Monday, June 28, 2010

The anniversaries just keep rolling by...

So Saturday was the first birthday of this blog. And I celebrated by...doing nothing. I've been a little lax in my blogging recently, for various reasons: sports, work, heat-related laziness and a seeming lack of subject matter.

Well, Wimbledon will be done on the 4th, World Cup on the 11th, and then it's a wasteland of commentary until the US Open in September. Work will always be work, but the sale which is making it a little extra taxing at the moment is coming to a close. I can't do anything about the heat but stay inside or swim in the pool (which would not be conducive to blogging, this laptop is not waterproof).

So having something to write about is going to be the ultimate decider in my future blogging output. It's not that I don't have plenty to say. I harangue my mother with new opinions every day. But not all of them seem entirely on-topic in terms of being a post-grad survivor. There are only so many things to say about the ridiculousness of resumes and the how the heath care debate affects part-time retail and recent graduates.

So there may be a little thinking outside the box coming your way. I'll try to keep the reality show rantings to a minimum, I promise. And there will always be at least a tenuous connection to what it means to be a member of the class of 2009. As I type this various ideas are already coming into my head. Maybe all I needed to do was start typing to get the bloggy juices flowing. So, you know, stay tuned...

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Is this tennis...or a Test match?

(I'm warning you now: it's another post about sports. I can't help it! If you don't know what this post is about, Google it.)

I knew these two weeks would be amazing, sports-wise. When the World Cup and Wimbledon collide, there is no other option. I could even blame it on my not having posted in more than a few days (yeah, let's go with that). But I would never have guessed that I would be as blessed a sports fan as I have been the past three days.

It's my favorite grand slam. It's the first I ever cared about, and marks the beginning of the transition, which took years, of becoming an avid sports fan. The green grass turning brown, the crisp white outfits,, the strawberries and cream. It's just perfect.

Take all of that, and add in a match that lasts three days. Three days. Isner-Mahut is going to be the calling card for the 2010 Championships. The only possible event to eclipse it would be if Murray took the title, and even then I'm not sure that fifty years from now it wouldn't be the more important statistic. The Queen was there for the first time in several decades, and that doesn't matter as much today.

I missed the first day of action, when this was just a five-setter suspended for darkness. The second day, I caught on somewhere around 25 games all. I was absolutely transfixed by the never-ending service games being held, many times at love. World Cup matches came and went, and they were still going until it was too dark to see the ball. It went from an interesting first-round match to an record-breaker, to an epic marathon that filled every one of the 750 seats of Court 18.

Because of simultaneous World Cup matches, I had to resort to ESPN3 online to watch the third day begin (seriously? Bad form ESPN/ABC). I couldn't turn away. Every game, every point, wasn't just a possible turning point in the match, it was part of history.

It had to end eventually. And when it did, I burst out with a shriek of happiness and tears of amazement as Isner fell to the ground. Hours later, watching the final day repeat in it's entirety, I'm still tearing up. I can't even tell you exactly why. It's just magnificent. They went to 70-68. They shattered every record and just kept going. They played it one game at a time, one serve at a time. Physically, it's impressive that they were able to walk today. Mentally, it's impressive that they were able to get out of bed this morning.

I'm an emotional person. I've already said it's the stories that have made me a sports convert. I think the reason I'm so emotional about this marathon match is that I know that these two players just gave me one of the best stories ever. With the greatest lesson. I think 'Finding Nemo' paraphrases it perfectly: Just keep swimming.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Me? A Sports Fan? No....Seriously?

I've written about tennis and football already, so it won't be a surprise that I watch sports. But for the past year, I've gotten so much further into the wide wide world of sports than I ever thought I would.

For years I've been a tennis fan. And the World Cup makes a soccer fan out of most of the world. But football is a recent addition to my resume. Once that was over, I half-expected to just go back to life as normal until next fall. But I kept watching ESPN, and so even if I didn't watch actual games, I kept up with other sports results. Tiger's return to golf, Butler's near-total upset of the world of college basketball, I watched it all, getting sucked deeper and deeper into the world of fandom.

And now, I watch basketball. Seriously, this is getting ridiculous. As I write this, the Celtics are up ten points in the fifth game of the series, and I'm totally into it, I know the players and the history. This is ridiculous. A few months ago I couldn't give a flying hoot. I have a bracket for the World Cup predicting the winners and losers. It's official: amongst other things, I am now also a nerd about sports.

My parents don't understand it. My dad is absolutely uninterested, and my mother is only vaguely aware of sports (unless it's cricket!), though she'll watch with me. It's clearly not genetic.

So what is it?

I think it's pretty simple. Apart from the increased exposure from days working at home with the TV lingering on ESPN, I'm a sucker for a story. Sports, in the end, after all the statistics and muscle and rules, is a narrative-producing machine. The battles, the comebacks, the heartbreak: I take it all in like the most finely-crafted novel.

It's a golden time of year for the sports nerd within me. The French Open has just wrapped up (Nadal back on top!), and Wimbledon is just within reach. The NBA Finals series will be done soon, and the World Cup is just getting going. I'm not going to hole up inside with the television rooting for my favorites the entire summer, but I'll at least keep my iPhone with me by the pool if there's a match on.

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Is it too late to add to my conference paper, James?

After devouring thousands of pages every year for the sake of class the next morning while at Sarah Lawrence, I've been a little lax in my reading in the past few months in comparison. I do like reading. Always have. I'm sure at some point I'll write a more in-depth post about that. But right now, I have something more specific to tell you.

In an effort to get on to all those books I'd still like to get under my belt and in my brain before I die, I started reading one of two Jane Austen books I haven't read yet: Sense & Sensibility. Bit by bit, I'm got through it. Not at any great speed, but with great pleasure. I also continued the reading roll with a few more books, and I'm keeping the habit going with a book always in my purse for 15-minute stints of reading before work. One day at a time...

There was one sensation which irked me as I read it, though. It's uniquely Sarah Lawrence of me, I'm sure. You see, my final conference paper was about comparing two authors: the perennially re-adapted Jane Austen and the perennially under-appreciated Barbara Pym. Both authors wrote about women living in England, novels filled with social commentary and quiet romance, except Austen wrote in the 18th and 19th centuries, while Pym wrote in the mid-20th. I compared how reading appeared in their stories; how and what their characters read and what the authors were saying about it. I couldn't read all six (well, seven) Austen novels in one semester as well as an ample supply of Pym. Well, I could, but I couldn't write a paper about it all as well. Well, I could, but not before the end of the semester. So I focused on Pride & Prejudice, Persuasion and Northanger Abbey, hoping these would be the best for insights into Austen's views on reading.

Of course, now that I have read Sense & Sensibility (and two more Pym novels), I can't help but notice all the quotes which would have fit perfectly into my thesis. Marianne is not so unlike Catherine Morland in her voracious love of books, with her passion for them going as far as becoming a requirement for compatibility with a possible husband. Oh, the paragraphs I could have written analyzing these instances, and how her love of books is reflective of her personality and her evolution in the novel.

Yeah, nerd alert, I know. But I am this close to actually opening up the Word document that was/is my conference paper and re-reading it, possibly adding to it. To what point and purpose I have no idea. Perhaps just to quell my inane obsession. I could send it to my professor, but I think he'll probably have enough papers to grade as it is. Just goes to show, you can take the student out of college....

.......But you can't take the nerd out of me!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

This is a Public Service Blog Post

Okay, I know this isn't a very interesting topic, but it's one I've come across often enough that I have to speak out: People, you need to stop not signing your credit cards.

Every time someone uses a credit card to pay for a purchase at work, I have to ask to see the card to approve the signature. But very quickly, I learned that asking for the card doesn't help with the task, and most of the time I also need a driver's license. The reason I need that identification? People don't sign their cards, apparently to prevent thieves from being able to copy their signature after stealing the card. I find it hilariously disturbing that they don't realize that leaving that space blank means that they don't need to go to the trouble of copying the signature, they can just make one up themselves.

So please, if you don't want to sign your card, I understand. But for the love of credit theft, put 'Check ID' in that blank space. That way whoever has your wallet has to go to a lot more trouble to have a spree at the mall.

There, I feel better now.