Tuesday, December 29, 2020


I guess I should talk about what I’ll be doing instead of this blog, you know, since it’s the last of these regular posts. I’ve got a few different interests, actually, which aren’t quite writing the same way as just typing into a word processor. I feel like I want to be dabbling a bit more, you know, while I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing.

The one I’ve been interested in for the longest is a program called Twine, which is built to make text-based games, the sorts where you read a passage and move on to the next by clicking a hyperlink or one’s choice of hyperlinks. So it’s kind of like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but there have been some very creative uses. I’m not saying I’m getting too creative with something I’ve only dabbled in so far, but this is the first time I’ve had a concrete idea for what story I’m telling, so I want to give it a try.

I also had a comic idea. It isn’t much and it’s definitely borrowing too much inspiration from someplace else, but that’s part of the point, I think. At least, that’s what I’ve got written down in my outline. I admit, I never really got into drawing, but that’s also accounted for, actually, so I’m excited to try.

And this is all on top of a few other writing projects -- the normal kind, I mean. But when I say I’m keeping myself busy, it’s mostly with stuff like those first two. Honestly, I’m pretty excited to get to work. I’ll miss this blog, and I’ll definitely come back to it when I have something to say (especially if that is “I finished this thing and other people are seeing it!”), but this blog was always about helping me finish thoughts, and this seems like a good place to end this one.

See you out there,


Tuesday, December 22, 2020

The Smell of Gingerbread

 It’s a little difficult for me to trace my direct journey from “person who likes doing gingerbread houses” to “person who makes faux-pretentious statements about gingerbread houses”, but I guess that’s part of my Christmas identity now, so let’s talk about it. I know that, once upon a time, it was just “how much sugar can I put on this piece of graham cracker, and is the answer all of it?” and so I would spend multiple hours crafting during one of my elementary school’s many winter fundraisers. There was one year I remember where making houses at home where I envisioned tiling the entire roof with Necco wafers, which were a pain to eat afterwards (Necco wafers are pretty low on the candy tier list).

Eventually, we as a family moved on to these instructional make-your-own kits, and what probably happened is that I couldn’t figure out how to make one properly so I just attached the house pieces willy-nilly and called it a day. The artistic statements came from a place of, I dunno, I guess I wanted to justify myself somehow, and people found it funny so it stuck.

So that continued for a few years. This year’s, like so much of this year, was different, and again we’re back to pre-built houses. I thought about just taking a hammer to the thing but had this vision of propping it upside-down using some candy. Titles are weird for things like this but as long as I’m uploading pictures, I might as well. Named after the Billy Bragg song, this is “The World Turned Upside Down”:

I dunno if I’m actually going to eat it. The gingerbread has historically tasted terrible for these sorts of things and my samples of the provided candy did not turn out much better, but it is nice having the smell of gingerbread this holiday season, even if everything else is falling apart.


Tuesday, December 15, 2020

Old Christmas TV

 The Rankin-Bass Christmas specials are kind of bad, aren’t they? Now, I’m going to be upfront and say that that opening sentence is definitely misleading for the final product of this post, but at the same time, I do think that has to be said. They’re the adorable sort of bad, but I don’t think they’d air as frequently as they do if they were made today. I also should say I understand that one of the reasons they do still air is because they’re old. Old content draws eyeballs for a minimum amount of work (the games industry is actually undergoing this revelation as well for certain rereleases of games, but that’s another blog post).

What I want to talk about is how I think these draw eyeballs because they’re old as well. They’re similar to A Christmas Story in that way, how being played over and over for free programming at Christmas makes them more associated with holiday traditions every year. Because they’re traditions, then, they become associated with the past.

A Christmas Story is kind of about this already, being made in the eighties about some mythical American forties, though it never really interrogates its own nostalgia (there’s a whole Dan Olsen video about this so I won’t dig into it too hard). But the Rankin-Bass specials, accompanied by A Charlie Brown Christmas don’t even have that excuse. They just got bought up at the right time by the right company.

I think the biggest indicator that this is what’s going on is every time they try and introduce a new Christmas special. I remember this big marketing push for something called Arthur Christmas, and after that, it was something I can’t even remember the title for about Elf on the Shelf toys. Both of these fell flat. They haven’t melted into the popular discussion in the same way, and I think they’re doomed to stay down there, at least for a few decades.


Tuesday, December 8, 2020

Christmas Cheer

 As soon as I finish writing this, I’m going to start setting up Christmas decorations. Nothing too fancy, just a tree, some spherical ornaments, and the presents that have come in so far. There aren’t going to be any exterior decorations to my knowledge, but other people certainly have put theirs up. A part of me does wonder why, especially with fewer people (supposed to be) out and about this year, there certainly won’t be as many eyeballs on light shows.

I mean, the rest of me -- the less cynical part -- gets it. They’re traditions, and better still, they’re traditions that don’t involve more people showing up and being in close proximity to each other. Maybe they are a bit silly, but they can provide stability, right? Thinking about it like that also led me down this path of separating them entirely from the reason they were started, though. Like, if this one is one we can do in the middle of a pandemic, and this one isn’t, that’s two separate qualities. That means traditions can be ranked.

I mean, that seems against the point of traditions like this also. The way it was taught to me, at least by modern media consumption, traditions are just something you do. I know that means you’re not supposed to think about them, but in that way, they do feel kind of secular, now completely divorced from the thing they celebrate. “We put lights up for Christmas because that’s what we do every Christmas” creates its own circular loop.

Again, I’m not trying to bash these things. Like I said, I’m about to do some of my own. Besides, maybe just wanting to do these things is enough. Completing a task like this, even if it is odd to think about, still provides the same sort of happiness.


Tuesday, December 1, 2020

The Beginning of the End

A phrase that comes up a lot when I’m scrambling to put a blog post together is “something I still probably need to interrogate”, a shorthand I’ve been using to mean “I can’t really go into this right now, but this post is about something I’ve noticed.” Sometimes the phrase stays to completion, sometimes it gets erased and replaced with something else, but what I want to do today is examine exactly why I’ve been using it. A meta-interrogation, if you will.

Some of it, I think, is that I’m torn. Some of this stuff I do legitimately want to go back and think about more, but while I recognize that blogs can be useful for long-form content, it’s not what I really think of them as. Maybe it’s a mental block I still need to get over, but that is certainly part of what stops me. This is especially true as I start wanting to be a writer in ways other than just this blog. “Is this a good blog topic or is this something I should save?” is always at the back of my mind.

The other part is a bit more personal. That is to say, I’ve interrogated it and it’s not something I’m willing to put here.

As time has gone on, then, I feel like I’ve lost sight of where exactly I want this blog to be. Originally, it was a project meant to make sure I actually finished something, tired as I was of starting a writing project and then losing steam immediately. And on that front, things have happened! I try not to keep a definite word count of things but my writing outside of this blog has extended into the high five-, maybe even six-digit range, taking up more of my time. Meanwhile, this blog has become more “something I sputter out every Tuesday evening or so.”

I think you can see where I’m going with this. I’d rather continue to focus my energies elsewhere, so when this year ends, so will the regular updates to this blog. There’s some careful wording there -- I won’t be taking this blog down, nor am I vowing to never post in here again, but I won’t be posting weekly anymore. This still feels like the place to drop media criticism every now and again, for example, especially when I’ve promised at least a few more of those.

This also means I’m going to make sure these final few regular posts go out with a bang. I’d dare not just limp along, say I’m stopping, and then limp a little bit more. This is more like that final burst of speed when the finish line is in sight.

Talk to you next week,


Tuesday, November 24, 2020


 Cooking new things is fun. You don't really know what things are going to taste like until it's finished. I mean, you can guess, and I'm sure as one gets better as a cook the guessing gets better, but until then it's a mystery. I imagine that's part of the joy of it, the not knowing, I mean.

But at the same time, right now? Right now I'm all about sameness. I like being able to know exactly what something's about, something I can control because the rest of the world surely isn't giving it to me.


Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Decisions Other People Have To Make

 It's weird watching things close down again. Not that I'm saying they shouldn't -- they absolutely should -- but I am commenting on the speed at which it is happening. I got an email the other day from the local theatre that they'd be shutting down again, and yet other places who updated me before have not. It was these same places that were really big on sending me reopening emails or new policy emails in the first place, that's why it's worth noting.

I imagine the reason there's a lot of feet-dragging here is that the optics of reopening for, like, a month or two and then immediately shutting down again are incredibly bad. So there's a fine line to walk between all these factors, they might say, even if one of them is keeping people safe. What surprises me more, then, is that few people I'm aware of seems to question the systems that encourage these sorts of decision matrices.

That is to say, I wonder why there's a tough decision to be made at all, instead of wondering why it's taking so long to make.