Blogged Ramblings vs. Podcasted Ones

I tried really hard to get a second episode of the Summing Up Microcast posted today but it didn’t happen. I recorded… four times? Like, way too much time spent on eight minute podcasting. Way too much time. Background noise is the current culprit. Though maybe Ferrite isn’t as good for recording as it is for editing? Regardless, I’ve got a microphone coming and hopefully it’ll help. At least enough to get the episodes recorded and posted. Drawbacks of planning and executing a new creative venture in about four hours. Just because 2019 makes it easy doesn’t mean you don’t still have to figure things out.

It’s going to be real funny if it turns out to be Ferrite though. Real funny.

The whole impetus for the microcast was getting ready to start the Visual Reflux podcast, only we didn’t get around to recording the first episode today so it’ll be a week out at least. The delay is fine… gives co-host Vernon time to see Avengers: Endgame and for me to stay caught up on “The Flash.” He’s on his own for “Supergirl” right now though. And we even have an agenda. Don’t have a theme song yet, but an agenda is something. Usually we have a list. Agenda seems more legit.

Otherwise, Visual Reflux (the blog) seems to be doing fine? I got burned out doing the MCU recap last week and I’m also behind—a little—on comic book stuff, but I’m getting closer to it. Punisher: Born was a bit of a buzzkill but I think I’m getting back into the rhythm… even if I’m going to have to do one more single read-through on the first Punisher MAX arc.

I’m having some trouble with the “daily Visual Reflux post as a writing discipline” thing for some reason too. I had been fairly enthusiastic about it but writing 350 words about nothing every day isn’t particularly easy. And even with the “cheat posts” (link posts back to The Stop Button), well, it doesn’t always work. Especially not on days without posts.

But maybe I’ll do some thoughts on the Criterion Channel later? Since I watched something on it this morning.

New Podcast: Cop Out, Or: Prelude to Podcasting, Or: Summing Up S01E01

So, we’re recording the first episode of Visual Reflux: The Podcast tomorrow. Tres exciting. Unintentionally, it led to me realizing it’d be really easy to meet my “post-a-day” quota for Visual Reflux: The Blog if I could somehow count a micro-cast. Seven hours later because it’s 2019, the first episode of Summing Up: The Podcast. Eight minutes about nothing, but actually thoughtfully conceived.

I’m looking at it all as a process exploration. The idea of multiple iterative exclusive drafts, which is more work than I put into Stop Button posts after all.

Like I said, it’s eight minutes. Who knows if this micro-casting thing is going to be a thing.

Best of luck on future projects

“I hate writing about great films. I absolutely hate it.”

From November 2005. Came across it on a project I’m not ready to talk about yet because I haven’t decided if I’m doing it yet. I’m “testing” the project, because it’s a big one and of questionable reward, even creatively. Well, maybe not. It’s kind of really fun, creatively-speaking.

But this post isn’t about why I don’t hate writing about great films anymore.

It’s instead the start of the drum roll on the podcast. Technically it’s all green lights. Anchor is so much easier than GarageBand and Levelator and FaceTime and Skype and Audio Hijack and so on. I’m not sure when the first episode will be released, though we’ve got the recording scheduled. It’s kind of amazing how well Anchor works.

At least for recording. The whole posting the podcast thing… we’ll see. I’m going to run the first episode at least in the Comics Fondle Podcast stream. I’d run it in the Best of Alan Smithee and Stop Button Favorites too but I’m not sure how I was publishing them. Through WordPress somehow, but maybe through FeedBurner too? I don’t really want to go back and figure it out, since I’m pretty sure listenership on the old stuff has fizzled.

Oh, wow, Anchor may have stats I don’t need to comb through AWS logs to calculate.

I’m sure I’ll be more excited when I’m not trying to figure out how to get rid of clicks. I took the more “hobbyist” route with Visual Reflux (self-hosted versus WordPress) but as an extended try-out. It all may change next year. The site went out last weekend, which wasn’t cool. One of the big reasons I moved Stop Button to was because the site kept going down and GoDaddy seemed unable to fix the problem or guarantee their fix was going to work.

The other big reason was because the company is owned by terrible white people and we all need fewer terrible white people in our lives.

But it never occurred to me, in 2019, to try and self-host another podcast. No thanks. There’s an app for that.

Other site news… the Punisher MAX proper readthrough is starting soon. For my made up word, readthrough, do I want to hyphen or not. Read-through or readthrough. The former at least doesn’t give me red lines.

And I’m going to do a MCU ranking post after Endgame because Fiege totally said it was the end of Phase Three and is now walking it back but whatever. He also said Infinity War was standalone. It is, of course, just not how he meant.

I haven’t gotten any Marvel movie-related hate comments since the first Avengers so fingers crossed I at least get one?

There should be only two.

Here is an all-encompassing theory to explain The Godfather Part III, based only on on-screen evidence (i.e. ignoring production woes, casting woes, rewrites, budget and schedule comprises, and what?)….

I remember not hating Godfather 3 as a kid. Not in 1990. Not on the golden VHS tapes. But I do remember never watching it again. I remember buying the VHS tape used at some point, but I don’t think I ever watched it. There’s a slim chance I marathoned Godfather at some point. But by my late teens, after Sofia Coppola started directing, it certainly seemed like I’d never see Godfather 3 again. I no longer trusted my twelve year-old self’s impression of the film.

Around that time, my best friend started saying “there are only two Godfather movies” and, although I never picked up that phrasing, I started to forget about *Part Trois*. It became a footnote in the collective pop culture consciousness, that thing Sofia Coppola did before she directed. People didn’t even care enough to remember it as the beginning of Pacino’s yelling phase. Or at least the breakout of the yelling.

In general people forget Andy Garcia had theatrical releases, which is simultaneously understandable and surprising.

We watched the first two Godfather movies over ten years ago (I’d gotten the LaserDiscs of 1 and 2 but not three and then upgraded them to the DVDs) and I wrote about them for Stop Button. No idea what those posts are going to look like….

But we skipped 3 because… Godfather 3.

I like to pretend I’m a franchise completest at Stop Button. Like it matters if I have all the Batman movies or all the Blondie movies (the latter attempt lasted one sequel, I think).

It doesn’t actually matter. I know people binge read the site but it seems rare they do it for series.

We started going to a movie night a couple years ago and, recently, we watched the first two Godfather movies. So the movie night wanted to do the third. So we did the third.

Somehow it forecasts how bad Phantom Menace was going to be, nine years in the future. I thought about it a lot during the film, I’ve just blocked those memories. Probably something about how terrible the scenes were written, like Puzo and Coppola didn’t care about hearing their lines spoken, which actually might not be the problem with George “Midichlorian” Lucas.

Anyway. Unless someone pays me for it, no more watching Godfather 3. I particularly don’t like it being such a stain on cinematographer Gordon Willis’s otherwise superb career.

Tomorrow’s Weather

If all goes as planned—yeah, sorry, it’s late and I’ve got nothing but another writing post today—but if all goes as planned, tomorrow I’ll have… well, some updates. Some news of future projects. Imminent future projects in some cases. But I’ve got to get through the morning’s writing tomorrow, which is daunting. I’m so nervous about it I actually downloaded the OmniOutliner demo—full-featured for two weeks, I believe (more than enough time)—to take notes earlier. It’s a concerning amount of seriousness. I don’t remember the last time I outlined anything.

Though, to be fair, it’s not exactly outlining and more like a forecast and structure of topics. We’ll see how it works tomorrow. I can get out of one of the “assignments,” I can’t get out of the other.

Earlier today, I was listening to Core Intuition, a podcast I like quite a bit, and one of the hosts was talking about how what’s special about blogging is no one has the exact same take or the exact same audience. A history professor once said something similar. Not about me, but just in general. And there’s this whole thing with creative writing where the experience you’re counting in your… ground situation as a writer includes things you’ve read. And obviously things you’ve seen, things you’ve heard, whatever. Our takes are our own. Even if they’re just bad takes ripping off someone else’s bad takes, the act of making that take in your individual context makes it unique. And a piece of shit if you voted for Trump.

But hearing that sentiment on Core Intuition didn’t really do anything for me. It didn’t make me feel any better about tomorrow’s Stop Button post, Michael vs. Jason: Evil Emerges, which is a no-budget fan crossover between Halloween and Friday the 13th. It’s not a slick production like most of the other fan films I’ve written about. I spent a lot of time thinking about posting about it, even considering just trimming the draft and posting it here in the “Link” category. But then I read it again and thought, nah. Up it’ll go. Why not. I’ve got some really shitty short films on there and, while M v. J isn’t great and you can miss most of it, it does have a really well-executed fight scene. Wrasslin’. Because why not.

The most important thing for tomorrow’s writing—sunlight. Well, sunlight and not getting too nauseous after too much coffee. But sunlight’s important too. It’s got to be just the right amount, which is all going to depend on the weather.

Partly cloudy.

I think I can make partly cloudy work.

I’ve got a handful more of these intense writing projects coming up—as opposed to the norm, which is writing something like 2,500 words every Friday—these other projects… well… I’m going to edit them. Like draft and edit. Probably print them out and make notes. I’m taking them seriously. So maybe it’s good to never get too comfortable with them.

Word Count: 462

You all almost got a streaming of consciousness piece but I stopped myself. There are cans of worms way too big and requiring of way too much garnish and condiment.

Apologies on the plurals being off but… I like the way it sounds that way.

I’ve got a very big writing week coming up. Daunting. I know it’s daunting because I’m fixating on organizing my ideas. I’ve got two things to write; they don’t relate at all. Other than they’re both in the first person. I dread first person. Ever since undergrad fiction writing, I’ve hated first person. It’s so hard to do well. It’s so easy to be superfluous in first person.

So two daunting first person things coming up this week. I’m excited about the prospects of both, except I’ve already drafted one of them and I’ve got a draft of something else I can integrate into the other thing, so I’m not currently excited about working on them. It’s complicated. And I’m not excited about it and I want to be excited about it. Meanwhile I’ve got a friend who started a writing class and I just keep telling them to get in the word count no matter what and it’ll be fine. I’m really good at promoting the idea of word count-based writing—dumping all your writing, in all contexts, into a daily file and seeing how much your writing. But I don’t do it. So say your goal is 1,500 words, which was a lot back when I was in MFA school because we didn’t have smartphones yet and emails were still long and whatever else. You throw all your text from the day into a file and do the count. Then you report it to someone else because it makes you feel responsible.

Very few people did it. But I was trying to write a lot. So I’d do my 1,500 plus whatever I wrote outside MFA work. And I was blogging for most of it. And sending long emails. So I guess I was committed to that system for generative purposes, but not for the results of that system. You were supposed to go back to a day later and see what you could piece together from it.

It’s an interesting digital journaling idea. I’m running my Visual Reflux with that system I guess, since daily posts? First person daily posts.

But I don’t do word count at all anymore. I think it was the years of word count-based constraint. I’ve gotten a lot more used to blathering. I like it. And I can’t blather in either of this week’s writing projects. I need to be excited enough to blather but not actually blather.

And look, a hundred words over for today’s target.

Warning: This post is extremely techy

My technology panics are… well, probably not legendary but certainly infamous. They’re somewhat justified at least in terms of (digital) damage; when I was nineteen or twenty, I set my last Windows desktop to do a disk defrag and went out to the movies. When I got home, the computer had a happily defragmented hard drive and none of my data. I still don’t know how or why that one happened. Similarly, when I ripped all my CDs back in 2005 or something, did a defrag (on a Mac, so probably not a great idea but, you know, Drive Genius or whatever) and all of the song files got matched to different contents. Again, can’t remember why it only hit the iTunes library and not the rest of the computer. Since then, there’s been a broken Drobo, which resulted in lost data (partially due to the technical support guy failing to tell me to try the USB connection versus the FireWire), and my great “solution” utterly failing—I was just going to use an external disk dock when needed. Only it resulted in the drive I’d been using no longer mounting because it was too full because just doing the drive dock thing is dumb.

And today it’s the Synology, which I splurged on because it was going to solve all my problems and offer me safety and blah blah blah.

I’m pissed off—they’ve gotten two “you suck” tweets so far—but I’m not freaking out for some reason. They appear to only be open Monday through Friday for service, so if I was a business customer I’d be done with them right now forever, but there’s nothing I need on the drive(s) until Friday and I have a backup solution. Not a backup, but a solution for this one information need. After a quick perusal of forum posts—before I put in my support ticket natch (because their “chat with an advisor” now button on their website is a dead link), it appears I have a flashing blue light of death. The motherboard has conked. One post suggested if you have such an issue you can expect an RMA immediately. Of course, immediately when they’re open, so Monday? After they get through all the other Saturday support tickets before mine.

Or maybe they’re secretly open and I’m just digitally flatulating and it’ll be on its way to being resolved by Monday.


I just wish I’d have things break during companies open hours. It wasn’t so important in the nineties when you were usually shit out of luck, but nowadays (I’m nearly positive I’ve never used that word in a post before today)… 24/7 product support is kind of expected. Fingers crossed?

I’m sure my lack of a full-on freakout is some sign of maturity… a man gets older, and he starts thinking differently and things get very clear or some such thing. I’ll never be too old for an STM reference, however.

Sick days

I hate being sick as an adult. Being sick as an adult means you have to first convince yourself you’re sick enough to take a sick day, then ask other people to trust your judgment. When you’re a kid, you only have to convince someone else you’re sick enough. It’s not like if the school nurse says you’re fine, go back to class, you get to say, “nah, going home,” and then just go. Of course, being sick at home by yourself as an adult isn’t really any fun. Nothing’s in reach, even if it’s in reach. This morning I had the alarm set, which requires lots of leaning and stretching to reach, and my phone alarm set. Because even after the initial decision to call in, which I was very much against even as I got into bed last night at nine and spent thirty minutes trying to get myself calm—I really didn’t want to call in. There’s the whole “I’m infectious, I shouldn’t get people sick” thing, but you’ve got to be confident in the sick to employ that one. “Luckily,” I had a slight but significant enough fever to tell me I was really sick. I figure once you’ve got a fever, it’s out of your hands. I got us one of those zap-the-forehead thermometers from China (by way of Amazon) a while ago and this morning was the first time it reported a fever. But, based on the chills, I knew. Knowing didn’t stop me from setting the alarm for every half hour, then twenty minutes, until I hit the point of no return on calling in. So lots of twisting and turning to manage the alarms. And kicking one of the cats, but he’s fine. It was more of a shove kick than a kick kick. I didn’t know he was there, because I was out of it. When I woke up, the fever had broken. At some point since last night, I’d gotten another throw blanket. I knew there was one, but I hadn’t realized there were two. So being chilly in the blanket nest was a big indicator, after all. But then the fever’s broken so it means you’re not too sick anymore. It’s not retail, you’re not going to go in and do the second half of your shift. What am I going to do? Unpleasant chores, because American Calvinistic guilt over calling in sick.

Coming soon

I’m probably going to start writing about music on Visual Reflux, but not any time soon. I haven’t even gotten around to the TV yet. I’ve just started the first focused comic responses post-L&R. I’m taking my time on VR. I’m still not sure I like that abbreviation either. But long before must I want to start writing about podcasts, if only because when someone asks if I have a favorite podcast, I’ve got two possible answers. One is if I don’t want to have an atheism talk, the other is “Rocket”. The former is “Godless Bitches”, which has sort of rebranded itself as “GB 2.0” but not really. “Godless Bitches” has, since we’ve started listening to it, become more about social justice and equity and checking privilege than atheism. It’s really good. There have been a couple phenomenal episodes, including last weekend’s. Certainly not the white male atheism you get everywhere else. Free speech absolutist nonsense and whatever.

“Rocket” had a spectacular episode too recently, one of those, holy shit look what a podcast can do type thing.

Hopefully I’ll link to the episodes, but can’t right now because iPad Air typing.

So I do want to write about podcasts, even though the site tag line is “All things seen,” which isn’t a Thin Red Line misquote but is a TRL misquote. I worry it’s a little ableist. I don’t have someone to check with about me being ableist. I have one friend who has to check me on various things, usually when I’m making a cheap joke. Cheap I’m good with, offensive not.

And usually I know when I’m being offensive. Like. I do know better. I just like the turn of phrase or something and need someone to metaphorically smack me upside the head.

Another thing I want to do on Reflux (which just sounds weird) is the multi-topic blog post, which everyone used to do back in the olden blogging days. For example, I wanted to write about the plans for the e-zines going forward. I even have a cover for the relaunched series, which is going to be out of VR as opposed to Stop Button. But I don’t know how to attach a photo in Ulysses and have it post.

Tomorrow I’ve got a big post for Stop Button. Nothing good. Something absurdly bad, but it’s still a much different kind of post than usual.

I wonder if I could get the iPad keyboard to be tolerable in bed. I’m nearly tired enough to do some stream of consciousness passing out writing exercises, which was an MFA program favorite.

Instead though, I think bed. Because old. And nice new Casper sheets.

Coming soon
Coming soon


It’s sort of the end of the first week of Visual Reflux. I soft-launched with the Captain Marvel post last weekend (a few days before Stop Button got it) and I’ve been pretty good about getting up a post a day. Until today. Well, until yesterday. I was a little burned out yesterday, which—as I write this post—is still today for me. I started to write this kind of a post—the nothing post—yesterday (meaning Thursday), but wanted to write that Robocop: Last Stand #1 post instead. Mostly because I wasn’t sure how I was going to write that post. I know how to write these posts; you just type until you hit the word count and then you wrap it up real quick. I thought about doing some link posts but I don’t have much to say at length about the new Avengers: Endgame trailer or poster. I hope they don’t screw up. I have no reason to think they will. Kevin Feige’s turned into a fine producer, regardless of the PGA thing or the whole cappie situation.

I also have nothing to say at length about James Gunn being back for Guardians 3, other than a tweet about hoping Marvel somehow screws WB over—Gunn is making “TheSuicide Squad for WB before he makes Guardians. Given the first Suicide Squad is one of the few recent films I detest more than Guardians 2, it’ll be interesting to see—on home video—what Gunn does with that crap pile.

I don’t think there was any other significant entertainment news. There might have been some comic stuff, but nothing worth discussing at length. Even at the link length, which I haven’t really figured out yet. I’ll probably come up with word count guidelines for every post type (spoiler: it’s mostly 350; 350 for these “Summing Up” posts, 350 for the “Focused” comic—and eventually TV—posts). I don’t actually know how long the Robocop 2 or Alien 3 comic posts went. I should probably figure that data into the mix.

And look at that red indicator… I’m done with this post.

It’s early days with Visual Reflux. Really, really early days considering it’s self-hosted and not even getting the spam hits off So I’m trying to establish writing behaviors without doing anything too themed. Like, it’s not worth the time to link to all the Robocop movie posts on Stop Button or all the Robocop comic posts on Comics Fondle—which I considered—because the eyes aren’t there. Here. The eyes aren’t here.

I once wrote a story with no Os in it. I tried to write it without any Is first, but it was too hard.

That story was weird.