Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Live Free or Die

Thought you all might enjoy this little ditty (not about Jack and Diane):

I'm from Michigan and my favorite state slogan is Great Lakes, Great Times (with Say Yes! to Michigan as a close second) but I've got to say, New Hampshire's license plate is pdg (pretty darn great)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

the tease

click that 360p box up to 720p and watch in HD!

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

G Street

Last night I laced up my Mizunos with the intention of taking it easy and running as long as it was fun. I ran past a softball game and around alongside beach and then, instead of pulling it in through the flat lands of L street, I took it down to G Street. If you've ever lived in South Boston you'll know G Street leads you up to the high school and Dorchester Heights, where Gen. Washington repelled the Red Coats back in the 1700s.

G was just recently paved. Very smooth. And in the humid heat (even at 9pm), the pungent smell of tar could have been overwhelming. It was not...because the incline of G street won out on the overwhelming. I just thought I'd give this dreaded hill of mine a try. I must have accidentally run up it when I first moved here and didn't know any better, so for the past three years we've been avoiding each other. But coming off the coat tails of Mt Washington, I thought the least I could do was power through this one. And I made it 3/4 of the way before huffing an exhausted "crap."

Ran all the way to the heights. Running down was indeed the killer.

I'm still not ready to commit to attempting the rockpile... it certainly is on my mind...

The Map: http://www.usatf.org/routes/view.asp?rID=376674

Monday, June 21, 2010

Race me

The goal of this past weekend for the kitchen table docs crew was to capture as much of the hill climb experience as our modest little set up would allow. Working with a team of two, a little HD video camcorder, an SLR camera, and enough clif bars to fuel a mountain goat, we attacked the weekend with vigor. Cannot say enough how much fun the weekend was, for a NH-phile, running-phile and film dork such as myself. Cannot say enough how welcoming and warmhearted this racing event treated us (and treated just about everyone, in general).

I'll give you a run down of the weekend, so you can feel like you were there!

I packed up the kitchen table Jetta Thursday morning. From cameras to all-weather clothing (ya never know) to Harpoon UFO White (to honor the White Mountains, of course). Erin, my crew-mate from Long Island arrived and we drove up the three hours from Boston into the White Mountains and found ourselves neatly nestled just south of Mt Washington in Glen, NH (thank you McCann's for the most peaceful HQ imagined). After a crash course in equipment usage (never would have guessed it was E-rock's first documentary gig, would you have? very professional), we crashed for the night pumped for predicted sunny skies, perfect for pictures.

Friday 6AM wake up call. To capture that lovely morning light I am so fond of, the Jetta took us around to some scenic points of interest. BAM! Mt Washington, sans cloud shroud! Then, we got a little turned upside down and around again driving through the valley. With mountains on either side, gentle slopes of trees and jagged cliffs of rock boulder amidst the winding road, all I could do was pull over and gasp at the mind boggling beauty. Thank you John Weeks for enabling the preservation of what you saw so that we might see today the same thing (Shout out to the Weeks Act 1911)!

Did some location scouting around the Mt Washington Auto Road. It was Biker Weekend and thus wildly loud everywhere. We had an interview shoot scheduled for this area in a few hours and had to figure out where to film. Relying on only natural light and bulbs already installed at any given locale, this guerilla film team had to get creative. And we did. We found a slightly more secluded hill above the main buildings thanks to our friend and Mt Washington Auto Road aficionado, Eli.

Nancy Hobbs, World Mountain Running Association

Friday evening was a whirlwind of meeting hill climbers from all over, all walks of life, all age groups and all deeply powerful connections to the mountain. Peter, a long time member of Team Gloucester, recounted his first time up the mountain. Andy, the race announcer, broke down the psychological nature of the climb. Fred shared his connection to the mountain, including the 33 times he's run it. in a row. that's right...we have a streaker!

Fred Ross, the streaker

Up bright and early for the 10AM start of the race (meaning another 6AM wake up call). And in fact, it was bright-- sunny skies for the second day in a row, with clear views of the mountain. The crew went their separate ways: one in the press van to follow the elite action and one in the Jetta to take in the views from the tippity-top. Aside from locking the keys in the trunk (eh hemm), the kitchen table team did make it down the mountain post race. I still don't know if we were able to fully capture the intensity of running up the tallest peak in New England. What does it take to reach the summit? Eyes forever yearning towards the sky in hopes that the crest of this behemoth is near, and then when it finally does, these same eyes realize the attached legs will need to muster enough strength to climb a truly daunting 22% grade in just 50 yards.

The base of the mountain was a mix of family reunion and graduation accomplishment (both come with a whole lotta food and drink and hugs). The camaraderie of the Mt Washington Road Race is not to be overlooked. Mountain runners are a special niche of runners and they know it, but they share and encourage it with anyone that's interested. No insiders club here, folks. We met so many great runners, supporters, organizers and even other filmmakers on this trip. A great group of people all coming together to go toe to toe in a race with each other, yes, but even more so the mountain and ultimately, themselves.

Winners Chris Siemers and Shewarge Amare with Race Director Bob Teschek and sponsor Delta Dental's Tom Raffio

Sunday we met with Howie Wemyss the general manager of the Auto Road (the road by which this race is made possible). He gave an insightful and expansive history of the area and the road itself. Can you even imagine, in a time without Eastern Mountain Sports and REI that enough people were attempting to climb this 6,288 ft peak, and succeeding, that a summit hotel was profitable in the 1800s?? The Auto Road played a great part in allowing people to experience the heights, sights and thrill of standing on top of it all.

This concluded our stay in the beautiful White Mountains. It was awesome. To everyone who shared their experiences with us, thank you, thank you. Now, uhh, let's make a film.


Wednesday, June 16, 2010

miles to go before I sleep

Whose woods these are I think I know. 
His house is in the village, though; 
He will not see me stopping here 
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there's some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.

Lucky for me, my promises to keep are lovely, dark and deep. Off to the mountains, friends!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Legends in the Myst(ic)

The reason I went down to Mystic CT today was to get a slice of pizza and a pint of Mystic Ale from the infamous Mystic Pizza. Just had a hankering. and was hoping to catch a glimpse of Matt Damon circa 14 years old... Well, not entirely...

John J. Kelley, winner of the 1957 Boston Marathon, two time Olympian and winner of the rebirth of the Mt Washington Road Race in 1961. 

Yes, this is the man, the myth, the Mystic legend himself. John and I talked about that special 1961 race up the to the summit of the tallest peak in the Northeast. It had been resurrected from the 1930s where it was left behind then to focus on the war effort. 1961 was also the 100th Anniversary of the carriage road, the route all runners race to the top, the 7.6 mile ascent. The BAA (also responsible for the Boston Marathon) decided to take on the logistical challenge of hosting a race on a mountain. The infamous Jack Semple (of Kathy Switzer fame, as well as fame in his own right) convinced his men to come up and put on a good showing.

Kelley's Pace was my little slice of heaven. A small shoe barn exploding with trainers, apparel and that beautiful smell of running rubber. If you're in the market for a new pair of sneaks, make the well worth trip to Mystic, stop in and see John, tell him the kitchen table docs sent you.. then get some pizza.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Miles from Nowhere

At least, that's sort of what it felt like. Not only were we miles from the city life in Boston but the Jetta found itself winding around country roads lined with trees, farm stands and grassy fields. Yep, we were in Western Mass. Northampton, actually. Flew across the state on I-90, opposite rush hour traffic. Glorious. Talked with John Stifler, the Press and Elite Athlete Liaison for the race.

Does this make you dizzy? I really liked the way the fresh morning sunlight filtering through the trees bounced around on both the camera lens AND my dusty windshield. That, along with the wavy camera position and the turning motion of the vehicle itself make for a short but lovely wafting shot.

We filmed it in the cul-de-sac near John's home. Driving around in circles. Perfect.

Until next time...

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Special Guest Contributor!

Guest writer: Bowser

Today my dear God Mother picked me up for the afternoon and we hung out. In the mid-day sun we walked all the way from my house to hers. Along the way I conducted plenty of business, letting the West Broadway pups know I had been in their town. Lucky for them, they didn't run into me on the way.

We got to my God Mother's apartment and I had forgotten exactly how many flights of stairs it took to get to her place! (This is where I first learned how to go up stairs.) Whew, three flights up and we entered the apartment with the never-ending hallway. Running! Beautiful cross breeze! While she made lunch, I took a nap on the couch in front of the fan. I was so good that she gave me a treat! She is my favorite. Obviously.

After lunch we walked back to my house. We took the long way. It was so hot! I don't know how I manage to wear a fur coat through the summer, but I guess I'm just pretty tough.

Anyway, we had many a good conversation and I'm pumped about how her project on Mt Washington is going. She's had two really great interviews and is headed out to Northampton tomorrow to see the PR/Elite Athlete Liaison for the Race. Should be a fun adventure and yet another learning opportunity...

Speaking of learning opportunities, I'll leave you with this short little film experiment my God Mother made. As you can see, someone is Up And Coming (me, obviously).