Top 8

Well the Olympics are over and even though overall I found these Olympics to be a little disappointing (I don't know what it was but I wasn't all that interested in so many of the events) I am still disappointed that they are over and don't really know what to do with myself (and I can't even turn back to my regularly mind-numbing tv programming because the Democratic and Republican conventions are sucking up all the prime-time air time--like we even care at this point). It kind of makes me want to order that Michael Phelps dvd just so I can pretend the Olympics aren't over yet.

Now that they are over, though, we can now look forward to the London Olympics in just 4 years. Did you like the little hand-off that they did during the closing ceremonies last night? I liked the bus and thought it was fairly cool how it opened up and all but I can't say I cared for Leona Lewis at all. To be fair I didn't care for her to begin with but she definitely didn't win me over with a completely lackluster performance of Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love." With all the icons of British rock I just think they could have done so much better. And having David Beckham pop up at the end just seemed awkward. Oh well, I love London and I am really looking forward to the Olympics being there.

Along with looking forward to London I think now would be a good time to start talking about getting rid of some Olympic events--realistically speaking as we continue to add new events that means we must drop some events to keep the entire production affordable. So the following is my top 8 (I couldn't come up with 10) list of events that we should drop.

First, though, let's talk about the criteria for dropping or keeping events.

1. Relevance. The sport should be relevant to a worldwide population of spectators. Sports (or events) that are only popular in one area of the world really have no business showing up in a world-wide event. Along with this notion, I think that if a sport is only competitive among athletes of a single area of the world the event also has no part being a part of a world-wide competition. Sports that fall in to either of these categories need to do some self-promotion to the rest of the world to prove their worthiness as an Olympic event--I'm pretty sure this is one of the things that must be proven by events trying to get into the Olympics so it only seems fair that current sports be occasionally reexamined using this criteria.

2. Sport. The event should be a sport and not a hobby. This one is a bit difficult to define exactly when ESPN covers things like bowling and gambling. But if a sport contains elements that belong prominently to the world of backyard or basement hobby then they shouldn't be in the Olympics.

3. The Ben Stiller Factor. If a "sport" has or is likely to be featured in a Ben Stiller parody movie (or similar) it should not be an event in the Olympics. This factor automatically precludes Ballroom dancing (or Dance Sport as they are trying to call themselves) and dodgeball from becoming Olympic events (but you should still see the movie Strictly Ballroom).

OK, now that we have gotten that out of the way here goes:

8. Baseball and Softball. Let's just start this one off easy. They have already eliminated this sports. While the US isn't dominate in baseball in the Olympics we do dominate Softball to a ridiculous level making this an issue of relevance--I think the men's and women's events must somehow be linked requiring the elimination of both or perhaps there is enough of a popularity issue to get rid of Baseball.

7. Basketball. While the US dominance has been a little iffy at time it is not because we should not have easily won all the games we have participated in. Until other countries become more competitive Basketball should go.

6. Handball. I'm calling this a relevance issue since the teams consisted almost entirely of European teams and the finals did have only European teams. Also the sport seems to be a bit of a cross between soccer, water polo, and basketball. Since we have those three sports in the Olympics, do we really need Handball as well?

5. Trampoline. Not a sport--backyard hobby equipment.

4. Rhythmic Gymnastic. Not a sport: uses hula hoops, ribbons, and other backyard hobby equipment.

3. Synchronized Swimming. Not a sport based on the Ben Stiller Factor--if a project isn't in the works then Ben is dropping the ball on this one.

2. Badminton. Not a sport: uses backyard hobby equipment

1. Table Tennis (Ping Pong). Not a sport: uses basement hobby equipment.


Crush Alert

Look whose Olympic crush has a commercial of his very own:


It's Rigged

It is totally and completely rigged. How else do you explain a Chinese gymnast falling on a vault last night and still getting a bronze medal? And let's not even get into the rest of the completely ridiculous scores others on the Chinese team have been getting despite series of mistakes. I am completely dispirited by the whole thing and even turned off the T.V. coverage early last night because I found myself no longer caring (and that coming from a formerly die-hard Olympic fan). And this is not just the rant of a poor loser because I am completely satisfied with the results of the women's floor--yes I think Shawn deserved to win but at least the girl who did win put in a strong performance. Sadly, I doubt anyone as the backbone to really investigate what is going on.

So now apart from a few events (men's indoor volleyball, and all of the outdoor volleyball) I am finding that I don't even really care about the rest of the Olympic coverage--of course I will still watch it a bit and hope for good outcomes for U.S. athletes--and can safely say this is one of the most disappointing Olympics that I have ever watched--funny how 1 part can change how you feel about the whole. Even the opening ceremonies have been tainted for me since finding out that the cute little girl singing a solo during the ceremonies was lip syncing because the face behind the real voice was deemed by Chinese officials to not be cute enough and that some of the ceremonies never actually happened but were digitally created.

Fortunately for me when I get mad I clean so last night was spent in some very productive cleaning and organizing. One of the things that I did was rearrange just a bit and found that I just didn't have a spot for a trash can in my bedroom. So now I'm wondering if that is bad feng shui--I know having a trash can in certain parts of your house is bad but does not having one in a room somehow prevent bad chi from leaving? What I need is a definitive easy guide to feng shui. Sadly that is not what I have been able to find on the Internet.


Gold Medal Evening

Did you catch the so-called Prime-time coverage on NBC last night? One of the best groupings of events so far I think. We had a little volleyball (with my crush), a little beach volleyball, a little swimming (with lots of excellent finishes), and to cap of the evening we had some excellent women's gymnastics (even if the judges were giving the underage Chinese gymnasts unbelievable scores). So congratulations to our wonderful athletes:

I didn't actually mean for this post to turn into a bit of man candy but what can you do when you are talking about the US men's swimming team. Now I'm off to repent of all my bad thoughts aimed at trying to get the Chinese women to fall last night.


Right Now

I love freshly laundered sheets and freshly made beds and orange cupcake scented oil from The Body Shop. Last night was very nice.


Weekend Re-Cap

Where to start? What to say? It was a fantastic weekend and a very full one. Friday evening started off with a bang with the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. While the fireworks were breathtaking I would have to say that my favorite moment were those bouncing blocks--so amazing and powered by humans! Worst moment? Definitely the entrance of the Hungarian team:

Sorry, that's the best picture I could find. (The skirts by themselves probably are actually quite nice--as far as flowered skirts go.) None of the outfits were really great--I think opening ceremony outfits are like bridesmaid outfits: someone thinks there wonderful, and probably will tell you that they picked them so that you could wear them again, but those forced into them are groaning in embarrassment and can't wait to get them off. By the time we got done with the parade of nations I was pretty much spent and annoyed when the lighting of the cauldron took so dang long--but in the end that was pretty cool as well. Mirroring Science Teacher Mommy's comment below about the logistics of eating food from each country when they come in so quickly, I would have to say that if you were to do the Olympic party mentioned below you would have to pick just a sampling of the countries, do finger foods, and know the order the countries are coming in (not an easy task for this Olympics). See here for MBC's rundown of the event.

So now on to Saturday and the first day of competition. I thought it was a pretty slow day of competition, but that actually worked out really well for me because I had Nemesis' bridal shower to attend which was marvelous. (I pretty much knew it was going to be marvelous since Cicada was the one throwing it.) The food was wonderful (think chilled zucchini soup, amazing breads and cheeses, fresh fruit, and an amazing lemon chiffon tart) and the company terrific (there was an appreciative cheer when Cicada announced that we would be playing no games). Nemesis got some amazing and fun gifts and we all got quite the education on things such as the difference between American and European condoms and honey dust. Fun for all!

Saturday night I stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to watch the USA Men's indoor volleyball team play Venezuela. If you are a long-time reader you will know that I am a huge BYU men's volleyball fan and the USA has 7 individuals connected to BYU working for the team or playing on the team--of course this connection made the tragic news about Coach Hugh's parents-in-law who were stabbed in Beijing all the more tragic (Hugh played and coached at BYU). While watching I got to reconnect with an old crush that I had with one of the players from 10 years ago when he was playing for BYU: Rich Lambourne.

Sorry again, it's the best pic I could find with very little searching. Rich is the one in the center in white (he is the libero which means he has to wear a color that contrasts with the rest of the team). If memory serves, my crush on him when he was at BYU centered on his nice legs. Now I think my crush will be centering on his nice arms. (Both he and Ryan Millar are LDS if you are looking for LDS players).

Sunday was the first real day of exciting competition with women's gymnastics and a few swimming events, but the real highlight was the men's 4x100m free relay. The French had been trash talking the US so it was all the sweeter when we stole the gold away from the right at the end. Everyone at my house let out a huge cheer (that frightened the 2 year old). So much fun. Visit nbcolympics.com to watch the race.

Can't wait for more--my crush will be on again in the wee hours tonight/tomorrow.


Super Cool Olympic Party

I had dinner with MBC last night and she told me about the coolest Olympic party idea ever (I hope you will be doing a recap of how it goes MBC and that you don't mind me stealing and posting the idea). A friend of hers is throwing a party during the opening ceremonies and serving various foods from different countries. The idea is that as each country comes onto the field they will eat something from their country and cheer them on. How cool is that? I am sad that I didn't hear about this idea sooner so that I could have put on a similar party. I don't know exactly how MBC's friend's party will work but my idea would be to ask each guest to bring some finger food from a pre-assigned country (I like the whole idea of delegation). It is too bad that in the spirit of international community and sportsmanship that the athletes all come in together during the closing ceremonies instead of as countries cause then I could throw the party in two weeks, but I am totally doing this party for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics (had to Google that cause I had absolutely no idea who had the next Olympics--for shame). That will actually work out really well because up to this point my family's idea of an Olympic party is to get take out from our local Chinese restaurant (or Greek when it was in Athens, etc) but what kind of take out would you get for Vancouver?

I just checked and MBC wrote about this idea 18 hours ago. Go here to read.



After years of waiting the Olympics are finally here (or will be very soon). Having been trained up to follow after the Olympics and then having the incredible opportunity of attending an Olympics (Salt Lake City 2002) perhaps explains most of my fascination with this years Olympics but not completely. You see during the the last Olympics (Turin 2006) I was living in Belfast, Northern Ireland and was subjected to the miserable and limited coverage provided by British broadcasting. For those of you lucky enough not to ever have been subjected to British Olympic coverage, count your blessings. Here are just a few of my complaints:

1. Full and complete coverage of curling is just unnecessary (it went on for days and days and days).

2. No human interest stories (because lets face it that is half the reason we tune into NBC--and they don't even need to be human interest stories on our own countrymen. We will undoubtedly see lots of stories on Chinese gymnasts, Australian swimmers, and Russian wrestlers and we will like them, cry a bit, and then not feel too bad when they win their gold medals).

3. No clips telling us about Turin, its food, its culture, the Olympic happenings about town (the other half of why we tune in--ok that is not true because that leaves no room for us to cheer on and celebrate when the Americans win which in truth is the biggest reason we tune in and part of the reason why curling is just not interesting)

4. Commentators who a.) don't know what they are talking about b.) are not funny or even interesting and c.) who are far too excitable about things that they shouldn't be (for example finishing 10th in ice dancing is not a reason to try to evoke some kind of national celebration--especially if the rest of the nation is not impressed)

5. Really limited coverage (and at odd times--very strange when the Olympics were just a time zone or two away) of the main sports--I missed all of the ice skating and nearly all of the downhill skiing because of strange times or because they didn't bother to show it to us.

The other complaint I have about watching the Olympics in the UK is that the UK just doesn't care about the Olympics. To be fair, I was told that they care more about the Summer Olympics because they do better during those (Turin: 1 medal; Athens: 30 medals). But my goodness it wasn't much fun to be walking around a town where no one seemed to even realize that the Olympics were going on.

Things are different now that I am back in the U.S. of A. and I couldn't be happier--it kind of makes it ok that I don't have British chocolate or an Irish fish and chips meal. So here is to the next 2 weeks of pure bliss.


What I'm Reading

It is a classic. One of my little two-year-old nieces is in the process of potty training and every time I see her now she pats to a spot next to her, commands me to "sit," and then asks me to read Everyone Poops. While reading it she insists on screaming out the word poop every time there is a picture of poop--not a book to read in public.

On a more adult level I've just finished reading Atonement by Ian McEwan which I absolutely loved. The writing is so rich and real and enticing that I literally couldn't put it down until I finished it (last night around 2 am). As far as recommending it generally I will say that there is one sex scene (easily scanned through if you want to) and about 15 swear words in the book that make it about a PG-13 but I'm handing it on to my mother to read so obviously I didn't think it was too bad--though I might not be suggesting to read it at my old-ladies book club although this would be a great book for a book club. This one is definitely going on my top 10 favorite books list that I haven't actually created yet.

Possible Top 10 (in no particular order)

1. Pride and Prejudice
2. Persuasion
3. Atonement
4. A Tale of Two Cities
5. P.S. I Love You (maybe I need to re-read that one to be sure it was a top 10)
6. Bridget Jones's Diary
7. Dandelion Wine
8. To Kill a Mockingbird
9. The Eyre Affair
10. Possession (this is another maybe to read again)

It was actually kind of hard to come up with that list because I generally like most of the books that I read--thanks to some very good suggestion from some very smart people.

What's next on my to-read list? The Road by Cormac McCarthy. A bit gruesome I know but I'm going to follow it up with Son of the Shadows by Juliet Marillier (I'm just loving her right now--thanks Science Teacher Mommy).

I'd love to know what books are on your top 10 list.


Man Candy Monday

It has been way too long since I put up any man candy. Tragic I know. I was watching The Jane Austen Book Club over the weekend (which I liked well enough) and spotted this yummy piece of man candy:

The thing I noticed first was the bit of British sneaking through what I assume was supposed to be his American accent and well I'm just a sucker for a British accent. He is actually clean shaven in the movie but I like my man candy with a bit of scruff.

Odds 'n Ends

There are a couple of things that I have not mentioned yet but have said I would in the past so this is going to be a quick wrap up of loose ends.

1) I finished reading
Daughter of the Forest and thoroughly loved it. Toward the end it seemed to be going somewhere I didn't like but it all worked out the way a good love should. I think it is probably time to admit that I really do like Science Fiction and Fantasy books. It is a like that I have always tried to hide in favor of putting forth a Jane Austen face before the world, but I have now decided there is nothing to be embarrassed about. If it is a well written book it is a well written book regardless of the genre and the great thing about Sci-fi and fantasy is that they will take you on a great ride (plus elves are to die for gorgeous). Jane Austen is still my favorite though.


2. The cake from the Provo Bakery was very good. I could have done with a better proportion of cake to frosting but the frosting was so good that it is hard to complain about there being so much. One good thing about there being so much frosting is that it makes the cake very sweet and rich which means I can only eat about 3 bites before I start feeling a sugar overload (and I eat a lot of sugar so this is not some amateur wimp out). As a whole, though, I liked the pasty options better than the cake.


Garden Woes

Here is what happens when you forget that you have a garden for a week and a half: