Free Write Week 24 (June 11 – June 17)

It’s pretty wild to think that I’ve been blogging for 24 straight weeks. If I’m honest, I’m disappointed that my blogging has slowed down and now consists most of my weekly update, my monthly Star Trek review, and monthly movie watch list, but I’m hoping sometime down the road I can dedicate a little more time to my writing. Until then, this will do.

I had a second interview for a job at the local community college. I feel like it went well. It was a panel interview over Teams and everyone seemed super nice. Sadly, I wasn’t feeling my best that day but I think I put up a decent showing. There is some concern over what salary would be offered should the job come my way, but I’m not putting the car before the horse. I’m just taking this one day at a time.

I didn’t apply to too many jobs this week. I needed the mental space to wrap my head around moving back in with my mom and downsizing yet again. I’ve spent a good portion of my adult life living basically out of boxes. Having dealt with a lot of housing issues since my teenage years has left me a bit traumatized. I’m always waiting for the other shoe to drop and I learned its easier to move fast when I don’t own much. So, I maybe went beyond my comfortable level of minimalism just so I could pack all my belongings in a single sedan and leave at any moment.

But over the course of my relationship with Brandy, I let some of that go. I started allowing myself decorative items and I even bought some shelves to display some of my geeky interests. I spent a lot of time curating my shelves and creating some spaces that I enjoyed, and now I guess, I feel somewhat like it was all for nothing. Now, I’m moving into my mom’s exercise room, which is a very tiny room in her house for the foreseeable future. All the stuff I accumulated will find a home in a storage unit and I think deep down I feel like a moron for ever thinking I could actually own some things like that. Like, I should have known life is hard and I need to live lightly. I know it’s not the healthiest thought, but its something I’m dealing with.

The first SRX race was pretty good last week. I missed the heat races, but I saw the main and I liked what I saw. I’m excited to see how it plays out on dirt this weekend at Knoxville.

Brandy and I attended the Art in Bloom exhibit at the NC Museum of Art last weekend. It was pretty neat. Various floral designers created works of art inspired by actual pieces within the museum. It was a nice way to spend a couple of hours and a good distraction for the bad news that came near the weekend.

I discovered Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit’s Reunions album on Spotify this week and absolutely fell in love with Only Children. Wow… what a powerful song.

Free Write Week 23 (June 4 – June 10)

This week, let’s leave the bad news till the end.

I had two phone interviews this week. The first one went well and I now have a second video panel interview and writing prompt to do next week. The second interview was going to be for significantly less money, so I ended up cancelling it. More on the money problems below.

I also had the local school system email me regarding a position I applied for a couple years ago. I re-applied and it looks like it’ll lead to an interview as well. Hopefully, I can make a positive occupational change soon.

There are lots of cool things coming up that I’m afraid I’m going to miss out on. AEW Dynamite comes to Charlotte in July. There is a small comic con next week, a huge comic con in July, and a massive wrestling con in November. I’m really hoping I can manage to make it to something. The comic con in July is very nearby and it takes place two days after the AEW show. They’ve already announced one AEW star, I’m hoping they’ll add more.

I stumbled upon a great little app called Fritter on F-Droid. Fritter allows you to view public Twitter accounts with relative ease and without having an account. I’ve been experimenting using it to keep up with certain things like the before mentioned comic con. I could definitely see this app serving a purpose in my life.

Last weekend, I watched the new Conjuring movie and Saw movie. Both were mediocre at best. AEW aired the worst episode of Dynamite yet so I really felt like I wasted my weekend on pretty meh entertainment. The only saving grace is that Brandy is accompanying me on my re-watch of Better Call Saul, which will hopefully lead into Breaking Bad. I needed some intelligent writing, great acting, and awesome cinematography after that weekend of meh.

I started listening to Fake Doctors, Real Friends and love it. It has definitely earned a place in my podcast rotation and really fit the bill for the type of podcast I was looking for. It helps the work day go by a little easier.

Alright, let’s do this… the bad news.

The punches of 2021 continue coming my way.

To recap, since March:
-My wife was laid off.
-I got a new job that is terrible and only allows me to take vacation days three months out of the year (March/April/May).
-The unemployment office messed up Brandy’s papers so she had to resubmit physical copies which means we still haven’t seen a dime.
-We’ve both had some great interviews that didn’t lead to offers.
-My new job’s health insurance was so expensive I couldn’t add my wife, which was a bummer since the relief act was supposed to cover her COBRA but since I changed jobs she wasn’t eligible.
-There’s been a slew of family drama on both sides.

And now… to top it all off we’re losing our apartment.

Okay, maybe that last sentence was melodramatic. Here’s what happened. Our lease is up in August. Last year our lease went up $23. This year, it’s going up over $200. That means our tiny one bedroom apartment will cost over $1500 a month. The apartment complex claims it’s market value, but I think it has more to do with the fancy apartments that opened up next door and paying for all the electronic door locks they installed.

They said they’d work with us and after not hearing from them for four days, we reached out again. When they finally responded they said they’d drop it $20. Needless to say, we can’t afford this.

We were saving for a house pre-layoff and were hoping to get another year here under our belts and allow the market to settle. This isn’t an option anymore. Not only are we not eligible to buy right now, but we also can’t rent another apartment on my $39,000 salary. We reached out and spoke to some other apartments and well… the timing is just terrible.

We don’t know exactly what we are going to do yet. Unfortunately all my friends live out of state and that leaves just my mom and step-dad close by. I’ve had to live with my mom quite a few times over the past few years and I guess I really hoped I was done with that. I guess life had other plans.

The real estate market here is booming. Most apartment complexes don’t have openings in August and I guess we are just going to have to take our licks. I briefly mentioned this issue to my mom, but I need to go over to her house and talk to my stepdad and see if they will take us in for a bit.

So, the hits just keep on coming. I gotta say, I’m handling it a bit better than expected. I think now I just know things are down and there is no sense in being upset. I just gotta regroup and start over, yet again.

Free Write Week 22 (May 27 – June 3)

I feel like this week has been my best week in quite some time. I wouldn’t say a lot of goof things happened, but I think I’ve grown slightly better at handling all that life is throwing at us right now. I know this may not last, but I want to savour it while I can.

I have two interviews this upcoming week. I am hopeful one of these two jobs will work our for me.

I was thrilled to see Helio Castorneves win the Indy 500 last weekend. From what I watched it was a good race and its nice to see the old guys win. I’ve officially entered the part of my life where I root for the old guys who I watched in my teenage/twenties. There aren’t many around still, but those that are get cheered for by me, no matter what thr sport.

AEW Double or Nothing was arguably the best AEW pay per view yet. Sting actually wrestling and wrestling well was incredible to see. I’ve always been a Stinger and I’m so glad he’s going to be able to go out on his own terms and not be put to pasture like the WWE wanted.

I’m very excited to hear Una McCormack, one of my favorite Star Trek book writers, is working on a Firefly novel.

Thr SRX video game is quite fun Its very similar to the previous Tony Stewart games but handles well and is challenging. Its been about all I’ve played this week, what little that I played.

Movies Watched in May 2021

The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) – This was a surprise. I’ll be honest, I struggle with alot of movies pre-1978. The pacing just kills me. But The Day the Earth Stood Still was great. It reminded me a lot of an episode of The Twilight Zone and overall it was a fantastic movie.

Grownups – I watched this film in 2020 and just felt like watching it again. I needed something mindless and fun and it was just what I wanted.

The Benchwarmers – After finishing up Grownups, I decided to give The Benchwarmers a shot. I have this mini goal to watch all of the Happy Madison films and this was one I hadn’t seen before. I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it. Like Grownups, it was simple, stupid, but fun.

Zookeeper – Another Happy Madison film, this one was okay. Actually, the first half was pretty solid but it really started dragging by the end. Definitely not one I’d watch again.

Senseless – I loved this movie when I saw it back in the late 90’s, and when I saw it streaming on HBO I knew a revisit was in order. To my surprise, I loved it again. Like some of the other films I watched this month, this was a fun, goofy film with a great performance by Marlon Wayans.

Spontaneous – This film has been on my watch list for a while. It was written by the same guy who did The Babysitter, so I knew I’d appreciate the humor. To my surprise, the film is actually quite deep and sad. It’s this weird mixture of smart-ass nerd comedy with existential questions about what it means to live. It was not what I was expecting, but it was a solid flick and well worth my time.

Star Trek V – Welp… you probably saw my Year of Star Trek, and if not I’ll save ya some reading…. it sucked.

Days of Thunder – I’ve seen this film a couple dozen times and it never grows old. Always a classic.

Free Write Week 21 (May 21 – May 27)

Welp, no good news on the job front his week. I didn’t get the job I interviewed with last week and Brandy hasn’t heard back from her interviews either. We’re also still waiting for unemployment to get their crap together. Maybe next week, I’ll have some better news in this department.

I spent some time listening to The Dale Jr Download podcast, which I’ve enjoyed a lot. I was never a huge Junior fan, but he interviews some legends of NASCAR and does a great job at it. I’ve struggled finding podcasts I can tolerate lately, but this has been a great one.

I also discovered that MRN has podcast versions of old NASCAR races. I grew up watching NASCAR all the time and if we were traveling or out shopping, we always had MRN on and was listening to the race. I’ll never forget sitting in the back of our van listening to Michael Waltrip win 1996 Winston. Those broadcasters were amazing at painting an incredible picture of what was happening on the track and for background noise, it’s been wonderful listening to these old races while at work.

I watched the final episode of season one of Debris, which introduced a ton of questions. Then NBC cancelled it. You’d think I would have learned my lesson about watching network sci-fi. I think from now on, I’m not going to invest into shows like that until after they’ve been renewed. It’s just not worth the frustration and quite honestly, it ends up being a waste of time. It was like reading 75% of a book.

I also caught up on the final episodes of The Conners. I’m hoping the show improves a bit next season. I feel like the production during COVID mixed up the pacing and storytelling and it felt a bit disjointed. The previous season was more solid and coherent. Although, I’ve loved seeing Lecy Goranson really coming into her own and steal every scene that she is in.

I’m thrilled to have a three day weekend this weekend. I’m hoping to catch up on some rest, do some job applying, watch a little racing, watch some AEW, play a little SRX Racing, and make the best of this extended time off.

A Year in Star Trek Movies: The Final Frontier

My History with the Film:
This is where my Star Trek movie memory begins to get fuzzy. I know I started this film, because I rented it at the same time as The Voyage Home, but I’m not sure if I ever completed it. I feel like I started watching it and fell asleep and maybe went back and finished it up. But I’m not sure, so viewing was like a first time watch for me.

What The Film is About (Non-Spoiler):
The Enterprise runs into Spock’s half brother who is attempting to locate God.

What I Liked About It:
-The opening scene looks like something out of a twisted Lawrence of Arabia and not Star Trek, but in a good way. It’s beautifully shot and is by far the most interesting shot of the film. Sadly, it’s all down hill from here.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-Everything else.

I figured this film would be rough, I just didn’t realize it would be that rough. There’s basically nothing redeemable about this film. The characters are bland, the humor is bad, the tone, the pacing, the plot, hell even the special effects. I understand that this film had a very troubled production and I even read that the producers kept slashing the budget because of how difficult William Shatner was to work with and I’m not surprised. This film is by far the worse Star Trek movie I’ve seen and definitely up there with some of the worse films I’ve ever seen. Wow.

Free Write Week 20 (May 14 – May 20)

I had a phone interview which led to a Microsoft Teams interview this week. I don’t think I’ll get offered the job, but just having the interview helped me feel a little less trapped in this current job, which continues to get worse. My wife also had an interview this week and has another scheduled for Monday. I’m hoping things are turning around for us and we can get back on our feet shortly.

I mentioned Intergalactic, a British sci-fi series a few weeks ago that I was excited about. Well, I gave the first episode a shot and turned it off. Wow, was it pretty bad and not in a fun way.

I’ve been making my way through Star Trek Picard: The Dark Veil, which is a Riker/Troi story based in the Picard universe. So far, it’s pretty amazing and I’m enjoying it. I’m hoping after I finish it to check out Andy Weir’s new book Project Hail Mary, which I’m hearing great things about.

I’ve been playing WRC 9 quite a bit on the PS5 and I’m looking forward to the SRX Racing game that is releasing next Friday on PS4. It’s developed by Monster Games, who did the Tony Stewart sprint car games which I loved. This looked like the next generation in that franchise with the addition of Stadium Trucks and the SRX series. Plus the $40 price tag warms my heart and helps my wallet. If I get half the amount of time out of it as I did the last game in the series, it’ll be well worth it.

The Fayetteville Comic Con is running next month and they recently announced Gigi Edgely as a guest. I’m a big fan and have heard she’s one of the best guests you can meet a comic con, but I’m still quite skeptical about people social distancing and being crammed in such a tight place. It doesn’t look like the con is offering photo ops, which seems wise to protect the celebrities, but I’m curious to see how it all plays out. There’s a wrestling convention in late July as well as Galaxy Con which I’d love to attend, but I just don’t know how I feel about those sorts of crowds right now.

Free Write Week 19 (May 7 – May 13)

Friday, marked Brandy and I’s six month wedding anniversary. In order to celebrate the ocassion, she whipped together a very fun 1950’s sci-fi drive-in style date for us. She whipped up together a drive-in style dinner completed with hot dogs, hamburgers, french fries, pop corn, pretzels, candy, and more. We watched some vintage 50’s sci-fi movie trailers while snacking and then watched The Day the Earth Stood Still, which was actually very good. It reminded me a lot of the Twilight Zone. It was a great way to celebrate our first six months and a very fun, relaxing, at-home date.

I spent some time listening to a couple of podcasts while working this week. One is an old favorite of mine that I’m a few years behind, Whats This Tao All About? The other is Another Lousy Millennium, which is a Futurama podcast hosted by two brothers. I’ve discovered an appreciation for Futurama this past year and this podcast is really helping me enjoy the episodes even more. It’s the perfect little distraction for my life right now. Speaking of Futurama, I’ve sorta embraced this Futurama poster as my tagline in life right now:

Not much else happened. I’m still just grinding away at this job and hoping a little luck will blow my way.

Free Write Week 18 (April 30 – May 6)

This week has gone about like the last two weeks. I’m not very happy and I’m not feeling my best, but I’m surviving. Actually, surviving might be the best way to describe how I’m living right now. I’m just getting by the best that I can, one day at a time.

I caught up on Debris over the weekend and the show really took off around episode seven or so. It reminded me a lot of Fringe when it first began and I was wondering if the show was ever going to actually go anywhere, but then when it got going it got good fast. Debris worked the same way, I just hope it retained enough of an audience (or gains one based on word of mouth) to get a season renewal. We all know how broadcast sci-fi usually goes.

Brandy and I picked up It Takes Two, an adorable couch co-op game that deal with some unusual video game subject matter: divorce. I highly recommend you take a look at the great trailer that sold me on the game to begin with, but in a nutshell: a couple announce they are going to divorce and their daughter wishes upon a romance help book to save their marriage. The couple then wakes up as two little doll caricatures that the daughter created and are forced to learn to collaborate and compromise thanks to the guide of this love book which now talks and walks around. It’s like a Pixar movie come to life and the game play is a lot of fun.

Playstation Plus also gave away Battlefield V and Wreckfest this week. I’ve played Wreckfest before, but never finished it up so I’m excited to dive back in. Thus far the PS5 improvements are minimal and the controller sound is pretty terrible, but it’s still a fun game by the makers of Flatout.

I loved Battlefield 1 and have been curious about Battlefield V and well… it’s not bad, it’s just not great either. I do love the loud war time chaos sound mixing that goes on and I’m sure I’ll play an occasional match or two. Can’t beat free. I still think I prefer Battlefront.

My buddy Michael has released his latest wrestling book that takes a look at the history of Limitless Wrestling out of Maine. Having read this book, I can verify it was a colossal undertaking and is thorough as can be. It’s an impressive story and Michael breaks downs all the results, wrestler profiles, championships, and history of the promotion. It truly is an impressive book and one I’d recommend to fans of indie wrestling, especially Limitless.

It’s also worth mentioning that at one point the book was the second best selling wrestling book on Amazon, only behind Drew McIntyre’s book. That’s huge!

I’ve started meditating again on a regular basis. It’s been years since I’ve gone more than a day or two, but I’m on day six as of this writing of doing ten minutes a night. I’m proud of this and am hoping it’ll help make me feel just a little better.

I’ve been reading Rob Bell’s What We Talk About When We Talk About God and A Field Guide to a Happy Life by Mossimo Piglucci. Both are fascinating reads and ones I’m enjoying quite a bit. I don’t have as much time to dedicate to my reading, but I try to average at least one chapter a day if I can.

I’m intrigued by Alexandra Aja’s latest sci-fi film Oxygen. I’ve always enjoyed his work and this looks to be just as impressive.

I’m also interested in this quirky British sci-fi show called Intergalactic.

I also had fun experimenting with this adult bedtime story which creates a space travel story. It worked quite well and I’m interested in trying some others.

Movies Watched in April

Max Payne – I’ve been wanting to watch this film since it came out. I’m a huge Max Payne fan and I knew it wasn’t well received, but I’ve always been curious. I should have stayed curious. This was horrendous.

Evil Dead (1981) – This will go down as one of my favorite horror movie watching experiences. I watched Evil Dead on VHS for the first time in a very long time and I enjoyed the hell out of it. What a great film that still holds up and looks great on VHS.

Clerks – Once Kevin Smith was my favorite director and Clerks was one of my favorite films. I haven’t seen it in a very long time and I really enjoyed revisiting it. It made me laugh quite a bit despite knowing all the jokes.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage HomeSee my A Year in Star Trek review.

Frozen in Time: Dawson City – This documentary was fantastic and slow. It tells the story of the small Yukon town of Dawson City where silent films went to die. It was the last stop on the distribution ring and a ton of the films were buried in an old swimming pool hole. The permafrost preserved these treasures and tons of of lost films were found. This documentary is made like a silent movie and is very arthouse, but interesting.

Star Wars Episode One: Cloak of Deception (Phantom Menace Fan Edit)/Star Wars Episode Two: The Approaching Storm (Attack of the Clones Fan Edit)/Star Wars Episode Three: Labyrinth of Evil (Revenge of the Sith Fan Edit) – I wanted to watch some Star Wars and had heard good things about these fan edits. I gave them a shot and boy was I surprised at how much they improved the films. I was so impressed I almost want to buy a blu-ray burner just to preserve these as the definitive version of Star Wars for myself.

The Final Terror – A low budget 80’s horror film by the director Under Siege starring Daryl Hannah and Joe Pantoliano. It was slow and not worth the 83 minutes I spent on it.

Mortal Kombat – This wasn’t bad. I definitely wouldn’t say it was great either, but I felt like it was a good step in the right direction. I’m interested in seeing some sequels.