Tuesday, September 30, 2008

We're just waiting for that call...

The Cholitas Luchadoras of Bolivia

"Sometimes my daughters ask why I insist on doing this," she said. "It's dangerous; we have many injuries, and my daughters complain that wrestling does not bring any money into the household. But I need to improve every day. Not for myself, for Veraluz, but for the triumph of Yolanda, an artist who owes herself to her public."

The current issue of National Geographic is running a story on Bolivian female professional wrestlers, who do battle in traditional (though blinged-up) native garb. You know, I would not mess with a lady in a bowler hat who can hit a flying elbow from the top rope.

For the whole story, of course, you'll need to buy the magazine. But the NG website is running a tease (complete with photos and video) here.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

To Fred Clark, aka the Slacktivist:

Here's to Fred, who spent the last five years of his life picking apart, almost page-by-page, the literally God-awful book Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. With wit, humor, and often expressions of slackjawed disbelief, Fred meticulously pointed out the bad theology, ill will, and contempt for the craft of writing that permeates this book.

For this Herculean deed of literary criticism, Fred, we salute you!

Here's the full index, for your reading pleasure. Trust me, it's a lot easier to take than reading the book itself. Kind of like how Manos: The Hands of Fate is somehow less of a cinematic brick to the temple with the presence of Joel, Crow, and Tom Servo in the front row.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Looking up from my graphics program just long enough to post.

Yes, it's been a busy time here at Borgo Pass Designs (you know, if I give my personal company a name like that, I really should at least consider doing something to do with vampires). Most of the work has been custom orders, along with the occasional demand for a poster from Karine, and I'm striving mightily to get through them all. This is why my face has become something of a rarity around the gym these days: I'm committed to "one big push" to plow through all of the work that needs doing so that I can finally get caught up.

I still try to be around when I'm needed, of course. And usually that means when it's fight time.

And we've had some good ones in the past couple of weeks. First leading off with Stacey Kanto's impressive performance at the monthly tournament, where she fought past two other middleweights in order to face Middleweight Champion snake5608 Boa. While she fell short in the last bout, that was still twelve consecutive rounds of fighting.

Now I'm not so silly as to equate twelve rounds of Second Life boxing with twelve rounds of the real thing, but that does take a toll on you. One night, after just two successive bouts, I was ready to kill for a glass of water. The break Stacey got between fights was hardly longer than the one you'd see between rounds. Personally, I don't think a fighter should be asked to fight more than twice in one night, and I couldn't honestly consider her final bout to be a fair test. Somebody agreed with me, I guess, because Stacey has a rematch with snake set for next week.

A week later saw Calvinizm2g Quan lose his Lightweight Championship belt to Gage Koba in another barn burner. Cal was a strong champion, and Gage fairly new on the scene. If I had to handicap the match in advance I would have called for another successful defense by the reigning champ.

And, of course, I'd have been wrong. Gage proved to be well-coached and a tenacious fighter, fighting back hit-for-hit for much of the fight. In the end, he outscored Cal and claimed the title. But damn if I could tell just by watching. It was close.

The last big standout fight happened the night after that bout. We were doing a road show at Tess Goldlust's new boxing gym (now named the T-Gold Gym after a naming contest). There was one match from each weight class (lightweight, middleweight, and heavyweight), but while all six fighters put in awesome performances, it was the middleweight match that most caught my attention.

It was a fight between Stacey Kanto and JoJo863 Nightfire. The reaction from some members of the crowd, seeing two women in the ring, was depressingly predictable: "Catfight!" In addition to being just generally ignorant, the term did both the fighters and the fight a grave disservice. What followed was an exciting, slam-bang match that the crowd ate up with a knife and fork. It was impossible to tell just by watching who had the edge as one woman, then the other would gain momentum. It was a match with force like a rolling tide. I was sorry it had to end, and that one of them would have to lose. JoJo took the fight that time, but I get the feeling that it's an issue that isn't settled.

At least I hope not. A healthy rivalry gets the crowd going and the fighters motivated.

Well, that's it for now. See you inworld.

Master Ninja Theme Song!

Again, taking a cue from TeacherLady, I do declare this to be Ninja Week, the logical response to Talk Like a (smelly, ugly, dishonorable) Pirate Day!

Yes, it is Wednesday and we have only made you aware of Ninja Week just now. What kind of fool ninja hits you when you're expecting it?!

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Smallville and Supernatural

Spoilers follow, so if you've still got either unwatched on TiVo (or, if you're a Neanderthal like myself, on tape), you might want to give this entry a miss. And if you're not a fan of either show, this is a Bad Place for you to be, hombre.

So there was much doing of the Happy Dance in the Undercity household this week, thanks to the CW bringing back our two favorite shows a month earlier than usual (for some reason, like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel, there seemed to be a preference for rolling these genre shows out in October, for whatever reason).

Anyway, because it's my blog and I can inflict any subject matter upon you that I feel like with no discernable consequences (look for my upcoming thirty-part series on kicking puppies!), here are my thoughts:

Smallville: My, my. So many changes being made. First off, thank God they gave Chloe a superpower more in keeping with her nature than the empathetic healing thing. I mean, if she was going to have a power at all (apart from the ability to fall off of Clark's radar at the drop of a hat), making her more of a genius than she already was seems more believable, not to mention better for plot development. Michael Rosenbaum leaving the show spared us yet another bout of Lex Luthor amnesia (can his future level of extreme evil be attributed to brain damage brought about by repeated head trauma?). His proxy, Ms. Mercer, looks promising as a five-star bitch-on-wheels villainess. I expect her and Lois to throw down hand-to-hand during sweeps. Call it a hunch. Speaking of Lois, with Kristin Kreuk's Lana Lang gone, I'm glad to see that they decided to dispense with the "Lana as a brunette, Lois as a redhead" in-joke. But now that Clark is off the farm and seated in the desk across from her, how the hell is she not going to recognize Superman when he finally makes his debut? Especially when Clark still isn't wearing glasses? The return of Oliver Queen's nascent Justice League seemed like an extra bit of crowding in an episode already stuffed to bursting. Were these guest stars really necessary?

All in all, I enjoyed the show, and most of the changes had an "it's about time!" air to them, but I think it would have been better had they spread them all out over two, or even three episodes.

Supernatural: Probably the last words I ever expected to hear on an episode of Supernatural: "I am an Angel of the Lord!" I looked up the name in Gustav Davidson's A Dictionary of Angels and found the following entry: "Castiel--a Thursday angel mentioned in occult lore". Heavy. With dominion over the show's timeslot, apparently, too. I got a good laugh out of Bobby and Sam both reacting the same way to Dean's resurrection, by taking a silver knife to him, thinking him a revenant. So Sam's been developing his psychic mojo, while an angel pulled his brother out of Hell for an unknown reason. Methinks a collision course is in the future. Can't wait to see it.

Thursday, September 18, 2008


I know, this blog is rapidly turning into a series of YouTuberies. I promise you that a time is coming when I'll be back full-time to ramble about superheroes, TV, boxing, and Second Life As We Know It.

In the meantime, check out this nice little tidbit from Warren Ellis:

Warren adds in his post: "Do me a favour, though: if you’re in Britain and you can get ITV2, watch it on the box rather than going to torrent sites or surfthechannel an hour later, yeah? Ratings systems don’t count torrent loads. This is why ratings charts think everyone in the country watches Bruce fucking Forsythe on a Saturday night and why tv companies are terrified of commissioning any scripted series requiring an IQ larger than your shoe size to follow. Ta."

Friday, September 12, 2008

Politics. Deal with it.

OK, that's all I can stands, I can't stands no more!

"Lipstick." "Bridge to Nowhere." "Earmarks." "Real change." "How disrespectful." As this crap piles up and all of the blithering idiots on the tube telling me that McCain doesn't know what his campaign is doing in his name (for Brutus is an honorable man...) SPARE ME!

Take it, Henry:

He lies. He lies blatantly and after he gets fact-checked he lies again. This should be his campaign's fucking theme song.

UPDATE: Case in point, on The View today:

And he'll do it again tomorrow.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

"Here's a word, look it up: It's your DUTY to vote!"

In the midst of somber rememberance of the seventh anniversary of 9/11, Craig Ferguson, US citizen as of this past February, takes a moment to get his fellow citizens' heads straight about politicians, the media, and the vote.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Farewell, my lovely... little shop.

Since before I hooked up with Averlast, I had maintained a shop that carried most of the items I'd made before in order to make a few lindens to support my habit of buying wacky stuff from other vendors.

Sadly, my little shop is no more. The landlady (my oldest friend in SL) has pulled up stakes and moved elsewhere, and let us tenants know that, for now at least, a new mall isn't in the cards on her current slice of virtual heaven. On the other hand, she's a "never say never" kind of person, so I'll be keeping an ear cocked just in case.

I've rented a new space, and, while it looks nice, I'm starting to have my doubts about it. What drew me there was its high traffic rating, and the rental rates seemed reasonable on closer inspection. That said, upon even closer inspection, most of its traffic seems to be generated by campers, and campers getting paid one linden - about 1/250th of an American dollar, depending on the rate - per 75 minutes at that. So basically, they're people who sat their avs down, started running a script that keeps SL from automatically logging them off, and then... I don't know, went outside or something. So it's not a browsing-and-buying kind of traffic.

Add to that the fact that the management, after several days, still hasn't added me to the merchants' group. Until that happens, I can't put up my vendors and get down to business. Not to mention that every day that I don't have vendors down is lindens down the drain without hope of recovery.

I'm not inspired to dizzying heights of confidence.

In fact, I'm thinking getting my rent money back and looking elsewhere.

Damn, but I already miss my old little shop.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


So I'm reading the posts at my new favorite personal blog, and remember that today starts the holy month of Ramadan on the Islamic calendar. Not being of the faith myself (or of any faith, really, call me a "strong" agnostic, if you must), I still have a kinda-sorta story about Ramadan.

When I lived in Arizona, library jobs were hard to come by (I'd caught a glimpse of the stack of applications once and thought I was looking at a major metropolitan phone book). I ended up driving a delivery truck for an Italian bakery, delivering bread to restaurants, convenience stores, and delis. Like most jobs, it came with good and bad, the first summer in the aptly-named Valley of the Sun driving a truck that had no air conditioning falling into the "bad" column, for example.*

But by and large I liked the job, especially the people I met. While a few fell into the "can't get far enough from, fast enough" category, for the most part they were a great bunch to deal with.

One of my favorite stops was a convenience store in Mesa, run by a guy named Mohammed. Mohammed was a big, genial guy, about my age and of Palestinian extraction. The store was not part of any chain, but rather an independent family venture (in ones and twos, I'd eventually meet the whole family during my tenure as Bread Guy).

Like I said, Mohammed was a genial guy. He had a way of making people feel welcome, and if both of our days were relatively light, we'd chat for a bit before I'd move on to the next customer. He'd always offer me a free soda from the fountain, and if the Valley sun had been particularly brutal on a given day, I'd take him up on it.

So one day I'm listening to the radio (NPR), and the announcer mentions that it's the second day of Ramadan. I was heading to Mohammed's store next, so I thought I'd ask how he was holding up. My knowledge of the holiday was (and is) fairly limited, but I knew it involved a sunrise-to-sunset fast. I figured that since it was still the early going (always the hardest time for me to break into something involving self-denial), and he had a ready-made source of temptation nearby in the form of his store's deli counter. I thought that some nominal moral support from the sidelines couldn't hurt.

He seemed a bit gobsmacked - in a good way - that I'd asked. I guess the subject didn't come up much from the other side of the counter, especially in 2003, when media treatment of the Islamic faith could only be charitably described as "defamatory".

So we talked a bit, like we always did. Maybe the conversation went a little deeper than usual. It's been five years, and I don't remember the details. But as it was winding up, Mohammed caught me off guard by asking if I'd like to join in the fast.

I'll admit that I actually considered it. There's something in my Roman Catholic upbringing to which an extended period of reflective self-denial holds a lot of appeal.

But then Mohammed explained to me that a Ramadan fast means not eating or drinking during the day.

I thought about the heat of the day. Even with autumn in the offing, temperatures were still topping 100 in the Valley. I thought about going through my work day (Hauling. All. That. Bread.) without even a sip of water. I could make it through without food from sunrise to sunset, but if there's an urge that rules me, it's thirst.

I declined politely, and Mohammed said he understood. I left the store that day with a new-found sense of admiration for my friend. As I drove on I also got to thinking about other faithful observants around the world, who didn't and still probably don't have the luxury of ducking into an air-conditioned building to at least allay the day's rigors during the fast, often in climates not too dissimilar from that of the Valley.

Mention of Ramadan takes me back to that conversation in Mohammed's store. I'm not sure if he ever expected me to take him up on joining the fast. Mohammed knew that I was pretty much godless (we never got that deep into theology, preferring to talk about the Diamondbacks instead). Still, Ramadan has since then been a time that makes me try to think outside of myself.

*- Ask me how I lost 30 pounds in three months!

More random brain squeezings

Villainous Interruptus - Nothing undercuts the idea of basing your look on a classic supervillain quite like the fact that, outside of comic geek circles, nobody knows who he is. So far four different people have interpreted my new look as a homage to Hulk Hogan, while one thought that I was saying that I really, really like Gatorade. Ah, well... maybe next time I'll dig into Batman's rogues gallery. Riddler or Two-Face style trunks might be fun...

Busiest Labor Day Weekend Ever - Posters, trunks, other projects that I can't talk about right now, wheeling and dealing, and - miraculously - time to spar! After such a long layover from the ring, I'd put myself down as a competent lightweight. But since that's not the level I'm competing at anymore, more time is needed.

Blocking the UPS Guy's Shot - The UPS guy who runs in my neighborhood has a specific technique: He walks up to the bottom of my porch steps and basically throws the package at my door before running away. As someone who orders computer parts via Newegg, this is a troubling tendency for me. My wife no longer orders anything that might be deemed fragile via the computer, and our complaints to the company itself have fallen on deaf ears. But needs often being what they are, the UPS guy is sometimes a necessary evil. For instance, when I finally resolved to try to apply a hardware fix for my computer's connection problem, I ordered a new network interface card (NIC) from Newegg. I had just stepped out of my driveway when the UPS truck came around the corner, driven by - yes - our Donovan McNabb wannabe delivery guy. I immediately spun around and moved to meet him, confirming that, yes, this was my house, and taking the package off of him. With no small sense of relief I dropped it off inside before heading off to work again, having foiled one of the very least of Satan's cohorts.

To Absent Friends - who know who they are, but may not know that they are missed.