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”

It only took a year (and change)

But I finally have my Montgomery Kimchi cap.  Ever since I found out that the hicks in Montgomery, Alabama aren’t all racist shitheads and decided to have some Korean heritage nights, complete with renaming the Biscuits the Kimchi for a night, complete with new branding and identity, I knew that I didn’t just want to have a Kimchi cap, but that I needed to have a Kimchi cap.

Leading up to the event, I was eventually appalled when informed that there would be no ballcaps available.  “Next year,” is what I was informed when reaching out.   I was crushed, but settled on a Mr. Kimchi mascot t-shirt that was available, in very sparse and limited quantities.

Obviously, short of me setting up a long-in-the-future Google alert or something, it didn’t occur to me to keep an eye out on the Biscuits’ schedule for the 2022 season, but a KBO group on theFacebook that I’m a member of posted something about the Montgomery Kimchi a few months ago, and it jogged my memory to quickly check.  Sure enough, there were Kimchi caps for sale, but by the time I started looking at them, they were basically wiped out, and most definitely my NewEra size of 7 1/2 were all gone.  One again, I was disappointed, but I figured that once the 2022 Korean heritage night rolled up, there would probably be more stock, hopefully.

Except upon further digging, I found out that Korean heritage night had already passed, with the Kimchi emerging (and losing) way the fuck back in April.  I was mortified by this, because surely there was little reason for the team to go out of their way to restock merch for an event that had already passed.  And then the tab I kept open for the specific item eventually turned into a 404, and it seemed very apparent that my window to get the cap that I didn’t want but needed, had closed. 

Funny thing is though, I didn’t close the tab on my phone.  And one day, after a restart of my phone, I noticed that the tab’s thumbnail wasn’t the 404 page anymore, and upon refreshing the actual page, it turned out that Kimchi caps were suddenly back on the table once again.  Unlike 80% of the time I see something I want, but don’t pull the trigger, I didn’t wait at all to get my wallet out.  Furthermore, they still didn’t have a 7 1/2, but I wasn’t willing on taking any chances and risk missing out again, so I actually got a size up at 7 5/8.  A few minutes later, and my order was confirmed – I was finally going to get the Kimchi cap that I needed.

And here we are.  After a year and some change, I’ve finally got one of the greatest ballcaps to my collection.  The funniest thing is that the more prestige I put onto a cap, the less I’ll actually wear it, because I don’t want to risk them getting grungy and dirty or rained on, thus defeating the purpose of caps in the first place, but the most important thing is that I got it finally, and I’ll wear it with pride and joy; whenever the conditions are optimal for me to actually wear it.

I might be more Korean than I give myself credit for

Obviously, being American-born, there’s a ceiling of just “how Korean” I feel like I can declare myself.  I don’t know more than a few passing slices of actual Korean history, I don’t have tremendous knowledge of my personal bloodline’s lineage and journey of how things have come to be, and my capabilities with the language are pretty elementary in the aggregate; I feel fairly confident in my speaking abilities to have navigated throughout the country with relative ease, but ask me to write anything from a written note to text messages to my own parents, and it’s like a 4-year old trying to write High Valyrian.

But over the last few months, I’ve been reading some young adult stories to my daughters, because I’m of the belief that even if they don’t understand the words that are being read to them, hearing them helps with absorption and future comprehension of the English language.  And the thing is, the authors that I’ve been reading lately, have been of varying Korean descent, and their stories have been featuring Korean characters and telling relatively Korean-in-America types of stories.

One of the common tropes I’ve observed from the youth generation of Koreans in America characters, don’t speak Korean.  Sure, they know choice words that they hear from their parents, but in the grand spectrum of things, these characters are about as American as Wal-Mart and Panda Express.  I find that to be kind of tragic, and rather depressing to my soul, because these characters’ parents are all basically like my own, where they know very little English, but with them knowing NO Korean, they clearly have way more communicative obstacles than I have ever experienced in my life.

Additionally, when I went back up to Northern Virginia to have #2’s first birthday party, it was effectively a large famiry and famiry friends reunion on the side.  Among the famiry friends that were present were the parents of my childhood best friend, as well as several of my parents’ friends from my hometown.  Knowing the mixed audience, when I welcomed everyone to my daughter’s party, I did so in both English, and the best rendition of Korean as I could, because in my head, it would be disrespectful if I didn’t even try, because I did know some Korean.

When I went to do the rounds at each table, the family friends from my old hometown all marveled at the fact that I spoke Korean to the room; to me it was really no big deal, and honestly I appreciate having the opportunity to actually use the language, because I never want to forgive it.  But the kicker was that my old best friend’s parents told me that their three sons, two of whom went to the same Korean language school I did from ages 6-8, have basically forgotten all Korean, and don’t speak it at all.

Again, when I thought about the conversation, the whole thought made me feel really sad.  Sure, I would venture to say that they speak way better English than my parents do, but on the same token, they’re put in a situation where they can’t use their native tongue with their own children.  Yes, I have my own communication issues with my parents due to the language barrier, but at least they can say whatever they want to get off their chest, even if I don’t understand every word of it.

The thing is, this hasn’t been an uncommon story in my life.  Whenever I come across random Koreans in my everyday life, most of whom are usually workers in some sort of service industry, I still like to utilize my own Korean with them, because I figure it would help expedite service.  And so often times, I’m met with some degree of marveling at the fact that I’m an American-born Korean who actually speaks Korean, as rudimentary as might seem.  And I’m often told that their own kids don’t speak any Korean, and I kind of frown and explain that such is unfortunate.

I like to think that encounters with me, cause some parents to get mad at their own kids for not learning Korean.  Like they go home and give some not-so-passive-aggressive remark about how they met a second-gen Korean-American guy who spoke serviceable Korean, and give them the pregnant pause of death to let them know that they’re disappointed in them.

Without question, I want my daughters to pick up some Korean.  Mythical wife and I already discussed that it will be mandatory for our daughters to learn a second language, because the world is way too small to handicap ourselves to knowing just English.  Obviously, Korean is the first preference, so they can communicate with their grandparents, but honestly I’ll accept any other language, as long as they learn it.  Very few of the next generation of children in my family really speaks any Korean, save for maybe 1-2 of them, and again, that’s sad to me.

Last Thanksgiving, I had a cousin of mine ask me to speak to his eldest son, to try to sell learning Korean to him.  I’m the youngest cousin of the generation, and his son was one of the eldest of the next, so I think he was hoping I’d be able to get through to him, so I explained to him how much I hated Korean school and the sacrifice of every Saturday for years, but when I visited Korea and went off on my own, I realized just how confident and capable I felt, because of my ability with the language at all.  I was met with eye rolls and a rebuttal that my example was such and isolated scenario, that it didn’t seem like a hard enough sell for him.  I left it with that I thought a Korean that didn’t know Korean was kind of tragic, and let him go do his thing.

The bottom line is that no matter how inadequate I might feel as a Korean, there are constantly plenty of reasons that come to light how apparently I’m more Korean than so many other Korean-Americans out there.  I don’t want to let it get to my head, but whenever the realization sinks in, I am proud of it.

An observation about Obi Wan Kenobi

*No Plot Spoilers*

I went in blind as Ray Charles with Obi Wan Kenobi.  Didn’t even know it was in the works, didn’t know when it was going to drop, didn’t know a single plot point behind the entire series.  But when I heard that it had dropped, I figured why the heck not, considering mythical wife and I have mostly enjoyed all the other Disney+ original series based on Star Wars properties thus far.

So as stated above, I will give nothing away because I don’t feel like writing about anything other than the impetus to this post, and frankly nobody reads my shit anyway so it’s not like I have anyone but myself to appease.  But if there’s absolutely one observation that I feel like bringing up from the first two episodes of Obi Wan, it’s just, what the fuck are all these Asians doing in a Star Wars production?

Don’t get me wrong, I am all for and support moar Asian representation in media, but there’s been no secret that racist-ass Lucas hasn’t exactly been sprinting to the forefront at including Asians into their hallowed universe.  But two episodes into Obi Wan, and I’m seeing so many Asian people in the cast, credits and as extras, I’m beginning to wonder if this whole series is an HK knockoff that D+ absorbed the rights to or something and released themselves.

And Sung Kang in the show, as a presumable regular?  Get the fuck out of here.  Han from Fast & Furious, as a character in Star Wars.  This is unbelievable and unprecedented.  Surely, he has to be the first Korean guy to crack a visual role in Star Wars, right?

We’ll see what happens to his character as the season progresses, but I for one am tickled pink at just how laughably blatant the Star Wars universe is trying to inject diversity into the IP.  Because nothing says progress like corporate initiatives, statistical evidence and the need for representation in order to tap into demographics and their wallets!

MLB x KBO would be pretty awesome

Interesting: MLB and KBO have been having discussions over some collaborative projects such as having games in each others’ venues and the possibility of MLB vs. KBO all-star exhibitions

At this juncture in my life, I don’t really have that much drive or even want to go to any baseball games.  Usual spiel about how I have no time and how I’m trying to be more selective of what I do with it when I have it, and frankly I don’t like crowds, I don’t like dealing with the aggravation of parking and traveling to and from venues, so the idea of going to baseball games isn’t nearly as appealing to me now as it might have been many years ago when I had more time and zero children.

However, if something manifests from this potential collaboration between MLB and the KBO, that would definitely pique my interest.  Especially if it ended up with KBO games being played at MLB facilities, that would definitely be interesting to me.  I’ve long wanted to go watch a KBO game, but the opportunities have never been available in the two times that I’ve been home to the Motherland; the first time was during the Korean Series, and the Doosan Bears basically closed out the series right as I had arrived, and the second time I went was in the winter when there was no baseball.

So if ever there was a possibility that KBO would hold games in America to try and raise awareness of their game, I would definitely be interested in going to see that.  And I’d definitely be interested if there were ever any KBO vs. MLB all-star exhibitions, although I get the impression that those would probably take place in Korea over the United States, much like how MLB sporadically does an MLB vs. NPB series in Japan every so often.

Obviously, I’d be pulling for KBO squads against MLBers, even if there were some Braves and/or Freddie Freeman on the squad, because if it really came down to it, I’d rather see Koreans beat Major Leaguers.  I’d hope to see a repeat of the 2006 World Baseball Classic, where Team Korea trounced Team USA at Angel Stadium, and honestly?  I guess I think MLB is so arrogant, that I’m content to even see Japan own them too, and although it seems highly unlikely considering the quality of KBO pitching, I’d be over the moon if a KBO all-star team no-hit an MLB squad of cobbled together players called an all-star team, much like Japan did a long time ago.

Either way, none of this happens without this collaboration coming to light, so here’s hoping that MLB and the KBO can work something out, so that I can have something fairly unique and novel to help me regain some interest beyond the casual level again, one day.

Dad Brog (#082): will life ever ease up?

Most of my adult life, I’ve always kind of had a list to guide my general objectives. Get a good stable job. Unload the old house. Find a girl to date. To marry. To have children with. Get a new home. Leave toxic job, find better one.

Obviously, things change, life changes as does the general list. But the things on said list are pretty broad and pretty concrete things when they are checked off, with the thought being with the more things checked off, the more complete and presumably easier things get with life in general.

Well, over the last few years I’ve accomplished a large bit of my broad list.  I unloaded my old house. I found a new one. I got a good stable job that became toxic, and I left it and found a better one. And I met a girl, married her, and had kids.  For the most part, I’ve succeeded in checking off all of the big ticket items on the list, so the rhetorical question is, why is life still so fucking difficult and when will it ever ease up?

Obviously, children are the easiest thing to cite as why things are difficult, which isn’t inaccurate, but lately it feels like shit is happening in a way that feels like a competitive video game that allows a losing party suddenly get lucky, score easier, and catch back up, except in my case it’s like nothing is allowed to go smoothly for too long before shit starts happening that has me back in na position of wanting to rip my hair out and scream sometimes.

Recently, my nanny has basically inexplicably left us, currently indefinitely, since they haven’t reached out since calling out.  I won’t go into specifics, but the result of it is basically fucking me because mythical wife can’t take any time off because teachers get dick for privileges as such, so the burden falls on me, to stay home, skirt my job responsibilities and wrangle two babies all day long.

Mind you, I’m still new at my job, and I’m concerned, if it’s not already manifested, I’m going to have the reputation of being that headcase worker who’s high maintenance on account of their children.  Pre-kids I loathed people who did it at prior places I worked, but I’m basically becoming that person when my paid help flakes on me.  Plus, I don’t exactly have the formal PTO accrued, so I’m instead trying my best to pretend to work while watching the girls, and I’m extremely lucky to have colleagues with children who can empathize and understand and give me more leeway than my old C of a boss did.

This isn’t to say I have no empathy for what the nanny is going through, but there’s a finite ceiling I have for the circumstances that they’re citing.  I’m upset and disappointed for a variety of reasons, but more for ones beyond the, I have to take time from my job and looks like an asshole to my team.  All the same, I’m in a position where I can’t operate in the unknown, and might have to start looking for a plan B, in a highly, highly nanny’s market.

Oh, also it appears that #2 is at yet another sleep regression, according to mythical wife.  Except that she’s sucked at sleep since her arrival, so it’s hard to tell when things are at a regression, or if we’re just back to the usual routine of nightly she won’t sleep routine bullshit.

It’s classic fallacy of thinking things will get better, but we’re back to the point where we spend so much time just trying and praying and hoping she’ll go down that by the time we get anywhere it’s like 9 pm, way later than I want to eat dinner, and I still have a fuckton of daily chores and cleaning that has to get done that I get no fucking help with ever.

List or no list, this is life at its most classic. Nothing is ever allowed to be easy, and just when things look like they might be easing up, shit just happens that ratchets the difficulty back to fuck you mode, and I’m in a position where I can’t really do anything about it but make agitated dad brogs.

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.