As you can see I don't really blog here anymore. Instead my writing time is now split between the following two sites:
Last weekend I had the opportunity to watch the 2012 United States Grand Prix in person. It was really an amazing experience and the track and facilities are awesome. I took a lot of photos and videos and some of them turned out well, others didn't because as you now know, any time you go to a major sporting event, everyone is going to have their cameras out and they often get in your way.
Regardless here is a quick video I put together with clips from the start of the race, the first lap flyby as well as some other shots of cars going through the main straightaway. I hope you enjoy and hopefully I'll be posting more often.
That being said it really is something you have to experience first hand. No amount of pictures or videos can truly convey hearing the sound of Formula 1 cars rush by you at 180 mph.
It's interesting when you let something sit for a while then randomly decide to take a look and suddenly become addicted to the idea of rekindling the whole blogging thing. I started this blog years ago as a test for SEO projects and a place to deposit stories and other interesting notes / commentary.
Since then 2011 I've let it just sit and rot and that's not cool. The informal nature of this blog was the reason I stopped because when you want to develop a professional career, you develop a professional blog but even then I still find it hard to write compelling business posts so let's get back to basics.
Nothing in sports is more frustrating than spending an entire season following your favorite team and then watching them lose a championship game. It's even worse when you have to watch them lose with a bunch of people who rabidly support the other team for no real reason.
It really sucks to have someone celebrating in your face who you know doesn't follow a team and especially when their sudden, rabid, single game devotion is based on the following set of statements:
"I have / had family member(s) who lived in their city"
"I hate the other team"
"I hate a star player on the other team"
"I'm rooting for the underdog"
"I like a star player on the other team"
"I've got money on the game"
I have / had family member(s) who lived in their city / geographic area or went to that college
Allow me to explain how ridiculous this is by creating a list of every additional sports team I would have to support (aka buy a jersey):
Major League Soccer:
At an average of $60 / jersey, being a one day rabid fan would set me back: $960
Sure you might have a parental / familial attachment to a team but that doesn't make you their number one fan. I honestly don't follow many of these teams but if they win, good for them.
I hate the other team
Here is every team I simply cannot stand but that doesn't mean I support anyone who plays them (in this model Oklahoma vs Texas A&M is essentially the team of Brett Favres vs a team of Brett Favres). I'm not going to go crazy if the Yankees lose a game to the Angels and I won't jizz in my pants if ESPN Scorecenter shows the Canadiens lost a regular season game to the Flyers.
Due to who they might play in division, conference and national championships (especially NCAA Basketball) I can't put together a list of every possible team I would have to rabidly support for 2-3 hours but if you are a fan of any of these teams, you're probably used to being hated on so I imagine you have a thick skin:
- Oklahoma University
- Texas A&M
- New York Yankees
- Montreal Canadiens
- New York Giants
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Miami Heat
I hate the star player on the other team
Here is everyone past and present I hate or hated back in the day:
- Lebron James
- Barry Bonds
- Roger Clemens
- Aaron Boone
- Derek Jeter
- Alex Rodriguez
- Sean Avery
- Scott Stevens
- Mark Messier
Just because I don't like Derek Jeter doesn't mean I'll run into the street yelling "In your face!" if he makes an error or pulls a hamstring. Sure I don't want these guys to win (well the active players) but that doesn't mean I'll make a special trip to the store to buy an Orioles or Padres jersey.
I'm rooting for the underdog
This is by far the dumbest reason to root for a team because if they've managed to make the series or Superbowl, they are actually a pretty good team. The media likes to decide underdogs as a way to boost ratings and create story lines but there are very few true "underdogs" in the modern age because talent in professional sports (except the last decade of the NBA east) is generally pretty well distributed. The New York Giants aren't 3-star high school players or XFL rejects, they are legitimate NFL players.
I like a star player on the other team
Eli is so cute, isn't he? I guess this isn't as bad so long as you have a reason for liking a player that's rooted in their on field performance and not their underwear modeling (female Beckham fans).
I was a big fan of Cal Ripken Jr. and Ozzie Smith when I was a kid but have I been to 0 games featuring the Cardinals or Orioles. I like the backstory of Michael Oher and hey, Matt Birk won the Walter Payton award this year but I could care less about the Ravens.
I've got money on the game
Okay, can't fault you on that one. If you have enough balls to make a bet, you shouldn't have to be modest about it but always make a disclaimer to keep it cool.
Directed by Nathan Christ
Taken purely as a musical documentary, Echotone can be likened to Dig! in the sense that the film spends much of its time examining the balance of integrity and success interspersed with live music performances. Comparatively I would say that it even does a better job of developing a relationship between the audience and the musicians and had the film stayed on this course, it could have reached an elite documentary status. However the film never develops a solid identity and ultimately we're left with a loud and visually striking piece that reminds of what could have been.
First let's look at the bands. If someone had asked me to film a collection of musicians that represent the best of what Austin has to offer, I don't think I could have made a better lineup choice. Echotone focuses primarily on the core of:
Belaire - The band struggles with commercial success and integrity
Black Joe Lewis - Signed to a major label deal and covered in critical praise, he still works his day job delivering fish
Dana Falconberry - The singer like many Austin musicians works at a coffee shop by day and plays music at night
Sunset - The new project of former Sound Team member Bill Baird whose experience with Capitol Music made him re-examine success
The film also features contributions from The Black Angels, Machine, The White White Lights and others. The core group of musicians each provide a different yet compelling look into the life of a musician. Each ultimately examines the question of success and each musician charts a different path as time elapses. The film shot in 2008-2009 could have provided an epilogue at the end for those who do not follow these musicians on a regular basis. By the way, the soundtrack is available for free from Paste Magazine. Download it here.
Their performances are amazing and are a great example of the film's visual storytelling which features incredible shots from construction cranes and buildings under construction. If everything was muted, its visuals are a standalone work of art.
The problem I have with the film is that they could have done so much more in examining the battle between downtown residents and music venues. The only time anyone who resides downtown speaks their point of view are two scenes from a city hall meeting where one resident compares terrorism to late night concerts and another says they like music but don't want someone else's taste forced upon them.
The dynamic between musicians, artists and downtown development is a very rich subject. One great opportunity would have been to interview residents who live next to Mohawk and Club de Ville and get their side of the story because it is the strongest physical reference to the dynamic of music and development. They feature the building but they don't feature it's stories.
They interview the developer of the now completed Spring Condominium project who approaches the subject of development with perhaps the most powerful quote of the movie (I'm paraphrasing here) "Everyone carps on the fact that Austin was so much better when they moved here. If you came in the 70s then should have been here during the 60s. If you came in the 80s you should have been here in the 70s"
I remember my favorite concert of all time was a 2007 unofficial SXSW show at Gallery Lombardi that featured IAMX. I still recall most of the concert and what it was like standing inches from Chris Corner and rocking out while they played an awesome set.
It was the last show at that venue and just weeks later it was torn down to build residences. I wanted that connection, I wanted them to show venues that no longer exist and examine how cultural destruction is leading to a loss of identity. At times the film approaches the subject but each time we're left with a hint but not an answer.
Towards the end, the film features a segment on SXSW showing its growth and commercialization and in light of this year's fiasco, its more relevant than ever. The film covers the original aims of SXSW and how its grown into this perceived must have for any unsigned band but with an opportunity to really present a strong point of view it simply shows striking visuals and fails to capitalize on the narrative of how its become so large that any one band is fighting against thousands of others for the supposed benefits of a major deal that at this point in the music industry are a moot point.
Overall the film gets high marks for being an amazing documentary about Austin's music scene. The beautiful visuals and live performances persuade viewers to see the film as a look into a musician's daily life which is ultimately what the filmmaker's total focus should have been.
Sorry for the quality, iPhone was dead so had to use a Razr.
I went to see UFC at the Frank Erwin Center and I had a great time. I wanted to share a few things I learned with anyone who has yet to see UFC in person and is wondering what the experience is really like.
1. Show up early for the first fight.
You're paying good money to see the fights so why show up for the main card when the undercard is just as exciting? For the Austin event, two fights stood out as the best of the bunch and both were preliminary bouts. Kyle Kingsbury and Jared Hammann had a three round war that won fight of the night and Rich Attonito vs Rafael Natal was great as well. Of course if you showed up at 7, you missed both fights.
The reason you need to show up early is that's the prime time to meet "mma celebrities." Before the first fight I met Herb Dean, Eddie Bravo, and Stitch and was able to talk a little bit with them because at that point nothing is really going on. After the first few bouts you're chances of even a handshake with anyone involved in the fights is zero because they have to do their jobs.
2. Bite the bullet and pay for good seats
I paid $300 for my seats and I was 5 rows back from the action and next to the entry way for all of the fighters. After sitting in that section and being able to see fighters walk in, meet Dana White and see Chael Sonnen pretending to fall asleep during the first minute of Nate Marquardt's fight, I can't see any other way to experience UFC. Its expensive but worth it. Seriously how often is UFC coming to your town? (unless you're in Las Vegas).
3. Hang around the concourses between fights
I met MC Hammer and a number of fighters from the card just hanging out by the concourse.
4. Research the fighters
If you get the chance to meet a fighter, try something other than "Great Fight" or "Oh man what a knockout." A lot of the fighters on the preliminary card (who you'll have the highest chance of meeting) have fought a number of great fighters in their career. For instance the first fight of the night featured Forrest Petz who has beaten Dan Hardy. Imagine seeing him after the fight and saying "Hey man, what was it like to fight Dan Hardy?"
Greg Maddux is one of my all time favorite pitchers and when I visited his Wikipedia page, I noticed he looks an awful lot like Al Gore.
Scary isn't it?
The more you analyze the life of Ol' Dirty Bastard (Russell Jones), the more you miss his outrageous persona and penchant for walking the walk and talking the talk.
ODB > Shawn Colvin > Puff Daddy
- The Grammy's suck but let's be honest, ODB's famous interruption is a classic moment in the "Screw the dumbest awards show ever" highlight reel. My favorite quotes "I bought me a outfit today that costed a lot of money" "Wu-Tang is for the children" and "Puffy is good but Wu-Tang is the best"
ODB Picks up Welfare in a Limo
- True classic of American cinema
Baby I Got Your Money
- This song was actually one of the ways I bonded with one of my best friends back when we were in college. Chris and I would either recite the lyrics or make the clapping sound. I still love when I occasionally hear this song in the club. I will honestly go into Ranch and or JBlacks for this song (and maybe the first 20 seconds of Hypnotize by Notorious BIG)
ODB interview outtakes
I won't describe this with words, words are nothing compared to ODB
Whatever he says it sounds cool. Subtitles?
RZA and ODB at a high school talent show?
ODB Speaks His Mind in Brooklyn Without Shoes
- I see a lot of people in Downtown Austin that seem to say the exact same thing (no embedding, check it out here). "You ain't gotta tell your teacher off tell your teacher off with education you kno what im sayin BOMB his ass White devil motherfucker"
... if only ODB ran for president.