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

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Summer Effect

There is nobody who loves Summertime as much as I do. The hotter, the better it is, in my book. And being that I live in a state where Summer is gorgeous, albeit shortlived, I make a lot of effort to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Whether it be on the deck at home, out and about running errands I avoid like the plague in the cold months, or dining on the patio of a restaurant, I just love being outside, enjoying the warmth of the sun, and the drifting aromas of alive-and-kicking earth.

So, as it happened, my sister and I decided to take a snack at the park the other day, when we spotted a couple with their two children, strolling across the tiny strip of land that is labeled a park, but is really just a patch of grass with a big gazebo in the middle, surrounded by benches.

The couple were holding hands, their kids were skipping was the picture perfect family. It seemed like a normal enough scene at a park in the Summertime, but then something totally unexpected happened. The couple walked up the ramp into the gazebo and began to dance the waltz. They spun around the interior of the structure, their kids watching them, while they only had eyes for each other. This dance lasted less than a minute, but it made me and my sister look at each other and laugh.

"What was that all about?" I asked and laughed.

"I don't know," my sister replied and laughed herself.

It was really nothing more than two people perhaps being sweet in a silly way, but more than romance, it was just the summer effect.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Day 5 of the World Cup

Today was day five of the World Cup, and it was a good line-up, albeit somewhat disappointing with the results:

The first game of the day was one I did not care too much for, and so did not wake up at the crack of dawn to watch (5:30 a.m.); New Zealand vs. Slovakia. They ended up tying, with each scoring one goal. This is surprising, especially since I don't think I've ever seen New Zealand participate in the World Cup before, much less be good enough to score, but they did.

The next game I missed a big chunk of, but what I did see was good; Ivory Coast vs. Portugal. In 2006 I was really impressed by Portugal and rooted for them. For some reason, though, I wanted to support Ivory Coast more this time around. I'm not an expert, but what I did see was that IC players had much more organization than the Portuguese, despite their star player, Didier Drogba being out of the game until near the end, when he was playing with his arm in a cast. Neither team was able to score, and they ended with a nothing to nothing tie. Ronaldo hit one of his deadly penalty kicks, but the IC's goalkeeper was good enough to catch it. Still, IC was playing better than Portugal, who seemed to be disorganized and just sort of running around the pitch without any real teamwork.

The big game of the day was the one between Brazil and North Korea. It ended with Brazil having two beautiful goals, and North Korea scoring in just the last few minutes of the game, an equally beautiful and fluid goal that made my heart go out to their team, for they played really well. It took Brazil a long time to score their goals and they are a very strong team, not to be reckoned with. It was especially sweet to see that during the national anthem of North Korea, one of their players was so overcome with emotion that he just cried his heart out. I was with Brazil, but when North Korea scored that lovely goal, I was glad that they got one, because they truly deserved it. It'll be interesting to see how far they will go in this tournament. It was also sweet to see the small group of North Korea supporters, wearing red and waving flags in a sea of yellow and green. It was a very good-hearted game with major spirit and sportsmanship.

I was not able to document yesterday's games and scores on here, but I am continuing to update my status on Facebook and tweeting on Twitter. Just for the sake of keeping track, yesterday's games and scores were as follows:

Netherlands 2-0 Denmark
Netherlands, despite its reputation and expections of being one of those teams to fear struggled throughout the game to overcome Denmark's defense, and were finally able to score one goal on their own. The other goal was made by one of Denmark's own players. Doy.

Japan 1-0 Cameroon
Cameroon was disappointing. They are usually one of the best teams, known for their prowess on the pitch, but they truly disappointed in their face off with Japan.

Italy 1-1 Paraguay
Italy displayed major disorganization and shoddy playing, so much so that Paraguay scored a goal before the 2006 world champions. Paraguay was impressive, as they played with the same style demonstrated by the Germans, though nowhere near as sharp in their passes. Paraguay's goal was the result of a penalty kick awarded them, which Buffon, one of the best goalkeepers in the world at the moment completely missed... that ball went right by him. In the second half of the game, a new goalkeeper came out for Italy, presumably because Buffon was showing his years with the miss. Italy's goal had more umph than Paraguay's, thanks to it being a corner kick, something I haven't seen happen since the beginning of this event. It was a nice goal.

Tomorrow's games and my stances:

Chile vs. Honduras
Spain vs. Switzerland
South Africa vs. Uruguay

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The Beautiful Game, a limited time documentation

Unless you live on some other planet, you know that the Fifa World Cup got underway in South Africa, and it kicked off on Friday, June 10.

I am a huge fan of soccer, in general, but I can't say I keep an eye on it all the time. The World Cup, however, is a different story. I watch every game, supporting my teams and just watching the others for sheer entertainment. I know some people, especially in the USA, don't really care for this event, and I have ignored this the last three days on Facebook, updating my status everytime a goal is scored, but I know that I am probably annoying a lot of people at this point.

So, what I am going to do is use this as a place to share at least my stances with each game and minimize the number of status updates on Facebook, because I am sure a lot of people have hidden me off their news feed pages. Sorry!

Today's games, my stances and the final scores were as follows:

Algeria 0-1 Slovenia
Ghana 1-0 Serbia
Australia 0-4 Germany

* Since the Algeria vs. Slovenia game was on at 5:30 a.m., I did not have the chance to watch it, but I hear that the only reason Slovenia scored was because of a slip by Algeria's goalkeeper, that was not too different from England's goalkeeper blunder. I hear Algeria put up a really good fight, though, and there will be other games for them to score, I suppose.

* Ghana played really well, as did Serbia. Unfortunately, boths sides' goalkeepers were really good, so it wasn't until Ghana was awarded a penalty kick that they were able to score, by way of #3 Gyan but it was still nice to see Ghana win that one.

* Germany killed Australia, and the first goal was scored in the eighth minute. By halftime, they'd already gotten two goals in, each more beautiful than the one before it; the first one by Podolski and the other by Klose.

The second half was when the two other goals were scored, one by Podolski and the other by Cacau. The Aussies had no chance, almost, because the Germans seem to really have the teamwork aspect down to a T. There was so much precision, so much order, that even when players were passing the ball behind them, without looking, there was a teammate right behind, ready to take on the ball and drive it toward the other team's goal. It was an amazing game, and the largest score so far.

I have a feeling that Germany will at least make it to the final if not take the cup home, because looking at their history, it seems that they have a cycle of winning that can be figured to show that every twenty years, they take home the cup. Their last win was in 1990, and if they continue to play the way they did in their opening game, they surely will make it. They would definitely deserve it, because I didn't see them doing any dives or stupid things to win. Professionalism was all I saw with Germany.

Tomorrow's games and my stances are as follows:

Denmark vs. Netherlands - Go Netherlands!
Cameroon vs. Japan - Go Cameroon!
Italy vs. Paraguay - Go Paraguay!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Flying Bread

I went out for a bit today. I went to my usual spots, with my usual peeps, and had a great time. I needed a simple outing of that nature just to refresh and enjoy myself.

The day didn't start out so well, though.

I woke up to crews working on our street, stripping the concrete and creating grooves at the foot of our driveway. It was incredibly loud and obnoxious and there was no chance of being able to just go back to sleep. That just set the mood for me today, until I got the chance to get out and just put all the annoyances behind me, but there is definitely something in the air, out to stop me from getting too comfortable.

After visiting the library, and some nearby stores, I joined my peeps for a snack at Panera Bread. As I sat there and enjoyed the classical music, the company and the cheese pastry I had ordered, I heard a thump behind me. When I turned to see what it was, I found that it was a piece of bread that had missed my head by mere inches.

The woman whose hand the flyaway piece of bread flew out of came and apologized profusely. We laughed it off, and joked that next time she should make it a yummy pastry. It was really no big deal, I know that, but life is just not letting me get too comfortable today, and that is just fine.

At the end of the day, despite how annoying my morning start was, I don't feel in the slightest bit annoyed about anything, and that piece of bread didn't hit me in the head.

Something has to be said for that, no?

Friday, June 4, 2010

An anecdote

On my last trip to the library, I came across a book my sister had said she wanted to read, so I checked it out for her. When I saw it on her nightstand a few days later, I wanted to see how far she'd gotten, so I opened it to the page where she'd placed a bookmark.

The bookmark she'd used was not one of those oblong skinny things sold at bookstores, but rather a nail file-- the kind you buy in a pack of twenty that costs less than a dollar. I shook my head, picturing her sitting with the book splayed open on her lap, her filing her nails while she reads.

A perfectly fine image, except I know that's not what my sister's really like. And yet the nail file being used as a bookmark made me feel something, something I could not explain.

After a brief session of making fun of my sister, I mused out loud about all the work that Ian McEwen did to publish this novel, "Solar," and all the work that every writer does to get any of his/her work published, period, and how people like her just don't understand a writer's plight toward publication.

"You can't even extend to him the courtesy of using an actual bookmark," I said to her with a laugh, only half kidding.

She rolled her eyes and said the same thing she always says when she's had it with my nagging about things that only I seem to care about: "Okay, what do you want from me?"

"I want you to use an actual bookmark."

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The fledgling

Life is not an easy thing to get through. We start out by making our journey out of our mother's womb, then we must learn to breathe, rely on someone to nurture us, then we try to grow up, step by step.

All of this is hard enough, but throw all the obstacles that get in the way of our efforts to accomplish these tasks to make it to independence and adulthood, and life is near impossible.

I write this after having witnessed a tiny drama involving a little fledgling, a red robin if what my neighbor said is true, and my otherwise wonderful cat.

This fledgling, you see, was trying to fly out of its nest, to learn to fly so that it can be independent. It just so happened that my cat saw the fledgling as it took its first steps toward adulthood, and made a run for it. From what I could see after examining the bird, there were no injuries, but the mom was nowhere near, and ignorant people (me and family) had to figure out what to do.

I called a vet, who then told me to call a wildlife rehabilitator, who told me that it was best to just leave the fledgling to do what it needed to do, so long as I keep the cats away for a  couple of days, at which time the fledgling will be able to fly away and fend for itself. Keeping cats out of my yard? Well, that's near impossible, so I thought of the next best thing: I took it to my next door neighbor's yard and left it there so that its mom could come for it.

I rescued and tried my hardest to protect the bird from predators and other obstacles that might prevent it from thriving and living a long and healthy life, but even the best experts know that it's best to just let nature take its course. You do your best and hope it nets the best.

And that is life. It's hard, and some of us get through it, some not, but nobody gets out of it without scratches.

Goodbye, little fledgling. May you get through life with the smallest scratches life can deliver!