so currently avoiding blogging by talking about why I prefer blogging over fiction writing?

And so I felt super gross about the idea and myself for… oh, a year. By that time I wasn’t interested in writing fiction at all. I wouldn’t read it, why write it.

And I was still in the first draft. There had been a bunch of revisions, but it was still the first draft. And after the election I realized all I needed to do was set it against the election and it’d be super-topical. And exploitative.

Part of the hesitation on new fiction is right before 2016, I wrote the second novel and, frankly, it’s the cishet white guy learning his place in the world too late; taking zero responsibility for his behavior much less privilege.

I told a friend last week I was debating new fiction and so instead I’ve been blogging my ass off to avoid sitting down to that.

But with the same takes it’s just like I can understand or verbalize those takes better. The pain point is trying to address aspects not identified/properly described earlier. They’re important but establishing them is inorganic.

It’s weird going back to movies I haven’t seen in years to then see again and blog about. Especially when my take is the same. It’s like, if there’s one different take on a movie, they almost should be all. Or vice versa.

Any app developers looking for a genius idea TM. I can’t code at all but I just stumbled into something awesome


I’ve been having an audience funk for a couple years now. Blogreadership audience. I’ve lost a couple regular readers–friends–in the last few years. Different reasons. But both were major audience targets. Twenty-first century long distance friendship particulars. There’s definite fun to using the blog content as an inside joke. I didn’t watch Friday the 13th I-XI for a broad readership, it was targeted for particular regulars. I’m including myself in the regulars, because I too am a reader. Sort of.

I came across the remake of The Fog today and, after thinking about how The Ward was John Carpenter hired to appeal to people who’d liked the mid-aughts remakes. Given that constraint, it’s amazing how well that film turned out.

But then I couldn’t remember if Selma Blair was good in the movie or not. Seems like the perfect role for her, the Adrienne Barbeau DJ part. And I went and read my old Fog remake post and, no, she’s not good. She’s better than everyone else but not good. Bummer.

It’s the first time in a while I’d gone to read an old Stop Button post. In theory, the responses exist as reference for me. Taking the whole web-log thing seriously. But it’s also because I never got rich off my movie blog. So what’s the use?

Apparently the use is telling me I never need to watch The Fog again even if I’m doing a Selma Blair marathon someday, which isn’t impossible or even extremely unlikely. Though I sort of imagine someday in my nineties if I get there.

Not sure that reminder put me out of the general blogging funk but it didn’t hurt.

This morning I fully intended to drawer some upcoming Stop Button posts–the Halloween summary and The Shadow serial. The latter because I can’t do another serial after Clutching Hand… maybe ever. The former because… eh, I don’t want to read it why write it.

Novel thoughts. Wokka wokka.

Latest bad idea—and by bad, I mean, it’s one of those “oh, wait, this bad idea is possible to accomplish” musings. The badness is tied to the idea itself. Like when I thought about how I could, after the 2016 election, rejigger my second novel to cravenly play off the election results. It might have made the novel sellable. But the bad idea never got past thinking through where I’d have to make the major changes to the novel, not about what kind of major additions I would be making. I structured the heck out of the novel so it can handle all sorts of major changes. But I didn’t do it. Because ew. Why would I do that thing? I’ve been going through a creative funk. Aforementioned election results kind of made it permanent. With fiction writing, I was always a write aware of readers but not for a reader. Or readers. Other writing is obviously different, though not in the same way. Only this is written without an audience in mind So some of bad ideas is thinking about the potential audience. There is one for the novel with the changes, there isn’t one for any number of other ideas. Including the one I just had about doing some kind of summarized history of film based entirely off what I’ve written about on Stop Button. Just absurdist nonsense. I think the idea is my brain punishing me for trying to mine previously written not… taken seriously writing for serious writing possibilities. But then I wonder if I could make it good, could this concept be made good. Could it be accomplished. Accomplishment brings up the target audience. And I’m averse to targeting audiences right now. Maybe it’s more of a creative clog than a funk.

Charlie Brown Thanksgiving > Christmas

I have an AmazonBasics generic Moleskine with page after page of list after list of possible projects. I had all these great ideas for summary posts on The Stop Button. Only problem was I wasn’t done with any of the topics I wanted to summarize. I haven’t seen Damsels in Distress yet, so no Whit Stillman. Instead this summer I worked on the first of three Godzilla posts. I haven’t worked on the second two at all. The first one drained me of any enthusiasm for it. I knew, as I was writing it, the process was going to be a creative suck. I spent some of this month working on a Halloween one. Actually, I started it before Halloween H40 came out–because H40 was coming out and wouldn’t it be great if it was good.

Shame it sucked. Really messed with my “every twenty years there’s a good Halloween movie.” Instead it’s “the Halloween sequels on the twenty year interval are better than the other sequels.” I’ve got it ready to edit and I really don’t want to do that edit. I don’t care. Some of the creative malaise might just be I don’t have anything to be creative about. I worked on a novel for three years, with a lot of interruption, but the note-taking started three years before I was done with the first complete draft. I’ve got nothing like that project now. I wouldn’t want to read a novel by a forty year old white guy, why would I expect anyone else to read it; hell, why would I take the time to write it.

There are other things dragging me down, of course. Sad things I don’t exactly avoid thinking about but also don’t figure out how to think about. Still, even if they weren’t dragging me, I still doubt I’d have much enthuasism for fiction writing in 2018. I think it all would’ve evaporated after election 2016. Things are so bad not even Aaron Sorkin has managed to mount a relaunch of “The West Wing” to keep everyone dreaming of a different White House. Or David E. Kelley and “Boston Legal.” Whatever happens in the next six years, it’s unlikely there’s going to be any good mainstream media about it. Aspirational isn’t really a thing in 2018. Just look at the new Apple pricing. You raise the entry level outside feasible and then there’s nothing to aspire to purchase.

PS4 is on sale though. Great prices. Plus you get Spider-Man. Love Spider-Man.

I’m trying to figure out a project for next year. I knew most of this year would be marathon training or training for marathon training and I understood, going in, what kind of time commitment was required. Without the marathon training, without the palpable dread, without the runderwear, I have the opportunity to do something. The MacBook Air isn’t fast enough for PS4 YouTube videos. I’m creatively stalled. PS4 YouTube videos would just be grinding the engine. Or however that technical metaphor but more simile would work.

But I’m going to try to do more. Probably. I may force myself a writing word count next year. Something attainable with lots of caveats to make it easy.

Turf Wars first impression

Okay, really weird thing with Spider-Man: Turf Wars? The way Spider-Man talks smack to the Maggia agents. It seems familiar, like it’s a comic book thing, but he’s mocking them in a different way than the villains from the main game. The tone to the taunting is different. Let he’s making fun of them for not being as smart as him… I really do feel like it’s a comic book thing. The DLC also reduces Mary Jane to even more of a cameo, which is really weird given how much she was in the main story. And it’s just her. The Miles subplot thing is working fine.

Talking myself out of a purchase

I’m trying to convince myself I need to get a 500 GB SSD to run as a boot drive on my MacBook Air, which is my “desktop.” I’m not entirely sure how I’m going to convince myself it’s a worthwhile idea, but I’m taking it far along enough to write it out so here goes. The plus would be more boot drive storage, which would mean no more problems updating MacOS and no more consternation about only having 18 gb left on the internal drive. However, just writing eighty-five words about it has talked me out of it. The concern over the low disk space is occasionally warranted, but not worth the cost of the external SSD. Not even with a sale price. With that decision made, now I need to go run OmniDiskSweeper to see what’s eating up my last 20 gb on the internal.

Bad movie trailers

I want to enjoy watching the movie trailers. I wasn’t cynical about new movies until about 2001, which means twelve or thirteen years of eagerly anticipating new releases. And their trailers. Twenty minutes of trailers. Not on an easy movie to pick accompanying trailers either. Widows is its own thing. Art-house action. But during the trailers I realized a couple things. First, I can’t tell Emma Stone and Margot Robbie apart when they’re doing period pieces. Second, big indie have lost their ability to cut a trailer. Everything’s got the superhero movie money shot tacked on at the end of it now. Even movies where there’s clearly no superhero movie money shots. At first it was distracting, then just depressing. Speaking of depressing, why so many questionable period pieces. It’s like late 90s Miramax, waiting for the next Shakespeare in Love.

Apparently I miss Bento

I try to use less apps. Crossover functionality. It’s easier to do three things in one app than one thing in three. Then something like BBEdit does five or seven or even more if you actually utilize all its stuff. I’ve only got 4GB of RAM. I’m always trying to work within those constraints, because it sucks when the computer conks out for five minutes.

I’ve now got a text file with various terminal commands. They’re not organized in anyway. I don’t add to the bottom of the file. I don’t notate what they’re for. It’s just a bunch of commands. I could use some way of sorting them. I don’t need them often, but I need to keep them around.

Something like Bento wouldn’t be bad for it. Though Bento was too glossy. A cheap Bento (Bento was Filemaker for Everyone… it’s long since dead).

Morning commute playlist

  1. Flaws, Bastille
  2. Hyperballad, The Twilight Singers
  3. Mr. Superlove, The Afghan Whigs
  4. Falling, Julee Cruise
  5. It’s OK (It’s Alright), Fine Young Cannibals
  6. Good Grief, Bastille
  7. Walking on Broken Glass, Annie Lennox
  8. 17 Again, Eurythmics
  9. Don’t Dream It’s Over, Toni Collette

“Flaws” was where I left off on last night’s commute. It very naturally led into “Hyperballad,” which is all about a man’s flaws. But it’s about a man’s flaws in that Dulli way of talking about his protagonist’s masculinity, which brought “Mr. Superlove” to mind. “Mr. Superlove” always reminds me of Maugham for some reason; it just seems like it takes place in the East Indies or something. Of course, two Dulli masculinity songs is about enough and “Falling” proved a nice palate cleanser. I probably haven’t listened to “Falling” since the last time I listened to the “Twin Peaks” soundtrack in 1993 or whatever but it was “background” in a recent Love and Rockets I read so it was in mind. Not entirely sure how I got to “It’s OK (It’s Alright)” from “Falling,” but I did. The Raw & the Cooked is such an underappreciated album. Fine Young Cannibals are underappreciated in general, but Raw & the Cooked particularly. From it, “Good Grief,” which is kind of like a late eighties song (or at least brings late eighties music video to mind), was a natural next. “Walking on Broken Glass” because some of “Good Grief”’s music reminds of it. “17 Again” because I wanted to listen to more Annie Lennox and Apple Music finally has a decent copy of Peace (it had errors on the old iTunes Match copy). “17 Again” is, emotionally, a lot, and somehow I got to “Don’t Dream It’s Over” from there, mental connection-wise. The Toni Collette cover from Cosi, of course, which isn’t as good as I remember. The guitar solo didn’t need to be there and she has some trouble getting out the jumbly lyrics, but the main parts are still all right. A mostly eighties mix of songs? Not really. It just seems like it’s a mostly eighties mix.

$999 is about as cheap a Mac Mini (functionally) can get

The user upgradeable RAM in the Mac Mini is great and all but that 128 gb hard drive is a stinker. It occurred to me, since Thunderbolt, you could run from an external… but it’s about $200 for a Thunderbolt external 250 gb SSD, which is just the same as Apple charges. So $999 looks to be the price for a Mac Mini. Because as cool as external storage is and all, you need space on the boot drive. A year on 128 gb has taught me that one.

First thoughts on Red Dead Redemption 2

Almost an hour into Red Dead 2. Up to the bow and arrow training. The gunfight was cool. Intense. The writing and characterizations are less impressive than the reviews have suggested. Voice acting in particular is like… is this supposed to be tough “Dr. Quinn” or something? Like a Hallmark Western with teeth? The talkiness of it reveals the anachronistic dialogue too.

Zoom zoom

I’m a little more on-board with “Flash” after the second episode. Though if they’re stunt-casting Chris Klein… it’s an odd choice.

But the bad new costume looks a little less bad (the lighting on it is better?) and at least they didn’t continue lying to Iris. Though putting off her and Nora working out whatever they’re going to work out is a poor choice. And what’s with Joe never leaving the coach? The show is feeling the lack of Tom Cavanagh and Jesse L. Martin being… sofa’ed isn’t helping it.

Though the parental advice scenes were good.

And the stupid Star Labs cafe–while still looking like something out of a late eighties sitcom–isn’t in it too much.

Also, if Barry had just listened to Oliver, maybe he could fight without his powers?

Supergirl's off to a better-than-expected start

“Supergirl” Season Four starts like an apology for Season Three. Though, Rhona Mitra is terrible. I wasn’t aware she was so bad. Is she always so bad?

But the stuff with Kara and Supergirl and Jimmy and J’onn? All good. The stuff with Lena? Good, except she’s got such secret villain potential it makes her a lot less sympathetic. She’s a bomb waiting to go off.

Alex and Brainiac? Ugh. Jesse Rath seems to be the culprit there.

It’s good Agent Liberty is a weird mask versus the comics costume? Not sure why they kept the name.

And the heavy-handedness of the political commentary is a lot less awkward (so far). Making Kara own her privilege worked, though J’onn’s pacifism seems like a red herring.

And Nia is awesome. Melissa Benoist does a decent enough Cat Grant impression around her. Though it’s a little weird Kara’s totally fine after last season. But whatever. It’s like they want us to forget… and forgive. Hopefully Rath gets better.

“Supergirl” smokes “Flash” on pretty much every level, one week in.

I need a winter commute jacket

I think my winter coat is at least 15 years old. I don’t think this one from my dad. I used to take a lot of my dad’s coats. I might have gotten this one after college. Function over form. Chicagoland is cold.

So I’ve been driving with it for years. It’s cold out so I wear my winter coat. Only to get into a heated car for forty-five minutes. Usually in unrelenting sun light. It gets miserable fast.

And I end up driving with the heat off (as off as it gets) and the windows cracked.

There are a number of possible remedies to the annoyance but the driving in cold with the windows cracked tickles a nostalgia fancy. It doesn’t conjure any memories exactly just… the particular way of experiencing cold gives a cozy feeling.

Of course, it might also just be knowing I can immediately stop this cold and stifle in three layers of heat.

Flash learns no lessons

Can a TV show have a bad streak and then bounce back. Did I miss a really good season of "ER" towards the end, post-Wyle, just because I didn't get there? "Frasier" had a bad streak but recovered to at least as good as before the bad streak started. And the bad streak wasn't even bad, it just wasn't great. "Frasier" is great sitcom. Grub Street had it down.

But "The Flash," Season Five, Episode One... they add an apartment set and what seems to be a froyo bar set. To Star Labs. "The Flash" feels like it's about to have a very bad nineties season. And there are very bad runs of Flash comic books. So... has a superhero show ever bounced back after a bad streak. Not been bad in the first place, but been good and then slipped.

Also the budget looks slashed. There's more CGI but it's all CGI. There's less integration with the actors. And the scenes are too damn long. And Ralph is a bore. And he shouldn't be.

And Joe's not in it enough. "Flash" likes to pretend the Barry and Iris stuff has that so earnest it can't be saccharine feel of the West family and it doesn't. And every time Joe's there, the show seems to acknowledge it. Then tries to pretend it away.

The Barry lying to Iris again is just lazy writing.

Forgiving Nick Cave

I decided this morning, as I put on The Boatman’s Call, I’m going to forgive Nick Cave. Finally forgive Nick Cave. I discovered Nick Cave (and the Bad Seeds) because of the Zero Effect soundtrack–I really need to watch that movie again–so 1998. I first saw him live in 2014, then again in 2017. First time was the Push the Sky Away tour, second time was the Skeleton Tree one. Difference between the tours? Not as much as you’d think. Besides some songs off the recent release, he stuck to a similar set list. It ends with drunk white people enthusiastically yelling along to Stagger Lee, which concerned me the first time, and disgusted me the second time as Cave brought the front row of guppies (fiftysomething Gen-X yuppies) on to the stage to dance with him. I remember when Michael Jackson died and Nick Cave talked shit about him. If Nick Cave is going to talk the talk… how is having lame white people on stage because they paid the most for tickets walking the walk. I wanted to go to the Skeleton Tree tour because so much of the album was different and fresh and new compared to, well, pretty much everything Cave’s done since Boatman. There have been some great songs and some great albums, but it’s all fit a tone. Especially when you consider early Nick Cave. Anyway, feeling like the Skeleton Tree tour wasn’t just a rip-off (he sang along with a projection of Else Torp on Distant Sky, which was a major disappointment), but also an embracing of the mediocrity Cave has so often railed against… I’ve been done. I can’t listen to him without seeing some drunk white guy raising his bottle to Stagger Lee or the woman in the Manolo Blahniks line-dancing on stage with Cave to it. I’ve tried since, but halfheartedly. Today was the first time I decided I just have to start listening to Nick Cave again. Maybe someday even Skeleton Tree.

#SpiderManPS4 waterlogued