Friday, June 26, 2009

R.I.P. Michael Jackson :(

I've always been a huge Michael Jackson fan. To me his music will always be timeless.

Like the rest of the world at this very moment I am still in total and utter shock at his death.

Love him, or hate him there's no denying the man was a legend in the music industry.

And I choose to remember him that way.

R.I.P Michael to say you'll be sorely missed is an understatement.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Heading overseas

In mid-March of this year I had mentioned that I was getting ready for a trip back home to visit my family.

Well that day has finally arrived, and my mom and I are heading out to the airport today for a night flight (my first) back to Poland.

It's going to be an interesting experience since it has been twelve years that I last stepped on a plane.

I'm dreading the take-off and landing (once we're in the air I'm hoping to just relax and sleep for most of it).

I'm nervous but I'm also excited and happy to be going on the first real vacation in many years.

I hope I can keep my mom from stressing too much about not being able to smoke for at least 10 hours *lol*. Wish me luck.

I don't know how frequently I'll be able to blog, if at all (since I'll be gone till mid July). It may be very sporadic.

But hopefully I'll be able to write a small update now and then. I should have plenty of things to talk about when I return.

Till then....

Monday, June 15, 2009

World's weirdest furniture

Fancy a desk that looks like it's puking its guts out? You're in luck! Plenty of the world's most buzzed-about designers will happily sell you furniture that will make your children cry. Here's some of the most terrifying designs in recent memory:

From the back, Jason Miller's Wooly Chair looks like it's just been covered in an alpaca throw...


...but then you see it from the front, and there they are, staring at you...THE EYES:


This chair by Jurgen Bey sports what must be a record-setting tumor:


This bed, also by Bey, would go perfect in the home of Hannibal Lecter:


Of couse, our man Lecter likes memorializing his kills. Ergo, this coffee table, with an interior that looks like the splatter pattern at a crime scene:


We weren't kidding about the puking furniture. Nacho Carbonell's "Skin" line has an elastic coating. Simply remove all the chairs innards, and you've got a handy cubby hole:


Poor Nacho. Much like Dr Frankenstein, he's doomed by his creations. Here, he's apparently been swallowed alive by this settee:


Next to a childhood spent torturing animals, this rocking chair by David Pompa is probably a decent indicator of serial-killer tendencies:


Um, remember the dead grandma in Psycho? With a little help from Hannes Grebi, she's got a comfy replacement for her rocking chair. Scream all you want. There's no one around for miles:


This psychotic, ravenous frog apparently crawled out of Hella Jongerius's studio, and won't relinquish its territory on top of this table:


Perhaps if you're keeping a gimp in your basement, you might consider this hammock, by Bless:


So it's the year 2100. You're watching your holographic TV, munching a Soylent Green sandwich. The natural world is a distant memory, which only appears as a furniture pattern on this couch by Gaetano Pesce:


Also in 2100, the world is rife with genetic experiments gone wrong, such as these human/animal hybrids that pose as furniture before slurping your brains out with a straw:


Sleep tight!

And I thought the vending machines were bad! *LOL*.

Source: via Neatorama

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Tip-of-the-tongue moments explained

Nearly everyone has tip-of-the-tongue moments, but bilinguals seem especially prone to these momentary lapses in vocabulary, says Jennie Pyers, a psychologist at Wellesley College in Massachusetts.

One possible explanation is that similar-sounding words compete for our brain's attention. Since bilinguals know twice as many words as monolinguals, there's more chance for tip-of-the-tongue experiences.

"Often when we're having tip-of-the-tongue experiences, words that sound the same come to mind," Pyers says. "There's a sense that you do know the first letter; there's a sense that you might know how many syllables it is."

Alternatively, they could occur when our brains recall rarely used words, Pyers says. "It's much easier to retrieve a word like 'knife' than 'guillotine'."

Since bilinguals, by definition, speak two languages, they are bound to use many individual words less frequently than monolinguals.

In hopes of narrowing down these explanations, Pyers' team compared 11 Spanish-English bilinguals with 22 people who used English and American sign language (ASL). Since the signers' second "tongue" makes no use of sound, there is no opportunity for sound-alike words to elicit tip-of-the-tongue experiences, says Pyers, who is fluent in ASL.

To provoke tip-of-the-tongue moments, the researchers showed the bilinguals, as well as a control group of 22 English monolinguals, pictures of dozens of different objects and challenged the volunteers to name them in 30 seconds. The viewed objects – which included axes, weathervanes, gyroscopes, nooses and metronomes – were obscure enough to elicit tip-of-the-tongue experiences in all but one participant.

As with previous experiments, monolinguals had fewer tip-of-the-tongue experiences than bilinguals, about 7 words versus 12, out of a total of 52 – though Pyers' team counted only instances where the volunteer knew the word.

However, Spanish bilinguals experienced roughly the same number of tip-of-the-tongues as sign language bilinguals. This rules out the possibility that similar-sounding words compete for our brain's attention in tip-of-the-tongue experiences.

More likely, tip-of-the-tongue experiences occur when we're trying to recall rarely used words, Pyers says.

"People often have tip of the tongue experiences for proper names, again because we don't use them very frequently," she adds.

Source: via Neatorama

Friday, June 12, 2009

Roger Federer back in the day

Very insightful or should I say prophetic interview. I think Roger can put a check mark beside all of his aforementioned dreams. That's what I call ambition!.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Roger Federer Sampras equation ad


Bold Nike very bold. I really hope Pete has a good sense of humor....

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

World's weirdest vending machines

Vending machines have been around since the first century AD. By today’s accounts, even the first vending machine, which dispensed holy water to temple visitors, was weird.

The tradition continues. This month alone, Germans released a 24K gold bar vending machine, and an Italian entrepreneur exhibited a machine that makes pizza from scratch. These machines are featured along with 8 other oddities below:

Source: Slippery Brick

The Dog-O-Matic, an automatic dogwashing machine, is a hit in the town of St. Max, France. Inventor Romain Jarry wants to launch it in Britain next year, but claims that “at the moment people are still getting used to the idea,” according to the Daily Mail. That’s probably because the device looks like a canine waterboarding machine. “It doesn’t take long to wash the dog,” he said. “The longest part is the drying. The dogs don’t seem to get bored. They just sit there and they come out clean.” If your dog makes it through without trauma, your wallet won’t: It costs $21 to wash a small dog, $35 for a medium dog, and $49 for a big animal.

Instant Judaism
Source: Jacob Richman

This vending machine sits in Jerusalem’s central bus station, where it sells booklets on Jewish traditions and laws. The purpose of the sponsoring organization, Hadaf Hayomi, is to “spread Torah knowledge worldwide in a beautiful manner.” Not sure how beautiful vending machines are, but they’re certainly spreading the message. (From Jacob Richman’s blog).

Source: Wirtschaftswoche

Online discounter launched the “Gold-to-Go” machine in May to address increasing demand for the precious metal within Germany. The machine sells 1 gram, 24-karat gold bars, and updates prices every 10 minutes. The company plans to install 500 machines in train stations and airports Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. The tiny bars are hardly a good investment: Goldbugs pay 31 Euros cash for a bar worth about 21 Euros. But you can’t beat the bars for novelty points.

Pet Beetles
Source: PhotoMann

According to Doug Mann, who took the picture above, some Japanese kids like to keep rhinoceros beetles as pets. The roadside vending machine above sells them for 100-300 yen each. The males, which have long horns protruding from their heads, are especially coveted. Department stores in Japan also sell the bugs.

Source: We Make Money Not Art

If the urge to play a game of pick-up soccer with your friends ever hits, Call-a-Ball will provide. This soccer ball dispensing machine spits out an RFID-embedded ball when you send an SMS with the vending machine code on it. You can also register to have the machine send a “challenge” message to your friends via SMS. When you’re done kicking, just pop the ball back into the machine.

Schoolgirl Panty Machine
Source: PhotoMann

No, it’s not an urban legend. Though Japan’s famous used schoolgirl panty vending machines were purportedly banned in 1993, individuals continued to report their existence around the country until at least 2001. The panties are supposedly worn by schoolgirls before they make it into the vending machines, where they sell for upwards of $50 a pop.


Rolls Royce-o-Mat
Source: NYTimes

Miami’s Mondrian South Beach hotel boasts one of the world’s fanciest vending machines. The specially designed Semi Automatic machine only takes credit cards. In return, it deposits a variety of luxury items, including 24-karat gold handcuffs, designer vases, jewelry, and a Rolls Royce Silver Shadow (rental only). According to the New York Times, an anti-recession T-shirt is among the machine’s bestsellers.

Marijuana To Go
Source: Geekologie

The pot vending machine featured above dispensed up to 1oz/week of prescription pot. Approved users could choose from five strains, which they would receive in a vacuum-sealed plastic capsule. The machines were installed in California in early 2008, then seized by DEA agents not long thereafter.

Let’s Pizza
Source: NowPublic

“Let’s Pizza,” a vending machine released by Italian entrepreneur Claudio Torghele, makes pizza from scratch in less than 3 minutes. All you need to do is choose one of four types of pizza, pay $4.95, and watch as the machine creates a fresh pie. The machine mixes and presses the dough, adds sauce and toppings, and bakes the pizza in an infrared oven. At the end of the process, you pick up the steaming pizza on a cardboard tray. If you’re a hygiene freak, or simply in a hurry, you could become fast friends with the “Let’s Pizza.”

Tie Vending Machine


Another Japanese vending-machine oddity, in case a paper shredder or cup of coffee gets the better of your old tie.

Source: via

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

Awesomely amazing pools

The standard pool, in all its sparkly-blue, hot-summer-day glory, is enough to send most hearts aflutter. Add an edgy architectural design or sweeping city view, and you may just have your next dream destination. Below are some of the most spectacular pools around the globe. From the world’s largest lagoon-side pool to one that appears to be teetering on the edge of a cliff in Bali, this picturesque rundown will give you a much-needed escape.

Hanging Pool

This architecturally-daring pool, designed by Architexas , sits atop The Joule hotel in Dallas, Texas. Ten stories above the ground, the pool projects eight feet over the edge of the building and hangs directly above Main Street, giving dippers dazzling downtown views. Photo Credit:

Private Bay Overlook

Shown above is one of many private infinity pools at Six Sense Hotel in Koh Yao Noi, Thailand (northeast of the better-known island of Phuket). The pool deck offers a magnificent view of Phang Nga Bay and its limestone monoliths, but the best part? Butler service upon request. Photo credit:

Pantheon Pool

The Homestead Crater—a 55-foot-high dome filled halfway with 96°F mineral-rich spring water—is a favorite among local water skiers, snorkelers and scuba divers. Located at the Homestead Resort in Midway, Utah, this natured-inspired pool is lit during the evenings to illuminate the mineral deposits that decorate the chamber’s walls. Photo Credit:

Blood-Red Pool

Appropriately set in Marrakesh, Morocco—known as the “Red City” due the city buildings’ crimson-colored mud walls—this 105-foot-long pool sits at the center of the Murano Oriental Resort. Paved with red enamel and similarly-hued mosaic tiles, the pool water gives off a rosy tint, providing a visual allusion to the city’s nickname. Photo Credit:

World’s Largest Pool

San Alfonso del Mar in Algarrobo, Chile is home to the world’s largest swimming pool, according to the Guinness World Records. Set on an artificial lagoon, the crystal-clear pool crosses over almost 20 acres and is 140-feet deep—equivalent in size to 6,000 standard-sized pools. The pool includes Jacuzzi tubs, solar heating, water cascades and an aquarium that holds more than 42 different species of local sea life. Photo Credit:

Snow-Side Pool

The Grand Hotel Portillo, one of Chile’s most famous ski resorts, is home to this heated, glass-enclosed indoor-outdoor pool. Beloved for its sweeping views of the Andes mountaintops as well as its secluded location (there are no neighboring towns for miles), this is where the hotel guests unwind after a fun-filled day on the slopes. Beside it is a hot tub of nearly equal size! Photo Credit:

Lap Pool

This enticing infinity pool belongs to New Zealand’s Blanket Bay Luxury Lodge. The seemingly never-ending heated stretch of water allows the perfect view of Lake Wakatipu through the on-the-edge, open-air cutout window carved into the stone. Photo Credit:

Infinity Pool

The Bulgari Resort in Bali is home to a pool dubbed the “epitome of infinity”—so named because it appears to blend right into its surrounding scenery. The peak it’s perched on offers unparalleled views of the Indian Ocean and hangs among cliffs of grey, hand-cut volcanic stone that jut out dramatically over the surrounding seas. Photo Credit:


Monday, June 08, 2009

Evan Rachel Wood dating Shane West?

Evan Rachel Wood and Shane West Hold Hands

Evan Rachel Wood and Shane West keep close as they party together at the Bardot lounge in West Hollywood on Saturday (June 6).

Look at Shane going for the double cigarette on the ear look!

The A Walk to Remember star turns 31 on June 10, while Evan is 21. The couple has recently been spotted sucking face after Evan split yet again from rocker Marilyn Manson. Shane and Evan also both starred as brother and sister in the TV series, Once and Again.


Not sure if this is true, if it is it's a definite step up from Marilyn Manson.

I know these two have been friends for years ever since the show ended, I guess it recently developed into something more.

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Viva La Federer the "GOAT"!!

I was going to start things off with a point by point breakdown of this historic match. But I'm just to overwhelmed at the moment. I'm still in disbelief mode.

Even though (as a huge Federer fan) I was wishing and hoping for him to finally win it. I still had my doubts. I was really afraid that he would crumble under the huge weight of expectation and pressure (as he had done the previous year).

And despite Federer having a 9-0 head to head record against Soderling I still wasn't completely convinced. Especially with the added pressure of everyone telling him, "this is your year" and your chance, it's "now or never".

That could not have been easy to deal with. And let's face it Soderling knocking out Nadal was no small feat! (that had to be in the back of Federer's mind as well).

Having said all that I had a small sliver of hope that Federer having such a long hard road to the final (I honestly thought those 5 setters against Haas and Del Potro would kill me!) would be beneficial to him in the long run. And I was so right!.

By having such a tough draw Roger really had to fight just to get to the final, he felt all that pressure and kept coming back (sometimes just scraping through).

But I think it really helped him, it let him know that he could go the distance. I think that's partly why he came into to the championship match playing calm and confident showing shades of the old Federer winning the first set 6-1.

The second set was a little tighter, but Federer's superb serve really helped him and he won the 2nd set tie break fairly easily.

There were a few tense moments in the third set (a break point on Federer's serve at 5-4) but he held his nerve and won it 6-4. Overall I was extremely impressed with how well Federer handled himself.

Despite all the obstacles, the drizzling rain, and even a crazed fan who managed to run on to the court and touch him before being tackled by security (still can't believe they even allowed him to get that close!). He rose above and came out victorious in the end. That's the sign of a true champion.

Now I'm sure some might argue that Soderling didn't play his best (certainly not at the same level as the Nadal match) and that the nerves of the occasion got to him.

But I'm not one of them, I give Roger full credit he had a lot more to lose. I'm sure some may also be disappointed, or perhaps even complain about this final not being as highly competitive and exciting (as the epic's with Federer vs. Nadal).

To those people I say WHATEVER!. Federer worked his tail off just to get to the final Sunday and he deserved to have an easier one.

Even the French crowd realized how historically big this was and unlike in the past they didn't start rooting for the opponent or protest when Roger won the whole thing in 3 sets (even though I'm sure they would have liked it to go longer).

Finally after losing to Rafael Nadal at this very tournament 3 times in a row Roger can get the giant monkey (in the form of the 14th Grand Slam) off his back!.

Tying Pete Sampras's record at the French Open (which Pete has never won) and thus completing his career Grand Slam just made it that much sweeter.

I admit to shedding a few tears along with Roger as he hit the match point (and when Andre Agassi came up to shake his hand).

After the tumultuous year that was 2008 and so many tears of sadness. It was so nice to see him shedding tears of joy.

Congratulations Roger Federer for finally achieving what was beginning to seem impossible.

There's no denying now that you truly are the "GOAT" ("Greatest of All Time"). Onward to Wimbledon!.

Photos: and

Martina Hingis on new love, home life and shopping

And here is the Schweizer Illustrierte interview from which I posted some pictures earlier this week.

Some of the questions repeat from the earlier interview I posted a few days back but still a good read. Also I gotta say they do look very cute together :).

Q: Martina, are you happy?

A: Yes, I am. I can now enjoy things, which I couldn’t do during my career. My house on the Lake of Zurich, which was furnished and rebuilt after my ideas. My horses, which are important to me. Zurich, where I was too less out formerly. Yes, and I am newly enamoured (in love).

Q: Where do Tennis stars like you fall in love? At parties? In clubs? Or Facebook?

A: At Spruengli. I love chocolate (for drinking). There I met Andi. We've known each other for many years. But this time we clicked. We've been together for 3 months.

Q: Andi? Please tell us more about him

A: His name is Andreas Bieri, he is 38 years old with a heigth of 1,90 m. He is lawyer and has together with his partner a law firm in Zurich. He's humourous, he is quick at repartee (quick witted), he has a good self-confidence and a big heart. Sign of the zodiac? Taurus. That you can notice sometimes (laughs).

Q: I feel gloomy about your love: Andi cannot ride!

A: That is really a weak point (laughs)! Last week he mounted one of my horses. He was frightened. That I cannot understand. Apart from that he is keen on sports. He plays tennis for GC, he was once number 15 of Switzerland. And he is a very good skier.

Q:And he's moving into your house shortly?

A: As of yet we still live in two houses. But we try to see each other as often as possible. Lately actually every day. This I enjoy really. We spent our holidays in Florida together. For his sake I don’t ride seven days a week but only 5-6 days.

Q: What does a good relationship need?

A: Confidence, independence. Each has to allow the other some freedom.

Q: I miss the word “fidelity”

A: That is included in the word confidence.

Q:Did you ever write him a real love letter? Or are you more of an SMS-kid?

A: Love letter…? Rather SMS. Or even better: telephone! That is much easier. And now as my friend lives in Switzerland the phone bill is not so big.

Q: Andi also passed the “Parents-Test”. You introduced him to your mother.

A: Yes. At mom’s birthday at the Chinese restaurat “Min Kang Yuan” in Küssnacht am Rigi(at the Lake of Lucerne). And he introduced me to his mother. All went well.

Q: You were not always so happy. Especially on November 1, 2007. Then you informed the medias that you were charged with having dopped with cocaine. And you announced also the retirement from tennis.

A: It was an awful day. We prepared the press conference very well. But when you are in front of the microphone it is not so easy.

Q: The consequences were harsh. You were suspended for two years.

A: Yes you can say that. Wimbledon invites the “past champions” to the tournament every year. I received the tickets too. But then the ITF stated that I am by no means allowed to enter the stadiums during my suspension.

Q: Were there tears?

A: No. But I fumed with rage. I already rented a house at Wimbledon and I looked forward to being at the tournament as a fan. That I missed the superfinal between Federer and Nadal I still regret.

Q: You waived a recourse of the verdict.

A: We had long discussions about it, but Mario convinced me against the recourse. I would have probably have had to go from court to court for many years. That I cannot and don’t want.

Q: In autumn the suspension ends.

A: Yes, on my birthday. The day after, October 1, I am again free. Then I can rearrange my life and make plans with my agents and my sponsors.

Q: We cannot look forward to a great come-back?

A: A come-back on the Tour will not suffice. I still on some days play rather well, but not for two sets. But I will also be ready for exhibitions matches. You play 1-3 matches and then you can recover.

Q: Do you follow tennis on tv?

A: To be honest I hardly watch women tournaments. Rather men tournaments, but only if I don’t have to get up in the middle of the night, as during the Australian Open.

Q: The career of Roger Federer interests you surely. You were also for 209 weeks the number one player. You too had to accept that you cannot be the number one forever.

A: I know the situation of Roger nowadays. But for me he is still the best tennisplayer in the world. He plays better than all others, although one has to admit that Nadal is physically unbelievably strong. Nevertheless I am still a fan of Roger.

Q: Do you have contact with your former opponents?

A: Friendships you have during the tournaments. If you are away it gets more difficult to have friendships. But when I am in Miami I meet Anna Kournikova or Monica Seles. Monica is fantastic – she participated in a big tv-show.

Q: What kind of show?

A: “Dancing with the Stars”, a dancing contest with prominent participants. I would like to do that. But I should take some dancing lessons before. I am not such a good dancer. …

Q: I see you more at show jumpings as at dancing tournaments.

A: Now, I look forward to my next start at show jumping events. But you must know: I want to start at national events, more or less right on the doorstep. Perhaps I will participate at an event in a near foreign country. I will never be a real good rider.

Q: That sounds rather modest.

A: Top riders like Guerdat or Pessoa grew up with horses. Like me with the raquet. Or Sergio Garcia with the golfball. This deficit I cannot make up. But I will try see how far I can go.

Q: How big is the “Hingis Stable”?

A: My best and most expensive horse “Kolibris Perle” is in a German stable and is trained by Hans Dreher. Myself I ride two horses: Catch the Wind and Darconi.

Q: This means you get up at six in the morning and you clean up the dung?

A: No. To get up early is not my business! I just enjoy the luxury that the horse is ready when I arrive at the stable. Once a week I ride together with my mom. Then we speak about all of our lives – like formerly at the tennis courts. We understand one another very well. I am glad that she lives nearby . So I know where to go when my refrigerator is empty. I am also grateful for what Mario is doing for me. We are a good trio.

Q: How do you spend your day?

A: I enjoy my new liberties. I sleep longer, at nine I am in the stable, I enjoy the garden in the afternoon, I meet friends. And I am studying for the motorboat driving test. I have a boat but no driving licence.

Q: And you are shopping. Which designers fill your wardrobe?

A: I like Dior, but also Cavalli, Dolce &-Gabana, Versace. There were also times when I shopped more. Now my horses are more important.

Q: Not a shoe-fanatic?

A: A little bit. But when I read how many shoes Beyoncé or others have, I feel that I am quite modest.

Q: Where can we meet you in Zurich or in the wide world?

A: My friend showed me some restaurants, which I didn’t know before: “La Côte”, “Lasalle”, “Idaburg” for instance. Sometimes I go to the bars of “Helvetia” or “Widder”. I like London, Paris. I also want to go to New York again.

Q: After many months you had three interviews this week, which was probably not so easy for you. I am sure you will reward yourself for this.

A: I have already done that. I bought at Grieder a new dress, more precisely I bought two – one by Dolce & Gabbana and one by Patrizia Pepe. There was a “2 for 1” offer. I am now a “bargain hunter”.
Edited by me

It's interesting that she mentioned getting her sponsors and agents back I thought she didn't want to return to the WTA?.

Or is it that you still need them even for exhibitons?. Anyone out there know?. 'Cause I'm confused.

Oh, and I am so with her on the Aussie Open the time difference just kills me (over the years I've learned it's best to just tape the matches).

Also I loved her comment on going home to raid her mom's fridge *lol*. I guess no matter how old we get we'll always find ways to mooch off our parents.

Saturday, June 06, 2009

Martina Hingis speaks candidly on life and WTA ban

As I mentioned a few days ago Martina has been doing a lot of interviews recently.

I have to admit I'm a bit curious as to why. Could it be that now that her ban is close to being over, she feels more free to speak?.

Whatever the reason I'm glad she's finally opening up more on the (ban) issue, and what her life has been like for the last year and a half.

Martina Hingis, on November 1, 2007 you were informed that you tested positive for cocaine, but you stated that you are innocent. Since then you retreated more or less away from the public. . Why this interview now?

I had difficulties accepting it all, I had doubts about justice and I wanted to distance myself. In the meantime 1 ½ years have passed and the ban will last only four months, then a new chapter will start in my life.

On the 1st of October your ban will end. What does this date mean for you?

I will celebrate my 29th birthday on September 30 a bit more intense then usual, I will drink one or two glass more. Then I will be a free person. I can go to riding-or to tennis tournaments, I can go to Roland Garros or Wimbledon. Then my dignity will be restored.

Q: Have you kept in contact with friends from the tour?

A: If you are not allowed to go to tournaments you just lose the contacts. The others do not travel to Switzerland. In the USA I rung up Monica (Seles), but she was not there. I've had several contacts with Anna (Kournikova). Once I met Justine in Belgium.

Q: People said, that the worst part about the suspension has been the fact that you could not participate at riding events. Was it really so?

A: No. The worst was, that e.g. I could not got to Wimbledon or the US Open, where I was invited like all other former Champions. ITF said, that I was not allowed to enter the stadium during the tournament. There are always people who come up to me and say: super career. And now all that shouldn't be an issue. Am I no longer a former champion? I was cut to the quick. To overcome this, was not so easy.

Q: Did you feel as if you were rejected?

A: Many of my relations with sponsors etc. were taken away. I've always had very good relations: I was with Yonex for 15 years. I cannot comment (I'm assuming we're talking about match commentating here), cannot coach, I have more or less an employment ban.

Q:You were also the object of mockery and evil caricatures. Did it hurt you?

A: I have seen some things and I laughed. You cannot always cry when you are reading the newspapers. Of course there were some silly sayings, but they didn’t bother me.

Q: How did the people react?

A: When I spoke with people, the issue came up all the time. The majority who followed my career have a good impression of me. Particulary in the USA, where I spent a lot time,- above all in Saddlebrook. There my achievements are in the foreground. The good thing there is: Once you're at the top, you mostly remain a legend. On the streets people often asked me: Why aren't you playing anymore?

Q: Did people point a finger at you?

A: I retreated to avoid that. I lived my life, with my horses, with my family and friends. Or I was abroad. This exclusion was not easy to bear. Also not for my mother and Mario(Widmer). If somebody looks at me, as if I were a drug addict…. the word 'cocaine' didn’t belong in my vocabulary.

Q: How were your protests of innocence accepted?

A: I know, that many thought that I just tried it. But in such a case I would not have done it at Wimbledon!. To do such thing you must be really stupid. In a first round, when I nearly lost, against a player named Cavaday!. For many it was simply a doping case. Without taking into consideration how small the substance was and that outside the tournaments cocaine is allowed. You can find traces of cocaine everywhere. I made the hair test because I didn’t want to be characterized as a drug addict. My tennis was not based on such things…. I have never been afraid to be on the court. I don't even know the effect of cocaine.

Q: You wrote an annotation in the protocol of the doping test.
A: “All is ok”. In my life I've had 80 to 100 doping tests and I've never had a problem. I would not jeopoardise my career, only to play once more at Wimbledon. As if I am in need of that. I would never have a problem admitting: I have taken cocaine, I wanted to know how it is. But then I wouldn’t do it at Wimbledon.

Q: Have you ever regretted having accepted the verdict without recourse?

A: We discussed it very extensively. But I did not want to go from court to court. The example of Marion Jones shows that you even can get bankrupt. And in her case it took five years until all was finished. That was nothing for me.

Q Were you surprised by the severity of the sentence?

A: I never thought that the suspension would be for two years. I thought 3 months. Prior to and after my case, there was never a suspension of two years for cocaine.

Q. How do you explain this severity?
A: This is the Hingis-bonus, which is negative. How long was the suspense for Novacek and Wilander? 3 monts. And why was it different in my case.

Q Perhaps they wanted to make an example with you to show that they take ruthless action against doping, also against big players.

A: Perhaps they needed somebody for this and I was the victim.

Q: Do you sometimes think: If I had known how my come back ends, I would have renounced to it, so my name in the tennis history would be better?

A: This would depend how all will develop from October. The only reproach I have is the fact that I started in Wimbledon not 100% prepared. I just wanted to play by all means. I was injured, I had played only for 2 weeks. I should have dropped it.

Q: You never appeared completely content during your come-back. How do you look back now to that time?

A: Until Tokyo(February 2007) everything worked super, afterwards not so great. At Tokyo I played very well, in the final I beat Ivanocic. This was a highlight. At that moment I thought all will continue this way. Furthermore I had a relationship, for which I made compormises. I decided to help him as he was injured and I thrived.

Q: Are you glad, that you tried it once more?

A: I had to take courage. But I wanted to experience all these things, the gala diners, the photo shoots, the tournaments, and to be on the top. And I did, I won three tournaments. I just enjoyed it, it was like a bonus. Most people didn’t believe that I would advance so high up the ranking with my height and my power. My come-back was not bad. I can be proud about it.

Q: Would you have played any longer without the doping case?

A: I think less. I would have surely taken a time-out. At that time I did not know how our relationship would develop. If it doesn’t work out, you think more about retreating. And I lost several times in the first or second round. You have to ask yourself: Is it worth it? But I kept it up for almost two years. And they were 2 very nice years.

Q There are rumors about a new come-back. Is there truth to them?

A: Many people ask me when I will start playing again. But the effort is too great for me in order to go up to the top. I don’t believe that I have the will and the energy to deliver such performance. Week after week, as before. On good days I play okay, on bad days I think: Oh my god… I have a good life here, I have a house, a friend, my horses. And when the weather is good, it is really wonderful. I don’t have in mind to go from tournament to tournament. But to play some exhibitions, that would interest me.

Q: You still take part in the doping test program of Swiss Olympics. Why?

A: I decided to stay in the system, in case I wanted to come back. Also because of the exhibitions. They could have made tests the whole 2 years, but they didn’t do it. But I have to inform them where I am. Sometimes I feel like a criminal.

Q: During the ban you competed at exhibitions in Liverpool, Boston, California, Germany. Were there no problems?

A: I had a lot more offers, but I didn’t want to provoke anybody. Most of the exhibitions were for some charitable purposes.

Q: How intensely do you play tennis nowadays?

A: In the first half year I didn’t play much, now a bit more. I still enjoy it. Recently I invited a 15-year old German girl, Daria Gajos. So we could train for a few days. I met her in Berlin in January, when she won the Berlin-Brandenburg Championships. I would like to do that more often.

Q: Did you train once again with Patty, who lives near your home?

A:No, she hasn’t asked me and I do not want to call her and say: I am here and I am ready… I benefit from my mother as she trains good juniors, like Belinda(Bencic) and Talissa(Kucera). So I have good sparring partners.

Q: Were you never bored? Or did you discover new things?

A: I'm taking driving lessons for my motor-boat, so that I can finally drive with my boat. Sometimes I had to really search for something to do. For a while I rode 5, 6 horses in a day, so I was engaged.

Q: How are your riding ambitions? Will you ride at sporting events?

A: Perhaps. I have to look at how it works. At the moment I have two horses in Rueschlikon and two in Basel. But If you want to ride internationally, it gets expensive. And for this you need competence.

Q: You say, that you are happy with your private life. Do you have specific plans: marriage, children?

A: My private life is stable, I have a good friend, I am content. But it's too early to make big plans.

Q: How do you imagine your future?

A: I take it as it comes and see what happens. I always get inquiries regarding coachiing or playing.

Q: Coach Martina Hingis?

A: No, rather…. (considers) consultant.

Q: You do not want to travel to tournaments as a coach like your mother?

A: No, in such case I would prefer to play for myself. Sometimes I think the best would be to start a family and to undertake something with your own child. So you have the best control.

Q: Do you see your mother often?

A: Once a week we try to ride together. She also has a horse. We meet each other on the tennis court.

Q: Your life would be an ideal model for a book. Are there any plans?

A: I often think sometimes I will write a book with Mario. But now it is too early and also too complicated. But whenever I have outbursts of temper, I write it down, so that I don’t forget it.

I feel the need to point out something there are a lot of "friend" references in the interview.

I think it's safe to assume she's actually talking about her boyfriend but it comes out different when translated from German *lol*.

Also I've never been a big fan of ITF (International Tennis Federation) especially not after Hingis's ban, but I think they hit a new low by not allowing her to enter the Tennis stadiums at grand slam matches as a former champion. So not cool!.

I actually can't wait until her ban ends and we can at least get a glimpse of her on t.v. sitting in the stands :).


Edited by me

Friday, June 05, 2009

A nap will do you good!

Yeah, we know. You didn't sleep well last night. So why not take a nap?

Studies show that not only will you feel better almost immediately, says Sara Mednick, PhD, a sleep medicine researcher at the University of California at San Diego and author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life, but a daily nap of between 20 and 90 minutes before 4:00 pm will also increase your mental performance, reduce your chances of gaining weight, and make you feel a whole lot more like having sex after dinner than you probably do now. What's more, it won't affect your nighttime sleep.

All told, a nap, according to Dr. Mednick, will:

• Increase your on-the-job alertness by 100 percent
• Sharpen your thinking so you make more accurate judgments and better decisions
• Ramp up your productivity
• Regenerate skin cells so you look younger
• Increase your sex drive
• Help you lose weight by altering metabolism and shifting chemicals that affect appetite
• Reduce your risk of heart attack, stroke, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and other cardiovascular problems
• Lift your mood by bathing your brain in the neurotransmitter serotonin
• Speed up your ability to perform motor tasks, like typing, operating machinery, even swimming
• Improve your accuracy—in everything
• Improve the way your body processes carbs, which reduces your risk of diabetes
• Sharpen your senses so you take in what's important in your environment—and screen out the 24-hour culture chatter that surrounds us
• Put your brain into its creative gear so you can come up with fresh ideas
• Trigger a naturally occurring hormone that blocks the destructive chemicals produced by stress
• Boost your ability to learn something new—and, better yet, remember it
• Zap the need for drugs like caffeine and alcohol to manipulate your mood and energy level
• Relieve migraines
• Improve your nighttime sleep by eliminating that wired feeling and thus shutting off the brain chatter
• Make you feel good all over

Source: besthealthmag via Neatorama

Now I don't feel so bad about all those naps I took during my high school and College years ;P.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Martina Hingis on Federer, her career and the WTA

Martina has been a busy bee, giving many interviews in the last couple of days.

Q: Martina Hingis, how are you following tennis during your suspension?

A: I still love tennis and I like to watch matches. I am quite well-informed.

Q: What are your impressions on women’s tennis?

A: It happens that whenever I start to watch a match I soon turn away. In principle I enjoy men’s tennis much more. Women’s tennis is very monotonous at the moment. I agree with my mother, who said, “if you cut off the heads of all the players, they would all look the same.” If you didn’t look closely, many matches look alike. They all bash at the balls. You cannot see any variations and crafty play.

Q: You would also include Dinara Safina in such a circle?

A: She plays very powerful tennis. You can also tell that she trained very hard. Formerly she was sometimes a bit mentally unstable. Now she is at the top and I don’t mind. But it is not the tennis that makes me say: “Wow, cool, I must watch Safina’s matches.”

Q: Do you think that women’s tennis used to be more attractive?

A: I played at a time when women’s tennis was highly popular. It was super for the public to see how tennis was played. Both Williams were at a good age, Davenport was present, Seles made her come-back, Capriati was the darling of the USA…

Q: But on the other hand the women get sometimes more prizemoney than the men.

A: They owe it mainly to the players of that time. It is the effect of the remains of this time. Today the women play often in empty stadiums.

Q: What’s your opinion about the rivalry between Federer and Nadal?

A: It’s good for tennis. It is simply good tennis: Two totally different characters, who play diversely – one very physical, the other with more technique. These are really good matches, which I never miss watching.

Q: Many doubt that Federer will win more grand slams. Do you as well?

A: You should not write him off. When the circumstances are in his favour, like in Madrid, he can still win a Grand-Slam. Nowadays he must really fight his way through. Formerly there was no one around, his opponents were beaten in the locker room.

Q: Did you hear anything from Roger since your suspension began?

A: In the last one or two years, no. I follow his career. Why not? Marriage, pregnancy. The private life is important so you can play good tennis and be happy.

Q: You had your five Grand Slam titles already at the age of 19. The last five finals you lost. How do you explain that?

A: The Paris final I should have won. So I wouldn’t be always hearing that I have never won the French Open. There were also some narrow losses against Davenport and Williams. With a bit more luck I could have won 6-7 titles.

Q: The narrowest loss was at the Australian Open 2002 against Jennifer Capriati, when you had four match points.

A: That match I lost already at the score line of 4:2, 40:0. If I had made it 5:2, probably I could have won the match. At the time when I had match points, she was already again in the match. But Capriati played first class tennis back then.

Q: What achievements are you most proud of?

A: My comeback was not so bad. Very few believed that I would rise to no. 6. Of course the Grand Slam titles, my years as number one. But also the wins against the two Williams’ in Melbourne 2001, although I didn’t win the tournament. Against Serena I barely lost and I beat Venus 6:1, 6:1.

Interview by René Stauffer in the Sonntagszeitung of May 31, 2009

One of the things I've always appriciated about her interviews was the fact that she has never been afraid to be frank and boldly state her opinions.

Good to see that things have stayed the same on that front.

And I wholeheartedly agree with her on Federer and especially the WTA.

It is a complete bore-fest, and it is the reason why I find myself tunning into the men's matches more and more with every passing year.

Source: allIneedisapicketfence blog via

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Storing your books has never looked so fun

Cave Book Case

Who doesn’t love to curl up and surround themselves with books and escape for an afternoon? The Cave bookshelf allows you to literally do just that. Grab a book, climb in and forget the world. The concept behind this design follows that simple idea and turns a normal bookcase into a cool piece of seating. Source

Fairy Tale Butterfly

When in use, it looks like a simple place to keep a book, but when you pick up the book something surprising happens. The Fairy Tale Shelf suddenly becomes a beautiful piece of minimalist home decor. A single piece of stainless steel cut in the shape of a butterfly wing uses light and shadow to display a full butterfly on the wall while you read your favorite story. Source

Platzhalter Expanding Bookshelf

If your bookshelf always seems to be bursting at the seams, maybe you should just let it. You’re obviously not going to stop collecting more books than you have space for, so why not store them on something that adapts to your needs. Although after a certain point you may realize it would have been more prudent to just by a second regular shelf instead. Source

DIY Inverted Bookshelf

Follow these simple instructions and create your own upside down book shelf that freaks out your roommate. It’s a quick enough project that you can do it before he gets up for work. Unlike the time you stapled his coat to the ceiling, this won’t damage any property. In fact, the bookshelf is completely functional. Source

Repisa N5

You gotta keep your options open, whether you’re trying to maximize on shelf space or square footage, this dynamic piece of shelving makes it simple. The Repisa N5 by Sebastián Errázuriz lets you create as much or as little shelf space you need with a flick of the wrist. Source

Books to Go Bookshelf

You know that dessert island book question? Forget that question. Why only have 1 book with you when you could conveniently transport an entire book shelf with wheels and a handle? Even if you never take it anywhere, you’ll never have to worry about your books flying off the shelf. Source

Pack of Dogs

These friendly creatures may not be as furry as man’s best friend, but they certainly are just as loyal. All throughout your home or office this little guy and his friends serve as bookshelves, benches, stools, magazine racks or bookends. The Pack of Dogs bookshelf is small enough to fit on a desk so you can keep him and your books close by as you work. Source

Bed Case

If you’re impressed with the space saving power of the Japanese roll up futon you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. This bed/bookcase triples as a place to sleep, a place to keep your books and an interesting peice of decor. The Bed Case creates a very likable and attractive solution for space management in a small apartment. Source

Tangram Bookshelf

Creative use of shapes, endless possibilities.
If you liked playing with Tangram blocks as a kid, but can’t quite bring yourself to break out the blocks as an adult, this book case will alleviate the urge. Get the shapes you need and create unique artwork that expresses your style. Source

Books on Earthquakes

If you’ve ever been obsessive about making sure your books line up neatly by height, then you’ll probably would hate the disorder of the Books on Earthquakes bookshelf. Sort of a lego meets Barbie meets global disaster the design isn’t just strange, but incredibly versatile due to the “lego” like modular components. You can create a very tall (unstable looking) shelf or 2 smaller ones from the same parts. Source

Cardboard Yin Yang BookShelf

Bring some balance into your home with this incredibly beautiful and simple design. Believe it or not this beautiful bookcase is made out of cardboard and is apparently sturdy enough to hold up just fine. We imagine it takes quite a bit of skill to build something like this, but it’s an example from a do-it-yourself tutorial that shows you how to design your own cardboard furniture (and save a ton of money in the process). Source

Opus Shelving

You won’t have to worry about dressing up this bookshelf with accessories because it creates enough interest on its own. Inspired by the Roman wall building technique “opus incertum” the designer Sean Yoo began to notice those shapes throughout nature. The shelves can be stacked or placed side by side and make a great partitian, letting you grab books from either side.

Bliss Storyline Shelving

A great book can bring powerful images and sounds to your mind and bring you bliss…. apparently so can a great book shelf. The Bliss Storyline shelf visually represents the soundwave of the spoken word “bliss.” The resulting shape creates a very dynamic look that works whether you keep it minimalist with only a few books or really use the shape to it’s full advantage. Source

Quad Shelf

Why should your bookcase or DVD rack just be something in the background no one notices? Let your collection stand out with this unique piece of furniture that quickly becomes the focal point of any room. Fit all of your media, large or small on the same books shelf. Huge reference books, tiny pocket sized books, CDs, DVDs, documents… you’ll find room for anything you need to store here. Source

Spell Shelf

Sometimes it’s best to be as clear as possible. We’d love to see the living room that this matched where the seating spelled out words like “sofa”. That way there would be no mistaking what all of your furniture is used for. That is of course unless your house guests don’t speak English. Those poor saps will have to figure it out based on context. Source

Rafter BookShelf

City life is great, but unfortunately space is limited,and usually expensive since it’s the one thing everyone wants more of. That’s why you don’t let any square feet go to waste, even your ceiling works for you! The Rafter Bookshelf is a simple solution to finding more book storage, and assuming your landlord doesn’t mind, it makes a great weekend project to build yourself. Source

Bookshelf Annotation

We think this design really speaks for itself. Stupid puns aside, the Bookshelf Annotation is a great accent shelf to place above your favorite chair and with some of your all time favorite books. It lets everyone know what books really speak to you (so to speak). Source

Round Sofa

Sort of your own personal haven, the Round Bookshelf Sofa allows you to surround yourself with all of your favorite things and relax. This space saving contemporary design would work well in a bedroom, living room or public library. Fill some of the cubbyholes with speakers and listen to some music as you read and really detach yourself from your surroundings. Source

David Restorick Bookshelf

You’ve been there, not a bookmark in sight and you’ve gotta run in the middle of your favorite read. You lie the book down flat thinking your page is safe, and the cat walks by and knocks it off your nightstand onto he floor. Never again my friend with this clever shelf design. You can put your book down on it and keep your page. This versatile shelf would go great next to your bed giving you convenient storage an surface space. Source

Rolling Shelf

Take advantage of more shelf space by making it bend to your will. Create interesting arrangements with varying heights and options with the Rolling Shelf. The flexible ends made from strips of wood are held together by fabric that allow them to be rolled up to make room. Source

Source: via Neatorama

The Ying Yang and the Rolling shelves would be my top pics.