(older entries, separated by genre or date, are listed at the bottom of this page.)

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wrestling at a Legion Hall

Last Friday, I went to a local wrestling show at a Legion Hall in Lowell. Have you ever been to a local wrestling show? This was actually my 3rd or 4th local wrestling show I've been to, but my first with a blog, and figured it was a world worth introducing to some of my thousands of readers who may not even know this world exists. 

Most people at least know of the WWE (formerly WWF). Or they watched it in the days of Hulk Hogan or Stone Cold Steve Austin and The Rock. But did you all wonder where all those stars came from? Small wrestling leagues. They're everywhere, and waaaaay more people wrestle than you could ever imagine. I'm solid friends with one, play COD with another, live with 2 guys who used to do it, and know/am friends with a few others who have, at one point in their life, walked into a ring wearing a silly costume and fake-fought strangers or people they met an hour earlier for a small crowd in the middle of nowhere. And they all loved it. 

We showed up in Lowell and stood in the rain for a solid 5 minutes, completely soaking all of our clothes (nice organization, Chaotic Wrestling). We then walked in to the most overcrowded room I've ever been in. Apparently the fire chief approved the room for 250 seats and they sold 260. 

I would estimate that 160 people could have fit in that room comfortably, 180 if they wanted to really jam them in. And they had 260. I've never seen a more horrible seating arrangement in my life.

Look at this "row" of chairs next to Josh. Did the organizers think that people would stand on the seats? That nobody had legs? I sat between Rich and Josh and had to have my arms crossed the entire time. Josh couldn't move a millimeter to his left, Rich couldn't to his right. People tried to sit in front of me, but we had stacked chairs up just to make enough floor space for our legs and anyone attempting to walk through. 


sweet rat tail dude

Ughk. No aisles, no walkway in front of the seats either. Just a billion chairs jammed into a small space with a wrestling ring plopped down into the middle of it. And everyone there was soaking wet. And the place wreaked of piss. AWESOME. 

I also got the joy of being around people like this: 

That kid with the stupid hat took his shirt off for the first match, then put it on and took it off again during the women's title match. Class act. I wanted to throw every chair near me at him then beat him to death with whatever chair didn't hit him. I'm pretty sure the guy with the II COOL shirt is a Juggalo I used to see at the Burlington Mall every day. 

Once everything started though, it was a good time. The opening guys were insane, jumping right out of the ring immediately. Some of these guys are really good at what they do, and their characters were funny, they were good on the mic, etc. Local shows do everything the same as on TV- there are storylines, good guys and bad guys, managers everyone hates, announcers everyone boos, etc. It's fun. 

Look at this "athlete," who started a 20 man Royal Rumble:

That's a big boy.

Here's a guy in a clown costume with Johnny Vegas next to him. Johnny Vegas has apparently been doing this forever (he's probably 50+). He was even on TV a few weeks ago playing the part of John Cena's childhood little league coach.

Here's someone doing a sweet move on someone else. My camera doesn't capture movement all that well:

Scotty Slade, the guy I play Call of Duty with was there too. He didn't last long in the Rumble though.

The main reason we were there was because our friend had the headlining match. In fact, the event was named after him- Cold Fury (he's Brian Fury). I've always known him as Brian Fury, and actually completely forgot his actual last name. I've known him since college, and it's pretty awesome seeing him be the star of an entire show.

The story went that he was the champ, and then was banned from wrestling for a while because he attacked a ref in a match. He then broke in during a match and stole the belt from the champ. He was being brought in for one final time to compete for the belt he stole. Or something like that.

he used to be clean cut, now he has a Grizzly Adams beard and long hair and looks BRUTAL

His match was fantastic- a little sloppy at the beginning, but it ended with completely over the top moves including a powerbomb from the top rope, and Brian getting sent through a table outside of the ring, also from the top rope.

this was pretty rad

Here's a progress shot (stolen from FatDan) of Fury's opponent sending him through a table. It was such a devastating hit that they disappeared and took fans with them:

When it was all said and done, Fury was once again the champ. 

He put on a hell of a show. A few matches in the middle were boring, but there were highlights in all of them (and an awesome appearance by former TNA star Nikki Roxx (who I have also sort of known for years)) and the show started and ended well. It was a bit long and obviously uncomfortable, but it was fun to go. Afterwards, we went out with Scotty and the champ to Denny's to gorge ourselves on garbage. 

It used to weird me out that this world existed, but I guess it really makes sense if you think about it- not all bands are playing huge arena shows. Most are playing in tiny shitty clubs or legion halls, YMCAs, basements, barns, etc. I've seen shows in some of the smallest, weirdest places, and when I first saw that, I thought it was weird too. Now it blows my mind even more how much of the youth of America only know about concerts in enormous stadiums. You gotta start somewhere, and those bands playing those dumps take it seriously- that's their lives and their passions. So while it's weird to see wrestlers acting out stories and pulling wrestling moves for kids at legion halls- going so far as to go through tables and get cut and covered in blood, it really makes sense. Just like concerts, there's different levels of everything, and this is just a smaller level of what we see on TV. And this is their lives too- Fury wrestles every weekend at least- Scotty too. And to these kids and local fans, they're huge stars. What they do is incredibly real, and maybe I'm even cool for being friends with the champ. You want some culture? Go to a local wrestling show. 

currently listening to: Foxy Shazam- The Church Of Rock And Roll

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

First Hike of the Year in February?!

6 more weeks of winter my ass!

And with that, it's supposed to snow 5 inches tomorrow and not go above the low 40s over the next few weeks. But for a week or so, it started to look a lot like spring, and not just because of the complete lack of snow. It was warmer, it was sunny, and the air just had that special feeling of spring. I started to feel alive again. So, I decided to get an early start on hiking this year by going for my first hike in February.

I did Blue Job, which is small enough that it doesn't even really count as a hike to most people, but I'm counting it. The severe hatred my lungs have for cold, dry air means that I usually don't do anything outside until April, so anything uphill at this point was very good.

I got out there, reminded my legs what it felt like to go uphill, and reminded my lungs what it felt like to breathe hard after a few months of not doing a whole lot. Last summer, my goal was to hike 4 4,000 footers and I only did 2. I went on more hikes than I ever have, but I started late and out of shape, so I wasn't ready for anything serious until probably around August. I've set a much higher goal for this summer. I won't say it for now so Kevin won't make fun of me, but it's written down, and I believe I can do it. This year, not only am I getting my legs ready earlier, but I now have the experience of last summer and remembering/realizing how much I like hiking to keep me going.

The trail started out as pure mud, and I felt sorry for the ground that I was further destroying. Half way up, it became a mix of ice, snow, and pine needles,

which looked pretty.

Towards the top of the small climb, right before the only real elevation gain of the mountain, things got real wintery, real fast. 

It was quite odd to leave spring and go out in the woods to a trail that I figured would have gotten so much use/exposure that it wouldn't have an ounce of snow on it, and see this:

This was looking down- I had to go up and down this, and almost ate it a few times. This was glare ice. 

I survived though, and made it up the "hard" part feeling good. I honestly felt very happy to be out there doing it again. My legs burned a little, I breathed hard, and it was a solid 10 degrees colder at the top (not to mention ridiculous winds), but I was smiling the whole way. Maybe the fact that I was listening to Immanu El (absurdly over the top beautiful post rock stuff with a guy whisper singing over it- perfect for majestic views) helped, but most of it was just me happy to be outside doing something I loved again.

ahhh... the trail

I took an awkward picture of myself at the top while my hands froze to death, 

took some cool artsy shots for instagram, 

saw a pretty gorgeous sunset, 

attempted a 360 panorama with a program that never works, 

(this one kind of worked, click it for the huge version)

and headed down. 

It was great to be out there again, and I look forward to many hikes this summer, including doing the entire Belknap Range, and knocking a small chunk of the 4,000 footers off the list. Just seeing stuff like this again felt right:

Afterwards, I parked my car down the road and ran through the woods to try and get a shot of what was left of the sunset from the view of a swamp I'd always wanted to take pictures by. My left foot went completely underwater, but I like the pictures, so I guess it was worth it. 

Blue Job is a tiny hill to most people, but it was where I hiked first last summer, where I hiked last this November, and where I am starting my 2012 hiking journey. Psyched to start it so early. Bring on spring!

currently listening to: Gantz- "La Chambre Des Morts"