A Year In Review

As an American man raised in the latter half of the 20th century (™Disney Corp.), my reference points all originate from popular movies, rather than real-life experience. When thinking back upon 2017, I an reminded of this classic Bill Murray line, from a film about to turn 40.

I don’t even get paid to do this, and yet I’m forcing myself to, for you. So at least pretend to enjoy it. Like 2017, it’ll be over and done before you know it. Fingers crossed.

This has been a weird year for Bands I Useta Like. Luckily, it most likely was for you, too. All lines became blurred. I came to hate the things I once loved. Literally, I hit the point where it’s easier to tell people to fuck off than to reason with them. Reason is worm food. Mistah Logic- He Dead.

Dead or accused of sexual harassment: that was 2017. Let’s begin with January.

Look how healthy and happy the site was! This was when I was averaging 14 articles a month. I hadn’t yet realized that some people just want to hate what they want to hate, they can’t be argued with, and they use me as an excuse. “I hate [A] as much as you hate [B]!” As though I am governed by caprice, and my opinions are mere fickle japery.

It’s enough to make All The Snakes Go Crazy.

2017 felt a lot like this, except the snakes were people.

The nineteenth year of Bands I Useta Like commenced properly with a strip about Joe Satriani, plus a re-run on the Dead Milkmen. I don’t recall specifically who died in January 2017, so let’s just assume “everybody”.

I began a full-scale assault on social media. Also MoonlightingAnd hoverboards. The train station close to where I live still bears a sign prohibiting them, as though anyone has ever seen one outside of a “viral video”.

This dude has problems.

The fourth Bands I Useta Like magazine was announced in the 300th post on the site. There was supposed to be a 5th this year, but the 400th post hasn’t come up yet, so obviously more time must elapse. I set up a Patreon page, which proved to be every bit as hilariously demeaning as I’d predicted. If I possessed what you humans call “feelings”, I’d have scarfed cyanide long ago.

Actually, looking back, January 2017 was a pretty solid month around here. I’m starting to remember why I do these retrospectives. Oh man, wait until we hit the Summer Shithouse!

February brings “Hate Proof” articles, and we kick off with the ultimate inspirational sonnet; “You’re The Best (Around)”. As soon as I figure out how I was able to write inspiring material again, I’ll get right back on it. Oh yeah; good weed. I had good weed when I wrote that. Oh well.

I wrote about Trump here and there. In doing so, I learned something. Some people just want to hate Trump. They don’t give a fuck what you have to say. They don’t want to change. They just want to hate what they want. So let ’em have their precious Bubble. You’ll see in a few years that literally nothing written against Trump has any lasting power. It is no different than me hating “Star Wars” because I want to. To spite you and your feelings. It’s the same thing.

Remember those fun, halcyon days, where I could exalt the Prequels sincerely, as a way of helping fans reinterpret the familiar and/or maligned? Brutally murdered. Dead. Enjoy your sequels. Good day sir.

Sponge was the strip for the month. We lost Bill Paxton, but gained Valentines from my dwarf hamster Vern. We got in and out of a weird area, and talked about uncles. No wonder this website doesn’t get listed on any search engines worth a shit.

In March, we lost Jay Lynch. I was lucky to know Jay over the last ten years of his life, and truthfully, without his guiding satirical hand, I’ve felt adrift as a humorist. I’m not the only one who feels this way, so let’s just acknowledge that we’re aware of the problem and move on. I have temporarily lost the ability to properly eulogize anyone.

The Musical Meddler Squad was formally introduced this month, the brainchild of myself and author J.P. Kittens. Check out that link, and the Bookstore; we’ve got seven books for you thus far. Reading them all gives you a preternatural understanding of Steely Dan, and many other chart-topping 1970s combos. This I guarantee.

I saluted the shnozzes of France, and uncovered the echoing atrocities of the Loudness War. I unleashed another anti-Disney thesis, wherein I explain that Disney is responsible for the worldwide falsehood that lemmings are suicidal. Like a vegan who stopped eating meat after seeing a slaughterhouse, I cannot in good conscience support anything with Disney’s signature on it. I have seen the terrible machinations behind the curtains. I have franchises of my own to protect.

If no one coughs, and someone hears it, does it make a sound?

Other milestones: Chuck Berry duck-walks on, and Mike the Pod turns 30. As per tradition, much of the month was padded out with previously published material.

April was extra-special, bringing with it showers of the fourth Bands I Useta Like, and oh man how I would gaze longingly at it, for hours. What the fuck happens when you start working on the next issue, and suddenly you’re bored with your previous work? Is that just how it goes? What is the endgame, anyway? Does anyone care anymore?

The strip for this month was Sepultura. To date, I don’t know whether you say it with the accent on the pul or the tur. I don’t really care, to be honest, so don’t correct me if I’m wrong.

I introduced everyone to my sister siteCeaseless Fables of Beyonding, which will be celebrating its 360th page this Sunday, concluding nine years of weekly strips. Yes, for the past nine years, I have been writing, drawing and coloring a comic page every week. Even on top of what you see here. Even including the Meddler Squad books, and whatever you see me ranting about dealing with, on Facebook. Try and create 52-100 of anything in one year, other than blog posts. If you succeed, ask everyone how much fun you were to be around. Spoiler alert: no.

I found a 40-year-old Playboy at a yard sale, and was reminded of the fact that life is basically hell with AIDS in 2017. I reevaluated my opinions of 2 Live Crew and Ice Cube. I spun legends of Dickie Goodman and Disco Demolition Night. I owned up to my insufferable nature, and taught you how your insecurities are being preyed upon. I attempted to lighten the mood with cards and board games. I’m starting to see why I flamed out so spectacularly this past fall.

In May, I helped you to declare intellectual immunity. Some of my personal favorites came along in May; that morning I imagined I spent with Moby, or that weird incident at Rocketry Club. I told you what you needed to hear. You asked, “Where is the love?“, and I replied that those are lamest last words. I don’t think this is fun anymore, for either of us.

Much like a lot of Atari 2600 games were, back in the day. Cut-outs and homemade lemonade stands were superior. Well, until Mortal Kombat hit the arcades.

June: even fewer articles, with Inner Circle as the opener! Then spiders, phones, and more comics from guys you’ve never heard of! There’s the Pink Panther, and the first set of Prideful Moments cards! Speaking of “prideful moments”, I reviewed the fifth Transformers blockbuster extensively, after viewing it in an empty theater, to the edification of no one!

I made many hilarious noises, which no one heard. OR DID THEY? (No. I was alone.)

July, thanks to garbage persons I thought were my friends, came and went with a mere three articles. One is a repeat that previously was only seen on the BIUL Facebook page and in the magazine, regarding the passing of Harvey Pekar. The other two are about why comedy stinks in 2017, and the price and importance of being a gadfly. I make a pretty good case for both, if I may say so.

In August, I attempted to right the ship. It worked out alright; the new Dead Kennedys strip is one of the most-shared pages in the history of the site.

The literal end result of “what would happen if I ran into Jello Biafra?”

The Dire Straits strip was re-run, and I reached out to the darker corners of fandom and obsession. Haters were in full swing with their Nazi hysteria by this point, before resorting to even lower tactics, so I had to plead for calm and pledge support for a blacklisted comedy show. The “Harassacre” had not yet begun to unfold. How young and innocent we all were, just mere months ago.

Remember; there’s always toys and games. Even when it’s all coming down.

September began the trend of three-update months, which continued to the present. I was kicked out of my home of five years in September. I found myself in another situation where working was impossible due to the environmental strain. I don’t have another fucking avocation, folks. If I can’t work, I can’t make money, and I start to die. I don’t run headlong into a disparate calling. I just die. Much like newsprint, common courtesy, and humor. I don’t go do other shit, or become something else. I just die.

Like Walter Becker, and one of my closest friends. So maybe, just maybe, when someone you know is suffering, the last thing they want to hear is “just give up and do something different”.

This month’s new strip was King Missile.

On to October, and addressing the dearth of new material. The best I could muster for Halloween 2017 was a salute to master illustrator Ralph Reese, and then I suggested that everyone GTFO the Internet. My feelings in that regard are only strengthened by the current month. You know why. It makes me sick to even think about it anymore. Congratulations, Mouse Kingdom.

I started to brace for impact in November, by reminding everyone that these wars are fought over imaginary matters. I even played some prescient Oingo Boingo. But you just couldn’t let up with the self-censorship bullshit. You kept bringing up how you worry “for your children”, as if they embodied your own fears. You kept claiming that “this word” or “this gesture” means something bad, and you get to be the arbiter of such, and judge people. Especially if you disagree with them. That’s what it all comes down to; you’re afraid other people will find out you’re wrong. You’re afraid. Your every action is born out of fear.

 If it wasn’t, why would you react so vehemently? What difference does it really make if someone disagrees with you? What actual fucking import does it have on your existence? Why do you feel the need to categorize people who don’t think like you do? Does that make them easier to tolerate?

Easier to wage an imaginary war against?

Hold on, we’re almost done. Don’t turn the lights off yet.

It’s nearly over. This article was as tedious as the year.

December. New strip for you; Cheap Trick. That’s right. I refuse to let the strip die. Its reservoirs of spite are far from depleted. The more you hate it, the stronger it becomes. And 2018 is its 20th anniversary.

The beauty of it is this; by the time I think I’ve dried the well, new anecdotes have grown. It’s far from evergreen, but it doesn’t stink just yet. I can use a strip from 2011 to evoke memories from the early ’90s. I can casually blast out a confession about being bullied, to instruct and edify. This is why I will likely continue this self-flagellation and folly for another year. I have to, or die. At least, in the figurative sense.

See you in 2018. 

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