Free Write – Week 4 (Jan 22-Jan 28)

Every blogger/writer knows that empty feeling that you get in your gut when you lose a large portion of work. This week, I managed to lose two pages worth of my Free Write as well as three movie reviews for my horror blog. There’s a wave of panic, frustration, and then a complete loss of motivation to re-write that occurs. I’m trying to battle that loss of motivation by getting back to writing, just knowing that my second attempt will not be as good as my first.

It was announced that the WWE Network will be absorbed into Peacock, providing the Peacock with more material and the WWE a wider audience. As of right now, it seems like the fans are the one who win. Pay per views will be cheaper (with the $4.99) option and $10 for all what NBC/Universal has to offer plus the WWE’s library is a heck of a deal.

I am concerned that some content will be lost in the transfer though. Peacock has already removed their classic movies and westerns due to what one would have to assume is low viewership. Will some random ECW Television show from 1998 generate enough of an audience to remain streaming all the time?

The Peacock already has a horrible UI and does a terrible job at categorizing movies and shows. I’m hoping the WWE will get its own section and will not just be tossed amongst the clutter that already exists.

I think down the road most of our niche services will be swallowed up by bigger streaming networks. I know that Amazon offers some as channels and in the case of Shudder, the content is limited vs. the full app despite being the same cost. Amazon also doesn’t put up the live events which to me shows a lack of understanding of what the niche audience actually wants. Only time will tell, I just hope we don’t all regret moving on from physical media.

Speaking of physical media, I want to talk about commentary tracks for a moment.

I was reading a post online about Taika Waititi’s commentary track on JoJo Rabbit. Apparently, he makes it clear he doesn’t want to do one and makes comments like, “Who listens to commentary tracks anymore” or “Does anyone really care that this was filmed in the Czech Republic?”

He does call some of the cast during the commentary tracks but doesn’t put any real effort into exploring the movie or celebrating it. This particular poster was really disappointed and I was too hearing about the content of the commentary track. I know how frustrated I was when Kevin Smith insulted singular commentary track listeners on the Clerks II commentary track, so I could imagine if this was your favorite film, you’d be disappointed.

Worse, physical media lovers have a hard time justifying the cost of physical media in an on-going digital world. Commentary tracks help justify the cost at times and this particular commentary track didn’t sound like it helped.

On a bright note, Hulu put up a commentary version of Palm Springs which is the first digital commentary that I know on a major streaming service. I’m hoping it’s successful enough to encourage more filmmakers to do so.

Brandy and I tried out Wario Ware: Smooth Moves this past weekend and had a lot of laughs in doing so. I couldn’t help but think about what a great machine the Wii is for that. It’ll definitely get you up, being competitive, and laughing. I’m not sure any other video game system ever came close to capturing this same sort of engagement. It truly is a memory maker.

My lovely wife bought me a copy of Mr. Spock’s Little Book of Mindfulness which is an adorable little book featuring some cartoons of Spock that teach mindfulness.

I got a chuckle out of learning that the Save Walter White Web 1.0 website from Breaking Bad is still online.

I also enjoyed this fake website for the city of Arlen, Texas, that King of the Hill takes place in. The webmaster played it straight almost 100%.

Wowzers, HBO Max released a remastered version of Babylon 5! I never in my life thought I’d see that. It’s not perfect, but they did rescan the film to 4K then downgrade it to HD. They cleaned up some of the CGI and kept the 4:3 ratio. This is probably the best we will ever see Babylon 5 and I hope HBO Max will introduce it to some new folks. It’s a great show once it’s gets going.

I ran across this picture of a Muggsy Bouges poster that I used to have on the back of my bedroom door. It transported me back to the 90s.

After a lot of pondering, I’ve decided to get the COVID vaccination. I’ve been on the fence, but after seeing some of the lingering effects on my co-workers partnered up with the possibility that Brandy may not be able to get the vaccine pushed me to move forward. I get my first shot on Wednesday.

Currently I use OpenBoard for my keyboard on my phone but I ran across FlorisBoard on FDroid and I’m loving it. It’s in an alpha phase and is missing some features (suggestions) but its ultra responsive. I’ve never been fully satisfied since leaving GBoard but this may come damn close.

The Great Digital Purge

A few weeks leading up to 2021 and now a few weeks into 2021, I’ve been on a digital purge. In my quest for minimalism, I’ve been removing/deleting/unsubscribing from everything that I possibly can.

I started off by deleting two lingering email accounts, which now leaves me just my main account and old legacy Gmail account I just can’t shake.

I went through all of my emails, RSS feeds, email subscriptions, and bookmarks and removed anything that was sitting for more than three months and hadn’t been used. Anything that didn’t bring me joy or still aligned with my interests was also taken out of rotation.

I bought a five terabyte hard drive at CostCo and two 128 gig thumb drives on Amazon to back up everything. I removed almost all of my files from both my laptop and Surface and also dumped all the files from my OneDrive. I then deleted anything that no longer served me and organized the rest. The external hard drive will be my base while the two thumb drives are my backups. They’ll backup my photos, docs, and important files. I plan on keeping one with a family member out of state in case of a natural disaster as I slowly ween myself off Cloud storage.

My blog was gutted (as you know) and all photos were removed my cell phone and organized into folders. I keep one folder of photos I might need on my OneDrive (at least for now) in case I want to show someone a photo sometime.

All unused apps and programs have been removed from my phone and computer. I also removed Windows from my Surface, which now leaves me with two Linux devices and my Android cell phone.

Basically, I attempted to begin everything with a clean slate. I wanted everything as close to Factory Reset as possible so that I had the space to create and invest. I’m a big believer in dumping the cup before filling it back up and at least for me, the process is meditative and relaxing. I love removing things that no longer being me joy and replacing them with those that do.

Free Write – Week 3 (Jan 15-Jan 21)

Deep down I hoped that my clean start for 2021 would bring instant peace and happiness to me. Of course, this was naïve. A clean start can give you a palette to build upon, but it doesn’t change the problems at the core.
I’m struggling with my anxiety again. It’s been years since I’ve dealt with this to the degree it’s bothering me now. It comes and goes in waves and I just can’t get a grip on it. I’m not giving up, but I gotta keep researching and applying different tactics in order to keep this at bay.

“There is hardly a trope I dislike more than “do the right thing and everything else will miraculously work itself out.” Life doesn’t work that way, and neither does Farscape. There are good days, and bad days. And tough choices. You can’t always win, you can’t always make everyone happy. Life will leave scars, you just have to learn to life with them.”

Saturday, the wife and I ran out to the mall to pick up a few things. It was one of those touristy malls that she had never been to before. We had a fun day eating lunch, browsing the stores, and buying some odds and ends. I got a Durham Bulls baseball cap I’ve been trying to find for a few months now. I haven’t been able to find the time to visit the gift shop at the ballpark, so it was nice to find one in Lids.

It was interesting visiting a busy mall in COVID times. Every store had a person by the door regulating how many people could enter. I’ve seen this tactic done at Target, Walmart, CostCo, etc. various times during the pandemic but never in such small stores. It was a little strange having to wait several minutes to enter a lot of the stores, but kudos to the staff and the mall for helping keep everyone socially distanced.

I’ve been on the hunt for a Google Keep alternative for quite some time. I’ve dabbled with a variety of apps and not one has really given me what I need mainly checkboxes. I stumbled upon the other day and it seems to be exactly what I want minus an Android apk. I’m not sure how long I’ll put up with the web app performance, but I think it’s worth giving a chance.

This is actually my second attempt at finding a way to manage my to-do/shopping lists. I attempted to carry a small notebook late last year/early this year and it just wasn’t working for me. It was too cumbersome.

Kevin James has a new NASCAR themed sitcom coming out called The Crew. It’s a Netflix sitcom and the first trailer doesn’t give me much hope that it’ll be worth watching. I am a fan of Kevin James and was once a huge NASCAR fan so I’m going to check it out whenever it releases despite my concerns.

Bloody Disgusting did a nice little write up on my favorite video game Alan Wake that’s worth checking out.

Why ‘Alan Wake’ is Still Worth Revisiting Over a Decade Later

There is an interesting websites called The Companion that launched recently. It is a subscription based science fiction blog that features some of the creators or Stargate SG-1.

One of those creators, Brad Wright recently penned a free article discussing rules in science fiction. I really enjoyed it and he brought up some great points.

Brad Wright: My Rules For Stargates, Star Wars and Superheroes

I finally found a bag of 3D Doritos at the grocery store. I remember the Ali Landry commercial well, but I never tried the Doritos when they were first released around the turn of the century. I must admit, they are not what I expected. They are more like a Bugle than a Dorito, which was disappointing. They aren’t bad, I just have certain expectations when I buy something with the word Dorito on the bag and this did not meet that expectation.

Last summer, I purchased a Nintendo Wii. I wanted a gaming system that made me get up and move a bit. Plus, I really wanted to go bowling and the bowling alleys were closed. Sadly, my purchase didn’t get quite as much play as I had hoped it would. I think this was partially because I didn’t buy enough games to really engage the wife and myself. I decided to rectify this by purchasing Wario Smooth Moves and Wheel of Fortune. Wheel of Fortune was delivered this week and Brandy destroyed me in our first play through. I gotta say, I love the little Miis of Vanna White and Pat Sajak and spinning the wheel with my Wiimote was actually fun. The game did destroy the fantasy I had in my head that I would go onto Wheel of Fortune and dominate though.

I think I’m going to slowly purchase several more of those cheesy game show Wii games. They are all under $20 and I have a feeling I’ll get my money’s worth out of them.

Walker premiered last night and it went about how I expected it to. Its a very generic cop procedural with a bit more focus on family. It had the expected CW melodrama which was okay, but the show itself was pretty meh. Outside of the name, the show has no resemblance to its namesake and no performances really stood out. It was light on action and lacked a hook to make me want to tune in again.

By the time it was over, I really wanted to watch Longmire, a great show about a man in a cowboy hat mourning the death of his wife.


I was once a huge fan of the movie Garden State. It was released a couple of years after I graduated from high school and I felt as if the movie spoke to me. The story of feeling awkward and disconnected really resonated with me. So much so, I even wrote a paper in college about it. I watched Garden State at least a dozen times 2004-2006, but I’ve only watched it once since then, maybe ten years ago. It was during that re-watch that one particular exchange really stuck out to me.

Andrew Largeman: You know that point in your life when you realize the house you grew up in isn’t really your home anymore? All of a sudden even though you have some place where you put your shit, that idea of home is gone.

Sam: I still feel at home in my house.

Andrew Largeman: You’ll see one day when you move out it just sort of happens one day and it’s gone. You feel like you can never get it back. It’s like you feel homesick for a place that doesn’t even exist. Maybe it’s like this rite of passage, you know. You won’t ever have this feeling again until you create a new idea of home for yourself, you know, for your kids, for the family you start, it’s like a cycle or something. I don’t know, but I miss the idea of it, you know. Maybe that’s all family really is. A group of people that miss the same imaginary place.

This quote stopped me in my tracks. It had no meaning all those years earlier, but by this point in my life it was the single most important part of the movie for me. It had summed up my love of nostalgia and put some of my family dynamics into perspective.

I’m purposely being a bit vague here because this isn’t a post about a terrible childhood or the bright spots growing up. It also isn’t about how this strange little movie had an effect on a young version of myself. Instead, I’m writing because this morning I finally tied together my nostalgia and my concept of home.

I moved around a lot as a kid and struggle to define where I’m from. Does that mean where I was born? Does it mean where I lived the longest? Does it mean where I felt like I grew up? I’m not really sure what metric I’m supposed to use to determine and answer, so my answer is usually a shrug and “I’m a military brat, so a little here and there.”

Recently, I mentioned that I was really excited for the upcoming TV show Walker, a reimagining of Walker, Texas Ranger. I even emphasized that I was “really” excited for it. This may not seem like a big deal, but rarely do I get excited, especially not “really excited.” And even more rarely do I get excited for a reboot of a show that I didn’t even watch, stars actors who I’m pretty meh about (I was always a Dean guy), and has released trailers that look pretty mediocre at best. Still, my excitement hasn’t wavered, in fact, it’s only grown as the premiere grows nearer.

Sunday afternoon, I was looking something light to watch and settled on King of the Hill, the 90’s sitcom about a suburban Texas family. I watched this quite a bit when it first aired and I spent some time last year watching the first three seasons. I decided to pick up where I left off and I found a strange sort of calm come over me. It was peaceful and exactly what I needed after a long Saturday and a very hard work week.

Yesterday, I spent some time researching King of the Hill and I stumbled upon a soundtrack that was released. Surprisingly, this soundtrack (including the cast dialogue) can be found on Spotify. I adore soundtrack tie-in’s so I listened to it on the way home from work and on the way into work this morning. So far, it’s very enjoyable featuring artists like The Barenaked Ladies and Brooks and Dunn.

As I began the longish walk into work, I had sort of an epiphany. I was nostalgic for Texas.

I lived outside of Dallas for a portion of my early teenage years in the mid 90’s. It was during this time that Walker, Texas Ranger was a huge show and King of the Hill debuted. It was the time that I enjoyed the internet the most and loved working on websites. It was the time I truly became obsessed with professional wrestling and began serious console gaming. It was the time when my musical tastes became what they are today and I began cultivating a love for horror movies. It was the time that I think back to when I get nostalgic. It was also the time when my family was the happiest.

I’m not sure why it took me thirty-seven years to realize this. In the past, I’ve said the best time I had growing up was in Texas, but I didn’t realize exactly how influential it was on my life. I’ve spent the morning replaying my favorite childhood memories, the times that felt so special and I realize they all took place in Texas. I think back to those key moments in entertainment where my tastes developed and I realize they all took place while I lived in Texas. It’s a little mind blowing.

Suddenly, the calming that came from King of the Hill made sense. The excitement for Walker became a little more understandable. My parents watched a ton of Walker, Texas Ranger back in the 90’s. I realize that maybe on some subconscious level, maybe I feel like the reemergence of Walker will somehow result in the peace and security that I once felt for those few short years a long time ago.

I realize that I’m missing the imaginary place as mentioned in the Garden State quote. My family doesn’t live in Texas and hasn’t in twenty-two years, but in my imagination, it’s my childhood home. It was the place of many firsts and great moments. It was the one time in my entire childhood where things weren’t rocky. I felt part of a community and went to the same school for three years in a row (a record I never did reach again).

All those moments I like to discuss like visiting the video store, playing Command and Conquer, learning HTML, sitting in a computer room, playing basketball with my Dad, getting my Nintendo 64, running between bedrooms to watch WCW and the WWF at the same time, amassing my video collection, visiting horror movie chat rooms, Instant Messaging, etc all took place during those few years in Texas.

When life gets hard, I lean into my nostalgia quite a bit. It’s calming to me. I long for the simple life that I once knew in a home where the future was bright. A time when I wasn’t always connected and I had free time to explore and discover new things. A time when my mind was way more open to new things.

It’s not possible to go back to that time. I can’t visit the place in real life either. It doesn’t exist anymore. But somewhere deep inside of me I have this concept of home and that is comforting, loving, exciting, and full of hope. I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful for Texas.

A Year in Star Trek Movies: The Motion Picture

I’ve decided that I’m going to watch one Star Trek movie every month this year. I’m doing this for a few of reasons.

1. I’m not 100% sure I’ve seen all the movies. I may have missed five and six and I don’t think I finished Nemesis.

2.I felt like revisiting the movies since it’s been nearly twenty years since I’ve watched some of them.

3. I’m doing just one a month because I’m not a huge TOS fan and I’m afraid the early movies might be a slog to get through.

So, I began with the movie I dreaded the most, the first film titled: Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

I’m going to do a sort of micro-review of the film that will remain mostly spoiler free. It’ll be similar to how I review films on Brandon’s Horror.

My History With the Film:
I didn’t grow up a Star Trek fan. In fact, other than Trouble with the Tribbles and a few Next Generation episodes I watched on some random Christmas as a teenager, I didn’t watch any Star Trek. It was just too clean and too sophisticated for me.

My first attempt at getting into Star Trek came with the release of the Director’s Cut of The Motion Picture on DVD which was released in November 2001. My DVD collecting was at an all-time high and I had recently begun working so I had free cash to blow on nice DVDs of movies that I had never seen before, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was one of them. I was attracted to the box due to some nice artwork and the fact that it was two discs packed with features. Also promised were some cuts and updated CGI which interested me.

I recall watching it and wondering what in the hell was I watching. It was super slow, strange, and very long. I remember falling asleep at one point and having to go back and rewatch parts which made it even worse. In the end, the film didn’t spark a love of Star Trek, if anything it assured me that this was not a franchise for me. (Thankfully, The Next Generation showed me the errors of my ways.)

What The Film Is About (Non-Spoiler):

Captain Kirk the original crew reunite to take the upgraded Enterprise out to confront an alien entity that is heading towards Earth.

What I Liked About It:
-The music is nice and calming.

-I really loved the slow look at the Enterprise and the use of suited workers to really show the scale of the ship. I don’t think I’ve ever truly realized how big a starship is until this movie.

-The special effects are neat and make for a very psychedelic experience. You can tell it was inspired by 2001.

-The ending is fun and I loved the reveal of the alien. It made me smile and I thought it was an excellent plot device.

What I Didn’t Like About It:
-The movie is long and the pacing is terrible. I know this is a film from the 70’s, but it feels like it’s twice as long as it actually is. I fell asleep twice while watching it this time around.

-Unless you know the characters from the series, hardly any of them come across likeable. Kirk is a rank pulling jerk, Spock is a closed off insubordinate, and Bones is a hippy grump. It’s hard to root for them which is troubling in a plot that moves at a snail’s pace.

I was hoping that age and maturity would allow for me to enjoy this film more than I did. It’s still very slow and hard to watch. From my understanding the film had a rushed shoot and I think it shows on film. The actors don’t seem motivated and the film almost feels like a reel for the visual effects team.

My first Star Trek movie was not a good one and I have a feeling this will be the worse one to go through. I can safely say I will never attempt to watch this movie ever again. It’s a horrible introduction into Star Trek and while I’m sure it has its fans, it’s just not for me.

Free Write – Week 2 (Jan 8th-Jan 14th)

I noticed several bloggers that I follow have re-upped on doing 100 Days to Offload. Last year, it was truly a remarkable experience. I found so many interesting blogs that I still follow to this day through that little hashtag. I got lazy in properly tagging my posts, so despite writing well over 200 posts, I don’t feel like I actually accomplished the goal of committing to that tag.

I thought about starting off the new year with using the tag, but chose not to. The one thing that 100 Days to Offload did was it made me feel obligated to write a little more. I would sometimes shovel out a few posts that were probably better left unpublished or at least re-written. It’s a quality over quantity thing.

I have no doubt that my blog will evolve over the year. As interests enter my life and things change, I’m sure the layout, frequency, and topic of posts will change. I’m okay with this. I just think I may wait till later in the year when I need a bump to write more consistently to commit to 100 Days to Offload.

I am slowly working on a proper Links page for this blog to share all the great blogs that I follow on a daily basis.

Season three of Star Trek Discovery is now over and I really enjoyed the ride. I felt the first half of the season was stronger and some of the plotlines got a little muddled, but I loved the tone of this season and there were some truly great moments.

The show closed out with a quote by Gene Roddenberry (creator of Star Trek):

“In a very real sense, we are all aliens on a strange planet. We spend most of our lives reaching out and trying to communicate. If during our whole lifetime, we could reach out and really communicate with just two people, we are indeed very fortunate.”

Mr. Roddenberry makes a very good point and I am thankful I have several people in my life that I can really communicate with: my wife, Jimmy, Michael, Matt, Alex.

I’m bummed that we do not have any real dates for whatever Star Trek is next (Lower Decks season two maybe?), but a new Picard tie-in book was released last week that follows Riker and Troi’s time on the USS Titan called The Dark Veil. I’m excited to check it out once I finish some other books I’m reading.

Family Video, the last large video chain in the United States announced they are closing all locations. A mixture of COVID and a lack of new movies finally finished off the video store.

I visited a Family Video about ten years ago. I was out thrift shopping when I ran across one and was shocked to find a video store open. I went inside and bought a few movies and really enjoyed the moment. For the last few years, I’ve talked about driving a few hours away to visit another Family Video but it seemed every location I wanted to visit would close down before I made it there.

I planned on trying to make it last weekend, but a wintery mix came into the area that made traveling several hours a bit on the hazardous side. I may try to find some time to visit a location before they close their doors for good this upcoming weekend if I can.

For those of you who don’t know, I run a horror movie review site as well called Brandon’s Horror Review. I try to keep my blogs separate, but this week I published a post looking back at some old 90’s/early 2000’s horror sites that I found still alive on Angelfire. I have two more of these type of posts coming up in the next few months and I had a lot of fun digging into the old web to find them. I thought someone of you vintage internet fans might like to check them out.

The NFL playoffs did not go my way and I saw both the Titans and Steelers eliminated in the same day. I’m not sure how much football I’ll watch the next few weeks since I really do not have a dog in this fight.

I was out of work a few days this week while dealing with some stomach issues. I didn’t get nearly as much done as I had hoped but sometimes your body just needs a rest.

I played a little Fallout 4 and got to the point where I met the Minutemen. I remembered quickly how much I disliked Preston and decided I didn’t want to join them. So, I attempted to flee only to be attacked by a massive band of bandits and a Deathstalker. I’m not sure if the game was punishing me for not joining or what, but I attempted to weather the attack by diving in and out of a building. I survived the Bandits but somehow the Deathstalker managed to get me inside the building.

I looked up how to avoid the Minutemen and apparently it is possible, but I was a bit peeved at the cheapness death so I decided to play something else. I ended up booting up The Outer Worlds. It plays a lot like Fallout and is made by Obsidian who did Fallout New Vegas. The setting is inspired by Firefly (which I love) and I really like the storyline. What I don’t like is the confusing menus which are just not laid out in the best way. There is just too much information on too many screens.

I put some effort into playing this time around and really got sucked in. I’ve managed to put in several hours and am really enjoying myself.

One of my best friends, Jimmy has started a blog titled: The Pastor Abides. He’s one of my oldest friends and an all-around great guy. Some of my favorite time blogging was back in 2008 when Jimmy and I both ran blogs at the same time. He inspired me on several occasions with his writings and I can’t wait to see what he has to say. He’s taking the laid back, write for yourself approach, which really does seem like the surefire way to enjoy blogging.

I don’t know why, but I’m excited for the reimagined Walker Texas Ranger show, Walker. It’s strange because I wasn’t a fan of the original series. I lived in Texas through some formative years in my youth and it was during that time that Walker Texas Ranger was popular. My dad watched it all the time and I would see in it passing, but I don’t know if I ever saw a complete episode.

I’m intrigued by the cast, worried about the show being on the CW, and have a feeling it will turn into cheesy melodrama, but I’m excited. Next Thursday can’t come soon enough.

Seven Day Experiments

I’m not a fan of New Year’s Resolutions. I think making a yearlong commitment to something that you may or may not enjoy isn’t productive. There is too much guilt and bad feelings that come from not meeting your goal and while that fear can propel some people to work hard to avoid such unpleasant feelings for the rest of us it is just a pending punishment that hangs over whatever goal we’ve decided to take on. I don’t like living my life in fear, so I don’t see much benefit in undertaking such a long commitment where the odds are not in my favor. 365 days is a lot to commit to anything.

I do, however, enjoy small goals. I like the feeling of success when accomplishing small goals and I feel like those little successes can compound quickly and not only is this good for your mental health, but also for your achievement of goals.

So, when I looked at things I wanted to change in 2021, I struggled to find balance in what I wanted to undertake. There are lots of little improvements I want to make and not one huge goal (i.e., lose weight). After some deliberation, I decided that I would break down all these things I wanted to experiment with into seven day goals. These tiny, attainable goals would be reasonable in length and long enough to hopefully allow me to experience any benefit from them. It would also give me a chance to experiment with a lot of things in my life to see whether or not I enjoyed it and/or whether I thought it was something I could realistically stick to.

For example:

One of my goals for 2021 is to stop reading the news. I’ve been quite good about avoiding the news over the years, but sometimes big events occur that draw me in. Last year it was a mixture of COVID and the election. By the end of the year, I found myself scrolling the news while at work. I also found myself on r/all on reddit while at home. I could physically feel myself become anxious while doom scrolling and I realized that what I was doing was no better than anyone scrolling Facebook for triggering information. It needed to stop, so my first seven day experiment for 2021 was to not read the news.

Every day that I skipped the news, I tracked it in a Habit app I found on F-Droid. It’s simple and no frills and exactly what I need. Here is a quick assessment.

Seven Day Goal: Stop Reading the News
Dates: Jan 1 – Jan 7
Result: Accomplished
Thoughts: I have felt less anxiety and the state of the world have not been on my mind nearly as much. I found more enjoyment when browsing the web.
Will I Continue this Goal: Yes

I plan on tracking each goal and reporting the results back like this. I don’t have any expectations to continue this for all of 2021, but I want to experiment when I have the capacity and see where things go from there.

Free Write – Week 1 (Jan 1st – Jan 7th)

I rang in the New Year on my couch watching the countdown with my Animal Crossing islanders. The residents of Sandpiper (a nod to the TV series Wings) waved glow sticks, watched fireworks, and shot off party poppers once the clock struck midnight.

My wife sat next to me on her Switch doing the same with her villagers. It may not be the most traditional way to start the New Year but it seemed quite fitting for us.Sadly, I had to go to work the next morning, so I went straight to bed to score the six hours of rest before I had to get up and shower.

A great quote from Jason Sudekis regarding kindness and empathy:“I don’t think kindness, empathy and openness ever goes out of style, there’s never not space for it.There will still be those other elements in the world, and one of the themes of the show is how you go about reacting to those elements, because you can never get rid of bad. You can never get rid of people’s baggage. You can help them open it up and go through it with them and help them fold, but they’re the ones who have to put it in the drawers.”

I went and saw News of the World at the Alamo Drafthouse on the 2nd. It was my first time seeing a movie in a theater since July 2019. Overall, it was a great experience. Alamo did a great job of screening, cleaning, and making me feel comfortable at the theater. It also helped that we were the only ones in the theater. I finally got a chance to use up my Valentine’s Day present from last year, which was originally bought to use on the new James Bond film which still hasn’t been released.

I also watched Brittany Runs a Marathon on Amazon and was pleasantly surprised. I like Jillian Bell but wasn’t really sure what to expect with the movie. I presumed it was a simple comedy, but I was surprised to find an in-depth dramedy that really discussed some deep seated issues in a realistic fashion. For example: losing weight doesn’t immediately fix things broken inside of you.

I found it fascinating when I went to research the film by searching it on reddit, I found posts from all sorts of addiction subreddits, eating disorders, movies, running, getmotivated, etc. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a movie cast that wide of a net on reddit before.

I got a free year of Discovery+ with our Verizon account and I gotta say, I’m sort of excited. I’m usually quite down on new streaming networks, but my wife spends most of her time watching shows from the Discovery family and we watched quite a few of them together. Now I get to experience these with no commercials and even have access to a ton of older episodes should I want to watch them. My experience so far with Discovery+ is quite limited, but I’m impressed with what I’ve seen so far.

I’m still playing FIFA 21 on occasion, Animal Crossing daily, and I’ve dabbled in NBA 2K20. It was one of the free PSN games a few months back and I’ve always enjoyed the 2k series. I like that I can set up a league featuring vintage teams from the 70s, 80s, and 90s. So, I continued the league I started a few months back with the 96 Bulls. I’m still very annoyed with the Gatorade and State Farm in-game advertising, but I’m trying not to let it irk me too much. I quit playing last time because of the non-stop advertising in that game.I’m still on the fence about diving into something bigger and more engrossing. I got a copy of Fallout 4 for Christmas and I’m still working my way through another play through of Skyrim, but I haven’t really settled on anything to really commit to.

SRX, the new racing series from Tony Stewart, finalized their driver and track line up for 2021 and all that excitement I had upon launch has dwindled. The drivers and tracks are quite weak and I don’t have huge expectations for this to be a long-term league. I hope the on track performance blows me away, but I’m not betting on it.

Be Kind To Yourself

If I had a time machine and could go back and tell my younger self anything (despite some winning lottery numbers) I’d tell me to be patient and kind to myself.

I’m not sure why this isn’t something you learn growing up. Maybe it’s just the way our society views things. We live in a world where being stressed is something to brag about. Where working seventy hours or three job is something that to define yourself by. Perfectionism runs rampant throughout the land and the casualties it leaves are tremendous. I know, I’ve been one of them.

Straight As, Dean’s List, knowing all the basketball stats… these were just some of the things that got me attention and were stressed as important. Failure to do so resulted in a disappointing look from my Dad, but more significant an emotional lashing from myself. I had to do better. I had to know more. I had to do these things so that I would be loveable and respectable.

I can’t recall a specific conversation that made me feel that way, but I’m guessing something happened that triggered that sort of belief in my head. Failure to meet these increasingly high standards would result in an internal punishment that was far worse than anything anyone else might dish out. This became a normal part of my daily living. Try hard, never quite succeed the right way, then destroy myself while I’m already feeling down. I can totally see why alcoholism runs in my family.

A few years ago, I began to ask myself this question when I found myself in a stick situation that resulted in self flogging: “What advice would I give a friend?” Would I tell my friend he’s worthless, unloveable, and a loser? Would I tell him a simple mistake was the worst thing he’s ever done? Would I grill him over his past and hold every single bad decision against him? Of course not. That would make me a horrible friend. So why the heck would I do that to myself?

It helped, a lot, but I still struggle with it at times. There is still this drive for perfectionism that I struggle with. But it’s getting better. Slowly every single day, it gets a little easier and a little better.