Friday, March 28, 2008

chasing back on

I haven't really mentioned it much but I have been interning/volunteering with marketing for the Nature Valley Grand Prix since January.

I've been focusing on interactive content (both researching options as well as helping to get some new content off the ground) and updating the website (you can blame me when the results aren't up soon enough). It's been pretty fun to see behind the curtain for an event like this.

Even though the race is more than 2 months away, there are a couple of pretty exciting things coming up.

The men's field of the NVGP is an invitational this year, but there are going to be a couple of ways for Cat 1s to get in on the action.

Locally there is gonna be a little competition to fill some of them. Called the info on the NVGP Qualification Race Series the info looks like it went out to the world this week via Bikethrow and MN Bike Results and hopefully it will some additional excitement the local races and TT involved.

The other exciting news has been confirmed but not announced so I won't go into it too much here, but there will be a way for other Cat 1s to get on an amateur squad at the race in a similar way to the locals.

More to come.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

no surprises

so I totally overslept and did not get up until the primavera was over this morning. I attempted to go to read the live coverage recap or watch highlights without learning about the winner in advance.

fat chance

the very first place I went there it was it big bold letters "Cancellara wins Milan-San Remo"

best laid plans and all that.

I was fairly psyched that my new cycling crush, Phillipe Gilbert, was on the podium continuing a tremendous early season. It's funny but now that I have been watching old videos while I ride the trainer, I notice that he seems to be everywhere. And let's face it, how can you not respect someone who just goes for it win or lose all the time.

Personally I think that he has a big win in one of the classics coming up yet this season. Maybe Flanders or maybe one of the Ardennes.

On another note, I am trying to decide if I want to pay for the Cycling TV coverage of the remaining classics and the Giro or not. It's more than I want to spend but I am dying for some live coverage of than the ToC. I have heard mixed things about the coverage and quality so I am really unsure. Guess I will ahve to decide soon though or I will miss the rest of the classics.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

I know that it’s the big new thing to allow comments on newspaper websites but I wonder what they are trying to achieve by doing this and is there any research behind it. Does it make people care or get involved any more?

It seems like a knee-jerk reaction to the issues affecting traditional journalism. Almost like they feel like they need to do something so they just pick the simplest option. People will feel involved if only they can add their own $.02

So the ultimate question has to be whether this capacity actually adds to the news or detracts from it.

Based on reading these comments for the last few weeks, I can definitely say that for me the comments on the Strib do not add to the content in any meaningful way. As with everything of course there are exceptions to the rule and you do occasionally get insightful comments that add to the discourse and fill in missing information. Unfortunately the vast majority of comments only lowers the discourse.

Take this example from an article today about towns bracing for flooding, a reader registered as Hipocryt85 writes:
“Maybe we better BAN FLOODING too. Flooding hurts people, property and sometimes KILLS. Maybe we better BAN them too. Makes about as much sense as banning GUNS.” From here he/she goes on to continue his anti-gun control rant in several other comments to this story and as a side note he/she must have lots of free time because he/she has similar comments in practically every story I have read in the last couple of days."

Now this begs the question, is this what the Star Tribune had in mind when introducing this capacity? I am guessing the answer is no.

The whole idea of web 2.0 is a bandwagon that people are jumping on before finding out where it is headed. The Strib already provides forums communities for people so why do they need this additional piece?

Thursday, March 06, 2008

This one goes out to the ladies

So I have picked up my first couple of releases of the new year (one today and the other a few weeks ago) and it's been all about the ladies with the new one from Cat Power and Erykah Badu.

This probably shoudln't be surprising to me, but as I peruse my music collections, the boys do have the overwhelming edge and I don't think these two will make a dent in that lead.

Jukebox brings to mind a kind of a 60s Memphis/roadhouse easygoing feel especially the opening take on New York. Clearly this is due in no small part to her backing band n the album which is also her touring band-The Dirty Delta Blues Band. You can practically smell the cigarette smoke in the air on Ramblin' (Wo)man and original Metal Heart just slays me everytime I hear it.

Now I will say that I am a Johnny-come-lately to Miss Marshall's music with The Greatest being the first album I owned but I do think it is impossible to not say that this is an artist who is at the top of her game right now. Now this is Cat Power's second album of covers, which every review seems to make a big deal out of for no reason that I can figure out. There are plenty of great artists that played standards or songs that they just liked arranged differently from Dusty Springfield and Sinatra to Tom Jones or Isaac Hayes. I know that we have moved to a music loving public that expects artists to write and record their own songs but the thing about this album that I feel makes it work is that her arrangments make these songs her own.

As for another album that seems to be dividing both fans and non-fans alike Erykah Badu's new one New Amerykah part 1 definitely pushes the boundaries of the accepted sound of 'neo-soul'. With this album she really takes and explodes the expectations that I think people have of her music bouncing from more traditional Badu songs like Me and Honey to waving the freak flag with tunes like The Healer and the last half of Twinkle.

I don't know that I have a whole lot more to offer that you can't find in the many reviews elsewhere but I HIGHLY reccomend checking this album out and I am definitely looking forward to part 2 this summer.

Music I slept on in 2007

So as typically happens, I discover a number of releases that I slept on after the year is done.

First up are 3 EPs in the Sad Clown series Atmosphere put out throughout the year. Before getting around to checking them out myself I saw some back and forth out there about the style being different from the usual Atmosphere stuff. I suppose that’s true to an extent in that they tend to sound a little more party jam style, but once you get into them they’re classic Atmosphere. And even if they are a little change up, you want to listen to the same album again and again?

The Rooster from Bad Fall has to be one of my of my fav Atmosphere songs with its melancholy sixties-ish groove and lyrics that weave an intricate story that could just as easily be a short story in some literary journal.

And let’s not forget the Atmosphere’s Christmas present of the Strictly Leakage free MP3 LP.

Next is the Very Best of Ethiopiques 2-CD set available as an import. I have been wanting to get into this series but it is a little intimidating to know where to start so this is a perfect jumping off point. A little expensive as it is import only right now, but I got mine used on Amazon, so it wasn't too bad.

I am sure that I will disover even more that I missed as the year goes on but that is part of the fun.