Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rafa Wins Again! Lucky 7's in Barcelona!

(Ahh, the taste of a repeat victory!)

Another Sunday, another championship for Rafa. Our Hero took home the Barcelona Open Banc Sabadell trophy (it's ginormous! Just look at the photo!) for the seventh time today, as defeated David Ferrer 7-6(1), 7-5 in a truly hard fought the final. This is Nadal's  48th career title. Will he get to 50 by the French Open? It's a tough road, but not impossible!

You gotta feel for Ferrer. This is the fourth time Nadal has beaten him the Barcelona final. Nadal's lifetime record against Ferrer is 14-4, but Ferrer refused to go down without a tremendous fight. With Nadal serving at 5-6 in the 1st set, I was all ready to go on my morning run as soon as the assumed tie break was over. But then that game lasted FOREVER - with Ferrer earning five set points against Rafa. Rafa erased each one. After that Nadal ripped through the tie break, taking it 7-1.

It again looked like an easy day at the office for Rafa when  he broke for 3-1 in the second set. I figured Ferrer would see the writing on the wall and cave. But no! Ferrer fought really hard to get back to 5-4.and serving for the set, but Rafa took it up a notch AGAIN, breaking Ferrer, then holding his own serve, then breaking again at love to secure the set, match and the championship. 

Rafa's win here along with his win last week in Monte Carlo make him the first player in the Open Era to win two ATP World Tour tournaments at least seven times. Ferrer isn't doing too badly this season either with three ATP World Tour titles already to his name in 2012. Best of luck to Ferrer for the rest of the season... but not better results than Rafa! VAMOS!!

Also I would like to say that the "It's all about Rafael Nadal" fan page on FB has been the best discovery of the month. It constantly fills my newsfeed with great pictures (candid and on court) and news about where Rafa is going and what he's doing. It brings the awesomeness right to me and I can just sort through it and enjoy. Whoever runs that page gets a huge thank you from me.

I also want to give a quick shout out to Maria Sharapova who beat Victoria Azarenka  in the Porsche Grand Prix Final in Germany today 6-1, 6-4, for her first title of the year. Sharapova had been a finalist in several recent tournaments, but couldn't quite seem to get to the top of the podium, and had lost her last two matches to Azarenka. I like Sharapova's fighting spirit and I wish her a lot more success in the clay court season on the women's side. Vamos, lady!

Give Me Down-To-There Hair, Shoulder-Length or Longer

(Hair to aspire to.)
I don't know what to do about my hair. I have been growing it out since September of 2010, which is a long time. One of the weird New Year's resolutions I made in 2011, along with my Year Without Cookies and Soda, was that I would grow my hair out longer than its ever been, just to see what it looked like while I still had the hair to do it.

While it was transitioning from short to long, several people asked me just how long I wanted to grow it and I would always say Elrond-length, but that of course was not gonna happen. Still, why not aim high? The longest I ever had my hair before now was probably my sophomore year of college when it was roughly chin length on the sides, but the back was kinda short - we're going back like 13 years at this point. I'd finally say that my hair now is longer than my hair then (though not by much) so Arbitrary Mission O-Complished! But what now? Do I chop it all off again? I am tempted. Some people tell me they like the longer hair, but I suspect that they would like it just fine if it was shorter too, or that it doesn't really matter to them either way since it's not their hair. Here are some arguments for and against.
 (once it was short...)
Reasons For: I would have shorter hair! Seriously ladies with long hair, I don't know how you do it. They say being a mom is the toughest job out there, but long hair maintenance seems just as time-consuming and fraught with stresses. If you have young children and long hair, God Bless You. How are you awake or even alive right now?

Long hair requires a lot of brushing, a lot of washing, a lot of styling products, a lot of drying to look decent. Especially if it's long enough to have some body but not actually long enough to tie back or up. And then you can do all this work on it and if it's rainy humid or windy out the whole thing can be shot to hell the second you walk out your front door. Who needs it? Plus you are always thinking about it because it is always in your face. Your hair becomes part of your peripheral vision, and thus you're always wondering how the rest of it is doing or what it looks like or running your hands through it or twisting the ends around in your fingers. At least I do.

ALSO, it's very easy to start to look homeless when you have longer hair. Let's say you are rocking like 3-day stubble, because shaving is time-consuming and annoying. With short hair, it can look kinda sexy, or at least simply like you're letting your beard grow in. But with long hair, especially if you've already been attacked by, wind, rain, and or humidity, it can look like perhaps you lost your job and fell off the wagon and spent the night in the waiting area at Penn Station. It's tough people. I've found most people are not attracted to that. Unless you're trying to give off that you don't care about your appearance at all, long hair requires a lot of upkeep.

(now it is long...)
So now Reasons Against:: I would have shorter hair! I just got my passport photos redone. If I cut my hair now, will I not look like myself in international travel for the next decade? It took me 18 months to get to here. Do I want to go back? What if it no longer looks right short? Plus change is a pain in the ass. And is it really change if I just go back to what I had before? Can I find a haircut that looks good that I've never had before? Is that possible? I just don't know. I don't know! I don't like not knowing.

 
(Doesn't Oscar and Emmy-Winner Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords fame look great as an elf with long hair? Yes, that's him!)

So the debate rages on. I guess I could cut it for the summer and if I consider it a huge mistake just allow it to grow again as I did before. Or get extensions. I could totally rock extensions. I've never done that before. That would be new. Maybe I could be Elrond after all. More to think on, for sure...

My Beloved Astoria in the Pre-Historic Olden Times of the Last Century!


(Has air-conditioning even been inveted yet? Literally everyone in the pool!)

Photo-philes! City-philes! Did you know almost a million images of New York have been made public for the first time over the interwebs? The city's Department of Records has launched an updated the photo database with some amazing black and white photos of what our beloved New York looked like Wonders never cease.

Following the announcement, the site went down due to excessive interest, but you can get a preview of some of the gems here while you wait for the Department of Records to get its act together. If you are like me, seeing all those old fashioned signs and clothes will make you start singing songs from Guys and Dolls. This guys says the horse can do! Two of my personal faves show off my neighborhood of Astoria. The one above shows Astoria Pool packed with people - and the diving board section in full operation (and not a giant empty pit! Amazing!) and the one below shows the Triboro decades before it was renamed the RFK (Triboro 4EVA!) and the area which will eventually become the track that I've run countless miles in marathon training. These pictures rule. And I am ashamed to say before this I never bothered to learn the name of that Railroad Bridge in the background but it's Hellgate! That's effing awesome. I love Astoria. We have a Hellgate! It's not a Hellmouth, but I'll take it.

(Serving up some 1930's Triboro realness.)

So check out the link to the Daily Mail I posted above to see more amazing shots from all over Ancient Times New York and remember to go back to the Dept. of Records when they get their act together. It'll be worth it for the view into our  yesterdays!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Heads Up for Pre-Order of 2012 US Open Tix!

(time to plan ahead!)
Hey y'all. If you are a tennis fan or want to check out how awesome the US Open is as a sporting event, I've found out that you can get a good deal on pre-sale tickets if you join the USTA. I know it seems like it's months and months away, but the time to act is NOW. Membership is cheap and there is an online discount code to make it even cheaper if you've never been a member before. Go to this link and you can save over 25% and receive an official 2012 US Open long sleeve t-shirt (XL LEFT ONLY)!  Enter code E671C at checkout. USTA membership comes with other perks as well that you can check out. And then in the pre-sale there are 2-for-1 opening night deals on tickets and early access to other seats in Ashe Stadium as well. If you plan to go, and don't want to play scalper prices at the end of August, this is a good way to go! Maybe being an USTA member will provide me a better opportunity to finally meet Rafa this year. If so, then really any membership fee would be worth it. The deal only lasts until May 1st though! VAMOS!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Crazy Eights! Rafa wins in Monte Carlo!

(el ganador!)

Oh Happy Day, Dear Readers! Our Hero, Rafael Nadal, has won his first tournament of 2012! HOORAY! Victory came to him where it usually comes to him - Monte Carlo. It's Rafa's 8th Victory in a row on the clay at Monte Carlo. That's absurd. Rafa has won this event every year since 2005! WHAAAT? Yes, it true.

What makes winning the title even better is that he beat Novak Djokovic 6-3, 6-1 to end a seven-match final losing streak to the current world No. 1. Granted, Novak was not at his best this week as he dealt with the sudden passing of his grandfather with whom he was very close. Quite understandably, Novak was feeling mentally and emotionally drained. I was surprised to see him get through the last few rounds, as he was clearly struggling with grief. He had enough left in the tank to dispatch the rest of the field. Rafa was on a mission to win, however, and Novak just couldn't compete at his top level. I sympathize with Novak, but I'm happy Rafa played so well throughout the tournament and especially today. It's been a long time since he got the chance to bite a new trophy!

We'll have to see how this affects the next tournament that's about to start in Barcelona. Will Rafa's troublesome knee continue to not be too much trouble? Will Novak have enough time to regroup mentally and get back to top form? Will this win against Novak be the confidence boost Rafa needs to get back to being the dominant force in their rivalry? There are lots of interesting questions to be answered on tour this spring and summer! VAMOS!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Time to Play in the Clay!

(Rafa's getting ready!)

It's almost time for The European Clay Court Tennis Season! As you can see from the pic above, Rafa is back in training. Coming up first is Monte Carlo and then Barcelona! I'm a little nervous about Monte Carlo. Rafa has one this tournament for the past 7 years, and its usually the one that gives a boost to his mojo for the season, but this year Stupidface Novak Djokovic is coming to town! Boooo! I don't want him ruining Rafa's winning streak at MC! Sure, Monte Carlo is now Novak's adoptive home town, and he wants to play there, but he should stay out of Rafa's key stomping ground. No respect! You don't see Rafa jumping all over the Serbian Open. Novak is trying to crush Our Hero's spirit entirely! But I'm not counting Nadal out, no sir! Rafa can beat him there and maybe after that he'll start to believe he can beat him anywhere again. One win is all Rafa needs. I'm sure of it! He came so close in Melbourne. Man, next week is gonna be so stressful for me!  It's a tight Clay schedule this year for Rafa:

MONTE-CARLO ROLEX MASTERS / APR 15 - APR 22
BARCELONA OPEN BANC SABADELL / APR 23 - APR 29
MUTUA MADRID OPEN / MAY 5 - MAY 13
INTERNAZIONALI BNL D'ITALIA (ROME) / MAY 14 - MAY 20
ROLAND GAROS - FRENCH OPEN!!! / MAY 28 - JUN 10

So you can see there's a lot of time for Rafa to playing in the dirt. I hope that knee holds up! VAMOS!

P.S. Who is the best at making a wordless appearance in a tv commercial? You know who!!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Texts From Hillary ~ A Fond Farewell

 (aren't I clever? I sure think I am.)

It seems like it was here for such a short time! Texts from Hillary - which featured a badass H.Rod texting away to many imagined celebrities and world leaders - was all the rage for like 2 weeks and now the fellas behind it have shut it down. I submitted my own TFH photo just last night, but alas, it was too late. The guys had already heard from the real Hillary, and figuring they couldn't top that, they closed up shop. I can't blame them. They are probably right. But I missed my chance! Curse you, my own personal writing deadlines taking precedence over photoshopping! I coulda had class. I could been a contender!

But since I've still got the blog, I've posted it here (as you can see it above) where it will always have a place on the interwebs and people can come by and seek it out and get their lolz. I raise a glass to Texts From Hillary, and serenade them with my new favorite farewell song, The Party Goes With You. Take it away, Lindsay Mendez!

Saturday, April 7, 2012

March Madness 2012 : Final Casualty Report


(ah yes, stick a fork in it.) 

I almost forgot to post this, as I had no horse left in the race, but stick-to-it-iveness requires that I post a final recap of the total bloodbath that was my 2012 NCAA Men's basketball bracket. Try not to weep for the sight of it. The images above might be deemed. NSFW.

I finished up the tournament with only 59 Overall points, an overall ranking of 227,851 and a rank percentile of 46%. Ouch. That's just not pretty. When I lose, we all lose. I'm sure there are 67 teams of players out there who share a similar feeling right now.

But it's been almost a week now, and it's time to emotionally move on. So i made a bunch of mistakes in my predictions. Didn't we all? Well, maybe not all of us. I'm sure there were some people who picked Kentucky all the way from the start. Good on you. Next year, will be different for me. Next year I will get them right from the start. UConn won't lose their first game. UConn will go all the way and take the title. Yes. YES! Wherever they start the tourney, they'll certainly end up as champs. You heard it hear first since the next tourney is roughly a year away. Go Huskies in 2013!