Progress Report – Month Two

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November 24, 2012 by Daniel

I started these progress reports as a way to keep constant updates coming, but in the interest of wanting to write more long pieces and to keep myself from using them as a crutch, I’m just going to do them every month using this format.  So, here we are, two months in – let’s check on how this crazy project is going.  This will also give me a nice little platform to briefly talk about some things that I haven’t yet.  Scroll down to the bottom for some light statistics and my own evaluation of how I’m doing.

Books

Midnight’s Children – Done!  Outstanding novel; also incredibly hard to write about, since the narrator basically tells you all of the literary devices he uses and the deeper meanings that he intends within the narration itself.  I wonder how much of it I’m “missing” as a Westerner without any knowledge of India’s history.  He certainly spells it out well enough, and I actually left the book feeling like I had a good general idea of the history, but I also feel like the greater extended metaphor – the main character Saleem’s life as stand-in for India’s history itself – is a bit lost on me.  Still, what an amazing book.  Strongly recommended.
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – In progress; read about 30 pages a few days ago, then got distracted by comics.  Gonna get back to it shortly.
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
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

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 – Done!  Really great album!  It’s got this very old-school prog sound, similar to the texture exploration of early Genesis stuff, but with some modern indie rock thrown in as well.  Will probably make my top 10 of the year list.
Shearwater – Animal Joy
Goodie Mob – Soul Food
Last Dinosaurs – In a Million Years
Jawbreaker – 24 Hour Revenge Therapy
The Antlers – Hospice
More or Les – Mastication
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
The National – Alligator
Nas – ILLmatic
Big Nic
Reel Big Fish – Candy Coated Fury – Done!  See this post for my thoughts on it.
Sik Transit
Foals – Antidotes
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 – Done!  Actually just listened to this yesterday, and boy am I glad I did!  Mind-blowing hip-hop record.  Sort of reminds me of cLOUDDEAD, but a bit more…traditional?  By which I mean that there’s more actual rapping, it’s not nearly as lo-fi, and the MCs all sound like regular people and not aliens.  The beats have this really spacey feel to them.  It’s an awesome album.  Need to check out some lyrics sheets; might end up writing a longer review of it.
Om – Advaitic Songs
The Motown Story – Still haven’t listened to the third and final disc of this yet.  I probably should.
James Brown – Star Time
Klaatu – 3:47 EST
Joyce Manor – S/T
The Civil Wars
Herbie Hancock – Man-Child
Randy Newman – Little Things
Titus Andronicus – Local Business – Done!  Sort of want to write a real review of it, because it’s an album that’s hard to discuss without talking about it’s context.  So….look for that soon, hopefully?  Regardless, I like it.  It’s very very good.
Cardiacs
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Jim Noir – Zooper Dooper
Gomez
Explosions in the Sky – How Strange, Innocence and Suddenly I Miss Everyone
Wire – Pink Flag
The xx – Coexist – Done! It’s….okay.  I don’t want to say it’s a sophomore slump, because it’s still solid, but it really doesn’t match their first album in quality.  Review forthcoming.

Video Games

Botanicula 
Skies of Arcadia
Rocksmith
Guitar Hero II (360 version)
Red Dead Redemption
Syndicate
Odin Sphere
God Hand
Condemned 2: Bloodshot
Killer 7
Jet Set Radio Future
Metroid Prime
Paper Mario: The Thousand Year Door – Done!  See this post for thoughts.
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
Asura’s Wrath
Shank
Pokemon Conquest
Hell Yeah!: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit – Done! Just beat this a few days ago.  It’s good; great concept, looks amazing, awesomely twisted character designs, and it’s pretty funny to boot.  It overstays it’s welcome though – there are some odd gameplay quirks that get more and more frustrating as you go on, and by about 75% of the way through you’ve basically seen everything the game has to offer.  So yeah, it’s about two hours too long.  But hey, I bought it for 8 bucks on a Steam Sale and I consider that worth it.

I’ll be adding in my Steam games as I go, as explained in my last Progress Report.

Comics 

Abe Sapien: The Drowning – Done!  It’s pretty cool.  Quick read, since Mignola tends to communicate his stories with visuals more than dialogue.  I don’t really know what to say about it; it looks great and the mystery aspect of it is fairly intriguing.  If you like Mignola’s other Hellboy-universe stuff, there’s no reason you wouldn’t like this.
Elektra: Assassin – Done!  This thing is goddamn amazing.  It’s an over-the-top, cyberpunk fever dream.  Classic Frank Miller writing – seedy underbellies, damaged anti-heroes, fucked-up romances, all the good stuff.  What strikes me about it is how politically neutral it is – there are some good jabs at Nixon within, but it also has a JFK stand-in who’s kind of creepily agreeable.  Someone who knows politics better would be able to do a pretty great political reading of this graphic novel, I presume.  The real star of the show, though, is Bill Sienkewicz, whose artwork bounces from traditional art, to stylized painting, to collage to match the intensity of the story – sometimes in the span of a single panel.  It’s just really beautiful work; shame he ducked out of the comics industry so quickly.
Alec: The Years Have Pants – in progress, about halfway through.
The Amazing Screw-On Head and Other Curious Objects
Young Liars
Someplace Strange
The Book of Genesis
Too Much Coffee Man Omnibus
THE ENTIRE ULTIMATE MARVEL UNIVERSE
Last couple volumes of Ex Machina
Stray Bullets
Saga Vol. 1
King City
Automatic Kafka
The Destroyer
Solo
Hitman
Blammo
Enemy Ace: War in Heaven
I Am Legion
One Piece
Robin/Nightwing – Chuck Dixon run.  Bigger than I thought it was, might not get through it all.  We’ll see.
Echo
Strange Girl
Strange Cases
Persepolis
Blacksad
The Playwright
The Loneliest Astronauts
Gotham Central
The Incredibles
Three Shadows
The Incredible Hulk – Peter David run
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
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
Doom Patrol – Grant Morrison run
Flex Mentallo
Alias
Cragmore
Anything by Linda Barry

Movies

Mega Shark Vs. Giant Octopus
Frozen
The Godfather
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
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

TV

I’ve changed the layout of this a bit to include individual seasons – this will allow me to track completion more accurately, since it will probably take me longer than a month to, say, finish all of Star Trek.

Big Windup
Neon Genesis Evangelion – original series and the “rebirth” movies
Star Trek: The Next Generation – seasons 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
Buffy the Vampire Slayer – all seasons
Veep – season 1
Archer – seasons 1, 2, 3

Stats and thoughts

This month, I read one novel, listened to five albums, played through two video games, and read two comics.  I didn’t watch any of the TV or movies on my list this month.  That brings the rounded completion totals to:

Books – 4%
Music – 27%
Video games – 33% (though, again, with Steam games this gets quite a bit lower)
Comics – 3%
Movies – 2%
TV – 10%

Well, I’m disappointed in my reading a bit – I really thought I’d read more comics this month especially.  I guess starting Alec, which is really long and dense, got in the way of reading a bunch of things.  Completing only two video games was surprising to me, considering I feel like I played a lot of ’em this month, but then I realized that one of them was an almost 30-hour RPG, so that makes sense.  It’s not all that surprising that music is one of my more rapidly progressing sections – albums can be listened to in-transit and while working out, which I do a fair amount of, and most albums are about half the length of an average movie, so they’re easy to get through in quick succession.   Regardless, my music consumption should be pretty boosted by next month, as it’s nearing the end of the year and I’ve really gotta wrap up all of my 2012 listening.  I’m still slacking a lot with my movies; ironically, I’ve been watching a ton of movies this month, but none of them have been list ones.  Lots of random comedies with friends and going to the theater to see stuff.  And I’m honestly pretty non-committal to my TV at the moment, though I’m feeling a need to get back into the Star Trek groove.

Overall, I think I’m doing okay.  I’m done my semester of school after this week – hooray! – so I have pretty much all of December to do nothing but power through these stacks.  I especially want to get going on the movies.  A movie a day, perhaps?  We shall see.  For this upcoming month, I really want to focus more on quantity, and giving those numbers a heavy boost, so I’ll be focusing more on things that are short:  no more omnibus-reading or RPG-playing for a bit.  So, hopefully I’ll be putting out a ton of writings throughout December.  Are you excited?  I’m excited.  GET PUMPED!

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