Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Why I Hate Dell Today

We have a Dell Dimension 9150 in the office. It is the Film Festival's main computer, although I do much of my work every day on my Mac. On Friday, just before I left the office I backed up some information from that computer. On Monday, when I got back to the office, the computer was dead.

I did all the twelve-inch problem solving issues. I unplugged everything, I replugged everything, I turned off the power and turned the power back on. Nothing. I pluggesd the monitor into another computer, nothing worng with the monitor.

I asked Jay (my boss) to check on the warranties and we have had the computer for 3 1/2 years years so there are no warranties on the machine. With no warranties to void, we popped the hood and concluded that the motherboard appeared fine, the hard drive appeared fine, but the internal power source.fan was no longer working. $50 part, $100 tops, how hard could it be?

Tuesday with help from Francois my intern and by help I mean that he did all the work while I stayed the hell out of his way, we removed the power supply and went to Micro Bytes. They hemmed and hawed and said that they might have something that might fit, but they couldn't guarantee it, but we would have a 7 day return policy on the part. Cost was $50.79 with tax.

Naturally, it doesn't fit. The fact that it was not the same height or width as the old one wasn't the issue, it was the connectors not matching that was the issue.

I called another supplier in Montreal that Mario (the network guy for the company that we sublet offices from) suggested, but they said that I needed to call Dell.

I am not sure why I felt instant dread when I was told that, after all Dell's whole business model revolves around selling people parts, right? Right?

I start by calling the 1-800-www-Dell number at just after 10:30 am. (Call#1) I explain what becomes my mantra: 1 know the machine is not under warranty. I need to get a price for the combined fan/power supply. My goal was to do the scouting work for Jay so that his time wasn't wasted when he called to order the part.

The first person that I speak to forwards me to 1-800-387-5757 (Call#2) They tell me that I should be speaking to 1-800-847-4096 (Call#3) who in turn refer me to 1-866-398-8977 (Call#4). By this point, I start telling the lucky person who picks up how long I have been on the phone and how many different people I have already spoken to.

Then I start getting transferred between two different section of Dell related to the fact that when we originally ordered the Dimension 9150, we ordered two computers at the same time, so I speak to the Dimension departnment twice and another department for the other computer once. (Call#5, Call#6, Call#7)

The seventh Dell employee that I speak to finally takes some level of pity on me and creates a service ticket describing my issue (800 942 905), informs me that there is no way that so many people should have transferred me bu he will need to transfer me again. He transfers me to the warranty department (Call#8), despite the fact that the computer is no longer under warranty. The warranty department transfers me to another warranty department (Call#9) who finally begin to comprehend the problem, but can't find the part number and they suggest that they should transfer em to the "spare parts" department (Call#10).

This department is finally able to figure out what part I need, that it is in stock and that it costs $63. (US Dollars I assume.) So, success at answering my initial question after speaking to ten Dell employees and since it is almost exactly 1:00 pm, only 2 1/2 hours sice I made my first call.

I point out the ridiculousness of the amount of time this has taken and ask to be compensated. From my point of view, they should just be sending me the part free. The technician that I am speaking to can do nothing for me so he passes me to his supervisor (Call#11) Dell employee#175332 - only took me ten Dell employees to decide that I should ask. I am a SUPER-GENIUS!

I explain my tale of woe and my two goals. 1) Get a simple to follow procedure for Jay, my boss, so that he can order the part with no hassles and 2) I (or rather YoungCuts my employer) should be compensated for having my time so completely wasted. Specifically, since the part is under a hundred dollars just send me the damn part.

Allow me just to quote him, "If Dell wanted me to fix the problem, they would make it possible for me to fix the problem, but they don't."

I ask to be transferred to someone who can solve my two problems, he does so, but warns me that they will offere no compensation whatsoever.

He transfers me to Bill (Call#12) Dell employee#168821, who does in fact offer me a credit - a rather nebulous credit in fact somewhere between 10-40%, applied after the part is purchased. He sends me a confirmation e-mail of this, but can't walk me through what I need to know to make this process painless for Jay and has to transfer me to (Call#13) another department where neither of us can hear one another, but we are able to communicate enough for him to call me at work and we finish up the call with all the information that we need which he confirms by e-mail.

He e-mailed me the quote while we were still talking, dated 1:53 PM, so just under three and one half hours for the call and thirteen employees, for which completely wretched lousy service, we will get a credit between $10 and $40.

Now, if I was a head honcho at Dell reading this what would really set my blood boiling is that of those 13 Dell employees over those 3 and one half hours, not one thought to suggest that I buy a new computer and they would shift over the hard drive from the new one.

I am not for one second suggesting that I would have said yes or have been receptive to the idea, but it is an alternative that Jay and I have discussed and since Dell's whole business is built around - you know - SELLING COMPUTERS - at least one of those thirteen employees might have at least suggested it as an option.

-And that's why I hate Dell today.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Quebec Casting Agent Looking For Wrestlers

A Quebec casting agent called me today looking for wrestlers for a new (game?) show on TQS.

Viens relever le défi Distraction!

T’es maniaque de lutte? Tu sautes de la troisième corde? Tu t’entraînes fort et t’es passionné de défis? Tes adversaires tremblent devant toi? Viens te surpasser en participant au tout nouveau jeu télévisé Distraction diffusée cet automne sur les ondes de TQS »

T’aimes relever des défis? Tu n’as pas peur de te faire surprendre? Tu veux faire un passage remarqué à la télévision? Ta folie n’a d’égal que ton audace? Et t’es âgé de 18 ans et plus? Les auditions commencent bientôt. Fait vite! Viens t’inscrire à http://www.tqs.ca/emissions/distraction/

Pour plus d’informations, voir tqs.ca
Es-tu prêt à relever le défi Distraction?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review of YoungCuts Fringe Screening

Reel Talent Under 25

Fringing doesn’t only mean drinking St. Ambroise beer in between bouts of burlesque, sensuous skits and thrilling theatre. It’s also about catching the best of the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival – shorts from filmmakers under 25. Giving Fringers a taste of up and coming, international cinematic talent, there’ll be 14 films screened, including five from Montreal (and two of those prize winners). YoungCuts offers a good selection of animation and live action, as well as a documentary about buskers in Montreal.

A thoughtful drama from Vancouverite James Vandewater, Nothing Shocks Anyone Anymore, takes place in a Chinese restaurant where a couple on a date contemplate, in a very Zen-like sort of way, the best part of a tea cup. Attached to this film is one of the YoungCuts success stories. “For James Vandewater, I was able to facilitate getting his films in front of Paul Gross,” said festival director Michael Ryan, “which led to James and his producer Kevin Krist being hired to do the making of The Road to Passchendaele,” a behind the scenes documentary of Gross’ epic film Passchendaele. Vandewater directed the documentary and Krist produced it. Krist was also hired as Gross’ assistant for Passchendaele.

This sort of success story doesn’t happen for all YoungCuts shorts, but helping budding filmmakers make industry connections is one of the goals for Ryan. Another goal is to encourage more French and international entries, and this prompted the festival’s move from Toronto to Montreal in 2006.

One of the international entries is Office Mobius in which South Korean director Seungil Hwang spins an amusing little riff on the never-ending petty dramas that go on in offices. Particularly engaging is the use of overlapping rewinds edited so that form and content cleverly merge. In A Faery’s Tale, director Sylvia Apostol has created tooth faeries that look like a washed out version of the Just for Laughs green gremlin. These nefarious creatures swoop into the mouths of sleeping children to yank out their teeth with industrial-sized pliers – until one night, they meet their match in one little boy’s room.

Animated stick figure and live action combines in the U.K. short film Frank, by Benjamin Bee. It’s a twisted Pinocchio spin-off where a stick figure comes to life and becomes, for the main character, the brother he never had. But when the honeymoon is over, it ends in a surprisingly bad way.

There are a couple of the YoungCuts shorts in the Fringe Festival that could have been cut, but the rest more than make up for them, and the final film in the line up is definitely worth the wait. This Little Piggy by Sebastien Rist and Sarah Quinn of Montreal won the Public Prize at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival, and it’s easy to see why. This is a very dark comedy that any student who has had to suffer the indignities of slum rentals will identify with.

The Fringe Festival screening of the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival is on today at 9 pm on the X - Outdoor Stage @ Parc des Amériques. But wait! There’s more. YoungCuts 2009 will land on the screens of Cinema du Parc from September 24th to October 1st with 100 short films made by the Spielberg and Coppola hopefuls of tomorrow.

Elizabeth Johnston teaches screenwriting at Concordia University.

The thing that I am curious about is which two films did Elizabeth dislike?

Here's the list of what we played:

1. Women in the Fast Lane Trailer by Errol X. Lazare (Burnaby BC)

Reaction at the Screening: Is that the right DVD? It's so polished.

2. Andy's Piece by Andre Willcock (Montreal QC)
-made with the Leave Out Violence (LOVE) charity

How could anyone hate on Andy's Piece?

3. Frank by Benjamin Bee (UK)
-winner Best Animated Film at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival

Mentioned above so no. Got good laughs at the screening.

4. I Love You to Death by Claire Calaway (Toronto, ON)
-winner of Best Original Music at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival
(Josh Penslar, Toronto ON)

Was cheered at the screening.

5. Ton Ephemere Memoire by Paul Tom (Montreal, QC)

Didn't really get any reaction at the screening, so maybe. It's very dreamy and poetic, although the poem is not Paul's, but the images work well as a counterpoint to the poem.

6. Nothing Shocks Anyone Anymore by James Vandewater (Toronto, ON)

Mentioned above so no. Great reaction at the screening.

7. Bang! Bang! by Emilie Perrault (Montreal, QC)
-winner Best Actor at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival
(In the role of Leo: Aliocha Schneider)

Bad Audio mix and some confusion led to a disappointing response. I still heart this film.

8. A Faery's Tale by Sylvia Apostol (USA)

Mentioned above so no.

9, Buskers of Montreal by Krystel Doromal (Montreal, QC)
-broadcast across Canada in High Definition on Equator HD

Again mentioned (briefly) above so no. Got a good reaction at the Fringe. Krystle didn't come on Monday to see her film, came to teh second screening on Wednesday when we were showing stuff that was completely different. Awkward.

10. The Big Upgrade by James Dick (USA)

Got a good reaction at the screening

11. Office Mobius by Seungil Hwang (South Korea)

People were trying to puzzle out how they did it. Mentioned above so no.

12. Mosquitos by Dominic Marcotte (Montreal, QC)

Great reaction at the screening.

13. Nobody Likes a Mime by Andrew Lima (Toronto, ON)
-winner of Best Short Short (Film under 5 minutes) at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival

How could anyone hate this? Fringe loved it.

14. This Little Piggy by Sebastien Rist and Sarah Quinn (Montreal, QC)
-winner of the Public Prize at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival

Mentioned above so no.

My guess for the ones that Elizabeth disliked would be Ton Epermere Memoire and Bang! Bang!
Glad she only disliked 2 out of 14 though. And any press is good press.

Monday, June 15, 2009

PCO in Le Journal le Reflet

Their web-site is here: www.lereflet.qc.ca

The article is HERE!

And for those who don't want to click,

Le_lutteur_professionnel_PierreCarl_Ouellet_a_autant_surpris_son_adversaire_que_la_foule_en_gagnant_un_duel_qu_il_etait_sense_perdre
Le lutteur professionnel Pierre-Carl Ouellet a autant surpris son adversaire que la foule en gagnant un duel qu'il était sensé perdre. (Photo - Judith Cailhier)

PCO_a_vaincu_son_adversaire_avec_une_cle_de_bras
PCO a vaincu son adversaire avec une clé de bras. (Photo - IWS)

Ouellet change le scénario

Stéphanie Saucier

Le Reflet - 13 juin 2009

Sports > Actualité sportive

DELSON - Le lutteur professionnel Pierre-Carl Ouellet, alias PCO, savoure encore aujourd'hui sa vengeance obtenue contre Kevin Nash au Medley à Montréal, le 30 mai.

Le colosse ne se gêne pas pour dire que le dénouement des combats de lutte est toujours déterminé d'avance. Il ne s'est pas non plus privé pour aller à l'encontre de celui prévu dans le cadre du 10e anniversaire de l'organisation de lutte indépendante montréalaise International Wrestling Syndicate (IWS).

Alors que le scénario établi pour le combat très attendu de ces deux grands du milieu accordait la victoire à Nash, PCO a créé toute une surprise. "Ça faisait une semaine que j'y pensais. J'ai délibérément choisi de gagner ce combat-là. Je suis allé contre le scénario parce que je voulais humilier Nash. Ça fait du bien comme ça n'a pas d'allure", a-t-il déclaré au Journal.

Au cours des 14 dernières années, le Constantin a perdu de nombreux contrats à cause, dit-il, de son adversaire très influent dans les fédérations de lutte professionnelle. Selon lui, l'autre s'organisait pour l'éloigner du circuit. "Chaque fois que je me faisais booker, je me faisais congédier deux semaines plus tard après l'avoir croisé quelque part", a-t-il maintenu. Tout ça parce que Nash lui tiendrait rancune d'un combat que PCO aurait refusé de perdre lors d'un gala de la WWE à Montréal, en 1995.

Ainsi, lors de la rencontre du 30 mai, qui se déroulait devant quelque 1 500 spectateurs, le lutteur a riposté à une manœuvre connue pour être la prise de finition de Nash, le Jack knife power bomb. Après le premier de trois comptes déterminant la fin de l'affrontement, PCO a relevé l'épaule. "Juste ça, c'est une insulte", a-t-il expliqué. Il a alors saisi la main de son rival pour lui faire une clé de bras au sol, de façon à l'immobiliser complètement. "Ça l'a obligé à taper sur le sol. L'arbitre a même dû faire signe au responsable de la cloche parce qu'il ne réagissait pas", a ajouté l'armoire à glace, convaincu que personne ne s'attendait à ce rebondissement.

Contribution de carrière

Ce geste va-t-il l'aider ou lui nuire? "Moi, mon but, c'est de me faire connaître le plus possible. Il y a déjà eu plus de 5 000 clics sur Youtube pour le combat du 30 mai. Ça peut m'ouvrir des portes. Déjà, j'ai eu des offres pour me battre en Égypte, les 1er, 2 et 3 août. Les organisateurs font la promo à partir du fait que j'ai gagné contre Nash", a dévoilé le nouveau papa de la petite London, sept mois.

L'imposant athlète a donc choisi de miser sur la controverse de façon préméditée. "Ça prend aussi du courage pour faire ça. On ne sait jamais où va aller notre carrière", a souligné l'homme de 41 ans. n

Appréciez ses prises sur le Web!

Consultez cet article sur le site Web du Journal, www.monroussillon.ca. La vidéo du combat de PCO contre Nash y est disponible.

I will offer a translation tomorrow.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Trade-Waiting Basterd: LoSH Enemy Rising

Trade-Waiting Basterd
Legion of Super-Heroes: Enemy Rising
by Jim Shooter and Francis Manapul

I stopped buying comics as monthly pamphlets when I moved to Montreal in 1995. I have a hideous number of long and short boxes and the only way that I could stop them from continuing to breed like Tribbles was to stop cold turkey.

I do still buy comics, but I am one of the trade-waiting basterds who allegedly distort the market. I mainly buy from Millenium who give me a pretty good discount when I wander in and pick stuff up. To further keep my buying in check, I mainly buy only hardcovers, first because they look nicer on the shelf and second because I used to believe that there was some of quality barrier to something being released in hardcover. Marvel has been doing its best to kill this belief of mine and at some point I may just unload on some of the shitty shit that they have released in hardcover, but let us instead zag instead of zig and talk about something that I picked up last week:
Legion of Super-Heroes: Enemy Rising HC by Jim Shooter and Francis ManapulLegion of Super-Heroes: Enemy Rising HC

Now, I picked this up on the general principle (which I share with Chris Sims) that it is the Legion of Super-Heroes and as a huge fan of the LoSH, I should encourage DC comics to publish as much Legion comics as possible even if that means picking up the Legion when it is not very good.

In other words, I was expecting nothing from this book, and I was mildly peeved that DC decided to print this book as a Hardcover when they chose not to print any of the really really really good Mark Waid/Barry Kitson Legion of Super-Heroes relaunch in hardcover.

The first comic book that I ever owned was a Doctor Strange. Either Denys Cowan or Frank Brunner on art. I know that it involved Doc turning Clea into some kind of wild cat in the middle of Central Park. My Dad bought it (allegedly for me.)

The first comic book that I ever bought was an Adventure featuring Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes. It was an issue where some villain (I think Universo) sent a group of Legionnaires into the past each to face their own doom in appropriate historical deathtraps. I could probably figure out the exact issue with some research. Adventure#349 written by Shooter as it turns out, only it was published in 1966, a year before I was born, so I must have bought a reprint. It was probably one of those 100 page specials that they published in the middle 70s.

I have been a Legion fanatic ever since. Huge cast of characters but each with their own distinct personalities, strong female characters, young heroes, what's not to love? The one weird thing about the Legion of the time (to me) was that while almost all of the Legion girls had boyfriends, their was little or no soap-opera at all. Legion relationships were more stable than most marriages.

When Waid and Kitson relaunched the Legion, they kept the characterization but knocked apart the relationships. Saturn Girl was still dating Lightning Lad, but most of the rest of the relationships went *poof*

Leading to an interesting hook-up in this book between Karate Kid and Light Lass. (Karate Kid has been injured and Light Lass takes advantage of his weakened condition.) In the original Legion, Light Lass dated Timber Wolf, so going over to Karate Kid wasn't much of a stretch for her. Karate Kid, in the original series dated Princess Projectra and in fact married her. (He died right after their honeymoon, killed by Nemesis Kid. At which point, Projectra went all Zena, Warrior Princess and slaughtered Nemesis Kid, becoming one of many Legionnaires booted temporarily out of the Legion for violating the no-killing rule that the Legion adopted due to their hero-worship of Kal-El.)

At the risk of being labelled a complete fan-boy. Waaaaaay too late. It was a little disconcerting to see Karate Kid knocking boots with Light Lass while Projectra was busy dealing with the fact that her whole planet has been blown up by the Dominators and that as a result she is no longer a Princess lacking a planet and a people.

Look at my chest. NO! Look at my eyes!
Also, Light Lass has the biggest mixed-signal uniform this side of Power-Girl. "Look at this Giant Arrow on my chest, telling you to look in my eyes!" Plus, while it is incredibly funny that all the female Legionnaires gossip about what the boys are like in bed, it is still a little disconcerting to have Triplicate Girl dropping double entendres about Karate Kid's sex life.

Still those minor grousings aside, Shooter nails the characterizations, from Lightning Lad's fiery temper to Braniac 5's absent-minded genius and everything in between. Phantom Girl being talented both as a nurse and a pick-pocket is one of the great little touches that Shooter throws in. I also enjoyed the revelation that Element Lad is a bit of a pot-head.

Some people have complained that too much time was spent with Lightning Lad being frustrated by petty United Planets bureaucracy, but frustrating Lightning Lad is fun. It also allows for Legion teams to be trapped with no back-up, creating real peril for them to deal with. The bureaucracy story also allows Shooter to introduce a team of even more useless heroes than the Legion of Substitute Super-Heroes, including Fruit-Boy whose power is ripening fruit.

It is almost as though Shooter did too good a job frustrating Lightning Lad, because most of the complaints with the story sound like they are made by Garth Ranzz rather than a fan.

The other thing that I kept hearing is that the art-work was better than the story. I found myself liking the story better than the art. Manapul is obviously incredibly talented and he is Canadian, so I have his back, but the art feels rushed in places. It also seems like the story is serving the art more than the art serving the story. Still Manapul has real chops:

Karate Kid is a bad-ass in both colour or black and white.
That is the very first page of Shooter and Manapul's run, featuring Karate Kid, one of Jim Shooter's creations on his original run on the Legion when he was still a teenager himself. (DC Published his first Legion story at age 15!)

Just to set it up, because Lightning Lad has all the management skills of a dead raccoon, he has sent Triplicate Girl by herself (herselves?) to deal with a killer evolving alien robot from beyond time and space about to attack an asteroid mining colony. Obviously, things did not go well, although Triplicate Girl was able to distract the monster long enough for the civilian miners to escape. Karate Kid took it on himself to follow-up on how Triplicate Girl was doing and is in the process of putting himself in harm's way to protect her (them?). As we find out when Phantom Lass joins the party a bit later, by this point in the fight, Karate Kid has broken his right arm. Then he does this:

Yes, he is hitting the monster with his broken arm!
Just to sum up:
On the second page of Shooter and Manapul's run Karate Kid guts a killer alien evolving robot monster from beyond time and space with his broken arm... using Space Karate.

A) AWESOME

B) That is totally in character for a guy who once fought the Fatal Five by himself.

C) I know this is in space where no one can hear you scream, but that panel is crying out for a sound-effect that describes gutting a killer alien evolving robot monster from beyond time and space with your broken arm... using Space Karate.

So, yeah all those hating on Jim Shooter's Legion either old or new can eat a Miracle Machine without salt or a glass of water to wash it down.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

YoungCuts @ the Montreal Fringe Festival


The Montreal Fringe Festival has asked us to program an hour of short films to broadcast in a free outdoors screening,
Best of YoungCuts Screening
Monday, June 15th - 21h-22h
Parc des Ameriques, Rachel and St-Laurent

1. Women in the Fast Lane Trailer by Errol X. Lazare (Burnaby BC)

2. Andy's Piece by Andre Willcock (Montreal QC)
-made with the Leave Out Violence (LOVE) charity

3. Frank by Benjamin Bee (UK)
-winner Best Animated Film at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival

4. I Love You to Death by Claire Calaway (Toronto, ON)
-winner of Best Original Music at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival
(Josh Penslar, Toronto ON)

5. Ton Ephemere Memoire by Paul Tom (Montreal, QC)

6. Nothing Shocks Anyone Anymore by James Vandewater (Toronto, ON)

7. Bang! Bang! by Emilie Perrault (Montreal, QC)
-winner Best Actor at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival
(In the role of Leo: Aliocha Schneider)

8. A Faery's Tale by Sylvia Apostol (USA)

9, Buskers of Montreal by Krystel Doromal (Montreal, QC)
-broadcast across Canada in High Definition on Equator HD

10. The Big Upgrade by James Dick (USA)

11. Office Mobius by Seungil Hwang (South Korea)

12. Mosquitos by Dominic Marcotte (Montreal, QC)

13. Nobody Likes a Mime by Andrew Lima (Toronto, ON)
-winner of Best Short Short (Film under 5 minutes) at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival

14. This Little Piggy by Sebastien Rist and Sarah Quinn (Montreal, QC)
-winner of the Public Prize at the 2008 YoungCuts Film Festival

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

When We Were Marks: Après le déluge, Dan

When We Were Marks
Après le déluge, Dan


Thoughts and results from NCW ChallengeMania 17

I help promote wrestling in Montreal. My relationship with IWS promoter PCP Crazy F’N Manny (and to a lesser extent with ISW promoter Mikhail Q. Rotch, Esquire) is more complicated, Manny is my boss (who never pays me), my friend, my burden, my editor, my enemy. I am sometimes his friend, his writer, his publicist, his indentured servitude, his sounding board, his SHILL~, but to over-simplify greatly I help Manny promote wrestling in Montreal.

With that responsibility comes terror: nightmares. For me there are three.

The first night terror is that no one will show up. This might be why I am so aggressive pre-selling tickets in a city notorious for having big walk-up crowds and for people showing up late or at the last minute. I know a promoter in Montreal who cancelled a show “due to a blizzard” of a measly three inches because only one paying customer showed up. I know promoters who put on shows with twelve people in the audience, seven of them comps; the locker room quite literally double the size of the audience. I have never been involved in a show quite that poorly attended thank God. But until I see the line at the door, I still worry.

The second fear that brings on flop-sweat is the no-show. A wrestler in Quebec famous for no-shows once promoted his own show and disguised a no-show by announcing that the third man in a Triple-Threat was “The Invisible Man” and booked T.I.M. to win the match. Quebec wrestling being the mutant that it is, T.I.M. immediately starting popping up at shows all over Quebec, usually in the audience. (According to experts, T.I.M. made his debut in a tag-team match against Cheech and Chong.) Like many itinerant wrestlers, T.I.M. eventually tired of Quebec and moved on, eventually landing in Japan.

I have had to deal with my fair share of no-shows. Manny and I were helping book the (now-defunct) CWA promotion for owner Andy Rosetti, when he decided against our advice to book ECW veteran Sandman. Fullingon made it as far as getting off the plane at Pierre Elliot Trudeau in Montreal before Customs took one look at his checkered legal past and marched him back on to the next plane heading back to the States. Similarly, I have a friend in Winnipeg who lost half his US stars when they started a food-fight on their plane and got thrown off in Minneapolis.

In Quebec, no-shows are such an epidemic that when Marc le Grizzly was running his seasonal Madness shows from 2004-2005 and brought in Samoa Joe for the first time for Mid-Summer Madness in 2004, he drove Samoa Joe from the airport directly to the NDR Centre and shot a video of Samoa Joe in the venue that he uploaded directly to YouTube to kill rumours Samoa Joe wasn’t coming.

Something I honestly should have thought of doing last Saturday May 30th, during the IWS Xth Anniversary, when we brought in Kevin Nash to fight PCO. I had people in line for the show spreading rumours that Kevin Nash wasn’t there. Even after I told them that I had seen Nash, spoken to him and shaken his hand; even after other people in line who don’t work for the promotion told them that they had seen him walk into the building, they still insisted that Nash wasn’t coming.

That said, Nash made it, but our former champion Viking, a man that we had put the IWS title longer than any man in the promotion’s history no-showed his appearance in the fatal four-way for the IWS title, turning it into a Triple-Threat match. That is normally what happens with no-shows. Steam pours out of your ears for a minute, then you shrug and re-book the card.

Like when we put on Un F’N Sanctioned 2007 with Necro Butcher against Viking and Azriel against EXesS. Necro slept in and missed his flight (to this day he still owes us a booking); Azriel made it to the border by car and was turned back by customs for legal reasons. We announced it at the door, but no one cared because Christian Cage DID make it. With both Viking and EXesS lacking opponents, we made them face each other which made sense story-wise since Viking had beaten EXesS for the IWS title six months before. And naturally, the match that happened by accident turned out to be the best match of the night and one of the best matches that we have ever done.

I have coping mechanisms for the first two nightmares, but the final one is the one that scares me the most, perhaps because it is one that I have never had to face. The fear is that you book a star for your main event of the biggest show of the year. Someone who will get you some publicity, maybe even some free TV. You incorporate him into your story-lines, you get the fans excited about the match, everything is going perfectly and then two minutes into the match the star gets hurt.

As I say, that is a nightmare that I have never had to face, but my friends at NCW have just recently during their annual ChallengeMania show.

I like NCW because they have the best wrestling in the province that I am not personally involved in. The NCW has its roots back in 1985 and this year had its 500th show, making it one of the longest lasting promotions in the history of Quebec wrestling. I also like NCW because in all the time that I have watched them they have had a very clear mission statement. Their booking philosophy is built around emulating the WWF from the day after Yokozuna pinned Hulk Hogan for the title (June 13th, 1993) until the moment that Bret Hart turned heel (March 23, 1997).

This was a period in the WWF where goofy gimmicks and serious characters walked hand-in-hand; where WWF wrestlers could be fat, muscled or skinny; and when the WWF was patient enough to burn off their feuds and stories slowly. It is a good period to emulate especially if you are a family wrestling outfit keen to avoid the excesses of the Attitude Era.

The best part of the gimmicks in the WWF of the period and of NCW now is that wrestlers lived their gimmicks; they inhabited their characters, knowing that the goofiest of gimmicks can be redeemed if the wrestler believed in his gimmick strongly enough.

Case in point, the first match from ChallengeMania 17 on May 16th, 2009.

NCW Tag Team Title Match: NCW Champions Project 13 (Jimmy Kraven and Guil Reno) vs. Anarchy Rulz (TNT and Adrian O’Ryan) with Anna Minoushka

For those who know nothing about Quebec wrestling, Project 13 is the goth team while Anarchy Rulz is the punk team whose manager is a former Russian Communist who looks like Obelisk’s twin sister.

Anna is a great manager who would make a great joshi if she didn’t punch like, well, a girl. When she originally debuted she screamed at the fans in French distorted by a thick and incomprehensible Russian accent. Someone foolishly decided that you should be able to hear Anna’s rantings and told her to drop the Russian accent.

Adrian O’Ryan has been doing a punk anarchist gimmick in the NCW since he started. He’s got a great look and he’s a smart wrestler despite being a semi-suicidal high-flyer who tends to crowd dive expecting scattering fans to turn into a crowded mosh pit. Adding TNT to the mix gives both guys a delightful edge. TNT has the look of a Dead Kennedys’ fan who got fat and got old; who has a 9 to 5 weekday job, but on Friday cranks the stereo with Frankenchrist and tells war stories about knife fights with Jello Biafra while sucking down a “Maudite” beer and having his first cigarette of the week. And he’s turned Adrian O’Ryan from a guy who always seemed like that the last guy at the party into a shameless brown-noser whose only real punk experience is listening to the nostalgic bullshit from TNT.

I was at the first NCW show when Project 13 debuted. It was the perfect idea for James Kraven whose only un-Goth-like trait is the intensity of his Gothness. On the first teaming, Guil Reno seemed uncertain about the idea of abandoning his gimmick as a Shawinigan street-fighting hick transplanted to Montreal, but this initial hesitation has worked in the team’s favour. Guil is still a Shawinigan street-fighting hick who has moved to Montreal and Jimmy is his Goth best friend who has slowly been introducing his friend to the urban Goth culture, some elements of which he has adopted with almost terrifying glee.

Project 13 are taking a page from “Rowdy” Roddy Piper’s match against Bad News Brown at WrestleMania VI when Roddy painted his whole body half-white and half-black to piss off Bad News Brown enough to give Roddy an advantage. Roddy always had a moral flexibility; not a racist, but willing to become one for a night if it gave him an advantage. The joke, of course, was on Roddy since he used water-soluble body paint, couldn’t wash the paint off and had to fly home still painted like a freak.

Or maybe Project 13 are swiping the Star Trek episode Let That Be Your Last Battlefield, as James Kraven has painted his face half-white and half-red, while Guil Reno has painted his face half-green and half-white in mirror opposite to his partner.

The match is a good brisk opener to get the crowd pumped up. There is one fantastic sequence where Guil Reno is acting the idiot - a useless face being herded back to his corner while his partner is getting double-teamed. Adrian O’Ryan pins James Kraven and realizing that the referee has his back turned, reaches over and rolls up the referee to force him to count the pin on James Kraven who kicks out at two because Adrian can’t hook the leg with the referee in the way.

Anna Minoushka gets involved in the match but before she has to try and break toilet paper with one of her crappy punches, Mary Lollipop, James Kraven’s perky goth cheerleader girlfriend, comes charging from the back at a full run and needs every bit of her momentum to spear Anna’s fat ass to the canvas and save her man. Project 13 win at 7:17 with a double pin on TNT.

NCW is really good at telling nice long slow-burn story-lines. The only downside is that every once in a while, things get a tad bit too predictable. Like the second match on the card.

Special Challenge Match: Black Eagle vs. Electrico
Black Eagle is long-time NCW veteran who used to wrestle hardcore matches waving a crowbar. For this match, he has decided to mock Electrico’s masked gimmick by dressing like a Sumo, emphasizing his gut and threatening Electrico with the power of his Fat Cobra Kung-Fu. And I know that that sounds AWESOME, but there is theory and then there is practice.

In practice, Black Eagle is a hardcore wrestler in name only, who comes from a wrestling family not one of whom could punch their way out of a wet paper bag, which wouldn’t be so bad if Black Eagle could do anything other than punch or kick.

If you had asked me before the match what the result was going to be, I would have said, “Electrico wins with a flippy move off the top in 7 and 1/2 minutes.” As it turned out the match lasted two whole seconds longer with Electrico getting the pin at 7:32. And that’s two seconds that I am NEVER getting back.

The benefit on the other side of being predictable is that sometimes you can give people exactly what they want and surprise them in the process. Cue third match.

If Pretty in Pink Loses They Must Split Up: Pretty in Pink (Gorgeous Mike & Kid Rock) vs. Handsome JF and Mystery Partner.

The Mystery Partner turns out to be Marvelous Jeff and I wonder if Kid Rock feels left out of the adjective war. So this is basically Face Ambiguously Gay Duo vs. Heel Ambiguously Gay Duo and there is a nice symmetry in the match with Handsome JF and Marvelous Jeff just coming together in heelish collusion as Gorgeous Mike and Kid Rock seem doomed to fracture in baby-face impotence. Especially when Gorgeous Mike gets injured and carried out after 3:30, leaving his partner Kid Rock to battle alone.

Kid Rock takes the mother of all beatings before making a miracle rally and diving for his corner just as Gorgeous Mike hobbles out - just in time to make the hot tag. Everyone performs their part perfectly up to and including Gorgeous Mike selling his injury while just barely being able to help Kid Rock perform their patented double teams to get the double pin on Handsome JF at 9:19.

A tremendously well-booked match that sucked the entire crowd of just over 500 people into believing that Pretty in Pink’s loss was inevitable, and then surprising the crowd with the ending that they really, really, really wanted.

I should probably mention NCW’s ring. Quebec wrestling veteran Sunny War Cloud considers it the best ring in the province and he is not wrong with one caveat. It has both the benefits and disadvantages of its size of 16 feet by 16 feet. Smaller wrestling rings have the benefit that they make the wrestlers look bigger and because the spring is so large compared to the surface of the ring, bumping is much easier as a result. (Not easy just easier.) The WWF 20 feet by 20 feet RAW ring is like bumping on a pallet of bricks by comparison. (Or so I am told.)

The downside to a ring that small is that it is hard to make submission wrestling believable because it seems like a wrestler should be able to reach the ropes from virtually anywhere in the ring. And of course, you have to be careful how many people you put in the ring. Any more than four people at a time and you run the same danger as organizing an orgy in an elevator. If everyone involved aren’t Olympic level gymnasts, who know EXACTLY what they are doing at all times, the whole thing quickly turns into a cluster-fuck.

Which brings us neatly to our fourth match.

4 Way Sudden Death - Winner is Number One Contender for the NCW Tag Team Titles: The Mansour Brothers vs. Los Elementos vs. Those Guys vs. Diablero and the winner of the Dark Match Battle Royal

For the record, doing a Battle Royal in the NCW ring is a phenomenally bad idea. Doing a 4 team tag match is not automatically a bad idea. Unfortunately, the number of Olympic level gymnasts in this match number exactly one: Heavy Maxx Fury, the survivor of the Dark Match debacle. In other words, the best man in the match is trying to herd cats in a closet for the second time in one night.

I can best illustrate Maxx’ night by pointing out something that only PCP Crazy F”N Manny initially noticed (out of a crowd that included me, Pat Laprade, Pat Lono and a number of other Quebec wrestling experts.) Maxx was going for a swanton, realized in mid-move that he was never going to be able to pull it off, made a course correction in mid-air for a splash, which while it was by no means the smooth as silk splash that Maxx would normally pull off was still within spitting distance of: that’s what I planned to do all along. And that sadly was the best move of the match, a saved botch.

Los Elementos are masked and sloppy while the Mansour brothers are Arab and Sidi the masked brother (who normally would be the second most talented guy in the ring) is having an even worse off-night than Maxx. Diablero (Maxx’ partner) is probably the least talented guy in the ring in terms of wrestling ability, but as usual is the most entertaining through sheer enthusiasm. He and Maxx have been partners only since Maxx won the Dark Match Battle Royal, so barely an hour, but when Maxx is double-teamed, Diablero throws a hissy fit that can be heard three metro stops away, putting to shame all of the other wrestlers whispering their objections when their long-time partners get bush-whacked.

And then there are Those Guys who are basically playing Jimmy Fallon and Will Farrell from A Night at the Roxbury. The midget Santino Italiano aka That Guy plays the midget Jimmy Fallon while some fat guy I don’t know aka This Guy plays Will Farrell. Their opening is bloody amazing, making them more stereotypically Italian in about thirty seconds than the IWS Italian team The Untouchables have managed in a year. The crowd loves their entrance; loves their team; and are delighted when they win the match with a double pin of Sidi Mansour at 10:28. I am just pleased that the sloppy cluster-fuck is over and that no one got hurt.

NCW emulates family-friendly WWF because the promotion attracts families including an inordinately high proportion of twelve-year old girls. Their squealing sometimes has its odd distortions on the NCW booking - NCW booker are nothing if not attentive to the desires of their fans.

Triple Crown Championship: NCW Triple Crown Champion Mark Andrews vs. Busty Love vs. Mr. Cobra vs. Urban Miles.

The Triple Crown Championship combines three defunct NCW belts: the (cable access) TV title, the hardcore title and the cruiser-weight title. Sadly the criteria for the title has nothing to do with being a cruiser, hardcore or telegenic.

Mark Andrews has been a favourite of mine since the time that I got Hannibal an NCW booking when he was home over the holidays from Calgary Stampede. Mark Andrews was the sacrificial lamb offered up for Hannibal to carve up like a holiday turkey with his bare hands. At the time, Mark was playing a cowardly, narcissistic pretty-boy “The Pokemon of Style”. A gimmick that died after the NCW crowd watched Mark Andrews take slaps to the chest so stiff that you could read Hannibal’s fingerprints from off Mark’s chest with the naked eye. Mark Andrews’ reputation as a cowardly heel died as he kept grimly picking himself off the mat, no matter how hard Hannibal was knocking him down.

His character has now turned full circle and he is a bad-ass narcissistic heel and a member of the Forsaken Four led by Cobra. Urban Miles and Busty Lover are midget heart-throbs with Busty being the taller and more talented midget, while Urban and his New Kids on the Block hat gets the lion-share of the squeals.

Cobra tries to cheat to give Mark an advantage, but runs afoul of fellow heel manager Phil Belanger, who hates Cobra no matter whether he wears white, black or gray boxers. Phil convinces the referee to toss Cobra before the match is a minute old. The match quickly turns into who is the bigger idiot as Urban and Busty send Mark to the outside rather than teaming to eliminate the Champion and with Mark out of the ring the two heart-throbs turn on one another.

At this point, Mark loses major points from me for not simply grabbing a chair from the crowd and sitting down to wait for Busty Love and Urban Miles to eliminate each other. Getting re-involved from choice is pointless, silly, out-of-character and in this case not even relevant as Urban Miles eliminates Busty Love at 4:11. I was convinced that this meant that Mark Andrews was going to retain the belt, because if they were going to pull the trigger on a title switch, Busty Love makes a much better choice as Champion in terms of talent. Then Urban Miles gets the flash pin at 8:45, the girls start squealing and I remembered who the true bookers of NCW are: the ones who buy the tickets.

NCW’s tertiary title is the Triple Crown Championship, but their secondary title is the Inter-Cities Title. (Speaking of emulating the WWF!) Going into ChallengeMania 17, the IC Champion was James Stone, feuding with the Forsaken Four all by himself.

Inter-Cities Title: NCW IC Champion James Stone vs. Jay Phenomenon

James Stone is your plucky hero despite having the name of a cranky arrogant misanthrope: James Stone. Jimmy Stone, on the other hand, would be a plucky underdog baby-face. Oddly and conversely, James Kraven is the name of an authentic goth hero, but Jimmy Kraven would be the name of a whiny goth poser. I am not certain why this is, might have something to do with the number of vowels in their names.

Jay Phenomenon is a wigger who used to team with Diablero. The Forsaken Four are Jay, Cobra and Mark Andrews plus Jeff Johnson who replaced Karl Briscoe in the Forsaken 4 when Briscoe got injured. During the match, Karl Briscoe dhows up to lend a hand, so the Forsaken Four become Five making it Five on One for James Stone No one can win against those odds and Jay Phenomenon becomes the new IC Champion after 9:40 with a bunch of help. An incensed James Stone grabs a chair and hands out five chair shots to fell the Forsaken Four Plus One.

In case, you were wondering what the Forsaken Four are like, imagine a French Quebecois version of the Four Horsemen started by the children of Paul Roma and Mongo McMichael.

One of the best parts about going to see NCW is that I get to see fat guys wrestle something that I don’t get to see much of in the IWS. With the possible exception of Dru Onyx, the IWS has never had much success with fat guys. (I say possible not because Dru Onyx wasn’t a success with us, he certainly was a success - a popular IWS Champion. No, I say possible to give myself an out for when Dru Onyx calls to yell at me for calling him fat.)

One of the guys who sadly didn’t resonate with the IWS fans, despite a fantastic introduction, was Tank. (He was introduced during Season’s Beatings 2003 when Dru Onyx gave the Green Phantom a Christmas present. The IWS Hardcore Hero opened the package and found to his surprise a toy tank which cued Tank’s surprise attack.)

Grudge Match: Tank vs. Samson (with Lufisto)

Tank is a fat Greek strong man who was “trained” by Jacques Rougeau Jr., which in practice meant that Eric Mastrocola and Kevin Steen did most of the heavy lifting. He has always had a great look and great charisma, but he is one of the wrestlers who are always trying to improve and get better and every year he does.

Samson is another Greek strong man although he is more of a rugged muscleman compared to Tank’s who channels the strength of the fat. If Tank is Volstagg the Valiant, the Lion of Asgard, than Samson is Hogun the Grim. Samson is accompanied by his beard Lufisto, who has become bat-shit crazy since joining SHIMMER. Her presence intensifies rather than eliminates the fan taunts of Samson being gay.
Samson carries a hangman’s noose to the ring and uses it to hang his opponents from time to time. He has the look, the intensity and the gimmick to succeed beyond Quebec. He has shown flashes of being able to make that leap, but what he really needs is experience with world-class talent and to become more consistent..

Tank wins after 11:41. Both this and the James Stone matches were good matches, but at ChallengeMania, wrestlers are expected to deliver great matches, something in short supply tonight.

The down-side to going to see NCW is that NCW is very protective of his veterans. This sometimes leads to ridiculous situations where veterans are being protected beyond all bounds of good sense. The NCW saga of Vanessa Kraven is the perfect example of this.

Vanessa had been partially trained by Ron Hutchinson in Toronto. When she came to NCW to finish her training, we started hearing stories of a 6 foot tall beautiful woman, built like a football player and strong enough to chop men so hard that they cried. When she made her debut at NCW, an extra 50 wrestling fans in the know showed to see if all that they had heard was true. And we are bitterly disappointed - not in Vanessa - but in NCW who promptly jobbed out the rookie to NCW veteran Julie the Red Fuxx who is almost literally half of Vanessa’s size.

Now respecting your elders and your veterans can be a fine thing, but there comes a point where you need to throw out the idea of making rookies pay their dues and recognize that there are things more important. Like say the principle of holding a ChallengeMania with the best matches possible as the card progresses rather than putting two of the most God-awful boring wrestlers in the world in your semi-main, just because they are NCW veterans.
Franky the Mobster and “Paranoid” Jake Matthews vs. Les Titans (Chakal and Bishop)

I suppose it is unfair of me to call Chakal boring. He is very talented technical wrestler. The problem is that he is so protective of his place and his position in NCW that he is completely unwilling to look ridiculous and you can’t really be a great heel unless you are willing to be humiliated. He is like a well-prepared meal that uses no spices.

Bishop, on the other hand, is completely and utterly God-awful. He is nowhere near as good as Chakal technically, being more a bland brawler, His complete inability to sell isn’t a huge detriment to a heroic unstoppable baby-face, but in a heel it is a huge handicap. I sometimes wonder if Bishop’s no-selling is through ego, through inability or because like other dinosaurs it takes him so long to process that he has been hurt, that it is difficult for him to properly express pain.

Jake Matthews is a shovel-wielding psychopath. While I wish he were more nuanced, Jake is capable of being in great matches and rising to the level of great wrestler even if he seems incapable of lifting others to that level.

Franky the Mobster is the Quebec Internet Wrestling Community’s choice for being the local guy who should be on their TV every week - starting right now. He does have the look and the intensity, plus he is one of, if not the best guy on a mike in the province. He has been in great matches and he can elevate others to great matches. Really, and it may seem like minor quibbling, the only problem that I have with Franky are matches like these where Franky is the best wrestler in a bad match.

The problem is that I sometimes think that Franky is content to be the best wrestler in a bad match. He will never be blamed for being in a bad match, but to me the difference between being a very very good wrestler and a great wrestler is the unwillingness to be in a bad match.

I remember watching Pierre-Carl Ouellet in his first match with the IWS at Un F’N Sanctioned 2003. A tag match that started badly and just sort of muddled along, until PCO got this look in his one good eye, a determination that he was simply not going to allow this match to continue sucking. That’s a look that I have seen in the eyes of Kevin Steen or El Generico, but never in Franky’s eyes. Not to say that Franky can’t have great matches, he absolutely can. I just don’t think he has the passionate unwillingness to not have bad matches that I have seen in the eyes of other wrestlers.

Of course, the other problem with this match is that the crowd desperately wanted Franky and Jake to murder the Titans, but the booking barely allowed them to muss Chakal and Bishop’s hair.

The ending comes when Chakal gives Franky a low blow and grabs Jake’s shovel to finish off Franky the Mobster. Jake steals his shovel back and takes Chakal out. He has a sure 3 on Chakal, but the Titans heel manager and pert-time NCW authority figure, Phil Belanger gets involved. Jake backs up Phil Belanger, but Bishop comes from behind for the ambush roll-up counted by Phil Belanger for the win at 10:56..

The one thing that NCW does better than any other Quebec promotion is slow-burn booking. They have shows every two weeks and hold big name shows about six times a year. The downside to this is that they have a tendency to train their fans that the important stuff happens at the shows that have a name.

The up-side is that when they set up a main event they do it with more and better build than just about everyone - take ChallengeMania 17’s main event.

NCW Title Match: NCW Champion Nova Cain vs. Sylvain Grenier vs. Dan Paysan

True to their obsession with that period of WWF, this match was built like an alternate dimension version of WrestleMania X’s main event only instead of Yokozuna, Lex Luger and Bret Hart, the three wrestlers contesting for the title are Yokozuna, Lex Luger and Shawn Michaels. For the purpose of this analogy Nova Cain is playing the part of Yokozuna with his manager Mr. Tolo playing the parts of both Mr. Fuji and James Cornette, Sylvain Grenier is playing the part of Lex Luger, and Dan Paysan is playing the part of Shawn Michaels. And of course rather than WrestleMania’s more complicated structure, they are just doing a Triple Threat match.

NCW built the match perfectly. Dan Paysan and Nova Cain had long standing issues, their confrontation at ChallengeMania a foregone conclusion, but when Dan signed the contract for the match, Sylvain Grenier showed up to sign on as the third competitor. Nova Cain blasted a distracted (by Tolo) Dan Paysan from the back and threw him out of the ring. Grenier waited for Nova Cain to turn to face him, then took the champion out. When Dan got back into the ring, he backed into Grenier and thinking it was Nova Cain or Tolo, spin-kicked the WWE Veteran right in the face.

Right there the roles are properly and perfectly established: Nova Cain is the fat champion with the evil manager who cheats to win; Sylvain Grenier is the arrogant muscle-bound (and not terribly smart) tweener who doesn’t cheat because he confidently believes that he doesn’t need to; and Dan Paysan is the good-looking hero who turns every woman (and some of the men) in the NDR Center into squealing twelve-year old girls and who will kick you in the face faster than a hiccup.

The follow-up is a good old-fashioned arm-wrestling match between Sylvain Grenier and Nova Cain. Grenier is winning until he is distracted first by a Dan Paysan video promo and then by Tolo hitting Grenier with the title belt.

The other benefit of Sylvain Grenier being added to the mix is that it puts the ending in doubt, because if it was just the baby-face Dan against the heel Nova Cain, you know that Dan is winning the belt because baby-faces always win in the main-event at ‘Manias. But Sylvain, as a Quebec TV personality, and mutiple-time WWE Tag-Team champion has the stature to be NCW Champion and as a tweener can go either fully heel or fully face during this match (and has already rescued Dan from Nova Cain and Tolo once before.)

The set-up is perfect, and then two minutes into the match, Sylvain Grenier is being helped to the back, grimacing and clutching his right arm. It can’t be an injury angle because they have already done an injury angle earlier in the show during the Pretty in Pink match. And this is the nightmare that I alluded to, Sylvain Grenier, your star who got you free TV to publicize the event, who helped you pack more than 500 people in to the NDR Center (which can only comfortably hold 400) is injured. As it turns out, Grenier has torn the bicep on his right arm. Earlier in the winter, Grenier tore the bicep of his left arm before his match with Abyss, but he was able to grit that one out, partly because the tear happened before the match rather than during it, but mostly because he tore the bicep on his non-working arm. Now with his working arm injured and his other arm still healing, Grenier is done for the night.

...

...

...

So here we are at the crux of the crisis. Your star is injured. Two minutes into it, the match that you planned for is gone. What do you do? Well, if you are Dan Paysan and Nova Cain you go out and have the best match of the night, the great match that ChallengeMania are known for.
Nova Cain improvs smoothly throwing Dan out of the ring, grabbing the mike, announcing that Sylvain Grenier is done for the night and then starts challenging random fans in the audience to take Grenier’s place. Having explained what happened to Sylvain Grenier properly, Dan and Nova Cain settle down to have a great 15 minute completely improvised match.

Dan’s ability to do this doesn’t surprise me, He has been nothing less than a professional wrestler since he broke in with the N.E.W. promotion at 15 years old. I sometimes feel guilty when I advise wanna-bes to wait until they are 18 to start training, but Dan is sui generis, the exception that proves the rule. Like PCO, Steen and Generico he completely refuses to have a bad match. Like Tank, he is always learning, always improving. Like Urban Miles (only better) he drives the women bat-shit insane, He has the brain of a professional wrestler, the moves of an Olympic gymnast, the charisma of a movie star and sadly, perhaps, the body of a cruiser-weight. This may limit his future, but on this night, for this promotion he is everything that they need in a champion and a main-eventer. When Dan dodges a Nova Cain bull-rush that carries the champion into his manager Tolo and through a table, Paysan seizes his chance and shows impressive strength body-slamming Nova Cain who is close to twice his size and then climbing to the top for a flippy pin at 17:44.

Dan’s ability to lead this match did not surprise, but Nova Cain’s ability to follow his lead astonished me. I have a great deal of fondness for Nova Cain as a wrestler, He has been instrumental in the careers of many who pass through NCW. As an example, 2.0 currently touring in Japan for Chikara got their start in a team called Under Construction - Jagged and Nova Cain until Shane Matthews and Jagged betrayed Nova Cain and renamed the team Under Construction 2.0, eventually dropping Under Construction and keeping the 2.0.
Throughout his career, Nova Cain, like Diablero, has made incredibly goofy gimmicks work through sheer enthusiasm. Perhaps the best of these was his GYM (Get Your Muscles) gimmick, where Nova Cain thought he was God’s gift to women and an inspiration to men, because he hung around in gyms and lifted a few weights, despite sporting a 12-pack of donuts body rather than a six-pack.

I have seen Nova Cain as a serious face, as a goofy face and as a goofy heel, all with great success. The one role that I had never seen him pull off successfully was the serious dick heel, until this title run and most importantly until this match.

It was as though Nova Cain decided to make his last match his best match...

And in fact he did.

After the match, Dan Paysan announced that this was Nova Cain’s last match, led the crowd in applause for Nova Cain and played for him a surprise video tribute.

NCW always does these tributes well and this was no exception. My only objection to it (and this may seem odd coming from someone who just spent three months promoting a match that shredded kayfabe) was that I would have preferred having some fig-leaf for kayfabe, a clause in the contract that Nova Cain would retire if he lost.

What I come back to though is the most impressive match that I have seen this year, where the biggest disaster that could happen in a wrestling main event, happened before my eyes and the wrestlers involved absorbed the disaster, and not only met the challenge but surpassed it.

Does it reduce my own fears of something like that happening in the IWS some day? No, not really. I guess that I can only hope that it ever does happen, that there is someone in the main event with veins of ice-water, reflexes of an Olympic athlete, a brain for the business and a passionate refusal to be in a bad match especially in a main event at a big show.

Someone like Dan Paysan.

Louis XIV of France used to say, “Après moi le deluge” After Me the Flood, a great man fearing disaster when he is no longer present.

A lovely thought, but I would rather have a great wrestler like Dan Paysan, whose reaction to a disaster is to seize the reins and save the day,

Après le déluge, Dan

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

C*4 Crossing the Line II (Season 2 Finale)

C*4 Crossing the Line II (Season 2 Finale) Results

I went to C*4's Season 2 Finale on Saturday. Wasn't planning to go, but Pat Laprade called and offered to drive me there and to drop me at my parent's in Morin-Heights on the way back. Ended up driving up with Pat, his cousin Maxime, wrestler James Stone, and referee Bakais in the Road Trip to Hell. James wasn't booked, but came up with his gear anyway. First, because he's a professional wrestler and that's what you do and second, because the C*4 promoter Mark is cursed and I mean cursed by disastrous fluky no-shows.

As it turned out, James' services as a wrestler were not required, but he did fill in on commentary. I did some drive-by heckling on commentary which at first amused play-by-play man Rotchy and by the end had him completely pissed off at me.

Let's try something something slightly different with the results. I will quote the results that C*4 Mark posted with slight corrections from me, because I'm a Grammar Nazi jerk and then chime in with my own thoughts and opinions. As one quick note, normally I pay to get into indy wrestling shows that I don't promote on the grounds that that way I can say whatever I want. In this case, Mark owes some of his success as a promoter to Manny and I, plus he doesn't pay to get into my shows, so screw it, I am going to say whatever I want and also correct his grammar and spelling.

Way To Tip Off the Results Mark!
C*4 presents
Crossing the Line II
Saturday June 6th, 2009
Announcer: Tony Barnes
Tony is the guy that I "hired" to replace me as the ring announcer of Inter-Species Wrestling at the start of Wham! Bam! Thank You Ma'am! Not sure how long he is going to last as the ISW Ring Announcer to be honest. He strikes me as a radio guy with a good voice, but that doesn't automatically translate to being a good ring announcer. Not that my deer stuck in headlights act is any great shakes, but at least it is an act.
Commentators: Mike Rotch, Jimmy Stone, Tyler Logan, Chaz Lovely and Llakor
Attendance: 150+
(1) Six Man tag team match – Rush, Jae Rukn, and Virus defeated The Incredible Hunks and Sebastian Suave, when Virus got the pin following a huge phoenix splash.
Laprade's LookAbout 9 minutes. Meh. Now admittedly this may just be because I got back to the Legion hall about thirty seconds before the match started. (I went to Pizza Pizza for a Greek Salad and Garlic Bread before the show.) Also, I was just planning to watch the show, I wasn't planning on taking notes or doing a report, but then Pat Laprade came over to ask me if I was going to be taking notes on my Blackberry and I told him no and he gave me this look and walked away. Within about thirty seconds, the fucking Crackberry has mysteriously appeared in my hands and I was taking notes while cursing out Laprade under my breath.

It's not like there was anything wrong about this match, there just wasn't anything really right about it either. I had no idea going in who any of these guys were and by the end of the match I had no better of an idea. I am not saying I was scouting for talent or anything, but I certainly didn't walk away saying "We really have to book that Virus guy in IWS!" Not picking on Virus, I could have named any of the other five guys in the match. The problem, I think, is that all of the guys had moves, but their move-set wasn't connected to their personality or their names. A professional wrestler can do less and have it mean more, because every move is linked to who they are.
(2) He will slap the stink right off you!C*4 Championship Finals Qualifier – Stupefied (aka Player Dos) defeated Bash Bison (subbing for “Superstar” Shayne Hawke) by DQ. Bison attempted to use the chair, and while the ref was distracted, Stupefied grabbed another chair, fell to the mat, and dropped the chair next to him. As the ref turned around and saw Bison holding the chair, he called for the DQ. Following the match, Bison layed laid out Stupefied with three power bombs.
About 9 minutes. Loved Bash Bison, who is a new character to me. Solid guy, very WWE punch/kick style, but it fits his character. Loved the ending where Bash had the chair raised to strike behind his head, the ref grabbed it to throw it out of the ring and while both men had their backs turned, Stupefied grabbed another chair from the outside, hit the mat with it and then dropped to the mat with the chair on top of him. Bison gets DQed, goes berserk and Stupefied's clever plan gets him through to the C*4 Championships Finals, but Stup does pay a price for his cleverness in cheating Bash Bison.

James Stone had the best line about Stupefied, "He used to be a high-flyer, now he's a wrestler."
(3) C*4 Championship Finals Qualifier – “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen narrowly overcame Xtremo, in a very close and exciting contest. Steen favoured his knee throughout the match.
I Hate Your Face!About 9 minutes. Um, no Mark. That punk bastard Xtremo hurt Kevin Steen's knee about half-way through the match and then in a stunning show of lèse-majesté started going all mad dog on and at Steen's surgically repaired knee, with leg-whips and chop blocks. This is what prompted my commentary heckling as I reacted to this match like Bobby Heenan during Royal Rumble 1992. I was especially incensed by the referee's complete inability to count higher than two on Steen's pins. If Xtremo had actually dared to lock in a figure four on Kevin's weakened knee, I probably would have started throwing things at the ring.
(4) C*4 Championship Finals Qualifier – Player Uno won a wild-card triple thread threat match, over Icarus and Sabian. Icarus, sporting his newly shaven bald head, and Sabian, making his C*4 return (after missing last show) both entered the contest as wild card participants in the tournament. Player Uno managed to overcome both men, and earn his spot in the C*4 final.
About 11 minutes. So, Sabian is a heel who acts like a heel, but wrestles like a face. Icarus is no match for either Uno or Sabian, but does a terrific job of trying to steal the match from both men. Sabian ate the final pin which slightly mystified me since that would seem to be obviously Icarus' job, quite literally in this case.

Sabian is FUCKING Your Girlfriend Right Now!The more interesting thing is what happened during Sabian's entrance. Sabian has a bit where he hits on girls in the audience and he macked on a girl with big, floppy tits in the front row. She wasn't terribly impressed, but her boyfriend was pissed. After the match, he came up to Rotchy at the commentary table and demanded that he and his girlfriend not be taped. Rotchy ended up leaving the commentary table to deal with the moron. Rotchy's answer was pretty brilliant in fact, "You don't want to be on camera? Go ask for your money back and get the FUCK out!"

I will brook no argument about this. The guy had been to multiple C*4 shows in the past, he was well aware that every show is taped. If you don't want to be on-camera at a sporting event, an entertainment event or a sports-entertainment event, don't go and especially, do not sit in the front row! If you don't want to be insulted by Don Rickles, if you don't want to be hypnotized and made to cluck like a chicken by the Amazing Reveen, don't sit in the front row.
(5) C*4 Championship Finals Qualifier – Frankie the Mobster pinned “The Last Persian Warrior” Rahim Ali, to grab the final spot in the C*4 Championship Tournament finals. Frankie entered the match as a wild-card surprise opponent – and used his size and force to over come overcome the usually dominate dominant Ali.
About 9 minutes. As I mentioned, with Rotchy gone I was doing commentary alongside James Stone. Both of us were doing colour commentary and neither of us were doing much play-by-play. This went about as well as you might have expected. Especially once James and I started screwing up Rahim Ali's name repeatedly. I did make it up to Rahim a little bit by getting into an argument with James Stone after I claimed that the Persians invented wrestling.

Franky the Mobster is Franky in Quebec and Frankie outside of Quebec, because outside of Quebec, people believe that Franky is a girl's name.

Rahim Ali is by far the snazziest dresser on the C*4 roster, but he really needs to stop sending me e-mails calling me his friend and offering me a cut of the 50 million dollars that he has embezzled from Iraq.

Those Who Like It, Like It a Lot!Intermission

During the intermission, I had a bit of fun and completely baffled the Legion bartender, when I wandered over to the bar to find out what sort of rat's piss Ontarians call beer they were serving, only to find to my delight that they actually stocked Alexander Keith's. Then Pat Laprade joined me and started grousing, when I bought him a beer to return the favour from the beer that he had bought me at the Medley during X, and I insisted under buyer's privilege in giving him a Keith's.

(6) Misty Haven defeated Sara Del Rey in a very physical ladies ladies' match. In their first encounter, Del Rey bullied and beat the fresh from knee surgery, Misty Haven, to get the win. However, Misty brought a new level of attack to Del Rey, and managed to get the 1-2-3.
About 10 minutes. I was a little miffed with Sara Del Ray, because Misty Haven seemed to be acting goofy from an improperly healed concussion and Sara kept switching from attacking Misty's head to attacking Misty's knee, but now that I read Mark's results I remember that Misty just came back from knee surgery. Finding out that Sara won their previous encounter by going after Misty's knee, makes me believe that Misty deliberately invented a concussion to distract Sara from her knee and that is AWESOME. Reminds me of when the late Yvon "the Beast" Cormier would wrestle with an injured arm and he would tape up the uninjured arm to lure his opponent into attacking the wrong arm.

After the match, we had another CONTROVERSY. Sitting in the front row was a fan with a "Slap Me Sara!" sign, which he had signed during the break and when Sara Del Ray asked him if he really wanted her to slap him, the masochist said, "Yes, please." So, it was completely predictable that when he waved the sign in Sar's face after she lost the match, her reaction was to slap him and kick him rather hard.

There has been some criticism of Sara Del Ray for this. My personal reaction is that taunting a heel with a home-made sign inviting them to slap you and having previously confirmed that you want them to do just that, is about as smart as swimming with sharks while bleeding from an open wound or patting a pit bull while wearing a pork-chop necklace.

I will however confess to a slight disappointment with Sara Del Ray, because there was an opportunity here to be much more of a heel.

The evil thing to do would have been to take the mike from Tony and announce, "This moron wants me to slap him? Is that what you want? You want me to slap you? Do you want me to slap him?"

Pause for (hopefully) "Slap Him Sara!" chants.

"All right I will slap you, but you better be ready because I am going to slap you so hard that your Momma will forget who you are! Is that an erection? You're pathetic! You're so excited that you can't even control yourself! When I slap you, you are probably going to run home and masturbate all over your Star Wras Slave Leia action figures! Well, forget it! I am not going to slap you! I am not even going to touch you, you miserable pervert!"

Then for maximum effect either tip over his chair so he falls backwards, or rip up his sign or for mega bonus points, do both simultaneously. Being a heel is all about identifying what people want, making sure that the crowd knows that you understand what they want and then doing the opposite.
(7) “MVP” Michael Von Payton pulled of off a huge win, pinning Tyson Dux. The match started off with a classic back and forth battle of technical wrestling, but soon degenerated into a brawl, that spilled into the crowd, and around the venue. Von Payton and Dux both took each other to the limit, and Von Payton got the pin with a small package.
Von Payton now lays claim to a perfect season in C*4. Prior to the match, Von Payton took the mic mike, and reminded fans that he defeated Twiggy at the previous event, “Stand Alone”, and as a result, Twiggy now must sit out from active competition for Season 3. At that moment, Twiggy’s music hit, erupting the crowd. However, it was all a ploy by MVP to dig the knife further into Twiggy’s fans fans' hearts, as he laughing had the music cut off.
About 16 minutes. Ugh. I think I just figured out Mark's literary styling. The better the match was, the worse his writing gets. "erupting the crowd" "as he laughing had the music cut off" That's the literary equivalent of turning a swanton into a self-inflicted pile-driver. And it's a never a good idea to string two possessives in a row.

I really liked Tyson Dux who played a fantastic tweener. MVP was solid as always.

My only real issue was the ending which I thought was a little anti-climactic. Personally, I would either have had Twiggy's music hit again and had Tyson Dux take credit. (Or imply that Twiggy the Super-Hacker had taken over Jason's computer remotely.) And if you wanted MVP to win, you have Tyson do the ambush roll-up, have MVP over-roll it and have him get the pin using the ropes for leverage.
(Cool (8) The Warriors (Josh Alexander & “Psycho” Mike Rollins) pulled off a huge win defeating The Flatliners (Asylum and Matt Burns) in an incredibly physical contest. Both teams suffered injuries during the course of the match, as both teams attempted to defeat and conquer their opponents. Alexander and Rollins picked up their first win in C*4 with this impressive upset.
About 16 minutes. By this point I was getting a little antsy, feeling that the show was going a little bit long. Now that was partly because I completely failed to understand that the tournament was going to have a four-way elimination match. I was under the impression that we had three matches left in the tournament. And I mention this not just to remind you that as always, I am an idiot, but because if I thought that then there were probably other people in the crowd who believed that and it is part of the responsibility of the ring announcer to explain what is going to happen later in the night.

You may want to take that as the context for my criticism for this match, but this was terrible.

Too damn long. Unnecessarily dangerous as evidenced by the fact that guys got hurt. And the worst part of it was that each part of the match worked on its own, but it was the way that they put it together that just didn't work.

The ending is the perfect microcosm to describe why this match didn't work. One of the Flatliners and one of the Warriors were struggling in the middle of the ring, while the other two were struggling on the top rope. The Warrior up top won, pushing the Flatliner to the outside, than he jumped from the top, SLAPPED the Flatliner in the ring and his partner did the ambush roll-up for the win. Absolutely nothing wrong with that ending. Perfectly fine, original, funny ending. Except that you just spent 16 minutes killing each other, including near-falls where by all rights the guy eating the pin fall attempt shouldn't have been walking afterward let alone kicking out at 2.999999. You either do that ending after ten minutes (when the match should have ended) or you use of the high-impact moves that you turned into bullshit near-falls as the ending.

Look at me, self-indulgent drivel by four spotlight hogging morons.
(9) C*4 Championship Finals – 4 Corner Survival match – “Mr. Wrestling” Kevin Steen managed to outlast Player Uno, Stupefied and Frankie the Mobster, to become the first ever C*4 Champion.

In what will go down, no doubt, as the best match in C*4 history to date, all four participants gave in their attempt to claim the prize of being the first ever C*4 Champion.
"Gave in their attempt"? Gave what exactly?
In the end, it came down to Steen and Player Uno, familiar foes, who went back and forth, hitting each other with everything they had. Player Uno seemed to have it won, after managing to take out Steen with a pair of vicious half-nelson suplexes – however Steen managed to keep going, and nailed vertebrae crunching package piledriver, and quickly got the pin.
"Nailed vertebrae crunching package piledriver"? Nailed a vertaebrae crunching package piledriver.
Steen shook Uno’s hand following the match, and told him that he respects him and admires him for the wrestler he has become.
Ugh. How are you supposed to know who is saying what in that sentence?

Maybe: Steen shook Uno's hand following the match and told Uno that he respects the 8-Bit Luchadore and admires him for the wrestler he has become.

Better: Steen shook Uno's hand following the match. Mr. Wrestling told the audience that he respects Uno and admires the 8-Bit Luchadore for the wrestler that he has become.
Steen was awarded the belt, and told the fans that he would defend this belt with the same honor and dignity that he carries all his championships with. He ended the night by inviting all challengers from anywhere in the world, to face him for it. Steen thanked the fans and held the belt up high, leaving the ring.
I almost replaced honor with honour because if you start spelling like a Brit once, you have to be consistent.
Also: "He ended the night by inviting all challengers from anywhere in the world, to face him for it."
Better: Mr. Wrestling ended the night by inviting any and all challengers from anywhere in the world, to come to C*4 to face him for his belt.

Again, the worse Mark's writing gets, the better the match was, so if you assumed based on that rule that this match was AWESOME, you would be right.

Stupefied eliminated Franky/Frankie after 6 minutes. Which was completely Franky's fault since Kevin Steen had Stup eliminated around the 4 minute mark, but Franky yanked Kevin off the pin because Franky wanted to eliminate Stupefied - revenge for Stup kicking Franky in the face earlier.

Kevin Steen eliminated Stupefied with the Sharpshooter after 10 minutes. Kevin beat Uno with the Package Piledriver after 16 minutes.
C*4 wants to thank all of our fans for their continued support this season. We return on in September, with a date to be announced shortly.

C*4 Crossing the Line II will be available on DVD from Fortune Video Editing (www.fortunevideoediting.com) and Smart Mark Video (www.smartmarkvideo.com) shortly..

Have a great summer – and visit www.c4wrestling.com for news concerning our return shortly!
C*4's first show of their Season 3 will be September 11th. Also Mark, never end three consecutive sentences with the same word, no matter how shortly you are hoping to end your results.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

The Road (Trip) to Hell is Paved

The Road Trip to Hell is Paved With Good Intentions

I went on a road trip from Montreal to Ottawa on Saturday. The C*4 Wrestling promotion's last show of their "Season Two" Crossing the Line II saw them crown their first champion (Kevin Steen) Good show, a little long for my tastes, but it had great matches and some absolutely hilarious moments that I will write about in the comings days.

Our topic of the moment is how I got there. I wasn't planning on going to the show until Pat Laprade offered me a ride to Ottawa and agreed to drop me in Morin-Heights at my parents on the way back. Little did I know that I was agreeing to the Road Trip to Hell!

In the car: Me, Pat Laprade (driving), James Stone, Bakais and Pat's cousin, Maxime.

On the basic principle of saying some nice things about the drive, before I get to the good stuff, I reluctantly admit that the drive was not a total disaster:

  • We did arrive in Ottawa before the doors opened.

  • Miraculously with all limbs and organs intact.

  • I did get dropped off by my parents safely.

  • Red Lips, Black List - The James Stone StoryAs James Stone discovered, Put Me, Laprade and Bakais in a car together and we will completely rebook your life, your promotion and your career, including booking James Stone's heel turn "But I'm not turning Heel!?!" in an angle that we called: Red Lips, Black List. Which would be a great title for a blog by the way.

  • There is nothing better than letting Pat Laprade say something stupid and then James Stone and I spending fifteen minutes tag-teaming him as we prove point by point that he has no idea what he is talking about.

  • Like James and I patiently explaining to Pat that HDNet is owned by Mark Cuban who invented streaming video and has more money than Vince McMahon and Donald Trump combined, so while the fact that HDNet got booted off Time Warner Cable in a contract dispute is not great news for ROH, it is also not the apocalyptic doomsday that Pat and other Chicken Littles are predicting. Heck Nickelodeon got booted off Time Warner Cable last year for a weekend in a contract dispute. Getting kicked off Time Warner Cable is practically a badge of honour.

  • Or James and I explaining that while the Kevin Steen who succeeded in 2007 in ROH was certainly a better wrestler than the Kevin Steen who did not succeed in 2005, the biggest difference between the two runs was that Kevin was given a chance to succeed in 2007 that he was never given in 2005. There is a huge difference between being given the Briscoes as opponents and told to show off what you can do and being sent out in a five minute match. Patrick tried to counter by listing moves that Kevin did in 2007 that he never did in 2005. James and I patiently explained that these were moves that Kevin had used well before 2005, but that they were moves inappropriate to five minute matches which is why you never saw Kevin using them in ROH until 2007. In any case, it is a silly argument because the biggest difference between Kevin Steen 2005 and Kevin Steen 2007 wasn't his move-set, but his maturity in the ring and backstage, a better understanding of when and how to use that move-set and a better opportunity to do so.

  • I had heard of Kevin Steen standing up to CM Punk backstage at ROH in 2005, but I had never heard of the 2007 postscript to that story where CM Punk came back to ROH for a show in 2007 and Kevin Steen walked up to him, held out his hand and said, "Hi, let me introduce myself. I'm Kevin Steen." As though the two men had never met and that is HILARIOUS.

So enough of the namby-pamby polite stuff, let's start really dishing the dirt shall we?


Jimmy Stone At the risk of ending up as an entry in James Stone's soon to be infamous Black List, it came as a complete shock to me and Pat Laprade and I suspect Bakais that James Stone is the most bitter, sad-sack, miserable excuse for a human being that I have ever been trapped for three hours in a car with. And I say this as a man who once drove from Montreal to Philadelphia and back with PCP Crazy F'N Manny, the IWS photographer Technical Diffulties and Chris Mergle whose idea of luxury is camping out in a burned-out wreck in the middle of an otherwise empty field somewhere in the Laurentians. Seriously James Stone hates EVERYTHING. He makes misanthropes like Dick Cheney, Conrad Black and Lex Luthor look like Mother Theresa by comparison.

Bakais

The only halfway negative thing that I can say about Bakais is that the man can choose a monster bag of potato chips, pay for it, open the bag, inhale its contents and begin complaining that he ate too much as a prelude to the emission of toxic gases in the amount of time that the rest of humanity would still be looking back and forth trying to choose between Salt and Vinegar or Barbecue.

The rest of the problems of the trip: All Pat Laprade's fault.

  1. He started the trip by locking the car with the keys inside it.

  2. Despite normally calling or IMing me so much that he legally qualifies as a stalker, Pat waited to call me to tell me that he was picking me up until he was two blocks away from my office.

  3. My office is on Sherbrooke and Metcalfe. Despite plenty of parking spots on Metcalfe, Pat drove two blocks further West to park on Stanley. Not that I mind walking but we were already late because of 1)

  4. Pat is apparently allergic to driving with both hands on the wheel for any length of time whatsoever.

  5. When stopping for gas, Pat feels compelled to inform his passengers that while he is filling up the car, they are now free to exit the vehicle and purchase refreshments, because apparently up until then, we were his prisoners.

  6. Pat waited until we were circling Ottawa on the auto-route to inform us that he had no idea where the venue was.

  7. Prior to telling us this, Pat spent about fifteen minutes programming his GPS with his right hand while searching the Internet on his Blackberry with his left hand for the venue address despite the fact that Bakais was sitting in the back seat with a perfectly useful iPhone. And yes, Pat was driving at the time.

  8. Worst of all, Pat knew that Bakais had an iPhone because we had just spent a half-hour arguing as to what the most useless iPhone app is with half the car picking the "pouring a virtual beer" app and the other half arguing for the "light a virtual lighter" app. For the record, I was arguing that the virtual beer was more useless. At least the virtual lighter you can hold up at rock concerts.

  9. Finally there is the small matter of Pat's GPS which is no doubt the infernal device handed out during your initial orientation on your first day in Hell.

Design Flaws of Pat's GPS
Note that some if not all of these problems may be due to operator failure rather than equipment failure

  • It takes half an hour to program the damn thing by which point you are either already at your destination or you have already missed your exit.
  • For some bizarre reason, despite how long it takes to set-up, Pat always begins by asking you what address to enter and then after asking for the address, telling you not to give him the information that he just asked you for because he is still programming his GPS.
  • It has a disconcerting tendency to tell you to turn left while you are in the middle of an intersection.
  • Because it apparently gets its signal from an Albanian spy satellite that was no doubt launched into a wobbly partial orbit by a giant sling-shot, the only way that Pat's GPS device can acquire and retain a signal is if Pat holds the device in his right hand and slowly waves the device around the car while driving with his left hand.
  • It threatens to run out of battery power when you in the exact middle of nowhere.

Despite all of this Pat Laprade calls the Tom-Tom GPS, a brand of GPS other than the infernal device he currently uses, a piece of shit.

...

So what are the odds that I can continue to weasel out of paying my share of the gas money?