TripleJump page is live!

I’ve mentioned it before — and sometimes even had the presence of mind to post them here! — but I’ve been writing for TripleJump on YouTube since the middle of last year.

That definitely has contributed to my decrease in output here. My scripts are tens of thousands of words long, and they require research and first-hand experience on my end. Those aren’t complaints, but I’d like you to know that I’m still writing! My words are just being used for feature-length videos(!) instead of blog posts.

Because a lot of those videos will take the place of active work here, I’ve set up a TripleJump page — accessible from the left-hand navigation — where I will post links to all of the videos I’ve written.

Check them out. I hope you’ll enjoy them. It’s a new experience for me to write things that other people perform. It’s not the first time, but it’s the first time I’ve done it steadily.

But what about this site? Well, stay tuned. Book news should be coming soon, and I have something very big planned for this year, which I’ll post about after my birthday.

Ever since the ALF reviews finished, I’ve thought about tackling something big again. And I think I’ve found my subject.

We’ll chat soon, I promise.

Failure is now an option

There’s no reason to dance around it: The Xmas Bash is cancelled this year.

I’m sorry. That’s something else I don’t want to dance around; I am very sorry.

If you’re still reading, we can dance a little now.

I live in a state of being constantly overwhelmed. Those of you who know me in real life — and probably at least a few of you who only know me from my various creative endeavors — will already know that I do that to myself. Certainly many things happen unexpectedly, but I keep myself in a state of extreme busyness at almost all times.

I sign up for things I probably won’t have time for, and then I force myself to make time for them. I feel one project winding down — and the relief that comes with that — but immediately launch into something else. I’m rarely working on only one thing. That’s a coping mechanism, I’ve learned; the more I overwhelm myself, the less attention I can spare for what’s happening around me.

That was very helpful in my childhood, and I never unlearned it. It’s become helpful again lately in a political climate I think it’s safe to describe as a fucking waking nightmare.

I need to detach and projects drive the wedge. I take on extra work as a freelancer. I proofread and edit and write things for others without charging them because it keeps me busy. I work hard on things nobody else will ever see, and on things others might see but which don’t carry my name. I work because that’s always been my release.

Professionally, that’s great. Personally, that’s definitely not, and it was only ever a matter of time before the plates came crashing down.

And in the past few months, that’s what happened. It’s not a sob story; I’m doing very well! But psychologically, emotionally, I started to unyoke myself from things I didn’t actually need to be a part of. This is a good thing. This is a healthy thing. And it was a necessary thing.

When I was 17 years old I got my first real job. It was at a Taco Bell in the Hamilton Mall. Cheap food and a mall discount; it was great.

Early on, they trained me on a number of jobs so that I could fill in wherever they needed me. One of the roles was something called an “expediter.” It involved gathering up all the meal items that came down the line, putting them on the right trays, and then bringing the trays out to the counter where the customers were waiting.

It wasn’t difficult, but like anything else I’ve done, I wanted to do it well. At one point, probably during a lunch rush, I figured I’d work more efficiently by carrying two trays out at a time…balancing one on each hand.

Clearly predicting misfortune (and I’m sure he was correct), my coworker Jeff stopped me from what I was about to do. He was an insightful guy, and before I even did it he put a stop to it.

He was friendly. He spoke softly. He got my attention, looked me in the eye, and said, “You don’t have to be Superman.” It was good advice. And that day I ruined zero lunches because I carried the trays one at a time…something I could handle.

That was more than 20 years ago. I still think about it a lot. Whenever I know I’m about to grab too much to carry — literally or figuratively — I hear Jeff telling me, trying to help me, “You don’t have to be Superman.”

And then I still grab too much to carry. And I force myself through it and I do it again. I was able to do it once…why not assume I can do it every day for the rest of my life?

This year, I bought a home. I made improvements and repairs to it and moved into it. I worked regularly on my book project. I started another book project. I started writing scripts for TripleJump. My most recent script for them was 50 pages. I got a promotion at work. It came with new responsibilities, on top of the fact that I was already responsible for a monthly publication. I then started working on our annual publication, which usually requires around six months of work but this year — due to uncontrollable circumstances — it had to be done in under two months. I started an exercise routine. I do all of this and more feeling stiff and uncomfortable every day because of an accident I was involved in almost two years ago…which is still tied up in litigation so I have no idea if any treatment will be covered.

And that’s just the surface-level stuff. The smaller jobs and favors that don’t merit mention here but which ensure — because I have ensured it — that I will not stop.

The plates came down. I dropped the trays.

And that’s okay.

But it means that a lot of things I was carrying…didn’t quite survive. I wanted to believe I could still get things together in time for the Xmas Bash, but I couldn’t. I wanted to believe I could keep writing here, but I couldn’t. I wanted to believe I could keep everything running nicely while I overwhelmed myself off camera, but I couldn’t.

And it’s been good for me. I’ve had downtime. Actual, extended downtime for what feels like the first time in ages. And while downtime doesn’t solve most of what I’m up against, it really has helped.

And so I’m cancelling the Xmas Bash. I didn’t want to do it. For five years it’s been my annual highlight, but it’s also been a lot of hard work. It’s an event which grew every year — also my doing, hello there — and which hit the point that I couldn’t carry it anymore.

I don’t think it’s cancelled forever. Maybe it is. I don’t know, but that’s not my intention at least.

It won’t happen this year, though. The time to pull it together doesn’t exist, and that might be a good thing for me. But I am sorry to everybody who was looking forward to it.

As things wrap up now, I am letting them wrap up. Again, not forever, but for the first time in 20+ years, I’m taking Jeff’s advice. I don’t have to be Superman.

The book, which I can hopefully discuss soon, is finished and with the publisher’s proofreaders for final catches. I will be working on another after that, but it won’t require nearly as much effort. I intend to keep working with TripleJump, because that’s a project that excites me and challenges my writing abilities. (They’re also truly great to work with, but…so are most people I’ve ever worked with.) And I’m going to keep this site, updating it when I have something (theoretically) interesting to say. And I hope it goes without saying that I will keep my job.

But that’s it.

I’m going to let things expire, let opportunities pass, and let myself breathe. I have to do that. Whatever somebody’s pace, they can’t keep it up forever. Things slow down. And that’s okay.

I didn’t slow down, and I’ve failed to meet commitments. The Xmas Bash was the biggest and most important one, to me. I did that to myself, because I kept picking things up and never letting them go.

I apologize for that. There is nobody I blame but myself.

And so this will be the first year in a long time without an Xmas Bash. For that, I am sorry.

But at least know that in the background, I’m not panicking, I’m not soliciting submissions desperately, I’m not struggling with technical issues I have no idea how to resolve.

I don’t have to be Superman.

And I’m going to let myself be alright with that.

Announcing: The MaXmas Bash! (and more)

Things have been quiet, so let me address that first.

50% of the reason for that is me being busy. I submitted another draft of my book to the publisher at the end of July, and I’ve been working regularly on scripts for Triple Jump. Subscribe to them if you haven’t, because they’re fantastic.

In fact, the latest video I wrote happened to be uploaded today. Check it out and get a sense of why Triple Jump is a large — though rewarding — time investment:

Yeah. That’s 72 minutes of me going on about Batman games, and obviously the time it took to research them, find them, and play them was…well, you can imagine what it was.

I’ve also been working at my actual job, of course, and moving into the home I recently bought. That’s…a lot.

The rest of it, though, is me being drained and fatigued and frustrated by the world and what’s happening in this country specifically. It’s disheartening to see photos of overcrowded detention centers and to read the stories of mistreatment. It’s disheartening to hear the president telling congresswomen of color to go back where they came from. It’s disheartening to walk into work so frequently past flags at half mast because there’s been yet another shooting that won’t change anything.

I’m a very empathetic person, as you all certainly know by now, and it takes a lot out of me. Usually by the time I’m done with the things I need to do, I don’t have the energy to do much of what I’d like to do. I might watch a movie. I might read a few pages in a book. I might play a video game. More likely, I’ll be so drained I just go straight to bed and hope I’ll wake up to a better tomorrow. Eventually I hope that will actually happen.

All of which is to say, I haven’t had “extra” time or energy for a while. As soon as that changes, I’ll be doing more here. I still have a lot of things I’d love to cover, and I thank you for sticking with me and being patient in the meantime.

The one thing I really regret is that I wasn’t able to get you anything in terms of the lost ALF episode I managed to obtain. The time and energy weren’t there, but, also…well, a second unmade ALF script made its way into my hands. It’s called “Reflections,” and though I missed my self-imposed deadline, I now get to write about two episodes that never were. So stay tuned for that. A whole other script to discuss means it will be absolutely worth the wait.

Of course, there are two holidays I never miss, and I’ll talk to you right now about what to expect.

Trilogy of Terror: Every year I cover three related horror films in my Trilogy of Terror series. This year I am covering three films by one of my absolute favorite directors as I discuss John Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy. If you’d like to watch ahead (and I suggest you do, if only because they’re very good films), here is the posting schedule for the writeups:

Oct 17: The Thing (1982)
Oct. 24: Prince of Darkness (1987)
Oct. 31: In the Mouth of Madness (1994)

The MaXmas Bash!: And for Christmas, I bring out the big guns in the form of the Noiseless Chatter Xmas Bash! This year, though, in memory of Max Wright, we’ll do something a little bit different. The MaXmas Bash! is going to be similar to the Xmas Bash!, but with a few tweaks to pay homage to the star of ALF, the show that kicked off this whole stupid mess.

The MaXmas Bash! will be a live stream event. To participate, you just have to come to this very site at the appointed date and time. There will be seven forgotten Xmas specials (two of which star Max Wright!), lots of strange Xmas music and curios, vintage commercials, live chat, and much more. We’ll be raising money for The Trevor Project once again, and pouring out some eggnog for the late, great Willie Tanner.

Join us right here on Dec. 14 at 7 p.m. Eastern. I’ll set up a Facebook event page for those who like to keep track of it that way, but you don’t need to RSVP. Just show up ready for another heaping helping of the most syrupy, gooey, cloying Xmas crap imaginable. You’ll like it!

Anyway, that’s all for now. At some point I’ll be able to post something that can’t be boiled down to “I’m still not dead,” and hopefully soon. Once the book is completely done and dusted, I’ll have a lot more time. And, hey, who knows. Maybe we’ll get that brighter tomorrow after all.

Don’t lose hope.

At the absolute least, I’ll see you Oct. 17 for Trilogy of Terror and Dec. 14 for the MaXmas Bash! Don’t miss either of them. I love you all.

New video, new show, new house

I announced it on the Facebook page — be sure to follow that if you don’t already for quick updates that don’t warrant a full post — but I wanted to wait until I had something specific to show you before I announced it here:

I have officially joined the Triple Jump team as a writer. You can watch the first video I’ve scripted — posted this very day — here:

So, a few notes on this. Firstly, Every X Ranked Worst to Best is a brand-new show on the channel, and so far I’m the only one writing for it! That doesn’t mean it’s my show in any way — in fact, please allow me to make clear that it is not — but it does mean I get to help it find a voice and an audience, which is immensely flattering to me.

Secondly, you may have come across Ben and Peter at either WhatCulture or Vidiots before. Triple Jump is their personal venture, and I certainly encourage everyone to like and subscribe to their channel. They don’t just make some of the funniest video-game stuff on the internet, but they’re great people as well, and by doing something as simple as subscribing you’re helping them do what they love. (And, y’know, helping me as well.)

If you don’t know Ben and Peter, I’d strongly encourage you to watch their Worst Games Ever series, which has followed them between channels. It’s fantastic.

Also, if you subscribe, you’ll get to watch a bunch of stuff I’m writing, which is evidence that I really am writing, guys!

Yes, I know it’s been quiet here, but I do have a lot of things in the works. One of which is TripleJump, which is a lot of very fun work that I already enjoy immensely, so please do support it by subscribing. Another of which is another draft of The Book I Can’t Quite Talk About Yet, incorporating a third round of very helpful feedback. It’s coming together great, I’m happy with it, and at some point I hope to talk about it before I die.

And the other big thing I’ve been doing is…buying a home. This is a huge thing for me, especially as it was made very clear to me that if I chose writing as a career path I was basically signing up to be a hobo.

Instead, well…I’ve done alright for myself, but I’ve also spent my entire adult life renting. There’s nothing wrong with that, but there are certain things I’ve always wanted with a place of my own that I couldn’t easily (or perhaps even wisely) have in a rental, such as a library area, or a freestanding arcade cabinet. Now I get to actually create the home I’ve always wanted, and that feels really great.

So stay tuned. More is coming. Much more is coming. And I appreciate your patience as so much comes together. It takes a while sometimes to get where you’re going, but as long as you’re moving, I think you’re doing okay.

Urgent: A lost episode of ALF has been discovered!

This is not a drill, a joke, or a trick. I have in my possession a complete and very real script for a never-produced episode of ALF.

This is what I was referring to last week. I didn’t want to promise anything until I actually held the script in my hands. Any number of things could have gone wrong. The post office could have eaten it. The script could have been incomplete. The whole thing could have been a hoax.

But here I am, with 30 minutes’ worth of never-seen ALF in my grubby little hands. It’s called “Home Sweet Home” and I’m dying to tell you all about it…but that will have to wait.

This is a piece of television history that was almost lost to the ages. Granted, it’s a small piece of something nobody likes, but still. It’s something.

And it’s a hell of a damn find. In July I reviewed the ALF Sega Master System game, and I was pretty certain that was the last ALF project to warrant coverage. I even ended that review by saying, “Tune in next year when I review the fuckin’ paper plates.”

But now, I have this.

I am going to cover it in July for this year’s ALF review. That is to be expected, I’m sure, and I’m thrilled to be able to share this with the world for the very first time.

However, I’ll need your help in terms of how to present it. In every other case, you could watch the episode or play the game or whatever yourself, and then read what I have to say about it. In this case, that’s not possible. I have the script and you don’t. That’s a problem.

The easiest solution would be to scan the whole thing and post a .pdf, but I don’t own the rights to “Home Sweet Home” and have no intention of distributing somebody’s script without permission.

Fair Use, however, allows for transformative works. That’s why I’ve never had any qualms about using screen grabs and quotes in my reviews; they’re being presented in a transformative context that does not rob the episodes of their own identities. The reviews exist in a space that doesn’t overlap the value of the episodes.

All of which is to say, there are a number of ways I could go with this. The script could be illustrated, storyboarded, animated, acted as a radio play…anything, really. I want people to be able to enjoy it, so please let me know how you would like to see “Home Sweet Home” presented, and I’ll do my best to give you something worth coming back for.

Share your thoughts, either below or otherwise. I’m all ears, and we have a few months to do this right.

We’re making history, here, people.

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