On March 27th, 2009, I posted my first Movie Round-Up. I had posted movie reviews before, but I adopted the once a week format to give myself structure and to avoid having multiple movie review posts per week. I have enjoyed doing them, even more since I added the Photoshop amalgam poster a few months back, but as time went on and I attended less and less screenings, the posts turned into mostly reviews of trailers and hype.
While I think there is value in that sort of review, and I may start doing that in the future (and if so it would get a new name), for now this particular format is coming to an end. I hope you enjoyed it while it lasted, and I hope you stick around for whatever else I happen to write.
I don’t like making predictions, but for fun I’ll make a couple now as I talk about the year to come…
2011 is going to be the best year ever … for someone, and maybe that someone will be you, so get excited at the possibilities!
2011 is going to be the worst year ever … for someone, and on the bright side with the likelihood that the world’s population is going to cross 7 billion at some point in the next twelve months, the odds are totally in your favor that it won’t be you, so get excited at the probabilities!
It’s going to hurt. This year will contain pain, both physical and emotional. From stubbing your toe yet again in the dark on the coffee table that has been in the same place for as long as you can remember yet you still seem to forget that it is there to the soul crushing defeat of realizing that you will be unable to get out of debt, for yet another year, 2011 will be filled to the brim with pains both big and small.
It’s going to feel good. Outside of all the pain, you’ll have a (fairly) happy birthday, and you’ll give some gifts to that make people happy which will make you happy which makes them happy and we will all spiral off into a happiness whirlwind. You will sing (probably when you are alone) and you will dance (probably when you are alone) and you will laugh so hard that you will pee, just a little, in your pants (hopefully when you are alone). 2011 will be full of joy and love and family and friends, and despite all your best efforts to sabotage it, it’s going to be a good one.
Most of all, though, 2011 is going to be a year. Three hundred and sixty-five days of being. I guarantee that at least one of those days will make you lose all hope and at least one of those days will make you feel warm and happy from the tips of your toenails to the hair on your head (or just to your scalp if you don’t happen to have hair on your head). No matter how good it gets, it can’t last forever so don’t forget to plan for rainy days, and no matter how bad it gets, it can’t last forever either so keep an eye out for rays of light.
For myself, in the new year I really don’t have much in the way of goals. I plan simply to keep on keeping on. I exercise a little each day, I eat (mostly) better than I used to, and I write. My only real plan is to just do more of the same. Looking back at last year’s first post:
I went the whole year without gaining back weight, but I didn’t lose any more. While an accomplishment of note, I do need to keep losing, so as I said more of the same. The plan is good, I just need to step it up a notch.
I did get a netbook, and I did write more. I won the NaNoWriMo (though was disappointed in the win). I do watch less TV shows, but it hasn’t really turned into more writing. I need to work on that last bit.
I didn’t finish any of my coding projects, but I made progress. Mostly, my business efforts in the last year resulting in redoing the website, fixing the forums and theme, and putting out the first draft of our first service that I’ve given absolutely no publicity to (I didn’t even blog about it). I was very nervous about that, hence the no publicity, but simply having it out there makes me feel better.
And I did clean up the yard. In fact, we plowed up a huge chunk of it and planted new grass, which has come in quite nicely. I’m no longer ashamed of my backyard. Also, we cut down one tree, and my next door neighbor is having a crew take down some others between our houses. It is inspiring enough that this year I might actually finish clearing the back yard.
As you can see, I really mean it. For the next year I just want to stay level or do more of what I’m already doing. No need to break new ground or start new ventures. No need to radically change my life. So I don’t have much in the way of resolutions this year except to make a concerted effort not to backslide.
Finally, as this first morning of the year approaches noon and moves on into late day and onward into the rest of the year, I leave you with this one piece of advice, the single best paraphrasing of the Golden Rule ever conceived: Be excellent to each other.
The last Friday of the year is also the last day of the year, and as cool as I think it would be to open on the last day of the year, movie studios must not want the headache of splitting an opening weekend between two years of books so opted not to open anything new.
So, I recommend going out and seeing something old. Like True Grit or Black Swan, or maybe like me you still haven’t seen the new Harry Potter, or Tron: Legacy or even Gulliver’s Travels… but go tomorrow, after breakfast, and the handover subsides just a bit.
There was a point in my life when something was missing. I had no idea it wasn’t there. But one night sitting at the bar at Rio Bravo on Holcomb Bridge, I met Kevin and knew almost immediately that I’d been missing a best friend, and he was it. I met my future wife Jodi there too around the same time. The Rio Bravo bar, as it seems, had a fairly significant impact on my life. Then for nearly a decade, Kevin, Jodi and I would continue hanging out at bars, talking about movies, books, computer games, history, politics, everything… anything. The three of us might have been referred to as inseparable. It wasn’t quite like that, but we did do a lot of things together.
Years ago, somewhere in the middle of our friendship, I announced to Kevin over a couple of beers at North River Tavern that I had no regrets in my life. He was perplexed by this, I think in part because he, like many people, had several, perhaps many, regrets. As we discussed the subject I explained to him that a person, for better or worse, is a sum of their experiences. That who you are today is a result of everything you have done and everything that has happened to you, and by that reasoning, if you were happy with where and who you are in life, you cannot regret anything. By regretting some mistake you made in high school, you were invalidating everything that had happened to you since because that mistake had ripple effects throughout your life. The best you could do, I told him, was to realize you wanted it to have gone differently and learn from it, so that it doesn’t happen again. You don’t dwell on it, you don’t while away the hours thinking about what could have been. Instead, you take control of it and use it to make your future the one that you want. His position, if I recall correctly, was that I was full of shit, and we spent hours going back and forth trying to find something in my life I truly regretted.
Most of our talks would be like this. While on rare occasions we would discuss things in agreement, Kevin liked to take up the opposing side just to make things interesting. The thing about Kevin is that, at his core, he was an asshole. He was, what a Texan might call, an ornery son of a bitch. And I mean in that in the best possible way. It was actually probably one of his finer qualities. You could be discussing something with him and even if he was out of his depth and completely wrong in every possible way, he never just took your word for it, you had to prove it to him. He made you work for it. It was annoying… it was frustrating… but when you’d made your point, when you’d proven it, it also felt so much better than when someone just acquiesced to your side.
Another of his better qualities was that Kevin was fiercely loyal. He’d take a bullet for you, even if you weren’t in danger of being shot. Even when you asked him not to. His heart always was in the right place even if his actions weren’t. Sometimes I think he just liked the fight.
Kevin was my best friend right up until these two great qualities of his collided. My wife, who was at the time still just my fiancée but recently upgraded from girlfriend, had become unemployed and had remained unemployed for longer than she probably should have. Kevin took it upon himself to hate her for it because he knew I wouldn’t. He fought with her, and she fought back, and sometimes it got so bad that I had to walk out of the room. I asked them both to stop, and she tried, but Kevin persisted. And in the end it was Kevin’s doggedness, his ornery nature, in this matter that drove the wedge between us.
At some point after that, at one of the few times we did get together, Kevin told me he understood what had happened, and, calling back on that conversation we’d had years ago, he said to me, “It’s hard not to have regrets when you are at the bottom, and while I have less regrets every day, I think I’m going to hold on to that one for a while.” And all I can think right now is, “Me too.” I regret that I allowed our friendship to fall apart without much of a fight. And some day I might be far enough from all this to learn something from it, but right now I think I’m going to hold on to this one for a while.
One topic that came up often for discussion between us and a number of our other friends was religion. I think Kevin loved the topic so much because of its incredible complexity, the tightness to which people hold to their beliefs, the conflicts between differing beliefs, and the fact that so little of it can be proven which leads to everyone, despite how wide spread their views, being equally as right as everyone else. It appealed to his love of discourse. In my life, I have varied in my level of participation and belief in religion and God. I’ve gone to church and I have abstained from going. I’ve believed in one God, in many gods, in ancient mythic gods, and even entertained the idea of no god at all. But right now, I sincerely hope that there is a God and there is a Heaven, and that Kevin is there, and that from time to time he’ll get a beer with God, and with a wry smile argue to His face about how He doesn’t exist.
I want to mock this film. I tend to dislike when Jack Black is all Jack-Black-ing out, making faces and saying silly nonsense. But I watch this trailer and am reminded that it’s by the same people who did Night at the Museum which was such a fun movie, and this movie looks fun too. It is highly unlikely that I’ll go see this in the theater for $10, let alone pay $13 to see it in 3D, but I can easily see myself watching this at home at some point and feeling good about it.
Having completely come to terms with the fact that Hollywood is content with turning out remakes and sequel, I first saw this trailer with an open mind… and it was blown away. Early reviews of this film are heaping praises on the little girl and on the film overall, and it makes me very excited. I will, somehow, manage to see this movie. Soon. If for no other reason than because I can’t let Jonah Hex be the last western I’ve seen on the big screen. That must be rectified.
Also, Black Swan goes wider this week and might actually be playing in a theater near you…