On the plus side, I HAVE been averaging 4 books a month, and I have a nice start to what could potentially turn into what in my family is the best beard in history.
Everything else, including writing? Eh, not so much. Sorry in advance.
Part of that is my frustration over where to start. Do I dive back into film writing, and then work on bringing my readership back up? Do I jump headfirst into the book reviews, as I've been shamefully promising Adele and Un:Bound I would, only to freeze up every time I begin? Do I go more personal and journalize (apparently it's a real word) my life and its various struggles, victories, defeats, and other assorted detritius?
Do I continue questioning myself over my use of the word detritus?
Too many questions, and too much questioning what I want to do as opposed to just doing it, and figuring it out along the way. So that's what I'm doing here.
So what's been keeping me sane during bouts of ridiculous work arrangements, gargantuan tamturms from 3-year olds, and the normal grind of daily life in the arctic wasteland that is the first fiscal quarter of 2011? Let's take a categorical look:
On the BOOK front, I've been trying to divide my reading into three components: physical paper books so I can cut down the clutter in my office/man cave, digital books on my nook/iPad, so I can look hip and exciting sitting on the train in the 21st century, and the promise to read at least 1 non-fiction book a month. And the interesting thing is it's been the non-fiction that's been really staying with me when the last page has been turned (or clicked). January brought Carl Sagan's The Varieties of Scientific Experience: A Personal View of the Search for God. An edited version of the late Sagan's 1985 Gifford Lectures, it's a beautiful look at one man's attempt to define what the word "God" means when applied to scientific practice, and his attempt to broaden the scope of what we typically define as God is both illuminating and deeply personal, and stands as the best attempt at the answers I've been asking myself for years.
A million years apart but still strangely connected in my mind is Get in the Van, Henry Rollins' exacting account of him time in the seminal hardcore band Black Flag. "Unflinching" doesn't begin to describe the bleak, destructive outlook Rollins unfurls in each entry, and it's a brutally honest look at the world through the eyes of someone who, even at age 50, refuses to accept the established order, to take without question the actions of those around him. Even when I disagree with him, I admire Rollins' refusal to take anything for granted, using his own senses and experiences to dictate the way the world works, and in that way he firmly connects himself to Sagan in my mind.
Based on the above it should come as no surprise that a large part of the Geek Monkey MUSIC experience has been around hardcore and punk. Black Flag has been in constant rotation, especially Slip It In and The First Four Years. Reading Get in the Van clued me into some great music from UK Subs, D.O.A., the Minutemen, and the Meat Puppets, all who have great compilation records if you're just starting out (I personally recommend Introducing the Minutmen, a whopping 35 tracks for $8.99 and the UK Subs' Before You Were Punk: 28 Punk Classics, which is a steal at $7.99).
MOVIES are something I have a harder time recalling. Despite seeing more films in the theater in December than I had in all of the rest of 2010, nothing brought up the urge to expound or critique, despite my love for BLACK SWAN, TRUE GRIT, and THE AMERICAN (others, like TRON:LEGACY and PAPER MAN, didn't fare so well). Netflix Watch Instantly has been a boon, and the ability to check out other great films like I AM LOVE, EXIT THROUGH THE GIFT SHOP, RESTREPO and DOGTOOTH only reinforces my decision to drop the physical discs down from three to one, and right now I'm pretty close to dropping that as well.
I still have dozens of DVDs and Blu-rays sitting in the house that need to get watched, top of the stack being 127 HOURS, WINTER'S BONE, THE TOWN, and more Criterion discs than I have any right to own, considering the piles of binders still left unwatched. So the hope is to get down the pile by checking out two movies a week, trying to mix up the selections, and get down to a number approaching normal, sane levels.
Well, that looks to be it for now. Now that's this post's over, it felt really good to be writing again: looking links, finding images, throwing whateer I want onto to the screen and seeing if it sticks. But now the family's out of the house, my coffee's getting cold, and it's time to enjoy the few minutes of quiet I have before the wheel turns back and I have a young boy run top speed through the and show me what he learned at karate by promptly kicking me in the balls.