Wednesday, June 30, 2010

EMP picked my photos

EMP recently selected several of my photos as part of their Taking Aim: Unforgettable Rock 'n' Roll Photographs display. Some of these pics have been on this blog before, but I thought it would be fun to put them together into one post with the captions that run with them on the EMP site.

Alice in Chains at the CUB Ballroom in Pullman, WA on 12/1/89 as a still unsigned band at a show at Wazzu in late 1989.

The Downstrokes at Fun House Seattle on 12/20/09. This was the second show ever for this local outfit. They were nervous and excited and starting their second or third song and things were going well, you can see their excitement in their body language, I think.

LSDiablo at Tony V's Garage in Everett, WA on 4/17/09. Local metal outfit LSDiablo playing a club show. I like how all three guitarists are so focused in this picture.

The Wrecked Chords at The Tiger Lounge in Seattle in August of 2009. With a guest on guitar for this song at an outdoor record release show. Basically, I just like the energy of this photo.

Chris DeGarmo of Queensryche at the Tower Records in Bellevue, WA in May of 1988 at an Operation:Mindcrime release signing ... people lined up down NE 8th for some distance for this.

Forced Entry (Summer 1988) played me a couple songs at the infamous Chicken Coup rehearsal space while I was taking down into and taking pics for a fanzine of that era.

Maus from Lacuna Coil (5/29/07) at El Corazon in Seattle. Shortly after this photo I caught the pick he used on the final song and encore, Our Truth. An Ozzfest mainstage band in a small club was a real treat and a sweltering room from a heatwave made this show memorable for me.

Cristina Scabbia and Maus of Lacuna Coil (5/29/07) at El Corazon in Seattle. I had seen then in two short sets in previous Ozzfests but decided to work my way to the front at El Corazon for this headline set. Fantastic live band.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

There is nothing like a road trip for soccer

Yakima Reds 1
Tacoma Tide FC 7
Marquette Stadium - Yakima, WA
June 26, 2010
PDL Northwest Division Regular Season

There are three words fans of anything love to say - words applying to sporting events, political rallies, nights out, and random happenings - and those words are, "I was there." When I look at my soccer fan experiences I get to use those words an awful lot. I had hoped and started planning to get to use them here in 2010. But, alas it was not to be.

This is not what I had hoped for many years ago when I had pencilled out my trip to Cape Town to go to the World Cup. But, in the spirit of adventure that is the road trip, the next best - and financially viable - thing was to head over the mountains on a day trip to Yakima. Really.

Yakima seemed perfect for this. I never go there. Well, in March 1985 I attended the DECA State Conference there and think that was the route home Lance drove on our Spring Break day trip to Pullman and the Tri-Cities a month later. So, I had not been there in 25 plus years, there is a soccer team there playing a game during the World Cup, and it is a viable day trip I would not otherwise have taken. For the purposes of creating an artificial South Africa, Yakima it had to be.

We picked a beautiful day that got started much later than had originally been planned due to the combined success of the USMNT by making the Round of 16 and the disappointment of the 2-1 loss to Ghana. We headed out anyway. It seemed necessary, perhaps even more necessary.

The Yakima Reds play in the Premier Development League of the USL, which is technically Division 4 in the US Soccer Pyramid - or the equivalent of a Liverpool supporter taking a road trip to go and see Wycombe Wanderers Football Club in England in lieu of a trip to La Copa Mundial in France in 1998. According to my ridiculous soccer lists I have actually never seen the Reds play in regional action, which is weird as I do go to matches of this kind ... or did more in the past to be perfectly honest. But, checking those lists brought up a grand total of zero Reds games. MLS is spoiling me more than I realized when it came time to write this.

I do not currently have a lower division team I am supporting as teams like the Everett Bigfoot, Seattle Hibernian Saints, and the Spokane Shadow have vanished. Yakima it is. Go Reds! Especially since the Tacoma team would not shut up. There was a very small crowd so we could hear all the talking on the field and Tacoma should be re-branded as the Whiners. There were a couple of early goals by Tacoma that really took all of the drama out of the contest. Tacoma were up 6-1 in the 82nd and arguing corner kick calls. I will agree that the reffing was not very good and white 24 committed at least 3 bookable offenses and should have been sent off for the goalie challenge around the 65th minute, but please shut up and play. Shut. Up. And. Play. Hate to see how Tacoma would be if things weren't going their way.

Oh, and for the record. The Big Miner Burger at Miner's in Yakima is worth the drive in and of itself. When a place not only gives you the option of onions, but of those onions being fresh or grilled, they really do know what they are doing. Add the cheddar too, it is worth it. This is one huge burger and it is not a good idea to try and eat it on the road in your car. Take the time to eat in like we did or expect a serious mess.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Also, Since I Am Not In Cape Town

My trip to World Cup USA 94.

06-19-94 Rose Bowl – Sweden 2 Cameroon 2

I went to SoCal for a week in 1994 and saw two first round matches. The first match was Cameroon v Sweden and the 2nd was USA v Colombia. I was so paranoid about LA traffic and parking that I left several hours early for the Cameroon versus Sweden game and ended up being something like the 4th person through the gates into a stadium that seats over 90,000 ...

It was not strictly speaking a soccer only road trip. During the week there was a trip to Catalina Island, a day at Disneyland, a game in Anaheim between the Mariners and Angels, and a bunch of time in the sun. At the time I was still pretty much newly married and about to get ready for my move to Pullman to be an assistant coach for goalkeepers for the Women's Soccer program at my Alma Mater, Washington State University.

06-22-94 Rose Bowl – USA 2 Colombia 1

One of the things I noticed when I dug out these ticket stubs was the per game price. I pretty much pay for the cheap seats to just about everything and each of these games from 16 years ago is more than I have paid for a ticket to any sporting event before or since. It makes me cringe to think about what tickets to future world cups will cost.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My bartender this morning was Kasey Keller

Algeria 0
St. Andrew's Bar and Grill
Seattle, WA

Dempsey's blood, Donovan's tears, and a massive team effort bring the USA a much, much deserved win to top the table in Group C. No backing in. No tying in. Win the damn third game and take the group when facing elimination. This is sheer #*(%ing joy ...

The Soccer Gods did not seem to be smiling upon us yet again, and so The Yanks took matters into their own hands and won it anyway. Star players are stars because they make the big plays at crucial times in big games. Landon Donovan should be SI Sportsman of the Year at this point.

Chris had made a point mere minutes earlier about how good the Brazil team is at following shots. I made a point about how their keeper was acrobatic but had no hands ... we should be in the booth on ESPN.

I commented on this blog nearly four years ago about how Bradley was "not a bad choice per se ..." but really was not that excited about it. He has done a great job and deserves kudos galore for creating a team atmosphere that seems to be so positive. I imagine France would not mind a coach like that right now.

Since I was not in South Africa, a 6:30AM trip to a Scottish pub by Greenlake in Seattle with an old chum and a large group of new friends - with Kasey Keller behind the bar no less - was a fantastic atmosphere. 20 years ago the USA supporters section may not have had more fans in it in Rome than this one bar had in Seattle this morning. It was a lonely experience being a USA fan back then - this is better. I lost my voice cheering for a game in a different hemisphere when we scored the goal.

An additional shout out to Chris and me mum for helping out when I was a moron at 6:30AM and left my keys on the seat of my car ... I am not a morning person.

I debated whether or not to take the urinal photo or not, but decided I had to when I realized the photo facing me was when Celtic won the European Cup. It simply came down to the point where it had to be taken and posted here.

Oh, and Kasey seems to do a really nice job behind the bar, just saying.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

At the end of the rainbow is gold ...

... apparently black gold.

Double rainbow on June 15th ... and I was not the only one stopping and taking pictures.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Vampire painting

Had no idea I was painting a vampire until I was painting this vampire the other night ...

Free seats are good seats by definition

Seattle Sounders FC 2
DC United 3
MLS Regular Season
June 10, 2010
X-Box Pitch at Qwest Field - Seattle, WA

Using the free seats was nice. It was good to see the Sounders dominate in possession and attack so much ... but this was a debacle. Scoring two goals so late and having a real chance at a third in the last minute of stoppage time was exciting, but this never should have come to this. DCU is not a good team and never should have been in this game.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Since I am not in Cape Town

The 2010 World Cup starts this week!

20 years ago I went to the World Cup in Italy.

Italia 90.

My friends and co-workers were - mostly - unimpressed. Although the Italy portion of the trip was considered pretty cool.

I also attended games in 1994 in the Rose Bowl, made some plans that didn't happen for 1998, and didn't consider another World Cup to be a realistic plan until South Africa was awarded the 2010 cup. The plan was to go to South Africa for 10-14 days, fly up to Cairo for a weekend, go across to Italy and visit my old friend, take a train to London, and then fly home. I had a long time Liverpool supporter pen pal in Cape Town ... who moved to New Zealand. So, the option of trying to set up a trip was realistically squelched.

A road trip to Yakima beckons instead.

Anyways, since I had to cancel (technically I only canceled plans to plan a trip) my trip and do not have all sorts of photos and stories to gloat about on this blog I decided to post a little retrospect of my trip 20 years ago.

20 years ago (!?!) the US of A made its triumphant return to the World cup after 40 years. 40 years earlier we had stunned the world by beating England 1-0. Today, the rematch. In 1990, a resounding 5-1 pounding at the hands of Czechoslovakia. I think the Czechs actually held back. It was Florence, a beautiful day, and a small group of Americans supporting our team. I have recounted my experience getting my Czech flag in a post a few years ago. This was a truly great day. I have no photos though, because the mother of my friend did not think it was safe for me to bring my camera. The guy next to me was convinced we would win and advance out of our group because this game and the Austria game were "winnable". Well, we scored in those two games ...

The second US game against Italy was worrisome. All day in Rome people would hold up both hands to indicate a ten goal barrage was coming. It was hard to doubt them. It didn't happen. Italy did win 1-0 on an early goal, but they lost interest, the US stayed with them, and late in the game nearly got an equalizer. The Italian crowd was not amused. Pete Davies' account of this game is frighteningly accurate in All Played Out.

I had the opportunity to see Roma for a couple of days, become a member of a Scottish pub, and to attend Saturday Evening Mass at the Vatican. Mandela was to be at the Vatican the next day so I missed out on a John Paul II appearance as he was reportedly resting and preparing for the visit. Also, I took a nap in the Coliseum. Waking up sitting on a giant rock to look out and see that sight will always stick with me.

Pompei was a worthwhile day trip. I met a number of fellow recent college grads slash current students from the east coast and hung with them for the day. Our group also included a Swiss kid just daytripping around.

I was hoping to catch a game in Palermo between Egypt and Holland, but travel considerations and my lack of adequate planning of such travel arrangements made it not happen. I did catch a third game while in Naples between the Argentines and Soviets that Argentina won 2-0. Naples is a crazy, crazy town and I loved it. I got to pal around with the friends of my friend and saw some cool sights. Anyone who has ever heard my story about how I was to recognize the girl in the train station has heard me discuss this particular day at length before. It started in Pompeii, led to Naples where I was to find "the most beautiful girl in train station", involved watching Maradona in Naples (he was with Napoli at the time and when I recently saw Manny and the Dodgers at their Spring Training stadium I got the same feeling about how Dodger fans feel about Manny being much like Napoli fans and Maradona - long story short is don't call him Ramiroids), and ended up with a late gathering of people in a sidewalk seating section of a very old pizzeria and crashing on the couch of "the most beautiful girl at the train station".

Completely random but still sort of 2010 relevant soccerish side note is that on the plane I saw the movie Coupe de Ville, which was directed by Sounders FC owner Joe Roth.

Italy was amazing. The beach at Ravenna was beautiful and I got to play beach soccer with a couple of women from the Dutch national team. I watched a home Italy game on TV with my friend's family, and let me tell you that was an intense room. The wine country I stayed in was breath taking. I took in Saturday Evening Mass at the Vatican with who I think is now the current pope. And, I watched Italy play in Rome ...

20 years ago?