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February 2009 Archives

February 1, 2009

Another One For The Ages


I suppose I can smugly point out that Rafa was my pick to win the Aussie Open all along, even when it was fashionable to tip Murray or Federer in the build-up to the tournament. Even after Nadal's semifinal marathon with Verdasco the other night, I thought the title was his to lose. I've been convinced since last spring's clay court season that Nadal holds a virtually impregnable mental edge over Federer now: quite simply, he's in Roger's head. The best chance for a 14th Slam title for the world #2 entailed Verdasco or someone else eliminating Nadal before the final. Once a match gets into a critical stage against Nadal, I think deep down inside Roger just doesn't believe he can win. He knows his nemesis won't go away and unless he can summon near-perfect tennis to blow him off the court, eventually the Spaniard will prevail in a war of attrition.

A few more thoughts:

  • Nadal's defense has never looked better than it did these last two matches. He scrambled for balls no one else would have been able to touch and got them back in play--and in some cases did a lot more than that, conjuring spectacularly angled winners.
  • Rafa's serve is also better than it was a year ago, especially when he cracked one down the center "T" in the ad court.
  • The #1 ranking is certainly well deserved at this point: Nadal holds three of the four major crowns plus an Olympic gold medal and a share of the 2008 Davis Cup (though he missed the final tie in the latter competition). Murray and Djokovic are less credible challengers to the top duo than they were two weeks ago.
  • Pete Sampras may be sleeping a little better. Now that Federer has lost to his rival in Slam finals on grass and hard courts--in addition to being annihilated at Roland Garros last June--the math of Roger bagging 14th and 15th majors gets a lot more problematic looking ahead.
  • I don't want to be perceived as a Federer basher, for I think there's a lot to admire and like about The Mighty Fed, but isn't the case for him being considered the Greatest Of All Time significantly tarnished by his inability to consistently beat a player in his own time? Nadal has won 13 of the 19 showdowns between the two now, including the last five straight and five of seven Slam finals. Hard to imagine Federer ever holding that French Open trophy aloft now, something that has been viewed as the missing line in his resumé!
  • Is it appropriate to start talking about the odds of a singles Grand Slam in men's tennis in 2009? We now have seen Nadal take the big prizes on grass and hard courts and he is a prohibitive favorite for a fifth Roland Garros win. I wouldn't bet on a Slam, but certainly no one else has a shot at it at this point!
  • The awards ceremony Down Under was touching. Hard not to feel for Roger Federer. He may be realizing that his dream of 14 or more singles titles in the majors is becoming increasingly elusive, as is a return to the top ranking. He's 27 now and Nadal is only 22! I think Federer was genuinely touched by the warm reaction of the Melbourne fans. After he choked up, Nadal was there to console him. Have we seen two classier sportsmen atop the men's side of the game in the Open Era?

February 2, 2009

An Annual Tradition


I didn't have time to watch the whole movie, but I sampled a few of the best scenes from Groundhog Day ("Ned? . . . Ned Ryerson?") tonight on honor of the day (also my dad's birthday)--this may very well be one of my favorite films ever!

February 3, 2009

U.K. Tour IV


Looks like I'll be in England in March. The stars have just aligned for a fourth Choate Squash tour of U.K. schools for a week at the end of the winter term. Now I've got to get to work on all the logistics involved.

Tracking My Travel

I updated my travel map page with projected 2009 trips:

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Since this is a pretty small map, you might want to check out the page with maps of all my treks since 1995.

February 4, 2009

Human Error

Note to self: if you want the DVR to record Lost, be sure to program it do so. Guess I can download the episode tomorrow morning to watch on the flight to Florida.

February 5, 2009

Getting To South Florida

I left Wallingford at 1 p.m. for my 3:00 Continental flight to Fort Lauderdale via Newark. When I checked in at 2:00, I was informed my flight had been canceled but that if I hurried I could be switched to a Delta flight currently boarding. I had no baggage to check, which was good, but I was selected for extra security screening, which had me sweating it out on my way to the gate. I made it, however, and landed in Florida three hours ahead of schedule, as the Delta flight was direct.

February 6, 2009



I caught a matinee of Coraline in Palm Beach earlier today. I chose this flick because (1) I like Neil Gaiman's work a lot; (2) I enjoy good animation; and (3) I find 3D movies dazzling. The movie was charming, and the stop-motion animation was spectacular. There's a textural quality to the images one doesn't get in CGI. I would think this film could be frightening for young children, though.

February 7, 2009

Mickey Rourke's Comeback


This long weekend break gives me the chance to get caught up on reading (finished the latest in the Cotton Malone series, The Charlemagne Pursuit, on the plane the other day), television shows (Lost, The Office, Battlestar Galactica) and movies. This afternoon I watched The Wrestler, which is a gritty look at a professional wrestler trying to get his life together twenty years after his heyday. Mickey Rourke delivers a great performance, worthy of the Oscar nomination.

February 8, 2009

Airport Bound

Heading off for an 8:00 a.m. flight out of Fort Lauderdale. I was struck this weekend (as I was was frantically searching for my passport) that I haven't flown for six months--first time I can say that in years!

2009 Grammys


U2 opened the Grammy ceremonies with an energetic presentation of the "Get On Your Boots" single, including some great visuals on the video screen (a bit reminiscent of the Zoo TV tour). Then, a few minutes before winning Song Of The Year honors, Coldplay played a somewhat lackluster version of "Viva La Vida."


February 10, 2009

On The Mend


I came down with a splitting headache around lunchtime today, which is pretty unusual for me. I napped in the early afternoon, skipping my staff meeting, and made a brief appearance at practice. Then I settled in on the couch for some serious nesting, watching the Blu-Ray disc of The Clone Wars--which turned out to be far better than I had been led to believe--and playing Guitar Hero. I've had the PS3 for about six weeks now, but really haven't used it all that much, so it was good to feel like I am getting a return on my investment.

February 12, 2009



I drove into Manhattan tonight for a performance of Verdi's Rigoletto at the Met. This opera is one of the most popular in the repertory and was generally an enjoyable visual and musical spectacle. I think I've found the sweet spot for seating, at least for me: a front seat in one of the rear-most side boxes on the Grand Tier. I sat on the left side of the hall for a change tonight.

February 9, 2009

English Schools


I've been getting encouraging responses from English "public schools" (which has the opposite meaning over there, referring to tony independent boarding schools, rather than what they call "state schools") willing to host the Choate Squash squad heading over there next month. Thus far we'll be staying at Winchester, Charterhouse, Cheltenham, and Eton, with possible stops at Marlborough and Harrow in the offing as well. Some of these institutions are really old, having been established in the 14th and 15th centuries!

February 11, 2009

Going Back To The Island


I am finding this new season of Lost, with its time travel intrigue and focus on the Oceanic Six's attempt to get back to the island, pretty gripping.

February 14, 2009

The International


I caught The International, the new suspense flick starring Clive Owen and Naomi Watts, at the local cineplex tonight. Great locations and striking architectural visuals throughout--highlighted by a striking action sequence in the Guggenheim Museum--made for great eye candy. On the other hand, the story itself--pretty much a conspiracy yarn about an international bank with nefarious intentions--was largely unsatisfying.

February 13, 2009

Tournament Time

This weekend, Choate is hosting a sanctioned junior squash tournament involving players from our own teams and those of other nearby prep schools, as well as dozens of young players from club programs all over the Northeast. I ran this event more or less single-handedly for many years, but recently turned over most of the heavy lifting to colleagues, which will allow me to enjoy the actual squash a lot more than I used to.

Meanwhile, I am gearing up to run three different New England championship tourneys for boys' squash (Classes A, B, and C) while hosting the girls' Class A event. That will be a very busy weekend on the heels of an intense week of preparation.

February 15, 2009

Sunday Funnies

Thanks to Cason for passing this one along.

New Kicks On Their Way


I've been working with adidas on a new tennis shoe design, built on the Barricade 5 last. Pictured above is the 2009 Ned Gallagher edition, which I'll have for the spring season. This is sort of the inverse color scheme of the Barricade 3 model I developed in London with the adidas shoe gurus during Wimbledon a few years back:


February 16, 2009

Born To Be Wild


Most of the last week the snow and ice have been gone and it's been a bit milder, so I've been able to cruise around campus on my scooter (still with less than 50 miles on the odometer!) and I am happily reacquainted with the rush of wind on my face when traveling on two wheels.

February 17, 2009

Could Be A Coldplay Song

Here is my squash racquet:

And here are my squash shoes:

Put these together with the last two pictures I posted--of my scooter and the tennis shoes I just designed--and I think the theme will be clear. Maybe I have a case of jaundice?

February 20, 2009

Sweet Review For U2's Latest


The latest issue of Rolling Stone gave a ★★★★★ review to the forthcoming No Line On The Horizon, describing the album as U2's best work since Achtung Baby!

February 18, 2009

If A Tree Falls In The Woods . . .

When I returned to campus from an away match across the New York border, the Choate campus was covered by a couple of inches of slush. No real problem in that, except that when I walked from my car to my door, I wiped out and landed flat on my back on a gentle slushy slope. The real damage would have been if someone else had witnessed this, but fortunately I was spared the embarassment.

February 19, 2009

A Cruel Turn Of Events

After a relatively mild week, this morning brought winter back in full force, with the ground covered by a slick film of ice and temperatures fairly biting. Last week's dalliance with warmer weather turned out to be nothing more than a tease.

February 21, 2009

Finishing The Wire


Having thoroughly enjoyed the first four seasons of HBO's The Wire, and agreeing with the critics who maintain this show represents the best of television, I still need to watch the final season, which I now have on DVD. When it originally aired, I was still working my way through Season 4, and then it disappeared from "on demand" after I had only seen two episodes of the last batch.



I saw Fanboys tonight down in New Haven. It was a mildly entertaining film about a group of friends in 1998 who made it a quest to break into Skywalker Ranch in order to see a rough print of Star Wars Episode I before its release. Lots of in jokes for the geeks among us and a well deployed use of Rush songs in the soundtrack.

February 22, 2009

Assembling My Band


Finally got both wireless guitars, the drums, and the microphone all working for Guitar Hero World Tour last night, which was fun. Finally using the PS3 to full advantage. But I decided I definitely need a dedicated remote for the Blu-ray functions.

February 24, 2009

A New Browser


Apple released version 4 of its Safari browser, which is my Internet navigator of choice. The upgrade applies things like Cover Flow to the surfing experience, which is pretty snazzy. I've played around with the new version a bit: page loads seem quicker and Java handling is much smoother as well. Progress.

Fat Tuesday

It's Mardi Gras and up here in New England that means . . . well, nothing actually. One of these days I've gotta get to New Orleans. Or better yet, head down to Rio for Carnival. Maybe for my next sabbatical leave . . . someday.

February 23, 2009

Slideshows in iPhoto '09


The newest version of iPhoto makes production of a slide show amazingly simple. It's a cinch to control transitions, a musical soundtrack, and picture placement. And the range of export options is truly impressive. With the click of a button, I can send my slide show to my iPhone or--at the other extreme--to my 52" HD television. I can share it over the web just as easily. I am fine-tuning a slideshow from last fall's cross country season and I shudder to recall the old days of having to import pics into PowerPoint, resize them, and then try to line up accompaniment tracks on a CD player.

February 24, 2009

Tournament Prep


Much of my time this week is focused on getting ready for the New England Interscholastic Squash Championships. I am tournament director of the boys' events: Classes A, B, and C at three different prep school venues. I am also host coach for the girls' Class A event with my own team. So I'll spend much of Friday and Saturday on the road before returning to Choate to concentrate on coaching duties.

February 25, 2009

My Obamicon


This is sort of an in joke for those on the 2005 U.K. squash tour, when one of the boys at Marlborough College referred to me as "a f___ing legend" . . . a reference I still don't fully understand, but it was certainly amusing.

February 28, 2009

A Strange Brush With Fame

Kind of weird my name is being used to show off Deerfield Academy's new squash facility in this local news story. (Thanks, Max Mullen, for catching this.)

February 26, 2009

Eastbound & Down


After cranking through work on this weekend's tournaments, I unwound with the latest episode of the new show on HBO, Eastbound & Down, which stars Danny McBride as a crass, shallow, and vulgar washed up baseball star who returns to his hometown to crash with his brother's family and teach gym at the local middle school. I'm not familiar with McBride's earlier work, but this show is growing on my with its bizarrely funny take on life.

February 28, 2009



I downloaded Wanted on Apple TV tonight. Fairly interesting, if mostly forgettable, flick based on a comic book about an office shlub who joins an ancient fraternity of assassins to avenge the death of the father he never knew.

February 27, 2009

Behind Enemy Lines?


I am spending the night on the campus of Deerfield Academy, Choate's athletic arch-rival. I have a nice room in the Deerfield Inn, not far from the tennis courts where my team has competed many times over the years. I am making the rounds to the three venues for the boys' New England Squash Championships tonight and tomorrow before heading back to Choate to coach the girls' team in their tournament.

February 8, 2009

In Transit

Made it to New Jersey. Now I have to board a puddle jumper to take me on the very short flight from Newark to Windsor Locks.

About February 2009

This page contains all entries posted to As Far As You Know in February 2009. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2009 is the previous archive.

March 2009 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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