Well, at least Antawn Jamison and his 32-year old body are trying hard.
ESPN.com Play-By-Play Summary.
Well, at least Antawn Jamison and his 32-year old body are trying hard.
I’d stepped away from blogging since elimination Friday. The sad part is that I wasn’t incensed after the loss as I was two years ago (perhaps being in attendance for the ’06 Damon Jones game had something to do with past tantrums). And last year, I’d fully prepared myself for a Cavalier rout, and thus was out of the country…..the former not necessarily being the cause of the latter. But the outcome of Friday, it was something to which I’ve become accustomed….I was defeated.
Going into the 07-08 season, I had so much hope for this team…..we all did. But early-on, it turned into a grind. Wizards went down and what coincided was my discovery of how difficult dedicating time to a game blog could be (in total, I missed 10 out of 88 games, the result of zero access). However, as the season continued, I observed a group of ball players with different personalities from varying backgrounds come together to vastly exceed expectations. I started to really enjoy telling the tale of the game. To steal from TNT’s Madison Avenue executives, it was live, unscripted, drama.
I could always rest assured in the fact that this Washington Wizards team possessed the ability to leave everything out on the court and bounce back as if previous game-to-game transgressions had never occurred. So as a Wizards fan, I want to look past the disappointment and forward in my knowledge that hope is easy when things could have always been worse.
Pradamaster and Jake the Snake have already given some great thanks on Bullets Forever, but the best thing about ‘thank you’ is that it can never be said too much…..so here goes:
Thanks….(23 to put the vodoo on #23)
Runner-up passions would include the consumption of meat, as pretty much every house has an asado grill….. (and empanadas of course), Evita, the tango, cafés, mate, central town squares, European flavor, gauchos, “fashion” mullets, and claiming the Falkland Islands….I mean, Islas Malvinas.
But this got me thinking…..United States/American culture has no doubt had an effect and influence on the rest of the world, from music to fashion to movies/television to the internet. So what American cultural products seem to have the largest presence in Argentina? My deduction would be Coca-Cola and The Simpsons. Coke is consumed, seemingly, at almost every evening meal. It is also combined with Fernet to make a popular alcoholic beverage. And for the Simpsons, I don’t think I went a day without seeing several Simpsons hats, t-shirts, back-packs, among other random items of note.
Evidence of my conclusions are supported with the photos below.
That siesta, it’ll getcha. I’ve always wondered what it would be like if we had the siesta in the United States. Of course, it would be next to impossible in big cities….as life in Buenos Aires really doesn’t take part. In Washington, DC for instance, where most of those who work in the city commute over 90 minutes a day (and that’s being conservative) to and from their safe suburban abodes, what would they do from the hours of 12 to 4? It obviously wouldn’t make sense to go home and most would rather, as Stanley from The Office puts it, “run out the clock” so they could get home to their families. [side bar: I get tired of people at my work bitching about traffic, really tired. The traffic didn't choose you, you chose the traffic.]
American (or norteamericano as my Span-Eng dictionary puts it – I really don’t liked being grouped with Canadians) culture just couldn’t take the seista, anywhere. Regardless of having to work until 8 pm (which is what most people, including myself, would like to avoid), Americans are unproductive enough with water cooler/kitchen sink chats and coffee breaks, a siesta would only double that….one at 8 am and one at 4 on the second wind. But to be honest, I couldn’t take the late nights. The dinners past 10 pm, the socializing past midnight. I’m a night owl whose average bedtime is usually past 1 am….but being at home is one thing, being out and about at that time, which seems to be the standard in Argentina, can be much more taxing on the system.
Back to Argentina. On the road, on the road, on the road. I empathize with my friend Carrie who did the ‘travel around the world’ thing not too long ago. She did one of those deals where she brought a ticket and got to pick from several destinations….all heading east. She blogged about her journeys and found it tough to keep up with entries. The internet is readily available here and there in Argentina, but when you are going so much, driving a lot, and staying up really really late, it’s just hard to find time.
Salta, Argentina. It’s in the northwestern part of the country, near the Andes. Salta la Linda they call it. (Salta the Beautiful). And it lives up to its namesake. A bustling town with the population of close to half a million, Salta thrives in a lush valley. The people, the architecture, the whole town has a comfortable feel. From the warm 85 degree February days, to the comfortably cool nights, to the fresh mountain air, I would definitely recommend a visit to the area should you ever spend an extended amount of time in northern Argentina. One caveat to that fresh mountain air: emissions standards haven’t exactly made it to the country. No, there is no foggy haze or code red days as there are in LA, but between the public buses and the old cars (hence, one of my photography projects, Los Carros Viejos de Argentina), you’re lungs are not always going to appreciate hanging out in the more heavily trafficked areas.
Nineteen words you never want to hear on an international flight, “Ladies and gentlemen: If there is a doctor on board, please head to the back of the plane immediately.” Of course, I say that as if I’m an experienced travel pro; I’m not. Still, flying over the Amazon rain forest, just having watched the first episode of Lost season 4, it didn’t exactly seem like the ideal situation. But of all the movies involving turbulence in the air, Jodie Foster in Flightplan, Samuel L. Jackson going against snakes on a damn plane, Wesley Snipes always betting on black in Passenger 57…..the only one I could related to was Airplane!. Did I have the chicken or the fish….err “airplane food” ravioli? Is there a nun on board who will sing Kum-Ba-Ya with her acoustic guitar? When will the white lady (June Cleaver) start talking jive?
It was all for not, a pseudo false alarm. Some lady got a little faint, they took her to the back kitchen/bathroom area, layed her on the floor, and monitored her for the next 45 minutes or so until the SNAFU became an ‘SN’. Curious surroundings on the flight nonetheless. The hacking cough woman in the same row across the aisle (I was on an end seat in the middle row) was now sleeping while completely erect. Actually, I’m not so sure she was sleeping at all. I couldn’t tell because a blanket was over her head and body creating a cacoon of sickness just waiting to be unleshed all at once upon the poor teen sitting next to her.
But that’s only half the story of the quarantines on the flight. The last three rows on the right side of the plane (facing front) became their own little tent/fort. A blanket of buttons somehow snapped from the over head luggage to the ground completely encasing these six seats. Has anyone ever seen the before? I’m aware of first class. I’m aware of the isle, window and dreaded middle seat options. But a tent section? Where was that on the flight manifest?
In any case, the 12+ hour red-eye transit from DC to Atlanta to Buenos Aires ended in copacetic fashion. I arrived after 9 am. My girlfriend Monica’s sister, Karina, and her boyfriend Gustavo were there to guide my arrival. “¿Dónde está el cartel con mi nombre?”
When the date of the first doctor appointment came around, I was a little embarrassed about going. It’d been awhile since my knee really bothered me and I arrived to the office with little to no pain. For about the previous 3 weeks, I was able to walk around just fine.
As we all know, there can be many steps to a doctor visit. The sign in, the forms, the wait in the community area, the wait in the room once you get called in, etc….The first visitors are student doctors, with which, I really don’t have a problem. Initial tests from these two student doctors didn’t show many limitations on knee motion. Nonetheless, I was sent for x-rays — and those didn’t show much either; meaning, the bone structure was in tact.
Time for a visit from the main doc, the guy behind the guy. He ran me through similar flexibility tests. I had to be told, over and over again, “Relax your leg.” Sorry chief, but you moving my leg around like a joy-stick doesn’t give me a peaceful, easy feeling. A little more poking around the back of my knee….wait, he felt something. There was some “looseness”, just enough to send me for an MRI. The students, of course, agreed.
So what exactly is an MRI – well, for those who don’t know, MRI stands for Magnetic Resonance Imaging. An MRI machine can give a pretty decent picture of what’s going on anywhere in your body, on any plane. Your standard unit costs $3 million, and hundreds of thousands a year to maintain. They can be about the size of a mini-cooper. Basically, this moo-chine, as Dominican Lou would say, creates a magnetic field and aligns the magnetic ability of the hydrogen atoms in your body. The MRI then sends some radio waves to alter the alignment, thus, causing all those hydrogen atoms to send a radio signal back to the machine. Somehow, these radio signals and their strength, placement, etc. are composed to form the internal image of the body.
So I hurt my left knee playing basketball towards the end of August ’07. I’ve always loved to play basketball as much as I love watching and following the sport itself. Don’t really have a history of knee problems….yea, I’ve had tweaks before, but who hasn’t? Now ankles, I’ve had plenty of issues with those – I get an uncontrollable twinge every time I see an ankle injury replayed on TV. Been there, done that.
Towards the middle of summer, I got to where I was playing pickup around 3 times a week, in addition to being in a weekend league at a gym in DC. This, my first significant knee injury, happened while playing a pickup game one Saturday. One of my teammates had just taken a post fade-away jumper from the block. I think I’d actually given him the entry pass from the far right wing. So, seeing him shoot and loving to rebound, I started to make an initial move to crash the offensive boards. Just as I was attempting to go around his area, towards the open baseline lane, he was fouled and knocked down after the shot. As he rolled, his back came crashing towards my left leg.
I thought I was lucky. His back and my shin did make significant contact, just below the knee. But I was able to jerk my leg away right before he completely rolled over on it. The scene could have been really-real ugly. I didn’t hear any type of pop, but still, something just didn’t feel right.
I hobbled around on my knee for several days, not thinking it was too serious. Most of my pain was in the indented area, just below the knee-cap, towards the inside of the knee. I stayed away from the court for about a week and a half and most of the pain gradually went away. However, my knee still didn’t feel whole. Oh well, I thought, I’m only 27….these things get better right? I bought a knee brace and went right back to the action on the court.
If you are looking for a place to grab a quick bite to eat and are in DC’s Chinatown/Penn Quarter area…perhaps going to a Wizards or Caps game….look no further than the Potato Valley Cafe.
This place, located at 614 E Street NW (just down from the Starbucks on 7th and E, towards Union Station), was recommended by a co-worker. So, I went to check it out for lunch yesterday.
It’s more like a fast-food joint, with very limited seating (too bad you can’t really take food into Wizards games like you can for Nationals games). But the customer service is friendly and the food is great. And actually, the potato is wrapped like a lil’ food baby, so maybe you can sneak it in a game somehow.
The concept is that they oven-roast these huge potatos and add a bunch of toppings….it’s a complete meal that can be consumed easily and quickly….unless you are like me (aka Sergeant Sauce) and like to cram as many toppings and sauces on your food as possible.
In any case, check them out – The Potato Valley Cafe – www.potatovalley.net