Pockets of Blue

musings of my mind

Month: July 2006

What’s up

It’s been a real busy (read: enjoyable) past few weeks.  I have been gone every weekend and just about every weeknight too.  Several sports have been taking the vast majority of my free time: climbing mountains, tennis, soccer, and golf.  All I thoroughly enjoy, and all are cheap.  Well except for golf, but just because I have to buy a new pack of balls every 3-4 rounds since I suck. 

I have climbed nine high peaks over the past month in three weekends.  Twice with John, once with my old man.  Last weekend we were detoured around Lake Placid because there was a veritable caravan of cyclists spread out over 50 something miles in the loop between Keene and Placid.  More specifically, it was an Ironman triathlon. 

For those of you don’t know, the Ironman is not your ordinary triathlon.  Imagine waking up at 6 AM on a sunday to get ready for a bike ride.  Now imagine biking 56 miles on unrelentingly hilly roads in a long circle.  Now imagine coming back to the start, and having to do it again.  After the second lap is done, wipe your brow, drink some water, and go run a marathon.  Yep, 26.2 miles.  Get to it.  Upon giving it your all in that last final stretch of running (assuming your heart hasn’t exploded), you are reminded that you are participating in a triathlon.  Tri=3.  You are instructed to jump in the lake, which is nice and cool and feels great.  Unfortunately, you must swim 3 miles over 6 laps.  Merely finishing one of these in a 15-hour span of daylight is a superhuman feat, in my opinion.  Yet there are scores of people out there who do this professionally, 25 of which showed up in Placid that weekend.  Crazy stuff.

So we bypassed the psycho- err, triathlon, and made it to the trailhead for Cascade peak.  Cascade is a joke of a climb, the summit is about 2 miles from the road.  We ran up to the top in a little over an hour.  It’s view is phenomenal, the peak is bald and has a glorious 360° view, the likes of which I hadn’t seen since ascending Dix.  After chatting with a few French Canadian girls, we took off to hike nearby Porter Mountain, another High Peak and less than a mile away.  It took us under four hours to climb two high peaks.  Not bad.  Cascade was my 23rd high peak.  Halfway there baby!

The weekend before John and I knocked off four peaks in the Nippletop range.  Yeah, we were out there in the 90° sun while you were lounging about in your air-conditioning.  And it was awesome.  Pics are at left. 

Oh, and I posted my best panorama yet, of the entire Great Range.  Low and high quality


What do people usually do after graduating college?  Well, sadly, most go and live at home.  I never quite understood that, especially coming from as small a place as I do.  Why would you want to revert back to your high school life, minus the friends that you shared it with?  I have things to see, people to do.  Err…something like that.

So where does that leave me?  Well, I’ve been asking myself that all summer, flipping back and forth as to what I’m going to do after this co-op is over and I finally get my degree.  And no, I haven’t come to a decision.  In my mind I have two options:  Stick around Rochester, enjoying the job security and my circle of friends, or pack up and experience someplace else, essentially starting from scratch.  Various things are pulling me back and forth: my desire to be close to my family and friends, hike the adirondack 46, but also travel, experience the great beyond, and land a great job.

So far I’ve decided a couple things: First, it’s time to take that road trip I’ve been wanting to.  I will be driving across the country after this summer to see a good chunk of the good ol’ USA. If anyone else has had this in mind, let me know and I’ll take you along.  It’ll be real open-ended, off-the-cuff, and completely free of time constraints. Second, I’m not going to be living in this house anymore.  It’s just too damn messy, my room is the size of a closet, and it way too closely resembles the Forman house on That 70’s Show.  So that’s where I stand.  As I’ve said before, the future is bright…almost blindingly so.

World Cup wrap-up

The world cup final was today, concluding five weeks of world-class football.  I would say that I have watched about a third of the matches, which is saying something considering about 90% of them have taken place during work hours.  Four years ago I saw maybe 5 matches total, mostly because we didn’t have cable at home.  I live here in a house with four foreigners, and while none of them are European (Turkey doesn’t count), they have shown remarkable interest in the games even though none of their countries were represented.  We ordered satellite TV within the first week of action just so we could see the games.  ESPN classic bailed me out by showing replays of one of the day’s games at 5 PM each workday.  This is how I caught most of the games, the rest being viewed in a horizontal position for hours on end during weekends. 

It was a thoroughly entertaining world cup, with many spectacular goals and team play.  However, there were many times when I was thoroughly disgusted in what I was seeing.

The latter reaction was mostly from witnessing some player’s confusion over their preferred career choice: footballing, or acting?  The first goal in today’s final was a result of a well-executed dive.  A large amount of the referree controversy throughout the tournament was caused by diving and acting.  Refs have a hard enough time calling an accurate game, and theatrical tumbles and spills by each player on the pitch don’t help.  I believe acting is the single biggest detriment to the game today.  It seems like every time there is even minimal contact in a high-stakes game (each in the WC), one or more players end up on the ground, grimacing and clutching their ankles as if someone took a hacksaw to their limbs.  Please.  From Malouda’s (France) wild flailing in the box from a supposed Italian sandwich manuever to Materazzi’s (Italy) recreation of a massive chest wound (both in the final), there was just too much acting.  Yes, Zidane’s egregious head-butt was cause for concern, but not because of the supposed injury it caused.  (On a side note, I enjoyed this article‘s reminder that neither Zidane, nor any football player, are or ever should be deities)

Admittedly, the final was not a fitting end to an otherwise awesome world cup.  Argentina’s second goal against Serbia and Montenegro was the most awe-inspiring I’ve ever seen.  Ridiculous vollies and long distance goals from Maxi Rodriguez (Argentina), Torsten Frings (Germany), Joe Cole (England), and Tomas Rosicky (Czech Republic), to name but a few, were more the norm than the exception.  Germany’s games against Argentina and Italy were awesome: skillful and highly dramatic.

The US team played with little confidence throughout, and had their best showing against the world champion Italians.  Our goal was highly undeserved, as was McBride’s vicious elbow to the face, but we pulled off the draw nonetheless.  Nobody really expected us to go through (even fewer than four years ago), and the best teams from group E did advance.  Ghana was fantastic, anybody who saw them (out)play Brazil would agree that that game’s scoreline was extremely unfair.  Which brings us to the Germans.  Only seven percent of them had faith in their country making it into the final rounds (even with home field advantage, mind you), yet they made it to the semifinals confidently.  Jürgen Klinsmann was hilariously animated, doing his best to squash that old German stereotype.

I guess it goes without saying that if I had stayed in Germany for the summer semester, my GPA would have ended up right around the number of goals Switzerland conceded this tournament…

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