rafesparza.com

Jokes. Essays. Commentary. Nonsense

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Kevin Phillips, John Evans and I previewing #UFC162. Are you even ready for our live coverage of Fight Week in Vegas? We Are!

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UnimPRESSed RELEASE: Fox Sports Juan

Are you concerned about the #UFC’s move to #FoxSports1.  Follow upL Did you know the #UFC was moving to Fox Sports 1.  Don’t worry, I’ve got you covered.

Give the following article a read and let me know what you think!

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VerbalTapCast.com

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The number 21 is pretty symbolic in our culture.  

For gamblers, it’s an automatic win at the blackjack table.

For the religious, it’s the sum of perfect numbers.

For memorials, it’s the highest number of rounds used commemorate a person of prominence during a gun salute. 

For those who go undercover, it’s the most prominent of all the jump streets.

Hell, some dude even considered the number to be the weight of the soul in grams.

But, who are we kidding, we all know the age of 21 as that magical time when you are considered old enough to drink—and, therefore, responsible to act on your own volition when it comes to “drinking responsibly.”  It’s a pretty heavy responsibility when you really think about it, but, in many ways, it’s also one of the last symbolic birthdays to commemorate the transition from adolescence to adulthood. 

So I suppose it’s only fitting that Episode 21 of the VERBAL TAP Podcast is the installment where Kev and I finally get our shit together and officially launch a corresponding website for our podcast.

For the past few months, many of you who have listened to our podcast have ventured over to our humble little Buzzsprout website every time we put up a new show.  Other than allowing for a short little description of each episode from the two of us, the Buzzsprout site hasn’t given us the proper opportunity to interact with our fans and foster the same kind of community that we’ve been building on our Twitter and Google+ accounts.

And, to be frank, there’s only so much you can do on social media.  I tend to like writing full sentences without worrying about character limits and Kevin loves him some memes.  Moreover, it’s always been our intention to have a podcast website that’s reflective of our unique collective personality and that serves as an extension of our show.  

All that changes today.  We are proud to announce the launch of our brand new website VERBALTAPCAST.com.  We ask that you take a moment to give it a look.

While it’s certainly a big deal to the two of us, the launch of the website has long been in the works.  We’ve been refining ideas and content over the past couple of months to ensure we make the best use out of it possible.

Admittedly, we’re still getting the hang of everything, so bare with us as we work through all the kinks.  We’re not exactly the world’s most groundbreaking web designers, but we will make damn sure that we give you some good original content to peruse through on a regular basis. 

Now, with all of this talk of evolution, we should probably make sure we keep one thing straight: Just because the way we promote the show is “growing up,” doesn’t mean the hosts are.  We’re not gonna try and class it up and get all serious on you. 

This isn’t going to become “Charlie Rose” all of a sudden.  Kevin’s and I are not gonna go all Katie Couric on you and try and do hard MMA investigating.  We want the podcast to be the same fun hour(-ish) of conversation that you’ve come to know and love.  It’s our goal to continue being your leading destination for Mixed Martial Arts news and comedy.

After all, we are still the same podcast who used juvenile methods of calling out a rival podcast (the Co-Main Event Podcast, who have still yet to respond to our line of attacks—probably because they are scared), invoke the occasional use of vocal mimicry to playfully mock notable figures in MMA, and who giddily throw around the F-bomb enough times in a given podcast that would make Dana White blush. 

That’s who we are and that’s never going to change.

Over the past six months, we’ve been exceptionally proud of the work that we’ve put into all this—as we’ve already achieved and exceeded the first set of goals that we placed for ourselves.

I mean, originally, Kev and I were content conducting “mock” interviews and writing silly MMA comedy bits.  We weren’t even sure there was an audience for this sort of thing.  We just threw all of our passion into it and hoped somebody would be listening to these stupid things.

Along the way, we’ve been pleasantly surprised by the amount of positive feedback and responses that we’ve gotten from friends, UFC Fans, and strangers alike. 

In fact, if you would have told me six months ago that a series of professional fighters even knew our podcast was in the realm of existence—identifying themselves as regular listeners AND asking us if they could be on the show—I would have thought you were trying to sell us some kind of pipe dream.  Especially since the show’s humble origins pretty much came out of a dare (“Hey, we should totally do a podcast.” “Yeah, we should… what are you doing tomorrow?”). 

Yet, here we are, just a short time later, with a growing audience and series of fighters and MMA personalities booked up on the podcast for the next couple of months. 

If you liked what you’ve seen the past few months, then consider that period to be the prologue to a story that’s about to embark on an exciting new chapter.  Kev and I are ready to continue giving you all quality MMA entertainment as long as this continues to feel fun—and, right now, we are having an absolute blast.

So come back and check us out often.  We’ll have lots of exciting stuff to put up as we go.  And we’ll promise to make it fun.

Until then, good night and good fight.

Filed under Verbal Tap MMA Podcast Sports Dana White UFC Bellator Jiu-Jitsu Brazilian Raf Esparza Kevin Phillips

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Closing Time

Not sure if you heard, but a certain show that I work for was recently informed we’ll be closing up shop sometime early next year.

This is the part of the conversation where you ask if I’m going to be ok and if I have a plan.

And the answer to those questions is yes (I will) and yes, I do (although a lot can change in the span of a year). 

This is how you can tell things are crazy at the job.  At 9:30AM the news broke about the transition.  By 9:55AM I had an email asking me if I’d like to make a comment about it and was thanked for my service over the years.

That’s how fast television works, folks. 

Also… my service?  Didn’t know I was serving on the front lines of the shit for my country, but, sure I’ll play along.

Suppose it’s better to be appreciated and complimented that someone thinks my opinion on the subject matters (it really doesn’t), but I politely declined.  As you’ll discover in the paragraphs to follow, it’s not like I have a great deal of scandalous insight about the whole thing.

Mostly, my reason for this short note is two fold:

1)    To hopefully quell any anger, confusion, concern or any other type of emoticon friends and family might text or IM me over the next few months—because I’ve already started receiving condolences messages.

and

2)     To hopefully be the one statement I need to make on the situation to my immediates and make a case on why endless hours of speculation is pretty much unnecessary at this point and time (think of this as one giant: “it’s going to be ok” status update).

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Oscar Rewind: 2013

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There was a rare achievement that happened on Sunday night during the Oscar telecast.  Oh, we’re talking a big moment.  Like “Titanic” big.  Like “Lawrence of Arabia” big.  Like “Big” big!  One that we’ll all look back fondly and remember for years to come.

That moment was at 9:04pm, when it was revealed that I got 23/24 right on my at-home Oscar ballot (damn you “Curfew!”). 

Ok, so I submitted five ballots in three different contests (my overall aggregate was 20/24).  That’s still not too shabby, right?  I ended up winning all three contests and, yes, I am taking the following moment to #humblebrag, because who knows if I’ll ever get another year like that?

Also, you’ll have to forgive the self-congratulations, I learned it from the Oscars.

Oh, how was the show, you ask?

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Filed under Academy Awards Seth MacFarlane Oscars 85th Annual ABC Telecast Host Argo Life of Pi Lincoln Silver Lining's Playbook Jennifer Lawrence Ben Affleck Amour Zero Dark Thirty Daniel Day Lewis Christoph Waltz Anne Hathaway Les Miserables

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The Notebook

Is there nothing more terrifying than a blank notebook?

Well cancer, sure.  AIDS.  Famine.  Genocide.  Most of the E! prime time schedule.  All that sort of stuff is pretty bad.  If you wanted to be a dick about it, I’m certain you could make an actual list of the most terrifying things in the world, but—for the sake of conversation—let’s not convolute metaphors and stick to the visual at hand here.

To a writer, a blank notebook represents time.  Each blank page represents a certain amount of time that you will take to flesh an idea (be it a concept or joke) from inception to execution.  And if you look at the page count at the beginning of the book, what you’re really asking yourself is:

Ok, self, so how long is it going to take to fill this thing up?

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Filed under The Process Writing Stand-Up Comedy

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GroupOn

Why does Groupon have so many deals now? They no longer have featured deals and concentrate on 900 products at one time.

I remember a time I religiously checked the site every night at midnight. Now nothing. If only I could get a GroupOn for GroupOn excitement!

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Time on My Side

Maybe not entirely. I’m an extremely patient person (for example, I am currently typing this from my phone), but I hate when it never seems there’s enough time to finish everything I set out to do in a day.

Suppose this is why I’ve considered making more lists in the New Year. I tend to do well when I cross things off a written list.

More ownership, more achievement.

How do you maximize your day?

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Be it Revolved

Only one resolution worth mentioning this year: write more.

Write well matters not, write often, write like you’re obsessed and when you think you’ve written enough repeat step one all over again.

I’ll tell this to myself everyday.

…or at least until the end of the week. Then we’ll go from there.