Category Archives: General

The Beautiful Game

Soccer, football (whatever you want to call it) has often been called the beautiful game, but for the vast majority of Americans, the only exposure they get to it is every four years for the World Cup. Americans of all ages dutifully wear their red, white, and blue, pack viewing parties, and cheer on their patriots who take the field pitch like good citizens. Not going to lie – I’m that way too. But I was intrigued by this year’s World Cup, and was determined to continue watching football to learn more about the game.

I’ve caught a handful of games here and there — some MLS games, a English Premier League game that comes on ESPN, and two FC Bayern Munich games. My early takeaway is this:

The football we see at the World Cup is actually like amateur league compared to club football. 

I was astonished. Gone are the injury histrionics that American sports fans despise seeing at the World Cup (though I haven’t watched any Spanish, French, or Italian league games yet….). The passing is much more elaborate, crisp, and fast, The offensive sets are more creative, daring, and aggressive. The overall speed of the game is faster, making it seem that the players were all on “turbo” mode.

I asked my two friends who know a lot more about football than I do: Melih & John. Melih wisely pointed out that club teams play and practice together for years versus just a few times a year for national teams. They can be a lot more aggressive when playing with familiar teammates. John, who I can always count on for the wry, salient observation, said simply:

It’s amazing what people will do for their country.
It’s more amazing what people will do for $40 million a year.

You can catch English Premier League games and extended highlights on ESPN2. The WatchESPN app (for Apple TV, iOS) has a huge variety of games from the international leagues that are free to watch too. Since I took some German in high school and wanted to get some more likely-World-Cup players, I’ve picked FC Bayern Munich as a team to follow. Yes, they have a lot of World Cup Champions on their team. Yes, they won the Champions League last year. Yes, they have boatloads of money and are like the NY Yankees in the Bundesliga. But it’s a bit easier following a team that big from thousands of miles away.

The Apple Watch

Last week, Apple unveiled the Apple Watch. This long rumoured device represents a completely new product category for the company, and is its first entry into the growing field of wearable technology.

s1_charging

I’m so thrilled and proud of my friends & colleagues at Apple who have spent last couple of years working hard to make these remarkable products a reality. There is still work left to do as the Apple Watch won’t ship until early next year, but all glory goes to the folks that ship it.

I’m just happy to have played a small role in the Apple Watch’s early development, and to have helped develop the wonderful the hardware team behind it.

 

Music: Bridges by BROODS

This is a song that pops up frequently on my Pandora stations (seeds: Bonobo, Tycho, Washed Out) and always makes me pause and ask “what’s this song, again?” It’s Bridges, by New Zealand-based sibling duo BROODS.

There is a little Frou Frou here, but with a more contemporary chillwave air to it. Part of me knows that this song doesn’t come across as a fully formed idea, but the other part of me doesn’t care ( like Generator First Floor, by Freelance Whales).

Running Again

My running shoes have come out of hibernation, and it feels good. Chrissy is working her way through a 5k training program, and I’m joining her for support & to get myself back into shape.

Our new place makes this quite nice, with flat roads and an ocean cliffside path just blocks from our home. We’re doing three runs a week, building up distance. I’m using MapMyFitness this time to track the runs, but also have Strava going in the background. Apparently all the cool kids use Strava, but it definitely seems more oriented towards bike riding instead of running. Both MapMyFitness and Strava offer a premium app experience with more advanced features, but at the tune of $30/yr and $60/yr respectively, seem pricey for a beginner casual runner like me. However, Strava’s basic app does do heart rate tracking, which is interesting to see.

One thing I’ve noticed is that MapMyRun and Strava differ greatly on their calorie burned numbers. My entered height and weight is same, and the apps match up well in mileage, total time, and average pace. But Strava consistently reports a number almost 75 to 100kCal higher than MapMyFitness. Given that so far it claims I’m burning ~300 kCal each workout, this is a pretty large error. Honestly, I know these numbers are just gross ballpark figures, but it’s an insight into each apps’s calorie algorithms. While each app has my heart rate information available, neither one actually uses that data.

Silly technological analytics aside, all this brings back good feelings (endorphin highs!) that I remember during my half marathon training in 2011.  What’s important isn’t the fancy quantified tracking or calorie tracking. it’s feeling healthy, being out in nature, exploring new areas on foot. I want to get back to where I run a 5k every day. Now, Chrissy has already mentioned a 10k training program, so let’s see where this goes.

 

Music: Slyvan Esso

Latest album I can’t stop listening to are newcomers Slyvan Esso, a duo out of Durham, NC. While acknowledging that genres don’t break cleanly when you realm into the indie land, I suppose this would fall into electropop, but more on the lines of Poliça instead of CHVRCHES.

This music is restrained, shifting, sensual. Their breakout single, “Coffee”, illustrates this quite well. The combination of Amelia Meath’s vocals (of Mountain Men) over Nick Sanborn’s beats (of Megafaun) is pleasing, creative, and multilayered.

Check out of their songs:

Listen to this

My friend Brock Winstead has started a podcast! The Eastern Shore is broadcasted every Monday afternoon from 2-4pm on BFF.fm. , and is about all things in the East Bay.

This is Brock’s first real try at running a podcast, and it’s remarkable how far he’s come in a short time. He’s got a natural voice for radio :)

The variety of topics is also great — Brock has covered topics ranging from surveillance & privacy, the burgeoning restaurant scene, urban agriculture, bus rapid transit, and the contentious topic of baseball.

http://theeasternshore.podbean.com/