i'm happy that maximum favorite writer took the time to consider the merits of tennis and soccer, with a little history lesson, to boot. i went into this year's WC with real zeal. i loved isolated moments from previous cups (that i can't specifically remember. but the games in south korea provided spirited company through a very discouraging insomnia) and most of my friends picked up the rallying cry for all different teams (plus the US), which made for fun "social networking". hell, i was even reading football blogs.
but whereas this year's wimbledon tournament has made me love tennis ten times more, this world cup has made less interested in football, by half.
you know you're cooked when the vuvuzelas all of a sudden became the least annoying thing about the games. between the flopping, the blindness (corruption?) of the refs, the refusal to embrace technology, and the drama-mamas, i was done. i told my friend teresa that i could never be truly invested in a sport like that--the cheapness of it, the injustice of it would make my head pop off.
i want to be uplifted by sports, not perpetually outraged. i'll have it on, of course, in case i get lucky like i did last friday, when i switched the PIP just in time to see landondonovan score, in OT. i have no doubt that these guys are spectacular athletes, they way they dance over and around the ball--when you can get a good camera angle, their skill can drop your jaw. during one game yesterday, there was a close-up shot of a portuguese player, below the knees--weight on his left leg, he quick-wrapped his right leg behind it and kicked the ball, and it was all right there, strength, force, balance, creativity, surprise--he apparently almost scored with that move. but the long views of the field aren't doing the "new" fans any favors. this game would benefit from technology that would allow a fan pick one player and follow him alone--almost like PIP. (or a video game.) i'll keep watching the pre-game/primetime reviews (next time 'round, can we tennis fans swap out hannah storm for mike tirico?)
and i'll be hopeful to see something in upcoming games to change my mind...
the photos are spectacular, i'll keep up with them for sure (via boston.com)
this reminds me of my parents, who confessed during the last WC that they had a hard time discerning the japanese team from one of the european squads because both teams had so many blondes.
i made a promise to myself to learn to shoot with flash--not the on-camera kind, but the shoe mount version. i've only ever really used it for events and headshots, when the desired result is very specific (consistent, even light). the photos have been fine enough, but pretty straightforward. i've been consulting a book called speedlights and speedlights; if i can get through that AND figure out the flash manual, i might have some really fun shots to share. but it's pretty technical. i need to become a tech geek. that might take a while.
in the meantime, this is what we're looking at. i took these on saturday. a couple of friends treated me to dinner at a cuban place. this is exactly the look i don't want. bright, but flat.
plaintain-crusted red snapper....
another reason why i don't shoot with flash in restaurants? it's pretty obnoxious. i didn't take more time to get better shots because it (i?) quickly became the kind of distraction i disapprove of.
but the photos won't go unused, as my friend allison and i have a started a food blog. it's still in its "beta" stage; it's so "beta" that we haven't even filled in the "about" section. i'm not sure how far we go with it, but for now, the photos will have a home, and i'll get to practice the food writing. i'm pretty rusty--we'll see how it goes. if you have time and want to take a look, i'd love any feedback. you'll be able to tell which posts are mine (she posts as the admin).
the attendance at last night's art opening was robust, and i was surprised.
it was fun to participate in something that could elicit such an immediate and explicit reaction. as we traversed the room slowly, as a "flash mob," i could hear some wows and giggles (no applause). many wondered if we were really taking pictures.
a few folks wandered into our frame, some scampered out.
some refused to move out of our way--we were instructed to push through them, and we obeyed.
some posed (for our cameras, and their own). and we became the subject for some photographers and videographers. one person said we sounded like swarm of insects. the second time around, i heard one woman say the idea was already tired. if that's true for others, good thing we only had to do it three times.
i did actually take a few photos, but for the most part, we shot without cards.
we couldn't have sustained camera and flash power for what was effectively 15 minutes of non-stop shooting otherwise.
apparently there was a critic from ny mag there, so perhaps i'll have a review to post later, along with a short video from the artist.
tonight i'll be participating in an art opening at the kitchen. i don't have too many details, don't really know the full idea of the installation yet. i only know that there will be 10 photographers playing the role of paparazzi. we'll be moving as a group through the two rooms where the exhibit takes place, snapping "pictures" --and i say "pictures" because we're not really meant to photograph anything at all. we're just clicking and flashing--a moving sculpture.
i thought the pictures would be part of the project so i'd spent some hours fiddling with my flash (which i almost never use), practicing with different settings. i was a little disappointed that she wouldn't need photos--but it was a good reminder for me try to work more with flash. it can give pretty interesting results...
in any case, the choreographer was happy with how we looked and sounded in the rehearsal. we achieved the desired effect.
since i might not have photos from the event tonight (i might sneak in a few), here is at least a peek at the space. it will be a bit different tonight, with people milling about in the room.
i enjoyed the luxury of tuning in to most of the middle day of the marathon match between john isner and nicholas ("no longer ma-who?")mahut.
unlike the players, i had to take bathroom breaks, and then there was lunch....coffee...
and finally 57-56, i had to make my way out to brooklyn for an event, which i regretted a bit, but i couldn't have taken much more anyway. (it turns out i didn't miss a lot, since play was suspended a few games later at 59-59.)
it isn't my favorite kind of tennis--big, big serves, short rallies (and it seems like those of us who watch wimbledon on espn/2/u missed a high quality match where roger federer weathered yet another early round challenge, this time from ilia bozoliac)
but i was in awe of the nerve of both players. isner didn't capitalize on a few chances, but i expected one player to blink or falter on his own serve, at least. i wondered if one would just give up "duran" style. didn't happen. that impressed me a lot.
i LOVE that everyone is talking about the match.
here are a few shots from the middle day. i should say second day, just in case.
OliScarff/Getty Images june 23 vi nytimes.com
ADRIAN DENNIS/AFP/Getty Images june 23 via yahoo!sports
on a favorite day of the year, a shot of my favorite tree in madison square park...
i've always liked that my birthday falls on the summer solstice--the longest day of the year, the first day of summer. everyone seems automatically happy, anticipating the most carefree season...
i wasn't unhappy in the days leading up to my birthday this year, but i was sort of feeling the weight of everything that is unsettled...
the festivities officially started a day early--combo father's day celebration. mom, dad and sister came into the city for brunch. we went to artisanal--perhaps the best neighborhood choice for special occasions and visits--and then hung around at the apartment. it was exactly like most sundays we have together (couch time, story time, baseball and nap time for dad) except it was happening in a much "cozier" (read: smaller) setting. oh, and there were presents. very nice presents.
after they left in the early afternoon, my mood was different--happy and calm. i realized then and in the days that followed how lucky i am for everything that is settled, especially family and friends who are my constant.
it was a true happy birthday.
and there was a lot of food:
airy beignets leave a beard of sugar...
sausage and egg (before)
oooh boudin blanc, most tender. served with a bed of lentils...
a trio of ice creams: blackberry cardamom, fennel (yes, fennel!), and coffee...
and bright and fresh strawberry-rhubarb soup, served with a frozen vanilla yogurt. this is summer, all the way...
i "made" this.
at maialino, on the monday morning...
brioche caramellato...a dainty, upscale cinnabon.
i wouldn't have minded a more generous serving...
impromptu afternoon snack, with sister, at the reliable le pain q....
black hummus, spicy tahini...
and a giant almond meringue.
it was very good, but i was blind afterwards. so much sugar...
the wimbledon preview issue of tennis magazine was a nice surprise in my mailbox (along with a very awesome double elvispostcard from cousin jenny, making her grand tour of the PCW, and a birthday card with a george burns quote from my aunt and uncle. cute card, but sort of alarming that i've reached the age where a george burns quote is considered relevant?).
the magazine's arrival is perfectly timed, not just because the slam starts on monday, but because last night i decided i'm taking a furlough from team sports (to recover from whatever nameless thing just happened in losangeles). it's going to be tennis. only tennis for the next two weeks.
i have to confess that while i've been a fan for, you know, decades, my grasp of tennis history pre-1974 is pretty weak. i know a lot of names and have a general sense for who the dominant players were during the various eras, but the historical underpinnings, the larger dynamics surrounding the sport are pretty much unknown to me. but i got a good lesson last night from mfw, about the how the ground started to shift in the 1940s-- to paint it broadly, the game began its transition, from east to left coast, private to public, artistic to tactical, amateur to professional.
the article will help round out some of the names that might ring familiar--at least it did forme. for all i knew, jack kramer was a great enough player to have the racket; bobby riggs was the guy with the black spectacles who lost the battle of the sexes spectacle against billie jean king; panchogonzales had the cool nickname--"lefty." i'd never heard of ellsworth vines. and i never knew that there was a tennis executive named "mr. jones" -- who sounds not unlike a certain mr. steinbrenner, at least in how how expects players to look.
it's a lot to try to wrap your head around, but really interesting (and worth picking up the july/august at the newsstand, since i don't know that that content will be shared online).
panchogonzalez, who dominated the men's game for about a decade, is an intriguing character. i think it's easy for a lot of people to look these pictures and consider his success, and make assumptions...perhaps that being a champion also equated with being happy, that being a tennis champion in particular conferred a gentlemanly dignity...
but of course, his life and experiences are more complex. there are less than rosy stories about him--as he became more dominant, be came more surly, a loner. i wonder--and would have to read his memoir to see if its possible to discern-- how much of that was part of his natural personality, how much of it was formed by the experience of being a mexican-american player--and champion-- in a then-predominantly white sport? i'd honestly never thought about it before...
there will be more tennis poetry on the way, as wimbledon has an official poet, mattharvey. i have no idea what that will be like, but i'm definitely going to read them...
i will be spending the next two weeks, fully immersed in wimbledon: watching the matches, listening as much as i can to radio wimbledon, and reading a lot. though i'll personally be trying to take photos and post more about non-tennis things, expect links to all that really good stuff...
i get that a draw is good for the american team...but didn't the big game seem just a little anti-climactic without an out and out winner?
i watched the game with a few friends...it was a spirited time, especially for the brit:
anthony, rich, mark.
zovig, teresa, anna, little miss vittoria, and me, trying to represent, in the red, white and blue.
i almost felt a little sorry for rich, the biggest football fan i know, having to watch the big game outnumbered by a bunch of girls. and a baby. a girl baby, at that. i let slip the observation, "our team is cute." "oh great, yeah," said he.
but rich and t have a gigundo TV--there'd be no better true viewing opportunity at a bar. and at least in the comfort of his own home, he was completely free to stand and swear. and did he ever.
good times, good times.
pimms no 1 + lemonade+ mint+ cucumber = surprisingly yummy.
i'm going to have to make some of these at home once wimbledon starts next week...
anthony brought this glorious brooklyn blackout cake, from ladybird bakery....
i brought the smores. i tried to brit it up a bit for our host by using cadbury chocolate...