Sunday, August 26, 2007

Table Tennis Info For Shirts Tournament: Sam Tennis Ball Machine Newsletters And Championships.

The weekends were my cultural oasis.
Days of algebra and Latin dragged,
presorted learning meted out and bagged
to be my future education's basis.
But Sundays brought a subtle change of faces.
Humorists and scholars talked and ragged
as intellectual gossiping zig-zagged
enlivening our stumbling tennis paces.

Each Sunday still I haunt my local courts,
hoping for some relief from the week's talk
of superannuation and lump sums,
But the crowds of yesteryear play other sports,
Or work, or shop. Eventually I walk
Home to TV, whence stimulation comes.

* * *

If we must lose, let it not be as louts,
crying against the weather or the bounce,
annoying the lounging watchers with our shouts,
foolish as we petulantly flounce.
If we must lose, let it be with some flair,
smiling as aces bounce up past our ears,
and as we flounder, flail and gasp for air,
let jocularity disguise our tears.

In years to come our hiding will be lost,
each conqueror remembering himself
in anything that happened on that day.
Nothing of whom they beat will be embossed
on the glasses gathering dust on some high shelf
or printed on the flag, tucked lost away.

Shall I compare thee to a topspin lob?
Thou dost not oscillate and drift away.
Rough winds do cast a lofted ball astray
across the fence into the laughing mob.
My own tossed lob may halt and fall far short
of expectations, bringing the surprise
of catching someone's smash between my eyes;
or else fly far beyond the end of court.
Another's lob may bounce above my head,
or drop beyond my reach yet on the line;
but thou art constant, flat, and maybe slow,
always within my reach, easily read,
Although thy predilections may incline,
they lean towards me, and with me thou will go.

They that have power to serve, but just serve spin,
That do not blast the woman on the net
When served to short, but just return it in,
And lose a point without an epithet -

They rightly do inherit good repute,
Regarded by opponents with affection
As having every sacred attribute
(But stay forever in the bottom section).

The talented star is to the watchers sweet,
Loved for his timing and controll├ęd strength;
But when he utters swearwords indiscreet
And hurls his racquet forty meters length

The tabloids crucify him on their page.
The hacker is unnoticed in his rage.


When I have fears that I may cease to serve
Balls that heat up the air as from a gun,
And be reduced to some soft-lobbing curve,
Before I make my way to Section One;
When I behold soft youths and nubile maids
Blasting the covers off their forehand drives
And think that as they float up through the grades
I must slip down a notch as each arrives;
And when I feel, as bones and muscles ache,
That I shall never freely move again,
Never have relish in the fiery power
Of freely-flowing strokes - I take a break
To let Time slowly moderate the pain
And let me have another flying hour.


When I consider how my legs are done
Ere half the games in this long opening set,
And that great backhand which I used to get
Lodged with me useless since I cannot run,
And my serve lofted, lightly spun
Is hit past my partner, standing on the net,
I tell him ruefully that I regret
Having served up another easy one;
At which my partner patiently replies,
"If it were not for you we'd have no team.
You may have lost your youthful vim and verve,
But pull out the occasional surprise.
Lurk at the back once you run out of steam.
They also play who only stand and serve."

Jenny Aced Me.
Jenny aced me when we played.
I of course was off my guard.
I do not like to play mixed grade;
women should not serve so hard.
My fastest serve I then unfurled,
and won some points, although it placed me
in low esteem; but all the world
knew Jenny aced me.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Great American Opera

Our Pamina--feeding lines at a burlesque house! No wonder the Queen ofthe Night was so mad; she was still holding out for vaudeville ...

Then again, I suppose it could just be the historically informed way to stage the Act II quintet? Or is this just an argument for using women instead of boys as the Three Genii?

Seriously, though, "burlesque" was not what Emanuel Schikaneder was up to. What he was up to was fairy-tale extravaganza of a sort popular with the Viennese middle and lower classes, only with more elaborate music and more pop-philosophy than had previously been the case. Think of it as a late eighteenth-century counterpart to, say, Forbidden planet and you won't be too far off (I almost said Star wars, but that was too much a big-time commercial blockbuster; Schickaneder was a little more on the fringe of the established theaters).

I'm not sure why being a burlesque piece precludes being an opera. A lot of Prokofiev, for instance, is tongue in cheek, but nobody says Love for Three Oranges is not an opera as a result.

However, we could put aside the whole point by substituting, say, a Handel opera for The Magic Flute. Giulio Cesare and Madama Butterfly do not call for the same style of singing. Yet they are both operas.

Monday, July 23, 2007

How can my days go from so good.. to so bad..

Why should I help people who do not want to help themselves? This is the scenario:

I volunteered helping Student In Action to mentor a Pomona Youth Commission kid. The mission is to create a 5 minutes documentary about Non Violence. It was cool and I was really excited. Now, 3 weeks later I could not even contact my youth and my group member. I am just a mentor right?! So why should I bother? I wasted my time and my cellphone minutes to try calling him to work but he wouldn't. Why should I be the one needing to kick his arse? It is his project.

I just asked my supervisor to write me a recommendation letter for a scholarship with Boeing. I know I would not get it, but at least I tried. My CGPA is higher compared to average students here, but there are many other qualified students out there and why should they pick me?

Have you ever feel this before? You want to do something but then you do not feel like to? For an example, when the e-mail about scholarship came up I was excited because I am eligible at least half of the scholarships offer. Then I grow lazy because I have to write a page of shit describing why I deserve the scholarship and stuff like that. Then on the very last minute, I decided to apply it and realised that I no longer eligible because I am short of one subject. FUCK.

BUT I still have hope with the Boeing scholarship for contamination asbestos. I think my chances of getting it is as slim as 2%. Considering my ability and my contribution is so little and my results are not very outstanding either. I might be eligible to apply but it is not outstanding enough.

Maybe I should write my letter of qualification in perfection. Even if my CGPA does not look attractive but my letter would stand a chance to stand out.

Oh well, this week is going to suck.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Burlesque Theaters In Hollywood

Just first post in my blog about burlesque theaters in Hollywood.