflected away.  but from every position you're always able to see the deflected light from some of the crystals in the sky.