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Fighting Depression #34/’rassling roadtrip #1

July 1, 2018
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Yeesh, another seven months without posting here.  Kinda good, kinda bad.

I’ve been busy a lot of that time, with work and going to some wrestling shows and seeing movies (got the MoviePass last month, have seen ten movies with it already) and playing video games… but also wasting a lot of time, dealing with a lot of mental stress and whatnot.

Hoping to be more active here – been really lax on social media for the most part.

Also, with this part, I’m starting a new post – ‘rassling roadtrip.

(If you want to watch the free stream of the event, you can do so here.)

So, Friday was CEOxNJPW – a New Japan Pro Wrestling affiliated show promoted by CEO GAMING, during the first evening of their three day “Fighting game championships” tournament/convention/thing.

A little history: I’ve been aware of New Japan Pro Wrestling since the early to mid 80s.  Even in Florida, we saw various faces and personages from NJPW, when they came over to spend time abroad (something the Japanese wrestlers generally do in their early years as a wrestler, to gain experience and exposure to other styles and culture – and my summation is horribly terse and probably inaccurate in capturing the spirit of things.)

Throughout the 90s, World Championship Wrestling routinely brought over wrestlers from Japan, and they had a strong working relationship with NJPW.  From The Great Muta (whom I’d been a fan of since the 80s) to Masahiro Chono, Big Van Vader, Ultimo Dragon and others.

I’ve always been a fan of the Japanese style of pro wrestling – the strong style, the athleticism, the high flying.  Even in the 2000s, they started working with TNA/Impact, Ring of Honor, as well as other international companies, like RevPro UK, and I’ve been lucky to have seen many of these events and their up and coming stars and established wrestlers doing “tours”.

So, long story short, I’ve been a fan of NJPW before I ever saw any of their events… and most of the events I saw were through tape/video trading and the like for many years…

Recently, NJPW has increased their worldwide exposure, more tours, more cross-branded events, and their own streaming service, NJPW World.

Last year, NJPW had their first US event, over in California.  This year, I believe they have several coming up this month.  But, flying to CA wasn’t even remotely possible last year (still isn’t really that budget-friendly right now – with plenty of time to save up, I’m sure I could make it happen.)  This was very cool, and gave me hope that I might one day get to attend a live show.

Then, a few months back, CEO Gaming announced a wrestling show would happen at their gaming event in Florida.  In Daytona Beach.  At the Ocean Center.  Thirty-two miles from my house.

Thirty-two miles.  About half an hour’s drive.  From my house.

I had to see this.  I didn’t care how much a ticket cost, I. HAD. TO. SEE. THIS.

So, I did.  I got the day off work (yay, vacation days rule), bought a second row seat on the day tickets were available, and I went.

Actually… and this more of the “Fighting Depression” stuff… I won’t say I almost didn’t go, but I did have to fight a buttload of anxiety.  Since I had the day off, I had a lazy morning, drank coffee, played video games, ate breakfast, and got ready.  Left the house about 1pm, went to Tomoka Eye in Port Orange to order my company-paid for prescription safety eyewear.

I’ve been a permanent employee since October 30th.  I’ve had the paperwork since then, and I just haven’t been able to make myself go.  Several times, my team leader has (good-naturedly) razzed me about still wearing safety glasses over my regular glasses when I should go get my ‘scrip ones.  And she’s right… and I make plans… and stupid depression/anxiety, whatever gets in the way.

But, I finally did.  Then, as it was only 2pm by time I was done there, I caught OCEAN’S 8 at the Regal Pavilion Stadium 14

(The movie was good, story was a bit rote, but it was fun.  The performances were great.  I have a few non-major complaints, but they’re spoilery.  I’d call this a good popcorn flick.)

After that, and after dealing with some anxiety-related intestinal issues, I headed to Daytona.  Got my parking spot, scoped out the Ocean Center (I haven’t been there for any event since the late 90s; my friends and I used to go there for wrestling shows and hockey quite a bit, back in the day.)  Figured out where and when I needed to be, then grabbed lunch at Hog Heaven BBQ.  (Their pulled pork sammich is yummy.  Fries are pretty good, mac n cheese is excellent.)

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After that, walked back to the OC and got in line.

And waited.

And waited.

This was my view of the line:

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The only complaint I have about the show was waiting.  It started late, the doors opened late, we got seated late, we waited, there were a couple dark matches, we waited some more, there were a few more matches, then some more waiting…

And, really, it wasn’t that bad.  In line, got to chat with some cool cats, check out everyone’s ‘rassling tee shirts (from Lucha Underground to WWE to NJPW to MLW and more.)  Once inside and seated, all was good, as my back and knee were starting to bother me.  (Silly me, I hadn’t thought of bringing any Aleve.)

I’m not going to do a match-by-match breakdown.  Most of my pictures suck, and you can find better pics and more comprehensive reviews written elsewhere, I’m certain.

This was my view of the ring:

062918 njpw ring view

It was a great view.  The fans about me were all sorts of cool – no assholes.  The crowd was hot for the show – excited and vocal.

The two dark matches were decent.  Aaron Epic lost to Chasyn Rance and then, in a complete surprise, Michael Nakazawa showed up to issue an open challenge.  Michael is a great talent, does the comedy wrestler bit wonderfully, and as evidenced at the show, can get cheap heat real fast.  (I’ve seen Michael on CHIKARA Pro videos and have always enjoyed his schtick, so I was really excited when he was announced.)

He talked trash about American wrestlers (and American gamers; as at least half the crowd were people with CEO Gaming attendee badges on, this was easy heat) and issued his challenge to anyone in the crowd, or in the back, who was American.  Of course, dozens of guys volunteered from the crowd, until a young wrestler came down.

We never learned his name, but Michael called him “Skinny Boy”, so that’s what we chanted during the match.  He was young and skinny, so it fit.  And he lost in pretty short order – he got a few good moves in, but Michael won.  And he got back on the mic and started talking more trash, saying he wouldn’t leave the ring until he fought everyone there and the like… until the event organiser, Alex Jebailey, came down in his wheelchair.  (He legitimately hurt his leg a couple days prior to the show.)

Almost defeated from getting in by the security railing that wouldn’t separate, he got the security guys to help lift him over the railing, and he got into the ring on crutches.  It seemed that Alex was going to answer Nakazawa’s challenge… and Michael kicked the crutch out from under him and the bell rang to begin the match.

Jebailey did wonderfully, not being a wrestler and working with one foot in one of those soft casts.  (He later told us that he’d hurt himself training for the match, attempting a flying dropkick off the top rope, IIRC, and is having surgery this coming Thursday for it.)  Michael, of course, being the heel, targeted the injury as much as possible, but in the end, Jebailey pulled out the victory to the delight of the crowd.

All the matches were fun.  I was so excited to see Jushin Thunder Liger, the Guerrillas of Destiny, Rocky Romero, Los Ingobernables de Japon, The Golden Lovers, Ryusuke Taguchi, Dragon Lee and the rest.

We laughed, we clapped, we booed, we cheered, we chanted.

The guy next to me (I originally wrote ‘kid’, and he was pretty young, but hey) was named Louis.  He wore a blue staff shirt for the CEO event and was excited, as this was his very first live wrestling show ever.  I was thrilled for him.  Towards the end, during the main event (The Golden Lovers of Kenny Omega and Kota Ibushi vs Tetsuya Naito and Hiromu Takahashi of Los Ingobernables de Japon), when all four guys were down after hitting moves on each other, he started a “This is awesome” chant.

He needed a loud voice to back him up, to help the chant spread.  I’m pretty good at that, and I totally agreed with his assessment, so I helped his chant by booming it out.  Others jumped in… and in seconds, it had swept across the arena.  He was stoked and I am so glad to have been a part of that.

My favourite moment (outside of being shocked that Nakazawa was there) was when, at the start of the main event, Kota Ibushi demanded to face off against Daryl Jr.

Daryl Jr is Takahashi’s plush cat.  (There was a Daryl, but he got his head torn off.)

Here’s a pic of Daryl and Kota facing off in the ring… (Daryl was seated facing him, but the ring shook and he tipped forward.)

 

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I love that, as serious as Japanese wrestlers can seem, they can be some of the silliest, and most fun, guys out there.

Once again, I want to thank Alex Jebailey, Kenny Omega, and everyone who helped make my dream of seeing NJPW live happen.

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Fighting Depression #33 – The Holidays Are Here

November 24, 2017
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Been over three months (!!!) since my last Fighting Depression update.

That’s kinda a good sign; been very busy with work, which helps me not have too much time to dwell on things and beat myself up over them.  That’s not to say that I haven’t had some issues with depression, I certainly have.  A couple weeks ago, had one week that was particularly rough, pain management and depression-wise.  (And I notice that when the latter is bad, the former tends to be amplified.)

Yesterday (obviously) was Thanksgiving.  The holidays are always rough for those who deal with depression.  Especially when you’re alone.  I’m missing having someone special in my life, someone to share holidays with… and I’m also missing having friends to spend time with, hang out, share the holidays with.

Money is still tight, even making over $3/hr more than I was this time last year. It seems I’m always dancing a fine line, juggling flaming bowling balls, just hoping my car lasts long enough, hoping nothing breaks around the house, hoping my health stays outside of anything serious…

But, there are things I’m thankful for. The presence of people in my life, even if just through social media. Having a good job that pays better than I’ve ever been paid before, that has benefits, that actually takes care of their employees, instead of taking advantage of you while praising you to your face for years and then tossing you aside with no explanation given. (No, I’m not at all bitter… actually, I’m mostly not any more… it’s just that’s exactly what they did.)

I’m thankful that I’ve managed to keep my house; it’s been touch and go multiple times over the years, but I’m still here, it’s still mine. It’s not in the best condition, there’s lots of things that need to be attended to, but it keeps me comfortable/safe from the elements, keeps my critters safe and content.

I’m thankful for my critters; I’m surprised Smiley is still with us, I know she’s at least thirteen years old now, VERY likely older.. and the average life expectancy for a pit bull is usually thirteen to fifteen years. It’s my job to keep her safe and spoil her (and she’s snoring on her couch – yes, HER couch, not mine – right now, so I think I’m doing a pretty good job, there.)

The cats are happy, well-fed, comfortable, safe, too.

So, it’s an effort, but I’m reminding myself of what I’m grateful for.


Posted in Animals, Work
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7 Days 7 Photos 7/7

October 28, 2017
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Huzzah, I completed a challenge.  Wootness abound!  Today, I’m challenging Heather, cuz she’s all sorts of photographytastic.

Rules to the challenge:

  • Black and while photos
  • Photos of your life
  • No people
  • No explanation
  • Challenge someone each day

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7 Days 7 Photos 6/7

October 27, 2017
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Today’s challenge goes out to Mark Whitley!

Rules to the challenge:

  • Black and while photos
  • Photos of your life
  • No people
  • No explanation
  • Challenge someone each day

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7 Days 7 Photos 5/7

October 26, 2017
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Today’s challenge to play along goes out to one of my favourite peeps, and a cool writer, Zoe.

Rules to the challenge:

  • Black and while photos
  • Photos of your life
  • No people
  • No explanation
  • Challenge someone each day

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7 Days 7 Photos 4/7

October 25, 2017
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Apropos to the content of the photo, I’m challenging Welcome To Night Vale to play along.

Rules to the challenge:

  • Black and while photos
  • Photos of your life
  • No people
  • No explanation
  • Challenge someone each day

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7 Days 7 Photos 3/7

October 24, 2017
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(Whoops, forgot to post one yesterday, gonna try to schedule posts so I don’t do that.)

Today, I’ll challenge Kerry Awful, I think he’d have some neat photos.

Rules to the challenge:

  • Black and while photos
  • Photos of your life
  • No people
  • No explanation
  • Challenge someone each day

IMG_20171024_010121.jpg


7 Days 7 Photos 2/7

October 22, 2017
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Today, I’ll challenge Lisa.

Rules to the challenge:

  • Black and while photos
  • Photos of your life
  • No people
  • No explanation
  • Challenge someone each day

102217 day 02


Posted in Life In General, Meme
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7 Days 7 Photos 1/7

October 21, 2017
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Nobody challenged me, but I’m challenging Glenn today.

Rules to the challenge:

  • Black and while photos
  • Photos of your life
  • No people
  • No explanation
  • Challenge someone each day

 

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An end to an era?

September 2, 2017
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So…
 
Bellini’s finally happened. I talked myself out of last week, for whatever reasons. I planned to do it today and started talking myself out of it earlier, and said, “No, this is just depression rearing its ugly head again,” and made myself go.
 
(For the uninitiated, Bellini’s is my favourite restaurant. It’s a little Italian deli, opened decades ago by Mr. Bellini, who had retired from running a deli in New York and moved to Florida. His wife was an English and Latin teacher at my high school, so he got bored being the only one home all day, so he opened a deli down here. I’ve been going to Bellini’s for approximately 35 years.)
 
I walked in and felt something was different. The decor was slightly different, there were small differences here and there. Shelves with bottles of pickled veggies and sauces weren’t there. But… it was more than that. Something felt… off.
 
I glanced over behind the counter, expecting to see Scott, the owner, working with his employees, making food… but he wasn’t there. Kinda odd for an early afternoon Saturday, but not unheard of. I walked back to the dining area, saw a server I know, and she seemed… not upset, but not her usual self. She greeted me with a, “hey, baby,” like she always does (and she’s a cutie, but as much as I’d like to think that means anything, I know it doesn’t), but there was a distraction in her demeanor. (Now, at the time, I didn’t think anything of it. Service help can’t always be 100% bastions of sunshine and joy, real life can dampen that.)
 
I sat at (one of) my usual table(s), and she came over, asking if I needed a menu. I told her I didn’t, and she repeated my usual to me (pretty good, considering I’d not been there in a few months, and only a couple times in 2017… but she’s worked there six years now), which I confirmed. She seemed a bit more her usual self then.
 
Food came, it was delicious as usual, but I wondered if it tasted a little different. Still great, but yes, it did. Maybe they were using different bread, maybe a different provider of veggies or meat or cheese? Wasn’t sure. Still, it was great, and I enjoyed every toasty bite of my Italian hero, all the way, hot.
 
When she (I really should learn her name) brought over my check, she asked if I had heard Scott had sold the place. I hadn’t, and voice my surprise. Health issues and long hours and such led him to do so, and the new owners took over last week. (Remember, two weeks ago, I went and they were unexpectedly closed? I bet that had something to do with that.) She asked if I enjoyed the sub, I said I had, and she remarked they hadn’t changed anything in the menu… and appended with with a “yet.”
 
I said that I hoped they didn’t, and she agreed. We talked a little bit more (they weren’t busy, so I wasn’t keeping her from any waiting customers), I gave her her tip and went to pay my bill.
 
So… we’ll see. When new owners bought Bellybusters years ago (2008ish?), they signed a contract agreeing they had to keep certain items, the specialty items Bellybusters was known for, on the menu… but they changed things. Went from fresh ground beef on the burgers to chopping up frozen patties. And it made a big difference.
 
So much so, more new owners ended up buying it from them, changing things back to the way they were, and getting back all the customers the first changes had driven away (myself included.)
 
I don’t know if there was any contractual (or otherwise) agreement along those lines here. We’ll see what changes they’ll affect as time goes on.
 
Regardless, it’s not the same without Scott there. When I first went, I was 12 years old, volunteering at the public library/playing D&D (and other RPGs) in the basement, and one of the other volunteers/players suggested we grab it for lunch. Back then, Scott and his wife (the daughter of Mr and Mrs Bellini) were still living in New York, attending college, but they would come down for the summer and on holidays and work… and I remember him being a skinny, tall early 20something.
 
As time went by, we both got older, less skinny, and got on a first name basis. No matter how long between visits, I could always expect to walk in and hear a friendly, hearty, “Hey, Terry,” from Scott. For the past six years or so, when he was off (usually evenings), his son-in-law, Paul, was working and would greet me in lieu of Scott.
 
Certainly, it’s not exactly what the song was about, but I think “Where everybody knows your name” said it best:
 
Sometimes you want to go
Where everybody knows your name
And they’re always glad you came

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