How does one schedule the ending of a life?

As I posted about a little while ago, my dog is not well.  He was diagnosed with cancer a little over a month ago, and has a tumor that has been rapidly growing since then.  I got a second opinion to see if this were something that could be operated on, but the combination of the growth of the tumor, his age, and his heart, it was a no-brainer that he was not a good surgery candidate, and that this was a situation to simply just try to keep him comfortable for however long he has left.

It’s been about a month, and the fact that I’m writing this at all should be enough to know just how well things have gone.  The tumor has been growing and is protruding visibly.  Chase’s appetite has been gradually decreasing, to which to me is the #1 thing to know when it’s time to start reflecting on mortality, and his physical behavior has decreasing.  His hips have occasionally given out on him, requiring me to pick him up and put him in the grass to relieve himself, if he isn’t unloading where he settles in the first place.

One of the things I told myself when I realized that the clock was counting down was that I did not want to keep my dog alive for the sake of myself.  Once his quality of life was starting to really not be so great would be the point where I would do him the courtesy of letting him bow out gracefully and with his dignity, and not when he was frail, immobile and already starving to death.  This is a mistake I’ve made in the past, and it is something that I did not want to repeat, because it’s not fair to our pets to do such selfish things.

It’s been a lot of reflecting over the last few days, but this is where I think I am with my journey with Chase now.  His appetite is dwindling, his activity is becoming more sedentary, and as noted, his legs are starting to fail him.  In spite of his documented heart issues, his heart is not failing him, but the rest of his body is really starting to.  He’s attentive and his mind is still clearly with us, and this would be a whole lot simpler to do if it weren’t, but that’s just the cruelty of life sometimes.

The thing is, in all the pets I’ve ever had or been a part of their lives, death has always been kind of a in-the-moment thing.  They’ve never dropped dead in front of me, but typically things have occurred that made it very clear that the time was now, to say goodbye.  No real time to think about it, just act, and do them the solid of not letting them suffer.

I’ve never been in a scenario where I’ve had the time to contemplate and make the decision, much less call the vet to schedule, the literal ending of a life, and it feels completely bonkers that this is something that people actually do all around the world.  But here we are.

It sucks because it feels like there’s a degree of convenience, of washing my hands of the responsibility and care needed, and I’m constantly talking to myself to remind myself that it’s for his sake that we’re doing this.  Put a merciful end to the suffering of cancer spreading and taking parts of his body offline.  Suppressing a once-healthy appetite.  Making him unable to sprint circles around me while I held the leash with amusement at his energy and vitality.  I’d be lying if I said that there wouldn’t be some relief of the absolving of some duties, but it’s never worth the ceasing of a life, but the flip side to that, is that I’d be forcing a dog to stay alive for my sake and not his, and that’s precisely what I’m trying to avoid.

All the same, I’ve made up my mind, and I have to stick with it.  Short of the cure to cancer being released into the air and the discovery of the fountain of youth, applicable to dogs as well, there’s not much that’s going to turn this back, nor should there be.  My boy has lived a lengthy life, been an unforgettable companion through a substantial chunk of my own life, and it’s time to let him go and sprint as many circles around the afterlife as he wants, before he abruptly stops to drop the biggest poop a dog of his size has any business dropping.

Gentrification Station, what’s your location?

Ever since I moved back out to the ‘burbs and no longer have a job in Midtown/Downtown proper, I don’t miss the city one bit.  I have little to no business going into the city anymore, and I don’t miss it one iota.  I used to feel like I was missing out on the pulse of Atlanta if I didn’t at least work inside city proper, but that ship of importance has long since sailed a couple times around the planet by now.  I just don’t give a fuck about what’s going on in the city, nor does it actually matter to me anymore.

However, #2’s recent baby modeling engagements have required us to go back into the city, and as a once-in-a-while kind of thing, I was looking forward to seeing just how much has changed over the last few years.  And gee, by golly, how things have changed a lot since I used to have frequent business there.

Sure, there are a few new skyscrapers that I had no idea sprang up like they were dropped in from the sky like in Sim City, but that’s not what I’m here to talk about.  I’m here to talk about the bomb of gentrification that seems to have plopped itself on the western edge of the city, and they’re all too eager to let you know about it.

West Midtown was definitely becoming a thing when I still worked in the city and when mythical then-gf was living within city proper.  Basically starting at around Georgia Tech, everything west and going north of campus was developing rapidly, especially off of the Howell Mill and Northside Drive corridors.  Going away were dilapidated lots and ram shack buildings, and all these mixed-use apartments with bougie restaurants on the ground were appearing.  The gentrification wand was definitely shaking its fairy dust all over this area.

But going back into the city on South Atlanta-Marietta Blvd to avoid the usual bullshit traffic of I-75 and the connector, I drove through Upper West Midtown, which was definitely hit by the Albert Pujols baseball bat of gentrification.  As soon as you cross the Chattahoochee where Atlanta Rd. becomes Marietta Blvd, Upper West Midtown becomes a thing, and all sorts of new businesses and apartments have appeared where there were none the last time I really had any business going down this route.

It started with a Publix that was predictably victimized by the general area at first, but apparently the neighborhood has soldered through, and the gentrification bomb appears to have done some work over the last few years.  Now I have no idea if the heat map of crime has actually changed in that area, but generally with gentrification comes the pushing of riff-raff out the door.

However, the biggest transformation, I would have to say was the generally industrial neighborhood that is along Chattahoochee Ave.  In my days, this area was a generally undesirable area that I favored tremendously, because there were some real gems of restaurants amidst the off-beaten paths, but it definitely looks like the secret is out, and this place too was hit hard by the gentrification bomb.

Obviously, fewer things are whiter than microbreweries, and as mythical wife had pointed out, there are no fewer than 4-5 independent breweries that have emerged within a 1-mile radius in this area.  But while mythical wife and #2 were at the agency studio doing their baby modeling thing, #1 and I had the opportunity to explore the newly gentrified area, and I came upon a true monument to gentrification.

Christened “The Works,” this is basically a shopping center full of ridiculous businesses that I’m amazed to stay in business because they’re all galleries and use words like curated and rustic to describe their wares, and I don’t even want to go in because I feel like I’d drown in arrogance and pretentiousness.  But the biggest reason to come in was the food court, which in today’s gentrified vernacular must be referred to as a food hall, because all of the vendors are local and independent proprietors, and not like Panda Express, Popeyes, or Chick Fil-A.

As I was hungry and needed to feed my other child, #1 and I managed to drop $27 on a sandwich and a slider, and then another $12 on three fucking cookies because I wanted to treat my wife and my mom to some locally-sourced goods, but didn’t know the price before purchasing them which I’m sure is deliberate because they’re preying on people wanting to avoid the awkward scenario of refusing something upon finding out the cost. 

I mean, the quality of the lunch and cookies were definitely good, and I’m not beneath dropping $40 on such a seemingly low quantity of food, but I’m also not going to deny that it’s expensive and a little pretentious.

All the same, I would take pretentious gentrification monuments over shantytown abandoned plots of land.  As much as I want to clown on The Works and their Food Hall, it actually is still a lovely place that I’d like to fantasize about bringing the wife to for a no-kids date night in a fantastical scenario that will probably never happen.

But it’s just all too amusing to see all the very white tropes and tendencies that happen to an area when the gentrification bomb is planted and explodes.  At least all of the eateries that I remembered fondly all appear to still be there, and hopefully they’re benefitting from the newfound traffic that all this gentrification is bringing to the area.

2 Under 2: Good news and bad news (#079)

Starting with the bad news: #2 has officially cut teeth, and thus begins the agonizing teething stage of growing up.  For those who might remember, teething was basically the worst thing in the world as far as I was concerned while raising #1, as it seemed to go on forever, and when it’s happening, there’s pretty much nothing we can do as parents to alleviate the pain they feel with their tiny little teef are boring through their gum lines.

Colic was pretty agonizing with #2, but that’s mercifully kind of subsided, leading to way fewer nuclear meltdowns, but seeing as how emotionally volatile she is, I dread the day when a teething spell reduces her to her shrill, shrieking cries of agony.  I’m sure there will be more complain-y dad brogs in the future if and once those start to occur and it begins really cramping my style to become posts.

But overall, it’s so much bad news as much as it’s something that we knew was going to come into play eventually anyway.  The real point of this post is more focused on the good news, which is that #2 has gotten cast for some advertising baby modeling, for a very national, very reputable, very known children’s brand.  Meaning, someone is going to be paying real money to take pictures of my daughter, with the intent of use for seasonal marketing materials in the near future.

#1 was cast for a fitting in her first year, but she apparently had a thermonuclear meltdown during the fitting, and was very uncooperative for the camera, so it was no wonder she wasn’t brought back for the actual shoot.  But #2 was a bit more chill, and we planned the day better to best optimize her routine behavior, and to no surprise, we received word that she was requested to come back for the actual shoot.

It’s a degree of validation that my kids are aesthetically pleasing enough to those outside of mythical wife and I myself as well as our respective families, because of course I think my girls are beautiful and the cutest babies ever.  But it’s more meaningful to hear such from neutral parties, especially ones that are willing to pay money in order to have them model for campaigns.

Not to sound arrogant or anything, but I had a feeling that we stood a very good chance.  Even more so after seeing what the competition was on the call sheet that came complete with photographs of all the other babies in contention.  #2, aside from being a little cherub face, also has the beneficial distinction of being biracial, and having worked in marketing for big corporations, I know well the attractive appeal of biracial models who are visibly ambiguous, and cover more than one checkbox.

#2 looks Asian, but at the same time doesn’t have a lot of the more stereotypical features of full-blooded Asian people.  Plus she doesn’t alienate racist white people, but at the same time still garners approval from minority demographics who can’t hate on a kid that doesn’t appear to be fully white.

As long as her behavior was kosher, I knew that #2 was going to make it through, and fortunately for us, she was behaving perfect, so it wasn’t really a surprise to me to hear that she had made it through.

So yeah, model baby.  Technically means both my girls were good enough to be baby models, but #2 got through to the actual camera.  So it’s now out of our hands at this point, and hoping that in a few months, we’ll start to see her cropping up in stores or their respective catalogues or social media channels, and it will be amazingly satisfying.

But most importantly, #2 is getting PAID.  I’m not saying it’s nothing over a grand, but still a nice chunk of change to get money less the agency fee, for doing something that most parents like me probably would’ve done for free just for the satisfaction of seeing their kids in modeling.  So much like the gif says, we goin’ to Sizzler!

No Ian, we won’t

Long story short: Major League Baseball is still in lockout; Cubs’ outfielder Ian Happ “hopes the fans understand what they’re fighting for”

Here’s the actual quote:

The players are so heavily committed to getting this thing back on track and we hope that the fans understand what we’re fighting for.

As the subject of this post says, no Ian, we won’t.  We will never understand what baseball players are fighting for, because we all know it’s just money.  It’s always money, it’s never anything other than money, and anything else that is ever mentioned is just another roundabout way of saying money.

So no Ian, we the fans will never understand why baseball players whose league minimum salary for the even shittiest player on the 25-man roster is practically $500,000, are trying to get even more money.  Especially considering every team’s MLB Players Association rep is usually a veteran player who probably makes anywhere from $4-32 million dollars a year, and is somehow trying to bilk even richer assholes who run the league and the teams out of more money, while prices for parking, food, apparel and tickets continue to rise and rise for the fans that actually fund all this entire racket in the first place.

Up to this point, I didn’t really care that baseball was still in a strike.  Over the last few years, it seems like every major sports league seems to go into some sort of strike, be it players or referees, leading to all sorts of shitshow bullshit, and then the conflicts are settled, and things go back to normal, to the point where it’s no real surprises anymore when some other sport league goes into a strike anymore.

I figured that eventually this MLB strike would end, players strong arm the league and the owners out of more money, who will then turn their losses onto the fans; millionaire players and billionaire owners end up making more money than ever, while the fan experience gets more expensive and the sun rises in the morning. 

We then have a chaotic season where there ambitious players who workout privately and/or go apeshit on performance enhancing drugs while testing is off the table are ready for the work stoppage to end and put up ridiculous numbers and highlights through the season, while on the other side of the coin there are lots of lazy players who take their job for granted get out of shape, and get shelled through a season but manage to keep their jobs because baseball teams are suckers for sunk cost fallacy. 

And there are lots of injuries because people are out of shape, or their bodies are in turmoil from going apeshit on performance enhancing drugs while testing is off the table.

But I didn’t really care that the strike was going on.  I’ve got enough on my plate to where baseball is unfortunately an afterthought, as much as I do love the game, in spite of how critical I can get towards it, but it’s because I care, damn it.

But then seeing Ian Happ’s remarks about hoping fans understand why they’re going on strike just set me off, because it’s just a perfect example of how tone deaf baseball players themselves can be when they stop realizing how privileged they are to be making money at all for playing a kid’s game at an incredible level.

Take Happ himself for example.  The guy is set to make $8 million dollars in 2022 that will undoubtedly be less than that because the stoppage.  The guy has already made about $8 million dollars in baseball salary alone at this point, and if he has any bit of IQ outside of baseball, could probably very easily live out the rest of his life very comfortably at the age of 27.

And he wants more money.  All of his MLBPA compatriots want more money.  And the funny thing is that Ian Happ is a pleeb, in comparison to some of the other guys on the MLBPA that is “fighting for,” more money. 

Like Max Scherzer – this guy is legitimately contractually obligated to be paid $43 fucking million dollars in 2022 alone, for throwing a baseball over and over again.  His current career earnings from baseball alone have already exceeded $139 million dollars.  If he stopped playing at the end of his current contract, he will clear $300 million dollars.  And because baseball is full of laughably stupid, idiotic contracts, even if he were to retire in 2024, he would still make $60 million dollars over the following four years because of deferred payment from the Nationals and Dodgers.

This guy wants more money too.

Make no mistake, the end goal of this strike benefits nobody but these greedy fucks who think baseball is absolutely indispensable in the grand spectrum of the world’s needs.  I love the game, and I’ll always love the game at this point, but I’d love to see the owners and commissioner’s office hold their ground, and the season grinds to a full halt. Laughably it would only apply to the MLB season, and as 2020 showed, when ‘Murica needed baseball to watch, they simply outsourced that need to Korea, and ESPN started broadcasting KBO in the states.

Furthermore, Minor League Baseball wouldn’t be affected by this, and if you don’t think television rights to broadcast the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, the Rocket City Trash Pandas, Montgomery Biscuits, Toledo Mud Hens, Modesto Nuts and all the other gaudy but still competitive minor league baseball wouldn’t suddenly be hot tickets, the Major Leagues would become a fast afterthought.  Casual fans and lovers of the game will find their salvation in the minor leagues, and MLB can go choke on a bag of dicks.

It wouldn’t happen, because at some point, one party is going to blink, but it’s fun to imagine the global baseball power shift if MLB comes off the table at their own greedy volition.

Thoughts on Terminus 2

For the longest time, I’ve been trying to go watch live wrestling.  A few months ago, I went to a really small show, Championship Wrestling From Atlanta, and it turned out to be a lot of fun despite the fact that I knew maybe like two names on the entire card.  The venue was small, the attendance was low, and I was sitting two rows from the ring and had a great view the entire night.  Unbeknownst to me, a lot of the talent featured that night were all fairly notable names on the indy or not-WWE/AEW world of professional wrestling, and I took the time to educate myself and realize just how out of touch I had become with the industry over the years.

The experience ignited a newfound want to seek out smaller shows, because I’ve done Wrestlemania twice, and several other large WWE and WCW shows back in the day, and as much as I appreciate the big times, I’ve learned that it’s just so much more fun at smaller shows.

But after seeing Championship Wrestling, the last few months have been a comedy of errors at trying to go see moar live wrestling.  I had secured tickets to NWA’s Hard Times 2 show, which I was looking forward to immensely due to the card being pretty stacked, but due to the rise of the Omicron coronavirus variant, my tickets were cancelled.  At least I got a pretty cool consolation prize out of it.

Mythical wife had gotten me some really baller tickets to go see WWE’s Day 1 pay-per-view show, and I know I had just said I was kind over big WWE events, but these were some prime seats that probably would’ve made the event worth it, but then my household was exposed, and I had to punt on going to the show that ended up being pretty noteworthy in that Brock Lesnar ended up winning the WWE title that night.

And then I heard about this show that ran in Atlanta, literally the night after it had occurred, called Terminus, which was apparently being run by the current Ring of Honor World Champion, Jonathan Gresham.  Looking at the match list, I was kind of awe-struck at just how stacked of a card it was, and I bemoaned my bad luck at not knowing about it in advance and trying to go check it out.

Fortunately for me, Terminus already had plans to run a second show in February, and with a main event of Gresham against AEW’s Mike Santana already established, it sounded like the perfect event to scratch the itch for some live, smaller-crowd wrestling.

Continue reading “Thoughts on Terminus 2”

Re: the Shoresy teaser

I’m sure Shoresy is going to be an entertaining show.  He was obviously such a popular part of Letterkenny to where Jared Keeso flexed the spinoff into fruition, and even went so far as to produce an entire fluffy phone-in of a season in order to help establish it.  And the 30 second teaser of the show is about everything I’d have expected from a show where Shoresy will be getting the entire spotlight, except for the very ending of it.

Spoiler alert, the teaser does the one thing that is never done throughout all of Shoresy’s appearances in Letterkenny.  I mean it was inevitable that it was going to happen, considering the show is now entirely about Shoresy and not just a cameo where he makes crude sexual jokes about Jonesy’s and Riley’s moms.  And everyone knows that it’s Keeso playing a second role, but still there’s something about the premature reveal that I feel as if the show has already given away a layup of a buzz maker.

Or maybe they’re just that confident that the show will succeed, to where they don’t feel the need to bother trying to play the conceal game any longer.

Either way, I’m definitely going to watch the show when it eventually drops.  I’m no hockey expert by any stretch of the imagination, but seeing as how the last three seasons of Letterkenny were all leading up to this and they were still interesting, I figure Shoresy will be much of the same without any of the other residents of Letterkenny needing any screen time.

All the same, impressive flex by Keeso to have gotten himself another gig, especially considering Shoresy was probably a joke at first, but really snowballed in popularity to where all of this could even be possible.

I feel as if I’m being disrespected

True to my word, I have begun hitting the gym again, beginning the journey to combat the give-up-on-life body that I have transformed into over the last two years to hopefully get to a point where I can have the less flabby dad bod that I had back in 2020.

The fitness center in my building is fairly bare, with mostly machines, but there are still enough dumbbells and other tertiary equipment available for me to still have adequate workouts and work on getting back in shape, regardless of the fact that I won’t really be able to do the true squats and deadlifts anymore without there being any barbells available.  But it doesn’t cost me anything, towels, shampoo and soaps are all included, which makes is super convenient for me.

The best part about it, though, is that the place is practically deserted.  Whether it’s the pandemic, the hybridized schedules that the company is utilizing or perhaps a combination of both is that there’s hardly anyone in the gym, and in just the few times I’ve been inside it, I’ve had plenty of time in which I’m literally the only one in there, free to workout in solitude.

However, I use phrases like practically and hardly, because in the two workouts that I’ve done to shake the rust off and go through the requisite soreness of exercising for the first time in an eon, despite the general quiet of the fitness center, I’ve still come across other human beings.

The first day, a duder walks in, about a half hour into my own workout.  Our eyes meet, and I give him a nod.  The nod is not reciprocated.  He changes clothing and comes back out and promptly begins his workout on the rower, which I think is very appropriate seeing as how he looks like Donald Trump, Jr. and is about as white.  As I’m changing in the locker room I can hear weights being dropped, confirming the douchebag I thought he was for not returning my nod.  He was also unmasked.

Day two, I enter the gym, and there’s a different guy, limbering up, prior to getting onto the treadmill.  As I begin lifting, he has an even more pitiful adventure on the treadmill than I had just days ago, and I don’t think he even ran more than five minutes, and had to take numerous breaks.  He then proceeds to get on a mat, and do some crunches.  As he heads back to the locker room, our eyes meet and I give him a nod.  The nod is not reciprocated. 

He emerges minutes later, back in work clothes, and the time it took indicates that he also didn’t shower.  This guy is also white as Reindeer Games.  He too was unmasked.

At this point, I’m feeling like I’m being disrespected by these guys that aren’t acknowledging my acknowledgment.  This is the epitome of a first-world problem, but at the same time, I don’t think I’m asking for a corporate bailout or anything, I’m just trying to be polite and acknowledge the respect for other people trying to better themselves through exercise.

It doesn’t happen often, but I’ve got the opportunity to organically relate to Gordon Liu and the entire aesthetic of my brog, because this treatment over the last two days has made me think about the scene in Kill Bill, where David Carradine waxes poetic about Pai Mei, and how he murdered a Shaolin temple solely based on the fact that a monk failed to reciprocate a nod when crossing paths.

Pai Mei…in a practically unfathomable display of generosity,
gave the monk the slightest of nods.

The nod…was not returned.

Now, was it the intention of the Shaolin monk to insult Pai Mei?
Or did he just fail to see the generous social gesture?

The motives of the monk remain unknown.

What is known…were the consequences.

The next morning, Pai Mei appeared at the Shaolin temple…
and demanded of the temple’s head abbot that he offer Pai Mei
his neck to repay the insult.

The abbot, at first, tried to console Pai Mei.

Only to find Pai Mei was…inconsolable.

So began the Massacre of the Shaolin Temple,
and all sixty of the monks inside, at the fists of the White Lotus.

I like to think these two clowns didn’t acknowledge me because they’re racists, or because I was wearing a mask which is still kind of a little racist in a way, but there’s also the possibility that they’re just being territorial pricks and annoyed that their gym is needing to be shared with someone else.  Joke’s on them though, there’s literally nobody more dedicated to going to the gym than I am, and they will be seeing me just about every single office day I have, health and schedules permitting.