Monday, January 24, 2011

Friday, August 06, 2010

Why I’m Excited for UFC 117

1. Chael Sonnen: In another life, Sonnen would be a pro-wrestler. He’s hyped what most would assume an easy win for Anderson Silva. Yet, Sonnen’s promotion of the match has elevated the interest in the match and the interest in Sonnen. Its a little hard to determine who is the “heel” in this match.  Is it Silva, who seems bored with the middleweight division…or just the opponents that the UFC put in front of him. Or, is it Sonnen. Up until this week, many folks had been behind him. However, Sonnen went one step too far by claiming that Lance Armstrong caused his own cancer in a 45 minute interview. Then, went overboard when he vehemently denied having done the interview on the Jim Rome Show, even when Rome played an audio clip from said interview. Despite the evidence, Sonnen denied, denied and denied that the audio was him. Too bad, I think many would have rooted for him to beat Silva.

Expect Silva to revive his competitive spirit and knock Sonnen out.

2. Big Country v. Dos Santos: The beer bellied winner of Tough Enough fights the man with the mangled ear. This will be an interesting fight as Nelson is underestimated due to his physique. Dos Santos is on a hot streak and has looked unstoppable in his last couple fights. Expect a short fight ending in a knockout by either combatant. But, Junior looks sharper and he’s my pick.

3. Clay Guida.  You forget that the hyper-energetic lightweight is on this card. Although he’s been up and down of late, expect a solid performance against Rafael Dos Anjos.

4. Gracie Hunter? HOF Matt Hughes is on the card too. Although not a favorite of mine, you kind of get nostalgic about Hughes since each fight could be his last. He had an impressive showing in Abu Dhabi, of course, his opponent was in his 40s. Now, he’s up against another Gracie descendent in Ricardo Almeida – a sharp jiu jitsu specialist. It will be interesting to see how Hughes handles the jiu jitsu game of another Gracie trained practitioner.

Although I think Almeida has what it takes to beat Hughes, I think Hughes pulls it off. The win, not an arm.

5. Fitch/Alves fight. I am not too thrilled with the 170 lb division. This December’s GSP-Koscheck fight does not excite me since we saw the boring, GSP dominated win a couple years back. Now, the winner of this fight gets a 2nd run at GSP (really, no one else to step up). Alves has had all kinds of problems, including not making weight.

Look for Fitch to win this fight as Alves will likely be weak due to his recent health issues and the weight cut. 

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Harvard Grad Got Game

My latest NW Asian Weekly article on NBA prospect Jeremy Lin.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

USC on Probation

Breaking News:  USC on probation for 2 years including a ban on bowls and reduction of scholarships.  The pic is of Jake b/c a college football pic on this blog can’t be of a USC player.  (photo courtesy of wikimedia commons)

Saturday, May 29, 2010

SIFF - the reviews part 2

I reviewed 2 more SIFF movies:  RoboGeisha and Khargosh.  RoboGeisha seemed like a bad dream, literally.  Khargosh, an Indian coming of age movie, did little for me. This is likely due to the lack of subtitles.

From the NW Asian Weekly.

SIFF - the reviews

That time again for the Seattle International Film Festival.  This year's pick is Bodyguards and Assassins. A Hong Kong blockbuster.

Here are the rest of the reviews.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

McGinn: Fuji's resignation a personal decision

One of my recent piece's in the NWAW covers the recent resignation of Seattle deputy mayor Philip Fuji.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Dentist drills the competition in a bikini

Natalie Pennington works on her muscles at the gym and on cavities at the office. As a professional fitness competitor, Pennington spends much of her free time training. As a full-time dentist, she spends her days working on patients. Pennington competes in the bikini division of the International Federation of Bodybuilding (IFBB) — a major federation for bodybuilding competitors.

The 31-year-old native of Federal Way is 5 foot 8 inches and 126 pounds. She currently lives in Emeryville, Calif., a small city near San Francisco.

Raised by her Korean mother, Pennington is half Korean and half French. As a youth, she went to Korean church and is able to read, write, and speak Korean fluently. Pennington says her childhood was filled with music lessons. She played piano and violin from age 6 and onward.

“That’s the Asian side. That’s mom taking control,” Pennington said, speaking about her six years of violin instruction and 10 years of piano instructions. “It wasn’t by choice, but I appreciate it now,” said Pennington who dreams of having a baby grand piano one day.

“I would practice one hour a day on violin and one hour a day on the piano.”

Today, Pennington’s mother supports her two passions. “My mother always thought I should model, but education came first.”

Pennington attended the University of Washington from 1996 to 2001. She majored in business but took many science classes because she originally wanted to go to medical school. Instead, she chose to pursue dentistry because she wanted people to feel good and “wanted to change people’s smiles.” After graduation, Pennington went to the University of Pacific in San Francisco for dental school.

The urge to compete

Before she was 30 years old, Pennington wanted to compete in fitness competitions. “I always worked out and led a very healthy lifestyle. However, I never had the courage to go to that level.”

Pennington chose to compete in the bikini division of the IFBB because she felt it best reflected how she felt about her body.

“It’s a very healthy look. It emphasizes muscle tone, and leanness, but has a feminine and curvy shape.”

Pennington began training for the competition in July 2008. She has been on the professional circuit since August 2009. In order to become a pro, amateurs must place in amateur shows. It only took her four months of amateur shows to get her pro card.

At her first show, Pennington had nerves before going onstage. “I saw a videotape of the competition, and I was rushing through everything. I remember my knees shaking so bad.” Despite being nervous, Pennington won in her first-ever competition.

Since her first show, Pennington has traveled throughout North America, paying her own way to compete in shows. Although a professional, Pennington’s winnings do not cover the travel costs. In her most recent competition, Pennington traveled to New Zealand for an IFBB competition. She won second placeplaced second and secured a spot for the Ms. Olympia competition this September in Las Vegas.

As a Korean American, Pennington feels that her race has helped her in competitions.

“Many see my look as exotic,” said Pennington.

She believes it has helped her stand out from the rest of the competition.

Training days

Pennington works out two times a day, six days a week. She gets up early to go to the gym to work on cardio before her 40-minute commute to work. After a full day of with patients, Pennington hits the gym to lift weights. She focuses on a different body part each day when she pumps iron. Rather than bulking up, Pennington focuses on sculpting her body for the competition.

The diet

Proper nutrition is crucial in fitness competitions since Pennington is in a bikini onstage, in front of judges. Each night, Pennington spends an hour preparing her food for the next day. Pennington eats six small meals a day, every two to three hours. She follows a strict diet program tailored to her needs where she balances protein, carbohydrates, and fat. In the morning, she eats oatmeal with protein powder. Throughout the day, she snacks on chicken, asparagus, and yams. For dinner, she will have either fish, chicken, or lean steak in addition to egg whites and protein powder.

The balancing act

Although Pennington enjoys her two careers, she still has difficult days.

“My biggest challenge is that some days I deal with patient management issues, yet in the back of my mind, I know I can’t go home and relax with a glass of wine. You know you have to go to the gym after work.” Pennington realizes that her career demands are unique in the world of fitness competitions. “Most girls [I compete with] do not have the stress of the job that I do.”

At work, some of her patients are interested in her fitness competitions. “I don’t go out of the way to tell my patients what I do,” Pennington said. “Some are very excited about my progress. But, my primary focus is on my patient.”

Even though Pennington follows a busy schedule, she has found her two careers to be rewarding. In fact, her future plans include a dual business.

“I would love to have a spa/dental practice,” said Pennington.

She envisions patients walking into a very relaxing environment where the patient would have a dental procedure and then get a spa treatment to relax.

Originally printed in the Northwest Asian Weekly.

Photo courtesy of Nga Azarian.