Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Should Old Pop Resolutions Be Forgot

Originally I was going to go point-by-point through the 10 resolutions of pop culture consumption I made heading into 2010 and examine the degree of success (or failure) for each as well as any extenuating circumstances or unforeseen complications which went along with them and furthermore declare whether or not I was making a similar resolution for 2011 to either finally accomplish what I had failed to do the previous year or to perpetuate what I saw as an inherently positive development. Yes, I was going to do this ten times.

Fortunately for all of us I have come to my senses! I wasn’t able to get the post as initially envisioned up on New Year’s Eve because it was taking too long to write, a trend which continued well into this week, and ultimately I realized if it was taking that wretchedly long for me to compose my thoughts it would be a hell of a slog for anyone to read through. Thus, new plan, let me just give you the highlights.

Almost all of my successes came in ticking off things that had the word “read” in there somewhere, once again abetted by my never-ending mass transit commute. So I read 53 books (54 and a half, technically) and a bunch of comics, including volume 1 of Akira (which was a portion of Resolution #6) and all of Blackest Night (half of Resolution #4). I found the local library and made use of it, and I bought more used books both on Amazon and at the local shops.

My nearest miss was the attempt to watch 12 Netflix movies in 12 months (Resolution #8) – I watched 11, finishing off The Wrestler on December 31st. Technically I should admit that after a year of effort I am incapable of getting my money’s worth out of my account, but five days into the new year I have yet to cancel the service. And honestly I probably won’t … but let me get back to that. I also failed to watch every DVD which is hanging around my house because I actually own it (Resolution #9), but I did view a few of them, at least. And those aren’t going anywhere (even though the bigger of the local used book stores also buys used DVDs).

Bought this DVD in '09 but haven't watched it, but I saw the movie in the theater, but this is the Diretcor's Cut ... so I don't even know how to count this.
Then there were the abysmal failures. The one that surprised me the most was going to the movies five times (Resolution #7) – I didn’t make to a theater once in 2010. I had to laugh when I looked back at last year’s post and saw that one of my strategic points in that arena was to take my wife to Solomon Kane starring James Purefoy – surprise! It was only released in the UK! I also had vague thoughts of moviegoing while we were at the Outer Banks if any of the days had been too rainy to hit the beach (but none really were) and catching a late show with a buddy (we ended up hanging at my house drinking beers) and, of course, seeing TRON (but then I heard it was really terrible). This year, of course, both the Green Lantern and Thor films will hit the cineplexes and there’s no way I’m missing either of those, so going to the movies more this year than last is already a gimme.

One of the other failures came down to dollars. It’s not that my family is hurting for money (a significant rework of our household budget is a pressing non-popcult resolution for this year in light of the imminent addition to our family, but still, we should be fine if we stay on top of things) but I did find myself reluctant to blow unreasonable amounts of money on any single thing. Like, for instance, Star Blazers on DVD (the other part of Resolution #6) which I had casually declared my intention to acquire when I figured the box set would be, like, 40 bucks. Turns out it’s a pause-giving 135 smackers or so. I can wait a while on that.

But mostly, it’s about time ... or lack thereof. Playing all the way through a Guitar Hero game (Resolution #10)? That was easy when the little guy was a newborn who slept throughout the day and we lived in a small, nothing-in-urgent-need-of-fixing townhouse. Not so much now. The same more or less applies to the more ambitious project-oriented stuff like actually deciding how much more monthly comic book collecting I want to do (as it happened, I just kind of stopped buying comics after Blackest Night because getting to the comic book shop was too much effort) or selling off portions of my existing collection – the necessary hours to really figure those things out never quite presented itself. So Resolutions #4 and #5 are still sitting there waiting for me to have time for them … and also awaiting a little technical assistance.

We are on the brink of a bit of a computer crisis at my house, with our desktop only able to boot up in Safe Mode and my big laptop barely able to hold a charge or keep the adapter in its socket – and both of those machines are antiquated (relatively speaking) in terms of both processing power and OS and so on. Our netbook still works fine, so that’s the most reliable means my wife and I have for checking e-mail and such at home. Clearly we simply need to suck it up and buy at least (and for now, probably only) one new machine, and we are in agreement on this, so now it’s a matter of making it happen.

Dollars and hours. It always comes down to them.

But I’m looking forward to settling that matter because so much is logically connected to it. I think I could actually watch more Netflix and get my money’s worth if I actually made use of the streaming Watch It Now feature, which I’ve never really had a computer capable of doing before. The old desktop started dying shortly after I finally got a scanner, which you may or may not remember was one of the prerequisites to me selling off comics to begin with – I wanted to be able to scan parts of them one last time before parting with them. Then selling off the old comics will help me clarify my thoughts on collecting new ones, or net me enough pocket money to splurge on serialized Japanese cartoon box sets, and so on and so on and so on. Thus, I look forward to the new investment in our family’s computer infrastructure, and the golden dawn of productivity and efficiency (both mostly related to entertaining myself, but still) it will usher in.

Oh, and as far as my new reading goals, I’m going for quality over quantity this year – I’m only committing myself to a dozen books, but they are going to be legitimate, canonized classics which I have managed to get this far without reading. Of course I will intersperse other, lighter fare throughout the year, but altogether the total number most likely will be smaller because some of the novels I’m targeting (Don Quixote, Crime and Punishment) are awfully dense. I’m sure I’ll post updates on that particular project as the year goes along.

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