This week's post is rushed because I'm very sleep-deprived and busy. Tomorrow and Monday I'll be hanging out with friends in Salt Lake. We were going to go camping in Bryce Canyon, but literally today something came up with one of the friends' fiancée's visa process that's already been going for well over a year and would be delayed even further if he didn't do the thing on Monday. So he wanted us to go camping without him, but we voted to hang out at his place instead. Awww.
After Donald Trump's fourth set of indictments, which is four more sets of indictments than any other former U.S. president has ever gotten, we finally get a mugshot. He looks like a petulant toddler. He's probably thinking, "ASK ANYONE AND THEY'LL TELL YOU, WE'VE GOT ALL THE BEST PEOPLE AND THEY'LL ALL TELL YOU I'M MORE INNOCENT THAN JESUS. NOBODY INNOCENTS MORE BIGLY THAN ME. WHEN I WEAR MY ORANGE JUMPSUIT, I'LL LOOK NAKED. VOTE FOR ME IN 2024 AND THEN BUILD ME A TEMPLE, YOU IMBECILES. I WARNED YOU THAT BIDEN WOULD LISTEN TO THE SCIENTISTS. IF I DIE IN PRISON, TELL ALEXANDRIA OCASIO-CORTEZ THAT I'VE ALWAYS WANTED TO GRAB HER BY THE HEART. COVFEFE"
I'm looking forward to his convictions, but I'm not looking forward to how his sycophantic ass-kissing cultists will react to his convictions. Every Trump supporter who says they're going to start a civil war or "take this country back" should be taken at their word and put on a domestic terrorist watchlist immediately. I'm sure January 6, 2021 only scratched the surface of their delusional anger.
I've been to six movies in the theater this year. That's like thrice as many as I usually go to. This past week, I went to see The Last Voyage of the Demeter because my friend Katie wanted to see it before it left the theater due to its underperformance. I hesitated. I'd never seen an R-rated horror movie on the big screen in the dark before. Was I brave enough? But I realized pretty fast that it couldn't possibly be scarier than the real world that I have to live in every single day. This week I learned about Howard Schneider, a pediatric dentist in Jacksonville, Florida who got millions of dollars in Medicaid funds by needlessly drilling and pulling impoverished children's teeth, settled over a hundred lawsuits, then got all criminal charges against him dropped because he went senile or something, even though a society that valued justice would have executed him as slowly as possible with his own tools. When people like that exist in the real world, how the hell can I be scared of a CGI vampire? The more Dracula looks like a demonic bat creature instead of a human, as he does in this movie, the less he looks like the real monsters. On a more general level, it's difficult for me to be scared of exactly what I came to see. If a vampire had started stalking and murdering people during the Barbie Movie, that would have gotten my heartrate up.
Last night I watched Monsters University, which I had only seen once, when it came out ten years ago. At this time of year I felt nostalgic about both the movie and about college itself, and that ended up making me kind of depressed. I can't believe it's been twelve years since I started college. It seems like yesterday. There are so many things I wish I'd done differently, but it is and forever will be too late. I only got one life. I wish I could go back and talk to my freshman self and warn him about everything.
Because I have two sisters and a non-binary sibling who functioned as a sister, I've seen the OG Barbie movies. I must have seen Barbie in the Nutcracker and Barbie as Rapunzel twenty times each. I unironically enjoyed them and I don't care who knows it. One night in 2019, long after the last time I saw Barbie as Rapunzel, I dreamed about its musical motif and woke up in chills from how beautiful it is.
I also saw Dance! Workout With Barbie a few times. When I revisited it as an adult, I stopped watching after a few minutes because watching preteen girls in leotards made me uncomfortable, but I left it playing because it has a killer soundtrack by twelve-year-old Jennifer Love Hewitt, which is what I was really after anyway. Also it features the little mermaid as the voice of Barbie.
When I saw the trailer for a live-action Barbie movie, I just thought the concept was bizarre, maybe even desperate. I wasn't super interested. But my interest shot through the roof after conservative man-babies like Ben Shapiro threw temper tantrums about its wokity wokeness. I will say that even though I fully agree with the movie's feminist message, I found it a little off-putting because it's delivered with all the subtlety of an exploding freight train full of fireworks and neon paint. (And the multiple references to Barbieland's all-female Supreme Court were kind of weird because they implied that the US in real life has an all-male Supreme Court, which it doesn't and hasn't for a long time. The US Supreme Court profoundly sucks, but not for that reason.) But I do agree with it, and oh, the movie was so, so funny. I kept thinking that it was a well-deserved giant middle finger to the church I grew up in. I swear I could hear Ezra Taft Benson screaming from beyond the grave within the first five minutes. The opening scene where little girls smash their baby dolls on rocks made me a little uncomfortable, but then I realized it was an allusion to Psalms 137:9, which celebrates smashing real babies on rocks, so that was fine. I just worried that the message might be anti-motherhood instead of anti-not-letting-women-have-identities-or-aspirations-outside-of-motherhood, which would make the filmmakers the very evil that anti-feminists think they are. I was glad they clarified that by the end.
A week later, I went with Steve and Sierra to see Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem. It was action-packed and funny. I don't really have anything specific to say about it, and I'm not a diehard turtle fan or anything, but I enjoyed it.
Before that, we went to the thrift store and picked out a DVD that we knew would be really bad. It was a mockbuster, aptly described by Strong Bad as "The kind they put right next to the check-out line, so Grandma might accidentally mistake it for the real thing." The Secret of Anastasia is actually a knockoff of two movies - the real animated Anastasia movie released the same year, and Beauty and the Beast. In this version, she's friends with four talking instruments that are actually her parents and siblings, which she doesn't realize because she has amnesia for reasons that are never explained. It was just the right amount of badness. It had a lot of unintentionally funny moments and plot holes that we augmented with inappropriate jokes (like I asked if the horn blows himself, and a few minutes later when he did blow himself, we couldn't hold it together). I did legitimately appreciate that the Communist secret police's comic relief guy was named Goofinov, at least until his boss insulted our intelligence by saying "I hope Goofinov isn't goofing off again." And we all agreed that Anastasia's emo sister was funny. And the pronunciation of Anastasia was more authentic than in the real movie. And the portrayal of Russia's military as childishly incompetent and pathetic was very accurate.
The bonus movie on the DVD, Snow White and the Magic Mirror, was legitimately good. The songs are better and it's funny on purpose. The Magic Mirror is a Robin Williams genie knockoff who imitated a bunch of nineties celebrities. The seven dwarves are all based on comedians that today's kids won't recognize. It's surprisingly dark in a couple places. Instead of ordering a hunter to kill Snow White, the queen orders a butcher to kill everyone in the kingdom (including her executioner, because even he's prettier than her). Fortunately, the butcher is a pacifist who doesn't even kill real animals. Then when Snow White runs away, her first stop is at an inn where a creepy guy with an off-screen mother offers her a private shower. In case you fail to notice the name of the inn, the camera zooms in on the words "The Bates Inn" after she leaves. I certainly hope no child understands that joke. My intelligence should have been insulted, but I was just shocked (in a good way) that they went there. My friends seemed a little confused that this movie follows traditional versions of the Snow White story more closely than the Disney version. She gets poisoned first by a magic comb and then by having a piece of apple stuck in her throat, and she revives when it pops out. She and the prince she just met sing a song about how they're going to get married, but at least he doesn't kiss her corpse. (He did see her at the dwarves' house earlier, but he didn't introduce himself because she was baking bread and it smelled awful and he was afraid he'd offer her some. Told you this movie is funny.)
All I'm going to say today is please check out my Amazon author page, where I have now uploaded eight short stories in digital format. Some of them have never seen the light of day. Others were available for free on my website until very recently, where they got very little attention at all. Maybe they'll be perceived as more valuable now that they cost anywhere from $0.99 to $2.99. If you don't want to buy anything, please still click "Follow" on my page. If you do buy something, please leave a review, unless you hate it. Now, to pad out the post, here are the pictures I made with AI for some of my book covers. I'm poor and I wanted to crank these stories out as fast as possible, so I didn't want to pay or wait for an artist, and instead, I supported this abomination. But creating more AI content on the internet actually leads to AI cannibalizing itself and getting worse, so you're welcome, artists.
In conclusion, please check out my Amazon author page.
The job search has been infuriating, to say the least. Most of the places I apply to never even get back to me. I think that's extremely rude. A friend just told me the other day that a lot of places now use computer algorithms to filter out any resumes that don't mention the exact same keywords they're looking for, so I need to rewrite it for every freaking application. I feel like I shouldn't have to spend my free time doing that. The amount of time I have to spend applying for jobs instead of enjoying being alive is enough as it is. Then, too, I have to compete with like two hundred other people for every position, and I can't entirely suppress the evil thought that I would be better off if the pandemic had killed a lot more people. And a Master's degree isn't enough to stand out. So here I am with like two and a half weeks before school starts again, still an effing substitute teacher even though I have an effing Master's degree. I'm going to do as little substitute teaching as possible because I hate it and I have literal nightmare-inducing trauma from some of the worse schools. Even the best assignments are, more often than not, boring and far beneath my skill level. Is this really what God wants for me? If not, why won't he lift a finger to help me get something better? This whole summer has been pursuing one opportunity after another and watching nothing happen. Agency shmagency.
I haven't gotten any money yet from the freelance writing site I signed up for. If the population of the Slack channel is any indication, I have to compete with over three thousand people for the single-digit number of orders that customers place every day. I'm going to just go ahead and blame ChatGPT for that. I did successfully get an order and was actually excited about it, but then I couldn't start because the customer wasn't able to pay in advance. That order's still open and I'll be able to do it if and when he does pay but in the meantime I've got nothing. I also signed up for a couple of audio transcription sites, but due to high demand, both of their qualification tests are closed until further notice. I also signed up for Upwork, and with that one I get a limited number of "Connects" that I have to submit along with proposals for jobs, and of course I can get more if I pay for them. I recorded some footage to help test Eleos Sensors' emotion recognition software for therapeutic purposes. I got $5. Or rather, the guy paid me $5, but Upwork won't let me withdraw my money until it's over $100. It was more about gaining experience and building credibility on the platform than the money, but still, I want my money, damn it. My results made me smile, though. They'll need to figure out how to make the software work for emotionally repressed autistic people, because I'm sure I won't be the last one.
And so on and so forth.
My strategy for a while was to gather a following on my blog and then tell my readers to go buy my real writing when it got published, but over eight years later, I've started to realize that's not going to happen. So whatever. Yesterday I started uploading short stories that I wrote in graduate school to Amazon Kindle for 99 cents each because why not? As of this writing, none of them are up yet, but they will be soon. And then I'll see if they get any more attention than my blog does. I'll only get 35 cents for each sale, but that's 35 cents with no effort after the initial upload, so I'll take it. I also just decided that I want to publish the book I started over a decade ago. I wanted it to be perfect, but at some point I just have to say it's good enough. I want to self-publish it on Amazon by the end of the year. That might be a horrible mistake, but I really don't feel any motivation to shop around for publishing companies, get rejected dozens of times, and then argue over the content of my story when I do finally get one. I'm trying not to get my hopes up. Realistically, with the way my life has gone up to this point, it will go nowhere after the countless hours of work I've put into it. But I happen to know that I'm very talented and I happen to think that it's very good. It deserves to go somewhere, damn it. I barely ask God for anything anymore because I've lost my trust that he cares about what I want at all. But maybe I'll make an exception. I have nothing to lose.
"Guys. Chris's blog is the stuff of legends. If you’re ever looking for a good read, check this out!"
- Amelia Whitlock
"I don't know how well you know Christopher Randall Nicholson, but... he's trolling. You should read his blog. It's delightful."
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About the Author
C. Randall Nicholson is a white cisgender Christian male, so you can hate him without guilt, but he's also autistic and asexual, so you can't, unless you're an anti-vaxxer, in which case the feeling is mutual. This blog is where he periodically rants about life, the universe, and/or everything.