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Fresh starts [Sep. 19th, 2007|09:19 pm]
It's been a while (nearly a month!)... but it's not a good idea to get into all that!

Since I last wrote something in here, it's been pretty hectic. Finally getting rid of a Scottish pain in the arse (after she'd caught herself out good and proper!), starting a podcast (www.wrestling-online.com/ringside), hopping on the Facebook bandwagon, carrying on with book two, and finding a new job.

Yep, it's a totally fresh start. Let's see where things head out from here...
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Bitter, or justified? [Aug. 20th, 2007|08:04 pm]
(Number 1,783 in a series of "blog entries that will bite me in the arse one of these days")

I've literally just found out that an old friend of mine from school got engaged over the weekend. Granted, we've had our fallings out (but were speaking... as of the last time we saw each other a week ago), and there's a fair bit of history as well.

So in that sense, I'm not sure whether to be happy for him, or really offended that I had to find out through another friend from school who I've not seen in almost five years.

It's probably a good idea not to hold my breath for the eventual wedding invitation!
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Day of Innuendos [Jul. 11th, 2007|07:54 pm]
Well, it's been quite the few days at work. Tomorrow, I'm back on that (CENSORED) back office runner job, since management has badly messed up the summer leave. Usually, I'd be happy to be taken off of the transport, but since that's the coolest room in the building now (seriously, it's the middle of July, and the air vents are blowing out HOT AIR. I mean, what the hell is that all about?)

Anyway, where was I? Yeah, I'm back onto the back office runner job tomorrow, which should be fun - buried up to my eyeballs in post, paperwork... and dealing with a buzzer that seems to go off every five minutes. I may need to do some rewiring with that damn thing if it's as annoying as I've been told.

So today was my last day with the living for the best part of a fortnight, and it was better than usual. As much as I moan about the job, I kinda like some of the people I work with, although that isn't me saying "I'm not going to find another job because I like the people I work with!". In a weird way, I'm going to miss the (mostly smutty) conversation that I hardly take part in...

Although today, I really could have done without someone saying "I've seen Ian's long pole". A guy's got a reputation to keep, you know! (that was a reference to some hoover attachment that for some reason is always left in the transport room, and has "become" mine... before you get any ideas!)

- On unrelated notes: FUCK iTUNES! I was forced to download the new one on Sunday after it crashed on me (on the stroke of midnight, no less) - and then rebuild my library because of some incompatibility between 7.2 and 7.3 iTunes. That sucks. But not as much as me having to restore my iPod and copy over 50Gb of music for the third time since Saturday night...

And isn't it weird how stuff intertwines together. A little over a fortnight ago, I'd never even heard of Fragile X. Now, because of a certain wrestler whose name is banned in WWE, I know more than enough about it. And now, one of the supervisors at work (well, technically he's a "floater") is doing a charity bike ride. For the Fragile X Society. And yes, I've sponsored him...
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Orlando Calling [Jul. 9th, 2007|10:20 pm]
Who'd have thought that work would have been so understanding?

After originally being turned down for leave, since I was taking too much time too early in the year, I've now been given the green light to take nine days off next March.

Guess that means I'm off to Orlando next year - the New York band is back together. At least this time, I'll be drinking while "covering" the bloody wrestling!
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Hell Week, June Over [Jun. 30th, 2007|11:06 pm]
How the hell do I write this without sounding like the "emo kids" that I can't stand?

This past week has probably been one of the most difficult ones I've had to endure, at least from an emotional point of view. On Tuesday night, when I wrote the column/"obit" on Chris Benoit, the details were sketchy at best. Some four days later, the story keeps getting more horrific, with the latest details coming out over just how Benoit killed his son.

On Tuesday, I was all for the "separate Chris Benoit the wrestler from Chris Benoit the murderer" - right now, as much as I want to say "yes, he was a great worker", I just can't help but look at the photo above my monitor and want to erase all memory of that man from my mind. Time heals all wounds and that, but this is going to take a long long time.

I don't want to say that I'm done with wrestling - hell, just over a year ago, my book came out (and boy, those flyers are useless now, since Benoit was all over them!), but as of now, I don't think I can handle watching anything at the level of recent WWE shows.

Elsewhere, my week's kinda engulfed by an ear infection that's made me loopy all week (and the Benoit story didn't help at all). Still, it meant I got a day off on Thursday to sleep it off; and give me more chance to apply for other jobs. I've seen where I'm heading in July, and to be perfectly honest, a week going back to being back office runner isn't exactly what I want for my 24th birthday.

For a "hell month", June, on the whole, was great (well, until the 25th) from my perspective. Never before has so little meant so much - with any luck, I'll be able to return the favours. The paths in front of me are clearing up, and one door in particular has been slammed shut, locked, and the key tossed into some particular thorny bushes.

And since we have less than an hour left of today, may as well post this before the time is up: happy birthday Louise!
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Chris Benoit [Jun. 26th, 2007|06:55 pm]
All of a sudden, gripes about work trying to twist your arm mean very little in comparison. Today, I've been in somewhat of a daze - some of it brought on by a cold as well as an ear infection... and the rest of it due to the news I got this morning that made my heart sink like a stone.

I'm not one for emotions, but anyone reading this: whether it's to friends, family, lovers or whatever... anyone who means anything to you, tell them, because you never know when your time on this planet will be over.

And on that note: my first "proper" column in over six months. Another bloody obit:

A little over three years ago, I was among the thousands of lucky fans inside Madison Square Garden, watching on as Chris Benoit and Eddie Guerrero celebrated as World and WWE champions respectively. Fast forward to Monday, June 25, 2007 – some 39 and a half months later – and neither man is with us.

No matter what you think of the man for what he may or may not have done in his personal life, and WWE have started to do their bit by erasing virtually all mentions of Benoit from their website, but now is not the time to speculate over what happened this past weekend.

Like most wrestling fans on this side of "the pond", I found out about Chris Benoit's passing on Tuesday morning, courtesy of a barrage of IMs all with the same headline "RIP Chris Benoit". Having taped Raw, I played the first few moments, and sure enough, what all of those IMs had said was true.

As a wrestling fan, my first encounter with Chris Benoit would have been around 1996, back in the day when he was a part of the Four Horsemen, and into the classic best-of-seven (that really ended up being an eight match) series with Booker T. As the Horsemen disbanded and reformed, Benoit moved into his own faction in August 1999 – The Revolution – comprised of himself, Dean Malenko, Perry Saturn and Shane Douglas, a quartet of WCW wrestlers who were frustrated at their lack of a push.

Life imitated art less than six months after the formation of the Revolution, when Benoit – alongside Malenko, Saturn and Eddie Guerrero – quit WCW, just a day after Benoit had won the WCW title from Sid at the Souled Out PPV in 2000. The World Wrestling Federation came calling for Benoit, as he would eventually get the push that so eluded him during his days in Georgia.

Starting as the Radicalz, Benoit (and company) quickly turned heel on Mick Foley after they lost a series of "tryout matches", instead aligning themselves with Triple H to "get work" in the company. Along the way, Benoit went through several babyface and heel turns, and pick up a hatful of title belts, the first one coming at WrestleMania 2000, pinning Chris Jericho in the first fall of a two-fall, triple threat match to win Kurt Angle's Intercontinental title.

During this time, Benoit would have flirtations with the WWF title, coming close to winning it from the Rock at the Fully Loaded PPV later in 2000, then again at the Unforgiven PPV a few months later. As Benoit was pushed as a serious contender for the World title, the "Rabid Wolverine" seriously injured his neck in a Tables, Ladders and Chairs match – an injury that would keep him on the sidelines for a year.

In that time, the WWE started its roster split, with the injured Benoit being drafted third for SmackDown. It shouldn't be too much of a surprise to note then, that when he returned from injury, it was on Raw, albeit for a few weeks, during which time he aligned himself with Eddie Guerrero, won the Intercontinental title, then lost it back to Raw's Rob Van Dam.

As we headed towards the end of 2002, SmackDown was introducing its version of the tag team titles – a set of titles that were largely contested over by three teams: Los Guerreros, Rey Mysterio and Edge, and the dream team of Kurt Angle and Chris Benoit. Benoit only lifted those titles once with Angle, it was only something to keep him occupied until his next singles push began the following summer, as the United States title was reborn.

Making it all the way to the final, Benoit lost to Eddie Guerrero as the US title suddenly became a secondary concern – Chris had an eye on the big one, as he started to chase after the WWE title that was held by Brock Lesnar. Along the way, Benoit beat some of the biggest grapplers in the WWE, including Lesnar in a non-title match, but his ongoing storyline vendetta with then-SmackDown GM Paul Heyman saw that Benoit would never get a shot at Lesnar or his WWE title. That effectively ended Benoit's career on SmackDown, but we had to wait until he won the Royal Rumble – after starting the match as the first entrant – before he jumped back to Raw to challenge Triple H for his World heavyweight title.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Although Benoit's singles career had fluctuated since losing the World title to Randy Orton at SummerSlam 2004, he was always one of the most respected performers on any WWE card – and could be relied to get a good match out of just about anyone (not called Billy Gunn). It was that aspect of Benoit's wrestling skill that became the driving force behind his recent "draft" to ECW, with the view to him training several of the greener wrestlers on the brand, much in the way that Finlay did with Lashley last year.

Of course, that never happened. Benoit, who was by all reports, set to become the ECW champion (and the only person to hold major singles and tag team gold in WWE, WCW and ECW) at the Vengeance PPV this past weekend. The ill-fated family emergency saw Benoit miss that weekend's house shows in Texas, before the news broke on Monday evening.

As I write this, I'm still in shock: I cannot believe that the man who I idolised as a wrestler for almost a decade has died. I also cannot believe the way in which he left us.

None of us really knew Chris Benoit – the human being. From the comments that have been made since his death, that has become quite clear. The only side that I, and all of us reading this, knew of was "Chris Benoit: the wrestler". While the events surrounding his death will undoubtedly have tarnished his memory among wrestling fans, as far as his work in the ring goes, we're all going to miss him.
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Weekend of the Disappearing Curses [Jun. 3rd, 2007|10:21 pm]
[mood |bouncybouncy]

Well, the jinx is over, I guess. The new PC is finally working - aand wouldn't you know it, it was the same issue as last time. Just a note to anyone else building their own PCs, make sure that 12V lead is pushed all the way in, or you'll have as red as face as I!

Everything's up and running, and given how it wasn't even 10am this morning when I got the new PC booting up, it's been quite the day... hell, it's been quite the weekend.

Without going into any detail, since I'm really not that kind of person, all I'll say is this: it's the little things in life that truly mean the most.

Feeling just about as bouncy as Finlay right now. But please, don't get me started on black midgets... just don't!
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Jinxed it! [Jun. 1st, 2007|08:42 pm]
Fan-bloody-tastic... went to turn on the new PC tonight to set up Vista and all that. Well, it was a good idea in theory: the power supply lit up, and even the front of the case went blue (which is one step further than I got with this one). Even the keyboard was operational...

The only thing is, I couldn't see shit on my monitor. So I swapped it for another one - still no luck. I went to try the DVD drives, and they wouldn't eject... It's either the graphics card, or the PSU - and I'm discounting the latter, since the power lead supplying the DVD drives are also powering the fans, which were spinning.

Guess who's spending Sunday reseating everything inside his PC before panicking?
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Nearly there [May. 31st, 2007|09:54 pm]
Touch wood, this is going to be the last blog entry I'll be writing from this PC. It's had a good run, but I was getting sick of it overheating every time I tried doing anything beyond browsing the internet.

The new rig's actually built, but since I didn't get done til half 8, I didn't fancy staying up til the wee small hours installing Vista and copying everything over. That's being done this weekend, or rather, Friday and Sunday... and most likely Monday night into Tuesday as well.

It's almost the weekend; and even though it's only been a three day week, I'm ready for it. 'tis just a shame that there's no more 3 days weeks for a while now, especially since we're about to start Hell Month, where every man and his dog seems to be on their holidays. Just as well we're getting five new bodies in, you know, to replace the five who are going to be let go in a month's time to "save money"?

Sheer lunacy. Still, everything happens for a reason - as I'll no doubt find out sooner rather than later!
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The week ahead [May. 14th, 2007|11:00 pm]
It's been a while since I've had to keep an eye on children. Especially children with a "real" age of 19 and 23. Knowing me, I'll be the one who needs to get some time off after this week!

Since my hit-count for this blog is now well into three figures every week (seriously, who the hell finds this shit entertaining?), does anyone have any movie recommendations for this coming Friday? All ideas are welcomed...

And finally, a video of former Sunderland man Danny Dichio blotting his copy book on his debut in Toronto last weekend: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aiqY-cdZKk4
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Champions! [May. 6th, 2007|11:29 pm]
Well, that was quite the afternoon... Sunderland were never threatened against Luton, but we were all left wondering just whether or not Preston would stop doing us favours just when we needed one the most.

Come 3pm, we'd won 5-0, and Preston had beaten Birmingham 1-0. Perfect. We're the champions of the Championship again, and we're going back to the Premiership next season. Judging by the bookies, we're not going to go straight back down, which has got to be a bonus.

As if winning the best part of £50 from our promotion and title victory from some free bets wasn't enough of a bonus already!

Thank God tomorrow's a bank holiday, because I can see a lot of Sunderland in the midst of a celebration right now, with a lot of those guys forgetting tonight come the morning.

On some unrelated side notes: Diesel is evil (like Bob Backlund, it kicked my ass quickly), and after seeing the main event for Raw on Monday, I think I may be going in to work on Tuesday - if not for the overtime, then to make myself extra sure that handing my notice in is the right thing to do in the current situation.
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This is me? (survey) [May. 6th, 2007|12:01 am]
Advanced Global Personality Test Results
Extraversion |||||||||| 40%
Stability |||||| 23%
Orderliness |||||||||||||||| 63%
Accommodation |||||||||||||||| 70%
Interdependence |||||||||| 36%
Intellectual |||||||||||| 50%
Mystical |||||| 30%
Artistic |||||| 30%
Religious |||| 16%
Hedonism |||||||||||||| 56%
Materialism |||||||||||||||| 70%
Narcissism |||||||||||| 43%
Adventurousness |||||||||||| 50%
Work ethic |||||||||||||||| 63%
Self absorbed |||||||||||| 43%
Conflict seeking |||||||||||| 50%
Need to dominate |||||||||||| 43%
Romantic |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Avoidant |||||||||||||||| 70%
Anti-authority |||||||||||| 43%
Wealth |||||||||||| 43%
Dependency |||||||||||| 50%
Change averse |||||||||||| 50%
Cautiousness |||||||||||||||||| 76%
Individuality |||||||||||| 43%
Sexuality |||||||||| 36%
Peter pan complex |||||||||||||| 56%
Physical security |||||||||||||||||||| 90%
Physical Fitness |||| 17%
Histrionic |||||||||||| 50%
Paranoia |||||||||||||||| 70%
Vanity |||||| 30%
Hypersensitivity |||||||||||||||||||| 83%
Female cliche |||||| 23%
Take Free Advanced Global Personality Test
personality tests by similarminds.com

Stability results were low which suggests you are very worrying, insecure, emotional, and anxious.

Orderliness results were moderately high which suggests you are, at times, overly organized, reliable, neat, and hard working at the expense of flexibility, efficiency, spontaneity, and fun.

Extraversion results were moderately low which suggests you are reclusive, quiet, unassertive, and secretive.

trait snapshot:
depressed, introverted, neat, needs things to be extremely clean, observer, perfectionist, not self revealing, does not make friends easily, suspicious, irritable, hates large parties, follows the rules, worrying, does not like to stand out, fragile, phobic, submissive, dislikes leadership, cautious, takes precautions, focuses on hidden motives, good at saving money, solitary, familiar with the dark side of life, hard working, emotionally sensitive, prudent, altruistic, heart over mind, unadventurous

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Celebrating, but not too hard [Apr. 29th, 2007|10:47 pm]
[music |Stemm - Face The Pain]

Sunderland are going to be back in the Premiership next season - but I'm not celebrating too much right now. Yeah, it's great to be looking forward to playing against Manchester United and Chelsea instead of Plymouth and Scunthorpe next season, but this is something we've been through too many times before.

Our team needs a lot of strengthening done to it for next season, especially if rumours of a clear-out of sorts are true. But first things worst: we have to win the league before we can really celebrate. Until then, I'll just stick with the Bud Ice!

- And here's the semi-obligatory "emo" bit: even when you prefix bad news with "don't worry", why do I always end up fearing the worst and reverting to type? As much as I've tried to, today's reminded me that my feelings have only been hidden and not lost.
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Limbo Sucks [Apr. 26th, 2007|06:55 pm]
Thank God the week is almost over... for the past few days, I've been a little under the weather, almost in a trance.

Maybe its the comedown after last weekend, but this week has been pretty bland to say the least. I wouldn't mind it as much if I could see things going forward, or even backwards (while I'd be pretty annoyed if that were the case) - but just standing still? Limbo sucks.

For those of you who want to read it, my absurdly long  UFC 70 live report is now online at WrestleMag. Go take a read...
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Still on the Ultimate high [Apr. 22nd, 2007|10:33 pm]
[music |Blur - Song 2]

Alright, so some people are going to call me "sad" for saying this, but last night's UFC show in Manchester was one of the best shows I've been to - perhaps even shading WrestleMania in New York.

Early on Saturday morning/late on Saturday night, one of the BS horoscopes that gets e-mailed to me read something like "today will be the first day of the rest of your life." Well, there sure were some watersheds... including one that's extremely personal (I still would have taken having a tongue stuck out at me, but what can you do?), and one that looking back, is one hell of an achievement for myself.

A full report on the show, and the associated experiences of free catering, the media room, bumping into Gabriel Gonzaga en route back to the dressing rooms, and shaking Dana White's hand will appear on WrestleMag.com sometime after Monday, once I've finished it. So far it's up to 1,000 words, and that's not including any quotes, or the list of "better things to do than watch David Heath vs. Lyoto Machida", which includes wondering why the hell the ring girls' "manager" weighs more than the two of them put together!

And perhaps a few quotes from the press conference attended by the unlikely trio of myself, John Lister and Mo Chatra. Not that any one of us didn't have a right to be there, but given what's been said in the past (mainly from my part), it just seemed totally surreal.

Remind me again, just why was I not overcome by intimidation upon seeing Dana White backstage and going up to him?

I guess I have changed a bit...
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