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.

Updates, and This Year’s Rule of Three

HELLO as I’m sure was pretty clear I’ve had a difficult month. But I’m here, I’m okay, and I have some updates I think you will enjoy.

The book: The loss of Mike a few weeks back made me profoundly unproductive, which I think most people would agree is understandable. As such, I wasn’t able to finish the next draft of my book as quickly as I’d have liked. It’s still been submitted ahead of the publisher’s deadline, so there’s no problem there, but I had hoped to have it finished sooner and work on some blog stuff instead. That didn’t happen, but things will pick up very soon.

Fiction into Film: Ghost World won the poll for my next Fiction into Film. That was the project I had hoped to tackle over the past few weeks, but it will have to happen a little later instead. I’m planning to have it done at some point in March, so that it’s out before this year’s Rule of Three starts up in April. More on that in a bit.

Advertising: Every so often I get an alert from Google AdSense saying my site is in violation of some guideline or other. Typically this happens while I’m at work, and by the time I get home and check on my site, the violation is gone without explanation. I almost never have any clue what they thought I violated, so I’m assuming they’re just false positives that get automatically cleaned up by the system. (It would be nice if they told me what was causing them, though.) Today I got one and was able to check it quickly enough. It was a sexual content violation on my Fiction into Film for The Running Man, which, as I’m sure you recall, was done in the style of hardcore pornography. Granted, I do talk about sex in that writeup, but only in terms of how the adaptation handles it. Each time I get flagged, ads either stop being served or I stop making any money from them until it’s resolved. And since I’ve yet to post any hardcore super sex on this site, it’s getting irritating. I may just do away with AdSense altogether. Some folks have suggested Patreon instead, and while I have nothing against that I’d feel pretty bad if the audience paid for my services rather than sponsors or employers. Wanting you enjoy my content and expecting you to fund it are two very different things. I’m open to ideas, so let me know your thoughts.

ALF news: It’s very possible I will have one hell of a big coup for this year’s one-off ALF review. Stay tuned. It’s a good one.

Rule of Three: The big update is this year’s Rule of Three, the comedy-focused sister series of Trilogy of Terror. Rule of Three kicks off April 1, and this year I’ll be looking at movies based on novelty songs. I could say more about why I chose that topic, but I’d rather save that for the actual features so I’m not spreading my criticism into places later readers won’t find. If you’re interested in watching the films ahead of time, you’ve got about a month!

The schedule is as follows, with links to the appropriate songs so you can be amazed anyone squeezed 90+ minutes of narrative out of this crap:

April 1: Harper Valley PTA (1978)
April 8: Convoy (1978)
April 15: Purple People Eater (1988)

These are all varying degrees of glorious trainwrecks, and I look forward to writing them up and sharing them with you. On a related note, I apologize for letting you know these things exist.

For now, I just want to thank you for your patience. There’s good stuff coming. Life may slow me down, but it has yet to keep me down.

Update: Book, Fiction into Film, Mega Man, more!

Right! So, it’s been quiet around here, I’m not dead, you know the drill. But since I haven’t updated the site in 2019 yet, I wanted to provide some information about what’s going on, tease a few features, and open something up to a vote.

First, the book.

I know, I know, I wish I could actually tell you about it. Hopefully soon. My publisher will have to do its own announcement first, and then I’ll never shut up about it, I promise.

Progress has been great. I sent them a complete draft toward the end of 2018, and they provided a lot of useful, extremely thoughtful feedback. I was happy with the draft (as far as drafts can make one happy), and they’ve unquestionably given me the tools to make it better.

Posting much of the feedback here would give away the subject, so I’ll instead just include this one general bullet instead.

That felt good to receive! I can sleep again knowing I didn’t submit a big heap of crap.

There were definitely a few things I did that they weren’t on board with, which is great to know. It’s impossible for me to experience my own work as a reader, so feedback like that is immensely helpful.

I will say that the book covers a topic I’ve discussed here before. Obviously this will cover it in much greater depth, but if you’ve been a reader of the site, I think it’s safe to say you’ll be glad when you find out what I’m covering.

All of that is to say that I’m currently working on the second complete draft of the book, which consists of a major rewrite followed by lots of and lots of editing and polishing. I owe them this draft by the end of February, and I expect to turn it in much sooner than that. Once that happens, I’ll be posting here regularly again.

Well, “regularly.”

I do have a number of things I want to cover when I have the bandwidth. For starters, it’s safe to say I’ve spent enough time with Mega Man 11 now that I can write its Fight, Megaman! entry. You’ll notice it wasn’t in my best-of-2018 list, but I don’t hate it and I know I’ll have a lot to say.

I’ve also spent a lot of time with Fallout 76, which has become less of a video game and more of a flaming dumpster tumbling down a mountain. Which is a shame, because its dire reputation is both well deserved and unfortunate. You’ll notice it wasn’t in my best-of-2018 list, but I don’t hate it and I know I’ll have a lot to say.

There’s also a whole piece I’d like to write about Prey‘s approach to ethical conundrums. You’ll notice it was in my best-of-2018 list, and I nearly discussed my (very positive) feelings about this aspect of the game there, but saying anything of substance will be impossible without major spoilers, so I’m going to confine it to its own post. In the meantime, go play Prey.

In February, I’ll be reviewing another show in its entirety, for those missing the ALF reviews. It’s a worse show than ALF, but it also didn’t last as long, so we can call it a draw. Stay tuned for more information on that.

I have my three films selected for this year’s Rule of Three, and I think it will be an interesting study. You can look forward to that series starting up, as always, on April 1.

And, finally, I want to spend time this year writing more Fiction into Film entries. I always have good intentions with this series, and it’s one of my favorite things to write, but it also takes a lot of time and energy, so when those things are at a premium, this is the first to go.

However, as your reward for being patient, I thought I’d open up the next Fiction into Film to a vote.

Below are a number of entries I’ve wanted to write for a long time. These are adaptations I know I’d have a lot to say about, and the reason I haven’t covered them yet is simply because I haven’t gotten around to it.

After this draft of the book is complete and submitted, though, I will begin work on whatever wins the popular vote. You’re welcome to vote here in the comments, on Facebook, through email, on Twitter…any way you like. Just let me know which one you’d prefer to read about, and that’s what will get my attention. I’ll announce the winner as soon as my draft is complete, so I don’t have a firm date yet. The end of this month is probably a fair guess, though, so vote now!

  • Catch-22 (1961/1970)
  • The Long Goodbye (1952/1973)
  • The Hotel New Hampshire (1981/1984)
  • Jackie Brown (1992/1997)
  • Breakfast of Champions (1973/1999)
  • Ghost World (1997/2001)
  • Fantastic Mr. Fox (1970/2009)
  • Submarine (2008/2010)

As always, thank you for your patience and for your readership. You’ll get something great out of the quiet time, I promise.


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