Don’t even want to consider the meanings behind these dreams

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been having some weird dreams.  And when I say weird, I really mean more like fucked up, in the sense that in these dreams, there’s killing going on.  Someone is out to kill me.  So I feel the need to kill them first.  People getting killed.  Animals getting killed.  Guns.  Strangulation. 

And with each time that a dream like these occur, I wake up feeling relieved that they were just dreams, and I don’t even try to rationalize the notion that dreams are our brains trying to tell us things, because in no world do I want dreams about killing things to have any modicum of involvement in how I operate my life.

But the last dream I had, was also the most vivid one, the one that stood out the most, and the one that prompted actual writing to occur.

I’m in a zombie game.  Basically I’m in Left 4 Dead’s interface, but in this particular zombie universe, the rules are slightly different.  Mainly, those who become infected, do not immediately have a fairly uniform amount of time before they inevitably turn into zombies themselves.  Not all of them.

In this dream, for those who become infected, there is no uniform amount of time left before someone becomes a zombie themselves.  For some people, it might be fairly instantaneous, but for some, it could be a few hours, the following morning, even a week, or even a month.  Maybe longer. 

Regardless, I imagine anyone could see the complications in such a mechanism there, because in all other forms of zombie literature and media, infection usually has a pretty predictable mortality clock on it, ranging from a few hours to several days, depending on the number of bites they’ve incurred.  So corresponding characters typically know that their time with the condemned is limited, and to start making peace with them while they’re still with the living, before having to make the most difficult act ever.

But what if that predictable timeline didn’t exist?  What if when someone was infected, nobody had any idea of when they were going to turn?  Could those bitten, simply continue to live their lives among the living until they would spontaneously expire?  Could those around the bitten cope with living among bitten people, knowing that they could spontaneously drop and return as zombies and threaten their lives?

And that’s where this dream had me placed.  In a zombie-infested world, among the living, several of whom were bitten, and were, at least in this particular shelter, being allowed to live out.  Me wrestling with my own thoughts and concerns over personal safety and the safety of others.  Struggling to accept the fact that there were people who were on death’s door, among us, still lucid, still alive, and still helping as best as they could.

I don’t recall in the dream having to murder a living person, which I suppose is something to be relieved about, but it also didn’t end without me having to pull the trigger a few times either.  Someone had dropped and was convulsing, and in a zombie world, decisions need to be made quick, so I brought up my shotgun, and it was the hardest decision in the world I’d ever made.  The game itself seemed to have a last second are you sure function that effectively stopped my first trigger pull, forcing me to put something over the person’s head before making a kill shot.

But because of the way things were, I’m left wondering if I made the right choice.  What if they were an epileptic and were just having a seizure or something?  What if they weren’t actually turning right then and there?  Why the fuck am I having so many dreams lately of killings going on?

My alarm goes off, and it’s time to let the dog out.  Unlike most mornings, I’m not happy to be woken up, but I am relieved to get out of yet another fucking weird killing dream, and hope this doesn’t mean anything in the grand spectrum of things.

Dad Brog (#097): A brog-worthy bad morning

My current routine is to wake up at 7:10 am, every single day of the week, regardless of if I have to work or not, with the objective of having the kids’ breakfast ready to serve by the time I get them at anywhere from 7:30–7:45.  Preferably with me waking them, because if they wake up on their own, it usually means something is wrong, and by something is wrong I mean that one of them has probably shit themselves.

Believe me, there have been mornings where it has been both, and those are wonderful times.

However the thing is, every single morning is kind of a race against a clock that I can’t see and know how much time is left until zero, where, usually #2, wakes up on their own.  Which is never peaceful, or cute babbling on the baby monitor, resulting me in wistfully looking at my youngest with love and admiration.  No, it’s always with crying, and mornings like today, instantly going all the way to 100 on the rage scale within seconds of waking up.

I try not to compare my kids, but it’s unmistakable that on #2’s character sheet, emotional sensitivity is at a 100 out of 99 and that she is without any question, a massive crybaby.  Everything is worth going nuclear over, everything results in screaming, snot and tears, and the only things that can quell them is if one of her parents drops everything they’re doing and probably need to be doing, and picking her up for some snuggle therapy.

Usually at this time, #1 either gets jealous and starts blowing up herself, or she’s capitalizing on my inability to do anything else and runs off and gets into some mischief that I’m put into a Sophie’s choice of stopping my eldest from some form of damage versus allowing the crying machine to explode again, with ten times out of ten usually resulting in putting #2 down to where she blows back up again to stop #1 from hurting herself or hurting something important.

By the time I get the two of them in their high chairs with food placed in front of them, I’m already burned out because my daily allotment of patience has been reduced to a stump over 30~ straight months of waking up to deal with the first shift of parenting, and I’m typically on the verge of a breakdown and chanting to myself that I don’t have enough help and I don’t know what can be done about it and that for just one fucking day, want to not have to do, this.

Continue reading “Dad Brog (#097): A brog-worthy bad morning”

Cobra Kai S5: Attack of the Koreans

Like seeing a lamer version of Ryu, Ken and Gouki

One of my friends that I can’t remember whom, said it the best when it comes to describing Cobra Kai: it’s a show that has no right being as good as it is.  All throughout all prior seasons of the show, I always spoke about it with this air of superiority, like I was too good to like the show.  But then I’d watch every single episode and dare find myself enjoying them all.  And as the seasons progressed, I found myself fast-tracking the show ahead of the endless queue of shit that I want to watch.

Needless to say, when I saw some online ad stating that season 5 was dropping on September 9, my first reaction was, aw shit; now I have to jump this shit in the line and watch all of it as soon as I could.  By now, there was no denying that I was a fan of the show, and that the show had no right to be as good as it had been up to this point.

And with all the Emmy consideration the show has gotten throughout the years, it’s clear that the show runners have found a good formula of appealing to a younger demographic, while still being captivating to us olds through nostalgia and not-always that clever references to stuff from the past.  Fewer things seem as cheesy as seeing footage from and of the prior films in a flashback, and then coming back to present time to seeing an old-ass Daniel or Johnny looking all reminiscent.

But anyway, season 5 of Cobra Kai; and I make no promises that I won’t say things that could be construed as spoilers – watched all of it in three days, and found it as cheesily satisfying as most of the prior seasons were.  The ending to the season seemed uncharacteristically wrapped up in neat little bows, and considering the context of everything that had happened, I get the impression that Josh Heald, Jon Hurwitz and Hayden Schlossberg are kind of hedging their bets in the event that the show is not picked up for a sixth season, not to mention that they’re running out of source material from the original series to dip into for nostalgia effect, that things are at least tied up pretty well in the event that this really is the end.

Okay, a cut here, because I probably am going to write about plot points beyond this.

Continue reading “Cobra Kai S5: Attack of the Koreans”

RIP the DeVanzo Shift, you bunch of one-dimensional pussies

Ain’t that a crock: MLB votes in favor of several rule changes that will be implemented starting in the 2023 baseball season, which includes effectively, the banning of the shift

In all fairness, some of the other rule changes are fine.  The pitch clock, limiting pick-off attempts and widening bases.  The gradually increasing ADD nature of humanity can’t sit through three hour games anymore and are demanding change, and adding three inches to bases won’t really be that noticeable except to players who might not get their ankles kicked in or stepped on as much.

But the banning of the shift?  Now that’s booty.  Such a cop out.  Result of a bunch of bitches being, bitches.  The supposed greatest baseball players on the planet all suck so much at baseball and are incapable of hitting the other way so they collectively complain so much that it forces MLB’s hand to outright ban the defensive strategy that has owned them for the last decade.  Total bullshit.

I dislike this immensely.  Instead of trying to raise and develop players to spray and hit to all parts of the field, MLB has basically doubled down its catering to power hitters and is instead modifying rules to benefit them instead of telling them to suck it up and evolve their skillset back to when they were kids and probably told to use all parts of the field.

This is why on a global level, Japan still ranks above the United States in pure baseball talent.  When it comes down to it, they might not have guys who will clobber 50 homers in a season, but pretty much everyone in NPB is capable of hitting the ball to opposite field, and their collective batting average is probably noticeably higher than MLB’s collective batting average.

I still remember back in the 2009 World Baseball Classic, there was a Japan vs. US game; Roy Oswalt started for the US, and he absolutely got slaughtered by Team Japan who hung like six runs on him, without a single home run.  The Japanese hitters were basically just consistently plopping singles the other way, and Team USA just had no answer for it, and ended up losing 9-4 in an embarrassing elimination.

This, is the power of being able to hit to all parts of the field, but this is also something that we’ll probably never see in MLB, because instead of challenging players to adapt to a staunch defensive strategy, they’re just prohibiting the strategy and making it easier for players to remain fat talentless sluggers.

But most of all, I’ll never be able to proclaim “the DeVanzo Shift” again whenever an oaf like Joey Gallo steps into the box and gleefully watch a third baseman position themselves on the right side of second base, before he stupidly clubs a grounder into the teeth of the shift and gets thrown out at first with minimal effort.  In fact, Joey Gallo is probably the odds-on favorite to win an MVP award next season with the shift being neutered, and guys like Brian McCann and Jay Bruce are probably back in the cages right now, getting ready to make a comeback, knowing they won’t have to face the shift starting next year.

When the day is over, I haven’t paid hardly any attention to the game since my children have been born, but I still keep my ear to scuttlebutt.  And it bugs me that rules are being changed in this manner, not just in defiance of change, but because of the sentiment that bad behavior is being rewarded instead of inspiring improvement and betterment of the players’ skillsets, and that’s just pathetic.

New blets are probably going to be inevitable

I haven’t watched much wrestling over the last weeks months years, but when I heard about the latest NXT Worlds Collide show, I made a point to carve out an evening to watch it.  After finding out that NXT UK was being folded in preparation for the coming of NXT Europe, I was kind of sad because I actually really grew to like NXT UK in its short lifespan.  Their show really felt grassroots, and the roster size led to quick and exciting stories, and when they started doing their own Takeover events, they were always full of real quality matches, with always at least one broadway on them.

The rise of Jordan Devlin, Walter vs. Dragunov, and Kay Lee Ray vs. Meiko Satomura were some of the best things about NXT UK.  Even their midcard guys like Noam Dar and A-Kid were starting to really shine, and for a while I’d have said that NXT UK was my favorite program within the entire company; granted it didn’t hurt that everything else had moved to cable tv and I didn’t watch it, but still.

Anyway, none of the matches ended in any real surprises; Ricochet wasn’t going to win and take an NXT blet away from the show, same with Nikki ASH and Doudrop.  Pretty Deadly unifying the tag titles was a little surprising, but if the UK scene needed to have anyone thrown a bone to it, it was obviously the tag team championships, because in spite of how much I was hoping Tyler Bate was going to win, it didn’t seem likely that any of the Americans were going to lose the respective men or women’s NXT championships, which is exactly what happened.

But the thing is, Worlds Collide kind of acted as something of a bookend to me as far as all the NXT UK and even the NXT blets are concerned.  Obviously, the UK blets all have to go since the brand is effectively dead now, but it also doesn’t mean that the existing blets in NXT also aren’t on the chopping block either.  Save for some coloration being added to the plates, all of the blet designs were carried over from “old” NXT, and the designs of the blets don’t match the Cosby sweater new logo of 2.0.

Of course when NXT Europe drops in 2023, it’s inevitable that they will get an array of their own titles, that I hope will look great so I can get them, but also hope that they don’t look great, so I won’t be tempted to get them because I haven’t really been chugging out surveys like I used to, so my blet monies have basically evaporated into nothingness now, and I wouldn’t really have the spare cash to get them.

But I also anticipate that NXT 2.0, within the next 12 months, will probably debut some redesigns of all their existing blets, because with the unifying of their UK counterparts, now seems like as good as any of a time for them to drop the old Hunter-era NXT logo’d blets, and debut some brand new, 2.0’d blets.  Especially since the WWEShop really has caught up to every single active blet being available, and they need something to drop to keep blet nerds like me wet.

I guess I should get back on the survey train and start trying to earn back up some more blet money, because I feel like we’re on the cusp of some new shit being available sooner rather than later.

The Brilliance of Players

I remember when I saw a teaser for Players on Paramount; it became apparent quickly that it was about esports, and shortly afterward, it was evident that it was about League of Legends.  And then the drama about a headcase League player blathering on about how he wants to win something before he retires.

The thing is, based on that alone, I actually thought it was something serious.  It wasn’t until I had already taken the bait and looked up what this show actually was, did I learn that it was a fictional mockumentary, and then I was like ohhhhhhh that explains why anyone would even attempt to talk about being a League of Legends champion, that wasn’t in Korea.

Upon further discovery of the series, and finding out that it was done by the same team that had done the American Vandal mockumentaries, I was sold, because both seasons of that show were brilliant, and colliding two things I enjoyed seemed like a recipe for something I would like.  Even more so when I found out that the format of the series was going to borrow heavily from The Last Dance documentary about the Chicago Bulls, which I also enjoyed immensely.

Needless to say, I was optimistic about the series, and upon finishing it, I think my instincts were pretty good about it.  As a whole, I found Players to be very entertaining, downright hilarious at many points, and having been pretty deep into the League scene at a point in my life, a lot of ohhhhhh moments at reminiscing about the scene in general.

Creamcheese is a brilliant character in the sense that he’s basically every obnoxious stereotype there is about a professional gamer wrapped into a singular package and then have the volume turned up to 11.  He’s no physical specimen, but he acts all hot shit because he plays games at a high level, and is just so unlikeable and obnoxious, but you can’t help but be amused at the avalanche of bullshit he’s just always selling.

The show makes no effort to hide the fact that they are speaking to a very niche audience, primarily League players past and present themselves.  But everyone I’ve pitched the show to, who aren’t even or never weren’t League players who gave it a shot, all seemed to enjoy the show all the same, just because it’s just that well executed.

But the show digs deep with all the references that only really long-time League players would understand, and it really doesn’t shy away from a lot of the behavioral tendencies that have emerged from internet culture and the League scene, from memes, the way that the internet piles on, latches onto jokes and references that become unforgettable no matter how much you try, etc.

But one of the most brilliant things about the show is that it’s not officially sponsored by Riot Games themselves, the developers of the game.  But their involvement in the show is unmistakable, considering almost all of the casters and commentators of the professional scene are all willing participants in the show, reprising their handles and identities.  Regardless, in doing such, Riot kind of takes a lot of the steam behind most criticisms about the game, the scene, the culture, effectively out of the equation based on their general involvement, regardless of how palpable or not.

By owning a lot of the jokes and criticisms, in the show, it takes a lot of the power away from those flinging the stones on the internet, and they’re basically controlling their own narrative of how the League scene really is, by participating in the show and letting it happen the way it does.

But all in all, it’s just a well-executed show.  It’s endlessly entertaining the way utilizes flashbacks in the exact same manner that The Last Dance does, but instead of talking about Michael Jordan and basketball, it’s talking about a bunch of video game geeks and a video game known for its ridiculous fanbase.  But it does so with a tone and seriousness that of a real documentary, and as a whole package, it’s just such an easy show to be snickering and laughing along with.

It almost makes me miss playing the game, and being a part of the scene, but with two kids in the picture, ain’t nobody got any time for any more League these days, so good on Players for coming into existence and helping me remember the good times, and all the time I’m not blowing playing game after game of ARAM.

Thoughts from a much-needed weekend off

Paris – my #2 favorite place in Las Vegas

As mentioned in the fanny pack post, I was actually in Las Vegas over the Labor Day weekend.  This was effectively the first real, multi-day, kids-free breather that mythical wife and I have had since, before the arrival of #1 back in March of 2020, right before the pandemic shut the world down.  Since then, we’ve literally never had longer than a single day where we were both not without children.  We obviously love our kids and our budding famiry very much, but we’d also be kidding ourselves that having gone through such a stretch has been difficult at times, and it’s amazing we’ve gone this long without a true break and not ended up going insane in the process.

Needless to say, the highlight of the trip was without question, simply getting to sleep in for two straight nights.  As in, turn off all alarms, pin the blinds shut, and go to sleep, only to wake up naturally, once our bodies deemed it no longer necessary to remain asleep.  I know we were in Las Vegas, the city that never truly sleeps and we’re supposed to be out gambling, drinking and being total shitheads all night every night, but damn if it wasn’t so refreshing to wind down the evenings knowing that we could sleep as long as we wanted.

To any of my zero readers who might be under the age of 32, I can imagine just how depressing of a paragraph the preceding one was, as a glimpse of what life after the age of 40 and with multiple kids can await but I really do love my famiry I really do.

As for Las Vegas itself, it was a good weekend to get away from the grind of daily living, but I have to say I had a lot of thoughts about not just Las Vegas, but the experience of traveling, and the state of the world itself.  And not to shit on what was a very welcome weekend to relax some, but me being who I am, of course these aforementioned thoughts are quite critical.

If I could get right to the point, I would have to say that I feel like there is a pretty wide disconnect when it comes to the world of business and the people of the world, and where they stand on how “re-opened” everything really is versus how re-opened everyone thinks it is, or should be.

Case in point: travel to Las Vegas is expensive as fuck, due to supposed demand and inflation.  What should be no more than really a $350 RT give or take anywhere in the continental United States was like an $800 RT per person, resulting in mythical wife and I settling with Greyhound Spirit Air in order to not get to the casinos already broke.  Except when you get to Las Vegas, casinos and restaurants all over the city are operating at less than pre-pandemic capacities, almost all of the buffets are either shut down or completely impossible to get in on account of them being the only ones left, table minimum bets are way higher than they used to be, and it’s basically impossible to be spontaneous or do anything substantial on short notice anymore.

Aside from sleeping the fuck in, two things that I wanted to do at my first time in Vegas in like 5-6 years was to eat at a buffet, and visit Ellis Island.  Neither of which happened because pretty much every buffet in Las Vegas was either closed or required a massively advance reservation, and nobody in my party wanted to go to Ellis Island and even if we did go, there’s no doubt that their restaurant would’ve had a massive wait and been impossible to get in at.

Not that they were that bad by any means, but we had several meals at places I probably wouldn’t have gone to if there were buffets available, not to mention that they were all way more expensive than good Vegas buffets were.

But due to the general feeling of restrictions and handcuffs here and there, I found myself breaking a couple of my own neurotic rules in Las Vegas, out of a feeling that I didn’t have any choice.  Two of them, at the same time, which was no playing where you stay, and no playing at tables with robotic female Asian dealers, because to me, both are omens of horrible luck.  But I did both anyway, and found myself down a good bit in short order, and going to bed feeling agitated and dejected.

Fortunately, a positive gambling session at Paris the following day helped salvage my gambling exploits, but I still left the city an overall net negative in the process, not that such isn’t always the case when it comes to going to Las Vegas, but the point is, there’s a noticeable disconnect between how much the city wants to operate versus the demand of things from the people who are visiting, leading to a lot of obnoxious waits, crowds, rushes and rejections.

Such sentiments weren’t limited to Vegas itself, just the traveling experience in general, is very similar in the sense that airports want to operate in these pandemic-era manners with skeleton crews, early closures and basically taking away all seating from travelers, but not taking into consideration every single flight is basically oversold, because of the reduced number of flights is making every ticket a hot one, and all these people are stacked on top of each other, sitting wherever there’s floor space and an outlet on the wall.

Either way, I don’t regret the trip, and I’m grateful to have gotten away from ordinary life for just a few days, and could sleep in and feel like a self-absorbed adult for that time.  By the time it was time to pick the kids up from grandma’s, I couldn’t wait to see my girls, and give them big hugs and kisses again.  But obviously me being the headcase that I notoriously am, nothing goes by without me overthinking about it, even good shit like small vacations.  But I would wager that I’m not the only one who feels that it’s kind of obnoxious that the commercial world is trying to have their cake and eat it too when they try and use the pandemic as an excuse to operate at 75% when the consumer world is ready and itching for things to be operating at 110%.