Idle Incoherent Rambling About #Writing A #Novel

Some thoughts.

Attempting To Sketch Out Who Would Be The Deciding Vote To Convict Trump In The Senate

Shelton Bumgarner

I’m no Ashley Feinberg. But I have a moment to mull a very interesting situation — is it possible to predict who might be the deciding vote to convict Trump should he be impeached by the House?

You need 67 Senators to vote for conviction. But here’s where things get screwy — the votes are done in alphabetical order. You need 67 Senators to vote but the Democrats and Republicans would be scattered across the alphabet. If you work with the assumption that all will be counted present and all will vote, at what point do you know for a fact Trump is convicted?

Here is where things grow exponentially complicated and I just don’t have the resources to do anything about it. I just don’t know the personalities involved. I have found a page with the US Senators in alphabetical order, but this is where I stop for the time being.

If anyone wants to help me do some predictive vote tallying, let me know.

migukin (at) (gmail) (dot) com.

A Movie Franchise Idea For Phoebe Waller-Bridge: Susan Calvin

Susan Calvin, I presume?

by Shelton Bumgarner

Apparently, Hollywood is full of unimagive hacks who have difficulty grasping even the most obvious of creative opportunities. I only say this because the works of Isaac Asimov remain untapped. I mean, fuck, people, you have dozens of Robot stories featuring Susan Calvin that could be strip mined for a very lucrative franchise.

And the perfect person to helm this franchise is Phoebe Waller-Bridge. She’s perfect. She could really bring something unique to the role. It could be a very modern female-driven franchise if you got the right people behind it.

Anyway. You do you Hollywood. What do I know.

Ugh. People Doing Due Diligence On Me

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’m a nobody. I could literally drop dead this very moment and it would barely warrant an obit. I’m a failed reporter. No one likes me. I have no friends. Lulz. But for some reason of late I get the sense that Very Serious People are interested in me for some reason.

It’s all good. I encourage people to poke around not just this website but my Twitter, Instagram and Facebook profiles. Have at it. Have fun. I’d prefer if you weren’t ICE agents collecting data to justify “disappearing” me, but I guess you can’t have everything.

The crazy thing about the modern Web is everything is everywhere and nowhere at the same time. Unless you’re somewhere on the Dark Web, you can’t really talk about a famous person without at least “their people” noticing it. I think this comes from robots that troll the web looking for people’s names. I think there are services that let you sorta ego surf in a very aggressive manner.

Anyway. I’m different. I’ve never fit in and I never will. I’m not changing and I honestly don’t care if you like me or not. If you ain’t got Habers you ain’t poppin.

It would be cool if you enjoyed my writing. I am writing a novel of about 165,000 words so, you know. But I’m not for everyone. I know this so well that I can come off rather effusive when someone does, in fact, actually like me.

We’ll see, I guess. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe no one is look at my online footprint. It’s just a hunch, afterall.

The Metrics Of Maggie Haberman

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I’m not a fan of pretense. I’m also not a fan of people who feel they can be snooty to me because I don’t meet their preconceived metrics. This brings us to Maggie Haberman. The more I about her unnecessary rudeness to me on Twitter the funnier it becomes.

She reminds me of this woman I met through Tinder once who told me very earnestly that I should stop writing, full stop. In her ever-so-well articulated view I was wasting my time and she could convey this opinion with authority because she “worked with creatives” and I sucked and had no future in writing. This was the same woman who got triggered because I posted pictures of hot chicks on my Facebook wall.

Haberman seems like she would be the woman everyone would avoid at a party. Or if I was at the same party with her, I would spend my time eyeing her and preparing to wait for my moment to chat her up in a sly way that would expose her for the pompous ass that she is.

The crazy thing about this is that all the other Times people I’ve met or talked to have been very serious, very professional but also fairly human. They seemed at least willing to humor me when I talked to them. I mean, hell, Jennifer 8. Lee went out of her way to talk to me when she swung by Seoul to work on her book on….fortune cookies*.

Anyway. Now that I have closure I just want to laugh about my little run in. People who use metrics that cause them to look down on me evoke a level of derision that keeps me entertained for some time. I get where she’s coming from — she is the Trump Whisperer afterall. She has it all. Fame. Power. Access. You name it. But she also doesn’t have much humility.

In fact, the only thing that prevents me from making fun of her in a gratuitous manner for days to come is she’s so humorless that she is unlikely to get the joke. So, lulz. You win this round, Ms. Haberman. But I am writing a novel and you can rest assured I’m going to make an allusion to you somehow.

*The article about that event I wrote for ROKon Magazine is reproduced below.

ROKing Sinchon with Jenny 8

Jennifer 8. Lee likes food.

A lot.

Recently, I hung out with the New York Times reporter and her friend Tomoko Hosaka of the Wall Street Journal here in Seoul.

The plan was for her to go to a jimjilbang with Annie Shapiro and ms. tiff, but that didn’t work out. Tomoko wanted to go to eat “Korean barbeque” and since Annie and Tiff are veggies, they were left out. This story was supposed to be about Annie and Tiff taking Jenny to a jimjilbang and getting all nekkid – now that would have been funny – but there are no happy endings in Korea so you get this write-up instead. I took a picture of the two ladies at the restaurant, but they wouldn’t let me use it. I generally think taking pictures of yourself with famous people is kind of lame, so you, gentle reader, will just have to settle for a picture of the fortune cookie I was given. If Annie and Tiff had done the story, maybe the situation would be different.

On the way to the subway, Jenny kept stopping to eat stuff from street vendors. I had to DJ that Friday night and we had to go all the way across town, so I was starting to stress out a little bit.

Again and again, she would ask me what this or that food was offered at street vendors as we headed towards the subway station. I had no clue. “I eat because I have to, not because I want to,” I told her finally. What else could I say?

The fact that I met her is a testament not only to this wacky Internet age that we live in, but how being an expatriate in a place like Korea has its quirky advantages.

I met Jenny ’cause I, well, picked on her middle name online. When I first came to Korea I had way too much drunken spare time on my hands, so I often found myself in bouts of soju-fueled writing binges.

“I can not stress enough how odd it is that Jennifer Lee uses an ‘8’ for her middle name. It’s just totally unheard of. It’s like one of the

columns of Western civilization has suddenly become just a little unstable,” I once wrote. “I don’t care that her name really is ‘Jennifer 8. Lee.’ In

years gone by, an editor would have taken one look at it, eyed the flask of Jack Daniels in his desk drawer then said, ‘Look, kid, I don’t care how

lucky the damn number is, you’re going by ‘Jennifer Lee‘ from now on.'”

Her middle name is a lucky number in Chinese culture. How exactly she was able to keep it in her byline eludes me. The fact that she graduated from Harvard University may have something to do with it.

When this actual famous reporter out of the blue contacted me, it both made me very happy and very nervous. She contacted me because she had read some of the shit I had written about her online and she needed some help finding Chinese restaurants in Korea. She’s on sabbatical from the Times to write a book on, like, the best Chinese restaurants in the world or some such. The first time she contacted me, I suddenly felt kinda bad about all the pointless mental masturbation I expended on her.

It’s funny how you can talk shit about a famous person online, but when you actually meet them you treat them like you would anyone else. While she’s no Maureen Dowd, in some media circles, Jennifer 8. Lee is, in fact, “famous” or “notorious.” For people who read, Jenny is shorthand for a reporter who writes seemingly pointless trend stories about things like “man dates.” She had the odd habit of using the phrase, “people of my generation” in a very authoritative tone, like she literally was speaking for everyone her age. “Jenny, you’re younger than I am,” I said teasingly at least once over galbi.

She actually has a rather bubbly, cute personality. My lone meeting with her did leave some1thing of a mystery in my mind — how is it that someone who, in the words of one article “causes $148,000 in damage to her Washington condo” actually be quite nerdy? What the heck does she do? She is obviously an extremely smart woman and from the little mischievous glint in her eye I can see how she probably loves to host a great party. But like all the great reporters I’ve known, she didn’t seem like much of a extrovert. She was quiet and curious about everything.

I picked her up at the Ritz Carlton. When I met her, she handed me a fortune cookie, while I handed her a copy of ROKon. “Fortune cookies are actually originally from Japan, not China,” Jenny said. It was a huge fortune cookie. It looked like a piece of found art. “I’ll either eat it when I’m drunk or crush it when I’m drunk,” I quipped.

I took the women to Sinchon to my favorite Korean restaurant. I go there so much that I’m like a part of the family. Tomoko seemed a bit uneasy hanging out with little old me, while Jenny was a good sport. I wanted to get Tomoko drunk to loosen her up a bit, but she had an early morning date with the DMZ.

At one point, I felt kinda bad for Tomoko. She’s a fairly important journalist in her own right, and all I did was talk to Jenny.

“I know you went to Harvard, Jenny,” I said invoking the “H-bomb” without meaning to, “But where did you go, Tomoko?”

“Northwestern,” she said with just a touch forlornly.

We talked a long time. I talked up ROKon, while the ladies were more interested in the food than anything I had to say. They’re an intense bunch, those two. I told them about knowing another Wall Street Journal reporter, Lina, but neither of them knew her. They were perplexed that they didn’t know her ’cause she has some connection to the Washington Post. Jenny acted like if there was an Asian who worked in any capacity at the Post, she would know her.

I had of vision of taking Jenny to Nori People and being able to see her shake what her momma gave her to my musical selections, but it was not to be. Jenny couldn’t stay. I did take Tomoko and Jenny there just to show it to her. “Oh, this is fun,” she said. You have to give those New York Times reporters credit, they are an observant bunch.

They left a lot sooner than I’d liked. As I said, I had all these grand plans to show them what a fun time we ROKon staffers were. Jenny promised to show me around New York City if I ever happened to end up there. The more I look at that fortune cookie, though, the more it looks like something that rhymes with “Mulva.”


ROKon Magazine Editor

Watch Me Be Bad And Talk About The Obvious About AOC

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Ok, I get it. We’re not supposed to talk about this. We’re only supposed to see AOC as an up and coming leader in the House Democratic Caucus. But let me be bad for a moment and mention the obvious.

AOC is a smoking hot babe.

It’s rather surreal that not even the Right really mentions her physical beauty. They kinda do in a roundabout way, but it’s not like anyone on Fox & Friends says, “Bruh, what a babe!”

What’s even weirder is JFK was seen as something of a hunk in the 50s – 60s and that wasn’t a big deal. So it is possible for a political leader to be considered “sexy.” But ok guys, I know.

That’s off limits. She’s A Very Serious Person with Very Serious Policy Proposals. Shrug. I’ll shut up about it now.

Silicon Valley Is Embarrassing Itself — Of Course We Need An Adult Version Of Tik-Tok To Serve As A ‘Twitter Killer!’

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

Silicon Valley, you are pathetic. Tik-Tok is proof of concept, all you need to tweak it a little bit so it can become a Twitter Killer. Why is this so difficult to see?

It’s so simple. So very simple. Now, I’m not saying you would have to do videos on such a service, but the current Twitter implementation of video is piss-poor.

There’s at least a $1 billion market for a native-video discussion service that is essentially Tik-Tok but for news. Why no one has done this, I don’t know. I guess it’s not sexxy.

Things Are About To Get Far Darker With Trump

I hope my ICE Camp has Wifi.
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

It’s clear that Trump wants violence. He and the rest of the MAGA shitshow think one strategy is to stoke such violence that the House is cowed into submission. When a few MAGA people armed with AR-15s martyr themselves in the process of murdering a few people here and there across the country explicitly in protest of impeachment then, the thinking goes, the entire process will come to a standstill.

Needless to say, this is an EXTREMELY risky and destructive strategy. It’s like dropping and H-bomb then sitting back and expecting your enemy to lulz it. There’s a real chance that after the shock wears off, the exact opposite of what Trump believes will happen, will happen. Instead of slowing impeachment down, it will only hasten it. There’s a real possibility that even if Trump says, “I was only joking, I can’t be blamed for mentally unstable people,” that the average voter will finally, finally be angry enough to push Trump out of office.

There’s also another dark scenario. This one is where Barr breaks his silence by releasing a slew of bullshit criminal referrals based on some surreal Infowars QAnon bullshit. The thinking here is that the confusion — and change of narrative — that this will garner will be enough to grind the impeachment process to a halt. By the time The New York Times finally realizes all of it is politically motivated, House Trump will graduate to The Thousand Year Trump and Don Jr. will be measuring drapes in the Oval Office.

Both of these scenarios are likely to happen. I have come to believe darkness has, in fact, finally fallen. The bad guys are going to win. We’re going to lurch into a Russian-style “managed democracy” far sooner than any of us ever imagined.

Or, put another way, something’s gotta give. I need something to happen to give me some hope. Now.

Now Things Get Interesting With The #Novel

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I am hurtling towards the novel’s midpoint. Once I get to the midpoint, the tempo of the novel speeds up considerably. I’m now on the cusp of writing a really important scene because it introduces a risky — but necessary — aspect to the plot.

It’s risky in a Phoebe Waller-Bridge type of way. I’m going to challenge the audience not to accept the orthodoxy on an very, very touchy subject. But the novel is meant to encompass the entirety of the clusterfuck that is the Trump Era so I feel my hand is forced. The great thing about the conceit of the novel is it lends itself to being my own Apocalypse Now. I have the opportunity to talk about a wide swath of the Trump Era in a fast paced, fun manner.

But by definition there’s also a good chance I’m going to piss a whole lot of people off. But just like Waller-Bridge, I’m not going to choke. I’m not going to blink. I’m going to wade into a situation where the media narrative is there is a right and true way. The great irony of it all is, of course, is I’m very empathetic to the conventional wisdom on the matter. It just fits the novel’s narrative to flip the script a little bit. Yes, I’m being intentionally vague.

The scene I’m about to write is so important I may wait until tomorrow morning to actually sit down and write it. I may write and re-write my longhand beat structure of the scene to really prep myself for writing it.

Anyway, the novel’s first draft is going to be a huge mess. But I’ve finally given myself the right to write shit. You can’t edit a blank page as they say. I just have to finish the first draft so I can turn around and do it all over again after I read it and annotate it for the purposes of revision.

Of Access Journalism & Maggie ‘Trump Whisperer’ Haberman

I WoRk FOr ThE NeW YorK TiMEs
Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner

I was going to shut up about this until I saw someone praise Maggie Haberman “habering” me on Twitter. “Bravo, Maggie,” is the exact quote. The issue is you can “huzzah, grrl power” all you want to, access journalism still sucks.

But why?

Apparently, Ms. Haberman’s argument is by definition journalism requires access and so, well, fuck you. But let me be honest — Ms. Haberman is no better than Trump for putting me on blast to make her point. Punching down is never cool, no matter who you are. So, in a sense, my pique is more about her flex on me than it is the facts. I find that Blue Check Nattering Nabobs have started to do this more often. For some reason, they want to do it to me. This is grating because generally — but not always — they put me on blast after having made a snap, inaccurate judgement about what my tweet was about.

Instead of getting information the easy way by coddling Trump — or whomever — maybe Ms. Haberman should be willing to burn her bridges in the bowels of House Trump if it means she’s able to be more critical of the would-be Thousand Year Trump.

She has her argument and I have mine. She’s powerful, I’m not. I’ll let you make up your own mind. I believe we’re in a crisis. It’s time for the press to forgo cozy relations with the criminal fascist Trump Adminstration and be patriots, to think about the best interests of the nation first.

All I can say is I love to write and fairly cogent in my rhetoric. What’s more, I’m not Ben Shapiro. I actually am working in good faith. And, really, it wouldn’t even be an issue if Ms. Haberman was a bit more polite to in her efforts to defend herself.

Arrogance is a dick move, no matter who you are.