Saturday, July 28, 2007

AWIM: A Week in Montana

I'm about to board a plane for Missoula, Mont., via Chicago in a few hours. This year, my parents are celebrating their 30th Wedding Anniversary, something not too many married couples get to experience together.

It's a special week for my family for many reasons: both my older sisters, Katie and Annie, are celebrating their one-year wedding anniversaries (Katie and Andrew on July 15 and Annie and Kevin on September 22) and not just that, but Annie and Kevin welcomed in SAM (already a blog superstar) on July 11 of this year.

It will be a grand affair. My youngest sister, Marcie just got her license, while my brother JP returned from a second stint in Ireland this year a few days ago. My older brother Michael (de San-Fran-cis-co) will bring along his girlfriend, Jennie, and Katie and Andrew their brand-new lab, Willy.

If you've lost count, there's 13 of us (Willy included)!

Mary's Place on Flathead Lake, Polson, Montana (photo via HighNotePress).

I will be enjoying my Harry Potter on the shores of Flathead Lake between family boating, rafting, hiking, tennis and eating. Though I am deeply saddened that I won't get to experience the wonders that are San Diego and DC, I look forward to returning to NYC for two more weeks at TENNIS and (of course) decades more of blogging.

Happy August all :)

Friday, July 27, 2007

Finding the SMALL in the BIG (City)

When I first arrived in New York, I couldn't believe the pulse this city moves within each day. It's a wave of energy unlike any other I have ever encountered.

While the "big-ness" of this city is something I appreciate, I tend to flock to the small establishments in my daily adventures. Sure, corporate America is hard to avoid, but what makes New York (and any community, for that matter) is the character of the "smalls" that dot the city.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Think Coffee
248 Mercer Street
New York, NY 10012
I was introduced to Think during my first ever visit to the City last fall, by my friend Matt. Think is engulfed by NYU and is usually full of college and grad students sipping their espresso with eyes glued to glowing Mac screens. I enjoy Think for its large space (hard to find in Manhattan), free wireless internet and think-about-it mission. Fair trade. Organic. Local. What isn't there to love?

St. Mark's Market
21 St. Mark's Place
New York, NY 10003
Located directly next door to my apartment, St. Mark's Market is the place where I buy my (gasp!) groceries. Grocery shopping may be foreign to many New Yorkers, but for me, as an unpaid intern, I try to pick up the essentials to avoid $10-daily lunches. They encouraged me to re-use their aqua-colored grocery bags, a gesture that won over my heart (and debit card) from first purchase. Another great thing about them is they operate on the 24-hour schedule to make sure that any craving at any time of the day (or night) is satisfied.

Strand Bookstore
828 Broadway
New York, NY 10003
Though I wish I was more of a reader, I always love the romantic idea of a rickety quaint bookstore. Strand isn't rickety, and it certainly isn't quaint either; their web site claims they have 18 miles of books! My recent purchase of Harry Potter brought me upon this store that I had passed many times on my way to Union Square, and it reminded me of my one of my favorite place in Portland: Powell Books. The romanticism of these places is what sets them apart from the Barnes and Nobles and Borders of the world. Much like MT Book Co. and Elliott Bay in my other hometowns, I'm sure I'll find myself back at Strand in the near future. (Photo by AntiDiluvian via Flickr.)

The Faucet
Any Tap Water Drive
New York, NY 10001
No, The Faucet isn't the name of some chic club like Butter, Lindsay Lohan's favorite hangout. The Faucet is another name for sink - the same sink all of us brush our teeth and wash our dishes out of. I'm a big fan of The Faucet for this reason: tap water. It seems as though New York City is just catching on to the bottled-water-is-bad-for-the-environment swing, not to mention most bottled water is sold by large corporations that make money off of something that is free. I might have to say this is my favorite stop in NYC. It's cool, crisp and doesn't dent my pocket one bit!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Querrey Query

A question was posed to 19-year-old Sam Querrey today at the RCA Championships in Indianapolis: are you ready for the big time?

His answer came in the form of 5-7, 7-5, 7-6(6) victory over fifth-seeded Ivo Karlovic in the second round, saving two match points during the two-hour, twenty minute match.

It's been an up-and-down year for Querrey, the next big hope for American tennis. After starting the year 12-7 and launching himself to a career-high ranking of #66 in April, Querrey had been 1-8 since, entering Indianapolis with a 13-15 year-to-date mark and a #91 rank.

So after a first-round triumph over Frenchman Julien Benneteau in the first round, Querrey used his solid serve to defeat Karlovic, a fellow big-server in a match of the tournament's two tallest players.

Up next for Querrey is James Blake, a match-up that Blake has won both times at 6-3 in the third.

Whether or not Querrey will have the answer to the Blake quiz is a matter on its own, though Blake has had his troubles this year, as well. But for now, Sam Querrey seems to have studied well enough recently to get passing grades in the school of big-time tennis.

Now it's time to work for some extra credit.

This. Is. Scary.

I can't get over Olga Poutchkova's mugshot on her WTA profile.

Those glasses. That face. I'm sorry, but this is just a profile picture, Olga. Not your cover for Cosmo (only Maria gets those, anyway).

And I appreciate the effort by Guillermo Canas to spread the word about global warming, but professional tennis players are probably some of the most wasteful individuals on the planet. I'm not saying this out of disdain, but rather the fact that they fly all over the world (oil) throughout the year and use dozens of racquets (which can't be recycled) and thousands of balls (which can't be recycled) and play on courts that are constructed using scary toxins and chemicals.

So yeah, about that global warming thing Willy...

Upsets, Oh My!

Novak Djokovic and Marion Bartoli were two of the hottest player through Wimbledon, but they seem to have cooled off a bit in the summer heat.

Djokovic fell to unheralded countryman Viktor Troiki in the second round of the Croatian Open. The tournament lost its top three seeds in the first two rounds alone.

Meanwhile, Bartoli lost to American Lilia Osterloh at Stanford after suffering a strained leg muscle in the first set.

And you thought these youngsters were invincible.....

The Break

James Blake took one (though, not on purpose) and Amelie Mauresmo seems to be on one of her own. Should players take it into their own hands on deciding when their personal off season is?

Three years ago, after the death of his father and struggling with an injury and a debilitating illness, James Blake took a break from tennis he didn't realize he needed. He played just five matches in the span of six months while re-cooperating physically and more importantly, emotionally.

When he returned to the tour, Blake worked his way back up the rankings (he had fallen to #210) and won two titles in New Haven and Stockholm and played that epic US Open quarterfinal match against Andre Agassi.

He felt fresh.
James Blake at the 2005 US Open (photo by Chance98 via flickr).

Yet as both tour work out the kinks in their respective tour schedules (ATP WTA) tournaments on all sides of the world all having the same problem: players pulling out due to injury (and fatigue and stress and illness and 'personal issues' and inflammation and infections...okay, you get the idea).

This week at Stanford, long a tournament adored by players such as Venus Williams, Lindsay Davenport, Monica Seles, Kim Clijsters, Justine Henin, Jennifer Capriati and others, this year features none of those players; the top two seeds are Anna Chakvetadze and Marion Bartoli.

And the Acura Classic next week in San Diego already has received withdrawal notices from Henin (wrist injury), Nicole Vaidisova (viral infection) Serena Williams and Ana Ivanovic.

While many players struggle week-by-week to play through their pain (whether it be physical or mental) Amelie Mauresmo has had enough - at least temporarily.

After her breakthrough Slam season in 2006 in which she won both the Australian Open and Wimbledon, Mauresmo was just 8-3 in the majors this year, giving up both her crowns along the way. So the Frenchwoman has taken matters into her own hands at the start of the second half of the 2007 season: she's taking a holiday.

While Mauresmo is off "charging her batteries" (she may even miss the US Open), men's and women's tournaments alike will continue to deal with withdrawals, defaults and retirements due to over-worked players. But as Blake and Mauresmo have found, maybe the answer is to take control of your own schedule, not let the tour schedule you.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Tennis Chatter

Hold the phone, did you say Anna Lena Groenefeld won a match? Well that's only her THIRD main-draw win of the entire season. Hopefully she can shake the coach drama and return to her former Top-20 self.

Donald Young lost another ATP match? I think that puts his record at 0-11 now. We know you just won junior Wimbledon, Donald. But it looks like you might need to stick to the Challengers and Satellites for a bit longer.

Lindsay Lohan truly is a role model for the WTA Tour stars, at least according to tennisplanet she is.

And what is Serena Williams doing? Really. I mean, if LL is a role model, then I guess Serena is following her footsteps. But I'm not sure TP wanted Serena to be that literal. (PS - The body is ALL muscle, no fat included.)

Garbage, Art and My Future (In the Air)

New York smells. I mean really, it smells. For those of you that are Montanans, think Missoula, mix in a little garbage and throw in a dash of bad bathroom smell and voila! You have New York City.

Now you must understand, the entire city doesn't wreak, but the variety of wafts I get every morning on my way to (and inside of) the subway are enough to make you cringe a little. That's big city living though, right?

Creativity is always in the air in this city as well, and thanks to having one of the most well-informed artistic buffs as one of my best friends, I get to bypass the critics section in the New York Times and go straight to the good stuff.

Recently I joined my friend, Matt, for an uptown ride on the 6 train (always my favorite) to attend an outdoor display of art at The Met. The display included three over-sized movie screens, hung on the side of a building, with dancers of all different disciplines projected onto the screens.

These dancers were not ordinary performers, however, their 15-second dance sequences had been slowed down to dozens of frames per second, so that they move in the slowest of slow motion. The beauty of it - to me - was captivating. And though I'll never know a fouette as well as I know a forehand, the sight of it all was enough to make my mouth drop.

And while the aroma of art passed through my life this week, the fragrance of my future has been lingering in the air since I arrived in the City. New York appeals to so much of me - to my love of urbania, to my writing, to the dream of living here - yet I'm not sure if it's rubbed me the right way in my time here. I'm still undecided.

Come Saturday I'll board a plane for a week in Montana with my family, re-entering the world of pine trees and wildfires and get a little perspective on life. And, thank god, a little fresh air.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Clip of the Week: Roadtrip

There are many ad campaigns launched across the world everyday, but none as mighty as the US Open Series "Roadtrip!"

No, you don't get it.

This campaign is so big that even the New York Times felt compelled to write about it.

Yeah, that big.

And if that wasn't cheesy - I mean good - enough for you, check out Nadal's parking skills.

Tati vs. Mari Feud?

Do Tatiana Golovin and Marion Bartoli hate each other?

So it would seem.

Bartoli, the Wimbledon finalist, recently told reporters in Stanford, CA., that not only did Golovin fail to congratulate her on her success in London, but that the two girls don't even say hi when passing each other in the locker room.

Golovin might be jealous, seeing that the only attention she got at Wimbledon was for her underwear. And that's not much of a compliment when you're a Top 20 player.

Marion Bartoli returns the ball to Venus Williams during her Cinderella run at Wimbledon. (Photo by jonathan 20 via flickr.)

Until recently, Golovin had been the best-known and highest-ranked young French player. However, Bartoli's steady success this year culminated in her brilliant run at Wimbledon, where she took out top seed Justine Henin in the semifinals.

So when will this French feud be settled? The two are both playing at Stanford this week, and could meet in the semifinals. Racquets won't be the only weapons used in that match - the claws might be out too.

Monday, July 23, 2007


New contact information.

Via email at

Something's Missing

I don't know if I'd call John Mayer 'wise' for his life choices. You know, dating Jessica Simpson, making that scary "O!" face on stage all the time, or writing a song about Jennifer Love Hewitt that compares her tongue to bubblegum.

I do, however, agree with his song "Something's Missing" in the case of recent decisions made by tennis executives concerning online video clip web sites - namely YouTube - and the movement to remove tennis videos from said sites.

Perhaps this is my Rant of the Day (ROTD), and if so, that's just fine with me. But, to me, this just doesn't make sense for several reasons:

1. Fans Lose the Best Seat in the(ir) House
Tennis on TV has had its struggles. The Tennis Channel is doing their best, but before we have an all-access station that provides fan with COMPLETE tour coverage, using the internet as a post-match tube is something many fans do. Taking internet videos away from the fans will create a decrease in fan's interest because of their inability to watch matches they may have missed on TV, or that weren't broadcast at all. There has been too much fighting between ESPN, USA and ESPN over which network is the 'home' of tennis. My official home of tennis? YouTube.

2. Robs fans of their Personal Instant Replay (PIR)
I love my PIR. I don't know how many times I've watched Serena Williams shake her finger at that ridiculous US Open chair umpire in '04, or how many times I've cried listening to Andre say "I found you. I found you." from the Open last year. The removal of these videos will strip the fans of the PIR, and thus, lower interest once again. Fans like to relive the drama in whatever way that they can, and we've been conditioned now over the last year to have a PIR at our fingertips. However, removal of these videos will make the PIR only available to the players themselves - via Hawkeye. And it's not the players who make the tour go round, it's us, the fans.

Soon our only out will be live tennis - and god knows that's a little more expensive than a monthly internet bill! (Photo by chef x via flickr.)

3. Makes the Slams Slum
Tennis Australia, the USTA and the AELTC are the three culprits thus far in the YouTube crackdown of said videos. I'll do my best to get in touch with each of these organizations over the next week to see what their particular reasoning is, however, removing all tennis video from the majors alone makes them seem a little less major than they are. If the only tennis videos fans can find online are from ATP/WTA events, what will happen to the stats of the Big Four?

Tennis is struggling to keep up with today's sport world. Mis-managing tour schedules, player withdrawals and now a snobby nose at the king of all medias - the internet. While tennis may be more traditional than other global sports, it certainly isn't practicing the smartest of traditions in today's media-driven world.

(Much thanks to Erwin for firing me up over this.)

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Quality Control

If you're looking for some quality tennis this week, look no further than the men's tournament stop at Indianapolis.

Americans Andy Roddick and James Blake are the top two seeds following their monumental final in 2006.

Robby Ginepri, Michael Russell, Amer Delic and junior Wimbledon champ Donald Young all make appearances in this year's draw.

Oh yeah, and the women are at Stanford...

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Sampras the Sap

Pete Sampras dominated the world of tennis for over a decade with relentless tennis. He still holds the record for most Grand Slam titles at 14, and his over 250 weeks at number one and 64 singles victories put him in the mix as one of the GOAT - Greatest of All Time.

But Sampras showed us a softer side last week at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Newport, R.I. This tear-jerking first part of his speech will make any non-tennis fans turn their head, and also make those of you who were anti-Sampras think again about your disdain for the King of Swing.

Friday, July 20, 2007

Tennis Chatter: Friday Afternoon Laziness

I arrived this morning at the TENNIS office to find myself nearly completely alone on our floor. Three sales guys were there, along with Troy, the other intern, and one of the graphic editors. Needless to say, Troy and I were out of there by lunch time - TGIF! The open afternoon has allowed me to go on my run, catch up on emails and - most importantly - get the latest Tennis Chatter from around the tour:

Venus Williams has committed to the Acura Classic in San Diego, which begins July 28th. Barring the CincinnatiStanfordLastMinuteWithdrawalBug, the Acura could be one of the best fields of women minus the slams this year.

I mean really. The field at the Western & Southern looks like a Challenger event. And Stanford more like the US Open Qualies bracket. The WTA needs to figure out how to get its players to, well - play.

Every morning Troy and I enjoy perusing through a number of tennis web sites. One of our favorites has to be Corned Beef Hash Marks, a blog by my West Coast buddy Erwin. Witty writing and seriously serious tennis topics found here. Love it!

Feliciano Lopez, long an ATP underachiever, looks fierce in his win over Juan Carlos Ferrero today in Stuttgart. He's in the semis against another Spaniard. Yeah, that one named Nadal.

Baby City

Lindsay Davenport had her baby just seven weeks ago and is already itching to get back on the tennis court. I had the opportunity to write a news feature on Davenport and her comeback on You can find it here.

Meanwhile, my sister Annie keeps sending me adorable pictures of her newborn, Samantha Ann, so I can't resist putting another shot of SAM up. She's 9 days old today.

Keeping with the baby theme, tennis balls are always amusing to children in one way or another. I'm not sure about this video here, where the little boy is inundated with a box of tennis balls bouncing down the stairs. He seems to enjoy himself though. Future tennis champion?

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Rockin' the Crib

Just a few weeks after giving birth to her first child, Lindsay Davenport is already talking about returning to the professional tennis tour.

In a conference call yesterday, Davenport said that she hasn't made any "final decisions" yet, but the new mom seems quite eager to get back on the court.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Tennis Chatter

Poor Camille Pin. After losing to Maria Sharapova in the first round of the Aussie, the Frenchwoman lost 8-6 in the third set to Patty Schnyder in the opening round at Wimbledon and now has fell to Aikiko Morigami 7-6(2) in the third set (after having a match point) on day one in Cincinnati. Can you think of anyone who deserves a close three-setter to swing her way more?

Speaking of blowing close three-setters, Jennifer Capriati has a few (think US Open semifinals in '91, '03 and '04) to her name. But no on-court victory is as sweet as the battle she's slowly overcoming off the tour.

If you didn't get good and full after breakfast at Wimbledon, make sure to check out Jon Wertheim's 50 facts. They're always entertaining.

Venus couldn't quite do what Francesca did this past weekend. Check out Peter Bodo's TennisWorld entry on this weekend's Fed Cup action.

Monday, July 16, 2007


A couple months ago I got the opportunity to write what has been my favorite articles of all time.

In my Literary Journalism class I was assigned to write a 2,000-word piece about anything of my choosing, so as long my professor approved. My first inkling was to write on a fanatic - specifically one of those Oprah-is-God suburban moms who is glued to her TV every afternoon at 3 p.m.

But alas, a college campus isn't the best place to find Oprah-obsessed mothers, so I took a lead from a fellow classmate and got in touch with a SU student who claimed to be a "huge" Kelly Clarkson fan.

As many of you know, I'm a Kelly fan myself, but not to the point of postering my wall with her or filling my workouts with a playlist Kelly, Kelly, Kelly!

My interviews with this fan - Stefani - were fascinating, and the more I talked to this girl, the more she wanted to tell me. Linked here you'll find the article, what I called "Buying Kelly Clarkson".

Buying Kelly Clarkson
By Nick McCarvel
June 5, 2007

Kelly Clarkson can’t be bought. At least, that’s what Stefani Kauppila was told the first time she asked.

She persisted, however, offering $20; begging the man separating Stefani from her coveted Kelly.

She upped her offer to $50, threw in a little sweet talk, a bit of desperation and reminded the man that Kelly would probably just be discarded at the end of the day, anyway.

He didn’t understand. But Stefani persisted. How about 100 bucks?

Finally, he agreed. $100 would do.

Stefani was delighted. Her friends, meanwhile, terrified.

She had purchased Kelly for $100. Well, a cardboard cutout of her, that is.

And that’s just one of 66 items on Stefani’s “Kelly Expense List”, also known as the KEL.

“[Cardboard Kelly] is not as creepy as my Kelly blanket,” Stefani grins. The blanket shows up as $55 on the KEL. “My roommate makes me leave that one at home, in Spokane. Sleeping with Kelly is a little too much for her.”

Stefani can’t figure out why she is so intrigued by, so fixated upon, so passionate about or so obsessed with Kelly Clarkson. She stopped trying to figure that out a long time ago…around KEL item number seven or so – the From Justin to Kelly DVD.

“The worst slash corniest movie ever,” she admits. "But yes, I bought it!”

“It’s this impulse,” she says, making a fist over her chest. “I just can’t help it.”

This impulse began five years ago, in the spring of 2002. Stefani agreed to sit down with family and watch an episode of American Idol, a new reality television show on the Fox Network.

The minute Kelly began to sing – her southern voice booming out of her petite frame – Stefani predicted that she (“That Clarkston girl from Texas,” as she called her) would win the contest.

That prediction wouldn’t have meant much, yet at the time, 32 contestants remained. But Stefani was sure. She can’t remember why.

But she did know one thing; she was hooked on Kelly Clarkson.

A few weeks later, she made KEL purchase number one, an issue of US Weekly, with Kelly on the cover.

So began their personal relationship. Or something like that.

When talking about Kelly, Stefani often speaks of her as if she is a close friend. Other times, Stefani refers to Kelly as “we”: “We didn’t need that. We weren’t thinking straight.”

She’s only met the pop star twice.

“She’s hilarious drunk,” Stefani comments coolly as she watches Kelly perform on the season finale of American Idol 6 on a warm May evening.

Stefani dives into a story about Kelly being pulled onto stage of a concert she was watching on TV once. She gives details of what alcoholic beverage Kelly was drinking, and how she was visibly intoxicated.

Stefani can give specifics about a myriad of Kelly quirks: from boyfriend drama to band members, from personal preferences to career decisions.

It’s as if they really are close, personal friends.

Stefani’s first meeting with Kelly Clarkson came at the fifth Kelly concert she attended, in the spring of 2004; item number 19 on the KEL.

It was the week before Easter and Stefani had watched Kelly perform in Seattle the night prior before driving (she got home at 3 a.m.) to her parent’s house in Spokane for another show the night of April 9th.

“The Davenport is the only nice hotel in Spokane, so I knew that’s where she had to be staying,” Stefani explains.

She sat alone in the lobby following the Spokane show. A mother and her pre-teen daughters fidgeted across the way, obviously awaiting the same excitement. As tour busses pulled up out front, a crowd from the lounge rushed to greet the incoming pop star. But Stefani sensed differently, and made her way to a side door. Just as she approached it, a van pulled up and out popped Kelly Clarkson, Stefani’s close friend.

“I thought: be normal! I thought I would freeze up, but I didn’t,” Stefani says. “I just said, ‘Hey, how’s it going?’ I was really nervous, but she was just really nice.”

Kelly, dressed in a Gonzaga sweatshirt and season-appropriate bunny ears, chatted with Stefani for a couple minutes, took a picture and made her way through a now-crowded lobby.

“I felt bad for holding her up,” Stefani admits. “I hated bothering her like that.”

But she couldn’t help it. Stefani Kauppila has an obsessive personality.

In the summer of 2005 – when the KEL was 38 items and $1,270 old – Stefani called her mom to tell her she’d be skipping the family’s annual rafting trip in Montana…for a Kelly concert.

“We were miffed,” Julia Kauppila, Stefani’s mom recalls. “This obsession, this phase, had her picking a Kelly Clarkson concert over time on the river with her family.”

It wasn’t the first time she had heard she was ‘obsessive’.

“I have an obsessive personality with a lot of things. I’m one of those people who just gets really excited about things,” Stefani says.

Photo by ymlivesets via

Stefani isn’t alone on this particular ‘thing’; Kelly Clarkson is an international phenomenon.

After her 2002 breakthrough on the debut season of American Idol, Kelly released her first CD, Thankful, in 2003. The album would eventually go double-platinum and launch her into superstardom.

A year later, the Texan distanced herself from the Idol image with her second album, Breakaway (and KEL item numbers twenty-three and twenty-four). This work would score Kelly two Grammy Awards, four U.S. top-ten singles and a five-time platinum certification.

Plus, a few million obsessive fans.Stefani has been a fan from the start: since that fateful spring night in 2002. But, she contests, there’s worse.

“One girl had a tattoo of Kelly’s eyes below her neckline. That’s creepy,” Stefani says. “I would never knock on [Kelly’s] front door. Being invasive is not my style. I actually get mad at people [like that].”

Practicality is one thing Stefani has hung on to. The Spokane native is a senior Liberal Arts major, set to graduate this June. She will return to Seattle University this fall as a graduate student to pursue her Masters in Teaching en route to being an elementary teacher.

“I love working with kids,” she smiles.

Stefani carries a poppy, tomboy image that screams more Alanis Morissette than Kelly Clarkson. Blonde-haired and blue-eyed, she was a letter-winner at Lewis & Clark High School on their powerhouse girl’s basketball team before coming to Seattle for college.

Stefani has a story for everything – Kelly and beyond – and has a knack for dates and places, a particular help when coming up with the KEL.

Morissette was actually Stefani’s first concert, over a decade ago. The eleven-year-old went with two friends and her older sister as a birthday celebration at the Gorge.“I kind of obsessed over Alanis for awhile,” Stefani remembers. “When you found the hidden track on her album – that was huge!”

Yet Alanis doesn’t have a 66-item KEL, and Stefani has no plans of slowing down.

“Unless Kelly starts sucking, I don’t think this is a phase.”

The KEL itself, with my research notes on it and, at the bottom, the grand total.

Stefani is quick to point out that for the last five years – since the KEL began – she has been a full-time student with limited income. She predicts, actually guarantees, her spending will only increase once she has a career. So will the KEL.

Two years ago, Stefani flew herself and a friend (she paid for the plane and concert tickets) to Reno for a Kelly concert.

While pre-funking at a bar near the concert venue, a cocktail waitress overheard the girls talking of Kelly and informed them that the concert was cancelled last minute.

Stefani, being the true Kelly fan she is, wanted to verify such tragic news for herself. She marched her way to the arena, bumped into Graham Colton, Kelly’s opener and then-boyfriend, and had herself a little chat with Graham.

Sure enough, concert cancelled.

Void KEL items 43 and 44. No refunds on the plane tickets, however. Those cost $250, each.

That was concert number 11 of 13. Numbers 14, 15 and – hopefully – 16, are this summer, following the release of Kelly’s third album, My December late this month.

Stefani has been to Michigan, Idaho, Spokane, Portland, Vancouver and Los Angeles, all in the name of Kelly Clarkson; all items on the KEL.

“Shit,” Stefani blurts out as she reviews the KEL. “I shouldn’t have spent all that money.”

Then comes the justification.

“I’m a person who needs a vacation. I like to decompress.”

The McGraw-Hill Health Psychology publication describes obsession as “recurrent and persistent thought, impulse, or image experienced as intrusive and distressing.” The authors go on to say that such a condition is “recognized as being excessive and unreasonable even though it is the product of one’s mind. This impulse, or image cannot be expunged by logic or reasoning.”

This ties closely to the definition of addiction, “the state of physical or psychological dependence on a substance that develops when that substance is used over a period of time.”

Addicted happens to be the title of Stefani’s favorite song from Kelly’s last album, Breakaway.“

It's like I can't see anything / Nothing but you / I'm addicted to you / It's like I can't think / Without you interrupting me,” Kelly sings. While Stefani steers clear of the ‘A’ word, she certainly hasn’t shied away from using her Kelly fixation to her benefit in the past.

Last summer, with Kelly performing in Auburn as her last show on her Addicted Tour, KIIS 106.1, a local radio station, joined forces with Kelly and Ford Motors to give away a free Ford Mustang.

The contest asked listeners to write in explaining why they deserved to win the car to get the opportunity to be one of five finalists.

Stefani wrote a 412 word e-mail. It included details of her run-down car and challenged the station to find a bigger Kelly fan than Stefani. “There's nothing that would please me more than to win a car from Kelly, the girl who is currently the bane of my family's existence,” she wrote.

The radio station couldn’t find a bigger Kelly fan. Stefani was named a finalist out of thousands of entrants.

Her trip on stage to win the car was a bitter one. Stefani and her friends had agreed she would pick box number five to find the car keys. Yet when it came to her, she instead picked four, which revealed nothing.

The keys laid under box number five. And to think, the car could’ve put the KEL in the black, instead, it remains in the red, $3,576 in the red.

“I hate the number four,” Stefani says, still grimacing in disbelief of her on-stage miscue. “The guy who won wasn’t even a Kelly fan.”

Yet Stefani’s bitter experience hasn’t deterred her, or the KEL, one bit.

Two concerts are already on the docket for the summer, a third is a possibility. While Stefani is frustrated with developments in the fan club, she continues to be a member, a $35-a-year commitment and three slots on the KEL.

Stefani smiles coyly in her Capitol Hill apartment, handing over the KEL with a mixture of pride and disbelief.

“I’ve actually been wanting to do this for awhile,” she says about the list. “It’s not as bad as I thought it would be.”

At the bottom of the paper, below carefully constructed concert, merchandise and miscellaneous sections, blue scribbles make a minor adjustment to the total amount.

“Minus a hundred,” Stefani gestures. “From my aunt.”

Five years ago, following Kelly’s win on American Idol and instantaneous notoriety, Stefani made KEL purchase number one, the aforementioned US Weekly magazine, with Kelly on the cover.

While at a relative’s house, Stefani’s aunt bet her that in one year, when everything was said and done, Kelly Clarkson would be an unrecognizable nobody.

Stefani took the bet for a hundred bucks. She kept the date in her head, and a year later approached her aunt, in search of her rightfully-earned money.

It was the fall of 2003 and Kelly had churned out a successful album in Thankful, while touring nationwide. Stefani was well into the KEL by then, it was 20 items and $845 old.

Her aunt disagreed however, saying that she didn’t believe Kelly had maintained her celebrity status. So the two took to the streets, each with a headshot of Kelly, each agreeing to ask 10 strangers if they recognized the girl in the photo.

15 of 20 did. Stefani got her $100; the KEL got its first – and only – addition.

Three years later, at the Puyallup Fair, Stefani bought a cardboard cutout of Kelly for $100.

Minus those 64 other items, Stefani Kauppila has broken even.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Sustainability in the Center (of the Universe)

This entry might fall far - very far - from the tennis world, but it's something that has been on my mind over the past few weeks since arriving in New York City.

Being sustainable is something I work hard at each day. Sustainable can have a variety of meanings, but to me, it encompasses all those little things that we (humans) do each day to help preserve our home (earth).

Sustainability has just become a buzz word within mainstream media over the last couple of years. From hybrid cars to organic food and fair trade coffee, consumers are just starting to tap into a world that some (people much wiser than I) have known about for years.

With global warming in full force, it's scary to think of what my children's children will have to deal with as they fight to live their everyday lives.

Perhaps I've been spoiled living in Seattle, a 'green city'. However, I've been less than impressed with New York when it comes to their sustainability. Packaged food is the norm, along with a bottle of this and a can of that. Want a napkin? How about 10? It's consume, consume, consume here in the Center of the Universe.

I've worked my hardest to save all my little bags, keep the AC on for a minimal amount of time, take short showers, avoid riding in taxis; walk, bus and train as often as possible and use my handkerchiefs for clean-ups that usually call for paper.

You see to me, sustainability means small steps. Today at lunch with my favorite cousin (shout out here BFB!), she laughed at me as I pulled out my own straw from my backpack. Yes, I admit, laughable. But what isn't laughable is the fact that not one barista in this entire city has yet to recognize my coffee mug as that - a coffee mug - and whenever I order my joe and hand over my aluminum paper-saver they greet me with a puzzled gaze: "What is this?"

That, my friends, is my attempt at sustainability. New York is trying to catch on, but with a lack of recycling bins throughout the city, and a fascination with bottled water (Americans spent $15 billion on the stuff last year), we've got a long way to go.

This woman seems to have the right idea, she's going GREEN and taking her dog with her. (If you can't tell, he's green too.)

Sure, I slip up every day in one way or another, but I'm hoping we continue to struggle together, as a community, in this unfair fight we humans have picked against the earth.

The Week After Wimbledon

The week following Wimbledon is always somewhat of a downer.

The WTA takes a break from the mad season of European ball to give most of its players a week off. Meanwhile, a few of the world's top stars were in action via Fed Cup - which included two exciting semifinal ties.

The ATP goes from the World of Whites at Wimbledon to the World of Obscure in Gstaad, Bastad and Newport.

There's always one saving grace of such a weird week: the Hall of Fame inductions in Newport. Yesterday, Pete Sampras and Arantxa Sanchez Vicario were welcomed in as the class of 2007.

Yet the biggest news of the week in the tennis world had to be from another former player, Miss Kim Clijsters. Or should I say, Mrs. Brian Lynch?

Though Barry MacKay drives me crazy as a commentator, you have to love Pete Sampras in this interview. Always humble, always well-spoken, and now, always a Hall of Famer. Congratulations Pete.

Thursday, July 12, 2007


The last couple days have been pretty good to me, and I can't help the glow I feel surrounded by.

First there was the news of SAM, the newest addition to my already gigantic family.

Then, (on a smaller scale, of course) I got the opportunity to write for Peter Bodo's blog on called TENNISWORLD. This is probably the most well-read tennis blog on the internet, and having Pete suggest I write something and him actually posting it is an incredible honor. Check it out.

Is tomorrow really Friday the 13th? For some reason I feel like I'll enjoy this one.

Uncle Time

First Kim, now my sister Annie. After announcing her pregnancy this fall, my sister gave birth to a healthy 7-pound, 2-ounce baby girl, Samantha Ann, yesterday in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Not even a day old and she's already been blogged!

I'm thrilled for my sister and her husband about the baby, but more thrilled that they're all moving back to the MT in a few weeks to start their new lives. And though Annie and Kevin didn't plan it, Samantha Ann McCutcheon makes SAM in the World of Acronyms (WOA!). Meaning she's my favorite niece already.

Congrats Annie, Kevin and Sammy!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Tennis Chatter

Kim Clijsters is preggers. At least she'll have one fan in this world, right?

James Blake is due to sign his new book Breaking Back at the Virgin Megastore in Union Square later today. Maybe I should go check it out?

Steve Tignor has his report cards all filled out from Wimbledon.

And Donald Young might be finally living up to his hype.


A new posting is up on the video section of, FRAMED.

Check it out.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Cross Town, Cross Country

While the men and women of Wimbledon were doing their best to play through the wet weeks that have been particularly persistent this fortnight, I was dodging in and out of a few Northeast storms during my third week in New York City.

Upon my arrival in the city just over three weeks ago, I discovered that my sublet (arranged through our family friend, Meghan), wasn't exactly what I thought it to be. It turned out that Meghan was staying in New York for the summer, meaning I was bumped to the 'guest room' of the apartment.

Now, I'm okay with a little change-up, and Meghan has to be hands-down the nicest person I've ever met. However, a small room with no outside window, a single bed, no air conditioner and (as I found out on my last night there) a leaky ceiling...I felt as though I wanted my New York experience to be a little more high class. This was my summer in the city, right?

The sent rainwater dripping onto my pillow just inches from my head!

Therefore, I moved into a new place in the East Village, just one train ride (19 blocks, via the 6 Local) to work and three blocks away from my great friend Matt. The East Village is in Manhattan, and is a vibrant part of this cultured city.

After spending much of Wednesday and Thursday moving into my new place, I flew back to Seattle Thursday night for a wedding in Spokane that is happening tomorrow, Saturday. I've enjoyed my short time back in Seatown to see some good friends, tie up a few loose ends and get ready for my friend Laura's wedding.

Monday takes me back to NYC and the world of TENNIS Magazine. I hope that the internship will keep its bite post-Wimbledon and one such event to help that will be the Hall of Fame Induction we're attending next Saturday, in Newport, R.I.

Until then, my thoughts and prayers are with Annie, Kevin and Tiny...who are ready for their adventure together any day now! Love you all.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Clip of the Week: They Love Their Tennis

I've found that advertisers are pretty in love with the game of tennis - especially when it comes to television commercials.

In the near future, we're going to put up a post on of the best and worst tennis commercials of the recent past. There are commercials that include pro players themselves, and also the ones that solely use tennis as an avenue to advertise.

This clip is of the latter category. Make sure to turn your volume up full blast while watching this one. Enjoy!

Tennis - particularly women's tennis - has long been known for its grunts. Monica Seles gets a lot of the credit for being the first two-toner, but the Williams sisters and Sharapova have assured that the new generation of the game hit hard and stay loud.

Marketers are smart to use this aspect of the game because above everything else, it remains rather comedic. I especially love the player slapping the sound guy for trying to stick the microphone up her skirt and the growing Mob of Microphones (MOMs, if you please). Classic.

More Backcourt

My second post of The Championships on Backcourt.

Check it out.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Bye, bye Bud

Will we miss him?

Hmmm, that's hard to say.

The Story of Dani and Serena

Daniela Hantuchova and Serena Williams never played with each other on the playground when they were kids. It wasn't that the two of them didn't get along, it's just that they had other friends, other interests, other ways to entertain themselves.

But on Monday, the two met on tennis' ultimate playground: Centre Court at Wimbledon.

Serena treated her new-found friend Daniela well for the first ten games, letting her win three while taking a 6-2, 1-1 lead.

"You're fun to play with, Dani!" Serena shouted, skipping across the baseline twirling her big hoop earrings underneath a new haircut.

Dani smiled, she wasn't quite sure what to say back to that; she's always been the shy one on the playground, quiet and reserved.

When the rains came, the two polite girls scurried inside for snacks and a nap.

"I love snack time!" Serena screamed, passing Dani at the water fountain.

Dani eyed the food inside the cafeteria. "I think I'll just go to the quiet area and take a nap," she said timidly. "I'm not very hungry."

Being forced from the playground isn't something any kid likes - especially Dani and Serena. Serena's mom played with her hair while Dad talked about 'playground tactics'.

Serena's eyes glazed over.

"I just love to play, Daddy!"

And soon enough, she was playing again. But when the two returned to the playground, Dani's nap-time proved more fruitful than Serena's snacking.

Soon, Serena's bouncy and cheery disposition turned a cool gray.

"She stole my pencil!" Serena said, stamping her foot in front of Kader Nouni, the playground monitor.

Dani's a sensitive girl and Serena's accusations hurt her feelings. Soon her 5-2 lead disappeared as fast as her cart of chocolate milk does on Tuesdays; it was 5-5.

Then Dani served not one, but two serves into the ground, the ball barely making its way to the net.

Serena thought this to be very funny. "Oh Dani!" She yelled. "You should stick to tether ball!"

Just then, with Serena's body shaking with laughter, she seemed to laugh too hard and her leg began hurting very, very bad.

"Bring her the ice pack!" Kader yelled.

"I hate getting hurt on the playground," Serena squeaked through the tears, getting her pretty white dress covered in dirt and grass.

All Dani could do was watch. She always looks so unsure on the playground.

Just then it began raining again, as if Serena's tears were falling from the sky.

Serena hobbled to the nurse's office with her ice pack. She wanted to call her mom to take her home.

Dani looked blankly up at the sky. She still seemed confused.

And a couple hours later, when the two returned again to the playground, Serena was wearing band-aids on both legs. She couldn't walk very well.

"Are you okay Serena?" Dani asked.

But Serena didn't respond. She didn't seem like she was in a playful mood. She looked scared.

And so Dani did all she could to help Serena feel better. She hit the yellow ball right to her some times, other times she hit it softly. Sometimes Dani would feel so bad she couldn't even hit it in the playground, so she hit it out instead.

Dani's parents glared at her from over the fence: they thought their daughter was better than this with her peers.

Meanwhile, Richard, Serena's tall dad was jumping up and down, waving his arms. He seemed to think Dani was a great friend to Serena - he gave her thumbs up.

Soon, with Serena up 3-2, she asked for the bathroom pass from Kader. "No, Serena, it's Dani's turn to serve."

"But I really have to go," Serena squirmed, crossing her legs and dancing the I-have-to-go-to-the-bathroom dance.

"Keep playing," Kader said.

But Dani didn't understand. Why can't Serena have the bathroom pass when she wanted it? And so she did her best to help hurry Serena to the bathroom. Hitting more soft shots. More out shots. More shank shots.

"You can use the bathroom now, Serena," Kader cooed at 4-2.

"I don't have to go anymore!" Serena chirped. She skipped around the playground, waving to her big sister Venus who was on the jungle gym.

"I love this playground Venus!" Serena yelled at the top of her lungs.

"Careful Serena," Dani called, looking concerned. "Your band-aids are about to fall off your boo-boos!"

Serena looked blankly at Dani and started giggling.

"Oh, Dani," she whispered to herself.

And then, the recess bell rang, and it was all over. Serena waved more to her family, obviously excited about the lollipop awaiting her in the nurse's office.

Dani looked her in the eyes as they walked off the playground.

"But I thought we were friends, Serena," she said.

"We've never been friends Dani," Serena replied. "And anyway, this is Wimbledon."