Bend the Round

…where the madness is recorded.

Running Report : C- March 6, 2008

Filed under: music,running — bendtheround @ 9:56 pm
Tags: ,

 

This week’s training has not gone particularly well. I’ve been hammered at work – things have gotten pretty busy. I had a couple nights when I didn’t sleep particularly well, which made it too tough for me to get out of bed in the morning to go train. (I am a weenie about sleep deprivation.) Biology sucker-punched me, too. (I am a weenie in general, actually.) Pretty much all the typical excuses.

On the positive side, I did get a decent run in this morning. While I was at it, I tested out the four potentially good running songs that were the result of last night’s frenzy of measuring beats per minute (bpm). These are the four:

  • Vince the Lovable Stoner (Fratellis)
  • The Sky is Falling (Queens of the Stone Age)
  • Millionaire (Eagles of Death Metal)
  • Solid Gold (Eagles of Death Metal)

    There were a few from the President’s album that might have worked, but I don’t have them on my hard drive at the moment (Matt is kind enough to share his extremely impressive music collection with me, so I was listening on the shared drive of his iMac).

    I had already determined that the last two were good running songs, but I figured that since I had measured the bpm for them I might as well put them on the playlist. The Sky is Falling had the right bpm, but I had my doubts about it. While I wouldn’t have guessed Vince would be a good one without the bpm in front of me, once I listened to it and thought about it, I had hopes.

    In short, Vince worked out nicely and the Sky is Falling was workable, but pretty far from great.

     

    This bpm thing could really work! I’ll keep measuring songs and building my running playlist and sharing with you here.

    While I was at it this morning, I did my weight lifting. I was pleased to find that my upper body strength has improved enough that I can now do a whole 10 girly push-ups at a time! Woo hoo! I guess it pays to weight train like Chuck.

    Also on the plus side, illnesses and car accidents have been held to the bare minimum of zero. That is a very good thing.

    I’ve also planned out this weekend’s 12 mile run and it promises to be a good one as long as the weather holds. I’ll go through two wooded running trail areas – I think I like running on those trails the best.

    Still, because I haven’t gotten enough of my training in this week, so far, I’m grading myself a solid C-.

     

    BPM Counter!!

    Filed under: music,running — bendtheround @ 2:56 am
    Tags: ,

    I ran a couple searches (literally, two), and browsed my way to a free bpm counter widget from http://www.flyingcheeseburger.com. While working on some other things, I have started counting beats per minute looking for potential running songs. Here are the albums I checked out tonight and each song’s bpm. I’m setting up a Running Playlist for all the songs that are in the 160-170-ish range to see if they work well as running songs. The logic there is that the Podrunner episode that I find easiest to run to is 166 bpm.

    (Couple of notes on the widget… it’s a manual thing, so the bpm probably aren’t 100% accurate. I’m laboring under the presumption that it doesn’t have to be for my purposes. Also, I’m pretty sure it’s just for Macs – sorry, PC users.)

    If this works, I’m going to have to learn how to not waste precious O2 singing along. I’ll let you know how it goes!
    Fratellis – Costello Music

    • Henrietta – 117 bpm
    • Flathead – 212
    • Cuntry Boys & City Girls – 179
    • Whistle for the Choir – 131
    • Chelsea Dagger – 154
    • For the Girl – 222
    • Dogginabag – 122
    • Creeping up the Backstairs – 245
    • Vince the Lovable Stoner – 168
    • Everybody Knows You Cried Last Night – 205
    • Baby Fratelli – 125
    • Got Ma Nuts From a Hippie – 216
    • Ol’ Black N Blue Eyes – 130

    Presidents of the United States of America: Love Everybody

    • Love Everybody – 183
    • Some Postman – 119
    • Clean Machine – 136
    • Highway Forever – 133/266
    • Zero Friction – 140
    • Surf’s Down – 166
    • Shortwave – 181
    • Poke n Destroy – 185
    • Munky River – 92
    • Droolin at You – 177
    • Vestina – 155
    • 5,500 Miles – 167
    • Shreds of Boa – 118
    • Jennifer’s Jacket – 222

    22-20s : 22-20s

    • Devil In Me – 218
    • Such a Fool – 123
    • Baby Brings Bad News – 124
    • 22 Days – 209
    • Friends – 97
    • Why Don’t You Do It For Me? – 240
    • Shoot Your Gun – 113
    • The Things That Lovers Do – 132
    • I’m the One – 235
    • Hold On – 134
    • Baby, You’re Not in Love – 103

    Queens of the Stone Age: Songs for the Deaf

    • You Think I Ain’t Worth a Dollar – 156
    • No One Knows – 171
    • First It Giveth – 210
    • Song for the Dead – 206
    • The Sky is Fallin – 168
    • Six Shooter – 170
    • Hangin’ Tree – 211
    • Go With the Flow – 159
    • Gonna Leave You Now – 142
    • Do It Again – 133
    • God Is In The Radio – 113
    • Another Love Song – 148
    • Song for the Deaf – 201
    • Mosquito Song – 100

    Eagles of Death Metal: Death by Sexy

    • I Want You So Hard – 165
    • I Got a Feelin’ – 128
    • Cherry Cola – 145
    • I Like To Move In The Night – 112
    • Solid Gold – 169
    • Don’t Speak – 135
    • Keep Your Head Up – 119
    • Ballad of Queen Bee – 121
    • Poor Doggie – 96
    • Chase the Devil – 227
    • Eagles Goth – 133
    • Shasta Beast – 136
    • Bag O Miracles – 105
     

    Results of Music Experiment March 3, 2008

    Filed under: music,running — bendtheround @ 2:59 am
    Tags: ,

    A recent post on Podrunner started a conversation with Prisco of the Gospel According to Prisco about workout music. I hadn’t really put a lot of thought into it before, but it turns out that I have three categories of workout music: running, lifting, and yoga. The running music is by far the hardest to nail down.

    I haven’t spent much time listening to music while doing yoga…or much time doing yoga lately, to get right to it… but the stuff I like to listen to tends to be pretty standard ambient sort of stuff. If I was practicing like I’d like to be, I could pick up a couple CDs with spandex bedecked women in improbable positions on the covers and pretty much be good to go music wise. Maybe one of these days, I’ll get back into yoga like I was and start putting some yoga music collections together.

    Lifting music isn’t too hard. It pretty much encompasses anything I like to listen to period. It doesn’t have to be pumped up, fast-paced or anything. I’ve even listened to audiobooks while lifting and been perfectly content. I am a complete book nerd, though, so that’s not all that surprising.

    Running music is much, much harder for me to get worked out. I tend to run to the beat to whatever I’m listening to, regardless of whether the beat is appropriate for running. That’s great when I’ve got a song with a good running beat to it, but I’ve never put the effort in to figure out which songs really work for me. The reason is that the only real way to tell if a song is going to be a good running song is to try to run to it. I’ve tried guessing plenty of times, and about 4 times out of 5, I’ve been wrong.

    So, I tried an experiment. I used Thursday’s 3 mile run to listen to an album and make notes on what pace each song set for me. It turned out to be far less precise than I had hoped. When a song did work well to run to, it would work for a range of speeds. What I really need is a way to tell what the beats per minute (bpm) is for a given song.

    I listened to Eagles of Death Metal’s album Death by Sexy. Here’s the song list and my notes on each:

    • I Want You So Hard – great running song! 5.8 – 6.3 mph
    • I Got a Feelin’ – 3.5 – 3.7
    • Cherry Cola – I think my legs are too short to take steps long enough for this one to work.
    • I Like To Move In The Night – 3.2 -3.7
    • Solid Gold -Chose this album for this song – one of my favorite running songs – 5.7 – 6.5
    • Don’t Speak – 3.1 – 4.0
    • Keep Your Head Up – 3.3 – 3.6
    • Ballad of Queen Bee – 3.4 – 3.6
    • Poor Doggie – 2.4 – 2.8
    • Chase the Devil – too fast to do on the treadmill – faster than 7.0
    • Eagles Goth 3.5 – 3.7
    • Shasta Beast – 4.0
    • Bag O Miracles – 2.5 – 2.8

    There are two problems with measuring songs by the mph they set. First, it’s inexact. They set a range of mph. Second, it’s only good for someone with a similar stride – so someone significantly taller or shorter than my height of 5′ 2″ will likely have a different mph for a song.

    Still, it was an interesting exercise.

     

    Music for the Musically Disadvantaged February 5, 2008

    Filed under: music — bendtheround @ 4:23 pm
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    There are people whose lives almost seem to revolve around music. It’s the backdrop of their lives. They know the songs they loved in sixth grade, they remember what was playing when the most important moments of their lives occurred. I think it’s beautiful to have music as your anchor points in your memory – maybe because that’s not the way my mind works.

    Don’t get me wrong – I listened to music growing up. But I listened to the music that my parents enjoyed. There were no fights over the radio station in the car. If Mom was driving, it was Oldies and I was cool with that. I can probably still belt out a fairly decent rendition of Rockin’ Robin for ya. If Dad was driving, it was Classic Rock type stuff – ZZ Top, Huey Lewis & the News, etc, and I was cool with that, too. When I heard La Grange come on when I finally got to that level on Guitar Hero III, I loved it. It just never really went farther than that. In high school, people were into Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins, and the like, and I was perfectly OK with that. It just never touched me the way it touched others, and I’ll tell you why. Music wasn’t my backdrop – nothing rested upon it. It was just background noise to me. Any appreciation I had for it was mostly as context for something else… jazz and swing music for a certain period… Jimmi Hendrix and his appeal to Hippies…

    …and it’s a damn shame. I never even realized that I was missing so much until I had the good fortune to start seeing my current boyfriend. Within his genres of interest, he’s got a deep knowledge of music that I have no hope of ever matching. I’ve had something of a retro-active musical education – I’ve learned to really appreciate the music that my peers loved when it came out as well as the music of current and emerging artists. It took a couple years, but I think I’ve finally built a reasonably decent base of knowledge. The thing is, I frankly depend on my boyfriend for music. If he doesn’t have it or know about it, there’s no way in hell I’ve heard about it (note: the mere fact that he’s got a band in his collection is FAR from a guarantee that I know about it, and even farther from a guarantee that I can identify it – my music identification skills are mediocre at the very best). While I do have a much better appreciation for music, I don’t have the interest or the energy to expend on hunting down new stuff. If left to my own devices on that matter, I strongly suspect I’d be back to square one in no time.

    Enter Last.fm.

    I’ve got to say, I’m loving this site – and I’m not even using it to it’s full potential. You can download the Last.fm tool from the site for free, enter in the name of an artist or band you know you like, and it’ll crank out a whole station full of music that is similar. As you listen to the music, you can click a button to either “Love” the track or “Ban” it. You can also tag music (this is one of the features I haven’t really used yet) and make friends with people who like similar stuff. The beauty of the Last.fm is that it lets the musically disadvantaged like me find music they like, but never would have heard of before. It also helps you figure out what sort of stuff you really like.

    Recently, I thought I should try to expand my music exposure a bit. I tried Jazz. I had heard of people like Coltrane and Miles Davis but I didn’t know much about their music. I listened to it for a couple of days and eventually found that I’m much more drawn to the Blues. BB King and Stevie Ray Vaughan…that sort of thing. I never would have guessed!

    Now, Last.fm has been around for quite a while. If you haven’t already given it a shot, and you’re interested in expanding a bit in your musical interests, I’d highly recommend Last.fm. Heck, even if you have given it a shot, maybe it’s time to try it again! You never know what you’ll find.