Progress Report – Month Three

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January 3, 2013 by Daniel

In the midst of planning for my best of the year features, I totally missed Bomb the Stacks’ three month anniversary – so to ring in the new year, here’s how I’m doing.  I’ll tell you right off the top that I did not watch a single movie on my list because I’m a huge asshole who doesn’t do the things he says he’s going to do, la dee dee da.  If you want to skip the lists themselves, scroll down to the bottom for my own blurb about how my quest is progressing.

Books

Midnight’s Children
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid – In progress
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 – Thinking I’m gonna drop this from the list, on the count of it’s basically a textbook and I don’t think I care enough to actually read it.
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
Field Music – Plumb
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 – Listened to once, need to give it another spin. Didn’t really feel like I “got it” the first time.
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
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 – Done! Incredible record, go here for my full thoughts.
Dark Time Sunshine
Om – Advaitic Songs
The Motown Story – Done! It’s pretty good.  As far as compilations go, it’s damn thorough, and it’s got these nice introductions to each song which explains a bit about it’s context.  My thoughts on the music itself is somewhat more complicated.  Think I’ll write it up tomorrow.
James Brown – Star Time
Klaatu – 3:47 EST
Joyce Manor – S/T
The Civil Wars
Herbie Hancock – Man-Child – Done!  I was surprised to find that this album is actually pretty awesome, since everything I’ve heard of Herbie’s post Head Hunters sounds like porno grooves.  This is actually a fairly conventional funk album though, just played by one of my favourite jazz groups and with the addition of those fun synth tones Hancock was experimenting with at the time.  Quite solid, probably his last truly great record.
Randy Newman – Little Things
Titus Andronicus – Local Business
Cardiacs
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! – Done!  It’s a bit of a weird one for me, to be honest.  Post-rock is an odd genre because it has pretty dminishing returns – it’s such a specific style of music that, while it’s incredibly exciting at first, the more bands that you hear within the genre, the less interesting it becomes.  And GY!BE are so representative of the style that they fall into the same pitfalls despite being one of, if not the, most influential bands in the genre.  Regardless, it’s a strong release and one that I’m pretty happy actually exists.  It mostly just fits very cozily with the rest of their career, not really showing any big changes of sound or risky artistic moves.  It’s basically just a good release by arguably the best post-rock band ever, and that’s just fine, really.
Jim Noir – Zooper Dooper
Gomez
Explosions in the Sky – How Strange, Innocence and Suddenly I Miss Everyone
Wire – Pink Flag
The xx – Coexist

Video Games

I’ve worked out, for the most part, what Steam games I’m gonna be playing, so this list is finally legitimately accurate.

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
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 – I’ve been playing a bit of this here and there, but I think I’m gonna stop. I can see why it was well-received upon release, but here, at the end of the console cycle, it just seems archaic.  Its devotion to the open world is admirable – because there aren’t any cutscenes to speak of and you don’t even have to go to specific spots of the map to get missions or anything, all there really IS to the game is the open world itself and what you do in it.  That disconnect between the plot of the game and the not-so-noble things you’re allowed to do in the world doesn’t exist, so that’s nice.  But yeah, the whole thing is just kind of frustrating; getting around the world is annoying, the gunplay’s not so great, the fighting system is basically non-existent. For a game where you have super-powers, there’s just not a whole lot to do in it. Kind of a bummer.
Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
Asura’s Wrath
Shank
Pokemon Conquest
Hell Yeah!: Wrath of the Dead Rabbit
1000 Amps – Started playing this a few days ago, seems really cool.
Amnesia: The Dark Descent
Analogue: A Hate Story
Braid
And Yet It Moves
Cave Story – I played this a long time ago, before it had any official releases, but I never beat the final boss; I plan to rectify this.
To The Moon
Vessel – Not sure about this one yet; is it good? Anyone?
Half-Life
Hotline Miami – Done!  Love it, thoughts here.
Insanely Twisted Shadow Planet
Capsized
Intrusion 2
Lone Survivor
The Longest Journey
Mark of the Ninja – Done! See Hotline Miami link above for thoughts.
McPixel – Been playing this intermittently, since it’s not the greatest game for extended play sessions.  Loving it, though.
NightSky
Penny Arcade’s On The Rain-Slick Precipice of Darkness: Episodes 2 and 3
Pixeljunk Eden
Rayman Origins
Rochard
Stacking
They Bleed Pixels
Thief Gold
XCOM: Enemy Unknown
Zeno Clash

Comics 

Abe Sapien: The Drowning
Elektra: Assassin
Alec: The Years Have Pants – Done!  Got a nice long thing planned for it.
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 – Done! Man, this series is awesome. Really cool to see Brian K. Vaughan playing in a world entirely of his own creation instead of alternate reality versions of the modern world.  Tons of great characters, amazing art, well-written script, and already an extremely memorable and kind of insane world.  I don’t keep up with modern comics other than one or two things, but this is one where I’ll be anxiously awaiting each new trade. Longer thing coming soon, I think.
King City
Automatic Kafka
The Destroyer
Solo
Hitman
Blammo
Enemy Ace: War in Heaven
I Am Legion
One Piece – I’ve actually decided to put this on the backburner. I’ve got the first 500 chapters or so, but it seems kind of silly to read it now since it’s not even close to being done. I’d rather wait the extra decade or whatever until it’s complete – otherwise I’ll catch up to where they are now and then have to read a bunch of shitty fan translations week by week.  So, yeah – this is the last time One Piece is going to appear on this list.
Robin/Nightwing – Chuck Dixon run. Still not sure about how much of this I’m actually going to read.
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
Anything by 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 – Done! Finished this in the car on the way to Ottawa over the weekend. It’s pretty damn good; very postmodern, in the way that Grant Morrison tends to be.  It’s a comic about comics, an examination of superheroes, how they’ve evolved over the years, and what they mean to us now.  Might write a longer thing about it, though it’s very dense and complex and I’m kind of afraid of it.
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

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

Last month, I said I would try to focus on shorter things in order to get a nice boost from the month I had off from school.  I ended up finishing five albums, three games, three comics, and nothing from either my movie, tv, or book lists.  For comparison, this is about the same consumption of entertainment as last month, with a slight boost in the games and comics portions and a slight decline in finished books.  So….I didn’t really accomplish my mission.  There are a couple things I can attribute this to: pressure to get a top 10 list of albums for the year done meant a lot of repeated listenings of records from this year at the cost of not being able to mainline list-y things; in regards to reading, the first bit of the month was spent finishing up the Alec omnibus, and most of my remaining reading time was devoted to comics instead of the one book that I’m tackling very, very slowly.  Meanwhile, I confess that I somehow got roped into watching Giant Bomb’s Deadly Premonition Quick Look instead of any actual TV shows.  This also cut into my video game playing time pretty drastically, but the main reason for only getting through a few games is a technical one – after playing a few hours into Dead Space, my HDMI cable that allows me to hook up my PC to my computer crapped out, and it just seemed criminal to play that game on my laptop screen.  My new cable arrived today so I’ll be getting back to it post-haste.

Now, the movie list – that’s another story entirely.  In three months, the fact of the matter is that I’ve only watched a single movie on my list, and considering that I think of myself as someone who really enjoys film as a medium, that’s a bit ridiculous. The thing is that I find it very hard to actually sit down and watch a movie by myself, and whenever a friend wants to watch a movie with me, it’s never anything in my stack. Taking that first step into actually starting the movie is what’s difficult for me.  It’s not like I have a problem with sitting at a TV for a few hours – the problem is that with the other things I can do that with, namely video games and TV shows, I have the ability to stop after a short chunk of time.  I can play a game until I reach a new level or save point, for example, or I can watch just a single half hour of TV.  The fact of the matter is that I usually do both of these things for much longer – but because I’m not immediately “locked in” like I would be for a movie, it’s a much less daunting prospect for me.

Y’know, this is really the problem with my entire approach to doing things. I have problems starting just about everything – I don’t want to put on my shoes to go the gym, or set up my drums to practice, or begin the sometimes-laborious process of writing a new blog post.  Once I’ve actually begun, of course, I’m golden.  But it’s the starting that is difficult, and it’s my inability to do so that stops me from doing…well, a lot of the things that I truly want to do. Hell, my inability to start things is pretty much what caused this huge backlog of shit in the first place. Again, the word I keep coming back to is “discipline” – that’s what I need more of. I hope that eventually this blog can make me into the productivity ninja that I want to become.

Anywho, stats!  Here’s my completion percentages for everything – you’ll notice that my game percentage, as previously predicted, has dropped with the inclusion of a whole whack of Steam game:

Books – 1/23 = 4%
Music – 17/50 = 34%
Video Games – 13/59 = 22%
Comics – 5/71 = 7%
Movies – 1/42 = 2%
TV – 2/19 = 10%

Here’s to a more productive January.

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