gambitch - now available in blue Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.
Saturday, July 30, 2005
Besides football and golf, I watch a huge number of other sports on the side. And I watch it for the game more than I do for the players. This is true even when it's women's sports. So, for example, I don't find myself paying much attention to Anna Kournikova playing tennis, mostly because she's not that good a player nowadays. And while I respect the sporting achievements of Maria Sharapova, I'm among the few who don't actually think she's that attractive as the media and advertisers claim her to be.
I do however find Anastasia Myskina fairly pleasant on the eye. Maybe it's because she's one of those Europeans with black hair. Black hair on a pale European complexion cuts rather well with me, for some reason. Maybe that's also why I didn't think too badly of Jennifer Love Hewitt's promotional photos for this movie that sounds really soppy and girl-friendly. Plus it actually got my attention off her figure, seeing how her early fame was largely a result of this and a teenagers' scary movie.
But I digress.
The point is that the press usually likes to build up this celebrity sportsperson or that celebrity sportsperson. Tennis gets lots of attention, as does golf - especially nowadays when there's a teenager by the name of Michelle Wie, who actually looks decent, grabbing lots of headlines and probably having to cope with lots of prospective sponsors. But every now and then, a little-known player in a comparatively little-known sport catches my eye, and her name gets burned into my memory. There's no idol-worship or serious attraction involved, mind you. It's just a case of a decent-looking player who actually plays well, and part of that radiance comes from her playing well.
A few years ago the eye-catching player in question was volleyballer Ai Otomo of Japan, who looked a bit like a certain teenage J-pop star. (Unfortunately, more recent pictures suggest that she has become a bit less pleasant-looking with age.) Another female volleyballer now joins her ranks: Nadia Centoni of Italy.
Nadia isn't necessarily the most beautiful volleyballer in history, never mind the most beautiful sportswoman. But she looks pretty alright, especially when she gives a big smile after a good spike. Then again lots of women of all ages look very good when they smile. But what's particularly striking about Nadia is her volleyball play. Goodness, she's excellent when it comes to smashing the ball from the wing, so much so it terrorizes the opposition. And that's usually what I look out for in sportswomen as well as sportsmen - good playing ability. Nadia scores well in that department, that's for sure.
Who says pretty girls don't do sports? gambitch [
Okay, there we are. As of this moment, I have changed my blog template from the old, orange-heavy geodesic dome design to this blue-heavy "Hollow Again" design.
Unfortunately I did not take a screen capture of what my blog used to look like, so I cannot post it up to let you compare the difference between the two.
I had to make a couple of tough choices, like still incorporating a substantial dose of orange because I could not work out what shade of blue works out well for this design, so that you could still read everything nice and easy. If you've got a better idea of what blue to use than I do, please do suggest it to me.
By the same token, feel free to comment about the new design too!
I have used this chance to do a bit of cleaning up on the links. Not much, really, but just thought to mention.
The lad previously linked here as Prodigy has had his blog removed because apparently his school is clamping down on student blogs that may include entries dissing the teachers. Personally, I don't know which is stupider - the school authorities clamping down on student blogging, or students blogging so openly and dissing their teachers without talking in code. His decision is a silly one, but then he is probably not alone.
Bonny has informed me that he killed his blog for whatever reasons I do not know. Fortunately, I still have other ways of contacting him, but it is rather sad that he chose to kill his blog - and the large collection of links that came with it. Then again, he has major examinations coming at the end of the year, so maybe he would have too many problems keeping it alive anyway.
The other blog link I took down belongs to Maestro, who decided he would ditch Blogger for LiveJournal. I could just give the new bloglink, but I didn't see the point when I realized that the majority of his entries were non-public, and I don't have a LiveJournal account and am not about to get one just to read non-public postings. I simply find this LiveJournal feature - access to non-private postings being made available only to selected LiveJournal users - extremely discriminatory and a blatant attempt to coerce people into using LiveJournal. Something which I, a perennial defender of the individual's right to free cross-platform access, strongly disagree with. But if anyone really wants to look for him, here's the address.
The tough part about putting together a new blog template on your own is not coming up with a new design. It's putting it into code.
As part of the process, I might be changing elements of this blog template one unit at a time, starting with the background. Regular readers should not be too alarmed. gambitch [
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
So I saw this commercial on TV for Subway, the sandwich joint which for some reason was not listed as a fast food place in a recent survey I was asked to fill. This commercial featured a man who was originally outrageously fat, decided he wanted to eat healthy, went to Subway, and today he's lost a good number of inches.
And now I've had Subway sandwiches for two nights in a row. Not that I've never eaten at Subway before, but I'm suddenly developing a liking for bread-based rather than rice-based dinners. Previously it was pasta (and I still have plenty of supplies that I intend to consume), and now it's sandwiches. Maybe I'll lose weight like the man in the commercial. Or maybe I won't. But the sandwiches are very satisfactorily filling, and I don't feel like I've downed as many calories. So the feel-good factor is there.
Out of boredom and curiosity, I decided to spend a little bit of time surfing the blogs of people whose lives I might have made better or worse over the weekend. How'd I know who they were? Well, they gave their names.
Generally, they were trying quite hard - some more successfully than others - to be a bit upbeat about what happened. And there were the usual moments of "yeah, we didn't do that well now, did we" among those who felt they didn't measure up to their usual standards, whatever those were. And that's all good in itself, really.
But what, exactly, have they learnt from the experience? Beyond a few vague murmurs, I didn't see very much. Whether that's a good thing is hard to tell. One must remember this thing about blogs - whatever is written in them may not necessarily represent the full collection of the writer's thoughts, analysis or feelings about the matter. The writer can sometimes choose not to write at length about something for any number of reasons, from a simple wish to retain some privacy about the matter in question to plain and simple amnesia of the unintended kind.
What I do have to say is this: I actually felt a bit disappointed that some people did not choose to seek my opinions on how they fared, because I actually think, with all due earnest, that I had a couple of useful things to share with them. It was not because I was unavailable or busy doing something else; indeed, even during lunch hour, I subconsciously left the "open" sign hanging outside my mental office door. But perhaps people thought that, like most other people, the sign really read "closed".
For the few who did look for me, I was glad overall that they looked for me, but sometimes there is the feeling I did not quite say everything I wanted to say. Which may not be a bad thing, because in some cases I chose to understate the issue so that people didn't feel too offended. What happened to the blunt and scathing old me? Beats me. Maybe it was the flu bug I was still carrying.
So now I might be seeing some of these people again later in the week. No deal's done yet, so there may be some late changes in the plan. But if I do go, it's pretty much business as usual, and I hope this time people actually bother to look for me and ask some questions about their performance. Hard questions would be best.
As for my former employers, I was told they didn't really do too well in this one. To be precise, they sank like a rock - although I am aware there was a silver lining to the outcome, which is always nice. What I heard was that they often "just lost", by which I presume the speakers meant it was often a close call. That may be a good thing, in the sense that they're not altogether out of their league. But if they want to get any further forward and start bagging a few prizes, then here's my tip. Never "just lose", as in shrugging your shoulders and just going on headlong into the next game. Go back and determine exactly why you lost. Fix that, experiment, and see if you can avoid making the same mistake again. If you can't, then it's a dumb mistake when you've done it twice.
I actually learnt that from reading an interview with some real-time strategy (RTS) gamers. It's easy to shrug your shoulders, purge the defeat from your memory and just pretend it never happened. But no one's won trophies by forgetting how they got unlucky before. No, in "the profession", as in practically everything else, you win by working at it, 24/7 if necessary. Otherwise you're not playing the game, you're just pulling on the jersey because it looks cool.
I want to see people do well. I want to see people improving on their craft. Then it doesn't matter if someone is so unlucky as to go into a year-long losing streak, if they keep running into opponents who can just play better. Because the simple truth is that you can't just keep on losing if you have tried hard and improved significantly in the way you play the game. It's a bit hard to keep dropping points without ever collecting a few along the way. The only way that kind of thing can happen is if you've been conscientiously playing the game wrong.
The season begins now. It's not a three-month conflict, it's a year-long campaign. Prepare as if you're fighting one. gambitch [
Monday, July 25, 2005
I got a goal yesterday, which isn't a bad thing.
What was bad was that I was soaked rather too quickly despite playing for a little less than an hour. What was worse was that my whole body felt rather clogged in the pores.
But a good workout, nonetheless. gambitch [
Sunday, July 24, 2005
Let me just go on the record and say that yesterday was actually quite a decent day, all said and done.
I would have mentioned this earlier, but I was so tired at the end of the day's travails I headed for the Land of Nod the moment I got home. Considering I was mostly easily awake for much of the day, that may be a bit strange, but no matter.
Okay, so there were some really harrowing moments in-between, as everyone else in the same room at that moment would agree. The kind of thing that actually got me mouthing, not once but twice, "What did I do in my previous life to deserve this?". But I figured that this kind of thing had to happen sometime or other. It could be attributed to being a beginner, or just plain ol' nerves. The former is an inevitable stage in the development process - we aren't born experts. The latter is something you have to overcome on your own.
My main problem was having to speak at some length, because my voice was actually rather hoarse, no thanks to the flu bug. I thought I had recovered, and happily posted about it last week. Turns out I thought wrong. While the fever had gone away, the throat was still sore, and the phlegm - which wasn't there last week - suddenly decided to turn out in force. The moral of the story? When it comes to health, don't tempt fate by posting about your recovery before you've really fully recovered.
I could talk more substantially about what I saw yesterday, but I'll save it for later, because, well, I've got other things to do, like my routine Sunday football game! gambitch [