the best of 2020, for whatever that’s worth

It was not my intention to completely abandon this blog, but, well… I mean, you were here for 2020, right? You saw what a fucking colossal bugfuck nightmare this year was. I am writing this post from my kitchen table while my 7-year-old scream-plays Minecraft with another of his 2nd-grade buddies, and while contractors are rebuilding our roof and upstairs office, and I am barely keeping my shit together.

Working from home meant that I didn’t have a commute anymore. Which is great, objectively speaking, but it also (perversely) meant that, because I was no longer beholden to the whims of NJ Transit, I ended up losing my favorite music listening/book reading hours. And it is impossible to listen to music or read books while your 2nd grader is doing remote learning directly behind you, and while your new puppy is chewing on your pants.

And to be honest, it’s not like I was able to absorb that much. Goodreads tells me I finished 90 books this year, but there’s maybe only 10 that stick out in my mind; and Goodreads does NOT report that I also started and read the first 20 pages of at least 50 more books which now lie cluttered in my Kindle’s backlog. I didn’t listen to that much music (because there really wasn’t much of an opportunity to), and Spotify’s Year in Review reflected less of my own musical proclivities and more that the afore-mentioned 2nd grader gained access to my Spotify account on the iPad and completely ruined the Discovery algorithm forever and ever. (My son’s musical tastes are, apparently, copyright-free dubstep that he hears as the background music on YouTube videos.) And as for movies? I’ve watched Tenet, and WW84, and that’s pretty much it.

I did play games, as one does, but it’s not like I kept an accurate record of what I played. I’ll be lucky if I can remember enough for a top 10 by the end of this post.

Anyway: my 2020 was spent in isolation, and that also meant a bit of a retreat from social media. And because I was determined to not put any more negative energy into the internet than there already was, I ended up not posting anything here. And if me not whinging on the internet helped to make 2020 even marginally less shitty, then, well, you’re welcome.

BOOKS:

As noted above, I apparently finished 90 books this year. Let’s not even pretend that I’m going to talk about all of them. Let me at least offer up my favorite books, then; these are the books that I loved, that I still remember, and that I would happily re-read in the future, in no particular order:

  • “Nothing to See Here”, Kevin Wilson.
  • “Things in Jars”, Jess Kidd.
  • “Middlegame”, Seanan McGuire.
  • The Murderbot Diaries, Martha Wells.
  • The Interdependency Trilogy, John Scalzi.
  • “Home Before Dark”, Riley Sager.
  • “Piranesi”, Susanna Clarke.
  • “Hench”, Natalie Zina Walschots.
  • “The Stranger Diaries”, Elly Griffiths.
  • “The Glass Hotel”, Emily St. John Mandel.
  • “Where the Crawdads Sing”, Delia Owens.
  • “A Collapse of Horses”, Brian Evenson.
  • “The Troop”, Nick Cutter.

GAMES

  • Hades, Nintendo Switch.
  • Ghost of Tsushima, PS4.
  • Tony Hawk 1&2 (remake), X.
  • Assassins Creed Valhalla, X.
  • Immortals Fenyx Rising, X.

I should’ve written about 10,000 words about Hades this summer; it was, arguably, one of the key things that happened this year that kept me from going completely insane. And in an ordinary year, I’d write about the Series X console, and I’d talk a bit about Cyberpunk 2077 and such, and we’d be caught up. But, well, here we are.

MUSIC

  • Haim, Women in Music Pt. 3
  • Tame Impala, The Slow Rush
  • Run the Jewels, RTJ4
  • Hum, Inlet
  • Louis Cole, Live 2019
  • Blitzen Trapper, Holy Smokes Future Jokes
  • bdrmm, Bedroom

Cheers, all. See you on the other side.

what even is time anyway

Hello. It’s nearly 11:30pm on a Wednesday night, I’m nowhere near feeling like I’ll sleep anytime soon, and it probably doesn’t even matter if I don’t sleep at all and am tired tomorrow, because I’ll still be here in my house, just as dazed and half-asleep as I’d be if I’d gone to bed at a more reasonable hour.

I don’t really know how to put my feelings about what’s happening into words. To be honest, the reason why I’m not having constant anxiety attacks is probably because I’m straight-up in denial. And acknowledgement of denial is the first step towards achieving something positive, presumably. I don’t know. I don’t know if I care that I don’t know.

I’m sad about Bernie, I’m also sad that it’s fucking Biden that I have to push the button for, I was really hoping I wouldn’t have to but here we are. I just hope he surrounds himself with better people (I have some solid suggestions for VP and assorted cabinet posts) and can learn how to not talk like an idiot.

I’m also just mostly sad that it’s Trump that’s in charge. I mean, look: we all know that he’s a sociopathic narcissist with zero empathy or even basic decency and the fact that he’s still talking about how his press conferences are getting boffo ratings and that 200,000 dead Americans will be seen as a great accomplishment, and that Fox News and every other elected GOP politician will somehow have to swallow that and live with it and accept it and then parrot it and convince their constituents that this was a massive success, really the best thing that could’ve happened to us, and that Trump is Jesus. We know this. It’s just that it’s so goddamned sad that we’re living in a world of pestilence and awfulness and that it’s entirely his fault that shit is so fucking terrible right now.

My wife and I were talking after dinner, after our 7 year old went to bed, about what this is going to be like for him when he’s older; how he’ll remember this time of his life. The closest thing I can imagine would be, like, the eruption of Mt. St. Helens (1980), when I was 5. Both Chernobyl and the Challenger were later, in 1986, and at least the Mets won the World Series to sorta even thing out for a fragile 11 year old. My nightmares of Cold War Armageddon were also probably a bit later in the 80s. For our son, we’ve not really been talking about what’s been going on; we don’t watch the news where he can see it; we try our best to keep him happy and entertained but we don’t want him to have the sort of nightmares that he very well might be having if he were in 5th grade or so. He’s allowed to still be blissfully unaware of what’s going on, and I treasure that, and I’ll do everything I can to keep it that way. I’m sure he’ll end up remembering this time as that weird part of first grade where everybody was stuck at home, but it won’t necessarily be a time of fear.

Which is, again, why I’m considering having another little nightcap before going to bed, because nothing matters. Well, no, that’s not true; being here matters. All of us being here together, apart, matters. We are all going through some crazy shit right now. It’s not just that I know people who are themselves sick, but that I have friends WHO, WHILE IN THE MIDDLE OF ALL THIS CRAZINESS, are also in the middle of divorces; I have friends with dying parents; I personally have crippling debt issues and I have no 100% guarantee that I’ll still have a job at the end of this.

I’m not really sure where I was going with this, but I guess I needed to get it out.

Take care of yourselves, folks. Let’s please make it through this and then rub our hands all over each other’s faces.

Checking In From The End Of The World

Definitely thought I’d have written here earlier, but that’s what ends up happening when you’re working from home during the apocalypse; you get distracted. The kid needs to be educated in ways that do not always include a screen. The dog needs to be attended to, constantly. And any visions I had of getting wasted and playing video games and reading all day… well, that’s just not feasible. I have to ration our supplies accordingly, and I can’t just check out of parenthood and family time and work. I mean, yes I could, but then I’d be an asshole.

So: we carry on. We keep the boy entertained. We respond to work emails. We try to keep on with a routine. We drink with friends over Zoom after the boy goes to bed. We try to avoid reading the news as much as we can; I mean, it’s impossible to ignore completely, but we can impose limits. What is there that can possibly be learned from one of Trump’s press conferences, after all? Better to avoid them completely, rather than watching and inadvertently going into cardiac arrest, thus further burdening our already-crushed healthcare infrastructure.

In terms of pop culture: I have managed to avoid the Tiger King phenomenon. I mean, I know all about it, and my wife’s watched it, but that’s as much as I can possibly engage with it. I’m reading on the sly during work hours – I just finished Jess Kidd’s “Things in Jars”, which is fantastic. Given the choice between Animal Crossing and Doom Eternal, I’ve found Doom to be far more cathartic (although I think I’ve reached a difficulty spike that I may not be able to surmount), though AC has its charms.

Ultimately, I’m just trying to keep on keeping on. Staying inside is easy. Not getting on each other’s nerves is… well, we’ve got a good thing going here, and we’ve managed to avoid driving each other crazy for the most part. We decompress when we need to, and in the meantime the wife and I have an epic game of gin rummy going (first to 10K or highest point total when the quarantine is lifted, whichever comes first). My son turns 7 tomorrow. We had to cancel his birthday party, but that just means we all get to eat a little bit more cake.

I hope you’re well. Feel free to drop me a line.

Science Fiction in the Trump era

A funny thing happened to my stupid brain when Trump took office; he ruined science fiction.

Not only did he ruin science fiction for the present moment and for future works, but he’s also ruined science fiction from the past. Because no one – not Asimov, not Clarke, not Kubrick, not Banks, not le Guin, not Roddenberry – no one anticipated that the leader of the free world (i.e., the place of scientific advancement and innovation, the place that makes the ideas of sci-fi tangible and real) would be such a fucking idiot.

(Maybe PKD imagined it, but I haven’t delved into his vast oeuvre as much as I should.)

I mean, I love the Expanse novels, and I appreciate that they strive to be both entertaining and also appealing to science nerds, because they also seem attainable. They are grounded in a sense of realism, even if they’re fantastic – they are written in a way as to attempt to adhere to the known laws of physics. But they also take place in a future where we haven’t all died because of gross incompetence and stupidity.

Anyway, I bring this up because I’ve also read and watched and played through my fair share of post-pandemic apocalyptic fiction – from The Stand to Swan Song to World War Z to Station Eleven to Wanderers – and none of them operated under the pretense that the United States would be unprepared. It’s one thing to be overwhelmed by a virus; it’s another thing to be led by an idiot who thinks he’s smarter than the CDC and every other scientist on the planet.

I don’t anticipate that COVID-19 will lead to a zombie apocalypse, but if it does, you can bet your ass that it’ll be a lot dumber than The Walking Dead. Trump will say that it’s fake news, and then he’ll say that it’s Obama’s fault, and also Hillary’s emails, and then he’ll say that how bad could a bite from a zombie actually be, and then he’ll hide himself in Mar-a-Lago while tweeting on his gold-plated toilet about how his survival bunker is the best, and all you liberal snowflakes deserve what you get.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: we are all gonna die, and it’s gonna be so goddamned stupid when we do.

still alive

It has been, what, 6 weeks? Since my last post?

I’ve been meaning to write here the whole time, I promise. Work gets in the way; life gets in the way; extreme anxiety and self-consciousness gets in the way. There was a time – back in the LiveJournal days – when I couldn’t go longer than a few hours between posts. This is not that time. I’ve been stressed out and anxious – more than usual – and my impulse now is to hide, rather than throwing up all over the internet.

In fact, I’ve already written this post. Slightly different context this time – this is less about getting Star Wars 9 spoiled and more about Super Tuesday results and the incredible awfulness of my bank account.

Speaking of which – because today is, of course, Super Tuesday and obviously everyone needs to have a take – here’s my wildly uninformed take about what’s going to happen today. Bernie and Biden are going to have a roughly 50/50 split in delegates – I’d be very surprised if it ends up a landslide in either direction. Bloomberg is only relevant because of his money; he’ll end up endorsing any front-runner who isn’t Bernie. Warren is, ultimately, the big question mark. If she has any success today, then she’s almost certainly a lock to stay in the race for the time being. If she ends up in 3rd place everywhere, though – which, sadly, is far more likely – then she needs to throw in the towel and endorse someone tonight, and all I’ll say about that is that I’ll be very, very disappointed if she picks Biden instead of Bernie.

OK – quick Ativan break, and then we’ll get to regular blog business.


So I introduced my almost-7-year-old son to the Portal games, and now he is obsessed. He can beat Portal 2 all by himself (he’s already done this at least twice), and he’s now started to write down ideas for what he wants to see in Portal 3 – puzzle ideas, hazards, ideas on how to retrieve Wheatley from outer space, even song lyrics for the closing credits. I’ve tried telling him repeatedly that the entire gaming world has been waiting to hear any news about Portal 3 since before he was born, and he doesn’t care. He wants to learn how to code so he can make it himself, if necessary. (I got him Dreams for the PS4 for this specific reason; he got frustrated almost immediately. Game design is not for the easily frustrated.)

As for me, gaming-wise, I’ve been tooling around with my backlog. For a while, I was doing a combo of Borderlands 3 and Rage 2, which are basically the same game. I was really enjoying most of Darksiders Genesis, right up until the final boss, who repeatedly kicks my ass. I was toying around with a full replay of The Witcher 3, except I don’t have 300 hours. I started doing a full playthrough of Diablo 3 on the Switch, because that’s actually a really nice port and being able to run a rift in about 7-8 minutes is a pleasant, mindless experience. I’m kinda sorta playing Yakuza 0, even though it feels like a jankier GTA: San Andreas.


One big thing I’ve been working on is the audiobook recording of my wife’s upcoming memoir, which we just finished recording this past weekend. Super fun project to work on, and now that I’m feeling comfortable again in a recording environment, I’m thinking I should start finishing this goddamned album I’ve been working on for 5 years. So that’s something to look forward to, assuming we don’t all succumb to coronavirus.

A few words about Neil Peart

I’ve been meaning to write here for the last few weeks, but instead I’ve been distracted because I’ve been listening to old Rush albums ever since the news broke of Neil Peart’s passing. Indeed, even now, I’ve got “Red Barchetta” in my head instead of figuring out what word is supposed to come next. Apologies in advance if this post doesn’t end up making any sense.

Can I take a second to talk a little bit about Rush, my 2nd favorite prog band? Especially since I’m 44 years old and no longer care about being “cool”? Because Neil Peart’s death is hitting me a lot harder than I was prepared for. I’m arguably taking it harder than I did the death of Chris Squire, the heart of my other 2nd favorite prog band.

My first exposure to Rush was almost certainly the summer camp I attended between 1986 (the summer my parents split up) and whenever it collapsed, which was probably the early 90s. Hell, that camp was my first exposure to pretty much everything necessary for the development of a young, arts-inclined teen-aged boy – prog rock, D&D, French kissing, high-speed dubbing, the breaking and mending of broken hearts.

Anyway, the point is: when you’re 12 and your home life is falling apart and you’ve discovered that you’re really into theater, which is probably going to spell certain doom once school starts, going to a performing arts camp and meeting dozens of other people just like you is basically the greatest thing that could ever happen to you. And so when these older, wiser people start introducing you to things, you pay attention. And so I was introduced to prog rock, and very specifically three bands – Yes, Genesis, and Rush.

I can’t possibly explain the appeal if you’re not already indoctrinated. Prog is inherently ridiculous and defiantly uncool; the only people who have the time for 20-minute epics about space wizards are 14-year-old boys who can’t pay attention to anything else EXCEPT learning how to air-guitar and air-drum every note of each of those 20-minute epics. Why learn how to talk to girls when you and the rest of your bunkmates learn how to air-shred the hell out of “YYZ”?

When the news of Neil’s passing hit last week, I couldn’t help myself; I immediately went back and listened to everything, though I eventually settled on my old favorites – Moving Pictures, Signals, Power Windows. And I have to tell you, those records hold up much better than I thought they would. I remember being dazzled by the production back in high school – I recall seeing the “DDD” on the back of the CD and thinking, wow, digital really is the way to go – and yeah, maybe in 2020 it’s a little over-produced, but you can hear every single goddamned drum that Peart pounds on. You can hear how ridiculously full Geddy Lee’s bass lines are. And while Alex Lifeson’s solos are perfectly fine as far as shredding, the real key to his genius is how good his rhythm playing is and how all-encompassing his guitar tones are. When I think about my guitar heroes growing up, I think about Jimi Hendrix and Trey Anastasio and The Edge, but the guitars in Rush are still fucking fantastic and when I think about my own guitar parts in songs I’ve played on, I can certainly trace quite a bit of it back to how Rush arranged their songs.

What I’m ultimately saying is that however uncool Rush might’ve been to the rest of the world, they were absolutely huge to me and a lot of the other musicians I’ve met along the way. And listening to them now – while the world is on the brink of chaos – brings me back to a much more innocent time, when all I needed to focus on was the next drum fill to play along to.

R.I.P., Neil Peart. You were a hero, even to us non-drummers.

Scenes From The Inside of the Storm

I’ve been having a low-grade anxiety attack / depressive episode for the last several days, which has prompted the usual retreat from social media, the desperate wish for an Ativan-type drug that specifically deals with mood swings, and the complete and total avoidance of any responsibility that isn’t directly work or family related. This is why there’s been no Top 10 Book / Music / Game posts. This is why there’s been, well, nothing.

I don’t know why this is happening. Or why it keeps happening. I mean, I know that I’m incredibly stressed out about the news. I’m also pissed off because normally I read Twitter for news updates, and I got the ending of Star Wars 9 spoiled for me yesterday morning, which means I’m now completely avoiding the internet until next Saturday (which is when I’m finally seeing it). I’m also anxious because my job is about to change at years’ end – I’ll be switching locations and teams and basically starting from scratch, which is a lot to deal with all at once.

I am feeling nostalgic for the internet of 20 years ago – as well as the me of 20 years ago, who had no problems venting on LiveJournal during episodes like this. I’m feeling incredibly self-conscious about it right now, actually, and I’m doing this more out of obligation to you – whoever you are – than out of any personal benefit.

Anyway. Hugs and kisses and love and such. If I don’t write, have a wonderful holiday season. I’m hoping to return in 2020 with the aforementioned media posts and some sort of regular posting schedule.

The Big To-Do

I’m on the verge of turning 44, folks, and as per usual I’m feeling weird about it. Even just mentioning it here, the casual act of drawing attention to it, feels weird. I feel incredibly self-conscious celebrating it, or even pointing it out, and so I do this little meta-dance of “aww, shucks, you guys”, and it makes me feel awful. And yet, the one and only good thing that Facebook has ever done is help people remember birthdays, and the endorphin rush of birthday greetings (mostly from internet friends that I’ll probably never meet) is one of the only things keeping me from deleting the app.

Anyway. I’m feeling weird. And that’s without reading the news.

There’s a bunch of stuff I’m working on behind the scenes:
– Books of 2019
– Books of the 10s
– Games of 2019
– Games of the 10s
– Probably something music related? Even if it’s just my Spotify stats?

But I also feel like I’m losing steam with getting this stuff together. I’ve been having trouble staying engaged in anything that isn’t a book. (One thing that I will certainly mention in the book posts is that I’ve finished 91 books this year – and the year isn’t yet over, which is why I’m tempted to put everything off until January.) Now that I’ve finished Jedi Fallen Order (which I realize I haven’t talked about), there’s really nothing pulling me in. I have a gigantic backlog that I’m not particularly interested in, both on the Xbox and on the Switch. I’ve been tempted to revisit some old favorites (e.g., Control, which is probably my GOTY), but then I remember the difficulty spikes. Or there’s also the issue of just having to relearn the controls, which means starting over from scratch. (Speaking of which, I was tempted to replay both Control and Outer Wilds, but for some reason both games only allow you to have one save, which is bullshit.)

So… yeah. I’m probably gonna keep working and revising and then post all of that stuff in January, although it’s quite possible that my day job’s responsibilities will change somewhat radically as well, so who knows what kind of time I’m going to have.

What a stupid post! Sorry, you guys. I needed to type, so I’m typing.

OH, before I forget – I’m currently reading Jia Tolentino’s essay collection Trick Mirror, and while I’m only halfway through the 2nd essay I feel confident in saying that the first essay (“The I in the Internet”) is one of the best things I’ve read all year. Those of you who’ve been online since the late 90s will recognize a lot of yourself in that piece. Highly recommended.

Weekend Recap: Good Times

I’ve been really enjoying fatherhood lately. I don’t mean to sound like I’m surprised by that; it’s just that, well, my kid is awesome and super-sweet and we’ve been hanging out a lot together over the last few months, and it’s been wonderful.

The two of us started and finished Luigi’s Mansion 3 this weekend, in fact, and while I did most of the controller work it was he who ultimately figured out how to beat the last boss, and when the credits rolled he gave me a huge hug and it was all I could do to not just start crying all over the place.

And then we started recording a rap album, as you do, and that was also awesome. I’ve written here recently about how I’ve been in a creative rut, and yet I was able to turn out 3 or 4 beats for him in a very short amount of time, and he was so happy to be shouting into a microphone.

Anyway. It was a busy weekend.

Finished: Luigi’s Mansion 3, Outer Worlds.
Started: Jedi Fallen Order
Bailed: Death Stranding
Continuing: Dragon Quest 11

Regarding LM3: one of the first “real” reviews I got to write was about Luigi’s Mansion: Dark Moon on the 3DS, which I was pretty lukewarm about. (Indeed, I never finished it, which made me feel even more sheepish than usual about submitting my final copy.) I’m happy to say that LM3 is a much, much better game in every respect; it’s generous with checkpoints, you never get lost, it’s absolutely gorgeous and chock full of tiny details, and the game feels great to play. There’s nothing quite like sucking up a ghost in the Poltergust 2000 and whomping it all over the place, breaking everything in sight. (Plus: no bullshit tilt controls to worry about.) My kid loved it; I loved it; it’s the second game on the Switch that we’ve played through to completion (after Super Mario Odyssey), and he’s already started a second playthrough (where he’s doing most of the controlling this time around, letting me handle boss fights).

Regarding Outer Worlds: yeah, that game is excellent. Not nearly as janky as these sorts of Elder Scrolls-esque RPGs tend to be, which is probably because the game is wildly reduced in scope; I beat the campaign and finished just about every side mission I could find in maybe 12-15 hours, which is exactly the right amount of time for someone who loves open-world games but doesn’t have a lot of time. There’s no filler; just great writing up and down, lots of interesting people to meet, relatively satisfying combat (though there’s plenty of non-violent options to get through encounters as well, which was in line with how I like playing anyway).

Regarding Jedi Fallen Order: I was skeptical, as everyone was, because there hasn’t been a good Star Wars game in years and I hadn’t been following any coverage. Well, color me surprised, because the reviews were positive and I ended up downloading it and I’m having an absolute blast with it. It’s scratching the much-needed Uncharted/Assassin’s Creed/Tomb Raider third-person action platformer itch that I’ve been having all year. I’m still very early on so I’m not going to heap any more superlatives on it just yet – it could certainly use a performance patch, as the frame rate can hitch up – but I’ve very much enjoyed what I’ve seen so far.

Regarding Death Stranding: I wrote a gigantic thing about my attempts to get through MGS5 for Unwinnable a few years back, and my opinions on Hideo Kojima remain unchanged. My rental copy of DS arrived late last week and so I played the first hour or so of it and while it’s visually stunning, it’s also fucking ridiculous, and life is too short to sit through that much bullshit. (Or even that much absurd in-game advertising for Monster Energy Drinks.) The Twitter discourse seems to agree that the game really picks up speed about 10 hours in, and that is 10 hours that I don’t feel like wasting. You’re all aware that the world is currently on fire, yes? Spend your time wisely.

I also finished Colson Whitehead’s Nickel Boys on Friday, and my GOD, what a book. What a writer. What a horrible, terrible, true story he tells. I’ll have more to say about it when I get my Year of Books post online.

goals and whatnot

My wife and I were hanging out the other day, and she asked me what I’d hope to accomplish for myself in 2020. I thought about it for a while, and it occurred to me that the mere act of having to think about what I’d like to accomplish next year meant that I didn’t have a clear goal already in mind. Which felt unusual.

I did come up with an answer, eventually, which was this: I would like to have some sort of reckoning with myself and figure out what exactly I’m doing, creatively speaking. Like I said above, having to think about what I’d like to accomplish is odd, because for the last several years the answer has been the same – I want to finish this album I’ve been working on. Even if it just means taking the 4-5 songs that are almost done and putting out an EP, rather than a full-length album, I still want to get this stuff off of my hard drive and into other people’s ears.

I’m not sure why I stopped, unless it’s just that I can’t trust myself to keep myself motivated. When I was in bands, I had my band mates there to kick me in the ass – indeed, we kicked each other’s asses all the time. Working with other people meant that we could each pick up each other’s slack. We could fix problems that the others couldn’t see/hear. We could support each other when we felt directionless. And if nothing else, we could just plug in and turn up and see what happened.

It’s harder to do music by myself, which I also understand is ironic if only because the downside of working with collaborators is the loss of total creative control. If I know how I want everything to sound, it’s easier and faster to do it myself. It’s just that, these days at least, I don’t know what I want to sound like. I could finish the 4-5 songs that are pretty much ready to go, but I couldn’t tell you if they accurately reflect what I sound like right now. I don’t even know what I sound like right now. I know what artists I listen to that sound like what I’d like to sound like (Tycho immediately comes to mind), but I also know that I listen to tons of different things and all that stuff is quite literally all over the map – my Spotify Discovery algorithm is still pretty good at guessing what’s going to hit my brain the right way, but how it gets from Japanese prog/punk to indie songwriter to Zappa circa 1973 is far beyond me.

I’d thought about doing NaNoWriMo this year, because writing prose is easier than writing lyrics and I’m less inclined to beat myself up during the process and I thought that maybe the simple act of throwing thousands of words out of my head into some sort of coherent order might help me figure out some lyrics; but the thing about NaNo (for me, at least) is that I need to get myself prepared, and I didn’t even really consider the idea of doing NaNo until November had already started. And the last time I tried doing NaNo, I nearly gave myself a nervous breakdown.

So, maybe I’ll try doing the RPM challenge again in February? I can give myself a head start and re-record the songs that are still works in progress in the interim? I can try to settle into some sort of evening routine?

I don’t know. But I need to do something. At the very least, I need to do just enough to be able to go get my taxes done next year and not feel like a fraud by declaring myself to still being a musician.