Let’s talk about Game of Thrones

With season 7 now in the books, all Game of Thrones fans are astutely aware that we are down to one season left, and if all the claims are true, there will only be six episodes.  So there are going to be six episodes left to close out a whole butt-load of storylines.

I’ve enjoyed the show all the way to current in spite of what people on the internet have been saying about it, and the incessantly endless debates between book purists and show-exclusive fans.  It’s entertaining, I don’t put that much tremendous thought into the plot, and the show writers are good at drumming up tension and drama, artificial as it might seem to some, and it leads to watchable television.

But six episodes to cover the sheer volume of plots and resolutions, that’s a tremendous task to be asking for, so I can’t help but be skeptical at what the quality of the final season can possibly be.  Maybe if every episode is stretched beyond an hour, they could literally buy some more time to tell more story, but if we’re talking about five hour-long episodes and maybe an extended finale, I just feel like season 8 is going to be a ride faster and more furious* than the entire Fast & Furious franchise combined.

*Especially considering the fact that characters are traversing from one end of Westeros to the other and back on horse and buggy faster than Vin Diesel could ever do a quarter mile, but let’s not debate semantics

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You’re better than this, Adande

I like J.A. Adande, as a sports journalist.  I remember him best as the straight man on Around the Horn, but in spite of his “role,” he was always a source of informative and insightful sports opinions, on the show and in the times that I’ve come across his writing on the internet throughout the years.

However, I don’t know it’s because it was for The Undefeated, an online rag that doesn’t hide its black bias, and he’s just trying to appeal to its target audience, or he’s deciding to waver from his modus operandi of logical and educated opinions; but his article about how “this isn’t the baseball he grew up watching because there aren’t enough black guys in it and the ones that are aren’t aren’t playing ‘black enough’ baseball” seems just so, so, so beneath a guy I’ve always held in regard for integrity and not needing to ever play the race card in order to look intelligent.

Basically, Adande says the Cincinnati Reds’ Billy Hamilton (a black player) runs down flyballs at the wall, is a fast runner and steals a lot of bases is playing “black baseball.”

By this logic, Mike Trout, Trea Turner and Kevin Pillar, are playing, black baseball.  These are also guys who are very good outfielders who are capable of making plays at the wall and occasionally robbing some home runs, and they are also very fast runners who steal lots of bases.  However, all three of them are white guys, thus negating Adande’s logic of what defines “black baseball,” and how absurd it is to associate such styles of play solely with the color of a player’s skin.

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Thoughts on a weekend of wrestling

Yeah pretty much I spent the entire weekend on my ass watching television.  Not only did I watch all of The Defenders with great relish, I also enjoyed the fact that it was a weekend featuring both NXT Takeover: Brooklyn III as well as the 30th anniversary of SummerSlam, with a brief interruption by Game of Thrones.  Since I don’t really get the chance to watch WWE television since I no longer have cable, I have kind of fallen out current storylines for the most part, but it doesn’t mean I wouldn’t be able to enjoy either show.

To cut to the chase, it should be of no surprise that I would say that Takeover was easily the superior show, since there’s very little denying that they’re a vastly superior wrestling product versus the overboard storytelling on the main roster.  The subtle invasion of the next wave of Ring of Honor expats blew away the smark-hip Brooklyn crowd which is always a hot market for live shows, and it sets up NXT for a few months of above-average talent to mix things up with.

As a whole, I would say SummerSlam was pretty mediocre for what the WWE constantly bills as their #2 major show of the year.  It’s also way too god damn long, since it started at 7 p.m. EST and went all the way to 11; adding in the hour I paused to watch Game of Thrones, I actually had to stop prior to the main event and pick it up later, because I didn’t want to be up until like 1-2 a.m. watching wrestling on a night where I’d have to go to work the following morning.

But in typical WWE fashion, they have potentially good matches like The New Day vs. the Usos on the undercard, and have garbage like Big Show vs. Big Cass with Enzo Amore in a suspended cage in more premiere spots on the card.  Matches like AJ Styles vs. Kevin Owens with the completely ‘roided up and humorously over-sweaty Shane McMahon as referee were reliably good, and I was moderately pleased by the main event despite my skepticism of any match featuring more than two singles competitors.

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It must suck to be kT Rolster

In Spider-Man comics, Doctor Octopus brought together Kraven the Hunter, Electro, the Vulture, Mysterio and The Sandman, to form the Sinister Six; a group formed with the intention of destroying Spider-Man.  Numerous times, they failed, and everyone’s favorite web-slinger always stood triumphant at the end of every conflict.

That’s pretty much kT Rolster’s League of Legends team, whom made big waves this season, when they dumped four-fifths of their previous year’s roster, and replaced them entirely with all-star caliber free agent individuals, most of whom were returning to Korea after unsuccessful stints in China.  Mata, Pawn and Deft, three former Samsung players with the first two being members of the S4 Worlds champion Samsung White squad and the reigning LCK MVP Smeb joined Score, the lone kT holdover, to form a team that on paper looked unbeatable.

The goal of this League superteam was obviously to win Worlds, but there was no secret about how the organization specifically wanted to dethrone the 90’s Bulls of League of Legends, SK Telecom T1, aka SKT.  Organizationally, kT and SKT are basically the AT&T and Verizon of Korea, two giants of the telecommunications industry, who are in endless competition with one another.  And the players themselves, many of the newly signed guys were players that either had long-standing grudges with their SKT counterparts, were simply tired of their one squad always winning, or both.  Both Pawn and Smeb have something of vendettas against SKT’s Faker, the oft-proclaimed best player in the world, easily stemming from resentment of said title.

Needless to say, prior to the start of Season 7, there was much ballyhooed about the construction of the new kT Rolster and how they’d fare against SKT throughout the year.

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The Defenders: entertaining, good but not great

Because I’m an individual who likes to not live on the internet and let the actions of others and the ensuing social media shit storms dictate my life and emotional well-being, I found myself in a fortuitous situation where I had all weekend to watch the just-released Netflix’s The Defenders; all of it.  It’s not often that I’m at the forefront of freshly dropped television, and I’ve made no secret that I’ve been high on all of the Netflix Marvel Hell’s Kitchen Universe, so this was a tremendous delight in getting to shotgun the series from start to finish pretty immediately.

If I had any genuine gripes, it would probably have to be the fact that the series as a whole is but just eight episodes, instead of the 12-episode standard that all of the comprising characters’ individual shows had.  I mean, as I’ve aged, I haven’t had a problem with stories getting to the point and finding resolution in an expedient manner, but the mark of good television is when the viewers are wishing there was more of it; more time for characters and their relationships to develop and hash out more.  The Defenders was definitely not in the camp of being too long and drawn out, but quite the contrary, I simply wished there was more time and more interaction between the stars of the show, instead of just so constantly rapid-fire progressing the story.

In fact, the best imagery of the entire series occurred in one of the rare downtime moments of the show, when, and this spoils nothing, the foursome of the Defenders are all at a Chinese restaurant, some eating more reluctantly than others, but they’re just kind of hanging out and getting to know about each other before they really start working together.  It’s reflective of my favorite imagery in comic books, when super-powered characters are simply existing in the same real world as us readers, doing mundane things, like gathering with peers and eating Chinese food together.

Anyway, as a whole, I will say that The Defenders was a good and entertaining series.  Not mind-blowingly good, but not at all terrible.  Whereas Iron Fist was kind of mediocre but better than expected, Jessica Jones was a little too long and repetitive and Luke Cage lost some steam late in the series, The Defenders’ short series made a lot of those shortcomings impossible to have.  Instead, the show feels kind of like a really fast-paced whirlwind, where the plot exists in just a few days and almost never stops once the show gets moving.

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Stamford gets it

This I like: Stamford, Connecticut proposing law that would fine individuals who haphazardly walk and text at the same time

Seldom does a day go by where a dickface on their phone manages to inconvenience me.  Whether it’s while driving or while on foot, at least once a day, it’s inevitable that I will get stuck behind someone not paying attention, because their face is buried in their fucking phone.  Short of making it law and penalizing those who violate said law, this is something that will never have any chance at improving; and even if there is a law in place, that’s still not going to deter every jackhole who thinks they’re better than the law and completely incapable of getting busted by it.

Regardless, I have to give kudos to Stamford (along with Honolulu) for at least trying to curb stupid behavior by proposing to make it illegal to walk and text at the same time.  As long as there are police willing to enforce this kind of behavior, I could see it actually having a degree of effectiveness at deterring people from doing so, or at least adopting better etiquette and learning how to get out of the way if they have a dire and essential text message to send immediately.

$30 for a first-time offense isn’t a back-breaker, but it is inconvenient.  If I I’m out with mythical gf and we’re on our way to the movies, and I get busted texting and walking and get a $30 fine; that’s basically admission for two right there, that I have to throw away due to my own idiocy, instead of getting movie tickets.  $30 lost basically means no drinks, popcorn or snacks, because I’m responsible with my money and $30 lost in one place will essentially mean $30 not used in another, expendable way.

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This is precisely why my trust in white people is fractured

Among the vast majority of nerds that comprise of the vast majority of my social media circles, there was an individual that many of us knew/knew of identified as having been present in Charlottesville during the weekend of hell there.  This was confirmed by commentary made by them that stated as such, and that’s pretty much all that there needed to be known by the community before the witch hunt began and the shit started to fly.

Typically, my go-to move on social media is to unfollow people but not outright unfriend people, if I don’t like seeing what people post.  Whether they post too much for my liking, post opinions that I don’t want to see, flood my streams full of narcissism and/or selfies, or all of the above, among other reasons, I’ll usually unfollow first, but rarely unfriend.  I don’t want paranoid people eventually discovering that they’ve been unfriended and to have an uncomfortable conversation later down the line, and if it can be avoided, I’d rather avoid it.

But it’s not every day that you find out that someone you know personally, have allowed into your home, and allowed to pet and carry your dog, with smiles and seeming sincerity, marched in a rally and chanted discriminatory rhetoric with known white supremacists.

This is why my trust in white people has taken a critical hit, and why I can’t feel like I can ever let my guard down with them.  Even those that I’ve known for a while, apparently.

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