Skip to main content

End/Beginning of the Year House Cleaning

So its been a while huh?  Usually if I spend a long time away from writing, it is because I am either feeling pretty content, or because I have been busy.

In this case it is both.

I have been busy, both with the holidays and related events, and with the pay job, and also I have been working on a super secret surprise mystery project that I am not quite ready to talk about, but it is cool as hell and I'm stoked to bring it out and wave it around and harass my family and friends to tell me what they think and to tell everyone that they have ever met to check it out.

But that is later.

It is 2018, folks.



Since I am so behind in everything, I figured I would just blob everything together in one big-ass beginning of the year/end of the year rant/review/announcement pile of words and see where it goes.  Let's just jump in shall we?

--  Unbelievable, but I'm turning forty years old in August, an age that I wasn't sure I was ever going to see, and one that I am now happy to see arrive.  Unless I am killed by a falling meteor or eaten by a velociraptor, I will be forty years old fairly soonish.  Rad.

--  January is named for the Roman god Janus, the two faced god of beginnings and ends.  Traditionally Janus is seen as looking both into the past and facing the future, because he has two faces, get it?  I think maybe we are all like that, a little, both examining the past for clues about how we got here, and how we became who we are, and also peering into the future, trying to prepare or predict, and mostly both are pretty useless.  We are who we are for a bazillion reasons, a million little things, decisions and slights and betrayals and comforts, a trillion examples of both nature and nurture, environment and upbringing, they are all coalesced into a blob of neuroses that are called you and mostly you aren't going to learn much that you don't already know from dwelling on the past, and the future?  Hell, you may as well try reading tea leaves or casting bones, reading the entrails of a chicken, or calling the Psychic hotline.  Look.  If you want to determine your future, just work hard, live well, care for those you love, and you might still fail, but at least you will have given it a shot, at least you will have been living.  You mostly get the future you deserve, the future that you chose in a million different ways, the future that you worked for or didn't.  The future that you live in is mostly the one that you asked for, the one that you created.  Mostly.  Sometimes you get screwed by life, a loved one gets a terminal diagnosis or pasted by a semi on the freeway, your house burns down, you win the lottery, you get killed by a falling meteor or eaten by a velociraptor, the Seahawks don't make the playoffs, all these things can happen to you, but mostly we get what we deserve.  Mostly.

--  The new Propagandhi album is so damn good I can't handle it.  It is as Propagandhi as it is possible to be, complete with an absurdly preachy song about not eating animals.  Classic.

--  I was asked by an author friend to give a blurb for her book, one of those things on the back cover that says "'This book was good as hell, and I would know because I am also pretty legit' -Ralph Pullins, author of Antiartists (that you didn't read, even though you said you would you shitheel), and Hub," and that has never happened before.  Pretty cool stuff.  Marion Grace Wooley is the author, and the book is called Creeper's Cottage, and I can't review it fully here, simply because I haven't finished it yet (sorry, MGW), but I can say that I really really like it and its slow burn weirdness.  Marion also wrote Those Rosy Days at Mazandaran, and I did finish that one and can tell you for sure that it is good as hell.

--  Something I would like to see added to our lexicon:  "Axehole"  In every group of dudes, there is one of them that wears way too much bodyspray and behaves in such a way as to prevent anyone associated with him from meeting any girls.   If you are thinking right now "Hey, I disagree with this. Our group doesn't have an Axehole, and I happen to like the smell of bodyspray," its you.  You're the Axehole.

--  Sometimes you see a former smoker that likes to walk around where people like to smoke and cough and wave their hands around and proclaim loudly their gratitude that they do not have to be a slave to that any more.  I am that person, not about smoking (though I did give that up several years ago), but about social media, Facebook in particular.  Holy shit guys, I'm not even joking here, I feel so much better about life in general when I am not faced with the world's worst takes on every conceivable subject and when I am not compelled to add my own half thought out awful opinion into the swirling mix of hot garbage.  Seriously, do yourself and your mental health a favor and consider giving it up, even if for a few months just to get a perspective of life without it.  Seriously.

--  I didn't win the Powerball again, maybe because the universe is aligned in such a way as to prevent me ever buying a bunch of new technology to distract me from doing anything productive, but mostly because I didn't buy a ticket.

--  The Last Jedi is an excellent movie and might be one of my favorite of the Star Wars movies, and that is coming from a guy who has an extensive and utterly useless encyclopedic knowledge of the films and the toys and the assorted animated series and the expanded universe books and comics, a man who, at this very second, knows exactly where his Millennium Falcon is, and who spent over one hundred dollars on a Lego AT-ST and didn't even attempt to pretend it was for the kids.  I have loved Star Wars since I was a wee little lad and I love this movie without reservation.   Fanboys can be so damn weird sometimes.

--  The new Hot Water Music album is really great.

--  I set goals for myself and at the end of the year I check in and see how I did.

These are from last year:

ONE: As always, write a new book.  INCOMPLETE.  I wrote about a third of a new book, Flagg 2, and it is a good little bit of something that I really like. I wrote some other cool stuff, too but I struggled with feelings of futility this year and subsequently creative expression suffered.  I have asked around, and I am not alone in this.  A ton of talented and creative people I know went through the same thing this year.

TWO : Start a podcast.  INCOMPLETE.  I have stuff happening in this arena, too, but I did not start a Pod in 2017, so I can't count this as a win either.

THREE: Do more good stuff, spend less time looking at screens (unless a word processor is open).  I would like to spend less time dicking around in apps and playing dumb ass games, and reading tweets, and checking in on stuff.  I would like to read more, build more, imagine more.  I want to spend less time distracted, and more time present.  I am going to do this, I mean it, because here we all are, dying, hour by hour, minute by minute, second by second, and I don't want to waste it looking at my goddamn phone.  I want to make music and art and be inspired by beauty and love and magic, I want to learn more, be better, enjoy this fleeting life while I still have one.  this might mean I am less accessible, and less able to connect with strangers, and that is just going to have to be okay.  My world has grown too large, to an unmanageable size, and I just want slower time and a smaller life, that is all.  Uh, I have made progress here, but I do still spend too much time distracted by inconsequential nonsense.  I did read more, and I definitely spend less time screwing around on my phone, so I'm going to call this one a semi-success, though I want to be better at this for sure.

FOUR: I want some kind of closure on my outstanding projects, one way or the other.  I mean, holy shit, a yes or a no.  I need something, anything so I can make decisions what else to do.  I've been patient, I've been cool and collected, but I need an answer.  I did get an answer on both of my outstanding projects, and that answer was a resounding NO.  That's cool though because that no has led me to here, and I'm pretty stoked about what I have upcoming.  Still though, a Yes would have been nice.  One day, one of these things is going to blow up, and then I'll Pretty Woman the shit out of all these jokers that passed.  Big mistake, I'll say. Huge.

FIVE: I want to be a good father to my kids, a good husband to my wife, a good friend to my old buddies.  I haven't always been the best at any of those things, but I am trying as hard as I can, I promise.  I am trying.  This I am going to call a success, even though my efforts are ongoing, because I think if I dropped dead today there's not too many people that I love that would have any questions about how I feel about them.

So what are my goals for 2018, outside of winning the Powerball?

One: I want to launch my super secret project.

Two: Re-work Flagg into a publishable manuscript.  Its close, but not perfect.

Three: Write a sequel to Hub.  Maybe call it Spokes, and have the third one called Rim?  That's stupid, never mind.  New Goal: come up with a better title for Hub Part 2

Four: I want to work out a way to stay in touch with my network of writer and creative friends that doesn't involve a terrible social media network.

Five: Make more things with my hands.  I made a table for my wife for Christmas, and I like how it turned out.  I want to do things that have a bit more permanence, where you get to hold it and look at it and feel it.  This writing stuff is all well and good but mostly it evaporates the second I write it.

--  I spent some time a few weeks ago reading my past posts here and I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude that I am feeling a lot better than I was, and that I seem to have shaken some of the melancholy that I have been carrying around for so long.  I'm feeling pretty good now, folks, and I am thinking 2018 might be a good one.  More like Two Thousand Great-teen amirite?  Wow, that was just terrible.

Anyway, I hope your new year is going well, and that you are are all as blessed as I am.  Peace.

Still Writing,


Reach out to me here, you dorks.  Comment, argue, whatever.  You can also email me if that is more your speed: dissent.within at  Let me know what you think  I've got a bunch of opinions about Star Wars and Rock and Roll and books and stuff.  Hit me up!  Oh, and if you're sending me messages on Facebook or Messenger or Twitter, I'm not seeing them.  Email me if you want a reply.  Cheers!


  1. Every time a new year hits, I'm always like, "Damn, and I grew up thinking the Soviets would have nuked us by now. And now we don't even have any Soviets. Woo ha. I'm not living in an apocalyptic wasteland. Things are great!"

    Good luck on all your projects.

  2. Great post... you are getting better and better all the time❤️

  3. Love this, Ralphie!
    Great goals, and I can't wait to hear about your super secret project. You know I'll shout it from the rooftops!

  4. Thanks! It not so much a super secret as it is incomplete and may look different when it is done. I think it is cool though. You're the best, D.

  5. Maturing maybe? Eh, probably not. ;)

  6. Thanks, man! Oh those halcyon days of Red Dawn era soviet fear... The scary Russian menace these days has shifted from Ivan Drago to a faceless network of AI propaganda bots. I liked it better before.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

One of the Best of Us

In the stifling heat my breath comes fast and heavy. What the fuck am I even doing here? What the fuck am I trying to accomplish? I'm sitting on the mat, maybe dying, a forty something dad playacting at being a fighter. This is my mid-life crisis, this is so, so stupid. This has to be the end for me, assuming I can get my heartbeat under control, assuming I don't just peg out here on the mat.  I can't do this anymore. "It's okay man, it's okay, you just need to breathe through it. You're fine, you're okay." The voice of my training partner, gentle and kind. My partner, the maniac that drove me to such a state, that I think I might die, he sits next to me and shows me how to breathe, how to calm my body. He teaches and guides me through it, and in a few minutes I actually am okay, the panic settles down, and maybe this isn't my last class after all. "You're alright?  Okay. Now lets get back to work."  And back to work we go. There

The Dance of the Sand Hill Crane

 It is Saturday morning in Feburary and here in Michigan it is clear and cold.  The sun has risen a while ago but there are still streaks of red in the sky, lighting up the clouds, high and wispy.  I am standing by my car after completing some chore, cleaning something or retrieving something and I am slow breathing, trying to calm my heart. It has been a difficult week. My son has a fight tonight, full contact MMA, his first, and I am full of conflict and anxiety about it. Not because I don't believe he will do well, because I know he is as prepared as anyone can be for such a thing, but because I am a father and I feel like I should be protecting him from the violence of the world. Even though he turns nineteen in a few weeks and is stronger both physically and mentally than I could ever hope to be, he is still my boy, and I am scared for him. My other son is fifteen and this week was embroiled in some stupid conflict at school, a misunderstanding that had led to meetings with th

A Soap Bubble Nothing

I built a table, out of wood.  I made a thing that wasn't there before.  I cut and sanded the wood, I drilled in screws, and now we have a table where we didn't have one before. It is real and solid and you can touch it, you can feel where I cut poorly, see the rough edges where I didn't join the wood correctly, you can lift it, feel its weight.  It is a real thing that I made.  I made a table. This is not a table, this is a nothing, a series of random thoughts that I had in the shower, which is where thoughts come from. What if our souls are soap bubbles, what if we spread ourselves too thin, stretched out and flattened? What happens when it pops, would you even notice, would you even care? What if we are meant for something more? I am already behind schedule this year I've got work to do, I have things to accomplish, friends ask me questions ask for favors and all I say is yes yes yes and- What is this?  What am I hoping to do here writhing I meant to write "writ