lost in translation, v. 2014
something about photos of people sitting near a window in transit.
chelsea in a shuttle (2014)
something about photos of people sitting near a window in transit.
chelsea in a shuttle (2014)
I really like this photo. It’s from the 1970 SI Swimsuit edition. It’s interesting to decipher what 44 years does to an entire culture of sexuality. It’s incredibly dated, yet still romantic. Because nostalgia is romantic. And no one is ever nostalgic for the future. I wonder if she knows what kind of new shit Butterfinger is doing now. Wonder if she’d like the new Butterfinger Peanut Butter cups? Butterfingers used to be my favorite candy as a kid, and then it switched to Snickers and now it’s sort of stuck at Reese’s.
Beside the obvious, much more real problems we face in the world: death, disease, war, male pattern baldness, there are very few things as indescribably heartbreaking, as a hard sports loss. The kind that make sleeping difficult because you keep replaying images of missed opportunities and “what-if” scenarios. The type of losses where you enter the bargaining stage of grieving far ahead of the actual loss. An atheist pleads to a god, whom twenty-four hours ago was the false deity of a different, more forgotten part of America. The most logical of human beings start to attribute their presence in the world as some sort of catalyst to the outcome of the game. “As soon as this asshole in the green shirt came into the room, we started losing. Maybe we should kill him.”
Being a sports fan, like romance, is deeply romantic. And like deep romance, it comes with gnawing heartbreak.
In my adult life, I’ve experienced three deeply painful sports losses. All of them college football. College football, in particular is subject to the most emotive, captivating, and heartbreaking of sports. Fervent college fandomship is developed by two things, geographic and affiliation. You were either born and raised in the town your team is in, or you actually attended the school in question. Those two factors raise the outcome stakes to a much more personal level that can ever be achieved in its professional counterparts. For most small towns, their college football team is the only reason why names like Tuscaloosa, AL; State College, PA; or Eugene, OR are relevant to the rest of the country. For three hours or so, on any given Saturday, thousands of sports fan lend their hearts to the outcome of a specific game. They lend, what is perhaps the most valuable commodity on Earth: time. They lend a few hours of their life to invest in the success and failures of a bunch kids hundreds of miles away.
In 2008, my hometown team, the University of Hawaii Warriors lost to the Georgia Bulldogs in the Sugar Bowl. Actually, loss is an understatement. They were crushed, 41-10 and embarrassed on national television on New Year’s Day. This was my first ever sports induced depression. It pained me in ways only girls pained me before. I watched as Georgia deflated and crushed UH in front of the whole country. This wasn’t just my team losing. This was my home town, my home state. The last home game of the season that year was a 50,000 person sell-out, and while the game, itself, was a miraculous comeback, the thing that resonated with me to this day, wasn’t the touchdowns, or the dramatic defensive stops, it was right before the game, when the stadium, in unison, sang the Hawaii state anthem, Hawaiʻi Ponoʻī’. I’ve never had goosebumps like that before and I definitely have never shed tears watching sports before. The stadium resonated in baritone uniformity, a haunting audible reminder of the sheer power that a game has on people.
When they lost the Sugar Bowl a month later, I felt like the entity of my home was shamed.
On Saturday night, my alma matter, the University of Oregon was edged out by Stanford, crushing our national championship aspirations. The logistics of the game are not particularly important. The implications only hold weight in the sports bubble, but what was most particularly troubling of the defeat was an unfulfilled narrative. College football, like most sports, is slow moving. Change is incremental and the fear of innovation mostly stems from a greedy complacent assurance that fans will always pay to watch games. College football begins and ends in the south, and it’s been that way since the beginning.
The culture and politics of the south also don’t change. It’s a place that harkens to a different time in America. The protestant work ethic, a “culture of honor”, and the unequivocal dedication to God and football, those two probably used more interchangeably than imaginable. Oregon was looked as the crux of change, a non-traditional, aesthetically-driven team, who’s style of play happened to be entertaining. It was never designed to be fun to watch, it was designed to take advantage of the stagnation of traditional college football. The stage was set for a media field day between the sports thinking of yesterday and the vision of tomorrow. Oregon, the flash finesse team vs. between a southern/midwest powerhouse.
Sports represents things we can quantify. The celebration of emotion and competition, and a very, very distinct line between success and failure. We live vicariously through the teams we follow because it gives us hard evidence that we can measure as a community — on that given day, my community was better than yours. My values, everything I stand for, and everything that had made me who I am, is better than yours. And then when you’re on the opposite side of that, it sucks.
This is the day in the life of a fire lookout. Not much happens. And that’s what’s amazing. Because, life happens in the space between life happening. And it look’s the same. The only difference is the vantage point from which you view it from.
The irony of being a writer, is that most writing comes out as anecdotal, people focus on the opinion of the writer, as elevated, as somewhat more wise. We look to writers for advice on how to become an overnight millionaire, what the best sushi on the west side is, or how to live vicariously through someone who can deal with loneliness better than we can. But, most of the time, writers write to work things out. Writers are selfish because they think everyone wants to know how they process information.
I possess a very small amount more information about life than any other person my age does. What I am hoping to do, and the best metaphor that I can think of is, observing life and putting a different filter on it.
How many writers write about how writers should write because they can’t think of anything else to write?
Minus my daily tirades on Twitter about my disapproval of Los Angeles, I have done some fairly interesting things in the three weeks I have been here. Here are the three things that I have done, in pretty random order.
1) Consolidated my two Apple IDs into one. firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com were getting pretty confusing. I had iTunes match on gmail and iCloud on .me. Shit was a mess. I got it cleared up though, and will generally be avoiding any sort of shingles relapse.
2) Complained about living in LA. I’m not sure what the minimum nights spent in the city is before you can start bemoaning the 405 parking lot or for that matter, actually trying to park your car, which is about a four hour excursion to find an open spot and then read the six different “no parking” signs. No parking on Tuesdays due to street cleaning. No parking from 8 AM - 4 PM on every other full moon. No parking if you’re driving a 1993 Honda Civic.
3) Realized that “living in LA” doesn’t mean “living in LA.” Oh, so what you’re saying is that it’ll take an hour for me to go ten miles? Oh, and then when we try to see this band on a Tuesday night it’ll be sold out? Okay, well, how about we just go to the bar across the street? Oh, right, I guess we should only have half a beer because I have to drive back to Inglewood.
SUPER SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH
139 MILLION RESULTS
21 MILLION RESULTS.
I have a couple unequivocal mantras that I live my life by. One of them is to always double and triple check the recipient of a sext. One of the biggest fears in my life is to send a suggestive message to someone that happens to share the same first name as the person I’m trying to send it to. Or my Mom.
The second is the “best of both worlds” lifestyle. Or what I commonly refer to as the “Hannah Montana.” Other appropriate usages are “That’s so Hannah, “Hannah swag,” or the very verbose, “That’s some Hannah Montana shit”
During the day, she is Miley Stewart, a regular, average American teenage girl. But, unbeknownst to her friends, she moonlights as Hannah Montana, international popstar.
You can see how refreshing this lifestyle can be. You never get bored, you deal only in the positives of each life and if you don’t want to answer your friend’s text messages, you can easily slip into your alter ego.
Think of the best of both worlds lifestyle as a contemporary yin-yang. A great example of something that’s Hannah Montana is gummy vitamins. It’s a gummy bear. It’s a vitamin. Combined. Not only do you get to chew on a sweet green haribo, you’re also fighting off scurvy. The best of both worlds.
Other things that are the best of both worlds:
Catdog. (Thanks Bjorn)
This jar of half peanut butter, half jelly.
WHICH LEADS ME TO MY ULTIMATE CONCLUSION. THE ULTIMATE HANNAH MONTANA.
THE US WOMEN’S SOCCER TEAM SINGING ‘PARTY IN THE USA’ BY HANNAH MONTANA.
I’m not even sure how this happened. It’s so surreal. It’s absolutely sickening. I love the US Women’s Soccer Team. I love Hannah Montana. I sing ‘Party in the USA’ at karaoke.They combined the three. Sick.
HANNAH MONTANA x PARTY IN THE USA x CASUALLY DRESSED ALEX MORGAN x CASUALLY DRESSED SYDNEY LEROUX x MEGAN RAPINOE LOOKING CHILL AF
Gold medals on Thursday. Beat Japan.
Maroney’s death stare is the same for all her occasions. Nail the greatest vault in Olympic gymnastic history? Haughty gaze. Watch Sandra Isbasa celebrate her stealing the gold medal, a foot away? Haughty gaze.
Coach Kryzewski doesn’t get mad too often. His much heralded Duke-ball is perfect for Team USA. Play lock down defense, and you can pretty much do whatever you want on offense, as long as it involves four guys standing behind the arc, waiting for a slasher to dish them the ball. But sometimes, Russel Westbrook gambles on a Luis Scola pick and roll and then launches a contested fifteen foot jump shot, four seconds into the shot clock.
Guilty. Like, the aforementioned demographic, I fell in love with #13 during the US Women Soccer team’s World Cup Run. She seems like a normal, above-average, sorority girl who would’t talk to me in the bar, DESPITE being in two different classes together. Here are the reasons why I think we should date:
1) HER HEIGHT.
She’s listed at 5’7”. I am listed at 5’ 7”. However, everyone knows that athletes and the people who put these stat cards together are pretty liberal with height. Sometimes, even giving them two extra inches. If we assume this assumption is true, Alex is around 5’5”, which gives me just enough over her, and if anyone photographed us together, say out at a Friday night happy hour, we’d look like the traditional male is taller than the female relationship. And, I am a very traditional guy.
2) HER PINK HEADBAND
Does anything say ‘sorority girl next door’ more than her headband? Nothing says #chillinwithnomakeup on better than a pack of Goody four pack one-inch headbands from Target. It says, “I played soccer in high school, but we lost during states.” Or it might say, “As soon as I’m done with class, I’m going to go do forty-five minutes of cardio,” or my favorite, “I woke up at my boyfriends house, I’m going right back after this.”
3) SHE WENT TO CAL
Alex Morgan went to the University of California. I went to the University of Oregon. Can someone say “house divided?” We could make annual trips to whichever school is hosting the football game that year. Berkeley in fall 2012, Eugene in 2013. It’d be a heated rivalry, but a difference that ultimately makes our relationship stronger. Every Saturday, it’d be a clash of blue and gold and green and yellow. We’d agree on our mutual hate for Stanford and USC. We’d both talk about the “glory days” of our basketball teams. Our kids, (one girl and one boy) would be just as torn, brainwashed to partiality of the two greatest schools in the Pac-12.
4) SHE CARES ABOUT PHYSICAL FITNESS
5) THIS PICTURE
This one confuses me. But, I’m into it. One, what’s going on with her Christmas tree? The spacing of those ornaments are, frankly, awful. It looks like what happens when you’re eight and get really excited to decorate the tree, but since you have the attention span of an eight-year-old, you put in about four minutes of actual work, leaving behind a trail of tiny elves and babies first Christmas stuff. Second, why is she wearing a beanie with her soccer uniform on? Wearing a beanie, one could infer that it’s cold. Wearing shorts, one could infer that it’s warm. Vexing — like a long-sleeve Hawaiian shirt. Three, what’s the cat looking at?
During the ninety minutes, I took to write this, Alex Morgan did her best Paul Piece impression, feigned an injury, and came back to score two goals on France, in the first official Olympic game. She’s a patriot. And I love her.