Saturday, June 28, 2008

After The Jump

As Paolo Nutini sang it: Where'd the days go when all we did was play? And the stress that we were under wasn't stress at all, just a run and a jump into a harmless fall.

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Big typhoon last weekend, and while I love the rainy season, I kinda felt sorry after reading my teammate Mich's accounts of what happened in her hometown.

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I'll be going on a trip around Southeast Asia with some friends next week. Everything has been planned out well for several months now, but damn, mofo Cebu Pacific strikes again. I guess it really is true what they say about Cebu Pacific giving no value for your little money. Unfortunately, I still have to deal with them some more in the future because I've also booked another flight with them to HK with my F/OM/FTM*. They better not fuck that up.

*friends/officemates/former teammates

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Why is a convenient excuse so hard to come by when you most need it? I guess now I really have to do something. Then again, the excitement of jumping off of cliffs or planes or skyscraper rooftops is in the falling. It's the landing that ends the thrill and begins the thirst for the next jump.



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Now playing: radiohead - jigsaw falling into place
via FoxyTunes

Friday, June 27, 2008

Surprises at Wimbledon

The biggest one? No matches have been delayed yet because of rain.

So Wimbledon started last Monday, and we're just at the 2nd round and two big contenders are already out and packing their bags. #3 Novak Djokovic was beaten in straight sets by former #1 and 2-time Grand Slam champ Marat Safin last Wednesday, then #3 Maria Sharapova was beaten earlier by 154th ranked Alla Kudryavtseva of Russia. On paper, Masha shouldn't have lost to AK, but man, she was playing awful tennis a while ago... She could barely hit the ball in or past the net. To think that I thought she would be winning her 2nd Wimbledon this year. Meh.



Djokovic's
lost was also still a bit of a surprise, despite Safin's credentials. Safin hasn't been playing well the past few years. His last tournament win was at the Australian Open, where he beat Federer in a classic 5-set semifinal match. Since then, his form has waned, and his rankings has gone down to #75. But against Djokovic, he played like the Marat was in the top 10 and actually won tournaments. I hope he keeps this kind of tennis going, because he and Federer are the most talented tennis players out there, imo, and I want to see Marat slugging it out with the Big 3, damn it!


So more Wimbledon for the next one and a half weeks. It's been great so far, and I hope it doesn't rain.


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Now playing:
Travis - Why Does It Always Rain on Me?
via FoxyTunes

Monday, June 9, 2008

Circadian Rhythms

Now I know what's wrong with me. Thanks, wikipedia!



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Now playing: Sigur Rós - Svefn-g-englar
via FoxyTunes

Two Forehands

Ana's and Rafa's, that is.

Our French Open 2008 Champions everyone.



A
na Ivanovic used her forehand to full effect the past two weeks to win her first Grand Slam in Roland Garros. She's got a great serve, her movement has improved greatly, and her backhand is powerful when she hits it on cleanly of her racket's sweet spot. But her whole game is anchored around her huge forehand.









R
afael Nadal's forehand is even more menacing. It's the absolute weapon on clay, and it's what he used to DECIMATE Roger Federer* earlier today to win his fourth consecutive French Open.





Paris, France
Men's Singles Final

Rafael Nadal (Spain)
Nadal wins his fourth consecutive French Open title. He is two championships away from tying Bjorn Borg's record of 6 French Opens.

Women's Singles Final
Ana Ivanovic (2) (Serbia)
Ana wins her first Grand Slam title, and will take over the #1 ranking from Maria Sharapova starting this week.

Women's Doubles Final
Anabel Medina Garrigues/Virginia Ruano Pascual (10) (Spain/Spain)
This is VRP's 9th grand slam doubles title and AMG's first

Men's Doubles Final
Pablo Cuevas/Luis Horna (Uruguay/Peru)
Cuevas and Horna are the first all-South American duo to become Grand Slam champions in the 40-year Open era

Mixed Doubles Final
Victoria Azarenka/Bob Bryan (3) (Belarus/USA)
This was the first tournament that Bryan and Azarenka played as partners

Boys' Juniors Singles Final
Tsung-Hua Yang (Taiwan)
Nice to see an Asian in the mix of champs

Girls' Juniors Singles Final
Simona Halep (9) (Romania)
Halep beat fellow Romanian teenager Elena Bogdan to win the title. So will Romania be the next Serbia that once was the next Russia that once was the next Belgium?


*As for Federer, he suffered his worst loss at a Grand Slam earlier today. The French Open is the only Grand Slam that he hasn't won, having already won 5 Wimbledons, 4 US Opens and 3 Australian Opens. As Morrissey sang it, there is a light and it never goes out.

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Now playing: The Smiths - There Is A Light That Never Go
via FoxyTunes

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Numero Uno

Ok. This is an all-tennis post/Roland Garros update:

The men's and women's French Open Championship matches are now set! Tomorrow, World #2 Ana Ivanovic of Serbia will square off with Marat's Lil Sis Dinara Safina of Russia for the French Open title. Whoever wins here will get their first ever grand slam title. This will be Ana's third grand slam final, after she lost to Justine Henin in last year's French Open, and to Maria Sharapova at the Australian Open last January. On the other hand, Dinara will be making her grand slam final debut.

The 22 year-old Dinara, ranked 14 in the world, has been having the best clay court season of her career. She won the German Open a few weeks ago by defeating three top 10 players (then-#1 Justine Henin, #5 Serena Williams, and #7 Elena Dementieva.) At the French Open, she did a repeat by beating current #1 Maria Sharapova (6-7, 7-6, 6-2, after being match point down in the second set), Elena D again (quarterfinals, after being down a match point again 4-6, 7-6, 6-0), and #4 Svetlana Kuznetsova (semifinals, 6-3, 6-2).


I
caught Ana's semifinal match against 3rd ranked and fellow Serbian Jelena Jankovic yesterday. It was a great match that ended 6-4 in the third set after 2 hours and 15 minutes. Lots of tension too, because whoever won that match would not only get the chance to play in the finals, but would also automatically overtake Sharapova and claim the #1 ranking (Masha lost in the 4th round.) So Ana won, and she'll now be ranked #1 next Monday, no matter what happens in the final match against Dinara.

Congratulations, Ana. Not just because you'll be the new #1, and because I think you'll win the ladies' final tomorrow, but because you also managed to land on the cover of FHM UK next August. You're not just taking Maria's titles. You're also getting her magazine cover opportunities.

You've truly made it.

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Ok, I spent so much time talking about the ladies' part of the draw. So moving on to the men's side. #2 Rafa beats #3 Djokovic (also from Serbia) in the semis to keep his perfectly undefeated record at the French Open. #1 Fed defeated surprise finalist and #59 Gael Monfils of France. Rafa beats Fed in the men's final on Sunday. That's all there really is to it.

ETA: Ok, since I was unloading a bunch of info on the women, I might as well go all the way on my tennis dork mode and talk more about the men's semifinalists too. Rafael Nadal holds a 26-0 w/l record at the French Open, By reaching the semis here, Roger Federer extends his record of reaching 16 straight semifinals at Grand Slam events. Novak Djokovic also has his own albeit smaller streak by reaching his 5th consecutive Grand Slam semifinal. He is only the fourth player in the Open Era to reach 5 consecutive Grand Slam semifinals (the others are Fed, Becker and Lendl.) As for Gael, well, this really is the French dude's first big result in the ATP Tour... He's been hyped up a lot as a future champion when he was a newbie, and it took him about 4 years to finally come up with a nice result for all that hype.

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Now playing: Modest Mouse - Out Of Gas
via FoxyTunes

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Girls Strumming Guitar Strings and Guys Pounding Piano Keys.

Or great YouTube finds.

I've been scouring YouTube for some good cover versions of songs that I like, and I've stumbled upon some really, really, really good ones.

Such as...



The Beatles' Across The Universe, covered by Kiersten Holine. Awesome, clear beautiful voice.



Here's some solid vocals. Fucking good piano-playinng too. Precious Things by Tori Amos, covered by Matthew Luke Sandoval


Cover of Paolo Nutini's Autumn by a cute French girl named Lou Salomez. I love this song, and I love her accent.


Shelley Green covering Rachael Yamagata's Worn Me Down. Beautiful quirky vocals.


Probably the best of the bunch. Adam Monroe doing 3 Libras by A Perfect Circle. He's got some great originals too. And he has a piano-based cover of Pardon Me by Incubus that's pretty amazing.



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Now playing: Badly Drawn Boy - One Plus One Is One
via FoxyTunes