Still going

Some random awesome things I found on the Internet tonight:

So long Ryder Cup

Today was a return to normalcy. No more hour-long commutes, no more hordes of giant coach buses taking up so much room on the highways, no more PGA signs designating where visitors can park and go. Sadly, though, that also means no more sightings of Justin Timberlake.

Yes, there was a giant golf tournament that took place near my home over the past week. In a battle between the U.S. and Europe, it was the latter that came out on top in what I surmised to be an upset. In a battle between my sanity and traffic, well, it was also the latter that continued to trump. The Medinah Country Club just so happens to be on my way to the office, so every day last week was an awful test of my patience. Going to work wasn’t as bad as coming home—now that was tortuous.

But on the bright side, there were many celebrities that came to town for the Ryder Cup (who knew?!), including none other than our favorite glorious Justin Timberlake, who apparently took part in a celebrity golf challenge and also found time to explore my neck of the woods. It was my friend’s cousin who spotted him hanging out at the Lucky Strike establishment where she worked. Why my friends and I didn’t put more effort into stalking JT—I mean, finding out what kind of bars he’d be hanging out at—we will never know.

Arise, Golden Gabby

My earliest memory of the Olympics was the 1996 Atlanta Games. I was 5 years old. Kerri Strug had just limped off after doing her second vault (back when it looked like a pommel horse!) and the U.S. women had just won gold for the very first time. All I remember thinking at the time was Ouch, that looks like it hurts.

When I started watching Olympic gymnastics, American women were in the conversation but not in the same fold as, say, Russia or Romania. And then in 2004 Carly Patterson won the individual all-around, the first American woman to win the gold on foreign soil, and in an Olympics that wasn’t boycotted. I was 13 and thought that was pretty rad. Four years later, Nastia Liukin won in Beijing. I was entering my sophomore year of college then. I thought her win was awesome.

Today Gabby Douglas won gold too, the third straight American woman to win an event that was previously out of reach to former U.S. Olympians. She’s the fourth American woman overall, and the first African American to do so. This time, I think it’s absolutely amazing. Watching her right now, on this tape-delayed broadcast, I feel so hearty and proud (have I mentioned this is the first Olympics where I’m feeling really really old, considering a good chunk of the competitors are younger than me and the same age as my baby brother’s?!). She’s also the first American to win both team and individual golds in the same Olympics.

Congrats Gabby!

No points for you, NBC!

So the 2012 Summer Olympics opened today in London, as I’m sure all the world knows. I’m sure that more than a billion people saw the whole thing live, as the Queen of England and James Bond parachuted out of a helicopter and J.K. Rowling read a passage from Peter Pan and Paul McCartney blared out my favorite Beatles song ever, “Hey Jude.”

I’m also sure that none of those people watching it live were American or in America. At least, not through legal means. And yes I’m staring at you, NBC.

I was a little miffed to learn today that NBC had refused to air (or even stream online) the opening ceremonies live because it wanted to monopolize the event for its primetime broadcast. I mean, why are you going to pretend this giant event is NOT happening at the same exact time, 6 hours across the pond, they are going on? It’s bad enough everyone else thinks Americans are ignorant, arrogant fools who don’t know anything about the world they live in. Now you have to make it actually seem true? Seriously, it amazes me how many people I talked to today legit thought the Olympics started at 7:30pm CT. At 3pm on the dot today I promptly scoured the Internet for update feeds on the opening ceremonies. I read every tweet as the show unfolded. When I shared its highlights with friends or co-workers, the response was largely the same: “WAIT, WHAT?? BUT I THOUGHT THAT WAS TONIGHT!!”

Really? You thought the 2012 Olympic Games in London were going to start at the time that NBC had designated for its American viewers? Never mind the fact that they operate in a completely different time zone?

As it was, I managed to find some live streams of the BBC coverage online when I came home from work. And then later tonight when NBC aired its edited, time-delayed version, I did some quick comparisons. There were a few things I found disturbing:

  • Because they obviously had had the chance to edit up the show before airing it, NBC’s coverage of the Parade of Nations was pitiful. They basically skipped over the marches of lesser known countries or cut quickly to commercials as they came out. In contrast, the BBC coverage was live (duh) and therefore didn’t cut short the appearances of smaller countries, and sufficient commentary was given for each delegation of athletes (or at least, as sufficient as it could be). Most of NBC’s airtime was given to the U.S. delegation, which is of course to be expected. No equality whatsoever. I understand that NBC covers the highly coveted U.S. market, but there needs to be a change in how they present the Olympics. There needs to be less “Hey, here’s another chance for us to bully the world around because we’re the U.S. and we can!” and more “Here’s a chance for us to be a part of this truly global event with our fellow nations!”
  • Saudi Arabia is sending female athletes for the very first time, and in the NBC show they mentioned it very briefly and then moved on. In contrast, on BBC they actually cut to closeup shots of the Saudi women. This very occasion, the fact that every national delegation is sending at least one female athlete to the Olympics for the very first time, is so momentous and yet NBC treats it as a sidenote.
  • When Sudan marched across, NBC again mentioned briefly of the known troubles the country has experienced in recent times. But absolutely no mention of South Sudan or the fact that the world’s newest country doesn’t have an Olympic committee yet so its only athlete is running independently since he refuses to run for Sudan. Granted, I wasn’t able to watch the entireties of either broadcast, so I could be wrong on NBC’s part, but they still didn’t mention anything of the sort when Sudan made its appearance.
  • Bob Costas trying to explain why Great Britain, a nation known for its obsession with the sport, was fielding a soccer team for the very first time in years was just pitiful. I don’t even remember what facts he garbled up; all I know is that NBC sucked even more by showing its ignorance of the world’s most popular sport. This is why I love ABC/ESPN so much more when it comes to sports broadcasting (for goodness sake, ESPN at least airs World Cup/Euro/insert-international-tournament-here matches in real time!!). It’s so simple: in international soccer (FIFA territory), the four countries of the U.K.—England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland—field separate national teams and always have. But in the Olympics, there is only one Great Britain Olympic committee and hence, team. Undoubtedly, there has never been a need to field a GB soccer team because soccer at the Olympics doesn’t even matter anyway (at least for men). In fact, the British team that’s come together for the Olympics was really only specially created for these London Games, and each country had to be assured that their independent associations were still valid for FIFA play. Take THAT, NBC.

I love the Olympics and look forward to watching it. Just not on NBC.

Burying myself in distractions

The chest X-ray came back normal. So then why did I feel chest pains again tonight? Why does my breathing always feel so heavy and labored? What if my heart just fails on me and it’s because I had some deformity nobody thought to discover? (This is what happens when you work for a trade magazine for cardiologists, you get way too paranoid about your heart.) Why has my mood not improved yet? Why is it such a struggle to stay positive about anything anymore? When am I ever going to get out of this stupid little episode of misanthropic depression?

There are only a select few things that are keeping me sane right now:

  • NBA playoffs. I’m rooting for the San Antonio Spurs to go all the way. Seriously, just hand the trophy to them once they take care of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the Western Conference finals. Nobody cares about Miami or Boston anymore.
  • White Sox. My boys in baseball won their ninth game in a row tonight. Lovin’ it, lovin’ it! Plus everybody’s still talking about Hawk Harrelson going off on Mark Wegner.
  • Re-reading White Teeth by Zadie Smith. First read this for a class in college, decided it was time to tackle it again. I’d forgotten how funny and witty Smith is. In fact, I’d forgotten how much I idolize her. White Teeth was one of my favorite books from my English major experience, and so far it’s still holding up as one of my favorite books ever.
  • The Big Bang Theory. My brother surprised me today with the third season of BBT. Being in the fragile emotional state that I am, the gesture sent me to tears. Granted, he had a Best Buy certificate that expired today that he wanted to use, but still I appreciated the pseudo-gift. (I also have seasons one and four, now all I need is the second!) I’m starting to wonder if my emotional/mental issues stem from the fact that I feel unappreciated and nobody ever thinks to do something nice for me for once? And when you work both full-time and part-time jobs and nobody seems to consider that and nobody else seems to make an effort for you when you’re constantly reaching out to others…yeah, maybe those are my problems.

Not gonna lie, I’m slightly going through a Facebook withdrawal. But I told myself I’d stay off for at least a week, and the week mark doesn’t strike until Monday, and for a week I shall do it!