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things i want to do in 2013.

I suppose April is a bit late to start sharing the stuff I want to do in 2013. Better late than never? Every year I make a list of stuff I want to try to do over the course of the year, that way I can look at it from time to time to offer me some motivation to get cracking on my goals as the months pass by.

Some are purely story based, i.e. movie or book related. Some are more concrete and harder to accomplish. They aren’t vague resolutions, like “Get In Shape!” Instead, they are specific, like “Run a 10k” and “Run a 24 Minute 5k.”

I’ve decided to share the list with you, because that will add a bit of added impetus to get this stuff done. Some are personal, but whatever, here’s to throwing caution to the wind! I think I’ll offer more specific updates eventually, and go a bit deeper into a few, but for now, here is the list so far:

  1. Read 52 Books [As of this writing, I’ve read 14.]
  2. Finish My Integrative Project
  3. Complete My MDiv
  4. Watch 250 Movies [I’m behind on this one, 62 as of this writing.]
  5. Find a Way to Afford Therapy Again
  6. Start Blogging Consistently Again [Check!]
  7. Finish ‘Trigger Fiction’
  8. Run a 24 Minute 5K
  9. Run a 10K [Did this for the first time last week.]
  10. Try to Publish Something
  11. Finish Writing a Novel
  12. Organize The Basement [It was in rough shape, but I’ve made really great progress so far!]
  13. Come Up with a Legit Halloween Costume, Also, Attend or Host a Big Halloween Party
  14. See 36 Movies in the Theater
  15. Actively Work to Get Medicated [In process, but there’s definitely been an improvement!]
  16. Attempt Karaoke
  17. Get Weight Back Into the 160’s
  18. Buy a New Suit
  19. Master Five Cocktails, Along With Their Common Variations
  20. Run An Officially Timed 5K
  21. Work Full-Time [Conventionally or Unconventionally]
  22. Complete Two+ DIY Projects
  23. Host Six Parties and Six Dinners
  24. Leave the Continent [We’re going to Scotland and England with Em’s family in July.]
  25. Finish Patronizing All Downtown Ballard Restaurants

There are a few things I want to add, things related to concerts and whatnot, but for now, there is the 2013 To Do List. I also made one for my 30’s for my birthday last year, so I’ll share that one soon, too.

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only god forgives. [trailer park.]

Danish filmmaker Nicolas Winding Refn’s films are extremely beautiful, and extremely violent. I really love the way Refn sets up every single shot, and how his musical choices at once complement and contrast with each scene. He also gets really amazing performances from his leading men. Thus what made Drive one of those films I just couldn’t get out of my head, it stays with me still. It’s a film I’m sure I’ll see many more times to come. It captures me in so many ways, none of them comforting. My response to Drive is here.

I’m really excited that Gosling and Refn have teamed up again, and the trailer appears to indicate another film that is both remarkable, and difficult to watch. Gosling looks like he’ll be as perfect in this as he was as The Driver.

Now, if only Gosling and Refn would team up yet again, while also bringing back Tom Hardy (who was amazing for Refn on Bronson).

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before midnight.

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As film franchises go, this one is pretty special. Before Midnight marks the third film in the series, and continues the trend in which a new film comes out every nine years. Each installment gives us another brief glimpse into the lives of two characters who met on a train and spent an evening in Vienna in Before Sunrise

They are both highly praised films, but Before Sunset is the one I really love. Seeing these two people trying to come to terms with who they are as adults, even people as successful as these two characters, wondering about the gap between who they dreamed they would be and who they are actually becoming… and the pain and honesty in the two lead performances is just so wonderful. These really are two of the smartest actors in the business. The films are also beautifully filmed and directed as well. The writing is sharp, and the lead actors actually improvise a lot, too, making the dialogue really natural and genuine. I’m so excited for the third film.

If you haven’t seen the first two films and ever plan to watch them, I’d recommend skipping this trailer so it doesn’t spoil anything.

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game of thrones is back!!

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Game of Thrones is back, bitches!! Although we didn’t get all the great characters back in the premiere. 

GoT is my favorite drama on TV, and I’m not alone. A ton of people watched the season three premier live, and loads of people don’t watch HBO shows live, but watch during re-airings or On-Demand. Also, apparently it had the biggest pirating swarm of any television show episode, ever. People can’t get enough of this GoT action.

For me, the show is a perfect storm, because not only do I love the show, but I also read the first book when it was released in 1996, so I’m what you would call an O.G. (Original Gangsta for the uninitiated). This means that I know what’s coming for the most part, I know who lives and who dies, and while you might think that would ruin things for me, it doesn’t at all. The show is so well made, and is such a great adaptation in a lot of respects, that I enjoy watching the viewers who haven’t read the books deal with events as they occur. You thought people lost their shit because of Downton Abbey killing off important characters? Hahaha. Haha. HA. Hahahahahaha. Just wait.

I told you before the show ever aired that you would do well to watch it, and even predicted that, as long as it was well-made, it would become my favorite show.

The end of every episode is a disappointment. I just wish it would keep going. I start getting worried as the minutes tick by, because I realize the end of the episode is soon approaching. So sad. I only watched this week’s episode once so far, but for episode two I will probably get back to my habit from last year, in which I watch the episode alone on Sunday night, and then watch it again with Emily and my friends on Monday night.

 

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the good and the bad.

This blogging challenge is a good thing for me. I still have a long way to go in getting my brain back into gear in terms of creativity, but at least I’m doing something every single day.

However, one issue with the challenge is that with the need to post something new every day, quality will suffer. Some days I won’t have much time, and I won’t want to waste a good topic on a half-assed post. That will leave RtM with uninteresting posts that never really go anywhere and are clearly just filler.

Like this one.

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cocktail posts are coming.

Some time soon, I’m going to share some posts about making cocktails. I’m deepening my exploration of well-made cocktails, cocktail history, various recipe ingredients, etc. I want to share this journey of learning via this blog, because… why the hell not? This may be in the form of videos, or just in written posts, or whatever.

Obviously, there will be posts about classic staples like the Old Fashioned, the Manhattan, and a scratch Margarita (“Sour mix in a margarita? What is this, Auschwitz?”).

I was wondering if you folks might have suggestions. Favorite cocktail? Favorite spirit? Strong feelings about the right and wrong way to make a certain drink? Sound off, folks.

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Cheers!

 

 

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‘the imperfectionsists,’ by tom rachman. [fictionista.]

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Christopher Buckley of the New York Times wrote that The Imperfectionists was “so good I had to read it twice simply to figure out how he pulled it off.” That’s the sort of work Tom Rachman has done with this book. It’s called a novel, but it is really a series of vignettes revealing the lives of staff (along with the owners and a subscriber) at an international English language newspaper based in Rome. Thus, the only character present throughout the entire book is the newspaper. Having worked as a journalist, Rachman has the insider insight to add satisfying depth and details to his fictional paper.

There are so many bittersweet romantic notions surrounding the dying newspaper industry, which are thrown into even starker contrast by the oddity of an English language paper in Rome (the reason why the paper exists to begin with adds even more heartbreaking truth to this). That being the case makes this particular setting the perfect backdrop for the bittersweet moments (although some are just bitter) of the various characters we meet in this book.

Rachman’s prose is perfect, and fans of word craft should definitely read this book. His short glimpses into the lives of these folks is carefully wrought to let each feel whole, like all the best writers of short stories have the power to do.

I read the book back in early February, and it was a part of what started to get the creative forces in my heart thawing. It’s one of those things that is just so wonderfully crafted that it made me want to create something of my own, writing so good it made me want to write. I can’t imagine offering anything higher praise than that.

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warrior.

url-3This is a movie I danced around for a long time. All signs pointed to it being unexpectedly good, but I just couldn’t convince myself I’d actually enjoy a movie about MMA. Well, chalk another point up for iCheckMovies. I know I mention that a lot, it really does just add so much to my movie-watching habits.

What had happened was that a while back, I completed my first and only list on iCheckMovies, the Reddit Top 250. I even wrote about it. Well, a few months ago, Reddit changed their list, stripping me of the trophy I had so rightfully earned. Dicks. Thus, Warrior was now in the way of getting my platinum trophy back. It’s available to stream instantly on Netflix, so… what the hell, right?

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Warrior is really good! On Rotten Tomatoes, (where the film has an 83% score) the consensus is: “Warrior relies on many of the clichés that critics of the genre love to mock — and it transcends them with gripping action, powerful acting, and heart.” I agree entirely. This is a small, powerful story about family, abuse, pain, and forgiveness, carried on the backs of three really wonderful performances. The sports film clichés are transcended because Warrior doesn’t try to bypass them or ignore them, but journeys deep into the heart of those clichés, offering depth and grit where we would often only see shallow nonsense.

It actually had to be a movie about MMA. These characters make sense within this sports metaphor, one desperate enough to put his body on the line for his family, one so angry and hurting that rage is all he has left to navigate the world. The savage brutality of MMA isn’t ‘pretended’ away, it adds to the visceral grittiness as we see an outward manifestation of what these characters are carrying internally.

There are definitely some awkward sports movie realities, especially the moments when publicity for the fighting tournament is being used to move the story along (something that happens several times). Yet, Warrior exceeded my expectations in every way, and if you’ve got a free evening and a Netflix account, you should check it out.

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poster for ‘ender’s game.’

The first poster for Ender’s Game is here! To offer an overly short summary, the story is set in a future in which humanity has had disastrous conflicts with an alien race, and is constantly fearing and preparing for the next war, knowing hope of surviving another conflict aren’t good. Our protagonist is Ender Wiggin, a brilliant child selected to attend an elite military academy where kids are trained in tactical strategy and space warfare using various games. Turns out, Ender is a tactical genius, and there are some who believe he is humanity’s only hope. Yet, as is the case in all wars, nothing is ever as simple as it seems.

As crazy as Card is in real life, I love this book. The second book is remarkable as well, but I’m not sure there would be much of a mainstream audience for a sci-fi movie of that type. It’s very different in tone. I would watch the hell out of a Speaker for the Dead film, but it would be interesting to see if the powers that be would be willing to foot the bill.

Anyway, if you haven’t read Ender’s Game yet, you have until November 1st if you want to beat the movie’s release.
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archer, one more thing.

Okay, okay, two posts in a row about Archer, but I need to update something I completely forgot about when I wrote yesterday’s post. Another great thing about Archer is that it is entirely and intentionally anachronistic. It is completely untethered from any single historical era. Just a small sampling of the limitless examples: the KGB and Soviet Union not only exist, but are still the primary enemy of the US in many episodes, the characters all dress like its the 60’s, the computers often look late 70’s early 80’s, Archer’s valet Woodhouse fought in World War I, they all have GPS cell phones, Dane Cook and internet pornography are joked about… seriously, the list is unending.

It’s a pretty great quirk, and allows the writers to tell whatever jokes they want without worrying about time period. In any other show, perhaps it would be tiresome and seem lazy. In Archer, it fits perfectly, somehow. Just another thing to love about Archer.

I promise tomorrow’s post won’t be about Archer. Probably.  

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