Sunday Espresso: World Cup 98, 24, T2i

    Within 20 minutes, one million people had poured into the streets. Dancing, celebrating. All next to the Arc de Triomphe at Place Charles de Gaulle.

    Sunday Espress Editorial Clint

    Sunday Espress Editorial ClintThe Costco coffee beans have been working wonders in the Rancilio Rocky grinder. That smell, of fresh grind in the morning, is pure joy (and awakening). Partner Pasquini has been a willing dance partner, pulling shots day-after-day.

    And I’ve worked the new rule of thirds to near perfection thanks to much practice: espresso in the morning, Diet Coke in the afternoon, and wine in the evening. Beer can sometimes, some how, even make a guest appearance.

    World Cup ′98

    Toronto, take heart. Who’s worse than the Maple Leafs? Apparently, England. Seems though they invented the game of football (or soccer – the North American kind should really be called “handball” when you think about it), they’ve only won the world tournament once (one time!) before. That would be in 1966—the year they hosted the tournament. So Maple Leaf fans can take some consolidation that an entire country has been suffering one year longer than they’re beloved NHL team.

    I’ll never forget Paris 1998.

    I had just completed my MBA part-time while working at Nortel. I took a short leave to complete the program overseas as part of the University of Ottawa’s International management exchange program. What a great decision. I met people from all over: Israel, China, Germany, Africa, Switzerland, Russia. We worked hard. But we also took advantage of our surrounds to the max. Beer. Hup Holland! Clubbing. Hup Holland! Espresso. Hup Holland! And the potatoes. Oh, the potatoes. The Dutch love them. Potato this. Potato that.

    But my best memory may very well have been the week that followed. Instead of bolting back to Canada, my buddy Nigel met me in Belgium. We rented a car. Drove to Paris. And toured the place, knowing that there was a chance that France would make it to the finals. Turns out it was a smart calculation. France ended up playing in the ’98 World Cup final against Brazil.

    At first we were dismayed we couldn’t get tickets to the game. Impossible to find. And then outrageously expensive, especially for us journeymen.

    So with no other choice, we ended up watching the game outdoors underneath the Arc de Triomphe, on an old black & white rabbit-eared television with about twenty other people crowded around. A guy nearby was selling ice cold beer out of a bucket. Man, was it good.

    At one point, I turned to Nigel and said that it was unreal. Here we were. In France, watching the home team on a black and white television, drinking beer underneath one of the most iconic structures in the world.

    Then France won.

    Within about twenty minutes, one million people had poured onto the streets.

    Even though Brazil had lost, their fans were incredible sports; still dancing, celebrating. The women. The dancing. All next to the Arc de Triomphe, at Place Charles de Gaulle.

    I remember gigantic images of the French players being projected onto the Arc. Lasers were shooting all over. The smell of BBQ floated in the air, with god knows what else. Honking. Whistling. Cheering.

    It was absolutely unforgettable. And reminds me that the World Cup really is an event where the World participates. It’s a special celebration too, of sportsmanship, diplomacy. It was also the one time I wore exclusively orange for an entire week. Hup Holland!


    Why is it everyday feels so short, regardless of how much we plan in advance. This weekend, another example. Highway 101 to San Francisco is the culprit. Every time. What possesses me to take it in lieu of 280? I tell myself: it’ll be better this time; no worries. Fool hardy words, of course. So we find ourselves literally running, as usual, to get to an event. This time to Teatro Zinzanni on Friday. We run break-neck down the Embarcadero like crazed yuppies trying to get to a Nordstrom sale. We arrive, get backstage; all the other press are already there. So we slink, embarrassed. But, man, do we still get the shots!

    Saturday, I tell myself, it will be different. Lots of time to cover two events. In the morning we’re going to cover a food and wine event at Fort Mason, and have plenty—oh, lots and lots—of spare time to make it to ACT for The Tosca Project. Think again, especially when Loni says she wants to taste one more dish, get in one more chef interview.

    So we run. Again. Down Stockton. Across Post, over to Geary. Sweating we make it to the calm theatre. Then, we soak in an artistic performance that stirs the soul; so much that it gives me goose bumps. The Tosca Project moved me, big time. So much so I looked in the mirror later to make sure I was still a guy. You know, a rough-and-tough hockey player.

    There may be only 24 hours in a day, but there’s a lifetime to experience the magic of live theater.


    If you’ve been watching SSC videos you may notice an enhanced (if not often out-of-focus) look. Perhaps not better. Just not as bad, maybe? Or is it just more film-like, but still unbearable? I don’t know if we’re making glossy home movies, as I’ve written before, or stuff that others watch, but it’s all been a lot more fun thanks to the Canon T2i. It does change the game. 1080p at 24 frames-per-second. Baby, yes. And the ability to use DSLR lenses and all the film-making gadgets that go along with it, is icing on the techno lust cake.

    I used to think that Flip video looked good (and it is decent, especially considering its compact proportions). But when you see a video cut between the Flip and the T2i you notice the startling difference in visuals that the DSLR affords us want-to-be film and documentary-makers.

    The biggest challenge, aside from sound, is auto-focus. You don’t get it with video on T2i, like other DSLRs. So run-n-gun is tricky. There are solutions out there.

    Next on my mile-long accessory list: steadicam, upgraded dual channel wireless audio, and a faster lens with better low-light performance.

    Explore. Create. Live. Follow Stark Insider on Twitter and Facebook. Join our 9,000 subscribers who read SI on tablets and smartphones on Google Newsstand. Prefer video? Subscribe to 
    Stark Insider on YouTube, the largest arts & travel channel in San Francisco.