August 26, 2008

The Cellphone Rings

I've been doing a little sociological study on cell phone usage and think I've finally got it all figured out. Here's what I've come up with....

Young kids & teens
Mostly text message until their fingers are blistered. If the phone rings at all, it's usually some Justin Timberlake-type ringtone that is only loud enough to get their friends to say, "i am so totally in love with that song" everytime somebody calls. The ring, however, rarely gets past the first few bars before they answer the phone and start the conversation with something like, "oh. my. god. i totally like can't believe you just called me right now. like totally freaky."

20 somethings
The phones are usually kept in their pockets, so it takes a couple seconds to get out before they can answer. Their cellphone rings are usually some sort of ringtone they've downloaded that is directly related to their quote-unquote lifestyle - or however that is defined in musical terms. Hip hop, emo, goth - each of them has a ringtone that defines them to the core of their being. They do a bit of text messaging but not nearly as much as their younger siblings. They make fun of their younger siblings and their silly ringtones, even though they were just like them 5 years ago.

30 somethings
There's no time for ringtones, they'd rather have the phone vibrate anyway. That way they can keep it on during meetings without missing a single call. Unfortunately, they're always picking up the phone in the middle of conversations and looking at it, despite the fact that nobody heard any ringing. It tends to get a bit confusing for those trying to hold a conversation with them. It's like the cellphone version of Turrets Syndrome.

40 somethings
Would love to have a ringtone from the 70s or 80s. Something like The Love Boat theme or Shaft. They really can't understand why anybody would not want the Shaft theme as a ringtone. However, they're too busy, they don't have the time to find the ringtone and even if they did have they time, they wouldn't know where to get it anyway. So they're content to just stick with the coolest sounding ringtone that came with the phone when they first bought it. They're just discovering text messaging and almost understand how it makes life easier. Their phones are usually hidden in purses or briefcases so the ring volume is set on loud. How else do you expect to hear the phone in the purse? Unfortunately, it takes a little bit too long to find the phone when it's ringing and they often miss the calls for not picking up on time.

50 somethings
They've heard about text messaging but don't understand the fuss. They're not real sure what a ringtone is and really couldn't care less. Ringtones are for kids. Why would anyone need a different sound for a phone ringing anyway? Back when I was growing up, you got a phone, it rang, you answered it, end of story. None of this really matters though because most of the time they forget to turn their cellphones on in the first place.

60 somethings
They're not real sure how to turn the phone off. The ringer volume is set to megaphone-loud, though to them it seems quite normal (just like Pete Townsend felt like the volume at The Who concerts was fairly normal. Now he's stuck with Tinkerbell living in his head.) They never quite realized that there is a mute feature for rings, so rather than turning the ringer off, they just keep it ringing, extremely loudly, in public places until the person finally hangs up or they get stoned to death by the other people in the movie theater.

70 somethings
They don't have a cell phone and don't want one. They don't know what a ringtone is, never heard of a text message and, honestly, don't understand what all the fuss is about and don't really care. They're not so much for new fangled contraptions anyway. They still don't quite understand how to use the answering machine their grandchildren got them for Christmas.

August 23, 2008

9 Ways The Olympics Could Be More Fun

1. Have the synchronized divers each hold a set of torches. On fire. Just like in Acapulco.

2. Show Michael Phelps' mom after every American medal performance, regardless of the sport or athlete. We clearly didn't see her enough.

3. Two words: strip volleyball

4. Make the Sack Race and the Three Legged Race official Track & Field events

5. Allow competitors to punch any rival who is showboating (coughUsainBoltcough)

6. Have the fencers use the big heavy swords like in Pirates of the Caribbean. And, oh, make them talk like Jack Sparrow too.

7. Javelin catchers.

8. Make archery more old school. Forget the targets. Man with apple on head. William Tell style, yo.

9. Forget the 16 year old minimum age for gymnastics. Imagine a couple of 7 year olds on the balance beam? How cute is that?!

10. Instead of just playing the gold medal winners' national anthem, give 'em a microphone and
make it karaoke.

11. Biathlon, triathlon, pentathlon, decathlon... hows about the Quintathlon. Participants compete in every single Olympic event. Let's see who wins that one.

August 20, 2008

My Long Lost Life

I don't WANT the Olympics to end. I NEED the Olympics to end. I can't keep it up, I'm going crazy.

Catherine just got home and found me sitting on the couch, the TV on and the computer in front of me. Olympic diving was on TV, Taekwondo streaming on the Internet. I might as well have had a needle coming out of my arm.

What are you doing? she said.

I'm waiting for BMX to start, I replied somewhat matter of factly, as if she couldn't figure that one out.

You're watching diving on the TV and Taekwondo on the computer at the same time? And you say you're just waiting for BMX to start? You need help.

She's right, this has gotten ridiculous.
I need a recovery program.

Can we just give everybody gold medals and call it a day? I need my life back.

August 19, 2008

The Olympic Spirited Away

You know what I love about triathlon in the Olympics? It's that the winners are ecstatic to have won. They are all jumping for joy, screaming and yelling and victorious. And I'm not even talking about the gold medal winners - it goes without saying that the first place finishers are beyond ecstatic. What I'm talking about are the silver and bronze medal winners in triathlon. When they cross that finish line, they're smiling and joyful and overwhelmed as if they have yet to realize that others finished ahead of them.

It seems to me that there's an honest feeling in triathlon that medaling in the Olympics is the ultimate honor in the sport. I remember, back when I was a kid, how that feeling permeated every sport of the Olympic games. How anybody who finished in the top 3 was deliriously happy. After all, they are Olympic medalists and that's something to be damn proud of.

I loved watching Olympic swimming and am in awe of Michael Phelps and his amazing accomplishments. Yet I can't remember seeing an Olympic swimming race this year when the silver and bronze medalists were screaming and smiling in accomplishment. Instead, it always seemed that two-thirds of the medalists looked as if they just got news that their parents died (with the possible exception of Dara Torres who, the class act that she is, was both honestly ecstatic and slightly disappointed at not getting the gold, in the .01 second margin.)

Same with gymnastics, table tennis, archery and a variety of other sports. The jumping for joy seems to only be reserved for the highest spot on the podium.

(Yes, there are exceptions. I'm not making a sweeping generalization of every single winner. But I am talking about most of them.)

What happened? Where did we go wrong? At what point in our existence did being the 2nd or 3rd best at a something become a losing proposition? There are approximately 6.7 billion people in this world. Billion, with a B. If I could be the top 3 in anything - anything whatsoever - I can pretty much guarantee you that I'd be jumping with joy for the rest of my life. Literally, I'd be jumping up and down until my legs gave out.

But alas, most of us are lucky if we're amongst the 1 million best people in anything. And many of us are even ecstatic to be there! Understanding that there are less than 1 million people racing triathlon in this world, I'm happy to say that I'm better at triathlon than ~99.985% of the human population. And goshdarnnit, if that's not something to be proud of, then what is?

So let's get back to the overwhelming joy expressed by the top finishers in the Olympic triathlons. In fact, it doesn't even seem to be limited to the top three. Some of the fourth, fifth and sixth place finishers were as overwhelmed as if they just won the race themselves. Did anybody see Unger screaming his way to a 6th place finish?! And what about the dude high-fiving himself to a last place victory in the men's triathlon with a smile on his face that rivaled the winners?!

Maybe it's because triathlon is such a young sport in the Olympic eye that the participants are still just excited to be on the international stage. With only a few years under our belts, we still hold in awe the power of an Olympic medal. Or maybe it's this hidden camaraderie I talk about so often that is inherent in triathlon. How personal accomplishment isn't so much calculated by the time it took you to finish, but by the effort you put in along the way. And pride isn't a measure of how high you stand in relation to others, but how much you willingly embrace the person that looks back at you in the mirror.

Whatever it is, I'm happy to be a part of it. And I can only hope that this Olympic spirit somehow creeps back into the rest of the sports so that us everyday Joe's can continue to remain in awe of the world's best. So that when we cross our local finish lines, we have role models that have taught us to smile and scream and be proud of our accomplishments, no matter what the clock says.

August 15, 2008

12 Random Thoughts About The Olympics

1. Who died and made Jim Lampley the anchor? Let's get the SportsCenter folks to run the show. Now THAT would be fun.

2. Since when did beach volleyball warrant more prime time coverage than other, more interesting sports. Like, say, fencing.

3. Speaking of fencing, I'm saddened to realize that Olympic duels look nothing like the fights in The Princess Bride.

4. Beach volleyball in the rain? Huh?!

5. If they allowed rowers to splash competitors in other boats, it'd be a lot more interesting to watch.

6. Live synchronized diving for 1 hour? Really?

7. I still don't understand how they choreographed that part of the opening ceremony when all the "dancers" had the boxes over their heads. Amazing. Truly amazing.

8. It seems that every 4 years each Olympic host tries to outdo the last with their opening ceremonies. My advice to London is, instead of trying to outdo China, go the opposite direction. All you need is a guy in a loin cloth carrying a stick of fire.

9. Why does Michael Phelps have to wear his bathing suit so low? Pull up the pants swimboy.

10. At what point do we realize that Lebron James, Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer and Serena Williams do not constitute the spirit of the Olympics? Hows about we all agree that if you're making more than $10 million per year, stay at home. We'll watch you at your own championships.

11. How great is that Coca-Cola commercial with Carl Lewis and the retarded kids crying?! I mean, really.

12. Speaking of commercials, the award goes to Visa. Gold star.

August 12, 2008

Freedom Fries Anybody?

What's with the French? How come they hate us so much - what did we ever do to them? I mean, besides naming greasy, deep fried potatoes after them (which doesn't seem nice). Though didn't we make up for that with the French Toast? Doesn't the yummy-ness of French Toast cancel out the greasy-ness (though no less yummy) of the French Fries?

We eat baguettes, we nibble on croissants, we French kiss and drink French wine behind French doors wearing chapeaus in our chateaus. And still, what do we get? Nothing but an upturned nose and a cchhat-ptewie in our general direction. They say things like, "you durgty Amerr-ee-cahns can kees my ahss" and that's just plain mean. The French Canadians aren't even half as mean.

On another note, in case you've been hiding under a rock and haven't seen the greatest swim event ever in the history of everything, click here. I still don't get how he won. It doesn't make sense.

Who ever thought there was a swim race that you'd want to watch over and over. Go figure.

* Please note: the views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of the author, if that's at all possible.

August 08, 2008

Celebrities In The Draft

I used to have these celebrity sighting comments on the bottom of the blog but somewhere along the line I forgot to care. Somewhere along the line I think you forgot to care too. Anyhoo, I was just going through my draft blog posts and found this unposted gem in there. Since I couldn't bring myself to actually erase it (I don't like throwing stuff away), I figured I'd post it and you can do with it what you will. So here you go, a blast from the blog past.... Celebrity Sightings....

Who: Tom Hanks and his wife whats-her-name

Where: TCBY

What He Was Doing: Getting yogurt with his wife and friends. And from the looks of Tom, I'd say he's over-recovered from his role in "Castaway". Maybe there've been a few too many TCBY runs when they've been all out of the non-fat flavors. Then again, now that he's a big powerful movie executive and not a lowly actor, who the hell cares what he looks like. On the down side, I suppose this means I'll never see a Bosom Buddies full length movie.


Who: Jon Favreau, writer, director and star of one of the best movies of all time, Swingers. He's also been in a bunch of other films that make you say things like "hey, isn't that the guy from Swingers?"

Where: Starbucks

What He Was Doing: Drinking something too expensive and playing with his newborn child. Actually, it looks like the child may be a month or two old. Which I suppose is as close to newborn as you'll get at Starbucks.

August 07, 2008

I'm Back

We just got back yesterday from our Vermont - Maine - Boston birthday extravaganza. It was a blast. Relaxing, athletic, fun... all sorts of adjectives rolled into a tree-lined, lake-filled land o' beauty.

This past Saturday (Cat's bday) we ran the Beach to Beacon 10k. I'm going to tell you about that one in a sec. While you're waiting, you might want to go sign up for next year's race because it's definitely one of the better 10ks out there.

August 02, 2008

Happy Birthday Catherine!

You haven't heard from me in awhile, because Catherine and I are on vacation in Vermont and Maine. (BTW, it's her birthday today in case you, you know, wanted to say something to her)