State of the Dread: Jan 22-28

Sup. I drive a Durango. We get after it.


DONE! The beta draft of HOWLING WILDERNESS is in the wind. Getting feedback already and it’s productive. I’m not touching the draft again until after February. If you want to read the first chapter, it’s up on CrackerStack. Subscribe while you’re there, I’ve moved book reviews to that site.

This week I’m planning/outlining scripts for a new series of videos, the old Tales from the Road series I did on the podcast. It’ll cover the same material but I’m punching it up for fun. Feels like I’ve talked about that before, it’s my actual focus right now.

Also, fun thing: my friend Savannah was passing through Texas and saw this on a shelf at a gift shop, she said it reminded her of me, haha. I laugh because that’s more or less what one of my main characters looks like, from a book she hasn’t read yet.


I finished a couple of things. GHOSTS OF ZENITH by Larry Correia was great, the review is pending at Upstream. Started reading MAXIMUM BOB by Elmore Leonard, but didn’t care for the content so I punted. THE OLD GODS WAKEN by Manly Wade Wellman was entertaining, the review is on CrackerStack. Ditto for my reread of THE QUICK AND THE DEAD by L’Amour.

I’m currently reading WARLORD by Doc Spears. It’s almost exactly a rewrite of A PRINCESS OF MARS, which has me concerned, but I expect there will be a twist or revelation to justify it. Should finish it Monday, that review will be on Upstream.

Once that’s done, I’m reading THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. If I finish it, I will start my third reading of EMPIRE OF SILENCE by Christopher Ruocchio. Still picking through AMERICAN MUCKRAKER when I have time. Very good book.


Still working on the personal project, it’ll be finished this month. I’m having fun.


New one here, and I’m very grateful for the responses. I had an announcement to make.

Also, instead of doing a “what I read this year” video in December, I’m going to do a monthly breakdown. As of right now I’ve finished 11 titles (thanks, audiobooks, haha) so that’ll be more manageable.


Normal thing, new episode of Radcracker dropped.


I’m at 1500 pushups for the year and feeling awesome. The hard part is avoiding the temptation to do more too soon. Every week it gets easier to blast out a set of 20. This is my final week at 20, once Feb 1st rolls around I switch to 25, and keeping count will be more intensive. Big thanks to the bois in the Fat Chat for helping with that.

But once again I missed the second PE session with my kids. I resolve to hit that one this week. So easy to be lazy on a Friday.

State of the Dread: January 1-7, 2023

My wife knitted this scarf for me a couple of years ago, and since the Pottermore quiz sorted me into Ravenclaw, she added the patch. It is a lovely gift and I love whipping it out at Christmas.


I owe a Round Robin chapter to my friend Nate, so I need to get on that. Once it’s done, I’ll finish a draft of HOWLING WILDERNESS and set it aside.

I started a Substack. It’s called the CrackerStack. It replaces my Patreon, because you can do a paid subscription there and I’ll put some paywalled posts every month. Otherwise it’ll be for book and movie reviews.

State of the Dread will now be a weekly accountability segment. I’ll still share other things here.

As always, hit up Upstream Reviews for fiction reviews.


Gonna blast the absolute daylights out of a lot of books. This week I will finish GOD EMPEROR OF DUNE, HOGS IN THE SAND, and INTO THE LIGHT on audio. If I have time, I’ll read AN HONEST PRESIDENT.

I’ve also got a new Lady Mechanika graphic novel to read from the library. Used to own those in print, but I sold them all after volume 6. Long story. I’ll post about it on the CrackerStack.

My ongoing reads in print are AMERICAN MUCKRAKER and SAVING FAITH.


I sketched this at Church this morning.


My latest on the channel, which you should sub to here:


Always sub to the Radcracker Podcast. I record those in the car on the way home. Slice-of-life, what’s on my mind, that sort of thing. It’s funny and insightful and I love doing it.


I’m in a fatchat with some gordo bros who are looking to lose weight. Very exclusive, you can’t get in, don’t ask. This week I’m doing 100 push ups per day, counting my calories, and working on stretching my useless arm so that it’s better.

Video proof of the push-ups will be in my Instagram stories every day.

Three stars for “The Batman”

Here are my reactions to finally watching the Matt Reeves Batman movie (2022).

1) Pattinson was good.

I didn’t expect him to be, because my main familiarity is from the Twilight stuff and even he hates that. He’s a decent actor and he put it to work here. I did feel like he was a little young, though. First time I’ve watched a lead Batman who was younger than me and that might be why.

2) I want that Batmobile.

Muscle Car with a Rocket Engine is an awesome version of the Batmobile.

3) Creepy serial killer Riddler was an interesting interpretation of that villain…

Certainly more palatable than the green suit and question marks, they didn’t force it, it just worked.

4)…until they made him a violent 4Channer.

Yeah, that whole bit where he was streaming and convincing other disaffected men to go on a shooting spree was too on-the-nose. If this were real life, the Riddler would turn out to be a fedposter.

5) Great score and ambience.

It certainly set the mood for grit and grunge, without feeling overly stylized or bogus. The photography was excellent and the fight scenes didn’t have a ton of cutting, like in other movies.

6) Plot was a little too convoluted when it all wrapped up.

I like that Detective Batman made some mistakes as he tried to untangle this tangled web. That said, it was all a little crazy when you get to the end and realize it was just the Riddler trying to goad a bunch of his bros into doing a mass shooting (why?)

7) Don’t drop F-bombs in a Batman movie.

I hated that they did this in a Transformers movie in 2014. Do not keep pushing this envelope.

8) Don’t make a Batman movie that’s as long as a LOTR movie but slower than a Hobbit movie.

This movie is inexcusably three hours long.

9) A few too many current-dayisms snuck in.

They of course had to have Bisexual Catwoman get in a line about priveleged white guys, which never became an issue elsewhere in the story. It just served to signal to the kind of people who don’t actually go to superhero movies. “Oh look we hate wypipo too!” Stop it.

Stunning and Brave Flawless Mayor Candidate was kind of a nag. “Hey Bruce, why aren’t you doing anything like your parents did??!” How about you shut up.

Anyway, overall it was good. Above Batfleck in terms of the performance and stuff, but Nolan is still king of the mountain.

I’m rewatching SMALLVILLE

Aiight so hey, Michael Rosenbaum and Tom Welling started a podcast, because that’s what part-time celebrity actors do these days, especially if they were on a successful TV show more than a decade ago.

Admittedly I’ve been following it because it takes me back to some of the fun that I had whilst watching Smallville in my teens. It’s also a hilarious look at the absolute kitsch and schmalz that formed a huge part of my identity at age 17. I laugh so that I do not cringe.

Anyway, this week I showed my wife the first two episodes. It just validates what Tanner Guzy said, about how a present version of yourself should always be able to beat up on a past version of yourself.

I want to go find 17 year-old Graham, running on the treadmill at 24Hr Fitness with his Discman, playing CDs that he burned off of WinMX, listening to teenage emotional rage music, and tell him what an absolutely unqualified P***Y HE IS so that he will look back at those workouts 20 years later, in his house with his wife and kids and dog and Hemi Durango, and just laugh.

Though I supposed I’m already there, so thanks, Present Graham.

Channing Tatum is the gayest straight dude alive

And I say that with all affection.

Legitimately, I like the dude. I have yet to see a movie where he wasn’t likeable. Granted I haven’t seen all his movies, so who knows.

The wife and I watched The Lost City last week and it was really funny. Movies about writers tend to really exaggerate the headaches we deal with, but they do it for dramatic and comedic chops, which is kind of the point of the format.

What I didn’t know is that cover models are a huge deal in romance, and they have their own cultish followings. Tatum plays a cover model for Sandra Bullock’s character, Loretta.

There’s some raunchy humor in it here and there, but overall it’s pretty clever for its genre, and a lot of fun. Channing Tatum, who IRL got his start modeling and dancing, basically spends the whole movie playing Channing Tatum, just a little bit dumber. At the same time you can tell he’s playing it straight and taking it seriously, and the effort makes the movie watchable. Plus the dude is jacked, and I respect that.

He was in the running to play Captain America before Marvel handed it to Evans. He was supposed to be Gambit years ago, but Fox is morally opposed to making good X-Men movies since Days of Future Past, so who knows what will happen. But I liked him in this one and you should watch it.

Why Marvel Phase Five Will Suck

Quantumania is a sequel to the Ant-Man movies that will continue to milk a dry horse. My guess is it will take us down some road where Scott and Hope get to do a Science(TM) version of the multiverse so Disney can sell more toy variants of the same crap.

Secret Invasion is a huge confusing mess in the comics, and it’ll be simplified into something that gives YouTubers easy fodder for critique videos. At least those guys will cover their rent for the year.

Guardians Vol. 3 still has the appeal that the first movie earned it, so I’m not going to curse it outright. Gunn is back in the director’s chair, we’ll see what happens. I’ll give it a fair shot. The Guardians movies continue to be the best Star Wars movies Disney has made.

Echo. DOA. A deaf version of Daredevil that will probably not have a whole lot going on. Like Jessica Jones with more karate.

Loki 2. DOA. Didn’t even finish the first one.

The Marvels. Only thing I’m looking forward to here is dunking on the idiots who look at Captain Marvel’s box office returns as if they weren’t insanely propped up by Infinity War and Endgame.

Blade. Zero hope here, that saga ended in 2004 with Snipes. Disney can’t do this character right any more than they can do Deadpool. It’ll be too soft and clean and he’s not that character.

Ironheart. This story was dead in print before it even hit shelves, it’ll be deader than that on the screen.

Agatha. Bro. This was a dead meme five minutes after WandaVision ended.

Daredevil Born Again. No. They’ll never make it as good as it was when Netflix had it. This will make Cox and D’Onofrio regret signing on.

Blacktain America: Great Reset. Couldn’t just…make a Falcon movie, could ya

Thunderbolts. Because we want more Dancing Zemo, and we need him to lead his own Suicide Squad.

Are you tired yet?

I’m tired.

Cinema on Life Support

Took the wife to see Maverick last night, and it was awesome the second time–despite being stuck between a cussy meathead on my left, and a Latino couple on the right, the woman of whom had never seen Top Gun, and was asking her boyfriend in Spanish the whole time WTF was going on.

Anyway, I’ve griped about this before and I will yet gripe about it in the future. SDCC is going on this week so Disney is blasting out its ongoing comic book desecration project known as Marvel Phases Four Through Six.

Pretty much everything else coming out this year is a sequel or spinoff of something that was good before and is just tired now. Top Gun is of course a 1980s American staple, but it’s the rare exception that got a late sequel which didn’t suck. The Mission: Impossible movies are adding a two-part finale that starts next year, and I’ll probably see it because those movies are predictably exciting. But by the time that series wraps, it will have been in cinemas off and on for 28 years. 0_0

I’m not even wasting time on superhero movies on streaming services anymore. I could watch them for free in my car on the way to work and I still won’t do it. I’m just done. And that’s increasingly the case with movie theaters in general. It’s all too corporate, too calculated, too much of the same thing digested and discarded over and over again.

What’s some older stuff I should watch? Drop me some recs. Hopefully American cinema gets its act together.

Buy physical media: ‘Merican DVD edition

It’s only natural that we watch one of the most important American documentaries ever on an annual basis. But there are others, too.

I’m always partial to these classic Schulz cartoons as long as Frank Welker is in there somewhere doing a voice.

Haven’t seen either of these. I’m curious about Saints and Strangers, and I’ve heard good things about Sons of Liberty.

And hey, speaking of the Sons, check out this Disney classic. It’s pro-America so they won’t put it on their streaming service, because NO BALLS.

Check out this song from the movie. It SLAAAAAAAAAPS.

What else do you watch leading up to ID4?


Really freaking good movie. Why?

Lots of reasons.

–It’s a 36-year sequel to a classic from the 80s that neither negates, retcons, or destablizes its predecessor.

–While we don’t find out what happened with Pete and Charlie, we get enough context on Pete and Penny to know that she’s one of his other frequent flames from the intervening years.

–Tom Cruise is still a fun actor to watch

–The action scenes were incredible, and full of tension.

–Jeez, Miles Teller can act? Never saw that before.

–The respect for Val Kilmer and the way they worked him into the movie was superb. Bro has throat cancer IRL and apparently has to feed himself with a tube these days.

–I’m a sucker for multigenerational stories, especially when they’re done well. Rooster’s similarities to Goose were a little on-the-nose at times, but they had to be, I think; this is a dude who was a little kid in the first movie, lost his dad as a child, and now his mother’s gone. He’s clinging to what’s most important to him (his family) and that comes through beautifully over and over.

–Maverick and Rooster teaming up to overcome their greatest interpersonal obstacles in the third act is a thing of beauty. I’m so starved for good, masculine characters in popular entertainment these days. This was a bro movie for bros and bro-ettes alike.

–Zero postmodern politics is an absolute plus in the year of our Lord two thousand and twenty-two. Kudos to them for keeping it out of the film.

I’ll leave you with Drinker’s video, with the usual content warning for strong language.