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Matthew J. Webster – Writer

Posts Tagged ‘Matthew J. Webster

Muay Thai, muy doloroso!

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Phanuwat “Coke” Chunhawat (L) vs. Rami Ibrahim.

Muay Thai fighting is no sport for old men. I know. I’m 42 and I’ve been training for
“the art of eight limbs” at least five days a week for the last 10 months. Competition is a nearly impossible standard for somebody my age, with my late start, to reach.

Today I am rehabbing a knee injury that occurred three days ago while I was doing chin-ups and whacked said member into a steel exercise machine. The next day was my day off training, then yesterday I did four miles of cross country running with little pain or difficulty. Today it is 15 degrees colder outside, 26 degrees Fahrenheit here in Boston, and I tried to run again but aborted the mission and decided to give the left knee another day of rest.

I feel deeply guilty about missing this one day of training. Which is stupid because I work hard and push myself to get better generally, even though I have nothing specific to train for. Oh, to be spry and 35 again, like my Kru Coke Chunhawat, pictured above in the red gloves!

Written by webster71

March 3, 2014 at 18:22

Name this fighter!

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I’ve been sick and unable to train this week, so in my free time I’ve put together a semi-scientific opinion poll (below) that will allow you, my dear readers and friends, to determine what my fighter’s nickname will be as I proceed in the great sport of Muay Thai kickboxing.

Opinion research is one of many industries I’ve toiled for in the past, long before the sad events that brought about my status as a desperately unsuccessful author. Corporate copywriting is another. Copywriters are frequently tasked with naming products and services. So I know what I’m doing. As Matthew Polly describes in his lovely book Tapped Out, there is a superstition in fight sports against giving yourself a nickname, so I’m offering this multiple choice poll as a compromise.

To give you some ideas about my character before choosing a moniker, I’m 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weigh a natural 155 pounds. I speak French well and German conversationally, started training for martial arts only nine months ago, and neither I nor anyone else will have a clue if I’m any good at it until the time comes to step over the ropes and compete, presuming that ever happens.

I need your vote to make this work! The more the merrier. Please share with friends if you feel like it.

Written by webster71

January 23, 2014 at 18:11

Matt Webster – Best of 2013

lenillator

Records 2013
Lenny Lashley’s Gang of One – Illuminator
Against The Grain – Surrounded by Snakes
The Bronx – IV
Funeral Cone – Peel Back The Foil EP
Bad Weather California – Backseats EP
Corrosion of Conformity – Megalodon EP
Good For You – Life’s Too Short Not To Hold A Grudge

Live Music 2013
Against The Grain (Midway Cafe)
Obsidian and Funeral Cone (Roggie’s)
FLAG, TSOL, and Cerebral Ballzy (Paradise)
My Bloody Valentine (House of Blues)
Bad Religion and The Bronx (House of Blues)
Lenny Lashley’s Gang of One (JP Music Fest)

Best Live Sports 2013: Glory 12 Kickboxing (MSG Theater)

Best Politics 2013: On Nov. 6, 2012, 63% of Massachusetts voters approved a ballot question making our state the 18th to enact a compassionate medical marijuana program.

Worst Politics 2013: Scumbag Tsarnaev brothers interpret their inability to attract chicks in high school as a reason to murder and maim innocent people at the Boston Marathon.

My resolution for 2014: No more Boston house “pahties” because they remind of my teaching days, except I’m struggling to communicate with drunks instead of non-native English speakers. If you won’t introduce yourself, I am not coming to your party!

*Special Bonus* 2012 Records
Obsidian – Spectre
Cinema Cinema – 50 ft. Queenie/Adult Themes 7″
Tim Barry – 40 Miler
Enslaved – Riitiir
The Shrine – S/T
Corrosion of Conformity – S/T
Dying Fetus – Reign Supreme

Written by webster71

December 17, 2013 at 18:29

Letter From Boston

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12:02 4/19/13

The subject of the manhunt in #Boston now is 19 or 20 years old. He attended high school at Cambridge Rindge and Latin, considered one of the best public high schools in the US. He is a “digital native,” a millennial habituated to analyzing information (e.g. computer games) and foreseeing predictable events (like a media blitz) far faster than educated adults of older generations. This moment on the lam, with his desperately fearful younger face plastered over all our monitors as we fail to sleep from paranoia, cling to each other inside our apartments, shake our heads toward each in utter, broken-hearted bafflement as we pass on the sidewalk in light of a greeting  — this moment of adrenaline and fear of death was the kid’s whole motivation for doing this.

Now we know how it feels to be wrong, too, the way he felt all through puberty; a proud Muslim immigrant to the US in a time of intense American patriotism: strange, perpetually labeled a foreigner because he carried an accent and a name no one knew how to pronounce, from an unfashionable, poor country, called a loser by his uncle back “home” because he was slower than his older brother. We feel afraid of making an absent-minded mistake like he felt every morning before school, except that we fear being bodily maimed as a result, or to go to work because we might be killed, and he feared another failed math test, or another failure to communicate with a girl.

I’m afraid, but not that much. I’m prepared to visit the bodega for some low-sodium soy sauce, despite police warnings. The bodega’s not afraid of me, they know me. I’m part of the family there, and at the barber shop next door. I live in a heavily Caribbean neighborhood. The first time you walk into a local Caribbean store, if you speak to the employees politely, tell them you live nearby and, kind of, lean around like you’re in your own living room for a little while, from then on every time you return to the store the employees, customers, and their friends will all treat you as if you are a guest in their own private living room. I was, literally, welcomed to the family the first time Eduardo cut my hair next door.

I’m even prepared to learn the Spanish word for “soy sauce,” although learning Spanish has been slower than I’d hoped when moving here. I did dream in Spanish for the first time two nights ago, so the hood must be having some effect on me. The bodega is armed in case things turn ugly. There’s a precinct house three blocks away.

I don’t live the vast majority of my life in fear and I never will. I can put up with a few more hours.

Sincerely, with absolute respect to all who have been killed or injured, and their loved ones — right now, with helicopters outside my window, I’d rather die or have a leg blown off than eat boiled dumplings without soy sauce in this City I love.

That goes for cities I love around the world, too: Berlin, Los Angeles, New York, Paris, Seoul, Jerusalem, and Marrakech. All my towns have seen days of paranoia and bloodshed like we fear in Boston now. All societies create minorities of  losers and outcasts. The proportion of the minority, and how they are treated, is the measure of social civility.

That’s why I’m afraid, but not too much, of getting a limb blown off or killed when I go downstairs for soy sauce in 20 minutes. Not too afraid because this is a tolerant community. There will always be losers like Dzhokhar  Tsarnaev, in every American high school. A fraction of them will have psychotic breaks like him, but no one will notice because they never talked to anyone. There are six million people in Massachusetts. The percentages got to us and we’re having a very bad day. There is nothing particular about Boston’s character that produced Dzhokhar. Tamerlan

I fear his bombs, as primitive as they are, and but I’m not afraid of Dzhokhar.Tamerlan. I’ve read Bruce Lee’s book on self-defense. He’s a frightened, little loner. I have my City, and the whole world is with me.

Written by webster71

April 19, 2013 at 12:08

The Master – film review

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"The Master," directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, is a character study of Church of Scientology, International (CSI) founder L. Ron Hubbard, played with stunning amplitude by Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

Anderson has chosen one of the most polarizing figures of the 20th century as his subject, and treats Hubbard with appropriate diligence. The factually verifiable side of Hubbard's life as leader of the church only began to see light after his death in 1986, when a former official CSI archivist, Gerry Armstrong, began the legal process of transferring documents to outside researchers.

Anderson wisely avoids dealing with Hubbard's biography before 1950, the year his proclaimed masterwork, "Dianetics," was published. "Dianetics" went on to become the most-published book in history, and galvanized what Hubbard's followers were instructed to refer to as "the movement," which would eventually become Scientology.

Viewers are introduced to Hoffman's Hubbard, here called Lancaster Dodd, at his most charismatic moment, and allowed to make our own decisions about his philosophy according to his interactions with followers and critics.

"The Master" then moves to Dodd's relationship with Freddie Quell, a brutal, sub-articulate former naval officer played by Joaquin Phoenix. Readily manipulated by Dodd's identity-stripping humiliation tactics, Freddie contributes a desperate fanaticism and the threat of violence to the tightly-controlled group.

As in "Boogie Nights," Anderson respectfully portrays characters living at the most bizarre fringes of American subculture. The results are disturbing. Movement followers' buttoned-downed, familial presentation hides the extraordinary sickness beneath. Hopefully, "The Master" should discredit any perception of Scientology as a secretive social club for celebrities.

Written by webster71

September 29, 2012 at 15:41

XXXAll AgesXXX: The Boston Hardcore Film (Review)

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A tolerable, totally predictable doc about the hardcore punk rock music scene in Boston, Massachusetts, focusing on the years it was good fun, specifically 1981 through ’85 or so.

(By way of disclosure, I basically missed the vintage period of Boston hardcore. My first all ages punk show was at the Channel in late ’84: Hüsker Dü headlined and New Haven’s little-recalled Sorry supported, and no, I don’t really care enough to check the date).

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Written by webster71

September 22, 2012 at 00:28

Wicked Tuna Breakdown – S1/EP. 8

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Happy Memorial Day! An unnamed US soldier in Afghanistan throws his “tails up”. Photo courtesy Susan Seger Corsbie.

5/25/12 – CAMBRIDGE, MATTHEW J. WEBSTER
NatGeo has signed on for another season of Wicked Tuna! The news was leaked just a few hours ago, via Facebook, by F/V Bounty Hunter mate Scott Ferreiro. No surprise to this observer, considering the show’s globe-sweeping impact as pictured above, but still very impressive considering the shared time slot with AMC’s Mad Men.

Episode 8 should remind avid viewers that Wicked Tuna is produced within the limits of the reality format: since it’s impossible to actually portray everything that takes place over the course of a commercial fishing season, Wicked Tuna unfolds in non-linear “TV time”. The goal is to evoke the spirit of the work and leave out the boring stuff.

Photo courtesy Ali Kat.

As such, Episode 8 begins two weeks before the end of giant tuna season. I seem to remember a previous installment being set two days before, but who cares? Paul Hebert, formerly of the Tuna.com, has moved over to Captain Bill Monte’s Bounty Hunter, and Monte seems to be falling prey to every good fisherman’s tragic flaw — superstition. Monte’s hoping Hebert has some inside dope, or esoteric technique, that will improve the crew’s fortunes. Unfortunately not.

“Tuna-ing is 90 percent luck,” says Hebert.

“I think the prick just likes to hear himself talk,” says his new mate, Scott Ferreiro.

Over on the Hard Merchandise, baldhead skipper Dave Marciano’s got Jason Muenzner, his first mate and nephew, under the microscope.

“I dropped the anchor a million times, but with Marciano looking over you, it’s intimidating,” says Muenzner.

Monk Mask Replica – Jason Muenzner of the Hard Merchandise.

It all comes good later, when Muenzner reels in a 500-pounder, as expertly as you please. Can we get the Hard Merchandise some classic hard rock for background music in Season 2? Maybe Queen’s Big Bottom Girls? Dave likes that one.

WICKED TUNA QUOTE OF THE WEEK – S1/EP. 8

“We might go on a streak, we might get a bunch of zeroes. But I know Dave will put us on that meat. I’m always coming out ahead when I’m fishing with him, because the knowledge he gives me is priceless.”

-Jason Muenzner, first mate of the F/V Hard Merchandise

Written by webster71

May 26, 2012 at 00:14