New Project?: The Elastica Phenominon

So yeah, despite the fact I’m already working on book 2 of The Highway Men, and have been chipping away at two other possible ideas, I decided to start another project.

Moments like this, I feel like I’m coming down with a serious case of George R. R. Martin syndrome again.  Except unlike GRRM, I don’t have my own movie theater, my fanbase appears to be in the double digits at best, and I don’t have the awesome conductor’s hat.  I have a Greek fisherman’s hat, but I don’t think it’s the same thing.  Primarily, I say this because I’m just burying myself in projects when I SHOULD be focusing on the one that requires the most energy.  IE, finishing a series.

But hey, let’s complain about that later.  In the meantime, here’s what I’m willing to share about project number three.  Or maybe it’s number 4.  I don’t even know anymore.

The project in question is something I started writing earlier this past week.  Originally, it started as a transcript of a dream that I had the previous night.  I hesitate to call it a nightmare, but I remember seeing things in that dream that were somewhere between grotesque and vorarephilic.

For the record, and because I just know someone is going to make these accusations, I’m not a vorarephile.  Vorarephilia is something that both repulses and fascinates me all at the same time.  It repulses me because it’s basically cannibalism, and it fascinates me because a lot of the vore fiction I read back when I discovered it was a thing was absolutely hilarious in how bad it was.  It truly amazes me how someone can turn the act of eating other people into something pornographic.  If nothing else, it really puts that foot fetish into perspective.

Still, if I’m transcribing the dream word for word, I had to include certain details.  It might be a lot easier to avoid fetish accusations this go-around, though.  If not because I’ve actually gone out of my way this time to explain things, then because I have a hard time imagining anybody whipping it out to this story.  Then again, things like overalls, popping balloons, and being dehydrated are apparently fetishes now, so maybe this is a war that isn’t worth fighting, and I should just focus on writing the best damn story I can write.  All the while maybe refraining from another overly elaborate description of the main heroine’s pedicure.

ANYWAY!!!

It’s probably a good idea not to go too far into details right now.  I haven’t really committed to this being publishable just yet (hense the question mark in the title).  However, this is what I can share.

This story that got its start as a transcript of a weird dream I had is currently titled The Elastica Phenominon.  At the time of this writing, I have six chapters down, and the one thing keeping me from making it seven is all the blogging and/or tweeting I’m doing today.  The rate things are going, I have a difficult time imagining this thing getting anywhere NEAR the requirements I’ve imposed on myself to make this worth putting into paperback, but if you have a Kindle, or the Kindle reader app on your phone, you’ll still be able to read the story in its entirety when it’s done.  If I decide it’s worth publishing, of course.

More news on that as it comes to me.  Right now, just in case you didn’t have ENOUGH to look forward to from TJB in 2019, you now have that.  Enjoy.

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How About that AAF?

So, this past weekend, The Alliance of American Football, or AAF, debuted on network television.  And I didn’t hear about it until the next day.  I literally went from blissful ignorance, to every sports YouTuber I subscribe to and every friend on my social media posting about it.  Had I known this was a thing, I’d have talked about it a lot sooner.

At first, I thought this league was supposed to be another league that decided to compete with the NFL.  Then I heard it’s actually supposed to be more of a minor league sort of situation that the NFL can draw from days later.  I’m not sure which one is correct…  And frankly, I don’t care.  This league has been a breath of fresh air.

If I was right the first time, and the AAF is direct competition, here and now is a good time for it.  If the NFL is an empire, this is definitely the sick man phase.  Roger Goodell is perhaps the most hated CEO in NFL history, and unfortunately, the only alternative appears to be Jerry Jones: a man that one of my favorite sports YouTubers has officially declared “The Palpatine of the NFL”.  Fans of NFL football, be they red hat wearing douches who can tell you the exact flavor of Trump’s penis, or the casual dude who’s just sick of seeing The New England Patriots win every single superbowl, and everyone in between, are fed up with the league.  This past season has shown us refball like we’ve never seen, prompting several people to dawn tinfoil hats and begin spreading conspiracy theories that this year’s AFC and NFC championship games might have been rigged.  And having sat through both of those games…  I can actually see what they’re talking about.  The league is shit…  But we put up with it, because it’s the only game in town.

Well, technically, there’s college ball and the XFL, but a lot of us might not be all that in to college ball.  Also, The XFL isn’t scheduled to redebut until 2020, and…  well…

Without rehashing too much, I gave the XFL all the shit for a reason.  That reason should be obvious by now: we already tried this once, and it sucked like a hoover the first time.  Definition of insanity and what not.  Even if the NFL is the sick man, I have a very hard time getting behind the XFL because of how it went the first time.  And you can tell me over and over that Vince McMahon has learned his lessons from the last time, but I genuinely don’t believe you.  I already have money on the table that says the XFL is going to die just as quickly as it was resurrected, and I’m not backing down from that bet.

But AAF?  This is an idea I can get behind.  The AAF is a new name, it has no previous baggage, And it manages to both give its audience a game they’re familiar with as well as introduce new rules that, when you think about it, actually make sense.

Specifically, there’s no kickoffs, and there’s no extra point kicks after a touchdown.  In fact, if you’re a kicker, you may want to have your cell phone with you, because you’re going to have significantly less to do out there than you would in the NFL.  Unless your team loves fieldgoals.

Instead, each possession begins at the twenty-five yard line, and the two-point conversion goes from ridiculously risky possibility to mandatory.  You HAVE to go for the two-point conversion at the end of the touchdown in AAF rules.  It’s an interesting decision, and I’m interested in seeing where it goes.

Also, the definition of “roughing the passer” isn’t apparently reaching out and going “Tag!  You’re it!” like it was in the Chiefs Vs Patriots game.  In fact, I saw a quarterback get tackled into oblivion in one particular highlight reel.  That’s the sort of thing fans want to see right there.

There’s only eight teams, and they only play a ten game season.  However, there’s plenty of opportunity to grow and expand over the years.  Assuming, of course, this doesn’t end up like the USFL, and flop hard after two years of actual football.  Or like the first version of the XFL, and flop even harder after ONE season.

I’ve only seen the highlights from week 1…  And no, I don’t plan on making a week by week recap a thing on here.  I will say, though, that out of four games, only one was really all that competitive.  I’m already not liking The Menphis Express’s chances in the league, following a humiliating shutout against Burmingham.  It’s great that San Diego has a football team again…  It’s just too bad they were ALSO humiliated by San Antonio.

So far, I’d say my favorite team is The Arizona Hotshots.  Not only did they look good, but they’re incredibly brave marching out there in those bright lemon-yellow jerseys with no shame whatsoever.  Seriously, Jacksonville at least tries to make it look like it’s more of a gold than an actual yellow.  But despite me poking fun, I still like this team so far.

I’m also definitely going to see where this inaugural season goes.  Will they maintain the successful ratings they had in week 1?  Will the league ultimately fade into obscurity after one season and cease to exist?  I guess only time will tell for sure.

Betraying my Values?

Realm of the Mushroomheads: Book 2 of The Highway Men, is officially on the second draft.  I don’t usually make these sorts of announcements on my blog, because they don’t seem like something worth blogging about.  I reserve them for my Facebook (which I’ve honestly considered abandoning at the rate Facebook is dying), or for my Twitter.

However, upon the completion of book 2, I find myself in the midst of a betrayal of my own values and philosophies when it comes to story telling.  Barring that, I find I’m instantly backpeddling on a promise I made when I was still writing book 1 of The Highway Men around a year ago.

In my original blueprint, The Highway Men was going to be a series of books that was more on the episodic side.  True, these first three or four would focus primarily around the Klein family mansion, but even THOSE would be written in an episodic sort of matter that made it easier for that one dumdum who thinks it’s a good idea to start the series at book 3 can jump in and not feel especially lost.  You know who you are.

Based on this ending chapter I currently have, I may have to take back that promise.  The ending to book 2 is almost definitely going to lead into book 3, which will instantly defeat the episodic concept I was originally planning on.

Furthermore, this final chapter, in its current form, ends on a cliffhanger.  Not like how the second Hobbit movie ends on a cliffhanger, necessarily.  Don’t even get me started on that particular cliffhanger, or we’ll be here all day.

Rather, this cliffhanger is really more like how season 3 of F is for Family ends.  There is a promise of things to come in book 3 that might have some people calling me a dick for doing it, but all the plot threads, aside from the overarching plot of exorcising the Klein family mansion of course, are resolved within book 2.  You’re not going to have to wait a whole year for book 3 to find out how the second half of the story goes, but with this final chapter in place, you have a pretty good idea what might be going down in book 3.

I’m on record in several places over the years talking about how much I fucking hate cliffhanger endings.  Especially when a show gets canceled, or an author decides they don’t want to work on the book series anymore.  It isn’t clever, it isn’t suspenseful, it’s FUCKING ANNOYING!

I do my best to avoid cliffhanger endings.  Lifers Wear Orange: book 2 of The Gael Saga didn’t necessarily end on a cliffhanger so much as it ended with a promise.  The story I wanted to tell in book 2 had a beginning, a middle, and an ending.  Furthermore, the villain didn’t die in the first two pages of book 3 like Smaug did in the third Hobbit movie.   God that pissed me off so…

Not going to dwell on it.  Moving on.

That’s kind of what I’m trying with this current book.  I’m trying not to end on a cliffhanger, but rather, with a promise.  If I’m somehow struck by lightning, and left unable to write for the rest of my life, you’ll be content with the story in book 2.  However, if you’re looking forward to a sequel, then the last chapter will give you a pretty good idea what that sequel is going to consist of.  Or maybe I’ve betrayed my own values, sold out to the man, and am nothing more than a hollow corporate shell of what I once was.  I guess time will tell.  Except I WISH I was a sellout.  I’d be making way more money if I was.

How About That AEW?

I’ve been meaning to lay down my thoughts on this topic for a while, but I haven’t had the time.  By which I mean that I’ve been too busy plunging face first into Netflix, which apparently decided all the shit I’ve been wanting to see should come out all at once this month.  Also my books, but you’d EXPECT those to take up my time.  In any case, let’s get into it.

I’m a fan of professional wrestling.  I may have brought it up a few times, whether it be the constant reviews of wrestler autobiographies, occasionally commenting on something going on in the world of pro-wrestling…  Or that classic chestnut about how I was a thirteen-year-old boy going to school with sixteen-year-old pricks who thought pro-wrestling was “a fake sport for gay-ass faggots”, and decided it was perfectly acceptable to just lay into me, slap the label of “fag” on me for most of my middle school years, and remind me that I was a stupid faggot because my favorite thing in the world wasn’t THEIR favorite thing in the world.  Are we all caught up?  Okay then.

Sometime in early January, the formation of a new wrestling promotion was announced: a quaint little number by the name of All Elite Wrestling, or AEW for short.  Honestly, in this day and age of YouTube, a new wrestling promotion seems about pretty meh.  I mean we already have Ring of Honor, MLW, Wrestling Circus, Lucha Underground, PWG, various local promotions (although the one in Kansas City folded last year, I think), New Japan and Defiant Wrestling seem to be developing followings here in the states…  Hell, I think TNA might even still be out there somewhere if you know who to talk to.  You’d think ANOTHER promotion would only amount to being another name in the desperate race for second place, right?

Except AEW seems to have a lot more momentum going for it than most of these organizations do.  Well, except for maybe Ring of Honor, but that’s beside the point.

AEW got its start as a one-shot show simply called All In.  Cody Rhodes, and a tag team known as either The Bucks, or Generation: Me (depending on where they happened to be working at the time) assembled a group of the biggest names on the indie scene, got a gig at an arena that could house a LOT more than the average indie show ever could, and just put on a show.  If it succeeded, it’d be one of the greatest indie stories since Amanda Hawking was somehow allowed to publish books.  If it failed…  Well, nothing ventured, nothing gained, right?  Hense the title, All In.

All In ended up being a major success.  Which led to the possibility of a second show entitled Double or Nothing.

Then, somewhere around the beginning of January, they announced the formation of All Elite Wrestling.  Not only is the crew behind All In putting together their own promotion, but the funding is coming from a former owner of The Jacksonville Jaguars.  Really, say what you want about The Jaguars being an absolute trainwreck of a team (especially this past season), but even a SHIT football team draws in mad money.  And with that kind of mad money in their pocket, AEW may actually rocket up to greatness!  Or crash and burn spectacularly.

For sure, I’ll say that anybody hoping for round 2 of The Monday Night Wars is delusional at best.  Technically, this will be round 3…  But I can understand if you forgot about round 2 back in 2010.  TNA definitely seemed like it was ready for the big time.  They’d finally shedded their identity crisis that’d plagued them since their formation in 2002 around 2008, and were putting on some of the best shows they’d put on.  Plus they had popular names like Hulk Hogan promoting them in 2010 as they marched into a Monday Night slot against WWE.  Unfortunately, what Dixy Carter didn’t count on was that Hulk Hogan is ALSO a name associated with cronyism, and if you give The Hulkster an inch, he’ll start thinking he’s a ruler, brother.  And when Hulkamania runs wild, brother, you know the Hulkamania crew isn’t too far behind, dude.

Oh, and the fact reruns of the Monday night show played on Thursday nights kind of ruined any sense of urgency viewing the Monday night broadcast genuinely had.

So yeah, round 2 was barely even a war.  It was barely a scurmish!  You ask Vince McMahon about TNA’s attempt to compete in 2010, his answer is probably something like “What the fuck is TNA?”.  And I don’t think round 3 will be any better if AEW decides to make that move right out the gate.

“But Thomas!  WWE is receiving some of the lowest ratings it’s received in years!  They even had to stop using pyro as a cost-cutting measure!”

Actually, I’ve heard the discontinuing of pyro had more to do with audience safety…  But that might have been the WWE’s blanket excuse, so yeah, maybe it IS a cost cutting measure.

All the same, WWE was receiving low ratings when TNA decided to jump into the fray back in 2010.  And you know what happened?  TNA still got squashed!

It’s also true that AEW doesn’t have cronyism problems in the management.  Yet.  With luck, it never will.  Step one: don’t hire Hulk Hogan, Kevin Nash, Eric Bischoff, or Bubba the Love Sponge for ANY REASON.  I know he overcame alcoholism recently, but Scott Hall might also be a blacklist worthy candidate.

However, it’s going to take a lot more than a management team free of cronyism, and a nigh bottomless well of cash to stand up to WWE’s Monday night program.  Even if Raw, or WWE in general is as anemic as it is, AEW is mostly unproven.  The indiemarks will gush all over it, touting its superiority over The McMahon Family Circus before they even look up All In on YouTube.  Hell, I myself am making it a point to at least give the company the benefit of a doubt on the grounds I’m starting to get sick of Ronda Rousy on the women’s side, and Brock Lesnar on the men’s side of things.  However, for the more mainstream crowd who might not know who Kenny Omega is, AEW has a lot to prove if they want to make themselves the undisputed second place.  Or even first place.

And yes, I’ve heard WWE security have been ordered to turn away anybody with AEW shirts, or holding up signs with the AEW logo.  I might also add they tried to edit out any portions of the broadcast where Shane Douglas showed up in front of the camera with a Hardcore Revival shirt on to the point where that one particular Kane match looked really awkward.  We all know Hardcore Revival (assuming that’s even around anymore) is never going to rise to the undisputed second place in the 2010s, what with the negative attitude most people have towards hardcore in the modern era.  Also, I think that has less to do with WWE being afraid of competition, and more to do with the fact WWE like to keep things sealed in their little bubble.  I mean yeah, CM Punk did acknowledge Ring of Honor and Cult Cabana exist in the legendary pipe bomb promo of 2011, but you have to wonder just how heavy a pay cut that guy took just to get away with that.  WWE didn’t even acknowledge TNA even existed until 2017, and by 2017, I think we can all agree that while there’s several promotions jockeying for second place, TNA is undisputedly in last place.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this.  While I’m not against the idea of a third Monday Night War, I think AEW needs to prove themselves a little more.  If Smackdown wasn’t slated to be moving to Fridays in the not too distant future, I’d say that putting their show on Tuesdays wouldn’t have been a good idea right out the gate either.  But now, it’s probably a bit of a moot point.

The one thing I will say is this: I’m genuinely looking forward to seeing what AEW ends up being.  Maybe it’ll be the success story that somehow manages to overthrow the WWE at long last.  Maybe it’ll be another flash in the pan.  Only time will tell for sure.

Death, Taxes, Patriots Go to The Superbowl

For those just joining us, or for those who missed that rant on how insufferable the Chiefs Kingdom was getting from a couple weeks ago, let’s recap:

Two weeks ago, I made a bet with my audience.  If The Chiefs won the AFC championship, I’d post a picture of myself in Chiefs gear as my Twitter pic, change my name to Patrick Mahomes’ Biggest Fan, and basically eat shit for the next week.  And if they won the superbowl, I’d continue to eat shit until August.

However, if the other team won, I would grace my fanbase with an article that consisted entirely of “I told you so!  I told you so!”.  And because The Patriots ended up being our opponents, I think you know where this is going.

Yeah, I won the bet.  But you know, after watching that game, I surprisingly don’t have it in me to be a dick about it.

Largely because that was probably one of, if not THE most competitive game in the entirety of the playoffs.  Admittedly, I didn’t catch every single game, but the ones I did catch always managed to be complete and total curb stompings.  That score in the Rams Vs. Cowboys game LOOKS close, but if you actually saw that game from start to finish…  Yeah, it wasn’t.

Chiefs Vs. Patriots was close.  This was a game that literally could’ve gone either way towards the end.  We like to joke about how Andy Reed handed the game to The Titans last year, or how Eric Fisher just couldn’t keep his hands to himself in the game against The Steelers prior to that one, or how The Chiefs angered the football gods and lost six of their players in practically one quarter Reed’s first year of coaching, but really, the team actually looked the best it’s looked in a long time.  The only thing we really did wrong was not cover Julian Edelman as much as we should’ve, and call tails during the coin toss in overtime.

Some people are going to call “REFBALL!” at a couple of plays.  IE, one instance of roughing the passer that looked less like roughing, and more like a Chiefs player going “TAG!  YOU’RE IT!” among others.

Perhaps the biggest controversy, though, was the fumble recovery that led to a Chiefs touchdown that was instantly negated.  In defense of the referees, they reviewed that play for fucking ever, and it seemed like every time they switched the angle, you drew a new conclusion over whether that was a fumble recovery or not.  That ref call was going to piss off everybody no matter what they decided.  The fact they decided to overturn the touchdown and let The Patriots have the ball was, in the minds of at least one person I was with, the thing that ended up costing us in the longrun.

Beyond these things, though, it wasn’t nearly as one-sided as I thought it was going to be.  When The Chiefs remember what the fuck defense is, it’s not hard to see how they got this far.  In the end, the only thing they did wrong was go against New England.  Because as everybody knows: death, taxes, Patriots go to the superbowl.

They’re Rebooting Ghostbusters AGAIN?

So I’ve heard through the rumor mill that we can expect ANOTHER Ghostbusters movie here in the not too distant future.  According to said rumors, they’ve begun filming it and everything.  I’ve also heard that not only are the ladies from 2016 not involved, but this re-reboot is apparently not even acknowledging that version of Ghostbusters even exists.

On one hand, ignoring 2016 is probably sage advice.  That movie was hot garbage, said every human being who wasn’t an antifa level feminist.  Shit, if my ex-girlfriend from 2016 is anything to go by, even antifa level feminists hated it!  IHeading up to three years later, it’s a movie that amateur film critics, and complete hacks on YouTube alike select for the sake of generating cheap heat.  It’s right up there with The Emoji Movie, or a Tommy Wiseau movie.  Saying Ghostbusters 2016 sucks is like saying the sky is blue, the grass is green, and MAGA hats are for douchebags.

In fact, the toxic stain of Ghostbusters 2016 is so potent, that I’m genuinely astounded that they’d even consider making another.  Regardless of if they’re ignoring 2016, there is literally nothing about this idea that tells me that this is a good idea.

Honestly, you could’ve waited till the 2040s before considering a new Ghostbusters movie, and I’d STILL tell you this is a terrible idea.

“But Thomas!  We NEED this new Ghostbusters movie in order to remove that toxic stain!”

Um, no.  WE don’t NEED a new Ghostbusters movie, YOU WANT a new Ghostbusters movie.  Because you’re one of those dipshit nostalgia junkies who thinks we need to see the Ghostbusters strap on the proton packs ONE MORE TIME!

You know what?  Fuck your nostalgia, fuck Ghostbusters, and fuck you!  You and your fucking memberberry addiction are the precise reason we don’t have any new ideas in Hollywoo right now.  I’m literally subjecting myself to Oscar nominations and art films right now because the movies for normies consist of Marvel movies, reboots, and whatever the fuck Dwayne “The Rock” Jonson happens to be doing this month.  It says A LOT when the best movie I’ve seen in the last few months was Assassination Nation: a pretentious, preachy, overdramatic SJW commentary that tries to mirror The Salem Witch Hunt with all the subtlety of a guy blowing an airhorn in your face and screaming “SYMBOLISM!” right afterward.  Yeah, I laid into that movie on a different website I write for now, but even after my rant, I had to admit that I liked it better than ANOTHER transformers movie, or ANOTHER superhero movie, or giving Mary fucking Poppins a sequel.

Yeah, we made Mary Poppins 2.  Or Mary Poppins RETURNS.  Or whatever it’s called.  Even Generation Nostalgia can’t figure out who that one was for.  But I digress.

I honestly don’t see this going well.  Technically, for all I know, the movie is absolute brilliance.  But I think a lot of people don’t have the memory of goldfish like Hollywoo is hoping for, and I think a lot of people still remember Ghostbusters 2016 as the turd in the swimming pool that ruined water parks for them forever.

Then again, I’m the guy who predicted “math horror” was going to be more of a thing last summer than it actually ended up being, so what the fuck do I know?

Circe: My Thoughts

I don’t want to say I hate this book, but I find myself trying to go through it, and thinking about all the OTHER books on my audible cue I could be listening to instead.  Partly because I’ve been dying to read The Little Book of Hygge, and The Six-Gun Tarot since I got them, but mostly because this book is dreadfully boring as fuck.

I’ll be honest, Greek mythology is probably my least favorite mythology.  I might as well include Roman mythology in that slot as well, considering they’re literally the same fucking thing with different names.  I’ve always found Norse mythology the most interesting, followed more or less by Celtic.  Hindu mythology is also pretty fascinating in a way, particularly in how it tends to mirror the old testament in an aspect or two.  Greek mythology, though…  I remember this was the mythology they banged into my head in school, and frankly, I can only hear so many variations about the fall of Prometheus, or the story of the minotaur, or that guy who has to spend eternity pushing a giant rock up a hill, only for that rock to squash him and roll all the way back to the bottom when he gets there before it gets tedious.

The book basically tells the story of Circe from Circe’s point of view.  We hear all the stories from her perspective, such as the sentencing of Prometheus, the birth of the minotaur, the sailors she turns into pigs…  Oh, and by the way, I almost ended up putting the book down entirely out of suspicion I was about to receive YET ANOTHER god damn third wave feminist lecture on how all men are disgusting swine.  The pun is probably intended, which would’ve made it worse.

Look, I get it that this is how the original story went.  More or less.  I’m pretty sure Madeline Miller took some liberties with the myths in order to make the story make sense.  I just have a hard time believing that when the first group of sailors showed up to her island, then found out she was the mistress of the home, they went all rapy in 0.00000001 seconds.  It was literally “Hey, we’re all having fun with wine and steak!” to “Ima rape you!” in the blink of an eye.  Yeah, sailors are horny, and women are few and far in between, but that was just whiplash right there.

Then again, what the fuck do I know?  According to every third tweet on my newsfeed, I’m clearly wrong about anything and everything because I have a penis, and the fact I try to explain things from a LOGICAL standpoint is instantly labeled “mansplaining” and I should just shut the fuck up and embrace my future as livestock.  I really need to unfollow that transwoman.  Or stop getting on Twitter.

ANYWAY!

I’ve really tried to soldier through this book.  Thankfully, any hints of third waver propaganda tucked away in a retelling of a Greko-Roman myth are, at best, a phase Circe goes through as a result of meeting the wrong crew of sailors first.

If there’s really one thing working against this book…  Really, it’s just that it’s so unbelievably boring.  This whole autobiography just drags on and on, and it’s rarely interesting enough to read more than one chapter at a time.  Believe me, The Dark Backward was less of a drudge than this book.  And I actually LIKE The Dark Backward.  For some reason.

I’m not sure how much of this was the story itself, and how much of it was the reader of the audiobook.  Perdita Weeks’ performance is like one of those ASMR videos on YouTube people apparently put on their phone when they’re trying to sleep.  Say for some shouting matches here and there between characters, this reading is dull.  It’s like trying to listen to The Draconis Memoria all over again, except this time, the reader is female.  And the story is somehow MORE of a chore to get through despite being SHORTER than The Draconis Memoria.  Really, pick a book in the series: they’re all bricks, near as I can tell.

Believe me, guys, I really tried.  I really did.  Even if I’m not huge on Greko-roman mythology, I wanted to at least feel like this book was worth the read.  Unfortunately, the further I get into it, the more I find myself really wishing I was reading something else right about now.  Or shit, I could be working on MY OWN books right about now.  Lord knows I’ve been juggling projects like crazy these last couple of months.

The Countdown to Reedstinkction

Ladies and gentlemen, it’s that time of the season.  That magical time when Chiefs fans do everything they can psychologically to somehow delude themselves into thinking that somehow, this will be the year we win us a Superbowl.  Unsurprisingly, I know better.

There’s two kinds of chiefs fans out here in KC:

A. The realists.  The ones who cheer for the home team and love it when they win, but are more than willing to point out all the flaws, and don’t get their hopes up unless there’s actually a chance.

B. The delusional idiots who, near as I can tell, make “Yenser Nation” over in Pittsburgh look like the audience at an L.A. Chargers home game by comparison.

Yeah, I’m not drinking the flavoraid.  There’s a reason I’ve affectionately referred to The Chiefs Kingdom this year as “The Cult of Mahomes”.  I was originally going to call them “The Mahomies”, but I was afraid of that catching on in a nonpejorative, term of endearment sort of way.  Make no mistake, you’re idiots, and I will have no sympathy for you when we blow it in the playoffs again.  And note that I said WHEN.  Because we’re gonna.

The big story of The Chiefs this year, as I said earlier, has been Patrick Mahomes.  Believe me, I want to jump on the hype train.  I want to give The Chiefs the benefit of a doubt.  I want to throw caution to the wind, and believe that somehow, all it took to make KC great again was a rookie QB who spent the majority of his first season with us on the bench.  I want to believe…  But I can’t.

I WILL give the devil his due: Patrick Mahomes has been one of the best quarterbacks this team has seen in years.  I’ve heard sports radio personalities out here liken him to, and even claim he’s surpassed the legendary Joe Montanna on occasion.  Honestly, I’d have to take their word for it on the grounds I was more of a baseball kid when Montanna was playing football, but I’m assured the dude was a legend.  And Patrick Mahomes has definitely been one of the better aspects of The Chiefs in recent years.

It’s just too bad that our defense is made out of fucking cardboard.  True, we’ve been winning some tough games, and wracking up some impressive scores, but honestly, these scores are WAY too close.  The first time we beat The Raiders this season, it was 40 to 33.  The Raiders have been hot garbage this year, and really had no business getting 33.  Especially since in the second go-around, they only managed to get a fieldgoal against FIVE TOUCHDOWNS.  And that’s just ONE example of how defense turned a guaranteed squash into a game that was WAY more competitive than it had any right to be.

Also, if the past has taught us anything, The Chiefs fall victim to what one of my favorite sports YouTubers calls “Reed.exe”.  I refer you to last year’s game against The Titans.  Let’s be frank: The Titans didn’t win that game, The Chiefs lost that game.  Even speaking as someone who has The Titans as his OTHER favorite team, I can say with certainty that this was the case.  The Chiefs had a dominant lead over a team that a lot of people said didn’t deserve to even be there at the playoffs, and they just came unglued in the second half.

Similar problems have plagued this team, and honestly, you can’t even blame the coaching of Andy Reed for a lot of it on the grounds this habit of ours has been around LONG before Reed was even considered for a coaching position.  It happened under Todd Halley when we managed to wrack up a 10-6 season with Matt Cassel as QB, and then managed to get curb-stomped by The Ravens.  It happened in 2006 when we got equally curb-stomped by The Colts (having Peyton Manning as their QB didn’t do us any favors, either).  I’m assured it’s been going on even earlier than that, for that matter.

So no, I’m not entering the compound.  I’m not singing the praises of his holiness.  I’m not getting to my knees and kissing his ring.  Why?  Because I know better.  I know we have the bye, but I’m already predicting something is going to go wrong, and the very next day, sports radio is going to be full of armchair coaches telling everybody exactly what’s wrong with the team.  That love for Mahomes will go the way of our love for Alex Smith, Matt Cassel, Brady Quin, and god only knows how many other QBs we’ve decided were the second coming of football Jesus.

Really, it could be anything.  Reed will probably decide he needs to be the one making plays like last year.  Maybe the football gods will be just as ruthless as they were in Reed’s first year and injure about six of our A-list players in one quarter again.  Maybe The Chiefs will just outright forget how to play football and let whoever wins the upcoming game between The Colts and The Texans pants us.  I’m not saying I know HOW we’re going to blow it, but I know for a fact we’re going to blow it.

In fact, here’s a deal for you guys who think I’m just talking shit.  if somehow, I’m wrong, and The Chiefs make it past the AFC championship, I will change my name on Twitter to Patrick Mahome’s Biggest Fan for a month.  Bank on it!  And if we win The Superbowl, I’ll extend that all the way to the beginning of the next football season.  Bank on that, too!

Of course, if The Chiefs don’t even make it to the AFC championship, let alone win it, I in turn reserve the right to write another ten paragraphs worth of “I told you so”.

Whether I’m somehow proven wrong, or if Reedstinction takes place once more, these are my terms.  I don’t normally whore myself out, but in order to see if this bet works the way you think it will, be sure to follow me on Twitter @ThomasJBlack1 to see just how much humble pie I’ll end up eating.

Till then,I remain the skeptic.  All the while knowing that I may’ve put my foot in my own mouth by doing this, and leaving me wide open for karma to come along and kick my ass.

2018 in Review

In less than 12 hours, 2018 will be gone.  And I have to say, 2018 has got to be one of the best years that I’ve ever had.  Mostly on a personal level.

I suppose the big news is that in 2018, I found a new apartment.  It’s closer to my job, which means I spend significantly less on Uber rides to and from work.  It’s a lot nicer than my old place, and it doesn’t have the lingering stink of…  Whatever that was.  And perhaps best of all, I got this place all to myself!  It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to walk around my place butt-ass naked if I so choose.  And I’ve chosen to a couple times.  You’re welcome for that visual, by the way.

Yes, dear reader, I’m on my own.  Meaning that my roommate of many years and I have officially gone our separate ways.  There was no bad blood between us, there was no falling out…  Everything is fine between us.  To be fair, in the grand scheme of things, we were never really friends.  We were just a couple of people who needed a place to live, and couldn’t afford it individually.  We knew there would come a day when one of us was going to leave, and the other would have to find a replacement.  I just wasn’t expecting to have to leave my cat behind with them.  I’ll miss you, Peppy.

But yeah, new apartment!  It’s actually a pretty nice apartment, too.

And less than a month after I moved in to this new place of mine, I met the woman who’d become my current girlfriend.  We started talking over OKcupid in July, met in person around August, and in early October, we decided to be exclusive to each other.  Does it seem a little fast?  Hell, I don’t know.  The longest relationship I’ve had prior to my current one has been about three months.  And that particular girlfriend dumped me because I had the audacity to consider voting Garry Johnson in the 2016 election.  Longtime readers of this blog know I eventually changed my mind and wrote in Bernie Sanders, but I never got the opportunity to tell her that.  Although I’m thoroughly convinced that wouldn’t have done any good on the count my ex was a loud-and-proud “Clinton or GTFO” type.  But I digress.

It is through my current girlfriend I’ve learned a lot about the world of social services, the traditions of quaker Christianity, and…  um…  Certain aspects of myself that I wasn’t entirely sure about.  Let’s just say if you’ve been a long time reader of this blog, you’ll notice a certain musing from 2017 got deleted a few months ago.  Largely because I have those answers now.  But I digress.

2018 saw the release of three stories from yours truly.  The Majin Among Us was my NaNoWriMo project from 2017 that had, in one way shape or form, been on my mind for the longest time.  Sarah’s Phone is both the latest addition to my Novellas of Highfill, Kansas, and probably the most depressing thing I’ve written since…  Well…  The first Novella of Highfill, Kansas, really.  And of course, the story I’m probably the most proud of (for some reason), Realm of the War Pigs: book 1 of The Highway Men.  Book 2 is currently in the works, as well as a couple other ideas.

Yeah, 2018 was the year I tried my hand at juggling projects.  Results have varied.

2018 WAS going to be the year I got into graphic novels again…  Except it looks like that graphic novel project might have fallen through.  I never heard anything one way or the other about it after I got recruited for it, and wrote a few pages for them.  I don’t know.

2018 was the year a lot of good albums came out.  Bad Wolves dropped a spectacular debut album.  Ghost released their best album to date.  Disturbed…  Came out with something as well.  Godsmack…  Oi.

2018 probably marks the end of my Godsmack fandom.  Frankly, “1,000 Horsepower” should’ve been the red flag to end all red flags that this band is going to suck from now on.  Add on that puzzling solo album Sully Erna put out, and the stories I heard about Another Animal getting sabotaged right out the gate, I’m starting to wonder if I should even hang on to the GOOD Godsmack albums.  I’ll probably expand on these thoughts later on in another OP ED, but for now, maybe the legends shouldn’t have risen.

2018 was also the year that I got into Twitter.  And thoroughly regretted it throughout most of it.  Probably shouldn’t have joined up during an election year.  Also, as much as I enjoy MovieBob’s reviews on Geek.com, maybe following the guy on Twitter wasn’t such a good idea after all if I didn’t want my Twitter feed to become a place to find the loudest neoliberal claptrap I could possibly find.  Seriously, guys, you make me embarrassed to admit out loud in public I vote democrat.  I’ve never been more tempted to bitch someone out in my life more than that one time I found a guy who tweeted something along the lines of “moderates are just more tolerable conservatives”.

And yet, I still prefer Twitter over Gab.  I can’t say I agree with the far left all that often, but I’m willing to concede that the difference between the far left and the far right is that the far left at least STARTS OUT within the realm of logic before drifting off into god damn Bat Country.

Also, 2018 was an election year.  And frankly, I’m just glad the election is over now.  More than ever, politics has felt like an exercise in agony.  I’d rather have my nuts bitten off by crocodiles than spend any more time listening to a bunch of mongoloids from CNN spend five hours talking about the latest Donald Trump tweet these days.

Also, this year had some of the worst reelect Kevin Yoder commercials I’ve ever seen.  Seriously, it says a lot about your campaign when your attempts at editing Charice Davis speeches to make it look like she’s saying incriminating things made your average YouTube Poop videos look like Michaelangelo sculptures.  I’ve liked Kevin Yoder better than I’ve liked most other republicans, but after that laughably terrible attempt at a reelection commercial, that guy DESERVED to get kicked out of office.

And speaking of Kansas politics, remember when Greg Orman took votes away from Laura Kelly, and handed the entire election over to Kris Kobach?  Except the exact opposite ended up happening instead, and jesus Christ you people are fucking idiots.

Yeah, I was kind of bummed out about the end result.  Really, though, things could’ve been a lot worse.  To quote my own Twitter: “I’m disappointed Laura Kelly won, and I’m thanking merciful god that Kris Kobach lost.”  Technically, that’s a bastardized Orson Scott Card quote about the 2012 election…  But it’s basically how I feel.

2018 did have its share of downs, though.

For starters, net neutrality got repealed, and I’m already seeing the effects of it.  My phone bill went up a whole twelve dollars a month, and Verizon is literally making no effort to explain why.  Hell, when my electricity bill went from eighty a month to a hundred and ten a month for that period of time between July and September, the electric company at least made an excuse.  Specifically, everybody was turning their A.C. up, and the demand was difficult to maintain without raising prices.  Is it a GOOD excuse?  Maybe, maybe not, but at least they made the attempt.

I also feel sorry for anyone who has cable through Time Warner, because with net neutrality gone, AT&T ate Time Warner almost instantly, and wasted little time fucking over their customers with “new premium plans”.

And it sounds like 2019 is going to see a crusade against “text neutrality” next.  Hope you aren’t part of a political party that opposes Ajit Pie, because important communications regarding your next rally might end up getting labeled as spam.  But that fucking chainletter I keep getting will be fine, so hey, at least there’s that.

2018 was also the year that Bret Cavanaugh got elected to the supreme court.  Let’s just set aside the rape alligations, and any stories, memes, and what not relating to “The Devil’s Triangle” for just a moment.  Even if those alligations are one-hundred percent fabricated, I still want Cavanaugh as far away from my supreme court as humanly possible.  My inner conspiracy nut who lives in perpetual fear of the conservatives dismantling the American government and replacing itself with a sort of Christian tallaban has gone into overdrive these last couple of years, and that guy’s nomination to the supreme court has NOT done these paranoias any favors.  Rand Paul once proudly declared “keep your government out of my god.”  Fine.  Just do me a favor, and keep your fucking god out of my government, you evangelical lunatic!

But aside from a couple of concerns like this on the grand scale, my 2018 has been pretty good on thepersonal side of things.  Compared to the slow, mindless, agonizing drudge that was 2017, 2018 has been quite the ride, and I’m actually looking forward to what 2019 has to offer.

 

The XFL is Going to Suck. Again.

At this point, it’s becoming an extremely tired expression about how “the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results”.  And yet, here I am, finding myself commenting on the resurrection of the XFL.  Because THAT was something the world needed: a terrible football league full of mostly terrible ideas that wasn’t all that good the first time around.

Frankly, I wouldn’t even comment on this…  Except I’m seeing a strange amount of enthusiasm from people on both my friendlist on my personal Facebook as well as my Twitter feed.  Largely because these people don’t really strike me as people who exactly want to see the XFL so much as they want something to point at and say “see?  This is what REAL football looks like!  Not like those stupid Marxist lefties keeping America from being great again with their fucking kneeling.”

All I’m going to say is this.  If you’re happy the XFL is giving your city a football team, fine.  If you’re legitimately curious to see if the XFL is going to be just as disastrous as it was the first time, also fine.  Hell, if you’re sick of the fact the entire NFL season has basically degenerated to “Oh boy!  I cant wait to watch The Patriots win ANOTHER superbowl!”, I might even sympathize with you.  Unfortunately, I feel like a lot of people who are jumping on board aren’t jumping on board for any of these reasons.  Rather, it’s pretty obvious that the XFL is going to be like the Gab.ai or the Bitchute of football: a haven for ultraconservative, red hat wearing dipshits to hang out and talk about how much they love the flavor of Donald Trump’s penis.  Because Donald Trump himself told them they have to boycott the NFL because black lives don’t matter more than scoring touchdowns through the goal basket.

Oh, and semi-related note, that’s why they’re kneeling.  At least that was why when I was paying attention, anyway.  I don’t know if it’s metamorphed into anything since, but they DEFINITELY weren’t kneeling because they wanted pay raises and more vacation time.  That sounds idiotic and made up, but I promise you, I heard some coworkers throw around those exact accusations in the break room back when the kneeling phenomenon was fairly new.  Another reason I say that if you’re going to be a hater, the absolute LEAST you can do is do your fucking homework.

Okay, getting back on track.

Even if XFL doesn’t become the MAGA football league, I will legitimately be shocked if this league lasts more than a year.

I would like to think Vince McMahon has learned his lesson from last time.  I doubt highly there will be any “beginning scurmishes”.  Not to mention #MeToo would probably crucify the camera man who tried to get an upskirt shot of anyone on the cheerleader squad this time around.  Considering Vince’s kids and his son-in-law more or less run WWE now, Vince won’t have to juggle the world’s most popular professional wrestling promotion and the world’s shittiest football league at the same time anymore.  Hell, maybe they won’t get professional wrestling commentators to commentate a sport some don’t even know how to call!  Partly because they aren’t football guys, and possibly because the XFL is a whole other game from traditional football altogether.

It also helps the XFL that NFL attendance has gone down in the 2010s.  Whether it be because the previously mentioned fact every season has officially become a question of how The Patriots win this year, or because streaming platforms are more convenient and usually cheaper than cable (at least until Ajit Pie’s master plan comes to fruition, but that’s a rant for a whole other day)…  Or yes, because cult45 stopped buying tickets, the fact remains that the NFL is not doing as well as it has in the past.  In 2001, the NFL was the superpower in professional football.  The only league that could even BEGIN to compete was probably up in Canada or something.  In any case, in 2020, the NFL’s stranglehold on the sport is as loose as it’s been in decades, leaving plenty of opportunity for challengers.

And if that challenger had been LITERALLY anyone else, I’d actually be intrigued enough to trash this op ed right now and embrace the opportunity.  But it’s the fucking XFL!

Even with the state the current NFL is in, even with the lessons of the past being learned and worked into the second incarnation, the XFL is still the XFL.  The stink of the original’s failure still perfumes the air, and while newbies wonder aloud who farted, those of us who lived through the first XFL season in real time know exactly what that stink is.  And a lot of us are smart enough to know that it isn’t worth it.

The 2010s have been about the reboots and revivals more than any other decade.  However, the vast majority of reboots and remakes are based on properties that ACTUALLY SUCCEEDED the first time.  The original Ghostbusters is a classic.  The original Mighty Morphing Power Rangers was a smash hit in its day.  Invader ZIM has a massive cult following to this very day.  Dozens of 80s hair metal bands are still around today because they were generating hits left and right.  So forth, so on.

As much as I’ve railed against memberberry culture and Generation: Nostalgia in recent years, I can at least see the mindset.  Unlike all those other examples, though, the XFL was a complete and total disaster the first time.  So why in the reddest corner of hell would you ever think this was a good idea a second time!?

In the longrun, all I can really say is I will put money on the table that says that the XFL doesn’t live long enough to see 2025.  If I’m wrong, then I owe a certain someone on my friendlist over on FB a steak dinner.