Last night I finally finished watching my first UFC event (UFC 159, where Jones v Sonnen was the main event).
That shit was fun! While I’d seen bits here and there, had caught some of the reality show The Ultimate Fighter, seen the poor man’s UFC that is BAMMA, this was my first proper exposure to UFC proper.
For years I tried to talk myself into liking boxing. I could watch highlights but I rarely enjoyed a full fight. Boxing and MMA both have a constant underlying sense of potential danger during a fight, that it could end at any point. But, with boxing, you’ve got a good sense of what that ending could look like. But in UFC the finishing move can be an assortment of things: a simple punch, a takedown and submission, a flurry of elbows that the ref decides can’t be allowed to continue. I don’t know these fighters, their styles, their preferred types of attacks. So perhaps the finish is more expected to those more knowledgeable. All I know is that I could turn away from a fight for a second, and when I turn back everything can have changed. And that’s exciting.
I liked seeing Roy ‘Big Country’ Nelson (who, frankly, looks like a fat redneck) take down the wall of muscle that is Cheick Kongo. I loved watching him celebrate by easily hoisting all of his 18.5 stone onto the side of the cage. He’s like a Hacksaw Jim Duggan for adults.
There’s something grating about Michael Bisping. But goddam that guy can fight (and seemingly never get tired).
Joe Rogan described Steven Siler’s fighting style of holds and grappling as that of “a snake”. Which was exactly what I was thinking at the time. A fascinating fighter.
I already knew that Jon Jones broke his toe, and I’d seen a GIF of it. But to see it live and in HD made me cringe. It was bad enough to see his foot looking like a flipper, but when I realised that his toenail was facing his other toes…well, my own toes are doing a lot of flexing right now. And he still had to sit through an interview with Joe Rogan, who repeatedly mentioned the toe, when I imagine Jones would’ve liked to change the subject.
Ah, Rogan. I started listening to Rogan’s podcast a few months ago when I had little idea of who he was. He’s a good host and you’ve got to respect a guy who’ll record a couple of free two-hour ‘casts a week. But he’s also prone to mentally wander off on tangents, indulge his love of conspiracy theories and run some half-baked thoughts into a conclusion. I never thought he’d be that interesting as a UFC commentator. But he’s great. I’ve got no fighting knowledge whatsoever, in an MMA fight I don’t understand what’s going on 95% of the time. But listening to Rogan I feel like I’d start to pick it up. This is a fast-moving sport, but Rogan has the ability to explain techniques quickly and simply. If I keep watching the fights he commentates on, I might actually start to understand what’s going on down there on the floor (one thing that amazes and confuses me about MMA is that, with two people on the ground, the guy on top isn’t necessarily winning).
So far, the only thing I haven’t liked is the forced ‘rivalries’. I know, it’s easier to promote a fight if there’s a feeling that the fighters hate each other. But it’s so blatantly false, at least at UFC 159. These guys happily shake hands after a fight, and check on each other between rounds. The ‘hatred’ is so obviously false that, even by the end of my first event, I was rolling my eyes at footage of trash talk.
Lebron James steals a cross-court pass and starts a fast break
As he crosses halfcourt, he’s fouled
After the whistle, he dribbles the ball upcourt
He runs past the opponent’s basket, up steps, and into the crowd
He climbs all the way to the executive boxes
He passes security and dribbles into the concourse
He runs around the arena, and re-enters on the other side of the building
He comes out through the tunnel
He talks to his team-mates on the bench
He says Hi to his mum
He stops to take a photograph with fans at courtside
Then he lays the ball in
And Heat fans cheer because they think the basket still counts
Sometimes it’s okay, when commuting, to not read a book or play on your phone.
Sometimes it’s okay to look out the window.
Spoilers until the end of season three
Parkinson’s Law is defined as such:
“Work expands so as to fill the time available for its completion”
When I was a student this term became shorthand for ‘I’m a lazy scumbag’. I’ve got a 500 word essay to do, but it’s not due for six months? I’ll write it the night before it’s due. I’d leave everything until the fear kicked in and I realised I had to do it or it wouldn’t get done. I procrastinated as much as possible, until I couldn’t procrastinate any more.
What does that have to do with the Walking Dead?
Did you see Andrea trying to pick that lock?
For what felt like days she watched Milton gradually turn from geek to biter, taking sooo much time to unlock her handcuffs. She thought she could stop and pity Milton. Any time he grunted she stopped what she was doing to turn and watch in case he became a zombie.
Aren’t women good at multitasking?
She messed about, failing to give her attention to the task at hand: freeing herself. She worked slowly, until she didn’t have time to work slowly any more.
She deserved what she got.
A brief thought, with spoilers up until the end of Season Three.
Season three was significantly better than season two, but the writing remains shaky. Here’s an example of such:
In what I think was the season’s penultimate episode, the Governor tells his crew to kill the rest of Rick’s group, but get Michonne alive. He wants to stick her in his nice new torture chamber.
You see, Michonne really started all this. The Governor was crazy, yes, but that was mostly bubbling under the surface. Then Michonne ‘killed’ the Governor’s zombie daughter. Then stabbed the Governor in the Governor’s eye. So all these attacks, the killing, the massacre of innocents, all this can be traced back to that incident earlier in the season.
And I’d forgotten.
Most of the action in this season stems from that confrontation, and when the Governor said he wanted to torture Michonne, my first thought was ‘Oh, that’s right, she took his eye and killed his daughter. No wonder he’s angry‘. I had forgotten all about that.
A better-written show would have placed subtle reminders of that event throughout the season to add more drama to the Governor and Michonne’s potential confrontation. Foreshadowing is a powerful tool; one the Walking Dead failed to take advantage of
I’m watching an NBA game: Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets. Playing for the Rockets is a chap by the name of Omer Asik. Last season his surname was pronounced ‘ash-sheek’*. This year it appears to be ‘ass-sick’.
This brings, to the brainbits, two questions. One, how do commentators not know the correct way to pronounce a name? Isn’t it as easy as someone just asking the player how to say it? All the data these commentators get on the fly from screens and through earpieces, can’t they have someone write these names out phonetically or tell them the proper pronunciation?
The second, less obvious question: why does the pronunciation only change between seasons? Take the Cleveland Cavaliers forward Anderson Varejao. When I first discovered him catching passes from Lebron James, he was Anderson ‘Var-aes-yo’. The next season, oddly, he became ‘Var-ae-jon’. Then he became ‘Varas-yow’, which seems to be the default now.
This doesn’t seem to be one commentator. Regardless of analyst or network, the pronunciations seem to change every year, as if the NBA provides its own pronunciation rules are the start of every season, but changes some of them every summer.
With all the research that happens behind the scenes of every NBA game, you’d think some of it would involve learning how to say names correctly.
*I’d like to apologise for not knowing the phonetic alphabet
I’ve been writing this blog for over two years now.
It started in late 2010.
And only today did I find out that you can do single-line spacing
as opposed to this
shift+enter moves you down…
as opposed to just pressing ‘enter’…
which moves you down two lines
I wish someone had told me this years ago.
I wish I wasn’t so stupid
The name of this album has always annoyed me. Tongue n’ Cheek. n’ means ‘and’. So what Mr Rascal’s album name actually means is Tongue and Cheek.
Dizzee Rascal’s album name is just a list of some body parts
Earlier this month my first Quarterly subscription arrived. With Quarterly, you sign up to a particular person’s subscription, and they send you whatever they want, basically, four times a year (every quarter, hence the name). The thought of getting a bundle of random stuff through the post got me all jolly. I signed up for the first of Tim Ferriss’ deliveries. When my parcel arrived my inner-geek reared up, and I couldn’t resist photographing the unboxing.