Mine didn’t look quite like these.
To the VegFest? Yes, that was me. In case you missed the APB from the nice vegan folks, let me tell you about it. It was a busy day, filled with errands and chores. I had committed to shooting the 2013 Albany VegFest which was being held at the Polish-American Community Center out on Washington Avenue Extension. I had been warned that it would be crowded with an estimated 2500-4500 expected to be in attendance.
I came close to regretting my professional obligation to take photos when I saw the weather forecast. I would have much preferred taking a long run, on such a spectacular fall day, but I postponed that activity until evening and instead started snapping photos.
I’ve never attended this event before, and was awestruck by much of it – the size of the crowd, the bumper stickers on the cars, the variety of vendors, and the delectable aromas which filled the hall. There were impressive displays of baked goods, condiments, cleaning products and toiletries. Information about animal sanctuaries, green energy and related reading materials, were also present.
I was happy to meet Susan Poisson-Dollar from Field Goods, a produce delivery service which I’ve been using since September. This terrific local business works with independent farmers to gather the freshest produce (organic, low-spray and conventionally raised) and package and deliver it to business locations around the Capital District. I’ve been thrilled with the quality and value of what I’ve received and encourage you to look into it as an excellent resource for vegetables.
I was initially excited to see a couple of current students in the sizable crowd. After pausing to talk with them, I was slightly less elated. You see, they noticed my leather Doc Marten’s. Talk about being embarrassed! Of course, I spent the remainder of my time at the event hoping no one else would notice my faux pas – as well as pulling my sweater down to cover my leather belt. Vegan FAIL!
Here are my photos from the event. Despite my epic lack of vegan cred, I would consider attending this event again. The crowd was smart, the food looked great and everyone I encountered was friendly. I plan to wear my Brooks running shoes.
After my previous post, in which I confessed to holding a grudge against some squirrels, you might be surprised to learn that I spent some time last weekend running a trail race called the Squirrelly Six. All I can say is this: I mentally made it a grey squirrel rather than the despised red squirrel which caused poor Miss Suzy so much anguish. Enough about my childhood issues – let me tell you about a great race!
The Squirrelly Six is one of two races run concurrently each fall up at Thacher Park. The race I ran, as you might guess, is 6 miles of beautiful, challenging trail running. The other race, perhaps one day in my future, is a ½ marathon known as the Hairy Gorilla. The races begin together and then split near the finish for the S6 and I hear that the hardest part of the race comes in the first half. Since I didn’t run the entire course I can’t confirm that, but I can say that there were a couple of intense hills that were kind of ass-kicking. Or, on a more positive note, ass-firming.
Before and after the race, I shot photos for the TU and it was one of the easiest gigs ever. The morning began sunny and the crowd was spirited and fun. The race is extremely well organized and there was a pervasive mood of fun and humor. It seemed to me that this particular group of runners truly knows how to have a good time and I didn’t feel the intense competition that I sometimes find intimidating.
Since my very first time running trails, I have been smitten with the experience. The soft earth underfoot, the smells of leaves and dirt, the lighting…it is very much an activity which captures almost all the senses. Speaking of senses, the aromas from the spread of food in the nearby pavilion were tantalizing! Next year, I think I’ll attempt the Gorilla and reward my efforts with something from the plentiful buffet.
See you again in 2014, S6/HG!
In the past few months, I’ve been to some really great shows up at SPAC. Despite the cold start to the season, Memorial Day weekend, when Griffin and I went to see both nights of the Dave Matthews Band, and the ridiculous prices demanded by Live Nation for shows and refreshments, I gotta say, it was a great summer of music.
Last week, I wrapped up my SPAC 2013 schedule with two different but equally enjoyable shows. Wednesday night was my umpteenth time seeing the Allman Brothers – it’s practically a summer institution, right? The night was made special, though, by the addition of Steve Winwood as an opening act. And the company I was keeping, of course.
Generally, the Allmans are a lawn ticket event for me, but there was a special TravelZoo offer which I took advantage of to land two balcony seats for less than $60. This was my third Steve Winwood experience and, while I prefer him in a smaller, more intimate venue like the Egg, he never disappoints. He truly is a legend and I can’t imagine ever tiring of listening to him play, particularly when it’s Blind Faith and Traffic tunes.
The Allman Brothers, playing with a full lineup including Warren Haynes and Derek Trucks, were their usual hard rocking selves. Greg continues to sing most of the songs, but Warren seems to be stepping up to the mic a bit more these days. While there was no Whipping’ Post, a couple of other nuggets were pulled out and I’d consider it a solid show. A definite highlight was when Winwood joined the gang for a cover of the Band’s The Weight – pretty awesome and unforgettable.
Ask the Allmans and I’m sure they’ll agree – Saratoga Springs is certainly the August place to be. Check out this Seen gallery for some great crowd shots.
Yesterday, I mastered my third consecutive Warrior Dash down in Windham. How was it, you ask? Well…it was really hard – maybe the hardest one yet, for me.
A beautiful foggy early morning had turned into a sunny and bright late morning and the temperature had somehow crept up into the 80s. When I jumped into the second half of the 10:30 “wave,” I faced the mountain with mixed feelings of excitement and dread. I may have fallen in love with skiing recently, but it really is far more fun to glide down the mountain than run up it, know what I mean?
The course had a certain Disney-esque quality with cleverly constructed trails which did not reveal the full extent of the climb. There were two occasions when I was convinced that the “up” part surely must be done and the “down” portion was all there was left to complete. I was wrong.
The obstacles were challenging without being particularly difficult. I wouldn’t be able to recollect the exact order of the various walls, wire and water hurdles. There were a couple I would have liked a chance to do over and I can tell you that the walls were my favorite, especially the one with the knotted rope. I seriously came off of that wall, looked at the guy next to me and roared “I dominated that wall!” Yes, really.
When I finished the race, sneakers saturated, clothing filled with twigs and stained clay red, I was predictably elated. I tried to itemize the obstacles, along with my bruises, and realized the chronology of the race really didn’t matter. Just like the challenges which are presented by life, getting through them is the most important part. While some would have indeed benefitted from a repeated attempt or a change in approach, having the ability to smile when it’s all over? Winning.
*Check out the Seen gallery here!
My day started unbalanced. There was a fantastic series of wind storms that interrupted my sleep with clanking blinds and papers flying. I had a dream I would have preferred to forget and a slippery bottle of milk left my sneakers in a puddle of white. The clean up of that dairy disaster, stole my YMCA mojo and left me feeling slightly…sour.
But, then… a coffee moment with someone special, a thorough bathroom scrubbing, and a somewhat cooler afternoon, started to swing the pendulum in the opposite direction. I watched a little Wimbledon, read a couple of chapters and had a five-minute power nap. Yes, there is such a thing.
Slightly after 5 pm, I made my way, accompanied by my favorite globe-trotting 30-something, to the Albany Barn fundraising event, Build Up. I wasn’t familiar with the location, but it was easy enough to find and we found convenient parking before the skies opened up for real. There was a meaty smokiness to the air which did nothing to diminish the bright airy quality of the well-lit room.
The attendees were upbeat and overwhelmingly familiar. There were more burger toppings than you could dream of, including locally sourced chanterelles, cheeses from R&G in Cohoes, sesame seed sprinkled buns from All Good Bakers and an overwhelming array of pickled, chopped and shredded veggies. Libations, exclusively from the Empire State were served.
I met the couple who own the house I most admire in the DelSo and had a Carrie Bradshaw moment despite my flat sandals. I shot photos and made introductions and assembled my own slider with chipotle chèvre, chimichurri, bacon and purple leaf lettuce. I drove home, noticing that Delaware Avenue was parked nearly full on both sides. My neighborhood was busy. It was a good day.
Sunday evening I trucked it up to Saratoga to see Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. Believe me, the drive did not compare to the time a group of us traveled via bus and maybe (?) train from groovy Greenwood Lake to the Nassau Coliseum to see the very same band. Yep, I’m an old school TP fan and I’ll always have a special place in my heart for these guys since they were my first arena rock and roll show – 1981, Brendan Byrne Arena.
As always, the band played with heart and humor. Tom Petty made just the right amount of anecdotal commentary with the crowd and played a great mix of old and new(er) tunes. As expected, he closed with American Girl, a song which remains a favorite of mine despite the whole Silence of the Lambs connection. His lyrics aren’t often cited as poetic, but he does have a plain directness in speaking which manages to convey emotions pretty effectively. It was a fun show and my date, who coincidentally (or fatefully?!?) had attended a show from that very same 1981 tour, was the perfect partner for the night’s adventure, an adventure which ultimately ended at the Schenectady County Airport with some gawking at Tom Petty’s private jet.
Sounds like an awesome night, yes? Well, let me share a couple of my complaints with you…
The ticket prices were outrageous. $50 for a lawn seat is pretty damn obscene when you’re spending your night breathing in secondhand tobacco smoke and dodging drunks who are literally falling down. It seems there’s no benefit in pricing the tickets high, assuming that’s an effort to keep the riffraff out. Maybe not over-serving the crowd would be a good idea? It is rather remarkable that folks manage to get so totally inebriated when beers are priced between $9-12 each. I suppose one might as well drink alcohol because paying $4.50 for a 20 oz bottle of Dasani water is no bargain. If you get drunk enough, you would have a hope of forgetting where all your hard-earned money went, I guess. I realize that my first concert was a long time ago, but the price of tickets and refreshments (don’t get me started on the merch!) certainly seems out of whack with the general state of inflation.
Come on, SPAC/Live Nation give me a break – otherwise you won’t be seeing this face in the crowd.
The “jam” in Mountain Jam must be code
for mud, right?
Four of us attended Mountain Jam for what was consecutive year number three and I learned two very important things… the first had something to do with knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that everything will be fine because your oldest friends always have your back. The second was equally practical but involved mud, and boots that no longer kept the mud out. The ultimate message was the friends are for forever and the boots can be replaced. End of story.
One last thing – the crowd at this event was fantastic – peaceful, friendly, fun and colorful as hell. Getting these shots was a joy!