Monday, November 27, 2023
Thursday, November 16, 2023
This album came out of nowhere for me. Creeper have been around since 2014, but this is the first album I've caught from them, and I absolutely adore it. Not only does it have some excellent rock, metal, and punk elements, but it brings the theatrical flair I really love. The whole album is a vampire love story, and feels like Type O Negative + Meatloaf + Ghost + Billy Idol + My Chemical Romance. A campy blast from start to finish.
Friday, October 13, 2023
Happy Friday the 13th to all who celebrate! Jolene Haley and I are back with a CWCP episode about prepping for National Novel Writing Month (nanowrimo.org). We talk about how you can use the rest of this month to get ready for the 50k-word challenge. Even though we focus on NaNo, you can apply most of what we talk about to any large creative project you might be preparing for.
For the horror fans out there, we also talk about the scary movies we’ve been watching, and give some recommendations for movies you can spend the rest of October enjoying.
Monday, October 9, 2023
You had me at “80s-inspired, time-traveling slasher.” I loved Kiernan Shipka in Sabrina, and it’s clear she’s got a long career in horror ahead of her if she wants it. Totally Killer has some great slasher moments, and while the jokes are sometimes a little too on the nose, the pace is brisk enough that there’s not a lot of time to dwell on what hits and what misses. Overall it’s a really fun time-traveling slasher story that pays homage to horror’s best era while being more entertaining than a lot of current horror flicks. Totally Killer succeeds in its mission, and has a blast doing it. I could see this making the yearly October watch list.
Thursday, September 21, 2023
I have only seen about three episodes of the One Piece anime, and I have never read the manga. I always felt like I would love it if I just dove in, but I didn’t have the time to invest in the long-running series. From the first trailer for the live action adaptation though, I knew I would be watching it. And holy crap, I absolutely loved the first season. It’s so earnest and heartfelt, and the themes of friendship and following your dreams are ever-present. It reminds me of the Paddington movies, which I adore. I cannot wait for season two.
Sunday, September 10, 2023
Friday, August 25, 2023
Happy new music Friday, friends!
Some great stuff this week, led by the new Dethklok album for me--it's amazing. I am digging the new Asking Alexandria as well, and I was totally surprised by the new Vandenberg album, which sounds like it could have been the next Whitesnake album right after Slip of the Tongue. 80s fans should be checking that out.
What are you listening to this weekend?
Monday, August 7, 2023
Monday, July 24, 2023
We are back with a super-sized episode, featuring one of our favorite people, Karin Wu! Karin has over 20 years of experience in nonprofit, education, gaming, fashion, and other industries, leading marketing, fundraising, product development, and distribution in both domestic and international markets. She shares her creative journey with us, and we take a deep dive into what it means to be a creative leader, and how to stay true to what you value the most.
You can connect with Karin on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/karinwu.
You can also learn more about Karin in this fantastic episode of the Totally Human podcast, where she and host Liya James talk more about leadership and allyship. https://youtu.be/se8KkcMAXFo
Thanks for listening!
J & B
Monday, July 3, 2023
Sunday, June 25, 2023
Saturday, June 24, 2023
After a nine year wait since 2014’s Better Days Comin’, I am so glad Winger is back. Seven is a lot of what you’d expect from the band—melodic, catchy, heavy at times, and technically impressive. I dig all the songs on this one, and there are some standouts that we’ll definitely see on live setlists in the future. But I can’t help feeling a tiny bit disappointed with how restrained Reb Beach is on this album. Aside from a couple songs where he lets loose, he feels underutilized to me, making Seven feel more like a Kip Winger solo album in parts. I wanted a bit more from this full band effort, but still very grateful for what I got.
Saturday, June 10, 2023
As a lifelong Spider-Man fan, and someone who owns every 2099 comic that was published in the 90s, I still cannot believe this movie exists. Despite the laugh out loud moments of ATSV, this is definitely the Empire Strikes Back of the trilogy for sure. The story is powerful, the action is great, but the star of ATSV is the incredible design and animation of every single frame of this movie. An awe-inspiring work of art that will be studied for decades. I love this movie, and I’m grateful to everyone who helped make it happen.
Saturday, May 20, 2023
Monday, May 15, 2023
Here are links to resources we talked about in this episode:
Richard Thomas and Storyville Studio
Speculative Fiction Academy
Cat Rambo’s The Rambo Academy for Wayward Writers
Here are some free small press Discord communities with writing and publishing discussions:
And here are the links to the recent books launched by our awesome Midnight Society pals:
The PhDidn't Handbook: How to Quit Grad School Like a Champ by Erica Davis:
Into The Gray by Kathleen Palm:
Thanks for listening! We’ll be back next month with another incredible creative guest, so stay tuned!
J & B
Sunday, May 7, 2023
This album absolutely rules. For almost 38 years now, Overkill has been arguably the most consistent thrash bands on the planet. New Jersey’s finest have even taken it up a notch on Scorched, which offers some nice surprises in addition to the tried and true, riff-filled, bass-driven brutality that is their signature sound. These guys are in their early sixties, and are still crushing it. Overkill is amazing. Get this album.
Sunday, April 30, 2023
It’s a new day! The CWCP podcast is back, and Jolene Haley is joining me as the co-host of the show. In this episode, Jolene and I catch everyone up on our creative adventures, talk about the projects we worked on for Camp NaNoWriMo, and discuss what’s filling up our creative cups lately.
Thanks for listening! Starting next month we’ll be welcoming a guest to the show each episode, so stay tuned!
J & B
For the first time in years, I won a NaNo event.
Every year I participate in at least one NaNoWriMo event, whether it be NaNo proper in November, or one of the Camp NaNo events in April and July. But for the past handful of years, I have not actually hit my word count goal, or in most cases, even come close to my goal.
But this year? I destroyed my goal. I had set out to write 500 words per day, aiming for a toal of 15,000 words by today, April 30th. I ended up averaging about 800 words a day, and finished at just over 24,000 words for the month.
More importantly, I have a full book draft.
This book will be my second nonfiction book. The first was Making Ear Candy, my podcasting how-to book that I wrote in 2013, and released the second edition of in 2017. In fact, I wrote the draft of Making Ear Candy during Camp NaNoWrimo in April of 2013. Ten years ago.
The book I just drafted is about content strategy, which my career has revolved around for the past several years. I'll be talking a lot more about it over the next few months, as my goal is to release it over the summer.
I cannot overstate how creatively fulfilling it has been to participate in this Camp NaNo, set a goal of getting this draft completed, and actually accomplish that goal. There was a part of me that wondered if I still had it in me. Thanks to my family and friends, who are a constant source of support and inspiration.
The draft is just the beginning. There is still a lot of work to do, but for today at least, I'm going to celebrate.
Congrats to everyone who participated in Camp NaNo this month!
Sunday, April 23, 2023
Evil Dead is tied with Friday the 13th for my favorite horror franchise of all time, and the first new theatrical entry in 10 years did not disappoint. Evil Dead Rise is a great addition to the franchise, and the type of horror movie we just don’t get enough of these days. Lee Cronin’s Evil Dead Rise brings us somewhere new, and even expands the lore of the Evil Dead universe, while maintaining a connection to everything we know and love about the franchise.
The bulk of the story takes place in a soon to be demolished L.A. apartment building, where our hero Beth comes to visit her sister Ellie, her nieces Bridget and Kassie, and her nephew Danny. Unfortunately for all of them, their evening plans are about to be interrupted, on account of a certain book, and some words that bring the bad things.
The cast are all great, led by Lily Sullivan as Beth and Alyssa Sutherland as Ellie. Their sisters are the core of the story, and both are fantastic in their roles. This film had a budget of $19 million, and likely spent almost all of it on practical effects, which should make everyone happy. While the gore in Evil Dead Rise doesn’t quite reach the levels of the 2013 film, its high points are as good as any in the franchise.
I will stay away from spoilers, but I loved how Cronin has expanded the lore of Evil Dead, as it respects everything that has come before, and leaves every possibility for future stories open. He threaded the needle perfectly. There are also some great Easter eggs throughout the film, not just for this series, but some other horror classics as well.
I think that’s what makes Evil Dead as a franchise so impressive in 2023. The series is over 40 years old, and it feels as fresh as ever. I adored Fede Alvarez’s 2013 Evil Dead with Jane Levy, and with Evil Dead Rise, this is now two great entries in a row without Bruce Campbell, which most fans would have thought impossible. And we’ve also gotten a ton of Ash-related stories in between these two films, including comics, a video game, and three seasons of the Ash Vs. Evil Dead TV series. As producers, Campbell, Sam Raimi, and Rob Tapert have done a great job of shepherding this franchise, strengthening the foundation of the original films and making great choices with these two latest entries. I can’t wait to see where they take us next.
Tuesday, April 18, 2023
Saturday, April 15, 2023
I raved about Paul Tremblay’s The Cabin at the End of the World when I read it back in 2019, so I was definitely intrigued when it was announced M. Night Shyamalan was doing a big screen adaptation of it. For a director known for his shocking twists though, the most surprising part of Knock at the Cabin was how safe he played it. The choice Shyamalan made resulted in a movie more palatable to mainstream audiences, though as with most adaptations, I prefer the book. Worth seeing for sure, through.
Monday, March 27, 2023
Sunday, March 26, 2023
I finally saw M3GAN this weekend, and the movie was a ton of fun. The vibe was more Deadly Friend than Child’s Play, and it works great. I’ll be following everything screenwriter Akela Cooper does at this point—the balance of humor and horror she strikes in both Malignant and M3GAN are what I always loved about 80s horror. What holds this movie back is the PG-13 rating, as it takes the teeth out of the horror elements. I am sure we will eventually get a rated R cut of this movie, and I cannot wait to see that.
Sunday, March 12, 2023
I saw Creed III this weekend, and enjoyed it. While it was a bummer to not see Stallone’s Rocky in this movie, it’s also the first one to truly focus on Adonis Creed’s character. Jonathan Majors is fantastic as Creed’s childhood friend Damian, who comes back into Creed’s life after almost 20 years, looking to claim the life he believes Creed took from him. The story is great, and plants multiple seeds for future installments. My only complaint—even at two hours, it feels like there was a lot left on the cutting room floor. Hopefully we’ll get a director’s cut.
Sunday, March 5, 2023
I will likely be exploring this topic in a series of much longer posts in the future, but I need to get some thoughts down while they are still fresh in my mind. I just watched a 20+ hour documentary about the making of a sequel to a beloved adventure game that is both an incredible look into the creative process, and possibly the best case study of management and organizational culture I have ever seen. If your work involves collaborating on creative projects, or you are a manager of people, watch this whole series immediately.
Saturday, February 18, 2023
This year I'm going to try and share bite-sized impressions of books, albums, shows, movies, and games in 100 words or less. I'll dive deeper on certain things in other posts, but this series will just be some quick thoughts.
I saw Quantumania last night, and enjoyed it overall. I thought the Quantum Realm was great and there are a lot of possibilities for future stories there. Performances were good all around. They did a good job setting up Cassie Lang as a character we will see a lot more of. As a vehicle for making Kang the next MCU big bad—I thought it fell short. They just didn’t provide enough clarity for non-comics readers about why Kang is an extinction-level threat, especially if you didn’t watch the first season of Loki.
Monday, February 6, 2023
Saturday, January 21, 2023
Last in Line release single off upcoming Jericho album (March 31)
New Metallica song - Screaming Suicide from 72 Seasons (April 14)--National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
Aldo Nova new album and possible tour
New Talk is Cheap episode (originalmatman.weebly.com)
The Winery Dogs - III (2023)
SpiritWorld - Deathwestern (2022)
From the album I Stand, coming March 10th from Frontiers Music SRL.
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Sunday, January 1, 2023
I spent my Christmas holiday in Maine visiting family, and had a little time to decompress and reflect on this past year. This picture is from Wells Beach, and the serene ocean view in this image does not convey the 13-degree temperature of that morning. It was still beautiful, though.
At this stage of my career, happiness for me is a perfect balance between building and learning in my work. The first half of my 2022 was definitely more learning than building, primarily because I started a new job in February. Learning a new organization, a new team, my place within both, and how I could best contribute has been a challenging and rewarding process (and one that is still ongoing). The second half of the year shifted more into building mode, and I’m incredibly proud of what the team has accomplished. From a content strategy standpoint, we laid a strong foundation, and that puts us in great shape heading into 2023.
So, even though I felt out of balance at times over this past year, the learning and building evened out in the end. For me, 2023 will be about keeping that balance throughout the year.