Monday, January 30, 2006

Un attimo di pace

I was blasting my great Eros Ramazzotti CD called "9" last night, and the first song is my favorite. It's called "Un attimo di pace" ("A Moment of Peace"). It came at a great time because earlier in the day I had watched Roger Federer win his 7th (YES 7th!) Grand Slam event. I woke up at 330 AM on the dot to watch the pre-match analysis with Chris Fowler and Brad Gilbert. Then I stayed up until 720 AM and watched til the end of Federer's incredible speech (I was a BIT hungover too, after 8 margaritas at Los, which made it pretty hard to get up, but I did it anyways b/c I could NOT lose this chance to see one of, if not THE, greatest men's player of all time win yet another Slam). The whole thing was amazing, and I wanted to write about it.

The reason I say that the song reminds me of Federer is that we rarely see him emotional, and when he accepted his trophy from Aussie Rod Laver (standing behind him in the picture), he was crying so hard that he could barely speak. This trophy meant so much to him, and I think no one will ever know just how much. It was just so powerful to see an athlete earn this thing that means so much to him, and to have him not brag about it. He congratulated Baghdatis for a good match, thanked his team, the sponsors of the Open, and Rod Laver for being there. Like Dick Enberg said after the match-something along the lines of Federer being aware of the history of tennis in the open era, knowing he is a part of it, and RESPECTING it. (Photo courtesy of ).

I have to say that I was a big mess watching Federer. I was in tears too. It was unbelievable, and something I will never forget. We are watching perhaps the best tennis player ever. Federer could smash Sampras' record of 14 Slams 2 years from now. F already has 7 Slams, and only needs 7 more to tie Sampras. He could do that by the end of 2007, really. I just feel INCREDIBLY privileged to watch this man play. I will watch every event that he is in, and hopefully go to something this year (like the US Open or NASDAQ-100).

Back to the song. For him, I feel that it was surely un attimo di pace. The past, present, and future were hitting him all at once, and he was just so overwhelmed that he couldn't contain himself. I know he has won in the past, but here in Australia, Rod Laver was there, he was aware of his 1/2 way point to Sampras, and he knows what he can accomplish in the future. I just can't imagine what emotions he has to be going through, and it was refreshing to see someone that really cared about tradition and his part in it, and not be EGOTISTICAL about it. (Gee, am I a Federer fan?) I think at that very moment when he was up on that stage, his moment of peace and realization got to him and everything just poured out. I think this Aussie Open was a transition point for him-from multiple Grand Slam winner to a true great of the game, ranked with the likes of Lendel, Becker, etc. I loved it. I should have taped it and kept rewinding.

Then it makes me hope that everyone I know, family and friends, experiences something like this in their lives; that their attimo di pace will be (or has been) something that memorable and life-altering. I can think of a few instances in my case.... especially the first time I laid eyes on Espana from the plane. I knew that from that moment on I would be visiting this country as often as I could, and that everything I had done in the past (saved $, studied espanol) was culminating in this one moment. I guess it's a sense of personal satisfaction, growth, and excitement that comes with one's attimo di pace. You feel at peace with what you have done in the past, what you are doing about it in the present, and your dreams for the future based on your past.

I hope everyone has that attimo in their lifetime... that one attimo that stands out above the rest. Comments welcome if you have already had it, or if you have dreamt about it. I would love to hear about them................

Friday, January 27, 2006


I am a little upset today, so I need something to calm me down. Here are some nice sunsets I have taken recently.

1. St. George Island, FL, Feb. 2005.
2. Tortuguero, Costa Rica, May 2005.
3. FSU vs. Miami football game, 5 Sept. 2005.

4. FSU game, Nov. 2005. (It looks like a hand!)
5. View of Montjuic, Barcelona,
Nov. 2005.
6. La Sagrada Familia, Barcelona, Nov. 2005.
7. Corner of Tharpe and Monroe, Tallahassee, FL, 15 Jan. 2005.
8. Same as above.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

I'm tired

The Aussie Open is killing me. The matches are on ALL throughout the night, and I have woken up intermittently for the past few nights to watch the good matches. Like this morning. I watched stupid Kiefer beat one of my favorites Grosjean, and that match ended at around 1230 AM (after nearly 5 hours of play!). I was incredibly mad at this match because Kiefer was acting like a JERK and I yelled at the tv and was clapping when Grosjean made a winner. I hoped Grosjean would kick Kiefer's butt, but it didn't happen. Hopefully Federer will in the semis. Even the commentator Mary Carillo called Kiefer a mutt for what he did during the match. Talk about unsportsmanlike conduct..... I really do hope Federer beats him in straight sets. Here is an exerpt from an article on

The temperamental German was warned for mouthing off to a line judge Monday and appeared headed down a similar road in the fourth set before taming his tongue against Grosjean, the 25th seed from France.
However, Kiefer angered Grosjean and the tennis-savvy fans with an act of immaturity deep in the fifth set. Leading 6-5, 30-40, his crosscourt backhand hit the top of the net and bounced over, giving Grosjean an easy shot.
Anticipating a hammer return, Kiefer threw his racquet across Grosjean's line of sight and over the net. Possibly distracted, Grosjean netted his return and Kiefer pleaded innocence.
"Everybody has to understand, there are so many emotions and so much tension," Kiefer said of the incident. "You fight for 4½ hours and it happens. All of a sudden, after he missed, the racquet went over [the net]. Of course, it's not nice, but what can I do? I'm a person with so much tension inside."
When the point was awarded to Kiefer, Grosjean called for the referee. However, it was ruled Grosjean already had hit his return and the point stood, drawing whistles from the crowd.
"I didn't know you aren't allowed to throw your racquet when you play, so I asked the referee," Grosjean said. "He said he has to go with the call of the umpire. And the umpire said I hit the ball. But it doesn't matter. ... If a ball dropped from my pocket, I mean, we replay the point, or even the hat. Anything happens on the court, we replay the point."
"I mean, we are good friends," Kiefer said of Grosjean. "There's so much tension, so much is happening on the court. It's so hot out there, your body is gone. These are things that are happening."
Grosjean kept his cool and his serve to win the game but did not win another. After Kiefer held for a 7-6 lead, Grosjean netted two wide-open serve-and-volley forehands to set up another deuce game.

(Source: ).

Of course Grosjean kept his cool-that is what a PROFESSIONAL tennis player does. He is a good guy! Brad Gilbert was even upset (Agassi's former coach) and said that the ref and chair ump should get red cards. I agree.

Anyways, besides that, there was Mauresmo and Schnyder, Clijsters and Hingis (which I woke up for at around 330/4 AM to see the final games of the match), then Federer and Davydenko which was on until a little after 7 AM this morning. I woke up at 6 for that. It's worth it, but I am still tired!

My predictions: Federer and Nalbandian in the finals (although Baghdatis will be a REAL test for Nalbandian) with F winning, and for the women, Justine and Kim in the finals (although both will have tough tests against Maria and Amelie respectively), with Justine winning (although I love Clijsters and hope she wins to take her 2nd Grand Slam title).

That's my analysis.

Monday, January 23, 2006


Well I saw "Brokeback Mountain" this weekend, and absolutely loved it, like I knew I would. The only person I could get to go with me was a coworker of mine-no one else in Tally would go! I don't know what the big deal is-this is society now and you just have to deal. I don't know why no one would go because it was just a normal love story, but just with two (HOT) gay men, and not a man and a woman. It had all the essential characteristics of a love story: two people meet, cannot be together for whatever reason, spend their whole lives thinking about this person, and never have a fulfilling relationship with the person they ended up marrying b/c they are thinking about this other person they were destined to be with. If anyone has ever seen "Legends of the Fall"(one of my all-time top 5 favorite movies that I could watch over and over again), it's exactly like Tristan (Brad Pitt) and Susannah (Julia Ormond). Each man tries to marry a woman in "Brokeback" (see below), but the marriages are a farse. Just like how Susannah settled for and married Tristan's "boring" politician brother Alfred (Aidan Quinn), but never got over wild, hot Tristan. It makes my heart ache when people know that the one they truly loved got away from them, and they could never have them back. It's painful.

(Photo 1 courtesy of this site, photo 2 courtesy of this site).

I am not going to say a lot about it if people are going to go see it, but I want to buy it when it comes out on DVD. It really is an incredible movie, and definitely deserved the Golden Globes it received (Ang Lee, Best Picture Drama, Best Original Song, Screenplay, etc.). If anyone wants to comment on it that has seen it, let me know.

(Photo 3 courtesy of this site, photo 4 courtesy of this site).

Friday, January 20, 2006

Las ciudades mas peligrosas de America Latina

I was reading today, and I HAD to blog about the most dangerous cities of Latin America in order to spread the word about how amazingly poor, violent, politically corrupt, and overall in need of desperate changes these places are. The numbers are going to shock you. They shocked me, and I even study these countries.

According to the photo essay put out today, Latin America is the most dangerous area in the world (28 homicides per 100,000 people, while the world average is 11 per 100,000, according to the World Bank). The number of homicides varies by country though, as Chile and Costa Rica : ) have 3 and 4 (respectively) per 100,000 while El Salvador, Brasil, and Colombia average 20. I have made a list and translated their essay so you could all see these statistics (the cities are ranked in order of most dangerous first):

1. Pernambuco (NE Brasil, state of Recife): largest # of weapons; 1.3 million people; 158 homicides (kids and adolescents) per 100,000 (highest in Latin America); poverty is the main cause.
2. Caracas (Venezuela): 3rd most cause of death especially between males 15-24; 4 million people; 133 assassinations per 100,000; Venezuela is 120th place on the world corruption list according to Transparencia International.
3. Guatemala (the whole country): here it is most dangerous to be a WOMAN (tortures and homicides in the country went up 18% last year, the most in the capital where the # of cases went up from 527 in 2004 to 624 in 2005), most women are raped before they are killed, the capital has 12,013,907 million people, and Guatemala is 122nd on the corruption list.

(okay breathe and wipe away the tears as I am trying to do...........)

4. San Salvador (El Salvador): 14,000 members of gangs who were blamed for 55.3% of the 3,043 homicides that occurred in all of El Salvador between January and October 2005, 3.1 million people in San Salvador, El Salvador is 52nd in corruption.
5. Cali (Colombia, 500 km SE of Bogota): 1.8 million people; stronghold of FARC (extreme right paramilitary group); 91 homicides per 100,000; Colombia is #61 on the corruption list.
6. Sao Paulo (Brasil): usual city on this list, Brasil is #54 on the corruption list, HUGE population explosion is a major problem (unemployment), 10.7 million people.
7. Rio de Janeiro (Brasil): 25% of Brasilian shacks are in Rio, constant struggles between police and drug dealers, 55 out of 100,000 homicides (rival gangs), 14,387,225 people in Rio.
8. Tegucigalpa (Honduras): 48 out of 100,000 homicides (mostly by young people), 65% of the 7 million people in Honduras are under 28 and most do not work or go to school (WOW), Honduras is 116th in corruption.
9. Valle del Cauca (Colombia): 3,200 homicides in 2005 mostly resulting from fights and arguments between [romantic] partners.
10. Medellin (Colombia): 2 million people; 56 homicides per 100,000; also kidnappings of members of government; extortion.
11. Ciudad Juarez (Mexico, northern state of Chihuahua on the border with US): women also attacked here (young women with no resources working in the factories of this border town).
12. Nuevo Laredo (Mexico, another border town): 351 assassinations mostly result from rival groups wanting to control this region for drug trafficking, 4th cause of death in this region behind heart diseases and diabetes.
13. Mexico City (Mexico): population of almost 20 million people (WOW), 2 out of every 10 people there are victims of some kind of crime, 19,663 victims per 100,000 people, 86% of people that live here feel insecure.

I hope people learned something here. Thanks to Univision for presenting this story, and don't be surprised if I change my dissertation research now.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Deep thoughts

I have a lot to talk about today.

I wanted to start off with how sad and angry I am feeling about my brother's friend Bill Leaf who died tragically at the age of 25 . He was hit head on by a drunk driver on Jan. 8. Here is a release that Syracuse University put out (Bill went to SU, is from the Syracuse area, and was a sports reporter at the radio station my brother works at). Although I never met him, Mikey says that he was an incredible guy, huge fan of the NY Giants, and was a joy to talk to. It infuriates me that the guy who killed him was on a suspended license already, and was also busted for marijuana in 2004 at the US/Canadian border (this info was in newspaper articles my dad sent me). Bill had 2 sisters, and a mom and dad, along with a lot of other family and friends. One sister lives in DC and is a reporter there, and was told about his death over the phone by her sister. I don't even want to imagine receiving news like that-I don't know how I would cope. Every fiber in my being goes out to this family, and Bill's friends, including my brother, who went to his calling hours.

Our neighbor across the street from us back home in NY was also killed in a drunk driving accident a couple of years ago, but he was the one driving. He was 18 I believe. It could happen to anyone, whether they are the ones driving while drunk, are a passenger in a car of a drunk driver, or are the ones killed by a drunk driver. This is a terrifying thought.

(I pause here to remember these people we lost..........)

On another note, as I was watching "Boston Legal" last night, I was thinking, geez, there were about 5 or 6 commercials breaks before 1030. Every 5 min. or so, there would be a break. I was getting so mad! I called my dad and said Dad, are you getting frustrated at this? And he said yes and he was glad it wasn't just him that thought that. haha I told him I would have to blog about it. I just don't get why there is this need to interrupt a whole show like that. It's only on an hour a week, and the actors are probably getting paid a lot to ACT for an hour show which really only boils down to like 40 min. Here enters my argument that nobody is going to win if they try to argue against me: soap operas are incredibly difficult to write and keep up with compared to shows like BL. They are on EVERY BUSINESS DAY (give or take some holidays during the year and when they get interrupted by tennis or some other sport), and the writers have to come up with new material for every day for probably more than 30 characters on the show (at least for Y&R), and this has lasted for decades. They have to be creative, inspiring, and dramatic. I just think soaps are underestimated in the amount of work they require. Again, don't try to argue with me, b/c it won't work. : ) Soaps are great.

Monday, January 16, 2006

"La vida es como el espuma, por eso hay que darse como el mar"

"Life is like the surf, so give yourself away like the sea". That is a quote from a movie I saw this weekend called "Y tu mamá (accent over the last a-that is important if you know Spanish b/c w/o the accent it means something nasty) también". I LOVED this movie. It's set in Mexico and has 2 leading young Mexican actors and a well known actress from Espana. I bought the DVD when I was home over Christmas and just watched it this weekend-I went nuts when I saw it in Soundgarden (the store my brother and cousin love to go to every Christmas). Foreign movies are so crazy-they dare to do things that American movies don't, and take so many liberties. That is why I love to watch them because they don't care how explicit they are. The audience doesn't care either, which is a huge difference between Americans and foreigners. I heard that some movie theatre was going to ban "Brokeback Mountain", and I think that is ridiculous. Let the people decide what they want to see! Foreigners can handle racy stuff like that much better than Americans can.

I also saw "Syriana" this weekend. I loved that too... but what is funny is that my friend who I saw it with turned to me after the movie and said "did you understand anything we just watched?". hahaha I guess he didn't really like it. It was pretty complicated with lots of plot lines, but I love movies like that and "Munich" that deal with politics (international politics especially), conspiracies, and how governments use civilians to carry out certain activities without thought of the repercussions. I won't say anymore about it if people still want to see it, but I loved it.

I also went to a wedding reception last night, and it was actually sad. The bride's father was taken away in an ambulance right before the father/daughter dance. The bride was in tears, and I really felt for her. : ( Not the best way to remember your wedding. On the way to the wedding, Marsha almost shut my finger and camera in her car window too (I was taking pics of the nice sunset on Tharpe St. which I might post). Could have been a bad thing right there!

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Audrey or Kate?

Thanks to Marsha, who reads Eugene's blog (Jason's brother, Erin's brother-in-law), I now know which celebrities I look like. Check out this website to see who you look like most. I didn't have a pic of me at work, so Marsha entered it for me, and it brought up Audrey Tautou and Kate Winslet. (Audrey photo courtesy of this website , and Kate photo courtesy of this website). I LOVE IT-both foreign people!! Kate and Audrey are so pretty, and I feel great looking like them. Their smiles are so nice and their hair is long. Great matchups. : )

On another quick note, I went to Curves last night, and some lady fell off the machine where you move your legs together and apart to work the inner thighs. She went to sit down and the whole thing toppled over. I was talking to my coworker that goes with me, and all of a sudden we hear this crash-the machine hit the wall and the lady was on her side. I felt bad for her b/c she hurt her knee, but then I laughed b/c she was laughing too. It was pretty funny.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Here and there

I didn't have anything specific to write about-just 2 random things.

First, last Sunday, Marsha and I went to the mall b/c she insisted on me going to the sales at Victoria's Secret (some things were $1.99). I bought some nice things. Well, what I thought were nice things. I bought a foot thing with pumice to make your feet smooth, sparkly lip gloss, and some oil cloths that you can wipe away face oil with (which will be good for my trip to Costa Rica b/c there is no air conditioning and I sweat a lot there). One lady working at VS saw me with the foot thing in my hand and said "oh, I have to tell you that these break, so I wouldn't buy it". Marsha was mad b/c she had already bought one the day before. hahahaha I said oh okay thanks for telling me-I probably won't buy it. But, I decided to buy it anyways b/c it was cheap and I could use it for a while. The lady saw me a couple minutes later with it still in my hand and said "oh, you are buying it anyways?" and I said yes b/c I can use it until it breaks and it is cheap. She looked at me like she was mad. MAD?!?! I thought, geez, you work here but you are discouraging me from buying these products. I was mad then and almost got a manager, but I decided to leave it alone.

Second, my coworker usually forwards me these totally useless facts of the day, and I thought this one was interesting: The Nike "swoosh" logo was designed by University of Oregon student
Carolyn Davidson in 1964 — four years after business undergrad Phil Knight and track coach Bill Bowerman founded the company they originally called Blue Ribbon Sports. Ms. Davidson was paid $35 dollars for her design.

She is probably kicking herself for selling her design so cheap. : /

Sorry, this was kind of a boring post.

Saturday, January 07, 2006

Maybe there are some good people left in this world

I was at Arby's yesterday getting a snack (right now they have their 5 for $5.95 deal going on!!), and I picked up 12 sauces for my sandwiches. I was trying to balance my purse, bookbag, cell phone, and the sauces. Well, this guy in front of me had ordered and asked the cashier for another bag. I thought it was for his friend or something, but he turned around to me and said "Here, here's a bag for all of your sauces so you don't have to carry them". WOW! And he didn't even try anything (like ask for my # or try to talk to me or whatever). That was really nice. Even the cashier smiled and was impressed. I was too-that gives me hope that maybe there are still some decent people left in this world. I just had to write about it b/c it really made me happy.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Watching the Orange Bowl

I think I am really a guy at heart. Almost every Sunday, and during important college games, I am with my friend Mark at a sports bar eating and drinking and watching sports (and if I can't go to a bar, I am at home watching the games still). Just like a guy. I love watching football with friends, and with big crowds. So last night we went to the Ale House to watch FSU and Penn St. What a game. Missed field goals always seem to be the vain of FSU... but we won't go there.

What was funny was that some girl during the 2nd overtime says to Mark: "Penn St. is in Pennsylvania right?" OMG. You are kidding me right? Mark looks at me, then her, and says "yup". Then she says "well, then they came to the ends of the Earth [to play in the Orange Bowl in Miami]". Mark says "yup". Miami is at the ends of the Earth? If she thinks that, she has another thing coming. Obviously she doesn't know geography.

THEN, one of her friends asked her who won, and she says "Miami didn't win, Penn St. did". Okay, Miami wasn't even playing dear. Pray that she was drunk, because that is the only reason I MAY have let her off the hook.

I will post later about more NY stories, but I just had to write about this idiotic episode.

Monday, January 02, 2006

Fun times in NY (NO, not NYC... Syracuse)

I LOVE going home for the holidays. As much as I always say I love Florida, which I do, I love going home to see my family and friends who are sometimes only back in NY once a year. I get so re-energized for the new year. : )

This time was especially fun because my friend Marsha was able to come home with me and experience my family and friends, and SNOW. Actually, we really could have had worse weather. Compared to last year's couple of days of -10 degree temps, this year was great. In the 40s some days.

It's funny to see how different cultures view the US. Marsha is from Trinidad, and though she has lived in the States for a while, some things are just still so new to her. Take New Year's Eve for instance. She was sooooo worried about someone there (I won't mention any names so he won't get embarrassed) who was puking his guts out for a while after drinking so much. I told her that this is typical American college student behavior and that I had done it too many times to count during college. She was afraid that he would die from choking on his vomit or something like that. It's a valid concern of course, but we Americans are so used to drinking til we puke that it's nothing new. It was just cute how she reacted.

Anyways, here are some pics. The first is my great brother Mikey making his ever famous donut face. Someone spilled some Mike's Hard Lemonade (berry flavor) on him on New Year's. hahahahahaha Marsha documented about beer pong so I won't write about that. We went to a couple of the gigs Mikey's band New Day played at too. Here they are at Coleman's on Tip Hill. They are great-visit their website at !! I'll post more of my friends when I get their permission to post their pics online. Until then............... wrestling is on and I have to see John Cena beat Kurt Angle in the first ever blood match.