Saturday, August 4, 2012

Olympics


Something bizarre is happening for the next few days. I get my house to myself. Completely to myself. The 'rents are going out of town, which isn't that rare of an occurrence. But when they leave I'm usually in charge of the dogs which can feel like a full time job. Walk 'em, feed 'em, walk 'em again and again and again, feed 'em.

Don't get me wrong, I lurve my dogs. But man can they be exhausting. The little one sleeps on my lap as I type at the kitchen table. If I try to put her down, she'll bark at me. Yes, she's spoiled. This is probably my fault. And by probably I mean definitely. The bigger dog (40 lb shepherd mix thing that likes to herd strangers when they come into the house) sleeps on my bed during the day. He's not supposed to sleep on my bed, what with the 4 dog beds scattered throughout the house, a couch he's allowed on, and parents beds to sleep on. But he does it anyway.

So this time when my parents are gone for three days, the dogs are going to the dog hotel. (Real thing.) No getting up at 6 to take them out. No...nothing.

My house is gonna be like Project X for three days. Except not at all because I don't like people. I might go see Beasts of The Southern Wild finally. I have plans to see one of my all time favorite movies, that is never replicated in my life, Sixteen Candles, at film night in the park on Saturday night. And I do plan on watching all the Olympics. Like watch the super tape delayed West Coast "simulcast" of the days events in prime time and then just stay awake 'til events start again at 2 a.m. my time amount of Olympic watching. (Which I did Friday night after being sidetracked by a hangover.)

(Here's where we take an abrupt left turn on me writing about being home alone and delve into the Olympics because I have SO MANY QUESTIONS.)



Do you love the Olympics? I LOVE the Olympics. This is a completely unsurprising admission, considering how easily I get sucked into sports. In particular I love the cross country equestrian event, which has already happened, and rowing. The cross country you should watch. It is a 10 minute gallop through a themed jumping course on really expensive horses. One of the LSU bloggers pointed out, it is both the most egalitarian and most elitist of the Olympic sports. As someone who grew up horse crazy and hopes to someday maybe actually take riding up, it speaks to me in all its absurdity.

The rowing love is a prep school carry over because I was once a half ass rower (meaning I never raced and was not very good but my high school has some Olympic medal pedigree so every four years I follow the sport). Considering I am incredibly ungraceful and uncoordinated, the simple 1-2-3-4 movement of catch to knees to sternum to catch movement is something even I can do, making rowing perfect for me. LSU also had a club crew team that I ended up the VP of on accident but I mostly got stuck as cox as the only one on the team with any rowing experience. I should never ever ever be dead weight in a boat so this was high comedy. Also: the rudder was broken making me an even more ineffective cox. (Not a drunk guy joke, but could be.)

I've also picked up a men's water polo habit and I'd be lying if I said this wasn't based almost solely on how freaking hot those guys are. I feel bad about this. But only a little. It's also being announced by noted hockey announcer Doc Emmerick which is funny because he's basically treating it like it's ice hockey but the ice melted. If I close my eyes and just listen, I wouldn't know if he was talking hockey or water polo. Love you, Doc!

And can we talk about how accents arise for a second? Why do water polo, swimmer, and beach volleyball bros all have this mumbly Southern California accent that almost sounds like they are from Texas? This one beach volleyball player was being interviewed and I would have bet money on his drawly speak being a Texas thing. Nope. Huntington Beach. He was not the first person I made this mistake with. I assumed Ryan Lochte, in all his adorable douche glory, was a lifelong Floridian. Instead I find out his early years were spent in Rochester, NY (though looks like most of his formative ones were in FL so...maybe his mumble speak makes sense?). It's like the way native New Orleanians have this weird Bronx sounding accent. (My college roommate, another Californian, and I would get really drunk and start speaking with a New Orleans accent and I always said it was just doing a Bronx accent but added "y'all". Cajun accents, however, are an entirely different beast and unless you've done some serious studying are nearly impossible to replicate. When my Cajun friends would get drunk I wouldn't have the first clue as to what they were saying.) Anyway, this California bro speak had me worried about how my own Californian accent sounded, and while I do have that tick of using "like" too much (though not THAT much), I think it's a definite Southern California thing and hopefully I'm more articulate. I'm just really curious about how things morph like that, that Californians end up sounding like Texans.

I am additionally going to go out on a limb here and say I thoroughly enjoyed the opening ceremonies. Not the Matt Lauer and Bob Costas talking over it part but I'm totally with the history of England via interpretive dance and thumping vaguely 90s inspirational music with an army of Mary Poppins. And that they played Prodigy's Firestarter in front of the Queen. I kind of wish they'd had the balls to go with "Smack My Bitch Up" but Firestarter was still bold. And Daniel Craig with the Queen. And Daniel Craig.

Then I started thinking about the Olympic experience and found myself having all sorts of random questions.

We know what the Olympics is like for the athletes: they get to stay in dorms and all hook up with other likewise super gorgeous athletes. Of which I am completely jealous and am considering taking up shooting because there is no way I can't be good at that, right? (I've now watched shooting and it's nowhere near as cool as I thought it was in my head and I need an alternative plan.) Then I can go to the Olympics and at least observe the mating rituals of highly motivated, incredibly good looking people.

But what about the parents? Jordyn Wieber's mom was shown in the stands during her Olympic competition in all her mom looking glory (seriously, she looks like a MOM) and she seemed to be, at least during team finals, surrounded by friends. So is she renting some mom house somewhere, like Carmela Soprano did that time she went to France with the other mob wives? The Raisman's, who are HYSTERICAL, are with their non elite gymnast kids. Where are they staying?

And where do journalists stay? There are 200+ countries represented at the Olympics. There are some 16k athletes. So where do you put press covering all that? If you're with the NYT and NBC do you get to stay at the Ritz? But like our local guy is there (I don't know why. The shitty local news reports on Bay Area tie ins are terrible and the fact that I even end up watching local news when I'd rather just read Yahoo! coverage of the stuff is beyond me), so does he stay at some awful 2 star hotel? Because there has got to be as much press there as there are athletes. I want to hear stories about roach infested motels and horrible Cockney accents that you can't understand! I want to know about these press busses taking people everywhere and how that works and is it hot/cold and is the food terrible?

And what about the city life generally? Is it impossible to get a decent dinner? Do you even have time between all the myriad events? Are the pubs packed? If you have any links to wacky posts about "Joe Smith of Omaha goes to London, has experiences!" let me know because I seem to have missed them.

Who gets to go to the actual games? Like, the opening ceremony is a giant production, right? And the stadium holds 65k, I think. A lot of that has to be dignitaries and rich people, correct? I can't imagine what tickets to something like that go for if you were just a casual person, not a corporate sponsor. Let alone if you want one of 16k seats to a swimming event. A good section of which is taken up with those makeshift press tables at almost every event I've seen. How do you get tickets? What do they cost? And the parents have to pay for actual seats, right? How do you make sure you get into your kids events? I want to know what the average idiot's Olympic experience is like.

I was under the impression that going to London this year would be a nightmare of high prices and packed hotels and too many people (ugh, people) and long lines. But apparently in an Olympic year this is an incredibly faulty assumption. No one is going there because they hold the same assumption I do? I find this interesting. It also makes me want to hop a plane and hang out in pubs and flirt with foreigners. Which is what I want to do on pretty much every random Wednesday ever so...

And what about the sheer logistics of it? I know how our police department works and how road closures are done. It's a train wreck. I can't imagine having half of London marked off for various events. I know the average Londoner has been complaining about all the traffic, but how do you even keep track of what is closed when and where? I'd constantly forget. Hell, I drove through the middle of Giants traffic like an idiot a week ago and I follow that team.

Is security just absurd? The royals are all over the city and you don't see snipers but there have to be snipers, right? I'm just perplexed by the sheer planning and execution of this. It's mind boggling and overwhelming. And I imagine if we did this, the money grabbing and mismanagement of it all, and I don't even doubt why the IOC didn't grant the US any recent games. We'd never pull this off. Though imagining the coverage and how SF would look has me wishing we would get it. The resources of the Bay Area for the games? Someone get Mark Zuckerburg or the Google guys to underwrite this.

Oh, also, I don't know if he's that sympathetic of a sports figure, I'm not sure he has to be because when you're that dedicated and focused, it may be hard to be the nice, but Michael freaking Phelps, y'all!

Final thought: there is a male French swimmer with a bad tramp stamp tattoo and another, different, male French swimmer with a big obnoxious tongue ring. It's still 1999 in France apparently. Is this horrifying or hysterical? Or both?

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