2 Under 2: Little reprieve (#046)

At the time I’m writing this, I’m not particularly in a very good place.  As previously posted, mythical wife and I are at the point of #2’s pregnancy where our breath is being held since it’s possible that history could repeat itself and that’s becoming kind of stressful, for all related reasons. 

Meanwhile, in the life with #1, we’re trying to transition her from two naps a day to one, which comes with its own set of challenges to schedule and adaptation, not to mention that she’s clearly teething again, so that’s been kind of stressful for all related reasons.

And then there’s the whole job situation, where my bosses are literally trying to get me fired now, so imagine how it feels going into work each day knowing that you are not wanted there, and invisible plans are already in motion that can result in your termination.  So that’s been kind of stressful.  For all related reasons.

Needless to say, I’m currently in a position where the work week sucks for all obvious reasons, but then the weekends that are supposed to be two days of catching up and relaxation are sparsely any better because trying to navigate a teething toddler through a sleep transition often leads to a wailing baby and me getting frazzled and fried because I can’t afford to have the help of a nanny on weekends, mythical wife is very pregnant and can’t be as physically involved, which all results in not being particularly in a very good place.

I go to bed on Sunday night feeling dejected and worn down, and also completely dreading returning to work the following day for a different set of stressors and anxieties to take place and this is where I realize that I am not particularly in a very good place.

My capacity for any sort of disappointments and let-downs is basically nil, and once again I’m in this headspace where everything is setting me off and pissing me off way more than it probably should.  From the pets in the house, the barking of the dogs, the frustrations of cohabitation, but most of all, the sheer feeling of unreliability of the working world around me, namely the fact that mythical wife and I finally ordered a new treadmill, but it never showed.

It was scheduled for arrival on Sunday, the window for arrival was completely missed, we wasted the entire fucking day held hostage at home expecting an arrival only to discover that it wasn’t going to happen late in the day, and the day was basically a dead end wash in terms of potential productivity or finding something better to do with my wife and child than sit around and wait.

It started this mental snowball of how much the American workforce is unreliable and incompetent, and how much I fucking despise just people who simply cannot manage time.  I’m getting put on a track for firing because I’m potentially missing deadlines, but I never actually factually miss them.  Out in the real world, workers are missing deadlines, failing to fulfill orders or do their jobs well, and this is accepted as the norm.  I know there’s something to be said about not everyone having hair triggers on firing people, but there’s just this fucked up double standard I’m feeling with my own circumstances versus the ones I, and probably everyone else, notice on a regular basis, with incompetent workforces.

I know this is devolving into a rant, but the whole point of all this is that I’m at a yet another unfortunate burnout point, and like most cases, nothing is going to get through this other than time, but at this current juncture, all the lights at the end of the tunnels all come with their own sets of heavy baggage, nor are any one of them definitive and mean any of the other tunnels’ circumstances still don’t happen if I’m not on those trains.

Just need to hope to make it through each day, with a job intact, #1 in good health, and a mythical wife still in good shape with #2 in the oven.  But sometimes such circumstances feels like a bigger challenge than it does at other times.

Who cares more: black people or white guilters?

When I heard that Netflix’s upcoming rendition of Resident Evil cast a black guy to play the role of historically white Albert Wesker, my knee-jerk reaction was that of eyes rolling.  I have nothing against Lance Reddick, and think he’s an otherwise fantastic actor, but this reminds me of when Michael Clarke Duncan was cast as the Kingpin in that one shitty Daredevil film with Ben Affleck.  It doesn’t matter how physically convincing or how good of actors guys like Reddick and Duncan should portray these characters, but there are just some intellectual properties that come with some visual expectations based on the historical lineage of said IPs.

But whereas Daredevil stunk, Netflix inherently has the ability to make palatable chicken salad of out of chicken shit, so perhaps they’ll be able to take a black Wesker and make everyone watching forget about the color of his skin in their rendition of Resident Evil.  Lance Reddick has played a ton of dirty cops in his career, and he’s otherwise a very good match in age, physical stature and behavioral charisma that I’d expect someone to portray as Albert Wesker, so I’m hopeful he’ll do well being the baddest bad in the series.

Afterward, I began to think about how the black community would digest this casting, of a black man being given the role of said baddest bad, and wondering if there were those that took objection to a black man being a villain, to a society where way too large segments of it are far too easily convinced that fiction is reality, and that it’s doing the community no favors.

I posed this hypothetical to one of those friends of mine that we sounding board our random thoughts off of each other, but getting this train of thought out of the station, I came to realize that no matter what negative opinions the black community could have about the casting of a black Wesker, they’ll probably pale (no pun intended) in comparison to the raging objection of a black Wesker, from the white-guilt white community.

Frankly when the day is over, black people are probably just relieved to see a black actor getting a shake at a popular franchise like Resident Evil, and as long as they’re not a token black guy that gets killed and devoured in the first 15 minutes, they probably won’t care if they’re a protagonist or antagonist, and most anyone who’s ever played a Resident Evil game knows that few are as sheerly unkillable than Albert Wesker.

But white guilters, my god, they must be up in arms at the perceived insult to the black community that a black man is being cast as the main villain of a series.  There’s probably at least 23 SurveyMonkeys out their collating data of racism and unfair prejudice towards the black community, from like-minded white people.  And if Wesker is inevitably going to be played by a black guy, that absolutely means that no white people can portray the protagonists of the series, and dare stand up to further oppress blacks like their forefathers once did.

If they do choose to implement characters like Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, they most certainly have to be portrayed by Henry Golding and Eiza Gonzalez.  Rebecca Chambers can be played by Zazie Beetz, and I would be over the fucking moon if Barry Burton were played by Erik King AKA Doakes.  That way, Wesker would only be opposed by other minorities, and it wouldn’t create the intolerable conflict of white heroes versus a black villain.

The bottom line is that the answer to the original question is that without any doubt, white people are going to have a way bigger cow over the casting of a black Wesker than any black people.  But wait until they realize that all currently cast roles also feature no white people at all; this might just set out to be the most successful series on Netflix in history, to white folks.

2 Under 2: Walking on eggshells (#045)

Photo courtesy Here Comes the Sun Photography

Today marks 34 weeks in mythical wife’s pregnancy, which is a pretty significant milestone as far as we’re concerned.  Child #1 was prematurely born at 34.5 weeks, and from what a lot of medical sources tend to state, premature once, premature possible again. 

Needless to say, I’ve reached the stage of walking on eggshells and anoos clenched that history does not repeat itself, as in spite of how well we navigated the waters and journeys of a premature birth the first time around, it is still preferrable to hope to avoid it the second time around, avoid the NICU and hope for a closer-to-full-term arrival, closer to 40 weeks than 34.

All the same, we both need to be ready at a moment’s notice at this point, as anything is possible now.  Our home is relatively prepared, #2’s nursery is pretty much complete, and if we had to introduce a new child into the home today, we’d probably be in good shape in terms of preparation.  But still, given the challenges and strain of wading into the ocean of firsts the first time around, we both know what we’re hoping for, versus what we’re hoping to circumvent.

Regardless, it’s crazy to think that it’s almost arrival time for #2.  Before I know it, I’ll be a new dad to a second kid when I’m barely getting the scent of new dad off of me from the first.  As much as I’ve been mentally trying to not become complacent, settling into the routine of the development of one kid, knowing that the second is right around the corner, with the hopes that once #2 arrives, the rigors of overnight feeds, sleep deprivation and the added challenge of two simultaneous children, I know it’s going to hit like a ton of bricks all over again and mythical wife and I will be in for a world of fatigue very soon.

Until then though, it’s hold onto your butts and hoping for the best.  Every day beyond the 34.5 week mark will be a gift, and I’m hoping that we’ll reach a point where mythical wife will be clawing at the bit to serve an eviction notice, rather than to be on pins and needles hoping #2 will stay put for just a little bit longer.

Oh, Atlanta #376

It’s been a while since I last did one of these, yeah?  Mostly on account of the fact that in all the time between the last one and this one, the chance were pretty high that I simply just wasn’t checking any news, local or national, because I simply did not have the time and/or capacity to do so, and potentially run into something that makes words roll off the tongue (or fingertips) to brog about in the first place.  But sure as the rain falls in Georgia summers, I check the local news, the chances are high that I’m going to see something stupid that warrants some word barf.

Like these billboards that have been hung up in a few places in Greenville, South Carolina and now making their way into Atlanta, that supposedly are trying to send a message to the youths of these areas, to put guns down and presumably stop shooting other people.

At the core of these, the message is noble, and something that I do support; reducing gun violence.  But when it comes down to branding, awareness, the execution of a billboard, there’s just so much more wrong that I just can’t help but clown on it.

Like, I don’t know where to even start.  Do I go on about how the focal point of the message is all jacked up and could lead to misinformation, because GUNS NOW is all huge, that someone zipping by I-85 in Greenville or Atlanta, where the posted speed limits are anywhere from 55-70 mph with actual motorists usually going 80+, might not see the smaller text and just see GUNS NOW and become motivated to arm themselves?

Or that maybe in Atlanta where the gun violence is high but the education is low in the areas in which these billboards are up, the order of the messaging isn’t comprehended appropriately, and the wrong people read it as “put down the young people, GUNS NOW” and then they start breaking into other peoples’ cars to find guns, succeed, and then start shooting, young people.

Perhaps it’s the fact that “like” is in quotation marks, as if to encourage people to tongue-in-cheek, air quotes like them on, presumably, Facebook, because there’s a tiny-ass logo, but really don’t.  The use of quotation marks creates more confusing to their message than clarity, and confusion usually leads to harm.

The best part about it is that there’s no actual call to action on the billboard itself; I guess the closest thing is the fact that there is a Facebook logo, but really it’s up to Google to find this organization for you.  To its credit, it wasn’t that difficult to find a Facebook page of the same name which appears to be one and the same, but then there are all these visuals of inconsistent naming; the billboard says “Put Down the Guns Now Young People” but then there’s a bigass banner where the gun is no longer plural, and as someone in marketing, all I can do is shake my head and wince at the inconsistent use of messaging, which is among the top three faux pas when it comes to any sort of establishing brand voice.

Either way, although the message is noble and one that I could get behind, the execution is just far too shoddy and ineffective at getting its point across that I’m afraid I might be more encouraged to get a GUN NOW, because seeing those words in a giant splatter of blood makes me feel like I might need to arm myself to protect myself from those vile young people.

Well this is awkward

Imagine going to work where you know your superiors do not want you there and would be happy for you to leave.  For absolutely no reason other than you do not fit in the ideal team in their heads.  So they ride you incessantly, nitpick every little thing you do, second guess every single action you make and generally make every day difficult in some way, shape, or form – with the goal of trying to make you leave.

But finding a new job or transferring to a different team is actually a whole lot harder than people seem to forget, and with a second baby on the way, the upcoming paternity leave is way more valuable and essential at this current juncture than your professional comfort, so you grit your teeth and smile and navigate each day after day, enduring the bullshit with a more important goal in the horizon.

However, since the superiors have failed to grief you until you quit, they have resorted to straight up war: looking for any and every procedural infraction they can find, and writing you up for them, putting you on an official disciplinary probation, where job termination is one of the potential outcomes, and most likely their intended goal at the end of the lengthy journey.

I don’t like to brog about work, because most of the time it’s boring, rarely is it cool, unless it’s a freelance gig that I can actually be proud of.  But the little hypothetical tale detailed above is precisely where I’m at right now, and I’m in a position of where I’m quite upset, angry to even think about describing it, and disgusted beyond belief that I work with people like this.

Continue reading “Well this is awkward”

Master of None S3 – the title is now accurate

When I saw that Netflix’s Master of None was coming back for a third season, my reaction was like “oh shit, more Master of None,” and a general sense of excitement and anticipation.  I was a fan of the first two seasons and held the show in above average regard, even after the revelation of Aziz Ansari’s unfortunate extracurricular tendencies.  The show had incredible writing, a fantastic wit, and some beautiful cinematography, and by the way the second season ended, I could only imagine just how the show was going to progress in season 3.

So, having watched season 3 now, instead of a feeling of satisfaction, I’m just left scratching my head and feeling conflicted on just how I really feel having watched it.  The writing was still outstanding, and the plot and how the season unfolds definitely has some really heavy-handed scenarios that really elicits some strong emotional reactions, and the cinematography continues to showcase a lot of visually compelling scene shots and landscapes.

But my overall feeling with the season as a whole is that the plot was stretched out over five episodes with maybe one episode’s worth of actual plot.  And instead of even artificially injecting a lot of fluff and filler plot and dialogue, the show burns an inordinate amount of time on random shots of landscapes, nature, or characters doing mundane things.  Seriously, episode 2 has about a two-minute stretch where it’s just Lena Waithe’s character, Denise, sitting in her car eating a hamburger while listening to the radio.  There’s another two-minute sequence in episode four where Naomi Ackie’s character, Alicia, is sitting in a laundromat, looking bored as shit while Latin rap is blasting, and when the scenes changes, I’m scrunching my brow wondering what the whole point of some of these scenes even were.

It doesn’t take long to realize that the season is a far departure from the core story that was established in season 2, and Aziz Ansari himself is hardly in the show he created, having perhaps a total of maybe 15 total minutes on screen combined throughout the five-episode season.  However, that’s more than enough time for them to establish that the plot that unfolded throughout season 2 was flushed completely down the toilet, which has some quite unpleasant implications if you think about it, which as a fan, deflates my general anticipation of knowing what might have happened.

Frankly, when the day is over, this entire season felt like something of a story that Lena Waithe wanted to tell, but in order to most effectively get it off the ground and have it backed by Netflix, was to shoehorn the Master of None name into it, and modify the story to where the characters are ones established in the series.  I feel like the show might have been a little bit more successful if it were not associated to Master of None and were just some heart-tugging mini-series independently named, starring Lena Waithe and Naomi Ackie; but because they called it Master of None, it just leads to kind of this confusing and puzzling season that put way too much focus on cinematography and dragged a 35-minute storyline throughout nearly three hours.

And by doing so, the show’s title becomes accurate, because it was neither a master of storytelling nor was it a master of music or cinematography, and if that was the goal then mission accomplished, I guess?

High praise for Cruella

I’m not sure if it’s because I haven’t really watched a feature-length film in a long time, or if it was actually a great movie, but I really enjoyed Disney’s Cruella. 

The film is full of cinematography that is appealing to me as someone who knows squat about what constitutes good cinematography or high fashion, but I know what I like to see.  The soundtrack is an endless array of outstanding tunes from the 1970s, one of the best decades of music as far as I am concerned.  And I like Emma Stone, and I thought she did an outstanding job portraying the rise of Cruella Deville.

Put it all together and it was an entertaining film that I found to be enjoyable on several accounts, and probably something I could watch again if I hypothetically happened to be flipping channels and I came across Cruella on television, regardless to how dated such a metaphor has become this day and age.

The interesting thing about the film as a whole is that by actually giving a deep backstory to Cruella, Disney has canonically created a narrative that is capable of garnering sympathy and empathy for the character, and I think the real interesting thing will be to one day watch 101 Dalmatians, the original animated film, and see how I or anyone else, feels about the character, now that we all know about her upbringing and life in general.

I mean just the groundwork laid down in Cruella, with her interactions with dogs in general already kind of fills in some narrative to why she does the things she wants to do in Dalmatians, and eventually when I watch the original film with my daughters, I’m curious to see how I’ll feel about cartoon Cruella, knowing what I know about her backstory.

Either way, I thought the film was pretty outstanding.  From a visual standpoint, soundtrack, to the performances of the actors themselves, I was into the film, and it was paced well and easy to not get bored during the whole thing.  Plus the guy who plays Nandor from What We Do in the Shadows is in it, and once I realized who he was, it was impossible to not laugh whenever I saw him screen.