Blog

  • Just Love Me
    I remember the first time you disappeared. The sun crept through the blinds—you know, those blinds I said I’d replace for two years—and speckles of light beamed against the bed, across your back. I pulled up the sheets to get myself in a comfier position and wrapped my arms around you. You let out a purr-like sigh. Whether or not you were awake, I didn’t know. As long as I had you in my grasp, that was all that mattered to me. The fluff of the pillow against my ear. The blue light of the TV we forgot to turn
  • 2010s Retrospective Update
    It’s been almost a whole damn year since my last time dong a 2010s Retrospectives Update. Guess what? I’m still not done with these silly blogs. The previous blog post said that I’d try to finish things up by December 31st, 2020. Clearly, that didn’t happen because I still have a ton of blog posts left to write and release. This isn’t an apology, of course; I just like writing these for fun, and more content is better for readers anyway. But it’s still kinda quintessentially Thedudeian that I started making these blog posts as a short project, and it
  • Cultivine Retrospective
    Man, Cultivine was a story, wasn’t it? It really was a story, that’s all I’ll say. It transcended its badness to become something that was stupidly enjoyable to most readers, and gained way more success than anything of its caliber deserved. Even though it finished way back in March, I still wanted to give a little bit of insight and honesty into its extremely stupid existence. Let’s reminisce about that time when the vine invasion of Royal Road had just begun…
  • Her Golemancer Girlfriend – Now Posting!
    My newest web serial, Her Golemancer Girlfriend, is now available for you to read on several different websites. Here’s the synopsis: Visit Fleettwixt! Enjoy its state-of-the-art mana trains, its sky-high towers, its diverse cultures, and of course its countless golems waiting to do your every bidding. Life in the capital city is a paradise… …But that paradise comes at a great cost. Enter Amelia Bluewood. Half-human, half-golem. All fury. A hometown in ruins, a girlfriend missing without a trace, a system malfunctioning. She’s lost everything, but now, in Fleettwixt, she has a chance for revenge, a chance for answers, a
  • Skaianet Systems Incorporated – Humor Changes [2019]
    In Janaury 2019, Skaianet Systems Incorporated launched. Homestuck’s tenth anniversary was coming up, and so was its infamous epilogue, which meant some viral marketing was in order. Enter the Skaianet website. Things went awry, as they always do when it comes to What Pumpkin. The website is still accessible, as of this writing, but now it It’s a cheeky callback to the original comic and its early days, before the dream bubbles and God Tiers and teen relationship dramas. It’s nice but small. Secretly, though, the site was filled with easter eggs, including some extensive, insane backstory kept secret from
  • Martin Shkreli, America’s Villain [2015-2018]
    There were a couple nice years where the entire United States had a public enemy number one: Martin Shkreli. His company jacked up the price of HIV drugs by thousands of percent, and when questioned about it he basically laughed it off. Instead, he went on social media and became a shitpost memelord king. There’s nobody in the world more universally hated, who also got so wide a platform to project his views. I mean, this dude got summoned to Congress for a publicity stunt for politicians trying to get reelected in 2016. Then it backfired spectacularly when Martin Shkreli
  • Web Content Creators & The Sound of Silence
    There’s that wall web content creators know all too well: The engagement void. You’ve posted your first song, your first chapter, your first art, and it gets a resounding nothing. You keep posting, and start wondering if there’s anyone out there enjoying your work. Maybe you’ve got friends or family, but is anyone, ANYONE discovering it, discovering you?
  • Who Is My Blog Audience?
    Huh, I wonder who my blog audience is with all these posts. I’m approaching 150 posts written for my Thedude3445 website. Some of those are story updates, but most are blog posts. Random topics covered in my usual rambling style and then given an obligatory SEO-friendly gloss of paint to make sure they show up on Google and Bing and whatever. (On that note, let me say “blog audience” again since that’s the keyword here.) Why do I write them?
  • Learning About Buses
    It took until 2017 for me to actually understand buses. I don’t know; there just weren’t buses anywhere I lived, not in any relevant capacity. I rode the school bus for 10 years and then took the university bus one year at college, but that was basically it. Even when I studied abroad in Nagoya, I only used one specific bus route; I got on at the first stop and got off at the last. So until I moved to Seattle in 2017, there wasn’t really a chance for me to get to know the dang things.
  • Web Fiction Woes
    I’ve certainly been feeling the web fiction woes lately, I must admit. Writing itself hasn’t become the issue, definitely not. I wrote over 30,000 words of fiction in June, and I feel great about it. I’ve got two ongoing web serials, plus a new one coming extremely soon. I’ve published over 1,000,000 words in the past three years, and that’s something I try to never forget. It’s really cool! But even so, I’m stuck in a perpetual state of dissatisfaction. Part of it I can’t control, and the other part I maybe can, but at a cost.
  • Dredd 2 Never Got Made [2012]
    Dredd 2 is dead. It was never even a real possibility, as much as we campaigned for it. But the first Dredd movie released in 2012 was such a phenomenal smash that it’s almost criminal that we never got one. What everyone thought would be some low-scale, low-budget, low-effort sci-fi B-Movie turned out so much better! Dredd was a pretty standard buddy cop-esque affair, with Judge Dredd and his new rookie partner getting trapped in an apartment complex and forced to fight their way out. It was a mix of Die Hard and The Raid, so you generally knew what
  • The Curtains Were Blue For a Reason
    I’ve always hated that “curtains are blue” meme. You know the one, or else you can see it in the featured image above. It was a really popular little quote a few years ago. It reached the point where, when people learned of my Writing major, they’d reference the meme to my face! And it still happens occasionally. And the worst part about it is that the meme is complete garbage. The Curtains Were Blue Indeed It’s sort of annoying on its own, just as something reposted endlessly as a sort of sage knowledge. But the fact that it’s blatantly
  • Nintendo Direct: A Sinister Formula
    I watched the 2021 Nintendo Direct from E3 today. Despite rock-bottom expectations and a waning interest in the gaming hype machine, I still woke up early to see what Nintendo would announce. My expectations were still not met. Why did I wake up early and bother to watch this? I knew it was going to suck, and it really did. It’s not as bad as the disastrous E3 2008, but it’s worse than the infamous 2015 Nintendo Direct (at least that showed new games!). In a way, it’s probably nostalgia for those years of my life where E3 was like
  • My Smartphones [2011-2018]
    I’ve had a lot of smartphones and mobile devices over the past decade. For some reason, I’m going to list them to you so you can kind of see a sort of snapshot of how my life progressed as technology changed (and as I ran into some quite odd situations). Surprisingly, I didn’t break most of these! I mean, I didn’t break most of these.
  • Moviepass: A Temporary Bliss [2017-2018]
    Remember when Moviepass existed? How awesome was that! If you don’t remember or are reading from the future, Moviepass was a movie subscription model. Only, it worked, like, incorrectly. The model worked like this: You pay a monthly fee to get a special credit card. You apply on the app to see a movie at a certain theater, then buy the ticket with that card. Then bam, it’s free. One movie a day, so up to 30 movies a month if you’re tenacious. At first the price was steep, over $40 a month. But something happened in 2017—the price dropped.
  • I Pronounce Prose Incorrectly
    Prose. Today I learned something very important about this very important word: The S is voiced. Pronounced like a Z. It’s [pɹoʊz,] not [pɹoʊs] like I’ve said it basically my entire life. I feel like a major, massive idiot, especially when I’m a writer. When I have a degree in Writing & Linguistics. When I’ve gone to writing conferences, and when I teach English. Somehow, throughout literal decades of using and discussing this word, I have completely overlooked the fact that the word rhymes with hose, not morose. And I’ve got to say, I’m feeling pretty morose right now, myself.
  • To All the Friends I Never Talk To
    A short letter to the people I never talk to anymore: It’s a real bummer. I’m not very good at keeping friends for a long time, and I know it’s my fault. Sometimes I just spend all the mental energy I could be putting into long-term friendships and instead put it into, I don’t know, memorizing Star Wars planet names. One second, I’m talking to someone all the time, and then the next second I realize I haven’t heard from them in months. I’m really bad at this… In the age of instant messaging, it should be easier than ever
  • Angel Beats… Why Was This Crap Popular? [2010]
    Angel Beats sucks. Like, it’s really awful. A 3/10 trainwreck and that’s if I’m being generous with my scores. Nothing makes sense in this stupid show, all the characters are one-note stereotypes, and the attempts at tragedy are so over-the-top they make me literally laugh out loud. Anyone watching the show in 2021 would surely say the same. Just recently I watched Angel Beats with friends, one episode a week for a couple months, and we had a riot just riffing on every groan-worthy attempt at emotion and every idiotic plot twist. I recommend it for all those who seek
  • Thedude3445’s New Posting Schedule
    Thanks to The Gay Gatsby, a few unreleased/unannounced projects in the works, and real life issues, my posting schedule has been erratic so far in 2021. Sorry about that! That’s all about to change. I’ve finally crafted a whole new posting schedule, and hopefully it will last the rest of 2021. I’m taking my work slow, and I think that might annoy some people, but it’s the best way, I think:
  • Zack Synder Trilogy Marathon Reviews
    I watched the Zack Snyder Trilogy of DC movies back at the end of March, and I thought I’d share my reviews for all three here. Normally, I post my reviews to my Letterboxd diary instead of my blog, but these ended up super long. So I’m posting them here too:
  • The April 27th, 2011 Tornadoes [2011]
    On April 27th, 2011, my town of Ringgold, Georgia was destroyed by tornadoes. Ten years ago this week. I was sixteen. Close friends had houses destroyed, and several classmates lost their lives. It’s hard to understand the kinds of tragedies that befall communities until they happen to yours, and even now I’m not sure I’ve fully processed it. My high school was heavily damaged. My old middle school was mostly destroyed. The very places where I spent most of my teenage years no longer existed at all. Even the local diner named Chow Time got wiped out. Nobody was prepared
  • Tower of Arnold: New Fan Fiction
    I’ve written a new short fan fiction called “Tower of Arnold.” It’s a satire story about everyone’s most despised character from the hit Royal Road serial Tower of Somnus by CoCoP. Arnold Jacques is a young, pretty rich young man with a really big heart and an even bigger libido, and he’s not afraid to show it. The original story is a cyberpunk action story about an intergalactic VRMMO. This story is a drama about one really nice guy who just can’t get all the girls to see him. I must warn you, though; this story does have some elements
  • RSS Feeds: Let’s Defeat the Algorithm [2010s]
    Automated curation sucks; let’s replace it with RSS feeds. Yeah, I’m saying we should bring back a protocol so outdated and underused that Google shut down its own service for it back in 2013. I’m saying that we desperately need to switch to a less elegant, less convenient system, because social media is poisoning our lives. (Yeah, that’s an over-simplification of a big degree, but it’s not like people are really disagreeing here…)
  • Earthbound Goods: A Collector’s Dilemma
    These Earthbound goods are torturing me… For the 30th anniversary of the Mother series, Itoi Shigesato and his notebook company Hobonichi have been releasing tons and tons of merchandise! I use Hobonichi Planners every year already, so when it was time to order a new one for the new (Japanese) year on April 1st, I couldn’t help myself… I bought a bunch of merchandise! There’s just so much of it. Some of it’s stationery-related, like calendars and paper presses and stuff:
  • Cultivine is Now Out
    I have a brand-new web serial that’s sure to be blowing your universe the heck up: Cultivine. I wrote the entire thing as part of a Vine Challenge among authors on Royal Road: Write as many words as possible in 24 hours, and center the story around vines. I wrote Cultivine in two sessions, and got about 16,000 words each time. It’s really bad. Phenomenally terrible in every way. And if you enjoy my more, um, performatively lazy fiction, you will LOVE this one. Cultivine is a xianxia cultivation progression fantasy based on Chinese web novels, with one twist: I’ve
  • Last Chance to Read Gay Gatsby on Kindle Unlimited
    Heya, just a quick news update about The Gay Gatsby and Kindle Unlimited. It’s been out for a little over two months now; while it still gets a few purchases every week, attention has mostly trailed off by now. One experiment I ran, though, is now coming to an end–I won’t renew The Gay Gatsby’s enrollment in Kindle Select, which means the book will no longer be available for free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers. It ends March 31st! If you don’t know, Kindle Unlimited is a subscription service for Amazon users that gives access to countless thousands of ebooks to
  • If I Made A Thedude3445 Star Wars Trilogy
    Sometimes I like to wonder, what if I made a Thedude3445 Star Wars Trilogy? If I were given full creative control over my favorite popular franchise, what would I do? This is all purely hypothetical since it would never, ever happen, but I like to imagine it anyway. Let me take you on the journey of a hypothetical Thedude3445 Star Wars Trilogy I proposed in 2019, and hopefully win you over a bit: The Gist of the Thedude3445 Star Wars Trilogy So the main concept for me is the idea of a generational saga.
  • Web Fiction Sites: The Mega List Directory
    Hey, want to find some web fiction sites? Last year during the early days of the pandemic I made a list of as many web fiction sites as I could find, to help readers find new stories to read (and to help writers find new places to post). Now that it’s 2021 and the scene has changed a bit, it’s time for an update! I’ll be defining “web fiction” broadly here. It includes prose stories, webcomics, and interactive browser-based fiction. As long as it’s available via a web browser or app, it’s not solely 18+, and it’s got lots of
  • The Gay Gatsby Round-Up: The First Month
    The Gay Gatsby is now one month old; let’s do a Gay Gatsby Round-Up. Yay! Thanks to all of y’all at the #GatsbyArmy, the book has sold over 65 copies in its first month. That’s an astounding success for an indie book with no real marketing and that was kept a secret all the way up until days before release. It even got mentioned in the friggin’ New York Times! Holy crap! It’s also got a couple really amazing reviews already that warm my heart to read. Look at some of the compliments the book’s received so far:
  • What Happened to Midnight Releases? [2010-2013]
    Midnight releases were a hallmark of nerd culture. Besides Black Friday sales, what parts of the non-nerd world cared about midnight releases? Pretty much nobody. As I covered vaguely in my post about camping out for the Wii U, I used to love this stuff. The shared sense of excitement and fandom for stuff that everyone loves. The staying up late pointlessly and getting kinda sleepy. The chance to be one of the first people in the world to experience something.
  • Goodbye, Tumblr [2018]
    Tumblr died in the stupidest way possible: Porn. I really just don’t get it. I didn’t use the site much, but it was doing fine. Then they banned adult content and just like that, the entire community vanished in an instant. I know about the app’s imminent de-listing from Apple and Google’s app stores due to restrictive policies. I also think that that’s a huge, major issue with mobile devices that we’ll need to seriously discuss in the 20s. But it still had a website; it was idiotic to fundamentally change the “free speech heavy” aspect of the site just
  • Death Waltz (UN Owen Was Her) [2010-2011]
    The Death Waltz… was NOT the Death Waltz. This debacle was one of the dumbest things to ever come into internet lore. One of my favorite examples of the stupid viral memetics of our fast-paced culture over the past ten years. Have you heard of the Tragedy of Flandre Scarlet the Wise? It’s a story the mainstream media wouldn’t tell you… mostly because it’s really stupid. But your decadal guide Thedude3445 shall tell it to you. First, it started with weird Japanese shit.
  • Greg Orman Dashing My Faint Hopes of Independent Candidates [2014]
    It’s probably that I was just a naive child, but I was really rooting for Greg Orman in 2014. Here he was, an independent candidate with a real fighting chance against Pat Roberts, an emblem of the swampy D.C. establishment, primed to become our third independent Senator after Bernie Sanders and Angus King. The polls were favorable for him, and the Democrat dropped out of the race altogether. Greg Orman was a pretty interesting candidate at the time, not beholden to either major party and campaigning on platforms that people would actually support, rather than on whatever the national party
  • The MSPA IRC [2011-2013]
    One of the weirdest things in my entire life is that, for something like two years of my life, I was active on IRC message boards—the MSPA IRC. In the 2010s! (For the youngsters: IRC is “Internet Relay Chat” which means, basically, Discord/Slack chats except way clunkier and low-tech.)
  • Marvel’s Heroic Age [2010]
    Right as the decade began, Marvel Comics’s most ambitious storyline to date (and possibly ever) came to its epic conclusion. The Heroic Age was upon us. And I truly mean epic in the literary sense. This story has no specific name but I’ll call it the Marvel Dark Age. It spanned six years, with a dozen or more crossover events and hundreds upon hundreds of comics. It took the Avengers from a dying brand, soon to be replaced by the Ultimates, into a modern superhero team. And just in time, too! Because Disney had literally just purchased Marvel Comics months
  • Waiting for the Wii U [2012]
    Sometimes I did some pretty crazy stuff as a kid… such as camping out for the Wii U. Yes, I was That Person who camped out for video game consoles—two of them, in fact. The Nintendo Wii in 2006, and the Nintendo Wii U in 2012. The latter one’s what we’ll be focusing on here; honestly, the experience was one of my main transitions into adulthood.
  • Bowsette: The Wholesome, Adult Internet Phenomenon [2018]
    I may be biased, but I love Bowsette. (Featured image taken from here) The character, the meme, the stories made… Bowsette was and is one of the best pieces of internet culture created in the entire 2010s. It combines a weird self-parodying sense of irony with nostalgic silliness with queer positivity with fetishizing suggestivity… So many factors all swirled up into someone who is likely the #1 most famous fan character ever created. Despite the massive deluge of porn and the innate sex appeal of the character, I’d honestly call Bowsette one of the most wholesome and friendly internet phenomenons
  • Home Clipart Animal Deer [2015-2016]
    Sometimes I forget that, before the Quinlan Circle, I ran a web fiction website for almost an entire year: Home Clipart Animal Deer: Where Literature Goes to Die. And, certainly one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had.
  • Happy 2021! The Gay Gatsby is now released.
    Howdy to you, and happy 2021 (in most time zones at least), the Year of Our Lord In Which The Gay Gatsby Finally Comes Out. This is going to be a brand new great year that will almost 100% be way better than the quite awful last twelve months. I’m pretty optimistic about it! And even if the year ends up being less than stellar, at least we’ve got a spiffy new book coming out right on January 1st, which is to say right this instant: The Gay Gatsby. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s seminal classic goes public domain at this exact
  • My Favorite Music of 2020
    Here’s a list of my favorite music of 2020! 2020’s been a rough year for a lot of pop culture, but the music has been pretty great. I’ve found a few key albums that have really blown me away this year, so I’d like to talk about seven of my favorite albums of the year. Like my Best of the 2010s article, I will keep this limited to some select criteria: 1. Full albums/EPs only, no singles (sorry Michael) 2. No soundtracks (sorry Eirik) 3. Only one album per artist/group. (sorry PROTODOME) With that out of the way, let’s dive
  • One Year With Beatrice & Emi
    It’s been one year since Hands Held in the Snow began serializing on the internet. One year since Emi and Beatrice first laid eyes on one another and our beloved narrator asked us, was it love at first sight? It feels like an eternity ago. That’s kind of what 2020 was generally like, though. I started writing the book over three years ago, and now it’s finally out for everyone to see, for the world to read and hopefully fall in love with just like I did writing it.
  • The Obamacare Pajama Boy Poster [2013]
    The Pajama Boy is back. Look how far the world has come in seven years… I bet you completely forgot about the “Pajama Boy” hubbub and I’m very sorry for reminding you about it. But some things must be drudged up for us to lament on our far-too-recent past. All that happened was an Obamacare-affiliated organization tweeted out this picture saying it was cool and acceptable to talk about and sign up for health care this Christmas season, back in 2013. Just some jolly, vaguely-hisptery dude enjoying himself. And people were PISSED OFF.
  • Scary Games for Kids (Creepy!) [2010s]
    Before Tiktok, before Fortnite, before anything else that our our Generation Z siblings got super into that is hard for me to understand, came the rise of scary games. It’s not that I don’t understand horror video games or creepypastas for anything like that. It’s just that the culture surrounding them, the fandom and shipping and overall obsession, baffles me completely. Scary games for kids, which absolutely exploded throughout the 2010s, are really the first true evidence of a generational gap between Millennial and Generation Z, and I don’t think it has been explored nearly enough so far.
  • The Internet is Not Permanent [2010s]
    They say what you post will last forever, but it’s not true: the internet is not permanent. It’s weird when I think back to the fact that a large portion of my youth has been erased. Only scattered archive.org snapshots and faded memories remain. Well, I understand that for generations past, this is pretty normal stuff. You grow up. Your life changes. Then there isn’t much frame of reference for your younger years except when you meet people who lived it too. But it’s all the opposite of what they said back when the internet age first started: everything you
  • YOLO, Shutter Shades, and Rapid Pop Culture Shifts [2012]
    Man… pop culture has changed a lot since the YOLO Swag days. LMFAO was a big deal. Shutter shades actually existed. Jersey Shore was a big deal. American culture was, for a brief period, transfixed strongly on the obnoxious spray tan Miami beach white rapper excess aesthetic. It was the most ridiculous period ever. Or was it? Was this whole cultural period ever embraced with any true sincerity? Or was it all done with a sense of irony and silliness?
  • The Poison of Easy Research – My First Smartphone [2011]
    I received my first smartphone in July of 2011. Everything changed. My family had just received a large windfall of money from the government, so I got a top-of-the-line LG Revolution (it was pretty bad) and got a hand-me-down car after I passed my driver’s test shortly afterwards. In just a couple weeks’ time, my whole life had changed. But only in retrospect do I realize that. It’s flabbergasting to think that, ten years ago, smartphones were not actually that popular yet, and the technology was still in its infancy with slow 3G speeds and clunky apps. My first experience
  • McKay’s, Cheap DVDs, and My Path to Becoming a Film Lover [2013-2015]
    For decades of my life, Mckay’s (also known as McKay Used Books & CDs) was my home away from home. The best spot in all of Chattanooga, Tennessee. For as long as I can remember, the bulk of my entertainment goods came from this store, a place that sells books, comics, video games, music, board games, figurines, and practically everything you can think of that qualifies as vaguely nerdy. The vast majority of my books came from either McKay’s or the Scholastic Book Fair, and it was mostly the former anyway. First, It Was Video Games
  • Walt: In Memory of My 1987 Oldsmobile [2013-2018]
    This post is dedicated to Walt, my second car. (A 1987 Cutlass Ciera Oldsmobile, if you wanted to know.) The History of Walt: My Oldsmobile My first car was some 2001 Nissan Spectra or something like that. Nothing special, just a very old car with a billion miles on it and the kind of thing a poor kid gets when they get their license and the family really needs them to be able to run errands. But after a couple years, it was clear that we didn’t have enough vehicles at home. My grandfather had a van to use, my
  • One Year of 2010s Retrospectives
    It’s been an entire year since I first started the 2010s Retrospectives Series. There’s already been nearly 70 different posts in that time, covering topics as varied as my teenage histrionics, to queer representation in media, to the web fiction community, to Jeb! Bush, to bizarre internet urban legends. I hope you’ve enjoyed them so far! I certainly didn’t expect for the series to last as long as it did. But I kept getting more and more ideas for posts, and I wanted to share my reflections with the world. We sure did a lot of stuff in the 2010s,
  • The Ever-Present Life of the Monogatari Series [2009-2019]
    Okay, including the Monogatari series in my 2010s Retrospectives is kinda cheating, since the books started in 2006 and the anime started in 2009. But it was a phenomenal success that shaped the entire anime industry throughout the 2010s. And it’s worth mentioning when we look back at the decade. It was REALLY influential! The premise of the entire series is simple: Characters’ mental illnesses manifest in supernatural form. And each story plays like a weird teen mystery novel. Simple, but ripe for a billion entries in this extremely long series. (Extremely long and extremely strange to follow through: Use
  • Content Creators I Stopped Following [2010s]
    There are a lot of web content creators I used to follow. Back when I was younger and had more time to devote to passively keeping up with internet celebrities and pop culture websites and all of that. With declining free time and increasing standards, there are several places and people I followed quite regularly that I’ve completely abandoned over the last ten years. Here’s a few of them, and you might notice a common theme…
  • Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Alita Battle Angel [2019]
    Alita: Battle Angel rules. It’s a great movie! The story is ridiculously silly and moves along at an exhausting pace as it attempts to cram twelve TV episodes’ worth of content into two hours. The world is gorgeous and textured, while the action sequences are top-notch. And Alita herself is one of my favorite action movie protagonists in a long time! It may be hard to keep up with sometimes, but Alita is absolutely worth your time. The movie ended up losing money at the box office, but it performed at a best-case scenario for a February release for a
  • Ranked Choice Vote Works! Maine 2018
    Finally, finally, a success for Ranked Choice Vote in the United States. After decades of struggling against the disastrous first-past-the-post voting system, we finally get a real step towards voting that actually works. (Seriously, first past the post is horrible, and stuff like the 1998 Minnesota Governor Election shows exactly why. Only five states—Washington, California, Louisiana, Georgia (<3), and Maine—avoid this massive problem that has plagued the country for ages.) Finally, in 2016, Maine approved instant runoff voting for all its statewide elections—or, in other words, Ranked Choice Voting. And in 2018, we finally saw it in action for the
  • Artificial Shortages of Every Single Nintendo Product Ever Made [2012-2019]
    Here is a brief history of Nintendo’s undying love for artificial shortages. Nintendo got cocky from the Wii. It sold out really badly in its first Christmas season; nobody could get one, and everyone wanted one. It created a fire that fueled the console’s amazing success in the years to follow. Possibly thanks to its incredible scarcity, the Wii quickly took off to become the second-best-selling console of all-time. So when the Wii U stalled out of the gate and did NOT sell out in Holiday 2012, Nintendo apparently took the lessons of the Wii’s success, assumed that scarcity was
  • Living in Florida: The Month of S [2018]
    I didn’t plan on living in Florida, but somehow it happened. If you want to talk about really badly planned events that went extremely well, you want to talk about the time in 2018 when I moved to Florida for a couple months. Waiting for JET Because I had just gone and assumed I’d be accepted for the JET Program after applying in 2017, I decided not to renew my lease in Seattle. I would quit my job at the end of May 2018, then spend time with my Dad’s side of the family, then my Mom’s side of the
  • Perhaps You Should Donate on Patreon
    Did you know that I have a Patreon? Or, rather, the Quinlan Circle, of which I am a member, has a Patreon? Maybe not, and if you didn’t, let me tell you the reasons you should donate some of your money to the cause (because there are a great many): The Quinlan Circle provides hundreds of hours of free content every single year, in every medium and genre imaginable. Whether it’s teen romance or dry comedy or thriller, whether it’s web novels or webcomics or blogs or music albums, you can expect tons of Quinlan Circle stories. Every donation we
  • Jim Henson’s Accidental Farewell: Secrets of the Muppets
    I finished The Jim Henson Hour the other day, and came across one of the final episodes, a mini-documentary titled Secrets of the Muppets. It’s not likely you’ve seen this show. It’s not even that likely you’ve even heard of it. It aired in 1989, billed as a true successor show to The Muppet Show a decade later, and lasted just one season. Twelve episodes were produced, but only nine actually made it to air in the United States as scheduled. And due to rights issues stemming from the sale of the Muppets to Disney, much of this series will
  • [2015] The Making of Barty Anderson 4
    More than anything I have made thus far in my life as a storyteller, Barty’s Brew-Ha-Ha 4: Tale of the Legend of the Crystal Chubacabra [sic] is the thing I am most proud of. My masterpiece, one that debuted five years ago today. (first off, if you want to read further, you should probably watch the original Barty Anderson movies by the Brothers Hussie, Byron and Andrew. I’ll embed the entire series playlist below.) And then Barty 4 itself can be watched here:
  • I Went to Jesus Christ’s Grave (in Japan)
    So, bored one weekend recently, and forced to social distance and go only to the least-popular attractions in my region, some friends and I decided to travel to one of the most odd spots in the entire world… Jesus Christ’s Grave, in Shingo, Aomori. You may recall I once went to the Kogarashi Shrine in Shizuoka last year and had a very interesting experience with an odd, out of the way, beautiful location. Well, this one was a pretty similar experience, but for different reasons. It’s… a pretty interesting place. Wikipedia tells all (but so will I later in the
  • [2019] Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker – I Love It, But I’d Change It
    Aside from the perfectly-passable-but-weightless Solo, it’s not a tough statement to say that The Rise of Skywalker is the worst (live-action, theatrical) Star Wars film. Maybe Attack of the Clones or The Force Awakens are kinda close, but it’s pretty clear to me that Episode IX is the least artistically accomplished, most flawed of the Skywalker Saga. But I still love it anyway. Rewatching the movie in preparation for this article, I was struck by just how overcome with joy I was by so much of this movie. It’s such an exciting and silly experience. Never for a moment do
  • [2015] Star Wars Episode VII Actually Exists… Think About That
    We live in an era where Star Wars Episode VII really exists, and it’s hard to imagine now that, at the beginning of the decade, that wasn’t even a thought in anyone’s mind that that would ever come to pass. Okay, maybe the absolute biggest turbo-nerds had kept track of all those offhand comments by Mark Hamill where he said George Lucas once wanted him to play the old man mentor character in a new Star Wars movie decades in the future. But for 99% of the population, Star Wars was a finished franchise, at least until the inevitable remake
  • [2015] Fant4stic Goes to… (pfft) Denny’s
    They don’t really do fast food and junk food tie-ins with big blockbuster movies that much anymore. That was very much a product of the 90s and 00s, and after the first Avengers movie in 2012, you hardly saw it outside the inevitable Star Wars brand tie-ins, which are universal constant. I’ve always wondered why exactly that is, but then I remember how Fant4stic went. Their tie-in with Denny’s was just… Geez…
  • [2012] The Nostalgic World of Obama x Romney Fan Fiction
    I can’t believe it was a simpler time for politics back in 2012. It felt like there was really something boiling under the lid, something about to spill over and really harm the country. Of course, that feeling ended up proving true in 2016, when the forces under the surface of the prior election cycle became the ultimate symbol of chaos and division for the United States. But in 2012, it was kind of nice. We had Obama x Romney, after all. The 2012 Campaign The GOP presidential primaries that year were a battle for the soul of the party,
  • Super Mario Bros Z Episode 9, and the Slow, Tortuous Death of Fan Projects [2012]
    Nerds of a certain age are highly likely to have seen Super Mario Bros Z. If you liked video games and had internet access between the years of 2006 and 2009, you either watched Super Mario Bros Z, or at the very least heard about it. There is very little on this Earth that exemplifies the late 00s more than a Newgrounds flash animation crossover of Mario and Sonic filled with anime fight scenes and chugga chugga guitar tracks. However, this isn’t an 00s Retrospective series; this is about the 10s. And the only relationship with the 10s Super Mario
  • [2013] An Attempt at Summer Internet Seclusion
    Did you know I took the Summer of 2013 off the internet? An internet seclusion, one of the most difficult tasks to accomplish in the modern age. I don’t know why you would know that… It’d be kind of weird if you did. But, and this is extremely weird to say, but after I graduated high school I made the firm decision to avoid the internet for a whole two months because I thought it would help me spend a lot more time with friends and family before I went off to college. My High School Summers I spent most
  • Hibike Euphonium and Actual Anxiety over Queer Baiting [2016]
    I hate queer baiting. I hate it even more when good shows do it, and Hibike Euphonium baited like a champion. What I’ll talk about here has already been covered very well by other authors and summarized quite succinctly in some quite biting memes, so I’ll be somewhat brief about my feelings on Hibike! Euphonium and what its decision to queer bait the audience meant to me. I think Kyoto Animation is for sure one of the best animation studios in the world today. Even when they make work far below their usual standard, it’s still mediocre at worst. To
  • Spaceballs
    As part of the Quinlan Circle’s first DVD Challenge (Sign up for our Patreon to vote for movies to make us watch!!), I watched Spaceballs, an old childhood favorite of mine for a couple years. (Here is Joi Massat’s own write-up on the movie.) I hadn’t seen it since something like 2005, so it was a very odd experience revisiting it for how well I remembered almost every single scene. It played out exactly how I remembered. Actually, aside from understanding all the sex jokes and making me realize I was not old enough to watch this movie at all,
  • Super Mario Dance Bros., Irony, and My First Semester of College [2012-2013]
    This is not a 2010s video. In fact, everything about it reeks 00s—All-American Rejects, Windows Movie Maker, 3D modelling and animation done by a teen in the pre-Gmod, pre-Blender era, and that overall since that a video like this could only ever have been created while George W. Bush presided over the U.S. But Super Mario Dance Bros., one of the all-time greatest videos on Youtube, is part of the 2010s Retrospectives Series not because its own creation but because of what it created in me. Watch the video for yourself and watch what happens to the rest of your
  • ATL Season 2 + Pride Month Celebrations
    Two big updates: ATL Season 2 has started!!! The ninth story, The Dial-Up Demon, is now out, all thirteen chapters. The posting schedule for this season is going to be a bit different than Season 1’s three-times-a-week clockwork style, which I hope will be better for y’all binging types. You can start reading here! Chapters are gonna be… vaguely monthly. I’m only going to release updates when they are ready, and when there’s a sizeable enough chunk that it’ll be worth it. I stole this idea from Alexander Wales and I hope it helps. Second news… Pride Month is underway!!!
  • The Beginning of Lord of the Rings
    I started listening to the audiobook for the first Lord of the Rings book this morning, marking the first time I’ve ever read (?) this extremely famous book trilogy. And aside from watching half of Fellowship in 2011, I haven’t seen any of the movies since probably 2004. So this is an extremely fresh experience to me! It’s also bizarrely, uh, not widely appealing in the beginning, to put it politely. The first forty-plus minutes of this book, and it’s still in the Shire with Bilbo’s party and all his relatives. Bilbo just disappeared right when I stopped the book.
  • Story Status Updates + Info
    I realized it’s been a while since I made a blog post, let alone one that gave an update on what I’ve been up to. So I thought I’d make a brief summary of some of the things you might not be aware of in the world of Thedude3445: First of all, ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture Season 2 is starting very soon! On June 16th, to be exact. If you haven’t caught up on the adventures of Morgan Harding and friends, now is the perfect time. I don’t think I mentioned it on this blog before, but as a
  • [2014-2015] The Sundance Tintype Photos
    One thing I really, really love is using old technology to create new things in a way more streamlined and successful processes can’t fully capture. In the same way that adding digital film grain to your camcorder movie will never match actually shooting on 35mm, it’s a completely different feeling when you listen to electronic music that uses chiptune samples versus using tracker technology to make chiptunes that can actually run on the hardware they are designed for. And one of my absolute favorite uses of old technology is ancient, antiquated 19th-century photography equipment in modern day. Yeah, I’m sure
  • [2010] My First “Real” Short Story
    It’s been about ten years since I started writing original prose fiction and posting it on the internet. I don’t think I was really conscious of it at the time, since I was still busy making fan fictions and sprite comics and all that sort of stuff, but it took until high school for me to really start making the things that would eventually make me the writer I am today. Of course, because I was a little shit, though, one of the first short stories I finished was an “experimental” piece of trash called “An Hero is a Hero.”
  • The Web Fiction Community [2010-2019]
    I’ve been writing web fiction since the time I joined my first internet forum (Nintendo City.com) at the end of 2005. In some form or another, whether that be sprite comics, fan fiction, short stories, video game reviews, ironic audio dramas, web serials, I’ve been writing for fifteen years and almost all of that was on the internet (sadly you can still find most of it, too). For all of that, then, it is interesting to me that the first time I really found a community around writing web fiction was only in 2019. And it is interesting to me
  • Thedude3445’s Guide to Writing Cute Romance
    Hello and welcome to my guide on writing cute romance storylines. After my work in stories like Hands Held in the Snow and “On the Ship” (among many others), I’ve had a lot of people ask me for advice on how to write about love and couples in ways that make readers feel warm and fuzzy on the inside, as well as get them hyped up to start shipping your characters together. There’s a whole lot of advice I’d like to give, so I decided to make an entire article on the subject! This guide can be for a small
  • [2018] Big Dumbass Movies
    I don’t know what it was about 2018 that made movie studios stampede in and decide that this would be the year, that this would be their grand artistic statement to the masses, but for some reason, they went and did it. They made an entire year filled to the brim with idiot movies for morons. Gigantic, mega-sized movies consisting of dumb bullshit and gleefully stupid nonsense. Blockbusters whose only purposes were to entertain and to befuddle. And it was fairly amazing, I will admit.
  • [2012] Fantastic Visual Storytelling: The Avengers
    Everyone remembers the moment Avengers came out and changed cinema forever. I’m sure it was widely expected that, after the rousing success of the first two Iron Man movies and the decent runs by the first Thor and Captain America, this whole Marvel Cinematic Universe experiment was going to work. A crossover between a bunch of popular movies into one big adventure was always going to be a hit. But just how much of a hit, I’m not sure anyone could have guessed.
  • [2019] The Day Box Office Mojo Died
    Nobody likes website redesigns. Even when the redesigns are pretty damn good and add some sorely needed features, like most of Youtube’s, there will always be a ton of complaints for a short time afterwards from people who aren’t yet used to the changes. And it can get annoying when websites (namely those run by Google) are constantly updating, changing around visual design and icon placement and destroying your muscle memory a couple times a year for the sake of theoretically improving its layouts. But there is one instance where a website redesign was done with malicious intent and ended
  • 2010s Retrospectives Update
    Just an update on the 2010s Retrospectives blog series here: I’ve written a whole lot of these posts by now, with topics ranging all over the spectrum and posts as short as a couple paragraphs or as long as three or four thousand words. It’s been a really fun time, and I’ve gotten to reflect on things I’m not sure I ever would have remembered had I not been trying to think about various 2010s-related topics. As for the whole project, I’d say we are well past the halfway point by now. For all the topics I would like to
  • [2015] An Ode to Mortdecai
    The case of terrible January dump movies, file #407: Charlie Mortdecai’s art caper. It is well-known movie lore that every January sees the release of a half-dozen or more horrible, wretched, vile movies that studios greenlit, financed, and then realized had absolutely no business being heaved onto the people of the world outside of contractual obligations. Mortdecai was one of those movies.
  • Why Can’t I Marry Petra?! (and, Queer Romance in Video Games) [2019]
    All I want to do is marry Petra… (Header image sticker can be bought here) So I’m sitting there, minding my own business, starting Fire Emblem: Three Houses about three months later than everyone else because I had to promise someone else I wouldn’t start until finishing a long-procrastinated-on novel manuscript. Game’s pretty good so far, way too few battles for my liking, but I’m still really enjoying the characters and the potential of all the systems. The story’s kinda dumb and I’m mad that I’m a blank slate self-insert character, but hey, it’s still Fire Emblem. Then I see
  • [2011-2015] The Death of Ultimate Marvel
    Probably one of the most clear, visually striking ways to show the difference between the 2000s and 2010s is to juxtapose the Ultimate Marvel comic line between its beginning and its ending: What started out as a fresh re-imagining of Marvel’s continuity-mired, aging superhero world in the 21st century became itself a continuity-mired mess, one that, once the Marvel Studios movies themselves became a fresh re-imagining of Marvel in the 21st century, became so obsolete that the entire universe was destroyed in a crossover event. What happened, though?
  • [2015] A Terrorist Attack in My Hometown
    On July 16th, 2015, a terrorist attack happened less than five miles from me. I was sitting at home, doing whatever. Who even knows. Then the news came in that a deranged man shot up an military recruitment building in Chattanooga. Then he got in his car, drove to a Navy Reserve center, and shot it up as well. 5 people died, and two were injured. The man wasn’t ISIS, but he had been influenced by jihadi propaganda on the internet, as well as mental health and drug abuse problems. A depraved being went on a rampage committed a mass
  • [2011] The Nintendo 3DS Ambassador Program
    Y’all remember that time Nintendo really fucked up bad? I’m talking when the Nintendo 3DS first came out in the spring of 2011. There were no launch games worth talking about, no game to sell the system to gamers, to casual audiences, or even to kids. The 3D gimmick was really neat, but no game truly showed it off in any notable way, much less anything that made it essential for gameplay. As the follow-up to the best-selling handheld gaming system of all-time, Nintendo really ruined things.
  • [2014] Fantastic Visual Storytelling: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
    Rise of the Planet of the Apes was a good movie that worked as a nice prequel to a classic film franchise while also standing alone as a sci-fi monkey drama. Dawn of the Planet of the Apes was a great movie that kicked everything up a notch and went into far greater emotional depths while being a true blockbuster experience as well. However, it worked so well partially because of how standalone it was from its predecessor. The human cast does not return, and our cast from the original have character arcs independent of those they had in the
  • [2019] Saying Goodbye to My Netflix Account
    My Netflix account was erased in December. Gone, wiped out, completely reset to zero. It had been almost exactly ten years since my family began using Netflix. When we first started using Xbox Live in January 2010, achieved by rigging a 100-foot ethernet cable across two rooms into the router box, its main use almost immediately became streaming Netflix. Sure, Halo 3 and Inside Xbox were important in our household, but the Xbox 360’s primary purpose was to stream movies and TV shows.
  • [2018] Rhapsody for My Dead End-of-the-Decade Plan
    There was a brief time where, due to confusing and failed life plans as a result of my tenuous position as an alternate for the JET Program, I was a NEET from July to November 2018. And because of that, for three months, I was getting no income, but I was also living rent-free with my parents and infinite free time… My dreams of being a Full-Time Writer came true. If I was going to be a NEET, I was going to be a NEET who accomplished great things…!!! Then I got called to fulfill a position in the JET
  • [2017] Fantastic Visual Storytelling: Night is Short, Walk On Girl
    Listen, I’m not about to attempt to explain this movie to you because you won’t believe me even if I did. I’ll just say that Night is Short, Walk on Girl is a bonkers film, probably Masaaki Yuasa’s best work yet, and absolutely one of the most visually excellent films of the 2010s. Cinematic maximalism. Also, can we just stop and reflect on just how prolific Masaaki Yuasa has been in the past ten years? He started off with a bang with The Tatami Galaxy in 2010, then two more series, Ping Pong in 2014 and Devilman Crybaby in 2018,
  • [2010s] Best of the Decade: Music (Honorable Mentions)
    This is a sequel to my previous article on my favorite albums of the 2010s. I had so much to write about that that list went on way longer than I wanted, and I was STILL unable to list all of my favorites. There’s a lot of amazing music out there! So I wanted to make this second list just to feature everything else I wanted to feature, though without any writeups this time. Same rules apply last time, so no repeat artists/groups, and no soundtracks (sorry again Michael). So here we go:
  • [2013-2018] The Auralnauts Jedi Party Saga
    2013 was the beginning of a renaissance for the Star Wars fandom. With the waning days of the post-Episode III Expanded Universe and the recent sale of Lucasfilm to Disney, things were about to change dramatically for the franchise and its massive fanbase. But in 2013, things were still simmering. And with that simmering came the Auralnauts Jedi Party Saga…
  • [2010s] Best of the Decade: Music
    The best stuff of the decade for music… Okay, music is a HUGE genre and there’s no way I’ll have listened to most of the best or even the most popular stuff. In fact, pretty much everything I listened to in the 2010s was fairly “niche” and my repertoire of mainstream music is pretty low aside from a few key songs I loved. But I still wanna talk about my favorite things from the past ten years. I have a lot, lot, lot of stuff here, too, so I need to lay some ground rules to limit myself: Full albums
  • [2010s] Best of the Decade: Games
    Video games may be super lame, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t been a very important part of my life in the 2010s. So with that in mind, I’d like to feature some of the very best the past ten years had to offer. It won’t be comprehensive and it won’t be ranked, so don’t try and argue with me because I left off Dark Demon Hunter X 🙁 It’ll mostly be limited to one game per series/creator/whatever so that I can talk about many different types of games. First, honorable mentions for very good games that I liked a
  • Newtype Coffee…?!
    I was in Nagoya, a city with considerably higher vending machine diversity than my town back in Tohoku. You really never know when you’re gonna stumble on some weird limited edition drink in some back alley machine set up for the can collectors next door, or one really weird edition in one machine among a row of five different ones. And on this day I stumbled on the Newtype Coffee. What does it mean? What could it be? It’s a Gundam drink with not one, but TWO can designs. And it’s sold exclusively as a warm coffee, so you can
  • [2012] Sburb OST: Sometime Fan Projects Succeed
    Fan projects usually fail. They’re usually not very well thought-out, being too ambitious or too unfocused. They invite way too many people onto the project, with way too many people who don’t actually have any inclination to contribute beyond “ideas” or whatever. I’ve personally been a part of multiple projects that have failed in exactly this way, including ones where I was one of the people who dropped off quickly as an “ideas” person. Because of all of that, I continue to be extremely proud of what the Homestuck fandom was able to accomplish at its peak, especially in the
  • [2015] Gay Marriage Happened
    We look back at the past decade of American history and remember, oh wow, gay marriage was only legalized like five years ago. The entire culture has changed around gay marriage so rapidly that it’s hard to remember that, in 2010, only a couple of states allowed it. Being LGBT+, even in the most open of online communities, wasn’t generally something accepted. I think it’s awesome. Gay marriage has so completely changed the rest of the United States that it’s made every other place on Earth without it look like ancient barbaric wastelands. Japan, famous internationally for its comic books
  • [2010s] Things I Considered Doing
    It happens to all of us. We look back at an entire decade of life, and we look at not all the stuff we accomplished, but all the stuff we DIDN’T accomplish. This has happened to me, because for some reason I made a list of various major life decisions throughout the 2010s that I considered, but ultimately did not do. Some would have completely altered the course of my life, and some would have done relatively little, but I want to list a bunch of them anyway just so you can know what an indecisive and strange person I
  • [2016-2019] What the Hell Happened to Lindsey Graham?
    Not that most politicians ever have a backbone about anything, but the complete and utter collapse of Lindsey Graham has been a disturbing and almost Greek Tragedy-level event unfolding before our eyes these past four years.
  • [2015] Almost Getting Into Steven Universe
    I adore Steven Universe now; I think it’s one of the best TV shows of the 2010s. However, I only got into it in the Summer of 2018, when I was a NEET with far too much free time on my hands and lacking a TV show to eat breakfast to. The show started way back in 2013, so what the crap was the issue? My roommates were the issue. In 2015, I very nearly got into Steven Universe thanks to them. And then I put it off for three more years, also thanks to them. Here’s the tale:
  • [2016] A Collection of Jeb! (Part 2)
    Part 1 is here. Look on for some amazing images.
  • ATL’s First Season is Finished!
    After 14 months, eight stories, and over 150 chapters, ATL: Stories from the Retrofuture has finished its first season. It’s still dazing me a bit to think about it. I actually wrote all of that. Wow. Anyway, I wrote a bit more about it on the ATL site in the Season 1 Endcap, which I recommend you read. ATL itself will be going on a short hiatus in preparation for Season 2, but that doesn’t mean that the Quinlan Circle (and by extension, myself) is going anywhere. In fact… you should probably bookmark the Hands Held in the Snow page
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