Sunday, May 30, 2010

The Oscar Project!

In the midst of my insomnia, I was listening to some Tom Waits at 4:30 A.M. while browsing the internet. There's nothing better for clearing the mind. I decided on the next project for my blog. This decision comes from three problems that I'm having.

The first is that blog-a-day month and movie-a-day month were fun, but they burned me out from blogging. I don't seem to want to write anything during the rest of the year. Partially, I seem to want to save ideas. So I don't know if I will participate in either this year. If I do, it certainly won't be to the extent I did last year. Any entries will be a couple paragraphs or so. But still, I enjoy blogging and I enjoy writing about movies.

The second is that I don't have any money to spend this summer. I had been hoping to take a road trip, but I need to spend some time moving into my home and renting out my condo. I always try to get to San Diego every summer, and I hope this summer is no exception. If I do have any money left by that point, I'll expand that trip based on how much I think I can spend and how much time it will take. It would be nice to add a week or so before San Diego, but we'll see. So my summer will be spent doing things that cost very little money. I have Netflix. I'll be enjoying that.

The third is that I've seen a lot of movies so far in 2010 (22 as of right now, and I haven't ruled out going to see something later today or tomorrow morning). The problem is that I haven't loved any of those movies. I can't picture any of them making a top 10 list from any previous years. I have a hard time believing that I've picked 22 decent movies, especially when many came highly recommended. In fact, I can recommend many of them as "entertaining," and many as "worth watching because it was different." In the first category, The Book of Eli, Green Zone, Alice in Wonderland, Hot Tub Time Machine, How to Train Your Dragon, The Losers, and Iron Man 2 were all entertaining. The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, Mother, Greenberg, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, A Prophet, and Exit Through the Gift Shop were all in the "different" categoty. So I can recommend any of those for those reasons. But I didn't love any of them, and I blame my current lack of passion for movie watching. I think it's similar to the "reader's block" I wrote about during Blog-a-Day month (which is cured, by the way. I might write up some book reports over the summer).

So I need to fix all three of these problems. I looked at how I developed my interest in movies to the next level. I've mentioned my AFI project before. I want to do something similar. So I picked Oscar Best Pictures. I'm going to start at the beginning with Wings from 1929. I'll watch about one a week in order and give a write up. I haven't seen 31 out of 82, and most of those were early winners. So clearly the second half of the project will be a shift from first viewings to rewatching with fresh eyes. If I stick to one a week, I'll work on this for the next year and a half. There are several movies I'm looking forward to watching for the first time, some I'm looking forward to watching again and writing about, and a few that I'm dreading watching again (I'm looking at you, Shakespeare in Love!) But it should be a cool ride, and I hope it gets me excited about movies again.

Want to join in? Course you do! (Boos pours you a glass of rye (name THAT reference for bonus points!)) It would be cool to make this project a community sort of thing. It starts this coming week. If you try really hard, you can probably find a list of the movies somewhere. Sometime this coming weekend (June 4-6), either write on your own blog and link to it in the comments here or just write up your own entry in my comments. Or just comment on what I say. Want to watch any of these with me? Let me know and I'll let you know when the viewing will happen. Party at my new house!

I do realize that there's a major barrier to the project from the beginning. Wings is not available on DVD. I found a bootleg copy on the internet. If you don't know how to do such a thing, I can get a copy to you if you ask or give you steps to find it. You'll run into the same problem in a couple weeks with Cavalcade. Everything else is out there.

A Memorial Day update.

I haven't blogged in awhile, so this is a general update of a bunch of different things.

The end of the school year is quickly approaching. We have 10 days remaining. Of those 10, I will spend one at Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, one at the eighth grade pool party, and one is the last day, which is on a Monday. (Yes, for those of you who aren't involved with the school district, our last day is on a MONDAY. Does that tell you all you need to know about the level of stupidity of those running the district?) So yeah, there are really seven days left. But I have to wake up 10 more times, and that's what counts the most.

As I wrote about many months back, I set trying to lose some weight. My original goal was to lose 20 by 2010. I barely missed that, but I've made up for it. I've now lost over 30 pounds. I feel much better and probably look better too. I still have a year and a few months of gym membership, so I'm not done yet. I'm moving on to new goals and I hope to have a fairly active summer (physically, at least, as I won't really have money to do much else - more on that soon).

Here's a note about human psychology. I think one big reason that I've done so well is my limited gym membership. I picked up the Costco deal, which is two years for $299. The alternate would be to join a gym on a month-to-month contract. But in this deal, I'm limited to 24 months. After that, I have to pay up again if I want to continue. So I never had the "I'll get going next month" mindset. I knew going in that I had two years. Period. It's a similar mindset to this idea. What kinds of New Years Resolutions do successful people make? None. Successful people don't need an arbitrary date to be successful. They do it now. So, I did it "now."

So it looks like I finally have a house. I'm planning to write a good full entry on the entire almost two year saga, so I'll cut that short here. But I'm in contract and heading towards closing on this 3 bedroom, 1 bath in Concord close to Mt. Diablo High. You might be able to see pictures at this link while it lasts. The original contract was a 45 day close plus an option for the buyer to rent for up to 30 original days. Now it trying to close her own deal for the place she's moving to, so that might make everything happen sooner. It looks like all of the potential barriers have been agreed to at this point. So that means I'll be moving anytime from the middle of June to the end of July. I hope we get something nailed down in the next week. That means around that time I'm paying just about every dollar I have saved in the world, so I have nothing to spend at all. But at least I've locked in a 4.5% rate. Suck on that.

My next update ended up being long enough that I made it into its own entry. I should be posting that in minutes.

And hey - anyone want to rent a one bedroom condo on the Concord/Clayton border or know someone who does? Seriously for REAL this time.