Flip Flop Flying

Tree

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Written by Craig

July 10th, 2014 at 7:35 am

Football player

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July 8th, 2014 at 10:32 am

Dodger Stadium

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July 8th, 2014 at 7:50 am

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Rocky

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Turn the sound off on the top video, and the turn on both videos at the same time, watching the top one. It’s not a perfect fit or anything, but it does make the Rocky montage feel different with Bronski Beat playing. And there are also occasional moments when Stallone’s movements are in time with the music, and those moments make me happy.

Written by Craig

July 7th, 2014 at 7:07 am

Posted in Blah blah

World Cup, part 16

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When the World Cup began, my brain filtered things in favour of certain teams. I looked at the way the groups and knockout stages would work, and created a pick of the pops: I wanted England or Mexico to win. But realistically, I’d be pretty cool with seeing Messi play well and Argentina winning, partially for the frisson that would come from them winning it in Brazil.

When the groups ended, things got easier. My brain plopped down on one side or the other. I wanted Mexico to beat the Netherlands. I wanted Colombia to beat Uruguay. I would kinda like to see Algeria beat Germany. Without really giving it too much thought, my interest in the games chose a side. It just happened.

Why does my brain do that? On Saturday morning, I went to a bar downtown called El Jarrito to watch the Argentina-Belgium game. It started at 11am Mexico time. The bar didn’t really look particularly open. One of the metal shutters was still down. The other shutter, though, to the main entrance was open. And the TVs were on. An old man in a cardigan was sat near the bar at the far end. I asked him if they were open. He nodded and asked what I wanted to drink. He got up, went to the fridge and brought me an Indio. El Jarrito isn’t the prettiest place. The floor is kinda knackered. The tables are topped with old, broken Formica, and they have white, plastic, Sol-branded chairs. The gents kinda smells bad.

I thanked him for the beer, grabbed a chair from one of the stacks, and sat at a table facing the bigger of the two TVs. The Argentinian and Belgian anthems played. I really would’ve been happy if either team had won the game, but right there, as the players stood around waiting to kick off, my brain decided. Argentina.

It had done the same the day before. Brazil v Colombia: the latter. France v Germany: the latter again. The choice of Germany is an odd one for me. My view of the German national team has changed. My feeling towards the German team used to be firm. Based, probably, on our bullshit insistence on remembering that We beat Them in 1945. And We had another victory in 1966, but since then, the upper hand has not really been Ours. Sure, there was the 1-5 in Munich in 2001, but really, in my lifetime, Germany has always been better than England at football. The German team is what the English team could be if whatever it is that goes wrong with them didn’t go wrong every time. And when Germany beat England in 2010, it was kinda cathartic. I wish we didn’t have that not-given-goal to look back at and give us a “what if..?” England were well beaten, and it somehow cut free the weight of hating the German team. Instead, it made me realise, way too late, that they aren’t the ones at fault.

England’s football history is full of shitty performances and occasional “unjust” defeats. Games where we can blame something for nearly (but not) winning. We constantly talk about why this is. Is it the youth system? I don’t know for sure, but you look at the Costa Rica and US teams and you have to wonder. We could argue about it, but virtually every player at every position is better on the English team than either Costa Rica or the US team. But somehow, England did worse than both of those teams. We can’t blame the referee, we can’t blame penalties, we can’t blame the Germans. And it’s nice to accept that. To enjoy the German team now. And it also makes me feel bad about being a dick in the past to German friends about their team.

I wanted Germany to beat France. And, I kinda think I want them to beat Brazil, too. Nothing against Brazil at all, really. It’d just be nice to see Fifa’s perfect script torn up. It makes no sense in my own head, though. I look at the semi-finals and think I want Germany and Argentina to win their games. But I don’t actually want a Germany v Argentina final. I’d rather see a Brazil v Argentina final. That perfect Fifa script final. But, in reality, the only teams I’ve wanted to win along the way are both out. A Colombia v Mexico final would’ve been my preferred final. I enjoyed watching those teams. And none of the teams in the semis have been entirely convincing in the tournament. Apart from that first game against Spain, the Netherlands have been nothing particularly special. Maybe just getting through to the semis is enough; play well enough to get there and then see what happens. None of these teams are gonna be ones we remember as World Cup greats. The World Cup should be won by a series of moments, partial games. Colombia beating Uruguay, the Belgian onslaught against the US. Suárez’s goals against England. Tim Cahill’s goal.

Maybe it is just about winning. Which is kind of sad for me. Winning at all costs takes the joy out of things. It’s Harold Schumacher. It’s Jose Mourinho. It’s Arjen Robben throwing himself around to cheat his opponent instead of staying on his feet and actually doing what we all know he can do: play football brilliantly.

I am aware of the hypocrisy, obviously. Players on teams we don’t like, we have harsher opinions of them. I, like you, don’t like all the diving in football, but we kinda turn a blind eye when players on our favourite teams do it, and we jump all over it when players on other teams do it. Especially teams we don’t like. Arjen Robben has played for Chelsea, Real Madrid, and Bayern Munich. A trio of teams that are incredibly easy to hate. It’s the cynicism, though, isn’t it? Any advantage I can get here, I’m going to take it, no matter how fair it is. I can see the other side of the argument: we somehow hate Robben more for no real reason, that he’s only doing what other players do, except he does it “better.” I don’t buy that. Robben is a fantastic player. But he will always be primarily remembered as a diver. Same with Suárez, really. No matter what he does, he’s gonna be the biting guy. I think the distaste for Robben is about the professional athlete that never happened in all of us. Damn, if I had his talent, I would absolutely want to be remembered for that talent, not for being a melodramatic cheat.

After the Netherlands v Mexico game, Robben talked about and admitted diving in the first half, and ended by saying “I apologise for the action in the first-half but that’s football …” That’s football!? That’s like a drug dealer saying “that’s smackheads!” after selling someone some heroin. Absolving yourself of responsibility by blaming it on the culture you helped, if not create, then promote. The ugly cynicism in those words is what makes him so easy to hate.

My behaviour, though, also needs to change. I want to stop choosing a side “just because.” I want to be able to sit down and watch Brazil v Germany and have no rooting involved, just enjoy it. Not get annoyed if the “wrong” team wins. And to refer to my behaviour as the equivalent of “that’s football…” is to admit that I will never improve my behaviour. And I can’t admit that, I won’t. I will always have flaws, but to not see that and not actually make attempts to change makes me no better than Robben’s non-apology. An apology that says, “yeah, soz, but I’m gonna keep on doing this.”

Written by Craig

July 6th, 2014 at 12:35 pm

Posted in Blah blah,Sports

World Cup, part 15

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Adidas, we need to talk about the thin stripe across the shoulder blades of every kit you have designed for teams in the World Cup. Why is it there? Not got enough stripes on all of your kits? But it’s not just you who does this. Other kit manufacturers get too fussy, too.

It seems to be in our nature as football fans, sports fans, human beings, to get annoyed when anything changes. Team crests, for example. Arsenal’s cannon is facing the wrong way these days. Manchester United lost the words “Football Club” off their crest. Everton fans got riled up when their team’s crest was re-designed last year. Liverpool’s crest grew and grew over the years, and in that growth included–rightly–two eternal flames for the 96 Hillsborough victims. And with a new kit manufacturer (Warrior) the crest was pared back to a beautiful and simple Liver bird and L.F.C. But that meant we lost the flames. As a design, I prefer the return to a simpler crest, but as a fan, I wish the flames were still in there. But they are now on the back of the neck, either side of the number 96.

As someone whose work is vaguely design-related, though, I can also see that things need to change. A wee bit of tinkering, modernising, refreshing, seems like something we should be doing now and again. Cardiff City fans, rightly in my opinion, are resistant to their owner’s decision to change from blue to red shirts. That’s not a wee bit of tinkering, though. Which brings me to the World Cup kits.

The teams at the World Cup are representing their countries. And the sports manufacturers are fucking with things. Spain have red shirts and blue shorts. That’s how it is. But not this time. This time they had red shorts. England have dark blue shorts. But not this time (or last time, actually); this time they had an all-white kit. Germany are supposed to have black shorts. This time, they too are all white. Brazil, the home nation with the most iconic of all international kits should have yellow shirts, blue shorts, and white socks. But they’ve played their last three games with white shorts. That’s not Brazil. In this era of brand management, you would think that Fifa would understand that one of the key things about the World Cup is our ability to instantly recognise a kit. Yellow-blue-white: Brazil! Yellow-white-white: err, who’s that? These things are fundamental in our collective memory of World Cups. What is a World Cup if these memories, the history, don’t exist? (Well, aside from a way for Fifa to rock up into a country and scrape every possible penny from under that nation’s collective sofa.)

The design of kits seems all about letting the manufacturers do whatever they want. Within reason. I don’t understand why goalkeepers, who obviously need a slightly different kit, wear a uniform that is so often totally unrelated, design-wise, to their outfield brothers? If you mixed up the goalie kits and blurred the team badge, it’d be kinda tough to guess which keeper belonged to which team. Not only does this make for unnecessary ugliness, it seems to me to be missing an opportunity. I have no data for this, but I’m gonna go ahead and assume that of all the replica jerseys, the goalkeepers’ jerseys are the ones that sell the least. If Adidas and Nike and Puma, etc. gave it a bit more thought, there is a potential revenue stream there that benefits everyone. Make the goalie kit look like an essential part of the team, just like the person wearing that kit is an essential part of the team.

Maybe, though, my feet are just stuck in the mud. Maybe I just don’t want to accept change. And change looks good sometimes in hindsight. I remember disliking the the 1990 Germany home and away jerseys at the time. I look at them now and really like them. I can’t ever say I will truly dig, though, the Nike jersey for Portugal this time around. It just seems so cynical that the two tone stripes somehow pause to allow for a lighter red band wide enough for the Nike logo to appear unsullied on a plain background. Something they neglected to do for the country badge on the other side. It just seems to me, as design elements go, to be so disrespectful and so blatantly about promoting themselves. Or, maybe I’m spending too much time staring at a screen with moving images of football players on it. Maybe, right?

Written by Craig

July 6th, 2014 at 8:44 am

Posted in Blah blah,Sports

Beer glass

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Written by Craig

July 4th, 2014 at 2:02 pm

Dodger Stadium

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I love Dodger Stadium. I’ve only ever been there once, but it’s so beautiful. The above drawing is done with the iPad app, Adobe Ideas. You can see it bigger, and the ink drawing it is based on, here.

Written by Craig

July 4th, 2014 at 9:39 am

Two scribbles

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Written by Craig

July 4th, 2014 at 8:50 am

El Ángel

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Written by Craig

July 4th, 2014 at 8:49 am

Bandstand

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I’m starting a new ongoing project on the site today. It’s called Bandstand. Hopefully I’ll keep this going until I have done every single band that exists, has existed, and will ever exist. That last sentence is a lie. But I will do a lot more.

http://flipflopflyin.com/bandstand/index.html

Written by Craig

July 3rd, 2014 at 1:21 pm

Posted in Infographics,Music

Argentina v Belgium

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I wrote a post about this photograph in May 2013. It’s a deceiving photograph.

Later this week, those two teams play each other again. So, self-promotion!, here’s a link to that post again:

http://flipflopflyin.com/g/2013/05/maradona-vs-belgium/

Written by Craig

July 3rd, 2014 at 8:34 am

Posted in Blah blah,Sports

Eighteen paintings of ballparks

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My new thing at NotGraphs is paintings of the eighteen major league ballparks I have visited:
http://www.fangraphs.com/not/eighteen-paintings-of-ballparks/

Written by Craig

July 2nd, 2014 at 12:36 pm

World Cup, part 14

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We are down to the last eight teams. All the group winners got through. Fuck you, Holland.

So, the 2014 World Cup quarter-finals:
French Republic v Federal Republic of Germany
Federative Republic of Brazil v Republic of Colombia
Argentine Republic v Kingdom of Belgium
Netherlands v Republic of Costa Rica

In 1914, it would’ve been:
French Third Republic v German Empire
Republic of the United States of Brazil v Republic of Colombia
Argentine Republic v Kingdom of Belgium
Netherlands v Republic of Costa Rica

And in 1814:
First French Empire v Confederation of the Rhine
State of Brazil v Viceroyalty of New Granada
United Provinces of the Río de la Plata v First French Empire
Sovereign Principality of the United Netherlands v Viceroyalty of New Spain

In 1714:
Kingdom of France v Holy Roman Empire
State of Brazil v New Kingdom of Granada
Viceroyalty of Peru v Spanish Netherlands
Republic of the Seven United Netherlands v Viceroyalty of New Spain

In 1614:
Kingdom of France v Holy Roman Empire
Governorate General of Brazil v Viceroyalty of Peru
Viceroyalty of Peru v Spanish Netherlands
Republic of the Seven United Netherlands v Viceroyalty of New Spain

In 1514:
Kingdom of France v Holy Roman Empire
Indigenous peoples of what is now Brazil v Province of Tierra Firme
Indigenous peoples of what is now Argentina v Habsburg Netherlands
Habsburg Netherlands v Indigenous peoples of what is now Costa Rica

(All of this was “researched” by quickly looking at Wikipedia, so, y’know, sorry, actual historians. Feel free to correct me in the comments.)

Written by Craig

July 2nd, 2014 at 8:40 am

Posted in Blah blah,Sports

Don Garcés

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This is a local bar. I began the drawing during the Colombia-Uruguay game, finished it off yesterday whilst watching Belgium beat the United States of America.

More finger painting here.

Written by Craig

July 2nd, 2014 at 7:11 am

Time Out

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It is always a thrill to do an illustration for a cover. I’ve only done a few, but when it’s a magazine that you buy (or used to buy), it’s an extra thrill. Before I lived in London in the late nineties, buying a copy would be one of the first things I did when I visited. Kinda proud of this one. Anyway, it’s the issue that’s came out today, Londoners.

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July 1st, 2014 at 7:41 am

Posted in Artwork

Real talk

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Written by Craig

July 1st, 2014 at 7:38 am

AT&T Park, San Francisco: a pie chart

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July 1st, 2014 at 7:37 am

Van Gaal

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Written by Craig

June 30th, 2014 at 7:55 am

Predictions update

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I am clearly rubbish at predicting stuff.
My original predictions, with correct placings in bold.

Groups:
Group A: Brazil, Mexico, Croatia, Cameroon
Group B: Spain, Netherlands, Chile, Australia
Group C: Colombia, Côte d’Ivoire, Japan, Greece
Group D: Uruguay, England, Italy, Costa Rica
Group E: France, Switzerland, Ecuador, Honduras
Group F: Argentina, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Nigeria, Iran
Group G: Germany, Portugal, Ghana, United States
Group H: Belgium, Russia, South Korea, Algeria

Let’s have a re-look, then, and predict the Round of 16 and beyond.
Because of my crappy predictions in the groups, my original Round of 16 predictions are virtually pointless.
I originally went for a Brazil v Argentina final with Argentina winning. Still think that’s possible, but having watched each of the teams a few times, I might change my mind.
Let’s see, shall we? (Enthralling, right?)

Round of 16:
Brazil v Chile
I would love to see Chile win this one. But I just think that, however it happens, the home nation will find a way to stay in the competition.

Colombia v Uruguay
Colombia had a relatively easy group, of course, but they look pretty good, huh? And Uruguay, apart from Suárez against England, haven’t been as impressed as I originally imagined.

Netherlands v Mexico
Heart over head here.

Costa Rica v Greece
Please let’s get rid of the boring teams at this stage.

France v Nigeria
It would be wonderful, I think, if there was an upset here. And then we, as the dominant species on this planet can all come together and get behind the Nigerian people and completely destroy those fucks kidnapping schoolgirls and bombing people.

Germany v Algeria
They’ll just win, right?

Argentina v Switzerland
The only Round of 16 game I actually predicted happening. *High fives self* Argentina all the way here.

Belgium v USA
I don’t like the US team at all, but they’re like mosquitos and never bloody stop. Can see them upsetting Everyone’s Dark Horses here.

Quarter-finals:
Brazil v Colombia
Mexico v Costa Rica
France v Germany
Argentina v USA

Semi-finals:
Colombia v France
Mexico v Argentina

Final:
France v Argentina

Written by Craig

June 28th, 2014 at 9:07 am

Posted in Uncategorized