Sunday, April 22, 2012

Races and Records and a Zoo, OH MY!

April 12 2012 Record Store Day & the Fort Worth Zoo Run:

Many of you know that I write two blogs about my equal but separate passions.  One is a running blog called Running For Dummies and the other is a music related blog called Fell in Love with a Band.  It is not often that my two passions intersect, but on April 21 2012 I got a taste of both, by accident really.  Although I always look forward to Record Store Day and this year was no different, I had a temporary memory lapse and signed up for the Fort Worth Zoo 10k run on the same day.  At first, I was a bit distraught by my (lack of) planning because I already paid to run in the race and any good Record Store Day hunter knows, you have to get in line early to get the limited edition releases or else, well you probably won't get them.  Last year I suffered a bit of heartbreak when my shot at a White Stripes colored 7" slipped through my fingers despite my early arrival at the record store to stand in line. 

The Zoo Run was scheduled to start at 7am.  I called around to the local record stores and found out that Doc's Records and Vintage in Fort Worth was opening at their regular time of 11am, so I hoped that I could run the race quickly and get home in time to stand in line at Doc's.  Last year I got up at 6am to stand in a line wrapped around the block at Good Records in Dallas and still didn't get what I wanted, so I wasn't sure my plan was going to work out at all.

Who gets up at 5:15am on a Saturday?  Only crazy people do, I swear.  Well, that is what I was thinking when the alarm went off.  After several cups of coffee and a banana I was ready to go.  I had plans to meet my running friend at the zoo, but a last minute text from her and I learned I was running this one on my own.  I was in my car and on the way to the Zoo by 5:45.

God blessed me with many redeeming qualities, but a sense of direction was not one of them.   The directions I had printed simply said to go South from the exit off the highway.  South?  I turned right.  That seemed South-ish to me.  After a  mile or so down a dark road without another car in sight, I assumed (correctly) I was going the wrong direction.  With a sold out race, I knew by now all the other thousand racers turned the OTHER south and my sole car was the only one traveling in the wrong direction away from the zoo.  Good thing I left early.

After a quick turn-around I eventually did find the Fort Worth Zoo.  I easily pulled into the main parking lot and found a easy-to-locate-later parking spot near the front.  Hassle Factor: 0.  I walked over to the start line wearing just shorts and a tank in the brisk morning taking comfort in the knowledge that as soon as I start running, I will be glad I didn't wear long sleeves or layer up. 

They had a pre-race warm up at 6:30am which was hosted by none other than my former boot camp coach Eliud from Fort Worth Boot Camp.  We did some stretching exercises and some dynamic warm-ups.  After a round of jumping jacks, high knees and butt kicks I started to worry I was wearing myself out before the race even started!  It was a little butt kick (no pun intended) before the race started, but by now I was really feeling good!

I was right up front at the start line and ready to go at 7am when the start horn sounded.  I took off at a faster than comfortable pace due to the adrenaline and had to force myself to slow down.  It just seemed like everyone was passing me at this point and my Garmin was reporting I was running at an 8 minute mile pace!  I had to remind myself that I race against myself, not anyone else.  The first part of the course was awesome, as the name suggests, through the Fort Worth Zoo! Nothing like running past an elephant's large ass to distract your brain from the running.   It quickly wound out into the streets of Fort Worth/TCU area.  It was perfect weather, apparently 40 degrees warmer than the race last year on the same day.  Oh yeah, I remember that cold morning last year, I was standing outside at Good Records waiting in line.

The best part of running a 10K, as opposed to longer distances, is that it is over before the real pain sets in! Don't get me wrong I love running half marathons, but there is usually a point in the race you think you would rather die that keep running, but it all pays off in the end.  I promise.  I couldn't believe how quickly it seemed I made it to the finish line.  It was a faster 10K for me than ever before, a new PR  at 53:32, a 8:30 average pace.  

I came in 257th place out of 1068 total people
81st out of 615 women
15th place out of 75 women age 35-39
and once again, as I like to report when the results are searchable by first name, I came in very first place out of women named Lea or Leah.  (There was only one other Leah in this race).  I may never come in top of my age group, but maybe someday I can proclaim myself the fastest Lea (or Leah) in DFW.  I digress.

This is me after the 10k

As soon as the race was over I ate a banana, downed a water and rushed back to my car.  I had some serious record buying to do!  I race home and hubby head out to hunt for our record store finds.  If you know me at all, you know the only record that I really cared out finding today was the red vinyl White Stripes Record Store Day release of  Handsprings/ Red Death at 6:14. 

I have a secret that I learned (too late) during Record Store Day 2011 that I will share with you all, but please don't tell anyone because this is my little secret and I don't want to ruin it with a lot of people showing up.  The Movie Trading Company gets the special Record Store Day releases too.  I have no idea why.  They are hardly an independent record store, which Record Store Day is supposed to promote.  They are a chain store selling new and used movies and music, with one single rack of records in their stores.  Last year I stood in line at 7am in the cold for over an hour waiting to get in Good Records with literally 100's of other people and still didn't get what I wanted.  This year will be different. I drove up to Movie Trading Company five minutes before they opened and waited for them to unlock the door.  There was only one other man waiting and he was 90 years old with a bag of used movies ready to sell or trade, I doubt he was going to fight me for my White Stripes record (but I stood ready with strong elbows, just in case).  I was feeling a little like the smartest record buyer in DFW.

When the door opened, I rushed to the counter and asked to see the 7" releases that I could spot sitting behind the counter. The girl held them up for me to see and Russ spotted my beloved White Stripes, but she doesn't hand them over.  But Wait!  She then informs us that she is not permitted to sell the Record Store Day releases until noon?

But Why, I ask?
That is the rule, she informs me.
Huh? I wonder what rule she is talking about when I know Record Stores all over the country are selling them as we speak.

I walk away disappointed but with plans to return at 12.  I was so close to getting my record, but still so far away.  We had a plan B.

Doc's Records and Vintage opens at 11.  We head that way to stand in line.  By the time we arrive at Doc's about 30 minutes before opening there were only about a dozen people in line.  Looking good for me, except I spotted one person wearing a Third Man Records Rolling Record Store shirt.  At least one of these people was a die-hard White Stripes fan and depending on the number of copies, he could stand between me and my record.  While I was standing in line my ultimate fear of not getting  my record and repeating last years disappointment was diminished when my friend Leslie tweeted that said she was able to get 2 copies of Hang Springs and she would let me have one if I wasn't able to get one of my own.  She is so nice!  I felt a sense of relief that even if Doc's and Movie Trading Company don't work out, I ultimately wouldn't be left empty handed.

The doors at Doc's opened and probably 50 of us were huddled around several boxes of the Record Store Day releases set up on two folding tables.  It was crowded to say the least.  I instantly spotted the White Stripes and scored two copies.  I had to push through the crowds to thumb through the 7" box to find the Karen Elson and was happily surprised to score the Upstairs at United, Jeff the Brotherhood LP.  Honestly, I wanted to browse more, but it was just too dang crowded.  I decided to be happy with what I had and with that, we called Record Store Day 2012 a success.

April 21st 2012 was a good day.  I walked away with a new running PR and my beloved White Striped colored vinyl.  

If you usually read my blog because you share my passion for Jack White, then I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse into my running world and vice versa.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Blunderbuss: A Completely Biased Pre-Review...

Blunderbuss: A Completely Biased Pre-Review of an Album I Haven't Heard in its Entirety.

Asking me to write an unbiased review of Jack White’s new album "Blunderbuss" is like asking an 8 year old to write an objective review on Disney World. There is just no way I won’t love this album. Jack could put out an album of instrumental accordion work and I would probably be first in line to buy it. This is not to say that I think Jack can do no wrong. Remember that whole ICP 7” thing? Yeah, still not loving that one.

It is just that Jack is continually evolving, as he should. He is not the kind of artist that is going to rehash his successes over and over again. This is not a White Stripes album, nor is it intended to be. If you are expecting a repeat of what you have heard in the past, you will probably be disappointed.

I can’t help but remember back to when the White Stripes "Elephant" CD came out. Remember way back then when people still listened to CD's? This is almost embarrassing to admit now, but after the very first listen back in 2003 I thought, “What the heck is this crap?” Yes, I thought that (blushing). Shortly after, I woke up and realized that "Elephant" is pretty epic, but it wasn't "White Blood Cells." At that time, I wanted another "White Blood Cells." Jack and Meg were evolving. I didn’t get it, at first. I listen to it today and try to remember what it was that I didn’t like at first and of course, I have no idea.

The first song the world heard off Jack's new album "Blunderbuss" was "Love Interruption," a sweet sounding but lyrically bitter acoustic duet with Ruby Amanfu. It gave us our first hint into the excitement that would be Jack’s first ever solo album, but Jack was quick to point out that this song was not representative of the tone of the album. Which only led to more wonder and excitement about what to expect.

Then on 03-03, a date that was fitting for Jack White, we heard a second song from his album during his performance on Saturday Night Live. “Sixteen Saltines” made me thirsty for more. This is the kind of stuff I was hoping for, Jack doing what Jack does best on guitar. In response to a comment that the album was 90% piano, Jack said in a vault chat that “There's more guitar solos by me on this record than any I’ve made since Icky Thump.” I took that comment as sort of tongue in cheek. (Jack, sarcastic? No.) After all, Jack has put out three albums since Icky Thump in 2006, but on two of those albums (the Dead Weather), he was the drummer. He wasn't doing many guitar solos at all.

"Freedom at 21" was the third song released ahead of the album. On April 1st, TMR released a limited edition Flexi Disc of this vinyl single by attaching them to helium balloons and letting them fall from the sky into lucky fans hands. While I had hoped for some strong winds to blow a balloon from Nashville to Fort Worth, it seems a bunch got tangled together and one very lucky family ended up with several copies. Of course, they ultimately landed on E-bay, and it sold for over $4000. Lucky bastards. Note to self: Work on convincing hubby to move to Nashville. Oh yeah, the song, I almost forgot. Love it. Seriously. I think my favorite of what I have heard so far. I am growing more excited.

Now it was time to just sit back and wait (not so) patiently for the April 24th release date. Then I heard over the week-end that the album leaked. I struggled with whether to download the torrent. I have already pre-ordered the vinyl (so therefore already a paying customer) and I have a strong aversion to paying for the same album twice (i.e. vinyl & iTunes), I even wrote a blog about that once. Downloading the torrent didn’t present a moral issue. It was more about waiting and letting the excitement build and hearing it as (and when) it was intended. Almost as soon as I decided that I would wait for the official release, Jack went ahead and made it available to stream on iTunes for free a week before the album officially came out. Free, Legal, Now.

So what is a girl to do? My very favorite ways to listen to a album for the first time is to put it on the record player or put on my headphones and go for a long run. Both of these methods allow me to focus on the music with no distractions.

I caved. I am listening to the album for the first time via on the iTunes stream as I type this blog. Well, I thought I caved. iTunes kept buffering every time it would start to play a song I haven't heard yet. How does iTunes know how to annoy me so effectively? I don't usually have buffering issues on my computer so I can only assume it the universe telling me to wait for the vinyl. Or as a friend posted on my blog Facebook page, when I complained about my iTunes issues, "Careful...your computer may not be able to handle such awesomeness!"

So, here it is, My pre-review of an album that I haven't actually heard in its entirety:

I love it y'all. Of course I do.

This might be the first time I ever typed the (not really a) word y'all in the 14 years that I have lived in Texas. It seems appropriate this time.

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