Ravelympics: Third Day Adjustment

Goodbye Clandestine sock pattern. Hello Spring Fern pattern. So much better. I'm now playing catch up. Watching the Olympics here brings home that I no longer live in Scandinavia. The Finland - Russia ice hockey game was just mentioned in passing, the cross-skiing events barely gets a look in (Denmark has always been crap but we'd always show some support for Norway) and we do not get wall-to-wall coverage of the figure-skating events. I remember growing up and getting to watch all the figure-skating qualifying rounds; now I get edited highlights of the top three athletes. But, I do get to see events like speed skating and the luge which I have rarely seen before. In fact I stayed up very, very late last night just to see who won the luge. Ooh, the excitement (and subsequent day of tiredness).

I'll leave you with a little link I have been saving for rainy day like today: Hipster Puppies. Unsurprisingly I'm finding this photo absolutely hilarious and I may have said something like this when I was twenty-one and unbearably pretentious.


I have a very soft spot in my heart for tennis. Yes, tennis. It was one of the few sports I was ever good at in school and in the early 1990s I watched tennis broadcasts almost religiously. My favourite time of year is still Wimbledon time. My favourite player was a tall Croat, Goran Ivanisevic, who was maddeningly unpredictable: on good days, his tennis was stunning; on bad days, his games were like watching a car crash in slow motion. You never knew what kind of a day it would be. Ivanisevic wound up winning Wimbledon, but characteristically he didn't do so until he was well past his prime and only admitted to the tournament on a wild card.

Andre Agassi belongs to the same tennis generation as Ivanisevic, but although Agassi was a wildly popular player at the time, I never took to his game. Without going into too much technical detail, Agassi played a defensive game from the baseline relying upon serve returns and solid ground strokes (on today's circuit Scots Andy Murray plays a very similar game). He was technically brilliant, absolutely, and he had a colourful personality, but his game lacked the fireworks of players far more on the offensive (Ivanisevic, Pat Rafter, Pete Sampras, and, later, Andy Roddick).

Coloured me surprised, then, that Andre Agassi's autobiography turns out to be filled with offensive gameplay, if you will pardon the pun.

At the age of 12, Andre traveled to Australia with a team of elite young players. For each tournament he won, he got a beer as a reward. Then in the seventh grade he was shipped off to the Bollettieri Academy in Florida, where his tennis flourished, but his life turned feral. Drinking hard liquor and smoking dope, he wore an earring, eyeliner and a Mohawk. Nobody objected as long as he won matches. The academy, in Agassi's words, was "Lord of the Flies with forehands." Since the press and the tennis community still regard Nick Bollettieri as a seer and an innovator whose academy spawned dozens of similar training facilities, Agassi's critical opinion of him may shock the ill-informed. But in fact, Bollettieri is the paradigmatic tennis coach: that is, a man of no particular aptitude or experience and no training at all to deal with children.

Fascinating stuff which really appeals to my inner seventeen year-old girl who knew there was something sketchy about Agassi. Of course I'm unlikely to ever read Agassi's book (my inner seventeen year-old is torn, though) as I'm now thirty-something .. a fact that was brought home to me yesterday when I was watching the UK Top 40 and I knew exactly two songs..


I had to laugh when I saw this little news story: Company seeks Glaswegian interpreter.

Today Translations spokesman, Mick Thorburn said: "Over the last few months we've had clients asking us for Glaswegian translators.


"Usually, the role would involve translating documents but in this case its more likely to be assisting foreign visitors to the city whose 'business English' is not good enough to understand the local dialect."


He added: "We're not necessarily looking for people who are particularly skilled in linguistics, just candidates who can help out clients who may struggle with native Glaswegian."

I remember arriving in Glasgow and not being able to understand most of what was being said around me. While getting some Glaswegian colleagues helped (although I have never found a use for the phrase "that fake bake is pure dead brilliant, hen"), I struggled until I twigged that Glaswegian is basically akin to my Danish uncles attempting to speak English. There is a certain flatness to Glaswegian intonation that is very, very similar to mid-Zealandic intonation and some words spoken with a broad Glaswegian accent sound more like their Danish counterpart than the actual standard English word: home becomes hame which sounds quite like a slurred mid-Zealandic hjem. For a girl who has tried to escape rural Denmark for most of her life, all this feels a bit like a cosmic joke.

Thanks to my friend Lise, I spent most of my lunch reading about the 16th best football team in the word ever. The most recent incarnation is through to next year's World Cup which bodes well for the amount of (tense) knitting I'll get done. Huzzah!

Between Days

Blog silences happen when un-bloggable things are happening. So, bloggable things in quick recap form:

  • I'm reading a lot of Georgette Heyers at the moment. I'm on my third in less than a week.
  • I've cast on for Helga Isager's Pine in a new Scottish handknitting yarn. I will have to rip it out as I started the brioche stitch section last night at knitting group and Something Clearly Went Wrong.
  • Wimbledon is in its second week and I'm really enjoying the coverage. I have always loved watching tennis - not just Wimbledon - and it makes for great knitting TV. Andy Murray is the homegrown hero, but I'm finding it slightly difficult to warm to him as he's of the Agassi school of tennis and I've never been a huge fan of that particular style.
  • And I also watched a bit of Glastonbury coverage on Auntie Beeb. Blur were fantastic (surprisingly so as they never were the best live act out there) and made me super-nostalgic for my youthful days.

Back to un-bloggable things.

Oh No, We're Represented by Leona Lewis

I don't know about you, but I think it is decidedly odd to see marathon runners on Tiananmen Square. The sight underlined why I think these Olympics have left me feeling uncomfortable whenever I have caught some coverage.  Witnessing the British media mysteria surrounding these Olympics Games has made me decide to be out of Great Britain during the 2012 Games. I mean, the British media is now touting the British handball teams as potential gold medallists despite their team being made up of netball rejects and people (of Scandinavian ancestry) who have played handball for at least three years..

And the entire, erm, complexity of describing Great Britain as a nation is no more evident than knowing the Mayor of London is in Beijing representing his city's (and nation's) 2012 Games. I would be hard-pressed to explain how Boris Johnson ended up as London Mayor, let alone as a politician representing Great Britain. I'd pay good money to see him saunter down a Glaswegian street..

I think word of the day shall be: bemusement.

PS. It's been quiet around Fourth Ed. but I've been working behind the scenes. I'm still looking for a solution to a few issues, but I'm happy with the changes I've been making (and hopefully you will not have noticed any of them).