Progress Report – Month One

2

October 23, 2012 by Daniel

Listen, I’ve never been one to celebrate those “mini-anniversaries”, where after every month you go “OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE WE MADE IT!”  Couples that do that are insecure and doomed to fail.  But hey, Sunday marked the one-month anniversary of this blog , and considering that it is, ostensibly, about me attempting to make progress in my lists, I figured it would be a good time to see just how I’m doing.  This’ll also be the first time that I’ll be laying out everything that’s on those lists, which is helpful for me, and hopefully, you.  I’ll write little notes on things that I think are deserving of them.  I really should have done this right at the beginning BUT HEY.  If you don’t care for the lists themselves and just want a summary of what I’ve done so far, scroll way down to the bottom of the page.  Let’s get to it!

Books

Midnight’s Children – in progress, 130 pages left.
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid
Memoirs Found in a Bathtub
Hangover Square
Hip Hop America
Summerland
Ghost Rider: Travels on the Healing Road
Revelations
The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
The Canon
Popular Music in Theory – might straight-up not not read this if it ends up being too textbook-y.
Moon
Redemption Song: The Ballad of Joe Strummer
Freedom
Catching Fire
Comic Wars
In the Studio
Sex Tips from Rock Stars
The Psychopath Test
The Moment
The Man Who Couldn’t Eat
Catch-22

Music

A lot of these are sort of vague instruction instead of specific albums.  In that case, I’ll do some research, pick one album, and be done with it.  Lots of ’em are things from this year which I haven’t got to yet, and should soon because the end of the year is approaching and I need a top ten!

Encoffination – O Hell, Shine in Thy Whited Sepulchres
Lemuria
Algernan Cadwaller
Kerosene 454 – Race (I think; too lazy to check which CD I actually have at the moment)
Field Music – Plumb
Shearwater – Animal Joy
Goodie Mob – Soul Food
Last Dinosaurs – In a Million Years
Jawbreaker – 24 Hour Revenge Therapy
The Antlers – Hospice – Done!  Great record, too sad to listen to more than once in a while.
More or Les – Mastication – Done! One of my favourites of the year, probably.  Cool beats, great MC, way smarter than it originally lets on.
Racing Heart – To Walk Beside that Ghost
Holy Esque – S/T
Moonface – With Sinaii: Heartbreaking Bravery
Slugabed – Team Time
The Jazz June
Cursive – Domestica
Laurel Halo – Quarantine
Kid Koala – Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
Crocodiles – Endless Flowers
Caribou – Swim – Done!  Didn’t really like it.
The National – Alligator – Done!  Have been loving this album more and more.  Need to check out their newest two, but that’s side stuff; not including ’em on this list.  That’ll be for Bomb the Stacks Mark II, which will be happening in…..five years from now?  Hell, I don’t know.
Nas – ILLmatic – Done!  Very cool, dark New York hip-hop sound; super-duper influential.  Probably not going to become one of my hip-hop favourites, but it’s a good record.
Big Nic
Reel Big Fish – Candy Coated Fury
Sik Transit
Foals – Antidotes – Done! It’s okay.  Expanded thoughts will be in a near-future progress report.
Whitest Boy Alive – Dreams
Fight Like Apes
Citizen Cope
Nujabes
Pigeon John – Dragon Slayer
Patrick Wolf – Adventures in Your Own Backyard
Dark Time Sunshine – ANX
Om – Advaitic Songs
The Motown Story – in progress.  It’s 3 discs long, gimme a break!
James Brown – Star Time – see above, except it’s 4 discs.
Klaatu – 3:47 EST
Joyce Manor – S/T
The Civil Wars
Herbie Hancock – Man-Child
Randy Newman – Little Things – listened to side one, haven’t delved into the second yet.  Really great so far though!
Titus Andronicus – Local Business
Cardiacs
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Jim Noir – Zooper Dooper
Gomez – the note I have here just says “old album”, and they’ve got like seven of those, so I need to ask the person who gave this to me what she meant.
Explosions in the Sky – Done! Checked out How Strange, Innocence and Suddenly I Miss Everyone.  Wasn’t big on How Strange, but the other one is pretty sweet post-rock!  Will probably check out more of ’em.
Wire – Pink Flag – Done!  Incredible album!  Basically responsible for the creation of both post-punk and hardcore, and it still holds up as a cold, beautiful punk album in it’s own right.
The xx – Coexist – I’ve specifically been waiting since I could buy this to listen to it.  I just got the vinyl in the mail, so I should be getting to it soon.

Video Games
Botanicula – Done!  Amazing, unique game that’s got more character in it’s first half hour than most others have in their entire runtime.
Skies of Arcadia
Rocksmith – Almost done?  It got a bit too difficult in a frustrating way so I jumped ship a few weeks ago.  Not sure if I’m going to go back to it or not at this point.  Still generally like it though.
Guitar Hero II (360 version) – Done!  Love this game and always have!
Red Dead Redemption
Syndicate – Done!  Has some really great ideas that re-energize the first-person shooter, but doesn’t quite live up to them.  Mostly enjoyed my time with it, though.  Good basis for a sequel, though there probably won’t be one because it sold pretty poorly.  Shame.
Odin Sphere
God Hand
Condemned 2: Bloodshot
Killer 7
Jet Set Radio Future
Metroid Prime
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door – in progress.  Check out the next progress report for details
Blood Will Tell
Dead Space 1 and 2
Shenmue 1 and 2
Viva Pinata: Trouble in Paradise
Skyrim
Star Wars Rogue Squadron 2: Rogue Leader
Flashback
Wild Guns
Crackdown
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time – Done!  Fantastic game, still holds up today, though the combat sections have only aged worse and worse since.
Asura’s Wrath – Done!  Love this game, even though calling it a “game” may be a bit of a stretch.  Some of the interesting things it does in the way it communicates certain scenes are entirely based on the “game” part though, so yeah.  It’s crazy, insane anime action, but it’s got a brain once you look for it.  Great art design.
Shank – Done!  NOT VERY GOOD AT ALL.  Looks great, but it has crappy level design, mechanics that get boring very quickly and are pretty unbalanced, frustrating boss fights, and a boring story.
Pokemon Conquest – Basically done!  Played about 5 hours of it, then went back to it and realized “hey, I don’t want to play this game at all!” Seems like an okay light-strategy game regardless; probably one of the better Pokemon off-shoots.

Okay, so now I’ve got all of my Steam games.  And quite frankly, I don’t really want to list them all, because there’s a ton and chances are I’m not even going to play a whole lot of them.  The thing with Steam sales is that you’ll buy games that you otherwise wouldn’t have because, hey, they’re only 2 bucks or some other ludicrously small number.  A lot of the purchases of these full games really take on the function of extended demos.  So, not listing them now.  This is long enough as it is.

Comics 
In the interest of keeping myself glued to Midnight’s Children, I haven’t dug into these at all yet.  I’ve missed them, so when I’m done with that book, I’ll most likely be delving into a bunch of these in quick succession:

Abe Sapien: The Drowning
Elektra: Assassin
Alec: The Years Have Pants (reread)
The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects
Young Liars (reread of first two volumes, first time of the third)
Someplace Strange
The Book of Genesis
Too Much Coffee Man Omnibus
THE ENTIRE ULTIMATE MARVEL UNIVERSE – Up to and including Ultimatum.  Started this years ago, got about halfway through.  Time to pick up where I left off.
Last couple volumes of Ex Machina
Stray Bullets
Saga Vol. 1 – I just bought this so I could get free shipping on an Amazon order.  Hooray for Brian K. Vaughan!
King City
Automatic Kafka
(Here ends the stuff I already have in my posession.  Here’s the stuff that I don’t own yet)
The Destroyer
Solo
Hitman
Blammo
Enemy Ace: War in Heaven
I Am Legion
One Piece – this is still going on with no signs of stopping.  So, might just wait until years down the line when it’s finally done.  Don’t really need one more thing to keep with, know what I’m sayin’?
Robin/Nightwing – Chuck Dixon run.  I’ll only be checking this out if I can find an easily-organized version of the whole thing.
Echo
Strange Girl
Strange Cases
Persepolis
Blacksad
The Playwright
The Loneliest Astronauts
Gotham Central
The Incredibles
Three Shadows
The Incredible Hulk – Peter David run.  Probably waiting until there’s an omnibus of this, which I’m assuming will happen eventually.
Shadoweyes
Like That
The Goon
Orc Stain
Fear Agent
Brian Wood
Elmer
Secret Six
Scalped
Unknown Soldier
Tumor
Ichi the Killer
Oldboy
Ruroni Kenshin
Echo
Green Lantern: Will World – this will probably be pretty hard to find
Invincible
The Heckler
Youngblood
World War Hulk
Incredible Hercules
Starman – Robinson and Harris run
Tag and Blink are Dead
Strange Haven
Atomic Robo
Ocean
Route 666
The Other Side
Kill All Parents
Ambush Bug
X-Factor
Bizarro World Halloween –  again, probably hard to find unless it’s collected in a larger TPB, so we’ll see.
Doom Patrol – Grant Morrison run
Flex Mentallo – just got re-printed, so I’ll be picking this up soon.
Alias
Cragmore
Anything by Linda Barry

That was way more than I thought it was.  Jeez.
Movies

Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus
Frozen
The Godfather – at least parts one and two
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest
Pan’s Labyrinth
High Noon
The Dirty Dozen
The Town
Social Network
There Will Be Blood
Seven Samurai
Election
Saving Private Ryan
Apocalypse Now!
Hearts of Darkness
Trainspotting
Dogville
Brazil
Adaptation
Lost in Translation – saw this when it came out, which means I was like twelve years old.  Hated it back then, because, y’know, I was twelve. Now I think it’s the kind of movie I would really love.
Oldboy
A Serious Man
World’s Greatest Dad
Let the Right One In
Special
Raising Arizona
Micmacs
Fireworks
River’s Edge
The Killer
A Better Tomorrow
There’s Nothing Out There
Princess Mononoke
Jaws
When We Were Kings
Battle Royale
Mary and Max
Melancholia
Ex-Drummer
Ai Weiwei
Sukiyaki Western Django
Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind – Done! Didn’t love it, but also may not have been in the right headspace for it.  It’s a pretty effective environmental-protection story with a great dub, regardless.

TV
Big Windup
Neon Genesis Evangelion (originals and, when they’re done, the “rebirths”
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
Veep
Archer – Counting it as Done!  I’ve seen the first two seasons and I’m taking a break on purpose.  But with a mostly-episodic show, I think it’s enough to say I’ve seen the majority of it, and I love it.  It’s become a show that I plan to keep up with when the new season comes along, so yeah.  Done.

Okay, that’s all of it, I think.  So, how am I doing?  Well, after a month, I’ve crossed off 8 albums, 7 video games, 1 movie, and one TV show.  To put things into perspective, that’s 16% of my music, 25% of my video games (though that number is much less once you take those nebulous Steam games into account), 2% of my movies, and 14% of my TV shows.  Y’know, for only a month, that’s pretty damn solid!  I’m disappointed that I’m not done Midnight’s Children yet, especially considering that I pretty much started this blog to deal with my reading list.  But I’m going to London this weekend (Ontario, don’t freak out), and the train ride will give me enough time that I should be able to finish; I really have no excuse to not be done by the end of this weekend.  And I’m excited to be done!  I love that book, but I’m itching to read some comics – it’s been too long.

The real problem I’ve been having is keeping focus.  I should probably be nixing a whole bunch of my podcasts in the interest of getting my music listening done faster, but I find myself unable to do so.  This is problematic because things like the Giant Bombcast or NPR’s All Songs Considered support my desire to keep finding new things – which is totally unnecessary, especially when I see everything that I’ve laid out here.  At the same time, if I’m going to have this slavish devotion to these lists, I may not enjoy the things I’m experiencing as much, because they’re an obligation instead of an organic discovery experience.  I don’t know what I should do really – but I definitely feel like I need more discipline.

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2 thoughts on “Progress Report – Month One

  1. The Innocent says:

    Well done! I’m stoked to hear your thoughts on Skies of Arcadia — that was one of my favorite games when I was younger, and although the Dreamcast is still in good condition, I don’t think I’ll ever play it again, just to keep the memories pure. And I’m jealous you have a copy of Shenmue 2 — I never could find one.

    Anyway, looking forward to reading how your catch-up project progresses. 🙂

    • Daniel says:

      Thanks! Glad you’re enjoying the blog. I actually played through almost the first disc of the game when I picked it up a few years back – I really like it, I just sort of lost hold of it. So I’m pumped to get back, and hope I didn’t forget most of the plot.

      Shenmue 2 is actually not that hard to find, so long as you’re okay with the Xbox version! There’s a really good vintage game site called JJ Games that has a lot of old stuff in stock for decent prices.

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