Midlife Crisis Crossover 2016 Year in Review: The Likes, the Loves, and the Losers

Monument Circle!

May: a rare selfie with my wife Anne on Monument Circle downtown on the day of the Indianapolis 500 Festival Parade.

Hey-ho, reader! Welcome to the fifth annual Midlife Crisis Crossover year-in-review. This unassuming site was launched on April 28, 2012, as a cathartic experiment in writing whatever came to mind without waiting for other people to start my conversations for me, and so far it’s been a fulfilling use of galleries and essays that might otherwise either languish unwritten in my head or collect endless rejection emails from every professional website ever. Sometime this spring we’ll be reaching our 1,500th entry, reflecting once more on the hundreds of man-hours expended to date on this self-expressive non-profit project, and rationalizing new excuses not to stop, even if by the time I die it’s just me and ad-bots posting harsh emojis at each other down inside the spam filter.

Although we previously reported in our 2015 year-in-review that site traffic had plummeted 39% below 2014’s historic levels, I’m relieved to find that 2016 traffic is down from 2015’s by an acceptably negligible 0.003%. If Congress would approve adding a December 32nd to the calendar, I bet we could get the years to match. Then again, if Congress thought about extending this abominable year for one minute longer for any reason, they’d be named Public Enemy #1, heinous accomplices all but daring 2016 to add to its celebrity body count.

MCC had a few memorable moments in small spotlights, which is more than we can say for 2015. When you’re a not-young, not-cute introvert who’s terrible at networking, who’s not the ideal spokesperson for many hot-button issues, and who’s largely disconnected from any and all benefactors with refined tastes and powerful influence, every day, every entry, is a test of endurance, self-esteem, and diligence in the face of the overcrowded internet and a complete absence of constructive criticism. But we did what we could anyway to entertain ourselves and anyone generous enough to visit and leave a visible calling card.

Onward, then, to our annual blog-stats party! Featuring value-added decorations, a selection of never-posted outtakes from this year’s photo collections, plus two additional images that bookended our year in entertainment. Enjoy!

Abbie Mills!

April 2016: Nicole Beharie as TV’s Abbie Mills, posing with one of many bones the showrunners refused to throw her.

2016 on Midlife Crisis Crossover looked like so:


1. MCC Live-Tweeting: The “Sleepy Hollow” Season 3 Finale
2. Ten Lessons Learned at Our “Late Show with Stephen Colbert” Taping
3. Wizard World Chicago 2016 Photos, Part 5: Last Call for Cosplay!
4. Wizard World Chicago 2016 Photos, Part 2: DC Comics Cosplay!
5. Indiana State Fair 2016 Photos #3: The Bicentennial Bison

We won’t soon forget the long evening I spent playing grief counselor and channeling outrage for fellow Sleepy Hollow fans incensed at the sloppy, unnecessary, graceless demise of erstwhile Lieutenant Abbie Mills, originally conceived as equal partner and BFF to our man Ichabod Crane but rumored to have been offed as the result of behind-the-scenes things-falling-apart. I’d stopped recapping the show several months earlier, but returned to my self-appointed position for one last recap, to praise what Nicole Beharie had given us and to bury what took it away.

That time we saw a taping of a Late Show episode on our New York City vacation came and went like any other entry, but the hasty listicle I hammered out later that evening in the hotel room is slowly turning into the best new evergreen entry to come out of 2016. The follow-up entry has more details and photos, and was written in less of a speed-rap frenzy, but no one cares.

Anne and I have been members of the Wizard World Chicago fan group on Facebook for the past few years, and this year felt bold enough to share with them what we do. They’re good people with similar sensibilities to ours who overwhelmingly approved and didn’t shout us down for self-promotion, especially since several of them had their own worthy, relevant fan gigs to plug.

The strong showing for the Bicentennial Bison statue herd was the result of a one-day blip that I believe originated from a message board or collectors’ forum, but any specifics were beyond my reach. Sometimes the internet is capricious and statistical anomalies happen.

snack dress!

August: The many and varied 4-H projects in competition at the Indiana State Fair included this dress made entirely from snack packaging.


1. The Resources After the “Spotlight” End Credits
2. Installing This Stupid Dryer Vent Cover Counts as a Victory
3. The “Wreck-It Ralph” Easter Eggs You’ll Never See
4. The Alderaanian Glitter Bomber Strikes!
5. Yes, There’s a Scene After the “Django Unchained” End Credits

End-credits buried extras are a service we like to cover wherever possible. I have no idea why Django in particular outranked, say, Dallas Buyers Club or Frozen, two other inexplicable old-timers that won’t fade away.

Longtime MCC readers may recall the Wreck-It Ralph joke list and the world’s definitive comedic essay on dryer vent cover repair, the two longest-living survivors of MCC Year 1. Searchers can’t get enough of ’em, apparently.

As for our Carrie Fisher experience…well. Obvious reasons that all came down within this past tumultuous week.

Star Wars junk!

September: One of several Star Wars photo-op dioramas set up at the Cincinnati Comic Expo.


1. [3-way tie] Sweet Anticipation of Goodies to Come
1. Fabulous Frothy Fatty Frolicky Friday Fun with a Fondue Fountain
1. The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #21: Lithic Landscape Lollygagging
2. Spare the Cupcakes, Spoil the Student
3. [tie] Dinnertime Down the Street at Lola’s
3. The Springs in Fall * 2015 Photos: Circles of Sugar and Joy
4. The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #15: A Most Vibrant House of Worship
5. When Forgotten Foods Transmogrify into Frights
6. [tie] “Relax! It’s easy!” says the dog.
6. Partners! The Musical!
7. [3-way tie] Edginess at the Edge of the Woods
7. 2016 Ain’t Nothing But a Number
7. Mother vs. Mother Earth
8. The Waning Power of Convention Nostalgia Prompts
9. 2016 NYC Trip Photos #15: Shuttles in Starshine
10. [3-way tie] Geek Shopping Now Easier Than Ever (for some)
10. Another Convention, Another Series of Quests
10. C2E2 2016 Photos: Dance of the Mad Deadpools
11. A Frame of Reference for Effervescent Irreverence
12. Hoosier Homecoming Photos #1: Adventures in Local Government

My last “Freshly Pressed” entry was over three years ago, and the replacement “Discover” program hasn’t turned my way because the field is multitudinous and I am infinitesimal. In the meantime, this recurring WordPress community feature is the closest I generally get to “networking” with other WordPress bloggers with any consistent success, albeit fleeting and temporary every time. I do try to make each submission as meaningful and accessible as possible to non-bloggers and non-WordPress users, because there’s something about running a blog that’s read only by other bloggers that sounds faintly like the opposite of what I’m going for with MCC in general.


June: Anne emerging from a Clark Kent-style phone booth outside the Super Museum at the Superman Celebration in Metropolis.


1. The Valentine’s Day Gift of Dessert
2. [3-way tie] Our 2011 Road Trip #22: Winnie the Pooh and Ghostbusters Too
2. The Springs in Fall — 2015 Photos #26: Mission in Manitou Springs
2. 2015 Road Trip Photos #46: Presidential Flowers Are Prettiest
3. [4-way tie] 2016 NYC Trip Photos #18: 20th Century Art Faire
3. 2016 NYC Trip Photos #2: The Kitchen and the Kitchen
3. 20 Lessons Learned from 4 Years of Blogging for Satisfaction Instead of Success
3. C2E2 Kicks Off Our 2016 Convention Season in Style

For what it’s worth, the Valentine’s Day entry, which leads off with a creative food photo that was simple but fun to compose, would tie for 11th place if pitted against the Weekly Photo Challenge list. It’s interesting to see what readers liked most among our November 2015 flight to Colorado Springs, our encore visit to New York City last July, and the remastered edition of our 2011 NYC travelogue. More remastering is on deck for 2017, as we still have nine years’ worth of road trips yet to add to the MCC archives, probably starting with the oldest and least digital, then working my way forward. Rest assured there’ll be a 2017 road trip, but we’re still in the first planning stage, by which I mean we have no idea where we’re going yet.

Another, non-photo entry on that list is another reminder that blogging about blogging is a popular blog topic among bloggers who read blogs. It’s sorely tempting to keep writing about writing just to grovel for Likes, but “Write more like me!” is a presumptuous, silly proclamation to be writ large from way down here. I mean, I may do it again in the future anyway, but my conscience denies any notions of making it a regular feature.


August: At Wizard World Chicago, a nearly life-size BB-8 has some notifications to clear out.


12/29/2016: Three days after Carrie Fisher’s passing, some unknown person, persons, or organization shared “The Alderaanian Glitter Bomber Strikes!” to a lot of people, resulting in the highest single-day traffic MCC has seen since we quit attending Gen Con.
4/10/2016: Basically our wake for Abbie Mills.
8/25/2016: The point at which I’d finished uploading all our usable Wizard World Chicago cosplay photos.
2/29/2016:: The day after the Academy Awards, movie fans went nuts for our Spotlight review, in particular the movie’s end-credit summation of all cities worldwide that have reported sexual abuse at a local Catholic church. It’s a long, atrocious list.
5/1/2016: I posted three entries’ worth of cosplay pics from the third annual Indiana Comic Con in a single day.

Ted Allen!

January: amazing colossal Chopped host Ted Allen holding a cooking demo at Indy’s first annual Fantastic Food Fest. We have reason to believe one of his Chopped costars will be appearing at this year’s in three weeks.


1. MCC Live-Tweeting: The “Sleepy Hollow” Season 3 Finale
2. 20 Lessons Learned from 4 Years of Blogging for Satisfaction Instead of Success
3. “The Revenant”: Furrier Road
4. Cooking with Ted Allen at Indy’s Fantastic Food Fest
5. [tie] Mother vs. Mother Earth
5. My 2015 at the Movies, Part 1 of 2: The Year’s Least Best

I appreciate that Weekly Photo Challenges sometimes attracts encouraging passersby. Always appreciated. And while no one likes Liking movie entries, they can be good for sparking convos. A few of these were random chats with one WordPresser in particular whom I haven’t heard from in a while. Hopefully she’s doing okay out there.

La La Land!

December: La La Land. Remember that one? Gwen Stacy and that dreamboat from The Notebook? No? Ringing zero bells? Really?


Five 2016 entries have netted exactly zero (0) Likes from other WordPress users. Everyone remained more committed to their immediately rewarding circles of friends and/or followers, preoccupied by Real Life, in mourning for the Daily Celebrity Deathwatch, or otherwise unimpressed with my eccentricities and typos. Even bots and spammers resisted their programming and were all like “ha ha NOPE.”

Out of 271 new entries, these five were ordered by viewers to take a long cruise to the Island of Misfit Posts:

* Oscars 2016: Nonwhite Presenters Present Bright Spots in White Cinema

Readers hate long entries, and my annual Oscar recaps are always the longest of all. They’re a tradition for me that predates MCC by several years, but the enthusiasm from my previous writing space never carried over into a new audience. I’m at a loss how to shorten these without reducing them to a featureless, humorless, neutered list of bullet points made redundant by entertainment journalism websites and their link-curating fans.

* Wizard World Chicago 2016 Photos, Part 5: Last Call for Cosplay!

The Wizard World Chicago fan page on Facebook embraced our cosplay assortments; the rest of the free world, not so much. Acceptable losses if it means the intended fan base gets it.

* The Heartland Film Festival 2016 Preview Night

From August to October I had more experiences and topics on hand to write about than I could crank out on a healthy schedule without quitting some hobbies. I didn’t write about this particular, low-key evening of entertainment and free food until a month later when it was less of a preview and more of a heads-up to a global audience that’s not as interested in Indianapolis entertainment opportunities as we are.

* So There’s an Extra During the “Kubo and the Two Strings” End Credits

More fallout from my autumn 2016 topic glut. The handful of cineastes who adored this stop-motion wonder had already moved on by the time I scribbled my thoughts two months after release. I’ve known this for years: if you want to share opinions about a brand new movie, write about it while it’s still brand new or else be prepared for silence in response.

* You Can’t Spell “La La Land” Without L.A.

A corollary to the previous rule of thumb: don’t write about new movies too early before anyone cares about them. La La Land opened at one theater here in Indy a week before it expanded nationwide on Christmas Day. My son and I made the road trip to the other side of town for the occasion and have no regrets. I’d thought that Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone had enough fans to inspire a stronger reaction to their latest team-up. So far, no.

The verdict from this evidence is clear: I should stick to travelogues and photo galleries, and never speak of movies again.

That’s not actually happening, mind you. A few of those reviews found light love from the cadre of longtime friends who follow MCC’s Facebook page or hang out with me on Twitter. And if all else fails, my wife thinks I’m cool! So far after 4½ years and 1400+ entries, I can only recall one entry that ever caused a serious disagreement. So that’s kind of keen.

And if you’re still here after these 2000+ words, then you’re keen, too. Thanks for reading. Here’s praying for an all-new, all-different 2017, but maybe in positive ways? Hopefully?

Governor's Office!

October : our tour of the Governor’s Office at the Indiana State House during the Hoosier Homecoming in honor of the Indiana Bicentennial. The officeholder was off doing other things, none of which you’ll note were mentioned here. At all. You’re welcome.

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