Thursday, September 17, 2009

My Running Playlists and Gadgets

I always run with my iPod. Music gets me motivated to run and there's never a dull moment running with it. I usually play the alternative, nu-metal and emo-screamo stuff coz it really gets my nerves going and prevents me from falling asleep while I run. Ha Ha. Current favorite artist in my playlist include Linkin Park (my power artist), Billy Talent, AudioAdrenaline, Chickenfoot, Flobots, Guano Apes, Inward Eye, Our Lady Peace, A Perfect Circle, Rev Theory, Taking Back Sunday and Thousand Foot Krutch. My favorite instrumental piece is the Shard by Steve Jablonsky, composer of the Transformer score. It is the background piece in the breath taking chase scenes in the movie. I imagine my self being chased by the Bad bots and this really increases my pace.

My favorite running gadget is the Nike+ iPod Sport Kit. In this gadget, you can press the center button in the hardest phase of your run and immediately your powersong plays to give you the added boost of energy. I love the Nike + iPod sport system- its a workout partner and coach all in one. In this system, you select the type of workout you like- open-ended, distance, time or calorie burning. You then choose the music to keep you motivated, and then, it keeps track of your progress every step of the way with spoken and on screen feedback. After your runs, you can upload you workout data to your computer where you can set goals, monitor your improvement and even participate with runners from across the globe. The kit comes with a sensor, which you place in a Nike-enabled shoe, and a remote, which you connect to your iPod Nano. Come October 24, 2009, I will be joining the worldwide race, Nike+ Human Race 10K. Though I'm not in any of the venues, my Nike iPod Kit enables me to join this race if I run 10K on this race and upload my run after. I will be running in my favorite shoe- the Nike Vomero 4 - a superb neutral-cushioned shoe for medium- arched supinators like me. Running on this shoe felt like running on soft pillows. For trail running, my current favorite is the North Face Arnuva 50. Can't wait for my next to run!!!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

The National Anthem of Nepal

Sometime during the 1895-1901 reign of the hereditary prime minster Bir Shumshere Jung Bahadur Rana was advised that a "salutation melody" should be composed for both the king and the prime minister. The military band, under the directorship of Dr AM Pathan was given the task, and the Shree Teenko Salaami (for the Rana hereditary prime minister) and the Shree Paanchko Salaami (for the king) were composed. The prime minister's successor, on assuming to office, ordered that words be composed for the tunes. The task fell to the Nepali Language Publications Committee, the superintendant of this group turned to his assistant, Pandit Chakrapani Chalise, a prominent poet, who wrote words to both anthems.

With the ousting of the hereditary Rana prime ministers in the early 1950s, the Shree Teenko Salaami was no longer used, and the Shree Paanchko Salaami (king's anthem) gained more prominence. The anthem underwent some minor changes as a result. The 1962 constitution, handed down by the king, made this anthem into law, thus making it no longer just the royal anthem, but the "ras triya gaan" (national song). Upon official adoption, the second stanza was dropped. The verse that was left honours the king.

After the revolutions of spring 2006 against the monarchy, Nepal sought to replace its pro-monarchy anthem with a new one in a public contest. The winner, Pradeep Kumar Rai (writing under the pen name Byakul Maila) was selected from 1,272 submissions. The new anthem was officially declared on August 3, 2007.

The National Anthem of Romania

Romania's first national anthem in use was "Traiasca Regele", which was used until the deposition of the monarchy on December 30, 1947. The Romanian composer George Enescu quoted this anthem in his "Poème Roumain", op. 1; in performances of Enescu's work during the communist era, this piece was edited out. After the end of the communist regime, this piece was once again played in Enescu's work.

The lyrics are by Vasile Alecsandri, considered one of Romania's great national poets. He was a figure in the 1848 revolution and later in the 1859 union of Moldavia and Walachia, which is considered the founding of modern Romania. The music was by captain Eduard Hubsch, general inspector for military music in Romania.

The second anthem used by the communist government of Romania, "Te slãvim, Românie" was in use until the rule of Ceausescu. One of the authors, Dan Desilu was a poet whose works generally praised the communist government during the early years of communism, but later became disillusioned with the regime. The composer, Matei Socor, was once president of the Composers' Union (which was, at the time, used to extol the Communist government in musical form.)

Starting in the late 1960s, the second verse, referencing the Soviet Union and Leninism, was no longer performed. Then, shortly after, the anthem became officially wordless (two verses were played instrumentally.)

"Trei culori", the anthem during the rule of Nicolai Ceausescu's communist government, is based on a Romanian patriotic song with the same title, the same music, but the text was revised to conform with Communist standards. The title refers to the national flag of Romania, which is a tricolour: red, yellow and blue. The composer, Ciprian Porumbescu also wrote the melody for the Albanian anthem.

After the fall of Ceaucescu in late December, 1989, "Trei Culori" remained the official anthem for several months until replaced by the decomcratic government. "Trei culori" was still played for those months in post-Communist Romania, without the Communist verses, and possibly with the original text.

During the fall of the Communist government in the last days of 1989, the popular song "Desteaptate, romane" was prevalent in the streets and quickly became a kind of "second anthem"; it was officially declared as the anthem in April, 1990, and was also used for a time by Moldova. Written during the 1848 revolution, it has been used by Romanians in their many struggles for freedom, such as from the Nazis in 1944, and during the end of communism, thus becoming the logical choice as a new anthem. The original work has eleven verses, but only four (verses 1, 2, 4, and 11) are the official lyrics.