Dad Brog (#095): An unsustainable pace

I write because I can’t really talk to anyone anymore.  My wife doesn’t need to hear any of these diatribes, and frankly I really don’t think anyone can relate, as ludicrous as it sounds to single myself out as a special little snowflake in a world of several billion.  And if anyone can, I don’t know them so it might as well not be anyone. 

My family that are all parents and have multiple kids, the age gap between us all is practically an entire generation.  Of all my parenting friends, almost none of them have more than one kid.  The ones that do, their kids are spaced out in age way greater than mine.  And there’s nobody else I know with two kids born during coronavirus-era as close apart as mine.  I’m not trying to say that my problems are greater than anyone else’s like some sadistic internet pissing contest, but COVID really is this difficulty multiplier that stands at the end of every factoid, ready to make everything worse than it might have been for anyone else who didn’t have to deal with things during a pandemic.

But I have been living my life at a fairly unsustainable pace for a while now, as far as keeping my shit together goes.  I try really, really hard on a daily basis to do such, and I have good days, but I definitely am the first to admit that I have some bad ones too, where it just feels like a lot of shit just piles up all at once, and I’m left standing there while my kids are screaming, clocks are ticking, I’m late for school drop off which makes me later for work, and there’s no end in sight.

I’m 99% sure my eldest is sick again.  There’s a small chance that she just never recovered from the cold she had a week ago, but the frequency in which she’s sneezing and her nose is runny again leads me to believe that she’s just plain fucking sick again, which means some more fuckface parents of the kids in my daughter’s school are continually sending their kids to school with plagues.

The problem with that, aside from their selfish and inconsiderate behavior that I can only hope for some divine retribution for, is that when #1 gets sick, it’s basically a death sentence for #2 that she is going to get sick 2-3 days later.  And then my sitter will nope out because they don’t want to get sick which means I’ll have to call in sick because mythical wife’s career is rigid and can’t call in at the drop of a hat, which makes me look even flakier and unreliable, and I have to deal with days of dad double duty, and working after hours.  And then it’s back into the toilet bowl of despair of how much life can suck because of the actions of other people.

Days like today, I’m just burnt out.  I’ve been on baby duty for what feels like an endless length of time, due to the fact that we had two kids in such rapid succession.  #2 is always wanting to be near big sis, and moving them apart is like trying to keep magnets apart, based on how she will rubber band back to wherever #1 is, accelerating the inevitability of transmission.  #1 is frustrated and fussy because she’s sneezing like crazy and her nose is running like a faucet and doesn’t understand why I have to try and isolate her on the other side of the room but can’t trust her with markers or Play-Doh, and I just want to jump off a bridge.

I haven’t had a break in a long time.  A day in which I can wake up on my own without any alarms or dog or kids, no long-ass car rides to retrieve kids, or anything that’s remotely time sensitive.  A single day where I can wake up as not a dad, have a day where I can leisurely do the shit I want to do without any clocks looming over my head, and have the ability to sit and stare at a wall if I wanted to.  There have been some mini-breaks, some afternoons or evenings without the kids, but I’m still having to do one of the above tasks on them regardless.

I just can’t recharge or unwind, and haven’t been able to for well over a year now, and I don’t know if that’s really unhealthy or uncommon, or if I’m just being a melodramatic parent who needs to be made aware that there are millions of dads in similar boats that I just don’t know personally.  But today is definitely one of those days where just enough bullshit has been added to my bags to drag me under and leave me feeling drowning again.

I am all in for Gus Fring as Professor X

Impetus: Giancarlo Esposito reveals that he has had meetings with Marvel people for a future role, expresses desire to be Professor X

My knee-jerk reaction to the idea of Gus Fring being Professor X, was absolutely all aboard the train.  I get that aside from Captain Picard, the role of Charles Xavier was basically designed to be for Patrick Stewart, but in the age and in light of pursuing change and pursuing the future, I’m hard pressed to imagine anyone more succinctly qualified for the role of Professor X than Giancarlo Esposito.

Like many, my first real exposure to Esposito was him playing Gus Fring in Breaking Bad, and as far as characters go, he’s easily up there as some of my all-time favorites, because I love characters that are cerebral, command respect, and play the long game like a chess grandmaster.  I get that throughout his career since, he’s basically been bad guy after bad guy after bad guy, but there’s absolutely no reason to believe that he wouldn’t be capable of playing the cerebral, respect commanding, long game-player like Professor X, plus it’s not like Xavier didn’t make some fucked up choices in his life either.

Esposito is polished, annunciates intelligently and in the manner you’d expect to hear from Professor X, and has been entrenched in sci-fi/comics long enough to where it probably wouldn’t feel inorganic or phony on his part when playing the role.  There is absolutely zero reason why he wouldn’t make an excellent Professor X.

Unfortunately, to no surprise, there are plenty of people out there that don’t agree with my enthusiasm for the idea of Gus Fring as Professor X.  And the funny-not-really-funny thing about the internet and social media and how we’re spoon-fed occasional comments, is when you see the remarks from people you know, and you’re reading words that don’t really sound that intelligent or, in the case of what I saw, were good examples of peoples’ white privilege soaking through the sponge.

Because in spite of many peoples’ best attempts to try not to be racist but not doing a very good job of doing it, the seemingly number one reason for any sort of opposition of the idea of Giancarlo Esposito as Professor X, really boils down to the fact that he’s not white.  I understand that there’s an expectation set by decades of seeing a lily-white Caucasian Professor X in comics and FOX properties, but we live in a world where change is inevitable and is happening very rapidly.  But you could go back to 1963 and change the skin tone of Professor X to absolutely any color at all, and it wouldn’t have altered the course of history one bit.

He’d still have has had his legs crushed by the Shadow King.  He still would have gone toe-to-toe with Phoenix on the psychic plane.  He still would’ve gotten shot by Stryfe and been the first guy to have the Legacy Virus.  He still would’ve mind-fucked hundreds of people and become Onslaught.  And so forth and so forth.  A black Xavier, Hispanic Xavier, Asian Xavier wouldn’t have changed the course of the character’s history one bit.  Just because he was white in six decades worth of comic books doesn’t mean he couldn’t be presented as non-white in what would be at the very most, a series of films.

But seeing people take shots at his polish, his acting ability and other reasons to criticize the guy when they’re really just objecting to the fact that his skin tone doesn’t match Ben Affleck’s, is insulting and is bullshit.  When the day is over, the right performer should be the one to get the role, regardless of the color of their skin.  I mean, look at the shitty 2003 Daredevil speaking of Ben Affleck.  The film was horrendous, but one of the few things they did get right was casting a very black Michael Clarke Duncan as the role of the historically very white Kingpin.  Regardless of skin color, Duncan is a tank of a man who commands a room, has swag and is convincingly physically invincible, much like the character he portrayed.  Naturally, there was much complaints about that as well, but to its credit it still came to fruition.

Plus, Patrick Stewart isn’t getting any younger.  Y’all remember seeing his cameo in [spoiler redaction]?  Eyes all sinking in with age, not entirely sure the wheelchair was just a prop.  When he was a layup for the role of Professor X, those Bryan Singer X-Men flicks were literally two decades ago.  Stewart is 82 years old.  Eighty-two years old.  At the very most, Professor X was probably in his early fifties in the comics, in “present” canon.  Absolutely no disrespect to Picard.  He is the living embodiment of how Professor X was originally portrayed.  But my man is getting old.  He is old.  He doesn’t need to be continued to be trotted out, and then get the digital Luke Skywalker treatment.  Let the change happen.  Change.  Is.  Needed.

Hopefully the stiffs at Disney/Marvel/ESPN/FOX will be capable of not caving into their white racist brethren when it comes time to eventually start casting for the introduction of mutants into the MCU, and make the right fucking call: Giancarlo Esposito as Professor X.

I think this takes the cake

The ad on the left is the July 4th ad that my former team and I produced for the 2021 year.  The ad on the right is the July 4th ad that was produced by my former employer for the 2022 year.

Now I understand that there’s little sexy and glamorous about newsprint, especially considering the world has such a collective boner about digital-this, omnichannel-that, social, influencers and other forms of marketing approaches that constant insists that the print medium is dying or already dead, but I will fight you if you tell me this to my face.

What good is your digital medium if the internet goes down?  Or you can’t connect to the wi-fi and your 5G can’t make it through the concrete and medal coliseums of the stores you’re in, needing to access the internet?  Or you catch me on a bad day and I slap your phone out of your hand and break your phone for telling me that my occupation is obsolete?  Alright then

I’ll be the first to admit that the 2021 ad isn’t necessarily mind-blowing, or remotely close to the best work that my team has ever produced.  We were still amidst pandemic-this and supply chain-that, not to mention that my team was forced to work in a program that was the equivalent of a Chevy Cavalier trying to compete with NASCARs on the track.  But compared to the ad on the right?  Suddenly the 2021 Cavalier looks like a spaceship compared to the stone and chisel produced ad in 2022.

In short, my old team was completely gutted, laid off and the company’s newsprint was outsourced to an agency in Austin, Texas; literally a week after I had my final day with the company.  I was pretty upset about it despite having dodged a massive bullet, because I still had and have a tremendous amount of care and shits to give about all the people on my old team, because there’s a ton of talent and good people there who were put into a horrible situation.

Fortunately, almost all of them have landed on their feet since, but the point remains that the old newsprint team was effectively killed, with our primary task being outsourced; in my opinion, one of the biggest professional insults to anyone who’s ever taken pride in what they do for a living.

I blame my old boss for all of this.  I’ve made no secret of the disdain, contempt and general hate I have for her, and how they were easily the #1 factor for why I decided to leave the company.  I could list of numerous things I hated about being under their thumb, but I’d be better off saving those 50,000 words for November and completing NaNoWriMo with them instead.  However, of all of the horrible shit she said, did and behaved to me that made her a horrible Bronn of a boss, I genuinely think this is the worst thing she ever did; as the title of this post says, I think this takes the cake.

This piece of outsourced shit,  the July 4th ad for 2022, is a goddamn joke.  The photo does no justice to how poor the entire ad is, because all throughout the circular are errors, alignment and consistency issues, bad crops, obviously distorted images, and zero quality control.  A hundred things I caught in a hundred seconds of scanning through it, that would never have made it past mine or any of my team’s eyes on our numerous proofing rounds.  Ancient Egyptians pounding hieroglyphics on reeds had better brand standards than this sad circular.

She killed our medium.  No matter how hard my team pushed back against evolving trends and proved our positive ROI year after year, she came in and killed us, because no team in the world can survive in the league when their own coach is deliberately and determined to kill them.

Continue reading “I think this takes the cake”

Dad Brog (#090): 27 Months

Let the record show that it is month 27 in the life of #1, my eldest child, and we have embarked on a journey where the roles have reversed with my kids.  #2 is now the low-maintenance chill kid, easy-going, amicable and easy to please throughout the day.  Which means #1 has transformed into an emotionally volatile goblin, incapable of knowing what it is they want with life from second to second, resulting in more often than not, nuclear meltdowns.

Not just whining, but full-on tears and dribbling snot, shrieking, sometimes going down to the ground to throw tantrums kind of meltdowns.  Things that placate on Monday are ineffective on Tuesday, and things they liked at 11 am are declarations of war by 4 pm.  Almost every suggestion of activity, food or book is responded with a shrill NO [noun] and then ensuing whining.

Despite the fact that mythical wife doesn’t want to believe in them, I think these are what we might have to classify as an introduction into, the terrible twos.

We’re trying our best to keep our cool, and I think we genuinely are doing well at not caving into her outbursts, but it is most definitely tiring and more exhausting than younger times dealing with a perpetually irate toddler.  Admittedly, I meet a lot of her tantrums with laughter, because it really is kind of hilarious to see how she’s evolved, and mixing all of her accumulated learned intelligence with the vocabulary she’s amassed. 

Like we’ve read to her several books about dealing with emotions and how when one gets mad, they should take a deep breath.  Sometimes we the parents get agitated from so much of her bullshit, and if she sniffs out our frustration, she’ll immediately tell us to take a deep breath, like really??

Obviously we know that this is a phase and it shall eventually pass, but whooowee, is it testing of our patience.  Suddenly gone is the sweet and agreeable daughter of mine whom I could read pretty much any book I wanted to before bed time without any argument, but in her place now is a psychotic little goblin the demands the same two Sesame Street stories, except she goes ballistic when I start them and insists on being the one who turns the pages but then loses her shit when I can’t keep up with how fast she’s turning them.

And of course, the possibility of by the time she works through this phase, #2 could very well be on her heels and embarking on the emotional path of destrucity herself, leading to mythical wife and I to ponder just how much time is left before they’re old enough to be independent.

Dad Brog #086: The perils of private in-home childcare

Due to the never-ending pandemic that we live in, I’ve had a private nanny since #1 was eight months old.  Frankly, sending my immunocompromised first child to regular daycare among children whose individual household dynamics were mysteries to us was out of the question, so the only option that my household was left with in order to have childcare while mythical wife and I worked our respective jobs, was to hire a nanny.

For the duration of a single-child household, it worked out great; one nanny with one child is pretty easy-peasy as far as the circumstances are considered.  I could focus on my job, which was really helpful as it was deteriorating pretty rapidly throughout the start of the pandemic.

But then #2 came into the picture and things became a little more chaotic, as to no surprise, when the ratio of children balances away from 1:1, anyone’s attention becomes harder to divert between multiple children, and it’s just harder in general.  I often times was away from my keys in order to help out the nanny, and it was always a balancing act to make sure that double duty was as minimal as possible, which is a little ironic considering just how often I am on double duty on a regular basis but I am their biological father so why wouldn’t I be?

Eventually, things ceased to work out with my original nanny, and they did leave us high and dry at a very inconvenient and critical point.  Fortunately, we were able to bounce back fairly quickly and find another nanny to come in and take over, which brings us to current times that are somewhat more stable and if anything at all, I’m just glad that my kids have someone reliable to take care of them while I’m working.

However, to the point of this particular dad brog post, as nice as it is to have in-home care, and the peace of mind at knowing that my kids aren’t picking up every variant of coronavirus while at daycare and bringing it home, it’s not entirely perfect either.  Namely, the part where if a private nanny calls in sick or is ever out for any particular reason, I’m the one who is getting boned and has to eat the time off work in order to cover.  Mythical wife being a teacher and all, and teachers having extremely rigid and inflexible workdays, she can’t exactly turn on a dime and come home to take care of the kids at a moment’s notice, so that responsibility falls onto me.

I’m not going to sugar coat it either, it sucks.  Royally.  Every time that either of my nannies have called in sick, I’ve been the one who has had to take it on the chin and tell my jobs that I have to in turn bone my work, to where I’m either burning PTO, or I’m being a complete flake with my work, and then working in the evening to make up for the not working during the day.

The worst part is that as I’ve alluded to in the past, my kids are getting sick every month this year regardless of the fact that I have in-home care.  I go to the office a few days a week, mythical wife works at a school surrounded by children whom we have no idea if their parents are vaccinated or not, and 2022 seems to be the year where all the colds, flus and other sicknesses that were avoided in 2020-2021 are coming back with a vengeance.

At this point, I’m kind of over the lack of accountability and being the only one punished when my childcare goes down, that I’m leaning towards sending my kids off to daycare.  They’re getting sick all the same now, that I may as well start trying to get my children socialized and used to other human beings so they’re not complete social invalids growing up.  If I’m already paying daycare prices for private care, I might as well be able to not have to destroy myself whenever something comes up.

I love having personalized childcare, but I’m disliking just a little bit more, the repercussions of when said childcare calls out sick.  My work struggles, and as important as my kids are, I still need to have my job in order to support my family, and seeing as how I’m still within my first year, I don’t want to develop a reputation of being the guy that’s unreliable and constantly using his kids as the excuse.

Poor Randall Park

Impetus: Comedienne Ali Wong announces divorce, internet reports on it, repeatedly uses photos of Wong with Randall Park instead of her actual husband because arr rook same

At this point, there’s little else I could add to the fires of THAT’S RACIST because yo that shit is racist, and the rampantly white media continues to be just completely inept and incapable of differentiating between Asian people.

What I really wanted to write about is how much it must suck to be Randall Park, because no matter how much work he does, no matter how much exposure he gets, it doesn’t matter if he got into the Marvel Cinematic Universe in WandaVision, or gets to work with The Rock in Young Rock, or has spent six seasons doing Fresh Off the Boat; people just can’t seem to differentiate him from other Asian people in the public eye, be it getting mistaken for Raymond Lee or Ali Wong’s husband, neither of whom he looks anything like, but I’m also Asian and can tell my fellow yellow brethren apart better than white folks can.

Yeah, it’s got to get old and exasperating the fact that it keeps happening, and I’d bet it gets harder and harder for Park or any other minorities to constantly be expected to take the high road and say rhetoric about microaggressions and teachable moments, when all they really want to say is that white people can go fuck themselves for their hollow apologies and arrogance that they can continuously keep getting away with it.  Like Parade and MSN can go fuck themselves for either not fact checking or having white editors who are just as colorblind as the shitfucks writing these fluff pieces in the first place.

Sure, it’s easy to try and spin this as Randall Park being so famous that he’s the go-to Asian to be continuously be mistaken for, but that would be an excuse whiter than Duke’s lacrosse team.  Let’s stop saying ‘do better’ and start saying what we really want to say whenever this racist mistaken identity continues to happen: fuck you.

WTF is Capcom thinking with Street Fighter 6’s logo?

When I started seeing people posting about the recent Street Fighter 6 teaser, the very first thing I thought was that it was a fake and/or a joke, because there’s no way that this was going to be the logo for one of the most iconic franchises in video game history.

Ohhh, but it turned out that it really is.

Honestly, I couldn’t give two shits about the game itself, I’ve been so long out of video games in general, much less Street Fighter, that there’s a very high probability that I’ll never even play it in my lifetime.  I never played SFV once, and I only played SFIV a handful of times before I got pissed about there being a quick released SFIV champion hyper turbo or whatever new edition that made my version obsolete, so I never played it again.

But that doesn’t change the fact that I can’t sit on my pedestal and judge logos.  And SF6’s logo is fuckin’ godawful, and it really makes me wonder just what the fuck Capcom is thinking when they phoned it in and “designed’ this shitty piece of clipart and decided it to let it represent the franchise that basically made them who they are today.

I couldn’t even get home from work to point out how turrible the logo is before other sites had already sunken their teeth into the same observation, and a few have already gone as far as to call out the obvious low-effort low-key plagiarism Capcom has done in creating this “logo” that basically says all the same things that I would say.

Seriously though, this isn’t just another case of resisting change for the sake of resisting it.  Street Fighter’s general wordmark has been recognizable and iconic throughout every iteration of the series, and there are common elements and a color palette that continuously make it work no matter the number of sequels they put out.  The gritty, violent-looking delivery of brush strokes to create the words, to the signature yellow-to-orange gradient palettes used in every iteration up to SFV.

And then SF6 phones it in with this lame rip off of some Adobe clipart, and then typing out “Street Fighter” in a jersey typeface that appears to have been modified slightly so they don’t get sued to oblivion by the original font creator.  It’s a sad and insulting edition to an iconic franchise that doesn’t look like it’s real, but it is.

I know I already said that the likelihood of me ever playing SF6 isn’t very high, but I most certainly judge books by their covers, and seeing what is becoming of Street Fighter from the logo alone, would probably give me pause to give it a whirl, even if I were still avidly gaming.