So I decide to go running at 8:00am because I couldn't fall back asleep. I've never liked running just to run. It might be some psychological residue left behind from years of soccer where the punishment for making mistakes was to run, or the fact that my knees always give rise to pain before my muscles. Anyways, I dusted off the new iPod, and went for a spin around Livermore. Whenever I listen to music and run, I always feel like I'm in some low-budget movie, the rest of the world is staged, and I just move to this somewhat relevant soundtrack playing behind my thoughts. My iPod shuffled up "Wouldn't Mama be Proud" (Figure 8, Elliot Smith), "Youth of the Nation" (Satellite, P.O.D.), and Solitude (Thelonious Monk) - not bad.
In the afternoon, I went to the Livermore Rodeo with Kapil, Yisong, and my two roommates, Mela and Jessica. Mela and I bought these horribly cheesy cowboy hats (although I guess mine looks more like a pink pimp hat than a real rodeo one), and then saw cowboys do their thing on bucking broncos and bulls. If you've never seen wild cow milking, well, you are missing out. One rider ropes a "Mad Mamma Cow", another comes by to tame the cow, and then a rider comes by to try and get a tiny cup of milk from the thrashing, pms-ing beast. It was my favorite event because the humans definitely had the disadvantage and were just being tossed like rag-dolls in the big muddy, dust pit. None of the riders fared too well against the bulls during the main event, and one was carried off injured from a nasty fall. We ended up staying for the whole rodeo, slightly (very slightly) entertained by the rodeo clown and announcer's off-beat banter. There was so much hoopla surrounding this event - there was a crowned rodeo queen (who circled the pit wearing turquoise and purple chaps after the closing of each event), a chili cook-off, a morning parade, and patriotic skydiver that flew into the rodeo pit behind Lee Greenwood's "God Bless the U.S.A.". The opening ceremonies were bloated with god blessings and patriotism, and we saw a few confederate flags flying high in the stands and parking lot, but it was much more urban than anything we probably would have seen in the real south. Even if not 100% authentic, Livermore doesn't mess around when it comes to rodeos.