Wednesday, June 28, 2006

One sick day...

I had to call in sick yesterday because I had LBM coupled with an intense pain in my stomach. So, with nothing to do all day (halleluiah!), I decided to watch all the DVDs I bought over the past few weeks which somehow got ignored with all of the deadlines and reports I had to do at the office.

First off, I decided to watch “Failure to Launch” starring Sarah Jessica Parker (“SJP”) and Matthew McConaughey. It was just a so-so movie. There were even some corny moments especially when the crowd was cheering Matthew on while he was trying to patch things up with SJP (they were viewing the scene in a laptop connected to several webcams in the room where Matthew and SJP was). It was like a scene out of the 80’s. I definitely wouldn’t watch this movie again.

Ok. I hoped the next one would be better. So, I popped in “Date Movie” starring Alyson Hannigan (of the American Pie series) and Adam Campbell. Omigod…this was even worse. I wasn’t even able to watch the whole movie since it was so boring that I slept through most of it. (Zzzzzz……)

Since I did not have much success in this area, I surrendered. I didn’t think the rest of the DVDs would make me feel better. So I decided to channel-surf instead and see what’s happening on the boob tube.

I suddenly remembered, it was Day 2 of the Wimbledon Championships. I got excited. There’s something about watching tennis players slugging it out in the nice green courts of Wimbledon which soothes me. I prefer it over the red clay courts of Roland Garros. I learned that most of the scheduled play for Day 1 of Wimbledon was suspended due to the rain. (so what else is new, this happens every year.) Play for Day 2 was also temporarily suspended, however, play resumed as soon as the rain stopped. I really pity the players who would just sit there all day waiting for the rain to stop. I hear there’s talk of putting a roof over the Centre Court….finally!

I just love hearing the British accent of the commentator with their quirky slangs. (“Kim Clijsters is in the doldrums.”) And the umpire is very courteous. (“Mrs. Henin-Hardenne to serve.”) The fact that Wimbledon is steeped in tradition never ceases to amaze me. I love watching the lady players curtsy especially when there are royals watching.

It was also nice to see the comeback of Martina Hingis in Wimbledon. She holds the record for being the youngest tennis player to win the Wimbledon championships in 1997. I think that the semi-retirement of Hingis gave her a more thorough appreciation of the game. I always thought that she was too young to appreciate her status then. (Who can forget her face full of tears when she lost to Steffi Graf during one of the Championships at Roland Garros.) She really has matured and has become one of my favorites, along with Justine Henin-Hardenne.

I also learned that this is going to be the last tournament of Andre Agassi as he is set to retire after the Wimbledon. It really is the end of an era. I hope that Agassi wins the tournament, the same way Sampras won the U.S. Open when he retired, just about the time Bridgette Wilson Sampras was carrying their first child. What a way to end a career. But let’s not forget that Roger Federer is on a roll. Who can beat him on grass? I don’t think that his nemesis, Rafael Nadal, can beat him on grass even though Nadal was won majority of their head-to-head matches (which are usually on clay.) The next 2 weeks in Wimbledon will prove to be exciting, so let’s all wait and see.

On the local badminton scene, the JVC tournament held at Powersmash Makati is ongoing. Badminton fanatics are encouraged to watch and cheer their favorite players. Hope to see you all there!

Sunday, June 25, 2006


A friend introduced me to badminton during the summer of 2001. I was hesitant at first because the sport did not seem to be challenging at all. I would often see children on the streets playing “backyard badminton”. Tennis, on the other hand, seemed a lot more prestigious, with all the “Grand Slam” tournaments being televised, having “million-dollar” prizes and famous players landing ridiculously high-priced advertising contracts like Sampras, Hingis, Agassi and Kournikova. (Note: Remember, this was during 2001.) I would often dream of hiking off to England and watching a badminton game during Wimbledon, often considered as the most prestigious of the 4 Grand Slam Tournaments.

During that time, I made the mistake of training for badminton and tennis at the same time. What I lacked in talent, I made up for in enthusiasm. I would play badminton during the week and tennis during weekends. My hand suffered in the process. I had tendinitis on my right hand. Rest was the only cure. I could not play both sports without sacrificing my body and risking further injuries, so I had to choose between the two.

Badminton and tennis are often compared to each other. Players at opposite ends of the court aim to hit a shuttlecock (in the case of badminton) or tennis ball (in the case of tennis) over the net so that it lands inside the marked boundaries of the court, and aim to prevent their opponents from doing the same. However, unlike a tennis ball, the shuttlecock flies with a lot of drag and will not bounce significantly. Badminton is considered as the fastest racquet sports in the world with shuttles reaching speeds of up to 200 mph. Badminton champion Fu Haifeng of China set the official world smash record on 3 June 2005. The actual shuttlecock speed was measured as 332 km/h or 206 mph, faster than the Eurostar train.

The rallies of each point tend to be much longer in badminton than in tennis. This is true even though winning a ‘shutout’ match in badminton requires only winning 42 points (21-0, 21-0, in a Men’s Singles match according to the newest rule set by the International Badminton Federation), whereas in tennis it would require 72 points (6-0, 6-0, 6-0). Badminton can be physically more tiring than tennis as the time between shots can be much shorter (since the players have to hit the shuttle before it bounces, whereas in tennis, the players have to hit the ball before it has bounced twice or hit any fixtures.)

When a shot is played in tennis, the whole of the arm is used in one sweeping action, whereas in badminton, a wide range of motions is employed, from delicate flicks of the wrist and pressing of fingers to full-body smashes and clears. Speed, reaction and endurance are all important to a successful badminton player. From a fitness perspective, a close comparison can be made to squash which also has the same explosive starts. (Courtesy of Wikipedia.)

For personal reasons that will be made clear in future posts, I have chosen to concentrate on playing badminton. I recently cleaned my closet and gave away my tennis rackets to others who will put it to good use. I am not saying that one sport is better than the other. This is all about personal choices, about what kind of sports will fit each individual. After all, variety is the spice of life.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Cameras, anyone?

When, in the middle of a birthday celebration last Sunday, my camera suddenly conked out on me, I decided to give up my fight against digital cameras and join the bandwagon. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for digital stuff and technology and gadgets to make my life easier. It's just that I bought this Canon Ixus (film) camera at a ridiculously high price several years ago, just before digital cameras suddenly became en vogue, so in order to keep my sanity, I had to convince myself several times that film cameras are so much better than digital cameras.

But not anymore. With my film camera out of commission, I suddenly had a reason to buy a new camera. And yes, of course, digital is the only way to go.

So, last night, with much nudging and persuasion, hubby grudgingly accompanied me to Park Square in Makati in order to browse through the different digital cameras that are available in the market. Whew! It was definitely tough! The selection of digital cameras are wide and choosing one depends largely on the needs of the user. My main concerns are battery life (I want lithium ion ones, however they belong to a higher price category, way out of my league) and reasonable megapixels (although photography is not my main source of livelihood, I want to make sure that I could use it for years to come and the prints will still turn out good, so 2 MPs were definitely out of the picture).

Here are some cameras available:

… and more cameras….

With all of these cameras staring at me, I suddenly panicked. So, hubby advised me to wait one more week, just browse around the malls and surf the net, before deciding on what camera to buy. Ok, ok, I agreed. It didn't help too that a $^%$^% saleslady was very rude to us. We asked her if a certain brand is available on installment basis and she ignored us. I was pretty sure she heard us and we repeated our question twice. We stormed out of there without waiting for the answer to our question. That serves her right! (as if the saleslady cares)

So now, I'm still surfing the net, looking for previews of the brands and models that are within my price range. Hopefully, I get to make my final choice this weekend.