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.

The 6th Annual Xmas Bash is Ho Ho Hover!

Thank you all for tuning in! The Noiseless Chatter Xmas Bash is over for another year. I hope you all enjoyed.

This year, I exposed you to…

The 6th Annual Noiseless Chatter Xmas Bash! (2017):

  • Lazy Town – “Lazy Town’s Surprise Santa”
  • Perfect Strangers – “The Gift of the Mypiot”
  • The Christmas Tree
  • The Twilight Zone – “Night of the Meek”
  • What’s Happening!! – “Positive Identification”
  • Lancelot Link: Secret Chimp – “There’s No Business Like Snow Business”
  • Kolchak: The Night Stalker – “The Werewolf”

If you haven’t donated to The Trevor Project, please consider doing so.

And, hey. Have a merry Christmas.

Happening Now: The 6th Annual Xmas Bash!

It’s happening right now!  Come join us at the 6th Annual Noiseless Chatter Xmas Bash.  Terrible Xmas specials, live chat, strange music, and two or three other things!

To attend, visit gotomeet.me/xmasbash.  It’s GoToMeeting, which is a reputable service so don’t panic if it asks you to start a launcher or something.  GoToMeeting also has a free app if you prefer to watch that way.  You should be able to attend by entering with the meeting ID “xmasbash”.

Chat is separate this year.  Join in by visiting discordapp.com/invite/wGXcsKr.  You shouldn’t have to register an email address or anything. 

Sorry for the inconvenience of two windows, but if you prefer, you can use your computer for one and a mobile device for the other!  hohoho!

And, of course, please consider donating to The Trevor Project.

But enough of my yakking.  What do you say?  Let’s boogie.

Xmas Bash! Saturday! Here’s what to expect.

We are almost there! As of this posting, the Xmas Bash! is just two days away. Surely you’ve marked your calendar by now, but if your calendar was destroyed in a blaze, here’s the information again.

The 6th Annual Noiseless Chatter Xmas Bash!
Saturday Dec. 8, 7 p.m. Eastern

To join in, just come to this very website at the appointed time and click the links. That’s all you’ll have to do!

Yes, links, plural this year. Livestream has served us very well as a service for the past few events, but this year its price is exorbitant. We’re moving on to a different (but still great) service, so that’s fine but…well, it doesn’t have a chat solution that actually works for an event like this.

As such, we will be streaming through GoToMeeting and hosting the chat through Discord.

I know it sucks having to have two browser windows open, but GoToMeeting’s chat functionality wasn’t allowing for more than 10 people to chat openly, which is a huge problem for an event like this. (Thank goodness we tested this crap in advance!)

On the bright side, this means that folks who ONLY tune into GoToMeeting and stay out of Discord will have a 100% family-friendly event, if that’s what they’re looking for.

You can use the links above to create free accounts for each of those sites if you like, and you can donate to The Trevor Project ahead of time so that you’ll have one less window to futz with on the night.

I’ll be opening the stream a half hour or so early, with a test video, so that you’ll have plenty of time to get into both sites and configure your screen the way you like it.

Got that? Come here Saturday at 7 pm Eastern (or 6:30 if you want to get situated), open GoToMeeting to see the stream and Discord to chat, and you’re set.

But…well…what are you set for?

I mentioned before that this year’s stream is a bit less involved than previous years, as I’ve…well, I hate to say it, but I’ve been too busy. I still wanted to make sure I put together a great night for you all, and I’m pretty sure I have, but you’ll notice a few things missing.

In some cases, it’s because I had such little time to coordinate. In others, conflicting schedules. I wouldn’t normally point this stuff out, but I don’t want anyone to assume that the absence of any traditional faces is down to bad blood or personal issues.

You’ll still see plenty of the same things we’ve been enjoying for six solid years now. It’s still the Xmas Bash!

So you’ll get five and a half hours of laughs. Seven forgotten Xmas specials. Loads of bizarre Xmas music videos. Vintage commercials. Host segments. Original songs. Miscellaneous goodies. And the funniest live chat on the internet.

The fact that this stupid thing is going five years after I decided to make you watch the ALF Christmas episode with me is astonishing. More astonishing is the fact that it’s genuinely the most fun I have all year, and I keep hearing that from others as well, for whom the Bash! has become an Xmas tradition.

You guys are great. This live stream is a hell of a lot of work to put together, and each year I assume it will be the last. You’re the reason I keep coming back to do more, so thank you. However much fun you have at this thing, I promise you I have at least twice as much.

I’ll see you in a couple of days. Don’t miss it. I’ve dug up so many things you’ll wish you’ve never seen.

I love you all.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...