The Hack Diaries – 23/10/18

Confidence is a fickle prick. It took four months for mine to turn on me.

Another six have passed since my dalliance with K put another premature investment in the red and sent every ounce of chutzpah there with it. But between the bougie box, steady flow of cabbage, and freelancing that fills the occasional afternoon, I’ve finally worked my way into a day-to-day without routinely questioning my decisions or barreling down the existential rabbit hole. With that has come just enough gall to chip away at two women I’ve set my sights on of late.

C bows and scrapes in the box alongside me and dozens of others whose dreams have reluctantly taken a backseat to the paper chase and all its temptations. Her looks haven’t ballooned her sense of self-worth, nor is she prone to the chubb-stifling hissyfits synonymous with her colleagues. Almost alarmingly sweet, but indecisive and unavailable, just like those who came before her. Her glorified paramour’s status remains intact, and I’ve already had far too many women run hot and cold on me with their divided allegiances to do anything more than regale her with the occasional witticism until she sends his ass packing. Even in a drought, the name of my game is the long kind. So much for learning from your fuckups.

Which brings me to the Italian bird, a tall, redheaded Venetian thing with the ass I’ve made the subject of my praise once before. My scruffy, olive-toned mug graces her cafe a few times a week for white-collar work as much as it does to build the rapport and gumption required to take the plunge. She’s told me of her origins and aspirations between short spurts of banter, but true to my ass-backwards ways, I’ve yet to obtain her name.  I made it the mission of my past two visits, only to catch her in the weeds and get anxious as a motherfucker over my lack of progress. Still anxious, but undeterred. The things I do in the name of companionship.

The Hack Diaries – 10/3/18

For reasons largely related to my wardrobe and curmudgeonly disposition, I gleefully awaited fall’s arrival not a month ago, only for the grey to sink me further with every morning it’s greeted me over the past week and change. The season turns up the dial on my undying feelings of longing, and every frustrating night in the bougie box leaves me coddling my seasoned inner-fatty until the itis lethargically pushes me from the couch to bed for another marathon of maiden-filled dreams.

The women at work have been fawning over me since I got my hair cut, but that’s done little to renew the long expired lease on my confidence or make life in the box any more palatable. I wonder if I’ll have a shot at wooing C away from her glorified paramour once she’s back from Europe. I’ve been angling for position with every opportunity. Pre-trip returns were positive, but the fear of premature attachment to another woman who’ll leave me in the dark never fully subsides. Maybe I should repurpose my efforts toward the redhead with the onion-shaped ass who works at the coffee shop.

I woke up late for a morning flight home. The visits to old haunts, existential crisis and update on my mother’s health will have to wait. N came through with some more work in my field, yet I spend the afternoon looking for some sense of immediate and eventual purpose in my dusty-ass apartment until my bar opens. Neither sleep nor gallivanting leave me feeling rested or anything even flirting with serene. Maybe I should stop living like a knockoff Travis Bickle. Maybe J was right. Maybe this isn’t a temporary, but a permanent condition.

The Hack Diaries – 28/9/18

A nightmare featuring a hairy, naked monstrosity rousts my ass out of bed shortly past noon. I’ve yet to figure out how and why this otherworldly creature made its way into my erratic subconscious, and I don’t think I want to. Never been an early riser, but long shifts of bowing and scraping in the bougie box have made me burn nearly as much of the midnight oil as my worst self did with regularity when I first moved here.

I hit my coffee quota, take an alarming handful of dumps, call my mom, whip up an article I’d egregiously put off for my rinky-dink website, and rub one out to one of several foreign beauties that work at my coffee shop before leaving the confines of my east end abode. The changing of seasons, my mother’s health and an ill-fated opportunity botched by yet another wastecase intermediary have put me in a place I’ve struggled to leave of late, so I aim for a day of blissful solitude on the west side.

I read up on a variety of fascinating theatre productions I can’t make in an issue of NOW over a couple of paper planes at Northwood before taking my ass south for an early dinner at Bar Isabel. A half hour to kill until the tapas joint opens its doors to the hipsters, the faux creatives, the gentrifiers, the targets of my perpetual contempt. Ain’t no thing, at least not today. I detour to a nearby Scottish pub for a pint and a scotch egg. My waitress, a redheaded 30something with blue eyes approaches me as I – an Irish and bourbon man to the bitter end – interrupt my reading to admire the joint’s scotch program. An inquisitive D lets a few terms of endearment fly and leaves me smitten before tending to a pair of schlubbs who just walked in. The my loves and sweethearts I chose to believe were solely meant for me ride that Scottish brogue to new destinations.

Con artists, all of them. I’ve killed nearly an hour.

The grub was worth the wait. Consolation. I leave Isabel sated and get to steppin’ on College Street while the damp chill of fall sinks its hooks in. I think about the prospect of crossing paths with K and whether I could emerge from the resulting interaction unscathed as I head east through her stomping ground, D’Angelo’s “Another Life” the aptest of soundtracks to my dome’s denizens and the season’s abrupt arrival that feeds them. Enough, T. Enough already.

I cap the day with some Haagen Dazs, regional MMA and laundry. What to make of it? Great food and drink were had, a respectable – albeit uninspired – piece of work was published on a site run by a gang of glorified fanboys who’ve never heard of a nutgraf. Maybe I’d deem it a success if it had gone down at another time. I’m on the fence.

LFA 51’s Paul Elizondo: Flyweights are undervalued, but need to make themselves household names

NOTE: Originally published via MMA Today on 27/9/18 It’s hard out there for a flyweight. The frenetic pace and myriad scrambles synonymous with the men’s 125-pound class haven’t translated to headliners or box office receipts in this corner of the market, which could be as easily attributed to a lack of initiative from flyweight competitors in drumming up interest as the UFC’s apparent reluctance to do so itself. So says one of the division’s own, at least. Speaking with MMA Today ahead of his professional debut at Friday’s LFA 51, Paul Elizondo deemed his weight class worthy of the accolades and riches that have long proved elusive, but urged his fellow flyweights to take matters into their own hands if they’re to share a marquee – and pocket substantial cabbage – with their hard-hitting, albeit geriatric, heavyweight counterparts. “I don’t think the flyweights are (appreciated), and they have a responsibility as well to make themselves a household name,” Elizondo said. “When it comes to highlight reels and stuff, the heavier you are, the more gravity you have working for you, and heavyweights only need to touch somebody one time on the chin and they get put to sleep. “To be honest, the flyweights don’t get that much credit, but they should because we have way more longevity. Our cardio is what allows us to stay in the fight when we do get cracked, and most of those fights, those guys just don’t stop.” True to Elizondo’s assessment, one would have a rough go of unearthing an Ngannou vs. Lewis-esque stinker from any flyweight film archive, but that hasn’t kept MMA’s preeminent promoters from repeatedly relegating its pint-sized fighters to middling slots on the average card, even with ex-divisional UFC champ and luminary Demetrious Johnson in the fold. Despite owning the UFC’s record for title defenses with 11 (most of them one-sided), the recently deposed Johnson’s drawing power has never held a candle to his abilities. UFC 191, capped by his rematch with John Dodson, pulled a paltry 115,000 pay-per-views. Johnson hasn’t entered the brass’ good graces or headlined a bill that wasn’t on free TV since, and most recently saw his air of infallibility – and what little clout that came with it – revoked by Henry Cejudo as UFC 227’s second fiddle last month. The way Elizondo sees it, the powers that be might have bungled their investment at 125 pounds, but his colleagues aren’t doing themselves many favors in letting the fighting and only the fighting – however enthralling – do the talking. “I believe it has a lot to do with marketing. There is a fine line between competing and getting respect, but at the same time, it is the fight game, and if you don’t want to sell a fight and just be a good competitor, you’ll be a Demetrious Johnson with 12 titles and no one knows who (you are). I’m not saying no one knows who he is, but it took him 12 title fights just to be a co-main event on a (pay-per-view) card. It does have a lot to do with them. “We’ll see what happens with Cejudo being the champ now. He’s got Olympic gold, so he knows a little bit about marketing. He’s already challenging (bantamweight champion) TJ (Dillashaw), so he’s already making some noise. I’m excited for it. Personality has a lot to do (with) this business. It’s turning more into entertainment than a sport.” The sport’s purists may bitterly agree with Elizondo’s assessment of MMA’s state of affairs. UFC president Dana White himself, a man in the business of grooming bankable bruisers (in theory, at least), called for the fighters within his purview to build themselves into stars earlier this year. As a young upstart competing in an unheralded division, Elizondo aims to mitigate the trials that have plagued Johnson and Co. by – oddly enough – heeding White’s divisive words. “Not at all because no one’s ever going to hand you anything. It’s the flyweights who aren’t working. If people don’t see you working, they’re not going to be behind you. Going back to the Conor (McGregor) thing, everyone’s hating on his jock, they all say he got it handed to him, but he was putting out footage and marketing before the UFC did it themselves, and little did they know, he can also fight. So it definitely helped. As long as you want me to put on a show, I think everyone will be fine.” Elizondo makes his first walk to the cage as a professional on Friday at Selland Arena in his native Fresno against Freddy Mendez, one of six scalps he collected on the amateur circuit.