Friday, June 25, 2010

Things that give me stress

Wow is it getting crazy around here.  Between coordinating wedding plans and watching more football than I should be allowed, I'm nearly burned out.  You'll be happy to know we finally found a venue for the reception.  Thanks to our roommate, we'll be celebrating at a restaurant owned by her cousin.  To be honest, he made us a deal we couldn't refuse.  It's a cozy little place and we've never been disappointed with the food there.  That has solved a major headache and we've been able to knock out a whole lot of other things this week.  The cake has been ordered.  I've purchased a new suit.  (My pleas for an Evil Knieval-style outfit, however, fell on deaf ears.)  All that's left is to get a new pair of shoes. 

Oh yeah, we also need to coordinate some family details.  I've now got four family members flying over from the US.  Given how tightly this has all been arranged, I didn't expect anyone from home to be able to show up.  I'm so excited for everyone to make it here and to be able to show them around town.  Unfortunately however, we still have to work out some minor details... such as where everyone is staying.  It's like someone told us regarding these wedding plans: for each thing you think you take care of, there's a whole other set of issues that come with the solution.

Case in point: in between all this, I've also taken it upon myself to create the photo slideshow/video thing.  We've been asking family and friends for some old photos to include in the video.  Everyone's been helping out, but now we need to scan these photos.  That takes time too.  If it's not one thing it's another.  And yes, if you're coming, you have no choice but to watch the video.  But don't worry, I'm doing my best to keep it short.

All this reminds me that there is probably going to come a day where the blog posts dry up again for a little bit.  Once everyone arrives and the big day approaches, I'm probably going to have very little time to write.  Just an early warning.


While the above mentioned things give me quite a bit of stress lately, at least I can control them. The US National Soccer team?  Well, at least the stress is always over in about two hour's time.
The US managed to beat Algeria in the closing minutes of the game allowing them to advance to the next round of the World Cup.  Just hours later, Germany beat Ghana to advance.  That was a much better day than the previous Friday.

Once again, I had given up hope.  I will no longer allow myself to do that again.  Not with this team.  In the middle of the first half, yet another US goal was disallowed.  That's twice in two games.  I didn't know what else they needed to do to prove they can win a game.  Fortunately Donovan's goal in stoppage time was something no one could deny.  It's worth another look.

What did such a big win mean for the US and the country in general?  Here's a Daily Show clip that explains it all.

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
World Cup 2010: Into Africa - US Beats Algeria
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

For those not living here, almost all the games here are aired on public TV.  But some of these games that were going simultaneously were not carried on free TV.  If you were lucky, your team's game would be the "feature" game.  Then, throughout the game, they might cut back to the other game to see what's going on.  Unless you've got pay-per-view tv or are at a bar, you may not see much of the "other" game.

The US-Algeria game ran at the same time as England-Slovenia.  Given the fact that (1) I am in Europe and (2) England is generally a much more popular football team, I knew the chances of the US game being aired fully on regular TV would be pretty slim.  Therefore we went back to the one "American" bar in town to watch this game.  We had previously watched the US-England game from there.  That first time, there were quite a few England fans.  I figured that was acceptable, especially given the fact that they probably should have won and would have loved to throw it in everyone else's face.

This time around, the game was on a weekday afternoon.  It wasn't nearly as crowded as the previous game, but there was still a lot of English fans.  Maybe as many as there was American fans.   The management caved to their demands (and drinking ratio I'm sure) and ran the England game on about 80% of the TVs, as well as the audio from that game.  We had to squint our eyes and watch the US game without audio on smaller TVs across the bar.

This town has about 30 Irish/British style pubs.  These are not good enough to watch your game there?  Hell, there is one directly next door.  This was the one place I thought I would be able to see the entire US game in it's entirety.  Well, I guess I was able to.  And the England game ended earlier, so the big ending was up on all the TVs just in time.  But seriously, just change the name and decor of your place and call it a British pub.  It might as well have been.  Needless to say, I will be watching tomorrow afternoon's game at home.  I have to... I gotta finish making that wedding video one of these days!

I'd give an in-depth preview for tomorrow's game, but I realize it really isn't necessary.  If you're interested, you know where to look.  Getting out of the group round was an accomplishment in and of itself.  To me, anything beyond that is gravy.  Ghana beat the US in group play during the previous World Cup.  They just lost to a pretty solid looking Germany 1-0.  But they are Africa's last hope for a representative country.  All I can say is that you can never count this US team out.  Prediction time: US comes away with the win, again in the second half.  US 2-1 over Ghana. 

And finally, tired of those vuvuzelas?  Tired of the vuvuzela bashing?  I'm tired of both, but this was too good to ignore. 

The Daily Show With Jon StewartMon - Thurs 11p / 10c
World Cup 2010: Into Africa - Goal Diggers
Daily Show Full EpisodesPolitical HumorTea Party

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