I Really Only Have One Question About C2019Q4

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’m convinced that C2019Q4 is simply an interstellar comet. That’s it. End of story. But I do have one question that I feel needs to be answered — how come we’ve noticed two such interstellar objects within a year?

Now, I’m the first to admit that our brains are hardwired to see patterns where they don’t exist. I’m sure the answer is rather prosaic. I’m sure we’re just better at noticing such things since we noticed the first one — Oumuamua — some time ago.

That makes total sense and I’m prepared to believe that.

I’d just like a journalist somewhere to ask that question.

About The SciFi Scene Summary I Posted — Then Deleted

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

My first attempt to write a novel was a bust. Or, more accurately, my first serious attempt to write a novel was a bust. I tried to write a novel about my time in Seoul about a decade ago, but that was more of an angry rant than a novel.

Anyway, about a year ago, I was working on a scifi novel and stopped. I stopped because it was all conceit. I struggled to figure out any type of character-driven plot arc. It was all premise. It’s taken me some time to think about it and I realize the entire idea was simply misguided. I was trying to tell a very personal story that was so contrived as to be unusable.

I struggled with the novel’s development for maybe three or four months before I gave up for the novel I’m working on now. Things are going much, much, much better this novel. I’m quite pleased with it, in fact.

Before I stopped working on the scifi novel, I posted the first act scene summary. When it began to get an alarming number of hits, I deleted it out of an abundance of caution. It seemed as though I may have given away the secret sauce and I did not want to give hacks any more help than I might otherwise do.

Strangely enough, people keep looking for the page with that scene summary. I honestly don’t understand what’s going on. I thought maybe a link to it was posted on a Google+ screenwriting group, but Google+ doesn’t even exist anymore and people still keep looking for it. The way they come to it seems to indicate it was via email or maybe a website.

All I know is given what I know about storytelling now after working on this latest novel, I honestly don’t know what anyone could get from the scene summary. It’s an interesting conceit, but doesn’t go anywhere. I guess if you are completely devoid of any actual creativity if you see something produced by someone who does who see it as an opportunity to produce hack work. Even if what the creative person produced isn’t even fully developed.

I fucking hate hacks. Especially parasite hacks who aren’t creative enough to think up their own universe. I guess I have to be prepared for someone to successful write a screenplay based on what I posted. In a way it would be both flattering and frustrating. It would be flattering because someone with the resources believed in the project after I stopped working on it. It would be frustrating because I’m unlikely to get any credit for it if it does happen.

Generally everyone is hateful in my experience, especially in showbiz.

I guess the best I can hope for is someone might notice the the similarities between my post and whatever Hollywood blockbuster it inspires.

Something About Nikki Glaser Is Endearing

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls


I’ve seen comic Nikki Glaser on Conan’s show several times recently and found her a delight. A lot of female comics seem to be trying way too hard. But something about her brashness is refreshing.

While I definitely think women are funny, they often have a very different type of humor than male comics. A prime example of this is Eva Victor. Victor is rather gentle in her very funny humor. It might benefit her to get some advice from Tina Fey as to how to be a bit more biting. It’s often tough for women to talk about the same things as men in the same way. I think that’s what set Glaser apart — she’s pretty much a male comic who happens to be female.

In a sense, the person I would compare her to is Phoebe Waller-Bridge. Waller-Bridge seems like she would do well doing stand-up should the mood strike her. Both women can cut you with a choice word.

What’s interest is Amy Schumer is Glaser’s contemporary and yet I just don’t find her very funny. Both women inhabit the approximately the same mindspace. I just like Glaser as a person more. Glaser seems like she would be fun to hang out with, while Schumer can come off as rather grating.

Anyway. What do I know.

Fever Dream: What If The New York Times *Was* For Sale?

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

The New York Times is not for sale. But given how topsy-turvey the world these days, let’s imagine it was for sale. There are some key issues that are difficult to imagine.

How much is it worth?
For perspective, The New York Times Company bought The Boston Globe for $1 billion about 20-so years ago. It was later sold for far less than that. But the NYT is probably the biggest, most powerful newspaper in the world in cultural terms. So, the starting bid for the paper would likely be at least $1 billion. And that’s on the conservative side. If it was for sale there would be so extremely powerful and wealthy people ready to pounce on it. The bidding war would likely increase the sale price to something closer to $5 billion.

Who would buy it?
News Corp probably is the one company willing to shell out the most money for it. But the instant Murdoch’s grubby conservative hands were on it, all the liberal marque names of the paper would bolt. They would likely start up a rival website that would essentially The New York Times in reconstituted form. That, in a sense, would make make Murdoch owning it kind of a moot point. All he would have is the brand name at that point and, while powerful, it’s not like he was going to convert the audience of the paper into psycho Right wingers.

So, let’s say News Corp doesn’t buy it. Then who? There are so many wealthy people who would see owning The Gray Lady as the vanity purchase of a lifetime that it’s difficult to think of all of them. My guess is either Alphabet Corp (Google) would buy it or Facebook’s Zuckerberg would buy it personally like Jeff Bezos did The Washington Post. Then there’s Laurene Powell (Steve Jobs’ window.) She has the cash and the interest (see her investment in The Atlantic.) The list goes on.

What Would They Do With It?
The traditional print newspaper business is dying off. It’s just a matter of time. If Alphabet Corp bought the NYT, they would probably integrate it directly into their search. That would, in a sense, be the best case scenario.

Anyway. This isn’t going to happen anytime soon — or ever.

What The What? Why Has The Music Industry Been Spared A #MeToo Reckoning?

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

One of the benefits of age is you have perspective on life. This is often called…uhh…wisdom? A lot of men are very angry over the #MeToo movement, but to me it’s kind of like the tertiary layer sepearting the age of dinosaurs with the age of mammals. Sometimes things change rather abruptly in culture and you either sink or swim.

Of course, a lot of this has to do with women’s changing views on the power dynamic between themselves and men in the workplace. Trump being in power had a lot to with it, I think. Women are kind of angry in general because there’s a misogynist in office. Maybe the #MeToo movement gives them a sense of agency that they might otherwise not feel politically.

But having said all that, the issue is, what is the deal with the music industry? There was that whole thing between producer Dr. Luke and Kesha…but then nothing. It seems only logical that women in the music industry would have their own revolt against men who abused their power over them in that industry.

I just don’t know enough about the internal workings of the music industry to know what the hold up is. But when it happens, it’s likely to be rather spectacular. Some pretty powerful men have been felled by the #MeToo movement, so in a sense no one is safe.

The sooner we all accept that and the consequences of #MeToo, the better.

A Few Rising Stars Of Note

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I’m a nobody in the middle of nowhere working on a novel. But I’m also a nobody working on a novel with a lot of opinions. So, here are two rising stars who have caught my attention of late.

Margaret Qualley
Qualley, who I think should go by “Maggie,” is a real head turner in more ways than one. I was really impressed with her performance in Once Upon A Time…In Hollywood. I don’t shade her for dating Pete Davidson. Shrug. So what. She’s still young. She still has plenty of time to snag someone…a bit more stable…who will help her overall career.

But I have high hopes for her. Her performance in Once Upon A Time was a star turn. I just hope she is able to build on her current momentum. She’s still young and if she plays her cards right she could maybe follow in the footsteps of Jennifer Lawrence. Maybe. Lawrence is, at least in my opinion, a rare talent who has managed to play the Hollywood game quite well. Not everyone is as fortunate as her.

Dua Lipa
Now, Lipa is a huge star in music. But I’d like to see her at least attempt to make the transition into film. Her combination of pure talent and stage presence seems like it would be a great fit for the silver screen. I continue to be impressed with her poise at such a young age. She seems like she has a her head on straight.

Really, all the she needs is the right vehicle. Something that would highlight her beauty and personality. But Hollywood is a fickle mistress. Anything — bad or good — could happen. I do, however, look forward to seeing her name in Hollywood lights.

Eva Victor
Victor is currently something of a Twitter cult favorite. She does some charming videos on Twitter that are quite appealing. In my mind, she’s something of America’s answer to Fleabag. She’s not nearly as razor sharp as Phoebe Waller-Bridge, however. Her humor is rather sassy and gentle in comparison to Waller-Bridge.

I currently don’t know what is going on with Victor’s career. She seems somehow connected to Comedy Central. It seems like she would be the perfect fit for a Broad City-type show. Or maybe Broad City meets Fleabag. Ideally, she would end up on SNL, but who knows. It would be great if Tina Fey would mentor her.

V-Log: Apocalypse Trump

Some thoughts.

Why I Think Facebook & Google Can Read Our Minds

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I generally do not believe in conspiracy theories. In fact, I find conspiracy theories to be the last refuge of the intellectually dishonest. And, yet, I can’t deny the evidence staring at me straight in the face: my phone is reading my mind.

It’s long been public that Facebook recently got a patent to do this very thing. And it’s also become common knowledge that both Facebook and Google believe they will be able to allow us to type using just our minds. So, it makes a lot of sense that it’s happening already to some extent.

The issue is, I think Facebook and Google (and God only knows who else) know words, but not context. So if you’re thinking about something really hard, it’s seen as a keyword and you get ads or videos connected to that keyword. Some pretty eerie things have happened way too many times in the last year or so for something like this not to be happening. Usually, it’s when there is no other explanation for the content I’m being shown. If I don’t say it out loud, or search for it or message anyone about it, how do I get information specifically tailored for what’s been on my mind the last few days.

This suspicion came to a head just today when something pretty wild happen. I was using YouTube and I started seeing videos for things that are not at all on my mind. I’m not even interested in them at all. For instance, why all the safe deposit box videos? Why all the End of The World videos? I’ve not really been thinking about either one of those things of late.

But you know who I bet has — my dad.

My dad is elderly and in the twilight of life. If you think about it, a safe deposit box is definitely something a man near the end of his life might have at the forefront of his mind. So, the only thing I can think of is my phone is on and near by dad when we’re driving to lunch or what have you. The phone picks up the word “DEATH” or “SAFE DEPOSIT BOX” at the forefront of my dad’s mind and ta-da, that’s the kind of stuff I see on YouTube.

In all honestly, I have no idea if I’m right or not. But it does make a lot of sense. It does make you think about what people would do if they realized that Google and Facebook were reading their minds without their permission. Add to that that it’s likely the Intelligence Community probably has far more advance technology and things get a little spooky. What’s more, when the Singularity happens and SkyNet kills us all…it may not be much of a fairfight if the robots can read our minds.

Let that sink in.

#Novel Notes For September 17th, 2019 #AmWriting #WritingLife

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

Some thoughts.

Oh, Jesus, Tay-Tay, Grow Up

Shelton Bumgarner

by Shelton Bumgarner
@bumgarls

I find myself listening to music from Taylor Swift’s new album “Lover” a lot these days. It’s pretty good music in the context of modern pop music. But, Jesus, Tay-Tay, how old are you? You’re a grown-ass woman now.

Not that it’s my place to tell her what to do — it’s not — but as an audience member I grow frustrated with her training bra music. If you’re going to be a huge superstar, you’re at some point going to have to admit that you…have sex. It’s not as though she isn’t thirsty at points in her modern lyrics, but there’s still an element of air quotes to the whole thing.

But, really, I guess if it’s not broke don’t fix it. That’s her thing. She’s middle-of-the-road, middlebrow pop music for people who don’t want to be challenged. She’s kind of the Korean drama of music. So, from a strictly musical standpoint, she’s fine. She can drift through the decades writing lyrics that make 14-year-old girls think they’re being “naughty” by singing them outloud alone in their room.

Having said all that, there is the issue of her Hollywood career. She has all the elements of someone who could make a successful transition from pop star to Hollywood star. But for one thing — sex appeal Just look at Lady Gaga. There’s no question Lady Gaga is an adult woman who might take a lover — male or female — just because she’s horny.

While Tay-Tay is obviously stunning, she just doesn’t exude that danger that is critical to sex appeal. Sex appeal, in part, is the questions someone’s demeanor leaves in your mind. Think back to Prince. In Controversy, he sings something like, “Is he gay, is he straight?” With Tay-Tay, the only question I have about her motives is…has she actually had sex? Even if she has, I honestly can’t imagine her doing it. She’s in a twilight of a young woman who hasn’t fully transitioned out of late childhood.

What’s more, I just don’t see Tay-Tay doing what is required to fix this situation. I mean, maybe, she might drop a toe into music that is a bit more provocative, but even then that’s likely to have a huge amount of pushback from her fanbase. And, really, this is an example of how her being, like, sane and stuff is both a boon and a bane. Her rock-solid mental stability helps her become and stay hugely successful. But not being weird hurts her because she uses the metrics that any normal person would use. She doesn’t do something crazy for the sake of being different. Art for art’s sake is not her bailiwick.

As I’ve said before, you do you Tay-Tay. Though to quote Billy Joel, I’d rather laugh with the sinners than cry with the saints.