Monday, July 28, 2008

Saturday night's all right for fightin'

I know. An Elton John reference. Great is my shame.

But this past Saturday night saw six of our best boxers get into the ring and slug it out on Sugarhill Island, as guests of Bonnie and Clyde Entertainment/Queen Media. It was a night of rockin' beats and sockin' boxers.

Aldbaran Galicia, one of our new lightweights, kindly took photos of the evening's events. Here's the action as it unfolded:

Setting up the ring and stands. Check out the awesome backstage area that Silas Gabardini (aka DJ Clyde) made for us.

Sometime boxer and full-time hottie Stacey Kanto wasn't involved in the night's action, but who am I to pass up this great shot of her? OK, my mistake. This isn't Stacey but actually another familiar face from around the gym, ITZEL Carter. She was also not involved with the night's action, but when she's looking this good who cares?

"I gotta sit next to this guy again?"

The lovely Fionna Bracken makes her rounds as Juliette Pashinin stands by.

JoJo863 Nightfire is ready to scrap in her last appearance as a lightweight.

Juliette cuts an imposing figure as she waits for the bell.

JoJo vs. Juliette, as DJ Clyde hovers in the background, calling the action.

JayT Axel mugs for the camera...

... while snake5608 Boa gets ready to mug JayT. ;-)

"Whoa. Did you see that bikini that Fionna's wearing?"

The always-impressive Jihan McCallen stands ready.

As does Conan Horan, whose future is so bright, he's gotta wear shades.

Conan vs. Jihan in heavyweight action.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Friday Night Tournament: Jacked up.

Yes, another FNT post and it's not even August. We held our first event in the MMA Jacked sim on Friday. Originally intended to be a sanctioned title fight between Lightweight Champion JoJo863 Nightfire and challenger Calvinizm2g Quan, at some point we just decided to shoot the works and hold a full-fledged event.

Wanting to take no chances, we got there an hour early to prepare. We made sure everyone was in place well before start time, and we had drawn a good crowd in the stands at the beachside ring bleachers (more on the setting in a future post; I took some nice pics of the Jacked island landmarks, so expect a flurry of photography soon in this space).

Finally, it was showtime. I jumped into the ring, microphone at the ready, made a few preliminary announcements and then-

- my connection dropped. The one that was supposed to have been fixed last week. Verizon's Merry Pranksters had struck again.

After getting on the horn with Verizon tech support again (and extracting a gee-golly-gosh-I-swear-we'll-fix-it-this-time from them - I don't believe them), the line finally came up just as I was about to call it a night and go to bed. So on with the show.

When I had crashed out I had been standing in the middle of the ring. If this were in Averlast Gym, that wouldn't have been a problem, since the rings there are parcelled out as to make it impossible for anyone to log in or teleport into them. Our ring in Jacked, I seemed to recall, was not similarly blessed. So I set Preferences to take me to my home location (the gym, of course) instead. Happily, Karine (who had been covering for me as announcer, bless her) was alert for my return and sent a limo taking me right back to Jacked.

I resumed my duties with a giddy eagerness. I'm a ham, I admit it. While I'm often quiet in one-on-one situations, I have never experienced this thing that men call "stage fright".

For me, the match of the night was Juliette Pashinin vs. Link McCann. Juli had been riding an unbeaten streak going into the match, which was given extra piquancy by the fact that she and Link are, in fact, a couple. It was a wild, back-and-forth affair as they went at it. The crowd loved it. Each fighter seemed to answer the other's blows one-for-one, and in the end Link had edged out his girlfriend by the barest of margins: A mere two points.

I smell rematch.

The main event, the title fight, was something I could only term a heartbreaker. JoJo and Calvin ably piled into each other for the first two rounds, definitely giving the divided crowd what they came for. But in the third and final round, lag bit down on JoJo hard. JoJo is a trouper though, and tried to stave off Calvin as best she could, but in the end it was Calvin's fight. We have a new Lightweight Champion.

Would Calvin still have won had not the lag hit, or would JoJo have successfully staved off his challenge? It's a question that for now must remain academic. JoJo has moved on into the waiting Middleweight Division, and Calvin awaits his first title defense from the ranks of his fellow lightweights.

I'm looking forward to more events at MMA Jacked, especially since, as they have their own club on the sim, you never have to go far to find the after party.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Friday Night Tournament: Almost didn't make it.

I have a DSL connection. It serves me well, for the most part, and seems about on par with my older computer's capabilities (though I'm looking into some of the alternative SL viewers for Linux to see if they offer a performance boost - but that's another post).

I should say it served me well, up until a point. For the past two weeks or so, the service had become increasingly erratic. It went out for most of the day, but then came back on at night, usually in time for me to perform my duties at Averlast. But as time went on, the periods of outage were growing noticeably longer.

Until finally, at 4:30 PM SLT, I was entirely unable to log on for the monthly tournament.

So instead of calling the evening's matches, I was calling Verizon tech support. Not exactly the evening I'd had in mind.

Still, even though Verizon couldn't do anything immediate, the connection managed to clear up enough for me to catch the last two fights, including snake Boa's capture of the Middleweight Title. Snake was Lightweight Champion once, and now he's gained the next level's title. When he moves up to heavyweight (and I'm sure he will), he'd be in a position to have held every title in the promotion, an Averlast Grand Champion, if you will. It's an intriguing thought.

A lot more happened, of course, but unfortunately I missed most of it. It was great to see one of our "old-school" heavyweights ("old-school" for Averlast meaning "was here last year") back in action in the form of Alexandre Renegade. I've noticed a few old friends popping up every now and then. It seems now to be just a question of luring them back into the ring.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Something I never thought I'd do.

I have a MySpace page.

I mean, granted, it's not much so far, but I'm hoping for a nice little Averlast-centric outpost on teh intarwebs, and, hey, the price is right.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Visiting Nanba

One of my long-standing ambitions on this blog has been to do a sort of "Boxer's tour of Second Life". I haven't really had the time to pursue that particular theme, but the Nanba region seems like it would be a good place to start.

I became aware of Nanba through a tip from a friend who likes to shop in the Japanese sims. A lot of creators there seem to be content to let their items go for shockingly cheap prices, apparently for no other reason than the joy of creation.

We begin, of course, at Nanba's own pugilistic paradise, the Nanba Boxing Bar:

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Owned by akane Kidd (and check out the Flickr page she links to as well), the Bar is home base to Nanba's own boxing team. They compete with other clubs in special events. We've had some brief talks about a Nanba vs. Averlast event, and I'm game, but there are a few hurdles to get over. The first is subtle, being the technical differences between Averlast gloves and their own brand. The second is a bit more obvious, namely trying to work out an event time that is convenient to both our fighters and theirs, given the time differences between the US, Europe, and Japan.

I'm sure we'll come up with something, though. Watch this space.

But moving on, across the street from the bar, one sees this dominating the landscape:

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The shops within sell everything from clothing to motorcycles to tattoos. One shop even features pro wrestling move animations, stacked right next to various prepared foods:

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I'll have a Stone Cold Stunner with extra wasabi, please. ;-)

This cheery fellow seems to be the region mascot. There are a bunch of poseballs situated in front of him for photo opportunities, and boxes stacked next to him so that one might take him home.

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Not all statuary fares so well, though. In the riverbed at the region's northern edge, one finds an abandoned corporate icon:

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Meanwhile, down along the southern edge of the region, rows of charming shoreside shops line the beach.

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The spaces up top are for rent, but I don't expect that situation to be the case for long.

Nanba blends rather seamlessly with its surrounding regions, which warrant further investigation, to be sure. This certainly won't be my last visit to the area. If nothing else, I want to find out if their boxers are really as tough as they think they are. ;-p

Edit: Some confusion in the translation of akane's blog page, plus the fact that I hadn't previously had time to revisit and double-check for myself, led me to spell the name of the place as "Namba", rather than its proper name, "Nanba". Sorry for the confusion.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Keyboard gorilla.

Yeah, the singer gets all of the attention, but trust me, this video belongs to the simian virtuoso working that synth:

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Two black eyes for boxing.

Boxing seems to have a lower media profile these days. Not as flashy as professional wrestling, and seemingly restrained in comparison to MMA, boxing seems to be occupying a niche between the two. Low on star power (quick, name the World Heavyweight Champion) and feeling the heat from competing sports, you'd think any high-profile boxing story would be good news.

And you'd be wrong.

First off, we had the Soto/Lorenzo WBC super featherweight championship bout in Las Vegas over the weekend. The result was a disqualification victory for Lorenzo after the referee called a foul on Soto that had resulted in a head injury that left Lorenzo unable to continue.

It was, it turned out, a bad call on the ref's part, compounded by the fact that Lorenzo, who up until that point had been getting the snot beat out of him by Soto, had faked the injury in order to grab the DQ win. Classy. The WBC, sensibly, refused to declare Lorenzo its champion after reviewing the tainted victory.

But this morning on Yahoo!, boxing columnist Kevin Iole had a different take, saying that Lorenzo should be champion now, because he won and "rules are rules".

I disagree with Mr. Iole. His approach leaves no room for judgement or good sense. Even while he was advocating giving the belt to Lorenzo, he wrote that Lorenzo's fake-out was "an acting job the likes of which haven’t been seen since Jack Nicholson in 'As Good As It Gets' in 1997 [sic]". And this is the guy you'd want as a champion?

Anyway, Yahoo! headlined Iole's column, advocating rewarding Lorenzo for playing dirty pool. Good thing I'd finished my coffee by then, or my monitor would need replacing thanks to a spit-take worthy of Danny Thomas.

Boxing's other big hit this week took place outside of the ring, courtesy of... oy... Mike Tyson. A racketeering case linked Iron Mike to a murder-for-hire plot in his old neighborhood. From the reports on the story I've seen, the witness linking Tyson to this seems about as far from credible as you can get, and I deeply hope it's not true. Even given Tyson's often erratic behavior outside the ring, plunking down fifty grand to have two men killed seems out of character, a cold-blooded act from a man whose temper runs notoriously hot.

But it's Tyson, so regardless of whether the story is true or not, all it takes to confirm it in the minds of his critics is for him to deny it.

Help you pack, Stephen?

I don't need another reason to favor Obama over McCain, but if they insist on handing me one:

Stephen Baldwin On Fox News: If Obama Wins, I'll Leave The Country

Gravy, baby. Pure gravy.