About brhyne0515

I’m the type of person that finds About Me pages difficult to write. I’m a man of eclectic interests and tastes, who tries to see the beauty and joy in all areas of life. I’m on a continuous journey of exploring, finding and changing myself. I’m a proud and lifelong resident of Kansas City, and I find out new things about its unique and rich history and culture every day. I an avid reader and runner. If you want to know more about me, keep checking out the blog. As an aspiring writer I look forward to using this blog to help drive me creatively and I am happy to have you along for the journey.

The Insomniac’s Guide to the Galaxy

Insomnia Fight Club

To know me is to know that I’m an insomniac. I don’t want to hear from the sleep preachers. I’m not interested in learning more about the benefits of valerian root or whatever new age shit everyone else has tried. Some of us just don’t sleep well consistently. I’m here to share my experience and how I’ve learned to not let that stop me from getting a good night’s rest if I can’t get a good night’s sleep.

Follow me, I’ll show you the way.

First, let me make something clear. I’m not a scientist or a researcher. I’m a writer and this article is based on my own experience. If you’re looking for something more clinical or data driven, you have strayed way off the reservation. But you should stick around anyway.

Let’s start with the shit you should be doing before bed. This isn’t about telling you to tinkle and brush your teeth. I’m not your mother.

Do not try to force yourself to go to bed at the same time every night. One, life won’t let you. Two, if you go to bed when you aren’t tired, you’ll spend time “trying” to fall asleep. That shit never works. More often than not, it will lead to a restless night and you’ll be worse off for it.

This doesn’t mean your range should be all over the place. For example, I’m normally in sleep or rest mode somewhere between 9:30 – 11 PM. The TV’s off, I’m done reading and laying my head down for a long winter’s nap. But I never try to force it.

If you don’t have blackout curtains, get them. They’re not expensive and totally worth it. These things were serious game changers for me. My windows face east, over my building’s parking lot, and with another streetlight making its presence known. I didn’t realize how much ambient light was sneaking through my blinds until I blocked it out. A huge thanks to my good friend Bryce for the suggestion. I only regret waiting so long.

After you install them, if you rise naturally at the same time each morning, do yourself a favor and make sure you have your alarm set for the next week or so to help wake you up. I had been naturally waking up between 5:45 – 6 AM for a pretty decent interval and the installation of those curtains scrambled that. A couple weeks with the alarm will help your system reset.

Next, make sure you set the temperature where you would sleep best. A lot of people I know keep the thermostat set at the same temp, day and night, day in, day out. Fuck that. My thermostat gets a fucking workout. Whether I’m writing on the couch, cooking and cleaning, or trying to sleep, each of these requires a different temperature.

I prefer it cold, like ice cold. Like running the A/C at night in the winter because I sleep at 58 degrees cold. Mr. Wizard says that’s good. Then again, a friend of mine keeps his at 80 at and sleeps like a baby. So, you do you. Just don’t think that what works during the day automatically works at night.

Also, make sure you have a bottle of water and either a Bluetooth speaker or headphones with you when you go to bed.

Congratulations, the first stage of your prep work is complete. Now it’s time to head to the bedroom and queue the Barry White while we have a conversation about sleepwear.

If you haven’t already, figure out what you sleep most comfortable in. Do you like the freedom of sleeping naked? Great. Want an old timey matching pajama top and bottom? Rock that 60s sitcom shit. Personally, I sleep in just a pair of pajama bottoms. I have no idea why.  Maybe being bare chested makes me feel manly. Maybe the hair on my chest serves as my t-shirt.

Next stop, sexy time. That’s right guys, gals and non-binary pals, your next task is to rub one out. I’m not fucking around. Fire up some Pornhub, relive an intimate dalliance that rocked your world or fantasize about Jennifer Connelly in Career Opportunities (or any movie really). But it’s time for you to truly do you. And the health benefits for both men and women when it comes to the manual override (yes that’s a euphemism I just looked up, thanks internet) are well documented so you’ll be ending the day on a healthy note.

While I have you in your happy place, have you every thought about your favorite position?  If you haven’t, do that. I may not be the best sleeper, but I don’t toss and turn at night. Thrashing takes energy, increases blood flow and creates a lot of frustration. All these run counter to both resting and sleeping. The position itself doesn’t matter, as long as you’re comfortable. Plus, by not thrashing around, when I do sleep, I sleep hard. I sleep deep. I milk that REM for all it’s worth.

Personally, I sleep on my back. Yes, it leads to snoring, a subject of much tension between me and the lady loves I’ve had in my life. I keep two pillows under my head and another under each arm. Yes, I turn myself into a fucking pillow fort. I am a man-child. I am not ashamed. Also a sore subject between me and the aforementioned lady loves.

Okay, now that we’re situated and sexually satiated it’s time for the last task before sleepy time. It’s time to bring in the noise. I don’t understand people that can sleep in silence. In fact, those people creep me the fuck out. The stagnation of dead air gives my demons way too much breathing room. I need noise. For some people nature sounds or new age music fills that void. Shit like that just makes me fidgety. Nope, as a man-child I want someone to read me a god damn story.

I prefer biographies, books or podcasts about historical events, true crime or mythology. What I’m looking for is something interesting enough to engage my brain, but not so interesting it distracts me from Mistress Sleep should she bless me with her presence. Once you find a few and know what you’re looking for, free apps like Overdrive and Stitcher provide endless possibilities.

I steer clear of fiction. I’ll force myself to stay awake if I get too engaged in character and story. I run into the same problem with TV or a book if I’m not careful. I’ll “just one more chapter or episode” my way into consuming until dawn if I get too immersed.

Non-fiction also has the benefit of providing steady, even toned narration. You don’t want a lot of violent and energetic highs and lows. You want just a few ticks above monotone. You want a Ben Stein with an actual pulse reading you a story. Because you’ll find a sweet spot on volume where you don’t have to strain to hear it but is soft enough to let you doze off should the spirit move you. Again, easy to find, and you only have to find it once.

All that’s left to do is set the sleep timer and a digital bookmark. Most people set theirs for an hour. I do 90 minutes.

Time for phones down and eyes closed.  Even if sleep doesn’t come, you have all tools in place to lie tranquilly in the dark, which will give you more rest than lying awake. Don’t even fucking think about touching that phone. Seriously, playing mindless games and scrolling through an endless newsfeed of cat memes, false game advertisements and political clickbait isn’t doing you any favors. I should know, I keep breaking my own rule.

There are only two cases where you should be picking up that phone all. One is if you’re still awake when your sleep timer goes off and you need to restart what you were listening to. The other is on nights when Mistress Sleep is too busy in the service of others to bless you with her presence, you should fill that void by rubbing another one out. In which case, Pornhub is your friend. Find one of your favorite clips (don’t lie, you have them) and take yourself back to bang town. Make it a sprint not a marathon. You’re trying to sleep, not prove your stamina to Sasha Grey.

Now turn your book back on and find yourself some sweet dreams.

Brendan Against Humanity

Brendan Against Humanity

About a year ago, the creators of the iconic game Cards Against Humanity put out a national call for writers to submit an application and work with them on further developing the cards for the game. The response was massive, and after a year of no response (they said in an auto-reply to the submission, “don’t call us, we’ll call you), I am fairly certain I was not selected. However I haven’t had so much fun “applying” for something in all of my 40 years on this earth. The application consisted of writing five original black cards and ten original white cards. Below is a basic rundown of the rules of the game for those not familiar (copied and pasted from WikiHow), followed by my submission. Hope the more deviant of you enjoy it.

“A famous party icebreaker, Cards Against Humanity is an adults-only game for players mature enough to handle the intentionally provocative (but often hilarious) topics and answers. The goal is to pair the answer and question cards in the funniest, most provocative, or cleverest way you can.

Draw ten white cards each. You can only look at your own hand of cards. Play the first black card. Have each other player choose a white answer card. Shuffle and read aloud the answer cards. Choose the best answer. Start the next round. Play until you’re sick of it.”

Black Cards

I believe there are ___________ among us, sent down to teach us ___________.

The next teenage dare fad will be _______________.

The best Saturday morning cartoons always contained ______________.

Hollywood’s next rival needs ____________.

Trump and Ivanka’s secret incest baby is named after  ___________.

White Cards

That moment you fart and are thankful it’s contained under the blanket because you know it’s ripe as fuck.

Doing anal in someone’s safe space.

Chanting in Latin during your morning poop to summon a toilet demon.

Taylor Swift getting rawdogged by Satan’s vibrator.

Avoiding oops babies by getting head from a zombie.

The creepy dude at the bar that nobody recognizes.

Grammar Nazi’s gone wild.

Professional athletes getting wailed on at the Special Olympics.

Anonymously sending 100 pizzas to fat camp.

Setting up a Bloody Mary bar at a church service and calling it the Blood of Christ.

Miley Cyrus going to bang town on a watermelon.

The warm wet feeling of being in a portable shitter as it tips over.

Leaving a Muppet themed porno on at daycare.

Michael Bay getting arrested for arson. Finally.

Joel Olsteen giving a sermon while using a Shake Weight.

Gobbles of Gratitude

Gratitude List

Gratitude is such an important part of a fulfilling life. I decided to do a “Gratitude Challenge” over on Facebook where I posted one thing per day that I was grateful for. The list includes things that are seemingly trivial and also broad sweeping. The entire list is below. I hope you all enjoy.

Gratitude Day One: My Apartment. I moved in about a year ago and love the way the space came together. It’s in my favorite neighborhood (Hyde Park) and for the most part I won the neighbor lottery.

Gratitude Day Two: My Neighborhood. I’ve been a Hyde Parker for six years and I’m in love this neighborhood. Centrally located with a rich sense of history and community, it’s eclectic and alive in all the right ways.

Gratitude Day Three: The KC Performing Arts Scene. Between the Rep, Unicorn, Lyric, Arts Asylum and countless other community theaters too numerous to name, I feel truly fortunate to be able to take in so many wonderful live performances on a regular basis. And on this one in particular, a huge shout out to my dear friend Greg Morey for being my guide through all of it.

Gratitude Day Four: My Neti Pot. I’m not kidding, especially since I’ve been battling a small head cold this weekend. The device truly is magical when it comes to clearing the sinuses. And it only feels a little like drowning.

Gratitude Day Five: My Streaming Services. Anyone that knows me knows I love television, perhaps to the point of obsession. We are living in the platinum age of television. And with so many streaming options there is no danger of ever running out of content. Truly a good first world problem to have.

Gratitude Day Six: Gorgeous Fall Days. I know some of the weather changes have been *ahem* violent, but we really have had some great 50-60 degree days where it’s perfect to spend time outside and take in the crisp air and gorgeous colors.

Gratitude Day Seven: My Cell Phone. Don’t judge. I’m just saying what we are all thinking. My phone was stolen recently, but fortunately I had insurance, and was only without for a day or two. It’s scary how much we rely on these things. I don’t deny that as a society we spend way too much time on them, but they are vital in the current climate and I love the connectivity and convenience they offer.

Gratitude Day Eight: Face Time with Friends. As great as parts of the digital age are, nothing replaces time spent with friends in person. It doesn’t matter if it’s watching a game, taking in a show, or just grabbing a drink and catching up. It almost always ends up being cathartic.

Gratitude Day Nine: My Laptop. This device is my gateway to writing, editing, posting, recording and staying organized. Although I could live without it (in theory), I couldn’t pursue my dreams without it.

Gratitude Day Ten: Our Library System. I read and listen to a lot of books, which would be impossible if had to pay for them all. The library system, and its digital app Overdrive, give me an opportunity to borrow books for free to fuel this hobby. Our library systems are a tremendous community resource that we should all be utilizing.

Gratitude Day Eleven: My Kindle. I will always love actual books, but my kindle can deliver me any book I want at any time, and I am not the world’s most patient man. It is a wonderful device for consuming books, comics and saved articles.

Gratitude Day Twelve: Chore and Errand Days. Yeah, I know how that sounds, but hear me out. There is something rewarding about knocking all the adulting shit off a to-do list in a day. It also gives me a chance to be productive AND jam out to a book, podcast or TV. And I honestly don’t mind cooking and laundry (I’m a domesticated man ladies).

Gratitude Day Thirteen: The Podcasting Community. As a sometimes writer/producer (I promise I am getting back to it) and a carnivorous consumer, this is an endless medium that can do storytelling (fiction, non-fiction and everything in-between) like no other medium.

Gratitude Day Fourteen: My City. I love being a Kansas City Native. I love our rich history, our beauty and all the kind and engaging attitudes that us Midwesterners tend to possess. The city is so eclectic and energized that there are always new and wonderful things to experience.

Gratitude Day Fifteen: Sunday Morning Coffee. Sundays are MY day. I rarely, if ever, go into them with any plans. I get everything I need done (mostly) during the rest of the week, making Sunday Mornings, with no to-dos or social obligations, one of my most tranquil weekly rituals.

Gratitude Day Sixteen: Pajamas. Laugh all you want. Pajamas were sent here by the Gods of Comfort. I almost always change into them immediately when I get home. That being said, don’t ever wear them out in public. That shit is just creepy.

Gratitude Day Seventeen: Blackout Curtains. I have east facing windows that overlook my building’s parking lot (and the security lights that go with it). These curtains are a godsend both on mornings I don’t wake up with the sun and nights when it blocks out the parking lot lights. I only regret waiting so long to get them.

Gratitude Day Eighteen: Good Food. Either when I cook it (I love to cook, I’m decent), friends cook it (a lot of my friends have serious culinary skills), or at one of the many great restaurants Kansas City has to offer. Life is meant to be experienced vibrantly and with all five senses. And taste is one of those.

Gratitude Day Nineteen: The Trail Running Community. Kansas City has some wonderful trails and a fantastic trail running community to go with it. The camaraderie in the community is always encouraging and is responsible for several great friendships I have forged over the years. And there is still nothing like a trail race day atmosphere.

Gratitude Day Twenty: Social Media. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of trolls and nastiness to go around. But that is why the gods of the internet created the scroll button. Just like any tool, when social media is used right it can be a great way to stay connected with people you don’t talk to frequently and connect with people that share your passions and interests.

Gratitude Day Twenty-One: Rekindled and New Friendships. I’m fortunate in friends always, and I’ll be getting to that, but I have also been fortunate to be able to rekindle old friendships and forge new ones in recent years. My inner circle is tight, my friend circle is bountiful, and there is always room for more.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Two: My Car. Kansas City covers a lot of ground. And although our mass transit system has come a long way, it is far from perfect. Oh yeah, and I do some driving for Uber. I’d be lost without my personal little engine that could.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Three: My Five Senses. Life is meant to be engaged by all five senses. From the smell of someone grilling in the neighborhood, to the sound of a beautiful piece of music, to the taste of a medium rare steak, to the sight of poetry in motion, to the soft touch of…oh Jesus get your mind out of the gutter. Life is meant to be experienced on all levels. My senses allow me to do that.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Four: Being a part of the Royals/Chiefs/Mizzou Kingdoms. And I am saying this at a time when my teams are all struggling. There is a camaraderie that comes with fandom that comes from pride in your team, even if it only manifests as loyalty during the down times.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Five: Words. Yep, simply words. I love the written and spoken word. I love writing words. I love reading or hearing a good phrase. I love it all. Dear God, I sound like an English Major…Oh wait.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Six: Once in a Lifetime Experiences. The examples that come immediately to mind are being at the stadium for Saberhagen’s no-hitter in 1991, the Royals Wild Card Game in 2014, being at the AFC Championship Game in 1993 and being on stage with Chuck Palahniuk (my favorite author) in 2015.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Seven: The Rich and Complex History and Present of Our Nation. I’ll be the first to admit that our current state could be described in some ways as a shitshow. However, we are a nation that stole democracy from a hierarchy, had a heavy hand in saving the world from fascism in WWII and put a man on the moon. Despite our struggles, every day I find reasons to believe there is still greatness within us.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Eight: My Friends. I saved this for Thanksgiving because it’s the one that matters most. My friends mean everything to me, which is why they are represented so often on this gratitude list. I am truly fortunate to have so many great people, from all walks of life, as part of my tribe. I am a better man for knowing each of you. Here is to you all. Gobble Gobble MFers.

Gratitude Day Twenty-Nine: My best friend Katie Beisner. It’s also her birthday today, so you should give some props if you want. This woman has been my ride or die for seventeen years. I love my inner circle, and all my friends. But Katie and I have fought wars together, and I can’t imagine navigating this thing called life without her in my corner. Happy Birthday bestie!

Gratitude Day Thirty: What’s Next. There is so much more we don’t know about our lives as they continuously unfold. And I look forward to the next steps of the journey.

Reading Write

King Quote

I had a plan. It was a good plan. It was a logical plan. It was a productive plan.

I drive for Uber, as I find my way into writing it pays the bills. I enjoy meeting new people and setting my own schedule. I get to see the city I love in a new way, and in between riders I can listen to podcasts and audiobooks. It beats the hell out of a 9-5. Unless, that is, the city you live in is going through the worst winter it’s seen in half a decade and that same city has been caught with its pants down when it comes to keeping streets driveable.

Did I say pants down? I meant pants down while fucking a donkey, giving it a reach around and sharting. Seriously, you need a tank to get around in this shit. And don’t get me started on playing pothole Frogger.

And since someone pissed off the weather gods (I’m looking at you, MAGA fucktards), we got more snow this weekend, to levels that crippled the city. I did what I needed to do, stayed out a little longer to make more money when the streets were clear (not too hard, I do most of my driving during the week anyway) in anticipation of a snowy Friday and giving the city two days to clear the streets.

I was looking forward to my weather imposed three-day weekend, and some alone time. I’m in the middle of three blog post drafts, I have a podcast episode ready for edit, polish and recording and a short story ready for a total re-write. I was gonna write until my fingertips calloused and my eyes bled with strain, and then I was gonna repeat that two more fucking times. It was gonna be glorious. It was gonna be rewarding . It was what being a writer was all about.

And it didn’t happen.

It all started with one innocent(ish) mistake. I started a book on Thursday night, the fifth in a series (the Daniel Faust series by Craig Schaefer, it’s good, read it) and got about two-thirds of the way through before I dozed off for the night. I woke up to the aroma of fresh-brewed Roasterie coffee and a commitment not to leave my PJs. My laptop beckoned me. So did my Kindle.

I swear I was just gonna finish the book over my coffee and get to writing.

Once I start reading, I can’t stop. I know this about myself.

This was made easier by Kindle Unlimited, which allowed me to immediately download the next book in the series without having to wait, or think. Amazon has found a way to make a digital form of crack that’s legal in all fifty states. I started book six before I finished the pot of coffee. And that’s all he wrote. Or in this case, didn’t write.

I am now standing even with Daniel Faust as I await his new adventure (there damn well better be a book nine). It was 1400 pages of reading over three days. In unrelated news I believe magic exists and that there are rivaling courts of hell with agents on earth.

I should feel guilty about my literary gluttony. I had a clear weekend to myself with no distractions. Most writers would kill (and I imagine some have) in order to create that setting. But I don’t feel guilty. Not one bit.

Sunday afternoon, after I had finished the last book and there was no more Faust to read, I was doing some chores and getting organized for the week and was reminded of the King quote at the top of this post. King is known to read for a minimum of five hours a day. Every. Single. Day. I consider myself quite carnivorous, but that staggers me.

His point is that writing and reading go hand in hand, and that reading helps deepen our understanding of the craft, which informs us and makes us better writers. Which of course is exactly what I was going for when I binged my way through 4 books in 3 days.

Okay, it wasn’t. I got drawn completely into a supernatural world with a well-paced plot and engaging characters. It was entertaining and relaxing. Which is actually why all that shit I wrote in the previous paragraph happened anyway.

I keep a notebook with me wherever I go, and when I read it’s always within arms reach. I scribble a lot of random shit in there, sometimes not even I can decipher it. Sometimes it’s a well-written phrase that resonates either with me or something I am writing. Sometimes it is a plot or character device that I can use in my own work. More often than not, reading someone else’s work gives me thoughts about my own that I may not have otherwise had.

But more than that, enjoying reading deepens my enjoyment of writing. It reminds me of the worlds that words can build. Whole fucking worlds. It puts me in a state of wonder. A state I always want present in my life.

I’ve gotta go now. I’ve got more reading to do.

Moving Backward and Forward

moving sucks

I’m sure most of you have pined after me, wondering where I went and when I was coming back. Or if I was the guy who left to get a pack of cigarettes never to return. Well, I’m back, and I’ve missed you at least twice as much as you’ve missed me. I’m back and writing to you from a new location. I moved at the end of 2018, which was an opportunity for both convolution and introspection.

There are a lot of great things to be mined from the process of moving, and I’ll be getting to those in this tale. But let me be clear about something first.

Moving. Fucking. Sucks.

You have to pack shit. And trash shit. Then haul shit. To unload and store shit. Then haul shit again. Then unpack shit. Then buy shit. This is the very definition of a shit show.

But I get ahead of myself. Before the packing shit, there was the notification that my lease was not being renewed at the apartment I’d called home for five years. I was notified by email, along with everyone else in my complex.  My landlord decided it was time for him to upgrade the entire set of buildings and double the rent. I don’t blame him, even if I do think “double” is a little ambitious.

The only thing worse than moving is moving when it isn’t your choice. I loved my apartment, and all its quirks. I loved my neighbors, and all of their quirks. I loved cheap rent that hadn’t increased in five years.

I wanted to be proactive, so I set to the packing of shit early on. I started with the back of the closets, where the stuff I forgot I had and never used took up residence. I was merciless in my rulings of what got to go with me, and what was sentenced to the curb.

My gavel and I loomed over the rest of my possessions as the packing of shit continued. Most of the furniture I owned was well past its expiration date. It was also very heavy, and not worthy of reaching the hauling shit phase. The lumpy 25-year-old bed, kicked to hell dining table, and built in the stone age dresser went to death row.

Then there was the couch. A couch that had been rode hard and put away wet every day for 20 years. A couch so tattered and torn that it had to be smothered in slip covers and blankets to prevent anyone using it from being scratched to the point of needing stitches. A couch that had been referred to as “Iron Maiden,” “Demon Couch,” and “Venus Fly Trap” by those unfortunate souls subjected to it.

I hauled that fucker out to the curb myself the day I moved and had to resist the urge to light it on fire.

Speaking of flames, a few things added fuel to this particular fire at this point. Through a set of circumstances way too complicated and interlaced to try to get into, it turned out that I was going to be without a home for a month. My old lease ended in October. The new one didn’t start until December. This technically rendered me homeless.

But I’m me and I have kick ass friends. I actually house sat for one friend for a week and stayed a few extra days before couch surfing to the Tyndall house to await moving day. I had a great time at both places and love all these friends dearly for taking me in. I truly am fortunate for the people I have in my life. Plus, I got a lot of doggie snuggles. And who doesn’t like doggie snuggles.

That being said, being in the space between homes leaves you feeling discombobulated. All your routines are jumbled, and you have a constant feeling of being slightly off-balance.

That was never more apparent to me than in my writing. I wrote virtually nothing while I was packing. The working, packing, and feeling of exhaustion that went with those took up most of my time. When I was staying with friends, I did write, but it was all garbage (part of it could be I was giving one of my novel ideas, Sins of a Smaller God another go, and although the premise has legs, the path to get there is elusive). Always one to look for silver linings, I embraced spending time with friends and taking stock of routines and the things I wanted to change, tweak and add in my new place. I also learned a few new tricks as a result of observing my friends in their natural habitat.

Moving day finally came and I managed to get all my shit (what I had left) hauled up into my new place (except for the newly acquired bed, I didn’t get that until the next day) and quickly set to unpacking my new space and making it feel like a home. A home vacant of furniture, cavernous and dead inside. But still mine.

I started with the essentials, getting the internet up and running so that I could watch TV. Priorities.

And that’s when the power went out. In the building. On the block. Through the neighborhood. Navigating the halls of a building you don’t know in the dark to drive through a neighborhood with no streetlights. There’s a horror story there that I need to write. Because it was fucking creepy.

Since I had thrown out most of my shit, unpacking didn’t take too long. And unpacking what I had planted the seeds of feeling settled. It also gave me an opportunity to honestly assess what I needed to turn my apartment into a home, which became an interesting exercise.

Did you know you really can find anything on Amazon? Anything. My fully furnished apartment (complete with couch, dining table and wall mounted flat screen) is proof of that.

I threw out my battered and broken stuff knowing it would force a fresh solution for a new home, and it is very evident that I made the exact right call.

And it was cathartic to see this apartment become a home as these things came in, got assembled, and put in their place. I started to feel more and more settled in with each passing day.

Of course the last piece to arrive was the couch. Because of course it was. It had a very broad expected delivery date. It actually arrived on Christmas Eve.

Before you go thinking that this is some Hallmark movie shit, you should understand a couple of things. First, I fucking hate Christmas with a fury rivaling God’s own thunder. This was not a Christmas miracle, this was shipping logistics. Second, I had a friend coming in town that night, and I barely got this fucking thing put together before he arrived.

That being said, it is glorious and wonderful and I am writing this from the comfort of the increasingly broke in chaise of the sectional. I have a feeling that this chaise is gonna see a lot of reading and writing time moving forward.

This apartment is the perfect blend of cozy and spacious. It feels good to be home. And it feels good to be back.

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

hd TV

Or at least it used to be. As a proud TV nerd the premiere of fall TV is one of the most sacred of times for those of us that worship at the altar of the remote control. Every year I devour the various fall TV preview guides and set my DVR accordingly as I embrace my dorkiness and get to watching a blend of old favorites that left jaw dropping cliffhangers and new shows that seem to be full of promise and at least one or two surprises.

But this year feels weird. And not good weird. There is not much to get excited about in an era where two of TVs most obnoxious trends continue to fuck viewers in the not so fun way.

Let’s start with the continuation of this mind-numbing trend of rebooting and reviving everything that was good from the 80s and 90s.

Magnum PI‘s original eight season run was done at a time before the concept of “blue sky shows” had saturated all aspects of TV. Giving a fresh coat of paint to this relic is out-of-place in an overdone genre that has passed it by. Plus, doesn’t CBS already have Hawaii 5.0? How many excuses do they need to shoot in the Aloha State?

Murphy Brown was iconic during its original run. It was witty, engaging, and established that a show with a strong career-minded female lead could be successful and dominant. It blended comedy with the tough issues of the day. We have other shows that do that for us now. And as great as Candice Bergen is, I don’t think she can haul this show into a new century. Also, I saw the preview during the Chiefs game yesterday and fuck it was terrible.

The Charmed reboot is way too soon. And they were lucky enough to capture lightning in a bottle twice (both with Shannon Daugherty and her replacement Rose McGowan) in terms of casting chemistry. I don’t think they can replicate that a third time. The CW network doesn’t need this. Their lineup is pretty solid. At their core reboots are a publicity stunt, and the network doesn’t need the attention and I hate seeing their limited hours wasted on this.

The Connors will only prove that Roseanne, as awful as it is, cannot survive without Roseanne, as awful as she is. Not even John Goodman (or President Walken as he will always be to me) is strong enough to carry this shit-show. I am actively rooting against this one and it’s death rattle cannot come soon enough.

And it wouldn’t be TV season without the endless parade of police and medical procedurals. Because eighty-seven versions of NCIS, CSI and Law & Order aren’t enough. The assholes that voted for Trump are the same assholes that give these shows the ratings that keep them on television.

The Rookie looks like a bad mashup of competing clichés made worse by staring Nathan Fillion, who I love. I loved him on Buffy and Firefly and I would really like it if he would stop making absolute shit like Rookie and Castle, he has a bad habit of playing down to the drivel when he is on shows like this. and go back to the Whedon-verse where he shines.

FBI? Procedurals are so lazy they don’t even try with the names. This show promises to be every bit as unoriginal as its name and all the others that came before it. These shows just prove that this genre will not be dying until the baby boomer generation leaves this earth and takes CBS with it.

I’ll admit that when I saw the name New Amsterdam I got hopeful for a second as I thought they were bringing back a short-lived show starring Nikolaj Coster-Waldauing before he went off to be Jamie Lannister on a little known show called Game of Thrones. But nope, they lied. It is (another) show about (another) pubic hospital where they save lives while navigating ER politics and personal issues. Don’t talk to me about medical dramas unless you’ve found the next House.

Netflix is spending a fuck-ton of money on original programming and have definitely developed the mindset that quantity is more important than quality. The Good Cop is one of the mutilated fetuses produced by this misguided mentality. A show starting Tony Danza and Josh Groban as father and son odd couple roommates and cops. What could possibly be so bad about that. Everything. Everything will be bad about that. This show isn’t even gonna pretend not to be terrible.

There are a thousand other shows that look terrible for various reasons and I could spend thousands of words sniping at most of the shows that fall TV has to offer. For your sake and my sanity I won’t be doing do that.

But not everyone in Hollywood has lost their fucking minds. There are some shows that have some promise, and others that promise to break my heart.

The Purge has been the surprise of the season for me. I watched the first episode mainly out of curiosity about how the concept of the movie franchise would translate to the small screen, and whether or not they could make a show about one (murderous, violent) night engaging. The answer is yes. Yes they can. The show is surprisingly multi-layered with some slow burn appeal.

My jury is still out on Mayans. I loved Sons of Anarchy and Kurt Sutter’s unique style has been missing from TV for far too long. It’s intriguing enough to keep me going so far, but I’m gonna need to see something more dynamic soon in order to stay engaged.

A Million Little Things looks like it could be my generation’s Thirtysomething with the right blend of adult angst, secrets and interactions. TV Guide’s preview actually calls it Thirtysomething meets The Big Chill, and I couldn’t have put it better so I won’t even try. ABC needs to start promoting it though. I hadn’t even heard of it before last week, and I devour TV news.

I loved the Dirty John podcast, and if you haven’t given the six episode yarn a listen, you should find the time and do that. I am not at all surprised that they are making this into a show. Add Connie Britton and Eric Bana to the mix and you can count me in. As a side note, is adapting podcasts to TV shows going to be the next thing? If so, I have some suggestions.

The Romanoffs takes a classic historical tale and brings it to the present. The fall of the Russian monarchy is a dynamic piece of history and the theory that some of the Romanoff children actually escaped the palace is one of the most intriguing tales. It also doesn’t hurt that it has an all-star cast and is written by the creator of Mad Men. Although Amazon has had some misses, they have had their hits too, and I’m excited to watch this become one of them.

Escape at Dannemora looks like it could be Showtime’s next hit. And with Homeland winding down and Shameless issuing its death rattle, the network could certainly stand to add to its arsenal. Who doesn’t like a good prison break story that has tones of seduction, Ben Stiller behind the camera and Benicio Del Toro playing one of the leads. It will be interesting to see how far this show can get before it runs out of road.

Hopefully Netflix can make up for the its bad decision to make The Good Cop with the release of Maniac. Fronted by Emma Stone and Jonah Hill, the star power definitely gives this show about a chemical drug trial a boost. This show has some tones of Limitless, both the awesome movie and the too-short-lived show which has my curiosity piqued.

Into the Dark is the anthology I never knew I needed in my life but now can’t wait for. A dark horror anthology that comes out monthly and revolves around specific holidays, starting with Halloween? Yes please. That’s one Christmas special that I will definitely be tuning into.

The Haunting of Hill House definitely checks all the boxes for me. I mean, it’s based on a Shirley Jackson tale, so what isn’t to love. One thing I am looking forward to in seeing it as a series rather than movie is how they can take some of the creepier aspects of being trapped in that house and really do a good, terrifying slithering narrative that I won’t be able to take my eyes off of.

Mr. Inbetween looks compelling. I have always been a sucker for the double-life shows and having the main character being a hitman rather than a spy will be a nice spin on the genre for me. I also think that FX, which brings such great shows as American Horror Story and The Americans is the perfect network for the balancing act.

Of all the shows I am looking forward to, Manifest is the one that is going to break my heart. Disappearing plane, lost time, strained relationships, debates between science and faith with dashes of mystery and mysticism. This show is screaming, no begging, to be the next LOST. So of course I am going to watch it. But that is a tough needle to thread, and every show that has tried has failed. And the betting on how many episodes until I am screaming at the TV begins in three, two, one.

So, just like the real Christmas there isn’t as much to look forward to, the sense of wonder is gone. But unlike Christmas, there are dashes of hope sprinkled in.

The Angel Choir’s Call: Your September Horror-Scope

Angel

September Overview: A choir of the angels sings the deafening death rattle of summer this month until the nefarious nymph frolics in the fall starting on the 23rd. These are not the angels of our better nature, and they use the final blast of heat from summer to scorch the earth beneath them.

Aquarius (Jan 20th – Feb 18): Angels singing and the last days of summer heat wreak havoc on your vampiric senses and set your teeth on edge. September also brings about shorter days, and longer nights. You’ve been cooped up for far too long, and the nighttime brings out the more aggressive nature of your ruling planet Uranus. You can’t wait to litter the dark hours with exsanginated corpses as you make up for lost time.

Pisces (Feb 19 – Mar 20): The vibrant nature of the transitioning seasons speaks to both your inner artist, and your shapeshifter. The beauty you see and feel pushes you to the brink of madness, much like Picasso. As fall draws near the nymphs take over and you use the skin of your victims as the canvass for your blood-red masterpieces.

Aries (Mar 21 – April 19): The volatile times of September definitely pair nicely with your turbulent nature. The choir of angels speak in unison in as the full moon lights your way during the harvest moon, when your inner werewolf is at its peak. They reign in your feral nature as you use the transitioning times to add numbers to your depleted pack.

Taurus (Apr 20 – May 20): As the dog days of summer draw to a close, your inner hell-hound is ready for a break from the stifling heat, even though the transitioning seasons play on your hatred of sudden change. As you sniff in the crisp air your claws grow razor-sharp and you salivate, ready to shred your victims and return them to the soil.

Gemini (May 21-Jun 20): There is an unsung duality that goes with transitioning seasons that leaves your doppelgänger singing with the angels. It allows you to camouflage yourself and sneak up on your unsuspecting victims. The indecisiveness of summer’s death rattle could leave anxiety and confusion coursing through your veins.

Cancer (Jun 21 – Jul 22): The angelic choir drowns out your banshee wail for most of the month, leaving you mute and unable to play the way you’re accustomed to. This leaves you moody and overly suspicious of others until the nymphs take over, their nefarious manipulations speaking to the angels of your darker nature as your wail goes out hunting, thirsty for blood.

Leo (July 23 – Aug 22): The swan song of summer leaves your fairy in a playful mood. After a busy month holding court in August you lie on the grass with the fleeting warmth of long days. As the month moves forward your mischievous nature comes back with full force, and you once again begin making deals for the souls of your victims.

Virgo (Aug 23 – Sep 22):  You feel most at home during this month, as you are surrounded by the songs of your choir. This is the month where your dark angel feeds on the fruits of its harvest, your victims called to you by the sweet sound of your wings.

Libra (Sep 23 – Oct 22): Your nymph takes over as fall takes its first steps, leaving you with the first part of the month to focus on your pleasure, and the pain of others. But as fall descends and the harvest moon looms full, you become consumed with what your flock will do with in the darker nights of fall.

Scorpio (Oct 23 – Nov 21): Much like Cancer’s banshee, your siren call is drowned out by the angel choir for most of the month, leaving you feeling restless as your darker angels toil inside you. And your demons shall run once your jealous rage takes over.

Sagittarius (Nov 22 – Dec 21): The song of the angels fills your ghostly spirit almost to the point of being corporal during this month, and the longer nights will give you a better opportunity to do your best haunting and hunting under the harvest moon.