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Fallen Heroes

Jun. 27th, 2007 | 03:27 pm
mood: confusedconfused
music: Rocky IV - No Easy Way Out

A hero of mine died the other day. His name was Chris Benoit. He was a professional wrestler, who was 40 years old. When I was younger, and was considering a career in pro-wrestling, he was my inspiration, alongside Chris Jericho, and Eddie Guerrero. The man was a machine in the ring, and I've followed him since his American television debut in....94? 95? Something like that. Point is, I've been watching him for 12-13 years. This man was someone who embodied respect, work ethic, and every time his music hit and he marched to the ring, you knew you were in for a treat.

His co-workers respected him deeply for his devotion to his family, and to the buisness...which is why what's going on is tearing me apart inside. It's hard to lose a hero. It's even harder when your hero does something that is so horrific it escapes words. Citing a family emergency (his wife and one of his kids had food poisoning) he flew home to Atlanta to take care of them. Several days later, all three were found dead. The wife and child were killed hours to a day before Benoit apparently hung himself. Apparently he's the one who did it. Words escape me, so I'm just going to quote a fellow who posts on rajah.com as "xpacnumber1fan".

"I have to say, the past 30+ hours has been a roller coaster ride. After getting so emotional last night watching the Benoit tribute show, shortly after I was exposed to the preliminary facts of the case. I find it so hard to believe. I'm not saying that I think it's not true or some cover up, it's just shock. I usually don't reserve much sympathy for people that do those heinous acts, but I'm still conflicted. The man was undoubtedly one of the best wrestlers ever in the history of the sport. I've watched him wekk in week out for literally YEARS. I still have the first Benoit match I saw on tape, against Brad Armstrong in the early 90's. It is still an incredible match by today's standards. I can go on and on positively about Chris Benoit the wrestler, but I feel so dirty doing it. I still have a small flicker of hope somewhere deep down that some very, very serious circumstances beyond Benoit's control caused him to snap, but like I said, it's a very small flicker. I don't think it will happen.

What more can I say? I'm not as emotional as when Eddie died because Eddie wore his heart on his sleeve. I felt I knew him better (even though I don't know much of anything about either). Even though it was more difficult to feel an emotional connection with Benoit, since his character was basically based on a cold demeanor, it still hurts a bit. Pro wrestling a weird ass sport. I don't think fans of any other genre of entertainment are so emotionally invested or connected to the performers. We see these men and women week after week, for years on end sometimes. Hardcore fans might spend more time with these wrestlers than with their extended family. It's a very complex and conflicting situation, one I'm not sure I'm going to understand any time soon."

Another poster on rajah.com said some things I agree with entirely. Minus the personal references, I have to agree with the majority of what he says.

"Chris Benoit to me wasn't just another wrestler. He was the epitome of what was good about the wrestling business. In a business and a company filled with over the top theatrics he was one of the guys that treated it like a sport. Of course it wasn't real, but he made it feel real. Why was I still watching despite being an adult man who had few close friends that still watched? Because of guys like Chris Benoit. When I got free tickets to Smackdown a month ago I barely wanted to go. Then my friend said, "Benoit will be there, he's worth it to go." And he's right. I remember remarking to him during the opening tag (Benoit & Hardy vs. MVP & Miz) that you can see how crisp Benoit works. It was an art form that he had perfected. We left before the main event ended to beat traffic, which is something I disagreed about because the match was a dark match featuring Edge & MVP teaming up with Batista & Benoit. We knew they'd be mailing it in, but it was still Benoit in there. I didn't want to go. In hindsight I'm glad we did.

Late last year I was doing some cleaning around the house and I figured it was time to get rid of some of the wrestling tapes. I wasn't watching as much as I used to, so it was time to get rid of some things. My collection was pretty huge. I don't know how many tapes and DVDs there were exactly, but I would guess around 150 or so. I threw some out, I gave some away and I sold some. I was left with about 20 of them. Some of them are great PPVs, some are DVDs and there are only a few compilation tapes left. I kept compilation tapes of Shawn Michaels, Rey Mysterio, Steve Austin and Chris Benoit. Four of Benoit, in fact. One of them was the first comp tape I ever had, which was 6 hours of Chris Benoit performing in Japan. I got that in 1995. Back then you had to know a guy who knew a guy who knew a guy. Websites might have existed, but I didn't know of it. I remember sitting in my friend Craig's basement as we watched this tape. We barely knew the Pegasus Kid's real name. We just knew we were fans of him. He was unlike the wrestlers we were watching in the WWF at the time. We had to see more. Eventually we did. Three of my favorite memories as a wrestling fan involved the ovation Benoit received after the Angle/Benoit match at the 2003 Rumble, his win at the 2004 Rumble and the title win at WrestleMania XX. Now? It's all tainted. I can't ever watch them again.

I've written about wrestling on the internet on and off for eight years. Throughout that period the most common question is who are your favorite wrestlers? For me the top three has always been Michaels, Austin and Benoit in any order. Those were my guys. I've seen more of Benoit than any wrestler in my lifetime because the other two had gaps in their career where they didn't wrestle. Benoit missed a year, but otherwise he was always in the ring as one of the best ever. I admired him for his ability to stay so good for so long. Back on June 9th I started a "Chris Benoit Appreciation" thread in the forums because he had just turned 40 and I thought we should honor the guy for that. I mentioned how great he's been for so long that sometimes we forget it. Oh, how I wish we could really forget it.

I was talking to a friend about it today and we both remarked that we probably saw more of Chris Benoit in our lives than any athlete, musician or actor over the years. I watched tapes of this guy. I watched him on my TV screen every week for the decade that he was performing for us here in North America. I had watched some of his best matches so many times that I could call the move before it even happened. I couldn't tell you how to do a math problem involving integers because I forgot it, but I could tell you about the time Chris Benoit leaped off the top rope through a table during a TLC match on Smackdown in May of 2001. I don't know why I remember things from wrestling so well. I guess because it's a passion it is something I want to remember.

Now these are memories I want to forget. The sooner the better. Now it feels like I've wasted years of my life supporting a man that ended up being a wife and child murderer. It makes me sick to my stomach.

The reason I love this wrestling business is because it is fantasy. The escapism that it provides us is the reason many of us, especially older fans like myself, still watch. I can watch WWE for two hours on a Monday night and totally forget about the argument I had with some guy at work that caused me a lot of stress that day. Sometimes though, the fantasy becomes all too real just as it has in this instance.

The worst thing to come of this is that a little boy, an innocent child, will never grow up. He'll never graduate from school. He'll never live his life the way all of us are afforded that luxury because of what society gives us. And why? Because his father smothered him to death after he killed the boy's mother. I don't get it. Why would a man who, from all counts, was of sound mind do such a thing? It makes me want to throw up.

I'm afraid we'll never really know. A lot of theories will come out. Psychological experts will spout from the mouth about patters from studies, but they'll be opinions. Facts will be hard to come by. I'm sure the media will use steroids as a reason because that sells papers. God forbid we talk about people dying because of head injuries, let's show Paris F'N Hilton walking out a jail because she's too stupid to take a cab or a limo. I hate the media. I despise it sometimes, but that's not here nor there. Not enough people will talk about the head injuries that wrestlers suffer or the grueling schedule they're forced to work. The wrestlers in WWE talk about performing 250 days a year as a badge of honor. Other sports don't do that. They're right. The problem is other sports don't lose 60 wrestlers under the age of 45 in the last decade. Wrestling does. Something needs to be done. Will it? I don't know. I just hope that something changes. Complacency isn't the answer. Change is the answer.

Now the overwhelming questions are as follows: What's next? What happens now?

The name of Chris Benoit will be wiped out of the WWE history books. There will be no Hall of Fame induction. You won't see his face and you won't see his matches. You won't hear announcers or wrestlers speak of him. If a fan brings a sign to a show with his name on it they will take it away. If they chant his name they will drown out the noise. In 10-15 years the kids who become teenage wrestling fans are only going to know him because they read about him on the internet as a killer. They won't know him as one of the best workers ever. They won't know him as somebody that inspired a lot of wrestlers to get into the business. I think that's the right thing to do. If somebody told you this 48 hours ago there's no way you'd think that. But now it's a reality. A reality that we have to deal with somehow. So much for a fantasy business.

I think Vince McMahon deserves a lot of credit for how he's handled things in this very difficult situation, as my close friend Cash has pointed out. It hasn't been easy, but he's been a rock for the company during a time when I'm sure he's finding it extremely hard to function. People will blame him for what happened. What needs to be remembered is he's not a double murderer. Chris Benoit is. Vince was his boss and maybe even his friend, but anybody that blames Vince for this is at fault. The person to blame is Chris Benoit. The double murderer.

To me Chris Benoit is no longer one of my favorite wrestlers. He's the double murderer. He's the man who erased a lifetime of memories for an act that was absolutely inexcusable. When I see that name it makes me cringe and I know that it always will. It pains me to just write that, much less to think it. It hurts. It hurts a lot, but that's how I feel and I don't think that's going to change. To Nancy and Daniel, I hope they rest in peace. To Chris, I have nothing more to say except that I will do everything in my power to forget that you ever existed. That's the only thing you deserve.

I don't know where to go from here. I don't know if I'm going to be watching wrestling this week. I doubt it. Next week? Not sure. Maybe I'll read the results. Maybe I'll tape it. I don't know if I have it in me to watch anymore. I don't know how the wrestlers that looked up to this guy are going to be able to perform. As hard as it is on us, think about them. Then I think about his two other kids. They're supposed to live the rest of their life while people talk behind their backs about their crazy double murderer father. I hope they have the strength to get through this. I think about his parents and his other family members. I think about his close friends inside and outside the business. As shocking as this is to us - the people that didn't know him personally - can you imagine how difficult it is for them? I feel for them. I don't know how they can go on from this.

This wasn't written to be some fantastic column that gets people talking. I don't know what it is, really. It's just me - a fan of this business - writing my disorganized thoughts about what is the most shocking thing to happen in my lifetime as a wrestling fan. I'm not editing it. I don't even know if it's organized. I don't care. I'm too shaken to worry about things like that. I don't know if I'll watch wrestling again. I thought I could never go back to watching a business that brought me so much joy for over 20 years of my life. Now I'm not sure. I think it would be a disservice to the people within the business to give up on it because one guy lost his mind. I don't know if I'll watch again. It might hurt too much. The more I think about it, though, the more I think that I'll probably come back to it. I don't know when. I don't even know why right. I just know that the business has been there for me and I'll be there for it. "

It's been a long couple of days.

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Miffed, but Tolerant. Mostly worried.

Apr. 19th, 2007 | 09:08 am
mood: annoyedannoyed
music: Marilyn Manson - Coma White

I've kept this mostly to myself and close friends because quite frankly, I'm not entirely certain the internet needs to know every last aspect of my life. Today, when a reader commented I have to update frequently to get any kind of discussion, it set me off. Might be stress, I don't know. However, I took a step back and thought about it, and will simply hope the comment stemmed from the vast majority of my readers not knowing what is up.

Plus, since this is a livejournal, I suppose I should keep some kind of record about it. Also, whining is mandatory on livejournal. Get me a few emo CDs and some eyeliner, and we'll be set!

The cold, hard truth as to why I haven't been drawing comics consistantly for several Months is based around something thats been developing for a few years. I've been taking seizures, off and on, for two years now. This time, it got bad, and work put me on disability. So I'm taking in less money (read: stress) but I was trying to remain optimistic, and off and on, I still am sticking to it. What has me all stressed out lately is the results that came back from the CATscan (not sure how to properly spell/capitalize that). They found a "bump/slope" as it was described to me on my brain.

An MRI is being scheduled. The optimist in me is saying "sweet! They likely found the source of the seizures! It might be a lesion, which are known to cause them!" and the pessimist (who is winning at the moment) is screaming "SWEET MERCIFUL CRAP, THEY FOUND A BUMP ON YOUR BRAIN?!".

I'll let you all know whats going on in the future with this, when it's all settled.

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Lana Fraser (2004-2007)

Jan. 2nd, 2007 | 10:39 am
music: Black Label Society - The Last Goodbye

Lana had to be put down today. She was approximately 3 years old, and an absolute blessing to have known. Never would you have found a cat with such an interesting personality anywheres else, and her presence is noticably absent from the house. I'm doing alright with it...I feel more blessed than anything else to be able to love and care for such a beautiful animal and provide her a home away from the wilderness.

Rest in Peace, my Angel.

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Welcome Deeganites! :D

Dec. 11th, 2006 | 03:36 am
music: Lacuna Coil - What I See

Just so you know, the holiday update schedule for Knights of Vesteria is Monday and Friday. I'm working on 3 secret santa fanarts and the Free Comic Book Day pages on top of all that, so don't think I'm going easy on myself. ;)

Elvenbaath is -scheduled- to return in 2007. I got a couple pages done for that. Make yourselves at home, Deeganites, and make sure you check out all the great comics Cornstalker.com has to offer! :3

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A cup full of awesome

Oct. 29th, 2006 | 09:59 am
mood: awakeawake
music: Blind Guardian - Fly

Lots to tell you guys, and I'm totally going to forget most of it, I'm almost sure of that. I'll start from the top, and try to make it towards the bottom without too many blips in the time stream continum here.

Well, first off, got me a new lappy a couple months ago, An Acer Aspire 5102WLMi (AMD Turion 64x2 TL50 (1.6GHz, 512KB L2 Cache), 15.4 widescreen LCD, ATI Radeon Xpress 1100, 120 GB HDD, Dual Layer DVD+R/RW, 1GB DDR2, 802.11 wireless LAN)

Then I bought a crapload of music, ranging from My Chemical Romance, to Beck, to Blind Guardian, to In Flames. All wonderful. New Iron Maiden and New Blind Guardian are my favorites so far, but I haven't really spun the Beck one yet. So we'll see.

Started a new webcomic, a story all on its own, but ties into Elvenbaath before Elvenbaath started...a prequel of sorts. It can be found at http://www.kovcomic.com/

Speaking of Elvenbaath, I plan to bring that back in a month or two. SO FINALLY, LEAVE ME ALONE DAMMIT!

Also, all my friends left the Ramuh server of FF11, apparently during the month I stopped playing. You wanna talk lonely? Try looking at an MMORPG, only you're the only dude playing it that you know.

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Life, Love and Life all over again.

Jul. 27th, 2006 | 02:50 pm

I fail.

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Jun. 25th, 2006 | 03:06 pm
mood: happyhappy
music: Rush - Time Stand Still

Went to the wedding of Mike & Rose last night. I never realized weddings went so long when you stay for the whole thing! :D I had one hell of a time, and Mike and Rose were so happy together. Seeing Mike cry during his vows was absolutely touching, and how happy little Owen was at the reception/dance was beautiful. The cute little bugger was giving chips to everyone and he gave me the most. What a guy.

To Mike and Rose I wish you both all the best in the world. Mike is an outstanding friend, and an amazing human being. Rose...heh...good luck. :P

Congratulations to the both of you :)

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Jun. 16th, 2006 | 01:17 am
mood: chipperchipper
music: Rush - The Pass

The first ten people to comment on this post get to request a doodle from me on a subject/character of their choosing. In return, they have to post this meme in their journal.

....be respectful. Y'all know what I will tell you to cram up your rectums if you ask me to draw it.

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So I come home to find... (pt. 2)

Jun. 10th, 2006 | 01:19 pm
mood: crappycrappy

So yesterday was a bit of a downer, and the first phone call I recieved today wasn't any better. Bird gave me a ring, and let me know that Ryan's baby which he just told me about (guess it was around 6-8 weeks along) didn't make it, and Kim's in the hospital right now undergoing surgery. He was so proud, too...

My condolances to both of you, I'll see if I can't catch you guys, see how you're doing. Then again, I'm not sure if that would be appropriate. We'll see.

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So I come home to find...

Jun. 9th, 2006 | 07:00 pm
mood: shockedshocked
music: Black Label Society - In This River

I went home to Stellarton today to see my friends and family, and my Mother tells me that a friend of mine's mother was by a week or two ago to tell the family to inform me that said friends brother, Trevor A., had shot himself in the woods around the corner. I guess he was buried the other day.

I don't really know what to do or say...it all seems so surreal. I think I'm going to go buy some flowers, and leave them by his unmarked grave, where my family says it is.

For those wondering, we drifted apart a few years ago. Nothing hateful, or spiteful. Just, haven't talked in a few years. I live hours away, ya know? I'm not really devestated or anything....just more in shock, really. I have a little bit of grief now, that it's settled in. We'll see what happens when I visit my old friend tonight.

Thanks to Mother A. for stopping in to tell the Folks. I appreciate it.

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