Thursday, March 30, 2006

Scott Adams on James Blake

Something that I came across recently..Scott Adams talking about James Blake...

Recently there was a tennis tournament in Indian Wells. It's one of the biggest tournaments not counting the four Grand Slam events. Because tennis is an individual sport, there are always great stories within the game. This year's biggest story was James Blake's comeback.
If you don't follow the game, let me give you some background. Blake is the son of an African-American dad and an English mom. He was raised in Connecticut and had to wear a back brace for years when he was a kid. He took up tennis, excelled, and went to Harvard for two years before going pro. He looked promising, along with a number of other young Americans, but not top 10 material. He was most noted for his sex appeal and great personality.

I became a fan after watching him play Lleyton Hewitt a few years ago. After some calls that went against Hewitt, the Aussie singled out an African-American linesperson and complained to the chair umpire. Hewitt used a poor choice of words that led observers to think he was complaining of racial favoritism. Hewitt says he didn't mean it that way, but nonetheless it became the story. And the media tried hard to get Blake to bite. They wanted him to complain about racism, maybe get a little mad about it. That's good TV. But Blake didn't take the bait. He politely pointed out that people say things in the heat of the moment, and whatever Hewitt said was Hewitt's problem, not his. It seemed to me the perfect response. Sometimes trivializing is the best strategy.

Blake's ranking bobbed up and down, peaking at 22 in the world. He shaved his dreadlocks and gave up his sex symbol image along with millions in potential endorsements. (I'm guessing his hair was prematurely thinning.) Then in 2004 he had the year from Hell. He ran into a tennis net post and broke his neck. Then he got a shingles virus in his face that paralyzed it on one side. Then his dad died.

There was some doubt that Blake would ever play tennis again. He watched the major tournaments from his couch and wondered about his future. In time, his body recovered, and he felt that he had been given a second chance. He grabbed it by the neck.
I don't know what kind of training he did, but oh-my-god. I watched him play in person during the first week of the Indian Wells tournament and thought it couldn't be the same guy. There was ferocity to his strokes. He wasn't just hitting the ball, he was punishing it. His court speed was breathtaking. His shot selection was brilliant. His backhand, previously a weakness, had become a rocket.

You only needed to listen to the court sounds to know that Blake was heading deep into the tournament. When a tennis racket strikes a ball perfectly, it creates a sound wave that spectators can feel in their entire bodies. If you play tennis yourself, you can practically close your eyes and know who is winning.

Blake blasted through the field of world-class tennis players and found himself in an unlikely semi-final with a Spanish force of nature named Rafael Nadal. Nadal is the #2 player in the world. He hits with brutal topspin. It's a relentless attack that less than a handful of elite players have been able to withstand in the past year.

Nadal brought his best, but Blake blew past with a combination of game and gamesmanship that surprised almost everyone, not the least Nadal himself.
Now it was time for the championship match against Roger Federer, the best player in the world. Correction “ make that the best tennis player who has ever lived". That's not just my opinion. He already has seven Grand Slam wins. If he stays healthy, many people expect him to hold every important record in tennis.

Against all odds, Blake blazed to a 4-1 first set advantage against the all-time greatest player on earth. It seemed as though nothing could stop him.

And then something happened. The momentum shifted. The rest of the match was all Federer. Blake seemed to fade away, settling for runner-up, but his effort that week was enough to put him in the top ten in the world.

At the trophy ceremony, Blake spoke to the crowd. He said that in 2004, when he was in the hospital with a broken neck, only one tennis player sent him a note to wish him well. It was Roger Federer.

I wanted Blake to win that match, yet somehow, by losing he found perfection.

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Friday, March 24, 2006

Susie or something else?

Here is something for you all...

Yes, it's my car !!! Too bad she has to be called a car since I am not quite successful in deciding on a name for her yet :(
BTW, I think Susie is gonna be the one...

Can't resist sharing the inside view...:)

Nothing much to say at this point...looking forward to the trek I am going for tonight. We would go to Shimoga from here by bus and then cover 3-4 places over the weekend. A visit to Dabbe Falls in the heat should be pleasent.
See you all on Monday !!!!

Monday, March 13, 2006

The baby is on the road !!!

Yes...she's with me....and I am mad about her :)

I took the wheels on Saturday and since then never felt like leaving her alone. Took her straight to get the music system fitted...yeah...that's one thing I can't live ! Had a pit stop at work to pipck up Rohini while Karthik was waiting for me at Auto Planet. Found a nice Alpine 9853 head unit with four speakers and 2 tweeters for clearer strings. It costed me nice but it's worth it..definitely ! The day ended with dinner with Bhavana and some other friends of mine.

Sunday was lazy..didn't do much the whole day except house hunting. It was again a tragedy where we finalized a house whose owner later said she doesn't wanna give it to bachelors...God knows when are we gonna get a house :( Evening was again catching up with some friends and dinner at Aangan ! We hopped over two other restaurants before ending up at Aangan though....thanks to crowd everywhere ! Hope this city improves soon and there would be many places to hang out...

Hemant (one of my friend whom I stay with) is coming back today from CA. Looking forward to pick him up later in the night today...and as usual there will be lots of chocolates in our home for next couple of days...

This has become like my weekend report..but what the heck ! Did I tell you that the digits in the number of my car add up to my birth date :)
BTW my friends, I still haven't find a name for my car...please suggest... signing off....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Finding House...

I got a bad news this morning :(
We were planning to move to a new house this weekend which all of us had really liked. But the broker said that the landlord now wants more rent and so it finally turns out to be no deal ! So here we are back to square again....

Today over dinner we had an interesting conversation about the same. We basically explored the advantages and negetives of buying a property in bangalore. All of us being not from Bangalore, our main aim to buy a property is to save on the tax that Uncle Chindambaram levies on us. While Sada and Anurag are planning to buy it here, I am definitely buying a flat in Mumbai or Pune. My family being there, it makes a lot of sense investing there than in Bangalore.

So looks like it's gonna be another house hunt weekend waiting for us. Hopefully we would find a good house where I would get nice parking place for my car. If I don't find it before my car finds me, well, the poor baby would have to be parked somewhere nearby. Finally I really hope Hemant buys the Alpine system for my car....that should be a good justice for someone who is so crazy about music.

BTW, you must wondering this....Sada, Anurag and Hemant are my friends whom I stay with in Bangalore. Did I tell you that Bhai (Bhavana) is now in Bangalore....she is my friend from my previous job in Mumbai. Spoke to her this evening and looking forward to meet her this Friday evening. I am so happy she is gonna stay very near to my office !

Signing off for now friends.....have a good one !

Monday, March 06, 2006

The journey begins...

Well, my new journey begins here...don't know where I am gonna end up but sure enough looking forward to my new companion... new car...Suzuki Swift....:)...It's gonna be a damn sexy Azure Gray babe with my white Albatross (my iPod) singing for her everytime she moves with a zeal of a Leo !!!!

....and as every other my possessions, it has to have a name...

The first that came up my mind was Hobbes !!! Yes, Calvin and Hobbes would be on my car always but not sure if it would do justice any of them if I name her Hobbes...

So my friends, get your creative cells working...