Saturday, September 10, 2016

In praise of CM Punk

If you don't follow MMA, this entry is probably not for you.

Earlier tonight, CM Punk (the wrestling name of Phil Brooks), a former WWE wrestling superstar, made his UFC debut.  After a long career with WWE, he decided to give real combat sports a shot, signed with the UFC, and started training.  He trained for about a year and a half, part of which time he was injured, and then the UFC booked him a fight with another UFC newcomer.  The newcomer, Mickey Gall, was younger, had won two pro MMA fights, and was a BJJ brown belt.  The MMA world was abuzz with discussion about Punk, and he almost certainly helped the UFC sell a lot of live tickets and PPV buys.

The fight itself proved to be a bit of a sad affair.  Gall took down Punk early in the first round, dominated him, and eventually punched him long enough and hard enough for the ref to stop the fight and Gall to get the TKO.  Punk was never in the fight.

In the octagon post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Punk looked horrible.  His right ear appeared to be on the edge of exploding, and he was clearly badly beaten.  Yet he gave a great interview, praised his opponent, and said how much he had enjoyed getting to fight.

I ended up respecting Punk for trying to achieve what at least appears to be a real dream and for being a class act in defeat.  I don't expect him ever to be a strong MMA fighter, because he's already 37, but I am glad he gave it a go.

We could all do worse than to try to achieve unlikely goals and be gracious if we do not reach them.

Friday, September 9, 2016

Meat Loaf and Angelina Jolie

Another bit of popular culture I had missed was a Meat Loaf music video that starred Angeline Jolie.  That's a duo I would not have guessed had worked together, yet they have, as you can see.

Meat Loaf - Rock And Roll Dreams Come Through from BetaLucho on Vimeo.

What a strange piece of work this is, full of savior imagery and mullets and sidecars.  Odd indeed.

I ran into this bit of triva because Meat Loaf's new album appears late next week.


Thursday, September 8, 2016

On the off chance that I'm not the last person in the world

to see this video, I just have to share the wonderful Christopher Walken dancing to Fatboy Slim's music.

Stay all the way, because it gets weirder (and better) as it goes.

I'm a longtime fan of Walken's work, so I'm both surprised and embarrassed that I'd never before seen this video.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Signs of my age for which I refuse to apologize

I prefer physical books to ebooks.

I want to own my media--CDs, DVDs, Blu-ray discs, physical books, if it's a source of media, I want to own it, not rely on some company letting me rent it or stream it.

For movies, the bigger the screen, the better.  Yes, I can watch films on my phone, but I'd rather sit in front of my enormous TV.

For audio, quality counts.  I do rip music I own, but always to a lossless format (typically, WAV).  I use high-end headphones and high-end speakers.  I care how my music and my films sound.

For video, quality counts.  I have a 4K TV and look forward to more 4K content.  I love high resolution.

I have nothing against people who make other choices, but many of them do seem almost religiously determined to convert me away from physical media and my obsession with quality.

Good luck with that.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016

What bothers you the most about this ad?

I saw it at a gas station complex on the drive back from DragonCon yesterday.

Click the image to see a larger version.

You can certainly make a strong case that the world does not need a maple bacon milkshake, but I would argue that until we try one, we cannot be sure.

You could also argue with conviction that companies do not have to alter every word to include their brand and thus that "milkshake" would have served better than the lamentable "Quikshake."

For me, though, the most annoying aspect of the entire ad is the fact that some marketing genius decided that the word "bacon" just wasn't sexy enough, so, hey, why don't we drop the "o" and put in an apostrophe?  Apostrophe abuse is already rampant in America; must we now add to the problem with constructions that save almost no space?

No, I say.  No.

For those who know me well enough to wonder, no, I did not try it.  Yes, I admit to being tempted, because, hey, maple and bacon and milkshake, but, no, I did not sample this particular concoction.

Monday, September 5, 2016


Getting out of the hotel was tricky.  Getting out of Atlanta was annoying.  Getting out of Charlotte's rush-hour traffic was nearly disastrous, as we came as close to being involved in an eight-car accident as I've ever been.  Yet, our car escaped untouched, and we were shaken but fine, so in the end I can't complain.

The energy and enthusiasm of the tens of thousands of DragonCon attendees is a refreshing reminder of the joy that fans of all aspects of the sf/fantasy genre share.

Sunday, September 4, 2016

More quick hits from another DragonCon day

I awoke unreasonably early on a Sunday morning for a fun brunch at PittyPat's Porch, courtesy of Publisher Toni.  Quite a few Baen writers and staffers ate, talked, and generally had a good time.

After a second tour of the art show, I ultimately decided not to buy any art.  Half a dozen pieces nearly persuaded me to bring them home, but none of them succeeded.

I next toured two more floors of dealers' rooms.  One even contained an arcade area.

I enjoyed one quick game at a Ms. PacMan machine.

Next up was a signing at the booth of The Missing Volume, run by the redoubtable Glennis LeBlanc.  To my happy surprise I signed some books, sold a few, and had some pleasant conversations with fans of the Jon & Lobo series.

After work and rest, dinner took me to Kevin Gillespie's new, second restaurant, Revival, in Decatur.  Wow, is it good!  It and Gunshow are the best of all the Atlanta area restaurants I've tried.

We opted for the family-style dinner, in which each person selects an entree and everyone at the table shares an appetizer and sides.  If you want to know how good Gillespie's chefs are, consider that the salad course was kale, which I despise.

Here's that plate after we finished.

Yes, I had seconds of kale salad!  They used grape seed oil as a dressing, put bits of asiago cheese on top, and included four small peach slices.  Wow, was it good!

The crowds in the Hyatt lobby were smaller than last night's, but the people watching there was still decent.

Over at the Marriott, the crowds were more intense, as usual, but not as huge as last night's.

Tomorrow, I head home.


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