One Thing Leads to Another

I’m working on a presentation on human perception for my class on virtual reality. In my reasearch on visual perception I come across field dependence or independence, which is the ability to locate a small detail in a larger area, such as a word in a word-find puzzle or Waldo. I thought having a slide with a “Where’s Waldo?” picture would be neat, so I type “where’s waldo” into Google. I click on some of the links, and as I’m clicking around I come across this:
SBB girls
Alright, back to work.

We All Have Our Stories

Went to the dentist this morning, had to take the train. Public transportation is a great place to meet strange people, like drunk kids with machetes down their pants, fat black kids dressed strangely talking to you, then saying “Nothing,” when you ask them “Pardon?” and, of course, natives. The natives are the most likely to talk to you, and understandably most train stories involve natives.

I’ve had a few of these myself, meeting an ex heavyweight contender and his trainer (like Rocky and Micky), heard stories about drunken pow-wows at McMahon Stadium during Stampeders games, and so on. The point is, we all have our stories, and here is today’s for your reading enjoyment 🙂

At City Hall station a native guy gets on, asking one of his fellow passengers “Where is this train going?” The passenger points ‘south’ and they both get on. I am sitting on a three-person bench oriented in the direction of travel, facing another such bench. Across from me sits another gentleman, and the native guy sits down next to him asking “Where is this train going?”

“South, to Somerset,” the man replies. The native guy seems to be comforted and relaxes, resting his eyes. The smell gets to you right away, but usually after the conversation starts. I was surprised to notice the funk without a word having yet been said and anticipated a quiet ride.

But sure enough, two stations later the conversation begins:

Native (to gentleman sitting next to him): “How do you like it?”
Gentleman (slight pause): “Fine.”
Native: “You like it?”
Gentleman: “Yep.”
Native: “Where you from?”
Gentleman: “Texas.”
Native: “I used to be stationed there.”
Texan: “Oh yeah?”
Native: “Yeah, in Fort Hood. About five years ago.”
Texan: “How long?”
Native: “Twelve and a half years.

Brief pause.

Native: “Abrams.”
Texan: “Huh?”
Native: “I used to drive an Abrams.”
Texan: “Oh wow. How did you end up here?”
Native: “I’m both.”
Texan: “Oh, you have dual citizenship?”
Native: “Yah.”

Another brief pause.

Native: “Ah [expletive], I was supposed to get on the south train.”
Texan: “This is the south train.”
Native: “Ah, ok.”

Pause.

Native: “Where you from?”
Texan: “[Some town], a small town outside Houston.”
Native: “Oh.”

Yet another pause.

Native: “You know, George Bush is a real asshole.”
Texan (with a small chuckle): “Yeah, he’s not very smart.”
Native: “His dad, I used to serve under him.”
Texan: “Oh yeah, he’s not his father.”
Native: “Where do you live?”
Texan: “Downtown.”
Native: “Oh.”

Then Chinook station comes up and the Texan says “This is my station, have a nice day,” and that’s that. The native guy counts his change soon after, announcing “Dollar twenty-five.” Great. The next stop was my stop and that’s the story I got.

I Like this Blackalicious Singer

I’m sitting at home listening to the new Blackalicious release “The Craft“, thoroughly enjoying it, thoroughly. Familiar with these guys since “Blazing Arrow” and a big fan, I was pretty stoked to find out Blackalicious has put out another disc. I haven’t heard the entire disc yet, but it doesn’t seem to have as much “fun” as “Blazing Arrow”; it sounds like a bit more serious record, musically. The rapping is just what you’d expect from Blackalicious, the lyrics flowing so smoothly it captivates you, makes you bob your head, just like before. I wonder which track will be the new “Day One” 😀

So don’t waste any time! Get your funky ass to your favorite record store and pick up a copy of “The Craft” today!

Evenly Matched

Andre Agassi defeats James Blake 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).

James Blake & Andre AgassiLast night I watched a US Open quarter final featuring Americans James Blake and Andre Agassi. Agassi is the well known 35 year old veteran with an elaborate tennis career and resume to impress, and James Blake is a young player staging his comeback from a neck fracture which threatened his tennis future.

Blake snagged the first two sets, both by a score of 6-3. Agassi wouldn’t say die though, and took the next two sets back also by a score of 6-3. The fifth set, as expected from the title of this post, went into a tie break. Blake took a 3-0 lead which was matched by Agassi, then they exchanged the lead until finally Agassi took it home with a strong return to the baseline, winning the tie breaker 8-6.

Final score: Andre Agassi defeats James Blake 3-6, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6).

Watching this match made me rediscover tennis in a way. I was an avid fan when I was younger when the likes of Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Steffi Graf were in their prime, John McEnroe, Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl were still trying to stick around, Andre Agassi had hair down to his lower back and Pete Sampras was just getting started.

Not following tennis since makes me unfamiliar with today’s stars, and I also forgot what it was like watching a match, how exciting it can be. It’s very different from team sports, where surges of success are powered by many players pushing their limits in bursts, helping each other out and racking up wins. In tennis, it’s strictly an individual effort. Any comeback or surge of success solely depends on the player and errors are blamed solely on them as well. The tension can really build.

In fact, I noticed last night that the commentators would stop speaking during tense points being played, sometimes holding their silence across multiple points. The viewer is totally drawn in to the atmosphere on the court. They cheer with every point scored by their player, cringe at every unforced error commited and throw their hands up in despair each time advantage is given up on a double fault.

Right after the match an interviewer would come onto the court with a mic and briefly get both players to share their thoughts in front of the whole crowd. I don’t remember this happening in tennis before, but it adds to the personal experience tennis fans get. Last night they kept Arthur Ashe stadium packed until 1:15am awaiting the result of the 2h51m affair.

Great match!

What a Debut

Jeremy Hermida You’re looking at 21-year-old Jeremy Hermida who made his Major League debut yesterday for the Florida Marlins. His first (and only to date) at-bat was as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the seventh inning. Stepping up to the plate with the bases loaded, this kid hits a grand slam! The second player in Major League history to perform such a feat, after Bill Duggleby did the very same for the Phillies in 1898.

Congrats Jeremy!

Ready or not, here I come!

I got this in my email this week:

Three friends decided to go to New Orleans for a football game. One of their fathers works for Roots Canada and gave them each a Canadian Winter Olympic jacket to wear. With that said, they decided that when people ask them about the Olympic jacket they would make up a story & tell them they represent Canada ‘s “Hide and Seek” team, a new Demonstration Sport…

…roll the clip!

As a young lad, I myself was headed for a bright professional hide and seek career, but my dreams were smashed to smithereens one dark evening. On a mad dash back to home base I sustained severe injuries to my midsection, and my lengthy recovery prevented me from participating in games for a long time. I lost my touch and any hopes I had for making the national team.