Monday, December 31, 2012

Cain Brings The Pain At UFC 155!

UFC 155 wasn't the best PPV that I have ever seen, but it was still a decent card.  The last two matches, however, were awesome!  I regret not betting on Cain Velasquez to get my three dollars back, but since I only predicted the winners of two out of the five bouts, I think I will hold off on putting money on matches for now.  Here are my thoughts on each match:

Leben vs. Brunson: I didn't expect much from this fight and wasn't disappointed.  Brunson dominated Leben with better wrestling in Round 1 and gassed in Round 2, which I though was pretty even.  In Round 3, they traded back and forth, but Brunson managed to secure the decision with another takedown.  It's nice to see a Strikeforce guy do well in his UFC debut for a change, because the other two guys whom I've seen come over from Strikeforce got smashed in their first fights.  Antonio "Big Foot" Silva and Shane Del Rosario got crushed in their UFC debuts, so I'm a little skeptical every time a Strikeforce guy comes over.  That being said, Strikeforce also had Dan Henderson, Fabricio Werdum, and Nick Diaz, so they obviously did something right.  As much as I like Alistair Overeem, I'll withhold comment until I hear the results of his next post-fight drug test.

Okami vs. Belcher:  Belcher had early success in their standup exchanges in Round 1, but Okami was just too tough and too strong.  He controlled Belcher with better grappling throughout the rest of the match and easily powered out of "The Talent's" guillotine choke attempts.  It's clear that "Thunder" is going to stay a top-ranked middleweight for the next few years and that his loss to Boetsch was only a minor setback. 

Boetsch vs. Philippou: Boetsch was doing well in Round 1, but then he injured himself and it showed in Rounds 2 and 3 with inferior takedown attempts.  Getting cut open by an accidental headbutt didn't help things.  Philippou clearly took control in Rounds 2 and 3 with ground-and-pound to get a TKO.  I think that this win was due to luck more than anything.  That being said, Philippou showed a lot of class and respect to Boetsch after the match, so I hope that he gets a chance to fight a higher-ranked middleweight to prove me wrong.

Miller vs. Lauzon: Now I see why lightweight is considered by many to be the UFC's most stacked division.  Miller and Lauzon possibly put on the best match of the entire year!  Miller cut Lauzon open with a flurry of elbows and managed to keep control through most of the fight with better striking.  That being said, Lauzon refused to give up, attempted to slam Miller in Round 2 and getting a leg lock, which he was ultimately too tired to keep.  That didn't stop him from attempting two more submissions in Round 3, including another leg lock from a flying scissor kick (similar to Ryo Chonan's submission of Anderson Silva in Pride) and then transitioning to a guillotine choke.  However, there wasn't enough time left on the clock for Miller to submit, so he won the decision.  Due to the skill demonstrated by both of these men, I won't be surprised if either of them get a title shot in the next year or two.

Velasquez vs. Dos Santos: Cain has redeemed himself!  Just as I thought, he was too clever to try to stand with Dos Santos right off the bat again.  He got two takedowns, but after that, Dos Santos managed to stuff all of his other attacks and seemed too quick for him.  However, that all changed when Velasquez rocked Dos Santos with a hard right and followed up with some ground-and-pound in Round 1.  That, combined with the fact that he gassed in Round 2, led to Dos Santos getting a beatdown for the rest of the fight.  I definitely see a third fight between these two in the future, not least because the heavyweight division isn't stacked at all.  The top 5-6 guys are miles above the rest of the division and Daniel Cormier is probably going to drop to light heavyweight so that he won't have to fight Velasquez, who is his teammate on AKA.  If that does happen, I'll be disappointed, because I want to see more talent in the heavyweight pool.  Nonetheless, I'll get over it if he dethrones Jon Jones as the light heavyweight king.  But I digress.  Cain Velasquez is back on top, and I hope that he manages to stay there for a long time!       

Saturday, December 29, 2012

My UFC 155 Predictions

Leben vs. Brunson: Chris Leben is definitely a name and his record looks good at a glance.  That being said, most of his UFC wins aren't against people who are particularly impressive.  Not to mention the fact that he's 32 and most fighters start to go downhill at that age.  I think that Brunson will upset "The Crippler" with a KO in Round 3. 

Winner: Brunson

Okami vs. Belcher: I think that Okami is too tough for Belcher to submit or knock out.  Nonetheless, Belcher seems to improve significantly in every fight, and I think that he has reached the point where he can avenge the loss he suffered at the hands of "Thunder" in 2006.  I believe that "The Talent" will win a unanimous decision through speed and technique.

Winner: Belcher

Boetsch vs. Philippou: Boetsch has the heart and raw power to destroy Philippou.  As long as he doesn't get timid like he did at UFC 149 (which was probably due to the hype surrounding Lombard), I see "The Barbarian" winning by KO in Round 2.

Winner: Boetsch

Miller vs. Lauzon: These two seem evenly matched and it should be an interesting grappling contest.  That being said, I still give a slight edge to Lauzon and believe that he will win this by a split decision.

Winner: Lauzon

Dos Santos vs. Velasquez: I believe that Dos Santos' quick victory over Velasquez the first time was a fluke.  A fluke that cost me three dollars in a bet.  I also think that Velasquez is too smart to try to stand and trade with him again.  I don't think that the champ will go out without a fight, but I do believe that the challenger will keep him on the ground until he can eventually KO him in Round 5.

Winner: Velasquez

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Taking The High Ground In "A Valiant Effort"!

Merry Christmas, everyone!

I typed up seven pages of "A Valiant Effort."  At first, I was really bummed about not being able to continue "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh."  However, after the first page, I got very excited.  After all, my Peace Corps experience was truly unique.  How many people had to get evacuated out of not one, but two different countries?  How many people in Peace Corps managed to survive religious persecution and do the right thing, even when it put their job on the line?  How many people had allies jump out of the woodwork to help them when they needed it the most?  As far as I know, I am the only one.  People will get a lot out of this story, including the key message: no matter how bad your situation is, Jesus can always save you.

Speaking of which, I decided that there was one thing that I was not going to do in my memoir: use it as a means to bash all the people who screwed me over.  Ultimately, doing that would be pointless because:

1) They're not going to read it.
2) Most of the people who do read it won't have any idea who they are.

Not to mention that it will give them attention that they really don't deserve.  Why should I let them take away any more of my life than they already have?  I'm not even going to dignify those people by using their real names.  I will mention what they did, but their actions condemn them more than any insult that I could come up with ever would.  Instead, I'll keep my focus on how Jesus protected me from them and healed me from the hurt that they caused.  After all, ultimately, He is the one Who deserves the glory. 

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Katie Davis Lays The Smackdown For Jesus In Uganda!

Today I finished reading "Kisses From Katie" at Barnes and Noble.  That book is freaking awesome!  Most "Christians" in America just go to church and talk about helping others to make themselves sound more pious and caring than they really are.  Katie Davis actually threw caution to the wind and put her faith into practice.  Relying solely on Jesus Christ, she became a missionary to Uganda with no formal training at all and started a nonprofit called Amazima to send orphans to school.  On top of that, she adopted fourteen children by herself and raised them.  She gave up everything: a college education, her boyfriend, and her cushy life in Tennessee, to help people in a strange country that she had only visited once during a vacation when she was in high school.  She literally picks people up off the street, takes them into her house, feeds them, bathes them, pays their medical expenses, and even picks parasites called scabies off of them.  Reading the book, she comes across as the most humble and selfless person ever.  See what happens when you let Jesus change your life, people?!

I picked up her book at the right time.  I had gotten discouraged in pursuing my life goal and was just going to give up.  However, Jesus has used Katie and her story to breathe new life into me.  I am going to persevere and fulfill my calling, just like she did, relying on Him for my strength.  I hope that one day, my own book, "A Valiant Effort", will inspire others like "Kisses From Katie" has inspired me.   

If you haven't read "Kisses From Katie", yet, read it NOW!  It is FREAKING SWEEEEEEEEET!!!!! 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Bad News And More Bad News

-I wasn't able to finish "King Johnson of Essex" for NaNoWritMo.  No excuses.  I gave myself a deadline and I missed it.

-"Black Swan Origins: Nineveh" has been shelved indefinitely.  This is because I want to complete my Peace Corps Memoir, "A Valiant Effort", to close out the young adult chapter of my life so that I can move on.  I don't like writing nonfiction and never have.  Not to mention the fact that the last nine months of my overseas experience were extremely unpleasant.  However, it is an important story that shows how Christ can rescue someone from the worst possible circumstances, and people need to hear it.  As I grow older, I realize that sometimes I have to do things that I don't like in order to benefit others.  Right now, writing nonfiction is that thing.   I've also suspended work on all other fiction while I complete "A Valiant Effort" and take care of a personal obligation which I cannot ignore any longer.   

-Furthermore, I will cut out all MMA in my life except for the monthly PPVs until I fulfill my personal obligation.  Even then, I may have to miss one or two because I am back in the retail industry and have to work on Saturdays.  I love martial arts, but if I have to chose between paying my bills and a few hours of entertainment during the weekend, I must choose the former.  I will, however, still make predictions on who will win each fight, even though these predictions will not be as detailed.  That being said, if it becomes too much of a distraction as well, I will have to cut out MMA completely.

These decisions all suck, but the reason that I'm in the position that I'm in right now is because I didn't make these sacrifices sooner.  The fact is that nobody lives forever and I don't want to die and realize that I did not fulfill God's purpose in my life because I wasted too much time on secondary issues.  While I would love to have a career as an author, God has instructed me to use my writing talent for an even greater calling.  That calling has to come first.  I also don't want to fulfill my destiny half-heartedly.  I want to complete it with the zeal and passion of an Olympic gold medalist or a UFC champion.  I've seen what they had to give up to live their life's passion and if I have to do the same thing to become the Michael Phelps or the Anderson Silva of my calling, then so be it. 


Sunday, November 18, 2012

My Thoughts On UFC 154

Wow!  I absolutely loved that fight card!  Granted, I had to eat a lot of my words, but it was still a fun night!  Here are my thoughts on each of the matches:

Hominick vs. Garza: Despite Hominick getting busted open early on, the first round seemed pretty even, with Garza almost getting an armbar and Hominick rocking him with a right hand and nailing him on the ground with a knee.  However, in the last two rounds, Garza dominated Hominick with ground-and-pound and easily defended against his omoplata attempts en route to getting the unanimous decison.

Bocek vs. Dos Anjos: Again, I though the first round was even.  Nonetheless, in later rounds, Dos Anjos seized control with numerous takedowns and better striking.  At the end of the third round, he was simply toying with Bocek, who was discouraged and gassed, before getting the decison.

Carmont vs. Lawlor: This is the only fight in which I successfully predicted the winner.  However, this is due to a really poor split decision in favor of Carmont.  Lawlor got two guillotine chokes locked in and controlled most of the fight with better wrestling.  Granted, it wasn't the most exciting match of the night, but I still thought that it was better than a lot of people give it credit for.  The fact is that there is a difference between two closely matched grapplers straining for an advantage and a couple of bums just laying on each other.  I think that the more serious MMA fans will understand that difference.  Then again, I also thought that the judges' would understand the difference between the winner and loser of this match and look how that turned out. 

Hendricks vs. Kampmann:  I was so stunned by Hendricks' flash KO of Kampmann that I did CM Punk's "Go To Sleep" gesture!  I was skeptical of Hendricks at first.  His KO of Jon Fitch was impressive, but he had a lot of trouble with Koscheck (whom I personally thought was the true winner of their UFC on Fox brawl).  For that reason, I didn't think that Hendricks would be more than an elite gatekeeper like Ryan Bader.  That being said, I had to eat those words last night!  I think that Hendricks has earned his title shot and that Dana White should drop the stupid Silva vs. GSP angle.

GSP vs. Condit: This fight was definitely the best match of the night!  Again, I had to eat my words, because GSP looked better than ever and dominated Condit.  That being said, Condit refused to give up, even after his face was split open with an elbow.  He even knocked GSP down with a roundhouse to the head in the third round.  I heard that the champion hasn't been knocked down since he was upset by Matt Serra.  At any rate, Condit had heart and tenacity, but GSP was just on another level, controlling the fight with takedowns and ground-and-pound while being careful to defend against all of Condit's submission attempts from the guard.  GSP even told Condit that he was his toughest opponent so far.  That in and of itself shows just how tough the "Natural Born Killer" was. 

That being said, while GSP has supplanted Matt Hughes as the best welterweight of all time and is probably the third best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, I don't think putting him against Anderson Silva is a superfight.  Silva is much bigger and more innovative and GSP would be a heavy underdog.  If Condit was able to rock him with a roundhouse, how would GSP handle Silva's striking?  Not to mention that GSP hasn't cleaned out his division.  He still has Hendricks and Nick Diaz left.  Silva, on the other hand, only has Weidman and Bisping.  Those two are definitely the top of the heap when it comes to the middleweight division, but are not even in the same stratosphere as Silva when it comes to fighting ability.  So I stand by my belief that the true superfight should be Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones.  They have a more similar build and size than Silva and GSP, not to mention the fact that they are comparable in their raw athleticism and talent.  They are also extremely creative and innovative fighters who aren't afraid to take high risks to put on a show, although Silva overdoes it sometimes.  Come on, Dana! Make it happen! 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My UFC 154 Predictions

Hominick vs. Garza: Hominick KOs Garza in Round 2.

Bocek vs. Dos Anjos: Bocek submits Dos Anjos in Round 3.

Carmont vs. Lawlor: Carmont KOs Lawlor in Round 2.

Kampmann vs. Hendricks: Kampmann wins by split decision after an all-out war.

St-Pierre vs. Condit: Condit wins by unanimous decision. 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Reliving Essex For NaNoWritMo!

Today, I wrote the first two pages of my Essex memoir: "King Johnson of Essex."  I lived in England for 6 months while studying abroad and absolutely loved it!  My brother, Rogelio, is getting married this month and that made me nostalgic, because I met him, Peter, T.J., Kathrine, Dmitry and Tom over a the University of Essex.  It's the one place where I've truly felt at home.  Even when I came back to the college campus in Colchester two years ago, once I got over the fact that all my friends were gone, it still felt like home.  So now, I've decided to commit my memories to paper and temporarily put "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh" on the shelf.  It's about time that people heard about the events that led me to recommit my life to Christ. 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

"La Llorona" Hits Me Between The Eyes!

There are some stories that are so visceral and intense that they grab ahold of your mind and won't let go.  I heard one of these stories from an episode of "Grimm", titled "La Llorona."  The show blew my mind, and is going to be the only modern television show that I am going to follow because most TV is junk.  It also introduced me to a Spanish myth that I want to include in my book series.  In it, a woman named Maria drowns her children in a rage after her husband ditches her, only to regret it later and drown herself as well.  She then haunts rivers and lakes as a malevolent ghost named "La Llorona", which means, "the Weeping Woman."  Late at night, she captures and drowns children.  After doing some digging, I was pleased to find out that "Grimm" was pretty faithful to the myth.  The only real difference is that, in the show, she had three children instead of two, which was a change made for plot-related reasons.  At any rate, the story is still haunting me, which is why I am going to include the myth in my own book series.  Even though my series is biblically-based, I am a huge lover of mythology and include those tales as well.  This one will be used for the most dangerous human character whom I have ever created.  After encountering her, I want my readers to feel the same chills which I was given by the "La Llorona" myth.  Now, obviously, I am going to take some artistic liberty with the tale so that it will fit better into my world.  At the same time, the core, creepy spirit of it will stay the same, so that it will still hit my readers between the eyes!

Friday, October 26, 2012

Ronda Rousey "Submits" Dana White! Women Are Coming To The UFC!

I found out earlier today that Dana White is going to create a women's division in the UFC!  In an article on Sports Illustrated's website (which I saw through a link on Twitter), Dana White said that he was definitely going to have a women's division.  He was dead set against it until he met Ronda Rousey, the coolest girl in MMA.  She has slowly been changing his mind, even to the point where he put the preview to her match against Sarah Kaufman on UFC's official site.  It seems now that he has finally "submitted", so to speak, and has agreed to bring women into the octagon!  Thank goodness!  I thought he was going to make us wait until he had a 115 lbs. division, a 105 lbs. division, a super heavyweight division, and a bunch of other divisions which we don't need.  Although, now that I think about it, a super heavyweight division would be kind of cool (Tubby thunder!!!!).  But I digress.  Women are coming to the UFC!  I know everyone is demanding a Rousey-Santos superfight, but I personally think that, without the drugs, Santos is doomed.  What I am more interested in seeing is a "Battle of the Olympians."  In other words, I want to see Rousey go toe-to-toe with Sara McMann!  Sara will probably have to earn a couple of more wins before that happens, but, as an Olympic silver medalist in wrestling, I think that she can pull it off.  At any rate, I am glad that I will finally be able to see the fairer sex open up a can of whoop-tushy in the cage without having to buy premium cable. 

You can read the article for yourself below:

Saturday, October 20, 2012

More Setting Details...

I decided to also hunt through my "Tales of Nineveh" drafts, to see if there are any locales which belong in "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh."  There are 31 total, one for each day of January.  I just finished going through Story 7 today.  I can't wait until I am done so that I can draw the map.  I've toyed with the idea of having the events of the novel reflect an MMA fight, since the school is going to be in the shape of an octagon.  However, I decided that that would be going a bit overboard.  I do, however, need to have a dueling arena for the boys.  I have developed a place where the girls fight to the death to settle personal scores and since this is an extremely patriarchal society, the boys need to have one, too.  I will create one for them as soon as I finish compiling what I already have. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Jones Vs. Sonnen For TUF Season 17?!

Looks like I can't call the light heavyweight champ "Chicken Bones" Jones anymore!  I just read an article on which says that he and Chael Sonnen will be opposing coaches on the next season of "The Ultimate Fighter."  At the end, they will fight for the title.  I want to say that I am freaking stoked for this!  At the same time, there are some drawbacks:

1) Sonnen has not done enough to earn this opportunity, so it cheapens the light heavyweight title.  The UFC 151 situation was different.  Sonnen deserved a shot because he was the only one willing to take it.  Everyone else got their turn in line, so to speak, and wimped out at the prospect of fighting the No. 2 pound-for-pound fighter in the world.  He became the man for the job because he was the only man willing to do it.  However, at this point, to shove him to the front of the line before the winners of Henderson vs. Machida and Shogun vs. Gustafsson doesn't make much sense, other than as a "thank you" for being a company man. 

2)  Sonnen is going to be rusty as heck coming in to this fight, since he is not going to have his December match against Forrest Griffin.  The match would have not only kept him sharp, but would also be a confidence booster if he managed to avenge his previous loss to the former light heavyweight champ.  Ring rust is not something that you want against a man of Jon Jones' caliber. 

On the one hand, there are some major pros to this decision:

1) Jon Jones gets to redeem himself in the eyes of the fans.  This is good because, once Anderson Silva retires, he's the one who's going to be carrying the torch. 

2) The UFC will make a ton of money because this match has a built-in, WWE-esque storyline.  The fallen hero, Jon Jones, who had his name dragged through the mud because of the UFC 151 cancellation, gets to regain his honor by fighting the biggest MMA villain of all time.  Also, Sonnen, the man who almost beat Anderson Silva, gets one final chance to prove that he can earn UFC gold before he succumbs to every fighter's nemesis: age. 

3) People will actually start watching "The Ultimate Fighter" again.  Nelson and Carwin simply don't have the same kind of star appeal that Jones and Sonnen have. 

In other words, this is a high-risk move by Dana White that can either blow up in his face, or take the UFC to new heights.  Either way, I can't wait to see what happens!

You can read more about this turn of events at the link below:

Sunday, October 14, 2012

My Thoughts On UFC 153

Wow!  Last night was freaking awesome!  We saw five fighters establish dominance in two rounds or less and a battle of wills between a grizzled veteran and a young lion.  I also correctly predicted the winners of five out of the six fights, so my gut instincts, while not perfect, are very good.  Here are my thoughts on each fight:

Maia vs. Story:  Maia managed to take Story down in the first round and submitted him with a nasty rear naked choke against the cage.  I'm glad that Story tapped because when blood dripped from his nose, I was worried that he would get permanently injured.

Davis vs. Prado:  Davis dominated Prado in Round 1 with several takedowns and in Round 2, managed to transition from an arm-triangle attempt into a wonderful (pun intended) anaconda choke with a gator roll.  I hope that he gets another crack at one of the top ten light heavyweights after this.

Fitch vs. Silva:  Fitch controlled most of the fight early with superior grappling.  In the second round, Erick Silva caught him with a deep rear naked choke and I thought that Fitch was finished.  However, the veteran managed to tough it out and get an armbar, which Silva escaped.  He caught Silva in a rear naked choke of his own and survived a guillotine choke.  In the end, it was his heart that won out.  In Round 3, he broke Silva's will with ground-and-pound.  The fight should have been stopped because Silva wasn't defending himself intelligently.  He was just covering himself with his arms and trying not to die, basically.  Nonetheless, it was a great match and Fitch proved that he is still one of the toughest welterweights around, giving the young lion the learning experience of his life.   

Texiera vs. Maldonado: Texiera dropped Maldonado with a left in Round 1 and dominated him on the ground with calculated punches and elbows.  He went for an arm-triangle but Maldonado defended against it.  Maldonado managed to get up and stunned Glover with a left hook, but he had already taken too much damage.  His face looked like someone had taken a hammer to it.  Thankfully, the doctor stopped it at the end of Round 2, but you got to give it to Maldonado.  He not only asked for this fight, but refused to give up.  Glover was very impressive and is clearly a force to be reckoned with.  He deserves a match with a top ten light heavyweight.  Hopefully, that test will come in the form of his original opponent: Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

Noguiera vs. Herman: Minotauro made a great UFC comeback, submitting Herman with an armbar in Round 2.  He took him down, sink it in deep, and rolled with Herman when he tried to roll out of it.  I doubt that Minotauro will become a champion again, but I can see him being a top five heavyweight for the next two years and hope that he gets a third crack at his rival, Frank Mir.  At any rate, I have definitely become a serious Minotauro Noguiera fan. 

Silva vs. Bonnar: I like Anderson Silva and think he is a funny guy.  That being said, his antics in this fight were a bit much.  When he was up against the cage and Bonnar was hitting him, I thought he was getting hurt.  That was until I noticed the bored look on his face.  I realized that he was just playing with him and was trying to see if he could still dodge Bonnar's blows with his back to the cage to try to challenge himself.  Suffice it to say that he succeeded, pulling matrix-style evastion tactics even after he had allowed himself to be cornered.  As soon as he got tired of clowning around, he smashed Bonnar with a knee to the solar plexus and dropped him. 

I sincerely hope that Silva decides to challenge himself by facing Jon Jones.  Even though he said that he only went up to light heavyweight to save the event and wants to stay at middleweight, I don't see what he has to gain by humiliating outmatched opponents.  I hope that one day, Dana White will finally convince the two greatest MMA fighters to go at it.  For now, I will simply look forward to the Battle of the Strategists: GSP vs. Carlos Condit. 

Saturday, October 13, 2012

UFC 153 Predictions

Sadly, injuries have reduced a blockbuster card to a bunch of fun exhibition bouts.  Nonetheless, I still look forward to watching UFC 153 tonight.  Here are my predictions for what will happen.

Demaian Maia vs. Rick Story: Maia had an impressive welterweight debut against Dong Hyun Kim, not only taking down a judo guy, but injuring him to the point where the fight had to be stopped.  I haven't seen Rick Story fight, but after seeing his record on UFC's official website, he doesn't look particularly impressive.

Winner: Maia by submission in Round 1.

Phil Davis vs. Wagner Prado: Hopefully, an eye poke won't ruin this rematch.  The man known as "Caldeiro" looks tough.  However,  "Mr. Wonderful" has a proven track record in the Octagon, his only loss being to Rashad Evans.  I see his experience being the deciding factor in this fight.

Winner: Davis by unanimous decision.

Jon Fitch vs. Erick Silva:  I personally thought that it was unfair to disqualify Silva for one shot to the back of the head when he was dominating Carlo Prater.  It was clearly an accident and Prater was done long before that.  At any rate, the match showed that he is a force to be reckoned with.  Jon Fitch is a strong contender in the welterweight division, his only recent loss being an upset by Johny Hendricks.  However, I see the veteran getting upset again tonight.

Winner: Silva by KO in Round 2.

Glover Texiera vs. Fabio Maldonado:  Finally, I get to see "the Baker" in action, so that I can figure out why the legendary Mauricio "Shogun" Rua was afraid to fight him.  If he lives up to the hype (and I have the gut feeling that he will), then this should be like watching a lion squish a mouse.

Winner: Texiera by KO in Round 1.

Minotauro Noguiera vs. Dave Herman:  When I first saw Frank Mir snap Minotauro's arm like a toothpick, I thought that the Brazilian heavyweight legend was done.  However, I've now changed my mind about him.  He may not be on the top of the heap anymore, but I think that Minotauro will be able to get one more win under his belt before he finally retires.

Winner: Noguiera by submission in Round 1.

Anderson Silva vs. Stephan Bonnar: The Lion vs. the Mouse Part II!  Okay, so you have the most dominant mixed martial artist alive vs. a guy whose biggest claim to fame is losing to Forrest Griffin seven years ago.  Bonnar certainly has brass balls, but he is truly an American Psycho if he thinks that he can last more than one round against "the Spider."

Winner: Silva by KO in Round 1.

Let's see if I am right!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Slow And Steady Wins The Race

I started a new job a couple of weeks ago, so my writing time has taken a hit.  However, I got back on track today.  I'm still plucking out setting details from my current draft to create a map of the school.  In addition, I will have to consult the short stories I wrote in January, since there are a lot of awesome places I uncover in those tales which deserve to be in "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh."  My goal is to have a map of the school and be done with Version 7.0 by December 1. 

For NaNoWritMo, I am trying to decide whether to edit "Tales of Nineveh" into an anthology or work on a King Arthur novel I've been toying with.  I'm really leaning towards the former, because it will allow me to kill two birds with one stone by creating a book and organizing the backstory of Cassandra, Maxine, "The Executioner", "The Countess", "The Siren", and other key "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh" characters.  Not to mention it will include the appearance of Lambert's archenemy, "The Dark One", who is only alluded to in "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh."  I'll decide by next Saturday which one I will pursue. 

Monday, October 1, 2012

Discovered Cassandra's Fighting Moniker!

While going through my manuscript to get more details about the setting, I got a brilliant idea for Cassandra's fighting moniker.  I had a couple of ideas before, such as "Swan Dagger" and "Aino", but none of them really fit.  The one I gave her actually used to belong to her cousin, but I figured out that it would be a much better fit for Cassandra.  Even though Cassandra is normally very tender-hearted, inside the ring, she is a freaking monster.  The other girls of her class are terrified of fighting her.  The moniker I gave her instantly evokes fear and terror.  I can't wait for my book to be finished and published so that you all can find out what it is. 

That being said, while I did take a break to write that idea down, I realized that it was just distracting me from my goal to get the setting complete.  So as soon as I was done, I went back to the task at hand.  I actually considered hiring an architect to design the school, but I decided that that would be overkill and way too expensive.  I'll just do it on my own and show it to my beta readers to get feedback. 

Monday, September 24, 2012

My Reaction To UFC 152

UFC 152 was FREAKING SWEET!   I haven't seen a card this good since UFC 144.  Here are my thoughts on each match.

Swanson vs. Oliviera: Proof that good boxing is essential to MMA.  Oliviera didn't defend his head properly and paid for it by being rocked in the temple and sent to sleep.  Most MMA fighters have a wrestling or jiu-jitsu background, so more and more often, the guy who comes out on top is the one with the better striking (Velasquez vs. Dos Santos, for example).  This match is more proof that you need to be strong in all aspects of your game and that boxing is an underrated skill set in the UFC.

Hamill vs. Hollett: I honestly thought the fight should have been stopped when Hollett turtled up and didn't do anything for over a minute while Hamill was hammering him after taking his back.  If you are a fighter, you need to try to escape if you are in a bad position, not just cover your head and pray that your opponent stops pounding your head into mush.  Nonetheless, Hamill still got the victory with much better wrestling, so it's a moot point. 

Bisping vs. Stann: I thought this was the most exciting fight of the night.  Bisping really showed off his grappling skills and took Stann by surprise, who seemed to expect "The Count" to stick to his trademark striking game.  Stann hearted it out, but was simply outclassed by a more skilled competitor.  While I don't think Bisping will beat Anderson Silva, I do believe he has earned his title shot.

Johnson vs. Benavidez: This was probably the second best fight of the night.  Benavidez and "Mighty Mouse" were pretty even, Benavidez having better striking and Johnson having better wrestling.  It was really exciting when Benavidez caught Johnson in that guillotine choke and Johnson countered with the attempted leg lock.  Ultimately, Johnson's superior wrestling helped him pull out a razor-thin split decision victory and I really hope this fight will get the smaller weight classes the respect that they deserve.

Belfort vs. Jones:  "The Phenom" put on a valiant effort and I was proud of how well he did against a much younger and stronger opponent.  I went crazy when Belfort got that armbar and nearly submitted Jones in the first round.  Even after the fight, Jones said that he felt his arm pop and that, even though he wasn't going to tap, he expected his arm to break.  Sadly, Jones was simply too young and too strong, able to hold out until Belfort got tired and let go.  Belfort realized that he wasn't going to get anywhere standing and trading with Jones, so he frequently pulled guard and focused on his jiu-jitsu, nearly getting a triangle choke in the second round.  Unfortunately, Jones was saved by the bell before Belfort could get the choke in deep.  In Round Three, Belfort played possum, dropping to the ground after taking a sidekick to the gut by Jones.  You could tell from his smile that the crafty pro wasn't hurt nearly as much as he was acting and that he was trying to get Jones on top of him so that he could pull guard again.  The ploy worked, but Jones is a quick learner.  He figured out Belfort's game plan, getting up and forcing "The Phenom" to stand with him.  In Round Four, Jones pinned Belfort's left arm to the mat with his knee and submitted him with an Americana. 

What can I say?  "Chicken Bones" won fair and square and it cannot be denied that he is basically unstoppable.  The only guy who stands a chance against him is Anderson Silva, who will probably only move up in weight if he is dethroned as the King of the Middleweights (good luck getting THAT to happen).  Glover Texiera, while having a fierce rep, has yet to be fully tested to see if he will be a UFC mainstay or if he will fizzle out after a couple of impressive wins like Houston Alexander.  The Swedish warrior, Alexander "The Mauler" Gustafsson is pretty tough, but the only notable opponent he has beaten is Matt Hamill.  We'll have to see how he does against Shogun before we can really gauge his chances against Jones.  At any rate, Tito Ortiz can pretty much kiss his title defense record goodbye. 

Do I respect Jones after this?  A little.  He did show proper respect to his fallen adversary, saying "to God be the glory" before giving him a hug (Belfort, being a devout Christian himself, agreed).  He still has a long way to go before I would become a fan, but he has taken a step in the right direction. 

Saturday, September 22, 2012

My UFC 152 Predictions

Tonight is going to be freaking awesome.  This is going to be quick, because Jon "Chicken Bones" Jones is a huge draw and I want to arrive in time to get a good seat.  So without further ado, here are my predictions:

Swanson vs. Oliviera: My hunch tells me that Swanson will win by knockout in the second round.

Hamill vs. Hollett: At last, I get to see "The Hammer" in action (his "win" over Jones excluded-what a joke!).  Granted, "The Hulk" looks intimidating, but I see Hamill taking this by decision.

Bisping vs. Stann: I like Brian Stann.  I really do.  However, Bisping is in a whole other league with his striking.  With Chael Sonnen in the light heavyweight division now, "The Count" is easily the top contender in the middleweight division.  Stann will hang in there as long as he can, but I see Bisping knocking him out in the third round.

Benavidez vs. Johnson: This should have been the main event, since it's for the FIRST EVER flyweight champion in the UFC.  Nonetheless, Benavidez and Johnson are probably still going to put on the fight of the night.  I will be rooting for "Mighty Mouse", but I have the feeling that Benavidez is going to win by split decision.

Belfort vs. Jones: David vs. Goliath!  I will be behind Belfort the whole way!  That being said, history suggests that Jones is going to win.  Nonetheless, I am seriously hoping that Belfort will pull the upset and beat Jones by submission!

Monday, September 17, 2012

How Nineveh Academy Would Handle MMA Injuries

I'm starting to think more about how the students of Nineveh Academy will handle injuries.  They can use magic and potions, so they will heal faster than earthlings like us.  That being said, it's not "abra-cadabra, you're good as new in five seconds", either.  Healing from a dislocated joint will probably take them about a week.  Healing from a broken limb would probably take them about a month.  These are only estimates, though.  I will have to talk to some friends in the medical field before I come up with final recovery rates.  Also, the spells and potions used by the school medical staff will probably be heavily rationed.  The top fighting prospects will be waited on hand and foot.  The average student will be left to fend for themselves. 

Since real MMA matches often get cancelled due to injury, the same will happen in Nineveh Academy matches.  Both genders are pushed really hard during training, but for different reasons.  The boys are preparing for war; the girls are preparing for childrearing.  Since the fathers are off on raids all the time, it often falls upon the mothers to ensure that their offspring stay sharp in their martial arts abilities, so the girls get run through the grinder just like their male counterparts.  This results in all sorts of broken bones, dislocated joints, and torn tendons/ligaments.  This is compounded by any injuries that they receive while training in magic or weapons.  Also, since family bragging rights and money are often at stake in these fights, some of these injuries are deliberate.  For that reason, many of these students are very suspicious about their trainers and training partners.  In a championship fight, the participants will probably get a high-powered potion and will be forced to push through it if they are seriously hurt.  That being said, I think I am going to make it so that potions of that magnitude will have serious and permanent side effects.

I haven't perfected it, yet, but there's one thing I know for certain.  Just like in real-life, when matches are cancelled, there will be a lot of belly-aching from furious and rabid fans. 

Thursday, September 13, 2012

All In Favor Of Watching A One-Sided Mauling, Say "Ay"!

I found out earlier today that Anderson Silva and Stephan Bonnar will be headlining UFC 153 now.  I applaud both fighters for stepping up.  At the same time, sending Bonnar to fight Silva is like sending a golden retriever to fight a lion.  You have a guy whose greatest claim to fame is losing to Forest Griffin in "The Ultimate Fighter" Season 1 Finale against the most dominant fighter in UFC history.  Am I still going to watch it?  Yeah, and I'm going to enjoy all thirty seconds of it! 

Texiera vs. Maldonado, on the other hand, is tougher for me to gauge, because I have never seen Maldonado fight.  However, I suspect that "the Baker" will make short work of his new opponent if he continues to live up to all of the hype. 

As far as Noguiera vs. Herman goes, I hate to doubt the resiliency of the legendary Minotauro.  Nonetheless, that was a serious injury that he suffered at the hands of Frank Mir.  At Minotauro's age, it's doubtful that he will be able to rebound from that to take a win against the much younger Herman.  For that reason, I think Minotauro will get mauled in this fight as well.

For more information on these matches, click on the link below:

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Injuries Are Submitting UFC 153

As soon as I discovered that Jose Aldo injured his foot, I felt that the rest of my year had just gone down the toilet. The fact that Rampage got injured as well didn't help matters.  Now that I have calmed down a little bit, I have just accepted the fact that this is a part of MMA.  Sometimes, fighters get injured.  That's the risk that you take when you train eight hours a day. Nonetheless, this is getting a little ridiculous.  There comes a point where you are simply pushing yourself too hard.  I'm not saying that you should give up every time that you stub your toe.  I'm just pointing out the obvious: if you are severely damaging a ligament, muscle, bone, or tendon when you train, then you need to refine your strategy.  Wrecking your car before you go to a race won't make you a NASCAR champion.  In the same way, destroying your body before a match isn't going to make you an MMA champion.  It's merely going to make your entire fight camp a waste of time.  Training smart is just as important as training hard. 

I wish Aldo and Rampage a speedy recovery.  To read more about this tragic turn of events, click on the link below:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

GSP Vs. Silva: My Two Cents

No one can doubt that GSP is one of the greatest pound-for-pound fighters in MMA.  In particular, he is a brilliant strategist.  How many people do you know who can beat a guy like Josh Koscheck with only a jab?  Nonetheless, I think that the probable superfight between him and Anderson Silva is the UFC version of Mayweather vs. Cotto: the best fight that nobody really cares about.

In boxing, everyone wants to see Mayweather vs. Pacquaio.  Likewise, in the UFC, the fight that everyone wants to see is Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones.  Granted, Jones is still taking heat after wimping out of a fight against Chael Sonnen.  Nonetheless, he remains the most dangerous MMA fighter alive other than Anderson Silva, and is probably the only guy who has the raw athleticism that it takes to defeat "the Spider."  I would definitely watch a GSP vs. Silva fight.  However, I personally feel that it would end the same way as Mayweather vs. Cotto.  In that fight, Mayweather was challenged for the first half of the bout, but then he blew past Cotto to get the decision.  Silva would probably do the same thing to GSP. 

At any rate, GSP has yet to make his return, which will be in an undisputed welterweight title match against interim champion Carlos Condit at UFC 154.  Depending upon how well he does against "The Natural Born Killer", I may have to rethink my prediction in what will happen if and when GSP and Silva finally clash. 

Monday, September 10, 2012

Manuscript Paleontology Sucks...

Faith No More's "Midlife Crisis" is a freaking awesome song.  However, it will no longer be Maxine Njalsdottir's UNOFFICIAL theme.  Disciple's "Dear X (You Don't Own Me)" is perfect for her.  Ideally, when my novels become movies, I would like that band to do the whole soundtrack.  That being said, it will be years before my tales become films. 

So far, I have copied and pasted all of the setting information from "Heart of Flesh" and "Daughter of the Seven Seas."  Those details are set in stone, because those two stories are published already.  I have also copied settings from "Nineveh's Apex Predator" and "The First Dunite Citizen."  Neither of those have been published yet, so I will change those setting details if necessary. 

All of this has taught me a valuable lesson: map out the setting BEFORE you write the novel.  Going through manuscripts and digging up setting details like fossils is a pain in the freaking neck!  Rest assured that "My Sister's Keeper", the last novel in the "Black Swan Origins" trilogy, will have multiple maps created before I even consider writing the story.  I refuse to do manuscript paleontology again, except for fun things like characters, subplots, and dialogue.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Version 6.0 of Black Swan Origins: Nineveh Complete!

Earlier tonight, I finished Version 6.0 of my novel.  I'm going to let it rest tomorrow, but I will still be working on the series by drawing maps of Nineveh Academy.  In a homage to the UFC, the school's outer wall is going to be shaped like an octagon.  All of the other major details are going to be saved for when the novel debuts. 

As expected, revising a novel is MUCH harder than revising short stories.  However, it is also MUCH more fun!  I get to explore much more of the universe than I could in only 13-15 pages.  I'm now seeing the setting aspect of my book as an exciting challenge rather than a royal pain in the neck.  I'm going to be creative and up the ante on the monsters, spirits, death traps, artifacts, and the school's lore.  After I get that out of my system, I'll settle down and look at the logistics.  Since this is a fantasy novel, I will have a lot more leeway in that regard.  That being said, the tough thing will be to make sure that everything is consistent and true to my world's rules. 

I have also starting reading "Grimm's Fairy Tales" and "The Arabian Nights" for ideas on how to build my world even further.  Every culture needs its own folklore, and Yangvaad is no different.  I am considering studying Russian as well, so that I can use it as the inspiration for the language spoken in Yangvaad.  I'm no linguist like J.R.R. Tolkien, but it would be a huge benefit to the story if each of the four major nations in this trilogy had its own language.  Georgian (the language of the Eastern European country), Spanish, and Arabic will probably be the influences for the other three nations, although that is not set in stone.   

I believe that "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh" will be ready at Version 10.0.  My goal for that is next September, but my current speed, it will probably be several months earlier.  One thing is certain: when it is complete, it will be my absolute best work.  I can't wait to see how my readers will react to it. 

Frankie Edgar Has Brass Balls!

I was overjoyed to discover that the Aldo vs. Edgar super fight is happening in October!  Basically, Koch got injured and Dana White asked Edgar to sub.  Fortunately for us, "The Answer" manned-up and accepted.  I'm praying that neither one of them gets injured because this fight will be freaking awesome.  That being said, Edgar is at a disadvantage, since he has less than two months to prepare for the King of the Featherweights.  Nonetheless, after the heart he has shown in his fights against Benson Henderson, I've been converted and retract my previous prediction for this dream fight.  I think that, as long as it doesn't go to the judges, Edgar will win, and "The Answer" will join B.J. Penn and Randy Couture as one of those warriors who have held titles in two different divisions. 

You can read more about how this super fight came to pass at the following link:

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Over Halfway Done!

I'm over halfway done with Version 6.0 of  "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh."  It's about twice as good as Version 5.0 and I can't wait to see how it turns out.  The Protector's best friend is growing in leaps and bounds, as well as another character who lacks integrity and courage.  I also added some more information about what the male gangs are doing during the story.  They can't interfere directly due to strict codes of conduct that the students of Nineveh have given themselves, but they still exert a lot of influence.
I'm very strong when it comes to English grammar and spelling.  However, even if I decide to self-publish in an e-book format, I'm still going to have several editors look at it.  Constructive feedback is invaluable because very often, when we spend so much time on our work, we miss some flaws due to the fact that we are so familiar with them that they don't stand out anymore.  A fresh pair of eyes is always beneficial, and if I decide to go the self-publishing route, I will ask the authors whom I've met on Twitter about which editors they recommend.  

Friday, August 24, 2012

Can Belfort Dethrone Jones?

Alright, so for all of you who haven't heard all the chaos going on in the UFC, Machida bowed out of fighting Jones at UFC 152 and now Vitor Belfort will be facing the light heavyweight champion in the main event.  I'm not sure why Sonnen got skipped over, but I've always liked Belfort more.  He has always come across as respectful and kind, and is a genuine Christian.  The only question is whether or not he has what it takes to defeat Jones.  I think that he does.  He's definitely the underdog, but if he works hard and fights smart, he'll be able to pull off the upset and take away the title that Jones no longer deserves to have.  I will be hoping and praying that David defeats Goliath at UFC 152. 

On a side note, I think that Dana White's decision to cancel UFC 151 completely was a bit of an overreaction.  I still look up to the UFC's president and am just as upset at Jones as he is.  That being said, I still think that the other fighters could have put on good matches without Jones.  I'm also curious to know why Jones was even given the option of turning down the match.  If I was the UFC's president, I would have told Jones that if he didn't want to fight, I would take away his belt.  However, I'm sure that Jones will still feel White's wrath one way or another. 

At any rate, I am glad to see that Belfort is getting another title shot.  He has already shown himself to be a better man than Jones and I hope that he puts on the exclamation point by proving that he's the better fighter.  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Jon Jones Needs To Man Up!

I was completely shocked to find out that UFC 151 was cancelled today.  Basically, Dan Henderson injured his knee, and Dana White called and asked other fighters for a sub.  The only one man enough to do it was Chael Sonnen.  However, for some inexplicable reason, Jones turned down the fight!  Seriously?!  What is going on here?  You are the second greatest MMA fighter alive and you duck a perpetual contender in his mid-thirties?  I'm no Chael Sonnen fan, but at least the guy is willing to put his money where his mouth is and take on all comers.  This has caused me to gain a lot of respect for him, especially since, due to the fact that his first light heavyweight fight in YEARS wasn't scheduled until December, he stepped up to challenge one of the most feared champions in the UFC while being at a severe disadvantage.  As far as Jones goes, the guy was starting to grow on me, but after this, not so much.  He needs to learn that to be a true champion, you need more than just talent.  You need maturity, respect, honor, and courage.  None of his actions displayed those traits in this scenario.  Can he regain the respect of the UFC and the fans after this?  Possibly.  But he's really going to have to prove himself after this fiasco.

Check out the first link for the full story.  The second link shows how other fighters reacted to what happened on Twitter.  In particular, take note of what Chael Sonnen and Michael Bisping had to say.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Alright, Ronda, I Tap! I Tap!

After reading about the results of Rousey vs. Kaufman, I discovered that I was dead wrong.  Rousey appears to have completely dominated the veteran Kaufman in 54 seconds.  It looks like she is going to be champion for a while and that Dana White is going to use her to promote the heck out of women's MMA!  Woohoo!  I will never doubt her again (I love my arm too much).  For the results, click the link below.  In the meantime, I'm going to try to make friends who have Showtime so that I can see her matches in the future.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Rousey vs. Kaufman: My Prediction

Unfortunately, I will not be able to see the most important fight in female MMA history because I don't have Showtime and neither Duffy's nor Applebees show Strikeforce fights.  However, I still want to make a prediction.  I love Ronda Rousey and hope that she retains her title, since she is doing a great job of convincing Dana White to give more exposure to women's MMA.  However, deep in my gut, I feel that Kaufman is going to end her undefeated streak.  Kaufman has more experience and has already been submitted via one armbar by Marloes Coenen, so she has probably worked her butt off to protect against that maneuver.  She also has phenomenal striking, and if Rousey gets knocked out before she can grab a hold of her, none of her judo training is going to be particularly helpful.  Rousey is a tough girl, so this will probably last until Round 3.  That being said, I see Kaufman getting the knockout late in that round.

On another note, a lot of Rousey haters think she has gotten an unfair push because she is beautiful.  Is this possible? I suppose.  However, none of her professional fights have lasted more than one round, including her submission of the previous champion Miesha Tate, so that would be a tough case to make.  If she kept getting title shots after consistently losing in championship fights, then you could say that she was getting preferential treatment.  But for now, she is undefeated, so the haters need to quit bellyaching and get a life.  In the meantime, I need to make friends with people who have Showtime while I wait for the glorious day that women can fight in the UFC.

Made It To Chapter 15!

I have made it to Chapter 15 in "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh."  I managed to find a way to put krakens into the story.  In the earlier drafts, I focused on plot and character.  However, in this draft, I am really having some fun by throwing in some monsters and magic.  My proofreaders will let me know if I go too over-the-top, but right now, I am pushing the limit.

Nineveh Academy is supposed to be the most hellish school on the planet, and I am not holding back.  Obviously, I'm not going to be gratuitous.  That being said, the reader is definitely going to wonder how any of these children can survive the spirits, beasts, and the most dangerous monsters within the walls: each other. 

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Becoming A Bleeping Fighter At Nineveh Academy

I've spent the past couple of days figuring out how the fighting system at Nineveh Academy works.  The school has thousands of children, so I needed to create a practical way for the judges and teachers to select and train them for fighting tournaments.  Since these are the elite warriors of the school, the fights aren't free-for-alls like the trials.  There are rules (i.e. no biting, hair-pulling, etc.) to ensure that the cream of the Yangvaadan crop don't get maimed.  Also, the winners of these competitions get rewards which make survival much easier.  That's why there is a lot of corruption, politics, and outright cheating involved, which will be covered in more detail in the novel. 

I also wrote a little bit about Maxine Njalsdottir's notable opponents.  If Nineveh was the UFC, then Maxine would be a female Anderson Silva.  She is THE girl to beat and habitually humiliates all of her foes.  Cassandra would be a female Jon Jones: a young, athletic phenom who no one can figure out.  Will these two clash in their own superfight?  We'll find out soon enough. 

Sunday, August 12, 2012

My Thoughts On UFC 150

Despite one of the worst decisions I have ever witnessed, me and my friend Brandon saw some awesome fights at UFC 150.  Here are my thoughts on each one of the matches.

Lawrence vs. Holloway: To my disbelief, Holloway was able to drop Lawrence with a body shot after stunning him with a knee.  Then he finished him on the ground.  Although I am suspicious about whether the second groin strike to Lawrence was truly an accident, Holloway is clearly someone whom I underestimated.

Okami vs. Roberts: I am so glad that referees are allowed to declare a bout over via TKO if a fighter is unable to intelligently defend himself.  Otherwise, Okami would have been hitting Roberts' arms all night.  Let's face it: when you are just lying on the ground and not even trying to escape the beating that you are getting, you've basically given up, and that's what Roberts did here.   

Shields vs. Herman: Herman showed a lot of heart in this three-round grappling war, but Shields simply had more skill.  The announcers said that Shields claimed that we hadn't seen "the real Jake Shields" before this bout.  It seems that "the real Jake Shields" didn't come out last night, either.  I didn't see anything to suggest that the former Strikeforce champion would become more than an elite gatekeeper in the middleweight division.  To be fair, though, this was a debut at a higher weight class, so things might change.

Cerrone vs. Guillard: Cerrone weathered an early storm by Guillard and smashed Guillard with a right hand after missing with a high kick.  After making Guillard go to sleep with that fantastic knockout, I wouldn't be surprised if Cerrone earns a title shot next year.

Edgar vs. Henderson: Easily the best fight of the night, Edgar and Henderson had an all-out war that was even more brutal than their first encounter.  It included Edgar surviving another guillotine choke and Henderson powering out of two strong front choke attempts.  However, that split decision in favor of Henderson was complete bullcrap!  Edgar knocked Henderson off his feet twice in addition to holding him in those chokes, and their striking was pretty even.  However, I understand why Dana White isn't going to have another rematch.  The state athletic commissions probably wouldn't react well to him undermining the authority of their officials.  Not to mention the fact that a rematch would result in the entire lightweight division getting stalled, something that Nate Diaz and other highly-ranked lightweights would not take too kindly too.  So while it is completely unfair, it seems that Edgar's will have to go to the back of the line for another title shot.  Unless, of course, he drops to featherweight, since a potential dream fight with Aldo could lead to him getting put on a fast track to the title. 

Saturday, August 11, 2012

UFC 150 Predictions

Finally, the long-awaited rematch between Benson Henderson and Frankie Edgar is going to happen.  I can't wait to see Henderson prove his dominance and get a definitive win over Edgar.  Here is what I think will happen in tonight's fights:

Henderson vs. Edgar: Henderson won the first bout by decision, but it was really close.  So close that I still consider it a draw.  However, I think that "Smooth" will get a more decisive victory this time around and send "The Answer" packing to the Featherweight division and a dream match with Jose Aldo.

Winner: Henderson by unanimous decision.

Cerrone vs. Guillard: Cerrone was bested in his bout with Nate Diaz, but he still took it to the number one contender, flooring him during all of Round 2 with brutal leg kicks and refusing to give up even with a broken jaw.  No disrespect to Guillard, but I feel that the "Cowboy" is completely out of his league.

Winner: Cerrone by knockout.

Shields vs. Herman: Herman has four losses by submission, and tonight, I believe Jake Shields will make it five.

Winner: Shields by submission.

Okami vs. Roberts: The physically strongest man in the middleweight division was upset by Tim Boetsch.  However, I really thought that that was a fluke.  Okami is going to redeem himself by ripping Roberts in half by Round 2 at the latest.

Winner: Okami by knockout.

Lawrence vs. Holloway: Lawrence is such a fast and agile fighter that I don't think Holloway will be able to touch him.  I see the "American Kidd" making his debut with a Knockout of the Night award.

Winner: Lawrence by  knockout.

Monday, August 6, 2012

UFC On Fox: Freaking Epic!

UFC on Fox 4 had some freaking awesome battles.  Here's my view on each of them:

Swick vs. Johnson: Swick made an excellent comeback in Round 2, catching Johnson's kick and pushing him down.  He then finished him off with a brutal right hand.  A pretty sweet ending for a guy who had to battle back from a serious illness.

Lauzon vs. Varner: Varner controlled most of the fight early on.  However, he gassed out in Round 2 and Lauzon got the upperhand, leading to a beautiful triangle choke in Round 3.  I am not happy about the bromance which took place at the beginning of Round 3, as I think hugging during a match is just plain silly.  That being said, this was the second best fight of the night, and I was especially happy that Varner lost because he had previously beaten Edson Barboza, one of my favorite fighters.

Machida vs. Bader: "Darth" Bader is one tough dude, but "The Dragon" is on a whole new level.  Machida proved that by toying with the TUF Season 8 winner in Round 1 and smashing him with a quick right hand when he tried to rush in during Round 2.  Dana White said that the fighter with the most impressive win in the last two fights of the night would get a title shot and Machida earned that honor, hands down.  Bader, on the other hand, has his work cut out for him if he wants to become more than a gatekeeper in the light heavyweight division.

Shogun vs. Vera: A brutal 4-round war in which Vera gave Shogun a run for his money.  I was surprised by how well Vera did, and was also shocked that Shogun left his comfort zone and tried to grapple with Vera rather than stand and trade with him.  It was back-and-forth until the fourth round, when Shogun knocked Vera against the cage and finished him on the ground. 

I managed to accurately predict the winners of the last three fights.  The Browne vs. Rothwell fight never happened due to an injury sustained by Rothwell, so that prediction is N/A.  I can't wait for UFC 150, when the rematch between Frankie Edgar and Benson Henderson will finally happen.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My UFC On Fox Predictions

UFC on Fox looks more stacked than UFC 149.  It has Shogun, Machida, and Bader all fighting on the same night.  The UFC matchmakers would have probably been better off putting those matches on the PPV card and the UFC 149 matches on Fox.  However, they did what they did and that's that.  So hear are my predictions:

Rua vs. Vera: While I have lost some respect for Shogun after he ducked Glover Texiera, he is still one of my favorite fighters and among the best strikers in the light heavyweight division.  I see him winning this by KO late in the second round.

Machida vs. Bader: After losing to Jon Jones and Tito Ortiz, Bader seems to have lost a lot of momentum.  He is coming off a win, but that victory was over an overweight, out-of-shape, and injured Rampage who really seems to have lost his passion for fighting completely.  Machida, on the other hand, managed to win a round against Jon Jones in his last fight.  Although Machida got caught later on and choked out by Jones, Bader doesn't have the champ's reach or speed.  It is highly doubtful that he will be able to catch the Dragon, so I see Machida winning by KO early in the second round.

Browne vs. Rothwell: I saw "Big Ben" Rothwell smash Brendan Schaub after he was being pummeled against the cage in the last bout he fought and I see him doing something similar this time in the first round.

Lauzon vs. Varner: I haven't seen either of these men fight, so I'm just going to shoot from the hip and pick Lauzon to win by decision.

Be sure to tune in to see if I was right.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

My Thoughts On UFC 149

While the event was better than many of my fellow fight fans at Duffy's thought it was, I wasn't impressed by UFC 149.  The only good fight was Riddle vs. Clements.  Faber vs. Barao was decent, but didn't blow me away.  Ebersole vs. Head had a couple of fun moments, like Ebersole's thumbs up while he was in the guillotine and his capoeira-style kick, but again, it was average.  Here are my views on each fight.

Riddle vs. Clements: Hands down the best fight of the night.  Riddle dominated most of the match and brought an exciting end to it by countering Clements' spinning backfist with an arm-triangle.  I am definitely a Riddle believer now.

Ebersole vs. Head:  I think this should have been a unanimous decision instead of a split decision, since Ebersole never had the upper hand in this bout.  He simply survived.  However, that is really a nitpick.

Kongo vs. Jordan: I am a Cheick Kongo fan, but he really failed to impress in this bout.  He said in the promo that he wanted to prove that he was a contender, not a gatekeeper.  Well, it's kind of hard to be a contender if you are so gassed after three rounds that you can't pick yourself up off the canvas.  That being said, I do admire him for being man enough to keep going after taking what appeared to be a very deliberate elbow to the groin.

Lombard vs. Boetsch: I never thought that I would see two grapplers who were afraid to grapple.  Lombard did manage a takedown in the last round, so I thought the decision should have gone to him.  That being said, Boetsch was the main aggressor during the bout, even though his attacks were shrugged off like bee stings.  In light of that, I understand why the judges ruled in favor of him, even though I don't agree with it.  At any rate, it was the most disappointing bout of the night.

Faber vs. Barao: I was highly impressed by Barao, who used leg kicks to keep the shorter Faber at bay.  That being said, I don't think Faber played to his strengths in this fight.  Yeah, he landed a couple of hard shots, but his grappling will always be better than his stand-up.  He should have used a game plan which involved taking Barao down and either going for the submission or ground-and-pound.  He relied too much on his strength and speed and not enough on strategy, costing him what will likely be his last title shot.

On a side note, is it really necessary to hug your opponent DURING the match?!  Can't it wait until afterwards?  I think Riddle, Clements, Faber, and Barao briefly forgot that the whole point of fighting is to defeat your opponent, not to love them to death.  There is plenty of time for bromances after the bell rings.  After all, this is UFC, not the Hugs Not Drugs Club.  At any rate, while the event wasn't completely terrible, it was still the worst UFC Pay-Per-View that I have seen so far.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Can Urijah Break The Faber Curse?

I am totally stoked for UFC 149.  Although I am disappointed that Michael Bisping and Minotauro Noguiera are injured and can't fight, I am glad that I will still get to see Tim Boetsch and Cheick Kongo in action.  However, the Faber vs. Barao fight is what I am really looking forward to.  I am rooting for Faber, but when it comes to title fights, he just can't seem to get over the hump and take the gold.  Although he was WEC champion, he has lost his past four title fights against Mike Brown (twice), Jose Aldo, and his nemesis, Dominick Cruz.  For that reason, I think Faber is the underdog in this fight and has to overcome the curse he seems to be under.  It is doubtful that he will get another title shot anytime soon if he doesn't win this time.  I think that "The California Kid" has what it takes to get a UFC title.  Tonight, we will see if he succeeds.     

Monday, July 9, 2012

Hitting The Pause Button

Due to a freelance assignment which I need to complete for a friend, I am temporarily putting aside all work on "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh" for two weeks.  It's a shame, but the money is too good to refuse and the work will require all of my focus. 

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Tito Got Robbed!

I saw UFC 148 and as it turns out, I was right about the winners of the final four matches.  While they didn't play out as I expected, I am very happy about my prediction skills.  Not to mention that I am ecstatic that Chael Sonnen had to eat a whole humble pie at once.  His loss was due more to his own clumsiness than Anderson's skill.  Slipping and falling after that spinning backfist sealed his fate and I laughed my butt off when Anderson threw Sonnen's trash talk back about Brazilians having no manners in his face by facetiously saying that Sonnen could come to barbecues at his house whenever he wanted.

That being said, this card reinforced my dislike for bad decisions.  Tito clearly dominated his match with Griffin.  The emotional fit that Griffin threw afterwards by storming out of the ring shows that Griffin knew he lost, too.  Dana had to chase after him and Griffin had to be coaxed back into the ring.  So I was shocked that the judges felt differently.  Sure, Griffin landed more strikes, but Tito shrugged them off like they were bee stings.  However, Tito's blows and takedowns totally rocked Griffin.  It was an even worse decision than Machida vs. Shogun I.  I still don't believe it.  Oh well, this just goes to show that if you ever choose to become a professional fighter, finish your opponent at all costs.  Otherwise, the subjective opinions of those who really don't know what they are doing will lead to you GETTING ROBBED!   

Saturday, July 7, 2012

My UFC 148 Predictions

This is going to be short, because I need to run to catch the fight at Applebee's.  However, these are my predictions.

Demian Mia will pull an upset and submit Dong Hyun Kim in the first round.

Cung Le will knock out Patrick Cote in the third round.

Forrest Griffin will beat Tito Ortiz via unanimous decision.

Anderson Silva will knock out Chael Sonnen in the fourth round.

Let's see if I'm right!

(Tires squealing)

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

More Research Required

To add a sense of realism to my novel, I'm going to need to do some research into how long it takes fighters to recover in between bouts.  I know that when it comes to UFC, the guys usually fight only twice a year.  Jon Jones had four fights last year and that was considered grueling.  As much fun as it would be to explain everything away with magical potions, I don't want to cheat.  I really want to make it somewhat realistic, especially since these are twelve-year-olds fighting.  So I am going to do the research necessary to make it happen. 

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Evolve Or Die

As my novel grows and evolves, I have discovered just how deep some revisions need to be.  I had to completely change the persepective of one event to improve the story.  It was originally told from the perspective of Character B, but now I am telling it from the perspective of their rival, Character A.  It was tough, but necessary.  The fact is, to succeed, sometimes you have to make serious changes.  This happens in UFC all the time, where a collegiate wrestler has to learn how to box, a kung fu specialist has to learn brazilian jiu-jitsu, and other fighters need to incorporate moves outside of their specialty to improve their style.  To survive in that sport, you must evolve and be strong in multiple disciplines, and this may mean discarding techniques which no longer work, or changing the way that you perform them.  Writing is very similar.  Like the constantly evolving sport of mixed martial arts, the story often grows so much that certain scenes, certain characters, or sometimes, certain plots, simply must be discarded because they no longer work.  At other times, I simply need to change the way that I wrote them, either by moving scenes later in the timeline, writing from a different character's perspective, or, in extreme situations, moving characters and subplots to other stories.  When I reach these moments of truth, I have to make a choice: evolve or die.  You can guess which one I make for the sake of my readers. 

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Expect the Unexpected

I just finished another awesome scene in "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh."  It came from the point of view of a character whom I had wanted to keep in the background.  However, she decided to step forward and star in a chapter where I really needed a fresh perspective.  I love it when characters get free will and do that. 

When it comes to writing, I've learned to always expect the unexpected.  Helmuth Von Moltke the Elder once said that no plan survives contact with the enemy.  Likewise, in writing, no story survives contact with paper (or, in this modern age, Microsoft Word).  Something sounds great in your head, but then you write it out only to find out that it is ridiculous and needs to be burned immediately, or that it is ridiculous and can only be saved by several revisions.  Or you get a stroke of genius that forces you to completely rewrite all of the pages and pages of hard work which you had done in order to make it work.  At any rate, if you are inflexible and unable to adapt, you're better off not writing fiction.   

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Cutting Back To Two A Day

One of my friends gave me an awesome freelance gig which is very simple.  All I have to do is copy emails into Excel.  Unfortunately, there are about 23,600 of them, so that means that I'm going to need to cut back on some other things, including my writing.  I'm going to make it a point to squeeze in two pages a day anyway, but its going to be a while before I can do more than that.  I will also still blog.  However, my posts are going to be somewhat short for a few weeks. 

Picking My Battles

I finished reading "Masters of Command" and thoroughly enjoyed it. Barry Strauss does a great job of analyzing the leadership of Alexander the Great, Hannibal Barca, and Julius Caesar. Caesar definitely wins, because he is the only one who managed to set up a lasting empire (Augustus merely built on the foundation which he laid). That being said, he had an unfair advantage, since Alexander and Hannibal preceded him. However, two things about the book bugged me. First was the assertion that Hannibal was "probably not dark-skinned." This is ridiculous, because, although Hannibal's mother was Spanish (and yes, people from Spain are Caucasian, a fact unknown to many of my fellow Americans):

A) Carthage was a North African nation, and at this time period, North Africans were primarily black.

B) Carthage had begun as a Phoenician colony, and the Phoenicians were from modern-day Lebanon.

To say that a person with African and Lebanese blood in their veins was "probably not dark-skinned" is silly. History clearly indicates that Hannibal had a multi-racial background.

Another thing that annoyed me was that, when describing Caesar's campaigns, Egypt was considered separate from the rest of Africa. A first-grader can look at a map and tell that Egypt is in Africa. However, if there's one thing I learned about this book, it's about picking my battles.

The fact is that some people are so close-minded that they will ignore historical and geographical facts so that they don't have to face reality. It is generally a waste of time to try to reason with such people, as I have learned from experience. So instead of letting them get under my skin, I simply tell them to do the research themselves if they don't believe me and move on. I have more important things to worry about.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Giving Peretti A Shot

One of my friends gave me a trilogy written by Frank Peretti.  I've started reading the first book, which is titled "This Present Darkness."  Now generally, I do not read much modern fiction.  I find most of it to be dull and boring.  However, I've decided to give it another chance and so far, Peretti has me interested.  It's definitely what I would consider Christian visceral fantasy, a term I invented because dark Christian fantasy is a bit of an oxymoron.  It opens up with two angels hunting down a demon and strengthening a beleaguered pastor.  While my schedule is rather full at the moment, I will be sure to squeeze in some time late at night/early in the morning to finish this tale. 

I had one Creative Writing Professor who gave a really good bit of advice: great writers read more than they write.  Unfortunately, I got turned off when he banned sci-fi/fantasy literature in his class and dropped it, but I am glad that I got that gemstone from him first.  By reading other authors, you get great ideas for your own work and can learn valuable insight into how to tell a story.  For example, from Grettir's Saga, I learned an interesting way to depict a hero with a tragic flaw.  Rather than being a highly polished warrior like Achilles or Othello, Grettir is more rough and tough, and streetsmart as opposed to booksmart.  His weakness is his overconfidence, as shown by his decision to take on a revenant named Glam (a revenant is basically a highly intelligent zombie).  Ironically, his downfall is due to his victory, not a failure.  It gave me an awesome idea for one major character I have, which I will reveal in a latter book of my own trilogy.

At any rate, I can't wait to see what inspiration I get from reading Peretti's work, and to see how he helped to blaze the trail of Christian visceral fantasy.   

Introducing the Magician

During my thirty day writing blitz at the beginning of the year, I developed a character who is a master strategist.  He is so brilliant that I've codenamed him "The Magician."  He loves studying military tactics and is extremely creative, constantly confounding his foes with new and innovative attacks.  Were he to live in our world, he would devour books such as Sun Tzu's "The Art Of War" and "On War" by Clausewitz.  Needless to say, I will be reading those two books a lot, as well as others on the same subject, to ensure that I do the Magician justice. 

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Weaving Legends Into Nineveh

I have always loved history and folklore, and always will.  So in "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh", I have decided to weave some of the school's legends into the story.  There is a lot more to Lambert Grettirsson than what meets the eye, and in the scene which I wrote, one character finds out the hard way.  He is finally taking his rightful place as the most fascinating character who has ever dwelt within the school's walls and it is wonderful.  I will weave in other legendary characters as well, but he will be the chief among them.  He may be dead, but the deeds which he did will ensure that his legacy stays very much alive. 

Keeping Both Feet On The Ground

Like many authors, I sometimes daydream about the day when my book will become a movie.  Nothing would make me happier than to see my characters and world on the big screen.  However, I also know that doing this excessively is detrimental.  It wastes valuable time that needs to be spent on completing the novel in the first place.  Not to mention that whether or not it becomes as big as "Lord Of The Rings", "Harry Potter", "Twilight" or "The Hunger Games" is largely out of my hands.  All I can control is how well I write the story.  Obviously, I will promote the heck out of it when I am finished.  That being said, the key thing is to finish it in the first place.  In other words, less dreaming, more writing!

Friday, June 22, 2012

Lambert Unleashed

It's time to revamp one of my most important characters: Lambert "Lammy" Grettirsson.  While Sandra's brother is dead when the novel begins, his influence cannot be overstated.  I look forward to developing him in this draft.  In particular, I want to cover more about what the other students at Nineveh thought about him.  He was the first kid to ever defy the "survival of the fittest" mantra of the adults, and that decision had ramifications which affected everyone around him.  While I won't say anything specific, suffice it to say that he is proof that meekness is not weakness.  Although he is very kind and gentle, those who feared him had plenty of reasons to do so.

Many people are under the impression that love involves letting people do whatever they want without fear of consequence.  This, quite frankly, is not love.  It's appeasement.  In addition, refusing to deal with someone who is acting in an inappropriate manner is actually a form of cowardice.  Sometimes, you need to show tough love and reprimand someone who is being a jerk, a whiner, or a bully.  Now, this does not mean that you should be a vigilante that takes the law into their own hands.  It does, however, mean that you should speak up when someone is wrong, and, if you are an authority figure, discipline them with a punishment that fits the crime.  Lammy understands this and, although so far I have primarily focused on his tender side, I will also show that he was not someone to mess with. 

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

My Dream Matches

After hearing so many fellow UFC fights clamor for an epic battle between Anderson Silva and Jon Jones, I have thought a lot about some dream matches which I would love to see.  So without further ado, here we go:

Alistair Overeem vs. Junior Dos Santos

I see this as the ultimate striker vs. striker match.  After seeing Dos Santos drop Cain Velasquez and Frank Mir, I want to see how his power holds up against the man who demolished Brock Lesnar.  I just hope Overeem lays off the PEDs so that this is a fair fight. 

My prediction: Overeem knocks out Dos Santos in round three, simply because he is a more complete striker.  He has some pretty vicious kicks which put the odds in his favor.

Justin Lawrence vs. Lyoto Machida

These are two of the fastest and most agile MMA fighters I have ever seen and, in spite of coming from different disciplines, their styles look strikingly similar.  They both have a knack for swarming over their opponents while dodging blows that are faster than bullets. 

My prediction: Machida wins by decision, purely because of his experience.

Frankie Edgar vs. Jose Aldo

This is one dream match that may actually happen.  Aldo has already expressed interest in fighting Edgar, and Edgar seems like he is open to the possibility after he has his rematch with Benson Henderson.  After seeing Aldo's takedown defense and vicious knee strike finish of Carlos Mendes, it's clear that he is no stranger to taking out wrestlers.  However, after seeing Edgar's brutal takedowns of Maynard, he may be "The Answer" to Aldo.

My prediction: After a five-round war, I see Edgar taking this by decision. 

Anderson Silva vs. Jon Jones

This would be a dream come true, but highly unlikely, since Silva has shown no interest in fighting Jones.  However, if it were to happen, it would be experience and knowledge vs. raw talent.  Jones has flattened everyone he has come across except for Rashad Evans.  However, Silva is on a whole new level than anyone Jones has faced.  Silva combines his own natural ability with years of study and innovation, and if anyone can find a way to beat Jones, it's him.

My prediction: Jones dominates the early rounds, but Silva weathers the storm and turns the tide in round three, leading to a KO or submission in round four. 

Why I Now Believe In Revision

In the past, I hated revising stories.  I considered it tedious, boring, and an impediment to moving on to better works of fiction.  However, after seeing my novel become absolutely amazing, I have drastically changed my opinion.  Revising is like taking your body to the gym.  At first, you'll be constantly sore and always exhausted, but over time, your muscles will grow, your waistline will shrink, and you'll have more energy and confidence.  That is exactly what is happening to "Black Swan Origins: Nineveh" right now.  I have never been so proud of a work of fiction.  While I will definitely value the guidance of an experienced editor, I know that when I submit it for publishing, it will be my best work thus far. 

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Freaking Epic!

I am four chapters into this draft and it is absolutely amazing!  Two more characters are really gaining momentum and the plot is hurdling forward.  The book is basically writing itself now.  All I have to do is go along for the ride.

I've toyed with the idea of creating a screenplay version of it when it is done.  As much as I would love to, I want to finish all of the books first.  This trilogy will only be the first of several and will span many generations in this world.  This month is very hectic for me, so I am not working on it as much as I want.  However, the key thing is discipline.  I make sure to write at least two pages a day.  My current average is four.  It's also giving me an excuse to watch more UFC.  I have always loved hand-to-hand combat and those matches are a gold mine for seeing what works in a real fight and what doesn't.   

The Myth Of The Fair Fight: How Urijah Faber Learned This The Hard Way

Urijah Faber is the most popular UFC fighter who has never won a title in the promotion.  With that laid-back California accent, mellow demeanor, and sense of humor, it's not to hard to understand why the UFC uses him so much to promote the organization.  I haven't even seen one of his full fights yet and I'm a fan, which is why I was shocked to discover that, several years ago, he was in a street fight in Bali.

I read about this in his book titled "The Laws Of The Ring."  Basically, he was hanging out with some European girls at a bar, when one of the local males rammed him with his shoulder.  As Urijah put it, this guy was a male escort trying to hustle wealthy foreign ladies, and he mistakenly thought Urijah was trying to steal his potential clients.  Anyway, being drunk, Urijah challenged him to a fight.  They went outside and the California Kid stomped him.  Then all of the escort's homeboys jumped in with brass knuckles and broken bottles.  Urijah spent the rest of the night fighting for his life, not only in the street, but back through the bar, in a store, and only got away thanks to the help of a sympathetic cab driver and some bystanders who turned out to be Good Samaritans.  Basically, he found out the hard way that, in real life, fair fights almost never happen. 

The fact is, if someone has a beef with you in real life, all they care about is teaching you a lesson.  Most people don't care about honor or fairness.  They care about taking you out in the most efficient way possible.  In other words, if you tangle with one guy, rest assured that he is going to come back at you with his brother, his cousin and his best friend.  If this happens Stateside, at least one of them is going to have a gun.  This is why, if you are challenged by someone, you're better off backing down.  You don't know who that person is, who they're with, or what they're packing.  They could be an off-duty cop.  They could be out on the town with a gang of fifteen guys.  They might have an arsenal of AR-15s in the back of their SUV.  It's tempting to want to "be a man" and slug it out, but at what cost?  A living chicken is better off than a dead duck.

Faber learned this the hard way, and emphasizes in his book that it's important to be the bigger man and walk away.  Be sure that you take his word for it, because you might not be so lucky.  Unless your life is in danger, if someone challenges you to a fight, walk the heck away!       

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Age Isn't Just A Number

I added another page and a half to BSO: Nineveh Version 6.0 and have already discovered an issue with the characters.  They are wonderful, but they sound much older than they actually are.  In this scene which I am writing, they sound like people in their late teens.  However, they are supposed to be twelve.  Right now, I am simply going to focus on getting the plot straight.  I will change the characters' voices to make them sound younger in Version 7.0. 

I consider it very important to have everything perfect in my stories.  That's why I'm not going to ignore the age issue.  I've read stories which sounded interesting, but later shelved them and walked away because the characters didn't seem authentic, or the plot was full of holes, or the setting was too ridiculous to believe.  Plus, I love a challenge, and this is the first time where I focus on middle school-aged characters in a novel-length work.  Granted, because of their involvement in gangs and the occult, they will be mature beyond their years.  That being said, if they sound like college freshmen, then it means that I'm not done with the revision process.   

Friday, June 15, 2012

Enter The Consigliere

I finally reached a scene in which I get to introduce a pivotal character known as the Consigliere.  I won't say too much about her since I don't want to give away any spoilers.  Suffice it to say that if people were machines, she would have come out of the factory broken.  In other words, she is pure evil. 

Some people are not comfortable believing that there are sociopaths out there to whom right and wrong mean nothing.  However, the very existence of the prison system is proof that they exist.  That's why, in order to reflect reality, I have certain characters in my stories who only care about their own selfish motives, who don't empathize with their victims, and to whom laws, rules, and codes of conduct are just empty words.  In addition, since we are all sinners, God makes it clear that ANYONE can become that depraved without His mercy and grace.  The first chapter of Romans shows systematically how human beings, through turning their back on Him, slowly transform into savage and feral beasts.  At Nineveh Academy, the process is merely accelerated by power-hungry tyrants. 

That being said, there are good characters in the novel.  One of the more notable ones is Sandra's brother, Lammy.  Describing his opposition to vicious maniacs like the Consigliere will certainly be an interesting challenge.   

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Why I'm Skipping UFC 147

While I make it a point to watch as many UFC Pay-Per-Views as I can, I am skipping UFC 147.  There are only four matches on the card, and Vitor Belfort, one of only two fighters I was interested in seeing, had to pull out due to a hand injury.  As much as I like Fabricio Werdum, it's hard to justify paying to watch an event for only one fighter.  Granted, by pay, I mean grab a meal at Applebee's, which shows it for free.  That being said, even dropping $9.00 only to see one fighter is a bit much, although the burger and fries would be delicious.

The fact is, there is no title on the line and the card is headlined by Wanderlei Silva.  Granted, I did see the footage of him making mincemeat out of the Gracie Hunter during his Pride days and was very impressed.  However, since he has only won two out of his last five fights, it really seems like his best days are behind him.  I see no reason to make him a main eventer other than his name, and would rather save my money to see Anderson Silva's rematch with Chael Sonnen at UFC 148, as well as finally getting to see Urijah Faber in action when he fights for the interim bantamweight title against Renan Barao.