Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people. - Eleanor Roosevelt

Sunday, July 29, 2007

IRAQ 1 - 0 KSA

Iraqi team captain Younes Mahmoud holds the Asian Cup he helped the team win with his header goal against Saudi Arabia.

Today was the big day, and Iraq owns the 2007 Asian Cup. The one goal was scored with a corner kick, turned into a header right into the goal by team captain Younes/Younis (spelling varies everywhere I look).

I have not been able to find any highlight videos of the final game with Saudi Arabia, and for some reason I can't make the official AFC website highlight videos work for me today. Here is the link if you can make the video work to see the highlights:

As soon as I find something on YouTube with highlights, I will load it on my blog.

In the meantime, this is an awesome day, and I am very proud of this accomplishment by Iraq's invincible football team, who went out on the pitch and gave their best for their country and their people, despite their families' plights back in Iraq.

'This is not just about football... this is more important than that,' Iraq's Brazilian coach Jorvan Vieira told a news conference. 'This has brought great happiness to a whole country. This is not about a team, this is about human beings.'

I can't describe how proud and happy I am that this day has come.

I'm sure I will be adding more stuff concerning the big win, whether it be highlight videos, or pictures.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

My fall

I was riding my bicycle this morning, when I suddenly lost control on a downhill and had a nasty fall. I scraped up my knee, both my palms, and my right arm. My knee is so swollen, it's twice its size and feels like I've had a novocaine injection.

The last time I fell off my bike was in 1990. I was going awfully fast down an extremely steep hill, when my bike flipped and I ended up sliding down the gravel-littered concrete on my stomach. It knocked the air out of me and I scraped my hands and cut my chin for the second time. I cried all the way home, and I'm not even sure how my friend who was riding with me at the time managed to get me and my bike home while trying to comfort me.

When I fell today, I only had myself to rely on and though I felt like getting up on my own was impossible, I did it. I got up and I walked all the way home--a distance no less than a mile-- on an excrutiatingly painful knee. The wire basket I'd installed this year, which I absolutely love, is now completely bent out of shape. I think that my bike is way out of alignment and needs some major work.

The good news is, I'm relatively OK, aside from a swollen knee and sore cuts and scrapes. It could've been worse, I guess, since I fell right before going under a bridge and could've hit my head on the concrete wall just barely a foot away.

I hope the swelling goes down and that the pain subsides for my trip to Mexico on Monday... I'd hate for my knee to feel this bad while on a 3-hour flight, and while trying to walk around as traveling is all about walking long distances. In the meantime, I've been trying to keep my leg straight and keep the bad scrapes untouched to avoid pain and possible infection.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Iraq vs. South Korea penalty kicks video

Ok. I've uploaded a 10-minute video here, not really for the penalty kicks themselves, because if you looked at the video on the official AFC website you've pretty much seen all there is to see. The reason I uploaded this video is the ART sports announcer going absolutely apey after Iraq wins the game. So, if you can figure out how to do this successfully on YouTube, fast-forward, if not, hold on for about eight minutes. The kicks and saves are quite impressive, so it's not so bad to watch the action... sorry it's so long!

Anyway, it's in Arabic, but apey-ness transcends language barriers. You can just picture the announcer getting up and proceeding to jump up and down and ultimately going apey.

It's quite cute and hilarious.

Good news for me

A recent piece I wrote is Friday's feature piece on

It is titled Hollywood's Love Formula, and talks about my favorite romantic comedies, and what makes them my favorite. I tell you one thing... it's not Matthew McConaughey!

The piece will be featured through Monday.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The power of the Beautiful Game

Don't under estimate the power of the beautiful game... it can put wars on hold and make people forget all their troubles.
These are pictures of the jubilations taking place in Iraq following the victory against South Korea.

Watch out for those shiny, happy people... holding flaaaags!

Beep beep! Supporters coming through.

The best kind of traffic jam.

What a happenin' party!

They've just been rocked.

See the power?

The face of elation.

Beating "the king of penalty kicks"

Iraqi goalkeeper Noor Sabri Abbas celebrates his amazing save.

Apparently, South Korea's goalkeeper has been dubbed "the king of penalty kicks," but that was not the case today.

Iraq have reached the final, and they did it with style. I haven't watched the game yet, but I have it recorded. From everything I've read so far, despite the initial 0-0 score, it was a tense game up until the fourth penalty kick scored by Iraq. That was when "the king of penalty kicks" lost his throne.

South Korea went out with a 4-3 score, after penalty kicks.

The man of the match for the tense game was Iraqi goalkeeper Noor Sabri Abbas (pictured above).

This is a very exciting day for all Iraqis, who were given the gift of victory by their team and their brilliant Brazilian coach, Jorvan Vieira. The streets of Baghdad and pretty much every city in Iraq are filled with shiny, happy people jubilating and celebrating Iraq's success at the Asian Cup. The final game will be June 29 and Iraq will play Saudi Arabia, who beat Japan today as well with 3-2.

Coach Vieira getting ready for a press conference.

I will be posting a video on my blog of the highlights from the game as soon as I come across one on YouTube. In the meantime, you can view the highlights at this link through the official AFC website:

GO IRAQ!!!!!

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

cool stuff for Iraq at the 2007 Asian Cup

In case you haven't figured it out by now, I'm crazy about what is dubbed as "the beautiful game" by the world. Football. Soccer. Whatever you wanna call it, I absolutely love it.

Due to my love for this sport, I read up on the happenings within the world of football almost daily. With Iraq's great and exciting success at the 2007 Asian Cup, other things have surfaced concerning the kick-butt team.

First, and most important, Iraqi footballer Nashat Akram is being eyed by European clubs! Clubs in England, Spain and Italy are eyeing the 23-year-old midfielder. Akram is the first Iraqi player to be considered by European clubs, and that is because he's been doing nothing but kicking butt at the Asian Cup this year. Let's not forget that the team also kicked butt and displayed awesome playing skills at the Olympics in Athens. Woohoo! Go Akram!

Secondly, and most silly is the discovery that Iraqi player Younis has a tattoo in the shape of Iraq on his arm. I don't like tattoos and don't ever plan on getting one, but I think his is really cool.

Well, the semi-final is tomorrow. Go Iraq!

you never know where you'll end up next...

And another pleasant surprise has reared its lovely head for me, thanks to my Dad's need for extensive dental work, equal to the cost of a car.

I'm going to Mexico, con mi padre, so that he can get dental implants and crowns done for cheap, and I get to do some much wanted travelling to a foreign place!

As a child my family travelled all over the world. I've been to the United Kingdom, Austria, Germany, Spain, Italy, Morrocco, most of the United States to name the obvious ones, but all of this took place when I was very young. Too young to know where I was, or at least appreciate it.

Up until now, my only experience as a grown up of a place outside of the US borders was going to the US Virgin Island of St. Croix. Mexico is going to be new and different and absolutely awesome.

July 30 is the big day when we fly out to Guadalajara and begin the adventure, which will last through August 8. We're staying in Guadalajara for at least two days, then we'll try to go to Puerto Vallarta for some beach action, and Zacatecas to see the ruins. My Dad and I are both muy excited, and we've been preparing by reading up on the places we plan to visit. We've also been preparing for the obstacle of language... I've been doing a crash course CD of Spanish and it seems easy enough when I can listen to slow speakers, but I'm sure I'll draw a blank when I'm out in the real world. My Dad also got us an electronic Spanish-English translator, and hopefully that will help for the times when I just can't think of the right way to say something as simple as "Is there a restaurant nearby?"

Another purchase we've made for this trip is a digital voice recorder. I've already recorded a piece about our preparations, and plan to have plenty of material so that when I get back, I can start writing about this experience. What makes this trip especially special is that it's my first trip with just my Dad, which will be very interesting. I think it'll be a great bonding experience with my father, who is a lot of times difficult to really get close to. This will be great to get to really know my Dad on an entirely new level.

I'm absolutely psyched for this trip and am really looking forward to being thrown into a different culture and language in what I've found to be referred to as "the most Mexican city", with my father.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Iraq rocks at soccer

Got this from YouTube... Some highlights showcasing Iraq's SKILLS! at futbol.

Iraq beat Vietnam and made it to the semi-final. They'll be playing South Korea on Wednesday, and you can bet your darn-tooten I'll be watching!

Friday, July 13, 2007

My brother's visit and a day spent in Vail

I haven't posted much the last week or so.

That's simply because on July 5, my brother surprised us with a visit.
He usually can only keep the secret from one or two family members at a time, and only up until his flight arrives at the airport. This time he managed to keep it a secret from everyone up until he was halfway to our house. He took the airport van this time, and it was a great surprise to everyone, which made his visit a blast from beginning to end.

Saturday all five of us got into the rental car, a Chrysler PT Cruiser, and headed to Vail. On the way, we encountered some beautiful scenery that seems to just get more and more beautiful each time I see it. We stopped in Clear Creek for a few photo ops, and Georgetown, as well.

In Vail, we walked around taking pictures and looking around at the new additions, which were a lot since the last time we were up there.

As a funny note, we kept seeing people with Starbucks cups and bags, but couldn't figure out where an actual Starbucks store was located in town. Of course, we didn't see the place until we were headed back to the car to leave, long after we'd eaten and were completely full. Nice.

We had dinner at an italian restaurant called Vendetta's. The food was awight, but certainly not worth the price-- $15-$17 per person. Perhaps I just picked a dull dish for my dinner, Fetuccini Alfredo w/ chicken (chicken is an extra charge, by the way) and found it to be mediocre.

Finally, here are some scenic pics we snapped...

Clear Creek. "A river runs through it."

Clear Creek as we're leaving.

Georgetown, a quaint little mountain town.

Can you imagine having this to look at while sipping lemonade on your porch? This is how Vail residents do scenery.

This is a pedestrian only section of Vail. Absolutely no cars can go through here, and the place is full of restaurants, gift shops and art galleries. There is a rich artistic community in Vail.

For those unfamiliar with Vail... it is basically a skiing town where the rich own multi-million dollar homes that I presume they use only part of the year. Vail also houses one of the nation's, and maybe even the world's best sports medicine clinics where the likes of Italy's soccer idol Alessandro Del Pierro are treated. The name of the clinic escapes right now, but you get the picture. Vail is worth visiting if you ever come to Colorado, and it's only about an hour and a half away from Denver, not considering traffic, of course.

Iraq 3 - 1 Australia

Iraq beat Australia 3-1 at the Asian Cup on July 13, 2007.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Images from St. Croix, USVI

These are some images of my last trip to the US Virgin Island of St. Croix, the largest of the three belonging to the US. It is the midpoint developmentally, between St. Thomas, the 2nd largest and most developped and St. John, the smallest and almost completely undevelopped. I've fallen in love with St. Croix and have visited it twice within a year. My first visit was back in October of 2006, while my second, which these pics are from was back in March-April 2007. I had the luxury of staying with my brother who is working out there temporarily at the oil refinery on the island. I hope to go again and continue to visit this lovely gem, because it is the closest thing to paradise that I can afford to visit and enjoy for as long as I did.

Davis Bay. This is the scene on the way to Carambola, a contemporary resort that is the cream of the crop on the island. It goes head to head with The Buccaneer, a more classic take on the resort lifestyle. I prefer the Buccaneer, personally, but I guess the scenery is the focus here.

My favorite spot in the entire world is right where I am sitting in this picture. It is on the boardwalk in Christiansted. Christiansted is a gorgeous place to spend the day shopping and dining. It is also the main place where most boat rides start, and most of the life on St. Croix takes place. In the distance behind me is the Hotel on the Cay. You obviously have to take a boat to get to the hotel, and the beach is small, yet gorgeous. I went snorkeling there, and found it to be the best snorkeling experience, though there's not much for the true snorkeler looking for more exotic stuff than just schools of fish, or the occassional starfish. I just enjoyed swimming and being close to my favorite place, Christiansted.

This picture was taken at the St. Patrick's Day Parade. The parade is a very big deal for the island, as it attracts a slew of tourists, particularly young spring breakers. It was fun, but a little too juvenile for my taste. The donkey was cute, so a picture was imperative.

This is again in Christiansted. I am on the phone with my sister, whom I joined during my first trip to the island. The second time it was just me and my mother.

This is my mother following a lovely Sunday breakfast at the Buccaneer. The scenery is beautiful, and the water is even more gorgeous upclose.

This is one of my favorite pictures of all time. It was taken at Divi Carina Bay, the only resort on the island, I believe with a casino. Obviously I'm snorkeling. The water wasn't too inviting, as it had a lot of drifting sea weeds and stuff and very little to see. However, with the convenience of a pier into the water, it was great to take pictures like this one.

There are a lot more pics... hundreds and hundreds from this trip. These are just the ones that are still on my harddrive, the rest are on a backup CD. I plan to put up all the photos, because my brother and I are working on a digital scrapbook of sorts, so there will be more pics in the future.

I went to the The Police!

I wrote this a while ago, posted it elsewhere and thought it was good material for a blog about my "uneventful life"...

For about half my life I've wished and wished I could find some way to travel back in time and see Sting (aka Gordon Sumner and the Milkman's son), Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers; as The Police. Together again.

I always felt like I was gypped out of ever hearing the greatest songs and the greatest band live, because they broke up before I knew their greatness. All I had to comfort me and assure me that I've heard their genius form-- live-- was their two-disc live album... appropriately called LIVE!

Sunday, June 10, 2007, became the day I would right the wrong; the injustice.

I traveled back in time, and a gold Ford Freestyle was the time machine. We drove the time machine past the ticket scalpers and desperate fans holding up signs, and into the already almost full parking lot. An old man wearing a staff vest greeted us and we showed him our VIP parking pass.

"It's gonna be a great show... it sure was last night!" he told us.

We thanked him and found tailgaters all over the parking lot. Stepping out of the time machine, sounds of The Police permeated the downtown air.

We walked the walk of people about to see something revolutionary; past a few grills, lawn chairs and endless radio station booths.

The reunion of The Police. Sting (aka Gordon Summoner), Stewart Copeland and Andy Summers. Together. Again.

When I heard the news of these musical geniuses' summer reunion tour, I felt like I'd died and gone to heaven. The Police. In Denver. The Police were coming to Denver. And after much trouble and depression, I used my connections and acquired a free ticket.

The day had finally come.

People in summer attire were walking toward the same destination as us. Once inside, synchronicity colors were blinking on tiny buttons, and were being flashed in my face, for $5/each. A guy with a vendor box tied around his Police-clad torso showed us keychains and other things that would take away from my t-shirt budget. We declined and went up the escalators.

All I wanted was to get my hands on a t-shirt to prove to myself later that this wasn't just a dream; that the ticket I held in my hand was for a realistic event, and not just some replica of one past. That I hadn't died, but that I had in fact, gone to heaven, if only for a few hours.

There were so many t-shirts, and I wanted them all. I made my decision fairly quickly and it was the blue Regatta de Blanc t-shirt. When the guy behind the counter spread it out on the glass, and I felt its blue cotton and its white screen print of The Police, I knew that this was it. This t-shirt was going to be the reality check-point when this colossal experience was over. I paid the man an insane amount of money for a t-shirt and walked away, feeling like a kid with candy.

We took our seats, and they were perfect enough. I waited impatiently for what in my opinion is the greatest band since the Beatles. A small-time band called Fictionplane opened, and they were good... good enough to open for The Police, but I just wanted them to finish and start the real show.

When the lights finally came on to signify the entrance of The Police on the stage, I was on cloud nine.

Message in a Bottle was the first song, and it rocked even more than on the recorded live versions I'd heard. Synchronicity, So Lonely, Driven to Tears, Don't Stand So Close to me, I can't stand losing you, The bed's too big without you, Roxanne, Truth hits everybody, Invisible Sun (with a montage of the war in Iraq), King of Pain, Every Breath you Take, Every little thing she does... I heard all these live and very very well.

Sting looked great and sounded great. His guitar looked more worn than he was, and his lean muscled arms bulged as he played and wowed the audience. Not that I was close enough to see such details, but thanks to large screens at concert venues, it was possible.

Andy Summers was completely engrossed with his guitar and he too, rocked.

Stewart Copeland blew everybody away with his awesome drums and percussion. This man is a genius when it comes to sound. Kudos to the guy I saw with a t-shirt that read "Stewart Copeland for President".

Throughout the night, I didn't forget for a moment that this was a colossal event. The Police, reunited and together again after many years. Sting's solo voice mixed with the early days of punk rock. It was fresh, yet classic and familiar. I felt like I had traveled back in time, yet witnessed something new... to a time when music rocked, and The Police were still intact, only this time they knew what a good thing they had.

As we neared the end of the night, whenever the lights would go out and they would go offstage, I'd panic. But I would soon be comforted by it being a false alarm.

They tried to end the evening several times-- four to be exact-- but the crowd wouldn't let them. When it was actually over, the audience just stood there, amazed at what they had just witnessed; this colossal event.

The Police came to Denver. They came and they conquered the top of concert charts. This is the reunion of the century, and if it comes to your town, make sure you go if you know what's good for you-- musically.

It is the greatest show on earth.

My Latest Obssession

My latest obssession is with Marlon Brando.

The obsession started with watching A Streetcar Named Desire, and lead to my reading Brando's autobiography; Songs My Mother Taught Me. I got a lot out of the read, and thought it was great-- could not put it down. My Netflix queue is riddled with Brando's work.

I've watched two movies from that list (aside from Streetcar) so far, and they are Mutiny on the Bounty and Last Tango in Paris.

I liked Mutiny and thought it was good. I now understand the fascination of men with this film, as it portrays gorgeous Tahiti, with gorgeous topless Tahitian women, who find it an insult to not sleep with them. Doesn't get any better than this for a man, right? I personally had my own reason for enjoying the film other than it's a well-made film in a lot of ways-- I enjoyed Brando as Lt. Fletcher Christian, a down-to-earth and tongue-in-cheek kind of guy who is dashing, as well as endearing.

Last Tango in Paris wasn't quite so simple a viewing. The film was strange and with its NC-17 rating, it involves a lot of nudity and quite disturbing sex scenes between a 47-year-old Brando and the 20-year-old heroine (played by Maria Schneider). Both characters seem to be equally cryptic in carrying a relationship with each other based on sex. They don't know each other's names or anything else about each other. One scene involves butter and perhaps the strangest sex scene in the history of cinema in my world. Brando himself wrote that he didn't know what Tango was really about, and I guess that should make me as a viewer feel better. The film has very little dialogue that makes any kind of logical sense and even less action. The story hardly moves along, it just gets shoved into the next gear, and leaves you scratching your head and wondering "what was that all about?"

Aside from movies Brando has starred in, I also became interested in films and books Brando saw and read. I am going to see The Battle of Algiers, a film Brando enjoyed for its presentation of the plight of a people to gain freedom, a theme he always enjoyed. I've also started reading Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, because Brando mentioned he read that and he was also in a film, Apocalypse Now, based on the book.

I've got plenty of Brando-related stuff to keep me busy for a while.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Rocky Mountain National Park

Sunday we all went to the Rocky Mountain National Park, and it was a blast. It is so beautiful up there, and I can never get over it. I've been up there a bazillion times and every single time it blows me away. We saw a bunch of elk with the big horns and everything. I actually remembered to bring my binoculars, so I got to watch them magnified and it was awesome.

Images like these make me glad I live in Colorado, even though I spend a lot of time wishing I didn't live here.

This is the tundra. It is a point where trees cease to grow, and all you get is what you see infront of you. It is beautiful.

An elk was cooling off on some unmelted snow with his buddies.