Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Because We Are Dying

I am dying right now.  So are you. 

There is nothing we can do about it.  Every day brings us closer to the day that we will give up our grip on our dreams, our passions, our hopes, our bad habits, our grievances, our friends, our family, our enemies, our petty offenses. 

When we keep this foremost in our mind, it makes it difficult for us to live neutrally.  I don't want to live in just the greys, but I want to feel the blacks and whites and the ups and downs and the positives and negatives of this thing that we call "life."

I do not believe in God.  I do not believe in reincarnation.  I do not believe in an afterlife. 

Therefore, I am resigned to the fact that my time here is everything.  It is all that I have.  What I chose to do and not do, who I spend time with and who I do not, these decisions are permanent.  It is important that I remember this fact when I make them.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Shared Post - "On Fidelity"

I just wanted to share this post from my friend, "Barnes," who some of you may recognize as the guy who is always giving me a hard time in the comments section of this blog.

Barnes has been in Tokyo for the last several years and wrote this post on a subject in Japan that is not being covered at the moment.  I found it to be a very powerful read.

On Fidelity

Monday, March 14, 2011

Sergio Martinez TKO8 Serhiy Dzinziruk

Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez defended his middleweight title last Saturday night at the Foxwoods Resort Casino in Conneticut against highly regarded contender, Serhiy Dzinziruk, fighting out of Germany by way of Ukraine.

Martinez (47-2) controlled the early rounds, out-jabbing Dzinziruk despite defincies in height and reach, and dropping straight left hands out of his southpaw stance.  Dzinziruk, coming up from the 154 pound division, was considered a very challenging draw for the dynamic Martinez, but was never able to really get going.  Usually featuring a world-class jab, tight defense and exceptional fundamentals, "Razor" became noticeably frustrated with his quicker opponent's ability to close the distance, and started getting picked apart even on the outside, where most boxing pundit's believed he would have the advantage.

Realizing that he would need to change tactics in the mid-rounds, Dzinziruk became more aggressive in the 4th stanza, having some success advancing behind his jab before getting caught and dropped in a flash knockdown by way of a Martinez straight left hand.  Dzinziruk was not hurt in the exchange and continued with his attack before getting floored hard in the following round.  The 6 foot Dziniziruk was noticeably shaken after this second knockdown, and looked visibly rattled between rounds.

Urged on by his corner, Dzinziruk continued to up the ante on Martinez in the 6th and 7th round, catching the champion with jabs and the occasional left hook.  Martinez was far too slick to get caught clean, but the fight seemed to be tightening up. 

The beginning of the end came early in the 8th round, when Martinez caught Dzinziruk on the way in, landing a flush left hand following the jab, dropping his opponent hard, and leaving Dzinziruk stumbling as he tried to get up.  It only got uglier from there, as Martinez caught him again with the left hand, and when Dzinziruk rose, dropping him a 3rd and final time for the round before referee Arthur Mercante Jr. called a halt to the bout with 1:43 remaining in the 8th round.

Following such a loss, it is hard to see a clear path for Dzinziruk.  Despite his lofty credentials, he had only fought three times since 2008, and there really isn't much for him at 160 pounds.  He is probably still the best fighter in the junior middleweight division, so a return there will probably be in the cards.

Sergio "Maravilla" Martinez is a fighter who continues to impress, looking better every time out, and he continues to climb the mythical P4P rankings.  This title means little, but what is clear is that Martinez is simply one of the best fighters in the world today.  Unfortunately, there does not seem to be a whole lot available for him.  Predictably, Martinez called out both Manny Pacquaio and Floyd Mayweather after the victory, but it is unlikely that either will sign to fight him.  While Martinez has that rare combination of speed, size and power that make him a horrible matchup for just about any prize fighter, he may be too small to effectively move to super-middleweight.  At 160 pounds, rematches with Paul Williams or Kelly Pavlik are available, but he clearly beat both fighters in their last time out, and it seems clear that he is looking for bigger things and bigger paydays.  A showdown with fellow middleweight champion Felix Sturm is intriguing, but most believe that Sturm wouldn't touch a contract to fight Martinez with a 10-foot pole.

On the undercard, Andy Lee knocked out Craig McEwan in the 10th round after losing most of the fight.  The come-from-behind KO may have saved Lee's career, but he has far too many defincies to compete at the world level.  The victory may have simply preserved him long enough to get splattered on the world stage at some point in the future.  What can be said about Lee is that he is a honest pugilist, a blue-collar type of fighter that always makes for entertaining scraps.  That is more than can be said for most HBO or Showtime headliners, and will hopefully ensure that he earns better paydays down the road.

Monday, March 7, 2011

William Powers Interview

A few months back I had written a book review for "Hamlet's Blackberry," by William Powers.  I felt (and feel) that this was the most helpful book dealing with the pros and cons of this new technological age.  This was due mostly because he actually acknowledged that there were some pros.  Many authors dealing with the subject focused entirely on how social networking, online multi-tasking and the like are changing our brains, giving us all ADD, and permanently downgrading our writing skills with the inclusion of such atrocities as "LOL," "OMG," and perennial favorite, "WTF."  Powers deals with these same symptoms, but it is in the context of harnessing all of the good and potentially powerful benefits of these new products while limiting the negative aspects.

To do this, the author goes back through history and examines previous times during the onset of a new "killer app" type of technology, including the written word, the printing press, the telephone, etc.  His premise is that people in these times also had to learn to maximize the benefits of these new technologies while minimizing the potential harm, and therefore, we can and should learn from their experiences. 

Obviously, I am a big fan of the book.  Powers recently was interviewed by DC Live, and he discusses a lot of these same issues.  Worth a listen if you are interested in this sort of thing.

Watch live streaming video from facebookdclive at

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Keep Your Hands Dirty

The premise behind Rocky III was that Rocky, after defeating Apollo Creed in the second movie takes on challenger after challenger, knocking them out and securing his hold on the heavyweight title.  Over time, Rocky gets soft without a serious challenge.  He has reached the pinnacle of his sport, he has a wife and child that he is in love with, financial success, everything he could ever want.  And when he finally faces a worthy contender, he gets knocked cold.  Clubber Lang (played by Mr. T) was on his way up from poverty, hungry and focused on winning the title at all costs; in short, he was everything that Rocky was in the first two films.

It's far easier to win the title than to keep the title.

If you don't know where your next meal is coming from (literally or figuratively), you have to hustle.  You have to sacrifice.  You have to accept the pain that comes from struggle.  You have to go without because there is no choice in the matter.  But what happens when we reach our goals?  Once we have reached a degree of comfort and success, how do we keep the fire going?  Once every day stops being a struggle, it is very to lose the sense of urgency that allowed you to get to that nice, comfortable place.  To beat the Rocky analogy to a bloody death, how do we keep the eye of the tiger?

I believe that an important part of staying hungry is simply staying grounded.  The jobs of our generation are usually not in the fields or the factory.  We spend all day inside, where there is air conditioning and comfortable chairs and e-mails and polite arguments on the rare occassions where debate is required.  This may be our reality, but I am not sure it is The Reality.  This kind of constant comfort makes us a little soft, a little weak, a little prudish.  We don't want to get our hands dirty.

We should actively fight this.  We may as well accept that at least for now, our work looks a lot different than our grandparent's did, and in many ways, that is a good thing.  But during our personal time, I do believe it is important to live a strenuous life.  We should hike and camp and sleep outside and we should play in the dirt. 
We should be involved in something that causes pain and discomfort at times, because that is Reality. 

In generations past, men fought and they would be friends afterwards; disagreements forgotten and mutual respect gained.  Now we are all scared of taking an ass-whuppin'.  So we are sarcastic and snarky and cutting and passive-aggressive, but we don't flat-out disagree or argue in full voice.  We go home and text message our friend about "that jerk that stole our parking spot." 

When I was in Hong Kong a while back for a job interview, the owner of the company and I were unable to communicate directly.  He spoke no English and I spoke no Cantonese.  Everything went through a translator.  We had meetings all week, and every word had to go through a 3rd party.  While I was able to get a good feel for the company, I was not able to get a good read on the man.  That Saturday came and he invited me (through a translator) to go fishing.  I was a little surprised, but of course accepted.  We rented a small boat and coasted out to an area where the fish were supposedly biting.  We dropped anchor and he pulled out the bait, made up of shrimp and large, white-bodied worms.  Without hesitating, he took out a pocket knife and cut up the worms.  He then wiped the blood and grime on his pant legs.  In this one action, I felt more of a kinship with this man then I had in the last 5 days.  Despite his success, he was still willing to get his hands dirty.

I accepted the job.


What I Want

To lead a vigorous, experience-driven life, filled to the brim with friends and family, with time spent on meaningful work, the completion of which at the end of each day provides a deep and satisfied feeling of accomplishment.