A Year in Star Trek Movies: The Voyage Home

My History with the Film:
When my nerd mentor Eric was originally selling me on watching the Star Trek films, The Voyage Home was his go to film. He described it as a comedic take on Star Trek and told me that it took place in modern times which sounded fascinating. He also told me about a convoluted story about whales and “nuclear wessles”. None the less, it excited me and The Voyage Home was the Star Trek film I couldn’t wait to see.

What The Film is About (Non-Spoiler):
A mysterious probe consisting of extinct whale noises forces the Enterprise to jump back in time to 1986 to find a couple of whales to bring back to the present.

What I Liked About It:
-The Voyage Home is fun and it never takes its self too seriously. Yet, it’ doesn’t fall into parody territory either. It’s an interesting concept for a Star Trek movie that is full of good fish out of water moments. Kudos to the script and cast for respecting the franchise and yet having a good time with it.

-There are no space fights, no explosions, and barely any aliens, yet the film still feels Star Trek through and through.

-The humor is pretty spot on in this film and you can tell everyone is having a good time. It’s hard not to smile and laugh throughout the film.

-The special effects are really good. There is one fantastic uncloaking scene that really looks amazing.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The film drags a bit towards the end, but this has more to do with pacing of the movies from the 80’s vs. today.

I was excited to get to this film and it holds up quite well. It’s a fun diversion from the overly serious Search for Spock and I thought the entire cast did a great job. Everyone got time to shine and that is something that most of the films have been missing.

It’s bit over-the-top and absurd at times, but it’s fun and ultimately that’s what I look for in a movie going experience. I’m excited to get V out of the way and make my way into The Next Generation films.

Free Write Week 14 (Apr 2 – Apr 8) 

I began this week in a much better mood with a little hope in my heart. I’m hoping April is going to be a big turnaround month for me.

Due to a planned week of vacation, this is pretty much my final week of work. I have to work this Monday, but then I’m off until I start my new position. I cannot express how grateful I am for a new opportunity and a chance to do a bit of a reset in my professional life.

So, I learned something new this week that just blew my friggin mind. Do you remember those extra pieces that came with in the Ninja Turtle action figures that the weapons were attached to? The ones we all threw away? Apparently they were actually weapon racks. Consider my mind blown.

Last week, a lot of people were up in arms about the closing of the PS3, PSP, and Vita stores, and rightfully so. As we continue to transition towards a digital future, we are at risk more and more at losing various forms of media and art due to incompatibility with future technology as well as censorship. (I recommend this excellent assessment by Joe Bob Briggs regarding how slow corporate censorship is taking over.)

I didn’t think I’d be too upset about the PS3 store closure since most of the games I play have been ported or remastered since that generation. Then I decided to take a look at the list of games that will be gone forever and I found that I owned three of them, the most important being The Last Guy.

The Last Guy was a quirky, PSN title that was one of the first games I bought for my PS3, and a game I sunk many hours into. I’ll be honest, I forgot it even existed until reading that article, but I did feel a twinge of sadness knowing it’ll be lost forever and I’ll never get a chance to play it again.

I wish I had a solution to problems like these, but I don’t. Microsoft can beat their chest all day long about how they appreciate games from the past (and let’s give credit where credit’s due, they do a better job than Sony and Nintendo) but the backwards compatibility log still leaves a lot of be desired. If the Xbox Series X played NHL Hitz and all the Tony Hawk games, I would have bought it over the PS5. But it doesn’t, and so my Xbox 360 remains in my closet, where it gets pulled out from time to time when I want to enjoy some of my favorite games.

One of my favorite horror actresses, Danielle Harris (Halloween 4, Hatchet II, Wish Upon a Star) is reprising her role of Molly from Roseanne in an upcoming episode of The Conners. As much as I like Danielle in horror films, I’m always happy to see her in other roles like Roseanne and Psych. She’s a talented actress that I feel gets overlooked due to her horror scream queen status. I love Roseanne and The Conners, so I look forward to this upcoming episode.

I’ve been flirting with making an old school HTML site for several years now. The most recent version of the site I’ve kept in my work email and about once a year, I’d tweak a couple things and then zip it back up and forget about it. I finally decided it was time to unleash it upon the world. It’s called 90’s Therapy and it’s not something I plan on putting a lot of time into (at least not right now) but it’s a fun, quirky, side project for me. I’m just happy it’s finally online and not rotting in my email.

I have a lot of fun keeping things super simple and just creating like I used to.

Paramount Plus hosted a First Contact Day celebration which consisted of trailers and panels for the upcoming Star Trek shows. I was disappointed we didn’t have any footage from Brave New World, but the season four of Discovery trailer impressed me as well as the season two trailer for Picard. I’m also excited to watch more Lower Decks and glad it got a renewal.

I know a lot of Trek fans don’t love the new stuff, but I really do. I’m also impressed with Paramount’s ability to support the franchise with comic/novel tie-ins and physical releases of their shows. In my opinion, they have a much tighter and proper grasp on the property in comparison to Disney and Star Wars.

We spent Easter Sunday at my mom’s house where the highlight of the day was a delicious salmon fillet that Brandy grilled. It was by far the best fish I’ve ever tasted.

The lowlight/most memorable part will be that my mom’s new golf cart broke down and we were forced to push it quite a long distance and up a relatively steep hill. My mom took this picture of Brandon, myself, my brother, and his boyfriend shoving that beast uphill while she sat cozy in the seat and steered.

Recently, I’ve struggled with continuity and canon when diving into various fandoms. Marvel has made it so difficult to truly watch everything (and remember it) that I almost always have to seek out some sort of recap video before starting a new series like Wandavision or a new Marvel movie. Star Wars isn’t much better with the Legends continuity. They bring back the same characters and some of the same situations and just retell those stories in yet another canon so it’s hard to keep track of everything that is going on (or has gone on.)

Star Trek also has a recently rebooted their canon of books since the new series Picard is now the true canon and all of the tie-in novels for Discovery is considered canon until contradicted.

This is a ton to keep up with and a bit ridiculous. I’ve always been a bit of a completionism so I like to get in on the ground floor and see it all, but I realized as I’ve gotten older that is just impossible. Just this week I found myself trying to find a guide of what I needed to watch in preparation to watch The Bad Batch in May, and it finally dawned on me that this was supposed to be fun and entertainment. I shouldn’t be forcing myself to catch up and keep up if it takes away some of the joy. I can just watch The Bad Batch as it airs and I’m sure they’ll provide enough backstory that I can follow along. If I find myself loving it, I can always go back and revisit the previous tie-in episodes.

I bring all this up, because I read a decent article on Wired that discussed this today. I will admit, the author’s tone is a bit off-putting, but I felt like he did a great job of explaining why continuity ultimately does not matter and why a bloated canon is not necessarily a good thing.

Dr. Pepper Zero Sugar is my favorite diet soft drink in a very long time. I love it almost as much as Diet Wild Cherry Pepsi and that’s saying something.

A Year in Star Trek Movies: The Search for Spock

My History with the Film:
Eric was the one who taught me that I had to lower my expectations for every other Star Trek movie, and so, I went into The Search for Spock expecting something more along the lines of The Motion Picture vs. The Wrath of Khan. Luckily for me, the film wasn’t nearly that bad, but was a noticeable dip in quality compared to the previous film.

What The Film is About (Non-Spoiler):
The Enterprise heads back to Genesis after receiving some intel that Spock may be alive.

What I Liked About It:
-I was worried the pacing of this film was going to be more in line with The Original Motion Picture vs. The Wrath of Khan, but was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t. The film actually moves along at a nice pace and is anchored by a strong villain, two concurrent storylines, and some impressive visual effects.

-Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon and the villain sounds like a stretch, but early on they show his ruthlessness and all illusions that this is a version of Doc Brown in Klingon makeup go out the door. He actually makes for a very formidable enemy for Captain Kirk to take on.

-This is very much a Captain Kirk and the movie doesn’t suffer for it. The crew is there in minimal capacity and does a good job when needed.

– The movie doesn’t shy away from violence or death and it feels more grounded because of that.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The last ten minutes drag big time. There are a lot of quirky set pieces but the ceremony scene just never seems to end. I feel like it hurts the film quite a bit as I found myself wondering when it was all going to end.

-The replacement of Kristie Alley was a disappointment. I thought Robin Curtis did a great job, but she should have been a new character. Her connection to David was really irrelevant in the story.

I enjoyed The Search for Spock a lot more than I expected to. Is it a great movie? No, but it was an interesting enough film and worthy of a watch. I feel like if they were going to bring Spock back, this was as realistic of a way as possible and it didn’t feel too forced.

Overall, I liked The Search of Spock but I doubt I’ll ever revisit it again.

Free Write Week 13 (Mar 26 – Apr 1)

Well, I almost missed this week’s entry and I was okay with it. It’s been one hell of a week, but I feel like I have some things worth sharing.

Normally, I update this post throughout the week whenever I run across something interesting or have something to say. It sorta serves a less instant Twitter account for me. But after Friday, I didn’t feel like writing and I definitely didn’t feel like sharing anything that was going on.

I mentioned last week we had some life changing stuff on the horizon, and well… it came. On Friday, my wife was laid off due to a lack of work prompted by the pandemic. Being laid off is never a fun ordeal, but her previous employer made it especially difficult by handling it with the care and organization of a three year on a sugar high. It was downright distasteful at times and that only made the situation that much worse.

I won’t go into all of the details, but the information was relayed that a meeting was coming on Monday of last week, scheduled for Wednesday, then rescheduled for Friday, then the time changed on Friday, but the layoff didn’t occur to Monday. So there was a lot of time to stew, worry, ponder, and just stress the hell out.

Once we managed to handle the event in itself, my father happened to come into town which is not a good thing for my stress level. My dad and I do not have the best relationship and he’s the only person who my mood changes almost instantly when I’m around. I had given him a heads up that the weekend was probably not going to be the best due to the pending layoff, but he still came and I felt the need to see him since it had been almost a year since I last saw him.

The visits with my father weren’t terrible, but with my work going so terrible the last few weeks, dealing with the layoff, and then him, it was just a lot. I was mentally wiped and exhausted. So my normal watching fun movies, doing nerdy stuff, and enjoying pop culture all had to take a back seat to me just trying to keep my sanity.

Thing began to boil over Wednesday, which was my day off. My father was still in town, I had a job interview to do, and I hadn’t felt like I had more than five minutes to just breathe since last week. So, I woke up at 10 AM and decided I should clear my schedule. Cancel this job interview (I had just done one the day before on my lunch break at work), tell my father I couldn’t meet him again, and just sit at home and relax. You can only scrap the bottom of the barrel so much before the barrel starts to break down.

As I sat on the couch with my wife, sipping my Coke Zero and wondering why the hell life had to suck so bad, my phone rang. I answered it and was delighted to hear the lady whom I interviewed with the previous day on the other line. Long story short: she offered me almost $10,000 more than I was expecting and almost $10,000 than I make now. Benefits are completely paid for and the job is about 1.5 miles from my home. The hours are good, the people were nice, and it was a dream come true. And honestly, most importantly, it gets me out of the hospital which has slowly turned into one of the most toxic and dysfunctional places I’ve ever worked.

So, after a very long week, my week ended on a high note. I don’t have any quirky pop culture references or opinions on any new movies, but I do have a little light at the end of this tunnel which is really all I need.

Movies Watched in March 

The Mummy (1999) – It’s been many years since I’ve watched The Mummy and I gotta say, it held up way better than I expected. The Mummy was one of my first DVDs and I watched it a lot when it was first released, but I never really felt compelled to since. Over the past six months, it’s been on my mind and I finally sat down and was blown away by how entertained I was. I was worried that the CGI would be too terrible, but surprisingly there is so many practical effects it’s easier to accept some dated CGI.

Beverly Hills Cop – Another film I haven’t seen in a very long time. I purchased a DVD set of all three films in the franchise on Black Friday last year and decided on a whim to watch this one. Wow, another movie that holds up quite well and was a blast to watch. I forgot how funny this film was and I had no idea that Jonthan Banks, best known for his work on Breaking Bad/Better Call Saul, played one of the main villains!

Hooking Up – This film has sat on my Hulu Watchlist for quite some time and I decided to give it a shot late one night. It was a surprisingly good road trip film that could arguably be called a rom com. The two leads were fantastic and this is one of those movies that went under the radar but is totally worth a watch.

Kid90 – This is one of the most disappointing films I’ve watched in a while. It’s a documentary about Soleil Moon Frye (Punky Brewster) and her friends in the 90’s. She took a video camera everywhere with her and has hours of voicemails and video footage of celebrity kids behind the scenes.

The problem with this film is it really doesn’t say anything. Its sorta glamorizes the drugs and partying that went on, but never correlates that with the death of so many of her peers. I couldn’t help but watch this documentary and think to myself, “This is a documentary made a by an out of touch celebrity with nothing to say.”

There is no reason for this movie to exist and I’d love to have my 112 minutes back. I should have trusted my gut and turned it off after the first twenty minutes.

Palm Springs – I finally watch this movie! I’ve been waiting for six months and I gotta say, it lived up to my expectations. It’s a fun, simple movie with a lot to say about the minutia of life.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) – I’ve loved this movie since I was a kid and I still love it. It was great to see it on the big screen.

House Arrest – This was one of those films I watched a ton as a kid. It seemed to always be on some movie channel and every time I ran across it I’d watch it. Surprisingly, it held up quite well. I found myself smiling and enjoying the hijinks of these kids as they lock their parents in the basement.

Ladybugs – After enjoying House Arrest, I decided I wanted to seek out some other films I tended to watch as a kid whenever they were on TV. Ladybugs was one of them. This simple, cute film isn’t a great film by any means but it was entertaining. I’m glad I got a chance to revisit it.

Keeping the Faith – I remember this film coming out while I was working at Blockbuster, but I never got a chance to watch it. It’s been on my list of movies to watch for years now and when I finally ran across a copy of it on DVD at Goodwill I snatched it up, brought it home, and watched it.

It’s a fun, cute movie with three great leads and a brave script that discusses religion in a three dimensional way.

Unhinged – This was the surprise of the month. I enjoyed the heck out of this thriller/horror film. It’s a simple concept and the cinematography was quite impressive at times.

Burn – This was the biggest disappointment of the month. I’ve been wanting to watch this movie for years now and after I finally got a chance to sit down and watch it I found it to be quite lacking. The first thirty-five minutes are great and reminded me a bit of May, but then it loses its focus and there just wasn’t enough substance to justify the run-time.

Tammy and the T-Rex – I’m not a fan of really bad films, but I had an urge to watch some Joe Bob Briggs so I started with his most recent special which began with this film. It was enjoyable for a terrible, low budget film.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock – See my upcoming review.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets – This was the second Harry Potter film in our quest to watch them all this year. I enjoyed this film more than the first, despite a couple of plot holes, and a scene or two that just didn’t make much sense. I have a feeling the book fills in all these holes.

Free Write Week 12 (Mar 19 – Mar 25)

It’s not the name they call you that’s important, but the name you answer to.

-Madison Cowan

Last week, Syfy announced that it had renewed Resident Alien for a second season. The trailers look great and I’m a huge fan of Alan Tudyk, so it seemed natural that I’d watch this show right off the bat. But I was skeptical. The quality of entertainment Syfy puts out varies quite a bit, and they are quick to cancel a show just as it really seems to be hitting its stride. Nonethelesss, after a great recommendation by Michael and the second season renewal, I decided to dive in right and I’m so happy I did. I have a feeling that this will end up being my favorite show of the year. It’s quirky, fun, positive, and really speaks to my sense of humor. With that being said, it’s definitely not for everybody.

This weekend marks the first time that the NASCAR Cup teams have run a race on dirt since 1970 in Raleigh, North Carolina. I’m quite excited about it. It’s going to be quite unpredictable, plus they took Bristol, one of the better short tracks, and just covered it in dirt. The Trucks race on Saturday night and Cup on Sunday. I’ll definitely be tuning in for a bit of both time permitting.

In anticipation of my PS5 arriving, I bought an extra controller and picked up a copy of Overcooked: All You Can Eat. It’s funny, but that game is the reason I even bought a PS5. When I first started dating my wife, I bought her a copy of Overcooked 2 for her birthday. She wasn’t sure what to expect, but several hundred hours later (and total Overcooked exhaustion on my part) we had destroyed and four starred most of the game.

Overcooked: All You Can Eat is a remastered version of both Overcooked games in 4K with lots of bonuses. So, we will once again, be chopping, dicing, throwing, and cooking in and attempt to beat the clock and get out orders. This time with the new Playstation controllers which supposed are quite impressive.

There aren’t any PS5 exclusives that I’m really excited about right now. I am excited about faster loading times and hopefully a quieter system since my PS4 Pro sounds like a jet engine at times. I do have a few games that have free PS5 updates such as: Maneater, Control, Tony Hawk 1+2, and Mortal Kombat 11. I held off on playing Control since I heard it really pushed the limits of PS4, so it’ll be nice to dive into that on the PS5.

Until last year, I never really thought much about the mail service. It was just one of those silent operations that never affected me unless things went wrong. Now, every day is a struggle with USPS. Packages aren’t even close to delivered on time (despite being marked delivered), mails ending up in the wrong places, nothing is handled with care… it’s frustrating. Then when you add the good old porch pirates, it makes things worse. I’ve had to resort to sending any important packages not delivered by Amazon to my mom’s house.

I had a very rough work week. It seems that things are continuously getting worse and worse at work and I realize the writing is on the wall. I’ve upped my job hunting and am hopeful something will come up soon.

I re-subscribed to Shudder this week when I got an inkling to watch some Joe Bob Briggs. I decided to start with the most recent movie which was the R rated version of Tammy and the T-Rex starring Denise Richards and Paul Walker. Boy is it terrible. I’m not a huge fan of absolute trash movies, but Joe Bob makes them go down easier.

I gotta say, I am thankful that Shudder exists and they gave Joe Bob a platform to perform once again. There is just something so familiar and nostalgic about listening to his random rants and musings while watching a movie. I’m hoping to be a little better this year at watching his streams live. It’s just one of those little “event” sort of things that I know I would enjoy. Don’t get me wrong, I love that everything is on demand, but nothing feels special when it’s on demand.

I’m still struggling to get into a single book. I’m not sure why I can’t focus. I got halfway through my Nathan Lowell book and I hit a wall. I tried to start a couple other books and just couldn’t get going. I’m not sure if its stress or a lack of focus or what, but I really wish something would hold my attention.

I have a three day weekend starting today. There is going to be a pretty big life changing hurdle we are going to have to overcome sometime today, but maybe I’ll discuss that more next week. My only other plans this weekend are to watch a horror film called Burn that I bought on DVD. I heard about this film a few years ago and after waiting for what seemed like forever, I forgot it existed. Then six months ago I remembered and went hunting for it, and instead found a movie called Open 24 Hours which also features a quirky girl working overnight in a gas station. I assumed it was the same movie, but it wasn’t.

A few weeks ago, I ran across a DVD cover for Burn and realized I had watched the wrong movie. So I ordered a copy from Amazon and this weekend I’m finally going to close the book on my several yearlong quest to see this low budget thriller that probably wasn’t worth the trouble.

Also, I may try to finish up Resident Alien and maybe watch Star Trek III since I’m running out of time to get that in since next week is the end of the month.

Free Write Week 11 (Mar 12 – 18)

Brandy and I went to the Alamo Drafthouse and watched Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles on Sunday. It was my first time seeing it on the big screen since I was a kid and it was a great time. The movie holds up quite well and seeing the costumes on the big screen was great. I couldn’t help but be impressed with how well they moved and how real they looked. It’s one of those films that you watch and makes you wonder why anyone would waste their time with CGI.

I bought Mortal Kombat 11 when it first came out but barely played it. Fighting games on a gamepad have always been a struggle for me and to be honest, I’m just not that good at them. After seeing the new Mortal Kombat trailer, I decided to pull out the game and give it another try. I’ve gotten a bit further into it, but I’m still not blown away and the storyline is just not my cup of tea. I would like to buy some of the DLC though, the idea of having Rambo, The Terminator, and Spawn beating the hell out of each other excites me.

I’m still getting quite a bit of use out of Discovery+. They seem to be better about adding new episodes of shows that are currently airing and that is what I want from this service. I was surprised to learn that the guys behind NBC’s Must See TV had a hand in the launch.

On the flip side, I went ahead and signed up for a free month of Paramount+ and I was massively underwhelmed. So far, it truly is a re-skinned version of CBS All Access. Almost all of the movies streaming are already streaming on Prime and outside of Star Trek, I don’t have a reason to ever pay for this service.

A new group has purchased Toys R Us and are planning to re-open. Personally, I’d love to see this happen, but I’m not holding out much hope. Over the years, I’ve heard similar relaunch announcements for Service Merchandise, Montgomery Wards, and Circuit City, none of which have amounted to much.

Speaking of stores that no longer exist, my childhood mall closed its doors on January 31st. I visited it a few times in the fall, but once FYE closed its doors I didn’t have much of a reason to go. The mall is being redeveloped into Epic Games’ new headquarters.

I know, because if I am special (if I am especially talented or especially brave, for example) then I can justify my self-worth. Because I somehow believe that my self-worth is tied up with being more successful or being more talented than other people. But of course, this is a terribly weak and flawed idea, because there will always be other people who are smarter and more talented and more successful than me.

Special by Rebecca Toh

I enjoyed this little tribute to Fry’s Electronics.

I’m not holding my breath until I see it in person, but I did finally manage to order a PS5 this week. I’m excited to check it out when it gets delivered in 2-3 weeks.

The weather called from some serious tornados on Thursday, so they closed down my department at work at noon. The tornados never came close to where I live. In fact, it didn’t even rain. However, the extra time at home gave me some time to catch up on some TV shows and even snag a PS5. I hopped online and saw Walmart had them in stock again and after fifteen minutes I managed to get on into my cart and check out.

I’m the type of guy who doesn’t get excited until I see it in person, but hopefully in the next 2-3 weeks I’ll have a shiny new PS5. Now I just gotta figure out where the hell I can fit that massive console.

Discovery+ put up a new show called Expedition Back to the Future with Josh Gates and Christopher Lloyd. They go across America to track down the original De Loreans used in the Back to the Future movies. It’s a fun little series if you are a fan of Back to the Future and features some great cameos.

AEW Dynamite featured one of my favorite women’s matches ever this week: a Lights Out match between Thunder Rosa and Britt Baker. The two women went out and tore down the house. I wasn’t expecting that much out Britt Baker but she really showed grit and her improvement over the past year. I’m hoping this match’s momentum will lead to more time and effort being put into the women’s division.

Carolina Fear Fest is planning on running their convention in May. I was excited to attend this convention last year before it was cancelled and part of me is curious about how it will go this year. They’ve announced a couple of actors/actresses the most popular being Felissa Rose from Sleepaway Camp, but I’m just not sure how you can safely run a convention during a pandemic. In fact, nothing has really been said about any precautions which makes me think I’m going to have to sit this year out.

I’ve been waiting for a price drop on Streets of Rage 4 and this week I was rewarded. I put down my money and my only regret is not paying full price sooner. The game is absolutely gorgeous and brings back those button mashing memories. I find the difficulty to be about perfect for me and the soundtrack is incredible. This game took me by total surprise. I bought it for nostalgia and got so much more.

The Pittsburgh Steelers are super tight this year on cap space and the team has had to let go some decent players in order to stay under. Even Ben Roethlisberger had to rework his contract just to keep some of the team together. One of the players everyone expected to leave was star wide receiver Ju Ju Smith Schuster. I was kinda bummed because I always liked Ju Ju. Well, imagine my surprise when he turned down big offers from the Eagles, Ravens, and Chiefs just to stay in Pittsburgh. Crazy stuff and I love it. I became a fan of the Steelers because of the way they do business and it’s awesome to see a player like Ju Ju sticking with the franchise.

Balance in Blogging

Last year, I started a blog called Dark Thoughts. It’s not one I share and it’s the closest thing I have to a true free write journal. It’s a place for me to write about whatever anonymously. 

I haven’t updated the site since December when I focused in on putting all my attention into re-booting this blog. Since then, my dark little spot on the web has been left to collect cobwebs. On it are various rants, complaints, and frustrations that seemed important at the time, but now looking back I realize they were mostly trivial.

Last night, I had trouble sleeping and I woke up not in the best of moods.  I let in a little negativity before bed and that led to an onslaught of negative emotions. I had so many thoughts frustrating me that I wanted to let them all out. So, this morning I started writing and I began to feel better. I purged some of that negativity and intended on posting it here, but I ultimately decided against it. It just doesn’t fit with the vibe of this site. There was nothing productive or all that interesting about what I wrote. It was just a man dealing with getting older and the frustrations and self-doubt that comes with that.

I decided it would fit better on my dark site, where all my negative thoughts and emotions go to exist. I don’t disregard them or pretend like they don’t exist, I just put them somewhere that has less of a spotlight than say here. It’s my way of processing them and something I need to use more.

I realized that I get frustrated at times when I journal because so much of it comes off negative. I really want balance in my writing. But today, I realized that I have that. I have two blogs that represent the good and the bad. I tend to share more of the good with the people I like and I keep the bad to myself, because let’s be honest, no one wants to read someone ranting. Nonetheless, I have an outlet for writing that fits either category and it’s nice that I spend more time and energy here on the good instead of the bad.

I didn’t set out to do it this way, but this is just what happened. I makes me think about the harmony of good and bad (or positive and negative) co-existing and how addressing it each one is necessary in order to feel whole. 

Free Write Week 10 (Mar 4 – 11)

I’ve been having some problems with my comments. For some reason, they are now turned off by default when I publish a post. I have to remember to log back in and do a Quick Edit to turn them back on. I’m not sure what is going on, but I’m hoping this latest WordPress update will help. If you feel like leaving a comment and the options not there, check back in a little while and hopefully I’ll remember to have it fixed.

So, my favorite movie theater, The Alamo Drafthouse has filed for bankruptcy and was sold to an investment group. I’m not sure what this means for the future of my local theater but I hope they stay open and don’t change much. Since I left the movie theater business, I’ve only been to a chain theater once (for the early Aquaman screening) in the past eight years. All my other trips to the theater have been at Alamo or the drive in. I just can’t deal with the modern movie going experience of cell phones and craziness. Alamo helped keep that in check.

I’ve got several blogs pre-written that I’ve meant to publish over the past month or two and haven’t gotten around to yet. Due to changing events in my life, I’m not sure how well they fit into my current mind frame. This brings me to the question? Do I still post them knowing that I might feel a bit differently now? Or do I just discard them and write them off as an exercise of my mind at the certain time.

WandaVision has ended and I was disappointed. Between the cast teasing a cameo equal to the one at the end of The Mandalorian to just expecting a great self-contained story, I felt like everything just kinda ended meh. It also didn’t help that the CGI fight scenes were no more impressive than what can be seen on the CW any given week.

I think the biggest problem with the ending was all of the unanswered questions. I don’t think the show was set up for more seasons and I’m not really sure if I’d want to watch more. I liked the concept of the sitcom and the mystery behind it all. At the end we got a lot of teasing and set up for various characters future in the MCU and I felt like we went right back to sacrificing story and closure to tease the next project.

Overall, the show was great and the ending was just okay.

One TV show I was surprised that I enjoyed was Debris. It wasn’t on my radar but I heard that it helmed by J.H. Wyman, the man behind Fringe starting with season two. I haven’t seen much of Fringe, but I liked what I saw and that was enough for me to give Debris a chance. It set up a big mystery right off the back and fell into typical paranormal procedural format which I’m not mad about. Being a fan of The X-Files, I’m totally down with watching a couple of agents exploring the country looking into a grand alien conspiracy/mystery.

Also, for horror fans, the first episode was directed by Brad Anderson, director of Session Nine.

I continued my walking and caffeine reduction this week and it’s paid off huge. I’m sleeping more soundly at night and having less issues falling asleep. This is leading to me feeling better the following day and I think that little extra mental energy is allowing me to combat the stress and anxiety just a little bit more.

I managed to score another toy from Hasbro’s retro The Real Ghostbusters line: The GhostPopper.

This was another toy I had as a kid and I played with a ton. I have lots of great memories of playing with it, so when I saw it for $20 I just had to get it. Well… the wife convinced me, but I didn’t put up too much of a fight.

I’m actually impressed with how well it works. It’s a neat toy that brings me back and looks great on my shelf.

The Hollywood Reporter did a great article on Shelly Duvall that is worth reading if you are a movie fan.

I bought a pair of Loop earplugs and I absolutely love them. They are super soft and aren’t very noticeable. I purchased them because sometimes at work it can get loud. There has been a lot of construction and one of the places I work is located between four offices and a very busy hallway. When things get a little crazy I just pop them in and dull the sound a bit. Its been the best $14 Ive spent in a while.

Found this comment interesting from this reddit thread.

The idea that you’re not a fan if you don’t have a merchandise collection is some grade A brainwashing by successful marketing. You think the people who can quote Shakespeare by heart aren’t fans because they don’t have a Hamlett funko pop?

The reason nerds love toys is the same reason religious people love their their pendants and tribal people make idols. When you love something that is completely intangible and out of reach, you look for totems to make that love tangible.

Minimalism in general aims to provide peace of mind by making sure you don’t misplace your attention and efforts. Consumerism in general is a crutch people use to fill the hole in their soul where they miss something. It’s a very poor crutch though, the real solution is usually to fill your life with truly meaningful experiences instead of the artificial high of buying something.

I purchased front row tickets for an upcoming independent wrestling event in April. No matches have been announced yet but they promise CDC Guidelines will be followed and I’m hoping they are true to their word. I’m excited to see some wrestling live for the first time since January 2020.

My buddy Michael’s second video in his Maine’s Pro Wrestling History series is up on Limitless Wrestling’s YouTube page. I love these short segments discussing various wrestling trivia from his home state. I recommend any wrestling fans to check it out.

I read a great article on Wired called: Sci-Fi Writer or Prophet? The Hyperreal Life of Chen Quifan. it was filled with some fantastic quotes like the one below.

“One of the most important qualities in a writer is sensitivity – the ability to capture the strangeness in everyday life.”

-Chen Qiufan

A new Ninja Turtle videogame was announced and it’s an old school side scroller that is heavily inspired by the original arcade game and Turtles in Time. The trailer features the lead singer from Faith No More covering the Turtles theme followed by some exciting footage.

For the past month or so, every Saturday morning the official Ghostbusters YouTube page releases a single episode of The Real Ghostbusters at 9 AM EST time. Ive been meaning to try and watch one on a Saturday morning to bring back those childhood feels. This past Saturday I finally did it and I watched the pilot episode which wasnt half bad. I might try to do this every Saturday morning just for fun.

A Paralysis of Choice

Recently, I’ve been stuck. I’ve found myself struggling to get interested in just about anything. Movies, TV shows, video games, books, comics… you name it, I’m not enjoying it. I’ve started and stopped so many things the past few weeks it’s startling. It’s almost as if I’ve lost my focus and my drive to consume entertainment.

For some, this would not be a big deal, but for a guy like me who has always loved movies, books, and games, it brings up a lot of questions: When did I lose my love for the things that I enjoy and how did that happen? Is there something wrong with me? Did I grow out of all of these things? What do I replace them with?

I was discussing my frustration with my wife the other week and I told her I thought I might be suffering from a paralysis of choice. There are just so many things vying for my attention I think I just found myself struggling to fully commit to anything. Whenever I’d start a movie that I’ve already seen, I’d think about a movie I haven’t seen yet but would like. I think about the TV shows I want to catch up on so I can chat with my friends. I think about the games I want to revisit and the games I want to finally try out. I browse through hundreds of movies, over a hundred games and books and I just don’t know what to pick. I have way too choices at my fingertips. There is no friction between me and the entertainment and because of that it’s become almost valueless. I don’t hold it in my hands and it’s almost as if it doesn’t exist. It has no weight and is not tangible.

In contrast, when I think back to the early 2000’s, I think about how this was never a problem but boredom would sometimes creep in. I can’t not remember the last time I was bored. It’s been years.

Back then, I’d come home from work and maybe flip on the TV. If I didn’t find anything interesting, I’d browse my DVD shelf for a movie that I like. I’d re-watch one of these movies, or I’d explore the special features. I’d find new things to love about the film after hearing the director gush about the production on the commentary track. I’d find new actors that I liked based on their interviews and behind the scenes antics. I’d squeeze every DVD for every drop of entertainment and I’d enjoy every second of it.

If I didn’t want to watch something I already owned, I’d have to travel to the store to buy or rent something which was an adventure in itself. I’d be limited to the selection of a specific Blockbuster or Best Buy, but that was okay. I could always find something interesting to watch. I’d pay for a specific movie and by doing so enter a contract with myself to get value out of my dollar. I’d go home and give the movie and honest attempt at watching since this was all that I had. I’d give some movies more time to get going and sometimes I’d discover a hidden gem that just started out slow. Nowadays, I’ll turn a movie off in a heartbeat and just pick something else streaming. I always have a list of things to watch that I’m never going to catch up on.

You can substitute video game, book, magazine, etc. for the movie reference above. The point I’m trying to make is with limited choices I felt more empowered and the action seemed to have more value. I found myself getting excited about movies/games/books and really wanting to enjoy them. I didn’t look for the quick hit of entertainment because I wanted my enjoyment to last as long as possible. Nowadays I feel like I spend time rushing through things just so I can attack the next item on this never ending list of entertainment.

Part of my reasoning for wanting to have a clean slate to work from this year was to eliminate choices and streamline my thinking. I wanted to eliminate some of the noise and clutter. Being subscribed to several streaming services, having every song available on Spotify, having over 100 games available on my Playstation, and pretty much any book ever written a few clicks away has created a lot of noise. I don’t think the answer is to eliminate all my choices, but to really hone in on what I want to enjoy and focus solely on that. Take a sort of Hell Yes or Hell No approach to the media I consume. If I’m not super excited and would say Hell Yes to it, then I just need to let it go.

I’m going to try and utilize some self-control to help eliminate some of my choices. I’m going to attempt to focus on one video game at a time and play it until I’m completely done with it before moving onto something else. I’m going to remove all the ebooks from my Kobo and phone, except for the one book that I’m reading at any given point in time. I’m also going to try an embrace watching more movies. I enjoy TV but it feels very disposable to me. I find that I enjoy movies the most. It makes sense, that was what I always leaned towards growing up. I want to embrace my love of movies a bit more and really put some effort into finding that love and appreciation that I once had. I’m a movie guy, I just don’t think of myself as one. It’s time that I start embracing that and see movie watching as what it really is to me: a hobby.

I decided to start a new book from Nathan Lowell’s Smuggler Tales series since he’s arguably my favorite author. I’m working on my Spotify playlists. I’ve decided to focus on finishing up Super Mario World 3D with Brandy and I’m going to begin Mudrunner as the game I play on my own. I’m going to focus on writing a bit more and as my depression wavers, getting out of the house a bit more, even if it’s just to hit up thrift stores in search of movies. I’m also going to keep an eye open for a new hobby should I come across something interesting.