Monday, February 28, 2011

Today's Lack Of Blogging Is A Good Thing

Because I've actually been hundred different types of productive today. Okay, maybe only one type, but it is the most important type. The writing type. I've made some more connections and hopefully, pretty close to making some rather cool deals. Possible deals that may mean you can see my writings spread from out of the confines of this blog (even though, these confines are rather splendid) Anyway, the day is still not done and my keyboard is calling my name. Yes, sometimes my keyboard talks to me. Especially on days where I spend 8 or so hours shacked up with it. I am going to soothe its cries by doing some more of that sweet typing action, and depending on how the rest of this day goes, I could be back.

How has your Monday been?

My Oscar Thoughts

I'd be grouchy too if I lived in a trash can.

Oh wait. . . you thought I was talking about the over hyped fashion show disguised as a movie awards show. Nope, I have no real thoughts or opinions on that show, because I actually didn't watch a second of it. I'm sure if there is any good parts, like the always tasteful video memorial, then I can track it down on YouTube. For now, I'm more than happy with my decision to watch other things instead, and basically forget about the show -- until I decided to wander on Twitter and saw that was all anyone wanted to mention.

I've never really been all in that into the show since "Weekend at Bernie's" got robbed. I hope you enjoyed it or at least, had yourself a splendid Sunday.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Feeling You're Entitled To Free Things Actually Entitles You To An Eye Ball Punch

Matthew Inman (aka the Oatmeal) posted a recent and rather agonizing Facebook conversation on his site. There was a few things in the dialogue that made the poster Tim come off as an oblivious, raging, flame turd. There was one specific thing that he mentioned that really rubbed me the wrong way. "And of course it's free." Essentially stating that there is absolutely no way that the Oatmeal should even contemplate charging for the comics that have entertained him for hours and hours.

The issue was that the enthusiastic fan was whining and moaning (like a baby -- male or female version) over the fact there wasn't a new comic produced by the Oatmeal. Matthew then responded by letting him know that it actually takes hours upon hours to actually produce the quality content he provides, and he also gently reminded the complainer that it was being given at absolutely no charge. Tim then decided it was best to throw out a bunch of lame insults from that point forth (because that is always what inspires creative types to produce more free content) and completely miss the entire point of Matthew's argument. Which was that it was not quick and easy work, and it was also entirely free.

Let's run with this for a moment here. Lets say there was a guy named Gussy McGusserton. Ol' Gussy was a hell of a mechanic and could fix almost any problem there was with a car. Yeah, it took him a bit of time, because you see he wasn't an owner of the proverbial magic wand. He actually had to put his sweat and tears into it. But he did his job and he worked really hard. Now, lets just pretend that you are Gussy McGusserton, the amazing car mechanic. You know you do a great job and that anyone who comes in to have his car repaired will most likely be satisfied with your work. This work really is what you're best at, and almost something you may say is your calling.

Now, what is the likelihood that you're going to repair complete strangers' cars for free? What are the chances that you would be totally willing to have people come to your house day and night with their broken down cars and expect you to immediately get to work? Every single day people drop by and expect ol' Gussy to fix up their car with absolutely no compensation.

Yeah, that is silly, right?

Yet the internet seems to be a place where it has created a whole bunch of entitled jerkbags that feel they deserve free, high quality content. They expect great comics or video games or stories or news reports or dancing pandas or movies or music completely for free. So, essentially what they are saying, is that they expect a news reporter to spend hours of research or a musician to spend days and days of composing or a storyteller grind away at creating a compelling tale or video game developer to spend countless sleepless nights crafting a game all for absolutely no compensation. Often when the creatives do have the gall to ask for money, the entitled walking turds cry to the heavens about the injustice of it all.

Why should a musician or video game developer or movie director or novelist or artist or journalist be expected to work for free? And lets not be naive here, if you refuse to give out the money for their products then they are doing this very closely to free (there isn't just a magical agency that gives out free money because someone makes great content).

Maybe some musicians or writers or artists are fine with giving out their products for free. If they want to do that, then that is their right. But they still likely have things like bills and mortgages and groceries -- which the banks and stores probably aren't willing to go away for free. This means they have other jobs on top of creating their albums or comics strips or games or movies. There is also a chance they probably have friends and families that like to spend time with them too. This all means that they are incredibly busy. Which means that if you're getting free quality content, then you also better be damn patient for it to come out. If it is free, then you have absolutely no right whatsoever to kvetch and grumble about its tardiness. Because the content is costing you absolutely nothing, while it is costing the creator time, money, and countless other possible things.

You know what, not every creator wants to work for free. If they are working hard and creating a quality product then they damn well do have a right to charge and expect compensation. If you don't want to provide that compensation, then you really don't deserve it. You can go wander off and try to find something free.

Now, in the case of The Oatmeal, he does provide his web comics for free, but he makes a living by selling posters and merchandise about his comics on his site. You can choose to purchase that or ignore it, that is your right also. Though part of me thinks that if he has provided you with hours of enjoyment, that at some point you should make a purchase as a thank you (though of course, you aren't obliged at all).

For the love of skittle coated badgers, don't be whining about free content being posted late. Or even more so, don't be upset that an artist actually decides to charge for their music or story or whatever. They worked hard to produce this, just like you work hard at your job. They do deserve compensation. Besides, if you really like a musician or writer or whoever, the best way to ensure that they keep producing great stuff is to support them and make sure it is a viable enterprise for them. The best way to make an artist believe that the hours and hours of work and sacrifice is worth it, is to realize it is helping to pay for their mortgage and bills.

I love the internet and I love the mass amount of media and information and content on it. I am saddened by the entitlement it has created for many who feel they deserve free stuff. Because you don't deserve it. Though depending how much you rage and whine about it, you definitely are entitled to a free delicious eye ball punch.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Advice When Dealing With Customer Service (Or Anyone Providing You A Service)

Wednesday was an absolutely dreadful time at the ol' day job. It was the equivalent of a giant mutant roach consuming 10 soft and fluffy pandas, then spitting their unconsumed bones directly into my crotch, while seven deer tick plunge into my ear in order to start a dance party. Yes, it was just that kind of day. A inhumane consuming of poor and innocent pandas and unwarranted assault on my body parts kind of day. Or at least, the equivalents of those things. This atrocious day did inspire me with bits of advice on how to deal with those in customer service or who are delivering you some type of service (essentially the many dozens of people you likely will come across throughout your day).

Technology has not progressed to the point that androids or robots or talking pray mantis are able to provide customer service for you. There is a 99.9% chance that the figure behind the desk or on the phone or coming to your house is an actual real life person. Just like you. They have feelings and emotions and pride, and basically, a lot of the things you have too. So, before you put on your Jerk Hat, it is important to remember you're likely dealing with a person who might actually take offense to your rampage of tomfoolery.

Before you decide to be incredibly witty and hilarious, decide if the customer service representative knows who you are and understands your amazing brand of humour. If this person does not know you, then make sure you are very clear that you're joking. Because the failure of witty is asshole.

When a customer service person says please hold, they likely mean, "I am really busy at this moment with something urgent but will try to get to you as quickly as possible" rather than "I am going to go to the back and sip martinis and then return to you so that you can tear into me about how awful I am at customer service and how I wasted your magical and golden time that is more glorious than unicorn farts."

When you're told that there isn't any available spots or bookings on that day, it likely means that there actually isn't any bookings rather than it meaning the entire staff is having a pool party in the storage room (there also isn't likely a pool in the storage room).

Your emergency is exactly that, your emergency. It is not the fault of the customer service rep that you decided to wait two weeks and ask for the service a day before it needs to be accomplished. Yes, the thing that needs to be repaired or updated or completed is super ultra urgent to you, but so are the 60 other things from other people that the customer service person is required to deal with (and were actually booked ahead of time rather than 20 minutes before they're due).

The customer service person has their own life which may be going about as awesome as shit rain, yet they didn't decide to rant and rave about it to you. They likely don't really need to hear about how your life is a flaming feces ball to the eye ball.

99.9% of customer service folks don't own magic wands, and instead will need to rely on their own skills and abilities to properly serve you. It takes a lot longer than the waving of magic wands, but this also isn't Cinderella.

Customer service people sometimes make mistakes, just like almost every single other person in the world. It is important to remember that you are very likely to make a mistake once or twice or a hundred times in your life, and thus when you make that mistake, you really hope others are willing to cut you some slack rather than open your head up with a rusty can opener and feed your brain to a pack of rabid sea urchins. Seriously, if you rage against people who make an honest mistake then you have now opened yourself up to harsh criticism to your own honest failures.

When a customer service person on the phone asks you to repeat your name or to spell your name, they aren't saying, "I am a mindless butt zombie that doesn't know simple, common names and I deserve to be brow beaten for having the nerve to ask your mightiness to repeat yourself" but instead probably mean, "This office has five other people on the phone, there is three loud printers going off, a fax machine singing in my ear and a pair of cycling grizzlies, and so it is really hard to hear you when you mumble into your armpit."

Astonishing fact: A customer service rep is not more likely to give you stellar service if you scream about how they are useless and pelt them in the head with your wallet. I know, this is shocking for some.

"Customer is always right" does not mean "Customer has the right to be a raging ass to people who are just trying to make a living to support their family."

Sometimes it is okay to be patient and to accept the fact that maybe even a customer service rep could be having a bad day.

Customer service rep have not downloaded directly into their brain everything there is to know about their job field and may actually either have to say "I don't know" or ask someone else. If you happen to know everything there is about your job field, then I really hope you enjoy your work of picking up dog shit.

It is a job just like you have, and it has its great moments (mortgage money!) and their downsides. You can always help in minimizing the downsides by not being a self entitled walking cup of possum urine.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The Perfect Day To Vote For A Cute Puppy

This blog has been the site for Summit cuteness showcasing for over a year now. But it is high time that the rest of the world realizes how powerful that cuteness really is. You can do that by clicking on this link, and casting a for vote for the bundle of cuteness that is puppy Summit. Why vote for puppy Summit? Because he looks like a fuzzy teddy bear but in dog form. Plus your vote goes toward s a good cause -- feeding mine and my dog's ego. Isn't that what this is all about?

Plus it is a promotion for Bissell vacuum products, and who doesn't love voting in contests sponsored by a vacuum company? It is the one area where sucking is a good thing.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Oh Look, It Is Thursday. . .

And yes, I realize I haven't blogged since Monday.

And no, I was not buried alive by cinnamon hearts or rose petals or Shopper's Drug Mart brand chocolates. Nor was I struck by an arrow from a chubby, naked, flying archer. Nope, I was enjoying a wonderful Valentine's day with the most gorgeous woman ever, but that excuse sort of runs out after midnight hit on the Monday.

But I will blog again. And it won't just be another excuse of why I disappeared. But sometimes, people just need to know that I haven't been buried alive.

Hope your week has been fifty kinds of awesome sauce.

Monday, February 14, 2011

In Addition To My Previous Valentine's Day Thoughts

So, this comic by the Oatmeal basically goes along with my previous post, except with far more funny drawings. You can either laugh and howl at this, or just reread my last post. Whatever.

Happy Valentine's Day, AKA. . .

Happy "You better hope you have someone in your life because your singlehood and loneliness will be magnified by the excessive hyping by media of the importance to throw stacks of money towards consumer outlets in order to properly display your love to your significant other -- which if you're single, you wouldn't have, thus just get to be a spectator that cries acidic tears into your coffee."

Or something like that.

So yeah, Valentine's Day is a complete invention, so that retail stores and restaurants can make oodles of money by making one feel obligated that they need to buy something in order to properly display that they care about someone, and feel even more forced into the situation because they know everyone will be comparing notes the next day on who got the biggest mountain of chocolates, most expensive dinner, and shiniest new item. But you know what, I actually don't see the difference between this 'holiday' and any other holiday that gets a lot less flack (or consumer created traditions like buying a diamond ring to display your commitment). Yes, I realize I can and should let Emily know that I love her every single day. And no, I don't need a specially designated day to buy her special gifts or a take her out for a nice dinner. But I also shouldn't need a special day to buy presents for family members or get together as a family for some delicious turkey or to show appreciation for my country or to remember the veterans who fought for our freedoms. But we do. It doesn't mean you only do those things on those designated days, but rather it is just a special day that is devoted to that particular thing. I don't think there is anything wrong with that.

In the end, for any special day you can choose to plug your ears, close your eyes and hum really loudly until it all goes away, or you can try to make the most out of the day. You can go all anti day or you can just embrace it by trying to show some extra appreciation to someone in your life that you care about. Whatever you decide to do, I hope you have yourself the spiffiest of Mondays.

Friday, February 11, 2011

My Token I Survived The Week Post

Yeah, I realize 2011 has not kicked off to be a stellar year of blogging. But it will get better, I promise. This just happened to be one of those weeks where TGIF just seems like the most appropriate acronym and description possible to cap it all off. I am pretty sure my week would have been more enjoyable if I spent it with an elephant on my lap and orcs tossing spears into my ear. That would have at least given me much more entertaining things to write about on here. Instead, I'm left telling you that you should go scour the archives and check out posts from a time that is not now. There is good stuff in there, I promise. Though you may already know that, because why else do you keep on coming back here. You must remember a time when I blogged about relevant issues, rather than whine about not having large mammals on my lap and mythical creature piercing my body parts. Or you were Googling for the best spices for your chili and happened to be tricked into wandering on in here. Sorry about that, but please leave me some chili. I love that stuff.

Anyway, this week sucked the words right out of me, and I have nothing left. Well, other than to wish you a lovely weekend. So, go have on those, please.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Now, Time For Some Wednesday Thoughts

Despite it being called hump day, there is a major lack of hunchbacks and whales. Or at least, I encountered neither. I did encounter several patients that seemed rather upset that I wouldn't wave a magic wand to make their colds go away or was keeping all the doctors hostage in a closet (or they seemed to believe it was my fault that they couldn't be seen immediately). Between the two options, I think I'd have rather seen the whales. Or write. Yes, I would have definitely preferred to do some of that writing thing. Because apparently, you need to write in order to actually be able to make a lucrative career from writing. Plus this poor little blog of mine has got a bit of the shaft these last few weeks. I do promise that the nutritious and delicious words will be making a comeback. I have some book reviews planned and of course, some great political and non political rants in store.

Though none of that will be tonight. Nope, tonight I sleep. But feel free to share how your day was with me. I'll be listening. Promise. Zzzzz.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

My Tuesday Night Observation

We apparently purchased one of those non-self cleaning desks. It has really allowed itself to become very cluttered with receipts, invoices, bowls, books and dog snack crumbs. If I looked as messy as this desk, then people would likely be throwing quarters and yelling at me to get a job. Which then again, maybe isn't that different from now. Though if I looked like this desk, there would be the added problem of people wanting to lay their laptops and coffees on my head. Though my gargantuan head probably could handle a laptop up there, but definitely no room for that hot double double.

Yes, my day of writing work has fried my brain; why would you ask such a thing?

Even More Raw Wrestling Thoughts

My previous post on Monday Night Raw actually garnered some hits off Google, and I decided to watch again this week since the show was pretty good last time, thus I felt I should throw up another run down of the show. Though this time I was slightly distracted by things like tuna, writing and pretty pictures (basically, the things that get us all), so I wasn't as focused and thus probably missed a lot of things. I also just had a lot harder time getting in this show, which might be partly due to the company (Emily constantly screaming about the fakeness of it all) and partly just by the fact wrestling isn't as engaging as it once was for me.

Vince has an earth shattering announcement: I actually didn't see this, because I was busy trying to make a tuna, mayo and pepper concoction for sandwiches. But the announcers went over it about a hundred more times during the night, just so I was aware that Vince McMahon did grace television viewers with his presence. I was too busy not listening to the announcers going on about why he was there, so I don't actually know. I checked a few real sports websites, and it seems like the WWE is trying to get Aaron Rodgers to appear on the Friday Smackdown show, which is in Green Bay. I am sure you all know by now how much that thrills me and just makes me so giddy to watch that episode (which is be about not at all). Though it also might have been an announcement about some celebrity/sport star appearing at WrestleMania, because they usually like doing that to get mainstream press. No matter what it was about, I am pretty sure I don't care. At one point I might have cared because the plan was for Undertaker to face Brock Lesnar at WrestleMania, but that isn't happening because Lesnar is contracted to UFC, which refuses too allow their fighters to partake in outside activity that could cause injuries. So yeah, I'll just keep on not caring, despite the fact I've written a mountain sized paragraph about my apparent lack of caring.

CM Punk & Nexus Attack Randy Orton: I started watching part way through the verbal exchange between Punk and Orton. Punk was explaining why he cost Orton the title at the Royal Rumble. WWE actually proved they sometimes have a memory by having Punk air a video from 2 years ago where Orton cost Punk his title at the time. I appreciate them coming up with an actual reason for the feud, but the video footage was during a time Punk was the face and Orton was the heel. It really did make Punk come off as sympathetic, which is sort of not what you want out of your top heel. Though luckily, Punk was at his naturally smarmy self and quickly returned to his despicable roots, plus Orton is basically at top babyface status and would take more work to get the fans to go against him. The exchange eventually led to Orton wanting to fight with Punk, but Punk is a coward in charge of a stable of brutes, thus he just had them come in to give Orton a giant gang beatdown. The best part of this was that Orton didn't appear on the show after this attack (opposed to last week where Edge won a match after being hit with a guitar), which allowed the beat down to come off as a big deal. It further cemented the Nexus as the top bad guy threat in the company, and that actually became the theme of this show. After this, CM Punk told his guys that the plan was to hurt the wrestlers in the Elimination Chamber match, in order to increase Punk's odds of winning and getting the WWE title shot at WrestleMania. All in all, an acceptable start to the show and set the tone for what should be expected storyline wise.

Mason Ryan destroys R Truth but loses by DQ:
This was not a pretty match at all. Ryan is a tall and ripped bodybuilder type, and basically, the perfect look of what WWE wants you to believe a wrestler should be. The problem is he is essentially a rookie and about as green as a lime. The bigger problem this match was designed to showcase Ryan, despite the fact he doesn't have much to showcase yet. This caused a dreadful match to sit through. The even worse part is that R Truth was given almost no offense during this match. I understand that you need to have your monster heel destroying wrestlers in order to get him over, but R Truth is one of the participants in the Raw version of the Elimination Chamber, which is supposed to be one of the main events at the Elimination Chamber PPV show. You'd think the goal is to keep your wrestlers strong who are scheduled in the upcoming main event, so that fans think that any of the six have a chance to win the match, Instead, R Truth came off as a total throwaway guy, and even worse, is that no one would have given him a chance before this. The goal should have been to build him, but instead, he is now in a worse spot. Though it did make Ryan look like a monster, and I can tell the goal is to elevate him (it just should have been against another opponent). Anyway, Ryan kept on beating up Truth after the match, so the ref reversed his decision giving an unconscious Truth the meaningless win.

Gail Kim, Eve Torres & Tamina beat Melina & the Bella Twins: Or at least, I think it was Tamina who was on the face side. I also don't think she even entered into the match. Basically, the story was that Natayala was doing commentary and talking about her upcoming match next week against Eve for the Diva title. So, at least WWE corrected last week's wrong, and had Natayala actually want to win her title back. Kim also kept her issues with the Bella Twins by brawling with them on the outside while Torres pinned Melina for the win. Poor Melina was once one of the top women wrestlers, but now she gets to be the designated job girl. The Bellas also still are about as bad in the ring as they are pretty outside of the ring, for the record. This match was basically just a way to announce the title match for next week, and to make me wish they'd wrap up the stupid Kim vs. Bella storyline (and make me hope Kim finally gets something worthwhile).

John Morrison defeated Michael McGillicutty: I didn't mention this last week, but McGillicutty is the son of the late, great Mr Perfect Curt Hennig. So obviously, the geniuses at WWE wanted to give him a name that has nothing to do with his father, because being associated with a wrestling legend would only help in getting you over. As for the match, it was pretty tight and both guys produced solid work. McGillicutty is still pretty young in his career, but nowhere near as green and rough as Ryan. Morrison is really hot right now with the crowd, and has a lot of high flying moves that keep people in the match. For the most part, it was an entertaining match, and showcased the skills of Morrison (while still making McGillicutty look relatively good). Match ended with Morrision pinning Mr. Perfect's son (I got tired of typing that awful name) with a move called the Starship Pain, which is a springboard off the top rope into a spinning moonsault. After the match, Punk came out to spray something in Morrison's eyes in order to 'injure' yet another wrestler that is supposed to be in the Chamber match. This time it worked though, because Morrison was kept strong in the match but the attack helped push the storyline of Punk wanting everyone weak going into the Chamber.

Jerry 'The King' Lawler gets in a kerfuffle with The Miz: The segment starts with Miz promising he was going to come out to congratulate Lawler on winning the number one contendership for the WWE title last week. Of course, Miz does it in such a backhanded way and insults Jerry instead. This leads to a back and forth verbal exchange, which is far more entertaining than usual because Lawler has amazing wrestling instincts thanks to being a headliner for over 30 years. I realize the prospect of a 60 plus guy getting a world title shot may not normally be very appealing, but Lawler is amazing on the mic and really knows how to get angles across. Right now, the fan are so into him and the heat for Lawler is incredibly. The audience really wants to see Lawler win the title. Besides, the two Elimination Chambers are really the selling point of the next PPV (hence the name), and so WWE isn't really relying on this match to be what draws the buy rates. I think, it is a great storyline for a one moth deal or so, and plus it can be Lawler's last big hurrah (and hopefully, gets him his first match ever at WrestleMania). Anyway, this segment ends with Miz attacking Lawler and Ted Dibiase coming coming out to help Miz. Then, this leads to Daniel Bryan coming to the rescue for Lawler. In the world of wrestling, this of course means that the four must now partake in a impromptu tag team match.

Jerry Lawler & Daniel Bryan defeat Ted Dibiase & Miz: Really fun match since the crowd was really into it, and all the guys are good workers (even the 60 plus Lawler). I was also glad that the Dibiase angle from last week wasn't forgotten, and it made sense he'd want revenge this week. Though that doesn't explain why Maryse was back out this week with him, since she slapped him and allowed him to get punched by Lawler (I don't even think her involvement was acknowledged this week). The match got a lot of time, and each guy had their moments to showcase their moves, which is all you can ask for. In the end, Lawler got the pin by hitting Dibiase with a fist drop off the ropes (a move that got a ridiculously loud pop from the crowd). Lawler remains strong, without getting full revenge on Miz, which is exactly what you want to do in the build up towards their title match.

Sheamus went to no contest with David Otunga:
Sheamus came out insulting Mark Henry for never winning the world title despite being in the company for 15 years. He also threw in some fat jokes. This lead Henry to coming out and brawling with Sheamus. Henry ended up getting the better of Sheamus and laying him out with a powerslam. Otunga then stood over the fallen Sheamus, and raised his fist for the apparent victory he earned for doing nothing. The screen then cut to the back to show the Nexus laughing over what happened, which left you with the impression they manipulated the situation so that Sheamus (another Chamber entrant) got beat up. I understand they didn't want Otunga to actually wrestle Sheamus or be the one to cause the injury since it would put sympathy on Sheamus (who is also a heel). I also realize this angle shows that Nexus are evil manipulators (even though, Henry's attack seemed to be more because Sheamus insulted him out of nowhere before the match). The problem is that Sheamus ended up coming off looking really weak by being destroyed by Henry, who isn't even scheduled for the PPV. Sheamus is a former world champion and a guys they want in the main event, but this whole angle made him look pretty weak and didn't really help anyone in the long term (since WWE never ends up doing anything with Henry anyway).

Alberto Del Rios beats Santino Marella: This match was designed to get Rios on TV and continue to build momentum for his match at WrestleMania. Though Marella isn't really the most credible opponent, but he is super over with the fans. Rios got more heat by beating a fan faovurite and gets more exposure by being on the most watched of the WWE shows. All in all, it was a decent enough segment for what they wanted to accomplish, and it remained entertaining since the fans are so into Marella (and beginning to dislike Rios, which is the purpose).

John Cena, Vicki Guerrero and Dolph Ziggler waste my time: I assume the purpose of this segment was to get Vicki and Ziggler more time on TV and try to elevate Ziggler into the main event scene based off exposure. I realize you are supposed to help elevate a guy by pairing him up with established main eventers. This segment did not help Ziggler at all. Cena just insulted the heels and the whole things didn't really lead to anything. Basically, the heels ended up coming off bad, and the segment was pointless unless this eventually goes somewhere (but considering everyone involved has other feuds, I am assuming it doesn't). Unfortunately, I think this actually hurt Ziggler and it was a pretty annoying and stupid segment on top of that.

CM Punk defeated Cena by DQ:
The main event just added to may annoyance. The actual match was fine and both guys have good chemistry with each other. The problem is that this match ruined all the build the show was trying create. Cena lost after low blowing Punk for no identifiable reason. This then brought out the rest of Nexus to attack and injure Cena (like they had been doing all night). Lawler then gave Cena a chair and he was able to beat off the entire group by himself and stand truimphantly in the ring to end the show. I understand the value in having a happy ending, but this segment ended up protecting the last person who needed it. Cena is an established main eventer and essentially is bullet proof at this point. Nexus is a group that they are trying to get over as the top heel group, but only has one established main eventer, CM Punk (even Punk is no where as established as Cena). Yet Cena is able to take out the whole group by himself with a chair. Nexus failed in injuring every guy in the Chamber match, because they couldn't harm Cena. I really think, this was a case where Nexus needed that rub by being able to follow through on their threat and lay out Cena to end the show. It would have helped making them look like an unstoppable force that they need to be perceived as. The worse part is, Mason destroyed Truth earlier in the show to come off as a monster heel, but was easily knocked down by a single chair shot to end the show. Essentially, the previous work in that match was completely negated by the end of the night because Mason Ryan just looked like the rest of the schmucks in Nexus rather than an unbeatable giant (so the previous match only served to bury Truth rather than elevate Ryan). Nexus failed their task, and Cena proved he was better than all of them. So, what is the reason for tuning in the next week? Oh well, the kids were happy.

Final Thoughts: I think this show hurt the momentum they gained from last week, and definitely ended up being a small pothole on the "Road to WrestleMania." It sacrificed certain wrestlers that are scheduled for a main event, in order to get over a top heel group but then made that group look like pansies by the end of the night. It seemed like a pretty counter productive show. Plus some of these guys on Nexus just aren't ready for single matches, and should be protected in tag team affairs. Some of the wrestling was decent and the Lawler-Miz build is still strong and they seem to be doing a decent job at building up Rios. Hopefully, they can get some of their other wrestlers over and also produce the kind of matches that makes people want to tune in (and get excited about WrestleMania). I now likely won't bother checking out next week (though considering it falls on Valentine's Day, it probably didn't have a good chance of being watched even if this week got me excited). My final verdict is the Super Bowl was a far more entertaining television program, between two shows that had rather disappointing endings (yeah, still not over it).

Monday, February 07, 2011

Great Super Bowl; Horrific Ending

I said on FaceBook and Twitter, "The Super Bowl was like Ol' Yeller, it was fun to watch but the ending was sad." I have never been a Steelers fan, but last night I definitely wanted to see the Packers lose (which meant Steelers had to win). I did really enjoy the game, and I can appreciate the skills of the Packers, but as a Bears fan, I am incapable of cheering for the Packers. Though that is no different than a Packers fan not being willing to root for the Bears. That is just how it goes when two teams wage a sports rivalry against each other. As for a Super Bowl, it was a great several hours of enjoyable football, but I think I'll be avoiding the mall for a bit so I don't have to see the Packers championship paraphernalia. As I've said before, there is far too may Packers fans in this little city of mine. Oh well, no place can be perfect.

I do like the trails and proximity to nature that this city provides. It allows for a fantastic time for hiking and when you can find a hill, tobogganing. Those were exactly the things we decided to do after work today. It was absolutely adorable seeing Summit bound to ever snow pile and gallop up every hill. He had a blast chasing the toboggan down the hill, and most times, actually was able to outrun the speeding sleigh. It was almost fun enough to cause me to forget the pain of my most hated team winning a championship my beloved Bears haven't won since 1986. It was a great time to spend with Emily and Summit, and a nice reminder how wonderful our little piece of the world is.

Hopefully, you were able to have an equally wonderful Monday (which for some is a oxymoron, I know).

Friday, February 04, 2011

The Word Of The Day Is Lethargic

Because that is exactly how you feel after all you can eat sushi. Boy, do I love my sushi, so all I can eat is rather plenty, thank you. Now, my body just wants to slump upon the couch and allow my state of stuffedness gradually control my entire body. And stuffed is exactly what I am, well, along with that already mentioned lethargic. And out of breath too. Because after ramming sushi down my gullet, I decided to run around in the backyard like a maniac with Summit. You see, that is what is called quality time with your dog. It was quality, but it has only added to my current state. The lethargic state, not the stuffed state. I did not eat my dog. Why would I do such a thing when I had oh so much sushi. All I can eat, to be exact.

Well, I'm off to be lethargic now and hope the fullness dissipates before my Chinese feast to celebrate the new lunar year takes place tomorrow. When I will eat so much more food, and none of that will be dog either. Promise.

So, hope you all have a fantastic weekend and joyous Lunar New Year.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Happy (Chinese) Lunar New Year! Enjoy A Reheated Year Old Post

Hey look, the moon has declared it is a new year! So, if your past New Year's Resolution has already suffered a flaming death then you're already given chance number two. If you're not the resolution type then you can enjoy some delicious Asian feast, because any worthwhile holiday needs a feast. The Lunar New Year is a very worthwhile holiday with a deep and joyous history. Don't believe me? Then why don't you read this post that I wrote a year ago in celebration of the Lunar New Year. If you are one that celebrates this holiday then have a fantastic weekend, and if you aren't then this year is a perfect time to start.


10 Unknown (Fictional) Facts About The (Chinese) Lunar New Year

10. Ayn Rand brought Chinese New Year's celebrations to North America, but promoted the idea that the celebration could happen whenever one felt was necessary. Of course, this naturally lead to a Chinese New Year's every single month, which initially sounded like a grand idea. It becamse clear that Rand felt every feast should have a philosophical speech before every single dish (typically, there were 9 courses at the feast). While everyone liked the idea of a feast/celebration that spanned over a week, no one seemed to enjoy a feast that consisted of 5 hours of ranting before being able to have 5 minute of eating a cold plate of lobster or shark fin soup. Needless to say, Rand's vision died rather quickly.

9. Almost everyone loves Chinese New Year's celebrations, but oddly, most find the need to celebrate again about 15 minutes after it is over.

8. W.C. Fields protested the celebration of anything new and instead, promoted the idea of a Chinese Old Year celebration. Though it largely consisted of him getting drunk while only wearing his briefs, and yelling about those 'Damn Kids, walking on my lawn.' So basically, it was like every other day of his life.

7. It actually originated in Poland, and really had nothing to do with the New Year. Instead, it was an opportunity for a bunch of guys to throw stuff at the moon and dress up in their favourite Dragon costumes sewn by their mothers. Despite the longstanding beliefs, these men were not 12 years old, but did think jobs were for suckers and enjoyed making pillow forts in their parents basements. I believe a few of them ended up migrating to a region known as Slum Haus.

6. In 208 BC, a man simply known as Ned left his home on Chinese New Year's with the promise of slaying a fierce dragon, and finally, bringing true peace to his village. Seven months later he returned with a piece of clothing that adorned his upper body with the engraving, 'I Went To Slay the Dragon but All I Got Was This Lousy Piece of Cloth.' The novelty T-Shirt was birthed that legendary day.

5. Despite the fact one would think St. Patrick's Day would be more apropos, this is the only day you can actually find a Leprechaun's pot of gold. Unfortunately, it is actually only a box of cheaply made chocolates, which can often be found at most WallMarts any day of the year, thus not really worth the effort of trying to catch the little fella.

4. Every twentieth Chinese New Year's, there is the all important 'feats of weakness.' It is essentially similar to a 'feats of strength' except the goal is to not be able to lift an object. Participants will start with trying to lift the heaviest objects possible such as a house or mountain then proceed to progressivly lighter objects. Once a person is able to lift an object he/she is eliminated, this event proceeds until only one person remains, who is unable to lift anything. In 1998, it was won by 'Limbless' Larry who defeated 'Atrophy' Andy, when Andy was able to lift a jelly bean. Unfortunately, Andy was put into intensive care after such a grueling(at least, for him) physical act.

3. Kermit the Frog was actually invented during a Chinese New Year's preparation. A craftsman named Charles was attempting to make the most impressive Dragon puppet ever. Unfortunately, his artistic skills were not as strong as his desires to achieve, thus ended up making something resembling a frog. He was publicly ridiculed by many, thus out of shame he threw the frog-like dragon into a nearby dumpster, which happened to be the residence of one Jim Henson. One week later, Henson was able to move to much more luxurious accommodations.

2. The beans served during dessert at a Chinese New Year's feast are actually magical. Unfortunately, the growing of a beanstalk in one's stomach is not the best thing if one's goal is to be healthy and living. Luckily, most people just dump the beans in their pocket when no one is looking, then proceed to flush them down the toilet after excusing themselves. Many sewers are full of lush, green life.

1. If there is a full moon on a Chinese New Year's, a 780 pound Dragon named Lucious emerges from the Atlantic ocean and proceeds to sing show tunes on the little known island of Caspuss. The inhabitants of the island, a lone meerkat and forty seven crabs, merrily dance and have the most exciting day of the year for them -- of course, being secluded on a desert island that sounds like a rare disease, this is not saying much.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Snow Day!!!

After two years of Brantford not comprehending the concept of winter, it finally decided to grace us with an acceptable dumping. It did not end up being the blizzard that the weather networks were threatening, but it was still enough to throw people off to the point of shutting down half the city. My office job was one of the places that decided to opt for that whole closing up shop plan. This meant I had an unexpected day for writing. It also meant that I had some quality time with a shovel, a driveway and snow.

A day like this is appreciated far more by a being that is furry enough to not be affected by the cold, and has a lot of time for play and being covered in snow (which is basically another form of play). And play, my wonderful readers, is exactly what a certain living thing did.

Oh, and as you can see, Summit joined in with me too.

Hope your snow (or mud or dirt or grass or ice or panda) day was equally wonderful.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

My Raw Wrestling Thoughts

The Royal Rumble took placed this past Sunday night, and is known as the big kick off to the WWE's signature event, Wrestlemania. Even though I am now more of a casual viewer of wrestling, I still appreciate the fact that this is the most exciting time period in the WWE. This is the 2 month stretch that WWE typically unloads their top storylines and best build-up in order to be paid off at the showcase event. This year at the Royal Rumble, I learned that a rather fresh name, Alberto Del Rio, won the Royal Rumble match (which is a match involving 40 wrestlers with the winner earning the shot at a world title in the Wrestlemania main event). I was intrigued that the WWE actually went with somebody different rather than the stale main eventers that have been on top for the last 6 or so years. I was also excited to find out that two former favourites returned at the Royal Rumble, Booker T and Diesel. I decided to check out Monday Night Raw this week, and see how they would use the returning stars. The answer ended up being that they didn't use them at all, but the program was still an entertaining kick off on the 'Road to Wrestlemania'. Here is my recap of the show.

Alberto Del Rio Celebration: I actually tuned in a little late, and missed most of Del Rio's celebration. It appears there was a mariachi band and balloons and Mexican cuisine -- so it sounds like a pretty good celebration. By the time I was watching, the company's two world champions (yeah, don't ask) Miz and Edge were not-so-politely trying to find out which title Del Rio was going to challenge for in the Wrestlemania main event. Del Rio decided to give his answer by smashing a guitar on the shoulder of Edge. Which is a perfectly acceptable way to answer when your trying to be the company's top heel. I don't think Del Rio actually is the company's top heel, but the man has amazing facials, excellent charisma and a fantastic gimmick (basically, a wealthy and cocky Mexican who rubs his success in the faces of the American fans -- plus he has his very own ring announcer to introduce him for his matches, which is a genius idea for a bad guy character). WWE now has two months to try to build Del Rio up and really prove he does deserve to be in the main event of the biggest show of the year. It definitely renews some of my faith in WWE that they actually care about creating new stars, and I really hope that the Del Rio experiment pays off. Anyway, as for this segment it ends up with Edge laid out in the ring while a smirking Del Rio taunts Edge as he himself returns to the backstage.

World Tag Team Champions Santino Marella and Vladimir Kozlov beat Husky Harris and Michael McGillicutty to retain titles:
This was a decent match for what it was. I had predicted that Harris and McGillicutty would win the titles because they are part of the top heel group (the Nexus) in the WWE while Marella and Kozlov are more of a comedy team. Maybe I am just behind on the times, but I prefer my champions to have more credibility and come off as actual threats. At the same time, there was quite a pop (cheers) from the crowd when Marella pinned Harris after his Cobra finishing move (a finishing move that is also a bit of a joke but the fans love it). If the fans are into the act, then obviously it makes sense to stick with the champs for a bit even if they are a joke team. The more disheartening part of this match was the post pinfall shenanigans. Randy Orton entered the ring for revenge (the Nexus cost him his title match the night before) and laid out both guys with his move, the RKO. That part I was fine with as any good babyface (good guy) needs his revenge to keep the story going, but my problem was when he punted Husky Harris in the head. You see, the Randy Orton punt to the head is a move that has been built up in WWE canon as something that knocks a wrestler out for months and months. Usually it is used as either a way to give a wrestler some vacation time or to completely write somebody out of storylines. I have a sneaky suspicion that the WWE wants to write Harris out because he doesn't have the preferred WWE look (the man probably likes his pop tarts). I like Harris because he has a unique charisma, can really move in the ring, and he has a look that is actually different from all the other generic body builder types in the promotion. I really hope this doesn't spell the end of Harris. I also can appreciate that the angle does help build towards an eventual WrestleMania match with Orton against CM Punk (the leader of the Nexus).

Jerry Lawler Punches Out Ted Dibiase:
Basically, it is announced that Jerry 'The King" Lawler is one of the participants in tonight's main event, which is a mini 7 man Royal Rumble. The winner will get a shot at Miz and the WWE title at the next PPV event, Elimination Chamber. I do like the storyline of a 60 plus year old veteran getting his final shot at the world title and one last chance in the spotlight. The fans have really been getting behind Lawler's recent attempts to finally get the WWE title. The bigger part of the story is that if Lawler does win the WWE title then he will be guaranteed a spot in Wrestlemania, which is a show he has never wrestled on despite being in the company for 18 years (he usually was the commentator on the show). This caused Ted Dibiase (son of the Million Dollar Man) to come out and tell Lawler that he should give up his spot in the main event to him, because he is younger and more deserving. He thought it was best to prove his point by slapping Lawler, which then caused Lawler to want to give his own feedback in the form of a punch. But Dibiase does the perfectly acceptable heel move of pulling his girlfriend, Maryse, in front of himself as a shield. She doesn't seem to appreciate this as much as I do, and slaps Dibiase instead and stomps away like a spoiled sport. This also allows Lawler to actually deliver his punch to the chin of Dibiase. I do have to say that it was one heck of a punch, and it was either the best fake punch ever or he actually did punch him. Like I said, I like the story of an old timer trying for his last shot at glory, but this whole angle sort of made Dibiase come off as a schmuck. Maybe this will eventually lead to Dibiase trying to get revenge in the future and thus allow him to maintain some credibility.

United States Champion Daniel Bryan beat Tyson Kidd: Bryan is an example of a guy who doesn't quite have the WWE look, but the fans absolutely loved him anyway. Unfortunately, he has never quite had WWE's support thus hasn't been booked in the most favourable way. Bryan is constantly been portrayed as a geek, which sort of makes it hard for fans to want to get behind him (considering enough fans are probably embarrassed by liking a non trendy form of entertainment anyway -- so why cheer for something that is being portrayed even geekier). The guy has slowly been losing momentum and fan support. Despite that, he still had a nice yet quick little match with Tyson Kidd (another talented guy who doesn't get his due because he is small). The after match shenanigans saw two female twins named the Bellas attack Bryan's girlfriend, Gail Kim. Though the Bellas aren't portrayed as actual wrestlers, so Kim made short work of both of them. Apparently, there is rumours that this is supposed to lead to the debut of a women wrestler called Awesome Kong. Hopefully, that is true because Kim and Kong had amazing matches in TNA, and plus if that isn't the case, then I endured watching this horrendous storyline without any satisfying payoff (though, as a wrestling fan, I am sort of used to enduring that over the years).

Vicki Guerrero announces Edge must wrestle Dolph Ziggler in a rematch on Friday Smackdown: Guerrero has such amazing heat with the fans and is definitely one of the top heels. Too bad she isn't a wrestler or that her heat really transfers to her storyline boyfriend, Dolph Ziggler. Anyway, this was to set up a rematch from the Royal Rumble, where Edge defended his title against Ziggler. Though this time the match would be Edge & Kelly v. Dolph and LayCool, but with the stipulation that if Dolph's team wins then he becomes World champion. I really hate when they come up with stupid stipulations like this, because it makes the championships seem so worthless. Though I do appreciate the fact they are using this show to actually try to hype and give fans a reason to tune into the next show. I still won't, but I can appreciate it.

LayCool beat Eve and Natalya: I don't mind women wrestling, but this match was pretty poor. LayCool is a tag team with great personalities and chemistry, but they don't always produce the best matches. This match also didn't really make a lot of sense because Natalya was the women's champion before losing the title to Eve in a four way match (which involved all the participants from this match) at the Royal Rumble. Yet, tonight Natalya seemed to be happy to be Eve's partner and excited that Eve was the new champion. If a fan is to believe that a wrestler's top goal is to be champion and that the titles matter, then shouldn't Natalya shown some frustration or resentment that she is no longer the top women wrestler? I think, they should have found Eve a different partner tonight, because it made titles seem worthless that Natalya didn't even care she was no longer the champ. Anyway, the best part of the match was when Layla cowered away from Natalya and keep trying to hide behind her partner Michelle McCool. Layla plays a great chicken heel, even if the wrestling isn't fantastic.

World Champion Edge defeated WWE Champion Miz: In the old days, if a wrestler was attacked (especially with a guitar) then they would probably be out for at least a few weeks. They definitely would not have wrestled on the show an hour later, and most definitely would not have been able to pin a world champion. It obviously isn't those days anymore. The problem is, this conditions the fan to not care about attack angles because they know it won't really injure their favourite wrestler. The Del Rio angle was a great way to give the guy heat, but if his attack can't even hurt Edge for more than an hour then how are fans supposed to care? It is things like this that cause the audience to not care about angles, and thus hurts the drawing power of future matches. In this match, Edge ended up winning after John Cena distracted the Miz by getting the fans to chant, 'Miz is awful.' It was sort of stupid and not really a face thing to do, but it was 'justified' because Miz caused Cena to be eliminated from the Royal Rumble match the night before. This would be Cena's revenge and continue that storyline, which likely will be paid off at Wrestlemania (which I predict Cena will earn by winning the Elimination Chamber match at the same named event). I can't fault WWE for trying to build up the Wrestlemania matches early, and try to get the fans to anticipate them. Though it would be nice if Miz, as the champion, started to gain some credibility rather than lose matches against supposedly injured wrestlers.

Usos were supposed to wrestle Mark Henry and Great Khali: Instead of a match, they ended up having a dance contest. Yeah, sometimes I wonder why I am a wrestling fan, why do you ask? This was beyond stupid, and I'll say no more about this. I will say that shortly after this they showed a trailer for a WWE produced film starring HHH, which also didn't help my case for being a wrestling fan.

Jerry Lawler wins a Raw Rumble against Sheamus, John Morrison, John Cena, Randy Orton, CM Punk and R Truth: It was pretty predictable that Lawler would win this match, but in this case, that was a good thing. WWE had tried for too long to be unpredictable and it has led them to completely rewriting stories or doing finishes that make no sense in order to shock people. In this case, the logical choice was Lawler because then you can further his storyline and hopefully, it makes Miz a bigger heel when he ruins Lawler's dream at the Elimination Chamber PPV. The match also had a few interesting intertwined storylines. There was the story of Morrison who used his cat like reflexes to avoid being eliminated several times(the rules state wrestler must be thrown over the top rope and have both feet touch the floor to be eliminated from the match). The night before at the Royal Rumble, Morrison pulled off one of the most visually spectacular moves that I've ever seen (which they replayed several times during this telecast). Morrison was knocked out of the ring, but instead of touching the floor, he pulled off a Spiderman like move where he landed and hung on to the ringside barrier, then he jumped up on the barrier where he tight rope walked then leaped on to the ringside steps then entered back into the ring. My writing of this sequence doesn't do this justice and the move was stunning and took amazing ability and timing (probably can be found YouTube). It would have really been easy to mess up and make Morrison look like a geek. Instead, I think it has given him a chance to really become a huge star and maybe finally crack into the main event. They continued Morrison's ability to stave off elimination tonight, where he continually avoided many almost guaranteed eliminations (and the fans really got behind him). The other big storyline of the match was that Punk was afraid of Orton who was seeking revenge, and so Punk hid under the ring before Orton entered the match (wrestlers draw numbers and every 90 seconds another wrestler enters the match based off what they drew). Orton then dragged out Punk, and brought him into the ring to eliminate him, but after the elimination, Orton was distracted thus got eliminated. Punk then escaped, which will cause the fans to beg for the evil doer to get his comeuppance in the future. All these different elements made for a fun match to watch, and yes the finish was predictable but it was also the right one. Predictable isn't always bad, and the fans seemed genuinely happy and shocked that Lawler pulled off the 'upset' win.

Final Thoughts: It was a thoroughly entertaining show, and proof that even during WWE's low times that they pick things up during the 'Road to Wrestlemania.' It looks like they already have plans in place for Wrestlemania, and beginning to build up those storylines. They also seem to be attempting to make new stars with Morrison and Del Rio. The key for WWE's future is getting those wrestlers over, and allowing the main event scene to appear fresh after it has been so stale for so long. Hopefully, they can start making the titles mean something again, and created some stories and angles that allow the fans to get excited for the product. It was definitely a good first start, and it at least got me interested enough to give them a few more looks in the coming weeks.