On important dates and important dates

First, the pointless griping: Film director Bong Joon-ho apparently won a pile of Oscars last night. I have not seen Parasite, which as far as I know features no American superheroes, although my wife has expressed an interest in streaming it once such a thing is available, but I have no reason to disagree with the award given that I saw virtually none of the nominated films, and in fact I’m saying “virtually none” here because I have no idea what was actually nominated for anything and it’s therefore possible that I’ve seen some of them.

Man, I remember when the Oscars were a big deal, personally, and I was seeing 40-50 movies a year. I really miss that, believe it or not; I just don’t have that kind of time any longer, and living in South Bend instead of Chicago means I’m much more limited in what I can see.

Anyway, point is the Goddamned Snowpiercer post is surging again; it’s gotten about as many hits today all by itself as the entire site typically gets in two days, and as it’s only 6 PM I suspect that ratio will be increasing fairly radically by the time I go to bed tonight, and the bump will probably last at least another few days. That post will never, ever die.


  • My wife’s birthday is Thursday;
  • Friday is Valentine’s Day;
  • The 29th is our 12th/3rd anniversary; we were married in 2008 so it has been twelve years, and we were married on Leap Day so this will be the third actual real anniversary we should have.

We typically make a fairly big deal out of Real Anniversaries, although the last big celebration was for our 10th anniversary when we went to see Hamilton in Chicago. We are … somewhat bereft of ideas for any of these things this year; I asked my wife if she wanted to do anything either for her birthday or for Valentine’s Day an hour or so ago and I could see part of her soul die when I asked the question. Before you jump on my case, be aware that neither of us are either especially romantic people or big celebrators of arbitrary dates; we don’t make a big deal out of my birthday either, and Valentine’s Day has always been treated as more of an annoyance instead of an actual thing. So chances are this weekend is not going to be all that big of a deal.

But I wanna do something for our anniversary, dammit, and my first choice– going to Chicago and having dinner at Alinea— got shot down on account of being insanely, grotesquely expensive.

This is where you come in, Internet. What shall we do for our 12th/3rd anniversary? Give us good ideas; we’re broken and don’t have any.

In which I might have been wrong once four and a half years ago

You may be aware that four and a half Goddamn years ago I wrote a review of a stupid movie that I did not enjoy. That movie was called Snowpiercer. I’m not linking to the review, at least not in the text of this post; I’m sure it’ll show up at the bottom somewhere. That post has proven since then to be The Post That Will Not Die. There has been one– ONE day in the four and a half years since it was written that no one clicked on it. It is my second highest-traffic post of all time (it will cross 30,000 pageviews sometime this month) and it is the #1 Google result in the world for the phrase “Snowpiercer stupid.”

It’s been spiking again lately, going from 3-5 hits a day to 20-25 for the last couple of weeks, and whenever that happens I wonder why. This was a not-very-high-profile bad movie from six years ago, for Christ’s sake, and I don’t understand why people are still searching out bad reviews of it. Well, it turns out there’s news about a TV series, which … dandy. This is never going away.

And then I found this video in the comments on that post. And I have chosen to embrace its central thesis fully, and I officially take back everything I ever said about Snowpiercer, if and only if it turns out that it is true that it is a direct sequel to Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

Yeah, that’s what I said.

Watch every second of this, please. Don’t watch Snowpiercer, but watch every second of this video about it:

You are adorable (dumb)

So the Snowpiercer review’s been spiking in hits again lately.  I followed a new and surprisingly robust referrer back last night only to discover that among the usual chorus of derps suggesting that I JUST! DIDN’T! GET! IT! there was one accusing me of plagiarizing the title of the review.

The title of the review is SNOWPIERCER: I HATED, HATED, HATED, HATED, HATED THIS MOVIE.  I’m not linking to it.  It’s not hard to find.

If you are remotely film-literate, you recognize that as being very close to a line from a review Roger Ebert wrote of a film called “North,” differing only in the addition of the word Snowpiercer, which one would clearly not expect to appear in a review of North from many years before Snowpiercer actually came out.  One of his books, named after that line, is I Hated, Hated, Hated This Movie.  

Everyone fucking knows about that line.  Ev. Er. Y. One.

vjdmUA7.jpgWhen literate people do this, it is called a reference, and you are supposed to notice it.  It is not “plagiarism,” which is an entirely different and completely unrelated thing.  There is another of these tricksy “references” somewhere in this article!  See if you can spot it.

You moron.

(Wait, there’s two!  Wouldn’t want anyone to think I plagiarized the word tricksy from Tolkien.)

(Three, if the .gif counts.  I did not write The Professional.)

Blood Transfusions Don’t Work Like That: A review of MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

maxresdefaultYou might be familiar with a little review I wrote for a little movie called Snowpiercer.  In fact, you’re more likely to be familiar with that piece than anything else on the site, since it’s had nearly eleven thousand hits, which is eight thousand more hits than the second most popular post I’ve ever written.  It’s the first thing you get when you Google “Snowpiercer stupid,” and it still gets 35-40 hits a day, every day, no matter what.

A thing to remember about that movie is that I wanted to see it.  It was my idea.  Because Snowpiercer had been getting rave reviews from people whose opinion on film I generally trusted.

Those same people have been raving about Mad Max: Fury Road for over a week now.  It’s been an incredibly well-received film.  And as a result it was the first movie since Lincoln that I’ve seen in the theaters that didn’t involve a superhero somehow, although I did manage to miss opening weekend.

I was terrified to see this film, and I was terrified precisely because of Snowpiercer.  I wanted to love it, but…well, you’ll see.

Here’s the good news: I didn’t hate it.  It might sound like it at points, but I really didn’t.  Does that mean I think it was a good movie?  No.  It’s not.  In fact, the Snowpiercer comparison is actually pretty apt: Mad Max: Fury Road is a very Snowpiercer-ish movie, in that it is stunningly well-shot, amazingly pretty, great to look at… and so deeply stupid that it hurts me in my bones.

But God, is it pretty, and exciting, and appropriately badass at any number of points.  This is the bad guy:


I mean, look at that creepy motherfucker, with his creepy teeth painted onto his respirator and his weird creepy transparent plastic armor.  He’s Obviously Evil, and impressively so.

Here is the thing about Mad Max: Fury Road.  It is a two-hour car chase.  It is literally and completely and I am not exaggerating a two hour car chase, or if you want me to be super specific it’s probably about three half-hour car chases with some slightly calmer shit in between.  Shit blows up good, and people are badasses.  There’s a dude whose only job it is to play electric guitar while hanging from some chains several feet above a moving vehicle.  The guitar occasionally shoots fire for some reason.

If you hear that and think “Awesome!” then go see this movie right now.  If you’re of the mindset to question the need for a flamethrower-guitar dude while risking dozens of lives and some of the only few remaining post-apocalypse vehicles plus untold amounts of ammunition and explosives and gas and water to bring the only four pretty women left on Earth back to Captain Creepyteeth up there, you might want to give it a pass.  If you’re going to spend the movie wondering why the four scantily-clad pretty women aren’t ever worried about sunscreen, this might not be your movie.

(Captain Creepyteeth’s real name is Joe.  That’s not a joke.  The character’s name is Joe.)

What separates it from Snowpiercer territory is that Mad Max: Fury Road knows what kind of movie it is, and revels in it.  Yeah, there’s a guitar flamethrower.  But squibbity-blam-boom-flame!!!  Yeah, there’s a scene where grown men attach themselves to the ends of giant mechanical pole vault sticks to swing around above the cars that are moving at many dozens of miles an hour over desert, and there’s lots of people spraypainting their mouths silver for some reason, and then there’s the bit with the blood transfusions that I won’t even get into.  But all that shit is cool!  Fury Road knows it’s a gloriously dumb movie, and it wants you to revel in the glorious dumb.  Snowpiercer really thought it was a Deep and Serious Film about Deep and Serious Issues and not a shit-stupid action movie.  Mad Max: Fury Road knows good and goddamn well that it’s a shit-stupid action movie, and it is a damn good shit-stupid action movie, to the point where I’m not sure being smarter would have helped.

(A possibly clarifying example: that robots vs. monsters movie… what the hell was it called?  Pacific Rim.  Pacific Rim was a terribly stupid movie that did not have to be terribly stupid, and in fact in several places could have been helped by being less stupid.  I’m not sure that removing the dumb parts helps Mad Max.  The movie wouldn’t be better without Flamethrower Guitar in it.  It would just be less itself, if that makes any sense.)

There is also this guy, whose name is– I am not making this up– Rictus Erectus, because of course it is:

new-mad-max-fury-road-trailer-shows-no-mercyHe will play Grond, when Benevolence Archives becomes a movie.

(And I’ve found no good place to mention this, because this movie really isn’t about acting, but Charlize Theron really is as great as everyone’s been giving her credit for.  The movie really should be called Furiosa: Fury Road, except that takes it into Riddick levels of stupidly repeated words.)

Blogwanking and salewanking. Just a lot of wanking, basically.

The sale’s not quite over yet, but I like looking at numbers so let’s do that.  With a little bit of luck, I’ll get another sale or two today.  I figure I have enough indie authors reading this that somebody ought to find this interesting.  Forgive me if you’re not among that group.

Here are my Amazon sales since Skylights launched.  Note that this is for both of my books:

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 4.26.26 PM

As you can see, since a day or two after the book launched, I’ve been good to get a sale in a day, and getting sales two days in a row is unusual.  Last week I had one little spike with two sales– someone bought both Benevolence Archives and Skylights within a couple of minutes of each other, if I remember right, but then nothing until this weekend.

So, in terms of absolute numbers, selling seven books?  Not great.  Selling seven books in a weekend compared to the month that it took to sell seven books before that?  I’ll take it.

Most of the sales at Amazon were of Skylights, by the way. I think one of them, maybe, is BA.

Here’s Smashwords, which won’t let me combine stats into one chart.  We’ll look at BA first:

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 4.26.52 PM

Now, keep in mind that Benevolence Archives is free at Smashwords, so each download here represents a full download of the book.  By my standards, I feel like it’s done pretty well– days of multiple downloads have been reasonably common lately and I had that one nice spike where I got eleven downloads in a single day.  (I have no idea what triggered that, by the way, and I wish I did.)  There were a handful of downloads during the sale, but it doesn’t stand out compared to the pattern over the last month all that much.

Here’s Skylights at Smashwords:

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 4.29.31 PM

(I should note here that you should be able to click on all of these to make ’em bigger.)

The little spike of four downloads in the middle there is the day where I handed out free codes to people who wanted them.  In general, Skylights hasn’t done very well at Smashwords, but I’ve been pretty gratified by the number of sample downloads, particularly the bump you see over the last four days during the sale, and the actual sales of the book have been nice, too.  I recognize that a lot of those sample downloads aren’t getting read– hell, haven’t read a lot of the sample chapters I’ve downloaded– but I think Skylights starts off really strong, and I’m confident that if people actually read the first bit they’ll end up downloading the book.

As far as the set-your-own pricing?  No one paid the recommended price. We had a few who got it for free (which, again, is fine,) one person paid $2, and one paid $6.99, two dollars above the recommended price.  I have not yet nailed down which relative it was that did that.  🙂

I think that later tonight I’m probably going to return the Amazon prices to where they were– you could make the argument that the lower prices were what drove the sales, but when I reduced Benevolence Archives to $0.99 for a few weeks sales didn’t change at all, so I think it’s probably the increased noise I’ve been making over the last four days to get people to buy my books– which I’m not going to be able to keep up, because it’s exhausting.  I’m still toying with the idea of leaving Skylights at set-your-own pricing; BA will remain free at Smashwords.  We’ll see if I pick up any sales over the next couple of days once I stop shouting about it constantly.

And now, on another note:

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 4.31.07 PM

This continues to entertain the hell out of me.  2572 views; my second most popular post of all time does not have 1000 yet.  Note that it’s not 5:00 yet and the post is already within a hit or two of its best day ever; hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if I reloaded after finishing this and found out it was at its best (Edit: yep.)  Mondays are huge for the Snowpiercer review because people see the movie over the weekend, hate it, and then go looking for bad reviews of it on Monday. Don’t believe me?  Here’s my search queries lately:

Screen Shot 2014-12-01 at 4.52.02 PM

There are legions of people out there who hate this movie, and I am their king.