Grab-bag of things on my mind
Just a quickie to offload some brain detritus that’s piled up the last week or so. A long weekend (President’s Day) got longer by a day with the Federal Government closing for the day. I had the opportunity to work from home but chose to burn some vacation and make it a 4-day weekend. I’ll probably regret that toward the end of the year, but as I’ll get into, I haven’t been in the best head space of late!
If you’re an artist or creative person of any serious stripe, you’re familiar with bouts of “the blues”. It can range from flat out depression to the milder, but no less bothersome, feeling down. Over the last week or two I’ve allowed myself to wallow in some self-doubt and procrastination, throw in some cold-ass weather and it’s a recipe getting me into a funk. Two week is about my tolerance for this, it feels very romantic to be tortured early on, but starts getting self-indulgent pretty quick. I know the “cure” for this for me (I make no claims for others, but my remedy is free) is to make and commit to formal goals – and postponing/procrastinating the goal process is part of my psychosis.
One of the upsides of being paralyzed creatively is it gives me an excuse to watch movies, sadly I got onto a run of good (but not great) flicks some from my collection and some from Netflix – here’s a quick rundown:
John Wick: I try to get into the proper mindset for the movie I’m watching, but one thing I’ve noticed is things like revenge movies stopped “working” on my lizard brain. “Mad Max” melted my 17-year old mind, same with “Lethal Weapon”, but now if there isn’t a powerful story to back it up, it’s just not my bag. That said, Wick is a solid revenge flick, awesome fight choreography, really well shot (the geography of the fights always worked, you knew who was getting whacked), and Keanu was the perfect embodiment of the retired hit man pulled back into the fray. If you’re a young man, STRONG recommendation, anybody else it’s a fun watch but not a hall of famer.
Maleficent: This was saved by the two female leads, Angelina Jolie and Elle Fanning, who were both great. As was the crow-guy, but the mixture of wacky faerie hi-jinks mixed with crazy-dark violation mythology felt forced, like they could have gone full on Brothers Grimm but focus groups wanted more CG animation. I can’t stress this enough, Jolie and Fanning were able to root this thing in legit emotion and that’s the only thing that saves it. Again, worth a viewing, some beautiful work – just doesn’t knock it out of the park.
Hercules: Will Wayne Johnson ever find a vehicle that exploits his physicality and charisma? Everybody in this film does a good job, it’s well made, well acted but it felt “off” from the jump. As with “Wick”, I may just be out of the age range but I think there may have been too much world building (like they were trying to set up sequels) and not enough story.
TV NOTE: “Better Call Saul” rules, whether you’re a fan of “Breaking Bad” or not, jump on this bandwagon. Bob Odenkirk annihilates in this thing, and the supporting cast is (if the first three episodes are a viable barometer) may be even better than “Bad”.
One of the major things that got me in a funk was looking way down the road to the completion of my third novel. I have a lot of work to do between now and then, and since I allowed myself to look at it as one big thing vs. a lot of little things I just got overwhelmed. Also, the weather isn’t helping things, I don’t need any more excuses for sitting on my ass, I can do that fine on my own – but bundle a general feeling of malaise in the mix and it’s a definite nail in the coffin for me. Blah, blah, blah – my point is I need to create and commit to weekly artistic, physical and for want of a better term “spiritual” goals to put every day in a context. I’ve decided to make these goals (and my weekly reports) public for the first time (vs. only with my referees), sharing them here and on my success site, both for my own motivation and in the hopes that it may spur you or others to give it a shot!