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March 17th, 2006

ulrich le pen

Strasbourg were knocked out of the UEFA Cup yesterday following their 2:2 draw at home against FC Bâle. An early goal seemed the perfect start, but with six regular starters ruled out through injuries it was always going to be an uphill battle.

Josten took his copy of FIFA 2006 to play during spring break, but last year's release has been sitting next to the television for the past week and the temptation was finally great enough for me to try playing it this afternoon. What was originally intended to be "just one match" soon turned into seven hours in charge of Le Mans Union Club 72 and a rise up the league standings in the French second division. Messages come up from time to time during the game that mention how success at a smaller side will lead to bigger and better clubs coming around to ask for your managerial expertise, and while I'm sure most players aim for the likes of Real Madrid, AC Milan, or Chelsea my hope is to one day have the chance to manage Racing Club de Strasbourg. Yes, I'm probably crazy.

After spending so much time thinking about le foot français I also realized that, on a bad day, Ulrich Le Pen looks rather like a pedophile. And no, that's not him in the photo - the man in the suit is Jacky Duguépéroux, current manager of Strasbourg.

beware the ides of march

Two days ago was, among other things, Victoria's birthday, and as one of the few people staying in Pullman for spring break it came as no surprise to find myself invited to her party. Now, spending time with Victoria can be taxing enough due to the number of thoughtless and inane comments she usually makes, but familiarity has at least produced some small measure of acceptance. However, meeting Samuel, who works with Violet and Victoria, was far worse than I could have possibly imagined.

To start, he didn't make any move to shake hands when we were introduced, despite my taking a step forward and beginning to raise my arm to initiate the exchange. It's possible that he had a good reason for not doing so (for example, not washing his hands after handling something unpleasant) but my guess is that he lacks the social skills and upbringing to realize that as a ritualized greeting. This ties in to my second complaint though, which is that Samuel immediately comes across as an otaku and infatuated with anything Japanese. While at Victoria's apartment he went on a long-winded explanation of how he hated the taste of beer and didn't like alcohol in general, but as soon as he saw an empty sake bottle sitting on the windowsill he promptly said that he would have to try sake because it was a product of Japan. I was surprised to hear him make such a ridiculous statement, but even though I double-checked to make sure I had heard him correctly his reasoning remained the same.

I recognize that I talk about Korea quite a bit in my journal, but if you spend any time around me (or browse through my old Diaryland account) you will no doubt hear more than your fair share about Ukraine, France, and Uzbekistan. And you will never, ever hear me say that I want to drink soju simply on account of it being a Korean liquor. If given the choice I would much rather keep my Peugeot than drive a comparable Hyundai.

A tertiary observation is that Samuel styles himself as an expert on everything and has no qualms making up logic to support his claims. He uses obfuscation and circular reasoning to prove his point, which meant I spent most of the evening either shaking my head in frustration or pointing out all the fallacies in his statements. [*] I tried to spend my time talking with a married couple that had been invited - discussing mathematicians and what the two of them do in the chemical & electrical engineering departments - but they had to leave early to put their daughter to bed. Being left alone with Samuel, Violet, and Victoria was a painful experience, as Samuel monopolized the conversation and tried to impress everyone with his attempts at intelligent dialogue. While waiting in the car for the other two to come downstairs from the apartment Violet asked how I was feeling - the first thing she said to me all night - and although I claimed to be fine I did point out how I thought Samuel was full of shit.

Violet's response? Yeah, I know. That's why I like him. That was definitely a surprise, but on the other hand it is how Wendell tends to act as well. However, if becoming a pretentious asshole is the way to get her attention ... well, you can forget that in a hurry. Other interesting comments from the evening included Violet's assertion that the only way she managed to get over Wendell was through John's help (apparently my own contribution was nonexistent) and some musings on how Derek was the perfect guy save for the fact that he never talks (which seems confusing given our five hour conversation earlier in the week). On the bright side, the events of that night turned out to be a very effective way for me to lose interest in Violet.
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The Asterisk: A Few Examples Of IdiocyCollapse )

beisbol

One of the biggest misnomers I have ever come across is courtesy of baseball. After all, what's the point of having an event called the World Series when the only competitors come from Canada and the United States? However, this month saw the introduction of the World Baseball Classic featuring 16 nations from the Americas, the Caribbean, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Pacific in a competition aimed at bridging continental divides and bringing fans from around the world together to enjoy the thrill of baseball.

Despite the inclusion of star players from Major League Baseball teams and the advantage of hosting games from the second round on the United States was unable to land a place in the semi-finals after recording one win and two defeats. Saturday will see the field of four reduced by half, but with the way the fixtures are set the final match will pit the Caribbean against Asia for the honor of world champion -- Cuba takes on the Dominican Republic in one semi-final while Japan plays South Korea in the other, and the Koreans hold the distinction of beating Japan twice already in the competition (as well as handing the United States a 7-3 drubbing) and have yet to lose in six matches. None of that matters tomorrow night though, as there's everything to play for ...

I'm not a fan of baseball, but it would be nice to see this event taken seriously and held on an annual basis.