Resuscitation, 2008, and moving forward

About a month ago on Facebook my friend Jun used the word “resuscitate” to describe the action I needed to bring this blog back. She also volunteered to teach me CPR… ;-)

Although I did not take up her kind offer, I have been thinking about how best to “resuscitate” ever since. Lots of things have happened since my last post on August 4, 2008; it doesn’t feel right to just skip the past 6 months and suddenly start posting the latest things I want to write right now. I need a “bridge” post, I’ve decided, if only just for the one or two readers who were not with me on Facebook the past 6 months.

So here’s a really quick look back to the last few months of 2008, up till now:

  • The Beijing Olympics. During those 3 weeks I subscribed to almost all the Olympics blogs by major media sports writers and journalists in my RSS reader, and read just about everything that’s been written every day in the western media, NYT, ESPN, FoxSports, Guardian Sports, BBC Sports, Yahoo! Sports, CNN, ABCNews… On top of those I also read tons of message board posts and did my share of postings. It was pretty crazy. So many things happened. There were times I felt powerless. sad. And there were the times of pride. awe. and inspiration. They could go on a separate post of its own, but somehow I have lost the drive to write it.
    (or perhaps it’s the courage to write them that I’ve lost, like a climber facing an insurmountable mountain…)
  • The U.S. Open. The first time we went to see live tennis. We went on the Labor Day weekend and later for the men’s finals. Notable players/games that we watched include: Zheng Jie/Yan Zi women’s double, Djokovic vs a pretty good young guy, Li Na vs Dementieva (the freshly crowned Olympics Gold Medalist), and of course, Federer vs Andy Murray. I was hoping for a Nadal/Fed final but didn’t get it.
    Live tennis games are fun. I highly recommend you try it once, if you watch tennis on TV. Don’t buy the worst seats though, you need a reasonably good view to get yourself into it.
  • Yellowstone Trip. We were lucky enough to have caught the perfect weather, beautiful foliage, and plenty wildlife sightings that include: a black bear (next to a dead elk body), a grizzly bear (walking in the woods at roadside), a wolf and an antelope wandering in the same valley (and missing each other!), a fox-like wolf in the vicinity of a bison (of course neither was interested in the other), three different types of deer, a coyote, a group of sheep, and the best of all, an army of bisons walking right in front of our car (and right next to it within an elbow’s length). The geysers and hot springs were also amazing as advertised. They look even better on photos :c).
    One lesson learned from the trip: you need a binocular, a video cam, AND the best camera/lens you can afford to go to Yellowstone. All three are necessities.
  • The Financial Crisis. The best thing that came out of the whole thing is, it prompted me to start paying real good attention to my 401k… ; ), which then resulted in me delving into a reading fever on some of the best, and academically sound if you will, investment advices that I truly wish I had learned 10 years ago.
  • New Year Eve. Another first: First time we spent the countdown watching a ball drop with a crowd outside. It was freezing like hell, but I really wanted to go, to send off this crazy year of 2008. When it counted to 0 and all the fireworks erupted, I was cheering with everyone else from the bottom of my heart.
  • Movies. 2008 was a great year for movies. I’ve been putting in short, one paragraph reviews on Facebook (via Flixster) for movies I watched lately. Maybe I’ll make a compilation of them into a post later. I think I’ve watched 3 of the 5 best picture nominees as well as some very good ones like The Wrestler and Revolutionary Road in the last couple months alone.
  • New Food. Nepali is now added to my list of Cuisines I’ve Tried At Least Once, as #25. ;-)

Lastly, to whoever that noticed, the kitties pictures on the right is replaced with the latest Flickr photo feed. There seem to be something wrong with Flickr’s RSS feed on a set that caused the kitty set photos all broken. Until I figure out the problem this is the only feed that works here.

SYTYCD 4, Week 8 Elimination

For the first time of the entire season my predictions for who goes home went all wrong. I was sad to see Mark and Chelsie eliminated, especially Chelsie. When was the last time a latin dancer advanced to the final on this show? I don’t think it ever happened. What a bummer. If someone as good as Chelsie couldn’t do it, I don’t know if it’s ever gonna happen.

Just read here that two of the 4 finalists collapsed during the Saturday rehearsal and were rushed to the hospital. They were released soon after and had Sunday off. It seems every season something like this happen at least once to someone on the show. Maybe they (the producers) should do something about it, if they can.

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SYTYCD 4, Top 6 Perform

Best night of the whole season! I almost cried watching Katee/Joshua’s contemporary piece to Celine Dion’s “All By Myself”. It was no doubt Tyce Diorio’s best work of the season, if not all seasons. Equally powerful, but in a totally different way, was Mark/Courtney’s Jazz choreographed by Sonya. Watching it just left you in awe.

The voting this week is going to be crazy, crazy close. I have absolutely no idea which of the guys are going home. Personally I feel Mark’s strong performances last night, especially the Sonya number, probably will push him slightly over Twitch and into the final. On the girls side it won’t be so close though. Courtney is probably the one to go. I’m happy that the two girls I liked from the very beginning, Chelsie and Katee, are likely the two favored going into the final.

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SYTYCD 4, Top 12 Perform and Week 5 Elimination

The Bollywood dance was really exciting. I’m glad it was Katee and Joshua that got to do it. The costumes fit them perfectly and they nailed the dance from beginning to the end. It was very refreshing, and crowd pleasing.

I don’t know about others but I found what Mia Michaels said to Will about him carrying Jessica all the time to be cruel and totally unnecessary.

As soon as the bottom 3 was announced I picked Comfort and Thayne to be gone, but I was somewhat surprised when Nigel implied that they would have eliminiated two girls, meaning obviously Comfort and Jessica, rather than Comfort and Thayne. So the judges have no love for Jessica and they aren’t even trying to hide it.

Note: News came today that Jessica just dropped out of the show due to an injury and Comfort is now back in Top 10 to replace her.

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SYTYCD 4, Top 14 Perform and Week 4 Elimination

Once again the best numbers came from my two favorite couples: Chelsie/Mark’s Jazz by Mandy Moore and Katee/Joshua’s Contemporary by Mia Michaels. Chelsie is doing extremely well for a ballroom girl. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the final 4. Katee shined in Mia’s routine. I couldn’t get that “aided run” out of my head. Twitch/Kherington might be popular among viewers but I really didn’t like their Paso Doble.

When the bottom three couples were announced there wasn’t really any surprise. After Gev gave the best solo of the night I was thinking Thayne’s time was  over, but to my surprise Kourtni and Matt were sent home instead.

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SYTYCD 4, Week 3 Elimination

All the bottom 3 couples have been there more than once. None of them was a surprise. Kherington/Twitch escaped the “curse of the first” and were safe, I feel they are a popular couple. Once again I loved Matt’s solo, very well choreographed. I thought Chris and Comfort would be eliminated but it turned out to be Chris and Chelsea. So this was the first time they broke up a couple in 3 weeks.

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SYTYCD 4, Top 16 Perform

Performance wise this was the best week so far. I absolutely loved Chelsie/Mark’s Hip-pop routine choreographed by Napolean/Tabitha. Both were outstanding and the choreography was fantastic. They are a very strong couple and Adam said they were “the couple to beat”. My second favorite of the night was the Samba by Katee/Joshua. For a popper dancing Samba for the first time in his life, Joshua was surprisingly good. This is the first time I truly see why Mia said he would go to final 4, he is extremely versatile. Katee’s costume I personally felt was a bit too long for Samba. Had it been shorter it would have enhanced her hip action more. Luckily the vibrant choreography covered up a lot of ground for them.

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