In Las Vegas for a conference and we are staying at Caesars Palace. No Caesar did not live there. As I am doing a bit of trip planning, I realize that Sir Elton John is playing at the Colosseum at the hotel. That is the venue built for Celine Dion when she started her Vegas residency. Now, a few different performers come for various stints to play there. The likes of Celine, Elton, Shania, Rod Stewart and others too like Jerry Seinfeld. Kim was fairly excited about the showing saying it would be great to see such a legend. Let's do it. Here is what $250 a seat gets you. Just behind the board. Lower was $500 - $1000. Too salty for me. Maybe for Celine. Not.
No intro band. Just fire up the first song and came out cold to The Bitch Is Back. There was the diva himself. With the sparkle cape on and two gentlemen following to remove it.
He had these ornate stage pieces on the sides with various themes from his songs. A big screen in the back that came to life differently in each song. Some songs were with a 16 person band. Other songs he just did solo.
He told a bit of a story between songs. Name dropping and all. "When I was with John Lennon" or "when I played the 9/11 tribute concert". Etc. Hey, he did that stuff. Amazing life spanning decades of playing.
At one point, they lifted those side pieces and had the whole stage open up. This was Philadelphia Freedom with a big video backdrop.
The audience was full of older white couples tapping their toes. Not my crowd. Used to sweating and sometimes bleeding on each other. But hey. Elton would rile the crowd and try to get them up. I bet he is used to this. He did a good job building over the show. When Crocodile Rock came up as seen below with the green backdrop, the people next to me did a full on swing dance in front of their seats. They never moved an inch before this.
They had camera on the sides of the stage but I couldn't figure out the use. But finally, they started panning in and showing Elton on the big screen. That was fun. Then would go through the crowd and such.
I enjoyed when they used the camera on the piano to show fingers. I don't play but Elton seemed to be banging away on that Million Dollar Piano. That was the show name, after the piano. The program said that's what it cost to build because of all the fancy componentry and LED screens and such.
The concert was very "jam band" -- which was good. Extended versions of songs. Piano trailing off. Songs I had never heard. They did this Indian song which had this amazing guy playing percussion. He was the probably the highlight of the show. It was 10 minutes of awesome. They finished by clearing the first 5 or so rows (those $1000 seats) and bringing them on stage to surround Elton for Saturday Night. Most of the folks on stage had their cameras out the whole time trying to capture Elton playing for them 1 foot away. Neat.
Overall, it was a 2 hour show that went by in a flash. Quality entertainment. We went to a Cirque show the next day and this concert was way better in comparison. At 66, Elton has a rich history and a lot of classic songs. It was by far the most mainstream biggest artist concert of my rock show history and I enjoyed it. Its amazing to see someone who is a master at their craft do anything live. This was the last show Elton has before summer break but he will be back in the fall. Get tickets and see it. Its fabulous. I might even wear a boa next time.
Go out so-so, when it hurts find a 7-11!
-Brandon Fuller, 2013
The girls had another track meet today at Boulder High School. It was in the mid-80s at race time. Nobody is ready to run in that weather yet. Plus, they spent last night sleeping at the zoo and were falling asleep on the drive to the track. This can't get us maximum race performance. Oh well. They ran 50m, 200m, 400m. One more meet last week.
As for me, I had to watch Kayla while they were gone so I wasn't able to get out on my long run until today. But then I thought to myself, what would Dean do? No, I really didn't think that. But I remember how Dean first inspired me to run to and fro various nonsensical things. This was his brilliance. So I decided that I would run home from Boulder High.
This is not a new adventure. I have run from home to Boulder. And back. With a Green Mountain in between. I looked up at Green as I stripped down to just my shorts in the high school parking lot. Still looked snowy and would easily add 90+ minutes for just that up and back. Plus, my ass would be really dragging coming in tonight. I passed.
So at 5 PM, I was off from the school and down the Boulder Creek Path for the run home. Oddly, I usually have run home just up the highway because I am dead. So instead I reversed the Lobo trail out of Boulder, which is super windy in spots. Not the most efficient way to travel in a specific direction. The temps were up and I hammered down 3 gels in the first hour. Phew. By the time I was up to Highway 52, I was out of water with no obvious refills in sight. I usually duck in a church but they all seemed closed up at this hour. The parks are not on yet because of our recent snow spell. They all love to wait until its fucking summer to turn the god damn water on in the parks and let people use the shitter. Apparently, nobody takes a dump over the winter at the park because we are all hibernating.
As I was cresting this miniature hill in Niwot, I bonked. Cramped up too. Dehydrated. Not much I could do. I pulled out my phone and texted my wife for kicks. Part of me wanted her to say, "oh we are nearby and will get you and take you for ICE CREAM". I was delusional. Oddly, I started checking email while fast walking to work out the cramp. Then I checked Facebook because what else should you be doing in the middle of your long run? Saw Tony's R2R2R2R2R post and enjoyed that while the cramp subsided. I can't say I was instantly motivated but I did get back to a run again shortly there after.
As I came through Longmont, I knew one thing. I had to get some calories in me. So I ran up a side street and over to 7-11. How would society exist without this wonderful establishment? I went in all smelly and shirtless with my credit card out like a weapon. Water. Red Bull (not diet!). Snickers. Advil. "Do you want your receipt?", she says. Sure, I will shove it down my pants. Whatever. I went outside and sat on some firewood for sale and filled my bottle. Popped the Advils and chased it down with Red Bull. Lots of people hang out in their cars in the parking lot there and I think the commentary about me had to be interesting. I proceeded to shove the entire Snickers bar in my mouth like a porn star and head on out. 2 blocks later. Life was good.
The sun was down at this point and twilight was subsiding fast. That darkness where you can run on sidewalk because of the moonlight but can't see anything on your watch anymore. Some quick math...like simple addition...indicated that I would be 0.5 miles short of a true marathon knowing my landmarks. Well, we can't come up short like that. I recalled the April Strava Challenge where you have to run a marathon. OK, fine. If Brownie can run a 3:40 and get it, I guess I can phone in a 4:10 or so. And so I kept at it. Felt like I was flying in the cool night air after that hot day. Hit the watch light to find out I was burning up 9:30 pace. Watch out everybody. The Advil kept me from crying my way home but didn't improve my physical capabilities. Guess I will try EPO next time.
My wife texted me, "Are you close to home yet?". All I could figure was that she wanted sex or something by this point. Again, running in the heat makes you delusional. I came into my neighborhood and had to do one of those bullshit loops where you have to spend another 1/2 mile or you will come up short when you hit the house. God damn those suck. Feels like bad planning. So I came down my street to a bunch of dark houses and nobody outside to tell me how awesome I am because I just did the impossible. Kind of. Not. I tried to get inside but the door was locked. Then I realized nobody took the trash cans out. So I did that. My job is never done.
Came inside and everyone was asleep. Clearly worn out from the zoo. Not from worrying if Dad made it back from Boulder. That guy is nuts. Like Dean.
I went 26.29 miles with an elevation gain of 334 feet in 04:08:06, which is an average pace of 09:26. View my GPS data on Garmin Connect.
Sydney and Reagan joined a running club. Click on their names for the full scoop. First race was last weekend at Boulder High School. 2 more races in the series. So on Sundays...you will find me in Boulder on a track. Weird. I thought they only had trails down there.
This is a great show I thought to myself last Friday. A guy in front of me has the concert t-shirt on. As I peruse the back of it I notice something interesting. San Francisco. Wednesday. I will be there! Boing. Why not?
Off to the Warfield in San Francisco I go. Was curious how a like the same show on the same tour in a different city would be. You know how they go...you are the best crowd...well, do they say that to everyone? Time to find out. Arrived just as Halestorm got started after some terrible traffic. Lzzy got started in the same leather outfit as the other night. OK. Do they wash these things between shows? Where do they do that at? Or she has multiple? These are things I must seek the truth to.
So same set as I recall from Friday. A lot of the same banter between certain songs.
She has a great range in her voice. Enjoyable to hear. Again, her mic was so clear. Lots of bands (even B4MV tonight) back off the vocals so much in comparison. Anyway, definitely a Halestorm fan now after these 2 shows. Read a little backstory on them how her and her brother (drummer) started the band at 10/12 years of age. Dad played bass. Played some county fair and then decided this was what they were meant to do.
Time for Bullet! The crowd had been pretty stationary until now. Things livened up but never got to a mosh the way Denver does. Denver wins.
Matt had a different outfit on for the night. Only person on stage that changed as far as I recall. Same set tonight as Friday. No encore again.
Lzzy was in the wings as Dirty Little Secret began. I knew what to expect there. Same deal as Friday. Its a good mix but then she backs off for the back half of the song because its not her gig.
Overall, I enjoyed seeing it again. B4MV is a favorite band and you can't go wrong catching them twice. On the same tour. In different cities. Science project complete.
Post rock show dinner at IN-N-OUT!
After a full two days of unemployment, I had to get off my butt and find a job. So I headed out to Mountain View, California and joined my friends @ Blue Jeans Network!
Many familiar faces (Ted, Luke, and more!) here at Blue Jeans exposed me to the company. I believe the vision of video conferencing everywhere still needs to become a reality. We were trying at Cisco. But these guys are in a unique position to pull it off by being a interoperable cloud-based player in this market. Here, let us tell you about it.
So I joined the team as a technical leader. Still working from home out of Colorado...courtesy of video conferencing, of course! Thanks to my friends in and out of Blue Jeans who helped me out on this transition with advice. Should be fun to be at a small company once again. Who knows...might just end up back where I started if things go well.
Whenever my favorite Welsh heavy metal band comes over the pond, you know I will be there! Bullet For My Valentine kicked off their US tour in support of their new album, Temper Temper, last night in Denver. Nobody ever kicks off a tour here. We are buried 1/2 way down on the concert t-shirt between Boise and Kansas City. Not tonight. We get to see it first.
They led out with Breaking Point which didn't surprise me. Your Betrayal came in 2nd which was the prior tour opener which is always amazing. I run to that song like everyday.
The pit was especially sweaty tonight. Smelled like 15 kinds of dude when I was done. I bought a concert t-shirt on the way out just to change into something dry for the drive home. Good excuse.
Here is Matt turning the Mike around and making us sing the song to get it going.
Young Guns and Halestorm opened. I walked in right during the end of Young Guns. Saw the full Halestorm set. I was sure not expecting anything special but I enjoyed it a lot. I have about 0 bands in my music library with female lead singers but this chick rocks. Full guitar. Great voice. They had Lizzy dialed in just right and the vocals were really clear. I loved it. I was back a ways during that set but then Lizzy reappeared during Animal during the B4MV set and did a little duet. Nice!
I need to brush up my Halestorm now.
Thanks for starting the tour in Denver guys! Hope to see you again. How about this Wednesday? San Francisco!
This is my stop. Getting off here. Thanks for the ride.
In 2004, our relatively "small company" got acquired by its neighbor down the street, Cisco. Nearly a decade of working at a "big company" has led me to a decision to make a change. Years ago, I might have written a diatribe about all the things that were behind this decision. But today, I won't. Cisco treated me well on the whole. Gave me a lot of flexibility. I just wasn't content with the challenge anymore. That's what I circled on my exit survey.
So just before our spring vacation trip, I gave my two weeks notice. And today is the end of that period. Last day of employment inside the mother ship. Spooky? Exciting? Seemed like just another day actually.
Yep, my Dad and I saw Discovery launch back in October of 2007. That was pretty neat even from a distance. It was kind of a bucket list thing that just happened to come true.
Fast forward to 2012 and the shuttles being retired then "gifted" to others to be put on display. After watching all the coverage of them transporting the retired shuttle Endeavour to Los Angeles, I was intrigued to pay it a visit. Where would you put such a thing? I had to see.
We went to the California Science Center. Tickets to see the shuttle were just $2 a person. The museum is free...oddly. The lines were kind of chaotic as if they had a "rock star" visiting but were not sure how to handle it just yet. You travel through a standard display room where they have some video footage, a few props, and some photos to check out. Not a big display by any means. But all this is temporary as they design and build a final resting place for the shuttle. Then you head out back to a newly constructed minimal pavilion/hangar. And inside...
There it sits. On 3 points of contact. A shuttle. Up close! Never seen such a sight. When its in service, nobody gets this close. So now, its right over your head. I walked up under it first hand. The tiles on the bottom are weird. They look like square pieces of rubber that would just fall off other than a single bolt through the middle of them. These are the famed heat tiles?
Around the back, the engines are still on. I thought I heard they might remove those? Or maybe these are replacements? They looked pretty clean. The scale was huge. Not sure if Sydney does it justice but figured I would stick a human in there to see if it scaled.
Kayla stood by a spare they had on hand. Apparently, they had 9 of these ready for each mission. 3 for the primary shuttle, 3 for the backup shuttle (rescue mission), and 3 on standby. The machinery of the engine looked very "willy wonka" or something. Just shiny bent metal going every which way.
Around the front, you get a sense of the texture of the top of the craft. I always had this pegged as some sort of sheet metal looking craft. Hell, that's what all the toy models feel like. But its not. Its covered in what looks like a quilt. A sort of bumpy textured heavy sock around it. It was odd. The words and flags look like iron-on patches instead of a paint job on a stock car. Unexpected.
Here are the rear points of contact on the pedestal. I swear the contact was the size of a Coke can. They use bigger jack contacts to lift my H2. I later learned that this pillars it sits on are designed to protect the shuttle from shaking too hard in the event of an earthquake.
They are designing and building a new home for the shuttle here on site. This house is temporary. Looks like they are going to stand the sucker up and put rockets back on it. Then open up the bays and such and let you view inside. Today everything is all zipped up tight with no plans to ever let any of the public tour on the inside to preserve it.
A couple more profile shots. These were all from my phone but they were OK. Might post more from our camera once I get the pictures off.
Random iPhone panorama. Not great. Shuttle looks bloated but at least you get a single view of the whole thing.
My kids enjoyed it but didn't quite grasp it. I grew up during the shuttle years. Its amazing to see this thing in person. Brought a tear to my eye when I saw it. Such a modern marvel. Good night, Endeavour.
My new toy.
"I wasn't even sure you were even running anymore", says Tony, as we cross paths this morning on Amp.
Yes, I guess I have been silent recently. Or vague. Tony's comment was just one of many over the past week. My Mom asked me if I was going to WS100 again. When I said no, she asked if I had retired. My sister asked me if I was running at all on her visit this past weekend. My friend asked me if I was racing Leadville. It was not a 1-word answer. It goes on.
So yes, I have been running. Decently. Base building-ish. I took a break from Green Mountain for the winter because of some combination of cold, wet and not having a car when I usually would have before. It was a nice break. I even had streaks of not running this winter but I quickly find that my "soul" likes to get out and run around the reservoir I live by daily. Its my patrol. It makes me feel good. So I do it. I don't do it to train or run faster. I just do it to get out.
The reality is that I have a job where I sit in a chair a lot. When I don't exercise, I gain weight. I get sluggish. My bowels get angry. Running equalizes all that and more. Part of me always figured I would just retire at some point from running. That sounds cool. Makes you sound professional or some such shit. I am so good that I have to tell people I am not doing this anymore. Right. That's not the case here. I went from running to get un-fat. To running to race. To running to enjoy challenges. To just running because its part of me now. Is this making any sense?
So over the past few months, I stopped talking about my miles. Maybe its because they are mine? Maybe its because its not extraordinary. I don't know. I just didn't have the passion to share. I don't care if you "look at me!". I don't have anything new planned. I am content doing the same old stuff for a while longer while seeing if new challenges open up for me. I have a history of taking up some new hobby. Doing the shit out of it. Then dropping it cold. I feel like I have tried to drop this one a bit. And while its not holding the same weight in my mind as years prior, I can't shake it. Or the elusive big buckle. The real goal is just having a race I am proud of there. I am proud of all the finishes. But I oddly am more proud of the DNF because I feel like I went for something. So just a solid race. No 100 is perfect. But if its solid, then the time will speak for itself. If its enough for big, so be it.
What do I do with that? Well, for the past 3 years, I have started thinking about the Leadville Trail 100 on Jan 1. Training starts! Go. By the time we hit June, I am fucking spent. July lingers. By August, get this over with already. This year, I changed. I haven't really started. But I will soon. I hope to time the peak better this year. Maybe the implied delay will make me feel like I don't have as much time and push harder. Maybe not. I am sure I can fake 100 miles this year if I want. Or be cool and do a DNS (Did not start). Never had one of those! But those aren't going to get me any closer to that stretch goal of the 1000 mile buckle. I am not the fastest but I think I can be in the top tier of repeat sufferers.
So with a spark of that, I headed back to Green today after 2 months or so away. Then I struggled through the slippery ice with no traction up the hill to have JV catch me from behind as planned. As we stood on the summit, I turned and noticed something.
His legs! Jeff is like the groundhog. When you see his legs, that must mean winter is over. That means that summer is almost here. And there is nothing quite like running trails in the heat of the summer. Maybe my motivation turned today. I hope so. Being vague is pretty boring. People tend to lose interest.