What Fresh Hell for April 2019.

Welcome back to the monthly column where I discuss everything that I enjoyed in the previous month that didn’t get it’s own post. This time, the sights and sounds of April.

In a previous column I discussed how much I love the Discovery Weekly feature on Spotify. Every Monday a curated list of music I may have never heard before, designed and fully algorithmed to my tastes.  Plus there are 10-15 weekly podcasts I subscribe to in addition to one I’m marathoning. Going through all previous episodes, years worth, in order to catch up. That is a lot of sound usually going through my phone, but my phone is always with me. At home, the car, at work. And that’s where this week’s troubles happened.

As someone trying to restart his own podcast (and while you’re here, give it a listen) I not only listen to other shows for information and entertainment, but also for the escape. This informs my own desires as a host. No negativity, no punching down. If I use podcasts as a way to feel inspired, educated, and entertained during a work day then there are thousands if not millions of others doing the same. Thus my dismay when my headphones stopped working. Three different ones were tried within the iPhone and all failed. Damn you lightning cables! Relief may have been found in the Bluetooth ones my wife gifted me with forever ago that I forgot about. She wins in the end.

Now, I worked hard to get to a spot where I could have headphones. I earned it, keep my numbers up, don’t let it interfere with my job tasks or customers. I waited to earn it and even now am very respectful of using it. However, I didn’t realize how vital it became to my day. I had to listen to people talk. I had to listen to *gasp* retail music.

If your forte is popular music, good on you. I’m not disparaging it, most of the time. That kind of music just doesn’t do it for me anymore. Much like an old man who has to put hot sauce on everything just to taste anything (I’m there too) my music has become more extreme and specified in order to hear something new. The Marvel movies are still something new, TV is still in this crazy new age, there’s always something new in comics, but music is a media that constantly surrounds us and unfortunately most of it is within a specific trope. I want something not afraid to be its own thing and push mainstream expectations aside.

Speaking of doing so, my current go to bed show (you know, the show you put on while falling asleep because if you pass out you’re not missing much and can easily rewind) is AMC’s recently cancelled reality show Comic Book Men.

For those of you unaware, director and comic book writer Kevin Smith owns a comic book store in Red Bank, NJ. Part comic book store and part all things Smith store, it’s on the list of places us geeks have to stop at during road trips and vacations. For many years a reality show was filmed in and around the crew that worked there.

And I didn’t watch it.

Oh, I know. Everything about this show sounds like not only would I watch it religiously, but exclaim its virtues from the highest peaks in Monmouth County. Usually you would be correct. I’ve watched 60 something episodes of a young couple who travels the country checking out comic book stores. (Come back Comic Trips, we miss you.) However, the first episode of this show was so forced, so scripted, so not what any of what I knew from these people, this store, and all comics-dom actually entails that I washed my hands of it. The first episode was horrid, I tried the second, and from there never looked back.

Years passed though and a co-worker put it in terms I’ve used myself for other shows. “Get through the first season, it gets better.” That’s what I tell people for Parks and Recreation, 30 Rock, and what others have said of The Office. For a few minutes here and there over the past couple weeks I watched the 6 episode first season. And it’s still awful. Fake situations. Not just mocking but flat out hatred of comic book fans, readers, and customers. Even themselves at times. If I want to watch a show pretend to embrace comic books while actually insulting the medium I’ll watch Big Bang Theory.

The first episode of the second season auto played and it was a difference from day to Dark Knight. Fun banter, witty conversations, excitement over comics and customers. Situations that are set up come across like reenactments and not works more fictionalized than the capes and tights along the walls. The second season has so far been so genuine I can smell the comics.

What have you enjoyed this month?


  1. Sir! 30 Rock is perfect from beginning to end. The Office actually gets BETTER when Michael leaves. I’ll agree with you on Parks & Rec, though. There was no possible way that show deserved a second season other than the fact of who was behind the scenes. And I’m glad it survived, but that first season is worthless.

  2. I’ve enjoyed CBM but too frequently it feels forced and then it started turning into celebrity drop in of the week.
    I do like seeing the things people bring in to try and sell though.

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