Saturday, February 27, 2010

Calling Out TSN... Again!

I know that the Olympics are option one-through-100 right now for coverage on

I get that. I wasn't looking for front page coverage.

But when I flip to the MMA page of "Canada's Sports Leader," I was hoping to see some coverage of Victoria native Sarah Kaufman.

Without a mention of the tiny terror on Monday or Tuesday, I took to passing along a link to one of the two feature-length pieces I penned on my fellow Islander earlier in the week, offering up more than 600 words for free simply to see a friend and worthy fighter get the coverage she had earned.

Still nothing, not even a "thanks but no thanks" email from TSN.

Friday, Sports Illustrated's MMA & Boxing page not only featured Ms. Kaufman as the main story by their head writer Josh Gross, but also ran a link below that to a Q&A with Kaufman courtesy of a certain someone who moonlights as a Featured Columnist at Bleacher Report.

Saturday, both pieces were still up there, logging time and getting Kaufman some press coverage in our neighbor to the south.

Here at home? Nothing.

Waking this morning, I thought for sure they'd have something on Kaufman up at TSN.

I mean, all she did last night was put on a dominant technical display against Takayo Hashi to claim the Strikeforce Women's Welterweight title and extend her record to 11-0.

Sports Illustrated covered the event, with Kaufman as the poster child for the post-fight coverage.

TSN? Not a word.

They've got a two-day old story on Brock Lesnar's response to Frank Mir's stale comments from last week, a subsequent piece about Mir's apology to Lesnar from earlier in the week, and a blurb about Ben Rothwell, a fighter recently scratched from UFC 110 who will now be facing Gilbert Yvel at UFC 115 in Vancouver this summer.

Not one of those fighters is from Canada.

Here's what I don't understand - and hope to one day have answered by TSN:

How can you have a dedicated MMA page that gets updated fairly frequently and not have a single reference to the Canadian girl who just extended her winning streak to eleven and won a championship?

Yes, the UFC is the biggest name in the business, but they're not the only game in town. It's not like TSN has some kind of exclusive deal to only talk about the UFC, at least not that I know of anyway.

They show highlights of Canadian golfers in each PGA Tour event on the calendar, show the stats on every Canadian kid on an NCAA roster on the ticker during college basketball season, but a Canadian fighter goes out and wins a title in a major organization and "Canada's Sports Leader" doesn't even mention the achievement?

Kind of disheartening that at a time when national pride is riding high and we're trumpeting the accomplishments of Canadians to the world, a newly-crowned world champion can't get a single sentence put down about her successes.

Congratulations Sarah.

C'mon TSN... get with the program.

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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Long Overdue Update

Well, I've moved again...

No, we're still in Victoria, but my MMA writing talents have jumped ship one last time.

MMA Madness is now my home, and we're set to do some big things. I know everyone says that, and I've said it before about every site I've worked with, but this time it actually is different and will come true.

A collection of colleagues I respect and admire have banded together to form a great writing team, and they've brought me along for the ride. Yes, I'm being humble for once. These guys are all far more experienced than me and I've learned a great deal in two weeks.

In addition to continuing some of my favorite columns that I have brought with me on each stop of this MMA writing odyssey of mine (Punch Drunk Predictions, 10 things we learned last night), I'm going to get a chance to showcase the fighters, promotions and emerging talents from my home and native land.

Canada is loaded with up-and-comers and great promotions that haven't gotten the attention they deserve, and I intend to be the one who helps shine a little light on things up here in the Great White North, starting with TFC 10: High Octane two weeks from now in Edmonton.

There are several irons in various fires right now - big things are coming people and they're coming to MMA Madness.

Bookmark it and be back regularly... or else I'll hunt you down and choke you out!

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Saturday, February 13, 2010

Time for the Oly... Oh Wait... I Don't Care

Call me un-Canadian.

Call me a grinch.

Call me whatever fun curse word you're currently favoring these days.

The Olympics are a joke to me.

Don't get me wrong - I'll watch some stuff here and there, but as a whole, I just don't get it.

Actually, I think the problem is that when I look at the Olympics, I basically see the same things that take place throughout the sporting year.

With the exception of hockey, why all of a sudden are Canadians (or people of any country) glued to their televisions to see how a skier they've never cared about before makes out in the Giant Slalom?

Newsflash: they've always been Canadian, they've always competed for Canada against skiers from other nations, and the races have been held on Canadian soil countless times each year. Nothing has changed...

I love my country a great deal - though some will surely argue that point after reading this - but the two weeks of faux-patriotism and nationalism makes me want to vomit. Hockey is the only "event" that comes to mind where things are different at the Olympics, and so suddenly having a vested interest in how Canada does makes sense to me.

Everything else? The same.

It's not like Jeremy Wotherspoon will leave Vancouver, rejoin the Amsterdam Ice Bandits of the International Speed Skating Association and help them defeat their arch-rivals from Belgium.

But it's "The Olympics" and everyone is supposed to be super-excited and wear overly expensive Canada gear that can only be purchased with VISA, the Official Card of the 2010 Olympic Games (or cash), and be deeply tied to how Jeff Pain and Jon Montgomery do in Men's Skeleton.

Call me whatever you will - unpatriotic, buzzkill, douche, whatever - but be sure to actually call me in a month's time too...

I'll be looking for updates on how your favorite skier or figure skating is doing in regular competition and laughing every time someone says, "Who?" once the Olympic glow washes away.

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Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Mindboggling: People Born After Appetite for Destruction was Released

So we're in the warehouse last night, you know, picking produce, and the initial guitar strums from "Paradise City" come over the radio.

I immediately crank it up, start playing air guitar and wonder why the guys I'm working with aren't doing the same.

One has an easy excuse: he's from India. In the two or three years he's been here, there are more important things for him to learn than the sonic awesomeness of Guns 'N Roses.

But what about the other guy? He's Victoria born-and-raised. What's his excuse? The answer blew my mind...

"Gio, when were you born?" I questioned, knowing where the response was going to lead me.

"1991, why?"

My mind exploded, and not in the good way like when you just read something that makes the world make sense or you see the greatest fight you've ever seen.

This was a "holy shitballs I never thought this was possible and can't comprehend it right now" kind of mind explosion.

There are people out there - a great number of them actually - who were born post-Appetite for Destruction.

Let's get something clear: it's not so much the fact that people have continued to give birth to infants post-1987 that rattles my brain, but more that this album was one of those seminal albums of my youth, a "remember where you were when you first heard it" kind of monster that shook the foundations of my musical being.

And no, I'm not exaggerating in the least.

To these people, "Sweet Child O' Mine" isn't the song me, Jeff Sanislo, Joel Richardson and Jason Morris ripped for Grade 7 airband, it's classic rock. They were one when Nevermind changed the way a whole collection of disenfranchised kids looked at the world. Well, they still looked at it the same, but at least now they had someone to point to and say, "See? He gets it."

What shook me even more than the realization that Appetite wasn't relevant to this entire demographic was thinking about music actually was meaningful and the music of their generation.

Let's say you're six or seven before you can really start making your own choices about music. Before that, you're listening to whatever everyone else is listening to, whether that's mom, dad, brother, sister or whoever.

That means for people born in 1991, we're looking at '97 as the earliest chance to decide "this is my kind of music." The popular choices at the time where:

  • "I'll Be Missing You," then Puff Daddy's anthem to the fallen Notorious B.I.G. - chances of these kids knowing the beat was jacked from The Police: 250 to 1.
  • "Barbie Girl"
  • "Mmmmmbop"
  • Anything by The Spice Girls
Let me put it this way - Britney Spears still hadn't happened...

I learned last night that I came along at a great time; I have gotten to experience the awesomeness of Guns 'N Roses debut album, the entire Grunge era, and classic hip hop that wasn't sampled or made by computers and focused solely on asses, guns, drugs and money.

Realizing some people were born after Appetite for Destruction kicked in the door blew my mind, but it also made me understand how lucky I am to be 31...

I've grown up with changes and experiences that are routine and normal to most, and that's kind of cool.

Now if you'll excuse me, I have to go make a mixtape of all the awesome music that happened before this kid was born so he can understand how great it used to be.

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Sunday, February 7, 2010

If You've Got Time to Put on Your Lacey Red Thong...

You've got time to put on real pants and shoes!

No, I'm not talking about the lovely Ms. Alyssa Milano, pictured here with her red thong whale tail showing to illustrate the term and so I don't have obvious porn as the picture on my somewhat family friendly site.

I'm talking about the absolute ghetto child we (Sarah and I) saw yesterday morning as we went to the grocery store. I understand that Saturday mornings can be tough, especially if Friday night was a monster, but this was too much.

This lass caught our eyes because instead of wearing actual shoes, she had on slippers, and not even like hilarious old man sleepers that could conceivable pass as shoes. These where the stylish version that she obviously paid way too much for and wants to get as much use out of as possible.

Good for a chuckle and a headshake, but fair enough. We've all been the hungover mess that desperately needs a Booster Juice (as this treat was enjoying), but here's the kicker: superstar drops something, crouches down to pick it up and out pops a lacey red whale tail.


Two things: (1) they're either the same lacey red numbers you wore out to skank it up the night before and are therefore a biohazard at this point, or (2) you went to the trouble of putting on your little red numbers but couldn't do better than slippers, sweatpants slit up the back of the legs and a brown, fur-trimmed parka to finish the wardrobe?

I know I look far from ready for the runway when I'm riffling out to grab six or eight things at the store or stopping for coffee after dropping Sarah off in the early morning, but this was too much.

Somewhere, her mother thinks she's raised a charming, well-put-together young lady, when in reality, her offspring is out schlepping it through the strip mall, sucking back a Booster Juice looking ghetto fantastic with her lacey red whale tail.

So help me if I have daughters... this shit ain't happening in my house.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

2010: The Year I Begin to Crush It!

Regardless of everything, you need to read the book pictured above.

My man Josh Nason of Ring, Ropes and Cage has become my personal Yoda when it comes to expanding my knowledge-base and understanding of the world I'm trying to break into, and I have to say that as good as On Writing was, Crush It!, well, crushed it.

This book is going to change my life, and I say that without any asterisks, hyperbole or pretenses.

Basically, this book not only confirmed all the fundamental beliefs I had about my passion for Mixed Martial Arts and the opportunity I have to make a career out of it, but also delivered a blueprint for how to do that.

What makes it even crazier is that a number of the steps and strategies are the little things that I already do, like Facebook the bejesus out of everything I write, and tweeting all my posts...

Gary Vaynerchuk - the author - has instantly launched to the top of my "Awesome People I Know About That You've Never Heard of Before" list, though I recommend you go out and get familiar with him.

D'you know how we all show up at work grumpy that we have to be there? We don't have to, and I'm not going to, thanks to Gary Vaynerchuk, Josh Nason and the dedication and passion I have to make my career something I enjoy, and not just a means to an end.

I give a lot of random advice on this blog, but if you've never listened to anything I've said before, listen to this: read Crush It!

The damn thing is only 130-pages long and cost under $25... and could change your life.

If you don't believe me, keep watching and see for yourself.

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Things I Learned This Week

1. Write for Love, Let the Money Come Later

After spending a good number of months building up a readership at a couple different sites, I put them on the back burner to pursue a job with for the lone reason that they were going to pay me.

Ten weeks later, I was dropped via email... without ever receiving a check. I've been assured it's coming, and take solace in the fact that the continuing staff there have yet to receive their pay either, but it made me realize something.

I write because I love it and that needs to be the motivation. Ironically enough, I finished Stephen King's On Writing last night, and d'you know what the final message of the book was?

"I write because I love it, not because of the money."

2. If You Hear "No Disrespect," Expect an Insult to Follow

I'm as guilty on this one as the next guy, as I use the line, "no disrespect to (insert fighter)" fairly frequently, following it up with some statement about how the inserted fighter isn't up to par or a legitimate contender.

It's as if we think that offering up that precursor gives us the ability to say whatever the hell we want about someone. They no I don't mean it disrespectfully, so saying they look like a total jackass / have the talents of a trained chimpanzee / smell a little south of god-awful is okay...

No it isn't, and I hereby pledge to remove that phrase from my vocabulary.

3. I Love My Non-Paying Jobs

The one that pays me - picking produce orders for 35-40 hours a week at Islands West - isn't all that bad, but the pair that put little no money in my pocket on a regular basis are great.

After the whole Heavy debacle, I joined forces with the guys over at Five Knuckles. They had been syndicating my work from Keyboard Kimura for a while, have a great community and believe in my talents to help propel their site to bigger and better.

What really has me stoked is my role with Armageddon Fighting Championships. While I don't really have a defined title, I'm doing all kinds of different things, like hunting down sponsors, lining up media exposure, and building Fan Pages on Facebook.

Yes - you need to join.

Kind of ties in with the first thought of today - enjoy the work, do a good job and the returns will come in time.

4. Victoria Kicks Everywhere Else's Ass

It's January 17 and I plan on wearing shorts today. Not because I want to see if I can brave the harsh outdoors with my pasty white lower limbs, but because it's around 10 degrees, nice and sunny and there is very little wind.

Additionally, not having to shovel... awesome! Yes, it rains, but d'you know what? Rain at five, six or seven degrees is so superior to snow and ice and bullshit at some god-awful temperature well below freezing.

I've enjoyed everywhere I've lived over the years - 13 cities, 31 addresses in 31 years - but Victoria takes the cake.

5. So I Never Told You My New Year's Resolutions

  1. Get a paying / full-time job in MMA: while you might think that contradicts point one of this piece today, it doesn't. I'm not going to actively chase the money, but by the time 2011 rolls around, my hard work will have brought the money to me.
  2. Read More - and Keep a Book List: one book done, many, many more to come. Recommendations will come with them - if they're good. If you're at all interested in writing, go get Stephen King's On Writing... and thanks to Josh Nason for instructing me to do so.
  3. Continue to Not Smoke: as of today, it's 13 weeks... how crazy is that, right? Hasn't even been that hard to be honest.
  4. Be Here More: I've missed you all, and like writing this blog, so 2010 is the return of iBlog to daily status, or as close to daily as I can manage...
Thanks for sticking around... and Happy Sunday!

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Saturday, January 16, 2010

The Most Awesomest Show on TV

Two bones to pick today.

The first one - how did you people who call yourselves my friends allow me to go years without watching How I Met Your Mother?

Honestly... you don't do that to a person, and certainly not someone you seem to like.

For four seasons, I spent Monday nights flipping between crappy football games and the same version of House - you know, the one with the crazy doctor, mystery ailment and last minute cure? - when I could have been enjoying this marvelous piece of television goodness from the beginning.

If you knew about this show and how awesome it was without telling me, you're entirely un-awesome.

Second bone to pick: if you're not watching How I Met Your Mother, why do you have a television?

Seriously though, there is nothing better on television, and not just because of the numerous catchphrases of Barney Stinson. Or the high fives, although high fives rock!

Sidebar: How awesome is Neil Patrick Harris? Best Barney / NPH moment - typing Barney's Blog a la Doogie Howser...

The legendary thing is overplayed - in real life, as on the show - but there is a small part of me that wishes this show was around during my "going to the bar" years so that we could have played a little game called "Have you met Ted?" with any number of my shy-but-terrific friends.

Oh, you know who you are...

Anyway, the moral of the story today children is that you need to watch this show.

This show is so awesome, I've bought all four seasons, watched them in like six days and have already started watching them again.


Because they're legendary!

Yeah - I went there, and now I feel cheap.

Oh well... start watching this show, suckers!

Happy Saturday.

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Friday, January 15, 2010

But I'm The Blueprint / I'm Like the Map For'em

Back at you for the first time in a little bit - and I promise I'm going to try and be here a lot more regularly moving forward - and time to call out everyone.

Yeah - everyone.

At some point, we're all guilty of not giving credit where credit is due, and it's become something that really grinds my gears like Peter Griffin.

We're all so quick to attack and criticize; calling people out for their decisions and everyday actions, putting just about anything under the microscope of negativity as if we're without flaws and worthy to pass judgment.

Sure, there is some element of that necessary in the world, but with that should come a willingness and acceptance that you have to pay attention to the other side of the coin as well. You can't just be critical and not give credit when it's due...

The title of this piece - another brilliant lyric from Jay-Z and the song "A Star is Born" - sums up my personal connection to this situation incredibly.

As I'm sure I've rambled on about here a couple of times, a bunch of my Mixed Martial Arts writing is syndicated to Bleacher Report. Over the first six or seven months of my existence there, I went from being the new kid on the block to being selected as a Featured Columnist and the top-ranked writer in the MMA Community.

With the success came the usual collection of haters and detractors. It seemed that my dedication and commitment to writing every day was a problem for some. The line was usually something along the lines of, "No wonder he's #1 - the guy writes a million articles a day, and all of them are crap."

Seriously. You gotta love it.

Funny thing is, shortly after questioning my practices, a couple people started to put the pattern I laid out into use for themselves... and have now risen to the top of the charts in my place.

Note: I stopped posting a bazillion pieces a day during my two month dalliance with but I'm back now, and plan on reclaiming the throne.

D'you think I've gotten any, "Sorry for busting your chops all summer. Now that I'm being as successful as you were, I can see the merit in your methods" type emails or messages?

Of course not.

That would involve giving credit where credit is due, and we can't have that.

It would take away from all the bitching and complaining about everything...

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Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Time to Hit the Awesome Button Again

Remember how in my last post I told you I was supposed to talk to my new editor and find out my future with this week?

Well, today I found out, in the form of an email.

It was thoroughly not awesome.

Guess who's got two thumbs and is no longer writing at Yup, this guy.

Budgetary cutbacks are the reason I'm being given, though I know there was a whole lot more to it than that. My temper and emotions got the best of me over the weekend, and well, Sarah's long-time fear that me being a hothead would interfere with my progress in the writing world have been proven 100% valid.

Time to learn from a mistake and move on to bigger and better.

In an all-too-familiar turn of events, I've done a truckload of work and received zero pay. Yep, much like Passion Magazine, I've put forth a great deal of effort for Heavy and am left with lint in my pocket.

They're telling me that the check is in the mail and things will be squared away, but those were the same lines I heard from Passion and we all know how that worked out...


Starting over from square one... again.

Stick with me people, because if nothing else, the ride is always a wild one...

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

One Step Forward, One Step Sideways, and One Step into the Poor House

Today was supposed to be a momentous day, one filled with positive news, answers to very important questions and unbridled enthusiasm about the future.

In the end, I got positive news, a pat on the back and asked to reschedule the answers to very important questions, and a karmic reminder that unbridled enthusiasm about the future should be discouraged at all times.

The moral of the story: driving a shitbox can take the wind out of your sails in a heartbeat, no matter how excited you might be.

And now, the story - and I'll even start with the happy part.

Who's got two thumbs and works for Armageddon Fighting Championships? This guy!

You can't see it, but I've got my thumbs up and am pointing back at myself, like Rob Van Dam used to do. I miss RVD.


As of a sweet lunch meeting today at Red Robin (Chicken Ranch Club... delicious), I'm the jack-of-all-trades Media and Public Relations guy for the AFC.

Basically, I write things, try to find things, suggest things and am one of three employees of the organization, though technically, I'm a contracted employee. The technicality is there just so that if I ever do anything stupid, Darren and Jason can disavow me without penalty or repercussion, from me or the law.

Still, technicalities aside, I work for an emerging Mixed Martial Arts organization and get to be pretty hands-on from here on out.

That is the one step forward.

The one step sideways came literally ten seconds after I walked in the door from that meeting.

Yesterday was supposed to be my "contract negotiations" with for the new year. I use the quotes because really - and don't tell them this - outside of them offering me less money, I'm staying put, but you know, only after playing some hardball first.

Anyhow, it got bumped yesterday and rescheduled for today.

Long story short, it got rescheduled again for early next week. While some positives came from the brief phone conversation with my new editor - he likes my work, sees the dedication and talent, wants me as part of the core team - I have no idea what kind of money I'll be making, which means tomorrow's joyous resignation from Islands West Produce isn't happening.

For now...

Interestingly enough, my editor calling wasn't who I was expecting on the other end of the phone. I was expecting Canadian Tire.

For my 17 American readers out there, Canadian Tire would be like if your local Mienke had a store attached to it that sold everything from hardware and electronics, to sporting goods, lighting and seasonal items.

True story - our '93 Honda Shitbox was leaking gas. Not really sure for how long, but long enough that today was the day we finally decided to check if it was our car after convincing ourselves for the last couple weeks that it had to be the boat in the driveway, Monica's car or something Derek spilled while filling up his snowmobile.

Turns out, it was the Civic and we really shouldn't have been driving.

Sidenote: good thing I quit smoking. One flicked cigarette blown the wrong way and I wouldn't be here writing this... Smoking can kill in so many ways. God I miss smoking...

The call from Crappy Tire eventually came, along with an estimate for roughly $500, depending on how bad things are.

It's a '93 Civic with decent amounts of rust around the back wheel wells, over 190,000 klicks on the dial, and we've spent a good 50% of what we paid for it fixing things in the year-and-a-half we've owned it.

The chances of "depending on how bad things are" coming back as not too bad at all are slim and none.

Ah, I see you have a vacancy at The Poor House. I'll take a room. Thanks.

Win some, lose some, throw a whole bunch of money at some.

Or as I like to call it... Tuesday.

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