Posts Tagged 'Lists'

Getting Organized

Time Keeps on Slipping, Slipping, Slipping...

My least favorite part of having a mental to-do list is that I haven’t yet compiled it into a written, tangible to-do list. The penultimately worst part is knowing there are so many things to do that aren’t on my immediate to do list, so that they get relegated to the larger, long-term to do list that makes me sigh with frustration. For each time I silently wish for a full week of nothing to do but my to-do list, I have to make a mental note to wish for an additional week once all primary to-do’s are done so that I can get to the second-tier.

I have things that don’t belong to me: books borrowed from people that I’m not going to read or that I have read, including an entire comic book run (how do I transport that back to Kansas City for Christmas? Do I bite the bullet and mail it?), DVDs I haven’t watched in months and won’t watch for another few months. There are shelves sitting beside my book case that I meant to hang a year ago and another stack of smaller shelves in the closet that I bought but haven’t set up. And where there are un-hung shelves, there are pictures and knick-knacks and clutter, much of which should just be discarded anyway – yet another thing to do. There is my grand-parents’ typewriter that I want to get working again; old clothes to be taken to Goodwill; serving the community I keep wanting to do with my church; an impending oil-change; organization of financial records.

But this is the way these things go, you never get as much done as you want to. I’m notorious with myself for trying to pack usefulness into every spare second of the day and failing without fail.

But now, between now and the end of the year, I see some very achievable things to be done that almost always make my to-do lists. By the end of the month, I’m going to finish reading Freedom (almost to page 400 now), finish writing a screenplay, continue looking for a job – I have multiple leads in a few wildly different job markets – and continue daily devotionals, which include praying, reading in both the Old and New Testaments, and occasionally journaling. These things are doable.

Looking a little further ahead, which gets a little more dangerous, I’d like to complete two more short screenplays by the end of the year, totaling no more than 40 pages total, and have definitive plans to make one of three different short films in the first quarter of next year. The big goal right now, though, is, and has to be, getting a job. An industry job would be ideal and is possible, but any of a few different things will do. I’m getting antsy. My bank account is by no means dwindled, but neither can I describe it as full or robust.

Time is my problem. Organization can be a fickle friend. But things will happen and before long I’ll be longing for the ability to stay up until 3:45am writing a blog on a whim that was definitely not on today’s to-do list.


Best of 2008

If you are like me, you make lists. Lists of lists even. If I want to know who are my favorite film directors of all time, I know I’ve made a list of them, which I can forever amend and edit. If I want to compile my top 20 books of all time, I am in luck that I have kept track of every book I’ve read since 2001, and have a star rating attached to each of them. I use a 4 star system, which does not function as a translatable percentage, though it would seem easy to apply. 3 stars does not mean 75%. Art is not judged like a pop quiz. I have been looking over my list of books read and CDs heard and DVDs watched, and I am thinking of them in terms of when they came throughout the year. I bought The Raconteurs’ sophomore album “Consolers of the Lonely,” because I liked their first CD okay, and hoped they’d grown (they had). That CD is listed first on my list of purchases for the year, but it wasn’t released until the end of March. And for me, it feels most like summer for all I listened to it. The three Tom Waits albums I bought have no frame of reference, though, because they feel like forever (same goes with The Decemberists. Once I listen to them enough, it’s like they’ve always been there. They are absorbed). I don’t recall if I had them when I saw him in concert, because I have so much of his stuff, the albums blend in to each other. This fall I got on a Jay-Z kick, so they feel like running and falling leaves and sweat and motion. But I’ve just been talking music. And I haven’t gotten to my awards yet.


The Collective Experience

The Collective Experience

For the finale of my podcast, my co-host and I have chosen to discuss not simply our favorite this-or-that’s of 2008. That would be too simple. Our podcast has been rigorously, ridiculously overly expansive, and in that name, we have decided to discuss our Top 10 Artistic Experiences… of ALL TIME. That is to say, if there were only 10 artistic moments you could have, if all else were to be locked away and discarded – no, forsaken   what would you choose? What moments did you witness or have that really stick out? 



The Solitary Experience

The Solitary Experience

It is an impossible game to play at. How do you compare, say, a live concert with the reading of a book? Or going to a Broadway play that you thought was just okay to watching your favorite movie of all time alone in your room one night with your girlfriend? Can the two be reconciled? Yes, of course, the answers will be carefully selected, but I don’t yet know what big:small moment ratio I’ll have. How much does the subjective experience of a thing compare with its objective importance to you? When I saw “Tropic Thunder” the first time, I laughed more than at any other movie this year. I was with good friends, we were all in hysterics. Second viewing? Different city, early evening, second movie that day, and a lame-ass crowd. Most of the movie fell flat. The jokes took forever to get from the screen to me, they seemed completely un-spontaneous, and  instead the movie’s glaring pacing issues and Ben Stiller’s badness came shining through. But I still remember the first viewing fondly. I take the few things from the movie I really did like, and let the rest be fun had with friends. 


So…2008. Let’s give out some awards.

Best DVD Discovery – “The Public Enemy” from 1931, with one of my all-time favorite performances by James Cagney that makes you beam with angry pride. He is the origin and Godfather of all portrayals of gangsters, criminals, and low-lives. Below is my favorite scene, which is also the most iconic. Think of film noir. Think of “The Matrix.” Think of Daniel Day Lewis in “Gangs of New York” and think of Heath Ledger’s Joker.

Best Album Bought – The Mountain Goats’ 2002 album “Tallahassee” because it is simple and dreadful and lovely and tells me the story of my life. 

Best Literary FindWuthering Heights, by Emily Bronte. My senior year of college, I took a class on Jane Austen. This book is what I had hoped to find. It is deeper, wiser, more emotional, more stirring, more painful, and more gloriously written than anything Ms. Austen ever did or could hope to do (God rest her soul). Austen is the Salieri to Ms. Bronte’s Mozart.

Best Back-to-Back Experience – In the span of 10 days, I saw Colin Meloy’s solo concert – he of my beloved Decemberists – and my heart’s most recent favorite, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova in concert – they of the breakout 2007 film, “Once” (Runner-up: I saw “Into the Wild” and “There Will Be Blood” in theaters on the same day, with loads of friends. Good day.)

Best Artistic Personal Milestone – This is not the milestone itself, but the means to that milestone. I purchased a Panasonic Digital Film camera (see it here), and have been writing and making movies since the summer. It was the catalyst to make me break out and get to work. So far – 6 minute film that I am going to reshoot, 33 minute film that I moderately like, and 3 more projects to get to in the next few months. We will see.

It Has Come to This

May 2018
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