Hello, world. I’m MacDara Conroy, and this is my blog.

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Talent Draft

The WWF talent draft was last night, I forgot to check the results when I got home this morning. I dunno, I’m very suspicious. I’m not sure if it’s going to work. For example, the Dudley Boys as a team are no more, and Chris Benoit and RVD (a dream match for me) are in opposing divisions. But maybe they’ll mix it up for pay-per-views. I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

Iron Chef

I knew there was something I missed while I was in Canada – Iron Chef! I even had access to the Food Network and everything! Doh!

Gaea Girls

While I’m on the subject of wrestling, last night BBC 2 broadcast Gaea Girls, a supposed documentary following the trials and tribulations of a young woman trying to break into the world of professional wrestling in Japan. I eagerly set the video, expecting it to be an enlightened look behind the curtain of the wrestling world in the vein of Beyond The Mat. What I eventually saw was very disappointing and to be honest, also downright misleading.

Take as a given that professional wrestling in all parts of the world – from the theatrical product of the United States to the acrobatics of Mexican luchadores and the technical proficiency of the Orient – is based on the premiss that all matches are worked (that is, loosely pre-scripted – in most cases NOT choreographed – with the end results pre-determined, and the wrestlers performing practiced moves on each other and selling their effects as if they were really hurt or injured) unless it is explicit that they are shoots (or real contests of skill, like Ultimate Fighting – I would say boxing, but it’s all politics now, isn’t it?).

One must also take into account that the viewing public must suspend disbelief when they watch a wrestling show on TV, much like one would watching science fiction. The overall presentation of professional wrestling consists of ‘angles’ (storylines or plot devices) that are in reality not true of course, just like science fiction, but which, to immerse yourself within the entertainment spectacle that wrestling is, you take as truisms. This is called ‘kayfabe’. Exposing the reality behind the scripts and storylines is known as ‘breaking kayfabe’ (this is a relatively recent phenomenon, made much more popular by the advent of the Internet).

Now with this knowledge watching this film (which – unlike Beyond The Mat – let alone did not break kayfabe, it didn’t even acknowledge it) is without doubt a frustrating experience. A great deal of the film showed a trainee in the GAEA Japan dojo, Saika Takeuchi, being brutalised in the ring by her trainers in so-called ‘sparring’ bouts, in preparation for her professional debut. In one scene, she performs a number of running dropkicks in quick succession on her trainer Meiko Satomura (who incidentally made the big time last December by ‘winning’ the WWWA title from the legendary Aja Kong) which seem to have no effect whatsoever. The ‘documentary’ made out that this was because she was rubbish at delivering dropkicks (which was odd since as a wrestling fan of twelve years, I know a bad dropkick when I see one and hers were pretty damn good). What the filmmakers failed (or refused) to recognise was that her trainer was simply not selling her dropkicks. The majority of wrestling maneuvers are desgined not to inflict serious injury, which a real flying kick to the chest would almost certainly result in, which explains why it takes equal effort to make a wrestling bout – one to perform the move, the other to sell it. Wrestling is all about stylised violence, making high-impact combat look good. Takeuchi’s trainer purposefully made her look bad by not selling, which is extremely unprofessional, but the ‘documentary’ made out that Takeuchi was the unprofessional one.

It just got worse from then on. I won’t even bother to get into it, it’s merely more of the same, with the documentary team maintaining kayfabe throughout and ultimately only serving to reinforce the negative perception of professional wrestling in the mass media.

Maybe the makers of this terrible excuse for a documentary thought that no one would care. Hey, I can almost hear them say, it’s only wrestling after all. But do I even need to say that that’s no excuse?

Friday Five #10

http://fridayfive.org/

1. What is your favorite time of year?

I don’t know really. I like the summer when it’s not humid, but when it is humid I despise it. I dunno… since the greenhouse effect has fucked up our seasonal patterns so much here that we get any kind of weather at any time of year (often four seasons’ worth in the same day, as exemplified by one day a few weeks ago when we had snow in the morning, rain at lunchtime, and summer sunshine with an autumn breeze in the afternoon), the only thing that really changes is the number or hours of sunlight we get each day (and of course, sunlight – as much as I’m allergic to it – is a good thing).

2. What is it about your favorite season that, well, makes it your favorite season?

We don’t have seasons here anymore. See above.

3. What is your least favorite time of year? Why?

Winter. I don’t like November. The days get shorter, the nights get longer, the weather gets worser, and my deadlines get tighter. December is only marginally better because my university lets us off for a month, but since this is my final year that luxury is gone forever. Or at least until I retire.

4. Do you do anything to celebrate or recognize the changing of seasons?

No, I don’t. I’m not a hippie.

5. What’s your favorite thing to do outside?

Sometimes I like to walk. I’m still planning my walk from Howth in a few days, when the weather turns less dull. Also, for the last week or so while I was in Toronto I got used to talking a lot of pictures. I might start bringing my camera around with me more often. I may even bring it to Howth with me.

WrestleMania observations

Some observations on last night’s WrestleMania:

  • Even though it took nearly an hour to get into the place (we missed Sunday Night Heat as a result; got to our seats just before the pay-per-view started), the SkyDome is very impressive. And very, very big. Sixty-eight thousand, two hundred and thirty-seven people big.
  • Our seats were on the upper tier (section 516) but – as I presumed – we could still basically see everything, except for whenever there was a big pyro display and the dome filled with smoke. The big video screen behind the banner was a help though.
  • While it was absolutely amazing to be there, I felt the card and the booking left a lot to be desired. I mean, most of the matches felt like filler, all bar one were singles contests (and short ones, I must add) and the one that wasn’t – the four corners tag team match – was a directionless waste of time. It seems management don’t want anybody other than Billy & Chuck to be the tag team champions, but they know they’re shit so they hoped adding the Dudleys and the Hardys to the mix would help. It didn’t.
  • The one angle that really worked, the hardcore championship thing, was actually pretty funny and well done but they ruined it by letting that fool Maven win the title back. Why was he even there?
  • Hulk Hogan vs The Rock: I was in pretty-much a Hulk Hogan supporters’ club section of the dome, so everytime he went for his trademark moves everyone marked out. Really good atmosphere. Horrible ending though. Why did Hogan turn face? I mean I can understand why they did it, but it doesn’t flow with the storyline. I mean, a month ago Hogan ran a truck into the side of the Rock’s car, and now they’re best buddies? In the old days it took at least six months before stuff like that happened.
  • I really wanted a t-shirt, but circumstances worked against me. I probably would’ve been ripped off anyway. A bottle of Coke was $3.25.

All in all, it was great to be there, something to tell the grandkids about. I’ll watch the video when I get home. Wrestling just seems better when it’s on TV.

Friday Five #9

http://fridayfive.org/

1. What’s your favorite animal?

Dogs. Besides the ape family, they are the most anthropomorphic of animals.

2. What pets have you had in your lifetime?

Without going into specifics, since I was born we have had four dogs, five rabbits and a goldfish. I’m not counting the four feral cats who basically live in our back garden, even though we feed them.

3. Is there any specific pet that you’ve wanted but never had? Why?

Nope. I always wondered what it would be like to keep a lizard or similar reptile, but I’ve never specifically wanted one.

4. Are you allergic to any animals?

Nope. As far as I know I’m not allergic to anything (except possibly the sun).

5. Do you have any ‘pet’ pet peeves (your pets or others’)?

Oh yes. To name just one, Major has a horrible habit of scraping the floor with his front claws in an obsessive compulsive manner. It would drive a lesser man to insanity.

Chasing The Dragon

It suddenly dawned on me today why there’s a menagerie of film-related vehicles in the tennis club car park down the road from my house: they’re filming Chasing the Dragon, the new film based on the Veronica Guerin murder with Cate Blanchett. Another film was made based on the same events (although using different names) a couple of years ago with Joan Allen. People didn’t go to see it. I remember watching the end of it whilst skiving off during an ushering shift at the multiplex.

Kill… everyone?

I hate to rain on these guys‘ parade – since I do abide by the theory that 90% of the world’s population are idiots – but if we were to educate more people, then a lot less of them would be stupid, which in turn will lead to a reduction in the population explosion, without the need for genocide.

Friday Five #8

http://fridayfive.org/

1. What makes you homesick?

Just being away. It takes me a little while to adjust to a new place, even if I’m just there for a few days. But I get used to it. I’ve never been really homesick. Yet.

2. Where is “home” for you? Is it where you are living now, or somewhere else (ie: Mom & Dad’s house, particular state/city)?

Home is right here, in Dublin. (That’s in Ireland, by the way.)

3. What makes it home for you? People? Things?

I dunno. I guess because I grew up here, and I haven’t lived anywhere else. I could make a list longer than Santa’s of things I dislike about living here, but I still feel at home here. Dublin fits me like a glove.

4. Where is the furthest you’ve been from home, miles-wise?

500 miles – the distance between here and Paris, or here and Brussels. That’s as far as I’ve been yet. Next Thursday, however, the new record will be 3,269 miles, ’cause I’m going to Toronto for six days. I’m really getting excited about that now.

5. What are your plans for this weekend?

I have an essay to finish, and I have to go out to campus tomorrow to do some photocopying. And I have to sort out what notes I’m bringing with me to Canada. That’s about it really.

Referendum Results

The results of the abortion referendum were announced this afternoon: 50.42% voted ‘no’, so the constitution will not be amended. I’m glad. I voted (if I can, I always do) and I did not vote ‘yes’.

But that is not to say that I don’t believe there should be some form of legislation in place. I made my decision in this referendum solely on the basis of the proposed amendment. I didn’t have time for the arguments from neither the right nor the left. Nobody had anything substantial to say. Nobody said what they would do instead. It just isn’t as simple and clear-cut as ‘yes’ or ‘no’.

Britain Does Good Television

These shenanigans are just more proof that if you want good television, you have to go to Britain to get it.

American television is a solely commerical enterprise; it has to pander to the lowest common denominator in this day and age. It was only a matter of time that things like this started happening on this scale. Not that this hasn’t happened on British TV in any form, but would one ever see programming such as last night’s launch of BBC Four (broadcast simultaneously on BBC 2) on American network television? I think not.

Tools

Tools keeps getting better and better.

One of the latest additions is a link to Gnod, which I’m playing around with now.

Friday Five #7

http://fridayfive.org/

1. What’s your favorite vacation spot?

Jeez, what the hell is this? I’m not the Million Dollar Man! What do you want to hear? That I summer in the Hamptons and winter in Aspen? ‘Cause if you do you can go take a hike, bucko.

And besides, who wants to go away to the same location all the time? Well, I guess if you like those package holiday type things you might, but they don’t count as holidays in my book.

To answer the question, even though it doesn’t really apply to me and it smacks of elitism, I have been to Paris twice but still didn’t see everything I wanted to see, so I would love to go back.

2. Where do you consider to be the biggest hell-hole on earth?

San Antonio, on Ibiza, seems like it to me. I’ve never been there, but I never wanna go. I feel sorry for the people who live there, having to put up with all those drunken fools.

3. What would be your dream vacation?

A few days in New York, a few more in Chicago, then all the way along the Pacific coast from LA to Vancouver. I’m hoping to do Vancouver to San Francisco within the next twelve months. I would rather not travel alone though.

4. If you could go on a road-trip with anyone, who would it be and why?

Any of my friends really, for different reasons. Each of the trips would be different, and they’d all have the potental for excellence, so I couldn’t pick just one. Now, if we could all drive, that would be even sweeter.

5. What are your plans for this weekend?

Probably going to the Icarus Line gig tomorrow night, even though I’ll feel like a tool being on my own and lost in a crowd of pretentiousness. I’ve also got some reading to do and essay planning and whatnot. I dunno, whatever happens happens I guess.