The week of new shit

I didn’t want to hijack my swan song for my former Kia, but I don’t think I could’ve made it more obvious that I got a new car earlier this week.  A 2019 Mazda CX-5 is what my ride will be  hopefully for the next decade or so, and I’m really hoping that me having this car from the very start will exorcise and wash away the demons of the rotten chicken lemon I had years ago that also happened to be a Mazda. 

I’m confident in my capabilities as a car owner to take good care of this car, and considering it was purchased fully knowing that it will also be a kid taxi throughout the vast majority of its life, I am hoping to be as satisfied and sad when I unload it in hopefully a decade, as I was with my previous Kia.

During the car search, it really turned out to be a two-horse race between the Mazda CX-5 and the Hyundai Tucson.  Both cars fell into the specific criteria that I was looking for, but in the end, it turned into a game of price as well as perception.  And as good of a car that I think the Tucson would’ve made, the CX-5 just felt a little more high-end and aesthetically refined, and when the day was over, Hyundai had already rolled out their 2020 vehicles, whereas Mazda was still selling 2019s, so in this instance, the Korean car was actually a little more expensive than the Japanese maker.

Either way, I am excited to have a new car again, and it’s always a fun time whenever I hop into my vehicle that still has the new car smell, and ease my way on the roads, getting used to the feel and size of a larger vehicle, and the thoughts of all the future potential it’ll be used for in the years to come.

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A car manufacturer’s reputation is only as good as their product’s owners

After nearly ten full years, I’ve said goodbye to my Kia Forte.  It’s still a little bittersweet at the time I’m writing this, in spite of the excitement of having a new car after nearly ten years.  But with a sliver under 150,000 miles, degrading brakes, a baby on the way, and just the fact that I simply wanted a new, larger vehicle, I felt that the time was right for me to make a switch.

I wanted to capitalize on being in a position to where I had the luxury of time to do research, test drive multiple cars, and play a little bit of negotiation, as well as have the ability to sit on the bench and wait things out if things weren’t looking promising.  I wasn’t as fortunate the last time I was in the market for a car, but things still worked out well for me, seeing as how it was then in which I drove off in my Forte, and it served me extremely well over the last 9+ years.

But the point of this entire post was that I wanted to give an appropriate swan song for my former car, because throughout their entire existence, Kia has often been perceived as a below-average car manufacturer, but seeing as how I just traded in one that had nearly 150,000 miles on it, never had any mechanical problems, and where I did pretty much no maintenance other than oil changes and new tires whenever they were needed, I can confidently vouch for the quality of Kia cars, and can proudly say that I owned one for the better part of a decade.

When I was in the market last, I was in a pretty bad situation.  I had a lemon of a Mazda that I still owed money on, but I was fed up to hell repairing it and willing to punt on the rest of the financing just to be free of it and have a car that was just plain reliable.  I wasn’t working full-time and was still in my life of freelance, so I couldn’t afford to get something that I’d risk being unable to pay the financing on it, so I had to accept the fact that I probably wouldn’t be getting a dream car or anything of the such this time around, and that I just needed something that could be relied upon.

The Ford Fiesta was actually my top pick going into my search back then, but I told myself to drive anything and everything that was in my limited budget, and put aside all previous stereotypes and perceptions, and think of the greater good of getting a reliable car.  I took a weekend day to go to a part of town that had a large number of dealerships, and I went on a spree test driving cars.  Toyota Corolla, Honda Civic, Hyundai Elantra, Chevy Cobalt, whatever was a compact car that I could make the numbers work.

Eventually, I found a Ford dealership that had a Fiesta that was also a stick shift, and I looked forward to getting in and taking it for a whirl.  But from the moment I sat down, my expectations were immediately souring.  The seats felt small and cheap, and the interior was cheap-looking, plasticky, and everything I touched from the console to the door handle felt shoddy and sub-par.  When I took the car off the lot, I shift from feel and sound, and I realized that I was revving to like 5,500 rpm before shifting, because the car just had no power and needed that much juice in order to get moving.  There was a lot of body roll, and the brakes felt soft and uninspired, and frankly I was ready to get the fuck off the lot when I was done with this.

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90 Day Fiance: The Other Way power rankings

Just finished up watching 90 Day Fiance: The Other Way, on the greatest network in the history of television, TLC, and I must say that TLC did well putting together yet another classic train wreck that I so very thoroughly enjoyed.  Just when I was beginning to think that the classic 90DF formula was getting a little stale, considering how formulaic the show had become, with a woman from South America, a woman from the Pacific Islands, one guy with deeply conflicting beliefs than the American girl’s family, the couple with the massive age difference, and then the one layup couple, that usually had a religious crutch to stabilize them throughout the show, TLC flips the script and jettisons a bunch of Americans to other countries for some fresh perspective and cringey Americans being Americans behavior.

Anyway, kudos to TLC for breathing some new life into the series.  Not that it would’ve stopped me from watching in the first place, and at the time I’m writing this, I’d already seen a preview for 90DF-Prime, which is supposedly going to be premiering soon, which gives me little time to enjoy the aftermath of The Other Way before we embark in another season of regular 90DF.

Regardless, let’s get to the point of this entire post, which is to do a power ranking of the couples of The Other Way.  And when I say “power,” I really mean just how terrible of human beings they are.  And for the sake of simplicity, instead of ranking them as individuals, I’m just going to rank them by the worst member of each couple, because when the day is over, as long as the cameras are rolling, the couples always stick together like glue no matter what.

#6 Deavan & Jihoon – nothing was more telling about how low-maintenance and lacking in drama compared to their counterparts were, than the fact that Deavan and Jihoon weren’t even introduced into the show until like four episodes in.  And it’s not at all that surprising, because despite how much TLC tried to make it sound like the crime of the century, Jihoon’s checkered past of buying and re-selling cell phones in Seoul was pretty small.  Frankly, their arc was most anchored by the fact that Deavan’s previous child was a demon, and the atypical judgey Korean parents that really were uncomfortable with the fact that their son was marrying a train wreck of an American girl.

Neither were particularly memorable.  Deavan used to be kind of an Instagram camwhore, and Jihoon was more or less an underachiever in terms of Korean culture.  Ironically, Deavan was the one with more grown-up priorities, and Jihoon was just kind of a horny pussyhound, but when the day was over, neither were particularly memorable; except for the horrifically stereotypical Asian music played by the show whenever the perspective shifted back to them.

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The snakeheads have invaded Georgia!

Back in the early 2000s, when I was still living up in Northern Virginia, there was an ecological incident that in all honesty, is still affecting the western hemisphere to this very day.  North America was introduced to the snakehead fish, when some idiot in Maryland or New York decided to release the non-native invasive species into a pond in Maryland.

As they have no natural predators and are omnivorous, they decimated the pond, but it’s their other ability that puts their name on the map, namely the part where they can get out of water and can survive on land for extended periods of time, effectively long enough for them to find other bodies of water, and new environments to dominate.

Despite the best efforts of professional environmentalists, the threat of snakehead fish has never been able to be truly contained, and much like the plot of a horror story, their numbers have grown and the regions in which they’ve been spotted has only grown.  Supposedly, they’ve been seen as far south as Florida, and even spotted in parts of the Mississippi River, among other places, far from their original release point in Maryland.

Well, as of yesterday, they’ve never been reported in Georgia until now.  At least four were caught in a private pond in Gwinnett county, and frankly, it’s probably already too late.  If this is anything like the original incident in Maryland, by the time they’re discovered, they’ve probably already reproduced and they’re already engrained in the ecosystem, that they’ll slowly dominate and take over until they start flopping out onto land and mosey on to other bodies of water that they can then dominate further.

Regardless of the bad news this means for the environments in which they appear, snakehead fish do fascinate me.  I remember being engrossed in all the news back in 2002 about this incredible apex predator of a fish that had no predators and ate everything in sight.  I kind of respected their power, and felt like I needed to catch and eat a snakehead fish myself, to assert my dominance over the species on the global food chain. 

Seeing as how they’ve now made it into Georgia, these feelings are kind of rekindled, and I wish that I had the gear and the know-how to go find them, fish for them, catch one and then eat it, so that I can usurp its powers into myself, and maybe it’ll give me some power.

Same shit, different year

In the shocker of the century, the Atlanta Braves were eliminated in the first round of the playoffs.  For those keeping count, this is like the 5th or 6th time that the Braves dropped the deciding game of the NLDS at home, and somewhere around the 169th time that they’ve failed to make it out of the first round despite making it into the playoffs.

I’m long past the point of where I get upset about it anymore, because I would’ve bet my house that the Braves were going to lose to the Cardinals when the playoff field was initially set.  There’s just something about history, and something about the Braves vs. Cardinals matchup that was a foregone conclusion that another heartbreaking loss to the Cards was all but inevitable, and as much as I would’ve loved to have seen the Braves exorcise the demons of the past and advance, I’m just as satisfied with being right about how the Braves would simply collapse and fall apart – like they always do.

However, this year was a little bit different in the sense that at one point, the Braves actually captured the series lead, when they stole game 3 in St. Louis and for 24 hours, held a 2-1 lead on the Cardinals in the best of 5.  Television was nice enough to do the research for me and explained that it was the first time since 2002 that the Braves carried a series lead in a playoff series, and despite the pessimism, it did birth a sliver of hope that this might be the year that the Braves make it out of the first round.

Naturally, when the Braves squandered their lead in game 4 and inevitably lost in extra innings, I knew right then and there that it was over.  History was just far too strong, and the Cardinals are just one of those teams that are far too charmed, that there was absolutely 0% chance that the Braves were going to win game 5.  Sure, I had hope that maybe they would break the glass ceiling that they erected unto themselves, but the reality was more likely that they were going to choke again, especially when the pitching matchups were set up, with Jack Flaherty going for the Cardinals, and the Braves countering with the once-exiled to Triple-A Mike Foltynewicz.

All I knew was that the Braves were going to win 10-3, or the Cardinals were going to win 10-3, but there was going to be no close game, and it was going to be a blowout.  When the game ended 13-1, I was the last person in all of Atlanta that was remotely surprised at the outcome, and there’s even a part of me that’s relieved that the season is over for the Braves, because I have to pass ScumTrust Park on my commute, and I would no longer have to worry about any future playoff game traffic getting in my way.

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An accurate representation of my work life these days

I’m actually not that particularly thrilled with my work life these days, and have not been for quite some time.  Over the span of the last year and a half, there has been a lot of transition in my department and team, other than the primary software that we’re using to accomplish the same job.  Despite my promotion, it has come with a lot of baggage a lot of strings attached, and I’d be lying if I didn’t at times wish I were still more on the ground, actually doing things, instead of feeling like a managerial stooge in comparison, bouncing from meeting to meeting and spending the vast majority of my days locked inside Outlook, typing away at seemingly redundant emails and trying not to play a game that I don’t like playing in the first place (office politics).

However, among the numerous changes that have occurred, the one that makes my face go 😐 more than anything is the leadership above in me in the hierarchy of the department.  And to quickly summarize is primarily the fact that my previous superior(s) were much more relaxed and gave me autonomy to do my job, and had a more “as long as the job gets done” attitude, the same cannot be said about those who have taken their place.

I legitimately spend more time on any given work day “being coached” on how to subsequently “coach” my reports on how to properly use Outlook calendars to the specific preference of one person, and getting litanies of emails asking me questions about the questionable habits of some of the people beneath me, with all sorts of passive aggressive remarks about how they were clearly not coached appropriately to company standards, and how lots of behaviors need to be corrected.

I genuinely feel at times like I’m in Office Space, where I’m getting chewed out for not putting cover sheets on my TPS reports from various sources, and despite the very clear rule about having 25 pieces of flair, I’m getting spoken to repeatedly about how I, and my reports should be expected to do more than the minimum, AKA a job description.

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I thought AEW was trying to compete

Leading up to October 2, I was actually starting to get excited about the launch of All Elite Wrestling’s new flagship show on TNT, DynamiteAll-In last year was a pretty good show, and I thought there was some definite potential with Double or Nothing, despite the fact that I felt that the performer/owners spread a little too much agenda into the show, but the wrestling was solid.

I like the idea of there being a solid alternative to the WWE, as I definitely feel that they’ve gotten very stale and more predictable than ever, and the only good shows now in my opinion really are NXT and NXT UK.  And with the WWE, despite the fact that they’ll never admit it, preparing for competition with AEW, by putting the WWE Network original NXT on the cable USA Network, they effectively bone cord-cutters like me who don’t want to have to pay for cable television.

For those not aware, the USA Network’s app does not show any WWE programming, for whatever reason; at least not live.  App users can watch old episodes, back a month or so, but for the intent of watching it live, it’s not an option.  As the arrival of AEW Dynamite approached, I was curious on whether or not TNT’s app would show professional wrestling live, and I was optimistic and pleasantly surprised when I realized that I could watch wrestling on Wednesdays again.

So as I began settling into watch the new alternative, I already began envisioning myself watching AEW regularly, since the WWE still hasn’t figured out what it’s doing with NXT yet, since at first it was one hour on USA, one hour on WWE Network and then it was all hours on USA and fuck you WWE Network, and then in preparation for episode 1 of AEW Dynamite it was entirely on USA with limited commercial breaks (also fuck you WWE Network).

The show starts off with Cody Rhodes versus some guy I’d never heard of before, Sammy Guevara, who actually thought was a woman at first, when he came out wearing like a Pablo Sandoval panda hat, but turned out to be a pretty decent worker.  My first impressions were that I thought it was interesting that AEW maintains that they’re going to keep track of wins and losses, which is hilarious considering professional wrestling is predetermined, so I can imagine the creative walls that AEW will get backed into when they try and push someone who’s like 4-10-3 and try to sell that they’re a contender for a belt and not a jobber with ten losses.

And they’re claiming to have time limits; like old WCW.  I can’t wait to see how flustered fans will become when they start having time limit draws instead of definitive finishes.  I hope fans start pelting the rings with trash like they used to in old WCW.  Speaking of WCW, Tony Schiavone fucked up on two different instances that I bothered to catch and said “WCW” when he clearly was meaning to say “AEW.”  He also called a fallaway slam a blockbuster; making me realize just how much I missed Tony Schiavone and his complete lack of knowledge of professional wrestling moves despite being in the industry for like three decades.

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