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2006 Get in Gear 10K

Posted Saturday, April 29th, 2006 02:47 pm GMT -5 in Running at 2:47 PM

Wow, what a crappy day for running! The temperature was 47 degrees with an east wind at about 15mph and a constant drizzle. The gun split called out at mile one was 10:20, while my split at mile two was 18:45–quite a bit faster than I wanted. I was trying to keep up with two women running a strong pace, but they left me in the dust by the half-way point. My gun split at the 5K mark was 28:30 and I ended up with a 55:28 chip time (a new 10K PR). My legs feel pretty good and the only issues I had were the crappy weather (I can already feel a cold coming on) and my aerobic performance (my breathing was heavier than normal for almost the entire race). I am going in the right direction with this race, though:

  • 1999 – 1:01:15 (9:53 pace)
  • 2002 – 1:07:04 (10:48)
  • 2003 – 1:00:32 (9:45)
  • 2004 – 0:55:41 (8:58)
  • 2005 – 0:57:43 (9:18)
  • 2006 – 0:55:28 (8:56) – PR

Up next: the 2006 Heart of the City Half Marathon in Burnsville, Minnesota on June 3, 2006.

Marathon Training

Posted Monday, April 24th, 2006 12:21 am GMT -5 in Running at 12:21 AM

This week I received my entry form for the 25th running of the Twin Cities Marathon, to be held Sunday, October 1, 2006. Since I’m attending the U.S. Open in New York this year during Grandma’s Marathon weekend, TCM will be my only marathon this year. I met my last marathon goal at the 2005 Grandma’s, when I finally finished that race in under five hours. So it’s time for a new goal and I’ve decided to aim for a new PR (currently 4:42 at the 1995 TCM). This, however, means I need to actually train. I started this weekend with a 4-mile run that went well and plan to run the annual Get In Gear 10K next weekend.

There are a lot of different training plans out there, but I like to make my own. I’ve tried everything from Galloway to stay-active-but-don’t-run-too-much. If I ever want to get to Boston, I’d have to follow something much stricter than I’ve done so far, but here is my plan for this year:

  • Mondays: 4-mile run
  • Tuesdays: treadmill, sit-ups, free weights
  • Wednesdays: 4-mile run
  • Thursdays: treadmill, sit-ups, free weights
  • Fridays: 4-mile run
  • Saturdays: golf
  • Sunday Mornings: increasing long runs

Only 159 days until race day…DK

Edited to add: Registered online 4/26 at 12:01am.

Backyard Visitors

Posted Monday, April 17th, 2006 08:52 pm GMT -5 in Personal,Wildlife at 8:52 PM

A few of the visitors to our backyard this week…DK

Willingers Course Review

Posted Monday, April 17th, 2006 09:01 am GMT -5 in Golf at 9:01 AM

Willingers is a Golf Digest four-and-a-half-star rated course in Northfield, Minnesota. They are celebrating their 15th season this year and I had the chance to play my first two rounds of the year there last week.

Willingers has always been one of my favorite courses in the state. It is close to the south metro (15 minutes from Eagan), doesn’t have any houses around it, is fairly priced, has a friendly staff and is a great design by my favorite local architect, Garrett Gill of River Falls, Wisconsin.

Located on the site of a former tree nursery, there are lots of wetland areas and elevation changes. The wind always seems to keep the windmill behind the fifth green spinning wildly. The greens this week were in spectatular condition already and the fairways had very little winter damage.

The only issues I’ve ever had with this course are the neighboring gun club (which I’m sure they’ve tried to buy) and that they’ve not found a way to add 64 yards to the “Regular” or white tees. At a slope of 142, the whites are plenty of challenge, yet too many people don’t play them because of the sub-6000 yardage. If more people would move off of the 6310 yard blue tees, I believe the pace of play would improve greatly.

I’d also like to see a new set of tournament tees beyond the current 6775 tips to draw more tournaments in the future. The current tournament tees have a 74.4 rating and 150 slope, so I imagine a set of tees stretching to 7000+ yards would put it among the most difficult tests in the state…DK

Minnesota Wild versus Chicago at Xcel

Posted Wednesday, April 12th, 2006 12:14 am GMT -5 in Hockey at 12:14 AM

Last night we went to the final home game of the season for the Minnesota Wild. They won 2-0, but it’s sort of sad that the season is over. Of course with the Masters last weekend and the Twins home opener history, it’s now time to switch to summer sports. I have my first tee times scheduled, but I’m also thinking about joining the Wild season ticket waiting list for next season…DK

Edited to Add: Pulled the trigger on two spots in the warming house tonight.

7MM Site Updates

Posted Monday, April 10th, 2006 09:22 am GMT -5 in Housekeeping at 9:22 AM

Based on feedback, I’ve made some changes to the site since the launch. There are several new sections in the fetishes area:

I’ve also added some iTunes functionality to the footer area and the music page and added a webcam image to the contact page. I appreciate the feedback and will continue to make improvements down the road…DK

Hanz Erik and the Hims at Fine Line

Posted Sunday, April 9th, 2006 08:40 am GMT -5 in Concerts at 8:40 AM

Fine Line Music Cafe
CD Release Party
April 8, 2006

Copay Album Cover

Official Band Site
MySpace Profile

Last night my wife and I attended the CD release party for Hanz Erik and the Hims new album, Copay. This was only our second concert we’ve attended at the Fine Line and I’d forgotten how small that space is–especially with the upstairs seating closed. The acoustics were very good and the main floor was crowded.

The lead singer, Hanz Erik, leads a double life as a music facilitator at HSRA. Our students are lucky to have someone so talented on staff. Hanz is a great vocalist, songwriter, keyboardist, guitarist and instructor.

The new album Copay is the second album from the group, but the first released as Hanz Erik and the Hims. Known as HanzSolo until receiving a cease-and-desist letter from George Lucas, the lineup is almost the same as before (drummer George Marich replaces Ollie Bauer). Stein Malvey plays guitar and Erik Naslund plays bass.

Coming on stage at 11pm, the one-hour set included most of the songs from the new album and a few old HanzSolo songs from Closet Pop, including I Wish I Were Your Hair and Friends With Benefits. They played my two favorite songs from the new album towards the end of the set: Girl Up in My Mind and Potential Energy. That latter song is a total rocker with great guitar work and a catchy refrain and is my overall favorite song from both albums. Well worth the $10 just for that song…DK

Apple Boot Camp

Posted Friday, April 7th, 2006 12:32 am GMT -5 in Technology at 12:32 AM

I am by no means an “Internet pundit” on any issue, but a lot of my friends ask me what I think when Apple comes out with something new. I will write short posts when this happens and will link only to the best of what I see–there are plenty of other places to find links.

Earlier this week, Apple announced Boot Camp, beta software and instructions to run Windows XP on Intel-based Macs. In a nutshell, you can buy a new MacBook Pro laptop, Mac mini or iMac, install Windows XP with Boot Camp and have a computer that runs both Mac OS X and Windows XP natively. A “boot” screen appears on startup and you decide which operating system you want to run and away you go. Switching from one to the other requires a reboot.

I’ve looked at the Apple release notes and read a lot of commentary (some of the best from the always enjoyable John Gruber at Daring Fireball, Walt Mossberg at the Wall Street Journal and Ted Landau at Macfixit).

Here are my initial thoughts:

  • This is major development that will evolve over time, yet have immediate impact for some. Much more information will likely become available at WWDC this summer as to the direction Apple wants to take with regard to running Windows and Windows software on Apple hardware.
  • Smart software vendors will not abandon Mac development. The Windows version of programs like Photoshop and Word are not the same as the OS X versions and there is much more to the experience than just the application itself–file operations, windowing, look and feel and workflow are all important to the whole experience. Any vendor that says “just boot into Windows” isn’t worth your money and probably doesn’t care about the Mac market now anyway.
  • Apple has made some dumb decisions, but they are not a stupid company. I am not a blindly-loyal fanboy of the company or of Steve Jobs, but you have to respect what has been accomplished the past few years. Can you imagine the choices that had to be made to announce something like this? Gutsy move.
  • I think Mr. Gruber is spot on when it comes to computer enthusiasts (read: nerds) and OS X. It’s been embraced by the people coming up with the “next big things” in the tech world. Go to any cutting-edge tech conference these days and you will witness a sea of PowerBooks. And not just Apple-related tech conferences. Nerds like learning, nerds like options. This gives them another option. Options are good.
  • Wall Street liked it, so it MUST be the right decision. Right?

As soon as Apple comes out with a larger version of the MacBook Pro, I’ll be right there to install Boot Camp…DK

Creating Files for the Video iPod

Posted Sunday, April 2nd, 2006 12:38 am GMT -5 in Technology at 12:38 AM

When I picked up a 60GB video iPod, I felt like I did when I first discovered MP3 music files. Back then, SoundJam made it easy to take my library of CDs and rip my own digital versions of those songs. Now I wanted to do the same thing for all of those DVDs on my shelf. The movie industry makes this more difficult with region codes and encryption and the file sizes and processing power required are also an order of magnitude larger.

After spending several weekends reading online tutorials and experimenting with different programs, I have finally found a process that I’m happy with. It’s not perfect, but it creates a nice balance between file size and picture quality. It also let’s me queue up files to process overnight, which is handy. I’ve now filled up the iPod and have started using two external hard drives to create an archive of movie files that can be swapped with the iPod (one for movies and one for TV shows).

Here is my process in a nutshell (running on a PowerMac G5 dual-processor tower with Mac OS X):

  • Use MacTheRipper to create a Video_TS folder on my local hard drive.
  • Use HandBrake to create an .mp4 file from the Video_TS folder data.
  • Use iTunes to copy the .mp4 files to the video iPod.
  • Back up the .mp4 files to external storage.

One note about this process. Programs like MacTheRipper are on shaky legal footing in the United States. Whether or not it should be illegal to remove encryption and region codes is something I will leave up to the lawyers and legislators–I just want to be able to excerise my fair use rights to things I’ve already purchased (sometimes more than once due to the lack of kid-safe DVDs).

H.264 vs. MPEG-4

The videos that Apple sells on the iTunes Music Store use the H.264 video codec. They look great, but the resolution is 320×240 (the largest the video iPod can play). Handbrake can create H.264 files, but they take a long time to encode and I’ve never been able to approach the quality level that Apple does. I’ve settled on MPEG-4 codec for now, as they are quicker to create and the video iPod can play MPEG-4 files that have a larger resolution. I’ve settled on a width of 480 pixels, as that size plays back nicely on a standard definition television (connected to the video iPod by a docking station). The files sizes are larger than H.264, though, with an average movie file coming in at around 800MB.

Other Variables and Settings

On the MacTheRipper side, I use all of the default settings, but sometimes make a change in the Mode section based on the type of DVD I’m ripping. For TV show DVDs like Futurama, I do a Full Disc Extraction so that I can encode each episode separately. For movie DVDs, I select “Main Feature Extration” to keep file sizes down and elminate trailers and DVD extras:


For Handbrake, I use the default average bitrate of 1000kbps and check 2-pass encoding. I leave the audio settings at the defaults, unless there are foreign language and subtitle issues with a movie.


I give the destination file a unique name, then click on the picture settings button to set the resolution at 480 width, leaving all other buttons at the default:


If I have multiple files to create, I click the enable queue button and add items to it. If you are doing 2-pass encoding, each pass appears separately in the queue…DK


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Husband, dad and stadium IT director

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Personal Records & Mileage

  • Mile - 6:10
  • 5K - 21:42
  • 10K - 44:40
  • Half - 1:38:40
  • Full - 3:43:32
  • 50K - 7:37:00
  • 2018 Mileage: 53.8

Upcoming Races

  • Get in Gear 10K - 4/28

Upcoming Sporting Events

  • Monster Jam - 4/7
  • Twins vs. Houston - 4/9
  • Supercross - 4/14
  • Twins vs. Reds - 4/27
  • Twins vs. Detroit - 5/21
  • Twins vs. Cleveland - 6/3
  • Tapemark - 6/8-10
  • Twins vs. Boston - 6/20
  • Summer X Games - 7/19-22
  • Twins vs. Cleveland - 7/30
  • Twins vs. Pittsburgh - 8/15

Upcoming Concerts

  • Graveyard Club & Rushmore - 3/22, Fitz
  • Cloud Cult - 4/7, Orchestra Hall
  • Trampled by Turtles - 5/4, Palace
  • Kenny Chesney - 5/5, USBS
  • Caroline Smith - 5/17, Cedar
  • I Love the 90s - 5/18, Mystic Lake
  • David Byrne - 5/17, Orpheum
  • David Byrne - 5/18, Orpheum
  • Trampled by Turtles - 7/7, Bayfront
  • Jack White - 8/6, Armory
  • Beyonce & Jay Z - 8/8, USBS
  • Pearl Jam - 8/18, Wrigley Field
  • Pearl Jam - 8/20, Wrigley Field
  • Taylor Swift - 8/31 & 9/1, USBS
  • Ed Sheeran - 10/20, USBS