Monday, August 31, 2009

DJ AM (March 30, 1973 – August 28, 2009)

Amidst all the attention and effort put into covering UFC 102 over the last week, I didn't get the news that DJ AM had suddenly passed away on Friday until today.

Regardless of what turns out to be the cause (speculation is an accidental overdose), the world has lost an incredible talent, a guy who could keep clubs hopping or man the tables for a Jay-Z show and did it all with a sly smirk on his face.

Rest in Peace Adam... you'll be missed.

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Sunday, August 30, 2009

Things I Learned This Week

1. I Must Learn Patience
No, this isn't a new revelation, as the topic of my lack of patience has made an appearance or two here over the years.

That being said, I spent the week talking to some people I greatly respect within the MMA industry and everyone said to be patient; take the small opportunities, make the most of them and keep putting out good work.

Eventually, good things will happen. So for now, we remain patient.

2. Pay Would Be Nice, But The Exposure is Great Too
Three weeks, four pieces posted to the MMA page of Sports Illustrated.

As much as I would love for someone to randomly drop into my life and offer me a fat salary for covering the sport, it's hard to argue with an opportunity to have thousands of readers checking out my material.

While it doesn't pad the wallet, it sure looks great on the resume.

3. Never Going to be Those Guys
Friday night's drunken morons in the bar solidified that while I certainly enjoyed my booze-fueled days of before, I have absolutely no interest in repeatedly revisiting them.

What makes it better is that these tools are mangled and telling tall tales in a Kelsey's... full of other dudes. Being a drunken moron is one thing, being a drunken moron at a massive sausage fest is even better, where better means funnier to the sober bartender.

Don't get me wrong: I still enjoy a few drinks (as I will this evening) but three day benders in a quiet little town like Kimberley aren't my idea of a good time.

4. The Wife is into MMA
While she didn't have much choice in the beginning, what with me prattling on about it all the time, now she's admittedly getting into it on her own... and that is awesome.

Watching the fights last night, she actually delivered a "Wow, that guy really has no wrestling or jiu jitsu whatsoever, huh?" when Chris Leben was getting dominated on the ground.

That's my girl!

5. Moving Update
Sarah has an interview on Friday and there are a couple different opportunities at the hospital she's been looking at, so that eliminates some of the worry.

Addditionally, we've now got some contacts out there who have assured us that work for me would be easy enough to find, as would an apartment, seeing as we're not students any more. Apparently, they really like hearing the words, "Oh, I'm a nurse."

Jackpot! See you in November Victoria...

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Saturday, August 29, 2009

Glad I'm Married: Reasons #166 and 167

I know I didn't tell you the first 165; I figured you didn't really want to hear all kinds of gushing about my wonderful wife, the beautiful life I envision us building together and all the Hallmark sentiment that makes people grow tired of newly married couples in a heartbeat.

You're welcome.

What I will do is get started with Reason #166: Middle Aged Strip Club Guy.

Don't get me wrong - I spent my fair share of time watching girls get naked on stage. In fact, I probably spent my fair share, your fair share and most of your extended family's fair share. But I haven't set foot in a strip joint since my buddy Fisher's Bachelor Party more than four years ago.


Because I can see a naked girl almost any time I want at home... on the Internet. Just kidding.

The textbook definition of this guy was in the bar last night, so while I thank him for the inspiration now, I'm sure it doesn't make up for me laughing at him when he asked me if there was a strip joint in Cranbrook.

See, I laughed because (a) he'd already told a story about strip clubs and strippers and "touching all kinds of fake boobs" way too loud, to which his table of teammates offered up a round of High Fives and (b) if you've ever seen Cranbrook, you know that even if there is a strip joint there, you don't want to go.

I mean really, what could possibly be sexy about a 23-year-old who looks 45 with a handful of shitty tattoos and 12 teeth that has clearly been on the wrong side of one too many benders and beatdowns?

Harsh? Sure, but I'm not the one who was petitioning the bartender for directions. What made it even better was that post-laughter, when I told the table that it "won't be pretty," the response I got was, "We're not looking for pretty; we're looking for entertainment."

You want entertainment? Rent a fucking movie. Go find some live music somewhere. Watch UFC 102 tonight.

A group of seven middle aged douchebags rolling into the strip joint isn't entertainment, it's sad... and Reason #166 of Why I'm Glad I'm Married.

So what is Reason #167 you ask?

Those guys, twenty years later, getting mouthy and loaded in the bar on a golfing vacation.

Being a drunk asshole when you're 35 or so is bad, but being a drunk asshole when you're 55 and up is just ridiculous.

By then you should have some drunken etiquette and know better than to reach over the bar and pour your own mix, especially when the bartender (read: me) is standing right there.

And mooching smokes off me just makes you a total loser... being a "social smoker" is something you do when you're between the ages of 16 and 25. After that, buy your own smokes or give it up, don't get all lippy about "having some loose ones laying around" when I point you to the smoke machine.


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Friday, August 28, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Remember the Name
Artist: Fort Minor
Album: The Rising Tied (2005)

Welcome to my new theme song.

While Mike Shinoda & Co. might be talking about breaking into the music business, the formula put forth in the chorus is applicable across all arts and passions, including my struggle to get from blogging to the big time.

The breakdown is eerily apt:

10% Luck
20% Skill
15% Concentrated Power of Will
5% Pleasure
50% Pain
100% Reason to Remember the Name

Leading off with luck makes sense, as the greatest talent in the world could never be found without that one lucky break, talent be damned.

You have to have skill, but it makes up a lot less of the equation than you think, because once you get to a certain level, everyone has skill.

That next 15% is what gets me out of bed in the morning, even though I'm still tired. It's what has me sitting at the computer all day, despite the fact that another long night on the bar is quickly approaching. It's why even when I feel like doing nothing more than laying on the couch and relaxing, I hammer through another article.

Yes, I love what I do, but it's still work. The sheer enjoyment goes away quickly, after the honeymoon phase of any new project passes. Then it's work and something I have to do, regardless of how much I like what I'm writing about.

You think the pain has too great a percentage?

Open countless emails telling you, "Thanks, but no thanks."

Have interviews fall through and paychecks for published work never materialize.

Pour hours on end into a project, only to see the money disappear and the opportunity follow suit shortly thereafter.

Get in a fight with your loved ones because you're spending too much time with what you love instead of who you love.

Or enjoy the fact that some of them barely ever check out your work.

The pain is legit, and so is this song.

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Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Rundown: Welcome to Frustration

For no real discernible reason, I've been kind of on edge and grumpy the last little while.

It seems like all kinds of little thing evoke a stronger reaction than normal and I more and more things bug me than ever did before.

Why? I don't know. Just a cycle I'm in I suppose.

As such, I thought I'd let you know the things that fire me up the most these days, you know, so you'll known how to push my buttons.

Top Five Frustrations

5. Mispronouncing the Word Frustration
Yes, I'm a bit of a stickler for this stuff because I spend a great deal of my days dealing with words and language, but c'mon people.

How you get "fustration" is about as ridiculous as saying "libary" or "axing" me a question. There are more than enough challenging words in the world for everyone to mispronounce (myself very much included) that we don't need to butcher some basics.

4. Complainers
This one is a bit dicey, because I've been known to do my own fair share of whining. I'm working on it though, one day at a time like rehab.

Too bad more people couldn't do the same.

One of the things that I've come to learn in the last few years of bouncing around the country, rocking bad jobs and making no money is that if you're unhappy with your situation, you have two options: change it or shut up.

If you don't want to work to improve your lot in life, I don't want to hear about how crappy your career, marriage, kids or anything else are.

3. Bugs
This one is completely petty and there is nexct to nothing I can do to change it, but they still make me mental.

We've been trying to get out and about more lately, enjoying Sarah's slack-ass August along with the sunshine and surroundings, but everywhere we go, bugs follow. And not just a couple flies here and there.

I'm a walking wasp magnet; the little fuckers won't leave me alone. Not when we were camping and not when we hit up the lake yesterday with the mongrel. Totally open to suggestions if anyone has some.

2. The North American Obsession with Fake Stars and Dead Stars
Why in the world is the media still talking about Michael goddamn Jackson? Dude has been dead for like six weeks now... let him be.

Jon and Kate's every move does not need to be reported on CNN, nor do the daily lives of Octomom, murderous Reality TV "stars" and countless pseudo-celebrities who get more airplay than people who actually make a difference in the world.

Sometimes I think it would be nice to live in the Middle of Nowhere, New Zealand or someplace like that, where no one gives two shits about any of this ridiculousness... provided they have the Internet.

1. Elitists
Yes, this is pretty general, but I can sum it up for you like this:

Despite what you think, you're not really better than everyone because you have money / went to a certain school / are of a certain race / have more experience at something arbitrary and if you think you are, people like me will take pleasure in reminding you that it is not the case.

This one transferred over to mixed martial arts today on Keyboard Kimura, as some fans think they're better, more real fans than others. How is that even possible?

Consider yourself appropriately warned.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Highly Recommended: Evan Shoman Art

I understand that not everyone has the same compulsion with Mixed Martial Arts that I do.

Regardless of your interest in the sport, recognition of talent is something universal and that's what this is about.

Pictured above is one of the pieces I recently ordered and received from Evan Shoman, an incredibly gifted artist who happens to share my predilection for pugilism of the MMA variety.

I was first introduced to Shoman through Fight! Magazine and have been a fan ever since, frequently checking the website to see the latest additions to his collection, which is extends outside the cage as well.

While the prints I've purchased to decorate my next office with are certainly sketches of MMA legends (the other piece is of "Lil' Evil" Jens Pulver), some of the non-MMA work ranks as the best Shoman has to offer.

The LeBron James piece is my absolute favorite, and judging by the smile on King James' face, he's a big fan of the piece too. But his bread and butter is MMA and with good reason.

In addition to being a gifted artist, Shoman is the host of TapouT Radio and earns extra points in my books for being a self-described "Full time internet whore," something I can very much relate to.

MMA fan or not, Evan Shoman's work is Highly Recommended.

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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Things I Learned This Week

1. The Breakthrough is Coming
Call me crazy, but having two of my original articles appear on Sports Illustrated's MMA & Boxing page in a seven day span is a positive step.

In under four months, Keyboard Kimura and my work as an MMA writer have grown exponentially, thanks in large part to my willingness to shamelessly self-promote wherever I can, but also because the level of work continues to climb.

After what feels like an eternity of spinning my tires and not being overly excited about what I was writing, things are finally starting to take shape and I've found my niche. All that's missing is a regular paycheck.

2. Hello, My Name is Sally
What the hell has happened to me? I used to be able to go out and drink myself stupid, get a couple hours of comatose-like sleep and be ready to take on the world.

Now, a long night of work leaves me laying on the couch in a heap for the better part of the day. When did I become such a Sally?

Granted, I did tend bar at a wedding for 12 hours last night,working into the wee hours of the morning, and getting to sleep at 4:00, but how in the name of all things right with the world can I remain totally sober and still feel like a complete and utter sack of hammers?

Even I want to make fun of me.

3. Four Months? Already?
Happy Anniversary Mrs. Kyte!

How it's already been 1/3 of a year is beyond me, but believe me, I'm not complaining. Well, not right now. I'm sure I will later, probably about something inconsequential.

4. Continuing to Excel at the Completely Meaningless
Last week I told you about the outstanding seasons my Fantasy Baseball teams are putting together, building momentum as the playoffs approach.

Since September is rolling around, that means one things: Football. As such, a couple Fantasy Football drafts have already been completed and while one didn't go as well as I would have liked, I will say right now, before a single meaningful snap has taken place that one of my teams - Team Canada (original, I know...) - will absolutely dominate this season.

And to the victor goes... absolutely nothing. Why must I be good at totally useless things?

5. The Word Star Gets Thrown Around Awful Liberally These Days
There is no more perfect example than this Ryan Jenkins guy who has apparently fled here to Canada after murdering his girlfriend.

They keep referring to him as a Reality TV Star. Funny, I've never heard to this murderous douchebag. Turns out he's on some VH-1 Bachelorette rip-off, which makes him the equivalent of one of the love interests of Tila Tequila and we all know what kind of superstars we're dealing with there.

If he's a star, what do people who are famous and talented now get qualified as? Mega-stars? Superstars?

6. I Need to Write for TV
Why? Apparently there is an insane lack of talent, forcing networks to move forward with such wonderful fall additions as:

  • CSI Los Angeles starring Chris O'Donnell and LL Cool J.
  • Brothers starring former NFL'er Michael Strahan as a retired player (big stretch) who returns home and hangs out with his wheelchair-bound brother.
  • I can only assume there will be more seasons of Survivor, The Amazing Race, various "this single person wants to find a partner" crap and 47 more cooking challenge shows as well.
By the way, when did it become okay for the guy in the wheelchair to be the center of all the jokes?

Did I miss a memo or something?

He's a paraplegic, so smashing him in the legs with a door is funny because he can't feel it... really?

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Friday, August 21, 2009

Soundtrack of My Life

Song: Misery Business
Artist: Paramore
Album: Riot! (2007)

No, I'm not suddenly shifting gears and becoming a massive Christian rock fan.

I don't even overly like Paramore and their brand of pop-punk with a funky-haired chick on the mic. And no, I didn't become a fan because their song "Decode" was the lead single from *sigh* Twilight...

I'm boycotting Twilight...

Nope, this is a one and done for me with Paramore and it's all Guitar Hero World Tour's fault. That's where I got hooked on this track, just like I have with "Rooftops" by Lostprophets and "Re-eductation" by Rise Against.

That being said, this song is damn catchy and easy to like. I mean really, who doesn't like a song with a good sing-along portion?

As always, I challenge you to listen to the song (see below) and try not to have it stuck in your head all day without it being dangerously annoying... I dare you.

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Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just Wanna Make Sure I Got This Straight

Donte Stallworth kills a man while driving under the influence and gets 24 days in jail.

Plaxico Burress shoots himself in the leg and gets two years behind bars.

How's that right?

By no means am I trying to defend Burress here; the guy is a first-rate moron for bringing a loaded handgun into a club and should be thankful that no one else got hurt, but still.

Run a man over while drunk, ending his life: 24 days in jail.

Shoot yourself in the leg: 2 years.

And somehow Michael Vick spends nearly two years in jail for killing dogs and people want him to never be allowed to pursue a living again...

Totally ridiculous, all of it.

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Wednesday, August 19, 2009

The Rundown: You Call Yourself a Man?

"A man's got to do what a man's got to do."

Now, this certainly was intended to serve as an inspiration for me to come up with a list of five things all guys have to do to officially be considered one of the guys in my books, but hey, it's my blog and I can do whatever the hell I want with random movie quotes.

Before anyone gets all uppity about me crafting a list of things guys must do to be guys and wonders who put me in charge, I haven't even completed all the things on my own list, so it's not like I'm trying to align myself as some kind of Alpha Male, greater than the rest of you.

I'm clearly a Beta Male, but I'm working at changing my Greek letter and you should too.

Five Absolute Male Musts

5. Read I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell
The grinning weasel opening this piece is Tucker Max, blogger and writer, whose collection of stories pulled from his website forms the book that is now a movie and an absolute must for all men.

You think you've been an asshole to chicks? You think you've done some stupid shit in your day? You think you're drinking buddies have the best stories around? Think again.

Tucker Max and his stable of sobriety-challenged sidekicks are the biggest dicks, doing the dumbest shit, passing along the most startling stories known to man and you have to read them.

4. Have At Least One Horrible Strip Club Story
See, this one automatically eliminates all the guys out there who "hate" the strip club and find them disgusting. Not that they aren't, but we've all had a least one retarded night inside the dimly lit den of deviousness.

Whether it's spending too much money because you spent too much time with "Candy" or "Porsche" in the VIP or choking on a two dollar coin like my friend Emilio did on his 19th birthday, you have to have a horrible strip club story.

It's a prerequisite.

3. Vegas Baby, Vegas

Anyone who calls it cliche is probably in the same boat as me and never been to Vegas. Like I said, I know I'm no Alpha Male, but I'm working on it.

You don't have to be a big-time gambler or looking to craft a personal version of The Hangover; but c'mon... it's Vegas. You have to go at least once.

The UFC is going to be my excuse in the not-too-distant future, as a quick three day dash to cover an event will (a) cross this one off my list and (b) offer few opportunities to loss copious amounts of cash at the tables, since I'll be working.

Email me if you're interested. We'll get something put together.

2. The Godfather
You can skip the third installment if you like, but you have to have watched the first two in their entirety at least once in the last five years.

With the glut of absolutely horrible movies that have come into this world and the hundreds of chick flicks you've undoubtedly submitted yourself to over the years, watching brilliance on your television at least once every five years is a must.

And don't tell me that Scarface is better either. Scarface is good, The Godfather (Parts I and II) are classic.

1. Break a Bone
I don't trust any man who has never broken a bone. Maybe that is ridiculous, but hey, that's me.

At my age, I don't know how you could go through 30 years of this adventure we call life without breaking even one tiny little bone. I'm not even talking about major damage like broken legs or arms or anything; break your pinkie catching football wrong and we're good.

I might even allow a cracked rib to pass, since I know firsthand how much that shit hurts. Thanks again for letting me enjoy that experience, Pistol. You're the best brother a guy could have.

Outside of the Vegas thing, I'm set. Just don't expect me to share the horrible Strip Club stories with you here... the wife reads this thing people and some things are better left unsaid.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Camping Revelations

That is absolutely not a shot from our recent camping excursion, but I thought I would get you all in the mood for sharing stories around the fire with a quality picture before breaking down the trip that was.

Now that everyone is all warm and toasty, settled in nice and close, here's a recap of our first family foray into the wilderness.

We Need to Plan Better
You always forget things when you're going camping. It's inevitable. Forgetting as many things as we did is a little embarrassing.

Toothpaste would have been nice, but as unhygienic as it sounds, you can go 24 hours without brushing your teeth and survive. Additionally, pillows make sleeping far more pleasurable, but my balled up hoodies worked out just fine.

The cap for the air mattress was kind of essential, seeing as the air can't remain in the mattress sans cap. Bringing our flashlights would have helped too.

Thankfully, Crappy Tire was just 10 minutes away and $100 later, we were far more equipped.

Luke Is Not An Outdoor Dog
He's also apparently not a dog who adjusts to change very well. To put it another way, this little mongrel is a spoiled brat and I love him for it.

The dude likes to nap, a lot, and that just didn't happen on this trip. Every noise is amplified when you don't have the usual din of the outside world playing as a backing track, so homeboy went bananas at just about everything.

Couple that with a lack of an afternoon spent out cold on the couch, despite Sarah and I relaxing with a couple books in the tent for a good two hours and we had one sleepy dog upon our return.

Just Because You Have a Guitar, Doesn't Mean You're a Singer-Songwriter
The family in the space just down the road from us arrived as we were sitting around our fire eating dinner, and I immediately noticed a guitar case. Instantly, I got nervous.

My worries were realized at around 10:00 pm when Sarah and I rolled into the tent to a pitchy chorus of some homemade song by what I imagine was a 14-year-old girl whose parents tell her she can be the next Avril Lavigne.

Thankfully, the pain stopped shortly thereafter and no, it's not because I went down there, broke her guitar and threw it in the fire.

That was only going to happen if she kept playing after "Quiet Hours" started.

E. Spencer Kyte - Firemaker
For a guy who spent exactly zero days of his childhood camping and being shown how to do anything camp-related, I can make me a mean fire.

I had us a flaming pile of wood in no time flat, complete with quality embers for cooking dogs and making smores right out of the gate. Self-praise aside, my prodigious firemaking talent wasn't the highlight of the campfire.

Watching my moron of a dog jump and try to catch ashes floating off the wood is damn-near priceless. He also does it with smoke from mosquito coils... nothing like free entertainment!

Family Hobby #1 - Check!
Sarah loves camping and has been doing it her entire life. She literally camped all around Europe with her brother Tim at the outset of that fateful summer when we met.

And considering how relaxed I have felt for the last 36 hours or so, and how much I enjoy burning things, I would have to say that camping certainly agrees with me. Combine those two elements with the vast amounts of money we've spent on camping gear leading into this trip, and you have the makings of something that will certainly become a family staple moving forward.

Maybe we'll even have to retrace Tim and Sarah's trek around Europe before a crop of kidlings come along?

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Sunday, August 16, 2009

Things I Learned This Week

1. Cris Cyborg Might Be An Actual Cyborg

And that is a very scary prospect for any female looking to make a name for herself in the Strikeforce 145 lbs. division, because the champ is just 24 and an assassin inside the cage.

I thought Gina Carano would be able to stick and move and use technique to counter Cyborg's power. I learned that there is no real counter to Cyborg's power, other than getting smashed in the face so much that the ref mercifully calls an end to things.

And don't feel bad for Carano either; I'm sure there are hundreds of guys will to help nurse her back to health.

2. The Flu Sucks Balls!

I had two days off this week and spent 75% of that time on the couch alternating between being freezing cold and sweating my ass off. How one man can sweat through six shirts in 24 hours is beyond me.

Though I've been feeling better the last couple days, I'm clearly not back to full strength yet either; I won't tell you how I know this other than to inform you I'm still doing a great amount of reading each day on a porcelain reading chair...
3. All This Shameless Self-Promotion is Paying Off

Friday and Saturday, your favorite writer was featured on the MMA page of Sports Illustrated thanks to a well-written little preview from Bleacher Report. I know I've said it before, but that site has been a godsend.

If that isn't cool enough, an emerging organization called the MMA Fight Council contacted me to become a part of their Writer's Guild. It's a collection of some of the best talents in the MMA field... and me.

Now if I could just find some way to make a little money out of all this.

4. The Next Move is Coming Together

Finally some good news for my wife!

By the sounds of things, a move to Victoria and an opportunity at a much more enjoyable position at a much more structured and supported hospital is not much more than a formality.

While it means we have to once again box up all of our worldly possessions, that is a worthy hassle for a chance for Sarah to have the enjoyment of a job the same way I do with all my writing endeavours.

Plus, there is actual shopping and restaurants in Victoria... no more 90 minute drives for sushi!

5. I'm Good At Things That Don't Make Me Money

In addition to being an outstanding volunteer writer, I'm also quite adept at playing Fantasy sports.

All four of my baseball teams reside at or near the top of their respective divisions, with the two that are outside of first place being the hottest teams around and poised to make a move down the stretch.

And now it's time to get started on Fantasy Football, with Draft #1 taking place on Tuesday night.

I really need to find some hobbies that pay better.

6. If You're A Guy and You Don't Love I Love You, Man You Have to Surrender Your Testicles

It's just so awesome. I would argue there isn't a guy around who can't watch that movie and name two friends, one for each role, and remember numerous instances from the movie that happened in their own life.

And it does it without being horribly cheesy and cliche like most movies. Additionally, once we buy a house and actually settle down somewhere, I'm building a man cave like Jason Segel's.

No word yet on whether or not it will have a Masturbation Station.

You're welcome for that...

I'll end there...

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Saturday, August 15, 2009

TSN Comes Through Again

And by comes through again, I mean "gives all the more validity to the letter I sent them last week being critical of their lack of coverage of Mixed Martial Arts, furthering my hopes of being hired to cover the sport for Canada's Sports Leader."

I understand not being a haven for Breaking News in the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

I can deal with the general lack of coverage the sport receives over Canadian staples like curling and the CFL.

What I can't comprehend and fail to understand is how an historic event like tonight's Strikeforce main event between Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg does not receive a single shred of mention on the entire site?

I'm not talking about no coverage on the main page; no, this is click through to the MMA section and find the square root of SFA about what is easily the biggest fight in the history of Women's MMA and one of the biggest moments the fastest growing sport in the world has produced in some time.

What's earning time instead?

Thales Leites and company getting dropped by the UFC is the feature story, even though that broke on Thursday and today is Saturday, while the top three headlines are Miguel Torres' loss to Brian Bowles, UFC 101 results and Vitor Belfort being Rich Franklin's opponent at UFC 103.

Two of the three mentions of Strikeforce on the entire page are still about Fedor, including the earth-shattering revelation that the Russian superstar signed with the company... some fourteen days ago now.

Let's see if we can't get something done about this, as fans of Mixed Martial Arts, as fans and supporters of TSN and as loyal followers of yours truly that want to see me succeed, if only so I stop whining like a kid with skinned knees for once in my life.

Email TSN expressing your frustration and let them know there is a marginally talented Canadian MMA writer willing to help them out that they should contact. His name is E. Spencer Kyte.

You can hit up the Audience Relations department at the following address:

Chances are it won't amount to anything - much like my letter / resume / portfolio trio that they've already received - but there is no harm in trying, right?

Thanks in advance for your support faithful followers.

If this doesn't work, I'm pledging my undying allegiance to Showdown Joe and Rogers Sportsnet!

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Friday, August 14, 2009

Highly Recommended: Texts From Last Night

I've been meaning to pass this guilty pleasure along to you for some time, but somehow I always seem to forget about it or get focused on something else.

Luckily for you, not me, I've been confined to the couch for the last couple days with an fantastic bout of the flu, and Sarah's laptop as my main communication device. Yes, I've been too sick to even sit at my own computer and write... you know I'm sick when...

Anyway, opened the wife's laptop the other morning and she had been back visiting this insanely entertaining site. The premise is basic and one almost all of us have experience with in one way or another:

You know all the randomness you send people when you're drunk or have done something retarded?

Well, they collect all the text versions of your stupidity and put them on display for everyone to read and it's easily the funniest site I've enjoyed in a long, long time.

Nothing makes you feel better both in general and about yourself as reading some of the utterly moronic and ridiculous things you can find on this site.

You must check it out.

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Monday, August 10, 2009

I Understand and That's All That Matters

One of the things I've learned to deal with in pursuit of my writing career is a great dearth of understanding amongst friends and family.

Very few people can comprehend why I would put so much time and effort into what I do when the rewards appear to be so very little.

There was a time when I was part of that group about once or twice a month, wondering why I spend hours on end behind this keyboard, coming up with marginally-entertaining pieces and posting them for your consumption when most of the returns are anonymous hecklers telling me to quit.

But in the last few months, everything has become clearer to me; the path I'm on now has streetlights and I can see where I'm going. Just because others don't doesn't mean it isn't a valid journey.

Yesterday alone, over 1,500 people read my work at Keyboard Kimura, a far cry from the days of 42 people checking in here being the high water mark.

A large collection of respected and influential people in the Mixed Martial Arts business know my name and like my work, and nothing bad can come from that.

Just three months into writing about MMA - something I should have been doing a long, long time ago - my name is alongside some of the best in the business as a member of the MMA Fight Council Writer's Guild ... and not because I begged them to include me.

I've gotten to interview some great fighters, refine my skills on the keys and make a whole slew of friends and connections that can only serve me well moving forward.

A paying job it is not, but not everything in this world is about money. Sometimes it's about putting in your time because you know the money is out there and continued improvement and success will eventually bring it your way.

Have I chosen to pursue a career that is exceptionally difficult and has left many feeling unfulfilled? Absolutely, especially now with newspapers going the way of dinosaurs and the publishing industry cutting back in these harsh economic times.

But I would rather spend countless hours a week chasing my dream and winning little victories than giving up because I make less than $20 a month from writing and very few understand why I keep at it.

Even if nothing more comes of this, I'm happy and love what I do.

How many of the doubters who don't understand can honestly say that?

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Thursday, August 6, 2009

John Hughes (February 18, 1950 – August 6, 2009)

While not as revered as the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese or Steven Spielberg, John Hughes was a brilliant director with an collection of iconic films on his resume.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off.
The Breakfast Club.
Planes, Trains and Automobiles.
Home Alone.

The list is far more expansive than that, including the original introduction to The Griswold family, multiple Molly Ringwald vehicles and the criminally underrated Uncle Buck.

More recently, he was cursed out on celluloid by Jay and Silent Bob (well, really just Jay) in Kevin Smith's Dogma, as the stoner dynamic duo landed in the abortion clinic parking lot after a failed attempt to locate Hughes' fictional setting of Shermer, Illinois.

Long before I started loving the style and approach of certain directors, I loved John Hughes flicks, complete with their killer soundtracks and entertaining teen entanglements.

The Breakfast Club was a home sick from school staple.

Hughes passed away from a heart attack earlier today at the age of 59.

Hopefully, somebody acknowledges his excellence and gets a John Hughes marathon on sometime soon.

I know I would call in sick from work for that...

Thanks for all the lasting memories.

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Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Rundown: Fighting Favorites

I realized on the way home from work tonight that for all the time I spend talking about MMA on this site, I've never dropped a Rundown centered around the one thing outside of Sarah that my life is actually centered around.

How do I go well-over 500 posts without dropping the most easy-to-put-together list I could ever imagine? Well, no one ever said I was the smartest...

So after way too long a delay, let's get into the five fighters I'd fight you to the death over in today's Rundown.

All-Time Top 5 Favorite Fighters

5. Forrest Griffin
One of the winners from Season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter, Griffin will be the first to tell you that he's not that great of a fighter. He doesn't have a dominant skill like many guys these days and isn't going to knock you into next week with one shot any time soon.

What he does have is tremendous heart and drive. He beats guys he shouldn't beat and does it with a goofy smile on his big-eared face.

As of late, Griffin has been shooting up my rankings with his numerous comedic appearances in video segments, like the one where he tried selling copies of his book at Borders and his earnest assessment of things on UFC Countdown.

4. George St-Pierre
Canadian, dominant in almost every facet of the game and a tremendous ambassador for the sport, GSP is the face of the UFC and deserving of the role.

Additionally, he earns high marks in my books for his attire; while others rock horrific Affliction t-shirts with skulls and daggers and glitter, GSP sports a suit and looks crisp all the time.

What? You thought I stopped be a fashion guy all of a sudden?

3. Miguel Torres
The WEC Bantamweight champion is supremely confident and with good reason: sitting at 37-1 heading into his fight this weekend, Torres hasn't been beaten in nearly six years.

Torres goes a thousand every second of every round until the fight is over and throws out some crazy moves from time to time. Not many guys try a rolling kick ever, not to mention in a title fight against an undefeated opponent.

Best of all, Torres has a super mullet. Seriously. Google him. It's awesome in a "it's so bad it's good" kind of way.

2. Royce Gracie
The man who got me hooked on the sport and taught me that in Brazilian "R" is pronounced like an "H" is an absolute legend and will always be the best ever to fight in the UFC in my books.

Watching him submit guys over and over during those early UFC tournaments was simply unbelievable. as was his epic battle with "The Gracie Killer" Kazushi Sakuraba back in 2000.

We marvel at guys who fight 15 or 25 minute wars; those two went 90 minutes... just incredible.

1. Quinton "Rampage" Jackson
Three words: Ricardo Arona Powerbomb.

It's going to be very hard for me to ever select something else as my all-time favorite knockout and it's going to be equally hard to knock Rampage off the top of my list.

Not only is he a dominant fighter, the dude is a video blog goldmine. Whether it's picking fights with Mo Lawal, playing bag-tag his omnipresent wingman Tiki Ghosn and Dana White or whatever, Rampage never ceases to make me laugh.

Then he goes in the ring, let's out his trademark howl and gets to "whippin' that ass" as he would say.

What's not to like?

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Monday, August 3, 2009

Come Back Tomorrow

It's 1:00 p.m. my time, meaning I've been sitting here writing and working on all things MMA for the last six-and-a-half hours.

Forgive me, but my fingers and mind needs a break.

iBlog is closed for the day, but will return in full force tomorrow.

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Sunday, August 2, 2009

Things I Learned This Week

1. 24 Hours Just Isn't Enough
Sleep surely takes up anywhere from four to nine of those hours. Usually it's somewhere in the middle, like six. 18 hours left to my own devices may sound like plenty of time, but really, it's not enough. Not when you drop in a shift at work - anywhere from two to seven hours - and time doing domestic duties like washing the dishes, preparing meals and spending quality time with The Missus.

A day like today is the perfect example. Sarah's at work, which means dinner is on me. Additionally, I have a ton of writing to do, but a shift opening the bar also beckons, a shift that quite frequently turns into getting home six hours after I left. Mix in walking the dog before and after work and I'm left with a two or three hour window at best to get my work done.

Bottom line: I need another two or three hours in the day ... or someone to pay me to write so I don't have to go to work any more.

2. I Have Limited Abilities at Predicting the Future
Unfortunately, they're limited to knowing when certain people won't show up for work, not anything useful like lottery numbers or what the next big money-making invention the world will stupidly scoop up in massive quantities like the ShamWow is going to be.

Thankfully, I'm smart enough to use this gift to my benefit, getting out in front of the call-ins I know will happen to ensure that my phone doesn't ring as the desperate scramble to cover the vacated shift goes down.

3. Fedor to the UFC Isn't Happening
Honestly, this one really bummed me out for a couple days.

You would think that with the demise of Affliction, the UFC would be a slam dunk for the dominant Russian heavyweight; the organization with the deepest pockets and best collection of fighters to challenge the man on an eight-year winning streak.

Not so much. Too many hurdles and too much animosity and mistrust between all the parties have led to Fedor remaining a pseudo-free agent and the UFC all but washing their hands of trying to lure him into the fold.

This is precisely why I refuse to recognize him as the best Pound-for-Pound fighter on the planet: he doesn't really want to fight the best guys out there.

4. How Do You Not See This?
Read an article in this month's GQ about a Wisconsin high school student who convinced the boys in his school he was a girl over Facebook and got them to send him intimate snapshots if you will, only to turn around and use said pictures to blackmail them into having various relations with him.

The article is outstanding, right up until the moral outrage of the parents and the shocking reaction they have to the lack of trauma this has caused "the victims." I use quotes not to diminish the situation, but how much of a victim are you if you're the one snapping the self-portraits and sending them off to random "girls" over Facebook?

Open your eyes parents: these aren't your childhood years! Your 13-year-old knows more about sex now than you did at 21 and there is at least a 50/50 chance that he or she has already gone around the bases a time or two.

And don't blame TV and movies either; it's as much your fault as it is the cast of Friends or various Hollywood hits.

5. I Might Be Getting Married Again
No, Sarah and I haven't gotten divorced and yes, we're technically married, but it turns out the process of getting that made legal here in Canada could end up being more hassle than just having a second quickie ceremony at City Hall might be.

After all, it's not like you can just start checking the "Married" box on applications and forms without some kind of legal record of said marriage being on file somewhere. Translating our Spanish documents and going through the various steps on that path could be costly and lengthy, whereas standing in front of a Justice of the Peace and exchanging "I Do's" a second time would be quick and painless, not to mention a funny story for down the road.

I'll keep you posted.

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Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dishonour Roll: TSN - The "Sports" Network

You can't rightfully call yourself "The Sports Network" anymore.


Just like MuchMusic is no longer "The Nation's Music Station" because of the no-longer-surprising lack of music videos that are actually shown, TSN is no longer just a home for sports.

Poker is not a sport.

The championship ping pong that was on yesterday morning is borderline.

The Scripps National Spelling Bee is certainly not sports.

Of course, what cements my frustrations even more is the networks decision to pay absolutely zero attention whatsoever to the sport I am most passionate about - Mixed Martial Arts.

While some will certainly think this attack on TSN is that of a biased and hurt MMA fan - and that is of course partially true - it is also a valid point of contention from a long-time TSN viewer who doesn't understand current programming decisions.

I mean really, how can you devote an hour of your midday broadcast to showing Ping Pong?

Has there been a massive groundswell of support and outcries from a frustrated public who have demanded more network of a miniature version of tennis that I don't know about?

And don't even get me started on the ridiculousness of all the poker that runs on The Sports Network, though for what it's worth, all the sports networks are equally at fault on this one.

How do I get to watch repeat after repeat of the 2008 World Series of Poker, but barely a shred of MMA programming can work it's way into the rotation?

TSN occasionally carries the WEC, with episodes of WrekCage popping up from time-to-time and broadcasts of major cards from Versus appearing shortly after their completion.

Personally, I'd love to see what kind of numbers those WEC shows do on TSN, because something tells me that they do a lot better than spelling bees, ping pong, 467 poker tournaments that all look the same and the other dead-weight programming TSN carries.

I won't even get started on the TSN website MMA page, what with it's finger far removed from the pulse and everything.

You would think that a major network like TSN would pay attention to the trends of sports and keep an eye on the competition.

While Sportsnet and The Score have ramped up their MMA coverage in accordance with the sport's progression into the mainstream and upper echelon of the industry, TSN has done next to nothing.

Hard to call yourself "Canada's Sports Leader" when you're behind the rest of the pack on the fastest growing sport in the world.

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