Media

Lately, I’ve been on a media binge.  Well, not compared to some, but I’m consuming a few pieces of media old and new.

PARKS & RECREATION:  I love this show.  I love all the characters, I even love the 2nd season. I tolerate season one, but this is my current teddy bear series, which I am curling up with to go to sleep to because it is warm and familiar, like Andy Dwyer.  Oh, sure, I try not to fall asleep watching TV because I prefer reading, but this show is so good.

KURT VONNEGUT:  I’m re-reading Kurt Vonnegut from the beginning thanks mainly to the Vonneguys.  We are reading Welcome to the Monkey House right now, and these short stories are interesting.  I’m only halfway through, so I’ve read the eponymous story.  Kurt can get weird, but he also has several very down to earth character pieces. Cat’s Cradle and The Sirens of Titan are also behind us, Sirens being one of my favorites.  Slaughterhouse V lies ahead.

What is incredible is the prescience of Vonnegut. He might as well be writing some of this today, except he’s dead. There’s a few grains of salt one must take due to societal conventions, but overall he holds up very well

DISCWORLD: I’m splitting much of my reading time between Terry Pratchett and Kurt.  Pratchett makes me feel like writing is fun; Vonnegut makes if feel important. Pratchett’s earlier stuff isn’t as poignant as his later stuff.  His very latest work started to feel  a little on the nose.  Still, it’s all very fun to read.

SPOTIFY:  My main Spotify listening is on my “Discover Weekly” playlist, which has brought me new songs (to me) by the Mountain Goats.  There’s two amazing folksy artists I’ve really enjoyed named David Francey and Dave Alvin.  Dave Alvin has a song named “King of California” which is reminiscent of “Boots of Spanish Leather” by Bob Dylan. Absolutely wonderful.

The song I heard by David Francey was “Red-Winged Blackbird.”  It’s also folksy,  a bit more Irish sounding.

I’m no music expert, but I know what I like.

PETE’S DRAGON:  Holy crap, I loved this movie.  As annoying as it is to my wife, I found the original Pete’s Dragon boring and not my cup of tea, so I expected this remake to be a bit worse for wear. Well, it’s this delightful ballad of magic realism almost.  There’s no “grit” to it, really, but there’s a beautiful stark patina painted over this logging town that sees the action and the soundtrack is a bunch of folksy acoustic, wistful stuff.

It’s reminds me of another movie I saw recently, and I apologize I don’t remember the name, but it was so manipulative.  All movies are, but this one was too easily apparent.  Pete’s Dragon is nice and subtle, it has great moments. A great picture to watch with the kids.  Oh, it wasn’t a movie, it was a book called Out of my Mind, which would be good for its demographic (5-6 grade), but as an adult comes across as manipulative.

SING:  As a parent who loves the movies, boy do I get see every movie made for kids.  Thankfully, I’ve managed to miss “Norm of the North,” so we saw this with the kids.  It was OK, maybe OK+.  I think it could have been better, but it’s so manufactured it’s hard to find the nugget within.  The theme of believing in yourself is on the sleeve, so maybe subtlety would have helped?

ROGUE ONE:  I saw this!  I did!  Zach and I both saw it together.  It felt like a Star Wars movie and it was alright. I missed all the whiz-bang where so many of my peers and respected creators loved it – I found it OK + (which tells me Sing is probably more of an OK-). Life was not changed, but it was a fun two hours in the theater.

ANYWAY, that’s my media update.  I’m watching the Lethal Weapons, too, but I haven’t started.  Shane Black is my pick for a “Cat’s Cradle” movie, which is going to sound bonkers to most people, but I can see it in my head.

Just Keep Swimming

Today was a day that found us going to McDonald’s.  Because, when one decides they are going to try to eat and behave in a healthier way, McDonald’s is the perfect solution.  I am trying silly tricks, too, like sparkling water and whatnot – I enjoy it, actually. Well, after that we went swimming.  I enjoy swimming with my kids – it was an aha moment.  It’s so nice to lose myself in fun with the kids.

Well, tomorrow school starts again and we have had a short break.  No two weeks for us this year!  One short week, a Monday, a Tuesday – it’s not enough, though. Well, at least it will keep us busy.

Upcoming fun:  I’m going to be seeing Steve Martin and Martin Short in March!  We are very excited – Dad and I are going to see them together.  Steve Martin is a personal hero.

 

Reading

One resolution I often hear from people, but not one I feel compelled to make myself, is about reading.  People pop in in January to make goals for reading.  I read a lot, so the numbers quoted are interesting to read – some people love other activities.  For me, reading is a wonderful way to pass the time.

When reading, when deeply into a text, I don’t see the words anymore.  My imagination processes the book as a window, I’m visualizing the action on the page in a way – it’s very fun.  I read many, many books, but many online articles as well.  I wish I was as organized as my mother who would take notes on the websites she liked and retain a lot of information because of it.

So, goals for reading.  I don’t have any.  I’m going to try to read more paper instead of electrons, solely because electrons cause greater distraction.  “Wow, this action sequence is amazing – but I wonder if there’s a new cat picture on Facebook?”  It’s not fun to be so distracted.  Also, my wife’s iPad is an amazing comic book delivery system, so there’s no hint of Ludditism here.  Ludditery?  I don’t know.

Today, I finished a book by Sharon Draper called Out of My Mind which I did not find altogether that great.  It is a first-person story written from the perspective of a fifth grade girl who has cerebral palsy.  It reads like someone thought there should be  a first-person perspective of a girl with cerebral palsy.  It’s full of convenience and manufactured events.  I found the main characters very well-formed, but the secondary almost cartoonish.  There was certainly a strong emotional connection, but it felt so manipulative in a certain way, I couldn’t enjoy it.

Also on the reading horizon – Kurt Vonnegut!  I am an acolyte of the wonderful Kurt Vonneguys from Cracked website.  Each episode so far has been a delight, even as they stretch into crazy length for a book discussion.  There next episode is about God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, and I believe the next book will be Slaughterhouse V, but I’ll have to check.

Currently, I’m reading Brandon Sanderson’s The Final Empire which is a book I enjoy, but am not feeling very connected to.  Like, I don’t feel the drive to keep reading and reading.  I find it being workmanlike to read a chapter every day or so, but it’s not bad.  Fantasy of this type has never been a huge draw for me, however I’ve heard good things so I keep on keeping on.

How many books will I read this year?  I don’t know.  It seems unfair to count the books I read for school, but that would push it very high indeed.  50?  I’ll go with 50.  We’ll see how it goes.