Sunday, May 31, 2009

10 Things I Learned This Week


1. I'm Good at What I Do
For the last couple months, I've heard a lot of whining at work about not making any money and tips being horrible. In fact, I heard it through most of the winter too. Funny, I seem to make pretty decent cash every time I put on the apron and offer up food and drink. Then again, I'm also visible to my tables and willing to treat them like human beings, as opposed to inconvenient sacks of flesh that force me to earn my wages.

2. Misguided Attention
Somehow, I've spent a lot of time flicking through the channels this week and one thing I've really come to realize is that our media spends an awful lot of time talking about complete and utter bullshit. Headline News dedicates at least 12 hours a day to scandals and murder trials, analyzing it from every possible angle, while TLC is no longer about Learning whatsoever. It's about "Reality" or the fake version of it that works on television. No wonder I've spent so much time on the computer this week - there is nothing good to watch.



3. The Dog's Name is Chase
Yesterday's reports of rescuing a dog named Jake were incorrect; it turns out his name is Chase. That's the only part of the story that wasn't on point though, as talking with the woman yesterday revealed that she was "certain I closed that back door" before heading off to work. Wanna know how to be sure? Lock the damn thing. Easy.

4. Three Wins Away from Fulfilling My Prophecy
After a win in Game 1 yesterday, my Detroit Red Wings are three wins away from once again hoisting the Stanley Cup. Accept it now people: this is going to happen. What they will also do is fulfill my prediction from a few years back that the Wings would win two Cups before the Leafs won one. I didn't say it was rocket science or anything, but I thought it would take longer than three years to prove me right.

5. Pessimists Suck
Understand that I am an insane optimist - things are always going to work out even when there isn't an apparent solution, good things are going to happen and all that jazz. That being said, it still amazes me how negative some people can be about their work and their passions. I know writing is a tough road to travel, but telling that in excruciating detail is not necessary. Thanks for raining on my parade. Luckily, I carry an umbrella, just in case.

6. Somebody Has to be that One in a Million
I know I'm an optimist and making it in this business is a long shot, but doesn't someone have to be that one in a million? Three months ago, no one knew who Susan Boyle was. Now, she has a record deal and is known around the world. The Shack started as a personal project with 20 printed copies for friends and family. Now it's sold more than 2 million copies. You can't win if you don't buy a ticket and just because you don't want to buy tickets anymore doesn't mean I shouldn't start.

7. The Deer Aren't So Bad
Since moving here, people have warned us that the deer are nuts and will actually charge at you instead of running away from you like most woodland creatures will do. On numerous occasions this week, those people have been proven wrong. The pug and I run into at least two deer a day on our walks and by keeping calm and walking slowly, the deer bound down the hill in the opposite direction without any fuss.

8. The Shameless Self-Promotion Tour is Working
Readership is up everywhere. The fan base is growing daily and all the hours I put in networking away on Facebook and Twitter and everywhere else have paid off with my first official MMA interview with light heavyweight prospect Cody "Donnybrook" Donovan.

9. Tiananmen Square Was 20 Years Ago
You know how there are those pictures that will always be burned in your memory? The Tank Man from China's Tiananmen Square Protests in 1989 is one of those images for me. How was that possibly 20 years ago already? Where has the time gone?

10. Patiently Waiting, Though the Patience is Waning
If we're doing this, let's do this, but if we can't, just tell me so that I can find someone who can. Big things are coming and I want to be ready.

Continue reading ...

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Hobo Update: Kyte's Dog Rescue


Earlier in the week, I introduced you to my new neighbour, Captain Hobo who had a predilection for letting the dogs of the house run free with the back door open for their convenience.

Yesterday, I went to take my canine sidekick for a walk when I found Jake, the golden retriever who lives downstairs, sitting by his front door, no owners in site.

Me and the pug did our 30 minute lap and returned to find Jake still sitting out front. Not wanting to be the guy who overreacts to the dog sitting out front of his own house, Luke and I had a little visit, ran around in the backyard for a bit and brought Jake back to his front door to await his owners.

When Sarah called to say she was on her way home, I told her about Jake and we agreed that if he was still outside when she got home - 90 minutes after my initial visit - we'd bring him upstairs for some food and water.

Sure enough, Jake came barreling over to the car when Sarah pulled in and he came to check out our house for a while.

We left a note on the door and began to wait. And wait. And wait.

Three full hours after I'd first encountered the stranded dog there was a knock at the door. Jake's owners "girlfriend" - a.k.a. the Hobo's daughter - was aghast that the dog had been outside, swearing that she had closed all the doors with him safe in the house.

Now I'm no genius, but as far as I know, dogs can't twist doorknobs and let themselves outside. Maybe if it was a handle and he could push down on it, but without a thumb, there is no twisting of doorknobs going on.

That means, whenever she left for work - and she works at the golf course, so it had to be at somewhere around 4:00 at the latest - Jake made his way outside without her knowing and spent the better part of the afternoon chillin' without a house to relax in.

Now, it's only been a week and I don't want to rush to judgment or anything, but unless the guy who actually lives in the condo below us - the apparent boyfriend of Little Miss Lost Dog - comes home soon, it's going to be a long summer dealing with mongoloids who don't know how to look after one of the sweetest dogs I've ever met.

Next time this happens - and I'm betting there will be a next time - I'm charging them $10 an hour for room and board.

Continue reading ...

Friday, May 29, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Rapper's Delight
Artist: Sugarhill Gang
Album: Sugarhill Gang (1979)

I talk a lot in this column about music having become about so much more than just the actual music itself right now, with hip hop coming under the most fire.

Today, I;m taking it back to when it was about nothing but the music and paying tribute to the original hip hop party jam, Rapper's Delight by the legendary Sugarhill Gang.

2009 marks the 30th Anniversary of a song widely considered to be the first universally popular hip hop track, a song with a beat and lyrics so simplistic yet catchy that it's been remade by not only other hip hop acts like Def Squad and Run DMC, but folk-alternative guys like Keller Williams too.

We're all friends here, so I'm going to try and tell you that the lyrics of this song convey some kind of deep meaning; they don't. This is a straight up party song meant to get people on the dance floor and it works as well now as it did back then. And while the lyrics may be lacking the depth of some of today's conscious rappers, everybody knows the start of this song:

I said a hip hop the hippie the hippie
to the hip hip hop, a you don't stop
the rock it to the bang bang boogie say up jumped the boogie
to the rhythm of the boogie, the beat

Even my mom knows those lyrics and she doesn't know the lyrics to anything remotely related to hip hop. I fact, I would wager that she and most of you who aren't hip hop fans could deliver the next line too. Now what you hear is not a test, I'm rapping to the beat.

This song makes the Soundtrack today not just as tribute to the pioneers and out of respect for where the music I love came from, but as a glimpse back to simpler times. I mean, at one point, Big Bank Hank is rhyming about bad mac and cheese, mushy peas and chicken that tastes like wood.

As hokey as that is, I'd take it over bitches, hoes, bling and money any day of the week.


Continue reading ...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Inspiration Returns

No, I hadn't gone into a funk after rattling off the first draft of my book proposal last week or anything like that.

After all, I've been here almost every day since we got back from the Dominican, haven't I?

What the title of this piece refers to is the gentleman to the left, Thomas Pendelton, one of my inspirations.

Anyone who remembers the A&E show "Inked" remembers Thomas, Carey Hart's original manager of Hart & Huntington.

Long story short, I feel a connection with Thomas. He's traveled a long road to get to where he is and his creativity and art has always served as his outlet and I can understand and appreciate that.

I can also greatly appreciate walking away from the things he had with Hart & Huntington to straighten out and build a life with his wife Monica, with whom he now has three super-cute kids.

After leaving "Inked," he started Ministry of Ink, a clothing line and apparel company, as well as continued being the incredible, distinct artist that he is. I've followed the websites, checked out a lot of the artwork and have remained in awe.

Now, my man is back on TV with his new show Tattoo Highway and watching it last night sent chills down my spine and reminded me why I've thought of Thomas as an inspiration all this time.

During the last segment of the second episode, he was doing a portrait for a gentleman of his recently-deceased wife and after hearing a few stories and going back to sketch out the piece, Thomas couldn't draw the piece because he couldn't stop crying and that's when it clicked.

There is an incredible vulnerability to him and it shows through on camera and in the way he talks about his art and his passions and that is something you don't always get with "celebrities" or who have been in the public eye.

Normally, you hear standard answers to standard questions and inflated versions of themselves, but not with this guy. You get the straight answer, whether it's pretty or not, and his emotions run through everything he does.

Like drawing that portrait. Of course you're going to think about your wife after hearing someone speak so longingly about their partner who is now gone. I was and I couldn't imagine what I would do if Sarah was gone from my life. But unlike so many other people on television who apologize for crying or act as if emotional situations don't impact them, here is a guy who can't stop the tears from flowing and makes no apologies.

I dig that and I dig his return, both to television and to inspiring me in my work.

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Rundown: Back to the Beginning


Back on Wednesday, November 7, 2007, I launched a daily feature called The Rundown, designed to bust out my top five somethings each and every week.

That first Rundown featured my Top Five Man Crushes.

I was secure enough to admit to them then and I'm secure enough to admit to them now, as we're going back to the beginning and breaking out the revamped Rundown of the men I love most.

Top Five Man Crushes, May 2009 Edition

5. Dana White
I don't care what anyone says about him. He's my boy. I love him. Dude has busted his ass to get the UFC to where it is and that is worthy of my admiration. Yes, he swears more than a boat full of drunken sailors and launches personal attacks on journalists via video blog from time to time, but he's a hard worker and an inspiration and that gets you some love.

4. Chuck Klosterman
The original #3 on the list has taken a step back because there hasn't been any new work, at least not that I've enjoyed. Just as your favorite musicians fall out of your memory from time to time when they don't have an album out, Klosterman has released any of the Klosterman that made me fall in love with his style since IV and that was a long time ago. I still got love for him though...

3. LeBron James
Despite the fact that the Cavs are down 3-1 in the Eastern Conference playoffs, it ain't got nothing to do with LeBron. It's the fact that he is without a definitive Robin that D12 & Co. have him one step from elimination. King James is the best player in the world and a basketball impresario the likes of which we haven't seen since Magic. Sorry Michael, but he's got you trumped. Yeah, I said it. Can't wait 'til he heads to Brooklyn with my relocating Nets and his pal Jay-Z.

2. Don Cheadle
This is still my dude. There may not have been any massive movie roles or a staggering number of appearances in the public eye, but I'll still fight you over Don Cheadle. And when he rocks the role of "War Machine" Jim Rhodes in the next Iron Man, you'll all be loving him like I do.

1. George Stroumboulopoulos
While I may joke about my dream scenario as an author being to end up on Oprah's couch, that's only because if Oprah endorses you, you sell a bazillion books and make serious loot. I really want to sit down on those red leather couches and shake hands with my boyfriend George Stroumboulopoulos so I can hear what he thinks about The Rules of Engagement. Then we'll talk about how shitty popular music is these days and laugh about his time at MuchMusic before heading out for a pint and exchanging numbers so that we can stay in touch forever...

I HEART GEORGE!

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Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Meet My New Neighbour


Sweet sign aside, I think this guy might be squatting in the condo below us.

The early morning wake-up dog took to busting my chops first thing this morning, so we rolled out behind the building to handle our business. As we got close to the condo below us, two things were very noticeable.

1) There was a horrible 80s tiger-face blanket (you know the ones I'm talking about) strewn across the hot tub, as well as some Zig Zags and Export A Green Death tobacco and

2) The back door was slightly ajar.

I learned this last one because a new dog that I had never seen before came out to say hi to Luke. Then the dog that lives there from time to time came out and all three played for 37 seconds before my faithful sidekick decided to explore the new territory.

In he went, checking out the smells of a new house, only to let out a bark two seconds in. Now, he barks at a lot of things - animals, cars passing by, the vibrating Ladybug massage thing I tease him with - but when he's in close quarters, it's only strange people that make him yap.

Sure enough, the above pictured hobo ushered him out the door and started to strike up a conversation.

Now, I'm pretty certain that the guy who actually lives in that condo - sporadically, granted, but still - wouldn't leave his dog with just anyone, so the dude is clearly not a hobo, but you wouldn't know it from our initial interaction.

I mean, he asked if the dog that wasn't his lived there. Nope, he just opened the door and got himself some food before you came around.

He asked what gets poop out of the carpet. Thankfully, he specified it was the dog's, but my response of "carpet cleaner" was met with "I was just gonna vacuum it," so I certainly wasn't in the presence of a MENSA member.

I like to think I have a pretty good handle on feeling out social situations. I can spot an awkward moment a mile away. This guy? Not so much.

When I'm putting my dog back on the leash, collecting his daily donation to the fertilizer fund and trying to walk away as quickly as humanly possible, stop asking me questions about whether I know your daughter, Camille, who apparently "stays here" and talking to me about the weather.

No one "stays here" except Sarah and me. Seriously, we're the only long-term, year-round tenants up here. Even the guy who stays in the condo below us doesn't "stay here" routinely, so how can this hobo's daughter?

I would have thought living in the highest rent district available in town would have meant a distinct lack of hobo presence in my 'hood.

Turns out, I was wrong.

And no, I don't have $4 for your karate lessons.

Continue reading ...

Monday, May 25, 2009

Joining the Jon & Kate Debate


Just finished watching the Jon & Kate Plus 8 premiere and thought I would give my thoughts on the show, the controversy and all things Gosselin.

Yes, I watch Jon & Kate Plus 8... get over it.

So, if you've been in any kind of store lately, you've seen Jon and Kate on the cover of nearly every tabloid amidst tales of infidelity on both parts, rumors of divorce and most recently, for show regular and Kate's sister-in-law Jody calling for a boycott of the show.

Now, Jon led off the show saying he didn't cheat on Kate. My old man always said he never cheated on my mom too, but that wasn't the case, so I'm not fully convinced. That being said, consider me on Team Jon, provided he wasn't playing hide the pickle.

We've watched the show from the jump and in the five years, Kate has gone from being the doting mother who didn't care about fashion and appearances to a celebrity who happens to have kids. From where I've been sitting, she comes off as someone who has really gotten caught up in being a celebrity, loves the attention and doesn't want to be anything other than that.

Jon, on the other hand, wants none of it. He wants to be a dad and have a somewhat normal life. While that isn't entirely possible any longer, you can't really blame him. After five televised years of not being able to finish your own sentences, getting criticized for just about everything and having decisions made for you, I'd be at my tipping point too.

While they chose to let the public into their lives and therefore have to live with the consequences, there seems to be such a huge rift between the two in terms of what they want moving forward that an amicable solution doesn't seem possible and that is sad.

Although there is no way that they will ever escape the glaring eye of the paparazzi and have a "normal life" like you and me, you can choose to minimize your exposure and it comes off like that is a choice Jon would like to make, while Kate does not want to relinquish her place in the spotlight. She's not Kate the mother of 8 anymore; she's Kate Gosselin, author, speaker and celebrity mom and that isn't what it should be about.

You've gained a great deal - and undoubtedly sacrificed a lot too - and I would wager that your kids are set for life right about now, so why not walk away and try to salvage the marriage, the family and the bond that everyone fell in love with in the first place?

I don't know...

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Sunday, May 24, 2009

10 Things I Learned This Week

1. Lyoto Machida is a Bad, Bad, Man
"The Dragon" destroyed Rashad Evans last night and I don't think there is currently anyone in the UFC Light Heavyweight ranks that could stop him. And no, Anderson Silva doesn't count because they would never fight each other.

2. The Dream is Getting Closer
Frustrated by the sheer lack of customers and workable hours at the restaurant, I sat down this week to start my book proposal. My goal, as mentioned last week, was to have it done by Friday. It was done on Thursday. You make your own opportunities and I'm making mine.

3. One Month? Already?
Somehow, Sarah and I have been married for a month. That means we've been home for nearly three weeks. This just doesn't seem possible to me and makes the fact that we have yet to send out Thank You cards a little more ridiculous. Guess what we're doing tomorrow night?

4. So Long First Place
If not for a random Jon Papelbon collapse yesterday, the Red Sox would have overtaken the Blue Jays for first place in the American League East. Not that I wish ill upon my fine, feathered flock, but you knew the other shoe had to drop at some point. That vaunted offense has gone away, leaving quality pitching to earn hard-luck loses the rest of the way.

5. This is How Bad It's Gotten...
Tomorrow morning, I'm going into work at 8:00 AM to pressure wash the patio and get it ready for the "busy summer season." Seriously; with the complete lack of customers and therefore complete lack of money, I'm actually graciously accepting opportunities to do manual labour first thing in the morning for a few extra bucks.

6. D'You Know What's Awesome?
Boil Water Advisories. As in, Spencer can't drink the free stuff that comes out of his tap because it's got something funky in it right now, so he has to spend the little money that he does have on the most renewable natural resource on the planet. Super.

7. Better Than Da Vinci
But Angels and Demons still wasn't outstanding or anything. It was good. It was entertaining. With far less reliance on dialogue, it was way better than the verbose Da Vinci Code, but it was still missing something.

8. Apparently I'm Getting Old
I've gone to bed before midnight every night this week. I can't stay awake for more than ten minutes of a movie from the time my head hits the pillow. While I'm not quite at the walker-slash-adult diaper stage, it's pretty damn sad that I can't make it past midnight without force...

9. Evidently, The Above is a Good Thing
As if he knows we're going to bed earlier and earlier these days, the world's greatest dog has become a fan of early morning barking fits around 3:00, 5:30 and 7:00 AM. Since Sarah has been on days this week, that means I've been up and out of bed shortly after that 5:30 barking spree most of the week. No wonder I've gotten so much done...

10. Pretty Much Smoke Free
It's been seven weeks since I bought a pack of darts and in that time, I think I've had maybe 10, tops. Not bad for Sir Smokesalot. I'm even getting my lung capacity back and everything.

Continue reading ...

Saturday, May 23, 2009

All The More Reason to Hate Bob Ryan


I've never really liked the long-time Boston Globe columnist.

He comes off as an ultra-homer and seems to get angry with just about everything.

I don't like him on The Sports Reporters and I don't like him on Around the Horn.

Now, I also don't like him because he's part of the moronic masses that can't understand that Mixed Martial Arts is far more than pure, unmitigated violence and far superior to boxing.

When asked yesterday at the close of Around the Horn if he had any prediction on tonight's UFC 98, Ryan went into his typical Ryan angry voice and said something along the lines of "I don't care about this. I hope no one watches. At least in boxing the competitors are considered artists."

Um, Bob, they are called Mixed Martial Artists... but hey, you're the famous sportswriter, not me.

What always baffles me in the "boxing is better than MMA" argument is that boxing is a key component of mixed martial arts. It's not like these guys are clubbing each other with sticks or immediately dropping to their backs to wrestle. Except for Thales Leites in Montreal last month and that was just sad. They stand and feel each other out with boxing's most basic component, the jab. Hundreds of fights get finished with devastating punches, just the same as in Bob's beloved boxing.

More frustrating is how the opponents of MMA claim it to be this horribly violent and dangerous sport when more fighters have died due to injuries inside the boxing ring than have from blows sustained inside a cage.

In boxing, all you do is smash the other guy in the head. Okay, you work the body too, but your options are pretty much limited to smashing the other guy with your fists in one of two places. MMA offers up so many more options than that. Shit, Royce Gracie won the first two tournaments in UFC history without throwing a meaningful punch.

And seriously, how can you not call a guy like Demian Maia an artist? Watch the guy force his will upon his opponent and work to find a submission and tell me that isn't equally or more artistic than Bernard Hopkins picking apart Kelly Pavlik or two meathead heavyweights throwing hay-makers.

It's like when the guy interviewing Dana White on E:60 last week asked if White thought it was okay for youngsters to be learning and training MMA, as if it was some kind of insane idea. You're okay with the kid taking karate, judo, boxing or wrestling, but combining all of them into one program? Never!

Bob Ryan and his backwards thinking brethren need to wake up and realize that MMA is the fastest growing sport in the world and not some backwoods brawl full of bloodshed and brutality.

Either that or just shut the hell up.

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Friday, May 22, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life



Song:
No Diggity
Artist: Blackstreet feat. Dr. Dre and Queen Pen
Album: Another Level (1996)

As we're rolling into summer, I'm rolling out my all-time favorite summer jam for this week's soundtrack.

To prove I'm not just pulling out an old song and claiming it as my favorite, please reference this Rundown from last year. See what #1 on that list was? No Diggity.

We went crazy for this song when it came out! This was the first song to the first summer where I was old enough to go out driving around on my own and didn't have to be home before 11:00. Everywhere we went, this song was getting played... loud.

The video was epic, with the Lil' Penny inspired puppets and Dr. Dre's intro rap signaling his long-awaited return, not to mention the first and last time we ever heard from Queen Pen.

There was nothing special lyrically about this track, but back in those days, it was all about a nasty beat and this song has it in spades. Tell me you don't recognize this song as soon as it comes on? That piano, that thumping bass, the "Um-huh"... classic.

Just watch the video and try to get this song out of your head. Try it. I dare you.


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Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Shameless Self-Promotion Tour Rolls On

Tossing up a Wedding Day shot in case any of you have yet to see them. Don't we look good?

Anyway...

At the start of the month, I put everyone on notice that I was making like Jay-Z and would like for you to "allow me to re-introduce myself" for your consumption.

Some of you have gotten the messages in other ways, maybe others have not, so on a slow Thursday, I thought I'd lay it all out there and have The 2009 Shameless Self-Promotion Tour roll through iBlog.

Here's where you can catch me:

  • Keyboard Kimura - the new MMA website, started a couple weeks ago and delivering Mixed Martial Arts news and views each and every day.

  • MMA4Real - another MMA site where I make sporadic appearances, usually delivering sarcastic news like the impending deterioration of my marriage or how to instantly ruin your own credibility.

  • Twitter - Yes, I tweet. If you don't, you're not cool. Simple as that. I don't make the rules, I just follow them.

  • Facebook Fan Page / Networked Blogs - Two Facebook options that allow you to get all your E. Spencer Kyte info without straying from the still-addictive social networking giant. All you have to do is join the Fan Page or click the "Follow this blog" box over on the right hand side and you'll get your info in your Facebook feed.

There is one other place in the works, but it's not ready yet. I know I've been saying cryptic things like this for some time now, but this is how things work. Everything takes time.

Check out the sites, join the following and get on board now.

The book proposal is just about done and once it gets out there, you'll want to be able to claim me as your own before the masses catch on!

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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Rundown: Comic Book Flicks


Having recently watched Wolverine and hearing about all the spin off possibilities their talking about with the film - more Wolverine flicks, Gambit, an X-Men intro flick - I got to thinking about what comic book characters I would love to see on the big screen.

Yes, I'm a comic book geek at heart... deal with it.

Top 5 Fan Boy Flicks

5. Daredevil
I know it's been done and while I like Affleck in general, this movie was a horrible disservice to Matt Murdock and his alter ego. It was like the hokey take on Ghost Rider, which isn't surprising since the same dude penned both. Both had limitless potential and both were very, very bad. Sadly, I fear the same will come of Mark Steven Johnson's next project, the ultra-cool Preacher.

4. Captain America
This one is two-fold for me. One, I remember the horribly bad Captain America TV movie from waaaay back in the day (which I watched again on Space not that long ago) and know it can be much better. Two, I know it's in the works as an introduction to The Avengers, that initiative mentioned by Sam Jackson as Nick Fury at the end of Iron Man. You know, after the credits. Go back and watch it and wait for this one.

3. Magneto
Another that is already in the works that has me excited, simply because Sir Ian McKellan is so damn good at being Erik Lehnsherr, although it's possible he won't be playing the role. What makes me even more interested in this project is seeing the portrayal of someone known the masses as a bad guy at the origins of his life as a child in Auschwitz.

2. The Flash
Barry Allen (that's The Flash's real name) had a television series back in the early 90s with Dawson Leery's dad playing the title role. Clearly, the character is due for a big time revamp to remove those images from our mind.

1. Wonder Woman
We all remember how horrible the last couple female superhero appearances on camera have been. Batgirl? Catwoman? Elektra? What we need is a kick as female character to reclaim the throne and bust out the golden Lasso of Truth. And what guy wouldn't line up to see, say, Jessica Biel in that outfit?

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Movie Night: Angels & Demons


With a handful of nights apart on the horizon, the wife and I are off to the movies for Date Night tonight with Angels & Demons on the marquee.

Partially inspired by watching The Da Vinci Code on History TV last weekend and partially inspired by it being the movie showing at the tiny theatre that we now love here in Kimberley, we've both read the book and want to see how it translates to the big screen.

Hopefully, it comes off better than Da Vinci.

While I'm well aware of the old adage that "the book is always better than the movie," the first film adaptation of a Dan Brown novel stumbled on the screen to me and not just because I had issue with Tom Hanks' hair.

Paul Bettany, an actor I really like, as Silas the Albino assassin just didn't work for me. I mean, this the guy who played a down-on-his-luck tennis player in Wimbledon and the eloquent Geoffrey Chaucer in A Knight's Tale, neither of which inspired fear of any kind.

And apparently if the film calls for a French cop, Jean Reno has a clause in his contract that universally makes the job his. While I could use that kind of clause in a writing contract in the future, selecting Leon The Professional for the role of Bezu Fache just seemed too easy.

Now, there is the distinct possibility that Ewan McGregor and Stellan Skarsgard could fall into the same fate as the aforementioned Da Vinci duo, but I won't know that until tomorrow.

What I do know is that I enjoyed the paperback version of Angels & Demons more than I liked The Da Vinci Code, so that is a strong starting point.

Other than that, we'll just have to wait and see.

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Monday, May 18, 2009

God Bless Paris Hilton

Just when you think it's over, the heiress says something completely ridiculous that makes me laugh harder than I have in weeks.

In the soon-to-be-released documentary, "Paris, Not France," the socialite discusses her life and at one point (apparently) comes to the startling revelation that she'll never be able to be like the woman she grew up admiring, Princess Diana, because of her DUI arrest, sex tape and time in jail.

Yep, those are the only reasons.

I can't think of anything else that differentiates the two of you...

I mean, we all remember all the magazine layouts Diana did wearing next to nothing and the crappy catchphrases she tried to trademark.

And who can forget all the humanitarian efforts Paris has put forth over the years?

Diana comments aside, my favorite part of the trailer for the flick is when she talks about finding out her actual sex tape was online and everyone was laughing at her.

Yes, it's the most intimate thing you can do with another person. However, taping it can only lead to potential disaster, especially when you're a "celebrity" and especially when you're willing to go on camera spreading your legs for a notorious slimeball like Rick Solomon.

Awesome. Simply awesome.

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Sunday, May 17, 2009

10 Things I Learned

There are some old favorites and some new morsels of information, so settle in and say hello to Albert...

1. I've Finally Started
After talking about the project for what seems like eternity, I got off my ass and started my book this week. Actually, I started the proposal and query letter, but that is more important to be honest. Aiming to have this stage completed by next weekend. Going to take time though.

2. Turns Out I'm Free 'til Friday
Good thing I work at a restaurant without any customers! Instead of continuing to be exceptionally annoyed by the constant strain of "don't worry, you're going to get shifts," only to see two shifts on my schedule, I'm looking at it as a means to finishing the above mentioned project. Thanks for the time off...

3. A New Outlet
No, I'm not still yammering on about Keyboard Kimura, although you should most certainly visit iBlog's sister site as frequently as possible. This is about MMA 4 Real, an MMA site based in North Carolina that now features this guy as a routine poster in the FanPosts section as an audition for bigger and better.

4. Getting the Name Out There
Thanks to all 121 people who have taken part in the Shameless Self-Promotion Tour to this point, joining the Facebook Fan Page and helping circulate my name through your social networks. Believe me when I say that in the near future you'll be able to say, "I knew him when..."

5. Best Commercial Ever
Nothing beats the Dos Equis "Most Interesting Man in the World" ad that is running right now. Of course, I might be biased as I am currently enjoying a Dos Equis and have liked the beer since a trip to California seven years ago. Anyway, I too want to live vicariously through myself and have an awkward moment just to know what it feels like. Stay thirsty, my friends!

6. Ghetto Vacations
We've got some serious redneck camping going on in the building across the way from us. A collection of Alberta families has invaded for the long weekend and have setup a patio table in the parking lot. They've also flooded a portion of the lot to allow their children - all 18 of them - to play in the water, instead of, I dunno, buying a $12 plastic kiddy pool at WalMart. Some kids get to go to Disneyland, some get to camp out in a parking lot. You can't make this stuff up.

7. The Blue Jays are Killing Me
Don't get me wrong - I'm happy to see the boys doing well as they earned the series sweep of the White Sox today. But man is it tough to swallow having walked away from them and proclaimed them dead back in January and see them playing so well. My man Chalk assures me that it will all come to an end soon, but right now, I just don't see it. They might have a little something going...

8. My First Mention of the Red Wings All Playoffs
I have been trying not to say anything about my boys from Detroit, but now that they're through to the Conference Finals - for the 8th time in 12 years or something like that - I'd like for everyone to acknowledge the utter dominance of the Red Wings. They may have looked shaky here and there, but in the end, the best team always wins and Detroit is clearly the best team.

9. Thoughts on Dana White
UFC President Dana White has been in the news all week after a segment about the foul-mouthed figurehead of the MMA giant aired on ESPN's E:60. While I don't always agree with the things that White says or the colorful language that he prefers, I have no problem with him as the head of the biggest organization in the sport I love. If we had a Roger Goodell or a David Stern in charge, MMA would have failed long before it got to the point they're at now. Could he clean up his language and stop the tirades at members of the media? Sure, but that is who Dana is and for better or worse, he's great for the sport.

10. I Forgot to Tell You Last Week...
But X-Men Origins: Wolverine was awesome! Just awesome. They did a great job with the relationship between Logan and Victor "Sabretooth" Creed, Deadpool was wicked and you could barely recognize Ryan Reynolds when he came out and there are sure to be more Origins flicks or spin-offs in the near future and I'll be seeing every one.

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Saturday, May 16, 2009

Slow Motion Saturday


This is the full extent of what I want to do today.

For no real reason, I have exactly zero ambition. Writing this blog has taken longer than imaginable and it serves as the single greatest amount of energy I have expended since I got up.

Earlier this week, I actually made Sarah frustrated with me because of the amount of energy and enthusiasm I had for doing obnoxious household chores like the dishes or cleaning up from our Calgary trek.

Today, not so much and that doesn't bode well for completing the things that actually have to get done. Namely, groceries.

We have zero food, in the sense that we have two cans of The Chef, some tins of tuna, bread, eggs and peanut butter, but none of that appeals to either one of us in the least. It's our first day off together and I'd like to have a nice dinner.

Unfortunately, I also want to resume laying on the couch watching copious amounts of shows that I really don't care about.

Worst of all, I ordered pizza last night, so that throws that option out the window too.

What's a guy to do?

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Friday, May 15, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life


Song: Anybody Listening?
Artist: Classified
Album: Self Explanatory (2009)

I mentioned how much I'm loving Class right now in Sunday's 10 Things, so it's only right to give a day of respect to the Halifax MC who has been one of my personal favorites for quite some time.

You gotta respect a guy who has clearly done what he's done simply because it's what he loves to do. Classified is the epitome of that on the Canadian Hip Hop scene, having been around and earned numerous accolades over the last few years while remaining largely unknown and unheard.

While the single is instantly catchy because of the Phil Collins sample used in the chorus, it doesn't get by on that element alone. As always, Classified delivers smart lyrics discussing the struggle of the industry, something he did equally well on "Find Out" from his 2007 release Hitch Hikin' Music.

The guy is a legitimate talent that speaks his mind and delivers real rhymes like they did before hip hop became about money, guns and all the other bullshit that has diluted the art over the last ten years.

This song is a throwback to me with the recognizable sample, scratching and tight rhymes, making it so different from the over-produced junk clogging the airwaves today. I'm talking to you Soulja Boy...

Plus, it's always nice to give a love to a Canadian talent and spread his name and his skills wherever we can.

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Thursday, May 14, 2009

Yep, This Sounds About Right for Me

Life is one ironic son of a bitch, isn't it?

For two pleasurable years, I wrote at great length about an average Toronto Blue Jays baseball team, earning little to no money and catching flack from fellow Blue Jays scribes and site readers alike for my lack of enthusiasm about the team.

So I made a change.

When the new year began, I jumped ship, leaving my position at Bugs & Cranks to accept the role of Senior Editor and Writer at The Love of Sports, a site I had been writing for regularly where I was even earning a little pocket money.

Everything seemed to be headed in the right direction.

But this is me we're talking about, so you know something had to go wrong.

We're now midway through May, the Blue Jays are in first place and are brimming with storylines, from the continued dominance of Doc Halladay to the emergence of guys like Scott Richmond (except last night) and youngster Brett Cecil, who looks like he should stay up regardless of who gets healthy.

On the flip side, The Love of Sports is in a state of flux. I haven't had anything to do with the site for over a month due to operational issues, the money stopped coming in a good month before that and three months of putting in hours a day to build the site have amounted to being close to useless for me.

Sounds about right.

The moral of the story: do not ever attempt to become a freelance writer.

If you do and you happen to find a great site where you like writing, stay there. I miss my Bugs & Cranks family, even the dumb asses who left stupid comments.

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Wednesday, May 13, 2009

The Rundown: Premier Post-Seasons


As of late, the normally normal folks on ESPN's sports talk shows have been saying some pretty stupid things, leading to some very frustrated rants here on iBlog.

Two days ago it was Kornheiser calling Barry Melrose the "face of hockey," while yesterday saw Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times call the NBA Playoffs the "best postseason of them all."

What?

How many times has Hayden Panettiere licked your trophy, Plaschke?

Top 5 Sports Post-Seasons

5. NCAA March Madness
I know some of you are going to call me out on this one, but follow me for a minute. The first week is the best four day stretch of one sport in the history of sports. Those opening two rounds are awesome, but then the lull kicks in. We have to wait for games. Things get over-analyzed. Jay Bilas says way too much. By the time the whole thing ends it's already April.

4. NFL Playoffs
While there is a week between games, there is always a week between games, so that part is cool. Truthfully, this one lands here simply on the strength of the Super Bowl which is still arguably the single best sporting event around and has been living up to that hype pretty well recently.

3. NBA Playoffs
Having games to watch every night is nice, but here's the thing with hoops and do remember that I am a big basketball fan: half of the time only the final two minutes matter, while the other half of the time it's a blowout. Now, I love watching LeBron do his thing no matter what the point differential, but watching the Lakers clobber the Rockets last night was pointless. The game was done by halftime.

2. MLB World Series
Yes, baseball often comes down to the final couple innings too, but at least it doesn't take forty minutes to play two innings. And when it does, it's because something noteworthy is happening, not a string of timeouts. Besides, baseball trumps basketball on the final out versus final shot battle. The last out always leads to insanity, while the final shot can often be meaningless.

1. NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs
Anyone who doesn't recognize the Stanley Cup Playoffs as the best post-season in all of sports is both a liar and quite possibly suffering from brain damage. What is more entertaining than triple overtime? Besides quadruple overtime, nothing. Every game is a back and forth where neither team gives an inch. Yeah, the regular season is too long, but the playoffs make all of that waiting around worth it.

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Barry Melrose Is Not the Face of Hockey

So I'm watching Pardon the Interruption yesterday and in their discussion of the Pens - Capitals series, Kornheiser states that Barry Melrose is the face of hockey.

Excuse me?

Maybe in his advanced age and receding hairline Tony forgot to add the qualifier of "on this network" or "in the United States," at the end of that sentence. I sure hope so or else the state of the NHL is far worse than I had imagined.

Not to take anything away from Barry Melrose; he was a decent coach in Los Angeles and is an agreeable enough figure in the studio, but the face of hockey he is not. In fact, he's not even the smartest hockey guy employed by ESPN. That honor goes to Pierre LeBrun. Now there is a guy who knows his hockey.

Taken on a larger scale, this comment further illustrates the sad state of hockey in the United States.

While the Stanley Cup Playoffs run on our National network (CBC) and our largest sports network (TSN) on a nightly basis, games are being broadcast in the US on Versus and the NHL Network, two channels that most people either don't have or don't know about.

More time is dedicated to covering Tiger Woods' awful final round on Sunday than one of the best Playoff matchups to come along in years, pitting the two brightest stars in the NHL sky against one another.

As if that weren't bad enough, you once again have Canadian billionaire Jim Balsillie trying to purchase a cash-strapped, failing franchise from a hideous American market. What other sport repeatedly tells a guy with an obvious passion for the game and more money than he knows what to do with that he can't own a franchise?

This is a league that sold a team to a guy who is now in jail for fraud and embezzlement instead of Balsillie.

While I understand Gary Bettman's desire to keep franchises where they are and not "abandon" markets as he says, let's not forget how this team got to Phoenix in the first place...

Where was the desire to work through problems when the team was in The 'Peg or the Nordiques getting moved to Colorado?

American expansion is fine, but returning to a market that is starving for hockey or bringing another team into the hot bed of hockey fanaticism is just plain wrong, is that it?

Thankfully, I live in Canada where I can watch all the games without issue and see what the true face of hockey has to say... Ron McLean!

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Monday, May 11, 2009

Am I Out of Line Here?

Let me preface this post by saying that I think the people at Extreme Makeover: Home Edition do a wonderful thing. They help people have a better life and any act of generosity and caring for another human being is terrific.

With that out of the way, let me now say how much this show drives me insane. Like yelling at the television insane. Seriously. I can't stand it.

Part one of the primal rage comes from the insistence on calling at least one member of every home a hero. Last night, the mother of two sick children who painted murals in Children's Hospitals was a hero. Forgive me, but no. She's a wonderful human being who does fantastic things, but let's not toss around the word hero all willy-nilly. That guy who jumped into the Red River ten days ago to save a kid, he's a hero.

Phase two of the frustration stems from the general concept of the show itself and how it defines people in need. Yes, this family had a house full of mold and water damage, two daughters who were sick and they needed assistance. However, they don't need it as much as the people in the 9th Ward in New Orleans, all those Iowans whose houses got leveled by tornadoes last year or the thousands of homeless people in North America alone who could most certainly use a place to sleep at night.

Three - why so grandiose?

Giving them a place to live is one thing. Creating a palatial estate with top of the line everything and more indulgences than one house possibly needs is another thing. Sure, you want to make a beautiful home for them that solves their issues; granite counter tops, stainless steel everything and marble floors don't have any barring on a person's well-being.

I would say that easily $500,000 worth of materials, products and manpower went into creating last night's home and while it's wonderful for that particular family, I can't help but think how two $250,000 homes would have impacted more people. Or four, $125,000 homes. You get the picture...

So what do you say: Am I jaded and warped or what?

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Sunday, May 10, 2009

10 Things I Learned This Week

My first full week back in the mountains has been an interesting affair to say the least.

As per usual, I feel the need to share it with you, no matter how embarrassed it makes Sarah...

1. The Deer are Not Alone
I've officially gotten over my "Look at the deer" wonderment of how cool it is that they are everywhere. I'm sick of them and you can add elk to that list too. Without exaggeration, we saw 150 deer and a couple herds of elk yesterday along the TCH (Trans Canada Highway) coming home from Calgary, including the stupid, massive elk in the middle of the other lane. Them fuckers don't just ruin your car, either.

2. We'd Have Been Home Sooner But...
There was a bit of a lost property issue. Namely, Sarah's wallet. Now, lemme start by saying my new wife is the type who will leave her wallet sitting in the shopping cart then walk off to look at things. This is how I wound up carrying around a wallet yesterday. She also managed to unload all the goodies we picked up and return the cart with her wallet still in the cart. Thankfully, she figured it out while we were across the street, not on the way home and they had it for us at the store. What makes it all the more awesome is that she had an over the shoulder bag with her, but it stayed in the car where it was most useful.

3. Customer Service Excellence
So when I walked back in to Home Outfitters to inquire about Sarah's wallet, the lady who was serving us did a cursory check of her area, ask one person and wished us luck in our search. When I went back in to leave our contact information and get the number for the credit card companies, she handed me the Calgary phone book. We had accepted defeat. Fifteen minutes down the road, the store manager called and said she had Sarah's wallet. Turns out, no one had thought to ask her, something she was wickedly sarcastic about when we met her back at the store. Good to see people helping people in action.

4. We Got a Ton of Stuff for $9
This whole Calgary misadventure came about because we were registered at Home Outfitters and had gifts to pick up. Yes, Calgary is the closest store. -1 for the East Kootenays, yes. Anyway, we also received $150 in Gift Cards from various people, so in the end, we had a trunk and backseat full of gear - all wonderful by the way - and all it cost us was $9. Plus gas, food and my mild heart attack when Sarah "lost" her wallet, but still... $9.

5. Rediscovered Passion
Taking nearly three weeks off writing was hard; necessary, but hard. Since returning, the fire is back and Keyboard Kimura has a lot to do with that. Yes, I'm plugging my new blog again. Having a daily outlet for the sport I love makes me want to sit at this computer and once I get flowing, I could go for hours. Not that writing here isn't inspiring, but there is so much about MMA that I want to address and talk about and rant on and whatever that creating that site should have happened six months ago when I first thought up the name.

6. A Brief Clarification
This is for everyone who has ever said, "Why don't you just write a book" to me since I've taken up this craft. Trust me, I absolutely want to and have finally started down that road. That being said, do you have any idea how long a process it can be? It's not like I can sit for a couple days and viola - book is done, especially when I have other commitments. I'd love to take six months and sit here for 10 hours a day, but (1) I have to work and (2) I have a life to live. Yes, writing is a huge part of it, but not more so than my wife and my dog. It's going to take time, but it's going to get done.

7. One Month, Only a Couple Smokes
I didn't want to say anything because, well, you've heard it time and time again. However, in the last month, I've had three smokes. Three! Sure, there were cigars in Samana - and one in Ty's backyard the other night - but after being a smokerson for nearly 15 years, three darts in a months is awesome, even if I am the only one who thinks so.

8. Seriously, What's with the Music?
I listened to an "urban" radio station for the first time in ages yesterday (-2 for the East Kootenays if you're keeping track) and all it did was add to Tuesday's frustrations with the state of popular music. What in the hell is Kiss Me Through the Phone? To their credit, at least the delivered some K'naan and Classified, but the rest of the countdown was garbage.

9. Speaking of 98.5 Vibe in Calgary
How the hell do you have a DJ who actually knows nothing about the artists he's playing? This dude - ON AIR - couldn't remember whether Classified was from the East Coast or West Coast (East Coast...) and rambled on about how K'naan was from The Sudan and what he went through. Too bad he's from Somalia. Killing me!

10. They're Having a Girl, As Predicted
Pete & Brooke are pregnant (I think I told you that before) and they found out this week that they're having a girl. Faye and I both predicted this in the Dominican. Not by the way Brooke is carrying or any kind of science; we roll on the simple basis that we want Pete to be tortured as much as possible and well, having girls will do that to him. Emily Grace is going to be plenty once she grows up, now there will be another.

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life


Song: Use Somebody
Artist: Kings of Leon
Album: Only by the Night (2008)

I have to admit that I was slow on the uptake with these guys. I have friends who have been rabid about this band since they first came out and I was always preoccupied with some other act or some other song.

My bad.

This is easily my favorite rock track going and one of the best I've heard in a long time. Whereas most current rock tracks get very annoying after about the third listen - I call it UNS: Universal Nickelback Syndrome - "Use Somebody" still rips and still gets turned up, just like the previous single "Sex on Fire" did.

I think what made me get into these guys is their back story. I mean, their dad was (is) a Pentecostal minister, but he'd play classic rock in the car when their mother wasn't around. The religious kids eventually decided they'd rather pick up a guitar and rock than a bible and thump and the result is sonic awesomeness.

Don't make the same mistake I did. If you're not into Kings of Leon right now, go get started. If you are, congratulations, you're smarter than me... at least on this one.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

Are You Really That Surprised?


I woke up this morning to the news that Dodgers slugger Manny Ramirez had been suspended for 50 games for testing positive for Performance Enhancing Drugs.

There is no other story in the world of sports right now. Everyone is talking Manny.

My question is why?

Why does this come as such a surprise and earth-shattering revelation? As sad as this is to say, Jose Canseco told us months ago that he was pretty positive ManRam was a PEDs user and the guy hasn't really been wrong when it comes to the whole steroids issue.

My position of surprise and outrage changed when Alex Rodriguez was outed as having used steroids. As much as I dislike the guy, I thought he cared about the game more than most and getting proven wrong led me to my new line of thinking.

Never again will I be surprised by the announcement that a MLB player used PEDs of some kind. While I still think there are a few guys out there who are doing it on talent and talent only (Albert Pujols, Ken Griffey Jr.), nothing would surprise me anymore.

Including Manny.

The bigger story for me in this is the Dodgers themselves. This is a team who has come out of the gates to post the best record in baseball and earn a Major League record 13 straight home wins to open the year. What does this do to them?

Fortunately for Dodgers fans, not as much as you would think. Juan Pierre can slide into left and there is enough hitting throughout the rest of the lineup to shoulder the load left by Ramirez' absence. Not that any one person can make up for no Manny, but collectively there are enough bats to keep the Dodgers afloat in the awful NL West.

Part of my normal daily routine is to watch Around the Horn and PTI, but I think I'm going to skip them both today.

I've already had enough Manny for one day.

No need for any more.

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Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Bullying, Homophobia and Oprah


So when I woke up from my customary afternoon nap and after I watched Around the Horn and PTI, I watched Oprah. Not intentionally, in the, "Oh Oprah's on!" nature, but it caught me as I was flipping by.

She was talking with the families of two young males who had killed themselves after dealing with bullying and name-calling in school. Both reported frequently being taunted with calls of "fag" or "gay," which one of the experts on the show claimed to be some of the most harmful things you can say to an adolescent male.

Two things struck me and had me glued to the television for the rest of the hour:

1. How is it that in 2009, being called "fag" or "gay" is one of the most harmful things you can say to an adolescent male?
Honestly? Maybe I'm more open-minded than some, but being gay or called gay doesn't carry the same stigma it did decades ago when homosexuality was such a taboo lifestyle. Shit, Sean Penn just won an Oscar for playing Harvey Milk and Ellen is one of the most widely beloved people on the planet...

2. Having shows like this actually does more harm than good for gay rights in my opinion.
Spending an hour talking about how young men become suicidal when repeatedly called a fag gives the impression that being called a fag is something horrible, like being called a murderer or rapist or pedophile.

Now, I know I'm probably taking a much more different angle at this than some and I, of course, have not spent a minute in the circumstances any of these parents have been in, but if your kid is telling you how much they hate school and never want to go back, regardless of their wishes that you don't go to the school to investigate further, get your ass to the school.

Back in my day, my old man used to call the parents of this kid I constantly fought with to see if there was some way they could mutually work out the situation for us. Some of these parents didn't even take that step and that is unbelievable to me.

Even more crazy to me was the assertion one of the parents made that cyber-bullying is even more dangerous and harmful than actual face-to-face confrontation.

I'm sorry, can you not turn off your goddamn computer? Can you not stop going on Facebook and MySpace? I agree that repeatedly being called names sucks balls big time, but it's not as bad - IMO - as getting punched in the head or slammed head-first into a steel door, trust me.

And I have no understanding of how life can ever be so bad that you want to kill yourself. I'm sorry, I just don't, especially not when you're 12,13,14-years-old.

If your kid is that depressed, alienated and / or removed from normal social life, get them as much help as humanly possible, starting with you as parents doing everything you possibly can. The school councilor or a shrink you're paying X dollars an hour isn't going to care for your kid as much as you are, at least I hope not.

I know I've probably stoked the fire with a few people on this one and maybe pissed a few more people off with my views, but to me, that's what life is all about. Discussion, expanding viewpoints and seeing things from another perspective.

I'd love to hear what you think, as always...

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Dishonor Roll: Popular Music


Let me make this clear: there are outstanding bands and musicians out there who I love and could listen to for hours on end.

You know this, of course, seeing as I don't have much trouble coming up with a Soundtrack song every Friday.

That being said, the current state of Pop Music is absolutely atrocious and yes, that includes my man Kanye!

Let's start with Mr. West, shall we?

One of the best MCs to come along in some time, Kanye has given up delivering descriptive lyrics and telling stories over tight beats to hook up an auto-tuner and record 808's and Heartbreak, an album of "him" singing. I say "him" because, well, it's not actually him. It's the auto-tuned version of him and it's craptacular.

Which transitions beautifully into Ms. Britney Spears, making her third appearance on the Dishonor Roll. Not one to shy away from letting a computer "enhance" her vocal abilities, Brit-Brit gets lumped into this angry rant against current songs in heavy rotation for the lovely little ditty "If You Seek Amy" and it's touching lyrics.

All of the boys and all of the girls are dying to if you seek Amy.

For those who are missing what the ever-so-crafty former Mrs. Federline is saying, here's that last part phonetically: F-U-C-K me.

Classy.

Then there is Akon.

I've actually seen Akon in concert; he performed at this tight show I went to in England for the Prince's Trust. He happened to be on the bill, while I was there for Common, De La Soul, The Streets and Jazzy Jeff & Fresh Prince.

Anyway, even in those early days, everything Akon put out sounded the same. "Living in the Ghetto" sounded a lot like "Locked Up" and the pattern has continued throughout his discography. There is absolutely nothing unique about his current single "Beautiful" to distinguish it from any other Akon song, so what gives?

Of course, I've already covered my current least favorite artist Lady Gaga, so I won't go into that any further, other than to say that I hope her and her poker face fall off the face of the Earth sometime soon.

Find the good music people... it's out there. You might have to look harder, but it's out there and so much more enjoyable!

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Monday, May 4, 2009

All Me To Reintroduce Myself...

If it can work for Jay-Z, it can work for me!

After having spent the last number of months working on other people's projects and not putting myself out there as much as I could, today marks the rebirth of E. Spencer Kyte, shameless self-promoter.

Since there is no one else who is going to promote my work with more insight, passion and drive than I can myself, why wouldn't I get down to business?

I'm Twitter'ing, a new and improved Facebook Fan Page is in the works and you'll be seeing my stuff pop up anywhere and everywhere I can get it, especially the stuff from over at Keyboard Kimura.

C'mon - you had to know I wasn't going to get through a post about self-promotion without mentioning the new site...

Welcome to the re-launch of E. Spencer Kyte.

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Introducing Keyboard Kimura

After rolling the idea around in my head for some time, I've decided to put my Mixed Martial Arts money where my mouth is.

Keyboard Kimura is my newly launched MMA blog where all the editorials and opinions that have been appearing routinely on The Love of Sports over the last number of months can now be found.

Much like iBlog, K2 will be a daily outlet for all my thoughts on the world of MMA, whether it's previews of upcoming fight cards, profiles of emerging fighters or just an angry rant about Chuck Liddell needing to hang up the 5 ounce gloves once and for all.

Have no fear, iBlog will not suffer.

You just have another site that you need to check out each day, MMA fan or not.

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Sunday, May 3, 2009

10 Things I Recently Learned

It's been a few weeks since Albert made an appearance, so the time frame of knowledge expands to encompass those missing weeks. Besides, I learned a lot while I was away and sharing it with you is important to me.

1. I Am Incredibly Lucky
I know many people say this, but I truly do have the best wife in the world. Over our nearly three years together, she's put up with a lot of headaches, uncertainty, frustration and questions and through it all, she's stood by me. There have definitely been good times too, but she never wavers in her support of me and what I want to do with my life and that reminds me every day how lucky I am to have her. I love you Baby!

2. Life Isn't That Bad... Ever
While being in the Dominican was restful and full of fun, it was also an educational experience for me. Seeing the same cast of characters working every day with a smile on their faces, knowing they were making what we consider pocket change really opened my eyes. The frustrations I experience on a daily basis are nothing compared to what it could be like; a busy day at the restaurant puts more money in my pocket in a day than these guys make in a week, so what am I complaining about? Perspective is a very cool thing.

3. Emily Grace is Awesome!
My niece is without a doubt the cutest child on the face of the Earth. Devilish grin, big brown eyes and just enough vocabulary for everything to be insanely cute and make your heart melt. The nightly "Hi Shermie. Good night. See you soon," followed by a kiss was too cute, not to mention the refrain of, "Bucky, horses!" that accompanied our ride to the airport last Saturday. She is going to be a heartbreaker one day.

4. Positive Spins
Less hours at the restaurant and the decline of The Love of Sports would normally have made me really, really angry and frustrated. While I'm still kind of crusty about the restaurant, the added time it will be providing me is a good thing. I get to do the things that truly make me happy; cooking dinners for Sarah, hanging out with Luke and working on my personal projects, both written and around the house. Life is too short to be surly all the time.

5. Didn't Miss Much
Before we left, sports was a very, very integral part of my daily routine. I mean, I wrote about the damn stuff countless times a day and spent hours on ESPN and various other sites. After being away from it for the last couple weeks, I'm kind of wondering what the big deal was to begin with? I love what I do, but not much really changed in two weeks. The stories are pretty much the same today as when I left. Clearly, I can spend less time with the sports page and more time with the pug dog than I was before hand. And Sarah too...

6. I Know My MMA
One thing I did miss was UFC 97 and I wish I hadn't, simply because it proved I know my shit when it comes to Mixed Martial Arts. Chuck Liddell got knocked the fuck out, proving a point I made a couple weeks back that his time has come and gone. Furthermore, Anderson Silva was wholly unimpressive yet again, earning a decision win over Thales Leites that Dana White called "disappointing" or something like that. Wonder if anyone else is thinking my claiming GSP as the best fighter on the planet makes a bit more sense now?

7. Exploring the Options
Even though I'm old hat at moving, I truly hate doing it. Packing sucks, lugging furniture makes me sore and I just dislike upheaval. That being said, we're on the lookout for better options once again. Not that we don't like it here - we love our place and are finally just getting everything situated and laid out the way we like it - but the economic realities and opportunities are more important than a great view, so we're keeping our eyes on the rental properties in Cranbrook. Half the rent for the same kind of space and closer to work for Sarah just makes too much sense... and cents.

8. Congratulations Jamie and Brianne!
Not only did my cousin and hi super-fantastic woman get hitched, but they also welcomed Calvin James into the world just before we left for our trip. Congratulations you two (now three) - we couldn't be more happy for you!

9. See You in November
Since the above mentioned family members couldn't make it to our festivities for obvious reasons, we're planning a trip to them in early November. Albuquerque here we come! Did I mention that I might also be able to work an MMA interview at one of the best fighting teams in the world into the equation if we get down there?

10. Rapid Reader, As Long As I Like It
I tore through Chris Jericho's autobiography (pretty enjoyable if you like wrestling) and three Alex Cross series books while we were on vacation, as mentioned yesterday. That's a combined 2000+ pages which, considering there was a ton of other stuff to do too, is pretty impressive. It also makes it pretty funny that I couldn't get through more than 50 pages of the book everyone from work told me was awesome and a must-read. Tyler (my boss) lent me Wilbur Smith's River God and within 50 pages it was decided that I didn't have any interest in fighting through it. Fantasy tales set in ancient Egypt just aren't my thing. Suplexes and serial killers sounds better to me.

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Saturday, May 2, 2009

Getting Down to Business


With the revelations about work coming earlier in the week, there is an abundance of time at my mercy, with which I could do any number of things.

Copious amounts of televisions and / or XBox 360 would certainly be entertaining, but could result in a prolonged stay on the couch during non-television hours, if you know what I mean.

There are countless books that I would like to read and a library full of them at my disposal, but seeing as I knocked off four during the vacation (three from James Patterson's Alex Cross series and Chris Jericho's autobiography), I think a break from the books isn't too bad.

Which leaves writing.

Yes, I am going to eschew hours of Food TV and MLB 2K Sports Front Office Manager to spend serious time crafting my masterpiece. In fact, I started while we were away, seeing as things have now come full circle and I am a married man.

We've got most of the housework that needed to be done checked off the list and shifts at the restaurant are spread out neatly to allow for numerous hours of typing madness in the coming weeks.

First up - proposal letters.

Shouldn't take long and could result in someone being willing to pay me to write this thing, which is always better than investing all my time and hard work for the low, low price of SFA.

As always, I'll keep you posted.

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