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

Free Write – Week 5 (Jan 29-Feb 4)

I began this week with a four day weekend that was one of the stranger weekends that I’ve had a in a while. Everything I planned got cancelled for a variety of reasons: doctor’s appointment, movie night, dinner with parents, shopping, etc. The mental space I left for all these activities was left unfulfilled and outside of cleaning the house and one trip to Walmart, I spent the rest of the time indoors watching TV. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching TV, but it was strange since I watched with no real agenda. I didn’t binge a bunch of movies or watch one particular show. I just kinda hung out and flipped around. It was relaxing, but also strange for me. I’m usually very intentional with my television watching. By the end of the weekend I felt like I accomplished very little and I believe I was disappointed in myself. I’m not really sure how to feel about that.

“There is no productivity score assigned to you at death.”

While catching up with my RSS Feeds from over the weekend, I saw a post of Colin’s that mentioned a book called Chatter by Ethan Kross. Colin mentioned that the podcast featuring Ethan was interesting, so I decided to research the book some and discovered it to be something that interested me. The book deals with self-talk, especially in regards to negative self-talk and how this running commentary in your head can affect many aspects of your life.

Monday was a particularly bad day for me. Sunday night had some issues and I didn’t sleep well and woke up in funk. I had fallen into some sort of shame cyclone and I guess you could say the negative self-talk was doing some damage on me. The book suggestion came right at the right time and within a couple of chapters, I began to feel myself calming down and feeling a bit better. I’m excited to finish up this book over the next week or so.

I re-discovered Battlebots on Discovery+ recently. I used to watch the series back in the early 2000’s and even had the Gameboy Advance game, but my time watching robots fighting has been rather limited ever since. Discovery+ has an exclusive Battlebots Bounty Hunter series that I decided to give a shot and the next thing I know I’ve watched all four episodes and began the most recent season of Battlebots. I gotta say, the robots are super impressive these days and the presentation and commentary is on point. The show doesn’t waste your time and seems to have a fantastic balance of knowledge and entertainment. I feel like other sports could learn from the leanness that Battlebots operates within.

While on the topic of Discovery+, I am a bit disappointed that not every new show is added to the app upon airing. I really can’t figure out why certain shows get added and others don’t. So, the wife and I get to watch Worst Cooks with no commercials, but still have to refer back to the Food Network app to watch Supermarket Stakeout and Beat Bobby Flay which has commercials. That definitely hurts the value for me, but since I didn’t pay for this first year I’m not complaining… too loudly.

I’ve been wanting to begin journaling by hand again this year, but I had it in my mind that I didn’t want to start journaling and immediately begin complaining about life. So, I just kept putting it off until I realized it was February 1st and I had written nothing. I decided it’s better to write and complain than not write at all.

I remember standing in front of a huge banner advertising the first Avengers movie and just smiling. I remember thinking about what an amazing world we lived in where I’d get to see all of these fantastic characters in a huge live action spectacle. Having grown up with cartoons and low budget Marvel movies, a live action Avengers film was something that really spoke to the inner geek child within me.

Just a few short years later, I’d find myself burned out on the Marvel machine and the series of movies that it cranked out. The films varied in quality and outside of the two Captain America sequels were rather forgettable.

I attempted to watch Captain Marvel last weekend but turned it off about thirty minutes into it. I still haven’t seen the most recent Spiderman flick and to be honest, the upcoming slate of films doesn’t really interest me. However, I have been watching Wanda Vision on Disney+ and it’s utterly fantastic. It’s different and brave and doesn’t fall into the cookie cutter Marvel experience that we’ve been conditioned to expect. I really hope Disney branches out with the Marvel Universe with fun little side projects like this more because it’s slowly reigniting my excitement for the MCU.

I read an interesting article about Midway’s attempt at a baseball version of NBA Jam called Power-Up Baseball. The game was never released and recently discovered and it’s a strange bit of video history. Turns out Midway was working with the folks who made Golden Tee to make an arcade cabinet that would utilize two trackballs to control the plays. It didn’t work and the game looks really rough, but an interesting little article nonetheless.

A few weeks back, one of the blogs I followed (sadly, I forget which one – Edit: it was Colin Devroe) shared a post from Seth’s blog titled The most important blog post. I’ve kept it bookmarked since that day as reminder that what I’m doing matters.

The most important blog post

It is on the most important blog.


if no one but you reads it. The blog you write each day is the blog you
need the most. It’s a compass and a mirror, a chance to put a stake in
the ground and refine your thoughts.

And the most important post? The one you’ll write tomorrow.

I found this fascinating article about two researchers attempting to solve the reasoning for Pan Am crash in 1957. This article was written in 2004.

Upon doing a little more research, I found a follow up article written in 2017.

I was so fascinated by what I was reading, I ended up doing a deep dive into the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. I was hoping to find a museum or at least some sort of look inside of the plane that didn’t originate from 1950’s promotional photos, but it doesn’t look like those exist.

“Never attribute to malice that which can be explained by incompetence.”

I ran across this article called 15 Minute Rule that I enjoyed. It discusses looking at time in more of fifteen minute increments instead of hours. The idea is by minimizing the time you commit to a task you’re less likely to put it off.

“This is a problem we all face. Much of it falls into the “I must do things that are productive to my financial well-being” or “Must do productive things to show off” etc..

Not everything in our lives must be quantified and qualified to the point where it gives us a rank up.”

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.

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.

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.