Saturday, August 27, 2011

UFC 134: Kyle and I pick 'em

We haven't posted any fight picks in over two months, so when Kyle suggested it, I jumped at the idea. This card is loaded with good fights, so it's going to be a joy to watch.

Here are our picks for the preliminary fights that are not on Spike TV or the PPV event, though you can catch them live on the UFC's Facebook page.

Yves Jabouin vs. Ian Loveland

Mark: Loveland is an experienced 135-pounder and a wrestler. Jabouin is making this cut for the first time and a striker. Expect Loveland to be in better shape and able to take down Jabouin and grind out a win, maybe even get a TKO from ground-and-pound.

Kyle: Jabouin's dropping a weight class after losing his first fight in the UFC. Loveland's also coming off a loss, to future 125-lb. champ Joseph Benavidez. In most wrestler-vs.-striker match-ups, I bet on the wrestler, and that goes double if the striker is cutting hard to make a lighter weight class for the first time. Loveland by takedown and grind.

Yuri Alcantara vs. Antonio Carvalho

Mark: Both guys are making their first appearance in the UFC, but Alcantara has fought in the WEC and thus seen a higher level of competition. He has twice as many fights as Carvalho and some serious striking power, so expect Alcantara to win, probably by TKO.

Kyle: Both fighters are tough guys with good records and a mix of KO and submission victories. Alcantara has fought a higher level of competition, though, including a win in the final WEC event over Ricardo Lamas. Alcantara should be able to earn the victory.

Erick Silva vs. Luis Ramos

Mark: Another match in which both guys are new to the UFC. Silva has lost only one fight and had a full training camp. Ramos took the fight on three weeks notice and has six losses. Silva for the win.

Kyle: Silva's 12-1 and hasn't lost in almost four years. Ramos is 19-6 and is taking this fight on three weeks notice. Silva by demolition.

Raphael Assuncao vs. Johnny Eduardo

Mark: Eduardo fought for 15 years before he got this chance to debut in the UFC. Unfortunately, he's not likely to emerge from this one a winner. He's probably a better striker than Assuncao, but on the ground, where all but one of his losses has come, he has no chance.

So, of course, Assuncao will take him down and submit him.

Kyle: Assuncao has struggled in his UFC/WEC career, going 3-3 in both shows combined. But that includes a close fight with former champ Urijah Faber and a split decision loss to the always-tough Diego Nunes. Johnny Eduardo has a much more impressive record over the last couple of years but has faced much weaker competition. This will be Eduardo's first time in the big show. I expect the veteran Assuncao to send him packing back to the local shows.

Paulo Thiago vs. David Mitchell

Mark: Mitchell is one of those guys who goes undefeated until he hits the UFC, runs into a superior class of fighters, and exits the big show quickly. He lost by decision in his debut against Anthony Waldburger, a fighter who's far worse than Thiago in every way.

This one feels like a match that the UFC chose to make sure the home country had a sure win (not that Brazil needed the help). Expect Thiago to dominate Mitchell and ultimately finish him, probably by submission.

Also, expect Mitchell to be without a UFC contract before the end of the week.

Kyle: Paulo Thiago's day job is kicking in doors for BOPE, the special operations police battalion in Brazil. (If you haven't already, watch the excellent movie Elite Squad to better appreciate the sheer badassery involved.) In his time with the UFC, Thiago's fought Martin Kampmann and Diego Sanchez and knocked out Josh Koscheck. David Mitchell, who lost his only previous UFC fight to Anthony Waldburger, doesn't have anything to bring that Paulo Thiago doesn't have a ready answer for. Thiago by domination.

The next two fights are available for free on Spike starting at 8:00 p.m. Eastern time.

Rousimar Palhares vs. Dan Miller

Mark: Poor Dan Miller. He's one of those fighters who's good, quite good, but not good enough to make it out of the pack of middleweights. Palhares is just a little bit better than Miller in almost every facet of the game, and he's probably a great deal stronger. Palhares would love to finish Miller and use this fight to climb in the middleweight rankings, but I don't think he will. Instead, he'll probably grind out a decision and leave Miller looking a great deal worse for wear.

Either way, though, Palhares will take this one.

Kyle: While his brother Jim has been destroying opponents down at lightweight, middleweight Dan Miller has struggled in his UFC career. He's lost decisions to Nate Marquardt, Michael Bisping, Demian Maia, and Chael Sonnen. Palhares also lost to Marquardt but otherwise has had a more impressive run, finishing four of his UFC fights by submission. Palhares is a freakishly strong grappler with good wrestling and jiu jitsu skills. He should be able to take Miller down and control him for the win.

Thiago Tavares vs. Spencer Fisher

Mark: Fisher wants to stand and bang, go for a Fight of the Night bonus, and hope for the best. Tavares wants to lean on Fisher, wear him out, take him down, score some points, and repeat.

Unfortunately for those who want a striking contest, Tavares has the strength and skill to control the fight. Unless Fisher lands a lucky strike and ends it, which I don't see happening, Tavares will impose his will and grind out a decision win.

Tavares in a fight that may send you to the kitchen for early dessert.

Kyle: If there's one thing we can be sure of, it's that this fight will largely take place on the feet. Fisher's a sprawl-and-brawl fighter in the style of Chuck Liddell. He'll try to shrug off Tavares' takedown attempts and throw heavy leather. Tavares is probably a better technical striker, but I think that Fisher has the brawling skills to pull off the upset. Fisher by knockout.

To catch the excellent main card, you'll have to pony up the cash for the PPV or head to a bar or club that's showing it.

Luis Cane vs. Stanislav Nedkov

Mark: This one should be a doozy, as two light heavyweight powerhouses go at it. The undefeated Nedkov could win if he brought a great game plan, had a great camp, and stayed cool in his UFC debut. That's just too many "ifs," however, so expect Cane to wear him down and walk out the winner.

Kyle: Cane is a brutal striker with a UFC record that's a mix of wins and losses but never a dull fight. Nedkov is an undefeated bear of a Bulgarian with a wrestling background and a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu but rudimentary striking skills. Ordinarily, I'd give the grappler the edge, but this is Nedkov's first fight in the UFC, and Cane is a big, big step up in competition for him. Cane by KO.

Ross Pearson vs. Edson Barboza Jr.

Mark: Pearson is a gamer who loves to strike, but Barboza is an undefeated striker with more power, killer kicks, and better skills. This one should not go to decision, but it should go to Barboza in a short and exciting fight.

Kyle: Pearson's an English fighter with good enough hands to earn a 4-1 record in the UFC. The undefeated Barboza is 2-0 in the UFC but has more weapons at his disposal, having finished opponents with punches, a choke, and twice by leg kicks. The last are likely to make all the difference in this fight. Expect Barboza to stay on the outside and punish Pearson's legs to deprive him of mobility before going in for the kill. Barboza by superior Muay Thai.

Brendan Schaub vs. Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira

Mark: Nogueira is one of the sport's heavyweight legends, and after hip surgery he's trying to make his mark again. Schaub, though, is a younger, stronger fighter who's improving rapidly with every bout. The UFC is making this his coming out party, and he will not disappoint them. I expect it to go to decision, though a knockout is possible given how much damage Big Nog has sustained over the years. Either way, Schaub will win and move up the heavyweight ranks.

Kyle: Nogueira's condition is a big question mark. Since losing his last fight to current UFC heavyweight champ Cain Velasquez in February 2010, Nogueira has been out recovering from surgery on both knees and both hips. A year and a half is a long time to be out of competition. Brendan Schaub's a rising star in the UFC, and all four of Schaub's UFC wins have come in the time that Nogueira's been inactive. Schaub's heavily favored in this fight, but I'm betting that Nogueira comes back improved by his surgery. Schaub looked less than impressive in his most recent fight against Mirko "CroCop" Filipovic. I think that even after his layoff, Nogueira's a tougher opponent than CroCop, and I think he's going to take the win.

Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Forrest Griffin

Mark: Most predictions I've read go for Shogun, but I don't buy it. I think Griffin will use a solid game plan and his superior reach, along with some kicks and a willingness to absorb a lot of punishment, to grind out a decision win.

Kyle: The thing with Shogun is that you never know which Shogun is going to show up. Will it be the one who dominated Chuck Liddell and took the belt away from Lyoto Machida? Or will it be the one who was dominated by Forrest Griffin in 2007, struggled against Mark Coleman, and gassed completely against Jon Jones? Griffin has a more consistent work ethic. He's lacking in knockout power, but he has good technique and is a conditioning machine. He won't get tired. He won't quit. And he's just too big for Shogun. Shogun walks around at 205. Griffin walks around at 250 when he's not fighting, and isn't fat at that weight. This is going to look like Shogun's and Griffin's last two fights: Shogun was dominated by the much larger Jon Jones. Griffin dominated the much smaller Rich Franklin. Which is to say, it's going to look like the first Rua/Griffin fight back in 2007. Forrest Griffin for the win.

Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami

Mark: Anderson Silva is one of the two current legitimate candidates for best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. (GSP is the other.) The only question in this fight is how Silva will beat Okami, not if he will. The answer will depend on whether Okami chooses to attack and thus fall into the Spider's web, or hangs back and brings out the taunting, dancing Silva.

Either way, Silva's hand will be up at the end of the match, and he'll be moving on to fight either Dan Henderson or Chael Sonnen.

Kyle: Like Rua and Griffin, Silva and Okami have fought before. In their previous fight, Silva controlled Okami for most of the first round before being taken down late in the round. Silva immediately tied Okami up in his guard and then finished him with an illegal up-kick that looks like it shouldn't even be possible. One second, Silva has both of Okami's legs grapevined, the next second Okami's flat on his back and barely conscious. Nothing about the fight gives a viewer the impression that Okami has any weapons with which to threaten Anderson Silva. He can't land punches. He struggles for takedowns. And when he gets a takedown, he can't do anything with it. Anderson Silva's going to win this because he's just on a different level. From Okami, and from everybody else.

We disagree on only two picks, so the margin of victory won't be much. Tune in tomorrow to see how we fared.

As always, don't rely on us for betting advice!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Conan the Barbarian

He’s big, he’s cut, he’s pissed, and he slays every bad guy he faces. Yeah, he’s Conan. What are you going to do about it?

He doesn’t speak very well, of course, and he has only two expressions: the scowl, and the intense scowl. These don’t serve him very well in the one love scene, but maybe he was sore from all the fighting and just couldn't stop scowling.

His skill with words is a little worse than his facial expression range and will leave you wondering if Schwarzenegger could possibly have been this bad. My memory is that the Governator was actually more articulate, as impossible as that may sound, but that could be wistful recollection. Surely Jason Momoa could not be that bad?

Ron Perlman does his usual sad-eyed job of being the elder warrior, this time Conan’s single-parent dad. When you need a big man to play an old fighter, Ron’s clearly the guy to call.

The plot made about as much sense as you’d expect. First, there’s an unstoppable mask that the bad guy absolutely cannot obtain lest he become an evil god and the world fall to him. Then he gets it, less than a third of the way into the movie, and off he rides.

The voice-over that started the film resumes. Time passes. Conan grows up. The bad guy is now mega-bad, but he’s not a god yet.

It turns out the mask needs some pure blood to activate it--and to bring back the bad guy’s dead sorceress wife in the bargain. The one person with this important pure blood is, of course, the hot female monk. More slaying and a little hanky panky ensues, as Conan and the monk get their rock-bed funk on.

More plot. More slaying.

Conan the Barbarian
is exactly what you'd expect it to be, the second-best genre film (after Fright Night) of the weekend, a B- flick that I still enjoyed because I walked into the theater expecting no more from it. If you do the same, you'll enjoy it, too.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

An alternate perspective:
answers to the Dr. Efficient questions
from a woman who once rented his basement

Warning: The following is an adult entry. If you are underage or simply do not want to read about sex-related topics, stop now.

In an earlier blog post, I issued an open invitation to anyone who would like to provide alternative responses to the questions Dr. Efficient has seen and answered so far. Anyone who wanted to do so would have to start with the questions he answered in his first column and then work her/his way to the present.

One woman stepped up to the challenge: JennieR, hereafter Tigger, debuts in this guest column.

To answer a few questions I've already received since mentioning this debut: Yes, she's real. Yes, she really does have a Tigger tattoo. Yes, she does claim the tattoo isn't actually supposed to be Tigger fucking Pooh. And, yes, she is a friend of Dr. Efficient's and mine.

I must also note that all opinions are those of Tigger.

Why do men obsess so much about the size of their penises? Do they truly get penis envy? And, do they think we really care about the size?

Really, as far as I can tell, they don't. Well, or, only to the extent that it's something else to be competitive about. Which is to say they obsess about the size of their penises to roughly the same extent they obsess over how far they can pee or how much beer they can drink before passing out. Mostly, they just want something to brag about and if they lack both useful skills and completely useless accomplishments but happen to have a big dick, you'll hear more about the size of their penis. Otherwise, you may just hear about how fast they can field strip a rifle.

Likewise, they don't get penis envy. Arguably, it's a girl thing. (Probably it's not even that; Freud was just cracked, and most likely no one gets penis envy.)

Finally, I expect that they do know we care about size. (What they apparently don't realize is that while women do care about size, we don't care to hear about size & bragging reduces rather than increases odds they will be offered the opportunity to do anything with their huge cock.) If you've had some variety in sexual partners, you know you care. If not, you might not be aware. Granted skill matters more, and manual stimulation, oral stimulation, and toys are all good and may be acceptable substitutions. But size, shape, and angle of objects inserted make a difference, so while you may not care much or you may not realize it, to some extent you care. Hopefully, more than you care about how far a man can pee.
Why are men so clueless about what a woman needs in a relationship?
For roughly the same reasons I have no idea how to fix your car, starting with never having seen your car, and ending with having never received instruction on how to fix a car. At all.

Likewise, if I sat down with a mechanic and a manual and finally did learn how to fix your car, it might not enable me to fix anything and everything with an engine.

That said, most men are trainable.

And some men are surprisingly not clueless.

Sadly, most of them have other problems like being gay or being married or being stationed in Afghanistan.
What foods should a man eat/or not eat to make his cum tasty?
It never occurred to me to be concerned about this.

The last man I played with had tasty cum. His diet seemed to consist primarily of coffee, beer, water, lean meats, some vegetables, bread, and the occasional scone (too, whenever I had dessert, some of my dessert). This may have made his cum tasty, or it might have been genetic. Who knows?

I suspect that asking a man to change his diet is a bad idea anyway; it's probably easier to change men. Or, maybe you should just use Listerine or something else that's going to kill your ability to taste anything before blowing a guy if you're really concerned about potential flavor.

As long as you keep sending in questions, Tigger and Dr. Efficient will return soon! Email your queries to me or send them via the Contact page on my site.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Fright Night

I’ve never seen the original film of the same name, so all the expectations I brought to this one came from the trailer and the fact that the director and producers had somehow persuaded Colin Farrell, David Tennant, and Toni Collette to star in it. I entered the theater hoping only for a fun vampire flick with some serious scenery chewing.

I was not disappointed. Colin Farrell played every moment with heavy-handed menace and evil humor, and he made the combination work. Whether warning our young hero to stay away or hypnotizing a new conquest, Farrell was wonderful to watch.

David Tennant began with a darn good impression of Russell Brand and then slowly morphed into a more serious and likable character. Though the character's growth didn’t ring entirely true, Tennant still managed to be fun throughout the film.

Toni Collette accomplished something rare: she became more and more attractive and believable as the movie wore on. The writers didn’t give her much to work with in building her character, the youngish mom, but she overcame the script and delivered the most complete character of the film.

You may have noticed that I haven’t yet mentioned the protagonist and the girlfriend. That’s because both were completely adequate but no more, neither one so good nor so bad that I even remember their names.

With several fun performances and enough good lines that you don’t have to wait too long between them, Fright Night is a solid B vampire movie that fans of the genre are sure to enjoy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Ask Dr. Efficient, the Love Guru:
Dr. Efficient Answers All, #9

Warning: The following is an adult entry. If you are underage or simply do not want to read about sex-related topics, stop now.

All opinions are those of Dr. Efficient.

In Dr. Efficient's ninth guest column, he takes on a question he thought he had already answered and then explores one that leaves him worse for the experience.

As usual, the questions he answers originated with U.S. women who chose to remain anonymous.

[In response to my last column] Uh, Dr. Efficient, am I correct in reading that last answer as: all men (who want me at all) just want me for a fun fuck?

Jesus, am I just talking to myself here? Am I writing these answers in Sanskrit?

Let's take it from the top. Men follow what sociobiologists call a "mixed reproductive strategy." That means that men are, contrary to popular belief, capable of long-term relationships. In our prehistoric past, children with two parents were more likely to survive than children with one parent. It's therefore adaptive for men to settle down, marry, and raise a family with one woman. Most men do exactly that.

It's also adaptive for men to cover their bets by engaging in casual sex with other women before and after marriage. Frequently men engage in casual sex during marriage. As Mark Twain wrote, "many men are goats and can't help committing adultery when they get a chance; whereas there are numbers of men who, by temperament, can keep their purity and let an opportunity go by if the woman lacks in attractiveness." A quarter of men engage in extramarital affairs while married; the rest fantasize about it.

So you're trying to figure out which category your man puts you in. Does he love you for who you are or only because you give him free use of your magic pussy that tastes like Guinness? The answer to this is exactly the same as if you wanted to know: does he love you for who you are or because you let him use your pickup truck? Stop letting him use the truck. Lock that cooter up tight! Demand significant investment of resources as a down payment on your future affections: an expensive ring, or (less traditionally but more practically) a nice flatscreen TV. Just forget that the sexual revolution ever happened and play all the games that women have played with men since the dawn of history. I can't believe that you need a man to tell you this.

But I'm wasting my time. You won't do any of this. You want to know what's going on in that ballsack your man calls a brain, but you lack the resolve you'd need to make to take his measure. You want to have your cock and eat it too.

No, all men don't just want you for a fun fuck. But you have no way of knowing who wants something more. Go have your fun. Like Mae West said, good girls go to heaven, but bad girls go everywhere.

In the making of a porn movie, people, known as fluffers, are employed to keep the actor's penis hard for his scenes. Are there also people that are kept around to keep the women juicy? What lucky bastards get this job?

Thanks a lot for sending me on a scavenger hunt through every disgusting condom- and syringe-filled gutter that the Internet has to offer. The answer to this question was not easy to come by. I have seen things that cannot be unseen. Contemplate, for example, the user reviews for the Mr. Marcus Personal Fluffer sex toy (a Fleshlight alternative!): "The Mr. Marcus Personal Fluffer is made out of the UR3 Skin material which gives it the feeling of real flesh. You will forget you are using a toy after a few strokes of this. I mean you couldn't tell the difference. At the time I ordered my first toy there was a back order so I was only able to purchase the 'Ass'. It comes in 'Pussy' and 'Mouth'."

Anyway, on to your question. Fluffers are, like elevator operators and lamplighters, a profession largely made obsolete by technology. A veteran explains in the rec.arts.movies.erotica FAQ: "If memory serves correctly, 'fluffers' were used more in the days of 8mm loop shoots where the camera rolled all the time to cut down on edit problems (not high-tech stuff then) and fluffers were used so the guys could jump in hard and get the job done."

There are, however, still a few fluffers practicing this ancient and honorable profession. In an interview at Nerve, porn star and occasional fluffer Hunter Skott explains, "Well, fluffers are only used for a gangbang or bukkake [film consisting primarily of facial come shots], not for regular movies. When more than ten guys are on a set, they're going to need that. One girl can only do one guy at a time. You know what I mean?"

Fluffing accidents happen:
Have you ever been too good and accidentally made someone come?
Yeah, that happens a lot, a lot lot.

Do you get blamed for holding up production?
No, not at all. Usually they can stop you, but it feels so good they go with it. So it’s their fault.
Which is why the Adult Video News story on "Buried Alive Bukkake" reports: "Although [Ron] Jeremy warned against cumming with the fluffer, one vacationer, a green shirt wearing guy named Fast Eddie, was poetically red-shirted from the event for dumping a load onto [fluffer Barret] Moore who seemed none too pleased by the surprise."

So are there people that are kept around to keep the women juicy? Hunter Stott says, "I wish. But usually the person you work with will go down there. If he has a problem with wood [getting an erection], that'll usually get him going again." And if not, there's always lube, which has to be cheaper than paying fluffer union wages.

Skott has one last parting bit of wisdom for the reading public.
What do you say to women who don’t like to give oral sex?
Become a lesbian. I know a couple of girls who don't like to give head, and I just can’t understand.
There you have it. I'm off to trepan my skull and pour bleach into my brain.

As long as you keep sending in questions, Dr. Efficient will return soon! Email your queries to me or send them via the Contact page on my site.

Monday, August 22, 2011

On the road again: Renovation (WorldCon), Reno, day 6

A trip home from the West Coast always starts earlier than I like, and today’s was no exception. Aside from the hour at which it began, however, the morning went well, with a smooth checkout, a short cab ride to the airport, and quick and painless passage through check-in and security. The Reno airport even offered free wireless, so I was able to work up to the minute they called us to board.

By using accumulated airline miles I was able to ride in first class on the way home, which was a blessing for my back and for work. The first leg even offered bandwidth, so I was able to stay current on work until we hit DFW.

Airline food, like all other aspects of air travel, has declined greatly in quality in the last few years. Lunch today was a salad with bits of slimy and gummy barbecue chicken on it. Accompanying this treat was a hummus that resembled congealed, molded baby puke. Dessert was a cookie of dubious origin, something brownish, crumbly, and vaguely sweet. Thank goodness Diet Coke and the water they pour come from containers others have prepared.

The day's best food news was that the stay in Dallas was long enough that I could grab a Red Mango parfait. I am, as I’ve noted earlier, one local Red Mango establishment away from being addicted to that stuff.

The next flight did not offer bandwidth, but I was able to work via stored email.

The only non-work time of the flight went to the dinner, compared to which the lunch was haute cuisine. A piece of salmon-like pinkness that I dared not touch sat atop the driest rice I’ve eaten since I tried a few grains of raw rice. The roll was dry desert sand held together with dark magic. The dessert was a cruel joke on cheesecake, a gelatinous mass straight out of the tentacle of a Lovecraftian elder god. Yum.

All that said, I cannot really complain. I had comfortable seats with shoulder room and could work. I made it home only a bit late. My luggage took its turn on the carousel and appeared before me. Asking more from a pair of flights than those things is just being greedy.

At the Reno airport this morning, a fair number of fans were praising the con, noting how well run it was, how well the facilities worked, and what good times they had. Upon reflection, I have to agree. The folks behind the Reno WorldCon did great work and put on one of the better WorldCons I’ve attended. Well done, Reno WorldCon staff and volunteers!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

On the road again: Renovation (WorldCon), Reno, day 5

The morning arrived entirely too early for my taste, as it usually does. After a business meeting, we grabbed some lunch and then attended a panel on The Fisher King. All of the panelists had a lot to contribute on the topic, but none really seemed into it, so it never jelled.

Next up was a very interesting panel on cover design. I gained some insights, which is always nice, and I enjoyed listening to the art-director panelists discuss their work processes.

I passed a little time playing blackjack, made a little more money, and headed out with two others to see Conan the Barbarian. I'll review it more fully later this week.

Work filled the next few hours, then dinner. The food here has been consistently good--not great, but always at least adequate and usually a bit better than that. I have no complaints on that front.

I chatted with Griffin for a while afterward, then headed back to work, pack, and so on.

Tomorrow, the long journey home.


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