Friday, September 28, 2012

Matchday 28 and Terrible Boredom

I’m finally back.  I would post more like I did when I was in Sweden, but there is truly nothing to talk about most of the time.  People wouldn’t think that a professional athlete’s life would be boring, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so bored in my entire life.  I can’t even do extra workouts because I’ve been specifically instructed by Juha to stop that so that I’m fully ready to play when called upon.  Speaking of Juha…

 

As soon as my post went up last week, I looked at the tv and Juha was on the screen analyzing a Champions League game between Manchester City and Real Madrid.  It was ironic because I spent most of that post talking about how nothing interesting ever happened.  I’d tell you what he said, but I have no idea because I don’t speak a word of Finnish and because the tv was muted.  That’s just how I watch tv here.

 

Fast forward to now, and things are better than before for me personally.  Not good per se, but better.  I played in the last game, albeit only for a few minutes at the very end.  I only touched the ball once, and that was to win a 50/50 ball that we didn’t keep.  I didn’t even have enough time to break a sweat.  It’s for sure better than not playing though.  Unfortunately, we lost the game 1-0 and now sit at the bottom of the table since the team previously behind us won.  Once again we played well, but we just didn’t get the results.  I have my ideas on how to improve things, but they’re not really important because no one listens to me anyway.  Maybe one day I’ll reveal my secret formula for success!

Me slightly happier than before.
 

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That was the ‘Line of Relevance’

 

Everything above it has at least some relevance, everything else I’m about to write isn’t relevant to anything.

 

Today I did absolutely nothing.  It was a day off for the team and those are the worst days for me.  They drag on forever and I spend most of them just at home.  Today was no different.  In fact, I didn’t even leave my place today.  Normally on off days I go for a run, but the instruction from Juha means that I’m not doing any extra running of any kind.  I barely even ate today.  I’ve just been sitting in my living room playing PS3 and surfing the internet all day.  I downloaded and watched Prometheus, and I wasn’t impressed.

 

Times like these make me really miss living in America.  While of course I had times where I was really bored in America, I always had something to do.  Baltimore (and more specifically Towson, MD) was fun and exciting and Harrisburg had a few things to do as well.  I also had a lot more in common with my US teammates than I do with the guys here or in Sweden.  I miss watching college football on Saturday afternoons on TV.  Now I can still watch games, but only on a crappy internet stream and at 8 o’clock at night.  It’s just not as fun.

 

Another thing that sucks about being abroad is that all my friends from back home are going forward with their lives.  One of my good friends is getting married this weekend and I literally didn’t even know.  I’m terrible at keeping in touch with people back home and finding out about this wedding just kind of hammered that point home to me.  I knew he was engaged at least.  But it just sucks that I’m not going to be able to be there and show my support.  If I lived in say, Philadelphia, I’d be on a plane right now to go to the wedding.  Instead, I’m sitting in total boredom in small town Finland.  I knew what I was getting into when I left America though.  Most of the stresses I’ve gone through were fully known before I ever set foot in Europe.

 

Oh yeah before I go I have a quick question.  My house has been really cold on some of the colder days we’ve had here in Valkeakoski.  Does anyone know how to work the radiators?  It seems like it should be really simple since it’s just one knob, but I’ve turned them all to different points and none of them have any heat at all.  I just assume that there is some sort of central radiator and it’s not turned on yet or something?  I’m only living here for a month more, but I don’t want to spend that month freezing my ass off.  Hopefully someone has the answers!
 
 
The meme:

Monday, September 24, 2012

Sad Black Guy in Suomi

I am not happy right now.

 

Actually, that’s not quite true.  Let me rephrase:  I am really fucking unhappy right now.

 

The last week has been absolutely miserable for me for many reasons, a couple of which I will talk about and a couple that I simply can’t put in this blog.  I value things that I’ve worked hard for and wouldn’t want to destroy them with a few frustrated words.  If you want gossip, get a People magazine.  If you want the hard truth about being a foreigner and having an absolutely terrible time trying to chase his dream in Europe, then I’ve got just the post for you.

 

Before I begin, let me say for full disclosure that I did not get into the last game, a 0-0 draw with Jaro.  It was a game we honestly needed to win and certainly should have won.  Jaro got a red card with about 20 minutes or so left and after that they didn’t even attempt to attack.  Once the red card happened we needed to have a sense of urgency to win the game, but also remember to work for good chances.  We did neither.  I just wanted to mention that I didn’t play last night so if you want to think that what I’ll say going forward is just sour grapes, then you have every right to believe what you want.

 

Let me also say that I have no interest in attacking any players on this blog.  I generally like this team, though not half as much as I liked the guys on my team in Sweden.  Part of that is that I was with the Swedish team on a preseason trip to Turkey.  I got a chance to really start to bond with some players in Turkey who otherwise I would never have spoken to outside of trainings.  Here, I don’t speak with over half the players beyond a simple, “Moi” when I arrive.  That’s not to say that those guys are bad people; hell, if anything it means that I haven’t made enough effort to reach out to everybody.  But when you’re in a situation like that, it makes the shitty times shittier and the good times not so good. 

 

Anyway in our last match we played Obi and Jonne as our starting wingers (I might do a “Meet FC Haka” sticky page like I did for ESK, but that took a long time to do.  I dunno if I want to do another one.).  I really like Obi and Jonne.  No one on this team understands my style or plays with me more comfortably than Obi.  Jonne has proven himself to be a very important attacking player in our team and he deserves to start every game.  They both are also really nice to me and all-around great guys.  I wish my teammates nothing but the best.  But Obi and Jonne are strikers.  They live to score goals.  They are both good at creating goals, but from the position of the middle of the field, not the sides.  As a result, our team played against Jaro with very little width.  That was ok, because we pretty much lined up to play that way.  It wasn’t necessarily the plan, but we all knew that Obi and Jonne would drift to the middle and we encouraged it.  I have no problem with Obi and Jonne (or Claudio or Juha Pirinen) starting, that’s not my problem.  I’ll get to that in a bit.

Before that though honestly...how adorable is my niece?  If you don't think this is the cutest thing ever, then go jump off a bridge because you are incapable of feeling.
 

Like I mentioned earlier, Jaro got a red card late on and essentially decided to bunker in and play for a draw.  For the next 10 minutes, I watched as we pushed wave after wave of attack in the same style:  We’d get the ball to the fullback or defensive midfielder, and he’d play a deep ball into the box.  Now, both of Jaro’s center backs are about 6’ 3”, 210lbs.  These guys aren’t gonna be beat by a 40-50 yards cross.  In fact, we were probably just adding time to their highlight tapes by playing those balls that they powered out of the box almost every time.  And that leads to my problem.

 

If I have any role on this team, it’s to stretch defenses.  I’m not on the team for my passing ability.  I’m not on the team for my amazing touch on the ball.  I’m not on the team for my defending.  I’m not on the team for my good looks (though honestly, that should be enough for a contractJ).  My point is that I’m on this team for a very specific purpose.  Specific enough that I understand (even if I’m not happy) if I don’t play every game.  If ever a defense needed to be stretched, it was last night against Jaro.  They were effectively playing 5-4-0 for the last ten minutes of the match.  Yet the tendency of our team was to play through the middle all the time.  In my humble opinion, if I had been given 5-10 minutes, I could have caused Jaro problems by getting all the way wide and putting pressure on Jaro to defend the wide areas behind their defense.  Even if I didn’t put in the killer cross to win the game, a few runs from me behind would make the Jaro defenders wary and possibly open up the gaps in the middle we were looking for.  As it was, we could still be playing and probably not have scored the way we were playing.  Not that we played poorly; We actually played quite well overall, but our inflexibility in attack meant that we never looked like scoring from a passing move.  In fact, we had 3-4 good chances to score.  One was from a corner kick, one was from a 2nd ball after a cross came in on the floor (the only cross on the floor of the whole game) and one was from our fullback shooting from distance.

 

To be clear, I’m in no way saying “Bench so-and-so and put me in.”  I’m not saying that.  What I’m saying is that for a player like me, one who has a very defined and specific role, it is very disappointing and disheartening to not be used when that very specific situation arises in a match.  I’m not even saying that I should have come in for a winger.  I could have come on for any of the six defensive-minded we had in to deal with a non-existent attacking threat at the end.  I would have played as a winger, but that doesn’t mean that in this situation I had to come on for the person playing winger at the time.

 

All this has led me to come to a very somber conclusion that I have no reason to doubt: the staff does not think that I have the ability to help Haka avoid relegation.  There are other possible explanations, but that seems the most likely at the moment.  It’s not like I’m the only person in the squad in that position.  I won’t names but you can look at the roster and see the names of players who haven’t been used and make your own conclusions.  Most likely not everyone will be used down the stretch.  That’s just the nature of soccer.  There are only three subs so you have to play your best team pretty much every week to be competitive.  This conclusion makes me very upset and even angry, but I am a professional and I will be ready and willing if and when the staff decides they need me.  It might be Wednesday at MYPA or it might not be until the final minute of the final match.  Regardless of when I get another chance I’ll be ready, just like I was ready last night if I had been called upon.

 

The last thing I’ll mention (I planned to talk about other stuff, but this point went on much longer than I anticipated) is that I absolutely do not think that I’m being treated unfairly or with any malice.  I know that the staff is doing only what they think gives the club the best chance to win.  I have never felt that there is anything personal keeping me off the field or down the pecking order.  If I was the best player but the coach hated me, I would still start every game.  I think that Juha likes me in fact, he just thought yesterday that subbing me in (or Topi, Sasa, Juuso or Pauli) wasn’t the best way to win the game.  I obviously don’t agree with that sentiment.  But Juha’s been brought in because he is a top-level coach and has proven himself multiple times over.  And no one’s ever asked me to coach a team, so what do I know? J

 

This was a depressing post, so I’m gonna put up two memes today.  Try and lift the spirits a bit!

 

 

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Nothing To Say...

Hello friends!

 
I call you all friends based solely on the fact that you’ve taken the time to listen to what I have to say.  Most of my real life friends won’t even do that, so congrats!  You’re in the Circle of Trust!

 
I’ll be honest today and save busy people the time: I have literally nothing to talk about.  I’m going to talk about mostly the trainings that we’ve done this week, both team and individual, but it’s probably not going to interest you.  I just feel like if people take the time to check my page, then I should update it frequently.  Who knows, maybe you’ll be entertained.  Or, perhaps more likely, you’ll thank me for giving you five more minutes of procrastinating/bs’ing on the internet.  For those people, you’re welcome.  If I can stop you from doing your job productively, then that means that I’ve done my job.  I’m like a walking, talking anti-productivity machine.

 
The last time I posted here it was mainly to criticize my own performance and vow to do better.  In that spirit, I along with Nana and Kris have been doing individual training every day. (If you don’t know who those people are, then become a FC Haka fan!  Or just don’t worry about it cuz if you don’t cheer for Haka these people won’t matter to you anyway.)  We’ve been doing a lot of lifting and extra running just to make sure that we are at our peak physically.  Once we get the physical part, we’re going to spend the rest of the season getting as sharp technically as possible.  But that’s all for another post.  What I’ll talk about is the sessions we’ve done so far and the effect it’s had on me.

 
We’ve been at this extra workout thing for about two weeks now, and I can already feel the difference.  In fact, today we ran the same workout more or less that we did last week and my results were so much stronger than just a week ago.  I’m a running machine!  We’ve also been working out in the weight room and that’s showing as well.  I’ve become the black Incredible Hulk J.  If you live in Valkeakoski and you’re lucky you might see me lifting cars!

 
We’ve had a couple of team trainings since the game against Mariehaim (I have no idea how to spell that nor will I take the 30 seconds it would take to find out).  They’ve gone well, and you can tell the mood of the team is better having ended our losing run and actually played a good game.  I won’t tell you about most of the time in training as it would bore you to tears, but I will tell the inspirational story of a 4v4 team that worked its way from nothing to become the champions of today’s practice.

 
This inspirational team, the Green Team, consisted of Topi Jarvi, Obi Metzger, Juuso Salonen and me.  We certainly weren’t fancied to come out on top, but we did it!  I likened us to the Champions League winners Chelsea FC.  We had the grizzly veteran defender (John Terry) in Juuso, the young upstart winger (Juan Mata) in Topi, the overrated fast guy who is inexplicably on the team but scores a goal in the semifinal (Ramires) in me, and the African striker (Didier Drogba) who plays the hero in Obi.  See, the comparison actually came together better than you though, huh?  Well anyway we shocked the world, or at least the people at an obscure training ground in Valkeakoski, and brought home the (mythical) trophy!  We even posed for a team photo afterwards so that the memory of that day would live forever.  Unfortunately there were absolutely no cameras around so I think our amazing victory will be soon forgotten L.

 
That’s literally all I have to say.  I told you there wasn’t much.  I just hope that I was able to distract you from whatever boring thing you were trying to avoid when you came to my page!  If I just made 9-5 feel more like 9-4:55, then to you I say, “glad I could help."  Haha see you all soon!

 
The meme:

Friday, September 14, 2012

Matchday 26: Finally Something Good To Say

Today we played IFK Marieheim and tied 1-1.  I played about 25 minutes and had the worst game of my time in Europe, which is saying something.  I’ll start with my performance, then talk about the game more generally.
 

I don’t know why, but I could not do anything right tonight.  I felt ok all week in training and was even doing extra work outside of training to prepare myself for the match.  I think I may have overdone the physical work because I was very tired during the match.  I only made two or three runs before I felt fatigued.  As a result, I didn’t do what I was put into the game to do which was to stretch the opposition defense and maybe even get a breakaway.  Instead, I spent most of my time receiving balls to my feet and with my back to goal; not exactly my strongest skills.  Even when I made runs behind, they were so uncommon that the player with the ball was surprised I made it and didn’t pass the ball before I was offsides.  To compound my misery, I accidentally blocked a goalbound flick from Kris that may have been the winning goal and I dribbled the ball out of bounds when I thought I was going to get hit but didn’t.  It was just a bad day for me overall.  There was a lone positive about my performance though.  I made a good 60 yard run and got my head on a cross, but the goalkeeper made a great save and I was denied the winning goal.

 
I don’t think I mentioned this before, but we have a new coach.  Not Asko, but a completely new guy whose come in and made a big difference.  You would think that on a blog where I constantly talk about how nothing happens I would have mentioned that, but I guess I didn’t.  Oops.  Anyway, the new coach (Juha is his name.  I don’t even know his last name.) spent the majority of the time I was in the game yelling at me to do what he instructed me to do.  It made me feel really bad about myself, but not because I thought he was wrong or picking on me, but because I knew that he was 100% right.  In Sweden I used to get really pissed when the coach there, Siggi, would scream at me.  But that was because Siggi had crazy energy for the games and would go crazy because he was confined to that little coaches box.  So he would expend energy by screaming whatever popped in his head to everyone one field.  I understood him, but I still hated it.  With Juha he only screams when you’re clearly doing something wrong so naturally you do what he says.  When you can’t do what he says, you feel really badly like I did tonight.  It’s kind of like when you do something wrong and your parents catch you.  What can you say, that they’re wrong?  No you just have to accept whatever is said and improve yourself.  I’ll be working to improve myself so that another performance like tonight is impossible.

 
As for the team, tonight was the best we’ve played since I got here.  We played together and worked for each other and scored a pretty nice goal.  The goalscorer, Claudio Matrone, played really well and deserved to score.  It’s even more impressive when you consider he wasn’t even in the team as of yesterday.  He replaced Jonne Hjelm on the wing and couldn’t have had more than a few hours to mentally prepare to start the game.  The rest of the players were similar with no one playing poorly aside from me.  If we continue to play like we did tonight we will surely avoid relegation.  The only negative I can really think of is that we didn’t go ahead and get the winner.  We had the better of the game and in the situation we’re in, there’s a massive difference between 1 point and 3 points.  Our next game is against FF Jaro and that’s by far the biggest game we’ve had since I arrived.  A win by either team could be devastating to the other.  Knowing a little bit about Jaro from my time there in February, they will come to win the game and it should be wide open since obviously we’ll be playing to win the game as well.  Neither team is interested in a draw I think.  Should be nervy, but fun.

 
That’s all for now.  We will keep working to improve as a team and then go put on a show in our next game.  Only 7 games left and it’s time to see how we perform under pressure!

 
The meme:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Gambling is Fun

Hey everyone.  I don’t have anything whatsoever to talk about soccer-wise.  I mean there is stuff to talk about, I just don’t feel like it.  Instead, I’ve decided to discuss my new habit that is rapidly starting to seem like an addicition.  I’m talking of course about online gambling.

 
Valkeakoski is terribly boring for a person like me.  I know I’ve said it many times before, but I just can’t seem to enjoy the city.  In Enkoping (Sweden, for my new readers)  I at least lived within walking distance to everything so I could take a walk and kill some time.  Here though there’s nothing within walking distance.  And it’s not the same going around town on a bike.  You can’t really enjoy the environment and area when you’re going on a bike.  I’d go on day trips to Helsinki or Tampere, but they are really expensive.  As far as I can tell a return bus ticket to Helsinki would cost a minimum of 40 euros.  In Sweden the Enkoping to Stockholm trip is a similar distance and costs half that.  As a result I haven’t yet visited Helsinki and spend far more time in my apartment than I did in Enkoping.  That is what has made me turn to the dark world of online poker and sports betting.

 
Most people reading won’t know this about me, but I love online poker.  I discovered it in college along with two of my roommates and we played a lot.  In fact, we cheated (too hard to explain how really) and eventually got banned for life from one website, Full Tilt Poker J.  It’s kind of funny now to think of the fact that I’m banned from life from something haha.  Anyway I mostly stopped playing entirely after college and never deposited more than $50 at a time.  It was just a fun thing to do that killed a bunch of time and gave me the possibility of making some money (which I did as a matter of fact).  Before now, I had never done sports betting of any kind.  However, the combination of intense boredom and the terrible influence of my teammate Kris has tumbled me into the world of gambling.


I typed bwin into google and this popped up.  I had to post it, right?
First, I should say that I have not and would never bet on Haka or any team in our league.  I know Finland had a match-fixing situation not too long ago and I don't want that idea to even begin to get into people's minds.  That said, about two weeks ago, I signed up on a sports betting site, bwin.com, and deposited $40.  In two days I had lost everything.  But, you know how gambling works, I decided to put in another $40.  This time though, I set a limit of $100 a month to put into gambling sites.  That’s sports betting and poker together.  I haven’t been doing so well, so I’ve decided to make wild, over-the-top bets to hopefully win a ton of money.  This could be a very good weekend for me financially!  Or I could be out $100 bucks.  Oh well, it’s adding some excitement.  Maybe if I start doing well I’ll put my PokerStars name on here and take on challengers!  Worst case though is I lose a small amount of money.  If that’s the case, I’ll think of it more like paying for multiple hours of entertainment rather than money down the tube for nothing.  I mean, how many hours of entertainment can you get with $40?  Well now that you mention it, I could buy a video game with that money and play indefinitely.  But I don’t need your smart-ass back talk.  Just let me enjoy my gambling!

 

My only other thing to mention is that I recently completed the planning of a vacation with Celia.  We’re going to Morocco!  It should be really fun, and I’m hoping she doesn’t come to her senses and decide I’m not worth vacationing with between now and then!  If you’re looking for a vacation destination I would recommend taking a look at Morocco if you go in the spring or autumn.  Winter is too cold at night and summer is too hot.  It’s also quite cheap.  Our entire 10-day vacation will cost about 800 euros not including food and souvenirs.  And I’m splitting that cost with Celia (unless my sports bet win this weekend!) so I’m only gonna spend 400-550 euros once you include the things I’ll buy in the country.  It’s the type of price even a cheapskate like me can afford!

An actual piece of art from the Tate Museum of Modern Art in London.  Better than a mirror.
 

That’s about it for now.  I still love my apartment, though I can’t figure out how to turn the radiators on.  My bike is working fine, though the ride each way to training is getting a bit tedious and the extra workouts I’ve been doing have made the ride difficult on my legs.  We play IFK Marieheim tomorrow, and I’ll talk about it right after or on Saturday.  I’m not starting, but I hope to get in and make a positive impact.  We’ve had a really good week of training so the mood around the team is positive.  I know I’ve said that before every game, but I’ve meant it every time and I still do.  Root for us and if you’re in Valkeakoski come out and cheer us on tomorrow!

 

The meme.  This one is for the alchoholics out there haha:   

Monday, September 10, 2012

London Rants


Hello again.  I know I said before that I would post yesterday, but in the words of the one and only Maury Povich, “That was a lie.”

 

The reason for me not posting yesterday was that I simply forgot.  For the first time since I got to Valkeakoski, I actually spent the day enjoying myself.  It was the first week of NFL football so I watched a bunch of games.  Before that I was preparing for training and then doing some extra fitness work after.  The point is that I said I would do something and I didn’t so I apologize.  But that’s ok, because I’m ready now to go on not one, but two rants.  Buckle up because this is gonna be a crazy ride.

 

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For those who don’t know, this line means that I’m done talking about anything relevant.

 

Last week I was in London and it was awesome.  I stayed with Celia, who is effectively my girlfriend even though we don’t call each other that.  We get along great because she is kind of like a girl version of me and I’m a boy version of her.  That might sound a bit weird, but it makes sense in my head.  I also just really like London.  It’s the only city outside of America in the world that combines the big city experience that I love with English infrastructure.  Stockholm is similar in that all the people speak English and a lot of the necessary signs are in English, but the hustle and bustle is missing as are the cheap prices.  Anyway what I’m trying to say is that London is great.  There is though one thing that I absolutely hate about London: local teenagers.

 

In the past year I have spent a total of maybe 20 days in London.  If I had more free time that number would be even higher.  But whenever I think of going to London, the only thing that gives me pause are the effing teenagers in that city.  English kids aged maybe 15-18 just walk around being dicks to people for no reason whatsoever.  I am a normally mild-tempered guy, but I just want to punch these kids in the face.  And the thing is, they’re everywhere.  Do british kids not have to go to school?  Do they just ride the tube all day annoying strangers?  Most of the incidents are minor, but they add up.  Two incidents in particular though deserve mentioning.  The first happened at a McDonald’s right next to the London Eye.  There were probably 50 people waiting in line and it was all one big unorganized mess.  Right as Celia and I got to the front, four teenagers just walked in and pushed past everybody to the front.  One guy looked at me and said, “Is it alright if we come past you?” and then looked away before I could say anything.  It pissed me off so much, but what was I gonna do?  Do I punch the kid and start a fight in a crowded McDonald’s?  Do I tell a manager?  What could he/she do if I did?  I wish I could say that I at least slapped the kid’s drink out of his hand or something, but instead I just waited an extra two minutes and went on with my order.  That was the first incident.

 

The second incident was ironically also at a McDonald’s, but this one made me much angrier even though in reality it is a much lesser offense.  It was last week and I went to McDonald’s because I love that place and could never see myself not eating there.   I get to the front of the line and there’s this Indian-looking kid working the cash register.  Ok I need to take a brief tangent.

 

*TANGENT*

There are a lot of Indian people in London.  I have a vague understanding of Britain’s past with India so it’s not so surprising, but still there are a lot more than I realized.  I see more Indian people in London than black people.  It’s a really multicultural city, similar to New York but with a different percentage of each minority.

*END OF TANGENT*     

 

Now some people won’t get what I’m about to talk about because in Sweden and Finland the people working the cash registers seem to be exclusively well-to-do, white high school kids.  They somehow seem to love working at McDonald’s and are the kind of people you’d expect to see in commercials.  That is absolutely NOT the case in London or anywhere I’ve been in America.  This dick (I mean kid, the letters not surprisingly are more or less the same) and I engaged in the time honored tradition at big city McDonald’s of mumbling back and forward without making eye contact to get the order.  This means that half the time one person or the other doesn’t fully understand what’s been said.  That happened and I asked the kid to repeat what he said.  He sighed, took a deep breath and said whatever it was he said in an annoyed voice.  Hold on.

 

AM I ANNOYING YOU, RANDOM KID CASHIER AT MCDONALD’S!?  Is it not literally your job to talk to people?  Sorry that I didn’t hear your freakin mumbles but for all he knows I could be partially deaf.  Or maybe I’m just screwing with him to have a laugh.  Regardless, it shouldn’t be a burden on his day that I need him to repeat himself.  That was literally a week ago and I’m still pissed off about that.  Then, when I finally got my meal, this clown had the nerve to put the meal on three trays.  I picked up only one tray and starting going to a table and he started to say, “You’ve got three…” then stopped when he realized I only took one.  This dick (I think we can agree he’s a dick) gave me three trays just so he could smugly tell me I had more than one.  There’s absolutely nothing wrong with working at McDonald’s (you’d probably make more money than I do), but if you work there you better not be such an asshole that you can deal with minor inconveniences.  Therefore no British teenager should be allowed to work in that position.  That’s my first rant.

 

My second rant is inspired entirely by the Tate Modern Art Museum in central London.  This massive museum for “art” is located directly across the Thames River from St. Paul’s Cathedral and is very close to all the most touristy stuff in London.  But don’t tell the people there.  They’re all hipsters who are too cool to visit somewhere popular.

 

Now I love museums, and I like art, so I should love a huge art museum, right?  Wrong.  I hate the Tate.  It makes me mad when I go there.  Not because I don’t like the artwork; in fact, most of it is really impressive.  No the reason I hate the Tate is because of the crap that they call “art”.  I’ll give you some examples:

Kids make this every day.

Just a big block of granite with glass on top.

Octagon.  Honestly that's it.

A mirror.  The tag next to it hilariously notes that this piece of "art" is from 1965.

I honestly thought the vents on the floor were part of the art.  That's how non-artsy these things were.  This could literally be at any construction site.
 

 
To once again quote someone, this time Aziz Ansari, “Are you shitting me man!?!?”

 

There is no way any of that is art.  One is literally just a mirror.  I understand that sometimes art can be weird, but there is no way you can classify this as important/relevant/good.  And that’s what annoys me about the Tate. 
 
One thing I think you guys and gals might now realize about this blog is that whenever I take a picture, I look like an absolute idiot.  So as I’m going around taking pictures of the worst things in the Tate it’s not just me there.  People can actually see me taking picture and, here’s the kicker, THEY THINK I ACTUALLY LIKE THIS CRAP!  The hipsters were all looking over and giving me knowing nods, as if to say, “he gets it.”  Ironically, my hatred of hipsters and modern art led me to getting accepted by hipsters at a modern art museum.  That’s the way I spend my vacations.  And so ends rant #2.

 

The last thing I’ll do is show a video of a “living art” exhibition that was happening on the ground floor of the museum, which is a vast open space.  I can’t even explain it you just have to watch.

 

 
video

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Vacation in London

Hola! I just got back from London yesterday and I don't really have a lot to report from the trip, but I do have two separate rants that I need to vent.  They're gonna take awhile so I'll put them up tomorrow, but I figured I'd show you all some of the pictures I took.

These are not all of the photos, but some of them actually have to do with one of my rants, so I'll save them for tomorrow's post.

Before I post the pictures I will mention one thing soccer-related.  I went today with Kris to do some personal training.  We did a lot of running, and by the end of the training I was more tired than I've been at any point in the team trainings or in running by myself.  I wish we did more to prepare ourselves physically for our matches.  The trainings don't resemble the intensity of the games at all.  It's really on the players, as no coach can force intensity on his team.  But we do need a bit of fight and real hard work and I got that today.

Anyway, here are some of my photos from London.  I hope you like them!

3D glasses without the lenses instantly makes me a hipster!

My new boots!  Vapor VI's because I'm too cheap/poor to buy the newest model.

British Museum



"East India Sugar not made by Slaves"  Haha good to know.

British Museum

Central London as seen from the Tate Modern Art Museum.



Saturday, September 1, 2012

Summer is over...


It’s September!  In Finland, that means it’s officially the end of summer.  If you like the sun, then today was not your day in Valkeakoski.  Also if you like good weather, you’re out of luck.  All the good weather chose to stay in July and August.  Oh well, I’ll just get the radiators in the apartment going and live a toasty life in my apartment.

 
We play tomorrow against JJK.  I have absolutely no idea what JJK stands for, but then again I don’t even know what HAKA stands for.  It’s another road game, but I have no idea where.  I’m just going to get on the bus and then get off when it stops.  JJK is in the bottom half of the table and is slightly in danger of falling into the relegation picture if they drop a few games in a row, so they’ll be ready to play.  As for us, I think we’re ready to right the ship a little bit.  It’s been a rough time since I got here but there is light at the end of every tunnel and perhaps this next game will be our light at the end of the tunnel.  A win would put us in a decent position going in to the last two months of the season.

 

As for me, I don’t know if I’m starting tomorrow, but I know that I’m ready for whatever time I’m given.  This past week has been my best week of training and my confidence is very high at the moment.  I played especially good on Wednesday, when in my opinion I was the best player at training.  I don’t say that lightly, as I’m very critical of myself.  But Wednesday I didn’t put a foot wrong the entire training and it’s helped a lot for my confidence in the team.  I already feel more accepted by my teammates after that training.  They’ve seen how good I can be and I think that makes them more willing to really make an effort to make me feel comfortable in the group.  Now I just have to put in the same type of performance in the matches so that the fans will love me!

 

Off the field, I have to say that I am bored out of my mind in Valkeakoski.  There is nothing to do.  Normally when I move to a new place I can be busy for a solid month just exploring the area.  The thing is though, that I’ve already been to Valkeakoski twice before.  So, when I arrived last month I had already done the whole walk around the town and seen everything that a new person needs to see.  So now I just find myself stuck in my (very nice) apartment staring out the windows like the freaking Hunchback of Notre Dame!  The only time I’ve really explored has been on my runs.  I typically go for a run on our days off so when I do I always try to run somewhere that I haven’t been before.  In addition to seeing new places, it helps the time to go by while I run.  Unfortunately though I’ve gotten lost twice and ended up running much longer than I planned!  A bit of extra training is never a bad thing though.

 

I have no idea what I’m going to do for entertainment over these next two months.  I’m not really buddies with anyone on the team except Kris.  But he lives with his girlfriend and they don’t want me around all the time.  So I’ll probably end up just buying a couple of PS3 games and just play video games all day.  Hey, it’s definitely not the worst life a guy could live.  I certainly won’t be doing too much more exploring if the weather stays like this or gets worse.

 

I’ll be back to report on the match either tomorrow or Monday.  Then I’m going to London for the week so I may not have any posts up during that time.  Hopefully we’ll get the win.  Lord knows we need it!  See ya soon with some good news!

 

The meme: