My kitchen counter is like Animal Crossing

One of the pet peeves that I’ve developed is that it annoys the ever-living piss out of me whenever my kitchen counter becomes overrun with crap that really has no place being on a kitchen counter.  Purses, junk mail, kids toys, handbags, regular mail, kids toys, clutches, old mail that never gets opened, and kids toys come to mind as the most common things that end up on my own kitchen counter, and it always gets on my nerves when things are placed there “for now” and for now turns into until I lose my cool and passive aggressively relocate things myself.

The thing is, either nobody notices or nobody cares how much this annoys me, neither of which is good.  But it’s not like I don’t have reason to be bothered by it so much, because the fact of the matter is that I do the majority of the cooking, especially for the kids, and when I’m making things, I just want to have some space on the counter to do my thing, without having to worry about toys, junk mail or a bunch of purses getting in my way.  Fewer things are more irritating than setting everything I need out, and then having no room for the cutting board or a bowl, or a place to just set an immediate need down.

But no matter how many times I clean the counter, relocate everyone’s shit and getting the surface nice and clear again, it’s only a matter of time before it just gets all overrun again.  Somewhere in time, it became as human nature to throw all your shit on the counter when you walk in the door as going to the bathroom first thing in the morning, because it usually only takes 1-2 days of people coming in from outside for the counter to get covered up with everyone else’s shit again, and then I get annoyed again, and this cycle repeats itself over and over again.

I came to the realization of the perfect analogy for the kitchen counter, which is that it’s just like playing Animal Crossing, and the endless chore of plucking weeds throughout your little islands.  It requires endless maintenance, and every day you let go by without tending to it, the worse it gets, and because my life is already packed to the brim with bullshit tasks and chores, sometimes I don’t always get to assessing and cleaning the counter every night.

And when the counter does get overrun, I just feel dejected, disappointed and annoyed, and after there are 10+ weeds all over the place, I just wish that that ghost from Animal Crossing would show up and clear everything from the counter for me magically.

But even that would be just a temporary fix, because in only a matter of days, the mess would just respawn, and I’ll be having a bad day as it is, and then I’ll try to make the girls a meal only to have all this shit all over the place and I’ll just get pissed all over again.

The thing is, I know this frustration is not limited to just me.  And I guess I shouldn’t be surprised to hear just how many people share this frustration, but again, somewhere in history, it became a reflex for people to throw all their shit over the kitchen counters.  It’s gotten to a point where I’ll judge television shows now, that the most unrealistic thing about portraying a modern household is if the kitchen counter is clean, because I’m just not convinced that Americans are capable of living without countertops overrun by a whole bunch of unnecessary shit that doesn’t need to belong there.

Dad Brog (#127): Purging and inevitability

Over the last few weeks, be it because of needing to clean for hosting, needing to clean just to free up space, or needing to clean because sometimes I come home and want to blow my brains out because it feels like my house is a sneeze away from becoming a subject on an episode of Hoarders, my house has been doing some purging. 

Mostly baby related things that we’re long past needing anymore, and although there’s a tremendous amount of relief whenever we manage to unload a piece of furniture, or a large item, or a box full of clothes, toys or other kid-related things that have long since been outgrown, upon reflection, it’s still bittersweet and inevitable that it would not go unnoticed by me that things that were once mainstays of when our kids were babies and infants, are now no longer part of the home, symbolic of the passage of time and that my kids are growing up.

In the past, I would just drop all these types of stuff off at the local Goodwill, get a donation receipt, and claim as much as possible for tax purposes, but as I’ve learned over the last few years, unless I donated like, my entire home, donations hardly have any effect, if any effect at all on one’s tax refunds, so my thinking lately has been, if I’m getting rid of stuff, I’d prefer them to go to people whom might actually need them for their intended purposes, and not end up getting thrown out by a charitable corporation.

However in spite of the altruistic intentions, fewer things is as maddeningly frustrating than the process of trying to give shit away.  I mean, the stuff is absolutely free with zero strings attached, but it also works against the givers, because of the zero money involved in the transactions, receivers also feel no real obligation to come receive, and the flake percentage is higher than Shaq’s chances at missing a free throw.

But that’s beside the point, the point of this post is that in all the purging we’ve been doing, I recognize the fact that we’re getting rid of some pretty substantial thing in my home’s history over the last 3+ years at this point, with two notable things that are at the forefront of my mind when reflecting over this recent purge. 

Since #1 was born, we had a bottle sterilizer that lived on the kitchen counter for over three years at this point.  When we had a second kid, we actually came upon a second one, courtesy of the manufacturer, sent to mythical wife when she was making videos on YouTube.  But having two kids raised on breast milk, we needed these sterilizers a lot, multiple times a day at the heyday of having a newborn and an infant at the same time.

And they lived on the counter, 24/7 for years.  Eventually we got rid of one, and I was glad to give it to a colleague who was having her first kid ever, because I know how great I loved having the sterilizer early on, to ensure that my kid’s bottles were as clean as could be, but the thing is, they were always there.

No matter how disastrous the residents of my home clutter up the counter and make me want to jump off a cliff sometimes, whenever it is eventually cleaned up, the sterilizer stayed.  Everything worked around the position of the sterilizer and at least once a day, it was running, cleaning bottles and other sterilizer-friendly kid bowls or cups or utensils.  It was a mainstay of the home.

Well, it’s gone now.  Mythical wife has gotten on yet another Great British Baking Show kick again and this time, it’s manifested into actual desire to bake, and when she gets on a kick, she goes full retard and now we’ve got a brand new Kitchen Aid jesus mixer that everyone who bakes loses their shit over, and being the less sentimental between the two of us, she didn’t hesitate to jettison the sterilizer from the counter, seeing as how the kids are using cups that really need to be sterilized, especially since they’re drinking regular cow’s milk from them, long past the days of breast milk.

And the counter still looks weird to me sometimes, not seeing the giant white box underneath the cupboard anymore.  But we didn’t need it, and it was off to the charity pile for it, and it was picked up by someone that allegedly had a five month old, and hopefully they’ll get great use out of it as my household did.

And next we have the high chair(s).  Despite the fact that my kids could still very well use them, they, and really I mean #1, but then #2 has to do everything that her big sister does, has gotten into that stage in her life where she’s clearly three going on 18, and refuses to sit in high chairs and boosters, and will lose her shit at even the notion of being denigrated into sitting into a baby’s seat.

The thing is too, I eventually grew to hate the last high chair we had, because the legs were spread so far out to give it as wide as base as possible to be safer from tipping over than any other high chair, but it actually took up more surface area than it appeared to, and when it was used regularly, not a day went by where someone didn’t trip over the ultra-wide standing legs because it didn’t look like it was that space-consuming.  I fucking hated when I was the victim of it, and when the kids spurned the high chairs in general, it sat in a corner where it could do the least bit of tripping.

Well, it’s gone now.  Along with our old transitioning high chair/booster seat, because my kids refuse to use that one too.  And just like that, my breakfast nook has gone from having boosters and high chairs displacing the normal chair(s) against the wall or absconded by mythical wife into her office that already has multiple chairs in it already, we’ve got a table with four ordinary, regular, grown human being sized chairs.

And unsurprisingly, I got some feelings about it.  Nothing I won’t get over after I post this but it’s still a little bittersweet to see some pretty mainstay things in the house for raising my kids being given the boot, but at least with these specific things, they’ve all been successfully unloaded to other parents and people whom I hope manages to get continued good use and a successful second life, raising kids as they did my own.

Because my kids were born so closely together, it wasn’t difficult to treat the last few years like one really long and continuous birth and raising, because there was a good bit of overlap when both girls needed the same stuff, and I could stop and look at my life and just see myself with two babies.  But now that they’re both basically thinking they’re full-ass grown adults now, but most importantly, out of diapers, it’s been time to say goodbye to a lot of baby stuff now, and time to be me and reflect and reminisce on it.  I’m satisfied with every inch of surface area we can liberate in my home, and frankly it’s harder to give shit away than it’s hard to say goodbye to a lot of baby stuff.  But as much as I do use dad brogs to complain about how hard my life is and how over I get parenting sometimes, it’s times like these that are reminders that time is most definitely passing, my kids are growing further and further away from the babies they once were, and if I keep blinking to brog and bitch, I’m going to miss everything on the way to sitting down with them to guide them through their first job applications because oh yeah, my kids will be working.

I didn’t realize we were witnessing some sort of history

Okay then: South Carolina’s women’s basketball team defeats Mississippi Valley, 101-19

A year or two ago, a friend of mine sent me a link to a stream of a high school girls basketball game, that a guy we went to high school with was coaching.  I clicked it out of curiosity, since this guy in question was one of those guys where nothing in the world ever seems to treat him particularly well, and my friend isn’t one to steer me to dud content, and when the stream began for me, I noticed that the score was like 31-3. 

I texted my friend and said that I thought that maybe the stream was broken or something, because the score seemed to be stuck at 31-3, but then I noticed in actual manual scoreboard in the video itself, which was still live and moving, and I had one of those ohhhhhh moments, because it turns out that the score was actually, 31-3.  Naturally, my friend’s boy was the coach of the team that had only put up three points, and we laughed heartily over the ownage we were witnessing, because we do love some good old fashioned ownage.

I don’t remember what the final score was, but I don’t think my friend’s boy’s team surpassed ten points.  I do remember watching on the stream that after the clock mercifully ended, he stormed immediately off the court; no handshaking the opposing coach, no handshake line between the two teams.

My in-laws are both sports fans as well as supporters of South Carolina sports, so when they were over during the holiday weekend, and while the girls were down for a nap/quiet time, we turned on the Lady Gamecocks since they were playing live at the time.  It was the third quarter, and the score was like 62-12, and I immediately had flashbacks to the high school game that my friend and I watched, and my first thought was that the ESPN feed was fucked up or something, and that the score was not refreshing maybe.

But it turned out that South Carolina really was wrecking Mississippi Valley that badly, and mythical wife, who is neither a fan of basketball or women’s hoops, began complaining of why we were watching at all, considering the game was long past over at this juncture.  I mean, I like a good blowout every now and then, but there’s no denying that it does get kind of boring after a while and both teams begin just going through the motions to get debacle over with.  I was more surprised that there was no running clock or something to speed things up, and prevent MSV from getting throttled even more than they were.

We turned the game off in after the third, because the margin was only getting worse, but then I would discover later on that South Carolina passed the 100-point mark which is very impressive at the college level, men or women, and that they blew out MSV by 82 points.

Now it’s not as easy as it should be, so I can’t figure out where in history that an 82-point blowout stands in rank.  I did find out that at one point, UConn reamed St. Francis in the Women’s tournament by a margin of 88 points, but beneath that was a whole lot sub-70 point blowouts, so South Carolina’s 82-point margin definitely is up there in the history books somewhere.

For context, the biggest ass-whooping in NBA history was 73 points, and in the NFL, a 59-0 blowout has occurred twice, so an 82-point beatdown is definitely noteworthy and worth some mention on the brog.  Regardless of where the margin lands in history, it’s still historic in the sense that 19 points allowed is a new school record, and is definitively the largest blowout in the Dawn Staley coaching era for the school, so it’s not inaccurate to say that we were witnessing a little bit of history after all.

Of course Ichiro dominated

Unsurprising: 50-year old Ichiro throws a complete-game shutout against a team of Japan’s girls’ high school all-stars in a 4-0 victory.  Final pitching line:

9.0 IP, 5 H, 0 ER, 2 BB, 9 K, 116 P

In America, there was a game where retired MLB players went up against the best female high schoolers in the country, it probably would be much more relaxed, most of the retired MLB players would probably be poking around the bush to find out which of the girls were of legal age, and the general competitive nature of the game wouldn’t be very high. 

You’d see guys like Mark Buerhle and Jayson Werth and Nick Swisher, all out of shape, retirement guts starting to peek over their belt lines, and laughing at everything, trying to get in the good graces of barely legal teenagers.  Their pitches would be meatballs, get crushed, and they’d laugh and wave their arms around dismissively, pretending like they’re just having a good time.  At the plate, they’d goof off and hit from their opposite sides, and not really be very effective. 

The final score might still be like 5-3 for the old guys because there would inevitably one tryhard on the team like Craig Biggio who is still in great shape and that wants to win, and will hit a late-inning go-ahead home run, but the whole vibe of the event would be very exhibition, everyone has fun, the girls all get to take selfies with former pros, and one or two lucky former pro gets the digits of some 18-year old with loose morals and daddy issues.

But in Japan, a team of former players led by Ichiro, and including at least Daisuke Matsuzaka because I don’t care enough to try and dig up what the rest of the roster might have consisted of, going up against a team of the best high school girl players in the nation, is basically walking onto just another battlefield.  No different than going up against the Allied Powers, the Orix Buffaloes, the New York Yankees or Cleveland Indians.

I love how Ichiro basically pulls the beer league softball captain mentality out and obviously has to be the pitcher, because as everyone remembers in little league, the pitcher is usually the best player on the team.  Just because the opposition is a bunch of girls, doesn’t mean they shouldn’t get the horns.

And then he proceeds to pitch like Walter Johnson against a bunch of teenagers, throwing 86 mph fastballs and nasty breaking sliders against a bunch of kids who have probably seen neither in their high school-caliber careers.  Ichiro is the guy that is brought in to make them feel excited to get to meet a national hero and treasure, but once the game gets going, he starts demoralizing them because his foot is completely floored on the gas, and they realize that he’s kind of a tryhard dick for going so ham against them.

Frankly, after the game, Ichiro probably beat himself with a whip like that dude from the DaVinci Code because he gave up five hits and walked two to a bunch of teenage girls.  Or the fact that he only got two hits instead of four, because you know he probably thought he was going to hit for the cycle against the lower velocity of high school girls, compared to the heat he faces in Spring Training or in all the games that the Mariners apparently still let him attend to in full playing gear.

The point it, it’s about as surprising as finding out that the American Healthcare system is a complete joke of a racket, that Ichiro tryharded like a motherfucker against a team of high school girls.  To his credit, he would have gone full tryhard against anyone regardless of their age, sex or any other category, but there’s no telling the quality of the numbers he would have put up.  The guy lives and breathes baseball, and I still maintain that when the day comes in which his body is unable to play the game or do any baseball activities, Ichiro will go homicidal.

The manufacturing rights to the Batmobile go to Nissan??

Apparently, it happened nearly a month ago, but because I live under a rock, I obviously missed out on it until it was spoon-fed to me from a targeted ad; but there was some car show out in Japan where all the manufacturers unveil new shit, and among all the general noise, emerged the fact that Nissan is basically making, the Batmobile.

They’re calling it the Nissan Hyper Force, which sounds more like it should be a Power Rangers Zord, but from the looks of the concept, come on, it’s the goddamn Batmobile.  The sharp lines, the design meant for optimal aerodynamics, that every flare and angle, basically looks like Lucius Fox himself designed it.

I don’t care enough to deep dive into reading everything about it, but this snippet I saw basically encapsulates the vehicle as a whole:

The Nissan Hyper Force is designed for racing enthusiasts and gamers who crave the adrenaline rush of the racetrack but are also eco-concious.

There are a lot of assumptions being made here, like assuming mutual exclusivity between being gamers and those who have the balls and means to get out onto the racetrack and I feel like such couldn’t be any more incorrect, but in the land of marketing, people will say whatever the fuck sounds like it can capture the imagination of some gullible saps into thinking that they can not only tackle Akina, but also do it green.

But not likely to be in the brochure are that drivers will feel compelled to tap into their inner vigilante and go out and fight crime.  Also, hack their car and find out ways to install sophisticated self-drive mechanisms to drive to you on command, as well as have hidden compartments for smoke bombs, gatling guns, and my favorite Batmobile gizmo, the grappling hook to make the smoothest 90 degree turn without having to slow down in history.

Either way, kudos to Nissan for being the car maker who decided to have the stones to take on the Batmobile, and all the tryhards in the future who will get one for absolutely no other reason than that it’s unofficially, the Batmobile.  I think if I don’t get another Tesla outright, I’m leaning towards something a little more conservative and subtle, like the re-release of the Honda Prelude, the updated Fairlady Z, and much to my own surprise, even the new Prius is looking pretty alright these days.

If Ohtani ends up on the Braves, I will shave my balls

One of the big narratives this baseball offseason is, where will Shohei Ohtani go???  He’s basically the best player in the game right now and an unrestricted free agent, so the sky is the limit to where he’s going to go and for how much.  For months, people have been throwing around price tags of $500M for like 15 years in order to secure him, and ordinarily every time I hear such absurd numbers, I always think, sometimes say, that no human being alive in existence is worth that kind of money, but in the case of Ohtani, if there were ever a place to begin the conversation of the value of a person, his name should probably be up there.

However, one of the more obnoxious things that I’ve been seeing in recent days, is the Atlanta Braves’ name being mentioned in the same breath as Shohei Ohtani, as if they have any modicum of a chance at being able to get their hooks into the guy that is so far above Babe Ruth as Babe Ruth was above all of the rest of us in baseball talent.  Spouting all sorts of bullshit rhetoric that Ohtani wants to play for a winner, and seeing as how the Braves have been doing well for themselves over the last few years, Atlanta should not be discounted as a possible destination.  Bullshit claims from anonymously fake sources that Ohtani is “intrigued” by the Braves.

It also doesn’t help that the Braves are currently cleaning house internally, and they just non-tendered and traded a bunch of players to clear them off the 40-man roster, but from the last reports I heard, they’re really only saving like $14M in doing such, and it’s clear that the end game really were the roster spots, with the salary savings being a minute bonus.  Many of the names were recognizable and not just some minor league fodder, but given the circumstances over the last year or two, none of these should be surprising, or seen as that much of a loss.

But make no mistake, there is no fucking chance in hell that the Braves are going to get Ohtani, and I’d be really appreciative if the conversation of such asinine speculation would just stop, because all it’s doing is making a bunch of Braves homers look like idiots in thinking that there’s any iota chance of hell that he’ll suit up for the Braves. 

This isn’t one of those lame attempts to reverse jinx and tempt the fates at trying to control the universe, and have the Braves miraculously secure him in order to make me be a man of my word and shave my balls, I just so genuinely feel strongly that there’s no chance that the Braves will get him, and I just wish people would stop even making the speculation because it just makes everyone doing so, and everyone who gets hope, look dumb.

I would legitimately feel comfortable in betting my house that it’s not going to happen, because even if Ohtani were interested in Atlanta’s strength at getting into the postseason, there’s no way the Braves would be even close to meeting his financial demands.  Ohtani is likely going to want $500M, and due to the unending escalation of player salaries, will command $500M, and the Braves are going to haggle and be all Braves-ey and ask him to drop down to $295M for 13 years, and try to sell him on the chances of World Series glory at a discount, and then Ohtani is going to be insulted and annoyed that he wasted his time even entertaining the thought of coming to Atlanta.

Then he’ll end up signing with the Dodgers or the Phillies because those are the only two teams anyone seems to want to go to anymore, and worse off, he won’t forget the disrespect from the Braves, and use it as fuel to crush Atlanta whenever they play against each other in the regular season, and then when the Braves inevitably meet up with whatever team Ohtani ends up on in the NLDS, Ohtani will throw a post-season no-hitter against them while clubbing 3 HR and driving in 8 RBI en route to an NLDS MVP* and helping with yet another NLDS exit for the Braves.

*for the record I know that there’s no such thing as an NLDS MVP award but I’m just flexing my baseball humor for the time where some pitcher on the Cardinals had a clause in his contract for a bonus for winning NLDS MVP

Plus the Braves haven’t exactly had a stellar history when it comes to accommodating Asian baseball players.  Jung Bong was basically an ace in Korea, and barely amounted to a fourth starter for the Braves.  Chien-Ming Wang, the greatest Taiwanese pitcher of all time, decided that he’d rather go play indy ball than play for the Gwinnett Braves when he was trying to return from injury.  And then there was fellow Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami, who is probably texting Ohtani telling him to stay the fuck away from Atlanta, if he has his number or any means of getting in contact with him.

Instead, the Braves will bring in some 2 or 3-tier starting pitchers at economical contracts, that will be expected to overperform, bounce back, or be veteran leaders for the next wave of Mike Sorokas, Kyle Wrights, Braden Shewmakes and other promising young starting pitchers that will ultimately be unloaded for relievers later on, and even if they play well during the regular season, they’ll be too old and tired or injured by the time October rolls around.

For real though, can we all just stop with the embarrassment of speculating Ohtani to the Braves?  It’s not going to happen, and everyone who gives into hoping that it will is just setting themselves up for as much disappointment as whenever the Braves make the playoffs and people think they’ll actually get out of the NLDS.  I ain’t having anymore kids, so it’s never going to happen again, and the chances of me having to shave my balls is more than likely even less.

Order has been restored

While we were all sleeping: SK Telecom’s T1 squad wins the League of Legends World Championship for the fourth time, defeating China’s Weibo Gaming in a 3-0 stomping

Despite the fact that I don’t play anymore, I still had a loose ear to the ground when Worlds began.  Obviously, I’m always hopeful that a Korean team comes out the victor, but considering over the last few years, Chinese teams have finally gotten the monkey off their back and traded some championships with Korean squads, it’s really a jump ball between the two LoL powerhouse nations.

There was a moment of dread when the final four shook out to be three Chinese squads and T1 as Korea’s last hope, especially since the event was taking place in Korea, and I couldn’t think of a more disappointing scene than Chinese celebrating a championship in the home of their overlords.  The anxious feeling didn’t go away when T1 survived the semi-finals, because there was yet a second chance at China getting to upend Korea, and over the last few years, history has not been kind to T1, with more close calls than there were actual victories, with T1’s last championship being all the way back in 2016.

But that’s what’s good about something that’s happening on the other side of the planet, my ass was asleep while the finals were occurring, and I woke up to be pleasantly pleased to hear that T1 not only won the championship, they did so in an extremely dominant, one-sided affair, with not only T1 winning in a 3-0 sweep, the cumulative time of play was barely over 90 minutes, with T1 eating their breakfast in a sequence of 30 minute matches.

I’ve been to two Worlds championships too, I can assure that all the logistics, setup, festivities, ceremonies and break in between combined probably equaled to two days’ worth of hours, and fewer things are probably as unsatisfying to the event and all the people who traveled long distances to partake, than the actual main event lasting 90 minutes.  I’m quite tickled imagining the ironic dissatisfaction from all those who run the event that it was over so quickly.

I spent a few minutes this morning, trying to think of the best analogy to describe T1’s rofl-stomping of Weibo, to capture the combined sentiment of nationalism, shade, hometown pride and disappointment for spectators, and the following come to mind:

  • 2007 College Football National Championship: Florida cruises past Ohio State 41-14. Florida QB Chris Leak makes a remark about how they played tougher teams in the SEC than Ohio State
  • 1995 Houston Rockets: the #6 going into the playoffs, they are pushed the distance in every round of the Western Conference playoffs by the Jazz, Suns and Spurs, but then go on to sweep the Orlando Magic in the NBA Finals
  • 1997 Braves at Yankees: Greg Maddux throws a complete game shutout in 84 pitches to quickly dispatch of the Yankees. Legend has it that he did not shower and rushed out of the locker room immediately afterward because there was a tee-time he wanted to catch.
  • Tiny Toons: Happy World Land episode: Plucky Duck is invited on Hamton’s family trip to the Happy World Land amusement park, goes on a grueling miserable car trip, only to discover that after arriving, they only ride on the complimentary park monorail once, and call it a trip and go back home

I made a joke that Faker and/or the rest of the team probably had daily League of Legends practice at 7pm local that they didn’t want to be late to, because starting late meant finishing late, so it was in their best interests to put Weibo away as quickly as they could.

But anyway, just like that, SK Telecom wins their fourth LoL World Championship; and for the record, there have been 13 championships, with T1 being involved in seven of them, with them not even existing for the first two.  With Faker being a member of all of them, this is his fourth ship, an unprecedented achievement, especially in a field where change happens more rapidly than the stock market.  Needless to say, with an actual victory, order most definitely has been restored in the competitive League of Legends scene.