We've all heard the gloomy scenarios of global warming: extreme weather, drought, famine, breakdown of society, destruction of civilization. Here in New Mexico it feels like we’ve made the switch from esoteric to actual, from computer model to daily life. My perch in Placitas feels like a front-row seat to the apocalypse. Smoke is in the air. Neighbors are fighting over water. Some of my outdoor flower pots have melted in the heat. Wild animals are getting thirsty, hungry and bold. It turns out, this might just be the new normal for the American Southwest.
On a steep Nob Hill side street behind Imbibe is a tiny hole-in-the-wall kitchen, clad mostly in stainless steel. It’s called The Last Call, or TLC, and its proximity to Albuquerque’s nightlife weighs heavily on the short, funky menu. Read all about TLC’s signature dish in this week’s Food section.
The chickens are laying again, the greens and onions are up, and the days are getting longer: Brunch season is here. I've been practicing a simple dish of poached eggs served on a bed of spinach and asparagus, garnished with crispy pieces of salt pork or bacon. Sometimes I drench the whole business in a blanket of hollandaise sauce. Or more often, it’s a blanket of failed hollandaise that I resurrect to perfection with mayonnaise and a microwave. Read all about it in this week’s Food section.
Two summers ago, I rendezvoused with The Mexican at Crazy Melva's Pepper Pot in Hatch. I was there for green chile for the freezer from Chile Express and Biad. Gustavo Arellano was there for the Chile Festival, in search of stories for his book. We broke tortillas over chile, I green he red. Here is an edited video of that historic lunch.
The live stream for the grand opening of Greg Jackson's new gym is up. As soon as I connected, Michelle Waterson pranced toward the camera and gave us a great angle on a dramatization of her picking her nose. In fact, if that literally hadn't happened the very minute I turned on the stream I probably would not be live blogging this live stream. And then, out of nowhere, there's Greg Jackson posed in side-hug position with a fan for a photo, and I was hooked. Who says slow news days are boring?
The gym is located in a mall at the northwest corner of Eubank and Candelaria. I'd probably stop by myself if the view wasn't as good as it is from my house.
Ustream is some powerful stuff. It's kind of funny when people have no idea what's going on, and stand ass-first to the camera, or give us an unflattering profile. I predict it won't be long until more of us are as savvy about it as the Karate Hottie. Just remember, you or I might not look as good digging for buggers. And remember, the mic is probably on. There was in interesting discussion to be eavesdropped between Joey Villasenor and Jon Jones regarding head games before, wisely, the mic was turned off.
In a highly technical and strategic fight, Albuquerque's Carlos Condit defeated Nick Diaz via decision. The judges' verdict has Diaz fans crying fowl, claiming Condit was "running" from the fight by not allowing Diaz to trap him against the cage and tee off on him. According to Fightmetric, the UFC's official statistics provider, Condit outstruck Diaz 151 to 105 in significant strikes, a big margin.
Not surprisingly, Condit's head coach Greg Jackson agrees with the decision and defends the strategy. "A stick-and-move game plan against a guy that’s such an amazing fighter and such a tough guy as Diaz, for me is a no-brainer," Jackson says. "If you look at the numbers, we hit him many more times than he hit us."
After the decision was announced, Diaz said he would retire in protest. Interestingly, Diaz' last opponent, B.J. Penn, also retired after Diaz beat him.
With the win, Condit holds the UFC's interim welterweight title. He says he'll wait until November—when injured welterweight kingpin Georges St-Pierre is expected to be healthy—to fight St-Pierre and unify the belts. Many are calling for a rematch between Condit and Diaz, but with Diaz' retirement, it's unclear how that would work.
Nine months before giving birth to her daughter, Michelle Waterson earned her living as a fighter. Nine months after Araya was born, Waterson returned to the cage, at Jackson's Series VII Saturday night. She returned in style, avenging Albuquerque's honor against Diana Rael, who last year upset local favorite Angelica Chavez.
Midway through an exciting, back and forth first round, Waterson found herself in the same position that Chavez spent most of her fight with Rael - getting smothered by Rael's top control. In the blink of an eye she dug out a sweep and slipped around to Rael's back, sinking in a rear naked choke before, as my video replay unfortunately reveals, the referee rear-ended my view of Rael tapping.
Fight hightlights: Waterson vs Rael
Still, it was Waterson's brilliant reversal to the back that mattered. So go ahead and enjoy it.
It's worth noting that of Waterson's 10 pro wins, all but her first came via first round stoppage: four by armbar, four by rear naked choke, and one by TKO. Too bad the nickname "Natural Born Killer" is already taken by her teammate Carlos Condit. But we can live with "Karate Hottie."
Michelle Waterson post-fight interview
In another high level submission, Team Jackson's Henry Martinez submitted Ali Hanjani by an unusual triangle choke, after Hanjani almost shook him off his back. The announcer called it an inverted triangle. If you were at the event, feel free to comment as to what you would call it. I'm sorry I don't have the video. When I should have been videoing I was too busy saying "What the BLEEP?" It was like Martinez was sitting on Hanjani's shoulders, and then decided to switch to cross legged and strangle him. It was so beautiful I all but cried.
Boxer turned MMA fighter Jodie Esquibel picked up her second win as a pro, at the Jackson's MMA Series VII on Saturday night at the Hard Rock Cafe. She defeated Amy Reihle by unanimous decision with crisp boxing. That woman has lightning in her hands.
On Saturday, a merry gathering of food trucks are parking in the Talin lot (Louisiana and Central SW) from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Make My Lunch, the Seasonal Palate, the Chopping Block, Allison's, the Zingaro, Pink Ladies, Good Food Eat Here, Mother Truckin' Gourmet, Oz Patisserie and others will set out heated seating and serve special holiday menus. Befriend ABQ Food Trucks on Facebook for more info.
Ahead of the January 21 Jackson’s MMA Series VII fight card, a press conference was held earlier this week. Though it was set up to hype some fights, the event showed all of the bad blood and barely contained aggression of a quilting party. Headliner Diana Rael made the trip down from Denver to square off against Albuquerque’s Michelle Waterson, but spent more time coo-cooing with her opponent’s baby daughter than mean mugging in her face.
Co-main event fighters, Albuquerque’s Henry Martinez (6-1) and Denver’s Ali Hanjani (3-1), were equally cordial, thanking each other for taking the fight and offering quiet praise for one another. This is how martial arts competitions should be, but all to often in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts, the tradition of respect is upstaged by a cafeteria brawl mentality.
Diana Rael Interview
It isn’t that these fighters don’t plan on putting a hurting on each other when the cage door locks on January 21. But until then, and presumably afterwards, these athletes don’t bear a grudge against each other. Indeed, they need each other in order to be able to compete at this sport they love.
The Alibi caught up with both Michelle “The Karate Hottie” Waterson and Diana “Dianomite” Rael after the presser. Rael is coming off her upset victory over Albuquerque’s hometown favorite Angelica Chavez at MMA Fight Pit - Genesis this past August. This is Waterson’s first fight since her daughter Araya was born last March.
The Jackson’s MMA Series VII fight card goes down at the Hard Rock Café on January 21 at 7 pm.