Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Bacon Explosion!!!

Sweet mother of Gandhi this is good stuff!! It is not mine, but it is too good not to post.

2 pounds thick cut bacon

2 pounds Italian sausage

1 jar of your favorite barbecue sauce

1 jar of your favorite barbecue rub

To kick off the construction of this pork medley you'll need to create a 5×5 bacon weave. If the strips you're using aren't as wide as the ones pictured, then you may need to use a few extra slices to fill out the pattern. Just make sure your weave is tight and that you end up with a nice square shape to work with.

The next step is to add some barbecue seasoning on top of your bacon weave. Being the barbecue addict that I am, I whipped up a batch of Burnt Finger BBQ's competition pork rub for this special occasion. Seeing as not everyone has the time, or the expertise, to create a tasty rub of their own, I would recommend trying Bad Byron's Butt Rub, Rendezvous Famous Seasoning, or Steven Raichlen's All-Purpose Rub.

Now that you're pork is well seasoned, it's time to add more pork. Take two pounds of Italian sausage and layer it directly on top of your bacon weave. Be sure to press the sausage to the outer edges of the bacon creating a patty that is the same thickness all the way across. Most grocery stores carry loose sausage, so just pick out one you like. I chose to go with a mild sausage, but spicy would work just the same. If you really want to get crazy, take a stab at making your own homemade sausage.

Next up is bacon layer number two. Take the remaining bacon slices and fry them up the same way you would for breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or a midnight snack). If you like soft bacon, make it soft. If you like crunchy bacon, make it crunchy. If you like your bacon burnt to hell so the smoke detectors go off, then burn it to hell so the smoke detectors go off. These pieces are going to be a major part of the inner flavor of our sausage fatty, so cook them your favorite way. Personally, I like my bacon right at the point when it starts to get crispy, but hasn't quite lost all of the softness yet. Regardless of how well done you like yours, you'll need to crumble or chop the cooked strips into bite size pieces and place on top of the sausage layer. (Note-It's okay, and encouraged, to snack on these pieces while your chopping/crumbling. But keep in mind that once those bacon morsels touch the raw sausage, you'll need to resist all temptations to nibble. This can and will be difficult, but hospital trips are no fun, so stay strong.)

Since this is a barbecue recipe, we need to add another layer of barbecue flavor. Take your favorite sauce and drizzle it all over the top of the bacon pieces. Personally, I prefer to use Burnt Finger BBQ's homemade competition sauce, but if you're torn on what brand to use I recommend Cowtown, Blues Hog, and Fiorella's Jack Stack. Once you've sauced the bacon, sprinkle on some more of the barbecue seasoning you used on the bacon weave.

Now comes the fun part. Very carefully separate the front edge of the sausage layer from the bacon weave and begin rolling backwards. You want to include all layers EXCEPT the bacon weave in your roll. Try and keep the sausage as tight as possible and be sure to release any air pockets that may have formed. Once the sausage is fully rolled up, pinch together the seams and ends to seal all of the bacon goodness inside.

At this point we can start to see the final shape of our Bacon Explosion, but we're missing one key item. To complete the construction process, roll the sausage forward completely wrapping it in the bacon weave. Make sure it sits with the seam facing downward to help keep it all sealed up.

Sprinkle some barbecue seasoning on the outside of the bacon weave, and now this bad boy is ready for the smoker. Cook your Bacon Explosion at 225 degrees in a constant cloud of hickory smoke until your Thermapen gives an internal temperature reading of 165 degrees. Normally this will take about 1 hour for each inch of thickness, but that could vary depending on how well you maintain your fire and also how many times you open the smoker to take a peek. Mine took about 2.5 hours, which was right on target with its 2.5 inch diameter.

Now that our Bacon Explosion is fully cooked, we need to add some finishing flavors. Remember that barbecue sauce we used for inner flavor? We'll be using that same sauce to glaze the cooked bacon weave. Using a basting brush, coat the entire surface with a thin layer of sauce. Sweet sauces are loaded with sugars, so they'll give your fatty a nice glossy finish. Spicy and vinegar based sauces don't contain as much, so they won't set up as well. If you're dead set on using those sauces, just cut them with a bit of honey and you'll get the same effect.

Slice the Bacon Explosion into quarter to half inch rounds to serve. If your roll was good and tight, you should now see a nice bacon pinwheel pattern throughout the sausage. Obviously pork is best served by itself, but if you feel the need to make this meat monster into a sandwich, try placing a couple Bacon Explosion slices on a warm Pillsbury's Grands Biscuit. You'll reach pork Nirvana is no time flat!

Huge Aviation Bio-Fuel News!!

A company in New Zealand flew a 747-400 with one engine using a 50-50 blend of JetA and an oil that comes from the jatropha plant.
This is really really big news. Bio-fuels are very difficult to blend in to aviation because... well... In most cases the engines are very old and can not handle fuels that they were not designed for. Also, probably most important, most bio-fuels freeze at the altitudes that most jets have to fly at.
You see, the jet engine is not a very efficient engine at altitudes under 20,000 feet. They suck lots and lots of fuel going through the thick air. So they climb up to where the air is thin and very cold.
Apparently the jatropha plant oil has a lower freezing temperature than JetA, so no worries about freezing!

This is also big news to General Aviation. Why? Because more and more new airplanes are using turbo diesel engines. They don't use auto diesel fuel, that stuff gells up and is very heavy. Aviation diesels use JetA. If a bio-fuel can be found that replaces JetA, that means that General Aviation has a new fuel to focus on.


Oh, and as you probably know... I don't give a crap about the carbon BS that the company is slinging. What I do care about is sustainability and reducing the amount of oil that comes from unfriendly sources. We can grow this jatropha plant here in the U.S. We can produce it here in the U.S. If the use of this 50-50 blend becomes common place, we have just reduced our reliance on unfriendly oil by that much. That is very cool.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Bi-Annual Flight Review

I took my flight review. I know. I know. I know. I have not flown in 6 months, and just stepping in to an airplane that I have not thought about in so long is a bad idea. BUT the instructor said that the maneuvers are basically that same for the check ride and the bi-annual, and that it was just a review, NOT a test, so we should just bang it out all at the same time. This was interesting, because he would get paid twice if we did the bi-annual and the check ride separately. November and December have been very bad months for flying out of MLE, so he has not gotten paid a whole lot... So, being the economic conscious guy I am, I chose to do everything all at the same time.

A Bi-Annual Flight Review consists of some ground school where you go over the regs, and the charts. Some instructors have you plan a cross country too, if you haven't logged a cross country flight (over 100 nm) in the last two years. I have had several cross country flights, so I did not have to do that. I found that my knowledge of the regs is... not very good. The review was good. I did better when it came to the charts.

Then came the flight section of the review. I preflighted the Archer and we departed the pattern. The first new thing that I learned in the air was the regs state that you are not to turn cross wind (If you need a refresher on what the landing pattern is check out this post)until you reach 300 feet AGL (Above Ground Level). This is really good to know. I have been trying to "feel" where I should turn by distance alone. It was difficult to do because I would spend a lot of time looking behind and below me to see where I was on the ground. Turning after reaching a certain altitude is infinitely better because it keeps your eyes looking out for traffic, and on your instruments, where they belong! Nice to know.

We turned down wind, reached pattern altitude, and exited the pattern to the west. West of MLE is open ground, east is the Omaha Metro, so west is always best when practicing maneuvers.
The air was calm and clear. Very little wind to speak of, and because it was cold, the air was stable and heavy. The very best conditions for flying. This may sound strange, but these conditions are great for when you are flying somebody around, but I wanted it a bit choppy with a good steady cross wind. If I have an instructor with me I want challenging conditions so that I can get some good practice with a guy trained to walk me through how to fly in them.
Anyway, the air was great and we began doing the maneuvers that you are required to do in a bi-annual. We climbed to a good altitude and trimmed for straight and level flight. As I began leaning out the mixture, the instructor asked me how I was doing my leaning. I replied that I lean the mixture out until I hear the engine run a bit rough, then ritchen just a bit to get the engine running well. He showed me that on that particular airplane, we could use a gauge to determine our mixture. Neat! I really do not like leaning out the mixture the way I do it, because I hate to hear that engine run rough... After we went a bit of distance, we richened the mixture back up and began our maneuvers. First was steep turns.
Steep turns are typically a 360 degree turn at 45 degrees bank. Your goal is to keep the airplane from loosing or gaining any altitude. A 45 degree turn is a hard fast turn, and as I completed the turn I felt the airplane bounce a bit. I immediately righted the airplane pushed the nose down and gave full power. The instructor asked me what I was doing.
I thought that I had put the airplane in to a stall. Just before the airplane stalls it shakes. That is called the "buffet." I felt the airplane shake, and I went through my stall recovery as I have been trained to do: add full power, right the wings, and push the nose down.
The instructor laughed a bit and said that the little bump that we felt was actually us catching up with our own wake turbulence as we completed the hard fast turn.
Anything that moves through a fluid, in this case air is a fluid, creates a disturbance in that fluid. Ever feel the wind after a truck goes past you the opposite direction on the road? Yup. That is the truck's wake turbulence. Ever look at the wake that a boat leaves in the water as it moves forward? That is the very same thing that happens to the air. In that same boat if you turn very hard you run over your own wake, and you get a bump. Same thing in the air.
The air was so calm and thick that the disturbance in the air that the airplane makes as it moves sank at a slower rate, and we caught up with it as we came around. Neat!
After that fun experience we went on to do the usual slow flight (slowing the aircraft down right to the point of stalling and holding it there with out loosing altitude), power off stalls (stalls in a simulated landing configuration i.e. full flaps and power pulled all the way off), power on stalls (stalls done in a simulated take off configuration i.e. nose high full power), and, of course, a simulated engine failure.
We then flew over to AHQ to do some landing practice. I had never been to AHQ before so it was fun to land at a new airport. AHQ has a slightly longer runway than MLE, 4100 feet rather than 3800 feet. Always nice to have more room.

View Larger Map
AHQ airport. I landed on runway 20.

Instead of doing the typical touch and goes, we did some things that I have not done since my primary flight training. As we entered the downwind leg, the instructor said set up for a landing with a 50 foot obstacle 50 feet from the end of the runway. Interesting!
Normally you do not have 50 foot obstacles on the edge of runways, unless you are out in the middle of Washington or something.
Anyway, what you have to do for that kind of landing is hold at 100 feet above the obstacle until you are clear then drop on to the the runway. You have to use your slow flight training and hold the airplane in the air at a constant altitude at the lowest possible speed so that you can land on the runway and stop in time. Lots of fun and I landed reasonably well.
I pull up the flaps and give full power for and take off. The next landing is to be a "short field" landing. This landing is fun, because you try to land in the shortest amount of distance possible. You put your landing spot right at the edge of the runway and come in a bit steep to make your landing spot. It is tricky because even though you are coming in steep, you need to watch your speed to keep you as slow as possible. As soon as you touch you keep good pressure on the yoke to keep the nose up and apply firm break pressure. This one I did very well, because I have been working on similar landings at MLE. For a guy who learned to fly on 5000+ foot runways, 3800 feet looks awfully short...
We did not do a touch and go here, because the instructor wanted to do a short field take off.
No problem. Ever since I had a little scare with my dad at 0B4 taking off on their short grass runway, I have been working on short field take offs.
You put yourself on the very edge of the runway, drop one or two notches of flaps depending on your airplane, pull the yoke all the way in to your chest,and then give full power with your breaks on. When your engine has reached max RPM, you release the brakes and hold that yoke back. In the Archer you will start to take off at about 45 knots. You have to be very careful as the stall speed of the airplane is somewhere between 45 and 50 knots, not quite the Vs0 speed, but lower than the Vs1 speed of the aircraft. Just after your wheels leave the ground you level you nose off. You then hold the airplane just off of the ground in ground effect for a few moments until you reach your Vx speed, in the Archer that is 65 knots. After you reach that speed you begin to pitch the nose of the airplane up to maintain that speed. You will then begin to climb. After a positive rate of climb has been established on your altimeter AND your vertical speed indicator you can take one notch of flaps back. When you reach 300 feet AGL, you can take back the other notch of flaps. If you only put on one notch, you take that back after you reach 300 feet AGL. Good times.
We then headed back to MLE. Things were starting to get busy around the airport as lots of pilots wanted to take advantage of the nice weather. I crossed mid-field and entered my downwind leg just as two airplanes took off. One right after the other. Fun to watch. As I entered my downwind leg, thinking that this would be an easy landing, the instructor told me to set up for soft field landing... Crap. I have not done one of those in... I don't remember doing one of those... I think that I had to do one in primary training, but I really don't remember... Crap.
So, I let the instructor know my lack of knowledge, and realizing that he did not have enough time to talk me through the procedures before we landed, we decided to to a "go around" to repeat our pattern and give us time to work out what needed to be done.
The soft field landing is an important procedure to know as it what you would use when landing on a wet or snow covered runway. Basically you approach just as you would any other landing, BUT in the flair just before touch down you give just a little bit of power to cushion your landing. Tricky, because if you give too much power you float, not enough and you land harder than you want. Besides that you try to keep your nose as high as possible with out stalling the airplane. You land on your mains and keep the nose off of the runway as long as possible. The nose eventually settles in on the runway and you DO NOT apply breaks until the last possible moment. You have let the airplane almost roll to a stop.
Fun Fun Fun.

So I have my three takeoffs and landings, as well as my VFR bi-annual taken care of. I am good to go for another two years!

UFC 92 Recap

Patrick Barry def Dan Evensen TKO (Low Kicks) 2:36 rnd 1
My Pick: Dan by KO first round
Bad start...

Brad Blackburn def Ryo Chonan Decision
My Pick: Brad by KO second round
That should drop Ryo from the UFC ranks. Too bad. I really wanted to see a Chonan, Anderson Silva rematch.

Matt Hamill def Reese Andy TKO (Punches) 2:19 rnd 2
My Pick: Matt by KO second round.
Matt puts me back in black with a perfect call!
Matt looked OK in this fight. His stand up has gotten much better, but he tends to drop his hands when punching. When he fights some one with a good counter punch, or an aggressive forward style, it will cost him. I think that a fight with Forrest Griffin or Wand Silva would be a good test for Matt next.

Antoni Hardonk def Mike Wessel TKO (Punches) 2:09 rnd 2
My Pick: Hardonk by ground and pound KO first round
+2 and I got a lot to do! Did that make sense? I got to update my ryming.

Yushin Okami def Dean Lister Decision
My Pick: Okami by decision
What did I tell you? Second perfect of this set!

Cheick Kongo def Mustapha al Turk TKO (Elbows and Punches) 4:37 rnd 1
My Pick: Kongo by KO first round
On a hot roll! Third perfect!
This fight had the longest first round EVER! Two low blows made for about a 10 minute first round. I thought I was back in PRIDE for a moment. al Turk just could not handle Kongo's power, nor could he get Kongo to the ground. Not surprising as the only thing Mustapha did for offence was to put Kongo on the cage and pull on his leg.

Quinton Jackson def Wanderlei Silva KO (Punch) 3:21 rnd 1
My Pick: Silva by KO second round
Rampage took advantage of Silva's aggressive style and managed to smash him with a big left hook. Very good boxing by Jackson. Silva really needs to learn how to keep his chin down when he is punching, but I doubt that even that would have saved him from going to sleep after that left hook...

CB Dollaway def Mike Massenzio TKO (Punches) 3:01 rnd 1
My Pick: CB by decision
CB was rocked early, but managed to recover and take out Mike.

Frank Mir def Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira TKO (Punches) 1:54 rnd 2
My Pick: Nog by KO third round
Frank Mir really looked sharp in this fight. He took advantage of Nog's tendency of blocking big right hands with his face. Frank put two down the pipe that put Nog on his butt, one in the first round, one in the second, then added a quick flurry on the ground to finish him in the second. Very good job by Frank Mir.

Rashad Evans def Forrest Griffin Submission (Punches) 2:46 rnd 3
My Pick: Evans by decision
Rashad took the championship away from Griffin. Forrest really did not have an answer for Evans' punching. The low kicks were working, but not soon enough...
The next fight for Rashad should be Rampage, but I don't believe that the UFC will do that. I think that they will want to coddle Rashad for a few fights, throwing him Hardonk or some other such good, but not champion level fighter. At the same time they, the UFC, will put Rampage up against some other decent fighter for him to chew up, perhaps a Matt Hamil or a Rich Franklin. Then the Evans v Rampage fight for a PPV sometime at the end of 2009.

I go 7 for 10 with three perfect picks.

Monday, December 22, 2008

UFC 92 The Ultimate 2008

Holy crap! The UFC puts together an end of year card that rivals PRIDE end of year blowouts. Interestingly enough PRIDE fighters make up 4 of the 10 bouts (Nog, Rampage, Lister, Chonan, and Silva).
The name "Ultimate 2008" also implies that there may be more "Ultimate" events in years to come. Awesome!!

Dan Evensen Vs. Pat Barry (Heavyweight)
Dan is a BodogFight vet who lost his last, and debut fight in the UFC by KO to Check Kongo. Like most Heavyweight fighters Dan likes to knock people out.
Pat Barry out of Eric Schafer's Roufusport camp makes his debut in the UFC. Showing that the UFC is magnanimous and kind, Barry makes the biggest card of the year with just three fights under his belt... Kind of makes you wonder if Heavyweights are hard to come by or if a deal was made by Schafer to get his buddies in to the big show...
Dan lost to a good kickboxer in Check Kongo, and has been in big fights before in the UFC and Bodog. Pat has only fought in a small show in the Northern Midwest. Pat is going to have some jitters for sure.
Dan by KO first round.

Ryo Chonan Vs. Brad Blackburn (Welterweight)
Chonan won his last fight by boring split decision over Roan Carneiro. Before that he lost a decision to Karo Parisyan. Ryo can be a very exciting fighter, he is just choosing not to be of late.
Ryo is living in the US now and training with Eddie Bravo at 10th Planet, as well as training at Extreme Coulture in Vegas.
Brad is an IFL vet and won his debut in the UFC in exciting fashion, knocking out James Giboo with a flying knee.
This should prove to be a very entertaining fight... Provided the Chonan shows up to fight. If not, Chonan could turn the fight in to a fence leaning clinch snoozefest. Brad needs space to work, and Chonan would be an idiot to give him that space... Let's hope for idiocy.
Brad by KO second round.

Matt Hamill Vs. Reese Andy (Light Heavyweight)
Matt is on again and off again in the UFC. His last fights showed he has greatly improved his stand up, and his wrestling remains very strong. I think that he ran in to some bad luck in his last fight, fighting Rich Franklin tends to hand fighters bad luck.
Andy Reese lost a decision to Brandon Verra in Brandon's first fight as a light heavy. Andy does have a win, all be it by split decision over TUF alum Krzysztof Soszynski.
Both guys are coming off tough losses, but Matt Hamill obviously has more experience and has fought better guys. I think that Reese gives Matt some confidence back. Matt by KO second round.

Antoni Hardonk Vs. Mark Burch (Heavyweight)
Antoni is on a roll winning his last two fights over Colin Robinson, and Eddie Sanchez both by KO. Hardonk likes to smash people, but has shown flashes of a ground game beating two of his opponents by submission.
Mark Burch is a new comer to the UFC, after successful bouts in BoDog and other smaller shows. Like most heavies he wants to knock you out.
Mark really has his work cut out for him against Hardonk. Hardonk has fought better opposition, been in the UFC longer, and has more than just KO wins.
Hardonk by ground and pound KO first round.

Yushin Okami Vs. Dean Lister (Middleweight)
Okami won his last fight by KO. It would be his opponents very last fight, as Evan Tanner was found dead in the desert a few weeks later... Like most Japanese fighters, Okami is focused on his ground game. He methodically picks apart his opponents with a strong top game, and usually ground and pounds his way to victory by Decision. A rare KO or even rarer submission dot his record.
Dean Lister is a ground wizard. But he is a fickle wizard. He is hot and cold. Showing amazing skill on the ground by taping Jeremy Horn by Guillotine Choke and Alessio Sakara by triangle. But then looking like a novice by losing to Nate Marquardt by decision. Dean has very little stand up skill, and I don't think he is really working on it much.
Either way this is ending in a decision. I don't think that Lister can finish Okami, and I am sure that Okami can not finish Lister. What this fight comes down to is who can attain and hold the top position to get the JD. I think that Lister is all too willing to put Okami in his guard and simply hold him there. Certainly, Okami has the edge in wrestling, and Lister is horrible at taking anybody down. So Okami will get the top position. From there, Okami will prevent the sweep and do just enough to keep from getting stood up.
Okami by decision.

Cheick Kongo Vs. Mostapha Al Turk (Heavyweight)
Kongo got back to his knock out ways in his last fight against Dan Evensen. Kongo has shown that he is learning the ground. He showed that he could use his weight and size to prevent someone from moving very much in his decision win over Heath Herring. I guess that is improvement...
Mostapha Al Turk? Seriously? Wasn't that the villain in Aladdin? Bad cultural jokes aside, Al Turk is another export from England's Cage Rage. His record shows that he likes to knock people out... Surprise surprise. He has won his last two fights, amassing a record of 6-3.
I don't really know how Al Turk fights, so I don't know what kind of a fight Kongo can expect. If Al Turk stands and tries to bang with Kongo, it will be lights out Mostapha. If Al Turk has some ground skill, he might be able to secure the top position and get the JD or G&P KO. But I think that Mostapha will do the typical new UFC fighter thing and rush forward for the quick KO.
Kongo by KO first round.

Wanderlei Silva Vs. Quinton Jackson (Light Heavyweight)
Wanderlei was back in style vs Keith Jardine. SMASH SMASH SMASH!!! Awesomeness. Silva has never been very good in the cage, but he seems to be finding his grove now that he can no longer soccer kick and stomp on heads.
Jackson looked OK in his decision loss to Forrest Griffin. He allowed so many leg kicks though, it really took a toll. Quinton does not look like the same fighter that lost to Silva back in 2004. BUT Quinton's mental state does seem to be in the same place before the Silva fight. The loss to Griffin really hurt Quinton, can he come back?
This is a tough call. This will be Quinton's first fight with out the man who improved his boxing to the top of the MMA class, Juanito Ibarra. Ibarra also forced Rampage to train, something that Rampage has repeatedly said is a problem for him. Jackson is now training with Michael Bisping in England... The problem is that Bisping is not well know for his striking. That is not really true... He is known for poor striking.
Silva is training with the group of guys that helped him to win big over Jardine. If Quinton has not fixed the issues that he had during the Griffin fight, Silva will definitely, and brutally exploit those weaknesses, especially that outside leg kick.
I don't think that Quinton is getting the training that he needs, but I do think that Silva is getting the training he needs. Silva by KO second round.

CB Dollaway Vs. Mike Massenzio (Middleweight)
CB is coming off of an amazing Peruvian Necktie win over Jessie Taylor. CB is a solid fighter, but has definite holes in his game. He has submissions, but he tends to defend submission attempts predictably, like the wrestler he is. CB's stand up is very solid.
Massenzio is a BJJ guy that won his last fight over Drew McFedries by a very nasty Kimura. Massenzio seems to be more of a control tight submission guy. He likes bent armbars and chokes.
Interesting match up. CB is known to be susceptible to submissions, but the UFC puts him up against a guy who likes tight submissions, while CD seems to be susceptible to the longer submissions. CB is a good wrestler, and getting to a position for a tight submission on him will be difficult.
CB by decision.

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira Vs. Frank Mir (Heavyweight)
NOG!! Nog is awesome. BUT the UFC has been stupid and have kept him on the shelf for nearly a year. Nog beat Tim Sylvia way back in February. Nog's biggest weakness is his tendency to just stand there and let his opponent tee off on him. Sure he has a chin like Larry Holmes, but why take the punishment?
In his last fight Frank Mir beat Brock Lesnar by kneebar after getting beat around. Frank also has a tendency to take a lot of punishment before getting to the ground to work his game. The problem there is that Frank really does not have a very solid chin. In the past conditioning has been a problem too. It seems now that Frank has improved that section of his game. I hope so. A bulbous out of shape Mir is not fun to look at.
I don't see where Frank wins this one. Nog has a better ground game. I think that Frank could be caught in the later rounds with a submission. Nog has better conditioning. Have you ever seen Nog gas? Mir has yet to go in to the third round without gassing. This fight is a "Championship" fight, so it goes 5 rounds. Bad for Mir good for Nog.
Nog also has vastly superior stand up game. He is vulnerable to the typical boxer problems, head kicks, and leg kicks, but overall Nog has sharp heavy punches. If Frank wants to stand the KO comes in the third or fourth round.
I think Nog will secure the top position after felling Mir with a punch in the mid third round. From there Nog gets the mount and rains down elbows for the win.
Nog by KO third round.

Forrest Griffin Vs. Rashad Evans (Light Heavyweight)
Forrest took a decision win over Quinton Jackson to secure the Light Heavyweight Championship. Very good for Forrest. Forrest has a solid stand up game with very under rated kicks. Forrest kicks very hard, and nearly all of his opponents report that they were hurt by Forrest's leg kicks. Griffin's ground game is also very sound. He has beaten the best on the ground and is nearly immovable from the top position.
Rashad Evans has shown a vastly improved stand up game knocking out Chuck Liddell and nearly killing Sean Salmon with a head kick. In between he drew with Tito Ortiz and took a split decision win over Michael Bisping. Rashad has a wrestler's ground game dominating from the top position, however he has not really shown anything from his back.
This one ends in a KO for Evans, or a decision for Forrest. I think that the longer the fight goes the more frustrated Evans will become, and that will cause him to make mistakes that will allow Forrest to eak out the win. That is unless Evans doesn't turn out Forrest's lights with that big right hand, not out of the question. While Forrest has an awkward style, he tends to catch those straight rights right on the button. Not good, just ask Chuck Liddell.
Fun match up, but I think that this fight will look a lot like Bonnar Evans. Rashad on top punching with Forrest trying to get the sweep. Stand-ups galore with Evans taking Forrest down to avoid the kicks.
Evans by decision. I hate that pick... I like Forrest and I hope he wins. I do not like Rashad and I hope he looses, but I don't think that Forrest has what it takes to beat Rashad. Thiago Silva however might have the right combination of standup and ground to do the trick.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

On The Road

My wife is coming to the end of her medical school training, and it is time she starts looking for a residency, so we have been on the road... sky? we only drove one place... I don't know the expression... anyway we have been out and about this great country of mine, she lives here but it is not her country, and, as these are potentially places we could move and live in, I have done a little review on all of the places with all of the the important stuff that bangs around in my tiny brain.
Everything is in relation to Omaha, as that is where I am living now.
Cost of living is estimated on a $50,000 income from salary.com
Job market was derived from number of jobs similar to mine on a search from Monster.com
In order of travel:

Kansas City

Housing Market:
Similar to Omaha

Cost of Living:
Slightly more expensive 6.1%

Job Market:
Meh. Not very many SharePoint positions, lots of developer spots, a few Web Master spots.

Shall Issue State (KS and MO)
Recognises Nebraska CCW (both states)

MMA/Muay Thai:
KC is kind of short on places to train. There are a few guys who fight out of there, Brian Gassaway, but not many.


KC is a Class B airspace, but it has lots of little, uncontrolled airports surrounding it for general aviation use.

Hard to find...

KC is a nice city, similar people to Omaha, and it is close to what I know. It has good shopping for the wife.


Housing Market:
Similar to Omaha.

Cost of Living:
Better than Omaha! -0.5%

Job Market:
Bad... Not many jobs listed.

Shall Issue!
Ohio does not recognize Nebraska CCW.

MMA/Muay Thai:
Meat Truck Inc., Jorge Gurgel, Rich Franklin, they all train around this area. Lots of good stuff.

Similar to Omaha, but slightly warmer

Cincinnati is a class "B" airspace. There are a couple of smaller airports around, but not a lot.

We found a nice sushi restaurant with out too much trouble, and saw that there was a good Japanese population, so lots of good sushi.

I did not get to really walk around Cincinnati very much, what I did see, I was not impressed with. However, across the river in to Kentucky there was lots of good shopping, restaurants, and an overall better place.


Housing Market:

Cost of Living:
Much more expensive than Omaha, 24.3%

Job Market:
Lots and lots of SharePoint jobs!


MMA/Muay Thai:
A few gyms here and there in the city. Several fighters work out around the Chicago area, Stephan Bonar, and Andrei Arlovski to name a couple.

Colder, more wind off of the lake.

Big and busy Class B airspace. There is some general aviation in the surrounding airports, but rumor is that ATC hates us.

Lots and lots of good places, and a strong Japanese population.

I found Chicago to be a lot of fun to walk around in. Lots and lots of shops, cool places to hang out in and such.
I was surprised to see how friendly people were, especially to those obviously lost. We got help from all sides on the bus, El, and on the street. Everyone seemed busy, but if you looked like you needed help, the busy people were there to help you out. I dare say that the same help would NOT be given on Omaha streets.
Sales Tax was oppressively high, 13%, and the city oppressively liberal.


Housing Market:

Cost of Living:
Expensive. 9.4%

Job Market:
Crap. Very few jobs.

Responsible May Issue. This means that you have to apply to your local Sheriff and tell them why you need to carry a concealed weapon. If you have an unsympathetic Sheriff, like in Hartford, it is unlikely to be issued.
Nebraska CCW is not recognized.

MMA/Muay Thai:
A few gyms are around.

Harsh winters, OK summers.

Very little to speak of.

There are a few Sushi places around, but we did not get a chance to eat at any.

I found the people of Hartford to be very very stuffy. They seemed to want to find a reason to think they were better than you. Simply being from a state east of New York was enough for most.

Oklahoma City

Housing Market:

Cost of Living:
Much Lower! -11.7%

Job Market:
Not very good...

Shall Issue! Oklahoma recognizes Nebraska's CCW!

MMA/Muay Thai:
There are a couple of BJJ black belts in the OKC area, the most decorated being Rafael Lovato. There is even a guy who claims to be an ATT black belt.

Much warmer than Omaha, but more severe thunderstorms, and unstable air than in Omaha.

Lots of little airports and FBOs around.

We went to a couple of Sushi restaurants in OKC... One we walked out of as soon as we walked in. The other we stayed in, but we were not able to get the kind of sushi we are used to... That being authentic sushi, not the rolled together crap that Americans pass off as Sushi... This was such a place.

Oklahoma City was a very interesting place. In the middle of the day, when most downtown areas would be bustling with people, OKC was a virtual ghost town. I am sure people work downtown, but it just seemed empty.
The people of Oklahoma City have invested a huge amount of money in their downtown area, building a canal system and a very nice restaurant/shopping area called Bricktown. Sonic's headquarters is there, as well as a massive Bass Pro Shops store.
I found the people of Oklahoma City very nice, but it was almost as if culture or something demanded niceness out of them, so they did it as a cultural experience not necessarily because they wanted to. There was something disingenuous about it.


Housing Market:
The housing market is depressed in the Indianapolis area, so houses are cheap and plentiful. I was surprised to learn that most of the residents not making more than $40K a year, with massive $100K+ student loan payments, were able to afford very nice homes.

Cost of Living:
Very similar to Omaha, just a bit cheaper -1.0%

Job Market:
Very nice. Lots of SharePoint positions.

Shall Issue! Indiana recognizes Nebraska CCW!

MMA/Muay Thai:
There are a couple of MMA, and a couple of Muay Thai gyms. It does not look like Indy is really a MMA town, but there are some places to train.

Very similar to Omaha.

Lots of little airports and FBOs around.

A nice sized Japanese population makes for some very nice Sushi restaurants. I found a couple restaurants just walking around downtown Indy, but I did not eat anywhere.

Indianapolis seemed to be a very nice small city with a big city feel. The downtown area was busy with lots of shops, and felt a lot like Chicago as I walked around, but not as big.
We were there during a home Colts game, and it was good to see the whole city really supported the team. During the day after the game, and the next day, I saw lots of people wearing their Colts gear with pride. It was good to see, coming from a state that worships its Huskers.

Overall if I have to move, I found Indianapolis the place I would choose. Similar cost of living, a good amount of jobs, a very nice downtown area, and pro sports.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

UFC Fight For the Troops - Recap

I did not get to watch the fights... Apparently Oklahoma City does not have wireless Internet or decent television....

Justin McCully def Eddie Sanchez Decision
My Pick: I say Eddie wins by KO first round
Guess Justin has something else to say...

Dale Hartt def Corey Hill TKO (Leg Injury) 0:20 rnd 2
My Pick: I say Hartt by KO second round.
Hell to the yeah. I have to see this one... Was it the leg kicks? I bet it was the leg kicks.

Ben Saunders def Brandon Wolff TKO (Knees) 1:49 rnd 1
My Pick: Ben by RNC second round
Or knees it the first, what ever floats your boat.

Steve Bruno def Johnny Rees Submission (Rear-Naked Choke) 3:44 rnd 2
My Pick: Steve over the "The Hater Hurter" by RNC first round
For the love of Pete, Steve, I could have had two home runs had you just closed the deal a few minutes earlier...

Luigi Fioravanti def Brodie Farber Decision
My Pick: Luigi by decision
Keep on rocking with your mediocrity Luigi!

Jim Miller def Matt Wiman Decision
My Pick: I didn't say... I was going to pick Wiman though so that goes as a loss for me.

Tim Credeur def Nate Loughran TKO (Injury) 5:00 rnd 2
My Pick: Tim by decision.
Good job Tim!!

Steve Cantwell def Razak Al-Hassan Technical Submission (Armbar) 4:04 rnd 1
My Pick: Steve by KO second round
Steve averts a major incident by catching Al-Hassan.

Mike Swick def Jonathan Goulet TKO (Punches) 0:33 rnd 1
My Pick: Mike by decision.
What the... 33 seconds? Wow.

Josh Koscheck def Yoshiyuki Yoshida KO (Punch) 2:15 rnd 1
My Pick: Yoshida by decision.
I guess that Yoshida is less a monster than I thought... or is a monster with a weak chin... Or a monster whose Kryptonite is curly blond wrestlers...

I go 7 of 10.

Monday, December 8, 2008

UFC Fight For The Troops

The troops deserve our very best... except good fights. Sure I will watch it, but I won't enjoy it...

Eddie Sanchez Vs. Justin McCully (Heavyweight)
Eddie has been off and on in the UFC, he was picked as CroCop's first knock out, then went on to win a few. He most recently lost to Antoni Hardonk in June.
Justin beat a decent Antoni Hardonk then was brought in as Gabe Gonzaga's cupcake to snap his two fight loosing streak.
These two guys have fought the same guy, Antoni Hardonk. Eddie lost Justin won. Tough call but, I say Eddie wins by KO first round.

Corey Hill Vs. Dale Hartt (Lightweight)
Cory is coming off of a loss to Justin Buchholz.
Dale Hartt is a fighter out of Team Sityodtong, members include Pat Cote, Stephan Bonnar, Marcus Davis, KenFlo, and Jorge Rivera. Wow.
This is an interesting fight. Mark DellaGrotte at Sityodtong has been turning out incredible strikers for a while now. Just look at how sharp Jorge Gurgel looked after training there for his last fight. Dale should be a monster on his feet.
Corey Hill is so damn tall. He is 6'4"! Dale is 5'10". Hill is going to have a MONSTER reach advantage. If Corey is anything like the last I saw him, he likes to leave his lead leg way out there, he will be crushed by leg kicks. This should be a stand up fight, as it is very unlikely that Hartt will take Hill down, even if he wanted to.
I say Hartt by KO second round.

Ben Saunders Vs. Brandon Wolff (Welterweight)
ATT trained Ben Saunders saunters back in to the ring after beating Ryan Thomas by armbar. Ben is now 2-0 in the UFC, 6-0-2 overall.
Brandon Wolff won his last fight by split decision over my friend Chad Reiner back in May. Brandon is on a 4 fight win streak, and will make his debut in the UFC.
Ben is on his way up in the UFC, and Brandon is looking for his big break. Ben trains with the best MMA team in the world, Brandon trains with an obscure team in Hawaii.
Ben by RNC second round.

Steve Bruno Vs. Johnny Rees (Welterweight)
ATT fighter Steve Bruno lost his UFC debut by decision to Chris Wilson. Johnny lost his debut fight in the UFC by triangle to Nate Loughran. Bad thing if you are facing a guy from ATT.
Steve over the "The Hater Hurter" by RNC first round.

Luigi Fioravanti Vs. Brodie Farber (Welterweight)
Luigi has been up and down in the UFC, first beating Dave Menne, then loosing to Jon Fitch and Forrest Petz, then beating Luke Cummo before loosing to Diego Sanchez. He has fought the best, and has been beaten by them...
Brodie got kicked in the head at 1:37 of his debut UFC fight by Rory Markham... He is looking for redemption here.
Both of these guys are good on the ground, 7 of Brodie's wins come by submission, and Luigi trains out of ATT. Luigi seems to be more of a stand up guy, so that give him the edge in this fight.
Luigi by decision.

Matt Wiman Vs. Jim Miller (Lightweight)
Handsome Matt Wiman has done very well for himself in the UFC after loosing to Spencer Fisher, going 4-0.
IFL vet Jim Miller beat David Baron by RNC in his UFC debut. Jim is a submission guy going 12-1, with 9 of his wins by submission.

Crap... I am out of time so I have to abbreviate the last ones.

Tim Credeur Vs. Nate Loughran (Middleweight)
Tim by decision.

Steve Cantwell Vs. Razak Al-Hassan (Light Heavyweight)
Really? You put a guy named Al-Hassan in a fight against a guy named Steve, in front of a bunch of US troops??? Really?
Steve better win or there might be a riot. And it won't be Quiet... (Come on fell the noise! Girls rock your boys! We'll get wild, wild, wild.) Wait what was I saying? Oh yeah. Steve by KO second round.

Mike Swick Vs. Jonathan Goulet (Welterweight)
Should be a good ground fight, but not very exciting unless you are in to BJJ... Mike by decision.

Josh Koscheck Vs. Yoshiyuki Yoshida (Welterweight)
I think that I am the only one who thinks that Yoshida is a monster. Yoshida by decision.