This might be hitting bottom

Impetus: The New York Giants Yankees complete a sweep of the Atlanta Falcons Braves by a score of 20-6.  The day after a 60-year old Braves fan fell to his death from the upper deck of Turner Field, while trying to antagonize Alex Rodriguez.

Seriously, 20-6 is a god damn football score.

Prior to the 2015 season, I mockingly said that the Braves were going to lose 100 games this season.  After all, they had traded away just about everything worth anything, and turned a team that could have probably easily won at least 85 games into a team that well, could very well lose 100 games.  Naturally, things didn’t turn out as bad in the start, when the Braves swept the Marlins to start the season, and went like 5-1 or something in their first few games, but as is often the case with baseball, reality sunk in, and then the Braves started playing like the team they were destined to be in 2015, and likely again in 2016.

The thing is, there were a lot of naysayers to my outlandish belief of 100 losses, where smart alecs would correct me and state that a 90-something loss season was more likely.  Now they’re not entirely wrong, but the fact of the matter is that currently, the Braves are exceeding expectations, and playing very much like the 100-loss caliber team I had declared them to be at the start of the season.

Fact: with their getting swept by the Yankees, the Braves have lost 12 of their last 13 games.  They are 54-76 in the 130 games played of the season, with 32 games to go.  If they maintain a pace like this, the Braves will finish out the season 57-105, and have undoubtedly lost 100 games.

Here’s the disheartening part: no matter how much rhetoric the Braves brass and management will spew about “sorry for the shitty season, but our squad will continue to fight to the very end RAH RAH!” there is absolutely no way that they’re also not thinking about the possibilities of deliberately tanking, so that the team will be in position for the top draft pick(s) going into the 2016 season.  The Braves aren’t the Yankees or the Dodgers, the Braves are a cheap franchise that does not like to spend money.

Teams that do not spend money are reliant on the draft to get quality players, and even then the Braves often times skip out on high-potential stars, because they don’t want to pay them, typically opting to pick guys based on “signability” which is another way of saying “guy who will possibly offer our less than superstar money offer.”

Basically what I’m really getting at here is that we’re kind of at a crossroads as far as the Atlanta Braves are concerned.  2015 was undoubtedly going to be a really, really bad season, which we all knew, but just how bad it was going to get, I don’t think anyone could have predicted.

The team is very much alive on the futile quest for 100 losses.  A Braves fan has fallen to his death while watching a miserable team play baseball.  If you were to ask a Braves fan “the team is going to lose 161 games this season, but if you could choose the one game they win, who would it be against?” I’m sure like 80% of them would have said the Yankees.  Not only could they not get a single win against the Yankees, they allowed the Yankees to hang 20 runs in a single game, and like 38 over the three game series.  Seriously, the last time I saw anyone hang 20 runs, was when Josh Hamilton went Hulkamania on the Baltimore Orioles and the Rangers scored like 21; but that was literally almost five years ago.  I honestly never thought I’d see the day where the Braves would have 20 runs hung on them; I’ve seen them get no-hit, but never did I ever think I’d see them allow 20 fucking runs, much less to the New York Yankees.

Either way, the Braves have somehow sunk to a level of low, that even I can’t say is pathetic.  It’s actually worse than that.  The phrases from Fight Club about “hitting bottom” kind of come to mind.  I knew this season was going to suck, and that I would take things with a grain of salt, but after this kind of weekend, it’s really making me question my allegiance to the team, because it’s really sad when they can’t even get right, being bad.

Have you ever tried to repair a broken window??

So in this Chase Bank commercial, Drew Brees’s son kicks a football in the yard; but because he’s the son of Breesus, it’s implied that he has some genetic football talent passed down onto him despite the fact that his dad is a quarterback and not a Gramatica.  That being said, the ball goes sailing at a high velocity, to such a magnitude it breaks through several houses walls and windows, much to the chagrin of Drew Brees himself.  Bewildered neighbors stare at the carnage caused by the lead food of Brees Jr.

But no problem, because Drew Brees is an NFL quarterback, Drew Brees is rich as shit.  And thanks to his handy new Chase banking app, he’s able to parlay chunks of his shit-rich to his various neighbors whose homes have incurred damage at the leg of Junior.

I’d like to point out the part where Drew Brees wires $200 to one of his neighbors for a broken window.  Because I am currently dealing with a similar situation currently, however I cannot say that a young place-kicking prodigy kicked a football through my window.  No, it was just a freak accident involving my landscaper, a mower, and an errant stone in my yard that went sailing into my glass, shattering it.  It is not a big deal at all, considering it technically happened last year, and I’ve just been too lazy to deal with it until more recently.

Basically, this is where I ask my six readers, if they even remotely know where to begin looking for someone to repair this?  A cursory Googling of “window repair” typically leads to like 60% of results being auto glass repair, and not residential.  And then the remaining 40% of results turns out to be people who wish to replace entire windows, and not anything remotely close to simply replacing a broken pane.

Long story short, I got estimates for window replacement, which turned out to be well past the $1,000 mark, much to my dismay.  Trying to get a second opinion from a business not The Home Depot, I received some good news in the form that a new window isn’t what I need, but a re-glazing of my pane; which would be considerably less than replacing the entire window outright.

But then I learned that it’s also pretty impossible to find anyone who does window reglazing, much less willing to come out to where I live.  Ultimately, I found a guy that I’m really quite optimistic just might work, but I also had to cold-call at least four other businesses that have scheduled appointments, no-showed appointments, and absolutely failed to deliver anything at all.  Leaving me quite frustrated and dejected that I’m practically begging people to come take money from me, and nobody wants to do it.

The point is, in the commercial, Drew Brees wires a neighbor $200, and it’s assumed that everything’s good and square.  That is bullshit.

I’m probably going to spend ~$200, sure, but that’s also several days of where I’ve had to take time off work only to get no-showed, the anxious time of waiting for people to show up to my house, take measurements, and hope they’ll actually come back, and/or not bend me over and financially stick it to me.

In the end, Drew Brees is a cheap motherfucker who only covered the cost of the materials for his son’s badly booted squib kick.  What the commercial doesn’t show is the two weeks of his attractive cougar-y neighbor ripping her hair out when she can’t find someone instantaneously to come fix her window, and when she does, she’s cursing Drew Brees for barely covering the cost of the damage and not the labor.

And the next time she watches football with her family, she’s secretly hoping Ndamukong Suh crushes and murders Drew Brees.

The logos of the SEC, unbiased

I read this article recently, where a publishing company that produces a ton of annual sporting magazines decided to rank the logos of the SEC.  Out of paranoia of sounding like they were full of shit, they turned the reigns over to their in-house graphic designer to compile the list, full of artistic rhetoric and extraneous words to justify ultimately what is a subjective list.

The thing is, the graphic designer went to Ole Miss, and the publication is based out of Tennessee.  Both locations are homes to SEC schools, and right then and there, I have no choice but to discount the entire list as garbage due to bias, especially when Tennessee is given the top spot with weak justification; seriously, curled interior angles plus creamsicle orange makes it the best?

So, since I am an ACC guy, don’t really have any vested interest in any SEC football programs, save for the fact that the mythical girlfriend is a South Carolina girl, I think I’m just a little bit more qualified to rank the logos of the SEC.  Yes it’s still ultimately a subjective list, but F off, I need something to write about.

From worst to best:

Read more »

Now that’s salty

This is an illustration I did back in the winter, that I had submit to Udon when they were compiling artwork for the Capcom Fighting Tribute book they recently released.  Now anyone who has or has seen the book already knows that I did not make it in.

Admittedly, for someone who has to deal with rejection and criticism on a fairly regular basis in my line of work, this was a tough pill for me to swallow, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t dejected, deflated, and downright resentful for not making it in.  Me, and likely hundreds of other artists who undoubtedly ended up in the same boat.

Sure, I’m not the most talented illustrator out there, and I’m by no means entitled to have been a shoe-in to make it into the book.  I knew this when I decided to put forth the effort to do this in the first place, but there was tactic behind my choice of artwork, where I tried to accentuate strengths and hide weakness.  I went with a lesser-heralded Capcom property like Final Fight, instead of the heavy Street Fighter and Morrigan’s tits AKA Darkstalkers routes that would likely saturate the submission pool, and I took a route of humor, hoping portraying a popular video game trope, like the trash can chicken for full health restoration, illustrated out, might warrant some recognition.

Needless to say, my strategy didn’t work, and my artwork wasn’t good enough for Udon standards.  Sure, perhaps if I were a better practiced illustrator, I might’ve been able to do better.  But still, this particular rejection stung me hard, and I was sad, upset and resentful in this particular instance.  To some degree, I still kind of am, honestly, but I’ve gotten to the point where I can actually look at my submission again, and I’m taking the time to write about it, with a head less clouded than it was back when the results came out.

Basically what really ate at me was the fact that I’ve seen many of Udon’s prior tribute books; they’re often times full of artwork that is breathtaking and mind-blowingly fantastic, but the thing is, it’s painfully obvious that there’s a hefty portion of artwork displayed that show a complete lack of understanding or actual tribute for the properties.  Like you’ll see shit like Ryu fighting Vega, in Blanka’s stage, as if they’re eternal mortal enemies, or stuff that heavily implies that people don’t really understand that Morrigan and Lilith are one and the same and are instead shopping for clothes together as if they’re sisters or BFFs.

The art often times great, but it’s super clear that the people creating them don’t actually know much less care about the properties, as much as they simply want to get their names and creations into a publication.

To me, that’s not really so much of a tribute.

It’s kind of like . . . hiring escorts to attend your party so that it appears that there’s lots of attractive women present.

Ultimately, that’s the thought that went through my head when dealing with this rejection.  I’ve long been a fan of many of Capcom’s properties, I’ve played them to degrees where I know how to make jokes or references that would resonate with those players that are as equally vested, and I really hoped that my strategy of humor from a lesser-heralded franchise just might get me in.

And when I didn’t get in, I wondered just how many hired escorts were?

The thing is, now I’ve seen the book; Jen made it in (deservedly) and got a comped copy.  And going through the book, a lot of my suspicions were comfirmed; it’s heavily weighted in Street Fighter and Darkstalkers, although they make sure to touch as many bases as they can, hitting franchises such as Power Stone, Star Gladiator, Captain Commando, Puzzle Fighter, Pocket Fighter and even Knights of the Round.

However, despite the massive size of the book, there were ultimately only four pieces that were from Final Fight.  Final Fight certainly is no Street Fighter (although most of their characters have crossed into it now), but it’s definitely a greater franchise than like Power Stone or Star Gladiator.  I know the line is murkier that divides FF from SF, and the occasional Cody, Guy, Poison and even one particularly fantastic Rolento showed up in other pieces, but as far as the “just” Final Fight section went, they sure as shit deserved more than just four pieces.

And naturally, perusing through the rest of the book, it was basically more of the same from all the other Udon books.  Artwork, some of it undeniably fantastic, but the equivalent of visual fluff.  Whether it’s an extremely sexy portrait of Morrigan, a colossal mish-mash of the entire Street Fighter cast, how much of Felicia’s genitalia can be shown without showing any genitalia (from Japan, naturally) and shit that’s so abstract, they basically confused their way into the book, there’s a lot of pieces that simply have no clue.

And then there’s the occasional piece where I just straight up think mine was better, but those are way more sparse.

I’m taking nothing away from the artistic talents of the artists of some of these clueless pieces, but some of them are just so painfully obvious that they’ve never played a level of Final Fight or Knights of the Round, and would be dumbfounded if someone told them to rotate a joystick in a hadoken.  But because they can create a really, really sexy drawing or parody a historic piece of art, they can get in.

Yes, this word vomit reeks of sour grapes, and I’ll be the first to admit just how salty I am over not getting into something I really, really wanted to get into.  It wasn’t a goal of getting into any publication (plssss i’ve been there), but getting into this particular publication, which was a tribute to some of my favorite video games, that I wanted to be a part of, to demonstrate my fandom, and be proud to be a part of.

Sure, it’s a no-brainer when I get beat out by professional illustrators, but it really chaps my ass when I see shit like overdone pixel art, or blatant rips from the My Little Pony style or something popular, just themed to Street Fighter get in, then I question the curators at that point, and it makes me skeptical and less inclined to try and participate in anything they call out for in the future.

Either way, this was my submission.  As dejected as I felt when I didn’t make it in, now that I’ve seen the supposed all-star squad that did, frankly I don’t feel so bad about my piece anymore, to where I can look at it without seeing complete failure, and to where I can actually put some words about the experience down for my six readers.  Frankly, I shouldn’t take it so personally or be so shocked if/when I my perceived place at the party is replaced by an attractive hooker instead.

Oh, Atlanta #456

Sometimes when I feel like I have nothing to motivate me to write things, all I have to do is open up the virtual newspapers, and the city will provide.  Typically, I look for one thing that gets the synapses in the head firing for words, but sometimes, there are days like this where there’s so much bullshit and rhetoric to want to call out that I end up with more than one.

Firstly: laughably inaccurate map of “racially diverse” areas throughout the Metropolitan Atlanta area.  (Bizjournals)

I won’t specify which, but I live in one of these blue-shaded areas.  According to the article, the blue-shaded areas signify that “no one race or ethnicity comprises more than 50% of the population.”  All I have to do is drive down my street, and drive past the nearby* school and go to the nearby* grocery store to know that this is irrevocably false.

*relatively

I’m pretty sure the interpretation of the map is just a little bit flipped, and that it’s pretty much the exact opposite of the claim.  Cobb County is pretty white, Gwinnett County is pretty Asian/Hispanic, and South Fulton County is pretty black.

Either that, or it’s the simple fact that this data is based on a census from five years ago.  I remember when the census survey came to me; it was a nondescript piece of mail, that almost didn’t look like it was for real.  Well, it did look like it was for real, but since nowadays so many car dealership and spam mailers try and use the tactic of sending out mail that looks real and legit, I almost considered the census to have been one of those things.

The bottom line is that this map is full of shit, and not even remotely possibly accurate.

Read more »