A resolution achieved, and then some

When it comes to New Year’s resolutions, I tend to keep them to myself.  It’s like I have a superstitious belief or something, that’s basically like if I make my resolutions known to others, then it becomes less likely to succeed.  Sometimes I wonder if other people have that kind of mindset when it comes to resolutions, regardless of the fact that those who go with the tried and true “lose weight/save money” become kind of obvious in their behaviors, but for what it’s worth, I like to keep my resolutions somewhat private, for the sake of hoping they succeed.

That being said, with a day left in 2014, I figure it’s safe to pull the veil back just a little bit to my six readers, and let the cat out of the bag to what some of my resolutions were over this year, as well as the year prior.

This time last year, I made a short post with what I had striven to be a frustrated tone, because that’s precisely how I felt when I wrote it.  It was about how I had failed to achieve my one resolution in 2013, and how I was going to give it another go in 2014, but lower the criteria, lower the bar to the absolute lowest it could possibly get.  And that if I failed to achieve it in 2014, then I would have no choice but to make some dramatic changes in my life come 2015.

It’s probably not a surprise to those of whom know me that my resolutions would have to do with my love life, or lack thereof, but 2013’s was simply to go on three dates.  Get out in the world, talk with a girl or girls, and actually make an effort to go on three paltry dates.  Coffee.  A single beer.  A quick lunch at one of the many taco joints within Atlanta.  Three with one girl.  One with three different girls.  Just whatever, three dates.  There are 14-year olds more capable of going on three dates in a year than I was, but it was something that even I could muster up the courage to do, right?  Wrong.

So when I batted an 0-fer in 2013, I realized that I had clearly set the bar too high for myself.  The aforementioned lowering of the bar as low as it could possibly go, meant that in 2014, I resolved to go on one date, just one measly single date.  That’s it.  One date, and my resolutions for all of 2014 would be fulfilled, successfully.

And if I failed to succeed in going on a single date in 2014, the aforementioned change that I’d have to make was to swallow my pride, accept defeat in my staunch beliefs that romance could be pursued without the aid of an internet connection, and give online dating a whirl, come 2015.  Long-time readers of the brog might recall that I absolutely abhor the idea of relying on the internet in order to get a date, but frankly, if I couldn’t land a single date in an entire calendar year, then clearly my method of trying to meet girls is obviously not working.

So obviously, I wouldn’t be writing about this subject if I failed yet again, right?  The fact that I’m taking the time to write about this clearly has to mean good news, yes?  I’m obviously giddy with success, and this is all an obvious lead up to what’s amounted to a success story, regardless of how low the bar was set, no?

Goddamn right it is.

I succeeded in going on my one date in 2014.  Furthermore, I kind of made up for 2013, by going on several more on top of it.  And the kicker is, that I’ve masterfully duped the poor girl involved in all these dates into inconceivably agreeing to be my girlfriend.  Funny how things escalate sometimes.

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90 Day Humiliation

Okay, last post about TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé (at least for this season).

Recently, we the lovers of trainwreck television were given the very last episode of 90 Day Fiancé’s second season, which was more or less of a reunion show of the subjects of the season.  Typically, I’m not necessarily a fan of this kind of format, since I have a tendency to believe that it leads to a lot of fluff, doesn’t really answer a whole lot of questions, and typically leaves things more in question than before it even aired.

I can’t say that this was any different than any of the reunion shows of any programming prior to this, but I couldn’t help watching it, since I was really eager to find out more information regarding the clear-cut aces of show in Danielle and Mohamed.  Naturally, the host of the show was about as aware of how polarizing they are, as they alone commanded entire segments of the show at times, and were almost always last to be addressed in inquiries.  But also naturally, the time constraints of the show meant that they couldn’t be given too much time, and after the hour-long program was over, there were lots of unanswered questions, more question marks, and no clear-cut speculation to what lies in their future.

However, it was still ironically entertaining, watching as Mohamed relentlessly, and almost out of naïve cultural ambivalence, systematically humiliated Danielle on cable television with the things he said, that is, when he wasn’t answering yes or no questions with diatribes of vague responses and way more words than necessary to get a point, or not get a point across.

But when he told the audience that his reasons for getting married being 40% an adventure, and 60% simply wanting to be with someone merely for stability, nothing more needed to be said than watching poor Danielle’s face bury itself into his shoulder.  Yet, one of the few times in which he actually responded to a yes or no question with a single word being when asked if he were happy with the way things were, and him saying simply “no,” led to one of the most uncomfortable silences in the history of television.

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Time to become a Carolina Panthers fan

That’s right, eight losses, one tie.  PLAYOFF TEAM!

Despite the fact that I kind of wanted the Falcons to win, so that the minute hope of the worst Super Bowl champion in history might’ve been a team from Atlanta, when the day was over, I didn’t really care.  The 7-win Carolina Panthers are going to be my new favorite team for the next few weeks, provided they can manage to stay alive in the playoffs, and hopefully fulfill the embarrassing dream of being the worst team in history to make it into the playoffs and become Super Bowl champions.

Seriously, there’s all sorts of wrong with the playoff system, when the 7-8-1 Carolina Panthers not only make it into the playoffs, but actually get a home game.  To put it into perspective how ironically funny this is, the Philadelphia Eagles finished the season 10-6, and are going to be sitting at home watching the playoffs next week.  The San Francisco 49ers finished 8-8, and just fired their head coach.  Meanwhile in the AFC, the Bills, Texans, Chiefs and Chragers (yes) all finished 9-7, and are not in the playoffs.

I mean, them’s the rules, but it’s still ironically humorous to see a team with seven wins entering the playoffs while seven teams with superior records won’t be.

What’s funnier is that I actually really like the Panthers’ chances against the Cardinals next week.  Despite the fact that they’ve got 11 wins on the season, they’ve backed into the playoffs on account of them having no actual quarterback, going 2-4 in their final six games, and losing the two final games of the season.

Interestingly enough, a slightly less-embarrassing version of this story happened a few years ago, when an 8-8 Cardinals won their putrid division, got a home game against the 12-win Atlanta Falcons, beat them, and even went all the way to the Super Bowl, where they barely lost to the Steelers.

Granted, it’s a lofty task if the Panthers manage to beat the Cardinals, as the Seahawks would be waiting for them in Seattle, and as obnoxious as I dislike the insta-hype-train the Seachickens have become on account of winning the prior Super Bowl, it’ll be quite the task for the 7-win Panthers to win out there.

Doesn’t matter though.  Go irony.  Go embarrassment.  Go chaos.  Go worst playoff team in history.

Go Panthers!

90 Day Shenanigans

Okay.  I know that this wasn’t a surprise.  But still it sucks to have not seen one failure, in a season set up to have at least like two failures.

Despite the fact that I had pegged at least one couple as a shoe-in to achieve colossal failure, for all intents and purposes, every single couple of season 2 of TLC’s 90 Day Fiancé made it to the altar, and both parties said “I do.”

This wasn’t that tremendous of a surprise, because people do dumb things as long as they’re being put on television.  But still, I really wanted to see one member of at least one couple decide that the circumstances were just too exasperating, or something clearly turned out to not be what they had hoped for, and said fuck it, and went back to their native country, and/or break it off and send their mail-order spouse packing.

However, the 100% success rate of the couples (again) isn’t necessarily what I’m calling shenanigans on.  It’s the fact that the steam hadn’t even stopped rising from the bullshit that is/was the marriage between the most polarizing couple of the show, Danielle and Mohamed, before Mohamed went full heel-turn on everyone, including the show itself, leaving the show’s regulation period ending with nothing but a cliffhanger and questions, which may or may not actually be answered in the follow-up show that I obviously couldn’t wait for before brogging about it.

But seriously, for the majority of people that aren’t obsessed with TLC and do not watch 90 Day Fiancé, the TL;DR is that Danielle is a pathetic divorcee that brought over Mohamed to marry, in spite of a 15-year age difference, and everyone including her family and pretty much all viewers predicted a green card scam.  Mohamed refused to sleep with her or even kiss her, even after they finally married, and inevitably, Mohamed walks out on Danielle pretty quickly after the wedding.  Or in, or out, or in-and-out.  It’s all left very ambiguous, and to no surprise, I’m not the only person fascinated with their trainwreck of a story.

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Wrestling’s insufferable era

I haven’t really been paying as much to wrestling as much as I had been in prior months, but I recently watched a match because my friend brought up an interesting observation that piqued my interest and made me want to see it for myself.  It was during the Big Show vs. Roman Reigns match on the 12.22.14 edition of RAW, where the crowd inexplicably turns on Roman Reigns.

Up to this point, Reigns had been built up as a face (good guy) that was rapidly ascending through the ranks, and had potential World Champion contender written all over him.  He’d been derailed for the better part of the last few months with more or less a back injury, but has returned to television in recent weeks.  His character gave no reason for the crowd to turn on him; contrarily, WWE even had his character have a minute or two during a live event to telecast “an update” on his health, and a general cheeseball face message that he’d be back and working hard ASAP.

But (a noticeable contingent) the crowd still turned on him anyway.  During his match with the Big Show, at moments of the match where he would signal for his signature maneuvers, brief periods of time where both performers could catch their breath and let the crowd react, the reactions from the crowd were not (all) the expected cheers of fans supporting the good guy, but that of boos and jeers of people voicing their disapproval.  More than once, a puzzled look can be discerned from Reign’s face, and even at the end of the match, Big Show himself looks a tad perplexed by the unexpected crowd reaction throughout the match.

And therein lies precisely the whole impetus of this scenario, it was all unexpected.

This is where we are, in the current state of professional wrestling, fans behaving unexpectedly, deliberately; because they very much have bought into the idea that they control the wrestling industry.

Sure, the WWE runs the WWE, but as it’s been said countless times throughout history, talent can never become superstars, without the fans.  Fans are ultimately the ones who choose and deny every single performer that exists or doesn’t exist, and it’s the fans that dictates who makes it, and who doesn’t.

The problem is that finally, the fans have become fully aware of this food chain, and are now using their powers, not necessarily solely for good.

Ultimately, the professional wrestling business is always walking a tightrope of trying to strategically deny fans the things they really, really want to see with the occasional payoff, but trying not to piss them off so much that they simply stop vesting interest in the product.  However, the business is always trying to be the party that wishes to remain in control of the product, and they try to accomplish this by massaging storylines and characters to try and steer fans into expected patterns of cheering for, or hating particular talent.

As I said though, the fans are aware of this now, more than ever, in with the advent and evolution of social media, and the veil of privacy becoming thinner and thinner every year with the internet.  And nowadays, lots of fans are flat out refusing to be steered, because they believe that there’s not as much fun in being on a track, when they feel like they can control the construction.

In essence, the fans are kind of the heels right now, in today’s professional wrestling dichotomy, by deliberately attempting to sabotage live product by reacting in unexpected manners.  This is, for the most part, abusing the system.

There have always been smarks (“smart marks” AKA obsessive fanboys), but just in general, thanks to the wealth of resources at hand, all wrestling fans have the capability to become smarter than they’ve ever been, about the wrestling business.  And now the current industry going down this slippery slope of where the business is aware that the fans are smarter, and the fans are aware that the business is aware of them, and it’s this constant game of one-upmanship of who has the upper hand.  This is made no more prevalent then whenever Triple H cuts a promo and acknowledges whatever grievance of the week that is likely made on some message board or social media outlet about the current product.

To summarize everything so far, basically the current wrestling industry is that the business is trying to operate how the business has more or less always operated, but the fans don’t necessarily want to cooperate and play ball, so they’re deliberately behaving outside the norm of the paths that the business is trying to steer them down, and by doing so, they’re attempting to force the business to try and adjust.

In other words, it’s becoming insufferable.

The irony in this whole modus operandi is that in the end, the only people truly suffering from all this is going to be the talent itself.  When fans boo Roman Reigns, because they’re revolting against the WWE wanting them to root for Roman Reigns, Roman Reigns is ultimately the guy that suffers.  Unless the creative team can figure out on the fly how to re-jigger his persona to adapt to the influx of hatred towards him, he’ll flounder and eventually be written out.  Not to say that such is impossible, more often than naught, it’s led to failed characters and storylines.

The WWE will survive this era, because the WWE is always-adapting, and they have the ability to change and evolve, like they’ve done for decades now.  But every wrestler has a very finite clock above their careers, and frankly there’s way more of them with short clocks than clocks the length of Hulk Hogan or Mick Foley.

Ask Dave Ba(u)tista, who the WWE attempted to make into this superhero-comeback story at the Royal Rumble, only for the fans to see through the transparent promotion tour he was ultimately doing, to pimp Guardians of the Galaxy, and boo the ever-living shit out of him until WWE creative had absolutely no choice but to have him turn heel and acknowledge the hate and attempt (and fail) to use it against them.

Ask Damien Sandow, who went from potential future world champion to a guy that jobbed literally every single week, until the latest attempt to embarrass a guy, by making him the “stunt double” to The Miz apparently piqued the interest of the royal masses, to the point where they’ve forced the hand of the WWE creative team to recognize that they will not stop rooting for a guy that clearly had “jobber” branded on his forehead.

And then when the talent suffers and good wrestlers are released from the big leagues of the WWE, they’ll either become heroes in a smaller fed, which is great that they’re recognized, but name five wrestlers that would rather be a hero in Ring of Honor, as opposed to have a WWE paycheck.  Or, they give up on their pursuits of being a WWE Superstar, and become a washout drug addict, if they can’t manage to land on their feet through more ordinary living.

The point of all this is that there’s nothing wrong with fans voicing their opinions to approve or disapprove of the way the WWE is running things.  But there’s a difference between simply voicing opinions and straight up trying to hijack the storylines, which is pretty much what I feel like fans are trying to do, more or less for the sake of just wanting to hijack the storylines.

Based on what I see these days, if the fans had everything they wanted, then the main events to every RAW would be like Dolph Ziggler versus Damien Mizdow, Adam Rose’s Bunny would be the Intercontinental champion, AJ Lee would never lose the Divas title so they could always have an excuse to chant CM Punk, and Bray Wyatt and Dean Ambrose would somehow be Tag Team champions while simultaneously brutally feuding with each other.

Good?  Possibly some of it.
Chaotic?  Most definitely.
Potential for long-lasting storylines?  Nope.
Best for business?  Ehhh, I don’t really think so.

This is a slippery era the wrestling industry is currently in, and hopefully it passes without too many undeserving casualties.