Friday Four | 10

Game of Thrones | It’s that time again. April 1st the new season of Game of Thrones starts. Eeeeee! I survived the hiatus rather well I think. Until I saw some shots of the new cast members and the kids growing up and remembered the last scene with Jaime that is. Oh, Jaime. “There are no men like me. Only me.”

I am already in love with the girl they cast for Brienne. I hear she is taller than Jaime! Too pretty? I always thought her ugliness in the books had more to do with the male gaze than actual butt-ugliness. A women as strong as a man and wearing pants who wants to be a knight? Not conforming to gender roles in that culture would be enough reason for men to make a mockery of her. Doesn’t mean she is actually ugly looking. She is too tall, not dainty, and unconventional. I think this casting is the best of the new people so far. We have yet to see how Asha/Yara does as they seem to be keeping her out of the media which seem appropriate for the plot. Just please please please let her keep her name from the books and not take on the name of a small compact car. I am holding out the slimmest of hope.

Besides Jaime and Brienne making me excited I really love how Arya’s casting is aging into the role and all of the kids in general. I am going to include a certain Greyjoy in that category as well.  I think he is going to nail his new importance this season. Take on some of that ignorant non-book fan hate that Jaime will be absent from by necessity this season.

Spoilers for S1 in vid below.

Twin Peaks | I spent the last month streaming Twin Peaks through Netflix. What a wonderful show. I remember seeing the season finale of S1 as it aired when I was seven or eight or somewhere near that age. Made no sense to me, but I was a huge fan of Dune and there was beautiful Paul laying in a pool of blood. Maybe my parents shouldn’t have put Lynch’s Dune on like it was my Barney as a kid. Explains so much about me…

However it turned out I never went back and caught the whole show until now. Just look at that pretty face. He totally imprinted on me.

Twin Peaks is like a modern American fairy tale complete with some epic synth music and soundtrack from the gifted Julee Cruise and something sinister out in the woods. If you like pale, dark haired people and/or coffee this show is for you too. It is also an interesting piece of tv history. It straddles that awkward 1980s/1990s divide while having it’s foot also somewhere far into the future. It is the grandfather to HBO’s Carnivale. The animal spirit of Syfy’s Caprica. The benchmark for Pacific Northwest centered filming. Pre-X-Files mythology. Pre-The Killing’s unblinking look at human suffering. Pre-Lost belief in love — because you must!

I must say that I enjoyed the first story line more than the second but I think had it gone into season three they were set up to rectify a lot of of what went off the rails in season two. I love Agent Cooper and his tape recorder and TREES and COFFEE and how he always always would see the best in people. How he’d mentally file stuff away for later, details about people, and later would actually come. Second to him, and by only a small margin, is Audrey Horne. It is a shame that that actress never went to the top of the top. There is just something about her. Something movie star.

Audrey’s story line in the show, minus that stalling tactic relationship in s2, is to me one of the lifelines of the show. Audrey’s investigation. The light that goes on in her eyes when she discovers there are female agents. The letter! Episodes I spent obsessing over that letter. Audrey, like Cooper, is in her own little world which seems like a place totally worthy of at least visiting. Sometimes it seems like the show is actually two shows running simultaneously between the two. When they intersect it is complete magic but you could almost watch it for one or the other.

Continuum | I don’t actually know that much about this new Canadian drama coming soon to Showcase besides the fact the girl from the long ago canceled show The Inside is in it. From what I gather though the cast is well respected and the scifi elements of “cop from the future goes back in time to 2012 to solve crimes” might not be too far out there to scare away viewers. Might be worth a look. I mean I am glad I gave ReGenesis and Lost Girl and Charlie Jade (Not Canadian, but similarly off most US people’s radar) a chance. I will give Continuum a chance too. Even though I hate the name. The name is more geeky than the show likely will be. Why hamstring yourself out of the gate, Showcase? So soon before the Syfy channel buys the rights to air this like Lost Girl?

Prometheus | I want to see this movie right now. Wow! Now that is how you expand your universe.  Charlize Theron, Michael Fassbender, Noomi Rapace, Idris Elba… As long as we are on the subject of being imprinted as a child, I saw the first Alien movie by myself when I was little and fell in love. This…feels tailor made for me. If I could only see one movie this year it would be this one.  Jazzed doesn’t begin to cover it.


Hope Solo | Algarve Cup and Beyond

I thought it would be a little boring between tournaments, but so far that doesn’t seem to be the case. At least if you are a Hope fan. After winning the CONCACAF qualifying tournament in a decisive fashion Hope and the NT went on to beat New Zealand in one of the worst wins you’ll see. That sour win was soon followed by the Algarve Cup. The third most competitive after the World Cup and Olympics.  While we didn’t have a long winning streak there we did have around a nine year streak of making it to the finals. Which…we didn’t.

I came out of that tournament with two thoughts. Three thoughts really. First, Sweden has taken a big step back with their current squad.  I don’t think it is so much Germany and the US taking steps forward which caused such lopsided wins. We both were just taking care of business. Sweden did not hold up their end of it defensively and more shocking to me offensively. What happened Lotta? Both teams had more than enough reasons to want to perform well after tough losses but only we seemed to show up for this game.

My second thought is a little controversial. Yes, Germany won the tournament. I still think the US was the harder team for Japan to face and as I said above, Germany’s win over Sweden says as little as ours did.

We once again beat ourselves on offense against Japan. There is no reason why Morgan did not put two of those away besides the fact she just didn’t. They were unforced mistakes. Just like in the WC.  That isn’t a Japan thing. We go through spells of that even against bad teams and it is always internally caused.

On the flip-side, unlike Germany, we were able to play not our best game ever (we played better possession against Japan in the WC for example) and still put up a good defensive effort and limited their opportunities. Our error which led to their only goal was dependent on a defender falling down and knocking her head against someone’s knee so she couldn’t get up quickly and resume her mark. That hole would not normally have been there. I realize Japan specializes in those set pieces. Guess what? We held them to one chance and that one depended on a cracked skull to happen.

Even while Japan controlled the tempo we continued to have no trouble making opportunities for ourselves that we should have put away. Something Japan couldn’t do against us. Japan had an easier time offensively against Germany. Our own offense will eventually work. I do believe this because Morgan won’t let us down again. And unlike what Japan faced against Germany we have have Hope Solo.

While our whole team looked off against Japan everyone says that Hope looked to be the exception. She was focused and ready for anything…besides her far post guard getting knocked out. There won’t be a scoring frenzy with her in goal no matter what. See you next month, Aya. See you next month.

My final thought is that Hope still has that quad wrap on and didn’t play in the Sweden game. I’m not a doctor and I know for us that third place, while better than fourth, doesn’t mean anything. It is first or nothing really. So there are reasons why they gave time to the backup keeper which isn’t on its own unusual when the true prize is already lost anyway.

I’d still prefer it if the wrap was off and she was punting with her right leg again. The injury isn’t responsible for any goals allowed, but I’d feel much better if it were gone. Hopefully after the upcoming Japan games she’ll have some time for training regularly with the Sounders and shed that last injury.

Enough of that. What else is going on? Well Hope had some time off between tournaments so of course she spent maybe a day home and otherwise has been jet-setting around. She did an interview with Fox Sports radio right before the Japan game (and got to be a bit of a fangirl herself at one point). She went from the Algarve Cup to Barcelona and spoke at the Global Sports Forum.

She mentioned back when the first league folded in the mid 2000s she had looked into playing on a lower division men’s team in Saint Louis. She ended up in Sweden instead as we all know. FIFA doesn’t allow women to play with men, but Hope thinks that if the top women try out (think of Marta and her small number of peers around the world) and could make the team in a lower men’s division they should be allowed to.

Of course the men all laugh but the world is full of insecure men laughing. Let tryouts determine who can play. A display of skills. Don’t let people’s insecurities set policy. I know that a team of women tend to not do well even against younger men, but the best of the best individual women should prove different in lower divisions. One of the best keepers in the MLS is only 5’9″. Hope wasn’t talking MLS level, but it proves that talent should be measured, not a gender or eyeball test. (off soapbox). Everyone said she was well spoken and a good representative of American athletes there at the forum. I don’t doubt it. She’s been a national treasure the last ten months. Those haters from 2007 are probably baffled at the turn of fate.

After that she did a stint at home where she was awesome and gave out some purple kits to local fans there in the Seattle area. Then she did some kind of shoot with Gatorade in Florida along with Cam Newton. Something with Vogue too.

She will be up in my neck of the world Saturday March 17th signing autographs at the Sports Collectors Convention in the Chicago area. The only female athlete there signing, only soccer player too as far as I can tell. She is commanding the pricetag of an NFL star. Damn straight.

She has to be up here for something more than a signing, but who knows what that is. She might give more purple kits away, but the chances of me being a half hour from wherever she is is slim. Oh well. I’d much rather see her play live than get an autograph or even the purple kit. Ok, the purple kit comes close. Ok, all three are unlikely to ever happen to me. It took me how many years just to watch the Bulls play in the United Center and I STILL have not seen Rose play live. I am more likely to have money for a Sounders kit before any of that. I accept my fate and move on.

It was announced this week she is going to be the female face of the high-end watchmaker Seiko. The first women to represent the brand in years. Landon Donovan does the same for the men’s line. Got to hand it to her people for finding classy companies to align with. She’s got her career well in hand on the field and off.

Finally, this Sunday Hope will be on Cartoon Networks anti-bullying special “Stop Bullying: Speak Up” Sunday March 18th for a prerecored thing that will open up with a message from the President. I have to give CN props for connecting with female athletes and not just female celebrities which is usually the case. On Hope’s part I would of course expect her to be involved with something like this. She went with Chaz and the gang to his GLSEN event last year and talked about bullying. Not sure if she is sharing any of that now or just relaying other kids’ stories. Anyhow, so happy to have her willing to spend her time like this.

Oh, and a little old thing called 1,000,000 likes on Facebook was cracked this week too. Not a big deal or anything…


This tower was in the Field of Dreams movie. Rockford doubled as Iowa. Damn depressing doubling as Iowa. Pretty much a testament to the level of dreary boredom about the place. Actual Iowa wasn’t boring and run down enough. They had to go for a sure thing. Once again — I’m not from here. I just happen to work here.

It was almost 70F so I took fifteen minutes out of my lunch to walk around. Turned out to be the only 15 minutes of sun I got today. I love looking down this way. The wires and the bricks and the pipes and how far it goes. Lines. Lines everywhere. My mind goes bang every time I look over here. You can’t really see it here, but it goes down a couple more blocks. Love it! More than once I’ve seen camera crews and photoshoots happening back here. I must not be the only one who gets a feeling from this spot.

This is actually a lot tighter than it looks. I could almost reach out and touch both walls at the same time. I walked a little further down this way than was wise to get this shot. It’s my “most likely to get jumped” spot. Actually I have a better one but I wouldn’t dare go take a picture there. This one at least still invites a bit of tourism. What is really odd is how there is this generator or giant air conditioner or something way up there so all you can hear is white noise. Would never hear someone creepin’ up on you. In fact when I popped out again I scared some lady going on a joy walk. Oops.

Look at this sad little car. Last one in the parking lot.  I got caught up into a whirlwind at work and missed out on all the nice weather. I had planned on taking a walk by the river right after work but no dice. It was dark and chilly and no longer safe by the river. And I had missed taking my meds, needed grocery shopping, and have a 5 AM USWNT to wake up early to read on Match Tracker (ok, that last thing is by choice). At least the light works again.