gambitch - now available in blue
Our constant efforts to reinvent ourselves reveal how much we fear our own images.

Saturday, July 08, 2006

This is not just carelessness. Something bigger is at work here.

Three short, three long, three short. Morse.

gambitch [ 8:10 PM]

Friday, July 07, 2006

A recent session of "sit around and talk" with a certain someone who blogs and a certain someone who does not - sorry, no names - raised a very interesting question.

What am I good at?

I really don't quite know how to answer the question. I suppose I've a bag of really miscellaneous skills that I could put into use as and when they would be useful. Of course, that's provided these skills would be useful in the first place.

I write a bit about football, and I know I write half-decently, because I get paid for my work and that's the way it's stayed for months. And that's the thing that everybody sees. Everyone knows I can write. And I'm proud of this skill I have. But is that all I can do?

Well, not really. I can take pictures. You've probably seen a couple of them here. I take a bunch of other pictures elsewhere, and while my technical skill isn't exactly top class, I would like to think my picture-composition touch is there or thereabouts. (Of course, if it isn't, and that's the way you see it, you could tell me.)

I can organize and plan things, or at least I believe I can. I'd like that to be tested too, because I'd like to know how well I can grasp the intricacies of some of these things that have got people jumping up and complaining over what they say is some really bad planning and organization. I could perhaps have a shot at events management one fine day.

I've got a bag of weird and madcap ideas from time to time, and I'd like to know the extent to which I can push my creativity, not just necessarily in the journalistic type of writing I end up doing much of the time. Crazy thoughts and crazy ideas; if you've got the ears to hear them, I've got the guts to tell them. And I'd like to hear some back from those others who also have theirs.

I've got a bit of a musical bent, too. Right, I can't compose, but I'm a bit of a mixer, and I'm a bit of a player (though not yet a performer). And if I can find my singing voice back (I was in the school choir for several years when I was a kid), I'd go into singing for fun too. Plus of course there's theatre and all the joys of the world of stage.

And goodness knows how many other odds-and-ends skills I have up my sleeve. I'd like to use them, one by one, and keep on adding a new dimension of unpredictability and surprise. And I'd like to keep learning new tricks and skills.

People only see me as one thing. That is soooo wrong. I am not, and I know I am not.

So is there just one type of place where I belong? No.

But how do I let the ever-changing yet ever-the-same me show?

How do I let you see more than one me, and know they are all the same one me?

gambitch [ 3:59 PM]

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Gosh, am I exhausted!

Although I guess that's the perfect setup for getting me on the couch.

gambitch [ 5:26 PM]

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Been a long time since I visited Ian McG, so I just thought to do so today. Partly because I completely forgot to notice that yesterday was Independence Day. Somehow, World Cup sentiment and a whole bunch of other things meant that this was not noticed very much here. Plus, of course, the rather obvious fact that this is not America.

I've not been catching up on my political reading of late. I'm not entirely sure why, although I suspect it has something to do with the fact that it no longer plays a core part of my life, now that I have stepped back a little from the days of "the profession". I'd like to get back involved in it again somewhat, mostly because I liked the buzz of activity associated with that. I like to organize, I like to run the rule, I like to talk and argue and reason. I like to do all these things, and I like to do them bang-up well.

An old comrade just e-mailed me the other day asking to see if I could find some old stuff that he might be thinking of using to do something else. Unfortunately, I couldn't find them. I've yet to get back to him, though. Yeah, busy, I know.

In other news, Italy sank Germany 2-0 in the dying minutes of extra-time in the World Cup semifinals. I'll say this: This is the first time I took any semi-serious notice of any given World Cup game - the rest were all tracked in passing at best. I'm not getting too keyed up over the World Cup, which is a little odd given that I am a football writer. The World Cup is, like, the event. So why do I seem to not care so much?

I'd attribute it to the fact that I got a little bored of watching international football after the club football has come to a stage where it has surpassed it. Things like Bosman and lots of money have helped make clubs very powerful entities on the field. It is now not an impossible dream to assemble a cast that includes Makelele, Terry, Robben, Crespo and Shevchenko. Just ask Chelsea. Or a cast that features Deco, Ronaldinho, Puyol, Marquez and van Bommel. Just ask Barcelona. The thing we call globalization has made it possible for people to move anywhere, and the natural result is that accumulation of the best talents at concentrated points becomes more obvious. It's almost like the rich-poor divide; the situation gets ever more exaggerated.

Thrown against a backdrop like this, the national team means much less in terms of the football that can be on offer. Italy doesn't look much better than, say, Milan or Juventus (although both could drop out of Serie A for their part in the bung scandals). And with training methods and facilities improving at the club level, it is becoming more and more painfully obvious that the international game is suffering from the fact that it basically gathers players for two weeks or a month of training before going to a qualifier match or tournament. That just isn't the same as what clubs do, with their full training schemes where a part of training done in September could be looking forward all the way to March. The point is that clubs are getting more organized in their methods, and the irony is that it is the national team that suffers because it falls short of club standards.

So maybe that's why I'm not nearly so hot about the international game from a technical perspective. The football isn't nearly as great. Yet I'm not exactly all that hot about international club football either. I'm just happy writing about the football being made on offer in my part of the world, even though the standards are not nearly as high. There's something different on offer in taking up this challenge, though - the opportunity to see something grow from smallness to something that's, well, more than a bit better. Or better yet, to be part of that process.

It's like political journalism. Writing about the great things Bill Clinton used to do after he's done them as President is great. But if you're a journalist who has been tracking him and watching his rise all the way from his Arkansas days, the experience is just even more enlightening and enriching.

... I almost sound like I should have been a gynaecologist, helping to deliver babies. Odd thought.

gambitch [ 12:10 PM]

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

This is just great news, actually.

Musicmakers to sue Yahoo! China

I didn't think very much when these music companies decided to sue Baidu, mostly because Baidu is a localized Chinese product that, despite its immense popularity in terms of sheer numbers of users, ultimately is really used in only one country. But when Yahoo! gets sued, things get serious, because this is a recognized international brand name we are talking about here. Yahoo! UK, Yahoo! India and so on are all going to get dragged down by this.

It's kinda like what happens when the American lawsuit against McDonald's was launched? It prompted an international reaction in terms of people from everywhere saying that they won't patronize McDonald's back in their homelands. Now, going by how well McDonald's has been doing since, that probably didn't matter very much in the long term. However, what is difficult to deny is that the internationall impact did happen. Will this weaken Yahoo!'s position in the business war against Google? I wouldn't rule it out.

But moving away from that for a second, and looking at the issue of downloadable music, it's simply a representation of how poorly the market values music creations by people like Madonna and 50 Cent, that people actually choose to download them rather than pay good money for them. Maybe the consumers have good taste - to them, Madonna is crap. And I'll certainly agree where Britney Spears or Ayumi is concerned. For the most part they don't deserve to get paid for their stuff. On the other hand, I would be inclined to pay the low-volume independents who just try to create their own little piece of expression and scratch out a space for themselves to cram into and breathe. But then I like helping the underdogs beat the big boys.

The point, though, is this: Whether the musicmakers win or lose the court case, the real losers of the war are the makers of indie music with small labels and very low volumes. The classic argument that Napster and other such tools can help propagate these forms of music is ultimately hogwash - the very vast majority of downloads from Napster or Kazaa involve what is hot at the moment, and this hotness is often dictated by the fancies of music's moguls. Whether Napster exists or not, these big labels are going to get airplay, pushing the little critters among the musicians aside so they get more into their turf. Napster isn't going to make these little guys better known, not when everybody installs Napster to get the latest Robbie Williams or Michael Buble tune. It's bad lip service, and people are actually falling for it.

Plain and simple, though, it's about greed on the part of the music makers. And when these big guys go on bullying around like that even when the public believes it shouldn't have to pay so much to get the stuff it wants that it thinks is not worth that much, well...

gambitch [ 3:19 PM]

Monday, July 03, 2006

Shades of a previous life.

(I tried a laugh, and in the end decided to kill the laugh. It just sounded forced.)

Why do I even set myself up for this? Martyring myself for what others see as no good cause. (Not my words - those of an old friend who's seen this from me long before.)

Is it because that is the way I am? I let my head command the field, and the heart rule my head.

"Someone has to play field captain. Might as well be me." I said that tonight in response to someone's remark (I forgot who) while out there in a situation where a couple of people turned up later than usual. In the end they made it in time, for the most part. But by then I had slipped into field captain mode for the minute. I'd almost say I'm trained in this, seizing command when situations don't play out the way they routinely do.

But I don't know whether there's a certain sparkle of life in me when I have moments like that. I'd like to feel that I do, that I come alive in high-tension situations, being able to take charge of the field when the circumstances demand it. But maybe I'm not that good. I don't know, because I don't have someone else examining me and giving me feedback on this sort of thing.

I think I come alive at times like that. I come alive when I'm writing and expressing myself, in terms of observation, thought and analysis. I come alive when I play big-hitter.

... But can I come alive now?

My heart runs my head. It's the universal override. It put my head into overdrive, and I fear it forcing my head into self-imposed shutdown.

Is there some way fire will not be followed by ice?
Instead, to get the warm passion re-toned?

Do I want it re-toned? And how?

gambitch [ 11:57 PM]

Sunday, July 02, 2006


I don't know how to start this post. So I suppose this will do.

I'm really sorry I went into the massive hysterical fit I did yesterday. I probably should have got a better grip on myself, but I couldn't. I just - and the term is perhaps more than a touch ironic - lost it. And in front of you too.

I guess I just got seized by panic. Panic that came from knowing just about everything that meant anything to me was inside that bag. Panic from having the feeling I was just not going to get any of it back. Things that I held dear to, things you just couldn't imagine.

It's like if you lost your guitar. Or maybe it's worse.

It's, like, my life and memories. So much of it was in there. Okay, I still have some of it with me, and maybe that's the lucky thing. But that meant so, so much...

I know I didn't exactly promise you I would stop thinking about it, but I sorta should have. Can't do a thing about it; these things happen.

But not to me. They're not supposed to happen to me, Mr. Meticulous To A Fault. That's what made me go into that big state of uncontrolled panic. And I'm still feeling some of it.

My eyes are still a little wet. I don't know why, but I couldn't walk properly this morning. The weight just left me all wobbling and stuff. I'm not functioning anywhere near normally.

It's like my heart has been ripped wide open by a fishhook.

Can you understand that feeling?

Somehow I think you can.

gambitch [ 12:15 PM]


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