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.

In praise of Miguel Cabrera’s quietly good career

Hearing about Miguel Cabrera’s closing in on 3,000 hits, my mind at first was a little surprised that he was at that stage of his career, seeing as how I still feel like it was yesterday that this spry thin third baseman for the then-Florida Marlins was showing off impressive power for his age.  But when I actually put more than five minutes of thought behind it, I realize that it’s really of no surprise at all that he’s at this stage of his career, because basically there’s never been any season where Miguel Cabrera has played where he has been an ineffective hitter.

Even way back, I always had pegged Miggy as a guy that would probably be an MVP-caliber guy, seeing as how he broke into the majors at like 20 years old.  But the thing is, he showed up at a time where guys like Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez were the marquee hitters of MLB, and sluggers like Barry Bonds, Vladimir Guerrero and Frank Thomas were still around.  It was easy for a guy like Miguel Cabrera to kind of get lost in the shuffle.

But nearly 20 years later, most of those guys are gone, be it through retirement, collusion, age, degradation of skills or any combination of the above.  Albert Pujols is the only guy still active, and he’s at the twilight of his career where he’s doing his farewell tour for the team that brought him into the world, after a pretty unimpressive contract with the Angels.

And Miguel Cabrera is still around; although age is catching up to him, taking some power away, he’s still hitting the ball for a decent average in a period of the game where batting averages are bordering on historically bad.  Honestly, my knee-jerk thoughts were wondering on where Cabrera stood on possibly being the greatest of all-time, or just the best player for a generation, but clearly I’ve been not paying enough attention to the numbers or the game in general, and upon a closer examination, the last few years haven’t been as kind to him as I thought they might have been.

All the same, I felt like writing some words in appreciation of Miguel Cabrera.  Father Time might have grabbed him by the scruff five years ago, but up to that point, the guy was probably on track to be as good as Hank Aaron from a consistently great standpoint.  And I think it’s still safe to put Miggy on the pedestal of possibly being the greatest player of his generation, because when you look at his personal accomplishments throughout his career, there’s only some really snug and exclusive company in numerous categories: Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, and Albert Pujols.

But when you factor in the fact that Miguel Cabrera has hit for the triple-crown (traditional and the geeky sabermetric) on top of everything else, that literally puts him in a category of his own; Triple-crown winner, MVP, 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. 

Statisticians tend to poorly favor those who decline quickly, like Cabrera has been over the last five years, which will likely take him out of the GOAT debates, but there’s no mistaking that with his body of work and all his achievements throughout his career, Miggy’s name definitely deserves to be mentioned frequently as one of the GOATs.  It’s just hard to imagine that in a game rich with history and numbers, that my generation would be one to have been able to witness and watch one of them rise, thrive and produce throughout his career.

How I spent my 40th Birthday

Mythical wife, my brother and several close friends and I actually celebrated my birthday this past weekend.  Because my birthday fell on a Tuesday which is probably the worst day for a birthday to ever fall on, it made sense to do stuff on the weekend before.  It was a pleasant time to hang with people I love and eat and drink while my in-laws watched the girls.

It was probably for the best because as far as my actual birthday has gone, there wouldn’t have been any time for well, anything.

#2 is sick with strep where I’m probably prime suspect to have been patient zero that got her sick.  Subsequently, the new nanny got sick and didn’t come in, so as is the case when someone is sick, I had to eat the day and work from home and take care of both girls all day, and get no work done and miss the gym when I’m trying to stay on something of a routine.

However, being my birthday I refused to let myself get upset or fall into disappointment because nobody wants to feel either on a birthday.  I made the best of my day, and thankfully my workload could permit it, and I actually had a pretty pleasant day with my kids before the sickness started to really overtake #2.

Regardless of the circumstances and minutiae, I did get to spend my birthday with my daughters.  At the end of the day that is what matters and it’s always time well spent.

And this is how I bring in my 40’s.  I knew I would probably end up writing some sort of drivel for the occasion, and all I knew was that I was going to compare it to how I ushered in 30, where I was discovering a donut burger in Midtown in comparison.

Aside from the fact that I moved out of my old house and into a new one, met a girl that would have me, marry her and have not just one, but two kids, not much else really feels like it’s changed between 30 and 40.  I still brog, I still watch wrestling, collect blets, casually follow baseball, it’s just now I have my own family interspersed among it all, and my days are packed every day.

I don’t make big deals about birthdays, even supposed milestones like 40, because i don’t want to get my hopes up in the event things go tits up.  Frankly if I were a more selfish person a day like today might’ve constituted tits up but perhaps I’ve grown or my priorities have changed to where I recognize a day with my girls as good in every way shape or form.

Otherwise the only real things I feel like I need to concern myself with other than the litany of old jokes I can make about myself is to better take care and be cognizant of my own health and well-being.  But a day like today, even if it is the only 40th birthday I’ll ever have, just feels like any other day.  Same overload of chores, childcare, feeling overworked and having no time for myself.  Except I made a very conscious effort to not give into the usual feeling of despair.

Except if I’m lucky, I’ll get some cake to eat and some gifts to open up.  But bring on 40; I’ve got not intention of slowing down at the gym and I’m determined to get my running speed back to where it was pre-pandemic.

Say goodbye, to the bad guy

Impetus: former wrestling legend Scott Hall passes away after complications from hip surgery, resulting in a blood clot getting loose, triggering numerous heart attacks, being and being put on life support before being let go by his family

I’m not going to pretend like Scott Hall was ever one of my favorite wrestlers.  I’ve been a wrestling fan way too long, watched, read and listened to all sorts of shoot interviews, backstage stories and insider knowledge throughout the years to have a picture of Scott Hall in my own head, that is pretty jumbled up, but definitely not as quickly clear that he was among my favorite wrestlers.

As a performer, Scott Hall really was in a class of few; technically proficient, rock solid on the mic, and had charisma oozed machismo all over the place.  I still remember most of the original Razor Ramon vignettes back in the day and then eventually seeing him debut on an episode of Superstars.  He did moves like back suplexes off of the second turnbuckle, chokeslams, and seeing the Razor’s Edge for the very first time blew my mind.

He was as good a performer from my early memories of Razor, to when I picked wrestling back up in 1998 and watched now Scott Hall in WCW as a founding member of the nWo.  He definitely wrestled a lot less, but was still often on television and still entertaining, leaning more on being more of a mouthpiece and agitator, and making it more special when he actually did wrestle.

But then by the end of this period, the personal demons that Hall became synonymous with the phrase were too much, and he was more or less unceremoniously removed from television before WCW eventually went under.  In years following, Scott Hall kind of became a shell of himself, occasionally being mentioned on the internet, usually for something related to his rampant alcoholism.

Eventually, Hall cleaned himself up, and he and Kevin Nash and Hulk Hogan were brought back to the WWE to reform the nWo for story purposes, and he had a fairly mediocre feud with Stone Cold Steve Austin leading up to that year’s Wrestlemania.  Afterward, he would relapse and succumb to the personal demons again.

Continue reading “Say goodbye, to the bad guy”

Year two of forever (Dad brog #080)

Under normal circumstances, I would’ve liked to have written something on the actual day.  But mythical wife and I were at Disney World with #1 celebrating her second birthday, so appropriately understandable, I just wasn’t around to take the time to write and reflect.

And just like that, my first child is two years old.  Naturally, the passage of time has felt like a blip, and I can still remember lots of the finer details of raising my daughter, and the world she grew up in and has been living in, still amazed at just how things have progressed in that span.

Over the last year, between first and second birthdays, a lot has most certainly occurred.  Not long after turning one, my daughter really kicked it into gear and began crawling like a speed demon obsessed, which was a might’ve been considered a little late in the development game, but honestly that part didn’t last long at all, because before we knew it she was suddenly upright, and it was barely a month after turning one, did she take her first steps and frankly, she hasn’t stopped running around since then.

#1 basically eats everything in sight now, and she went from being introduced to solids to not just inhaling everything that’s put in front of her, but now an innate curiosity and determination to utilize utensils and not just eat everything with fistfuls jammed into her mouth.

Obviously, one of the more substantial occurrences to have happened within the last year was that even though she was just one year old, #1 became a big sister already, when #2 was born in July, and my household had to deal with the harrowing realization of being a house with two under two, and the hard mode of life we were about to embark on.

In spite of everything I may have written detailing the difficulty and hell that parenting under these circumstances might have been, one of the joys to have emerged from it all has been witnessing just how much my now elder daughter, loves her little sister.  What started off as hesitation and fussing about the new edition to the home, #1 has taken to big sisterhood quite well, and fewer things bring genuine happiness to my heart than seeing her open up her arms and envelop her little sister in big hugs, whenever the opportunities present themselves.

Not a day goes by where I don’t just stop and watch my child at varying points throughout the days, just to see what she’ll do next.  Not a day goes by where it doesn’t seem like there’s some sort of growth or development with her, most of the time pertaining to absorption of the things she’s hearing and her ability to repeat and recollect, which also means that I have to really watch out for using profanity around her, because much like this meme, there’s no doubt that she’ll remember the bad words forever.

But every night while I wind her down for bedtime, I tell her that I love her so much, and it melts my heart every single time, when she repeats the words “love you so much.”  I know for now it’s mostly just repeating the words that I’m saying, but I’m hoping that one of these days eventually, she’ll be saying it as a declarative statement of her own volition and with understanding the meaning of the words.

As much as I love her though, all the same, has arrived the time of toddler defiance; a lot more no’s, a lot more fussiness at being told what to do, and a whole lot more determination to do things herself and her way, and not necessarily how others want her to do things.  I’m guessing this is probably the onset of the suppose terrible twos, but really it’s still just the never ending adventure of raising a child that I’m clearly experiencing first hand for the first time.  Hopefully she doesn’t make my life too hell as mythical wife and I embark on this next chapter of our parenting lives, but I’m confident that our love for our kids won’t waver, no matter how much trolling and exasperation they’re going to inevitably test us with throughout our lives.

Either way, I thought I’d have more to write about this than this, but I am still a tired dad with too much on his plate, and not enough time to accomplish everything he wants to do.  Regardless of the circumstances, a happy belated-in-writing birthday to my first child, whom I love so much, and will always love so much.  I look forward to watching her grow and develop, from the good to the bad, and there will never be a day where I am not thankful to be her dad.

Happy trails, Chase the Face

I told myself to not write anything before the fact, because that would be time spent on myself and not hanging out with the Face.  I still have no idea how people do this, where they schedule the euthanization of their pets, and then literally manage to operate their lives knowing there is a very real clock ticking down the remainder of their life.

Needless to say, the time between making the call to the vet and to the eventual saying of goodbye to my dog, has been real hazy, but fortunately for me, I’m the type of person who can throw themselves into work, just so that I don’t have to think about the anxieties of something like having to put my dog down.

Here’s a fun fact about me, Chase is actually the first dog that I’ve ever own, myself.  Every pet I’ve had in the past was either inherited, temporary or technically belonged to someone else, but not actually mine.  Chase was the first dog that I’ve ever adopted, paid for, and been solely responsible for in my entire life.

I adopted him on May 16, 2012, from the Atlanta Humane Society.  My home had always had dogs in it, and when it stopped having dogs in it, it felt like there was something missing.  I was single with no prospects at this time, so having a dog seemed like a no-brainer as far as unconditional companionship was concerned, and I wanted to adopt a rescue because I just felt that it was a more responsible thing to do, seeing as how the pet population is pretty out of control in general.

I had visited a couple of shelters leading up to eventually going to the Humane Society, and when I met Wind Chaser, I kind of felt pretty quickly that this was the dog that I wanted to adopt.  Say what you will about my general preference in dogs, maybe it’s an Asian thing or maybe it’s just me, but this maltese/shih tsu mix just kind of spoke to me.  So I paid the adoption fee in an Amazon donation, and shortened to Chase, was now my dog.

Continue reading “Happy trails, Chase the Face”

Steph Curry hit 16 threes in a game

Sure, it was an all-star game, where nobody plays any defense, but still.  In the span of a single 48-minute basketball game, Steph Curry still sank an astounding 16 three pointers.  Now if you’re doing the math, that means he scored 48 points on treys alone, so it’s funny to see that his final score was still a ridiculous 50 points, meaning that aside from all the three pointers, he made just one singular two point field goal.

Numbers like these will never fail to astound me, because I grew up as an NBA fan in an era where John Starks sinking six threes in a game is a rare occurrence, Dennis Scott going nuts and draining nine was bonkers, and then Kobe Bryant hitting eleven threes in a game was flat-out ridiculous.  50 points in an all-star game was unheard of, and I remember the last time the all-star game was in Cleveland, Glen Rice won the MVP after scoring 26 points and hitting a paltry four threes.

So seeing that a guy hit 16 three pointers in a single game is definitely something that makes my face contort and say really, because that’s just flat out ridiculous.  I’m pretty sure I didn’t hit 16 threes in a single game of NBA Jam, even with the fire cheat code on, because the quarters were like two minutes long and I simply didn’t have the time to launch sixteen threes.

The more I think about it, the more it’s clear that Steph Curry really did change the entire sport of basketball, arguably more than any other guy before him.  To a degree, even guys like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James were evolutions of Michael Jordan, who were all dominant scorers and utilized strong post games and mid-range shooting to amass their points.  But then Steph Curry came along playing like he were a video game character, and launching twenty three pointers a game, but the thing was that he was still hitting like 8-9 of them every single game and next thing you know he’s cleared 25 points on threes alone.

I used to root against the Warriors because I’m resistant to change and I had a hard time accepting the Golden State Warriors as championship material, and then I rooted against them because nobody likes seeing top dogs continue to succeed.  But regardless of how ambivalent I am towards the NBA in general, there’s no denying that rooting for or against the Warriors, Steph Curry is a phenomenal talent, and seeing him drain threes from all over the floor is truly awe-inspiring and never isn’t entertaining.