Announcing: Choose Your Own Advent!

Black Books

Starting this week, it’s the Noiseless Chatter advent calendar: Choose Your Own Advent!

A new post every day(!) from December 1 – December 24. Each one is a writeup of a different novel, covering a grand total of 24, and spanning many different approaches to the material.

Specifically, I think back to a comment longtime reader RaikoLives left here, thanking me for speaking about the experience of reading each book, as opposed to just summarizing plots. I’m taking that approach for Choose Your Own Advent as well. There may be recaps, there may not be, but these pieces will all, in some way, reflect my experience as a reader, as a writer, as a human being whose life has been improved and enriched by an appreciation for literature.

I love books. You…probably know that already, but I always feel as though I don’t write about them enough. This is a chance for me to scratch that itch, and it may help you find something great to read in the new year.

I get asked for reading suggestions often, and I love to respond personally to those whenever I can. But…well…now I can do it on a wider scale, and I really do hope you enjoy it. It’s the biggest series this blog’s had in a while, and I’m excited to share it.

There aren’t many rules, but I did want to set a few so that the posts would be varied and, hopefully, interesting.

Novels only. So no non-fiction, no graphic novels, no short story collections. Sorry, but I had to narrow the criteria somehow, or I’d be here choosing books forever.

Only one title per author. Because otherwise I’d never shut up about Thomas Pynchon.

Approximately 1,000 words each. Those are pretty short posts by this site’s standards, but I think that still gives us a lot of space to find interesting inroads. It’ll add up to around 24,000 words for the feature when all is said and done anyway, so I hope it pleases those who enjoy both bite-sized and meatier reading material.

This is not a “top 24 greatest novels” list or anything; the books covered won’t even necessarily be ones that I like…they’re just ones that I had something to say about. And while you can probably guess a handful of titles that I’ll cover, I know there will be some big surprises as well, as I’m using this series to spotlight some books that I might not otherwise have any opportunity to write about.

Anyway, come back on Thursday, December 1 for the first entry. We’ll get to celebrate the end of one monumentally shitty year by immersing ourselves in my favorite medium.

I hope you enjoy. Thanks for reading.


O Brother, Where Art Thou?

So, this site. And what’s to come. And all the other questions I wish I didn’t have to answer.

In short, I’m not going anywhere. Or, actually, I’m going very far away. But the site isn’t going anywhere.

Or, actually, it’s going to keep going where it’s always gone, but maybe more slowly.

Should I start again?


I’m at something of a crossroads with Noiseless Chatter. The ALF series is done. Forever. Period. And I can basically write whatever I want from here on out. I still plan on being amusing (NOT LIKE I CAN HELP IT) and saying curse words, but I’ll also say other things, too! And I’ll get to write about the things I want to write about!

Like Fiction Into Film! And Trilogy of Terror, since October is coming back around!

I’m excited about those things!

However, I’m…also really low on time.

I started a new job recently. It’s a great job with a great company. It’s good money. It’s fantastic experience. It’s awesome.

It also takes a lot out of me. When I get home, sure, I can write. And I often do! But I also have a girlfriend. And things I’d like to read. And things I’d like to watch. And Tokyo Mirage Sessions, which is brilliant yet refuses to play itself.

So it’s going to require me to…basically rebalance my entire life as far as that goes. In a way, that sucks for the blog, because it (necessarily) gets the short shrift. With pretty much anything else, I just have to be there, doing what I want to do. With this site I need to think of an article, watch or read or listen to whatever it is I want to write about, draft the article, gather my pictures, format it, edit it, post it, realize I missed 15 typos, correct them…u.s.w.

So needless to say I HATE ALL OF THAT

…of course I don’t. It’s just that it takes time. And I need to find a way to set that time aside, while not taking too much away from the other things that are important to me and my sanity.

In time, at the very least, I’ll get more settled at work, and it’ll involve less learning and more doing, which should give me some of my energy back. Until then…I guess I just ask for your patience. And for you to believe me when I say, hey, please do check back now and again, because I’ll be posting things.

Maybe I’ll give myself a weekly posting schedule. Would that work for you guys? Granted, one post a week isn’t much, but I’d like to think my posts are worth, like, 40 posts that anyone else would write. Surely you agree.

Let me know. I want you guys to be happy with whatever I do.

Another thing to mention: I’ll be leaving next weekend for Germany, to train for my new job. I’ll be gone for three straight weeks. I’m going to try to lock some posts down to publish while I’m gone, but I honestly can’t promise I’ll have the time to do so. (Man, I’m sure glad I got this job after stupid ALF was done. If I bailed for any length of time in the homestretch you guys would have rightly eaten me alive.)

So it may be quiet. And even if it’s not totally quiet, it’ll still be quieter.

But I do have more to come. Red Dwarf is airing new episodes soon, and I’ll review them. I’ll finally finish the second half of season two of Better Call Saul. I’m working on an ebook with Casey and J.P. that I think you guys will like, if you know what’s good for you.

And there’s more, like the article I’m writing for The AV Club. Did I ever mention that here? I forget. BUT I AM WRITING AN ARTICLE FOR THE AV CLUB and I need to get them the final draft this weekend so THAT TOO.

This is a tired post, from a tired man, but the site still has so much to say. I’m just trying to find the time to say it.

Any thoughts or feedback are welcome. But all I ask is that you stay tuned.

Thanks, beautiful.


Gravity's Rainbow

Another one of those “I know it’s quiet” updates. But mainly I didn’t want you to think that all my attention was on ALF, or that once that series ends the site will cease to publish anything.

I’ve been busy lately, which probably isn’t much of a surprise…but I’ve also been rereading Gravity’s Rainbow, my personal favorite novel…and it’s one that occupies one hell of a lot of mental bandwidth. In fact, I just finished it, and I’m still stuck thinking about it.

Each time I read the book I can hold the narrative thread a little longer than I did the previous time. It’s a complex tale, in which it’s rarely made explicit that you’re in the realm of fantasy, or hallucination, or a dream, or that the character you’re following now or hearing from is a ghost, or that you’re hearing from a character at all. It’s rarely clear when you drift backward into the past or lurch in the space between two commas into the future. In short, it takes a lot of attention to read…and it rewires your brain into a kind of functional paranoia.

It’s great.

This time I made it just about to the end, I think, before the thread started to fray on me. And because of that, I found myself being moved deeply by passages that never even registered with me before. Reading Gravity’s Rainbow is a new experience every time…a text that’s always appropriate to wherever I am in life…one which never changes, but which reveals different, important aspects of itself to me when — and not before — I need to find them.

That’s what’s been distracting me from writing.


Since we’re so close to the end here — just the stream, Project: ALF, and a handful of wrap-up features — I’m going to try my damnedest to keep those coming. Usually when it’s quiet here ALF suffers, too, but this time, since we’re essentially just saying goodbye at this point, I want to keep that going, and that may, for the next few weeks, be at the expense of other content.

One interesting thing is that Google Analytics reveals to me that my daily traffic has tripled in the past month. Since it’s been so quiet and since ALF is coming to a stop, I’d have honestly guessed it would have decreased, if anything. In fact, that’s why I haven’t been checking it. I thought it’d be depressing news.

So…welcome, new readers! And thanks to everybody for making this site a success. It goes a long way toward convincing me that I haven’t wasted all of my time on Earth.

More to come, stay tuned, u.s.w.

One disappointing discovery: I had read at some point that the fourth and final section of Gravity’s Rainbow had a different epigraph in early printings. Instead of the Richard Nixon quote, it featured a much longer one from Joni Mitchell. But I own a pre-release review copy, and it has the Nixon quote, as you’ll see above in a photo I just snapped to immortalize my disappointment.

I don’t know if the Mitchell thing is apocryphal or if there were two pre-release printings, but I can’t find any photographic evidence of it, and my empirical evidence runs contrary to it, so until I see otherwise I’ll assume it’s false.

Which is sad. I thought that would be a fun difference to be able to point to. NOW I CAN POINT AT NOTHING.

The Facebook Page for the ALF Reviews Finale is Now Live

ALF, "Somewhere Oacver the Rerun"

Just a quick update to say that ALF Wiedersehen: The ALF Reviews Finale Stream has a Facebook event page, if you’re into registering for things that way.

It’s by no means mandatory that you register. All you need to do is show up here, at this very site, on May 20 at 7:00 P.M. Eastern. By registering on the Facebook page, though, you’ll get a little notification before the event starts so you don’t forget. You can also leave trolly comments there to make me realize how much of my life I’ve wasted on this.

One other nice bonus: the Facebook event page will do all that pesky timezone calculation for you, so you don’t have to dig out the astrolabe.

Anyway, that’s it for now. This week we publish the review of the final episode of ALF, and then we start wrapping up for good. The live stream is our big farewell bash, so don’t miss it.

You can view more details about the event here. I’ll see you there! At least, I’d better.

ALF Wiedersehen: The ALF Reviews Finale Stream, May 20

ALF, "Fight Back"

Friends (and Ridley):

It’s nearly that time. When I started this series in…October 2013?! What the fuck have you people done to my life?

…okay. Anyway.

It’s nearly that time. When I started this series I sort of never expected to make it to the end. But I did. And I did because of you guys.

You readers, you commenters, you weirdos who only message me on Facebook or email me instead of commenting here. You people who spread the links. You late-comers who stumble upon the reviews somehow and blast through them all in a matter of days. You who laugh at my jokes, steal my screenshots, and wonder why I’m making that same exact Manchurian Candidate joke again.

So I want to celebrate. We still have a few more reviews to post, along with the season four bonus features and some wrap-up material, but it’s time to announce our big farewell celebration:

Please join us for….

ALF Wiedersehen:
The ALF Reviews Finale Stream

Friday, May 20
7:00 PM Eastern / 5:00 PM Mountain

We’ll have live chat, as always, and we’ll stream six episodes of ALF. I’ll also include a few fun oddities, provide short introductions to the episodes (the tears will be kept to a minimum), and we’ll close out the evening with a live dissection of Project: ALF, the TV movie that wrapped up the sitcom and by all accounts sucks busted nards.

This is it.

Like, really it.

I’ll post a few things after the stream — such as the official review of Project: ALF — but I want this to be our big, enthusiastic goodbye. And I honestly, truly, deeply hope you’ll be able to make it. I can’t fly everyone out to Denver and give them tongue kisses, and I assume this is the next best thing.

So, be there. Mark your calendars. All you need to do is show up here, on this very website, at that time. Honestly, don’t miss it. Ending the ALF reviews is going to be like saying goodbye to a close friend. Or at least like hearing that your racist grandfather fell off a cliff. Either way, it’s nice to have closure.

So, things for you to do:

Show up here May 20 at 7:00 PM Eastern. THIS IS MANDATORY.

– If you have any ideas for things to include, please let me know. Email, comment, Facebook, whatever. I have ideas, yes, but if you have suggestions of what you’d like to see, and how you’d like to celebrate, let me know. Contests? Special guests? Musical numbers? Say the word.

– …and, if you’d like to provide any words of thanks / criticism / anything else, send them over. I hear all the time from folks who appreciate these reviews, and their comments range from “they’re pretty funny” to “I had a really rough week and you helped me feel better.” And that’s great; I appreciate everything you guys have to say. But if you’d like to share it with the readers in general, get in touch and maybe I’ll do a feature that includes your summing-up messages instead of just mine.

Anyway, that’s all for now. Except one last thing:

I had a few folks suggest episodes to stream, and they all seemed to suggest the (relatively) good episodes, so that we can end ALF on a high note.

And you know what?

Thank you.

I’m really proud that in the course of ripping apart this dumbass puppet show, we all came out on the other end feeling positive. That means a lot to me, and it speaks volumes about the kind of community we have here. It would be easy for people say, “Just show any old shit; I’ll be drunk anyway.” Instead you guys said, “Hey, let’s see the stuff the show did right.”

And I kind of love that.

Thank you.

I’ll post reminders in the coming weeks, but, for now, get ready. Get your requests in. And let’s go out with a bang.

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