presented by Gaitpost Magazine

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Computer Catches Avian Flu, Recovers after Chinese Doctor Performs Surgery

If you are wondering why there was a gap in my missives, it’s because I spent all of Thursday dealing with a brand new computer virus (I wasn’t downloading porn, I swear!), which cost me a day’s work and probably ten years of my life. I’m just joking about the bird flu, though I did see a TV commercial the other night advising people how not to catch it themselves (hint: don’t visit a chicken farm in China). I could have picked up this virus anywhere. My hero at the guest house – the one who wrote me Chinese instructions to give to the taxi drivers so that I would not have to take two taxis to get home – arranged for a sunny dispositioned little nerd to spend two hours in my room messing with my most valued possession. Now I know why they call them Trojan horses and worms. It was as though my computer had been possessed by the devil. The exorcism was a success, and here I am!

They Woke Up!!!!!

So now I know what it takes to get Hong Kongers excited – it’s not rocket science– they just want to cheer for one of their own. Patrick Lam did a commendable job for a clear round in the show jumping qualifier. The crowd reacted as though a hypnotist had just snapped his fingers to awaken them. Suddenly they were more like Germans at Aachen when a German wins gold, instead of a bunch of disappointed sleepy-heads. And finally Canada has a reason for hope; we finally won a medal in women’s wrestling – go big white girls! And-and-and-and, our show jumpers did great in the first qualifier. There is a long road ahead, but Hickstead sure looked wicked good. He is one of my favourite horses, even if his pilot isn’t so media-friendly. My other favourite is that flying teddy bear Cumano, who looked like he was never going to stop ascending. What a rocket ship.

There were many $$ millions $$ of horse flesh in the show jumping last night – some well ridden, some on auto-pilot, a few trying to do their jobs in spite of their jockeys. I can’t remember who said it but one rider was so awful that the comment was that he was like an anchor. There were two drunk Canadians sitting in front of me – I went out to sit with the masses and got served sushi by my friends from England – when one of the many middle eastern riders was on course the uglier of the two (I’m sure they were from Ontario) slurred in a loud voice “now that’s gotta be a rich Jordanian!” Classy, classy Canucks.

Besides those top notch representatives of our proud nation, I’ve run into a few friends from home in the last few days, including Pia Fortmuller and her mom Dagmar, Jamie Welling and Grit High. I needed to get a quote from Grit to set the record straight about who was ultimately chosen for the eventing team. I found the gang in the stands but didn’t see Grit. I recognized Selena O’Hanlon and asked her if Grit was around. She replied that she didn’t know who that was. “She was only one of your selectors for the team,” I replied with perhaps just a tiny edge of irony.

What’s with….

…The South China Morning Post? They’ve stopped publishing photos of sleeping spectators and no reporter has used terms like ‘barriers’ and ‘hurdles’ for days. I’m afraid they are becoming knowledgeable about our sport, which is making them as boring as they accused the dressage of being.

…The dirty looking off-white sheepskins under so many dressage saddles, which I call dead terriers? If they must be used, surely they could be white or black for a big gig like the Olympics.

…Mikey G’s math? He calculated that the horses jumped every eight seconds on cross country, but when I divide 39 into 8 minutes I get 12.3. Mike when I buy you that beer I owe you I want to know.

…the giant judging pagoda booths? They are bigger than the average Hong Kong apartment. I’ve been told they are air conditioned. Gotta keep those judges’ brains nice and cool.

…the USEF site going down AGAIN earlier this week? Did no one tell IT that the Olympics are on?

…Brian O’Connor complaining on his blog that he sat on the bench while someone else announced the eventing show jumping? He did however do a ‘let’s get ready to rumble’ thing before the show jumping qualifier last night that utterly failed to get the crowd worked up into more than semi-consciousness.

…Hubertus Schmidt wearing face paint during the team dressage final? Hubertus, I had you pegged for the strong, silent type.

…Equine Canada’s verbose new CEO Akaash Maharaj dabbling in media relations? He was quoted in today’s jumper release that the team’s performance last night was met by ‘rapturous applause’ across Canada. My, what big ears you have!

Mysteries Solved

Here are some more tidbits to clear up a few things I’ve left dangling over the last couple of days:

1. Pachelbel’s Infernal Canon – it’s not Brian’s fault, he’s just playing the (not more than 3) CDs he was given. It’s my old pal Mariette who picked the music, or so I’ve been told by a reliable source. We are getting Pachelbel about ten times a night. One of the CDs must be that ‘twenty versions of Pachelbel’ CD someone once gave me for Christmas and that I didn’t even bother regifting – I just threw it out. The music that is gently palpating my ears right now for about the 30,000th time is the Olympic theme played on a piano. The tune is like a brain worm – I can’t shake the melody because it’s everywhere. I think I even heard it as the ring tone for a phone the other day. I’m beginning to suspect that the music is the reason everyone is sleeping instead of spellbound. Even I got to yawning in the early part of the GP Speciale tonight; and as those who know me will attest, I can take a lot of dressage before I nod off.

2. No individual movement scoring – over to Mariette again, whom I asked the question in the press conference the other night. This time she had a ‘real’ answer for me and not just a mumble about ‘not available’. She says there is an FEI rule (or is it an IOC rule?) that states for Olympics a running score must be displayed. She went on to say that there is another rule that individual movement marks can be displayed only if none of the judges can see it (I think they need to let Gary Rockwell see, but more on that tomorrow). So if any of you at home have some time on your hands and you have a penchant for splitting hairs, please go on the FEI website for me and see if you can find the rules about scoreboards at the Olympics.

3. Who is to blame for the lack of Thoroughbreds on the eventing roster, and also for Orion being identified as Danish (he’s by Jazz for crap’s sake) – BOCOG controls the processing of information, but the FEI is responsible for making sure what BOCOG receives is accurate. Gotta love those big bureaucratic organizations.

4. How Brian Sosby walked on water – ok, I don’t actually know how the USEF’s happy blogger managed to do that. All I know is that in his very (and I mean very) detailed account of his trip to the cross country on Monday, he said that he walked from his hotel ‘in downtown Hong Kong’ to East Tsim Sha Tsui station, which is actually across the harbour in Kowloon. I’m really sorry you lost your hat, Brian.
Miso Proud!

Berna finished sixth in the Speciale, and Ashley finished fifteenth, just making it into the freestyle on Tuesday. Ashley found me during a break and we did a little dance that looked like drunk Greeks at a wedding, but hey, it’s exciting!

The judges finally started firing on all five controversial cylinders in the Speciale tonight, but you’re going to have to wait until tomorrow to read about it. It’s 1:30 am and I have to go heat up my frozen wontons.

Maybe it's the weather....or the music

Sam Lam or Sasquatch?

What the....? What do you mean the jumping isn't in Beijing? (Mac Cone looking for the jumps)

1 comment:

leslie said...

Karen , thanks for your blog, I enjoyed it