Happy Trails, Windham Rotunda

Talk about a brutal week for the wrestling business; losing a genuine icon, legend and forefather of the industry on one day, and then losing one of the most captivating and yet to be fully untapped stars of today, very much in the category of having gone way too soon, in Windham Rotunda, whom most people know primarily as Bray Wyatt.

I’m very deliberate in using his real name over Bray Wyatt, because with no disrespect to the the departed, I can’t say that I was really ever that big of a fan of Bray Wyatt.  The whole supernatural character is something that I’m clearly not in the right demographic to really be a fan of.  And as much as I did like the originality and intrigue he brought to the table earlier in his run as Bray Wyatt, I do think his whole character evolution went from weird to progressively weirder and more bizarre, and not in good ways either.

I loved the whole creepy southern gothic cult leader of the original Bray Wyatt persona, but then that it literally killed by Randy Orton in storyline.  The eventual return of the split personality, super-positive and cheerful Bray Wyatt compared to the emergence of the demonic Fiend started off well enough in my opinion, but when he started up with brainwashing Alexa Bliss and being basically unkillable against Seth Rollins but then getting squashed by fucking Goldberg, I was kind of losing my shine to the character as a whole.  Ironically, this too was killed by Randy Orton in storyline.

Which brings us to his final incarnation and last stint with the company, kind of this strange amalgamation of Bray Wyatt who is kind of good, but kind of dark, with the Field still lurking around, but then the introduction of Uncle Howdy, and I’m just kind of like wtf is all this bullshit now.  At this point, I was no longer a fan of the Bray Wyatt universe, and I likened him to being like, Randy Orton, as in a guy whom with once you get tangled up with in storyline, you’re stuck with it for like 3-5 months of having to play scared patron to a haunted house, and barely a professional wrestler anymore.

It was actually during his feud with LA Knight, that I realized that I was starting to become impressed with LA Knight, seeing as how his whole tenure prior, ol’ Eli Drake wasn’t impressing me at all, but while feuding with Bray Wyatt, I found LA Knight to be a shining beacon of charisma and promo school, and even though he was getting his ass kicked and having creepy shit thrown at his character for three months, he was absolutely killing it on the mic, and even though he lost the feud, he clearly won over a lot of fans, seeing as how over he is with the WWE Universe currently.

I just felt that Bray Wyatt was a character that was clearly not geared for people my old age, and is clearly meant to capture the imaginations of those who are in “the demos” that the professional wrestling industry tries their hardest to cater to, children, and the vaunted 18-35 male range.  Aside from such, I just felt that a supernatural character is among the hardest characters to write and book for, especially when you exist in a universe with MMA converts, European wrestling purists and a Samoan dynasty running roughshod through the rest of the company.

Continue reading “Happy Trails, Windham Rotunda”

Revisiting a revisiting post: Stephen Strasburg’s wallet

Upon hearing the news that Nationals pitcher Stephen Strasburg was planning to retire, it got me thinking about all the times I’ve posted about him, because primarily, I’ve always been fascinated with just how much money the Nationals have been willing to throw at him throughout history.

A really long time ago, I wrote about how the Nationals were taking a big gamble on the big contract they gave to Strasburg, which was a 7-year, $175 million dollar deal, where $45M of it was deferred money, and if there’s one thing that my zero readers know always captures my attention, it’s the topic of deferred money in baseball contracts.  Between the lines, the post was critical and meant to ridicule the Nationals for putting themselves in a situation where they could be paying out the nose for a guy whom might not even be playing for the team at the time, because that’s generally the risky nature of deferred money deals, the potential for embarrassment when a guy takes their talents elsewhere, but you’re still on the hook for their supplementary income.

But then just a long time ago, I revisited that post to eat my crow and admit that the deal actually did pan out, because not only did the Nationals win the World Series that year, Stephen Strasburg himself pitched like a god-killer throughout the playoffs en route to the championship.  I realized that in the crap shoot that is actually winning championships, just about any cost is worth it, if it actually pans out, to which the Nationals enjoyed the spoils of.  And in the case of the Nationals, they paid the fuck out of Strasburg to keep him, and he actually delivered the baseball championship that the Nation’s Capital so greatly wanted.

However, since then, things changed yet again; mostly because I wasn’t really paying attention, nor did I really examine the finer details upon learning of it, but apparently after the 2019 World Series championship, Stephen Strasburg opted out of his original 7/$175M deal, and became a free agent, and the Nationals were quick to snap him back up, but it was going to cost them $245 million for the next seven years, and in typical Nationals fashion, was loaded full of deferred money, that would undoubtedly be due when he was either at the end of his career, or no longer playing.

So for all intents and purposes, the crow I ate for criticizing the original 7/$175M was short-lived, and we were moving onto a clean slate where the Nationals were undertaking another massive gamble where the clock was ticking on a 7-year window with zero World Series championships won.

And this time, it didn’t take long for the wheels to fall off this car, as between the start of the 2020 season to the present, Stephen Strasburg has pitched in just eight games, and completely ineffectively at that, going 1-4 with a 6.89 ERA.  Not that I wish him any ill-will, but the poor guy was absolutely demolished by injuries, to his neck, nerves, wrist and ribs.  Eventually, it turned out that he had thoracic outlet syndrome, and just nothing seemed to be working out in order to get him back into playing shape.

Continue reading “Revisiting a revisiting post: Stephen Strasburg’s wallet”

Car Week: Is there anything dumber than putting Instagram handles on your car?

Maybe it’s a symptom of getting older, cars coming out of the box better, or a byproduct of where I live these days, but I hardly see any slammed (modified) cars anymore these days.  This isn’t to say they don’t exist anymore, I still see large groups of them every now and then on the roads or in a parking lot, but they’re clearly organized and don’t put themselves in the public eye as perhaps I once recollect, in Northern Virginia, where a stock Honda Civic or Acura Integra was about as rare as seeing a Ferrari in the wild.

But for the few instances where I see a noticeably slammed car on the road, I’ve also observed a trend that these car owners do that I’ve found quite puzzling, which is putting an Instagram handle on their rides.

Now it’s presumptuous to say that all people in slammed, riced-out cars are doing questionable, often times illegal vehicular behaviors, but let’s not kid ourselves either.  Whether it’s speeding, practicing power slides on public streets, burnouts in parking lots to illegal mods, emission-altering exhausts to tinted windows too dark, it’s usually people in slammed, riced-out cars doing it.

That being said, why in the world would people who occasionally exhibit in misdemeanor activity willingly put an additional identifier on their car that they can be possibly tracked down in the event that they’re seen doing dumbass shit?

Like I really don’t understand it; if you’re making videos doing burnouts or street racing or participating in a flash mob of other tricked out cars, and then putting it on your Instagram, doesn’t that make it even easier for cops to track and identify you?  Or say some rando is walking through a parking lot, sees your ‘gram, checks it out, and there’s videos of you racing or practicing donuts in a parking lot; and this rando just so happens to be a police, or reports your shit to the police, and now there’s an APB out for your ride.

Whatever though, even if these clowns had the wherewithal to sign up everything with dummy info, covers their plates before videoing themselves, and have gone through the trouble to minimize prosecution before putting their Instagram handles on their cars, they’re still pathetic in my opinion.  So attention-starved and narcissistic that they willingly go to the trouble to put an Instagram handle on their cars so that random strangers might possibly check them out online.

I’d really love to know the numbers of police busting people for car-related dumbass-ery on account of being able to track them from Instagram handles on their cars, because any number higher than zero validates the notion that it’s not really a particularly smart idea to advertise yourselves on your cars when you’re participating in some questionable public behavior.

Car Week: When did Dodge Ram trucks become the official vehicle of insurrectionists?

Living in Georgia, there are plenty of rednecks around my neck of the woods.  That being said, there are a lot of people who drive around in pickup trucks, because rednecks love driving around in pickup trucks.  So when it comes to observational data, I do feel like I’ve taken in sufficient information over the years I’ve been a Georgia resident, at least to the point where I could make a post like this that does some wide-sweeping branding.

But as the subject says, I have to ask the question, when did Dodge Ram trucks become the official vehicle of insurrectionists?  Serious question.  Because I don’t think it’s really that far off-base to throw it out there that pretty much whenever I see someone driving around in a Dodge Ram truck, it’s always slammed to the gills, often times have some sort of aftermarket lifting to its cabin, and is driven by a white guy that not only looks like voted for the baked potato, but was probably circling around on the Capital Beltway on or around January 6th.

Like, I’m barely even kidding when I say it’s all Dodge Ram trucks.  I’d say that at any given time, eight or nine out of every ten Dodge Ram trucks I see on the road fit this exact description.  Always aggressively driving and giving off that aura that they have a lot of strong opinions about people that are not also white males.

Sure, there are the occasional Ford F-150s or Chevy Silverados that shoehorn their way into these descriptions, but for the most part, Ford F-series trucks are typically driven by people who actually use them for heavy-duty truck use, and Chevys are GMs and GMs also have Cadillac and Cadillacs are loved by black people, so you don’t see nearly as many Chevy or Ford trucks as white-powered up as you see Dodge Rams.

Anyway there’s a reason why this topic sat on the bench, because there’s really not much substance to it as much as it is a wide-sweeping accusational observation.  But I would encourage any of my zero readers to try and keep their eyes peeled on the road for Dodge Ram trucks, and see they get the same vibe I do, or if this is just kind of a Georgia thing, or just spectacular bullshit that only I’m capable of making observation of.

Car Week: New Driver Stickers, is this a thing now?

I keep a notes document of things that I jot down as possible things to write about.  I do a lot of thinking in my car while driving, so it should come as no surprise that a lot of things that end up on this list are often observations made while in the confines of a car, about other cars or just happenings on the roads. 

More often than not though, life tends to get in the way, and I never go back to any of these topics, and the list just gets longer and longer, and adds to my general anxiety that I don’t think I’m writing enough as I’d like to, and sometimes I’ll audit the list, and scrap a ton of topics into a column of dead things that I’d like to remember but doesn’t necessarily warrant a post written about it, and some I’ll keep as something with no real time sensitivity that I could come back and revisit at a later time.

It’s gotten to a point where I realized that I had enough car-centric topics to where I could literally dedicate an entire work week of posts about cars, and I figured this is probably an effective and efficient way for me to tackle some of the things that I’ve observed, and not spend too much time on each, because I think I’m getting to the point again where every post needs to be a Broadway play, when I really have no rules to brogging and sometimes need to remind myself that shorter posts are okay.

Anyway, to kick off car week, I’m going to bring up the topic of stickers or signs affixed to people’s cars that denote that there is the possibility that the driver of the car is new.  I’ve been seeing these more and more throughout the last 2-3 years especially, and at first, I thought much of it had to do with the idiotic laws that Georgia passed where something along the lines where teen drivers no longer had to do any formalized behind-the-wheel training as long as a parent could vouch for them that they’ve got like 40 hours of driving experience under their belts.

I mean that alone is completely asinine and puts the fear of god into me when driving around, knowing that some shithead 17-year old whose parents just want them out of their hair and gave them the permission to get a drivers license are on the roads at the same time I am.  I’m not sure that putting new driver stickers on their cars is going really help when they’re driving like imbeciles in the first place.

But here’s the real observation that put this post into motion – people who put new driver stickers on expensive, fast, or expensive and fast cars, and are most likely not at all new drivers at all.  Like, in my office alone, I can think of several cars that fit the description I’m aiming for, that are very fast cars, well maintained and obviously cared for, but I have a hard time believing that the people driving them, are at all new drivers.

There’s one specific one that I see daily, because they have vanity tags, always back into their spot, which takes a modicum of talent that usually accrued by, experience, the opposite of a new driver.  I’ve also seen them drive off, to the capabilities of their car, which is fast, aggressive and like a dick.  They’ve also been present as long as I’ve been coming into the office, which at this point is over a year, to which, not really a new driver anymore there.

There are countless other examples that I’ve seen that served as the impetus to this post, but the bottom line is that I’m wondering if this is a thing now or something.  Much like how in the past, people would drive around with the thin blue line stickers on their cars, because there was this belief that having them on your car meant you were an ally of police, and therefore less likely to get pulled over by real police.

I feel like there are people out there who think that putting new driver paraphernalia on their cars gets them a little leeway from police and that randos on the road will give them a little bit of leniency when it comes to them driving around like assholes, or is like some sort of really bad and lame smokescreen to the rest of the road to where they can drive like dicks and it’s okay because they’re “new drivers.”

Either way, I think it’s a lame attempt for people to try and have an excuse to drive like shitheads, and I don’t believe anyone is a new driver, when they’re putting stickers on fast and/or expensive cars, as if anyone would give a genuinely inexperienced driver the keys to Chargers, Teslas and Mercedes.

Dad Brog (#118): What the future might feel like

This past Friday, I dropped my kids off at school for the first time this year, since I have to be in the office on Mondays and Wednesdays.  Obviously it’s important to me to be present and active in my children’s lives at these early stages of their life, even when doing little things like taking them to school on the days in which I work from home.

Despite the fact that our au pair said that #2 didn’t cry at all on the first or second day, naturally she busts out crying when I drop her off; I’m guessing their general separation anxiety they feel with me from time to time kicked in, and I’ve got a crying child being escorted into school.

Anyway, I get home from dropping the kids off, and I step inside from the garage, and it’s suddenly eerily quiet.  I told our au pair to take the morning off and relax, because I don’t want to be a clock watcher in regards to her working time, and there was little point for her to get up early for like 15 minutes when I was going to be the one taking her to school, so she was chilling up in her room, adding to the quiet calmness in my house.

It’s like I don’t think non-parents understand just how noisy and elevated excitement the presence of children are, much less two toddlers.  Even when they’re doing something quiet and calm, there’s always this metaphorical sense of bated breath, that at any given moment, one or both of the kids can go off the rails, the thumbing of running footsteps, anything in arm’s reach is in danger again, and it’s back to high-alert for the kid watchers.

Last school year, only #1 was in school, and regardless of how chill #2 typically was, it was still the duty of parenting that made me or whomever was watching, to have to be on readiness for, needing to parent, to where it still didn’t feel like the complete sense of calm that was felt when I got home from dropping them both off.

With no kids in the house, it’s like even the house itself was taking a giant exhale of relaxation.  The dog was chill, when our au pair came downstairs, she leisurely went into the sunroom to exercise.  I brewed a cup of coffee without having to watch over my shoulder, and it’s like for the first time in a long while, I felt like I could actually relax in my own home for a little bit, and it was of course, a really pleasant feeling.

And now that I’m back in the office four days a week, I’ve noticed that pretty much nobody does absolutely any work at all on Fridays, which doesn’t bother me one bit.  I haven’t had a Friday meeting in three weeks, and although I know that won’t always be the case, it’s been really nice not feeling tethered to my machine in preparation for a meeting.  That being said, it adds to the general and fairly sudden influx of going from stressful, hands-full high workload to suddenly relaxing calm on Friday.

I think in future Fridays, I may use the lax atmosphere to try and catch up with things around and outside the house that I simply can’t get to, because I’m pretty much always on kid-duty when I’m not in the office.  I got a chainsaw and a pressure washer for Christmas, and I haven’t been able to use either, and there’s a lot of shit outside that needs to be addressed that my landscapers won’t do unless I pay them moar, so it’s on me to try and do the other touchups around my property.  I’ve also got frames to hang, shit to clean and general housekeeping that I’d like to take care of, and I might start utilizing some of these kid-free Fridays to try and tackle things like this, because fuck, I don’t know how to actually relax, and always have to be accomplishing something.

Either way, it was a very surreal feeling when I got home from dropping the kids off, and I wonder if this is a small glimpse into the future.  And of course, there’s that emo-dad part of me that’s always melancholy and seeing every moment I’m away from my kids as a threatening sense of this is what it will be like when you’re empty nesting, no matter how much there are times in which I just want to turn off being on dad mode and just be by myself, staring at a wall and doing nothing.  But at the same time, I’m looking forward to future Fridays, because of the potential there might be for me to actually get some shit done at the house without having to worry about the kids.

In conclusion, WFH Fridays with the kids in school = a good thing!

Welp, it was bound to happen

😮 – Will Ospreay busts out the IWGP United Kingdom championship blet at the NJPW G1 Climax, supplanting the United States championship

I remember after getting my NXT UK Tag Team championship replica blet, thinking ahhh, no more blets are even in existence for me to even want now.  Maybe I can start actually saving my money for more responsible things or investing or putting it back into my house or something that isn’t trying to get more wrestling blets.

In spite of the title of this post, the itch actually kind of low-key came back a few times already at this point, with the WWE predictably releasing new renditions of existing blets, and Impact’s Joe Hendry and previously Matt Cardona giving me reason to possibly want an Impact Digital Media (World) Championship replica blet.  But those were mild itches that I could focus my body to not think about them, and they’d go away on their own.

But when I read highlights of the G1 Climax where after his loss to Tetsuya Naito, Will Ospreay cut a promo about how he’s British and doesn’t care about the United States, so the fact that he was holding the IWGP United States championship meant very little to him.  And then channeling Lance Storm, but instead of putting a sticker over the US title, Ospreay busts out a brand new version of the title, but instead of US flags all over it, is the same blet, but with UK Union jacks all over it, the IWGP United Kingdom championship effectively.

And to no surprise, my mouth did a partial gape, and now I’m thinking how much I already want it.  Regardless of the fact that structurally it’s basically the same blet as the IWGP US, but my general love and appreciation for British wrestling that has grown over the years makes this instantly appealing, and I would like to acquire one if it is possible.

The good news is that because NJPW are such hipsters and barely do replica blets, and none that aren’t made from 24 karat gold and would constitute as legitimate financial investments, I’ll have no other option than the Pakistani bootleg route where all my other NJPW, NWA and Impact have come from, and fortunately, their price (and quality) won’t really be that high.

One day, the blet wall will go back up, and once again, it’ll be a challenge to try and accommodate any new blet(s) that I may have acquired from that point.

Better start looking for a bigger home.