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.

Free Write Week 17 (Apr 23 – Apr 29)

So, I don’t see myself getting to Friday posts like I used to, but I’m hoping to get my Free Write journals up by the end of each weekend. Maybe if I develop a new routine I can get back to Fridays, but for now I’m hoping to just get them done by Sundays.

Let’s start off with some good news first. I enjoyed watching The Middle this week, a sitcom that I missed out on but have developed a fondness for. I love the fact that they feel like a real family who have real struggles.

I decided to give Red Faction Guerilla: The Remarsters Edition a try. I’ve had the game for quite some time and I loved my original play through on the 360 (although I did not complete the game.) It’s totally GTA on Mars and I like that about it. It’s quirky, weird, reminds me a bit of Total Recall and the ability to destroy just about everything is great. It’s a shame we saw a game like this and Battlefield: Bad Company do some tremendous things with damageable environments but we’ve seemingly left that concept behind a couple generations ago.

I’m still on the hunt for Dr. Pepper Zero Cherry but I haven’t been able to find even a glimpse of it anywhere near where I live.

I finished up King of Queens this week and I gotta say, it ended well. So well, I almost wanted to start back over from the beginning the next day. The show wasn’t always great and I wasn’t thrilled with how Doug and Carrie’s relationship turned mean towards the end, but it was great for some laughs.

I’ve been exploring some options with faith this week, which is not something I’ve done in a very long time. I feel that I’ve exhausted my comfort from Buddhism and Taoism and I sorta stumbled back into a bit of the Christian faith in a way that I could stomach. I’m not ready to discuss it in detail, since honestly, this is very, very new but there might be something here worth exploring.

Okay, now it’s time for the main event. Let’s talk about this new job of mine.

As I mentioned before I started the job, I had high hopes that this was going to be the beginning of a career. I was hoping that I was taking a step in the right direction for secure employment with a decent salary. From what I was told about the position, it would include health/dental/vision insurance paid for by the State and I would be working alone in an office. Two things that sounded great to me and two things that really didn’t work out all that well from the get go.

Sure, I got free health insurance, but if I wanted to add my wife (which I needed to since she lost her job) my monthly premium would be $1700. That’s over 2/3rds my monthly take home pay. So, that sucked right off the back.

It also didn’t help that I had to beg to get premium information, my boss didn’t have a clue about it, and it took several days to sort out. It was straight up crazy disorganized which is the motif for my experience thus far.

That whole working alone in an office came with some cons too. That cons being that I have three cameras with microphones on me at all times. I also have to stay in contact with the folks who work remotely even to update them on when I go to the bathroom.

I’m micromanaged with a massive spreadsheet that I have to keep track of. There is no breakroom or anywhere to escape to for lunch outside of my car. My computer is so broken/old/slow it’s not even funny. It’s almost inoperable and I know way more then the IT folks and that’s scary too.

I can only take vacations in February/March/April, no other time. The office was moved last year prior to COVID from a massive floor in a skyscraper to this tiny office, so there are literally disgusting, overflowing boxes EVERYWHERE.

My job title changed once I began the job and while it’s a different title now, the reality of it is I’m a secretary. I’m a secretary who is treated like a temp by the remote workers, because they are used to dealing with temps. There is not the slightest bit of respect shown nor patience.

The first week, my supervisor was there to train. She overloaded me with information but by the end of the week I was doing okay. Then this week, she went on vacation and someone else was supposed to show up and train me. She decided she wanted to continue to work from home and just interact with me via MS Teams. She trained me on using their chat feature for about 30 mins and then told me that I was on that alone and I should jump on the phones. I should note, this State Board is not something I know anything about. I have little to no knowledge of the laws and rules and answering questions is not something I’m even remotely close to being capable of doing. I tried to explain this (along with the fact that my supervisor said I wouldn’t have to) but she didn’t care. She was a supervisor so I was put to work.

My work flow went like this: someone would call, I’d answer. They’d ask a question and I’d put them on hold. I’d send a message via Teams to the other supervisor would then tell me the answer. Then I’d relay the message via the phone. Of course, sometimes, the supervisor had her sound turned down, so I’d have to sit and wait minutes for her to get back to me with an answer as I frantically searched the website and tried to come up with something. It was frustrating.

The job is not a good fit. I left my previous job because I didn’t feel like I was treated like a human being by the doctors I worked with. At least I only had to work with them 2-3 days a week. In this job, I’m not treated like a human by anyone, I work way harder, I don’t get three days off, and outside of the money, there is no upside of this job. I made a mistake and made a bad decision.

It’s my fault too. I was desperate to get out of my last job and I didn’t ask enough questions. I let a couple red flags go and it sounded too good to be true and it was. That’s on me and I have no one to blame but myself.

So, I’m back on the hunt for my next opportunity. I may have to stick this out for a bit until Brandy gets back on her feet as well, but that’s okay. We gotta do what we gotta do. I just wish this had worked out for me.

One other factor that I didn’t take into consideration was how much downtime I’d lose. In my previous job, I had time to write, research, pay bills, and the like. In this job, I’m worked non-stop from the moment I walk in till I clock out. I can’t complain, because that is what they are paying me for, but losing those hours of free time has effected me in ways I didn’t imagine. I can’t keep up with everything now and I struggle to find time to write. I’m having to take inventory of my interests and eliminating just what I can and can’t keep up with. It’s strange and a bit of a bummer.

So, I’m hoping this week will go a little better because to be honest, these last two weeks have been absolute hell. I think the other mistake I made was making this career change with so much going on. I shouldn’t have committed to this in the middle of a stressful situation like a spouse job loss. It was a risky move that didn’t pay off and now I’m paying the consequences.

Free Write Week 16 (Apr 16 – Apr 22)

So, I’m a couple days late on posting this and I don’t have anything written. The new job hasn’t been going well and the stress of the layoff and everything else that has been going has just bummed me out big time. I guess, if I’m honest, its created a bit of a mental health emergency.

I’m working hard on adjusting my expectations and trying to find some space to heal a little. Until I get that done, I have a feeling I won’t be posting too much.

Free Write Week 15 (Apr 9 – Apr 15)

A few weeks ago, I purchased a copy of Evil Dead on VHS. It’s the same Anchor Bay released that I bought back in 1998 and first experienced the movie. I found a new copy on EBay for $8 and figured it would make a fun little prop for my shelves.

Once I got the film, I decided to hook up the VCR, tear off the plastic and see how well the film held up. I wasn’t expecting much since I’ve seen it so many times and I own the film on blu-ray. Wow, was I surprised. In what will go down as one of my favorite horror viewing experiences, Evil Dead blew me out of the water. I was so used to the slapstick that came into the franchise following the second film, I forgot how terrifying the first film was. The atmosphere Sam Raimi creates is filled with tension and dread and I absolutely loved it. Would I have loved it just as much on blu-ray? I don’t know to be honest, but I had a blast with the VHS tape.

Monday was my final day of working at the hospital. It’s been almost six years and I can say, it was definitely time to go. Like most jobs I’ve left, I’ll miss some of the people, but not the job itself.

A little nervous energy has begun to creep in and this coming Monday I get to see how this next chapter in my life begins. I’m sure the first couple of weeks will be rough as I get comfortable and learn the ropes, but I’m hoping once that initial period of adjustment is over I’ll be good to go.

I fell into an internet hole when I ran across an article discussing The Television Ghost, one of the earliest television programs from 1931. Only a single promotional photo remains, but it’s an interesting story for those interesting in the early days of television.

Tales of Lost TV: The Television Ghost
Snapped Garters: The Television Ghost
The Television Ghost Thread at Fedora Lounge

I’ve been working my way through Republic Commandos and while I’m not sure if the game was worth a fifteen year wait, I’m definitely having fun with it. The music and voice acting is top notch and the old school Xbox shooter gameplay is a nice change of pace from today’s chaotic madness. The game has its difficulty spikes, but nothing ever feels unfair. I like that.

A couple of years ago, Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner both came to a local comic con. I was just really getting into Star Trek and figured this was a once in a life time opportunity. Sadly, life got in the way and I wasn’t able to attend the comic con, but since then I’ve had a couple of opportunities to meet William Shatner at other comic cons.

He’s a Star Trek/sci-fi icon and because of that he falls right into that category of stars I’d like to meet. That was until I started reading about how his fan interactions usually go. All of the things I read online said you were lucky if he cracked a smile for $100 picture. He usually sat motionless and didn’t say a word, and he definitely wouldn’t talk about Star Trek. If you asked about his horses, you’d have the best opportunity to exchange a few words, but in general, he’s just a jerk.

Wil Wheaton recently blogged about the first time meeting William Shatner and its heart breaking. It’s a shame that a man who is so infused with a property that preaches peace, compassion, and empathy is so bitter and disconnected.

I watched the Hal9000’s Fan Edits of all three Star Wars Prequels and was blown away by how much it improved the movies. I’m honestly so impressed, I’ve considered buying a blu-ray burner, just so I can download the full on blu-ray releases and have a permanent high quality copy.

I finally got my Playstation 5. I was starting to give up hope since it didn’t get delivered on the 9th as promised by Walmart. Instead, it arrived on Wednesday. So far, my impressions are very positive. It runs so quickly and I’ve finally gotten a chance to check out Control, a game made by the makers of one of my favorite games Alan Wake. So far, I’m loving it.

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.

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.

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.

Free Write Week 9 (Feb 26-Mar 3)

I was surprised at how much I enjoyed the pilot of Superman and Lois Superman has never been one of my favorite superheroes but I thought the way this show represented him was one of the most interesting approaches in quite some time. The idea of making a family dynamic show where the father just happens to be a superhero is innovative and breathes fresh air into a somewhat stale, infallible character. I hope the show keeps this level of quality as it continues on because I could use a little more of this in my life.

People walk around pushing back their debts,
Wearing paychecks like necklaces and bracelets,
Talking about nothing, not thinking about death,
Every little heartbeat, every little breath.

-Brett Dennen, Ain’t No Reason

I went walking on Sunday, it was my first intentional exercise in quite some time. Between sleep issues and stress, I know I need to make some changes. I don’t have any grandiose couch to 5k style plans, I just want to get out and walk a little. Get a little fresh air and exercise. Even if it’s just ten minutes, I need to get moving.

I’m also focusing on making some changes for my sleep. I’ve dramatically reduced the amount of caffeine I’m in taking and limiting it to the mornings. I also purchased some Sleeptime Tea, which I’m not sure it’s true effectiveness but I figured it couldn’t hurt.

I’m hoping with better quality sleep and less caffeine I’ll find myself less irritable and better equipped to take on the day’s challenges.

Last year, I was blown away when I finally tried a Popeye’s Chicken Sandwich. As more fast food places announced competitors, I became excited to see the ultimate chicken sandwich throwdown. So far, I’ve tried Wendys, Zaxbys, and KFCs and I gotta say, all three disappointed. In Wendy’s case, it was actually inferior to the Homestyle Chicken Sandwich. Zaxby’s was nothing but sauce, and as much as I love Zax’s sauce there is such a thing as too much sauce. And KFCs was a little dry and just needed something to enhance it.

McDonalds has a new chicken sandwich but from what I’ve read it’s very disappointing. This is a shame, because I’m not the biggest Popeye’s fan, but damn if they didn’t go out and master the chicken sandwich. Such a shame the rest of the fast food places decided to take the cheap corporate way out and put very little effort into making a true competitor.

I’ve read issue two of The Last Ronin and was blown away yet again. I’ve been a big fan of the current Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles run (although I’m years behind now), but man The Last Ronin may be the best Turtles story I’ve ever read/watched. I know it still just the second issue but the art, the characters, the storyline, all of it is just coming together so well. I’m super excited to see where the story goes from here.

Free Write – Week 7 (Feb 12 – Feb 18)

This week was scheduled to be my first vacation in quite some time. The original plan was to travel to Memphis, Tennessee for a few days to visit some family and friends. However, this winter storm hit Memphis pretty hard and just as we geared up to leave last weekend, we made the choice to cancel. Our vacation morphed into a staycation that was not too rough since our area of North Carolina largely avoided the terrible winter weather pounding the rest of the Southern United States.

I watched segments of the Daytona 500 on Sunday. It was a lackluster race that featured an underdog winner. I was quite happy to see Front Row Motorsports get the big win and Michael McDowell score his first Cup Victory.

I purchased Super Mario 3D World for the Switch over the weekend. I played the game back on the Wii U several years ago, but was excited to revisit it with Brandy playing alongside me. She’s doesn’t have a lot of experience with 2D style Mario games, so it’s been a lot of fun showing her the ropes. The level design on 3D World impresses me still after all these years. It’s a great game.

DC announced a Batman 89 comic series alongside a Superman 78. I remember a few years back when Marvel began X-Men 92 and DC created Batman 66, the Batman 89 was considered but never put into production. I’m excited to see it come into fruition since Michael Keaton is still my favorite Batman.

I’m all about finding peaceful, fun websites to read and Hedgehog Moss Farm is one of them. It’s a Tumblr page created by a young woman in France who runs a little farm. Every post is wholesome, simple, and a delight to read.

I’ve suffered from lower back for the past ten years now. I suffered for well over a year before some co-workers finally convinced me to seek out a chiropractor. After five visits, I was fixed, and I spent the next year relatively pain-free before the process repeated itself. Now, going on ten years, I still deal with nagging back pain thanks in part to sitting for ten hours in poor quality office chairs.

I found a decent routine to help me combat the back pain which consisted of several yoga stretches before bed and once I woke up. This seemed to cut back on the stiffness to a degree and allowed me to prolong the time between visiting the chiropractor by a few months.

I’ve noticed, however, that my lower back has become increasingly tight when I wake up. I stumbled upon some research that stated some lower back tightness upon waking up is usually a hip flexibility issue. So, I modified my stretches to focus on my hips and WOW what a difference it has made. I spend most days almost completely pain-free and have very little tightness throughout the day. I almost wonder if all this time I’ve spent so much time and money onto fixing my back when I should have been focusing more on my hips.

Free Write – Week 6 (Feb 5 – Feb 11)

Last week, a friend of mine surprised me with a copy of The Last Blockbuster, a documentary about Blockbuster Video and the final remaining store in Bend, Oregon. This film had been on my wishlist and was just recently released on blu-ray. It was a great documentary that took an interesting look into Blockbuster and what went wrong. I highly recommend it for any former video store clerks and/or folks nostalgia for video stores.

I finished reading Nitro by Guy Evans over the weekend. This massive book takes a look at the creation and demise of WCW Nitro. Not too unlike the story of Blockbuster, WCW dealt with all sorts of questionable bookkeeping, corporate buyouts, and a few bad decisions. This has got to be the most definitive book on WCW I’ve ever read with interviews with just about anyone involved with the show. It’s so detailed I found myself skimming blocks of legal documents and/or press releases that are quoted in the book. Still, it was a great read and one I’m glad I took the time to finally get through.

I ended up down a rabbit hole and ran across this article about Infomania. I found this section particularly interesting:

The Problem of Recency

Then, there’s the issue with new articles. We tend towards neomania: overly focusing on the new and shiny, when new and shiny things tend to be the quickest to go and the least likely to be valuable.

A safer bet is to see what content has stood the test of time, following the Lindy Rule. Anything that has been around for 50 years will probably be around for another 50 years, but something that’s been around a few days has no proof of staying power.

Will people be reading Aristotle in another 2,000 years? Probably. Will they be reading this week’s pop-business book in another 10 years? Probably not.

Google suspended the account of the developer of Terraria for unknown reasons. After three weeks of getting nowhere, the developer has officially cancelled the port they were working on for Stadia. This is a good reminder of how much control Google/Apple has over your various accounts and how on any given day it can all be taken away with no way to get it back.

I experienced this problem back around ten years ago with Apple. My account became locked (not by me) and there was no way for me to unlock it or reset it. Granted, the various options and two-factor authorization were rather limited at the time, but I lost everything tied to my Apple account and I’ve never owned an Apple product since. This could have just as easily been a story about Android, as the above article details.

“When our minds are bathed in chatter, we display a strong bias toward satisfying our emotional needs over our cognitive ones. In other words, when we’re upset, we tend to overfocus on receiving empathy rather than finding practical solutions.”

-Ethan Kross, Chatter The Voice in Our Head, Why It Matters and How to Harnes It

This was an interesting article about the Star Trek megos that wer e announced but never made.

Mego’s Lost Star Trek Toys

I added my blog to this list of personal websites. These sorts of lists work almost like a modern web ring and can lead to some great finds.

The Big List of Personal Websites