Everything I Almost Wrote

What is the customary greeting you might expect from someone who has recently crawled out from under a rock? Or from someone who has washed ashore after many months of being adrift at sea? Or from someone who has finally awakened after a decade long slumber?

Whatever the appropriate words are (Hello again? Guess who? Well well well, I bet you thought you’d seen the last of me?) please consider them said, and please consider this post to be my bid for re-admittance amongst polite blogging society.

Because it has been, as they say, a minute. Here’s what nobody tells you when you start writing a personal blog: it is unbelievably easy to stop. Without an editor to be accountable to, without the pressures of deadlines or outside expectations, it is the simplest thing in the world to just … put off writing one of these old things until another day. And then another day. And another one, and so on, until you’ve accidentally taken a ~four month sabbatical and can’t figure out a discreet way to come back.

I suppose a good start would be to slip into using an active first person voice, instead of the cowardly and stylistically questionable blend of third and second that I’ve been employing thus far. I stopped writing for this blog, I ghosted this space like it was a Tinder match who repeatedly demonstrated an inability to distinguish between there/they’re/their. I have returned to it, bearing a humble handful of half-formed ideas with the vain hope that clearing my emotional and literal drafts will allow me to start this whole blogging enterprise anew.

So. Here is Everything I Almost Wrote. All of the stops and starts and lurches in various directions that have made up the past few months of my writing life. I like to think of them as a collection of unfinished symphonies in B minor– supposing, that is, that Schubert was an undisciplined degenerate and not a musical genius dying of syphilis. There’s not a lot of connective tissue between topics, other than my being briefly fascinated by them– potentially to the point of actually piecing together a few relevant sentences– right before my attention was lost forever. You can be the judge of whether or not the stunted, stymied nature of these paragraphs represent any great loss for the global discourse. Or perhaps you will share my equanimous view that sometimes all that needs to be said is all that has already been said.

I do hope to return here with more fully formed ideas, however. Hopefully soon, and hopefully, thereafter, regularly. I have a lot to learn about being a writer, and especially about using this medium, but I like to think I at least possess one core value (the desire to infinitely rearrange letters of the alphabet until my soul feels at peace) and that the rest (discipline, perseverance, a reliable posting schedule) will eventually follow.

Now, what kind of farewell might seem acceptable from someone who has maybe earned the suspicion that they might very well never be seen around these parts again– Until we meet again? Parting is such sweet sorrow? In awhile, crocodile?

How about: same time, next week. I promise


It has been ten years since George RR Martin released a title in his series A Song of Ice and Fire, and it has been three and a half months since I wrote the first half of my rankings of 2021 pop culture moments. I think it’s fair to say that we left an equal number of people dangling from the edges of our respective cliffs, desperate and jonesing to know more about what was supposed to happen next.

George’s situation might be a bit more complicated, but I can run you through my would-be list fairly quickly:

5. The Bachelor franchise apocalypse/awakening.

4. Mare of Easttown on HBO

3. the #freeBritney movement

2. the emergence of Olivia Rodrigo

1. the Marvel universe expands to television.

Some of these I would love to expound on, while others represent far more fleeting passions for which I can no longer summon any ability to care. But at least I have provided some sense of closure for the many thousands– perhaps millions?– of people who were wondering about it.


Jeopardy! means and has always meant a lot to me. As a defender of cultural institutions; as a big time trivia fan and general unbearable know-it-all; and as someone who grew up ritualistically watching the show with my beloved grandfather; I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that Jeopardy! is the entertainment product that I cradle most closely to my heart. It was always a point of pride for me that Alex Trebek shared the same hometown as both of my parents. When I first learned the news about his cancer, I cried. On the day the news broke about his passing, I cried again.

So as a significant emotional shareholder, I was deeply invested in the show’s process of choosing Alex’s successor, but what surprised me was how much the general trivia-agnostic public shared my fervor. And also how many corrupt and lurid twists the process would involve.

I won’t re-litigate the dispiriting saga here and now (I believe the filing deadline has passed), but I will politely remind everyone that Alex Trebek literally bequeathed a pair of his own cufflinks to Ken Jennings for when he hosted and that if the people in charge had considered Alex’s CLEAR AND OBVIOUS wishes, a lot of this shameful chapter in the show’s history could have been avoided.


I lost my favorite podcast this year. As far as bereavement goes, I understand if this doesn’t quite seem worthy of a sympathy card, but it is a loss that I feel deeply and at least twice-weekly, particularly when I go on my Tuesday and Thursday walks. Sports? with Katie Nolan was a podcast that was sometimes indeed about sports and sometimes had nothing to do with sports at all, and instead involved ranking casual dining appetizers, or playing Oregon Trail. Whatever its meandering subject matter, it never failed to make me buoyantly happy and often gave me a better understanding of myself.

The parasocial dynamic between podcast listeners and podcast hosts is particularly lopsided, because you listen to these people speak intimately and at length (at great length, in the case of Sports? where episodes often brushed up against the three hour mark) multiple times a week, which gives you a false sense of actually knowing them. That level of false familiarity can also naturally breed contempt, which is why I often have to take breaks from certain podcasts, when a host’s verbal tics or forced persona begins to grate. But that was never the case with Sports?.

Katie Nolan let her listeners into the highs and lows of her life with a vulnerability you rarely see from someone with almost seven hundred thousand twitter followers. We experienced some of those highs and lows right alongside her when ESPN abruptly let go of her best friend and co-host in the middle of the pandemic, replacing her with two producers Katie had never physically met. That could have been the end of the podcast right there, but Katie managed to forge something new from the broken pieces. Listening to her slowly build a rapport with Travis and Christina– and then hearing that rapport shift into something close to a friendship– was as emotionally rewarding as the endings of Little Giants or The Mighty Ducks, or any other oddball team-up movie that Sports? definitely covered extensively at least once.

Unfortunately it turned out that ESPN wasn’t interested in a podcast that was kind of about sports but mostly about life. Sports? deserves a better obituary from me than this fragment tucked into a document alongside other under-loved ideas, but sometimes a topic just makes you too sad to properly write about.


It sure seems like the rookiest of rookie moves to feel anything at all about a list on the Internet, let alone to feel it strongly, but I can only be me, and I feel almost everything to excess, especially when it comes to lists. Especially especially when it comes to lists about music. My face, scrolling through Rolling Stone’s latest ranking of “The 500 Best Songs of All Time” (updated for the first time since 2004), would be best described as the many phases of the kombucha girl on infinite shuffle. Vague distaste, utter befuddlement, increasing fury, alright that was a good choice, unmitigated disgust. I typed out and then deleted so many tweets on the subject because I couldn’t decide how scathing I was comfortable with being in a public forum.

I’m glad I held back (though I’m about to seriously undercut my own route along the high road) because a list like this is clearly not intended to actually investigate and evaluate the relative worth of every existing pop song– such a task would be literally impossible. Art is subjective (I apologize for the ground currently breaking under your feet from the strength of this statement) and even songs with comparable elements can be difficult to– well, compare. Who can even decide between the Nirvana cover or Bowie’s original version of “The Man Who Sold the World”, for example. How on earth can anyone definitively declare a victor between artists as varying as Fleetwood Mac, Lorde, and Public Enemy?

You can’t. And the good people at Rolling Stone are surely aware of this. Their list is designed for the darkest purposes on the Internet– sparking useless outrage and fuelling car crash -gawker clicks. Engaging with it at all is to play right into their cynical hands– I know this and still I can’t help interjecting conversations at odd moments with statements like songs released in 2020 have no business being on this list. “Strawberry Fields Forever” is NOT the best Beatles song. “A Case of You” at 26? Show Joni Mitchell some blooming respect.


I am assertively, repetitively on record as being a fan of mass pop entertainment moments. I have traced this passion back to the fact that I was forbidden as a child from experiencing such cultural touchstones as Friends, The Simpsons, and Power Rangers by my Catholic schoolteacher mother, and as such have a television-centric FOMO I will never shake.

So when Squid Game became Netflix’s all-time most watched show (at least according to the streaming behemoth’s opaque and hand wave-y metrics) I naturally felt compelled to participate in the phenomenon. But I faced a considerable obstacle– my entrenched squeamishness which it comes to violence. Still, I persevered, for about eleven minutes, right up until a switchblade went near someone’s nose. Then I went scrambling for the remote.

The ensuing days were full of memes I didn’t get, references between friends that flew over my head, conversations I couldn’t add to. To soothe my pain, I began to compile a list of other mainstays that have, for various reasons, continued to evade me. All of my blindest pop culture spots. It was a list in parts surprising and disgraceful– and it will have to wait to be published some other day, because eventually I Oz’d up, shook off my inner cowardly lion, and gave Squid Game another chance. (Full disclosure, this was mostly because I heard someone’s elderly mother was watching it, and decided I needed to demonstrate at least a little self-respect.)

Turns out, nothing happened to the guy with the switchblade up his nose! Or, well, he endures a lot, actually, but his nose is never maimed. And I became so emotionally invested in the characters that episode six made me cry to the point of having a headache. More importantly, I understood all of those memes, and whatever fears I still have, at least none of them involve missing out.

One thought on “Everything I Almost Wrote

  1. Hahaha. Your Mum and I are the same person. I forbade my own four children from watching Power Rangers, Simpsons, etc. I also forbade them from owning plastic guns, until the day my son, 8 at the time, said, “It’s ok, Mum. When I grow up, I’m going to have an arsenal.” “Get in the car”, I screamed, and off we went to get his very first plastic gun.


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