LoL: Arcane – almost makes me want to get back into League

Being an out-of-touch dad these days, a lot goes over my head as far as things coming and going in popular culture.  As big of a League of Legends fan I was back in the day, you’d have thought that I might’ve been more aware of the Netflix series LoL: Arcane coming out but nope, after hearing some mumbles about League and Netflix, I didn’t hear nor pay any further attention, thinking that it was just ear candy since these days, just about every popular IP ends up going into the rumor mill with a project with Netflix.

Plus, as I grew out of League, and then all the allegations of sexist bro-culture over at Riot Games began emerging as if such weren’t already the case at likely every single gaming company in the world, I kind of just stopped caring.  As much enjoyment I got out of the game, it really was the epitome of an abusive relationship, seeing as how players get their ass kicked at probably a 60% clip even if they’re “good” at the game, and they come back for more, over and over again.

That, and one of those don’t meet your heroes kind of mentalities, I remembered and realized all the interactions and impressions I had of those of Riot Games personalities I’ve ever met, and kind of felt there was a degree of smarmy arrogance, that they were all a little too self-aware of their contributions towards the production of League, and then all the allegations of the toxic corporate culture seem all too relatable.

Regardless, when watching LoL: Arcane, all of the critical thoughts and opinions I might have about Rito and the actual game are all kind of washed away while I’m watching the show, and in its place is just simple enjoyment for a clever, beautifully executed series in my opinion.

Jinx (along with Miss Fortune) was easily one of my favorite and most-played champions, so a series revolving primarily around her, along with the general Piltover/Zaun setting was easy for me to be interested in.  And the mass edits to the lore all seemed to come into play, seeing as how I was pretty intrigued to see that the re-imagining of origins have now placed Jinx and Vi as sisters, which can explain a lot of the original animosity between the characters in-game.

I won’t analyze or spoil any of the plot, but I just want to sing the praises of LoL: Arcane, because I thought it was a very well done series.  The brushed painting style of the animation is refreshing and perfectly executed, and the plot is gritty and very much R-rated, which is interesting given how cartoony and lighter-plot the game is.  

There are easter eggs galore throughout the series, and those familiar with the game will probably have a fun time picking them out and then hypothesizing on plot points, potential future arcs and most importantly, how they tie into future appearances of recognizable champions.

The first six episodes were so well done, it almost makes me want to get back into the game, as abusive of a relationship it really is.  Then I realize that I’m a dad with no time on my hands anymore, and ponder how I even had as much time as I did in the past to play as fervently and obsessively as I used to.  So instead, I’ll just patiently wait for the rest of the series to pan out, and hope that Rito and Netflix can agree to produce more Arcane in the future, because I think there’s still a ton of lore that could make for entertaining television.

2 Under 2: My second is basically nuclear Gandhi from Civilization (#071)

As much bitching and moaning about how hard being a dad is and how much my life sometimes feels like it’s sucking because of my inability to cope with the stress of parenting, when my head is less foggy and slightly clearer, things really aren’t that bad.  I’m sure any dads who might stumble across my brog might interpret fatherhood as being the most arduous thing on the planet, but I have no regrets and I love my daughters and my family, no matter what I say or put in writing.

All that said, as difficult as I might make my second daughter seem, things really have gotten better throughout her brief passage of time on this world.  The crippling colic is still happening, but instead of happening like 3-4 times a day, we’re typically down to 1-2 really bad colic incidents, so with that in mind, I want to jump out of a window less these days than I did on the days when it was worse.

However, if there’s one thing that has remained a constant throughout, is that #2, really, really objects to the act of being put down to sleep, regardless of how much she might actually want or need it.  No matter if she’s a sweet and cooing cherub two minutes prior, shortly after setting her head down in the bassinet and putting her into her sleep sack, when she realizes that I’m trying to put her down for sleep, the fussing begins, ramps up and eventually turns to screaming, which either escalates into colic screaming, or just a whole lot of crying.  Eventually, hopefully, she tires herself out, latches onto the pacifier and then I can turn on the motion to the bassinet, where she eventually passes out.  This is where I exhale a massive sigh, and creep out of the room as quietly as possible.

Attempting to put her down for naps, I’ve begun referring to as going to war, because that’s what it feels like, nearly every single time.  I’ve basically realized that when it comes to sleepy time, #2 basically is Gandhi from the Civilization game series, where he’s nice and peaceful, but the second you deny him the technology for granaries or aqueducts, he goes completely ballistic and is declaring nuclear war on you in two seconds.  

That’s pretty much what it feels like dealing with #2 when it comes to trying to put her down.  Attempting to get her to sleep is akin to telling Gandhi that he can’t have my windmill, and therefore she declares nuclear war on me and screams her head off until I lose the game.

One day, hopefully, this will pass, and I’ll just be able to look back at a post like this and laugh and not want to cry myself from emotional scarring.

The rando wrestling post

Looking through my queue of random notes of things I wanted to write some words down about, I realized that there was the opportunity to occasionally consolidate some things into singular posts, to both artificially suppress my imaginary queue of important things to post about, as well as not to bore my zero readers with too much rambling about specific topics that really I’m the only one who cares too much about.

Naturally, my brog wouldn’t be the brog without there being random observations about professional wrestling, and although I’m having a tremendously difficult time keeping up with the business these days on account of having, no time at all, I sometimes try to keep up by either watching the top 10 clips that show up on YouTube, or by watching episodes of WWE or AEW, by fast forwarding through most of it.

Seriously, when I do that, I don’t even watch the wrestling itself; I usually fast forward until when I think the match could be potentially come to an end, and just try to watch the endings to the matches, just so I can see what post-match interactions there are.  Also, promos, because I like to see the progressions of stories and not the actual wrestling product itself, in comparison.

Watching one of the more recent episodes of NXT two-point-oh, it’s evident of what the directive of the product is, and I kind of do really understand that Triple H’s NXT was still anchored by a bunch of older performers, when NXT really was designed to be a training ground of young, up-and-coming talent, and not a place for outside stars to assimilate into the WWE machine.  I can’t say that I’m at all that impressed with the transition, nor its obnoxious ADD color schema, but I do understand the end game with the repackaging of NXT.

But there was an ending to the show where women’s champion Raquel Gonzalez was jumped by a new stable of women, and I couldn’t help but get flashbacks to Takeover: Brooklyn III, where Bobby Fish and Kyle O’Reilly jumped Drew McIntyre after he won the NXT championship, only to be joined by a debuting Adam Cole, and the three of them stood over the champion, signaling the arrival of a new faction.

When Gigi Dolin and Jayce Jane jumped Gonzalez and then were joined by a repackaged Mandy Rose, with the three of them standing over her prone body afterward, it basically felt precisely like the debut of the Undisputed Era, all the way to Rose grandstanding with the championship.  I mean, with the Era all but dead now, with two of them in AEW, why shouldn’t NXT just swap the genders and try the whole idea all over again?

Sure, Mandy Rose was never a stalwart in the ring, Jane is as green as ten Lex Lugers, and Priscilla Kelly Gigi Dolin will probably never let her whole arsenal be used, so I can’t help but bet that they’ll never reach the heights of the UE, but at least they had a cool debut and looked good in the process.

Moving onto the other company, I feel like I had a home run of an analogy of how the world of professional wrestling fandom kind of feels like these days:

AEW is basically like Sega, while the WWE is unmistakably Nintendo.

Continue reading “The rando wrestling post”

“Ready to fight” doesn’t quite describe bringing MMA gloves to a courtroom

I don’t really have much to say about the situation in Taiwan, or have any inkling of an idea of how coronavirus response has been.  But when my friends showed me this story, the photo alone was most definitely worth a thousand words.

I guess there’s some nationalist party out in Taiwan who is less than satisfied with how the democratic party of the country has been handling the coronavirus, so they felt that their only appropriate course of action at this point, was to start a melee in the courtroom.

Sure, there’s all sorts of pacifist belief that violence doesn’t solve anything, and I could make all sorts of smarmy jokes about the level of civility that exists coming out of Taiwan, but let’s just skip to the part where one woman showed up to the courtroom, equipped in straight up MMA gloves.

Not only did she roll up to the courtroom ready to fight, she wanted optimal protection for her hands, so she could try and deliver haymakers without risking breaking any fingers or knuckles in the process.

It’s almost as if there might be belief that Taiwanese law might be like Final Fight, where defeating the opposing parties in hand-to-hand combat means your party takes over, no questions asked.  And those who show up ready to fight stand a better chance at possibly taking power, than those who didn’t come to work with their own MMA gloves.

That’s one way to approach the overpopulation problem

Not sure how they’re going to make this work but ok: China, the country, has decreed that those under the age of 18 years are now forbidden from playing more than three hours of video games a week; an hour a day only on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, 8-9 pm local time

I’m going to go out on a limb and say that within those who will have to deal with transition, the suicide rate just might go up.  Considering the country is already facing an overpopulation crisis, this might not actually be the worst thing in the world to happen.  Clear way for a newer, fresher generation of Chinese, who weren’t raised and became video game-obsessed, mouth-breathing troglodytes.

All seriousness though, I’m very curious to know just how the entire country is going to enforce this mandate.  When it comes to online games and mobile games, I can kind of take some wild swings, mostly on account of a nation that’s extremely big brother-ey in the first place and can probably try to implement shit to try and prevent their minors from unauthorized gaming.  I’ve already heard things about how some games will require cameras in order to play so that facial recognition can be implemented, but I’m sure that’ll lead to legions of masked gamers to try and circumvent the measure.

But what about offline games, like consoles, arcade cabinets and shit like PSPs or 3DSs that can be played without an internet connection?  I’d have to take a guess that the console business is about to start doing very well in the near future if kids will be relegated to playing offline games by themselves or with their siblings, neighbors or with actual other human beings in the room.  There’s no way offline gaming can actually be enforced, and I’m going to guess most parents will be so desperate for their kids to get out of their hair that they’re not going to enforce this rule in the privacy of their own homes.

And then we get to China’s rich eSports culture, to where they’re always among the world’s best when it comes to all sorts of competitive gaming.  But as I’ve learned from my years of following the pro League of Legends scene, pro players often times are starting their careers as young as 16, which means they’ve been practicing and developing since they were way younger than that.  Sure, I’m sure there’ll be all sorts of exceptions for those in careers and professionals in gaming, but with an entire country now limited to just three hours a week, the well of future players is about to get very, very shallow real quick, and I’m curious to know what the future of eSports in China is going to be with this mandate in place.

Of course, another potential blowback to this law is that there’s absolutely nothing that says a guy can’t become a video game-obsessed cretin after they hit 18 and beyond, with the only difference is now that they’re adults and can act like dicks as adults as opposed to being shithead pre-teens and teenagers.  All of the educating and social graces they are believed to have developed from having their gaming being limited, all go flying out the window when 18-year old Xin Peng realizes the handcuffs are off, and then spends the next five years of his life glued to League of Legends, getting dominated by 14-16 year olds in Korea, Denmark, Russia and even maybe Americans.

In the end though, I don’t think much is going to be made from this.  If it doesn’t blow up in their faces from the onset, it’ll probably be a law that’s so loosely enforced that it might as well not exist at all.  And even if it is something that is enforced seriously, China is also one of the greatest cheating cultures on the planet, and no serious gamer would be above cheating over their own country’s laws in order to have a nice marathon session of Counterstrike, whether it’s manipulating their IP, wearing a mask to circumvent facial recognition, or any sort of measure in order to get around the law.  After all, this is a country where teenagers go to tremendous lengths to cheat during high school entrance exams, for something they don’t even want to do, so imagine just how far they’ll go when it comes to gaining something they do?

Anyway, it’s stories like this that kind of make me scratch my head and wonder why China is actually seen as this threat to the world when it comes to economics, business and general population.  They can barely keep their own population in check so much being a threat to other countries in the world outside of building Chinatowns all over the world.  But I could be wrong, and this could be a game-changer of a law that ushers in a generation of better adjusted, more mature and intelligent and successful Chinese citizens that are better than everyone else in the world that were raised on video games and other brain-rotting content.

Wouldn’t take that bet though.  I’ll keep my eyes on suicide rates among minors in China for the next year instead.

That’s kind of interesting

Because I’m a fan of sports in general, I’m exposed to a lot of sports-related news at any given time, regardless of what sport it is.  And since the NBA playoffs are going on currently, I’ve found myself absorbing more information about who’s still in, who’s not, than I probably thought I’d ever care about.

However, one interesting tidbit showed up recently that did pique my interest, and trigger a prompt in my brain to want to write about.  With the Atlanta Hawks not pulling an Atlanta and choking in a critical game 7 situation, and defeating the Philadelphia 76ers, to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, the final four teams left vying for the NBA championship are the Hawks and Milwaukee Bucks in the east and out west is the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles… Clippers.

Between these four franchises exists two championships, with none since 1971 and even the Hawks’ title in 1958 was when they were in St. Louis, and therefore not an Atlanta team.  So basically, it’s safe to say that this is a rare year in which a team that’s basically never won an NBA championship is going to win an NBA championship.

It didn’t occur to me that this was such a rarity, one because I don’t really care about the NBA, but two, I had to stop and think about the last two decades to recollect that just about every NBA champion has been a repeater, with teams like the Warriors, Spurs, Heat and Lakers having won the vast majority of the championships, with LeBron James collecting four rings for three different franchises in that time, and even if they didn’t win, they were still the runners-up, clogging up the title scene all the same for an eon.

So despite the fact that the Atlanta Hawks are still in, and are a possibility of hilariously cashing in my newborn baby luck on basketball, there’s no way people like me, in age and in enjoyment of the ironic, can’t not be rooting for an NBA Finals where it’s the Milwaukee Bucks vs. the Los Angeles Clippers.

Because these are the two teams that, growing up in the 90s, were basically the de facto worst teams in basketball.  I mean look at the screen cap above of the 1994 season; even combining the win totals between the Bucks and Clippers was no guaranteed entry into the playoffs, and the only reason why the Bucks weren’t tallied up as dead last in the east was because the Pistons just so happened to allow 1.3 more points per game on average.

And this was just one season; throughout the 90s, both these teams were the teams that everyone forgot about their existence, except when you looked at the schedules of your favorite teams, and saw games against the Bucks and Clippers as basically guaranteed wins.  Nobody ever picked these teams in NBA Jam or NBA Live 199X, including the people who lived in those cities, unless they were trying to troll.

But it’s funny how things change in time, and how it seems to be consistent on how long it takes for the tides to turn, because nearly 25 years later, we’re in a world where the New York Knicks are usually the laughing stock of the NBA, Seattle lost their team outright, and the Golden State Warriors broke the 96’ Bulls win record and have been in five of the last six NBA Finals, winning three championships.

Needless to say, I think sports fans of my general age range should all be salivating at the thought of a Bucks vs. Clippers NBA Finals, because it’ll definitely be a sight to behold, and even more so if both teams bust out throwback unis for one of the game, just to acknowledge the sheer absurdity of the worst teams from the 1990’s to be playing for a championship in the 20’s of the 2000’s.

Who cares more: black people or white guilters?

When I heard that Netflix’s upcoming rendition of Resident Evil cast a black guy to play the role of historically white Albert Wesker, my knee-jerk reaction was that of eyes rolling.  I have nothing against Lance Reddick, and think he’s an otherwise fantastic actor, but this reminds me of when Michael Clarke Duncan was cast as the Kingpin in that one shitty Daredevil film with Ben Affleck.  It doesn’t matter how physically convincing or how good of actors guys like Reddick and Duncan should portray these characters, but there are just some intellectual properties that come with some visual expectations based on the historical lineage of said IPs.

But whereas Daredevil stunk, Netflix inherently has the ability to make palatable chicken salad of out of chicken shit, so perhaps they’ll be able to take a black Wesker and make everyone watching forget about the color of his skin in their rendition of Resident Evil.  Lance Reddick has played a ton of dirty cops in his career, and he’s otherwise a very good match in age, physical stature and behavioral charisma that I’d expect someone to portray as Albert Wesker, so I’m hopeful he’ll do well being the baddest bad in the series.

Afterward, I began to think about how the black community would digest this casting, of a black man being given the role of said baddest bad, and wondering if there were those that took objection to a black man being a villain, to a society where way too large segments of it are far too easily convinced that fiction is reality, and that it’s doing the community no favors.

I posed this hypothetical to one of those friends of mine that we sounding board our random thoughts off of each other, but getting this train of thought out of the station, I came to realize that no matter what negative opinions the black community could have about the casting of a black Wesker, they’ll probably pale (no pun intended) in comparison to the raging objection of a black Wesker, from the white-guilt white community.

Frankly when the day is over, black people are probably just relieved to see a black actor getting a shake at a popular franchise like Resident Evil, and as long as they’re not a token black guy that gets killed and devoured in the first 15 minutes, they probably won’t care if they’re a protagonist or antagonist, and most anyone who’s ever played a Resident Evil game knows that few are as sheerly unkillable than Albert Wesker.

But white guilters, my god, they must be up in arms at the perceived insult to the black community that a black man is being cast as the main villain of a series.  There’s probably at least 23 SurveyMonkeys out their collating data of racism and unfair prejudice towards the black community, from like-minded white people.  And if Wesker is inevitably going to be played by a black guy, that absolutely means that no white people can portray the protagonists of the series, and dare stand up to further oppress blacks like their forefathers once did.

If they do choose to implement characters like Chris Redfield and Jill Valentine, they most certainly have to be portrayed by Henry Golding and Eiza Gonzalez.  Rebecca Chambers can be played by Zazie Beetz, and I would be over the fucking moon if Barry Burton were played by Erik King AKA Doakes.  That way, Wesker would only be opposed by other minorities, and it wouldn’t create the intolerable conflict of white heroes versus a black villain.

The bottom line is that the answer to the original question is that without any doubt, white people are going to have a way bigger cow over the casting of a black Wesker than any black people.  But wait until they realize that all currently cast roles also feature no white people at all; this might just set out to be the most successful series on Netflix in history, to white folks.