Tuesday, July 1, 2008

4.8 Km

4.8 Km. That's how close I was to Roland Garros this June. The French Open was going on at the time. It was Day 8 at the tournament. Ana Ivanovic and Rafael Nadal were 3 matches away from winning the Championship in their respective draws. I was on my way to Zagreb, Croatia to attend a film festival with my filmmaker friend, Eric. Our flight from Dulles was late getting into Paris, so we missed our connecting flight. Despite how tired we were from the long travel, we were pretty excited to be in Paris. A quick ride on the RER and we're in the center of Paris! Eric and I got off at Saint-Michel, walked east to the Seine, then across to Notre Dame.

I had never walked the streets of Paris before and was somewhat apprehensive, given the reputation of the French with those who haven't perfectly mastered their language. I have first-hand experience of this from when I was in Annecy the prior year...

Feeling somewhat brave, we dared to stop at a restaurant to eat and face the wrath of "le
garçon". The food was bad (I didn't know that was possible in Paris), but my French held and we got pretty good service.

Paris is everything that is lovely about life. You REALLY feel that when walking the streets. I never felt that way walking around New York. Perhaps, New York is just too familiar. I don't know NYC well, but it is still America. There are rules to American cities that I know inherently. Paris is different. I want to go back.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Things on my mind.

Given the date of my last post, it's fair to say that it's been a while. There is much on my mind these days. In no particular order (save for the first two):
  1. The future of my family.
  2. MLK's Legacy.
  3. The hopeless Isreali/Palestinian conflict.
  4. Friendship.
  5. The presidential race.
  6. The return of Portishead.
  7. The format change at College Callgirl.
  8. Guitar Hero III
  9. Books I'm behind on.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Hit the slopes!

I went snowboarding this weekend! My long drought ended with a near, spur of the moment trip to Liberty. The conditions were less than ideal with 50-degree weather and slushy, crowded slopes, but I didn't care! It was nice just to be out again on the new board. The Jussi was perfect! It's light, flexible, and forgiving of my n00bishness. By the way, the pic above is in Tahoe.

For more on Jussi Oksanen, check this and this! Oh, how I aspire to ride like that Finn...

What I aspire to in the near term is to return to Park City, UT. Sundance or not, I just want to get back to slopes like this:

This is a recent shot taken at the Canyons. Since the riding season goes so long out there, maybe there's hope...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Snow bound!

Baltimore received a decent snowfall last week. At least, it was decent for our part of the country, where the occurrence of good snow is few and far between. It makes a snowboarder want to weep... The plan was to pick up some new snow pants for M and some beer. The parking lot of The Old Vine is somewhat sloped, but the GTI is front-drive and my tires are in good shape, so I didn't think about it. Mistake.

I used to drive one of these:

I would've been better off and I could've ticked off that time without any sort of acknowledgment. Sometimes, I miss my Rangie, but it broke down. Alot. Of course, buying a British car of somewhat indeterminate mileage probably wasn't smart to begin with. In fairness, that's how everyone bought their used Range Rovers back then. There's also the fact that filling up said beast with petrol would cost me over $80 each time. I could pretend that I'm very concerned with global warming and that my car purchases are thus affected. Actually, that's the truth. My '06 GTI gets around 25 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway despite its sporting nature. That and good snow tires would've made for a completely uninteresting anecdote.

No one likes getting stuck in the snow, but it's particularly abhorrent to me since I'm used to driving vehicles quite proficient in the slippery stuff. I rescue - I don't get rescued! After trying for an hour to drive/race up all possible side streets to the mecca of the main road, I gave up, called for help and walked 2.7 miles to meet my ride. The walk was nice, despite getting splashed by a dorkus in a Jetta, because: 1. I had beer to keep me warm and 2. I like a quiet walk now and again. It's probably as close as I'll ever get to being on Survivor.

My lovely bride came to rescue me, and all was well. My folly in the snow was rewarded with a bike ride back to Mt. Washington to get the car a few days later. Thankfully, the car was where I'd left it. I guess it's off to get new tires for me!

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

2008 Australian Open

The first Grand Slam of the year is here! It always seems to creep up on me after the holidays. I nearly missed last year's Open save for the finals. This year's finals may look like last year's on one side of the net. On the men's side as usual, Roger Federer is the one to beat. Not much more can be said other than it would be nice to see another player lift the trophy at Grand Slam events. I'm rooting for Blake (12), Roddick (6), Nadal (2), and Davydenko (4).

On the women's tour, a fitter-than-ever Serena Williams (7) looks to repeat another win. Maria Sharapova (5) has improved her serve and is playing well, but she has Serena, Henin (1), and Jankovic (3) in her portion of the draw. Of course, I'm with Henin all the way.

The new Plexi-Cushion surface is getting good reviews from the players and looks and sounds great from out in TV Land. From the Plexipave site, you can even mix and match colors for your custom court! Now all I need is some unclaimed land in the city...

I'm already behind on my matches, so I anticipate late nights and a long weekend of nothing but tennis!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

This actually happened...

I am bald. This is (obviously) no secret to all who can see me. I don't wear any sort of protective headgear. I never had a comb-over, nor was I ever "hanging on to scraps". I'm very comfortable with my head shape and I enjoy the low maintenance. That said, I was a little floored when walking out and about recently. I passed this elderly "gentleman" who looked me in the eyes and asked, "What? Are you going to the barbershop to get a haircut?". My defenses were defeated. I had no reply. For the first time in over a decade, I felt a little sorry I was bald. I don't really feel that way. I think it was just that I didn't have time to react and responded spinally. Once I gathered myself, I knew I had something new to write about...