Closing Ceremony: Vancouver

After working AT the Olympics I have a new found love for the genre. I will probably never have a better work experience if only because I’ll never forget the first time. Here is a top ten for the waning days of the games in no specific order.

1) Lauren asked Daniel to repeat something by saying “Say it again”, and in my infinite randomness I Love You Always Forever by Donna Lewis popped in my head so I started singing it out loud. After two lines two other people were singing it, and by the time we got to “Say you’ll love me, love me forever, never stop, never whatever” we had about 10 people singing along. When we finally stopped. Everyone was very confused.

2) I eat a PB&J nearly everyday. When I got to the IBC commissary, they didn’t have any grape jelly so I went to the supermarket and bought my own. I kept it in the fridge in the executive offices. One day the catering crew was in the fridge, saw the jelly, and assumed that it belonged to Ebersol. That afternoon there was grape jelly in the commissary

3) Did I mention the food in the commissary was free?! It is going to be hard to go back to making my own food….and paying for it.

4) Stanley Park. Amazingly beautiful. Maybe even more so that Central Park. I felt dirty for enjoying it so much.

5) The Cauldron. I am going to miss not seeing the Olympic everyday before work

6) Half the interns I was working with were Syracuse students. Therefore I was stoked. Before the Syracuse-Villanova game I bought Pizza for everyone so we could enjoy the game in style. Walking from the pizzeria here is a sample of the “jokes” I got:
“Can I have a slice” – Canadian
“You gonna eat all of those” – Russian
“That’s why I stopped you, smells good” – Crossing Guard
“Ahh Pizza” – Italian
“One for me” – Chinese
“If that is 30 minute free delivery, I’m going to have to stop you” – Cop
“We ARE hungry. Thanks” – Arab
“You shouldn’t have” – French
Good to see bad food jokes are universal

7) After the Syracuse win, I high-fived Bob Costas in celebration

8) Toasted White Chocolate Macadamia cookies

9) After not talking to Scotty Lago, I had a dream I saw Shaun White on the street. Not wanting to blow it, I walked up to him and said: “On a scale of 1-10, how awesome is the movie Face-Off?” He responded: “I’ve never seen it.” I quickly to to scramble to ask another question, but then my alarm went off.

10) The first week I was in Vancouver I listened to Pandora all day, everyday. I quickly used up my 40 free hours. I splurged and spent 99 cents to get unlimited use for the rest of the month. Here is the Olympics play list I downloaded as soon as I got home.
How Do You Like Me Now – The Heavy: Featured in the Kia Super Bowl commercial. Was stuck in my head since then
United States of Pop 2009 – DJ Earworm: A entertaining mash up of the most popular songs of 2009. There is also a good Sporcle where you can try to name the songs. I got 20 by only listening to the song, no video.
The World at Large – Modest Mouse: One of those songs that came on Pandora and I thought “this is a great song,” checked to see who it was, then thought “who knew, Modest Mouse is actually pretty good”
Landslide – Smashing Pumpkins: Holy crap, Billy Corgan covered Fleetwood Mac? /Downloads
New American Classic – Taking Back Sunday: I own this album, how is it not on my iPod? /Fixed
Lit Up – Buckcherry
I Believe in a Thing Called Love – The Darkness
Frankenstein – Edgar Winter Group
At the Olympics all the video clips had a four letter prefixes relating to the sport and who created the clip. Some of the Curling clips had the prefix of CULT. Of course every time these clips came in, I would start singing Cult of Personality. A google search also led me to the VH1 100 greatest hard rock songs of all time. I tried to listen to all the songs, but I soon realized that Creed and Evanescence made the list so it immediately lost all credibility. Regardless, I downloaded these three songs
Beautiful Girl; Suicide Blonde; I Need You Tonight – INXS: INXS played at the medal ceremony one night and I got excited then proclaimed that the interns we were working with had probably never heard an INXS song. I soon realized that I didn’t have any of their songs on my iPod so I fixed that before I had to eat my hat.
Hysteria – Muse
Time is Running Out – Muse: The CoG has excellent taste in music…except for Rick that is. Muse has been a favorite of everyone for a while and I was always reluctant to catch on. These two songs got me hooked. Learns me right. (See Also: Rise Against)
The Funeral – Band of Horses: This song is right up my alley since it is a band you never heard of. It has already received the Gentlemanly Productions treatment as well.
Tonight I Love You – The Latency: A good emo love ballad right up Rick’s alley
It Was A Good Day – Ice Cube: The Lakers beat the team formerly known as the Supersonics
Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd: Just trying to fill out this post. I’m currently sitting on Joyce’s couch after a wonderful game of DARYL. I’m winded.
Sober – Pink: I don’t why Pink’s success baffles me. She always seems to have a hit song, but seems mediocre. She’s like a female Nickelback that people are more tolerant of.
Truly, Madly, Deeply – Savage Garden: Downloaded this song because of this version that was on college humor. The tough guys version is amazing
I Love You Always Forever – Donna Lewis: Don’t know how I did it, but somehow I started a group rendition of this song . The whole room started singing. It was amazing
Here I Go – Relient K: A sneakily good band
Villain – Hedley: Something Something post finished

Vancouver Musings

Instead of a full post here is a couple of random thoughts

Took me one week to break both my room keys. Sounds about accurate.

Also took a week to use 40 hours of Pandora. Debating weather or not I should invest in more hours. (Update: Just caved on Wednesday and paid .99 for the rest of the month)

People in Canada always wait for the light to turn before crossing the street. Even if there are no cars coming. I keep getting sneered at for premature crossing. They don’t jaywalk either.

People are really nice up here. New Yorkers are assholes. Present blogger included

The system I work in cant accept commas or apostrophes for some strange reason. As such Im tentative to use them in the rest of my life.

It is 11:20 on the west coast. Things are wrapping up on a hectic day 5. Curling and Men’s hockey just started today so things were crazy. Sleep is hard to come by. Work 16 hours days, sleep 7.5 hours at best. Shower. Go to work. That’s my life

Here is a video of me walking to work.
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9515514&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

IBC Walkthru from Gentlemanly Productions on Vimeo.

And lastly a video the press department asked me to do talking about what I do
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9515491&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Working in the IBC from Gentlemanly Productions on Vimeo.

Shock to the System

You know when you go to a new place, someone always tells you where the bad part of town is, and they warn you not to go there. In Vancouver, that place is known as Downtown Eastside. The New York Times even covered it last week as a lead up to the games. Here are some of the juicy morsels from that article:
– 15 square blocks of despair, squalid rooming houses and alleys populated by thousands of addicts, the homeless, the mentally ill and the drug dealers who prey on them.
– The most concentrated drug and poverty ghetto in North America.
– The only place in North America where drug addicts can shoot heroin into their veins at an officially sanctioned injection site. There are about 500 injections there a day.
– The area’s HIV rate is the worst in the developed world.

So what did I do tonight? I walked right down Hastings street.

I had met my boss and another NBC employee at a bar two blocks away from the epicenter of seediness. After leaving, instead of heading the safe way back downtown, we decided to take the long way so we could experience Hastings street and all it’s…..glory. In a matter of one block, we saw:
– About 75 homeless people
– A woman shoot up heroin
– 20 used syringes on the street
– People selling all sorts of stuff they found and/or stole
– We were approached by an older woman who told us her name was Buttercup just before she pulled out some condoms.
– Directly behind her was a homeless guy with a guitar singing “Drugs & Condoms”

The NY Times article is not joke. This is was one of the most intimidating moments of my life. Never again will any part of NYC scare me.

I finally unclenched by butt checks two blocks later as we passed the Vansterdam Cafe and the Cannabis Cafe. What a interesting city. Can’t wait to see more of it.

The night wasn’t all bad though. Here is a picture of the outside of the IBC and one of the Olympic rings lighting up the bay

An American Gentleman in Vancouver

My road to Vancouver started at 5:00 PM ET on Saturday February 6. Dmo and I had just left Mt. Snow on our way back to NY. Our “romantic” trip to the bed and breakfast was behind us (as was the pillow wall). The following is a half-assed running diary of the events that followed.

9:00 PM ET – Dmo drops me off at the Tarrytown train station
10:15 PM ET – Walk into the Highgate and without taking a breath I drop all my gear and head down to the laundry room.
10:25 PM ET – Stop by Starbucks for a White Hot Chocolate (The Captain of Hot Chocolates) and then head to CVS to pickup a few things I need. They have just replaced the cashiers with those awesome self checkout machines that render humans pointless. This may sway me to revoke my allegiance to Duane Reade and become a CVSer.
10:37 PM ET – Start trying to figure out how to pack for a 22 day trip. /Looks at itinerary and realizes I can check two bags for free. I think to myself “F it” as I fit as much clothes as I can into my two biggest suitcases.
11:05 PM ET – Laundry done. Packing done. Boy it’s great to be a guy
11:55 PM ET – Kim comes over and gives me a much needed massage.
Bedtime
Sunday February 7
6:51 AM ET – Wake up. Go to make breakfast, but realize I don’t have any food. The last time I went to the supermarket all I bought was a banana for a smoothie and a roll for a sandwich. The cashier proceeded to make fun of me asking if I was having a banana sandwich for dinner
7:45 AM ET – Take a walk with Kim as she gets her morning coffee
8:00 AM ET – Car service picks me up and we head to LGA
8:15 AM ET – Check in at Air Canada and use my passport for the first time ever. Sadly I need to leave my antlers behind.
8:20 AM ET – In the words of Homer Simpson the missionary: OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD OH GOD
8:21 AM ET – My mini panic attack is over and I am once again excited
8:33 AM ET – Through security. Only 2.5 hours till my flight. I really need to work on my timing better….
11:00 AM ET – Board the plane and immediately hear my first “Eh”
11:02 AM ET – There are four seats in each row on this plane. A C D F. Makes perfect sense
11:10 AM ET – After the announcements are made, they are repeated in French. I chuckle to myself. I am no where near mature enough for international travel
11:50 AM ET – Touch down in the Great White North. My first time leaving the country and I haven’t exploded yet…..or been called a stupid American
12:10 PM ET – Canadian Customs is intimidating. It’s like waiting in line for Space Mountiain
12:20 PM ET – Through customs and luckily I see someone wearing an NBC Olympics jacket. I fall in line behind her hoping at least she knows where she is going
12:50 PM ET – Make it to my next gate. The only thing I know about Canadian money is that a dollar coin is a Looney and a two dollar coin is a Tooney.
1:00 PM ET – I’ve been in Canada for over an hour now and I haven’t seen or heard anything about Degrassi yet. This is horseshit
1:10 PM ET – Check out the vending machine. Dill pickle chips? Ketchup Chips? Big Turk bars? Where the heck am I
1:30 PM ET – French announcements make me laugh again. I am a stupid American
1:40 PM ET – Take off from Montreal
2:00 PM ET – Syracuse and Cincinnati are tipping off right now and I can’t see it. This is not good. I am dying right now. Each seat has it’s own TV, but there is no live TV available. I settle for “A Serious Man”
2:05 PM ET – A really weird opening scene just finishes and I wonder if I picked the right movie. The opening credits then confirm that I did. WTF?
2:15 PM ET – I turn on my computer to see if this plane has wi-fi in hopes of being able to watch ESPN360. It does not. GD IT
3:00 PM ET – I secretly turn on my phone (illegally) to see if I can find out what the score is. I don’t have any service. The plane suddenly veers off course
3:01 PM ET – Kidding. Gotcha Zozo
3:40 PM ET – The movie ends….what the hell did I just watch?
3:41 PM ET – My TV is now frozen on a black screen and no buttons are working. Great. Now I get to spend 3.5 hours hoping Syracuse doesn’t lose. This sucks
4:05 PM PT – Land in Vancouver. Syracuse won! Thank god.
5:35 PM PT – The first half of the Super Bowl is over, and I am just now getting to my hotel. I drop off my stuff and run over to the Pan Pacific for the NBC Super Bowl Party. The 4 blocks of this city that I have seen so far are amazing. Hope I get a chance to explore it. I have been told to stay away from Downtown East. In CoG terms, if I go there, Hooks will steal my camera.
7:40 PM PT – Get back to my room and unpack. It’s going to be a long 21 days. I start tomorrow at 9A PT. May the god bless you forever.
Here is a walking tour of my room for your enjoyment:
http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=9285161&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1

Delta Vancouver Suites from Gentlemanly Productions on Vimeo.

Avenging Springy the Springfield Spring

Don’t mind the title. My contract says I need to included at least one random reference in every blog post. Now, on to the show

As I am typing this, The Bella Conference Center in Copenhagen, Denmark is filled with anticipation. Delegations from Madrid, Chicago, Tokyo, and Rio are in the process of trying to woo IOC board member into awarding their city the 2016 Summer Olympic Games. The cities have pulled out all the stops by bringing some big names into the ring with them: Oprah, Obama, Pele, Ronaldo, and many more.

Going into today, Chicago has been named the odds on favorite, with Rio being a close second. Experts say Madrid is too close to London (Host of the 2012 games), and Toyko is too close to Beijing (Host of the 2008 games). 2016 will mark 20 years since the last Summer games in North America (Atlanta), but recent public polls show that only 45% of Chicago residents want the games to come to their city. Rio’s two biggest strengths are that 90% of their residents want the games and there have never been an Olympic Games held in South America. Regardless, both cities will be attractive to American Broadcasters.

Shortly after a winner is announced in Copenhagen, American Broadcasters will start bidding for the rights to air the 2014 Winter Games (Sochi, Russia. Not very attractive) and 2016 Summer Games (Very attractive, especially if Chicago or Rio wins). The last bidding took place in 2003 when NBC won the right to air the 2010 and 2012 games. At the time of the bid, neither location had been selected. That year, NBC wound up paying $820 Million for the 2010 Games (later awarded to Vancouver) and $1.18 BILLION for the 2012 Games (later awarded to London).

NBC and Fox are expected to bid for these games, however, the dark horse, and maybe even the favorite depending on who you ask, is ESPN. The evil empire has incredibly deep pockets due to fact they collect subscription fees on top of ad revenue. (almost $5/mo per subscriber between all their networks, so we are talking over $400MM/mo before ad revenue) NBC and Fox don’t have such luxuries. With a local Olympics the rights fee will be ludicrously high. But on the other hand, Rio is only one hour ahead of NY, so that also works for the American public.

Needless to say, I am very excited today. And this doesn’t even factor in the Comcast/NBC rumors that have been floating around… Coverage starts on Universal Sports at 10:00AM ET

UPDATE: Chicago was eliminated in the first vote. Apparently this was a concern from the beginning. The IOC members tend to vote for their home continent in the first round regardless of who they think have a better bid. The final decision is between Madrid (Home of former IOC President Juan Antonio Samaranch) and Rio.

UPDATE TWO: RIO WINS!